Hello everybody! First off I just want to say how glad I am to hear that Sarah finally had her baby! I have been wondering if she has had it yet all week long. Congrats Sarah!! The pictures of him are awesome!... Andrew, you need a haircut, and I hear that you need to clean your room as well.So I learned something interesting this week. My companion, Elder Vincent used to date Moriah Breeden before his mission. He was very surprised to hear that I knew who that was and that she lived in the same ward that I did. What a small world!
Monday, August 26, 2013
Monday, August 19, 2013
Hello everyone! Oh my goodness, isn't life just grand! Missionary work is the best!!!Anyways, I made it safely to the mission field. On the plane ride over here I sat down next to a Catholic lady who immediately fell asleep for most of the ride but as soon as she woke up I started talking to her. I tried to give her a simple mormon.org card but she just kind of chuckled and refused the card saying, "Oh no. I'm Catholic." as if that was all the information I needed to give up. I wanted to say, "Okay, that's cool I guess. But I'm a Mormon. Let me explain what we believe." but I didn't feel like that would be an appropriate approach. I told her if she ever wanted to know more about our church then she could just go to the web site. It's too bad she didn't want to listen to me. But I found out that one of the sister missionaries who was also on the plane with us was talking to this ladies son the whole time and he seemed extremely interested, so that's good! So we arrived in St Louis and met President and Sister Morgan. They are so great! They took us to the mission home and fed us a marvelous dinner. The evening was spent visiting with everyone, playing ping pong, eating, a testimony meeting and one-on-one interviews with President Morgan. It was very nice. There were 35 new missionaries that arrived so they couldn't house us all, so all the elders spent the night at a hotel while all of the sisters slept at the mission home. The next day was transfer meeting where we were introduced to our new companions! My new companion is Elder Vincent. He is from Orem and has been out here for about 15 months. He is very great! He is diligent and productive but also very patient. We get along very well. He seems like the perfect companion for me to start with. Our area is Carondelet 1. It is a small area situated just south-west of downtown St Louis, so I am in the busy city. We don't have a car, we just take the bus everywhere which I'm definitely not used to. There are so many black people here, it's so awesome!!!! I hope by the time I get home I will be able to speak jive fluently. Ha ha! The members here are awesome!! We've had a dinner appointment almost every single night I have been here and the only night that we haven't had a dinner appointment with a member we ended up having dinner with some very less-active members who we had been with all day helping them move. I love service!! We hoped that by having us around them all day that they might build a desire to come closer to Christ, and it just so happened that the next day they came to church!! How awesome is that!
Monday, August 12, 2013
I don't know where to begin. Oh my gosh, there's so much I want to say. Okay, first, when I heard Andrew had tipped his canoe I had one thought: "Oh my goodness. He would." That sounds so much like Andrew, I wasn't surprised at all when I read that. I wish I could have seen that happen. Dad, good job fixing up the room. It sounds like it looks super good. I wish you had decided to do that a lot earlier. Andrew has no idea how lucky he is that he doesn't have to sleep on that mattress. I am still shocked at mom for trusting Andrew and Alex to be home on their own for the week. You're putting the entire house into the hands of a kid who can't even keep a canoe upright. Make sure to let me know what the new address is when we have to buy a new house. But mom, I hope you and Heather enjoy your trip out to Georgia. Brandon, I am sorry but I think it is hilarious that you have ended up back at KZ! I laughed so hard when I read your letter. The elders in my dorm are the coolest elders EVER!!!!!
Okay, let me talk a little bit about the MTC. I absolutely love it! I have never felt better in my life. I am learning so much about how to teach the gospel to people. I love the fact that our whole purpose is focused on other people. We are instructed by Gordon B. Hinkley to "forget ourselves and go to work" and that is exactly what we are learning to do. I love it because that is how The Savior taught. He forgot Himself and focused on the needs of those around Him. The teachers here are so great. My favorite in particular is Brother Corbitt. His enthusiasm for teaching us how to teach is contagious. He and I are quite similar in a lot of ways; we both noticed that. All the teachers are so great though. My district is so great too! I'm amazed at how close we have all gotten already. There's me, Elder Fenelius (my companion who is great!), Elder Krikava, Elder Caraway, Elder Thompson (he's the one from my school who got the same mission call I did), Elder Julian, Sister Huppi, Sister Sheppard, Sister Williams, and Sister Calton. We are all like a little family. I was called to be the district leader and for some reason everyone said that they saw that coming... Elder Fernelius and I get along so well. We probably get along better than any of the other companionships. We are definitely becoming great friends. He explained to me that before he got his mission call he wasn't very sure if he wanted to go on a mission or not so he prayed and pondered about if for a really long time and he came to the conclusion that he had to go. He then kinda bore his testimony to me that God answered his prayer as to why he needed go when he got here. He said he found his answer as soon as he met me and how my testimony has really strengthened him and helped him build a desire to serve people and share the gospel. I think he's just being nice. But we really work well together. He is usually pretty shy when it comes to talking to people he doesn't know (which we have to do a lot when we have practice discussions with teachers pretending to be investigators). But together, he does just fine. We were given the nick-name "The Power House".
So we do this thing called TRC. This is an opportunity for companions to go and give a discussion to someone who is either pretending to be an investigator or who is actually a real non-member and is willing to come to the MTC and see what we're all about. Elder Fernelius and I were assigned to a man named Jose Meza. He is a real investigator that moved here from Guatemala a couple years ago and was encouraged to go to the MTC by his friend Pedro to hear a message about Christ. So he did. When we were first introduced to him he straight up told us that he didn't want to hear about Joseph Smith or The Book of Mormon. So we got to know him a little better. He wasn't very comfortable opening up to us but eventually we got him to start sharing some of his experiences and soon he just kept going and going. He started to become upset because he grew up in poverty and he had to start working when he was seven years old and made 25 cents a month to help support his mom. He was upset because we didn't have to go through what he had to because we live in America. He explained a lot more about how life isn't fair and how people seem to have a natural inclination to be selfish and hurt other people. Well, this gave us the perfect opportunity to talk a little bit about the plan of salvation and the agency of man. We helped him understand that God loves us and wants us to have experience so we can become like Him and how if we keep His commandment then we can return to live with Him and have everlasting peace and happiness. This message prompted him to share an experience where he had said and done some not so good things to his mother before he had moved out of her house. A few years later, having felt really bad and guilty for saying those things, he got a feeling that then was the time to apologize to her. So he called her up and asked if she remembered what he had done. She said yes. He then asked if she would forgive him; she said "Of course I forgive you Jose. I love you." He explained to us that that was the happiest he had ever felt in his life. This whole experience was one of the most humbling experienced of my life. The spirit was so strong after he shared that story. We then explained that the feeling he had after he was forgiven was from the power of repentance and how it is possible to feel that happiness and freedom from our guilt from everything we have done wrong in our lives and how that feeling comes from The Holy Ghost. This is what Christ offers us. Remission of our sins and the pain associated with them. We had to leave, but we set up an appointment for Thursday with him and he seemed so excited! He said he really loved our message and he wanted to learn more. We explained a little about church and invited him to attend church with his friend Pedro and to start reading The Book of Mormon. He said he would do both!!
I can't wait to visit with him again!! The spirit was SO STRONG!!!!! Elder Fernelius and I were on a spiritual high the rest of the day! This work really is the work of Christ. I am so blessed to be here in His place to help God's children receive the message of the gospel. I really am an instrument in His hands and I am so happy about it. "How great shall be your joy" is kind of an understatement.
Okay, my companion is getting annoyed because I am taking so long so I need to go. Please write me letters!!!! I never realized just how great they really are. (I'm sorry Jen!!) And don't hesitate sending me any packages either. I love you all so much. Thank you for all your prayers in my behalf. Keep God close. Keep on missing me.