Monday, September 30, 2013

Week of September 30, 2013

Alright, well first things first- I am being transferred! I will be splitting Newcastle, so I'm excited about that! It's so weird to me... I'm going to have to grow up here shortly! Haha but I suppose that's not the worst thing that could happen.
So this week was amazing! Wednesday we had a really great experience! We went to Newcastle to work a bit and we stopped by a part member/less active's home and talked to them a bit. It was cool because she (the nonmember) talked about how prayers are answered and I just felt like I should share the experience about when I had a priesthood blessing and it healed my ankle. So I shared it and she asked, "What's the priesthood?" So we taught the restoration and things went great! It was really cool to see how the member still has a testimony, it's just buried pretty deep. He did a great job of helping us teach though! It was funny. I guess it dawned on her that only men could hold the priesthood so while we were talking she just said, "Chauvinist pigs!!!" Haha so we explained that, but the husband came to the rescue and said,  "You need to meet some of the women of the church. It's amazing how strong they are and how important they are to the church. We'll have to go sometime so you can see." He was telling us he struggled with the fact that we have so many commandments and that's why he left the church. He still reads the Book of Mormon and everything, but he said that Christ died for us because we can't keep all the commandments. But right before we left he said, "You know I will say this, when I was going to the Mormon church, even when I didn't agree with a lot of the stuff, I felt like I was blessed more then than any other time in my life." So we're hoping that they progress! And they're in Newcastle so I'll be able to keep up with them!
Friday I was on an exchange and we had a few cool experiences. The coolest one was we just stopped and talked with a lady on the street and we asked if we could pray with her. She said yes and when we asked what we could pray for she said she needs help getting over the loss of her son, so comfort and that she'll be able to get on with her life. So after the prayer we just started talking to her and stuff and told her that the message we share can help her understand where we're from, why we're here on this earth, who we are, and where we're going after this life. She wasn't living in either of our areas, so we told her that if she looks up the missionaries where she's living that they will help bless her life. We gave her a Book of Mormon and explained it, and she said she'd read it! It was just such a cool conversation, and we're really hoping she reads!
Saturday we taught someone that Elder Owen found while on his exchange.  He's such a nice guy! He's covered in prison tattoos though and can't drive for 10 years so we're wondering if we'll even be able to teach him or what's going on with that, but we'll teach him until we're told not to! He said he wants to get to know God so that he doesn't go to hell when he dies, and he wants to know how to read a Bible. We had him read a verse for us in the lesson and he pretty much can't read.  He doesn't know who Moses is, or Noah, and he's in a really rough situation in his life, but he wants to make a change, and wants to come to church. He'll be someone that I hope Elder Owen doesn't give up on! We don't know if we can baptize him, but I'd imagine that someone who wants to change as bad as he does will be ok. I wish I could teach him more! Like with him it's starting at the basics, and helping him understand God's love for him, and I think that would be so much fun to teach him and watch that change his life!
Yesterday we taught the L family. Oh my gosh that family is so prepared! So the dad was telling us about a dream that he had. He said that someone told him to put his face up against a rock, and a huge tsunami came and crashed down on them, and it washed everything away but his family was still pressed up against the rock and they were ok. So the scripture Helaman 5:12 says, "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." So we shared that with him and his eyes just lit up! It was so cool! And he shared a couple other dreams in  Spanish with the branch mission leader so I couldn't understand them, but still the dream he had was unbelievable! Hahaha I was sitting there like, "I had a dream I was a Powe Ranger once..." Haha
Anyways, they're all just so in tune with the Spirit, and they're just so solid! So we set a date with them for October 13! We're so excited for them! They've been so prepared it's not even funny! I just love how Christ's promise worked in their life. "Seek and you shall find." Like he knew his family needed to be baptized, but he knew he needed to find the right church first, and he knows this is the true church. He's read the Bible 4 times! Haha it was funny though one of the first questions he asked us yesterday was if we celebrate Halloween. He said that if we celebrated Halloween then they were never coming back. Haha but the mission leader did a great job of explaining how the church isn't an institution that controls every decision. It gives guidelines and the father is the patriarch of the home and that they choose for their family what's appropriate. Haha the other funny thing was he heard we have multiple wives so we told him no and his wife said, "I said I don't care if they do, just make me the queen wife and you can have one to cook and one to clean and one to do laundry" hahaha and she was like totally cool with that idea! Haha oh man I just love that family! I'm excited to still be in the branch so I can watch them progress!
That's about it for this week though. It was a pretty big week! I'm hoping that this week will be a good one. Going to be knocking on a ton of doors! Haha but that will be good for the new missionary right? Well for me too. Haha but I'll be in a bike area for the next while! That will be exciting as well! I'll be out in the cold biking around. Doesn't that just sound right up my alley? Haha I'm hoping to that this week is successful so we have a ton of investigators again so I won't have to be out in the cold knocking doors! Haha we'll see what happens though.
Alright well I'm going to get going. Hope all is well back home! Pray for me because I'm going to need all the help I can get! Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week of September 23, 2013- It's a boy!

Yup! I'm getting a son! Haha I don't feel that I'm ready to train, but ready or not I'll have a brand new missionary a week from Wednesday! I'm excited and kind of nervous at the same time, but we'll see how this goes! I just hope I don't have to split an area as well... We were told we'll both be training, and one will still train in Blanchard and the other will be training and splitting a new area, and they wouldn't tell us where... Anyways we're really excited!

So not much happened this week until Friday, but after Friday we had an AMAZING week! So Friday night we were able to teach our downstairs neighbor and his wife joined in this time! We taught them the Restoration, and things went great! They committed to read and pray, and told us that they would like it if we came and read with them. And since they're just downstairs we'll be able to do that frequently! But at the end of the lesson the wife told us that living in the apartments was the last place she wanted to live, but they felt like they should live there and they didn't know why. She said she doesn't think its a coincidence that we (missionaries from our church) moved in upstairs just a couple months after them! She said that there must be a reason for it, but they're going to read and pray to know that it's true before they make a decision. But it was so exciting that she said that, and a week before her husband said pretty much the exact same thing!

So we finished the lesson at 8:55, and we aren't supposed to go inside until 9, so we went for an obedience walk. We walked to the mailbox and on our way back a couple of guys who were smoking and drinking on their balcony said,  "What's up guys?" So we walked over and just talked to them from down below them and one of the guys was from St. Louis, and he had Cardinals all over him so it was obvious he was a cool guy, but he said he was investigating the church in 1996 when sisters were here! He said that it's really cool because the things in the Book of Mormon are being scientifically proven, and that their finding blood from Jerusalem in the Native Americans. He said he's moved a ton so he didn't know where he put his Book of Mormon and so I said, "Well how about we give you one right now then?" So I walked up and gave him one, and his friend asked what we believe so I gave him an Articles of Faith card. He asked us where we thought heaven was and that everyone else says it's up, yet it's not up because telescopes look all over and can't see it. He said he's a scientology believer or whatever. So we said that we'd love to talk to him more about that and that we think what we have to share would actually make sense to him. Then he asked us if we believe the Holy Ghost could come from a different planet.... And if the 12 tribes could have come from 12 different galaxies, and if there's other life out there that God is the God over. He said he believes there's a God, and that someone had to create all this, but there has to be other life forms out there because of how big the universe is. So we want to get in and talk with him!

Saturday we taught a young mother. She has a 6 year old boy, a 6 week old daughter, and her husband is deployed. She's a history major, and so she said she'd definitely read the Book of Mormon because she's interested in the history aspect of if! She's way super busy, which shoot I don't even know how she does it all by herself, but her husband is coming back in a couple weeks, so she'll have more time then to read. But yeah it was really cool because at first it was a "well you guys are giving up your time to share this so i'll give up some time to hear what you have to say" and now she's a serious investigator!

Then that night we found out that we'd be training so we went out to eat, and the place we had one waitress and one lady in there eating. So we go in and the waitress takes our order and she starts asking a ton of questions about our religion and talks with us about our missions for a while! And the other lady in there paid for our meal which was way nice of her! Just tender mercies and miracles everywhere!

Haha so last thing real quick is that we taught the family that has been coming to church yesterday during church. We have to teach them then because of how busy they are, but the father told us he knows the Book of Mormon is true, and that he feels that he needs to bring his family to this church for some reason, so he is. He just wants to learn a little more, but he basically said he wanted to be baptized when he finds that out! So we're just so excited about them!

Gosh this was just such an amazing week! Thank you guys so much for all your prayers! They truly are being answered!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week of September 16, 2013

So I'm pretty sure that all my subjects in all my emails are about how great the weeks have been. But every week is great when you get to do this! Like there are definitely hard times and all, but overall life here is special and just way fun! So yeah, that's why all the weeks are good!

Happy birthday to Adam last Saturday and Mom on Friday! Good for you guys! You made it another one! Haha... no but love you guys and I'm sorry I missed it, but know I would have loved to have been there!

Alright so this week was awesome, but the best stuff happened Tuesday! I should have known that it would be one of the most memorable days of my mission because we went to Olive Garden for lunch! Haha that right there should have told me that it would be a special day! But the reason it was special is because we were sitting in our car and Elder Owen was sending a text. While we were waiting, our downstairs neighbor walked up to the car (we were parked outside the apartment) and he asked what we were doing. We said we were about to go to someone's house to "teach them the word of God" and he said, "You wanna do that with me sometime?" We didn't know if he was kidding or not because he's always joking with us, but he set up a time and we met with him and taught him! He wants to change his life and we are so excited to help him!

We had a lesson with the Pitmans! Haha they bought us that game "Shut the Box" which will be fun! I might send it home so you can play with it but we have fun playing with them! But we taught them about how important the Book of Mormon is and committed them to read it and pray about it. We went over with them what it means if the Book of Mormon is true. It means three things. First,  it means that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Second, it means that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Third, it means that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is God's kingdom on the earth and that it is being led by Jesus Christ himself. We're excited for them to read and we're hoping they will!

Yesterday the Linares family came to church again! They're really great and we're planning on setting a baptismal date with them this week! We're so excited for them and they really are a special family! We're extremely excited to teach them this upcoming week!

Well that's about all that happened. We have a couple referrals we should start teaching this week, and we get to do a fireside with the youth and help them learn how to effectively share the gospel with their friends. We're super excited for this week and we're hoping that we can keep up with all that should be going on!

I need to get going, but I love you all! Hope all is well back home! The church is true and the everlasting gospel blesses my life daily! I'm so thankful for it! Have a great week!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week of September 9, 2013

Wazzzgood??? So before I get started with what happened this week let me teach you some Oklahoma lingo! So here in Oklahoma you don't say "when I was..." you say "whenever I was..." They never say when! For example one person was saying, "Whenever I was baptized in 1990..." So yeah that's the thing I've really been noticing, and it's going to take some getting used to...
So we had a couple really amazing experiences this week! The first bit of big news is the Blanchard area is getting split! So now Blanchard will only cover Blanchard, Washington, and Dibble. So yeah, that will be nice! We just never could make it out to Newcastle because it's just so far out! But since we'll have about 215 missionaries in this mission next transfer they're opening 5-7 areas to put them all! To give you a perspective of the growth of this mission, there were about 115 missionaries in Oklahoma City last year before the announcement. So yeah, things are beginning to happen here! But we did some apartment searching for the Newcastle missionaries, and spent quite a bit of time figuring out a fair split between the two areas with our Branch President. The new missionaries will be coming in on October 2 so we're kinda in a rush trying to get things ready for them!
Yesterday at church we had an amazing experience! So we were in Branch Council, and when we get out and walk into the chapel to get ready for sacrament meeting we saw the Linadas (previously referred to as the Spanish Family) family sitting there! All 5 of them! It was so exciting! Some background with them, they are from El Salvador, and their names are Carmine (the mom), Jugo (dad), Juan (20 year old son), Abigail (16 year old daughter) and Moses (my guess is a 5 year old boy). He has down syndrome and is the cutest kid ever! All of them except the father had been taught the first lesson, and they accepted baptism, but they wanted to check with the father first before they continue. So they talked to Jugo and he said he wanted to read the Book of Mormon before they continued. So about 3 weeks ago we got him a Spanish Book of Mormon. He's a truck driver for Walmart, so he's gone a ton. Well we found out he had been reading, so we had our Branch Mission Leader (who's from El Salvador as well!!!) invite them to church on Saturday. Well he did, and sure enough they showed up! They all went home after the first hour because Jugo had gotten home from work at 2 in the morning (church starts at 9:30 so we were thrilled he came anyways!) so he was going to go back and take a nap, except Abigail stayed and went to Young Women and loved it! So that was really cool as well! Then after the Sagastizados (the Branch mission leader's family) invited them over to lunch and us as well. So we went and had lunch with them and just got to know them and be around them! It was so cool! They gave us a ride back to our place because we were on the way, and on the way home we asked Jugo about how his reading was going. He said he was already in Alma, and that he really likes it! He said he can't stop reading it, and every chance he gets he reads! I get chills just even writing about it!!!!!!!!! The Book of Mormon is just so powerful!!! Anyways he said he always wondered how people got across the ocean from the middle east to the Americas, and now he knows! But he also said, "Anytime you guys want call us and you can come eat dinner with us. Just let us know! And I want you guys to teach my family the word of God!" We're soooo excited! That means we get to teach them AND eat Papusas with them! We can't wait!
After that we went to eat at a member's house (the Dills) for dinner. The Dills invited another family, the Andersons. The Andersons have 2 little kids and one of them was so cute! I guess he keeps bugging President Nelson to let him sing in sacrament meeting. So we asked him what song he would sing, and he said, "Jesus loves me!" So we asked him to sing it for us and his face got all serious and he sang it for us. haha and then later we were talking to them about their missionary work and we got into a conversation about it, and he raised his hand and after like 3 minutes we finally "called" on him haha and he said, "Why don't I get to talk but you guys get to?" So we said, "Ok. What do you want to say?" And he said, "I know that Jesus watches me when I sleep, and Jesus watches me when I'm alive, and I remember when I was in my mommy's tummy and I saw him! And he also stops my dad from getting boo boos, and watches my boo boos when I sleep.... I LOVE JESUS!!!!!!" And he jumped in the air haha it was so cute! It was such a powerful testimony though!
So that was pretty much my week. I played a fun game with the Pitmons last night! We played a dice game called "Shut the Box" That was such a fun game! She said she'll order me one, so we'll see maybe I'll get to show you!
Well, we gotta get going. But life here is great! I'm so excited to see things happen in this branch! People are ready for the fullness of the gospel!
Thank you all so much for the support!
Love you so much!
Elder Ott

PS Elder Owen and I are still running every morning! I'm staying in shape the best I can- don't worry!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week of September 2, 2013

So I had an extremely cool thought the other day while we were riding our bikes outside in the light rain... I'm living the dream!!! Like I dunno it doesn't feel like it but as I stepped back and thought about it, I really am! I've wanted to be a missionary for such a long time, and the time is here! I dunno it was a crazy cool thought!

This was a great week in this part of the vineyard! Brother Blake from the Norman 4th ward finally got back from Utah, so we finally met with the people he wanted us to meet with! So he told me that he hopped on his wife's facebook account and sent ya a message. I was still confused on that whole thing, but I think I got it now! Anyways she's super nice and received the message very well. She's going to read and pray, and when she comes to know these things are true she's working to be baptized on September 28! And her mother was there unexpectedly and she's going to work to be baptized on that date as well! It was pretty cool!

Yesterday we had an investigator come to church! It was Alice. We're so excited for her to continue to progress! She's the one who said she feels like there's a huge hole in her life. She was asking us why we as 19 year olds should be teaching her, a 66 year old, about this stuff. She's like, "Were you guys born Mormon?" and we said yes. She looked me dead in the eyes and said,  "Well then why are you Mormon?" I looked at her and said, "I'm Mormon because I came to know for myself these things are true, and when I went to college I had to make a choice. I had to chose if I wanted to live the way everyone else lives, or if I wanted to live the way my parents raised me, and the way I know that I'm supposed to live. I had to chose if I wanted to go to church or sleep through it. I had to make choices, and I chose to live how the church teaches us to, and that made me happy!" She really liked that answer. Anyways she came to church and said she loved it! She was telling us how she prays to find answers from the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, flips to a random page and then finds it. She says it's so cool and she's loving it!

We were out walking around Washington and a guy just called us over. He asked what we were selling, then he saw our name tags and he said, "Oh you're sellin some Jesus!" And we laughed and I said "Yup! He's free 99!" Haha but he asked us what the difference between us and Baptists is (we get that question about.... Oh 20 times per week. Haha) But we taught him some restored truths and gave him a Restoration Pamphlet. He said, "I'm going to read this!" We asked where he lived and he told us Oklahoma City, and told us to send missionaries out to him! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said, "This stuff might change my mind about a lot of things!" He told us he sprayed a church building in Moore (for bugs or whatever) and that for some reason that building had been on his mind all the time for a couple days. I got chills when he was telling us that! Anyways that was such a cool miracle! 

So things in Blanchard are going great! We're so happy to be here in Blanchard and to see things happening! Our Branch is becoming more and more missionary minded every week! We're having a blast! 

Hope everything is going well with you guys! Have a great week and God Bless!