Monday, January 27, 2014

Week of January 27, 2014

How's it going? I hope this week treated everybody well! It was a good one out here in Newcastle! We had a couple of good finding miracles, a couple good laughs, and it was just a good week! 

So at the beginning of the week I was just feeling good about the future here in Newcastle. So I was just excited! Well on Wednesday I was super excited and we went out and tried a ton of people… Everything fell through. We were about to head in to dinner but we decided to go try one more potential and…. nothing happened. So it was kinda disappointing, but we started to walk back to the apartment and we see a guy walking from Sonic to the apartments. We never see anyone out walking in Newcastle ever, so we walked over and asked if we could give him a card…. We realized we didn't have a card. haha but we played it off real smooth and we asked talked to him for a little bit and then asked if we could come share a message about Jesus Christ and he said, "Yeah come tomorrow at like 1 or 2." It was super cool because if we hadn't been prompted, or followed the prompting to knock on the potential's door then we would have missed out on the opportunity to talk to Richard! The lesson with him went pretty well too so that was good!

Friday haha ok. So we tracted into someone while I was on an exchange and she was crazy. We prayed with her, then as soon as my companion said amen she started praying Spanish, but all she was saying was mumbo jumbo (I know enough Spanish to know what she was saying didn't make sense) and then she said "mucho mucho mucho mucho gracias. Gracias gracias mucho mucho mucho" forever! And she finally said amen and then we sat down to start teaching her and then her husband walks in. We start teaching and we're talking about how Heavenly Father loves us and then all of the sudden the husband starts yelling about all this weird stuff about how he gets in trouble for nothing. He went off for like 15 minutes. So finally he stops and then he walked out of the room. So we just basically restarted teaching and we probably retaught her the lesson like 6 times because she couldn't understand. The meeting was pretty crazy, but we'll still try to teach her!

Then on Saturday we were walking back to the apartment at like 8:55. We walked around this corner and right as we did this lady walked by the corner and we had enough time to say hi then she was by us. It was perfectly wrongly timed. Anyways we're like "Dangit!" because we never see anyone out walking! Well she turns around like 50 feet away and said, "Hey, do ya'll have any pamphlets?" So we gave her a few pamphlets and we taught and testified, and gave her our number. It was super sweet!

Well, that's about it for me here this week. I hope everyone back home has a great week! Keep the faith!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week of January 20, 2014

How's it going? So there's a little bit more to write about in this week's email, but still nothing flooring. One of our Zone Leaders is going home in a couple weeks, so this transfer he's been trying to do exchanges with all the elders in our zone. So on Monday I was in Norman. The Zone Leader I was with actually went to the same high school as Payton Dastrup. He knows him too! His name is Elder Traasdhal. He's a great missionary! Anyways we exchanged after P-day, and he accidentally left his wallet in the church building, and didn't realize it until right before dinner. So I got to drive the zone leader's truck around! Haha that was on my missionary bucket list, so I can check that off now! haha That was a fun exchange though! We watched the Mormon message "Wrong Roads" by Elder Holland. I think that's what it was called… Anyways while I was watching it I had a story click in my mind. I was thinking back to the recruiting process, and how it felt right to go to Pepperdine. But things totally did not work out with that, and as soon as I found Davis I knew for 100% fact that Davis was where I needed to be. Looking back on it, I know that Davis was the best place for my life, and I did question a little why things felt good with Pepperdine, yet it didn't work out. Anyways that video helped me relate that. I shared that story with the less active we were visiting and the spirit was really strong as we talked. So that was sweet!

We had a really cool experience on Tuesday. I'll back it up to my study. I was thinking about Helaman 13, and how it says that the voice of the Lord came to Samuel the Lamanite. I was thinking a lot about that, and I realized that it probably wasn't a voice booming out from heaven, but rather exactly how the voice of the Lord comes to us- through a simple thought. When he acted on that thought, it was obvious that it was the Lord speaking to him. Well on Tuesday we were about a 25-30 minute walk from the apartment. It was about 8:30, so I was like. "Alright let's head back." We started to cross the street and Elder Barrett said, "We should go see our friend Ryan at the gas station." It's a guy who works at a gas station that we met. Anyways I said, "We probably don't have time tonight." We walked about 50 feet toward our apartment and I thought, "We should go visit him." So I said let's go and we turned around and walked about 5-10 minutes in the wrong direction to this gas station. We walked in and Ryan wasn't there. So Elder Barrett got something, and when we were checking out the lady there leaned forward and said, "I knew it! Are ya'll Mormons?" We said we were and she said, "I honk at ya'll all the time! I wanna here what ya'll have to say!" So we talked to her for a little bit and gave her a Book of Mormon! She doesn't live in our area, and she said her mom probably wouldn't let her have the missionaries over there, but maybe we can work it out. Anyways it was a way cool experience. The other cool thing was we walked a normal pace all the way back and we still made it back to the apartment at 9! I learned there's always time to follow the spirit! And now looking back at it, that was totally the voice of the Lord telling us to go there! That was my cool experience of the week.

Other than that not much else happened. We had a super powerful lesson with Lee, but she's just not willing to give up beer. She told us she'd call us if she wanted to meet with us, so we don't think we'll be invited back, but it was still a super powerful lesson and things went great, so we did all we can do.

Well that's about it for me here. Hope life in the real world is doing everybody well! Have a great week this week!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week of January 13, 2014

Hello hello! Sorry I haven't gotten a big email out to you lately. But here we go!

This week was a good one! I'm going to jump around a little bit on days here, so bare with me! I'll start with Wednesday and end with Tuesday. Wednesday we were taken out to lunch by a member at a burger place. They have really big burgers. Well the member basically dared me to get their "Big Pappas XXL" burger. It's a triple bacon cheeseburger. So I got it, and pounded it and all the fries (and a couple of Elder Barrett's fries...) and was basically stuffed. Well when we were out working about a half hour later a member family stopped us and said, "Hey we're going out for lunch, get in- you can come with us!" So I went and had a steak quesadilla. Haha I couldn't even hardly walk straight the rest of the day I was so full. Haha but it was good! I'm still not hungry. But yet I'm still losing weight on my mission. Oh well.

Thursday we taught Lee! That was a really interesting lesson. We were talking to her, and she's reading in the beginning of Alma right now. She says she likes the Book of Mormon, but she hasn't gotten an answer to her prayer if it's true. So we asked her if it's built her faith in Jesus Christ and she said it hadn't. It was a little confusing to us, but we talked more about it, and told her it would help her to get an answer if she came to church. Haha she said, "I'm not going to your church. Can't argue with that answer can you?" Haha so I laughed and said, "No we can't! We're just here to invite you, and this is the way you'll really get to know if it's true." Then we talked about the Book of Mormon, and what it would mean to her if it was true. She said she would come to church if it was true, so we're really praying she gets an answer! She really liked the member we brought with us though, and she wants us to keep coming over, so we'll keep working with her!

The rest of the weekend not much happened. We set a couple of return appointments, which was good! We got a new bishop here on Sunday, which will be good for our old bishop. He doesn't have to balance being in the Stake Presidency and being a bishop anymore. The new bishop is a great guy though! Really young, and just really cool. So we're excited to work with him!

We had a really powerful Specialized Training meeting on Tuesday about the Atonement. It's funny because when I think of the Atonement I almost always just relate it to the fact that we'll be forgiven and resurrected. But we talked a ton about the enabling power of the Atonement. They gave us a video that mixes talks by President Eyring and Elder Holland. Elder Holland's talk was ultra powerful. He gave it at a mission president training in the MTC. You can find it on the talk is called, "Missionary Work and the Atonement." I'll copy and paste my favorite part talking about what 19, 20, 21, and 22 year olds will ask mission presidents.

"Why is this so hard President? Why doesn’t it go better President? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font? "You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
"Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
"For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
"If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
"The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

It really helped me see how blessed I've been the last 2 1/2 transfers. I mean it's not even like the people in Newcastle hate missionaries, or like I've been treated bad. All it's been is a lack of teaching and "key-indicator success". But it's definitely caused some thought, and some struggle. It's been hard at times not to think I've been wasting my time. It was hard seeing the basketball season start, and not be a part of it. There's been a lot of tough moments out here, but Elder Holland talks about how missionaries and members proudly say that we are disciples of Christ, and we are. But we better prepare to go a couple steps to where Christ has gone in order for us to truly be His disciples. Anyways that was a little quote that helped me.

Well I hope you all had a great holiday season, and I hope the new year has started off right! I'm grateful to be part of this work at this time! It's a blessing! Have a great week!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Week of December 30, 2013

It's been 6 months already… That's been really weird to me! Time has flown by!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and that the New Year is just as good if not better!

Not much has happened out here in Newcastle. Still on the daily grind, but that's the life as a missionary. Elder Barrett and I have some ideas on how we can get things going. Can't hurt to try new things right? There's always more that we can do!

I was able to play basketball 4 times this week! That was great! It was almost starting to feel natural again. We should be able to play at least twice today as well, but we'll see. After this week we'll be back to hitting it hard, but we're supposed to play it cool during the holidays, so that's what we've been doing.

We had a Jehovah Witness knock on our door on Christmas Eve. He saw us answer the door and said, "Someone opened the door and let in the JWs. Who are you guys with?" We had our tags on, we were doing studies, and so we told him and he said, "Oh. Well can I give you guys a Watchtower?" So we took it and we hoped he'd try teaching us, but he just said, "Have a good day- bye." And kinda just fled. Haha I guess he wanted nothing to do with us. Oh well!

Alright well have a great week back home! Love you all! Keep the faith, the gospel is true! Christ is our Savior and how blessed we are for that knowledge!