Here's catching up on a few weeks worth of letters...
Well this past week was transfers and I stayed with my companion Elder McNeal, up here in Hesperia,CA
and this past week on Tuesday we had a meeting with our bishop, ward mission leader, elders quorum president and high priest group leader going over all of the ward directory and getting notes on it so that we can know better the ward and know where to focus our efforts on the ward. It was really a good thing for us as now we have a list of people to go and visit and people that we should focus our efforts on, so the next couple days after that we went and visited a ton of Part-Member families and we set up appointments with as many of them as we possibly could, and we have a few this next week.
But the most exciting thing that happened this past week was getting the 40 day fast up and running. From the Experience of the Greentree ward and how effective it was there I was excited to get this ward up and going on the fast, so with all of the lessons that I learned from doing this in the GreenTree ward, we went into ward council and we presented it before them, it went over well and almost all of them signed up for the 40 day fast, and before church started we went up to members (straight up) and asked them to do the 40 day fast, It actually went over pretty well but it was interesting to see them respond just like the other members did in the greentree ward, and by the end of Relief Society and Priesthood opening exercises we had the first 2 weeks filled out with easily going to get another week filled out, All before the fast even starts! Its so exciting to see how much this ward wants to help out in the fast and I can already tell this fast is going to do wonders for this ward, in the Greentree ward it helped to unify it considerbaly and helped to get some 'golden' investigators for us, everyone seems to be so on board with this and its just a really well thought out and good idea.
Here are the things we are fasting for
1. Missionary work
2. Ward Unity (Always needed)
3. Anything else as directed by the spirit
And as Alma 6:6 says
" 6 Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in afasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God."
Which is a good scripture that helps to explain the fast and helps to scripturally support the righteous action we are helping the ward to take.
But next weeks email will be better as the work really starts to speed up a lot.
dear family back home Jan 23, 2012
well this past week we had a zone conference and there we learned well also relearned some of the things that we had already known, but i t was a good refresher on street contacting. Its one of the things that over my mission has honestly been harder then I previously thought but if you go fearlessly, miracles can happen, and its something that I have been needing to improve on.
During the Zone Conference they reminded us that Elder Ballard promised us that if we talk to 10 people a day our baptisms will double, and that was the main gist of the conference. So taking that and the notes from it Elder McNeal and I decided to try it out on Thursday as Wednesday was a day spent at the car dealership getting it repaired.( Not a fun thing but better than pep boys, katie I think you know what I am talking about). We took the initiative by literally talking to everyone that we saw on the road. So we started our day by going and checking up on a referral that we had tried contacting in the past, she wasn't available and we saw people on the road and decided to leave our car there and walk around, we started talking to a lot of people, a lot of them spoke only Spanish so my companion decided to speak some back and helped to get a couple of referrals for the Spanish elders, it was the perfect time of day because everyone was out side and the crazy winds were not blowing at all ( they kick up a lot of dust and dirt into the air around here) but katie this reminded me of a missionary you would know, Elder Rafa Something maybe sanchez from san bernardino, ca and just talking to everyone. One of the main ones that we talked too was an older gentlemen by the name of Raymond who missionaries had talked to in the past (10 years ago!) and who we had a nice long discussion with as we helped him to clean up his landlords yard that was next door, we helped to address concerns and problems that he had from the last time he talked to missionaries ( baptismal authority, etc) and had a good impromptu discussion and will hopefully be going back later this week. During all of this my GPS was invaluable as I have the entire ward on there so when we are going around I can see who is living on what street etc. And of course for getting around. During this day of finding we also tried contacting some part member families and like many ward directories it seems like we do a lot of cleanup work. But also talking to the neighbors about them is also a great way of meeting new people. Later in the day we tried contact yet another part member family but were unable too, so we parked our car again and started to walk around, we walked by this one household where there were some people and as we were walking by I had the thought " They are going to be the ones you are going to talk too on this street", not following that impression I continued onward and neglected to go and talk to them, we got to the end of the street and turned around and there was no one else out there so we made our way back and started talking to them, they had some kids that were out riding their bikes and we were playing around a little with them, so we ended up talking for about 20 minutes and then I got the interesting impression start asking them/committing them if they want us to come back and I began down that road and ended up they are interested and we are going back over there this next week.
So with these good examples of street contacting we decided to do it the very next day,
we could not have picked a worse one, we went out doing this about 2 hours later so like 2pm in the afternoon and no one was outside at all and especially because of the crazy santa anna winds that affect the high desert and IE were blowing and no one was outside at all, a disappointment but we saw the silver lining, if all that wind is blowing there are tons of leaves everywhere to be cleaned up!
So we borrowed and bought some rakes and bags and will be going around tomorrow and the next day for a couple hours cleaning up people's yards and helping to provide them with a positive experience with the church as people are completely dependent on their experiences to gauge how they will react ( thanks spiritual roots of human relations :), SERVICE FINDING, I am really quite excited to go out and try this as it should be fairly effective.
Well yesterday we had a multi-stake conference (88 southern California stakes in all ) where Elder L. Tom Perry was presiding with Elder Johnson of the Seventy and Sister Barbara Thompson of the General Relief Society Presidency. Well the main talked I really liked was Elder Perry's. It talked on how once in Utah there was a strong wind storm that blew a lot of trees, shingles and everything else around, so on late Saturday night the stake presidents were contacted and there was a short sacrament meeting held and then everyone ( thousands of people) went to work, and by the end of that or the next day almost all of the damage was cleaned up, he talked on how important it is for the stakes as a community helper and response to natural dis tasters and that was the part that really caught my attention. And also how the local media was shocked to see how quickly people cleaned up and how much faster they were than other crews. Mom this reminds me of that flooding story you told me once.
Well I hope everyone has a wonderful week back home, and mom here is your 'longer' email you have wanted.
Have a great day yall!
P.S. I turn 18 months on my mission this Saturday, its just nuts to think about!
Hello family, Jan 30, 2012
Well this last week I had some interesting experiences that once again showed how much the hand of the Lord is involved in this work.
This past week, we visited a family that the first time we went over there she was kind and warm and wanted us to come back. The ward had no knowledge of her or her family so we went over there. After trying to go contact a referral for the 5th time I was thinking, oh what should we go and do right now? As I was thinking that, it suddenly rushed into my mind "Oh! lets go and talk to those people that wanted us to come back and talk to them."
So we dropped by and noticed that their cars were there, a good indication of them being home, when we showed up the mother who is a member while her daughter also is but they have been less active for years and the father is not a member.
When we were over there conversing and talking she explained to us how her father has been in a hospital in Riverside for the past week and recently he has been unresponsive so we started talking to them and ocassionaly her phone would go off, she would speak to someone in Spanish and we would understand enough to get a gist of it. She later told us that her mom called her and said that the bishop showed up to the hospital and started singing hymns to him and he started to be responsive once again. She cried a couple times and was like this was quite a coincidence that you two (us missionaries) came over right when my dad was being unresponsive and the bishop was talking to him. We said in return that's not a coincidence and we were prompted and guided to come over. On a side note, missionaries had not been over there ever at all in the 5 years they have lived up in the high desert. So these events took place on Tuesday, later on Friday I get a similar feeling to go back over there again for a second time and we talked for a good hour. She expressed appreciation that we helped and fasted for him the following Wednesday and that he was back to normal as of Friday morning. So we are building up a really good layer of trust with them and are having dinner with them this next Thursday. I hope we can have a good experience as we teach them the gospel.
Another interesting and unique experience involved baptizing a larger lady this past week, who was wheelchair bound and I helped to lift her from the front of the chair while the bishop helped her from the back, the baptism went smoothly and I am glad I could help in that unique situation that I will probably not do another like it on my mission at all.
Another good missionary experience happened just last night. We were over teaching a lesson to one of our eternal investigators and all the while the mother has not really been that interested in the message. Well last night we went over there and started talking and teaching about the Book of Mormon and prophets, we had a good long discussion but what really hit her was when we were talking about family prayer and scripture study. That really got to her and I testified of it and on how much it draws families together.
Well that's the email for this week.