Wednesday, September 28, 2016
So the week of transfers we have pday on Wednesday so that's why I'm emailing today. This last week not that much happened. We've been working with a lady named Monica, and she's really open, but she's a single mom and her life is pretty crazy. It's sad, her son keeps getting in trouble with the law and whatnot and she's just trying to be a good parent. She also doesn't have money for gas so we're trying to figure out a way to get her to church, because she lives way out in Fayetteville. Anyways, a fun part of last week was that on Saturday, I have a cousin, I think we're third cousins, but anyways she's like my dad's age and has a family and whatnot but they live in Fayetteville and so they came to Prairie Grove and took us to breakfast last Saturday. It was really fun and it's cool to find people who you're related to out on the mission. Small world for sure. Well this is pretty much it. Tomorrow I go to the mission home, and then on Friday morning I will be flying back to Utah. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty excited to go home and see everybody, there's a time for everything and I feel that it is now time for me to go home. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission. I don't think I could say that's it's been the best two years of my life, but it definitely was the best two years for my life. I've learned so much out here. It's kinda like that movie, the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, it came out my senior year of high school, but he's like a daydreamer and doesn't have a lot of confidence but then he goes on an adventure where he faces a lot of opposition and trials and stuff and he comes back way more capable than he was before he left. That's kinda how I feel like right now. On another note, one thing that's strange, is that even though I knew what my transfer call was going to be, I still had a similar scary feeling waiting for the call to come in. It's weird, transfer calls are just as scary as opening your mission call, if not scarier. But I think part of it was I was nervous for Elder Nau. This area is a pretty tough area especially since we became a bike area. He was freaking out a little bit last night, worried that because we had such a good time, he was going to get a trial comp but luckily President came through and hooked him up with a good comp. So that made me feel good. Me and Nau are pretty tight. It's been really good to serve with him one last time. Well I guess the thing to do is end with like my testimony or something but I've always felt kinda awkward bearing my testimony through text, so I'll just share a scripture that I really like and that has given me some good insights and perspective.
I feel like this really applies to my mission and I'm sure to everybody's mission not just mine.
Well I love you all, and I will see you on Friday!
Monday, September 19, 2016
The Arkansas Razorbacks are apparently ranked like 17th in the nation right now. It's been a great way to talk to people, although, the last couple of people that we talked to about it actually didn't care at all for sports... It's cool, the stadium is like barely outside of our area, we could ride our bikes there if we wanted to, it would take 2-3 hours but we could still do it. Anyways, things are still going good. We're doing better at working with the ward. We were able to have 5 members come out with us this last week which is a huge improvement from what we were getting before which was zero. We don't really have anybody that's on track baptism right now but there are a few people who could be in the coming weeks. The couple we had on track for baptism two weeks ago dropped out which was sad but we still think they'll get baptized eventually, just not right now. One time, on Saturday, we were tracking right next to the church and we knocked on this ladies door, and she had a Arkansas shirt on and we were talking to her about it because they had a game that day. She was one of the ones who didn't care but it got the conversation started and we had a great talk about religion and stuff, then she asked us where our church was and we just turned around and pointed at our building and she was like oh that's cool. So we'll be going over to see her this week for sure. On Wednesday, we were going out to hand out a Bible that somebody requested and it was kinda raining but we thought it was dying down, then when we started heading out of town it started pouring rain. It was coming down so hard it was painful and it was hard to see because I was trying not to get hit in the eyeball and go blind. We rode in that downpour for like 2 miles. My pocket Book of Mormon was soaked, my pocket New Testament was soaked, and my planner got soaked. Luckily, the phone was ok, even though it got soaked too. Another cool thing is that I learned how to ride my bike with no hands. It's pretty fun. There's this bakery that's right down the street from where we live, it's called Fat Rolls, and it's owned by members in our ward. So we go over there like 4 times a week, and buy lots of food from them, and they also hook us up too. Elder Nau and I bought Razorback tees so now we fit in with the locals. We're also doing a lot of service for the members and it's been really fun actually. We're helping this one guy, Brother Allen, build like a screen wall around his porch and it's been pretty fun. We're also helping the people who own the bakery do yard work. They have some super uneven ground from when the city came in and did some sewer work and left part of their yard all messed up, so we've been trying to make the ground more even so that he can mow it because he hasn't been able to mow it. So like the other week we were trying to cut down the grass so we could see what we were doing and we just decided to burn it, because it's Arkansas and you can do stuff like that. So we tried burning as much as the grass as we could. A lot of it was still green but we got some good work done.
Well that's all I can think of that happened that was interesting.
Monday, September 12, 2016
Things have been going. It's been pretty difficult being in a bike area. We have a couple of investigators in like Farmington and Fayetteville, and we haven't been able to get out there except for like once this whole week. So the hardest thing is that our investigators have been going weeks without us seeing them which isn't good. The best part of the week was when we were able to meet with our Bishop. Earlier, before I got to the area, there was some friction between the Bishop and Elder Nau because they have different styles of doing missionary work. Bishop is very cautious and patient style, and Elder Nau is very aggressive so there was some friction there. So we met with him and were able to see what his view and his style and what inspiration he was getting for the ward. It went really well. We set some goals to get more members out on exchanges with us. During Priesthood opening exercises Bishop got up and told everybody to go on exchanges with us and told them that they should set up their own appointments and then take us to them. Then a couple of people came up to us and wanted to go on exchanges with us so we were able to set up some appointments for this week. So this week is looking pretty good. One day this week, we rode our bikes from Farmington to Prairie Grove and even though it was only like 6 or 7 miles, it was a lot of uphill and we had the wind blowing very strongly in our faces, it was a good time. Plus my bike chains are a little outta whack so I couldn't change gears so that made riding interesting. Well other than that we're going strong and still trying to learn and get things done. I've only got 18 days left! Crazy.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Probably the biggest thing that happened this week was when we taught Marla, who we met at a member's baptism. We taught her on Monday night and it was a fantastic lesson. She was the one who pointed out the Spirit, describing it as an "oxygenated, minty feeling" and she even committed to a baptismal invitation. Then we saw her at the fair that was going on in Prairie Grove yesterday and got her number so we'll be seeing her again soon. She is very prepared and very humble, very Christlike. By the way the reason we're emailing today is because Labor day was yesterday. Other than that we had some investigators drop us, which was sad but it's whatever. We had zone conference on Friday and I gave my departing testimony which felt good. Then during lunch, the vehicle coordinator told us to talk to him and so we did and he told us that he was taking away our truck. This wasn't completely unexpected because President called us and told us that we would probably be on bikes sometime in the future. So we were stuck in Bentonville with no ride back to Prairie Grove, luckily the vehicle coordinator and his wife were giving the Alma sisters a ride back to their area because they were on bikes too, and we were able to hitch a ride with them. It was a good time, they took us out to Chick-fil-a for dinner so that was nice of them. So now we are on bikes, our area is huge and we have really sore butts. Everything's good though, we have a couple getting baptized this Saturday and that's exciting. The hardest part is Mondays because there is nothing to do in Prairie Grove, we went to the fair that was going on and it was meh, then we just chilled in the apartment for a long time, we started freestyle rapping to some of Elder Nau's instrumentals and I was dropping some nice bars so that was cool. I guess that's just what happens when you live with a Southern Californian, you get good at freestyle rapping.
Monday, August 29, 2016
This last week had a lot of things going on.
A few good stories:
Some members were having their son get baptized and they told us they were having two friends show up. While enjoying the refreshments, we started talking to one of the friends and got her interested in the gospel. She even brought up joining the church!
We went to go check out a former investigator. He was telling us that he didn't really know if he believed in God because of all the stuff that goes on in life, so we basically just taught him out of 2 Nephi 2 and he really liked it. Then we came back and taught him the Restoration, and he felt so good, he was like trying not to cry when we were testifying that Heavenly Father loves him and knows him. Then we brought him some food from a ward barbecue and he told us we were his Christian Brothers.
A bunch of investigators showed up to the ward barbecue, and enjoyed it.
We got a Bible request, so we brought over the Bible and invited the lady to church and she said she wanted to come. Then as we were walking to our car, we started talking to the lady across the street. She's a single mom and has been on a spiritual journey, investigating a bunch of different churches. She loves studying so we set up an appointment.
We set a baptismal date for a couple who has been investigating.
We sang I am a Child of God to an old guy who was asking why so many bad things happen in the world. He wants to come to church now! Actually I'm not really sure if the song was what made him want to come but we're sure it helped.
We drank lots of Promised Land chocolate milk.
We taught a part member family the Restoration, and when the father was giving the closing prayer, he got a little choked up. We have high hopes that the wife might be finally coming around to joining the church.
We did show up to an appointment only to see a copy of the Book of Mormon sitting in a plastic bag with a note on it telling us that she wasn't interested anymore. I had always heard of that happening to missionaries but it never had happened to me, so we took a picture with it.
We helped a less active put up a bad mitten net and then we played with him.
We didn't know what to do, so we prayed, then went and saw a random less active, they couldn't meet that day, so we asked them who they knew who would be interested in the Restored gospel and they said their daughter was wanting to go back to church and she had a boyfriend, so we went and taught him the Restoration. They said they were going to come to church but they texted and said they were sick so we'll see where that goes.
Basically, we are hoping that we are going to have a lot of people at church next week, we've been inviting a bunch of people.
On Wednesday, we went to the University of Arkansas where the YSA missionaries set up a booth to try to talk to people. I didn't really talk to anybody, but we helped these guys move a ton of soda for a big event that was going on the next day, and he gave us a bunch of mountain dew, so I stole a bunch of it and took it home so that was cool.
They also have a Cane's here, so I'll be getting some more chicken fingers soon.
Last day in Tulsa......
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Well, this is my the beginning of my final transfer. In case you were wondering, the reason I am emailing today is because President changed up transfer calls a little bit, instead of getting them on Saturday night, we get them on Tuesday night and then Wednesday is our preparation day and then we get transferred Thursday. So before I tell you what is happening for transfers I need to tell an experience I had that has had profound influence on me. There's this less active lady who we've been working with, and she is very interesting. She grew up in the church, and she still comes, and wants her kids to come every once in a while, but she doesn't make it very often. She smokes and doesn't have any intentions to stop smoking because as she told us yesterday, she really likes smoking. So missionaries have been stopping by for forever and she hasn't made any progress at all really. She had a daughter die and because of that she doesn't believe in temple sealings because that would mean that she wouldn't be able to see her daughter again. She had some bad experience with the church when she was a child, basically her parents got divorced, her dad was a scumbag and the Bishop wouldn't help, as well as most of the ward, because they were all friends with her dad and I guess he tricked them all because they all thought that he was a great guy, when behind closed doors, he wasn't. Then she got married when she was 18, and her husband was real young too, and they haven't exactly had the best of lives. Because neither of them went to school or anything they are struggling financially. She have four kids and her husband makes minimum wage. So it's a tough situation. I felt like I had kinda been prepared to help her because I recognized that she was real, that she'd tell you what she meant and not beat around the bush and everything and I had a companion who taught me the importance of being real, basically the stuff President Uctdorf talks about in his talk On Being Genuine. So I was trying to help her. And yesterday, we were talking and we finally kinda got down to the nitty gritty. She basically never felt that Heavenly Father was in her corner. So I just testified about the gospel and how it's helped me in my life and the struggles that I've had on my mission and what not and I think it really helped. Then later that day I was thinking about the experience and it struck me that even though I really haven't enjoyed this transfer that much, I've struggled a lot with the area and with my companion, my testimony was back and stronger than it's ever been before. Because basically, I really didn't have a testimony the 3 months before this transfer. I remember one day I was just thinking, and I realized that I didn't even believe in God. There was a period of time where I stopped praying because I just didn't care. So as you can see it was a pretty low point in my life. But somehow, somewhere, during this transfer, I don't know how because there's really not anything that happened that was miracoulous and whatnot, but I came out of this transfer with the strongest testimony I've had in my entire life. It was a huge testimony to me that Heavenly Father knows who I am and where I'm at, and even though we won't ever understand why some things happen, if we trust in Him, then He will help us do things that we wouldn't be able to do on our own. I know that I was put in this area at this time with this companion for a reason. I know that President Loveland was inspiried of God to put me here. Throughout my whole life, I've always been so afraid of failure that I wouldn't even try to do anything. I quit high school football after my sophomore year because I was too afraid to fail on a team that was nationally ranked in front of thousands of people. But on my mission, I learned how to not be so afraid of failure, and for the first time in my life, I am not pessimistic about my future or myself, and for those of you who really know me, you know how big of a deal that is haha. Anyways, we got transfer calls last night and I am going to Prarie Grove Arkansas with my best friend (besides my future wife) in the world Elder Nau. Truly after the trials come the blessings. These next six weeks are going to be some of the best of my life I already know that!
Here's one of my favorite scriptures that taught me so much during my #struggles:
And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea. 2 Nephi 10:20