Monday, December 8, 2014

Getting Hairy with Howard

The only reason I titled my email the way I did is because last Monday there was an investigator who had been dropped by the missionaries and he is good friends with Bro. Fowler. So last week Bro. Fowler asked him if he wanted a priesthood blessing because he wasn't doing too good so we went over on Monday and gave him a blessing and it was pretty good. Hopefully he will start progressing again and he came to our branch Christmas party so that was good. Anyways he has a big dog and two medium dogs and they got sooo much hair all over my suit and my coat and my suitcoat.
Speaking of coats, we were volunteering at the thrift shop like we always do on Tuesdays and while we were working (all we do is collect hangers and hang clothes up throughout the store for half an hour and then all the old ladies call for a break and we sit down and they feed us home-baked goods) a guy came in and dropped off some stuff. One of the things he dropped off was an old blue suit. Well the suit looked like it fit me so I took it (with permission of course). I tried it on and it fits me pretty nicely except the pants were made for somebody with a much larger girth than myself and there are no belt loops either :/ So it doesn't quite fit me sadly but I'm still gonna keep it. I have a picture of it but I left my adapter at the apartment so ya'll will have to wait til next week for some pictures.
Remember the guy from last week who wanted to quit smoking and his name was Tyler? Yeah now I call him Two-Timin-Tyler (I just now came up with that). He told us that he was related to a less active family here in town and we just took his word for it. Well it turns out that they have no idea who he is. O_O They've never seen him before and they've never heard of him before. They don't recognize his last name either. We haven't been able to get in contact with him so he's on the very back burner right now until we can ask him about his lies. What makes it more creepy is that he asked if they had room for him to move in with them because he really hates where he lives because the other people in the apartment complex (the apartment complex is like the size of my house, it's really small) are crazy drunks and druggies.
We had a really good zone training meeting on Wednesday. It was good. I don't remember much actually but I left uplifted and inspired. Our zone is pretty dope. We made two zone wide goals. We are going to hit all 4 standards and have 100% member present lessons. For the next TWO weeks. It's gonna be crazy.
So there's this lady who has investigated before and even had a baptismal date but she flaked out for a while. Then one day we went to her house and talked to her and set up an appointment (she flaked out on that too) She's been super busy but her son Deondre, has told us that he is pretty interested and he set up an appointment for today actually and we went over and he wasn't there... That's pretty much the norm here in Parsons. Nobody will set up appointments so we kinda just stop by people's houses and hope they're home. (most people live off of disability so they don't have much to do except watch TV) Yeah 100% member present... Haha it'll be fine. We're still gonna try to work with him though.
The other day we were just gonna go around and OTM people (Open thy mouth, it means basically that we just start talking to random strangers, smokers are really easy because they don't have anywhere to run to) So we used He is the Gift (which is something you should check out by the way it's really nice) and handed out a good amount of cards and got a two return appointments out of (one of them flaked out yesterday). While we were at Walmart we met a man named Lynn. He is going to the community college here and he originally thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses. But we talked to him and turns out he is kinda looking for a church so we set an appointment with him. He flaked out. But while he was flaking we set up an appointment for the next day which was yesterday and he was there! We taught him and he didn't realize that we were Mormons because we were talking about other faiths and he started talking about Mormons and how they ride horses and stuff. Turns out he thought Mormons were Amish. Sidenote: there is actually a big Amish community in our area. I have pictures of Amish people. Anyways we told him that we were Mormons and that we are actually pretty normal. Well normal as far as extremes go. I don't think he understood all of what we taught him. But when we told him that Jesus Christ came and visited the people in the Americas he was like "What I didn't know that, cool" Not in those exact words but you get the picture. We set up an appointment for next Sunday with him and he said he will probably come to church as long as he gets a ride because he only has a bike. Fortunately he lives right next door to the Knowles who coincidently give people rides to church. Like he literally lives right next door to them. It kinda blew our minds. So it just goes to show that the Church is true. Also while we were talking to him he asked something about hymns and so I showed him my little hymn book and he took it thinking I was giving it to him. I didn't really know what to say to him so I was just going to let him keep it. But don't worry I got it back. It was pretty scary though.
So we had a branch Christmas party and it was pretty delicious. We got a lot of Less actives there and that was good. Although like none of them showed up to church the next day... But they had a little Christmas devotional that ended with them showing the He is the Gift video and it was really good and spiritual until all the less actives started clapping and it ruined the spirit. We're still working on them. Sigh
Today we exchanged with Neosho again. I stayed in Parsons this time and Elder Merrywheather came here. He was the guy I replaced so he knows the area pretty well so it's not super sketchy. But the fun news is that we're not exchanging back until our district meeting (because of miles) which isn't til Wednesday. So me and Elder Merrywheather get to party it up til then and talk bad about our companions. Haha just kidding. It's going to be soo fun though. We've already had a grand old time doing things such as laundry and shopping and emailing. Ok missionary work isn't too big in the fun department but we do what we can. The Church is still true though.
Well those are all the important and less important things that happened last week. I hope you enjoyed them. We will need your prayers these next two weeks for our big goals that we've set so please help us there. Other than that my only advice is to keep it real and stay classy.
Elder Naegle

Monday, December 1, 2014

Parsons, Kansas. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy

So we've learned from people that live here that Parsons is a pretty dangerous place. In Kansas it is 7th on the list for most crime per capita. So that's pretty sketchy. Luckily we haven't run into anything that dangerous. Although the other night we were sitting at a stop light and there was this dude on a motorcycle. He looked like a stereotypical tough motorcycler. The car behind him must've did something to make him angry because he was making less than friendly hand gestures at them. He motioned for them to follow him, assumingly to settle the affair with a manly brawl. The car didn't follow him so he flipped around and started chasing it. It was clear that the guy in the car was very frightened because he took off like a bat out of you know. Car man made a hasty turn and we looked back and the motorcycler turned down the same street. So we can only assume that there was a fight of epic proportions and that many heroes were discovered and some villains became infamous.
There's a less active/part member family in our branch that only sometimes comes to church. The dad isn't a member but they invited us to dinner this last week. It was very delicious. He, the dad, has a smoker and is apparently very good with it. They fed us smoked pulled pork sandwiches and then gave us some leftovers. It's strange he seems like a total Mormon, he just isn't baptized. But my guess is that he will eventually join the church because he is a great guy.
We had an appointment set up with a less active member for Wednesday. So we went over and met with him and his family. It appears that he grew up in the church and got baptized but he was never active. His wife however is not a member. She is struggling with depression because their son committed suicide like a year or so ago.  We watched the Restoration video with them. Which is awesome because we were leaving our apartment and Elder Cluff was like: hmm we should bring along a Restoration video. So it was inspired. She told us that she didn't feel depressed when we were there and she is really interested in that. We went over again last night and taught them a little more but mostly set up an appointment with them for next week. At this point they are really golden.
We were helping a family move to another house in Parsons on Saturday and this guy who is related to them came up and started talking to them. He told them that he wants to quit smoking so the grandma told him that we could help him. So we gave him our number and got his and met with him that night to get the ball rolling on the Stop Smoking workshop (which neither myself nor my companion know how to do). We got it started with him and then asked if he would like to learn more about the gospel and he said sure. So then we met with him yesterday at his cousin's house (the one we were helping move) and he asked them if he could live there because he's from Wichita and he wants to live here now and he's living off of disability. So now we think that he might just be trying to mooch off of his relatives so we are not going to meet over there anymore. But I think that we can get him to recognize the truth. He seems to have a lot of faith in Heavenly Father so that will help him if he reads the Book of Mormon.
Thanksgiving was good. We had dinner at the Jones's with the Adams and a friend of theirs. We went over there at 11 and helped them prepare and then eat dinner. We got done eating desert at like 3:30. The only problem though was that Bro. Fowler called us that morning and set up to eat dinner (at a restaurant ugh) at 4. I could barely finish my pie at the Jones's and we had to eat dinner with Bro. Fowler... We got there and we all got the turkey dinner and I thought it tasted like typical cafeteria food. Which is another way to say very low quality. I barely ate any of it. Elder Cluff cleaned his whole plate. I really don't know how he accomplished it because I barely ate more than him at the Jones's. I'm jealous of him now because he can eat more than me... :(
The only other thing that happened this week was exchanges with Neosho. I went over to Neosho again. This time though it was with the other Neosho Elder who coincidently came out with me. We are both in training and they stuck us together expecting us to be able to do anything. We taught a good lesson to an investigator and met with a less active who said he could tell that I had a really kind heart(?) and we got dropped by an investigator and did a lot of tracting. I felt really good about myself because I placed a BOM and was able to hold the people's attention. The Elder I was with however was a robot. He had a script that he just blurted out and of course nobody was receptive. Oh well.
That's pretty much all the interesting things that happened this week besides the fact that I got a haircut today so that was a fun experience. Please keep me in your prayers! I love all of you!
Elder Naegle

Elder Cluff took a picture of himself with my camera so now you all know what he looks like.

                                           I broke the screen on our sliding door.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Getting Naked for Thanksgiving (the juice)

So because I am really lazy and am tired of eating apples and celery (because those are the only healthy things I buy). I started buying Naked juice because they are oh so delicious and healthy too. Unfortunately, my companion doesn't appreciate the many different plays on words that I made up using Naked juice. I really wanted to ask him if he ever got Naked but I didn't think he would really appreciate it. So I am planning all these different jokes to make when one of us gets transferred. Yes, I know what you are thinking, and yes you're right I am a terrible missionary, I'm sorry but I could not resist. :P So if you have never gotten Naked, you should try it. XD Please forgive me.
Well this week has been pretty slow. So slow that I don't even remember most of the events that transpired.

Well, we haven't been able to meet with Kristena at all since we set her baptismal date. I'm worried that she will not be ready by the time the date rolls around. So we will continue to pray, invite and love her because that's all we can really do. Venice though is still awesome and we helped her with family history on Friday and it went well. Just because she is such and awesome person I know she will be able to get Kristena to come around eventually. Hopefully by January 10.

Friday we rode our bikes, and it was raining... I got mud all over my pants and shoes but the rest of me stayed fine because I was all buttoned up in my coat. While we were riding Sis. Holgate drove by and told us that Pres. Holgate passed away that morning. It was pretty sad (and I'm pretty sure that's why it was raining that day) but at least we know he is in a better place and he will be able to see his family again. We also stopped at Subway for lunch. We got a gift card from a member who forgot to feed us one night. So we had Subway and then we called all the less actives in our branch. We actually set up some appointments with a couple and there were a couple more that said they would be fine with us stopping by and getting to know them.

Saturday the family that we've been helping with finally moved to the house we have been helping them with. The house looks really good (thanks to us of course). We pretty much helped them all day except for the fact that we went to the hospital to give a blessing to Bro. Crozier who wasn't doing too good. Don't worry it is unlikely that he will pass away.

There was a new family that moved in not too long ago. It's a single mom with I think two daughters. She is a convert and came from a really big ward (800 people) from Colorado Springs, and was a little shocked about the smallness of our branch. The good news is that the church is true everywhere not just in big Utahish wards. But she seems pretty cool, from what I can tell she is into pretty deep doctrinal stuff. She told us that when she first met the missionaries it was to sit them down and set them straight. Man, I wish people would try to set me straight.

We visited Tom Mitchell again this week. We took a less active with us which turned out to be a bad idea. They both just sat and talked the whole time. And I fell asleep... again. I'm thinking that we will not be taking this less active to Tom's house anymore. Anyways we asked Tom if he believed that the BOM is true and he said yeah. Unfortunately with further discussion, we learned that Tom is apparently one of those people that doesn't get the one true church concept, which Parsons has an unfortunate abundance of those kinds of people. We really don't know what to do with him other than slap him with a BOM and yell "BELIEVE!" I don't think that it would be very effective though. But if we run out of options...

So the other day we were doing something, that obviously wasn't very important because I forgot what it was, and I took the little American flag off of the top of my lamp because I wanted to cover the lamp because it shone brightly in my eyes when I stood up and looked at the whiteboard. So I took the flag and wondered where to put it when lo and behold, I saw another lamp. This lamp is the main source of light in our front room. It has a little metal bar over the top of it that serves no purpose whatsoever... until now. There are two little holes in each side of the bar and a little American flag fits perfectly in the hole. Luckily there was another flag of roughly the same size and I put it into the other hole to make it symmetrical. Then I decided to flip it around 180 because it would look better. I didn't realize the metal would obviously be very hot. So I burnt my thumb. The price we sometimes pay to be patriotic.

Some other completely useless information that I think you should all know: I have noticed that toast here for some reason is not very good. I blame the humidity because they always seem to be soggy. For some reason it is always a struggle for me to remove the stickers off of apples. I never had trouble with them in Utah, so again, I blame the humidity. I gave up on trying to eat other things besides French toast for breakfast and now I only have French toast for breakfast. I ran out of bread this week because I only eat French toast for breakfast. I am really bored of French toast now, but I am more lazy than bored so... I haven't had a haircut since before I went into the MTC. I was going to get a haircut today but I used up all the money on my card getting Naked. Getting Naked is pretty expensive. Oh and I eat salad a lot too, so you can't say that I'm completely unhealthy. I love salad.

I love you all and please keep me in your prayers. Happy Thanksgiving!

Elder Naegle

Monday, November 17, 2014

Poptarts, Kool-Aid and baptism

Well this week was pretty good. For starters we got a baptismal date! Whoo. We are teaching Kristena who is the daughter of Venice Constuble. We got her to commit to be baptized on the 10th of January, which just happens to be my birthday. That will be a good birthday present. There's gonna be a lot of stuff to overcome for her mostly just because we think that she isn't married legally and she is living with her "husband" so we will have to work that out whatever that situation is. But Venice is the coolest recent convert ever and her testimony is super strong, and the church is true so I have no worries.
So there was this family that moved into a previous member's home. We helped them move in. A couple of times we tried to knock on their door and contact them. Finally Saturday, they answered. They are a really nice Latino family (they're the promised people) and she actually told us that she wanted to come check out our church (she had investigated a little bit before, before she moved here). She asked us where our church is and what time we started! Then she didn't come... But it was snowing so we think that's why. Actually every, single person we committed to come to church this week didn't come. Sigh. We are still working with them though.
There's a family that joined the church in like 2008. Their 9 year old daughter was just baptized like in August. She is awesome. She comes to church by herself because her mom works on Sunday and her dad just doesn't come (it probably has to do with the fact that there are lots of cans of chewing tobacco just lyin around their house). Anyways we had a lesson with them last night and we talked about their conversion experiences and why they got baptized. It was really good. Their daughter talked about getting sealed in the temple and the dad said that it was a goal, albeit a long-term one in his words but at least it was still a goal they had. I got the feeling that eventually they will make it happen. Especially if their daughter stays as strong as she is now.
Tom Mitchell has been doing good actually. We met with him a while ago and he actually brought up the Book of Mormon. We were real surprised by that. Normally he just likes to talk about politics, trains and his days in Vietnam. So when he said that he was gonna read the Book of Mormon without any prompting from us it was a pleasant surprise. Then we met with him and had a discussion about the chapter he read (3 Nephi 11) and I promptly fell asleep while Elder Cluff talked to him the whole time. But we've got another lesson set up so hopefully that one will be good.
On a more somber note: our branch president has cancer. Really bad cancer. He went to the hospital last Sunday and has been there ever since. He asked to be released from branch president which is serious because the stake president asked him multiple times if he wanted to be released and he said no. We got a text on Friday from the Neosho missionaries that said that a member in their ward said he passed away. Then we got a call from Sis. Mcallister (she's a crazy cat lady that the branch presidency banned missionaries from talking to like a year ago, who constantly calls us and we don't answer but Elder Cluff felt bad and he answered this time) and she told us that she heard he passed away. So we were really sad. Then we got a call from the branch president's son and he asked us to call them in the morning to help move a bunch of stuff around in the president's apartment. So we were pretty sure he had passed, until we called his wife the next morning and he was still alive... ?? Well they took him off of all life support except for painkillers and they are hoping that it goes downhill fast because they don't want him to be in pain. It's really sad but happy because we know that he will be with his family again. We got a new branch presidency yesterday which means that there is gonna be a big shuffling around of callings because there is a shortage of priesthood holders and our ward mission leader just moved away. Crazy stuff
We went on exchanges on Wednesday with the zone leaders. I went with Elder Reed to Joplin and it was a blast. They have weights in their apartment so I got to lift a little bit Thursday morning which was nice. They also have a washer and dryer which is really convenient and I'm jealous. Elder Reed is an awesome guy. He is super fun and he is really good at just going up to people and talking to them. We had a grand old time. We went and raked leaves for a member who is helps the missionaries a ton. She made us delicious hot chocolate and cookies that I left at the zone leaders' apartment. Then we went to an old ladies house for dinner because she was saying thank you to the missionaries for raking her leaves. Her best friend is a member named Sis. White though and we brought another member with named Jonathon who is getting ready for his mission, I think. Unfortunately we couldn't teach her because she had had a bad experience with missionaries in the past. But that didn't stop us from having a good time. Hopefully she'll open up to missionaries in the future. After that we went to Sis. White's house for a couple minutes and Elder Reed told us how the week before he and Elder Cross, his companion, cast out an evil spirit from near her property line. 0_0 Then we jumped in our suits and hit the mall to go plant seeds of the gospel by talking to people. Elder Reed did all the talking and me and Jonathon stood there awkwardly. But it was really good because Jonathon loved it and wanted to go out with the missionaries again in the not too distant future. Which is good because apparently he is kinda inactive and wasn't too sure about serving a mission.
So I bought poptarts last Monday. Then on Wednesday I found out that the pocket on the inside of my suit jacket is the perfect size for poptarts. I was very happy. Then last night while Elder Cluff was being a good district leader and calling a bunch of people I found some Kool-Aid packets. So I made a gallon of Kool-Aid. Then the Kool-Aid guy burst through the wall and startled Elder Cluff so much that he fell out of his chair. It actually turned out real nice, we gave him a Book of Mormon and set a return appointment. And on the way to Joplin we saw a legitimate replica of the Mystery Machine so yeah, it pretty much made my week.
There was a bunch of other stuff that happened but I can't remember any of it because it was either unimportant or not very exciting.
Elder Naegle

Monday, November 10, 2014

Whoppers and wind

First of all, I noticed that it can be very windy here in Kansas. It probably has something to do with the fact that when there are no tress, you can see the curvature of the Earth. Well the temperature is dropping and I'm having to bust out my sweater vest but today it is 70ish degrees and the last time I busted out my sweater vest I had to take it off because it was too hot. So the weather here goes up and down dramatically because tomorrow it is supposed to be 40 degrees, and for those of you listening at home that's a pretty dramatic difference. There was a story I've heard twice now, where here in Parsons it was 80 degrees in the middle of February and then the very next day it snowed 3 feet... And I thought Utah was bad.
Well this week we had exchanges with our new district. I went over to Neosho Missouri with Elder Merryweather, who is also training and was Elder Cluff's last companion here in Parsons. He is a fun guy. We had a grand old time. We went tracting and found a dude who they already had a lesson with and apparently he is solid. So I take 50% credit because I talked to him about superheroes and other nerdy things. We also tracted into a 92 year old lady who was really nice and we talked about Jesus Christ a lot and that's pretty much it. So Elder Merryweather was saying a prayer and she started yelling out 'Thank you Jesus!' Multiple times during the prayer. It was quite comical for the simple fact that it took us so by surprise. Elder Merryweather told me that he had to work hard to keep from laughing out loud. Hopefully in the afterlife she will remember us and want to learn more. Halloween candy was 50% off at Walgreens, so I gave in and bought some, and then some more. Elder Merryweather and I (it was mostly me) ate the whole lot. Except for about 20 fun size packs of whoppers. So I decided that we would mess with Elder Carpenter (Elder Merryweather's companion). We took the whoppers and spread them out throughout the house. In pretty obvious places where he would for sure find them and hopefully he would wonder to himself, where did all these whoppers come from? Sure enough the next day we got a text from them asking if we knew anything about the abundance of whoppers lying around their house. It made my day.
Wednesday we had zone training meeting and interviews with the President Shumway. He slapped me around a bit and set me straight so that was fun, partially. And as I said earlier about there being lots of backpacks in the mission, Elder Packer said no, so now everybody has to switch to side bags fortunately for me I already have one. We also have to bike twice a week now so that's fun or should I say cool (because it gets really cold when we ride).
Our ward mission leader was out of a job since before I got here and he just barely landed one in Kansas City. So we helped him and his family move on Saturday. It is really sad because our branch is small enough as it is... and they fed us breakfast every Friday morning. So every Saturday morning at 7 we go to the animal shelter and clean out the pens that the dogs stay in at night. It can sometimes be very crappy, literally. I've never seen feces 3 feet high on the wall. So this last Saturday we did that service. Then we had breakfast and promptly went over to our ward mission leader's house to help pack. When we were done with that we helped the Bauman's who are moving into the house we just helped empty. Then we had lunch and came back to the house to help some more. We did a lot of cleaning of the walls to prep it for painting. Sometime later in November we are helping them move in. The whole day we were in our service clothes so that was something new. It was cool though because I got a Parsons Wrestling shirt from the thrift store that we volunteer at for free and I wore that all day and I felt cool. (it was pretty cold that day too)
So on Friday we looked in the area book and former investigator book so we could find people to teach because our teaching pool has been quite non-existent as of late. We picked out some names (it was mostly Elder Cluff because I kept reading the sometimes lengthy biographies of these people) and went to investigate. The first address didn't exist, so we went tracting nearby and the first house we came to was a lady who knew us from volunteering at the animal shelter. She believes in Greek mythology... no comment. But we did get a return appointment to teach her about family history. (It was yesterday and some of her kids were sick so it fell through unfortunately) We later found out the address we were looking for was recorded dyslexic-ly it was 1415 when the actual address was 1514 or something like that. Then the next address we went to didn't exist either, so we did some tracting. The first house was a lady who's dad was actually a member and she had witnessed some powerful priesthood blessings that brought him back to life. However she is a wiccan and believes in mother earth or something like that... no comment. However she said we could come back any time after we discussed the priesthood with her a little bit and she gave us a referral so that was really good. So the third address we went to, wait for it... didn't exist either. The house was apparently demolished. So the first door we went to... didn't answer or the next one or the next one or the next one or the next one. But the last one answered! She wasn't interested, but we did have a lovely conversation with her about Parsons. So I think that we can help those people and that Heavenly Father put them in our path. Or just used his power to demolish some houses so that we could find them, I dunno, you choose.
So I'm getting tested a lot but it's actually not that bad. Mostly just mental stuff. My testimony has grown a lot despite the lack of people to teach. Thank you so much for all of your emails. I love reading about all you wonderful people. It also makes me really happy and uplifts me with all your testimonies. Keep praying for me and I love all of you!
Elder Naegle

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sick again

So this week, Tuesday morning I woke up really sick. I had a horrible stomach ache that would come and then go. So that was annoying. Then on Wednesday, it got worse with headaches and the runs. This was annoying because we had zone conference with Elder Packer of the 70 and I was trying really hard to pay attention but I was really sick and tired so I focused all my energy on staying awake and while I did indeed stay awake I missed a lot of what he said because I was staying awake. Thursday was good because I felt a lot better and I thought that the sickness was on it's way out. Friday was really, truly, terrible. I woke up at 4:40 in the morning and went and sat on the toilet for 20 minutes. Then I got in bed and stayed awake until 6:30. Then I went and sat on the toilet again. Then I didn't eat breakfast but got ready and then sat on the toilet. Then I sat at the kitchen table and we did training and studying then I went and took a nap until our dinner appointment which was at 5:30 which I was feeling a little better by then. Because it was Halloween we dressed up as missionaries but we had to be in our apartment by 7. So we watched The Testaments which was good but extremely cheesy. Saturday I was feeling better. Sunday our phone woke us up at 6:30 and since it was the phone we believed that it was the correct time so we got up. However we asked some other missionaries if it was the end of daylight savings and when the text sent, the phone updated the time, so we got up at 5:30 that morning and just chilled and fasted and I was feeling better. And today I feel a lot better but my stomach still feels strange.
Real quick random fact, everybody here has indoor pets. It's really strange. I used to want pets such as a dog, but now I don't want pets at all. Also the Mexican food here is not as good as back in Utah. They use strange cheese sauces instead of normal Mexican enchilada sauces. Speaking of enchiladas we had enchiladas 3 times this week. Once on Monday (I got sick on Tuesday), once on Thursday (I was really sick on Friday) and once on Saturday (She was from Arizona so she actually used enchilada sauce and Sunday I was fine). We also had taco soup twice. Another strange thing is that we eat so much corn at members houses. I also don't like corn that much but I am getting used to it. Also I eat a lot of French toast for breakfast. like every other day. There are a couple of reasons for this. 1. I like French toast. 2. I have bread but nothing to do with it. 3. It's easy to make and I don't want to make anything else. 4. We have lots of eggs. The first p-day I had we bought a bunch of chicken breast because we thought we would be cool and make delicious chickeny things but then we just threw it in the freezer. Yesterday we actually busted it out because we didn't have a scheduled dinner but then we stopped by the Croziers (they let us do our laundry at their house and Bro. Crozier is an old guy who plays Call of Duty and looks like he could be on South Park, it's weird) and they fed us dinner. So now we had all this thawed chicken and nothing to do with it, so we cut it up and put it in this little waffle iron-looking griller and we grilled a ton of chicken. We still have one frozen chicken breast though. Now we have all this unflavored grilled chicken and nothing to do with it. We ate a lot of it with bbq sauce but there is still a bunch left. The lesson to be learned is that missionaries are dumb and can't cook. Except for French toast. We have a ton of food actually in our apartment. We have soo much milk right now. Some members gave us some enchiladas. We got a huge thing of Country Crock spread and a huge tub of sour cream and a bag of cheese and a bunch of baked potatoes and a huge bag of corn chips from the branch trunk n treat. So I bought a huge thing of nacho cheese to eat with the chips but I ate them when I was sick so now I don't want them anymore. Then I bought some microwave popcorn but I ate some when I was sick so I don't really want some anymore. I am also still a little sick so a lot of food doesn't sound very good to me. Except for French toast.
Venice convinced her daughter to come to a meeting with us but she couldn't because her boyfriend got really sick but she should be there next meeting, yay! It's been pretty tough because we haven't had any new investigators for a while and I've been sick and Elder Cluff has been sick.  We were going to meet with Donald Betts (he didn't murder his wife and kids, they got murdered and he wanted to get over his anger for them) and give him the stop smoking program. He was taking a nap so we didn't. We were trying to set up an appointment with Tony and he told us that he doesn't accept the Book of Mormon and that he believes that the Bible is all he needs and that he wishes us luck. Ugh it was the worst day of my life. It turns out that he looked up the differences between Mormons and other Christian faiths so we're pretty sure that that is why he is disinterested now. It has also been real hard to make appointments with anybody. We haven't met with Laura for a while and that's not good. She doesn't want to set a baptismal date because she doesn't think she has a testimony but she believes it's true... ? I've just been really frustrated lately because I don't feel like I've been a good teacher. I'm not discouraged though so that is giving me hope. I got a strange thought while I was not asleep one of the nights I was real sick, that me being sick was one of the only ways that Satan could get me down. So I hope that was revelation and not just my sleepy mind because my sleepy mind has done and said some weird things to me before, such as starting prayers that I don't even know about.... Don't ask. I decided I should start being healthier and today I actually bought some healthy food again. I was also having a big problem with not having any confidence in myself and thinking that Heavenly Father wouldn't be able to work with me but then I read an article in the special Book of Mormon issue Ensign from 2011 and it had a member's testimony that had the same problem but then they read a scripture that I can't remember and they thought to themselves that they can't limit God's power and that he can work miracles with anybody. So that made me feel a lot better, still getting out some issues though. We work with a lot of less actives and we've been getting them to come to church. There's this guy named Chris Knowles. He is from the Knowles family who Bro. Knowles is a ward missionary and we take him with us a lot when we need a member. He is really interesting. Chris though doesn't live with them because they kicked him out. He lives with a family that is not of our faith. He has issues with his father. He hasn't been coming to church until recently. He needs a job and there's this 82 year old in our branch who drives us around whenever we need a ride. He is pretty stereotypical, driving 8 miles under the speed limit and telling lots of glory days stories. However he has offered Chris some temporary employment and he is trying to help him get all cleaned up and to lose some weight (Chris weighs like 300 lbs.). So that is a good thing. Another less active we have just got her patriarchal blessing and she had an incredible experience. And then there's a whole bunch of others who are... struggling. It's really sad to see how their lives could be so much better living the principles and values of the gospel but they just don't so it's sad.
Hopefully this week will be better. Hopefully I will feel better. We have zone training on Wednesday in Joplin. President Shumway will be doing interviews and he asked to come prepared with our favorite scripture and our planner. I don't really use my planner because I just follow Elder Cluff's. Oops... Oh well. It will be good to talk to president though. He is an inspired man. I have been praying like never before in my life. If there is one thing I have learned so far it is definitely how to say really long prayers. Longer than my mom's. I am still struggling but I have hope and faith and I try to move on. Please keep me in your prayers I need them desperately. Love you all!
Elder Naegle

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fun in Arkansas

So this week has had it's ups and downs. For starters, it is getting really hard to teach people. Laura, our investigator, won't set a baptismal date because she thinks that she doesn't have a testimony, but she believes the Book of Mormon, so it's weird. A lot of people have been saying that they'll get back to us when they have time which usually means never. Tony has been saying that, but Moe came to the Trunk n treat activity we had so I think there's hope for them. We haven't had any new investigators but yesterday we met a guy tracting who said he had a friend who was LDS and he accepted a Book of Mormon and he said he might read it. He's about the only potential we've met tracting because Kyle is never home when we set up appointments so we stopped trying with him. 

Every Tuesday we go to the thrift store that I think is Catholic run and we serve because it is non-profit. There we met a man named Richard Long. He is african-american and Elder Cluff and I don't think he's quite all there. He asked us to come by on Wednesday so we did. We got to his apartment and he let us in. He then turned on a CD playing some weird, Christian music and then he got on his little electric piano and started playing it. Actually it sounded like he was just banging on the keys because  it didn't go along with the song at all and it sounded like Jacob was playing the piano. I had to try really hard to not just burst out laughing. He did ask us about the book we had and so we gave him a Book of Mormon and set up another appointment so we'll see where that goes. 

Venice is the best though. She not only gave her mother-in-law a Book of Mormon, but she got her mother-in-law and her daughter to come to the Trunk n Treat. She is just the best. Hopefully through her example and happiness they will come to a lesson with her soon. There's also this guy named Donald Betts who we taught on Tuesday. I think I went over this last week but we set up an appointment with him on Tuesday and it was interesting. While we were preparing a lesson for him, we saw how often he had been taught in the past, which is a lot. He might be an eternigator (somebody who investigates for eternity). He had his wife and 3 of his kids murdered like a year ago so that was.... something different I guess. We talked to him and he said he wanted to get baptized but he wanted to quit smoking first and he wanted to get over the murders previously mentioned. So we invited him to pray about a date to set for baptism and set up another appointment so we'll see how that goes. He likes to talk a lot so it's going to be hard to teach him because Elder Cluff doesn't talk a lot and I only talk a lot when it's not to a stranger or it's about Star Wars. 

So on Thursday we went to Rogers, Arkansas for a meeting for brand new missionaries. There was one in Tulsa which is a little bit closer but we arranged for a ride from a member in the Neosho branch with the Neosho missionaries. So we drove to Neosho and then a member drove us to Rogers Arkansas. We had an incredible meeting with President Shumway. The guy is incredible. Something that I didn't know is that he has turned the Tulsa Oklahoma mission into one of the most successful missions in the world. We also have one of the biggest missions in the world missionary wise. There are about 260 missionaries in the mission (there was only like 120 when he started). He was telling us about the last mission survey that all the missions have to take and how our numbers and percentages were through the roof. I seriously wouldn't be surprised to see him as an apostle one day, it's gonna happen. The lesson was two hours long but it was too short. I loved every minute of it and learned a ton. Hopefully I can train one day before President Shumway goes home so that I can go to that meeting again, which isn't likely because he goes home in July of next year. 

So on Sunday, we had to go to Rogers Arkansas again. We had to get up at 4:45 so we could drive down to the Russ's (who are in our branch but live like 45 minutes away) and then the Russ's drove us to Rogers. The Joplin, Missouri stake was getting split and they were making a Monet, Missouri stake. The Rogers Arkansas stake was also getting split and they were making a Bentonville Arkansas stake. So the church rented out a convention center and Elder Bednar presided. It was sooo good. Elder Bednar is such an incredible speaker and the talk he gave was just fantastic. So I was really glad that they didn't broadcast it because I was really happy that I could go to that.

So this Wednesday we get to go to, you guessed it Rogers Arkansas! Whoo-hoo. We are having a zone conference where Elder Packer of the 70 (he just spoke in conference I think) is going to be there. We are going into it fasting so it should be a super good experience. They are also going to break the fast there and there will be food but it's at 9 so we're going to have to get up early again, sigh.

Hopefully we will get more investigators soon because it really stinks not having any appointments and having to think of stuff to do like tracting, I am not fond of tracting.
Keep me in your prayers and I love you all!
Elder Naegle

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 2 in the OTM

Well I forgot to mention that I have been sick since I got here in the OTM. Tuesday and Wednesday were really bad. I was hacking and coughing, headaches, my whole body felt bruised, no appetite, no energy and I was just miserable. I guess it's not a good sign that when you are teaching about the postmortal world and the thought comes to your mind: "Huh that sounds really nice right now, hopefully I won't wake up tomorrow" It wasn't as bad as it sounds I promise but it was kinda like that. Tuesday after eating at a member's house, we sat down and went through a branch member list and talked about people in the branch. I fell asleep and Elder Cluff did all the talking. Wednesday was really bad. This was the high point of my sickness and I was hating life. We went to district meeting in Pittsburg and there I asked for a priesthood blessing. I felt a little better after that. Then we did exchanges so I went with Elder Day and a senior couple to Fort Scott where I stayed for the rest of the day. I even felt good enough and hungry enough that we stopped and ate some lunch. Fort Scott is a biking area so I got to ride a bike. Contrary to popular belief backpacks apparently are allowed because every missionary I have seen has one and riding bikes is pretty annoying with a side bag. We went and visited an old lady and read her a Mormon version of Green eggs and Ham. It was funny. We did some tracting. Then we went to serve at a Methodist charity dinner at the local Methodist church. We washed cafeteria lunch trays. Elder Day told me that the Methodists there love the missionaries and help them out all the time by giving them referrals. Apparently they give the missionaries more referrals than their branch members do. The minister even came up to us and asked Elder Day if they were still teaching someone he had apparently referred to them. Funny stuff. Thursday we just taught a bunch of people. I get the feeling like they are just curious about what we have to say and they don't actually realize how the gospel can help them. Today though all the OTM missionaries got an email asking all missionaries to study with the question: how can I get the people I teach and baptize to be deeply converted so that they don't fall away. Then it gave us some scriptures to read, so God works in mysterious ways because I have been thinking the same thing recently. Friday we taught Venice who is the golden recent convert who was baptized right before I got here. I is always awesome teaching her because she loves the gospel so much. Friday we were actually fed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had breakfast at the branch mission leader's house and had a meeting with him. We had lunch at a member's house and gave them some BOM chapters to read. Then we had dinner at a member's house who live all the way out in Oswego which is like a 25 minute drive from where we live. Saturday we didn't have any appointments and our dinner cancelled,which bummed me out because it was Tony and Moe and I really want to see Tony baptized because he is such an awesome guy and it will help Moe out so much, so we said a prayer asking for guidance and I got the idea to look in the area book so we did. We found a bunch of investigators and less actives who we could go visit, so we hopped on our bikes and went to go visit with them. We set up an appointment with an investigator who I guess the previous missionaries just forgot about because Elder Cluff didn't even know him and we set an appointment with a less active. So it was a really good day especially because we were able to talk to everybody who we knocked on their door and were able to invite most of them to the upcoming branch trunk-or-treat so hopefully they all come. Actually there was this one dude who was taking a nap and we talked to his wife but it was a really great day. We had I think 2 less actives at church and 1 investigator, so that was really good. I made French toast on Sunday morning and it was really good. Then church was really good, we talked about the postmortal world again... But it was really interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Last week I bought a bunch of lettuce thinking that I could easily eat salad everyday. Well I forgot salad dressing so today I got salad dressing and opened up my salad and it was bad. The exp. date was like 4 days ago so sadly I threw it away without eating any of it. :( Well I'm still sick but it's mostly just coughing, a lot of coughing. Elder Cluff is real sick too, so last week was rough, with a lot of coughing involved. I'm starting to enjoy it more and more everyday though and I'm loving the people more and more (it helps that they feed us). Please keep me in your prayers I need them. Love you all!
Elder Naegle

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 13th: Oklahoma Tulsa Mission = OTM = Only True Mission = Obesity Through Members

Well I'm finally here in the Oklahoma Tulsa mission. The flight from Denver to Tulsa was not very pleasant for a couple of reasons. One, the plane was really small and I couldn't stand up straight while walking down the aisle. Two I was sick with a cold from the MTC and when the plane started descending I got a terrible pain in my left ear because I could not equalize that ear. Then I couldn't hear anything out of it for the next hour. The flight from Salt Lake was good though. I sat next to a nonmember and we had a pleasant conversation about his job (which was a really cool job) and a lot of other things like the state of New York and snow shoeing. We started talking about the couple days he stayed in Salt Lake and how he visited temple square and he lives pretty close to Palmyra so I told him there was another temple there and so hopefully he visits it.
So the big news, I am in a small town called Parsons. It is in Kansas and other missionaries have told me that Kansas is the hardest state to get into because there's only like three areas there so there is a good chance that I could become a four state missionary. There is a lot of smoking, churches, people living on welfare, veterans and rain here. There is not a lot of teeth, Mormons, manicured lawns and clean houses here. Ever since we got to Parsons it has been raining like nonstop. Saturday and Sunday it didn't rain but as we were driving to Parsons it started raining and then it didn't stop until sometime Friday. Then Today it has been raining nonstop so far. The work here is hard because everybody is super religious. A fairly common thing for people to tell us is that they attend another church and that they're already saved. Disclaimer: They are not already saved. This place is pretty run down. I feel like every house we go inside smells like old people and is extremely dirty. Mom, our house is not even close to as dirty as some of these houses are. Being here has actually made me really grateful for how blessed I was back in Utah with a big house, a neighborhood where people actually took care of their lawns and houses, Mormons, Mormon churches, temples (there are three temples right outside our mission: Kansas city, St. Louis and Oklahoma City) and people with teeth.
My companion is Elder Cluff. He has been out for 14 months so he's pretty experienced. He is probably the best trainer because he is so obedient and so that will get me obedient and that is good because obedience brings blessings and here in the OTM we believe in being "fanatically obedient" mission president's own words. He is super smart (34 ACT 4.0) he went to college for high school and he hasn't even gone to college yet. He from Queen Creek Arizona. The only downside to our companionship is that we are both pretty quiet guys so there are a lot of awkward silences and neither of us can make decisions, but it will all work out.
The branch we are serving in is great. They feed us almost every night. We live in a little apartment that is right across the street from our branch building so that's the closest I've ever lived to a meetinghouse. We are working with a couple people right now. Some I haven't even met yet. One of them is Tony. Tony is curious about the gospel. He is engaged to a member who's name is Moe, yes Moe is a girl, and Moe is a less active who has a really weird testimony. We taught Tony at Moe's house and ate deer chili with peanut butter bread and had brownies and ice cream. We then tried to teach the restoration and it was going really well at first but then Moe came. Since she was forced into the LDS church by her parents she left it when she had the chance. Then she came to this area and said she went to the Pittsburg ward (it's in Kansas not Pennsylvania) and she felt it felt like home. So she goes to church every once in a while. She likes to talk so she would go on and on about how true the church is and then she would go on about how it's perfectly ok to not join and that it's Tony's choice and how she still believes you're saved as long as you believe in the Bible. And since Elder Cluff and I are terrible at talking/interrupting, most of the time we were learning about Moe's personal beliefs. She likes tattoos and plans on getting more (a lot more) and she drinks coffee so we'll work on her. Tony though is so perfect. He has a testimony of prayer and that God loves him. He has had prayers answered before so we hope that will help him get an answer about the Book of Mormon. The only problem is that he is afraid of getting made fun of because he had a friend when he was little who was Mormon who got made fun of so hopefully that fear doesn't keep the spirit from testifying to him. If he converted he would be a strong member. There's this old guy named Tom who just likes to talk to us. The only time we visited him we really didn't have a lesson just a study kind of thing. There's Ken who is also an old guy who has been baptized into the church but doesn't come every Sunday and although he has a really strong testimony of repentance he doesn't have a testimony of anything else. There's Venice who is a recent convert who is one of those golden converts who you find tracting and a month later they're baptized. She was baptized before I got here but we taught her once and she is really nice and has a strong testimony. There's this guy Kyle who Elder Cluff and his former companion met earlier this week tracting who we set up an appointment with so pray that works out. There's this guy named Charles. He only wants to meet with his pastor there. The previous missionaries met with him once and then the other day Elder Cluff and I met with him. All they want to do is Bible bash and Charles did it more than the pastor did which was weird. The spirit wasn't there the whole time and with mine and Cluff's quiet nature we never really were bold with our testimonies and we didn't even say a prayer. Hopefully we don't visit with them again because I don't think he is going to go anywhere. And there are a lot of other strange members who we visit with because we have to fill up time.
Well it's really hard being a missionary. None of it is physical, it's all mental and emotional.  My faith is never shaken don't worry it's just hard, especially with these bible folk.  I just have to learn the ropes and get happy through helping people. Love you all, please keep me and Tony in your prayers!
Sincerely Elder Naegle

October 7th: MTC 2

This last week has gone by so fast! All the Elders and Sisters at the MTC told us that after the first Sunday your time at the MTC flies and it sure has. I have had so many amazing experiences this past week and I am extremely grateful. My testimony has grown so much over the past couple of days. I have learned so much doctrine and knowledge concerning the gospel and it blows my mind just knowing how much I still have to learn. My district and zone were all so amazing and it was sad having to say goodbye to them, they left at 3 this morning, but I know they will do great on their missions because they are all fantastic people especially because we are always matching with ties and outfits. We gave so many priesthood blessings yesterday before they all left and we'll give the rest tonight but now my tally of blessings without my dad's help is up to 2.  General conference was superb as always, and even though I have pretty much forgotten everything that was said, I still have the good feeling in my heart. My companion, Elder Thompson, was in the choir for priesthood session but you probably never say him because we only saw him 3 times. He was in the very front on the very left. He is a funny guy. He has a girlfriend back in Colorado but he has already had three girls from back home confess there love for him. So Elder Ham came up the nickname Two-Timin-Thomas-Thompson. We also call him Triple-Threat-Thompson (it was my idea). He falls asleep in class and conference just as often, maybe even more than, me. He also found a survey thingy that our teachers fill out and he read the stuff about us and it said that we are good missionaries but we fall asleep a lot and early on we didn't work together well and one even said that they were going to try to get me more involved.... Well towards the end of our time here at the MTC we did start working together really well, in fact we were probably the best in the class and I personally think that I got more involved and I still fall asleep a lot... So everyone here at the MTC when they give you advice they tell you to not drink the orange juice because it gives you the runs. So, Elder Ham and I decided that we were all going to drink the orange juice because we can't just come to the MTC and not drink the fabled orange juice. So yesterday we drank the orange juice and right before class Elder Ham comes up to me and tells me "The myth is true!" and then later that night while we were pretending to teach people on airplanes Elder Thompson gets up suddenly, whispers to Elder Ham: "That orange juice is crazy!" On Saturday night all the Elders in my room pushed all the bunk beds together and mad a fort. Kinda... Really it was just three bunk beds pushed together with a sheet hanging over the side that was not pushed against the wall. Don't worry it was not against the rules. And Elder Shaum came across the scripture 3 Nephi 22:2 which talks about tents so take that as you will.

It's been crazy teaching all the "investigators" here. Really it's just our teachers pretending to be somebody else and then TRCs we get to teach someone who isn't LDS or they're a recent convert. Elder Thompson and I were teaching a russian lady who was like 26 I think and she was a foreign exchanges student and actually she went to Bingham so that was cool. Right now she is a student at BYU because she has a lot of friends there. I think she might actually be a member. Our first lesson with her I feel like we just confused her a ton because all Elder Thompson wants to do is pretty much bear his testimony and all I want to do is teach the lesson. So I taught a little bit of the lesson and then Elder Thompson just started talking and talking and talking about the same thing pretty  much and then I feel like she (her name is Kya) was just super confused and I didn't feel the spirit so I didn't say anything the whole rest of the time. It sucked. But the next lesson went so much better! We taught the lesson like a boss and traded off perfectly with each other. I read her Alma 7:11 and she asked me where it was and wrote it down on her phone or looked it up or something. So we know it struck her. We closed it off really well and it was just awesome. Then our third lesson was a skype lesson and Kya didn't show so that's cool I guess. Our teacher investigator was progressing well but then we ran out of lessons. So all in all Elder Thompson and I learned a lot and we learned that there is still some stuff we need to practice like actually getting our investigators to commit to things instead of just saying "hey read this" So basically we are going to be awesome missionaries.

I leave tomorrow morning at 2:30! Our flight is at 5:55 and we fly to Denver and then on to Tulsa! I can't wait. Even though the weather there is like in the 80s and we are going to have to wear our full suits because it is not summer. And our mission president wants us to have the Book of Mormon read by December! I'm on 1 Nephi chapter 3 so yeah... We got $98 on our ecclesiastical cards and now we all feel super rich even though that money is probably going to go to something like toilet paper. 

Basically the coolest parts of the week were when we sang Joseph Smith's first prayer and then went on a "nature" walk around the MTC parking lot and then we all sat down and I read Joseph Smith history and then prayed about it. Ten minutes later I was about to start studying and I opened my scriptures randomly and the scripture I opened to was Jacob 7:13-14 which basically says you know that God exists and stuff (Jacob talking to Nehor I think) and it was really cool because I had always heard about people randomly opening there scriptures and getting an answer and now I have too! Then the other cool part was yesterday when we were learning to teach by the spirit and then we practiced with people trying to commit them to baptism and I was trying to commit sister Burt to baptism and I talked to her and read some scriptures and then when she finally said "yeah I guess I'll get baptized" I just had a wave of relief and joy and everybody thought I was going crazy because I was super smiley and out of it for the next 5 minutes. So now I can't wait for the real thing! Basically the lesson here is that if you pay your tithing you will be blessed.

Love you all,
Elder Naegle

September 30th: The MTC

I don't know if you got my letter or not but my pday is Tuesday. The MTC is great. I love it here. There is a lot of class time that we have to go to and it kinda sucks because we have no down time to do all the things that they tell us to do on our own. Every night we get done at about 9:30 and then we have to socialize and go to the vending machine. Then brush our teeth and get ready for bed and write in our journals and by the time we've done all that the literal voice of Satan comes on the speakers at 10:15 and tells us it's quiet time. The branch presidency made me district leader so basically all I do is get the mail and call on people to say the prayer. My companion is Elder Thompson he is Mexican from Arizona, Colorado and South Jordan. He is exactly a foot shorter than me and he is in the priesthood session choir so it's really a headache for me having to drop him off and pick him up because I have to get Elder Azbill and Elder Ham, the two other Elders in my dorm and my district, to go get him. and it gets really annoying when trying to figure out us going to the temple today while he went to choir practice so that was really stressful. In the end we just switched our laundry time with our temple time so Elder Thompson won't have any clean clothes next week... Oh well. The food here sucks. The gym here sucks. Elder Thompson and I are the only two people who fall asleep all the time in class and what not. I am doing better though and yesterday I didn't fall asleep at all! The trick is drinking lots of water and eating lots of icebreakers and standing up in the middle of class to the bewilderment of the district. I really like my two main teachers, they're great. I gotta go now.
Love you,
Elder Naegle

Wednesday, October 8, 2014