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