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
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Things have been going better lately. I feel like I've been learning a lot lately. I've probably been having the best studies of my entire mission, and that's saying something because there was a time when I could study all day because I was enjoying it so much. I think the difference though is that not only am I learning, my studies are also meaningful to me personally. I feel like the things that have helped me most have been personal experiences with the scriptures and personal experiences with the Atonement, because I could read about swimming all day and learn about it, but until I jump in the water, I'm never going to really know what it's all about. Same with the gospel, you can learn about it all day, but until you start to experience it, then you'll never know what the real deal is. As for the work, sadly not really much is happening but we've found like 2 less actives who we asked if they'd like to take the lessons from us because they've been out of church for years, and they both said yes. One of them really needs it because her life is a wreck right now, the other one needs it a lot too actually because I guess she just got out of a really bad relationship lately. She said she would come to church on Sunday, but she didn't.... But I feel like we're getting to know the ward a lot better and we've been trying to work with our ward mission leader a lot more so hopefully things will start to progress. This ward had some things happen within the last couple of months, some pretty hefty things, and it's kind of messed up a lot of the spirituality of the ward and the whole ward is just not really in a good place as a whole. Today, we went hiking at this one spot that some members told us about, it wasn't that great. Then Elder Naef, he's serving in Broken Arrow, and I went to downtown Tulsa to see what it was all about. It was pretty cool actually. For a big city, there was like nobody on the streets. It was kind of weird, but it's also really mucky today so that could be why. I'll send some pictures today. I think one day, I'd like to live in a big city, just for a couple of months to get the feel down. We'll see what happens.
Nothing new really happened this week. We're still trucking along. It's been pretty hot the last couple of days, around 100. So the zone leaders talk to the stake president every month and the Stake President really wants us to focus on less actives right now, so we've been hitting the ward roster hard and been trying to find some people to teach through that way. I kinda had a mental breakdown on Thursday and just chilled for most of the day while my comp slept. I didn't really know what to do and I was super stressed out, so I just meditated, translation: slept. Then that's when the zone leaders called and told us to focus on less actives so that gave me something to do. I've been thinking a lot about agency and being an agent unto ourselves lately, and my comp has a hard time getting up in the morning so I told him: look man, you're no longer a kid, you're a grown man, so I'm gonna leave it up to you whether or not you get up on time in the morning. The idea stemmed from the talk "So where did you put the tigers?" by Elder Foster. He says in that talk that the greater the agency, the greater the growth so I decided that I could easily get him up every morning, but he wouldn't grow, but if I gave him greater agency, it would help him grow better if he could muster the strength to get up in the morning. Well so far it hasn't worked and he sleeps in to like 8 everyday, so I'm kinda re-thinking that, but we'll see, I felt pretty good when the idea came to my mind. I feel like it was inspired, but I guess that's his agency. So yeah. I'm doing pretty good though, I'm just chilling.
Monday, July 18, 2016
I forgot to put this in my email, but while we were driving back from Muskogee from a zone meeting, the weather was crazy! The rain was coming in sideways, we saw a semi that got flipped over and it was nuts. There were tons of people pulled over to the side of the road hiding under the overpasses. I was just following the natives, people were still driving so I was still driving. I got some good videos on my camera that I can show you in like 11 weeks so yeah. We didn't see any tornadoes tho...
Man, this area is a struggle for sure. We found a few part member families to teach, but we haven't been able to actually get in and teach them. We started doing this thing where when it winds down to the end of the day and we have nothing to do, we just start roaming the neighborhoods. We've given out a few copies of the Book of Mormon that way. It will probably become a daily thing because we really don't have anybody to teach. The ward is all really old and they think that they can't do missionary work because all the people they know already know that they're members and they've known them for a long time. So we're not really sure what exactly to do. We've been trying to meet with the members and get to know them and all, and I don't know if the members don't like us or what but it feels like everybody has been dodging us which is weird because they are all retired... Anyways, we've got a good ward mission leader and a good Bishop so we're hoping that we can get something going. This is definitely my hardest area and probably my hardest companion as well. Luckily I'm not stressed out as much as I usually am in these situations. Sunday morning I was tripping hardcore and then I went in the living room by myself and just started reading the Book of Mormon and I felt a lot better which is actually the first time that's worked for me, so I'm pretty sure that I'm completely exhausted of all my mission energy but the Lord is letting me borrow some juice. I'm pretty sure that's how it's supposed to work all the time but it's taken me a long time to learn it. I try to find as much alone time as possible, which is really easy because my companion is very weary and takes a nap basically every time we walk in the apartment. Probably the coolest thing that has happened so far is that the Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Indian nation is a member and he's in our ward. It's like the 3rd or the 4th largest Indian tribe nation thingy in the country. We went over to his house the other day. He's a convert and he's a super humble guy. He's getting all the corruption out of the government he runs because the Nation he runs is basically a small country as far as I understand. That's about all I can think of to write.
So we got transfer calls on Tuesday. I was informed that I was going to go to Henryetta Oklahoma. I was a little bit sad to leave Springfield and Republic, but I was ready to go. That was a hard area to be in and it was weird because I didn't connect with anyone in either of the wards. They were all in band and stuff in high school which is cool and all, but I don't know how to relate to them so yeah. Really the only people who I was sad to leave was Sis Martin, our cherokee grandmother (who's like the whitest old lady you could ever meet) she's super awesome. Every time we go over there she was super happy so see us and would always tell us to go grab some goodies from her kitchen. Then we'd fix something for her and watch a talk from the April 2006 General Conference because that was the only Conference we had on disc. Then sometimes she's take us out to lunch to Ziggies. She was also a self-proclaimed cougar, because she was always hanging out with young men. Then there was the Bauers who were the chillest family in Republic. They were all super into sports and they just love the missionaries so they always treated us nice. One time, when Elder Gordon and I were doing our morning run on the track inside of the rec center, Gus Bauer walked in a gave us some Sonic breakfast burritos. They were awesome. So now I am in Henryetta, OK. we're like an hour south of Tulsa so there's missionaries nearby, kind of... There's also Raising Cane's, so Wednesday I am going to try to eat there because we'll be up in Broken Arrow for a meeting. So the story with Henryetta is that there were two Elders here. Well a couple of weeks ago, one of the Elders had a seizure, and it was his second one, and on your second seizure the church sends you home. So he and his companion both ended up going home because apparently his companion had some other medical issue that he went home from. So there haven't been any missionaries in this area for about two weeks... It's a struggle because there hasn't been any work here for a while. I was looking through the progress records for the last couple months and the large majority of the people they were looking with was less actives, so we'll see what happen. Also, I am training somebody fresh out of the MTC. He is really green. Think of the guy from The Best Two Years, but shorter. He is really strange and sorta socially awkward. He's not arrogant, but he has a little more confidence than he should have. So I'm not gonna lie I've been really stressed out the last couple of days. Luckily, the Lord has got my back and I've been feeling a little bit better today. I've got a lot of other missionaries out here who have my back so the Lord is taking care of me. Today we went up to Tulsa and played some Rugby with a bunch of other missionaries. It was really fun, but I had to take my shoes off because my basketball shoes have no traction on grass (or a basketball court for that matter) so I took them off, it wasn't too bad. Then we were chilling with some other Elders, we went to Carls Jr which is weird because they mostly have Hardees out here. Then we went to Dick's sporting goods to just look around and I was looking at some nice Nike shoes that were way out of my price and my comp told me he'd buy them for me and I told him no, and we went back and forth for a while and he said I'll try to get a deal, so I thought that once he tried to get a deal and didn't get one, I'd just be like let's go and he wouldn't buy them for me, but this tricky guy wasn't even trying to get a deal he just went out and bought them. So that was weird. Apparently his dad put $3000 dollars on his home card for a bike, but then he got a free bike and his dad just told him to use it to help other missionaries. While we were driving home he was telling me about how he was bullied, and he had already told me that he was bullied back in High school, but while driving back he was telling me that other missionaries were bullying him in the MTC, so if that's true then that's really sad. I mean, he's a strange dude, but that's no reason to bully somebody. I think that's also why he acts more confident than he should be because he was bullied and it's hurt his self esteem so he overcompensates. Anyways, I want to help him now and try to help him have a good experience. It's going to be super hard but we'll see. Oh we also have a gym like a mile from our apartment and it's 24/7 so I'm gonna try to lose this winter coat I've put on.
I think that's about all I have to say.
This last week was pretty rough missionary work wise. We've been working pretty hard, but haven't gotten any breaks. We knocked on this lady's door on Tuesday, gave her a Book of Mormon and set up a return appointment for Friday, then on Friday, there was a note on the door telling us that she wasn't interested anymore. Oh well. Other thing that happened was on Wednesday was our mission's temple trip, well just the group that was going to the St. Louis temple, the OKC temple group and the KC temple group already went at different times. So we got to go to St. Louis and go to the temple. Then they took a group picture outside the front of the temple and I was still in the Celestial room so that was kinda awkward. Saturday night, we talked to this guy in our apartment complex who we've invited to church a couple of times and we also met one of his friends who was asking us who we were and what church we went to. We had a really good conversation with him. He doesn't really believe in religions, he's more of a personal relationship with God type of guy. So I told him why we need the church and what the purpose of commandments are in a way that he understood because I've had a lot of the same questions that he has about religions and stuff. Anyways, we gave him and his friend each a Book of Mormon and then they said they would come to church the next morning (which they didn't) and the guy asked us what our greatest doubts were about our religion. Of course my companion gave the typical: "I have no doubts" canned missionary answer, but I felt like this guy would appreciate a real response so I just told him a lot of the time I sit back and think to myself that this whole religion and church is way crazy and sometimes I wonder if it really is true, but then I just think to myself that: worst comes to worst, this is a fantastic Christian community who actually act on their faith and who help each other in more ways than any other church I've encountered, and best comes to best, Joseph Smith really did see the Father and the Son and this really is everything that he said it is. So the guy really appreciated that and he even shook my hand after I said it. So we'll see where that goes with those two guys. They're about our age so we'd probably end up handing them over to the YSA anyways. They were drinking that night so we assumed that that was the reason they didn't show up to church the next morning. Well that's about all that happened. Happy Fourth of July. We live in the greatest country in the world.
This last week was a good week. Probably the best thing was the Traveling Assistants came and we were able to go on exchanges with them. Elder Murdock and Elder Sorensen are the traveling assistants and they are both super awesome missionaries and people. Elder Sorensen is the son of the guy who invented Blender Bottle, and Elder Murdock is the cousin/best friend of my last companion who is Elder Gordon who is also one of my favorite companions. I got to go with Elder Murdock and we had a good time. He taught me a lot of things, and we had some really good conversations about plans and goals for after the mission and the role of confidence in our lives and whatnot. One thing they told us to do was to make daily goals not related to the key indicators. So we have a daily goal of talking to 5 people a day outside of our other plans and appointments, so that can be either tracting or just talking to people outside or inside or wherever. Anyways we have done it every day except for Sunday because we felt that Sunday probably wouldn't be a good day to do it and we ended up being super busy yesterday. Well, it has been really rough trying to accomplish that goal. For some reason, all the rude people have been coming out of the woodworks and despite the fact that we have accomplished our goal everyday so far, we have not gotten any new investigators. :( There was this one super rude Catholic lady that put me into a really bad mood on Friday. So Saturday night after another long hard day, I wasn't in the best of moods. Then I listened to a podcast of a guy interviewing Via Sikahema while laying in my bed, and I fell asleep, so I didn't really get anything out of it. But then as I was trying to fall asleep, I had the thought to choose happiness, which coincidentally is the name of a talk I've been reading a lot lately and then. So I decided to choose to be happy. Then I woke up Sunday morning and was in a bad mood again, so I had to decide to be happy again. So I ended up having a real good day yesterday. Then we had dinner at the stake president's house and we stayed for like two hours just talking to the stake President and his wife and his wife told us that normally she is a huge stickler on not letting missionaries stay longer than an hour, but she was really glad she did because they said it was good to get to know us and now they trust us, or something like that, I can't exactly remember what she said. So then today I read a really good talk this morning called: Be Excellent: Becoming who you are in today's world and it inspired me as well. So even though we don't have anybody to teach, we're just gonna keep trucking and trust in the Lord, and His timing. So moral of the story, even though it's really cliche and everybody already knows it: there's lots of bad things in life and there's lots of good things in life, if we choose to focus on the good things, then we'll be happy, if we choose to focus on the bad things, we'll be sad. So I usually focus on the bad things in life, but now I'm learning how to focus on the good things. It's a lot better. We are also going Go Karting today for an Elder Pack's birthday. That's about all. Plus I bought some real nice Blender Bottles this morning. One of them has an American flag on it.
This last week wasn't too crazy. Deborah, our less active friend is doing awesome and she came to church last week and loved it but she didn't make it yesterday. It's been great to work with her and she how she's been getting closer to God, and how it's changing her life. Other than that, things are pretty dry right now. We decided to drop Elijah because we don't think he's ever going to go anywhere. Then we tried to set up an appointment with Jessica, and she responded that she was just going to stick with the Bible because she knows for sure that it's the word of God and she doesn't feel the same way about the Book of Mormon. It's sad because she's had multiple spiritual experiences with the Book of Mormon. We had a lesson with Sean and the ward mission leader from the YSA. We're handing him off, so there's another investigator gone. Elder Huffman wants to give Jordon to the YSA too, but I don't want to, so we'll see what Jordon wants. We haven't been able to get in contact with Joshua since we gave him the Book of Mormon in Yoruba. We gave his number and address to our Nigerian friend and he's going to try and get in contact with him. So we basically have no investigators right now... It's alright though. Things have been good despite the lack of success. I feel like my whole mission the Lord has been teaching me that what I want, is not necessarily what he wants me to do. It's been a tough lesson to learn but I think I'm starting to get it. I haven't been able to have the success I haven't had very many baptisms on my mission and I don't think I will get too much more. I used to think that if I would just work hard and be as obedient as I could, then the Lord would bless me with investigators and baptisms, but I've slowly been learning that that's not necessarily how it works *cough cough* Sallisaw Oklahoma. You can't really buy success from the Lord with obedience and hard work. I used to think that God hated me because I couldn't work hard enough and be obedient enough for Him to bless me with outward success because I've never felt in my entire mission that I've been a successful missionary. But really, this is His work and not mine. The whole time Heavenly Father was trying to teach me how to trust in Him, and I'm still getting there. Heavenly Father also works on the inside and just because you don't see any outward success doesn't mean that God isn't getting work done, especially on you. The Lord has blessed me to serve with and around some awesome people. Honestly, if it wasn't for my friend Elder Nau and my mom's powerful testimony, I would've gone home a long time ago. There's been a couple of times where I have prayed and asked Heavenly Father if it was alright if I went home early but every time the answer has been no, so I know I still have things to learn on the mission. Even then, I think I won't realize all the things that the Lord has done for me and taught me on my mission until I've been home for a long time. So here's to the next 3 months I guess.
For some reason, the last couple of weeks, I have had the strangest desire to shoot birds (there are a lot of birds in Missouri) and to cut things with a saw. I don't know why...Anyways, Elijah may have schizophrenia, so we're not sure how accountable he is. According to his sister, he has voices in his head that tell him to kill his dad and he regularly gets abducted by aliens... needless to say we will probably be dropping him soon after we get a professional second opinion by the first counselor in the mission presidency who lives in our ward and is a psychologist. Probably the coolest thing that happened this last week was that we got a referral for a guy in Chesterfield, which is nice because there isn't much work going on there right now. Anyways it took us a long time to contact him for various extenuating circumstances, but we finally did and he is a man from Nigeria with a thick accent. His native language is Yoruba. He is very nice. For some reason he started talking to us about Muslims and how Christians and Muslims practically believe the same thing but they don't believe that Christ is the Son of God. We found out later that he thought we were Muslims...? Anyways he called his friend who lives in Nigeria and had us talk to him because apparently he's a member of our church and that's how he found out about our church. We found out later that his friend is from the Church of Christ. Anyways the cool part of this story is that a couple of weeks ago a man moved into our ward who coincidentally is originally from Nigeria and he speaks Yoruba as well. Then we called the mission office and they had 1 copy of the Book of Mormon in Yoruba. So we ordered it. Then we took the member to his house and the member's name is Bro Oyoyo, and the investigator's name is Joshua. They hit it off. Joshua is the funniest guy ever. He is such a happy guy and it's just so fun to talk to him. He clapped a little bit when Bro Oyoyo's 10 year old son basically bore his testimony. And he was very impressed when Bro Oyoyo told him how we pay our own ways on our missions. It was very hard to understand both of them because they would switch in and out of Yoruba and they both have pretty thick accents. So we have high hopes for Joshua. Other than that, we spent all day at the mall today waiting for our car's oil to be changed and then they had to change the tires and they couldn't get a hold of the mission office and it was annoying because we ended up hanging out at the mall from 11 to like 2 just looking at all the nice clothes that we couldn't buy... Then nobody came to church on Sunday. Right now we're still working on getting the wards involved. We've had some good meetings with the leaders of the wards and so hopefully we can get a foundation laid that will bless the wards and missionaries serving here for months or even years to come. That's about all
I forgot that on Wednesday this old lady who can't come to church very often because of health problems, she had us over for dinner. Her name is Sister Martin and she's like our grandma. She bought us 5 pizzas and we only ate 1. Then she asked us to help her chip some wood with her wood chipper. It was very fun. I let the other Elders do it because it looked kinda dangerous. Then when we were done we put Gordon in the wood chipper. I'll send pictures. Then we watched some of the April 2006 General Conference with her because that's the only General Conference we have on disc.
Monday, May 30, 2016
So this last week was fairly uneventful other than the fact that we had transfers and I got a new companion. Then on Sunday Elijah came to church for the second time. For some reason he started asking about if one were to join the church, how they would do it. So we told him. And then he started saying that he was considering it. Then later that night we went over to his mom's house and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon because he lost his first one. Then we were talking to him and he told us that he decided to convert. So we're going to work with him more because from my perspective the only reason he wants to join is because he likes the community. I'm not really sure he has a testimony of the Restored Gospel and whatnot. Other than that not too much has happened. We're trying to work better with the wards and get lots of referrals, and more people to teach.
This last week had some interesting experiences. First off: on Wednesday, we were at the church waiting for an exchange to come pick us up and we get a call from Elijah, the guy who lost his dog. He was raised semi-Jewish is the best way to describe it I guess, kinda like a less active Jew. Anyways he never believed in Christ. So Wednesday he calls us and tells us: I believe in Christ now. So we asked him why and he said that he was talking to a Catholic Priest and this guy told him to pray. So he did then he had a dream where Jesus Christ came to him and they talked. In his words they: "hit it off" So long story short, the Savior basically convinced him to believe in him. Then on Thursday we are teaching our other investigator Jessica, and well first of all she tells us she is thinking about leaving her husband and that was pretty awkward for us to hear, but then we read Lehi's dream with her and then she tells us of a dream she had where her grandfather who has been dead for a while, was trapped in a building and couldn't get out. He said he didn't think it was heaven and he didn't even know if heaven existed. Basically the way she explained it sounded exactly like the spirit world. We told her we'd talk about it more next time we came to see her. The zone leaders set up a blitz for their area with us on Friday. A blitz is basically where multiple sets of missionaries work one area. Ever since my companion, Elder Gordon has been here, he has been begging the zone leaders to take him to a show because they live in Branson and Branson is like a mini Las Vegas with lots of performers and shows and whatnot. There's lots of LDS people who have their own shows and if the missionaries bring an investigator they can get into these shows for free. Anyways we asked them if we could go to a show since we'd all be down there and they told us no. But then they surprised us and took us to SIX which is the best show in Branson right now. It was really fun and we had a good time. On Wednesday we blitzed our area with the Southern Hills Elders and that was fun. We played horse on our little nerf basketball hoop in our apartment. The only other thing that happened was transfer calls and they weren't good. Elder Gordon is leaving and I'm getting a missionary who is a good guy but very interesting. I'm not very excited but it will all turn out fine. He's a good missionary so I'll probably be able to learn some things from him. And I already know he likes me and we already have a pretty good relationship so it'll be fine. It just won't be as fun as with Elder Gordon. Also the rest of the zone, we got some lame missionaries so it wasn't a very happy transfer call. Nobody came to church again, which was sad.
Monday, May 16, 2016
So the last story that I forgot to tell: we went to an appointment with our investigator who is kinda Jewish. We show up and he walks out wearing a Mr. Rogers t-shirt and swim trunks. He tells us that his dad left the gate open and when he let the dogs out, his dog ran away. So he asked us to help him find it. So we hop in our little Toyota Corolla and start driving around looking for his dog. He rolls down the window and starts yelling: BRUUUCE?!? BRUUUCE!? He also pronounces his R's like a baby, with a W sound. So it was more like BWUUUCE? BWUUUUCE? It was hilarious. We drove around for like 30 minutes, the whole time Elder Gordon and I are praying to find his dog. Then randomly he says: If we don't find this dog I'm getting a @#$%&%$ cat. Then he asks if he can vape in our car and we tell him only if he does it out the window. Then a cloud of smoke envelopes us and he apologizes. Luckily we found the dog which was an answer to our prayers because there's no way we would've found it without divine assistance. Also he didn't put the dog in our car but he decided to walk it home. Then the next morning he texts us and asks if we can meet later that day. So we say yes. Then we show up and we call him to tell him that we're there because we meet outside his house, he comes outside wearing the same exact Mr. Rogers shirt and the same swim trunks and tells us he forgot we were coming. It was a very funny experience.
This last week was kinda lame. Nobody came to church. One of our solid investigators got in a car accident on the way to our lesson with him, and our other solid investigator said she was going to go to her other church this week and then third solid investigator said he was going to come, but then he didn't. There's this one missionary in my district that takes meds and when he doesn't take them he is bonkers and we just got in a fight. It almost turned bad. Other than that there was nothing too exciting that happened as far as I can remember. Transfer calls are this Saturday which is crazy, this transfer went by really fast. Especially because last transfer was a seven week transfer. Other than that things are going well and I have nothing to complain about.
This last week was pretty good. We had a zone training meeting and then exchanges with the zone leaders. Elder Ham from my MTC district came to Republic with me and we had a grand ole time. We were able to see Jordan, the guy who went to Evangel university. He didn't bombard us with questions this time which I think is a good sign. He wasn't able to come to church yesterday because of mother's day but hopefully he'll come next week. He believes in the Book of Mormon, but right now he's wondering if Joseph Smith still was receiving revelation after the Book of Mormon, so we're going to get him the Doctrine and Covenants to read and go from there. We also saw Jessica and she's starting to read a lot more of the Book of Mormon and she's really enjoying it. She wasn't able to come to church yesterday either but she should be here next week too. Then Elijah, he grew Jewish, but not very active and he's kinda like a convert to Judaism because his dad one day was like: we're going to be jews. So they became Jews. He's more into the gospel intellectually and he's a strange guy. He also tried to recruit us to the masons. Which is the second time somebody I've taught has tried to recruit me to the masons. Maybe it's a sign... Anyways he didn't come to church yesterday either because of mother's day. But Sean came through and came to church! He's turning out to be pretty solid. He's a really good guy. We taught him the Plan of Salvation at a member's home and then we taught the rest of it yesterday at church during sunday school. Other than that, there's not too much else going on. I gave a talk yesterday in church. I based it off of the talk O remember, remember by President Eyring which is a really good talk if anybody wants something good to read this week. I was able to skype my family yesterday, only we didn't skype we used facebook video chat. It was really good to see them all. I'm not gonna lie, after I was done talking with my family I just scrolled through facebook just to see what people are doing back home and it was interesting because all these people are doing all these fun things and what not and posting it and they seem like they're having great lives, but the feeling I got while looking at their stuff was a hollow, empty feeling and it made me very grateful for the gospel in my life. It made me think of the Savior when he was at the well with the Samaritan woman and he told her that He could give her water that well I'll just quote the scripture: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. So yeah I never really understood that scripture until last night, so that was cool.
Monday, April 25, 2016
So we had stake conference yesterday and on Saturday. It was really good. We have a sweet stake president and he's super funny. He's also in one of the wards we cover. It also happens to be the ward that is struggling with missionary work, and has been struggling for a while. And it's also the ward that the first counselor in the mission presidency lives in. So we're not sure why it's struggling but we're making plans to get the work going. The problem is basically the members don't think the missionaries care about their ward so they don't care about it either. We're just going to do a bunch of active member lessons and see what comes of it. Other than that not too much happened. We've been trying by a bunch of people and been having very little luck all week. Hopefully this next week is better. We basically did a bunch of service all week. We also have this investigator who went to Bible college or whatever you do to become a pastor, but he requested a Book of Mormon because he was wondering why the college was knocking the Mormons all the time so he wanted to find out what they're all about. He's pretty open to what we teach him, but he also researches a lot of anti stuff, but he takes it with a grain of salt, but we're sure he also takes what we teach him with a grain of salt. So we end up answering a lot of questions that he has that are totally irrelevant. We'll see what happens with him. He also doesn't want to come to church because it's three hours long, which is funny because he studied to be a pastor... We also got a Book of Mormon request for this weird dude who just got out of the shower when he answered the door. He was all wet and shirtless and apparently he believes in pagan gods and bad dental hygiene. Specifically Thor and Odin. It was an interesting experience.
Monday, April 18, 2016
So this last week had a lot of good byes for Pea Ridge and Metfield and I was actually really sad to leave some of the members there and some of our investigators. But Republic and Chesterfield is pretty good. My new companion is a goofy dude and he's awesome, we get along really well. He's got three transfers left and I've got four so we're both at about the same time in our missions. We both want to work hard and finish strong and we like each other so it makes it a lot easier to do that. Our biggest problem is that we get along too well and sometimes just talk instead of study, but we're working on that. We've got a pretty nice apartment. Some other missionaries before us brought a huge carving of Jesus Christ's face into our apartment so we just have a huge face watching us all the time. We cleaned a bunch of junk out of our pantry and fridge the other day and we threw away about a couple hundred dollars worth of food. Some of it was expired some of it was just junk that we shouldn't be eating anyways. We've got some good investigators in Republic. One guy has been reading the Book of Mormon faithfully but he won't come to church until he gets his answer but we're seeing him tonight and we've got a solid lesson plan for him so we'll see what happens. We also taught this other investigator last night with some a member couple and it went so solid! She apparently used to be super turned off to the Book of Mormon but the missionaries taught her and she warmed up to it, and she loved the Plan of Salvation lesson. We taught her the word of wisdom and she was already living it and believes in all of it! Even the coffee and tea part! She goes to another church, but we invited her to stake conference this next week and she said she would come then she told us: I'm not going to tell my church because they're super judgmental. She's so solid. We have a few other investigators, but I haven't met them so that will have to wait til next week. Chesterfield is struggling right now but we've got a guy that the missionaries taught the first lesson to last week and he was a referral and we got a referral the other day that we still need to contact and then we actually got another kind of referral for an old lady that's had some struggles with her husband running out on her and draining all her bank accounts and stuff while she was dying in the hospital, so we're going to go talk to her and see what's up. So things are looking up. We've also got an anytime fitness right near by that we're going to work on our summer bodies with.
p.s my new address is 1600 Windmill Way Apt F205 Republic MO 65738
this is Daniel Poe
This is Tanner, Zach and Vicki and Rob Ingram. They're so awesome
This was the District in my last area.
This is Kimberly and Katherine left to right
This is the Andreasen family from Metfield. They're probably my favorite members there
This is Bernadette. She's a less active in Metfield and she always tells us crazy stories
This is the Curries, they're awesome! They're my other favorite members in Metfeild
This is the Sperrys. They're awesome and my other favorite members in Metfield. They actually know my grandparents. #smallworld
Monday, April 11, 2016
So this last week was kinda strange. Not really. We had MLC on Tuesday and that was really fun. It is always good to get instructed by President and Sister Loveland. One of our investigators has really started picking up steam. His name is Daniel. He lives out in Garfield which is basically the boonies. He's actually really sincere and wanting to learn. Even though he would seem to be kind of a backwoodsy guy, he is actually pretty sharp so that will help him. He just needs to read the Book of Mormon and he knows that because he says it ever ytime he asks a question pretty much. I also had exchanges with Elder Brown in my district and that was a blast. We had a great day and then we built a fire in our backyard and roasted marshmallows. They were super old marshmallows so they didn't taste that good. And the chocolate we had was really thick so they weren't the best smores. Also I found out a day later that the graham crackers were expired as well. But they still tasted good. Elder Brown and I had a really good heart to heart and he helped me out with some of my struggles so that was a tender mercy. The only other big thing is that one of our members has a girlfriend who is agnostic and her family is atheist. She came to church the a couple of weeks ago and then watched some conference and then came yesterday. Our stake had a mini-mission which was really fun, we had to lead district meetings with teenagers and it was difficult because they don't know how to be missionaries. Anyways her family was making fun of her for going to church because they're all atheists and she stood up to them and said that she knew she felt something and that she was going to keep going to church. So things are going pretty swell right now. But we got transfer calls the other night and I am actually leaving to go back to Springfield Missouri. I will be serving in the Republic ward as well as the Chesterfield ward. I'm actually going to be in the same district as my old area so that will be a good time.Love ya'll
Not too much happened this week. It was actually a really slow week. But we did have General Conference and that was fantastic and greatly needed. Zach was baptized yesterday and it was a great event. His mom was crying right after his dad baptized him. It's been such an awesome experience to work with that family. Tanner talked at the baptism about how much better their house has felt and how much better they've gotten along as a family since he got baptized and his family started coming back to church. So it was great to be a part of that. On Friday we went to the mission office to turn in some driving records and President Loveland asked us to take a truck up to Joplin which is like an hour north of us. So I got to drive in a truck while my companion drove our car behind me. It was a nice time to be alone for once. Really the only other semi-interesting thing that happened was that we helped the Sugar Creek Elders do some service. We went to this one lady's house who had to move out or something. Anyways, the place was the most disgusting place I've ever been in, and I've been in some disgusting houses on my mission let me tell ya... All we did was move some heavy stuff and then fill up some black trash bags with books that they were going to take to the library. This lady had literally thousands of books. So yeah that's about all.
Monday, March 14, 2016
So nothing too exciting happened this last week. But Zach is finally on date again, so that will be good to finally get him baptized. We're shooting for the 2 of April. We're pretty sure he can answer all the baptismal interview questions already so he should be fine by then. It will be interesting having a baptism in the middle of general conference... Also Kimberly and Katherine will be getting baptized this Saturday. If they can pass the interview... We went over it with them yesterday and they didn't remember as much as I was hoping they would but I think it will be ok because they've been having a ton of crazy stuff happen since they committed to be baptized so if the devil's trying to stop them then it must be good right? Also on Thursday we had MLC, and you might be wondering to yourself, Elder Naegle, you're not a zone leader anymore why did you go to MLC, well I'm not but they invited all the district leaders in the mission to come so I got to go. We had a guy by the name of Bro Hemingway come and instruct us. He is the Director of Proselyting, or something along those lines, for the entire church. He is a genius and he taught us some neat stuff. Basically he showed us how we were not using Preach My Gospel to it's fullest capacity. It blew my mind. We also had stake conference which was really good. President Loveland spoke in the Saturday night session and he totally called out all the parents and told them they should make sure their kids aren't looking at pornography it was funny. Actually, that's pretty sad when you think about it.... Anyways I think that's it other than we have zone conference on Friday and hopefully it's all about what we learned at MLC because I've kinda forgotten some of the stuff and you can only record so much in your notes.