Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mama Rika: Last Missionary Update from WV




Well, In my excitement this morning, I forgot my journal... hopefully I can recall the events of the week.

Monday:

Monday was great. We mostly just prepped for the baptism. Made some necessary phone calls and such. It was an exciting day

Tuesday:

We didn't realize how dirty the baptismal font was until we got there Tuesday morning. It hadn't been used for over a year. We had to clear the cobwebs, and scare the bugs off before we could start scrubbing it down. Thankfully we left ourselves enough time to get everything cleaned up and set up before we headed home, changed and showered up before the baptism.

We had just enough time to invite some other folks to come and see the baptism before it started. We had a great turnout, K was a nervous wreck. The baptism went pretty well. After the first talks and such, K and our branch president both got into the font. E. Nelson and I were witnesses. I got a little nervous when we opened the doors, it didn't look like there was enough water for both of them in there. K is 6 foot 3 and 280lbs, strong as an ox. Pres. A is similar in height, but more lanky.

He went down without a hitch, but it was a struggle getting them both back up... I don't think Pres. Ashcraft expected to get as wet as he did.  But, all is well that ends well.

Since General Conference was going to be that weekend, and Pres. Ashcraft wanted to get Kevin to the temple as soon as possible (probably later this month for baptisms.), we confirmed him at the baptism.

Wednesday:

In the morning we went to the M family rabbit farm. We helped them dig a ditch for some new electric wire going out to the Bunny Barn. After which, we had some sort of rice and meat concoction. It was some of the best rabbit I've ever eaten. MMMmmmmMMm I love Mannington West Virginia!

Later in the day, we taught C M. She basically just told us that she'd taken all the lessons before, and her only hold up last time was that she wasn't married. 

 After talking for a while, I said, "well it seems to me like you just want to get baptized."

She responded with " well... yeah."

"When would you like to do it?" I asked

"I'm open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays." came the reply.


  Over the next several days, much like K, we reviewed all the lessons, and she'll be baptized on Sunday the 13th (Sunday just seemed to work better with everyone's schedules). Miracles come in groups I guess.


Thursday:

We taught a few of our investigators. Cl seems to be doing much better than he was last week. Not a ton else to report.

Friday:

We had a zone meeting. We were only informed of this fact a few days before it actually happened. Our district leader forgot that he was supposed to prepare a district leader teaching portion, so he just winged it for us and did a pretty good job. He said after the fact "if it wasn't for E. Tebbs (one of our zone leaders) there, we would've just had a going away party for E. Connole."

We taught C again that night. Or rather, she more or less just taught us and we confirmed her teaching. (remind you of anyone?)

Saturday:

GENERAL CONFERENCE! Wahoo! I've said it before, but I'll say it again, General Conference to a missionary is like a die hard Cardinals fan watching the Cardinals win the Superbowl. The only difference is the missionaries get to see it twice a year, and it lasts 10 hours!  It was great.

Sunday:

See yesterday
And then we taught C right after a session.

Monday:

This is the part of the transfer where I run out of planner, and have to use the "week 7" spot at the back. It tries to fit an entire week's worth of planning on what normally would be used for half of the day.  So more or less, we taught a few more people, said some goodbyes yada yada

Tuesday:

See yesterday's entry:

And Trunkiness sets in.


That's all that's happened so far, let me give you a rundown of what the next few days will be like for me.

Wednesday:

Packing packing and more packing. see a few people in the evening, maybe grab some dinner. Try to go to sleep. (maybe)

Thursday:

Arrive in Clarksburg around 8 am with luggage in hand. Drive down to Charleston. Say goodbyes, listen to the who's who gibberish of the mission. Get to the transfer church around 11am. Fret about going home. Listen somewhat distractedly at whoever's speaking.

Leave the building, check my baggage, realize I left something in mannington. Forget about it and move forward. Somewhere in there, get to the mission home, eat dinner, departing interview, sleep (maybe).

Friday:

Depart 7am from the Airport. Arrive at home airport around 1pm (ideally) hug family, probably cry and laugh. Eat food. yada yada. Stay up late talking.. sleep (maybe)

Saturday:
Begin real life.... sleep (optional)


Love ya!


Monday, September 30, 2013

Mama Rika Missionary Update (2nd to last update!)

Traveling in a northern southerly direction.

This is the "road" the gps told them to take.


He got a kick out of the sign.
This week has definitely been a week of miracles. We'll begin at the beginning.
Monday:
  We had an appointment with C. C was our only real hope left for a baptism before the end of the month. We felt the promise of the Lord that it could happen before the end of the month if we worked hard and had the faith to produce miracles. In order for C to be baptized, we would have had to teach him every day that week, and we still needed to set up a baptismal interview. Things weren't looking so good.
However, we pressed forward with faith, and went to our appointment with C. Well, his family was over, and we couldn't meet with him then. We were a little disappointed, but we realized that it still could be done before Saturday if we really pushed for it.
Tuesday:
We didn't have an appointment with C, so we just stopped by. Unfortunately C was sicker than he had been in weeks, and he didn't really get much out of the lesson we had prepared. Mostly we just ended up talking with him. He gets few visitors, so it's awfully nice for him when he can just have someone to talk to. In C was more or less embodied our last hope. And with the quality (or lack thereof) of that lesson, we knew for sure that he couldn't be baptized that week, and it wasn't really looking like any week soon either.

Somehow though, coming out of that lesson, I still felt at peace about the whole thing. I felt that even if there would be no baptism for us in the month of September, we had done many great things here for the branch as a whole. I knew that God was pleased with our efforts regardless of the results that ensued.
We had a few other families that we needed to stop by and see that evening. Each lesson went well, but we were late in getting to our dinner/lesson appointment with K and T.   K is not a member, but his wife, T has been a member all her life. They came to church this past week, and K told us he wanted to meet with us. He'd been to the Washington D.C. temple visitors center a week before we met with him.
After getting dinner and sitting down, almost immediately K started peppering us with questions:
"How does tithing work?"
"How does fasting work?"
"What do I need to do in order to get to the temple to be sealed to my wife?"
"What is baptism?"
"What steps do I need to take to go down this path?"
"What is the word of wisdom? I can get rid of my mountain dew if that would be better"
"What is the Priesthood?"
We couldn't really pump out answers quick enough to fill his insatiable desire to learn. It was amazing. He was so ready to listen and so eager to learn.
President A, our branch president, showed up around 7pm. T had invited him over to give Ka blessing. Pres. A sat in a bit for our part of the lesson. We invited K to be baptized which he readily accepted. Honestly he was so fired up about the temple that it was more like "Oh, and by the way, there's this baptismal ordinance that you'll need to take care of before you can go to the temple."
He accepted a baptismal date of the upcoming Monday, September 30th. Which was 6 days away. I was a little wary in asking him, not knowing what His, or Pres. A's reaction would be. But, to my surprise, both were enthusiastic about the idea.
President A had to take off a little early, so after he left, we immediately delved into the Restoration lesson. He was just eating it up. Most of the time he did the talking, and was telling us what he already knew about the restoration.

After we polished up that lesson, we answered his questions, and set up an appointment for the following afternoon.
We went home rejoicing in the Lord's many blessing he poured out to us. We immediately called President PItt, and let him know of the miracle that just happened. We called the zone Leaders, and our district leader and let them know about it. We called the ward mission leader and he was ecstatic. We were just phone calling fools that night.

Wednesday:
Wednesday rolls around. And we called Ch P and asked if she and her husband could come and help with the lesson we would teach later that day. She readily agreed, and bursted into tears (they are related somehow, cousins of some sort)  when we told her that he was going to be baptized next week. She insisted on calling my mom (which ended up being a story in and of itself), and we met up later that afternoon.
We went to go see K around 2pm. He more or less taught us the Plan of Salvation lesson, I was impressed with his knowledge of the plan as a whole. We basically just told him that he was correct, and used a few scriptures to add to the testimony of its truth.
Bro. and Sis. P showed up  a little bit after we started into the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson. They rode over on Bro. P's Harley. It was a great entrance I thought. Anyway, Bro. P bore a powerful testimony of his conversion to the Gospel. He was married to Sis. P for 27 years before he decided to join to the church. It's was hard to watch a tough man start to cry like that.
We realized that we had been there long enough, and took off while the P stayed and chatted a while.
Thursday:
We finished up teaching all the commandment lesson (that's an ordeal in and of itself) He didn't have any hold ups, so we set up for a baptismal interview that Sunday evening up in New Martinsville. (about an hour away)
Friday:
We met with some of the other branch members Friday evening. They were having an Emergency prep class. you could really see the excitement in their eyes as we told them about the miracles of the past few days. They haven't seen a baptism here in over a year. We talked to our elders quorum president, Bro. Foley, and he had a referral for us which I'll go into more detail later in this letter. Her name is Chr
Saturday:
We had a busy day, we contacted about 5 referrals. We also made a lot of phone calls and visits to get the Baptism all set up and ready. We ended having to move the day to Tuesday October 1st. Just one day later due to some conflicting schedules. It is interesting though to note that K will be baptized exactly 2 weeks from the day he went to the visitor's center at the temple.
Sunday:
Sunday was pretty awesome. We had church, and immediately after we did a 5th Sunday dinner. After church, we drove up to New Martinsville and Kevin was interviewed by our district leader. It went really well. He was cleared for baptism, and Tuesday October 1st will be the day.
 
Since New Martinsville is so close to the Ohio border, we took a quick jaunt over the Ohio river just so that I can say that I've been to Ohio.
When we got back, we got a text from the Fo family telling us that we were to meet with the M's with them that evening at 7pm. Chr wanted to be baptized.
We showed up and found out that she'd taken all the missionary lessons in Clarksburg, understood all of them pretty well, and had been going to church for over 3 years. After talking with her for a while, we said, "it seems like you just want to get baptized." and she responded in the affirmative. We whipped out the calendar, and decided on the 13th of October. She is super ready for it.


It's been a week of miracles, who would've thought we would've had such success just poured out upon us. Miracles happen when we are willing to give our all. I know that now.

Love ya!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mama Rika Missionary Update (The first of the last 3!)

You know, I don't know if this is normal, but I've found out that getting up and going for a good run in the morning really makes the day that much better. I just feel great about the week.

Monday:

Well, we had a wonderful p-day, as usual. Relaxing, not much going on. Time to just kick back and smell the roses. We started teaching another part-member family that evening. The husband R is not a member yet, but he'd sure make a good one. He loves scouting and family and hard work. Maybe in the future when we get more young men in the branch, we can have R work with them in scouting. Who knows, it could happen.

Tuesday;

One Tuesday we had a zone specialized training. I was invited to do a special musical number. I whipped together a piano arrangement of two primary hymns: "I Like to Look For Rainbows" and "I Love To See the Temple". It went better than I expected. I want to try and record it sometime when I get home.

 It was the big meeting for the month and the last big meeting before I go home. It is tradition in the WVCM to have the old-fart missionaries give a departing testimony in their last big meeting before they "go the way of all the earth". I was the only missionary in the zone giving a departing testimony, and I had to do it right after President Pitt played an amazing talk by Elder Holland.

It was a talk given at the MTC in Jan of 2011. It  was almost identical to his talk given in General Conference entitled "The Great Commandment" (i think) Anyway, he taught about Peter and Christ's exchange where Christ asks Peter three times, "Do you love me?"

Elder Holland's words hit me hardest when he repeated in several variations the words "You cant' go back." It was then that the tears started flowing and I realized that I needed to accept that fact that my mission was coming to a close and that I needed to move on. I needed to realize that I was holding on too much to the un-lived dreams of my past missionary areas and not looking forward enough to the bright prospects of my immediate future. I think my mind at that point finally decided to stop dreading the end of my mission, and start enjoying the prospects of a happy life after the mission. It was really a wonderful thing.

I then bore my testimony standing there alone, and seeing the bright and talented young missionaries that they were. I felt like I could at least leave the mission in good hands.
Anyway, after getting back to our apartment, and feeling like we could conquer the world, our two solid appointments for that evening both cancelled on us. And worse, one of them was a dinner appointment... :(

To try to see the brighter side of things, we walked down to the post office in hopes of mail... Nada. One the way back, we met this lady that was really high, and was swearing like crazy. We returned to our apartment had nothing set for dinner and a very messy kitchen.

Nevertheless, with a heart full of joy, (sorta) I plowed away at the dishes while E. Nelson started making tacos. (they were delicious by the way)

We started to head out to Idamay after dinner to contact some referrals. Halfway there, we realized we left the contact information at the apartment. grrr.... So we drove to the house and grabbed it. We tried to contact a part-member family, but instead we found out that their friendly, but uninterested neighbor had "already been saved."

By this time it was getting dark, but we had a couple more referrals to contact. When we got there, the lights were on, and the cars were there, but nobody besides the noisy dog answered the door. Since it was dark out, I was hesitant to knock on the neighbor's door to see if they knew where our referral was at. (this was a method recommended to us by our mission president to find more people to teach)  On the other hand, neither Elder Nelson or I wanted to leave until we found out why the Lord had sent us this direction.

After discussing for a minute, Elder Nelson spotted a few people outside a neighboring house. We went up and started talking to them. At the end of an hour long conversation between two missionaries and three teenage boys, We left each of them a Book of Mormon and specific scriptures to read that addressed their individual questions or concerns.

It was a miracle.

Wednesday:

I guess to make up for the lengthy amount of words on Tuesday, I neglected my Journaling of Wednesday... I don't really recall what happened that day.

Thursday:

We went to go see C, one of our investigators. We had planned to teach him using John chapter 21, but we never really finished the lesson we had planned. The spirit led us another direction. We invited him to be baptized, and he said he'd like to do it, but he didn't feel like he was physically able to endure baptism.

He's an older gentleman, and just getting up to go to the bathroom he has to take breathing medicine. The spirit was strong and we offered him a blessing, he initially declined, but said he'd like to have it after church on Sunday. We agreed and told him that if he had faith he would be healed and ready for baptism the following Saturday.

Oh yea, and we had switch drivers on Thursday, Elder Nelson had a rough time with the truck... We ended up in a couple ditches, but we found our way out in the end.

Friday:

We had a referral to contact up in the northern part of our area, really close to the Pennsylvania border. Unfortunately, we only had a P.O. Box and a name. We spent several hours trying to find out if anyone knew this person and it bore but little fruit.

Saturday:

We went and saw C again, this time we taught him the about keeping the Sabbath day holy.

Sunday:

C and his Grandson Cr came to church! Wahoo! It went super well.

Also, we had a couple show up at church, T and K. She is a member, but her husband, K, is not. They had both been on the temple grounds earlier that week and K had said that someday he wanted to go in. We introduced ourselves, and he invited us over for dinner and a lesson in his home. How awesome is that? I'm sure I maintained dignified look on the outside, but on the inside I was doing cartwheels, fist pumps, and heel clicks. Wahoo!

Also, later that evening, we gave C a blessing. It was interesting how it worked out. He was supposed to get a blessing right after church, but for whatever reason he declined again. When we stopped by at 6pm, he again initially declined our invitation to receive a blessing. He told us that he didn't feel like he was ready yet. Then he thought for a minute, and his demeanor changed, and he said something like, "Oh, whatever! I guess we can do it now."

There was a sweet peace in the room as I sealed the anointing that E. Nelson had done. When all was said and the blessing was finished, C said he had started feeling better already.

It's a time for miracles isn't it?


Love ya!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mama Rika Missionary Update





Well, here goes nothing....


Monday:

We decided that we should conserve miles and not go into Fairmont to do laundry. We have a washer at our place in Mannington, but no dryer. Kind of odd, but that's how it is. By the end of the day, our townhouse had random articles of clothing draped over banisters, doors, chairs, couches, etc., trying to get them dry. I'll be so grateful when I don't have to stress about getting my laundry done.

Later that evening we stopped by a few part member families in the ward. We started teaching a particular family with an 18 yr old son. He took a Book of Mormon, and said he'd give us one lesson and go from there. Let's hope we get his interest from the get go.

Tuesday:

Tuesday was really productive. We found several new investigators as we walked through downtown Farmington. ( Population of maybe 100, and I think that may be pushing it.) It's got one of the only doctor's clinics for miles, so people come there. We taught a couple of people who were one their way back out to their cars from their doctor's appointments. It worked really well. 

Wednesday:

Not a ton happened until about dinner time. The W's picked us up for dinner, and afterwards, Bro. W came out with us. I was really impressed with him. He even had a bum leg at the time. Something wrong with his knee. We started teaching a guy named R G. It was just on the doorstep, but it went really well. I think he and his wife will get baptized. They have some really good member friends that referred us to them. 

Thursday:

Teaching, teaching and more teaching! It was good day we taught a total of about 4 or 5 lessons. One of our lessons, we had planned and prepared to teach the Plan of Salvation lesson, however, after asking a few questions, we found out that he hadn't been reading anything yet. So instead of plowing ahead we just read with him instead. I've come to find out that in a conversion to the gospel, their personal reading of the book of mormon is probably the most important aspect of their conversion.

Friday:

We had an excellent lesson with R again. This time we taught his whole family. The lesson went really well. This time we brought the B's along, and they stayed afterwards and talked for another hour or so. It went really, really well. R accepted a baptismal date, while his wife was a little more hesitant.

Saturday:

On Saturday we were able to contact a couple of referrals, and teach a few part member families. One of the people we taught asked us this question: "can you tell me your experience of Jesus being in you?" if we translate that from pentecostal to mormon it should read "can you tell me about your testimony of Jesus Christ and the Power of the Holy Ghost?"

Sunday:

Had a couple of less active members and non members at church. It was really great. We were really happy about it. We taught a little class of 3 people and after the lesson we all talked about missionary work. It was cool to see the faith of recently returning members. They have such a fire to the Lord's work. We'll fill up that room in there, and soon we'll fill up the whole branch building. It'll be great.

That's the week for me! 

Just another day in the life!

Love ya!





Monday, September 9, 2013

Mama Rika Double Feature Missionary Update

This guy will be home in a month!  Here's the updates from the last two weeks...

September 3, 2013

Well, the past few days have been pretty crazy here. I can't say I was expecting to get transferred. On the ride up, I broke zippers on both of my luggage pieces.... gah! It was super stupid. However, I think I can finagle it to work at least for the plane ride home.

As usual, when getting doubled into an apartment, there was a lot of  cleaning up to do. I swear that President Pitt has made me into the unofficial missionary apartment cleaner-upper.  As usual, we cleaned out the 7 year old food out of the fridge and pantry.  As well as cleaning, dusting and vacuuming each room. (we still haven't gotten to the upstairs parts yet. We live in a townhouse.)  We threw away a couch or two, and then figured out that the apartment came equipped with a single air conditioning unit, and no dressers of any sort. Bleh....

We met a few of the members on friday night. Bro. B is our Branch mission leader, He's really awesome. I'm excited to work with him. The members have been really supportive lately. I've been really excited to work here. The Branch hasn't had very much success lately. It's been a while since their last baptism, and their faith is a little low. E. Nelson (my new companion) and I are here to rebuild their faith and excitement for missionary work.

We have an average of about 30-40 members show up to church each week. We don't have very strong numbers of young people. Our primary generally consists of 0-5 kids, depending on which families show up. We currently have one young man who comes regularly. Most of the members are older couples who have lived in the area for all of their lives. We're trying to focus on finding young families and getting them out to church.

Mannington Branch is really close to two of my previous area, Fairmont and Clarksburg. So, Yesterday, when we went to go do laundry, we did it in Fairmont at the Bishop's laundromat. It was pretty funny to see the looks on their faces when I walked in. They didn't expect it at all.

In addition to teaching several new investigators and taking members out with us, we also were able to help build a hayloft, and my companion was defeated by the He-man eating challenge, when we went to lunch. (I tried and failed last year when I was in Fairmont, it's a garbage can lid full of breakfast food.)

Anyway, It's been a fun past few days.

Love ya!

September 9 2013
This week I did a poor, poor, job at journal writing. So Hopefully I can still muster up something of a good letter.

The goal that was given me from President Pitt when I got here was to get a baptism, a true conversion, in this area. The branch hasn't had a baptism in over a year. So we're here and we'll get it. I think I've started to realize that all high baptizing areas are based almost entirely on faith.The faith of missionaries, the faith of members, and the faith of investigators. They all add up to the miracle of baptism and true conversion. I've been reminded of the verses from Moroni chapter 7 which read:

33 And Christ hath said: aIf ye will have bfaith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is cexpedient in me.
34 And he hath said: aRepent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved.
35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with apower and great glory at the last bday, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he awithheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that amiracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of bunbelief, and all is vain.

Miracles happen.

Tuesday:

Throughout the day we found a couple of new investigators. The Lord really blessed us. One of them, his name was C. He'd been taught by missionaries previously. He's an older gentleman who has some health problems (on oxygen, in a wheelchair, etc.). He was really excited to see us. He invited us in right away. He said he was always really happy when his "Brothers" would come to see him. We found out that he had come to church a few weeks earlier and had felt immensely blessed by going. He told us how he was really cold while in sacrament meeting and that one of the members went out to her car, got a blanket, and lovingly draped it over his shoulders.

He was so impressed by this that he told us he wanted to come back again and again. It's amazing how the small and simple things make all the difference. I'm so grateful to whichever member that might have been, whose simple act of love made all the difference for this man.

Wednesday:
Had a cold start to come on Wednesday which made the day a lot less fun. However we were able to get some good member involvement with a couple different members coming out to a couple different lessons.

Thursday:

Cold was really bad, but not so much to keep us from getting out. We had a great dinner appointments that night with some members, where they gave us about 5 or 6 referrals. Right after dinner we had an appointment to get to, so we asked if one of the members would be willing to come with us. They jumped right on that, and we taught that night with a member present.

Friday:

Friday we had a wonderful zone meeting up in Morgantown. It was really faith-building. It was based on a talk that I will attach to this email. It was on faith. It was an awesome talk, and I highly recommend reading it. It was given by Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy, in Lima Peru, at the Area Council Meeting of the Andes area in 1980.

After a power packed zone meeting, we went on exchanges with our district leader. I got to be with E. Turner, the District Leader's companion. and we went and contacted many Part member families, and referrals from the ward. We contacted a particular family who, we were told, were attending the Methodist church. The wife was a member, but the husband was not.

I was surprised at how friendly and open they were to hear from us. The nonmember husband started asking a few really good questions.  He asked, "If your church believes in more scripture, like the Book of Mormon, given from prophets, then why aren't there more sciptures given today?" 

We explained how the words of the prophets are scripture, and that twice a year we have General Conference where we can hear more of God's word. We also explained a little about church magazines and other church material that was produced with words of the prophets. He liked that answer and invited us to come back again the next week.

Saturday:

Saturday was some more contacting of referrals. I've probably received more referrals here than anywhere else in my mission. We're having trouble keeping up with all of them. In fact, we've been receiving referrals faster than we can contact them. It's a pretty great problem to have.

Around 6 or so, when we exchanged back with the New Martinsville elders, we saw that there was a car show going on downtown in Mannington, Since we needed dinner anyway, we stopped and grabbed a bite to eat at one of the little shops set up, and and ate while we admired the beautiful cars. It reminded me of the fun times spent in Escondido at the Crusin' Grand car show in the summer.

Sunday:

Sunday we had an awesome Stake Conference. We had two people speak who had just received their mission calls, following which, we had President and Sister Pitt speak. Then we heard briefly from the Stake President, and then from the a member of the Washington D.C. Temple Presidency, Pres. Pratt. It was awesome! Every talk was geared toward missionary work.

Anyway, it's been a good week so far, more good stuff in the future!




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mama Rika Missionary Moments

From August 12:

We had a baptism this week! That always makes it a good week.
Monday:
After the usual pday stuff up in oakhill, We went to the mall.  E. Peterson wanted to purchase some cleats. We found out there was a music store at the mall, so we decided to check it out. E. Peterson played guitar a lot before his mission, so he was as excited as I was.
I was pretty stoked when they said I could give the pianos a try. I shot straight for the 1936 baby grand. phew! It had such a beautiful sound to it, the type that only old pianos have. It was in fairly good shape for how old it was. I just wish I had $4000 to throw around. so I could've brought it home with me. Someday....
Oh yeah! We also went to go teach a part member family. I say "we" but I really mean that E. Peterson did the teaching. Basically for an hour or so, I managed to keep her two crazy kids occupied while E. Peterson taught the restoration. I was only able to catch clips and phrases of the lesson, even though I was sitting right next to him. I guess it went really well because he invited her to be baptized, and she's working toward Sept 14th.  I was a proud papa that day.

Tuesday- Wednesday:
Well, lets see here, I went on an exchange with the Oakhill elders. I began packing my things around the time the other elders showed up. However, E. Wagstaff wasn't feeling well, so I ended up staying at the house with him for a few hours while E. Peterson and E. Williams went to some appointments.
To make things more complicated, one of the Travelling assistants, E. Syndergaard (yes, people mess up his name all the time. think "cinder block" mixed with "crossing guard": "Cinder guard") came to the area as well.

Thankfully, by the time he showed up, E. Wagstaff was feeling better, and E. Williams and E. Peterson came back from their appointments. So, E. Williams and I headed up to Oakhill, while E. Peterson took charge of the area with E. Syndergaard and E. Wagstaff coming along.
While I was up in oakhill with E. Williams, we found 3 new investigators. and taught several lessons. It was good for their area
Throughout our exchange, I would get phone calls from E. Peterson asking for directions on how to get to our investigator's houses.  But the good news is that they taught a bunch of lessons, and they found an apartment for the sister missionaries who will be joining us in the ward next transfer.
Anyway, we exchanged back when G got her baptismal interview.
Thursday:

Somewhere on Thursday, we ran into a bunch of drunk people, one of which we actually started teaching and are seeing some progress with.
Friday:
We had zone meetings on Friday. We were held up in dead stop traffic for over 45 min right before the last toll booth coming into Charleston. Apparently a Semi crashed and caught on fire. They were scraping the remains of the engine off the asphalt when we finally were able to drive by.  Guess what the semi was transporting that day. Pigs! We were hoping to also find a backed up lettuce-and-tomato truck right after we heard that news. I'm sure we all could've used a BLT after that long wait.
Saturday:
G was baptized! Yay! It was a good service.
I was the one actually performing the baptism.The first time we tried, I guess I neglected to say the word "amen" but the witnesses didnt' catch it at first. So I unplugged the font, and went to change. Well, Bishop came in and let me know that we did it wrong. My initial reaction was, "it's such a little word, I'm sure the Lord understands" And that's what I told bishop. Afterwards I felt pretty uneasy about it. I didn't really feel at peace until I learned that we were going to re-do the baptism.

The font had drained quite a bit by this time, so we started filling up again. We finished the rest of the service, and then re-did the baptism when the font was full.  I'm glad we did. I think the spirit was trying to teach me that the Lord's house is a house of order, and that we need to do things the correct  way. It was a good learning experience for me.
Sunday:
G was confirmed by Elder Peterson. That went well. We also got caught in the rain sometime during the day.
Well, that's it for this week, We're shooting for 21 member presents and 10 at church this next week. It should be a good one!
Love Ya!

August 19:

Monday:
 
E. Peterson and I decided, in an attempt to not deplete our diminishing mileage allotment, to not go to O's apartment (a drive of 40 miles round trip.) This meant that we would not see our missionary buddies for the day, nor would we be able to use their free laundry machine. But, even with this in mind, we figured that the exchange of less money and more miles would be worth it.
 
So we stayed in Beckley. We searched around for a suitable laundromat, and found one down by the shopping center. We grabbed a bite to eat, then headed in to do our laundry. The amount of money it cost to do our laundry exceeded that of what I originally thought, but I was still willing to give it a try.
 
Well, we put our laundry in, and started them up, and then realized that we forgot to purchase any sort of soap/detergent. Unable to stop the machines for a moment, we rushed up to the counter, and bought a couple of packs of soap and poured them in the dispenser. Crisis averted. We were a little concerned that the soap might not get down to the clothes since we put it in late, but it didnt' seem to have any adverse effects.
 
About 15 min into the cycle, we were informed that the main water line broke, and was flooding the back rooms. So they shut off all the water and we had to wait until the repair man came and fixed it before we could restart our machines again. That was somewhat annoying.
 
And to top it all off, after we had put our clothes in the dryer and started it, the lady at the counter informed us that those machines dried about two times slower than the dryers on the other side of the room. grrr... It was a long day at the laundromat....
 
After the laundromat, things got better. We were able to take a member out with us to 3 appointments.
 
Tuesday:
 
 We taught our Haitian investigator at the library that morning. Thank goodness for google translate!
 
I was really impressed with one of our members who came out with us. He lives out in Hinton, and drives about 40 miles one way to get to church every week. He drives similar distances to come out and teach with us. What great faith! I've learned to appreciate the sacrifices that are made by faithful members such as him. We taught a couple of our regular investigators with him.
 
Wednesday:
 
 I must have been pretty tired Wednesday night because my Journal entry was only a couple choppy sentences long. "We saw a lot of people today" This was followed by a list of the names of the people. "Got a lot done"
 
Thursday:
We had a long plannning session on Thursday. I started going nuts toward the end of it. I felt like the kid who was forced inside on a beautiful sunny day to practice his unwanted piano lessons. The one who gazes longingly out the window watching the neighbor kids playing baseball in the street. It was really great to get out when we finally did. I just love being amongst the people, wherever they may be.
 
We had a great dinner appointment with the B's. They invited the A's to come over. (The A's are an older couple and bro. A is working toward baptism.) Sister A is such an energetic, cute old lady, and she often has her "old person moments" as I call them. For example randomly in the middle of our dinner conversation, she looks right at E. Peterson and says "You know, you'd look really cute as a sailor." There was a short moment of silence followed by domr roaring laughter. E. Peterson eventually replied with "I beg to differ, but thank you anyway."
 
Later that evening we went over to M's house. We have been meeting with him for a week or so he's in his early 30's. He explained through his tears that he'd done many terrible things in his life, and that he was to the point that he couldn't even ask God for forgiveness. It's hard to see a grown man cry. 
 
We discussed  forgiveness with him, and read alma 36. E. Peterson invited him to pray right then and there. He prayed with such earnestness, and was so sincere and real. Afterwards, we explained the importants of making restitution and he committed to start that weekend with his dad. I hope it goes well.
 
Friday:
 
 We volunteered the soup kitchen, and E. Peterson set up an appointment for the next day with a guy he met there named P.
 
Later that evening the Mx's came out with us. G was baptized last week, and her husband has returned out of inactivity. They were so perfect for our lessons. G did such a great job at fellowshipping another of our investigators, and Mk did amazing at our next appointment. He bore a powerful testimony of tithing, it was so good that basically all E. Peterson and I did was say "yup, we agree. J (our investigator) will you live the law of tithing?"
 
Saturday:
 
Saturday was awesome! We taught one of teh best 1st lessons I've ever taught. We had an investigator named P. We got to know him for the first little while, then taught an awesome, awesome restoration lesson. He was so excited to get his own copy of the book of mormon to read and pray about. Hopefully he'll make it to baptism.
 
Sunday:
 
Church was great! We had a bunch of people there. In fact, people were looking for an empty seat anywhere. It was exciting to see the increase in our sacrament meeting attendence. Picked up a few new investigators that day. President PItt came into town to interview one of our baptismal candidates, in the end, president suggested that we wait for a little while longer before we actually have him baptized.  In the end we all felt like this would be a good move. so we'll wait off a few weeks.
 
 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mama Rika Missionary Moment

Late again getting this out for the week.  Pretty soon this boy will be home.  At that point, it will probably be the demise of this blog and the start of a new one that yields more than just my missionary's updates that this one has evolved into.  Have a great week!  mlc  

Monday:

Monday morning we were pretty exhausted. We had a really relaxed pday. We had dinner with the Y Family, and we taught an investigator at their house. Our next appointment fell through, so we went home and set up appointments for the rest of the week.

The Travelling Assistants then gave us a call. They told us they were on their way over and were staying the night. They got a late start on their trip to Buena Vista, and just decided to finish the trip the next morning. It was great to have them there.

Tuesday:

We had a pretty good day on Tuesday. We went to go visit a member who was in the hospital. While we were there, one of his neighbors who we had started teaching a few weeks earlier showed up! We taught her while we were there in the hospital. It was a great little blessing that the Lord placed in our hands.

We were booked for the evening, so we didn't end up eating dinner till 9pm.

Wednesday:

Wednesday was weird. I guess I was probably more tired than I originally thought. I also didn't sleep well that night. I woke up at 1:30 am, thinking it was 6:30am. I got up and started getting ready for the day, but gave up when I saw the clock in the kitchen telling me to go back to sleep for 5 more hours.

Well, the 6:30 alarm didn't wake me up. (which NEVER happens) but thankfully it went off again 5 minutes later, and that one did wake me up. Again I started getting up for the day, but I felt almost as if It was still 1:30. I felt horrible as I started to work out, horrible as a took a shower, and horrible as I started breakfast. So I told E. Peterson I was going to lie down for a few minutes, and I passed out for another 6 hours.

I've never felt more exhausted in my life. It was ridiculous. I felt better after the nap, and we worked the rest of the day without any problems.

We did have one cool thing happen. We stopped by a member to see if he'd be able to come out with us later that week. (his phone is out, otherwise we would've just called him.) He had brought his sister to church with him a few weeks earlier, and she had received a gospel principles book. She was there, and we started talking with her. Come to find out, she had read almost the whole gospel principles book and loved it! Awesome!

Thursday:

We did our weekly planning and whatnot. Then we had an appointment in town with an investigator. We were supposed to meet by the water fountain, but they never showed up. We started to walk home, and on the way, we ended up teaching two other lessons to three new investigators.

One of the people we taught just stopped us on the street, and asked us for a bible. We gave him a BoM and explained what it was. He thought that was pretty cool, and even offered to buy us a hot dog. (if we hadn't just eaten, I would've said yes. They smelled delicious.)

Later that evening, we had a member with us. He bought some groceries for a needy investigator. As we were leaving, the investigator told us that he wanted to be baptized. We were kind of dumbstruck. I wasn't really expecting it at all. Since it was late, we told him we'd go over that more in detail next time.


Friday:

We drove up to Charleston for our interviews with President Pitt. Things went really well. I always love doing that.

The trip home was long and exhausting and when we got back we did... something... well... I didn't write anything down in my journal about it...hmmmm. I'm sure it was great, whatever we did.

Saturday:

Ok, so on Saturday we had an appointment with that investigator who asked about baptism. He's really lonely and likes to talk, so he talked to us for about an hour or so. When we told him we had to leave to our next appointment, he said, "Wait! Hold on, we haven't even talked about baptism yet."

So we sat and discussed baptism for a while. He told us that he'd been baptized about a month ago, but now he was pretty sure that the guy who baptized him didn't actually have the authority to do so. He also told us that he thought our church did have that authority.

 Meanwhile I'm thinking, "is this guy for real? Nobody out here has any sort of concept of priesthood authority. It's often the biggest hold up that people have with the church. And he's telling us the other guy didn't have proper authority! Awesome!"

So that was pretty cool.

Sunday:

We had 6 investigators show up to church! Yes! It was fantastic. That's the most I've had in a single week for my whole mission! Great things are happening here.

We taught a family that has some rowdy kids. We showed them the restoration dvd, and they finally got something out of the lesson! Yes!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Mama Rika's Missionary's Miracles Week

Alright, this week was a week full of miracles. I wish everyone could just be there for them, but I guess my inadequate writing skills will have to suffice.

My previous companion and I had set a goal of getting 20 member present lessons in a single week. We had a pretty exhausting week last week and ended up with 12. Which was pretty good, but not quite what we were shooting for. This week we were bound and determined to hit at least 15 so we could work toward that goal of 20. Let's see if I can give this week the justice it deserves.

Monday:

Monday was pday. E. Peterson and I woke up at 4am. Some annoying electric alarm was going off, which we found out later that it was E. Peterson's stop watch. What a terrible way to start off the week!

The day didn't immediately get any better. Somehow both E. Peterson and I slept through our normal 6:30 alarm (something I haven't done since I was being trained) So we ended up being late to get our laundry started, our studies, our shopping, and eventually everything else we did that day.

When we finished with our usual pday stuff we utilized a gift from one of the members; 4 tickets to the national jamboree. Cool! We changed into some grubbies, and headed off. We knew we would be tight on time. But we didn't realize how long it would take to get bussed in and out of the place and be able to do anything worthwhile.

By the time we got there, we shot straight to the LDS tents. They were in charge of (can you believe it?) the genealogy and family life merit badges, as well as an award only offered this year to celebrate the church's 100th anniversary of uniting with the BSA. They called the award the Thomas S. Monson award.

We didn't have any problems until we showed up at the tent. As soon as the members saw our name tags, the bombarded us with questions and introduced us to a billion people. As E. Peterson put it, "man I felt like Jesus in there!'. We had a hard time getting away. However, we were honorably given the Thomas S. Monson award without passing off any of the necessary requirements. (a few of which you couldn't be a missionary without doing. Such as sharing what you believe with a friend)

We also were introduced to Bro. Dahlquist (spelling?) He was the former General Young Men's president. It was really strange because he was all dressed up in his scouting uniform, not a tie or suit anywhere to be seen.

Well, we were about an hour late to our dinner appointment later that evening. It was some investigators feeding us, and we brought a member along to that appointment, and to our next appointment. We had to leave before we could finish our second appointment, so the member we brought along offered to stay and finish teaching/ fellowshipping our investigator. He did a great job too.

 After which we brought a mother and daughter to another appointment we had with a part member family.Awesome lesson, great fellowshipping, couldn't be any better. All in all it was a rushed, but rewarding day.

Member Present Lessons: 3/20
Time Left: 6 days

 Tuesday:

We had a few appointments fall through throughout the day. E. Peterson and I did some walk n' talk (street contacting). We didn't even get a block away from our house before we started talking to a lady who just had a good friend die. She was in tears and was so grateful that we stopped by and said we must have been sent from God.

A few blocks later, we had another lady in tears. She was really down in the dumps with all the mistakes she'd made in life, and really needed a boost.

We didn't have any members out with us until we took our bishop to the one appointment we had that day at 5pm. I felt like the Lord needed us where we walked to that afternoon.

Member Present Lessons: 4/20
Time Left: 5 days

Wednesday:

 We got a referral on Sunday from the ward clerk. He told us an elderly lady had called who had recently moved in to the ward.  She wanted to get back into activity in the church, and her husband wanted to be baptized.Score!  We brought a member along, and we taught him the restoration. He told us he had felt such a big relief after hearing the message. He loved it and was soaking everything in. Plus he's like 71 years old and has only one hand.

We also met with O and taught her at a member's home... sorta, it was outside next to a non-cooperative bonfire. (wet wood will do that)

Member Present Lessons: 6/20
Time Left: 4 days

Thursday:

While we were weekly planning, I got a phone call from an 801 number: Utah. When I answered, I found out it was from E. Stoven, my companion back in Richlands over a year ago. He was in town visiting the mission with his family. We met up at the Tamarack, gave a few hugs, told a few stories, and went our separate ways. It was weird seeing his family in real life instead of just pictures.

We took a member with us to go see two more of our investigators. One was an excommunicated member, and another was a part member family. Both  lessons went really well.

Member Present Lessons: 8/20
Time Left: 3 days

Friday:

Friday morning we helped out at a soup kitchen. Which was great!  I loved it. After which we took a member with us to go see a few investigators. Including one of our preacher friends who has been reading the Book of Mormon. We also met with the Andersons again, and we took a member with us to a hilarious couple out in Beaver.

Member Present Lessons: 11/20
Time Left: 2 days

Saturday:

By this point we were really trying to at least just hit 15 member present lessons. We were nine short of our goal, with ony 2 days to get it all done. Well the Lord had other plans than just 15.

First thing in the morning we stopped by a less active member. Our hope was to invite him to a lesson later that day. However instead we started talking to his neighbor. The member just showed up on the porch out of nowhere and we taught him and his neighbor together. Blessing!

Later that evening we took our ward mission leader street contacting with us. We started teaching this guy, that we met on the street a few weeks ago. While we were outside teaching him, one of our former investigators who we've been trying to contact came out of a nearby pizza shop. So, while E. Peterson took care of teaching J, I went over and taught E. So we taught two different lessons out of nowhere to two different people with our ward mission leader there helping out.

Right afterwards, we went to our weekly correlation meeting at the church. Immediately following we taught a part member family at the church.

It was raining like crazy when we first started our correlation meeting, and we were afraid that the rain would keep us from keeping our 8 o'clock appointment. (he only meets outside on the porch with us) Well, by the time we had finished correlation, and our 7 o'clock appointment, there was no more rain, and we were able to teach him with a member there.

Member Present Lessons: 16/20
Time Left: 24 hours

Sunday:

After getting 5 lessons on Saturday, we were super pumped. We'd exceeded our initial goal of 15, and decided to give it all we got to hit 20.

We went to church, and we were blessed to be able to teach a family right after church. The kids were really rowdy, but they were settled enough for us to teach a cool object lesson on the Godhead.

Member Present Lessons: 17/20
Time Left: 8 hours

We had no appointmetns set up, except at 3 o'clock. A member offered to go with us to that appointment. Well, that appointment fell through and we were pretty dissapointed. Especially since we had talked with them just the day before. The member that we were with mentioned in passing that he spoke a little french. So we decided to try and see our french speaking investigator from haiti. The member's French was limited, and our investigator's english was also, but we were able to teach quite a bit despite the language barrier.

Member Present Lessons: 18/20
Time Left: 6.5 hours

We didn't have anything else set up for the day, no appointments, no members, nothing. So we started making phone calls to make it work. We were only two short, and we didn't want to miss it by just that much. 

We set up an appointment with M, then a member texted us and asked if he could come out with us! It was great! But right before we picked up the member, M called and said he'd been offered a free meal of steak and potatoes. He couldn't turn it down.

"Fetching Satan!" I think was the phrasing I used when I hung up the phone. "He's even throwing steak and potatoes at us now!"

E. Peterson laughed, and reassured me that we'd still hit our goal.

So we had about 4 hours left at this point, one willing member, two desperate missionaries, and zero investigators. In faith we took our member with us to go see Mar. We haven't seen him for weeks, and he only speaks spanish.

Our lesson started off friendly but a little rough because of the language barrier. It wasn't working out too well, until E. Peterson got up and started speaking spanish to Mar. He got excited and poke in spanish more rapidly. With E. Peterson as a translator, we found out taht Mar had been reading the spanish book of mormon, and loved it. He said it was good like the bible. He wanted his family in Mexico to have it as well.

When we got out of the lesson i said to E. Peterson, "I didn't know you spoke spanish."

"I don't" came the reply.

The last time he did anything with spanish was his 8th grade spanish class. That was a while ago. 

Member Present Lessons: 19/20
Time Left: 1.5

While we were with Mar, E. Peterson got a text from another of our investigators. He told us we could come by around 8pm. He had just gotten back from vacation within minutes of us showing up. We read with him. We went home and called it a day.

Member Present Lessons: 20/20
Time Left: 0 min

It was a great week. I hope this gives you an Idea of how blessed I felt. It was really a faith building week for me.

Love ya!


Elder Brayden Connole

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mama Rika Missionary Update

OOPS!  I have been negligent in my updates.  Sorry!

July 8

Monday:
After pday was finished, we had a great appointment all set up to teach a less active member and his non-member girlfriend. Unfortunately it fell through. But the Lord blessed us so that when we went to see a different less active family, we were able to teach her non-member father. I guess the Lord needed us somewhere else that day.
Tuesday:
In the morning, we took a member with us to go see some investigators that had fallen off our radar for a while. Almost all the people we had planned to stop by basically fell through, but we were finally able to meet with an investigator named E. We showed him some of the cool new things that the church was doing with technology (apps, websites, etc.) while simultaneously inserting doctrines of the restoration and plan of salvation lessons.
When we were done with that appointment, we were dropped back off at our house, and picked up by another member, this time a young man in the ward. We taught a new investigator with him, then got soaked in a random torrential downpour. (we were drenched in seconds) We had dinner with some investigators that night.

Then from about 8-9 we took our ward mission leader with us and visited a less-active member. It was a great day for member missionary work. There was hardly a minute that we weren't with members the whole day.
Wednesday:
On Wednesday, as well as every day since we committed to teach 20 member present lessons and 0 lessons without members, any lesson that we had scheduled without a member accompanying us has fallen through. We literally couldn't teach a lesson without a member, even if we wanted to. The investigators forget, their family members get sick, they have random business trips or service activities that just seem more important than our lesson, the list goes on and on. We started getting frantic toward the end of the week whenever we didn't have a member with us because we were afraid that it was starting to actually cause all these problems for our investigators.
But anyway, we were able to have bishop come with us to see an excommunicated member, and also to go see our landlord. It was really useful having Bishop there for those appointments. We then rushed off to a dinner appointment with the H family where we taught one of our investigators there. Then Bro. H took us to give a blessing to a less active member who was pretty OTG as my companion likes to put it. (OTG = Off The Grid)
Thursday:

Independence Day! We had a member sign up to feed us lunch. They called the night before and said, in essence, "I know you can't wear your 'pday' clothes unless you do service, so you're going to come over and mow my lawn. After which we're going to have a water balloon fight and your going to play croquet. Then we'll fire up the grill with hot dogs and hamburgers. So we'll see you at noon?"  We laughed and accepted the terms. Besides, we've been trying to help this member out for a while. Mowing his lawn was great.
The Party was great. In addition to the water balloon fight and croquet game, I played an intense game of checkers with his 9 year old grand daughter. She didn't think she was going to win, but she came back from behind and took advantage of a 6 jump to take all of my remaining pieces. I'll tell you what, that was hard to set up, but she was so excited when she won, she ran out of the house celebrating.
It was great.
Friday:
Most of the day was spent in Charleston at Zone meetings. They drastically changed up the way that district meetings will be held so that they more closely resemble some of the training that we did in the MTC.
Later that evening we met with one of our investigators at the church. We had him teach us the plan of salvation, and he did an excellent job.
Saturday:
Saturday was interesting to say the least. We had planned to take a member with us to a few appointments, but he was pretty out of it that morning, so we gave him encouragement and help. We went to lunch with him.
Our ward mission leader went street contacting with us as well. That was a first time for me that a member came out with us street contacting.
We taught a member and his non member wife the Word of Wisdom. they were really really open to it, and saw how it could really bless their lives.
Sunday:

Sunday was awesome because it's the sabbath, but not so awesome because none of our investigators or less active members joined us in our sabbath day observance. I have to admit, coming off of such a great week of member missionary work, it was rather disheartening to not see anyone show up.

We did have a ray of hope though, we will begin teaching our elders quorum leader's kids later this week, and they've started to attend pretty regularly to church ever since he started having them on the weekends. yes!

July 17

ok, lets see if I can get everything down. It's been a great past week.

Monday:

We went out with some investigators and a couple of missionaries and threw the disc around. I was pretty happy with myself, I was able to launch it about 85 (ish) yards still. (ok so there was a bit of a breeze, but it was still a dang good throw). We did some street contacting later that day and just happened to run into a long lost member.

Oh, and we drank from a fire hydrant on Monday too.

Tuesday:

E. Warner had some gnarly acid reflux problems all throughout the week, and they were acting up pretty bad on Tuesday. However we were still able to teach a good amount of lessons. We found out that one of our investigators has a very Calvinistic view of the gospel. He believes in Election and a limited atonement. I got pretty intense in a few spots, especially when I told him that I thought his theological concepts were far too resemblent of Satan's plan. He took that much better than I expected.

Wednesday:

Somewhere around 2:30am, unknown to us, our car was broken into. One other car was broken into on our street. The weird thing was that they didn't take anything.They even left our gas card sitting in the front seat. They just rummaged around and left stuff strewn about the car. The only thing that was taken, between the two cars, were some sunglasses. Weird right?

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, we had a PEC meeting, and we helped a member move a couch.

Thursday:

I didn't write too much in my journal about Thursday. I guess I must have been pretty tired or some thing. Here's what I wrote:

"Today was pretty good. We took Bro. C out with us for most of the day. We taught a couple of people. It was good."

Friday:

Friday we had a district meeting here. The format for district meetings have changed a lot since I first came out. I like the new format much better. We were able to learn a lot for our lesson later that evening. We taught a part member about keeping the Sabbath day holy.

Saturday:

 We had a barbecue/ service thing at the church. It went pretty well. We were able to spread new mulch down. Bishop really wanted to do it because of the National Jamboree that started the following Monday. He figured we'd probably have a lot of visitors because of it. We did.

Sunday:

We were rushing around in the morning waking up investigators and less active members to get them out to church. We were rewarded for our efforts with 3 investigators and a 2 less active members there. yay!

Sister M, who is our chorister, heard my plunking away at the piano at the barbecue/service thing at the church the day before. So, she asked me to play the prelude music before sacrament. That was fun, though slightly nerve wracking as well. That led to one of the bishopric members asking me to play along for opening exercises. I played out the top hand of "Sweet Hour of Prayer" and called it good. I guess that's what I get for playing in front of people

Also, cool miracle we needed to set one more person on date for baptism to achieve our goals this week. We had only one set appointment that whole day. We invited to baptism and he accepted a date of Aug 17th. sweet!

Monday:

We had to try to get the car fixed on Monday. the power steering light came on a few days ago. turns out nothing was actually wrong with the car!

We walked around town a talked to people. A few times we stopped and picked some wild blackberries and black raspberries.

Tuesday:

Nothing too crazy went down. went out with some members. I found out I was training again and staying here. Super excited for that!

  

July 22

Transfer week was this past week, it was a really bittersweet thing for me. I just finished up training E. Warner, so it's good to see that he'll go do many wonderful things out in Roanoke. But I will definitely miss him. He's been a good companion to me. On the plus side of things, my new companion, E. Peterson is great! He's fresh off the plane and super excited and prepared to be a great missionary. The one thing I prayed for was that I could have a hard working companion, and it's sure good to have prayers answered.

Wednesday:

Wednesday was pday. E. Warner and I went around saying goodbye to the members. He was sad to leave, but excited for the new area and companion. It was interesting to see the members tell him how much of an impact he had on their families. I think sometimes we don't realize how much of an impact we do have on the people we talk to or meet with.

Thursday:

Thursday was the actual transfer day. I got my new boy, E. Peterson, he's super legit. We went out street contacting, and he was totally fearless. We started teaching a Haitian guy because of it. We taught a few lessons together on his first day as well. This will be a busy couple of transfers.

Friday:

We took a member out with us for a while. He had actually been excommunicated a while back but now is in full fellowship with the church and has had all his blessings restored. It was really awesome to take him because he has such a firm testimony and solid understanding of the gospel. We taught our Haitian friend again, this time with the help of a smart phone and google translate. It made it much easier to explain the Godhead. Plus we just happened to have a french copy of the book of mormon in our apartment to give him.

The other super cool thing was that we took the same member with us to go teach a currently excommunicated member. Talk about a great way to help uplift and inspire those that are seeking to come back! He was perfect. He shared some great scriptures that helped him return to the church, and also invited her out to church. (and she came!) It was bomb!

Saturday:

Saturday was pretty busy. We taught the D's. The kids are working toward baptism, and the dad is the elders quorum president in the ward. I think I felt a lot like what mom and dad must have felt like when we acted up during family home evening. But I hope something got through to them. We took another member out with us later that evening. We were able to teach one of our preacher friends with him. E. Peterson is pretty determined to get him baptzed now.

Sunday;

Sunday was awesome we had a bunch of people at church that were investigators or less active members. We also went out with members and taught a few part member families. Some of which have been super prepared for the gospel. It was fun to have Elder Peterson give our district leader our numbers for the week and to have the district leader not believe him. The Lord is blessing us immensely.