Saturday, January 3, 2015

November 2014 letter excerpts

***Things have been busy and I kinda got behind.  Trying to play catch-up***

Dear Mom,
     I am officially done with 1/6th of my mission! ha ha.  Lots of things have happened/are happening to us, so I'm sorry if it's been a while since I sent a letter.  We are losing people to teach left and right for various reasons. (For Investigator Privacy reasons, I will leave out the details since this is a public blog).  We have various other less-active members we are working with, but we have 4 "official" investigators that we are super excited for!  I don't know if I've told you about the "B" family yet...we were looking for a part-member family at a particular address that was being rented to them by members of the church.  Turns out that they moved, though.  The Landlord was there cleaning and fixing the place (this was my first "official" day out here in Richland).  We were a little disappointed that they left, but later we were out walking and we saw that someone new had moved in!  Turns out to be our most "golden" investigators with a baptism date of December 6th!  The family is a single mother ("C") with 4 children...."A" (13 years old), "L" (9 years old), "A" (7 years old) and "K" (3 years old). She has the kids most of the time, but they go with their dad on weekends.  We began teaching them and we were surprised at how receptive they all are to learning about the gospel.  They have spiritual beliefs because they've been to churches in the past (that didn't treat them very well, though).  They were a little hesitant to come to our services, but since the kids were going to be with their mom on the last weekend of the month, they decided to give it a try.   They loved it so much that "C" said she would come the next week by herself if her kids couldn't!  They all knew so many people there already, and our ward did such a perfect job of introducing and fellowshipping!  The kids are so sharp, and so good.  I've never seen kids like this.  Elder J and I are blown away at how mature they all are.  "L" is a spiritual giant and the things that come out of her mouth sometimes are super startling.  It's like she's known everything all along!  We love them so much and we are so excited for them. :o)  Before they came to church, we prayed that their dad would let them go to church because "C" didn't feel comfortable trying it out without her kids.  We asked them to pray also, and for a while it didn't seem like it would work.  Lo and behold though, we get a text from "C" on November 2nd saying that they were all coming...he let them go!

Thank you for the "Mormon Messages" DVD!  We've already been able to use it in lessons!  The "B" family really liked the ones we showed.  We showed them "Lessons I learned as a boy" from Gordon B. Hinckley, and they really resonated with it.  They were like, "Can we watch another one please?"  That is one that has always helped me to be able to feel the spirit very strongly (and Elder J also).  It made us so happy to share it with them and help them feel the spirit.  If you can, I'd really like the 2nd Mormon Messages DVD if possible.  I think it has even more on it and there's a broader range of topics and better videos to choose from.  It can't be too expensive.  I love being able to show videos to people!  It makes me super jealous of the missionaries with online proselyting.  It would help our mission so much if we had ipads.

To help alleviate the loss of much to do in the afternoons, our mission began using the "Just" program.  I don't know if your ward has had a third hour meeting about that yet, but we had a zone meeting about it and then a third hour Sunday meeting about it a month later.  It basically lays out a bunch of community service opportunities in your local area.  That's what we've been doing up on "Badger Bump" (Mountain).  There's a man named "J" who is spearheading a massive project to create a nature walking path up there and it's all volunteer work.  We do lots of different things up there.  We go once a week for about 3 hours and then we go eat lunch somewhere.  We got picked up by Elder "G" and Elder "R" and then there's usually a set of the Sister missionaries that go as well on our assigned day.  It's a lot of work, but he brings us cookies every time at least! ha ha.  They want us doing 10 hours of service a week to fully utilize "Just Serve" but we're not seeing 10 hours of service a week quite yet.
Badger "Bump"

It stinks because after you sent me that music, our DVD player started to refuse to play any CD's or DVD's.  We have a memory card/USB port on it that is fine so we can't ask for a new one yet, but it's not like we have a lot to watch anyway!  You wouldn't believe how many times the missionaries here play "Let it Go"! ha ha.  It's pretty much the top song right now.  I'll have to send you some videos I have recorded sometime.  I'm like the only Missionary who has seen "Frozen" out here and everyone is excited to see it.

Oh man....we are on fire this week!  We committed the "B" family to baptism, we found a new investigator named "A", and just hopefully committed a less active named "K" to come to Stake Conference this weekend!  Our prayers are working!  My first Zone leaders on my mission told me that when I get to the point where I come home EVERY night passed out and ready for bed that I'm no longer "green" and that my mission is really starting.  Well, I think I'm to that point! ha ha

Elder Daniel L. Johnson will be coming to our Stake Conference this weekend (11/8 & 9).  We will also have Elder Arnold of the seventy come to our mission later this month for a Zone Conference.  It'll be after transfers.  I will have a new companion because Elder J goes home right before Thanksgiving.  We're trying to stay as focused as possible so he doesn't get trunky, but next week will be a struggle.  Could be interesting! ha ha.  After he is gone, I could even train a new missionary should they give me that responsibility.  I'm a little nervous to see what happens.  I hope my new companion is great!

Well, Stake Conference was great!  We had a Zone meeting (these occur monthly) on Saturday and Elder Daniel Johnson came in while we were eating lunch at the Stake Center.  President Powell (Richland Stake President) was showing him around.  He talked to us for a minute and shook our hands and asked us all where we were from.  Always cool to meet a General Authority!  Most of Stake  Conference was about the "My Family" family history booklet.  It was something Flagstaff Stake has gone over many times already, but it was still good.  "K" didn't come to Stake Conference, but "R" (another less-active member) came to church on Sunday.

Well, our DVD player works now!  Our appliances are weird.  Our microwave has been doing weird things.  Luckily we have a very nice toaster oven, too.  As far as stuff for Christmas goes, YES--Institute manuals would be cool!  I don't really need a whole lot honestly.  Just continued support--ha ha!  But any books written by General Authorities on doctrinal topics would be helpful.  Also, any DVD with the official church logo on it would make me happy.  I don't need a lot, but hopefully there's some ideas for ya!  I have to bring all the junk I accumulate on my mission home at some point as well, so definitely keep that in mind! ha ha.  Yes, I had a good Birthday.  It was definitely a different birthday being on  a mission, but I only have to endure one more. :o)  The ward had a huge "Goodbye to Elder J" party yesterday (11/16) which was super fun!  Close to the whole ward came to talk to him and wish him luck going home.  I will send some pictures next week to you of the gathering.

Tell me about the Phoenix Temple dedication!  Who presided over it?  That would've been cool to attend.  Who are you teaching piano to?  Darn--I just saw the Wares!  I would've told Sister Ware "Hi" for Sister Lakey but we had interviews with them before your letter came.  The Ware's are amazing!  Thank you for your spiritual thought!  I really like that poem.  Wow.  Elder J and Elder M (my Zone leader) just left for the mission home.  We got one last picture and now I am officially "greenie-busted"!  Now Elder "L" and I will have to figure things out....pray for us! ha ha!

Well, Elder L and I had our first day together yesterday and he is a spiritual giant.  He is great and I am super excited for our time here!  We have lots of goals and hopes for this area and we work well as a team so far!

I was with Elder M and Elder M at the Ostler Mansion on Monday afternoon until Wednesday morning transfers.  Tuesday was super full with 5 teaching appointments all in a row and 2 dinner appointments! ha ha.  That was a great day and it helped me grow a lot too!!  We even had free Dominoes Pizza because a random member of the church came and paid for us!  There's so many cool things that happen on a mission and I feel like there will be so many more great things to come!  I love you, mom!  Until next time!

~Elder B.

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