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Monday, November 18, 2013

So I guess Iron Man 3 came out

Like three times this week members have tried to catch us up on the world since ES and I left... I really don't care too much.
Time flies.
It's been a week of answered prayers, definitely. My testimony of that has been being strengthened recently. From the baptism yesterday to the feelings we've have, to the new people we've found, the Lord has really been looking out for Elder Slik and me. I really love having him as my companion. He's a good guy and a great example. It's a huge blessing because we get along well and he works hard and is focused so he really helps us be effective and powerful. I've learned so much from him;  leadership, consecration and commitment to the Savior. He's good at setting goals and he strives to help all around him to achieve their full potential. I frequently thank the Lord for allowing me to learn from him.  I really pray that we don't get transferred. Even the members were talking with President Neider and asking for us to stay when he came to stake conference. Oh man I don't want to leave and I don't want Elder Slik to get transferred. 

MONDAY! Dang! It feels like a lifetime ago. We had spam mosubi with Severina. It was interesting because it was a lot like the kind that ES and I make but it also had carrot and avocado and cucumber like the California rolls you make, mom. So it was like Michegas fusion (Michigan Vegas). Then we went to the Tobler's house for a cottage meeting. They are the greatest, such a blessing to our ward; Brother Tobler and his devotion and Sister Tobler and her bottomless well of charity. A cottage meeting is like a movie night, testimony meeting, and FHE. So the Tobler's opened their house up and we invited a bunch of our investigators and less active members and other people who support the ward mission effort. We watched Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration to help give a bigger picture to the new members and investigators. They loved it. I did too. If anyone is looking for a real easy way to be a huge blessing to the missionary effort in the ward, offering to do something like a cottage meeting could be a huge blessing. It was very simple but it went a long way I know for our people that went. We had to leave before the food and we drove up to Clara's house. We went over with Sister Jackson and Clara's neighbor and had a good little lesson. Sadly Clara is moving so now we are officially working with zero people in Frenchman Hills. It's sad, but we just can’t find through street contacting up there. I love that ward though. Clara is a great woman. She'll probably get baptized but it will be in her new ward. Then we drove down to Henderson to start my second AP exchange as a zone leader.

TUESDAY! I was here in Central with Elder Pesci. Man, he is a good missionary. I was so impressed by how well rounded he is. He has all the characteristics of an amazing missionary and he has them all very developed as well. He is driven but not a jerk or anything. He is very serious about the work but funny too. I learned a lot in just 24 hours from his righteous example and his specific suggestions for how I can improve. I'm very grateful for the organization of the mission which allows us to do things like exchanges and learn from others to constantly be improving ourselves. I'll be honest I do wish that we grew by leaps and bounds and not by line and precept. But as I look back a year or even a transfer I do see that I have grown. Anyway. We went to district meeting about how to find and create the chosen. The whole meeting was about the scriptural phrase "many are called but few are chosen." The Lord has called many but we must choose to be "chosen." The same goes with all those who we work with. The Lord has called them to meet with the missionaries but they have to choose to open their heart and "experiment on the word." If people don't want to try, and do things and keep commitments then we cannot help them. We talked about when was the right time to 'drop' an investigator, to stop teaching someone (which by the way is incredibly hard to do). But it was interesting to think about that scripture in a new way. A note in my journal talks about how Elder Pesci made me feel like his friend all day which made me feel really good. Friendship, even in the mission goes a long, long way. I think of so many people before my time as a missionary that I could have blessed by just being their friend. After all that we visited a few families in FH. One family told us about her struggles since joining the church. She talked about responding to the attacks of people who misunderstand what she believes. We had two cool experiences serving randomly. One person was picking up cigarette butts outside her apartment and we just knelt down and started helping her and it really softened her heart. As we cleaned the area in front of her apartment we talked and she told us a little of her story and how she was looking for a church to take her daughters to. She was so gracious and she invited us in and said thank you probably like 25 times. We shared with her a pamphlet and set an appointment to return the next day (sadly she called to cancel and we haven't been able to contact her since.) It was cool to feel how relieved she was. It was pretty bad but with three sets of extra hands (Rigdon was out with us) it went way faster. The next was with a mother carrying some groceries. We asked to help and she hesitated and we reassured her and so she let us help and she had tonssss of groceries and lots were really heavy. So we got to carry stuff up the stairs for her. She also was really grateful. We shared a short lesson and said a prayer with her. He husband didn't speak English so we passed the referral off. We had dinner at the Banks' home. (Rigdon's family) They are awesome too. They love Elder Slik and me a lot for taking Rigdon out and helping him prepare for his mission. Then we went to teach Tyrone about tithing. It was a pretty crazy lesson. Tyrone wanted to be baptized but he still had some doubts about a few things so we prayed mightily and talked with him about the why and the blessings. All in all Tyrone was a little afraid of putting his trust in God because of the experiences he had had in the past, little by little with him. Then we saw Toni to follow up on the movie. I'm always impressed about how much Idary understands. He's a smart kid, but just has a few setbacks.

WEDNESDAY! We had another district meeting. It was Sister Despain's last one. WEIRD! The mission ends. It's sad. Luckily I have two full years ahead of me. Then we went to a lesson at the Marx home to teach Vicky. MAN! All of these stalwart families. Strong men and women who want to serve God and improve the lives of as many of his children as they can reach. Sister Marx is a great example to me of righteous goals and self evaluation. She is always sharing goals and how to be happy. I like that family a lot. But any so, we sat down (after eating more Taco Bell.... it's interesting. Vicky is like the coolest, classiest woman I've worked with on my mission, but Taco Bell is like her favorite food,) and started off by talking about a date to be baptized. She said that she had been thinking and praying about it and at first she thought April but then thought that she could be ready sooner and thought about February because that is her birthday and then she thought about the new year’s time but in the end she decided on next week! :) I was shocked, but so happy. She's ready and she wants to move forward. She's pumped and so are we. We taught about the importance of prayer. It was a powerful lesson that made me more inclined to pray more fervently. Then we saw Tyrone and talked about prayer and the Book of Mormon and how that would be the way he can know that getting baptized is the decision God wants him to make. He wanted to but it would be the way to clear his doubts. 

THURSDAY! Okay it’s that time. I gotta pick up the pace. We had a good visit with Sister Thayer. I got to serve her non member daughter which was good. It softened her heart a little. Sister Thayer's story is pretty cool. She was sick the transfer before I came and Elder Slik promised her that if she would come to church every week and read the scriptures every day she would get better. She's not fully healed but she's improved remarkably and she’s almost done with the BofM. It’s cool to feel her excitement as she shares with us what she’s read. I love Sister Thayer. Then we went to see grandma. I love her too. She shared with us a doubt about the Plan of Salvation. She said that in the Bible it says God created the earth but we say that Jesus did. "It’s not a big deal, but it’s important to me." That’s what she kept saying. We shared with her Genesis 1:26 and Hebrews 1:2 and that helped her to understand. It was a cool experience because those are scriptures I’ve read but a topic I’ve never really studied too much, I really felt that the Spirit brought that and a good explanation to my remembrance. Cool experience. Then we went to interviews. Sister Nieder trained on effective lessons. She's such a good teacher. She uses great teaching skills to help us learn to teach better by example. My interview with Prez was really good too. I go a lot of good advice on how to be a better leader and then we talked about how I can have better prayers in the morning and at night when I'm still real tired.  We had a lesson with Toni about the BofM. She had read and actually got a lot out of it. She applied the scriptures to herself and we felt that she learned something which was cool. Then we had dinner with an RM who was in Japan when the typhoon hit. It destroyed the city he was serving in at the time. He shared a lot of cool stories from his mission with us. He made us some awesome Japanese food. All of our three lessons fell through but we had a great visit with our Gladys Knight referral. Ugh life is good. She was another answer to my prayers. 

FRIDAY! Great lesson with a new investigator. He said that he wasn’t really interested but when we went by we sat and talked with him. He shared that he had talked with missionaries before, but because of the things he was going through he wasn’t in a place to listen but now he wants to try again. It was cool to watch and feel as the Spirit prompted him to open up and share and invite us back. We planned. Our lessons cancelled. We taught Vicky all the required commandments and it was good. It was strong. She is already living the gospel. We ate with a Filipino family - we ate corn and cheese ice cream. I liked it. We talked with a guy in a motorcycle ministry, then we met with Tyrone and he was excited for his baptism! We screened him and he passed.

SATURDAY! Another great lesson with Randy. He committed to read and pray to see if Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was powerful. He's seeking so I know if he asks he will find. We talked to a crazy guy in the street who told Elder Slik and me he could feel that we believed the message we shared and could tell God put us together for a reason. He said that usually they don't put friends together but he could tell that they did this time. That made me feel good. He wasn’t totally crazy, but looking at him definitely led you down that road. He was very educated, but he used so much vulgarity it was hard to concentrate on what he was saying. Then we went to the adult session of stake conference about hastening the work of salvation.

SUNDAY! Stake conference, we sang ‘Called to Serve’ again, funny that I've done it twice. Sister Despain was here again too.  I don't think that happens too often. Then we had lunch with the Marx' and the Egan’s (the senior couple in the ward) and then we all went to Tryone’s baptism. It was great. In his testimony he said that he will probably always feel like an investigator because there is so much to learn. That was a cool thought. It was a great baptism.
Tyrone's baptism
Dante is having trouble quitting smoking so he hasn’t been meeting with us all week. We visited Stephanie and she was happy to see us and she'd been reading even though she was sick. That was cool. Then we had a great Mexican dinner. We had a great, great, great blessing contact with a young man. He really felt the Spirit as we talked and prayed with him. He wants us back and so hopefully we will get to meet up with him next week.

I love the work. I love the area. I love my companion.
It's been a powerful week and I've felt my faith grow.
I love you all so much!
Sam

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