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Monday, February 17, 2014

PITTSBURGH - THE FIFTH - HOLLE & LUKE

Well, well, well. It's been the most interesting week of my entire life. I can literally say that nothing has ever been like this one.
I can't properly explain over email though. But I've had a great time. The Lord has really been shaping me. I'm grateful for that. Things aren’t easy because if they were then we'd never grow. We should be grateful for the trials that God gives us.

MONDAY! We had an appt in the middle of the day, which threw everything off. It went okay. It was with a woman and she kept asking us tons of questions so it was hard to teach effectively. I really enjoy answering people’s questions because it is about the things that they are interested in. We had a kind of sad experience. We went to pick up one of our members who said he'd come out with us and we walked up to the home and it just reeked of weed. We could hear rap music blaring from inside. We knocked and he opened the door and we were just pummeled with the smell. The member's eyes were totally red and he just hazily looked at us and said "W’as up elders?" and then it hit him why we were there. He said he was really sorry and couldn't come right then because he was in the middle of getting a tattoo. He opened the door a little more and there was the artist at his table and his three little kids were running around the house. It was a crazy sight. He's someone who has been trying to go to the temple and stuff. We went to the Mag's to teach Robert the Restoration again with Brother and Sister Brown. All of the aforementioned people are awesome; such good examples. I'm grateful for all the righteous examples I've seen here in Vegas, people who are just dedicated to the Lord and their families. We went that night up to a taco stand on Main and Bonanza. It was so good, authentic, slightly sketchy, and completely delicious.

TUESDAY! Elder Janke gave his last district meeting and it was the best I've ever seen. I think it was exactly what the Brethren wanted. Focused on the fundamentals and a large amount of time to practice the skills we discussed. We had a sick appt with Nick. We had a super cool experience. He wasn't fully grasping what we were teaching because of the language barrier. Idk if I mentioned this, but Saturday before Elder Smith and Elder Murphy taught him how the Book of Mormon and the Bible go hand in hand. So we were trying to help him today understand why the Book of Mormon is important to us in our lives. He says "wait, wait" so he walks off into the other room and comes back and hands me a copy of the Book of Mormon. It's old. Covered in dust and in Romanian! 
"Nick, where did you get this???" 
“You gave it to me yesterday” 
"No, nick we didn't" 
“Yes you did” 
“Nick, this is dusty and in Romanian. The one we gave you was new in English.” 
“That one is in English.” 
“No, it's not. Look!” 
“OH! This is in Romanian! Where did I get this???” 
“We don't know, you tell us!"

It was crazy. It was if God had placed that Book of Mormon years ago in his home for that exact moment in time. He opened it up and started to read and you could just almost see the light bulb come on in his head. We had him start on the intro and we read along and he kept saying, “Oh I understand now! Oh!” Then he read Moroni 10:4-5. He felt the Spirit super strong. He said, “This is true. This is true. Thank you Jesus. I understand now.” He touched his heart and said, “It's full.” It was super cool. It was the fulfillment of the prophecy that everyone would hear the gospel in his own tongue. We had dinner with the Thayer family and we taught her grandchildren the 10 commandments. That was fun. They loved learning them with the hand signs. We taught Deshon and Sassidy and their family about the Holy Ghost. It was a lot of fun. They are super, super cool. We have a really good relationship with that family, kinda like Amelia and Leo. I just hope that they get baptized... 

WEDNESDAY! We visited some of the older families in the ward and talked with them about the work and stuff. It went well. We visited one family who was so, so sweet and gave us tons of life advice. I loved it. Advice from old people is like gold. Their hindsight is a lot greater than mine. We saw Brother Taylor and he showed us his ward's new mission plan and it was awesome. It's a four-week member missionary class, kinda like weekly district meetings for small groups of members during Sunday school. It seems awesome. It is based off of Clayton Christensen's book and another class like it done in Maine that had 80 baptisms or something like that in a year. It's pretty sick. We then went to Sister Rosser and made root beer batter onion rings. We then went and taught Nick again. We read the Book of Mormon with him and he loved it. He just might not be ready to progress right now because of his circumstances. He watches his mother in law so he can’t leave the house and he has no job because of that. It’s a sad, sad situation. We had dinner with the Bunts family. I like Brother Bunts a ton. He's a good guy. We played bball with the sons of one of our investigators and that was pretty fun. They schooled Elder Smith and me though, hahaha. We visited members and set up a lot of appts.

THURSDAY! We saw a lot of members in the morning. We saw a ton of juxtaposition, hoarders to minimalists. Peace to insanity. We taught Nick again. He's so, so stressed and we want him to read and pray and do all these things but all he can think about is surviving and keeping his mother in law alive. We saw Toni and talked to her and encouraged her to ask for a calling because she feels like she isn't growing anymore. We saw Jenny who is the daughter of a less active and had an amazing lesson. She's been searching for answers about where her husband is because he died a year ago. She's searched many religions and she doesn’t feel like any of them have taught her the truth. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and about eternal families and she cried and cried and cried. She's a good woman and she wants answers. The Spirit really spoke to her there. It was touching. Then we taught Suzie. Oh man. Everyone was crying. We watched a Mormon message and then Suzie told us how she knows the church is true and she wants to be baptized but she wants to do it with her family. We all encouraged her. She said that it makes her sad to go to church with her family because she said that they just go out of obligation. Suzie is so special, strong spirit. She's going to institute, going to church, reading the Book of Mormon, praying, all of it.  After that, we went out with Mike and he shared some spiritual experiences with us. That was cool.

FRIDAY! We talked to a ton of people. We sent out a bunch of referrals. I love doing that. Whenever I get a referral I'm so happy, so when I think about all the others that get referrals, it makes me happy to think about. Rigdon got his call! We had dinner with Brother Deleon. That was good. He makes bomb food. Thinking about the quality and quantity of the food, dang, it would have been a $100 dinner. Then we went and taught Jenny the Restoration. The lesson was all over the place because she was so curious.  She just wants to find out where her husband is, and what God wants her to do to raise her daughter. It's inspiring. She felt the Spirit super strong as we taught her about Joseph Smith and living prophets.

SATURDAY! We got our transfer doctrine. I’M STAYING IN BONANZA VIEW-FRENCHMAN HILLS for a 5TH TRANSFER!!!!! Whatttt???? Elder Smith is getting transferred to be the zone leader of the new Central/Sunrise zone. I'll be the new district leader and my new companion will be Elder Wendt. He's from Delaware, and I've had pretty good luck with Elders from Delaware. So things should be good :). We went to the Spanish DM it was good. We took out a ton of members. We had 11 appts., nine fell through. I have no idea why this happens so much here. It's crazy. Sure the people are flakey because of the circumstances but I've never had anything like this happen before. I think I need to improve the quality of my contacts so people want to be home more and so they are more accountable. We'll see how it goes. We saw Melissa and Bailey. We blessed a cool family's home ... in Spanish. Oh well. We taught a cool lesson outside to a mom. When we told her the Book of Mormon had the power to change her life you could tell that she felt it. Her eyes lit up. It's hard to describe it but it was cool. We visited some members. One of our appts flaked and then I saw GEORGE AND CYNTHIA??!?!?!!!! That was crazy we just passed them on the street and they flipped a u-turn and we talked for like 30 mins. That was crazy! I was so happy to see them. Then we went to the German family's house (from Montebello) and I saw LUKE AND HOLLE!!!! Formerly Elder Alvarez and Sister DeSpain respectively!!!
Luke and Elder Anderson (photo courtesy of Luke Alvarez)
I was so happy to see them. We talked for a long time. The Lord knew we had a hard day so he put both of those people in my path. Luke and Holle and Elder Slik are like people that I would consider close friends. I was ecstatic. Although they did say to me – “Elder Anderson, we can't wait till you get home!” That was hard to hear. But it made me feel loved.
(photo courtesy of Luke Alvarez)

SUNDAY! We had church which was good. Then we went and had a few appt's. Then we had dinner with the Iverson's.
Elder Smith and Elder Anderson at the Iverson's
They are awesome. They make me feel loved. I'm grateful for them. Just the fact that they accept me makes me feel good. Then Rigdon opened his call. He's going to Pittsburgh!!! I'm so proud of him. He's going to have a great time.
 


Okay that's all the time I've got.  
Life is good. I'm happy where I'm at and with what I'm doing. 
I love you all so much 
Sam

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