Wednesday, October 31, 2012
That storm sounds so exciting and I really wish I was there for that, I'm super jealous. Thanks everyone for the birthday letters and gifts, hopefully I can get to writing more when I'm in my new place and settled. The confirmation went great, were gonna start doing the new member lessons and all I'm excited, he's really happy. So I have all my transfer info, and I'm really excited. I'll be with Elder C, in my area, and I will in fact be staying at another member's house, but I'm excited. So Elder G served with Elder C about 3 months ago, and he has been training Elder P from my MTC district in Mesquite. So Elder G thinks me and Elder C will be really good together, and I think so too. I hear he's a really good missionary, and very hard working, and loves basketball, so I should be good! I haven't played in forever but we can start going in the mornings again and all. We're going to be on bike, but Brother C who I may have mentioned said he'll take us in the mornings, and now they play Monday-Thursday, not just Monday Wednesday. Which brings me to bikes, and I'm going to buy Elder G's, who has no more need for his, it looks and feels nice, and he's the same size as me. So I'll buy that for 60 he said, which I think is a steal. Oh and a lot of the things I've heard about Elder C remind me of James and my MTC companion, good control over scheduling and belongings, which sounds good, me and Elder L were kind of the same, but at the same time like total opposites, and we worked good.
So yeah I'm pumped for that, and that kind of brings me to today and yesterday, which are insanely busy and confused. So yesterday we had church all day, and then after church, our battery was dead, no idea why. We got jumped and then went to a lesson with W and J which went all right. We got out and the car was dead again, so we left it and got dropped off at dinner. Our dinner took us back afterwards to jump us again, but it didn't work, and we messed with it for about an hour with him. His name is Brother B and he was the last bishop, and he's worked with cars a lot his life so he had all sorts of equipment and knew a lot, but we couldn't get it started, and so he took us home and we had it towed this morning. The van is 2011 so were expecting a warranty. Also, our apartment isn't in our ward, and new missionaries are coming, so Elder G is moving out today as well. (And then he goes home 12/4). But so last night was when we found out where both of us are moving, and we've got all our stuff to pack and move to get to transfers, and we're without our van, so it's a mess and we're still not sure how were going to do it all, but we'll manage eventually I guess.
So my birthday was awesome, we went to the T's and she made me a banana cream and strawberry filled vanilla cake. And she's an artist and has been doing cakes for about two years so it was like fondue or whatever(fondant?) and it was a pair of pants, with a white shirt and and tie with my name on the name tag, all like cakeboss style, so you'll get pictures of that soon. So that was fun, they're a cool family. We also had breakfast at K's new place, and they're pretty settled and really happy with the new place, and hopefully their new ward went well.
So although C still works, he got his nonmember wife to come Sunday and she did! I set up a a ride for her with Sister T who also lives in the same apartments, and they came together, and looked like they laughed a lot and got to know each other. Sister T was baptized a few years ago, has a nonmember husband, and has a son that passes the sacrament every week. I called her because she's the only other member in those apartments, and it turned out she walks every Sunday (which is a ways) but promised she would make it work, and she did. She's a really nice lady, and seemed so excited and happy to be able to help and all, it may have been more for her then it was for C's wife. And I just realized I missed this, but Wednesday night we had a return visit with C, which went awesome, he's been reading the Book of Mormon again, we read with him some, and he really enjoyed it. He's a lot of fun too. But so Wednesday night when we came, Elder G (who had never been to Cs) parked right by Cs place, but I knew he didn't know that it was close, and I felt like walking and enjoying the night time air, told him to park on the other side of the park in the middle (where I played basketball once). So we do that, and as were getting out of the car, a black women on her porch called out and asked where the nearest Mormon church is. We went over and talked to her, she was about 30, was baptized at 12 and then went inactive at about 17. She was pretty new to California, and said she had been thinking about the church recently. She said that a few weeks ago she had heard the missionaries were playing basketball there, and had got to thinking, and found her Book of Mormon! We only played that one time, and I didn't think the people playing even knew we were missionaries! Hopefully she heard some good stuff, but any ways I thought that was super cool, and we're working on getting her set up with visiting teachers and the Bishop and all.
But yeah, a lot has been the same old, we had a drunk guy approach us the other day asking about Mitt Romney, but he was calm, and held himself alright. He said he respected all we were doing and all that, but was just curious. From just the text of his words you probably couldn't tell he was drunk, but he had a can of beer in his hand, and his voice was all slurred and he couldn't walk right. He had lived in Virginia a bit which is neat, I swear everyone I meet has an encounter with Virginia. It's so surprising how many people I meet that raise their eye brows when I say Virginia, but I don't think anyone has actually named someone that I know. Actually one person named a family from like Mechanicsville that I knew, but I can't even remember who now.
We had dinner the other day with someone in Elder Gs ward who was a convert of about 3 years, super interesting. He was baptized three years ago, has been through about 20 some temples, attended general conference, and goes to the temple about 3 times a week. He takes the bus and it takes him all day. So he lives in this apartment, and the whole things is super clean, candles and stuff, temple and Christ pictures everywhere and he has a really nice sound system that he plays Mo Tab on. It's like the most Spirit inviting, clean, soft, home ever; it shocks me that he has the ability to give it the beauty and essence it does, it's not like gaudy and full of church stuff, it's actually REALLY nice. He's a got a roomate who's a recent RM, just working. They both also love to cook and stuff and have a fish tank. But yeah, that's another cool person we've met.
We got some referrals, and had a an older Indian man come to church who we will be having a lesson with this week. And just now as I'm typing I just got 3 messages from the referral office I haven't checked so I'm excited. But work seems to really be setting up to pick up, especially with J and the Indian man. So I think Elder C and I can get a lot done and I'm really excited, not to mention it's been for ever since we've been to Westcliff. I meet so many interesting members, I wish I could talk about so many. Oh and I don't have my address yet. And the guy who lives there I hear is super interesting, is extremely studied on Jewish culture and stuff, and does a ton of volunteer things at the local synagogue or whatever. Oh and so we had my last lesson with A, she is doing awesome and loving the gospel, her son loved nursery and stuff the other day, and her 16 year old daughter enjoyed it too. And in our Gospel Principles lesson, it's so cool, the way she answers questions, volunteers, and understands would make you think she's a member. I still haven't heard back about voting, but hopefully I can. I'm doing awesome, and I'm gonna try and find new pants soon, and hopefully I'll write you all some more. Thanks so much for everything, don't write to my apartment, and I'll talk to you all again soon,
Love Elder Pyron
Thursday, October 25, 2012
So first of all, we get a key in our mailbox which opens the package box, so the boxes make it safe. Thank you everyone that has sent anything, I'm sorry I am bad at writing. Oh, mom, the voter thing was apparently the wrong form so they sent a new one, but I should be set. So I'll start with today and then work back. This morning we got up at 5 and went with the zone leaders on a hike to the top of a mountain, to see the strip all lit, and the sunrise. I took pictures of that, I'm trying to do better. And then because of the weird-ish day, I opened the presents, so I can study and be back on schedule for my birthday. The ties were really good, I really liked the striped one especially. I have not yet read the letters, I'm saving those for tomorrow since they'll probably be the best part. The Zone Leaders also came by and we had a lot of bacon, someone gave them 25 lbs of bacon and they've got no freezer space, so that was fun. It's a bummer the emails come late.
So first, we rarely play volleyball anymore and the sand is really cold in the AM. No one's that good so it doesn't bother me. Monday before our activity we went to a local skate shop, which was a lot of fun, seeing new things I like, and seeing companies and what's popular and all has changed. On shirts, posters, and deck graphics there's a lot of cool artists in the skateboard scene so that was a ton of fun, we and the ZLs spent about an hour there. (Elder G is a sponsored downhill longboarder). I bought an Element shirt I liked for $10, I promise that's the only thing I've bought. But then we went and played ultimate frisbee and volleyball for pday activity..it was fun especially ultimate but it wears people out so we only played 15 minutes. It's embarrassing, I was sore a few days later... It's been a while since I've played basketball.
So Art's baptism was really good, we had stake conference so he hasn't been confirmed yet. His daughter was very excited at the baptism, cried and took a lot pictures, and filmed everything but the ordinance on an ipad. Art is a very stern and private type person, but he wasn't at all at the baptism. He thanked everyone individually for coming pretty much even though he wanted it really small, and he bore a good testimony which isn't usually his type of thing. It was a very good experience, I said the opening prayer and was a witness. I didn't know I was doing that til they announced it as he was entering, but it's easy. I am also giving him his confirmation on Sunday, which I am a little nervous about, but it's no big deal. Well the confirmation is, but not the nervous.
So we had another really good lesson with A, she is an amazing women. She works 60 hours a week as a single mother, takes great care of her kids, and is a very nice lady. You can tell she's really smart, and mothering is her first priority. Her 2 year old son Justin is one of the smartest and best behaved two year olds I've ever seen, and her 16 year old daughter does great at helping out and all. I wish I had more time, but anyways, were meeting again this week, and I'm excited, she is very smart, well read, and appropriately skeptical and questioning, but the Spirit has certainly prepared her and everything we have talked about has made total sense to her.
So on Saturday, we got to help K move into his new place. His couch was too big, so we had two people stand on a railing, and had two in the window, and we somehow got it through the second story window. It was really cool, I wish we had pictures.
So Elder G is good to serve with, but I am ready to go back to Evergreen and Westcliff with a new companion. I think he was a good missionary, loved his time and the gospel, but he is very trunkie, and ready to go. December 4th for him. I'm out October 29. He's about 6'0, thin and very athletic, but doesn't like sports or anything with a ball really. He longboarded and likes stuff like climbing and cliff jumping or just being active in other ways. He's from Edmonton Canada, and a lifelong member. We get along fine, and he LOVES to talk. He's great. He's really into like survivalism I guess, like Dwight Schrute type stuff but to a much lesser extent obviously.
So we drive a mini van with no middle seats, so it's a mess and we cleaned it the other day. I found an Ensign with Sheryl Garner on the back, and intro thing to her Mormon.org profile which I though was really neat. Our water isn't that good so I drink a ton of water bottles, and it's weird, as much as I tried not to recycle at home, I feel really bad throwing them away, and look to recycle. Nevada isn't at all into recycling which is different. Another thing, there's Panda Expresses all over which is awesome, and same with Cafe Rios and Costa Vitas which are also good. When we go anywhere, just about always a member that happens to be in there pays for us secretly. Everywhere but McDonald's. The other day it happened, and Elder G recognized him...Brother Thomas, who has an indoor rock climbing wall, and a helicopter with a helicopter pad on his roof and yacht. His family also donated the UNLV basketball court, the "Thomas and Mack Center" so I didn't feel too bad after knowing that.
So yeah, there's always so much more I want to share, but times running down. I've got so much I like want to ask about and stuff, but it's a lot of unimportant stuff. So here and there I have caught glimpses of the Tigers and it looks like they're doing good, keep me posted on that too! President Black and the stake is still trying to find me a place to live at the end of the transfer, so I'm really curious about that.
Thanks mom and dad especially for your letters, the thing on sacrament was really interesting, and dad you did a good job answering questions. The articles were really good, and the article on Brother Y I could have written myself, nothing's changed. Oh, our stake confderence the other day was really good too, there were a lot of really great speakers, and I got to see D, who I had taught twice while on splits, and he was recently baptized. Man I've got a lot more, but thank you so much everyone, your prayers and contacts mean so much.
Love, Elder Pyron
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
So again I have had a great week. So Monday we went to a huge bowling alley attatched to a Casino for our Pday activity, so that was fun. There is money there, we saw a few lambos just as we were walking in the parking lot. Unfortunately I was kind of sick again for a little like Monday - Wednesday so that's not fun. I am still meeting lots of very neat and interesting people, especially having Elder G's area too. We had dinner one night with a man in the ward, who is one of the most loving, spiritual, charitable people I have ever met. His name is Brother L, he takes a lot of time visiting and teaching people. Another really cool person I have met is Brother B. He is owns a pizza shop. It's a nice pizza place, and he feeds all missionaries as often as they come by for free. It is a super cool place. (he gives all our own $20 pizza for free, it's CRAZY). This is the 4th Pizza shop he has owned, and kind of does it for fun now, each of his previous 3 he sold. He does a TON of missionary work there, like when people are sitting down eating he sits with them and talks, and usually bears his testimony, invites to church and has given missionary lessons several times. He's a really nice and spiritual guy. There's a lot of needy people he knows really well, and helps out a ton. Often he lets these strangers spend a few nights at his house or gives them a job and stuff. He's also very blunt, and confronts people about things like drug use and their struggles. He goes to the temple a few times a week, and has a lot of very interesting experiences he has told us about.
But so this week I have also had a few good street contacting successes. It's so weird, I have had 3 good ones my whole mission, and for all of them for whatever reason it is always at a time when I'm outside the car, my companion is in, so I'm alone. One was a 20 some year old guy that had just moved into our apartment complex from another state, and he had a marketing teacher who he really respected who was Mormon, so we talked for a bit and he asked for our number.
Then on Saturday, I met a guy from Fairfax, VA. We talked for a bit about the church, and he talked about the Mormons he knew and the respect he had for us. So it was neat, I kind of got to bear my testimony of how the Lord blesses us, kind of confirming the things he admired about us and all, so we talked about 10 minutes, he tried to give me 5 bucks and then I challenged him to take the lessons and so he took our number and stuff. For both of these my companion was in the car, and both people lived out of our ward boundaries which is a bummer.
Then I think Monday night we didn't have a dinner so we called Brother Y, and he told us to come by, and took us to the neighborhood country club. It was nice. We were following him and his huge group of friends in his Escalade, we were in our mini van, and he drives like 85 on this busy 40. It's funny, he's so like distanced from the world and everything around him. I bet he had no idea. He's pretty neat. It's so cool, and all the people that work there treat him like he owns the place, and I wouldn't be surprised if he did. When we were there we were talking to his wife about the neighborhood and stuff, and asked if it was true Nicholas Cage used to live in there. It took some prying by Elder G, but so they lived in one house, sold it to Nicholas Cage, while they moved to this house next door, so they sold Nicholas Cage a house, lived next door to him, and then Cage couldn't afford it and left. He always says how much he loves spending time with us. Oh and he left with his party to see the debate at 6 and left Elder G and me there, so we had like this country club to ourselves.
But so that night we taught one of our investigators who is making a lot of progress. Oh so the other night we had HUGE storms, with hail and stuff (really the storms were short and no wind and not that bad compared to VA) but Vegas terrain and all is awful so it runs down the mountains and all the way down the hill to the strip, and we got caught in this on the way home, with bad flooding. We saw several cars stuck in the water, and drove through many areas with very fast running water about 3 feet deep at some points. The roads there are so nice too! When we got home our front license plates case broke and the plate bent and flipped up so only the two top screws were in and it bent so you could only see the back and it stuck straight up. That was a lot of fun, and man I miss storms. But now there's rocks and gravel all over the streets. Our zone leaders just got their car out of the shop, and yesterday was the first day we didn't have steam coming from our hood when we drive.
So we went on splits the other day and I was with Elder M from Nashville. I like him a lot and it was pretty fun. In the AM we did this donation drive, because Saturday AM all these gated neighborhoods left their gates open for like an annual yard sale thing. The church building had DI (like Goodwill) trailers and we had this letter from their ward mission leader, with details and the guy with a trucks number, so that people could have all their left overs picked up if they were big and had the info about receipts and all. Four sets of missionaries did about 20 homes each, so it was pretty successful I think. Of our 20, lots were really excited and thankful, and we had one guy start throwing a fit from afar as we were coming screaming "NO SOLICITING IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD" and stuff, it was weird, he was all like panicky and stuff. I don't know what his deal was, probably that he didn't have a single customer at his place, and everyone else had like 20. Poor guy, maybe next time. So in Elder Gs area we got two referrals that worked out ok, one is in older lady who said she was going to go to church, didn't, and then left 3 voice mail on Elder G's phone late last night, saying something about how she got dragged out of her apartment and thrown in jail over a false accusation and is already back home. No idea what's going on there.
The other one, a woman named A, didn't have time for a lesson on Saturday, accepted a Book of Mormon, came to church with her son and sat with us Sunday, and set up a lesson for 6 that night. (she only came to sacrament because she had work 11- 5) So we came for the lesson, she had begun the Book of Mormon and loved church. Golden Investigator. We asked why she was interested in the church and went on and on about how she was raised Catholic, thought nothing made sense and everyone was hypocritical, she saw how happy the Mormons were and how straight their priorities and all were, and how family oriented and serving they are, while also being very faithful Christians, with religion that made sense. It was like a 5-10 minute testimony of exactly what God's most valuable gifts are, and that she knew it was time for her to find out for herself. The lesson went perfect, she understood and loved everything, and was very spiritual, excited, and committed. It was ridiculous how true and correct SO many things she said were. I wish I had time for it all. We mentioned prayer to open the lesson, and she kind of jumped in, said she felt confident enough to "start" and went at it. She was sitting and talking, not eyes closed or anything and didn't open or close as we do, but said the middle content of one of the most spiritual, heartfelt, prayers I had ever heard. All the things she was thankful for, and the things she wanted. And then afterwards, we described prayer a little more and she loved it. It was so cool, and she had never been taught to pray any way other than the memorized ones she learned at Catholic school. She was SO prepared. And she knew very little about our church from the beginning, like just observing people she knew were members so it was a really cool experience. She had a beautiful nice home, in a modest apartment, and is the single mother of a 16 year old girl and a 2 year old son. She works two jobs to take care of them, and the kids are really good kids. The son was as happy and obedient as any two year old, and the 16 year old was very quiet, but nice, like all she said was like do you want me to get you some water, and took our cups and stuff but she was really interested in the lesson. Any ways, that was by far my best teaching experience, because it was all new to her, but she was still accepting, but also understanding and understood things on a little deeper level.
We also gave Art his baptismal interview yesterday and his baptism was announced in Sacrament meeting. Saturday at 10 am. Stake conference though so confirmation is the next week. He also somehow got his wife to come to church yesterday, and she had no idea he was getting baptized til it was announced in Sacrament! She is also leaving for some time on Tuesday so she won't make it. I saw them standing in the foyer, and Art and her looked very happy, Art may have been glowing. And it was so neat because that may be the first time I have ever seen Art genuinely smile. He is very particular, serious, and private. He's got a distinct personality. He's loving, but he may have scared me as a child. But I think great things can come from this and really hope they do.
Another really cool experience I had was the other day on splits. Elder M really missed his last area where he had 16 baptisms, so he was excited to go back to his old Zone, which was mine, and I made a long list of less actives to visit in Pirate's Cove. It was night and dark. As we are driving, list made, I felt really inspired to go visit someone in Sundance instead, which was fine because it's the other complex where I played basketball once. We knock on the door, and wait and it seems no one's home. Elder M started to walk away after a while, so to stall I dropped and started to tie my shoes. I did that for a bit, still no answer, so I started to walk away. As we are about 15 feet from his door, it opens, and he says "COME IN!". We sit and start talking to him, he is the one baptized 2 years ago, came here from Africa a year before that, and works a job that is weekend only so he can't make church. And he spends lots of his weekday free time volunteering at the DI. His wife is a nonmember from Chicago who I haven't met yet. We talked and laughed for a while, and then he got a lot more serious. He said that prayer and scripture study is getting hard for him and asked if it is because the Spirit isn't as strong because he hasn't been able to make church in forever. We talked for quite some time, and he talked about how when he came here the missionaries were his only friends, who he loved a ton, but how he only got baptized when he knew it was ALL true. The church has still been a big part of his life even though he can't make meetings.. Like he had recorded conference, and had pretty recently bought a big tree of life painting. But he had no idea of who his home teachers were or anything, and had little contact with ANY members for a long time. He felt really bad that he most likely wouldn't be able to be the one to bless his daughter who he is expecting in December, and he was really sad. He was really scared of how recently prayer wasn't AS important to him, and when he read the scriptures he tended to get distracted, and didn't find the same love and joy as he did when he was able to attend Sacrament meeting every Sunday. So now we are going to visit him every week to talk, and read the scriptures together, and hopefully talk to his wife, because he really wants to be sealed to her, but with life, getting her baptized hasn't been his top priority which he feels bad about. It was an amazing visit, and he is real cool too. I am so excited to help him. Every night we send him and K scripture reference texts now.
Sunday night we had a little preach my gospel class at J's home. He is headed to Brazil on his mission in February, and does a lot of our missionary work now. Another guy J also comes to these, I think I mentioned him, he is 19. A few weeks ago while we were doing this, he began his mission papers, and is preparing now. He was only baptized 10 months ago. Our lesson there was a lot of fun and really spiritual, and J is getting really excited to be able to serve. He's a really fun kid.
Anyways, I wish I had time for more about these people but I have to go soon. I'll try to do better writing, and I think money is a good gift. I've got a list of things I want, but I have little time, and it is just easier for me to pick them up. Please keep writing, I really do appreciate it.
Love, Elder Pyron
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
How is everyone? Did you like conference? James, are you gonna leave right out of high school?! It's pretty crazy! This week has been good, but work has been slow. First off, last Monday we went to the Ys for Pday. They live in the same neighborhood as Greg Maddux and Nicolas Cage used to. We came in and Brother Y was just sitting at a table in the back, in front of a massive window with a beautiful view of his fountain /pool and the strip. The neighborhood is called Spanish Hills, and that's because it is a giant man made hill with cliffs that's only function is to give the houses prime views. He just sat there very calm, and I guess guests just come and go all day. There were janitors and like butlers and business associates all over, I guess he owns a company and pretty much does nothing now. He's in probably his late 60s, he was the first person to import Aloe Vera to the US I hear. Anyways, he holds pday activities there just so missionaries can like explore his place I guess. It's got an elevator, and two stories underground. His garage is 3/4 empty even though he has 8 cars in there, including a 2013 Ferrari. He's got an indoor basketball court/racquetball court in the bottom level in a big glass room, with a balcony, and the hoop retracts into like a trap door in the ceiling, it's a pretty ridiculous house. There's about 12 refrigerators throughout the house, and every room has a touch screen thing built into the wall that gives a map of the house, and you can control everything from them, and many of the rooms have cameras. So that was a pretty fun p-day. So yeah, that was a ton of fun, I guess you'd have to be there. Oh, and Elder G in his last area knocked on Mike Tyson's door, which is cool.
But so this week there has not been a lot of progress, a lot of people canceled and all. We taught K another lesson, and that went awesome though. Since I challenged them last week, they have done morning and evening prayers together everyday, and he did good not having his coffee. Elder G also has this challenge to write down 5 questions you have before conference and to see if they don't all get answered, that we have been leaving people to help get them excited and prepared for conference. I tried it too and it was really cool. I am definitely going to continue that one, too bad I couldn't tell you all before conference. They should divide conference up more. It was WAY fun indulging in 10 hours in two days, but it is so hard to fully appreciate each talk. So many were so meaningful to me but get overshadowed and blurred by the next great one. I took 45 pages of notes (smaller paper) on conference, and it would take forever to fully examine all of them. Every talk has so much to get out of it. It's so hard for me to pick a favorite, because there were so many. One that kind of sticks out most is Henry B. Eyring's, but I'm not even sure which one now, maybe both together, more so the Priesthood one I think. About praying to know who you can be and help others be, and how sometimes we don't even get the full vision of one's potential, until they decide to submit to God's will and then become that person, and about how he realized that our heart's desires ALONE are a great gift.
And Elder Bednar's about the value of testimony, and its difference from conversion, despite its necessity. But I could go forever about these. Overall it seemed there was a big theme on fully submitting to God's will, but the Gospel is so complete that it could be taken anyone depending on how the Spirit prompts the listener as it is all the same. A main realization that stuck to me in particular throughout conference was how crucial we are to God. I knew God loves us and has his perfect plan because he wants our success, which is SO amazing, but I didn't think about the trust he really has in us to return any glory upon Him, or at all repay Him. His work and Glory is the eternal life of man, and individually, especially as members of the church we have SO much privilege and responsibility to use our gift of agency to further that. We have SO much freedom, responsibility and power. The good things we do for others are truly blessings to God, which is hard to comprehend because it seems hard to give something meaningful to God. But we can truly lay up treasures in store for our Heavenly Father, and are actually PROFITABLE servants, we really have a gift to give God, and our services to men are ABSOLUTELY like we are doing them to our Lord. We have real gifts to give, and He has MUCH more to offer those profitable servants who prove trustworthy to properly use such gifts. So use your agency right, it's what we're here for, and we can master it, no temptation is unbearable. And often we try to imagine an unbearable temptation as something huge, but really, aren't the ones we find unbearable the very small ones we fail to overcome everyday? Or the bursts of hate, anger or pride we choose to have or dwell on, and we tell ourselves are harmless or inevitable? ALL DAY, every moment diligence to exact obedience to following Christ is probably the hardest of all, because it is so hard to prepare for, happens slowly and gradually, and consequences often seem nonexistent or so minor. So wouldn't fighting these things, which in reality are small, yet very difficult to overcome, (as they are the ones we do the most), the most profitable ones for us to strive to overcome?
It reminds me now of Elder Cooks talk, and about sin dulling us spiritually, which we do not always notice. We can again be sharp Spiritually to those small hinderments, which President Eyring compares to a pavilion over our testimony. So we can overcome and gain dominion over those small ties that Satan has on us as natural men, and we can literally become more Christlike, with a cleaner vessel to be filled with the Holy Ghost to lead and teach us, all things of truth of light, which is God's infinite wisdom, and we can not only more fully be converted, and more truly reborn of Christ, but we can more clearly see the blessing and glory of God and his love towards us, which gives us so much more reason and determination to serve him valiantly, and get all of the eternal treasures on earth that God has in store for us now, and forever.
Ok I haven't been doing so good writing in my journal recently so I kind of just used this time to do it. Me and Elder G get along great so I guess he is big distractor of my writing, which isn't a bad thing. Just curious but dad, have you sent a letter? I haven't got one in a while, and I just don't know if that is due to the move and mail going to my old address, so i just wanted to make sure, and if it's because you haven't written, it's not to make you feel bad, but you can still try and get one that. Just kidding. But my time is running low, so I'll leave you all now, but let me know how things are going! Oh and people are asking about my birthday, money and ties are never bad, and I guess maybe an ipod dock/small speakers, socks, tech decks, sweatpants, church pants might all be cool, but feel no obligations. Or whatever else comes to mind. Or an Ensign, especially a conference one. But yeah, talk to you Monday!
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
So first of all, it has been a crazy week. So my companion went home Friday morning. He found out Tuesday so it was a very weird couple of days. But I'll focus on more positive things and then get to that. So last week I don't think I mentioned it, but when I was on exchanges with two people that came out at the same time as me, Elder B and S, we taught an 18 year old named D. He had been attending singles ward for months, and knew he wanted to be baptized. The lesson was a lot of fun, and he is very committed, and really wants to be sealed in the temple and have an eternal family. Because I was there for his first lesson (he already knew a good bit, but not everything) I felt attached and it was a really good experience and I was bummed about him not being ours. So that's background. Then I'll start with Monday the 24th, which was P-day and not much happened.
Tuesday was splits (this time just Elder B and I, who came out with me, different MTC district). We wanted to go hard to work, we had great studies together, and then went to visit an inactive in an apartment complex, and the girls mom wanted it to be less anonymous, so we were just going to "happen" to tract out her little complex. She wasn't home, and we knocked on a total of 5 doors. However, at one door we met an Asian man in his early 30s late 20s or so. He seemed busy and his kids were sleeping, but Elder B is a champ, and was very loving but pushy, and eventually got him to open up a little and said he would be more free around 3. So we headed back to the car, and we saw a group of Hispanics, or Mexicans as they openly call them in Vegas, who were sitting on their lunch break from a landscaping job. Elder B approached them, and they seemed annoyed and said they spoke no English. Elder B had 3 years of Spanish, and no experience, so he was pretty limited, but he kept going and spoke in slow Spanish, and eventually, again by being pushy but loving he got them to open up, and we ended up getting their number and setting him up with an appointment with the Spanish missionaries. Well that's what I found out that he did as soon as we left and headed back to the car.
But so then we ended up coming back to the Asian mans home. He let us in, and we sat and talked and taught for a little over an hour. His name was spelled "Shane" but it had just been given to him by his wife and he thought it was pronounced "Sean". He has lived in the US 3 months and came from mainland China. It was a very unique experience. His English was very lacking, but not so bad that we couldn't teach a lesson, things just took a little longer. So we come to find out, I guess in mainland China religion is so suppressed that he hardly knew what it was. He accepted everything we discussed, and he had no reason to think differently about ANYTHING. He had never even heard the name "Jesus Christ". His culture was so different and he was telling us in China we would have been killed. And he had NO understanding of why we would do something like that for free, and at the end asked us what he owed. He was SHOCKED. We left him with a Book of Mormon, pamphlets, and mormon.org (in Mandarin). He said he would talk to his wife later to better understand culturally and all. He thought it was weird that the American God loved Asians too, and so we described all that. We really talked about a lot, and he really loves his family, and was very accepting so it was awesome. We taught him prayer, which of all of the things we discussed, the word "prayer" was the only word he didn't know (and Jesus Christ). Everything else he got though. We taught him all about prayer, and he offered us a kneeling prayer, part Mandarin part English. Elder B updated me the other day on their return visit, when they brought a Mandarin Book of Mormon. His 4 year old son had drawn and given Elder B a picture on the second visit. I'm pretty bummed Shane isn't ours. I am super excited for him. For the 4 year old, their walls were covered with different alphabets and math things, like the is doing genius prep. And I think money is a big issue with them, they use like industrial grade paper towels for paper, so we want to do something to help in that way.
But so right after that lesson, we had another appointment with D. D had convinced his strongly Catholic dad to read the Book of Mormon, and got his mom to agree to attend church. He also told us he was at McDonald's the other day and instead of getting his normal tea, he got soda, and then asked if that was ok, and felt bad about drinking soda. He also said he was about to go to the gym on Sunday, and then felt he shouldn't and asked if that was right thing, or if he could have. So he is really awesome, and very excited for his baptism. He feels like mine cause I've taught him the majority of his lessons, so I bummed about that one as well. So that was an AWESOME day. But the next day, not so much. So right after the lesson, I get a call from President Black, and it was confirmed that my companion was going home, and so it wasn't the best finish. But splits ends after dinner, and I am back with Elder M and we have an appointment with K. Elder M was very quiet, which was honestly cool for me, as I had a GREAT time teaching K, had a great spiritual heart to heart discussion, and I was able to commit them to quite a few things, and really help him with all the struggles he is having to make the church be part of his life, and how he lives every moment of the day. It was a very memorable experience, and it felt amazing. He and his wife have so much potential, and they really know it. So after that Elder M and I went home, and we had a lot of time to talk, and pack. The plan was that I would be joining Elder R and B, who teach S and D, (I'm really good friends with Elder R and B) so I was excited to move in with them. Thursday we finished packing, talked a lot, and made some good bye visits and all with missionaries and members Elder M was especially attached to. The next few days with Elder M were a really good experience, spending time with him, and I really admired the way he handled everything. I felt I got to know him far better in those few days then I had the whole other 8 weeks. He thanked me a lot for being the companion I was to him and all, and I was able to learn more than I could have imagined from all this, and it really was a blessing for both of our lives, and all the people we serve, and we both know it. So Friday morning when Elder R and B and I go with him to the Mission home and drop off the extra car, and send Elder M off on the plane, President Black tells me that a missionary in the stake over is now going home for a back injury, and I will be replacing him and serving with Elder G. I was shocked and scared. I was going to live with him, preside over the Spring Valley ward, and we would ditch my two wards, Westcliff and Evergreen for the most part, except for appointments. I was so sad, and scared. So many people Elder M and I had told that I would still be with them, and all the people we were working with that I didn't get to finish with, and all the members that had been so nice that I loved so much wouldn't be able to be thanked properly. (The original plan was that Elder B, R and I, whose wards touch mine, would just cover 4 wards as a tripanionship, and we would do exchanges with members and all). So at this time we found out since The Ws have had missionaries in their place since 2007, they were about done with missionaries staying at their place. So we saw Elder M off, left President Blacks home, and Elder B, R and I went back to my apartment to do a deep cleaning of the basement bedroom. There were boxes and boxes of things that had been left over the years by previous missionaries. A lot of random food and toys especially. So we finally got the room all deep cleaned, made a few runs because the car was full, and dropped off a lot at the DI. At about 7 we headed to Elder Gs place and I said my good byes to Elder R and B. They came with me and my new zone to get ice cream before bed, and so then at 9, everyone left, and I was able to start unpacking, and actually meet Elder G and H, who was about to leave in the morning. So we saw him off Saturday morning, and then Elder G and I had to run a few errands and all, and there was a lot to get organized. So Sunday we went to his ward in the morning and PEC meeting and stuff. His stake just had boundaries redone, and so my first Sunday there, was also most of that congregations first Sunday, and it was crazy. We then went and attended Evergreen ward, so I was able to update and meet with the important people, and kind of settle and clarify everything. So now Elder G and I each have a phone for our areas, and things won't be too bad. In 4 weeks I will go back to being fully Evergreen and Westcliffs, and I will have a new companion, and I will be living in an unknown place, because President Black is looking for one now. Elder G is from Canada, has been out 22 months, and came to this mission a month ago from the (east) Las Vegas mission. So I guess now with the ward deal and all, I am thrown in a position with a lot of responsibility, (I've got the Evergreen/Westcliff phone, and in charge of stats and communications, and appointments and meetings) and with all this I am quickly learning all the things that it is now evident I wasn't taught. So it is very stressful but also a great experience and I am learning tons. I am fine. Elder G is also District Leader. My new zone plays sand volley ball 630-700 every morning so I am excited about that. My new area is very rich, and its a culture shock. Today we have an activity at Brother Ys, who has an indoor basketball court, private jet and everything, and I am now out of time, and missing a lot I want to fill you in on, and keep me posted on your lives, man I want another email hour. But bye, I love you all,