Nathanael Pyron

Nathanael Pyron

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 11

Dear Family,
     This week has been good, very different but very good.  So me and Elder R get along great and it’s been fun.  We have good conversations.  So the struggles are different and unique, and not that big, it’s just so different. 
     We had great lessons this week too.  We taught S and N the Word of Wisdom.  They said they had kind of panicked because they knew they were far from baptism and didn’t understand a lot of these things to be anything more than just a rule.  So it was great, and they love and understand the idea of our bodies being temples and being "free" is key to letting the Spirit guide. (I like to paraphrase their understanding or mindset in my own words).  
     Then we saw J and P.  They eagerly were waiting for us, at the table with Books of Mormon. He read this time, and they asked a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon, and they said they both felt that they’ve been missing something and that they feel it’s time to accept. He said he took forever to successfully use AA and when he did it was when he finally swallowed his pride and accepted it, and he’s had a good, but ungrowing relationship with God for the 20 years since then, and from that experience knows that he shouldn’t be slow to accept God, to grow.  So they’re really excited.  They are always out of town truck driving except Thursdays and this was their week off so they came to church!  They enjoyed it.  To give you an idea of these people, we know a neighbor of theirs who is in the ward.  His kids know him as "crazy John" and they go over to his house to play.  This member in ward counsel described him as "the guy at a formal adult situation, that finds the well behaved kids, gets them riled up, and starts the water fight." So he’s a cool funny guy.  Just really fun.  So hopefully things are well for them this week. 
     Unfortunately we had an awful (from a missionary perspective) sacrament meeting. The talks were just war stories for Veteran’s Day, and nothing gospel.  And 3 of the 4 hymns were patriotic.  But the speakers were pretty "loose" I guess so hopefully it’s a group or whatever that John would want to feel a part of, it was boringly formal or whatever I guess.  The speakers were at least themselves. 
     We also taught L again, it was another fun lesson; all the kids are well behaved and excited.  It’s amazing some of the spiritual things or ideas little kids can understand.  I asked L why she thinks we had to get bodies, and she said "so we can do things like swim, and move under the water, and play with our families."  It was great, such a good spirit of love in their home.  5 kids ages 7-11 and they were all so behaved and reverent, but not boringly so.  And they were all super excited and ready for us to come over.
     We also taught L, M's fiancĂ©.  They’ve been coming to church, but it’s been hard to catch them.  M has little gospel knowledge, but is so happy that L comes to church willingly.  L is a really good guy.  He’s like 6'2”, pretty average build, kind of dresses and looks like a tough guy, goatee, works at Big O, usually wears like Lynyrd Skynyrd shirts or whatever, but also has a really kind soft face.  They actually ordered pizza for us before the lesson too.  L is really quiet and shy but genuine and sweet.  The lesson started out pretty awkward and weird, but the spirit got strong throughout, and L being shy was slow to open which made it hard, but we could see his face kind of turning redder and redder throughout the lesson, and at the end we asked him if he would like to be baptized and he said "yes".  Then everyone started talking about how great he is.  M told how he brings so much good into their home, and it’s the first time she’s had like a "clean" man, and then C and K talked about the example he’s been to them, and he’s kind of shy, but all he can ever reply to compliments is things like "well, you’ll learn why one day, you’ll learn life isn’t about you, it’s about helping those around you" and it’s so good and genuine.  And he’s a really hard worker too, 6 days 12 hours a day.  But we’re really excited for them.  He said "I’ve just been loving Christ and God too long, but its time I need to "get more in the word", so he’s going to read the Book of Mormon and all.  So that’s most of the good stuff from this week.
     Oh, the other night the sisters called and asked if we could come give J a blessing.  It was good, she said she felt so much lighter after I gave the blessing, and we talked for quite a while, she was so glad to see me again, and it was just a good Spirit in her home.  And we got to talk to C a little bit. 
     So things have been good.   
     Elder Pyron

We saw J and C last night.  They like my new companion.  He plays lacrosse and J plays hockey so they bonded over the similarities there.  He's from Tennessee.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday, November 4

Dear family,
     So transfers are today... I’ll be staying where I am, and Elder F is going down to Vegas. I’ll be getting Elder R, who I already know really well, so it will be very different.  So I’m pretty surprised. Elder F is pretty sad I guess, he doesn’t like change, he likes to stay comfortable.  He’s lost almost 20 lbs though! 
     And Tuesday and Thursday we saw S and N. Tuesday we got to know them and their backgrounds a lot better, and they asked some questions about things like blacks (she’s half African-American), and all but it went really well.  She has no stumbling block there and had googled it and found nothing bad, so that was good.  He read up to 2 Nephi 6 by then. And then they came to the Halloween party and we got them to meet several good people.  Thursday we brought J, (reactivating guy I’ve mentioned, recent convert too) and it went really well.  We taught the Plan of Salvation and it went great... she commented a lot how a lot of the things especially from resurrection on, and what happens in spirit world, were things she already believed but was never told them or taught them at church, so it was great.  Then at the end she asked "so what’s EVERYTHING you have to do to go to the celestial kingdom" and you could tell she was eager for a baptism invite whether she knew it or not.  They both accepted, both with an attitude of getting ready for it.  So it was great.  Then she asked about baptisms for the dead she heard about, and it just solidified everything she believed about baptism being essential, everyone getting a fair opportunity, and what the spirit world is like, so it was great. 
     Wednesday we taught L, part member family 9 year old, and it went great.  Her mom is really remembering a lot of things and is getting excited and has a vision of what her husband and family can be down the road.  The older sister is 11 and baptized, L is 9, and youinger brother is 7, and they all participated.  It was fun and they really loved it and are excited for us to come back.  Each one has personality and I like them all, they’re just a fun family.  I think they’ll like Elder R too.  So L will probably be baptized on the 23rd. 
     Thursday we saw J and P, she had read from the Book of Mormon and he asked for his own.  It was a good visit, she believes the story could easily be true (the introduction), but didn’t pray about it but will now.  And you could tell they were expecting us this time.  So we’re excited for them too. 
     Then there’s M and M, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned them.  They too were tracted into, they’re a Native American couple.  He’s big and tatted and they’ve got big trucks and cars, and they’ve got like 50 people living in their place at different times.  But we’ve gotten to know them really well.  He grew up near the church on a reservation, and she had some LDS foster parents for a while.  Their whole religious history and understanding is unique.  They have a lot of very interesting experiences with skin walkers and medicine men, possession, and all... but she has also had very legitimate sounding dreams about the Savior.  And his father was very much into the Bible, which they do believe but know little about, but they also have all their native things and blessings.  It’s really interesting, a lot is voodoo type things that Elder P described in Haiti, and another missionary from El Salvador, but both of them said it was all focused on images.  But for M and M it’s the medicine men and spirits.  But so similar.  And some of the things are so interesting, like M had an experience overcoming a struggle by talking to the medicine man and his spirit left his body, went into space with him, and they counseled spirits, and it resolved his struggle. And she apparently has the gift of healing, and stories with that.  They also talked about this annual Sundance thing, where they fast for three days, glorify the sun and someone hangs from piercings in his skin for the whole 3 days which has so many similarities to Christ and you can see distortion.  So we talked about that and we’re going to bring them the Testaments.  We’ve visited with them quite a few times now and last time they told us they’ve never let missionaries in before, but she could feel or see something about our aura.  It’s so interesting, the way different spirits or spiritual gifts work or are and what’s what.  They’ve also had powerful experiences with death, near death experience, and loved ones, and it all seems different, but also real.  It’s neat.  But they tell us we bring the spirit in their home and make their days.  They’re in their 30s, very nice and loving; he is so happy and positive always.  So it’s been a good week. 
     Love, Elder Pyron

Followup e-mail

     I’ve got two SD cards with stuff from back then, and I’m not sure which.  Just tell me any particular thing or event you’ve pictures from.  I wasn’t sure but I figured we’d stay, or I’d go, either one.  And Elder R- I think there’s a lot we can learn from each other, but in a lot of ways I feel we’re opposites, but in others very the same.  He reminds me a lot of Nick Atkins.  Really big upside, very loyal friend, and very smooth and outgoing.  He can also always tell what I’m feeling, which is kind of good. For example, he called all excited the other day and as we talked, he called me out on not sounding all that excited, but he doesn’t take it contentious, it’s just that he’s concerned, but not that big of deal and it’s not that I want to be contentious, he just really has a good genuine love for a good friend and I know he really likes me though, and I like him.   So it’ll be very different, hard and different in some ways, but a breath of fresh air in others.  R was "born" in Redrock (where I was for 5 transfers) at the start of my second, so I was right next to him for his first 6 months.  It’s weird he’s kind of an older missionary now (like 10 months). 

Monday, October 28

Dear family, 
     Its been a good week of course.  FIrst to answer mom's question, I use a study journal, I'm on my 13th one probably 9 by 5 or so  inches, over a thousand pages. I fill pages too.  The birthday package was great, the protein bars were good, as was the jerky.
     My birthday was great, J called to tell us his home teacher brought him a Preach My Gospel, so we came over to show him about it and he was way excited.  Then near the end of our lesson Cathie came out of nowhere with a cake and gift, it was great, I had no idea, I didn't tell anyone.  So both of my mission birthdays have been good.  So about sending my sd card, I'm not sure what I've sent before.. what do you have pictures of?
     Well for this week, pday, I didn't realize it, but my thighs hurt from the week before's bike accident.. I knew there were big bruises but they never bothered me, but on pday I realized any explosive movement caused a super sharp pain in the muscle there, which wasn't there the week before, but we were playing softball on pday so it wasn't too bad a bother, I had someone run for me when I hit.. and I think and hope it's better now.
     Tuesday we had our lesson with S N and V which was great.  we brought our ward mission leader who is about 30, and a full time seminary teacher.  We taught well, they really liked and latched to the whole idea of how apostasy fades to dispensations, and that Christ was demonized by so many, and that as clear as the signs were they still weren't that obvious (like worlds view on the Book of Mormon).  They are loosely Lutheran, and only recently had heard we're Christian before they had always heard we put Joseph Smith over Christ... it's ridiculous the crap some spread... It's embarrassing to them that they would spread such a lie.. but they are excited to read the Book of Mormon, and they all came to church, all dressed, he bought a white shirt and pants and tie and everything for it, we found them in the parking lot 10 minutes before, they said they were nervous and only staying for the 1st hour, and brought their Books of Mormon. I think they liked the meeting and we're seeing them again Tuesday, and then they're coming to the ward party so that's good.
     3rd ward, Bishop S's was good.. he invited a counselor from the mission presidency to speak, an he's new, young, and is over all seminary teachers in this region of the United States, so he's very smart and a good teacher.  And he talked about the ward needing us over to feed us, and how our cupboards are barren... and he didn't even know that the ward just had their week and not a single family had us over.  One family heard about it and brought us dinner 3 times, but pretty small, and none in any members homes, and that's the first time that's happened on my mission for sure.  But it was a great sacrament meeting, Bishop S reminded everyone at start that "when we have someone on the stand with a name tag doesn't mean we change who we are, right...right..?" until everyone said "yes" out loud.  Then he begged everyone to find out all they know who need any sort of holiday help, and to talk to bishop and that they'll all be helped, and it was actually pretty powerful the sincerity he has, then he hyped up our first speaker "a tough islander girl" who was a half Samoan girl, 7 years old, and she actually gave probably the best talk from someone that age about the temple, then we heard Pres. and Sister Stuart speak, they told great stories, and then Bishop came on and told everyone how excited he was, that converts do things how they want, and told a story about Sammy Sosa and missionaries, and then said their changing the hymn selection to Armies of Helaman, had everyone stand, and the youth do the first verse and stuff, it was cool.  
     Thursday we saw J and P again, they hadn't read the Book of Mormon but you could tell they had planned to and regretted and will now. We had a great spirit led discussion.. it started I asked several questions about their beliefs, and she made it clear or whatever how she grew up Pentecostal, was offended dealing with her baptism and ended up not doing and has been too busy on Sundays since... and we asked a ton about their beliefs, I was genuinely curious, they know they believe the Bible, and know they don't know as much as they should be, she expressed very typical Pentecostal beliefs, focused on heaven, hell, accepting grace and the book of Revelation. then I simply explained our beliefs, the plan of salvation lesson up through all being resurrected and rewarded, and they felt the spirit and said they agreed with every word.  Then we talked about baptism, because she did understand scripturally that it was a must, but I kind of led her into internal conflict when she realized she also didn't belief ALL unbaptized go to hell, which according to her understanding was what the scripture said, so we shared about baptisms for the dead and all, and they loved, and then he expressed an experience he had seeing his father after he died, and her seeing angels as a youth.  His dad didn't tell him much more than that Jesus was the Christ, and that we was to come.  So it was neat, their minds were definitely opened, and had new understanding and hope and outlook on life.  Our conversation was basically me and her when it was about scriptures, and then me and him, and we talked about the point of life and where were going.  He called this life heaven and said he wasn't sure he wanted a heaven where they sit around, so then he got led to a little internal conflict, because then nothing added up concerning his beliefs about what happens when we die, so I shared about that, and it was just a great simple informal powerful lesson. I really like them.  
     We had some great simple tracting experiences, and met quite a few people, yard sales are great for meeting people. One lady stopped in her truck, asked for a hand for her son moving a washing machine from a truck, so we went over down the street, helped out, and then she told us she lived right across the street from C and J, that C told her all about how awesome we were, and she told us to stop by her house next time we see C, so that was awesome.  All our best referrals are from less actives and nonmembers, I've noticed throughout my whole mission.  All the kids that get baptized, Art had an inactive wife, J was referred to us by non member, S and N heard about us and got excited from T and T... so that's cool.
     Friday we had a ton of service painting the senior center.  So yeah.  
Oh we met a home bound old family the other day.. both very strong testimonies, over 80, and married 7 years ago.  She was very cool.  She had had a near death experience in 83, where she was in the spirit world, and learned a ton, she had wanted to give up, had suicidal thoughts from age 8... but was way humbled by the misery and experience in spirit world, and wrote a book (she just always heard how peaceful and nice dying was and found it appealing) and so her death experience, she was super sick, wanted to give up doctors didn't know what was wrong.  At the end of her spirit world trip she was told to remove her golden crown on a tooth.  She tried super hard once she was back in body, and finally got all the paper work ready and approved to have a perfectly good one removed. They removed it, something with the roots, and an infection relating was causing a host of ailments all over her body and she got all the way better within days of removing it.  So she wrote her book, kept it nondenominational so it would reach more, and since she's often invited to speak at churches and things, and she really does know and love her scriptures, very doctrinally sound, and so she can go to churches, and basically teach LDS doctrine without people knowing, otherwise they wouldn't invite her.  She was super intelligent and strong speaker even at her age now.  She's been on the phone with hundreds of people contemplating suicide and none ever have.  She's big into the "neardeath society" or something and studied tons of other peoples experiences and stuff.  She says the biggest things you learn is that death is only peaceful or paradise if you took full advantage, that it's the worst feeling of guilt and suspense to be there, knowing you didn't do all you could, and with an awful sense of guilt and that you can't endure His presence, and confirmed so many scriptures about it, and longing for a body, and all.  It was really cool. The way she described things, and answered questions, I wish I had time for details.  But that was cool.  So yeah.
    Well, I love you all.  It's super windy today so were playing basketball.  Oh two weeks ago I found if a ball is stuck in between the rim and backboard a certain way, I can get it down with my head.  
     I tried canned salmon, the first was alright, the second was all full of bones and skin, so I guess I gotta read labels better.
     Elder Pyron

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday, October 21

Dear family,
     So yes I got the card, there are 6 in the district and mail is no different.  They just don’t have mailboxes in Mesquite so they do mail weird so not every missionary has to have keys and go to the post office daily.  I did get Bompa's letter. 
     It’s crazy I totally didn’t realize my birthday was near til like yesterday, I didn’t think I could ever care so little about a birthday, it’s ridiculous.  So Bishop Sleppy is still funny, yesterday he was conducting, gave more on the spot callings, and started by saying "good morning" and then a lot of the congregation responded "good morning", and then he said "just because I’m not brown doesn’t mean I can’t be cordial", and that wasn’t at all a big deal to anyone, it’s amazing how calmly they heard it. 
     Well, things are going good this week.  Elder Fiddler has lost 12 lbs in the past few weeks.  You’ve asked about the protein powder, its EAS soy protein, an old missionary left some I finished off and then I just got another of the same. 
     We’ve had a lot of good small successes this week.  Wednesday we met a family from Germany right outside the library, they just came here, and are living out of their car looking for work. They just dress and walk and talk like typical tourists, it’s funny, but they’re here for good.  They asked about who we were because they heard this is a good town because of all the Mormons, so we taught them a brief first lesson outside in front of the library and they liked it a lot, and it was all brand new, they knew nothing, not even sure if we believed in God, so they didn’t know if we were a religion or what… but then we walked out into the parking lot so we could show them the steeple on the chapel, and then offered to walk down to tour it, so we walked down with them, and gave them a brief tour.  They were very impressed and fascinated, and excited to read from the Book of Mormon and write down questions, and they really like the picture I showed them of Christ in the Americas.  So they went their way afterwards, when I realized a baptism was going to start, then we ran over to Bill’s house, I super luckily found a German Book of Mormon, it’s a miracle how I found that, considering there’s no collection of foreign Book of Mormons there, we were in a hurry, and it was under a coat in the kitchen where no books are ever kept, and we didn’t even know there was a German one there, but we got it, ran after them gave them that one, and then they came back for the baptism.  It was way cool.  They were so excited to get the German Book of Mormon, and to study English between the two.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see them at church like we expected, but they were definitely genuinely excited.  And earlier that morning we got another 3 new investigators, we were trying to find an old former, but I had a brain fart, totally went to the wrong door, and there we met a woman who had heard a lot about the church from some people we teach, and was really excited about the things she heard, so we set a time to come teach her, her husband, and son, and they were very excited as well, so it was great.
     Friday we came back to a busy couple we met tracting, they let us in, said they had talked with missionaries before and just liked to talk.  They were way cool, both truck drivers for Walmart, he’s really funny and outgoing, he has huge trust in God.  We taught a great brief first lesson, and they definitely caught the spirit of it, and asked some questions.  I really like him, he’s really goofy, but it’s just the perfect note of goofy/funny but down to earth, teasing but respectful, questioning, but listening... so we’re going back there, and have interest in checking out the family history center, and definitely received the Book of Mormon gladly and excitedly, they said they had "some floating around somewhere" but definitely still wanted one, I think they understood its value from the first time.  So I’m really excited there.  He also talked about journal writing and kind of testified of its value, as he kind of rebuked me for my answer to his questions about our contact with family while on the mission. 
     So yeah, I’m excited.  Lot's of people we teach were all at church, and we should be meeting soon.  Friday we visited kind of a random less active woman who at first was pretty standoffish and all but as we persisted and talked she then opened up, and talked about her situation. She’s now married to a nonmember and all, but just "not ready yet".  So we left thinking it was just a good little seed on her way to "get ready" but then to our surprise we saw her at church, she talked to us, and said her 9 year old daughter would like to be baptized, and we set up a time where her husband will be home and we can teach her.  So that was great to see.   
     So it’s been a fun week, and we’ve had a few other good experiences tracting and all.  Oh, and J, I mentioned earlier said in the early 90s, he was working with an insurance company in fire protection, in San Mateo...  he asked for your name and it didn’t ring a bell.  He said it was a small company a friend of his owned, but then he tried to sell it to him, and he left.  I mentioned you were with Kemper and he was familiar.  But so close.  I doubt you’d know him but he’s like 6'2-3, thin and was commuting from Sacramento at the time.  But that’s kind of it here for me. 
     Elder Pyron

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday, October 14

Dear family,
     This week’s been good of course.  So I think I mentioned M and M, Native American / Polynesian couple.  We got a hold of them the other day, and they invited us into to watch them feed their fish and stuff so that was good, and we got to know them well.
     I had exchanges twice this week, once I went up to Beaverdam with Elder R, which was fun.  They had a mouse too big for all their traps, but I rigged my own invention of a trap, and it caught their mouse so that was fun. 
     I don’t know if I mentioned but I’m the district leader.  Thursday I got to go on exchanges in my area with Elder C who is from my MTC group.  That was fun, we got to cut down some trees for a less active we met, and had a good talk about the Book of Mormon with an excommunicated guy.  We got to see R and N again: she watched part of General Conference, just bought a table in the community art show, so she can put her modge-podged thrift shop puzzles, and glass art (rocks and flowers and stuff in a glass).  So she’s staying busy. R is doing good, really loves and appreciates what we do, he always is able to grab us alone and tell us how we change N’s mood so much.  
     Sunday night we had a good talk with K and J.  J’s foot is doing well, he’s still "struggling spiritually" and especially with having small habits of reading or praying, and he tells us this because he sees it as a problem.  I love our visits with him. He had just seen a little show on Roddy Piper and his paranormal experience, and loves watching those things.  They do him so much good too.  He’s very particular to when he believes someone’s story, and I feel is pretty good at sniffing out the liars. And he also pays no heed to the "psychics" or whatever, and is good at realizing what’s going on there.  So for him it really is just a testimony builder. So we talked about that stuff a little, and why we don’t get more abundant signs, and how real conversion doesn’t come from your head but heart.  I love teaching him. I feel he understands my points so well in ways most can’t.  So we have some good deep talks. 
     Sunday we had a speaker give probably the best sacrament meeting talk I’ve ever heard.  His topic was "Christ centered lives" and he started out testifying of what the last speaker said, and then said he had no idea what he was going to say until that morning, it was manifest that reading the Book of Mormon was it.  And he gave such a powerful spirit led talk with the greatest mission stories, and still all this "boldness" and uniqueness without at all appearing prideful or self righteous, everything he said was so spirit led.  He told of how he began reading The Bible at age 3 and 4 and spent his whole youth learning to prove all things from The Bible, and spent the beginning of his mission just seeking pastors to Bible bash, and said he never even carried his Bible but just because he had so much memorized it was easier.  Then he met the smartest one he had ever met, and was doing phenomenal answering his questions for an hour, then the spirit left him, he couldn’t remember or say anything because he got prideful in what he knew, and then was destroyed for 2 more hours, so a total of 3, where the second two he got destroyed.  Then he left with a weak testimony of the Book or Mormon and challenge to read it. And from then on he spent his mission studying and teaching from the Book of Mormon.  Nearly two years later at the very end of his mission, he ran into him again, the guy remembered him, and invited him in to bash.  This time he simply asked if the man had read it, the man said yes, and that it was of the devil.  Then Brother C saw lines and lines of scripture, from James, about asking things amiss, and he hadn’t even memorized those, but he just started reading it from the image of it he saw in his mind, and the man started trembling intensely and everything, just like Sherem.  But it was just an awesome talk, and he told other stories like it, and just somehow with such a spirit that you wouldn’t think for a second he was boasting, which now in hindsight I can’t even picture.
     And I’ve been studying the Bible a lot recently, and most of my mission, so I started reading in Jacob yesterday and it’s phenomenal.  I had been studying in Samuel, and really learning a ton of great things, but the Book of Mormon was just different.  Brother C was the old bishop, and was one of those ones that the whole ward just remembers and loves, as the "best they ever had" and he knows the ward better than anyone, and there’s many inactives that refuse contact from anyone but him.  So that was just a neat experience. 
     Things with Elder F are all right.  We’ve had some "heart to hearts" I guess recently.  I also had a good talk about him being passionate about life, or wanting to change himself, because he was kind of stuck as a child, and not really making change, but I and the other missionaries have noticed big change in him.  It’s been fun, getting his confidence up and desire and passion and all in the "harsh" manner, and I think it being fun makes it go well. He makes it up the huge hill to our house every time now, still slow, but for a long time, he couldn’t ever even get close, but he consistently makes it now. It takes beating him up there and yelling, but he does it.  It’s all with a light mood too (you know me).  It’s one of those things I wish I could talk with you about in person. 
     But speaking of that hill, I wrecked hard this AM.  I was going down it, FAST, and talking on the phone, and riding on the sidewalk where at every intersection you have to turn to go up the elevated ramp that continues the sidewalk, and then immediately swerve again because of the light posts, and it's tricky, and I was talking on the phone, getting annoyed with the guy for one, and then couldn’t quite make one of the swerves fast enough with just my left hand, so I stuck my hand out to not wreck straight into the pool (pole?), then I went over my handle bars into a roll, right back onto my feet, didn’t let go of the phone with the other hand, hung up, straightened my seat, and got back on.  I think I’ve got a bruise on each thigh were they hit the handle bars, and my left wrist hurts, so I’m way fortunate. 
     Basketball is still fun of course.  Two p-days ago I had 5 total dunks in 4 on 4 games, definitely my best.  One it was 10-9 we were up, and there was loose ball up above the arch, so everyone was up there, and then we got the ball I cut toward the hoop, as they threw a lob pass, I caught on the run, took a step and threw it down to win.  Then for #2 I crossed my man at the top of the key and cut to the hoop as defenders from both sides tried to swarm in, and the guy on me was running by my side and I just threw it down, that was my favorite, the whole defense was collapsing on me, I beat ‘em all, jumped from far, and dunked hard.  Then the next two were kind of similar, but without quite the same collapse, so a pretty open lane but still full defense, but not that cool.  Then the last one I was being guarded by the 6'4” black girl that had a full ride scholarship to play for Utah State, and I was like 12 feet out from the hoop, I crossed her over so she literally fell, and dunked it, so that was kind of the coolest, but kind of the least cool.  But it’s just my personal witness about women’s basketball though.  I touched 11'3 for my first time the other day.  (I just see the mark on my wrist and measure when I get home.) But I thought James would like that.
     But that’s about it, 
     Love you all,
     Elder Pyron

PS.  Bishop S is hilarious, he had Elder F give a talk and teased him over the pulpit, nicely, and he was giving out callings from the pulpit, having new faces stand up and introduce themselves and everything, he started out sacrament meeting by saying "well, I’m 28 days clean from swearing... so girls, you better get to work, because I’m not helping you get to girls camp" (one of them had challenged him to quit swearing).  But despite the beginning of the meeting being basically comedy hour, he said some really funny things with the introductions and callings and all, the spirit was definitely there, and people feel loved by him. I’d love to bring an investigator there.  His wife was there so he didn’t wear jeans. We first met him the other day when we went to give a blessing to a new less active he never met, and he showed up paint and mud covered in boots, shorts and tee shirt.  He said "I’m still just a convert so don’t let my Mormonism fool you".  But when he was conducting priesthood meeting, he was joking just a much as anyone, but really said so much through the spirit, and was so bold. I haven’t felt the spirit so strong in the beginning of priesthood meeting before they split ever before, nor laughed so much, and I wasn’t like in a particular deep or spiritual mood to begin with where I would say that.  He hits the perfect score of being himself, doing nothing for traditions sake, but really loving with real intent, and trusting the spirit.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monday, October 7

Dear Family,
Of course things are well here.  Conference was great of course as always.  It’s good to hear the girls enjoyed it.  We’ve met quite a few new less actives from the 3rd ward that we are excited to be working with.  One most frequently is a lady, she was married in the temple about 25 years ago, but the marriage ended bad fast.  She’s got a son that was raised by her parents and served a mission and everything.   She is well on the path back, has read the Book of Mormon 2x, and now is in the Old Testament.  She has trouble with her memory and communication, but she’s really sincere.
          Tuesday we had a cool little experience.  I decided to bike down J’s street and happened to catch him outside.  We talked for a bit, he was really glad and appreciative and we had a good brief talk, then we were heading by a familiar apartment complex and saw a woman that we knew, in her motor wheel chair trying to get her shopping cart over a curb to bring home.  I hopped off my bike to take it, and Elder F followed bringing my and his bike(which is kind of hard) but a second later, an SUV pulled up, and S hopped out and helped.  We got the groceries to her place and in and then I finally got a minute to say hi and thank S, and I noticed he looked awful and had been crying. He told us he had just watched his grandmother pass away over skype, and needed a prayer.  He didn’t want anything more than that so we prayed with him, and he said "it’s neat that I’m not even Mormon, but I just knew I needed a prayer, and I find you guys."  So that was good.
We also saw K sitting out in the complex talking at the little neighborhood picnic bench which was great to see.  He’s a less active, he smokes, he’s about 50, he’s a really nice guy and used to come to church (alone) but we hadn’t seen him in a while, and were really worried he was depressed and spent all day drinking, and no one had seen him in forever (we scout out info from the neighbors) but he was out there and we got to say hi and he seemed well.
Wednesday morning we talked to W again for a bit.  Hopefully we’ll get to play basketball with him sometime soon.  We talked about conference and it was good, he really does want to meet more, but really is really busy.  He felt really bad for not studying.  He works a night shift and is a busy guy, but we’ve got a good relationship, and it’s clear the Spirit is telling him something whether he realizes it or not.  Every time I really start to think he’s just a nice guy, he says something really sincere about wanting us to keep trying, and thanking us.
We’ve been tracting some and have some people were hoping to work with.  One’s a Polynesian family from Salt Lake.  Elder F's still plugging along on his beach cruiser bike.  I’ve been trying to work out some, I did 101 pull-ups the other day.  Pull up bars are great.  I eat oatmeal with protein powder for breakfast (my invention, as far as I know) and I eat a ton of tuna.  Another little invention of mine as far as I know is I put Grapenuts in it, it’s good.  And Greek yogurt seems easier and cheaper to buy.

Elder Pyron

Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday, September 30

This is Nathanael with Mitchell Aldridge and Brian Goodhue, his friends from Richmond who are also missionaries in Las Vegas.

Dear family,
     Thanks for the tree picture- it doesn’t look good yet but it looks like potential!
     So the week’s been good of course.  Tuesday we met our new ward mission leader and he took us to see a falling away recent convert of 1 year and a half.  He’s living in one room of this tiny house.  He’s a smart guy  and used to have a good family and a good job, and but now he’s in an awful state and embarrassed.  But he’s really nice and has a testimony, and lives in the 4th ward, so we got a ride set up for him on Sunday and he made it, met people, loved it, etc, so we’re excited there. 
     Wednesday we were trying to figure out what to do in this ward so we tracted...just one road, and met a less active family that’s really nice and has potential, met a few ward members, had a great talk with two kids 18 and 19, (senior and recently graduated) in their garage about the gospel and life and all.  I think it was just a seed planting, but a really good one.
     We also tracted into a family who offered to feed us that night because we didn’t have a dinner so that was good of course.  That night we got to see K’s mom and her new boyfriend, and K’s grandma who is really old, but recently had a blessing and is surprisingly out of the hospital and all so that’s exciting.  For some reason the mom thought I was the one that gave the blessing and was telling the grandma "this is the one that saved your life"…so that was funny. But the mom is coming to church frequently now and has a great relationship with the bishop.
     Then Thursday we were able to catch C and K. It was great.  First we talked to K, things are real well, she’s going to be getting 40 hours at Walmart and 40 at Smith’s here soon which is fantastic.  So we had a good talk about the priesthood with her and C, and gave her a blessing in a chair in their driveway (chaotic inside).  Then she went in to sleep, and we got to talk with C for an hour.  He recently got a grasp of what he wants to be for P (the 6 month old) and K for his whole life.  Now C just delights and enjoys living full days, and accomplishing.  He was telling us with such excitement how he loves getting up early, getting things done, going to church, coming home, doing yard work, taking pride in those things, preparing a life and example for his son, he has goals to get their own home, he’s real excited for that.  He recently started weight lifting, and is really excited over the gains he’s made, a new found talent (he’s like 5'11 160, but apparently lifts a lot for his size) and is real excited to develop that, and overall just stay busy doing good things, no longer hanging out with lots of old friends, and being a new man.  He doesn’t fully understand a lot, but still exhibits a peculiar desire to one day baptize his son.  He loves Bishop S (who unfortunately was out of town Sunday), and has a good relationship there.  So I really love C, K and P, and am excited. Friday we tracted some more, met some cool nice people like always, some good seeds and all. 
     Friday night we stopped by J’s, their really old dog had just made a mess, and they were outside cleaning, and its hard with J’s foot but they were out there cleaning with the hose at about 8.  So our timing was perfect, we got a lot done, I replaced a filter because I’m tall, and we had a good time talking with them all.  G said he'll get baptized if we get bishop to fill the font with bourbon.  The change is hard for them and J; J doesn’t feel nearly as comfortable from the one visit with the sisters.  C doesn’t want to get attached to them like she has us but we got J’s mind a little more clear, I told him if he tries and makes them feel appreciated, they’ll feel more comfortable and things will get going smooth in no time and all.  So things seemed well and we departed. Sunday at about 7:30 we biked over, (we didn’t tell them we were) and they were super glad, we clarified everything about a recent misunderstanding, told them why things were said and what needs to happen, that the sisters were just passing down what they heard from the ward mission leader, and he just needs to let them know how bad he wants/needs the visits and things will get sorted.  He hadn’t done his "homework" to read Enos, and a couple verses in Alma, so we then read that with him, me and him connect well so I explained the story and he wrote down what the things meant, it was really good, and we got that done right before the sisters came.  Then we talked for a minute and left, C kept telling us she had never been more excited to see us than ever when we came by, and things were a big mess, but we left J and C with way more peace of mind and all, to go into the visit with the sisters.  J kept saying we came to the rescue like Batman.  He left a voicemail later last night, thanking us, he told me that the sisters were shocked by what he got out of the scriptures and what he wrote, and he didn’t tell them he had done it right before they came, (we cleared the evidence right before they got there), and he told us after they left it brought tears to his eyes, to see how timely and effective and loving our visit was.  It was short, quick, turned he and C’s mind set 180, and he had a good peaceful spiritual experience, and I’m seeing that this change may be for the better.  Our role is still there, but it can work well in helping him transition to the sisters being the teachers.  So I’m super glad, because things had potential to go really bad with J and his progression in the church could have ended there, and that’s such a big difference in years of progression and service.
     Saturday we did service to help with a race to raise money for a kid that needs a kidney.  That 50 some year old with the toe shoes finished in second by a long shot, and his son won.  But besides his son, he smoked the whole cross country team and a lot of other young fit people.  But after that we marched in the Homecoming Parade with a "Is there more to life banner?", so that was a lot of fun, we were right behind the Taco Bell float, so I’ll see if I can get some pictures. 
     Saturday and Sunday evening we met a family, they’re reactivating, and so we’re doing lesson practices.  She’s got a decent gospel knowledge, and has a real sweet testimony especially of God’s love and grace.  She was sick one time so we just talked to her husband.  He considers himself a member, believes the gospel, celestial kingdom.  He’s nice, and thinks he has testimony, (sometimes).  So I figure my best shot is to fill his mind with facts that he can find neat and take hold of and incorporate to make his overall stance a little better, like polygamy and its practice in ancient times is something I simply described, said it’s in the Old Testament, and he found that all neat and latched on, even though he would never look to try to understand it or even see if it’s really there.  And he believes a lot of prophecies of latter days so I just tell him simple things he finds neat and so I’m just kind of getting rid of the dirty water which is his brain, by pouring more clean water in cause he’s too stubborn to get rid of the dirt.  He and his wife always bicker but finish laughing, I have no idea how it doesn’t escalate, she’s a women of good sound understanding.  So that’s good. 
     Anyways…pics will hopefully come soon.  I’ve got to wrap up, biking is well.  My companion has wrecked twice recently but he’s all right.
     Elder Pyron

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday, September 23

This picture was sent to us yesterday.

Dear family,
     So this week has been of course another good one.  J is still doing good.  The other J finished the Doctrine and Covenants, asked simple questions about polygamy and tithing from her reading, but all made good sense to her and stuff.  We had some good lessons with P and A; the first one we tried to watch The Testaments but their kindergarten daughter was disruptive so it didn't go too well.  But they watched it again on their own, then we talked again.  P said he had a problem believing those things because they're different than what he was taught his whole life.  He believes in Christ, and Adam and Eve, and that there is no hell as many see it, and those are kind of his 3 main things he thinks everyone knows, so we tried to help him understand spiritual learning, how he knows he loves his kids, and can pray and learn, so it went well.
     We also found out we are trading the first ward for the 3rd to accommodate biking, which is hard, but I'm excited.  K and J aren't excited, or P and A or J or R and N.  I hope things go well.  Today's a weird pday because there's transfers and all, and most everyone has to go down to Vegas, and two are going home.  Biking has been fun, we have to go up a big hill to make it home; my companion hasn't quite made it yet, but he will.  We're talking more for real about a diet and all; some random members sat us down after dinner and told us their diet so... it's been a pretty good week. We get to see C and K again with this new ward which is cool.  And their bishop is much talked about, I'd heard about him before I came to Mesquite.
     My bike was an easy fix, I had tried to raise the handlebars more then what they can so it was loose and came undone.
Elder Pyron

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday, September 16

Dear family,

So first, yes we did move in with a couple and their kids have all moved out.   Both teach school. We moved in Saturday.  We’ve got a lot more space and privacy (kind of) at least. When you walk in the front door of the house there’s a curtained door to the left where there’s a bathroom with two sinks, and two bedrooms. We were able to put in a pull up bar which is exciting (well they haven’t said anything about that yet).  The family is pretty nice though.  We have one shelf in the pantry for both us to share, and one shelf in the fridge for both of us to share. And we live way out of the way of where our work is, and we live up top a giant hill. (Nathanael has been on bike for the last month or so.)

And mom, I haven’t gotten a chance to look at other glasses so I haven’t done anything with it yet.  Once I do I'll decide if I want some more of the same or some new ones.  And it’ll be really nice to have this pair for just sports and stuff.  In hindsight I’m surprised they lasted as long as they did but that’s that. 

J is still well. (A recently baptized man)  So yesterday we watched the first half of The Testaments with him, and helped set the scene of what’s going on. He enjoyed it, gets it, and loves the scenes of ancient South America, as he’s way into some history channel stuff, where it just shows the ruins of them.

J is also is still well (A woman they are teaching)  She’s in Doctrine and Covenants 102, has found nothing and no questions so far that disagree with her previous beliefs. Among her questions this time was the protection from poisonous serpents and all. She heard of Pentecostals doing that stuff as signs as mentioned in the end of mark, and believes that to be way false, so she just confirmed our belief on those things and then she enjoyed D&C 77 because her favorite scriptures used to always be Revelations, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and all which is cool.  Still hasn’t made church yet but she tries. 

Tuesday night we met J and S, a young family.  Probably like 25, with a 1 year old, not married.  They were an old potential we had tried tons but they were always busy or something. But finally Tuesday night they were free and let us in.  S is pretty shy and all and was about to leave the room when J told her to sit down.  He said he'd try to talk to missionaries several times before, has always been curious, but what they said never made sense and he just wants a basic understanding of it.  So we did really simple quick full restoration, and he loved it.  He kept smiling a really big smile saying "it just makes sense".  He came here from Mexico at age 11, was Catholic and really felt the spirit of Christ and certain things, but never thought it made sense.  He loved it, and the idea of the Book of Mormon, and is excited to learn more, but isn’t confident in his ability to read it.  He and S both have one and are excited. She lived in Mesquite her whole life but never had LDS friends or was invited to anything, so it was all brand new to her to and she definitely opened up some throughout it and loved it.  We talked about church, they were uncomfortable about it so we went through what it was and all and they were still nervous but seemed excited.  J told us how he’s seen a lot of darkness in life, and knows he wants the light and this is light, but admitted he really struggles often times to choose the light even when he knows.  We bookmarked themormonchannel on his phone and he said he will watch stuff when darkness and temptation is strong. They told us that right before we came they had just finished a family walk, which was rare, and then sat down and discussed what they could do to make their family work and have peace and love in their home and right when they finished that is when we came and we could tell when we came in that the spirit was there.  He also had a copy of the famous Christ picture of the portrait of him in the robe, and he doesn’t even know where it came from, but he framed it with this cool gold frame.  So we left with a kneeling family prayer, and it was awesome.  We’ll meet with them again soon, but it was amazing. 

We had some meetings and service and stuff this week.  Elder Anderson and Tad R. Callister came to talk to the two Las Vegas missions so that was really cool and I learned a lot, and it was cool to see how inspired the things they prepare really are. Maybe I’ll tell you more about it another time.  I saw Brian Goodhue there.  But I’ve got to go,

Love, Elder Pyron

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday, September 16

     So here is a recent picture we received.  Nathanael has been serving in Mesquite, Nevada since July 1.  He is doing well and I will post today's letter soon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 29

Dear Family,                                                                                                        
     So today we did get to go to the temple, and unfortunately I might not have a lot of time for email today. 
     So last week on Monday night we met with J.  He’s about 50 and from Chile, been in US for like 15 years I believe.  He’s been a member for about 5 years.  He’s got some problems that make him semi-active.  He has schizophrenia, and has all sorts of theories on what it "really is” about some Russian x-ray testing thing from satellites and Bill Clinton and stuff.  He knows the voices aren’t really there and he does his best to ignore them, but he believes it’s not schizophrenia; it’s the satellite x-ray warfare experiments.  But they really give him a hard time even though he knows perfectly well to give them no thought, they just are solely negative and scare him and make him feel awful about himself. He’s found the only way to combat them at all is service.  So tons of families in the ward have him do yard work for them, because he’s an extremely humble hard worker that loves to do it.  For a couple of days out of a month he usually gets really bad headaches that make it impossible for him to hold a job.  He is provided with enough to rent a room from a member, and the families always feed him dinner. He’s not always at church but he tries.  He really has a strong testimony of the love and support of the good people of the LDS church, and cries when he talks about them and all they do, so we dropped by to visit with him Monday night, I didn’t know him that well. We talked and got to know him, shared a message, and he really loved it.  We’re going to swing by and meet with him like once a week in evenings probably.  He texted a few members after our visit telling how awesome it was, so that’s exciting to see the difference we can make. 
     Tuesday and Sunday we met with G.  He was a referral we got from a member we tracted into, that had brought him to church once, and to a Gladys Knight thing a couple of years ago.  He’s a 72 year old black man from southeast Georgia and then a long time in New Jersey.  He’s really neat.  He’s got a nice home where you can feel the spirit.  We haven’t met his wife yet. He’s been Pentecostal his whole life but is interested and likes to talk.  He apparently was really strong and went to New Jersey a little after high school to pursue a boxing career.  He said he started that type of training too late but still knew several professional fighters pretty well.  He worked moving cargo at I believe the Newark Airport and loves talking about how he could lift 100 pounds over his head with one hand easy.  Then when we has in his 40s (still doing that easily), there was a bag of luggage well overweight someone snuck on, and thinking it to be about 50 he scooped it up, and it was actually over 200, and he broke his back in two places but the x-ray didn’t show it so he kept working for another 20 some years, just as strong, even though his back bothered him. Then just 3 years ago they realized it was broken in two places, and there’s a surgery they were going to do that they never do on people that old but then they saw how great shape he was in and did it, and so he was kind of in a brace for almost two years but has it off and is walking and everything again.  He’s always saying how bad he wishes he could lift, but the doctors only let him do so much but he does have a bench in his backyard he still uses.  But because he couldn’t walk for a while, he had a bunch of unworn new shoes, and he gave me a pair of Rockports, that are super comfortable and conservative enough, and they’re like brand new, so they’re working out great.  But we’ve taught the first lesson and he definitely felt the Spirit strong but was kind of uncomfortable by what its telling him and the significance it all has, so that should go good.  He read some from the Ensign and is going to read from the Book of Mormon.  Unfortunately his wife’s not interested which is a big deal.  She’s not against but just doesn’t care.  The lesson part goes quick, he kind of likes to move fast and talk about what he wants, but he asks a few gospel questions that didn’t really have to do with the lesson but he’d been wondering about for a while, and he listens enough to understand the message of the restoration, but I guess isn’t comfortable enough to embrace that he wants it and all.  So  hopefully that all goes well.
     Wednesday night we had a lesson with P, the daughter of a member in our ward.  She’s recently gone through a divorce, and then her new fiancĂ©’s death and been kind of depressed.  She’s a very good woman and has always been Christian and pretty active but denominations never appealed because she didn’t always agree with things, for instance she’s always believed Christ to be the Son of God literally.  So the lesson went great, she loved it, and is really excited to learn more, and just solid, but she lives in Henderson and will be getting the rest there. 
     S- I probably mentioned is now getting taught in Green Valley (other mission), but is going to church there and still progressing!
     Sunday we taught J, she attended church by her home in her rightful ward, alone.  At the appointment we taught the 3rd lesson and remaining commandments.  She’s done good with coffee and tea and all, and is sticking with it, and agreed to pay tithing.  She cried about having to leave this ward though, she knows it’s right and it’ll be fine, but said change is hard.  She’s going to be baptized there in a couple of weeks, (only because her fellowship family is going out of town for a bit), so we’ll probably go to that.  She even talked about teaching Primary, how great a way that would be to review things.  She also mentioned how all of her friends have had awful things to say about the church, especially about racism, and showed her some anti websites, and she shared those experiences, and how she prayed and they just don’t bother her because she knows what’s right.  She knows the church isn’t racist, so she doesn’t care to know if or why they ever may have been, it just doesn’t matter to her.  So it’s unfortunate we won’t get to teach her any more. 
     Yesterday after doing some service we were called to come see an inactive lady from another stake, staying in a rehab center in our area.  She wants to receive the lessons, and a member from her ward was going down to visit, and wanted us to come to be introduced, so we ran down there (in our P-days from service.)  We beat the member there to the room so we got to talk to the lady for a bit.  Her name is M, she’s really old and frail, and really funny/sassy, I guess.  We talked to her for a little, until the member arrived, and then told us we had to be wearing a mask and gloves and apron, but we shared a spiritual thought and set a return time.  So that was kinda neat, the lady was baptized in ‘96 in Alaska, is/was an alcoholic, and doesn’t know a whole lot about the gospel, and I guess her bishop’s plan is for her to be basically prepared to go through the temple when she gets out of rehab.  I’m not sure why she’s there but has been either for 6 weeks or since January, we heard two different things, but basically she’s been off coffee and stuff for a while, has loved Relief Society visits and stuff so is really prepared in that sense, and now is going to receive all the lessons.  So that’s pretty neat.
     And so that’s about what’s been going on here.
     I still love studying the scriptures and writing, it’s amazing how much there is to learn.  Elder R is doing good, learning.  Every morning he reads a Book of Mormon chapter, and then we review it hard,  then he has this journal we dedicated to the Book of Mormon, where I lead him, and I break each chapter down based on what happens every x amount of verses, and he records his little study guide outline according in this journal.  So we’re on 1 Nephi 9. It’s something he’s excited about, so it’s moving, and he retains some.
     Hope to hear from you all, love you, hopefully I’ll send the SD card soon.

     Love, Elder Pyron

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday, May 20

Dear Family,
      So this week has been pretty good.  We’ve got transfers tonight, but I and the entire district are staying where we are.  So I’m excited, I’ve already spent the majority of my mission here in Cimarron Ward.  I got here early December I believe, a lot different than living in 3 different places your first 3 transfers.  Now I’ll have been kept put for 5, who knows maybe 6.  It’ll be weird for the new mission president doing transfers his first time.  But anyways, this week has gone well.  
     T wasn’t able to make our appointment Monday night, but E was and we taught the third lesson.  She understood pretty well and had actually read the first 12 chapters of Nephi.  She enjoys learning about it and all, and doesn’t have or see a problem with any of it, but just doesn’t have the internal conviction of how important it is, why she needs it yet.  So that’s good.   We showed up for J's appointment but he wasn't there so he haven’t seen him yet.  I was pretty shocked, so I hope things go well.  Sunday morning no one was home, but we left a card with a message for him.  I hope we get to see him again before he moves. 
     Tuesday we tracted into this guy named M.  First he talked to us through the door, and was saying he was Baptist and started talking about awful things that have happened with association with the church, especially a recent thing about a baptism. It sounded like it might be a recent thing in the news.  But he then let us in; he has no teeth, he’s going through some  operations to get them though.  He had them all pulled so they could do this.  He had a really nice 3d tv he could talk to which was cool, and had a little bird that wanders the house and a crazy dog.  But he talked a lot and told all sorts of stories.  I’m not sure how much is true, he seems very emotionally involved with them and there’s no reason yet that I’ve seen to not believe any, other than that they’re crazy.  But some stories about his time in Iraq, his PTSD.  And then some other strange significant stories of heroism in the war, and then about being the one with the nuclear weapon’s codes.  And some stuff about when he found out about his wife, and some of his high school accomplishments... So it’s really unbelievable things, but he also for the most part has these stories down in a detailed way, and actually does seem to know a lot and answers questions well and confidently, so in my opinion he’s just developed his own life story and has been sticking to it for a while now, so I have no idea if any of it’s true.  His house is just covered in bird crumbs and stuff, but he does have some nice stuff and it doesn’t appear he works.  He also talked about his experience with his mom’s death in the hospital, and how strongly he felt the Spirit, and the experience he had there that by which he knows there is a God.  So we worked with that experience and talked about the Plan of Salvation in that and the return appointment we had for the next day, so who knows what’s what, we’re doing what we can, so I hope there’s some honesty in him, that his spiritual experiences at least are real.  Even though it’s a lot of him talking, he’s come a LONG way since our initial contact, he was very against it, but has read some now, and really likes it, and wants to try church and read the Book of Mormon, but he’s got some intense mouth surgeries soon ("first one to do this new operation in Nevada") so we’ll see.
     Thursday we had a good Lesson 2 with J. Wow.  She understands great, and we basically taught Lesson 3 with it, as well as several commandments.  She really loves it, is being baptized June 1st, and excited for the blessings and testimony building experience of giving up tea and coffee even though she doesn’t understand why.  So that’s exciting, she’s a neat lady.  She’s currently looking for work.  Although she’s "interesting'" she’s smart, doesn’t do dumb things, and is normal to talk to and everything.  She’s got a car, and control of her life and everything, she’s responsible and all. 
     So we had a lesson with K Sunday at the church, but he didn’t go to church because he thinks it’s too much to take in and wants to go slowly, last time they started about the law of consecration without defining it at first, and though he did figure it out, and learn about it, and he understands that’s what’s going to happen when he comes to a church meeting full of people who have known the church a long time, he takes no offense and isn’t annoyed but wants to move slower.  But we got him to commit to attending Sacrament Meeting.  So he had been reading quite a bit from different resources and likes to learn extremely carefully and slowly, always checking footnotes and what not, and writing down everything.  So he came with basically a list of words and things he’d thought of that he wanted to understand so he can better take in what’s happening at church, so we basically taught the whole time just showing in the scriptures how the Priesthood is passed down, how the church is organized, offices of the Priesthood, how people receive callings etc.  So it was kind of fun for me, using the Bible to explain all these things, and he now knows it all pretty well and has it all written, but I think it went well at the end how we really smoothly showed how the important thing to take from it all is that God works in a very orderly manner, and that all these different things is the way God still works in the restored church, with restored keys.  And so it felt rather complete I guess when we finished, and we can move into Lesson 2 smoothly next time.  Other missionaries had taught him and he had studied the restoration, so he was already set there, but this just reestablished it as he felt he needed.
     Elder R’s learning a lot.  He’s pretty comfortable in telling me the main points of all the different PMG points now.  Now he knows the basics well enough to know what we believe, and how the lessons kind of are to flow.
     But that’s what’s going on there, gotta go.
     Elder Pyron

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday, May 13

 Dear Family,
      It was great to get to talk you all yesterday!  So I guess I’ll update some of the things from this week.  Monday night we taught another lesson to T and E, and again tonight for lesson 3.  They like meeting and all, and learning, but I’m not sure how committed either of them are.  Tuesday we taught J again, we read Mosiah 17 and the first half of 18 to talk about Baptism, with a cool story, and I brought pictures of Abinadi in King Noah’s court and then the one of Alma and all baptizing, pictures make things great.  So he’s still doing good; we talked some about him on the phone.
     Wednesday we were on exchanges, me and Elder C were in my area, so we tracted a lot and some success.  We met one 19ish year old girl that said we could teach, she just moved here with her family from Florida and said they were looking for a church and set up info and return appointment, then later we talked to a girl coming home from school that was interested, then we realized they were sisters, so hopefully we can meet with their family sometime.
     We met an Orthodox Jew that let us in and talked for a little over an hour.  He had a big beard and yarmulke and all, there’s a lot around here.  But he talked a lot, he knew a lot about religion and all, and I think he has very little chance of accepting the gospel, but he’s nice and wouldn't mind meeting again.  He’s very well read, and thinks he has all authority to Old Testament meanings considering its the Jewish book, and he reads it in Hebrew, and he’s read plenty of books that try to dispel the Jesus of the New Testament and everything.  But he said we felt like brothers to him, and loved the good we do, and agrees SO well with our explanations of repentance and our purpose in life and family values.  He’s a really funny guy too, his name is Mosha, English translation is Mike he said, but he lets teenagers call him Moses.
     We tracted into an older lady who was busy and really appeared uninterested but she ended up saying we could try again in the evenings.  We didn't even see her face, and she really was just nice.  But we returned a few days later in the evening, and she wasn't home, but her boyfriend was, and he asked for a Book of Mormon, said he'd read it, and we talked for a bit and we’ll follow up with him sometime soon.
     We tracted into a lady A I believe she’s from Ethiopia.  At first we heard yelling through the door and it sounded like she was telling us to go away, but eventually she opened the door and asked what it is we have that’s so important we needed to knock on her door and all.  She was very pushy and all, but as soon as we said Mormon, her countenance changed, she said she had thought about attending a Mormon church with her friend once, and she gave us her number and said she was busy, but would be free Tuesday, and apologized for being all rude, so we’ll see what happens there.  She looked almost Hindu or something and had a veil type hood thing.  We talked to her neighbor at church Sunday though, but apparently she’s Christian and has a cross tattooed on her forehead.  So that was cool.
     We tracted into a guy named C, he was older, from Yugoslavia, and started out “you guys want me to go to church? where and when is it?" he was pretty talkative and kind of loud, had an accent, and cursed a ton, but he was funny, and we talked for a bit, and we’ll hopefully be teaching him soon.  He wants to got to church in Spanish because it’s beautiful but I doubt he speaks it.
     We were walking down the street later and a Mexican guy in a truck started waving insanely, stopped in the middle of the road, got out with a huge smile and started hugging us, he said he found Jesus 3 days ago, for years he was addicted to pain killers but was freed from that and he was filled with Christ.  His name was S and we referred him to Spanish missionaries, his English was weak.  But he also kept saying "I have a special daughter" and pulled out his picture of his 11 year old girl that sure enough was special.  But that was cool.
     We tried to visit one lifelong inactive guy again, I may have mentioned running into the guy with half of a head.  But he wasn’t home, but his nonmember wife was, and we talked for quite a bit. She’s a strong Christian, and has had tons and tons of close family and friends who are LDS and she loves the church, knows it well, uses the temple square genealogy thing quite a bit, but we got her hooked on the genealogy resources nearby, and are getting her set up with some ward members, and she’s excited even though she made sure we know she’s not about to join the church.  Her husband hasn’t been in the like 45 years they’ve been married so.
     That day we met another inactive that started by punching his screen door thing (out here they’re all metal sheets with holes, so we cant see in), and all we could see were his MASSIVE fists resting on the thing, and he said in a deep dark voice "I’ve fallen from grace", and he was acting all angry with himself and sounded distraught.  Then I said something “oh no such thing”, then he said "I kicked my dog... and I didn’t have to" and he sounded like he was crying, and really mad, so we talked about that for a minute, then he said "just look at my dog" and opened the door and his dog came out... the dog was fine, and he was smiling, and he just said "sorry, I got married a couple years ago to a nonmember I’ll come back on my own time, I’m fine", and then we talked about where we’re from and whatever, but that was funny.  He has the biggest hands I’ve ever seen though… he was like 6'1 and just had a huge head and huge hands.  But he looked like a normal good guy.
     But then we talked to some of his neighbors for a bit, one was talking about how he had a lot of LDS family and he lived in Salt Lake, and how one time he got lost and wandered to the 3rd and 4th floor of the temple, and how trippy and weird it was.  People like to joke about that stuff a lot.  People think it’s super political.  Like people that are anti-ish and know anything about it never believe that we’ve been in.  It’s a really common thing to think you have to earn your way through several different degrees to how far you can go, and only the very top leaders can go to most of it...
     But then Friday we had Zone Conference and President gave his departing testimony and all.  We had dinner with J; we brought a member with us.  She’s pretty unique and crazy, but normal too.  She grilled steaks and talked a lot.  She’s a great lady, but a little scattered, really talkative, and down to earth though. She wants us over again, and she’s trying really hard to do missionary work on her neighbors.  She does a lot of good.  She’s done everything, part time inventor it sounds like even.  She got a patent on "bed bras" she invented, it’s an easy to put on bed skirt, and they started selling them at Walmart, then Big Lots bought it, now it’s kind of over.
     Saturday we met a real old Italian man named A, sitting in his garage with a trash bin separating clumps of grass from all the dirt on the roots, while listening to Fox news or something.  He started out talking a lot about politics, and the evils of the Democratic party; he loved to talk.  He had a really hard life, really learned the old values of integrity and hard work better than anyone, and loved giving us his words of wisdom, and they were great, and he credits everything to God.  Then he talked for a long time about family, when he lost his wife of 52 years 7 months 3 days and 2 hours... He had so many wonderful insights on families, how important they are, different roles, humility, God, service and everything so aligned with our own, but he’s never had a real affiliation with a church, but is Christian.  We really focused the conversation on Christ near the end, he TALKED, but we gave him a plan of Salvation pamphlet and he was crying kissing Christ’s picture on the cover by then...We shared nothing that was new to him, but we’ll hopefully be able to go somewhere with him, he’s such a great guy, maybe too talkative and old to make all these steps and all though.  He was also paralyzed waist down, and working to satisfy the neighborhood about the conflict of the dead grass, and the city trying to limit water use.  But he was also taking care of his handicapped son who lives with him.  Oh we sat to help with the grass while we talked; he is such a generous man as well.
     But after that we tracted our way down to Brother F's and he fed us, and we talked for a while.  He says A (above) is a millionaire but spends none, I’m not sure I believe it.  But Brother F is interesting, he just likes to pick fun and challenge people.  He told some stories from friends who served missions, and things he’s seen, that he tells in a way like he’s not trying to make fun, but they make the church and missionary efforts seem like a complete joke, and I don’t believe a lot of what he says.  He also talked some about the 9 classes of angels, how they only do the dirty work for good, and how Mormons are the originators of them being just heavenly messengers resurrected and all.  Luckily I knew something about the nephilum and giants, and that cherubims and seraphims are also in the Book of Mormon, and so he also resorts to using the internet, and getting things a little off topic, so then the angels moved to Greek mythology, and he told how our belief in baptism, and John the Baptist is based off Achilles’ mom not submersing him completely as an infant so his ankle remained, and how that full submersion would make one immortal, and the whole genealogy on those Greek mythologies, and the people that believe those were captured by Romans right before New Testament or whatever, things I don’t know enough about, or really care.  But he’s nice, and likes talking to missionaries. He also was making fun of his own baptism, how he did it just for his wife, and he got his jack Mormon friend to do the baptism, and no one else knew how his friend lived as he did... but hopefully an impression was left. 
     So yeah, that’s been most of my week.  Yesterday was good.  I missed the story about J but hopefully I’ll cover that next week.  Actually I’ll just hit it real quick.  She’s an African American lady about 60, she’s from San Francisco originally, and she spent a long time doing a lot with Salvation Army.  She used to live in a room that the C family rented out to her, so they invited her to church, she’s been twice now and is very studious and taking it seriously.  She learned a ton in the lesson we taught her in the C home Thursday night and it went really well.  She’s got a great understanding, believes the Joseph Smith story, and all.  So we went into the lesson thinking she was just a lady no deeper than I love Jesus and all, but turns out she’s a fantastic woman.  So we weren't planning on it but at the end I committed her to baptism, she gladly accepted, and then I asked if May 25 worked, and at first she panicked, said that’s really fast, and it seemed bad, but then she calmed down, realized she had panicked for nothing, told us that, then said she knows that if baptism is the right thing, God will help her get there, and there’s no point in waiting for those blessings.  So she’s excited and working hard.  Yesterday after church I asked if she learned anything, and she said she heard a quote she really liked "live so people who don’t know Christ, will want to by meeting you" which I could tell really touched her, despite all of the other small details of things about the church that was probably brand new, that one quote really touched her the most, she knows what matters, the things most important to repentance, Christ, and ultimately Salvation.
     Oh and dad you mentioned the piano comparison the other day I believe, but I actually had already shared that comparison with them, that’s a great talk.
      But yeah, thanks for your letters and everything.  Sister S said that I sound just like my dad; I had never heard that before.  Happy Mother’s Day and birthdays I missed.
      Elder Pyron

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The mission president's wife met with the missionaries and asked them to share words of advice, wisdom, counsel or one liners that their moms had shared with them throughout their lives.  Nathanael's was:  "You don't want to put it off till the last moment..."