Tuesday, October 30, 2012

He gave us a referral, then another and another...

Working at the Service Center
Well, this has been a good week. It started out awesome, because I got a $15 rice cooker with my Walmart gift card and 20 pounds of rice which as it turns out is a lot of rice. But the best part is that we found out that there is a bus that goes everyday from Logan to Preston which is awesome, because that is where the temple and all the stores are (Sam’s, Walmart, Deseret Book). So we are blessed for not driving on p-day!

SO this week we were trying to follow the Spirit more when finding more. We also decided to be better about asking for referrals from everyone. We had a slow day and were driving to contact potentials and pulled over a few times to talk to people. At one point, I passed an old man and decided to not stop and then felt like I should, so I turned around and talked to him. He was a member and can't go to church, because of his health, so people just bring him the sacrament. He said he didn't know anyone to give us. We shared a two-minute message then asked again, and he gave us a Spanish referral. Then we decided to ask again, and he gave us another…and then another. So we got three referrals from a guy who doesn't ever leave his house. We let him know how much he was helping us. Then later that day, there were a couple of girls that had pulled over with a flat tire. We got three referrals from them too (all English, but still good).

The leaves have been falling a ton this week; it's like Georgia. At one point, we stopped and helped people rake leaves. That was fun, I couldn't believe how many there were. We actually raked leaves twice this week.  That reminds me...some of the best pumpkin bread I have had was from the packages that you sent me. Thanks so much for that, Mom! I made Grandma's potato salad recipe! Five pounds of potatoes and a dozen eggs makes a lot…maybe I will cut it into fourths next time, ha-ha.
Idaho can't figure out if it's fall or winter....Mom would love how many leaves are here! We stopped to help some people rake leaves this week, and it was so awesome! I didn't have my camera, or I would've taken a picture...it's like being in Georgia.

I still look the same..I keep hoping to feel taller, but nope..suits still fit the same.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pray that the new people we are finding will be prepared...!

First Snow of Elder Senn's life

I remember last week writing my email and expecting to send you pictures of a baptism this week..nooope. The Padilla family has been tough; I still have yet to teach them one lesson. They have cancelled probably 11 times. Just lots of door step conversations of them saying they want to be baptized. I was kind of taking the hint on Sunday. An hour before church, we stopped by to remind them. They said they would be there, and they weren't. We went by afterwards, and he said he got tired, so he decided to sleep instead. It was disappointing, but we need to start spending our time elsewhere until they are ready to come to us. Usually, the "playing hard to get" method isn't very effective as a missionary, but you never know! I am still not good at dropping investigators. I don't know when to do it, because I don't want to be left with nothing. I just need more faith I guess.

Last week, I kind of decided we have less baptisms, because it's just Spanish work, and that’s the way it is. Those lame excuses never stand though, because Elder Plowman and Elder Ward had nine baptisms last week (Spanish). I need to just stop making excuses and figure out what we aren't doing right. This week, we have been working on better questions that aren't yes or no and not ones where you say, “So uhh. How does that make you feel..?" It is tough to come up with them, but we have improved already, and it really helps people open up.

Oh first off Flora...our investigator that comes to church. She dropped us this week. We went over and started teaching a lesson on our porch like usual, and then part way through she decided to throw in there that we couldn't come back anymore. Her husband is a drunk and only comes to the church when he needs welfare, and when I say he comes I mean he sends his wife and kids to do it while he waits in the car outside the church building. The branch president is convinced her telling us not to come back has something to do with him, and I agree. She really wants it and loves the church especially for her kids. It's too bad.

Karyna has been a little tough, too. Karyna we haven't taught this week. The lesson we had got cancelled, because she wasn't there. We found her a ride to church, and her parents were ok with it. We reminded her an hour before, and she said she was coming and when her ride showed up, she didn't answer the door. I think she just got nervous and freaked out and didn't know what to do, because she is still very, very shy. We have a seventeen-year-old girl (her age) going to pick her up next week. She is really good; she reads every night to her little sister and is enrolled in seminary.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

He has been praying for Spanish missionaries...

I met a lady that works at the post office. Her son has a different name than hers, but we got talking, and it turns out her son works high-up in estimations or something at Brasher's. Small world; I am blanking on his name though. I also met the Hatch family. Raina sent their address, and it turns out they only live a block and a half away from me, so we stopped by and said hi to them. They invited us over for Thanksgiving! If I am still here around that time, I will go over there.  Thanks for everything, Raina.

So are there any mission calls yet? President Hiers came up this week and talked to us about some possible changes as a result of the new age. He came up to eat lunch with our zone and let us know that Elder Senn's trainer went home early. Elder Senn was pretty sad about that.  President Hiers just kind of told us, “Well you can see what happens when you are disobedient. Try to make better choices than the two of them did, because they both had to go home.”  The picture to the left is a copy of the mission culture we are trying to adopt.

You can keep Elder Senn in your prayers; his dad had a heart attack (he is 85) and is in the hospital. His mom is in the hospital for something else; I can't remember why. (She is 51...huge age gap between them!).  I went with Elder Senn to get his patriarchal blessing finally. The Spirit was very strong, and I understood everything said, then as soon as it was over, I forgot everything. It was really weird. I remember thinking about the things said to him during the blessing, but as soon as the patriarch said, “Amen,” it was like my memory was wiped, and I had no idea what he said. I guess that’s the Lord's was of telling me that's really none of my business to know what was in his blessing.

SO we traveled up to Montpelier for the first time. Se went to the English class, and then played soccer for a little bit with all the students (15 Hispanics), and then spent the night at the missionaries’ house up there, because it’s an hour drive. Then we had a guy named Roger Hunsaker drive us around to see a bunch of potentials all the next day. He is not the ward mission leader, but he has been working with these people for years (he speaks very broken Spanish), and said he has been praying for Spanish missionaries to come up for a while. All the people knew him really well and have taken the lessons before. We will try to work up there once a week now, but it’s tough; work on a ranch doesn’t have a schedule. We will get a ride up once a week with the daily dose couple, spend the night, work there on foot as much as we can, and then Brother Hunsaker will drive us home at the end of the day. I hope work goes well up there. It is a challenge to drive up there and especially without set appointments, but it just needs to be done. I talked to president about the need for more Spanish missionaries, and it surprised him. He said he would work on that, so hopefully there should be more up here soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

As Missionaries, We do ALL we can to keep His commandments

Two huge dogs that ran up to us...there are dogs everywhere since the farmers just let them wander.
 So my insights for the week!

I have always really liked to connect a group of scriptures to each other; let me explain. If you start with one, cross-reference to another and somehow connect them all back together, it is just cool to me. I have always done that; even in high school, I would do it in seminary sometimes. Anyways, so I do that occasionally, and I really like how it makes the scriptures more interesting.

I just finished reading PMG all the way through doing all the activities and scripture studies, and one thing stood out to me. I noticed how often it says the words "do all that you can..." It says it everywhere, about everything. I read through The Book of Mormon, too, and although it has 1000 themes, the ones I picked that stood out to me this time was "If you keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land," in some form or another. Since those two books are the main tools for missionary service, I just connected them, and I'm going to say, “As missionaries we ‘do all we can to keep his commandments,’” which, as ElderHolland pointed out, is the first great commandment, to love the Lord, and when we love him, then we will keep his commandments and not do it slothfully. This has nothing to do with my scripture chain things that I do but it is just a thought that was running through my head last night.

So my self-diagnosed OCD has not left me. I realized how bad it was earlier this week. I had spent everyday for about a week thinking about how I want to highlight my new English scriptures, and it was even keeping me up at night deciding what colors to use and all that, because I knew once I started I couldn't go back. Here’s what I decided. In The Book of Mormon I’ll use six different colored sharpie pens (they don't bleed). I am highlighting every reference in a different color to each component of the doctrine of Christ and the atonement. Since that is my purpose, and they are my missionary scriptures, I think it will be cool to have that stick out a little bit more since that is my focus right now. I am just glad I finally decided so I can stop stressing about it. (BTW-Here is the color code: blue = faith, red = atonement, black = repentance, green = baptism, purple = holy ghost, orange = endure to the end)

This has been a bad car week. We drove up to Grace to spend all day finding. We didn't find anyone that day, and we spent all of our time there. We found lots of Hispanics but no interest. On the way up, I got a ticket and on the way down, it was just bad. We were trying to go to the daily-dose-couple’s house. They live in Thatcher, Idaho. It is right off the highway up a dirt road. It was dark out when we went to stop by. She doubted her address would be on the gps when she called us, but it was. I told her, so she said ok. So we took the dirt road the GPS told us to, and it was a little rough…maybe just big enough for two small cars to pass by for the first mile or so. Then it started to get rough, and we weren’t seeing anything. The GPS said keep going, and there were no houses or lights for a while. We couldn’t turn around at all, and it was pitch black out so we kept going. We had no cell signal and by the time we were 1.5 miles in, the road was very rough and there were branches touching both sides of the car at some points. We kept saying prayers of what to do and felt like we should keep going (Obviously the GPS was wrong. There was no house out there.) So, we got about two miles in until there was a road that went off directly to the left, and I was able to three point turn there and barely slide the car back up and turn around, so we could drive out. It was kind of scary just because I was worried we would have to leave the car.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Best Companion in the Mission!

There he is! Love this picture. I have a good feeling about this place.
OK- so I just wrote this whole thing and then clicked ‘discard’ by accident. Ugh!
So here we go, again. Best area in the mission. I am in Idaho and cover about half the mission. My district leader is the Samoan missionary from the leadership training that I told you about. My zone leaders are great, one of them is one that a lot of missionaries in Hyrum didn’t like, because he made them keep the rules and ‘dumb stuff’ like that. There is another set of English missionaries right next to us, and they are awesome. One of them came out with me; he is a worker and gave me four referrals this week.

That's him. The best companion in the mission, Elder Carlos Senn.

OK- time to write about Elder Senn, again.... His real name is swedish and has 15 letters in our alphabet, but it is written on his badge has Senn and that is how you say it-just how it looks. He is the best, from Panama, the youngest of ten, only member in his family. He moved out of the house, bought his own home and got a full time job when he was twelve. He converted four years ago. Convert story: He was going to a Catholic school and was doing homework about the afterlife. He didn’t know how all the answers and said a prayer for help. The missionaries immediately knocked on his door (his house is not seen from the street; you have to know where it is to find it). He opened the door and asked them for help. They told him, and he immediately asked to be baptized. They had to convince him not to until he had learned more. His dad was always an atheist and his mom unreligious. A couple months before his mission, his dad invited him over for dinner (which was unusual). He reached for the food, and his dad slapped his hand and said, “We need to pray first.” He told his dad to say it. His dad then gave a perfect "Mormon prayer." Elder Senn asked his dad where he learned to pray like that, and his dad said it was directly from his heart. His dad is now investigating the church, and his mom goes to church every week and feeds the missionaries every week. Elder Senn talks an insane amount. I have to kick him in lessons to get him to stop talking, ha-ha. He is the nicest person ever. He loves everyone, and his only flaw is he is really bad at feedback, because he thinks everyone else is already perfect except himself. He is a little crazy…ha-ha. Not sure how else to say it, but he is the best.