Monday, September 28, 2015

Short but sweet

This week we had interviews with President Alexander. He talked to me about improving my studies so I can become a better teacher. He also let me ask him any questions I wanted, so I asked him about something I've been studying a bit lately. I don't want to get into too much detail, but if you want to study some pretty cool keys of the Aaronic Priesthood, look into the keys to the ministering of Angels. President Alexander had some neat insights, it's definitely an under-used power of the priesthood. I've really been studying the priesthood a lot lately. I don't think we really fully appreciate and understand the honor and privilege it is to have the priesthood bestowed upon us and I think a way to better appreciate it, is to better understand it.

We also had a ward picnic, and lots of people brought non member friends, which was great for us. We taught quite a few people and have a couple new investigators from it. I'm really starting to like our ward here. The people are really friendly, and there are a couple of families that are stellar at member missionary work.

I wish you taught me a little more about cooking before I left (side note:  I tried, but he had no interest!), but don't worry because we have a sister in our ward that invites us over for dinner about once a week and shows us how to make the meal we're having.

Well, it sounds like ya'll are doing great in Redmond. Let me know if I can do anything for you and sorry again I didn't write enough last week. Also let me know if you have any questions about what going on with me because sometimes its hard to know what to write. I love you and miss you a ton! Hope to hear from you again soon,

Elder Earnest

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Missionary work in the Bible belt

This was my first full week on the bikes. Not my favorite mode of transportation, but whatevs. Since we were on the bikes we didn't get to teach as many lessons as hoped for, but we had a couple of really good ones. We had the chance to teach an investigator about the gospel of Jesus Christ in a members home and also had the ward's former bishop, Bishop Mullins, come teach our progressing investigator, Josh, who's on date for baptism in a few weeks. The quality of lessons is more important than the quantity. Speaking of which, Mattie was asking if we have many investigators and if it's hard to find people to teach. Finding people to teach is literally so easy, finding people that are ready to accept the message is not so easy. I can literally walk down the skreet (that's how it's pronounced here) and every other house will have people sitting on the front porch. All I have to do is walk up to them and ask if they believe in Jesus Christ and I'm pretty much guaranteed a thirty minute lesson with them, in which we can teach and most likely be taught. People here are so religious and absolutely LOVE Jesus. Just not all of them are ready for the fullness of the Gospel. 

In other news, my banjo playing skills have won the heart of our high priest group leader.  He had us over for dinner the other day and let me play his guitar. He's in a bluegrass band and plays just about every bluegrass instrument. He also really likes the Civil War and watches Turn so we had a lot to talk about. That Civil War class I took last fall has really come into good use here. 

I'm not really sure what else to tell y'all about my week here. It's been fairly slow but it's still been pretty fun. Even when there's not much fun going on, we just make it fun. I'm sad I missed the first football game of the season! I feel like I should be in school right now, it's weird. 

One other thought. I've realized pretty quick that if you're going to be a Christian missionary in the Bible belt, you need to know the Bible REALLY well. So I've been really diving into the New Testament and I love it. Such good scripture in there! 

Hope all is well back home. Did y'all get the letters I sent you? I'm super jealous of Mattie and Lauren's new seminary teacher! (Side note:  Included for Leah Wilcox's benefit!)

Anyways let me know if there's anything else y'all want to know about what's going on here! I wish I could email each of you individually, but that's why I've been writing letters in my free time. I love y'all!

Elder Earnest

Also, an excerpt from Elder Earnest's letter to his Dad:

I think my new favorite talk is Elder Holland's High Priest of Good Things to Come. Since you sent it to me I've listened to it two or three times and read over it a couple more. Something I'm starting to realize, mostly from reading Jesus the Christ, is that Jesus was a man just like us. Obviously He was much much greater than us, but He had a mortal, human side and still felt the same trials and temptations we do. For a long time I seemed to think it was easy for Him just because He was Christ, but it wasn't until a few days ago I really started to grasp the fact that He truly was human, and that's what made Him so great. I'm sure most people already understand this, but I just marvel at the fact that His physical human state was the same as mine and it would have been just as easy for Him to sin as it is for me. I'm having trouble putting it into words, but what I'm getting at is my appreciation and absolute awe for the Savior has increased tenfold. Jesus the Christ is my favorite thing to read right now because it's teaching me so many things I never realized. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Breaking and entering

Hey Ya'll. 

 "4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."  Ether 12:4

I love this idea that if we just have hope in God, it turns to faith and when we exercise that faith it becomes an anchor to us. Even though life gets really rough and hard, as long as we anchor ourselves in Christ and live a Christ-centered life, everything will be alright. There's really nothing to worry about because in the end Christ has our back. I love the line in the Hymn 'I Believe in Christ' that says "I believe in Christ, so come what may." God rarely does what's easiest for us, but he'll always do what's best for us and if we just live the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) our burdens are lightened, and life is good. 

Speaking of life being good, this week I was chased by a pitbull, met a lady who claimed she was the resurrected Christ, and had someone try and break into to my house. Pretty normal week....

At 3 AM this morning I was awoken by a pounding at our front door. It was like a violent pounding and super loud. I was really confused why someone was 'knocking' on our door at 3 AM and pretty freaked out. I just kinda pulled my blanket up over my head and waited for it to stop, but the person (aka Sasquatch) kept pounding on our door. Then they started turning the door knob back and forth like they were trying to get in. At this point my companion was also awake and I was like "what do we do?" and he was like "I'm calling the cops." So he calls 911 because some insane person is pounding on our front door and violently twisting and turning our door knob. He told me later the lady on the other end of the line told him they had a unit on Claiborne, Washington, and 3rd ave which all are right next to our house, basically they've got a ton of cops patrolling our neighborhood every night cause it's super sketchy, so it only took like two seconds and then there were eight cops and three or four cop cars in our front lawn. Sometime between when we called 911 and the cops showed up the person stopped knocking and left our door step. As we told the police officer on our door step what was going on, I noticed that for some reason our car's lights were on and that two other cops were talking to these people in a truck right up the street from us. The people in the truck were our neighbors, a crazy old lady named Sister Crochier who goes to church with us and some other weirdo that lives with her. The two cops talking with our neighbors come over and tell us that Sister Crochier noticed our car light was on and wanted to let us know so that our car wouldn't be dead in the morning. I'm baffled as to why she chose to do this at 3 in the morning and even more confused, and slightly concerned, at the fact she tried to open our front door. Long story short, someone tried to break into our house so we called the cops and it turned out to be Sister Crochier telling us our car light was on.

We also have a stalker named Berna. She's an insane old woman who thinks she's the messiah, speaks in tongues to birds, and can read palms. She was a referral from a minister we talk with sometimes, and I'm pretty convinced he set us up. This lady calls us about 30 times a day and sends us really creepy text messages. Also she saw a demon at Walmart. 

To say this week has been interesting is a bit of an understatement, but we've also been super blessed and have more people to teach than we have time for! One of our investigators is on date for baptism and another one is getting pretty close. It's very exciting. 

I went on an exchange to Caswell this week (and got chased by a dog that probably weighs twice my weight)  and met Brother Batten! (Note:  Brother Batten is Sam's uncle's father who lives in North Carolina.)  He gave us a ride to district meeting, very nice guy.

I'm on my way out to Eden to go fishing for a district activity, but I hope ya'll have a great week and keep writing to me! Love ya'll! 

Elder Earnest