Monday, November 30, 2015


Glad to hear ya'll had a nice thanksgiving!

Had a funny experience the other day. We were volunteering at a food drive and before they handed out the food a preacher got up there and gave a sermon and everyone was yelling 'amen' and 'praise the Lord'.  It was a classic southern baptist sermon/ football pump up. One of our investigators was in the crowd and when the preacher said "ya'll need to come to my church and be be baptized!" everyone yelled "amen!" except our investigator yelled out "When I get saved, Earnest is gonna baptize me!" It was pretty funny.

Thanksgiving was fun! We spent it with three of the girls from the YSA branch. Sister Johnson taught us all how to cook and we had a great dinner! But the Tuesday and Wednesday before we had Thanksgiving dinner with two other families that had to have it on those days because of work so I got a ton of food last week. 
Oh, and this week we met a man who claimed to be a prophet and said he started levitating the other day. The weird thing was he was a totally chill dude, and just slipped that into our conversation totally casually.
This week has been pretty good. We've got a few new investigators I'm pretty excited about and the ward is doing really well welcoming and reaching out to our recent convert that got baptized a few weeks ago.

I miss ya'll a ton and can't wait to hear from ya'll soon!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Helping those in need

I had the neatest experience last night. We were meeting with these people we are teaching and they were showing us how they literally have no food. Like they were gonna eat ice cubes and bacon for dinner and then that's all the food they had for the next 2 weeks. I wanted to start crying at the extent of their poverty, it was terrible. So we told them we'd keep an eye out for any canned goods and went to go see Brother M.  Somehow we ended up on the subject of the family we just saw and when the M's found out they needed food they jumped up and started stuffing their pantry into bags for us to take to this family. The M's themselves don't have much, and I was just amazed at their willingness to jump to the aid of people they'd never even met. We ended up delivering a ham, a full turkey, a ton of canned goods, and some assorted deer meat to this family. It was like one of the coolest things ever.

We had stake conference this week and I sat behind Orson Scott Card. Afterwards I said hello and complimented him on the artwork he chose for our stake center. This building has art in every room and all over the hallways and it's really cool. I guess the stake president asked him to pick it out when they got it and there's a ton of really neat pieces here.

Today we went ice skating as a zone in Greensboro. It was pretty fun, and afterwards we went to the church and played b ball.  Other than that it's been a pretty regular week. Just visiting a ton of people and we gave a few blessings too. Lots of people are getting pretty sick here.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Feeling at home

So, yeah, the baptism was pretty rad. There weren't a ton of people there, but it was still a really nice service. Sienna's boyfriend and mother (who are both fixin' to get baptized themselves) said the opening and closing prayers and she had the bishop baptize her. The next morning I got a text from her mom saying they wouldn't make it for church and I was pretty scared because she was supposed to be confirmed in sacrament and it would have been really weird to tell my district and zone leaders we had a baptism but no confirmation this week. But then Sienna texted us saying she still wanted to come to church, she just needed a ride. I'm glad she has the desire to come to church even if her mom isn't going, that shows some real conversion which makes me happy.

We also had a zone conference on Friday all about the Sabbath. It amazes me how keeping the Sabbath day holy is one of the basic ten commandments, yet society as a whole doesn't really even pay attention to it. Like it's right up there next to 'thou shalt not kill' and 'thou shalt not commit adultery'. Anyways, the conference was super
good! I learned a ton and was reminded of my schooling days and how when I strived to not do any homework on the Sabbath and used it as a day of rest and worship, the rest of my week went WAY smoother.

This week has been really weird. I'm starting to feel like I'm at home in Danville, but let me explain because it's not in the way you'd think. So my companion is from Oregon which is nice because he knows what voodoo donuts is and where all the places I talk about back home are. Then at zone conference, one of the ladies serving us lunch asked where I was from, I told her Oregon, and she asked what part. I never know how to answer that because no one knows where Redmond is and only like 2 people know where Bend is. So I start to say Central Oregon and she says "like Prineville?" I almost starting laughing at the fact I've been asking everyone if they know where Bend is for the past few weeks, but this lady knows where Prineville is. I guess her son served part of his mission in Prineville like 20 years ago. A few weeks ago I was talking to one of the missionaries at mission conference and he asked where I was from and I told him Oregon and he said "do you know Emily Capson?" I guess his college room mate dated her or something, but still that was super weird. I met Danford's dad in Casswell a few months back and then on Friday some lady came up to me at the stake center (where I saw Orson Scott Card in person!!!!!!) (*he's in my stake BTW but I didn't get a chance to talk to him I just saw him and instantly recognized him) and told me she knows my grandparents and started talking about Grandma Ann. (Her name was Wendy Hughs). So yeah all that's been going on and I feel like tons of people here know me. Then I get this email from Shae Wilcox Saturday morning:

"Sam! Are you in Danville, Virginia? 'Cause I'm here right now!!! I know you won't see this till Monday and even if you could there's probs nothing you could do, but isn't that cool we are in the same city?!?! We are going to play Averett right now!"

What the heck!? I don't even feel like I'm away from home, which is good I guess, but really weird. (Averett is a private College in Danville)

Alright I hope that was detailed enough. Really most of my week was just spent planning for the baptism so not a whole lot going on. Alright, Brother Hales is taking us out to dinner so I've got to go,

Love ya,

Monday, November 9, 2015

Having a baptism!

So this week we had to get our car towed out of the mud, our investigators cat got run over, and there was a double homicide stabbing a few streets over from us! Good ol' Danville. Saturday night the Sister missionaries called to tell us President is moving both of them to High Point, so now Elder Andersen and I are the only missionaries in Danville. It'll be weird without the Sisters here, but I'm pretty happy we're full car going into the cold weather. With them leaving it also means we get all their investigators so we now have 23 investigators to teach at least once a week. In case ya'll don't realize it, that's a flippin ton.

It looks like we're having a baptism this Saturday! I'm super excited for that, especially since I found, taught, and will probably baptize this girl from start to finish. We met her and her mom in September, the mom wants to be baptized too.

Zone meeting was last week, and Zone conference is this week. We found out that instead of having interviews every other transfer, President Alexander wants to have them every transfer. I can tell President really cares a lot about each of his individual missionaries. He's also more of a spirit of the law as opposed to letter of the law kind
of President so I like him a lot.

This week I've been going through identifying all the writers of the books from the Bible and Book of Mormon, and then finding passages of scriptures where they testify they've seen Christ. In preach my gospel it explains the reason the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ is because the four main authors (Nephi, Jacob, Mormon, and Moroni) all saw either the pre mortal or resurrected Christ. So that's been fun and time consuming to study since I'm looking for specific scriptures in all their writings. I've finished identifying and finding scriptures for all the Book of Mormon authors and now I'm onto New Testament authors. I already found John and Peter's, but I've got a few more to go.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hey Mom! 

I spent my Halloween playing board games and eating candy with Elder Andersen, very exciting.   We had to be in by 6. We didn't get any trick or treaters though, I guess parents don't want their kids in our neighborhood. 

Our investigators are still progressing. They missed church yesterday which means their baptism date had to be pushed back a week. But that's okay, it just means they get more time to prepare. We've met a few new people this week, but no one super solid. The best thing that happened this week was probably the ward Halloween activity. There were a ton of people there, like more than probably show up to church, and it was nice just to relax and talk to people. 

I've been cooking a lot of chicken this week, I'm getting pretty good at that. Haven't made anything bad yet so that's nice! After yesterday I now feel your pain of preparing dinner on fast Sunday, that sucked.

Today we went and played Ping Pong in Eden with our district.  We have a zone meeting in Greensboro on Friday so that should be fun! Other than that it's been pretty dull around here - a lot of raining and biking. 

I really enjoyed the Halloween pictures ya'll sent me. Even though I can use Facebook, I can't see anyone's newsfeed from back home so I really enjoy getting random pictures of what's going on through out the week. 

Well I guess I'll write again next week! I love you mom and miss you a ton!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Claiborne Street

My new companion is Elder Andersen. He's from Eugene, Oregon and has been out a transfer longer than me, which means since he doesn't know the area I'm driving and kinda have to lead the companionship, which has been a bit stressful, but it's all good. My MTC companion is training this transfer so I really shouldn't complain. I definitely miss Elder Clarke. He's now a district leader with one of my MTC homies, but me and Elder Andersen get along pretty well. 

Fall is definitely here. The trees are super colorful!  I miss Oregon so much...I think the thing I miss the most is just being a normal person: wearing actual clothes, listening to good music, hanging out with friends, that kind of stuff. I feel like I've been kicked out of society

Lately I've become super grateful for the plan of salvation. The knowledge of who I am, where I came from before this life and where I'm going after this life, brings so much joy, comfort, and purpose to my life. It's such a blessing to have that knowledge, and share it with others.

The way we found our investigators that are getting baptized is kind of a cool story. We were talking with a less active woman on her porch and reading in Alma 13 about how angels are preparing people in every land to hear the gospel.  Then this mom and her daughter come walking along and the less active member yells at them "Hey! Get up here and listen to these boys!".  She's great for referrals for that exact reason. Anyway, they come up to the porch, we teach them, they're totally prepared to hear our message and are super accepting of it, so we set up a time to come to their home and teach them. So we teach them for a few weeks, and then the bishop and his family invited them for dinner at their home. Other than them we were really struggling to find people to teach that are ready to progress, so that night I said a prayer asking that we could just find one person the next day that's ready to progress towards baptism. A couple of hours before the dinner they called us up and asked if the daughter could bring her boyfriend. He ended up coming and is super solid and reads the Book of Mormon all on his own and everything. The Lord answers prayers. Now because of that one less active member's referral we're teaching the mom, daughter, daughter's boyfriend, daughter's sister and sister's family, daughter's sister's brother-in-law and his family, and the whole lower block of Claiborne street because that's where the sister lives and everyone in the neighborhood is always at her home. So yeah, give your missionaries referrals cause it makes us super happy!