Monday, April 25, 2016

New investigators

Hey y'all! It's been another wonderful week. We crushed our total lessons goal this week and had a ton of members out teaching with us, it was wonderful. We've got one guy preparing for baptism soon.  It might take a while for him to quit coffee though. I also conducted my first district meeting! I feel like it went pretty well.  I talked about contacting and gave the example of Nephi who dropped Laban because he wasn't keeping commitments and how he went and found a new investigator named Zoram. Today the Weddington Elders used some of the contacting  practices I trained on to get two new investigators last week so that made me pretty happy.

We also found quite a few new investigators this week. One of them is a woman named Alesha with no home, no friends, and no legs. She literally just had two bloody nubs poorly wrapped in white bandages. I guess she had  diabetes so they had to cut them off. The only people left in the world for her are her kids that live with some foster parents and she pretty much just bums around at a gas station all day. As you can image she's pretty depressed but she's reading the Book of Mormon now and she's coming to church next week! One of our stellar member missionaries, Abel, was with us when we found her and went back that night with his family to sing her a hymn and give her a backpack full of soap and food and money. I love when members do missionary work☺️

Not much else happened. Just working hard! Interviews are this week, oh yeah! I conducted my first baptismal interview yesterday! The Zone leaders have a baptism this week and I interviewed her for baptism. It was a really cool experience! One of zone leaders, Elder Blanco, is from Columbia.  His mother introduced a boyfriend to the gospel in Columbia when she was young. The man and his wife and kids moved up from Columbia and then Elder Blanco got sent here to baptize the rest of the family. Kinda confusing to follow, but it's a really cool story I promise!

Well, I'm gonna go play spike ball! Sure love y'all!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Goals and GAs

Hey guys! 

This week has been bombin'!  We finally hit our transfer long goal of 20 lessons in one week, and just in time because that was the last week of the transfer. We've been finding lots of new people to teach, and getting great referrals from members. Best of all I'm staying in Providence for another transfer! I'm really starting to like this area, it just took me a little while to adjust. Elder Snyder will also be staying here with me, which I'm pretty happy about because we've been seeing a lot of success together as of late. I also went on exchange with the zone leaders this week and got to see how they're running their area in Pineville. (It's nothing like Prineville.) They gave me a ton of great ideas for how I can build Providence and it was super nice to see a model of how Providence should start looking. I was really impressed with how they do member missionary work, so that will be a focus of mine. The next day I got a phone call from President Alexander asking me to serve as the new District Leader in our district. So that's gonna be a ton more responsibility, but I'm excited to serve. 

We had a really good lesson with one of our investigators this week named Steve. He finally understood the apostasy and the priesthood which is important for understanding the need for a restoration. It was really cool to finally see things click in his head. Now he's reading the Book of Mormon with real intent because he actually gets why it's important! Such a great lesson, and better yet we had a member out with us who's gonna be a great fellowshiper for Steve. We also took a recent convert named Abel out teaching and he walked up to this guy and they started talking to each other in Spanish for like 5 mins and then Abel looked at us and said: 'Can you guys come teach him on Friday?' Luckily the guy speaks English but, man, would Spanish help me be a better missionary. 

The Elder Zwick conference was great! I got to see Elder Hampshire, who's also a district leader, and a lot of other missionaries I've served with. The training was amazing, Elder Zwick is a Seventy and was on the missionary board when they made Preach My Gosepl. He shared a lot of cool stuff about how they made PMG. The 9 years it took to fully create it were the only 9 years in church history that no one from the Quorum of the 12 or the presidency died and had to be replaced. He talked about how both Maxwell and Joseph B. Wirthlin really should have died during that time but Heavenly Father kept them because they needed to write certain parts of Preach My Gospel. (Wirthlin was pronounced dead twice and still lived on.) He also shared some really neat things from his notes he took in a meeting a few days back with the Quorum of the Twelve and a few of the other Seventy. He said they meet every Thursday and discuss the needs of the church and then take the sacrament and that he's been invited quite a few times. Also when I was in the bathroom during the break he came in and starting using the urinal next to mine and asked me what I was learning. So yeah...I had a conversation with a general authority while peeing in a urinal.  

Thanks so much for writing me every week, it really means a lot. 

I love you guys! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

This has been a great week. We taught a ton of people and hit most of our weekly goals. Found a few new investigators and handed out a German Book of Mormon. I've found that if I could speak another language here I would have a huge advantage as a missionary. I feel like there's so many people we run into that don't speak English.  Vietnamese and Spanish are most common, but there's a lot of Eastern European, Korean, and Portuguese speakers here too. The German guy was really impressed we actually brought him a Book of Mormon in his own language. Hopefully now he'll read it! We also had members out teaching with us almost every night this week, which was amazing. Last night we had dinner with the Delgado family, who are from Mexico, and they fed us some of the best Mexican food I've ever had. The fact that it was fast Sunday may have helped, but dang that stuff was good!

This week we're having Elder Zwick come visit our mission and we have a big mission conference with him on Wednesday. I'm pretty excited for that, last time when Elder Kopishke came it was a blast. I'm hoping he'll teach us how to find some more prepared families to teach. One of the members in our ward actually served in Peru when Elder Zwick was the mission president and he was telling us how great he is.

Elder E

Monday, April 4, 2016

Cars, Cockroaches, and Conference

Hey Guys,

This has been quite an eventful week. On Tuesday I went on exchange to Weddington with Elder Dortch. We had a great time, Elder Dortch is a great missionary and he also trained Elder Galvin so that was super cool too. Anyways, while I was gone Elder Snyder got in a car crash and totaled our car. It was at an intersection where the light had just turned green so he was good to go through, but the car in the lane next to him had been waiting at the red light and signaled a lady to go through on a left turn just as the light went red for her. So she went through and Elder Snyder and Elder Sherman were going 40 mph through the intersection, below the speed limit of 45, and couldn't really do much. They smashed into the side of this white mini van and when they got out to make sure everyone was okay they learned there was a special needs person in the van. Luckily, as far as we know, everyone is fine and no one had to go to the hospital or anything, but a full two days of proselyting was wasted. (One on the day of the wreck and one when we had to go get our new car).

The only nice part of that is when we went to get our new car there were a ton of other missionaries there getting new cars (most because their cars hit 50,000 miles) and I saw Elder Hungrige and Elder Masoe from Casswell (where the Battens live just south of Danville). Elder Hungrige is the district leader now and he told me 6 of the people I taught in Danville are getting baptized within the next few weeks. That was super exciting to hear. Sadly, I also heard some bad news about Quill. She messaged me on Facebook a few days before, and Elder Hungrige confirmed it. Quill went into labor way early (she was due sometime this summer) and her baby died shortly after birth. She's in a pretty dark place right now and won't talk to anyone. She did contact me about it though, which kinda surprised me, but I was able to try and uplift her with my response. Quill's gone through so much already and I'm really worried about her now. So that's been on my mind a lot lately.

We also caught two huge cockroaches in our apartment this week.  The first one we baptized by water and fire (threw him in the toilet and burned the crap out of him with old spice body spray and a lighter) and the second one was caught after the conference session where Bednar talked about how baptism by water was pointless with out the baptism by the Holy Ghost. We didn't feel he was worthy, so we threw him in the pool in our backyard and gave him half a baptism. Today I will be buying a plethora of chemicals to kill ALL cockroaches in our apartment because I want to vomit just thinking of cockroaches.

Conference was absolutely wonderful! I have about 10 pages of notes to go back through now. My favorite talks which I started to re-read right away were Henry B. Eyring's Saturday opener (I could see the closed captioning for the Spanish and understood enough to know he went WAY off script. That's why he smiled and paused. I'm guessing the Spirit prompted him to say something different and he did), Dale G. Rendlund's (who's probably one of my favorite speakers now), David A. Bednar's wonderful talk on baptism and the sacrament, Russell M. Nelsons killer talk on the priesthood, Henry B. Eyring's priesthood session talk, Uchtdorf's Sunday morning talk, Dallin H. Oaks' talk on opposition, and of course Holland's. My favorite one was probably Bednar's though. I thought it was strange how short President Monson spoke for, but I really liked his story about commanding the ship to come back around. As a missionary, conference weekend is probably my favorite weekend. It's like a two day spiritual party.

After conference last night we went to go see some former investigators and Elder Snyder got another flat tire. It's like his 8th this transfer and we've only had 3 bike weeks. He was really frustrated and tossed his bike into the trees and walked off. I just kinda stood there like "really?".  I wasn't mad or anything because I knew he was upset. That exerpt from the Rendlund talk ("Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying" from April 2015 General Conference) you sent me came to mind and I just patiently waited it out. 

Today we had a zone activity. Elder Clarke was there and I got to talk to him a bit. We played a ton of spikeball and had a blast. My good friend Elder Prado was also there and I stuffed him in basketball.

Well, I'm hoping this week is a little more fun than last week. I want to see people get baptized in Providence sooooo bad. Hope all is well back home,

Elder Earnest

New friend?

The car after the accident