Monday, 8 April 2013

Week 89

Thanks for all the emails and the pictures. Carter looks awesome in those sweet clothes. This past week has been great. We had president interviews on Tuesday and that was good, it just took all the way to dinner so was a lot of sitting. We had a lot of miracles on Tuesday, we got a text from a member and said that her friend wanted a Book of Mormon and that she wanted us to meet her after our dinner to meet her at this lady's house and give her it. We talked with the lady for a while and about the Book of Mormon and then later that night we got a text that the member forwarded and it said..." I read the introduction and the testimony's in the front and I have an overwhelming feeling that this is the path for me to take and for my family". That was one of the best texts I've ever got. We are going to start teaching her at the members next week so excited to teach her. We also found five other new investigators on Tuesday so was such a good day. On Wednesday we found two other new investigators and they are really interested so we are finding so many prepared people right now. We are struggling to go back and see all the people that we are meeting so things are good. On Thursday we went up to the mountains and taught the two girls that are going to be baptized, we moved the date to April 27th because the person that will baptize them can only do it that weekend so that's a little disappointing because I'll be gone but at least they are getting baptized. General Conference was great this past weekend, I really enjoyed Elder Christopherson's talk which was the last one of the conference. Oh, we got transfer calls on Saturday night and I'm staying here in Poterville with Elder Keys and we are getting another Elder also so we are going to be in a trio for two weeks. The new companion is Elder Melanson and he came in with me and we shared a room in the MTC so I'm super excited for that because he's one of my favorite elders. We also are getting a car so that was exciting to hear. Well, tomorrow is my departing day and I'm leaving at 7:00 for the mission home and doing all the departing missionary stuff and having dinner there and then my farewell is tomorrow night so that will be good to see everyone that I've met. Wednesday is transfer day and I'll be waiting in Fresno for Elder Melanson and then we are taking the new car down to Poterville. That's about it for this week, can't believe it's two weeks now until I see you guys. 
I love you guys so much, only two more email days left, still not real but I think tomorrow might make it a little more real. Love ya guys! 

Monday, 1 April 2013

Week 88

This has been a great past week for missionary work in our area. We were able to set five new baptismal dates and two of them are rock solid for the weekend after General Conference. We also found four new investigators and had three of them at church so we are starting to see some really good success. So we had an emergency zone conference yesterday so we just went to church just for the sacrament and then went to the meeting. The mission has been doing extremely poor the past three months and there were some changes made in the mission. We were so focused on finding new investigators that we forgot that the reason we were finding was to baptize them. Last year at this time we were baptizing 90-100 a month and now its 30-40 so now we are refocusing on baptisms. It's crazy how a change in focus can alter the mission so much. It was a great meeting but we had to cancel our Easter dinners so that was a little disappointing but we got back into town at like 8:15 and a member saved some for us so it all worked out. Thanks for the package of goodies, that was probably the last package that I'll get from you guys! It's all gone now though, I love those chocolate eggs! The rest of the week was good, the weather is heating up and it's fun to be outside and talking to everyone, I'm just glad that I don't have to deal with another one of these summers. So tomorrow we have President Interviews and then the Bishop is coming out with us for the night to see the two girls getting baptized next weekend. I'm just super excited for General Conference this weekend, it's like Christmas when it comes around. I think that's about it for this week, next week I have my departing stuff and also my farewell which should be a good experience. It hasn't even set in yet that I only have a couple weeks left, I remember two years ago I never thought this day would come, I thought I would be here forever but now here we are two years later, crazy! Thanks for all the letters and can't wait to see you guys in about three weeks! Love you tons. 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Release Date

We got Sams flight details and he will be coming home on April 25th!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Week 87

So we went up to sequoia national park this morning and we had a good time up there, I'm just super tired now that were back down the mountain. We had a good past week with finding new people to teach and we were finally able to get some investigators to church! The drought is over! We had 5 investigators at church which was a relief of going two weeks without anyone at church. At church on Sunday, a girl came up to me and asked if she could be baptized so that was amazing, no one has ever asked if they could be baptized, we normally have to invite them so we will be having a baptism next week or so. So I'm glad you got my invite, did you love it? My farewell is in two weeks and I still haven't heard about my flight so I might call tomorrow if I don't hear. I had an exchange with another elder this past week and was a lot of fun, we were able to find some new people to teach so was a good exchange. I can't think of too much more, sorry my letters are getting shorter, the weeks just blend in together now and I will see you in less than a month! It's scary now that it's less than a month til I'm home. I didn't know that Luke was in Vegas, that's cool that Laura met up with him and had a good time with him. I got an email saying that I have to send in the return missionary thing so I will do that and then fax it in this week. Well it's really hard to concentrate with all the elders and sisters here, just can't focus right now. Well I had some questions but I will write them down and ask you next week. I love you guys and miss you. Thanks for all of your love and support, you guys are the best! 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Week 86

So this week has been great, we had a great zone conference and learned a lot of stuff. We have been doing the harvesting blessing and it invites the spirit so strongly and is a great feeling to bless their lives even if they are not interested in hearing the gospel. The one problem that we have been facing is that we are not getting many progressing investigators with it, we are doing a lot of the blessings but then we go back and they aren't interested or won't open the door so that has been discouraging but hopefully that will turn around this week. So at zone conference, we got the news that the church has changed the email policy and now missionaries can email anyone instead of just family and that we have 1 and a half hours to email so that was a big change, I'm glad that this rule just got changed because that would of been too distracting for me so that was a big change. Things are going well, time is just flying by and the weeks are like days. I got a bunch of stuff for departing missionaries in the mail last week so I've got to start doing all that stuff. We've been getting a lot of anti stuff recently which is weird, and the Jehovah's Witnesses have been flooding the city with their invitations to their celebration so I think that is making it more difficult on us. We have found a bunch of new people this week and a few less actives that were working on reactivating so we are defiantly busy. So this week we have district meeting and then going on an exchange so should be a pretty fun week.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Week 85

This past week has been great. We have found some really prepared people, on Monday night we knocked on some doors and we were welcomed in to leave a blessing on their home and the spirit was very strong. We then asked the 16 year old boy "if Jesus Christ were in this room right now, what one question would you ask him?" He then said he would ask where we came from, and we were a little stunned because it's as if he read Preach my Gospel or something. We then taught the Plan of Salvation and committed him to baptism for the 30th of this month. He had such great questions during the whole lesson and he said that it has cleared up a lot of things he was wondering about his whole life. We had so many great experiences this week, we gave over ten harvesting blessings and it is such a powerful tool, it is probably the most spiritual thing that has ever happened in their homes. We have been finding a lot of people through this, actually all of our investigators are from doing this as much as we can every day. Soon enough we will be so busy that we will be booked for every hour of the day. We are really seeing a lot of miracles in our area right now. A couple funny things happened this week, we were biking down a busy street and we went by an auto shop and I saw a Maserati so I told him to look and while he was looking back he nailed a telephone pole bad, it was so funny, was laughing for like 30 minutes. We also went to dinner that same day and while we were eating, Elder Keys stands up and runs to the bathroom and then we hear him puking for the next 10 minutes so that was interesting trying to eat while we could hear him puking. Also went on exchange with Elder Frost ( he is from the heaps ward) and that was so much fun. This upcoming week we have zone conference on Friday and then doing more exchanges this week. 
Thanks for all the emails! It was great to hear from everyone. I didn't realize that I was coming home during the ward conference, I feel bad that Pres. Halsey won't be able to speak, I could do 10-15 minutes so that he could have time to speak also. I like the idea of being able to do the report and do it with the ward council so I can still do that. That's fantastic about the youth temple trip, there are so many youth now, wasn't like that a couple years ago, sounds like we have a really good ward. Thanks for everything! I love you and miss you.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Week 84

So this has been a great past week. We have been able to go out and work every day and we have found a lot of new people to teach as we do three hours of knocking doors and talking to people in the streets. We have made ourselves quite busy the past couple days and we have found a lot of people that really need the gospel and are going through a really hard time. Elder Keys is my new companion and he is from Washington state and he is a really good missionary. He has been out about a year now and we've gotten along really well so I'm glad this is going to be a really good transfer. We are serving in a really ghetto area so most people are humble and willing to talk with us, we have been offering to have prayers with people and leave a blessing on their homes and it has been a really effective finding tool and a good way to bless people's lives. It softens people's hearts, there are many people who don't want to talk to us at first because they don't want to switch religions or not interested in our message but then we offer to have a prayer with them and they are receptive to that. We had a couple of investigators at church this past Sunday, I keep comparing everything to when I was in Exeter and we were getting 10 or so investigators to church and here we get less than half of that so I need to stop doing that because I feel disappointed every week. I can't think of anything else too exciting from this past week, we've just been doing a lot of finding. We are doing sports today, haven't played anything for a while so I feel out of shape.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Week 83

Well we got transfer calls on Saturday night and I am staying here in Poterville but Elder Mueller is leaving but that is what we expected to happen so no big surprise there. My new companion is Elder Keys and I don't know him but I've seen him before and I know he is a short red head with freckles but that's all I know. I've heard good things about him so I'm excited to be with him. This past week has been a little frustrating as Elder Mueller has been going to the doctors every other day and then for the past four days we haven't been out to work so the area is struggling right now which is going to make things hard on us the next couple weeks. I've been able to study a lot though and I didn't think I would be able to start and finish Jesus the Christ for the third time but with all this study time I might be able to. Did you hear about the fifty-eight new missions being created? One of them is the Bakersfield mission and they will be taking parts of the Fresno mission from it and Fresno missionaries will be taken out and put in that mission in June so I'm glad that I won't be there for that although that is very exciting. The three southern zones of the mission will be in the Bakersfield mission so over 80% of my mission will no longer be the Fresno mission. We had a good showing yesterday at church so that was promising news. Well this week we have transfers on Wednesday and I will let you know how my new companion is. So I got an interesting call yesterday, it was a member from the ward I served in up in Turlock and he called to offer me a job which was super random but he wants to hire me. He owns a marketing company that is throughout the whole valley so he asked for our home phone number so that when I get home he will call me about it, so might have a job after the semester or after I'm done with school. 

That's great news about all the missionary work happening in the ward, no work more important than it so that's good your having success. President Gelwix always says that the most important person in missionary work is the Bishop and the two highest wards in our missions have the two best bishops he says, so no pressure or anything. That's good that I will be able to speak in Sacrament as I would like to and I'm not too worried about not going  to the high council but what does that normally include?. I love you guys and hope that you have a great week. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Week 82

Sounds like things are going well back home and everyone is doing good. Had a pretty good week and was a lot of fun. Yesterday we had a tri-zone activity and we just played sports all afternoon and it was a beautiful day out for sports as it was in the 70's, that's the good thing about the winters out here, only about 2 months and sounds like your not in tshirt and shorts weather quite yet with the snow. Had a family home evening last night with a family in the ward and we played apples to apples, haven't played that one since I was home so forgot how to play. On Sunday we had a couple investigators at church so that was good but we can do so much better, we are reaching our potential. Church here starts at 1:00 and by the time church is done we got straight to dinner so doesn't give us much time to work on Sundays and no one likes meeting that late, hope I never have 1:00 church, your days are just shot. Our project this past week has been to contact every person on the ward list so we went to the zoning office and got this huge map of the east side of Poterville and we are marking where every person is and trying to make the ward list more organized as it is 6 pages of the abbreviated directory and about a page and a half is active so there is a lot of work to be done. My companion always seems to be struggling with something, if it's not his anxiety, it's a migraine, or his back or stomach and I really want to believe him but it's starting to get a little old. I keep telling him that if he doesn't get over it that he's going to be sent home. We get along, it's just hard to work with him. We have transfer calls on Saturday and then transfers on Wednesday so looking forward to that, I really am hoping for a good companion and someone that wants to work hard. I am pretty certain that I'll be staying and Elder Mueller will be going so this is probably my last area which I'm ok with. The work is slower than in previous areas but were working on improving that and our lessons have doubled so our teaching pool is increasing also. Well I love you all and thanks for your love and support.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Week 81

So another week has flown by, felt like I just emailed you guys yesterday. So we are starting to see a lot of success in our area, the area was getting 0 to 1 investigators at church and we had 4 yesterday and have a lot more for next week as we have found some solid investigators. I got three packages on Saturday, one from you guys and then one from the Desmarais family which was nice to get something from them, I didn't know Emily D. had another one. Thanks for the Valentines Day gift. I also got my Jesus the Christ which I used my American Express to buy it so just so your aware. My companion has been struggling recently and we are very concerned about him as he has had three anxiety attacks and is not mentally stable. He is going to Stockton which is 4 hours from here and outside of the mission to see someone to evaluate his mental health on Thursday. We get along well though, he just has flare ups of anger over little things and may be bi polar also so will good to get him checked up. It has been a good transfer and should be a good next two weeks of the transfer with some baptisms coming up. I'm doing really well right now, I got a little down a couple weeks ago because I have felt like I've been given a lot of difficult companions and I thought this transfer would be one with no set backs but difficult companions really make it tough but I am finally able to find success and be happy with myself even though it's not the ideal situation.
 I just checked my letter from President and he said that my release date is April 25 and that everything is set.  It became very real that I don't have long left after I read my email from President as everything is set in stone now and he is ordering my plane ticket which he will send to you so you will get there in a couple weeks. Thanks for booking the flight to school, I think that it's going to work perfectly leaving on Monday, gives a little extra time instead of leaving on Sunday. So will I be able to report to the High Council and also give a talk? Yea, quite a few people came up after I gave the talk and said it was good, so not too bad for not knowing and just getting up there. That is something the mission has really helped me at, being able to have no notice and give a talk without notes, I'm still not the best at public speaking but better than I was. Sounds like a lot of people went to the Ravens Homecoming and that it was a good time. Hope that you have a great week and look forward to hear from you next week. Love you and see you soon!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Week 80

Thanks for the letters! I'm so happy that the Ravens won! I can't believe they won the year that I'm not there but I will have to watch it once I get home. It sounds like it was a crazy game and that it was fun to watch. Everyone here is a 49'ers fan so I couldn't celebrate at all or else I would of got shot. We taught someone right after the game and she was a 49'ers fan and she was super bummed but she said that she wants to be baptized on February 23.  We had a great zone conference and we have started something called the harvesting blessing where we have to tract for three hours a day and instead of doing a normal door contact we offer to have a prayer with them and their family in their home and it has been a great tool. On Friday we gave the eulogy at a funeral and it was mostly non members so it turned out that a few of them wanted us to stop by so it actually was a good finding activity. 

I love you guys so much and look forward to hear from you next week. I can't believe that I will see you guys in less than three months! 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Week 79

So I got transferred on Wednesday and now I'm down here in Poterville which is the most south part of the mission. It is an all bike area which is good because I really wanted to get in good shape and this will defiantly help out. We have a pretty nice apartment with a washer and dryer so that saves a lot of time and money each transfer. This is the most ghetto city I've served in so far, an extremely poor town and most of the people are low income which can also be a good thing as they are more willing to hear the gospel. The ward is pretty small, probably about 70-80 people there but they seem nice and willing to help out. The work in the area is very slow and we only have 2 investigators here so pretty slim compared to the 20+ in Exeter. We are going to be working on getting our teaching pool up so we will be doing a lot of finding the next couple weeks. My companion is Elder Mueller and he is from Philadelphia so another east coast companion. We went biking the other day and we saw a shortcut through a field so we decided to go through it because it looked pretty dry but we got about 50 feet and then we got stuck in the mud so we had to walk to the other side and we were covered in mud and our bikes wouldn't go because of all the mud so we spent the next hour cleaning them and then finally got on our way. Tomorrow we have a zone conference and then the rest of the week we don't have anything planned so we will just be finding new people. 

Everyone here is talking about the Superbowl and whenever I mention that I'm from Baltimore they bring it up but everyone here is going for the 49ers so hopefully the Ravens win this Sunday. That's crazy that Luke is home, that picture of him doesn't even look like him, he's really changed.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Week 78

Thanks for all the emails and to hear how all of you are doing. It's been a good past week here in Exeter but it is my final day here as I found out on Saturday that I am getting transferred to Porterville which is about 30 minutes south of where I am at right now. I was a little surprised that I am leaving because the work has improved so much since I've been here and we have a lot of people going to be baptized so bummed I won't be here to see them get baptized but I feel good about going to a new area because there are more people I need to meet there. It will probably be my last area as I only have this transfer and then one more after that and this transfer is only a month long as the MTC has changed how long missionaries are there. My new companion is Elder Mueller and I don't know him yet so not too sure where he is from or how long he has been out. I have been feeling good the past week and I think it has just been a very hard couple months as I have had some tough companions and after a while it takes a toll on you. I have been re energized the past couple days as I have been saying goodbye to everyone and how great it is to be a missionary. We did some tiling this morning for a member and moved some stuff into his house and it was a lot of fun. Well tomorrow I am off to Porterville and I will let you know next week how it goes.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Week 77

Thanks for all the letters this week, was good to hear how all of you are doing. Another week has flown by and I'm trying to remember all that has happened. I need to start remembering so I can include things in my email. Yesterday for preparation day we went to the stake center and played indoor soccer and it was the first time I've played on my mission and it was so much fun and I was surprisingly good so that made it all the better. I'm trying to organize it again for this Monday because it was awesome. On Sunday we had a lot of investigators at church again and we are going to have a good upcoming months as we have quite a few dates set. I've been feeling kind of depressed recently, I'm not sure what it is but I'm in a funk. We are having a lot of success and I really like my companion so not sure what it is but it's bothering me. I'm trying to figure out what it is and hopefully will figure it out sooner than later. I'm happy most of the time and its only sometimes I feel down and it's odd because I've never had this before, especially because I am normally always happy. So this upcoming week we have transfer calls and I'm really hoping that I don't leave because we have improved the work so much and I don't want to leave because I have a really good relationship with the ward. I'm a little nervous for transfer calls but I will be fine with whatever happens as every area so far has been a new experience.
Well, I better get going but I love you guys and hope that you have a great week.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Week 76

It was great to get your letters and see what is happening back home. It was a great week for us. Bree was baptized on Saturday and then confirmed on Sunday and it was a quick 25 minute baptism but the spirit was strong and no one was antsy to get out of there when its that quick. And then on Sunday we had eleven investigators at church and that is the most I've ever had so that was awesome to have that many people there and they all have been more than three times already so they need to take the next step and be baptized, so these next two months we could have over ten baptisms plus new people we meet so that would be a great way to end the  mission. My companion doesn't believe in going out and knocking doors and talking to people in the street so I kind of have to drag him behind and when we contact he doesn't say anything because he thinks its weird so that has been a struggle but I just do all the talking which is alright with me but not ideal. Members are treating us like Kings, we now our starting to get lunches
a couple days a week so the members really like us, I feel bad for the elders who only get dinner a couple times a week. We have a busy week this week with a lot of people to teach and then hit the streets and do some finding.
That's cool about Emily and Don being called as ward missionaries, they will do a good job with that. Last thing is about my release date and I just checked my email from President Gelwix and he said that it will be in April and he will know the exact date when he emails me next week so I do know it's April for sure but now just need to get the exact day so I'll let you know for sure next week. Well I got to get going but I love you so much and miss you. Look forward to
your emails next week, Talk to you next week!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Week 75

Thanks for all the emails, I am so happy that Kirk got baptized. Tell him that I love him and am excited and proud of him. His plan is to go to BYU-Idaho?
So this past week was great. Played basketball on Tuesday night and didn't get hurt so that was a success. We taught Christina four times in the past week and last night she said she wants to be baptized and now she is just trying to figure out a date that everyone in her family can be there. Had a really spiritual experience and I would say it but I wrote it in my journal so will save it to share later. Christina is defiantly one of those people that was prepared to receive the gospel as we have only known her a week and she is ready to be baptized and is super solid, she is actually planning on going to BYU-Idaho with her cousin, it feels good to baptize these people that you know are going to be in a good spiritual place and stick with the gospel and not leaving the church because some people I see getting baptized, stick with it a couple months but it they have the fellowship they stick with it. We had an excellent day at church yesterday as we had five investigators there and a couple new ones for the first time. We are doing really well on getting people to church right now but I'm scared of what is going to be said in sacrament meeting and yesterday was no different. We had a lady get up and she lives by herself and has no kids and never been married and she started talking about how her pets have strengthened her testimony and went on for 10 minutes about pets so that was interesting, normally it would just be funny but with investigators there you are worrying about what they think about it. I went on exchange on Saturday and it was the first exchange in a couple months so it felt weird to be with a different companion. This week we are meeting with Christina to finish the lessons and hopefully getting the rest of them with a solid baptismal date. This week is transfer calls and I'm hoping that I stay here in Exeter with Elder Leavitt another transfer but I think that he's leaving and I will stay so good that I'm staying. I am really hoping that I will stay here for the rest of my mission as I really am doing well here and love the members. Well that's about it for this week.

Thanks for the picture of Kirk and Ethan mom and thanks em for all the pictures of Carter, he is looking good, who do you think he looks more like? you or don? Well I better get going but I love you all so very much and thankful for all your love and prayers and support. I am so happy right now, this is easily the best part of my mission so far, just happy all the time. Love you all so much.