Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Came and Went!

The whole Christmas thing went awesomely!  I played a piano solo of "Oh, Holy Night" at the Christmas All-Mission Conference.

I received the Christmas packages from home...including the Christmas tree. I now have two Christmas trees! The sister missionaries that are in the apartment I was living in last December found my Christmas tree from last year, so they gave it back to me at the mission conference! I was so excited.

We're trying to find a lot more people. It was an interesting week. We have a couple of promising potentials. We're still trying to find more, though.

We've received eye-pads....You know those Minion notebook things shaped like a minion-eye? They're called eye-pads. We have those.  We don't have actual iPads, yet. Don't know when those are coming.

We went Christmas carolin' on Christmas Eve :j. The Christmas Zone Conference was great. I love the missionary life.

Finally, I got to Skype with my family on Christmas Day!  The audio was not working properly, they could hear me, but I could not hear them.  So, we used Skype for the video, and the cell phones for the audio.  It was so good to see each other, and hear each other's voices.  (Weird, but good!)...and I got to meet my family's foreign exchange student.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

This and That!

My mission is the last mission to get iPads, I think. My trainer heard that they were getting iPads at the beginning of his mission...well, he's home from his mission now. So, It's been over two years.

We had a mission conference on Monday, December 21.

We had a baptism a couple of Saturdays ago. It was an awesome baptism. I don't have a picture yet, but my companion will email the picture to me sometime. It was really fun. I played the piano for it :D.

We had a zone conference in Springfield. I was able to see some former companions, and a bunch of my other friends in the mission.

I'm totally excited! We have a few solid potentials. :D. The branch president and his family are amazing. We went a-carolin' around the neighborhood, and we gave away a ton of ham to members in the branch.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Transfer = New Responsibility

I'm the furthest away from the mission office that I can get in the mission...It's pretty fun to be here.

Transfer days are always on a Thursday. Just count every six Thursdays and that's transfer day. Transfers start around 6:30-7 and go until around 4-ish.

I am now a district leader.  As district leader, I can set up exchanges with any elder in my district (besides the zone leaders), I have to collect indicators every Sunday evening and write them down...and then send the info received to the zone leaders. I have to prepare for district meetings every Wednesday...except for this Wednesday and next. We have a zone conference and a mission conference these next two weeks. So...a lot. I was the district leader's companion for two transfers, so I know how to do many of the things.

My district consists of three wards and three branches.  My new area is pretty cool. It's a lot like one of my previous areas, only bigger. We have a railroad crossing right in the middle of the city. We have some awesome members. We have had a Christmas party, and Stake Conference.

My new companion has red hair. He loves to tract. He's from Utah. He's been out for 3 transfers (4.5 months), and he's stayed in this area for all that time.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Amazing Exchange, Baptism and Confirmation!

We've experienced quite a bit lately, including snow, ice, and an amazing exchange.

Last month I went on exchange. We didn't have any appointments set, so we OTMed/tracted all day...not the most effective, but we went into a Kids Resale store. The only person in there was a lady. Music was playing in the background. I recognized the music to be "In the Dark of the Night" in Anastasia, so I told the lady that I knew this song was from Anastasia. She was so excited that I knew what it was because not a lot of people did. We talked about Anastasia for a bit, then about families, then about the church. I completely forgot to take a Book of Mormon with me when I came in, but we were able to give her a #BecauseHeLives card.

Well, 5 days after that happened, I asked another elder about the lady at the store and he told me they had closed. I was not happy about that. I've remembered to take a Book of Mormon with me since that incident.

Two weeks later we got a call from a ward member about a new referral. We met with her a week after that. We set a baptismal date two days later, and we arranged for a baptismal interview. Our district leader, asked us to exchange with him to save miles for the baptismal interview. My companion stayed with one another elder in this area while I went with the district leader to another city.

We were discussing our plans for the day, and I asked if we could check out this place where we found the lady. The district leader told me if we had time we would. So, we went to the first appointment. We then went to meet a member at a restaurant. I looked out my window as we passed the Kids Resale store on the way, and I told the district leader this was the place where I met the lady. Well, the member texted us, saying she was going to be late, and we found the opportunity to check out the "Kids" place. I went with a Book of Mormon this time. We walked in, and the same lady looked up to see who it was and said, "It's the Anastasia guy!"

Quick conversation starter! Anyway, we talked with her for a couple minutes, handed the Book of Mormon, and left. We both felt the Spirit in there....It was a wonderful day!

We baptized our new referral that Saturday. Her nonmember family showed up. I showed a couple of Mormon Messages after the baptism while the my companion and our newly baptized member were changing back into their dress clothes.

Then, my favorite part happened. On Sunday, the ward mission president confirmed our newly baptized member. It was a beautiful experience to stand in the circle and do that...I love confirmations so much. It's always the best feeling during confirmations.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Preparing the Way...

We're really starting to get our area going...or rather, the Lord is preparing our area, to do a lot of missionary work. Very exciting.

We also had a zone training meeting, of which my companion and I experienced a miracle or two on the way.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

An Investigator + Some Lessons = A Baptism!

We had a lesson with one of our investigators about the law of chastity at the church. We then went to a ward member's home and had another lesson about the laws of tithing, the fast, and the Word of Wisdom.

Our investigator has applied to Brigham Young University (BYU) and she is really absorbing the gospel.  She has read from 1 Nephi to 3 Nephi in three days. She is amazing.  Her baptism is on Saturday. I am so excited!

*My parents received this text from one of the members today:  "We wanted to thank you for raising such a wonderful son. The last few weeks he and his companion have taught our friend. Today was her baptism! We hope you enjoy these pictures."



Exchanges With the Assistants!

We had an exchange with the Assistants again this week. They taught us a couple of awesome things about the pamphlet lessons. We received a referral from a family while we were on the exchange, and the Assistants slept over at our apartment. The Assistants literally live out of their car, because they travel everywhere and go on a ton of exchanges.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Investigators!

We have two new investigators who are going to get baptized within the month of November...99% positive! One was a member referral who almost knows the church is true. The other is someone who comes to church often, knows the church is true, but hasn't been baptized...yet.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mission Halloween Fun!

Halloween was fun. We received TONS of candy from a lot of members...well, I received a lot of candy...my companion doesn't do much candy, so I received 90% of the candy...and the other 5% went to him...the last 5% went missing for some reason. Trunk or treats are fun. For the trunk-or-treat, Elder Naef dressed up as a "three-hole punch missionary", while I had an eyepatch...everyone's costumes were amazing at the Trunk-or-Treat.

For Halloween, I dressed up as my companion, and my companion dressed up as me. :j That was fun. We spent the two hours between 7 and 9 (we had stop proselyting at 7) at a cool investigator's house. We talked and had some more candy.

We had a little scary event happen during this week. A recent convert wasn't doing too well with his health. He is doing better now, but on the day his wife called us...she didn't think he would last the weekend.

Nevertheless, it was a great week. We were able to do a lot in both of our towns/cities. We got a new Ward Mission Leader in one ward, and the other Ward Mission Leader in our other ward wants to have more exchanges with us. I'm excited for that.

No Voice, Stake Conference, and "See You Later"...

I lost my voice this week the last week in October.. Losing my voice was fun. We tried to only have me whisper, but that didn't work, so I tried to talk...and that didn't work. I've found almost all of my voice now, but I have a cough now, which isn't going away for a little while based on the experiences I've had so far with laryngitis in my mission, But that's okay, I love cough drops.

We had stake conference, which was really fun. I finally met a General Authority in person! I've always missed them by a tiny bit. I was kinda scared about being transferred to another stake in our mission because this same General Authority went to their stake conference the week before...and I was giving a talk on that Sunday, and based on my previous schedule on talks on the week of transfers...I really thought I was giving my farewell talk in this area.

I was able to visit with a lot of other missionaries on transfer day while my companion and and I were waiting for our car. It's a really nice car. We love it. It has a back-up camera (we still have to back each other up, but it's a lot easier...we just stand and do nothing...well, a bit more difficult than that, but you get the picture. Two of my former companions went home this last transfer. It was a joyous reunion with both of them, right before we got the car. After visiting with them, we went back to our area, while they went to the mission home for their last dinner, and night in the mission. It was awesome to see them and visit with them.

General Conference and Other Happenings!

My favorite thing that happened last month was General Conference. 

I especially liked Dallin H. Oaks's talk on the Atonement. I loved Elder David A. Bednar's talk also, and President Russell M. Nelson's talk, too.  We had an investigator come to General Conference. It was cool
Other neat things that happened:

  • While at WalMart, we ran into a lady who had seen us at the library about thirty minutes before.  We talked to her, and she tearfully told us to put her father into her prayers. We told her we would, and we were able to give her a Book of Mormon. She was excited to receive one, and she offered to pay for items. We declined the offer, so she made the cashier put all the items on her card. It was very surprising.
  • One Preiparation Day Evening, we had no other plans for the rest of the day, and we still had 30 minutes to proselyte before we could return to our apt. My companion suggested that we pray, so we did. We were thinking about what to do...then we decided to check the mail, even though we already did earlier that day. We walked over and checked the mail. Obviously, there was nothing in there the second time. As we were walking back, however, we saw someone to talk to. We talked to him, and as we were talking to him, a woman came out. We talked with them both for a bit, then a car pulled up to the apartment building. The driver was a woman who was friends with those two we were already talking to. We were able to share a little lesson with all three of them, and the women seemed the most interested. My companion cuts hair, and one of the women him to cut her boy's hair. He told her he would do it, but we had to share a lesson after the haircut. She accepted gladly. It was awesome.

In other news, our trio dissolved on October 13.  One of our companions was transferred to the next ward over. He didn't go far, but we were sad to see him go.  It was totally weird to go back to an original companionship. For the next five days, My other companion and I kept on having awkward rides in the car, awkward lessons, awkward time in the apartment, etc. because we were so used to having an additional companion there. It was totally weird/funny.


Then later on in the month, during transfer call, we found out that my companion and I are both staying in our current area.  I was a little shocked that I was staying...I didn't know what to do when I heard that I was staying. I was so used to packing after transfer calls that I had to walk around and do something for the rest of the night.

My companion and I are so excited for this next transfer. We're helping a couple people quit smoking, with quite a bit of success with one...in fact, she's quit. The other is a little harder, so we've been preparing some DVDs with a TON of Mormon Messages on them because I love Mormon Messages, and it is a great way to help people quit smoking.

We went to our town's Fall Festival (and we were the taste testers for the dessert contest), and we received a ton of new prank ideas from a member who pulled pranks on her mission...It was so funny....My companion and I love pranks. It's an interesting way to have comp unity, but it works!

Mission Review...

So far on my mission...
  • my favorite food has changed from chicken enchiladas to steak....I love steak. It's pretty expensive, though, so we don't usually get it.
  • the hardest thing about serving a mission is talking. Talking to people I don't know is extremely difficult.
  • the most enjoyable thing about serving a mission is seeing investigators get "more light" in their eyes as we teach them.  As they keep their commitments, and meet the challenges and goals that we help them set, we see a light come to their eyes.  It really makes a huge difference. It's always cool to see that!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Love the Old Testament!

I love the Old Testament!

Do you know what will make your Old Testament reading better?  Getting an institute manual!  It is free to download from lds.org.  There are two manuals:  Part 1, and Part 2.

Check it out!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Transfers...I am in a Trio!

Transfers are every six weeks. My trainer and one of my former companions will be going home during the next transfer. Transfer calls take place the Saturday before transfers. Occasionally, there will be emergency transfers out of the blue.

One of my new companions is from Southern Arizona. We like to joke that he's from Northern Mexico. He's been out for about two months. He's pretty cool.

My other new companion has been out for about nine months. He came out a transfer after I did. He's really cool, too. He's from California.

We drive a Jeep Compass. My fifth different vehicle in the mission (the five being: Chevy Colorado, Nissan Frontier, Chevy Cruze, My bike, Jeep Compass). Pretty cool.

Our new area is awesome. We've had a lot of success in reactivating some of the members, and we've been tracting a lot to get new investigators. We referred a Young Single Adult from one of our great members to the YSA elders. We've had some really spiritual lessons, and we've especially had success with the less actives in our ward.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Still Catching Up! News from September 15...

I found out I was in a trio Monday evening. So, my two new companions got "shotgunned" with me into our new area. It's fun. They're cool missionaries. Plus, one of my former companions served here.

During transfers, I saw some of my friends from my first area!!! It was so amazing. I miss them so much. We have eight hours of church meetings again, which is cool.

Our new area is such a tiny area. About the size of two of our stakes back home. The adjoining city is a lot bigger, but is still really small compared to my previous areas.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Catching Up - News from September 8

Well, I'm getting transferred.  I already learned that one of us was being transferred while the other trained. My companion is training and I'm transferring out. I'm going to a dual area in Missouri, it is in the same zone as my first area...totally excited for that. I'm definitely going to miss this area. It's been a very wonderful place.

I found out that a family in our stake at home are moving to Arkansas, and they are going to be in our mission president's ward. It's awesome!

Well, what happened this week:

  • We tried to contact Less Actives that we've already contacted...but we weren't able to set up appointments with them. Their schedules are crazy.
  • We did, however, set up appointments with our few investigators.
  • We notified an individual about the Addiction Recovery Program...she's in the process of quitting...very sad that I won't be able to see her or another one of our investigators baptized.  Oh, well. I already have a testimony of transfers, so I know that I'm supposed to leave.
  • This Sunday, I told the young men and the leaders that I was leaving.
  • We taught Gospel Principles for my last Sunday. It was amazing, and I was able to leave our investigators with my departing testimony. It was a really cool experience.

This next week will be spent packing, saying goodbye, picture-taking, etc. I'll send the pictures to y'all!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Our Area Is Awesome!

Our area is awesome.

We were finally able to get in contact with an investigator, we had a great lesson with her, and we were able to set a return appointment with her this week...AND she came to church last Sunday. It was amazing!

We also received a text from another of our investigators.  She went to the hospital this past week...well, long story short, she wants to quit smoking! She wants all the help she can get. We gave her some advice about the Addiction Recovery Program, and we learned that her son was reading the Book of Mormon AND she came to church last Sunday, too!
Meanwhile, we went to neighboring town to contact some less actives. We were only able to contact two, but they were great lessons.

That large spider that I took a picture of laid eggs. Very scary. Don't like tons of spiders next to our apartment.



Thursday, September 3, 2015

Saying Goodbye...and Star Wars!


Saying goodbye to a wonderful family :(



Saying goodbye to the Frisbee players :(


Saying goodbye to the Kickstart tower.
(Don't worry, I didn't really like the taste of Kickstarts.)
I put only one can on this 319 can tower.


Saying goodbye to FHE with the YSAs.


Saying goodbye to my district



Finally, Cool Star Wars shirt with flowers!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

This and That!


We celebrated my companion's birthday, this transfer.



We have a really huge spider next to our apartment.




Finally, this is a member's dog. His name is Spencer, and he just roams around the Walgreens parking lot. He goes running with us sometimes.



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Meeting With Families!

We tried by a ton of less actives and such this week also. We have had huge success.

First, we met with a family for dinner.  The father of the family wanted us to talk to another family, whom we had ran into last Sunday and talked to them...wasn't a good time, they said. We thought they weren't interested....Well, we didn't think much of it. We would've contacted them...probably this week.

The day after, we called another member and asked him if he could help us find a dinner. He said he would help us.

Well, the very next day we receive a call from the mother of the family who told us that it wasn't a good time. Their water line broke at 11 the night before, and she wanted our help to fix it. We went and helped her fix it. It took 3 hours longer than we thought, but we ended up fixing it. Afterwards, we weren't able to share a lesson with them...we were a little bit pressed for time. Well, they offered to feed us dinner if we didn't have anything. We accepted and called the other member to tell him we had a dinner now.

We had dinner with them, and we were able to share an amazing lesson with them in their house. Their granddaughter is active, and she helped by bearing her testimony.  It was an amazing lesson. They're extremely nice.

Another day, we were heading over to the stake center because our mission president wanted us there for the EFY (Especially for Youth) Fireside. We went three hours early so that we could contact less actives/investigators/former investigators/etc.

We weren't able to contact all of them. The ones we did contact, however, were awesome. One individual we visited with lives in a trailer park. We talked with him for a while. He was very interested in getting back to church and he was very interested in getting a copy of the Book of Mormon. He hadn't been to church since grade school. We gave him a Book of Mormon and taught him a little bit to get him pumped to read it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Interesting Visit...

We OTMed an old guy in his yard. He let us inside the gate, and we talked to him.  He prayed a prayer with us...a specific prayer that he said would "gain us salvation". We started talking to him. Turns out that he's a hardcore priestcraft guy. It was crazy. He said that God has been given him 11 churches to pastor. He says that he's one of the only priests in the world and that the line of authority goes from Jesus to priest to prophet. He thought that every time he entered into a church that Jesus would tell the pastor of that church to turn the church over to him. Well, he shared some "walking on water testimonies" (his words), of which, we know that not a single one of them was true, but one. 

On Sunday he came to our church!!! It was really weird. He prayed his "salvation prayer" with two teachers in our ward. They tried to hold a class, but this man shared these exact same "testimonies" to them. He then went on about the financial stuff of different churches. Well, the teachers tried everything they could to show him what awesomeness this church brings, but he wouldn't listen. He kept on thinking the bishop would turn the church over to him! Anyway, obviously, that didn't happen, but he now thinks he has 12 churches to pastor (which, we found out Sunday, he's been kicked out of at least 10 of them.).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Every Member a Missionary!

We're trying our best to help the members in our ward do missionary work. We're giving out Book of Mormons to a lot of members and trying our best to follow up with them. It's been fun. We have our dinner calendar very full, which is good. It'll help with our invitations to the members. We're sharing Mormon Messages.

Our area is doing great. We're trying to get in contact with three of our investigators...and we're finding others. We handed out a Book of Mormon to a lady, we met a "born-again Christian", etc.  We have done a lot of service, too. It's been really awesome.

Monday, August 10, 2015

New Area = New Responsibility

It's been a little stressful to be senior companion, but I'm doing great. We're doing a lot of tracting, finding a good place to OTM, etc.
Our "new" ward covers half of the stake. We have a large area, and a small stake. 

My companion is awesome. I've been teaching him how to play chess in the nighttime. It's great.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Transfers...Again!

We got transfer calls on Saturday. Our area is being shotgunned....My companion is going to one city in Oklahoma, and I'm going to another city (also in Oklahoma)  I'm going to be shotgunning into the area with a "younger" elder.  I'm Greenie-busting :j.  So, we've been saying goodbye to everyone. We recently had our last Family Home Evening with the YSA Branch....
Anyway, so we have had a lot of success, actually. It's been surprising how much success we have had.
Well, among other news: my trainer is going to be zone leader in this zone after I leave it. It's awesome.
I don't know who my zone leaders are, but I think my new district leader might be a former companion of mine.
I'm very excited about going to my new area. I've heard that it is the best member missionary area. The members give the missionaries a ton of referrals. I'm so excited....and I'm going to be the "Senior Companion".

Thursday, August 6, 2015

My Last Week In This Area...

We went to a nearby city on Thursday....or Friday and we tracted a couple houses and we received a TON of potentials just by knocking on one street. 

We had a cool spiritual experience. We were on exchanges and we were knocking on a door...no one answered. We were about to go back to the car, when I noticed that the end of the address of the house we just knocked on had a B next to it (meaning it was a duplex). I showed my companion this, and we decided to knock on one more door. Well, we didn't get the chance to knock on it, because when we turned the corner to reach the next door we found a woman sitting on the stairs. We talked with her and she was raised by "Mormons" for foster care. She knew exactly who we were. Her husband and her were actually looking for a church to go to. She loves our church and would be open to it if her husband was (he was asleep because he worked night shifts). She gave us a huge amount of referrals and good places to try if we were ever up here again. Well, we tried by the referrals and we had even more potentials from that. It was amazing. I loved it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Flour Ball!

This photo was taken on the Preparation Day we played Flour Ball at an abandoned water park. It was the best day. The Monett Zone is in red/black. and the Joplin Zone is in Blue. (I'm walking away from the camera.)


 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Déjà Vu!

 Guess where we went on Preparation Day!? Weird to think that this was not my first visit.  We came here during a family vacation in January 2001.

Precious Moments Chapel...July 2015  (I am second from the left)


Precious Moments Chapel Grounds...January 2001 (I am second from the left)

Precious Moments Chapel Grounds...January 2001 (I am second from the right)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Attending the "Festival" = Potential Opportunities!

We went to an adjoining city to see a member of the YSA Branch dance. (He is a great dancer). They danced in the middle of the street. Well, we discovered that it was this huge festival-like thing that they do every third Thursday during the summer. We saw that it was a major OTMing opportunity for the YSA Branch, so we're going to come back next month to OTM people.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I Had a Dream...

We contacted a referral...well, we're counting it as a contact because we contacted his wife. They requested a Bible on the media referrals, so we gave her a bible and asked if we could help her with anything. She said no, and while we were about to leave, she suddenly said, "Actually, there is something you could help me with." She then went onto saying that she has not been to her church in a while, and said that she gets into these cycles of losing faith due to scary movies (which she watches a lot). And then a day or two before we came, she had a dream that she should join another church.

It was pretty cool.

We're going to get in contact with her again to see if we could teach her some more.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Teaching the Same Doctrine as Us...

We also went to another city this week, about 30 minutes away. It reminded me a lot of my second area. We received some interesting news from the people there. According to them, there is another church in the area that is teaching a lot of the same doctrine as we do. They believe in prophets, three heavens, etc. So we believe we will have a ton of success there. The problem is if we find a ton of new investigators, we're going to be using a ton of miles.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tracting and OTMing!

Our area has been doing really well. We've been tracting a lot to reach my companion's goal. I also have a goal to OTM ("Open the Mouth") to 5 people a day...which is really hard to do in our city because everything is in an adjoining city which is 20 minutes away.

We're trying to find a good OTMing activity here in our city, so we don't waste miles on OTMing (we only have 1325 miles for this month, so we're trying to use it wisely).

We received a ton of potentials for this week that we need to come back this week, so I'm very excited.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I Really Just Want to Stay...

I find it funny that while I am serving my mission, my family is traveling to more places than I have ever been. It's hilarious actually. I'm not interested in going to other countries as much now. I really just want to stay in Arkansas...and Missouri, too. They're both really cool places. I could be going to Oklahoma sometime soon, also.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The "Work" is Moving Along...

We started getting the Young Single Adult (YSA) missionary work moving along, and we are going to work on getting the ward missionary work moving along now, also. It's going to be fun. My companion and I are trying our best to be more obedient, prayerful, etc.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

An Elder on Elder Road!

The ward is doing well. We have more investigators there than we do in the YSA Branch, but we are still in a major finding phase. I'm so glad we get 1300 miles on a car this month...and I'm also glad we carpool with the Spanish elders a lot because we need to save miles as much as we can since one of the places we cover is sixty or so miles away from us.


I love being a missionary!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Making Plans for Success!

We went on an exchange with the zone leaders this week.  That was great. One of the zone leaders and I talked about how to help the ward and the YSA Branch....mostly the YSA Branch, because we have no investigators. 

During weekly planning, my companion and I also found an amazing paper that tells us how to work YSA areas a lot more effectively. We looked through it, and we're trying a couple things on there. We're going to be doing a lot of active member lessons these next weeks with the YSA...which is also going to be difficult because half of them are going to Utah (BYU), or on a mission by August.   

Also, we have a very large area to cover.  However, we found another guideline that says that we could exchange with the different missionaries in our area to help the YSA Branch. We called the Assistants (AP) to see if we could do that. We don't have a final decision on the matter, but it would definitely help our area,  It's going to be a really awesome three weeks.

I love the YSA Branch. We had a "Break the Fast" potluck last Sunday...It was delicious. We ate a lot...then went to dinner...and ate a lot. It was hard to move afterwards XD.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Fourth of July!

For the fourth of July, we watched fireworks at a member's house. We were very excited because they were huge fireworks (the ones that are illegal in Utah). We had a great time, and we were able to stay to watch fireworks until 10.

My companion and I still talk about my first area. I didn't realize how unique it really was. My companion was served 'possum chili while he was there. He was there last year on the fourth of July watching fireworks at a members huge ranch.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

New Mission and New Mission President...

This week was amazing!!!!

The Oklahoma Tulsa Mission (OTM) is no longer. We are now in the Arkansas Bentonville Mission. It seems like we're keeping the terms for OTM, though, because it is one of the many things that made this mission shoot ahead of everyone else.

We met President and Sister Loveland, and they are really cool :j. Really different from President and Sister Shumway, but really cool.

Friday, July 3, 2015

My District...

We have a new missionary in our district who is older than me. It's so weird. It's also weird that I am still eighteen. I'm the youngest in our district.

The sister missionary from Morgan, Utah (where my maternal grandparents and some of my cousins live) is in my district. We talked about my cousins. It was pretty awesome.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

My New Companion...

My new companion is from Riverton, Utah. He is an awesome district leader. He loves music. He plays the guitar and he is learning how to play the piano. He's served in my first area before, so we like to talk about the ward. He was in my first district. He's only had five areas in his mission. (I've almost had more areas than him. It's funny.) He became a district leader/trainer his last transfer, and he's been in our area for one transfer so far. He loves the mission a lot.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Serving in a Ward and Branch!

My new area is amazing! In the ward we are serving in, we're close to the corner of the boundaries.

The Young Single Adult (YSA) branch we are serving in is a lot more centralized. We have a ton of members (by a ton, I mean, 99% of the branch). All of the members live in Missouri.

We cover two stakes. We stretch all the way into Kansas.

We usually stay in our city, though. We call some of the other elders for investigators/members in the YSA branch, though. Speaking of which, we called some other elders this week, and it was great to speak to one of the elders that trained in the Mission Training Center (MTC) with me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Change Is a Part Of Life...

We're all sad that President Shumway is leaving.
President and Sister Shumway
(image via deseretnews.com)


We're excited for President Loveland to come.
President and Sister Loveland
(image via deseretnews.com)


We're very excited for the Arkansas Bentonville Mission.
Following is President Shumway's information/thoughts about the creation of the "new" mission:
"...the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission will officially cease to exist on July 1st, 2015. The Mission Home will be moved from Tulsa, to Bentonville, Arkansas which means the name of the mission will also change. The Oklahoma Tulsa Mission will become the Arkansas Bentonville Mission. There are no boundary changes. The Mission retains all of it's stakes and wards as presently constituted.

The First Presidency approved this change just a little over three weeks ago and so Sister Shumway and I are busily trying to close down the home in Tulsa and move furniture and office equipment to our new home in Bentonville.

This has been a long and complicated process but we have felt the Lord's hand, and His promptings, as each phase was completed. This new and more central location will mean much less travel for the Mission President and it will be much for efficient for the communication challenges that naturally exist in such a geographically large mission.

Our thoughts and emotions are tender as we think back on the 50 year history of the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission. This mission home has welcomed thousands of missionaries through it's doors. And it has bid an emotional and tearful goodbye to that same number. We are honored to be here at this time and we are well aware of the obligation we have to end strong as we remember the efforts given by everyone who has served and labored here in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission.

At the same time, we are excited to work towards the motto of, "End Strong, but, Begin Stronger." We will try and create as much momentum as we can so that the new Arkansas Bentonville Mission will carry on the tradition of hard work and obedience established by so many." (May 24, 2015)

Monday, June 29, 2015

You Won't Want To Miss This!

Last week, my sister found some pictures from a family vacation we took in January of 2001, when I was only four years old. During this vacation we visited Liberty Jail and Independence, which are LDS Church History sites in Western Missouri.

We also visited sites in and around southwestern Missouri. These pictures were taken within the boundaries of my current area. Interesting to think that 14.5 years later, I would be living near these places, serving as a full-time missionary for the LDS Church! I hope you enjoy a "blast from the past".

George Washington Carver National Monument


Precious Moments Chapel Fountain



Precious Moments Chapel Statue


Precious Moments Chapel Walkway

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Working Hard in New Area!

My new area is awesome! There is a place called Fidelity in our area, and Diamond, and Sarcoxie....and, in the Young Single Adult ward there is the whole Joplin Stake and half of the Monett Stake, so we have everything everywhere in the northern part.

I'm serving in two wards right now :j....well, a ward and a branch. There are not a lot of Young Single Adults in this part of the mission, but we're planning on going to Kansas to find some of them.

We're trying to work as hard as we can because neither of us know anyone in our area. We put the ward/branch roster on our GPS, so we know where every member lives. We don't really have any investigators right now.

We hang out with the Spanish missionaries a lot. It makes it easier with the single sisters in our areas because the Spanish missionaries cover the same area as we do and we become able to enter into a single sister's house. It's nice. The Spanish elders have the same ward mission leader as us.

The members are feeding us a lot! They have my birthday covered already. The best thing about this area is...we have unlimited popcorn!!!!! I love popcorn! It's delicious.

We live in a duplex :D. It's nice, big, and comfortable. We have two bathrooms, a large study room, etc. No mountains....it's actually pretty nice.

I love this mission. It's amazing!

Friday, June 26, 2015

New Mission Name - Arkansas Bentonville!

They moved the mission office on Saturday. So as of July 1, I will be serving in the Arkansas Bentonville Mission, with a new mission president.

My mom found an article about our new mission president and his family. It can be found here: http://ldsmissionaries.com/children-return-to-farm-while-father-is-mission-president/

We are getting excited to welcome him to our "new" mission!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fireflies, Spiders, and Ticks! Oh, my!

Fireflies are becoming more numerous here, so that is good. Spiders are also becoming more numerous...so that is not so good. I found a tick on my hand. We took it off (the correct way, don't worry), and killed it with fire...and then my companion flushed it down the toilet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Transfers, Tornado Alley, Mission Goals!


Guess what?!?!?! Both my companion and I are getting transferred.

My companion is going to be a zone leader in Oklahoma. (Of interest, he will "go down in history" as the last district leader of the zone.) The zone is tiny enough that they're only going to have a zone meeting every week instead of a "combined district meeting". Basically the same thing, but instead of my companion being in charge every week, it is going to be both the zone leaders.

I'm going to Missouri, and TORNADO ALLEY! I am so excited! It is very sad to leave my area...and Arkansas, too. I have loved my 7.5 months here. But I am super excited to serve in Missouri! I've heard that my new area has a huge Spanish population! That'll be fun! If you count my new ward boundaries, I will now have served in all four states in the mission! It's amazing!

I can't wait to go to my new area. I know my new companion, and I know we will do great there!

The mission goals are doing well, also. We've broken mission-wide records for the past few weeks in the OTM. It's awesome!








Sunday, June 21, 2015

We Met Our Goal...Almost!

We were pretty successful in our goal for this week. We didn't quite reach the goal, but we tried our best. We talked to two people who were moving here, and we offered to help, but they were almost done. We gave them a #BecauseHeLives card. 

We went back on Sunday, and we talked to them about the Book of Mormon. They were extremely interested, and want us to come back to help them learn more.

We made a huge effort to have our investigating families attend church, but this week, one of them had a baby, and they couldn't make it. We're going to get them to church next week.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Baptisms at the Temple!

My companion and I went to the Oklahoma City Temple with the youth.  I was able to baptize some of the young men for their ancestors, which was amazing.



We then went to Cici's Pizza for dinner, where we conversed with the youth.

It was a long trip to Oklahoma, and an even longer one coming back. Our driver took a wrong turn and had to take a more roundabout trip to our apartment. We went through Missouri to come back to our area.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Last Zone Conference for OTM...

We had our last zone conference with our out-going mission president...and the last zone conference for the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission. It was very sad...and very awesome. I was able to see a couple of elders from my MTC district there. I also saw one of my former companions. It was nice to see all of them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rain, Flooding, Spiders, Fireflies,...and Brisket!

The pond next to our apartment complex flooded due to much rainfall. Some of the trees were halfway immersed this week. It was insane. We had a ton of rain.  It rained every day. We had a 24-hour flash flood warning on Sunday. Some members couldn't come to church due to flooding.

We also had a ton of spiders. I've seen at least two spiders every day for this past week. Half of them were in my apartment. Scary.

On the bright side, we did see a ton of fireflies, too. I love fireflies.

I tried a new food. It's called brisket, or something like that.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mission Life is Awesome!

My companion is superb. He is very obedient and tries to do the best he can. It's really awesome.

Our investigators are doing great. Two of them want to come to church. We met with another when we were biking to a member's home. Another individual was baptized and confirmed. This whole stake is progressing. We've had a baptism in this stake every week for the past three weeks. It is so cool.

The mission is so awesome! I love it! We had an exchange with the zone leaders, and it was awesome.  I love this area.  I think it is going to have a temple soon....there are a ton of members of the church here. Most of them are from BYU and BYU-Idaho.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

New Mission Is Genuine!

The Arkansas Bentonville Mission is definitely genuine.  It will open on July 1st when the new Mission President comes. 

The Assistants to the Mission President called and told us that our area is going to be their area. We don't know what's going to happen at transfers, but I think that my companion and I are getting shotgunned, but I don't know for sure. It is crazy. We are trying to find a ton more potentials for the Assistants, and it is really hard.

I don't know why the Church Headquarters didn't say anything about the new mission, but we know that our Mission President has found the Mission Home and is working on transferring the Mission Office. It's amazing. I can't wait.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Miraculous Day!

We were trying to contact a referral this week, and instead we found a lady who is originally from out of the United States. We tried to set up a return appointment with her, but her husband said no. 

We proceeded around the block speaking to everyone we encountered.  We came across another lady, and it turns out that she was the referral that we needed to contact, and we had a wonderful lesson with her. We even have a return appointment for her. 

Afterwards, we went to get our bikes, and the first lady mentioned waved hi to us. As we were biking past her, she motioned for us to come over. We went over and it turns out, she wants to be a Latter-Day Saint! Her dad is a branch president in another country, and her siblings are going on missions! (Her husband isn't interested and is of a different faith.)

It was great! It was a miraculous day!

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Beginning of the End...of the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission!

This week has been absolutely spectacular!


I am no longer going to be in the Only True Mission (effective July 1st). Before I get into the details of this, let me start at the beginning (or rather, a little closer to the beginning.

Our outgoing mission president has set some mission-wide goals for his last ten weeks. We are on week 4 right now. The goals are as follows:

Week 1: Two new invitations for Baptism including a "Map to Baptism" in each area (180 new Baptism dates in the mission. The record is 300 in a week).

Week 2: Use the "My Family" booklet at least 3 times every day (1,890 uses in the mission this week)

Week 3: One Active Member Lesson/day + 2 referrals/day (630 AML and 1,260 referrals)

Week 4: Three new investigators this week. (270 new investigators. Record: 300)

Week 5: 100% Member Present Lessons + Two new Baptismal Dates (180 dates set)

Week 6: Five OTMs daily. Finding Hour: 4pm-6pm (3150 OTMs for the week)

Week 7: Standard of Excellence in EVERY AREA (20 lessons, with 12 of them member present, 4 RCLAs, 4 Others; 2 baptismal dates; and 2 new investigators)

Week 8: Three Investigators at church (270 new investigators at church....it would break the record.)

Week 9: Two New Baptismal dates for the week.

Week 10: Double the Standard of Excellence in your area.

We are working A LOT to try to prepare for these next 6 weeks. It is intense! It has been very fun, too.Our ward is doing very well.

Our outgoing mission president is going to end his mission very strong, and with enough momentum to help our incoming mission president with the mission.  BUT not only that, our outgoing mission president is going to end the OTM mightier than it has ever been, and the Only True Mission is going to begin Almighty's Best Mission with a fantastic start.

I am so glad to be able to end the mission strong, and I am going to begin this new mission even stronger. The Arkansas Bentonville Mission is going to be a new beginning for each of the 200 missionaries here. It is going to be magnificent.  I am so excited to be a part of this. So excited.

My companion and I are trying to work together to become more united to end this mission, and it is going to be so cool. I cannot wait for the Arkansas Bentonville Mission to begin.  To add to my excitement, I saw my first fireflies in the mission yesterday!!!!! It was so amazing :D.

I am so excited for this whole thing.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Crawdads Are Delicious!

We ate some crawdads with a family this week.  They were so delicious.  I brought some back to our apartment for leftovers.  

The family that provided us dinner are originally from Texas, but they have a Louisiana accent :j. It was awesome!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Active Ward, Small Area, Flat Terrain, Tornado Warnings!

I am now serving in a ward that has a 90% member activity.  The chapel is actually pretty packed on Sundays. 

We're the smallest biking area (the smaller areas have zone leaders or sister training leaders, so they have cars :p).

My new area is very flat. We have had a TON of tornado watches and tornado warnings. We even saw the sky turn purple (Purple equals a bad storm. Green equals tornado, from what I've been told.). 

The elder I replaced is in Kansas right now, so he is probably going to see a couple tornadoes (Kansas is notorious for them.). I really want to see a tornado.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Transfer Time Transportation!

I had about an hour visit via telephone with my parents and younger brother on Sunday (Mother's Day).  I told them about how they transport the missionaries to all the different areas at transfer time.  My dad asked me to write it all down in my next letter.  It is as follows:

There are two vans. One is the north loop, the other drives the south loop.

These are the places they go.

N1/S5: Joplin, Missouri
N2/S4: Mt. Vernon, Missouri
N3/S3: Rogers, Arkansas
N4/S2: Van Buren, Arkansas
N5/S1 I don't remember.... Probably Oklahoma
N6/S6: Tulsa, Oklahoma

We mark our bags N or S-something, depending on which loop we're on and where we're headed. First transfer I marked my bags N2, then N4 second time, then S3 last week.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Transfers...New Area Information

My companion is being transferred to serve near our mission headquarters.

I'm being transferred to a ward in a city directly east of our mission headquarters. I'm replacing one of the elders who was in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) with me.  My new ward covers a very tiny area because the church is really strong in that city.  I'm also excited because it is more likely to get tornadoes.

My new companion and I graduated from the same high school, but in different years.  He is about a year ahead of me in the mission.  His mom and grandma have worked alongside my mom in community and/or church responsibilities.  (It is a small world!)


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Transfers...Final Happenings in "Old" Area

Both my companion and I are being transferred.  We are being replaced by sisters.  My companion and I don't have the car yet, so we're freaking out because the sisters NEED a car since they don't have bikes. So, it is going to be pretty stressful because we're doing a TON to prepare for the sisters.

I'm going to miss our area/branch and the people here. We've been taking pictures with the members and investigators.

Our "golden" investigator, along with his girlfriend, are progressing in the gospel.  They have a baptismal date and are going to get married before the end of the month. It is going to be absolutely amazing. I wish I could be there. They're so awesome.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Almost Heaven On Earth!

I love this place.  It is beautiful. It has a ton of lakes everywhere, and beautiful hills. My former area had a ton of caves everywhere. There are a couple of bike trails just outside of town that I really want to go to some p-day, if I'm not transferred. There is a train track that runs through the middle of the town. It is amazing.

There are raccoons, opossums, armadillos, deer, etc. It is the closest you can get to Heaven without being in a temple on earth. All this town needs to be translated is a temple here.  It's that beautiful.

Our town has an extremely amazing investigator.   The guy that stopped us while we were riding our bikes? Well, his family is amazing! They felt the Holy Ghost, they believe that our church is the best way to help their family, they want to change, etc. They are INCREDIBLE. It's exactly what our area needs right now. I'm so excited for them. They are going to go far.

The Oklahoma Tulsa Mission held mini zone-conferences. We went to a nearby city for ours, where I saw many of my friends in the mission. President and Sister Shumway also held a Stake/Zone Conference a couple of days later. That was awesome.

The youth in this area are amazing! They do a ton of missionary work. They're almost out of school, so we're planning on going on a ton of exchanges with them, since 75% of them have a mission call. They also find a lot of freaky stuff. They found a small, very dark cave.  They also found a house that looks like it has been set up for an apocalyptic world recently.

One of the missionaries serving from our branch is coming back from his mission on Transfer day! I may not be able to meet him, if I am transferred.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mosquitoes, Ticks, and Chiggers! Oh, My!

There are a ton of mosquitoes. So far I haven't been bitten yet, so that's good. There are cicadas in the summer, and I haven't seen fireflies yet. It's becoming tick season, and chigger season, but I haven't been bitten by one of them. No walking sticks that I have seen. This place kinda reminds me of Nauvoo mixed with the town where I attended high school. It's awesome.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

It Amazes Me...!

It amazes me how many churches there are here. It is interesting when we meet pastors and ministers of the different churches.  

It also amazes me how close we are to Texas, which, according to our zone leaders, is the rival mission. It's funny.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Going to Wisconsin and Speaking Hmong!

One of the youth in the branch received his mission call! He's going to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he is speaking Hmong. He's the first youth to leave. We have a couple of less actives in an adjoining town who speak Hmong, so when he comes back, it's going to help.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Still Biking and Finding!

We have biked a ton this week. While we were headed back to our apartment Saturday, a man at a house called out to us, "Hey, Mormons!" We were going pretty fast down hill, so we slowed down, U-turned, and came back. We didn't know exactly where the house was, but as we passed it again, a young boy looks at us through the door and says, "Howdy-doo, Mormons!" We stopped by and talked to the head of the household. His family has just moved here from out of state and they want to change their lives and come to church. We went back to their house the next day with one of the branch members. Our new investigator and his wife are amazing.

Our other investigators are doing great, as well!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Car Problems = Bike Riding = New Investigators!

We went on exchanges.  My companion went with an elder from my hometown, and I went with his companion.We went to a repair shop to get something fixed on the car, which took a couple of hours. On the way, we had to drive over a water bridge (a river on a road) and something on his car didn't like the water bridge. The next day, we had to take our car to a car dealership a few hours away for the exhaust system. We stayed in another city for the night, and went back to check out the car. The exhaust system was next to ruined, and so we have no car for this week. 

As a result, we've been on our bikes. It's been very awesome. A little hard because we had a couple appointments that were a mile or two apart, one after the other.  We've been biking everywhere. Half of our town has no sidewalks, so we've been riding along the edge of the roads mostly. It is fun.
Riding bikes in our area is fun because it is flat enough that it doesn't take too much effort to bike uphill, but it is steep enough that we go fast on the downhills.  Riding our bikes makes us think of a couple things we can do to make this area better. Since we don't have many investigators, we've been mainly finding. We've been thinking that we could be finding in a couple of other towns, too. We can bike around our town because it is tiny enough to do so, and we can drive to the farther places lwith our car and bike those towns, too!

We have two new investigators just by biking all around town! It is awesome.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I Love Italian Food and Missionary Work!

We went to an amazing Italian restaurant with some of our members, and their food is fantastic. We were also able to contact a less active who works there. Next week we are going to play tennis with him.

We contacted him again on Sunday with a branch member while doing ministering visits after Branch Conference. The restaurant was closed, but we were still able to talk with him.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Exchanges!

We had an exchange with our zone leaders. We met in a town up north, and I went even further north while my companion stayed in the town in which we met the zone leaders.. They stayed most of the day contacting people, and met a referral we received a week ago. He turned out to be a golden investigator. I haven't met him yet, and I probably won't meet him until next week, because we are having an exchange tomorrow with our district leader.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tornado Warning...Not For Us!

We had a HUGE thunderstorm in our mission last week. It hit Poteau pretty hard, and we had a tornado watch in our city because this thunderstorm headed right for us. The members told us where the tornado shelter was, because our apartment isn't the best place to be in when a tornado comes. Interesting thing about this big thunderstorm was that it was on the anniversary of the tornado that went through a neighborhood in 2009. People were very scared that we would see another one. We were teaching a lesson on that day with a member with us, and we heard a bunch of thunder and a huge downpour occurred at the end of the lesson. After we said the prayer, we received a call from the member's wife, and she talked to her husband and said something about a tornado warning (Tornado has been spotted). We went back to the house and got drenched along the way. We went to the house, and we found out it wasn't for our area that had the warning, it was another place where the members' son was, and the tornado was almost on top of them. We said a prayer for their safety, and we heard later from these same people that the tornado barely missed the trailer home where their son was. It was awesome.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Because He Lives!

We asked one of our branch members to create a sign for the Because He Lives Initiative.  It is awesome. We're going to show the rest of the missionaries in our zone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Don't I Know You? You Look Familiar!


An elder from my MTC (Mission Training Center) district is in my Zone now! Guess who his companion is? The Navajo Elder who grew up on the reservation.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Work Moves Forward in Brazil and Australia!

I am very extremely super-duper happy right now :D.  I've been thinking about a ton of different things. Two young men in our branch got their mission calls last Saturday!!!! One is going to Brazil, and the other is going to Sydney, Australia. I need to tell him about Vegemite!  :D They are leaving in September and August, and they are so excited. One of the mother's cried when she found out where he was going.  I'm so glad that their mission calls came when they did.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Investigator Getting Close to Baptism...Elsewhere!

We've made progress with one of our investigators who has wanted to be a member for ages. He is moving outside of our mission sometime this month. We're going to refer him to the missionaries in his new branch. He is going to be a pretty easy baptism for them. It is awesome!  After he moves, he will be able to be baptized in three weeks. He got permission to go to church from his parents. I am so excited for him :D

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

General Conference Was Amazing!

General Conference was amazing! My favorite talk was the one given by Elder Wiford W. Andersen, who talked about the Navajo Medicine Man and music (#NavajoPride ;j). Another elder in our district and I loved that talk a lot because we're both Navajos :D.  It should also be obvious because he talked about music (Which I still listen to 24x7).

There were a ton of talks that were mission-themed :D I loved those talks, too. It was awesome. (I kinda fell asleep during the last session, but in my defense, the pews are extremely comfortable in the chapel.) 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Biking, Working, Saving Miles!

This week has been AMAZING! We were able to get a lot done. We've been trying to bike around our city to save up miles for the car to drive to the farther places. It is working, somewhat.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Our District is Splitting...

Our district had a district meeting a few weeks ago because nobody was getting transferred. It was awesome.

I love today. We're "going fishin' in the Mississippi River" * (Jk....we're fishing in Poteau ;j) with the rest of our district as a last HURRAH! Our district is getting split because of another district that needs another group of elders to have a district meeting. We'll miss them, but they'll do well in that district.

*The "We're going fishin' in the Mississippi River" is in reference to the lyrics of the finale in "Tom Sawyer, the Musical" that I participated in during my senior year of high school.