Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Welcome Home!

I returned home from my mission on Friday, November 11.  My family was there to greet me.  They say I am a bit taller, and heavier...and a lot more talkative.  I am thankful for the opportunity I had to serve as a full-time missionary!  In the very near future, I will be returning with my family to visit the people and places I served!  I am very excited!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Have Learned...

What can I say for my last official communication as a full-time missionary? The only thing I can think of is referencing scriptures that I have thought about these last weeks that have helped me push through the rest of my mission.

Scripture #1: Jarom 1:3-4. I was reading through this scripture while we've been having a hard time finding people in my current area. I read verse 3 and thought, "That's EXACTLY how I feel."...then I read verse 4, and it struck me. I hadn't been focusing as much on the people we had already found, which have had many revelations already, "for they are not all stiffnecked." It made me think of one of the families we have been teaching. The Spirit is beginning to be in their home. It is a wonderful feeling to see them progress. It's crazy how a book written many thousands of years ago could still have relevance today.

Scripture #2: 1 Corinthians 15:55/Hosea 13:14. As I was in District Meeting one day, the last scripture came to me. I was thinking about bearing testimony on faith and repentance when this happened, which is all that Hosea is about. When I read that verse, I immediately thought of the verse written in 1 Corinthians. I turned to that real quick, then read the footnotes. I replaced one of the words in the verse with the footnote so that it reads, "O death, where is thy sting? O hell (or spiritual death), where is thy victory?" I thought about how that applies to us. As we have "faith unto repentance", we can say as Paul said.

Scripture #3: D&C 61:3. Don't remember how I found this scripture. But as I thought about this scripture, I thought of Pocahontas singing "Just Around the Riverbend".....Those were the only words I could think of to that song, but I remembered the main message. Anyway, as we choose the harder right/experiencing trials, we must remember that there are others who are "perishing in unbelief." As we share the gospel, we will feel the joy that comes through doing so.

Scripture #4: Isaiah 63:1-3....I thought about this scripture during the last part of Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk "'Abide in My Love'". What stuck out to me especially about this scripture was verse three is partially in past tense, partially in future tense. As you think about that and think about how Jesus Christ was in the place of the winepress when he suffered for our sins, it makes Elder Christofferson's and Isaiah's remarks seem cooler (for lack of a better word).

Scripture #5: Daniel 3:16-18. This scripture has had an impact on me again and again during my mission. Throughout my mission, I have had a couple friends/family members die, despite all the prayers. This past transfer, it has helped me as I thought about it with a couple of words of wisdom from a wonderful sister, whose husband died 6 weeks ago. She said, "We have faith in the Savior, not in the miracles." This matches perfectly with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego's remarks: "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not,...we will not serve thy gods." Now, they were delivered from their afflictions, but some in scripture have not been for a time (namely, the women and children of Ammonihah, Jeremiah, Nephi, Mormon, Moroni, Joseph in Egypt, Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, etc.)

Last Scripture: D&C 20:17-35. What glorious things we know about because of the Book of Mormon. Enough said. :j

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sad News From Home, Stake Conference, and a Traveling Visitor's Center...

My little baby cousin passed away. I am very sad. I found something cool earlier in my mission about such a thing. It's in the Joseph Smith, teachings of Prophets booklet Chapter 14, under the title "Parents who lose children in death will receive them in the resurrection just as they laid them down." Pretty cool stuff.

We had stake conference!!!! It was awesome. Our Mission President's wife shared a scripture that became my new favorite scripture on missionary work. She quoted Moses 6:63, then pointed out that we were created to bear record of Jesus Christ. It was awesome. We were with a member family, so they took us out to ice cream after. We also received some Fettuccine Alfredo from some other elders at that time. I was talking with a couple of other elders regarding another elder in our mission who had a little accident. He got his foot run over by a lawn mower. It was just a toe, but it was still crazy. Well, were also reminiscing about the MTC and talked about our missions after stake conference. It was cool.

An individual we know was involved in a car crash.. He crashed going at 65 mph into a dump truck piled with dirt. He broke his sternum, and I think he mangled his hand and foot. Miraculous that he didn't have more damage. We visited him at the hospital. He is doing good. The food in the hospital includes bacon, so he has to be good. :j We visited with his family. He needed it. We could tell. It was pretty good.

We are still working on finding some new investigators. Working super hard on that. We invited people to come to stake conference, to go to a scripture study class, to go to the Trunk-or-Treat, etc.

The Trunk-or-Treat was great. We put up a traveling Visitor's Center which included an 8'x12' Picture of Jesus, a smaller picture of temples and the Book of Mormon, a spinning wheel, a TV, and a Kindle. We gave out candy to a bunch of people. The members loved it. We gave it to some other elders for this Halloween during stake conference. We received a couple "potential referrals" at the Trunk-or-Treat. In short, we invited members to invite their friends to church, take the missionary discussions, etc. and they accepted the challenge.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Finding and Referrals are Cool!

We have been doing a ton of finding lately, and we had a cool experience happen. We found a nice laundromat that was super cheap compared to the one we used to go to (1.50 compared to 2.50 for both washing and drying.), so we went to it today. I sat by this older couple. I started talking with them. My companion joined in. He asked them what church they went to. They said they didn't have one. They had given up searching for one. Well, we taught them the Restoration really quickly. They liked it, accepted a Book of Mormon and said they might try it out. It was awesome.

We've been working with active members a lot more. Our mission president gave us a WHOLE stack of papers and told us to give a sheet of paper to every member in our ward. So we scheduled a lot of active members, and we taught a ton of them. We received many referrals, and have a ton of potential referrals. It was cool!

One of the families we are working with came to church! It was during the Primary Program. We introduced them to the bishop, the Young Woman's President, a family in the ward, and one of the young women who is friends with one of our prospective baptismal candidates. It was cool.

We also had two nonmembers come to church. Invited by friends. It was cool.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Mission Memories, Exchanges, and a Note!

I have been reminiscing a bit lately. One awesome mission memory happened about a year ago. My companion and I had an unsuccessful day tracting and as we were heading back home. We came across kids who weren't even 10 yet. My companion said to them, "Hey, kids! Want a good book?" One of them was like "Sure!" The other was a bit hesitant, but eventually accepted one. Later, their parents became investigators. Interesting how that happens.

This past week, we have been doing a lot of finding in our city. We actually received two referrals from some ward members.

Our investigators didn't come to church on Sunday. We had tried so hard to help them come. We'll try harder, though. We had a super spiritual lesson a few days ago.

In other news, we went on exchanges with the Assistants. It was great. The Sister Training Leaders, who we drove up with, took our minivan with the other Sister Training Leaders for an exchange. They stopped by one of my favorite familes' home during their exchange. The family hid a note that said, "Hi!" in the van. My companion found it when we were coming home. It made my week a whole lot better!. I put it in my journal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

We Need a Prophet! We Have a Prophet!

We had a week of excitement, awesomeness, cool sights, Bentonville, Muskogee (pronounced muh-SKOH-gee), etc. etc.
We got a call from our mission president. He asked me if I could prepare scriptures that show the apostasy happening in between Adam and Noah, Noah and Abraham, Abraham and Christ, and after Christ. So, I prepared a lot of scriptures. Here is a condensed version of what I found that evening.
As I prepared a ton of scriptures, EVERYTHING I read I thought of again and again. I know we need a prophet. It's crazy how much we need a prophet, and how sad it is when people reject the prophets. I instructed on that in our meetings. I bore my testimony on that on Sunday...after convincing a youth to bear his testimony (my favorite thing to do on Fast Sunday is to sit by a youth and tell them, "I'll go if you go." Works every time. Well, I have about 90% success). It really worked this fast Sunday to bear my testimony on such, because everyone was excited about Conference and so I just testified of what our needs for prophets. I also quoted D&C 21:6 which talks about the blessing of a living prophet.
Anyway, that's what I prepared for MLC and Zone Training. It was cool.
One last experience that happened: We had a lesson with a family that was uber spiritual. We read Alma 32, and we asked how they felt as they were reading the Book of Mormon. One of the family members said that he felt that swelling inside of him. We helped him identify the Holy Ghost. It was awesome
A couple of my former companions and me.  It was so good to see them on Transfer Day!  I miss them!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

General Conference, Bentonville, and Planning!

Bentonville! I'm excited to go there for at least three more times during my mission....well, four, if you count the last time before I come home..

My new companion is very tall, and has really long legs.

Saying goodbye to my "old" companion was bittersweet. He has been one of my favorite companions, He was super cool. I get to go on an exchange with him soon, so it's okay. I couldn't help but be a little sad when he left, though. His parents are coming to my homecoming.

We are all planned for the coming week, and major events during the next several weeks (MLC, Zone training meetings, which District meeting we're going to go to for what week, etc.)

We had a lesson with a cool family.

I watched all of the General Conference sessions. I loved Elder Neil L. Andersen's talk and Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk the best. They're both really good. The second session really focused on missionary work. I was excited about that. I love General Conference! It is awesome!.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Another Transfer...But, I'm Staying!

We got transfer calls. My companion is leaving and is going to serve as an AP (Assistant to the President). I'm super excited for him. I knew he was becoming AP by the first two weeks I was with him. He is a super amazing guy. I'm going to miss him a lot. I learned so much from him.

I'm staying zone leader for my last transfer with a new companion. I'm super excited to remain a zone leader. You learn so much.

I'm super excited for this last transfer. Don't worry, I'm not getting trunky. I miss home a lot, but I'm not close to being trunky. I've changed so much this last transfer. It is amazing.

This week has been awesome. We were able to find a new investigator, help investigators progress, and set a baptismal date. We're planning on having 3-5 baptisms this transfer, which I'm excited for.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Biking vs. Driving

We started to bike around our area. We talked to as many people as we could while biking. I liked biking. It's a lot better than driving a car because you could talk to more people. We talked to quite a bit of people. We're doing this because we have not enough solid people to teach.

We've been teaching a lot of members also to push them to do missionary work. We also passed a referral box around during sacrament meeting. We received two referrals on Sunday, so we're going to contact them. I also found cool videos on lds.org under Media Library.

The members are cool here.

We have been doing a lot of finding. We met a random guy that we OTMed. He was nice and wanted to learn more. He goes to another church that looks like a gym where they have concerts.

Anyway, we have been talking to a lot of people. We discovered how much we sit in the car a week or two ago, and we want to be active and start finding people.

I read this recently. It's super cool. Ezek. 37:1-14

Finding, Teaching, Opposition, Success!

Everything is going great. However, I have been a little sad since I found out one of my friends died in one of my previous areas..

We've spent a lot of time finding. It's difficult to find out here We've been working on having the members do missionary work because it is easier for 50 missionaries to have a baptism than it is for two. Along with that, Elder Holland has said that there is no more time for there to be two more churches: a missionary church and a member church. So we're working on that, as well.

We're teaching a couple of cool people also. We have one family who is taking taking the discussions. They are keeping most of their commitments. They're a super cool family.

We've been having a lot of opposition later. However, because of that, we have been having a lot of success as well. It's interesting how those two work.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Meeting and a Conference...

This week was a great week

We had our Stake Mission Coordination Meeting. The Stake President told us to have the Ward Mission Leaders assign exchanges because this church is a church of assignment not volunteer. When he talked about it, it made sense. He is one of the most missionary-minded stake presidents that I know.

We also had Zone Conference. That was great. We learned a lot about repentance, and how to "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts", which has been a major theme in the missions around the world since we had a Worldwide Training about six months ago.

I gave my departing testimony, even though I have several weeks left, since it was my last Zone Conference. I was able to spend it with an elder who came out with me, a couple of my former companions, and all of my best friends in the mission. It was great!

We've been doing a lot of active member lessons and seeking for referrals. We're doing a lot of finding, and talking to people on the streets.

The bishop took us to see a less active member. On the way, we talked about priesthood keys, the priesthood birthright, etc. Bishop is super cool.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Exchanges, Instructing, Baptizing,...Busy!

We went on two different exchanges.
  • During our first exchange, my companion stayed in our area with a new missionary. I went with the District leader, to another area. We tracted, taught lessons, etc. It was good to learn from him. While we were driving, we got a call from my companion stating they were involved in an accident. Long story short, nothing was damaged. 
  • During our second exchange, we drove all the way to mission headquarters to go with the assistants. We met them at the stake center with the sisters serving in our area. The sisters were going to exchange with the "Sister Assistants" (Exactly like Sister Training Leaders, but just have exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders). I went one of the assistants and taught a lot of people. My companion went with the other assistant.
We have been asked to instruct in "Train the Trainer" (pretty much a zone conference with just trainers there), so I prepared an instruction of my own, and my companion prepared one, then we combined them together.

We had two baptismal services this week! At the first baptism, I saw a sister who was baptized in one of my former areas over a year ago. She was there with her significant other. My companion and I talked a lot with her. I also saw a sister of one of my high school friends, since their family has now moved from my hometown to Arkansas. I figured I would most likely see at least one member of their family at the baptism because the Sister Assistants cover their ward. I talked with her for a time. It was great! The second baptism was wonderful as well.

On Sunday, we attended church, then went to dinner.. The dinner was super good. We ate baked potatoes, corn on the cob, salad, steak, cookies, all of these were supersized. It was delicious. However, we ate a little more than we should of. It was good, though :D.

My new area is a city with lots of traffic. We have a large vehicle, used to carry boxes, missionaries, etc. to and from exchanges with the assistants, or other places. Being a zone leader means you are always busy. The few precious moments we aren't busy, we spend tracting or OTMing, which we have only done about an hour of this past week. It's super fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Old Testament Insights...

I have a reading recommendation. You should read the Bible, or the Doctrine and Covenants...or the Pearl of Great Price. All are great books. If you have not read them all the way through. I recommend doing so, especially the Old Testament..

The Old Testament is the most neglected book of scripture, but it is probably one of the most marvelous. It was given by God to us to bring about his work and his glory. It benefits us today. It's Christ-Centered. It reveals many things about his mission here on earth (both in the first and in the second coming...see especially the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and so on.). The Old Testament does have a lot missing from it, but if you think about it, it is still super intact despite all it's been through. We still get the account of Adam and Eve, we still see the Abrahamic covenant in there, we even see many prophecies of Joseph Smith and the restoration (see, Isaiah 29, Joel 2:28-32, Malachi, Deuteronomy 30, etc.). In fact, the fulness of the gospel can be found within the Old Testament. It may be very symbolic and very hard to understand, but as you study this, you will find many great things in there. For example, I found a great scripture about temple work in Isaiah 22:20-25.

Transfers went smoothly, My new companion and I left a little later than the other missionaries because we had a couple of things to do at the transfer point. We were extremely busy. We have senior missionaries that worked with us a lot these past four days. We helped them with a baptism.

As Zone Leaders, we also organized exchanges with missionaries in our zone. The Assistants also texted us and told us we're exchanging with them, so we're going to be traveling to the mission headquarters this coming week. We also had to collect indicators from our zone.

During transfers, everybody, including me, was surprised I was called to be a Zone Leader. One of my previous companions, when he heard that I was going to be a Zone Leader, exclaimed "That's my boy!" It was pretty funny.

We have a baptism scheduled for this week. The investigator getting baptized is super cool.

Have a great week! Read the Bible! It'll do wonders.

Transfers Bring a New Responsibility!

Transfer calls came. My companion is staying, and I'm going. It will probably my last area. I really don't want to leave my current area. It's been an amazing area. I'm going to miss it a lot, though I probably will come here again. since I'm going to be in the same zone and I will be serving as a Zone Leader. I'm replacing the Zone Leader who gave the training in the recent Zone Training mentioned last week. My new companion is a cool guy.

Transfer calls were certainly a surprise. I didn't even think I was ever leaving. I had asked the Mission President to stay here for the rest of my mission during last transfers. I thought it would happen and I would either be District leader again, or Trainer for my last two transfers. But, as Isaiah says, that the Lord's thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and his ways than my ways.

We had a guessing game for who would leave and stay. My companion guessed us all right. I was 100% wrong. 'Twas fun. Anyway, this week was awesome. We had two investigators come to church. One was not one of our investigators, but someone from Pennsylvania. She got baptized on Saturday in Pennsylvania :D. The other one came and stayed for a little bit, but had to leave for an emergency. He wants to meet with us on Friday...so I will already be gone to my new area. :p. I'm a little bummed.

August is Here!

We met a lady while tracting who had a piglet as a pet. #onlyinoklahoma Anyway, we were able to hold the piglet. Its hair felt like rough cat fur, or smooth dog hair. Somewhere in between. The hair on his head was stiff. We talked with the lady. We taught her about prophets. She said she was trying to find a church to join. We talked with her, and she said she would come to church on Sunday. She didn't come. However, when we brought it up to Ward Council, the council members all listened intently. (We had to start sacrament meeting late because the missionary work this week was talked about A LOT in ward council). Afterwards, one of the Ward Council members came over to us and asked what she could do to help . I was talking to the Branch President about something, so my companion left the conversation and talked with her.

The talk I gave recently in sacrament meeting sparked an interest in the Branch President's mind about how I searched the scriptures a lot. He told me about a friend he had come by and they talked a little bit about a ton of subjects. One of those subjects was the church. His friend asked a question about Rev. 22:19 and Exodus 33:20 and the Branch President didn't know how to answer, so he asked me to write what my response would be. I haven't done it yet, because I don't know what I would write about. What I've been thinking is just to say "Search the Book of Mormon, ponder it's message and pray about it." I think that would be correct.

The branch is continually getting more excited about missionary work. There were numerous other events that happened in sacrament meeting that I can't write about. Let's just say it's cool.

We also visited a new investigator. He knew a lot about the church already, and he knows it to be true. He asked some really good questions. We answered them.

We had a good week in general. Everything was great. We had Zone Training and one of the Zone Leaders gave wonderful instruction...Probably his last. He goes home next transfer.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

July is Over...

Transfers happen on Thursdays every six weeks.. The new missionaries come from the MTC on Wednesday. Transfers are on Thursday. We drive to Tulsa. A van picks us up, and drives to one of five transfer points. Bentonville, Branson, Springfield, Joplin, Tulsa, and Springdale are all the transfer points. We're closest to Tulsa, so we drive to Tulsa. Transfer week is going to be a little different from here on out. Here's how it works:

Monday: We have District meeting. No P-Day (Preparation Day) on transfer week anymore.
Tuesday: We get transfer calls.
Wednesday: It's our P-Day (Preparation Day). Our day to pack.
Thursday: Transfers.
Friday-Sunday is the same as usual.

This week was awesome.

We had District Meeting in another City than usual because our Mission President was doing interviews. We had a personal interview with both President and his wife. They were both amazing spiritual experiences. I was able to see two of my previous companions. It was good to see them.

After interviews. my companion and I talked with a member. While we were talking to him, a guy we had never seen before came in. He talked with us and wanted to be taught. We went into another classroom with him and we taught him the Restoration. He is awesome. He plays the piano really well, he likes classical music, and he wants to be a chemical engineer after he graduates high school. He knew a lot already about our church because he was taught a long time ago. He actually remembered the first part to "Praise to the Man" on the piano, although he hadn't heard it in 4 years. He played it in a different key, but he knew the first part. He really liked what we had to say, and he promised us he'd read and pray about it. It was cool. :D.

Another day we had a wonderful day with our Branch Mission Leader.

My companion and I gave talks on Families and Temples in Sacrament Meeting. It took us a long time to write them because we didn't have that many experiences with temples, and it is a broad subject. I finally talked about the history of temples to the Israelites. My companion talked about the sealing power. The branch members congratulated us afterwards for the talks.

It was a wonderful week!

Week Preceding July 25...Birthday Celebration and More!

On my birthday...I actually forgot it was my birthday until 9 in the evening when other elders called me and sang Happy Birthday to me in four different languages. The Mission Mom also called and said that she would sing Happy Birthday to me however I wanted. I told her to do it in a country accent, and she did. She's super funny.

We did a lot of work on my birthday, and we went to a Pioneer Day Celebration in a nearby town. It was fun.

Other than my birthday, our most momentous day was Saturday. We went to Subway for dinner at Walmart. We met a family that was LDS just passing through from Dallas. We OTMed a lady at Subway, who took a picture of my companion and I eating our sandwiches. We also met a recently activated member, and someone who cuts my companion's hair.

We then attended a wedding of two of our investigators. Our Branch President married them. It was cool. There was popcorn at the reception, so it was great :j.

Something that I've been thinking about a lot this past week is how God makes everything possible. So, I've found a couple of cool scriptures about that. I've been sharing this lesson a lot because it has weighed on my mind a lot.

Genesis 18:13-14 Abraham and Sarah; 1 Samuel 17 David and Goliath; Matthew: 19:26; and 1 Nephi 17:50-51 Nephi building a ship.

There was more that I found from scriptures since the Restoration, but there is a lot, so I'll end there.

I have seen the hand of the Lord in my mission, and more particularly so this past week. I have seen people change, and I have seen myself change. It is super awesome :j.

Week Preceding July 18...A Crazy Storm!

We contacted a referral of someone in a nearby town. We shared with her a lesson on prophets, and gave her a Bible. She asked us to come back to teach her grandparents. It was super sweet. We also started inviting our members to read the scriptures more, pray more, etc. Since then, they've been able to begin to have missionary experiences cooler than we've had :D.

We had a zone training. They gave us these cool white boards that we are going to use for tracting. It talks about prophets and apostasy. It's cool :D We're practicing with them a lot.

One of our families we have been teaching came to church again this week! They are really progressing. They stayed for all three meetings! :D.....We had an extra hour so we indexed several names. I did a batch and my companion did a batch. We then went to a potential investigator's house. They weren't home, so we tried by a couple other people.

We also had a really crazy storm while driving home one day. We saw the big dark cloud coming toward us...We decided to race it back home :j.....Well, it suffices me to say that it beat us. The sky turned black and garbage was flying everywhere. We saw a semitruck that was blown over. I wasn't scared. I knew we would be safe. It was the worst storm we have had since I have been in this area. We were driving some sister missionaries to the church on our way home. When we got to the church, we asked the sisters to pray before continuing on to their home. My companion and I went into the church for a bit. Well, the sisters had a prompting to stay at the church until the storm died down. We waited for an hour, debating whether or not we had to hide in the lowest area of the church. The storm passed by and the sky didn't have a single cloud for the rest of the day. It was weird. When the storm had died down enough so that it was pretty much just rain, I told the sisters that they were probably safe now to go home. We left at the same time they did to visit a couple of people we had scheduled appointments with. We were, due to unforeseen circumstances, a little late. Well, a lot late.

Still haven't been able to take a picture of a tornado, but I must've been close this time ;j.

Missions are cool!

I get along great with my companion! He's super cool. He and I are an awesome team.

Week Preceding July 11

We had transfers!!!! Both my companion and I are staying This is going to be my last area where I get to stay for three transfers or more. I was super shocked about that.

I'm excited to stay for another transfer. We were able to teach quite a few lessons. Most of them were from tracting. We tracted in a neighborhood with much success. It was cool. We also tracted in another area...but we didn't have as much success there.

We were able to have nine less actives at church. That was super cool.

I haven't been the best at taking pictures for the past couple of weeks, but here are some good ones taken six or less weeks ago :D

Me with one of my previous companions.

Me with my current companion.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The End of June...and Into July!

We weren't able to see the investigators this week as usual, for good reasons, of course. One had doctor's appointments throughout the week. One had a death in his extended family, so we felt like it would be good to have them mourn their family and then talk to them again this week. Then, the last one that we've been visiting recently we felt like we have been a little too pushy on him, and so we also are giving him time to think things through.

Anyway, we received quite a few referrals from a cool senior couple in our branch, and we are helping them share the Restored gospel with their friends. We also met another lady who we are beginning to teach.

We talked with a less active about the Sacrament and he came to church. So that's good.

Nevertheless, we did quite a bit this week. We went to a nearby town and talked to a part-member family that had a recent death in the family. While we were there, they told us that after we leave they discuss about what we talk to them about.. It's pretty awesome. I really like them. Anyway, we received another referral by one of the awesome families in the branch. They live in another nearby town and they love to share the gospel. We've received four referrals from them so far. It was sweet.

I went on an exchange with the Zone Leaders. I went with one of the Zone Leaders to another town, while my companion and the other Zone Leader stayed in our current area. The Zone Leader that I was with and I realized that we don't have a lot of time left in the mission. We came out at the same time. We talked about our mission experiences. It was cool. He is one of the coolest missionaries in the mission.

The Month of June - Third Week!

I did not realize it was Father's Day until our branch president announced it over the pulpit. We had a wonderful sacrament meeting. The branch president's daughters spoke about fathers, and another youth spoke about her first trip to the temple. The branch president then gave a wonderful talk on Heavenly Father and fathers in general. It was good. We had dinner with the branch president's family and gave a special dinner message on fathers. We showed them a new video. It was awesome.

This week was great. Our trip to the Oklahoma City Temple was awesome. We carpooled with elders who live in a nearby area. It was a fun drive. We arrived at the temple before most everyone else. A few of us went around the temple grounds and took pictures while we waited to go inside.

I spent a long time in the Celestial Room reading the scriptures. I found some really cool stuff. I was able to see some people I know from one of my previous areas. It was really good to see them.

After we left the temple, my companion and I talked with the bus driver about his beliefs and ours. We then went to the church right across the street from the temple and had a meeting with the temple president. After that, my companion was gave a copy of the Book of Mormon to the bus driver. It was awesome.

In addition to attending the temple, we had a good week. We almost filled up our progress record, we received a couple of referrals that seem so promising. It was awesome. And we were able to have a less active come to church. It was cool.

I love my current area. Transfers are coming up, and I really hope I'm staying. I told our Mission President I would be happy to stay here for the rest of my mission, so we'll see if he'll keep me here.

The Month of June...Second Week!

This week was absolutely wonderful. My companion and I each received a blessing from our branch president. It was a special experience. The next day, my companion and I tracted two doors. With both of those doors, we had lessons. These two individuals accepted a return appointment. One, especially, was curious about our church. We went back two times that week. As we talked, my companion tried to bring up the Book of Mormon and tried to explain it. The man still looked confused. I expounded on my companion's words. The man accepted a Book of Mormon. My companion told me later that I can explain the Book of Mormon better than he does.

Another day, we went and tracted another door. A woman answered, and my companion, instead of explaining the Book of Mormon, indicated that I could explain it better. I expounded on it, and the Bible, as the Book of Mormon is comparable to the Bible. She accepted a Book of Mormon and promised us she would read it.

Finally, during exchanges we visited a home we had tracted before. My companion and I went back and talked to the gentleman who lived there.. We introduced the Book of Mormon, and gave him an assigned chapter to read (Alma 40). He was not interested in the least bit about joining our church, or saying a prayer with us, so we were just going to start with the Plan of Salvation because of some events he had listed in his life. We went back another day and talked with him. When we entered his home, my companion and I took one look at him, and we both realized his countenance had changed. We also saw the Book of Mormon in the middle of his table. We discussed the Plan of Salvation with him. He asked many questions regarding the chapter he read. As we answered them, he asked one particular difficult question such as "What is hell?", "Who goes to hell?", etc. I sensed, when my companion started to answer the question that he was trying to explain that hell was Outer Darkness. Before he said five words, I interrupted him, saying that Hell as mentioned in the scriptures is Spirit Prison for those who had rebelled against God (for that is, usually, the definition in the scriptures). Our investigator was delighted with my answer, and by the end of an incredibly spiritual lesson, he declared, "Why doesn't everybody join this Mormon church?" We gave him the assignment to start reading the Book of Mormon from start to finish, and he actually prayed with us this time. The rest of the day was super great.

My companion is one of my best companions yet. He wants to do what's right, and he actually helps with my desire to share the gospel and to find people who are prepared. He is an amazing guy.

My understanding of the gospel comes from my love of the scriptures, as well as a gift from God. I love the Book of Mormon. I love the Bible. I read them both every day. As I read the Book of Mormon, I crave to read the Bible, and as I read the Bible, I crave to read the Book of Mormon. They are wonderful instruments, and I find many answers in their pages. As I read them (along with reading the Ensign, for it is scripture, too...especially the General Conference ones), I gain a greater understanding of many of the doctrines. I love studying the scriptures, and I study them as much as I can. In the evening time, I read the Bible. In the morning, I read the Book of Mormon. It's crazy how much you can get out of those books. I love this gospel, and this church. I love being a missionary, and I don't want it to end, but, alas, it must.

The Month of June...The First Week...

FIRST WEEK!  We had zone conference!!!!! It was super cool. We got our cars inspected by a guy who was over all the mission cars in the world. He toured the mission, updating our TiWis (a black box in our car that tells us when we're speeding, turning too fast, etc....keeps us safe. A lot of missionaries don't like it, but I don't care about it. Doesn't talk to me much. Every once in a while it tells me to check my speed, but that's it :j), He also inspected our cars.

Zone Conference was absolutely wonderful. Our mission president's wife talked about the temple, because we're going to the temple this week as a mission. I will get to attend the Oklahoma City Temple. I'm super excited. The elders from a nearby area are riding with us, and I get to be the driver. It's gonna be super crazy. Our mission president's wife also showed a video on Sacrifice because we sacrificed a lot to go on the mission because we don't have an available temple in our mission, so we cannot go all the time. It was cool.

After the zone conference, we drove back to our area to have dinner with an amazing member.

The next day, the traveling assistants had an exchange with us. In our mission, we have two sets of assistants. One has their own area near the mission office. They work very closely with our mission president, and they have a model area that they exchange with different zone leaders in. The other set, which exchanged with us on Saturday, are the traveling assistants. They also work with our mission president, but they don't have an area of their own. They travel around the mission and conduct exchanges with many missionaries. Every 24 hours, they are with a different set of missionaries. They live out of a car. It's super crazy. Anyway, my companion and I split up and went on exchanges with them. I went with one of the "traveling assistants" to a nearby town. We conducted a lesson with an individual, then we tracted. We were able to hand out 5 Books of Mormon (or is it Book of Mormons?) to people. It was awesome. We had dinner at a pizza place with the branch clerk and his family. The chicken alfredo pizza was delicious.

Then the traveling assistants stayed for church. We also had a baptism of an 8-year-old, so we had to fill up a ton of buckets to fill the font....jk, the font fills up on it's own. It looks like a hot tub. The baptism was successful, as baptisms 95% of the time are. We then got in our service clothes, and helped the branch mission leader put a dock in someone's pond.

We had very wonderful lessons with our investigators. Our area is super cool!

As I was reading the Bible, I found a cool Psalm. 65:5-7 :D

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Month of May!

After our Mother's Day phone call, I searched around the apartment and around the car for my camera. I found it in the car. So, I have it now. I took a bunch of pictures, including one of my "pants burning".

Speaking of pants-burning, one of my former companions got transferred...I was super sad to hear that. He's going to miss the burning. He saw my shirt burning at my year mark, so it kinda adds to the reason why I wanted him to come. "But behold, [he is] gone, and my sorrows cannot bring [his] return." (Mormon 6:20)

So, before our Mother's Day phone call, we went to our branch president's home for dinner. His mother came to dinner with us, and we were able to have a member-present lesson on mothers for Mother's Day. It was really cool.

Our mission president is super cool. I talked with him about how I could improve in missionary work, and I talked with him about how I could open my mouth better when street contacting, because I've always struggled with that. It was cool. Our mission president's wife asked every missionary she interviewed to share about repentance. I shared something that I have been studying more on about a certain aspect of repentance because I gave a talk on that aspect, which is: storms. I talked about the storms in the Book of Mormon, and she told me to look up something in the Doctrine and Covenants Institute Student Manual . So I'm gonna do that. Super excited to do so.

I've been rereading the Old Testament, studying it more fully with the new set of scriptures you guys sent me for Easter. Right now I am in the Book of Judges. It's a good book so far.

Now for the pictures!  My parents wish I would send them more frequently!

Our last district meeting in my old area. Afterwards, we played basketball. Ties against no-ties.

A ward member and me in my last area...

...and her "demon dog", Sophie!

Saying "goodbye" to a family in my last area.

The storm shelter near our current living quarters....It pitch black in there.

I burned a pair of pants. It is a missionary "tradition" to burn some pants when you reach your eighteen month mark.
Our church's pews.
This is in Tahlequah. The movie, "Where the Red Fern Grows" was filmed here. The actor who portrayed the main character is LDS. I went here for exchanges. It was super cool, and spiritual. We taught a teenage girl about the Restoration.

We had "Braums" at the church while waiting for a ride to our next appointment.

Our weekly planning meetings have been highly effective. My companion and I have set some really good goals that we are both striving to keep.

We played Red Light, Green Light with some children in the area and connected it with covenant making and keeping. Spiritual and fun!

We also found an less active member who wants to come back. He wants to feed us dinner. It was awesome.

We went to an 7-hour long duration of meetings for stake conference. Instead of being a long day, it was absolutely cool. We met a Seventy who knew a lot about the scriptures. Enough said.

Our area is amazing. We got transfer calls toward the end of the month and I did not get transferred, but my companion did. I got one of his trainers for my new companion. I am super excited I'm staying in this area. The members are the best people you can ever meet.. They're true, they're hard-working, and some of them have to travel 50 miles to get to church. One member sees more people than we do throughout the week. Our mission leader always comes to church despite health problems. Our branch president is willing to feed us whenever we don't have a dinner as long as we give him a half-day's notice. The first counselor takes us out every Tuesday. Our area is full of the most faithful members I have seen. Whenever I see how far each of them are from the church, I marvel at how they can do it. I would be content if I stayed here the rest of my mission. Probably not going to happen, but it could.

We said "goodbye" to everyone for my "transferring" companion, which wasn't too hard. We already saw 95% of the people that he wanted to say goodbye to before Thursday, so it's super easy.

Here are a few scriptures I shared with my companion who transferred:
1 Corinthians 16:22-24, 2 Corinthians 13:14, and 3 John 14. The last one is my favorite.

On transfer day, I helped other missionaries clean a ward house while we were waiting for the next group to get here. We finished around noon. After transfers, we were able to have dinner over at the president's house the first evening my new companion was here, so he could meet his family. We then got a call from the second counselor in the branch presidency, asking as to speak in sacrament meeting. We prepared our talks, had a few solid lessons on Friday and Saturday, then spoke on Sunday. It went well. Afterwards, we had a wonderful time at the linger-longer eating Mexican food. A ton of people gave us food to take home. We had two cartons of eggs, enchiladas, and one and a half bag of tortilla chips back at the cabin. It was a lot.

Monday, May 9, 2016

I Got Transferred...A Cabin, a Lake, a Storm, No Power!

Here is the installment from the last part of April...

My new area is the greenest place I have been thus far. We are actually opening up an area that has been a dual area for a number of years. My new area has a small branch of less than 30 active members. I had an uber long drive down to the new area, I left my old apartment at 6:30 in the morning, and finally got to my new area around 4-5 in the afternoon. Long day on the road, but on the bright side I did get Sour Patch kids, Twizzlers, and some other candy....All gone in a day or two....well, maybe 4 days. Don't have diabetes, yet, so I'm good :j

My companion and I have a cabin. We live pretty much where our branch president lives. He owns a trailer park, and he built a cabin just for us to stay. It's awesome. It's pretty fun to be in a cabin...you see a ton of bugs, we have to climb a ladder to get into bed. We sleep over the bathroom and the kitchen. Our oven and stove doesn't work at the moment...our branch president is working on it. He's a really cool dude. The fridge was empty, as was expected seeing that we opened up a new area. My companion and I went on a shopping spree to grab lunch food for all meals. We have a furnace, but we don't have an air-conditioner quite yet.

The church is also very exciting. The LDS meetinghouse used to be a Baptist Church...then the Baptist Church became a mortuary, or a morgue. Then it became the LDS meetinghouse. The chapel pews have crosses on the sides. The baptismal font is also in the front of the chapel. It looks really cool. The church is one of a kind. The people really love us, though. Our branch president is happy to feed us if they are not busy....so his family has fed us each night since I came here. His family is super cool. The food is delicious, too! We then share a spiritual thought, which is great because the branch president's mother is not a member of the church. She loves the church and has been to many church history sites including the Hill Cumorah and the Sacred Grove

Church was super exciting. A whole lot different than church usually is. We have a reverence hymn at the beginning, then an opening hymn, and we continue on the meeting. The sound speakers for the stand are actually only at the stand. So when you speak, it sounds loud to you, but to the people in the back, it's difficult to hear.

We are doing a ton of finding in this new area because we have basically no investigators. My new companion is from Utah. He has been out for six months.

Our area has a huge lake in the middle of it. We are in the middle of two towns (about 10 miles to each) leaving us with a ton of miles used because those are the two closest cities, and we have people we teach in other towns that are about 20-50 miles from us. It's actually really fun. We get to cross the lake every day. We have no choice, too. It pretty much surrounds us. We have a ton of less active members that we see, but not close enough to keep ourselves busy. We did meet some cool members one Sunday at a linger-longer (It's theme was Italian food...mmmm. It was quite delicious). They were from Orem, Utah.

I misplaced my camera after videoing the village where we live, so no pictures for a little bit. I know the camera is somewhere in our apartment or our car, though, so it's okay, it's not hopeless.

We had a tremendous thunderstorm hit close to us. It caused a tiny tornado 5 miles north of us, but no fatalities from it, so we're good. We were out of power the day after from 8:00. I was showering at the time, (The thunderstorm kept us awake because of the large amounts of rain that hit on our roof. It was the loud, so we didn't wake up to our alarms in the morning.) So, I half showered in the dark. We were without power until after 10:00 in the evening. We're linked to the power station up north, so the thunderstorm damaged something. Some of our food went bad, but it's okay. We got sick of the salami, and there wasn't much other food in the fridge. We actually had to get a ton of food on Friday ("pay-day" for us) because of the spoiling of the food. My companion took pictures of us in the night with no power, and trying to light up the cabin with two flashlights, because my camera was lost in the darkness of that night. It was super awesome, but I wasn't able to read anything for the evening, which I love to do.

We were able to meet up with an investigator with our branch mission leader. He was able to relate to our investigator in many ways, because they were of the same age group, they had experienced similar trials, and they both loved to garden. It was a really cool visit with him.

We also visited with a family and taught them two lessons. Both lessons were wonderful. We were able to teach some of the kids that were involved in a baseball team, and they provided some amazing insight. The second visit, we were able to answer some of the dad's questions about the church. He asked questions about polygamy and if the Book of Mormon was changed, etc. Some of his questions may have arisen from him reading stuff about the church on the internet. Nevertheless, he did not want to contend with us, they were honest questions, not the other kind of questions used for arguing. We were able to answer all his questions as I have experienced similar questions to his. It was a really spiritual visit.

We tried to find some good OTMing places (places where you could see a lot of people) nearby, but no luck, thus far. We were able to find a service opportunity where we helped clean up the town. It was good.

Sundays are absolutely amazing, with great church services. We were able to help a member on the computer (well, my companion helped him. It was a one-person job). I was looking through an old LDS hymnal that the member had...It was super cool. It had songs that weren't in the one we have today, the songs were named differently after the first couple words, such as, "Count Your Blessings", it was titled "When Upon Life's Billows", and "If You Could Hie to Kolob" had a completely different tune than the one we have. It was sweet.

After we helped him, we had a lesson with the assistant branch mission leader and his daughter. We then had dinner with the branch president and his family. We had delicious grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. We watched the John Tanner story with them. Finally, we went to help the Branch President finish working on our stove...well, he hasn't finished it quite yet. The flames are still too high.

General Conference Thoughts...and Other Things!

My parents are still trying to get "caught up" on my missionary blog. Here is the installment for the first part of April.

General Conference was amazing!!!! I loved every minute of it. I had just gotten another study journal as a gift, so I started writing notes on General Conference. It was so cool. My questions that I brought got answered, and my answers got questioned, etc.

I loved President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk in the morning session of Sunday, and President Henry B. Eyring's talk at the VERY beginning of conference. :D

Hehehe...so we were going to go to the church to watch the Saturday afternoon session, and entered the church around 2:55 (1:55 for you guys). Well, the video to set up General Conference wasn't set up. My companion and I started to flip. We said a prayer, and called a couple people a couple of times. Didn't work, so we decided to just barge in on a family to watch Conference with them...if they were home. So we traveled there and knocked on their door around 3:07 or so, and they beckoned us in. We enjoyed Conference with them :D. It was cool.

Someone quoted the last part of Part III of Handel's Messiah in the Conference...Last session, somebody who wasn't an apostle. It was so cool! :D

I did two baptismal interviews. The sister missionaries are amazing. We were trying to get our investigators to a baptismal date, but we weren't able to visit with one, and another hadn't been keeping commitments. We got a new potential from going to his house. He started to read the Book of Mormon. Other than that, we tried to reactivate less actives, get one member to quit smoking, and set up exchanges with elders in another town. It was really fun :j.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Easter...and Other March Happenings!

The month of March was phenomenal! We were really busy, and the time went by really fast. We did a ton of service, visited quite a few people, and I interviewed baptismal candidates.

First, and probably the most amazing thing, we went to give a sister a blessing because she was pretty sick. It was a very spiritual experience. Afterwards, we sat and talked with her for a bit. It's been awhile since that experience, but she has not smoked since that blessing. We, along with the bishop and others in the ward, were excited about that. I think the coolest thing is that we had a specific ward fast for people with physical needs such as addictions, ailments, etc. It was awesome. The bishop told this sister he will give her a temple recommend at the end of April, if she will continue to give up smoking. She's so excited. I love it. I'm super excited for her. She gave all her cigarettes to one of her friends. She wants me to come with her when she goes for her endowments so that she can be sealed to her husband, who passed away a couple years ago. The temple is going to be awesome. I'm super excited to go. The only problem is transfers are the middle of April, and that’s before she's scheduled to go to the temple. Based on my luck, I'm going to be transferred. I hope I'm not transferred too far.

During Missionary Coordination Meeting, we found that our ward was excited about everything we did. They wanted to know a lot more than they used to in ward council.

We found another investigator while we were serving in the pantry.

We traveled, with a member of the ward, to an adjoining town to contact a couple of new member move-ins. One of these was a family, of whom their address was wrong. Nevertheless, we found them, and they wanted to learn more. We were also able to meet the zone goal that day, by getting five contacts...and more.

Our whole zone fasted for another goal we had set: at least one baptism in each one of our areas on April 9.

Our whole district did very well on indicators. VERY well.

I interviewed two baptismal candidates. I love interviews. They're very cool experiences.

I went to our mission headquarters during the month, since our mission president held a leadership conference and invited the district leaders. We drove from our area to an area about one hour away to sleep in the zone leaders’ apartment. Then at 4:30 a.m., we woke up, got ready, and I drove another 205 miles to the conference. It was a struggle to stay awake in the meeting, but we learned so much from it. After the meeting, I drove three hours to meet/switch back companions. My companion drove the final 100 miles to our apartment while I slept.

We tried to apply the things that I learned at the conference to our area and the work we're doing. We received two new investigators through our efforts. One of them said he would study the Book of Mormon. It was great.

We had dinner with the bishop’s family. We had venison steak, homemade macaroni and cheese, and green beans. It suffices me to say it was delicious. We helped clean their yard after, and we saw bishop’s wife pick up a decaying dear head/neck....Smelled very interesting.

We had a zone conference in a city that is a distance of 300 mile round-trip, so we were officially out of miles. We couldn't do anything about it, though. The car had to go to the mission conference, then the zone conference, so that's already more than half of our allotted 1,250 miles!

We received four referrals from different individuals. We tried to contact them...but two of them are far away, and due to our crazy mile situation, it was difficult. We did our best. If they become investigators, we'll have up to nine promising investigators in four different towns that are at least 15 miles away from each other.

I spoke in sacrament meeting on Easter Sunday on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I love talks. We spent the evening with a family in the ward. We played Clue, and I related Clue to the Book of Mormon through the murder mystery of the chief judge in Helaman 8-9. It was awesome. The family gave us some Easter Baskets with a journal and an address book. They put their address and their number in it. It was pretty amazing. It was a really awesome day!
My Easter gift from home - a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD!
A good Easter scripture is: "If God be for us, who can be against us?...Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again. Who is at the right hand of God, Who makes intercession for us." - Romans 8:31, 33-34. (I got it off of Handel's Messiah.)

We saw a snake in attack position. I took a couple of pictures of it before it slithered away.  We were on exchanges in a town about an hour away.. We taught twelve lessons that day. In addition during that week, my companion and I were still able to teach twenty lessons in our area. It was great!

Our friend, the snake!
Exchanges are fun!
March was an awesome month!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Catching Up! The Rest of February...

One week, we only had an hour of church due to the weather. It snowed a lot for Missouri weather...for Utah, it would be just an ordinary day. We had only a third of the usual churchgoers come, and two out of three speakers show up for sacrament meeting. It was fun. We received treats for Valentine's day from some of the members.

Also, I found some music on my flash drive that I didn't realize was there!!! It was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's album entitled, "Come thou Fount of Every Blessing"...I love it. It's amazing.

Transfer calls came! My companion and I are staying here. That means this area is going to be the longest time I've served in anywhere. I'm still district leader, and most of my district is staying the same. Two of the sisters and one elder are being replaced. I've been missing the elder who has been transferred and another elder who has returned home. 'Twas very sad. Later, I found out that some of the people who were previously in my district were going to the other district...I told them how much I would miss them, and also gave them this farewell scripture: Mormon 6:20...It's funny.
Our area is doing well. One investigator came to church for ward conference. We found another non-member at church who is interested in learning more. That was exciting.

This next transfer is going to be wonderful. We're going to go to the temple this transfer for Baptisms for the Dead, of which I am excited for. We're going to be working extremely hard to get the people we are teaching to quit smoking.

We did a ton of work in an adjoining town. Then, we drove to another town to be picked up by the zone leaders so we could all drive to a larger city in order to be picked up by a bus that drove us all the way to Tulsa, OK. On the way there, we watched "The Cokeville Miracle", a movie that is awesome. The first half of the movie I could not sleep because I was stressed out by the movie (If you have ever seen it, you should know why), I was glad I stayed up, though, because the movie turned out to be really good in the end. When we arrived in Tulsa, we listened to Elder D. Todd Christofferson. He's a really funny guy. I don't remember him ever being that funny in General Conference. Some missionaries asked him questions that appeared to be difficult, and things they were genuinely concerned about. Elder Christofferson gave answers in the form of very short phrases, ten words at most. They answered the missionaries' questions clearly. After that, he would then expound on why he gave that answer a little more. It was really cool. After that, we got on the buses, and started our journey back to our area, watching "Ephraim's Rescue" on the way. After making a few transfers from bus to other vehicles, we arrived back at our area in the evening. We taught two more lessons before we retired to our apartment.

We have also been helping a lot at the food pantry in our area. It was awesome. I love those guys. We were able to talk about what we do as missionaries to some of the people who served there. I love talking about why I'm here. Their eyes widen when we say we don't get paid while we're out here...especially when we tell them we have to pay our way here. It's always funny. When we were working one day, a man opened up a bunch of boxes and found some whole wheat flour in huge bags. He said, "Ah, the Mormons donated that." I looked and found the name "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" on the bags. It was a ton of flour. Most of the people who heard the man's statement were surprised at how much flour was donated. It was pretty awesome. The man then remarked how good the Mormons were. 'Twas awesome.

My companion dry cleaned his new suit. After he did so, he found that the suit he had bought (for $4.50) was too large for him....It looked so funny :j. He gave it to an investigator we had. It fit perfectly. Our investigator has been coming to church repeatedly. It is pretty cool. We have to recommit him every week, because he has a memory problem. We teach him the same lesson over and over until he remembers it. We taught him the Restoration, my favorite lesson, many times, teaching it differently every time. We showed him Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration, asked him questions, etc. We're now on Plan of Salvation and also teaching him small bits of Lesson 4, :j. 'Tis fun. We have also started teaching a less active family.

Another elder in our area met the daughter of the individuals who moved into our mission boundaries from my hometown. He was in their city for the last week of the transfer. The daughter asked him if he knew a "Brian Bettinson", and he said he did. She then told him to say Hi to me...He did that when the subject came up of friends moving. XD. It was pretty awesome.

We had a really amazing February!

Monday, February 8, 2016

News from the Mission!

There's one set of missionaries for every ward...except combined areas, and Springfield YSA....they have two sets.

This past week we had a ward chili cook off. My companion got first place with his mother's recipe, A ward member got second, and the Young Men got third. It was a fun time. At the end of it, we helped clean up, I was talking with a visitor who knows how to play the piano real well...we showed off our skills with each other. It was fun. We even "improv"-ed for each other...don't know how to spell improv as in improv show, or whatever, so...yeah.

On Saturday, we went to a baptism that was three hours away. Sad fact is, that's about how far my closest area is ;(...oh, well. It was a really fun day. We had Hardee's for dinner. On Sunday, we had dinner at the home of one of the families in the ward...It was so funny. I love that family so much.

Our district meeting was awesome. On set of elders didn't show, and neither did the Zone leaders...a third of our district was gone! It was a great meeting, none the less. It marvels me how big our district is. Our district is about as big as one of the zones in our mission.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Awesome Weeks!

The past few weeks have been awesome. I can't really use any other adjectives. We saw the Lord's hand many times, of which I will give a few examples :j.

1) My companion and I, after all we could have done, went to a local store to OTM people. While we were in the camera aisle, a woman OTMed us, wanting to know who we are, what we were doing, etc. We answered her questions, and told her snippets of what our church believes, etc. She wants to meet with us to learn more.

2) My companion and I encountered a young kid, who passed by us while we were attempting to make a visit to a less active. My companion had an impression we should talk to him, so he led the discussion we had with him. The kid lied a lot, but that's what you get when you OTM someone in the dark of the night. He talked about being Satanic (we could totally tell he was lying about most of this subject, so don't worry, we're safe), that discussion moved to him being Atheistic...and eventually he said he believed in a God. It was a good discussion.

3) While we were doing service at a food pantry, I started talking to this guy who was seeking assistance from the pantry. I talked with him, and a couple of people around him, and we discussed many things, including our church. A few days later at church, my companion nudged me, and asked who a certain guy was. I couldn't see him clearly, so I shrugged my shoulders. After sacrament meeting, a ward member came up to us, and asked us to talk to a guy in the foyer. We went to the foyer and I recognized this guy from the pantry. We talked with him and taught him a lesson. We answered some of his questions, and gave him a Book of Mormon and we're going to continue to meet with him...I am totally excited!

I loved this past week a lot. I'm excited. We're going to have an awesome week, this coming week, too. The best thing about this week, was that I really was not looking forward to anything. Every day, when I woke up, I didn't feel like doing missionary work at all. I was just not looking forward to the same old thing. Well, as I pressed forward through it...I received a ton of help for all of it, I saw a lot of cool stuff...It was wonderful.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Transfers, Snow, and Car Problems!

Transfers came and went! Over half of my district changed. I have five members of my district left...along with some other people that I know. :j. I got a new companion. He's pretty cool.

I'm pretty excited for this transfer...the sister missionary from my grandparents hometown is going home, though...and another sister missionary is going home, too...They're some of the coolest sisters in the mission.

There is a senior couple in my district, that knows my aunt, grandma and grandpa. :D

We had our first snow for this year. It also went down to 12 degrees Fahrenheit here...and our car broke down in the middle of the week...so we had to walk around everywhere. That was fun :j.
We had a wonderful time at a district outing. The members helped us a lot when our car broke down, also.

Branch is Now a Ward!

I am no longer serving in a branch. As of January 3, the branch is now a ward. It was an amazing switch, and the bishop is experiencing a lot more responsibilities than he had when he was a branch president :j. It is awesome.

Missouri and Arkansas have HUGE firework shows on New Year's Eve...because there are next to no fireworks banned...so we had some crazy fireworks.

We have also had some crazy flooding. I won't go too much in detail, because it REALLY floods down here. I drove for a week straight week because my companion lost his wallet for a time. That was fun having to do 1000 point turns on dirt roads because the area before us was submerged by three feet or so.

We were able to get a less active member to church recently...and he wants to keep coming to church. That makes me so excited.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mission Blog and Facebook Page!

There's a blog about our mission. I am not sure if you would want to see it...so:


The Facebook page for our mission is:  Arkansas Bentonville Mission 2015-2018

Saturday, January 9, 2016

December Review!

December was amazing!

I love my current area. It is an awesome place.

This month was great! Especially when we started handing out "A Savior Is Born" cards. We definitely received a ton of potential investigators during December through them, and even a couple of investigators. We OTMed more than we have done in the past. The ward members invited us to go carolin', to Christmas parties, etc. We have been trying to serve the members as best we could.

December was such a fun month!