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!