Monday, January 16, 2012

Email from Elder Stacey 1/16/2012

     We had a great week here in Chewelah.  On monday we had a church tour with a family that we've been trying to get to for a month and a half now.  They are really busy, but finally it worked out that we could meet them.  The mothers name is Misty and she has four children.  There was such a strong spirit in the chapel and in the room where we talked about baptism.  She told us baptism was something that she would like to consider for her and her family.  Her kids also really liked the idea of being baptized.  When we set up another appointment with her, her youngest asked if that was the day they were getting baptized.  It's a good thing that she knows quite a few members, and that the ward missionaries have stopped by to introduce themselves.  We also had a tour of the church with a lady named Kristy Haines.  We had tracked into her and she was very interested to go on the tour and see the new artwork.  When we got to the church is when we actually found out her last name, and we found out that the missionaries had been teaching her daughter and was about to be baptized before she left for job corpse.  We also found out that she knows the members wife who we took with us on the tour pretty well.  It was a really cool small world moment and I feel that there is great potential there.  We have a dinner appointment with her this week at a members home, so I hope everything goes well there.  Despite the fact that there is practically no work in Chewelah and so many people are out of work, we seem to always find the people who are incredibly busy and hard to get a hold of.  It's kind of hard, when this is all you do, to remember that people have lives outside of learning the gospel and it can be hard to see them and teach them.  I honestly don't know that very many people that we're teaching right now will be baptized while I am personally in Chewelah, but I do know that the seeds have been planted and that it will just take time. 
     On another note, Elder Holland came to our mission on Saturday and talked to us for a while.  He was actually just coming to Spokane for a stake conference, but when President Palmer asked if he could speak to the mission, he was apparently very quick to say yes.  He talked for a long time about a lot of stuff, but there were a couple things that he mentioned that really stuck out to me.  The first was the story about how Preach My Gospel came into being, which, may be common knowledge, I don't know.   I am going to share it anyway though because I thought it was cool.  Preach My Gospel was thought up because one day President Hinkley had come from an interview he had with an inactive returned missionary into a missionary meeting and said that "Something is wrong with the way we're doing missionary work."  They had said to themselves, that if the missionary had been converted himself, then he wouldn't have fallen away, and despite all the blessings and spirit that he had while serving a mission, he had not been converted himself.  So Preach My Gospel was made for the missionary.  It is a tool to help convert the missionary and then to trust the missionary to help convert other people.  Elder Holland went on to say that every missionary that goes out is entitled to at least one convert.  That one convert is yourself and you'd better get it.  I honestly hadn't thought of Preach My Gospel in that light before and it really helped me to understand the importance of using it.  Many missionaries I've notice, myself included, have just read through Preach My Gospel once and then resort to the scriptures and other writings to gain knowledge.  So I realized to myself that I need to utilize Preach My Gospel more than I do, because it truly is inspired and essential in missionary work.  Well that was just one of the many things he talked about, and I could go on all day because I love listening to apostles speak, but thats about all I have time for to write today.  I love you all and hope you all have a great day and week.
Elder Stacey

Email from Kevin 1/09/12

  Well we just went through the first week of January, but it felt like the first week of May.  We have had an unusual heat wave here in East Washington and I'm almost wondering if winter decided to go away this year.  We hit a high of 48, and I'm thankful that happened to be the day that we did a bunch of street contacting.  Tracting in 50 degrees is a lot more fun than tracting in 8 degrees.  Heather showed up to church yesterday for her first time, and it was a very spiritual experience for her I think.  There were some great testimonies borne by the members and the spirit was definitely there.  I think I've talked about our two awesome ward missionaries, Sis. Pugh and Sis. Merl.  Well, they are awesome. They were called late November and have been on fire ever since.  They go out at least once a week to see less active families, part-member families, and our female investigators and former investigators.  With the help of our ward mission leader and missionaries, we've been able to get so much more done and more effectively.  I have gained a real testimony of working with the ward to find people to teach.  I've only been here for 4 months.  I don't know anyone.  The members have been here for years and know everyone.  I've found if you have a direction to go, then your work is so much more effective, and the members give you that direction. I also feel when you have the members trust, and that instant support for investigators, I feel it helps them to feel more comfortable and gain a lasting testimony of the gospel.  We have a few church tours scheduled with non-members this week and the members have been more than willing to accompany us and help us out wherever they can.  On another note.  James, who just got baptized last month is doing great.  He has offered to go out with us a couple times, and he should be going with the ward this weekend to do baptisms for the dead in Spokane.  He and Chris Larkin should both have the priesthood next week.  They will make awesome missionaries if they decide to go, and I hope they do.  Other than that things are going good.  We'll be meeting with some potentials this week, as well as meeting a few less active families.  On Saturday Elder Holland will be speaking to our mission and I am super excited for that.  Apparently within the past year this mission has gotten to hear from Elder Bednar, Elder Perry, and now Elder Holland.  That's all I have time for, have a good week  and I'll talk to you again next week. Love you all.
Elder Stacey

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hey everyone, sorry I was unable to email last week.  The library was closed for the day after Christmas holiday that I was unaware of.  Also the library in Chewelah is closed today as well so I'm in Deer Park emailing at a members business.  Since I was unable to email last week, I'll just wish everyone a merry Christmas, and a Happy New year.  I can't believe it is 2012.  Not just because I'm on a mission and it is a new year, but of course also because this is the last year before the world ends=O.  So maybe I should wish a happy last new year!  Haha, I honestly didn't think that there would be many people who would freak out about it, but I've heard about people who are maxing out credit cards in anticipation for the impending doomsday.  Thats not going to be very fun when december 22 comes around and they find out it's just another day except they have a mountain of debt that they have to deal with.  Well those were just some random thoughts that I had on the new year.  So on to actually important things.  This last couple weeks have been good, but slower than usual as far as lessons are concerned.  We have had more appointments than I can count fall through because of sickness or unexpected vacations.  We were able to teach Heather twice this last week which was great.  If I have never mentioned Heather, she is the fiance of a less active member of the ward named Joe.  We went to go visit him to meet him and see how he was doing, and we met her as well.  She had no knowledge of the church other than Joe was a member of it.  She was interested in learning more so we began to teach her.  We talked about the atonement with her and she broke into tears as she bore her testimony on our Savior.  There was such a strong spirit in that room during that lesson.  She wants to follow Jesus Christ and she wants to be baptized.  There is a lot that needs to happen before she can get baptized, and I don't know for sure that I'll be in Chewelah when that finally happens, but that doesn't really matter to me.  Just for me to get to know someone so special and spiritual and to help them grow closer to our Savior is such a great blessing.  I've truly started to understand having true love and concern for the people that you meet.  You have this great message to share with them which you know can bring them greater happiness than anything else in this world and it just breaks your heart when they choose not to hear it.  Whether it's someone you just met at the doorstep, or an investigator who hasn't read the Book of Mormon or even a member who won't go to church because of whatever reason.  I don't know if what I just said makes sense, but I truly care about all these people and I want to help them in any way that I can.  A couple of our other investigators were out of town but are coming back into Chewelah this week which I am very excited about.  Leslie was just visiting her brother in Springdale, which is in our area but like a hundred mile round trip, so there was no way we were going to be able to make it out there with the amount of miles we had left on our car=(.  I hope she's doing well.  She went to the doctor the day before she left and apparently she has to quit smoking because she just got an illness caused from her smoking that will only get worse the more she smokes.  I really hope that her trip has helped her out.  She really thought it would.  Well I think those are the biggest things for this week and I'm about out of time so I love you all and hope you have a great week.
Elder Stacey