Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Transfer 3/25/2013

    Good afternoon=)  Hows it going???  It is a beautiful Spring day here, the sun is shining and it is super nice outside.  Well as I said last week, we had our transfer calls yesterday, and I am leaving the West Terrace and Geiger Heights wards.  I am leaving the Spokane West area and going to the Spokane North area, which will be more in the center of the city.  I'm super excited.  It's just been one transfer, but in one transfer, I feel that we accomplished so much.  When I first got here, we didn't have a huge teaching pool, and nobody was progressing save a few.  We went out and just filled every minute teaching and finding, and, as I said before, have been blessed so much.  We have found some great people who are so prepared.  I really just feel I have gained a much stronger testimony of Christ and of his Gospel in this transfer.

     Also, the first wave of increasing missionaries have officially hit our mission.  Today, 34 new elders and mostly sisters came to the Spokane mission field, and President Mullen has said that, as of last week, there are 90 missionaries (including the ones that came today) who have calls to the Spokane mission.  This area is actually getting split;  Elder Christensen and his new companion will be taking over the West Terrace Ward, and some sister missionaries will be sweeping into the Geiger Heights ward.  The work is truly hastening.

     One of the highlights of our week was hearing that Marcus and Melissa were baptized and confirmed over the weekend.  That was one of the saddest parts about leaving Moses Lake for me, was that I would miss their baptism.  They were baptized though, and apparently, it was such a spiritual baptism.  They were so ready and enthusiastic for that commitment.

     Dennis's baptism was this weekend as well and was amazing.  He has a powerful testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel and particularly about the Book of Mormon.  After his baptism, he bore his testimony of how the Book of Mormon has helped strengthen his knowledge of Christ and he is so converted.

     We had a lesson with Jim Tso and his family.  They are doing great and Jim has been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.  Deidra, the daughter, loves to learn more about the church and about the Gospel.  Miranda, the mother is becoming more interested as well.  We had two lessons with them this week, and they expressed their gratitude for us coming over and teaching them.

    We had a church tour with Corey this week and he brought a couple of his friends over.  I wasn't there, because we were on team-ups with members of the ward, but from what I hear, it was great.  Corey is super sincere, but like I've said before, hasn't had the greatest experience with spiritual things, and has somewhat of a difficult time remembering to read, pray, and make it a priority.  We have sent him messages everyday to read the scriptures, which he has done, but has a difficult time remembering to pray.  That is mostly what they talked about in their lesson, and he has committed to pray every day.

     I don't remember if I talked about Joe Eisenhart last week, but he is someone who missionaries tracted into in downtown Spokane, but lives out here.  He is super prepared and really wants the gospel in his life, but his family is really opposed to the church and his decision, so he has not been able to meet with us as often and it has been hard to get him to come to church.  He is a great guy though and we keep praying that his families hearts will be softened.

     Despite the great week we had last week, we were still a little disappointed to come to church and have none of our investigators come.  It was honestly kind of a downer day until the end, when we received a call from Jim Tso.  He called to let us know that he had been reading and praying religiously to know that what we've taught is true, and he has seen numerous blessings come this week.  He has found a job, a new home and great opportunities for his family.  He told us that he feels that is the answer to his prayers that God is there.  He said he believes now, everything we've said to him and he wants to continue to learn more.  We have a lesson with him tonight, and we are going to again talk about baptism for the family.  I know that the family is so prepared and we pray that they will accept the invitation.

     So like I said, it's been a great transfer for us, and I am excited for my new area.  I love being a missionary and having all these great spiritual experiences.  I can think of no better place to be right now than right here.  I love you all and like always, pray for you often.  I hope all is going well in your lives.  Thanks for all you do and for all your support.  Love you all=)

Elder Stacey

Monday, March 25, 2013

Working Hard 3/18/2-13

     Good afternoon everyone, hope you all doing well.  It's kind of crazy to think that I have been in Spokane now for a month.  This is also the last week of our transfer.  To coordinate with the adjustment in time that missionaries will be in the MTC, the mission cut a week off of this transfer.  But it has been a great transfer. This week has been no exception. Elder Christensen and I have spent every moment doing everything we can to help this area and our investigators progress and we have seen great miracles this week. 
      We had a new family come to church this week for the first time. They are the Tso family, and they are Navajo. They moved to Washington recently, and we just tracted into them. The father, Jim, has had a little exposure to the church and same with his wife. We started teaching their oldest daughter first, but now the whole family is getting more interested. We had a lesson with them on Saturday and invited them to church. They came and really enjoyed it. We have another lesson with them today and we are super excited for it.
      Dennis is still doing great and we are anticipating a great turnout for his baptism this Saturday. He is excited and so prepared. He still reads and prays and his comprehension of the scriptures is astounding.
      Robert and his fiance came to church as well this week. We took a member to one of our appointments with him, and as it turns out, they know each other pretty well. Bro Minzghor (the member) invited him and his fiance to dinner yesterday after church and in their conversation, Kathy, the fiance, told the Minzghors that she wanted to work towards becoming a member of the church as well, so hopefully we'll be able to teach her with Robert, but she is so busy I have hardly ever talked to her. Robert is still doing great though. He has definitely been more optimistic as he has been reading and praying every day. He has really progressed a lot since I have originally met him.
      We taught Corey the Plan of Salvation and invited him to be baptized, but he is still hesitant to set a date. He really likes what he's been taught, but wants to make sure it is true before he makes any commitments. He is really sincere and I really pray we will be able to help him recognize his answer. 
      We have had a lot of great lessons with other people that we have met this week and we continue to go, find, and teach to the best that we're able to. The Lord has really blessed us this transfer and we have seen so many miracles.  I love you all and pray for you often, and hope you all have a great week.=)

Elder Stacey

Monday, March 11, 2013

Making Progress 3/11/2013

     Good afternoon everybody!!!  How are you all doing?   I love Monday emails because I get to hear about the family and how things are going there.  It sounds like things are going wonderful back home and that makes me happy.  We had an awesome week last week as well.  This transfer we have been doing a lot of finding.  Going through former investigator forms, tracting, and going through the ward roster.  We have made a lot of progress, and we have found some great new investigators.

      We found a family with the last name Tso.  They are Native American and recently moved to Washington.  They are super nice, but the parents weren't really interested at first.  It was their daughter Deidra, who wanted to learn a little more.  When we came back for another lesson, (I was on exchanges so I wasn't there, this is what they told me)  the spirit was super strong and at the end the father agreed to say the closing prayer.  We have another lesson with them this week.

     We also picked up David as an investigator.  David was a former that we had tried contacting for a couple weeks now, and finally caught him home.  In the past, it seems he had taken on the role of "saving" the missionaries and had some anti to give them, so we were pretty cautious about talking to him.  We talked to him about his previous experience and bore our testimony about Christ, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon.  He totally felt the spirit and agreed to go on a church tour this Tuesday.

     Saturday we had the baptism of the Frostads, and it was way awesome.  The baptism had a great turnout from the ward and at the end, Austin, the older brother, bore a powerful testimony of why he chose to be baptized.  He listed a number of reasons, but one that really stuck out to me was when he said, "I want the responsibility."  As I thought about that statement, I really thought about the responsibility that comes with being a member of the church and the blessings that come from magnifying that responsibility.  We really have the greatest responsibility in the world to carry a message that nobody else can, and how awesome is that?  President Mullen has reminded us so many times through scripture and testimony that this is the way, and there is no other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved.  So how great is our responsibility to give every person an opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, because they cannot be saved without it.  I definitely did not understand that fully when I was 18 years old, and to hear that from a recent convert was inspiring to me personally.

     We had a lesson with Robert Batson this week as well.  I don't know if I've talked about him, but he has been an investigator for some time now, and has gone through several sets of missionaries.  The main concern he has had is whether or not God is even there and if he cares.  This week we had a training on the importance of prayer, so we felt to apply that training to Robert.  We had a great lesson with him and we promised him that if he would commit to pray sincerely every day, that he would be able to feel Gods love and have a greater peace in his life.  He said the closing prayer for the first time with missionaries and at the end we just sat their for probably a minute, not saying anything.  After a few moments he told us, "wow, it does work".  The spirit was so strong in that moment, nobody could deny it.  He committed to pray every day after that, and so far he is doing great.

     Dennis is so ready for his baptism.  He comes to church, makes a point to meet more members, has a goal to finish the Book of Mormon before his baptism, and is well on his way to that, and is just excited about it.  We make sure to contact him as often as we can to help him understand what he's reading and keep that enthusiasm.
     So things are going great in the West Terrace area.  I have learned so much these past few weeks, and I am so happy to be out and working for the Lord.  I love you all and hope you all have a wonderful week.

     P.S.  This week at our training meeting, we got a challenge from president Mullen, to take a fresh copy of the Book of Mormon, to read the Book of Mormon, and highlight certain passages in different colors.  One color for every time a name of Jesus Christ appears, another color for whenever the Doctrine of Christ is being taught, and a third color for whenever Christ says something or a prophet says "thus Saith the Lord".  An optional color can be used for whenever an attribute of Christ is stated.  I would love to invite you all to take this challenge as well.  This was a challenge that I extended almost exactly 1 year ago, and I did it too.  It was a very special experience reading the Book of Mormon with that focus and to see just how much it testifies of Christ.  Like last year, the challenge is to be done with it by Mothers Day.