Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Last Transfer 7/29/2013

      Good morning!  We had a great week last week.  The weather has been beautiful, but the word on the street is that it is going to change, and soon.  People say that they feel an early Fall and Winter coming on and it could happen as soon as before I leave.  I hope it doesn't.  At the same time, however, people aren't that great at predicting weather up here.  Pretty much everything that has been predicted has been false or late or early.
    It is always a bittersweet time to see a missionary you love go home, especially when he's your companion.  I really loved serving with Elder Williams.  He was a great, bold, and powerful teacher.  I will be staying in Sandpoint for my last transfer, and my new companions name is Elder Cahoon, and I am way excited for that.  I've served around him before and he is such and optimistic and enthusiastic missionary.  By the way mom, I totally forgot to tell you last week, yes I did get the card, thank you very much=)
     We had an awesome miracle happen to us last week.  We were tracting in a trailer court and ran into this guy named Chris outside with his three kids.  We started talking to him about the church and he told us he was already invited to go to a church that week.  We asked him where and he described exactly where our church is in Sandpoint, so we told him.  As it turns out, he worked with a member from our ward named Katie and she invited him to come to church with her.  His wife recently left him and he is in a real humble spot right now, and he really wants to  learn about the church.  So he went to church last Sunday and we met up with him for a lesson on Tuesday.  When we went over, someone else that we had tracted into that previous day, who was not interested was over at his house.  His name is Donnie.  We started teaching both of them and they are both committed to reading the Book of Mormon and praying. 
     I just love member missionary work.  There is no way that Chris would be as interested as he is if his member friend hadn't talked to him.  I love the push that is going on with members and missionaries working closer together.  The Sunnyside ward is on fire right now, especially our bishop.  He is working so hard to change the culture of the ward toward missionary work, and he is leading by example.
     There is good news about Heidi as well.  All of the legal things that needed to get done before she could be baptized are coming together and it's looking like she can get baptized either by the end of August, or sometime in September.  I may have said this before, but Heidi is without a doubt the most prepared and converted person I have ever taught on the mission.  She makes an effort to read the Book of Mormon every day, and come to church every week, no matter what else is going on in the week, and it shows.  She is so spiritual and strengthening her testimony every day.
     Lastly, we might be able to start teaching this family who has been coming to church for about 8 months now and haven't ever met with missionaries.  They are not members, but come to all three hours of church every week, pay tithing, and their daughter wants to be baptized.  It's kind of a long story of why the missionaries haven't taught them, but suffice it to say that we will hopefully start teaching their daughter either the end of this week or sometime next week.
     Thats about it from me this week.  Great things are happening here.  Great miracles.  I love you all, and have a great week too=)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ripe and Ripening 7/22/2013

     Good morning everyone, how are things for all of you???  Things are going great here in Sandpoint.  We are emailing a little earlier today by the way mom because Elder Williams is going home this week, so he needed to get some things done and we needed to email earlier.  Because he is going home this week, that means that transfers are next week, so I will let you know Monday what happens.  More likely than not, I will stay in Sandpoint, which I am okay with, it has been a great place to serve.
     This last week was kind of an interesting one.  Between helping the sister missionaries find a new apartment, and dealing with 2 accidents we were involved in (nobody was hurt, and I was not the driver) we spent a lot of time doing paper work, and not missionary stuff=(  It was kind of annoying to be honest (the accident stuff), but it needed to be done.
     We have great news with Heidi.  She finally has her divorce nearly finalized and things are rolling with that.  She has just had so many things that are out of her control that have kept her from being baptized months ago, but they are all coming together and she is so excited to be baptized in the next month or two.
     We have been teaching Christina, and she is struggling right now.  She isn't on date anymore and she is finding it real difficult to trust that the Atonement has the power to actually heal her.  Just pray for her to be able to withstand the temptations that Satan brings to her.  She needs that extra help right now.
     We have had a lot of great success in the past few weeks, but right now, not many of our investigators are progressing or keeping commitments, so we have gone through and are going to continue to go through a huge dropping spree.  We really have felt that we need to stop teaching these people and let the Lord prepare them a little more, and let other missionaries teach them later. Dan, the guy we taught a couple weeks ago is one of these people.  He was on date for August 10th, but hasn't kept any commitments, from reading to going to church, since we taught him the first time.  He is super nice though and hopefully with the last lesson we will have with him this week, we can help his faith in Christ grow to the point he wants to change.
     I don't know if I've ever talked about Elisha, but missionaries were teaching her for about 2 months before we got here.  She went to church last week for the first time, which was the most progress we'd seen in her.  Her husband is a less active, and his family are all active in another ward in the stake.  She is super interested in the church, and wants to learn more about it.  She would be baptized before we got here if she would go to church, but it is something that really intimidates her for some reason.  Like the majority of our teaching pool, she is not really  progressing at this point, and we feel that it would be best if we let her sit for a while as well.
     I feel that perhaps one of the greatest lessons I've learned in these last 5 weeks in Sandpoint is the value of not lingering with people who aren't showing progression.  We are looking for people who are prepared, or "ripe", and if they are not ripe yet, then we let them sit and ripen some more, and look for those who are ripe.  It has taken a lot of faith on our part that the Lord will bless our efforts to find the elect and re-fill our teaching pool, but we have been blessed with finding so many people.
     Thats about it from this week.  I love you all and pray for you all.  Hope you have a great week.  

Love this license plate!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Leadership Training Meeting 7/15/2013

This has been a great week in Sandpoint.  The weather is so nice outside, sunny and not too hot.  People are outside and we as well have been out talking with everybody.  This last week, we had a leadership training meeting in which we discussed a really interesting topic.  It was about the Godhead, and the importance of teaching people the nature of God.  Despite the fact that all three of the first lessons begin in some way or another by stating "God is our loving Heavenly Father."  we tend to skip over it, or at least just brush past it and start talking about something else.  As president Mullen had said it, that is the core doctrine of all doctrines.  Everything stems from the fact that God is the Father of our spirits and His work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  When people understand the gospel in that context, and understand our relationship with God, they are so much more motivated to live the gospel and receive true conversion.  When we had that training, I thought back to all the investigators that I had taught throughout my mission up to that point, and it is so true.  The people that progressed the most were the ones that understood the nature of the Godhead.  Something else they talked about that I thought was interesting, was something that was talked about by a general authority to the new mission presidents.  He said essentially that one of the great ways for Satan to stop progression was to distort the nature of the Godhead, so when the world fell into apostacy, that was one of the first doctrines to be corrupted.  Anyway, I'm rambling=) but it really was a great meeting.
    We are trying to make daily contact with Christina and her family, and she is doing well. Christina is one of those people who is seeking to be converted.  Quite a bit of what we teach is helping her to recognize the influence of God in her life, and the more she understands, the more she wants to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
     The church tour we had with Dan didn't go through=( He remembered and even cancelled other appointments so he could make it (we had stopped by the day before to confirm with him)  but he had lost track of time and when noon hit, he was doing another activity.  We will meet up with him later this week.
     Unfortunately, we have had to drop a number of investigators because they really are not progressing.  That is one of the hardest things to do as a missionary.  Because of that, we have spent so much time tracting and finding through other efforts. There are some great people that we have made contact with and we need to just follow up with them.  The ward here is great.  The members here are always looking for people that we can teach and they are great examples to their friends.  I feel truly blessed to be in this area around so many great people.
     Thats about it from my end.  Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week=)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Teaching 7/09/2013

     Good morning! So I was not able to email yesterday because we had interviews with president Mullen.  It was great being with president and sister Mullen and to receive guidance from them.  They are so diligent and hard working in their calling.  Because of that though, our p-day was changed to  today, sorry I forgot to tell you last week.  It has been a great week.  4th of July week was a little slower because everybody was out of town.  Sandpoint is a great destination point for people to visit except if you live there, then everybody leaves for the week.  It was a beautiful Independence day, and it was spent mostly street contacting downtown Sandpoint.
      We had a lot of meetings last week as well, which only added to the inability to teach some of our investigators.  The highlight of the week has definitely been teaching Christina.  We are teaching some of the most prepared people I have ever met during my time as a missionary, and Christina is one of them.  We helped her build a fence last week, and afterwards gave her the word of wisdom pamphlet and gave the rundown.  At first, she was super leery about it and told us she didn't think she could do it.  We invited her to pray and ask Heavenly Father for help.  The next few meetings we had with her are a perfect example of someone who has pure motives, and has real intent.  Within the last week she went from not thinking she would be able to quit smoking, to believing that she could, but it would take months, to our lesson yesterday.  Yesterday we invited her to have a goal to quit within two weeks, and she told us, "Well, I was thinking I could be done by this Friday."  She has felt the atonement in her life and she is going to keep going in the direction that will enable her to receive the peace the gospel brings.  She is so excited about it too.  Since we began teaching her 3 weeks ago, her countenance has changed so much, and you can see a great light of hope in here eye.
     We started teaching a guy named Dan who is way awesome.  He was taught be missionaries about 3 years ago, but moved to North Dakota for work.  He is back now, and wants God more in his life for his family.  When we stopped by he was thrilled to have us back and teach him.  His desires are pure and he really just wants to do whats right.  We taught him the Restoration and invited him to be baptized in August, which he readily accepted and wants his whole family to be involved.  We will meet with his whole family later this week.
     It has been such a blessing to serve in Sandpoint.  There are the greatest people here.  Humble people and the Lord has definitely prepared the hearts of many to hear the gospel.  I love you all and hope you have a great week=)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Some Mission Pics

Moses Lake


So Much Awesome Success 7/01/2013

     We have had a great week in Sandpoint. We have had so much awesome success finding people and inviting them to be baptized. Just as one example, on Monday, while we were in the stake center, a lady came into the church wanting to get some information. We invited her on a church tour right there and invited her to be baptized. She definitely felt the spirit as we went on the tour, and kept telling us she wanted to bring this up to her whole family. 
      The area is doing great. The bishop is fired up for missionary work in response to the broadcast on Sunday. Many of the members are getting excited as well. One focus that Elder Williams and I have had since we came into the area is to gain the trust of the members. Our way of doing that is by being diligent on our own efforts, and making sure that members know our purpose when visiting them.
     Christina is on date for July 20.  She is definitely having a hard time accepting forgiveness in her life.  She still feels super guilty about the things she has done.  We are trying to meet with her as often as possible because she tells us how much better she feels when she is learning about Christ.
     We found a new person to teach this week, named Heather.  She had come to church for a couple weeks with one of her member friends, and had taken lessons years ago.  We talked to her member friend about inviting her on a church tour.  She did and Heather accepted.  She doesn't have a huge understanding of the gospel, but knows that it is something she needs in her life, and wants to keep learning more for herself, and for her family.
     Sandpoint is a great place to be a missionary.  I love the people here.  It is going to be a transfer full of miracles.  I love you all.  Have a great week full of miracles too=)