Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 22

HELLO everyone!  Another great week!  We had an awesome member take us to a super nice pizza place on Alki Beach.  Afterwards we went to Top Pot Donuts.  I guess it's a really big deal here because Obama endorsed them when he came here.
Picture courtesy of Jo Sivley

For Thanksgiving we spent the day with other missionaries and President, then we went to a member meal.  There was lots of people and lots of kids!
This week I went on my first exchange as a district leader!  I stayed in West Seattle with Elder Packer, from Highline Somoa.  He's only been out her one less transfer than myself, and he's a really great missionary!  It was funny how we had never worked together before but we were pretty united in our teaching.  We found 7 new investigators that day.  The best experience came later that night when we were out tracting some apartments.  We weren't having much success, so we walked up a different hill.  We knocked some doors and still no success, so we decided to just say a prayer for guidance at one corner.  We ended up walking up this staircase that led us to a different neighborhood, and the first door we knocked, this guy was in the process of moving.  We talked for a while and turns out he's an inactive member who was baptized 4 years ago.  Elder Packer and I were blown away!  We're going to be working on getting him back to church now!  We said another prayer and ended up knocking on the door of a lady who let us in and we taught the restoration to her.  It's super rare that this stuff happens, you could call it a coincidence, but I just can't.
We're teaching a 97 year old lady from Louisiana.  She apparently has already read the entire Book of Mormon and she's going to come to church with us next week hopefully!

This week a really great scripture that hit me was Mosiah chapter 5 verse 2: "And they all cried with one voice, saying:  Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually."

It's really great how the spirit and a knowledge of the words of God can make us change to be better.  It's been a cool experience to serve a mission and grow!

Love you all!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 21

It's been a good first week with Elder Woolf!  He's a great missionary, a whole lot better than I was when I started.

We had zone conference this week at the Bothell Stake Center!  It's good to hear from President and other mission leaders.  They installed Tiwi black boxes in our cars though.  I'm a good driver but this is making me extra careful.  If I get too many violations they'll stick me in a bike area!  Not what I want when it's this cold and wet outside!!  The traffic coming back from conference was insane, but we did have time to meet with one of our investigators.  It was the first time she actually let us in and we were able to have a solid lesson about the Book of Mormon.  She's committed to do everything we challenged her with!

We had an emergency preparedness event at church on Saturday, so we went and introduced Elder Woolf to a lot of members, after that we had a really rough day . . . Saturday's are usually a good day to catch the people we're working with, but no one was home.  We only had about 45 minutes left before dinner and we wanted to be as effective as possible so we prayerfully went through our list of people we could see and decided to visit G.  He's a really nice older guy who wasn't too sincere with learning from us, so we don't stop by often.  But we're really glad we did Saturday!  He answered the door and was a little unbalanced so we thought he was just drunk and helped him sit down, but it turns out he was actually having what he called one of his "episodes".  He had a life alert button but wouldn't let us press it!  He couldn't talk for a minute, he was nodding off and honestly there was a second where we thought he was dead!!  He came back though and siad he was really glad we were there for him.  When he came back, we just talked him down and he explained that he hates calling the ambulance because these episodes are over by the time they show up.  He figures if he dies he dies!  We're obviously glad he didn't die on our watch!!! We read a verse from the Book of Mormon with him and all jokes aside, the spirit was really strong.  Looking back, that was a lot crazier than it seemed in the moment.  God's timing . . .
One scripture that I read this week that really hit me was in the New Testament; Philippians 3:13-14:  "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."  I've come to realize that we have to live by faith.  It's the only way.  Faith is for the future.  Faith is trust that God really does have great things in store, for all of us!
 I love all of you, and hope you have a great Thanksgiving!!


These next two pictures of of the Vashon Elders that he spends time with each week and gives rides from the ferry to meetings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Week 20

Not too much to report on this week.  We've had a lot of our investigators kind of fall off or stop progressing.  We're still working with Adam.  He's definitely progressing, he wants to start to pay tithing, which is really awesome given he's not even a member yet!

We had zone training on Friday, we focused on the importance of being consistent in our spirituality and studying the scriptures!  Elder Whiting (ZL) compared it to using mouthwash, you can't do it a couple of times a week and expect a change!

We did get some good opportunities to do service this week!  We planted some bulbs for one member and organized the shed of another.  It's been raining quite a bit this week!  We did see the sun earlier today though!

We had another great fireside this week, this one at the Bellevue South stake center.  We had to pick up the Vashon elders, so we were there super early.  The church is right behind the temple so we walked around the temple grounds for a while and took pictures (forgot my camera at home, sorry!).  We barely missed the 9:20 ferry and the next one wasn't for a whole hour so we waited and hung out with them one last time before transfers.

As for transfers, I lost Elder Skelton, but my new companion is Elder Woolf, fresh off the plane!  He's an awesome guy, we're pretty similar!  I'm excited for the next 12 weeks!  They also called me as a District Leader yesterday, so I'm feeling pretty inadequate.  I have really great missionaries in my district though; they make my life easy.

Love you all!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 19

This week I had an awesome opportunity to serve in Des Moins with my trainer for a day!  He's recovering from some sort of injury he got playing basketball, so he's been wearing a boot, but we went out and tracted in the early afternoon anyway.  One lady opened the door and was just in tears because of various things that have happened in her life recently.  We talked to her for at least 40 minutes and helped her feel God's love for her. We shared a message about charity with her from the Book of Mormon.  She said our timing was perfect and that she felt so much better.  God's timing is perfect!

Back in West Seattle, we had an interesting few days.  Some Muslim missionaries saw us walking and pulled over to talk to us.  We talked for a long time!  Really cool guys.  They asked us to say a prayer with them so we did in Arabic and apparently that's all it takes to become Muslim!  So Elder Skelton and I accidentally became Muslim.  They gave us a hug and then asked us to make them an offering so we gave them a Book of Mormon.

We tracted into a member the other day and she invited us in and gave us hot chocolate!  So awesome.

We've been working with A a lot.  He's trying to quit smoking this week!  It's been hard for him but we're praying that it works out.

Last night we had a meeting at the mission office.  They read off a list of 15 missionaries who will be training a new missionary starting next week and I'm on that list!  I'm excited for it!

This week I was reading one of the more popular chapters in the Book of Mormon and it really stuck out to me.  Moroni 7:47 says "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him."  The pure love of Christ is shown by loving other people.  When we love other people, we love Christ, and when we love Christ, we love other people.  They are the same thing.  Pure love is unselfish.  This is the love Christ has for us, and that we should strive to attain.

Love you all!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 18

Last P-day we went to the mall with the Vashon and Burien Elders!  It was fun, picked a pretty bad week to do so though.  We are all pretty broke towards the end of the month.  Today we're all going to Buffalo Wild Wings and then we'll play basketball.

Later last Monday we had an awesome meal/FHE with a member.  They were trying to teach their son how to bare his testimony so we just each stood at the front of the room and shared a simple testimony.  It was fun!  After that we met with P, his wife H was sick but he invited us in to talk!  He had quests for us and we ended up teaching him about God's plan of salvation.  He says he really likes talking with us.  We also gave him a children's Book of Mormon for his kids, I hope they read it!

We had a good opportunity to do service this week.  We did lots of raking for people in the neighborhood and some members.  We were lucky enough to have the Bishop come out with us for some visits this week.  We had planned to see C, but that fell through.  We visited with a few other people in the neighborhood but nothing too solid.  Nonetheless, it was fun to be with the Bishop, he's always really motivational to us.

We had lost contact with A until the end of the week, we were really worried!  All is well though, he hasn't been able to give up smoking, he really wants to though.  He even gave us his last cigarettes last time we saw him.  He told us at church yesterday that he slipped up again, but that's okay!  He's made a lot of progress in cutting back in just the two months that we've been in West Seattle.

On Friday we had a district meeting where Elder Follett asked me to give another training on having a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  It went well.  I was terrified of giving trainings/talks when I first go here but it's gotten pretty easy.

We had a little miracle happen at church yesterday!!  Someone just showed up because one of her friends gave her the address to our church.  The testimonies we heard during sacrament meeting were great and she loved it.
Just one thought I wanted to leave with you all.  I was reading a speech by Jeffrey R. Holland this week as I was studying the attribute of charity.  He said, "I like Mormon and Paul's language that says one who truly loves is not "puffed up."  Puffed up!  Isn't that a great image?  Haven't you ever been with someone who was so conceited, so full of themselves that they seemed like the Pillsbury Doughboy?  Fred Allen said once that he saw such a fellow walking down Lovers' Lane holding his own hand.  True love blooms when we care more about another person than we care about ourselves.  That is Christ's great atoning example for us, and it ought to be more evident in the kindness we show, the respect we give, and the selflessness and courtesy we employ in our personal relationships."

This is the type of love we need to strive to have in our own lives.  As we selflessly give, we will make God happy and we will change into what he wants us to become.
Hope you have a good week!