Monday, August 25, 2014

Helen's Baptism!

Hey everyone!                                                                                                                   August 25, 2014

I hope you don't mind that I tend to gander rant in my weekly e-mails, but I just get on a roll. ha.
This week was a really busy week, especially since we had to get ready for Helen Liu's baptism, which was stressful, but well worth it! 
Last Monday wasn't anything special. We played Risk for P-Day, and that was a huge mistake, it took up the entire day! However, it was all okay since we had dinner at the Joneses and they made those P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps and some dang good sweet n sour chicken that was so good! We watched the Mormon message "Hope Through God's Light" with them and they really liked it. Then we went and talked with Helen and asked her if she would like her husband, Gordon, to be baptized with her. She said yes, and so we asked Gordon, and he said, "I've already been baptized" and then asked which church we were from. So, a little back story to Gordon. He is 87 and has dementia and has been to church the past three weeks but doesn't remember. Monday was actually his birthday and everyone kept telling him that it was his birthday and he would say "It's my birthday?" It was hilarious! 
Tuesday we went out to Joe Booth's house to mow his lawn for him. Elder Hess wanted to mow the lawn so I got to stay and chat with Joe. He's something... We finished mowing the lawn right as it started to rain. When we finally decided to leave it was pouring rain and I had to be the backer out of Joe's super long driveway, so that was pretty fun. ha. Then we talked with Patty for a while, since Nick wasn't home again... We went to see Helen and made sure she was all ready for her interview. It went well and she is super prepared for her baptism. Then we went to Blake's house. I talked with his son Kyle for a while. He just made the Midland High soccer team, so we had a lot to talk about. :) Tuesday wasn't a super eventful day, but it was still fun. It's really nice to be able to get out and work, it keeps me focused on the work.
Wednesday was a good day. We went on trade-offs, so Elder Finlayson was with me in my area. We had district meeting which was on revelation through church attendance.  We had district lunch at Mancino's. They have the best calzones, I'm a believer in them. I also lost my magnetic tag but I found it on Sunday, it had fallen into my suit pocket... hah. We taught Ben today, and we watched the Restoration video with him, he really liked it, once he quits smoking we can baptize him, but he's struggling. Then we tried to contact some referrals and took a picture by the chrome Jesus at the Messiah Lutheran Church. Then we knocked some doors before our dinner appointment. We had dinner at the DePierro's. They made italian food and even canoles for dessert. Then we taught Curt and Patty and Bonnie Bash. We taught them the Restoration, and it went really good, it was awesome to see Bonnie participate a little bit, since she is really quiet. Then we went and helped Elder Hess and Nielsen since they gandered a piano! The had spent the last hour of the day pushing it like 2 miles, it was nuts. hah. 
Thursday wasn't a super exciting day, but it was still a great day to be a missionary. Elder Finlayson and I went to the Tridge for a little bit and then we switched back and Elder Hess and I were reunited! :) We didn't get to teach any lessons today but we did weekly plan which takes up quite a bit of time. We helped a family from the 1st ward unload a truck with the other elders. We spent quite a bit of time at the Tridge today.
Friday we did some serious work! After studies we went and met with David Clark. We got into a pretty deep discussion, which was pretty fun. We talked about if Jesus was married, and about how the Trinity doesn't make any sense. It was pretty fun getting to talk about some deep doctrine, since we don't ever really get to do that with our investigators. Then we went to Joe's house. We had planned to teach him the Restoration, since he finally got first presidency approval, and so he just needs to meet with Bishop and then we can set a date with him! He just went off about baptism and stuff. Then we knocked doors for a little bit. Then we went on a quick Trade-off. Elder Hess and Finlayson went to Helen's house so Elder Finlayson could interview her while Elder Nielsen and I went out to Dennis's house to help him with roofing. Dennis is the 1st ward sisters' investigator who just got baptized on Saturday. It was super fun. Dennis is a stud. Then we switched back and we had dinner with Sister Anderson, Nyman, and Bro. Sovia. They are all older and single. They are really nice. They got us pizza. :) We then finished the day at the Tridge. We met a lot of cool people and even saw the other elders teaching a lesson. They told us that their entire lesson consisted of the guy pulling up anti-mormon literature right in front of them...
Saturday was Helen's baptism! After our studies we went out and met with Nick K. He filled us in on all of what's been happening in the world. It's good to be a missionary and be totally oblivious to everything that is going on. :) hah. Then we got into our suits and went to the church for the baptism. It was such an amazing baptism. Helen's niece gave the opening prayer, and she had it all written down so she could say it in English, it was so sweet. I really like that in her pray she prayed for us to always remember to pray and read our scriptures. Then Sister April Millward gave a talk on baptism. It was really cool since she said that her best friend growing up had moved from Taiwan and that is where Helen is from. She gave a really great talk then the actual baptism was amazing! Brother Henson was really nervous because he had to use Helen's real Chinese name, which is Lie Sun Chueng Fang and he messed up saying it the first time and it totally threw him off. So he then said it right but had totally forgotten everything, so he paused for a second and then looked at me, since I was a witness, and I said "having been commissioned of Jesus Christ" and then he remembered it all and baptized her. It was so sweet. Then Juanita Dorlon, brother Henson's mom shared her testimony and it was really sweet. Elder Hess gave a talk on the gift of the Holy Ghost which was also really good. He did a really cool object lesson with it. My favorite part of it all though was when Helen's brother Mark Sun gave the closing prayer. He gave it in Chinese and the entire time he was bawling. He was so happy to finally get to see his sister baptized. The Spirit was so strong.  I loved it so much. :) The rest of the day we tried to visit some potentials and then went to the Tridge.
Sunday was a good day. We got invited to PEC for the first time and we were at the church for 6 hours straight! It was good to finally get to eat afterwards. hah. But church was really good. Brother Henson got to confirm Helen and we got to stand in the circle. It was a really great blessing he gave her. And then after church, we were trying to round up the whole Liu family and we found Gordon outside and we watched as Mark held him back because he was trying to get into the Jenkins mini-van to hold their baby It was hilarious. :) We were waiting for Helen and Gordon to start gospel principles and so we looked out of the room for them,and all I could see was Gordon waiting outside the bathroom for her. It was so cute. After church we talked with Nick's mom, Heather. They finally got a house in Saginaw, so they are out of here. We won't be able to see Nick anymore, but we will get the Saginaw elders to start meeting with him He needs good role models in his life. Then we tried to see some potentials and drove past Jon and Jan Marcou's. We saw Jon outside, so we stopped by. We talked with them for a while, and they had football on the TV. It was so hard for us to get out of there! The Marcou's are so great, though. Then we did church media study. We started watching Legacy, but we both ended up falling asleep.. dang it! We taught Don and Penny McCormick in the evening. It was a really great lesson on the Plan of Salvation. I kept wanting to commit her to baptism but I just couldn't get it out. Then at the end of the lesson she talked about how missionaries in the past had pressured her so I was happy that I didn't try and commit her since I think she would have felt pressured by it. The Spirit is always guiding as we teach. It's so important to be able to recognize it and then listen to it. 
So far today we have played frisbee golf and basketball.
This week was such a great experience for me even though we felt like getting ready for Helen's baptism was a pain, it was all worth it! I'm a little surprised by how happy I am that Helen got to be baptized. It's such a testimony builder getting to see someone make such a big step on their way back to our Heavenly Father. My one challenge to all of you is to really appreciate the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Elder Holland has said that it is the most underused and under appreciated gifts we have. The Gift of the Holy Ghost is a foretaste of Eternal Joy. Always live worthy of this amazing gift and look for ways to use it more effectively in your life. I can promise you that as you do you will experience so much more joy and comfort in your life. If you use the chart on page 96-97 in Preach My Gospel, you can better understand how the Holy Ghost works and it can help you better use the gift you have been given. I know that it has blessed my life and I am so thankful that I have been given such an amazing gift. 
I love you all so much and am so thankful for all the prayers and support that you give me.
Moroni 10:5

Elder Chalmers
Chrome Jesus

Matching ties with Elder Finlayson

Helen's baptism

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Letters and Pics from August 4 & 11, 2014

From Your Very Own Michiganary!                                                                                    August 11, 2014
Hey Everyone! Thank you so much for all the e-mails you have all sent me this week, I love them. Keep 'em coming, they are super fun and entertaining to read. :) So this past week was sweet, we worked super hard, and had a lot of really great experiences. 
Last Monday after P-Day ended we had dinner at Brother Cannady's house. We roasted hot dogs, and I downed a ton of cantaloupe. His wife was feeling sick, so she just lay on the couch the whole time. He works at the Detroit Temple, so we talked a lot about the temple, which was really cool. It was pretty funny, he kept calling his dog "Dog" and his voice kind of sounds like Doug from Up, so I was entertained. :) After that we went and talked with Nick Gagarin, and then finished the night at Blake's, and it just so happened that he was watching the Man U vs. Liverpool game. :)
Tuesday was a good day. We were able to talk with Nick again. Since he was supposed to be baptized on Saturday. It went really good though. We read 1 Nephi 4 with him. We chose that because Nephi cut Laban's head off, so it would keep a 13-year old entertained. hah. But we talked about how Nephi had the faith that Heavenly Father would provide a way to do that which he was commanded. Then we taught Ben Guffy about Eternal Families, Family History, and Temple work. We brought Bro Cannady along. When we told Ben that he could be with his perfect family forever, he got super excited. It was really cool.  The rest of the day we tried to visit all the part member families in our ward, the last place we stopped was Penny and Don McKormic's. He is a member, and she isn't. I guess the Sister missionaries used to come and teach them a while ago, but they had stopped. So now we are going to teach them. We are pretty excited about it. 
Wednesday was a very interesting day. We had district meeting, so Elder Hess and I got to the church early, because he wanted to print off a set of rules for a game called Pathfinder that we want to play on P-Day. So he started printing them, and then we went to district meeting. So after we had finished with the opening prayer, a guy from the first ward came into our meeting and started chewing us out which was ridiculous because Elder Hess was printing the rules from a CD he had, so we weren't breaking any rules. So the guy just assumed, and took it upon himself to try and discipline us. So I guess he sent an e-mail to President Jacobsen saying that we were on unapproved websites (which we weren't) and all this other stuff. So the assistants and our ward mission leaders and everyone were calling us all day, it was super distracting but we were on trade-offs, so Elder Hess and Elder Finlayson were much more distracted than Elder Nielsen and I. We had district lunch at Golden Buffet, which is a Chinese buffet, I was in heaven. :) So, Elder Nielsen and I were in my area and I was the senior companion, it was crazy! :)  We got to teach Marta. She is our super solid new investigator. We taught her the 1st half of the Plan of Salvation. She had a lot of good questions, and it went really well. Our problem however is that she believes that the priest who baptized her when she was a baby had the priesthood, but we can work with that, we just need to explain covenants to her. Then we went to see Nick. We watched the Restoration video with him. He really liked it, and said that he does believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet. It was really cool. After that we knocked doors for a while, which was good. Then we went to Blake's house, and I got to finish my miniature! It is so sweet. After that we went to A&W and got free root beer floats! Then we had dinner. Sister Glenn gave us a ton of leftover hot dogs and hamburgers since her husband had held a thank you event because he is running for state senate. 
On Thursday we had to go to the Church to trade back, but we also had to go and say sorry to Sister Lund, who is in charge of the Family History center. We just explained everything to her, and she just told us that if we want to print stuff out we have to pay for it so it was no big deal. Then we did our weekly planning. So on our way to go teach Nick again, we got a call from Sister Reyes. We met her at a parking lot, and she gave us some tamales. Then she bought us a blizzard from DQ! It was my first shake I have had on my mission so far! It was delicious. :) Then we went and taught Nick. We had talked to Brother Jones earlier in the week, and decided that for Nick to show he had humbled himself enough to be baptized, he had to come to church on Sunday. So he agreed to do that, which was awesome. After that Sister Schroeder took us to El Patron for dinner. It was super good. She told us her conversion story, it was so awesome. She got really emotional telling us, and it was really spiritual. After that we taught Curt and Patty, which was great as always. Then we met Brother Jones at the Sister's apartment, so we could get their area book. We also took other supplies from their apartment, so we now have a working can opener. :) hah. After that Bro. Jones cut my hair. And he said it best, "You get what you pay for." He did a hack job on my up-do! The longest part of my hair is now my cowlick and I look ridiculous! :) hah. But it's okay, I don't have anyone to impress out here.....
On Friday we met Helen Liu. She is the Sister's old investigator. She is 83 and from Taiwan. We got to her house and her brother and his wife and daughter were in town. They are visiting from Taipei, Taiwan! They were speaking Chinese because they barely know any English. It was really cool. We were able to get to know Helen better and talked about her baptism coming up on the 23rd. She just feels like she needs to know everything before she's baptized, but we told her that as long as she believed it, she would be fine. So she agreed to come to church on Sunday, as long as we could get her a ride. After that we taught Joe. Tracey, his girlfriend, who is a member and is always there picked for us to read 1 Nephi 8. about the tree of life. It was really cool to read it again. What really stuck out to me is when the mist of darkness comes around them it says that they pressed forward through the mist of darkness clinging to the rod of iron which I thought was awesome. How they clung to the Word of God in the mist of darkness which is something that we all need to do in the dark world we live in. After that we tried to contact some potentials. We were able to get a return appointment with one of them. The rest of the day we just tried to find more investigators.
Saturday was a really fun day. During companion study, Elder Hess and I went down to the Farmer's Market at the Tridge. We went for one reason, the cinnamon rolls that the Amish people make! They are super good, so we went and got some of those. :) After studies we met the Midland 1 elders at a lady named Edith Dickinson's house. Sister Reyes asked us to wash her windows for her. When I called her to set it up, she was so confused, I told her we would be there Saturday, and then she would be like "tomorrow!?" And I would say, no today is Tuesday, we are coming on Saturday. It was hilarious. So we got on her roof, and cleaned that window, and then took some sweet pictures up there. :) It was really fun. Then Sister Reyes fed us burritos, and cinnamon rolls and Edith asked us to give her a blessing, which I was able to do. It was a really good experience. After that we changed and then went to the Tridge. And we ran into the other Elders again. We then started talking to the LARPers. (Live Action Role Play) LARPing is just foam weapons, and you are live medieval fighting. Well they invited us to join them so we got to LARP with them. It was really fun. Elder Finlayson and I kept fighting each other, we were just laughing our heads off the entire time. :) After that we went to try and visit some people then we went to see Nick and reminded him he needs to come to church. Then we went and got Curt a couple of Crush sodas. Patty said he was having a rough day, so we decided to take care of our boy. :) Then we went to see Joshua, who is less active and is Sally's son. He was building a fence, and we helped him out for a little bit, he was really nice. Then we went to the Tridge. When we were done, the Midland 1 elders called us to see how many ITL's we had. Their goal for the week was to beat us, and they had 99 and we had 82. So it was 8:15, and we had dinner planned, but our pride got the best of us, and we spent the rest of the night personal contacting at the Tridge to try and beat them, which we did. We got 106! It was really fun, and we had some really good conversations. :)
Sunday was a good day. None of our investigators showed up to our ward. Not even Nick! So we can't baptize him for another week. I was so anxious waiting for them, it was crazy! Then Brother James asked me to give the opening prayer in Sacrament, which was really cool. :) We learned about signs of the second coming in sunday school. Something it said is that if we really are faithful and obedient we will know the signs of the second coming and prepare for it, I thought it was cool. :) Then we went to the 1st ward as well, because that is when Helen came. After church we went and met with Brian. He is leaving for college at Grand Valley State next week so we just chatted and shared Helaman 5:12 with him. He is a super cool guy, and I know he will be baptized soon.  After that we went to the McKormick's. We taught them the Restoration. Penny was really interested, and seemed to really like what we taught. It was a good lesson. For dinner we went to the James'. I love them, they are my new favorite family in Midland. They love soccer and remind me so much of my family! We stayed for their FHE and they are memorizing D&C 4. It reminded me of memorizing the Articles of Faith and Mosiah 2:17 and such when we would do FHE in Alaska. :) They went to the Lions pre-season game last night to go see Van Noy and Ziggy Ansah. They said it was sweet. They were super fun to talk to, I really really like them. 
So far today, we have shopped, studied, took pictures at the Midland sign, and then we tried to go run through a corn field. Except the corn was too close together, so it didn't work out that well, we even sort of got lost, but we made it! It was really fun, except Elder Finlayson had an allergic reaction to it, and his face is currently all blown up. hah.
I had an "A Ha" moment this week. Elder Hess and I were discussing why we don't just meet a daily quota on a mission; like if you work really hard, you can finish the day early. Then I realized that a mission is just like life. We aren't required to meet a quota, we are required to Endure to the End! We can always be better, and improve in some aspect, so we need to continue to endure. That goes for everything in life. I also am doing something called the "Purification Process." It's where you fast from things for 40 days and that way you can better feel the Spirit in your life. I'm doing this because everything good we do on a mission is inspired by the Spirit so if I can recognize and feel the Spirit more, I can be a better missionary. :) I love you all so much. 
Elder Chalmers

Blake, me and the mini wizard

My awesome miniature!

Washing windows at Sister Dickinson's

Midland photo shoot part 1

Midland photo shoot part 2

Midland photo shoot part 3

Finally Got Some New Gators!                                                                                    August 4, 2011

Hey Everybody!