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.
|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
So this week in Midland, Michigan was a pretty good one. I don't know why, but for some reason, the end of this past week seemed to take forever, but we made it through and had some success, so all is well in Zion. :)
So last Monday night after P-Day was over we went to see our 13-year-old, Nick. His mom had called us earlier in the day and said that Nick had an emotional breakdown earlier in the day, and asked if he could talk with us so we were more than happy to go see him. He told us how he got really mad because his Dad isn't a great example. He is trying to use Nick so he can get in America and go see his girlfriends that live here. (His dad is Russian) He just feels used and like he's not really wanted. So we showed him something that President Hess showed us. We drew two circles, one smaller one inside of a bigger one. We told him that the things you can't control go in the outside circle and the things we can control go in the smaller inner circle. We told him to just focus on the things that he could control and as he does that, his own personal inner circle will start to grow and the outer circle will start to shrink. I'm glad he trusts us and looks up to us enough to talk about his problems with us. I really hope that we can help him. After that Blake shined us, which is a first. So we went to the Tridge. We met a guy named Steve who was fishing. We talked to him for like an hour. His two favorite things to do are to fish and golf which reminded me of Dad. He used to be a golf pro at a course in California. He asked a lot of really good questions about what we believe. He had a degree in Old Testament studies and was really smart and nice. He is actually from Los Angeles but was visiting his dad in Midland.
On Tuesday not a lot happened for us. We made a lot of phone calls and tried to set up a lot of our appointments for the week. We did go see Patty Cormier. And turns out that when Curt isn't around she can TALK! She is such a sweetheart, she told us that we are like her kids. :) We had dinner at the Henson's house. He is a super funny guy. He actually served his mission in the Michigan Lansing mission years ago. They made chicken alfredo, which was awesome. I also met Sister Pyper, who just got transferred here with Sister Procopio, she only has 3 weeks left, she is really. We did a lot of knocking and tried to visit some YSA's also.
On Wednesday the day did not start out too great... We worked out our arms in the morning, which was the lone shining spot early on this day. :) We had two sweet appointments set up. One with Tom and another with Brain. So we got to the Tridge to talk with Tom, who is about 50 and we met him at the Tridge earlier in the week. He was really interested in what we believe and in the Book of Mormon. We met him there but he told us he had to go back to work but he was nice enough to still meet us there and tell us which was really cool of him. Then we personal contacted at the Tridge for a while and right before we were about to leave to go see Brian he cancelled on us and we had a member set up to come to that with us, so that was appointment was a "Piece of Hud" situation. :) So after lunch we knocked doors in Wildwood. The second to last door we knocked on made the whole day worth it. We met a girl named Marta Perez. She invited us in and we taught her the entire first lesson! She said that she believes that a prophet could be on the earth today and that the Book of Mormon could definitely be true. It was so awesome. She is 23 or so and moved to Midland from Madrid, Spain about 10 years ago. We were so psyched after that! Then we tried to visit some YSA's. We had dinner at the Gudmundsen's house. He plays the organ and then showed us the MOTAB organ songs from the 4th and 24th of July concert things, they were so awesome. You should listen to the one by Richard Elliot called Follow the Flag, it rocks. That night we met with Curt and Patty. We talked with them for a while before Curt had to leave to go close the pool at the place he works, but then Nick came over and we got to talk with him a little as well, which was awesome. I shared the Title of Liberty and then Alma 48:17 with Curt and Patty. Moroni was one spiritual giant!
On Thursday we Studied and then finally got to meet with Tom. We talked with him about the Book of Mormon and answered his questions. We gave him the Book of Mormon and he said that he would read it. We tried to set an appointment for a week, but he told us to give him two weeks, because apparently he's going to try and read the whole thing!!! :) Which is super awesome! Then we did weekly planning. After that we went to the Tridge for while. Then we went and taught Ben about priesthood and the other auxiliaries, as well as about missionary work. He said he's been off cigarettes for 2 days, which was really good to hear. After that we knocked doors and met a really nice lady who talked with us for a while and she agreed to take our card with our number and to give us a call if she ever needed some manual labor performed. :) Then we talked with a guy named Jerry Hines for a while, he said he played running back at Nebraska back in the day, so that was cool. We had dinner at the Gilberts house. He is the 2nd counselor in the bishopric. They told us their story and it's crazy! They met at EFY when they were about 15. Then they were friends after that, since he lived in Kalamazoo and she lived in Midland. Once he left on his mission she wrote him for the first 18 months but then got a new boyfriend at BYU. Once he got back, he was going to Michigan State while she was at BYU and they were long distance dating and then one day he drove all the way out there and proposed to her. Their first real date was after they were engaged! It was nuts, but really entertaining. She told us that she wouldn't recommend it. haha. That night we went to Blake's. He was playing this crazy game called Warhammer with a friend which was crazy.
On Friday we played soccer really early and met Elder Finlayson's new greenie. His name is Elder Nielsen and he's from Kaysville, Utah. He knows Warner Rigby. We spent that morning at the Tridge and then we got a text from Brian and he cancelled on us again...and we were really frustrated. So after lunch we tried to see David, but he wasn't there so we tried to see some YSA's who weren't home. But then we caught David after we went back there a few hours later. We talked for a while and he had some new CD's he was planning on listening to. He had Oh, Inverted World by the Shins (Jonny) and he also had Up From Below by Edward Sharpe & T.M.Z (Megan/Janglin) I told him that they were both really good. We also got him on board in fellowshipping Blake, since they would get along super great. I also got my driving privileges today, so now I'm riding dirty in my Chevy Cruze, it was weird at first, since I haven't driven a car in two months!
On Saturday we studied in the morning, and we talked a lot about the Questions of the Soul that the Book of Mormon answer. They are so money. You can find them all on page 107 of Preach my Gospel. They are awesome. So we went to the Tridge, and talked to this guy named Calo. He is a brotha with some dreadlocks. He said he would come check out the church. We asked him how long he'd been in Midland and he said, "about a minute" so we asked how long that was and he said 8 years. I'm learning to speak "Hood" out here. :) hah. After that we did service at the ShelterHouse Resale shop. I love it there, it's really fun and they play some awesome music as well. After that we went to see Nick K. I think he's a genius. We talked with him for like three hours. We found out that he basically believes the same as us, except he believes that Heaven, isn't a place, but a state of total peace. He was telling us how saying things like "I wish" just leave emotional baggage around us and how we need to try and cut that out of our vocabulary. He said "Stop Wishing, Start Working" which I thought was sweet. After that we drove way out of town to try and see a YSA. We sort of got lost so had to ask for directions and they only person around was a super drunk guy. He was swearing up a storm and kept saying really bad, mean stuff about Jesus Christ. I was starting to lose my temper but Elder Hess was able to keep it together and we finally got directions. So the YSA we met with, is named Jeremy and he's no longer a YSA because he's been married 18 months and has a son and one on the way. (Sorry dad, I can't refer them to you...) So we talked with them for a while, and he honestly doesn't really remember anything about the church but we gave them a Book of Mormon and are going to help them move soon. If we can start teaching them she will get baptized and he will come back to church for sure! He lives on a farm so the whole time we were talking there were horses and ponies and his border collie around us the whole time. I wasn't very comfortable. :) We also got free fish and fries from Long John Silvers ( sorry to bring it up dad...) today since they were having a promo, it was sweet!
Sunday was an awesome day. On our way to church David texted us asking us to come over. So we did and he did not look good. He asked for a blessing and asked me to give it. It was a really cool experience. After that my testimony of the power of the priesthood was 100% confirmed! At church I felt super prompted to bear my testimony so right before the end of it I got up there. I shared with them about how important my family and also how important my ward family are to me. I also shared a quote from His Grace is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox; which I love. It is referring to the Mormon pioneers, it says, "The task ahead of them was never as great as the power behind them." I related that to missionary work, as well as life.
After church we knocked doors and we talked with this guy who really wanted to Bible Bash, but we were able to tactfully get out of there, but it was a good learning experience for me. For dinner we went to the Carn's house. They are awesome. Brother Carn is one of those guys who likes to stir the pot. He really gets the debate going in Elder's quorum. We had burritos and I showed them the trick where you put whipped cream in your hand and flip it in the air and try to catch it. Sister Carn is probably going to be cursing my name after that. ha. Then we did church media study at night. We watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration which was really good. We also did some true gandering! (which is where you take stuff off the side of the road that people are throwing out.) We got a banana chair and a mirror. ha.
So far today we deep cleaned our apartment which now looks good and shopped. I got a lot of good stuff, mostly rabbit food, but my salads are going to kick butt now.
This week I studied what "mercy claimeth the penitent" means. I was able to sort of get an answer, but then I was reading Elder Holland's talk called Borne Upon Eagles' Wings and it really explained it well for me. He said that we need to go to our place of penitence whether that be the Lord or even the Bishop. This is because evil can be undone, but it cannot develop into good things so we need to humble ourselves and go back to our place of penitence. (We can think of a penitentiary as an extreme example of a place of penitence) and then repent so we can have our claim on God's Mercy. It was really cool.
I love you all so much and love hearing from you. No matter what may be going on in your life and no matter what trial or task you are going through remember that the task ahead of you is never as great as the power behind you. Trust in the Lord and He will help you. I can promise you that.
|The usual state of our apartment|
|A nice older couple we met...|
|Our sweet gandering finds|
|Sunset at the Tridge|