Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Merry Christmas from Big Rapids, MI

                                                                                                                                    Dec. 29, 2014
This past week was pretty slow in terms of missionary work, but it was a great week none the less. :)
Last Monday we were able to have a great lesson with Connie. We read the Book of Mormon with her and then watched He is the Gift. She is super cool. We are just really struggling to get her to church.
Tuesday: Today was our Christmas party/devotional in Grand Rapids. It was so great! I was able to see Elder Finlayson and Anderson and Sis. Cornia (From Midland), Elder Erecksen and Lowder from the MTC, Elder Wilson, Stevensen and a ton of other elders (friends). It was so great. Elder Green did a training on how to be better finders. I really liked it. I realized that at times I'm not bold enough in defending the truth. People will stay stuff that isn't true at all and I don't defend it enough. So I made a resolve that I will be bold with people, and tell them what I know to be true but still in a nice way. :) Elder Rhodes talked about being more diligent missionaries then we had an hour to go and get lunch so we went to Jimmy John's. I got to talk with Elder Anderson, Finlayson and Nielsen. We talked all about Midland. It was fun. When we got back we played games. Jeopardy was one of them and it was fun. Pres. and Sis. Jacobsen spoke to us and Pres. told us to make sure and make Christmas a special time for the right reasons. There were also a ton of musical numbers. It was a really fun day. We then drove back to BR and met with Sister Tucker. We watched He is the Gift with her and had a discussion about why we always remember the hard times more than the good times. We came to the conclusion that during the hard times is when we are better able to humble ourselves and see God's hand in our lives. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)
Wednesday: Christmas Eve was such a great day. We spent like the whole day knocking doors. We also had a great idea to take all of the Joy to the World DVD's that we have and wrap them and take them to investigators and less-actives. We had to walk everywhere, since we are low on miles and it was also raining all day. While we were walking from place to place we met this guy named Nolan. We just stopped him and had an amazing conversation with him. He is super interested and really loves that we believe in a modern day prophet. It was so cool. We haven't been able to get in touch with him since, but we will soon. :) We also met another cool guy who is interested in the purpose of life. It was so great. I loved it. After we made deliveries of all the rest of the DVD's we had dinner at Sis. Tift's with her parents. It was great. we watched He is the Gift and it was great!
Thursday: CHRISTMAS! Christmas was awesome. I got spoiled by my parents and also my grandparents and everyone. It was so great. I got a calendar of my family that Courtney made that was so awesome! :) The pics are the best. Elder Laing called home first so I made cookies ( burnt cookies ha) and was then able to call home. It was the best! I loved getting to hear everyone. After my phone call we went over to Larry's. I gave him his Christmas present (cowboy hat and John Wayne DVD collection). :) We had a super good dinner at the Williams and played Heads Up. I was super tired after we ate so once we got home, I fell right asleep at like 8. ha. It was a great Christmas though.
Friday: Today was a little rough... We did weekly planningand then went out with the Lewis'. We met with Bonnie. She fell and got a concussion so she was still a little out of it. She was telling us about the "dream" she had. It was crazy. Apparently we kidnapped her and all other kinds of crazy stuff. The second we'd start teaching, she'd go more into depth on her dream. She also forgot everything we have taught her. :( So we are going to try and start over. We got to meet a less-active member, Sis. Cox. We shared the message about prophets in the January Ensign. It was really good. We had french toast for dinner at the Lewis'. After that, we met with Jill Huzzey. We talked about Enduring to the End and how the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost) plays a role in it.
Saturday: Today was pretty cool. This morning when we were out knocking we met this girl, and were talking to her, then her friend got home and we helped them carry in groceries. We were talking to them about how the true church is on the earth today and they were super interested. So we asked if they had any questions and one of them asked, "What is the church's view on same-sex relationships?" Turns out they are a couple. One of them told us how she used to be Catholic and they kicked her out and she wanted to be able to feel welcomed somewhere. I told them that Heavenly Father loves all of us and that in order to follow Jesus Christ's example, as we've been commanded, we all have to make changes. They took it well and they still wanted to learn more! So we are going to teach them. I'm actually really excited because I have been somewhat intolerant of homosexuals in the past so I feel like this will be a good learning experience for me; to love everyone, no matter what. We got shined by everybody! So we were with Bro. Thompson and went up to Reed City and got Subway and went to see Sis. Carpenter. She is really cool and we got to know her better. When we got home I called former investigators for like an hour. I was able to get 2 appts and 1 other potential, it was really cool. After that we met with Debora for a little lesson. Her daughter came in and wasn't too happy to see us. We watched the Joseph Smith movie with Larry for his 1 year baptism annivesary! Elder Laing fell asleep, so we took funny pics with him. :)
Sunday: Church was good today. There were a few really good talks on scripture study and revelation. Elders Quorum was also good. We had good discussion about revelation and other things. After church we helped some former investigators move. They really needed help and we happened to call them yesterday so it was really cool how the Lord made that work out. We tried to see a few people and ended up spending a while at the Harvey's. We got to know them better and had a great message on missionary work. They gave us a referral of their nephew whom we are going to teach on Wednesday!
This was a really great week and made me realize how blessed I am to have the family and friends that I have.
My spiritual thought for the week is from Mosiah 23:21-22 
 21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
 22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.
Sometimes we go through trials not because we aren't being good but because we are being good. The Lord is giving us chances to grow and prove our righteousness and love for him. When things get tough, turn to the Lord and trust Him! He will always deliver you. D&C 122:7-9

I love you all! Have a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Elder Laing's nap

BIG RAPIDS 3.5                                                                                                                   Dec. 22, 2014
Hey Everybody, Merry Christmas! I can't believe it's almost Christmas time, it came so fast!
This was a great week here in the Big Rapids Branch, I will tell you all about it. :)
Tuesday: We basically knocked doors the entire day. It was awesome. I was feeling a little homesick because it's Christmas time and P-Day is pretty much the worst day of the week. We got out there pounding on doors and it fixed everything. The key to missionary work is most definitely WORK! The first door we knocked on they let us in and we got a return appt. We also met a single-mom who was really struggling with worldly things so we watched He is the Gift with her and it was really cool. We got a return appt. out of that as well. Then we met Bea who has been investigating for a long time, so we went with Larry (The 3rd missionary). She wants to be baptized but has a hard time acting on her desires. Then Sis. Milton brought up pizza, so we had a pizza party with Larry (not really, but it was still a party). We drove to Morely and met the Krome's. He has a Christmas tree that has $9,000 worth of ornaments on it, it was so cool!
Wednesday: We had district meeting in Big Rapids. The zone leaders came as well. We went on Trade-offs today. Our District Leader, Elder Walker stayed in BR with me. He is a really cool guy. He goes home in like 3 weeks. We had a great lesson with Connie on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She really liked it. She is super solid but we can't get her to church. :( We also went way out to Bitely with Larry to see Sis. McClure and teach her great grandsons, AJ & Ryan. She made these venison steaks and then peach cobbler for dessert. She is from WV and makes some amazing food. Then we taught AJ. He is 11 and is super smart, but the problem is, he knows it. We taught about who God is with him. It went well.
Thursday: We were able to go see Mary-Ann. She is recovering from surgery so we took her the Book of Mormon on tape and we also watched He is the Gift with her. When baby Jesus came up, she went, "oh, baby Jesus" It was so cute. :) She is a sweet old lady. Then we knocked for a while. It was pretty cold, both of our feet went numb. We went to see Wyatt and Melody, who are inactive. We were talking to Wyatt, and Melody came out, and asked us for a blessing. It was really cool.We had dinner at the Williams'. We watched He is the Gift with them as well. I love that video, it never gets old!
Friday: After studies we drove to Morely and traded back. Then Elder Laing and I did our weekly planning. We also had a really good companionship inventory and got on the same page. It was awesome. We met Sis. Tucker. She is an awesome lady. She has a super strong testimony but her anxiety makes it hard for her to get to church. We had dinner at Sis. Tift's. She texted us before and told us that her kids' Dad wanted to be taught by us, so we were pumped. After dinner we taught him and talked about the BOM. We also watched He is the Gift and The Hope of God's Light. It was good. But it sort of seems like she is forcing it on him and you can't force spiritual things.

Saturday: This morning we were knocking and an old lady invited us in and just gander-ranted for like an hour. We kept trying to bring up the gospel but she would just start talking about her grandkids. hah. We met a 93 & 94 year-old couple. They were really cool. We met Bro. Harvey at Mackenzie's who we met on Tuesday. We had a great lesson with her. She has a lot of desire and is really teachable. After that we visited Bonnie. She got a concussion, and was really out of it, it was sad. We knocked for a while and then saw a huge hill, so we ran to the top of it for fun. There was one house at the top so we knocked on it, and they guy wasn't interested, but we were able to tell him that we do believe in Christ, it was cool then we watched Legacy with Larry.
Sunday: Today was awesome. I gave a talk in Sacrament, on the He is the Gift initiative. I felt like it went really well. We also had Debora at church. It was awesome. She liked it. After church we had a lesson with Debora and she loved it all. She also really likes Larry. We had dinner with the Koepfs, Hawaiian Haystacks and decorated cookies, it was awesome.
My spiritual thought of the week is the He is the Gift initiative. From watching it with people, everyone thinks that the beginning part of it is an ad and that is what Christmas has become. But as it goes on, it tells us the true message. I'm out of time. But I love you all. May we have the Spirit of Christ with us all this Christmas season. I love you all.

Elder Chalmers

Merry Christmas!
Ready for Christmas in Big Rapids, MI


Elder Laing, Larry and me

Monday, December 15, 2014

Big Rapids, Michigan-Rounds 1 and 2

Hey everyone!                                                                              Dec. 15, 2014

So I don't have a lot of time this week, due to technical difficulties. So I will just give you some highlights.

We were able to teach a lot of lessons this week. It was really good. We have a lot of really great investigators (Bonnie, Connie, Debora, Mary Ann) to name a few. They are all so close but they all have their little hang-ups, which we are working on. :)

We had interviews with President Jacobsen this week in Spring Lake. It went really well. He is just a great guy, I love him. 

Yesterday, we went to see a less active who is awesome. But the GPS took us on a seasonal road and we almost got stuck, it was crazy. It was also really foggy, so it was a real adventure. :)

So the real miracle of the week happened on Tuesday. We drove out to a little town in our area to try and visit some less actives. We went to see a girl named Jasmine. We knocked on her door and the lady who answered is named Nina. Turns out Jasmine is 14 so Nina is her mom, she let us in and started talking to us about the Godhead/Trinity. We talked for a while and she is an excommunitcated member and has been really looking into religion lately because her life is falling apart. As we were talking, she started crying and said "I want to know if there really is a God." We talked about the Gospel with her and how much God loves each one of us. She asked us for a blessing and agreed to let us come back. It was a really cool experience how Heavenly Father put her in our path. 

My quick spiritual thought of the week comes from 2 Ne 28:32 and also from Mosiah 11&12. These verses highlight a critical point of the gospel. That is, that we can always repent. In Mosiah, Abinadi is continually telling the people how they are going to be persecuted and all kinds of other stuff, but he always uses the phrase, "Except they Repent." It's never too late, just humble yourself and the Lord is always ready and willing to receive you.

Merry Christmas, I love you all!

Elder Chalmers

                                                                                                    Dec. 8, 2014
Hey everybody!

So this week was a challenging week for sure. Elder Laing and I are white-washing Big Rapids. So, there have been sister missionaries serving here for the past like 4 years, but a ton of sisters went home and not enough came out,so they have put elders in Big Rapids now. 

I met Elder Laing on Tuesday morning in Grand Rapids and then we drove the hour and a half up to Big Rapids. When we got to the apartment the sister missionaries had left us with a TON of info on the area, to be honest, it was way too much info. So we were reading through all that and just got super overwhelmed. We did get a chance to meet Gabe, who is a less-active member. He was super happy to see that elders were here now. We got to know him a little bit better and we also gave him a blessing then we were trying to visit a ton of people, but nobody was home!

Wednesday: Today was a pretty good day. We have basically set a routine to go and personal contact on Ferris State University's campus every morning after we study. It's been pretty good except this week is Finals week, and then all the students take off for the next 4 weeks so the campus is going to die pretty soon. :/ We also got a chance to meet a less-active recent convert named Jack. He was super cool. We also met another less-active named Jill then we finally got to teach a lesson and we even took Jack with us! Her name is Connie. She is 50 or so. We got to know her and she is on date to be baptized so we talked about that. It was a great lesson and she loved having Jack there, he related to her really well. She has 5 dogs that are all small but they are all over you the whole lesson... :/ Then we got to meet with President Williams. He is a great guy. He gave us a lot of  good direction. He told us to really focus on getting to know the members and building trust with them. The thing about Big Rapids is that there are a lot of less-active members here, so the members who are solid and active get burned out pretty fast because they are the ones who are keeping the branch going. 

So that is what we did the rest of the week. We went around and got to know everyone better. There are a ton of really great people here. I'm super excited to be here to get the work going. We have a big task ahead of us, but all we can do is our best.

We have so far picked up one new investigator. He is a student named Lucas. He is cool but I don't know how much desire he actually has and he's leaving pretty soon, so that's a bummer... We also got to meet another one of our investigators yesterday. We had a great lesson with her. It was weird. She told us how she knows the Book of Mormon is true and she even said that, "Mormons are better" because they have the Spirit more. We invited her to be baptized but she said she didn't know. So we told her to pray about it. She will be baptized. :)

Church was so different yesterday. The only time I have been in a group that small was in China. We were assigned to give talks after being at church for like 2 min. hah. I get to talk on Dec. 21 about Christmas. :) Our branch did a cookie swap before the 1st presidency Christmas devotional that was fun and we got to know everybody better. I loved the devotional, it was awesome. It's kind of funny, but I always look for Michael David in the MOTAB choir and every time I see him, it makes me really happy. I don't even know him that well, but it's nice to see a familiar face. :) 

My spiritual thought for the week: I have been reading through the Book of Mormon and I was in Mosiah 7. Verse 30 talks about how we reap what we sow. So I did some study on that. I read Gal. 6:7 and Hosea 8:7 as well as a talk by Jeffery R. Holland called, "Borne upon Eagles' Wings." It's really cool. It talks about how we reap what we sow. But Elder Holland explains it well. He says we reap in kind what we sow so if we are mean to people, we can't expect to get love in return and he also said that we often reap in greater quantity. (Hosea 8:7) I feel like that is the important part. Being a missionary has been hard and really challenging at times but when I look at the past six months I have already gotten back way more than I have put into it. I feel the same way about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It often feels like there is a lot expected of us as members of the church but I know that if you look back on the blessings you have received from fulfilling and magnifying various callings and keeping the commandments, you will be able to see the blessings that the restored Gospel has and will continue to be in your life. 

I love this Gospel and I love each one of you. Merry Christmas.

Elder Chalmers

Half of our original MTC district!

I love Elder Rapp!

Posterity pic! (Elder Elwood trained Elder Hess, who trained me.) Elder Elwood just went home. He went to high school with Doug.

Gotta love campus life. hah.

Twice is Nice!!

Big Rapids!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Baptism and Tranfers

TRANSFERS!                                                                                                                                    Dec 1, 2014
So I don't have very much time to e-mail this week but I am going to Big Rapids, Michigan. I will be serving with Elder Laing and we will be white washing it. I've heard that it's a college town, Ferris State University, so that should be fun. :)

This week was great but it was also really sad having to say goodbye to everyone.

For Thanksgiving we went to the Cormier's with the sister missionaries, sister Chisholm and Smith. It was a blast! We ate dinner, watched the Joseph Smith movie, and had a great time. I love Curt and Patti, they are amazing!

Saturday and Sunday were both pretty emotional for me. We had our last lesson with the Shocknesse's. I walked in and told them that I had gotten my phone call. And John said, "NO! You are going to hate it there." And Karolyn just stared at me, and said. "no." At the end of the lesson, I told them how much I love them and how thankful I am to be a part of their lives and conversion then John got choked up and said to me, "I wouldn't be sitting here right now, if it weren't for you." That is what makes a mission so special, being able to help people change their lives through the Gospel. Then we also said goodbye to the Marcou's which was really sad as well. I have come to really love them both. They are such great people and have so much charity.

Sunday was great. We sat next to the Shocknesse's in sacrament meeting and they were both really happy, and Karolyn was smiling and having a good time. Then Sister Bethea walked in late and we had her sit by us. She whispered to me, "I came because of you." Later on, before she left church, she pulled me out of class and told me that she would miss me and that I reminded her of her first missionaries, she also asked if she could hug me. ha. She's amazing. John was also ordained and given the Aaronic Priesthood today! It was awesome. I had my last coordination meeting after church and everyone went around the table and told me something nice, it was really cool, the ward missionaries here are the BEST! Then we went and said bye to Blake and Bro. Jones. That was sad. We had dinner with the Jameses, BFD! They are one of my favorite families here. They are great. Then we went to the Cormiers and talked with them and said goodbye to them. It was so sad. "I hate goodbyes" -Dumb and Dumber. It feels like I'm leaving home all over again. I loved getting to serve in Midland and the people here are wonderful. I can't wait to get to come back here!

My spiritual thought of the week actually comes out of a letter I recieved. It is Jarom 1:9, Omni 1:6, & Mosiah 1:7. They basically just say to us that if we keep the commandments, we WILL prosper. The promise is also the same in the negative. If you don't keep the commandments, you will NOT prosper. It really is that simple. Take time to examine your life, and the decisions you make. Strive to be obedient to the commandments, I know it will bless each one of you. 

Elder Chalmers
Thanksgiving at the Cormier's

The Marcou's

Ward coordination

me and Blake

The Joneses

The Joneses part 2

JOHN & KAROLYN......BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!                                                Nov. 24, 2014
Hey everybody!

This week was so awesome! The highlight of course was John and Karolyn Shocknesse getting baptized and confirmed, but we will get to that a little later. 

Monday: We had a pretty uneventful P-Day. We ended up just talking in the Family History center for like 3 hours with the sisters about who we were back home, ha, then we had dinner with Sister Skaug. It was really cool. We talked about Mosiah 2:20-24 about how we need to be thankful to God and then afterward, she asked us for a blessing. It was a really cool experience. Having the priesthood to give blessings is such an amazing privilege and opportunity.

Tuesday: We had half-mission training in Mt. Pleasant today. We were supposed to have Elder Marcus B. Nash come, but he got another assignment, but it was still an amazing training. President Hoover, of the mission presidency spoke, and he is such a powerful speaker. He had us all read 3 Nephi 5:13. It was so powerful. Then as we drove home it was a blizzard and it was crazy! We went over to the Cormiers and that was great, as usual.

Wednesday: We raked leaves for the Glenn's with the other elders. It had snowed so we ended up shoveling the lawn, it was fun then we went and taught the Shocknesse's and finished the lessons with them. We talked about Eternal families and they loved it. Then we knocked for a while. We had dinner with the Pennocks. It was great. We talked about Polygamy and had a great discussion. We talked about how we really need to build our testimony on what's important then we had a dessert at the Joneses. Today some lady tried to tell us Joseph Smith was delusional so I shut that down. ha.

Thursday: Today was weekly planning and it was a struggle. But before that we taught the Shocknesse's about baptism and the sacrament and it was great. Later, we taught Ben and then we had to weekly plan. After that, we taught Dale Fultz. It was another great lesson and we talked about line upon line. We had dinner at the Carn's, monte cristo sandwiches and a peanut butter chocolate cake that was awesome. The way Bro. Carn said, "Babe, that cake is ridiculous, Imma hit that again." hah. He's the funniest guy. 

Friday: Today we did a little trade-off and Elder McBride and I went to the Shocknesse's so he could do their interview. They both passed! John was being super funny. ha. Then we traded back. We went to Joe's and helped him put up his indoor Christmas lights and the whole time Tracey was telling Elder Rapp how she liked me more, she was being brutal. hah. They were happy to find out that it wasn't my last week, so that made me feel good :) then we knocked doors.

Saturday: Today was the best! This morning we walked in the Santa Parade. That was a ton of fun. We handed out Midland Nativity Exhibit flyers, it was a ton of fun even though it was cold. :) We got ready for the Baptism. It was awesome. I got to baptize John and Elder Rapp baptized Karolyn. It was the best. I was so happy to see them enter into a covenant with our Heavenly Father. It was such a special moment. After the baptism, I was talking to them and they asked me if I was leaving and I said probably. Karolyn said, "I don't want you to leave, we really like you." and John told me to not pick up the phone. hah. After that, we knocked doors for a while. Then we had a lesson with James Cannady, following that we had a lesson with Dani. It started off as a pretty bad lesson but then we asked her why she wanted to meet with us and then it got really good. 

Sunday: Today was also great. I was able to confirm John and then Elder Rapp confirmed Karolyn. It was another super special moment for me. In coordination meeting, Sis. Henson asked me if I was leaving and I told her I probably was and since she is leaving town, she told me how she was able to see me from day one, until now, and how impressed she is with how much I've grown, it was really cool. :) Then after church we were talking to the Shocknesse's and they were telling all of us how they didn't want me to leave and they looked at me and said, that I saved his life, it was a really amazing moment. Being a missionary is the best decision I have ever made. You really can make a difference in other lives. We had a lesson with a new investigator named Dean. He is a little less-accountable, but is a super cool guy. He showed me his 4,000 card collection of Yu-gi-oh. He wants to get to know God better and be forgiven of his sins and guilt so we are really excited about him. Then we stopped by to see Sis. Bethea. We talked about being thankful, it was great. We had dinner at the Tufts and I spilled my salad into my lap... spaztic. hah. 

My spiritual thought of the week comes from our conversation with the Pennock family. Take the time to reflect on your testimony and think about what it's based on. Make sure that it's based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. 

Elder Chalmers

Teaching Ben how to tie a tie