Monday, January 26, 2015

The rest of January

Hey Everybody! :)                                                                                                               1-26-15

This was a great week in Big Rapids for Elder Laing and myself! 

Monday: After e-Mailing we went to a few stores and then had dinner at the Koepf's. As Sister Williams puts it, "she's dangerous". :) hah. It was good. Then we went to FHE. It was our first meeting. There was 6 of us there. It was fun. We shared a message with them and then we played "The Game of Things" followed by some brownies and ice cream. :) 

Tuesday: Today we spent the morning on campus. We had some great conversations. Talking to the students is always nice because they will actually have a conversation with you and they don't have a door to hide behind. :) We had a lesson with a new investigator named Kasup. He is from Sri Lanka. It was really weird because he's the first person I've ever taught who doesn't have a Christian background, but it still went well. He is a super cool and friendly guy. He is a Buddhist.... for now. ;) hah. We visited Sis. Seitler. She wasn't having the best day since she has allergies, but by the time we left she was in a much better mood. We also paid a visit to Sis Yearkey & Cox. Then we had dinner with the Hoerters. They are an awesome couple. They are spiritual giants and are always talking about the Gospel with us, and I love it. We watched a little bit of the Truman G. Madsen video, "On Sacred Ground" it's really good.

Wednesday: We woke up at 5 and drove to Greenville to play some basketball before District Meeting. District Meeting was great! Elder Bischoff is a really good teacher. He talked about how our entire purpose revolves around us repenting and helping others to do so as well. Also, that all that is ever expected of us is our best, whatever that may be. Then we went to BC Pizza. It's a buffet. :) While we were there some guy asked me, "are you guys on exchanges" so I asked him if he was a member and he said he was pretty inactive. So I told the Greenville Elders and they went and talked to him and got an appt. with him. :) Good things happen when you go to buffets... hah. Once we got back we had a great lesson with Jack on forgiveness and how we are required to forgive ourselves which is one of the hardest things to do... We had dinner at Sis. McClure's. It was great as usual. Leslie wasn't there so we taught AJ and Ryan. On the drive home Elder Laing and I had a great talk. I had been getting annoyed with how little he talked in lessons and I felt like he just didn't care. But we talked, and he really hasn't gotten a chance to teach. His first area they barely ever taught and his last companion was really dominant. He doesn't have very much confidence due to his lack of experience. So we are really going to work on that. I'm really happy that we were able to talk, it really helped, and I'm excited for the opportunity we have to learn together. :)

Thursday: Today was pretty slow. We spent some time on campus. Then we did our weekly planning. One of the goals we set for our transfer, is "Don't worry, Be Happy." I really like it. I feel like we tend to get stressed out a lot as missionaries..... for what?! We are doing the Lord's work, we have the gospel, and as long as we are working hard and trying our best, the Lord will provide. (1 Ne. 3:7) We got shined by everybody today... We had dinner at the Williams which was really good.  Then we picked up Larry and went to Jonny Koepf's baptism. It was awesome. It was on his 8th B-Day and he wanted us Elders to be a part of his confirmation. It was a really tender moment. 

Friday: Today we spent the morning on campus and then doorknocking. It was some good stuff. Then we had a slew of lessons. We had a lesson with Gabe that went well. Then we went to see Mary Ann. We had planned to put her on date to be baptized but she ended up dropping us. :/ It was tough. She is so cool and nice but she is moving into assisted living and doesn't want to meet for a few months. We were pretty disappointed. Then we met with Sis. Tucker followed by a great lesson with Kevin. He is a guy who the sisters knocked into that we were finally able to meet with. Elder Laing took the lead and we had an awesome lesson and we committed him to be baptized! It was awesome! :) We had dinner with Larry and Sis. Milton which was great.

Saturday: Today we walked and knocked. hah. :) We were out in the country outside of our little neighborhood, it was pretty fun. Then we walked to see Wyatt and had an interesting discussion with him, as usual. ha. Then we stopped and got a pizza from Jack. Then we walked and had dinner with Sis. Bevan (the pizza wasn't the best idea) ha. It was a lot of knocking but we had a good time. :) 

Sunday: Today was also great. I finished preparing my talk this morning (some things never change). :) hah. We had a ton of less actives at church today, it was awesome. It was the fullest I've ever seen the chapel! My talk went well, at a few points I had the Chalmers-itis of talking too fast, but it went well. :) I based my talk on a few quotes, "Don't give up what you want most for what you want today." and "Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most." Then we did a trivia game for the youth in Sunday School. I came up with the Q's, it was fun. :) We had lunch with Sis. Tift and Wyatt. That was great. Then we knocked doors for a while. One guy we met answered every question we asked in a way that was as contradictory to what we know as possible, then when we brought up the Book of Mormon he didn't have very many good things to say so we just left. I was proud of myself because I really wanted to give him the business/truth. :) We finally tracked down a few less actives later on and then took the Sacrament to Larry.

So far today, we studied, shopped, I got Elder Laing to work out with me :) and that's about it. It's been fun though. 

My spiritual thought of the week is the quote I used in my talk, "Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most." Enjoy the journey, don't just wish for your trials or hardships to be over, be like Alma and his people and "submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." 

I love you all so much!

Elder Chalmers
One of the many bulldogs that are all over campus

Me and Elder Laing

Winter in Michigan

"Bear with patience thine afflictions and I will give unto you success." (Alma 26:27)            1-19-15
Hey everybody! 

This week was a great week in Big Rapids, Michigan! We had quite a few really great experiences and patience learned me something this week. :) ha. In a few different ways....

Monday: After e-mailing last week, Elder Laing had to go get some winter gloves so his fingers wouldn't fall off. ha. Then we had dinner with the Hoerters. We also did FHE with them and watched part of these videos by Truman G. Madsen where he is in church history sites and talking about the events that happened there. It was really good.

Tuesday: Today we did A LOT of finding. It was great! After studies, we went to Ferris State University's Campus and did a lot of personal contacting. I had quite a few really good conversations. What we do is we stay in the main area of campus and we split up so we are still in "sight and sound" but we are able to talk to more students. I talked to this guy named Kasup. He is from Sri Lanka and just got here for this semester. I was talking to him and found out his mom is Christian, but he is Buddhist. He said to me, "You teach me". So that is what I'll do. :) I also had a lot of other great conversations. The approach we have been taking with them is we will just spark up a conversation and then we ask them, "Have you ever wondered what the purpose of life is?" and it's been working super good with the students. We knocked doors for a while and met this one guy who had investigated the church before but wasn't interested and really didn't want to meet again. So at the next house we found this huge icicle and were taking a pic of it and the guy started walking down the street toward us and he gave us a Book of Mormon timeline that he had bought. It was a super nice one that has a ton of info on it and is a great study guide. We tried to visit quite a few less actives today and were able to teach one of them. There are a ton of them here in Big Rapids... Sis. Milton got us pizza tonight so we went to Larry's and ate it with him for dinner.

Wednesday: Today was sort of an off day for Elder Laing and myself on campus. I felt like it was my first day again, I had such a hard time talking to people, it was weird.. We were supposed to have a lesson with a girl we met named, Taquilla, but she shined us. So we had a really cool talk with Teagan. (President Williams daughter, who is a branch missionary) She is thinking about a mission so we talked a lot about missionary work and such. We went to get dinner for Larry from Sis. Pore and had a lesson with her on prophets. We dropped off dinner for Larry and then drove out to Sis. McClure's for dinner and to teach AJ & Ryan. Dinner was amazing as usual, chicken, corn, green beans, and cake. Sis. McClure works wonders in that kitchen. :) We had planned on asking Leslie and James (AJ & Ryan's parents) if they wanted to be taught with their sons but James was asleep since he works 3rd shift so we couldn't do that. We decided to watch the Restoration with them. As we were talking about Joseph Smith, Leslie was sitting in on the lesson and asked us, "So it's all about prayer?" We told her how it's about taking something that you have a desire to believe in and then taking it to the Lord in prayer. Then we asked her if we could start the lessons over and teach them as a family and she said YES! It was so cool, the lesson worked out perfectly! You can always trust Joseph Smith. :)

Thursday: Today was a sweet day. Elder Laing and I were working it on campus today. I had a couple of really great conversations. I talked to this one girl from Midland and we talked about Midland for like 5 min. She even knows some members from there (The Pennocks). I set up a return appt. with her, she is sweet. They were also handing out these coupon books on campus and Elder Laing and I scored a ton of them. ha. Then we did a church tour with Connie which was the first time we've been able to get her in the church, so that was sweet. Then we had a lesson on the Restoration with Mary Ann. It went really well and she prayed at the end of the lesson! :) Then we had a lesson with Sis. Tucker on how Christ lived a life in a similar way to us in growing "grace for grace" and how we can follow his example. Then we got to meet Sis. Bevan. We thought she wasn't a member, just her 9 year old daughter was. But turns out, she's a member. She is super cool. Then we had dinner with the Williams and we committed all the kids to read the scrip everyday and pray morning and night. Then during dinner, I got a call from Bro. Thompson asking if one of us Elders would give a talk on patience in sacrament meeting. I could have thrown Elder Laing under the bus but I decided to take the task and save our companionship. ;) hah. 

Friday: Today was a rough day.. We decided to go to the outskirts of our area today and try and track people down. Our area is huge by the way. We also had like 10 referrals from a lady in Alaska of her family that lived in Evart that we wanted to go see. So we set off on our little road trip. We were able to meet her parents and they let us in. They told us about their grandson on a mission but were very adamant about not wanting to change. We shared a little lesson on the Plan of Salvation with them, but they really weren't interested. we left them with a pamphlet and invited them to pray about it. At one point, we were going and there was one person we had planned to visit who was WAY out of the way. So we prayed about it and decided that we needed to see her so we put her address in the GPS which took us off on a logging road so we recalculated which took us to another way too snowy road for our car.. I was getting really frustrated but I knew that we were supposed to find this lady so Elder Laing and I talked about it and we rerouted one more time. As we started to go again the song, "I'll go where you want me to go" came on. It was really cool how it was an answer to our prayers really. The lyrics go,
  1. 1. It may not be on the mountain height
    Or over the stormy sea,
    It may not be at the battle's front
    My Lord will have need of me.
    But if, by a still, small voice he calls
    To paths that I do not know,
    I'll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
    I'll go where you want me to go.
    1. 2. Perhaps today there are loving words
      Which Jesus would have me speak;
      There may be now in the paths of sin
      Some wand'rer whom I should seek.
      O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide,
      Tho dark and rugged the way,
      My voice shall echo the message sweet:
      I'll say what you want me to say.
        1. 3. There's surely somewhere a lowly place
          In earth's harvest fields so wide
          Where I may labor through life's short day
          For Jesus, the Crucified.
          So trusting my all to thy tender care,
          And knowing thou lovest me,
          I'll do thy will with a heart sincere:
          I'll be what you want me to be.
      1. (Chorus)
        I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
        Over mountain or plain or sea;
        I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
        I'll be what you want me to be.

What ended up happening was that the address was faulty. We ended up in the middle of nowhere. But I learned a valuable lesson in patience and following the Spirit. We don't always know why we are guided to do certain things and all I can think of coming of our efforts is saving future missionaries a trip, but we were patient and did what God wanted us to do even though it was frustrating. We met this one guy while trying to find a less active. He told us that he was no longer there so we thanked him and left. A few miles down the road I said, "We should have invited him to learn" Then Elder Laing said, "you read my mind." So we went back and had a great convo with the guy. We also visited Sis. McCarver, and got dinner from Sis Carpenter for us and Larry so we ate dinner with Larry.

Saturday: Today we had a lesson with Mackenzie. We didn't feel like it was going too good because she wasn't asking any questions and she couldn't really answer any of our questions even though we feel like we were being really simple. She said the closing prayer though, which quieted all our worries. In her prayer she said that she was thankful for our patience and persistence with her, it was really cool. Then we helped Robin move into her trailer. Her mom's minister was helping out. We talked with him quite a bit. He lived in Chile for 6 years so we talked about it for a while. He is going to have us over for dinner sometime soon. :) Then we knocked doors and tried a new approach of being more direct with people, like saying "when can we come back" rather than "would you be interested?" We had a lot of success with that. We had dinner with the Hunt's. They are awesome. Then we did our weekly planning and Joe Booth from Midland called me and I talked to him for a little bit, he's doing great!

Sunday: So this morning was my other test of patience. So, I probably grew a few grey hairs preparing my talk on patience. I was having a hard time narrowing down my topic. So I finally decided on talking about patience through trials/ immediate gratification. I got my talk all prepared and then told Elder Laing and I was about to give him an overview when we got a text, saying church was cancelled, due to icy roads... I was pretty upset.. But it was definitely a test of patience through trials. hah. So we knocked doors for a while. We had a great lesson with a new investigator named Steve. He likes to explore all kinds of religions so we read Alma 32 with him, and it went well. He said he is pretty much agnostic, but that he wants to study the BOM. You can only read it so much before you start to believe in it and get curios. :) Then Bonnie dropped us. Since her concussion she isn't all there and can't remember anything and really can't learn anything anymore, it's sad, but she will still get her chance, I'm sure. We had another lesson with Sebastian and Chloe, who are 11 and 9. Then we visited a ton of potentials.

My spiritual thought of the week has already basically been stated, but be patient through your trials. It's often that the enduring the trial is where you grow the most, not the actual act of overcoming it. Trust in the promise in Alma 26:27...and remember, "We count them happy which endure" (James 5:10) I know the Lord will bless those who are truly patient.

I love you all!

Elder Chalmers
Ferris State University

Awesome icicle!

FSU Bulldog

Much Needed Humble Pie Was Served...
Hey Everyone!                                                                                                                           1-12-15
First of all, I want to apologize for using the saying Humble Pie as part of my subject line, but it's the best way to describe my week. :)
This week was a great week for a lot of different reasons. We were able to find some really cool potential investigators. We helped shovel the sidewalk to a Catholic church, and Father Chuck came out and the look on his face was really great, and a lot more stuff. :)
Monday: We had a district P-Day today. It was great. We met here in Big Rapids. We played capture the flag in the woods behind the building in Big Rapids. It was a ton of fun and super tiring. Then at night we went and saw Larry in the hospital and read the Ensign with him.
Tuesday: Today was cold. We knocked doors for a while and the wind was howling, and it was pretty painful. We endured it though. Nobody was really interested, but it was still fun. We met a guy who referred to himself as a "911 Christian". He explained it as whenever he needs help or things aren't going good then he prays and relies on Christ. It really bothered me. That is such a bad attitude to have! God isn't a repairman!
Wednesday: Today we had District Meeting in Fremont. It was good. We talked about teaching people, not lessons. We had some funny district pics. ha. Then we had lunch at a place called The Lunch Pail, it was good, but nothing like The Lunch Box. :) Then we traded off and Elder Raun came to Big Rapids with me. We knocked and it was freezing! So cold! My feet went numb and then started to hurt on top of that. I realize that doesn't make sense, but it really didn't make sense! Then we tried to visit some people with Jack but nobody was home. So we knocked some more. Then we drove out to the McClure's. We had deer steak and it was delicious as always. They are from WV and everything is homemade, it's awesome. Then we taught AJ and Ryan about prayer, scripture study and church. Using the 3 channels of revelation drawing. It went good. We listened to the conversion story of a guy named Bill Carpenter while we were driving. He was in school to be a Catholic Priest, and it's such a good story.
Thursday: We traded back then we ate lunch. We went with Jack to teach Connie. We had a great lesson on keeping the Sabbath-Day holy. She is going to go on a church tour on Wednesday, so we are super excited about that. We've been trying to get her to church for a long time. We had a lesson on prophets with Sis. Tucker. We had a super cool discussion with Gabe. We talked about the temptations that Christ endured and then he told us how his bro is on heroin and how he's trying to help him out. We told him the quote by Elder Holland, "I may not be my brother's keeper, but I am my brother's brother." We had dinner with the Williams. They made pancakes, but used baking soda instead of baking powder, so the pancakes tasted like pretzels. :) ha. So they whipped up some French toast. We got like 10 referrals from a lady in AK. So I got to call her. She is really cool and she knows the LeCheminants! It was really cool.
Friday: Today was one of the best days of my mission. And not for the reasons you would think. We got our transfer calls today and I was hoping that I would be called to be the District Leader and I felt like I was going to be but we got the call and nothing changed for us. I was pretty disappointed about it. So we finished studying and ate lunch then we started weekly planning. The whole time I was thinking about the transfer calls. Then I realized what had happened. I had been becoming really prideful. I was called to train right after I was trained and I didn't really realize it, but I had. So I excused myself from planning and went into our room and prayed. I asked for forgiveness and promised to do my best to follow God's will, not my own. It was a very humbling moment. It was just what I needed. This is also my spiritual thought to everyone. What we want isn't always what God wants. We need to always be striving to do God's will. It can be summed up in a quote. "The great test of life is obedience to God. The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it." We also had a good lesson with Mary Ann today
Saturday: Today we did a lot of walking. We got double shined by Mackenzie, which was sad. We knocked doors for a while and met a couple of really cool guys. We also helped shovel the Catholic church, that was funny. :) Then we had a lesson with Wyatt and Melody. We ate dinner at Little Caesars, Jack hooked us up. Then we ran home, since it was cold. ha.
Sunday: Nobody showed up to church again which was disappointing, but it still was good. We knocked doors for a while, and met a really cool guy, he was interested, then his wife shut us down. We had dinner at the Lillywhite's.
Today: We got to split wood for Bro. Thompson, that was a blast!
Sorry, I'm out of time. I love you all. Keep the Faith!

Elder Chalmers
Splitting wood for Bro. Thompson

I love Michigan!

District meeting in Fremont

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