Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I Now Know Why People Live in Northern Michigan

                                                                                                                                      April 27, 2015
This was a great week in Kalkaska! They all are, but this one was great as well. :) We met a super prepared lady this week, it was incredible!

Monday: I had to catch up on a lot of journals today, and I exercised, it was a pretty bland P-Day. We got some pizza with Bro. McDuffie and then helped Chris rake his yard. We had a great lesson with Tiffany and then Chris & Angel. It was a great day. We also called the lady who we met while we were driving down the highway and felt impressed to stop and talk to her. She asked us before we asked her, when we will be in Bellaire again, because she "really wants to talk to us" so we were pumped about that. :)

Tuesday: Today we met with Deb (the lady from the highway).. Before that though... we had a lesson at the Lamb's. Bro. McDuffie brought cupcakes for E. Houser's Birthday which is on the 28th. We taught the GOJC and had some great discussion then we had lunch with the Draher's. They drive trucks, but their truck is broken down so the whole branch is happy that they are here for a little longer. They rock. We were knocking doors and we met a 19 year old who let us in. We had a cool discussion with him and we're going to see him later in the week. So, we had our lesson with Deb... WOW! Steve was already there and she has been reading a book called, "The Keys of Enoch" which talks about the church and the Melchizedek Priesthood. So we had a prayer, and the second question she asked us was, "How do I go about being baptized?" We almost didn't know what to do. It was a miracle. She had read the restoration pamphlet and believed it all! We went through it with her and she believed it all so we gave her a Book of Mormon. It all happened so fast, she is so prepared! We left and then went back because we felt like we should give her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. She answered the door and told us she was just about to pray and also that "it felt like God was just in my house." Again, Wow. It's so rewarding to look back and see the fruits of following the Spirit. We met this lady while driving down the highway. The Lord will put people in your path so we need to be worthy and courageous enough to follow those promptings and then wait to see the hand of God bring salvation to souls. We had dinner with Sue who is a new convert and the Robinson's, then we had a lesson with Stanley. Deb was such a miracle!

Wednesday: We had a great district meeting today. I got the chance to study humility, it was really cool. We had an intense lesson with Bill. We talked about being baptized by the proper authority and things got a little contentious. By the time we left, however, he had prayed and asked that his heart would be softened and he wouldn't be so set in his ways. It was the power of testimony. Elder Houser bore a really powerful testimony to him. Then we had a lesson with Virginia and then had a lesson with the Piatts.

Thursday: Today we spent quite a while in Fife Lake knocking doors. We met some cool people and had a great time. We had a lesson with George today that went really well. We are having a hard time getting him to keep commitments, which has been a little tough. We had a potential leave us a note saying that she didn't want to meet anymore, but she did call us "fine gentlemen" which added some humor, even though we were sad she didn't want to meet. 

Friday: Today we had lunch with the Hildebrand's then went to Bellaire and did some door knocking. We met a guy who was walking and talked to him. He told us how he used to weigh 420 pounds and then started walking, and 4 years later, he weighs 170 pounds. It was incredible! We are going to go back and see him! We had a lesson with the 19 year old, Dominic. It was good, he had a lot of good questions and hopefully we can see him again. Then we taught Tiffany.

Saturday: Today we went out with President Robinson. We visited a less active member, and she and her husband are super cool. We also read 1 Nephi 4 with Angel. That was awesome as well. We went to Priesthood leadership and the adult session of district conference. It was really good. We went with Gary Piatt. He is the coolest guy ever. He is so new to the church and is so sincere and just does things. He's amazing. 

Sunday: We tried to go with Gary to get George for church, but it didn't work. :( For district conference we got to watch a broadcast. It was Elder Andersen and Hales and it was really good. We had a bible study with Virginia's niece and nephew, they are super cool. We are hoping for some really cool things to happen over there. :) We also taught Tiffany and Chris & Angel. We also saw Donna, her baby is due this week, so that should be cool!

Today we are in Cadillac for our district p-day, so that should be a lot of fun. :)

My spiritual thought from the week comes from my study on humility. In D&C 67:10 it says that fear and jealousy oppose humility. As I thought about that, it all made sense. When we become jealous, it's because we are insecure about ourselves and how others view us. Having low self-esteem also equates into this. So because of that we focus all of our time and attention on trying to improve ourselves in the wrong ways so we can be "seen by men". When we are truly humble we know that our true strength lies in God and that being more and more Christlike each day is really all that matters.

I love you all!

Elder Chalmers
With Steve after Penny's and Virginia's baptisms...YES!!

                                                                                                                                    April 20, 2015
This was a great week. The work has been great here, as usual. But the change has been the weather, it was such a nice week! :) I already partially understood why people lived here, everyone here is awesome, but the cold just isn't too great. However, the sunny and 70 degree weather makes it all make sense. :)

Monday: We got invited to lunch with Bro. Chowhan after e-mailing. So we did that and then had to clean our apartment for inspections. After that we went to Bro. Chowhan's and spent the rest of P-Day over there. Then we tried by a few people. We had an awesome lesson with George. We read the Book of Mormon with him. We prayed really specific before and after and took a few minutes to really think about it. The Spirit was really strong and we knew he could feel it. :) We left him to ponder how he felt when we left. Then we met with Chris and Angel. That went pretty well also. We had to leave, but Steve stayed over there until like 11:30 talking to them. ha. Steve is awesome!

Tuesday: Today was also a pretty good day. We had a good lesson with Chris and then Bro. Lamb. We tried by a referral and then knocked a few doors. One of the guys we met was not too happy to see us and made it clear he didn't want us on his property... :) We had dinner with Bro. McDuffie then had our apartment inspections. We passed with flying colors. We had second dinner with the Chowhans. :) We watched Kevin W. Pearson's talk from conference, "Stay By the Tree." It was so good. It's one of my favorites!

Wednesday: We had district meeting in Cadillac. I stayed there for trade-offs with Elder Hoover. He's a stud. We knocked on doors all day. It was great! The weather was great and we met a lot of cool people. They might move the Cadillac elders out to Manistee, so I asked him if he wanted to stay or go out to Manistee and he gave a golden response. He said, "I don't care, I'm here to serve." He's got a great attitude! 

Thursday: We went running along Lake Cadillac in the morning and at the turn around point we stopped and had a great view of the lake and the sunrise. The sky was all pink, it was super pretty. We did some more door knocking and then traded back. Elder Houser and I spent some time in Fife Lake. We were knocking but it's on the lake, so not very many people were home. We tried by a few referrals. It was pretty good, we set some return appts with them so we were really excited about that. We had dinner with the O'Neills and after that we tried by one of Bro. O'Neills friend and on the way back, we felt like we needed to stop and see Angel. She really opened up to us and it was really great. We are excited to get to help her progress more.

Friday: Today was a great and busy day. We had lunch with Bro. McDuffie. We watched "None Were with Him" by Elder Holland. It was so good then we met with the Drahers, since they aren't on the road. We met with a new guy named Bill. He knows all kinds of stuff about the Church, so that was really cool. We aren't sure of his intentions, but he is a really nice guy then we met with Penny, she's doing great! We had dinner with the Shafer's. It was super good and they stocked us up on leftovers! We went and read the Book of Mormon with Angel. It was really good and she gave a super sincere prayer at the end. It was so awesome! :)

Saturday: Today we had a good lesson with Bro. Chowhan, we taught Stanley about prayer. Then we had correlation and lunch. That was really good. We did a lot of door knocking today. It was really good. We got a few potentials, so that was great.

Sunday: I found out on Friday morning that we have been asked to give a talk. It was on dedication to the Lord and building his kingdom. I want to give a special thank you to both of my Grandpas. As I was thinking and praying what to speak on, I was led to a portfolio that my Grandpa Green had given me a few days before I left on my mission. I had looked over it briefly, but not very much. In it there was a speech given by a Navy SEAL about 10 life lessons and it was exactly what I needed. In my talk I spoke on how doing the small things is how we can be truly dedicated to the Lord. I gave some examples, and one of them was of Elder Smoot and Anderson. I read to the Kalkaska branch the story that my Grandpa Chalmers shared at Bob Smoot's funeral. I'm thankful that I'm able to have that to read and reread and cherish. I love that story. Elder Houser also gave a really great talk. In Gospel Principles, Bro. Chowhan taught the lesson. Chris and Angel were there. He shared his conversion story, it was really cool, and the spirit was really strong. We had potluck today, so that was great. I got to meet one of the converts here who lives in Florida part of the year. She joined, met a guy and got sealed and is super solid. Her name is Sue. She said her stepson is serving in Concepcion. Do you know him Megan? We were able to have a lesson with Donna then I had to do call-ins. We were able to knock doors for a while and met a guy who was super knowledgeable about our church and we had a great discussion with him. We also met a Seventh-Day Adventist and my past experience of dealing with them really paid off and we taught him about the Spirit World, he really liked it! :) Then we taught Chris and Angel. It was another good lesson.

Today we have shopped and studied and that's about it. ha

My Spiritual thought goes right along with what I was able to speak on. As we do the small and simple things, such as pray morning and night, read our scriptures (both individually and as a family), go to church, magnify our callings and so forth, is how we can be dedicated servants of the Lord and build his Kingdom. Because 2 faithful missionaries were out working, my great-grandma was able to meet them and invite them over. It wasn't anything huge that they did but miracles came from their small act of faith in serving the Lord. The same can be true for each on of us! 

D&C 123:13-17: Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—These should then be attended to with great earnestness. Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things. You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves. Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

I love you all so much. Thank you for the prayers and support!

Elder Chalmers
A swing at an old rundown house in Kalkaska

Me, George and Elder Houser

Monday, April 13, 2015

Good Times in Northern Michigan

Penny & Virginia got baptized! :)                                               April 13, 2015
This week was amazing! The highlight was the baptism of both Virginia Hollis and Penny Puckett and there were a lot of other great things happening here in Kalkaska! :)

Monday: After e-mailing we went for a run and hung out. We had dinner at President Thomas's house. They had this cool website that shows who your relatives are. I'm 4th cousins with Joseph Smith, so that was cool. Also Elder Houser and I are like 10th cousins 8 times removed, so we're getting pretty close over that. :) ha. Then we had a lesson with Virginia and went over the baptismal interview questions with her to make sure she is ready for her baptism. Virginia is really cool. She used to be RLDS and so her hang-up was originally the need to be baptized again but she told us that now that she's been reading the Book of Mormon, she's noticed how it emphasizes the need for authority a lot, so it's really cool. The Book of Mormon is key!

Tuesday: Today we were able to have a lesson with Chris and Angel. It wasn't the greatest lesson because he had just woken up, if that explains it. ha. We helped Brian McDuffie's neighbor do some cleaning in her garage and then were helping finish cooking our dinner with Bro. McDuffie when Elder Houser accidentally put the lid to his pot on the burner that was still on, so that caught on fire. He had me use the fire extinguisher (my first time! :)). So that was quite fun. He called it "The Great Fire of 2015" ha. He now calls Elder Houser, "Elder Hazard." We watched the Restoration video with Penny, it was really good. She's really excited for her baptism! Then we met with Virginia again.

Wednesday:  We had a really good day. We met with the Hildebrand's and had a good discussion with them. Then we knocked and met a guy named Tony. He was really cool and wants to talk with us more. We met up with Bro. Thomas and had a lesson with Tiffany and the kids. We had Bro. Thomas explain to Bill how the Book of Mormon and the Bible work together. Bro. Thomas is SUPER knowledgeable, so it was really cool and it made a lot of sense to Bill. We had Virginia's baptismal interview. Elder Elmer did it, and she is all good to go! Then we did a trade-off. I was with Elder Coziar. He's a really cool guy. We went and taught George, the 19 year old, the Plan of Salvation, it was a sweet lesson. George gets things really well and it makes sense to him.

Thursday: Elder Coziar and I had a sweet day. We did some door knocking and had a Baptist guy be pretty forward about how he feels about us but oh well. We also met the Sheriff and he is really cool, so that could come in handy later. :) We had lunch with the Piatts and then Gary came out with us all day. We drove to Bellaire and Elder Coziar did Penny's baptismal interview, she's good to go as well. :) We also had a great lesson on the Atonement with Ken and Donna following a lesson with Tiffany. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they are committed to their baptismal date still! When we traded back we had a great lesson with our neighbor JR on the Plan of Salvation. He's such a sincere guy.

Friday: Today was the baptism day. Preparing for a baptism is super stressful, but the pay off is well worth it. We had to make the program and it took 5 hours to fill the font so we had to be at the church for all of that, we did our weekly planning during it. There was some stress getting everything ready and all of that but it all worked out. Gary Piatt gave the talk on the Holy Ghost, he's been a member 6 months now. I don't think I've ever met someone as sincere as him. His talk was amazing. Then Elder Houser baptized Penny and I baptized Virginia. It was amazing and they were both so happy. :) It was a great night! I'm super happy for them. :)

Saturday: Today we were able to pick up a few new investigators and do some finding. We read the Book of Mormon with George and Stanley's friend, Dana was there and I felt prompted to see if we could help her at all, so said she could use some help raking so after we tried to meet with a few people, we helped her out. I have a gnarly blister to show for it but it was really good to follow the Spirit and help someone in need. :) We also met some cool potentials. 

Sunday: Today was great. Elder Houser confirmed Virginia and I was able to confirm Penny. It was also an amazing experience. They are both such great ladies. We had a lesson with Ken and Donna as well as some less active members then we went by one of our potentials from yesterday, Dan. We taught him the Restoration, he really liked it and has a lot of sincere desire, so that was really exciting! It was also 70 degrees today! :)

Monday: This morning we woke up and went "hiking" up a hill with Ken. We had a good time talking and spending time together. It was also like 50 degrees. :)

My spiritual thought is to take a look into the First Vision. We had a lesson on Joseph Smith in Priesthood that I was able to teach. If we take a close look at the First Vision we can learn a lot of important truths. A few are the power of a sincere prayer and that we often receive a witness when we have given it our all and are about to give up. There are many more truths we can learn. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that brings me joy and comfort and it can do the same for you. I love D&C 135:6 "They lived for glory; they died for glory; and glory is their eternal reward."

Elder Chalmers
Me, VIrginia, Penny and Elder Houser

Early morning hike

Elder Chalmers+Houser=Kalkaska Part 2                           April 6, 2015
This was a good week in Kalkaska! We also got our transfer call, and we are staying in Kalkaska together for another transfer! With Conference and Easter, this was a great week, I'm sure for everybody! :)

Monday: Today we went running and exercised for a while. Then we had a lesson with Stanley and the guy who lives at his house with him, George, was listening in so we involved him a lot in the lesson and we are going back to teach him and catch him up. He's 19, so he should be fun. :) We went to see the Chowhan's who just got back from their cruise.

Tuesday: Today we spent the majority of the day in Bellaire. We saw a few less-actives and spent most of it door knocking. We met some really cool people and have some people who invited us to come back. Then we had a lesson with Virginia and Pres. Thomas came with us. We read 2 Nephi 31 with her. She's gettting baptized on the 10th! :) We had a little time left so we knocked doors until dark. We went into the trailer park and it was full of miracles. We met a lady who was really interested and invited us back for next week then we met a couple, Nolan and Lindsey. They let us in and he told us he was drunk but that they felt like us coming over was a sign, so they invited us back for the next day! 

Wednesday: We had our last district meeting in Cadillac. It went really well. We all shared why we are on our mission and it was a really spiritual experience. Then on the way home we stopped to see the Laforest's and had a good lesson with them. Then we had to drive home and Bro. Stickney picked us up. We had a lesson with Nolan and Lindsey. It went really well, they committed to be baptized! We watched the Restoration video with Bill. He liked it. He is a great guy and we are really trying to help him to see the importance of reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. We met Steve at the church. He brought Virginia and Penny. We taught them and picked out everything for their baptism, then read the Book of Mormon together. They are both some awesome ladies!

Thursday: Today we had to go to Traverse City to get our phone switched to our new one. We talked to the lady who did it for us, and gave her a "Because He Lives" card. :) We spent a while knocking in Williamsburg. We had a good time and met some cool people. One guy was pretty interested. Then we met Gary Piatt and had a lesson with George. He understood the Restoration really well, and committed to be baptized! :) Then we had dinner with the O'Neills and went to see one of his friends. We talked a little about the Plan of Salvation with her, it was good. Then we visited the Piatts. 

Friday: Today we got our T-Call that we are staying in Kalkaska. Then we did our weekly planning. After that, we went to see some potentials close by before Steve came to get us and we went to Rapid City. We met with Donna and Ken. We had a great lesson on the Atonement then we taught Virginia, she's still solid. Later, we read the Book of Mormon with Tiffany and the kids. They are a crazy bunch, so it's hard to get things focused. They are great though.

Saturday: Today we watched a lot of conference! :) It was so great! There were so many amazing talks. I loved Elder Renlund's talk and the quote by Nelson Mandela, "a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying," then how he said, if you quit trying, you're a Latter Day Sinner! Elder Ringwood's talk was also really good. We taught Stanley in between sessions and had an ice cream social before the Priesthood session which was awesome. All of the talks were amazing. My favorite quote of it, and of the whole conference, was from Larry M. Gibson's talk. He said, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words." There is so much truth behind that.

Sunday:  The O'Neill family had us over for a breakfast of waffles :) then we went and watched conference. Elder Holland and Elder Uchtdorf's talks back to back were so powerful, Holy Cow! Then we had dinner with the Thomas's. It was some good stuff then we watched the rest of conference. I really liked Kevin Pearson's talk. Conference was great! We had another dinner with the O'Neill family. They take good care of us. :) It was a great Easter.

My spiritual thought is the quote I wrote down: "Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words." As the common adage goes, actions speak louder than words. Always live your faith, and blessing, and opportunities for missionary work will follow. 

I love you all!

Elder Chalmers
The District

Elder Elmer, who used to live in Santa Clara!

Fresh Prince...

TOUR OF NORTHERN MICHIGAN                                                                        March 30, 2015
This week was a great one! Through the trade-offs and interviews this week, I got a good tour of Northern Michigan. :) It's a "great thing!"

Monday: After our P-Day that consisted of me taking a tubby because I ate too much and doing a lot of catch up things, we had a couple of great lessons. We taught the guy who lives across the street from us, his name is JR. He is super cool. We taught him the Restoration. He had a few friends there are well. His friend Stephanie was listening and was really interested and he had another friend there, who was the most agnostic person I've ever met, he was kind of a pain. ha. It was a good lesson though. We met with Stanley and we read the Book of Mormon with him. Steve was with us, great as usual :) then the Zone Leaders came and we started our trade-off and planned together. Elder Elmer used to live in Santa Clara, he left about a year before we moved in, so he was asking me all about the people he knew and I was telling him about them. It was really fun. :)

Tuesday: I got to spend today in Traverse City! Before we left Kalkaska, all 4 of us elders went running in the morning, that was fun. :) Getting to be with Elder Elmer for the day was amazing! He is such a spiritual giant. We did a lot of things that were "out of the ordinary" but we were following the Spirit and there is a great satisfaction in doing what Heavenly Father wants you to do, even if you can't see an immediate benefit in it. A lot of times I believe He is testing His trust in us and as we do so, we build that trust. We were able to knock doors and saw a ton of miracles, almost everyone we talked to received us, it was great! We met with Dale who is the man I was able to interview a few weeks ago, before he was baptized. He and his fiance are the coolest people ever! Then we taught a less active member. I learned a ton in following the Spirit from Elder Elmer, it was great!

Wednesday: We drove back to Kalkaska, and Elder Houser and I were reunited. :) We had a great day! We were able to take Dillon with us all day, he is less active. It was really great. We first taught John Tweedie, it was really great, he loves having us over. Then we met with Chris and Angel. We watched the Restoration video. The Spirit was really strong, he loved it. Angel really likes us, but her mom is against the church, so she sort of is now, it's sad. Chris would be baptized in 5 min. if he could...then we met with Virginina. We taught her about tithing and wrapped up the commandments with her. We gave her a paper and we're having her plan her baptism. She and Penny are going to both be baptized on Friday night, April 10th! :) We also had a really great lesson with Bill. We taught him the Restoration and put him on date to be baptized. He is really humble and has a real desire to know if the Book of Mormon is true. Then we ate dinner really quickly and traded off with the Cadillac Elders. I went down to Cadillac with Elder Lowder. 

Thursday: We had a great day in Cadillac! We did a lot of door knocking in a town called Harrietta. (I laughed every time I saw a sign) :) ha. Elder Lowder and I were able to have a really good talk together. We taught a couple of really good lessons to some less-active members and we also taught their investigators and put the 13 year old son on date, that was really cool. We worked really hard and it was a great day. He told me, "I learned a lot this trade-off, not so much what you said, but what you did." That was really cool for me. Elder Lowder is one of the most sincere missionaries I know. His dad is also an OB/GYN, so he has to be cool. :)

Friday: We drove to Gaylord to have interviews today. We were instructed first by Sister Jacobsen on the new "Because He Lives" initiative, which will be really cool. Before I went in to be interviewed, we received a call and found out that John Tweedie, our investigator passed away. That was really hard for both of us. The knowledge of the Gospel and our Father's Plan for us, really was a comfort to both of us. My interview was really good, I love President Jacobsen, he is a great man and gives great counsel. Then we had district meeting. It was on finding people and how we have to be friendly and then bold/loving that way we give people a clear choice on why they need to meet with us and learn more of the Gospel. We had lunch as a zone, one of the senior couples made it for us then we drove home and did our weekly planning. We weren't able to get a lot of work done today, but it was still good.

Saturday: Today we knocked doors almost the entire day. We met some cool people and got some good potentials. It also wasn't too cold, so that was a blessing. We had a lesson with Stanley. Gary Piatt was with us and was great. He related to him so well and was a great teacher. We really emphasized the importance of specific prayers and baptism so he can be with his wife, who passed away, forever. Then we taught the Piatts about the Temple and they shared their experience with us. They did baptisms for Debbie's family and loved it. Then we had dinner at BC pizza with Sisters Jones and Chandler. We had a competition. It was a dismal effort from Elder Houser, no contest. :) ha. We worked really hard today, it was great!

Sunday: Church was great. There were a lot of really powerful testimonies. The Kalkaska branch is something truly special. Everybody always bears their testimony and the Spirit is always so strong. Elder Houser and I also bore our testimonies. Penny, Virginia and Donna were there. We were able to show Penny and Virginia the baptismal font. We are all excited for their baptisms coming up! :) Then we did our call-ins and had dinner at the Oneil's. They are really cool and live next door to us! Then we drove up to Bellaire and picked up Steve. It also started snowing pretty hard. :( We had a lesson with Virginia and talked about temples with her. She understands everything really well and is getting excited for her baptism. She's a great lady. :)
My Spiritual Thought comes from Alma 34, which is an amazing chapter and I would recommend a serious study of it.. :) Alma 34:34 -"Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world." I love this scripture because it shows us that death isn't going to change who we truly are. This life as the verse that precedes this one says, is our time to prepare for eternity. We need to refrain from becoming complacent and always be improving. We also need to be patient and as it says in D&C 67:13 - "continue in patience until ye are perfected." The Atonement is real and it can really change us as long as we allow it to.
I love you all so much and I love being a missionary. There really is nothing better then spending every day serving others and the Lord. "Every Member a Missionary," the blessings are available to each one of us. :)
Elder Chalmers
                                                                   The Bay in Traverse City

Weekly Planning

The Traverse City Zone