Another great week in the CMU area of the Michigan Lansing Mission. I had Elder Sinsel and Elder Jackson with me this entire week, they usually serve in the Midland 2nd ward (my first area) but since Elder Haddock was called to be an assistant, they came to be my companions for this past week, and it was great! We were able to teach a lot of lessons, and had some amazing experiences. Never a dull day in the service of the Lord!
When it comes time for me to write these weekly recap e-mails, I think back on my week, and it just seems like a blur. (Thank goodness for a journal) I will give a general overview of what we did on a daily basis and then some awesome highlights.
Since this was the last week of the transfer, it was a really normal week, no trade-offs, trainings, or anything like that. We spend pretty much our entire day at CMU. We wake up, exercise and then study from 8-10 then we will eat lunch until 11 and after that we head over to campus. At that point, we are either teaching in the library, personal contacting students on campus, adding people we have just met on Facebook in the library or getting shined (stood up) on appointments (we will meet someone on campus and set an appointment with them right there, and get their phone number. We will call/text to confirm the appointment with them and unless they respond to that, they usually won't show up..). So we will use the time while we're waiting for appointments to make phone calls to confirm/set appointments. We will either have a meal appointment or go home for dinner at some point, but other than that, we are on campus full time, it's a lot of fun. This week we probably had about 2/3 of our scheduled appointments come through, so it was really great!
We were blessed to teach a lot this week and be able to talk to a lot of people on campus, and with that comes a lot of great experiences:
We'll start with a funny one. Since we were in a trio we didn't want to overwhelm people by having three men in shirts and tie approach them randomly so we would go 2 and then 1, and stay on this main drag through campus where we could always see and be in earshot of each other. Elder Sinsel was talking to this girl and we were walking towards him, and I saw them both look at me, then start laughing, so usually we would just walk by and talk to someone else, but I decided to see what was up so when I got up to them, Elder Sinsel asked her, "Is he one of them?" She was laughing really hard and said, "Yeah." So, the back story to all of this, her name is Danelle, and Elder Haddock and I met her about a month ago and had an awesome conversation with her and an appointment set that we were really excited for. We texted her to confirm the appointment and she said yes. A little bit after that we got a text from her that said, "I love you baby." We thought it was odd and a few minutes later we got a text from her saying sorry, that that text was meant for her boyfriend. We told her no worries and such, but she ended up cancelling the appointment and said she wasn't interested. When we met her this week she told us she was super embarrassed about it, so that is why she cancelled on us, but we just laughed about it with her and we scheduled an appointment with her for this coming week! It was a huge miracle with some good humor involved. :)
Our big miracle this week involves someone who has the name of one of my favorite people, Courtney. Her initials are CC as well! We met her last week on campus. She is a member of a break-off of the Community of Christ (R-LDS) so when I met her, I basically asked her what their view was of the Book of Mormon, D&C, and stuff like that. We scheduled an appointment for Monday and it began like how my initial conversation went, we asked her questions about her beliefs and how they are similar/different from ours. During it all, she shared how in her upbringing, most of her learning was focused on the Bible so she wanted to learn more of the Book of Mormon. From there, I felt really inspired to transition the lesson to the main focus of all that we teach and hopefully all that we are, Jesus Christ. In doing so I shared Ether 12:27 and how our desire is to help her come unto Christ. As we shared it with her the Spirit was very strong and she began to cry. I know that tears aren't a sign of the Spirit, however, it was a real witness to me of the power that the words of Christ, especially as spoken in the Book of Mormon, have on us and the importance of using them in teaching, and in having them in our lives. We had another lesson with her yesterday with Audi, who is awesome, we read Alma 36 and then Audi took her to our ward party last night. It was great. Audi took over and was her best friend the entire time and turns out that Courtney knows Sister Marshall in the ward from somewhere as well. It couldn't have gone better! I'm super excited to continue to teach her. At the end of the ward party she asked me what she should read next in the Book or Mormon!
The other great miracle involves Brian. We car fast one day each week so decided to do so on Monday. We had an amazing meal by the Zamudio's on Monday night, (mexican food) some of the best I've ever had. :) Afterwards we went to the CMU library and then walked home. On the way, we met a guy named Brian at the crosswalk who we walked home with and had a great conversation. He's native american so we shared about the Book of Mormon when Christ came to America. He was into it and we set an appointment (car fast miracle). We taught him on Monday night and he shared with us how he was 6 days sober and has been trying to quit drinking but that three different times one day his buddies and his brother had tried to get him to go drink with them. He told them he had company coming so he wouldn't be able to come with them. We had a great discussion and talked about the Book of Mormon and how it helps us come unto Christ. We told him we'd like to meet with him three times a week and he said, "That'd be a blessing." We're really excited about that and a bonus is that he lives basically across the street from us!
We picked up quite a few new and cool investigators, one girl named Ashley is really cool. She had awesome questions and really liked the way we approached her originally. We're excited about her.
My spiritual thought is titled: "O that I had repented...." In Helaman 13:32 to the end of the chapter, Samuel the Lamanite describes what it will be like for the wicked and unrepentant in the last days and the phrase, "O that I had repented" really stuck with me. I firmly believe that is what will be the endless torment of those who don't attain a Celestial Glory, forever having the thought, "O that I had repented." It's vital that we repent daily and when I say repent, I mean become more and more like Jesus Christ each and every day.
I'm grateful for all the support I receive and I love my mission!
The Trio - Elders Sinsel, Jackson and Chalmers
TEACHING THE CHIPPEWAS-FIRE UP CHIPS! 10/24/15 This past week was awesome! Elder Haddock and I were able to teach a ton of lessons, pick up quite a few new investigators and have some great experiences together with those of God's children that he has blessed and trusted us to teach. It doesn't get much better than this!
We had a few investigators come to church, Keith came! He's Brother B.'s friend and we've been teaching him ever since I got here. He says and does all kinds of really funny stuff. Elder Haddock and I quote him all the time. He enjoyed church a lot! Bianca also came and Calie actually picked her up so that was super cool
This week we also had interviews with President Jacobsen. We spent about half of Monday and Tuesday doing interviews in Midland and Saginaw. It was great to get to spend time with almost all of the missionaries in our zone and interviews with President Jacobsen are always great. He interviewed Elder Haddock and I together as well and said that our zone is doing really good, so that is great to hear!
I want to tell you all about a few of the people that we are teaching and some of the great lessons we had with them.
Ayush - The first person would have to be Ayush. He is from India, but has also lived in Singapore and the UK. He is interested in how religion affects culture so we had an awesome first lesson with him and he went from saying over and over again, "I'm not religious" to saying, and I quote, "When I choose to believe in God, I feel less lonely." So we exhorted him to try the experiment to know if God is there and that we would help him to do so. He accepted. We had a second lesson with him and we taught him that God is our Father in Heaven and that His purpose is for us to return to live with Him and enjoy His blessings. He asked us why God lets bad things happen, so we taught him more about our purpose in life and about prayer and how we can receive real answers from God. Elder Haddock promised him that if he would pray morning and night this next week, he would receive answers from Heavenly Father and know that he is there. It was powerful. Ayush then prayed at the end of the lesson and it was so sincere and powerful! He has so much real intent and sincerity. He's the man.
Calie - I'm sure I've mentioned Calie before. She has been "investigating" for over a year now. She has had her day of baptism set for December 12 for a long time which is her birthday and a special day for her. She's been coming to church and attending all the YSA activities for a long time and is super solid. We had her teach a lesson to another investigator this week and that was really cool to have her bare testimony and help Audrey. Calie is such a cool girl.
Kassandra - We met her a few weeks ago and were finally able to set up an appointment. As we were getting to know her a bit better she told us that she used to attend church at the Ithaca branch when she was younger and had a copy of the Book of Mormon, so we had decided that morning in our companionship study to focus on Christ's Atonement as we first met people. We read Mosiah 2:41 and focused on how the more we can know about God's commandments, the happier and more blessed our lives can be and then we taught that the Book of Mormon helps us to know more of God's commandments. All along with how Christ's Atonement can bless us with strength and redemption, it was super sweet!
We found out that Elder Haddock is going to be the new Assistant to the President, so he will be leaving me tonight which is sad, since we get along super well and have done some really great work together. We more often than not end up dying laughing at some point of every day. He's going to be great in Lansing and I will miss him for sure! I will be with the Elders from Midland at CMU this next week which will be fun.
My thought for this week is to be grateful. I know it's not Thanksgiving yet but in my reading of the Book of Mormon I'm reading about Samuel the Lamanite in Helaman 13. He continually testifies of the importance to thank the Lord for all that he gives us because when we don't, we fall into the pride cycle again. It helped me to make sure and be thankful for all that I have and if we all look at our lives, no matter where we are, we can find many amazing things the Lord has blessed us with. One of the biggest ones being eternal families through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I love you all and am so thankful for the constant prayers on my behalf. I can feel the strength every day!