ANOTHER GREAT WEEK IN MT. PLEASANT 12/5/15
Elder Tubagus and I had a great week. I was just asking him if anything crazy or different happened this week and we couldn't really think of anything, other than we got Calie and Mariah to take us to the campus dining places two days in a row. :) And we also had MLC in Lansing on Tuesday. We were able to teach a lot of lessons and meet a lot of really cool people in our work this past week. I say nothing crazy or different happened, but that doesn't mean that it was a boring week. It was a super great week and we had a blast.
Monday was an awesome day for us. We taught 5 lessons and were able to get members to every single one of them!
Tuesday we had MLC in Lansing. It was a great meeting. We spent a lot of time talking about goals and how we can improve in working for them and setting good and realistic goals as missionaries. It really inspired me to make goal setting much more of a matter of prayer and to be committed to the goals I set. It was great. After we got home we had a lesson and then we attended Institute.
Wednesday we attended district meeting in West Branch. It was a great meeting on how we can be more effective in working with less active members and how we need to remain purpose minded while we are with them. It was good to see all the missionaries, especially Elder Rapp, my boy, and Elder Blazzard, my fellow St. Georgian. :) We had dinner with Calie, Mariah and Mariah's roommate Mary, and also the Sisters. We talked to Mary after they all left and she is really cool. We met with a guy named Caleb and he is super cool. We met him on Thanksgiving and he asked us a ton of different questions, it was all over the place, but awesome.
Thursday we car fasted. We walked to campus and taught a lesson then we spent a lot of time PC-ing which was great. We had a lesson with a guy who the Sister missionaries met named Bernard. He wanted to meet with the guys and we found out that is because he had compassion on the sisters and really wanted to tell us how wrong our church is. It started off nice but then he started going off on us so we told him our purpose and that we weren't there to argue and it ended fine. He talked a lot so we were going to have to cancel our lesson at CMU. We ended up asking him for a ride and he said "yes." It was pretty awkward and uncomfortable making small talk but we made it for the lesson! We had a good lesson with Audrey and then we talked Mariah and Calie into taking us to get food on campus again. :) It was sweet. We met a friend on one of our investigators at night, it was cool. We then ran home from campus so we could text our miles to the Assistants before 9. We were pouring sweat, but we made it! ha.
Friday we had some good lessons and a lot of great time spent finding. We have had a lot of success using the new "A Savior is Born" cards and we've been trying to hand out as many as we can.
Today we will be going to the Midland Nativity Exhibit at the Stake Center in Midland. It is a big community display of over 700 different nativity scenes so we're really excited for it!
In my studies, I've been studying a single verse, it's Helaman 15:8 - "Therefore, as many as have come to this, ye know of yourselves are firm and steadfast in the faith, and in the thing wherewith they have been made free." I find it very reassuring to know that as we are obedient and true to what we know to be true, that is where we can find true freedom from the chains that accompany sin. True freedom comes from strict obedience, at face value that doesn't make sense, but from a correct understanding, it's as clear as can be!
|The Sister Training Leaders we work with|
|A true statement!|
THANKSGIVING WEEK! 11/28/15
This was a great week in Central Michigan! Beginning Wednesday at 5, CMU campus was shut down for the rest of the week, so we weren't able to teach as many of our investigators, but we had packed days of teaching on Monday and Tuesday so we were able to make it work. However, I was not in our area on Tuesday, I spent Tuesday in Bad Axe, MI which is is the Thumb of the Mitten. There were so many things to be thankful for this week. It's a great time to be a missionary.
Monday we had a great day. We taught a guy named Troy and he accepted the invitation to be baptized, but is hesitant on setting a date. He's really cool. He feels like he lost his faith at college and didn't want to. He really wants to get it back. We also had a great lesson with a girl named Taylor Hill. She is roommates with one of our top investigators, Ashley and they are super similar, it was a sweet lesson. Afterwards we had to drive the 2 hours out to Bad Axe. I got to be with Elder Stayner from Mesa, AZ. He has been out for about 3 months and is super fun to be around. We saw a less active family who were really welcoming at first, but then the husband went on a crazy rant about religion that then turned on us, so we left. It was crazy. Things are different in the Thumb of Michigan for sure!
Tuesday was a great day with Elder Stayner, again, he is a ton of fun and a really great missionary. We spent time door knocking in Bad Axe. We were walking across the street and this guy rolled down his window and called us over. He said he had met missionaries before and wanted to meet with us again. The Lord put us where we needed to be. We had a lesson with a lady named Kathryne and it was a good lesson, we had a member along and he took the kids and entertained them while we taught her so it wouldn't be crazy. We had dinner and scripture study class at night which was good. Elder Stayner and I had a lot of fun together and built a really great relationship. I've been "Stayned" hah.
Wednesday: We had district meeting in Caro and it was really good. As we were driving home, I realized I had forgotten my journal so we had to meet the Bad Axe Elders and get it which added to our travel time which made a lot of time in the car for us. We did get to teach Keith, which was fun as always. We also had a couple of awesome miracles with talking to people on campus. It was all shut down, but we felt like we should walk around and we met some awesome people, probably the only other people on campus!
Thursday. It was a great Thanksgiving, we did some intense cardio of jump rope, running, and sparring, so we could eat a lot of food. We spent the beginning of the day proselyting. We walked to campus and talked to people on the way and people around there. It was great. We met one guy especially who was awesome, named Caleb, whom we taught all about the Book of Mormon and he was really into it! We're teaching him next week. We had dinner at the Harrast's. It was so good. She is a super awesome cook and everything was amazing. I ate a lot of food. We then spent some time talking and socializing with them. They are a great family. After that, we had another meal appointment with the Thornock's. He is in his 2nd year of Medical school. It was a simple meal, and it was really good. I had already eaten so much and then after the meal, I was super full, they had cheesecake and ice cream! By some miracle, I was able to eat it real quick then I hit a brick wall. I thought for sure I was going to throw up. I was in so much pain, but we were able to share a message and make it home. I had to lie down. I was glazed, it was horrible...
Friday: I was all better from my feast(s) yesterday. We were able to have a few great lessons today. We got to see Bro. Nelson, whom we hadn't seen him in a while. He asked us to take all of his soda cans and bottles to get recycled, since you get 10 cents for each in Michigan and to have us donate it to the scouts. He had $75 worth of cans, it was crazy! We also had a lesson with Keith and then Jonathan Riggs. We read from the Book of Mormon with him and did some service for him around his house since he barely has use of his arms. We had dinner with the Spencer's and had a great message. They have some kids who are struggling with a testimony and a 17 year old son, so they asked us what they can do to help him prepare for a mission. It was a great opportunity to help them.
Today we have studied and we cut each others hair. Poor Elder Tubagus got the bad end of the deal. I may have taken a chunk out of his hair that he didn't want to lose. :) It was fun though. We have a few meal appointments today, so it should be good.
I'm thankful for so many things: a loving Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ my Savior, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the Gospel, my family, my mission, and all the things that have come from it, the list goes on and on. Elder Wilford W. Andersen of the Seventy came to our mission and taught us how gratitude is the antidote for pride. I know that through expressing gratitude to others and to our Heavenly Father daily in prayer we will be able to see many more blessings in our lives.
|Haircut: courtesy of Elder Tubagus|
THE SNOW HAS ARRIVED! 11/21/15
Today is the first day of snow here in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and so far it is sticking pretty well. It's good to see snow (I probably won't be saying that for much longer). This has been a busy and great week here at CMU. It seemed to just fly by.
We had some great teaching opportunities this week and have some super amazing people that we are blessed to be able to teach.
- I believe I've mentioned her before, but we are teaching a girl named Amber and she is super cool. She is a member of a Baptist church in Midland and is super open and prepared to hear the restored gospel. She is a pre-med student so she is pretty busy with stuff. We met with her first on Tuesday and she was pretty stressed with school. We read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and taught her more about what it is. By the end of the lesson she was intellectually and logically converted to the Book of Mormon. She was asking us why other people don't believe it?! We then met with her again yesterday and we taught her about the baptismal covenant and she is very open to be baptized as she comes to know what we teach is true. She just needs to get reading the Book of Mormon which she committed to do so we're excited for her progress. She is really cool and we've been able to build a strong relationship with her!
- We also teach a girl named Ashley. She is awesome. She really wants to learn the gospel and when we give her assignments of things to do or read, she does it and really tries to understand. She was taught on trade-offs so when I came back and asked her what she learned of the Plan of Salvatio, she taught it to me like a pro, it was super impressive. She really loves to meet with us as well. We PC-ed into her roommate (who we are meeting with next week. :)) and she told us how Ashley is always super pumped after she meets with us and loves what she is learning. Her roommate is super excited to meet with us as well! It was a miracle.
- We picked up three new people to teach this past week. One of them is named Nikki and we re-PC-ed into her this week. I had met her, but I didn't really remember when. But when we met with her it all clicked. We met her at the beginning of September during the first week of school and it has taken a month and a half, but we had a super great first lesson with her. We also met with a guy named Troy, who said he wanted to meet with us out of curiosity and also he didn't want to lose his faith at college, but he kind of ha, and wants to get it back. I was struck by his sincerity and we're excited for him.
The other teaching opportunity we had this week was we had a Zone Training. This is only my third one that I've had on my mission. Usually we do Zone Conference but in those, the way our mission does it is we do it as half the mission. In a Zone Training it's just your Zone and we do the training. So Elder Tubagus and I, and also the Sister Training Leaders all trained. I was stressing preparing my training. I was assigned to train on the Blessings of Obedience. I couldn't quite formulate my thoughts. It was on Wednesday and so on Tuesday night I was working more on it when President Jacobsen texted us and asked us where we would be holding our meeting, so that added more stress to us both. :) ha. I woke up early on Wednesday and finished preparing my training and it went really well. President told us that it was "outstanding" so that was great to hear.
My training will be my spiritual thought. I began by having all of the missionaries pair up and come up with what they thought our #1 reason for serving a mission is. I then had people share and got a few different answers: invite other to come unto Christ, it's a priesthood duty, because we love God... The answer that I built my training around and something that President Jacobsen has taught, is that the purpose we serve a mission is so that we can become personally converted to the Gospel and be able to go home and raise a righteous posterity and be forever faithful members of Christ's church. I then read a story about an Emperor, a boy named Ling, and a seed that goes as follows:
A storybook emperor called all the young people in his kingdom together one day. He said, “It has come time for me to step down and to choose the next emperor. It will be one of you. In making that selection, I am going to give each one of you a seed today. Come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed." A young boy named Ling was in the crowd of children. He went home and excitedly told his mother the whole story. She helped him get a pot and some planting soil. He planted the seed given him. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept checking his pot, but nothing ever grew in it. Eventually all the others were talking about their plants. Ling was apparently the only failure. Everyone else spoke of small trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.
Finally a year went by, and all the youths brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she encouraged him to go, report how hard he had tried, and be honest about what happened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. Ling put his empty pot on the floor amidst beautiful plants and flowers of all shapes and sizes. When the emperor arrived, Ling tried to hide in the back of the room. But the emperor spotted Ling—empty pot and all. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front, where the leader said, “Behold your new emperor!” To a now very quiet audience, the older man said, “One year ago today I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. Yet all of you, except one, have brought me magnificent trees and plants and flowers. Obviously, when you found that the seed I gave you would not grow, you substituted another. Apparently only one young man among you had the integrity to abide by the rules I gave you. I can trust him to take my place and lead my people.”
I related that to us, by having one of the Elders read his call letter and in there it says how we are expected to keep the commandments, live mission rules, and follow the counsel of our Mission President. So in speaking of obedience, nobody is asking you to do anything that you didn't already agree to do, all that is left to be determined is if we have the integrity to live true to our word much like Ling, and he was made emperor, and Heavenly Father wants us to inherit His glory. As is stated in D&C 25:15 - "Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive." I then tried to help the missionaries look at obedience with an eternal perspective, instead of an 18 or 24 month perspective, because if we can't learn to be obedient now, we most likely won't later in life. And how life is all about change and by choosing to be obedient, we can experience a true change of nature, from natural man to Saint (Mosiah 3:19). It went well.
I love my mission and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.
|The Midland Zone|
|Today, it's snowing!|
DON'T WORRY ABOUT ME! 11/14/15Another amazing week has passed here in the Mitten that is Michigan. Things are going Great! Our area of CMU is on fire (Fire Up Chips!), the Lord is sending miracles my way and I couldn't be happier. And as always, the church is true and is led by living prophets and apostles today!
We had a great and busy week. We had Stake Conference this past Saturday and Sunday and I got to see a ton of old friends from Midland (Curt Cormier is looking as good as ever and Joe Booth and I took our first ever selfie together. :)). There were a lot of great talks given. The Patriarch said something in his talk that I really liked, he said how we all want to hear the Lord say to us, "Well done thou good and faithful servant..." He shared the insight that the work "done" implies and requires a lot of doing and that in order to do that, we need to continue to live faithful and work hard in our lives. It was a great conference.
We also had MLC this Tuesday in Lansing. It was great. President Jacobsen spent most of the time talking to us and preparing us to answer questions about the Church's update in its policy. (He made sure we understood it was not a change to policy, more of an update or clarification) it was really cool though. During it all, he continued to say that we will never be the dominant religion, because we "ask too much" (he uses it in a way that implies that is what others think) and to close his remarks he said, "if the church wasn't true, nobody would care." It was awesome. MLC is always a great time and always has great discussion. On our way back we traded off with the Ithaca Elders and I got to be with Elder Smith at CMU. He is so awesome.
I spent most of the day on Wednesday with Elder Smith. We had district meetin and he did a great job, then we had some great lessons. We taught Calie and she's getting ready for her birthday/baptism coming up on December 12th! We also taught Aaron, he's working for baptism on December 5th, it's really exciting. We got to see Keith Walma which is always fun. We had a great lesson with Amber, we finished up the Restoration and she asked us what it meant for her baptism, since she had a good understanding of the Priesthood, I began to answer, and then our member Audi jumped right in (Audi was baptized about a year ago) and she explained how she had the same concern and how her previous "baptism" was one of the best things that happened to her in helping her to take her faith in Christ seriously, Amber was loving it so we invited her to be baptized and she is going to be reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know. She is super prepared and really wants to know what the Lord wants her to do, it's awesome.
We also had a great lesson this week with Ashley, she is doing great. Working for baptism on the 12th of December as well. Our lesson was great. We had Tyler and Audi with us (Tyler got home from his mission to Brazil about 2 months ago, and he and Audi are engaged). Ashley had read the Restoration pamphlet and understood it super well, we were all blown away, she was super into it and then she took over and was asking us questions about how the Gift of the Holy Ghost has blessed us. It was a powerful lesson, she's so cool.
We also had a great meeting with the Stake Presidency and the Mission Leaders in all the wards and branches this week. It was a really inspired meeting and we all came away with great direction on the work in the Midland Stake. President Hoover then talked to us and the Sisters after. He talked about how prayer is central to missionary work and how we need to be constantly praying to baptize and the difference of us baptizing 1 or 20 people on our mission is agency. He's so great.
I got to spend all day Friday in Midland on trade-offs with Elder Tindall. He's from Layton, UT and is amazing at the piano, like incredible. He's a hard worker. We were on bikes all day and we tried by some people and then had lunch with the Jones family, which was great as usual! I love getting to see them, they are like my Michigan parents. :) We spent the day door knocking and we had a ton of success. We knocked on this one door and the guy said, "I know you!" His name is Dean and I door knocked in to him about a year ago, we had even taught him a few times. He is a little less accountable and we ended up teaching him and his staff member the Restoration and it was a great lesson. They are teaching them again tomorrow. It was another realization of why I'm serving in Mt. Pleasant. I get to go back to Midland,= and the Lord puts me where he needs me!
I'm out of time for today but if any of you happen to be worrying about me or anything like that... DON'T! I'm as happy as I've ever been and I love being a missionary in the Michigan Lansing Mission. There is no greater cause than the salvation of souls!
|The senior couple who came out with me are going home.|
|Elder Tubagus is the man!|
TEACHING TIME WITH ELDER TUBAGUS 11/7/15
First things first, my new companion Elder Tubagus is great. He's from Anaheim, CA. He's been on his mission for about 14 months, is Indonesian and he's a great missionary and a great companion. We had a great first week together. We taught more this week than I ever have on my mission, saw many miracles, and we were able to have the Spirit with us.
Elder Tubagus arrived in Mt. Pleasant on Monday and we got done the necessary things (e-mail & shop) before we got to work. We had a cool experience that night. We met with this girl we had met on campus a few weeks ago and she brought along her pastor/evangelist friend. We had a really pleasant conversation and it was really interesting how his point of disagreement with us was that our Prophet and Apostles aren't "homeless" and leaving everything behind and relying completely on others for food, shelter, and the necessities. It was a very interesting theory but we all left uplifted by the experience, it was really cool. Then we went to try by one of our new investigators and he was really drunk. It was really sad to see. When we had previously met him, he had shared how he was six days sober and working at quitting, so to catch him in those circumstances, it was really sad, so we said a prayer with him before we left.
The rest of the week consisted of a lot of teaching appointments and a trade off with the Saginaw Elders. I stayed in Mt. Pleasant with Elder Hoover, who I served around when I was in Kalkaska and he has in Cadillac.
We had an especially great day on Tuesday. We had three lessons right in a row with Nate (He got his mission call to Houston, TX leaving Jan. 13). They were all great lessons, especially with a girl named Amber. She is a senior and a pre-med student. She is really open to learn about the Book of Mormon. She has a great attitude about it. She has the belief of, "Why wouldn't God give us more scripture?" We taught her twice this past week, and we taught her the Restoration and it went awesome. She is super cool. She talked about how people always tell her to give her troubles over to God, so we shared with her Alma 7:11-15 and how it teaches of Christ's Atonement and that we can give it all over to Him, and it's really cool how the few verses after that, Alma teaches us that we need to have faith in Christ, repent, and witness to God by being baptized and making a covenant with Him. It was really a cool experience. It was one of those times that the Spirit teaches you as you are teaching someone. I had never previously thought to use those scriptures in that way!
We had a very similar lesson with a girl named Ashley, she is super cool! She is awesome to teach because she is really relaxed around us and we are able to have more gospel conversation, compared to lessons. She committed to be baptized!
We also found an investigator who is an athiest. He is a really nice guy and our lesson with him was really cool. We asked him a lot of different questions about what he believes or I guess what he doesn't believe in. He was really open and what we gathered is that his parents are Christian but he doesn't have a good relationship with them, so that was a catalyst of sorts to his unbelief. We read part of Alma 32 with him and invited him to try the experiment as stated in verse 27, and he was very open to it (we use the "experiment" analogy a lot on campus).
The last experience I'll share happened last night. We had a lesson with an investigator and it wasn't that solid of a lesson. We were doing some planning and work in our area book, and I got a prompting telling me that we needed to leave to his house right away so we acted. It was our car fast day so we walked over to his apartment (it's really close to us) and knocked on his door, as we did, one of our former investigators came walking down the stairs with his laundry so we chatted with him and we set a return appointment with him. The guy we came to see wasn't home, so we started walking home feeling accomplished and then ran into another guy outside and set a return appointment with him as well. It was a great witness of the blessings that come from following spiritual promptings.
In my scripture study, I've been learning about Samuel the Lamanite in Helaman 14. In verse13 it says, "And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins..." I love how this teaches that faith in Christ and repentance are inseparable. When we have true faith in the Savior it will always lead to action, acting to bring our lives in closer harmony with His and that in itself is another way to define repentance, so they always go together. It was some really great revelation that I had this week.
Things are going great at CMU and we are having a blast teaching and spending time with the students here. I love the Mt. Pleasant ward and I love CMU. Fire up Chips!
|The old Mt. Pleasant crew|