Monday, January 4, 2016

Christmas and some big changes...Kalamazoo to Lansing

FIRST WEEK AS AN ASSISTANT                                                                                               1/4/16
This has been a great, and very busy week. We did a lot of traveling around the state of Michigan and also had plenty of other things to do as well. There are plenty of things to learn and I'm picking up on things pretty well, all thanks to the Lord's help. I love being with Elder Haddock and I love getting to serve the great missionaries in the MLM and in turn serve the Lord.

Monday: We had our meeting with President Jacobsen to discuss the status of the mission. During which we came up with the idea of the "MLM Cup," a trophy that we will award to the most successful zone each transfer. We were all pretty excited about it. After the meeting, we did a lot of cleaning in our apartment and threw away a ton of stuff. We also played basketball at the Stake Center with a lot of the missionaries in the Lansing area. It was fun, then we spent time doing some office work.

Tuesday: Today we went trophy shopping. It was actually a miracle because the place was closed, but the lady happened to be in, so she let us come in and look at our options for the MLM Cup. It was fun, then we talked with President for a while. A lot of our day was spent in the office doing all kinds of things, then at night we went over to the Mission Home. We had a mini transfer of 3 missionaries going home. Elder Elmer, one of my former companions, was one of them. We went out to dinner and then they all got interviewed. It was fun to spend time with them.

Wednesday: We had to be up early to get the missionaries to the airport. It was weird being inside an airport... We saw them off, then Elder Haddock and I came home and we packed and studied, then drove up to Traverse City to do our trade-off blitz with them. I spent the day with Elder Webb. We had a great experience while finding, we took our shovels with us and shoveled for people. One lady was amazed that this is what we do and was very appreciative of our help. We also had a pastor give us some cookie which was pretty cool. We went to dinner at one of their recent converts homes and all of her kids were there. When dessert came around, one of them threw whipped cream at the other and then a whipped cream food fight broke out so we headed for the door and Elder Haddock and I made it out safely. It was crazy! ha. It was fun being in Traverse City.

Thursday: We spent almost all day in the car. We drove from Traverse City all the way to Sault Ste. Marie, in the Upper Peninsula. We drove through Kalkaska on the way, which was awesome! We had to check out their church building for President Jacobsen, since they want to move into a nicer building that is easier to find. They currently meet in an office building in the middle of town. The Mackinac Bridge was super cool and we even got to see Canada. First time in the U.P.! :) We drove the 4.5 hours back to Lansing and got back at about 8, and had a little missionary get together at the Institute building for New Year's Eve which was fun.

Friday: We spent some time over at President and Sister Jacobsen's today getting ready for our Missionary Leadership Council next week and had lunch with them, a lot of the day was spent doing office work and other things. We did get to spend some time on campus, which was awesome. We also got to have a lesson with our investigator named Austin. We taught him at a members' home named the Burlesons. They are super cool. We taught  him the first half of the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit was super strong, it was a powerful lesson. He has been coming to church, and he came yesterday. He is awesome and the Burleson family is awesome at helping him, they even read the Book of Mormon with him all the time! We had dinner at the Parents' home. They are really cool.

Saturday: We spent a lot of time on campus today. We talked to all the people we could and even set up an appointment for next week. We also had our correlation meeting today. We did weekly planning and it took some time figuring out the miles situation in our mission since we are both new to doing that. It was a good day though.

Sunday: We have church at 1 in the East Lansing University Ward which is weird. I haven't had church that late since I was home! Not very many people were there due to the break in school. Austin was there and he fits in really well. We had a great meeting with Bishop Solomon after church and then dinner with Ethan and Chris. We then had call ins at night. 

Things have been going really well. We are preparing for our Mission Leadership Council tomorrow and then three days in a row of Zone Conference next week where we will get to see all of the missionaries. We are looking forward to both of those things. 

My thought this week is something that I just barely read from my Grandpa Green who is serving a mission right now as well with his wife, my Grandma Green, in Germany. He shared a quote with me that comes from Elder Neal A. Maxwell who says, "If we are serious about our discipleship, Jesus will eventually request each of us to do those very things which are most difficult for us to do." I want to couple that with another quote that I really like, "Growth cannot be achieved without change." Change is a hard thing, and doing hard things, is, well, hard. I know however, that it's through overcoming challenges and tackling our fears, that we can grow and more and more assimilate the characteristics and attributes of Jesus Christ as we continue on our path back to our Father in Heaven. I'm grateful for the example of all of my grandparents for sacrificing their own wants, time, and talents to serve the Lord. This is the Lord's work and we are all engaged in it. If you're not, then repent and become involved, it's the best decision you can make.

Elder Chalmers
Mackinac Bridge

 Elder Elmer at the airport

CHRISTMAS AND CHANGES...                                                                         12/28/15
This was a very eventful week for me in Michigan. It involved a trade-off in Battle Creek, a Christmas party in Grand Rapids, Christmas day, and then an unplanned transfer, which now has me in East Lansing, serving on the campus of Michigan State University with Elder Haddock again!
First of all, the trade off in Battle Creek. It was a great time. I was able to be with Elder Heskasia-Joji. He is from the Marshall Islands, but has lived in the US most of his life. We had some great experiences. We had a lesson that was one of the most spiritual teaching moments of my life. We taught a 21 year old guy named Jermaine and at the end of the lesson I felt prompted to give him a priesthood blessing. So we explained what it is and then administered the blessing. After it, he told us that he was going to come to our church this week and how when he reads the Book of Mormon he feels the Spirit more than he ever does with reading the Bible (He did come to church! :)) We also saw a miracle in applying the "plus 2" principle, that I learned from my high school football coach. We were done with our finding for the day and had to go fill out an exchange form but the Spirit prompted us to go "plus 2" so in doing so we met a really cool girl and got her information, it was awesome. When you are done with something, always go "plus 2" give a little more, go the extra mile!
On Saturday, Elder Erekson and I had another cool experience with "plus 2." We spent all day knocking on doors where students live with almost nobody answering, since they are all gone. We were about to start heading back to our truck when we felt like we should go "plus 2." So we did, and neither of them answered but by taking the time to knock on those doors, a car pulled in and so we went and talked to the girl and had an awesome conversation, and she was really interested. It was cool how she told us that she knows that a lot of the things she does in her life (breaking the word of wisdom and law of chastity) are wrong, and we told her that we can help her to find true happiness, it was amazing. There is nothing better than following the Spirit, it always brings success.
Our Christmas Party in Grand Rapids was great. We as Zone Leaders all had to come prepared with a game, so our game was where everybody had an oreo on their forehead and had to get it into their mouth without using their hands. It was great and then we realized we had a ton of extra time with each group, so Elder Erekson came up with a cool charades game, and it went great! There were a lot of talents shown and jeopardy. At the end of the party, as we were cleaning up President Jacobsen came up to me and told me he wanted to talk to me before I left, so about ten or so minutest later I went up to him and we went out into the hall, and since one of the Assistants had to go home due to health reasons he needed a new Assistant, and he called me to be his new Assistant and to serve with Elder Haddock again. He told me that it's all work. I'm really excited/nervous/humbled by the opportunity and responsibility. I always remember what my mom told me a long time ago whenever I felt overwhelmed. "The Lord qualifies whom he calls."
The next day was Christmas. We exercised, studied, and opened presents then we had breakfast at the Stevens. We also watched Joy to the World with them. After that I got to Skype my family. It was awesome. Best Christmas present I could have asked for! We were at a family's home named the Lillroses. I was helping her peel potatoes and I told her about how my Grandpa Chalmers would always say SPOA (spud peelers of America) when it was time for the kids to peel potatoes. She liked it and was telling her whole family about it. We had an interesting lunch at some members' house, and then had dinner at the Lillrose's and then Elder Erekson skyped and I taught their family how to play Mexican Train and they loved it. It was an awesome Christmas.
Yesterday after church, Elder Erekson and I drove to East Lansing and he dropped me off and at my new home. I will be serving on the MSU campus and working closely with President Jacobsen on helping the mission to progress. I just got out of my first weekly meeting with him and Elder Haddock and it went really well. I'm excited for the future.
My thought for this week is about receiving and following spiritual promptings. This is something that I have recently found more success in doing by applying the following: When I receive a prompting to do something, I usually ask myself, "Should I do that?" whether it be to talk to someone, to knock on a door, or go out of my way to do something. I have learned that whenever I ask myself that, the answer is always...YES. All good things come from God, if we feel like we should do something, that we know is good, it is from God,  so we should act on it, and we will see blessings come. I promise you that in the name of Jesus Christ.
I love you all! I can feel the strength that comes from your prayers on my behalf. Thank you so much for everything!
Elder Chalmers

See ya WMU!

WEEK ONE IN THE ZOO...KALAMAZOO.                                                     12/21/15
Hey Everyone!
My first week in Kalamazoo has been great! The transition to a new companion, area, and zone has gone better than I could have hoped for. I really like it here and the WMU campus is a pretty sweet set up, similar yet different from CMU, but I like it none the less.
I'm assigned to the Kalamazoo University Branch, known throughout the mission and here as the KUB. It's for all the college aged members in the entire Kalamazoo stake and we meet in an old baptist church right by downtown that the church bought. It's super cool. That also means that we only work with and teach the college aged people, and it's Christmas break for all of them, so that is giving us slight anxiety. We aren't sure what we are going to do for the next three weeks. We are really going to have to put our faith in the Lord on this one!
This week went by like a blur for me. I can't believe it has already been a week. We did have some really cool experiences during this week, probably better stated as miracles!
I had the chance to meet one of our investigators this week, his name is Nathan. We had a great lesson with him and we taught him about fasting. He said he would join the church as soon as he knew it was true, so we challenged him to fast about whether the church is true and during the week he asked us a few different doctrinal questions via text and Facebook and told us he was fasting to know! We're excited to see how it goes.
While personal contacting on campus this week, we met a professor who was on a walk, so we walked with him. We ended up walking around the neighbor that is east of campus for about an hour and teaching him the restoration in a very conversational way, it was a really cool experience, and he said he'd be open to talk more next semester.
I was able to do two baptismal interviews this week, they were both great experiences, one of them passed, and the other did not. It was my first time interviewing someone and having them not be ready. I'm not sure how to describe the experience other than I learned a lot about following the Spirit and doing God's will, not my own, or what is easy. I'm confident that the person will be baptized soon after further preparation.
Probably our coolest miracle came on Saturday. All the finals were done and we were pretty unsure about what Campus had in store for us, but we went as we knew we needed to. We prayed specifically for a miracle then got out of the car and as we were getting our stuff, we said "Hi" to this guy who was in his graduation outfit, also getting out of his car, he responded by saying, "How's it going Elder?" That caught us off guard a little bit. Since I'm new to the area I thought, "Could he possibly be a member?" Turns out that his sister is a member and so are his grandparents, so we asked him what is keeping him from learning more about it. He said, "Well, school has always been my excuse, but I guess I don't have that anymore..." We are going to be teaching him tomorrow! Prayer answered! Miracle!
We had a great Sacrament meeting yesterday. After the ordinance of the Sacrament what we did was, they opened the floor and invited anyone who wanted to, to come up and share their favorite Christmas song and bear their testimony of why it was their favorite then we sang one verse of that hymn. It was a great meeting. Attendance at church was pretty sparse this week, due to Christmas break, but it was still great.
I've had some really good studies in my scriptures lately. What I learned today came from Helaman 15:9 - the verse says, "And ye know also that they have buried their weapons of war, and they fear to take them up lest by any means they should sin; yea, ye can see that they fear to sin—for behold they will suffer themselves that they be trodden down and slain by their enemies, and will not lift their swords against them, and this because of their faith in Christ." I found this scripture to be really helpful to me. Most of the time sin is what is easy and what will offer us pleasure in some way or another, which is why it's so hard to stay away from. We learn here though, that as we increase our faith in Jesus Christ, we will begin to fear to sin more and more and we will be able to withstand the temptations Satan throws at us more easily I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon. Over the last few weeks,I've spent a lot of time in Helaman 15 and I've read this verse at least 10 times, but it wasn't until today that I caught this. Continue to read and study the scriptures, they contain a never ending wealth of knowledge, guidance, and peace for our lives.
I also hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and remember the reason for the celebration, being Christ. If you haven't already,watch the video the church put out, "A Savior is Born" and ponder what message it is teaching you. Each gift you receive represents the ultimate gift that a Father gave to his children, His Son, Jesus Christ. Again, Merry Christmas!
Elder Chalmers
Goodbye with Elder Tubagus (Elder Bloskas in the background)

The elders in Coldwater


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