Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Going Home

Hello friends! 

So, not to be trunky or anything but this is the last e-mail you will ever get from me. At least as a missionary. How crazy is that? So, I think the best thing we did this week was last p-day. First, Sister Gibbons and I went to Holy Family, which is like the Catholic version of Deseret Book. They looked at us funny when we walked in but it was fun to look around. Then at zone sports we were trying to decide what game to play and someone suggested duck duck goose as a joke. But then we really ended up playing it for almost an hour! It was pretty great honestly. 
This week we also had the weirdest lunch ever. Last week we spoke in church and the wife said "Yeah, when I saw you up there I thought you looked like you were going to be a terrible speaker but it turns out you were pretty good." Ok... thanks? Ha, anyway, it was a weird meal to say the least. That same Sunday after we spoke Bishop Kemsley announced that I was getting transfered in a few weeks. Which is true, I am leaving but everyone has been super confused all week about who is leaving and why are they going and how do you know so early and is it an et and what happened and all of that. So my attempts to just disappear from the mission field have been ruined =D 
Another highlight of the week, everyone this week has been sick and on the verge of death. At Zone Training alone, out of 14 people about 5 of them had either thrown up in the past 24 hours or were well on their way. Ha, so it's been a bit of  tough week for the mission field out here in ABQW but things can only go up right? 
Oh, the other great thing that happened this week, we were having dinner with a family and the son wanted us to play a game where you have to guess riddles. One of the questions was something along the lines of " There are two people at a party, if one more person shows up it is going to be a friend of both of them. True or false?" We said true of course because "where two or three are gathered in my name there also will I be." The kid looks at the answer and says "correct!" I'm pretty sure that's not what the card said but we got the answer right! 

Well friends, let me just end with this thought that came from the EQ president a few months ago. Don't get distracted. We were outside of a potentials house, waiting for our other member to get there and he said "You know, I think the biggest tool Satan has is that he just keeps you busy until before you know it, you've died." I can promise you that is so true, I have seen it again and again and again. Even if it is something good that you are doing, you can not let it keep you from what is best and what we need to be doing here. If I had a penny every time someone over the last year and a half has said to me "I don't have time for ...." I probably wouldn't have to work this summer. Whatever you are doing, I doubt it is more important that what we are sharing. When I was taking psych, we talked about something called relational preference. It is the idea that we show what really matters to us in life through the way that we spend our time. When we choose to do something, by nature we are not choosing to do something else. We evidence our preferences through our actions. Of course we have to do some things we don't want to do, and a lot of things are needed to live and be happy like working etc. But if we aren't careful, we can get distracted and loose our sense of priorities. We can forget why we are here, what our purpose is, and that we are here to progress and come closer to Heavenly Father. Everything else, is just a nice perk along the way. It isn't enough to just be busy, anyone can be busy, there is a quote that says something along the lines of even the ants are busy, it is what we are busy about that matters. Look at your time, look at your priorites, remember what you are doing here and who you are! And what that means for you and what you need to do! 
I hope you all have an amazing week! 


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Be A Light To the World

Hey friends! 
How was your week? I feel like there's not a lot to update you on since it's been one less day than usual since I wrote but we'll see. We had an awesome lesson with Loc this week. He says that the Holy Ghost freaks him out because of how often he feels it and how personal it is. He says "it's scary, but in a good way." It's pretty funny. We talked to him about baptism and he said he wants to do it but he has to talk to his wife first. We're hoping to set a date with him on Wednesday, which would be awesome! 
We had some interesting dinner adventures this week. So the Bosque branch is fed my members of the stake since their branch has about 10 people in it and each ward takes turns feeding them (by the way if you ever find yourself being asked to feed someone in a branch, Spanish, YSA or whatever please do! Those poor people never get any food). So this week it was our ward's turn to feed Bosque but somehow their dinner calendar and ours got put together, so we both thought we were going to the same places for dinner. So the members started freaking out when they thought that 4 missionaries were coming over and then we also have a mission rule where we aren't allowed to eat with other missionaries at members houses. So we got to do some fun juggling to see who got to eat with the member which night and who got to take their dinner to go or fend for themselves. It all worked out pretty well in the end though.
We've been really hitting the pavement to find new investigators this week since we still only have two solid ones. We didn't find any news but we did find some interesting people. One guy asked us if we had ever been enlightened and offered to hang out with us some time so we could try some "unnatural enlightenment". Needless to say we politely declined. He told us we were really missing out though, because "that's how you really dream". So I guess my dreams will just always be lacking, oh well! 
We also had a few funny dinner experiences this week. We traveled back in time and had dinner with one of our zone leaders, Elder Thompson as a toddler. Elder Thompson's parents are divorced and less active, his first name is Brennen, and he has a twin sister. Anyway, we had dinner with a recently divorced less active mom in our ward who has twins, a boy named Brennen and a girl named Evelynn. So we thought that was kind of funny. We also had dinner the other night with our Relief Society president and her family who tried to set up Sister Gibbons with their son who is on a mission in Wyoming. Ha, don't do that either! It's weird! 

This week we've also been getting our focus for next month ready. We must be doing decently on them because they asked us to give a training on how to have a good focus at MLC this week. Anyway, last month's was "look not behind thee" and this month's is "You are more than what you have become. Remember who you are." It comes from a devotional given by President Monson at BYU (yes I was there, that's my hipster plug for the day) called Be A Light To the World. The idea though is that as we remember our divine nature, who we are, we can become better and we have the confidence to do the things Heavenly Father would have us do. In my interview with President Miller, something that he said was that confidence comes from knowledge. I think in a sense that's true of all things, when we have knowledge, we naturally have confidence. So, spiritual confidence comes from spiritual knowledge. When we have and understand who we are, we have the confidence to not only be the people he wants us to be but also to do the things that he wants us to do. If you find yourself afraid of sharing the gospel or afraid of standing up for something, or not even afraid but just being tempted, study your divine nature. Study who you are, where you came from, why you are here and what is really important in life, and you will naturally find your confidence growing, your happiness increasing and your priorities realign in the right direction. 

I hope you all have an amazing week! 


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Living in a FOG(H)

Hey friends! Sorry to write you on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday but we had zone conference yesterday so our p-day got switched to today. 
So first, the best thing that happened this week, it rained! It was seriously the greatest thing ever, especially since it's been in the 90's recently. Rain is my favorite thing in the whole world I think, ice cream of course being a close second.

We had a really good lesson with a new investigator named Joe this week. He was a referral from the Spanish Elders. I was a little skeptical because he doesn't seem to own a shirt and his house stinks like weed like you wouldn't believe but, it was actually really good. He recognizes that his life is better when God is in it and he wants to get back to that. We were supposed to see him yesterday too but it didn't work out so hopefully we'll get to see him again soon.

Jessica also has a baptism date of June 11. I'm not sure if she's going to make it since she is still really struggling with the word of wisdom but we're keeping our fingers crossed! We also had a lesson this week with a man named Melchezidck! How crazy is that! He's friends with a family in our ward but it turns out he lives out of our area. But, another family has a friend named Loc staying with them that we had our first lesson with on Sunday. He's not Christian but open to other ideas and he really likes church so we'll see how it goes! 
The real highlight of this week was being able to go to zone conference. It was good as usual, but this one was a little different because it is the last on the we will have with President and Sister Miller before they go home in July. So they gave us their dying advice at the end. Ha, all the zone leaders "had something in their eye", and Elder Sanchez was very concerned about what was wrong with Elder Bracken. It was really good though, President and Sister Miller have been amazing and I'm so thankful that they were here for my whole mission. I also had my dying interview this week, which was strange. We spent a lot of time talking about spiritual gifts obtained and how to continue to progress for the rest of your life. He also said that if I wanted, he would interview my future fiance before I got married so I might have to take him up on that =D 
As for a spiritual though, I have two but I think I'm going to save one for next week because I'm a bit low on time. Something that President Miller said both in my interview and in his advise at zone conference, was that living the gospel is simple, it's living life that's hard. And life is what can sometime trick us into over complicating the things of God. The primary things we invite investigators to do to progress in CPR. Go to church, pray, and read your scriptures. Generally, assuming you're attentive, and apply and all of that, that's all you really need. Sometimes, when questions, concerns, and trials come up, you need other things, and of course you have to follow and listen to the council and revelation you get, but when you are doing those three, and for members of the church attending the temple regularly, you will progress, you will grow, you will move forward. It is something I have seen again and again. No matter what stage you are at, high or low, we can always do better. We can always ask with an open heart "what lack I yet?" and find the answer in those things and come closer to Christ. So, if you are doing those 3/4 things, keep it up, and if you're not, commit to start, today. 
Oh, one more thing that happened, I told President and Sister Miller that they couldn't get trunky in their last few weeks and he just looked at me and said "ain't nobody got time for that!". Sister Miller said they were living in a FOG(H) (the H is silent I guess), a fear of going home. Ha, I told them I was in a pretty thick FOG(H) too. 
Well, I hope you all are doing great and having a good week! Talk to you soon! 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Are you less active?

Friends! We just got back from a baseball game! There was an afternoon Albuquerque Isotopes game and our zone got permission to go! It was I have to say pretty awesome, and certainly a change of pace from basketball in the gym. Not that that's not good too. 
Last week at sports we played a game called flicker ball, which is like ultimate Frisbee but you play it in the gym with a football, and instead of getting the ball into the end zone you get it into the basketball hoop. It was pretty fun, so if you're ever looking for a weird new game to play give it a try! 
We picked up a new investigator this week! Yay!! His name is Eric and he's friends with a member of the branch. We met him at FHE and after we left he asked the Branch President for our number because he "wanted to talk to us about Jesus." Can do Eric! Can do! He doesn't know much about the church though, or even Christ really. In our first lesson he asked us what it was like to be nuns and he brought us some incense that Catholics use for some kind of ceremony. So that was nice... Ha, he's a nice guy though so hopefully he's interested in learning more and is willing to put some effort in. 
We met with that family that I was telling you about a few weeks ago, where the father passed away suddenly. We hadn't ever really talked to them up to this point just because of everything that was going on but we did this week. Guess where they lived before Albuquerque? Marysville, Washington. How weird is that?!? 
We also went on a few less active adventures and were happy to find that a few of them were actually active and just like to travel. We were talking to one thought to be less active member who asked what we were doing for the day and we said "going to go see less actives." They laughed and said "I hope we weren't one of those!" ... they were... 
As far as something spiritual for the week goes, we are still reading those books by Elder Bednar. Today we talked about being offended and taking offense. This is a clip from one of the talks we discusses. 

On of my favorite quotes from Brigham Young goes something like: A man who takes offense when offense is not intended is a fool. A man who takes offense when offense is intended, is also a fool. 
Ha, anyway, I hope you all are doing well and have an amazing week! 


p.s. Sister Gibbon this morning accidentally called Pahoran Pathoran.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Answered Prayers

 Friends, I have bad news. I forgot my planner today, which has all of my notes on the crazy shenanigans that have gone on during the week. So, I'll tell you two stories and leave you with a though and try to not forget it next time, sorry!

 We were having a meeting and somehow off hand it was brought up that Sister Gibbons has a Cost-Co card. One of the Elders started protesting about how he lived right behind Cost-Co and he had to see if every day but he didn't get to go inside. She offered to let him use her card. He thought about it for a minute and then said "No, I'm too poor for Cost-co. All I really want is a hot dog.". So now whenever we see the Bosque Elders or something disappointing happens we just respond with "will someone please get that man a hot dog?". Maybe you had to be there but I was, so it was pretty great.

 The second thing happened yesterday during our weekly planning. We live about half a mile from our zone leaders and the other sisters in our zone. Around 2:30 we got a text from the zone leaders asking us to call them. We did and were asked if we could bring over some butter. When we asked if they were home now they said yes and that they weren’t going anywhere any time soon. When we asked why they said "Well... it's kind of a long story but Elder Thompson was trying to fix a leak in the sink and now his hand is stuck in it." So naturally then needed the butter to get his hand unstuck. We came over and brought them my tool kit, Windex, and some butter but... it turns out that they actually just wanted butter so that they could make cookies. It was pretty funny and we totally fell for it, but we came away with a new motto for the transfer. "Don't wait around for your Zone Leader, he's probably stuck under a sink.".

 So anyway, now on to something slightly more spiritual. A lot of times on the mission I've thought back to my old areas or my old companions and thought "if only I could go back and serve there again, I would do so much better the second time.". Not that I was bad before, just because I know more now. Towards the end of my last transfer in Hondo Pass, when I knew that I was going to leave, I asked Heavenly Father that if it was possible, I would like to go back to somewhere I had been before. Or get the change to work with/ around some of my old comps I had before. And I promised that if that happened, I would be better this time. I would use what I learned to do what I should have done the first time. In this transfer and last I've been blessed with that in literally every way you could imagine. I'm an STL again, in a YSA again, in a family ward again, I'm serving in ABQW again, and work in Rio Rancho again, and even get to work in two of my old areas. I've had the chance to see and work with many of my old companions and even just people that I've known from the past. And I know I haven't been perfect this time around, but I hope I can keep my end of the deal and do my best to make things better this time and make things right Anyway, just a thought, what a huge testament of the love Heavenly Father has for us and how perfectly He knows us! Anyway, have a good week!



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

we got to go to the Albuquerque temple yesterday

Well friends, I know that you're not going to believe this but, I don't have a lot of time! So sorry if this ends up a little short. This week we had some fun events. One of which was our poor little car being the victim of a hit and run. We weren't in the car when it happened but someone smashed out bumper and then took off. Don't worry though, we used our detective skills to find them again (we were just across the street and saw it happen) and get their plates and file a police report. And that was 3 hours of pure fun, let me tell you! It actually wasn't that bad, it just took a long time. 

In happier news, we got to go to the Albuquerque temple yesterday. which was great! We get to go twice a year, usually after conference, so we were surprised that it was this early but hey, I'm not going to complain. And going up to Albuquerque from El Paso is always a full day trip since it's 4 hours one way. We got all of our planning done though so it was still productive, don't you worry (because I know that you were all so worried right?)! It's always nice to be able to go up as well because the whole mission goes on the same day, so often you get to see other friends who are serving in different areas. Unfortunately for me though, I owed one Elder some Mentos and I brought them all the way up from El Paso to give to him but I didn't see him there. So naturally I had to eat them on the way back. 

I think that I told you all that we have been focusing more on part member families and unbaptized children of record here in the mission. This week we received three new investigators from it. All of them are children who have a member parent but haven't been baptized themselves. Teaching kids helps us to remember how to be simple, but it's always cool to see how easily they get it, and really how simple the gospel really can be. 

Something else that I've really enjoyed this week have been Charles' new member lessons. He is teaching them to us and we are being "investigators", which is really fun. It's like an enjoyable role play, and it's good to be able to see his growth and understanding. His wife has even "secretly" been listening in and last week she told us that she wants to read The Book of Mormon! So we'll see where that goes. 

We met with James again this week, and he is still doing really well. He is very honest in his questions, which is nice. Often times, people ask the same questions he does but without the intent to understand, just as an attack. 

Which brings me to what I've been thinking about this week. I've been reading over my journal and something we talked about in one of the Sunday meetings in the MTC has been on my mind. We talked about when Christ goes to the temple and reads the scripture that talks about the coming of Christ and says "this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." Saying in essence, I am the messiah. Well, the people had a freak out, yell blasphemy, and decided to stone him. And he leaves of course and goes somewhere else to talk to other people. The lesson to learn though is that what Christ said was true, he was the messiah, and just because it was different from what the Jews were expecting, didn't make it any less true. If they had opened their hearts and listened and learned from what he had to say, they would have been enlightened and found a lot more, peace, happiness and certainly spiritual understanding. But instead they get angry, defensive, refuse to consider other options, and literally try to kill the messenger. Now, obviously we can apply this to investigators, and people that we as missionaries meet on the street, but more importantly, we should apply it to ourselves. When we hear something that doesn't quite fit in exactly with everything that we already believe, especially something spiritual, do we stop, think, open our hearts and try and learn? Or do we get defensive, justify, and get rid of or try to "kill" what we are hearing? Sometimes, what we are hearing will be wrong, and if we are calm and rational about it, we will learn and understand that. But sometimes, it will be right and true. And just because it's different from what we think or think we know, doesn't make it any less true. And we may be denying us of further peace, happiness and understanding. Anyway, something to mull over.   

Well, I hope you all are doing amazing and talk to you soon! 



p.s. A quote from our bishop this week when talking about fast and testimony meetings. "I just figured eventually that this was the Lord's true church. He wants these weird people in it just like he wants the normal ones." 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

one cool experience

Well friends, I'm not sure that I have anything really all that exciting to report this week. Honestly, really just the regular stuff. I am considering getting color contacts though. We had a lesson with one new investigator this week who we promptly dropped after, when he sent us a text telling us how much he had fallen in love with my eyes. Yeah... I wish that was the only time that has happened. I think that's probably #4. Just as a word of caution, when someone starts complimenting your eyes, especially someone you don't know, just leave. It's just going to go down from there. But hey, I haven't been called or asked to participate in prostitution for a good month now so things are looking up I guess! 

We did have one cool experience this week where we tracked into a guy who invited us to come in right there and teach him. He seems like a really cool guy so that was pretty nice. We've also been working with Charles more this week with his new member lessons. They're pretty fun because he teaches us and we pretend to not know what he's talking about.

We also got to take Shirley to a baptism this week. She has been doing really well, which is awesome, especially considering her situations. She is living with her son and daughter in law and her son is deploying later this week. Her daughter in law won't let us in the house though so we always have to meet somewhere else. She has a lot of determination though and said "If we have to meet on the driveway, that's fine with me!". At the baptism she also gave Elder Montoya a hug and his reaction was pretty funny.   

This week I have been considering how everything Heavenly Father does is for our benefit. And if we don't understand now, we will in time. We were watching Prophet of the Restoration and it was talking about all of Joseph Smith's children who have died. I was thinking about how of course that was tragic and from our perspective it seems unfair, and like he was being punished, or at least not blessed or something. I thought though, that there is that thing about parents being able to raise children who have died during the millennium. Joseph Smith had a crazy life. Perhaps, his children were allowed to die, so that he would be able to raise them later during a happier and more peaceful time. I mean, obviously I don't know, but, when we take the time to really stop and think about things that seem unkind or unfair, we find possible positive reason. And even when we don't, we can take what we know about God, that he is our loving Heavenly Father, that really does want and only do what is best for us and exercise the faith to know that it will all work out in the end.  

Anyway, hope you all have a good week.