Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A little short, craziness

Sorry this might be a little short, craziness has ensued this week as far as having other things to get done so I've almost run out of time! This week we had the opportunity to go to the temple, we get to go twice a year, right around conference, so that was pretty cool. It was also fun to see some of the other missionaries that I had worked with before. Now that I've transferred and been out of a little bit, I actually know people when we have big meetings and stuff. Although I guess that the real sign that you're an old missionary is that you don't know people at meetings because they're all too new. I can't actually think of anything else super exciting or interesting that has happened this week, sorry! We have been doing a lot of training and introducing so that S. Markus can know people and know what we do. We have been teaching a man named Dennis a lot, he actually has a baptism date so that is pretty exciting! Our most prospective investigator though, who is the epitomy of a Black Baptist man is now moving to North Carolina for at least a month. But on the bright side, he said that he and his wife were going to finish The Book of Mormon by the time he got back! So, hopefully that will happen! Honestly I think that Amos 8:11-12 has become one of my favorite scriptures, at least for now. When you really do find those people who are hungering after the word of God, it is an amazing thing! Now if only it would happen a little more often! If I didn't tell you about Amos though, you probably would have thought I was in love with Alma 32, just from how well I know it. I think by the end of my mission I'm going to have it memorized, just from using it so many times. 

I don't remember if I told you about Charles and Tracy and their sign already. Their dog was killed in a hit and run on the busy road outside of their house. So to make the person feel bad they put up a huge sign that says "YOU KILLED OUR DOG!" on one side and then on the other side "WHY DIDN'T YOU STOP!". It kind of reminds me of the signs you see on the way to the Arlington Stake Center from our house. You know the ones that are like "JESUS LOVES YOU! WHY?" 

Anyway, sorry I have to go. I promise I'll make this longer and more detailed next time! 



Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hello from the real windy "city"!

 We had winds this week up to 45 mph. I have found that riding a bike on a dirt road in a skirt with crazy strong winds blowing against you is less than ideal but hey, that sounds just like one of those "when I was a kid" stories that old people tell so I guess God is just getting me set for my old age. I can't remember if I told you all or not but when Sister Morco and I were companions we decided to make it our goal to be translated by or before we were 70. Once you're older than 70 it just seems (on average) like life just gets way too difficult. I'm trying to assess how realistic that goal is though because Enoch and his city were translated when he was like 120 but I'm just trying to do myself, not a whole city, and I'm sure that with inflation and whatnot 70 is about right. 

My new companion's name is Sister Markus and she is from West Jordan, Utah. I never realized how many people in our ward originated from Utah until now. They all apparently know exactly where her house is, it's kind of weird. Like I said before, forget Rome, all roads eventually somehow lead to Utah. She is 19, graduated from high school, worked for a year and then came out. And she says "Oh my heck", and other cute little Utah things all the time. She is a good missionary though and is very willing to learn and try new things (except for food. She doesn't like milk, meat on the bone, most vegetables or anything that came from or around the ocean) so I think that things are going to go well this transfer. 

This week we picked up a new investigator named Charles. We had met him and his wife Tracy a few weeks ago but were finally able to meet with him actually twice this week. It's funny when you talk to people, especially during the first lesson or two how they try to test you to see what you or the church is like. The first time we met with Charles he asked us if he could smoke but as soon as he saw that we weren’t having a spaz attack he stopped. The second lesson he also kept referring to Joseph Smith as Will Smith (I've noticed by the way that it's pretty easy to tell when people say they don't know or remember something but obviously still do) to see how we would react. He and his wife have real potential though and in a little time I can really see them making real progress. When we invited Charles to church he said something along the lines of "You guys talk about Christ though right? I've been hearing a lot about this Will Smith guy, I'm not going to hear all about him there am I?" And we told him that of course we would talk about Christ. He didn't end up coming to church but, the third hour lesson was also all about Joseph Smith so... maybe this time it was for the best, ha ha. 

Our other potential so far is Dennis, who has a schizophrenic son. (Seriously there is something in the water here. I have met at least 5 schizophrenic people so far and I'm pretty sure before Rio Rancho I had never met any). We were finally able to convince him that the Book of Mormon takes place both before, during and after the time of Christ's mortal ministry so, that was a big step. But he's another person who in time I can see doing very well, particularly after he gets off his substances. Honestly, I can't tell you how big of a testimony of the Word of Wisdom I have developed in the past few months. 

Probably the most interesting thing that happened to us this week was that we talked to a UNM student who was taking a History of Christianity class and was writing a paper about The Church and wanted to talk to a reliable source. She talked to us for forever about all kinds of different things, but most of all about our experiences as missionaries. How and why we decide and prepare to come, how we deal with rejection, and what we like best and that kind of stuff. I'm pretty sure that she isn't going to become an investigator any time in the near future (she was pretty opinionated herself about how wrong we were on several issues) but it was still pretty interesting. 

So I don't remember if I told you all this before or not but a few months ago I decided to read all of the standard works. I'm almost done with Genesis, it is taking forever! One reason that it is taking me so long to read it though is because I am really trying to understand what on earth is going on. As a result, the Bible dictionary and Joseph Smith Translation have become some of my new best friends (by the way, if you want to read something interesting, read the section in the Bible dictionary about Joseph Smith Translation). Something cool that I read about today was the blessing that Israel gave to Joseph's sons Ephraim and Manasseh. In the JST it talks about how just as Joseph saved his brothers from literal starvation by selling them corn during the famine, his children's posterity will do the same spiritually. And that just as his brothers literally bowed down and worshiped him their descendants will figuratively bow down to Joseph's because of the ability and information they have to help them spiritually. So you know of course that the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh are charged and privileged with being some of the first to help to gather Israel and spread the gospel to the rest of the world. What I though was cool though was that by doing so you are fulfilling a prophecy that Israel gave forever ago! That you will help to spiritually save the lives of the rest of the tribes of Israel. So, go out there and be prophecy fulfillers! Ha, ha, it reminds me of the end of the animated Hobbit movie where Bilbo is like "psh, prophecies fulfilled? I had a hand in all of that you know!" and Gandalf is like "surely you don't disbelieve the prophecy just because you helped to make it happen?" 

Anyway, I hope you all are doing well! Talk to you soon! 



Monday, April 13, 2015

Thank You Bishop Vaughn

Hello friends, guess what tomorrow is? Transfer time! I remember one time talking to a Sister who was having trouble adjusting to her new area, she felt like the old one was better and and more successful and blah, blah, blah. I told her to think about it like a video game. Every transfer or period of change is like a level. And of course if you were doing well and having an easy time in your last area or period of time this one is going to be harder, you just leveled up! It means your are making progress and now you are moving on to harder things. Well, I must have seriously leveled up without my knowledge or something because I've got a lot coming my way this next transfer! As you know from my whining last week we are losing our car and are moving to a bike area. I know that I probably sound really lazy complaining about that but my biggest concern is that it is going to slow everything down so much! Especially considering how wide spread Rio Rancho is. But, people have been doing it for forever so, what can I say? Anyway, it's be an adjustment. I am also taking over the area for the first time, yay! Ha, it's crazy how I've been here for 6 weeks already but I still really don't know where anything is. And my new companion is also fresh off the MTC boat. So it'll be fun! I don't mean of course to complain, I have absolutely no doubt that is it entirely possible to do amazing and have lots of success and fun with these situations, just that they will take a little getting used to! Ha, Sister Morco and I were also talking about how really those and most of our issues, while annoying and stressful at the time really aren't that big of a deal, but that they were probably predatory or Aaronic problems for to help us later in life when we have real crazy things happen or Meckezedeck problems. You know like family issues and debt and all that fun stuff. 

Since this was our last week with our car we have spent a lot of time exploring the outskirts of our area which would be much more difficult to do with a bike. So we have been listening to our banjo hymns a lot this week. In one area we searched we only found three houses. We also found a lot of houses that have pretty good Edgar Allen Poe potential. We chose to avoid most of them. I think our general rule was that if the door is missing or might as well be to skip it. We also found that the days that we committed to spend time out in the super dirt roads it was also always increabily windy. Everything gets dusty here and tumble weeds are now a lot less comical and a lot more normal (they'll always be a little funny, you have to admit). By the way, it kind of hurts when they run into you. Those things are prickly! 

We discovered this week as well that despite my being an FHE group leader for three school years, when it comes to kids and doing a fun activity/object lesson with them that also a gospel principle we only have one card up our sleeve! So thank you Bishop Vaughn for doing that activity about prioritizing your time with the Mason jar when I was in Young Woman’s because I've already done it twice! Maybe one of these days we'll think of a new one but so far it's worked out alright and it's a good secret lesson for the parents too. 

I think that I mentioned last week that President Miller has asked us to spent time learning more about Family History so that we can teach it to others and use it as more of a tool. So this Wednesday we went to the family history class at church and did some of it. I connected my relatives on the Baker side to myself and connected a census to some of the ancestors. We even found some kids on the census that weren’t on family search, so I or someone will have to do a little more research to figure out if they were lost kids that need work done or if they were part of something else or what. It's a little bit crazy too because there were like three different marriages involved. 

This week we found a new investigator! Huzzah! Now we have one! Ha, ok it's not quite that bad but it is cool. We actually did find a few people that might be investigators in the future though which is what we are going to work on this week. One of whom is a guy named Demetrius who we almost didn't go talk to because I am a coward and he looked scary. But we did because Sister Morco is awesome and inspired and he told us that he had just gotten out of prison and was looking for a way to turn his life around. He had been asking God to show him what to do. How cool is that? I guess that's what I get for not wanting to talk to him. Maybe I should not want to talk to people and my companion should make me do it more often so we have more people to teach! Just kidding, maybe I should just talk to more people. By the way, this is completely random but I just remembered something cool. The clouds here are like Toy Story clouds. You know how they just have a ton of texture? A lot of the time it's the same thing here. 

So, something that I have been thinking about this week is the difference between Moses and Enoch. In Exodus 3 and 4 Moses sees a burning bush and God commands him to return to Egypt and free his people. Moses tells Him “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” And God tells him basically, who made man’s mouth? Go and I will be your mouth. But Moses still tells Him no, I can’t do it, so he sends Aaron to be his spokesperson and they get the job done. In Moses chapter 6: 27- 31 a very similar experience happens to Enoch. God tells him that he is to declare repentance to the people and Enoch says "Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?" And just like he does to Moses in the next few verses God says, go and do as I say and my spirit will be with you "wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me." and then it says about Enoch that "and he did so". Moses 7: 13-17 it talks about a lot of amazing things Enoch was able to do as he was preaching repentance, the very things that God had promised. And that "he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him." Enoch and Moses both did the will of the Lord, they both did amazing things and were amazing men, in fact, both of them were translated. And I’m sure that as he went on, Moses gained a lot of confidence and faith and no longer needed that spokesperson. But that small difference of faith, of going and doing from the beginning, and trusting that the Lord will fulfill his promises made the difference between Enoch, who walked with God, and Moses who saw God face to face. Anyway, maybe it’s just my crazy interpretation, but I thought that it was interesting at least. God knows what we can do when we arewilling and work with Him! He has confidence in us! So should we!
Anyway, I hope you all are doing well and have an amazing week. Talk to you soon!



 ps Those two kids, the Molina boys, were ridiculously excited about our name tags. Every time we see them they would yell "We're going to take your names! I'm a missionary!" Right after they "stole" them they started saying "We're going to leave in our car, its right there. You live here now. You live in there" And pointed to their room 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

This week we also explored "area 12"

Today Sister Morco and I recived terrible news!!! Next transfer (next week) Star Heights is turning into a biking area! And just a few week earlier we had made a commitment to try and be healthier. We were just planning on eating a bunch of salads or something but *sigh* I guess God really does answer prayers and righeous commitment. The really funny part about it though was that right after we got the news we went out to our car to go somewhere and Count Your Many Blessings starting playing. At least we don't have to buy the bikes and who knows, maybe we'll get transfered, ha ha. 

Our mission president this past week has told us to become more knowledgeable about family history work so that we can teach it to other people. He wants us to meet with the family history consultant for an hour a day twice a week. So in the next little while I ought to be at least somewhat knowledgable about family history! No promises that I'll get super into it though, I'm still pretty sure that the Spirit of Elijah skipped over me during that whole returning the keys and turning the hearts thing. 

This week we also explored "area 12" and although we looked, we didn't see Katniss. Our area in order to help us figure out where people are is divided up into 12 different areas. And just like the hunger games, most people live in area 2 and almost no one lives in area 12. It's huge and the houses are miles apart. When we asked the ward secretary how we would know where the area ends he said "When you can't drive anymore." Apparently the "road" ( and by that I mean dirt path) just stops and there is a giant wall. We drove and drove but we didn't find it so eventually we gave up and turned around. The day that we were out in area 12 and really a lot of days here recently have been super windy! And when it gets windy here the dirt blows like crazy. So, I might be buying some kind of face mask in the near future. Just kidding, kind of... 

Our big focus this week was getting people ready to watch conference, or trying to at least. Since it was spring break we didn't have as much luck as we had hoped for but we did what we could! Conference was of course really good and this was the first year that I actually wrote down questions. For a few conferences I had thought of but not written down questions and of course before I had just watched but this year I actually wrote down about 10. One of the things that I really liked that was said Sunday afternoon was "How are you going to change because of what you have heard this weekend?" That is something that I need to figure out this week as I look at my questions and what I got out of the different sessions. It will I'm sure work it's way into one of my 500 goals and commitments. By the way, you set so many goals as a missionary it is crazy! People give you commitments for everything and you have to make weekly goals and commitments for all kinds of subjects. It's funny because in the adjusting to missionary life book is says something along the lines of "make sure to avoid setting too many goals at once" but just by the nature of going to meetings and doing your regular planning you have at least 10 going at a time. Sister Morco and I were saying that we should count up all of the goals that we have made so far to see how many you make thoroughout the course of your mission. Our prediction in all seriousness is 500. But what was I talking about? Oh yeah, Conference. My favorite session was the Saturday afternoon one, particularly the middle talks. I remember liking them all but the two I remember in particular right now are the ones were they talked about hearing the music and about a saint being a sinner who keeps on trying. 

Speaking of goals, Sister Morco and I gave a training at Zone Training on how to have effective weekly planning and a big thing that we talked about was making sure that your daily plans pointed back to your weekly goals and that sometimes, even if it's a good idea, if it doesn't point back to the goals, either the goal needs to change or you need to get rid of the plan. We also incorporated in some of the idea I learned from advertising and also from all of Dads goal setting tapes and stuff that I've heard so many of. So, I don't know if that makes us cool or lame, but that's how it went. 

Well, I hope that you all had an awesome Easter! Talk to you next monday