Wednesday, May 27, 2015

we got a car!!

Wow, let me just say that this week has been crazy! We have met it seems like only extremes in people. Either super nice and friendly and interested or really really not kind of interested. One person when getting mad at his house told us "You know what you can do? You can.." and he stomped his feet " and walk to the next place." His stomping his feet reminded me of D&C and I think it's Mathew where it talks about shaking the dust off of your feet of those that reject you. Ha, ha I'm pretty sure that guy had no idea that those scriptures existed but I just remember thinking "you know, that can be arranged, and you probably wouldn't like it very well."  

We also met some super drunk veterans who tried to teach us about the blues and told/asked us probably about 50 times that we needed to have grit and did we know what that was and how it would help us. I don't think outside of the movie True Grit have I ever heard someone use that phrase so seriously and probably never in my life so many times. And I really wish now that I could watch that movie, or at least listen to the music because it is amazing. Well, the new one is. Sorry John Wayne... although technically I haven't seen that one yet so I'm sure that it is good too. Ha, that reminds me, one of the songs that we have on one of our CD's is called like "down to the river or something like that but it's the one that they sing in O Brother Where Art Thou, and every time we hear it it reminds me of it. Ha, that movie is crazy, I can't believe it took me so long to watch the whole thing. 

We did have some good lessons and experiences this week though too. The best one we had this week was with an investigator named Greg. We taught him the Restoration and after we were done with asked him what he thought of it. He said "it's true, I know it. I can feel it. I need to look into this church more." We were so surprised but such a straightforward and positive answer that for a few seconds we didn't even know what to say! We also had two really cool experiences when we were out walking around. We talked to a guy who was working on his car. He told us that he had never been to a church in his life and that he didn't understand why bad things happened to people. Like why his son had to be born with a disability. We told him about the church and the Book of Mormon (thank you Elder Summers for getting me into the habit of putting the questions of the soul in the front cover!) and how it could help answer his questions. He said that he wanted to know more about it and gave us his number. Sadly, he lived outside of our area, and was only visiting the house we saw him at but seriously, I just can't believe how some people are so prepared and ready and are seriously a fufillment of the scripture that they are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it. 

So something else exciting that happened this week was... we got a car!!
This week we had interviews with President Miller and he and and Sister Miller drove us home after because we couldn't find a ride. As we were driving towards our house he was like "I see that we're in the edge of outer darkness here" and we were like, President, that's our area you'e making fun of, we walk this road all the time! Everyone on it knows who we are." At first he was like "Great!" and then he started looking around more and was like "wait... you do? ... There's not a lot of shoulder room here...Do you need a car?" and we got one less than 24 hours later. It was pretty crazy! I feel like a total whiner we didn't even go a full transfer without one but, President Miller is even more my hero now and man is that guy efficient!  

This week we also did some service for the Molina family and the little boy Myan told us that we always came over to his house and that he wanted to come over to our house next time! His mom said that it would be boring over ther since we didn't have any toys. He said "Do you have bikes?!?" and we had to say "yes!". So now apparently he wants to come and ride bikes with us.

Well, sorry I have to run so I won't have much of a spiritual though here but something that I have been considering (sorry if I already told you this, I've been considering it for a bit now) is that while obedience will not bring righteousness (after all if that was true than the pharasees would have been righteous), righteousness brings obedience. Sometimes we look down on obedience because we assume or because we know that it alone doesn't mean much, but we forget that if we were righteous, not only would we also be obedient, but that we would want to be too! Anyway, just a thought. Sorry to have to run, talk to you all soon! 



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hello and welcome to week 6!

It's hard to believe that this transfer is almost over. I'm pretty confident that I'll be spending another one in Rio Rancho but I guess that you never know for sure. It's also weird to think that today is my 6 month mark. Can you believe that I've already been at this for half a year? I can't! Ha, it's making me think very worldly today. Like what did I do back in regular life? Although I'm sure I'll get over that soon. This week we got three new investigators which is fantastic for us! One of them is a guy named Greg, who we first though was named Gred. Along with mastering the skill of eating green chili I am also learning to master the skill of talking to people without calling them by name. Because it seems like we always hear that people have strange names, like Gred. And sometimes it's true and sometimes it's not. 
This week we did service at a ranch called Loving Thunder. We groomed horses, and shoveled stalls. It really wasn't too bad, but I just am not that big of a fan of horses. I'm sorry but they're just not that cool. This week we also spent a lot of time focusing on contacting referrals and potentials and making sure that we know who everyone is on our ward list. It's a slow process but it will be super beneficial in the long run. We also went to a baptism this week for one of our previously less active member's sons. It's just so cool when people come back to church. Everybody go to church! It's awesome! 
Yesterday was a bit of an interesting day. We had planned to visit a man who the Elder's had told us about but when we got to the house it was empty. Apparently no one had lived there for years (according to the neighbor). So we thought that was pretty interesting, getting a fake address was a first for me. But it turns out that we had just written his address down wrong, which was good, because he was actually a pretty cool guy. Yesterday we also ran into a old man who let us in and then proceeded to tell the three of us (we had a member with us who is 19) about how beautiful we were and how attracted to us he was and how he can't understand how one church can have  so many beautiful women. Sadly, he was not interested in learning more but we are more than welcome back any time...
Honestly, that's really about all that I can think of that we did this week, sorry it wasn't very exciting. 
This week I have been reading the conference issue of the Ensign and I recently read President Uchtdof's talk on being genuine. It is really good, and is a really good reminder I though. It reminds me a lot of his talk last Priesthood session "Lord is it I." which is just amazing as well. Sometimes it's hard to know why we do things, and sometimes, once we do know, it's hard to change. I know that is something that I've seen in different circumstances in my life. Ok, so I know that I am doing this because I have to and not because I want to, but how do I change how I feel? I want to do it out of love, but I don't know how. It's a question that I'm still trying to find a complete answer to, but I think that a big part of it comes from that desire Even though we don't love doing it, we want to. When Alma talks about desire in Alma 32, we often only compare that to the Gospel as a whole. But he says to exercise a particle of faith, even if we can do no more than desire, let that desire work within us. I think the same principle applies to individual aspects of the Gospel as well. I don't like to serve but do it because I should or because God wants me to, or I don't like to do home teaching but know that it's a good thing, or whatever it is. As long as we let the desire work within us, we can transition, from duty to want. It'll be slow, at least it is for me, it will take a lot of time and a lot of transition, and it will sometimes be duty, sometimes be love, sometimes be half and half, but eventually, as we continue to work, and to try and to have and strengthen that desire, then we eventually get to Alma 32:42-43. "And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure, and ye shall feast upon this fruit, even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the reward s of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long suffering, waiting or the tree to bring forth fruit unto you." We will be more like Christ, we will act out of love. Even if it's just that one aspect, service, or church, or visiting teaching or whatever, we are more Christlike than we were before, and part by part, task by task, doctrine by doctrine we will become all that we know we can be. 
Hope you all have an amazing week! 


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Its Nice to be Nice

This week has been an interesting on for sure and strangely full of ridiculously nice people. On Tuesday some nice lady bought all of Sister Markus's and my groceries! We were in the checkout line and she came up to us. At first I just heard her say "Excuse me mam" and I braced myself because that is almost never a start to a good conversation but then amazingness ensued! Seriously, I need to be a much more charitable person when I get back to regular life. All you people don't let me forget how nice people are always to me! We also met a super nice guy who after we talked to for a bit told us that he wasn't interested but he said that he wished he could give us something but didn't have any water or anything. We started walking away and he started running after us down the street after a few minutes. We turned around and came back and he gave us $20! For real! Who are these crazy Christ like strangers and why can I not be them! That same day we knocked on a door and the couple not only invited us in (which never happens) but also invited us back for dinner tonight. So that's where we're going tonight and hopefully it will be awesome! They say that they are pretty set in their faith but are willing to listen but hey, that's all it takes sometimes! 

This week on exchanges I played the trophy missionary. For some reason we ran into a ridiculous amount of people who only spoke Spanish. As you know, I don't speak any but thankfully my companion knew a little. Thank goodness for serving in El Paso right? So she talked to like 5 people and I stood there and smiled. Ha, but I'm sure the love of Christ was radiating off of my countenance or something like that. We also met a sassy Black man named Virgil who as we were talking to his neighbor literally poked his head out from his doorway and said "Can I just ask ya'll somein real quick? Do ya'll let my black brothers into yo church?" and we said yes of course so we'll have to go back some time to "talk about and praise the Lord" with him some time. We on the same day met a southern Black woman who insisted that we call her Grandma but was actually really excited to see us. She pulled up to us in her car and asked if there were any good shopping centers nearby and when we told her that we were missionaries she got really excited and told us that she knew all about us and wanted to come to our church. She gave us her contact info as Grandma Brady Bunch and then her number. After that we went and taught a lesson to an (at the time) potential investigator, a Native American named Kenyo. It was interesting... he closed us in his weed hutch while he went to move his car but he's a pretty cool guy so we're going to see him again soon. But I think that encountered more ethnic diversity in that one day than I have in the entirety of my mission!

This week we also went to two baptisms, not our investigators but it was still really good. We went to one on Friday with our investigator Dennis. He is doing really well and should be baptized in the next month or so. He called us the day before the baptism and told us that he really needed to know what to wear because he knew that it was a privilege to attend another person's baptism and he wanted to make sure that he was showing the proper respect the occasion deserved. He is also trekking through the Book of Mormon and is almost finished with Alma. Honestly I'm always impressed when investigators do so amazing reading. I remember my freshman year at BYU when I was taking the second half of the Book of Mormon. Our professor wanted us to read it (the second half, Alma 30 to the end) in two weeks. I assumed it would be easy, after all, you hear stories all of the time about people reading the Book of Mormon in a day or two. Let me just tell you, to read it that quickly and actually get things out of it is not easy! It takes a lot of time!! 

We attended another baptism Saturday morning. The girl who was getting baptized, Gabby, is the adopted niece of a family in our home ward. We were able to teach the first two lessons to her but then had to pass her off the YSA Elders. It was really cool to be able to see her get baptized though. She's probably the quickest person I've seen get baptized, it only took about 2 months! So one of the things that I am learning on my mission is how to do things with little to no prep time. The Elders had told me that Gabby had wanted me to speak on baptism at hers. I thought about it thought that I came up with something pretty good that went a little beyond "Baptism is that gate that we all must enter in order to continue down the path to return to live with our Heavenly Father." All of that is true of course, but we've only heard it a million times. So, when we got to the service the Elder's surprised me by saying "Oh... sorry we told you wrong. Can you talk on the Holy Ghost?" Ha, so it went well enough but it's teaching me to prepare quickly! We also spent a few hours at a family history conference this weekend and helped out little. The stake is really into family history here! 

This week I have been thinking a lot about hymns. Since we are only allowed to listen to hymns, primary songs, and stuff by MOTAB I've started to get to know them kind of well! Something that we have also been doing to kind of mix it up a little is to sing or listen to renditions to hymns to different melodies. One of my favorites is Joseph Smith's First Prayer to the tune of Come Thou Fount. It really changes the song around and it makes you pay more attention to the actual lyrics of the hymn. Who knew that so many of the hymns and primary songs were so awesome! I mean seriously, who wrote these things? Sometimes I think we just tune them out because kids aren't that great at singing or something, I don't know. But some of them are really pretty cool. Anyway, the song I have been thinking about in particular this week is Savor Redeemer of My Soul. 

For some reason I can't get the words to copy into here normally but you all should go look at them or listen to them. Some weird people (like Elder Campbell) don't like Vocal Point but I think they do an awesome job at this song. The second and third verses in particular are great. "Never can I repay thee Lord. But I can love thee. Thy pure word, hath it not been my one delight, my joy by day, my dream by night? Then let my lips proclaim it still, and all my life reflect thy will. O'er rule mince acts to serve thine ends. Change frowning foes to smiling friends. Chasten my soul till I shall be, in perfect harmony with thee. Make me more worthy of thy love, and fit me for the life above."  
That's like my life ambition right there "Chasten my soul till I shall be, in perfect harmony with thee. Make me more worthy of thy love, and fit me for the life above." Anyway, hymns are cool if you actually pay attention to them (well, some are still boring I'll admit), who knew! Some of my other favorites are Lead Kindly Light and As Now we Take the Sacrament. But, try listening to them with different melodies, it's pretty cool some times! 

So, hope you all are doing well! Talk to you soon! 



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

So, something I wasn't expected happened this week.

During our studies someone knocked on our door. We weren't expecting anyone to come pick us up and no one ever comes over of course so we didn't know who it was. Well, it turns out that it was Jehovah's Witnesses! They were tracting in our apartment complex I guess. They weren’t super excited though when we opened the door and saw our name tags ha ha, poor guys. 

This week Sister Markus got sick as well and kind of randomly too. So I have to admit that despite the guidelines that "I consecrated missionary doesn't wish for things to prevent work" I kind of always wondered what having a sick companion would be like. You know, you can't go out so it has to be at least a little relaxing. Well, let me tell you that it is not! We still had a lesson that we had to teach that night so I had to call like a million people to get everyone we needed to come with us and stay with her and all of that, which was crazy because the clock was counting down until we had to leave. And then, when that was finally taken care of, we had like two hours until the lesson but couldn't go anywhere. So, this is where the supposed "relaxing" part is supposed to be right? False. For two hours I was sitting around with nothing to do while I kept thinking to myself "are you being productive? why aren't you being productive? Why aren't you doing something useful? Stop just sitting around!" Ugh, stressful. 

Other than that though, things in the Rio Rancho world are going well. We've received a lot of referrals recently which is awesome and our one investigator on date is making real progress! Before this transfer we had hardly ever met with him and now we are meeting once a week, so seeing his progress is really pretty cool. We've mostly just been working a lot on teaching better together and teaching Sister Markus in the ways of the missionary. It's crazy the difference another hour inside can make. There have also been a lot of freak rain storms this week. Apparently New Mexico has a monsoon season but I have heard all kinds of crazy things about what that actually entails. Some people make it sound like the monsoons of Africa and some people make it sound like it's going to sprinkle a little more than normal. So.. Who knows what is really going to happen. What I have experienced so far is that it dumps rain for about 10 minutes and then goes back to being 90 degrees like nothing ever happened. So yeah, this place is weird. 

So, I've been thinking recently about something that I read in Exodus that I'm not sure what it means. So I'd like to throw it out to all of you smart people. If you can figure it out, let me know. I have been reading recently about the plagues in Egypt. You know the story, Moses says "Let me people go" Pharaoh says "no way" and something bad happens and we repeat the cycle until finally all of the first born children die and then Pharaoh gives up (kind of). Anyway, here is the interesting thing. The first 3 or 4 miracles are performed by Aaron. God tells Moses to tell Aaron to do something and he does and then bad stuff happens. At first I was thinking that it was symbolic of priesthood power, because you know that later Aaron is ordained as the priest and the Aaronic priesthood comes through him and his descendants. But then on miracle like 4 or 5 or something Aaron stops doing them and Moses starts. So I don't know what the significance is. Maybe it's just that Moses is getting more confident and doesn't need Aaron to do it anymore, maybe I'm just reading too much into it, (wait no, who are we kidding, this is the Bible, everything means like 10 different things) so, I don't know, what do you all think? Another cool thing that I learned is that the first Passover was eaten standing up with your shoes on and your staff in your hand. And that if you ate unleavened bread during the 7 days of the feast that you were like banished from Israel. Crazy stuff. 

But anyway, on to something that we actually understand. This week I read Ephesians 6, which talks about the armor of God. What I really like though is verse 12, 19 and 20. You should read through that section, verses 11-20, its super good. And I know that we talk a lot about the armor of God and how awesome it is and everything, but I really like that we put on the armor of God because of verse 12 and that if we ask and try, we can have verses 19 and 20. But we have to keep asking and we have to keep trying, because it isn't easy for any of us, not even for Paul, who is writing here. I also read 3 Nephi5:13 this week too, which is pretty awesome. 

Anyway, I hope that you all are doing amazing! Happy early mother's day and hope to hear from you soon!