Tuesday, June 30, 2015

having a lot of lightning

This week has been kind of a slow one for us, we only had two lessons and one was basically a drop lesson, which is never fun. We were able to have a really good lesson with Mia though about the Restoration and we committed her to read The Book of Mormon and pray about it, which she agreed to do. It's excellent for Mia since we starting to think that she wasn't really that interested. We were also able to get back in touch with Greg! Which is fantastic since we haven't heard from him in over a month and we get to meet with Paul next week. This upcoming week is looking like it is going to be really good, and it will be interesting to see what New Mexico is like for the 4th of July. Mostly we worked with a lot of less active members this week and we are thankfully seeing some good progress with them. So that has been super good.
The only really bad thing this week is that our most progressing investigator Ruben is moving to ABQE. But I'm sure the missionaries over there are great too. We were able to attend a baptism with Ruben this week too, which was great until some old man tried to set us up with our Zone Leaders. I guess he thought we were YSA's (there was a YSA activity going on at the church at the same time). He was very very persistent that we pair off and go to the dance. It was probably the most uncomfortable thing that's happened in the past I don't know, week maybe. Ha, awkward things are happening all the time it seems. We also ran out of miles this week since it's the end of the month so we did a good amount of walking this week.
The Relief Society in our ward is also super into birthdays and so they asked us to deliver some birthday cards to some less active members. So far there haven't been any bad experiences but a few interesting ones. The best one so far has probably been the member who had a swimming pool (one of the inflatable kid ones) right in front of their door. Maneuvering around that one in a skirt was a bit of a challenge! So, if you ever want to stop someone from coming to your house, just put a swimming pool in front of your door. But I can't guarantee that the missionaries won't still try.
We've also been having a lot of lightning storms recently, which I guess means this alleged monsoon season is coming. I still don't really know what that means or what to expect, but the storms have been pretty cool. It's interesting; there is a lot of lightning and thunder but almost no rain.
I don't remember if I told you guys or not but I am reading the Book of Mormon backwards. It was actually Sister Morco who gave me the idea, I had never heard of it before then. It's cool because instead of following of focusing on the story too much, you can focus on the individual doctrine that's in the chapter. Right now I'm in 3rd Nephi so I still have a long way to go but, if you ever want to mix up your reading a bit you should try it. But, don't do it unless you've already read it forward at least once first! Something that I've noticed recently is how often God tells people to record what they have learned or what is written. Christ actually chastised the Nephites for not writing some of the prophecies that they had been given and in many instances when records have been lost or destroyed people are told to write them again, like with Jeremiah. We've been talking to a lady about the importance of writing and how it can be a benefit to yourself even more than your posterity (although they can certainly benefit from it too) and it makes me realize that I probably should be less of a horrible journal writer. I just write too much, but, I know that it's important! So we'll all commit or recommit! Keep a record of your life; you will have more gratitude, peace of mind, reflection, and sense of purpose if you do.
Well, hope everything is going well, have a good 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A trip to the movies

Hey! How's it going? For some reason when I was thinking of what happened this week the first thing I thought of is when we played Bump last week. Or Lightning/ Revenge as these Utah people call it. One difference though was that instead of just being out when you get out, when the person who got you out gets out you get back in, kind of like in chair soccer. Holy cow that game took forever! 

This week we met with one of our investigators who is a bit of a Catholic investigator. For some reason Missionaries have been just reading from the Book of Mormon with her for like a year. Don't get me wrong, that is great but that is literally all they have been doing, they haven't really invited her to do anything! Except for read of course. So over the last month or so we have been trying to teach her real lessons and it has been interesting so far. She's defenatly someone though that we can practice being bold with. This week she told us when we talked about Joseph Smith that he was like a saint, because he saw God. We told her that because of his claim, that Joseph Smith was the Prophet to bring back the restored gospel that no other church had or has, that he wasn't a Catholic saint. That he was either right, deceived, or crazy. There are no other options. That her argument that the Pope and the Prophet were both right is impossible, because they both claim to be the only person with all of God's authority to lead the world. And that if she really wanted to know who was the right person to follow, she could by sincerely praying and asking God. She said she would do it but, I guess we'll have to wait until Thursday to see!      

We also read with one of our investigators who is Baptist the devotional His Grace is Sufficient, to help explain our understating of works and grace and how they work together. It's very similar to the talk President Uchtdorf gave in the most recent conference. I heard it at BYU back in 2011 and have used it loads of times since! It got kind of popular recently so you may have heard or read it but if you haven't you should for sure. I know grace is something that is often hard to understand and it does a really good job of putting it into an understandable context. 

We did a good bit of service this week at St. Felix Food Pantry, which is sort of the Catholic version of a bishop's storehouse so that was kind of cool. I'm not really surprised though how many Catholic people there are around here but what does surprise me is how many Jehovah's Witnesses there are! I think I told you that some of them knocked on our door a few weeks ago but it's just kind of crazy how often we run into them. Maybe they really are just all over and I never paid any attention before. 

We had another good lesson with Ruben this week, so that was great. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and when we asked him what he thought he said "I believe what you are telling me is true. It makes sense and it feels right." YAY! I love it when people say that! Hopefully Ruben doesn't fall off the face of the earth like Greg did. Ugh, we haven't been able to talk to Greg in like a month but, when we do get a chance to meet with him again things are going to be great! 

We've also just been doing a lot of contacting this week. It's been pretty warm, in the low 100's during the day time and in the high 80's or 90's at night so no one is really outside but when we go talk to people they often offer us water, so that's usually a decent excuse to talk to them. Ha, we cleaned out our car today and found almost 20 water bottles! Ha, so we are staying pretty well hydrated and even gettin a little tan. Thankfully our ac got fixed (we hope) this morning (It's been broken for about 2 weeks now) because when Sister Markus gets too hot she starts laughing hysterically and crying. It's a little scary... the other day she reminded me of that one councilman guy in the Mask of the Phantasm. Ha, you know who I'm talking about right?! =D 

Speaking of movies, we discovered this week where all of the bugs in that tunnel in Temple of Doom came from. A lady in Rio Rancho's house.... I my goodness...We saw this lady outside and decided to talk to her and she invited us in. It was so gross, they were crawling all over everything and you could literally hear them falling off the ceiling and the walls.  I know it's probably bad but I'm kind of glad she wasn't interested because now we are never going back!

Ha, so now that you have that disgusting image in your mind, spiritually minded there are two things I have been thinking about a little this week. The first one was in our district meeting we talked about how people are like debit cards, you never know how much "value" aka ability to progress spiritually they have until you try them. We talked about how one of the reasons why we didn't make our zone goal was because we were too focused on individual people rather than everyone. It reminded me though of a quote that I read from a general authority a while back talking about member missionary work. I can't remember who gave it but the gist of it was that if we pick a date that we want to have someone ready to learn by or be baptized by, and then work with everyone we can, rather than picking a specific person, than we are much more likely to achieve our goal, because a person's agency isn't a factor. If we decide that we think that Jimmy can be ready by such and such date, Jimmy can always not be or decided he doesn't want to be, but if we decide someone, Heavenly Father can help us find who it is that is ready or will be ready by then that we can help. So I thought that was cool and a good reminder. The other thing I don't really have time to elaborate on so you'll just have to mull it over and think about how it pertains to the Gosple but it's from the Speed Racer movie. It's when Speed is getting all mad that racing is corrupt and always will be so what's the point of trying? And Racer X (who if you didn't know is really Speed's brother Rex! Ahhh what!!) tells him "It doesn't matter if racing never changes, what matters is if we let racing change us." So yeah, ponder that one! 

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



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Working in the Twilight Zone

Have any of you ever heard of a guy named Charles Hall? Because Sister Markus and I heard about him for a good half an hour. Apparently he is a scientist who used to work for the government as a weather man. While he was there he got the chance to work with a bunch of aliens called the tall whites (because they're tall and white...?) who the government is letting live here on earth because they are planning to relocate to another planet similar to Earth and want to test it our first. In return they are giving the government technology to use. We also heard all about how human really came from aliens from another planet injecting their DNA into monkeys, who then mutated into humans. But, since the monkey/human mutations weren’t being very nice to each other, the aliens sent another alien down named Christ to teach them how to be good and all of that. And that's why he could perform miracles, because he was an alien and on our planet he has powers, kind of like Super Man. Well New Mexico, you're living up to your name! Too bad Roswell isn't in the mission right? 

We also had a huge moth in our apartment last night. I don't remember if I told you but Sister Markus is horribly afraid of all creeping things that creepeth upon the earth and whenever there is one I always have to catch it. And it probably didn't help that one of our neighbors the other day told us that she finds scorpions in her house all the time. Anyway, there was this huge moth but it flew away and we didn't know where it was, so she hid in the bathroom until we could find it and we finished our training through the door, ha ha. She would read a paragraph and I would read one from the other room. We finally caught the moth and let it go outside but we did take a picture of the thing first. It was pretty big, I do have to admit that!  

We also picked up two new investigators this week, both from tracting, which is pretty cool because as I'm pretty sure tracting is one of punishments the Greek Gods would have used to punish people who disobeyed them. You know, right up there with rolling a stone up a giant mountain every day for the rest of eternity. So it was cool to see some success from that. They are both men too. That's the interesting thing about this area, typically you have more women investigators than men, and the wife is more interested than the husband. In my experience here is has been the opposite in almost every case, when it comes to investigators and less actives. In fact, I would say that probably 80% of the people I have taught here in Rio Rancho have been men. Both of these new people though, Paul and Ruben seem pretty promising so I'm excited for that! It will be nice to hopefully have some progressing investigators. 
 We also met a woman through tracting this week who let us in and let us teach her the restoration! I'm not sure if she is going to become an investigator or not but the fact that we were able to just go in and teach it was pretty cool!

Speaking of investigators, we had a few interesting experiences with them this week. One was with Keino, who randomly asked us to come over. We grabbed a member to come with us and headed over, surprised that he had asked us to come and also surprised that he had asked us to come so late in day. Usually we try to visit him in the morning before he starts drinking (he had been drinking and when we got there he introduced us to his friend Matt like 4 times). As we were talking, a police officer came to tell us that we needed to move our car because I guess it wasn't supposed to be parked where it was. It wasn't really a big deal, but Keino (who is native), who wasn't exactly thinking in straight circles, decided to talk to the White officer who came on to his property. Oh and to set the stage there was also a police officer who was shot and killed in Rio Rancho a few weeks ago when he pulled a man over. So just imagine the conversation that a drunk Native, a young police officer, and two Sister Missionaries all had on the side of the road, It wasn't too bad but things were to say the least a little tense.... 

We had another investigator (a man in his 50's) yell at us this weekend about how the only reason we were bringing members with us to our lessons with him was because he was poor, and that if he had more money like the other members did (obviously he doesn't know some of the members like we do but that's beside the point), than we would trust him more. When we tried to explain to him that it was a rule to have three people of one gender with us no matter who it was, he started yelling at us that maybe if he paid tithing the church would trust him and we wouldn't always need a police escort to come over. Honestly I don't have any worries that this guy would do anything, but it was an interesting experience, and him saying things like "We need to meet in my backyard alone" and "You have 911 on your phone don't you? What's the problem." really didn't help his case...  So... yeah hopefully this upcoming week will be a little less confrontational! 

In other news! We had zone conference this week, which was great! We talked a lot about teaching simply and clearly and about the new teaching method to teach the lesson in 7 minutes, which has been interesting but actually pretty cool so far. One of the things that we talked about though that I have been thinking about this week is the questions that we ask people, and why are we asking what we ask? We talked about how to guide people with questions and how helping them to realize something for themselves will always be more powerful than us just telling them. One of my teachers in the MTC said something similar. He said that if he was to give us his old missionary name tag, it would just be a regular name tag with a bunch of scratches on it, but to him, it is much more important. Because he has so many experiences tied to the name tag itself and to the scratches and scrapes and everything on it. The same is true of any sentimental object and the same is true of knowledge and information. If we are just given it, it doesn't mean much to us, but if we have experiences, particularly trying ones, but most importantly insightful ones that relate to the knowledge, it is much more important and much more valued to us. And that is the way that we should teach (no to create trials but to help create insight and make it meaningful for them) and that is the way that Heavenly Father teaches us. Hardly ever does He just give us information, but he makes us want it and work for us and then, when we get it, it means something, and we are more likely to listen and to act. And then, because that doesn't always work, He is always telling us to remember. Remember how you got this, remember the roots or your testimony on this or that, remember what happened to your ancestors. Always remember remember and work for what you need! So when you think Heavenly Father is ignoring you, just know that He isn't! He's just making you work for it so it will mean something to you. And really isn't the whole purpose of this life anyway? Heavenly Father could have just given us bodies and all of the if He wanted, but He didn't want that. He loves us enough that He cares about how and what it means to us. Anyway, just a thought. 

Any on a completely unrelated note, I had a taco burger this week, because that's just how we roll in New Mexico. 

Hope you all have a fantastic week! 



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Don't let that crazy lady get you down

This week was track down the less active's week. Now that we have a car we can do fun things like that, ha ha. Actually, even though we have a car, we spend Saturdays and one other day a week walking and biking so that we can be out talking to people. Unfortunately we live on a huge hill, kind of the Rio Rancho equivalent of Grove and now that it is summer it is covered with dead rabbits, which is a little sad but mostly gross. I remember when Seth and Aaron told me that they go rabbit hunting in Nevada I thought that was crazy but now I get it! Those things are everywhere! So Saturday we rode our bikes up Mt. Tulip as Sister Markus likes to call it, and got to our less active lesson. The member asked me if I had sun screen because my face was getting burned. I said yes and we all moved on. Well, actually I wasn't burned at all, it was just so red from going up the Mountain that she though it was. So, I don't know if that tell you how bad her eye sight was (isn't not super good), how out of shape I am, or how steep the hill was but anyway, that happened. 

Saturday we also had an interesting tracting experience. We met a woman who demanded to see our proselyting permit and if we couldn't come up with it right away we were in big trouble because her husband is an attorney (my guess is that he practices medial law or something totally unrelated). So we showed it to her, ha ha! But she still wasn't very happy with it because apparently it wasn't official enough because it wasn't from the city of Rio Rancho. You know, only from the Prophet..... Ha, anyway, I just never thought that I would need that thing, so good thing we had it with us! 

Don't let that crazy lady get you down though, we also met this really cool guy named Al this week. We knocked on his door and he told us that he and his wife used to meet with Elders and had all of the lesson and a baptism date and everything and then something happened ( I don't know what, he didn't say). We told him that we were sure that he had felt the spirit while they had been teaching and that even though something had happened that maybe now was the right time and he should try again. He agreed! He said he would talk to his wife about it and hopefully we are going over there this week, so that was super cool. 

As far as the rest of our friends are doing, we weren't able to see many of them this week. I'm noticing things that normal people like I dislike as a missionary. You know, summer, Friday nights, things that prevent people from meeting with us! So, nothing particularly exciting to report there. 

Well, sorry we didn't do to much exciting this week! Hopefully we'll have lots of great lessons and experiences in the next week to fill you in on! And I'll have more time to tell you about them! I had to take a bit of time today telling President Miller about how Sister Markus really really wanted to speak at the zone conference next week. Ha, ha just kidding. It's kind of funny though, she is afraid of all of our leadership! Even our good old DL Elder Summers. She won't even talk to him on the phone for the weekly report. So of course some form of leadership has been coming over to role play and help her get through that fear. Last night the assistants randomly showed up to role play. Ha, so that's been interesting! 

Well, I hope that things are going well! Sorry to be short. Read Elder Oakes’s talk The Challenge to Become! It is great! Talk to you next week!