Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello and welcome to another week! By the way, happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you all have an awesome Thanksgiving and really do take a moment to remember the things that you are grateful for and the blessings you have received. I know that I certainly have a lot to be grateful for this year! Last Thanksgiving I had just been in the MTC for a week! How crazy is that?
This week we taught Charles a few times, who has been doing pretty good! He even told us yesterday that he was willing to pray with us! So, it was too bad that we had to cancel our appointment with him. But, now that he's fessed up that he's ready there's no getting out of it! Ha, ha. It was pretty cool, we taught him last week and after we finished he said "What's next! Tell me more!" So we were pretty happy about that!
We also met a woman this week named Vivian and her niece. They sent us a message asking if we could come over and we said "Of course! Who are you?" Ha, it turns out that Vivian had been talked to for a few minutes and given a card by Sister Mckendrick and Sister Williams back in July and she was just now calling. So, I guess those little oym's do pay off in the end some times. It was cool to talk with them and hopefully they'll let us come back soon.
We also picked up three other new investigators this week. One was a referral in a trailer park named Tim and the other are two sisters that we tracked into named Ilatia and Sarah, who actually invited us to come spend Thanksgiving with them, so that's awesome! The trailer park that Tim lives in is an interesting place. People just seem to wander around there for no particular reason. And we met a few people there that we are most certainly never talking to again ha ha. We did meet one really cool guy there though named Dennis. He looked at us and said "You go to that church on Hondo Pass right? I want to go there. I want my son to go there too." Apparently he fell in love with a member in Utah who rejected him but, he's kept her picture all of these years and he's always wanted to know more about what was in her life. So, I'll run with that! Flirt to convert, I guess it works sometimes? Still, not recommended though.
Also, holy referrals Batman! We have like 11 referrals this week! So hopefully something good will come out of those! This week we also found Blockbuster! What! Yeah, it still exists, in El Paso at least. Apparently there are 5 here. And, we made a cake because Sister Dummar finished her first week in the mission and I finished my first year (well, only year I guess) so why not right?
This week I have been thinking about gratitude of course, and Mosiah chapter 2, which is all about gratitude and blessings. Verses, 19-24 and 41.It is amazing how all that Heavenly Father asks us to do is to keep His commandments, which he only gives us to make us happy in the first place! And, equivalent exchange is clearly not a things with God. If we do even our smallest little part to try a little harder, we are ridiculously blessed and compensated for our efforts! That is something that I have really come to see on my mission. I feel like if I never received another blessing, I still wouldn't be "even" with God for all of the things that I have done and things that he has given me! Anyway, something to think about.
Well, I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

welcome to a new transfer!

Hello friends, how are you all? And welcome to a new transfer! This transfer is a little extra crazy because it's only 5 weeks instead of 6 so that the missionaries who are going home can leave in time for Christmas. And then the next transfer is going to be 7 weeks instead of 6 to compensate for the missing week so, crazy stuff. My prediction now that I'm training again is that I'll be down here in Hondo Pass until the February transfer but who knows! I've never been in an area for more than three transfers so it will be interesting to see.
My new companion is pretty great, her name is Sister Dummar and she is from Rexburg, Idaho. And she used to live in Heber, Utah, so naturally everyone she meets knows someone that she knows! It's kind of crazy actually and kind of cool.
This week has been a bit crazy with transfers and training and all of that fun stuff so sadly, we didn't get to teach too many lessons. We also had about three of our investigators break up with us so we are on the lookout for new investigators! If any of you have or know any, please send them this direction! We have a lot of new potentials though so here is hoping that things go well soon.
We were able to pick up one new investigator this week. Her name is Elsa and she's about 70 years old. Our lesson with her was quite the mess but, she agreed to let us come back so we'll have to see what we can do. We've also been meeting with Charles this week and he is doing pretty well! He's been a lot more open with us about what his thoughts are and he is really starting to pray and come closer to Christ, which is fantastic! We also last week had a random lady text us and ask us to come over so, I have no idea who this person is but you had better believe we are going to her house.
I'm starting to get pretty excited for Christmas and Thanksgiving and the like. It's just an awesome time to talk to people about Christ! So, hopefully things go well =D
This week I have been thinking about how often times, we have questions about something in the Gospel or don't understand something or have doubts, not because what we are hearing or learning is untrue or not from God, but just because or understanding of it is wrong. For example, in the intro to the Book of Mormon, it says that it contains the fullness of the Gospel. When I was younger, I thought that meant that every doctrinal truth or principle could be found somewhere in the Book of Mormon. And I was confused when things like baptism for the dead or temple work or something like that weren't in there (or I just don't know where they are). What I later came to realize is that my understanding of the "fullness of the gospel" was incorrect. I thought the gospel of Jesus Christ was just another way of saying all of the doctrine of the church. But, what it really is, is faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. The Book of Mormon teaches us many things, any maybe all of the doctrine really is in there somewhere and I just haven't found it yet, but the "fullness of the gospel" means that it teaches us not only those 5 things, but also teaches about them. How to do them, why they are important, etc. And if you think about the Book of Mormon, doesn't to do just that? How many times and even chapters are there to help us understand faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Tons! Anyway, I hope that makes sense. It's just interesting to see how, what I had learned was always true, it was just my understanding of it that was incorrect. Another example is Helaman 16:15-19. Those hard hearted people were right in their questioning Christ would should show Himself to them, in fact, he would! But they relied on their own knowledge and their understanding of what was being told to them was wrong. If they changed their understanding that would have made all of the difference. Anyway, hope that makes some sense!
Hope you all have a fantastic week!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I'm staying here in El Paso

Hey friends! This week I prioritized and have more time to write but... I don't have much to say since not a lot happened this week. Go figure right? As far as transfers go, I'm staying here in El Paso and I'm getting a brand new missionary to train. Even though it's only been a few months it feels like I haven't trained in forever! I'll be fun though, I'm excited! I was surprised about not leaving but you know what they say, once you go south, you die south. Unless of course you're Sister Orseth, who came down for one transfer and is now going all the way back up! Ha, maybe I'll be like Elder Olsen. He's finally leaving El Paso County after 15 consecutive months here! Either way, odds are good with the new missionary that I'll be here for at least another 3 months. But, El Paso is a good place to be a missionary so that's fine with me!
Hmm, like I said, not a whole lot of excitement to report on this week. We did meet with Charles a few times this week. We asked him how his prayers were going and he said "my knees have bruises" so that's fantastic! He's still having trouble finding answers to his prayers but he's putting in the effort now, which is a big step for him. He's also really looking forward to the addiction recovery program that's starting later this week so we're hoping that will help a lot too. We also got the chance to see Judy again this week and talk to her about focusing on the simple things, the foundation questions, and worrying about all of the other concerns later. Hopefully she'll do that and start to see the answers to what she is looking for. 
Also, I don't remember if I told you but we got drafted into a Christmas Choir, so we have been doing practices for that. It's going to be a "spontaneous singing" aka a flash mob in the mall. They were telling us to make sure that we look inconspicuous before the thing starts. I'm not really sure how inconspicuous a bunch of missionaries in a mall can really look but I guess we can try!    
This Sunday we had a regional broadcast for stake conference where we heard from Elder Robins, Elder Corbridge, Elder Oaks, and Sister Reeves. One of the things that the Stake President talked about beforehand though was the blessing that come from doing family history. Apparently one of the promised blessings is more freedom from addictions, so that's interesting! They talked about a lot of really good things at the conference, and it was cool that some of the stuff was what we had actually talked to people about earlier this week. My favorite though was Elder Robins talking about simplifying. He referenced Elder Oaks talk "Good, Better, Best" as well as President Uchtdorft's talk from last conference about simplifying. I think it's an important topic we don't think about often. The scriptures often talk about pruning as a metaphor. The reason why you prune a tree is so that the energy and devotion can go to the things that really matter and can create less quantity but more quality fruit rather than more quantity but less quality fruit. The same is true in our own lives. The sooner we realize that we can't do it all, the better off we'll be. Of course there are still many things we need to do and would even like to do, but some good things need to go so that the best things can have quality fruit. Something that his talk reminded me of was a section in PMG that says:
"You will do many things that are not described in the key indicators since as street contacting or personal and companion study. These important activities contribute to one or more of the key indicators. For example, when you teach those you find through your own efforts, you add new investigators to your teaching pool. Also, the quality of your personal and companion study will improve your ability to teach by the Spirit, which will bless your new and progressing investigators. The power of your finding and teaching will influence every key indicator. Evaluate all you do based on whether it adds to the numbers of people in these categories. If you and your companion cannot see how a proselyting activity might help increase the numbers of people in one or more key indicators, you need to question whether the activity is worth your time."
Missionaries have obvious key indicators, they are given to us, but everyone should have their own key indicators as well, the things that really matter or really matter to you in life. If you feel like you are too busy or too stressed out or don't have time for important things like family or God, evaluate your activities. Are they the best things? Do you need to prune your tree of good but not best branches? Is the activity increasing your key indicators of life?
Anyway, just a though. I hope you all have an amazing week!


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Quick Note

Friends! Sorry but I only have about 5 minutes! I know I am the worst prioritizer ever. I promise that next Monday I will write this e-mail first! So, next week is transfers! So everyone start your transfer predictions.
As far as excitement this week goes, we didn't really do much, other than get caught in a flash flood. But, that's sadly pretty typical for El Paso. We picked up an awesome new investigator this week named Chris. He has a member friend who lives in Anthony and another friend who he used to work with in the oil field. He's super smart though and really has a good understanding of the things that we are teaching him. He even went to church on Sunday in Anthony! Which is impressive because it's kind of far away and it's a Spanish branch. So hopefully this Sunday he'll come to our English ward =D
Other than that things are about the same. Sorry again to be so short! But know that I love all of your faces and so does Heavenly Father! Something I did this week was learn a new perspective of the atonement. I don't have time to share it but I'd challenge you to take time to find a new perspective for yourself! There are a lot of them!
Hope you have a good week!