What a wonderful week it has been here in Denver! We had lots of cool stuff happen, but here are some of the coolest highlights!
This week we went on two exchanges, one with the Elders in the Southlands ward, Elder Curtis and Elder Blackham, and one with the Elders in the Smoky Hill ward, Elder Gonzalez and Elder Cooper! The first exchange was on Tuesday, and I went to the Southlands ward area with Elder Blackham. We had a fantastic day together. Elder Blackham is actually kind of a new Elder, he came out with the same group of Elders that Elder Hales came out with. Elder Blackham is a total stud. I was super impressed with his desire to work and his skills that he has already developed out here. We had an awesome day, out walking in the cold. It was fun being out when it was below freezing (it made a lot of people stop and talk cause they felt a little bad for us). We went to an apartment complex that is in their area and found 5 super solid potential investigators for them to work with. Seriously, these people let us teach them about the Book of Mormon and God and were all just super nice! We even met a woman from Indonesia, and I got to speak a little Indonesian of what I remember from the MTC! That was like the coolest part of the day! Anyway, Elder Blackham is a great missionary and we had an awesome day out together.
For the other exchange, I went with Elder Cooper, and he and I worked in the Fox Hollow and YSA wards for the day. Elder Cooper impressed me as well!! Elder Cooper was actually in my district when I was a district leader the first time around. He has grown a lot since that time, and he was super skilled in basically everything to do with the work. It was great! We had a great day out. One guy even let us in for an hour and fed us as we chatted about his beliefs (he is Norse, and believes in Norse mythology, believing in Gods like Odin and Thor and Loki) it was super interesting. After about an hour he had really softened up and was thanking us for coming and talking with him. We were amazed because he was the one with all the kindness, feeding us and what not! It was a pretty cool experience. The rest of the day went great with Elder Cooper, another stud missionary here in the CDNM.
Another highlight of the week was that we had a mission tour by Elder Anderson of the Seventy! Elder Anderson is a really powerful man, and has had some great talks in general conference and at BYU devotionals (he was the guy who gave the talk about hearing the music of the gospel and dancing to it.) Anyway, he had tons of wisdom and knowledge for us because he had served as a Mission President in Mexico. We talked a lot about what we are doing out here, and it was just so great to meet and hear a general authority speak to us!
Teaching and finding wise, the week went great! Our friend Jason is on track for a baptismal date of Dec 30th still. He is trying to stop smoking this week. He is working so hard to change! We are super proud of him and are trying to give him some good support as he tries to live the gospel more fully in his life. Also, we taught some cool lessons to a few of our other friends in the YSA ward, a lot about the Book of Mormon and gaining a witness. I am so glad that we have the Book of Mormon as the tool to help people learn and be converted.
Probably the coolest experiences this past week was last night. Last Sunday, the 5th, we were tracting in the Fox Hollow ward area around 6pm, and many people were telling us it was too late to be out and to go home, that it was too late because it was so dark. We were getting a little discouraged, but we pushed through till 6:30pm. Well, around 6:20, we met a woman named Sarah who basically told us the same thing everybody else had been saying, and asked us try her at another time. She told us to come back the following week at 3pm on Sunday the 12th and she would listen. I kind of laughed and told her we would do it, don't tempt us. She told us that she would bet we wouldn't, and I took that as a challenge.
Yesterday I remembered that we had told her we would come back. I almost didn't want to, thinking she was just bluffing and wasn't really interested. Then I heard a story in Elders Quorum about the "Tattooed Mormon," who was converted because she said she would only listen to the Elders if they bought her a steak dinner, they did and it progressed from there. Their sacrifice had made the difference for Al Fox, and I kept thinking about Sarah. So we decided to go see Sarah at 3pm with our WML [ward mission leader]. Well, she didn't answer when we knocked. I knew she wouldn't!! I left a note of triumph, telling her we had kept our part of the bargain, but she wasn't there to keep hers. I also wrote our number in case she wanted to call and tell us why. Then we left and I didn't think about it for the rest of the day. Around 5pm, I got a call from an unknown number and it turned out to be Sarah!!! She called and told us that a year and a half ago, missionaries had knocked and she had been super interested, but they never came back. She was testing us to see how committed we were to her, and if we would actually stick with her! She told us that if we kept on trying by every day, she would hear us out. She told us that she was "pleasantly surprised" that we had kept our end. How awesome is that?? It totally revitalized me and made me want to keep going.
Okay, all the Elders here at the library want me to get off now. I love you all!! Have a great week!
What a fantastic week! Between Halloween on Tuesday, the temple on Wednesday, and the miracles on the other days, it was a busy week to be a missionary!
Halloween day was super funny! Elder Hales and I had a normal day out and about, knocking on doors. Around 4pm, we started joking with the people and asking them if it was too early to get some candy. To our surprise, people actually gave it to us! We even got a full size Snickers bar from one lady we ran in to! People are so nice here!! At 5pm we had dinner with a family in the ward and then we were asked to head in for the night. Elder Hales and I decided to have a movie night together and watched the Testaments. We popped popcorn and it was pretty awesome! We also went to bed a little early because we would be going to the temple early the next morning.
Our temple session was at 6:30am on Wednesday. Elder Hales and I had to get up extra early because we had to go and get some other Elders to give them a ride in our sweet minivan. We all made it on time, and as we entered the temple around 6am, I was greeted by Sister Simmons. She is the sweet sister who I lived with while in Parker! I would like to give a shout out to her. She is the sweetest lady and I just light up every time I see her! She writes to me every week and is always so kind! It was truly a blessing living with her for a bit, and I was grateful to see her as I entered the temple.
We had a great session, and then we headed for home! But we went out to eat at Chick-Fil-A before dropping everyone off. The rest of Wednesday was pretty standard, but that night we were able to go and see Jason, a YSA investigator that is probably our top progressing investigator. Jason is great. In our lesson, we talked about the doctrine of Christ, covering mostly repentance and baptism. By the end of the lesson, Jason had committed to set a goal to be baptized by the end of the year, on December 30th!! There is a lot to cover before then, but Jason made a comment in church that Sunday that I liked. "I might have to sacrifice some things for God to show Him that I love Him."
I don't have too much time to write about all of the cool things that happened this week, but one thing I will talk about was our trip into the city on Saturday. Our YSA [Young Single Adult] ward covers the whole Eastern part of Denver, which is a big area. We decided that since Saturday was pretty open, we would make the trip up there and see if we could find any YSA. It was an awesome trip! There are so many people to talk to up in the city!! We really had no clue where we were or where any of our boundaries were, so we just kind of drove around. We ended up calling the missionaries serving in the home ward for that area and asked for help on where to go for YSA. They directed us to a cool place called Stapleton, where we met some awesome people. We picked up like 3 or 4 pretty cool potentials up in the city, one of which was a YSA kid that said he'd be pretty interested in checking out church and learning more! It was just a super fun trip, meeting so many people, and a cool change of scenery.
We saw Hans again on Sunday night! He let us in and we talked a lot about his life and things, and followed up with him about his reading of the Book of Mormon. He had actually read!! He really liked how it is an account of Christ on this side of the world, not just in the Middle East. We had a good talk (still no formal lesson) and set up a time next week to see him again. He is so awesome!! His son, Faison (I think) even remembered our names from last week!
I have another fun story for you before I leave! This one is not a crisis thing, but just an interesting insight. With the time change on Sunday it was pretty hard to proselyte last night. We went out knocking on doors from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, but it was so dark out it basically looked like it was 8pm or 9pm. Some people told us it was too late and to stop, and how ridiculous we were for being out that late (and I would just like to point out that it was only 6:15pm). I could understand because it was really dark and I don't know how happy I would be if someone knocked on our door when it was pitch black. Anyway, while I was thinking this was not very effective for us to be out, Heavenly Father was just looking down patiently at me, and waiting to plop someone into our path. A name popped into my head of a less active member who we ended up having a really good visit with, and then another guy who walked past us, as we visited with him. This guy ended up talking to us for like an hour and told us we could come back! God is always right!
There is so much happening here in Denver! I am just thrilled to be able to be a part of it all! I hope we can continue to do what God needs us to do for the people here!
I love you all!!
A family took our picture after feeding us.
When your uber driver pulls up in a golf cart
What a week! There has literally been so many miracles, I don't even know where to begin or how to express all that happened in the little time that I have!
Basically, people let us in this week. A LOT of people. We had four people who we knocked on their door and they just simply asked if we wanted to come on in and sit down. FOUR! That is the most on my mission so far! How awesome is that? Three of them we had to pass off to the missionaries covering the family congregation ward that covers their area (we were knocking everywhere because we are YSA missionaries and our ward covers all the young single adults in the area). Let me explain each one!
1. Stanley! Stanley is a super cool guy who we knocked on his door and he just up and let us in on Tuesday. We sat down and talked about his religious beliefs and how things have been going for him recently in life. We talked a lot about how tough the world is nowadays. We had a really great conversation and then asked if we could share the Book of Mormon with him and continued to have good talks. He said anytime, and we set up something for the zone leaders (he lives in their ward) to come and teach him that weekend. As we were leaving, he asked if he could give us both hugs and thanked us so much for the work we were doing. It was so awesome!
2. Omer! Omer is a Muslim who lives in the same ward as Stanley, the zone leaders ward(a good ward to knock haha). He talked with us for a bit on the doorstep before I asked if we could use his bathroom. He let us in and I used the restroom while Elder Hales struck up a convo about Islam and this guy's faith. When I came out of the bathroom and found Omer sitting on his couch, I just sat on the floor and Elder Hales followed my lead. We ended up having an hour conversation in Omer's home about the world and different religions. He took a Book of Mormon to study and asked if we could bring one in Arabic! We set up for the zone leaders to come to teach him and headed out!
3. Connor! Connor was actually in our Fox Hollow ward boundries! We were out knocking on door Saturday morning and Connor, a 17 year old kid opened up and asked if we wanted to come in. We asked if his parents were going to come out, but apparently they were hiding in the back from us. Conner said he kind of wanted to hear the message! It turns out that Connor had previously met Elder Gonzalez and Elder Vail outside of Walmart one day and had a great convo with them. He was just waiting for us to knock on his door to learn more! Well, we had a great conversation about religion in general and also about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration! He accepted a Book of Mormon and told us that we could come back this Thursday. He is super solid and says he is okay to learn more (his parents are okay with it too). We are super excited and we really think he has been prepared. He kept on saying things like "it makes sense that there would be a living prophet"!
4. Hans. Hans was the last door we knocked on last week, on Sunday evening. He let us in and we had a great 1 1/2 hour conversation about life and religion in general. He is from Camaryn, next to Ethiopia, and speaks great English. He has a lot of the same thoughts and beliefs that we teach. He took a Book of Mormon and said we could come and talk with him any time!
We of course knocked on a lot of doors where the people weren't interested in what we had to say this week too, but as we kept our faith high, we were able to see miracles! Four of them!!
Crazy story about some poor missionary communication! So on Thursday, I had an endocrinology appointment scheduled. Elder Hales and I were driving to downtown Denver for it, when I got a call from some unknown number. It turned out to be Elder Brown, from his new phone where he was transferred to. He starts talking and telling me he was on his way down to our area [Arapaho]. I was a tad confused, and had no clue what he was talking about. Apparently, Sister Savage had set up for us to sing at a funeral service that morning (Elder Brown, me, and two sisters in our district), but no one had informed me about it. It was a double whammy because I had my doctor's appointment scheduled, and had also scheduled a district meeting for later that day that I wasn't sure I would get to. If someone had just called me and let me know, the conflict could have been avoided, but now we were in a huge mess! We got to the appointment and ended up cancelling and rescheduling it, and then headed straight to the funeral. Elder Hales and I didn't have suits with us, so I borrowed a sweater so I could look a little better. On our drive down, I made some calls and asked Elder Gonzalez to be in charge of things at the district meeting while I was absent. So luckily, everything ended up working out. I was a little upset with the Sisters though for not telling me ahead of time, but we sang fine and no one cared that I didn't have a suit on. We walked into district meeting only 15 minutes late and I was able to take over, so the day ran fine anyways. In situations like this I think of my mom, because she stays pretty calm and cool in hard situations, and is able to figure out a solution quickly. I think I handled the situation well, even though it seemed pretty terrible at first. That is something I think I am learning out here and have been able to develop.
I am loving it out here and loving being a servant of God!
Me with a guy in the ward who matched with me on Sunday
Pumpkin spice Cheerios
The Mystery Machine!!
I hope everyone's week has been "fan-flipping-tastic"! Ours definitely was! Also, we got some good news about the change that came with transfers last Friday!
It was a little different having transfers last Friday. They were supposed to be Wednesday of this week, but got moved up due to some weird MTC [mission training center] scheduling stuff. The big news for us was that Elder Hales and I will be staying together, however we were taken out of the Smoky Hills ward! We will be staying in the Fox Hollow ward, and are gaining the Flanders YSA ward! Yay!!! This will be my 3rd YSA [young single adult] ward to serve in, and I am super excited!
We were a little surprised by the switch. We thought everything would just stay the same for us this transfer, but they ended up switching things up, because of car issues. The mission is losing more cars than it is gaining, and so now our mini van and the Sister's Corolla are the only two cars in our Stake. Elder Hales and I are now the official chauffeur's for the rest of the Elders in the Stake! We also might be doing a bit more biking ourselves, because our mileage allotment didn't get raised by much. It should be quite the "wild ride" for the next couple of weeks.
Our week was super good. I think the coolest two experiences from the week were a lesson we had with Melissa Heckamn early in the week, and then finding a new YSA potential investigator on Saturday night, who is super enthusiastic to learn.
Our lesson with Melissa was on Tuesday. She was super excited to meet with us, but we had a little hiccup because the ward member who was supposed to meet with us, was late. We couldn't go in her house without a member present, so we sat outside on her porch and doorstep, just chatting with her, for almost 40 minutes waiting. [A rule for missionaries is that Elders cannot meet with a single woman without a member being present.] Our ward member, a super funny, kind of eccentric guy named Ray Williams, finally came and he told us that his car battery had died on the way over and he had subsequently gotten stuck in some pretty bad traffic. Luckily, Melissa understood and we had a great discussion about the Restoration, specifically about the role of prophets today and revelation that comes from God. Melissa had tons of questions and was curious about what our current prophet teaches and prophesy's of. Brother Williams did a fantastic job telling her about the The Family Proclamation and how important it is for the world nowadays, but when it was given, it seemed normal. We had a great discussion and left Melissa with some great things to think about. Hopefully things will continue to go great for her with her new missionaries. Next time she will meet with new Elders because she lives in the Smokey Hills ward boundaries, which we no longer work in.
The next awesome experience was with a guy named Taylor Rogers who lives in our apartment complex. We saw Taylor on his porch outside smoking and struck up a conversation with him, talking about the unique message of the Book of Mormon that we share with people. Taylor was so awesome! He was super nice to us and super happy to be hearing the message, and impressed with everything he heard. He told us how grateful he was that we were out sharing what we believed, especially when things were tough in the world. He accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said he would start reading it. He told us we could come back and see him again this Tuesday. We are super excited! It is super great to have these kind of contacts, especially after a while of not having them.
Sunday, yesterday, was one of the craziest, funnest days! Elder Hales and I both gave talks in the Fox Hollow ward, which was super stressful but turned out great! I was happy because it will help the ward members get to know us better. After Sacrament meeting [main worship meeting - called this because this is where you partake of the Sacrament and is held in the chapel], we taught the gospel principles class. There was a nonmember couple there investigating! Anyway, after Fox Hollow we ran to the Flanders YSA ward, which meets at the Chambers building, where Cherry Creek and Piney Creek wards meet! It was fun because I got to say "hi" to a bunch of old friends from each ward there, as we waited for our meetings to start. Flanders YSA ward is a little bitty, teeny tiny ward, with only about 30 members. It is good though!! We met many of them and are super excited for it!
After church, Elder Hales and I became chauffeurs and picked up 4 other Elders, and drove up to Westminster. We were singing in the Conversion Fireside for the north half of the mission. Last week we had a Conversion Fireside for the southern part of the mission and this week it was the northern part's turn. It was an awesome meeting and we were privileged to hear people who have just been baptized stories and testimonies.
The work here is booming and I am just loving life here in Denver. I can see God's hand in my life and in the lives of the people we talk to. I am so grateful just to be a part.
All the Elders who have lived with Sister Simmons
My Jesus wall
The swag wagon
What a week! It has been quite a blast. It feels like it just flew by, because so many fun things are happening! Lots of meetings and stuff that just makes the time fly.
On Wednesday, we had a zone conference basically all day. Elder Hales and I got there about 7:30am so that I could practice with the quartet I was singing with. Our quartet sang "Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy" at the conference. Also, I was asked to lead some Elders in practicing some songs for the Conversion Fireside, that would be happening on Sunday. It's a little funny to be asked to do all this music stuff! I feel like once people knew I could sing, even if it wasn't that great, they asked me to do music stuff! It is fun! :)
We had a great zone conference. Elder Hales got to experience the great spirit uplift you get from these meetings and we both got to learn lots of stuff. We didn't leave until 6pm (crazy, right?) and then hurried on over to see Dahlia. For our lesson we talked about having Faith and about Repentance, the first two principles of the gospel. Things are going good with Dahlia. She keeps us on our toes because she darts from subject to subject. After our visit with her, I had a baptismal interview with a woman named Wanda, who was going to be baptized on Saturday. Wanda had such a great testimony. She and I chatted for about 45 minutes about her testimony and the things she had learned from the Elders. I knew she was ready to be baptized and so things were all set for her on Saturday. We heard later that it was just an awesome service, and her daughter Cierra wants to be baptized next.
On Thursday, I went on an exchange with Elder Gonzalez, a missionary who is in my group to go home together. He and I are the oldest missionaries in our district! So weird. We are pretty good friends and we had a good day of work together.
On Friday, we had interviews with President Savage. He and I had a great talk, mostly about the missionaries I am over in my district and what they really need coming up with transfers, which will be this Friday the 20th. It was good to council with him and see the love he has for every missionary in my district.
After meeting with the Mission President, Elder Hales and I went back to our home area to get some good work in before having a quick dinner. Then we had a great lesson with a girl named Judy. She is in high school right now and has a friend in our ward who has introduced her to the church. She has come to church with her friend for the last 3 weeks and also watched some of General Conference. We had a great lesson about the Restoration. She understood everything we talked about and took a copy of the Book of Mormon and is beginning to read. She has lots of questions about the Plan of Salvation, and is excited to meet up with us again with her friend! I think the coolest part of our 1st lesson with her was when her friend Isaac, who is prepping for his mission, shared his testimony of him kind of coming back to the church. It was really similar to Alma the Younger's story. It was super powerful, and a great experience for him to share with her. It was a good way to end the night!
On Sunday we had our church marathon again, except this week was especially crazy! We had church with the Fox Hollow Ward from 9am-12pm (it was the Primary program, so really fun [one Sunday a year, usually in the Fall, the children sing and give little talks about Jesus]), then church with the Smoky Hill Ward from 1pm-4pm (Judy came again and enjoyed the lessons!). After church we were invited over to our Stake President's home for a little bit, where we had dinner, and then went to a rehearsal for the songs we were singing at the Fireside, which started at 7pm. It was crazy! I led the basses in a few of their parts, and then I threw together an acapella group of me and 7 other Elders to sing "I Need Thee Every Hour" about 15 minutes before the fireside. The fireside went over great! The songs were all good, and the testimonies were all fantastic! It was so cool to see recent converts bear their testimonies and hear about their paths into the church. Wanda, the woman I interviewed earlier in the week, and was baptized on Saturday, even gave her testimony at the fireside, which was super awesome to hear! I also got to see a few old friends, like Sister Simmons, who I lived with in Parker (every time I saw her, I couldn't help but beam with a smile) and also Ryan Tupper, an investigator who Elder Brown is still working with. It was just a powerful night to feel the Spirit and hear everyone's story.
Anyway, things are going great here! I am absolutely loving it out here and all the things that come with being a missionary! Transfers are coming up on Friday, and I desperately want to stay here and keep working with the awesome people I have met here. I love you all and hope you all have a great week!
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