Hey Friends and Fam!!
I hope everyone's week was well! Elder Brown and I had a pretty awesome week, with lots going on! We even had an exchange with the assistants [to the Mission President] this week, going all the way up to Westminster for a day. I got to see my old area and work near my first apartment!
We have been working really hard this week to inspire the members of the ward here to do more missionary work and to have them want to do it on their own. We had 4 "split nights" this week, which means we each did missionary work with a member of the ward, and proselyted with them instead of just each other. It was great because it let us have 2 companionships go out into the area instead of just 1 (us). We had some really cool experiences with it as well, and I think the members are getting more and more pumped to go out and do missionary work! The highlight was when the Ward Mission Leader's assistant brought his nonmember girlfriend to church, and we'll be teaching her again on Tuesday over dinner!
Because we are working in a YSA ward [Young Single Adult] a lot of ward members have recently returned from their own missions. It is really cool because they have skills we have never seen before in our mission, and it is a great way to learn from each other. We were able to find 8 new investigators this week, 7 of which we found on splits with members! It was pretty cool, and we are going to try and keep it up!
On Thursday night, two members of the ward came with us and we got into a discussion with 4 YSA aged people on their front porch. It was cool to have the members there to share their opinions and thoughts, and these four are going to let us come again next week! We talked a lot about science and religion and how they work together, and a lot about who God is and the plans that God has laid out for us. None of them were very religious, so we were starting from ground zero. It is super cool to be working with them like this! The other cool experience came when we brought a member named Freeman with us on Saturday night. We were trying to contact a woman we met named Amanda, and were able to see her again on her porch. She had some questions & concerns about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She had us talk to her dad over the phone, with her, because he had concerns too. We were able to talk through some of those things. It was great to have Freeman there with us, because he shared his experience and witness about the Book of Mormon as well.
On Friday I got a package from home and it was a new suit! I am so excited and I feel very professional in it.
For the exchange up in Westy, it was pretty awesome! I got to go on an exchange with Elder Heiner, who is a missionary that is in my "adopted group" [the group of Elders who all went to Colorado about the same time as Ryan, from the MTC. He was "adopted" into this group because he wasn't in the MTC with them, instead he was in the MTC in May in the Indonesian group.] We had an awesome day together trying to find people to teach. It was actually really cool because I got to work in the area where my first apartment in Colorado was. It brought back some pretty awesome memories of being with Elder LaPerle and Elder Brammer a year ago. I have much more experience as a missionary now, so it was cool to work in that part of town again being a bit more skilled.
So that is a simple glance into our week! We keep plugging along, trying to find people to teach the Gospel to.
I love you all! I hope you are well!!
I hope everyone had a great week! We had a pretty awesome week ourselves! We did a lot of running around and trying to get prepped for the meetings that we had all week. I feel like I've sat through and been in more meetings now than ever before in my life. They are all good, but holy cow!!
The big events from the week were zone conference on Wednesday, an exchange I went on into the country on Saturday, and then church on Sunday! I'll start with some highlights that we had on Tuesday, though.
Tuesday we had a pretty awesome lesson with Bryce. We taught about repentance and baptism in the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson. It was a super awesome discussion, and Bryce seemed to be agreeing with every point. We asked him to pray to know if baptism was right and to pick a day for himself. It was a super awesome lesson! After the lesson, we went on splits that night. Elder Brown would be at the sports night that we had set up, and I would be going out street contacting with our assistant ward mission leader. We both had a great split! We knocked on one door, and found a girl named Andrea that accepted a Book of Mormon and a return appointment! Meanwhile, Elder Brown had 4 non-members show up to the sports night, and he played 4 on 4 with them and talked a lot about what we do as missionaries. It was a great night!!
Wednesday was Zone Conference, and we continue to love President and Sister Savage. They gave some awesome talks and trainings. Also all of the missionaries who were going home at the beginning of August, gave their departing testimonies. I got to see my previous companions Elder Eldredge and Elder Olsen give their testimonies, and also a few others, some very good friends. There are a lot of missionaries going home in August on the 23rd. I will miss them all! After the conference, we figured out that everyone in my group who came to Colorado at the same time, were all in the south half of the mission! So we all took a picture. That's the group I was adopted into out here! You can see my previous companion Elder Sato on the left!
On Saturday, I went on an exchange with Elder Watkins, my district leader who is serving in Elizabeth, CO. Elder Watkins is one of the funniest Elders I have met out here. Elizabeth is one of 3 rural areas in the mission, so I was super excited to check it out for the day! It was super weird to tract out in the country. What we would do was drive the truck between each house so we didn't have to walk so far out in the country. It was crazy! Also, we were driving on dirt roads for a large part of the day, and it started pouring rain in the middle of the day! Elder Watkins almost got us stuck in the mud like 3 times out there. But we had an awesome day in the country, and I enjoyed working out there for a bit!
So the big day of the week was on Sunday! The day started with a Stake correlation meeting with the Stake President, our high councilman, and President Savage. It was a super powerful meeting. This stake is really good at communicating well and coordinating missionary work well. Then, for church services, we had two investigators come! One named Aaron who was given to us from the sister missionaries in Parker. He is super smart, and he loved coming to the ward and meeting people his age! The other one was Ariel. She is dating a less active member that we are teaching, who is returning to activity. This was her first time at an LDS church. She loved it as well!! We had a powerful Sacrament meeting, and then we taught an awesome Gospel Principles lesson on the Restoration. I felt the Spirit so strong during the lesson, especially when I talked about first vision. I could literally feel it in the room. It was a great way to end the week!
So those are kind of the highlights of the week! It was super awesome and we are absolutely loving it here in Parker! I hope things are well back home and that summer continues to be the best!!
Happy belated 4th of July everyone!!!
I hope everyone's 4th was amazing and that everyone was safe and careful! Elder Brown and I had a pretty fun week, with our own special missionary 4th of July.
We started the week off last P-day by having a BBQ with our zone, as a pre-4th celebration. It's a funny story...we were planning on doing the cooking at the church's grill. When we got there we found that the grill had a lock on it!! We weren't expecting that, so we hurried and changed the location to a park in southern Parker. It had a tiny little grill, but it worked out and we were able to cook some burgers and some dogs in the park. What we didn't have at the park was a supply of water to boil corn on the cob on the grill with. Well luckily some high powered sprinklers came on then, and Elder Brown and I were able to harvest some water from those to cook the corn...a little unorthodox, but it worked! We had a good time cooking and then played some ultimate Frisbee and dodge ball with all the missionaries from the zone after!
For the actual fourth of July, Elder Brown and I just walked around in different apartment complexes and tried to catch people and talk to them for a little bit. We met some nice people! Nothing super crazy happened. For dinner, we were invited to a YSA [young single adult] BBQ, which was super good. Then all the missionaries were told to go home and finish early for the day. Luckily, right near the house that Elder Brown and I live in, there were tons of fireworks shot off. So we got to sit outside and watch them for a while. It was great!
A few awesome miracles happened this week. On Saturday while we were out trying to contact people, we met this woman on her balcony and struck up a good conversation with her about where we came from before this life. She came down and started talking to us. Her name is Keri. She had literally just gotten off a flight into Denver like an hour before we found her. She was going through a hard time, with about a year's worth of abuse from her ex-fiancee. We just talked to her for a while and tried to help in whatever way we could. She seemed to really enjoy the talk and then we said a prayer with her before we left. That night, as we were out and talking with other people, Keri called us. She asked us if we could come back and talk with her some more, because she just needed someone to talk to. So we went back and talked some more with her and her mom, who was with her. She felt that we were placed in her path for a reason and we all knew that it was God reaching out to her and telling her that He is present in her life.
Another miracle happened on Sunday when our investigator named Marcus came to church. Marcus is a super awesome guy who we contacted my very first day in the Parker area. He is progressing really well and was preparing for baptism on July 29th, right after he moves to Littleton. This Sunday was Marcus' second time at church, and he loved it again. Elder Brown and I got to teach the Gospel Principles class again and so we taught the third lesson, which is about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what that really is. During the lesson, Marcus bore his testimony about the Holy Ghost and how it has been prompting him and how he's been blessed by it! Then, when someone asked him if he had thought about baptism yet, he told them that his date was set for July 22nd, right BEFORE he moves to Littleton!! How awesome is that? So he is progressing super well and wanting to be baptized sooner! We were ecstatic and super happy for him!
One more kind of funny story from the week. . . Last night we were out in Castle Rock, street contacting people, trying to find people to teach. Well, we started up a conversation with this one lady in her car, with us, standing next to her car in the grass. During the conversation, I hear the sprinkler start up and pop out of the ground where we were standing. Without being too obvious, I waited to move and was watching it, to see where it would start to spray. All of a sudden, I just got absolutely nailed by this super high power sprinkler in the middle of our conversation! I start yelling and run off the grass. After that we can't redeem our convo with this lady because we are all just dying laughing! It was super funny and I was soaked for the rest of the night!
Anyway, I know that Elder Brown and I are being put into these people's paths and lives by God. I know that it is no coincidence that we are talking to the people we are talking to, or teaching the people we are teaching, or even just smiling at the people that we meet. I am so happy to be out here, doing this work because I am trying my hardest to make others happy, and it is so fulfilling. I love it here and I am so excited for the week ahead!!
I hope everyone's week went well last week! Elder Brown and I had probably one of the craziest, coolest weeks of my whole mission thus far.
The biggest news is that we said goodbye to President and Sister Mendenhall on Tuesday and hello to President and Sister Savage on Thursday. It was kind of sad, but we actually got to meet the new President and his wife on Friday and hear from them for a little bit. They are both super awesome and ready to do some serious business. I was a little intimidated with President Savage at first, but he is super nice and very friendly, and ready to do some good teaching. The new president has even made a new change to the mission! There are now two "Sister AP's" to help the Sister's in their work. It is interesting! We will see how it plays out, but it should be good. Anyway, I like them already! I am super excited moving forward for them.
We had an awesome "finding" week. We found and contacted 14 people who accepted return appointments, and became new investigators. That is the most I have ever found in my whole mission!! We just walked around and it felt like Heavenly Father was plopping people in front of us for us to talk to and to teach. It was super cool.
One of them that we found even came to church!! His name is Keene Meeker, a really cool guy who is about 25. We found him as we were doing some street contacting. He was carrying some wood to his garage in his complex and we offered to help him. He was a bit quiet at first, but then opened up to us and we talked for a good while. He has had kind of a tough life, and is really just looking for something to help him out, like a good community of people or a good organization to participate in. We found him on Saturday night, and he came to church the very next day and stayed for all three hours. He loved it!! He told us that that morning he was about to text us and tell us he wasn't going to come (he had some nerves about coming), but decided to come anyway. He told us he was happy that he came and we are seeing him again this week! It was awesome!!
The other really cool guy we are teaching is Marcus, who I think I talked a bit about last week. Marcus is super solid! He came to institute with us on Thursday and then to church on Sunday! He said he really liked both, and loved how happy and cheerful everybody was even though it was just church. He and Keene, our newer investigator, even connected a bit at church, and fellow shipped with each other (it was so cool!!!). Elder Brown and I substituted for the gospel principles teacher, who was out of town, so we decided to teach the Plan of Salvation, which was we tailored to both Marcus and Keene in the class. They both got to hear that lesson without having to set an appointment to teach it!!
I can't talk about everyone else that we found, but I'll talk about two more cool experiences. The first happened Friday night when we were walking around a complex talking with people. We saw this big group of Millennials hanging out on this porch. We were a bit apprehensive to approach that big of a group, but we pushed ourselves to talk to them. One of the guys had lots of questions for us, and it felt a bit like he was antagonistic at first, but then we realized that he was just sincerely curious. We ended up having an hour conversation about everything he asked about. At the end, all of them said they enjoyed the conversation and four of them actually accepted some pamphlets and said we could come back and continue to talk. It was super cool!
The other cool experience happened last night. We were out contacting and started a conversation with this guy named Charlie. He was on his third floor balcony and we were on the ground level, so we were basically shouting to each other. We asked about his life and background and drew a story out of him about how he almost died and felt like he had been miraculously saved and started to believe in Christ. After talking loudly at each other for a while, he invited us up to his porch. I shared with him the story of Alma the Younger's experience with the Angel and how he felt miraculously saved and relieved from everything he did wrong. Charlie really liked that and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon to read and a return appointment for us to come back. We said a prayer with him and were about to leave (it had been a pretty normal contact) but then he hugged us both out of nowhere, expressing a lot of gratitude for us talking to him and coming back next week. We were both a little surprised. But it shows how much the message of the gospel can touch people and we never know. It was pretty awesome!
Anyway, it was an awesome week! Lots of miracles, a new Mission President, and a good week coming up. Things are really moving along and we can feel the Spirit constantly.
I love you all! Thanks for the support!
I hope everyone's week has gone well so far! Elder Brown (my new comp) and I had a fantastic week down here in Parker, CO!
We had a pretty good Monday, Elder Mork and I! We learned what was going on for transfers and I started to get prepped to leave. I packed and then we got a few sports in before having a bomb lesson with Adam that night. We got him to commit to fast and pray about the Book of Mormon for the next day, my last day. We set up a time when would see him again Tuesday night.
Tuesday was a busy day. In the morning, we dropped off the missionaries who were done with their missions and leaving Colorado at the mission home and the mission office. After dropping everyone off, we got to be in a trio with Elder MacPherson for the day!! We met up with the Gabaldon family and did some service with them and then we had a lesson and I said my good-byes to them. Afterwards, we tracted for a bit (it was cool to be tracting in a trio again!). We had dinner that night at an investigators house and then basically spent the night saying goodbye to everyone I had taught, including Adam, Bryan, Mason, and the Thompson family. It was a good way to end my stay in Arvada.
Wednesday was transfers! We got up bright and early and headed over to the building. Once there, I hopped on the van with all my stuff, said bye to everyone, and we headed out. It was a good drive down to Parker, and once there I met my new companion, Elder Brown. Elder Brown is an awesome elder that came out one transfer after I did. That day, we went home and I unpacked while Elder Brown decided what we'd do that day. We decided to work in Lone Tree, which is outside the mission, but in our ward! We actually had some good success, and found some cool people. It was a good first day.
Thursday was a pretty fun day. In the morning and early afternoon we went to our district meetings and had training. After that was all finished, we had an awesome lesson with Meaghan and Katie in Lone Tree, people we had met the day before. They were really comforted by the first lesson and were super open to talking again! It was super cool! Then that night, we worked up in the Parker stake. We just walked around this huge apartment complex and talked with people who were walking around. We met a woman named Morgan who was pretty interested in talking, and had just gone through a break up and felt that we were an answer to her prayer. It was super cool!
Friday, in the morning, we planned for the week ahead, and I got to know more about what is going on down here in Parker. Then I started to organize and tidy things up a bit in our room. We live with Sister Simmons, who is like our Grandma! That day, we worked a bit in Lone Tree and then in Castle Rock, a cool little town outside the mission in our ward. We found some really nice people to talk to and can pass on to the missionaries down here.
Saturday was another pretty full day of meetings in the morning and then finding and talking with people in the afternoon and evening. Good stuff, and met some super cool people.
Sunday we went to church at 10am for meetings, and didn't leave until 4:45pm! (The life of a missionary.) I got to meet a ton of people though, which was pretty cool. I even know a guy in the ward who was in the BYU marching band with me two years ago. That was pretty crazy! After church, we made a quick dinner and hurried off to a lesson we had at 6pm, with a guy we had met on Wednesday named Marcus. Marcus was pretty solid, and enjoyed the lesson about the Restoration. We even felt confident enough to ask him to be baptized and set a baptismal date for the end of July! It was super sweet and a good way to end out Sunday night.
So far, things are going super well here in Parker. Things are beautiful and there are tons of young people [YSA] to talk to between the towns of Parker, Lone Tree, and Castle Rock. Elder Brown and I are already off to a great start, and things are good.
I hope things back home are well! I love you all so much and am so grateful for everyone back home as I serve over here.
Me saying bye to Adam, Bryan, Mason, and the Gabaldon Family
Elder Brown and I with Sister Simmons, the awesome member we live with.
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