Hi happy people!
What a week! Oh my goodness! So much has gone on!
Let's start with the new call. I have been asked to train again and to be a district leader for the Arapahoe district! I am currently serving in the Smoky Hill/Fox Hollow wards, and am training Elder Hales! It is actually super cool, because I am currently right across the street from the Cherry Creek and Piney Creek wards, which is the second area I served in. I get to see it every single day now! How awesome is that??
I was super happy to receive the news for the changes, but a little sad to be leaving the Parker area. We were teaching and were friends with so many cool people, and I had to say goodbye to all of them. That is what we spent most of Tuesday doing, saying goodbye to everyone. I was especially sad to say goodbye to Ryan, who was just a miracle right from the start. I think he will do great and I am hoping that he will be baptized in October.
With this new assignment came another assignment, and that was to sweep! Sweeping into an area [in missionary terms] is when the two previous Elders leave an area and two new Elders are put in. It is a little tough on the two incoming Elders because you don't have any relationships built up. Normally, one Elder leaves and one Elder stays, thus keeping the contacts they have been teaching and working on, and the new Elder just continues the work with the Elder that stays. But, when both Elders leave an area, the two new Elders basically have to start from ground zero and learn about the investigators from the ward members and ward Mission Leader. There essentially is no handing off from the previous Elders because they are off to their new assignment, and we don't get to talk to them before they leave. This is my first time doing this and so it has been an interesting last couple of days. We have been calling around and trying to get a feel for what was going on with missionary work here. Also, with my new call I am now in charge of nine other missionaries as their district leader, and have been trying my hardest to help them all out as much as possible, as well. They are all super awesome and have wonderful spirits. I am just super excited to learn from each one of them.
Elder Hales is awesome! He is from Mesa, Arizona. All of the missionaries in the district are either from Arizona or California (except one from Idaho). He came right from High school and is ready to work! I can already tell he is a great teacher and has so much desire to work hard and be obedient and just be a great missionary. He was a swimmer back home in Arizona and was also a lifeguard...I think he will miss the water a bit out here. He has already expressed to me that it is way too cold here (it was 120* in Arizona this summer) and wears a sweater everywhere we go! Wait until winter! He has a super strong testimony and conviction of the gospel, and I can't wait to teach with him.
As for people we are teaching and helping, there is honestly not too much. We have asked both of our Ward Mission Leaders to help set up lessons for us with any struggling families or less active members. I want to have Elder Hales teaching the lessons and practicing, so my goal is to try and teach 20 lessons a week with people. It is going to take some some serious work and building our contacts to do that. We did have had one real lesson so far, with a guy named Rego. We saw him last night and had a great talk with him about the Book of Mormon and Restoration. It went awesome!! I walked out smiling and happy, because things had gone really well.
There are a few other people in the works that I am also super excited to meet with and become their friend. There is going to be a lot on my plate with being a trainer, district leader, and leader of this new area, but I just can't stop smiling while I am here!
I love you all so much! Have a fantastic week!
Me and Ryan with Jesus behind us!
Elder Brown and I and Rachel!
Elder Brown and I with Grace and Cameron
Elder Brown and I with the Legend, Brother Jones (the stake Ward Mission Leader)
Elder Hales and I at our first meeting and at the library where we email!
What a great week it has been! My last week here in Parker! I learned last Wednesday that I will be training a new missionary this next transfer. I don't know where I will be going yet, but I am super excited to be training a new missionary and to be getting a fresh start somewhere else in the mission. I loved training Elder Olson, and I am super ready to do that again. [We found out later that he will be going to the Arapahoe Stake in Aurora as a district leader.]
Elder Brown will be staying here and training a new zone leader. I know they will do well together! Elder Brown is a bit nervous, but he will do great! Our investigator Ryan is doing awesome! He came to the Saturday night session of Stake conference, where I sang a duet with a sister missionary and Elder Brown played the piano. He also came to the Sunday session of Stake conference, and then to dinner with our Bishop on Sunday night. We also saw him twice last week for lessons and he is still super committed. His baptism date is set for the 23rd, and we are working with him now to prepare for that day! We are going to take him shopping today to get a white shirt and tie! I am sad to leave him. I am unsure if I will be able to come back for his baptism, but I am just so glad to have been apart of his conversion process.
I will share a small miracle from the week. On Saturday, we were on exchanges with another set of Elders. I was with Elder Ochsner, our district leader. He is a superb missionary and I love him a lot. While we were out for the day talking with people, we met a woman named Rachel just sitting on the ground with her dog. We struck up a conversation with her and got to know her a little bit. She is non-denominational Christian and actually lives in Arvada. We talked to her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and I shared with her the verses in 3 Nephi 11:7-11. It was super cool, because we knew she felt the Spirit. It made her kind of open up. We asked if we could bring her by a copy of the Book of Mormon, and she wanted to let us, but just had a lot going on in her life. She and her husband are having a rough time and it is affecting their kids. She asked for our number and might let the missionaries in Arvada come by. She then asked us to pray with her. During the prayer, she cried while we asked for blessings upon her family and for greater peace and calmness from God. It was such a cool contact. I don't know if I'll ever be able to see Rachel again, but I love just being able to come into someone's life so quickly and bring the Spirit.
I love it out here and am so excited to continue on. I love you all as well and wish you well!!
What a wonderful week we had! Miracles happen every week, but we had some more this week, especially in the lives of a few people we are teaching! And, as always, Elder Brown and I had tons of fun going out and trying to help as many people as possible this week!
On Monday, we had a super fun zone p-day! Elder Brown and I had a fun idea planned, but had to scrap it and change it at the last minute last Sunday. Luckily, with the help of some really awesome members, we were able to throw a party together with pizza, ping pong, volleyball, pool, and a few other fun things to do. It ended up being a big success, and everyone loved it! We were so happy!
The rest of the week I will describe by the people that we taught!
Elle - About a month ago, we talked with a woman named Elle. We had a great conversation with her on the street. She wasn't super interested in the beginning, but after talking and laughing for a bit, she said that she'd meet up with us again. Well, we finally met up with her this week over lunch! We had a great conversation about what we do as missionaries and some of the core values of the church, mainly families. She is super nice and is interested in looking deeper into things! We gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to start reading! She is pretty busy, but hopefully we will see her again in a few weeks. It was a pretty sweet conversation!
Aaron - we have been teaching Aaron for about two months now, and he came to church last month. He is an atheist, so is super interesting to teach! We had a lesson this week at a member's home in the family ward he lives in. There were four of us members there and we bore strong testimonies of God and, interestingly enough, how the Book of Mormon helped us receive our answer that God is out there. Aaron is very, very intelligent, and used to believe in God and actually deconstructed his belief system bit by bit using logic and reason. Well, after our testimonies this time, he told us that he didn't know if deconstructing his beliefs was the right thing to do. He wants to believe, but his logic and reasoning is holding him back! We put him on the spot to make a decision, to keep meeting with us and seek God, or to stop meeting with us. We will see what he says this week!
Rachel - This was a huge miracle! We were driving on our way back from a lesson out in Castle Rock when this woman named Rachel called us on the phone. Rachel is actually already a member, but hasn't come to church in about a year. We have tried reaching out to her previously, but hadn't heard anything back. She called us and asked if we could swing by that night! It turns out that she is wanting to come back to church because she feels a relationship with Heavenly Father will bring her peace and a sense of calmness (real happiness). We had a great discussion with her about regaining a testimony and a witness of Heavenly Father in her life!
Donovan - Donovan is one of our more solid investigators. He was found by another set of missionaries and passed off to us because he wants to go to church with people his own age. We are the YSA [Young Single Adult 18-30] missionaries. He is super nice and awesome, but has some mental problems and there are some setbacks holding him down in life. We had some great talks with him this week about the Restoration and the Word of Wisdom and other commandments that we have been given. He believes all the doctrines we have been teaching him, and now we are helping him prepare for baptism. He wants to stop smoking, and so that is the obstacle we are going to tackle this week! He came to church on Sunday and loved it, so he is really doing well!
Ryan - Last, but definitely not least, is Ryan. I've talked about Ryan a little bit in the past. He is doing so good! We had some great talks this week about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, and enduring) and also about the life and mission of Jesus Christ. Ryan, who didn't believe in God about a month ago, now believes in God! We are working with him to come to know that Jesus Christ is the Savior. Ryan is also pretty excited about baptism and entering into that covenant with God now that he knows that God is real! After testimony meeting at church, I turned to Ryan and asked him how he felt. He was smiling and was shaking his head, and told me that he just felt so happy. He said that he wished people could feel like this all the time. It was so cool!! We are so excited for him moving forward!
So anyway, that was just a little taste of what our week was like with the people we are seeing! It is so much fun to be out here and to be talking with and trying to help so many people here in Denver. I know that the gospel is truly sent from God, 1. Because of how happy it is making the people I teach and 2. Because of how happy I feel as I serve out here. I don't really have words to describe it.
I love you all so much! Thank you so much for everything you are doing to be a good person and a friend to me!
Lots of things happened this week. We also had a ton of time to teach people this week! The coolest guy we are teaching though is still Ryan, from last week.
Ryan is doing really well! We were able to see him a few times this week, and we are starting to become really good friends. He works as a Pizza Hut delivery guy, and every time we see him now, we always ask him "How's the hut?"
The coolest thing that happened with him this week, is that he is really starting to get his answer that God is out there. A guy in the ward, who is helping him, Nathan Crowley, had an awesome conversation with him and they figured out together that God has been an active part of Ryan's life for a long time. They just talked through different small experiences in Ryan's life and they were able to see how much God really did care about Ryan. At the end of their conversation, Ryan had a different view about God. It was super cool to hear about! We are so excited for him moving forward, the gospel is going to completely change him and his life.
One other cool experience from the week was that we were able to find a couple and started to teach them. Their names are Grace and Cameron and they are super funny. We were unsure of their interest level at first, but they were really nice and let us in. They asked us some questions about what we believed happened after we died, and we were able to teach the Plan of Salvation from a little sketch we drew. It was so cool to see them actually listen and ask more questions to try and understand what we believed. We will hopefully see them again soon!
Anyway, miracles are happening out here and we are so happy. It is the funnest thing to be a missionary and be talking to so many cool people!
What an exciting week! We had the chance to see the eclipse today as a whole mission. President Savage decided to have a "mission wide P-day," up in Arvada to watch the eclipse and participate in some cool activities. There were games and we competed as zones. Parker zone was of course the best there.
The coolest thing that happened this week was working with our top investigator right now, Ryan. He is a super cool guy (with a great name) that we found a few weeks ago. He has no religious background and so we have been able to have some really cool conversations about God and how we can come to know Him.
The invitation we gave to him last week was for him to say a kneeling prayer every day until we saw him again. Well, we saw him again this week and he told us that it had felt good to do, but nothing extraordinary had happened and he hadn't really felt like he had gotten his answer. As we were talking, we told him about fasting and how it is sort of like an amplified prayer. We were even able to share a video with him called "Hope of God's light", which talks about a man's experience and how fasting changed his life (over time). So we asked him to do three things: 1. Come to church with us again 2. Come to the Conversion fireside the Stake was putting on Sunday night. It was a fireside [meeting] where some recent converts were sharing their stories and 3. to fast with us from Saturday night after dinner until Sunday night at the fireside.
Ryan kept all of his commitments and is doing fantastic! I think he is slowly starting to feel his answer come to him. He loved coming to the fireside, and we are going to see him again tonight at the ward FHE. [Family Home Evening] It is so cool to see him learn and grow and choose to keep these things we have given him and see what they can do for him. I know the gospel is already starting to change his life, and I am just grateful I can be here to see the process.
I have to go! But I love you all and love the work we get to be a part of!
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