Elder Bird's Missionary Blog


Anyone Need a Broom?

9/18/17

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!

Elder Bird

Pictures:

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!


Bye Bye Parker!!

9/11/17

Hello everyone!!

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!!

Elder Bird


Miracles are Happening!

9/5/17

Hello everyone!!

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!

Elder Bird


Ryan, The Delivery Guy

8/28/17

Hey everyone!!

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!

Elder Bird


Solar Eclipse P-day!

8/21/17

Hey Everybody!

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!

Elder Bird


Two words: Temple Trip

8/16/17

Hey everyone!!

What a good week! I am back on my feet again and back to the same old Elder Bird, just no appendix now. This week has been a super fun one (like all the others). Elder Brown and I experienced some crazy miracles, as we've tried to pick up where we left off, and carve back out a pool of people to teach and help out.

The first miracle happened Tuesday night. After dinner, we had our final lesson with Bryce Rich, a super solid guy, we have been meeting with. He is probably our most solid person. He understands everything we are teaching, and is progressing in the gospel and working hard to get his answers. We have become really good friends with him (he was the one we were teaching last week when my appendix freaked out). Tuesday night, was our final lesson with him though, because he was moving to Georgia to go back to school. (We have already hooked him up with the missionaries out in Georgia and he is planning on going to church out there.) We had a good last lesson with him and shared our testimonies, and said goodbye. It was bittersweet. We were happy for him, but sad to lose our strongest investigator. Later that night at our weekly basketball activity, Elder Brown got to talking with one of the guys there named Keith and had a really good convo with him about the gospel. Keith even told Elder Brown that he wanted to be baptized!! It was super cool! We got Keith's information so that we can start teaching him and trying to help him out. It was cool to see how Heavenly Father can just fill our time with people to teach and help, when others are moving away from us.

Another cool experience was with a lesson we had with Ryan Tupper, an investigator that had come to church last Sunday. I was just meeting Ryan for the first time, because I had been in bed all of last week. We had a great talk! We really got to know each other, and talked about what he is looking for in life, and what truly makes him happy. We also talked about what the world says should make you happy and what the gospel says will make you happy. Ryan told us that he was happiest when he could help out and make others happy in some way. We really connected with him over that. The Spirit was strong as we talked with him. We talked about how he could get an answer as to whether God was out there or not, and then we asked him to come to church on Sunday, and he did. He came to Sacrament meeting on Sunday, and an FHE activity with us last night. He is doing really well, and we will see him again tomorrow!

The last cool thing that happened this week was being able to go to the temple this morning! That is the reason why I am writing on Wednesday instead of Monday. Our P-day got switched to today for the trip. It was an awesome experience, as always. I had some questions racking my brain recently, so I took them to the Lord and was hoping to get some answers in the temple. In our session, we saw Sister Simmons and a friend from the ward, Nathan Crowley. It was really cool to have so many friends who were there to support us. I felt so much peace while I was there and I was able to receive answers to my questions in the Celestial Room. I am so grateful that we got to go the temple today.

Anyway, things are going really well and I am healing up nicely! I hope things back home are just as peachy as they are out here. I love you all!!

Elder Bird


Back in the ER!!

8/7/17

Hiya Everyone!!

I hope everyone's week back home has been just peachy!! Ours has been quite the roller coaster, but we are all alive and well!! The big news of the week, as you can see in the title, was that I ended up back in the hospital! Fun stuff!! I was diagnosed with appendicitis on Wednesday morning, and I had surgery soon after. Everything went really well, and I am on the road to recovery. I will tell you about the story, so you can hear about the wild ride.

So everything started on Tuesday. We had a pretty good morning, helping the missionaries in the Pinery Ward get moved out of their home because they were both leaving. One of them was actually heading home. So after getting them moved out, we all drove up to Westminster to drop him off at the mission home and say goodbye. That was pretty cool, because I got to see and say a final goodbye to Elder Brammer, Elder Mork, and Elder Eldredge. It was so weird for me to see that they were all leaving! Three of my companions were going home, and all at the same time! Anyway, we said goodbye and headed out as a trio with the other Elder. We had a good day, all together, teaching and trying to contact investigators. Around 4:30pm, we were out and about and I started to have some bad stomach pain. I didn't voice any concern but just tried to deal with it. At dinner, I said something to my companions and to our host. I told them it might be just some bad gas build up or just a pulled muscle. Our host gave me some medicine to relieve the gas, and then we headed out to teach one of our top progressing investigators.

Well, we pulled up for the lesson and the pain was still there. I told my companions that I might have to just sit out for the lesson. We pulled up and met our investigator and his member friend, and told them about my pain and how I might have to sit out. The member friend looked pretty concerned, and he had me call the Mission Nurse to just check that it wasn't anything too serious. So I called the nurse and explained my pain to her a little bit, and she told me what it might be, one of the options being appendicitis. She told me that she was going to call a doctor and see what to do from there. Satisfied, we headed into the lesson, joking the whole time about my "burst appendix" and just the whole thing. It was an awesome Restoration lesson, and we really felt the Spirit as we taught. I got two phone calls while we were teaching . . . but I let them ring, because I wasn't about to stop this fire lesson for just some silly stomach pain. So anyway, we finished the lesson and were walking out when I checked the phone. It turns out the calls were from the nurse, telling me that they wanted me to go to the Emergency Room. I called her back and talked to her for a bit, and she told me she needed me to go to an ER in downtown Denver called Saint Joseph's Hospital. We were a little confused about why we had to go so far, [it was a Kaiser hospital] and so decided to drop off our trio companion with some other Elders close by, and headed to Denver.

We pulled up around 8:30pm to the address we had been given, and found to our surprise, no hospital!! Uh oh! We parked the car for a bit and started "street contacting", asking if anyone knew where Saint Joseph's was. No one seemed to know! Finally, someone gave us some cross streets, about a mile away from where we were. Haha! We were off. Well, we pulled up at those cross streets and found . . . no hospital. We were a little on the frustrated side by now and my pain was getting worse. I remembered that the Mission Nurse said something about the hospital being close to my Kaiser diabetes doctor, and so we plugged in that address. Two minutes later, we pulled up and found a building that said Saint Joseph's!!!

I got registered in the ER around 9:30pm and we sat and waited to be seen. For the first hour in the waiting room, I sat quiet and was feeling a little mad that I was back in the ER again on my mission. I had just been here in this exact same place, 1 year ago!! After sitting silent for a bit and trying to blow off some steam, I settled down. I started talking to Elder Brown and he helped me laugh about it. We spent the next three hours sitting around, joking and watching fun facts of the ER's TV. During that time, I tried to convince myself that I just had a pulled muscle and that I would be back home that night. Finally, at 12:30am I had some blood drawn and a urine sample taken (I almost passed out while getting my blood drawn, Elder Brown said I turned whiter than my hair!!). Anyway, after getting the tests done, I finally got into my room and into a gown by 1:30am in the morning. Around this time, our sweet Mission Nurse walked into my room and was there to help me with the process. It was nice to have her and Elder Brown with me as I waited. I was glad I had people there to help me, and keep things pretty light.

Anyway, around 1:50pm, I was in for a CAT SCAN and a half an hour later I was having surgery! I definitely had appendicitis and they wanted to remove my appendix ASAP. They called my parents and got my dad on the phone (they had to wake him up) and I got to tell him what was up. After talking to him, they got me ready for surgery and then wheeled me into the big room. I laughed with the doctors and the nurses about my weird hat and the cold table, until they put me under.

I kind of half woke up around 4am that morning, coming out of anesthesia and in the recovery room. I was a little loopy! They wheeled me back into my room, and the Mission President and the Mission Nurse were there. He called my mom and I was able to talk to her a little bit, it felt like a dream. Then I went back to sleep. At 9am I woke up to an empty room, but then a nurse came in and greeted me. My mom called and I was able to talk to her on the phone, which was probably the most comforting part of the whole thing.

I didn't stay in the hospital for long, in fact my hospital stay was pretty short. I was back on my feet to use the bathroom by 10am and then some Elders came to keep me company around 12pm. At 2:30pm I was released and Elder Brown took me home.

The rest of the week was spent laying in bed trying to recover. I stayed inside and watched church videos for hours on end, while my tummy slowly healed. Different Elders came and stayed with me, while Elder Brown went out with their companions to keep our appointments, and keep the work going. I am doing much better now, and I might even be able to go back out and work this week!!

I'm running out of time, but it has been quite the week. The one thing I do know is that even though these things have happened to me on my mission, I cannot deny that God loves me more than I even know, and that He has a plan for me that will make everything work out in the end. See 1 Nephi 11:17 . . . it helped me quite a bit this week.

1 Nephi 11:17 "And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."

Anyway, I love you all so much and have felt the outpouring of love this week as I have gone through these things. I am so grateful for the angels that God has put in my life to help me along my path. I love you all so much, and will continue to thank God for all He has given me.

Elder Bird


I'm an Uncle Again!

7/31/17

Hi Everyone!!!

Today has been a crazy day here at the library!! There is much happening, because we just learned about the transfers that will be taking place on Wednesday!! Things here got shaken up quite a bit. The Mission President took the number of zones down from 11 zones to 7 zones. So, now Elder Brown and I will be covering the old Parker zone and the Parker South zone, which have been combined. It is going to take a bit more work, but we are excited to get started.

So, most of our allotted time for mail, has been spent looking over the transfer list, seeing where everyone is going, and what other zones have been combined. Also, 24 missionaries are leaving this transfer . . . all my friends are going home! Elders Mork, Eldredge, Brammer, and Olsen and tons of others. Now I am part of the group that are the older missionaries in the mission. That seems weird. I hope we can do a good job of keeping it up!! There are going to be four brand new missionaries in our new mega zone. It should be fun to welcome them into the mission and show them how we do things here. I kind of want to train again myself, I think it would be fun. But I will probably stay a zone leader for a while.

Anyway, because of all that, I don't have much time to give you an update of the week, but to say, we had a good week! Lots of street contacting and talking to as many people as possible. I went on an exchange with Elder Hansen, and Elder Brown and I have a new investigator this week named Ella. She is the one who came to church last week. She is the girlfriend of one of the RMs [Returned Missionaries] in the ward. He is a rock star in helping her learn, even though she had all these preconceived notions about who we are. Having her read The Book of Mormon will be the key in resolving any of her concerns, so that is our focus next week.

I found out this morning, that my sister, Amanda, had her second baby on Saturday. She is super cute and her name is Natalie Marie Lamb. I am excited to meet her in about a year.

I hope everything back home is well!! I love you all!!

Elder Bird


A New Suit!

7/24/17

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!!

Elder Bird


Visiting the Colorado Country!

7/17/17

Hey everybody!!

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!!

Elder Bird


Bombs Bursting in Air!

7/10/17

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!!

Elder Bird


The New Mission President!

7/03/17

Hello everyone!!

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!

Elder Bird


Parker, Parker, Parker

6/26/17

Hello everyone!

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.

Elder Bird

Me saying bye to Adam, Bryan, Mason, and the Gabaldon Family

Elder Brown and I with Sister Simmons, the awesome member we live with.


The SWANKest Day Ever

6/19/17

Hey everyone!

I hope everyone's week has been great!! Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Transfers are here and I just learned that I am headed down to Parker, CO in the Parker South zone!

I will be serving as a zone leader down there in the Crowfoot YSA [young single adults] ward with Elder Brown as my new companion. I am super excited, but a bit sad to be saying goodbye to Arvada and the people I have taught here. And sad to leave Elder Mork! We have become such good friends and it is going to be super sad to leave each other! Elder Mork will be training a newer missionary how to be a zone leader up here in Arvada. So next time you hear from me, I will be clear down in Parker (south east of Denver!).

As for the week, it was a pretty good one! We had lots of stuff going on, and I think Saturday was the busiest day I have ever had on my mission! I will try to give some highlights.

On Monday we had zone P-day!! We all hiked Table Top mountain, which is one of the only places you can hike in our mission. It as sweet! There were some awesome views and even a cool waterfall! It was a good way to spend the last P-day together with the Arvada zone.

On Wednesday, Elder Mork and I went on exchanges with the APs [assistants to the President]! It was pretty fun to be with such experienced Elders. I went with Elder Wood and had an awesome day of missionary work. It was kind of interesting because some boundary changes have happened in the Westminster stake where the assistants work, and so part of my first ward, the Westminster ward, is now in the assistants area. It is way crazy because we did a lot of work together on Wednesday right near the apartments that I used to live at!

On Thursday, we started with a lesson with Michael Gabaldon, setting a baptismal date with him for the end of July and getting him super set to be baptized! It was awesome! Then we drove over to the Mission Office for Elder Mork to have his final interview with President Mendenhall, before President Savage comes in. Then that night, we had an awesome lesson with Bryan Coffing. He is so set! We talked about tithing, the ten commandments, and obeying the law in our last commandments lesson. He agrees with everything and is even willing to try out tithing after he is baptized. There are like zero problems and he just has to get his wife and kids into it a little bit. Luckily something cool happened at the end of the week to really help with that!

On Friday, we had a busy day getting a lot of planning, service, and administrative work done. That night, Bryan took us out to Texas Roadhouse! It was super cool to just enjoy a meal with him and to sit as friends together. He was so funny, making us buy really expensive things on the menu and worrying if we had had enough to eat. He is so awesome, and we talked a lot about having his family come to church soon over dinner. After dinner, we went and saw Adam for a little bit. Adam was a bit frustrating, because he knows how good the church is, but he is not putting any effort into reading in the Book of Mormon. So we read a bit with him and then set a return appointment for the next night.

Saturday was a jam packed day! We had something set for literally every single hour of the day, including a quick lesson at 9pm, before heading home at 9:30pm. A few of the appointments fell through, but we had a pretty busy day running between all of the appointments. We taught the Gabaldon family, had an awesome lesson with a brand new investigator named Julie (who had done some awesome research and was super interested!), taught Adam again and got him committed to fast and pray about the Book of Mormon this Tuesday, and then ended by teaching a former investigator that we used to teach here and got him committed to come to church the next day! It was just an awesome day!

Sunday morning started out with a lesson at 8am with someone we had met on the way to Adam's the day previous. His name was Matt Lawson, a young guy in his 30's, who has researched a ton of different religions, but hasn't picked one yet. We taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel and he loved it! He agrees with just about everything, and is pretty excited to read through the Book of Mormon and to come check out the church! It was a good way to start the day! Then, we went to church. We pulled up 15 minutes early, at the exact same time as Bryan Coffing and his whole family! They had all come, on Father's Day!! It was so awesome! Bryan's wife Mia told us that when she had asked Bryan what he wanted for Father's Day, he had said that he wanted everyone go to church! So they came! When we walked into the chapel with them, we saw our former investigator that we talked to last night, talking to a member. We were so happy! It was an awesome Sacrament meeting and an awesome service. After the meetings ended, we had pie to celebrate the dad's for Father's Day. It was so awesome and such a good way to end the week and my time here in Arvada!

Anyway, some things are changing and it will be a bit sad to leave, but I am so grateful to be a part of it and to be serving the Lord and anyone I meet, no matter where. I hope things are well back home. I love you all!!

Elder Bird

Table Top!!!!


Mission Convert Fireside!

6/12/17

Hi!! I hope everyone back home is doing super well!!

I had an awesome week this week! Lots of fun stuff happening here, including a mission-wide convert fireside that we were all able to go to. It was super cool to be able to see a bunch of people all at once again, and even have Nancy, one of my investigators from Cherry Creek, come and see it!

On Wednesday night, we were able to see Adam for a little bit. We didn't have too much time with him because of another appointment and some stuff that made us start a little later. We did read 3 Nephi 11 with him and heard his thoughts. He said he really liked what he read and doesn't disagree with anything. we talked to him a lot about coming out to different things in the church, like activities or programs he could get involved in. He just needs a place to go with good people! We tried to get him to come to church again this week, but he was flying to Seattle to marry one of his good friends. Anyway, after seeing Adam that night, we went and saw Lisa and her kids. We had a pretty good time trying our hardest to teach them! Lisa has some non-conventional religious beliefs, but also believes a lot of what we have to say. So I felt bad for the kids and all the confusion the two different viewpoints were creating! Anyway, we got through a bit more of the Plan of Salvation and will hopefully finish next week!

On Thursday night, we had our weekly lesson with Bryan. Bryan is so awesome! He is finished with 4th Nephi now and is probably going to finish the Book of Mormon pretty soon. We talked a bit more about some of the commandments in preparation for baptism, which still doesn't have a time frame because of the strain it would put on his family. But we had a good discussion on the Sabbath and scriptures and prayer. At the end, Bryan even invited us to have a lesson next week and also dinner the day after on Friday of next week! I was super excited because that will probably be my last week here in Arvada! I am super excited for him moving forward, as always.

The mission wide convert fireside was Friday night! President and Sister Mendenhall was a good way to get the mission all together before they had to leave. It is also a good way to help recent converts feel a bit more like there are people out there that are like them. We were asked to invite converts of three years or less, and anyone we are currently teaching or have recently taught. So I got permission from President to give Jackie and Jordan Smith from Piney Creek a call, and also Nancy Flemming, from Cherry Creek, a call. It was so crazy to hear them both again! Nancy told me that she would come, and she did! Elder Olson and I got to see her and sit with her during the fireside and catch up a little bit. It was a super awesome meeting. At the end, when the missionaries were all leaving, we took a picture of the whole mission. Then we sang an impromptu "Called to Serve" for President and Sister Mendenhall. It was a pretty special way to end the night.

So that was pretty much our week! Lots of fun stuff happening here, and I am loving life!!

I hope things back home are well! I love all of you so much!

Elder Bird

The "dream team" back together (Elder LaPerle & Elder Brammer)

Me with Nancy!

Arvada Zone


June Already!

6/05/17

Hey everyone!

I hope everyone's week has been splendid so far! It is hard to believe that it is already June....I feel like it was just February. Elder Mork and I had an awesome week this week, and we are super excited for this upcoming week!

Lots of exciting things happened this week! The first of which was on an exchange day this last Wednesday! I was with Elder Haws, who is serving in the Arvada 3rd ward. We worked in my ward and had tons of fun! The biggest thing that happened was a lesson with Lisa Marie and her two daughters, Faith and Hope, (good names, right?). The family were all outside enjoying the summer night when we walked up and started talking to them for a bit. We asked if we could teach the girls about God's plan. We started to draw out the Plan of Salvation for them, and they had lots of good questions! We got to the end of Adam and Eve, and then had to go. But we will finish the cliffhanger next week!

We had another great lesson with Bryan on Thursday. Bryan is still going through the Pearl of great Price and had some questions for us. It was good stuff! We brought out a member that was really good at helping us answer his questions. Afterwards, we talked about the temple and about what we do there. We had mentioned it a few times, so he had said he was appreciative of the context. The lesson went great! Bryan is a super stud and has a strong testimony already. He is basically not being baptized yet because it would put a strain on his family. He even asked us in the lesson that "If I just outlive all of my family members by a year, then I can get them all sealed to me afterwards?" It was so funny! We are pushing hard to get his wife and kids to church sometime soon. He is so awesome!

On Friday, we had a Missionary Leadership Counsel for the month of June. It was President and Sister Mendenhall's last one, and they were a bit sad. It was a good meeting and we were given much counseling. The Mendnehall's were totally crying afterwards. It was sad!

We had a good lesson on Saturday with a girl named Zoey. We have been teaching Zoey for a while, but it has been hard to get through to her a lot of the time. She's just turning 14 and was baptized two years ago. Her dad passed away 6 months ago in an accident, so it's been tough to reach her. We went over and had lunch with her, then had to run to an appointment, and then came back after. The second time, she opened up and told us that she really did want to start coming back to church and explained how it was hard for her. So we sat down and made a goal with her to get to the temple to do baptisms by the end of December. We made some plans with her on when she was going to come to church and how often and things she would have to do to achieve that goal. It was a really good thing!

Sunday was a big day for us! Adam, a guy we teach, had committed to do a church swap with us! So we woke up and went over to his complex so he could give us a ride to the church he has been going to, called Red Rocks Church (a huge church in Denver that thousands of people go to). We went and had a good time with him! Adam doesn't really care too much for the "worship" part of the service, which is the Christian Rock music they play. So we were there for the sermon, which was really really good. After the sermon, we left and Adam got a little more dressed up to come to our service, which was testimony meeting. So we showed up there with Adam. He really liked the sacrament, and then some really good testimonies were given. Adam asked us if he could go up and share some thoughts, and we told him he absolutely could. So he got up and shared a really good testimony just explaining his situation and how we and the gospel has helped so far. It was so awesome!! After he got up, Elder Mork and I both shared our testimonies and sat down. The woman sitting in front of us, who is a convert herself, talked with him a bit during the meeting and they really connected! So she went up and shared her testimony, and then a 9 year old girl (part of the Gabaldon family) got up and shared a little testimony of her own. So we had 2 non-members share their testimony!! It was so awesome! Everyone in the ward was pretty surprised after the meeting and were winking at us after...it was cool! It was a really good way to end the week!

Anyway, exciting things are happening here! I am super excited to see what people will do this next week! Thank you so much for all of the love and support so far! I love you all!

Elder Bird


2 out of 3 Mission Birthdays. Check!

5/30/17

Hey everyone! I hope everyone's week was good! I hope that everyone had a good Memorial Day holiday yesterday and that it was well spent!

I had a good birthday and am glad that now I can finally tell people I am 20, and not a teenager anymore! It was a good way to spend a birthday out here.

We had a pretty good week! We did the usual...finding and teaching! We even had the chance to witness a baptism this week!

The highlights of the week were some of the lessons we had with our top progressing investigators. We met with Bryan Coffing on Thursday, and had an awesome lesson with him! The cool thing is that I feel that we are helping Bryan continue on the path he is already walking, and that he is a friend. In the lesson, he told us that he has finished Alma and has read through a bit of the Pearl of Great Price. He already has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet! He says that since he has started reading the BoM, he has felt more patient with people and tried to be kinder, and is even trying to pray more, by himself and with his kids. It is so awesome to see him change and recognize the change! Moving forward, Bryan wants to be baptized, but is worried about if his wife and kids do not join him. We talked a lot about things and set up a plan to help moving forward. It was so awesome, and it felt so good afterward to just come out of a lesson with this new friend.

We also had a lesson with Adam this week, and brought the Elder Quorum president, Dave Kubic, with us. They really hit it off and it felt super natural to be talking and discussing things in the little group we had made. Adam is just holding onto some things and has a lot of hurt in his life. At the end of the discussion, Adam even asked Brother Kubic to pray with him and grabbed onto Brother Kubic's hand in the prayer. It was a tender moment filled with the spirit, and Elder Mork and I just sat back and let the Spirit work. After the lesson, we visited Adam again on Saturday night to see if he was still committed to coming to church. He is going through some girlfriend struggles. But, we talked and we will be going with Adam to his church early on Sunday this upcoming week, and then Adam will come with us to our service after. SO we are super excited!

We went to a baptism on Saturday, and we were able to bring Michael Gabaldon, a 14 year old investigator, who is getting close to receiving his answer about church, with us. We had a lesson earlier that week with him and when we asked him why he liked to come to church, he said that when he came to church, he "had a sense of knowing that it was true!" So we took him to the baptism so he could see what it was like. We elbowed him a couple times through, joking that "this will be you in a few months." He had no objections to that. It was so awesome to have him there and to have him feel the Spirit that was present.

Saturday was also my birthday. I woke up that morning and was able to open a few of the presents my parents had sent earlier that week. It's so funny that my mom always sends decorations in the packages she sends, so I got to decorate the apartment for my own birthday. I got some awesome things, including a sweet new fanny pack. But the best part of my birthday was having so much love from people back at home and out here. Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes and the support.

Oh there was one crazy thing that happened to us this week. My companion and I got the cops called on us!! How awesome is that? So we were out tracting on Friday and ran into this lady who opened her door and told us that that she was Buddhist and wasn't interested. But she said she wanted us to come in and see her Buddha statues. So we stepped in for a minute and then left. Well, like two hours later, we got a call from the Arvada 3rd ward Elders saying that they had been pulled over by the police and said that there was a report made about two Mormon missionaries, a tall blonde one and a shorter one with dark hair (both wearing glasses). The lady had reported that we had stolen her cell phone. The report said that we were accused of breaking and entering!! I couldn't believe it! So we went immediately to the police station and got the officer who was assigned to the case. While interviewing us, the woman called and said she found her phone and "didn't want to press charges." It was so ridiculous! But everything turned out okay and it only took about an hour to sort out. It was definitely something to remember!

Anyway, things are going great here! It is so hard to believe that May is over and the transfer is half done. Time flies when you are having fun!!

Love,

Elder Bird


My Brother is 16 Now!!

5/22/17

Hey howdy hey everyone!!

I hope everyone's week is going well thus far! We had a pretty awesome week. The biggest news is that my brother turned 16 this week!! How crazy is that? It's like he is all grown up already! So I wanted to give a shout out to Nathan and tell him Happy Birthday!!

Anyway, so the week was pretty good! It started out Monday night with dinner at the Stake President's home for all of the missionaries in the zone! That was pretty fun! Our Stake President is super awesome, and quite a scriptorian. After dinner, we had a small devotional. I sung a duet with Elder MacPherson, one of the district leaders here, that we threw together last minute. The Stake President spoke and it was super good.

On Tuesday we did some service and had some meetings for the leadership in the mission. That night, we were able to see an investigating boy named Mason Thompson. We had a really good lesson with him on the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Mason is now working to be baptized in July! His family is totally backing him and everything, even though they are nonmembers. We just need to get him to church!

On Wednesday, I went on exchanges with Elder Glenn, one of the district leaders here in Arvada. It was a fun day! We did a lot of tracting, which of course was super fun! Elder Glenn is a good Elder and pretty funny. He is kind of having a tough time with his companion right now, so we talked a lot about that and how to move forward. We are so grateful for the wonderful job he is doing at leading the missionaries he is over!

On Thursday, it snowed!! What the heck!! It's the middle of May and it's snowing! Denver is crazy. Luckily, the snow didn't stick and Elder Mork and I had fun knocking on doors out in the weather. That night, we saw Bryan Coffing, one of our most solid investigators. We went over the Word of Wisdom with Bryan, and he literally had no concerns and committed to live it! We also brought him a triple combination and talked about the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. We brought a member with us to visit with him and invite him to Stake Conference that weekend. He couldn't come, but he committed to coming to church on Fast Sunday in June [the first Sunday of the month]. He is so awesome, and so easy to talk to about the gospel, because everything clicks with him. We are blessed to have found him. Then after Bryan, we went and saw Mason again and had a good lesson with him about Adam and Eve and who prophets are. He had never heard of Adam and Eve, so it was cool telling him the story for the first time.

Friday was a pretty uneventful day with service in the morning, planning for the week in the afternoon, and Stake Meetings that night. But as we were walking to dinner, something really cool did happen! A guy told us to hold the door for him, saw we were missionaries, and then told us to come to his place after dinner. We did, and gave him a Book of Mormon and chatted for a bit. He is a super nice guy named Wes, who is going to a Christian college around here. It was super cool to meet him!

Saturday was a full day! We had a lesson with the Gabaldon family where we read in the Book of Mormon the story about Lehi's Dream. The kids seemed to pay a bit more attention than usual at the lesson. Then we were surprised to hear that the whole family was going to come to Stake Conference!!! That meant the mom and 7 kids were coming to church! We were surprised, but excited! After the lesson, we did a bunch of tracting and street contacting.

The big day was Sunday with Stake Conference! We showed up at the Gabaldon's house at 9am to help the kids get ready and tie their ties! They were all dressed up super nice! Then, they all piled into their school bus (their mom bought a school bus to haul them around) and they headed to the church. It was a tad tough to make the 7 kids sit through two hours of church, so Elder Mork and I spent most of our time sitting in the Nursery room with them, making sure they didn't get into any trouble (I felt like I had been thrown into early parenthood). But the mom was able to see the whole thing!! It was a super awesome way to end the week!

Anyway, so that was the week! It seemed like it all just flew right by! I hope everything back home is going well!! Thanks for all the love and support out here, I love you all so much!!

Elder Bird

The Gabaldons in their bus


Skype Call Home!!

5/15/17

Hey Everyone!!

What a crazy, awesome week we had here in Colorado! With transfers and a Skype call home, things were pretty busy this week! I hope everyone's week back home was well!

The beginning of the week was kind of slower as we prepared for transfers. We did our normal tracting and street contacting, not finding a super duper amount of success. On Tuesday we helped out a bit with transfers, and Elder Mork and I got to solo drive! We needed to pick up a car from the Arvada 5th ward sisters who were being swept out, so I drove the truck home, while Elder Mork followed in their car.

Transfer day was fun! We rounded everyone up, grabbing the luggage and getting things set up for everyone to make it to their designated location safely! It was a long morning, but we got everything done okay and everyone back safely as well. It always feels a little weird staying in an area during transfers, because you don't change, but you have a brand new zone!

Thursday was a pretty packed day. We went to our district meeting, to learn and to get to know the new missionaries in the district. Then we went and sat in the other district's meeting for a few minutes. We wanted to see how the new district leader, Elder Glenn, will be doing things and to also meet those new missionaries. Then, Elder Mork and I planned for the week ahead (normally we do that on Friday, but we had a big zone leader meeting on Friday). After all of that, we barely had time to get out and work! But some miracles happened anyway. We went to meet and have a lesson with a guy named Adam and took a member with us. Unfortunately, Adam told us he was going to be about an hour late. So we just tried contacting in the apartment complex and actually found a woman named JerriAnn, who wanted us to pray for her brother. After the prayer, she accepted a return appointment and a Book of Mormon! It was pretty cool. Then, we went and saw Adam. The ward member was able to come back and meet with us too. The lesson got a little off course because Adam had a friend over that wanted to tell us his story. So Elder Mork and I sat and listened to his friend, while the member, the Elders Quorom President, started talking to Adam. 9:20pm rolled around and we didn't even have a chance to talk with Adam before we left, but our member stayed after we left and talked to the group until 10:30pm!! He and Adam really connected, and Adam wants him to come back next time! So we were pretty pumped about that!

Friday was the leadership meeting. It was a long, but good meeting. There are a lot of newer-ish zone leaders, and this is my 3rd transfer, so I finally feel a little seasoned compared to some of these new elders! After the meeting, we headed back to our area. We didn't have too much planned that night, but did try to set up a lesson over the phone with a potential investigator named Donna. I ended up getting into a 30 minute conversation with her over the phone, teaching her about the Book of Mormon and the restoration. She seemed to really enjoy the conversation, and told us she would want more lessons over the phone. So she told us to call her again in a week at the same time. It was kind of weird, but now she is a new investigator! While I was on that call, Elder Mork was contacting people next to me in the apartment complex and got two return appointments with people who might be interested in the future! It was a good night!

Saturday was a full day of work, going out and talking to people. The big highlight was a lesson with a YSA guy named Jade, who we had picked up a week earlier. We did a lesson with him and the YSA missionaries. The lesson was awesome! Jade seemed to really like the conversation and is going to one of the YSA activities tonight! We were super happy to end the night that way.

Finally, Sunday! We had no meetings in the morning, so we just headed straight to church. We had a good Sacrament meeting. A young man in the ward gave his farewell talk before departing for his mission. It was a little weird because a year ago, on Mother's day, I did the same thing. After church was over, the brethren in the ward fed all of the sisters pie! There was a ton left over, so everyone in the ward also got to enjoy pie. We had plenty (we called it lunch). Then we went to a members home and prepped for our Skype calls home. It was such an awesome Skype call with my family! There were no tech hiccups, and it felt so great to just talk to the family for 45 minutes. They are all still goofy and it felt great to be back in place! It was tough to hang up and say goodbye to them, and for 15 minutes all I wanted to do was use the phone and call them back! But I soon got back into missionary mode by talking with the ward members whose house we were at, about our investigators, while I waited for Elder Mork to finish. Later that night, Elder Mork and I got back to our normal work and we worked at getting some YSA investigators we found to go to that nights YSA activity. Then we went in and ended the week.

Anyway, things were pretty great this week! Miracles are happening and I am ready for the next 6 weeks here in Arvada! I know strongly that families are where true happiness is found. God has placed us into them for a reason, and I am glad that God put me in mine. I love them so much! And I love all of you so much for taking the time to think about me throughout your week. I hope you are all doing well!!

Elder Bird

P.S. Oh yeah, we found a goat in someone's yard this week. Not often you get this in American missions


Year Mark (Kinda?) and Transfers!!

5/08/17

Hey all!!

I know you just heard from me, so I will for sure keep it brief. But guess what?? This next transfer on Wednesday will mark 1 year from when I first entered the MTC. My dates got a little mixed up with the things that took place after and my health problems, so I will really be hitting a year mark out here in about 2 months (next transfer), but it is kind of weird that I started my journey about a year ago!

Speaking of which, transfers are coming up on Wednesday!! We heard about them this morning when we logged on. I will be staying here in the Arvada 2nd ward area with Elder Mork!! We have some crazy things happening in the zone though. It should be pretty fun!!

As for our last week from Wednesday until now, things were pretty normal. We had fun going out every day and trying to find people to teach. We even ran out of Book of Mormons in the process...we have had to scavenge from other companionships until we can get more. That was awesome! Some cool things happened!

While tracting one day in an apartment complex that we had just found, we met a woman named Kandie that was super nice at the doorstep and let us teach her about what the Book of Mormon was. She listened and accepted a copy, telling us that her step-father, who she really looked up to, had been Mormon. She cried a little and told us how she knew that we were sent from God to see her. It was so awesome, and we were able to set a time to come back and see her. Then we prayed with her and had her crying again. It was a great experience!!

We saw our investigator Bryan and heard what he had to say about attending church last week. He loved it, and had no concerns!! Moving forward, he doesn't know if he can commit to 3 hours away from his family every week, but would like to come if he has a chance. So we started lesson #4 with him about the commandments and preparing for baptism. We brought an awesome member that really connected with him. We left him with a Word of Wisdom pamphlet and asked him to read it and come up with questions for our next discussion. It was an awesome lesson!!

Last night, we were trying to decide if we should go in at 8:50pm or try by one apartment complex that we always go to with a few investigators. So we went to the complex and found a group with two of our investigators hanging out near a fire pit. They saw us and flagged us down, and we talked for a bit. They invited us in to "hang out." I was a little apprehensive, because it was late and I wasn't trying to hang out with them without a gospel conversation. But we sat down and then our investigator Adam told us to give a 30 second elevator pitch to the group about why they should convert. We ended up having a great discussion about the Book of Mormon and picked up 2 new investigators from the group, at 9:20pm that night!! Then we hurried inside to make our 9:30pm curfew!!

Miracles are happening here, and people are sincerely;y seeking answers from the Book of Mormon. The missionaries are working their tales off to help as many people as they can, and I am just glad I can be here to witness it and to learn. I am so glad I get to be here for another transfer and hope I can continue to become a better missionary!

I hope everything back home is well and everyone is loving life!! Happy Mothers Day to all, and especially my mom (she's the best in the world). Thanks so much for the love and support from everyone!

Elder Bird


Temple Day!

5/03/17

Hey everyone!!

I'm so sorry to have missed emailing on Monday! Our P-day got switched to today (Wednesday) because we were able to the temple this morning!! It was such a blessing to be able to go and enjoy some peace and a good dose of the Spirit there. I really enjoyed it this morning!!

It is May!!! How crazy is that? It feels like it was just Christmas like last month. It is surprising how quickly things are moving out here. The crazy thing is that it was lightly snowing on our way back from the temple this morning. Snow in May!

Our week was pretty good here! Last Monday our truck went into the shop on p-day after we got all of our chores done. Our check engine light was on, so we dropped it off and then biked the rest of P-day. It was good! Definitely worked our thighs out a bit more than having our truck!

On Tuesday, we spent the day on bikes again. It was a beautiful day, a little light rain, so I had no complaints. The highlight was teaching a guy named Adam that night. Adam is a super nice guy and when we taught the lesson, he really opened up with stuff that is going on in his life. It was a great lesson! When we were done and walked outside it was pouring down rain. We had walked over to Adam's house, so the walk back would have taken 30 minutes...in the pouring rain. Luckily for us, we knew a nice investigator in Adam's same apartment complex named Tex, who graciously gave us a ride back home.

On Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Cluff in Arvada 4th ward area. It was a good day. Elder Cluff is a really solid elder, and we enjoyed the day together out street contacting and tracting. My companion was able to get the truck back that day, so that was nice to come home to!

On Thursday, the highlight of the day was a lesson with our top progressing investigator named Bryan Coffing at 7pm. We met with Bryan with a member of the ward named Brother Bowler. We taught Bryan about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It went super well! Bryan told us, "I was going to start Alma and got a few chapters in, but it just seemed kind of daunting. So I gave up and just re-read 2 Nephi." He is so awesome!! After the lesson, Brother Bowler invited him to come to church for the first time and he committed to come. It was so great!

Friday was a pretty busy day with planning for the week in the morning and then scouting out a service opportunity we could do with the zone at a future time. We were able to get a few hours near the end of the night to proselyte, and taught a woman named Nelly who is a new investigator. She is Native American and grew up on a reservation in Arizona. She didn't know too much about Christianity, so we got to teach the very basics, like who God is and how He relates to us. It was pretty cool!

Saturday was a snowy day! I had to break out my snow boots again!! Luckily by Sunday, the weather was basically back to normal.

The cool thing that happened on Sunday was that Bryan came to church and stayed for all three hours!! We were so happy. He wore a suit and everything and fit right in. He enjoyed it and told us at the end that we have "lots to talk about." We are excited to see him again tomorrow night!

Later that day we got a referral from headquarters telling us to go by a house that we had actually already tracted and the people behind the door were not interested. So we tried by again and were able to meet the ex-husband, who had met missionaries before and was requesting a blessing. It was just cool to be able to knock on a door and know who was behind it already!

Later that night, we were out street contacting and these two girls our age walk up to us and ask us if we were Mormon missionaries. We told them we were and they asked us to come and talk to them once we were done talking to this other guy. So we did. We talked to them on their doorstep, and it turns out this one girl named Shelby just wanted to know a bit more about what we believed. We were able to find a guy they knew in the apartment complex who came and then we were able to teach them! [Missionaries are unable to teach people of the opposite sex unless there is another man 18yrs or over there.] They made us waffles and we talked about a lot of stuff. It was awesome!! So our Sunday was just a very eventful day!!

On Monday we had a proselyting day, which was kind of weird, because it is normally our P-day. It was pretty uneventful, except for a meeting with a young man named Mason. We are teaching him the basics, so we taught him about faith, repentance, and a little about baptism. He is a cool kid, and we even were able to scheduled to have dinner with his family soon! We are excited to see his whole family!

Tuesday was one of the busiest day I think I have had on my mission!! It was packed full of stuff. It started off by driving into Thornton to drop off some reports along with the other zone leaders up here to our "car czar". After that, we drove back to our area and went to a doctor's appointment for Elder Mork at Kaiser Medical Center, which was good for me because I needed to get an A1C report taken and some blood drawn. I was also able to pick up some insulin from the pharmacy. Then, we went and had lunch with a new investigator who took us to an all you can eat pizza place. It was so awesome. After lunch, we did some service at an investigators house for a while, and when our appointment fell through, we had some time to do some tracting. After dinner, we had a lesson with a nice guy named Scott. Later we had a meeting with our Stake Mission Leader about what missionary work is happening in the zone, and then we ended the night with a quick lesson at 8:30pm. It was a super full, super fun day! '

Anyway, so the week was great! We had some lows, but we also had many miracles and tons of fun along the way. I am just so happy to be out here and to be among friends who are happy to be doing missionary work too! I hope everything is going well back home. I love you all!!

Elder Bird

The Arvada tribe at the temple!!

Me with Scott

My tie matches the wall!!


Easter Time!

4/17/17

Happy Easter everyone!!

I hope everyone's Easter was fantastic! Hopefully it was a good way to remember the Savior and all that He did for us the last week of His life. We had a wonderful, busy (a wonderfully busy) Easter here in Arvada!

The first highlight of the week came Monday night, when we found a guy named Adam. adam was a super nice guy that had taken one of our cards while on the phone a few nights back. Well, we went and talked to him again when we saw him on Monday, and he invited us in and told us he really respected what we do as missionaries! We shared the Book of Mormon with him (he told me to do a 30 second elevator pitch as to why he should join our church, so I used the Book of Mormon). We were both able to share a few of our favorite verses and they seemed to resonate with him.He accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and we scheduled to come back and see him next Monday! he was a bit inebriated...so we will see where it goes from there. he was a really nice guy and it was a good way to end the P-day.

On Tuesday, Elder Mork learned that a recent convert he used to teach was getting endowed at the temple. Elder Olsen (in the zone) had been there for this man's baptism and was going to the temple that day. So we called President and asked if Elder Mork could tag along. President gave the go ahead! So Elder Mork was able to go and see someone he taught enjoy the blessing of the temple! Meanwhile, I went on an exchange with Elder Cluff (Elder Olsen's companion). We had a great exchange of contacting people and enjoying the day.That night, we taught one of our top progressing investigators named Scott. It was a fantastic lesson, just walking through some questions Scott had about the chronology of the Book of Mormon. Scott is super solid, and we talked a lot about working towards baptism. his hardest thing is going to be telling his family, because he pretty much knows that the book of Mormon is true. We committed him to pray about whether telling his family about baptism is right. I am super excited for him!

Wednesday was a pretty uneventful day. Exciting, because missionary work always is, but just some good street contacting and tracting. Thursday was a big day though! We had a zone conference at the mission office! we were able to learn a lot. Elder Mork and I were even asked to teach a small class on following up with our gators on commitments (we called it the "5 step check"). It was really cool to be able to see a bunch of friends and elders again. I even got to see Elder Olson, which was pretty cool! The that night, we saw another on of our top progressing gators named Bryan. Bryan is doing really well! he is halfway through 2 Nephi (he's an all star reader) and is really enjoying the Book of Mormon. We talked a lot about different questions that he had about the Book of Mormon and then taught a quick Plan of Salvation lesson. He seems to really be enjoying what he is learning and is working towards baptism next transfer! I am so excited!

Friday was a full day. The biggest thing that happened was that we were able to go back to another baptism for Elder Mork in Aurora. it was really neat to see someone else that Elder Mork had taught finally come and get baptized! then that night, we drove to the assistants' apartment and went on exchanges with them that night!

Saturday with the assistants was fun! It is always great working with some really talented elders. And, the coolest thing that happened that day was that one of the assistants was able to baptize his uncle, who he had gotten permission to teach up in Boulder. It was so cool to be able to see him teach and help a family member! It was a blessing for us to be there. After that was all done, Elder Mork and I got back together and drove home to get ready for the coming Sunday!

So Sunday was Easter, and I got to open my Easter basket from mommy. That was pretty sweet! that morning, Elder Mork and I were planning out the day and realized that we didn't have too many plans and wanted to avoid knocking on too many people's doors and bugging them on Easter. So we decided to really quick make some Easter cookies (cake mix cookies) and go around to our investigators that we were having a hard time scheduling with and hand off some treats/ set an appointment. It went really well! We had a great day at church and then went out to hand off some treats. We saw a few people and had a really good time that day!

So the week was great! We really enjoyed helping people try to remember the real meaning of Easter. it was so cool to see how empty the streets were on Easter, because people were with their families or at church. We just wish it could be like that every week! But hopefully we can help people feel that same happiness that they did on Easter all year round as they focus their lives more on the Savior. I know they can if they only let Him in, because I have felt it in my life.

I hope you all have fantastic weeks coming up!! I love you all so much!

Elder Bird

Me & Elder Mork in our truck

Us taking a break at Target - haha


Prince of Peace

4/10/17

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone had a fantastic week like we did. We had a pretty awesome week! So many miracles are happening as we open our mouths and talk to everyone that comes within our sight.

Our week started off good last Monday with p-day and getting to email family and friends. Later, while walking around and tracting after dinner, we were able to street contact two new investigators! One named Brandon, that wants to see us in a couple weeks, and then one named "O" (he told us his name, and I was like ,"Oh"...). he was a super nice guy from Chicago that said he would want to see us again in a few days, so we scheduled to see him on Wednesday! It was a great way to start the week!

On Tuesday we held a District Leader Council in the morning and discussed with the District Leaders what is happening in this transfer and what we want to do moving forward. I loved it. Then we went out tracting for the day. That night, we were invited to teach the youth [12-18 yrs old] a "Welcome to the MTC" night. It was really cool! We started with a discussion and explained the book we use to teach investigators with, called "Preach My Gospel". In it are lessons about the gospel, like the Plan of Salvation. Then they all got "mission calls" and had the chance to try and teach an "investigator" that night. We had tons of fun!

On Wednesday we had a district meeting in the morning, and then went to see our new friend, O. We were able to talk with him for a while about some pretty cool things, mostly about the Plan of Salvation and some great questions he had for us. After we answered all his questions, we started talking about the Book of Mormon and coming to know if it is true. It was then that he told us he wasn't interested. It was such a bummer!! But we were glad that we were able to give him some answers to his questions about our church from us, instead of some internet site, that doesn't always have the right information. It was a good visit!

On Thursday, Elder Mork had a doctor's appointment, all the way in Brighton!! So we got to drive through basically the whole northern part of the mission. It was a fun drive and a good trip. When we came back and got to work! That night we met with a guy named Joe, who was baptized a long time ago, but forgot tons of stuff. We talked to him a lot about the Plan of Salvation and drew it out for him. He is progressing very slowly, but after we met with him, he committed to watch President Eyring's talk on the Plan of Salvation (fantastic).

Friday was kind of interesting. Elder Mork, in his last area, was teaching a family who's daughter recently passed away from cancer. He taught them in Brighton, but the daughter lived in Wheat Ridge (very close to us). So Elder Mork and I were given permission to go to the funeral, because it was being held in our zone. (I think it was inspiration that Elder Mork was transferred here.) It was a good service and included a man from Elder Mork's ward in Brighton, who gave a talk on the Plan of Salvation. It was sad, but comforting to hear the words of her father, on where his daughter is now. After the funeral, we came home and started working.

We street contacted and found another new investigator! Her name is Tiffany, and when I first approached her she started telling us about how we didn't believe in Christmas. (Don't you love it when other people tell you what you believe, and it's not true?) We had a good conversation though, and then she said she would come to church with us on Sunday. We got her information and made plans for someone give her a ride to church. After dinner that night, we went and taught a guy named Bryan. Bryan is a really smart guy and lives in one of the richer parts of our ward. We had taught him once before where we talked about the Book of Mormon. That night we found out that he had read all of 1 Nephi and so we had a great discussion on it!! He already feels like the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ [in addition to the Bible]! Then we taught him about the restoration and he said it all made complete sense and agreed with everything!! So we asked him to pray and find his answer about being baptized by the 13th of May. It was an amazing lesson, we felt the Spirit as we talked, and just so much truth was shared. It was an awesome night.

On Saturday, the big event for the day, was driving to a baptism in Aurora, our Stake where Elder Mork and I used to serve. An investigator who Elder Mork used to teach was getting baptized, and Elder Mork was asked to give one of the talks. It was super cool to be back near Cherry and Piney Creek wards, my last area, and to be at a baptism where we could feel the Spirit so strongly! Then that night, we came back and met Tiffany's fiancee, who also wanted to come to church the next day! How awesome is that?

Sunday came! It was Ward Conference, so we had some awesome meetings with the Stake leaders there. The stake president is really, really cool. He is just captivating to listen to, and can quote scriptures and talk like nothing else. Tiffany and her fiancee came to church and went to the Sunday School class that was led by the Stake President. He talked directly to them and taught them about the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost. It was so awesome!! Elder Mork and I were freaking out, because we had only street contacted these people 2 days earlier!! It was awesome! That was probably the biggest highlight of our week!

So, the week was fantastic! We are being blessed so much here. I love it and can feel the Holy Ghost influencing me every single day to share the gospel and watch the happiness that comes from it.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter week and remember that it was the Savior's last week of His mortal ministry. The atonement and death of our Savior was the most important thing that happened on the earth. I know He did this for you and me, so that we could return to Him someday.

I hope you all have a fantastic Easter!! I love you all!

Elder Bird

P.S. Please everyone watch this wonderful Easter Video of our Savior - Prince of Peace https://www.mormon.org/?cid=HP_SU_2-4-2017_dPFD_fMORG_xLIDyL1-C_

Also, here are some pictures of Elder Mork and I!

1. Us at the library emailing!

2. Arvada is a no pooping zone

3. Elder Mork and I enjoying some ice cream


Conference Weekend

4/03/17

Hey everyone!! I hope General Conference weekend was a blast for all who were able to watch it. General Conference is like the Superbowl for us missionaries on a mission, so we enjoyed ourselves and liked all the talks that were given to us.

It was transfer week this week!! Elder Eldredge left Wednesday morning for Aurora, and Elder Mork came up here to Arvada with me! We had a few other changes in the zone with Elders and Sisters moving around. Two companionships were "swept out" where both Elders or Sisters were transferred and the two wards they were serving in were combined. A new set of Elders came in that I think will be able to handle the new change. With the number of missionaries here getting smaller with each transfer, the Mission President has had to combine a lot of wards and shrink some zones down. But I am really excited for this transfer!!

As for highlights of the week, we found some really awesome new people!! Elder Eldredge and I tracted most of his last day, and had a miracle because of it. It was raining outside and we went to an apartment complex with inside hallways right before dinner. We knocked on a door and this guy named Aaron answers and lets us in. So we sit down with him, and his wife Ashley joins us and brings activities for the kids to sit down at the table with us as well!! We start talking to them and they tell us that they have been waiting for missionaries to knock on their door for about a year! Ashley's dad joined the church a while back and they have just been waiting for someone to invite them to come to get into it. They had even tried to flag down a few missionaries in the past with no luck! How crazy is that?? They were so excited to meet us that they invited us back over for dinner....before I even knew their last name! Elder Eldredge was so sad because he was leaving the next day and wouldn't get to teach them. But how cool is that?? This stuff never happens!

On Thursday, Elder Mork and I put together a zone meeting to introduce our new zone to the Church's new Easter video and initiative. It was a great meeting and we got to meet all of the zone! The church has put out a video for Easter time about the #PrinceofPeace. It is super awesome and the missionaries are going to start introducing it to everyone this Easter to try and help everyone realize how much peace the Savior can bring into their lives if they only let him in. Ask your missionaries and check it out!!

On Friday, Elder Mork and I went to a missionary Leadership council for the majority of the day. We got some good feedback on what needs to happen this transfer and what we can do moving forward to best help the missionaries in the zone. It is always fun going to these meetings to hear feedback from the Mission President, but also because we get to see a bunch of our old friends and companions.

Elder Mork and I found another cool investigator at the end of the week. Her name is Jennifer, and we found her by street contacting. She was a bit abrasive at first, but we kept on talking with her, explaining what we do and testifying of the help it can bring to her life. She has some pretty big challenges, but was open to talking more. Then, when I said a prayer with her before we left, she started tearing up and ran inside. It was so cool to see how quickly the Spirit can touch someone you meet on the street.

This weekend was Conference! Elder Mork and I spent a lot of time in the Stake Center (about 10 hours) watching the different sessions. It was so good to hear from the General Authorities! I enjoyed all of the talks, but my favorites must have been Elder Ballard's talk on goal setting (especially applicable as a missionary) and Elder Costa's story of his conversion. I also felt particularly touched by Elder Bednar's talk in the priesthood session about missionary re-assignments. I love how the Lord loves us and knows us that He is able to direct his servants to speak directly to us. I know that these messages are sent from God for each of us and we should keep these talks in our minds as we move forward these next few months. I promise all of you that heeding their counsel will bless your life, and I can promise that by how much it has blessed mine.

So that was our week! We are looking forward to a big week next week with lots of stuff going on and much work to be done!! I hope everyone's upcoming week back home is a blast!!

Much love,

Elder Bird

Easter Video https://www.mormon.org/?cid=HP_SU_2-4-2017_dPFD_fMORG_xLIDyL1-C_


Transfers!!!

3/27/17

Hey Everyone!!

Transfers have come out, and Elder Eldredge is getting the boot! He is going to head down to Aurora South to end his mission as a district leader. He is going to do awesome down there. As for me up here, I will stay and my new companion will be . . . Elder Mork!! He was in last area when I was serving in Piney and Cherry Creek Wards. He is a fantastic Elder, and I am so excited to be serving with him!!

As for the week, it was pretty good! I'll just go through the highlights really quick, because we spent a lot of time freaking out about transfers.

Most of the week was spent tracting and trying to find some new people to teach. We picked up 3 new investigators this week!! Two of them, we found by tracting and were able to teach about the Book of Mormon and share a copy with them. They were both super nice, and interested in us coming back and seeing them again. I am super excited to see both of them again. The third person was actually a guy named Bryan we had found tracting a few weeks ago, but never had the chance to teach. We sat down with him, and he told us he had been taught in the past a long time ago. He really likes our "3 tiered heaven concept" and has no real concerns! We set up a time to come back in a few weeks and see how he has enjoyed some reading we gave him to do, and to teach him the lessons again. I am so excited for him!

We went on exchanges on Wednesday with some elders in the zone. I went into the Arvada 4th ward area with Elder Olsen. We did something different and rode the bus all over Arvada. We had the chance to talk to people on the bus and try to teach them before they got off. It was super fun to talk with everyone there. We had a good time together and are really excited for the transfer moving forward.

We also had interviews with the Mission President this week. It was really fun to have the whole zone there together and to talk with the president in our own individual interviews. We also gave him some suggestions on what we think would really help the zone for transfers. The President is really excited for this transfer, because these are some of his last before the next Mission President comes in. It should be good!

Anyways, the week was pretty standard. I think the biggest highlight for me came when we had a lesson with a YSA [Young Single Adult] guy named Tyler. Unfortunately, the lesson with him went poorly, but I was able to talk with the member who came with us afterwards. Turns out this guy, named Jake, had actually been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes right before his mission. Because of it, he was called to serve in Utah. But, he had to go home only 2 transfers in to it [1 transfer equals 6 weeks] because he just couldn't get his diabetes under control. He had accepted that it was God's plan for him and he was okay with that. As I was listening to him tell his story, I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the blessings I have had of being able to serve a full time mission with my recent diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. I am in a place where I can go out and talk with people everyday that don't have the gospel, and try to teach them. I feel so blessed that God's plan for me is to serve this mission. I know God is watching over me, as he does with all of us, and gives us little miracles along the way.

I love you all so much! Thanks for everything!!

Elder Bird

Elder Eldredge wearing the same tie as the Pres

This is what it's about - the BoM


A Game of Qudditch!

3/20/17

Hey everybody!!

I hope everyone's week was a good one and you all had a fantastic St. Patrick's Day!! We had a great day and wore green ties that my mom sent us. We were told why we celebrate St. Patrick's Day by a drunk man in Olde Town Arvada!! Apparently, we celebrate it because "St. Patrick was a Christian" :)

The week was really good! Lots of stuff happened, so I think I am going to do the highlights like I did last week.

So on Monday was our zone P-day!! Elder Eldredge and I were in charge! We got everything set up for our Quidditch game and then waited for everyone to show up with their brooms. It turned out to be super fun! And super tiring. Everyone in the zone seemed to really like it and I think it will be pretty memorable for them, so we were happy about that.

On Tuesday, we went on exchanges with the Elders in the 3rd ward. I was with Elder Holtry in the 3rd ward area. We had a really good day together. Elder Holtry is super funny and an awesome guy. We did a lot of walking, because they don't have a car, so by the end of the day if felt like we had done a good days work. That night when the two companionships came back together, we all talked about our day. Elder Edlredge and Elder Wagner had had a good day too, in our ward area, and had set up some good appointments for Wednesday.

On Wednesday, we did a lot of contacting and tracting. That morning, we were able to meet with this really awesome investigator named Less, who broke his toe and now had ample time to meet with us! We taught him about the Plan of Salvation. After seeing him, we held a meeting with the District Leaders in our zone. We talked about things we could do to improve and keep moving forward, and it felt pretty effective. We bought Little Caesars for all of us afterwards and had a quick "lunch party."

The big event on Thursday was at the end of the day, where I actually had my very first baptismal interview! [Someone who wants to be baptized is "interviewed" to make sure they really want to be baptized and that they have a good understanding of our beliefs and will commit to keeping the commandments] It was with a really sincere investigator named Anthony, who had actually already gone through 4 other baptismal interviews, but was unsure of where his testimony stood of Joseph Smith and the current prophet. As we first started talking I took some time to get to know Anthony and see what his story was. Then he brought up his concerns I guess that he always had had. I tried to work with him through all of the questions and save the questions he had concerns over until the end. When we did get to them, we talked a lot about them and I bore my testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet, and of Thomas S. Monson as the current prophet. The spirit was very strong in the room. At the end, we decided to postpone his baptism again until he could receive a more solid answer and a stronger testimony. It was tough to postpone it, but I was super happy with how the interview went.

The biggest event on Friday was again near the end of the night! We taught a guy named Tyler, who is in the YSA [young single adult] ward. We were able to have a great conversation with him about what his concerns were moving forward and were able to set some goals to help him work towards baptism! It was a great lesson!

Saturday was a pretty packed day, but the biggest thing that happened was a lesson we had with the Gabaldon family, who's daughter Julia was scheduled to be baptized next Saturday. We taught them about prophets, and then were trying to set things up with them about Julia's baptism. Well Angel, the mom, told us that she didn't think Julia could be baptized on Saturday! Nooo! She told Julia that she had to be living all of the commandments more in her life, and she thought Julia was struggling being a good sibling and child with commandment number 5 [honoring her mother and father.] We were all bummed, but hopefully this will make Julia work harder towards the commitment of baptism. The other fun thing that happened on Saturday was tracting in (we didn't realize it until later) a retirement community for 2 hours!! We talked to a lot of sweet, but not super interested, older people. They were super fun though! That night, we had dinner at the Chili Bowl for our ward.

Sunday was pretty standard. We were able to see Julia and another investigator at church, who we totally didn't expect to come. We had a solid block of church all the way until 4:30pm, had dinner, contacted some people, then we came home and ended for the night.

Overall, it was a pretty great week! We are super excited for the upcoming week as it is the last week of this transfer.

I hope you all have a fantastic week moving forward! I love you all!!

Elder Bird

Elder Eldredge and I made quick work of the puzzle my mom sent


A Quick Update!!

3/13/17

Hey everyone!!

I hope everyone has had a great week! We definitely did in the "St. Arvada" zone here in Denver!!

We had a great week. My companion and I are trying to get set up for an awesome "zone p-day" today, so I have only a little time to give an update, so here are the highlights!

We had a car fast on Tuesday [this is where they don't use their car for a day]. It was weird to go without our truck for a day, I have gotten so used to it. But we did some good work on our bikes! Elder Eldredge's helmet made him look like a "Goomba" [a character from Mario Brothers].

We picked up and started teaching a new investigator this week! His name is Matt, and he is dating someone in the church. He was a referral that we got from a member in Utah. The interesting thing is, Elder Eldredge and his previous companion had actually accidentally tracted and ran into this guy before he was referred...and he was not interested. And now, we are teaching him because he is dating someone in the church. How crazy is that??

On Friday, we started teaching a guy named Keith that we had tracted and found a while back. It was such an awesome lesson! We were out with him while he was walking his cat around his apartment complex. We walked with him and his cat, and ended up in some "wooded glen". We talked about the Book of Mormon a ton and how it helps us learn about Jesus Christ. He told us not to "spoil it" for him, and so he doesn't know where Lehi and his family will land after thy build their boat (spoiler alert, it is America). It was so awesome!!

On Saturday, our zone volunteered at a city event for St. Patty's day that they asked us to help out with. We went, and were asked to stop people from leaving the event with alcohol (it was good Word of Wisdom work!) It ended up being pretty fun as we talked and laughed with a bunch of people. Some guy was even super nice (he had worked with missionaries before) and gave us some money! We used it to buy some ice cream at the festival, and Elder Eldredge bought a flavor called "Leprechaun Poop." He said it was pretty good!

Finally, the last cool thing was a zone leader meeting that we went to last night. Our Mission President gathered the zone leaders together and we discussed what was going well and what wasn't in the mission. And then what we could do as leaders to help the missionaries. We also talked about the administrative work that we have to do, which was awesome. During the meeting, I was asked to bear my testimony on anything that came to my mind. I felt impressed to speak on humility. I said a few words about how much the Savior could have done with the power he had, but instead had the greatest impact on the human race through his meekness and humility and ministry to individuals, one by one. It has been cool to be a leader in the mission and to see how much we could do with the power given to us, but have to humble ourselves, to be beneath the missionaries we serve, to have a greater impact on them.

Anyway, that was pretty much the big moments from our week! I love it out here and am so happy to be serving and feeling the support from all of you back home. I hope you all have great weeks moving forward!!!

Thanks so much!!

Elder Bird


Food Poisoning and Staying In

3/6/17

Hey everyone!!

Happy March! I hope all is going well and that your last week has been a good one! Elder Eldredge and I definitely had a good, but interesting week!

So the week started with a pretty good P-day after emailing! We went from emailing at the library to sports. We had most things prepped already for the week and Elder Eldredge and I started brainstorming for the "Zone P-day," which is next week. This will be a P-day where the whole zone gets together and does something super fun, and we are in charge. We had gotten requests to have a game of Quidditch, so we were trying to figure out how to play (because neither of us really knew). We played some volleyball and basketball and then a game of (my homemade version) of Settlers of Catan. A sister missionary from our zone got into a little fender bender that day, so after dinner we went over to their apartment to give her a blessing. She was okay aside from being shaken up. She asked me to give the blessing, which I did, and then we headed out to work for the night. We tried to visit with a bunch of different people before heading home to end for the night.

Tuesday was spent mostly tracting and trying by some people we hadn't seen in a while. We met a nice guy named Kyle who said we could come back! He was even YSA age, [YSA = young single adult 18-30] which was pretty awesome. Later that night we met with some investigator teenagers who were coming to Mutual [youth activity]. They enjoyed mutual, and then after we met with them and talked to them a lot about baptism. Julia, a 13 year old girl, said that she wanted to be baptized! Micheal, the 14 year old, said his only hang up was that he liked drinking coffee too much. After some discussion on it, he told us that if we got him some hot chocolate, he would switch over (easy peezy!). We set a goal for both of them to be baptized on the 25th of March, which is the last week of the transfer. We are super excited for them!!

On Wednesday, we went on exchanges with another set of elders in the zone who are kind of struggling with the work. Elder Eldridge and I wanted to see if we could help them with it and give them some training. So I went with one of the Elders from the Standley Lake Ward, and Elder Eldridge went with the other. The Elder I was with, was a little quiet and apprehensive about talking to people. He also was struggling with staying motivated to tract or street contact. So I was excited for the exchange and to see what I could to help! That morning, we went We talked about as missionaries how could we help people attend church and prepare for baptism. WE tracted for about 4 hours before dinner that night, with an appointment in between with a less active member named Harold. Tracting was great! This Elder was a bit shy at first, but by the end of our time together he was participating and leading in door approaches! Our appointment went well too. After dinner, we tracted, even more! It was a solid day of work. I ended the day talking with him about how things were going for their companionship and why we had gone on exchanges with them. We talked a lot about his companionship and things that were happening with them. I asked him to commit to working hard and to push themselves, as hard as they could, to achieve their goals. I am excited to see what happens with them moving forward!

Thursday was a good day! That morning we tried to contact some people in our area and then did some tracting. In the afternoon, we went to our district meeting, which was about planning effectively. It was great! After district meeting, we contacted a few YSA people and tried to set up some return appointments with them and get some phone numbers. We had a good dinner, and then went out again that night. We had a pass off lesson with a guy named Tyler in the YSA ward, and then we went to someone's house we had met while tracting. We taught her and her daughters about the Plan of Salvation! It was so awesome! Then we headed in for the night.

Friday, I woke up to Elder Eldredge throwing up in the bathroom. It turns out that he had gotten food poisoning when he was with the other elder on exchanges. So I narrowly dodged that bullet. I stayed in with Elder Eldredge all day while he rested. I didn't have much to do, so we watched church movies and I got caught up in my journal. It was a pretty boring day of staying home.

We were hoping Elder Eldredge would be feeling better by Saturday, but he was still out of it. So, we decided to go on exchanges again with the Elders from the Standley Lake Ward. The sick Elders stayed home, while the healthy Elders (me) went out teaching. We had 5 appointments set up, but only two actually happened. They were both good though! The first was a lunch with a recent convert who is now a ward missionary. She was going to go out with us and we helped her prep for the lesson she was going to help us teach at 1pm. We met with Michael and Julia's family. This is the family with 7 kids. We taught about fasting for answers. It was a little crazy with all the kids, but we got through at least 2 scriptures. Michael and Julia, and their 11 year old son said they would come to church on Sunday!!

Finally, Sunday! Elder Edlredge was feeling better! Our day was full of church meetings, but Micheal, Julia, and their son came to church! YAY! We also had Tyler, the YSA guy, come to the YSA ward! After church, we had dinner, and then tracted for a bit before heading in and ending the week.

So it was a crazy week! So much happened, and we felt like we really made progress with some people! Even though we didn't get to work for a day and a half and got food poisoning, we were still able to get a lot of stuff done. We are super excited to work all week this week!!

I hope everything is well back home!! I love you all and am super grateful for all of the support!!

Elder Bird

Playing my homemade game on P-day at the church

Burgundy sweater day - haha


Time Flies When You're Having Fun

2/27/17

Hey Everyone!!

What a week we just had! I feel like it was just P-day a few days ago!! The week really zipped by, and there was a lot that happened.

Tuesday was a pretty solid day! We had a district meeting in the morning, a really good one. Then because of the holiday, went to the library for an hour to check our email and write our letters. After that, we went out to lunch at a really great (really cheap) Chinese place that Elder Eldredge found. After lunch, we hit the streets and tracted!! We were tracting in a kind of tough area because we kept on running into people who didn't speak English!! They either spoke only Russian or Spanish. We thought about moving to a new area to tract, but we decided to stick it out. Then, before dinner, we found 2 new people who were super kind, told us to come back, and gave us their contact info and everything!! Then we had a good dinner and a good night trying to meet with people. At the end of the night we headed to the AP (assistants to the president) Elder's area to go on exchanges with them the next day.

I was with Elder Wood, one of the assistants, in his area for all of Wednesday. It was super fun! He is a fantastic missionary, and really taught me a lot. We mostly tracted and street contacted all day, with Elder Wood getting around 30 or 40 phone calls from tons of missionaries in the mission. I didn't realize how much the APs do! Sometimes he would even leave me at a door by myself to answer a call and say, "This one is yours!" It was a little nerve racking, but super fun. Then we had lunch with Elder Eldredge and Elder Gray (the other assistant) and got back to work. That night, we taught two great Plan of Salvation lessons. We taught one to an investigator named Randal. He had tons of questions, so it was a great lesson. At the end of it, he even committed to be baptized! Then, later that night, we taught a recent convert couple who are working on being able to go to the temple. It was a great way to end the exchange, and Elder Eldredge and I headed back to our own area at the end of the night.

We had a fun Thursday morning! We woke up to snow, and a phone call from some Elders in the zone who needed one of us to go out with on of them to a lesson, while the other of us stayed behind with their sick companion. So I went out with Elder Melchin, while Elder Eldredge stayed behind with the Elder. Elder Melchin and I taught a great lesson on the Book of Mormon. The investigator, Mike, had a lot of questions about the historical evidence of the Book of Mormon. We tried to tell him that we were more spiritual guides and we bore sincere testimony about the Book of Mormon and how it has brought us closer to Christ. After that lesson, we had another district meeting in the other district, and then got back to work, in the snow. Luckily, we found an apartment complex in our area that was mostly covered, so we just tracted in there for a few hours, meeting some really cool people. After dinner that night, we had a great lesson with one of our busier investigators. I hadn't met him yet, and Elder Eldredge had only taught him twice in a 3 month span. So I got to meet him and see where he is at with everything and why he is investigating.

Friday was a busy day! I had another doctor's appointment early in the morning and so we headed downtown. I met with my doctor and she removed the continuous glucose monitor. I had it on for a week so that she could gather the data of my glucose levels from the week I had it on. She says that my diabetes is being well controlled! There are no problems whatsoever, and so we scheduled another appointment for July. One funny thing was, they weighed me at the office, and I have gained ten pounds since coming here!! It must be those second dinners! I asked her if that was bad, but she said I was still on the smaller side of things, so I guess it's a good thing!

After the doctors office, we went to the mission office real quick to grab some things for people in the zone, and drop them off. Then, we did some service at a food bank downtown and grabbed some lunch at the Chinese place again. Next, we came home and planned for the upcoming week, and evaluated our previous week. Afterward, we tracted a lot, and had dinner. Then we met with someone who is wanting to come back to church. We set some goals with her and had a really good discussion. Later that night we did another exchange, this time with the district leader, Elder Wagner in Arvada 3rd ward. I went to the Arvada 3rd ward area with Elder Wagner, while Elder Eldredge and Elder Holtry worked in our area.

Saturday was fun with Elder Wagner. These Elders are in a biking/walking area, so we had tons of fun walking around all day. He showed me the work they usually do and we were able to learn from each other as we street contacted, taught a few lessons, and then tracted a bunch. It was super fun! Elder Wagner is very good at connecting with people quickly. Anyway, after walking around all day, we came home that night and exchanged back with our companions.

Finally, Sunday. We Had a long day at church, going from 9am and finishing with both wards around 4:30pm. It was really good, and we had an investigator there! Super exciting! I was asked to give a brief testimony in Arvada 2nd ward, so I told them my mission story so far and how much it has strengthened my testimony. Anyway, after church was all done, we met with a potential YSA ward member and invited them to come to an activity sometime. Then we had dinner, and finished the night by trying to contact people and doing a little bit of tracting. We had a great Restoration lesson with a potential investigator we had met named Ed. He is possibly considering baptism, which was a great way to end the week!

Anyway, a lot is happening out here in the zone of Arvada. I am loving every minute and loving how much we are able to help people every day! I hope things are well at home and people stay safe from all the rain!

Much love, Elder Bird

Me bugging Elder Eldredge while he makes zone leader calls


Valentine's in Arvada

2/21/17

Hey everyone!!

I hope you all had fantastic Valentine's Day!! It was super fun/ kind of weird / to be out as a missionary for Valentine's Day, but we all had our one true love on the forefront of our minds: the gospel!

Anyway, things here this week were super fun! I am continuing to learn how to be an effective Zone Leader from Elder Eldredge. There is so much to do, and remember!! But, hopefully I can learn it all quickly, so that I can do a good job moving forward!

I don't have a ton of time to email today, but I will try to give a brief summary of everything that happened in our big week!

P-day was fantastic last Monday! We were able to get tons of stuff done and then spent a lot of time playing basketball and different other sports that we could think of with all of the Elders in the Zone. It was a relaxing day to get prepared! Then that night, we met with the whole Zone and had dinner at the Stake President's house. He fed us dinner and gave us a little devotional at the end. It was super awesome and great to see the leadership in the Stake in Arvada. The Stake President has a love for the people and for his flock here. That night, we tried contacting a few people and then met with a man in the YSA Ward named Jordan. We were able to express to him our purpose in helping him follow Christ and he agreed to read a part of the Book of Mormon and maybe be baptized in the future, in order to follow the Savior! After that lesson, we went on exchanges, with a District Leader in our Zone who went with Elder Eldredge to work in our area, while I went with Elder Tonga, to work in their area.

Tuesday (Valentine's Day!) was a great day with Elder Tonga. He is a younger missionary, but has a lot of fire and likes to work hard! So we did. The day consisted of a lesson in the morning, a District Meeting in the afternoon, and then a lot of tracting in the late afternoon! It was really cool, because we were able to find three people who seemed really interested in investigating the church (and I learned on Sunday that someone we had found is now set for baptism in March!!). We had a great dinner that night at Red Robin with some members of their ward and then went back out knocking. We didn't have too much success, and then realized that it was probably because it was Valentine's Day and people didn't want to see us. But we kept trucking on, and met another great guy who ran out after us to give us the correct address to meet him again!! It was so sweet! We thanked him and then headed back to swap companions back and turn in for the night.

Wednesday morning we went to the southern half of the Mission, to a Zone Conference, where we did car inspections. They asked the Zone Leaders to check all of the cars being used to make sure they have been cleaned and are in proper working order. It was cool, because I got to see my old Toyota Corolla that Elder Olson is still using, and leave a note for him saying that "Elder Bird was here." haha

Later we tried contacting people by calling a lot of people in YSA Ward, setting up times to try and meet, and then went out tracting. We had a few "fun experiences." One woman told us she wasn't too interested, but let us sit on her porch and gave us a glass of water and some bananas. Then another woman on the same street answered the door asking us if we were "kidding." We didn't know what to say, so we said no! She kindly told us to never come back. And then still another woman on the same street answered the door angrily without a shirt on yelling at us...we got out of that situation ASAP. So it was an interesting afternoon! When stuff like that happens now, we take it all in stride and think it is kind of funny, and we don't get too phased by it. Most of the times we just laugh it off and move on! We had a good dinner afterward to make up for it, and then a lesson with a girl in the YSA Ward about setting goals. It was a good way to end the night.

Thursday was our Zone Conference! It was all about the Book of Mormon and our experiences with reading it these past 65 days. It was our goal to read it in as many days as it took Joseph Smith to translate it. I had it mostly finished, and a lot of us (myself included) were able to bear our testimonies. The Book of Mormon is one of strongest parts of my testimony, with a lot of things relying upon it. It contains the gospel of Jesus Christ and I am so glad that we have it. So we had a good long meeting and then headed to dinner. We saw a man named Chris that night. Chris is a super great guy who knows the truth of everything we teach him, but has a hard time overcoming smoking and has some laziness to act on the things he knows he should do. We had a great discussion with him and he said he would come to church on Sunday!

Friday was a full day. I started the day off with an Endocrinology (diabetes) doctor's appointment in downtown. This visit was about hooking a continuous glucose monitor to me so that my doctor can see how my diabetes did during the week. So they hooked me up to a tiny little system that they shot into me, and now I can check my blood sugar every 5 minutes on a little thing that looks like an Ipod! I will go in again next Friday to talk about the results. Anyway, after the visit to the doctor's, Elder Eldredge and I planned out what we were doing the following week with appointments and goals. Then, we got out and did some work that afternoon and had a great dinner that night with some awesome members. After dinner, we had some appointments lined up, which all seemed to fall through. So we tracted that night and had some good conversations. Then we saw a less-active woman named Nicole that night and shared with her how much reading form the Book of Mormon has helped us find peace in life. She goes to another church, but hopefully reading from the Book of Mormon will help her find some peace that she is looking for right now.

Saturday was a booked day! We had an appointment in the morning, then lunch, and then a bunch of appointments in the afternoon. A lot of those fell through, but the coolest one that we had was with the Gabaldon family. They are a super cool, super huge family. We were able to meet with the mom and some of the kids. We were drawing out the plan of salvation for them. The kids were all kind of going crazy and the mom wasn't paying attention, but the cool thing was that the 9 year old was engrossed and even asked for a picture of the plan after the lesson!! It was so cool! She was really interested in "what God had for her", in her words. Then that night, we went out tracting and tried to contact people.

Sunday was a full day with church. We went to church at 8:30am for ward counsel, and didn't finish with meetings until 4:30pm with the two wards!!!!! How crazy is that? But, Chris did come to church and was with us for Sacrament meeting, which was awesome for him. And, one of the Gabaldon kids and his girlfriend came to Sunday School class. It was so cool to have them there with us! After church, we didn't have too much time for appointments, but had a great dinner and then were able to meet with a really nice guy that night. We found that he wasn't too interested, but really appreciated the work we were doing to help people come closer to Christ. He thanked us and we headed home for the night!

Anyway, so it was a super cool week with a lot happening! There is so much to balance here, with being a zone leader and trying to help out all the other missionaries, trying to keep my health a non-issue, and helping people in both wards come closer to Christ! But, I have felt the stress from it all dissipate over the last couple of weeks as I've tried my hardest to do a good job and have asked God for help. It has been so cool to see Him make my burdens (not that these are burdens, but responsibilities) feel lighter.

I hope you all have great weeks moving forward! Thanks so much for all of the love and support that I feel!!

Sincerely, Elder Bird

This was me & Elder Holtry having fun at the Army surplus store last P-day!


Arvada

2/13/17

Hey everyone!! I hope everyone's week has been awesome and that things are going great back home!

This week was a bit crazy for me...but super fun and full of great missionary work! I am with my new companion, Elder Eldredge, and now in Arvada. I am assigned as a zone leader over the Elders and Sisters in the Arvada zone! The transition has been wonderful and I am loving it up here.

So the week started off at the library on Monday morning emailing and finding out that I would be transferred. It was sad that we would have to leave each other, but we were all glad to be getting a fresh start and continuing on in the mission. After emailing, we went home and grabbed some lunch before heading out to a zone p-day, where everyone in the zone got together one last time to play volleyball and hang out. It was way fun, and a good way to say bye!

Afterwards, we took the Willow Creek Elders (Elder Mork and Elder Cooper) out to eat at an all you can eat Sushi place for a last hoorah. Then Elder Olson and I had a great dinner with Sister Larsen and we were able to say goodbye to her. She has been wonderful and has had us over to her house a lot. That night, we had an FHE [Family Home Evening] with the Hartt family in the ward. I gave a lesson about the gospel of Jesus Christ and said goodbye. I'll miss that family, with their crazy 3 boys. It was a sweet goodbye though. Afterwards, we ran over to a less active member, Sister Trevizo. I got really close with her and her daughter over the time I have taught them, and they said they would miss me a bunch. They told me they wanted me to come back and visit them when I am all done with my mission. It has been kind of interesting to see how attached people can get to each other out here. After seeing them and sharing one of my favorite scriptures, we headed home and I started to pack for the transfer.

Tuesday was my last day in the area! We started the day off as we normally do with service at the old folks home. It was so weird knowing that this would be my last time there! We did the Tai Chi class and then played some board games with two older woman. It was super funny because as we played Jenga, and near the end of the game, both of the women quit, and it was just Elder Olson and I battling it out. Then we said bye and headed out!

We went home real quick for lunch and then headed out for the day...on bikes! Because it was the first Tuesday of the month, we were without the use of our car. So we hopped on our bikes to see some people for my last time! I was able to say goodbye and share a final message to a recent convert named Frank, a good friend named Jerry, a few investigators (including a lawyer named Andrew and a final lesson with Jordan Smith, who we've gotten very close to). The funny thing that day was that all the snow was melting and the roads were wet...so our clothes got way muddy from riding around! Luckily, Jordan gave us a ride home after his lesson. Once there we could change, and then we were allowed to use our car because it was after 5pm, then we went to dinner.

Dinner was actually breakfast, at a cute family's house, in the ward. They have four girls and have another on the way! I was able to say a good goodbye after dinner, and then we headed out to meet Nancy at Red Robin! She had wanted to take me out for a goodbye dinner, so we agreed if we could share some spiritual thoughts. Red Robin was a delicious second dinner, and it was nice to be able to say goodbye to her. Nancy was probably our top progressing investigator in the wards we were assigned to. After saying goodbye to her, I was able to see my Cherry Creek Ward Mission Leader one last time and then actually do some quick service for a woman in the ward before coming home and finishing up packing. It had been a full but fun day!

Wednesday was transfer day! I finished getting everything packed up and then saw our Piney Creek Ward Mission Leader one last time before heading over to the Stake Center. While we waited for the transfer van we got to visit with some of the other missionaries. Then I said goodbye to everyone and hopped on and headed up north again!! Elder Olson then left to pick up his newbie. The ride was nice, and we were at the drop off site soon. There I was able to meet some of the Elders and Sisters in my new zone (that I was in charge of) and also meet Elder Eldredge, my new companion. He is a really cool guy! We loaded up our truck (zone leaders get trucks out here) with all the luggage we could, and gave some of the Elders a ride back to their house. After dropping them off, we went to my new apartment and dropped off my stuff. We got it all unloaded and then quickly got back to work!

We spent most of the day having conversations on the streets and tracting, which turned out to be awesome! So many more people are out on the streets here in Arvada, and it seemed like almost everyone we talked to was either kind and polite or very interested! It was super cool! Elder Eldredge also showed me some really casual approaches to use in the future. So we had a great afternoon talking with people. That night, someone dropped off our dinner, which was a blessing because I was able to start getting unpacked. After dinner, we went back out talking with people. Later we took the Elders in the Arvada 3rd Ward (who don't have a car) out shopping with us so that they could pick up anything they needed to hold them over until P-day. Then we ended transfer day!

Thursday was a big, busy day. We had our District Meeting that morning, which was fun because I got to meet everyone in the new district. Our district leader is in the Arvada 3rd Ward, and his name is Elder Wagner. He is a super cool dude and he gave a us some good training. After the meeting, we took them home and then my new companion and I had a planning meeting for the upcoming week. Normally we plan on Fridays, but we had a big meeting the next day, so we planned early. It was good to be able to learn a bit about the work being done here and the people we teach. That took a large part of the day, so we didn't get back out until after dinner. Dinner was good. It was at a good Mexican place with our YSA [Young Single Adult] Ward Mission Leader. He is a solid dude that is really helpful with the work! It is kind of weird though, that he is almost our age.

After dinner, we got back to work. We did a lot more tracting and street contacting, and finished the night with a lesson with a guy named Chris. He is a super nice guy, and has desires to change, but has some hang ups with smoking. I am hopeful that we can help him move forward! One funny thing that happened was that a member was going to meet us there for our lesson with Chris. He called while we were at the appointment telling us that he had been knocking on the door. When we opened the door, he wasn't there. We waited and waited, and he just never showed up...we don't know what happened! He was probably at the wrong house.

Friday was our big meeting day. It was called Missionary Leadership Counsel. It was basically all of the Zone Leaders coming together and getting training that we needed to pass down to our Elders and Sisters. It was a very good meeting and I got some good training. Also, it was fun because I got to see friends and old companions like Elder LaPerle and Elder Bjerga. The meeting ran from 9am until 4pm, so we were pooped by the end of it. The meeting also brought some changes to how we will run meetings, so afterwards we made some changes to some upcoming meetings we had planned. After that, we tracted around and then had dinner with a guy in the YSA Ward named Matt. He took us out to dinner and then we had him come with us to some appointments we had planned, but they all fell through, so we let him go, and finished the night by tracting.

Saturday was a booked day for us! We started the day with a District Leader Counsel, which was basically me and my companion training to the district leaders in our zone, kind of like a District meeting. It went well! After the meeting, we got changed and then headed out to teach for the day. We ate lunch at a young, recent convert's, house named Zoey. She is really cool, and we are helping with some challenges she's facing right now. We read some scriptures with her, and when we asked her if she would come to church, she said, "duh." (We love to hear that!).

Later, we taught a lesson to a super fun, huge, family named the Gabaldons. The mom, Angel, has bright blue hair and she has 8 kids! They drive a small school bus around to all the kid's places. The kids are all excited about church and are just working through some stuff. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a good lesson, but a bit tough to get all the kids to listen.

After that a couple of our next appointments fell through, so we went tracting. Street contacting out here is super fun, so we street contacted for the rest of the day until dinner. Dinner was great at a cute family's house, who gave us pie for the husband's birthday after. It turns out the husband used to play the trombone, so that was cool to make a connection with that! After a good dinner and a quick message with them, we headed out and finished the night by tracting and trying to contact people.

Finally, it was Sunday! I thought maybe it would be shorter here, but it turns out that church was actually much longer. We are over two wards again and we were not done until around 4pm. We had dinner and then had some companion study time together. We also had a planning meeting about the upcoming week ahead and then got to work. We called some potential people to set up some appointment times and then tracted for a bit before going home and finishing off the week!

Anyway, it was a super solid week. The transition went smoothly and I am loving it here in Arvada. We have a pretty packed week moving forward, so I'm super excited! I hope everyone's week back home is great as well!! I love you all!

Elder Bird

Me with:

Frank, Jerry, Andrew, Cherry Creek WML, Elder Eldredge


Transfer Info!!

2/6/17

Hey everyone!! What a fantastic week! And, transfer info came out this morning, and I have some pretty exciting news...that I will save until the end :)

This last week started off kind of different for us because it was a regular day on Monday instead of a P-day. Monday was a fun day, spent mostly out tracting. The weather has been very beautiful lately, and it reminds me of home. So we were out with our sleeves rolled up knocking on doors. We didn't find too many people interested, but we did have a pretty awesome experience that night. As we were knocking on a particular door, no one answered, so we walked away. Then a guy comes running out to stop us. He introduced himself and we told him why we were there. He said he would like to meet and talk! His name is Mike, and we got his phone number and set up an appointment and everything. It was so exciting! Later, we exchanged companions with some other Elders, so that I could be with with each of my Elders before transfers. So I spent Monday night to Tuesday night with Elder Mork.

Tuesday was awesome. Elder Mork is a great Elder. We did some service at our Old Folks home in the morning, which he loved and thought was super fun. All the elderly people laughed at us trying to do the exercises they were doing. After that, we headed home and had lunch before going to see Jerry, a friend of ours who recently moved into Cherry Creek area after just getting baptized in another ward. It was really cool, because Elder Mork had helped teach him in the other ward! So they got to see each other again, and we talked with Jerry about the importance of have a calling [basically a job] in the church. He liked that he might be able to share some of his talents with people moving forward in a calling. We are hoping he will be called as a greeter at church. After meeting with Jerry, we went tracting. As we were out knocking on doors, the third door opened and a guy named Jon let us in. Jon is super knowledgeable about different religions, and studied Mormonism for a while. He has some concerns with some of our teachings, but the church just came out with some essays that I think will really help him. He is super nice and told us to come back anytime! I'm very excited for him. After seeing him, we knocked on some more doors until dinner. Elder Mork is very good at door approaches and being personable very early on, so I learned a lot from him. Then we had a great dinner with some sweet people in the ward and then knocked even more doors that night. After a solid night of tracting, we headed home to talk about how he was doing, how the day went, and what we could both do to improve. Then Elder Olson and Elder Cooper showed up and we exchanged back to our normal companions.

Wednesday was a great P-day, starting off with waking up early to go to the temple. Our session started at 6am, so we woke up at 4:45am to get ready. We showed up at Elder Mork and Elder Cooper's door at 5:15am to give them a ride, and there was no answer. So we knocked again. Again, no answer. I didn't really want to be late to the temple, so I did a "police knock" on their door. A minute later, they opened it up saying that they had just woken up from my knock! They hurried to get ready, and we raced off. It was a stressful car ride, but we made it in on time! It was a wonderful session and it was cool to feel complete peace during our session, especially after feeling so stressed that morning and just in general lately. After the session, we went to Deseret Book store. I decided to pick up some cute new scriptures with my name engraved on them, so they would be a little lighter for tracting. After browsing and seeing other missionaries for a bit, we headed home. We went to the library and emailed, and then Elder Olson and I went out to sushi with our friend Donald. It was really good, all you can eat.

After that, we shopped and hung out for a while. We played my homemade Settlers of Catan game that I made, with Elder Mork and Cooper. I won, with longest road and largest army :) Then we had a good dinner and spent the night with our Ward Mission Leader. We couldn't use our car that night because it was "grounded" because there was ice on the roads. So he drove us to our next appointment at 8pm. It was a good appointment with Jackie and Jordan Smith, a cute couple investigating the church in Piney Creek area. Our lesson was on how Christ established His church, and how ours is organized like it.

Thursday was a full day. It was a little different than a normal Thursday with my district meeting held later in the day. But we had a good morning tracting and even found someone super interested....in March - haha. That will be fun for the Elders who will be in this area then, because she was super awesome! We had a good district meeting that afternoon, more discussions about the new changes for missionaries and how we report now, and then we had some demonstrations from everyone on how they do door approaches. With transfers coming up next Wednesday, I was pretty sure I was leaving, so this was my last meeting with everybody! I made everyone sing "God Be with you Till We Meet Again" to make it super sappy. After the meeting, Elder Olson and I headed out to see Nancy, a sweet investigator that treats us like her sons. She told us she would come to church that week because it might be my last week! After seeing her, we saw the Johnson family and shared a small message with them before dinner. We had a good dinner and then saw the Angulo family in the ward, so that I could say some goodbyes.

Friday started off a bit slower. We did some planning for the week ahead. We had no clue what was happening moving forward, but I let Elder Olson take over the lead because he was most likely staying. We figured out what we were going to do for the next week and then went out to work. We did some tracting before seeing a young man in the ward named Joey. We have been helping him come back to church, and it has been cool being his friend. After Joey, we continued to tract and try to see meet some more potential people to teach. We actually ran into a guy who had served a mission! His name was Phil, and he served in Alaska in 2014. He said we could come back any time to talk with him! We had a good dinner after him, and had a meeting with the zone leaders about the district. It was good, and then we came home and finished the night.

Saturday started with a training session in the morning. It was about loving your companion and being able to work with them. Elder Olson and I loved it. We spent most of Saturday either tracting and going by some people's homes who had told us to come back. We found some very nice people who I have high hopes for moving forward, and then we headed over to see Trevor before dinner. We read scriptures with him and then I had to say goodbye. It was kind of sad saying goodbye to him! Then we had dinner, tried a few more people that night, and headed home to get ready for Sunday.

Sunday was a booked day as usual and we had two of our investigators come to church! That was awesome! I told everybody we saw that it was probably my last week, and so that got them there! Jordan Smith came to the Piney Creek ward. I bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon (because that is what he is struggling with). I think he liked the meeting. We had more meetings throughout the day, but the next big thing was that Nancy came to Cherry Creek ward Sacrament. She met a lot of the woman in the ward, and got a warm welcome. I bore my testimony in that ward about the Plan of Salvation, and she seemed to really like the meeting. She told us she wants to come back to more meetings in the future!! We were super excited! After seeing her off after Sacrament, we had one more meeting and then headed out too.

We had a late lunch after church, because we were there until about 3:30pm. Then we knocked on a few doors before people started to get a little irritated with us because the Superbowl was starting soon. Then we had dinner at 4:30pm with a nice new family in Piney Creek area. After dinner, we were a little lost as to what to do...because literally everyone was watching the Superbowl and no one wanted to talk to us. As we were driving around, wondering to go to next, we got a phone call from someone who had been moving around lately and wanted to meet up with us. We had a good meeting with her, and it felt like a blessing, sent from God, to meet with her and read some scriptures. After visiting with her, we went over to Nancy's house. She had some company who we visited with, who were wondering who we were, what we were doing, and what we were teaching Nancy. They actually paused the game while we talked, and got to know them! Then we headed home.

When we got home Sunday night, we got a couple of phone calls. Elder Olson got a call from an Assistant to the President...asking him to become a trainer for a new missionary in our area!!! I was excited for him and after talking for a bit about it, I got a call from our Mission President asking me to be...a Zone Leader in another zone! I was shocked! I had no idea if I was ready for it or if I could handle it, but I accepted of course. We learned this morning where everyone who is transferring will be going. I'll be heading to Arvada to be a zone leader up there, and Elder Olson will stay here with his new "greenie." The change will take place on Wednesday!!

Anyway, things were really good this week! I'm really excited for the people here and for Elder Olson to take charge!!!

I hope everything back home is going well! I love you all!!

Elder Bird

Pictures: Me and Elder Mork

People we are teaching


The Big Change

2/1/17

Hello everyone!! It was a wonderful week this week! Our P-day was switched to today (Wednesday) because we were able to go to the temple this morning!! It was a wonderful session and I feel rejuvenated after feeling the special peace that is always found there.

We had a full week! And some pretty big changes! I'll start from the beginning.

Last Monday was another great P-day! Pretty standard. We were able to have dinner with a wonderful family. The wife, Sister Boughton, is a member, but the rest of the family are nonmembers, except for one son. One of her sons, Craig James, is mentally handicapped. Having dinner with them was super awesome! We were able to have a pretty good discussion on what a missionary does with her family, and it was fun to sit with Craig James and talk with him (he is hilarious and he loves visiting with us). After sharing a small message with them, we headed home. I ended the night by going to our zone leaders area, because they wanted me to go on exchanges with then so they could see how I am doing as a district leader.

Tuesday in the zone leader's area was pretty fun. They live in a very nice home with a member. We did some service in their area, some tracting around for a bit, and then taught a lesson with a recent convert named Andy. He's an older gentleman from Elder Olson's neck of the woods. He talked to us a lot about cameras, and then we talked about the Holy Ghost and his baptism, a few weeks back. He has so much wisdom from all of his years of experience, it was so awesome to listen and talk with him.

Afterwards we went and saw an investigator, named Melissa. She is the sweetest woman. She has an autistic son and they are preparing for baptism. We had a great talk with her about the Atonement. She told us as she was going to read all of the "Teachings of the Presidents: Gordon B. Hinkley" By the end of the night. We were amazed!! After seeing her, we tracted a bit. Then we had dinner with some great members, and tracted again that night. Not much success, but we were able to reconnect with a guy named Chris that they had met a while back and talk with him more about the Book of Mormon and how much peace reading it brings. Afterwards, we headed back to my area and exchanged back to our companions. Elder Olson had had a good day with Elder Burt. We talked about our days for a bit, then the zone leaders headed out and we went to bed.

Wednesday was a big day for all missionaries across the globe. There was a broadcast for all missionaries around the world! They gave lots of good training about our job and how to best help people. Also, they announced some new changes for us missionaries, changes that I think will really help us. Our schedules will change a bit, so we will have a bit more flexibility. Also, they announced some changes with how we will report to our leaders. This new system will really help us focus more on helping people progress, to actually change their lives and become happier. I love the new system. After the announcement, we came home and had a great day of teaching. We taught two member families who we are working with to come to church, and had great lessons. We also saw our friend Paul, who is our atheist friend. Unfortunately, he is just not too interested in coming closer to God or going to church or even asking questions, so we probably won't be seeing him too much anymore.

On Thursday, I held a district meeting for my Elders in the morning. We went over the changes that were announced and what it would mean for us now. I talked a lot about accountability. This new system will provide a lot of missionaries with more freedom, but it is going to be harder for mission leaders to see from their numbers if they are doing the work that they need to be doing. We had lunch and did a bit of studying, and then headed out to work. We tracted a lot. Not too much came from that during the day, but after dinner we met a guy named Brandon! He and his girlfriend have been looking around at different churches to go to lately, and so we offered to teach him about ours! He seemed interested, so we have a return appointment with him next Friday! We are super excited! That night, we also taught a young girl from one of our wards, Breyonna. We are taught her about the Gospel of Christ, and invited her to attend a baptism with us to see what it was like. She said she'd like that! We left excited, and then ended the night.

Friday was a good day, but a slow day. I had a district leader meeting in the morning. The meeting was a training on how to be a good district leader and how best to do our jobs. It was a great meeting and I learned a lot. We also talked about the new changes and what that will mean moving forward. At the meeting, I got to see all of my old companions, which was awesome! (E. LaPerle is a DL, and E Brammer's and E. Sato's companions are both DL's). After the meeting, Elder Olson and I headed out. We picked up lunch and then planned for the upcoming week. We decided how we will find others to teach (mostly by tracting, but we are trying hard to diversify). Then we went out and tried to see some potential investigators, who told us we could stop back. We also tracted around for a bit. Nothing much happened, but Elder Olson and I had fun being out. We had dinner, and then tracted around again that night before having a District leader Counsel with the zone leaders (so many meetings, I know). We again talked about the changes and what we can do moving forward. Then we headed home for the night.

Saturday was a pretty full day! The morning started off with meeting a former investigator named Ryan. We have been trying to meet with him for a long time, but we finally caught him! He was super nice. He isn't too interested in learning more or coming to church with us, but he was very kind and prayed with us. It was a good conversation. Then we tracted some more before heading over to Willow Creek Elder's baptism. They were baptizing a sweet older woman named Tara, who actually all four of us had taught (Elder Olson and I on exchanges). We had invited some investigators to come and see it, but no one ended up coming. It was a great baptism though, and we were very happy to see Tara's excitement and happiness. After the baptism, we tracted a bit before dinner. Then we had dinner with a nice family in the ward and shared a message with them. We ended the night by going to see the Monson family, who are a part-member family in the Cherry Creek ward. After talking with them for a bit, we headed home.

Finally, Sunday! Our day was booked with meetings, as usual. Sacrament in Piney Creek ward started us off at 9am, which was awesome because two of our less active families and one of our investigators came to church! It felt so good to see them there, and I am so happy that they were able to come and feel the Spirit! Then we had a fun Gospel Principles class in both wards (it is interesting because they are both in different places in the book). After the classes, one of our meetings got cancelled that is usually in the middle of the day...so we got to take a lunch break!! It was so nice. We hurried and ate, and then headed back to the meetings. Next was Sacrament meeting in Cherry Creek, which was a great meeting (we always get to pass the Sacrament in Cherry Creek with the young men, so that is always fun and a blessing). Then we finished with our missionary coordination meeting in Cherry Creek, where we explained to the Ward leadership the new changes and then talked about the people we were able to see and visit that week. After all of those meetings, we ran home and got ourselves changed and ready to work after the block of meetings, and headed out again. We tracted around a bit before dinner, then had dinner with the Bishop of the Piney Creek ward and his family. The Bishop is hilarious! He actually did stand up comedy in college, so he is really fun to eat with. We had a great dinner with them, and then headed out to see some more people that night.

We were able to stop by some of our investigators in Piney Creek who had just gotten back from a trip. We talked for a bit about their trip and set up a time to meet the next week. Then we were able to stop by another investigator's house, who we haven't seen in a while, Robert. Robert is super awesome, but very busy. We stopped by, and they told us they were just having dinner and couldn't see us. As we were walking away though, Robert ran out and invited us to come and eat with them! Never being one to turn down food or the opportunity to break bread, we accepted and had a great conversation with not only Robert, but his whole family over a "second dinner." We learned so much more about Robert and his family, and it was a great visit. After seeing them, we saw a woman in the ward, Sister Hartt. Apparently she has Bronchitis again, which is tough for her with her three boys. We went over and saw her, but mostly just to see and teach the boys for a bit. Finally, after seeing them, we stopped by to see Breyonna and to follow up with her because she didn't come to the baptism or to church. It turns out they were all sick, so we offered to help. After that we came home and finished the week!

Anyway, it was a great week. I absolutely love the new changes the missionaries have and just feel so good to be a missionary. I really hope we can continue to help all of these people in this area and with whatever God needs from us. I am so glad we get to be doing this work and working hard at it!

I hope you all have great weeks! I love you all!

Elder Bird


Sick?? Bummer

1/23/17

Hey everyone!! I hope you are all doing well back home! We are doing great out here. Except, as you could have guessed from the title of this blog entry...Elder Olson and I are both sick right now. We kind of feel terrible...but we are good! We started feeling it yesterday, but really felt it this morning. Hopefully we can beat it and be better by tomorrow!

Aside from that, we had a good week! We had tons of meetings and lots going on!

So after emailing on Tuesday, we were able to see 6 people, mostly less active friends we teach in the ward. They were all good meetings, and we are working hard at getting them all to church! One of my favorite conversations that day was with a young man in the ward who is struggling with his testimony. He's a nice kid, but having a tough time. We took him out to get milkshakes at Chick-Fil-A and talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He really enjoyed it and we had a fun time. He's really grown since we first started seeing him and comes a lot more to church. It has been cool to see how much just being friends with this young man has helped him. The other cool thing that happened that day was we were taken to dinner at a place with unlimited ice cream. It was awesome! Elder Olson didn't have any, but I think I had enough for the both of us.

Wednesday was dominated by a zone conference for all of the missionaries in the south half of the mission. It was held at a huge stake center down in Parker, CO. I was extremely lucky, because all of my old companions are serving in the south half of the mission right now! I got to see Elder Brammer, LaPerle, and Elder Sato! They are all doing great! It is so cool to see how much I love all of the people that I have served with. The meeting was on zone changes that are coming to missionaries worldwide! There will be a meeting this Wednesday that talks more about it, so ask your missionaries what it is. I am excited!! After the meeting, we came home and met with a few people, and then had 2 dinners (one with someone in the ward that had signed up and then another with one of our investigators.) We were able to teach this investigator about the Plan of Salvation and its purpose. This was some big ground for this investigator, who is an atheist professor of theology!

On Thursday, I held a District Meeting for the elders in my district. It was a good meeting. The focus of the week for us is on getting more investigators to Sacrament meeting, so we all practiced how to invite people more. We had a pretty solid day afterwards of mostly tracting and trying by former investigators. We had a pretty cool experience! While we were driving around trying to figure out what to do, we felt directed to a certain street. Someone's garage door was open on the street, and I always go for open garage doors because it means that people are probably home. So we knocked on that door, and an old Chinese man walked out. He smiled at us and I tried to go into my usual door approach. Well, this guy knew no English, only Mandarin! He pointed at us and said "Hallelujah?". So we said "hallelujah" back to confirm. He smiled and let us in! He sat us down at his table and we looked at each other. I tried to speak and communicate with him, but we couldn't figure anything out. Then, I remembered that we had some Chinese pamphlets in the car! Elder Olson and I ran out to the car and grabbed them, and were headed back to the old man's house to see that he had slipped on some ice and fallen!! We ran over and helped him up, and helped him walk back inside. Then we gave him the pamphlets and he thanked us, and we left. It was such a strange experience, and I have no clue if anything will ever come from it, but it was certainly important that we pick that man up. I just thought it was interesting.

Friday was a bit of a slower day for us. We planned for the next week, and then grabbed some lunch with some members in the ward at Chick-fil-A before heading to a meeting in north Aurora. The meeting was for all of the missionaries who were training a companion. I had almost forgotten that Elder Olson was still being trained by me! It was a good meeting, and Elder Olson was able to see all of his friends. I let the assistants (to the President) know that I thought Elder Olson was capable of training next transfer if they needed him to. I really think he is, he is kind of a rock star and we work well together. He must have had a good trainer ;) After the meeting, we tracted around Piney Creek for a bit and met some interesting people. Then we had dinner and continued to try and contact people before we had to head to another meeting, this time with just the zone leaders and me to follow up on the progress of my district. It was a great meeting. I really like our zone leaders. After the meeting, we headed home for the day.

Saturday was a pretty full day too. We had yet another meeting to get some training from a member in the Stake. After that meeting, we had lunch and headed out to work for the day. We were able to see our atheist investigator, who is now stuck on some very small things that he found in the gospel principles book. We tried to work him through it, but I am worried that he won't want to move forward. After seeing him, we saw our friend Jerry, who is a recent convert that just moved into our ward. We had a good meeting with him and tried to settle some of his concerns about coming to the ward. Then we saw our friend Trevor, a young recent convert, and talked with him about the priesthood and blessings, because he was sick. Then we had a great dinner at Chipotle with some awesome members, did some service that night, and headed in for the night.

Sunday was good! We had our usual 6 hours of church. We were disappointed in Piney Creek ward, because none of our people who said they would come came. But, we had an investigator we didn't expect to come, come to Cherry Creek ward! We also had three of our less actives, we are working with in Cherry Creek, come! We were super excited about that! Afterwards, we came home and napped during our lunch hour because we were so tired and we were starting to get sick. Then we went out to see some of the people who didn't come in Piney Creek and find out what happened. We also tracted for a bit, and then that night made some real progress with an investigator in Cherry Creek, teaching them about the Gospel of Christ. Then we came home, and I made some calls to check on my elders because the week was ending. After all that, we crashed for the night, dead tired.

It was a pretty good week! We were happy to see some work pay off with inviting all of our people to Sacrament meeting. We were also able to get a lot of work done, even though we had tons of meetings to go to. Anyway, it is so cool to have experiences out here and to continue to learn and grow every week! I hope all is well back home, I love you all!

Elder Bird

Our "posterity stick". It has the names of people who have trained, down to us.

Maps of our areas on our walls!


A Snowy Week!!

1/17/17

We had another great week here in Denver!! It was pretty snowy, but Denver is strange because it snows and then it is gone 2 days later.

So this week was a little tough because it felt like all of our investigators decided to cancel on us...and so we had a hard time meeting with anyone! But we didn't let that stop us. We had a pretty good week and things are going really well, and we are loving the work that we are able to do!

Last Monday was a pretty standard P-day! One interesting thing, was we got a "posterity Taiaha stick" from some Elders in the zone. A Taiaha stick is a weapon that the Moari of New Zealand used, and is sometimes passed down the generations. So the "posterity" part refers to who your trainer was as a missionary. So, someone made a stick with the names of Elder Olson, me, Elder LaPerle, Elder Stradling (E Laperle's trainer), Elder Stradling's trainer, all the way back for 7 "generations" and had carved all those names into this stick. We have that stick now!! I forgot to take a picture but I'll send that next week! It was really cool!

Tuesday was supposed to be a full day of appointments, but everyone fell through! That was okay. We tracted around and tried to find some new people to teach, as well as tried to get back into contact with former investigators. We met a guy who is really interested in bikes, so we are going to bring our bikes over to him and try to build a friendship so that we can teach him about the Gospel. He's a really nice guy!

On Wednesday, I held a mini-District meeting to try and inspire my Elders to reach for their goals for the week. One of which was to ask more ward members for names of friends that they could have us teach. The meeting went well! Afterwards, we tracted around and then had lunch with a member in the ward. After lunch, we were supposed to see Ian, who is scheduled to be baptized on February 4th...but Ian was a no show. It was a big bummer, because we really needed to see him. After waiting around for a while, we went back out tracting. Then we saw one of our investigators, Nancy, around 4pm. She was super busy getting ready for a 2 week trip and was leaving the next day. So we helped her and then prayed with her. She said she hopes to start coming to church with us when she gets back. After Nancy, we met with a man named Jeff, and talked with him about what he is learning as he reads the Book of Mormon sections we gave him. It was all positive! After his lesson, we had dinner and then saw a less-active guy in the ward. We read some scriptures with him and his wife to bring the Spirit back into their house and then asked him to come to church. Then we headed in for the night!

Thursday was a pretty booked up day, with a zone meeting taking up most of the time. It was a great meeting, I learned that my BYU roommate, Jacob Stratford's sister, Sister Stratford, is now a Sister Training Leader (basically a district leader for the sisters) in our zone!! It was cool to see her. We also had some really good training given and I was able to address the zone about setting good expectations for investigators and earning trust. The fun part was we got to eat cheese balls. The day earlier, Nancy had given Elder Olson and I a huge number of cheese balls and we had no clue how we were going to eat them all. So we brought them to the zone meeting for lunch. They were a big hit and all the Elders and Sisters loved "Cheese Ballin'."

After the meeting, Elder Olson and I went over to a less active woman's house in the ward who is going through a hard time. We tried to comfort her and help her to see how much the Lord can help you when you have faith in the Savior. After seeing her, we went and saw another less active woman in the other ward. It was actually a miracle that we found this woman, Donna. We had found her son, Dusty, on two occasions as we were walking around. We helped Dusty with his addictions and to get him into rehab. Well, it turns out his mom was baptized a few years back and now just needed a reason to come back to church. We are lucky enough to be that reason. We went over and learned her story and shared some scriptures with them. After that, we had dinner and then read some scriptures with some other less active friends in the ward. It was a good day!!

Friday was a full day. Elder Olson and I planned out what we were doing for the week and then saw a few people. The first, was a less active guy in one of our wards. We talked with him about getting the priesthood which he really wants to do. Our goal is for him to be able to pass the Sacrament. We are so excited for him! Then, we had a lesson with a Christian professor of Theology. He was very kind, but basically sat there for an hour telling us that we were wrong. Since I have had meetings like this before, I was able to ask a few questions to get to the heart of the differences between our theology and his. He respected that and was very kind, but we weren't invited over again. It was tough, because he would have really benefited from more discussion (and so would we, it was a good talk!).

Later we went and tracted around for a bit before contacting some referrals we had received from some members in the ward (part of our goal!!) Then we had dinner and saw our friend William. We sat down and really focused on the reason for our visits. William is aiming for the person that he wants to become and wants to know how he can become that person. I decided that a good way we could help him was to go through the Preach My Gospel booklet and have him develop Christlike attributes. We picked one for him to work on during the work and committed him to it. It was a good lesson!!

Saturday was really cool, because we were invited to attend a Tongan wedding! We teach a guy named Ricky, and his brother-in-law was getting married. We went to show our support and to be there for Ricky. It was an awesome wedding (Tongan families are huge). The food was really good too! After staying and enjoying that time with them, we headed out and got back to work. We were able to see one of our investigators, Paul, who is another professor of Theology, but an atheist. We made some real ground with him and got him to think about what God's characteristics would be if He did exist. We are having dinner with him this Wednesday to figure out what he thought! We had dinner after and then were able to see a less active guy named Tony, who is basically a Buddhist now and talk with him about the church. We had a good talk with him and then he invited us to his daughter's birthday party the next day. We were excited to get that kind of trust from him!

Sunday was business as usual. Unfortunately, all the people we had seen throughout the week that told us that they were coming to church...didn't. It was kind of a bummer because we had really felt sincerity from these people when they told us they would come. But, that is kind of the usual life for a missionary. We had good meetings otherwise and then went to work after. We were able to go to the Birthday party for Tony's 4 year old (she is adorable) and meet his Mormon parents. We were even able to have a conversation with Tony's wife, Kay, about the church. She is really tentative about it all, just like Tony, but we talked about the community of the ward and the support it can bring. She was actually really interested and she wants to meet friends in the ward. We plan to start bringing people from the ward over to their house so that they can have friends in the ward. We are super excited! After that, we had dinner and then saw a potential investigator we were trying to meet up with. Because it was snowing by then, the family let us inside (something they apparently never do). We had a good conversation with them. The wife was born a member of the church, but left and the husband was never interested. Because we had a good talk, hopefully we'll see them again in a week or two! Then we headed home for the night and I made District Leader calls to see how everyone's week went.

Yesterday [Monday] was P-day and a holiday so we couldn't email because the Library was closed. We were also snowed in and couldn't use our cars until 12pm, so we invited the Elders who are assigned to the Willow Creek ward, who live in our complex, over for a game and hamburgers. It was fun and a much needed break. After 12pm, we were able to use our cars, so Elder Olson and I went grocery shopping and got haircuts. We didn't have an appointment for dinner, so we went to a Japanese restaurant and had a great meal that finished off a great P-day. After dinner, we saw a less active friend and read scriptures with him and then saw a new investigator, Breyonna, who is a young woman in a less-active family, that we are working with towards baptism. Both were good lessons, and a good start to this week!

Anyway, it was honestly kind of a tough week for us, people cancelled, people didn't come, people flaked out. Sometimes the hardest part of your mission is being disappointed by the people you are trying to help. But, the best part of your mission is helping these people. Really, your mission is about the people, and helping them in whatever way they need. It has been interesting interacting with so many different people and learning so much from those interactions. It has also been interesting to see the happiness and comfort that God can give these people, if they only come and see. I know that they can find happiness here in Christ's church, I have seen it. Because of that, no matter what people do, I am still determined to help as many people as I can out here.

Anyway, we are looking forward to an awesome week this week! I hope all of you has one as well! I love you all and pray for you all the time!

Elder Bird

Something cool I got from one of my friends who was part of my Indonesian group at the MTC


2017!!

1/9/17

Hey everyone!!

It feels like ages since I have had a P-day! My last P-day was last year (10 days ago)!! I hope all is well for everyone and that you all have had a great first week of 2017.

First off, I want to give a shout out to my amazing little brother. Nathan got two awards this last week for his performance in the marching band!! How awesome is that?? He is a little champ, I am so proud of him :)

As for my week, we had a long but successful week! We now have three investigators who are scheduled to be baptized in the next few weeks!!

Saturday [12/31 - New Year's Eve] was a good P-day! We did normal P-day things, and then had dinner at a party with all of the empty-nesters in the Piney Creek Ward. It was awesome!! I loved hanging out with all of them! The missionaries had to be at their apartments at 7pm that night, so we had to leave at 6:50pm. Elder Olson and I put the polishing touches on our talks that we were giving the next morning, and then we went to bed at 10pm. We set an alarm on our phone for 12am (The New Year) and when it went off, we got up, popped some poppers we had bought at Walmart, and had some Martinelli's. After our 5 minutes of party, we headed back to bed!

Sunday was fantastic. Elder Olson and I gave talks in the Piney Creek ward about the Plan of Salvation. Because we were speaking, two of our investigators showed up!! After we spoke, Elder Olson and I went to the church of one of the investigators who had come to see our talks (a church swap, if you will). We had a fun time with him and his wife and kids at their church! Their kids held our hands as we walked them to their nursery and then out again once the sermon was finished. Afterwards we went back to our church for the Cherry Creek ward Sacrament meeting. The rest of that day was good too! We felt particularly directed, through some thoughts and feelings we had, of who to see that day. In one particular instance, as we sat in our car, close to the end of the nigh, we prayed to know what to do and where to go. The thought came to us that we should go see our Ward Mission leader (weird, right). So we drove over there, and as we pull up, another car pulls up at the same time, and a former investigator gets out of the car! We started talking to her, and we learned a lot about her and her background!! She said she loved talking to us and we could stop back anytime. How crazy is that?? The Holy Ghost is real and really does direct us out here.

Monday was a normal working day. We had two really awesome lessons. One was with a man from Ghana named Robert. He is a former investigator that is still searching for things in his life. He was super sincere, and we talked about how he could be guided by the Holy Ghost. He said he'd be interested in talking more with us. Then later that night, we met with a less active woman who hasn't been to church in a couple of years. We read 3 Nephi 18 with her and her daughter. That chapter talks about the importance of the Sacrament, and we asked them if they would come this Sunday to take part in the Sacrament with us. They said they would!!

Tuesday was solid! It was a biking day! We started with service at the old folks home, which is always fun. Then we went out on our bikes and tried to see some people. Most all of our appointments fell through, so we ended up tracting most of the afternoon. We had dinner with an active and less active member, and taught a lesson. The less active man (who had been sipping on his beer during dinner) asked some questions and we had a good discussion. After dinner, we had two more lessons. One with a solid investigator, who we helped through some concerns that he had and we had a good talk with him. The next was with a family and we shared a good kids lesson about the Holy Ghost. We used mints as our object lesson. It was a good day! After we had all finished, we came home and we exchanged companions, for the next day. The new Elder, Elder Cooper, became my companion and Elder Olson and Elder Mork became companions for the Willow Creek ward.

Wednesday turned out to be pretty cold. Elder Copper and I did a lot of tracting around and knocking on doors because all of our appointments had fallen through. We did some good work, and it was fun to be out doing the hard stuff with a brand new Elder! We did have a lesson with a Muslim man from Bangladesh, and Elder Cooper got his first taste of teaching the Plan of Salvation with a language barrier. It was a good lesson though! We had dinner after that, and by that point it had started snowing and was coming down pretty hard. Our area was expecting at least half a foot. Because Elder Cooper didn't have snow boots already, and I didn't want him to suffer until P-day, after dinner we went to Target and picked him up a nice new pair. With those in hand, we got a text saying that the cars needed to be parked for the rest of the night. So we headed back to the apartment. Elder Olson and Elder Mork showed up there, too, and we finished the day by exchanging stories and saying what we had learned that day, and then exchanged companions back.

Thursday was super snowy!! We did get about half a foot of snow overnight. The cars still had to be parked until we were told we could drive them. This stressed me out a bit because I was supposed to be holding my weekly training meeting for the Elders in my district that morning. I was given permission to hold the training meeting in our apartment, so the Willow Creek Elders who live there also, and we could be there, while the Zone leaders in my district could phone in. It was kind of fun to hold the meeting in the apartment. Elder Olson and I both gave training talks. Afterwards, Elder Olson and I needed to get to a lunch with a member, so, we walked there because we still couldn't drive the car. Luckily it was only a 15 minute walk and we were out of the cold quickly. We had lunch and then the message came that we could now use our cars. The big thing that day was we had a first lesson with a young man named Ian. He is 21 and super interested in learning about religion. We taught him the Plan of Salvation, and he was super interested the whole time. We gave him a Book of Mormon to read before our next visit, and when we asked when we could meet again, he told us that the next day would be good!! How exciting is that? It would be so great if we could have more lessons like his.

Friday was great! We We had some good lesson with people. I'll talk about the main three. The first one, was with a guy named James, and we went over to help him with genealogy. He had been born into the church, but was never active and was pretty distant for most of his life. We ended up finding his baptism and confirmation certificates online, while we were there, and re-taught him about the Plan of Salvation. He is super cool! The next big lesson was with Ian again. We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He had done all of the reading we asked him to do and his prayers were fantastic! He accepted the invitation to be baptized and decided on February 4th. Now we need to prepare him for it the best we can! We are so excited for him! The other big thing was a blessing we gave that night to an investigator. He finally told us why he hasn't been coming to church or reading. We gave him a blessing and are going to work a lot more closely with him as we move forward. The night ended with a meeting with myself, the other district leaders in the zone, and the zone leaders. There will be some interesting things happening in the mission soon, and I learned the name of my new mission President, who will be coming in June.

Saturday was a good day again. I led a meeting for the Elders in the zone in the morning, and then we did some service and had a few lessons in the afternoon. We had dinner the family who we went to church with last Sunday. They are super sweet, and we were able to talk with them about Joseph Smith after the kids went to bed.

Finally, Sunday!! We had fast and testimony meeting in both of our wards. The big news is that Ian came to 2 hours of church and liked it!! It was so awesome to have him there. Elder Olson and I both bore our testimonies in both Sacrament meetings. After church, we saw a lot of people, just checking up on them and making sure they were still reading scriptures, praying, and going to church. We headed in for the night and I made some phone calls as a district leader, checking in on my other Elders.

It was a long and fantastic week!! Every week, miracles happen. We are so blessed to be able to experience so many and be able to recognize them as they come!!

I hope everyone has a good week!

Elder Bird

Braving the cold and snow

I got a new chair and desk. I feel like a real leader now


Happy New Year!

12/31/16

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! Our P-day was switched to today, because of the holiday, but our next P-day will be January 9th and we will be back on our regular schedule :)

So...Christmas happened!! Wow! What a wonderful time of year!! It was such an awesome experience out here in Denver. Although everything was great and seeing people was nice, my favorite part by far, was talking to my family on Christmas Eve.

So, Christmas Eve started out with me finding out about transfers (which were last Wednesday). We found out that Elder Olson and I are both staying here in the Piney/Cherry Creek Wards in the Denver Stake. We also found out that our District leader, Elder Bjerga, is becoming a zone leader in Arapaho and that I have been asked to fill his place as the new District Leader. Wow! I was so surprised!

For this Christmas we missionaries in the Denver area were allowed to watch two approved Christmas movies. We tried to watch them at a members house, but the TV ended up not working. So we just worked on a puzzle and hung out until dinner time. We had a great dinner, but I was a little anxious the whole time because I knew that after dinner I would be able to skype my family. Finally, dinner was finished and I signed on to Skype at the pre-arranged time with my family!!! It was so wonderful to see them all again and to be able to talk with them for a little bit! It felt like I barely had time to talk when it was time to say goodbye to them. I ended by leaving them with my testimony and lots of love, and then Elder Olsen and I had to head out. It felt so much more like Christmas after seeing them though, which was really nice :)

Right after talking with my family, Elder Olsen and I headed to the combined Ward Christmas program put on by both of our wards. There was some great music that brought the Spirit. While I listened, I thought about my family and what makes the Christmas season so special. After the program, we went home and read the Christmas story "Mormon style" (3 Nephi 1:1-14 and then Luke 2). It was a great way to end the night and keep that spirit with us for the next day as well.

Sunday was Christmas!!! Elder Olson and I woke up at 6:30 (like good, dutiful missionaries) and opened the Christmas presents that had been sent to us. Thank you all so much for anything you sent, be it a present, a letter, or just prayers my way. I felt so loved and I was so grateful to be supported by so many people. I think Elder Olson and I both ended up with like 4 scarves and 5 gift cards to Chick-fil-a. haha We got lots of other clothes too. It was a great morning! Then, we had to get ready quick and head off to church and both of our Sacrament meetings. We had wonderful meetings in both wards, and kept getting handed Christmas presents from the members (they were so sweet.) Afterwards, we headed over to a member's house so that Elder Olson could Skype home and his family. He was so excited and glad to see them again. He had a good time with them, and then we headed out and pretty much just visited with members and shared small Christmas messages wherever we went. It was a nice day!

Monday wasn't P-day, so it was back to work for us. We saw a few of our less active members, but tried to be very courteous to people. We had a great day of talking with as many as we could, and had a small miracle that night. We were driving home through a park when I got a feeling to stop and walk around the park (at 8pm at night...luckily we were in a nice neighborhood), So we did, but nothing too exciting happened. So we headed home. But, while pulling into our complex, Elder Olson got the feeling that he wanted to visit one more person who lives in our same complex. So we did, and we arrived at exactly the right time. We had a good lesson with this guy. It was kind of weird, but I think we were supposed to walk around the park in order to stall time, and meet this guy exactly the moment when we did. It was a cool experience.

On Tuesday, we started off our day with service at the old folks home, doing Tai Chi, and making crafts for the residents. Then we came home and had lunch, and then had a lesson with a guy we have been working with, whose son was just baptized. Well, we had a very good lesson and even set a date for him to be baptized at the end of January!!! He has been working with missionaries for years, and now he is finally ready!

That night we had another amazing lesson on the Restoration with a solid investigator named Mike, who we have recently started teaching. He is progressing really well and doing everything he needs to! He said that he would consider baptism, and told us he would come to church with us this week!! It was amazing! Then, we called it a day and headed home.

I talked with Elder Bjerga and he gave me some good training on how to be a good district leader. We said our goodbyes on the phone, before he left the next morning for transfers.

On Wednesday, everybody else transferred or worked getting their things moved around while Elder Olsen and I stayed home and did some good work. It was a bit of a tough day with a lot of appointments falling through. We did have a great lesson near the end of the day with a man named Jeff who has been coming to church, but is tentative about baptism. We had an awesome lesson with him about what concerns he has. We are excited to work with him!! After the day was all done, we went to meet the new Elder that had come into the district. He is a brand new missionary and his name is Elder Cooper.

Then Thursday morning, my first real responsibility as a district leader came. During our regular district meeting, I was going to give some training to the district. Luckily, everything went well. At the end, I had everyone circle up and we got to know each other a little bit (where we were from, what we do, why we are out here -- that kind of stuff). I am so excited for the new district and to be serving them all here!! After the meeting ended, we went home for lunch and then ran off to a lesson we had at 1pm. We had a good lesson and taught about the Holy Ghost. Then, we were supposed to see a potential investigator at 2pm, but that fell through and so we did some tracting! And then our 3pm appointment fell through also, so more tracting! And our 4pm fell through also, so we tried visiting some former investigators. Normal missionary stuff. We had a good dinner, and then had two lessons. We taught and read scriptures with a nice less-active family in the ward and then had a good discussion with some really intense investigators in Piney Creek Ward. We talked a lot about some pretty awesome stuff, they are still having a hard time with things they "heard", but luckily are still meeting with us! After them, we headed home and I made some calls to my Elders. [A District Leader supervises 2-3 other missionary companionships and makes sure they are doing okay.]

Finally, yesterday, [Friday] we had a good day! We planned for the week and then went out and taught. We saw a man who we are working with who is a professor of theology and an atheist. We have made some really good ground with him, and are even hoping to get him to church soon! After seeing him, we went and saw Trevor, a young recent convert. He had gotten a tablet for Christmas, so we downloaded the Gospel Library app (which is rocking now!!) and watched some Mormon messages with him. After seeing him, we did some service for some people in the ward and then had a good dinner. Then we had a good lesson with a returning member. He'll be coming to church this Sunday!! After him, I headed to my first District Leader Council, where all the district leaders and Zone leaders get together and talk about what will happen this next transfer. Then we headed home, planned for today, and I made some calls.

It was a really good week!! And I am very excited to work hard next week too. We are speaking in church this Sunday, [New Year's Day] so hopefully a lot of our people might come to see us! It was amazing to feel the love of the season and then to be able to get back out there and have a good week. I hope everyone's New Year's is fun and, most importantly, safe! I will be praying for you all as I sleep right through it :)

Happy New Year, and Much love!

Elder Bird

Driving in the car.

Our Christmas tree!

My Christmas pajamas that match my family

Lots of scarves for the Denver cold

My homemade Settlers of Catan gameboard


Yay Christmas!

12/23/16

Hello everyone!! I'm sure it is a little weird hearing from me in the middle of the week. Saturday was going to be my P-day, but they are having us email today [Friday]. So hi!!! Merry Christmas!

This week has been awesome so far!! We have been able to see and make progress with so many awesome people!!

Monday was your typical P-day. We shopped, ran around, had a bit of time to relax. We both got our Christmas boxes in the mail, so now our tree looks pretty full with presents! We had a good dinner that day, and then tried to see a few people, but without much luck that night.

Tuesday was a full day!! We started with service at the old folks home, which is always fun. I got the opportunity to talk with a woman (who has dementia). A few weeks back she yelled at us because she forgot who we were. I had kind of been avoiding her because I didn't want her to yell at me again. Her name is Helen, so I called my fear of her, Helenaphobia. Well, we had a good conversation that helped me to overcome my fear of her and recognize that she can't really control herself sometimes. After that, we headed home and had lunch. Then we helped one of our investigators clean up and get all ready for her holiday trip. She was super appreciative and said we'd have a good long lesson when she got back :) Then we were able to see another investigator, a Jewish convert woman. We had a long (I mean really long) conversation. We even gave her a Christmas card with Jesus on it, and she put it right on her mantle over the fireplace!

After that we helped get things ready and decorated for a birthday party of some members of the ward that we are really close with. While we were decorating, I made a joke about how, instead of the streamers, we could just use toilet paper. Elder Olson liked that idea so much that we actually did it. We decorated with toilet paper as streamers, and then when the Birthday people arrived, we told them the theme of the party was "a pretty crappy birthday." They loved it and we had lots of fun!! Then that night, we ran and had an amazing Plan of Salvation lesson with a guy who is just recently changing and deciding to investigate the church. He had no concerns with all of what we taught, and we are so excited for him moving forward.

Wednesday was a pretty full day, too. We had to take our car into a Firestone Tire shop early in the morning. While waiting for them to change our tires we did our studies right there in the Firestone waiting room. Then we headed home to re-group and go out for the day. We saw our atheist investigator and had a nice talk with him about God and if He's there (He is!!!). He told us that maybe he just doesn't believe because God has never spoken to him. That was big ground, instead of him just saying that he doesn't want to believe in God!!

We had a good lunch and then went out again. We saw our investigator Ricky, who's son was baptized a few weeks back. He had all his kids, and we taught a good Christmas lesson with them and they showed us their turtles. Then we ran through the Baptismal interview Questions with Ricky and got him excited to move towards baptism!! After Ricky, we went and read scriptures with one of our less active members and then taught a young man who wants to be baptized about the Plan of Salvation. We asked him to prepare himself to be baptized. He picked a specific date in January to do it!! That night, we saw another less active member who is struggling, and read scriptures with him and his son. After that, we were asked to give a blessing to someone in the ward. Finally, one of our investigators really wanted to play basketball with us, so we told him if he got a few of his friends together, we would play. We were able to play basketball with 4 non-members and give them a little tour of the church!

Thursday was a solid day as well! We had a training meeting in the morning and then went straight to work right after! We took a young man who is a bit less active in the ward out to lunch at Chick-Fil-A and were able to have a great discussion with him about the Holy Ghost. Then we saw a new member of the ward, who just moved in, who is a recent convert. We took him and his non-member nephew to the church to have a lesson, and ended up giving them a tour of the church and teaching the Catholic nephew a lot about our beliefs. After that lesson, we saw a guy in the ward we are working with to get the Melchizedek Priesthood, and had a solid conversation with him. Then we went and read some scriptures with another less active man in one of the wards. After that, we went out and tracted for a bit before dinner. After dinner, we went and saw a less active, part-member family. We weren't able to share a spiritual thought with them, but it was good to say "hi" and check in before Christmas. Finally, we ended the night with a superb lesson with an investigator couple who are just the sweetest people. They even gave us Christmas Presents!!!

And now it is today!!! We had a fantastic week so far, and the rest of the week with P-day tomorrow and Christmas the next day should be pretty awesome. I am so excited to Skype home and talk to and see my family, especially at this time of year where family is so important.

I hope everyone has an amazing time this weekend! I heard a quote the other day that made me think. "We wouldn't celebrate Christmas, if there had been no Easter." I hope we can all remember the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate the Savior's birth.

Merry Christmas!!

Elder Bird


What a Week in the Snow!!

12/19/16

Hello everyone!! I hope you all are getting ready for Christmas week! We definitely are here in Colorado. We had a super crazy, busy week, but it was amazing to see all the people that we did.

Monday was our typical P-day! We ran around and got ready for the rest of the week!!

On Tuesday, we hit the work as hard as we could. We started that morning by putting together a Christmas song (Joy to the World) for the zone conference. Because I had been in band and choir...everybody decided to put me in charge of it. It was a tad stressful trying to figure out what we could do that wouldn't be super boring, in just an hour, but we got it figured out and then headed home to get to work. After lunch, we saw our friend Frank, who is a recent convert to the church, and helped him move some furniture. Then we shared some scriptures and thoughts with him. After, we ran over and saw Ricky, a man we are teaching who's son was just baptized. Because he's a bit more shy, we have worked hard to get him to open up and trust us. Then we had a great discussion about baptism and learned he is ready to move forward!! We are excited for him, he just has to put in the work! After Ricky, we saw an investigator named Paul. He's an Atheist man who has zero belief in God. He is very kind though, and very smart and learned when it comes to any religion. We talked to him about personal revelation and how prophets of old used similar methods to receive revelation from God. Our biggest challenge with him is getting him to want to believe in God. After Paul, we had dinner and then went and saw a 10 year old named Skylar who desperately wants to be baptized. We had a good discussion with him about what baptism is and why it is important. We are excited for him to move forward! Finally after Skylar, we saw our friend Gino, a less active guy with lots of health problems. We had a great discussion with him on the Book of Mormon and were able to read with him in it. He had read on his own and had really enjoyed it, which was a big step!!

On Wednesday, we had a big meeting for the entire south half of the mission. It was a great zone conference, and we were able to learn a lot. We performed our Joy to the World song, which went good. We also got lots of helpful instruction and were challenged to read the whole Book of Mormon in 63 days (how long it took to translate it). We were each given our own special Book of Mormon to do it with, and we are really excited about this challenge. My favorite part about the conference was the final speaker, who talked about the 3 levels of Christmas: 1. the Santa Clause level, 2. the Silent Night level (baby Jesus), and 3. The Living Christ level, where we remember all of Christ's life and what He did for us. He told us that the first two levels can only last for so long, but the third level will always bring us joy as we continue to live it. It was a wonderful message, and ended with the a great quote about the Savior. "He came to pay a debt that he did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay." Wonderful.

After zone conference, we were able to take some sweet bread, that we were given, over to a family that has been tentative to meet with us. We got in the door! We even taught a lesson and were able to set up lessons weekly with them! After them, we had dinner and then were able to go on splits again with our Ward Mission Leader and a ward missionary. I went with the Ward Mission Leader and taught the #Lighttheworld message to a nice less active, part member family. Elder Olson went with the ward missionary and also taught a nice less active, part member family about the Plan of Salvation. It was awesome!! Finally after splits, we ended the night with a sweet investigator couple who we have been working with. They have heard things from their church about us, and so have lots of concerns, with a lot of things. But they are very open and we have great discussions! They even wanted to do a church swap that Sunday, which was amazing!

Thursday was "exchange day" with our District leader and his companion. [This is where they trade companions for the day] So I stayed in our area with the District leader, Elder Bjerga, while Elder Olson went to their area to do some work there. Elder Bjerga and I had a great day! All of the people we talked to loved hearing his accent and learning that he was from Norway.

That morning, we were able to see Janet, an investigator we hadn't seen in a few weeks. We talked with her about life's burdens and about trusting in God. She is going through a really rough time, and so we gave her a blessing. (Small Miracle - that morning, I had felt prompted to put my oil container into my bag, which was sitting on my desk. I did, and then she asked for a blessing when we were with her. Amazing, right??) We had some lunch after Janet, and then saw our friend Shawn, who is returning to church and wants to get the Melchizedek Priesthood. We talked to him about that and then read some scriptures with him.

After Shawn, we were going to go out and see a former investigator, but saw a man outside playing guitar on the way, so decided to stop and talk with him. It turns out this guy, named Dusty, has been going through a really hard time recently. He was super nice, and told us that he knew that God had sent us to him!! He accepted a Book of Mormon and an invitation to come to church on Sunday!! After meeting Dusty, we went to dinner and then were able to teach the Mercado family, a less active family, afterwards. We read scriptures with them and heard their conversion story. It was great, and we are really excited for the progression they are making. After that lesson, we headed downtown because we were going to be Christmas Caroling at 16th street mall, a popular mall downtown, with all of the missionaries in the Stake. They had a piano set up in the middle of the street while we sang and other missionaries shared cards and the Christmas video with people. It was really fun! After that was all done, Elder Olson and I got back together and headed home for the night.

On Friday, we started out the day by seeing Anne, a Muslim investigator. She was curious about the Priesthood last time we met, and we had a really great conversation about it with her. Unfortunately, she told us she wasn't really looking for baptism, but she enjoys the discussion. We asked her to read and pray about Alma 34 and about the Savior and then see what she feels. After Anne, we had lunch and planned out what we were doing for the rest of the week. Then we went out and set up some appointments. We had a great lesson with our friend Jeff. He served a mission, but now has kind of gone inactive, so we talked with him about why. He lost his father while he was on his mission, lost his brother while serving in the Navy, and then lost his best friend in the Aurora shooting (that theater that was in a shooting and is just north of our areas). After so much loss, he just kind of snapped and went a bit less active. He totally knows the truth though, so we go over and ask for advice, to get him to teach himself basically. We had a really great talk with him.

Later we had dinner with a less active woman and a member family! The woman, who used to be a bit "anti-Mormon," even let us teach her kids our dinner message, and her son said the closing prayer!! Then, we were invited over to a second dinner with another less active family, who had a nonmember friend over that we will start to teach! We had a great time with them and we taught a second little dinner lesson. Then we headed home, just before the snow came in.

Saturday was freezing because it had snowed the whole night before. That morning, we shoveled a woman in the ward's walk. She really appreciated it, and we went around trying to help other people out. After giving service, we had lunch and then were able to see a young man that is struggling with his testimony. We taught him a great lesson, but told him that he needed to learn for himself, the things we taught were true, through personal prayer and scripture study. We are hopeful that if he actually does this that he will gain that testimony and become active again. After seeing him, we saw our friend Jerry, who just moved into the area. He has a bit of brain damage from an accident he was in. He told us a lot about that and about his conversion story. It was great to hear! After him, we saw Trevor, a young recent convert who we read scriptures with. After Trevor, we took some sweet bread over to a friend who had just gone through surgery and chatted with them for a bit before dinner. After dinner, we had a lesson with a man named William. He has a strong testimony, and is starting to come back to church. We talked a lot about the Nephites in the Americas and about the evidence they left. We also read some scriptures with him, and headed home for the night.

Sunday we had church and then we got to see Handel's Messiah downtown with Janet! Church was really great, and we even saw Julie again (someone we had baptized last transfer but had gone out of town for a while). Six hours of church is long, but then we went right over to get a ride with Janet downtown. The Messiah performance was great, and it was good to be there with Janet as she felt the Spirit during the performance. It was a sing along, if you could follow it. The best part was singing the Hallelujah chorus part, which everybody knows. After the performance, we headed home, and squeezed in one final discussion with the less active part, member-family we had met on Wednesday (with the sweetbread.) We had a really great conversation with them about kindness, and they even invited us over to their house for Christmas!! It was awesome! Then we headed home.

I forgot to mention one thing, during Piney Creek Sacrament meeting, my "fixed" cracked tooth fell apart again!! So I looked like a giant hick for the Messiah performance and the lesson that night. And all this morning!! Luckily, a dentist can see me today at 3:30pm. All I want for Christmas IS MY TWO FRONT TEETH!!

It was a fantastic week, and I loved being able to see and talk with so many people leading up to Christmas. We have some awesome things planned this week, and we learn about transfers on our next P-day, which is the 24th!! I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas week and a wonderful Christmas Day!

I love you all!!

Elder Bird

My broken tooth again

Being goofy!


Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like . . .

12/12/16

Christmas!!

Hey everyone!! I hope you all are doing well and getting ready for Christmas, and the reason for the season, our Savior's Birthday!

We had a good week here! It was a little tough to teach people though, because at this time, people are super busy. But we had some really fun things happen!!

We had a pretty standard Monday of preparing for the week and hanging out. We went to Chick-fil-A for dinner, which was really good. (I don't think I have ever had so much Chick-fil-A in my life).

Tuesday was a bit of a crazy/fun day! We didn't have the car that day, because our mission president likes to do something called a "Car Fasts" every month. [go without something for a while] So we were on bikes again!!

We started that morning at the old folks home, like usual, wrapping boxes for Christmas present decorations (one of the older folks took our scissors and wouldn't give them back, so we had to ask for help from the staff). That was fun! Then we came home and had lunch before heading out again! Unfortunately, Elder Olson didn't have a bike, and my back tire was flat. We tried talking with a friend of ours named Frank to borrow a bike, but he wasn't home...so we walked a little farther and tried to get help from our Ward Mission leader.

Elder Olson was able to borrow a bike...but I still had a flat tire. Well, we had an appointment really soon and I couldn't really do much else but ride on it over there! We were only 5 minutes late to the appointment, but my back tire was shredded...but we made it! We had a good talk with this woman, who has quite a story. She is an ex LAPD cop, who lost both her legs. She raised three boys, almost on her own, and converted from Southern Baptist to Judaism...like, what?? It was so cool listening to her and hearing her experiences. She is so kind, and we are heading back this week to keep talking to her! After that lesson, we biked over to an atheist man we talk to (my back tire getting even worse). We had a good conversation with him about how we believe we can receive knowledge from more than just books, others, and history, but directly from God through the Holy Ghost. He's a good guy, and we have a lot to cover with him! When we went to leave and head to dinner, both my tires were now flat!! So we just walked to dinner, which was luckily only a block away. We had a good dinner and, thankfully, the members gave us and our bikes a ride home.

Wednesday was a full day! We spent a lot of time running around trying to talk to people. We had a really great lesson with one of our less active members about reading in the Book of Mormon and why that is important, and we are starting over again with him! We tried to talk to a few more people before dinner. We had dinner with a family that is investigating the church in one of the wards, which was super fun. It was awesome to just be with these people and hang out and develop trust without having a "lesson setting." After dinner, we were able to go on splits with our Ward Mission Leader (WML) and a ward missionary for the first time! The WML and I went around to new move-ins in the ward and invited them to the Christmas party on Saturday, while Elder Olson and the ward missionary taught a really great lesson to one of our investigators. It was great!! Next time, they are going to try to teach her without her drinking wine during the lesson though :)

On Thursday, we had a really good (but long) zone meeting with the other Elders in the Stake. We learned lots and were ready to apply what we learned in the area! Afterwards, we tried to meet with some other people, but weren't having much luck. Finally, after dinner, we were able to sit down with a guy in one of the wards who is going through a hard time. He has been coming to church and we shared the #Lighttheworld challenge with him.

On Friday, we had a meeting in the morning for trainers and trainees. Elder Olson liked seeing everyone from his district again, and I had fun seeing some of my Elder friends who are training. We were able to learn lots from President and it was a good boost for all the newbies. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch and then planned for this week. Then, we went directly to the church to help set up for the Cherry Creek Christmas party, which was happening the next day. After helping out, we saw our recent convert friend named Frank. He is helping me fix up my bike. While we dropped off my bike to him, we shared some scriptures and had a good conversation with him. Afterward, we went to dinner and then tried a few more people that night before heading in.

Saturday was party day!! We had the Cherry Creek Christmas party in the morning and then the Piney Creek Christmas party that night. We were asked to be the judges of the ugly sweater contest that morning, and so we brought our own ugly sweaters that we had bought. We also helped out with taking pictures with Santa (it was so funny to see the little baby's immediately start screaming once they hit Santa's lap, and then try and catch a good picture of them). After the party, the ward gave us all of the left overs (so we have sweet bread and eggs for days now...I guess we'll have a lot of french toast).

We went back out to work, while we could, in between parties, and we were able to talk to two families. The first, a less active single mom, who is recently dating a man named Mike, who is familiar with the church, but is open to learning more! We had a really great lesson about progression and change (he wasn't open to the church too much before, but now talked about change. I told him, "You know Mike, life's all about change." He thought that was funny). Later we went and saw our recent convert young friend, Trevor, and had a lesson that continued off of the "white bananas".

After talking to Trevor, we ran over and helped get things ready for the Piney Creek Christmas party. We had tons of fun that night at the party and were able to talk to a lot of nonmembers that came and even hand out a Book of Mormon! Then we helped clean up and headed home for the night.

Sunday was full of church!! A lot of our lesser actives came and we even had a part-member family come! Yay! On a side note, we also had put out a box of Book of Mormon's in the foyer and our Ward Mission Leader put up a sign that said, "Give the gift that keeps on giving." By the end of our meetings, there was only one book left!! After church, we were able to see two people, one in each ward, and have good conversations with them. Then we headed in for the night!

It was a good week! It is amazing just how many people we are able to see and meet with each week and talk to. Even when we were out knocking on doors in 20* degree whether. It amazes me how fulfilling everything feels.

I hope you all have good week!!

Elder Bird

Christmas decorations!!

Us in our ugly sweaters

Us with Santa and Mrs. Clause

Elder Olson becoming a Christmas tree at one of the parties


December Already?

12/5/16

Hello everyone!! Happy December!! I can't believe it's December already!

This week was a good week here in Colorado!! We are getting ready for Christmas, and I think the missionaries here just can't wait! (Because we get to call home.)

So Monday, P-day, was super fun on bikes. After emailing at the library, we biked over to the shopping center and grabbed some lunch at McDonalds (the $1 Big Mac deal because the Broncos had played the previous day. Then we shopped at the grocery store and bought what we needed for the week. When we went outside we realized we kind of had a problem. How were we going to get everything we just bought home? Luckily, my bike had a small rack on the back. So, we purchased some bungee cords and put everything into a big red bag and strapped it on. It was a little ghetto (and it made my bike super heavy), but we got everything home okay! Then we had a good rest of the day, finishing with an FHE with a young family, where we shared the Christmas video and helped them set up for Christmas!

Tuesday was another fun day of biking around. We went to the old folks home next door and did Tai Chi with them for an hour (by the end, most people were asleep...it was fun!) and then we also helped them set up for Christmas. It was fun to see the people light up as they saw the Christmas decorations go up! After that, we biked around and had some good lessons with 2 of our investigators and a recent convert. One of our investigators, Ricky, has a son who was ready to be baptized on Friday! We talked to him about that, got him ready for what was going to happen, and then told him we would see him at the service!

Wednesday was, yet again, another super fun day of biking!! That morning, we met a very nice atheist man who had been taught before, and then we biked to lunch after. While eating lunch, we got a call from the car place telling us that our car was done!! We were ecstatic (mostly our legs were) and we got a member to drive us over there. We were so happy! With the car back, we saw a few more people and ended the night with a bit of basketball at the church and a small spiritual thought with our investigator, Daniel. We were glad that we didn't have to bike home in the cold that night!!

On Thursday, we had a meeting in the morning and then had 3 set appointments with people. We had good meetings, and shared the Christmas program #lighttheworld with all of them. It was December 1st and so was starting that day!! After our set appointments, we knocked on doors and offered our help to people (because it was the day of service) to anyone that needed it! No one took us up on the offer, but it was good to be out meeting people.

On Friday morning, we had an amazing lesson. We met a Muslim woman at the local library and caught up with her because we hadn't seen her in a few weeks. We had an amazing discussion! We taught her for two hours about the plan of salvation, a bit of the restoration, and why baptism is so important. Elder Olsen and I were able to teach really well together and she told us that she really enjoyed the discussion! We gave her more "homework" which was to read in the Book of Mormon and learn more about Christ. Hopefully we will see her again this next week. After seeing her, we stopped by a few more people we could potentially teach, and then had lunch. Then we came home and planned for the week ahead.

That evening we were able to have a good conversation over dinner and the during the prep for dinner (Elder Olson was teaching a part member family how to make sushi). The Bishop came with us that night, and he shared his conversion story. He had to leave a bit early to prepare for the baptism that night (of Ricky's son!!!). This prompted the family's 9 year old to ask about baptism and then tell us she wanted to get baptized too! How cool is that?? We taught about baptism then. Afterward, we went to the church for the baptism. It was a great service! Two of the kids in our ward came and we saw Ricky as he supported his son as he took the step of baptism. While talking with Ricky after the service and saying goodbye to leave, he told us he would see us Sunday!! We left with big smiles on our faces.

On Saturday, we had a training meeting in the morning and then started our work. We didn't have too much set up ahead of time, so we went from house to house of people we normally see on Saturdays. There were a lot away and couldn't see, but we were able to see our friend, Andrew, and meet his son and talk with him more about baptism. We also saw our young recent convert, Trevor, and read the scripture 1 Nephi 8 with him. This chapter is about the Tree of Life, and it was fun to talk with him about it and about the fruit from it. He told us he really likes bananas, so for the rest of the lesson we said, "follow the path so that we can eat the white bananas." After meeting with him, we had a great dinner with a young family who gave us 3 families referrals to try and teach! How awesome is that? We also tried to stop by a few more people that night before heading in.

Finally, Sunday. Fast Sunday was great! Full of church. Ricky came to Sacrament meeting and we were super happy to see him there and to have him watch his son bear a testimony! Also, one of our recent converts in the Piney Creek Ward came to church after missing all of last transfer!! He showed up all by himself on his bike. It was such a blessing! So church was awesome, and then we headed out to work. We tried by a few people we had wanted to see, but had no luck seeing any of them. We had a great dinner with another young family and then were able to watch the Christmas devotional with some other members. After the devotional, we tried by a few more people and then headed in for the day.

It was a full week!! We kept busy and were able to have some really amazing spiritual experiences. One theme that I noticed from this week was the theme of progression (I noticed this at our lesson with the Muslim lady). The Plan that God has for us is ALL, is about progression!! Life is all about our progression as we learn and grow, this is why we are here on earth, to learn and progress. That's why we go to church (to learn and progress), that is why we read the scriptures and pray (to learn and progress), that is why we are baptized (a step that leads to progression), that is why having a family is so important to us (it leads to more progression). It is all about progression!! And we are always moving along the path, whether that movement is forward or backwards. I like to think of it as a moving sidewalk at the airport. We are constantly walking against the sidewalk, while it pushes us backwards. It seems like the world is trying to bring us down and push us backwards, to get us to digress. We need to take action and actively fight against that, and walk forward on that sidewalk, if we are ever going to get somewhere. As we do, we will move forward, and we will be stronger for it.

I am so grateful for the progression I am making out here on my mission. I am learning and progressing as I try to help others out, and make a difference as we all walk towards those "white bananas."

Anyway, I hope you all have another wonderful week this 1st week of December! I love you all!!

Elder Bird

P.S. Here is an article about us for the turkey basket handout. [Ryan is in the second picture, well at least the back of him is.]

http://coloradomormons.com/mormon-missionaries-deliver-2912-turkeys-to-catholic-charities/


Thanksgiving Week...on a Bike!!

11/28/16

Hey everyone!! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week and had lots of Turkey! We had a wonderful week out here. Lots happened!

On Tuesday we had a good rest of the day for P-day! While we were shopping later in the day, some random lady in Walmart gave us $20 (how sweet is that?? It was amazing!) We used that money to buy ourselves a Christmas Tree for the apartment. We were able to buy a cheap 6 foot tall tree and then we bought a few strands of lights for it for only $5. So, thanks to the sweet woman in Walmart, we can have a great December!!!

On Wednesday, we were told we had to take our car into the shop to get the scratch on it fixed up. So, that meant we were going to be biking until the following Wednesday!! It was a good thing I found a free one and Elder Olson borrowed one from one of our ward mission leaders. After dropping off the car, we got ready to work extra hard! I didn't realize how awesome having the car was, or how hilly our two areas are. We have sore thighs and a much greater appreciation for the car now!! We biked around a lot on Wednesday and had a few lessons with some of our investigators. We taught a guy named Ricky and his kids about Thanksgiving and living in it daily! Then we saw a man named Andrew, who is very philosophical, and so Elder Olson loved talking with him. Then we tried a few other houses before biking down to dinner, which was with a cute young family in the ward. We had a fun dinner with them and then tried a few more people before having a lesson with a guy named Daniel. We had a good lesson and he knows we really do care about him. After that lesson, we biked home (with dead legs and ready for bed).

Thursday was Thanksgiving day!! We had a meeting that morning at the Stake Center where we learned about the new Christmas initiative. It's a new Christmas program this year that helps us to remember Jesus did and to do certain things over the 25 days of December, that will draw us closer to Christ. it is really awesome, and there is a great video about it on Mormon.org. I recommend everyone to check it out!! After the meeting, we visited with a family in the ward for a bit and played some games with their kids, and left a Thanksgiving message. Then we had dinner with a sweet family who we are very good friends with. Dinner was delicious! I way over ate, and payed for it later when we were biking around. It was pretty worth it though. Then, we visited two more families in the ward, ate pie with them, and shared the Thanksgiving message. I was grateful for a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

On Friday, Elder Olsen and I got flu shots in the morning and then planned stuff out for the following week. Then we had a pretty standard day of tracting and trying to contact people. We had two lessons with some less active members we are working with, both about the new Christmas message! We also had a fun dinner with the Bishop of Piney Creek Ward and his family. He is super hilarious!

On Saturday, we had a training meeting in the morning. Afterward, our zone leaders gave us 5 dozen eggs (for some reason?), so when we got home we decided to make big 6 egg omelets for ourselves. That was pretty nice. Then we got to work! We had a lesson with a less active member, and we helped her set up her Christmas tree and showed the Christmas message to her and her daughter. Then we ran over and had a great discussion with one of our investigators, a worship pastor at a Christian church. He is a great guy, but has a lot of deep concerns. We brought over a member who really helped out a lot. Mike is really progressing and we are going to try to go to his church one time so that he will come to ours. I'm very excited for him!! After Mike, we saw Trevor (a young man who was just baptized). We read scriptures with him and his family, which was really nice and good for all of them. Then, we were supposed to head to dinner. Well, my GPS told me that the house we needed to get to was clear across town almost near the reservoir, where I didn't think were any houses. We biked over as fast as we could!! We showed up to where my GPS said about 15 minutes late, only to find that there were no houses over there. We gave the brother a call, confused and exhausted. He told us where he lived, and then just came and picked us up. I felt so bad!!! It was kind if funny that we had worked and panicked and then just showed up in the middle of nowhere, We had a good dinner with them. Afterward, we biked over to a family who were really not too interested in meeting with us. But, we felt inspired to go there so we did. Elder Olson was able to have a good conversation with the wife, both of them have liberal points of view, and so she was willing to hear his lesson. We were even able to set a return appointment and will start teaching her!! What a miracle!!

Sunday was busy with church, as usual. We felt a little silly biking around in our suit coats. Why not look professional when you bike around? We had a good 6 hours at church, and then had a lesson right after. It was a good lesson about the Christmas program. After 7 hours at the church, we biked home and recouped, grabbed a quick snack, and then headed out again. We were able to contact one person before dinner. We had a great dinner, and then finished the day with two more lessons that night. We taught one of our investigators and then a family going through a hard time. We gave them the Christmas message. Then we biked home, dead tired, and ready for P-day.

We had a great week!! Elder Olson and I are loving the work and loving working hard. Biking has really made us close friends, and it is fun to be working together, It is also amazing to see how much light can be brought into people's lives as they learn and work towards becoming more like Jesus. It is such a blessing!

I love you all and hope you all have a great week!!

Elder Bird


Training & Snow !!

11/22/16

Hi everyone!! Sorry I didn't send an email on Monday. Our P-day was swapped to today (Tuesday) because we were asked to help out with a service project downtown yesterday.

Let me start off by saying that Elder Sato is no longer my companion! My new companion is Elder Olson, from Brooklyn, New York. He is straight from the training center and already loving it out here in the field. He has that "new missionary spunk" still, which I love!! It rejuvenates me!!

So Tuesday last week was spent basically with Elder Sato saying goodbye to everyone in the ward and our investigators that he had become close to. Everyone loved Elder Sato and are going to miss him a lot!! Everyone was so sweet to him and made him feel great right before he left. He had a good last day.

On Wednesday, we got him all packed up and then headed off bright and early to get him transferred. He got on the van and headed down to Parker South, with my old companion Elder Brammer. As far as I've heard, he is loving it down there! After dropping him off, I drove myself and three other Elders, who were training as well, to the mission office up in Broomfield (North Denver). That was pretty cool, because I was able to drive through Westminster to get there, which was my last area. When we got there we waited for a bit for our new missionaries to go through some training. Then we finally got to see them and meet them after a bit! Elder Olson looks a little like my cousin, Samuel, so it was kind of interesting meeting him for the first time!! We did a bit of talking and going over guidelines before we headed home for the night. With traffic and getting out of the office a tad late, we didn't make it home until 7:30!! Because I still wanted Elder Olson to do some work on his first night, I took him over to our Ward Mission leaders house and told him it was an investigator. We taught and awesome lesson together, and then we told Elder Olson what was happening. He thought it was so funny!! After they met, I took him to meet another investigator named Daniel. We had a good lesson, and then shot some hoops with him before heading home. It was a crazy day!

On Thursday, it started snowing for the first time!! It fell literally all day. I didn't think anything of it at first, but then we had to go home and put on some warmer clothes. It was cold! We tried to stay inside most of the day, going from house to house trying to meet with investigators and less actives. We had a really good day, and kept warm!

Friday was a long day, but great! We had a breakfast in the morning with all the missionaries in the Stake and then went downtown to do some service. They really needed us because they had a "Turkey Emergency." The church had bought 3,000 Turkeys for Thanksgiving to give away to people, and so they needed any Elder that could come and help unload them from cars to a Catholic charity downtown. That was pretty awesome (and cold) and I'm pretty sure we ended up on the Denver news! Everyone was super appreciative, and it felt awesome to help haul some turkey (even if I was sore for days after). After that, we came home and contacted and met with a few less actives and a few investigators. Elder Olson continued to meet the awesome people we have out here!

Saturday was a solid day of work. We spent it mostly talking to investigators and less actives (the usual). Elder Olson got his first hour and a half of tracting in that day, which was pretty fun! We had been practicing door approaches for a couple days and were happy to get out and do some good work!!

Sunday was as crazy as ever. We went back and forth between the wards and tried to juggle everyone we talked to at the same time. It was good for Elder Olson :) After church, we met with a few people and had some good lessons. We continued to introduce Elder Olson to people and try to get him to know them better, so he can help the best he can. That night, someone called us to help his dad and give him a blessing. The guy who needed the blessing had just heard word that his father had passed away. We rushed over and sat down with him for a bit, talking with him about stuff before the bishop showed up to help with the blessing. After about an hour of talking, we gave a blessing to both he and his mom (whose husband it was that had just passed). The Spirit was so strong while we were with them, and I almost felt like part of the family by the end. It was a special blessing to be with them in that time and try to "comfort those that stand in need of comfort."

On Monday, we had a regular day instead of P-day!! We headed downtown to help hand out boxes for people who needed food for Thanksgiving. We walked around to apartment complexes and handed them out to people. It was so nice to feel the gratitude from these people. We met some amazing people and were very happy to be able to serve. After we were done, we headed home and had a good evening of contacting people. One amazing thing that happened was following a prompting that I felt. It didn't really feel like much, but as we were driving somewhere, a thought popped into my mind that I should take Elder Olson to meet a woman Elder Sato and I had street contacted, who was from New York City. I thought it would be good for both of them to talk and reminisce. We got to see her and they got to meet, and we had a great conversation, ending with us inviting her to the Ward Christmas party. After that conversation, we headed over to her neighbor's house (who were LDS) and told them about the visit we just had. They were super happy and had been working with her. They also gave us a number of another one of their neighbor's who they thought might be interested in getting to know us. It was an awesome experience. It felt good to follow the prompting I had, especially knowing we had done exactly what the Lord wanted us to do, and that it all worked out.

Anyway, so that was the week!! I have one last thought from studying this morning. I've been thinking a lot about the word Thanksgiving, and how the holiday came about. So I looked up the word Thanksgiving in the scriptures and came across one that I really liked. The scripture is Alma 34:38. I love the wording in this scripture, where it tells us that we need to live in Thanksgiving daily. Unfortunately, this does not mean we should have gigantic Turkey dinners every single day (although I am not saying we can't). It's saying that we should live in a way of giving thanks always to those who are blessing us so much and especially to God, who loves us. I think a holiday to celebrate the idea of gratitude is amazing, but I think it is also important to remember that we should try to live in that "attitude of gratitude" as much as we can all the time. I know that as we strive to do this, we will be changed when we acknowledge the blessings that do come to us. I hope all of us remember to be grateful not only this week, but moving forward into the Christmas season too, where we experience a great sense of giving.

I know the gospel is true and I love the Spirit that I feel out here, as we try to help people find their Savior. It's the most important work I've ever done.

I love you all and hope all is well back home. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Elder Bird

My new companion, Elder Olsen

It's cold out here!

Our apartment complex with snow

Happy Thanksgiving!


I'm going to be a Trainer?

11/14/16

Hello everyone!! I hope everyone is well and the week has been good!

Many things happened this week!! I don't know where to begin!!

Tuesday was pretty standard! We did service for the older folks in the home (we did Tai Chi with them again, it was awesome!). Then we had a day of going out contacting and some lessons here and there. We had one with an investigator who is quite hard to teach named Andrew, but we had a great discussion with him. It was great and we are planning to have another great one this Tuesday, too! Hopefully the Spirit can continue to testify to his heart that the Book of Mormon is true scripture.

Wednesday was a big and rather crazy day. We spent a lot of time with a new woman who has moved into the ward and is trying to become active again. We got to know her and had her come to lunch with us and a member we have lunch with on Wednesdays. She has received some amazing fellowship in the ward, and we are very excited and happy to be helping her out! After running around and talking to tons of people, members and what not all day, we only had about 30 minutes to tract (normally we shoot for at least an hour a day). But! While we did in that 30 minutes, we met 3 people who were interested in the message we were sharing and made plans to see all 3 of them again!! How awesome is that??

After that, we had dinner and something happened...my chipped tooth came apart!! I was left with a giant hole in my mouth again and was panicking! Luckily, I was able to call a dentist in one of my wards and he told me that he'd see me the following morning. That made me feel better, but I still felt kind of like a problem missionary (with my diabetes and now this coming up!). I went the rest of the night and taught 2 more lessons and played a bit of basketball with some investigators with half of my front tooth missing!! So embarrassing.

The next morning I went in to see the dentist. And it tuned out to be no big deal! He left what remained of the tooth in my mouth and just kind of sculpted a new tooth (using some material?) onto it. It only took about an hour, and it looks totally normal again!! I got to keep the part that had originally fallen off, and he told me to put it under my pillow and see what I could find the next day;)

After seeing the dentist, we had a powerful meeting with the rest of the missionaries in our Stake. We could really feel the Spirit. After the meeting, we had some appointments and did some contacting. A normal day of missionary work. At the end of the day though, I received a call from one of the Assistants to the President and he asked me if I would be a trainer for a brand new missionary coming into the mission!! I was excited and nervous at the same time. Excited to share what I knew, but nervous because I have only been out for four months! I accepted and will now be training a new missionary starting this coming Wednesday!

Friday was kind of slow, like last week. So we did tons of tracting!! It payed off when we ran into a guy named Ian, who we met at the door and talked with a little bit. Ian has never been religious and has never known too much about religion. We shared with him part of the Plan of Salvation and I shared with him how I came to know the truth of it. I shared with him about my best friend, Craig, and his family, and how they will see their family again. It really touched Ian's heart, and he was excited to learn more from us! We left him with a prayer (which he loved) and told him we would call him next week to set up another appointment! It was awesome!! I'm very excited for him!

After more tracting and dinner that night, I went to a special meeting for new trainers in the mission, and got to hear some great instruction from the President and his Assistants. I also got to see a ton of my Elder buddies who were training again too, including Elder LaPerle!

Saturday was a busy day. We had a training meeting in the morning and appointments scheduled throughout the day. Most of those appointments turned into hard lessons where people were trying to use the Bible to disprove what we believe. It went on for 3 hours that day. It was tough!! It made my brain hurt! But, we taught the best we could and all of them were very kind by the end, wanting to meet again. Even though it was tough, they were all good lessons and I hope we can help them in any way!!

Sunday was Stake Conference, and it was a good meeting with many good talks, including one from our Mission President and his wife! I also really enjoyed what our Stake President told us. He talked about the play "Hamilton" which is out now. He talked about the difference between the main character, Alexander Hamilton, a brilliant and remembered Founding Father, and his friend Aaron Burr (who ended up killing Hamilton in a duel), who was equally brilliant, but much less remembered. The biggest difference between the two men was that Hamilton was not afraid to take a stance, especially when it came to an important matter, while Aaron Burr would wait things out and try not to disrupt his political position. Because of that, Hamilton is remembered as one who valiantly fought for what he believed in and is deeply respected. The question our Stake President posed to us, was if we in our lives and in the gospel are being more like Alexander Hamilton or Aaron Burr, and how that will be remembered. It was a beautiful talk and we all felt the Spirit.

The rest of Sunday was spent tracting and meeting with people. Then, we were invited to a fireside in one of our wards, where we got to talk to the youth about our missions!! It made me think back to a similar fireside that I talked in, back in July, back at home when I had been released for a while, and how much I have grown as a missionary and person since then. It was a good fireside and I was glad I got to be there.

We got transfer notices this morning! Like I said, I will be training a new missionary here in this area, and Elder Sato will be heading to South Parker (the most southeast place in the mission) with my old companion Elder Brammer! Even though I am sad to see him go, I am very excited for the new transfer!!

I had a great week, and I look forward to the one to come. I know this gospel is true with all my heart and am so glad to be able to help people come to Christ's true church upon the earth.

I hope things are well back home!! I love you all!!

Elder Bird

My fixed teeth!!


The Crazy Temple Trip!

11/07/16

Hello all! I hope things are going well for everyone!! I miss you all!

This week was another great week here! We knocked on a lot of doors, met many new people, and tried to share the gospel with anyone we could! I sound like a missionary, right?? My week was pretty standard, so I'll just give the highlights.

On Tuesday, Elder Sato and I gave service at a nursing home. We also got to talk to the people there about their military service, in preparation for Veterans Day! I met a lot of really awesome veterans who had some great stories to tell. I even met some veterans who had served in World War II!! That was a great experience, one that I am really grateful for.

Wednesday was our temple trip!! The missionaries in our mission get to go to the temple once every quarter. So, when that time comes we get really excited. It gives us such an uplift. Our session started at 6am, so we had to get up at 4:30am (kind of tough). We got up and got all ready, and picked up another set of Elders on the way to the temple. Well, we got to the address that our leaders had given us at about 5:35...and found that we had been given the wrong address. So we started panicking! We knew that if we missed our session, there wasn't anything we could do. We drove around for about 20 minutes looking for the temple, with no luck. Finally, we got the address from another Elder that we called, and found the temple (which had been across the street and down a ways, hidden by trees) at 6:05am. We were bummed, because we missed our session. We talked to the assistants to the Mission President and they said we were out of luck. But then, we called our mission president and explained the situation. He was nice and let us go into the 6:30am session! It was such a blessing!! We made it into that session with just enough time to spare. It was a wonderful to be at the temple and feel the Spirit there!

Afterwards, we were able to go to Deseret Book and do a bit of shopping. We were able to see other Elders there and I got to say "hi" to Elder LaPerle and my friends from the Westminster area. That was great and topped off the trip for me.

After our temple trip, we had a really great rest of the day. We took a recent RM (returned Missionary) to a lesson with a Muslim investigator we have. She is super curios about our church and the Book of Mormon. We had a great lesson about what the Book of Mormon is, and how it has brought peace to all of our lives. We gave her a copy and she said she would read it!

On Thursday, we had interviews with our Mission President in the morning. He checks in with us periodically. It was really nice to have a bit of a conversation with our him and just talk. He gave us some hints about what will be happening for the upcoming transfer. (I'm excited!!!) He told me that he was proud of the work I am doing and that made me feel good. Then, the rest of Thursday was spent out tracting and knocking on doors for about 5 hours!! We met some nice people and got a few return appointments. After dinner that night, we met with Julie, who was just baptized last Saturday. She gave us both thank you cards and little gifts for helping her. She is so sweet!

Friday was spent doing a lot of tracting, with lessons here and there. It was a great day of good work! It's funny though, when missionaries show up in a neighborhood -- everyone suddenly disappears -- people go inside, garage doors close . . . we must be scary!

Saturday morning started with a training meeting from the Stake leaders. Our teacher brought Krispy Kreme doughnuts (which is out of the mission), so that was a real treat! Afterward, we had a good day of more tracting and lessons here and there. We got back in contact with an old former investigator who loves missionaries. We had a really nice conversation and he showed us this pool table computer game that he had set up downstairs. He's a really sweet guy named Rob. We are going over again later today (on P-day) to play some pool with him and try to fellowship him a little.

We got a bit of a break on Sunday! We had a regional broadcast instead of our normal church meetings, which came from Salt Lake. It was basically all the Stakes from Colorado to Chicago. It was a really good meeting. General authorities gave good talks, including Ronald A. Rasband who gave great counsel. It was kind of nice to have a break from our normal 6 hours of church.

After church we did a lot of tracting and trying to talk to people. We met an R-LDS woman (similar to our faith, but separate because they believe that Joseph Smith's family could only be prophets) who came out and talked to us for a while. We had a really engaging conversation about our two faiths, and she even accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon "to compare it with hers."

Anyway, we had a pretty great week! I can really feel the work moving along in these two wards. I can feel my testimony growing stronger everyday as I teach and continue to learn. I love it out here so much!

I hope all is well back home. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Bird

We found a cardboard cut out of one of our Bishops at the church!! How awesome is that??

Elder Sato holding a sword made by one of our less actives.

Oh yeah, one of our investigators put his doo rag on me. Fun stuff!


Halloween, Oh and a Baptism, too!!

10/31/16

Hello all! I hope you're all doing wonderful! Happy Halloween!!

We had a really awesome week this week, which concluded with baptizing and confirming one of our investigators into the church! It was such an honor and privilege to be able to do that for her and see the sheer happiness it brought to her.

So Monday we got ready for Halloween week! My mom sent a package that had some Halloween decorations and treats (she is just the greatest). Elder Sato and I decorated the apartment with them and then decided to carve pumpkins! This was Elder Sato's first time carving pumpkins, so we had a lot of fun doing it. It was a really good p-day!

Tuesday started off with us giving service at an old folks home. We began with doing Tai Chi with them, which was kind of hilarious moving around and exercising with these sweet elderly people. Then the person in charge didn't know what to have us do next, so I ended up playing the piano for them for about an hour. They seemed to really enjoy it, even though I was not the best. We met some really sweet people and it was fun to be with them for a few hours. After that, we met with a less active that actually helped us to fix up an old bike we had found in the trash!! That was pretty sweet! We met with another investigator afterwards, who told us he would come to our Halloween party! Then we helped move some stuff for a less active member and met with a less active young man who showed off his awesome car to us. That night, we sat down with our investigator, Daniel, who really had a desire to quit smoking at one point. We had a meeting with him and brought a returned missionary in one of the wards that taught with amazing power. We tried to teach him about the importance of priesthood authority and being baptized with such (he says he's already been baptized and doesn't need to be again). It was a powerful lesson, but Daniel still doesn't want to be baptized. Maybe someday.

On Wednesday, we exchanged companions for a day! I was with the District Leader, Elder Bjerga, in his area for the day. We had a really fun day. We are pretty good friends. We spent the morning tracting and talking to anyone we saw, and had some powerful lessons with two of their investigators and a less active they are teaching in their area. I was blessed to be able to see how powerfully Elder Bjerga could invite the Spirit into a lesson and see how good of a leader he is in our district. I was thankful to have been with him for a day. Elder Sato and Elder Mork also did some awesome work in our area that day! They picked up two new investigators while out knocking on doors and taught a great first lesson to a woman we had met previously. I was so happy to hear they had had a good day too!

Thursday we had a meeting in the morning and then lunch with a member in one of our wards. We normally have lunch with her on Wednesdays, but I had missed her because I was with Elder Bjerga, and so we had lunch with her on Thursday, too. She has been going through a hard time lately, and so we gave her a blessing. After lunch, Elder Sato and I tried to get into contact with some former investigators. The first one we met up with, was Ann, and she is Muslim. We talked a lot about her religion and what it consists of, and in the process were able to teach her about parts of ours in the process. She was very kind and open, and we even set up a return appointment where she wanted to learn more about the Book of Mormon and more about the gospel!! We had a good lesson and she could see that we were interested in her thoughts and not just trying to teach our beliefs. Because we listened and were kind, she is now open to learning much more!! After visiting with her, we knocked on a few doors and then ran over to the church to have the baptism interview for our investigator getting baptized!! Her name is Julie. Elder Bjerga did her interview and was really impressed with her testimony and knowledge. She is really awesome! After the interview, we had dinner with a man in the ward and then met with some less actives we are teaching.

Friday was a bit of a slower day. We did a lot of tracting and trying to see people without too much luck. But we ended the day with a Halloween Party in Piney Creek ward! We had a lot of fun and one of our investigators and 4 people we had saw while tracting that day showed up too!! Hard work does pay off :) The ward had a chili-cook off and then did trunk or treat afterwards. We helped set up before, enjoyed the cook off (one of our investigators even brought chili!!!), and then helped take down while people trunk or treated outside. It was a good party!!

Saturday was a VERY busy day! We started the day by meeting with a less active member. Then we went to the stake center so we could start filling the baptismal font for Julie! When we got there about an hour and a half early (we thought that would be good enough time) we found out that the font usually takes 2-21/2 hours to fill. Oh no! We were worried and started stressing! We ate lunch as it filled up, and then set everything else up. Julie showed up early and we had a super kind woman in the ward help her with her clothing and getting ready. The service started at 1pm, and the font was still filling up! We let it continue filling up while we started the program. A returned missionary from the ward gave a good talk on baptism and then a member sang a song about baptism. Then Elder Sato baptized Julie! The water wasn't very high, but it was okay. Elder Sato performed the ordinance and Julie was all smiles. While they were changing out of their wet clothes, everyone at the baptism wrote down their testimony on a card for her. Then our ward mission leader gave a talk on the Holy Ghost and I bore my testimony. The Spirit was so strong at the meeting and you could just feel Julie's happiness. I know that she did the right thing being baptized, and her example in following God's plan will affect many other people's lives!

After the baptism, we went and saw a young recent convert and had a nice visit. Then we went to the Halloween party for the Cherry Creek ward! We had two investigators show up to this one too! We ate chili and chatted with them and watched all the kids parade around in their costumes. We didn't realize it, but many less actives who we didn't even know, showed up and some of them want us to give the missionary lessons to them! It was a very fun and a special night. After the party, we were supposed to visit with two other investigators from the other ward, but they both fell through. So we saw some less actives and other people and finished for the night. It was an amazing day!!

Sunday was crazy busy as usual. We went back and forth in between the two ward's Sunday meetings. I had the wonderful opportunity to confirm Julie a member of the church during Sacrament Meeting. It was an honor. I was glad to be able to bless her with the gift of the Holy Ghost. After all our Sunday meetings, we headed home and had lunch. Then we went to an appointment with an investigator that Elder Sato had met on Wednesday, when I was away with Elder Bjerga. It turns out that where they first saw her, she was actually at an apartment that she was babysitting at. We set up a return appointment with her, but we aren't sure where. I'm not sure. So we got her phone number from the people living there and walked around and tracted that area a bit. We really focused on talking to everyone we saw, and we were really blessed because of it! It seemed like everyone we happened upon really needed to see us or we really needed to see them. It was a cool couple of hours. Then we finished with dinner and an FHE with a sweet family in the ward.

It was a big week! It seemed to just fly by. We were so blessed to be able to talk to so many people this week and share the truth about what we know with anyone we saw. Even though it can be scary sometimes to talk with every single person you see (even if it seems like they don't want to talk at all.) I know that we were blessed because of it. And I know that this gospel is true and needs to be shared with everyone I come in contact with.

Anyway, I hope everyone's Halloween was awesome!! I love you all!

Elder Bird


Talk About a Crazy Sunday

10/24/16

Hello all! I hope everything is going well for everyone! You are all always in my prayers!

This week was crazy! There was a ton of stuff that happened and another amazing miracle!!! We're already halfway done with this transfer, but I feel like I just got here. The weeks go by so fast.

So the week started off good. After emailing at the library, we took the district leader and his companion out to lunch with us. We went to Red Robin, which I was excited about because I have been missing it. Two of the Elders with us are not from America (Elder Sato and Elder Bjerga) and had never been there before. They loved it! It was really good.

Afterward we had an appointment on P-day! This was with Ali and we decided to meet with her on P-day [their one day off] because she was leaving for the rest of that week and we wanted to see her before she left. We taught a good lesson and asked her to come to church with us. It was going to be the Primary Program [church service where the children 2-12 sing and give talks] This is always a nice Sunday program. The rest of the P-day went well, ending with an FHE [Family Home Evening - a night with the family] with a sweet family (a single mom with three young boys). We played Book of Mormon hang-man, talked about the Atonement, and tried to keep the boys entertained.

Tuesday was a pretty good day. We had some appointments with less actives and an investigator. This investigator, Andrew, is very smart and fairly hard to teach because he loves to go off onto tangents. BUT, this time, one of his tangents led to a conversation about the Tower of Babel, which we said was referred to in the BOM, He was intrigued, and we started to read Ether. He noticed a few things while we read that I think he noticed Joseph Smith wouldn't have been able to know about on his own (hmm, interesting), and I think it sparked his curiosity. So we committed him to read the rest of Ether!! It was really good to see him start to progress a little.

Also on Tuesday, we were out knocking on doors, when we met a man named Richard Cozzette. He invited us in and started talking with us. He's 53, the same age as my dad. It turns out that at one point in this guy's life, he held the world record for Defender (an arcade game in the 70's). He had played Defender for 28 hours straight!! How insane is that? We talked to him a lot and shared a brief message, and set a time for us to come back. He became a new investigator! That night we had dinner at Rubio's with a really nice Sister in one of our ward's, who always has us over for lunch or dinner. She is so nice. Dinner was good, and the rest of the night was spent trying to contact people.

Wednesday was a fun day! Three big things happened. We had dinner with a man named Dennis K. Brown. While we were having dinner, we learned that this brother had been a mission president in France, been the Denver temple President, and had written a book called "Evidences of the True Church." (a well known book in our church). He had done so much in his life and it was so interesting talking with him. He had had conversations and was friends with Gordon B. Hinckley!

After dinner, we were invited to a Baptist Bible study by one of our investigators. We sat in as they talked about the Bible. They were very nice. After that Bible study, we had our own scripture study on the second article of faith at our church. Our investigator brought three of his friends, and one of them became a new investigator. He asked us for a Bible and everything. So that was awesome! We ended the night playing basketball with everyone who came and sharing one more scripture.

Thursday started off with a training meeting with the other Elders in our district. After that, we visited a less active young man and read scriptures with him (his favorite of which was D&C 43:35 #besober). Then we did a whole lot of tracting and trying to get into contact with past investigators, without too much success. That night, we met with a less active member who likes to mess [tease] with us. He told us if we were going to share a message, then we had to recite a scripture from memory. I recited Jacob 6:12, one of my favorites, and Elder Sato recited D&C 43:35 (the one from earlier in the day.) He thought that was funny, and we all had a good laugh.

Friday was a tough day. We basically tracted all day long, with little success. Elder Sato used one of his new words to describe how he felt (exasperated). But, we met some nice people, one of which was a Jehovah's Witness. who was very kind. We set up a return appointment! We'll see how it goes. We kind of think she will try to convert us. Maybe we'll turn the tables on her ;)

Later we had an appointment with a less active brother. He was really nice to us and showed us some oil vials that he makes and sells to people on Etsy. He was very nice and it was cool to see them.

Then the miracle happened!! As we got back to our apartment, one of our investigators texted us out of the blue. She told us that she knew the gospel was true and that she was ready for baptism!!! Insane, right?? She will be baptized next Saturday by Elder Sato, and I will have the honor of doing the Confirmation and blessing her with the Holy Ghost. That will happen at church the following day, Sunday. Elder Sato and I were jumping up and down in our apartment and going crazy!! We were so happy! She was taking the right step and moving forward!

On Saturday some of our scheduled appointments fell through, so we did more tracting!! At 4pm we met with a young recent convert and read some scriptures with him. I tried to explain the House of Israel to him, which the scriptures we were reading kept referring to. It's interesting trying to explain things in a more simple way.

That night, Julie, our investigator who had decided to get baptized the night before took us out to dinner. Funny story . . . She wanted to have dinner with us, but we already had one planned with a family and we didn't want to cancel. We wanted to visit with both of them...so we had two dinners that night. At the first dinner, with Julie, she told us how excited she was and she shared her testimony. We also went over a little what would happen at the baptism. How it would work. She is all ready!!

After that, we met with a former investigator named Nick. He is from Ghana, received his degree in Germany, and then came to America to work for IBM. It was really interesting getting to know him, and we shared a small message about the Sacrament with him. Even though he has learned a lot from previous missionaries, I think we helped him feel the Spirit. We set up a time to meet again and we'll see what happens.

At our second dinner, we went out with a family to a "Japanese Buffet." Elder Sato was so excited! But when we got there, he realized that all the people working there were Chinese, and it was actually just an "All Asian" buffet. He thought that was hilarious. But he liked having some Japanese food again. While we were there, some Christians who had just gotten out of a non-denominational church service, came in and saw us. They all started laughing and I think were a little spooked of us. I don't think that they realize that we are normal Christians, too. Probably due to non-true rumors that are out there about our church.

Sunday was the craziest day of the week!! We were back to our crazy Sunday schedule with two wards. Basically, we had a ward correlation meeting for Piney Creek Ward at 8am, where we talked about the work we were doing in that ward. Then we had Sacrament Meeting for Cherry Creek Ward at 9am. Julie and a less active member who is been coming back to church both came, so we juggled our attention between the two of them. Some returning missionaries gave talks, so there were a lot of people there. Then we went to the Gospel Principles Sunday School class in the Cherry Creek Ward. After that we sat down and visited with Julie for a little bit and went over the baptism program and what was going to happen on Saturday. After that, we hurried in to catch the Gospel Principles class for Piney Creek Ward. Our investigator, Ali, was there with a friend she brought. We made sure they were okay, and then had to leave to sit in for ward correlation meeting for Cherry Creek Ward to talk about the work we were doing in that ward. We finally ended with Sacrament Meeting in Piney Creek Ward, which was the Primary program! It was packed with a lot of people. We sat with Ali and her friend. The Primary Program was cute and they enjoyed it very much.

BIG DAY RIGHT?? We came home and had lunch and tired to relax a little. Later, we went out again and tracted and tried to get into contact with people. Then we met with a returning less active woman who is going through a really hard time in her life. We got to know her a little better and are hopeful we can continue to help her moving forward!!

Anyway, so that was our week! Lots happened, and lots of miracles, too. Even though Sundays are kind of crazy with juggling two wards with back to back meeting times. It amazes me how peaceful things feel when we feel the Spirit with the people we meet with. I know that this church is true because of that peace, that we can help people have it in their lives and in their families.

I hope everything is well back home! Love you all!!

Elder Bird

Pictures:

The Defender champ showed us some newspapers and photos of him. He went by "Captain Video"

The book that Dennis K. Brown wrote. He's not in the picture, but he's sitting three feet away.


The Golden Referral

10/18/16

Hello everyone!!

This week has gone by so fast! I feel like I was just here at the library yesterday! Lots of amazing things happened this week, with one being the source of the title!

We emailed on Tuesday because of the holiday. Afterward, we were able to go and visit some investigators that day and night. One, named Andrew, is a very, very intelligent man (worked in both law and computers) who likes to hold intelligent discussions about the state of the world. It was a great discussion, but we had to constantly lead the conversation back to our message. He is very nice, but I am wondering how I can help him!!

In the afternoon we did more tracting. And after dinner, we met with a young couple, the Smith's, who were kind of hard to teach. They were incredibly kind, but have lots of concerns and questions about our faith. They were actually scheduled to be baptized, but still had questions, so we had to push their date back. We talked a lot about the Plan of Salvation with them and they had a lot of questions. At the end of our time with them we were able to teach them a little about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end, Elder Sato and I simply bore our testimonies to them. We told them that we could talk for hours about the questions they had (and we would), but if they wanted true answers to their questions and evidence that it was true, they needed to read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it was true. I bore them my testimony that I had already done so and had received my answer, and so that was why I was out there trying to share that with them. Elder Sato did the same. I think they really felt the Spirit, and I am hopeful for them moving forward!

On Wednesday, the big miracle happened! We contacted and met with a referral we had received online. This woman, named Ali, had gone online and requested us to come visit with her. After texting her and figuring out the details, we set up a time for Wednesday afternoon to meet with her. It turns out that she has already gained a divine witness from the Spirit that our church is true!!! That made our job a whole lot easier! She actually has a ton of LDS friends in Utah, and even went to General Conference in the Conference center. She was telling us that her friend, a recent RM [returned missionary], was explaining the gospel to her when she felt that she needed to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!! She even scheduled a day when she wanted to be baptized, November 19th. So we are teaching her in order to prepare her for baptism! She will be baptized in Utah, where she is moving, but it is such a blessing to be able to teach her! So we taught her on Wednesday, and then on Thursday and then Friday again! How awesome is that?? Some elders get all the luck ;)

On Thursday, we had a training meeting in the Stake Center with all the Elders. It was very good. I really felt the Spirit there, and it was good to get to know people in the Stake better. It was a little long though, so we didn't get too much time to work. We did see Ali again and answered some questions she had and went over more stuff. She continues to be awesome (or as we say, golden).

Friday morning started off with Ali again! We were able to take a young mom in the ward over with us to fellowship her, and we had a great discussion about the Word of Wisdom (the Lord's law of health). We invited her to come to church the following Sunday, which is the primary program! We are very excited for her to come, especially because she has two young kids. After seeing her, we had a slower day of knocking doors and trying to get into contact with people. We had some lessons planned, but they all cancelled. We did help out someone in the ward with some service, though, and afterwards he took us around all his neighborhood to meet all of his friends!! We invited them all to the Halloween party. The member, Brother Kumar, is an older gentleman from India who is just hilarious!

Saturday was awesome! We had some more training meetings in the morning, and then a lot of tracting in the early afternoon. Two things happened: we picked up a new investigator who is very open to talking with us! It was totally worth the two hours of knocking on doors we did to find him! We also met some other people. We started talking to them about our religion, and then they proceeded to tell us what we believed. I think it is interesting when people not in our church tell us what we believe. After telling them what we really believed, they replied back with "No you don't" and proceeded to tell us that we were wrong. That was my favorite :) We tried to be kind and instructive, but we couldn't really do anything.

After the tracting, we were able to sit down with a lady, Nancy, who we met last week! We had tried to contact her before, but she never answered. So, we thought she wasn't interested. We tried again, and she let us in and we had a great discussion!! She has just lost her husband, so we just let her talk and tried to listen and be there for her. After an hour of just her talking, we told her we had to get going. We hadn't been able to share any sort of message, and so were worried about that, but she told us that she really enjoyed talking with us "because we listened and really cared" and that she would really want to come to a church service sometime!! After meeting with her, we read scriptures with a young recent convert and tried to continue to keep his interest in them.

Sunday was a blast! It was the temple dedication for the Fort Collins temple!! So we were able to take part in that dedication from our Stake Center. Elder Uchtdorf dedicated the temple and gave a wonderful talk. It was a wonderful experience to have out here, and I really felt the Spirit as we sang the Spirit of God afterwards.

After the dedication we helped Andrew, the investigator, with some service. He was very kind, and maybe our helping him might get him more interested. Through our service we showed him kindness that we and the ward have love for him. Later afer dinner, we were on our way to visit a couple that lives in our apartment complex when a man called out to us and asked us who we were. We explained and we had a great conversation with this man named Josh. He didn't accept the Book of Mormon that we tried to share with him or set a time when we could come back, but respected a lot what we do as missionaries. We thanked him and told him we'd pray for him as we moved forward. Then, we saw the couple. They were funny and had a friend over, so we shared a scripture from the Bible and invited all of them to the Halloween party. It was good, and I think they'll all come and enjoy it!

It was a really awesome week! Elder Sato continues to be hilarious and bold with everyone we meet. We continue to learn and grow together as we try to balance these two wards!!

Anyway, I hope things are well back home. I love you all!

Elder Bird

Pictures: Elder Sato and I at the Library

Me "holding" Elder Sato's flash cards for him


A Balancing Act!

10/10/16

Hello Everyone!! I hope your week is going fantastic! So much has happened since last Monday, I will try to tell you the best parts!!!

I am now serving in both the Piney Creek and Cherry Creek wards, in the Denver area. These two wards are in a nice part of the Denver suburbs to the south.

So on Monday I started to pack and get ready! We went to Golden Corral for lunch with another companionship of Elders one more time to say goodbye. It was sad! Then Monday evening we had dinner and an appointment saying goodbye to one of our less active members who we teach on Monday nights.

Tuesday was filled with meetings and teaching people who I had become close to as we taught. Along the way, we picked up a new investigator named Mikey, while we were near the library. And, then met with some recent converts who we had been teaching. Afterwards, we went and talked with a lady in the ward who does our dinner calendar. It turns out she made me a tie with my initials on it!! It was so sweet of her! We had dinner, and then saw another less active guy named Glen who we've been teaching. He is a really sweet guy. He bought us cheesecake to say goodbye!! How awesome is that?? We finished the day with one final less active we had been teaching, and we said goodbye to her and her two sweet kids. It was a hard day, saying goodbye and leaving all these people, who I had somehow become very close with in only 3 months! I will miss them a lot.

Wednesday was transfer day!! I finished packing and then Elder LaPerle and I drove to the stake center, and I got on the transfer van. I was heading to Denver with Elder Bjerga (an elder from Norway who was in my last area) where we would again be in the same district. I was glad to have one familiar face go with me. We arrived at the new stake center, and got all unloaded. Then I met my new companion, Elder Sato!! Elder Sato is from Chiba, Japan. His English is very good for having only been out here for 3 months. He is hilarious and one of the most humble and kind Elders I have met out here!

After we met, we got all my stuff loaded in our car (which, as Elder Sato pointed out to me, is a Toyota Corrola) and then I drove us to the new area! It feels awesome to drive again, especially in a Toyota.

We arrived in the new area to a beautiful apartment. I unpacked quickly and then we got to work! We did a lot of tracting that first day, and we were blessed because of it. We picked up a new investigator, a sweet woman named Nancy, who was very open to talking with us and was very kind. We have a return appointment to see her tomorrow! At the end of the night, our ward mission leader helped us put on a Bible study class, where we went over the 1st article of faith. We had two investigators show up and we had a great discussion!! Afterwards, we played a small game of basketball with the bible study class and even some other non-members, and then headed home.

Thursday was a good day! I met lots of new people, in both ward areas. A lot happened, but I'll just share one miracle that happened as we were out trying to contact someone. We were looking in our box of commissary (literature that we pass out, including Book of Mormon's, pamphlets, DVD's, etc.) and we found a Russian Plan Of Salvation pamphlet. We thought it was weird, but Elder Sato grabbed it and put it in his bag. As we were walking down the street not 5 minutes later, we met a man who only spoke Russian!! We handed him the pamphlet, and he was very impressed and said he'd read it (at least I think that's what he said). It was truly a miracle, and I know God had a large hand in that experience.

On Friday we started off the day with breakfast with our new Stake President and all the Elders in our new zone, to see and meet each other. It was such a nice way to start off being here! Then, we met with a recent convert named Frank (who was just about to call us for help to move stuff when we showed up on his door step #miracles). After helping Frank, we tracted and met some more less actives and recent converts. Good day!!

Saturday was more of the same! It has been hard trying to remember who is in which ward, (now that we are working with two) but I'm sure I will get it soon. We had a couple of set appointments, our first was with a young recent convert named Trevor. With him we read 1 Nephi 3 with and then talked about it. It was amazing to see his excitement grow over the Book of Mormon stories, as his understanding of them increased. Chapter 3 ends in a bit of a cliffhanger, so we asked him to read chapter 4 on his own. :) The second was with a less active in his 20's who was very nice and kind to us. He talked our ears off about how amazing Apple is, (I would guess much to my father's shagrin), and then we shared a lesson on the Sacrament and how it relates to the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him. We all knew that the Spirit was there during our visit, especially during the lesson portion.

Sunday was an absolutely crazy day. That's where this week's blog title came from...it was truly a balancing act! We started with a ward missionary correlation meeting with one of our wards, and then went to Sacrament Meeting with the other ward. We stayed with that ward for Sunday school and went to the Gospel Principles class. Which was followed by the other ward's Gospel Principles class. Then we went to the other ward's missionary correlation meeting, and finally the other ward's Sacrament Meeting! How crazy is that?? We went to two of each type of meeting and were at the church for 6 hours!! These two wards, Cherry Creek and Piney Creek, have kind of different timing because they combine their youth program during the middle hours so that means that one ward's Sacrament Meeting is at the beginning of the block and the other is at the end of the block. It kept us very busy! Everyone in both wards were very nice, and it was good to meet so many new faces.

After all that craziness, we went home and had lunch. After that, the day was spent mostly tracting and seeing less actives. We met some very nice people and had a good rest of the Sabbath.

Finally, yesterday, Monday we had P-day! It was filled with normal P-day activities like shopping and cleaning and laundry. Elder Sato and I both picked up great winter coats at a Goodwill nearby! We had lunch with Elder Bjerga and his new companion at a Golden Corral over here, because he said that he wanted to keep the tradition going! P-day ended at 4pm, so we met an investigator that evening. He is a heavy smoker. The lesson was haphazard because he was having a hard time listening. Finally, we just stopped the lesson and I focused in on his smoking. I asked him about it and why he did it. He voiced some desires to stop, and I told him that the Lord could help him stop, if he had a real desire to. I told him we would help him too. He got excited then, and we set a plan for how he could stop. I didn't know really where to start, but I suggested for him to cut back 25% of the cigarettes he was smoking a day. He said he usually smokes 20 a day, so asked him to cut it down to 15. We told him we would be there to help him as he moved forward. We then gave him a priesthood blessing to help him. It was very powerful, and he said he felt the Spirit! Amazingly, this morning in our apartment, as I was looking through things, I found a packet called the Stop Smoking Program. This is a program to help smokers curb their addictions. It gave me lots of hints about how I can help this investigator, and I knew that it was in our apartment for this reason. I'm very excited for this guy moving forward!

We ended P-day with dinner and a Family Home Evening with a family in one of the wards. We played Book of Mormon hangman, which was really good for the young boys to get excited about learning more. Afterwards, we talked to an investigator that is living with this family and had a great discussion about the struggles in her life right now.

And today I got to email!! It has been an awesome week, and I'm very excited moving forward!! I hope everything back home is going well!

Lots of love, Elder Bird

Pictures: Elder Sato on Mission Parkway!!

Elder Sato has a yoda costume for pajamas, which he found in the apartment. Isn't that hilarious???

In our apartment

Eating pie at a ward member's house


Transfers!

10/03/16

Hello everyone!! I hope the week has been awesome for you and you all enjoyed General Conference as much as I did. If you didn't get to see it, I highly recommend you view it on LDS.org.

Anyway, this upcoming week is transfers!! It is so exciting! I am ready for a change and a new area. We were told where we will be going this morning! I will be transferring to the Denver area (the big city!) covering two wards. My new companion will be Elder Sato, is also at his three month mark, like me. He is from Japan (how sweet is that?) We will both continue to learn together. I am sad to leave Elder LaPerle, who is staying here in Westminster and training a new Elder. He has been a fantastic companion, and we'll stay in touch as we move forward.

Anyway, I'm so excited!!!

As for the week, we had a fantastic one, even though we had tons of cancellations (investigators, dinners, and even service opportunities!), but Conference totally made up for all of that. Because we had a bit of a slower week (mostly tracting, yay!!!), I'll just give you the highlights and the really awesome stuff.

On Thursday, we sat down with one of our progressing investigators. We were in his area, and he invited us in. We got to talking about our pre-earth life and the different plans Jesus and Satan had up in Heaven. He told us that he felt bad for Satan and all of his followers. It was something I had never heard before. I don't think he understood Satan's open rebellion and how awful Satan's plan was, a plan with zero agency. As he was talking about it, I could actually feel the Spirit leave the room, and it felt dark and weird. I had no idea what to do. I had heard of stories where when the Spirit leaves, Elders sing a hymn to invite it back, and then to testify of the goodness of the gospel. So I asked our investigator if I could sing a hymn for him. I sang "The Spirit of God". The heavy dark feeling in the room seemed to leave, and I felt so much better. After the hymn, my companion and I bore simple testimonies of the Savior and how great His plan is for us. I think we could all feel the Spirit again. It was an amazing experience! Afterward, we told him about Conference and he expressed a great desire to see it! Unfortunately, we couldn't find a ride for him for either day. We told him that we would see him next week and next Sunday.

Saturday was Conference!! We went to the Stake Center to watch it. There was almost no one there though, everyone must have been at home in their PJ's. So we watched it with another pair of missionaries and two or three members. I really enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf's beautiful talk on the Plan of Salvation. It is truly an amazing plan. After the morning session, we decided to stay at the stake center in order to save on miles. The afternoon session was again fantastic. Elder Stevenson gave an amazing talk on the Book of Mormon, and I greatly enjoyed Elder Yamashita's talk directed towards the missionaries. After his remarks, the MTC choir (in which I knew an Elder and a Sister) sang "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go Lord." That hymn has a very special meaning to me as of late, and I felt the Spirit strongly as I watched my fellow missionaries sing it.

After the afternoon session, we tracted a few doors and then our Zone Leaders took us out for Chinese food before the Priesthood Session. Apparently it was a tradition for one of those Elder's families, so that was a ton of fun. Then, we went back to the Stake Center for Priesthood session. Another amazing session! I really enjoyed Elder LeGrand Richard's talk on the Book of Mormon and President Uchtdorf's talk on "Alma and Amulek". After that session, we were standing around talking with our mission president and a few other Elders (the president lives in our stake boundries, so he was there). The mission president invited us all out to Dairy Queen!! So, we went with the Assistants to the President, our zone leaders, and the Mission President to Dairy Queen. We had a good discussions about the conferences talks today. It was a really fun time!

It was a great Saturday! Later, we realized we had spent 8 hours at the Stake Center!!!

Sunday was another amazing day. We went back to the Stake Center for the morning session. I very much enjoyed President Nelson's talk on joy in this life and the life to come. After the morning session, we again resolved to do what we had done the day before, and stay to save on miles until the afternoon session. While we were there waiting, a member called us and asked if we could help their neighbors move. We were happy to help and quickly went over there to help. After that, the members invited us in to watch the afternoon session. It was a much needed break from the Stake Center, and a good way to watch the last session or "the home stretch."

The afternoon session was, again, fantastic. I really liked Elder Rasband's talk on remembering the Spiritual experiences that we've had in life and returning to them in hard times. It inspired me to keep a record of amazing experiences I've had on my mission not only in my journal, but on a separate paper that I can return to when times get rough. After the session ended, we got back to our regular work (with rejuvenation)! We finished out Sunday by tracting, trying to get into contact with investigators and less actives, and meeting with one of our less actives (who totally bore his awesome testimony to us while his Jewish friend sat there listening!!). It was a good way to end the week!

Anyway, lots of great stuff continues to happen here. I know that the words we've heard from the brethren this week are DIRECTLY from God ("Whether it is by mine own voice, or by the voice of my servants, it is the same"). I know that, if we continually study and feast upon these talks that have been given, we can and will receive answers to questions we have. I testify that this church is indeed Christ's church again upon the face of the Earth, as it was in Jesus' day.

I hope you all the best as you move forward! Love you!!

Elder Bird

Picture 1: Us missionaries with El Presidente at Dairy Queen

Picture 2: A new whiteboard we got for the apartment!!


New Investigators!!!

9/26/16

Hey everyone! I hope everything is going well back home!

This week was just a fantastic week. It was a stark contrast to last week, which was a bit tough sometimes. We met some really awesome people this week and helped others continue to progress in the gospel. The work we do is just so awesome!!

So Monday started off normally. We usually don't have lessons on P-day, but someone told us to come back at 4 on P-day, so we did. We weren't expecting much, but this man totally let us in and we started talking a lot about faith and how to find it. We taught a little about how we came to find faith, and I left him with a Spanish Book of Mormon and told him to read Alma 32, which is a beautiful discourse on faith. He said he would read and that we could come back on Friday. And just like that, we had a new investigator!!

Tuesday was a pretty full day. We ended up starting out with volunteering at a Food bank up north in the morning with some other Elders. It was such a good way to spend our time. We helped people who really needed some food get what they needed. The people in charge were very kind as we helped them out and adopted us right into their service family. It was an awesome experience, and we're excited to keep helping people there every week. We spent a lot of the rest of the day trying to get into contact with people and tracting. Dinner was Cafe Rio (shout out to my brother-in-law who works there) with a cute young family in the ward. The dad is actually a surgeon at the Kaiser I go to downtown, and he was on the news that night. They had it recorded and we watched his "five minutes of fame" with them. It was really fun! Then, that night tracting, the very first person we met stopped and talked to us for a half hour! She had met with sister missionaries before, and told us she would have to come out our ward. It was way awesome! Then, I went and stayed the night with my district leader in the adjacent ward for exchanges.

Wednesday was spent on exchanges. My district leader is a really kind, genuine guy named Elder Sant. He's a bit of a goober from the South. We had a lot of fun on Wednesday, walking and tracting and trying to get into contact with people. Elder Sant's companion, Elder Bjerga (he's from Norway) was with Elder LaPerle in my area, and they said they had a good day, too. Our companionships are really good friends, so it was a fun day for everyone.

Thursday was back to normal. But something amazing happened Thursday morning!! As we were tracting up north (the north of our area is a bit ritzier/richer than the south), we happened upon a new investigator! We had been knocking these really really nice houses and were actually walking away from one when a guy ran out from it and told us to come back! He looked about his 20's, so I thought maybe he was living with his parents. We told him what we were doing there, and he invited us in. It turns out that he, a 19 year old kid, owned the house. He is a multi-millionaire already (and he's my age)!!! Apparently, he owns 4 really nice houses, and is moving to California soon. He told us that he had graduated high school a year early and was going to college, but had gotten his money by writing apps and investing in stocks (the biggest yield of which being Uber). We were quite impressed, especially when he told us that he had recently bought his parents their own house (sorry mom and dad, I can't do that for you just yet). He was super nice and listened intently for what we had to say. When we gave him a Book of Mormon, he even had us mark our favorite chapters so he could read them!! After, we thanked him and left, and then did happy dances the rest of the day.

Friday was a great day! The big thing of note was that we met with Monday's investigator again. And he is totally progressing in the gospel. He had read the chapter we gave him, and said that even though it was hard to understand, that it was beautiful and he had felt really peaceful and good while doing so!!! We taught him about the Gospel of Christ and especially the Holy Ghost. We gave him another chapter to read, and set up another appointment to meet!! How awesome is that??

Saturday was busy. The day started with a move of someone out of the ward. We were sad to see him go. While we were helping, he totally gave us a bunch of his old stuff! We are now the proud owners of that guy's bean bag. After the move, we met with some less actives and tried to meet with another investigator, Jimmy, who had been to church a while back but was not coming anymore (even though he had felt so good when he had come). He cancelled on us today, which was a bummer because he had been so hopeful before. So we finished of the night with tracting and met some very nice people.

Sunday was crazy busy!! Meetings in the morning, appointments right before church. At about quarter till church, we went to go get Jimmy for church. We were really unsure if he would, because of the last couple weeks. But he came!! So Sacrament was a little crazy, because we had a less active we're teaching there, and investigator, our recent convert, and then two women who just walked in (oh, and they only spoke Spanish). It was the primary program, which was a really sweet experience for everyone that came. All the kids were adorable, and I think everyone enjoyed it. I sat through it and thought about what would happen right after the meeting, and how I could juggle talking with and getting everyone situated. When the meeting ended, I tried to get help for the Spanish women as quick as possible. With that done, I juggled conversations with the less active and my investigator for 15 minutes. The less active went to class, and then we had the investigator meet with the bishop and the ward employment specialist. It had been a busy 20 minutes, but we got it all done. As we took Jimmy (the investigator) home, because he couldn't stay the whole time, he told us how much he liked the ward family and how nice everyone had been. He told us he would want to meet again and to come to church again next week! It was so awesome!! The rest of the day went well, tracting and meeting with more less actives. It was a good Sunday.

It was a great week!! The work is really picking up again out here, The week ahead looks even more busy, which really keeps us missionaries happy!

Anyway, I hope things are well back home. I keep you all in my prayers. May God continue to bless you all with happiness.

Until next week, Elder Bird

Elder LaPerle and I chillin' at Subway

Me in the bean bag chair we scored


The Week's Done Already?

9/19/16

Hey everyone!!!

It seems like the weeks fly by faster and faster each time! We are already starting week 5 of the transfers! Two more weeks, and we'll switch again. Isn't that crazy??

This week was great!! A lot happened, so I'll talk about the highlights.

On Tuesday morning, we had a housing inspection. They like to check in on us and make sure we are keeping the apartment nice and clean. Luckily, we already keep our place pretty clean, so we just had to make sure it was spotless. We also put on those finishing details (like we found some flowers outside and put them in a can, as a centerpiece on the table. Classy, right?). Our inspector was really impressed! We passed with flying colors.

The rest of Tuesday was designated as a "Car Fast" day. Our leaders wanted everyone to not use their cars until 5:00pm that day. So we were out walking the whole day! It was good. We tracted and met with some lesser active people that we walked to. I think that getting the missionaries out of the cars really helps, especially to have people see us out in the community more. People give us friendly (and not so friendly) honks, which is really fun. The other day, some random number even texted us, saying he wanted to meet with us because he had seen us walking. I think he had gotten our number from someone in the community. It was amazing!! The blessings of walking :)

Wednesday was filled with meetings until 2pm. Then we did some service at a member's house. As I squatted down to lift something up, my pants totally ripped...it was so embarrassing!! When we finished the service, we headed home so I could change my pants. Luckily, a nice lady in the ward is going to patch them up for me. That is really nice, because they would probably look awful if I patched them up myself. We finished off Wednesday night by trying to meet up with an investigator from before, but that fell through, so we tracted some more. We actually ran out of Book of Mormon's to pass out that night, because so many people have been accepting them! We had to order more from the office, which we picked up on Friday.

Thursday was a pretty average day. We did yard work in the morning and then we tracted and tried to get in contact with certain people. We ran out of Book of Mormon's to hand out, so we just handed out the pamphlets we had, which talk about Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation. We handed those out all day, and then something crazy happened right before dinner! As we were going around, someone actually let us in to hear our message!!! It was one of the few times where we've been let in to sit down and talk. She was a sweet older woman, I think around 89 or so. We had a nice visit and all shared experiences about this life and God's plan for us. She was so kind and willing to listen. We were so happy!!! We are going to go back this week and share a copy of the Book of Mormon with her (now that we have one). We are going to introduce her to a nice older couple from the ward. She already has a lot of faith, but is kind of alone. We hope we can fill her life with happiness as we share our message and introduce her to the great community within our church.

Friday was a crazy day! We had a training meeting down in Aurora, but had to first pick up Elders who were on bike up in Boulder (opposite sides of the mission). So, we ended up using 75 miles that day (we normally get 33 a day). So we might be doing more walking at the end of the month!! But the meeting was awesome and we were able to pick up some more Book of Mormon's to pass out. The took up most of the day. That night we just tried to contact people and tract. We had plans to meet with an investigator, but that fell through. So more tracting!!

Saturday was also busy! We did some more service, met with the less active who's mom is in the hospital, met with the less active who wants to have his deceased daughter baptized in the temple, and met with our investigator who came to church a few Sundays back. They were all good meetings and it still amazes me at how much I love these people. On of our investigators told us that he had definitely felt a difference in his life the week he had come to church. He has a hard life, but he could see the help that church had brought to him!! It was so cool to see his recognition of that.

Finally, Sunday came around. We were super excited to see everyone who had told us they would come to church, especially our investigator. When Sacrament came though, not a single person we had met with on Saturday, and said they would come, showed up. It was devastating!! All I can do though, is invite them to come and receive the gospel and the happiness that comes from it. Hopefully they will make the effort they need to to come and receive that joy. Until then, the Savior (and me) will be waiting patiently for them.

Anyway, it was a good week! I won't lie, the work is hard and rejection stinks. BUT, what makes it all worth it is knowing that what we share can and will help people find peace in this life and joy in the life to come. I am grateful that I do get to share that, and I hope I can continue diligently in the work to help people receive such.

I hope everything is well back home!! I am praying for you all (especially for my new nephew, baby Eli)!!

Keep being awesome!!

Elder Bird

Pictures:

Our classy centerpiece!

The view of Denver we have

Me, doing some service this week

The moon one night - it was big and red.


Food, Glorious Food

9/12/16

Hey Everyone!!!

Things here in Colorado are amazing as always! We are heading into football season, or should I say Broncos season, so things here are getting really fun. One of the biggest themes of this week, though, was delicious and crazy amounts of food!!

So as a missionary with limited monthly funds, you learn quickly where to go out to eat that is really cheap and really good. So this week, we went and ate at a lot of those places because some of our dinners had to cancel. We found an Asian place that only charges $5 for a plate of fried rice, two entrees, a spring roll, and a soda! It's like Panda Express, but cheaper!! We also found a pizza place where we could buy 12" pizzas for $6 each (which I might or might not have eaten all in one sitting...oops). This week also, with the Broncos playing, we have a key tag which allows us to buy $1 Big Mac's all day, the day after every Broncos game. So we had a few cheap Big Mac's this week too. We had a member who emailed my mom and got my favorite recipe and cooked it for me (it was amazing!!!) And finally, we just got back from Golden Corral for lunch, which is all you can eat delicious food. It feels like we had a crazy food filled week, and I have it on the brain!!

I hope I'm not scaring anyone, as a diabetic only talking about crazy bad fast food. To go along with that, I had my first diabetic check up today! Last Tuesday, I went in to get blood work done to see how I've been doing! That was all fine and dandy, but I almost passed out after they took my blood! I could feel myself slipping and my vision blurring, so I told my blood worker. He went pale and laid me down real quick to get some blood back to my head. After a few minutes, I felt fine, but he still said to be careful So I rode home laying down in the car with my feet up. It was one of those awesome #diabetic perks. Then early this morning, I had my actual check up. Apparently no records had been sent over from California, so I explained to my doctor what was happening and everything. She was really nice, and she told me I have been doing really well with everything here (God's been helping me a WHOLE lot). My Hemoglobin A1C (a blood sugar average) is back down to 5.5, so I am in a very healthy range. Yay!!! So no one has to worry about me eating all this crazy food and that I am a diabetic, I am doing great!

I had my first zone conference out here! That is a meeting where about half the Elders get all together and are led by President in some training and some inspirational talks to kind of rekindle our spirits. It was an amazing conference!! We learned so much, and I was definitely rejuvenated. We talked a lot about Peter and his ministry. What really touched my heart was the story of when the Savior asked Peter three times if Peter loved him. The final time, Peter told Jesus emphatically that he loved him, and that Jesus knew that he loved him. Jesus quietly replied to him to feed His sheep. That inspired me so much. I feel similar to Peter; I feel as if I can look at the Savior if He asks me if I love Him and tell Him that He knows I do. With that, the Savior needs me to feed His sheep. That is why I am out here.

As for lessons this week, a lot fell through. We had three of our five investigators (that's right, 5!!!) cancel on us. We also had a few less actives cancel on us, and a few dinners. With that, we had a lot of times to tract! And while we did so, we picked up a new investigator!! (that doesn't happen often, so it was a real blessing). She is an older black woman who is so sweet to us. She is really interested in scripture study, and we have two more return appointments with her already!! She said she is concerned on if we are eating enough (we told her we definitely are) but she told us she'd still feed us lunches as we go over there. She is so so sweet and it is amazing to feel the love of Christ that she already has for us.

I met a young family at church yesterday who knows my Aunt and Uncle Bird in Stockton!! My dad grew up in Stockton, and we have a lot of family there. The wife grew up in Stockton and went to high school at Lincoln High (where my dad went). It turns out she grew up knowing my Uncle and Aunt who still live in Stockton. Her name is Sister Gamboa (I think her name starts wit an A, like Aivlyn maybe? I'm not so great with first names out here). It was so cool to meet yet another person who has ties to home!!

One more cool experience. We have been talking to this man who was married to a Mormon before. He wasn't really interested, and we were puzzled on how we could help him become so. We decided not to stop by him this week, and maybe try back in a few weeks. The next day though, we felt as if we should see him. When we did, he greeted us and told us he'd missed us and that, if we came next week, he'd have burgers and hot dogs for us!! It was so amazing. I am really hopeful that we can continue to see and help this man. I know God is helping us help others in so many ways. I am so blessed to be able to act as His hand as we go out and share with people what we have seen has helped us so much!

So the work is great here!!! I continue to love every hour. I hope things are well for all of you back home!

I love you all,

Elder Bird

Pictures: A Denver Sunset. Its amazing.

I've learned that the Denver Broncos are the one and only true football team established on the Earth (Everyone is a fan. Everyone.)

My hospital in Denver!


A New Bike

9/06/16

Hello everyone!!!

Oh my goodness, what a week it has been! So much has happened, I don't even know where to begin!

Well I think I said this last time, but the start of the week began with a lot of walking. We had to carefully budget out where we would go in the car because we only had about 12 miles a day. That is really hard in our area. But, we did it!! And guess what?? As we were walking to the grocery store on Monday, our district leader saw us and gave us a ride home. I saw a bike on their bike rack and asked who's it was. "Yours if you want it," they told me. So I scored a free bike!!! How awesome is that?? There are some biking areas in my mission, so now I'm way set if I ever get sent there. It is such a blessing!!!

Monday night ended with us walking around to see people on our list and getting poured on. It was raining so hard, it was crazy! I was totally soaked, and my companion was loving it because he's from Washington. After 45 minutes of that, we were able to get into an appointment and dry off. It was a crazy night!

On Tuesday while we were out visiting names of less actives and potential investigators, we stopped and met with an older couple in the ward. When we asked if we could help them with anything, they told us we could help them can the jelly they were currently making. So we did! After we got it all canned, they gave us two jars of homemade jelly, and told us they would need more help the next day. They had fresh grapes in their backyard, and asked if we would help them turn that into jelly. So the next day we went back and helped them turn their fresh grapes into jelly!! It was such an awesome form of service. They're so sweet and were really appreciative. We now have 5 jars of homemade jelly in our fridge. Our peanut butter and jelly sandwich consumption has skyrocketed!

Wednesday night we had a lesson with an investigator. We brought with us a ward missionary. At first we were worried if he would be the right fit for this single woman investigator, but as we taught about the Book of Mormon and Restoration, this ward missionary was able to relate with her, bring the Spirit, and testify to her in a personal way that made what we talked about that much more important. It was a fantastic lesson, and she became my first ever progressing investigator!! How awesome is that?? We couldn't thank that ward missionary enough for all his help and how strongly he was able to help this woman. We have a return appointment on Wednesday again. I'm so excited!!

On Friday, we had a lesson with a less active, recent convert couple who are interested in going to the temple to have their daughter, who has passed away, receive the ordinance of baptism by proxy. We brought a member of the bishopric with us, and the visit was amazing. At the close, the man asked what he needed to do to start the temple process. When we told him that he needed to come to church on Sunday, he replied, "I'll see you Sunday then." What amazing faith he had. His desire to do something good for his daughter is leading him to have faith. It is such a blessing to witness.

On Friday night, something unexpected happened. We had dinner with a lady in our ward, Sister Hamman, who turned out to be from San Jose and my home stake!! She turned out to be Heather Judd's (a family friend and prominent member in the stake) sister who had moved out here! It turns out that I had gone to seminary with her son Ryan. It was so crazy to connect with her about home and her son and everything like that. She texted her sister, Heather, who texted my mom, a picture of me eating dinner with her. She also asked me what my favorite dinner was and when I told her, she had her sister ask my mom for the recipe. My mom then emailed it to Sister Hamman so that she can cook it for me. It was so awesome!!!

Saturday, we had some amazing lessons with investigators and then a member who had recently had a very hard week. This brother had so much faith. He told us that, "when the devil looked me in the face and tried to bring a storm on me this week, I looked back and told him that I was the storm!" haha I thought that was funny and really thought he had a lot of faith.

One of the investigators we taught on Saturday ended up coming to church!! When we invited him to church we asked him not to bring any cigarettes and that he couldn't smoke at the church, but he came nonetheless. It was fast and testimony meeting, so I got up and shared my testimony on the Plan of Salvation, because this investigator was looking for his purpose in life. He went all through Sacrament without a cigarette and it was hard for him, but he told us he wanted to come back next week. We are excited for him. I think we're going to teach him the Word of Wisdom soon.

Something unfortunate happened on Sunday night. An elderly less active woman we have been meeting with, fell down while we were at dinner. Her daughter texted us that she needed us now and we went as quick as we could. We got her up and went with the mom and her daughter to the ER. It turns out that the mom had fractured a vertebrae in her lower back. It was so tragic. The biggest thing that I kept thinking while we sat there, nervous and worried with them in the ER, is how easily the people here have come to feel like family to me. I felt real sorrow for them, as if these people were my aunt or my grandma. It was really crazy. It made me realize how much I really do love these people out here.

The next day, Monday, was P-day!!! President decided to have us email today instead (because of Labor day), so P-day ended at 4 instead of 6. We did normal P-day stuff, like shop, clean the house and car (especially the car because we have inspections soon), and then played sports with our zone. We ended P-day and then went to give the injured less active woman a blessing in the hospital. She was in much better spirits, and so sweet to us. That went well, and the night ended with dinner and a meeting with some members who are adopting an 11 year old boy and will want him to have the lessons soon.

Like I said, it was a crazy busy week!!!! What is even more crazy, is it feels like it went by in seconds. Through all of this, my testimony continues to grow. I know that Jesus walked this Earth, atoned for yours and my sins, and continues to watch over us and comfort us as we go through our busy weeks. I can feel His love so strongly as I work with some of his amazing children.

Anyway, have a great week everyone!!! I love you all!!

Elder Bird

Pictures: My beautiful, new, FREE bike

My current area. Have I sent a picture yet? It looks gerrymandered.

A prayer rock for someone we are teaching! Homemade, and quite a work of art.


No More #Brammertime

8/29/16

Hey everyone!!!

This week was another great week here in Denver!

We had transfers on Wednesday!! We learned that Elder Brammer would be leaving us and that Elder LaPerle and I would be staying here. Elder Brammer would be heading to Aurora, where he actually started off his mission. He was excited, but we knew we'd miss him, and we have. Now we are back in a regular duo though!

We learned that Elder Brammer was leaving on Monday, so we spent all of Tuesday trying to visit with all our investigators and less active members so Elder Brammer could say goodbye and have one more chance to help them feel the Spirit before he left. He had really touched the lives of a lot of people out here, and a lot were sad to see him go. Hopefully his influence will continue to play a part in their lives.

Wednesday, we took him to the transfer building and shipped him off. Then Elder LaPerle and I went to a meeting for new Elders that had showed up that morning. I think President still had some paperwork for me to do and wanted to meet the Elders and Sisters I would be here a lot with. It was nice. After that meeting, we did a lot of tracting and trying to find. We met a really nice former investigator who let us in and let us talk. She told us about how she had been to Jerusalem and felt the special Spirit there, having walked where Jesus walked. We told her how jealous we were, and then explained the importance of the testimony of Christ in the Book of Mormon. She was receptive and told us to come back. Yay!!

Thursday morning started off with an appointment with a nice man, who turned out to be very bash-y. We tried to explain our church and doctrines to him, but he was trying to use the Bible to basically disprove our religion. We didn't have the Spirit there, and so the lesson went poorly, with both of us thinking the other was wrong. He really needs a Spiritual witness of the truth instead of one from logic or words. I hope we can help him get that. After the lesson, we had a meeting and did a ton of tracting. Later that night, we met with another former investigator who let us in!!! We taught her the Restoration, and she wants us to come back and teach more. It was awesome!!

Friday was a slower day, lesson wise. We helped an elderly lady with yard work until 1pm, and then had a planning session for the upcoming week until 3pm. After, we did a lot of tracting and walking around. Fun stuff!

Saturday was awesome! We met with a super nice less active in the morning, had an amazing lesson with one of our investigators on the Restoration, and did a lot of tracting. When we got home and calculated out the miles on the car and how much we had left, we found out there was a little bit of a problem. We only had about 11.5 miles a left to use until the end of the month, because we had been doing a lot of driving. Basically what that meant for us was a lot of walking, and we could drive to dinners and that was about it. Sooooo . . .

We walked to church on Sunday! We had an appointment with some people beforehand, and (luckily) they lived on the way! We had a great lesson and we explained more about baptisms for the dead in the temple. The husband showed a lot of interest, because he wanted his daughter, who had passed away, to receive that ordinance. His genuine love and concern for his daughter who had passed on to receive that saving ordinance brought the Spirit strongly to that lesson, and we are really excited for them. After them, we walked to church. Church was fantastic. It was the Bishop's son's farewell before he leaves for his mission. He's going to Colombia. There was a really special spirit there, and you could feel the love that his home ward had for him and that he had for his home ward. It made me think a lot of my home ward and how awesome it is back there. It was really special, and he will be a great missionary.

After church, we were walking home and someone gave us a ride! Then we went to dinner, drove back, and walked to some appointments we had that night (that we only about a mile away, thankfully).

Anyway, it has been a really great week! I feel like we have had a lot of recent success, and I know that the work we are doing for the people is truly what God wants for them. I am so thankful that I can help them receive God's greatest gift to all of them. it's truly humbling to think that God is working through me to touch these people's lives.

I love it out here and am so glad to be doing the things that I am. I hope you all have a blessed week!!!

Elder Bird

Picture 1 & 2: I redecorated our apartment - we have a dining room now!

Picture 3: A funny sign we found

Picture 4: A flaming hearse


Almost a Month Already?

8/22/16

As I was sitting here thinking of what to write, I realized that today is my fourth P-day in the field!! I have almost been here for a month, and it only seems like I got here yesterday!! It is quite amazing how time passes here on the mission.

This week was another great one here in Denver!!! On Monday, after we finished emailing friends and family, we had the chance to go up to a new temple opening up in Fort Collins! We planned on taking our recent convert, but he fell through. Instead we were able to walk through with some investigators in another ward, which was super nice. These two investigators weren't really interested in conversion or anything, but were very interested in seeing the the temple. We walked them through, and tried to become their friends as we explained the temple and how important it is to us. There was a special spirit felt there, and I hope they continue to have good experiences with our church. Maybe someday they'll even take the lessons!

Tuesday was back to the normal work routine (which is always great!) We taught a solid investigator we found tracting, a while back, about prophets. He is a wonderful man and father with great faith. He loves jokes, and so I told a few religious jokes that my dad told me, and he loved them (the one about the rich man who brings pavement to heaven, dad). He expressed interest in coming to church on Sunday!!! We are so excited for him. He started calling us his brothers. I am amazed at how easily I have come to love this man, and how I can feel God's love for him. We tried more finding and tracting until nighttime. We are trying to tract at least two hours a day now to finds more investigators! It is always worth it, because we always find at least two or three nice people who are nice and we can return to. I love tracting, but my companions don't as much. They say its my greenie fire....but I hope I can keep that.

Tuesday night ended with us meeting up with Crazy Horse. It was raining as we walked through the park to find him, and we got discouraged that he wouldn't show. All of a sudden, we heard a guy yell "CRAZY HORSE", after which a giant lightning bolt lit up the sky and thunder boomed close!!! It was him! That was a pretty cool sign from God haha. We met with him and talked about what had happened to him. He was still drunk though. We talked about getting him to a rehab center and prayed with him. It was so sad. Finally, we said we'd meet him again Thursday night and left for the night.

Wednesday we had meetings and went tracting/finding for the rest of the day. We met some nice people. We also had a few appointments with less actives. I'm hopeful for these people to come back to church!!!

Thursday was mostly tracting, finding, and some appointments. Crazy Horse didn't show at the park, and we were bummed out. Since he doesn't have a number, we don't know how to contact him. We're going to keep trying to see him, but it was a bummer. Friday was the same with tracting, finding, and some appointments.

Saturday was a big day!! We met with the same investigator as we had on Tuesday, just to check up. He invited us in and we read in the Book of Mormon. He said he felt like he had been a Laman earlier in life. We expressed to him that we knew that if he continued to read in the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it was true, he would come to know it was. He said he would probably come to church, and we left. The rest of the day was more tracting, appointments, and what not.

Sunday came around, and we sat in church, waiting for the less actives we had met with and our investigator to come. Unfortunately, the investigator didn't make it. But we had 1 of our less actives come and our very recent convert who was sick make it!! It was really awesome to have them there for Sacrament. I taught the Gospel Principles lesson on The Lord's Law of Health, and talked a little of Daniel (my namesake) and his experience with that. It was good.

Sunday ended with meeting with a less active member who had left because she had been offended, but was coming back and wanted the lessons. She was so sweet to us. We shared with her our personal experiences as we taught the 1st lesson, and we all felt the Spirit. One thing that she struggles with is the history of the Book of Mormon. She doesn't know who is related to who and what city is what, which can be hard. If you don't know that stuff, then the Book can be challenging. We are excited to help her.

You do not need to know the history of the Book of Mormon to gain a testimony of it's truth and the truths of the Gospel it contains. That history helps a lot in explaining the context of stories, which can then be related to our own lives. I would encourage everyone to read up a little on the history contained in the Book of Mormon. It's about a family that left Jerusalem at a very interesting time. I know that we can liken the experiences had by those many wonderful people in the book to ourselves, our testimony of the truth can and will grow. I know with all my heart that the Book of Mormon is a true book, and with that knowledge, know that it was translated by a true prophet of God, Joseph Smith, and that Jesus Christ really did live and was resurrected. I am so grateful for that, and the knowledge I continue to gain as I study it daily.

Anyway, the work is great here, and I love it. Keep being awesome at home,

Elder Bird

Picture 1: Fort Collins Temple

Picture 2: Tracting Elder Circle

Picture 3: A pumpkin carriage at a park


Pretty RAD in ColoRADo

8/15/16

Hello again everyone!!!

This week was another awesome week! You know, felt the Spirit, taught some people the gospel...all that jazz ;)

But really, the work out here is awesome. The week started with exchanges! Basically, I went over to the other tri-panionship in our district and stayed with them for a day, while one of those Elders came over and stayed with my companions for the day. It was fun! They live in a member's house instead of an apartment, so that was a little different. Also, they just have a lot of different ways of doing things than my companions, so it was fun to see how they worked and did things. We had a very fun day. There was a lot of tracting (yayyyyy!), we met with a super crazy less active (she was really funny), and had pizza for dinner. No complaints there. At the end of the day though, I was happy to come home to my regular companions and apartment.

On Thursday night, Elder LaPerle started feeling kind of sick. We headed back to the apartment, and things got worse. He started throwing up. We told him to call it a night, and Elder Brammer and I conducted daily planning without him. It felt really weird being in a twosome. Elder Brammer said he hadn't been in a twosome for 6 weeks and it felt weird to him too. The next day, Elder LaPerle didn't feel much better. We were worried about him, but also bummed because we had some appointments that day which we were excited about and worried about missing. We ended up getting our district leader to stay with Elder LaPerle at our apartment, while Elder Brammer and I went out for the day. It was kind of different tracting and teaching as two instead of three, but I should get used to it because that is the normal way. Our appointments went well, and we had a good day. Elder LaPerle felt better by that night, and so we were able to resume our normal service the next day.

Most of the week was pretty standard. Some meetings, tracting, finding, appointments. We've made it a goal to tract for at least an hour every day (we've already found some awesome people, plus it keeps us humble). A few people are kind of mean, but that's okay. It is worth all of the nice ones we meet.

The last thing which is kind of funny/ crazy. Last night, our appointment with a less active fell through.; We decided to street contact in a park instead. As we were walking, we happened upon a crazy drunk who called himself Crazy Horse. Apparently, Elder Brammer and his old companion had helped rehabilitate him before and had gotten him back on his feet. Unfortunately, he had fallen back into his old ways and was drinking again. It was rough to see him like that, falling all over the place and crying. He was happy to see Elder Brammer. You could tell that he loved Elder Brammer for helping him, and he regretted getting back into his old slump.

There were a few times that Crazy Horse looked like he was going to punch Elder Brammer. He seemed angry about his situation and had a lot of hate. I just stood back and waited, ready to throw all 150 pounds of myself at this guy to get in between them if he swung at Elder Brammer. But he really did love Elder Brammer. We took his alcohol away from him and told him we'd meet him on Tuesday again. We hope he's a little more sober. I really hope we can get him back on his feet again. He is a nice guy, and deserves so much better.

Anyway, the work is great. Stories like the last one and helping people change their lives for the better is the best work on the planet. I know that God is up there, putting us in people's paths so that we might help them. I am so grateful to be doing so.

I hope things are well at home. I love you all!

Elder Bird

Picture 1: Me and Elder LaPerle

Picture 2: Elder LaPerle with records that a member gave him


Blessings upon Blessings upon Blessings

8/8/16

Hello everyone!! Today is my second P-day in the mile high city and everything is going fantastic!

My second week here has been amazing. This week I really strove (strived?) to become more familiar with the ward and the area (I think I'm doing okay with the ward...but the area is confusing!). Things here are awesome though!

Probably the biggest thing that happened this week was our baptism! On Saturday, Elder Brammer baptized a faithful young man into the church. It was such an amazing thing to be apart of. It was so cool to see the smile on his face as he arose out of the water, and to see the smile stay on his face until he left. He was then confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday. We were super excited for him. However, he was late to church so we were a bit concerned. We sat all of Sacrament meeting praying and praying that he would get there. It was really important. Finally, at the end of the meeting, the 1st counselor got up and started announcing that they would do the confirmation. I was so afraid! We tried motioning to him that he wasn't here and hadn't made it, but as we were doing so, the young man walked past us and up to the stand!! He had walked in and had sat in the back, so we didn't see him. Wow, what a relief. He was confirmed and we could finally be at ease. I sat there happy for TJ to have finally made it and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Besides the baptism this week, we also had the opportunity to teach some really awesome lessons and be able to bring the Spirit to some really awesome people. I think the one that I was most excited for, was a lesson with a potential investigator who we actually found tracting (which is a miracle, because tracting hardly works here). [For those unfamiliar, tracting means knocking on doors.] Of course, it was the last door we knocked on, in the building. We knocked and he came out to talk with us. Even though he said he wasn't really interested and had his own faith, we asked if we could hold a Bible study with him. He seemed excited at that, and let us in. We talked about the Bible, and he related to us two amazing stories in his life where he had seen God's hand in his life. We were happily surprised by his faith. He is a single dad raising at least five kids, relying wholly upon his faith. It was awesome to hear his story. He told us he was pretty loyal to his church because it had helped him find God, so we invited to do a church swap with him. He seemed really excited about that idea. I'm excited to both see his church and to have him come to our church and feel the Spirit we have there. We also left him with a Book of Mormon and asked him to read it, trying to relate the journey of Lehi's family to the journey his own family is on. He said he would try. We thanked him and left, with a return appointment scheduled on Tuesday!!! It was so amazing to feel the Spirit and learn about this man's life. I am really excited to try to help him receive the knowledge of our Gospel, which I know will help and bless his family so much.

The last spiritual story was with a less active in our ward. He is a really kind man in his thirties, but unfortunately attending church is not a priority of his. We got him to attend Sacrament meeting though. Afterwards, we met with him and gave him a lesson about recognizing the blessings in his life and thanking God for them. The Spirit was palpable, and he even got a little emotional. I hope he remembers those feelings and continues to make church and the gospel a priority in his life.

Of all the things that have happened this week, what amazes me the most is how quickly I feel like I have come to love the people we are teaching. I love them already!! I desire for them to have true happiness! That is why I'm out here, and I hope I can bring that to them.

Here are some funny things that happened this week:

Okay funny thing 1: We were having dinner at a member's house this week, eating ribs, and right when we first started, a rib from my plate somehow jumped right into my lap. I got rib sauce all over me!!! Everyone laughed, and I had to go to the rest of that night's appointments looking like a big goof-ball. I had to do a lot of laundry and stain removal that night.

Funny thing 2: Elder Brammer almost did the baptism wrong!! He was accidentally facing the wrong way (This was his first time). We figured it out with the bishops help. He also had a hard time lifting the guy out of the water (the kid is a big football player). After it all, we had a good laugh about it.

One of the lessons Elder Brammer taught this week was on an Isaiah section in the Book of Mormon. Sometimes people think Isaiah is hard to understand, but they are really great scriptures and are easier to understand if you break them down one by one. So the scripture he shared is 1 Nephi 21:16. It reads:

16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

The first thing we have to recognize is that Isaiah is talking Messianically, as if he was the Saviour. The first is that the Saviour has graven all of us upon his hands. Graven means written, so basically He has written us upon his hands. He died for us on the cross, where nails were driven into his hands, for us. The nail prints are symbolic of all of our names, written on the Saviour’s hands. The second part is that our wall's are continually before Him. The walls in our lives are the obstacles we face. So, all of the obstacles we face in our life are constantly before the Saviour as he remembers our names in his hands. How amazing is that?

As we tried to think of a commitment to give to our families to go along with this lesson we thought of washing hands. So, we asked them (and now I ask all of you) whenever you wash your hands, cleaning them from the dirt and grit that comes with living here on this Earth, please remember your Saviour. Remember that your name is Graven upon His hands and only He can cleanse us from the sins of this world.

Things are great! On Wednesday we went to the Denver Temple!!! It was really awesome. We get to go every quarter. It was nice and fun too because I got to meet so many new faces (other missionaries).

I am loving it out here. Even though it is hard and I miss home and friends and stuff a lot, I love the people. They make it all worth it. I hope I can continue to become like Christ and help others to do so also.

I love you all so much!

Elder Bird

Picture 1: Baptism

Picture 2: The bag I thought was dorky but my mom was totally right about

Picture 3 & 4: RYAN school (mascot is Hawks - another word for Bird - get it?)

Picture 5: Us at the temple


1st P-day in Colorado

8/1/16

HI!!!!

Wow! Hi everyone!! I am here in Denver, Colorado! And let me tell you, you can't say Colorado without saying "rad".

I arrived in the Denver airport around 11:30 on Thursday and tried to find my way around the airport! Once I found baggage claim, I was met by my Mission President, President Mendenhall, and his wife. They were very excited to have me here and safe, and were very kind as we waited for my bags and heard my whole story. They actually have other missionaries out here with diabetes, so they kind of understand a little of what I have to do! It was nice to chat with them as they took me to the mission office where I would meet my companions and go to my new area!

Once at the mission office, I learned that I would be a part of a trio for a while because I had come mid-transfer. My companions are the bomb, Elders Brammer and LaPerle. They are incredibly nice and super genuine, and working with them even for this short amount of time has been awesome. I heard a trio companionship can be hard, but I find it a blessing, because I have two great teachers! They both make missionary work look easy, and I am excited to continue in my learning with them.

After I had met with my companions, I met the President's Assistants (who are also really cool Elders), and then had my first interview with President. Afterwards, my companions took me back to our area (in our car; I feel very blessed to have a car) and we started then and there on the work. We have been assigned to the Westminster Ward in Colorado, which covers a long diagonal strip just Northwest of Denver. After dropping off my luggage at the apartment, we went straight to a less active woman's house for a lesson.

My first lesson. IT WAS AWESOME!!! I had practiced over and over again lessons like this one in my head and at the MTC (in a different language, mind you), but now I finally had the opportunity to teach a real lesson to a real person as a missionary. This woman was struggling with health issues and basically couldn't leave her house at all. We had a lesson on the importance of the Sabbath and the Sacrament, and have made plans to attempt to get the Sacrament taken to her. It was awesome and I felt the Spirit very strongly.

I came out smiling and ready to take on anything!! My companions tell me I have something they call "greenie fire," where I am still excited and super happy to be doing the work. They say I should try to keep it, and I think I'll try my hardest to. Anyway, after that lesson, we tried "finding" (where we look in our area book for less actives, former or potential investigators, or recent converts who we haven't seen in a while). I think no one came to the door that day, but I was still just happy to be working.

After that we had service for a member in the ward, helping them move some stuff around, and then dinner with a nice member family. Our ward is super awesome about getting the Elders dinner, and so far there have been no problems with my diabetes, such a blessing!! After dinner, we tried finding one more time, and then went back to the apartment and planned.

The rest of the days have kind of been like that! We do mostly finding (which I described above), and a little tracting and street contacting. We have a car, which is way nice, but we only get a certain number of miles a month, so we have to budget and be careful how much we use the car. We'll walk to a lot of places that are close so that we don't use up to many miles.

Some of the highlights are we have a baptism this Saturday! There is a really nice young man named TJ who loves this gospel and can't wait to be baptized. I have tried to get to know him well before that, and am really excited for him as he progresses in this gospel.

Even though getting turned away so often here can be hard, it is all super worth it when you can sit down with a person and get a positive response from them when you teach them about something you love so much. Even though I am new here, I love to share my testimony with whoever will hear it. I know this gospel is true, and I look forward to continuing in the work.

Here are some pictures!! We found some fake moustaches in the apartment, so we decided to have some fun :)

Picture 1: "Get off my lawn, you lousy Mormon missionaries!"

Picture 2: My companions

Pictures 3: Us with moustaches

Picture 4: My companions and the APs (Assistants to the President)


The Second Time's the Charm

7/27/16

Hello everyone!!!

I bet you might be surprised to be getting my mass emails again, because I've been out for a little bit. But guess what?? I'm back!

I have been home for just a little under two months now. Home life has been good! I have really enjoyed spending time with my family again and making memories which I can keep for the next few years. During this time, I have got accustomed to dealing with diabetes. After about a month, it just became part of my life and I really feel like it is no big deal now.

With that, I knew I was ready to go back into the field and ready to be a missionary again. My doctor cleared me and I was able to resubmit my mission papers. Because it was around the 4th of July holiday, I had to wait a little bit. After a couple of weeks though, I starting to get anxious and antsy, itching to get back out. I found a new patience and meaning to the term "Waiting on the Lord."

After about three weeks of waiting, I heard some news from my Stake President. On Monday of last week, he emailed me and told me that I would be resuming my missionary service and was reassigned to serve in the Denver North, Colorado Mission!!! I was so ecstatic! I think I danced around the room with my baby niece, Sydney, for a few minutes. I was going to be a missionary again and I was so happy!!!

I waited to hear for more news, and learned that I would be flying straight to Denver the following Thursday. So this time, no MTC (Oh, I'll be speaking English this time by the way). I wasn't quite sure how to feel about not returning to the MTC. On one hand, I was really excited to go straight to the field, but on the other, I was nervous because I had received no training in English! I think I'll be okay, but I keep praying that my trainer will be very good. I also got in contact with my Mission President and talked to him a little about my condition. He seems like a very nice man, and I am excited to serve with him.

On Tuesday we spent most of the day packing. We had to change how we packed this time because the weather in Colorado is a tad different than Indonesia. I was set apart on Wednesday night and now I just fly out tomorrow morning. I cannot express how excited I am to return to missionary service.

It is kind of crazy to think that all of this happened within the last two months. If I sit down and think about it, two months ago my life was very different. I have had diabetes for less than two months, and I can already head back out to the field. I know God has helped throughout this entire process, and I have been able to recognize His hand in my life now more than I ever have before. I am so grateful for all He has done for me recently and all that I know He will continue to do for me and everyone.

So there it is!! I am so excited to be serving the Lord and the people of Colorado. Even though so much craziness has happened in the last two months, I wouldn't have it any other way. Challenges come up in our lives (when we least expect them) and with the Lord's help we learn how to overcome those challenges and become stronger people. I know I have been blessed by the Lord by the many tender mercies I have had through this process.

Much Love,

Elder Bird


How The MTC Changed Me

6/10/16

Hi everyone!! I know this post is a little bit early, but I have some pretty big news!

To make a long story short, I was just diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I have come home from my mission for a little while to learn how to deal with this new thing in my life. I was released from the hospital yesterday and am currently back home in California. I will be released as a missionary with a medical release this afternoon. I know it is a big shock! I'll be the first one to say that I never in my life thought I could have diabetes. But I do now. I know that God let this obstacle happen to me for a reason, and I hope I can have enough perspective to know, truly, that He knows best on this one.

So I'm guessing some people want to hear the long story. So here goes! Remember on Tuesday when I said I was feeling really thirsty? Well I was also feeling a bit weak, and I was having to use the bathroom way more often than I should have needed to. So after emailing on Tuesday, I went to get my haircut and had a small thought afterward, that maybe I should get checked out by the doctor. I decided to follow that prompting and headed to the doctor at the MTC. So I went in at 11am.

One of the first signs that something weird was happening, was when the nurse checked my weight. When she weighed me, I weighed 10 pounds less than I did when I entered the MTC. Now I don't know if you have seen me, but most people say I don't really have ten pounds to lose. So that was surprising to me. The nurse took some blood work and told me to come back for another appointment at 1pm. I thought that was kind of a bummer, because my zone usually goes to the temple around 1pm on P-days, but I said okay.

When I returned at 1pm, the nurse looked very concerned. She sat me down in the room and I waited for the doctor to come in. I started reading an Ensign that was there in the room, and flipped open to a talk about trials in this life. I didn't really realize how applicable that talk would be in about 5 minutes. When the doctor came in, he sat me down and told me that my blood sugar was above average (by a fair amount). At first, I thought maybe I was just eating too much sweets or something. But then he explained that with the symptoms I was showing, that there was a very high possibility that I was diabetic.

“...What?” I thought as I sat there. What does that even mean? How in the world could I get diabetes? It didn't even make sense to me. I asked the doctor three times if I had done this to myself by eating too much or by having too many sweets. He told me no, that I was predisposed to this and I had no hand in causing this to myself. I still felt unsure. After he told me the news, he explained to me that because my blood sugar level was so high (around 560 to be exact) that I needed to go to the ER immediately to get it down. That was also a bit of a shocker! Then he left to call a shuttle for me. I looked at my Ensign article with a new understanding of why I had been reading that talk. All I could think was, “There has to be a reason, Ryan. Just put your trust in God.”

So I took the shuttle to the ER. They got me into a bed and hooked me up to some machines. Apparently when I arrived at the ER, my blood sugar had risen even more to about 850 (which, apparently, is very dangerous for you). After an hour in the ER, my mom called [she had been told by my home Bishop that I had been admitted to the hospital] and I told her what was happening. About 20 minutes after that call, I realized I had nothing to do as I waited for them to get my blood sugar down, so I asked for a Book of Mormon and started reading.

I will never forget the verse in the Book of Mormon that set the tone for this whole ordeal in my mind. I had just restarted the Book of Mormon the other day and was reading in 1 Nephi chapter 2. Laman and Lemuel were complaining as always, but the verse that stuck out to me was verse 12. It reads:

12 And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.

I love that verse. It seems simple, but it was so powerful to me as I sat alone in the ER. Was I going to murmur against my Heavenly Father, who had created me, because I didn't know why I got diabetes on my mission, right before I went out? Was I going to complain that it was hard, or wonder why it had to be me who got diabetes? The resounding answer in my mind was NO. God had let this happen to me for a reason. He knows what He is doing. He knows me better than anyone else. And He would be with me as I figured all this out. I am grateful for His hand in helping me find that verse and to understand that I would be okay.

After about 3 hours in the ER, I was moved up to the second floor to a unit that was a step down from the ICU, and that was where I would spend my first night in the hospital. When I got up there, I continued to wait and read the Book of Mormon. My mom called again and told me that she had decided to fly out that night to be with me and make sure that I was going to be okay. Every so often, I would check the clock and figure out what my district was doing. I wondered how the Devotional was going and who was saying the opening prayer for Elder Bednar now that I wasn't there. I was disappointed that I couldn't do it. At around 9:15, my Branch President and his wife showed up at my room. They were both very sweet to me, asking if I needed anything and telling me that I was in my zone's prayers. I was appreciative of that, and let them know that I was fine. I really did feel fine, and I told them to tell everyone not to worry. They left and then I tried to get some sleep, which was hard because the nurses kept coming in to check my blood sugar and vitals every 2 hours.

The next day finally came. My blood sugar was down to normal now, so they let me take a shower and told me that later I would be moving to another room. This was a good sign they said, it meant that I was graduating out of that unit to a normal floor. After my shower, my mom and sister, Melanie, arrived. It was such a blessing to see them again. We talked about what was happening and everything and they helped me to feel less lonely. My teacher from the MTC also came by and brought me some letters from everyone in my district. It meant a lot to me as I read each one.

The rest of my time in the hospital was spent with them (showing off with my new Indonesian skills) and trying to get educated on how to deal with diabetes. The hospital diabetes specialists trained me in taking my blood sugar, giving myself insulin, and in calculating how much insulin I would need for meals. The educators were very kind, and I knew I was in good hands. That night my mom stayed with me at the hospital.

Thursday morning was busy with more education from the specialists and also the dietitian. Finally at around 2:30pm, I was released from the hospital and was on my own now in figuring out the diabetic thing. I have to say, it was a little intimidating.

I went back to the MTC to pack up all my stuff. While there, I was able to reconnected with my companion and saw most of the guys in my district. It was hard knowing that I was not going to be heading to Indonesia with them. I was so looking forward to it. After I got packed, I was able to officially say goodbye to my district and my zone. I am not kidding when I say they are the best district and zone in the MTC. They are all amazing missionaries. I know their prayers and thoughts were helping me in the hospital. Before I left, I made sure to get everyone's emails and told them to write. Then we said goodbye for a while.

My mom and I caught a flight home late last night. I went to see my doctor today and also an endocrinologist (diabetic specialist). I am figuring things out, trying to learn and count how many carbohydrates I am eating and then giving myself the right amount of insulin each time. I am glad to be back home with family. I'm not sure how long it will take, but am hoping for a short time with this learning process. And then I will be ready to get back out there, probably in the states somewhere. Whatever the Lord wants is where I'll go. Anyway, it has been quite an adventure.

So that is what happened!! I know its a lot (I know, I lived it). But again, I know that this is happening to me for a reason. Because I know that, I am okay. I can do this. Through God, I can do anything. Someone in my district reminded me that God said, “I never said it would be easy, I only said that it would be worth it” or something to that effect. I like that. I know that it will be worth it as I continually try to come unto the Lord and serve Him in whatever way that I can.

The title of this post was a little bit of a joke. The MTC actually did change my life (I got diabetes there, and my life will forever be different). But there is so much more than that joke. My one month mission in the MTC changed me as a person: how I view and teach the Gospel, my relationship with God and Jesus Christ, my entire person. It gave me new perspectives that will stay with me. I can add my testimony to thousands of other missionaries (even though I only served a month so far) that a mission does change your life. I absolutely loved it, and look forward to getting back out there soon, wherever that may be. I love this church with all my heart, and I know with every fiber of my being that it is true and that God and Jesus Christ are there and that they are watching and listening to your every move, just waiting to bless you. I am so grateful for that knowledge, and I love my God with all my heart.

I guess the next post will be in a few months. Until then, “God be with you till we meet again.”

I love you all.

Elder Bird

Picture 1: Me in the hospital

Picture 2: I felt like a robot with all the wires on me

Picture 3: Wearing my missionary tag on my hospital gown


5th week, One more to go!

6/7/16

Selamat Pagi Semua Orang!!!

Wow, it is already the fifth week here in the MTC!! How crazy is that? We get our flight plans this Friday to leave 10 days later! I can't even begin to express how excited I am!! I really just want to go now. Even though I know I'd be confused and have a hard time with the language, I just want to be there!!

This week was great! We now hold every conversation in class completely in Indonesian. It's still so crazy to think that we can do that now. We have learned and memorized the First Vision (Penglihatan Pertama) in Indonesian. Its super pretty and awesome in Indonesian. With that, we also have our Missionary Purpose memorized, which is found in Moroni 10:5 of the Book of Mormon.

For our "investigators" we now are starting to teach about the commandments that should be followed before being baptized, like Tithing and The Word of Wisdom. I hope that we can explain everything so that it is coherent and makes sense in Indonesian. I know the Lord will bless us when we try. Our other investigator is our Muslim investigator. We asked him if he wanted to be baptized, and he said he would think about it and ask his wife. I hope he will sincerely ponder what we ask, because baptism will make such a difference in his and his family's lives.

I had my very first fast Sunday in the field last Sunday. [Fast Sunday is the usually the first Sunday of the month where church members go without food or water for a period of usually 24 hours.] And I will admit, it was difficult. They didn't feed us until 5:30pm. Unfortunately, I didn't make it without water until then. I had to give in and have a drink an hour before at 4:30pm, because I was actually feeling exhausted and really dehydrated. My companion had to tell me to get a drink. Utah is a desert!! It is so dry and hot here, and I think that is why I had a hard time.

But other than that, Sunday was amazing! We had testimony meeting, and it was amazing to bear my testimony and to hear everyone else's. We have such a special zone. I liked hearing the other missionaries bear testimony of the gospel and in our Savior. Southeast Asia is lucky to have such amazing missionaries coming to them. My zone consists of missionaries that will be going to Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Mongolia, and the very first Vietnamese missionaries. After the meeting, there was a special musical number by Elder Grundvig (a really good friend now). He sung, "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul." By the end, everyone was balling. It was so beautiful. Not only the music, but the lyrics touched my heart. I love to know that our Savior can change frowning foes to smiling friends, and that through Him we can do ALL things. I pray every day to ask God to make me more worthy of His and Christ's love.

The rest of the week went well also! I really like volleyball now. [Missionaries exercise for 30 minutes every day and Ryan has been playing volleyball] I'm still not very good, but it is so fun to be able to use my height in a sport effectively!! I love spiking the ball, but I don't know how happy that makes the other team. I think I will continue with volleyball while I can, and then in the field maybe start running. My goal for the end of my mission is to be able to run at least two miles every day (hopefully three).

Funny story time! Every week, funny things happen all the time in the MTC. I can never remember them for the weekly email, but this time I have them written in my journal. Our teacher told us that when she was in the MTC, everyone would always ask them to speak some Indonesian. They would, but one Elder got tired of it. So, when he was asked to speak some Indonesian, he would say "Oompa Loompa!!" really excitedly, like he was saying hello. We thought that was hilarious, and we decided to try it. So we started saying it and now we have three classrooms on our floor saying "Oompa Loompa!!" to us as we walk by. I feel kind of bad, but,WOW, is it funny.

So guess who is coming to speak for devotional tonight??? Elder David A. Bednar! How exciting is that?? But even more exciting, guess who is giving the opening prayer in front of him and all the missionaries here?? None other than yours truly! How crazy is that?? I am so nervous! Hopefully I can give a good prayer that will invite the Spirit for such a huge Spiritual giant (not too great of a prayer because, you know, I don't want to overshadow an apostle). Haha, just kidding. I'm really excited!!

Anyway, things are going super well, and I look forward to going to Indonesia. I am so excited to help real people feel the change in their life that the Atonement will make. I love this church and I love this gospel.

As I've been out here, I have felt a real desire to share what I am learning with anyone who will hear it. If you are reading these posts that my parents put up and are at all interested in learning about the gospel, please please do. I want every single person I know, and even those I don't know, to feel as happy as I am. I know that through this gospel and through Jesus Christ, you can.

Have a great week!! Sampai Nanti! Oompa Loompa!!

Elder Bird


Halfway there and Living on Prayer (and the Spirit)

5/31/16

Hello Everyone!!

First off, thank you all so much for the birthday wishes last week! Even though I only saw them this morning, I really appreciated them! I had a wonderful birthday here at the MTC. It was a tad different, but it was awesome. And my parents were super sweet and sent a package full of cute little presents and also some delicious cupcakes, which I shared with my zone. We learned how to sing a birthday song in Indonesian, which was fun! And I got sung to in English three times (one of which was in the cafeteria and we got in trouble because we were "disturbing others". Oopsies :) I also learned that in Indonesia, you buy all of your friends food on your birthday, so I shared all my food with all of my friends. I look forward to my next birthday in the field in Indonesia!!!

Anyway, the rest of the week went swimmingly. It's crazy to think that we are already halfway done with being at the MTC! We already know so much, and we keep on growing and learning everyday. We are teaching two "investigators" right now, (who are secretly just our instructors, role playing as people they taught on their missions.) Even though I know it is my instructors when I am "teaching" them, it feels so real and we always try super hard to bring them closer to the Spirit and bring them closer unto Christ. Hopefully they can recognize the happiness that it will bring into their lives!

As for real people, we started a program on Saturday called TRC, where we teach actual people, we don't know. It's still role playing, as they are usually members of some sort (this time they were all Returned Missionaries from BYU). We taught them about having faith and strengthening that faith by sharing their testimony, Because we should always leave a commitment, we asked these members to share their testimony with someone in their life that week. I know that if they do so, their testimony will grow and they will find new strength in the Gospel and in the Lord. I know this because my testimony has grown so strong here as I bear it all the time!!! I love that, and I am so grateful to be able to share my testimony and have it continually grow.

Cool awesome spiritual story time!! Recently, I started reading the Bible again. We went to the temple last Tuesday (I get the chance to go through every Tuesday on my P-day) with my district and zone, and it was amazing! I went in with no thoughts or questions to ask this time, but to go through and enjoy. After the session, in the Celestial Room, I was sitting next to my companion and waiting. I decided to go and pick up some of the scriptures they have in there. It just so happened that I picked up the Bible. I did one of those "flip to a random page in the scriptures" things and just started reading. My heart soared as I realized that I was reading the account of Christ's Atonement in Matthew. I realized how truly important the Bible is and how thankful I am that we have it. As I finished up, I gained such a stronger testimony of the Bible as a whole. I know that even though I wasn't looking that day in the temple for an answer, the Lord had known what I needed and had given me a spiritual blessing. I am so grateful for that beautiful experience.

Another exciting thing! After the temple, Elder Renlund, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, came and spoke at our devotional!! It was my first time hearing an apostle at the MTC! It was so awesome to get to hear from him and to know he and all the rest of the Twelve are supporting us as we strive to do the Lord's work.

The people in our district and zone are growing so close. We joke around and have fun all the time, but we also keep the Spirit and are able to share our testimonies and our knowledge with each other often. We love to sing hymns in Indonesian, which always invite the Spirit (well, if people aren't laughing when they sing the word Pimpin, which means Lead in Indonesian). I know that the work we are doing here is of God. I know that we are weak and are nothing, but that through Him, we can do anything. Even when we are down, are struggling, are losing focus, or are just exhausted, the Lord will be on our right and on our left, bearing us up as we strive to do our best.

I love all of you! :)

Have a great week everyone! Sampai Nanti!

Elder Bird

Picture 1: Ryan's birthday box

Picture 2: Ryan's bithday treats


Week 2!!!

5/24/16

Selamat Pagi Semua Orang!!! Hello from the MTC!

It is kinda weird to think that I have already been here for two weeks. It feels like I just left yesterday, but at the same time it feels like I've been here for an eternity. I can't wait to learn all of what they'll teach me here and be off to Indonesia!

So what happened this week? Well, a lot. We are already teaching our second "investigator." I think I mentioned it, but we started teaching our first "investigator" in Indonesian on the third day I was here. We asked her to be baptized, and once she said yes, we were moved on to our next "investigator."

Our second investigator's name is Pak Joko (Mr. Joko). He is a Muslim man looking to find happiness for his family. We have taught him twice already, mainly about Jesus and the Atonement because he already has background with God. Our first lesson with him was shaky, but he really opened up to us on our second visit yesterday. Hopefully we can continue to help him receive light and happiness. But before we do so, we're getting our third investigator tomorrow! So we'll be teaching two investigators at the same time! In Indonesian! How cool is that?? It is so cool to think that we can actually get coherent, understandable messages across. I know that God has helped me to learn the language (what I know so far) this quickly and the Holy Ghost has helped our investigators feel the Spirit and that they can come to know the truth through it. I love my companion, Elder Johnson, but the greatest companions are Allah dan Roh Kudus.

Speaking of God and the Holy Ghost being the true teacher, I think I have finally figured out my mission scripture. Alma 26 is just an amazing missionary chapter, but as I was reading, I picked out two verses that I will apply to the rest of my mission. Verses 11 and 12 say:

    11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.

    12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea,behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

I love the truth and humility in these verses. Ammon understands that he is truly nothing when it comes to the Lord, BUT that with the Lord's help, he accomplished miracles and brought literally thousands to the truth. I will keep this scripture close to my heart, as I journey along trying to help others for the next couple of years.

Anyway, everything else is going well! The food in the MTC is alright, not great. I'm excited to try Indonesian food, which is supposed to be super delicious, but super duper spicy. Here I come!

Our district has become very close. The language is coming along, and we're glad we are together to learn it. We have just started grammar (Prefixes Me- and Ber- make all root words verbs. How cool is that??) and have gotten a list of core words that we are supposed to have memorized in ten days. Well, I just couldn't wait that long, so my goal was to do it in three days. God helped me accomplish that goal, and now I'm moving on to harder words! I know God will bless me if I continue to work hard.

Thanks so much to my family for the very sweet 1 week package :) All of the Elder's were very jealous and told me how "cute" it was. I loved it!!

Also, happy birthday to my little bro Nathan!!! I sent a letter a few days ago, but I don't know how long it will take to get there. But, you are such an awesome brother!! I am so proud of you and everything you've done, and look forward to hearing from you on your mission someday :)

The rest of today I will be doing laundry and going to the temple and then singing at the devotional. My favorite part of P-day is definitely going to the temple. I can't really describe it, but we come out so happy and loving as we've have spent that time in the temple with our district and friends. Last time when we came out, I swear I saw the prettiest view of Provo and Utah I had ever seen, with the sun shining in just the right place. I know it was God smiling down at us as we did something that made him so happy. I'm very excited to go through every single week here.

Just a tip for everyone who wants to email me! I am printing off my emails on P-day (Tuesdays at 6am Utah time) the hour before my hour when I can email, so that I can spend my one hour of computer time actually writing instead of reading and then writing. So send emails before Tuesdays at 6am, so I can print it and read it before I email back, and also so that I can hold on to it and read it throughout the week! Thanks!!!

I am absolutely loving it here. I miss everyone, but I know what I am doing is the Lords work. My testimony grows every day, and I seriously cannot wait for the time when I can personally see the change that will come into people's lives as they receive Christ and his Gospel.

So much love,

Elder Bird

Picture 1: Ryan and his roommate from BYU who is going to Boston, Mandrin speaking, I think.


First P-day!

5/17/2016

Hi Parentals!!!

How is everything going back at home?? Today is my very first p-day (I am so excited, if you couldn't tell). We have been working really hard, and it feel like I have already been in here for a month. The language is coming along. Saya tahu bahwa Allah berkati dan membantu saya dengan Karunia Lidah dan bahasa Roh. (I know that God is blessing and helping me with the Gift of tongues and the language of the Spirit).

Every day, we have class for hours and then 3 more hours to study and prepare lessons for our investigator. Oh! We have our first "investigator" already and have already taught her in Indonesian three times! How wierd is that??? Even though it is nerve wracking and stressful and susah (difficult), I can always feel the Spirit and know that God is blessing my companion and I. Our simpatisan is growing and learning, but her husband doesn't want her to continue to take lessons from us. So, our next lesson is going to be about keluarga dan doa (family and prayer). I know she will feel the Spirit, and I know God will bless us for trying to help her in a language that is very new to us.

I have a huge district. There are ten elders and 1 sister. We have all gotten to know each other very well, even though we have only been here for 6 days. We love having fun together, but we are also grateful to be learning together because we can all help and support one another in the language. Our favorite thing to do is to sing hymns in Indonesian to invite the Spirit. My companion and I are also loving being together. Elder Johnson is from my Provo ward, like I said. We are kinda different people, but we have learned to be patient with one another and are grateful to be able to teach and learn well together even though we are so different.

So uhm hey. I guess I am only here for 6 weeks! Surprise! I leave June 22 for Indonesia, and I am more than excited. I learned we are mostly on Java, a little bit on Sumatra, not on Bali, and a little bit on some random island. I hear it is absolutely beautiful and the people are some of the kindest in the world. Our district will replace about 1/7 of the missionaries in country, so I look forward to already knowing many of the missionaries I will be serving with for the next two years.

I have had a lot of opportunities to think about my purpose here on my mission, or tujuan saya. I've listened to many thoughts and talks and even memorized the missionary purpose in English and Indonesian. Mengundang orang lain untuk datang kepada Kristus dengan membantu mereka menerima Injil yang dipulihkan melalui Iman kepada Yesus Kristus dan Pandamaian-Nya, pertobatan, pembaptisan, menerima karunia Roh Kudus, dan bertahan sampai akhir. I realize that even though this is my mission, it is really not about me. I have been thinking about the true character of Christ, and how He always turns outward instead of inward and thinking about Himself. I have been trying to do so, like Him. I know and testify that if I do and continually "humble myself, even in the depths of humility, and come to love (truly love and care about) the people of Indonesia, then will I truly find myself. I am so grateful for that knowledge and the opportunity to serve.

Anyway, I love it here and am growing and learning so much. The Spirit is with me more than I ever thought possible. Even though most of my prayers and testimonies are now in a different language, every time I say either I know that God is listening and smiling down at me and is happy that I am ready to serve his beautiful children. I just want to leave with a hymn we are singing in the MTC choir that really touched my heart this week.

Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene--one step enough for me.

I love knowing that even though all of this is hard and difficult and I know that I am just not enough, God will lead me and make me whatever He needs me to be. I love this church so much, and I love God with all my heart.

Oh and I love all of you too ;) Keep being awesome!

Much love,

Elder Bird

Picture 1: Ryan and some of the other Elders from his district.

Picture 2: Ryan and his companion, Elder Johnson

Picture 3: Ryan's district.


Hello From the MTC

5/11/2016

Hi Mom! Hi Dad!

I am here safe at the MTC! I had a nice morning with Aunt MayLynn and have been in a class since she dropped me off. I can already speak sedikit bahasa Indonesia (a a little bit of Indonesian). My companion is the guy from my Provo ward!

Anyways, my P-days will be on Tuesday. I know I will love it here and am ready to learn.

I love you guys so much!

Elder Bird


Ryan Arrives at the MTC

5/11/2016

We took Ryan to the airport early this morning and he was bound for Provo, Utah and the Missionary Training Center. He was picked up by his Aunt MayLynn, who took him to breakfast, and then dropped him off at the MTC. When he got out of the car there was a group of Elders who yelled "Welcome to the MTC, Elder". They were "hosts" who were there to welcome the new missionaries and show them where to go. Here are some pictures of his arrival there. You can see how happy Ryan is.


Elder Ryan Bird
Colorado Denver North Mission

Contact Information

E-mail Address:
ryan.bird@myldsmail.net

Mailing Address:
Elder Ryan Bird
1250 Main Street
Broomfield, CO 80020