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!!
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.]
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!!
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!!!
My new companion, Elder Olsen
It's cold out here!
Our apartment complex with snow
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!!
My fixed teeth!!
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!
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!
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