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!
Something cool I got from one of my friends who was part of my Indonesian group at the MTC
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!
Braving the cold and snow
I got a new chair and desk. I feel like a real leader now
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!
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
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.
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!!
My broken tooth again
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