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!!
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.
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!!
Hey Friends and Fam!!
I hope everyone's week was well! Elder Brown and I had a pretty awesome week, with lots going on! We even had an exchange with the assistants [to the Mission President] this week, going all the way up to Westminster for a day. I got to see my old area and work near my first apartment!
We have been working really hard this week to inspire the members of the ward here to do more missionary work and to have them want to do it on their own. We had 4 "split nights" this week, which means we each did missionary work with a member of the ward, and proselyted with them instead of just each other. It was great because it let us have 2 companionships go out into the area instead of just 1 (us). We had some really cool experiences with it as well, and I think the members are getting more and more pumped to go out and do missionary work! The highlight was when the Ward Mission Leader's assistant brought his nonmember girlfriend to church, and we'll be teaching her again on Tuesday over dinner!
Because we are working in a YSA ward [Young Single Adult] a lot of ward members have recently returned from their own missions. It is really cool because they have skills we have never seen before in our mission, and it is a great way to learn from each other. We were able to find 8 new investigators this week, 7 of which we found on splits with members! It was pretty cool, and we are going to try and keep it up!
On Thursday night, two members of the ward came with us and we got into a discussion with 4 YSA aged people on their front porch. It was cool to have the members there to share their opinions and thoughts, and these four are going to let us come again next week! We talked a lot about science and religion and how they work together, and a lot about who God is and the plans that God has laid out for us. None of them were very religious, so we were starting from ground zero. It is super cool to be working with them like this! The other cool experience came when we brought a member named Freeman with us on Saturday night. We were trying to contact a woman we met named Amanda, and were able to see her again on her porch. She had some questions & concerns about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She had us talk to her dad over the phone, with her, because he had concerns too. We were able to talk through some of those things. It was great to have Freeman there with us, because he shared his experience and witness about the Book of Mormon as well.
On Friday I got a package from home and it was a new suit! I am so excited and I feel very professional in it.
For the exchange up in Westy, it was pretty awesome! I got to go on an exchange with Elder Heiner, who is a missionary that is in my "adopted group" [the group of Elders who all went to Colorado about the same time as Ryan, from the MTC. He was "adopted" into this group because he wasn't in the MTC with them, instead he was in the MTC in May in the Indonesian group.] We had an awesome day together trying to find people to teach. It was actually really cool because I got to work in the area where my first apartment in Colorado was. It brought back some pretty awesome memories of being with Elder LaPerle and Elder Brammer a year ago. I have much more experience as a missionary now, so it was cool to work in that part of town again being a bit more skilled.
So that is a simple glance into our week! We keep plugging along, trying to find people to teach the Gospel to.
I love you all! I hope you are well!!
I hope everyone had a great week! We had a pretty awesome week ourselves! We did a lot of running around and trying to get prepped for the meetings that we had all week. I feel like I've sat through and been in more meetings now than ever before in my life. They are all good, but holy cow!!
The big events from the week were zone conference on Wednesday, an exchange I went on into the country on Saturday, and then church on Sunday! I'll start with some highlights that we had on Tuesday, though.
Tuesday we had a pretty awesome lesson with Bryce. We taught about repentance and baptism in the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson. It was a super awesome discussion, and Bryce seemed to be agreeing with every point. We asked him to pray to know if baptism was right and to pick a day for himself. It was a super awesome lesson! After the lesson, we went on splits that night. Elder Brown would be at the sports night that we had set up, and I would be going out street contacting with our assistant ward mission leader. We both had a great split! We knocked on one door, and found a girl named Andrea that accepted a Book of Mormon and a return appointment! Meanwhile, Elder Brown had 4 non-members show up to the sports night, and he played 4 on 4 with them and talked a lot about what we do as missionaries. It was a great night!!
Wednesday was Zone Conference, and we continue to love President and Sister Savage. They gave some awesome talks and trainings. Also all of the missionaries who were going home at the beginning of August, gave their departing testimonies. I got to see my previous companions Elder Eldredge and Elder Olsen give their testimonies, and also a few others, some very good friends. There are a lot of missionaries going home in August on the 23rd. I will miss them all! After the conference, we figured out that everyone in my group who came to Colorado at the same time, were all in the south half of the mission! So we all took a picture. That's the group I was adopted into out here! You can see my previous companion Elder Sato on the left!
On Saturday, I went on an exchange with Elder Watkins, my district leader who is serving in Elizabeth, CO. Elder Watkins is one of the funniest Elders I have met out here. Elizabeth is one of 3 rural areas in the mission, so I was super excited to check it out for the day! It was super weird to tract out in the country. What we would do was drive the truck between each house so we didn't have to walk so far out in the country. It was crazy! Also, we were driving on dirt roads for a large part of the day, and it started pouring rain in the middle of the day! Elder Watkins almost got us stuck in the mud like 3 times out there. But we had an awesome day in the country, and I enjoyed working out there for a bit!
So the big day of the week was on Sunday! The day started with a Stake correlation meeting with the Stake President, our high councilman, and President Savage. It was a super powerful meeting. This stake is really good at communicating well and coordinating missionary work well. Then, for church services, we had two investigators come! One named Aaron who was given to us from the sister missionaries in Parker. He is super smart, and he loved coming to the ward and meeting people his age! The other one was Ariel. She is dating a less active member that we are teaching, who is returning to activity. This was her first time at an LDS church. She loved it as well!! We had a powerful Sacrament meeting, and then we taught an awesome Gospel Principles lesson on the Restoration. I felt the Spirit so strong during the lesson, especially when I talked about first vision. I could literally feel it in the room. It was a great way to end the week!
So those are kind of the highlights of the week! It was super awesome and we are absolutely loving it here in Parker! I hope things are well back home and that summer continues to be the best!!
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