So really, two big things happened this week. Like it says in my subject line, I was transferred to a new area and some sad news about my dear Grandma Bird.
We had probably one of the craziest, busiest weeks of my mission! I was called to be a zone leader again and so did in fact leave Fox Hollow and Flanders YSA wards, in the Arapahoe stake. I was called with Elder Call to be zone leaders over the Brighton zone, which includes the Brighton and Denver North Stakes (northeast of Denver). We are serving in the Skylake ward, which was previously covered by sisters. So we not only swept in as Elders to Skylake, but swept in as zone leaders to a brand new zone, car, and apartment. It has been nutso trying to figure everything out up here. But really fun! I definitely love it so far! Elder Call is an awesome missionary. He reminds me a lot of Elder Eldredge, when I was in Arvada. I think we are going to love being companions here. The ward is super cool and definitely very interesting. The ward covers one of the more sketchy places in all of Denver, a little town called Commerce City. It used to have its own building and branch, but with an ever aging population, they closed the branch and combined it with the Thornton ward in an effort to save the church there. Now, most members are inactive and the building is vacant (we have keys to it and it is super cool to go inside. We went for the first time last night...super spooky). So basically, our ward is massive geographically. There are 29 pages in the ward list and 800 names to it, but there are only about 170 members who come to church from week to week. The ward goes from about 46th Ave to 136th ave, about 30 miles up and down (I think). It is so fun! I have never served in a ward like it, and I am so pumped to get working here.
Before leaving my previous area, I was able to say goodbye to some really cool people that I had met in the Fox Hollow and YSA wards, including the ward mission leader and some people we taught/found. It was good to see them and sad to say goodbye. I will include some pictures.
I heard from my parents today that my Grandma, Virginia Bird, passed away yesterday. It was pretty sad and shocking to receive that news. I didn't really expect her to go for a while and so it was a surprise. She had a stroke on Sunday morning and then passed away in the hospital later that day. Grandma Bird was such a sweet woman. She loved and cared about so many, and was so kind and happy to everyone she ever met. She was an excellent example of optimism, through thick and thin. I loved spending time at her home, the one where my father grew up. I will definitely miss her and the wonderful friend and family member that she was. But, I am grateful for the gospel and the knowledge I have that she is close to us and that we will be able to see her again soon.
Anyway, things are good here. We are getting super pumped and excited for Christmas in this new area! I hope things are well back home! I love you all!
Me and Elder Call!
Me and Hans, a guy I found and passed off to the family ward. He is looking into the church and loving it so far.
A few other cool pics
. . . Christmas!!!
Hey everyone! What a great week! I hope everyone out there is doing well! This week was full of excitement because it was the last week of the transfer and it was the time to leave it all out there. We had a great week with some awesome highlights!
On Tuesday, I went on an exchange with Elder Curtis and we worked in the Southlands ward area. They don't have a car there, so we spent the day biking around. It was actually super fun, I loved it so much! First though we had interviews with the Mission President in the morning. It was good to touch base with him and let him know how things have been going for Elder Hales and I, and the other missionaries in the district. It was also Elder Curtis' companions birthday, so to surprise him, we made him a cake during our lunch break. Elder Curtis and I had a good day of working together. It was just so good to be out and about in the fresh air and enjoying the good weather as we tried to find people to teach. That night, when we met back up with our companions, we surprised Elder Blackham with the cake and a card we made. He loved it and it was a good way to end the day.
On Wednesday, we had a lesson with Jason and then with Brandon, both of whom are doing really well. We were finally able to get to the end of the Plan of Salvation lesson with Brandon. We have been trying to get Brandon to ask for some time off on Sunday, so that he can come to church with us. With Jason we went over the baptismal interview questions so that he could be prepared. The only thing holding up Jason is his smoking (and a few other commandment issues.) He committed to work on them hardcore as we prepare for December 30th. I hope he can make it. I just don't want him to be too stressed this month that it makes it a bad experience for him. He is doing really well though, and even bore his testimony on Sunday during Fast and Testimony meeting! He did a great job and talked about Lehi's dream, and how he feels like once he is baptized, he will be taking part of the fruit of the tree of life!
Thursday was our final district meeting before the transfer. Sister Savage showed up suddenly out of nowhere and with no warning! No pressure! We had a good meeting though, and afterward she decided to drive around with us all day and meet the people we were trying to see that day. We tried to take her to Jessica, an investigator we had already scheduled with, but had no luck. We didn't have much luck at all that day catching people. Eventually she just dropped us off at our dinner appointment.
The rest of the week was pretty normal. We have been using the Light the World campaign in a lot of our meetings with people, and have even been able to show the video to a couple people at their door. The times we have, they have really been touched. It is such an awesome program, and we love having it at this time of year. It helps us reach those people, we couldn't otherwise reach. It seems everyone wants to be a little nicer and slow down to talk a little bit more during the holidays.
Anyway, transfers are coming up this week on Thursday! We will learn on Wednesday what is happening, and if we are moving to somewhere new or not. I have no clue what will happen yet! I am sure though that I will be happy with whatever happens. I love serving out here and being a part of such an awesome work. I love you all so much and hope you continue to have a good December. :)
What a fantastic week we had this week! Thanksgiving, like my subject line states, has indeed come and gone. It was a wonderful holiday and a great day to be thankful for all that we are being blessed with.
On Tuesday we had exchanges with the zone leaders and I was with Elder Melchin. I love Elder Melchin and his happy, "can do" attitude. We've served together a few times before and we are good friends. We had a pretty rocking day and he was with me when we were finally able to teach Sarah and Ian. It was an interesting lesson. First, they took us out to lunch at Village Inn, which was super good and super nice of them. We visited and got to know each other a little bit. They are both 20 years old and graduated with the class of 2016, and are now both going to college. Sarah is religious and goes to the Church of God and Ian is agnostic. We got through a little bit about what the Book of Mormon is and why we have it. They said they would read up and be ready for our next chat. It was great! The rest of that day we spent out contacting. Then that night we went with our ward mission leader and delivered some Thanksgiving cards to people in the ward that might be struggling. Fun day all around!
On Wednesday, we had lessons with Brandon and Jason! With Brandon, we talked a lot about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and also about baptism and what it means. The Spirit was there and it was definitely a good talk, but we got interrupted right near the end and then had to leave. It was a bummer! But still a great lesson and he is doing really well. In our lesson with Jason, he really opened up to us about things he has been struggling with. He is having a super hard time stopping his smoking. He feels like he doesn't have tons of support and feels a little bit alone. We shared some thoughts, and asked him to write 100 things he is grateful for and to focus on that. He accepted our challenge and we are excited to see what this does for him.
Thanksgiving, the big day!! We had a super busy day. It started with a zone Turkey Bowl in the morning up in the North part of the zone, so we woke up pretty early to get over there with all the missionaries carpooling with us. It was a fun, noncompetitive game. Afterwards, we drove over to a church and changed before having a meeting with all the zone about the "Light the World" initiative!! It is going to be a super awesome program this year, just like last year! It was introduced to us and then we received some cards that we can hand out to others and an advent calendar for ourselves. After the meeting, we took everybody home and then headed over for our dinner, at the Walker's house. They were super sweet! They made us feel like part of the family. The food was super good, and Sister Walker had even reached out to our parents for a recipe from home! After a great meal there and a quick ping pong tournament, we headed home to change and shower! Then, we headed over to the Spiers' for some pie and a short spiritual thought and then to the Nelson's for the same thing! After all that pie and ice cream, we headed home and went to bed! We couldn't have asked for a better Thanksgiving!! It was so good to be with the members and know that they cared about us and what we were up to on this special day that was away from home.
The rest of the week went just as great! We had a fun day out on Friday, teaching some new people on the radar and that we are excited to teach! And on Saturday, we had another exchange with the Elders in the Smoky Hill/Parkview wards. I went with Elder Gonzalez and worked in the Smoky Hill ward area and it was cool to be back there! Sunday was also good, we had some really good church services and got to meet with a potential investigator named John. We shared the "Light the World" program with him. He is super Christian and we can say he is "open but not open" in that he will have us back and chat, but is pretty cemented in his way of thinking. I think the initiative really opened his eyes to actually what we are trying to do here, and he really liked it.
Anyway, this week was super awesome. It was especially cool to see everyone come together in a spirit of gratitude. I am so grateful for my mission so far, and for all the wonderful lessons I am learning, and people that I am meeting. I am also grateful for all of the people back home sending their love and cheering me on. I am grateful for my Savior and the understanding He has of me and everyone. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and the testimony it has given me as I have sought knowledge and understanding from it. Also, I am grateful for my mom and my dad, and all of their love.
I hope everyone had a great week! We have had, as always, a "hip hooping" week.
Lots of stuff happened this week. Especially a lot of street contacting and knocking on doors. Elder Hales and I have been working super hard to find some more people to teach! It has been "a grind" and pretty tough sometimes, but I think things are starting to move a little bit. It is cool to see!
I think probably the coolest experiences from the week were definitely the lessons we were able to have. And all the days we went over and saw Sarah, who I mentioned last week. It was actually really fun going over and seeing her every day! We are working with 3 other people besides her: Jason, Brandon, and Dave.
Sarah! Like I said, we stopped by every single day this week and and were able to see her a bunch. It was cool to see how she opened up as we stopped by every day. It feels like we're pretty good friends with her now. There were even some days that we stopped by and she wasn't there! We always left a note or signed something, so that it "counted." We are finally going to be able to teach her and her boyfriend a lesson tomorrow! I am super excited!
Jason! Jason is doing well. He is working towards being baptized on the 30th of December. He has really been struggling to stop smoking recently. He's been at it for about a week now, and thing aren't going too well. We were wondering what we should talk to him about when we saw him this week, and we felt really impressed to read the Book of Mormon with him and talk about how much power he can have from it, if he reads every single day. We promised it would help in his effort to stop smoking. Then we read Ether 12 with him, which is a great chapter on faith, miracles, and turning our weaknesses into strengths. It was a pretty powerful lesson! We saw him again at church on Sunday.
Dave! Dave is an interesting one to teach sometimes. He is an older guy in his 60's that loves meeting with us and the JW's. He likes researching all religions. We don't know really where his commitment level is with actually joining, but he loves researching. He has been taught for a while now, and we were trying to think of a different angle to approach him with. Our bishop gave us an idea of having him look for points of Christ's church in the new testament and then comparing those points with the churches he's researching today (similar to what a few guys did and came up with 17 points, and then joined our church). We had a good talk with Dave, and then we invited him to do that activity. He seemed overwhelmed by it, but very excited! It should be really good for him.
Brandon! This was probably the coolest lesson of the week! Brandon is a really cool kid an is into spirituality. To make a long story short, we explained the Atonement of Jesus Christ to him, in a way he could understand, and it seemed to really click with him. He understood a little bit of what Christ suffered for us, and for him. He was really impressed and touched by it. It was so cool to see something click within this guy. He is reading through the Book of Mormon right now, too. Super cool.
Things here are going super great! I love it so much and I'm working with some really awesome people and feeling the Spirit so strong!!
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
I love you all! Bye!
What a wonderful week it has been here in Denver! We had lots of cool stuff happen, but here are some of the coolest highlights!
This week we went on two exchanges, one with the Elders in the Southlands ward, Elder Curtis and Elder Blackham, and one with the Elders in the Smoky Hill ward, Elder Gonzalez and Elder Cooper! The first exchange was on Tuesday, and I went to the Southlands ward area with Elder Blackham. We had a fantastic day together. Elder Blackham is actually kind of a new Elder, he came out with the same group of Elders that Elder Hales came out with. Elder Blackham is a total stud. I was super impressed with his desire to work and his skills that he has already developed out here. We had an awesome day, out walking in the cold. It was fun being out when it was below freezing (it made a lot of people stop and talk cause they felt a little bad for us). We went to an apartment complex that is in their area and found 5 super solid potential investigators for them to work with. Seriously, these people let us teach them about the Book of Mormon and God and were all just super nice! We even met a woman from Indonesia, and I got to speak a little Indonesian of what I remember from the MTC! That was like the coolest part of the day! Anyway, Elder Blackham is a great missionary and we had an awesome day out together.
For the other exchange, I went with Elder Cooper, and he and I worked in the Fox Hollow and YSA wards for the day. Elder Cooper impressed me as well!! Elder Cooper was actually in my district when I was a district leader the first time around. He has grown a lot since that time, and he was super skilled in basically everything to do with the work. It was great! We had a great day out. One guy even let us in for an hour and fed us as we chatted about his beliefs (he is Norse, and believes in Norse mythology, believing in Gods like Odin and Thor and Loki) it was super interesting. After about an hour he had really softened up and was thanking us for coming and talking with him. We were amazed because he was the one with all the kindness, feeding us and what not! It was a pretty cool experience. The rest of the day went great with Elder Cooper, another stud missionary here in the CDNM.
Another highlight of the week was that we had a mission tour by Elder Anderson of the Seventy! Elder Anderson is a really powerful man, and has had some great talks in general conference and at BYU devotionals (he was the guy who gave the talk about hearing the music of the gospel and dancing to it.) Anyway, he had tons of wisdom and knowledge for us because he had served as a Mission President in Mexico. We talked a lot about what we are doing out here, and it was just so great to meet and hear a general authority speak to us!
Teaching and finding wise, the week went great! Our friend Jason is on track for a baptismal date of Dec 30th still. He is trying to stop smoking this week. He is working so hard to change! We are super proud of him and are trying to give him some good support as he tries to live the gospel more fully in his life. Also, we taught some cool lessons to a few of our other friends in the YSA ward, a lot about the Book of Mormon and gaining a witness. I am so glad that we have the Book of Mormon as the tool to help people learn and be converted.
Probably the coolest experiences this past week was last night. Last Sunday, the 5th, we were tracting in the Fox Hollow ward area around 6pm, and many people were telling us it was too late to be out and to go home, that it was too late because it was so dark. We were getting a little discouraged, but we pushed through till 6:30pm. Well, around 6:20, we met a woman named Sarah who basically told us the same thing everybody else had been saying, and asked us try her at another time. She told us to come back the following week at 3pm on Sunday the 12th and she would listen. I kind of laughed and told her we would do it, don't tempt us. She told us that she would bet we wouldn't, and I took that as a challenge.
Yesterday I remembered that we had told her we would come back. I almost didn't want to, thinking she was just bluffing and wasn't really interested. Then I heard a story in Elders Quorum about the "Tattooed Mormon," who was converted because she said she would only listen to the Elders if they bought her a steak dinner, they did and it progressed from there. Their sacrifice had made the difference for Al Fox, and I kept thinking about Sarah. So we decided to go see Sarah at 3pm with our WML [ward mission leader]. Well, she didn't answer when we knocked. I knew she wouldn't!! I left a note of triumph, telling her we had kept our part of the bargain, but she wasn't there to keep hers. I also wrote our number in case she wanted to call and tell us why. Then we left and I didn't think about it for the rest of the day. Around 5pm, I got a call from an unknown number and it turned out to be Sarah!!! She called and told us that a year and a half ago, missionaries had knocked and she had been super interested, but they never came back. She was testing us to see how committed we were to her, and if we would actually stick with her! She told us that if we kept on trying by every day, she would hear us out. She told us that she was "pleasantly surprised" that we had kept our end. How awesome is that?? It totally revitalized me and made me want to keep going.
Okay, all the Elders here at the library want me to get off now. I love you all!! Have a great week!
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