Oh my goodness, what a week it has been! So much has happened, I don't even know where to begin!
Well I think I said this last time, but the start of the week began with a lot of walking. We had to carefully budget out where we would go in the car because we only had about 12 miles a day. That is really hard in our area. But, we did it!! And guess what?? As we were walking to the grocery store on Monday, our district leader saw us and gave us a ride home. I saw a bike on their bike rack and asked who's it was. "Yours if you want it," they told me. So I scored a free bike!!! How awesome is that?? There are some biking areas in my mission, so now I'm way set if I ever get sent there. It is such a blessing!!!
Monday night ended with us walking around to see people on our list and getting poured on. It was raining so hard, it was crazy! I was totally soaked, and my companion was loving it because he's from Washington. After 45 minutes of that, we were able to get into an appointment and dry off. It was a crazy night!
On Tuesday while we were out visiting names of less actives and potential investigators, we stopped and met with an older couple in the ward. When we asked if we could help them with anything, they told us we could help them can the jelly they were currently making. So we did! After we got it all canned, they gave us two jars of homemade jelly, and told us they would need more help the next day. They had fresh grapes in their backyard, and asked if we would help them turn that into jelly. So the next day we went back and helped them turn their fresh grapes into jelly!! It was such an awesome form of service. They're so sweet and were really appreciative. We now have 5 jars of homemade jelly in our fridge. Our peanut butter and jelly sandwich consumption has skyrocketed!
Wednesday night we had a lesson with an investigator. We brought with us a ward missionary. At first we were worried if he would be the right fit for this single woman investigator, but as we taught about the Book of Mormon and Restoration, this ward missionary was able to relate with her, bring the Spirit, and testify to her in a personal way that made what we talked about that much more important. It was a fantastic lesson, and she became my first ever progressing investigator!! How awesome is that?? We couldn't thank that ward missionary enough for all his help and how strongly he was able to help this woman. We have a return appointment on Wednesday again. I'm so excited!!
On Friday, we had a lesson with a less active, recent convert couple who are interested in going to the temple to have their daughter, who has passed away, receive the ordinance of baptism by proxy. We brought a member of the bishopric with us, and the visit was amazing. At the close, the man asked what he needed to do to start the temple process. When we told him that he needed to come to church on Sunday, he replied, "I'll see you Sunday then." What amazing faith he had. His desire to do something good for his daughter is leading him to have faith. It is such a blessing to witness.
On Friday night, something unexpected happened. We had dinner with a lady in our ward, Sister Hamman, who turned out to be from San Jose and my home stake!! She turned out to be Heather Judd's (a family friend and prominent member in the stake) sister who had moved out here! It turns out that I had gone to seminary with her son Ryan. It was so crazy to connect with her about home and her son and everything like that. She texted her sister, Heather, who texted my mom, a picture of me eating dinner with her. She also asked me what my favorite dinner was and when I told her, she had her sister ask my mom for the recipe. My mom then emailed it to Sister Hamman so that she can cook it for me. It was so awesome!!!
Saturday, we had some amazing lessons with investigators and then a member who had recently had a very hard week. This brother had so much faith. He told us that, "when the devil looked me in the face and tried to bring a storm on me this week, I looked back and told him that I was the storm!" haha I thought that was funny and really thought he had a lot of faith.
One of the investigators we taught on Saturday ended up coming to church!! When we invited him to church we asked him not to bring any cigarettes and that he couldn't smoke at the church, but he came nonetheless. It was fast and testimony meeting, so I got up and shared my testimony on the Plan of Salvation, because this investigator was looking for his purpose in life. He went all through Sacrament without a cigarette and it was hard for him, but he told us he wanted to come back next week. We are excited for him. I think we're going to teach him the Word of Wisdom soon.
Something unfortunate happened on Sunday night. An elderly less active woman we have been meeting with, fell down while we were at dinner. Her daughter texted us that she needed us now and we went as quick as we could. We got her up and went with the mom and her daughter to the ER. It turns out that the mom had fractured a vertebrae in her lower back. It was so tragic. The biggest thing that I kept thinking while we sat there, nervous and worried with them in the ER, is how easily the people here have come to feel like family to me. I felt real sorrow for them, as if these people were my aunt or my grandma. It was really crazy. It made me realize how much I really do love these people out here.
The next day, Monday, was P-day!!! President decided to have us email today instead (because of Labor day), so P-day ended at 4 instead of 6. We did normal P-day stuff, like shop, clean the house and car (especially the car because we have inspections soon), and then played sports with our zone. We ended P-day and then went to give the injured less active woman a blessing in the hospital. She was in much better spirits, and so sweet to us. That went well, and the night ended with dinner and a meeting with some members who are adopting an 11 year old boy and will want him to have the lessons soon.
Like I said, it was a crazy busy week!!!! What is even more crazy, is it feels like it went by in seconds. Through all of this, my testimony continues to grow. I know that Jesus walked this Earth, atoned for yours and my sins, and continues to watch over us and comfort us as we go through our busy weeks. I can feel His love so strongly as I work with some of his amazing children.
Anyway, have a great week everyone!!! I love you all!!
My beautiful, new, FREE bike
My current area. Have I sent a picture yet? It looks gerrymandered.
A prayer rock for someone we are teaching! Homemade, and quite a work of art.
This week was another great week here in Denver!
We had transfers on Wednesday!! We learned that Elder Brammer would be leaving us and that Elder LaPerle and I would be staying here. Elder Brammer would be heading to Aurora, where he actually started off his mission. He was excited, but we knew we'd miss him, and we have. Now we are back in a regular duo though!
We learned that Elder Brammer was leaving on Monday, so we spent all of Tuesday trying to visit with all our investigators and less active members so Elder Brammer could say goodbye and have one more chance to help them feel the Spirit before he left. He had really touched the lives of a lot of people out here, and a lot were sad to see him go. Hopefully his influence will continue to play a part in their lives.
Wednesday, we took him to the transfer building and shipped him off. Then Elder LaPerle and I went to a meeting for new Elders that had showed up that morning. I think President still had some paperwork for me to do and wanted to meet the Elders and Sisters I would be here a lot with. It was nice. After that meeting, we did a lot of tracting and trying to find. We met a really nice former investigator who let us in and let us talk. She told us about how she had been to Jerusalem and felt the special Spirit there, having walked where Jesus walked. We told her how jealous we were, and then explained the importance of the testimony of Christ in the Book of Mormon. She was receptive and told us to come back. Yay!!
Thursday morning started off with an appointment with a nice man, who turned out to be very bash-y. We tried to explain our church and doctrines to him, but he was trying to use the Bible to basically disprove our religion. We didn't have the Spirit there, and so the lesson went poorly, with both of us thinking the other was wrong. He really needs a Spiritual witness of the truth instead of one from logic or words. I hope we can help him get that. After the lesson, we had a meeting and did a ton of tracting. Later that night, we met with another former investigator who let us in!!! We taught her the Restoration, and she wants us to come back and teach more. It was awesome!!
Friday was a slower day, lesson wise. We helped an elderly lady with yard work until 1pm, and then had a planning session for the upcoming week until 3pm. After, we did a lot of tracting and walking around. Fun stuff!
Saturday was awesome! We met with a super nice less active in the morning, had an amazing lesson with one of our investigators on the Restoration, and did a lot of tracting. When we got home and calculated out the miles on the car and how much we had left, we found out there was a little bit of a problem. We only had about 11.5 miles a left to use until the end of the month, because we had been doing a lot of driving. Basically what that meant for us was a lot of walking, and we could drive to dinners and that was about it. Sooooo . . .
We walked to church on Sunday! We had an appointment with some people beforehand, and (luckily) they lived on the way! We had a great lesson and we explained more about baptisms for the dead in the temple. The husband showed a lot of interest, because he wanted his daughter, who had passed away, to receive that ordinance. His genuine love and concern for his daughter who had passed on to receive that saving ordinance brought the Spirit strongly to that lesson, and we are really excited for them. After them, we walked to church. Church was fantastic. It was the Bishop's son's farewell before he leaves for his mission. He's going to Colombia. There was a really special spirit there, and you could feel the love that his home ward had for him and that he had for his home ward. It made me think a lot of my home ward and how awesome it is back there. It was really special, and he will be a great missionary.
After church, we were walking home and someone gave us a ride! Then we went to dinner, drove back, and walked to some appointments we had that night (that we only about a mile away, thankfully).
Anyway, it has been a really great week! I feel like we have had a lot of recent success, and I know that the work we are doing for the people is truly what God wants for them. I am so thankful that I can help them receive God's greatest gift to all of them. it's truly humbling to think that God is working through me to touch these people's lives.
I love it out here and am so glad to be doing the things that I am. I hope you all have a blessed week!!!
Picture 1 & 2: I redecorated our apartment - we have a dining room now!
Picture 3: A funny sign we found
Picture 4: A flaming hearse
As I was sitting here thinking of what to write, I realized that today is my fourth P-day in the field!! I have almost been here for a month, and it only seems like I got here yesterday!! It is quite amazing how time passes here on the mission.
This week was another great one here in Denver!!! On Monday, after we finished emailing friends and family, we had the chance to go up to a new temple opening up in Fort Collins! We planned on taking our recent convert, but he fell through. Instead we were able to walk through with some investigators in another ward, which was super nice. These two investigators weren't really interested in conversion or anything, but were very interested in seeing the the temple. We walked them through, and tried to become their friends as we explained the temple and how important it is to us. There was a special spirit felt there, and I hope they continue to have good experiences with our church. Maybe someday they'll even take the lessons!
Tuesday was back to the normal work routine (which is always great!) We taught a solid investigator we found tracting, a while back, about prophets. He is a wonderful man and father with great faith. He loves jokes, and so I told a few religious jokes that my dad told me, and he loved them (the one about the rich man who brings pavement to heaven, dad). He expressed interest in coming to church on Sunday!!! We are so excited for him. He started calling us his brothers. I am amazed at how easily I have come to love this man, and how I can feel God's love for him. We tried more finding and tracting until nighttime. We are trying to tract at least two hours a day now to finds more investigators! It is always worth it, because we always find at least two or three nice people who are nice and we can return to. I love tracting, but my companions don't as much. They say its my greenie fire....but I hope I can keep that.
Tuesday night ended with us meeting up with Crazy Horse. It was raining as we walked through the park to find him, and we got discouraged that he wouldn't show. All of a sudden, we heard a guy yell "CRAZY HORSE", after which a giant lightning bolt lit up the sky and thunder boomed close!!! It was him! That was a pretty cool sign from God haha. We met with him and talked about what had happened to him. He was still drunk though. We talked about getting him to a rehab center and prayed with him. It was so sad. Finally, we said we'd meet him again Thursday night and left for the night.
Wednesday we had meetings and went tracting/finding for the rest of the day. We met some nice people. We also had a few appointments with less actives. I'm hopeful for these people to come back to church!!!
Thursday was mostly tracting, finding, and some appointments. Crazy Horse didn't show at the park, and we were bummed out. Since he doesn't have a number, we don't know how to contact him. We're going to keep trying to see him, but it was a bummer. Friday was the same with tracting, finding, and some appointments.
Saturday was a big day!! We met with the same investigator as we had on Tuesday, just to check up. He invited us in and we read in the Book of Mormon. He said he felt like he had been a Laman earlier in life. We expressed to him that we knew that if he continued to read in the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it was true, he would come to know it was. He said he would probably come to church, and we left. The rest of the day was more tracting, appointments, and what not.
Sunday came around, and we sat in church, waiting for the less actives we had met with and our investigator to come. Unfortunately, the investigator didn't make it. But we had 1 of our less actives come and our very recent convert who was sick make it!! It was really awesome to have them there for Sacrament. I taught the Gospel Principles lesson on The Lord's Law of Health, and talked a little of Daniel (my namesake) and his experience with that. It was good.
Sunday ended with meeting with a less active member who had left because she had been offended, but was coming back and wanted the lessons. She was so sweet to us. We shared with her our personal experiences as we taught the 1st lesson, and we all felt the Spirit. One thing that she struggles with is the history of the Book of Mormon. She doesn't know who is related to who and what city is what, which can be hard. If you don't know that stuff, then the Book can be challenging. We are excited to help her.
You do not need to know the history of the Book of Mormon to gain a testimony of it's truth and the truths of the Gospel it contains. That history helps a lot in explaining the context of stories, which can then be related to our own lives. I would encourage everyone to read up a little on the history contained in the Book of Mormon. It's about a family that left Jerusalem at a very interesting time. I know that we can liken the experiences had by those many wonderful people in the book to ourselves, our testimony of the truth can and will grow. I know with all my heart that the Book of Mormon is a true book, and with that knowledge, know that it was translated by a true prophet of God, Joseph Smith, and that Jesus Christ really did live and was resurrected. I am so grateful for that, and the knowledge I continue to gain as I study it daily.
Anyway, the work is great here, and I love it.
Keep being awesome at home,
Picture 1: Fort Collins Temple
Picture 2: Tracting Elder Circle
Picture 3: A pumpkin carriage at a park
Hello again everyone!!!
This week was another awesome week! You know, felt the Spirit, taught some people the gospel...all that jazz ;)
But really, the work out here is awesome. The week started with exchanges! Basically, I went over to the other tri-panionship in our district and stayed with them for a day, while one of those Elders came over and stayed with my companions for the day. It was fun! They live in a member's house instead of an apartment, so that was a little different. Also, they just have a lot of different ways of doing things than my companions, so it was fun to see how they worked and did things. We had a very fun day. There was a lot of tracting (yayyyyy!), we met with a super crazy less active (she was really funny), and had pizza for dinner. No complaints there. At the end of the day though, I was happy to come home to my regular companions and apartment.
On Thursday night, Elder LaPerle started feeling kind of sick. We headed back to the apartment, and things got worse. He started throwing up. We told him to call it a night, and Elder Brammer and I conducted daily planning without him. It felt really weird being in a twosome. Elder Brammer said he hadn't been in a twosome for 6 weeks and it felt weird to him too. The next day, Elder LaPerle didn't feel much better. We were worried about him, but also bummed because we had some appointments that day which we were excited about and worried about missing. We ended up getting our district leader to stay with Elder LaPerle at our apartment, while Elder Brammer and I went out for the day. It was kind of different tracting and teaching as two instead of three, but I should get used to it because that is the normal way. Our appointments went well, and we had a good day. Elder LaPerle felt better by that night, and so we were able to resume our normal service the next day.
Most of the week was pretty standard. Some meetings, tracting, finding, appointments. We've made it a goal to tract for at least an hour every day (we've already found some awesome people, plus it keeps us humble). A few people are kind of mean, but that's okay. It is worth all of the nice ones we meet.
The last thing which is kind of funny/ crazy. Last night, our appointment with a less active fell through.; We decided to street contact in a park instead. As we were walking, we happened upon a crazy drunk who called himself Crazy Horse. Apparently, Elder Brammer and his old companion had helped rehabilitate him before and had gotten him back on his feet. Unfortunately, he had fallen back into his old ways and was drinking again. It was rough to see him like that, falling all over the place and crying. He was happy to see Elder Brammer. You could tell that he loved Elder Brammer for helping him, and he regretted getting back into his old slump.
There were a few times that Crazy Horse looked like he was going to punch Elder Brammer. He seemed angry about his situation and had a lot of hate. I just stood back and waited, ready to throw all 150 pounds of myself at this guy to get in between them if he swung at Elder Brammer. But he really did love Elder Brammer. We took his alcohol away from him and told him we'd meet him on Tuesday again. We hope he's a little more sober. I really hope we can get him back on his feet again. He is a nice guy, and deserves so much better.
Anyway, the work is great. Stories like the last one and helping people change their lives for the better is the best work on the planet. I know that God is up there, putting us in people's paths so that we might help them. I am so grateful to be doing so.
I hope things are well at home. I love you all!
Picture 1: Me and Elder LaPerle
Picture 2: Elder LaPerle with records that a member gave him
Hello everyone!! Today is my second P-day in the mile high city and everything is going fantastic!
My second week here has been amazing. This week I really strove (strived?) to become more familiar with the ward and the area (I think I'm doing okay with the ward...but the area is confusing!). Things here are awesome though!
Probably the biggest thing that happened this week was our baptism! On Saturday, Elder Brammer baptized a faithful young man into the church. It was such an amazing thing to be apart of. It was so cool to see the smile on his face as he arose out of the water, and to see the smile stay on his face until he left. He was then confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday. We were super excited for him. However, he was late to church so we were a bit concerned. We sat all of Sacrament meeting praying and praying that he would get there. It was really important. Finally, at the end of the meeting, the 1st counselor got up and started announcing that they would do the confirmation. I was so afraid! We tried motioning to him that he wasn't here and hadn't made it, but as we were doing so, the young man walked past us and up to the stand!! He had walked in and had sat in the back, so we didn't see him. Wow, what a relief. He was confirmed and we could finally be at ease. I sat there happy for TJ to have finally made it and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Besides the baptism this week, we also had the opportunity to teach some really awesome lessons and be able to bring the Spirit to some really awesome people. I think the one that I was most excited for, was a lesson with a potential investigator who we actually found tracting (which is a miracle, because tracting hardly works here). [For those unfamiliar, tracting means knocking on doors.] Of course, it was the last door we knocked on, in the building. We knocked and he came out to talk with us. Even though he said he wasn't really interested and had his own faith, we asked if we could hold a Bible study with him. He seemed excited at that, and let us in. We talked about the Bible, and he related to us two amazing stories in his life where he had seen God's hand in his life. We were happily surprised by his faith. He is a single dad raising at least five kids, relying wholly upon his faith. It was awesome to hear his story. He told us he was pretty loyal to his church because it had helped him find God, so we invited to do a church swap with him. He seemed really excited about that idea. I'm excited to both see his church and to have him come to our church and feel the Spirit we have there. We also left him with a Book of Mormon and asked him to read it, trying to relate the journey of Lehi's family to the journey his own family is on. He said he would try. We thanked him and left, with a return appointment scheduled on Tuesday!!! It was so amazing to feel the Spirit and learn about this man's life. I am really excited to try to help him receive the knowledge of our Gospel, which I know will help and bless his family so much.
The last spiritual story was with a less active in our ward. He is a really kind man in his thirties, but unfortunately attending church is not a priority of his. We got him to attend Sacrament meeting though. Afterwards, we met with him and gave him a lesson about recognizing the blessings in his life and thanking God for them. The Spirit was palpable, and he even got a little emotional. I hope he remembers those feelings and continues to make church and the gospel a priority in his life.
Of all the things that have happened this week, what amazes me the most is how quickly I feel like I have come to love the people we are teaching. I love them already!! I desire for them to have true happiness! That is why I'm out here, and I hope I can bring that to them.
Here are some funny things that happened this week:
Okay funny thing 1: We were having dinner at a member's house this week, eating ribs, and right when we first started, a rib from my plate somehow jumped right into my lap. I got rib sauce all over me!!! Everyone laughed, and I had to go to the rest of that night's appointments looking like a big goof-ball. I had to do a lot of laundry and stain removal that night.
Funny thing 2: Elder Brammer almost did the baptism wrong!! He was accidentally facing the wrong way (This was his first time). We figured it out with the bishops help. He also had a hard time lifting the guy out of the water (the kid is a big football player). After it all, we had a good laugh about it.
One of the lessons Elder Brammer taught this week was on an Isaiah section in the Book of Mormon. Sometimes people think Isaiah is hard to understand, but they are really great scriptures and are easier to understand if you break them down one by one. So the scripture he shared is 1 Nephi 21:16. It reads:
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
The first thing we have to recognize is that Isaiah is talking Messianically, as if he was the Saviour. The first is that the Saviour has graven all of us upon his hands. Graven means written, so basically He has written us upon his hands. He died for us on the cross, where nails were driven into his hands, for us. The nail prints are symbolic of all of our names, written on the Saviourís hands. The second part is that our wall's are continually before Him. The walls in our lives are the obstacles we face. So, all of the obstacles we face in our life are constantly before the Saviour as he remembers our names in his hands. How amazing is that?
As we tried to think of a commitment to give to our families to go along with this lesson we thought of washing hands. So, we asked them (and now I ask all of you) whenever you wash your hands, cleaning them from the dirt and grit that comes with living here on this Earth, please remember your Saviour. Remember that your name is Graven upon His hands and only He can cleanse us from the sins of this world.
Things are great! On Wednesday we went to the Denver Temple!!! It was really awesome. We get to go every quarter. It was nice and fun too because I got to meet so many new faces (other missionaries).
I am loving it out here. Even though it is hard and I miss home and friends and stuff a lot, I love the people. They make it all worth it. I hope I can continue to become like Christ and help others to do so also.
I love you all so much!
Picture 1: Baptism
Picture 2: The bag I thought was dorky but my mom was totally right about
Picture 3 & 4: RYAN school (mascot is Hawks - another word for Bird - get it?)
Picture 5: Us at the temple
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