Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 24th, 2013

I would like to start off by announcing that I met someone who knows Timo yesterday.  There is a family here who sent their son to the United States for High school.  We ate with them a few weeks ago and they asked me where I was from.  When I said "Utah" I was surprised when they asked me what part.  It's usually a miracle that they've even heard of Utah.  But when I said "Cedar Hills" I was more surprised to find out that they'd been there!  They told me their son was living in Alpine and attending Lone Peak but that he was coming home soon for the summer.  They told me his name, but I didn't recognize it.  I asked them if they had seen the wal-mart in front of the school and they said yes.  I asked if they saw the chapel behind the wal-mart--also yes.  I told them I lived on that block.  Everyone freaked out.  Their son came home this week but I still hadn't met him when a young man walks up to me after sacrament meeting and asks me if I miss Lone Peak.  What?  He asked me what classes I had taken, what teachers I had, etc.  When I told him I had Señorita Taylor, he told me that he had taken Spanish 4.  I asked him if he knew Timo and he said yes, that he was the TA for his Spanish class!!!  His name is R A, I think.  Not sure about the first name, but the last name is right.  What a crazy, small, Mormon world we live in, right?

More craziness.  We went to visit a less active couple last week, and had a similar conversation.  The husband, E, asked me where I was from.  "Utah."  "What part?" "Cedar Hills." "That was my first area on my mission!!!"  Crazy.  He served in the Provo mission and his first area included Cedar Hills, Lehi, Alpine, AF, and Highland.  The only baptism he had there was a family from Ecuador that lived in Cedar Hills.  He's been to the Timpanogos temple and wants to get sealed to his recently-baptized wife there this December. Maybe he'll invite you so you can meet him...

Answering a question from last week:  The zone I'm in is called U.  There's three zones in G that belong to our mission.  I started out in I--which is more on the north side of the city, and right now I'm on the west side.  I took pictures of the shoes, but this blessed computer doesn't have a port for my memory card.  Someday...

Happy Birthday Mom!!!  Thanks for being the best Mom ever!!!  Enjoy your bike!

Tuesday in District Meeting the Zone Leaders had asked us to come up with a focus as a district and set goals to achieve it.  We really should be able to have a lot of success in this district--it's the most tight-knit district I've had in my whole mission and we are all 6 part of the same ward.  So we did.  One thing that had been worrying me is that we are not recieving referrals.  The week before we had recieved a total of 6 as a whole district.  In the biggest ward in the mission, that's just not acceptable.  So we talked about how we could improve.  The Zone Leaders and Elder A were there, making it a grand total of 9 missionaries, the biggest district meeting I've ever taught by far, but it was a big help having them there.  The Zone Leaders, because they're zone leaders and they're awesome, and Elder A, because we were in a similar situation in S and ended our time there together receiving 30 referrals in one week.  So we set some goals to improve.  We decided to set the goal to receive 15 as a district every week for the rest of the transfer, and talked about a few things we could do to acheive it.  The Spirit was definitely guiding the meeting.  It went well.  This week we recieved 28 as a district, and it's only going to go up from there.  

You may ask what happened with all those referrals.  Most of them are not interested.  But we'll keep looking I guess.  We had a cool experience with one of them in particular.  Her name is A, and she's not Catholic.  She's from the Apostolic church. 

Needless to say, we got there expecting a challenge.  She started out the lesson saying that there are no other scriptures and no living prophets, that everything we need is in the Bible, and that she has more years in her church than we have alive, in other words, what are these two little children going to be able to teach me?  But as we explained to her the restoration and as she started to see that we do know the scriptures just about as well as she does, she was a little more open.  When we were sharing her the First vision, the impression came to my mind that the salvation of this daughter of God was in that moment dependant on my personal conviction that Joseph Smith is a prophet.  When we had finished relating the First vision in Joseph Smith's own words, the Spirit flooded the room, and I was really grateful for the testimony I had.  Later, she asked me how I could say that the Book of Mormon had changed my life if I had been a member since birth, and in that moment I was really grateful to also have an answer to that question that she could not contend with.  At the end, she said that if she came to know the Book of Mormon is true, she'll be baptized July 20th.  She didn't accept another visit, but we've done our part and we'll be hoping she reads that book.  It's so good to know that Heavenly Father trusts in me enough to let me share my testimony to people like that, who's salvation is in jeopardy and need to hear what he has revealed to me to get back to him.  Remember that, Timo, when your out there in a few weeks.  Every lesson you teach needs to come from the heart.  There doesn't need to be a difference between sharing your testimony and teaching a principle, if the conviction is strong, you'll do both and the same time and the people will feel the power of the Spirit and will know what you are teaching them is true.  If you follow the Spirit, the promise "ye shall not be confounded before men" will be fulfilled.    

The good news is that L went to church again, has accepted everything we teach, is keeping all her commitments, and is getting baptized this Saturday!  The sisters are also baptizing on Saturday, so it should be a really special day for the ward.  Pray specially for them so that everything goes through and they can be baptized that day.  It's been exciting.  

We did get to see the training broadcast and it was SWEET!!!  I was sitting next to Elder M
during the meeting, and during one of the music videos he leaned over and told me "I guarantee my mom is crying right now if she's watching this."  I thought to myself "I guarantee my Mom is crying right now if she's watching this!"  But really, it was so good. 
Leadership training, they had an activity with a stick relay.

I feel like I was going to say something else, but I can't really remember.  Sounds like you all had a fun, busy, scouty week.  Have a great experience tomorrow, Timo (going through the temple).  Take it all in, and think about why they want all missionaries to make those covenants before leaving on the mission.  Love you, bro!
Elder Pew and a fellow Elder friend at the leadership training

Have a great week, everybody.  BYE!!!

Elder Pew

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17th, 2013

Guess who I'm sitting next to.  No, not the prophet, Elder A  His child (a missionary) is finally getting here , and since we're the closest area to the mission offices, they sent him with us for today and tomorrow.    It's been AWESOME!!!  And keep writing him, his family stopped writing again. 

It was a pretty awesome week.  We had the leaders training meeting Tuesday and it was incredible.  President Wagner taught us how to put a baptismal date with anyone in the first lesson and we did a lot of practices that ended up helping me out later that day (keep reading for more info).  Also, I saw Elder B (still in A, but he's zone leader now), Elder D, Elder D, Elder D, and Elder E, so it was way fun.  And basically I learned way too many things to really be able to tell you them all.  But it was great.  I got back just in time for our lesson with G, an investigator that we had found last Sunday, who started off the lesson telling us that she had thought about it and she decided that she didn't want to get baptized.  We'll see about that!  We taught her the restoration and she understood it really well, and when the time came to invite her to be baptized we applied what President Wagner had taught us and she accepted a baptismal date for July 6th.  Sweet!

We're still working a lot with members to get them excited to help us.  I think it's been working, along with President Wagner's talk from stake conference, because we have a ton of lessons already scheduled this with new people the members have been talking to.  Yes!  And L finally came to church!!! She's looking pretty good for her baptism on the 29th.  Also we had an activity this week.  We played Mormon family feud and it was fun.  

I don't have a whole lot of time left, but I also don't have a whole lot more to say.  Thanks for everything and have a great week!  Less than a month and you'll be getting letters like these from Timo too!!!  Who's ready?  Love you!

Elder Pew

June 10th, 2013

Big news this week:  This Tuesday they are going to send 2 more missionaries to S.  Yes!

So we have a completely new way of doing missionary work.  I think I've probably explained this earlier, but now we don't knock on doors, we only contact in the street when prompted to by the Spirit, and we work more with members and less active members to find people to teach.  So when the members don't talk to anyone, there's nobody to teach.  That's what's going on here in E.  But it's not going to last for too long.  This week we visited a lot of members, doing exactly what we did in S to try and motivate them to work with us to find people to teach.  It's going to work, but it's going to take time.  The good thing is that there are more members in my area here than in all of S and they are all really willing to start talking to people.  And they'll be good examples for the investigators and the ward will take care of everyone who comes to church and gets baptized

We did find two awesome investigators:  M and G.  M came to church last Sunday with her friend who is a member from a different stake in G.  We went to teach her Tuesday and she was super interested.  She is already reading the Book of Mormon, she's in 1 Nephi 9.  She's 20 years old and has a 1 year old kid and works in a call center (speaking English).  It was an awesome lesson.  Oh, and did I mention there's a former Mission President in this ward?  Powerful!  We taught her in his house and it was sweet.  She accepted a baptismal date for June 29th super willingly.   

G was someone that Elder Q and Elder D contacted the week before I got here.  We finally had an appointment with her yesterday and she's way cool.  She told us that 2 years ago she had 2 different operations for brain tumors and both went really well--she seems totally normal and says she lives a normal life.  And she said that since then she's realized that God has a purpose for her and that she should try and be a better person.  So we taught her about the purpose God has for her and she also accepted a baptismal date for June 29th.  Let's pray that she doesn't disappear.  

I met a 24 year old girl the other day who is a professional soccer ref for a living.  What?  Awesome.  She's the nursery teacher here.  

This week was stake conference.  The whole thing was about missionary work.  President Wagner spoke and was on fire, Elder Holland style.  It was amazing.  He takes every opportunity to talk as a chance to call everyone to repentance.  He started out by saying "You have all been really blessed to have great leaders here who have set the example in preaching the gospel.  But where's their army?  How many of you have visited a less active member in the last 3 weeks?  How many of you have shared a Book of Mormon with someone in the last year?  Imagine how embarrassing it will be to have to answer these questions in public on judgment day..."  By the end everyone's hair was standing on end and they were all holding on tight to their chairs.  It was exactly what we needed.  He said that there are more missionaries on earth today than in any other moment in the history of the world, and that these missionaries have received new instructions: work with the members.  The Lord will find a way to do His work, what's left to decide is how much you want to be a part of it.  So true. 

Tomorrow I have to go to another stake center for a leadership training meeting.  Should be pretty fun.  

I've run out of things to say this week.  Things have started off slow here, but I'm enjoying it.  The other missionaries in our district are super fun and the members are also way awesome.  I am absolutely certain that we will have a lot of success together.  Thanks for everything!  I love you all!

Elder Pew

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 3rd, 2013

Hey everybody!  Well, I'm going to start by answering questions.  Yes, we meet in the chapel on the same property as the temple.  My new companion? Well, he's good.  He´s no Elder A, but he is obedient, he knows the area, he plans everything out well.  But the first few months of his mission were super crazy since he was an extra missionary in that mission for a while and I don't think he ever really was trained.  So I think I'm going to sneakily train him again.  But he'll be fine, I think.  His family writes him and everything, but if they stop I'll let you know.  Halfway mark package: still no.  And go ahead and write Elder A all you want.  And tell him I miss him and everyone in S.  

Well, this week was really tiring.  It's just been a weird situation in this ward, because there's not actually supposed to be 4 missionaries living in the same house, they banned that about a month ago.  So Elder M and Elder T had to find a house in their area and move out this week.  Also, the sisters from our ward are living with other sisters in a different ward, and we had to find them a house.  The problem is, they gave us a certain budget for it and all the houses in their area are way too expensive.  So we decided to look for a house in our area and let them live where we are right now, since it is right on the border with their area and we never really work with anyone around there.  So by Thursday we found a house for us to live in and Elder T and Elder M moved out Saturday.  But we still can't move in to our new house because there are still people living in it, so we'll have to wait like 2 weeks.  Also, since the sisters are opening an area, they get lost every so often and we had to go rescue them one night because they were about an hour away from their area and had no idea how to get home. At about 9:30 we finally found them--literally 4 blocks from where they are living right now.  How they got there is still a mystery.  But that's just the kind of thing we've been dealing with.  

Not to mention that this area was completely dead.  They had apparently misunderstood the instruction to focus more on the less actives and decided to completely stop all efforts to look for investigators.  There's a lot of work to do.  But this area has me drooling with all the potential it has.  It's a super big ward--we had 195 in sacrament meeting this sunday, 153 more than we had in Sayula last week.  It's also CRAWLING with recently returned missionaries, who make up the ward mission leader, his assistant, and the entire Elder's Quorum presidency.  And they are all SUPER cool and willing to come with us and help us in the lessons.  Not to mention there's an ex-mission president here also.  And all the other members are pretty awesome and helpful too, from what I've seen so far.  They are all super rich and have cars and drive us all over the place to lessons and to pick up investigators.  And there's a bunch of part member families to work with.  It really should not be any problem finding people to teach.  

This week we did have a couple lessons, 2 of which ended with investigators crying during the closing prayer.  Nobody came to church, but we're working on that.  We ended up teaching one lesson in English to a Canadian named W that lives in Puerto Vallarta who was here on vacation with his wife, who's cousin is a member of this ward.  Did I mention that all the members here speak English?  Well, they do.  Our assistant ward mission leader, J, came with us and helped me teach the lesson in English.  He is amazing!  It was a good lesson.  It's not exactly their time to receive the gospel yet, but we left a good impression.  And his wife said the closing prayer and ended in tears.  Pretty cool experience.  Also, a member from another ward here in Guadalajara brought his friend, who lives in our area, to church on Sunday.  Her name is M and she's already reading the Book of Mormon and wants to know more.  We have a lesson with her tomorrow.  Sweet!

Fun facts about the missionaries in the district:

Elder M and Elder D are both from Columbia, but both have completely different accents.  Elder M sounds like he's speaking Spanish in a British accent, and Elder D with a Southern accent.  Really weird.  And Elder M speaks English incredibly well.  

Elder T has 15 months in the mission.  Before E, he was in A. And he got transferred from there because somebody fell in love with him.  Sound familiar? 

The sisters in our district are Hermana L and Hermana B.  Hermana L is from the same generation as Elder A and Elder R, and is training Hermana B, who seems like she's about 15 years old.  These young sister missionaries really are weirding me out.  

Well, that`s about it for this week.  Thanks for everything and all your prayers.  Hopefully we can find some good investigators this week.  Pray for that!  See you later!  Enjoy summer break!  And congratulations Granny for the wedding!  Hope it goes well! Love you all!

Elder Pew