Hello to all my fam, friends, and coaches back home, at school, and serving around the world! Hope this email finds you well and loving life and enjoying all you do! First off want to give a big shoutout to my SV Bobcats on the great season! I’m proud of your hard work and dedication to carry on the winning legacy at SV. Don’t hang your heads about the loss. We are always gonna have losses in our lives, but it’s really about how we respond to those losses and whether or not we learn and improve from them. I know it sucks, trust me, I’ve been in exactly the same spot. Just hold on to the great memories you’ve made with your brothers this season. This week has been pretty good in Hutch! The work is starting to pick up a little this week so that’s been great! We also had 4 people at church, which was crazy. That was a miracle for sure. God is truly in charge of the work!
So we went to the Mall of America as a district for p day! That was pretty fun and I got some new Nike shoes because someone stole my other ones off of our car in the parking lot of our apartment. The ones I got were only $49, and are pretty good, so I’m happy with the deal I got! It was fun to walk around and see all the stores. We were there for like 4 hours and saw like half the stores there. It is an insanely huge mall! After that we played some basketball at the Buffalo church. and that was pretty fun! We ended up blitzing Buffalo night because we had nothing scheduled in Hutch and we needed to do laundry, too. So that was pretty fun to work with the Buffalo Elders. I don’t know if I mentioned last time but the guy that Elder H and I found decided they were just going to stay at their church they currently went to. So that was unfortunate, but it is what it is!
we headed back to Hutch and then we had this big Facebook live video thing with President and Sister Barney talking about the Christmas video the church is doing for this year. It’s pretty much exactly the same as last years one. I didn’t see hardly any success in using the one last year with members or investigators so this year we will have to up our game a lot and come up with some creative ideas in using it this year. After that we drove down to Brownton and stopped by some people we had found a few weeks back. None of them were home, but we did get in contact with a less active lady named S. She was super nice and talked to us for like 20 minutes on her porch. She joined the church like 7 years ago and then felt judged by people at church because she fell back into her habit of smoking. So she hasn’t been to church since then, but she loves the missionaries so she was more than happy to talk to us! We basically just talked about her family because she has 8 kids haha. We asked her if we could come do an FHE with her family and she said she would talk to her husband about it. Her husband is from Alabama and is Southern Baptist and doesn’t like Mormons at all haha. So that is basically our only hold up right now. We haven’t heard back from her yet, so hopefully we can get something set up with them! After that we knocked some doors in Stewart and Buffalo Lake. Stewart is a tiny town haha. We didn’t find anyone solid but we did get to meet this super cool less active dude named JM! He was pretty cool! He really enjoys doing art stuff so he had some cool paintings he had done and some Halloween art bottles he had painted. They were sick! He also is doing some crazy LEGO stuff right now, so he showed us that too. He is less active because his wife doesn’t really come to church much, and he’s like half blind so he can’t drive himself anywhere. So he’s kind of dependent on his wife for rides to places, but she for some reason doesn’t come to church much. So we are going to try and get him a ride figured out for this next week. He lives by like no one, so I’m not sure who we can get, but we will find someone.After that we had dinner with AM family. They are awesome and we got to help them cook dinner. A is so funny. He told us about how much he hates Texas because there are a bunch of “fake Mexicans” there who can’t speak Spanish. He’s a hoot! We had this shrimp salsa stuff for dinner that was way good! It was chopped up shrimp, red onions, and cucumbers with some blended up peppers and stuff that was spicy haha. It was way good though, and the M family are awesome! Dad, hit A up on Facebook and talk some Espanol with him. He would love that! They are a solid family and we had a way good time with them. We are trying to start teaching A's brother named E, but he isn’t super interested so we will keep trying on that one for sure. After dinner we had to head home because it’s like 50 minutes from our place in Hutch. They live in Fairfax, which is the southwest corner of our area.
was what Elder Layton would call a “death day.” Everything we had scheduled fell through and all our backup plans fell through before It was rough. We only met with one guy the whole day and he was a less active we hadn’t met yet named A. He was super chill though, and loved the Elders. He works 6 days a week and his only day off was so it ended up working out well for us! He told us he’s trying to find a new job so he has time to come to church and be with his family more. After that we stopped by every single investigator, less active, everyone in Glencoe and no one was home or wanted to talk to us. We then knocked doors for like 2 hours and it was pretty chilly. We gave out two Books of Mormon and they both said we could come by this week. One lady was pretty interested so I’m hoping she will turn into someone we can teach! Anyway, so rolls around and we still have an hour till we go home for dinner. We had stopped by like literally everyone and it was cold and it had just been a rough day. We ended up finding like 2 more people in Glencoe to stop by, but neither of them were home. We knocked a few more doors also to no avail. So we decided to stop by some people on the way home who were formers and less actives who lived in this super teeny town called Biscay. There’s like 100 people that live there haha. The one dude who was a former member said he was too busy to meet and the less active was less than thrilled to see us. However, we worked till the end of the day. was one of those days that just sucked. Like anyone who’s a missionary knows what those days are like. But we just worked hard even though nothing worked out. Something I’ve learned as a missionary is that all bad days come to end. You just have to make it to the end of the day and then you can start fresh the next day! There was some quote my mom sent for “thought of the day” about that and it was going through my head from like on haha. But it was good to just get the day over and start a new day !
was a much better day. We went up to Litchfield and the first stop by we did let us in and we talked for an hour and little bit! Her name was PL, and she was a former investigator. As we got talking, she told us she had read like all of first Nephi in the Book of Mormon and she said she felt like it applied so much more to her than the Bible did. I thought that was really cool because the Book of Mormon is literally written for our day. As we take the time to read it, we will see that! So we got to testify to her of the Book of Mormon and how as she reads it she will be able to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ and feel the peace and joy of reading the stories and learning the doctrine in that great book! It was an awesome lesson and she said she was interested to have us come back and teach her more about the plan of salvation because she had some questions about that! So that was great! After that we knocked doors and it was like 5 degrees. People were like, “Why the heck are you out in this weather?” I got some news for ya: In Minnesota, we go out every day! Rain, shine, snow, death cold, heat, we are out working and sharing the gospel. So if we come knocking on your door when it’s 5 degrees outside, don’t be surprised! We didn’t find anyone solid but it was fun to get out and get acclimated to the cold a little bit! We had dinner with the Ls and they are awesome! Brother L is a homey haha. We had a great time visiting with him. He used to be in the Branch Presidency so we talked about a ton of less active people we could go visit so that was great. After dinner we stopped by a few less actives in Litchfield and then this lady from Elder Layton’s home Ward was out here, so she brought him some stuff from home. Oh cool story: We stopped at a gas station to go to the bathroom and warm up and we got talking to this guy working there. He used to be married to a member of the church and so he knows who missionaries are and he loves the Elders. So he was like, “Anything you guys want is on the house!” We didn’t take anything because we had just eaten, but he sent us home with a huge box of muddy buddies. He was a good dude and said to stop in whenever we are up in Litchfield! So that was cool! After we met with the lady from Elder Layton’s Ward, we stopped by some more people in Hutch and found out that like 5 less actives no longer live at the address they are listed at. So that was good to know!
we went and got some fruits and veggies in the morning because we are going through them like crazy. We eat a ton of fruits and veggies which is good, but now they’re starting to get way expensive because they aren’t in season, so that kind of is a bummer, but it is what it is! After that we started weekly planning and got that done at like We knocked doors for 2 hours and it was cold!️ The wind was killer and it was like 3 degrees “feels like” temperature, and my hands were so cold the whole time even with gloves haha. We met some interesting people in our two hours. We knocked on this one door and this lady answers and just goes off and was like, “I believe in God and Jesus Christ and I’m a born again believer and you guys are deceived, etc etc.” I was like, “Hey! We believe in all that stuff, too!” And then she just slammed the door. Then we met this crazy lady who told us the Book of Mormon wasn’t true and that there are no more prophets. I asked her “Have you ever read the Book of Mormon?” She never had, so I asked her, “How can you say the Book of Mormon isn’t true if you’ve never read it?” She didn’t know how to answer that, so we just bore our testimonies of it and offered her a Book of Mormon and she declined still. I was kind of sad, but everyone’s got their agency! Then we met this JW who tried to tell us the Book of Mormon was false because of the verse in Revelations that says “Don’t add or diminish from my word” - something like that. I said, "Well most bible scholars of today have agreed that it is just talking about the Book of Revelations and not the whole bible. And also the Book of Revelations wasn’t the last Book of the Bible written before the Bible was compiled." I also told him it says that in Deuteronomy 4, so did that make the whole New Testament invalid? He was like, “It doesn’t say that in Deuteronomy 4.” I said “Yes it does! Look it up!” He didn’t know what to say to that so he just slammed the door. I just had to laugh. After that we stopped by a bunch of less actives and most of them had moved, so it was good to get all that updated in our area book. After that we had a lesson with J and JB and their friend, K. K was super nice and they just railed on him the whole time and kept calling him gay and stuff and I was like, “I wonder why K hangs out with them?” He’s a nice guy, so it was weird how they were all friends haha. J was on one and he was being crazy and talking about some weird stuff. I basically just sat there and was like, “What the heck is going on?” We ended up showing the “Testimony of the Book of Mormon” Mormon message by Elder Holland and J really liked it. She said it was one of the only general conference talks that she had really been impressed with and felt the Spirit! So that was awesome! After that we made some fish and grilled peppers for dinner with Sweet Baby Rays Honey Mustard BBQ sauce and it was amazing. Grilled peppers are way good! (See picture below.)
we originally were going to go out to Cosmos again, but Brother J (recent convert) needed some help on his chicken coop, so we ended up going out to Lester Prairie and helping him with that for about 3 hours. We got all the insulation and walls put in and and got the roof secured to the building and everything. It was fun and I learned a lot while helping out! They were super thankful we could help them because it’s starting to get cold and the chickens need to be inside now. After that we drove out to some insanely small towns on the East part of our area to track down some less actives. We found out a few of them had moved and some others weren’t home. So we are slowly whittling down our list of less actives who still live in the area. After that we visited Brother C! He is the ward clerk and lives alone in Lester Prairie. He’s a little unique! He takes thrifty to a whole new level. His only item of furniture is a 2 step ladder and he sleeps on an inflatable mattress. He showers once a week in a very unique way using the least amount of water possible and he only buys super cheap things. His house is pretty interesting haha. He is the nicest guy though. I absolutely love him and I’ve met him like twice. He’s just super humble and loving even though he is an interesting guy. Coolest part of his house is his giant safe full of all his coins and money and stuff. It’s pretty sweet! (Pics below). We read Moroni 7 with him and he had such good insights on charity and having patience with people. That’s something I realized I still need to work on. It’s funny how some things in life you get good at and then you just can do it (riding a bike, driving stick, etc.), but then there’s things in my life that if I don’t continually work on, I eventually lose my ability to do them at a high level (throwing a football, working out, being patient and charitable). Being patient and charitable are some things I think I will always have to work on in my life. Those things just do not come naturally for me haha. But I’m grateful that I can always be working to improve on them! After that we visited the T family. They’re semi active and we hadn’t met them so we had a good visit with them and Sister T’s parents from North Carolina. We shared this video called “Lifting Burdens”, which is a compilation of the apostles' testimonies of the Savior's Atonement and the power it has to change and heal us. It’s such a good video and after we watched it they told us how Brother T had been in a bad accident at work and wasn’t expected to live, but through prayers and faith and Priesthood blessings, he miraculously is still around! It was cool to hear their own testimonies of how the atonement of Jesus Christ had helped them through that tough time! After that we headed home and had some really good salad for dinner and went for a nice 2.5 mile run and headed to bed.
was probably the best day we’ve had in Hutch. Miracles on miracles here. So we started the day and had a bomb Branch Council. We reported on all the less actives we had found and met with and every single person in Branch Council got assigned to fellowship one of them! It was awesome. Then 4 investigators showed up to church, and 3 of them we hadn’t met! So Brother R, who is married to a lady who isn’t a member came with her, V came and brought a friend, and then JM’s son from California came with his family and he isn’t a member yet. His name is also JM. He loved church and Elders Quorum, especially haha. Elders Quorum was a riot Brother A and J II were on one just going back and forth about cooking and eating and all kinds of stuff and people were just making the funniest comments. I was dying haha. After church we headed up to Dassel and stopped by a few less actives on the way up but none of them were home. In Dassel we met with D, N, and C again and C has started reading the Book of Mormon, which is awesome and she is way excited to keep reading more this week! We shared “Lifting Burdens” with them and N was like, “That video really peaked my interest. I’m going to read the Book of Mormon because I want to learn some more about the things said in that video.” We were just like, “Let’s go!!” haha After that we went to Cokato and stopped by some of the less actives that lived way far out in the sticks. We stopped by this one lady and her husband was like waiting for us at the door and just ripped into us for coming back after telling us to never come back. I was like, “Bro, I’ve never been here before! I’m sorry we showed up to try and help you guys out!” He just yelled at us to never, ever come back and slammed the door. The next lady we stopped by, basically the same thing happened! I was like, “What the heck happened that made these people hate the church so much?” It’s crazy! The last dude we stopped by was kind of interesting. When we got there he acted like he wasn’t the dude we were looking for, but then was like, “I’m just messing with you guys. I’m this dude!” We were like, "Oh sweet!" He told us he grew up in the church, served a mission, and when he came home he eventually left activity in the church because he said he never had a testimony. He told us he had read the Book of Mormon literally dozens of times, prayed daily, came to church, etc, but never had a testimony of anything. I found that odd but he said he just couldn’t keep living a lie. He said he didn’t believe in any of it and never got an answer to his prayers, so he just quit coming. I’ve never heard of someone who does all those things right but never gets an answer to prayers or testimony. One thing I know for certain is that God answers prayers if we ask with a sincere heart and real intent. I’m sure there’s more to his story he didn’t tell us, but I still felt bad that he had never felt like he had a testimony! That made me feel super sad for him. We offered to help him with yard work and he said he was good, but if we ever needed to just get away from mission life for a while, we were welcome to come chill at his place. So at least he was nice! After that we drove up to Buffalo and grilled some chicken and fish for dinner and it was the bomb! Caribbean Jerk marinade from Walmart. 10/10
So this week I learned two things that stick out to me:
- Always work hard to the end, even if it’s tough and nothing seems to be going your way. If nothing else, you can look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and know you did all you could. It’s like the “clear eyes, full hearts” idea from Night Lights. If you do all you can, you can look your family, friends, God, and yourself in the eye with clear eyes and full hearts knowing you did your best. That is a good feeling to have!
- I’m grateful I have a testimony of the restored gospel. I honestly didn’t have a strong testimony at all before my mission, but I’m so very grateful I’ve been able to develop one since I’ve been out here. Elder L and I talked about our own testimonies for a long time after we visited the last dude I talked about. The thing we both said we always fell back on when we have doubts is 1. We know the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet and 2. Jesus Christ lives and this is His work. As we have faith in Him, all things are possible. I find myself on days that suck and I wonder why I’m out here always going back to the fact that I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was God's prophet of the restoration, and Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today, and God loves me no matter what! I know 3 things to be true. And because I know those things are true, it is so much easier to believe everything else! The Book of Mormon is truly the keystone of our religion and should be the keystone of our testimonies of the Savior and the restoration of His gospel here on the earth.
Thanks for all the prayers and support! Love you all! Hope y’all have a great week and enjoy the many blessings we have. Gratitude is a great attribute to have! Do what you love with those you love because life goes too fast to not do that!
Money from Brother C's safe.
Grilled fish and peppers! Yum!
Me and Elder L with facial hair...
Free muddy buddies!
Helping build a chicken coop!