What’s up fam, friends, and coaches back home! Hope you are all having a great week and enjoying the nice warm weather you all are having while I’m here in the sub zero in Minnesota. ️ Haha just kidding! I wouldn’t trade it for the world! I’m loving the mission. It’s been the best thing I’ve ever done and I would recommend serving a mission to everyone! Anyway, we’ve had a good week here. The work is slowly but surely picking up! Elder B was pretty sick on Sunday, so we didn’t end up not doing much but other than that it’s been a solid week!
Monday we had Zone p-day so the whole zone came up to Rochester to do whatever it is you do on Zone p-day. The Elders basically played basketball and the Sisters had all their little plans, but we basically just ended up playing basketball the whole time so I was totally cool with that! We had a good time and it was pretty fun.It was fun to see some other missionaries from the zone, too. Anyway, after p-day, we drove down to Chatfield to have dinner with Sister K. We kind of took a wrong turn somewhere and got a little lost so we were a little late to dinner but it was good haha. Sister K is awesome! She made us a feast and it was great. She made banana jello for dessert so that was pretty good! I don’t count it as dessert so I was able to have it haha. We helped her clean out some of her cabinets and organize her kitchen a little bit and then she showed us her study Book of Mormon and it was pretty cool! She loves to study the gospel! After that it was about 8:15 pm so we had to get heading home for the night. We stopped by a few people on the way home but they said “Come back when it’s earlier in the day!” Haha oh well.
Tuesday morning was a fiasco. So we got up and got all ready to go and all that and I couldn’t find the phone. Like it had vanished. So we drove to the church to look for it because we had had it the night before at the church. We couldn’t find it anywhere. So we looked literally everywhere we had it the night before and couldn’t find it anywhere. So we looked all over in the car, couldn’t find it. So we drove back home and looked everywhere for it in the apartment. Nothing. So we drove back to the church and called it like 5 times and nobody answered it. So we finally were like, “Ok, someone from seminary must’ve taken it this morning.” So we called Sister C, who is a seminary teacher and asked her if anyone turned it in. She said someone gave it to her and then she gave it to the bishop because he was having lunch with us that day. We were a little confused as to why she didn’t just give it to us or leave it at the church on a table or something, but anyway, we found it. So we went to lunch with the bishop and he had our phone, thank heavens. We talked about cleaning up the list of people that nobody knew. Most of them we had stopped by and they either didn’t live there or didn’t want contact. So he asked us to make a google doc and share it with the Ward Council. So we headed to the church right after lunch to make the sheet and get it shared. So we did that and then left, and right when we walked out side Elder B was like, “Oh crap. I left the keys inside the church.” So we realized we were locked out of the church and the car. So we called EW (building coordinator guy, kinda crazy) to come let us in. So he came and let us in and at this point it was like 2 pm and we hadn’t done like anything that day so I was like, “Ok we need to go do some tracting or something!” So we knocked some doors for about an hour and unfortunately didn’t find anyone super solid. It was kind of the “dead hour” of the day when nobody’s home, so most doors we knocked no one answered. We then stopped by a few people and got a lesson set up with a former investigator named J. She lives down on the south part of town on the outskirts of the suburbs. She was more than happy to see us and said we could come back on Wednesday this week.After that we had a lesson with C (one of our not progressing investigators). She lives right downtown, so we got there about 5 pm and read 3 Nephi 27 with her because she wants to get baptized but thinks she has to do it in a “dirty body of water because that’s how Christ was baptized.” We talked about how that doesn’t matter, but being baptized by proper authority does. She told us she is getting baptized with the Autumn Ridge church in the spring because they do baptisms in a lake. This was after we had talked about Priesthood authority and all that, and I was like, “Look, C. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the ONLY church on earth with Priesthood authority to baptize and give the Holy Ghost to people. Autumn Ridge doesn’t have it, the church down the street doesn’t have it either. This church does. And you can come to know that to be true by reading the Book of Mormon and gaining a spiritual witness of its truthfulness.” She was a little surprised at how straightforward I was and was like, “Oh..... ok.” So we invited her to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true and if this is the church of Jesus Christ on earth today. Hopefully she does. Anyway, after that we ran home to grab our laundry to do it at the O's during dinner. We brought a giant sniper gun for nerf wars we found in our apartment for them because they love it haha. We had taco Tuesday and went and stopped by some people with Brother O, but none of them were available/home. We did get a lesson set up with the M family for this Tuesday though. They are a less active/part member family. So hopefully that will be good! After that we headed home and I fell asleep on the way home haha, and then when we got home, I was doing some stretching and stuff before I worked out and I fell asleep on the ground while rolling out. I woke up at like 9:45 pm and was like, “Holy crap. I’m so tired haha.” So I ended up just going to bed at like 10 pm, so it was nice to get a little extra sleep that night!
Wednesday morning was a little wild, too. We went to the Os to finish laundry in the morning while we did our studies. Sister O wanted us to text her before we got there so she could turn off the alarm to the house. So we texted her and she never texted back, so we just figured she turned it off. So we opened the front door and nothing happened so we figured we were good. Then the alarm went off and all heck broke loose. So we called her and she got it turned off. So we switched our laundry and started doing studies. Then like 5 minutes later we hear a knock on the door. So we go see who it is and it’s a cop. So we answer the door in our white shirts and ties and he’s like, “Uh... what are you guys doing here?” We were like, “Laundry!” He’s like, “Yeah, I’m gonna need to speak with the home owner.” So we called Sister O to bail us out with the cop. So he talked to her on the phone and she told him what happened haha. He just kind of chuckled and headed out. It was nuts! After that we went and got haircuts because we both needed one. My hair was getting pretty long haha. So while we were getting our haircuts I talked to this lady named S who was also getting her hair cut. She was this super nice old lady. Her husband was in a nursing home, so she basically just lived there with him. We ended up talking about Temple Square because I told her I was a missionary for the LDS church. She said she loved the MOTAB and Temple Square. We had a really good conversation and I don't know if she’s going to convert from it, but it seemed to brighten her day, so I was glad I could do that if nothing else! After that we had a super quick lunch and then met with the Hs. Brother H is a less active dude and his wife is Episcopalian. They’re super nice and we shared “Waiting on our Road to Damascus” by Elder Uchtdorf. We talked about having the faith the do the little things right (church, pray, read) and not just wait for big spiritual moments like Paul’s or Alma the Younger. Brother H was like, “Oh, so you guys are trying to convert me back to Mormonism?” I was like “No, just to Jesus Christ and His church. We are not here to convert you necessarily, just help you build your faith in Christ and come closer to him. Conversion is just a natural byproduct of that faith and willingness to follow Christ.” Unfortunately, they didn’t come to church this week. I know people feel the spirit when we come over and I wish they could just act on it! It’s so frustrating and sad, but it’s all part of God’s Plan. I’m sure He feels that way about me quite often haha. Anyway, after that we did some service at Channel 1 food shelf and just took bread out of bags if it was bad and threw it in the giant garbage bin for 2 hours haha. Pretty fun. We make it fun so it’s a good time! After that we did some contacting downtown and it was soooo cold. ️ It was like -15 with windchill and it was rough. People were just hurrying to get inside and out of the cold so we didn’t get to talk to people for a whole lot of time. Hopefully some seeds were planted! Haha funny story: so this one dude was sitting at a bus stop and I had talked to all the other people in the bus stop and nobody wanted to talk, so I approached this guy and said, “Hi! I’m a missionary for the LDS church”....blah blah the normal stuff I say. He just freaks out. He’s like,“You need to back off or I’m calling the cops.” I was like, “I’m just trying to share a message about Jesus Christ with people.” He’s like, “You’re way too close to me! Back off!” I had pretty much had it with some people’s crap for that day, so I was just like, “Hey my man, you have a blessed day. God bless you in your journey!” Just laying it on thick. I went to shake his hand and the dude basically swatted my hand away. I wanted to just cuss him out so bad, but I bit my tongue and just walked away. I was mad for like 5 minutes. I just took a walk to cool off a littleand I prayed for charity and that always helps, too.So end of my funny story! We had dinner after that and then went and helped out with scouts because they needed two more adult males there to help out because only one scout leader could go. So we talked about winter camping and things we needed to pack and bring with us. Brought back some good memories of some cold winter nights in a scout tent. ️ After that we picked up JC for b-ball and headed up to the stake center. We are playing there now because more people come and it’s a bigger gym. It was fun and good to blow off some competitive steam.
Thursday morning Elder B had a dentist appointment at 8 am and we had interviews at 11 am. Well, we were at the dentist for 3 hours and 15 minutes and when we got to interviews at about noon, President still had 2 more interviews to do from the other district. So we didn’t get interviewed until about 1:15 pm but it was good! We did our district meeting and it was really good! I gave a training where we each read about a different missionary in the scriptures and then we talked about how each one was devoted to their calling and some things we could do to be more like those missionaries. The two things I took out of it was I need to teach the simple principles of the gospel and not all the other cool stuff we learn. Just teach simply. And bear testimony of Jesus Christ more often. He is the center of our church and message, but I often find myself testifying of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. I realized those are great things to testify of, but I also need to testify more of our Savior and his power to help and heal us! So that was cool.My interview with President Barney was so good. I have nothing but respect for that man. He is such a great guy. I’ve been really just worn down and running on empty lately so I talked to him about it and asked for a blessing. He gave me such a great blessing and I felt so much better after. I know there’s a lot of struggling missionaries in the mission so I was just like, “President, don’t worry about me at all. I’m doing just fine!” I just don’t want him to think I was struggling because I’m not, I’m just worn out mentally, physically and emotionally. Missions are draining big time! But the blessing I got helped a lot and I feel pretty good now! Anyway, I love President and he’s a great dude. After we got done with interviews and everything we knocked some doors for about an hour and a half. Biggest miracle ever occurred: so we are knocking this street where the houses are pretty spaced out. It’s on the outskirts of Rochester. So we knocked this one door and this lady comes to the door and laughs and says, “Well this is ironic! Come on in!” We are thinking she must be a long lost member of the church or something because nobody lets you in in Minnesota. So anyway, we go in and come to find out this lady, K, just got divorced, is really struggling, and is in a “rebellious phase of her life.” So she just sits us down and is like, “Alright, what do you got for me?” So we started talking about who God is and who God is to her. She said she prays every day and feels that God is there and loves her even though she is rebelling against him (not sure how). She said she really connects with music and doesn’t really like organized religion because she doesn’t fit in. Then she straight up asked us to sing her a song. I can’t sing to save my life, so Elder B and I were like, “Ok, but we are both terrible singers!” So we ended up singing, “I Am a Child of God” and I don’t know what happened, but the spirit basically sang the song. We sounded like freakin' David Archuleta. It was incredible. Everyone who knows me knows I can’t sing at all. Like I’m bad. But man we sang super good and the spirit was so strong. It was amazing! After that we shared a Book of Mormon with her and invited her to read it and promised that she would find comfort and solace in its pages. She was so happy to receive it and told us, “I will cherish this book and I’m so excited to start reading it tonight!” We had to peace out pretty quick after that because she had to take her kids somewhere, but it was seriously a miracle. We were on cloud 9 after we left there, and it was just what we needed to boost our morale. After that we stopped by a few people and then had to go to Walmart to pick up Elder B’s pain meds for his mouth. Then we had some dinner and called it a night.
Friday we did some contacting in the morning and met some nice people, but nobody super interested. We gave a Book of Mormon to a guy who was at the Mayo and was from Texas. He was just outside smoking and we stopped and talked to him and he took a Book of Mormon from us, so that was pretty neat! Hope he reads it and missionaries find him back home! After that we had some lunch and then went and helped BJ shovel his driveway again. We got it done really quick this time and then we had a really good lesson with him about prophets and the restoration. When we sat down he pulled out some scripture in the Bible and started to try to bible bash with us about the trinity, but we shot it down pretty quick. We basically beat him at his own game and then he started to listen to us a little more. In the end he wanted to know how he could know who was a true prophet or not. We told him by reading the Book of Mormon and gaining a spiritual witness of it and by listening to the words of the prophets today. So he wanted us to bring a talk by Russell M. Nelson next time we come over and we have just the one. (his last talk about the Book of Mormon). So that was a good lesson and then we hurried down to have a lesson with D. He lost his Book of Mormon, so he didn’t read the chapter we gave him. We talked about football for like 30 minutes and then read 2 Nephi 31 with him and talked a little about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He said he wanted to reread the chapter and talk more about it next week, so we gave him a pamphlet and also a new Book of Mormon to read over so we could discuss it a little more in depth next week. He didn’t come to church, which made me super sad because I thought he was going to this week. I spoke in church, so I thought we got him with that, but unfortunately not. After that we stopped by the C's to see how Sister C was doing. She seemed in much better spirits. Her son and his 5 kids were visiting for the weekend. So it was a nuthouse there. They were trying to watch a movie in his PS4 and his wife was doing a recently found search thing, and it was just straight porn on their search history. Elder B and I had to do the awkward “go watch Brad play call of duty thing” haha. After that we stopped by a few more people and nobody was home unfortunately. We had dinner at 8 pm because nobody had signed up to feed us, so we did stop bys till then and then called it a night.
Saturday we did the Book of Mormon study and Dr. C came again. We read Moroni 8 and 9 (he chose those) and talked about them. We actually had a really good discussion about them, which was good because those are tough chapters. After we got done he was like, “Would you mind if I shared an anecdotal story about some of my patients I work with?” The Sisters were like, “Uh...probably not today.” He helps guys with ED, so that’s the kind of work he does haha. Elder B and I were just dying. The Sisters didn’t think it was as funny, but it is what it is. After that we helped at the soup kitchen thing again that we helped at last week. Elder C and V came, so Elder C could play the piano for the people before lunch. That got shut down pretty quick though because I guess they had some piano thing going on there upstairs and Elder C was putting them to shame, so they’re like, “Yeah, you can’t play the piano anymore.” I had a great time serving there again! The people are so nice and humble and I love it. Such great people from all walks of life! After that we went and did weekly planning because we didn’t have time on Friday and we had nothing planned on Saturday. That took about 3 hours, but we got it done and then we stopped by some less actives to invite them to church on Sunday. Most of them were like, “Yeah we will be there.” But they didn’t show up so.... yeah. Haha ok another funny story happened Saturday night: So we had a lesson with the Bs set up (finally). So we get there and it’s like this huge birthday party for their one-year-old. So they had Subway and cake and all kinds of stuff. They had a friend there who was a convert and just moved to Rochester. Her name was C, so I ended up talking to her about how she joined the church and why she investigated so long before joining (13 years). It was good to get some insights to why she joined and stuff. So anyway, we shared a message with them and invited them to church. D, who’s 17, said he could come and M wanted to come, too. So we were like, “We will get a ride for those two.” And they’re like, “Ok cool, we will be ready.” Then D is like, “Before you go I gotta show you this crazy workout we do for wrestling.” So he has his dad, B, who’s like 6’ and maybe a 150 soaking wet get on all 4s like he’s doing a knee push-up. Then D, who’s like 6' 2'' and 290 lbs, sits backwards on his back and then starts to do a sit-up where his upper body would go over B’s head while B is holding 290 pounds of human with basically his arms and head. It didn’t work out too well, and D basically crushed B into the ground and we thought he broke his nose. His nose was bleeding everywhere, and then we realized his lip was, too. So B went into the bathroom to assess the damage to his face and came out and was like, “B (Sister B), come here now, please.” So she goes in there and we hear her scream and come running out and she’s like, “Ok, we need to go to the hospital right now!” So come to find out, B’s tooth had broken off and was in his lip. It was nasty. His nose was also possibly broken and still just gushing, and then his lip was pretty nasty, too, and there was a nice big gash where his tooth was in his lip. So it wasn’t a good situation and everyone was freaking out and M started crying because she though he was going to die. It was a nuthouse. So we just kind of left because Sister Baker was like, “You guys can just leave! We are going to the hospital!” We were like “Uh... ok.”After that we had dinner and went to bed. Such a weird night haha.
Sunday morning we had Ward Council bright and early and then I spoke in church on charity. I really enjoyed preparing this talk because I learned a lot and have some great notes in my study journal that I learned and am trying to implement into my missionary work. One of the main things I learned was from a talk given in 1992 general conference called, “Love of Christ” by C. Max Caldwell. He says: “Charity is not just a precept or a principle, nor is it just a word to describe actions or attitudes. Rather, it is an internal condition that must be developed and experienced in order to be understood. We are possessors of charity when it is a part of our nature. People who have charity have a love for the Savior, have received of his love, and love others as he does.” I thought that was so interesting. Charity does not merely define our actions, it is something we become as we become more like Christ by serving others, loving them, and seeing them as he sees them. That is something I’m definitely working on and will continue to work in throughout my life! Sister A came to church again, and this other less active dude named Brother H came, too! So that was awesome! We had like a full house in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, so that was great to see. After church we had a lesson with M and R. We read 2 Nephi 31 with them and talked about baptism and following the Savior by being baptized. M makes it really hard to teach R because she goes off on these huge tangents about the most random stuff. We finally were like, “Ok M, it’s R’s turn to talk.” Then we asked him about what he thought and if he had given any thought to being baptized into Christ’s Church. He said he wanted to do some more investigating and come to church several times. We committed him to read the Book of Mormon every day and pray about it each day. We are going to text him reminders each day to read and pray and also to come to church next week. Elder B has a nasty cough, sore throat, and fever, so we went home and he slept from 2-6 pm. I read the Book of Mormon and some new church history stuff on gospel library for that time. I started getting really antsy around 5 and did some pull-ups and sit-ups and walked around the apartment like 30 times haha. I hate being cooped up inside all day. I just feel like I’m not doing my job as a missionary. I texted and called a few investigators too, and didn’t have whole lot of success with that. After Elder B woke up he called Sister B, (the mission nurse) and she said to stay in the rest of the night. I was like “No...... I need to get out of here.” So we decided to go to the youth fireside at the church just to get out of the apartment and so we could give Elder B a blessing. The fireside was on how they choose the next prophet and continuing revelation in the church. Bishop R gave it and it was super good. I learned that while policies in the church change (missionary age, blacks and the Priesthood, plural marriage, etc.) the doctrine never changes. It is always the same and always will be the same. I thought that was super cool and makes complete sense! Afterwards, Brother J, the bishop and I gave Elder B a blessing and then we went home and he conked out again and I found a portable DVD player we had and so I watched “The Testaments”. It was super good! I hadn’t seen it since the MTC and I forgot how much I love it! That was pretty much our week!
So my spiritual thought for this week was actually from the Sunday night movie. The main character's father, Helam, spends his whole life looking forward to the coming of the long awaited Messiah. When the signs of the Messiah's death are manifested, he is heartbroken because he thinks the Messiah came and went and he would never see him. It made me kind of self reflect on if I look forward to the second coming of the Messiah with that kind of faith? I realized I didn’t really, and that I needed to continue to prepare and be ready for that glorious day when Christ comes again! Helam eventually was blessed to see Christ face to face, and I believe it was because of his faithfulness. What a glorious day that will be when we can see our Savior and Redeemer face to face. I hope and pray we will have done all we can to stand worthily before our Master and be able to hear him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I know that Jesus is the Christ and that this is His church. I know that He and He alone provides the way for us to be cleansed from sin and be able to return to our Father in Heaven. I’m grateful for His life and atoning sacrifice for us that makes that possible. I love you all and hope you had a great week! Thanks for all the prayers and support. Keep ‘em coming because I cannot do it without them!