This week has been a little slower as far as missionary work because my companion is leaving to go home. So we have been doing a lot of things to get him ready to leave and finalizing all the administrative stuff. Plus we had conference, so that's always good! Conference was awesome! I don't have a ton of time to write today so I'm just going to write about some quick highlights of my week and conference.
Last Monday we had a lesson with a man who is married to a member but isn't a member. He has cancer and is struggling with that and rheumatoid arthritis. We have been meeting with him weekly, which has never happened with missionaries before us. So that's a good sign! He is a really cool guy and this week we talked about charity with him. My companion gave the lesson and I got to bear my testimony. I bore testimony that God loves him and his wife very much and that even though he is struggling with health issues, God cares very much about him. It was a super cool moment, and the Spirit was very strong. It was a cool lesson because afterwards, he really opened up and started talking to us. This week we will be teaching about prayer and challenging them to have personal and family prayer every day.
We also had a lesson with another man on Tuesday and one of our ward members was joint teaching with us. It was the funniest lesson by far I've had on my mission. So we were teaching about Christ-like love and loving everyone. It kind of got changed back into charity again. So our investigator said that charity is like Christ because it was the pure love of Christ. In the scriptures it says that charity never faileth. So he said that Christ never fails either, so if we follow Christ's example, we will never fail. It was kind of an outside the box idea the way he explained it, but it made a lot of sense. Then our ward member asked him about what he did in the marines and he said he helped with marines who were struggling with depression and stuff. He said he would call them in and say, "Well young marine, every morning I get up and shave. Then I take the razor and cut my wrist and listen to the blood trickle out and it says .... "Oooooraaaahhh!!!" Yeah young marine! Oorah wooohhh!" And then he said, "Then they would just march out and be like, 'Heck yeah wahhhhhh blahhha!'" Me and my companion were just dying. Like I almost fell off the couch I was laughing so hard! And our ward members was like, "What the heck is going on?" It was so funny!
We did a zone service project on Tuesday and we beautified some gardens. It was pretty fun haha. Our zone leaders and I were the gravel guys. We hauled gravel from the gravel pile to all the gardens and put gravel around the plants. We did that for 2 hours haha. It wasn't super fun, but one of our zone leaders kills me, so it was good in that regard. Another Elder is super cool too, and he is from Colorado and knows a lot about CMU, so it's fun to talk to him about it!
we met the old Vietnamese guy in our ward. We usually just read the Book of Mormon with him and he struggles to see the little words on his blue Book of Mormon, so I let him use my iPad. After we got done, he asked if he could buy my iPad and I said "Haha, sorry but you can't!" He seemed super sad but I can't sell him my iPad! So I told him we would try to figure out how the ward people could help him get one. I felt bad I couldn't help him out more, but I can't sell him my iPad!
this family in our ward wanted us to come help them move some furniture in to their house. So we got there at and the mom wasn't there so we sat there for like 20 minutes and she finally showed up with donuts for us. Then we drove down to the storage shed to get the furniture and when we got there, she had forgotten the key to the storage unit. So she had to drive home and get it, and then she couldn't find it, so she came back after like 30 minutes and said she couldn't find it. While she was gone, me and my companion and her two sons played hacky sack with donut holes. It was pretty fun! So anyways, she never found the key so we ended up doing no service. But we did build some good relationships with the sons, so that was good because they are both not super interested in church stuff and are kind of less active. Funny how things go sometimes.
On Friday we met with a less active in our ward. He is an ex-Navy SEAL and is kind of crazy but a super nice guy. He is always on pain killers because he has a super bad back from doing sky diving and crazy stuff like that,but he joined the church like 10-15 years ago and he says he doesn't really remember anything about the church, so we just went over and had a restoration lesson with him. He said the story of the first vision he remembered was that Joseph Smith was running around naked in the desert smoking paioti (which is some hallucinogen drug native Americans smoke) and he had a vision that an angel appeared to him and told him where gold treasure was. I was like, "That's not exactly how it went!" So we told him what really happened and he seemed cool with it haha, so that was good! Then he said he loved us and we handle ourselves really well because he is a big tough Navy SEAL. We were like, "Ahh thanks!" Even though he is super old and can't get around super well, it was a good lesson but kinda weird haha.
Conference was soooo great! I loved it and I think the reason why, was because I listened to find answers to questions and concerns I had, and I didn't just count the minutes till it was over so I could watch the football game after it haha.One of my favorite talks was the one by K. Brett Nattress. He shared the story about his mom reading the Book of Mormon to them every morning and he once told her, "Mom I'm not even listening!" She replied that a general authority made a promise that if she read the Book of Mormon every day with her children she wouldn't lose them. That really touched my heart as I thought about my own mom and all she does so that she doesn't lose any of her children. I just want to give a personal shoutout to all the moms in my life. You truly are amazing and bless my life more than you know. The other talk I really enjoyed was Sister Linda S. Reeves talk on repentance and the atonement. My favorite line from the talk was, "You can't sink lower than the light of the atonement." That hit me so hard that no matter what we have done, there is always a way back into our Savior's arms. No one is too far gone. That should bring such great comfort and joy to everyone.
Later evening we stopped by a potential investigator who had been excommunicated from the church and wanted to talk to us about coming back to the church. He told us he thought he couldn't come back because of his past mistakes and I looked him right in the eye and said, "You can come back to the church." I knew what I was saying is true because I had just been taught that no one can sink lower than the light of the atonement. It was such a cool teaching moment for me!
Well, my companion is heading home and a new Elder is coming in! He came out the same transfer I did, so it should be fun. I'm really excited to take over the Minnetonka area and really work hard to bring people unto Christ. I've been reading this book called "Member missionary work and finding the elect of God" by Scott Marshall. It is probably more helpful than PMG in my opinion, but don't tell anyone I said that. It has great ideas on inspired tracting, how to use your time most effectively and how to also use members most effectively. I'm using it this transfer as the foundation of our work here and it promises success and joy as you serve the Lord. I'm really excited for this upcoming transfer! I love you all back home and keep you in my prayers. I hope all is well with you and that you are all finding happiness and joy in your lives. My brothers at college and on missions, I love you dearly and am grateful to have all your examples to follow. Family, I love you all so much and couldn't do what I am doing now without your support, prayers and love. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to serve the Lord!
Photos: me, my companion and recent convert, our zone at Minnehaha falls today, zone service project, Minnehaha falls, Colorad Mesa license plate cuz it says MAV