Big hello to all my family, friends, and coaches back home, serving the Lord worldwide and at college! Minnesota has become the "great white north" once again, as we received several inches of snow yesterday and temperatures dropped into the teens.️ It's been a pretty good week, with its ups and downs for sure. I'm really loving the mission though.
So last Monday was p-day and we didn't really do much. We went to Taco Bell and got the new triple double crunch wrap cuz Elder N said it was super good, and I hadn't ever had one, so we went there for lunch. It was pretty good! This zone isn't the greatest for playing ball on P days. Most people just sit around and play board games or email all day, so it's tough to get a good game going. But me and Elder N and Elder B, who's a Spanish Elder, played Big Pot, Little Pot, which is a shooting game for basketball. I hit 7 half court shots in a row haha. It was pretty sweet! We went to Red Robin Monday night to get a burger (shoutout to Uncle Mike for the money!) While we were there, a guy we met last week comes up to us and was like "Hey friends! How's it going?" And we were super surprised to see him there, but we said it was going good and asked if we were still good to meet up tomorrow and he was like, "Yeah, I've read the whole book of first Nephi and I have a lot of questions!" Our jaws proceeded to drop to the floor haha. But we said, "That's great! Can't wait to discuss them!" It was raining cats and dogs Monday night and we had planned to do some tracting, so we decided to do weekly planning and make phone calls and get appointments set up for that week. When Brother R came out with us we weekly planned for like 45 minutes and didn't get much done, so we finished it up. It was so cool to see our friend at Red Robin and the fact that he had been reading was awesome!
Tuesday was district meeting in the morning and I gave a training on the missionary plan that Brother R gave us, and I think it went pretty well. The APs came down to our district meeting (not sure why) but they both said it was a really good district meeting! So that was cool. After that we had service at Prince of Peace, and there were a lot of orders this week so we were busy filling orders for like an hour and a half. Then the main guy that runs the show there was like, "I need 4 guys to help move some stuff," so I volunteered along with Elder N, N, and F. They got like 10 pallets of pillows from Costco. So we got to move these huge boxes of pillows into storage. It was pretty fun! After service we did a zone blitz of Lake Marion's area cuz they are struggling with finding investigators. I went with Elder N and we tracted and the first house we knocked on these two kids that looked like they were in 7-8th grade answered. We talked to them for a little bit and gave them a Book of Mormon and a restoration pamphlet, and they said they'd talk to their parents about it and see if we could come share more with them. I doubt if anything will happen with it, but it was cool cuz we got to talk about football with them and they were pretty cool kids. We didn't see a whole lot of success after that. Most people said they already knew our message or weren't interested. So when we got done, Elder W and myself hurried to our meeting with D. It went really well! He had some really good questions from the Book of Mormon and we were able to answer them and clarify them. One question was, Why did Nephi kill Laban when it is a commandment to not kill? We explained that in that chapter it says, "It is better for one man to perish than for a whole nation to dwindle in unbelief." He said that made sense since Nephi's people wouldn't have had the scriptures or law of Moses or their genealogy if they didn't get the plates. So anyway, we taught the plan of salvation and it went pretty well. We drew out the picture with it and used scriptures from the Book of Mormon and bible to clarify and back up what we taught. We got really hung up with the Fall of Adam and Eve. He felt like if Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the fruit, we all would've just been born into the Garden of Eden and lived perfect happy lives. We explained and explained that the purpose of life is to have to make choices and learn and grow. I don't know what we said, but finally something clicked, or the spirit touched his heart or something, but he finally was like, "Oh! Ok I got it!" And then explained to us perfectly why the fall was essential to the plan. It was super cool! He took a lot of notes and said he wanted to read 2 Nephi 2 and Alma 40 to learn more about the plan of salvation. He really is interested I think. He told us he is a man searching for truth about God. I hope he can recognize that this is the truth and it will bless his life so so much. After dinner Brother C came out with us. He is the Assistant Ward Mission Leader. We stopped by some less actives and members that no one has seen or heard from in like a year. We found this guy named CJ. He is a pretty cool guy! He is a less active that is way more converted to the social side of the church than the actual gospel of Christ and the church. He seemed like a guy that we could get back to church if we can get him around people in non church situations. He just needs some good friends in the church to help him out! That was about it for Tuesday.
Wednesday we had a lesson with T, who was a potential investigator we stopped by on exchanges and said we could come back. She said she was really hesitant to meet with us when we got there, but once we started talking to her about the restoration and our message she opened right up and actually agreed with a lot of the stuff we taught her. She said that she feels like all churches change to fit society's standards and it shouldn't be like that. If God is unchanging then shouldn't his church be the same? We said, "Yep, that's how it should be!" And we talked about how the Bible has so many different versions and stuff and she was like, "Yeah I totally agree. I don't know why so many different bibles exist?" She told us her dad was a retired pastor, and he even changes his beliefs from time to time. She said she would read the Book of Mormon and ask her dad why there is so many different versions or translations of the Bible. It was a really good lesson and she said next time we come over she wants us to teach about why bad things happen to good people.Should be a good discussion. Right after that, we went to see HC again. He was having a rough day with health issues. We showed him the Power of God Mormon message and talked about the Priesthood, how important it is and what a blessing it is in our lives. When we were planning our lesson for him, I felt like we should ask him if he wanted a Priesthood blessing. So I asked him, and he said he would really like one. He asked me to give it and it was awesome! I seriously love giving blessings so much. It is such a cool experience to be the mouthpiece for the Lord! We had an appointment with J finally set up for Wednesday at . Brother S was going to joint teach with us, so he met us there, and of course, J wasn't there. I am really getting sick of people not being there when they say they will be. So Brother S was like, "Come sit in my car and we can chat for a few minutes." He basically taught us how to use questions to make a lesson become a gospel discussion instead of us teaching the whole time. I feel like we already do a pretty decent job at that, but he had some good tips so it was good I guess. We had dinner with the L family again! They are pretty great. I love having dinner with them haha. It's a party. We had an appointment set up at with this guy in Rosemont that we had tracted into and he said we could come back. He texted us at and said it wasn't going to work, and we asked if we could come back another time and he never answered so I don't know if anything will happen there. W e did a few stop bys and then decided to tract some town homes that are in the way south part of our area. It was like when we started and we didn't have a lot of success at first. This one guy answered the door and said he had already heard our message. I said oh yeah?! And he was like yeah. I said ok, so what's our message then. He just blankly stares at us (cuz he obviously didn't know it) and then he shut the door. People make me so mad sometimes. I'm like seriously! Just listen to our message for like 5 minutes. Everyone I've met who sincerely listened to us for 5 minutes actually likes what we have to say. It's sad. Anyway, so we tracted and basically no one listened to us at all. I was getting pretty bummed out and it was like . We had like 10 more town homes to knock, so we started down the last street and the first door we knock this guy answers and just lets us right in! His name was J and his wife's name is C and they have a little girl named S. They said they were "lost Mormons" and were from a branch off a colony that went to Mexico from Utah and practiced polygamy and believed Joseph Smith's posterity should've been the next prophet. They didn't really know anything about the church and hadn't been active in their church. They wanted us to teach them about the restoration and Book of Mormon. They also said they wanted to come to church haha, so it was pretty cool. We taught them the restoration lesson and they said they'd come to church .
So Wednesday ended up being a good day! We definitely saw a miracle finding them.
Thursday morning we tracted for an hour after I had to account with the ZLs. We finished knocking some town homes by where J and C live. No one was home for the first 10 doors we knocked and then two houses in a row said they were going to call the cops on us. The second one basically went like this:
Me: "We are representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints..."
Crazy guy: "We aren't interested."
Crazier lady: "We are calling the cops on you!"
Me: "For what?"
Crazier lady: "For harassing us!!"
Crazy guy: "Honey, now isn't the time..."
Me: "We are just sharing a message about Jesus Christ."
Crazier lady: "I'm calling the cops right now!"
Me: "Have a nice day"
They didn't call the cops, so yeah. People are so crazy. This week with tracting hasn't been super productive and I have wanted to seriously ask some people if they were dumber than a box of rocks sometimes. It's hard when people just say really stupid stuff to just look at them and smile and say have a nice day! And still have charity for them. It amazes me the love God must have for us even though we do and say really stupid things. After lunch we visited the Bs at the old folks home. They are so great! We showed the Mormon message "Mountains to Climb" by President Eyring. It was really good. Brother B has been struggling with his health lately and it was a good one for him to see. They are the nicest people.They asked about my grandparents and I showed them a picture of our family after Jackson's football game and they were like, "That is the sweetest looking family!" I was like "Yep! My family is awesome" I am very grateful to have such a great family. I've realized how lucky and blessed I was to grow up in a great home that taught me the gospel and taught me how to work hard for the things I wanted. Thursday afternoon we did some stop bys and finished tracting this street that was a nicer neighborhood we had started earlier in the week. We didn't have much success there either. Man it's been a tough week tracting! We've still been doing windows of Heaven to know where to go tracting, and it just doesn't seem to be working as of late. I don't know why. I've had success with it my whole mission until like the last 2 weeks. Not sure why? Thursday night we did splits with Brother L and Brother M. I got to go with Brother M haha. He is an interesting guy! He drives really slow everywhere we go and then gets mad at people for tailgating us. We did some stop bys to some less actives. We stopped by this guy named JW. He answered the door and had a nose ring and tattoos everywhere but he let us right in! I figured he would be a nice guy cuz usually people with tattoos and nose rings are nice people I've found haha. So we shared a quick message with him and his kids and he said we could stop by today or tomorrow so that was cool! I asked the bishop about him at coordination and he said he's a really good guy! We finally had a lesson with M and Z on Thursday night. They're super nice people but man they're flakes. They haven't met with us since before I got here cuz they cancel literally last second every time. But I finally got to meet with them so that was good. We shared the new Ask of God video on LDS.org with them. They liked it and we invited them to church and promised that if they read, pray, and come to church (CPR) then they will see blessings in their lives. God will bless them to be able to provide for their family and have many blessings. Well, they haven't come to church and didn't come this Sunday either. They have a lot of struggles in their life right now and if they would just do the little things, they wouldn't struggle as much because of the peace the gospel brings!
was weekly planning, so we got started on that and we get a text from Brother M. He's says "Do you want to go to Farmington Steakhouse for lunch?" And we were like heck yeah haha. So he took us to Farmington for lunch. We are definitely going there when we go back to visit Minnesota. It was super good! So after that we finished weekly planning. After that we tracted some town homes up in the north part of our area. Haha once again, not many people wanted to talk to us. We had dinner at the Hs that night and they are super awesome! They're from Blackfoot, Idaho and have a little girl. They're like in their mid-20's and are pretty cool. Brother H served in Dallas, Texas. Then we tracted right by their house after dinner. We said we are going to knock 10 doors. So the very last door we knocked this younger dad answers and says he wants to hear our message. So we shared a quick restoration message with him and he listens to the whole thing and then when we ask him to accept a Book of Mormon he says, "I actually don't believe in God, so sorry guys. I studied theology in college and I don't think there is a God." Then he shut the door and I was like wowwww.... Then we went to the Gs house to a FHE with their family and the boyfriends and girlfriends who live at the house that aren't members. Sister G had asked us to pray about what to do for the lesson. We felt we should share a lesson on forgiveness and repentance. So we split into groups and read the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 and the story of Alma the younger in Mosiah 27. It was a really good lesson and at the end of the lesson we showed the Mormon message "The Savior Wants to Forgive." It was a really good lesson and Sister G was crying at the end and told us that is exactly what her family needed at that time. Their son is 17 and he is less active and his girlfriend lives at their house, and their daughter is 20 and her boyfriend lives there, too. Their daughter and her boyfriend participated in the lesson but their son was really pushing Brother G's buttons about participating in the lesson. He sat in on it but didn't really do or say anything. He did make Oreo cheesecake for the treat though, so that was good! Then we played Pictionary and that was a party. It was a really great night and I feel like the G family might be one of the reasons I got sent here to Apple Valley. I really hope we can help out their kids.
I felt like we basically ate food all day. We had breakfast at the bishop's house and did coordination meeting, and then we went and finished some studies, and then we had lunch with a less active. She is from Laos and is Hmong. She is super, super nice and fed us two whole fishes, rice and chicken. It was super good. Then afternoon we did some stop bys of some former investigators and potentials and then did some tracting. We actually found one guy who said we could come back and he took a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet. So that was good! Every now and again you find someone to talk to! So for dinner Sister E, who is this African lady in our ward, gave us this huge thing of rice and salmon and chicken to eat. It was super good but I was so full from lunch, I didn't eat much. night Brother M came out with us. He is a ward missionary and is a really shy and quiet dude. We stopped by the Ds, who are a less active family. They wanted a copy of the Bible so we took them one and showed them Mormon message about William Tyndale translating the Bible into English. It's a good one. Then we went to visit this guy in our ward named Brother S, who is like 32 and isn't married. He seems lonely at church, so we stopped by to visit him! So we get there and it was like a total nerd cave. Like he had Lego star wars stuff everywhere and was playing legend of Zelda when we got there. Haha it was crazy. We shared the Hope of God's Light with him and asked him to pray for an increased desire to do missionary work. That's been what the bishop has asked us to do instead of asking for referrals. Ask the members to pray for an increased desire to do missionary work. It's weird, but out here, if you ask people for referrals, they don't feed you or let you come over much, so... yeah.I don't know why, but that's how it is. I hope it isn't like that back home. We went and visited the Ls, but they said they had the plague at their house and everyone was sick. They said to come back next week. They're the less active family struggling with their testimonies and stuff. Then we went to see the Os, and they didn't answer. So it's like everything has fallen through. So we stopped by this one family that hasn't been to church for like a month. They said they were sick too, and didn't let us in either. We stopped by two potentials, and by then it was so we headed back home.
we headed to church and it was Ward Conference so that was fun. President N is awesome. He is the Stake President. We were expecting M and Z and the Bs to be at church, and we had two rows saved for them and they didn't show up, so we were pretty bummed out. However, J and C showed up and stayed for all three hours! They really liked it and said we could come again this Wednesday night to teach them. The D family and some other families just jumped all over fellowshipping them, so that was awesome! I was really glad to see that! It started snowing way hard after dinner, and we went and tracted this street we felt we should. So we knocked the whole one side of the street and literally no one was home or immediately said not interested. Then we start on the other side and this black lady opens the door and she's like, "I'm a born again believer so I'm saved. All Jesus asks us to do is to pick up our cross and follow him." I was going to "Bible bash" (just point out some things from the New Testament that would make her think about what she just said), but I figured she wasn't worth it, so we just kept going. Then the next lady we talked to answers the door and says, "Jesus was born, died on the cross and rose on the third day!" I was like, "Yeah, that's exactly what we teach!" She's like, "Oh... well I believe in Jesus so I'm good." I was like, "Have you ever heard our message before?" And she's like, "No, but I believe in Jesus so I'm good!" It was at this moment, the whole week's worth of frustration just kinda came down on me. I basically like lost all hope in humanity. It sounds dramatic, but I was just like, "Why does no one anywhere in our area want to hear this message??!!" It is the greatest message in the world! And no one wants to hear it. I don't know why???? I was pretty bummed out for a few minutes. Then we went to dinner at the P's house, and that was good! Then we did a one hour blitz at Lake Marion's area cuz they are struggling worse than us. So I guess I don't have much to be sad about. It had been snowing and there was like 3 inches of snow on the ground, so when we got to the apartment the Lake Marion Elders weren't there. I was like, "Elder W, let's go knock doors and offer to shovel people's driveways if we can share a 5 minute message with them." We had brought shovels with us so we just went to a neighborhood by their apartment and started knocking doors. The last door in the neighborhood was this Indian guy. He said we could shovel his driveway and share a message with him. So we shoveled his driveway and he let us in and he and his wife listened to our restoration message. They really liked it and took a Book of Mormon and gave us their number and said they're going to come to church in a few weeks. I seriously was like, "Man, why can't this happen in our area?" It was and so we headed back to the Lake Marion apartment and gave them our find. They said they had stopped by a member's house and the member ended up having a referral for them, so they got hung up there. It was such a dumb blitz, but we ended up finding someone so it was cool.
Man, I felt like a door to door salesman this week haha. It was tough, but what's cool is that the thing we are "selling" is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that His church has been restored. I'm really hoping we can find some more people to teach this week. In PMG it has a quote from President Hinckley that basically says, "Each morning missionaries should wake up and plead with the Lord to soften the hearts of the people and that they can find those who are ready for the message of the gospel." I've found myself doing that more and more than ever this last week. Things always get worse before they get better. We are just in a slump right now and I feel like soon things will pick up in our area. I've really gained a strong testimony of the atonement this week. As I was studying the prodigal son and Alma the younger, I realized that I had never really poured out my heart to God and asked for forgiveness for my wrongdoings. I began to think back on the times I had messed up in my life and basically I had an Alma the younger/ Enos experience. Like my soul was "racked with torment" and I felt godly sorrow. I prayed with all the energy of heart for forgiveness and I felt God's love for me like never before. It was such a feeling of peace and love. It's hard to describe, but I literally was just super happy and had "no more desire to do evil." What a cool experience and a testimony of the atonement and God's love for me and each of His children. God will never turn us away when we humbly come before Him. I have a strong testimony of that. I've also found myself turning to the Book of Mormon more and more. I'm reading Jesus the Christ and the New Testament, but the BOM is really where I find myself wanting to study from and I read it too, along with those other books. It has a power in there and answers to questions you can't find anywhere else. It really does contain the fullness of the gospel of Christ. I would invite all to read it and study it. Apply what you learn to your life and pray to know if it is true. If you do, God will not leave you. He will answer your prayer and confirm to your mind and heart that it is true and it is the word of God. I love this church and this gospel and I love being able to share it with people, even if they're few and far between haha. Thanks for the prayers and emails. They mean the world to me and help me during the down days. You are all in my prayers and I love you all!