Monday, March 27, 2017

Elder S's First Week!!

Hello to all my family, friends, and coaches back home! I hope and pray this email finds you well and having a great Spring Break week!💯 This week has flown by, and we did a lot of stuff, so this email is probably gonna be a big one. 😂

So last Monday was super fun! We had p day at the Lakeville chapel again and the AP  (he is the new AP, he was my zone leader in Anoka my first transfer out) called at like 12:30 pm and said I was being called to district lead and train a new missionary! I was pretty excited/nervous about that, but I accepted the call. We played basketball until about 4 pm and then Sister G called and asked us to come out to dinner with their family and then go to an escape room/puzzle room for J's birthday present. We asked the ZLs if we could go because it was in Minneapolis and they said sure, so we went and it was way fun! 🙌 We went to Cafe Zupas for dinner, and it was really good! I've never been there before, but I loved it! 😋 The puzzle room was awesome! It was an Indiana Jones themed room, and you had some clues you started out with and then had to solve stuff in the room and open locked drawers, paintings slide down the wall, a book shelf opened revealing a hidden room, and finally we found this "artifact" which was a skeleton arm with a gold bracelet thing on it. It was super fun and we should definitely do one when I get home! 😎 It was a really fun evening, and we built some good relationships with J and M so it was good!

Tuesday we got up and got Elder W packed up and ready to go and got the apartment cleaned up a little bit. Elder W got transferred down to Rochester. He was sad to go, but I think a change of scenery will be good for him because he had been in 2 areas in the same zone for 9 months straight. After that we went to Prince of Peace zone service, and that was pretty fun! Everyone was talking about their new companions and if anyone knew them and stuff. Elder N, one of our ZLs that always plays ball with me on p day, had to open Waconia with Elder R. I felt really bad for him cuz Waconia is a tough area and Elder R is a tough companion...🙉 So anyway, after that we went to Costco for lunch and then Elder W and I hustled to have our lesson with D.  We had another pretty good lesson. We didn't end up teaching what we had planned, because D had a lot of questions about the gift of the Holy Ghost and baptism and stuff like that. Hw told us about all these cool missionary experiences he has had and it was interesting to listen to. He told several stories about miraculous healings and other miracles he had seen performed by people who didn't have the Priesthood. This was the second time in a week I've heard all these cool stories about people getting healed without Priesthood authority and I was like, what the heck??  Later in the week I was studying in the New Testament in Mark 9 and it talks about his very thing:
38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
I realized that even if people do those things, and even claim proper authority to do them, then it's fine because it is helping others and it isn't "against" Christ. So i figured what the heck? 😂 So anyway, after that we just visited members the rest of the night so Elder W could say goodbye to everyone! 

Wednesday was transfer day so we drove up to the mission home and it was insane haha. There were a ton of transfers so like 2/3 of the mission was there. The trainers have to hang out at the mission home or close areas all day until the greenies get there. I was with Elders G, P, and H. We went to Chik-Fil-A for lunch and met this guy who played football at Wofford and is now a youth pastor. H and Elder G talked for like 45 minutes haha. Elder P had the flu and was puking and had the diarrhea too. He was not doing super well😱 so we were sitting out in the car waiting for Elder G to get done talking, and Peterson is like, "I gotta go inside!" So he went in and did his business and came out and Elder G still wasn't done talking to the guy haha. 😂 Elder P needed some medicine and he wanted to shower cuz he had a fever and chills, so we finally got Elder G outta there and went to the Chaska Elder's apartment for about an hour before we had to be at the mission home for the arrivals. We met in the church and sat there for like 30 minutes and waited to go over to the mission home to meet our greenies. I was getting super nervous. It felt like before a football game. I had some bad pregame jitters.😂😅 So we went into the mission home finally and all sat down behind the new missionaries. We had no idea who we were training or anything, and they didn't either. The Mission President's wife read some things from a letter their parents had sent and then said, "Elder or Sister so and so, you are going to Apple Valley with Elder Beach!" So my new greenie is Elder S, and he is awesome!👌 He is from Las Cruces, New Mexico and is the oldest of 6 kids. He graduated early in December so he could come out on a mission, so he is basically a year younger than me. He is a cool dude, and we are doing really well together! He played football and golf in high school and also plays the ukelele, so he is going to have his parents send him his and teach me to play.🙌🙌President F was truly inspired in this companionship. 😉 He also loves country music too, haha. We have a lot of similarities! So anyway, after everyone met their greenie and did pictures and whatnot, we packed up his stuff and headed back to Apple Valley. We went tracting before anything else just to give him that experience, because we do it every day. I did the first few doors to show him kind of what to say and how to talk to people. I remember when I went out with Elders Murphy and Comerer when I was still home, and I had no clue what to say when we went tracting, so I knew how he was feeling haha. He was a little nervous at first and didn't really know what to say or how to handle people saying not interested or no, but now he's like a pro. He picks up on things really quick. I'm really excited to work with him! That evening Brother R came out with us and we visited J and A, who are less actives in our ward. J is pretty active and A hasn't been to church in like 5 years. J is the mom and A is the daughter. We asked A if she would be ok if we came over once a week to have a gospel discussion with them and she said that would be great! She said she has been thinking about coming back to church but just has a lot of baggage that she needs to get taken care of first. Brother R told her to talk to the bishop and have us come over once a week and she would be well on her way! After that we went down to Lakeville for Wednesday night basketball, which we found out about last week. We decided to go down because JG and her boyfriend came down to play, so it was fun! There were a ton of people that showed up and Lake Marion's ward mission leader was kind of being a jerk about getting to play because he wanted to play, but he showed up like way late. So anyway, I was on the team playing against his team and he was just complaining about how many people were there and I was getting sick of it haha.  So he comes down and pulls up for a three, and I got a piece of his shot and then got an outlet pass and out ran everyone and got a layup. 😂 He continued to whine and complain and the last possession we had, I was playing point guard and he's like getting ready for me to drive on him, and I just dribbled down and pulled up from three and drained it in his face. 😂😂😂 He was not happy. 😂 It was a fun night!

Thursday we had a zone focus meeting at the Burnsville chapel. It was a little chaotic because the Lakeville and Lakeville South zones got combined into one big zone, so we had 3 iPads with like 4 companionships skyping in on each one, plus all of the normal Lakeville zone at the church. Our zone focus this transfer is to invite 7 people to church each day. Less actives, investigators, non-members whoever. Just focus on making the invite for people to repent and come to church and partake of the sacrament. It was good! Then we went to lunch at Wendy's and I got the BBQ ranch chicken salad and it was dang good.😋 Then I had to account with the Crystal Lake and Prior Lake Sisters for an hour and then I was like, we need to go do some missionary work haha cuz we hadn't really done anything all day. 😱 We did Windows of Heaven and ended up going to tract this super ritzy neighborhood, and it was not a successful day. 😂 Not many people wanted to talk to us haha. Elder S and I got to talk a lot while we were walking between houses, so that was good. We just got to know each other a little better! Thursday night we went out with Brother M and visited some less actives. We saw CJ again and he talked to us for about 20 minutes on his porch. He is a good guy, and I think he has some potential to come back to church. Then we went and saw K and L. K is less active and L is not a member. We talked to L on the doorstep for a few minutes and she said we could come back another night in the evening. We went back yesterday night but I don't think they were there because no one answered. We also met with the Hs who are a less active family. The wife is a recent convert and is from Vietnam. They were really busy but told us to come back Friday at 7 pm so we said ok! Then after that we visited the Os and had a little lesson with B and A. They aren't members, but their mom is and she basically has zero interest in the church.  A told us all about the Harry Potter books he was reading and was super excited about those. 😂 He was so hyped. So I pulled out a picture of Captain Moroni and was like "Do you guys know who this is?" And A says "Hercules?" Haha I laughed but said "No, it's Captain Moroni. You know who that is?" They didn't know, so I told them about him and A says, "So he's basically the Hercules of the Book of Mormon?" I was like "Yeah! Basically haha!" So I challenged them to read Alma 46 and 48 about Captain Moroni and they said they would. It was pretty impromptu, but it worked!😂

Friday was weekly planning and that took about 3 hours. We then went tracting for a few hours and it was pretty great! 3 cool things happened and 1 not cool thing:
1. One of the first couple doors we knocked on this pretty cute teenage girl answers the door and it was Elder S's turn to talk. He literally was just like "Uhh,uhh w,.... " it was so funny. 😂 So I ended up talking to her but she wasn't super interested haha. I gave him some crap for it...😂 haha
2. We knocked on this door and this older lady answered. We just started talking to her a little bit and taught her about the BOM. She got pretty interested and told us she had hit a few bumps in the road recently. I bore my testimony that the BOM and the savior could help her overcome challenges and feel of the love of God. We invited her to church and she said she would like to come but couldn't this Sunday. Then like 5 houses later we had another lady answer and we taught about the BOM and gave her a copy and invited her to church as well. It was pretty cool!
3. This is the not cool thing. So we were almost done with the street and knocked on this door and a guy answers and says, "Oh you're the Mormons, huh?" And we said yes and that we were sharing a message about Jesus Christ and would love to share it with him. He said he had investigated our church and read the BOM and said it didn't agree with what he believed. He said it went against the Bible and then proceeds to tell us we are leading people to hell and just tells us all this BS. I really wanted to just go off on him, but I didn't. That was probably one of the hardest things I've done in the last few weeks was just keeping my mouth shut at that moment. But I did and I felt really good after!
4. The second to last door we knocked on, this elderly lady answered and said she had met Mormons before and she was a Lutheran. She said it was always refreshing when people sharing the good word stopped by. She told us her husband had just passed away and she was struggling with it. She asked if we had any literature for her and I remembered we had some plan of salvation pamphlets in the car so I said we have something for you in the car, can you give us 2 minutes? She said "Absolutely!" So we ran back to the car and grabbed it for her and ran back and gave it to her. I told her a little bit about it and she broke down in tears and thanked us for stopping by and told us it helped her out a lot! We said we would love to come back and do yard for her too, and share more of our message. She said she would call us if she needs help with anything. We are definitely stopping by later this week!
We had dinner at our place after that and then headed to the Hs to have a quick lesson with them. Brother H told us his wife is going to school full-time to get her master's degree and is working on her residency too, so she is home like 8 hours a week total. He said once she gets done with this semester of school they are coming back to church. We asked if we could bring his daughter's Primary teacher over to meet her and he said that would be great and we could do that! It was good to get in with them because no one had had a lot of contact with them recently. Then after that we had an FHE at the Gs! It was pretty fun. We did a lesson about Captain Moroni and we each made our own Titles of Liberty. We wrote down what we would fight for in a war on paper and then crumpled it up and burned the edges to make it look cool haha. Then we played this get to know you game because Elder S didn't know anyone very well, and that was a party haha. 😂 J and M are really opening up to us and it's been great! Kinda weird thing that happened after FHE was J and A were being kinda weird and secretive and what not. Sister G was like, "Keep your eye out for your car, they might be doing something to it😂". So I figured they just deflated our tires or something. So we headed out and checked all the tires and nothing seemed out of place and then on my window was a sticky note that said "Beach". So I opened it up and it had J's email address and it said "HMU... I'd come watch you play." I was just like uhhhhh......😅😂 It was kinda weird haha.

Saturday we helped the Gs move in the morning from 9-11 and then went to the bishop's house for brunch and correlation. Then we were supposed to do a church tour with D at 2 pm, so we hurried to the church and he texted and said could we do 3 pm instead? So we were like yes. When we got to the church we found out that the Eagan ward was actually having a baptism at 3, so we told D and he was like, that's great! I'll be there! So it ended up working out really well. The baptismal service wasn't super well organized but the speakers were really good and D enjoyed it! He said he is planning on watching at least one session of conference with us at a member's house on Saturday this week! After that we went tracting and Elder S taught a really good first lesson and I was like, "Let's go baby!" I was pretty hyped for him. 😂🙌 By that time it was dinner, so we ran home and ate really quick and then Brother M came out with us. We met with DW who is a less active that loves football.💯 He's a cool guy. He came to church on Sunday too, which was awesome! Then we just did a ton of stop bys and not a lot of people were home or answered, so it wasn't a super awesome night but we got through almost the whole list of people Brother R wanted us to stop by, so that was good at least!

Sunday was pretty great! We had 4 less actives at church and 3 of them stayed for all 3 hours, so that was great. We are really struggling to get people to church that are investigators. We invite people like crazy but they never seem to show up. 😑 After church we went and did training, which is supposed to be incorporated into your daily schedule when you are training, but we haven't had time to do one yet haha. So I figured we should probably do one.  😂 Then we went to visit the Bs because they weren't at church, and we hadn't seen them for a while. It was a really good visit! We gave Brother B a blessing and it was really cool. This really was good for me too, continuing to solidify my testimony of the Priesthood authority I hold. It is the true Priesthood authority from God, and even though others may do miracles in the name of Christ, I know the authority I hold is the correct authority!👌It's hard to explain haha. JG came out with us joint teaching on Sunday night. He is a priest and has kind of a rough home life, but it was good to get him out with us. We took him tracting and he even did a few doors, so that was cool! We did some stop bys and not many people were home until we stopped by the Bs. They are going through a rough patch still. They can't seem to catch a break. So we get there and the mom tells us that J is in the hospital with a collapsed lung and is having surgery today or tomorrow. She said they were planning on coming to church but with all the craziness and him being in the hospital, it just hadn't happened. She said they had taken the kids to get new church clothes and stuff on Saturday, and were planning on coming and then he had to go to the hospital, so they ended up not being able to. 😜 Please keep them in your prayers.🙏She was really glad we stopped by to see how they were doing and stuff. I'm glad we did because we almost didn't, but we felt like we should, so we did. 🙌 We didn't have a dinner Sunday night either, so we worked from after church until 8 pm and then did dinner cuz we didn't have an 8 pm appointment. We did some studies and stuff and had dinner. Great week and it was fun and I learned a lot!

One thing I learned this week is that this work is God's work, and it is all about love. The first day Elder S was here and we tracted, I kind of got into a bible bash with this lady about the Bible and BOM. I was basically just trying to prove her wrong based off of my own knowledge. I felt really bad after and I was like, I'm never doing that again. The next day I was reading chapter 4 of PMG and there was a line that really hit me: We live in the day prophesied by Book of Mormon prophets--a day when people will “contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance." Then it had 2 Nephi 28:4 which talks about people contending one with another and not letting the Holy Ghost teach. I realized I need to just bear testimony and leave it at that and not try to prove people wrong. The Holy Ghost is the teacher and not me. I'm just there to be a conduit through which the Holy Ghost can teach people! It was a really good learning experience for me. I love the gospel and the opportunity we have to repent daily and change our hearts. I kind of get fired up when people tell me I'm leading people astray or I'm going to hell for believing the Book of Mormon is true. I realized I just need to bear my testimony and leave and not contend with those people. It's all about having love for people and just sharing what you know to be true because you love them and want them to have it as well!🙏Anyway, I love you all and hope you are all doing well and have a great week!💙

Much love,
Elder Beach
#MavUp #10

My new companion!

My "Title of Liberty".

Visiting members before Elder W's transfer.