Howdy and hope you all had a great 4th of July watching the fireworks and eating good food with family and friends! This week's been pretty insane. Nothing ever goes as planned here in Sauk Rapids. Everything we plan falls through and so we basically end up finding most of the days. We occasionally get appointments that hold up but it's crazy. We honestly never know what each day will bring!
So we had zone p-day at the K's farm in the St. Cloud Ward. They have like 120 acres of woods and trails and a lake. We did some service in their gardens and around their property for a few hours and then had p-day. I went fishing with Elders S and H for a while and we caught a bunch of little fish, and then we played catch with the football in the sprinklers because it was hotter than heck! So it was pretty fun to just hang out with everyone. Elder S, Elder B and I sat out on the deck for like 45 minutes just talking about funny movies we've seen and dying laughing. I was crying I was laughing so hard haha. Those guys are awesome!That was pretty much it !
we had district meetings in the morning so we skyped into those. I got to skype into the Buffalo district meeting and Elder H gave a training about loving those we serve. He did this activity where all of us dm'd in people we have loved on our missions. I was amazed at how many people I've grown to love on my mission. I can't wait to come back and visit all these amazing people some day!🏽
afternoon we did a bunch of stop bys and then tracted this street kind of out of town in Sauk Rapids a little ways. It was super hot - ️like 92 and super humid. Anyway, we found 2 new investigators and had some really good discussions with people, so it was fun! I love tracting when people will at least talk to you. When people are mean and don't want to talk, it is a grind sometimes haha. Like when it's super hot and people are not receptive, I just get a little mad sometimes haha. But I'm getting better at controlling my "road rage". night we went out to Foley, which is like 30 minutes East of Sauk Rapids. We had a bunch of people to stop by out there. We stopped by BG who is an investigator we hadn't met yet. He was outside having a smoke with his dog and told us he doesn't have a job and his family is falling apart and he gets high all the time. It was really sad. He was super down in the dumps. We talked about finding comfort in living the gospel and how it gives us the strength to overcome our difficulties. I also got to give him a Priesthood blessing to help him with all he was going through, and he said he felt way better afterwards so that was awesome! When we drove away I looked over and he was kneeling on the ground praying (that's what it looked like), and I just felt so much love for him and felt awful because of all the struggles he is going through. I wish we could've done more for him, but we pretty much did all we could do. After that we stopped by the Ds, who are this older couple who live where a less active used to live. He thinks all religion is corrupt and wrong but all religious books are correct. So he was going off about how some book he read about Adam and Eve was scripture. He's interesting. She is more open to listen and he just likes to preach like he knows everything. She roasted him one time because he said all we wanted to do was preach to him and she's like, "They can't because you never shut up!" I had a good chuckle at that. We had to head home after that so that was !
morning we had a lesson with F! EB S's little brother, referred her to us right before he left on his mission. She is friends with another lady in our ward, too, so we had a lesson at her friend's house. Her parents are atheist and don't believe in God or anything but she believes there is a God, she just doesn't know who He is or anything like that, so we taught the restoration and taught about the nature of God and how He is the father of our spirits and loves us and wants us to be happy. It was a super good lesson and she accepted a Book of Mormon after the lesson and said she would get baptized! So that's super good! We had a lesson with Sister B in the afternoon and that went pretty well. She has so many problems and we have no clue how to help her. We just listen to all her problems and then share gospel things that will help her. She loves having us over though, so that's good! I think just having someone to talk to helps her a lot. She lives alone in this kinda rough part of St. Cloud, so she always appreciates when we come visit her. After that we tracted this neighborhood up north of Sartell. The first house we got to this lady was out picking berries on her tree, so we asked if we could help and she said, "Oh no, I'm good!" Then she started giving us these berry things and they were super good! Anyway, we got talking and she had had a super hard life so far, and we set up a time to come do service in her garden for her. She took a Plan of Salvation pamphlet, and was somewhat interested in the gospel, but service will soften her up. We then knocked the whole neighborhood and no one was home or wanted to talk, but the last door we knocked this older lady answered and we taught her about the Book of Mormon and she took a copy and said we could come back later next week. Also she might call us to do some service for her as well! I love service. We had dinner with the Ds after that and Sister D told us all these crazy stories about working with crazy people at the hospital. Brother D and their son drove us up to Royalton to visit some less actives up there. We met the L family and had a good discussion with them. Sister L is from Grand Junction, CO, so we talked about CMU for like 10 minutes. We shared a part of President Monson's talk about the Book of Mormon from last conference and invited them to read from the Book of Mormon as a family each day. They're a super nice family, just don't have a big desire to come to church or anything. We stopped by some other less actives after that and called it a night.
we weekly planned forever..... and ever..... and ever. It just seemed really long this week. I don't know why? Brother C was supposed to drive us up to Little Falls, which is a 75 mile round trip. He cancelled last minute again so we were pretty bummed about that. We had two lessons set up and no one could go up with us, so we just drove up ourselves! We stopped by a few people and decided to knock two doors across from a less active who wasn't home. The first door we met was this dude who was a pastor at his church and he knew it all. Let me tell ya. So he told us he had read the Book of Mormon and didn't agree with what it taught. I asked why and he said he didn't want to get into details, but he just didn't agree with it. I always love when people can't give me a reason, just that "it isn't true." He told us Jesus Christ was the last prophet, so Joseph Smith was a false prophet and that the Book of Mormon was false as well because it was written by Joseph Smith. He said in order for it to be scripture, it has to be written by prophets. So in my mind, I'm thinking, "Ok, so Jesus is the last prophet, and in order to have anything be scripture, it has to be written by a prophet. So is the whole New Testament not scripture?" Because everyone after Jesus wasn't a prophet according to this guy. It didn't really make sense. I don't don't say much to people like him who think they are right because they don't want to hear what I have to say, so I just don't say anything. It also cuts down on lots of arguments cuz I tend to get a little heated when defending what I know to be true. But if I don't say anything, then I don't argue. Anyway, he said he would read "What is the Blueprint of Christ's Church" by Tad R. Callister, and we could come back and talk to him some more. He told us to read John and it would teach us all about Jesus. I just got done reading John, and I have to agree that is does teach all about Jesus! After that we had a lesson with the Ds and it went really well! We talked about accountability and taking charge of our actions and doing what's right even when it is hard. They committed to start reading the Book of Mormon together each day and coming to church regularly again. They came this Sunday so that was awesome!
we stopped by some people we found tracting and didn't have much luck with them. We were supposed to have a lunch and lesson with a less active lady. Her son is an unbaptized child of record so we wanted to meet with him as well. He is almost 10 and really wants to get baptized. However his mom is less active so it's hard. Anyway, we called her at to confirm and she said we were good to come at So we show up and buzz her apartment and some guy answers and says she's asleep and we can't come in. I was a little cheesed at that point, so we just walked around and talked to everyone we saw and unfortunately no one really wanted to talk haha. We stopped by J and R's place and both of them were there and sober, amazingly. They showed us their garden and said they were trying to grow a 100 lb pumpkin. They're interesting guys for sure! After that J wanted to show us this gospel rap group. They were actually more satanic I thought. So we listened to that, and it really drove what little spirit was in their home away. Elder M was like, "Hey, can we show you a rap video?" And they were like, "Sure!" So he pulls up Restoration by James The Mormon and they loved it haha. It was amazing how much James The Mormon could bring the spirit into a room, but he sure did! We decided to peace out after that before we had to listen to any more satanic gospel rap. J and R are good guys, they just do stupid things and cuss like sailors. We aren't quite sure how to help them right now, haha, but we are working on it. We had a lesson with M after that. He's the less active YSA member we are working with. He is progressing and growing spiritually, he just won't admit it to himself. I don't know why. At one point in the lesson he told us when people ask him about his faith he just says, "I don't know if I have any. My relationship with God is, I'll stay out of his life and he stays out of mine." I was like, "Look, M, you're trying to build a better relationship with God. You're reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church, praying, doing those things. It takes faith to do those things and to try and build a relationship with a being you can't see with your eyes. It takes an incredible amount of faith to do those things. So next time someone asks you if you have faith, you look them in the eye and say, 'Heck yeah, I have faith.' Because you have a lot of faith." It was super quiet and awkward after that, and he finally just said, "Thanks." And I could tell he meant it! That was a cool moment of my week.
night we tracted these townhomes and talked to a lot of cool people and gave out a few Books of Mormons and set up some return appointments for ! Then Brother C came and did our apartment inspection, and we had coordination meeting at the church.
we got up and it was raining, so the lady we had planned to do service for called and postponed to later this week. So we did some stop bys and no one was home, which was a bummer. mornings are pretty dead around here. People like to sleep in or something haha. We had Ward Council and then I got to talk in church! I spoke on the how to overcome apathy. I didn't know what apathy was until this week so that was good I learned haha. We had 2 investigators at church and some less active families as well, so it was good! The chapel was almost full this week, which is a huge improvement from my first day here. After church we stopped by some people we found tracting and set up some return appointments with them and then had dinner with Brother C's family! That was pretty fun as usual. His kids love us and it's always crazy haha. After dinner we tracted this street in Sartell and found a lady who we taught the whole restoration to and she took a Book of Mormon and said we could come back and teach her whole family. I'm super hyped for them! They might be golden. The door right after that was a whole different story. We knocked on the door and the door was open but the screen door was closed, so this lady at the top of the stairs was like, "What are you doing? Quit sharing a false gospel!" I was like, "Excuse me ma'am, but we are sharing the true gospel!" She didn't like that, so she came down and started railing on us about how we were deceived and we're going to hell. Then her husband comes from upstairs and just has a normal conversation with us while his wife keeps yelling at us that we are liars and are sharing a false gospel. The husband was way nicer, but had similar views. He told us he used to be religious but now found Jesus and was saved because he believes in Christ. He said as soon as he dies he is going to Heaven. I was like, well it doesn't quite work like that, but he didn't want to hear it, so Elder M tried to kindly teach them, but they just kept yelling at us. Finally I just wasn't having it anymore. They obviously wouldn't listen and were being idiots, so the wife was like, "In Revelations it says you can't add to the Bible so the Book of Mormon is false!" I was like, "Well it also says that in Deuteronomy 4. So is the rest of the Bible false?" She just got mad and started yelling at us that we didn't believe in Jesus because Jesus was God and we believe He is the son of God so it's different and we are deceived. The dude told us that since he is a husband, father, and grandfather, that means God can also be 3 different persons but one being. Biggest load of crap I've heard in a while, but he didn't want to listen to me expound any New Testament scriptures that make it very clear that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are 3 separate beings. Elder M was just trying to bear his testimony and the dude was going off on us and so we just said, "Bye!" And left. Elder M turned to me and said, "Wow! I'm surprised you didn't punch a hole in their screen door!" I was a bit surprised, too! Not gonna lie! I can sit and listen to people argue religious points, but when hey tell me I'm wrong and deceived and I'm gonna go to hell, I get a little pissed off. But I'm learning to keep my cool and just leave and not "Bible bash." After that we had a lesson with R and E. R is less active and E is a Jehovah's Witness, but she is super nice. We talked about the Plan of Salvation with them and invited them to church and to read 2 Nephi 31 before we meet next time. After that we ended a quick lesson with President B and his family. We had a super good lesson about fasting and everyone shared miracles they've seen from fasting!
Biggest lesson I've learned from this week is how Satan uses truth and twists it into a lie and allows us to find solace in it. So many people we talk to say, "I've found Jesus, so I'm saved" or "I believe so I'm good to go, talk to someone else." While it is good to believe in Jesus Christ, we need to live his gospel and participate in the Priesthood ordinances associated with it. It makes me sad how many people don't understand this and completely reject it. As I wrote my talk about apathy, I realized how big of a problem this is in our society today. DO NOT BE COMPLACENT WITH WHERE YOU ARE AT SPIRITUALLY!!! Satan will attack you anywhere he can if we are complacent. We need to develop the "What lack I yet?" mindset so that we are continuously striving to improve and overcome our weaknesses and doing all that we can do as Lehi teaches in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 25:23). Keep reading the Book of Mormon daily, praying with all energy of your heart and striving to repent and become more Christlike daily. I know that as we do this, we will find true peace and happiness in this life; peace that comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week! Try to stay cool! ️ It's hotter than heck up here in Sauk Rapids and super humid, too. To my brother who leaves for Alabama soon, I know how you will be feeling in a few weeks, just to a lesser degree. Thanks for all the love and support! Till next week.
The Mississippi River.
St. Cloud Zone on the 4th of July.
Elder M wearing a tank top the Sisters gave him as a joke.
The picture on the left is "The Minnetonka Gang": me, Elder G, my companion in Minnetonka, Elder N, another of my companions in Minnetonka, and Elder V, one of the members of my MTC District (Elders N and V were companions in Minnetonka as well). The picture on the right is Elder N's Mom, my Mom, Elder G's Mom, and Elder V's Mom. They got together for dinner in Utah this week!