Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Slower Week, Still Working Hard and Having Faith!

A hot and humid hello to all my family, friends, and coaches back home, at college, and serving the Lord worldwide! Hope this finds you all doing well and enjoying the dead heat of the summer. 😎😅 It has been a hot one in Sauk Rapids and from the weather app it looks like it's been hot in Cache Valley and Grand Junction as well! This week has been not the greatest, and definitely a down week from last week. But I will share the highlights and all the good and funny stuff. 😂

Monday was transfer p-day, so for Zone Leaders that means travel plans. So we have to figure out who is riding with who down to transfers and it's insane because it destroys miles because we are so far away from Bloomington. Our Zone got wrecked with transfers. We had two white washed areas (both missionaries are replaced) and every area but ours had a transfer. So it took us about an hour to figure out how everyone was getting to Bloomington while using the least amount of miles. After that we had dinner with Sister K and D. It was a super weird dinner. D basically said he believes everyone is going to Heaven and that we (Mormons) try too hard and do too much to get there. And then he basically yelled at Sister K's son the whole time for back talking his mom and not listening to her. Her son is slightly autistic, but he does get babied a lot by Sister K and is allowed to do whatever he wants. It was super awkward though. 😱 We tried to talk about how we aren't doing too much to "be saved" and that God sets the rules and we just do what He asks and obey the laws of God. D wasn't really having it, though. We've kind of given up with D because he doesn't want to listen and just says his pastor is right and we are wrong. It's whatever, but it makes me sad he can't just open his eyes a little and see we have the fullness of the gospel!  Monday night we tracted for about an hour and met some cool people but no one super solid.  😛

Tuesday morning we went to campus to see how busy or not busy it was.  School gets back in August 21, so we wanted to stop by some less active YSA (Young Single Adult) people and do some contacting on campus! We met this college girl who was sitting out front of this house. We walked up to talk to her and she was like, "Are you guys the police?" I was like, "No, I wish! We are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." She then told us she had been curious about the Mormon church for a while, and we told her about the Book of Mormon, and of course she's like, "Wait one second!" And ran inside to grab her bible to show us the verse in Revelation about not adding to the words of this book or else you will have a plague sent upon you. So first off, we talked about how it is talking about the Book of Revelation, not the Bible. Second, we shared that it says something similar to that in Deuteronomy 4 in the Old Testament, and third, even if it did mean the Bible, we haven't had any plagues yet, so it either means the Bible is wrong (which it isn't), or we are right!🙌 So after we explained that she was much more open to reading it. 😂 It blows my mind how people are so misinformed by either their own research or their friends or just incorrect information that's out there! After that we had a lesson with J and it was beyond weird. I can't even put some of the stuff he said during the lesson in the email. 😂😂 He is an interesting guy for sure haha. We read Mosiah 3 with him and discussed how we can rely on Christ to help us grow and improve. Then we drove down to Clear Lake and Becker to visit less actives and do some finding. We stopped by this less active and the address we ended up having was his parents' house haha. His parents are active and his mom apparently loves the missionaries. She was just throwing food and snacks on us and referred all her less active kids to us and gave us their addresses and life stories and stuff. So that was pretty great!👌After that we went to his real address. He is less active and a self proclaimed atheist. Anyway, he let us in and was a super nice guy and even let us share a message, so that was great! I think he knows the church is true and all that, he just wants to do his own thing and believe his own way. And that's ok, we aren't going to force him to come to church, but it makes me sad that he's lost his testimony or desire to partake of the goodness the church offers. After that we had dinner with the Rs. 😂 They are seriously one of my favorite families here. Sister R asked us what we wanted for dinner and I said grilled chicken salad, so that's what she made us. 👌😋 It was super good! After dinner we hauled back up to Sartell to give TB a blessing because he had knee surgery on Wednesday. I got to give the blessing and it was great! I will seriously never ever lose my testimony of the Priesthood. I've had way too many amazing experiences with using or being the beneficiary of the Priesthood to not believe in it. 

Wednesday we had a lesson set up with a girl that Elder M and C found during exchanges last week.  It fell through and Elder B had called us and said they were going to drive up and drop off the package from Mom and Dad, so we met them at a Wendy's and got it! Elder B is awesome and I'm glad I got to serve around him even though it was only a transfer. He's a good dude!  By they way, thanks for the package Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa! I loved the stuff in it, and Elder M has eaten almost a package of the mangoes haha. 😂 The jerky was super good, and the ties were awesome.👌Anyway, after that we were doing some tracting and this lady waved us down and started talking to us out front of her house. She had some way long grass and I was like, "Hey, could we mow your lawn?" She's like, "How much you gonna charge me?" I just laughed and said, "No charge!" So we got to mow her lawn! She was very particular about how she wanted it mowed and how we used her mower haha. We had to be extra careful with her mower. It was like her baby. 😂😂 I got corrected like 5-6 times on how to put the bag on and how to start it. I happened to be studying humility and patience this week from chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel (Christlike attributes), so it gave me a good real life application practice to use them! So that was cool! After that we had a lesson with F and taught the "Big 3" commandments: tithing, law of chastity and Word of Wisdom. I loved teaching all of those because all of them are principles with a promise. As we follow each of them we are promised blessings. So one of the things that made this week tough was that F's parents are very against her getting baptized. She is at the point where she feels she may lose her family if she gets baptized, but feels that is what she should do. So it's a tough situation. She's really struggling with it so keep her in your prayers. Wednesday night we drove out to the farthest out less actives with Brother C. Most weren't home but we had a few good contacts with some of them so that was good! Our less active lessons we've been sharing lately focus on the Book of Mormon and reading it. We usually share some of President Monson's talk from this conference about reading each day. So we've been sharing those with our less actives. Nothing like the words of the prophets.🙌

Thursday was a long day. 😅 We walked around and did some stop bys in the morning and no one was home. 😑 Mornings are tough as a missionary because nobody is home, even in the summer! In the afternoon we had a zone finding hour and it was a bit of a bummer. We knocked a whole one side of a street and no one answered until the last house (haha fourth floor, last door), and then same thing happened on the other side.  Go figure haha. And neither of them were super interested. So we knocked doors for an hour and a half and talked to two people. Kind of depressing. 😂 Our lesson with M got cancelled because he had to work late, so we ended up having a lesson with this member in the St. Cloud Ward who wanted us and the Sisters to come meet with him. So we did! He's from Ethiopia and has a son serving a mission in California. Anyway, it was good lesson! He was a super cool guy and just wanted to get to know some people and kind of relearn the gospel. After that we went to Foley and had a dinner and lesson with the Cs. We talked about temples and getting ready to go to the temple and what you need to do prepare. It was kind of scattered because Brother R and Brother C kept talking about trucks the whole time. 😂 After that we had a lesson with B and TG.  B seems to be doing much better since we gave him a blessing. He loves having us over.  Brother R and he really hit it off and they said they were going to come to church. They didn't make it this week because they were out of town, but will be there this week hopefully. 🙌 We also have a lesson with them on Thursday. B has a great heart, he just needs to figure it out and do the little things! After that we met Sister Z, a less active lady who got baptized in the Princeton ward last year. She lives in Foley now, and is super cool and was all for meeting with us and having some visiting teachers assigned to her. So that was great! Thursday ended well, which was awesome.👌

Friday we had a lesson with J and it was super sad. Her husband had read up on all these BS "Joseph Smith prophecies that never came true", so she was asking us about all those. Some were so crazy. Like one was that he prophesied there would be people with big hats on the dark side of the moon. I mean maybe that meant astronauts!  But I've never heard that before and we were like, "Look, you can't believe everything your husband or pastor tells you about our church because they don't know haha. 😂" She was like, "Well, they're good honest men!" I didn't want to get off into that, so we just said, "Look, everything that is true that Joseph Smith prophesied has come true. So you can believe that!" She won't pray about the Book of Mormon either, and we answered all her questions about biblical doctrine and a bunch of stuff. She said she is going to be done with looking into the Mormon church for now. I told her to read, "What is the Blueprint of Christ's Church?" and I'm hoping that will help her see that this church is true! After that we weekly planned and that took forever haha.😂 After that we had dinner with the Bs. We had some dang good grilled chicken that G made. After we had a lesson about the Book of Mormon and we each bore our testimonies of it. The Spirit was really strong and I'm 100% sure G felt it. He's such a good guy, I wish he could just have a desire to join. After that we had a bomb lesson with M at the church. We shared the Elder Holland Mormon Message about the Book of Mormon and M asked us how we came to know the Book of Mormon was true and if it was hard to decide to serve a mission. I shared my story about how colleges were backing out on recruiting me because I was serving a mission and that was super hard. I definitely questioned if it was worth serving at one point during 2015-16 after the season got done. I knew I just needed to do it regardless, and it ended up working out perfectly for me to go to CMU. 🙌 God knew that's where I needed to end up, so it's amazing how it all worked out. When you put the Lord first, things always work out! You just can't always see it immediately. We also had a lesson with the Cs on Friday night and shared a Mormon Message about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it can help us through trials. Brother C said it was much needed, and we were in tune to know that's what they needed. It was really cool. 😊

Saturday morning we made the monthly zone focus, which will be focused on the Book of Mormon, and we have a goal to give out 400 Books of Mormon as a Zone this month! I'm really excited to do it, and I'm excited to "fill the earth with the Book of Mormon!" Saturday afternoon we went out with a priest from our ward and tracted this way out there street north of Sartell. It was a little community called Watab. Very small town and super rural. We had minimal success at first but ended up having some great gospel conversations with some people and gave away 3 Books of Mormon. So it was cool! He came out with us to get some experience, so I think he had a good time! After that we went to the ward Pioneer Day party and it was awesome! M and M came, and lots of less actives, so it was great. We did some stick pull and a hug tug of war, too. 😂 It was super fun! Saturday was a great day!👌

Sunday we had 3 investigators at church!  Before church we tracted for 2 hours and everyone we talked to was Lutheran or Catholic and wasn't super interested haha.  But it was fun and we had some good discussions about the Trinity vs the Godhead with people. It's amazing that when people read the Bible they still believe in the Trinity. It's super obvious to me that God and Jesus Christ are separate beings after reading the New Testament. I find it odd that so many people still believe that.  That is one of the cool things we know because of the first vision! M, F, and DS came to church. DS is the husband of a member and he's a super cool guy. He loves lifting and was in the military.  He's a big dude. 💪I talked with him at church for a while and he's a super nice guy! After church we basically tracted for 2 hours and had a member lesson with the Ms. Elder M had the plague and wasn't feeling super great, so I got to talk to everyone, which was cool! He was a good sport and just went with me because he felt like crap. He's doing better now though, so that's good.👌We had a lesson with the B family Sunday night. We decided to talk about faith and repentance and focus on the basic principles of the gospel. We had a great discussion with them about having "faith unto repentance." I hope they understand that they need to come to church and exercise faith and take the sacrament to have the spirit with them continually and help them "always retain a remission of their sins," as Elder Bednar says. So Sunday was a pretty solid day, too!

Today we got to go down to Crystal for P day cuz tomorrow is MLC. The G family came up to visit us and took us to dinner and bowling. 🙌💯 They're one of my favorite families from Apple Valley.  I love them haha, always a party with them. 😂 So that was awesome!

This week has been a tough one, but I wanted you to hear about all the positive things that have happened this week! It's like opposition in all things. We had a great week full of miracles last week and this week was more of a tough one. I know the adversary is working hard to thwart the work here, but I know it will go forth regardless. 💯 One cool thing I've learned this week is how much my testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown in the last year and a little bit. I remember my sophomore year of high school seeing the Mormon Message "Testimony of the Book of Mormon" by Elder Holland, and it really hit me that Joseph and Hyrum wouldn't go to their death finding solace in the Book of Mormon if it wasn't true. That always stuck with me throughout high school, even though I never did much to strengthen my own testimony of the Book of Mormon.  As I entered the MTC a year or so ago, I realized I needed to have a testimony of the keystone of our religion in order to effectively teach those about our unique message of the restoration. As I've studied and pondered and prayed about it, I've received a witness that it is true. I will never ever doubt or deny the truthfulness and power that the Book of Mormon brings into my life. It has changed me so much and made me a better disciple of Christ. I love reading it and feeling the spiritual strength it gives me each time. As Elder Holland says: "Brothers and sisters, God always provides safety for the soul, and with the Book of Mormon, He has again done that in our time. Remember this declaration by Jesus Himself: “Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived”—and in the last days neither your heart nor your faith will fail you.” I'm grateful to have the Book of Mormon in my life to bring happiness and hope to me in the travail of the last days. I testify that it is true, and I exhort you all to diligently study and ponder its amazing message of Christ. Anyway, enough preaching from me. 😂 I love you all, and appreciate all the prayers and support. They are much needed! Have a great week! 🙌

Much love,
Elder Beach
#MavUp #10
Meeting the G family before they took us bowling.

The YSA Ward stick pull!

Mowing the lawn.

A little MNT chalking while teaching a less active family. :)