A big hello to all my family, friends, and coaches back home, at school, and serving the Lord around the world! I hope and pray this email finds you all doing well and loving life. This week has been a crazy week filled with lots of cool miracles and interesting stories haha.
Monday was p day and we just did the usual stuff: laundry, email, throw the football around - all that good stuff. We had dinner with the Os Monday night and they invited the Bs, a less active/part member family, to eat with us. Sister B is sisters with Bishop M's wife and is married to a non member. He was super cool and he and I talked for like 30 minutes before dinner about their business they just started and this other product they've been looking into. The product is like an Apple Watch, but it measures pulse, BP, blood glucose, oxygen levels, and a bunch of other stuff. I don't know how it works, but he said they've been working with this medical company to promote it when it comes out soon. Seemed a little too good to be true, but you never know! Anyway, we had a good discussion about the Book of Mormon with them. Sister B said they are just way too busy to come to church so they don't come. She said they do talk about the gospel and read the Book of Mormon at home together occasionally, so that was cool! They work 90+ hours a week because their business just started and is still in the start-up phase, but is doing pretty well. So anyway, it was a super good lesson and a good connection with them!
After that we had a lesson with F and she told us she was still good to get baptized and wanted to do it on the 15th, which was a . LD is leaving to go back to BYU, so F wanted to do it before she left. So we got all the logistical things nailed down and did a lesson on some of the commandments. So a pretty solid p day all in all.
we were supposed to help A with remodeling his bathroom, but when we got there he said he actually had to work, so we didn't end up helping him. He's a way nice guy, though, and said we could stop by on the weekends to chat and share some Gospel messages. We found out later in the week that his wife works at Coborns with F, and they are good friends, so that is a connection we are trying to capitalize on.
F had her baptismal interview with Elder B right after that, so we met at the church to Skype her into the interview. She passed with flying colors. She told us she was really apprehensive to lose her family and "old way of life", and so we talked to her about it. I shared some of my story about having a lot of schools turn away from recruiting me because I chose to serve a mission. I remember that being really hard and having a lot of doubts about serving. I shared some of the experiences I had in coming to realize that I needed to serve a mission and that things would work out. And things worked out perfectly! I'm lucky enough to be playing for CMU when I get home, and also to be serving a mission right now. It's awesome how God blesses us when we choose to follow his commandments. After that G and EP bought us lunch at Val's, this little old school drive through place. It is soooo good. Their burgers are average, but way cheap. Their fries and shakes, though, so good! I got a pumpkin pie shake and it was divine haha. Elder M let me try his Oreo shake and it was the best Oreo shake I've ever tasted, hands down. Their fries were insanely good, too. If I ever come back to visit Sauk Rapids, we are definitely going there. We then drove down to Clear Lake and did some tracting for about an hour and didn't find anyone too interested. We met some nice people, but no one was super stoked to talk about the gospel. Then we drove to Becker and tracted this insanely rich neighborhood, and it was basically like everyone hated us. One old guy cussed us out, another told us our doctrine was corrupt and we were going to hell, and we had a few doors slammed in our face, too. However, we met this way nice man named D. His name is D so he obviously was nice (right dad? My dad's name is the same...) He had just moved back to Becker from Colorado, and he and Elder M hit it off pretty quick talking about that. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon a little bit and how it came to be and why we have it, and invited him to read King Benjamin's address in Mosiah 2-5. We promised it would help him in knowing how to bring his family closer together in raising his kids to have a firm faith in Christ and good morals. He really liked that and said he would read it. We will definitely swing by him again! We tracted for about 4 and half hours and he was the only guy we found haha. But I hope our efforts will be a blessing to his family. night we had a lesson with Brother L. He is a less active that lives down in Becker like right on the edge of our area. He loves the missionaries and knew a bunch of the missionaries that I've served around. I'm not sure why he doesn't come to church, but he just said it's too far of a drive. It is a pretty decent drive, but it's not bad. So we will keep working on him. After that we were blitzing Buffalo, so we drove down there and had dinner at McDonald's since we hadn't eaten yet. The salads there are pretty good, just saying .
morning we did our exchange with Buffalo and it went pretty good! I went with Elder S, so we had the "Diabetic Duo" going on haha. We did a lot of stop bys and met some interesting people. We met this one lady who could probably be on the "Hoarders: Buried Alive" TV show. Her whole yard and house were completely filled with junk. Like her house was full from floor to ceiling, and then had tunnels in between all the trash and stuff. It was crazy! We also had a lesson with this less active who is kind of crazy, but a really nice dude. We read some of the Book of Mormon with him and got a lesson set up for later in the weekElder S doesn't like personal finding (tracting, contacting, chalking, etc.) so we basically did stop bys all day, which aren't my favorite, but it wasn't my exchange to be in charge of. During dinner we made a list of all the attributes and characteristics we want in the people we marry. It was an interesting thing because I've never done it before haha. It really made me think about the kind of person I want to marry. A lot of the traits and characteristics were ones my mom has. Glad I have an awesome Mom! After that we had a lesson with a part member family and the non member is this guy who has a recording studio in his house. So he showed us that, and we helped him write some of his rap song he is currently working on haha. Then he had to show us this video game he loved, so we watched that for a little bit and then shared a message with him. He's been coming to church and stuff so that's good! After that we met up with the other Elders because Elder M and I had about an hour drive to Hutchinson for our next exchange. Lots of driving.
morning we drove up to this little town in Hutchinson's area and all of us did work up there. I went with Elder C. He is from Hurricane, UT, and came out on his mission like a month ago, so he is still pretty fresh. He's a good dude, though. I enjoyed working with him haha. He reminds me a lot of myself when I first came out. He's a little hesitant to talk to everyone, but he's a good missionary. He also talked about basketball a lot, and you could tell he missed it. I was like that with football A LOT when I first came out haha. I just talked to him about losing yourself in the work and seeing the success in the small things and having fun. I really stressed having fun with him because I feel like newer missionaries feel like they just need to be like perfect little angels and never have any fun, haha, but I told him to have fun whenever you can. Like playing pick up ball with kids at a park, or doing service for members, or anything that is still productive but breaks up the monotonous routine of knocking doors and stop bys. So our exchange was good! We only got about 2 hours together because Elder M and I had to get back to Sauk Rapids for a lesson at with M. So we drove back up and it took about an hour and little bit. Our zone is huge. We had a really good lesson with M about tithing, the Word of Wisdom, and the Law of Chastity. With the Word of Wisdom, we were a little worried he might have a problem because he drinks iced tea, but he completely understood why we have the Word of Wisdom and swore off the iced tea right then and there. We bought him some peach sparkling water stuff from Walmart that is super good. He loves peach iced tea, so we got him some other stuff so he can still have peach flavored drinks haha. After the lesson, M took us for a ride in his Camero and it can go fast! Haha we went like 107 mph on the highway in like 6 seconds. It was crazy haha. So we had a good time. I really love M. He's such a good dude. He also said he is solid for getting baptized on the 26th. He has his baptism interview this week. After that, RB drove us out to Foley to do some finding and stop by some less active members. We knocked doors for about an hour and found like 3 new people to teach, hopefully. We found this younger family that was super nice and took a Book of Mormon. They said we could come back to teach them some more, so hopefully they pan out. We also went and finished pulling weeds and bushes out for the Ns. We basically had to dig out a tree haha, and Elder M broke the shovel in half trying to pop the roots out. We got it all cleared out though, and it looked way better! So that was awesome, and Sister N and her daughter came to church too.
we weekly planned, and it was a grind. We were both super tired from exchanges and being on the road a lot haha. But we got her done, and then we were supposed to have a dinner with Sister K and D. She invited G, a YSA member who is Korean, so we picked up G and took him up there. When we got there, no one was there. We called her and knocked on the door and all that and no one answered. So we called D to see if he knew where she was, and he had no clue. So G was like, "I'll make some Korean food at my place!" So we went to G's apartment and had some dang good Korean food. I don't even know what it was haha. It was tuna and veggie things with like mayo and then you wrapped it in seaweed, and it was really good. He also made a bomb D'Giornio pizza. So that was fun! After that we had a lesson with Sister H, who is this less active lady who lives in St. Cloud. She actually came to church ! So that was super cool! After that we went and saw the Bs. Brother B was helping their oldest son get their camping trailer all ready for a big cousin hangout thing. So I figured it was for all the younger cousins. But when we left, it was a bunch of people that were like college aged, and there was a bunch of beer there, so I don't know what was going on... We had a nice talk with T down in his room. He had knee surgery a few weeks ago, so we did some of his dishes for him and Elder M wanted to see his new Zelda game haha. So T showed us that and then we told him to read the Book of Mormon. He has so much free time on his hands that there is no reason he shouldn't be reading it. He's like, "I just don't like reading. I can't even read my fantasy books." I said "T, if you read the Book of Mormon every day, your knee will heal better and faster." That came way out of the blue. It surprised me even when I said it haha. But I felt I should say it, and T was like, "Oh well, I guess I should read it." I wanted to say, "Yeah, no crap you should!" Haha but I didn't. So I am hoping and praying that T will start reading the BOM.
we had a lesson with AM who was the Catholic lady we found. She was pretty set in her ways though. She doesn't think an apostasy ever happened, so it was kind of hard to teach her about the restoration of the Priesthood and the church. I just finished reading "The Great Apostasy" by James E. Talmage, and after reading it, it gave me a lot of insight as to reasons the apostasy happened, what happened during the apostasy, and doctrines and ordinances and Priesthood that was lost and changed and corrupted during that time. AM told us that nothing changed and the Priesthood had continued in an unbroken line. I really wanted to just spew some of the stuff I had just learned, but I just bore my testimony and invited her to read the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, she said she isn't going to read it because she feels that her church is true. We made a deal to pray about each other's churches again, so hopefully that helps her. I don't know why people are so against reading the Book of Mormon. I feel like if someone knocked on my door and said, "Hey, we have some more scripture about Jesus Christ from a prophet of God!" I would probably at least be interested in checking it out to see if it was legit or not. People are just super not for it, though. Makes me sad. Anyway, after that, we went and helped Brother Hilsgen work on his trailer. We did some good work and got like half of it insulated and covering stuff put over it, but we still need to put the siding on. So we will probably be helping with that! After that we knocked doors for like 2 hours in this new development about 3 miles East of Sauk Rapids. It was super nice and nobody talked to us. So after we got done with all the nice houses, we were walking back to the car and
Elder M saw this not as nice house through the trees, so we decided to go knock on it. It was a whole different neighborhood. So we drove over to it and there were these two people sitting out on lawn chairs. They immediately thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses, so we explained who we were and started chatting. Then this lady comes out of the house and is like, "The Mormons! I love you guys!" So come to find out, her name is A, and she met with Sisters in North Branch and has a Book of Mormon and reads it like every day. So we set up a lesson with her for . We found out it was a group home type house. The guy working there, who had met missionaries in Hutchinson like a year ago, and had a Book of Mormon as well. He gave us his number and said we could call him next week to have a lesson because he was going camping this week. It was a pretty amazing miracle that we found two different people to teach in one house haha. After that we did some stop bys down in the ghetto part of St. Cloud. We talked to Sister H, who is a less active lady in our ward. She said she'd been going through some crazy stuff in her life, so that's why we hadn't seen her much lately. She asked us to come by and give her a blessing on Monday night so we are doing that tonight. We also saw Sister B and had a lesson with her about the atonement of Jesus Christ. She is going into alcohol treatment this Monday as well, so it was good to see her one last time before she left. We got her hooked up with the missionaries in Plymouth, too, so that they can visit her while she's there. After that we stopped by a few more people down there. At this one apartment these two black guys were out front BBQing chicken, so we went over to talk to them. The one dude was Hebrew, and just started going off about how our church hates black people and how Jesus was black and we portray him as white and we discriminate against colored people. Then he pulls out the Book of Mormon where it talks about how colored people are cursed. It doesn't say that in the Book of Mormon, it says, "For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities." So they aren't cursed, they're colored. God curses them with dark skin because they didn't obey the commandments. As soon as they do, we later learn that the cursing is taken from them. Anyway, we just basically stood there and listened while he bashed on us for like 10 minutes and then just bore our testimonies and left. He was still yelling at us to never preach to black people and only to white people when we left. Pretty sad he felt that way because the gospel would really bless his life! Brother C cancelled our meeting night, so we just ended up working until and then had dinner at and called it a night.
morning we stopped by a few people and no one was home. Then we finished working on F's baptism program at the church. F and M came to church as well as quite a few less actives. It was Ward Conference, so Bishop M spoke and so did President B. Both of them gave great talks about the Holy Ghost being present in our lives and about the story of when Jesus came and called Peter to the apostleship. He "straightway left his net" and followed Christ. President B asked us all to be that kind of disciple. To be ready to leave our nets to follow Christ at the drop of a hat. We had the ward potluck after and it was really good. Lots of good food and tons of people were there. So it was great! After church we were in the family history center showing F the baptismal program and finalizing it, and DK comes in, so you already know something crazy is going to happen. Elder Meyer is like, "Hey, D, what's your favorite song we could sing at F's baptism?" D leans over to Flora and says, "Let me tell you a secret..." Then he leans in closer and very loudly whispers, "Elder Meyer wants to be in your bed.... with his pants off!" Then he ran away. I was so shocked at what I had just witnessed that I was dumbfounded. A 10-year-old kid had just said that. I didn't know anything about that stuff when I was 10. F was dying and Elder M was like, "What the heck just happened?" It was very weird to say the least haha. Always an adventure in Sauk Rapids! After that we were supposed to have a lesson with N and her family. She is a lady we found like 3 weeks ago and set up a lesson with for night. We showed up and no one was there. So we knocked this street right by her house and it was pouring rain haha and no one wanted to talk to us. Everyone basically just said, "We aren't interested. And by the way, you picked a crappy day to be out!" Then they'd shut the door. So it was a bummer, but for some reason I was just having a ball. I really wanted to find someone to teach, so I was like flying to each house to knock on the door haha. But unfortunately, we didn't find anyone. After that we had a lesson with the O family. Not the ones we usually have dinner, with but Brother O's brother. They're way cool, too, we just haven't done much with them, so we had a quick lesson with them to get to know them and follow up on President B's challenge to give away a Book of Mormon. After that we had the last lesson with F before she gets baptized . We met at the B's with President B and S and L and D'S. D'S never shuts up so finally I was like, "D'Shaun! Shut up, please!" We literally couldn't get a word in because he wouldn't shut up. It's hard to teach when people just ramble on about nothing the whole time haha. Anyway, it was a really good lesson and F prayed for the first time with us, too! So that was awesome.
This week has been long but crazy and fun, too! Time is flying by like crazy fast. Football season is already here, and next year I will be playing college ball. That's weird to think about. O night I was thinking about our area and how we could help it because, even though we have two baptisms coming up, the work is really slow right now. We do a lot of tracting and don't have a ton of success. In my patriarchal blessing it talks about how I will be able to share the gospel with the humble and meek and those who are prepared to hear it. In other words, "The elect of God". They are few and far between, but we are going to find them eventually. We may just have to knock a million and a half doors, but we will find them sooner or later. God needs those who are prepared and ready to further the work here on earth, and it is our job as missionaries to find those who are prepared. It made the work seem like super cool when I realized that. God called me to Minnesota to find his elect few and bring them the joy of the gospel. So even though the work is tough and slow, we are truly finding those that we are supposed to find here and bringing those back to Christ who are truly prepared and ready! It's so awesome to be a part of this work here. It's such a blessing in my life to not only have, but to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! Love you all, and have a great week! Enjoy life, it goes by so fast.
A shirt I found for when I return home...
Exchanges in Buffalo.