Monday, October 26, 2015

Another Baptism!!

Brett's baptism on October 24, 2015

I must say this week was even better than the last.  While tracting, an infant answered the door in only his Buzz Lightyear underwear.  While talking to his father, the next thing we know, he took those undies right off and gave them a little whirl towards me.  The spirit most certainly testified to this young man’s father of the importance of eternal  families as his underwear rested upon my leg.  I was stunned and couldn’t find the courage to even touch them!   Another baptism!!  Bret Hallett got the okay to be baptized this week!  He has been investigating the church for about 2 years now and did not have the approval from his mother for baptism.  He just decided to ask his father this past week and got the approval.  So, we had a baptism and 104 people were in attendance!  I sent a picture of Brother Hallett and some of the missionaries who taught him over these past two years.  Once again, we did not plan anything with the baptism program, and when this happens everything seems to go smoothly.  It was really awesome to have 104 people at the baptism and to teach the restoration over the pulpit to a large crowd like a missionary of old.  We kind of felt like Paul or Alma preaching up there.  We did some service this weekend and go out of our white shirts and ties.  Sister Couch thrashed through her drain pipe and threw out her shoulder.  Luckily, the Elders around here have biceps…and big ones.  WE GOT TRANSFER LETTERS.  I am going to continue to watch over the Castle Rock Ward alone, and Elder Brown will be watching over the Kelso Ward.  Elder Furlow, whom I served with in the MTC and he stunk up the room quite often, will be my new companion.  He hails from the land of Louisiana.  Elder Brown will be receiving a new companion that has only been out the same amount of time as him – 6 weeks!  All 4 of us will be living in the Longview duplex with 1 shower and 1 bathroom.  I have already called dibs on the first shower.  One more great story of the week.  The Steele family moved into the Castle Rock Ward in March and Brother Steele is not a member of the church.  We decided to pay a visit to the family.  Sister Steele lined up a dinner with us immediately and wants to feed us every Tuesday from now on.  Tomorrow we will be dining at Red Lobster with them J  Okay, now that you heard the cool part, I must tell you that Brother Steele wants to be baptized and he has read half of the BOM in two weeks!  He will be entering the waters of baptism on the 28th of November as an early Christmas present.  He loves history and this story makes me believe that the church is most definitely true.  This last Tuesday we went to their home for dinner and we got to make our own dessert.  It was really delicious.  Great week.  The work is good.  If you have any doubts about Heavenly Father’s love just remember that he knows better than we do.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Will's Baptism

Will's baptism October 17, 2015

Let me fill you in on a wonderful week in the mission field.  Weeks don't get much better than this very last one.  Primarily because we had a baptism!! Young William Turner (not actually Turner but I am keeping his last name in secrecy), was baptized by his father and confirmed shortly after.  The baptism went smoothly… for once!  Thank the heavens.  Most likely because we didn't have any part in planning the program!  The primary president took care of it.  Our mission president showed up right as we were teaching the restoration to the congregation and Elder Brown just about died of nervousness!  He did awesome and I am really lucky to have him as a companion.  A little miracle happened the day after.  Brother Jensen ( who was at the baptism ), came up to us and thanked us for teaching the restoration.  He said that it was probably the 10000th time he has heard the restoration and it was nothing new.  But, he felt the spirit and the spirit told him he needed to apologize to his son whom he had yelled at earlier.  That kind of thing makes it all worth it!  Earlier in the week we ate dinner at the Hornbecks.  They are a great family with a son serving in Texas.  The Hornbecks like to have ice cream eating contests!! But you cannot use the spoon or your hands.  I have attached pictures of the carnage from this activity.  I did not win unfortunately, but Elder Brown excelled at the consuming of frozen dairy. The saints in Kelso and Castle Rock are some of the best saints.  We just received a new senior couple in our district and they are fired up. The Gardners want to attend each district meeting and come out to any lessons we can have them attend with us.  They love buying us food and getting us things from the book store.  We love them.  One more story.  Just the other evening we dropped in on a member of the ward that we have been trying to see for a couple months now and we have never caught them  at home.  WELL, we finally did.  They are awesome and the father of the family works as a janitor JUST LIKE I DID.  We talked of the many pros and mostly the CONS of working as a janitor at a junior high school.  Then towards the end of our meeting we figured out that both of us have CAMPED AT THE FLAMING GORGE.  AND both of us have been at the JOHN JARVEY RANCH at Flaming Gorge.  This family’s grandparents actually work as tour guides at the John Jarvey Ranch.  This is a dream come true and quite the tender mercy.  Flaming Gorge and especially the John Jarvey Ranch are favorite vacation spots of my family.  What a great week!   There is a pumpkin that I constructed to celebrate the upcoming Star Wars release.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Fellowship of the Ring

Frodo and Sam having dinner at the Bishop's house.

This past week pretty much ALL of our appointments cancelled.  Usually when that happens another miracle shows itself but nothing really happened all week. Sometimes  it seems that the Lord has this time table that is so far from my own... But, His time table is sure and always perfect.  I know that He is not only wise, but loving.  These things all happen for a reason.  We met new people this week that needed a visit.  A dog followed us all day tracting, someone paid for our dinner and a pie to take home, we are developing some serious patience and I am getting some pretty toned calves.  We have been struggling to work with the ward around here.  It feels like we are The Fellowship of the Ring.  Me and my companion being Frodo and Sam.  The ward being the rest of the fellowship.   Both of us striving for the same cause, but not really any communication.  Luckily, the brains inside our heads turned on this week.  We opened up with our concerns to the ward mission leader and had a really productive conversation.  Now we are a united fellowship like in the first episode of  Lord Of The Rings.  We face balrogs, but overcome them now.  We asked the Relief Society president for advice on teaching one of our recent converts.  She recommended we go to a member named  Sister Olsen’s home and have the lesson there.  (We had no idea who she was before this).  The lesson started out as most do, with us trying to get to know this random ward member  that we do not know.   30 minutes later, Sister Olsen ended up connecting with Shelly, our convert,  on a level we couldn't have ourselves.  Members are SO VERY IMPORTANT.  Plus, they always feed us really good food.  Just yesterday, we tracted most of the day and did all the visits we could.  No luck, until about 8:58 p.m. when we found Brady who had quite the story to tell us.  He was quite open to taking a BOM and quite friendly all at the same time.  We have big hopes for teaching him the gospel.  Again and again we realize nothing really happens immediately.  All the prophets and apostles have life experiences that have shaped them into the people they are today. "Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" the scriptures tell us.   Luke Skywalker faced Darth Vader twice before defeating him.  He trained with Yoda for a way long time.  Joseph Smith made a whole lot of mistakes and some pretty great and important things happened through him.  If you're going through a trial, just remember,  it will get better.  Okay, enough of the soap box, this week our power went off for a day, we hiked the ape caves again, Elder Brown ate 15+ peanut butter sandwiches, we ate at Red Lobster (best day of the week) went on exchanges and saw a plethora of miracles.  It rained like hurricane Katrina only one day this week, and we have been plagued by a flea infestation in our apartment and in our car.  We have “bug bombed” the place and the Relief Society president has been helping us to clean everything that we own.   Funny story… as we tracted this week, one man said "Does the BOM contain crime and debauchery?  If it doesn't I want nothing to do with it".   He was sad to hear that there is not a lot of debauchery in the BOM.  I am thoroughly enjoying this Metropolis of Kelso.  The folks are very  interesting, the food is good, the work is better.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Conference Joy

Enjoying P-Day at the beach of the Columbia River

What a wonderful week it has been most definitely because of the opportunity to hear from our prophet and apostles.  I was VERY grateful for the counsel that was given & there is quite a bit I realized I need to change!  I will begin PONDERIZING scriptures immediately.  I will also search for the dictionary definition to that word.  Maybe with a little STRATEGERY I will begin to PONDERIZE my life.  ( Mom and Dad  will get the joke )  We were able to watch conference with a different investigator each session!  Each session seemed to be speaking directly to the investigator watching it with us.  Many of the words we have desired to yell at our investigators ( with love ,) were spoken of at conference by more authoritative figures than 20 year old punks in white shirst and a tie.  I stole Elder Browns alarm clock and hid it in my closet at the beginning of the week and he has been searching for it since that day. It has been amusing to watch him search and ponder where he could have misplaced it.  I put it back exactly where it was before and he was confused how he would have missed it all week long and suddenly it showed up.  Throughout the week I have endured many accusations from him and much persecution.  But, I was stalwart in my duty and never gave up.  I shall be hiding a new item this week and will most likely be doing this for the rest of my mission.  Cool story of the week - I was on exchanges with Elder Jones, who just began his mission experience about 3 weeks ago and we had a great day planned in Kelso/Castle Rock.  We went out to tract and all was well and all continued to be well until about 7 o clock.  We travelled up to the appointment we had scheduled @ 7 & arrived about 30 minutes early.  We began to tract the neighbors homes and landed upon David.  David requested everything we were holding in our hands and questioned the necessity of modern day prophets.  He told us he would be looking up Thomas S Monson online this weekend and hopefully HE SAW THE ADDRESS President Monson gave Sunday.  The cool part of the story was when we went next door to our appointment nobody answered... Then we saw we had a voicemail on our phone.  It was our appointment cancelling (the voicemail was from 8:00 this morning) BUT OUR schedule was so busy all day and nothing ever prompted us to check the voicemail and lo and BEHOLD we traveled up to the appointment because the Lord needed us to talk to David.  Next cool story of the week -  Me & Elder Briggs cast out a devilish figure from a home near to our home.  While we were thus "casting devils",  a former investigator walked into the home.  After we concluded our "casting" she wanted to talk with us and set up an appointment to learn more.  THIS WEEK, we met with her for a lesson.  She & her husband are now going to get baptized!  It is always a wonderful week, because the Lord makes it a wonderful week.  I hope conference was great for you all.  I drank 2 diet cokes to prepare for the Sunday afternoon session.  I was greatly invigorated by the conference/caffeine duo.