Monday, January 25, 2016

Portland Foolery

The Missionary Broadcast at the Portland Stake Center.
It's been just one of those weeks where we ask "what the heck are we doing here?" And then the next second start thanking the Lord above in awe at the success and love we feel.  We were identified by a fellow Portland pedestrian as "archangels". Which definitely made us feel pretty important! However, he claimed to be Michael the archangel himself and shortly after endowed us with power from the heavens above.  He claimed "it was good to find some angelic brethren of mine in this town, I thought I was the only one".  He accepted a BOM shortly after and hopefully we will meet up to have angelic counsel once again.  Another great occurrence this week was the incident with a man named Surge. We were street contacting around Surges home and he came out to talk with us.  He smelt slightly of liquor but he held a conversation with us about the LDS church.  His neighbor, Liz, came out to talk with us as well.  Surge then began to urinate during our conversation and enticed Liz to do the same.  He started singing "let it gooooo, let it goooooo" & we lost it at that point. We simply walked away laughing our heads off.  Okay, here's a really spiritual story actually we were stoked about this on Sunday morning. Romeo, our FAVORITE Portland pedestrian has been under the radar for quite some time.  We lost contact with him a couple weeks ago after his baptismal interview. We felt that we should call him Sunday morning before church & HE FINALLY REPLIED!  He has been going through some difficulties for a little lately, but still wants to hear the gospel.  He still wants to meet with us.  Then 4 investigators showed up to church.  One of those investigators we had lost contact with for a couple weeks as well.  His phone died... We were stressing wondering where this man could be.  He just showed up at church as if nothing had changed and was still excited for his baptismal date on the 5th of Feb.  Another exciting occurrence was the worldwide missionary broadcast. The brethren assembled the dream team to instruct us on missionary skills / doctrine.  We all gathered in the Stake Center for some uplifting thoughts from the brethren.  A picture will be attached below.  A little shorter email this week but I can't seem to remember all things and I am just thinking about playing basketball right now so...Hope you all have an awesome week.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Bobby Flay

The baptism of Bobby on January 16, 2016

'Twas a week to remember in Portland like Bilbos 111th birthday.  We had a baptism!  We had a couple miracles at McDonald's and then a miracle at Burgerville.  I don't really know how or why the miracles seem to happen at worldly stores... But they nonetheless seem to occur weekly.  The Lord seems to work through my stomachs desires.  The story of McDonalds was really cool.  I was on exchanges with Elder Holt (from St George Utah). Where I have been many a times and he actually knows many people I have hung out with.  He knows a family that lives right down the street from my very home.  SMALL WORLD & we taught a YSA aged young man who studied Egyptian language and writing prior to our meeting... When we explained the origins of the BOM and the language it was written in he was quite intrigued.  He also studied the existence of the native Americans prior to the landing of Columbus and colonization.  Hearing about the Lamanites sparked a match inside his bosom as well (nice wording).  After that inspired gathering, our bladders were full to the brim.  Therefore, we stopped at the closest McDonald's for a little urine run.  Right as we walked in a young man who claimed "he was inactive for the last three years" walked right up to us and seemed to be looking for some advice.  He said he would commit to taking the discussions again from the local missionaries.  Well, after this, we naturally needed some hot cocoa with all the rain and all.  So we ordered some and the worker who took our order, wanted to know about our church and he wanted to exchange numbers to start taking the lessons too!  Apparently McDonald's is the place to be so buy more Big Macs everyone!   The story of Burgerville may just trump the McDonald's endeavor.  Saturday night we finished stopping by all those whom we planned for and found ourselves in a stupor of thought.  We offered a prayer looking for some guidance and found ourselves sitting in another stupor of thought... Then Elder Jewkes said "I'm a little hungry". I thought... SO AM I.  We started off towards Burgerville to get a shake not expecting a young man of YSA age to be on his 15 minute break from flipping burgers named Isaiah who studies the bible and has interest in our message.... YES we found a new investigator while getting a shake at Burgerville.  The Lord works through our stomachs!  Probably the most profound lesson I have learned is that you should always be ready to share the gospel.  Opportunities are not just available when you are out knocking doors ;). The best ones are the ones we don't expect.  Now for the baptism of Bobby!   Bobby asked me to dunk him into the waters of the font at the Portland stake center.  I LOVE BOBBY.  He calls us once or twice a day just to talk about the day and he wants pamphlets from us that he can share with his friends and neighbors.  His baptism was really cool and he stood up in the middle of the baptism and thanked everyone for coming.  He smiled with an eternal grin as he came out of the font.  Bobby is now dating a girl in the YSA award after one week of being a member.  We sorta... Kinda... Played match maker with him but THEY LOVE EACH OTHER ANYWAY.   He is a cook & loves to eat so we call him “Bobby Flay.” Okay last story for the week!  We were able to witness another baptism this past week as well.  I think I told you all about Ahmed before... He walked into our lesson with his niece and he asked to be baptized right on the spot.  He unfortunately was not a young single adult but who cares anyway?  All the same because I'm the end but we really wanted to teach him.  I don't know of many others with such enthusiasm.  During his baptismal service he yelled "amen to that" no less than ten times while the speakers addressed us about baptism and the Holy Ghost.  He yells praises to the Lord every chance he gets and he read the whole "Teachings of the Presidents:  Howard W Hunter" manual in a weekend.  This man is righteous.   Our whole zone is basically switching this transfer!  Elder Jewkes & I are staying here but at least half of our zone is leaving :(.  BUT, my very own son (meaning I trained him)  Elder JOHANSEN from the Parkers Landing area, back in the heat of the summer, will be serving in this zone!  My grandpa Elder Jewkes and my son Elder JOHANSEN are both serving with me now.  What a righteous posterity.
The baptism of Ahmed on January 16, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Portland Magic

The baptism of TJ and Tamarind Steele.

I will keep this email brief because we are about to go ice skating at the Lloyd Center as a zone.  BUT, another incredible week to be a missionary.  I have never been so chastened by the Lord which I am SO grateful for.  I am learning how to be LEVELED in my pride.  Definitely a stumbling block of Elder King.  The transfer is almost over... I can't really explain my feelings.  It was the fastest transfer of my mission.  I always thought being too busy would suck... But it's the best.  Okay here's the great story of the week!  Back in the wilderness of Castle Rock I struggled to come in contact with the Steele family. They moved into the ward in March and a few missionaries tried to contact because sister Steele is a member however, TJ Steele (the husband) is not a member.  Nor is Tamarind, the daughter in the family.  I drove the Chevy Cruze many a times to the Steele household in an attempt to contact them with NO results.  One day my fuse was apparently thin and I whipped out the phone in frustration to call the Steele family and maybe leave them a message... When Sister Steele answered!   And invited us over for dinner the next week.  Shortly after Brother Steele read half of the BOM and wanted to be baptized along with Tamarind.  This AWESOME family fed us each week after this.  They filled our stomachs with homemade egg nog ice cream, gourmet Mexican dishes, Darigold chocolate milk and PURE JOY.  I will never forget the Steele family and I had the privilege of returning to Castle Rock this week to baptize TJ.  It was really great besides the fact that the water in the font felt it came straight from the continent of Antarctica!  I really love being a missionary.  Another great thing that happened this week was a few of my investigators told me they loved my new CTR ring.  THIS is no ordinary CTR ring - it has the letters CTR engraved in the Elvish language and a silhouette depiction of the fellowship of the ring walking in a line. It has been a great asset to the work of the Lord (favorite Christmas gift from the family!).  I don't know many things that I love more than being a missionary.  I love doing this work.  Our investigator Romeo has made incredible commitments to enter into the waters of baptism this upcoming week.  Bobby, another investigator, has also made incredible strides and commitments to keep the laws of God.  I decided I would join them in this streak of commitment-keeping.  I did something I may regret later in life. I may even regret this today, tomorrow and each day after.  I, Elder Braden King, committed to never drinking Diet Coke & Diet Pepsi for the rest of my days.  (Hoping they offer it in the Spirit World though!).  I signed it on a napkin in the "Kings Chinese buffet" after 4 Diet Cokes... Life has been not really any different, except I don't feel a carbonated fizz in my tummy.  Also, I have no more caffeine highs.  ANYWAY, wish me the best of luck.  I would encourage everyone to watch the YSA devotional that was given just yesterday.  It was really insightful.  Elder Nelson has a way with words.  FYI:  President Taylor had a heart attack this last week.  He was rushed to the hospital.  He survived and he went in surgery today for a triple by-pass.  His doctors give him a great prognosis to have a better quality of life after the surgery.  He is hoping he will be able to finish out  the remaining months  as mission president this year.  Thanks to all for the prayers that were sent his way.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Frozen Tundra Fiasco

Snow in Portland!
Elder King covered in freezing rain.

This past week in Portland has been the most grueling of weather for the Oregonians.  It snowed about an inch or two on Sunday and the whole STAKE cancelled church meetings.  The snow continued to fall for most of the morning and we were instructed not to use any of our mission vehicles.  This presented quite a challenge because the Portland YSA ward covers two stakes.  However, we girded our loins and embarked on a snowy adventure to find some former investigators and kinda, sort-of played and frolicked in the snow because it's been a while since we have seen the winter weather or Utah.  The whole mission was instructed to not use mission vehicles and our lush lifestyle of car transportation was haulted for a day.  I felt the true nature of pioneering.  Later in the evening the snow all turned to ice because it was a rain snow mix and this morning we are also instructed not to use our mission vehicles THEREFORE I AM TRAPPED IN THIS DUNGEON OF AN APARTMENT and all the good stores require a hike to get there.  NONETHELESS it has been one of the best weeks of my mission thus far. On Monday night we went to teach a less active member of the ward whom we had not met.  We were graciously welcomed and sat down for a lesson when suddenly the door opened and a man named Ahmed (the uncle of the person we were teaching) asked to participate in our "bible study".  After sitting down he explained his experiences with the Mormon church in the past.  Ahmed went to the LDS church a few times and they were "always asking him to be baptized" but he never got the chance.  The next sentence spoken was Ahmed asking us if he could be baptized!  THE FIST PUMPS were FLYING after we left that lesson.  HE JUST WALKED RIGHT IN AND ASKED TO BE BAPTIZED.  Elder Jewkes & I went on exchanges three days in a row this week.  On Thursday I went to the Alameda Spanish ward for a day and got fed more than I have been fed in the past 9 months... All day long I listened to Elder Thompson speak Spanish incredibly fast to investigators and I even knew what they were saying every now and then.  I actually told 3 people I knew the BOM was true in Spanish.  A few others got the classic "nice to meet you" from good old Elder King.  Elder Thompson & I spent most of the afternoon looking for potential investigators in a particular apartment complex (mostly I just watched).  I was watching a man very closely who was working on his van in the parking lot of the complex and I felt the urge to speak with him.  I DENIED the urge due to my carnal nature and we continued... THE URGE came again shortly thereafter and I concluded we must speak with him.  After introducing ourselves he explained he was from Guadalajara, Mexico.  WELL… that was the destination of my first mission call!  Elder Thompson looked at me & I looked back at him, and before you knew it we had a new investigator who was asking us to come back the next day.  Right after we finished talking with this great man we came across Reggie... Who happens to be a young single adult that speaks English living in the Latino apartment complex.  Reggie also desires to know of the goodness and happy tidings of the gospel.  I met two investigators that live for Lord of the Rings this week which really invited the spirit into my day.  Elder Jewkes is still a hater of Lord of the Rings, but this will soon change.  I will convert him.  Just last night we went out for another snowy adventure and Elder Jewkes fell down twice within the first 5 minutes of leaving the apartment.  It was even funnier the second time.  I finally got to wear a beanie outside WHICH I WAS STOKED ABOUT.  Anyway, the church is true.  The Lord delivers if we but simply ask.  I hope you all have an awesome week and watch Star Wars a lot so when I get back you will tell me all about it.