Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Seriously contemplating the view from Astoria!
I hope you're ready for some amazing stories I don't even know where to begin.  I'll tell you some of these stories in embellished but true fashion after I tell you we are having a Halloween get together with the ZONE for some glow in the dark volleyball & hot chocolate hang out.  I bought a bright orange pumpkin flavored shirt today for our all day p day Halloween festivities!  The Vancouver mission is the greatest place to be. #1 miracle: I don't know if I shared the subway story before... but let me share with you a little amazing miracle because it has a second half to the story.  Okay, we were getting a sub at Sub Way for the first time in about 6 months... and the guy who crafted our sub is named Jesus.  We looked down at our tags and said, "Hey, we have the same name on our tag!" And we laughed while he made us a delicious turkey breast on whole grain flat bread.  By the end of his sandwich crafting he needed to asked us a question!  Pointing to a tattoo on his arm he said, "My Mom said I am going to Hell for this what do you think?". We told him to meet up with us sometime & that we would teach him all about it.  Upon meeting up with him we could tell something was special with this young man and we referred him over to the YSA elders and now he is going to be baptized.  Sometimes you just gotta open your mouth & that's all you really have to do. #2 heck yeah miracle: A few weeks ago we felt impressed to visit a less active member of the ward named Brother Hill.  We went to his complex and since we didn't have an apartment number we just knocked the whole complex.  Well, only one person seemed slightly interested.  She said, "Come back tomorrow @ 5."  We did trust that!  She was not home... sorrowing, we went on with the week.  Just the other day all of our lessons cancelled for the day.  All 4 of them fell through, so we figured there must be something important for us to do instead.  We searched and searched until we felt prompted to go to the same house. The same lady answered and she said, "Okay boys come back tomorrow". Hmmmm... We showed some faith and went back the next day!  She said, "Okay boys two things 1) I wanna know about the second coming.  2) I wanna be baptized". HAHAHAHAHA NO JOKE!  How cool is that?! You just walk around and good stuff happens.  HOW DID WE GET SO LUCKY?  Miracle #3 this is a really good one:  There is a member of the ward that specializes in "being a gentleman"  whenever we are in need of tips to be more gentleman like we send him a text and I am learning each day how to become more like a true man.  Perhaps, even a man of the priesthood.  Also, our church attendance rallying the troops before church is working.  Every Sunday we go to visit our teaching pool and invite/urge people to attend the sabbath meetings with us.  These past two Sundays our prayers have been answered after working with a less active member for 5 or 6 months now he has been attending church.  Another less active came to the Halloween trunk or treat and it was the first time for him being in the chapel in probably a year.  He took some time to follow a prompting and sit in the chapel, and while he did for 20 minutes he was told by the spirit to start coming to church every week.  I don't know how to explain the goodness of God.  I seriously hope you all have a great week and I hope you all find some cool miracles this week because they are all around us.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Take Me To Church

Elder King and Elder Iler at Fort Vancouver October 2016.

CHECK IT OUT:  You wouldn't believe it.  Greatest day of my life this past Sunday.  Our flocklings came to church!  Our investigator and less actives came to church!  The heavens have opened the church is true.  Persistence pays off after weeks of badgering these people like a telemarketer to come to church.  I suppose my prior employment helps with this telemarketer badgering technique.  It was a great week as are most weeks.  We went to Longview (40 minutes north) to work for a day and we went to Portland (40 minutes south) to work for a day as well.  I visited two of my offspring!  Two of my very own trainees here in the Vancouver mission.  Elder Briggs & Elder Johansen have made it past the teen years.  Just warms my heart to see my “children” making righteous decisions.  Let me see if I can embellish some stories for you:
While on exchanges down in Portland we stopped by a few potential investigators before we attended a baptism.  The first potential investigator we stopped by was actually taught by me almost a year ago when I served in the same ward as Elder Johansen.  Elder Johansen had no idea ;).  After that inspired visit we went in search of the elect.  The first... & only person we talked to the whole day actually wanted to hear about the Book of Mormon.  God knew the rest of the day we would probably be busy teaching.  While walking down a street that looked like a scene from a movie with autumn leaves falling and a high school football game in the background we beckoned for a YSA aged young lady to come hear us out.  Lo & behold, we didn’t scare her away.  Little miracles you just can't help but be grateful for.  
On Thursday this week our investigator Lucas decided he wanted to feed us.  We texted him the night before and asked if his schedule still permitted us to be fed by him around 5:30 & he said, "I prayed for a few hours last night and got a confirmation that I need to be a better person by following this path.  As for dinner, of course!  Steak & shrimp for my two best buds."  Keep in mind this guy was found by knocking on doors in the middle of Vancouver.  The steak and shrimp was some of the best.  We texted Lucas Sunday morning to see if he was planning on church and he said, "Of course.  Why are you doubting?  You're acting like Peter."  He showed up in his Sunday best and asked how soon he could be passing the sacrament.  Do you see why my job is the best job?  Pretty much had no time to think this week.  Worked, worked and worked some more.  We lined up a ride for a less active member of the ward and our ride bailed at the last minute. We had recruited a family the day before to give a ride to a different less active, and we decided to call them ten minutes before church.  If someone called me ten minutes before church started & I was halfway to the church already with someone I didn't even know and then these people told me they wanted me to turn around and go get someone else & be late to church... well, I just don’t know if my heart would be big enough.  BUT, THE COOL THING IS... we have members in Vancouver with large hearts.  These blessed members didn't even hesitate.  They turned right around and picked up our friend.  Thank you good members of the church all around the world.  If I could pay you a money sum for your service I would, but that would make us a paid ministry and we just aren't all about that.  Great week, great times, who could complain living the life I do.  Picture from Sunday after church with the whole district in one ward.  Heck yeah. 
Our mission district all in one ward.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sunday Frappe

October 2016 departing missionaries!

#1 Sunday frappe and chill:  We lined up 5 investigators to come to church.  WHAT A DAY!  Opposition up the yakker today.  We lined up Todd, Thomas, James, Shar & Lucas for church.  Todd said he just didn't want to go.  Thomas may or may not have developed swine flu (he sounded like he was coughing up a hair ball), James didn't have jeans that were clean?, Lucas had his kids over, Shar came for the first 5 minutes of church and then told us she decided not to eat breakfast that morning which means her blood sugar is dangerously low and she needed a frappe from Mcdonald’s immediately.  Well, here's the issue, it was during the administration of the sacrament.  Who can come out to help?!  Sister Susannah Jackman walks in the doors right as we throw up a mighty Hail Mary prayer.  She is a LA... one that we are working with.  One that is down to earth enough to laugh about this.  She gladly says she will take Shar to McDonald's to get a frappe and then back to her house.  On the way to her house Shar pulls over to yik-yak vomit all over the road.  We eventually got her home and back to sacrament.  It was 1:55 by this time and we caught the closing hymn & prayer.  I guess it's cool because you get blessed by your faithfulness not your results.   When we talked to Susannah after, she was sure this would probably not be the only time she took someone home from church and grabbed a frappe on the way home!  #2:  The priests quorum have a counselor leaning on the edge of LA / Active member for most of his life.... he is about 60 years old.  The priests quorum bought him a large size set of scriptures in the triple comb, because apparently he has trouble with his vision. They all signed their testimonies in it.  Seriously wrecked my heart when they gave it to him.  He left the room WEEPING. Not just saying thank you but weeping like a child.  It was precious.  It was a reaction of pure gratitude for a set of scriptures.  Makes you really reassess what you are grateful for.  This old guy probably just thought he had a calling (or he felt everyone else thought) just to keep him active.  But it's moments like that when I realize he has that calling to keep OTHERS active.  #3: Alright, I might have to embellish this one just a little bit because you had to be there.  I was on exchanges with a missionary in Vancouver north and we felt inspired to have some fun.  I pretty much always feel inspired to do that.  Anyway... we decided we were going to find a family with 3 or 4 kids on this street that needed to be baptized.  The first door we knocked on was an old man that, "HATES religion and doesn't think any muslims should live". Definitely not him... but we asked him if he knew of any new families that have moved in recently and he says, "a new family with 3 or 4 little ones moved in just down the street". ALRIGHT WHAT ARE THE ODDS?  They didn't answer but Elder Thompson said he would be going back every day for a week just to see what happens.  Kinda cool. Huh?  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cheers @ Church

New missionary luncheon October 2016.

WHAT A good week in Vancouver not even kidding.  Some real miracles occurred during church this week & some real opposition is happening with those we teach.  Learned some lessons, shaved with a bar of soap, drank some purple dragon drink, ate some jambalaya, felt the spirit and was overall just happy this week.  Let me see if I can relate some of the recent events. Okay miracle #1:  Yesterday morning we woke up to receive two texts saying "sorry I can't come to church today I'm not feeling good". This dampened our spirits a little... we felt rambunctious enough though, to visit both of these people that decided not to attend church, on hopes we could persuade them to come.  While visiting the second man with no success in getting him to come, his neighbor walked in the door & began listening to us.  We started teaching his neighbor a month ago, but the day before he said he would no longer like to meet with us...  with the spirit of feeling rambunctious we just asked him if he would want to come to church with us. And much to our surprise he said, "yep, let me go get ready". We were an hour early but we didn't want to leave & give him a chance to have something come in the way of getting to church.  We took him an hour early and hung out with him in the lobby until church started.  It was great.  During church kids ran amuck! About 3 kids fell off the seats on the ground and a lady wanted to bear her testimony but she was in a wheelchair and no ramp lead to the pulpit.  They rigged up a microphone, but the cord made sounds like a herd of elephants during three people's testimonies.  It was a priceless testimony meeting,  but the man we brought to church said, "I love kids.  This is perfect". God knows His children :). This man decided to meet with us again and work towards baptism.  You go figure out the odds of him walking in right as we showed up on Sunday morning!  Okay next story:  Let me tell you how great the members are out here in Vancouver.  One member figures out my Dad is from Louisiana and the member makes a homemade Louisiana dish!  Got some jambalaya for dinner and I couldn't have been happier.  The church is true my friends the church is true.  Short story but it's like home away from home.  (Still wasn't as good as yours Dad)  Okay next cool story: Alright we found a family through doing service.  We literally went out for the day and the first house we knocked on was a family that needed help moving stuff.  They looked at us and said to each other "thank the heavens these guys have a truck".  Yes, we have a truck. We helped them that day and a couple days later we came back to move a large basketball standard which was quite heavy.  The stars aligned and they invited us over to figure out why we do what we do.  Why a couple loonies in white shirts would stop in the rain to help a family move a basketball standard across town?  We came back and taught the whole family about Joseph Smith and the kids asked us the question, "do you guys ever go to sleep?" & "are you two dating?"  It was so crazy.  The spirit was tangible.  I tried to grasp it. Greatest week of my life until next week.  Have a good one inhabitants of the earth. P.S.: I asked a sister missionary to take a candid picture of Elder Iler & I looking important in front of the mission president’s wife. What do you think?

Monday, October 3, 2016

General Conference Galore

McLoughlin Ward Zone - October 2016

Yeah, it’s been another really great week.  We experienced a few miracles.  We experienced some pumpkin spice and some general conference galore.  Elder Iler & I just seemed to be exceedingly blessed withersoever we go.  I drank at least one cup of hot chocolate with pumpkin spice flavoring every day this week.  I also purchased pumpkin spice cheerios from the store to enhance my fall enjoyment even more.  

ALRIGHT LET ME HIT YA WITH A COOL MIRACLE:  We gathered as a zone to watch conference this weekend at a member’s home.  The members slaved making us breakfast prior to the start of general conference.  We chowed our grub and watched the servants of the Lord teach us true doctrine coupled with holy angelic music periodically.  When the conference was over we were tasked with the job of taking chairs and tables back to the stake center for this wonderful family.  After we finished carrying the tables into the primary room a lady walked up to us and asked, "Is your pastor here today?"  We realized because of conference weekend the church doors are unlocked for everyone to come watch.  We told her about the church and she told us her story.  She walked an hour to get to the building and needed help!  We hooked her up with the number for the executive secretary’s number to schedule a meeting with the bishop and gave her our number too.  She actually called us back that same night!  (that has only happened a handful of times out here)  We showed up to the stake center for literally 5 minutes and she showed up from an hour walk within those 5 minutes.  She told us she would like to "have a bible study with us" !

Alright let me hit ya with another one:   Remember the miracle last week with the prompting we neglected to follow, and then eventually followed it back out to meet this young fella that is a member of the church?  Well, we met with him this week and taught him!  We talked all about the gospel and then later in the week he took us out to Red Robin!  He said our meeting finally brought some closure to him and now the next step is going to a church meeting on Sunday.  He will be leaving back to his station this week but when he comes back in December he said he would look us up and take us out to lunch again.  This is the real deal we just had a prompting to talk to him and then suddenly he is coming back to church.  

ALRIGHT, THE COOLEST IS YET TO COME.: I’ll conclude with this one... Every month this McLoughlin Ward puts on a temple trip to the visitors center for anyone that would like to come check out the spiritual vibes flowing from the Lord’s house.  We worked our butts off trying to find people to come and trying to find rides.  We suck at coordinating rides by the way.. (21 year old kids just don’t understand busy adult schedules).  ANYWAY, we finally figured out a ride for our investigator, Shar to come.  We rode down with her and another member of the ward.  We arrived at the temple and the sister missionaries took us on a little tour around the temple to soak in the good vibes.  While discussing the importance of the sealing room, Shar had one of those looks that said "I’M THINKING REAL DEEP ABOUT SOMETHING YOU JUST SAID" so, we asked her what the heck was on her mind.  She told us a story about her mom and the things her mom said to her just before she past away.  Shar has been worried about her ever since she died.  She wasn’t sure what would happen to her in the afterlife.  She began crying as she told us the feeling she got hearing about the sealing room gave her peace.  Shar committed that day to coming to the temple and performing temple work for her mother as soon as possible.