Monday, January 30, 2017

Greatest Week of My Whole Life

Austin's baptism January 28, 2017.

I don't think you are ready for what is about to happen.  One of the most spiritual weeks of my mission!  We don't even know how to talk and explain the goodness of the week.  I almost cried a few times and this just doesn't always happen.  My eyes never leak because I drink so much protein and eat so many raw eggs + iron pieces of dumb bells.  The last time I cried was because the bear I killed and skinned with my bare hands ate onions a week earlier and the smell got to me.  So, we went with Austin Reid into the waters of baptism this week.  The day before his baptism we went to the temple visitors center with 4 of his non-member friends.  When it is 40 degrees outside you can still be FLAMING inside due to the spirit in your very innards.  The baptism put the crown on the king, the top to the Pepsi bottle, the pair of flashy shoes with the blue suit, the super bowl ring on Tom Brady's finger. Let me tell you how this happened:  We set a goal of how many people we would like to bring to the joy of Jesus Christ together as companions.  As part of the goal we decided to GIVE up a few things.  We decided to CHANGE a few things.  Within these few weeks, Austin moved in with members of our ward and received an answer that the gospel is true.  All of the miracles happened from God himself.  At his baptism 4 or 5 investigators showed up.  One of which decided she would like to be baptized the following month.  Prior to the baptism she wanted to wait 6 months.  After being baptized Austin stood up to share his testimony with family and friends.  Within a few minutes everyone dropped water works from the pupils.  Brownies were served after.  A few people committed to taking the missionary lessons & it was the greatest day of my life. Austin smiled like you wouldn't believe.  He received the priesthood, got confirmed, and got a calling on that Sunday.  If that was not enough, during the same day I received an email from a family I taught in Fisher’s Landing.  It said, "Wanted to share the good news with you". This family I worked with had set a goal towards attending the temple. Let me give you the journey of finding this family.  We knocked on the door... and they invited us in to have a dinner.  We realized they struggle coming to church because they work on Sunday.  We figured the ward would follow up... a little later down the road we decided to go back and teach again. They wanted the missionary lessons!  We began teaching and for 5 months we worked to get them back to the church.  When I left a few months ago, Brother Spradlin was attending regularly.  The email I got this week showed a picture of both Sister & Brother Spradlin standing in front of the temple and the caption said, "We made it!"  Brother Spradlin will receive this email and I hope he knows I love the heck out of him.  It's people like the Spradlin’s that
show you the atonement of Jesus Christ is real.  The changes they make and the feelings you feel show you this is real.  You meet people you want to pattern your life like.  The church is true. No words can  explain!  Just come on a mission and feel what I am feeling! P day starts at 8 AM now.  Life is good.  Life is great. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Old Friends

Megan's baptism 1-21-2017.

The weeks & days just keep getting better in Vancouver.  This week I returned to the land of my youth!  Fisher’s Landing!  I attended a baptism, ate at Chick-Fil-A, found the elect, and watched the rainfall sponge-like into my hair.  Before long I looked like a soggy piece of white bread from Winco (specifically from Winco because bread from Winco is like Malt-O-Meal cereal and gets soggy within seconds).  Miracle time:  I shall embellish this story only a little.  Many moons ago I walked the streets of the Renaissance Apartments looking for souls to save.  The weather lingered around 100 degrees that day and my forehead reflected sweat as if it were a mirror.  Inhabitants walked around in tank tops and flip flops.  We felt we should head for some shade and lucky for us... a man walking a dog dwelt in the shade.  We began speaking to him.  He was baptized as a young man!  Yes, baptized into our church!  Shortly after the baptism he went astray with life and all other manner of endeavors leaving the church behind.  NOT TO FEAR, we invited him to take the lessons again and snagged his address for a return appt.  He seemed halfway interested in coming back to church but we didn't care the sun barreled down and we weren't taking any crap.  Instead we acted like irresponsible youths by forgetting the address! :(  For a little around a month we searched the Renaissance Apartments for our main man to no avail!  We simply could not find the right apartment.  When my hopes were dashed after praying by name for this man the Lord delivered MY SOUL FROM TORMENT.   Somehow... someway... somebody transferred this man’s church records into our ward with the exact apartment address... coincidence?  Nope!  We began teaching in the home and inviting his daughter Megan to be baptized.  Megan accepted a baptismal date quickly and we began working towards her date.  This & that came up and we had to postpone the baptism.  (This was in August).  Soon after that, the lessons slowed down and I got transferred out of the area.  I heard nothing until this last week.  The missionaries in Fisher’s Landing called me and said, "Megan got an answer.  She wants to be baptized next Tuesday and would like you to say a prayer at her baptism”. Over 6 months ago, tons of prayers, a few lines of testimony and talking to a man in the shade on a very hot day, and a family is on their way to being together forever.  The work is good!  Miracle #2:  While on exchanges with the same Elders in the Fisher’s Landing ward we went out to find the elect for a couple hours.  While at an apartment complex my companion began talking to a member of the church.  I watched three people go by and felt the prompting to simply say hi to all three.  As a fourth walked by I received a distinct prompting to go and talk to him.  Within 2 minutes we figured out he is a member of the church that is inactive and just married a non-member.  We scheduled a return appointment for the following week.  WHAT DID A GUY LIKE ME DO TO GET SO LUCKY TO WATCH THESE MIRACLES HAPPEN?  Vancouver is back to raining again every single day instead of snowing every single day.  I have recently been putting a scoop of peanut butter in my maple and brown sugar oatmeal for breakfast.  I have not much else to say other than I’m happy to be here.  Enjoy your week and don't forget people in your life can help you.  Don't try to mosey through life on your own.  Jesus never said be perfect on your own.  Let others help.  P.S.  We went to the Portland Temple this week as well.
Vancouver Zone temple trip 2017.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Awesome elbow bruise from ice skating incident!

This week has been the snowiest week in 15 years of Vancouver weather. All common sense was thrown out the door for the drivers of the northwest due to the snowfall.  For a couple days we were grounded from our endeavors (as in we couldn't drive). We trenched it on foot which was fun we embarked to the Walmart parking lot in hopes of finding the elect.  We did find out many people still need to go to Walmart even during the snow pocalypse.  We taught about five lessons while wearing beanies.  No slips only a few close calls.  Elder Pabst stinks at driving on the snow however.  Sometimes I fear for my life as I listen closely to Mormon tabernacle choir jams.  A few miracles occurred as usual and I have a few things I would like to say during this electronic mail letter.  This was a cool miracle...we set a goal to talk to twenty people on Saturday in the ice.  We embarked and at around 6 o'clock we were only at 5... the teaching was just so good all day we sat down for lessons.  Anyway, we suited up in 15 degrees and hit the streets talking to everyone that could stand the snow apocalypse and pretty soon we found some of the elect.  We were about to head home at 8:55 & as I backed Elder Pabst out of his parking stall I saw a man having a little puff of nicotine standing on the sidewalk.  I ran up to Elder Pabst because I felt we should talk to him and he said he would roll down the window to hear / watch.  I ran over to meet Arthur and figured out he just moved here from Sacramento and needs to find a church.  :). Little miracle. Big miracle. Same thing.  Round 2 baby.  Miracle #2:  We felt prompted a couple weeks ago to call some active members in the ward and Get to know them better.  We called and told them we felt really strongly about coming over and we set up a time to visit.  The minute we met them they had a referral for us.  & we figured out he (the husband) should be our new Ward homie and come out with us more often.  We have been praying & searching for someone to help us fellowship our Phillipino friend Fred Manlulu.  Our new Ward homie accepted the challenge and was actually pretty stoked to help out.  Little miracle.  Big miracle.  Same THING!  Miracle  #3:  Heck yeah!  Let's talk about something really helping us.  That would be commitment.  We decided we ought to be more committed to things.  Just those little rules you don't think very much about.  We figured if we want our investigators to commit we best be all in with this.  We decided to change a few things and then within a week we have realized why those "little rules" are there.  I guess that's why they call it faith.  WE DIDN’T know until we tried it sincerely.  We have been teaching our investigators the same thing and we are finding success!  Big time! If you don't think roller coasters are fun?  YOU SHOULD RIDE ONE.  If you don't think WWII history will excite your very core?  WATCH YouTube documentaries.  Anyway, it was just one of those A - HA moments for us because everyone we teach says "I don't believe in organized religion" or "I don't believe in the BOM" or "I don't believe I need to stop smoking". We reply... "Well of course you don't because you haven't fully tried what we are going to teach you yet". I have never met someone that is coming to church every week, reading the scriptures & keeping the commandments that didn't feel his/her life improved.  You just gotta try it and keep trying it and your life will improve.  I’m getting a haircut now.  On Tuesday night the trainer in the MTC for President McAteer came to visit the mission.  He took us out to Olive Garden and helped us teach for the evening.  He wasn't scary and didn't look into our souls and read our minds.  He was hilarious and it dropped 16 inches of snow when he arrived.  We didn't get home that night until 11:30 because every exit we took people were stuck in the snow and we very muscularly had to help push them out before we could even drive by!  I sent a pic of my huge elbow bruise which happened because of my ice skating incident.  I am much less coordinated in ice skates with an ice pick on the front.  Must have got it from my Dad.

Monday, January 9, 2017


Ice skating with the zone!

It was pretty dang cold this week and really fun at the same time.  Snow / hailed / rained / iced for a couple days a few sweet miracles and I think I got some good pictures to send home this week.  Got a
little sick.  Had to stay down for a day and sip the chicken noodle soup + Powerade for a day.  Seems like the local Vancouver fiber got the best of me.  I just want to say I think I lost a few lbs. this week which is okay with me.  Cool miracle:  Our investigator prayed about a baptismal date... and even if he should be baptized and he was not finding answers.... until just this last week.   He committed to be baptized and told the Lord he would be baptized if something happened.  I guess he wanted a sign, such as a loved one... was about to die....then he thought.... NO!   I don't want that kind of sign.   Moments later... one of his loved ones was honestly in peril of death.  He said that’s when knew it was true!  He knew God wanted him to do this!  Baptism date:  Jan 28th!!  Save the date!  Pics of the week:   we went ice skating this morning.  I’m keeping busy.  Church is true.

Monday, January 2, 2017

I'm Shredded

P-Day Fun in the Vancouver District.

Been a good week New Year’s was great.  We found a couple new investigators, new miracles, new scripture reading, New Year's Eve planning, New Year’s, new year new me, New Years, new born baby (kidding didn't have one of those), and new stuff for Christmas.  I'll send a few miracles off to you as long as you promise to really read this email. You also have to promise me you will send me a handwritten letter of acceptance to Hogwarts.  Please do that I would like to feel accepted to such a prestigious university. (It's been on my mind because everyone keeps talking about that new movie). Okay here is what else has been on my mind:  #1 it's cold.  It's really windy.  It's a little rainy.  Sometimes you need extra vitamin D (hopefully that's the one pertaining to the sun).  We decided to have a great day when we woke up Saturday morning.  After gorging on some pancakes, eggs, & hanging with the zone at a zone breakfast we went out on the town.  The night before Elder Pabst said, "Let’s visit Beth". I said, "Yeah, let's visit Beth!  We were supposed to visit Beth months ago... whoops".   After the breakfast we went to Beth's home & Elder Pabst said, "Beth doesn't live here". I said, "What you talking about boy?  This is where she lives". He said, "Oh, then I meant we should visit Claudeen, not Beth!"  We decided to visit Beth anyway!   After we knocked, a kind young lady opened the door and told us Beth is her mom and that Beth moved out a month ago.  NOT TO WORRY!  We just started teaching Beth's daughter and she said, "I was talking last night about finding a local church to attend.  Does your church offer programs for the children?"  YESIREE!!!  This young lady actually just moved here from Oklahoma and needs to find a church.  How lucky for her :).  #2 Let's talk about a special occurrence.  This is small, unless you're us.  Then it's a big miracle.  A set of sister missionaries called us with a question (I don't remember what they even asked) and we answered the question.  Then they said, "Is there anything we can do for you two elders?"  We said "HOLD ON" ... we pondered for a quick moment and decided we wanted them to reach out to some of the other sister missionaries in the area and put a smile on a companionship’s face.  They reported back that night to tell us that it worked!  They called the other sister missionaries and most definitely made their day.  This certain companionship was having a super rough day and actually needed some outreach.  Small thing... but goes a long way.  Kind of like a hair of an Elven warrior.  #3 We went down to the temple with some of the people we were teaching.  We asked a returning less active member to drive us down.  When we arrived at the temple for a special tour from the sister missionaries and a little temple gazing / pondering action the feelings were good!  Everyone was happy!  The tour was great, but mostly the people we brought decided to take a bunch of pictures instead of pay attention to what the sister missionaries had to say.  Honestly it was kind of funny, but the less active returning member who drove us all down, looked over at us & said, "This is the closest to heaven I have ever been".  He thanked us later that night and we knew he was the reason we came to the temple this night.  We had asked 6 other people to drive us before calling this certain member.  He then texted us today saying, "Please prepare a very special lesson for Wednesday when you to teach me, because I am bringing a friend who needs the gospel".  I want to say it's a good day.  It's a good day because I decided this morning it would be a good day.  Vancouver is great,  the work is good, the baptism we were hoping for did not happen this weekend but it will happen.  The church is true.  I am about to get a haircut... wish me luck.