Monday, February 27, 2017

Life is Great

With Ryan and Summer at the visitor's center in Portland.

Life is great.  Let me tell you why it was so great. First things first:  we had wonderful zone conferences this week (which happen to be my last) and only a few tears trickled to the old church carpet flooring that smells like old musk.  Second things second: we experienced a couple miracle manias.  Miracle #1 continued story of underwear man Ryan + his wife Summer + the cute kid named Ashton.  We took them to the temple visitor’s center this week for a tour of the grounds and some insight on eternal families. BACKGROUND INFO : up to this point only Ryan was committed to a baptismal date on the 11th of March. As we planned for the tour we received a prompting to mention "a year from when you both get baptized you can be sealed in the temple". We mentioned that a few minutes after walking in and Summer was clearly thinking about that comment.  About 5-10 minutes later she looked at us and said, "I think I want to be baptized when Ryan gets baptized",  then they both looked at each other and said "We want to come down to Salt Lake to get sealed so both of you can come in a year with us". SAVE THE DATE!  My life will be fulfilled on March 11, 2017 when Ryan & Summer get baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Austin Reid came to the temple tour with us as well and committed to a date to come do baptisms for the dead.  All-the-while wearing his cowboy hat & boots.  Miracle #2 (mega miracle mania mega shark-nado miracle) Austin Reid is a recent convert and newly called ward missionary. (ALL YOU MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH PAY ATTENTION OK?). We asked Austin to pray about an area we should work in or a street within the ward boundaries.  He prayed and selected Idaho Street and said, "I am envisioning a yellow house I think". We prayed and pleaded on behalf of the Lord and went to Idaho Street and wouldn’t you know it - 3 yellow houses in a row.  First house.. knock knock knock...  new investigator to the church. Second house... knock knock knock... new investigator to the church... third house... knock knock knock... no one answered, but if they had, they probably would have begged us for a Book of Mormon.  Austin received revelation through prayer.   Miracle #3 is that two birthdays were celebrated this week.  First, was Sister Kent in our ward.  We celebrated with some of our favorite members that slave away to cook us fine dining meals on wheels featuring diet Mountain
Dew.  Second birthday was one of the members that we love, who cooked for the previous dinner!  She invited us over along with 10 friends for a birthday dinner yesterday.  She also came back to church about  two months ago and just received her first calling.  The work is real good.  Do you ever pray out loud and just talk to God like talking to your father?  (Sometimes I do make fun of my father, but I usually try not to make fun of Heavenly Father). But my companion & I began praying aloud in separate rooms before bed and I really feel every person in the world ought to just try it.  Just try talking to God and being honest with him OUT LOUD.  Even if it feels dumb.  My parents sent copies of the Book of Mormon with testimonies included and I think I cried like a baby for the first time in a long time.  Can’t wait to give them out to some special people in Vancouver.

Monday, February 20, 2017


WWII object lesson with graphics!

You ready for some stories & good times?  This week Elder Pabst & I enjoyed the work.  We attended some meetings and a baptism.  We had a couple of adult conversations (only a couple).  Now we are max chilling enjoying the fruits of p day and a hard weeks work.  Feeling grateful today as I think about the week.  Fred Manlulu our recent convert received the priesthood with tears in his eyes this week.  He showed up early to church to set up the room we would be teaching in to fulfil his new calling as a ward missionary.  We spent all Saturday out teaching with a recent convert named Austin Reid.  We taught a lesson at 11 o'clock in the morning to a kind young lady named Susanna.  We met Susanna two or three weeks ago walking around in the rainfall at approximately 8 o'clock pm.  She was coming home from a hard day's work and as she got out of her car we walked by.  We told her who we were and her cousin happens to be the ward mission leader in another ward.  As we met with her Austin came and her cousin came.  Tears were shed during the lesson as she told us her experiences with God.  After the lesson Austin followed us to the family history center.  Austin found a few new things and he will be attending the temple soon to be baptized for his ancestors.  Lisa Davis a returning member came as well she has found a stack of names to take to the temple.  She decided to come back to church a few weeks ago and now is taking hundreds of names to the temple.  Austin followed us to Chick Fil A for some lunch before we headed to teach Sharly Wright.  Shar is an investigator we found many many months ago and things stopped with her progression for a while.  We stopped teaching her until this point!  She texted us earlier in the day and said she wanted to talk about the Book of Mormon.  When we sat down for the lesson Shar told us when her son read the Book of Mormon to her a few days earlier she felt something she has never felt before... she said she was overwhelmed and just "knew what was being said was true" she then told us of her Native American heritage.  As she studied the BOM and her native heritage she made a special connection... she told us, "I believe and know I am a member of the 12 tribes of Israel.  If the BOM is a record of the native Americans I am a Native American.  The native Americans originated from Jerusalem!  They are god’s people! ". It was one of those moments where you sit and stare at the person you're teaching and just want to yell "YESSSSSSSSSS YOU GOT IT! Let's go fill up the baptismal font". Austin then followed us to the church because someone asked him to perform a baptism.  Cassandra Cardenas entered into the waters of baptism.  She is being taught by the sisters in our ward and she asked Austin to baptize her.  Austin has only been a member for a month now.  After the baptism we sat down with Austin and Fred to have a lesson for both of them :). Ladies and gentleman Austin has only been sober for 100 days.  (He would be okay if I told you). And this is the miracle of the atonement of Jesus Christ.  Elder Pabst & I have a new tradition of watching a church movie on p day and sleeping / emailing.  We took the tradition a step further by getting diet Mtn Dew before we come home from grocery shopping and have a beverage while watching movies.  The work is good.  If you're wondering about the man who answered the door in his underwear and wanted to be baptized.  Yes he still does and his wife and he attended the baptism of Cassandra and they loved church on Sunday. They even think I am from California because my wind swept hair style. I know I never talk about negative things I suppose no one remembers those anyway unless it is elder Pabst saying that he doesn't like Red Lobster.  Elder Pabst & I gave and delivered a training sermon on the mount about thinking outside the box.  We used the example of the WWII d day invasion on Normandy as an object lesson concerning thinking outside the box.  Compliments of Elder Pabst check out the white board drawing.  He drew that while I narrated the battle and acted like I belonged on the history channel (which I do). I think I have found my career path.  P.S. Went to Red Lobster on Valentine’s Day with Samantha Hall a wonderful returning member that is one of our best friends. Also Austin came.  (Picture with the yellow mustang).
Valentine's dinner at Red Lobster!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Miracle Mania

P-Day Gang!
Ahhhhh the work is so good.  The work is so dang good.  I usually just want to crack a funny joke to get into my email but I'm just feeling beyond grateful for the good week.  My stomach is full and my heart is full because we fasted and then to break the fast we may or may not have eaten our whole body weight in Mongolian food.  (Which is really good and makes me feel like Ghengis Khan).  Miracle moment #1:  A week ago we traveled to a distant land (a new apartment complex) and we felt for the first time in 6 months that we should knock a door or two in the scariest complex in the area.  GUESS WHAT?  It was remodeled last week and now the apartments look presentable.  We knocked many doors... JUST BEFORE WE THOUGHT TO LEAVE we had the feeling to knock on one more door.  A man opened the door and hid behind the door! He told us he was in his underwear and couldn't visit with us now... but his wife has been pestering him about finding a church.  He said we could come back during the day sometime.  When we left, we knew something there was different besides the fact he didn't have pants on.  In accordance with the feeling we returned back in another week.  He opened the door and let us in immediately!  We sat down and figured out that he just moved here from North Carolina and is looking for a church.  He prayed recently to have success in his marriage and received an answer.  He came to church the next day!  YEP!  He accepted an invite to baptism on March 11th.  His only kid turns 1 on March 11th.  We had no idea until after we prayed and invited him to baptism.  We recruited every active member of the ward to pray for this man and his family.  We invited them to pray for this family that they would have a wonderful time at church and feel welcome.  We knew we needed it and on Sunday we prayed probably 6 or 7 more times and with all that accumulated prayer... it worked.  They texted us after church saying "thank you for knocking on the door... we loved church".  The last thing they said to us before they left the church building was "we will see you next week".  I think I will share with you one more miracle moment. You remember Austin Reid from a couple weeks ago?  He was recently baptized and I was able to baptize him.  He was asked just this last week to baptize someone else in his ward.  He was actually praying "to know Gods will for him and to be able to do it". Within the same week, he was asked to bless the sacrament for the first time, say a prayer over the pulpit in sacrament for the first time and to BAPTIZE someone else within a month of being baptized himself.  We also sat with him for 30 minutes after church because he also fulfills his calling as a ward missionary. Have you ever felt so happy, so good?  Kind of like you inserted a syringe full of icy hot cream and injected it into your heart?  I've felt that all week I've just been ready to burst.  Even typing now feels icy hurt burnage in my soul.  The work is true. Things like this do not happen randomly.  God would not lead us to precious souls like this and provide a way for them if this church wasn't the exact church to bring them fulfillment and eternal life. God would not lead them in this way for less than eternal life.  I think my companion & I are going to go and buy 1970s suits from Goodwill DI store and grab some groceries from Winco before we run around like maniacs for p - day.  If you are thinking about serving a mission...stop thinking.  Just go.  This is your answer - just go.  You will find what you need and what God wants for you.

Monday, February 6, 2017

This Week Sucked

Fred's baptism February 4, 2017.

KIDDING!  IT WAS THE BEST WEEK but I just figured you would actually read it if I put "this week sucked" instead of "greatest week of my life". I do have a few tales to tell and a few things to say this week. Tune in, buckle down, pop some popcorn.  Weekly synopsis - Baptism of Fred Manlulu, transfer week, companionship inventory, interviews with President, zone conferences, mega miracles, mini miracles, Red Robin finding ASL referrals, raining all day literally all day, a couple tests of faith, best life someone could live, hair flow is flowing back again, Elder Pabst & I have a farting device that makes fart sounds and in lessons (with people we know very well) we will prank them.   YEAH IMMATURE you think? But, it does provide a good laugh when people are downtrodden.  Okay, 1st:  BAPTISM OF FRED!  We found Fred 3 or 4 months ago smoking some cigarettes outside in front of his apartment.  We figured he was just a nice Philipino man that agreed with everything we said because he was just nice.  We brushed it off a little bit because we are doubters sometimes.  We figured if we were in the proximity of Fred’s home we would stop by to visit.  A month went by and we happened to be in the area... we knocked and Fred let us in, sat us down, got us some water and told us he wants to be baptized.  We started teaching him and he showed up to church.   We kept teaching him and he quit smoking.  He stopped drinking coffee and then he gained a testimony. He said he would never miss church as long as he lives!  He started playing basketball with the ward team.  Fred may be the most humble man I have ever met.  Except Maybe My Dad (kidding he thinks he is good at everything).  Fred bore his testimony at his baptism and brought half the crowd to tears.  He invited his mom and she came!  She lives in the Philippines.  Fred is a miracle of a man changing his life and being converted to the Savior.  He committed to living the gospel and then he discovered his testimony.  He is also the master of the no-look basketball pass - even when he could clearly just look at you.  Did you know Philipinos have awesome style?!  He gets these very stylish ties in the Philippines for 1 dollar.  We planned a trip to go back to his land -of -origin and buy all the coolest ties.  We went to Red Robin to celebrate his baptism and found a group of ASL precious souls. Luckily, the ASL missionaries had gifted us with a sweet video we can show to anyone we meet that speaks ASL.  We did, they saw, we came, and we conquered. Next miracle, A REAL SIMPLE PROCESS. I troubled myself with a few questions concerning going home to the lone and dreary wilderness we call real life.  Prayer added with study added with the help of my priesthood leader proved to bring the results I desired.  What I mean by that is, I decided to ask my mission President in an interview what to do and I thought I saw the Savior sitting across from me.  I thought I heard the Savior’s voice, except he was disguised as a Canadian 60 year old whom has become my best friend.  My mission president stood in place of the Savior to give me the counsel I needed.  I would encourage you to speak with your own priesthood leader, even if he is Canadian.  Finally,  I would like to say a few words concerning the New England Patriots and the Superbowl.  I did not watch the game.  I only hoped with all my heart God would grant the best team the victory.  This prayer was answered with a blessing upon the head of Tom Brady.  I happened to be teaching a man who was watching the game when it went into OT.  You are blessed for serving a mission.  Just trust me.  Another thing I would like to say...concerning faith.  I really don't know WHO needs this or who will listen.  But you ought to know something about my life.  I always had a feeling Jesus Christ restored His gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith.  I never really KNEW it was true until I committed 100% to living the commandments and trying it out for myself.  When I did, and when I submitted to someone ELSE’S will (God) concerning myself, I felt a spiritual witness that the gospel had indeed been restored through Joseph Smith.  This has kept my faith firm through trials.  Commitment-keeping through the good and the bad will keep you anchored when the storms of life approach, because they will. Preaching is now over. I just love the Lord.  He is so good to me.  He will never let you down.  He knows best.  He forgives me every time I mess up.  I was so happy to see Fred get baptized that I did a heel click after the baptism.  Check out the pic.
Heel-clicking after the baptism!