Monday, March 13, 2017

Trunky, Tantalizing and Triumphant

Ryan and Summer-  March 2017

What a week ladies & gentlemen.  You wouldn't believe the good times to be had by all this week and you wouldn't believe that I will probably see you all in 1 week’s time.  I think I would say to you that the miracles never cease to occur on your mission.  They begin at the start, continue through the middle and endure to the end.  The river is flowing with chick fil a sauce (the river of my life). We had a baptism this week for the Garretson family.  Yes, this is the continuation of the underwear man story.  Ryan is fully clothed and a member of the church now working towards the priesthood.  Miracle #1:  Ryan & Summer’s baptism.  We began filling the font with LUKE warm death Vader temperature water to make the experience as pleasurable as can be.  By 4 o'clock all was in order and the program commenced.  I baptized Summer first and then Elder Pabst baptized Ryan.  We unfortunately did not unlock the door leading to the bathrooms and changing rooms for the men.  So, while the sister missionaries were teaching the restoration lesson on the other side of the font / door enclosure we had to swim back across the font and run through the women's restroom to get back into the main hall and eventually find our way to the men's room.  The ward mission leader came back and assumed we were up to no good.  NONETHELESS, we finished our man dressing preparations and returned to the meeting.  Then Ryan stood up to bear his testimony of the church and declared to the congregation, "this church just makes sense.  I have been looking for God my whole life and I finally found him".  Then Summer followed with her thoughts, "the feeling in our home has changed so much... (& then tears streamed)". The spirit filled us, along with the desire to eat post -baptism sweets.  Next, we had a young ward missionary / priest – aged young man / who just received his mission call, play a special musical number that was Ryan's favorite hymn he found via YouTube.  “Nearer my God to Thee.”  Pictures were taken and smiles shared. On Sunday,  I confirmed Ryan and Elder Pabst confirmed Summer as the newest members of the church. What a special day.  They received some written testimonies enclosed inside a copy of the Book of Mormon from my family members back home and they told us that they cannot wait to have their youngest (1 year old son) who's birthday happens to be on the same day as the baptism, be the first missionary in either of their families.  :).  Next magical marvelous miracle:  After church we went home to grub on Winco food before embarking for the day and within 30 minutes we found a returned missionary inactive member of the church working on his dirt bikes in his garage. My companion treats dirt bikes better than me (kidding), so they had some things to talk about. This young man has been thinking about returning to church lately and we were lead right to his door.  Let me tell you how:  Last week we invited 10 or so members of our ward to fast with us for a miracle.  For a family we could teach and potentially bring into the church.  We found the family within a day!  Or so we  thought... the family we found decided to not be interested!  We were going to visit them and ended up talking to this neighbor that happens to be an inactive member wanting to come back.  He even knows where my hometown of Pleasant Grove, Utah is.  This week we also went out to dinner with both of our recent convert friends Fred & Austin. We went on an exchanges to Astoria the town where the Goonies movie  was filmed.  We spent an evening helping our mission president move an elliptical machine into his home.  We ate good food and drank soda.  We just had a great week.  It's been a great mission.  It's been a wonderful life.  Anyone considering a mission, I would say that you gotta do it.  It's the best experience and the most rewarding period of growth you could ever imagine.  It will change the way you think and make you and mold you into the best person you could be. My life is forever changed because of these north westerners with their rain, granola-ness, Priuses, and moss ridden homes - cars - and even people.  So long and farewell.  I don't know if I will write next week because I will be preparing to come home.  But I will just give you a big hug instead when I get home.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Unicorn, Hippo, Horse?

Sisters Mortensen and Twitchell???

This week’s email includes a game.   Try to figure out what animal looks like a "unicorn hippo horse" by the end of this feast of spiritual miracle mania.  I can't believe it's two weeks until I  come home and it feels like I just started figuring some things out.  I will make sure to share with you some stories you shan't forget.  BTW the reason I am doing the game has a story as well. Miracle #1 on the list includes a miracle of feasting and fasting frenzy.  We felt a moment of inspiration on Saturday afternoon and we texted 9 members for assistance in finding the elect.  We asked all 9 if they would fast for us tomorrow to find a great young family interested in being baptized and remaining active in the church forever.  All agreed to fast!  We started knocking doors on a street around 6 o'clock and got a couple quick rejections and we just about left... when we felt something tell us to stay. We kept knocking and three doors later we knocked on the door of a burly looking country boy.  He greeted us with a friendly hand shake and listened to us bear our testimonies for a few minutes until he said, "Yeah guys, I'm a member and have been for my whole life.  My wife and I just had a baby and we are looking for a church to raise our kid in".  How’s that for an answer?  We are going over for dinner and a lesson next Sunday.  We then decided to call these members and text them to tell them of this glorious bounty.  The work is REAL GOOD.  We realized we just really don't have to do all of this on our own. Miracle #2: After a long day of talking to missionaries, having mature conversations with E Pabst & talking to all sorts of people we found a bounteous tender mercy.  We offered a sincere prayer for someone to find that simply needed our help.  We prayed, we felt the spirit and we went!  The very home we knocked on said they had zero interest. We thought we should knock some of the neighbors’ doors to figure out the reason we felt inspired to come here.  We knocked one door, and then heard some movement in the front of another house across the street (keep in mind this is 8:50 at night). We spotted our target!  Someone was walking in the front yard and we walked up to this young fella and asked, "Has there been something on your mind lately?"  And he said, "Suicide". We quickly told him our message and it brought a smile to his face!  Now we will be in contact with him for future lessons.  Miracle #3:  Expect some pics of a baptism next weekend!  Ryan & Summer will be baptized at 4 o'clock this Saturday at the Vancouver Stake center.  Bring your chips, bring your kids, bring your best dress and enjoy the show.  We enjoyed a dinner at our 2nd counselor in the mission presidencies home located far, far up in Kalama where the sasquatch most likely lives.  We went to Costa Vida and did some name tag swaps for the week. The answer to the question I asked at the beginning of the email is… a rhino.  A member of the ward showed us a picture of missionaries serving in South Africa and told us a story that rhinos are kind of like roaming dogs are here in the U.S.  In fact, you just might see one as you walk around and knock doors in South Africa on a mission.