Monday, July 29, 2013

29 July 2013

President Toone called last night. He talked to both Elder Diaz and I. Elder Diaz is training. The second he said he wanted to talk to me my heart dropped since I knew it would mean I would leave. He asked me to 'step up' and then later to pack my bags. 

I have loved this area. I've loved this district. District meetings were always so much fun and I loved preparing the training and whatnot. I was hoping to stay there for a long time since it is a more personal calling. I'm still working on making myself be excited because mostly I'm just sad to leave.

Right now we have six people getting baptized, easily, in August. Six! Ahhh! This is what happened to Elder Sawyer, he got transferred right before six people he taught got baptized. I'll be sad to miss the baptisms.

So in short: I'm getting transferred. Three months of happiness here in Chandler serving in one of the best wards. I'm going to miss the members, the recent converts, and our roommates and Elder Diaz.

Yesterday at church we finally saw the fruits of all our labors with the members. Members had brought friends to church! There were 5 there that members had brought all on their own! After our talks last week and all our visits it's finally paying off. When we got to this area the members didn't trust the missionaries and there was nothing going on. I'm so happy I got to see it turn around and am devastated not to see the amazing results that are just around the corner. 

Speaking of results. We had two baptisms this past Saturday!! They were awesome. We started fifteen minutes late since one of the soon-to-be-recent-converts roommates started fighting him and threatening to call the cops. Baptisms are never easy....

And then during the service the person who said the prayer only prayed for one of the two and then the first speaker forgot one of their names....Ahhhhhh I was dying! But fortunately a comic relief saved the day. When one of them came out of the water (baptized by the bishop) he did the catholic cross thing with his hands and everyone started laughing. I got to baptize one of them and it was an amazing experience. Ahhh, I love baptisms. One we had to do after since he was super late ha. 

At church when he got the gift of the holy ghost he just sat in his chair afterwards and looked up slowly and said quietly, "what peace....what happiness..." and then gave us all hugs.

That was the most amazing sacrament meeting I've ever been to. There was a missionary returning, leaving, and the two confirmations. In between the talks the mother and her friend got up to sing to her departing daughter (Chicago, Illinois) and choked up and had to stop while her friend kept singing. For the last few lines the mother turned around and just looked at her daughter while she sang. The lyrics were all about handing her daughter over to the Lord and watching her grow etc etc. The spirit in that room was tangible. 

Someone asked us this week if we had horns.

We had a pretty cool experience with an investigator. She is going to ask her mom if she can be baptized. We had her pretend that Elder Diaz was her mom and she practiced what to say. In that little role play she bore her testimony and it was super super powerful. Dangit I'l miss that baptism too! 

One of the Sister Training Leaders (STLs) from the Mesa zone was over at our dinner appointment doing exchanges. She did the dinner message but used her iPad Mini to show a video clip from President Eyring. It was waaaaay cool. Jealous! 

Chandler is being taken over by Tesla Model S's! They're way sleek.

This week Elder Janis is working me out hard this week haha. Last monday I told him to make me an exercise plan that I can do everyday for the next months. He took it to heart. He was a fitness trainer back home and is watching everything I eat and making us get up at 6 to do 30 mins of cardio and 30 mins of weights. I'm eating about 1700 calories a day and lots of Chia seeds. They taste terrible haha. I gave up chocolate. I know, crazy, right?

A little bit of background real quick. Mexicans love Novelas. Soap operas. This week we were teaching someone who said, "You know, I think the scriptures are a lot like Novelas." He stopped talking because I was laughing too hard. He never explained it hahahahahahahahhahaa.

We had an amazing meeting this past week. The Chandler East stake called all the ward council members, bishops, and missionaries in the stake together for a training. President and Sister Toone came and they trained on how to focus ward councils and meetings on missionary work. It was an amazing meeting. 

But I think my favorite part was when P. Toone spoke. He shared some awesome stories in response to some questions about the iPads. He said that while he was in the MTC being trained they had a training on the iPads and Tracy Watson, director of global proselyting, took out his iPad and said, "Hey, want to see where the missionaries in the Texas ____ mission are?" He then opened it and had real time tracking on them. But he quickly clarified and said, "Tracking them isn't the point." He said the Brethren and the Mission Presidents have complete access to lively monitor iPad usage. They can see when the last time the electronic area book was updated, the plans for the day, etc. Then he said again, "But tracking them isn't the point." He went on to tell some stories of the power behind the technology. The first story goes like this:

A woman calls the 1-800 referral number requesting a Book of Mormon. The missionary at HQ on the other line notices she lives in an area that is piloting iPads. The missionary sends a text to the mission president who sends one to the zone asking if any missionaries are nearby. One missionary, using the iPad, gets all the information, coordinates with the missionary at HQ, and replies, "I'm two doors away. I'm on my way over now." Before the woman calling HQ hangs up the phone, the missionary is at the door with the item she requested. Her response, "How did you do that?!" 

True story.

Another one. A husband is married to a member. He isn't a member. He decides to take missionary discussions but is a truck driver so never has time. The missionaries commit him to pull out Skype at rest stops. Over his 10 day trip they taught him everything over Skype as he traveled from Utah to New York. They coordinated church building locations and then skyped with him and his family after church. The man was amazed that the lessons in New York were the same in Utah and they shared thoughts on the lesson  10 days later the man returned, ready for baptism. 

True story.

The concern came up about missionaries abusing it. President Toone said, "We know. But the Brethren have said the Lord has created this for the spreading of the Gospel. The Brethren said it is too powerful not to use and if there are problems, they will deal with them as they come and they will learn better ways to control them, but "this tool needs to be used now."' 

In the next 6 months we should have them mission wide. 

This Wednesday the mission is receiving 41 new missionaries. 1/3rd the mission will be training. 

I set a goal for myself to read the Book of Mormon in 6 weeks. That's about 115 pages a week. I'm 60 pages into it and it's going really really well. 

One of our recent converts told us the funniest story this week. His friend was baptized a Jehovah's Witness and they said that when he comes out of the water he should, "see Jehovah standing." So the first time he got baptized he said he saw nothing. They baptized him again. Again he said he saw nothing. Four to five times they baptized him and then finally he came out of the water gasping saying, "Yes, I saw them!" The newly-baptized JW  told our recent convert that he felt like he was drowning and so he just told them. Our recent convert was dying of laughter while telling us the story aahha

This week our recent convert told us, "Science has a limit. God doesn't." It was super insightful. He was telling us about the opposition he received in deciding to be baptized. His other pastor started anti-ing him. Just like last time, our recent convert anti'd him back and won haha. The story was super intense and our recent convert said words were coming to him and he didn't know where they were coming from.

We have been having a big problem recently at church. We have too many investigators to sit with and we don't have time to talk with them all? I love that problem. It's my favorite problem to have. Last week we had 8 at church and this week we had 6. We have really good relationships with our members. When we walked into ward council meeting they all got up and gave us hugs. Ah I'll miss this ward.

Last night someone freaked out at us and started screaming at us. We were talking with a woman in an apartment complex and a very heavily tatooed man ran at us screaming TONS of obscenities, calling us names, and telling us we can't solicit. We don't solicit, we invite. By Arizona law that is recognized but no one knows that. So he screamed and screamed and threatened to call the cops on us. I wanted to tell him to do it because they'd be on our side but we just walked away. I was worried for our member, an 85 year old. Later his neighbor apologized and explained that we can't be there for soliciting. We explained to her that we're allowed to be there and then left.

Anyway, this has been an awesome three months. I've learned a ton and have grown a ton. I'm excited for what's ahead!

Thanks for all your support everyone! Thanks for writing Eric, Will, Mom, and Natalia! 

With love

Random question: Why do the monsoon clouds only come in in the afternoon?

Random question: Can someone tell me more about Madasa?

Random question: is there a way to produce darkness like we produce light?

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