Monday, September 16, 2013

16 September 2013

This week was the most amazing week until Sunday

We found 11 new investigators, more than we found all of last transfer combined, and 7 of them had accepted a baptismal date for Sep 28. But 5 of them fell off date for various reasons last night which was way unfortunate...more on that in a bit.

Last week I said goodbye to Elder Harder. I was sad to see him go but I'm excited for what's ahead of him.

This past week started off perfectly. I got bit by a pitbull. I was on exchanges with Elder Mack (since his companion went home as well) and we saw this guy that we decided we'd talk to. I should have taken more notice of how the dog's leash was tied around the man's waist. Anyway, we talked to him and I asked if I could pet his dog. "Make sure you're sure of yourself!" Whatever that meant I walked toward the dog and all the sudden in a thrash of teeth, blood, gore, and pain the pitbull was dragging me behind it to what I thought was my sure death.

Ok, maybe it didn't happen like that but it did jump up and grab my knee and bite my knee! I stepped backwards in shock and the guy said, "well, you should have been more sure!" and then walked away. KSJDFLAKJSDFAKSJDFKALSDFA. I could have gotten his dog taken away if I wasn't so nice! Oh well. 

We had an awesome experience finding a family to teach this week. We OYM'd into a woman outside an apartment complex and we talked with her a bit and had a nice conversation. We asked her if we could return the next day at a certain time and she accepted! When we went over we were surprised to see 7 people inside the house! We sat down and had an awesome conversation with them and they all accepted a baptismal invitation. They're doing really well and a wedding and a baptism are in the mix for the future. A really faithful, open, and genuine family. 

That has been my goal in OYMs. I want to leave every OYM having gained a new friend. I talked about that last week but people need to see us as people not just, "HEY WE'RE THE MISSIONARIES FROM THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR MORE?" And then if the answer is no, "OK, DO YOU KNOW ANYONE..." etc. There's so much more to these street contacts than that!

On Wednesday I picked up my new companion! His name is Elder Gaspar and he was in the Phoenix mission before! He's great and guess where he's from? Stafford, VA! Small world! I've had two companions in a row from the East Coast! His family is from Peru so he's 100% Peruvian blood and fluent in both english and spanish. Obviously I'm supposed to learn spanish or something since I've had three native speaker companions which I've never heard of happening before. And he plays violin too! AND HE HAS SEEN KUNG POW ENTERS THE FIST AS WELL! He's super humble and a powerful missionary so we're going to have a lot of fun together. 

Another small world story. For the Dewey family in Washington...Renee Taylor, your babysitter, is in the Arizona Tempe mission! I met her this past Wednesday. The one who babysat your kids? Craaazzzyyyy.

One of our recent converts is really struggling right now. I don't want to go into too many details but the state has picked her up to keep her safe from herself and they won't tell us where she is. no one knows where she is and they won't let us contact her. She needs the ward now more than ever and we can't do anything. Super frustrating.

We're really excited for a different investigator who has accepted a baptismal date for two weeks from now! She is so prepared but her health problems are going to present a challenge. She has had some amazing experiences getting her to where she is now and she is more ready than ever! 

It's hard to see people struggle. Whether it be spiritual, financial, physical, whatever. And it is even worse when people say, "they brought that on themselves, I'm not going to help." This past week we got to spend some time with an amazing person who is struggling with one of those three things. This person commented to us about all the judgement he has received and how it is really making him question things. Just be aware that little acts of kindness make a world of a difference. Do something good for someone today. Help someone in need. You never know who's hurting and you never will unless you try. 

Oh my goodness this last week I saw a Fisker Karma! If you don't know what it is then google it. It drove right through Mesa (of course) and on probably to Scottsdale but it was sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. 

One of the stakes in our zone is tiny. Four square miles by four square miles. An entire stake! They're on the Gilbert side, quite a ways away, but we had an awesome meeting with the stake presidency the other day. It is always really humbling and inspiring to see these powerful men make time at 7am to meet with us and listen to the work we're doing. This particular stake president comes very prepared to these meetings, complete with an agenda and both his counselors. The missionaries in that stake are working very closely with their leadership and miracles are around the corner.

And that's something that we're working on - a smooth connection from the top down. Facebook is making that possible as more and more stake presidents, counselors, and bishops get on Facebook. It makes the connection and the correlation between all levels seamless and easy. 

We had our correlation meeting this week over Skype. Information was shared via email and text and video conferencing provided all other interaction needed. The wards and members are getting really reallly excited about this new technology as are we.

We just need to help the mission be effective. Our teaching opportunities almost trippled this past week because of an hour a day on Facebook. We just had a conference call with President Toone addressing some of his concerns and talking about some success we've had as a companionship over Facebook.

This past week I committed someone to baptism over Facebook. This person lives in Texas and I was able to teach her twice: once with my first companion Tanner Sawyer and the second time, yesterday, with Mark, my brother. She brought a lot of concerns up yesterday and kind of fell away from the commitment she had made to baptism but it was a special experience to be able to teach and testify with both of them, especially considering I haven't even seen Mark in three years and won't for one more. I'm in contact with the mission president where the person we're teaching over Facebook lives and he is super excited for this. Their mission isn't on Facebook until February. Apparently President Toone brought this experience up at the conference all the missionaries had in Texas this past weekend with Elder Neil L. Anderson! Wooo!

It was also really cool this morning to see Tracy Watson, the director of proselyting for the world (for the church) comment and testify on my status in response to a nonmembers comment. Everything is so connected! It's cool to have a connection to leadership of the church through Facebook since we're testing out this new stuff. Fun fun fun fun fun.

Thanks Eric, Will, Dallin (In France!), and Grandpa J for the letter this week!

Thank you all for your support, for liking and sharing posts on Facebook, for sharing your own testimonies on Facebook, for being great friends and for being great family!

Con amor,

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