Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

The week has been good. It’s always a long one when you have 10 days between p-days, but we were really blessed because we had a Zone Conference on Tuesday and then from there we went on exchanges, which always go by really fast. It didn’t even seem like it was 10 days between p-days. The past week has been pretty good! I am trying really hard to remember exactly what happened... We did have a really cool experience on Monday. So about 2 months ago, Elder Oswald and I met a young boy and his mom at the park. I don’t know if I mention him in emails back then, but he found us at the park and starting talking with us and telling us how he had been visited by missionaries in the past. We tried to work at setting stuff up with them for a while but nothing happened. Then last Saturday I believe, we met a different boy who was standing in front of his aunts house. He said to come back on Monday and we could talk more. So we came back on Monday, but instead of finding him, we found Josiah and his mom who we met two months ago! It was crazy. We had no idea that they lived there. It was really cool to see the way that the Lord led us there to that home. He worked through another young man so that we could meet them again! And now we are going back Sunday! 

Zone Conference on Tuesday we talked a lot about how to actually use the online proselyting in their areas and how to apply it. It went really well! We have three Zone Conference next week! But after this Zone Conference, we went on exchanges with the McMinnville Zone Leader and his trainee. I was able to go with the trainee, Elder DeHart. We had a really good exchange! It was really cool because Heavenly Father knew that we talked about online proselyting in Zone Conference, and He gave us an amazing experience to apply it right after during that exchange. On Tuesday evening we met a boy about 13. We talked for a minute and set up a lesson over Facebook chat the next day at noon. We gave him a pamphlet to read. The next day at noon, he had already read the pamphlet and we were able to have an awesome lesson with him over Facebook chat!  It was really cool! And amazing to see the Lord give us that opportunity to do that.

Next week will be crazy. We have Zone Conference in Redmond on Tuesday (I will get to see Elder Oswald!) and then we are going on exchanges with the Bend and Redmond Zone Leaders while we are over there! Then we head back Wednesday and then Thursday and Friday we have Zone Conferences again, the week is going to fly by!  I’m going to maybe see if I can email Brother graham and see if he would want to meet us for dinner as we are driving through, but we will see. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wonderful Things Happening

The week here has been really good! On Monday night, we had a meeting with President and Sister Tateoka. We were talking about MLC for the next day and what should be discussed. President felt really strongly that we should focus on breaking down the online proselyting piece by piece. We watched some of the new District 3 training videos and the ideas started to flow very fast. It was definitely inspired and revelatory! Then we had the MLC on Tuesday, which went really really well. What Elder Patterson and I helped with was training on how to use facebook in online proselyting. President thought the MLC went extremely well, so we were really excited about that! 

On Wednesday, we had a really good lesson with Chris. He is a recent convert since July. We talked a lot about obedience. He has really seen since his baptism how obedience has blessed his life. And he is so aware that it is Heavenly Father who is blessing him in his life. It is really cool to watch. That night, we had a lesson with Camille and Brian. Camille was baptized in September, and Brian is her husband who is starting to learn more. We watched the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration video with them and they loved it! It has been awesome to see the way that Camille has been a light to all of those around her. 

One of the coolest thing that we have been seeing is the softness of the hearts of the young people here in Newberg. We are teaching a family who has a 10 year old son. The 10 year old sat in on our entire lesson last week and was pretty interested and participated. This week, we helped him access the Book of Mormon stories book. We gave it to him on Thursday, and by Saturday he had already read 8 chapters! That was so cool to see. The Spirit has been touching his heart as he reads and it has helped him have a desire to learn more. Another kid that we are teaching, Anthony, is 13. We have taught him for a couple of weeks now. We gave him a Book of Mormon stories book as well and he has been reading it a ton! His parents have been okay with us teaching him, but not really open yet. On Saturday, we planned on calling him around 345 to make sure he would be able to come to church. We totally forgot to, until about 845! So we called him then and asked. He said that he could, so we were kind of scrambling trying to figure out who might be able to take him, but his dad was with him and his dad said that he would take him! So on Sunday, him and his dad both came to church! That was really cool. Anthony stayed the entire 3 hours and was really welcomed by the Deacons Quorum. The Deacons Quorum President has been so helpful in fellowshipping and friend Anthony. I think it is amazing the way that Heavenly Father works. It is definitely cool to see.

Last night, we had another cool meeting with President and Sister Tateoka. One of the coolest things that I have been able to be a part of here in Newberg is being able to see the process of receiving revelation. Yesterday was another testimony builder of receiving revelation, and specifically how inspired President is. It is truly amazing. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Airports, Stake Conference, and Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings went smoothly. It was really, really nice to be able to have an extra hour of sleep! That was much needed. Daylight savings still doesn't make much sense to me, though. It is dark outside around 530 now. It's pretty crazy! 

This week was really crazy for us. It was sad to say goodbye to Elder Oswald! But the week went really well. It was a super busy week. It was weird to see some of the missionaries who went home. My first Zone Leader, Elder Christensen, went home with this transfer! That was really weird to me. We got another big group of missionaries coming in. There were 22 of them. The Lord continues to put a lot of missionaries in this mission because there is a lot of people who are being prepared to hear the gospel and there are a lot of obedient, diligent missionaries in the mission. It is really cool to see.

We had a really cool experience at the airport. Sister Tateoka met a woman who had the same first name as her, so they started to talk and this lady asked Sister Tateoka about God and why He keeps redirecting her path. Sister Tateoka asked us to come over and start talking with this woman. This woman was supposed to be on an earlier flight, but because of circumstances, her plane was delayed. We told her that it was because He wanted us to talk to her. We were able to help answer her questions through the Spirit and the Book of Mormon. We read Alma 37:35-37 and talked about prayer. This Spirit led us to 2 Nephi 32:3 also about the Holy Ghost. And then we felt prompted to use technology and share a video with her about the current bush and God's will. It was a really cool experience! Just another testimony builder that God is aware of each of His children. It is truly amazing the tool of technology as well. It is here for the purpose of furthering the work of the Lord, and being able to pull out a video on the spot in the airport was really cool. 

Our stake had Stake Conference this week. President and Sister Tateoka spoke and they gave awesome talks. It is amazing to hear President talk. He is a very humble man. But when he talks he speaks "as one having authority". He taught all about the the Spirit and the importance of the Spirit in missionary work and in life in general. It was a great talk! Another talk that I really enjoyed was by the first counselor in the Stake Presidency. He spoke on the enabling power of Jesus Christ that we can access because of the Atonement that He paid for us. He read in Mosiah 3:19 about how the natural man is an enemy to God and that the enabling power of Christ helps us to put off the natural man (go from bad to good) and become a saint (go from good to better) through Jesus Christ. I really enjoyed that talk. I thought it tied in great to what President Tateoka said because the Spirit is the agent that will help us receive that power and become sanctified. President Tateoka mentioned that same scripture during the trainers meeting this week, so I thought that was really cool. 

It is really interesting how much the apostles have been stressing reading the Book of Mormon ever since President Monson talked about it.And it is amazing to think about the faith of people like Nephi and Peter. They were willing to do whatever they needed to because their faith was so strong. We are promised that if we build upon the Rock of our Redeemer, then nothing will be able to push us around with the winds and hails of life. It is a constant battle to grow your faith. It requires going out of the way to set ourselves apart from the world and doing everything that the Savior has asked us to do. But as we do it, we will be blessed. Our faith in Him will grow. And, ultimately, we will be able to find peace in this life and our confidence will wax strong in the presence of God. But it is definitely a long process! 

So originally to start this transfer, we had four elders living in our apartment again. Elder Greenwood stayed in Newberg, but he and his new companion moved to a different apartment. Elder Ludwig and Smith came in to live with us. But because of things happening, on Saturday they were transferred to Amity where they would be taking over that area. It was fun to have them with us for the couple of days. But now the apartment is just Elder Patterson and I. It is a huge apartment and is really quiet now! But it will be fun. 

We had a funny/weird/tender mercy yesterday. A few days ago, we met a guy named Jake and we set up a lesson with him for yesterday at 2pm. Well, because of Stake Conference and other lessons that we had planned, we didn't end getting to Jake's until about 3. The tender mercy is that he was just walking up as we pulled up! We hopped out and asked if he remembered that we were coming. He said no... but then he immediately started to look around frantically for a way to leave. He told us that it was a coincidence that he actually needed to meet a friend on the other side of town. He looked around and saw a bike in his front yard, squeezed the tires to make sure they were pumped up (they were 100% flat... ), and grabbed the bike. We asked if he had a phone that we could call him at and he pulled out his iPhone and then quickly put it back in his jacket and said no.. then he hopped on his flat-tired bike and started to peddle away.. It was crazy. We decided to follow him for a minute to see if he actually went to go see a friend, but he drove in a big circle back to his house... Crazy times! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Yes I am staying. I am not sure how long I will stay. This transfer and then maybe one more. Recently, Assistants have been staying for 3 transfers. But we will see. Elder Oswald is being transferred over the mountains to Smith Rock in Redmond. Elder Patterson and I will join back together, and Elder Greenwood will stay in the 2nd ward. He will move into the apartments next to ours though. There will be two other missionaries coming to live with us in our apartment. So Newberg will have 6 missionaries in total! 

It seems like just yesterday that we talked! We have only had four days since my last email, but it has been a pretty busy four days. Friday and Saturday were busy with doing transfer things to prepare for the upcoming transfer tomorrow. Saturday was a late night of making transfer calls, but it went well and everyone knows where they are going! There is a lot of movement happening in the mission this transfer. We are continuing to increase in numbers with missionaries coming in. I really believe that the Lord continues to send more and more missionaries here in part because there is a lot of work to be done, but also because of how well of a job President and Sister Tateoka are doing. They are really teaching obedience and focus on our purpose, and it is really amazing to see how much the missionaries are all growing here in the mission.  
The highlight of the weekend was on Saturday. Brock and Karly were baptized! It was a really special experience for all involved. Their dad has been waiting for this day for a while, as has some of their extended family. It was really cool to be a part of and witness him baptize them. The confirmation on Sunday was really special as well. The Spirit was very evident as we listened to the blessing that was given. I am grateful to have been able to help in this situation. Elder Oswald and I really didn't do anything. They were prepared and ready the entire time, we were simply blessed with the opportunity to help them take the necessary steps to be fully ready. It was cool to be a part of! 

I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. I recently started over with the focus of looking for faith unto repentance. It is amazing to see the examples of faith that are demonstrated so often in the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for all that we can learn from these inspired teachings and writings. It always amazes me to look and see the way that Nephi and Lehi respond to adversity, versus Laman and Lemuel. Right after Lehi and his family have been traveling for days in the wilderness, shortly after leaving all that they owned behind, the first thing that he does as they make their camp is he prays to give thanks to God. At the same time, Laman and Lemuel are murmuring. We can choose to be happy and choose to look to God! We can choose to be grateful for our trials or we can choose to let them drag us down to misery. 

Here are a bunch of pictures! Some of us from the baptism, some from playing ping-pong today, and one from yesterday with who used to be Elder Mounteer! Chase now. He went home a couple of transfers ago. He was an assistant here in the mission for a long time. He did a lot for the mission and I'm really grateful for his example! He was the one who actually picked me up from the airport and then I helped to take him to the airport back in August. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Seek Until You Find It

The week here went really well. I don't really know where it went. Our zone Conferences went well! They come and go so quickly. But it is fun to be a part of. On our drive over the mountains to Redmond, we got a ton of snow up at the top of the pass! We were not expecting it. It had been raining pretty bad all drive, and then as we continued to climb in elevation, it suddenly just turned to snow! It was sticking and non-stop. There was definitely a lot of prayer going on. But we made it through and had a good Zone Conference the next day. 

On Sunday, we had a good experience. We had a meeting down in Monmouth where the area general authority, Elder Hansen, was training the bishops and their counselors and the stake presidency. It was a really cool meeting to be a part of. There was definitely a special Spirit there.  One thing that stood out to me was when he talked about the parable of the lost sheep. It talks about how the shepherd seeks "until he find it". He doesn't just give it an effort and then go back, but he doesn't stop until the sheep is found. In our responsibilities within the church there are too many times where we stop before we find it. We give it an effort and can say we tried, but we didn't go to the end of the road searching. It definitely made me want to do better at that. 

Yesterday we had a training for all of the District Leaders. It went really well. There was a great Spirit in the mission home during the training. That is what the picture is from. 

We had a cool experience this week. We had about an hour left on Saturday night before we had to go in. It was raining and pouring like crazy. It was really dark as well. We didn't have anything
planned, so we started driving and felt prompted to go park at a park in Newberg. As we pulled into the parking lot, it looked so dreary outside because of the weather and the lack of light. After we got out, we were walking through the park and a young woman pulled up to us on her bike. She was in tears and really scared. She had taken the bus about 13 miles from McMinnville into Newberg earlier that day around 3 and was supposed to meet a friend. That friend never showed up, so she was riding around in the rain for hours. She didn't have a phone and doesn't really have a place to live. She normally would sleep outside of a church in McMinnville that allows her to sleep there when she gets there before 9. So there wasn't much time. We were able to make a few calls and one of the counselors in the bishopric, and his wife, came and picked her up and took her back to McMinnville. We found out later that they also bought her a meal and some warm clothes, etc. It was a really cool experience to be a part of. It made us appreciate how aware Heavenly Father is of each of our lives. He cares and is always there. And it also made me think of how much charity and love these members of our ward showed. They saw this girl as one of their sisters and as a daughter of God and were willing to serve her without hesitation. Truly amazing.

The temple was great today! It was really great to be there and to feel of that Spirit. I've only got a few more days with Elder Oswald! I'm sad about that. He is going to do great though. I'm excited for him! 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Eye Single to His Glory

The week here was a good one. Zone Conferences started on Wednesday! It is crazy that it is already that time of the transfer again. This transfer has flown by. There is so much being talked about at zone conference. Not only are smartphones and online proselyting being rolled out, but also the way that we plan is being changed. We have a new goal setting and planning process that we use to plan for the people in our areas on a daily and weekly basis. It is a ton of information, but it is good! One of my favorite scriptures that has been talked about at Zone Conference is D&C 88:67. It says, "And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things." That principle amazes me. Keeping ourselves focused on the Lord and His work is not an easy thing to do. Life gets busy, hectic, stressful, hard, and crazy, but as we do our best to keep our eye single to His glory, He will fill us with light. And as we are filled with light, we will come to know His love, grace, mercy and the mysteries of His ways. And He won't hold back. We are the ones who hold ourselves back. I have seen that a lot on my mission and feel like I am finally coming to understand that He is truly always there. We have to take the extra effort to keep ourselves focused on Him. Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, is one of the best examples of that. He glories in the commandments of the Lord. He is always focused on pleasing the Lord and doing all he can to do His will. Because of that, he prospers, handles every challenge with patience and hope, and is ultimately filled with the joy that the Savior brings. It isn't always easy to stay focused on the Lord and His glory, but He will help us to do so as we try. 

The week here in Newberg was good. We had some good lessons this week. We have a couple of kids in a part member family that we are teaching that are preparing to be baptized on the 28th. They are doing really good! We also found a couple that we started teaching. They have really been prepared we feel. They used to live in a different part of Oregon, closer to the temple. The street that they lived on were all members of the church and they really liked them! We had a good lesson with them on Thursday about the Restoration, and we are going back this week to have another lesson. We are pretty excited about that. 

By the way, our pday next week won't be until Wednesday. Elder Oswald and I are going to the temple on Wednesday, so that will be our p-day. It should be good! 

Monday, October 9, 2017

This is the Lord's Work

The week here went really well! We had a lot of good lesson. To be honest, I don't really remember what we did  this week. We went on an exchange on Thursday down to Salem 1st. I was back in that area for the day. The exchange went well and we were able to see some tender mercies. I was actually able to spend a good amount of time with Elder Oswald this week. That was a lot of fun. We have been trying to figure out how to use Facebook effectively. It has gone well. The missionary department also came out with a new app for our area book planner, to replace the old one. So it has been a lot of new things coming at one time and trying to figure them out. On exchanges, Elder Oswald and Elder Sellaro found a young man from Zimbabwe. He took a Book of Mormon and read Helaman chapter 5. Yesterday, we met with him at the church and taught him the Restoration. He understood it all and committed to work towards baptism in November. We are going to send him to the YSA sisters, but it is really cool to see how the Lord will put prepared people in our path. We see little things like that every day. For example, on Saturday, Elder Oswald felt prompted that we should stop by a former investigators home. When we pulled up, we saw we had a couple of texts that we needed to respond to, so we took a couple of minutes to do so. As soon as we did, and opened up the door, we saw the guy that we were looking for walking out of his house and we were able to talk to him for a few minutes! That was really cool. This is the Lord's work with His Spirit guiding the work. We are blessed to witness those miracles every day. But we all see miracles every day, regardless of whether or not we are serving as full-time missionaries. We just have to look and see them. 

This week will be good. We have a really big lesson tonight after p-day, so that will be good. We also have Zone Conferences starting up this week, so it will be busy with that. It will be good though!