Monday, February 19, 2018

Miracles Continue

Things here have been busy, yet good. We are seeing a lot of progress and miracles that the Lord has been giving us. I found out of a really cool miracle this week over email. 

So back in September, I believe I told you about Yana. She was a girl from the Netherlands that was working in Oregon over the summer. Elder Oswald and I were out walking in the rain one day and she pulled her car over to us and started asking us if we were Mormons. She had some previous exposure to the church. Well, she went on to tell us that she was leaving town the following Wednesday. During our conversation, we started talking about temples, and we offered to go with her and some members of our ward to visit the Portland Visitors Center on the upcoming Monday before she left back for home. We went to the temple with our ward mission leader and his wife and they had a great time. Yana really loved it. We gave her a Book of Mormon and told her that we would send the missionaries near her home to give her a Book of Mormon in Bulgarian, which was easiest for her to read. Last Monday, I felt prompted to send her an email and see how things were going. Here is a little piece of what she sent back in her response this past week..

 “I got in contact with missionaries a week after I arrived in the Netherlands. They brought me bulgarial version of book of Mormon. I strated to read it and going to the church. They gave me some lessons and after 4 months I decided to get baptised. The seremony was this weekend. I realised that I after I have meet people from the church my life has changed to better.”

It is pretty amazing to see the way that the Lord is working! He put us in the right spot on that day, we were able to have the right conversation with her about temples, and eventually take a temple trip and she felt the Spirit there. Then, because of the technology we have we were able to help her get missionaries to her home and after 4 months she was baptized! It is really cool to see how the Lord is hastening his work and how we can have a small impact in one way that leads to a huge miracle in a different part of the world. I thought that was pretty cool!

We are about to go caving with some of the 18 year old priests In the ward, and then after that we are going to go “snowshoeing” with the Preims.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Renewing Friendships

The week here went well! We had a lot of good things happening. On Tuesday morning, we were on exchanges, and I got a call from a number we didn’t recognize. It was Brother Graham! He and Sister Graham were in town, so they called up and took us out to lunch! It was really good to see them. I really do appreciate the opportunity I had to serve around them. It was good to catch up and talk with them about everything. 

The week overall went really well. We are working with a lady named Crystil and two of her children, Anthony and Angelica. Crystil has a best friend who is a member and has been for a long time. She said her friend has been trying to convert her forever. On Wednesday, the kids came to Mutual and it was a combined activity and they loved it! Then on Thursday, we had a lesson with them. We had a couple from the ward come with us, and it was perfect. The couple we brought did a ton to help Crystil overcome her fears of coming to church, and then on Sunday, they all came to church! They stayed all three hours as well and really enjoyed it! We are excited for them.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Cool Experiences in the Ward

Pilot Butte
The week here was good. We were able to continue to find a lot of people to teach. The Lord has been blessing us with a lot of people to talk with. We found a guy last week who was walking with his son. He told us we could come by sometime. So we stopped by this week and he was with his girlfriend and they let us in and we had a good conversation for about 45 minutes! They invited us back and we had another really good lesson with them about the Plan of Salvation. She had some questions about it, but at the end she told us that everything made perfect sense and that she felt really at peace about it. One of the miracles of it all was that she does people’s nails for work, and she was talking about us and what we were teaching with a customer of hers. It turns out that that customer was a member of our ward! So she was able to meet her and talk a little bit about the church. 

We had another cool experience this week. A boy in the ward was getting baptized, so the family asked if we would speak at the baptism during the part where the boy and his dad were changing out. He invited some nonmember friends, so they thought it would be a cool idea. We were able to speak and, essentially, teach the first lesson about the Restoration of the Gospel. We showed a video as well, and it went really well. Not only was it a good opportunity to help share the gospel with non-members, but it was also a good way that we were able to build trust with the ward. 

We also had interviews this week, so that was fun! It was really good to be able to see President and Sister Tateoka again and to have some time to talk with them. I really appreciate them, they do a lot. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

First Week in Bend

Things here have been good. It has been a long week, but a quick week at the same time. It has been much different than being in Newberg. But it has been fun! We were able to find a lot of people to teach this week. We had a regional stake conference this week, so it was a little hard for us to meet all of the ward members. We have been able to go into some homes and meet them, but really next week will be the week when we can meet more of them. We have been blessed though, because we have been able to call some members that we don’t know and have been able to get them to come to some lessons with us. Bend is a really nice area. It is much like Northern Arizona and the  high Desert. It reminds me a lot of Prescott and those types of areas. There are three buildings in Bend. We have 4 wards in Bend itself, one in La Pine (about 30ish minutes south), and one down in Burns (a couple of hours south). 

The ward seems pretty average size. About 150 people come each week from what we have heard so far. There was not a lot of people being taught when we got here, but we have been blessed with a lot of people. We met a really cool single mom who has been pretty interested! My new companion is Elder Holt. He has been out for just a little bit. He was trained a little bit by Elder Bills. 

Sorry I don’t have a ton of time this week. We went to Costco to shop, and it took a while because we shopped for most of the transfer!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Transferred to Bend!

I'm being transferred to Bend on the other side of the mountains, so ’ll probably have to keep this short because of the craziness. 

The week was really good. We saw a lot of cool miracles this week and a lot happened. To cap it all off, we had a huge missionary fireside last night. It was put on by the Zone here. There were some musical performances by missionaries, and we sang in a missionary choir a couple of songs, there were a couple of talks from recent Converts and also a talk by President Tateoka and President Noyse (Stake President). Sister Francis, was one of the recent convert talks! She did a great job talking. And her husband was there! We have been teaching him for a while. He is a really good guy! They actually just took us out to lunch here in town at some really cool resort here in town. But the missionary fireside was extremely good! The Spirit was really strong and there were a lot of people who left feeling very good and a lot of people who wanted to learn more.

The week went by super fast. One of the best parts was Sunday! We had a few people come to church. Javon came for the fourth week in a row! On Saturday we gave him one of the Book of Mormon stories books and asked him to read the first chapter, and by the next morning at church he had already read through 38 chapters! He is really cool and really prepared! He told us that he wants to serve a mission. He came to the missionary fireside as well and enjoyed it a lot! 

I am definitely going to miss this ward and I am definitely going to miss serving so close to President and Sister Tateoka. It has been a really cool experience to learn all that I have from them. It will be weird being with another companion other than Elder Patterson. It feels like I have been with him for

forever, but it will be really fun being in Bend. Elder Oswald will be in my District, so that will be a lot of fun! Sorry that the email is so short! Just a lot of stuff to do. We are about to play pickleball with President and Sister Tateoka. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Last Week of Transfer

The week here was good. On Tuesday we had a District Leader Training Meeting with all of the District Leaders coming in from throughout the mission. It is always fun to have those meetings and to listen to the inspired words of President Tateoka. It has been cool to see the way that our area has been taking off. We have been blessed by the Lord with people starting to really progress. Last Monday evening, we texted a family that we are teaching to ask them how they enjoyed church the day before, and they responded by telling us that they were at a family in our ward's home! The family in our ward invited them over for FHE! It is super cool to see the way that this family has been being fellowshipped into the ward so well. And a lot of it has come by the ward without us even asking, so that has been really cool!

We had a lesson with a man named Ryan. He came to church last week. He has floated throughout churches in his life, but when he came to church last week he felt more loved than he had ever felt at any church before, so that was awesome to hear! He is one of the most interesting people that I have met on my mission. He's a funny guy, but he has been interested in continuing to learn, so we are excited for that! 

Javon is the 13 year old boy that rode his bike to church last week. He is really prepared! We went over this week and talked to his mom and she was all for us coming over to teach him and to help him come to church and activities. Javon has really enjoyed coming to church and getting to know the boys and learn more about Heavenly Father. The Deacon's Quorom is having the boys each teach a part of a lesson during the month of February, and Javon said that he wanted to do it one week!
We are excited for him and really feel like he could be baptized next month. 

We also had an exchange this week. I stayed in Newberg with Elder Lemmon. He is from Lehi Utah. He came out during the same transfer as me, but this is the first time that I have had the opportunity to go on exchanges with him and get to know him. It was a good exchange! It was a beautiful sunny day and so there were a lot of people outside. We rode bikes too, which was really fun! Elder Hallenberger, who is in charge of bikes, let me trade my bike for a different one because about 2 months ago another Elder was riding my bike and snapped my chain.. But yeah it has been fun riding bikes. We were able to talk to a bunch of people and find a few new investigators. I even got bit on the finger by a chihuahua.. I am not a huge fan of little dogs! 

Playing Pickle Ball
This week will be good. It is the last week of the transfer! Time has flown. We have a big missionary fireside for the stake here on Sunday! It is put together by the mission. There will be a couple of recent convert talks and President Tateoka will talk for a few minutes, as well as the Stake President. There will also be some Mormon Messages and we will sing a couple songs as a choir of missionaries in the zone. Sister Francis who we baptized in September will be on of the recent convert talks! We are super excited for that. She is rock solid! 

Roller Coaster Week

The week was a roller coaster. The beginning of the week we had a lot of new investigators that we found recently drop us and not want to learn anymore. But the end of the week was really good. We had a lot of our investigators at church. A lot of the main people that we are teaching were able to make it and had a really good time. We had a really good Sacrament meeting in which the Spirit was very strong. Our gospel principles class was probably the biggest I have seen my whole time here in Newberg. But all of our investigators felt the Spirit Sunday which helped them stay all three hours. It was good! The beginning of the week was rough but at the end of the week we were blessed and saw the fruits of our labors. 

One of the kids that we were teaching decided he didn’t want to learn anymore which was a bummer. Another kid that we are teaching, Javon, came again for the second week in a row to church! He is a really cool kid. Neither his mom or dad could take him, so he rode his bike to church! It was really cool to see him there. He had a lot of questions this time at church. He was a lot more comfortable, which was really cool to see. The deacons have done a great job fellowshipping him and the advisor gave him a Duty to God Pamphlet, so that was really cool. 

This week won’t be too crazy. We have a meeting here in Newberg with the District Leaders throughout the Mission tomorrow. That will be good. Other than that, we have an exchange Friday and the rest of the week is pretty normal. We also have interviews with President which will be good!