Monday, July 17, 2017

Witnessing the Spirit Working

The week here was good. It went by really quickly. I honestly can't remember a lot that happened! We went on exchanges with the Spanish Elders in Woodburn, so I was up there for the day. That was fun. Jeff and Audrey are doing great and are all set for their baptism on the 29th! We are really excited for that. Just like Nicole in Stayton, they have been being prepared for a while by Heavenly Father. We were just blessed to be able to be the ones that could help them find the Gospel. The day that we met Jeff, my first day in the area about 2 months ago, he was outside working on his motorcycle. He told us this week of the experience that he had in buying the motorcycle. Basically the previous owner had recently passed. Jeff didn't plan on buying another bike, but as he was on the phone with the representative, he had the overwhelming thought and feeling that the previous owner wanted him to have the bike. So he bought it. Three days later he was outside working on it when we met him! We have no doubt that it was the Spirit impressing on his mind to buy the motorcycle so that he would have that opportunity to meet us! That was really cool to hear! 


We talked to a lot people this week. We are working on trying to contact 10 additional people outside of the plans we make each day. It is helping us a lot. We had a cool experience with a man named Doug. He lives in a van on the property of a friend. We knocked on the van and thought we heard something, but nothing happened. Then we knocked again. It didn't look too promising so we started walking to the gate, but the Spirit gave me the thought to look on the other side. It was a little weird, but decided to do it and we were able to find him. Just another small thing, but definitely another witness of the Spirit working! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Miracles and Tender Mercies

The week here was pretty good. Overall I think a lot of progression was made. Fourth of July was good. We had a ward breakfast combined with the other ward that meets in the building, so that was fun. We had to be in by 6 that night so we didn't see too many fireworks. We saw some outside of our window that some people near our complex were lighting off so that was fun. Wednesday was really good. We had MLC up in Newberg and that went really well. We talked about a lot of different things that we want to implement as a mission. President and Sister Tateoka have been out for just over a year and it is awesome to see how much the mission has changed since their arrival. And how much it continues to change. There is a really clear focus and purpose and everything they do continues to build on itself. The mission as a whole is definitely being set up to see a lot of miracles. 

One of the things that President is encouraging us to do is to make contact with 10 extra people who are not on our plans each day. Making real contact and talking about the gospel with them. It was cool because right after MLC we exchanged with the Silverton elders and Elder Hunziker came to be with me in our ward. One of the things that we focused on that next day was trying to make these 10 additional contacts. It was really cool to see all of the miracles that happened as we went out of our way to try and make that happen. We found a few people that we are going to return and see. And the day was full of a lot more energy too, which was cool. 


We were able to have interviews with President Saturday, which was awesome. He shared a scripture with me and it was really good. It really set the tone for the rest of my day and my weekend. I think the advice he gave me will really help moving forward. We saw a lot of cool tender mercies today as well. We had an awesome lesson with Jeff and Audrey. They are doing so well! They are totally in line to be baptized at the end of the month, which we are extremely excited about. They are going to be a huge addition to the ward. A year from now when they are going through the temple will be so cool. After our lesson with them, we had someone in the area that we wanted to go contact. We felt prompted to walk instead of drive. On our way to their house, we saw a lady behind her trash can watering some flowers. We went up and started talking to her. She wasn't interested at all at first. Her husband peeked his head around the corner and then came up to talk to us. He was much more willing to talk. We had a great conversation with him. Eventually she came back out and was much more willing to listen. They are both part of a very unique religion, so their beliefs weren't totally in line with ours. But it was cool because the Spirit led the conversation to talk about the after-life. Elder Patterson felt prompted to share a scripture in Alma 40:11-12 about what happens after this life. As she read it, she started to cry! It was really cool to see the Spirit testify to her in the moment! That was an awesome experience and it really shows the Hand of the Lord in the work. He prompted us to walk. We were able to see her at the perfect time as she was outside. The husband came out at the perfect time when the wife was sort of done in the first place. The Spirit prompted Elder Patterson to share that scripture. It is just so cool to see all of the intricacies that the Lord helps to direct in His work. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Another Great Trip to the Temple

Things here this week were good! The week was kind of a blur though. I don't really know where it went. We had a few cool experiences this week. On Friday, we were able to go up to the Visitor's Center at the temple again. This time it was with Kyle and Aerial. We have been teaching them and they are doing good. They really enjoyed the temple trip and felt the Spirit there. The temple is an awesome place to be able to put life into perspective and help us regain an idea of what really matters most. It helped me a lot on Friday for sure! One of the coolest takeaways that I had from that trip though was the Christlike service of Brother Garrett, who drove us. He is great. He took the time to go out of his way to drive us the 45 minutes up there, spend and hour there and then drive us back. We hit a ton of traffic on the way back and it took about an hour and a half, but he never complained or murmured. It is cool to see people who are dedicated to the gospel and are willing to help others receive the gospel into their lives.

There is a Christus statue at the Portland Visitors Center and one of my favorite parts is when He says, "Walk in the meekness of my Spirit." When we do that, we allow His peace to enter our lives. His power comes as we are obedient and acknowledging it. It is definitely always important to do your best to act like Him and try and follow in His ways. One way is by being joyful. Sometimes I get so caught up in myself that I forget to just take a moment to pause and think about how we are here to have joy and if we are doing our best then that is all that matters. It is really amazing to me to see the different challenges that you face in different areas. Some are with missionary stuff, some are with ward stuff, and some are just within yourself. The adversary really will try and attack us in whatever way he can to try and get us down, so we need to remember to be happy and choose Christ. I came across a cool scripture this week about that. It is in Doctrine and Covenants 93:37 and is very simple. It says, "Light and truth forsake that evil one." I really like that! Christ is the light of the world, He is truth. When we are down, we need to look to Him and remember to put light into our lives because it will forsake that evil one. 
  
We also had a cool experience this week with Jeff and Audrey. Their family was in town, so we dropped by to meet them and talk with them, so that was fun. As we were heading out, Jeff basically started bearing his testimony to his son about everything that he has felt since he started looking into the gospel. It was really powerful and an awesome thing to see! Oh,  and Audrey made us Jalapeno jam. It isn't hot, just sweet, but definitely has the jalapeno flavor. It's good! 





Monday, June 26, 2017

Awesome Trip to the Portland Temple

The week here was good. It was extremely busy! We had two exchanges. On Tuesday we went with Elder Christensen and Elder Evans. I was with Elder Christensen for the first time since our exchanges in Madras when he was my Zone leader out there! It was a fun day. We had some crazy experiences. But overall it was a really good day. I got to do a baptismal Interview that day as well for a 19 year old guy named Remington and that was really cool! He had a really strong testimony so that was awesome to be able to see. The other exchange that we went on was with the Assistants on Friday. I went up to Newberg to be with Elder Woody. It was a really good time. He is a really good missionary and I definitely learned a lot from him. It was a day I won't forget! Definitely helped me out in a lot of ways, so I was super appreciative to be able to go on that exchange.


Saturday was a really busy day as well. We had a temple visit with Jeff and Audrey! Brother and Sister Angell, who were baptized just over a year ago, took us up there. It was a very good temple trip. The Spirit was extremely strong there. I was grateful to be able to be on temple grounds for a couple of hours. It was an awesome experience for Jeff and Audrey as well. They really really enjoyed it and are steadily progressing towards baptism sometime next month. Saturday evening we got transfer calls. Elder Patterson and I are both staying here, which we expected. We think we are going to be here a while. There are about 15 missionaries going home this transfer, and then another 40+ in August, so next transfer is going to be a crazy one! There are a lot of missionaries coming in as well. Like 30. We are hoping that we might be able to train next transfer and split the area, but we will see! 

Today I was studying about the Book of Mormon and what happens when we prayerfully study it.
Here's my notes of the 
Promised blessings that come from prayerful study of the Book of Mormon:
  1. The Spirit of the Lord will come into your hearts - Pres. Hinckley
  2. Strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to God's commandments - Pres. Hinckley
  3. Stronger testimony of the Living Reality of the Son of God - Pres. Hinckley
  4. Be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit - Pres. Monson
  5. Be in a position to resist temptation - Pres. Monson
  6. Be in a position to overcome doubt and fear - Pres. Monson
  7. Be in a position to receive heavens help in our lives - Pres. Monson



Monday, June 19, 2017

Motivated to Proclaim the Truth

Dr. Bean, he is the one I saw Friday and is a member, said that I actually did have shingles. He was really surprised that the doctor didn't originally prescribe me medicine and was surprised that the dosage they gave me was the way it was. So he upped my dosage and said I should be all better soon. I have definitely been blessed because the shingles really hasn't hampered me at all besides that one day. I am definitely doing better. I have really been supported in this trial, it is really cool to think about when I take a step back and think about how the Lord has blessed me with strength and an ability to press forward during the sickness that I have faced. I am definitely blessed. 

Things are going well over here. It is always hard on Monday to remember what happened throughout the week. I need to start bringing my journal or something to give me a reminder. We were on exchanges on Tuesday and I was serving in the Spanish ward for the day, so that was fun. It was good to be able to eat some good Mexican food because there is not a lot of that stuff up here! It is a rare commodity. 

On Thursday we had interviews with President. Those are always good. It has been really cool to watch the way that President is finding his groove per se. He has a vision for the mission and that vision has started to filter it's way down to all the missionaries and it has been cool to see the miracles that are ensuing and the way that the mission is changing in a great way. From talking with him, it sort of sounded like I will be here for a while. We have transfer calls Saturday, so we will find out if anything happens. We don't think anything will. 

We also had a really good lesson with Jeff and Audrey. They are both doing really good! It is amazing how prepared they were to receive the Gospel. Every time we talk to them we get excited because of how excited they are. It is something that I want to try and capture and take with me every day because it is pretty motivating. They are still on track to be baptized and this weekend we are actually going to go up to the Visitor's Center with them, so we are excited for that!

The biggest lesson that I learned this week came yesterday. We were talking to Kyle, one of our friends that we are teaching, at the gas station that he works at. He is a gas attendant and fills the cars with gas. He had some really cool questions about the Plan of Salvation, specifically the adversary and his followers. It was very interesting, because every time we started to get a good conversation going, another car would pull up to stop it. We knew that that was the opposition trying to stop him from being able to learn. Then once we finally had a few minutes free and had a really good conversation going, one of his supervisors pulled up and told us that we had to leave and couldn't hang out by the pumps anymore because Kyle had to work. We have been teaching and talking with Kyle at the pumps for over a month and nothing had been said until that point. And there were no cars around either so we weren't keeping him from doing anything! But we know that that was inspired of the adversary to keep Kyle from learning and growing closer to Christ. That was probably the most blatant I have seen the adversary work to try and stop someone from learning on my entire mission. It was really annoying! But motivating at the same time to realize that the adversary doesn't want anyone to find happiness, but we have the opportunity to proclaim the truth and help others find it. 

Other than that, things are going well. This week should be interesting. It is going to fly. We have exchanges tomorrow with the Jan Ree elders. It'll be fun, I will be on exchange with Elder Christensen for the first time since Madras so that'll be sweet. Then on Friday we have exchanges with the Assistants. On Saturday we have the temple trip with Jeff and Audrey and also have transfer calls. Crazy busy week. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Super Cool Stuff!


Last week at the capital

On Exchanges with Elder Ludwig
Last Week at the Capital
The week here was good. We had exchanges on Tuesday with the Fairgrounds elders. I was in Fairgrounds with Elder Ludwig. I love going on exchanges because you can see all of the differences in the missionaries around you. Everyone is so different, but it is awesome to see their unique testimonies and the ways that they do missionary work. We had a couple of small, but cool spiritual experiences. I am coming to learn that you have to seek out and look to recognize spiritual experiences because they aren't always going to be so strong that they smack you in the face and you see them before your eyes. But as we look for the Hand of the Lord in our life more fully, the more we will see it. 

On Thursday, we had an awesome lesson with Jeff. His wife, Audrey, sat in on the lesson. It was her first time listening. We were teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and at the end of the lesson Elder Patterson and I both felt prompted to invite her to be baptized on the same day as Jeff and she said yes! We were really excited about that! Jeff and Audrey are really amazing. They are a huge testimony builder to me of the power of the Savior and the light that He brings into our lives as we turn towards Him and His gospel. It has been awesome to watch. It is so cool because we met Jeff on my first day here. He was outside just working on his motorcycle and we just went over to talk to him and now they are doing amazing! Super cool stuff. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Teaching, Exchanges, and Sunny Days

The week here was a good one. We had a bunch of sunny days. There were a couple of cloudy days back to back, which drove us crazy though! It is June! And both being from Arizona, we miss the sun. The cloudiness really does have an affect on your mind! It is crazy. But yeah, most of the week went well. Jeff, who we met my second day in the area, is doing great. We had a really good lesson with him on Thursday about the Plan of Salvation. He understood it all and really has a desire to continue learning. He really wants to go to the right church, the true church that Christ established when He was on the earth. Isn't it so cool that that is the exact message that we share?! Jeff came with us to a baptism on Saturday that a couple of the elders in our District had, and that was a good experience. Then on Sunday, he came to church and brought his wife!! That was so awesome! The crazy thing is that we had a meeting at the stake center prior at 8  AM, and we didn't get to church until 9:30! So we missed the first 30 minutes, but it was awesome because Jeff and his wife sat with the member that we brought to the lesson. That was cool to see.

Another cool little experience was when we were driving by the gas station yesterday that one of our friends works at and we saw him reading the Restoration pamphlet that we gave to him about an hour prior! That made our day. 

The adversary will do literally anything to pull us down. I see it SO much out here. Whether it is with the people we are teaching, random strangers on the street, or even within myself or other missionaries. The adversary never stops working and one of the ways that he works the hardest is he wants us to feel down on ourselves and give in. He wants us to question ourselves first and make us think bad things about ourselves, and eventually start to question our testimony of the Gospel, of Christ, and of Heavenly Father. Like it says in 2 Nephi 28:22 - ". . . and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." That is what he tries to do to us. It's crazy how quickly beating yourself up can progress to questioning of testimony. But the amazing thing is that the Savior is always there, so long as we are willing to open our hearts and let him in. Amulek, in Alma 10 talks about how many times he was called, but would not hear. He knew of the Lord and His mysteries, but he would not know. The greatest thing about the gospel is that there is always hope, we just have to look in the right places. The Power of Jesus Christ to help us overcome trials is real and is readily available if we put the time in to reach up to Him. 

It was a very cool experience being able to talk with Elder Ardern one on one like that. I am definitely grateful for the experience. I feel like I must be super hard-headed and stubborn if Heavenly Father is going to allow me the opportunity to speak personally with both President Uchtdorf and Elder Ardern. But I am definitely grateful for both of those opportunities and know that as time continues to move on, I will be able to look back on both of them with appreciation to Heavenly Father for sending those two opportunities my way. 

We also went on exchanges this week. I stayed in the area with Elder Quinlan. It is cool to have the opportunity to go on all these exchanges and learn from other missionaries. I made some really good BBQ pork in the crockpot that lasted us for lunch for like 4 days!