Monday, November 28, 2016

Getting Transferred

 I am getting transferred to Stayton. My new companion will be Elder Pinkston. I will meet him on Thursday at the New Missionary meeting. I am definitely a little anxious. I am excited to be training and to be going into a new area at the same, but the situation will definitely present some challenges that I didn't have as a trainee missionary in Madras. I know that the Lord will qualify me as I work to do my best and to help Elder Pinkston the best I can. I think it is going to help me continue to grow as a leader and speak up, because I am going to have to take charge more in correlating with the ward and starting the work up. I will leave tomorrow and go to Stayton and then I will have a temporary companion for the two days. It will actually be one of my MTC companions, Elder Fisk because he is going to be training too! It will be a lot different going back over the mountains into the valley. The zones are a lot bigger out there in terms of the amount of missionaries, but it should be exciting. I am still trying to find my address and then I will let you know. Like I said earlier, Elder Hala will be staying here in Madras. Everyone was kind of shocked that I was leaving instead of him. I'm definitely going to miss Madras and the people here. 

We had a good weekend after thanksgiving. We had a couple of cool experiences. One was with the man that I met on the second day of my mission, who rode up on his bike and told us that he knew the Book of Mormon was true. He had been struggling with some word of wisdom problems, so he disappeared for about 10 weeks and we had no clue what happened to him. Well, on Friday we were walking to go contact some people. We were going to cross the street to go talk to some lady, but she changed directions so we continued to walk down the street that we were on. A minute later, we saw a guy walking toward us.. And it was that same man! He had been going through some classes out of town to help him with his struggles. He looked like a totally different person! It was amazing. He said that he was going to start meeting wit us again and start going to a class that the stake has at the church every week that helps people with that stuff. It was really cool. Definitely another testimony builder that Heavenly Father is watching over us and guiding us and others into each other's paths so that we can all have the chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our talks on Sunday went well! Shane talked as the youth speaker before us as his first time speaking in church after his baptism. He did awesome. 
It is so essential to gain that testimony of Christ from a young age, especially during today's times with all of the distractions and deceptions that have been placed before us in all different forms.  We need to all ask God first. In the missionary handbook it says a few times, your loyalty is first to Heavenly Father, second your Mission President, and third your companion. That is true about all of us. Our loyalty should always be first to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. With any questions we have or challenges we are facing or temptations that we are faced with, we need to put our Heavenly Father and our Savior at the front of our minds. Prayer is something that is so important and truly is essential for us finding happiness and guidance. 

The church came out with a media campaign called "Light the World" on It's 25 days of service in 25 ways that Christ provided service to others. There are 25 videos, one for each day in December leading up to Christmas. I'd invite you guys to watch the videos each day for that specific day and find a way to serve in the way that it suggest! I know that it will make the Christmas season even more meaningful because you'll be serving like Christ did! I know that you already do a ton, but there can never be too much service! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! For dinner we are going over to a family in the wards around 2. They invited us and the Spanish Elders over to eat, so it should be pretty fun. They're having a lot of people over so it will definitely be interesting, but I am excited. As I have gotten older I have come to more fully appreciate the times when everyone gets together for dinners and family things. It is a blessing that we have everyone so close and the opportunities to have everyone get together. We truly are blessed with so much. Today is a great day to reflect on all of those things. The list is truly never ending. I know that the most important and the reason that we have all of these blessings is because of Jesus Christ and His gospel. There really is no other way to find true joy! 

This week has flown by! I can't believe that it is already Thursday and that we haven't had a p-day for 10 days because it feels like we just had one. It has been a pretty good week. Yesterday, we went on exchanges with the Spanish elders because Elder Hala is the district leader and he's supposed to go on exchanges with older elders in the district once a transfer. I was with Elder Kersten. We had a really good day. It was weird because he has language study and we both have new missionary training (this is the last week of that), so we had studies until 12! After that, we ate lunch for a few minutes until we met Bishop up at the church at 12:30. After that, we delivered some thanksgiving meals to some families in the ward and some of the friends of ours that we are teaching. It was really cool to see how appreciative all of these people were! It was cool to be able to see their humility and thankfulness to Heavenly Father for those blessings. After that, we had an appointment at 2:15 with a friend of ours that we have been teaching off and on since the time I have been here. One of the members in our ward took us, so we went to his house and as we were driving out of the neighborhood I saw a man working in his backyard. This guy is someone that we met on Sunday night when all of our plans fell through and we prayed to know where to walk and we eventually ran into him at 8:45! He told us to come to his house the next day, but when we got to the neighborhood, his address didn't exist, so we weren't able to find him. It kind of stunk because we thought he was interested but now we had no clue where he lived! Then yesterday I saw him working in his backyard! I asked brother Barnett to pull over and then hopped out and talked to him and set up an appointment with him Friday! He lived in the neighborhood that he told us, but just at a different address. It was a miracle that we ran into him! I know that Heavenly Father put us and him in each other's paths. 

Now back to that appointment that we were heading to... It was an awesome lesson. She has struggled with a lot of stuff in her past, but loves when we come and talk with her. The Spirit was really strong in the lesson. She even prayed out loud for the first time ever! We have met with her off and on for months now and it was the first time. It was really cool! The light in her attitude was different than ever before. She told us a story about a time, probably my 2nd week here, where we saw her randomly walking in town one day as we were on our bikes. We pulled over and walked with her back home. We never knew this, but she told us yesterday, that she was really thinking about falling back into temptation that day, but that when we pulled up she knew that we were sent there for a reason. I know that Heavenly Father puts people in each one of our paths that we can all help.

Today I read a talk by Elder Devin Durrant and he was talking about invitations. As a missionary, we invite people to do things all of the time that build their faith in Christ. Invitations are something that I really want to work on more as a missionary both to the people of Oregon and to the people at home, so I am going to start leaving invitations to you all! My invitation to you this week is to look for small opportunities to serve with a smile to someone that you have never met! If you pray for an opportunity to provide an unplanned act of service, Heavenly Father will give you that opportunity and that person will need your loving service and smile.

Monday, November 14, 2016

We Truly Are Blessed

This week was interesting. We had exchanges on Tuesday so I went down
to Redmond to be with one of our zone leaders, elder Christensen. It
is my 2nd exchange with him so far. They are always fun because we
keep all of our conversations focused on the gospel and it is always
really good. When I got back to Madras, I found out that during the
exchange, one of our friends that we have been teaching, Chuck, blew
up on Elder Hala and Sawada while they were talking about the
priesthood. He yelled at them and told them to leave and never come
back. It was really sad to hear because we loved Chuck and became
close with him. But I know that we did all that we could and he had to
exercise his own agency.

Yesterday we had an interesting experience. We were able to go up and
speak at the branch that they hold in the prison in Madras. It was
really interesting, but very cool. I was asked to speak on the Book of
Mormon, so I thought about it a lot and studied it out a bit but still
wasn't sure what I really needed to say. I started to get nervous when
we got there because I wasn't sure what I was going to share and what
they really needed to hear. It was a cool experience to allow the
Spirit to guide my thoughts and my talk. I ended up telling that story
about Grandpas teammate and the basketball hoop and talked about
Christ and how He is at the center of everything that we do. The Book
of Mormon is such an essential tool to help us truly come to know our
Savior. The talk went really well. I hope that they were able to feel
the Spirit and hear what they needed to hear.

We had some other cool experiences this week as well that just add to
my testimony that Heavenly Father places us in the paths of those who
we need to meet and talk to. His timing and His hand in our lives is

I found out that Elder Kersten one of the Spanish missionaries in Madras, his grandparents lived in Strawberry for awhile! They were the Murphys. We thought that it was crazy! Small world!

The more that I study every day and teach
eve day the more that I appreciate our family and the Eternal
happiness that comes with the Plan of Salvation. The knowledge that we
can all live together forever is so sweet!

Today I studied alma 37. My plaque scripture is Alma 37:46. The path
to Eternal life with Heavenly Father, Christ, and each other as
families is not super complicated. It is relatively easy to
understand. We have to make sure that we don't get complacent because
of the "easiness of the way". Reading the scriptures, especially the
Book of Mormon, praying, and renewing our baptismal covenants are SO
important to keep us moving forward on our path to perfection. I am
definitely grateful for the knowledge of the plan of salvation and the
fact that Christ's church truly has been restored with the proper
authority. We truly are blessed.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Great Week!

My week was pretty good! It was kind of a weird week. We were down in Redmond and Bend a couple of times, so we spent a lot of time in the car this week. So on Tuesday night we were in a lesson with our ward mission leader, Brother Robinson and we got out of the lesson at about 8:57. We looked at our phone and we had a missed call from President Tateoka!! We were super confused because transfers aren't until the 29th or 30th of this month! So we listened to his voicemail and he wanted to go on an exchange with us here in Madras on Wednesday! We were shocked!! We had a zone conference in Bend on Thursday so he was going to be on this side of the mountains anyways and wanted to come all the way up to Madras to go out with us for a couple of hours. It was such a cool experience! We were able to teach a couple of lessons with him, even though we didn't have any set lessons, and it was just really cool to spend time with him and that he wanted to come up here to be with us. Definitely an experience I won't ever forget!

And then zone conference on Thursday was good! We learned about the Book of Mormon and responding to objections through the Book of Mormon. It was a good zone conference. We also talked about how the Book of Mormon answers questions of the soul. It is something that I have thought about a lot since then. I know that regardless of the questions in anyone's life that they may have, the Book of Mormon can help them find answers. 
We have a ton of people here in Madras who have fallen away and are struggling. Sometimes it is hard to broach the subject with friends and family without offending them, but at the same time we know how important the message of the Restoration is and how the gospel can truly change the lives of those who live it. Sometimes you have to be "Sweetly Bold" as Elder Maynes told us when he spoke to us at the MTC. I have been able to see the impact that scripture reading has on the friends that we are teaching when they actually do read and when they aren't keeping that commitment. I know that we will be blessed as we continue to read every day and read with that purpose of trying to learn something each time we read. There is so much in the Book of Mormon for each one of us. I love reading it!
At the Ward Trunk or Treat