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! 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Great Mission Conference with Elder and Sister Ardern

The week here has been really good. It has seemed really long, yet really short at the same time. Especially having the mission Conference with Elder Ardern. There were two days of the conference and so half the mission was at each of the two days. The day that weattended, Tuesday, was at our Stake Center here in Keizer so Elder Patterson and I had to make sure everything was prepped and ready to go. The meeting went extremely well. Elder Ardern and his wife are both really amazing.  It was amazing to see how in tune with the Spirit they both were. They talked about a ton of different things, but it was cool because it was all by the Spirit. They talked a lot about how our first responsibility as missionaries, and I believe that is not just full-time missionaries but all members, is to prepare spiritually. It's important to obtain knowledge of the Savior and use the knowledge that we have as He would. He also talked about how Obedience Opens Opportunity. I really liked that. Because it is so true. I know that when I feel like I'm being as obedient as I can, I feel a light come into my life. It's something to always strive for. He also talked about really studying the scriptures and not turning until you learn. How we can learn something personal in every single page. Overall, there are so many notes and so many different things that I learned from that conference that I can't even come close to writing them all down. But it definitely helped me recognize that there are a ton of different things that I need to work on and
continue to try and improve. 

Other than that, things are going well out here. I've met a lot of the active members. There are only about 75-80 that come every week. We have found some more people to teach though. We actually found a guy, Jeff, my second day out here. He was just working on his motorcycle and we went up and talked to him and he has progressed a lot over the past couple of weeks. It has been cool to see how he has had some spiritual experiences and how he is coming to learn more and more of the gospel!

I heard about President Monson. It stinks that his health is 
declining in the way that it has been. But he is an awesome example of serving the Lord. I'm grateful to know that we have a prophet of God on the Earth and the direction that that provides us. And it's so cool
to see how the Lord has set up His church in such a way that it won't miss a beat. We are blessed to be a part of the Lords Kingdom established on the Earth again.

One thing that I studied about this week was in Alma 10. It's in 
verses 5 and 6 and it's Amulek talking about how he didn't pay attention and hearken to the Lord. He recognized that he had seen the hand of the Lord in his life, but didn't really give it the heed and consideration that it deserved. That's something I feel like we all need to pay attention to. It's important to do our best to recognize the hand of the Lord and then to act on what we see. It's something I'm really trying to work on personally.

Oh a member shined my shoes with a blowtorch, so that was pretty cool 


Monday, May 22, 2017

First Week in Keizer

We had MLC this morning, but we have the conference tomorrow so our pday is going to be short so I don't have a ton of time. First off I just wanted to let you know that the address I gave you wasn't totally correct because I didn't have the apartment number on it. The full address is: 3647 River Rd NE #102

But yeah our MLC was good this morning. Elder Ardern of the Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife, ran the training. It was really good. They talked about the principles of leadership. They talked about how the essence of leadership is teaching. They also talked about how every moment is a teaching moment. I'm really excited for the chance to hear more from him tomorrow during the Zone Conference we are having. It will be exciting! 

The week here was good. It was good to meet the ward. We have a really small ward. And a pretty old ward. We have about 500-600 on the records. But only about 75 actually come, so there is a lot of rescuing to be done. It will be good though. I'm excited! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Mother's Day and Getting Transferred

Yeah it was great to be able to see all of you yesterday! It looked like everyone was doing good. I can't believe I have already made half of my calls home. The next 7 months until the next call are going to be big for me in trying to forget myself and turn outward. 
Yeah it should be really interesting going into a new area with different responsibilities. I know it'll be good, but I'm a little nervous. Not as nervous as I was coming into Stayton at the time we did in the way we did, but still a little nervous. I am definitely going to miss the people of Stayton. The ward here was really really good. And I made a lot of really good friends. So I am definitely going to miss everyone here! But I am going to be going to an area that I am needed.  This week was good! I will probably keep it short because I am going to be super busy today. Oh and by the way, I think I have a meeting up in Newberg next Monday so there's a chance my pday will be Tuesday. 

But yeah, the week here was good. I think that we literally are half of the food supply here in Stayton. Sister Copeland from the 4 corners ward took us and the four corners elders (our district) out to lunch at a place in Sublimity. I got what they call the Rhino burger. It was huge! It was basically a huge loaf of bread with meat on it. It wasn't a burger!

 Later that day we dug a grave for a lady's dog. Then we had pizza for dinner and helped the activity days girls after that by judging their cupcake wars challenge. So much food!

We had some cool experiences. I definitely keep learning that we can't judge anyone, especially as missionaries. There was one guy that we saw, Richard, who was up on his porch outside smoking and we barely caught a glimpse of him, but of course we wanted to talk to him and he ended up being a really nice guy who was pretty interested. That was awesome. 

Brother Graham was out of town this week so we taught gospel principles at church. It went super well. The lesson was on The Atonement of Jesus Christ. I could feel the guidance of the Spirit helping us out and giving us confirmation of the reality of the Savior and what He did for us. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Amazing Week - 4 Baptisms and a Birthday

Things are going well here. The baptism Saturday went really well! We had a really big turnout from the ward. We probably had 50-60 people there. And we got a call from President in the morning saying that he was going to come for it, so he and Sister Tateoka were there for it, which is always cool! But yeah overall, the baptism was awesome. There was a really strong Spirit there. It was just really cool to be able to see all of these sisters decide to follow the Savior and be baptized. It has been a really cool experience to watch the change that has taken place in the lives of them individually, but also in the lives of their families. Especially for Aishia, it has been awesome to see the change that has taken place in her life. We have been teaching her since Elder Pinkston and I came into the area and the light of Christ has really come into her life and countenance. 

We were able to do the confirmations yesterday and that went really well too. It was awesome to be able to feel and witness the Spirit present as we confirmed them members of the church. It is awesome to be able to be a part of this process and see first hand the change that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring into someone's life. It is motivating to me to always try and allow the Savior and His gospel to create a change in my heart. Since my birthday was Friday, I made a goal for this next year to experience the "mighty change of heart" that Alma talks about in the Book of Mormon. I know that I am already beginning to experience it, but my goal for the next year is to truly allow myself to feel it and to fully give my heart to the Savior. 

Other than the baptisms, we had a bunch of other cool stuff this week. We had Zone Conference on my birthday. It was really good. We talked about obedience and about following up with the people we teach and making daily contact with them. Elder Pinkston was at this Zone Conference and he brought me a Dairy Queen cake, so that was good. On Saturday morning, we had a breakfast with the Stake Presidency here in the Salem Stake for our Zone. It was really good as well. Our district sat at a table with President Cook here in the Stake Presidency and he gave us a lot of good advice about the future when looking for careers and stuff. Overall it was really fun. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

4 Baptisms Coming Up!

We have a really good ward. We had dinner with the Mitzels on Saturday and we thought it was just them, but it turned out to be the Mitzels, Burtons, and Saari's. They had a surprise birthday party for me.  It was super fun! We have a really good ward and I'm really lucky to be a part of the ward here. 

The baptisms are all set for Saturday. Aishia and the three Amida girls are all going to be getting baptized on that day at the same baptismal service. It should be really fun. We are expecting a lot of people to be here, so there is a chance we mug have to move it to the chapel. But it should be a really good baptism and we are really excited for all of them. The Gospel has really changed their lives, individually and as families. The Amida family is really coming closer and it's awesome to watch. The cool part is that we know that this is a blessing from Rose's son who is serving a mission in the Philippines. I can't imagine how excited he is to hear the news that his sisters are getting baptized! And for Aishia, she has come a long way over the 5 months that I have been here. She has changed her life in so many ways and the light that has filled her life is amazing to see. She is being an awesome example to her husband and kids by following the Savior and I know that it is going to have a really good impact on them. 
The Savior's grace is something that I am definitely trying to figure out for myself. The adversary will always try and make us not feel worth it or feel like we deserve the love of the Savior. But it's up to us to just do our best and when we do that is when the power of Jesus Christ will come into our lives. We aren't expected to be perfect in this life, we are only expected to strive and do our best. That is something that I really have to work hard on every day. I am finding that I am far too hard on myself. So I am trying to focus on the Savior and how He can help me achieve what He expects of me and just on making progress every day. One of my favorite scriptures is Moroni 10:32

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

All we have to do is love God and try our best to follow the Savior. He will pick us up and carry us. He will get us to where we want to be and carry us there. We just can't get down on ourselves, because that is a trick of the adversary. By the way, I loved that article from the Ensign
about the war going on between us and the adversary. It was really good!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Happy Early Birthday, Elder Klima!

"We have the pleasure of being in the ward Elder Klima is serving in. He is an amazing missionary and we love him so much. There was a little surprise early birthday party for him and we wanted to send you a few pics."

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Really Good Week!

Elder Smith, Elder Radmall (the tall one), Elder Pectol, and I went hiking at Silver Falls with Brother Meeks and a member from their ward. It was super fun! But because of that, there isn't much time left in the day. Trying to be obedient and get everything done that we need to get done on pday, so we are still flying around to finish everything.

The week here was really good. The things that happened were all good. Aishia finally committed to be baptized! Now it is just trying to settle the date that it will happen. We are going back tonight to set the date. Hopefully the 6th of May. The Amyda's are also scheduled for that day. It's all pretty exciting, but it's great to see the Spirit working in their life. In the lesson that Aishia committed to be baptized, the Spirit worked on her throughout the whole thing. At the beginning of the lesson, if we would have asked, she would have probably said no. But the Spirit worked on her and then by the end of the lesson we were reading Ether 12:6 and talking about how baptism would be her "trial of faith" and then we asked if she would and she said yes! She has come a long way since I met her back in March. The Savior has really changed her heart. I'm excited for her. 

I had a couple of cool experiences with the Spirit this week. The main one was during one of my nightly prayers. I asked a very specific question to Heavenly Father. I got the feeling to just be calm and listen. I received a very distinct feeling from the Spirit. I know it was from Heavenly Father. I bear witness that He lives and listens to our prayers. That knowledge doesn't remove any trials I face, any doubts, any fears that I have, but I can't deny the testimony that I have received. 

By the way, one thing I've learned is to write down spiritual experiences. It's important to remember those! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter!

Easter was really good. We had a bunch of people come to church. It was really packed. And a lot of people that we are teaching came, which was good. Sacrament meeting was really good. The primary kids did a special musical number, Gethsemene, which really brought the Spirit into the room. I am grateful for the reverence that is so present at church. I know a lot of people worship with loud music or loud speaking, which is good because they are at least worshiping the Savior, but sitting in Sacrament meeting and feeling the Spirit through the reverence makes me really think of how the Savior must have been. He wasn't loud or boisterous. He was calm, peaceful, confident, and full of the Spirit. There is just something special about being in Sacrament meeting.
For dinner, we ate at the Mitzel's. They are an awesome family. Sister Mitzel is from Thatcher, Arizona. Their 10-year-old son, Owen, wanted to go on splits with us. So what we did was he taught the dinner message with Elder Smith while I listened to it with Brother Mitzel as my companion. It was fun. He did a really good job and even dressed up with his suit and everything! He was super excited to do it. So that was fun.

Celebrating the Savior at Easter should really be a daily thing! President Nelson told us in General Conference that becoming a powerful disciple of the Savior is not easy. It's not easy to look unto Christ in every thought like it says we should in the scriptures, but as we do that we can draw upon the power of Jesus Christ in a very real way. I definitely have a testimony of that. The past week, the Savior has really been changing my heart, desires, and thoughts. As I continue to pray and really try and think of the Savior I have felt His love begin to change me. I have only tasted a tiny bit of this light and understanding, but it makes me want to really continue to focus on the Savior because the joy that came with this change was pretty indescribable. It's so cool that His gospel has been restored to the Earth! That he very literally guides this church because it is His! I'm really grateful to Heavenly Father and the Savior for blessing me with this light that has started to fill my mind this past week. The way I view people and things are starting to change and I know it is only because of them.

I think missionaries can really experience this. Especially if you are obedient. When you are obedient, you really begin to draw upon the power of the Savior and He changes you. I think obedience is the only way that a real lasting change will occur on your mission. It's the only way to allow the mission to go through you, rather than the other way around. Everything we do has an opportunity to point towards the Savior and our Heavenly Father. This week more than ever, I am finding myself looking at people and thinking, "how would the Savior handle this situation? How would He show His love for them?" I really liked the talk in Conference, "Then Jesus Beholding Him, Loved Him". Charity and seeing others through the eyes of the Savior was a huge theme that stuck out to me in Conference and is something I am really working on. Preach My Gospel says that charity is a gift and as we receive that gift in our lives, through our actions and obedience, then we will really experience a mighty change of heart.

We saw a lot of miracles this week! So many that I can't really write them all down because I don't remember them all off the top of my head. The Amyda girls, who's mom is a returning less-active and who's brother is on a mission in the Philippines, committed to be baptized on May 6th! We are really excited for that. We feel really confident that they will make that date. Their father, who isn't a member, is also interested and is sitting in on the lessons. Their family is awesome. They had us over for one of their daughters birthday dinners and we had so much food! Aishia is also progressing a lot towards baptism. Hopefully in this month. She has been to church 13 weeks in a row! And she is doing awesome. The light of Christ is continuing to grow and grow in her countenance. It has been really cool to watch.

Being with Elder Smith has been fun. We are both really excited for the rest of the transfer. We are working hard and talking to everyone. We both have a desire to grow closer to the Lord and we are working on it. We are trying to really learn how to be obedient and how to be ourselves. I feel like a lot of missionaries don't think obedience and fun can coexist, but I feel like the fun and joy only comes when we are being obedient! When you are being happy, being yourself, and being obedient it is really fun. And especially if you take time to just ponder for a moment or two a day and think about how blessed we are. To think about how cool it is to know of the Plan of Salvation and of who the Savior really is. It's fun. I'm starting to look at people and think, "they already chose Christ before this life! They would not be here if they didn't choose His plan in the pre-mortal existence." And it is really changing my perspective.

It was a good week. I am definitely grateful to the Lord for being able to serve in His vineyard and help others come to know the truths of eternity.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mission Life is Great!

The week here was good. Elder Smith and I are doing good. He's from Gilbert, Arizona. He's had a sprained ankle, so this week our proselyting was all driving. Driving a bunch kind of gets me a little stir crazy. But it'll be good, we will get out and walk a lot more his week.

We had a really good day yesterday. It was a great Sunday. The lessons were about the Holy Ghost, which was exactly what Aishia needed to hear. I've been studying Charity a lot recently. I think it was talked about a ton in Conference and was something I needed to hear. In Preach My Gospel it talks about how basically if we can receive the gift of charity in our lives, a ton of our problems will go away because we will be able to see other people in the way that the Savior sees them. It's definitely something I want to work on! I would encourage you to read the charity portion of chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel. 

We had interviews with President Tateoka this morning, so I am a little bit short on time in trying to get everything done this pday. Interviews went well though! It is always good to be able to talk with him and Sister Tateoka. By the way, I found out that the Tateoka that was talked about in Conference is his cousin. Pretty cool. One thing I'm learning a lot is to try and just stay in the moment and not think too much. Thinking too much has always been a problem for me but I'm learning to try and stay in the moment and keep my thoughts to the Savior as best I can.

This week should be good. We are just looking to try and teach more people. Nicole is going with the Grahams to do baptisms for the dead for the first time, so that will be sweet! 

Sorry this couldn't be longer, just super busy today!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Great General Conference and Staying in Stayon!

It's crazy that it is already April. Time;s flying. General conference was really really good. I really liked President Nelson's talk. He talked about how too often we refer to the Atonement and things, rather than referring to Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ who can help us, heal us, strengthen us, and succor us. His Atonement allows Him to be able to do so, but it isn't the Atonement that strengthens us, it's Jesus Christ! I thought that was cool. I also really liked Elder Ballard's talk. He talked about setting goals and making plans. It really made me think about needing to do some real reflecting and setting some long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals. And some Eternal-goals! And then making real, measurable plans that will allow for me to be able to work towards those goals. We set goals a lot as missionaries, but if you're not focused on achieving those goals and making plans to do so, it becomes very easy to just lose track and focus of them. Really, all of the talks were really good. Priesthood session was awesome. One of my favorite talks of all, though, was the talk given by the prophet on Sunday morning. He shared a really powerful testimony about the Book of Mormon and the power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon. I thought it was really cool that President Monson shared this with us, because he obviously isn't doing too great in health. But he felt it that important to share with the world a message about the Book of Mormon. It makes me want to get more out of my Book of Mormon study! I'm grateful for President Monson and all of His service. He is truly the living prophet of God on the Earth today and it's a privilege to be able to hear his words! 

I will be staying here in Stayton. Elder Pinkston is going to be getting transferred into Albany. It'll be weird to be in Stayton without him, but I am glad that I am staying. I'm excited to be here. My new companion will be Elder Smith. He has been in the field as long as Elder Pinkston. He's most recently from Gilbert. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Teaching By the Spirit

The week here went well. We did a ton of walking. We had a Zone Conference on Wednesday. We talked about knowing how you are a successful missionary. And how the measure of success doesn't come from baptisms or anything like that. But the success is told by your commitment to serve the Lord. We also talked a lot about lesson plans. We talked about creating more specific lesson plans and planning lessons by the Spirit. We tried to really work on that this week, and it went well. We had a couple of very good lessons because the presence of the Spirit was so strong. And we taught in more unity than we probably ever have. It was really cool because we planned the lessons totally by the Spirit and as we were teaching when one of us went off from where the plan was, we were able to know for a fact that it was because that thought and direction was prompted by the Spirit. 

Something that I have studied in respect to the opposition is that it is real and really doesn't want us to accomplish the Lord's work. If you think about Joseph Smith, when he went to pray, he felt an unknown power holding him back and binding his tongue. The adversary knew that he was about to have an experience that would change the course of history in a righteous way and really didn't want it to happen! Same thing with Christ after He was baptized. Right before He began His ministry, or at least that of which we have recorded in the Bible, He went to the wilderness to fast and pray and be closer to God. At this time, Satan comes and tries to tempt Him. I think it's because he knew that Christ was about to begin His earthly ministry and perform miracles and do the will of the Father, so he wanted to do his best to stop it. I have personally seen that on my mission too. As I take steps closer to the Savior, I feel the outside pressure from the adversary. It's super frustrating for me personally. It's bugs the heck out of me! I saw it with my mission papers and getting everything sent in and good to go, and I've seen it out here as I take steps that I know I need to take in order to progress. Sometimes it's hard to remember in the moment that it is just the opposition and that if we turn to the Lord in those moments then we will be fine, but that's what it comes down to. We just have to focus on the Lord and we will ultimately be ok! 

The other night we had about 30 minutes left at night. We decided to say a prayer and ask where to go. I felt determined to talk to anyone that the Lord put in our path because it was so late and dark and generally no one is out that late. I had faith that we would be able to talk to at least one person. We were walking down the street and a couple houses behind us a guy walked out so we kind of crossed the street and yelled over to him. I think he was kind of sketched out at first... but we started talking for a second. He wasn't interested at all, but we left him with a Book of Mormon. I felt that if that was the only person we saw, that was at least good enough because we talked to him and left him with something. As we were almost back to the church, we saw a truck pull up and park in his driveway, so we started to speed walk a little and we called out to him as he got out and started walking to his house. At first I had no clue what I was going to say, but a thought came into my mind "family history" so started talking about that. He turned out to be really into family history, so we gave him a family search pass along card and he said we could come back next week to talk about it with him. Who knows how interested he actually is, but it was just another testimony builder to me of the Holy Ghost putting the thoughts into our mind and how we are blessed as missionaries when we try to talk to everyone.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I Am a Child of God

The week here was good! We got a ton of rain. Probably the most rain that I have had on my entire mission. We had a couple of really sunny days, but on both of those days we had a ton of appointments inside and planning and stuff so we weren't outside on those days. Bu it was nice to be able to at least have the sunshine! The week in general was kind of slow, but it will get better. Just gotta keep working hard and trusting in Him. Personally, I'm trying to recognize that I need to be patient with myself. I expect so much out of myself and expect change to happen so immediately that sometimes I forget that it is all in His timing and that all I can do is try my best, do all that I can, repent when I fall short, and then He will help me to reach that potential that I know I have and that He knows I can reach. It's a process, but I know it'll come with time. 

I have been studying a lot this week about our true identity, in the context of the Plan of Salvation. I'm coming to realize that the more that I am able to remember that I am actually a child of God and that He loves me, it helps me to remember how important our choices are and how to keep my heart in line more with His will. And being able to look at others that way is huge! It inspires me to serve them because I can remember that Heavenly Father loves them just as much as He loves me! 

I'm still working on my goal of not eating out.  I haven't had any fast food again this week.  I'm coming to realize how important self-mastery is. When we can learn how to be the masters of our own wants and desires, then we can be more effective agents in actively making choices that bring us closer to Heavenly Father and ultimately help us realize our divine potential. 

I'm glad that you guys had a good visit with the Grahams. They really are awesome people. He is really focused on sharing the gospel with others, so it is great to be able to work with him out here. We can talk to any member, less active or fully active, and sometimes even random people that we meet, and they all know him because of how he has helped them in one way or another. Definitely a good example to follow.

Here's a picture of Mount Jefferson. I think it's cool because I could always see it from madras and now I can see it on the sunny days out here in Stayton!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Testimony Building

The week here went well! A couple weeks ago we invited Aishia to live the Word of Wisdom, she loves coffee, for the 11 days leading up to Fast Sunday. I felt prompted to promise her that if she did, the desire to drink coffee would be gone at the end of it. She took on the challenge and told us that she doesn't even want coffee anymore and has no intentions of doing so.  It was pretty cool! That was a testimony builder to me of the Holy Ghost and listening to the promptings. It was also a testimony builder to me of fasting! I haven't ever had any big experiences from fasting. But the fact that she didn't have any desire to drink coffee anymore, after we made that promise to her, and we fasted and everything, was a huge testimony builder of fasting. And just "experimenting upon the word" as it says in Alma 32:27. Heavenly Father is bound to bless us when we keep His commandments. So when we do those things like reading scriptures, praying, going to church, trying out the Word of Wisdom, He will bless us! And we will start to notice those blessings more and more. 

On Friday, we had the chance to be the auctioneers for a ward youth fundraising event. That was fun. Definitely don't have auctioneering in my future any time soon. 

This week, something that stood out to me in my studies was while I was reading in Matthew 12:30. It says, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." It's a really simple scripture, but it is so true. If we aren't actively trying to gather His sheep. Whether by our example, words, direct invitations to invite others to the gospel, then we are scattering them abroad. We have to do our best to remember that His gospel has been restored to the Earth! He literally is at the head of the Church. It is Him! He gives us the Gospel because He wants to bless us! So we need to do our best to follow Him! 

We went on a hike today. It wasn't too long, but it was a hike back up to a huge waterfall. And there was an old closed down mine that we got to look around in. It was a pretty cool hike. There are apparently a lot of good hikes like that up here. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

11 People at Sacrament Meeting!

The week here went really well. The biggest miracle that we saw this week was that we had 11 people we are talking to at Sacrament Meeting. That was really really cool to see. There's such a special Spirit during the Sacrament meeting that can be felt simply by being in that meeting. We had a few people that we totally were not expecting, which was an awesome surprise! 

A couple of weeks ago, we met a man outside working on his truck. We shared a little bit with him and he said that we could stop by in the future and if he was home we could share a message with him and his family. Last Monday, we received a referral from a missionary in the Philippines. He sent us to his moms house, who is a less active member. Well, we pulled up to the house.. and it was the same one that we met the other guy at! Long story short, this missionary's mom hasn't been to church in a long, long time and she has three daughters who are 15,12, and 8 who haven't been to church before. The cool thing is that they came to church and loved it! So we are really excited to start teaching them.

I was pondering the other day the purpose of objectives and goals. In Moses it says that Heavenly Fathers greatest desire, His objective, is for us to be immortal and have eternal life with Him. But He knew that wasn't enough. There had to be a plan in place for that to be fulfilled. I've come to realize that I need to start creating objectives in more aspects of my life and then set goals and plans in which help to fulfill those objectives. The first one for me is to treat my body more respectable and so I made the goal of no eating out in March. 

One thing I studied this week was Jacob 5. I know this is mainly about the scattering and gathering of Israel, but I also found it to be really closely related to our Savior's love for us. In this allegory it talks a lot about how it "grieved the Lord of the vineyard" to see his trees perishing. And so he put in a lot of effort to try and make it possible for them to bring forth good fruit. That's what our Savior does. He is always there for us. Always trying to help. But we need to do our part. In the allegory it says that the Lord of the vineyard even asks "What could I have done more?" I am sure that that is how the Savior feels at times when we don't allow the Atonement to work in us. The real question should be posed by us. What more can we do? How can we let the Savior help us? 

This week should be good. We have interviews with President on Thursday. I'm excited for that! 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Experiment Upon the Word

The week here was good. I think the highlight of our week came on Wednesday or Thursday when we were having a lesson with one of our friends that we are teaching. She loves coffee a lot. We felt prompted to promise her that if she would give up coffee and live the word of wisdom for 10 days leading up to fast Sunday, read the Book of Mormon every day, and then fasted on that day, then she would lose the desire to drink coffee and she would feel the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. She has been doing awesome so far! I have faith that she will be blessed as she "experiments upon the word" like it says in Alma 32:27. 

We had a stake Conference yesterday and the second counselor of the presidency said the same thing about how all he wanted for his kids was for them to come to know Christ and our Heavenly Father. That really is what it's all about is working towards Eternal Life with your family. I think we all need to try and remember how much the gospel really means to us more often so we can allow it to truly change the way we go about our every day life. Nicole, the lady who was baptized out here a month ago, has really thrown herself into the gospel and it has been cool to watch. She is getting prepared to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. She has been really getting involved in the ward and everything like that and it has been awesome to see. 

Our lesson last night went really well. Jasmine really felt the Spirit throughout the lesson. We were talking about the Plan of Salvation and how we knew God before this life and how we are actually here for a reason and that really struck home to her. We also showed the Because of Him video about Jesus Christ and why He suffered and died for us, and that meant a lot to her as well. It truly is amazing to think about Christ and exactly how much He loves us and that He was willing to sacrifice Himself for our sake. Sometimes it is easy to not remember Him as we are going throughout our daily lives, but when we do try harder to remember Him and His love for us, then we can find rejuvenation and joy through His love and Atonement. In Preach My Gospel, in the First Presidency message, it promises us that we will find more joy imaginable when we do missionary work. I know this is true.

Other than that, we spent a lot of time trying to find people to teach. We are trying to kind of clean out our teaching pool and teach people who are actually prepared to hear the gospel and are searching for the truth. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Staying in Stayton!

So we found out transfer information on Saturday night and.. we are both Staying in Stayton! We are both pretty excited about that! That means we will be here until that week after General Conference at least. I'm excited to have six weeks more to work here in Stayton. I know that you definitely are in certain areas at certain times with certain people for a reason. 

The week here was good. It kind of flew by. I honestly don't even remember much of what happened. We did a lot of walking this week and trying to contact former investigators. Brother Graham challenged us to make a list of 100 former investigators and contact them and promised us that we would find 10 people to teach from that list. So far we have contacted about 15 and have found 2 people to teach, so that has been awesome! Other than that, our week was good, nothing too crazy though. We had a good day yesterday. It is cool because when you are working hard and being obedient, the Spirit will guide you to people even if you aren't aware that the Spirit is guiding you there. That was the case yesterday. We met a couple of people in areas that we were not really planning to be, but we were trying to be diligent and were blessed for our efforts. 

This week, in my studies, one thing that really stood out to me was in Matthew 7:1. Firstly, it talks about not judging others or we will be judged. I am grateful for Joseph Smith and the Spirit of prophecy that he had though. In the Joseph Smith Translation, it says “Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgment”. Something that I think Elder Oaks said was that we are commanded not to make final judgments, but directed to make intermediate judgments. We all have to make judgments every day, but it's important that we don't judge people by one experience or moment, but that we recognize that through the Atonement everyone can change. 

Today we had lunch with Sister

Coleen Copeland. She is an author! You should look up her books, they're kids books I think. We have Elder Radmall with us for a few days because he is going to be training and doesn't get his trainee until Wednesday or Thursday.

Monday, February 13, 2017

I Love Sundays

Our week here was pretty good. We had a zone conference down in Albany on Wednesday, which was good. We talked a lot about planning. We also talked about using the gifts that we have been given to further the work of the Lord. The testimony meeting that we had at the end of Zone Conference was really good. There were a few missionaries that are leaving this transfer that bore their testimonies about what they've learned over their missions and the main thing that stuck out to me was the Atonement. It made me reflect on how I can improve to allow the Atonement to shape and change my life. I think it's important that we always look to Christ and trust Him during any situation. If we truly give ourself to Him, then we can feel His power in our life. As a missionary, I try to do that as much as I can, but I still feel like there is a ton more growth in that area for me. 

Yesterday was awesome. Sundays are truly my favorite day. I love being able to go to meetings with Brother Graham and talking about the work and how we can improve. And then being able to go to our other meetings in the morning and watching people give up their time so early on a Sunday morning, just because they all know that the Savior lives and that the Gospel is true. It is just cool to watch. And then partaking of the Sacrament and trying to truly prepare for that is something that is helping me in my desires to grow. Yesterday Nicole had us and Brother and Sister Graham over for dinner, so that was awesome. She made us some homemade calzones and some dessert. It was all super good and fun. She is continuing to just progress right along in the Gospel. She will hopefully be doing baptisms for the dead here in March, which will be sweet! We also had a lot of people at church Sunday, which was great. It is so important for people who are looking into the gospel to come to church because of the Spirit that is present. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sabbath Day, Sacrament, and Priesthood

One thing that I have been studying and thinking about a lot lately is the Sacrament. I am trying to allow myself to more fully prepare for the Sacrament and take advantage of the holy ordinance that it is. When you think about it, you can look up at the stars and see the amazing beauty that is up there. It is pretty breathtaking, and is one of my most favorite things to do, especially here in Oregon because we don't get to see the stars too often with the cloudiness! But then picture the stars, and think about the power that it was all created by. The Priesthood! We are so blessed because that same Priesthood has been restored to the Earth and we have the opportunity each week to participate in an ordinance in which that Priesthood is present. Each week we get to access the powers of Godliness! It truly is an amazing thought. I am so grateful for the Sacrament. I'm still trying to fully understand how I can prepare more fully for it, and allow it to have the effect on me that it should, but it is something I'm working on. I have something that I want you to watch.  It's on the Gospel Library. Go to "Leadership" then "Sabbath Day Observance - October 2015" and watch that training broadcast. I had some free time the other day and watched it. It was so so so so good. 

After church, we had a ward missionary correlation meeting. It was for the purpose of discussing our big event that will take place here in July. We are throwing a big open house for the community where we will have food and games, but also do like a church tour at the same time. We are pretty excited about it. I'm pretty sure I won't be here at that point, but I'm excited for what it's going to do for the ward and the community. After our meeting, we sort of had a mini meeting with Brother Graham, I guess it wasn't really a meeting, but we talked with him for a while and just sat and talked about the gospel and stuff. It was awesome! 

This morning during part of my studies I read Matthew 4. This is where Christ is fasting or 40 days and nights. I'm super grateful for the Joseph Smith Translation. Because at the beginning of the chapter it talks about Christ going to the wilderness to be "tempted by the devil." Bruce R McConkie said that "righteous men don't seek out temptation". Which is so true! Christ didn't go to the desert to seek out temptation and to try to be tempted by the devil. He went out there to commune with God. And after 40 days of fasting, I'm sure he was super exhausted, hungry, and most vulnerable. That is when he was tempted by the adversary. Those are the times when the adversary tries and tempts us. I have seen that on my mission! That's when he works really hard because that's when we are more likely to succumb to his temptation. But as always, we can learn from the Savior. Each time He was tempted, He shot it down. He gave it no thought. He stood true to who He was and to what His Father wanted Him to do. That's how we need to be when temptations come! Just move forward in obedience! The past couple of days have given me some really good insight into the reality of gaining a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, and what I personally need to do to allow that to take place. 

This picture is from an exchange with Elder Hall: he's the one who knows the Kimzeys. He's from Washington, Utah (St George)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Insanely Awesome Week--Month!

I cannot believe that January is almost over. It has been an awesome month. Really it has been an awesome two months here in Stayton! We are halfway through our transfer already, which is amazing to me. I can't believe that we are almost done training. It will be really interesting to see if Elder Pinkston and I both stay. We both hope that we do because we have seen the work progress so much over these two months. One of the biggest keys for missionary work to progress in the ward is definitely desire. It comes down to recognizing the importance of gathering Heavenly Father's children and leading them back towards Jesus Christ. As missionaries we are set apart to do this work. But in reality, everyone is called in their own way to further the work.

Our week here was insane! In a very good way though. On Wednesday we had a worldwide missionary broadcast. It was an awesome experience. We were able to hear and sort of be a fly in the room of a Council of the missionary department. Elder Oaks, Elder Bednar, and Elder Anderson were all a part of this council. It was a very spiritual experience. One of the things that I noticed the most was the importance of repentance and of participating in the ordinance of the sacrament every Sunday. They also talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how The principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ are not separate and individual principles, but rather they build upon each other. When living these principles together, there is a real power that can come into our lives. It's not good enough to just have faith, but to allow that faith to lead you to act and repent, and then continuing to participate in the Sacrament.

That was not it though from the broadcast. They announced some huge changes to our schedule and to the key indicators that we focus on and report to the mission. Our pday schedule is going to be changed. We are going to start our pdays at 8 in the morning, rather than ten in the morning. We also used to plan in the evenings after getting home, but instead we will be planning in the mornings. Our personal study will remain for an hour prior to 10 AM. But we will have more flexibility of when we conduct our companionship study and our first 12 weeks training for Elder Pinkston. We aren't implementing these changes as a mission for a couple more weeks, until we have our zone conferences with President Tateoka. We are excited for it though!
Yesterday, we had Kennedy's baptism! It went very well. There were a lot of members from the ward there. And there were also a lot of nonmembers there as well. It was a very good experience. The spirit was very strong and it was awesome to see Kennedy make the commitment to follow Jesus Christ. The past couple of weeks have been so cool to see the gospel in action. It was also cool on Sunday, because the bishop asked Nicole to come up and bear her testimony in front of the ward. That was a really cool experience.

 Today in my personal study, I was reading in second Nephi. Somehow through a foot note, I ended up in Isaiah. The verse I read was Isaiah 49:23. It says: And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

The thing that really impressed me was the word wait. This past week I have been studying a lot on faith and on agency. And so as I considered the word wait, I thought about both of those things. I came up with a little acronym that helps me to remember how I can wait for the Lord. I think of waiting as Willingly Acting In Trust. To wait for the Lord means that we need to constantly be exercising our agency in faith by being obedient to His commandments and following His gospel. The day that He comes again will be an amazing experience so long as we follow His example and are constantly moving forward to become more like Him. 

(I forgot to pull the plug after the baptism so Elder Pinkston had to scale the wall to pull it!)