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!