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!