Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 3

So it is hard to believe that i am almost half way through my first transfer. Time just flies by. It is not even funny. We had a pretty good week overall. It was kind of tough. But the good outweighs the bad.

Last Monday we had a less active member whose son we are teaching, his son is 9 and not yet baptized, take us out into the desert just outside of Hurricane to some rock formations and the sand dunes. It was so much fun. I forgot to take my camera so I didn't get any pictures of that. Which is a bummer. But it was Gorgeous. We were high enough up that we could see all the way to St. George. Which is about 15 miles away. We could see the temple. That was to the west. To the south we could see into Arizona. So cool. I will try to get some pictures from my companion. 

So that was pretty cool. During the week we lost 4 investigators, well definitely 3 but up to 4. The first 2 was a Hispanic woman and her son. Their family is Catholic and very anti them getting baptized. So they dropped us. Then a really solid investigator we had moved back to Las Vegas. His Dad sent him up to Hurricane to stay with a member because he was getting in trouble back home and the member introduced us. We committed him to baptism but his dad wanted him to live it before he was baptized so he moved back home to start high school. So we handed him off to the elders down there. We called them and told them everything and that he was ready. So we hope and pray the best for him. Then another one of our investigators who is turning her life around turned herself in on some warrants she had and we are still trying to figure out when and if we will be able to teach her again. But last night after we got out of our last lesson for the evening at 8:00 we went out to try to contact a referral we got from a member of the stake presidency here. We couldn't find the house so we went over to the ward mission leaders house and It just so happens that a family that lives across from him that we have been trying to contact forever was actually home! So we walked over and knocked on the door and she asked us if we could come teach this Thursday. I know that because of our obedience the Lord blessed us to be able to find her and be able to teach her. We then went to the mission leaders home and his daughter actually gave us a referral which was awesome. And we got the address figured out for the home of the other referral. So we have some more work to do. The Lord definitely opens a window though when a door closes. So long as we are obedient he will open those windows and bless us. 

But the highlight of the week was Saturday and Sunday. When Paige got baptized and confirmed!!
She is an awesome young woman and has a strong testimony. She was super excited as we were. So that was awesome. But it just goes to show that although life is never easy we have to take the good with the bad. Because honestly the good always outweighs the bad. 

I love you all. And until next week!

Thats Paige and us.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 1 post MTC

So the time that I have had here (all 5 days) has been amazing. We have taught so many lessons. I am part of a trio again. Just like i was in the MTC. My companions are Elder Valdez and Elder Robinson. Elder Valdez is my trainer, he has been out for 21 months and is going to finish his mission training me. Elder Robinson has another week left until he goes home. So we really are only a trio for the first 2 weeks of my mission. The Wednesday that I got here we taught 2 lessons that night. Thursday we had 3 lessons. Then Friday we had 2. Saturday we went and knocked on doors. We found a less active man who had been thinking about coming back to church and had gone online to and was looking at the website when we showed up. My companion was prompted to stop and knock on his door. So we did and it turns out his 2 children aren't baptized so we are going to call him this week and try to set up a time when we can go and teach his kids and his wife. As far as the week goes it went really well. The members here are awesome. They really help us out. Some wards are better then others, but the help is remarkable. Of the 5 days i have been here i have paid for 1 meal. And that was at mcdonalds, but it was half price so i am not complaining. A lot of the restaurants around here are owned by members. So they are either free for missionaries or discounted. And the only reason i mention that is because I am so grateful for their support and generosity. It really makes this work a lot easier. Yesterday (Sunday) was amazing. We went to 3 sacrament meetings and spoke in 2 of them. The first meeting was at the Spanish branch. We also had a meeting with the Stake presidency and 2 correlation meetings. One with all the Ward mission leaders in the stake and the other with the YSA ward missionaries. But the truly amazing part was the second sacrament meeting we spoke in. There was a returned missionary that had been back for 4 days that was giving his homecoming talk. He took most of the time, which was fine. We got up and bore some quick testimonies, about 5 minutes each. After sacrament got over, one of the members in the ward came up to Elder Robinson and told him that there was someone in the foyer who wanted to talk to him. So we went out in the foyer and there was a young woman there who was just crying. She said that while we were bearing our testimonies that she just became overwhelmed and felt like she needed to talk to us. She then asked for a blessing. So we gave her one. After the blessing her mother, younger sister, the three of us, and her sat down and started talking. She told us how she hasn't been to a church in over 7 years. She is 21 and has been through some really really difficult things. She then told us that she has been sober for the last 6 days and that if we had met her one week ago she would have slammed the door in out face. So we talked with them for about an hour and then had to get to our appointments. We taught another 4 lessons yesterday. There are so many people who have a sincere desire to learn. It is amazing how the Lord prepares people. And how no matter who we are or what we do that no matter what, the Lord still loves each and every single one of us. He prepares all of us. And when we are ready he will mold us into who he wants us to be. The Lord placed us specifically in that ward yesterday, and prepared angelika to meet us. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to see these miracles here in this mission. I will keep you updated and send more pictures.

 I know that this is the Lords work, that we are his servants, and that he prepares a way for all to obey and keep his commandments. He will support us so long as we are faithful and obedient. I know that this is His work and He will bless us. I know this is the restored church of Jesus Christ. I love you all!

-Elder Valentine

Week 2

So this past week has flown by. On our last P-day we went to Zion National Park. It was beautiful.
We rode the bus all the way in and went to a place called the narrows. The attached pictures are in the narrows. I took a lot more then that, but that is all that I can send in this email. So that was super fun. It starts getting really deep the further you go in. We didn't go terribly far, it actually started raining and they warn that if it starts raining you should be careful because it can flood very easily. So we headed back out. Had lunch in the park and then headed back home for our appointments. 

We were busy the whole week. We had a ton of lessons during the week. We had a few here and there that fell through. But that happens. The real bummer was the weekend. I am serving in Hurricane (can't remember if i mentioned that last week or not) so it is a fairly small town. And this past Friday the High School here had a pre-season football game so the whole town was pretty much at the game. And for whatever reason Saturday was also slow. No one was home. 

There are 2 stakes here though. If I had to guess i would say it is about half Mormon and half non-member. So there is a ton of people here who have never heard of the gospel. Hurricane used to be a small farm town. But with all the financial problems in California a ton of people have moved into the area. We are about 15-20 miles outside of St. George so a lot of people have moved here and commute over there.  We have a Baptism this Saturday. Her name is Paige and she is 17. Most of her extended family are members but her immediate family is not. So we have that to look forward to. We have a couple of others we are working with towards baptism. 

It actually turns out that our mission is the highest baptizing English speaking mission in the states. So there is a ton of work out here that needs to be done still. The members are really good about helping with the work. We get a fair number of referrals and of the 19 lessons we taught last week 15 were with members present. So that really helps when we have their participation. So I guess the big thing I am trying to get at is HELP THE MISSIONARIES!!!! It only works when members participate. Give referrals! We love them. Go out with the missionaries whenever you can. It helps us and helps the investigators. It amazes me how the Lord has prepared so many people and the only reason they aren't members or aren't baptized is because they don't know where to find the truth. We know where they can find the truth! We just need to tell them. Share what you know. Because their lives literally depend on it!

But I love you all and until next week

-Elder Valentine