Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 7

It is time for another weekly update! It seems like I was just doing this. Time is flying. But anywho. This past week was a really good week. It cooled off enough that we pulled out the bikes and hit the road. We spent Tuesday canvasing two of the wards we are in. So we knocked a good number of doors. We really just spent that time contacting less-actives. Then Wednesday we had our Temple Trip. So we got to the Temple at 9:00 and left around 1:00. The St. George Temple is beautiful. There is so much history there. But it was really special to be able to go and "escape" the outside world and be able to have that peace you only get in the temple. I definitely savored that experience. After the temple we spent the rest of the day Wednesday moving. We had to move from the apartment we were in, into a new apartment. The landlords needed the apartment for their daughter who just had her 2nd baby. So we moved into a new apartment. I can't complain. The new apartment has a much better view. I feel like my first area is spoiling me sometimes. But I am very grateful for the experiences that I am having out here. It really is a great area. I have learned a lot. For sure. Thursday we spent most of the day cleaning our old apartment and cleaning the new apartment. We had to have the old apartment cleaned by the end of the day Thursday. So we were given permission to spend our time doing that.  But we got it knocked out by about 4:00. The weekend was also great. We had a couple of lessons, not as many as we would like but they are solid investigators who sincerely want to know and have great questions. Complicated questions, but great questions. So that has been great to be able to teach them. We even have an investigator that taught a lesson in Gospel Principles yesterday. She taught about service. So she has been coming out to church for the past 3 sundays. Which is awesome. Other then that though there isn't much news. We are just trying to improve our finding and finding more people to teach. But that is how is goes. 

Until next week! 

-Elder Valentine

And here is a picture!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 6 update

So this past week was a wet one. I don't know if it was record rainfall here but if it wasn't it was close. We had a couple of days where it rained for awhile. It wasn't anything like home, but for here it is a lot! So much it was coming down the mountains. And when it rains excessively a couple of places just flood, there isn't really anywhere for the water to go. It is a valley after all. But that was interesting. Everyone here was really appreciative of the rain though. They need it for their farms. So it was nice. Plus when it rains here the temperature drops off. It will cool down like 20 degrees and stay fairly cool for the rest of the day. Which is nice. It dropped from the low 90's to the low to mid 70's. So we liked the cooling effect. But that was the weather. It is usually pretty sunny though. Because of the mountains around us storm systems usually blow around us a lot.
Anywho, we got out transfer calls yesterday. My companion and I are staying together. He was made the District leader for a newly created district. So it us and 3 other companionships  in our district now. Which is cool. This is his last transfer and then I will for sure be getting a new companion next transfer. But this past week was really good. We have slowly been building our teaching pool back up. We had some really good lessons with some potential investigators and we have some follow up appointments this week. We also have some pretty good referrals to track down this week. So that should keep us busy. 

We have 2 kids that we are teaching that are getting baptized this Saturday. One is 11 and the other is 9. They are brother and sister. They are super smart kids. They remember everything we teach them and actually answer questions and read and pray. It is amazing to me how simple it is to teach them. We are also teaching 2 other kids. And it is remarkable how willing they are to learn and act on the things we teach. They don't fight against anything we teach them. It is amazing to me how willing they are to learn and not reject. They don't have any prejudices or preconceived notions to hold them back. But it brought to my mind what the Savior taught "for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." We teach them so simply and they get it. That is the amazing thing about the Gospel. It is simple. We make it complicated! Almost every Sunday in church you hear people ask a question and then someone else will answer and say "the primary answers." And then they ask for something else, some other answer. Those are the only answers. They are the only ones that matter. Reading the scriptures, pondering, praying, following the commandments. Sometimes in life we have complicated hard questions, and I know for myself I thought that since the question is complicated, the answer had to be equally as complicated. NOT TRUE! We need only look to Israel during the time of Christ. They sought complicated doctrine and proscribed laws. They reveled in their complicated laws and outwardly exclaimed their "righteousness" in practicing such. And when the Savior came they turned a blind eye and a deaf ear and did something that no other nation having witnessed such miracles could have, or ever would have, done. They crucified the Only Begotten of the True and living God. They allowed their hearts to be hardened to the truth and simplicity of the teachings of the Master. They rejected him and killed him. The Savior taught simply, and his doctrine is simple. Always remember that. We make it complicated. He made it simple. It isn't hard, it might not be as easy as we would like, but it is not hard. I know that as we strive to keep those simple commandments, we will be blessed and strengthened to do ever greater things. We are built line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. There is no other way it can be. 

But until next week, I love you all and wish you all the best.

-Elder Valentine

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 5 Exciting news!!!!!

So this past week was a great week. We almost lost some less active members we were teaching. But we are slowly building our teaching pool back up. It is taking a lot of work on our part to do that. The members are making a lot of excuses about how they only know other members or they are working on getting something going. But when i hear the same thing from the same person for 5 weeks straight I have a hard time believing them. I mean that is ok and everything but it really is remarkable the effect of having the members involved has. The strongest investigators we have had, were those referred by a member and where we have had the member participate and be a friend. I cannot over emphasize the importance of member involvement in helping the missionaries. Those people who are referred by members and taught with them and fellow shipped by them progress faster and are more likely to stay active then those that we find on our own. But it makes it so much easier when we have the help of the members. 

But we are slowly building up our teaching pool. We have had a couple of referrals from the ward mission leaders so that is nice that we have some names to track down and hopefully start teaching. It helps us so much. So that was our past week. Not too much exciting happened in Hurricane. We have had a lot of rain for this area. Where I am at had no problems, but apparently some areas around here had flooding. But nothing severe. A lot of rain here is like an inch. You can really tell it is a desert. 

I do want to say congratulations to my Brother and Sister-in-law on the birth of their newest daughter. She is adorable and I can't wait to meet her. I bet she has 2 proud bigger sisters too.

Well I said we didn't have anything exciting happen here last week in Hurricane. And that is true, but I would have been lying if i said nothing exciting happened last week. So on Saturday we had a mission conference up in Salina (that is about 3 hours north of Hurricane). And the only reason we had a mission conference is because David A. Bednar requested to come and speak to our mission. So all the missionaries down here in the greater St. George area reported to the visitors center at the St. George temple at 5:00 am and hopped on a bus. We drove up to Salina and met up with the rest of the mission and had a 3 hour conference with Elder Bednar, his wife Sister Bednar, Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and Sister Clayton. It was spectacular. Just to be able to feel the spirit there and have to opportunity to ask him questions. He got up and talked for a little bit, then turned it over for a Q&A. He started by asking us questions about the talks we were assigned to read before the mission conference. Then he allowed us to ask him questions. And he would inquire of his wife or Elder Clayton and his wife if they wanted to answer. It was an amazing experience. Afterwords we were able to shake his hand and at the very end we got a mission Picture of the entire Mission, Elder Bednar and his wife, and Elder Clayton and his wife. So when I get a copy of that I will make sure to send it along. It is not everyday you get to have an experience like that. 

Sorry I don't have any cool pictures this week. But I love you all! 

-Elder Valentine

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 4

I know, I know, it is Tuesday, and yes I am sending out email on a day other then P-day, but its ok!
Yesterday was Labor Day so we are supposed to do it today. Because we had no way to do it yesterday. 

So this past week was a little slow as lessons go. Here in Hurricane they have what is known as Peach Days so they shut down one of the streets in town and have what I guess you could call a festival. So that was Friday, and Saturday. So The whole town just about was there. We had a few appointments those days but most people just canceled because they forgot it was Peach Days. We actually ended up going down there and getting dinner. Everyone was trying to give us free food. We were stuffed beyond belief. During the actual week we had a fair number of lessons. We have been trying to find more investigators, so we went out contacting a lot of people. We have some appointments this week that we set up last week from those contacts. So we will see how that goes.

Last Thursday we had President Center come out with us to our appointments. He had to interview my companion for his temple recommend renewal because he is going home soon. And he had to interview one of our investigators for Baptism. The investigator in question ran away from his family when he was 15 but comes from a polygamist family so he has to be interviewed by the mission president and then a general authority. So we are trying to get the ball rolling on that. When we find out more I will update you all on that. It is something that we actually see quite often here. There are quite a few people who run away and come here. 

So yesterday for Labor day we had some members invite us up to their cabin near Kolob reservoir to go fishing. Their cabin is in a private community with its own private lake. We were at an elevation of 8800 feet so we were just driving up and up and up for awhile (Hurricane is at 3400 feet) We got up to their cabin and went straight to fishing. I caught 5 rainbow trout. 3 of them were a decent size, but the other 2 were tiny so i threw 4 of them back. I had one on my line that was bigger then the rest but it ended up snapping my line and getting away. While we were fishing though a couple of Osprey and a Bald Eagle got in a fight above the lake. That was the first time i have ever seen a Bald Eagle in the Wild that close. But I will talk to you all next week. 

I love you all and will have quite the update for you all next week!!

-Elder Valentine

The Fish and I