Monday, July 28, 2014

Words from Elder Garrett Davis at the MTC (Thailand)

"well week 2 has definitely been interesting:) one this for sure is that i am tired of mtc food sometimes i just dont want to eat and well i was grabbing some fruit and there is a huge glass panel over the food so when i was grabbing the fruit this panel just explodes for no reason and of course it has to explode right when i am standing in front of it and glass just goes everywhere and i of course have a guilty look on my face like i didnt do anything but everything was alright i had some cuts but no one was injured pretty funny though and so loud every turned and looked at me it kinda sucked and on the language note i now have two different teachers so hopefully i learn twice as fast but with the lord everything is possible:) and i see sister brown everyday at least 20 times which is pretty cool haha reminds me of home everytime but i have my fingers crossed that this week will go jsut as well love you guys

ps i figured out why missionaries love letters so feel free to write me:)"

Words from Sister Kortlynn Herring in Japan

"This week was a good one! Um, to keep
everything straight in my head, I will take you through my week. Been
a long time, ne!

Monday-pday, normal stuff, email, cleaning, and good stuff. We taught
Yasuko, but I told you about that last week, it was great.

Tuesday- we did smile Dendo and it was great! Then we went and
visited less actives with a member. Takayama Shimai is awesome!!! I
love her! She of course took us out to my favorite ramen place. She
is great! Then we got to visit a less active, named sato Shimai, who
we are visiting again today. She needs help, she doesn't realize how
far she is falling, because she isn't doing all the little things. I
have such a strong testimony of personal prayer and scripture study.
So important!!

Wednesday- we did some finding and Facebook, followed by eikaiwa! I
love eikaiwa, it's so fun, and such a great opportunity. My white
hand board hand writing has gotten better, lol!

Thursday we were able to teach Wendy, Hiroko, and a less active. So
great! Wendy gets it! It's kind of fun teaching someone with a
testimony of Jesus Christ, she just needs to understand the
restoration and how important it is. That's not quite clicking for
her. But she is doing well. Hiroko is awesome! I love her! We
talked a lot about faih. She wants to do what is right, but she is
really nervous to take the step of baptism, because she is afraid it
will be to much if a change and she can't go back to her previous
life. But I adore her! We also had some weekly planning. We also
had a great zone meeting, we got new pamphlets that will really help
us when teaching!

Friday- we taught Wendy and Hiroko again! Yay! We got a referral from
Wendy and ended up teaching her, and setting up another appointment
for this week. She is from Thailand. Cool! And Hiroko San is
awesome, had another great lesson, just trying to strengthen her and
help her have more faith. Followed by ping pong and music night.
Sang a hymn I had never heard before, loved it!

Saturday- we did some more smile Dendo and talked to a lot of
interesting people. 2 were um, well let's just say it was a bit
awkward. Then I talked to a kid who was super Buddhist, which was
refreshing. Japanese people say they are Buddhist, but know nothing
about it, and he actually had faith, which was cool. Let's just say,
I got to learn a lot about Buddhism. He was super into us, and he
wanted us to convert. He actually converted from Christianity to
Buddhism. Rare, yes! But we were able to talk a lot, and teach him
the Plan of Salvation. All in all great! Then we took a member a
birthday present and got to meet her daughter who isn't a member, and
invite her to a dinner we were having that night and get to know her
better. So cool! Crazy miracle that we were able to meet her!

Sunday- wonderful church. I got to translate in Sunday school for a
member from New Zealand. It was hard, but kind of fun. I loved the
teacher, so it was fun saying things the way I think she would say
them in English. Then we got to so see fireworks with fusako San, a
PI and eikaiwa student. The fireworks were great, and I will send

All in all a great week! This work is true! I love being a
missionary! And Oyama is great! I love all of you! Thanks for the
examples you are to me! Keep it up! Love you!"

Words from Elder Jake Zieler in Canada

"Hello family and friends!! week one in Canada has been good, but will take some getting used to! my companion is from Boston and he's really cool! he was originally called to Vancouver Spanish, but then got called to be my trainer and open up a new area in English. our area is West Vancouver. we've been working really hard and every door we've knocked on has been at least over $2 million. the most expensive one we've knocked on was not anywhere under $40 million. the work is hard when you try to tell a multi millionaire that we have a message that can bless their lives. but its all good! for every house we knock on here, there's a baptism in Mexico or Brazil:) we still don't have our own place to live so we've been staying in North Vancouver with two other Elders. I feel bad for everyone there because I eat a lot more than them and the food goes pretty quick! but they're really nice about it. working out in the mornings is pretty tough when we only have 30 minutes but I guess i'll just have to get used to it. Yesterday we knocked on some lady's door and had a very interesting conversation about how she believed that dogs were God. it was weird. when I was dropped off at the airport, I though I got on the plane to china! but it turns out, i'm really just in Hong Couver. so many Asians!!! anyway, I hope everyone is doing good and please send pictures and let me know how everyone is doing!! oh and if you'd like to send letters or packages, send it to PO Box - 149 Point Roberts, WA 98281-149. its way cheaper and I think a little faster haha so thanks!! love you all!"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Words from Elder Kyle James in Germany

"So, let's get down to the Nitty Gritty. On Tuesday Morning at 3:30, we wake up and prepare to leave. We check in at the travel office at 4:30, and then board a bus to SLC. We leave SLC at 8:25. We are flying American Airlines flight 50. At 12:00, we will Arrive in Dallas. We have a long lay over. 3:55, we leave Dallas, Straight to Frankfurt.

The first 2 days in Frankfurt are crazy. We get off the plane and board a bus that will take us to the mission office. On the way, we are supposed to contact people. There, we will have Orientation and Interviews. Then, we will have dinner with President Stoddard. Then, we will stay in an apartment. At 6:30 Thursday morning, we wake up and prepare. 9:15, we meet our new Trainers. At 11 we travel to the train station, and at 12 we travel to our new area, via train.

Yesterday, we learned about Adjective Endings... and that is SCHWER.

In English, we have on word for 'The'. In German... There are like 16. 16 different The words. So yeah. haha

So we only have 6 days left. FINALLY. Things are winding down here. We skyped German members last Thursday! It was crazy. They live right around our mission. We taught them about Joseph Smith and I froze up. haha. "That was not the Language that they taught me at the MTC". My German SOUNDS good. I'm really good at using my throat with CHT words.

So, I really am struggling with a Sister in my district. So, I prayed that I would have a chance to serve her. I prayed for anything that would help me not dislike her. Sure enough... 2 days later, she was sick. I was putting my jacket on a wall peg, when she asked ME for a priesthood blessing. My companion did the oil, and I did the blessing. The Lord blessed me with a chance to serve her. She needed a blessing, not for her, but for me. There is NO way that she would have asked me for the blessing if I hadn't prayed for the opportunity. Well, the next day she was running around playing volleyball and she hasnt been sick since.
That is a miracle if I have ever seen one.

So, at the Mtc, I have discovered the power of prayer. Prayer works wonders. Also, we need to pray for charity everyday. We cant just force ourselves to have charity. We MUST pray for it. It is a gift from God. So Please, pray for charity. Find the best in people. Love everyone. Pray always.
I love you all! Good Luck in everything!! Stay good. Be good. Smell good.

Auf wiedersehen!"

Words from Elder Trent Jensen in South Africa

"FROM ELDER TRENT JENSEN – country: Lesotho--Durbin South Africa Mission July 20, 2014

Mabali M. might be my favoritestest baptizee ever shes been a member like 6 weeks and yesterday she brought a girl she just barely met to sacrament meeting, we had a lesson with them last night, we asked her what she expected from us and she said she wants to be a full baptized member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints... she said from what she has seen, there is no way its not true. we taught her the restoration and she said i want to know everything and i want it now! i dont want to be a damned soul! i want the happiness you have to offer. by the way, how long does your churches marriage last? i asked her what she ment. we hadnt spoken of eternal marriage that i was aware of. she said she could just feel that we could make marriage last forever.

yeah i was kinda freaked out about this point. ive never been in a lesson like that where the person already knows the doctrine before we teach it. i asked her if this doctrine sounded familiar and she said yes but she knew she hadn't ever heard it before on earth. her wording is so wonderful. we taught her about the veil of forgetfulness,and she said that it feels very thin. it was like we were teaching a member! that was the crowning moment of my week.

i went on exchanges with Elder Matlala, in Maseru on Wednesday and Thursday. hes a month out on mission and it felt weird to try and train when i myself was in his shoes not 4 months ago. where is the time going? 6 month mark is august 6th! not possible! wow. Unreal.

i taught a member about the history of the country and the constitution and of scouting. he was impressed. it came about while i was doing a "good turn daily". taking out the trash for a truck shop. i also found a couple of improvement eras dated july of 76 and oct. 62! old old old. the 62 one had an article on scouting

so the (stolen) coat thing, the guy walked up to me and said give me your coat. i was shocked to think he would ask me to do that. it was cold. he had a knife but it was still in his pocket, so i told him no. he moved toward me and him being quite a bit bigger than me i thought it better to acknowledge his request rather than possibly be locked up in jail for self defense for a while, (the law would be on my side), i totally could've whipped him too. he was drunk he was about my height but weighed another hundred pounds of muscle more... i could've done some thing if needed. but im a representative of Jesus Christ so im not to be the aggressor. I hope he enjoyed the Book Of Mormon that was in the big pocket."

Words from Elder Jake Zieler in Canada

"week two has been great! it has gone by so fast! and Garrett got here last wednesday and he's staying on the same floor as i am so i go to his dorm every night and we have some great conversations! i fly out on wednesday around 11 am, and i'm way excited! my testimony has grown so much here, and honestly, that was a huge reason why i went on a mission. times have already been a little tough, but the feeling of love that i get, as well as all of the other missionaries here, for the investigators we teach is just something that you don't get every day. it's really amazing teaching people what little i know about the gospel, but seeing it change their lives is something i can't explain. i've been working out the best i can, but thats not saying much haha its going to be extremely hard saying bye to my companion and the other elders in my district. we all get along so well! there's this elder in my district that is from Jamaica and his name is elder Mahabeer. over time i've learned a little about him and he's such a humble guy! i just recently learned that he was in the Jamaican Military and he has the strongest handshake of any man i've ever shook hands with. so last night my companion wanted to arm wrestle so i did, and i beat him. after that, elder Mahabeer challenged me and i said ok. it was a stalemate for a solid six minutes until he beat me! you would never guess the strength of this kid by looking at him or by how humble he is. he's been a great example to me and i promise by wednesday, i'll beat him in arm wrestling:) thank you all for the e mails! please keep in touch!!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Words from Elder Tyler Crosby in Tonga

"This week has been another good week here in Tonga. Last week we had a Zone meeting with President Tupou and it went really good. I always learn so much when he teaches. Then after the meeting we got to have interviews with him. That went really good. Its crazy the power and authority mission presidents have in helping missionaries. Every question or concern I had he answered it perfectly. It really is a blessing to have him here and his guidance. The work is going good. We are still doing a lot of finding which is always fun for me. Its work, but I really enjoy it. I have really gained a strong testimony for the Atonement this week and how through hard times if you stick to whats right and trust in the Lord then it will end up for your good no matter the outcome. I love and miss you all.

Ofa Atu! Lots of Love from Tonga"

Words from Elder Ryder Nielsen in the Phillippines

"Things are going well, i have settled down pretty nice in my new area of Makati. My companion is Elder Clarito a Filipino from Mindanao Cotabato. His native language is Tagalog which was very surprising to me because that is the first Filipino companion I have had whose native language is Tagalog. It is very apparent when he speaks, he speaks very pure tagalog. I thought this would be a great time for me to master the language having some one who truly understands the language but not so. One of the first thing Elder Clarito told me is that he does not want me to speak to him in Tagalog at all only in English. I wanted to protest but i humbly submitted to his request. He wants to learn English well before he returns home. So we have been speaking English together but of coarse we still teach and preach in Tagalog. My new area is very strange. One part is nothing but poor people struggling to live each day and then the other part is RICH beyond RICH. The rich part is called Global City. When you enter global city it is as if you left the Philippines and have arrived back into America. We are doing well together. As far as the Typhoon goes, you think it would be a big deal here but the fact that the Philippines gets hit with 10 to 20 typhoons every year honestly it hardly affects anyone. Its kind of a "been there done" that kind of attitude and i believe that is why many people died in Tacloban because they had never experienced a storm that strong. The Typhoon hit us at 10 a.m. on Wednesday but we received notice from our mission President Tuesday morning. We were told to cancel all our appointments for that evening and be home in our apartments by 6 pm. So even though the typhoon didn't hit till the following day we were confined to our apartments Tuesday night until Wednesday afternoon. The winds were very strong but like i said people here don't take it that serious. We looked out our window and saw many people walking around in the storm! Some riding their bikes, motorcycles, and cars as well. So we have not been doing any service really because no one was affected badly. We are all safe and sound. The Church will always play on the safe side. Sounds like things are going pretty well back home. I recieved the package and yes i did share the socks. I got to run mom i love you take care!"

Words from Kortlynn Herring in Japan

"Hello! How is everyone? I'm great! First off, thanks family and
moores for the letters. They made me very happy to hear from
everyone. Such a cool missionary experience Abby and Aunt Stacie! So
cool! Isn't missionary work awesome! And amazing what miracles
happen when we just open our mouths and invite! This week was good.

A lot of people cancelled our appointments, but we were able to still
contact them. Right now is summer festival season, and people leave
and go everywhere, but we still had miracles. One is when we were
doing something that we call smile Dendo. We have a board that says
smile on it, and we ask people to smile, and they think it's weird,
because we are obviously not Japanese, and asking them to smile, so
they want to know why. Way effective to find new people. You prob
saw the pic on Facebook, but while we are doing it, a lady saw us, and
passed by, came back, asked to take a picture, and we were able to
talk to her and get her contact info. Her Facebook post just
described what we were doing and how it made her feel. She said that
thanks to us, she went from having a bad day, to one of hope and is so
grateful to have met us, and can't wait to see us again. So cool!
Then another guy took our picture and put it on twitter. When people
get to know our name, and how Mormons and this religion isnt scary,
but full of happiness, more people will be willing to talk to us. A
lot of Japanese people have a bad image of religion. Like for example
I was having a pleasant conversation with this lady, explaining what I
was doing, and when I told her I was a missionary and she looked at my
badge, she started panicking and saying how scary churches where and
how dangerous religion was, and walked away and wouldn't let her
friend finish talking to me. It's so sad. But it's also so amazing
to meet those people who are prepared and know that this something
worth learning about.

Wendy is still pretty sick, and her daughter is on summer vacation, so
it's hard to meet, but she is doing well. We weren't able to meet win
Hiroko San this week, but she came to eikaiwa today, so we were able
to set up something for this week. We just had a lesson with Yasuko
San. She is awesome! I love her, so much! In fact I taught her what
awesome means today. Hehe! She just wants to know everything. Her
problem is that she can't decide what God to believe in or pray to.
Today we were reviewing the 1st vision and asked if she had any
questions. She asked if the God that Joseph smith saw was Zeus.
That's a bit of a difficult question. Hehe! But she is like I said
awesome, and progressing great!

Mom, to answer your questions, yes we are still doing eikaiwa.
Everywhere you go in japan, they have an eikaiwa class. This last
Sunday we went to a dinner with like 4 different families from the
ward. It was so fun! I'm finally to the point where I can
participate in adult conversation, and answer quickly back to sarcasm.
It was so fun! One brother named kawaguchi kyodai was making jokes
about me getting married and what not, and just being super obnoxious,
he is great, and I think you would get along with him really well dad,
anywho I was able to play along with his jokes and joke back, and his
wife said, I need to learn from you, you're good! It was cool,
because, I still can't speak Japanese very well, but looking back to
where I was a year ago, when dinner appointments scared me because I
didn't have a clue to what was going on, to now be able to
participate, is way fun! So yes, we have occasional sinner
appointments. The Oyama ward is awesome! There a couple of young
families with the cutest most chubbiest babies ever! And I love them!
Every ward is different and has their strengths. Oyama members are
so willing to help the missionaries. We go out with a member once a
week and visit less actives, we have other members call us and ask if
they can help, or if we have time to visit a friend or less active
with them, it's just great! My time here has gone by so fast! I feel
like I just got to Oyama, but I have been here as long as I was in
Okegawa. It's, great!
I LOVE Sister Carrasco! She is so sincere, and probably one of the
kindest companions I have ever had. We met some great people this
week, and I'm looking forward to another great week her in Oyama.
It's getting super hot and humid and rainy. Getting flash backs of
the disgusting person I was last year. So sweaty! But, it's weird,
I'm almost use to just being wet. Yuck, but true! Hehe, glad you are
getting a taste of humidity Chan!

Well, I love you all! Hope you have a great week! Keep on being
amazing! Just know that this work is amazing, and we are so blessed
with the knowledge that we have. Share it, always!

Stay dry, and hot! Hehe!"

Words from Sister Eevanna Brown in South Carolina

"What a wonderful week! So Floyd's baptism..... AMAZING! So beautiful and President and Sister Turner came and there were 47 people there!!!!!!!! Wow, it was just perfect. I felt so so happy. Still do :) And Michael and Kendra came too. Kendra is a member and Michael is her boyfriend who wants to be baptized and is very elect. We just have to work out a few kinks, please pray for them. We taught them earlier Saturday afternoon at a member's home with their family. One of the coolest lessons ever. The kids are a little autistic, but very intelligent and kind. They basically taught our lesson for us :) they were perfect. It is amazing what happens when you teach in a member's home and have their family gathered around a precious soul is striving to make huge changes in his/her life. They just lift them up.

Ft. Jackson yesterday... :) so I had the opportunity to teach Pvt. Hodge (a girl) before church the Restoration and the 4 commandments we teach and she REALLY wanted to be baptized but she was only 17 and she needed permission. So we quickly went to Sister Larsen, one of the senior missionaries and she called Pvt. Hodge's mom for her (soilders aren't allowed to during basic) and she did not answer the first couple of times. Sacrament meeting had started and Sister Larsen came in and said her mom said yes!!!!!!! Hooray! So we snatched her out of the meeting after the Sacrament and interviewed her and she, along with another soilder I helped teach got baptized!!!! Heavenly Father provides miracles when we show our faith.

I love y'all so much and y'all our in my prayers each day. Keep on keepin' as they say in the South :)"

Words from Sister Elese Hauser in Illinois

I am about to burst with news! This week was so very full and
eventful! Like, WOW! Probably the craziest week of my mission by far.
Well transfer calls came on Saturday. We got the text saying we would
be getting a call so we both thought Sister Clayton would be the one
leaving and we were so sad! Well then the phone starts ringing. And
it's from President Fenn, that means someone is going to be called to
leadership. So I answer the phone and he tells us that Sister Clayton
will be staying in Pekin and getting a new companion. And I will be
transferred to Elgin, and be a Sister Trainer Leader. I don't think my
jaw has ever hit the floor so hard. I wasn't sure if I should scream,
do a dance, poop my pants, or cry. So I pretty much just sat there and
stared at the wall. There are no words to describe my emotions. For
those of you that don't know what a Sister Trainer Leader is or does,
let me fill you in. So a Sister Trainer Leader is the equivalence of a
Zone Leader. We only have 2 companionships, so four in our mission.
They do many things like give trainings at zone conference, go on
exchanges with 12 or so companionships in a transfer, work in the
mission council, and pretty much help coordinate or supervise the
work. So..... I'm pretty much scared out of my skirt!! My new
companion will be Sister Bird and she is so wonderful. She came out
with me and I just know we'll get along so great! The positive about
this is that i will get to do exchanges in some of my old areas! I
will get to go to Belvidere and come back to Pekin. Oswego is
unfortunately not in the area I'll cover, but I'm excited to see my
old areas for a day even if it's just for 24 hours! So yesterday in
church they had me give my departing testimony in sacrament meeting,
which was weird because I only gave my opening testimony 4 weeks ago!
It's very different only being in an area for 6 weeks instead of my
normal 6 months! I will really miss Stinkin' Pekin with old men riding
their bicycles through McDonalds but I hear Elgin has some characters
too! I am going to miss Sister Clayton so much! We have become such
good friends and had so many experiences in the past 6 weeks. It's so
weird only having a 6 week companion... It seems so short! So many,
many adventures lie ahead of me. I have been brought to my knees in
deep humility that The Lord would choose me, I have no idea why He
did, but I am so grateful that He qualifies who He calls. I know that
I will be stretched and pushed in so many ways and will continue to
become the person Heavenly Father wants me to become. So transfer
meeting is tomorrow in Naperville and we have to get up at like 4:00
am because it's so far away! So prayers would be nice:)
Well, even before Saturday night we had a crazy week! We went over to
Catherine's on Wednesday and she was on date to be baptized for this
past Saturday. So we asked her how she was feeling about her baptism,
kinda expecting her to want to put it off because she's still living
with her boyfriend. Well she shocked us by saying that she was excited
and ready! We were like, what about the whole marriage thing?! She
said that John was ready to be married and they'd talked about it a
little bit and he was softening. So she was sure he'd be on board. So
we had 2 days to plan a wedding and 3 days to plan a baptism! Now can
I freak out?! So luckily Sister Clayton wants to be a wedding planner
so she was thinking of all the details planning it out. My two cents
were "If we can just get some bails of hay to sit on then we don't
have to be worried about chairs!" But for some reason they didn't like
that idea, I have no idea why:) So we started planning on Wednesday
everything from Christmas lights to marriage licenses and the cake. I
now fully understand why some people take a year to plan their
wedding, 2 days is just crazy! But Catherine wanted something simple
anyways so that was easy. Well we were praying like crazy that John
would be 100% on board. Unfortunately, on Thursday he told Catherine
that marriage was a joke and he never wanted to get married. He
refused to talk with her any more about it and said some other choice
words. We went over right after he had left and I've never seen
someone to broken. Here is this 20 year old with a 4 month old baby
girl and the man whom she's lived with doesn't want to get married.
And when she threatened to move out, he didn't even stop her. It
became very clear to her that she would have to choose, join the
church and leave her boyfriend for good, or stay with him and never be
baptized. Without even thinking twice she knew what was most
important. Catherine was not baptized this Saturday, but she is
currently living in the spare bedroom of their house and is looking
for a job to support herself and her baby girl. She will move out as
soon as she can stand on her own two feet. And she WILL be baptized.
Ladies and gentleman, this is why we obey the law of chastity. In this
world today sexual relations are very relaxed. But I have witnessed
first hand what happens when you disregard the laws of God. He has
told us to refrain from sexual relations unless married for a reason,
it's because He simply loves us. Breaking the law of chastity will
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS lead to heart ache, broken homes, broken hearts,
and loneliness. Alright, I'll step off my soap box now and stop
So other random news, I went and got a hair cut today. I chopped off 6
inches of hair!!! It's the shortest it's ever been but I love it so
much! It was getting very long and hard to do in the short time we
have to get ready. Plus it's summer and it's humid and I was ready for
something really different. So that's that.
I feel like my mission is not at all what I expected, but it's exactly
what I need. When I accepted my mission call I truly had no idea what
was ahead of me. And there have been many times on my mission when I
have thought "This is not what I signed up for! I did not agree to be
a wedding planner, a family psychologist, a marriage counselor, and
many other things!" But I know the Savior said the same thing. He wept
in the garden of Gethsemane, wondering if there was some other way. He
cried "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:
nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39). The
Savior had no idea what He had signed up for either. I think many of
us think that same things several times in life whether it be a new
parent, marriage, or job. Heavenly Father definitely pushes us. And i
also know that the gospel of Jesus Christ holds all the answers for
us. To every question, problem, or concern you've ever had, the answer
is in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I want you all to know that I love this gospel. I know that The Lord
is in the details of our lives. I know that I needed to serve in Pekin
for 6 weeks because I learned valuable lessons here that I wouldn't
have otherwise learned. I know that we can all put our trust in The
Lord a little bit more. Do you truly believe that God lives and that
He loves us? If you don't, then find out for yourself. The Atonement
is real. Joseph Smith is a prophet. I love you all and I will forever
be grateful for your support to me over the past 13 months and for the
next 4 months. I pray for you all and I hope you have a great week!"

Words from Elder Garrett Hollembeak in West Virginia

"This week was a really great, productive week. We set up a booth at
the county fair outside of Lexington and talked to people about family
history and the church tour that we do. One of things that I noticed
is that people listened to about as much as you would tell, if only
for a short time, so if we went in with the intent to just give them a
pass along card and then send them on their way, that was about as
much as they wanted to hear. In the same manner if you walked up to
someone with a copy of the Book of Mormon in your hand and then told
them about it and invited them to read and pray about it, they
generally were receptive. Funny side note, our booth was set up right
next to the Virginia lottery people which we got a kick out of. It
strengthened my testimony that people will receive what we are willing
to give as long as we are giving it in sincerity. Nobody really wants
to accept a half-hearted offer to do a service project regardless of
how much they may stand in need. Sincerity was a chief attribute of
the Savior, there was nothing that He offered to do that He did not do
to the utmost of His incomprehensible ability. Thank you for the notes
from your talk, they were really good. I'm doing really good on
things. The weather here changes pretty quickly and it doesn't get too
hot, thank you so much though. I hope you guys have an awesome trip,
be safe and tell everyone that I love them and give them a big hug for
me. I love you and thank you for everything that you do for me."

Words from Elder Eli Frazier in the CCM(MTC) in Mexico City

"All is going well here at the CCM! Thats what they call it here instead of
the MTC. The food is okay but nat as good as mom and dads cookin! Im just
glad i finally made it to pday! i plan on being online to email tuesdays at
7 o clock your time just so you all know. were two hours ahead of you guys
here in mexico. were in dead center of mexico city so its very loud all the time with trucks and horns and fireworks! or maybe gunshots im not sure
haha:) i have some pictures but this computer isnt updated enough or
something so ill send them when i can! hope you all are safe and miss and i love all you guys!"

Words from Elder Garrett Davis in the MTC

"well week 1 at thge mtc and its going good its a little different having somone with you 24/7 but i guess if they are like you it doesnt really matter my companion and i are pretty chill so day one they threw me in a class with a teacher speaking thai which was crazy then we just kinda did that for the rest of the day. thursday we got up went to class teacher still speaking thai which is crazy friday rolls around after a long two days of nothing but thai and scipture study we figure out that we have to give a lessson in thai and all we say in the lesson is that God love you and we love you and tried to bear our testimonie but in other words it sucked. saturday comes and we teach her again except this time its a 20 miunte lesson and we asked about her family and taught her about God and Jesus Christ and how to pray and this is all being said in thai. i was thinking what was the one day difference between 5 to 20 minute lesson well hard day of trying to learn thai and lot and lots of praying for help and praying for the gift of tongues which i know you have heard itouver and over i didnt believe it but now i do its crazy how this place can do that i mean it still blows my mind:) so i would definitely call week one a success now onto week two which i am more excited for and ps i see sister savannah brown everyday she is in my zone i eat lucch with her some times and jake i see everynight in the dorms:) kyle every now and then youll cant wait tolk to you soon"

Words from Elder Tyler Johnson in Kansas

"This week was an awesome learning experience for me both threw studies and going out to work. we had been praying for the opportunity to find someone to have the desire to follow Jesus in the footsteps of baptism . the start of the week was ruff, we worked all day and prayed for the chance to find someone prepared, but with all the people we had planned to see, each day 1 by 1 they were not home! It got super frustrating! It also didn't help returning home with no success calling all the missionaries in the zone to help them with their success when we were struggling ourselves. Each day we woke up we would get ready spiritually and be ready to leave and declare the gospel. Again 1 by one people not home, doors slammed in our face. It drained us physically to where we would be completely quiet walking down the street kicking rocks thinking of what we might do to help a family. opportunity's came for service but no success with teaching. My thoughts were going so fast thinking, if only these people knew how much joy this gospel would bring to them. Being the person that knows the happiness this message contains only makes it harder when people wont listen. Threw this experience I learned heavenly father was testing our faith and diligence. Finally at the end of the week yesterday, threw all of our hard work we ran into a man that accepted us to come in, the power of our message was so great he accepted a date to be baptized. Threw all of our hard work and labor in this great haste, we were led to someone that had enough faith to learn about this gospel! I know threw our trials when we feel like we should give up its only a trial of faith. How much does this matter to you? are you willing to fight till the very end? I love the challenges our father in heaven puts us threw I know and testify threw our righteous desires at the end of our trial we receive an understanding as we look back. Then comes our knowledge that this work is true. To be a member of the church we have to go threw and feel a part of what our savior felt as he was here. salvation was never easy. if any of us desire to walk the path of Jesus the learning can only come threw pain and sorrow in order to experience the eternal happiness, peace, an illumination of light that directs us to a far greater life, something that our flesh cannot comprehend. what a joy it is to know that our savior is right next to us and to feel his love as we endure righteously. I know this gospel is true! I love my family so much and would do anything for all of you. I pray that this message will touch all of you. I just cant wait to see all of you again"

Words from Elder Jared Anderson in Brazil

"Dear Family this week was great. We had a baptism Sunday and it was so great! His name is Aleksander he is an investigator unlike any other, i am so thankful for his example to me. He completly gave up everything to be baptized. We are finding lots of less actives which is really good and the work is going forward! Love you guys!"

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Words from Elder Tyler Johnson in Kansas

"thanks dad, and it is a great day to be a missionary! guess what my mission president is going to let me train for my last 13 weeks! Boooh ya! im going to help him become the best missionary ever! there is no time to waste. no time to paste while your running in the haste! got to find the elect and press forward invite all to Christ and to repent. to correct with sharpness and after show an increase of love. I was born in Florida....but I grew up in Kansas! this is the mission dad where all dream of. the heartland of milk and Honey. truly favored of the lord and we will serve him with all are heart might mind and strength! I love this mission!"

Words from Sister Heather Patterson in South Carolina

"Well, I was transferred to a small town named Walterboro. My area is huge but there is just a small Branch here. Its ghetto...literally. The Branch is so cute. There is so much poverty here and it is so humbling. I absolutely love the people and the Branch, but I am a little overwhelmed at how on earth the Lord thought that I was the one of the missionaries that should come and help these people. It has helped me desire to be a more obedient and better missionary. And I am excited to try my hardest and wait for the Lord to reveal his arm. I gave a talk in church yesterday. The second one in my entire mission (success) and they asked me to talk about what excites me about my mission. I chose to talk about change. I love change, and I love repentance. I talked about how just coming on my mission wasn't enough help me become a better person and missionary, it took work and repentance and change, and I related that to how just coming here to Earth isn't enough to prepare us for life after death. We need to constantly be trying to stretch ourselves and do things that we normally wouldn't do. My favorite thing to ask myself is, "Does it help me develop faith in the Savior," if the answer is yes, then I should do it. lol :)"

Words from Sister Kortlynn Herring in Japan

"Hello! Chandon, just a comment, you are spoiled! The 4th of July in
D.C! Wow! Ok, that's all! I can't wait to compare our missions
though, it sounds like you are tearing it up! Anna, you too! Crazy
cool miracles! Sexy rexy, you 3! Wow, cool that we are all
missionaries! Anywho, this week was great! I LOVE Sister Carrasco!
She is way cool, and we just laugh. Her Spanish is already way coming
in handy! For example, the other day we were housing, and in japan,
you push a little ping pong thing, usually a camera, and they say
"hai" or yes, and then you talk. Well, we ping ponged a house, and
the first thing we hear is "si". What the?! I'm in japan, right?
But Sister Carrasco just tore it up and was able to speak Spanish with
this lady from Peru. I bet the lady was surprised too! There are SO
many people from South America here! And now, being able to be with
someone who can communicate is great! We also were really able to
help Wendy, and a couple of recent converts/less actives this week.
Aunt Steph, I'm Pretty bummed we can't skype anymore either, but thank
you so much for all you did! By the way, Wendy is pretty sick, please
pray for her to be able to get better, so she can again begin taking
the lessons, and get baptized. She really wants to get baptized, but
she has been In And out of the hospital :(. Poor thing!

We also had a couple of great lessons with Hiroko and Yasuko San.
They are great and progressing. We did a lot of walking, while
waiting for Sister Carrasco's bike to get here, but it was great, and
we talked to a lot of people. I really love working here in Oyama.
The members are so great! We went and visited a bunch of less actives
that live way far away with Takayama Shimai, and afterwards had dinner
with Kosaka Shimai. By the way, grandma carol, I have a favor, do you
by chance have the music for "when Christmas comes to town" from the
polar express. Kosaka Shimai is learning English, and she loves that
song because she says it reminds her of Christ. If there is anyway
you could send the lyrics and sheet music, she would be over joyed.
She also wants the lyrics to the Christmas song, if you could send me
those lyrics mom that would be great.

It's been pretty hot and humid lately, but so wonderful. I have been focusing on the greatest lesson I have learned so
far, the power of love. When we have love, everything else works out,
and we are happier. Perfect love casteth out all fear! I have really
felt Heavenly Father and Christ's love for the people I come in
contact with, and when I focus on loving them, everything goes better,
and I find myself happier. I'm so grateful for this experience, to be
able to come closer and just fill myself with this love. I'm so
grateful for all of you, and the love that you have always given and
shown to me! I love you all, and hope you have a fantastic week!"

Words from Elder Herring in Washington DC

"ok well Kort i now finally understand what you mean when you say that it is hot and humid. I as you all know sweat a little bit... well here is it A FLIPPEN TON OF SWEAT!!! I never stop. but anyway. i am so happy to hear kort is doing well. can someone email me anna's and rex's letters. that would be awesome. Well Monday, We had Pday and had one appointment with a less active named Anita. She is awesome and is actually starting to make a lot of progress. we have her committed to come to Church and FHE on Tuesdays. Maaybe even Bible study. We also got that referral for a lady who wants a blessing and to be baptized. We met her on Sunday and she is.... umm off her rocker to say it nice. We could not really understand her and she was blabbling about being cursed, demons, Roman Catholic Church and Obama are out to get her etc. So we will try to help but we dont know. She counts as a new investigator so we are happy.

Tuesday My last day with my trainer Elder Thornton. I was moved to be with the DL ELder Fuller. Nothing bad happened i was reunited with Elder Thornton the next day it was an exchange. We had fun. We went out and i got some good ideas for us to try. He gave me a great example of how to teach the first vision. I am going to try it. They key is just be super slow and direct. but it is cool.

Wednesday This was the day of the exchange. We started with lunch with Harold who is a convert of 8 years and is the #1 fan of missionaries. he is not even in our area and he fed us lunch. We had a great day and i had a ton of contacts. We had an awesome lesson with a guy named fred. He is a LA and has a lot of struggles. He is making progress but he will not keep half of his commitments. We then went to ward coordination meeting which is always a good meal. I also in study came across a great quote by President Uchtdorf, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." It is awesome because we will all have questions that we cant find answers to for a while and many people over here leave the church because of it. it is sad. But we are doing our best with the LA.

Thursday My one month mark. Wow is it bad if i counted that? i still have a ways but i am sick and tired of saying i have been out for so and so weeks. I like saying months. i feel more experienced. but i am still a greeny. it is weird having the second youngest elder in the zone be my dad. the two greenies. We served Elsa who only talks to us for service and it is super hard to et her to listen to us talk. We met with Luna who makes us delicious juice. It is so good!! that is our favorite place to go on a hot day. It started to rain tho when we were talking to her so she gave us an umbrella to use. That saved us.

Friday. We left our house for only like 3 hours today because we had a lot of study time and then weekly planning which is 3 hours itself. along with comp inventory and all that stuff. we had a successful little clean up to. Mom would be so proud of how clean our room is. It is so nice.

Saturday. A day of miracles. Not only did i get my temporary bike fixed but i almost got hit by three cars. My breaks dont exactly work so it is hard to stop going down hill and my momentum of 280 lbs. I found a new favorite talk. it is by Pres. Eyring in the April 2010 priesthood session called, Act in all Diligence. I loved it. oh ya other miracle. We had an appointment cancel so we decided to go visit a new investigator. One who we met when we went to go talk to a former. We saw the former and needless to say she is now probably our most solid investigator now. :) There was a huge series of events that made it come together. Tell me God is not in every detail of our lives and in this work? He IS!!

Sunday. We had service and fed the Raybacks Hawaiian Haystacks as a thank you for being super awesome and so dependable. We are their top priority to help. So it is nice to have. At church tho we finally got Elsa to come and she hated it. we are not sure why it was a testimony meeting because the ward took a trip to the Hill Camorah pageant and they bore powerful testimony of the Restoration and Joseph Smith. The spirit was incredible and i guess she just missed it. too bad. we will keep trying tho.

ok so Elder Thornton is getting tired of Handel's Messiah. shocker huh. I am enjoying listening to The Garden as well but needless to say he is just tired of my music. it is fun. We have a super clean room and apartment and it is awesome. I am eating a lot of bananas, oatmeal, burritos, Casa Salsa :) , and lots of jone. it is all good. Jone is a word they use here for stuff. I like it but it is weird. Well I love you all so much and I know that God loves you more than that. He is in everything we do and will always help you and answer your prayers. Remember Pres. Monson's quote, "Always remember that God loves you. He loves you whether you deserve it, if you are worthy of it or not. It is simply, always there." I know that is true."


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Words from Elder Lamar & Sister Sarah Jean Gray in Dominican Republic

2 Nephi 29:7 “Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?”

We have been on one of those isles of the sea for over a year now.  How blessed we are to be among these people! They are accepting the gospel and love being members of the church.

A couple of months ago about 120 saints came from Jamaica. Most of them had never been to the temple, so they were coming for their own endowments and they had been researching names of their ancestors so they could do the work for them. It was awesome. One of the main reasons it was enjoyable for Hermana Gray, was they speak English! We understood each other. Some of these saints had been saving and waiting for 20+ years to come to the temple. You can only imagine the joy in the temple that week. They really needed to be here longer. After they had been here a week, they still left over 1000 names to be done by others.

The entire week was a reminder of the many blessings we take for granted.

Our mission is different because the people who come to the temple have already been converted. In the temple we perform ordinances for those who are no longer on the earth, praying that they will accept the work being done for them.

Elder Gray is the president of a branch, Los Llanos. Hermana Gray teaches the keyboard class which can now play and lead all of the hymns in sacrament meeting. This is a major accomplishment! A couple of students still play with only one hand, but all students are progressing.

For Mother’s Day we took small potted flowers to the sisters in our branch. It was not much, but they were so appreciative. Los Llanos reminds me of St. Johns. They are off by themselves, away from the big city, and often have to rely on each other.  The kids ride horses down the streets sometimes driving small herds of cattle and men are milking cows in corrals along side the road. One huge difference is they don’t have to irrigate. One man, who lives in a different area, said he planted his grass in l978 and just has been watching it grow every since. They get several cuttings every year.

Today was a special day is our little branch. The new East mission president and his wife (President and Sister Corbitt) came to Los Llanos to visit. While he was there he also interviewed 8 missionaries.

As missionaries everywhere we are learning more than can be imagined.

We are meeting so many wonderful people here. We are privileged to be with temple workers everyday—full-time temple missionaries and the Dominican workers and the patrons. We also meet the senior missionaries who are serving with other callings: humanitarian, lawyers, public relations, institute, PEF, record preservation, medical, office, welfare, auditor, presidents of missions, MTC, temple, and the Area Presidency. Of course the members of the Los Llanos Branch whom we love so much. All have opened their hearts and homes to us.

We do enjoy reading everyone’s contributions.J We have watched most of you young missionaries grow up and we are so proud of you for the work you are doing to further the Lord’s Kingdom on the earth.

                A few weeks ago we met this young, wonderful, humble Hermana Hamblin from Round Valley. We heard she was here and we were eager to see someone from the White Mountains. She and her companion had lunch with us one day. We asked her if she would speak to us if she saw us at a Round Valley/St. Johns game. She said she might wave to us if it was dark. J J

We are so grateful for Jesus Christ, for the sacrifice He made for everyone, so we can repent and return to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ; and for the great plan that families can be together eternally.

Love to you all,

                Elder y Hermana Gray

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Words from Elder Garrett Anderson in Brazil

"Well i hope everything is going great back in the states because it is going really well here. People are crazily obsessed with the World Cup here but i am loving it! Everyone dogs on the U.S. saying that they arent very good but it seems like we have been holding our own right now. Last week we watched the Brasil vs. Mexico game and it was a tie, 0-0. It was a super exciting game, but at the end a bummer because no one scored.

Anyways, on to missionary work. This last week we had our mission president's farewell. It was a sad moment,to know that the president and his wife are leaving, who have cared so well for us and put the mission at the center of their focus for 3 years. We get a new mission president on the 28th from the Washington, President Lundgrim. It will certainly bring new changes to the mission and to our lives as missionaries but i really do look forward to this change.

This week has been a great one. We have been looking for new investigators so we can mix up the investigator pool a little. New investigators means you have to talk to everyone about the gospel. This has been an eye opener for my companion and I because we realize that everyone says they follow Christ, but in the moment of truth, they are few who TRULY follow Christ. We learned this last night as we visited a less active member who was baptized 7 months ago. We discovered that she doesnt have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. This is a difficulty considering that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. She has many questions or doubts that she wants to be explained by logic and proof, rather than searching by faith. We read with her and her two daughters (who are active members) Lehi's vision of the tree of life, 1 NE 8. We pointed out the difference between the two people who arrived at the tree. Group 1:

"24 And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.

and group 2:

"30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.... 33 And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not. "

The difference between the two groups is 1., group 2 Continually held fast to the rod, and 2. heeded them not. We have the chance to meet many many people each day, to help them come to know Christ, truly know Him, but there are few who accept this invitation. As my companion and i talked about this lesson on the walk home, we understand more fully that no one can earn our salvation for us. We have to hold to the iron rod with all of our strength. We have to use the word of God to help us in our daily lives. "I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? -Elder Jeffery R. Holland Missionary Work and the Atonement " The path we have chosen to follow when we entered into the waters of baptism is meant to turn us into disciples of Jesus Christ if we endure to the end. Not that the path was ever easy, but that it will be of eternal worth to us when we finish this journey. Everything will be required of us so that Christ can truly turn us into a masterpiece, that in the master's hands we can become His greatest work. I love you and have a great week.!"

Words from Elder Ryder Nielsen in the Phillippines

"At this moment i feel on such a spiritual high. The main reason being we just got out of a temple session. I absolutely love the temple it always gives me a spiritual boost. I love the Manila Temple it is so beautiful. This week was good. Our family that we have been teaching (Alfaro Family) was interviewed for their baptism this last Saturday and they all passed we are all excited for their baptism June 28, 2014. They will all be baptized except g\for brother Fransico due to word of wisdom problems but we continue to pray for him and are in high hope that he will be baptized this coming July.

I just received the last letter from my mission President, President Stucki who will be going home June 29. June 29 President Ostler will begin presiding immediately. I am so grateful for the time i have had to serve with President Stucki he has changed my life in so many ways. His example will have an impact on my life forever. I will miss him dearly. With that said I am excited to begin my service with President Ostler and Sister Ostler. They will be accompanied by their youngest a young man of the age of 14 years old. I forgot what his name is but when i heard that i was shocked what a big change in the life of a 14 year old boy he might be a future Apostle or som thing growing up in an environment of mission life.

My companion and I are refocusing our efforts on finding. Our teaching pool has been suffering due to some of the trials i mentioned in my last letter but we are not discouraged we are full of hope. I testify of the power of the Atonement in every aspect of our lives. I am grateful for the blessing of the Sacrament each week and the blessing of the Gospel in my life. I am grateful for every experience the Lord has granted unto me on my mission. I am grateful that i am a full time representative of Him. I know God is our loving Heavenly Father, I know Jesus is the Christ, and I know that the fulness of truth and light have been restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. What wonderful truths we have in our lives! I know these things are true. I love you mom take care until next week."

Words from Elder Kade Garner in Peru

"So this week was just about the same as last week but with a few new experiances. From disappointments to weddings to good personal studies. It was just a fun week to say the least.
As you all know we have a couple that we have been working with. Hermana Marisol and Hermano Ricardo. Well the hermano is a returned missionary that got home and started fornicating. He got his girlfriend pregnant and then they never got married. It is a mess to say the least. Well, we have been working to get them married, him reactivated and her baptized. This week we accomplished one of those goals. They got married! We went to the wedding and before we had taught them the Word of Wisdom. Hermana Marisol was going to get married on Friday and baptized on Saturday but we told her that if she drank at her wedding she would not be baptized. After they were married the tradition is to do a toast... non religious weddings are so dumb... I am going to get married in the temple. Well, they made the toast and we were anxious to see what was going to happen. The hermano did not drink but the hermana took a sip. You should have seen the look her husband gave her when she did it and you should have seen her face when she realized what she had done. In that moment her chance of getting baptized disappeared. We were sad, but hey there was nothing we could do. We are just going to work extra hard with them this week and be a little more direct when we teach.
This week I was still a little bummed. As zone leader all the pressure to have baptisms in the zone fall on your shoulders. Well, this month the zone did not do too well and for the second time in all my time in Peru I had a month without a single baptism. It has been so hard. We cannot find people and the people we do have are not progressing. I have just felt inadequet.However as I was studying the scriptures I came across a parable that I really loved. In Luke 17 Christ gives the parable of the inprofitalbe servant. He talks about a servant who works all day and at the end of the day is ready to rest, but when he gets to the house his lord tells him that he must serve the dinner. The man has worked all day and feels he deserves a rest, but he cannot because of his duties to his lord. He also feels like he is not capable of doing all that he has to do and that he does not profit his lord. The parable reminded me of a talk by Elder Eyring. He spoke about Priesthood duties. He said that when he feels the desire to rest but has more to do for the Lord he knows he must do it. At times he feels like he cannot or that he is not profitable to the Lord, yet he still does what he is asked to his best ability. I thought about that a lot. That is how I have felt a lot lately. I sometimes do not know why I am here if I am not a profitable servant of the Lord. I feel like I cannot have the success that the Lord wants me to have and at times I am tired and just want a break. Then I began to the of the only true and perfect servant of our Heavenly Father... the Lord Jesus Christ. He did everything he was suppossed to do even when He was tired and He did it perfectly... He was a profitalbe servant of His Father. I then thought about how that could help me. Christ did all that He was asked because He knew that at times we would not be able to do all we are asked to do. He makes up for what I cannot do. Though I may feel at times as a unprofitable servant of the Lord I know that if I do all that I can to do all that I am asked and if I do it with our looking for some recompense from the Lord (like a good rest) Christ will make up for what I cannot do and I will be a profitable servant of the Lord.
I am greatful for the Atonement. I am greatful for all it does for me. I am greatful that although I am not perfect I can be made perfect through Christ. I a greatful that Christ came to be the only true profitable servant because He knew that we would not be. I am greatful for my disabilities which teach me how to become better. I am greatful for the hard times we have in the mission that teach us what Christ suffered for everyone of us. I am greatful for the success I have had so far in the mission that was given to me by the grace of my Heavenly Father. I am greatful for a family that loves and supports me. I am greatful for the mission that has taught me how to truly love the Lord, my family, the Gospel, and my neighbor. But most of all, today I am greatful for being an unprofitable servant.
I love you all and I love being a missionary. We will talk very soon. And thanks Mom for sending the package we will see if it gets here. Also Taytum we almost never meet with the other missions so it is very unlikely that I will ever see Elder Frazier. Until next week"

Words from Sister Elese Hauser in Illinois

"Happy Summer Days!
Another week has come and gone. It was a full and busy week with
plenty to do! It's still as hot and humid as ever but I've just
accepted it. In these weekly emails home I try to provide some humor
because we all need to laugh a little bit more. And the life of a
sister missionary is as awkward and hilarious as anything out there.
And I also try to inspire you all to rise to a greater vision. Whether
that be a greater vision of missionary work or any other gospel
principle. I want you all to know that I am so grateful for the time
you take to read these emails and the responses you give back to me. I
know that The Lord is in the details of our lives and that He is
perfectly shaping our mortal experience.
So here is the humor story of the week. Last Monday we went and
visited an 90 year old less active member. She's lost most of her
hearing but refuses to get hearing aids because she doesn't want to
accept that she's lost her hearing. My companion failed to inform me
that we would be yelling the entire lesson. And when I say yelling I
mean it's a good thing I had so much practice yelling from the
football stands each year or my voice would have given out! She asked
me to say the opening prayer and before I could get started, Sister
Clayton whispers, "You have to yell Amen!" So I start the prayer in
what feels like the most un-reverent manner with my voice reaching the
heavens. I figured since I was already yelling I wouldn't need to say
Amen that much louder so I close my prayer "in the name of Jesus
Christ amen." When i look up she had fallen asleep in her chair!
Sister Clayton saw this coming so all of a sudden she yells
"AAAAMEN!!!!" Like she's at a basketball game and not in a house. All
of a sudden this adorable sister jolts awake and mumbles an amen. She
looked at us like she hadn't missed a beat and we start the lesson.
Well the lesson we had planned she couldn't hear the video, so we went
to plan B:) This same experience was repeated for the closing prayer
and when we left my voice was hoarse for the rest of the evening.
We met with Catherine this a week and she hasn't smoked any more! She
wasn't able to come to church yesterday though because she got sick.
She's pretty much our only progressing investigator right now because
we are in a big finding stage.
The biggest news of the week came in the form of a talk given by Elder
Russel M. Nelson. Maybe some of you have seen it but it has a lot to
do with recently baptized members of the church. In Preach My Gospel
the method was that the missionaries would teach the first four
lessons before baptism and then after baptism the members would slowly
take over in teaching lesson 5 in Preach My Gospel. Well because of
low retention rates in the church, this has been changed. Elder Nelson

1. Missionaries will teach “Lesson 5: Laws and Ordinances” in chapter
3 of Preach My Gospel both before and after baptism. Formerly, the
lesson was taught only after baptism.

2. Mission presidents will actively teach and reteach the Lord’s
standard for baptism, as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants, section
20, verse 37. “Two phrases are particularly important in preparing the
investigator for the covenant of baptism: ‘having a determination to
serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have
received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins.’ …

3. “When possible, missionaries will work closely with each new member
for at least three to four months after baptism and continue to keep
close to them for at least a year and hopefully for many years and
even generations. …

4. “Missionaries will take the lead in reteaching all five of the
lessons in Preach My Gospel after baptism."

So it's not a major change but I can see why it's necessary. In Pekin
the retention of recent converts in the church is sadly low. Many
recent converts who were baptized a year ago have still not received
the new member lessons. And as I was studying those who have and those
who haven't, all of those who had continual teaching and contact after
baptism are still active. Those who did not have fallen away from the
church. I know that this comes from the lord and this is part of
Hastening the work. I am so grateful to know that being a member of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a life long
commitment and we must endure to the end.
This week I also made the official decision. After much prayer and
fasting I will for sure be coming home on November 26th 2014. That is
the day before Thanksgiving and so you all better plan the best
Thanksgiving meal ever:) And I expect the whole family to be together!
No exceptions:) I assume I'll fly into Skyharbor but you'll get my
travel plans a few months in advance. It kills me to write those
words. In my mind I just feel like I'll be a missionary forever. But
all things must Come to Pass, as the scriptures say over and over
again. Now that that's out there, I don't want any of you bringing it
up in your emails! I plan on serving with my whole heart and I don't
need any of your willy nilly comments making me trunky. So I ask of
you to please not mention it. Please and thank you:)
I hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July! We have to be in by
7:00 PM and are not allowed to watch fireworks so I will let you all
enjoy them for me! Stay safe and I love you all!"