Well, the weather is still great and so is the work!
Miracles are pouring in the east right now! Christopher was baptized on Friday! I've never seen someone so excited and so happy about the gospel. His mom came as well and even came to sacrament meeting for the confirmation and stayed all three hours. Now Christopher's sister, Ashley, has a desire to learn more as well. This week, she was hiding from us and wouldn't even come to the baptism. Her date for the 25th is now dropped. She also has some memory retention issues but is picking up on a lot in the lessons. I'm so glad Heavenly Father put Nick and Tiffany in our path in the past because now we know the teaching tactics for these instances. The gospel does bless families.
Aries is stoked for Thursday! He receives so many different confirmations that this is true. He got goosebumps as he watched the Restoration DVD. There's a few more Filipinos at church for him now to hang out with and fellowship. There should just be a Filipino Branch in the East already! Elder Mercado could be the Branch President... just kidding. He plans on going back to the Phillipines to baptize his family as well.
We received a referral from the media about a lady, Linda Baker, that had a member from Cardston talk to her about the gospel while she was at work. She had the most overwhelming feelings of peace and comfort as he talked to her and she took a Book of Mormon. As soon as she started reading it, she knew it was true. Her co-worker told her that Mormons don't believe in God or Jesus. Linda showed her the testimony of the 3 witnesses and said we do believe in Jesus and Heavenly Father. She's already a missionary! She said she would be honored to be baptized on March 3rd. She has WOW issues and is going to Jamaica for a week so her date is not in stone right now but it's amazing how the Lord places these people in our paths.
Carly has been reading on and off. She's also been cancelling on our appointments. She's getting her wisdom teeth taken out this week but we're praying our hearts and souls out for her. We still feel like there's some hidden concern that we're unsure about. The Relief Society is getting her visiting teachers which we're pretty stoked about.
Justin is moving along. He's reading on and off but is showing up at church regularly. He seems more focused in the lessons and we're praying that the desire will continue to build and build as he reads the scriptures.
Constance is still at the same spot. She loves reading and coming to church. She has a great fellowshipper and loves the people. She's getting better at keeping the Word of Wisdom. We worked out some steps for her to take so that she can stop. Her partner Henry won't sit in on the lessons. She has some fear about talking to him about marriage. We've got to find some way to get Henry to sit in so we can teach them both the beauty of being married.
Small and simple things bring great things to pass! Elder Harris got a phone call from someone with the wrong number, and asked that man if he would like to learn more about the church. He said yes and passed him off to us. We found 3 people in that home who want to learn more, one person was baptized 7 years ago and one of them is praying about being baptized on March 3rd! Ask for referrals from everyone!
Everything in the area is going great. I never would have thought that Elliston Park would be busier than the YSA Ward. We've got to find a way to manage both. The zone is doing pretty well. I just wish everyone was obedient for the right reasons, not because they're afriad of us rebuking them but because they love the Lord.
As far as me, well it doesn't matter about me at all does it? We're doing the 40 day fast right now. If anybody wantsin on this, do it. You just list out what keeps you from having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, make a covenant to stop doing those things, repent at night if you slipped up and re-covenant again. There's so many miracles happening right now. I love you all and am thankful for the prayers offered for us. The work is doing so well and I am so exhausted yet feel so great.
It is still so WARM outside! It's just gotta hold out till June and we're good. We had stake conference and our zone had 11 investigators there. 4 of those were ours and it was a great meeting.
Well, the week was good. Christopher is on date for February 10th and came to church again this week. He only has a few more lessons and then he's ready! The members are really key in the whole process because they're helping him out so much with rides and having fun at church.
Carly is having a tough time getting over her fears. She is afraid of what her parents will think so we will find out what to do either tonight or Tuesday night. I know for a fact she will be baptized in February, it's just a matter of what day.
Constance came to church again. Sister McConkey is the reason for it. It's a picture perfect situation of member involvement. She believes Joseph is a prophet and has already read 116 pages of the Book of Mormon (not the ones Martin Harris lost, although that would be legit). She did accept a date softly for February 18th. She can feel the Spirit and she knows that what we are teaching is true.
Well, the 3 leg is over. Elders Hawkins & Perez are going to Medicine Hat. I'm getting Elder MAHONRI Contreras! He is legit! He's from Guatemala and is hilarious! The weather was awful this week but has gotten better. I hope I get to stay in East Calgary forever.
Miracles are on the brink right now! Carly said she knows this is true and she is supposed to be baptized on Sunday. She's having a tough time getting over that step. Her family wants her baptized in the end of February but we know the Lord wants otherwise. We're having daily contact with her. We're doing everything in our power to see that she is baptized on Sunday. We're praying that she will use her agency wisely.
Carlin is losing interest. He's not showing a lot of interest in finding out if this is true. He's more interested in just picking up more information. It's like pulling teeth to find out his desires. He still comes to church and seems to like the social aspect of the church but not much the doctrine.
We picked up a new investigator from the North. His name is Justin. He's living common law with a member. It seems like he's just doing this for her. She is on the path back to the church but it's frustrating because he doesn't have the full interest level. We're thriving on their commitments and I'm glad that we've been trained on how to teach towards the commitment. I know that Justin has an interest in there somewhere. It's just a matter of the Spirit bringing that to our knowledge.
Christopher Baker went to church on Sunday. His mom has social anxiety issues. Chris said the only way he would go is if he could bring his Nintendo DS. We compromised. He came and the teachers told him to put away... He loved church! He talked to us about how he learned about the iron rod and wants to go back next week! His date is for February 10th.
Constance, who let us in for dinner last week, had dinner with us and Sister McConkey. They hit it right off. It was picture perfect member involvement. She came to church on Sunday and is going to get her husband to come next week!
It was fun with Elder Hawkins and Elder Perez. I'm amazed at how in just a matter of six weeks, a missionary can go from hating the work to being consecrated to it. Only the Lord knows how.
Well, the cold is here. The field is officially white and ready to harvest.
Lith is going through trials right now. She didn't make it church so her date is going to have to be rescheduled. Again, we look back and think, "What more could we have done?" We got members who offered rides and called her in the morning, we've had daily contact. Again, we don't give up but keep showing her that we love her and are going to stress the importance of commitments. She is ready to live the law of tithing and has been living the word of Wisdom. She is recognizing that Satan is doing everything he can to stop her from progressing. The ward is really excited in helping her out and inviting her to activities as well.
A date for Carly is just one lesson away. She knows this is true. She even called us and let us know how her Book of Mormon reading was going. She let us know that her dad is supportive of her being baptized but her mom is questioning the decision. Carly is going to bring her mom to church in a couple of weeks so that she can see for herself. Let's just baptize the whole family! She was at church yesterday and the lesson was on the temple. Tears poured down her face as the teacher taught about how our families can be together forever. It was incredible! The Spirit touched her heart. Matt is also okay with her being baptized by someone else. It's just a matter of him convincing her and letting her know the importance of it.
We had a sweet experience. We stopped by our former investigator. It was cold and windy outside and she invited us in. She was making stew and asked if we wanted to stay! We accepted and sat down with her. It was a good experience because we were able to find out her religious background and understand what we could do to help her. We read from the introduction to the Book of Mormon. Normally, we just read the 1st & last 2 paragraphs but when we were about to move on to the next principle, she said, "Wow, this interesting, can i read more?" She read the whole introduction. It was fun seeing the Spirit working in her. She didn't accept a date but invited us over next week for another dinner! It will be good to have a solid member with us when she accepts a date.
Well, the miracles are there if we want them. President Maher spoke at ward conference yesterday and asked the congregation, "Why are you here? Because it starts at one? You are all here to serve your Heavenly Father!" It was bold and powerful because there was so much love and truth behind it. It's something I know I could directly apply to me as a missionary. "Am I still out only because there's still 4 months to go? Or do I love my Heavenly Father and want to serve Him?" It was a good moment to refelct and find ways where I could come colser to the Savior. I hope we all are able to find ways where we can become more goal oriented and not so much task driven. The Lord's definition of achievement is constancy. There is no end or final task. It keeps going. There's no rest in the kingdom. I had a good interview with President this week. It's a comfort to know he is called of God and holds the keys to this mission.
Everything is going great! We had 2 baptisms in the zone this weekend and everyone is pumped for March! We have a goal to get 100 baptisms in March. We ask that you pray for us that we can have the faith necessary to achieve this goal and bring so many of God's children back to Him. We met with our district leaders and they're making plans to help our missionaries become spiritually tied to this goal. We definitely will get 50 in January. No doubt about that.
We've met with Lith this week. She is showing strong commitment. She is reading from the Book of Mormon but always cross references it into Arabic. She also speaks Dinka so we might be able to convince her to translate the Book of Mormon into Dinka. It's amazing how receptive she is to the Spirit. She knows it's true and she keeps praying and feels great when she meets with us. We've laid out daily contact to help her out this week to get her tied to the ward. The WML is helping us out which is sweet! She has WOW issues but knows that she can overcome them with the help of the Priesthood. She requested us to give her another blessing. She accepted a date for January 28th!
We ran into a Part member family, the Baker's, on Thursday. We were teaching the less active mom and her daughter. Then, her nonmember son, Christopher came down and listened to the Restoration. He felt the Spirit so strongly and he accepted a date for the 28th as well! Unfortunately, his mom has anxiety problems and can't be in a room with more than 5 people. Chirstopher was upset because he only wants to go to church if it's with his family. I don't blame him. We gotta pray for a miracle that Sister Baker can overcome her illness and rely on the power of the Priesthood.
We told you about the less active family that Elders Johanson, Perez and I tracted into. There's the grandpa, the uncle and his son (nonmember, age 14), the mom and her daughter that God led us to. We stopped by a potential and he wasn't home. We said a prayer that we wanted to find the elect and that we would not leave the area until our purpose was fulfilled. As soon as we opened our eyes, we realized we had already knocked on a ll of the doors. So we decided to walk around. As we walked, we noticed a row of houses we hadn't knocked on yet. We knocked on a few and then ran into the Harris's. Eileen thought this was odd because her daughter had told her that she wanted to go back to church 3 minutes before we knocked on their door! We're going to be teaching Lorne (the uncle) and his son this week as well. It's neat how the Lord works in small ways.
We were supposed to teach Lorne's son, Truman, but the appointment cancelled. We were driving and saw ambulances outside one of our members' homes. We stopped by and it was an old couple who was just sealed in the temple 2 weeks ago. The wife had a heart attack and passed away. The husband was in complete shock and his nonmember son was in tears. The husband called us all over and we had a prayer together. The Spirit was so strong and he thanked us for it. The nonmember son was so touched that we stopped by and showed respect for the situation. It was a different experience for me but I was amazed at how strong Brother Cervos held himself. He was so calm and understood that he would live with his wife again. I'll never forget that.
We're meeting with Carly tonight. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying. She feels good about it. We're stoked to see her accept a date!
The work is great. The elders are working hard. There appears to be less diligence in the zone about PMG programs. It's frustrating but it's also an opportunity to show charity and explain to the elders that if we want to be happy and successful, we have to listen to the words of the prophets. Now I know why the Lord repeats over and over again in the Book of Mormon that if we keep the commandments, we will prosper.
Crazy week! Such a good New Year! Congrats Nikki!!! All i can say is, "we told ya so!" I'm going to ask President on Friday if he already knows my departure date and if it is wise for you to schedule the date already. Grandma Slagle, Thank You for the toffee. I'm now my companions' best friend! I also got a letter from the Fisler's and Grandma Madsen! Thank you so much!
Good things are happening! We've been praying constantly for the elect in our prayers and we found one! Her name is Lith Akou. She is the aunt of a recent convert. She speaks Arabic, Dinka & English. She can also read those languages. We were planning on just teaching Rachel Saturday when Rachel told us her aunt would join in on the lesson. She told us she was laready a member. Lith walked in and the first thing that came to my mind was , "You better firm her!" I thought that was the most obscure thought that ever came to my mind. I put it off and tried to ignore but the promtping kept coming back & back. I thought this was insane. She's already a member!
At the end of the lesson, Lith started explaining about her background and we found out she wasn't a member. Mentally, I wanted to slap myself. Why do I always think I'm right? Why can't I be humble? Lith told us this was the 3rd time she had met missionaries and she figured God was telling her she should listen to us this time. Anyways, Elder Hawkins invited her to take the lessons on Tuesday but the prompting would not leave me. Lith asked us to say a prayer for her because she was going through a rough time. As I prayed for her, the things that were coming through my mind were things that prompted me to give her a blessing afterwards. I asked Lith if we could give her a blessing. We taught her about authority and how it is restored. We gave her a blessing and I asked her how she felt. The Spirit was in her heart and I invited her to be baptized on January 28th. She accepted.
We met with her again today and found out she has been struggling. She has been addicted to alcohol and feels that her faith is weak. We taught her the Restoration and she felt the Spirit so strongly. She read through the Arabic Book of Mormon. She said it was so clear to hear and she can understand it easily. She is committed to coming to scripute classes throughout the week and is ready for daily contact. She is golden!
We taught Carly again. She felt the Spirit so strongly as we taught her about the Plan of Salvation. She feels so peaceful when she prays. We knew it was important for her to pray at the end of the lesson so we prepped her boyfriend for this. Matt was encouraging her to pray at the end. It took 45 minutes at the end to get her to pray in front of us. Because it was taking so long, we invited her to pray and ask if she should be baptized... without a date. I was hesitant about this until she prayed and asked if she should be baptized on the 14th! I'm sure we all had the cheesiest grins on our faces but she is going to read everyday.
We are striving to find the elect everyday. We don't want to waste the Lord's time with those who are unprepared anymore. Elder Perez is doing great. We are still working on getting the elders 100% obeident. There is always something that pops up that frustrates us because of simple things elders are doing that are keeping them from being successful. We have trained everyone on being consecrated to PMG programs. Elder Perez is someone who is definitely conesecrated to those.
I love all of you and am literally exhausted every night because of our busy schedules. Thank you for the prayers. They are being answered through God's children who are prepared to receive the message. This is the most important message anybody will hear. My companions are great and we are having fun every step of the way.
It was good to be able to talk to you! It's always fun to hear your voices. I'm glad we were able to talk more about spiritual things this time. Our sacrament meeting was great because it was all focused on Christ. It was a good day... especially with the Chinook keeping it up above 0 C (32 F). It hasn't been winter yet!
It's been a good week. We picked up a new investigator this week. Her name is Carly and she is the boyfriend of a member in the Franklin Park Ward. It was a sweet lesson. Elder Perez and I emphasized authority in every single point. We knew we did this because when we asked her how she felt during the Restoration part of the lesson, she said, "It's nice to know that there's people with authority and not just for the sake of saying they have authority." Unfortunately, I don't think she connected the Doctrine of Christ with the authority. That's going to be our next focus. It's a struggle with her because she is pretty shy and doesn't like to answer questions. She does enjoy going to church every week which is a huge positive.
We learned a good lesson about the Holy Ghost and acting on revelations it gives us. Elder Hawkins was receiving promptings constantly about stopping by Shawn. We thought this was odd because the last time we stopped by, he told us we were over and he never wanted to see us again. The promptings to stop by him continued to press on Elder Hawkins' mind so we went over there. Nicole showed up at the door. We wished her a Merry Christmas and thought we should just go on our way. We walked away and Nicole told us, "Hey, Shawn wants to talk to you!" I thought, "Oh dear, we're going to get chewed out..." We went in and talked to him. He seemed really pleasant. Once Nicole left the room, he told us he felt terrible after we left and he wanted to call us but didn't have our number. He said he and his grandparents (who are on the other side) overcame the adversary and he wants to meet with us again. He said, "I kinda know that what you're saying is true so I'm going to give you a call once I have everything figured out."
We always have to act on the promptings the Spirit gives us. I also learned that we cannot fear. I was so afraid of what the result was going to be that it almost kept me from acting. As far as the zone is doing, everyone seems to be doing well. Elder Grbin is very enthusiastic and takes his responsibility seriously. Elder Johanson is doing the same. We need to help him out with comment sheets. Elders Woodard and Grodkowski are struggling with the 7 Days in their ward. We correlated with them and the Ward mission leader and developed a plan to help them overcome the opposition they're seeing. Strathmore is starting to turn around. Elder Angulo is pumped to work hard and with the knowledge that Elder Esplin has in the area, they're definitely going to get their goal of 5 baptisms.