Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 10:46 AM
Well, since last Monday it has been pretty weird. First off, getting a bike is a laborious process, well not really, but when business is slow, then yes, it is. It doesn't make any sense, but it's been seven days since I went bike shopping and NOTHING! Buuut now I have a lot more advice on the subject from GP and Uncle Craig via mom, so it'll be super easy now!
We taught our less-active family on Monday, and Michael did not stay for the lesson :( which meant our fast didn't work... BUT! It did, kinda... The Lord taught us a new battle plan for how to handle the situation. Ok, battle plan sounds wrong, but we are trying to kick satan out of the room and keep michael in it. Hopefully our lesson tonight goes MUCH better! But last week our lesson was going to be on the Atonement, and on the forgiveness aspect to it, but it evolved drastically. We went from the Atonement to how God is always there for you directly into repentance and then into the power of prayer and why it is so essential, so we ended up talking about prayer and building our faith, and all of this because of the Atonement. It is just another testimony to me that the Atonement really is the M.I.T. (Most important thing) and without it, there would be absolutely no point to ANYTHING, and NOTHING would be worth doing. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the Atonement. God wouldn't just ship us off saying "See ya never, good luck storming the castle!" If he knew none of us could/would come back, because we wouldn't be able to, and for someone who's work and glory is to bring to pass the "immortality and eternal life of man" it wouldn't make sense for him to ship everyone off to h e double hockey stick ;) Anyways.
There was a 100 year of scouting presentation that was done on Tuesday, and we ended up going to it, so we could fellowship the scouts and the leaders, and because it was a stake thing. It was a presentation broadcast from Salt Lake City. It was very very cool. When I sang in the MTC choir, our director was Brother Eggett, and when I sang in the devotional for President Utchdorf at BYU with Braden, Brother Eggett directed us, and while in the MTC, Brother Eggett told us about the 100+ cub scouts he was teaching to sing the national anthem. I was super confused then, but in the middle of this program (it was like a theatrical performance IN THE CONFERENCE CENTER, it was cool) 100+ little tikes in blue uniforms mob onto the stage and start to sing. The whole program was super cool. Gave me nostalgia something crazy. If that is improper usage, then what I mean to say is: it made me miss being a scout somewhat. I really miss going camping with the scouts, the night games, and all that wonderful jazz of being a scout. I just wish that our troop was more united in the aspect of wearing our uniforms. If any of you guys from my troop ever read this, know that I appreciate ya'll making me feel like an idiot everytime I wore my uniform and ya'll "forgot" yeah, bologna! Lol OH!!!!!!! AND THE PEOPLE WE HAD DINNER WITH oops, sorry, I'm to lazy to backspace right now haha, but when we had dinner on Tuesday, it was with the Bangeters as in the highway in Utah (I can't spell it), and guess what? They know the Johnsons! Like Doctor Johnson from our ward! They had a picture of their family on the fridge. I was freaking out! Sister Bangeter went to Timpview high school, and once she said that her school won state football one year (may have been her senior year) I told her that I knew a guy who had caught the winning touchdown, and yuuuup, once I said Joe Johnson, everyone exploded. Anyways! It was cool.
On wednesday, we had district meeting, and practiced teaching the restoration, putting the atonement in EVERYTHING. The first practice round I failed at, because I tried to apply an idea that one of the Zone leaders had given me the previous week that I had never tried, BUT guess who our "investigator" was... yup, that zone leader, so I HAD to apply it so he would think I learned something from him ;). My "companion" for the exercise was Sister Hann, from Scotland. Yes, she sounds like she could be from how to train your dragon. haha! I love her voice! Anyways, we evaluated and then went to teach again. Second time was KILLER! Oh man we were on fire! We fixed the issues we had had (jumping the gun on the five principles and ended up at the saviors life and ministry and completely left out the prophets and dispensations... this was fixed for the second time). Anyways, great district meeting, and we ended up playing some speed at the end. And the two sister missionaries in my area slaughtered. Really though, there was a time when it was them two left, and niether of them missed for seven shots, then when one missed, the pressure built so the other one did. We were all wide-eyed, minds blown. It was from a random point on the three pointer line. It was crazy. We met this lady named Connie, who religion has kinda beat her around her whole life. We were walking up this road, and I saw her, she was raking leaves, and I asked Elder Peterson if we could go help her out. So we crossed this treacherous street to go help her, and it ended up she was only clearing out the flower beds so her husband could suck up the leaves with his riding mower and not suck up the flowers. Pretty straight forward, but she didn't need any help, but we ended up clearing up a lot of misconceptions she had had about the church. She had never been to the LDS church because she was afraid, but she had been to every other one in the book practically, and had run into trouble. The lady has had a rough time. She had read the book of Mormon, but hadn't prayed about it, but because of time, she said she would go re-read and pray, and if she felt anything she would contact her LDS neighbors who help her out all the time. I know, it wasn't the most efficient challenge/commitment to leave, but she wouldn't have anything else at the time, and we didn't want to appear pushy. It'll work out, because we got to share our beliefs which made sense to her, and she almost agreed to come to church. We'll give her some more time before we check up on her. But this lady is SO READY FOR THE TRUTH! Hoo-rah!
On Thursday (Halloween) we went to go back to visit a lady we had planned on teaching, we had tracted into her home on Sunday or Monday? One of those, but her son was almost late for school so imma say monday, but she was super busy, her kids were going nuts. She said she would love to hear our message and to come back on Wednesday after 3, well we showed up at 3 and she wasn't there.... hmm, but we have been back, but it's been crazy, that poor lady lol, she really does want to hear it (really though, she does). We are going to bring her neighbor with us (who is a member) so that'll be good. It was Halloween, so we ended up having to be done tracting and talking to people on the street by 5 o clock. Which was fine, because we went to the trunk or treat. We told people what we were going to dress up as, so they could recognize us, but I did some serious vampire make-up. Jk, we dressed up as Elders, but when my companion wasn't looking, I swapped our name tags :) It was great! Just like we were back in the MTC. It sure confused the members who knew us, but it showed who REALLY knew our names. We went back afterwards and ended up eating dinner with the Sister missionaries in the Carsten's home. Then we had a great time. We had a poop cake for dessert. It looked super gross. I'll send pictures after I get my camera (forgot it again) but oh man it was gross! We used a cat pooper scooper to scoop the cake onto our plates. The "cake" looks just like a cat's litter box. Eww. But, there was a lady we did service for the week before who had given us this cookie-brownie pan. Basically brownies on the bottom, and super delicious cookies on top. One of the most unhealthy things I've ever eaten, but one of the most delicious, anyways, we had this pan, sooooo we made THEM a poop cake and brought it to them. They did not know what to think. We told them we had lost the pan, and the Carsten's didn't know it was theirs so eventually they gave it to the cat, so we handed the pan to her and told her we were too grossed out to clean it out. They were appalled. And then I pulled out the scooper and said "You might need this" and then they were super weirded out. But then we laughed and described that it was actually a cake. High-lar-eee-us. Oh man! Great gravy train! (I found that I say that these days, and yes, train, not tray, I have finally collapsed... it was on Sunday that I finally snapped).
Well, on Friday we went to teach a less-active named Cody. This guy has been burned by sister missionaries something awful. They flirted to convert him, and after he was baptized one of the sisters was going to marry him after she got back, but once she left for home, she disappeared. Re-surfaced again, apologized and said let's get married, then disappeared again. What?! I don't know, it was very sad, and very confusing and a little frustrating. You don't flirt to convert, sheesh! But anyways, now the guy is super prejudiced against LDS women. He talked about his life (oh btw, his apartment was decorated with the greatest things I've ever seen, it was suuuuper cool, and he burnt incense... that was strange, but it really cleared my head, it was all Asian themed. Super sick.) and we got to know him. Hearing about why he is where he is and why he is hesitant to change broke my heart. I almost cried on 3 occasions. Being a missionary allows you to feel of God's love for people in bursts. It is reallly hard to predict, and really hard for me to manage. I asked him what his relationship with God was, and he went on about how they were basically old friends ish. Ok, basically my understanding is essentially this: God is an entrepreneur who had a plan to make us happier. So, Cody doesn't believe God is his father. He believes Jesus Christ is his son, but that we have no relation to God. He has given up. He is settling for a lesser kingdom because he wants to be with his friends. He is overthinking everything so much, but the fact that he gave up, and the only reason he won't try to pick himself back up is he doesn't want to date an LDS woman killed me. I felt the immense love God has for him, and how sorrowful he was at this man's giving up. I did my best, and I didn't cry. But at the end, we gave him a challenge to pray more and Cody's favorite part is when we give him reading assignments (interesting...) so Elder Peterson gave him a chapter in 2nd nephi about praying always. And I added a challenge to pray about if God really is his father. To ask what his relation to him is. But before this I bore a very powerful testimony about our potential and God's love for us. It was strange. Everytime Cody said something I would flip to a scripture and put my finger in it. Then we would carry on. By the time we started wrapping up, just about all of my fingers were in some chapter of the scriptures in all the standard works, all testifying of the fact that God is our father, he loves us, and all that jazz. But once they asked what I wanted to add, I pulled all my fingers out of the scriptures, and let it close. They had asked me what reading assignment I wanted to add, and that's when I let go, and let the book close. They were kind of stunned, that I had spent all this time looking up scriptures, then just abandoned them. Well, they were good, and they taught a doctrine about our relationship to God, but it was NOT what he needed to hear. I felt it. He didn't need to hear it. He needed to FEEL IT! This was when my emotions blew up. I told him that I knew God was his father, and continued to bear a very powerful testimony of God's plan, his purpose for us, and that NONE of us are useless, NONE of us are "cast off". He feels like he is unimportant, and somehow I unleashed this slew of words saying otherwise. It definitely wasn't me, and I hope he felt something, because he accepted my challenge. If he comes to know God is his Father, he will instinctively want to pray (see bible dictionary on prayer) (and he also hadn't prayed in awhile, and not very often). After that we took a recent convert up to the visitors center at the temple. His soon to be baptized wife was sick and couldn't come. (he is 88, and she is 68, cool huh? That's like my wife wouldn't even be born yet................................) anyways, the sister missionaries at the visitors center are terrific, and the experience was great for Al. We brought him into the garden in the temple, and the spirit was amazing. The Sisters told him that once he entered the temple, he would feel like he belongs. Well, we all did. It was crazy! I've never felt that way before in the temple, sure, I've felt peaceful and all those other fruits of the spirit, but this time was WAY different. The Spirit was testifying to him that he needed to work to go through the temple and do the work for his first wife who had died. He was super excited. And boy I say boy it was a great experience!
Well, Friday night wasn't any less cool. We went to teach a family and found that the mom and the daughters had forgot we were coming, and had gone to a sleep over, but the dad's friend Daryl was visiting. They invited us in and Daryl told us his story, and how this family had been sharing with him the book of Mormon. He loved it, and somehow already knew it was true. He had been an atheist til he was 16, then apparently was "Saved" at 22 when he was told by God to straighten out his life, and now at 35 he was searching. He had never been to any church, because he doesn't really think that's his thing, but by the end of our discussion, he wanted to meet with us, AND he wanted to be there when we met with the family. This guy will be great, he still has a few things he is working on, which is good, he knows that smoking is bad for him, and he is trying to quit, AND who knows what he was smoking before we went in there. Sheesh I almost gave him my last eaten meal. No bueno... But when we left he asked us if we could pray, so we knelt down. He was like a child, he didn't know what to do. It was so touching. He first got down on one knee like he was going to propose. Haha, it doesn't really matter what you do, but he ended up on both knees, his fingers interlaced, and placed them under his chin. It was like a child's first prayer. It was so touching! Ah, it was a good situation. He asked us a lot of questions too, but I'll keep you updated on his progress, but he wanted to come to church to see how it was, but he had the flu, AND the dad had the Flu, both were super raspy, and the dad's asthma was not helping, niether was the smell in the apartment. Yuck lol.
Ok, Daylight savings was amazing :) this was Saturday, and there was a baptism in which my companion did the confirmation. No it wasn't a "convert" it was an 8 year old of the family we had been teaching, but Elder Peterson's old companion Elder Bateman and him had done most of the teaching, so Bateman came back and did the Baptism. It was sweet. We raked leaves at this other house, and it was very easy, despite the amount of leaves. It was fun too, which is weird.... Ha, that experience was strange overall, but I don't need to get into it. But at the baptism, Elder Peterson convinced me and Elder Ballard that Elder Bateman had traded his rain coat for the suit he was wearing off of a bum. Yeah I know, totes unbelievable, but this guy is as good a story teller as I am.... grrrr, and it was convincing, because I normally don't believe his crap, but Bateman is the kind of guy that would do it if it meant service, but he was wearing that suit at the baptism, and that's when I started thinking he was really weird. But the way Peterson was flipping out, we thought he was serious. No, no he wasn't. It was actually very convincing, despite the foolishness of what I have told you. ALL of you would have believed it, hands down. Because we had no reason not to, AND we were at a Baptism, so what are the odds of a cooky story being told? Apparently pretty high....
Well, we went to church yesterday. That was good, but our investigator had us go up to the stand with her to give her details on the stuff she forgot. She is the 68 year old wife of Al, the guy we took to the temple, and she bore her testimony about his baptism. It was weird, I felt like a body guard escorting her up to the pulpit, but Elder Peterson and I both ended up saying stuff after she did, so nobody thought it was weird... I think... Oh, and there is a guy in the Priest's Quorum who reminds me of Taylor Whitlock. They have the same interests, look and talk similar, and are basically the same person. But Taylor Whitlock is cooler ;) Well, we had crepes for dinner with the sister's at a members house and I shared the parable of the paper cross. It went well. and then we gave a member a blessing an hour or so later. It was cool! There were all of these little kids at the house because of a barbecue of marshmallows that was going on in the backyard, so I kinda got beat up a little bit. Well, my ears anyways, and they wrote in my journal! I showed them a journal I had gotten when I was baptized that looked the same as this other girl's and they wrote in it. It was fine though, we compared our handwritings. It was a pretty good day. Oh, but we went to choir... oh my that was strange....... Yeah.... I was singing the bass part very well, and carrying us, but afterwards she came to me and asked if I would sing tenor, because before practice I told her I could sing either. I don't know if she can't hear, or if she couldn't hear the tenors and the basses were too loud. Either way, pretty typical ward choir. Too many women, not enough men, and the men who were there are still learning to sing. It was hilarious. But the spirit was there, and they got better every time. Rather than learn to sing, it's learn to read music. This lady might have asked me to sing tenor because she heard my range. Yes, I know, crazy, but this missionary is gaining a set of pipes. But in the three songs we sang, I demonstrated a range of over three octaves, and I hadn't even sung the women's part. The tenor part got really high (not too high for head tone though, I think I did marvelous) and at the end of a song I popped down to a B flat below the bass clef. Ooooooh my it felt good ;)
Well, that's pretty much it for this week. Sorry I ramble so much. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions!
p.s. I saw a guy dressed up as Slender man for Halloween. Yup, reminded me of Cameron Raps! :)