Monday, March 28, 2016

Running on empty

Hola y'all!

We almost weren't able to email today because we almost ran out of gas, we didn't notice until it said we had 3 miles until empty. Miracles happen once in a while. When you believe.

Happy Easter everyone! It turns out that we don't just celebrate Jesus once or twice or a couple times, but we do it every year! That's because Christ's sacrifice is eternal and universal. We stopped celebrating Earth day after a while, but we still celebrate Easter, what does that tell you? That means Jesus is risen and has and will outlive even the earth. Ok I just read what I wrote and that doesn't make any sense. But basically what I'm trying to say is Jesus is a cool dude. He overcame physical and spiritual death and we can do the same as long as we follow his example. It turns out life IS easy!

But life can be hard. We had the opportunity to meet with a man who is going through a very hard time. I won't say a lot just to respect his privacy but he was laid off from his job and has no source of income, he has a ton of financial troubles and debt and very little money to his name (I'm talking $5 or less in his bank account), he's on the verge of losing his home, and much more. He's a smoker, and an alcoholic, and all his family has left him. The other night he was in a bad spot. He saw no way out of his troubles, and he decided he was going to take his life. That morning he said a prayer on his knees begging God to show him what he should do or the direction he should take in life. He said he was willing to give everything, as little as he has, in order to know the correct path. Later that day, when he was seriously considering pulling the trigger, a member of our ward decided to stop by. He asked if everything was ok and the man broke down. They talked for a while, the guy from our ward paid his electricity bill, his phone bill, gave him money for food (and cigarettes 😱😅😷) and offered to have the missionaries come over. So of course that's where we came in. We stopped by and had the greatest visit ever. This man is one of the most humble, faithful, kind, and loving people I have ever met. Plus he was super willing to listen to our message, which is rare for a missionary and always nice. He said, " God sent [his friend from the ward], and [his friend] sent you guys. I asked God this morning which way I should go, and here you are." Then I started crying cause come on I didn't do anything, he kept talking to us like we were angels but I know it's his friend that saved his life. But yeah we had an awesome lesson, and put him on date to be baptized for April 30th! So cool! Super hard to deny the influence of God in his life, especially that single day. He kept telling us all these things that I didn't even write that just reinforced it holy cow. 😇🐄

This week our new policy about no member meals unless there is an investigator or less active member there is goes into effect. We haven't starved to death yet and I doubt it'll happen ever. I may not be able to eat 3000-4000 calories a day like I was hoping, but I'll survive. Patience was an attribute I got plenty of opportunities to practice this week. On several days every single one of our appointments fell through, leaving entire days open and us not sure what to do. But we still found meaningful things to do every hour of each of those days! Loaves and fishes type miracles going on down here in the smaller Carolina 🍞🐟

Sorry I didn't write anything funny this week, I know that's a big part of why people like me so if you want to unsubscribe from these mass emails let me know 😁

Alright folks stay fresh and check out the bottom of this email for a picture of me holding a small bunny that will be slaughtered for meat in about 5 weeks 😱


Monday, March 21, 2016

Don't drive pizza-hungry

Hola y'all!

This week was too good! So first an update on the extra 50 miles a month for having the cleanest car in the mission: we still haven't heard back. We figured that meant we didn't win, but we texted Elder Mecham (the vehicle coordinator) a couple days ago and asked if they had decided yet and he said he was still waiting to hear who the winner from the Charleston zone was. We have a chance! Keep praying, preferably to Heavenly Father, but if you're Buddhist that works too 😊

South Carolina moment of the week: there's this intersection on the edge of town that the freeway exits into, and there's like a divider in the middle between the lanes. All these cars were sitting at a red light, and we were on exchanges so me and Elder Browne were with our bikes waiting to cross. Out of nowhere we hear this loud scraping sound and we see a lady DRIVING OVER THE DIVIDER and then she cuts right across all the cars that are actually in the lanes they're supposed to be in. It was the weirdest thing ever. We saw her face too, she was definitely doing this on purpose. Who is that desperate to get a little ahead of traffic???? She turned on the road we went onto, so we saw where she went. She stopped at Pizza Hut. I don't blame her. They've got an all-you-can-eat pizza and salad buffet for $5.99! All day long!

Transfers are this week and I am staying here in Simpsonville. No surprise, I'm only halfway through training. It's super pretty upstate in the spring. There are tons of trees of course and they're all green, but then there's these trees whose flowers bloomed this week and they are bright white. It's so cool looking, I tried to take a picture but it just doesn't look as cool. Springtime is here though! It was 80 degrees 2 days ago, and it's 48 right now. So that's fun, it's like Utah weather! One of the sisters from our district is leaving their little 3-pack, which is sad. They brought me sloppy joes last night and give us Advil so they hold a special place in my stomach. I don't think Sister Malo is taking the advil with her so it's not that b of a d.

Today is my 62nd day since I reported to the MTC, and my 48th day in-field. That means I have exactly 666 days left, no joke! 😱😈👿 Beware Satan's influence, it really is everywhere!

Elder Robison and I had a great week, we finally feel like we weren't just put here on accident! Replacing Spanish elders and essentially reopening an area is hard but we're finally seeing things pay off. We got a new ward mission leader and a bunch of new ward missionaries, plus a bunch of members are suddenly super pumped to help with missionary work! Heck yeah! There's one member in particular, Brother Buffington, who is a stud. His son just came back from a mission speaking Spanish in NYC and their whole family is awesome. He drove us around for hours yesterday trying Bible referrals and only got more pumped as time went on.

I wish I could write more or even think of more but I'm out of time. I guess anything I don't write in my emails y'all can just read in my journal two years from now because I haven't missed a single day. Lots of gross details for everyone to enjoi.

As always feel free to email me throughout the week and have a wonderful Easter. Remember Jesus was a big stud and he did a lot for everyone. The price has already been paid, we just need to take
advantage of it! 😁😁


 Sent from the Lord's iPad

Also I have attached a picture of my companion deep in thought

Monday, March 14, 2016

Saltar hacia delante y caer de nuevo

Hola y'all!

This week has been great. Simpsonville is cool. We managed to get down to Laurens twice this week! We're finally doing our jobs in the place we're supposed to do it in! If Gray Court is backwoods, Laurens is super ghetto. Like I almost stepped on a heroin needle while walking out of a Waffle House. Just kidding. Laurens isn't big enough to have a Waffle House. The heroin needle part is tru though 💉💉💀

We've had a couple policy changes mission-wide in the last couple weeks. The first is NO MORE TRACTING. We've got sort of a mission plan we're doing called the South Carolina Initiative. It's based off of something that the Boise Idaho mission did and they saw a lot of success. So we took the Idaho Initiative and just renamed it pretty much. The SC Initiative is the ward leaders prayerfully select less active and part-member families and contact them and set up an appointment to meet with the missionaries. The missionaries also take those lists of less actives, part member families, prospective elders, and unbaptized children ages 9-17, and they select people to visit as well. So we work together with our ward really closely, plus we work on helping and reactivating less active families. Then we ask for referrals from everyone. Plus generally less active people and part member families have more nonmember friends than active members do. In fact often times they are over at their house so we get to teach everyone! Hooray! So to further the SC Initiative we officially banned tracting, aka random knocking. We can still knock around a less actives house if they're not home and ask their neighbors a) if they know anything about their neighbor who is a member of our church and b) if they're interested in learning more. We find a lot of interested people this way apparently. So that's the first big change.

Second is NO MORE MEMBER MEALS. Active members can't have us over for dinner or whatever anymore. UNLESS there is a less active or investigator there so it's also a proselyting activity. So basically we're never eating again 😋😬 There are families that are feeding us a ton because they're worried about us haha. I don't think they realize we get money every month for food idk. We'll be fine though, I'm really good at making Velveeta and I eat the whole box which is like 850 calories which is a lot I think.

We spent a lot of this week worrying about our car. Like I've said before, we only have 1200 miles a month and our area is like 60 miles across so we burn through them REAL QUICK. But we had a Zone Conference on Friday and the APs choose the cleanest car in the zone and give them 50 extra miles a month for 3 months. So we basically turned into pro car detailers for like 3 days. We kept a bottle of Hawaiian Dream Febreze in the car at all times. We scraped dirt out of the door jams and around the gas cap. We took out everything and vacuumed the whole thing with a crappy church vacuum. We took it through a car wash twice and washed it by hand 3 times. WE WORE PLASTIC BAGS ON OUR FEET WHEN WE DROVE SO WE DIDN'T TRACK DIRT ON THE FLOOR. We needed these miles. When we got to the stake center in Greer we got out and did a last minute all-out cleaning session. Then we walked around the parking lot and inspected the competition. Our car was definitely cleaner than basically all of them. The only one that stood a chance was the STLs' car. And theirs is a 2015 and ours is a 2013. We probably had to do so much more work than they did. The zone conference ended and whatever and we just sat and bit our nails waiting to be scored. But the person inspecting our car was one of the STLs. Holy bias! Well it all ended up fine, we WON! We officially have the cleanest car in the zone, although I think the sister training leaders tried to choose themselves, because on our certificate, there were some names scribbled out and ours written above. But justice prevailed! The moral here is we will be judged righteously for our own works and not by the sins of others. Also there is a cleanest car in the whole mission award that gives some lucky companionship 50 more miles a month in addition to the first 50! Please keep me and Elder Robison in your prayers, and if you don't pray you better start!

To finish this week off, we got to go to the temple! That's a blessing, because missionaries can't just go to the temple whenever, they have to have a recent convert or returning member going through for the first time, and they can go to support them. Lucky for us Elder Robison had someone who fit that exact description. So a member gave us a ride down to Columbia which was awesome. The temple is super small. I'm lucky to go to the temple so soon in my mission, some missionaries don't get to go their whole missions! Plus I got to eat Bojangles biscuits! The church is true!!!

Daylight savings is brutal, we had to get up so early yesterday.

Ok folks have a good week and just be glad you're not me, I had a headache for the last 8 days. Count your blessings though, a member gave me an entire lemon pound cake yesterday!

No pictures this week, apparently I can't put my SD card anywhere into this computer.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Serve with all your cards, might, mind, and strength

Hola y'all!

I don't have any good reason for saying Hola this week, I've kind of fallen off the wagon with Duolingo. I seem to have less and less free time every day. I'm perpetually a week behind in my journal. La camisa es muy guapo (I think that means "the church is true"). But you know what's usually great about not having free time?

You're busy! That's right, we did a ton this week! I know last week's email was kind of negative and I actually have a funny story about that. So I sent last week's email and it was talking about all the obstacles and trials and discractions we had and I meant to say that yeah it's hard but it's a positive thing because that we face the most opposition in our lives when we're trying to do right. But I guess I made a couple mistakes: first, I sent that email to my MTC companion who's also in this mission. Apparently you're not supposed to email anyone in the same mission as you??? I thought I just wasn't allowed to email sisters in my mission which isn't a problem because why would any of the sisters want to talk to me. But I guess he was worried I was depressed or something or maybe his companion heard what I said and he was worried. So yesterday I get a call from the Zone Leaders and they tell me how it's going to be okay and that missions can be hard sometimes but I just gotta push through it! Obviously those are true things but I already know that, and I tried to explain that I wasn't clinically depressed or anything. I don't think they believed me because they kept saying "we're here for you when you're feeling like you can't make it". I CAN MAKE IT GET OFF OF ME

Anyways that was kind of funny. This week was awesome! We went down to Laurens and Clinton last Tuesday for our weekly trip to our actual area and it was an action-packed day. We taught 6 lessons. 2 were to investigators. One is this super drunk guy who's missing a couple fingers and a few more teeth but he's super knowledgeable about religion in general. We're making good progress with him. The other person is this lady who is so super baptist oh my gosh. Our lesson with her was basically asking a question every once in a while, and then listening for five minutes as she just rambled and preached about her beliefs until we found a break in her speaking so we could ask another question. Lady's got great faith but wow does she take a long time to express it. We managed to get in just enough information about us and our church and how the Bible and Book of Mormon work together that she accepted a copy of both (not that she needed another Bible but she probably took so she could see that "our" Bible really was the King James Version). The important thing is she took a BoM and promised she would read some and call us. We also taught 4 LARCs (less active/recent convert lessons for you gentiles out there 😊) to various people and families and they were all wonderful. We had dinner at the Hopes household as usual and that was great as usual. They're a super interesting family.

The rest of the week was basically a service extravaganza! We're only supposed to do 10 hours of service a week, but we ended up doing more like 12. Whoops! I guess we were a little too Christlike! 😋

Simpsonville is great. It's not humid here yet either which is awesome. At the Dollar Tree they sell these Star Wars 7 trading cards and they're my favorite. If any of you ever want to send me anything, just send me some packs of those and I will be so golden. I'm trying to get a holographic Kylo Ren but they're either super rare or I made them up. No but I'm serious please send me some so I don't have to spend food money on them and I can eat. Oh yeah our mission has decided effective in April that we're not allowed to have meals at any members houses anymore. UNLESS we bring a less active or investigator. So basically we're begging some of the active members in the ward who actually feed us to stop coming to church so often so we can eat. Also apparently we have banned tracting. That's right, we no longer plan to go and knock doors! We're supposed to find entirely through actives, less actives, and referrals. I would say it's gonna be hard but that's basically what we've been doing this whole time, plus I hate tracting, so it's no butter off my back! (is that a saying?)

As always I hope everyone has a good week wherever you are and if you feel you want to forward this email to anyone, just make sure it's not my Zone Leaders, who knows how they'll interpret it this time. If anyone has any questions please ask them! I get so excited when I get emails during the week so feel free to send them!