Monday, October 27, 2014

Hey gang! Let me fill you in on this last week, full of good things.

I went on my first "Take over" exchange Tuesday which as you probably already know, means, I made the schedule for the day and would make the final call on decisions. A little crazy when its with a zone leader as well. Elder Hamilton the zone leader I was with, is from Burley Idaho and a really cool guy. His mind is very sharp and has this owlish wisdom about him, couldn't have been in an easier situation. With the elders I have been with, I feel like I can't screw up. Elder Anderson gave me some of the best advice for the exchange. He said that when everything goes wrong, just take a step back from the situation and let the spirit guide. Like promised there was a few hours where the hard workers in my mind went on strike and we fell into a mini depression. Things weren't working out: our lessons were dropping, and all that jazz. But then the clouds broke and the sun shone on our little heads. 5 doors that haven't opened to us ever, they agreed to have us back over. Success! The best part though was our lesson with Taylor that night. One thing we figured out was Taylor learns slower which is cool, we'll have to be better reviewing for understanding. But after the lesson about the second half of the Restoration (BoM, Joseph Smith, etc), Taylor said the closing prayer and rocked it. He has the best questions, anyways as we were about to get up I asked for something else. I followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost and asked if he would be baptized. Taylor said YES. We were worried that since he started talking to us because of his girlfriend he wouldn't be very interested. Those few minutes were so special. I can't begin to describe it. 

This week we've also been trying to widen our boundaries to get more leaders of the Rio Vista branch since we have none and maybe have 5 active members. The Hermanas who have the rest of the branch were more than cool with it. They have more of Goodyear and Estrella Hills and since they have a ton of things to do in addition to being at the temple open house 3 days a week, they need a lot of help. They actually suggested giving us double the area we asked for. If this goes through (right now its with the assistants to approve), we will have the same amount of miles as the zone leaders. Which means more is required of us if this whole thing goes through. I know that with whatever comes our way, I can look to the examples in my life who have helped me. Especially Dad. You're the best. I love you family. Isn't is neat how we will be together again after we die? I taught that principle to this cool hispanic family this week. The dad when he opened the door I gasped in my mind. He's this huge tatted guy who probably would/could rip my limbs off if I dare even look at his daughters. Needless to say I keep my eyes firmly fixed on his steel gaze. 

One problem we are having is that people are nice enough to set up an appointment but forget we are coming and either go on vacation last minute, or deadbolt the door and turn all the lights off when we stop by. Like do they think we don't hear them stumbling in the dark? Not even mad, just confused. 

Are you guys excited for Halloween? I can only imagine how stunning Macy is going to be in her butterfly costume. 

I love you guys,
Elder Bryan

Ps. did you see me post on fb? I finally got everything cleared!! Beyond excited for creating little messages. :) Oh and Mom, still haven't gotten those things but I think it'll come this week. Mexican post takes three weeks roughly, has it been that long already?

This pig is as wide as I am tall.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pictures of Elders

From left to right. Elder Perks, Elder Lutz, Me, Elder Brown, Elder Anderson (trainer), and Elder Cook. This is at Lutz and Cooks house (members house whoops)

Second week in the bag!

Hello from Arizona!

I'm finally adjusting to the freezing a/c, and the warm sun is so nice, I really came at a prime time. This week was incredible!! Let me fill ya'll in.

The first week here we had almost all of our appointments fall apart so we did a lot of contacting and setting up return appointments. This week we got to do more teaching which was great. We also have two new investigators, one we met last week looking for a member who turns out had moved. I hear that's pretty common down here in Buckeye. The other was last night with this teenager named Taylor, who is dating a member from Verrado. He's come to church with her family the last three weeks which is awesome. He has a great background, already believing in Jesus and God. Taylor is super receptive and having the lessons at the members house is so much better than us teaching him without members present. I can feel the huge gap between investigators who are friends with members and people we contact ourselves. 

It's been so nice this week to have dinner appointments. Not just because we get a great meal that we couldn't make ourselves (I've been trying my hand at cooking things. Surprisingly I'm not sick yet) but we get to share a message and see if they have anyone we can teach. One of the families gave us a name of the dad's boss who has been hiding from the church here for a year and told them he doesn't want us to find him. Little does he know we plan to visit him this week. Their problem is fairly common here. "got offended in Utah, moved away, doesn't want to be found". We are here to fix that and I'm excited to see how our meeting goes.
We just got an email from President Griffin that I'll be able to watch "Meet the Mormons" since I missed it. Super excited for that. Also we got clearance to go to the temple with investigators whenever instead of only one trip a week. The Temple is such a wonderful opportunity for us to let people know more without their privacy being invaded. The cultural celebration should be as cool as it sounds. It might be televised but I don't know for sure. Our stake is positioned right in front of the First Presidency's seats. The air is buzzing here with anticipation. 

Facebook has been a monkey on my back. Why did anyone allow me to have one? So the rules are this, don't write on my wall, tag me in pictures but we can talk if it's about mission work (the rules are more relaxed for people who aren't family) and you can like/share my posts. Just think if it's helping me with my work or is it solely because you want to chat. That being said, yeah I got nothing more about that. 

I have kept in touch with Josh Browning since forever but I haven't emailed Todd, I plan on writing him after this. It's so cool to hear from family who has the same purpose as you. Its like we really are in the army of God. Todd has the coolest FB posts. They make me laugh and I get all "lets do work!" whenever I see them. 

Elder Anderson is the coolest trainer ever. It's even better  when we share so many things in common. I might have killed him when I said that Coldplay's newest album was my favorite. Feel kinda bad about that. Anyways a lil about him, he's a little quieter but every now and then he open up and its exciting when it happens. He's got some drive in there. Here's our routine: wake up 6:20 normal days, 5:30 on Sunday and Mondays. Go to the church down the street and play chair soccer or go run a halfish mile. breakfast/prepare for study. Then personal study for an hour followed by an hour of Comp. study. Depending on the day we either break for lunch or do language study then switch. Hour of online time then we go out and teach. Break for dinner at 5. Come home at 9 to plan for the next day. The days can be so long but its good work. Sundays are the longest ever. 6:30 till 2 for church and then we go contact. 

I love our family. Grandma and Grandpa (boths sets) are the best I could ever have had. I feel kinda bad for everyone else who never got such good people as I did. Sorry. 

Arizona is the coolest. We had a desert thunderstorm last night, how come I didn't know about that cool phenomenon? I agree with you guys, this place is more like Rexburg than St. Anthony. Rexburg, is that the right place? I don't even remember. Missions are the coolest ever. Thanks everyone who helped me get here. I really do appreciate the support.

Love you guys!

Elder Bryan

Arrival in Arizona!

Dear family,

I would describe Buckeye as a mix between rodeo folk, a hobo who lives in our trash and scare the crap out of when we throw the garbage out (terrifying story) and a lot a lot of trailer parks. Our english ward however is a different story. Its this community called Verrado, and wow. Its like Station Park or City Creek but people live there. Most if not all of the houses have grass and they all drive golf carts around. Our focus will be more on Rio Vista here in a few weeks since a lot of people work (part-time?) for the nuclear plant and will be participating in an outage for 6 weeks. I have to adjust my brain when we go from area to another. Elder Anderson my trainer and district leader is such a cool guy. Hes from Walla Walla and likes the same stuff as me only he's good at sports. Don't worry about a bike, an elder left his when he went home and I'm going to ask if I can have it, fingers crossed. Its no big deal since we are in a car but its still nice to know. 

Yeah cleaning facebook was painful. Did I really post that stuff? I shudder. I got a migraine. Yikes.   I wish I could have seen the Meet the Mormons, the zone watched it a week before I came so I guess we can add that to the things I'll have to wait 2 for. Go see it though, its one of the special things we invite people to do, besides of course, going to the Phoenix Temple open house. Such an awesome and effective way to get people to talk to us. One thing that I didn't realize is that we get to be apart of the cultural celebration. I'm beyond excited, learning sign language for one of our songs and all. 

I didn't realize that here EVERYONE knows someone from Kaysville. I should have put two and two together when everyone in Kaysville told me that they had family in Arizona. Also BYU is the third sports team supported here, after the A. Cards and ASU. Kinda weird to see the BYU game on when we walk into someones home. I've learned a lot about dogs too, like Chihuahuas and how no matter what they'll run up to you and either attack or lick. I think the most I've had was 7 on my legs barking like dogs or something. 

Our schedule is very different than 4 years ago even. After study time personal/companion, language study, breakfast, lunch, and online time we get to proselyting around 2 and don't stop (except for Cena, thats my favorite part of the day :D) until 9.  I love that because of this missions obedience, we are allowed more privileges. The ipads that we use for everything and how we are used to try new ideas like this one idea that will be tested out in the next few months would blow away every missionary and how they work. I hope it works though so we can get it into every missionaries agenda. 

Oh man General Conference, General Cenference.... such a sweet place in my heart. Sitting in our auditorium which was like your average high school audi except it had D&C 4 on one side and "Our Purpose" on the other instead of the Davis High fight song. My favorite speaker is Richard G. Scott. I get all teary every time. He speaks like a grandfather to his grandkids, I hunger for that power he has. My favorite talk besides his was Pres. Uchtdorf's about receiving testimony of light and truth. I could see in my minds eye, the new painting, "Worlds Without Number". So peaceful. One thing Bednar told us missionaries in a fireside was when we take notes, that we take better, shorter notes of how we felt instead of what was exactly said. One of his ideas was that we look for 3 things: Doctrine, Invitation, and promised blessings. When you read the talks again in the ensign or on Gospel Library, I think its great to highlight those things. Even President Monson reads the talks and dissects them until the next conference. 
Another cool part was how speakers are now giving their talks in their native tongue. When we heard this, the whole place cheered especially when it was in spanish. Such a cool moment.

I loved hearing about your week, sounds like you got your hands full. I hope everything goes smoothly.
I absolutely love our investigators. I feel like I'm getting a better idea of how God views each and every one of us, as people in our simply awesome form- children of God. I'm reminded that everyone has problems, challenges, and worry about things. 

I love how hard it is, making food out of what I bought at the store for the week, teaching in spanish and english, being rejected when we go finding, and not falling asleep in church (we start at 6:30 and end at 2). Its pushing me to work so much harder than I have in my entire life. I love you guys. Stay strong and say your prayers every morning and night :)

Elder Bryan