Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This is called, canceled appointments and five minutes to take selfless.

Chase's first attempt at cutting his own hair.

Their appointment was canceled and they decided to try the camera feature

At least he looks busy in this one.

Temple Celebration and Dedication. Also known as Hob knobbing with celebrities.

You're probably wondering why I'm emailing today instead of yesterday. I guess that the Monday before transfers we do normal missionary activities and have pday, Tuesday. Yeah it makes sense with the way the elders going home and coming in are planned. Anyway here's my special week

So Hermano and Hermana Mendoza are friends with Mom on fb? Man they're my favorite. She thinks that I have too young of parents. They are some solid members who are always willing to feed us and go with us to lessons. 
Yesterday on exchanges Elder Perkes and I decided to walk since all of our appointments and finding was within a 4 mile radius. That was a pretty fun experience. Alex Hutchison from Nibley, told me that really random stuff happens in Arizona and I've seen it, but its even more true when you're walking. There are some odd ducks here. And some sketchy places that seem fairly normal till you step inside. They could do a season of hoarders. 

On Tuesday we decided to push back the baptism date for Taylor (16yr old guy, see older emails) so we make sure he's fully ready. Also we're teaching him at a park by his house now because his member girlfriend is super insane and told him he couldn't get baptized since he drank tea this week. It's been tough to have to reteach/correct everything after she speaks. Needless to say our lessons go quite smoothly now. We got a new ward missionary and I'm really excited to work with him. When he was on the plane home from his mission, he promised God that nothing would get in his way to share the gospel. He started up two companies that he hopes to sell soon so he can spend all his hours doing missionary works. As it is he already eats and breaths Preach My Gospel.This Sunday he wants us to get him a list of all the people on the ward roster with checks next to people we want to talk to so he can invite them over for a party and eventually take the lessons with their friends. Como un jefe.

In our spanish branch, things are as complicated as it seems to be on La Gata, the popular tv show on TeleMundo which happens to be playing in 60% of hispanic homes we go into. For example, one of the investigators that we got from the new area is living with a member who's ex-wife is in the branch. Church is so much more exciting now that we're involved with the members.
The cultural celebration was sweet. We showed up at 12 and didn't leave till 9. In the recording, I'm the one holding the Spain flag in between the front and the middle. If you can even see it idk. The backdrop was a real prop, I didn't expect something as cool as it was. It was a rare time where the whole mission was in the same place for so long. I feel like I've been spoiled this first transfer with awesome and unique events.


The real highlight was the Temple Dedication. Temples really are sacred buildings but we invite everyone to be worthy to enter. How cool is that? The night of the cultural celebration we got a text that our zone would help prepare the temple for activity. You can imagine us freaking out in a professional manner when we read that one.
Due to some miscommunication, we arrived an hour earlier than they needed us. We got to the temple grounds right as the third dedication session was ending. That was one of the happiest places I've ever stood in. All of these people were waiting outside for Pres. Uchtdorf and Elder Oaks to come out and we just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. A member from Elder Anderson's old ward got a video of me shaking Uchtdorf's hand. Pretty cool moment. Even cooler was when he came back after everyone left to take pictures with his wife and we were waiting for our assignments. He spoke to the ten of us assembled about our callings and what a blessing we are for the church and him. I needed a chair after that. 

The few hours we spent in the temple was a memory I'll never forget. My testimony of temples has been strengthened ten-fold and I felt a little closer to heaven. But don't mistake me for one minute. You don't need to have the experience I had to gain an appreciation of the Temple or feel God's presence. What we all need is to actually go to the temple or prepare ourselves to be worthy enough to enter. How sad is would be, to never get to go inside when it is dedicated to the Lord. 

I love this work, every day I see mighty miracles happen. It is absolutely stunning. 

Elder Bryan

Monday, November 10, 2014

Live from good old Buckye, it's Elder Bryan!

Before I start, I want to acknowledge Aunt Addie and just want to say
sorry for not replying to your comment, but the Phelps are super
awesome and I'm glad I finally have a connection with people.

This week really flew by. I think I'm really adjusted to this world of
continual change. I don't fear talking to people in a language I
really don't know. I've accepted failure and now I can really learn.

       If this week has taught me anything it is that every calling in the
church is tied to missionary work and vital to the ward/branch. I have
an added respect for the Relief Society and the RS presidents I get to
work with. They're the best. A ward can be extremely successful in
being a support to its members and the community when all of the
auxiliaries function together. Us missionaries should really serve as
a tool for the ward to utilize. That's the vision I have for Rio Vista
and Verrado.

       This week we really started working the added area we received from
the hermanas. It was a little overwhelming when that call came that
they had reassigned those people to us in the area book, hearing about
the surprise lesson we would have the next day, the problems with all
the people we were now about to contact and all of that. It can be a
little much to know so many people's problems. At the same time I
wished that the ward would let us be in ward council meeting so we
could help out more since no one really comes to ward coordination and
we could resolve concerns and let everyone be on the same page instead
of the Bishop getting phone calls all week. That's almost as
frustrating as Spanish. Spanish is only difficult because I feel like
I should be progressing more than I am. I hope I don't come off like
I'm a spoiled rotten kid or something because I truly am grateful for
the wonderful gift of tongues that I have received. I haven't learned
something so hard in such a short time before. Without that blessing,
I'd still be at "the red parrot is very beautiful' and 'What do people
call you?'"

        Taylor (the 16yr old who's dating a member of Verrado) is still on
date for the 22nd. The lesson we had last thursday was really neat.
While we were teaching tithing and fast offerings, he finished the
paragraph in the pamphlet and looked at me and commented that, "I love
this church. Shouldn't everybody know about how they can be happier?"
Dagnabit it I wanted to cry. Just how fast people have accepted the
gospel can blow my mind but at the same time, the truth makes sense so
why not? Really strengthened my testimony that its so true. Yes,
everyone does need to hear about this wonderful message!

         we had Zone conference, Dad you were so right about being
super pumped after it. President Griffin is the man! It was like a
mini general conference with awards for clean cars given at halftime.
I saw Elder Romney (again, he's probably sick of me) and Elder
Aryudabi that I met in the mission home. We were only around each
other for 24 hours and we're already best friends. Well best friends
if you consider that I don't know how to spell his name right. I also
want Mom to know that I got the flu shot just for you. My arm is still
a limp noodle jk. Wow, did I really just type jk?

        After having an exchange a week since I've been out here, I've really
grown to appreciate Elder Anderson. He works hard and we get along
like a cat and yarn or a Chihuahua and my ankles if you think of it
like my ankles enjoy being chewed.. ok nevermind that doesn't work.
Mom please edit that one or something. We play off each other rather
nicely and I appreciate his driving skills. Some people weren't
blessed with his handling, I might have whiplash after the last

        Oh if anyone wants to watch the Phoenix Arizona Temple Cultural
Celebration you can stream it from ABC15.com or if you live in Arizona
they are broadcasting it locally. I really hope we get called as the
group to help clean the temple and prepare it for services the
following Tuesday.

        We weren't able to have lessons with anyone of our progressing
investigators (besides Taylor) but we did get four new investigators.
One is a family and their grandma, the Ambrocios, who have a problem
with commitment. I guess they've had a plethora of missionaries visit
but they don't want to change. We're trying to change that mentality
though. The other is Betty the cat lady! It's hard having lessons with
her because her mentally challenged son is sent outside to our lesson
by the husband so we can't get anything done. He's a sweet kid though,
just energetic. Its actually really amusing to see these cats creep to
the front porch from all points of the compound/ranch deal,
completely dark except for this dingy hanging bulb, and watch him
kick them back off. I'm waiting for los gatos to just gang up on him
and rush the door.

        In closing I just want to thank everyone who reads this. Most likely
you've contributed something to me. I can't express just how much
that means to me. Whenever I get down, when things aren't working out,
I think about how many people are praying for me. Wow. Truly this work
is worth it. Something I ask myself constantly is, "was it ever easy
for Him?" What better thing when times are tough than to read about Jesus's
life and read of how he was treated by people. He died for me. He died
for you. I'm so grateful to be here in Buckeye to let people know that
there is a plan for us and it's full of happiness.

Do something nice for someone else today :)

Elder Bryan

Monday, November 3, 2014

Crazy birthday parties, Arizona Summers, and Kaysville connections.

Dear Family, 
We did a trunk or treat during another "take over exchange" so of course I didn't recognize anyone in their costumes and my companion couldn't help because he's never met these people. It turns out that there was quite a few less-active and non-members that showed up. It was a success because a family we dropped months ago invited us back into their home to possibly restart teaching the lessons. Hopefully this time they'll keep commitments. I'm excited for that one. Macy you are the cutest butterfly I've ever seen. Jake, got to admit, you pull facial hair off better than I ever will. I'm glad I have such a wonderful family.

Unfortunately I don't really use my spanish. Our branch seems to avoid talking to us because they don't want us to challenge them to do stuff and it's hard to catch anyone home who is Hispanic. Nevertheless we're trying really hard to get work moving there and we're planning on getting the leaders excited about the gospel again. 

One thing I learned this week is that Rainbow Valley is where tumbleweeds run wild and with it comes all types of people. (RV is where that huge hog lives btw) We feel like the tip of the "success" iceberg lies in Rainbow Valley partially because the people there are generally speaking, quite poor. People move to Rainbow Valley usually because they're looking for something and don't know where to find it so they plop down there and wait until they find it. My personal favorite area so far. 

One night right before we turned and went home, we stopped by a potential in our list named Betty. We pushed our way through all the 15 cats occupying the front rockyard and knocked on her door. She's an older hispanic who invites anyone who has anything to say about God into her home. Which is really cool because she already has a strong testimony of Jesus and Heavenly Father. She says we are welcome to come by anytime and asked to be taught right then and there on her porch. We hope that she will be more than interested for educational purposes and feel like she would be exactly what our branch needs.  

We are having lessons twice a week with Taylor now. I think that being in contact with him more is definitely helping him retain what we teach. On thursday we set a date for the 22nd of this month for him to be baptized. I really think this will work out. Elder Anderson says that when we find people at church, they've been prepared. He's such a good kid and I can see the change in him from when we first started teaching him. 

Saturday I went to the craziest birthday party I've ever been to for a 5 year old. He's the son of our ward mission leader so he invited us to be there with their non-lds friends to possibly see if they would open up more. I wish I took pictures but I'm sure you can imagine my jaw dropping when I saw the Family Fun Halloween edition in front of me. Brazilians are crazy. The dad went to Brazil (I think by tres corazones Dad) for his mission and married a lady from Sao Paulo. Super cool, wild family. They want us to get their oldest excited for a mission since he's kinda on the fence right now. We're taking him with us to teach Taylor this week so we'll see. 

Everyone here has family in Kaysville. Have I said that already? The family we had dinner with last night is related to the woman Dan Reynolds had his charity concert for. They were in his stake in Iowa and are good friends with Dan. I feel like an introvert since I know close to none of the people they ask about. I think some people are just making up names to tease me. 

I told dad about the WebEx meeting we had as a district leaders meeting. I'm so glad my comp is a DL or else I wouldn't have seen the first web meeting of this mission and perhaps all missions (Pres. Griffin said he didn't know for sure). I'll attach a picture. 
It's starting to get colder now. They call this season, Summer. It's funny watching people break out the winter coats here but I know I'll be right next to them soon. 

I love you guys!
Elder Bryan