Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why is the Eggnog always gone?

You wouldn't believe it, real snowstorm in Arizona! We got a couple inches but still. 
What some people have to do to experience winter.
Ok so that didn't happen, nor will it down in the valley but I imagined it once. sorry everybody.

Christmas is next Thursday which completely blows my mind. Bro Randall said this is one of the mildest Decembers he's seen here. The first half of the week was high 70's and I wasn't the only one not wearing a coat, it was nice to blend in because when it rained Thursday night I was right next to them with my cute sweater (picture up on Hermana Mendoza's facebook btw). I really like Arizona. Maybe it's because I haven't been here in summer yet but I'm sure 120 can't be that bad right?

We had a lesson with Janette Saturday at this "casa de yogurt". Pretty cool place but felt out of place. Even though it said casa on the door didn't make it feel like I was in someone's home. 
Janette is crazy. She knows more about the gospel than any investigator would ever. She took institute this last semester and has read the Book of Mormon and D&C all the way through. In addition to all of that, she's taken the 'lessons' 3ish times. When someone knows the subtitles of your lessons, they should be a member already. To recap, we got her record from elders in the Tempe mission because she goes to church here and will be baptized here. Kinda funny was when we were talking a little about our backgrounds we found out that Janette had looked us up already and knew most of the things we talked about before. She found the blog of my letters home and all. I really hope she sees this :) Hey Janette! 

I think that showed me that we need to take responsibility of what we say and do because everything has weight. I wonder if things would have gone different if I had a really bad mark on myself. Maybe she wouldn't talk to us, we never know when our past will show up.

Thursday we had a "Christmas Conference". three zones got picked up on a bus and we rode down to the Mesa temple to go through the visitor's center to see how it can help us in our missionary work. Also on the agenda was a temple session and a buffet, followed by going back to the temple and seeing the lights. A full day! Unfortunately Elder Anderson and I got sick that morning but didn't feel the full effects till lunch time. It was quite miserable waiting for everyone to do all these awesome things while we felt super gross inside. President Griffin who is the coolest man ever, gave us some money to run down to a Walmart and pick up some medicine while they went to the buffet. Walmart is generally a weird place that makes people feel dizzy but I had no idea what fun it could be under the influence of disease. You can imagine two elders stumbling through a modern day Sahara. If you can't, about that animated Hercules near the end when Herc is swimming in that green pool in the Underworld. I think that's a accurate description of that historical event. On the bright side, President invited us to come back tomorrow with another section of the mission. Yahoo!
I hope everyone is being on their best behavior for little saint nick!

Elder Bryan
A step up from the Ragnar honey bucket

Monday, December 8, 2014

From the Tundra plains of Buckeye

This week was incredible. We had a lot of lessons and a plethora of new investigators. Whoo! People to teach again!

Monday night we stopped by Adriana Martinez who we haven't been in contact since the first day I was here. Now almost of her family is deathly ill or something like that. We're not sure how true it is, they were running around really fast when they saw us pull up. She's a really good actor if she doesn't want us to visit her, it seems like she really wants to get baptized. Who knows what will happen there.
We got a lesson with Taylor, who we hadn't seen for a week. Definitely worried going into that lesson but everything he said was awesome. He had serious problems with the word of wisdom and this last month he focused on going cold turkey of the things he hadn't already dropped. He understands the meaning behind the commandments which is golden. He asks us questions about things that tell us he really is serious about getting baptized. We set a date for January 3rd for him and a temple baptismal date two weeks after. He's pumped and has been going to early morning seminary and mutual. Between him and our ward missionary who is devoting his life to missionary work, I couldn't be more excited. 

We had dinner on Wednesday with the Guinchos which was a different experience. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and she's Italian. My brain was on a carousel with four languages flying around as the three small children would switch like nothing. It was really weird how similar they all were and how I could grasp small bits of everything. I think I'll stick with Spanish till I'm proficient though.

We watched the Christmas Devo with the Randalls and the Gedulds, two member families who are really just one big family. Super cool people who always invite us over. Sister Randall told me to "go to school, get a wife, work hard, then come home to Verrado!" They're a hoot and with everything really picking up here, I don't want to get transferred ever. We'll see what happens on the 31. I'll be finished with training and Elder Anderson will have been here close to 9 months. 

Elder Anderson said it hasn't been this busy the whole time he's been here. I guess some say Buckeye is something of a dead area, but I'm learning to solely focus on the potential. It's easy when your companion is a really patient, calm dude. I learn so much by watching how he handles situations, especially with other missionaries. I'm trying to glean as much as I can. 

We started teaching two families, The Fregosas and the Sanchezs. Fregosas are a young family who are community of Christ who at first seemed not interested but the dad, Humberto is really willing to listen. His wife thinks he's losing faith and at times it can feel awkward but it's all good. The Sanchez family came from Janette who's going to ASU but wants to be baptized here where she will go to church. It's kinda weird because she's very bold and "hinted" that she doesn't really like us as much as the elders at ASU but she wants to follow our rules. After the first lesson, the grandpa who lives with them, asked if we are allowed to drink soda. Thinking it was about the WoW we explained that we can. He leaves and comes back with a 12 pack of Sprite. Man even people who aren't interested recognize how important the work we are doing and they feel it's their duty to help provide for messengers from God. Super neat. Janette also wants to get baptized but has a really hard time talking during lessons, I guess she's shy around her family. We decided to have her over at the Mendozas to get her to open up a little so we can find out how much she's learned.

On Friday the Verrado community had a christmas lighting party. A whole bunch of local business set up tents and two trucks came in to make man made snow for the kids to play in. I wish I could say that Elder Anderson and I ran into that area and duked it out till we got thrown out, but sadly we restrained ourselves. We did help Sister Geduld set up her cupcake business and Bro Guincho with his Craig's Cuts. And got some good PR for missionaries, who knows.

Saturday we had surprise interviews with President Griffin. Just being in the room with him made me feel all warm and whatnot. *grinch smile* It was so cool how personal he made the interview. I can't imagine how he does it with every single missionary. The best part is I get to hang out with him again on Thursday for our Christmas Conference. 

Hope everyone watches the "He is the Gift" video and shares it or likes all of my posts so I get a big head and feel so popular. Let GG Norma know I'm praying for her as well. Have a great week!

From the tundra plains of Buckeye with love,

Elder Bryan

Monday, December 1, 2014

Two weeks worth of emails

Happy December!

This week was neat. Even though every one of our lessons canceled, it gave me a new challenge- What do you do when nothing goes as planned? I feel stronger having put more faith in the Lord and the Holy Ghost. After all, the Holy Ghost is the real teacher so I shouldn't stand in the way of the work. 

Several things. The first is if I became a house builder or something similar, I would make it a law to have the house number visible and readable. What's the point of having a light on it if you have a tree leaning against it, or it's so unreadable, you think it's a paint mistake. We need to have a national reform! But it actually helps missionaries have an excuse to knock on doors. I guess you give and take. The second is teach people that if you come to the door, open the shall thing covering the glass, turn on the light and stare at us for a minute; that you open the door instead of walking away and leaving the smiling Elders feel like idiots standing there. It was really funny though. Elder Anderson and I looked at each other and just laughed. I'm so glad I'm being trained by a guy who can laugh it off. I felt like I knew how to but he's got the gift. Every other missionary I've talked to has said nothing but praise about my comp. I'm wondering what I did to get it so good.

Thanksgiving we sat inside for most of the day until our dinner appointment. It warmed up to 80 which was absolutely insane. We had a wonderful dinner with the Dials who had their son and his family over. It's always interesting to see how different other's missionary experiences can be. The members here are super kind to us, so when we get an opportunity to serve them, I get pumped. I hate not being able to pay it back/forward. 

We had a progressing investigator move into our area this week. Her name is Janette and she's been taking the lessons while attending ASU. She lives with her family on the weekend and since they now live here, we'll teach her on the weekends. It's a different experience since she'll be taught during the week by different elders. Hopefully we decide how things will go in the future because she really really wants to get baptized. It's weird to go from english to spanish but when we talk with her its even more so. It's like flipping a switch back and forth. 
Looking back to the month of November I realize that we've been really blessed. We set a goal to get at least one new investigator each week and we did that and 2. I feel like God cares about me and all the small things I can worry about. Some days I have to be reminded that all this is His doing and that I'm merely an instrument. How great it is though, to be that. I love being a missionary! 
Good luck this week family!

Elder Bryan

Happy Thanksgiving Week!!

It's so bizarre that Thanksgiving is already here. Seems just like
yesterday I was getting on a plane for Mexico.
Elder Anderson and Elder Brown were sick for a couple of days so Elder
Perkes and I did some work in his area. It's weird how empty it feels
to not be in your area for a while.
Saturday, we had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at the Randalls and some
non-member friends that they invited. After the food we went around
and said what we were thankful for. It made me wonder, "What are
people thankful for who believe in different things?" It was really
sad. People said the usual stuff but one guy wished he could see his
deceased family members again. How depressing to not know if you'd see
a loved one ever again. I am so glad I have this gospel. With these
three months apart from family, I know now how much they mean to me.
It's so sweet to know that we are an eternal family. I wish I had
spent more time with you guys.
After the Randalls, we went to the church to visit the Rio Vista
Thanksgiving party. E. Anderson passed on food and I made the mistake
of saying yes. I don't know if it was just regular Mexican portions or
they were mad at us for Anderson not eating but If you saw the picture
Hermana Mendoza posted on fb, both Elder Anderson's plate and mine is
mine. I felt like I gained 20 pounds.
I don't have many stories this week and most of all of our lessons
dropped. Just average missionary work. Hard, but enjoyable.
I love King Benjamin's address to his people, especially when he talks
about how much we should be grateful to God. It's amazing how much we
take for granted. I have gained a greater appreciation for my

Elder Bryan