Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tender Christmas mercy

Side note from mom: It was so fun to get a text from my brother and his wife who were visiting Phoenix and ran into Chase at the temple. It wasn't even Chase's normal temple, but they were given special permission to attend the Christmas lights celebration. And, if it had been three minutes later, he would have been gone and they wouldn't have seen him. Tender mercies! Doesn't my boy look so good?!

Christmas and more

It was really cool seeing the family, definitely best call to date. No
big technical problems or nothing, whoo!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were both non proselyting days which
oddly enough make the week seem really long. Christmas was spent at
the institute building playing pool and ping pong with the whole zone.
So much fun.

Today we find out if elder Dwigans will have to get surgery on his
elbow. He fractured it falling off of his bike last Wednesday and has
been laid up till now. Both him and Elder Dawson were getting a little
cabin fever so I took elder Dawson out for a mini exchange Saturday so
he could do missionary work again. That day was the best contacting
day ever as we got over 300 contacts and destroyed our goal of 1500
people. #ZoneTempleTrip

Something I read yesterday from President Monson really stuck me,
thought I'd share it:

"Remember that ofttimes the wisdom of God appears as foolishness to
men, but the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that
when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.  May
we ever follow the Prince of Peace, who literally showed the way for
us to follow, for doing so we will survive these turbulent times. His
Devine plan can save us from the dangers that surround us."

I love the simplicity yet profoundness of his messages. I hope I'm
teaching simply and to the needs of our investigators. It's such a
neat experience to see the gospel change lives.

Hope you all had a merry Christmas and will enjoy the New Years celebration!

Elder Bryan

Bryan and Clough at Mesa temple

They asked Chase to help because he could reach the top!

Marcelina's baptism

As a zone, we have been focusing on contacting every person we see and
giving them a card for the new Christmas iniative, #ASaviorIsBorn. It
has been so much fun, I feel more like a missionary when I'm
purposefully trying to help every living soul come closer to Christ.
We've also found several new investigators and a handful of inactive
members who now are thinking of coming back. Wahoo!

I went on exchanges in a bike area this Wednesday. Up front, my bike
is more rust than actual bike parts but it was a gift from a leaving
missionary so I'll ride till it dies. That being said, the poor
missionary I took the place of, his bike was something else. Some
missionary along the road tried wiring a gps to a step counter to make
it work and as I was biking all these wires broke and got tangled up
in the tires. Imagine me in a small taped up bike with a children's
helmet, fumbling along the sketchy roads under the freeway. And I got
some sweet, unexpected air as well. Good learning experience and funny
memories. But I'll stick with my bike.

We had to move the baptismal dates for Alma and Maria because they had
to cancel on some lessons. However Marcelina is still on date for this
Saturday and we're super pumped. President Juchau came for church and
to give her an interview. He's a really close friend now and I can't
wait to see him and the mission President, president Griffin this
Friday for our Christmas Conference. Marcelina asked Elder Clough to
baptize her which naturally has made him ecstatic. All in all, moral
is at an all time high.

On exchanges Wednesday Elder Clough found this guy named Ezekial who
seemed interested so Friday we went to his address to set up a lesson.
We also had several potentials and wanted to contact people so we
parked really far away and walked to the house. As we got closer I
noticed this tricked out muscle car driving slow as it passed us. When
we got to the door, the cholo car flipped around and parked out of our
view on the side of the house. Four teenagers hopped out and started
for us. "Sweet, I've never been mugged before" I thought but it turned
out really good. I guess Ezekial is this troubled kid who's running
around with a rougher crowd and he's not the only one who wants God in
his life but the leader of his little pack as well. We had a awesome
chat and they invited us back for this weekend. Stoked to see where
this goes.

In other news, we met with the Bishop to see what his plans are and
now we're developing some good trust in the ward as well as getting
some good homemade restaurant-style pizza.

Can't wait to talk to y'all in a week!

Elder Bryan

Monday, December 7, 2015

He's going to be an angel

Wenden Baptism
Last week Tristan's baptism was postponed because his entire family
got sick but this Sunday they came through and he was baptized. It was
a sweet experience and as they started, Sister Bohlen handed us a note
saying that Kizzy, an investigator that wasn't super hip on what we
were teaching, had stood up in fast and testimony meeting to let
everyone know she wanted to be baptized as well. People congratulated
us for the success in the baptism and Kizzy but the real success to me
was helping inactive members come back when we were told it would be
impossible. That's what helped Tristan and Kizzy, we didn't get to
them till after the returning members invited them.

I went on exchanges with the elders in our apartment and it was sweet!
It was my first time being a missionary on bike and not a better time
or place then winter in Phoenix. It was pretty sweet racing down small
alleys and contacting every person we saw. The cool thing is Elder
Clough and I are going to be on bike most of the time now so I don't
have to wait for exchanges.

We decided to support the ward choir and join in on their Christmas
program. After some good practices working to get in tune Hermana
CorrerĂ¡ gave out speaking/acting parts. For some reason I got
volunteered to be the angel, probably because I'm the whitest out of
the 5 elders now in the ward. Somehow news has spread and now I'm the
Angel missionary. As a stake the missionaries have been asked to make
a musical fireside and we're hoping to get our little choir up to
performance level and maybe invite some other great missionaries like
elder Sperry (MTC companion). Things are happening!

I have the wonderful problem of not being able to remember all the
investigators we have because of the number of them. We had a good
lesson with Alma who's not feeling ready to be baptized because she's
not good enough. Even Marcelina who's also on date walked over from
her apartment and helped Alma feel confident in herself. I understand
better how much easier it is for humble people to accept the word than
those who are blessed with worldly things. I'm almost shocked how fast
people accept the gospel. While I was with elder Jones on exchange, we
met Ted who has nothing right now and is living with a recent convert
for the time being. Ted was cool, super open partially because the
world hasn't done anything for him so maybe God is the answer. He told
us he felt that our message was true and was looking forward to seeing
us again. Ted-like people aren't too rare here which I love.

The Christmas season is arguably the best time to be a missionary.
Have a happy, warm week!

Elder Bryan

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving tacos and tons of changes

We got the news a week ago that elder Cespedes and I were going to be
put together again at transfers. I guess that changed because Elder
Clough and I are staying together here in Solano and Elder Cespedes is
staying with elder Rodriguez. Super excited to work with elder Clough
for the holidays! Oh I forgot to mention before that he's from
Rochester Hills Michigan.

Oasis West
There is an apartment complex at the south end of our area called
Oasis West. That's were we spend a good chunk of our time because we
have three women on date for the end of this month: Alma-who's the
most progressing investigator we have, Marcelina, and Edna. In the
same complex lives Carmen who is a recent convert and loves to come to
lessons with us. I've never had an easier member present lesson in my
life, just walk around the corner and see Carmen already coming down
the sidewalk because she saw our car and boom. There she is really
helping and caring about these people. She is a good example of
The negative is that the people who own the complex heard that Carman
became a member and knowing she could get support, upped her rent
twofold. Despite the unfortunate events that come. I've seen people's
faith increase like crazy. Sometimes it seems that the events these
people go through either make or break them.

This place is full of work. Our teaching pool is huge and I've never
taught so many lessons in one week ever. It's really fun being able to
run from lesson to lesson. And then add the cherry on top that they're
all in Spanish. The bishop Valdez is sending his daughter off on a
mission to Texas and had a farewell pizza party last night. The house
was filled with happy people and since the bishop once was a pizza
chef, there was either a large Mexican or pepperoni pizza brought out
and devoured every 10 minutes. We have many members willing to come
out with us to lessons, now we just need to teach everyone how to find
friends on their own for us to teach. I'm pumped to be here for
another 6 weeks.

Again like last year I felt like the Grinch at the food tasting
competition. Luckily we only had two dinner appointments. Something I
didn't think of when I first came out is the fact that even though
people immigrate here from elsewhere, they usually don't celebrate the
same holidays. Thanksgiving isn't considered a holiday to the Spanish
people but I could tell the family that fed us was trying really hard
to give us a dinner like we would have had back home. It was really
fun to have turkey tacos with cranberry, stuffing, and refried beans.
Try it out sometime.
We had some other elders come over to our apartment to play board
games- flippin' sweet! It was nice to have down time to sit down and
get to know the area better and meet new elders. Since I've served in
Buckeye and Wickenburg, two very isolated areas, I don't know very
many missionaries. Glendale is one of the places to get to know a
whole bushel so it's been awesome. We have an amazing zone.

Not much more to add except you should check out
if you haven't. Super cool stuff there. #HaNacidoUnSalvador

Elder Bryan