Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Teach Repentance, Baptize Converts

Worldwide Missionary Meeting

Wednesday morning we met as a zone to watch a two hour broadcast from
the missionary department- the first one in over ten years. The title
was "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts" with elders oaks, Bednar,
Anderson, and others giving some incredible talks and discussions.
It's been cool to take their training into practice. Such simple
things but make all the difference. That title really is the basic
form of our purpose. That's it.

Miracle Sunday

Most of our week was days where nothing went right. I was a little
frustrated with myself because I didn't know why things weren't
working like they were supposed to and I didn't know what else I could
do. And then no one showed up to church. I had a really good learning
time as the sacrament was passed around as i went to the scriptures to
get more out of those few minutes without distractions. Enoch, a young
adult in the ward walked up to us when the first speaker got up and
took us to the foyer where Lorena and Elias were sitting. Holy cow
that was awesome. It turns out, their bus broke down so they walked
from 27th and Glendale to 38th and Camelback. Super far away to walk
and then actually making it on time. They both had a great experience
and my day was made. But it didn't end there, during the second hour
in Gospel Principles, elder Miller passed me a note that said a woman
was wanting to speak to us outside. Elder Plourde and I excused
ourselves to meet Gloria, an elderly woman who's been going to church
for ten years, just moved here, changed jobs so she can go to church
on Sunday, and wants us to baptize her.

To top it off, that night we went to Ezekials house, a person on our
potential list, for a first lesson. He got home right as we knocked on
the door and let us know he had forgotten our appointment but still
let us in. Fun lesson in the dark because their electricity got
disconnected recently. The best part was when I asked the son,
Ezekialito what he would ask God about our message if he was in the
room, he answer with things he was grateful for. After rewording the
question several times he asked me, "what kind of things should I ask
him?" I gave a few examples including if what we taught was true. He
immediately burst out, "Well of course it's true!" and his family
nodded in agreement. Elder Plourde and I stared at each other for a
second dumbfounded, picked our jaws up off the ground and testified of
what they testified. They're not sure how they feel about baptism but
they want to learn more. Pretty sweet!

Love you guys!
Elder Bryan

Monday, January 18, 2016

another week in the vinyard

Stake Mission Meeting
The Stake presidency invited President Griffin to speak on Sunday to
the bishops and ward mission leaders about the new flowchart from the
Quorum of the Twelve and the missionaries. It was an awesome meeting.
President Griffin is really good at making people feel at ease and
helping people understand more background before they make an opinion.
Being a Montanan rancher he can be really tough but he also can make
you feel like a million bucks and calm down a room. I know I was
called to this mission so he could be my mission president.

As far as our area goes this week we had a lot of flakiness happen. It
was sad to learn that a member didn't pick up an investigator for
church and we potentially have lost them as an investigator. We
weren't mad, just felt like we dropped the ball ourselves. To show the
Lord that we understand people don't come to the church because of
anything we did but by the Holy Ghost we made the goal to clean our
Areabook up- completely. We have a lot of lessons planned to figure
out people's desire level. We need to help these people know our
purpose, we are there to help them apply for blessings and become more
like Jesus. We feel good that if we do that, the Lord will have more
trust in us and put some solid people in our path.

Spanish Grill
It's a joke in the ward to make fun of my Spanish because...well I
don't pretend to understand everything they do but on Thursday at
splits with the elders quorum, hermano Dominguez who is our best
friend made the comment that my Spanish was getting worse since I got
here. He was just kidding but I was serious when I asked him to "help
me improve it then". He agreed and gave us a challenge: memorize 150
words and 10 verbs with all their conjugations in ten days and he'll
grill us dinner. I think it's been an answer to my prayers in several
ways. I've been trying to be more humble and with everyone poking fun
at me which I absolutely dislike because that pride thing it's been
great to use those opportunities to just accept it kindly and I've
been looking for ways to help fire me up about Spanish and not coast
with what I have. Hermano Dominguez' grill is legend here so you bet
your bottom dollar I'm going to accept that challenge.

Elder Plourde the coolest. President wasn't lying when he told me I was
getting one of the best. Besides being a great chef, he's really quick
to pick everything up. It just clicks for him. He's from Fort McCloud,
Alberta Canada and just arrived from the CCM in D.F. Mexico. 

going to have a great time!

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Bryan

January 12

First off, thanks for the birthday wishes. More than anything I feel a
sense of urgency as I am constantly reminded of how little time I have
left. Last birthday in the field and now coming up, last call home,
last general conference,etc. I want to leave Arizona feeling like I
did everything I could to help everyone around me come closer to
Christ in some way.

Our week this week was a little slow, everyone we are teaching is
sick.  It turned out to be ok because we were able to clean up our
potential investigator lists. This area is pretty transient and our
records are a little outdated. I have to have things organized so now
I can breathe better. It feels so good to have a potential list of
people who actually live there and want us to stop by.

I had a lot of interviews this week including a French woman who
couldn't have been 5 feet tall. She was bouncing in her seat when the
translator told her that I passed her. People here are more humble and
receptive to the gospel. It's a cool sight.

La Pimienta fantasma
We have some families who live on the edge of the boundaries and
attend the other Spanish ward. In an attempt to convince them to come
to the ward they should be going to we set up a fhe with two families
for last night. After a really good lesson they informed us that they
made dinner. Good thing we had just finished before we got there :/
They really appreciated us stopping by because the other elders never
visit them. 'We have a great way to fix that!' We let them know, "come
to our ward and the missionaries can visit you more! Or move into the
other ward boundaries". They're going to think about it. Hopefully yes
because our ward needs more big families.
I guess they have this thing where they invite missionaries to try a
Ghostpepper, some form of entertainment. This guy unfortunately
stepped up to the plate. In my whole entire mission I haven't had
anything nearly as hot as this. It burned immediately and didn't go
away. I couldn't think. I'll send a before/after picture to give a
better idea. I tried the whole, 'you do it with me' to the dad but he
had asthma so I didn't luck out on that. Good experience but I don't
want to do it again.

We got the news this morning that elder Clough will be transferred. I
was looking forward to being his companion for longer but 8 weeks is
better than the usual 6. #transferredMidTransfer. I also found out
I'll be training again which I'm super pumped for. I love training and
can't wait to meet the guy tomorrow morning. I'll let you know more
when I do.

Again a new investigator in Oasis West. We now have two recent
converts and eight investigators that live there. Deyanira was
actually a referral from Maria, an on date woman who has been sick for
a month and hasn't had us over till last Friday. Deyanira showed up to
church which was unusually cool and accepted the baptismal challenge
but wants to pray about her own date. Now if Maria and Deyanira could
help each other out to complete their commitments, they'll be on fire!

Thanks for all you do and have a great day!

Elder Bryan

Monday, January 4, 2016

Investigators falling from the sky!

2015 was good. It was great! It was super great! I got to be a
missionary for the whole thing too!

Not much to report on for this week except for making sure all of our
records were up to date, setting goals for the new year, and as always
trying to leave an area better than how we found it.
Here's some specifics though.

Tuesday I got to go on exchanges with elder Cespedes, my last
companion/trainee. It was awesome seeing how far he's come since first
arriving in August. I feel it's always much easier to see progress in
others than ourselves. His companion is also fairly new in the mission
but it's not stopping them working hard and teaching the world. We had
a couple new investigators fall from the sky in those few hours and
had 5 unplanned meals from members and investigators alike.
Thanksgiving is bad but you can prep for it. When you show up to a
lesson and they have a huge meal prepared an hour before dinner,
there's just nothing you can do. That's the culture here though and
the people mean well. At least the food is to die for.

On the note of people coming out of nowhere, that's a lesson I'm
learning here in Solano. That when you try your hardest to talk with
EVERYONE- the lord trusts you with people who are prepared. Sometimes
it comes from a street contact, but I believe that 98% of the time it's
because of nothing I've done. Last night we were looking for a Mesa
Temple lights referral and the address was wrong or they got shy and
decided they didn't actually want us to come by, because the family
there said that no one by that name lived in their complex. When
they shut the door, I decided to knock on the neighbors door with no
real reason in mind. Thankfully the spirit guided me and the lady who
answered was receptive and invited us to come back. I feel like we
worked up for that one because this whole week things were falling
though but we kept on trying to contact everyone. I just feel better
when I'm actively looking for someone who would like us to stop by and
help them increase their relationship with God.

Saturday afternoon I had my first baptismal interview. It was a middle
aged woman from Africa who spoke Ebonics. It was a challenge at first
but I could feel she was ready. She came to America with her husband and
four children and settled in Indiana. Two days after arriving her husband died. 
Being illiterate and not knowing how to speak English, she turned to
God to help her. By a miracle she made it to Arizona because she felt
she would find something that would help her, something Divine. Her
testimony was strong and I learned how wonderful the plan of salvation
is. We have the answers!

I love you guys, enjoy the snow!
Elder Bryan