Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Miracles come through exact obedience

Great week, here's some of what happened

Unfortunately Hermano Raygoza is still pretty firm in taking things
slow but he's opened up like never before. To give a mental picture,
Papa Raygoza looks like the pretend uncle in the beginning of SpyKids-
if you've ever seen that. We finally got him to agree to having a date
picked out and put on the baptismal calendar we gave him by our next
lesson as well as watching a session of general conference with us.
The coolest part of our lesson yesterday night was as we were going to
leave, he shook all of our hands and then a side hug. I've never
thought I'd get that from him. I could see a glisten in his eyes as he
squeezed my arm. He also challenged us to a arm wrestle/diamond push
ups. With all of the Capitaltada, flan, and piles of tortillas we get
on the daily, I'm not sure if I'll get close.

Put them on Date!
I think I've previously talked about the challenge in the zone to be
exactly obedient and we'll each put someone on date for the transfer.
The other Solano elders hadn't already put someone on date so for the
exchange this Friday I decided that I'd help them understand what
being exactly obedient entails and put someone on date for the 9th of
April. Elder Jónes and I went out to visit the guy who's on date for
the end of April to move him up but he was out of town. This kind of
crushed my idea,  I knew it'd be easy to bump him up because his
excuse against being baptized was a poor one and the missionaries
didn't ask follow up questions.
We moved on to our next lesson with a recently returned to activity
grandma and her granddaughter where we explained the temple and got
her excited for the temple prep class. I asked the 11year old girl if
she's looking forward to doing baptisms for the dead when to my
surprise, she responded to us that she wasn't baptized herself. Right
at that very moment her father came home from work, this huge muscle
man. I asked him to join us and for his permission to baptize his
daughter which he gave. The miracle was that many missionaries had
asked before but this was the time where his heart opened a little.
Grandma Lugo told me that she had just gotten a call from a friend in
Utah who told her she was praying for the dad to let his daughter to
be baptized and take the discussions himself. Crazy cool.

Book of Mormon Testimony
To help the Stake reach its goal of 500 copies of the Book of Mormon
handed out from the members, we decided to ask every member we have a
dinner or lesson with to take a copy and write their own testimony in
it and then to do one of several options: share it with a friend
themselves, come with us to a lesson and then give it to our
investigator, or leave it somewhere in the open in their home so
someone can ask about it. So far we've done this with ten people and
we need still to follow up with them but it's helped gain more trust
with the bishop and members as well as work away at the mountain of
books in the clerks office instead of us continually ordering more
copies from salt lake. I think I'll always have a testimony written in
each copy I give out from here on till the end. So much better this
way, there's a living testimony that someone actually believes in the
book they'll hold. More power with Moroni's promise.

Love you all,
Elder Bryan

March 21 2016

I don't have a lot of time so I picked two good miracles that happened
this week. For the most part our week consisted of us biking around
Phoenix and trying to talk to everyone, even the crazies. Especially
the crazies! Our mentality is that if we show the lord we are willing
to share the gospel with everyone then the Lord will bless us with
those golden people who are ready to hear the word.

Trash Can Hunting
After a super successful Saturday night of contacting I had this empty
water bottle that I needed to throw away. I took the lead in guiding
our companionship and decided that first we would search for a garbage
can and there we would find someone to teach. We walked around for
about two minutes in this unfamiliar complex until voilà, a pretty
little garbage can in the middle of a glen. I'm pretty sure there used
to be a picnic table but it had since ran away so it was just a
garbage can and a junky grill. As we approached the can, this guy
yelled "Elders" at us from a nearby apartment, hopped the little wall
and wobbled towards us. It had all the signs of another drunk
encounter but turns out Tony has terrible balance. He welcomed us back
into his apartment and introduced us to his girlfriend and dream
catcher 'prayer warrior disciple' brother. They told us they had just
been talking about which church they should go to tomorrow. Tony had
taken some of the lessons before in New Hampshire about 10 years ago
and both Tony and Chrinda are excited to have the missionaries over.
Even though they are English, it's still exciting. We're all on the
same team anyways. It definitely strengthened my faith that there are
people who are praying to find the truth, sometimes literally 5
minutes before you show up.

After the Easter fireside Sunday night we hustled over to the Raygozas
where we had a really good lesson. Hermano Raygoza has been a tougher
investigator, mainly since he's been having the missionaries over on
and off for 5 years and his wife was the old gospel principles teacher
who was all about preaching brimstone and fire until we got her
replaced. I can see how people have been a little pushy. Last night we
had him talk to us about his experience with our church, with God, and
his family. He opened up a little and when he accepted the invitation
to be baptized, a noticeable difference in air pressure was
well-welcomed. His daughters and son-in-law were tearing up and
everything was just sweet. Tender mercies.

Elder Bryan

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