Monday, June 27, 2016

Hello from Sunny dry Arizona!

Hello from beautifully dry Arizona!

Sunday evening we got an email from the assistants about a mission
conference Monday that President Griffin really wanted to
have. It was supper vague and we thought we were getting gathered for
a huge punishing reprimand from President but when we walked into the
Glendale north stake center and saw chairs set up we knew we feared
for nothing. When Elder Holland walked into the room, this quietness
enveloped me, almost like a soundproof room. The picture was snapped,
hands were shaken, and then he taught us.

I finally understand personally when people say he can be fired up. My
goodness, one moment I'm trying so hard to hear what he's whispering
into the mic and than BOOM!! He singes the ends of my hair.

Some key learnings:
-Elder Holland will work very hard to keep his promises. His visit was
the only date this quarter he had free, the Brethren didn't know he
left SLC as he "pulled a quarterback sneak out the back door".

-The more people you talk to the more you'll baptize
-Nicodemus was smart, his question about being reborn was just "the
stupidest thing in the history of this church"
-Jesus asks us to lift up our eyes and come to the higher level where he is at.
-Missionaries in general can coast really easy after a year, but DON'T
EVER, EVER be like that.
-Come home with at least one convert, yourself.
It was incredible and thankfully Elder Ingham audio recorded most of
it so I can go back and learn more. The leaders of our church
genuinely care about each member and truly are guided by Jesus Christ.
This is His church.

Mesa Visitor's Center (Round II)
Oscar really wanted to have a baptismal date after going to his
uncle's baptism, we decided to make a big combo lesson at the Mesa
Temple to cover several things we wanted to go over. We hooked a ride
with Michelle, sister to Gabi Mendoza from my first area (everyone's
connected) and man it was really neat. Unlike last time which I'm sure
was a freak accident experience, everything ran smoothly and we
actually had sisters to show us around with the things we had called
in a few days before. After the short film about John Tanner, a early
Saint who had his crippled leg healed so he could be baptized and
donated much for the building of the church and the Kirkland Temple,
we set a date with Oscar for July 16th. Whoo! This one will happen
because Oscar not only comes to all three hours of church but attends
FHE and is being strongly fellowshipped by the other members. This
might have to do with the fact that Oscar takes care of himself, the
only awkward part is he already has a girlfriend who's a member out in
Scottsdale. I'm going to pull the missionary card and not get in the
middle of the whole thing.
 3. The new zone shirts made by potential investigators

Seth Hinton
The YSA Bishop's son came home from his mission in Chile this week.
His talk was arguably the most powerful I've heard. He is a very
humble dude. The other cool part was that he's still a missionary- he
invited two friends to his homecoming with whom we have a lesson this
Saturday and he told us he's bringing another to FHE tonight. He's a
powerhouse, and it doesn't seem like this is just something he's doing
because he's fresh off the plane. With his family background, it feels
like he's gotten better at being an example and how to teach others.
It made me think about how I will keep on inviting others after the
mission to give this church a chance. I want to have a Braxton Moon
experience, which means I'll have to make the time for it.

I'm not sure why we're bottlenecking, meaning our investigators
(besides Oscar and Daniel) aren't really progressing. However with the
120 days, I feel like I'm showing the Lord that I want to teach. We're
enjoying the blessings as we just keep finding people, even in the
hottest and hardest times (1-3). What do I have to loose to work a
little harder and a little smarter?
Missions are hard. It's frustrating when people don't commit,
partially because I'm thinking about them all day-how to help them.
It's frustrating when members are flaky or teach false doctrine to
investigators about how it's ok to drink tea and coffee. It's annoying
when no one lets you in and you have a waterfall cascading off your
back. But I'm feeling so blessed right now.

I thought I'd end with a blurb by Elder Holland,

"Water doesn't become steam until after you hit 100 degrees. Not 89,
not 95, not even 97.8. It has to be 100. And then it changes. It's no
longer water. If you want to change, spiritually, you have to give out
quantitative and qualitative results. You need to explode,
atom-splitting types that smart scientists like. In the true gospel,
you get what you want. So the question is, 'What do you want?' I feel
like I can speak for the Lord because I know what he wants, He wants
True disciples. Ones who are willing to crank up the heat. ...Don't
you dare miss your apostolic period of time. And above all, keep the
spirit with you always."

I love you all.
Elder Bryan

June 20, 2016
2. Lazertag District activity

Happy Fathers Day Dad! I hope you enjoyed breakfast in bed and a nice
grilled dinner. Unless you decided to do something else then I hope
you enjoyed that.

Hot week and here's some good things that happened to us...

This guy wants to have a baptismal date.
I'm not sure if I talked about Oscar before but he's a referral from
Scottsdale we got last week. He had been taught a couple times as he
went to church with his girlfriend who's from the east side of the
valley. He came to FHE where we played water balloon volleyball and
got to interact with a lot of the members. We had a lesson on Saturday
that was nice and calm, he told us how he was going to his uncle's
baptism which was cool to hear. On Sunday he came up to us at church
and told us he wants to be baptized and asked what he needed to go to
make that happen. I'm looking forward to our trip to the Mesa Visitors
Center where we'll plan it out.

1. The WestMaricopa Flag is back in the right companionship!
(Competition in the zone, whoever wins the week with combined numbersof inv. @church & member present lessons gets the flag)

One of those highlight lessons I've had was Thursday after a crummy

night of finding. The member dropped me off at mutual to meet up with
my companions. Johansel asked if we could have a lesson and wow. In
the transfer that I've known him he's gone from atheist to agnostic to
our lesson when he told us that he believes the Book of Mormon is true
and that God exists. We asked if he wanted to get baptized and he told
us he's already thought of who he wants to baptize him. The only
problem is he's never really talked about this whole thing to his
parents and isn't sure they'll be ok with it. It makes sense since
(...cents. Psh English) his girlfriend is the one who introduced him
to the church. We invited him to be more open with his family and show
them that he's doing this because he wants to and not because he's
trying to impress his girl.

Mario Camboa
Por fin we meet this guy. He lives in this complex that has numbering
system set to shuffle. The first lesson we had was pretty sweet, a
bishop from Tempe works with him and has been teaching him a thing
about the gospel here and there. Now he wants to see if he should
unite with the Mormon people. I wasn't sure his capacity by the way he
talks and his hunchback disability so to check I asked him what he
understood from the first vision that I had just recounted to him. He
nailed it with everything in order from the church going Smith family
to James 1:5 to the end. Super cool. Put himself on date. For the 3rd
of July. It was nice but not sure if he'll make that seeing that he
doesn't have a copy of the Book of Mormon yet and didn't come to
church. But! He invited himself to the date so we'll see if we can
keep that fire going, just maybe for a latter time.

I love you all.
Elder Bryan
Arizona Phoenix Mission 

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 6, 2016

Elder Tamayo and I found him late Tuesday night and talked a little about what the sisters had taught him. It sounded like they just had nice chats and shared their favorite scriptures. I can see why Deshawn wasn't progressing. We had a very interesting lesson the next day where half way through he reached into his pocket and pulled out a bearded dragon. He went into our discussion thinking we were going to debate theology and it took him a little while to calm him down, but luckily he wasn't too serious about it, more of a game. However! He has great friends in the YSA and at the end we left on a high note where he explained to us that maybe this is God telling him he needs to study this faith and try it out. I am still confused but he accepted the pamphlet so it's all positive.

A man I decided to give a picture of Christ to. We were walking through this complex which had a lot of potential investigators that we had contacted the previous week and off to the side was this hairy old man. Feeling a little nervous, I decided to just go for the soft, "here's a picture of Jesus" approach. He turned out to be someone who was looking for a church to go to, a common theme in those apartments since religion is about all some of them have. We set up a time to stop by a few days later, When we had our lesson, we had to rush because of an earlier lesson with Deshawn that I talked about so we shared what makes our church different, the Book of Mormon and taught him how to pray. It's something else helping an 50something year old pray, I really enjoyed the spirit I felt there. He sincerely thanked us as we left his apartment. Cool guy.
Small Bump
Sunday Night, I was coming back to the church from visits with a priest and Elders Sperry and Tamayo were waiting for us. While they were circling the parking lot, they pegged a street light with the truck. Luckily, the street light remained safe. Sadly the truck's fender got bender-ed. We'll see what happens, we are all very sad. 

Stake Conference
This weekend we had stake conference, super cool because of several reasons. The first is our stake president is a baller convert of 15 years who has kids still in diapers. President Overton is also a baller in the basketball sense. He plays pickup every Wednesday night andSaturday morning with people he's invited from various places. It helps that he's a black 6'4" who played sports in college. He shared powerful teachings on the Temple and being a minister. I love working around him, he's a saint. 
The other cool part was with President Griffin. He had just installed a reward program for the mission and we achieved the temple trip because we had 9 baptisms last month and there are 9 companionships  in the zone. When I walked up and announced that we made it, President Griffin gave me the biggest grin I'd seen him give (which is huge. He's not a big smiler, he's a rancher) and grabbed my neck, like a victory. It was a sweet moment to see him so proud. 

The rest of the week was similar to last. Random media referrals falling into our laps, like Danny who even though he's on parole, he wants to share the gospel with the rest of his "Catholic" family and one day be baptized. 

Elder Bryan

May 30, 2016

More transfer news
Elder Sperry and I were going to drive up during transfers to the
mission office with Sister Turville, a sweet older missionary who's
been in the mission since everyone can remember. When we drove up we
were told by the assistants that we were going to pick up a third
companion, Elder Tamayo who was trained by elder Sperry last August.
We were extremely excited but it also put us into a mini panic to get
another bed and desk. Elder Tamayo is a fantastic missionary who's
from D. F. Mexico/Houstan Texas and is such a solid leader. I hope we
all get to stay together till the end

The sweetest part about the trio is the easiness of going on splits
with members. This week we've been able to go on splits twice a day
everyday. This has been very good and effective because we're teaching
more people than I've ever taught in one single week. We are currently
teaching thirty individuals, couples, and/or families. The biggest and
potentially  family is the Maldonados with five children. They act
like members and the children all wanted their own copy of the Book of
Mormon. Now we just need to get all these people progressing.

Westwind YSA
So serving in an YSA is weird/cool. Weird because everybody goes by
their first name and no one cries in sacrament meeting. The cool part
is there's a lot of RMs and the bishopric is some of the most solid
I've seen. Bishop Hinton I swear was the voice actor for Flick from A
Bugs Life. Someone's got to look it up because it's freakishly close.
But cool. There hasn't been much work in this ward for a while so
we're excited to changing our name from the number 1 marrying ward to
the #1 Marrying&Baptizing Ward in the Phoenix stake. The other thing
known about the Westwind is that there's ton of Hispanics that go.
It's been fun to keep speaking Spanish even though we cover a English
ward again. We've been able to start teaching a couple people for the
YSA so we'll see where things go.

A lot of people here are really receptive. A man from Cuba named
Alexis accepted a picture of Jesus from me and called after us asking
if he could come to our church. Another lady we contacted in the
street was found in her apartment half paralyzed after falling down a
flight of stairs. When we stopped by we gave her a priesthood
blessing, shared a short message and two days later we saw her running
outside with her daughter. We'll be teaching her this Saturday. I'm
happy, time is flying by, and extremely busy.

Have a great week y'all!

Elder Bryan
Arizona Phoenix Mission