Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 23

   This past week had it's ups and downs, but overall it was a great week. Last Monday the Fekete family had us over for dinner... Nicest dinner I've had on my mission so far! I have no idea what Sister Fekete cooked but it was amazing. I know it was Dominican food but other than that i'm clueless. I'm trying to get her to give me some recipes to send home. She's a great cook! She's right up behind you Mom. 

   Tuesday for the most part wasn't to eventful at first. As we stopped by less active members and tried to get them to give the church a second chance, we would tract around their house before we moved on to the next less active member on the list to visit. No luck. Early evening we decided to stop by a woman named Gloria. When we arrived at her house, we knocked on the door and when she answered she was so excited to see us! Her son was there as well and he was shocked to see us astoo. We talked to her at the door for a few minutes and she told us she thought she would never see missionaries again because she thought the church had forgotten about her and her son. I got out my iPad to share a scripture with her and for some reason she was so amazed that I had the scriptures on it. She was very fascinated. She had her son go and get her iPad, and she had us download the LDS Library app on her iPad for her. She literally thought it was the best thing in the world because she could enlarge the text. She couldn't read her paper copy of the Book of Mormon because the words were to small. In Alma 37:6 it says, "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass". Gloria helped me gain a strong testimony of this scripture. On Sunday when we saw her at church with her son, they were both very very happy. She told us she had been reading and rekindled her testimony. She also said she was fired from her job but she was really happy about it. She said she wouldn't have been able to come to church if that didn't happen because she usually has to go to work at noon. She was so happy to be back at church. Unfortunately she speaks better spanish than english.... Her son is not a member, but he wants to be. He loves the church. Her and her son both speak perfect english but I guess she prefers spanish so the spanish Elders stole them from us. 

   Wednesday went by fast. We had a few appointments lined up but only one followed through. That was with Herman. He brought us this "authentic pizza from Philly" for after the lesson. It was disgusting. We couldn't tell him that though because this was his favorite pizza place. 

   Thursday was just a very long day. District meeting and weekly planning just seemed to drag on for ever for some reason. Good thing we had an appointment that night. 

   Friday seemed long too. We did have a lesson with Brian. He still wants to look around at all the churches before committing to a baptism date. But he loved church on Sunday. 

   Saturday was a better day. Saturday Morning when we went to the Bishop's Storehouse it was super busy. I got to see the Morgans there from Philly and pack up all the stuff they were taking to other members from the ward. It was cool to se them again. Saturday Night we were scheduled to go over to the Matis' home for dinner. They made us this really good home made pizza. I don't know why but everyone out here loves their pizza. I think I've had more pizza on my mission than the rest of my life. 

   Sunday we saw Gloria and her son at church and Brian came to Church as well. At first Brian was very nervous to be trying something new, but as he sat through sacrament we saw him calm down. He told us that it wasn't what he was expecting but he really liked it. I don't know what he was expecting, he wouldn't tell us. After church we went to go visit an old man who I've never noticed at church before but I found out he actually comes every Sunday. He's an awesome old man. He's 88 but he's still in good shape. He told us to go visit the members down the street from him, so we did and they gave us all their leftovers for dinner to take home. The active members out here are pretty cool, I like this ward a lot. Just wish people would agree to learn more about the church so we would have more investigators.

Week 22

   This week started out like any other week. P-day was good, we played basketball with some youth before we had to go to a members home. Tuesday was an interesting day. In the morning Elder Hellyer and I went out to get in touch with some less active members, then came back for lunch. Just before we were about to walk back out the door I got a call from the assistants. They told me, "Elder Hellyer is being ET'd (emergency transferred), we need to talk to him". He had about two hours to get all his stuff packed up. The assistants came and picked him up a little before 5. The zone leaders came and picked me up at the same time the assistants got Elder Hellyer. So I hung out with the zone leaders until about 11 o'clock that night until I got a new companion. Didn't get back home until midnight. But my new companion is Elder Hopkins. He's cool. He's more motivated than Elder Hellyer was, more in tune with our missionary purpose as well. I don't know why Elder Hellyer was picked to participate in this ET but nobody will tell me anything about anyone so... Now that Elder Hellyer is gone, it's basically like Elder Hopkins and I are doubling in. We're both very new to the area. We don't know very many members yet, we're working hard to find investigators because there weren't any before (we just recently picked one up and possibly found a family to teach), and neither of us know the area. So far things are going really well though, a lot better than I thought. 

   Wednesday was just a day full of finding. Spent most of the day stopping by less active members then knocking doors around their homes. There's a lot of less active members out here who just simply don't want to come back to the church, just don't want to; weird. We did find some members however who were very excited to see us. 

   Thursday we spent the day at the church for district meeting and weekly planning. had dinner with a member after that. 

   Friday was a long day. We spent most of the day in the car. We found a binder in our apartment that has a summary of every person in the area book and ward directory. It gave us a lot of very useful information. With that we compiled a list of people to stop by starting from the bottom of our area working our way back up. We were able meet a family who's the neighbor of a less active woman that day and found a kid who is dying to become a missionary. He loved coming to church, the only reason why he doesn't come now is because he doesn't have a way to get there. 

   Saturday was a full day. We spent all morning having fun at the bishop's storehouse. Right after that we helped the ward clean up after a woman's expo. Stopped by some people, then played basketball at the church. Normally we have a group of non-members come play with us but that night it was just us and a member kid named sack.

   Sunday was a full day as well. We had church, meetings after church, someone to take the sacrament to, people to stop by and dinner at a members home. It is supposed to get cold again this week. I can't wait for summer to come around. I am tired of the cold. It'll be easier to exercise in the morning during the summer too. Hopefully throughout this next week we will find more people to teach.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 21

  Being in a car area is a lot different than being in a walking area. In Philly it was really easy to find people to talk to on the bus or the sub, or just walking around. Out here we have to go knock on doors every now and then, which I don't really enjoy doing. Hopefully when the weather warms up we'll see more people outside. 

   Tuesday we knocked doors and stopped by former investigators. In the evening we had dinner with a part member family. The ward out here loves us and feeds us a lot. The people in the ward are all really cool and down to earth, they're funny and relaxed. 

   Wednesday we knocked doors again. Nobody answered when we knocked but we were able to talk to a guy we saw running and he said he was interested in hearing what we have to say. His name it Matt. We set up an appointment to meet with him. Every Wednesday we have a lesson with this guy named Herrman. He was baptized without a testimony but we're helping him gain the spiritual strength he needs. He lives off of government money but he thinks he's loaded and always insists on taking us out to eat at really nice/expensive restaurants. We try to talk him out of it but he gets mad at us every time we don't take the offer haha. He bought us lunch that afternoon. Wednesday night we had dinner at the ward mission leaders home and during dinner we talked about getting members to fellowship their friends and neighbors and invite them to listen to the missionaries. So far it seems like we have a plan that should be really successful, hopefully we can implement that soon. 

   Thursday after zone training, stake president Via Sikahema brought all the missionaries in the zone pizza for lunch. We got to meet him and talk to him for a while, that was cool. 

   Friday we knocked doors. It was an uneventful day. However, since we have our iPads now we have all the Mormon Messages and Bible Videos downloaded. We had the idea to ask people if we could show them a quick 5 minute video if they answered the door. Out of all the doors we knocked, only one person came to the door, and we persuaded her to watch the video. She wasn't open minded, at first she didn't want anything to do with us. But as she watched this random video we chose, the spirit worked on her and she became really interested in investigating the Book of Mormon. She ended up asking us for a copy of the book. She didn't want us to meet with her but she was excited to receive a Book of Mormon. 

   Saturday morning we went to the Bishops storehouse again to help out. They love having us there. President Anderson gave us permission to go every weekend, sine it's out of our area. So helping at the Bishops storehouse became a weekly thing to do. I enjoy being there helping out, having fun, and meeting new people. In the afternoon we met with this guy that we've never met before who randomly sent us a text out of nowhere. His name is Bryan. He told us a friend of his gave him one of our cards with our number on the back. We have no idea who gave him the card. We called him up and he told us we could meet with him right then. When we showed up we weren't what he was expecting. He was expecting Catholic ministers... He didn't seem very interested in what we told him but he agreed to continue meeting with us. 

   Sunday was a quick day. Church was good. We had a member bring a non-member friend who wants to learn more about the church. We we're able to introduce ourselves to him. He was an interesting guy, we couldn't tell if he thought the church was weird of if he was really enjoying himself. Sunday night the Triano's had us over for dinner, they're a really cool part member family. The dad's not a member but he will be someday. Something I want to do out here is start a family home evening at the church where members can bring non-member friends and investigators can meet members and everyone can be spiritually uplifted and have fun. 

I cannot wait for the summer to come around!

Monday, March 10, 2014

This past week, I've been transferred!

    On Friday, February 28 the zone leaders called me and told me to pack my stuff. Monday was my last P-day in the Independence East area. I spent a lot of the day saying goodbye to members and other people I met out there. Monday night at family home evening, Brother Abad (who was a fake leg) took his leg off and had me take a picture with it. I'll send that to you guys on the flash drive. Tuesday was my last day in the area. We went around and visited less active members and other investigators, had lessons with them and said goodbye. 

   Wednesday was the big day of transfers. In the morning I took my suitcase and walked out the door then headed down to the Broomall building. It was sad leaving that area,I was not ready to leave the area. But I was ready for a new adventure. Elder Pintor was a good guy, and I enjoyed having him as my companion.  I'm going to miss all the people out there and the experience of being in the ghetto. I would love to return to that area!

   As for my new area, I have been transferred to the Cherry Hill New Jersey first ward. My new Companion is Elder Hellyer. He's cool, so far I like him a lot. He's from Mona Utah. My new area is not ghetto, there's actually houses and their separated. People here have lawns and cars and decent property. So far I like it here a lot, the members are awesome! The members I've met so far are really cool people. In our area we have a car, and the members have us over for dinner often; I hope I don't get fat.  Our apartment is also really nice, the only down side is that we have squirrels in our roof that fight all the time.

   Thursday was District meeting and weekly planning. In our district it's Elder Hellyer and I plus four sister missionaries. During Weekly planning I discovered that we don't have very many investigators yet but we can fix that. It's going to be hard memorizing the area out here because it's a larger area and there's lots of random roads. 

   Friday we spent a lot of time in the car driving from house to house talking to former investigators. Being in the car most of the day was not to great, I would rather be walking around but it takes to long to walk from place to place out here for the most part. Elder Hellyer and I entertain ourselves in the car though whenever we're driving, we get along pretty well. 

   Saturday morning we were recruited to go help out in the Bishop's store house. I've never been to a Bishop's store house before so I didn't know what to expect, but it was fun. We stocked shelves, broke up pallets, and fixed things up. We did that for the first half of the day then went to dinner at the Drinkwater's house that night. 

   Sunday I got to meet most of the people in the ward. The ward is great! After church we had a lesson with a recent convert and had another dinner at a members home. This area is great!

   My new address is: 2708 Hamilton Blvd Voorhees New Jersey 08043.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I am being transferred this Wednesday

   This past week was the last full week in this area ): Throughout the week we tried to stop by as many less active members in our area as we could; there's a lot of less actives in our area. Tuesday we spent most of the day visiting less active families. Tuesday night was coordination. 

   Wednesday we also spent all afternoon stopping by people, setting up return appointments, and trying to have lessons. Tuesday night we taught Dillon and G. Dillon was having a bad day wednesday so he didn't want to have a lesson with us, he kept complaining. We were able to get to sit down with us though and we got him to agree to have a quick lesson. We asked him to give the opening prayer and in his prayer he asked Heavenly Father to make his day better. As soon as he was done praying he was all of a sudden having a good day; he wanted us to teach him. We had a great lesson with him. He was enjoying the lesson, paying attention, and asking a lot of good questions. Some of the questions he asked we're about things he learned on his own, things that aren't usually taught to kids his age. "And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned" (Alma 32:23). I was amazed to see the things Dillon had learning on his own, I was also amazed seeing our Heavenly Father help Dillon's day get better. Right after we met with Dillon we went to teach G. G is almost completely done being re-taught. He's doing good remembering the things we've taught him and the things he's read from the Book of Mormon. G is a smart kid. 

   Thursday we had district meeting, weekly planning, and our scripture study class. Elder Pintor basically had me teaching district meeting, which was interesting, but everything went really well. 

   Friday we Spent all afternoon walking through a small portion of our area trying to reach out to all the less active members in that portion. There's a lot of potential less active members in our area. Some have moved, some told us they aren't interested in coming back, but a few were excited to see us. After we stopped by that portion of people we had a lesson with Brother Jaretsky. We checked on him to see how he's doing with the word of wisdom and he's actually doing really really really well. His health is getting a lot better and he's gaining a testimony through his experiences too. "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words" (Alma 32:27). When we finished our lesson with him we were invited to sing at a funeral for ine if the members family, I think. The funeral wasn't at the church, it was in a small row home that was
turned into a funeral home. There were about a hundred people that tried to all fit into the first floor of this place. It was like trying to pack mom's luggage into the car whenever we take a trip somewhere. We sang "I am a child of God" then shuffled our way out and went to the recreation center down the street where they were serving dinner for everyone afterwords. Friday night was also the night of transfer calls. Throughout the entire day Friday I could just feel that I was getting transferred  Sure enough, when the call came, I was told my time is up in this area. It was sad hearing that. I really don't want to leave this area. There's still a lot of people I'm supposed to baptize here. 

   Saturday I had to pack up all my things, The service Elders came and picked up all my stuff Saturday afternoon. Saturday night, Sister Matthews, Jeanine's neighbor, invited the Elders in out district over for dinner along with Jeanine and the bishops family. 

   Yesterday was a busy day. After church we had a lesson with a new family we just found. The lesson went really well, they have a lot of interest in the church and they have a strong desire to become active in church too. After that we had dinner with the Taber's. Brother Taber was nice enough to come to our next too appointments with us. We had an appointment with the less active Agusto family and an appointment with Mike and Dana. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone in the ward on Sunday. Wednesday I'll bee in a different area. I don't know who my new companion will be and I have no idea where they're sending me yet.