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Monday November 21, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thermals, Still a Great Week

November 14, 2016

Monday night was pretty good. We had dinner with a family and also had Kathy over for the dinner. It was really great and they got along really well then afterwards we had a lesson on the 10 commandments that was pretty good. We also were walking around an apartment complex later and were able to bump into Raul, one of our investigators who we hadn't been able to see in a while. He was still into it and we had a little talk before he went home. 

Tuesday we went to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and did some service. Lately we've been helping them prepare for their Christmas lights show, which is pretty fun. So today we unwrapped all the lights off of a 25 foot garland and then wrapped them back up again with a different color. Actually a lot harder than you think it would be haha. 

The rest of the day was all right. We were able to go out with Norman a little bit and see some people. One of them was a guy named Keith who we just met. He is a "born again" and was actually pretty interested in the things we were telling him because they went along with a lot of his beliefs. He was pretty cool. Then after dinner we went and saw Bruce again! He’s awesome, I’ll have to get a picture with him this next week sometime so ‘yall can see. 

Wednesday was zone conference, man it was so great. We got to hear a lot from President and Sister Smith and they told us about how we can better help people understand repentance and baptism and how we can work with our ward council better. Elder Larson and I also gave a little training in one of the break out sessions for our zone role playing a ward council. We are going to start doing a new model of teaching part member and unbaptized youth families and working with the ward council coming up next year and it's going to be really awesome. 

Wednesday night we also had a lesson with Kathy. President and Sister Smith were able to be there and that was pretty cool. She's been having some doctrinal problems lately and we are going to have to push her baptismal date back a little bit. Not a big deal because all of us, even Kathy understood that it’s more important for her to understand being converted, not just baptized.

Thursday morning we went to the botanical gardens again and helped them make "clouds" out of this ribbon stuff that they're going to have in one of the exhibits for the light show. It was crafty. After that, we met Sister Deca at Frieda's and she bought us lunch. It was awesome. 

That night was pretty sweet. We picked up Norman and went and had a lesson with Brother Cranney. We talked a lot about how we can use God to get over our trials and that if we live the small and simple parts of the gospel we can gain huge blessings. I've really seen that to be true in my life, that’s pretty much how I gained my testimon. I never saw an angel or vision, but through a lot of little things I built my foundation. 

After that we went and had a lesson with Genita and it went great. Bruce hasn't been too interested lately but Genita loves reading and listening to her scriptures. We showed her how to use her phone and listen to them and she lives it. We listened to Enos and talked about prayer and how God will answer us. We challenged her to pray for herself, and then for others just like Enos in the Book of Mormon. Then at the end she said a prayer and it was one of the most heart-felt prayers ever. The spirit was so thick and I know she was feeling it. As soon as the prayer was over I just asked her how she felt and if she would follow that feeling. We set her on date for Christmas Eve! Not sure how solid that is but it was a great experience.

Friday morning I had my exit interview with President Smith and dang, do I respect that man. We talked about the important stuff like life after the mission. It will be an interesting adjustment.

We saw Bo and Iris who are some of our new investigators. Its as super weird cause when we went over there they expected us to like help them with their relationship issues and stuff but we just taught the restoration haha. They actually got a lot out of it, at least Bo did and is going to read the Book of Mormon. Crazy kids these days. 

We saw Kathy that afternoon with Norman and were able to talk a bit about her doctrinal problems. She is really putting her trust in God and working hard to find her answers so that she can know if this is the path she wants to follow or not. 

We went out with brother Murrell who is in the High Priest Group Leader and were able to see a bunch of people who aren't active and aren't really even interested in the church. A lot of them didn't live at the places we thought and it was good to find out so they could have a ward where ever they are. 

Saturday was coooolllllddd. First time this year I’ve had to wear my thermals. We contacted a bunch of potentials that day and were able to talk to a couple of them. It was good and hopefully we can get some new investigators out of it. We didn't have too much going on the rest of the day. It was weird for a Saturday because Mechanicsville felt super empty. 

On Sunday I was keeping Ozzie focused by teaching him about the doctrine of the Spirit world and the concept of heaven and hell. It is interesting to use the scriptures to teach a 13 year old about this stuff.

After church we had lunch with the Nelson family and then went to Pony Farms to contact people. We ran into this one guy named Lamont who was really interested and we were able to teach him the restoration. He asked allllll the right questions and was just loving it. Only problem is he doesn't live in our area. Sad days

We haven't been able to see Jennifer all week and it’s been a bummer. Talked to her boyfriend and he said she would catch up with us this week. Tonight we knocked like 60 doors and everyone was kinda grumpy haha but that’s ok. Still a great week. So crazy to think I only have like 9 days with Elder Larson. This transfer has been too short. 

This preparation day the zone leaders and sister training leaders cooked bacon and pancakes for everyone. We taught the sisters how to make pancakes.


Week in the life of a missionary

November 7, 2016 
Monday we spent Halloween deep cleaning our apartment! 

Wednesday we had Mission Leader Conference which was great. It was so cool to hear about all of the things that we can do to help our fellow missionaries and how we can all be the best that we can. A big topic of the meeting was baptism and what it symbolizes. Then we talked a lot about the doctrine of Christ and how we can apply it in our own lives. We have a new mission vision as of this last transfer which is "we will act to teach repentance and baptize converts to fulfill the potential the Lord has for us" and that has meant a lot to me. 

The rest of our day was also pretty good. We hit up Applebee’s and got some lunch, thanks my companion and his Applebee's card then we had a couple lessons. Norman also came along to teach and it was awesome. First lesson was Jennifer and we talked about prayer a lot and how she can have better prayers to talk to God. She is really great and her testimony is growing so much! If she comes to church these next 2 weeks she is set for baptism! 

Then we say Kathy and talked about Mosiah 18. She is also doing really well and she has a big testimony of the Book of Mormon and that God is there. We also saw Brother Cranney who is working through a lot of personal stuff but we promised him that if he would read the Book of Mormon every day that Bod would help him with those problems. 

We didn't have a ton of teaching Thursday which was ok... We were able to get our weekly planning done and that was awesome. We should be doing a lot of finding coming up here soon so that we can regrow our teaching pool. That evening Brother Heilesen took us to Tappahannock for an exchange and so that I could do a baptismal interview there. The interview went great and Mike Morris was baptized Friday.

Friday We saw Bruce who is great. He has been doing a lot better in his health and I love going over there. 
Later that evening we saw Paul and he was awesome. He is building a temple in minecraft and its ‘gonna be so cool haha. Then tonight we had a lesson with Bruce and Genita and we took Bruce to see them. That was so cool and he shared an awesome testimony of how he came to know the Book of Mormon is true. It was great and they were really into it and said they would possibly come to church sunday. 

Saturday morning we had zone meeting. It was good and I gave a training on the process of repentance. Then after that we went to the Thai place and got lunch and it was super good. We tracted and contacted people most of the afternoon and were able to talk to Bo who is a good potential. He was really into the restoration and then his girlfriend came in and kinda took the spirit haha but we are going back, no worries. 

That night was crazy so we tracted into this lady named Lynn. She was awesome but not interested at first. Well we got talking to her and she said she liked God but not religions because they had all been changed. Well we asked her, if she could have the church of Lynn, what would it be? And she said a couple things and imagine this... everything she said lined up with something we teach! Who woulda guessed! 

Well after that all of our plans kinda fell through so we went to see Norman. He couldn't talk so we were leaving and pulling out car out and as soon as I hopped in this car pulls up next to us and this big black guy starts yelling to us. His name was Travelle and he was having a tough night. He was from the west side and had relapsed after being clean for 3 years. He hadn't been home in 2 days, his wife was upset and he really needed help. So we took him to Arby's and bought some food and had a lesson haha what else would we do right? It was unreal. We shared the plan of salvation with him because he was really struggling with why God lets people die. It touched him and calmed his spirit. He accepted to read the Book of Mormon and to have the missionaries over. Then he left. We haven’t heard from him since and are praying he is ok. I know we were there to help him know God watches

Sunday was pretty good as well. We went to a baptism in Bon Air for Troy Vargasen. I was a major part of his conversion process. Jennifer didn't come to church but Kathy did! And we saw Kathy that night and had a lesson going over the baptism. She is going to have to have an interview with out mission president but it should be ok and we are planning on her baptism in a couple weeks! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

So busy and Hallo-Clean

October 31, 2016
Happy Halloween! 

This week felt really really long but at the same time it was flying by which is just sooo weird for my brain to comprehend. 

So last Monday evening was one of the best ones in this area. After p-day we went to dinner at the Mead families house with our investigator.  First of all, the Meads are just awesome; they have 8 kids and are so fun. So Jennifer, one of our investigators who is really progressing, came to the dinner with her kids as well. The kids all went off to the basement and played the whole time which was great and we just got to sit around the table and hang out and have a lesson with Jennifer and the Meads. It was so perfect for Jennifer seeing 2 people that have used and seen the gospel work in their lives and just get to have real people experience. It was the perfect night and Jennifer was definitely feeling the spirit, it was a great night for her. 

Tuesday was pretty good as well. In the morning we had district meeting then we ran to the other side of Richmond to have our Stake coordination meeting with the Stake President. Mission President Smith was also there and after the meeting, we went out to lunch with him, the other Richmond zone leaders, and the assistants. Then we drove all the way back to Chickahominy to exchange with them. I had an exchange with a brand new missionar, Elder Wilkinson. He is a big brother who used to be the lead vocalist in a heavy metal band. He is still nervous about talking to everyone but it was alright because we went street contacting and taught the "Jesus Krew" a group of 4 high school students who gave us that title and made some sort of instagram or Facebook post of us from the selfie we took with them.

We exchanged back the next day and had quite the adventure because the evening of Wednesday was awesome! We went to the church and had a church tour with Jennifer. The kids were able to hang out with the other kids in the gym and then we went with the Meads and walked around the church talking about the sacrament, the different meetings, and then ended at the baptismal font. It was great and she was really feeling the spirit and just confirmed again that she wants to be baptized and she is more comfortable to come to church. 

Friday we went to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and did service. They are getting ready to put all of their lights up for Christmas and so we pulled off some leaves from dog wood trees for 2 hours so they could take them inside and light them up. It was therapeutic. After that we took Norman out with us from like 4:30 to 9 pm and it was sweet. We hit Jersey Mikes for dinner and then had a lesson with Paul that was great. We also were able to see Kathy and talk about the plan of salvation with her and Elder Larson took his white board and drew it all out while I explained - and she was doing so great. We finished the night talking to Bruce who is doing great and man! that guy can talk. His health has been improving and he is loving coming to church. 

Elder Larson, Denis and I
Saturday morning we took Denis out contacting with us for like 5 hours and we didn't talk to a soul. It was just a dead day. But tonight was great we went to the ward Halloween party and Jennifer and her kids came and loved it. The ward was so great and just loved them and I can’t wait till she can come to church. 

Sunday was also a pretty good day. Kathy came to church but Jennifer couldn't make it which is sad but we know she is trying. After church we went and met a less active Bro Pettiford who is great. He loves missionaries and is a convert of like 15 years from NYC. We talked and talked then asked him if he wanted to come out with us and he did! So we went and had a lesson with the Praks who are another convert family from Cambodia and it was awesome. We also went over the baptismal interview questions with Kathy and she has the strongest testimony. Her and Jennifer should be all set to be baptized on the 19th of November and we are so excited! 

Today we are doing Hallo-clean which is between 5 and 9 all the missionaries are staying in their apartments and deep cleaning, its going to be the best Halloween ever!.... but anyways, love y'all! Happy Halloween! 

Pretty Great!

October 24, 2016

This week was pretty great! The ward here is great and we have a couple of great investigators that are progressing well.

Monday night we had a really interesting experience. We took Denis out with us to go see some people. He is 16 and is a convert of about 2 years or so. Well the first person we went to see was a guy named Bobby. I talked to him once before Elder Larson got here and said he was pretty interested. Well we got there and he was inside so we were talking to his friend Richard who was outside. Richard was really great and just got over some hard things in his life and is even looking to get closer to God. Well then Bobby came outside. He was holding a beer and you could tell it wasn't his first one of the day. Let's just say it wasn't too fun.

The rest of the night we went and saw Paul our friend from Africa. He is amazing and loves Joseph Smith. We talked about the restoration and he had some really great questions about the plan of salvation as well.
Zone preparation Day 

Tuesday was sooo hot! Its October and it was like 85ยบ! We did some service this morning mowing Kathy’s lawn which was great. Then we had a meeting with the Richmond stake president and the other zone leaders and sister training leaders in the stake. It was cool to see  how much a stake president wants to be apart of all of our investigators and missionary activities. 

This afternoon tracting we found Shareeve. At first he didn't look very interested and was kind of just sitting outside but once we started talking he got more into it. He was really hooked on prophets and had some crazy ideas about prophets telling us "Tupac was a modern prophet among others." We also saw Bruce, another one of our recent converts. He is on dialysis and was having a tough time but we had an awesome plan of salvation lesson with him and he is really gaining a deeper testimony of the gospel. We saw a couple people besides that and went out with Christian tonight but it wasn't that exciting. 

Wednesday morning was district meeting and on the way over there we stopped off at the hospital to give someone a blessing. District meeting was ok, we had some discussion about how we can work with the members in our areas and get them more active. Then we went on exchanges with the assistants, it was awesome! I went with Elder Kauer and we had a blast. Every time we talked with them for the past 3 months I would always ask when we were going to do an exchange and after 3+ months of asking they got it down! Elder Kauer said that they never made time for exchanges but it was worthwhile so he was very grateful for the accountability. 

Elder Kauer and I 
We were at VCU campus street contacting and had many miracles with teaching college students and one was able to make it to church! We talked about keeping the Sabbath day holy with an investigator that night and she said that "in order for me to like my roommates I am going to make them have a Sunday dinner with me" and we chuckled and talked about how we don't ever want to force people to do things, but making food and having a tradition of a roommate dinner on Sunday's is a wonderful idea.

Thursday we had studies and it was so good. Weekly planning was good, super long and I wasn't feeling well so we took it easy by only knocking doors for a few hours and checking up on people. 

That night we had a lesson with Shawnte again and talked about the Holy Ghost and the Book of Mormon. She is really interested in helping her family come closer to God and is wanting to recommit her self because she knows that God can help her in her life. It was a good lesson. 

Friday was long. We went and finished mowing Kathy’s lawn since we didn't get it all the way done. Then we went home and met brother Scott. He took us to have a lesson with Bruce again and it was great. We talked about the resurrection and how all of our bodies will be restored which made him really happy because he’s having some health struggles. 

 We saw Paul again and were able to talk to his friend Amaru who has been learning about the church with us lately. We taught him the restoration and he was really starting to get why we needed the priesthood back on the earth. So cool for a 13 year old kid. Then we took Norman to see Brother Elrod who is a less active member starting to come back. We talked about patriarchal blessings and how they are a map for our lives. We saw Kathy again and her friend Deb was there. We talked about how there is opposition in all things and how we need to love as Christ did. It was hard because Deb was really nice but she was kinda taking over the lesson so we didn't have tons of time to talk to Kathy but hopfelly she felt the spirit. 

Saturday was also a really packed day. We helped Brother Fox move some of his stuff this morning which was great. He’s just moving to a new house in the ward boundaries. 

We got a call around lunch from another set of elders who have an investigator who is in our area. He is here in a hospital and wanted us to go see him. That's kind of all the info we got. Well it took us like 30 min to find this guy and then we had to go into this kind of mental hospital place and had a lesson with Jose. He is awesome and really really smart. He’s been studying other religions and just found the missionaries and wants to be baptized. He is pretty much ready but just needs some fine-tuning. The main problem is he is in this hospital so he’s not sure when he can come to church. But he is awesome. 

Then we had a lesson with Jennifer cause she's been having a hard time. She has been seeing goes hand in her life though so much and he has been answering her prayers. We talked about how we can receive revelation from prayer, reading and fasting. Those all take faith and its hard but she said she is going to come to church tomorrow! It was great. 

Sunday was the primary program! We had Kathy come to church again and she loved it, we also had Brother Cranney come and stay the whole time and he was really into it. The sisters had some people there as well and the chapel was packed for the program. After church we took Norman and saw Lewis, one of our investigators. He is struggling to know what to put his faith in and how to follow Christ. So we talked a lot about that and how he can learn from the Book of Mormon. Then we went to an apartment complex and found that picture of those kids with the masks. Lol. 

Our evening was awesome; we went out with Brother Lunde and saw Jose again. We talked to him about repentance and the atonement. He was really receptive and is really smart.  Even though he has some problems to fix, I think he could be baptized soon. Then we went to see Jennifer and make sure she is good to come to dinner tomorrow with the Meads. It was a good lesson and we talked about the Book of Mormon as well. She is really gaining a testimony and its soo cool to see God act in her life. 

The end of our night was teaching Kathy the word of wisdom. She is already following it and agrees with it all so it was really easy to teach. She is progressing so well and is looking forward to being baptized 11/19! I know she can make it!. 

This is our Zone after Zone preparation day and Elder Kauer and I during our amazing exchange!