Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009

June 29

Mom and Dad-
Hey guys! That’s great news that Chad passed his exams. I bet he just loves life now. Im glad to here all is well back home. Are Casey and all them home for the Summer or something? I know Brett is just getting started with school isn’t he?

So this transfer is going to be one of those really difficult ones. Im training Elder Adam who I can tell is going to try my patience. Its ok though, Its good to go through experiences like these. He is a good missionary, I think he was just really sheltered back home and he has a hard time taking advice from anyone. It will be a good transfer though, I prayed for humility before transfers so I guess this is the Lords way of answering that prayer haha. I have never worked harder than I have this week though. We found 7 new people to teach so that was good. We knocked on doors for a good 4-6 hours each day. Reed Stevens committed to be baptized, but we still aren’t too sure how ready he is yet. Some people just don’t get that baptism is a life long commitment, not just something you do to be clean for a while and then go back to normal life. We had some good lessons this week with Cindy Love and Alisha Striblan. Alisha is the other Lady that has a baptismal date for July 18. She is a little more solid, but still has a smoking issue so we are still trying to help her with that.

The weather cooled down a little bit this week. It was up to 110 by last Monday, but its back down to the low 90’s now so it’s a little bit nicer to proselyte in. It has been bone dry lately, not a single storm. How has the weather out there been? Have you been out to the Lake at all lately?

My studies have been really good lately. I have focused a lot on all the elements that make up Faith lately. Reading Elder Bednar’s talk “Seek Learning by Faith” opened my eyes to what Faith really is, but I still really don’t know anything. Another really great talk you should read is “Moral Agency” by Elder Christofferson.

Well, im sorry I don’t have a ton to write about this week. Everyone wants to go get food right now so I have to go. I love you guys so much. I will have more to talk about next week. I love you Mom, I love you Dad! I love you Family!
Love, Josh

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 22, 2009

June 22

Mom and Dad-

That’s really good news that Chad passed his exam. That has to feel so good to have that out of the way. Brett has been dating Jamie Linford? That is pretty random. Happy late Fathers day Dad!! Sounds like it was a good one. I miss those kids. So it seems like you guys are putting some pretty serious thought into St George, when would that all happen if you did decide to go up there? That business college in Salt Lake seems pretty cool. Ill definitely put some thought into that.

We just got transfer information in today. Elder Gooch is leaving to go be a Zone Leader up in Alabama. I am staying here and will be a trainer and district leader. The trainer part will be pretty fun I think, but im not so sure about the district leader part, but we will see how it goes. Im going to miss Elder Gooch a lot. It has been the best 3 tranfers of my whole mission. But I am really glad to be staying here. At the end of this transfer I will have almost been here in Fort Wiggity for 8 months!

The weather out here has reached unbearable. Today it is 98 degrees and that’s not including the heat index which usually shoots it up 10 degrees. Its pretty cool though, when we come back in from working all day, you can ring the sweat out of your garments. It hasn’t rained in a about a week, which is really unusual.

This week was good, but we had a really hard time finding new investigators. We tracted a bunch, but really didn’t have to much success in that, so we will just keep trying this week. Hopefully me and the new missionary will get off to a good start so that the work will continue to increase here. The one thing that was actually really good this week is that 7 investigators just randomly showed up to church yesterday. Usually we only get 2 or 3, so that was really surprising. Oh yeah, another pretty cool thing happened; we set a baptismal date with an investigator of ours named Alisha Striblan. We have been teaching her for about a month now at a member’s house and she is really solid. Our appointment this last Tuesday went really well. She said that she hadn’t received an answer yet, but that she felt good whenever she prayed, so we tried an experiment and we all knelt and prayed with her in the lesson. Each person in the room said a short prayer asking to know if that the Book of Mormon Is true, and then she prayed. When it we were all finished, we asked her if she felt those same feelings that she felt before, and she said yes. We explained to her how the spirit works and eventual she pretty much said, “well what do I need to do to get baptized?” So we are excited about that.

We finished the lessons with Reed, and he says he wants to be baptized, but were just not sure if he is ready. He threw a huge fit at Church yesterday when his friend who is a member wanted tried to get him to stay for all 3 hours of church. He usually just stays for sacrament and then leaves. He was really upset yesterday and we could just tell hes not ready yet.

So what are you guys going to do for the 4th of July? Anything super exciting? I don’t think they want us proselyting to much that evening, so our ward mission leader is going to take us on base with his family and watch the firework show. Time is just flying by way too fast. I remember last summer with Elder Taylor like is was yesterday. Really weird. Well, I think I better go. A member is taking us bowling in about an hour and I still need to email President. I love you Mom, I love you Dad! Thank you so much for your emails! I love you family!

Love, Josh

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ft. Walton June 09

Week of June 15

Mom and Dad-

That’s really cool that everyone likes this dammeron valley place. Are you guys putting some pretty serious thought into it? I got the LDS business college papers in the mail. I haven’t had a chance to look at them yet. Ill look over them today and try not to get too trunky haha. So Chad is still having to take a bunch of tests? I thought that was all over with when he finished the schooling. Tell me how that goes.

Thank You for the pictures that you sent also. I loved seeing Sadie and Charlie Murphy. I bet that was pretty crazy having all those dogs on the beach. Have you guys been skiing at all on the new boat? I bet the wake makes it pretty difficult. How is the weather out there? It is getting ridiculously hot over here. Its been in the mid 90’s all week, which would be ok in California, but throw in 80-90% humidity with that, and its pretty gross.

This week has been pretty average. We had 4 or 5 really good lessons. Weve been teaching this lady named Alisha for the passed couple weeks who has been coming to church and says that she wants to be baptized when she gets an answer to her prayers. Shes a normal person too, so that’s good. When I say normal, I mean that many investigators we find out here have a lot of weird quarks about them which makes things a little bit frustrating at times, but they also make great stories so its all good. We were struggling to hit our goal for new investigators this week so we ended up doing a ton of tracting. A lot of people don’t like tracting, but I actually kind of enjoy it. Its pretty fun getting to so see many different types of people. Its also really fun just thinking of different approaches you could use and how you can tie it back to the restoration. It also makes it nice to have a companion that you actually like.

Im pretty sure that Elder Gooch is the only one leaving. In our apartment right now is me, Elder Gooch, Elder Rosenlund, and Elder Jackson. Elders Gooch and Jackson are for sure leaving, which leaves me and Elder Rosenlund. President has already told Elder Rosenlund that he is training, so I have no idea whats happening with me as far as any positions, I just know that I am staying.

We are having a district conference with President Summerhays this Tuesday which will be interesting. Usually we do Zone conferences, but this month President wanted to just do it with individual districts, so it will be more one on one. I always get so much out of the conferences that we have with President, so I’m really excited. Elder Gooch and I are going to ask him if he could come to a lesson with Alisha right after the meeting, so I hope it works.
Are you still going to send Brett’s talk? We aren’t really supposed to go on any other sites, so it would probably be better if you sent it.

Last night we went to a dinner appointment with second ward at the Maresh’s. This is probably one of the coolest families ever. It is a part member family that the 2nd ward missionaries ran into a while back. Brother Maresh was a less active member and was unordained, and the rest of his family aren’t members. So anyways, he just got they priesthood and he is going to baptize his family on Friday, so Elder Gooch and I needed to go to this dinner apointment so that he could interview them for baptism. So anyways, Bother Maresh collects all different kinds of hot sauces, and it got pretty brutal last night. He had this sauce that was pure habenero and Chile pepper extract. So we were one upping eachother all night and toward the end of the night, we were just dunking all our food in this stuff. I have never had anything so hot in my life. I couldn’t sleep until around 1am this morning because of stomach pains and ever since I woke up, ive been pooping hand grenades, so I don’t think I will do that again.

Anyways, sorry there isn’t really anything else too exciting to tell you. I had a good week, but I cant think of too many exciting details. Im glad to hear all is well back home. I love you Mom! I love you Dad! I love you Family!

Love, Josh

Monday, June 8, 2009

June 8 Visit with Elder Bednar

Mom and Dad-

This week has been so great. It was so amazing getting trained by Elder Bednar for 3 hours! We got there 2 hours early so we could get front row seats in the chapel. I have seen him speak in different settings before, but it has never been like this. We were 10 ft away from an apostle who had prayed and received specific instruction for us as. Before he said anything, he said for us to not write down anything that he said. He told us that what he said really didn’t even matter, but that each of us would receive specific tailored revelation; a lot of which would would have nothing to do with what he was even saying. It was so true, I found myself sitting there many times watching him, but I didn’t even know what he was saying because there was just a flow of knowledge coming in from somewhere else, it was pretty amazing. The whole training was about how we need to seek learning by faith and how we need to help others do the same. If you read his talk, “Seek learning by Faith,” you will know a lot of what he talked to us about. He talked a lot about how we are all agents to either act, or be acted upon, and that Faith is acting and doing, not just sitting and listening. He taught us how we need to not just act upon our investigators but rather help them to be agents and act for themselves by helping them to make and keep commitments. I think his coolest point was that there are 3 different substances that make up Faith: 1.) Faith as the assuarance of things hoped for 2.) Faith is the eveidence of things not seen which are true. 3.) Faith is the principle of action in all intelligent beings. As we take a few steps into the dark and act, we have an assurance that heavenly Father will illuminate the way, and as we are walking, we look back and see that he has in fact illuminated the way, which is the evidence of things that are not seen, and as we see the evidence, that gives us more assuarance and the cycle just keeps going. You should really read the talk because I probably just murdered everything he said. Anyways, the 3 hours with Elder Bedinar gave me such great perspective on my mission, and in my life. We were all able to shake his hand afterward which was pretty neat. I haven’t washed my hand since, and I probably never will.

The rest of our week went really well. We exceeded all of the goals that we set for ourselves so that was good. Oh yeah, I got hit by a car on Wednesday, so I was pretty stoked about that. We were going pretty fast down the side walk facing the traffic, and this big black truck pulled out trying to turn right, and I could have sworn the lady saw me because it was a cross walk and she stopped before she turned, so I kept going, and so did she. Nothing too bad happened. It knocked me about 5 ft off my back, but I landed on my feet and jogged it off. The Wheel and Chain got knocked out of place on my bike, but we fixed that. So don’t worry, my bike is ok! I just received a couple minor flesh wounds so im ok too. I wish I could see the look on moms face right now. On Sunday we had 3 unexpected investigators show up to church and they actually stayed for the investigators class after sacrament, so we were very excited about that. We are teaching a couple of solid people right now. Cindy Love is still doing really well, and Reed also. We started teaching a part member family recently and the Dad is the non member. He seems to be really interested. He came to Church yesterday wearing nice slackes, a white button down collared shirt and a tie. Things are going really good lately for us.

Im kinda bummed that Elder Gooch is leaving next transfer. Everyone in our apartment is so cool. We have such a good time, but everyone works really hard. This has been the greatest time of my life. But there will be more great companions an experiences in the future so it will be fine.

We got in a pretty good bash towards the beginning of the week. Some guy was just telling us how the book of Mormon is false because there were no horses in the Americas and that DNA tests show that the American Indians don’t have any Israelite blood in them. We sort of tore into this guy and we both felt bad afterward because he really didn’t have a leg to stand on. It is fun to bash for a little bit, because it keeps you polished on the doctrines, but it just doesn’t feel good and the spirit is never there.

I haven’t ever heard of that school either, it sounds pretty interesting. Brett is going there you say? I will have to check it out. He just sent me an email. I cant believe he is already dating again. Crazy. Im excited to hear his homecoming talk. Im probably not allowed to listen to it on the computer, so yeah just send it on a cd or something.

Well that’s pretty much all I have for you guys, I hope I didn’t bore you. The rest of the week was all just tracting and visiting, so I wont bore you with all that. I love you both so much. And I love everyone else too! Thank you so much for everything. Your all in my prayers! I love you Mom, I love you Dad!

Love, Josh

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1

June 1
Mom and Dad-

Hey guys! Sorry that you haven’t gotten those pictures yet. They are in the mail as of today, so you should be getting them within the next few days. Those pictures of Brett at the airport are great. He really good. So he is thinking of going up to Idaho? Ray said that he is probably going to do that as well. I don’t really know what I am going to do yet. I think I will give myself another 6 months before I really start thinking about it. I don’t know if they will fumble my return date around at all, I just know that that is the release date on my ministerial certificate. As far as im concerned, that is the exact date when I leave because that is a Wednesday which is transfer day.

It seems like we have just been filtering through all of our investigators. Last week and this week we have been dropped by a lot of them, but we have also found some promising ones as well. We had 4 investigators at church yesterday which was really cool. We are going to start teaching the Caldwells. The Dad is a less active member, but his kids have not been baptized. Torren is the main one that we are working on. He is 14 years old. The other two girls are 12 and 10. So it will be really cool if we can get them all baptized and get the Dad reactivated again. Things are going good with Cindy. She has not been to church yet which is a bummer, but we are working on it. Reed Stevens comes to Church every Sunday and has been reading and praying, so we are hoping to set a date with him really soon. This week has been really good for the most part. We have been doing a lot more teaching and we have been able to get members to come to most of our teaching appointments with us, things have been going quite smoothly lately. Last night, I was about to use the bathroom, and as I was about to sit down, I saw 3 huge crawfish in our toilet. So I opened the 2nd ward missionaries door and through them at them. Long story short, a war broke out in our apartment, and lets just say that they had a whole bag of crawfish just waiting for Elder Gooch and I. Anyways, we have a lot of cleaning up to do today.

So you guys were able to hang with Katey and Keagan for a little bit? That’s cool. I cant wait to ride Chile. Oh yeah, as we were tracting a couple days ago, we ran into this lady who had a ton of dogs in her yard, two of which were two big Great Danes. One of them was a female and had the same exact markings as Sadie. The owner said that she was about 14 years old, but she was still as playful as ever. The only difference is that she didn’t have her ears cropped. The owner let us pet her and play with her a little bit and it made my day.

I am so excited for this Saturday to go and see Elder Bednar. The Zone leaders are going to spend the night on Friday night, and then we are going to drive up to Pensacola at 6 in the morning and hopefully get there by 7 or 730. It doesn’t start until 9am, but we want to get front row seats in the chapel. If we end up getting there two hours early, we can always just study I guess. It will be fun to go see two of my old areas. We will be driving through Navarre, where I was trained; and then we will be going to Fox Run for the conference which was my second area. It is actually really weird how close I have stayed to all my former areas. I am within and hour and a half driving distance to each of my last areas which isn’t really normal. Im pretty sure I will get to go to Alabama sooner or later. Pretty much half of our mission is in Alabama. But at a will most likely be here for at least another two to three months. President told Elder Gooch that he would be leaving this next transfer most likely to go zone leader, so I will be staying. What worries me is that he is our district leader right now, and the only other person staying this next transfer is Elder Rosenlund who is going to be training. So Im hoping one of the Sisters in our district will be district leader or something.

My black shows are officially starting to fall apart. The Rubber is starting to come apart from the shoe, and part of the bottom has torn off. Do I have permission to by a cheap pair of dress shoes from Ross?

Anyways, I have to go now. Thank you for those pictures. Sorry I didn’t take too many. There are maybe 20 or so that I sent home. I love you Mom! I love you Dad! Thank you so much for everything. I miss you and love you!

Love, Josh