Monday, August 31, 2009

letter Aug 31 It will be bitter sweet to leave Ft. Walton

Hey Mom and Dad!

That’s so awesome that Ray and Brett are rooming together. I am really jealous haha. That’s cool that they came over to the house and hung out for a little while. ....
This week was great. Josh W. Was baptized yesterday after only 2 weeks of teaching him. Almost the whole ward came to the baptism yesterday evening, so it was a really good experience. Josh has already set goals to receive the priesthood and to get sealed to his wife Annie in the temple a year from now. I am so excited for them.

As far as other investigators go, we are not teaching too many people right at this time. Everyone that we were teaching in the past few months has either gotten baptized or dropped us. So we are kind of starting at ground zero again trying to find people to teach. We have been knocking on doors for a few hours each day, and we have been finding people, but none of them are willing to keep commitments. It is going to be very bitter-sweet leaving Fort Walton Beach. Bitter, because I will be leaving all of the amazing people that I have been able to teach and the members that helped so much. Sweet, because I have biked down the same exact streets every day for 9 months, and it is going to be nice to have a change of scenery.

As far as weather goes, it doesn’t look lake anything big is going to happen any time soon. It looks like you guys are closer to a hurricane than I am. I hear there is one coming up around Baja California. It’s a bit strange that the pacific is getting more hurricanes than the Atlantic this year.

So, we are almost into September now. Very weird. In about a month I will be hitting 18 months in the mission field which blows my mind. I still feel like I am brand new. This past year and a half has been the best experience of my life. It has changed my life forever. Knowing for myself what truth really is, has made me actually care about what I want to do with my life. It almost makes me sick to my stomach to think what I would have done if I did not serve a mission. And although it will be sad when I eventually get released, I am so excited to have this new pattern of living to try out in my life back home.

Anyways, I gots to go, I still haven’t written anyone back yet so I need to go do that. I love you guys so much. Tell the Family how much I love them.
Love, Josh

Monday, August 24, 2009

Aug 24, 2009 Josh W. commits to baptism

Mom and Dad-

It sounds like you guys had a great week. Have you been able to talk to Ray yet? That is so crazy that you saw Elder Carroll. Yeah we talked a few different times on the phone because we served around all of the same people. He was a pretty crazy missionary from what I hear. Did you talk to him about his mission at all? Im so jealous that you guys all got to go to Lake Powell. I am glad that you had fun.

So Shawna emailed me and said that the house is officially on the market again. I can’t remember if you guys ever told me that. How much are you listing it for? When it sells, where are you going to move right away? Its going to be so weird for me to come back to a different house, but I think ill survive.

Our week was very good. We taught Josh Wojtovcz again on Wednesday, and the lesson went amazing. At the end of the lesson we asked him if he had any questions, and he said, “yeah, how do I go about getting baptized?” Elder Adam and I were not expecting that at all, so we are both very excited. He is getting baptized this upcoming Sunday. I could not be any happier than I am right now in my life. Josh, as I told you last week, just got married to an active member of the Church named Annie. They are both 21 years old and are such a cool couple. It has taken Josh 6 years to finally be converted to the gospel. He has been through the lessons before but he always felt like the missionaries were pushing things to hard on him. Anyways, I am pretty sure if you somehow found him on face book, you could just read his conversion story, because he wrote it on his page, and it is pretty cool. All I know is that there is a very real power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon. We asked Josh if he has been searching more in the last couple months than he was before, and maybe that was the reason that he found his answer; but he answered and said no, and said that he had actually been searching less, and that is what confused him. We sat and thought about it for a minute and came to the conclusion found in 2Nephi 32 which talks about planting the seed of faith. For years, Josh had been planting all sorts of seeds but he was disappointed in each of the experiments, so he cast those seeds out. Then he started to Read the Book of Mormon and Pray, which was so much less effort then what he was doing before, and he said some new power immediately entered into his life just from doing these small and simple things. He finally planted the right seed, and it began to grow. I wish I could write better so I could explain everything to you guys. I could not be happier right now.

I cant think of too many other things that happened this week besides a lot of biking and tracting. We had a dinner appointment last night with a family whos kids are home from BYU right now, so I got pretty trunky talking to them about Provo and all the fun things going on there. It actually just got me excited to go to Utah when I get home. I still don’t really know exactly where I want to go yet, but I have plenty of time to think about it. I think I told you last week that I am for sure getting tranfered in 3 weeks. Im pretty excited to get out and see the rest of the mission. I am hoping I get sent out in the boonies somewhere.
K, well I have to go now. I love you guys. What more do you want me to write in my letters. Do you want more details about everyday activities? Just tell me what you want to hear and I will write more. Sorry if my letters get boring. I love you Mom and Dad! I love you family!

Love, Josh

Monday, August 17, 2009

Aug 17, 09 Reid Stevens got the aaronic priesthood

Mom and Dad-

Ok sorry if this letter is not very long today, we had to go to a different library beacause ours was closed and the one that we came to only allows us to have 30 minutes on the computers. So im going to try and write as much as I can in the limited time frame that we have.

This week was a very good week. Westley and Torins baptisms both went very well. I was able to confirm westley so that was a good experience. The other really great thing that happened this week is that Reid Stevens (our recent convert from a couple months ago) received the aaronic priesthood yeasterday. We werent able to find too many people this week though beacause there were a lot of storms that came through and kind of threw off our week. Transfers arent for another month, President has pretty much already told me that I am leaving. I don’t have a clue where I am going to get sent. I might find out a little bit more information tomorrow beacaue we havezone conference and president always seems to leak out some information in our interviews. We have a new investigator named Joshua Voytovach who is as golden as you can be. His wife is an active member and he has just started having all these spiritual experiences telling him that he needs to investigate the church. We had an amazing lesson with him last week and we are going back tonight to teach him. Alisha, who was one of our most solid investigators, fell off the face of the map. I think I might have told you already actually. She relapsed last week and has gone back into her old life style so we are pretty sad about that. Keep her in your prayers please. Everyone else is doing great though. It is definetely going to be sad to leave all of them.

Ok I only have 5 minutes left which is really annoying. Anyways, have you heard about any of the storms that are heading up here towards the gulf? We just got hit by a pretty good tropical storm last night and there should be another two decent sized storms coming up here pretty soon. Oh, never mind about the 5 minutes, it just gave me another 15 minute extension.

Yes I agree about going to UVU. I have always loved the feeling up in provo, so I think that is something that I will definetely have to do. I don’t know why I want to go to Utah so bad. I have always been against going there, but I just have a really strong urg to go now. I have also heard a lot of bad things about Salt Lake City actually. I don’t know if I would like it there as much as provo. But at the time, I do need to go to school somewhere else for a little bit before I can even go to UVU. I don’t know, I will give it some more thought in a few months when I really have to stert thinking about it. Can you believe Summer is already almost over? It flew by so fast! I cannot belive that my last summer in Florida is almost done. This on wasn’t even very hot either, which is a bit weird.

Anyways, now I really have to go. I am sorry about these lame computers. I will write a lot next week to make up for it. I love you Mom and Dad!!!

Love, Josh

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Aug 10, 2009

Mom and Dad-

How are you guys? That’s cool that your going back out to Utah for that convention. Is it a dental convention? Are you going straight to lake Powell right after that or are you coming home first? Im jealous of all the time you are getting with the kids. Andy sent me a picture of Ryan at the hospital with a huge smile on his face. Ryan is the coolest haha. So Ray gets home this Thursday huh? Is he going to start school right when he gets back or is he going to wait for the fall? I just got an email from him. I think he is wiggin out a little bit.

This week was ok. It actually was quite challenging. I am having a really hard time loving my companion. He just does a lot of things that really get under my skin. I actually talked to President about it this week and President just kind of laughed and said that he completely understands the nature of the beast that I am dealing with. I guess my Elder Adam has sent President some emails that kind of let him know that he is a bit out there so he shared some empathy with me when I talked to him on the phone which actually helped a lot. He told me that I have a crown awaiting me after this transfer, so I am a little nervous/excited about what that means. But anyways, besides that, everything else is going very good. The work is great. Despite the challenges in the companionship, I am actually still very happy. We have two baptisms coming up this Saturday the 15th. Either Elder Adam or I will perform Westley’s Baptism, and then I think Torrin Caldwell will be baptized by his Dad. The cool thing is about Torrin, is that his Dad has been less-active for a couple years now, and none of his brothers or sisters have been baptized. But ever since we have started teaching Torrin, his Dad has been coming back to church and he is now worthy to baptize Torrin. The other cool part is that he just got called yesterday as the new gospel doctrine teacher which completely took me by surprise considering he just barely re-activated. So yeah we are pretty excited about that family. Something else happened yesterday that we are pretty excited about as well. There is a new married couple in our ward, the Voytavach’s. Sister Voytavach is active but her husband is not a member. We had heard that he had taken the lessons before, but was not interested, so we hadn’t really bothered. But yesterday after church, the Bishop wanted us to come into his office and said that he had an investigator for us. So we went in and there was the new married couple, and I guess that had just had a very spiritual experience with the Bishop and Joshua Voytavach now wants to take the lessons. The Bishops goal is to get them sealed in the temple, so that’s what we are shooting for. I am really excited about him.

So anyways, I am sorry to bore you with all of that. We are teaching a lot of really great people right now, and are ward is so great. They have been helping us so much. They are all really excited about missionary work so it has helped us out a ton. President told me that I would be out of here next transfer which makes me a little bit sad because there is just so much going on right now. But at the same time, I think I am ready to get out of Fort Walton after being here for almost 9 months.

Oh yeah, something else really happened this week. We had another tornado touch down here in Fort Wiggity. It was pretty crazy, we were on our way to go tract some street, and when we turned the corner, there was just a wall of black coming at us. So we sat there and were taking pictures as the black clouds started to creep over us, and while we were taking pictures, we noticed that the clouds were forming into these really funky shapes and they started spinning. The wind then started to pick up and we saw a wall of rain coming from a distance, so we decided to head to the church. So, we found out later on that those were funnel clouds and that there was a tornado somewhere in Fort Walton and the alarms at the military base were all going off. So that was a cool experience. I took a great video of it, so I will send that home shortly.

Alrighty, I think im gonna go now. I love you mom, I love you dad. Thank you for everything!

Love, Josh

Monday, August 3, 2009

Aug 3, 09

Mom and Dad-

It has been so long since we have been to Lake Powel, I’m way jealous. You will have to take some good pictures for me. I am sorry that I haven’t been too good lately at sending pictures, I will do better. Yeah, I didn’t see the videos on the camera, but I will go back through them and double check. That is really cool that Ray was able to see Brett and Erik. That would be so much fun if Brett got Ray to stay down in Utah. I would love to have both of them there went I go. What day does Ray get home again? I know that it is sometime this month.

Our investigators are doing really well. Westley Smith and Torrin Caldwell are both set to be baptized on August 15. Then we are teaching a 9 year old kid whos parents are active but they never baptized him when he was 8, so he will be baptized very soon. Then we are still working with Alisha Striblan. She is so awesome. She has such a solid testimony of the Book of Mormon and she knows the Church is true. She is down to just 2 cigarettes a day. She has come so far. We gave her a blessing the other day, and there was just so much peace that she would overcome the addiction very quickly. There is another family that we just met recently that seems pretty solid as well. We were tracting a few weeks ago, and we ran into a kid about my age named Ramsee. He is a spitting image of me about 4 years ago, only not as dumb. He seemed really interested in having us come back. So we went back a few days later and he wasn’t there but his girlfriend was, and she also said she was really interested and that she was looking for a church like ours to join. So she said we could come back in a week. So when we came back to talk to Ramsee and his girlfriend Jordan, they were not there, but Ramsees mom was, and she was so golden! She was talking to us all about how Satan was trying to do all he could to tear her family apart because Ramsee was getting in trouble with this girl, and she was just so stressed because she loves her family so much and wants more for Ramsee. So we told her all about Gods plan for our Families and about the Plan of Salvaton and modern day prophets, and she loved every bit of it. She was just so smart and understood everything. So we are excited to start teaching them. As far as the rest of the week went, we just did a lot of tracting, and a lot of less-active visits. I cant think of any specific fun stories right now sorry.

We just got transfer information today. Im going to be staying in Fort Walton for another one! I will have been in this area for 9 months at the end of this transfer. I am very excited to stay, because there are so many good things happening here right now. This is the most success that I have seen on my whole mission, so it would be pretty sad to leave. At the same time though, I would like to see some other parts of the mission. All four of my areas so far have generally been pretty close to each other, so I kind of want some new scenery. Elder Adam is staying here as well. I get pretty frustrated with him sometimes, but that is my own pride. He is a hard worker, but we are just opposites in almost everything besides the work. Its been a good growing experience for me though, and this transfer will be another one, but I will survive haha.

Anyways, sorry I am boring this week, I will try to have some good stories for next week. Mom- I love you! Dad- I love you! I love you Family! Tell people to write me, checking the mail box is the most depressing part of every day haha.
Love, Josh