Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Shook Hands w/ Elder Holland, NBD

Happy day after Memorial Day! I get just a little time to say "hi" and let you know I'm alive since the library was shut down yesterday.
This week was just insane. On Tuesday we went to Lansing to hear Elder Holland (Q of the 12) and Elder Hallstrom of the 70. They took the time to shake all 400+ missionary's hands before speaking to us. Elder Holland talked to us for an hour and a half on our missionary purpose.
For those of you who don't recite it on a daily basis...
"Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gopel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." (PMG, pg. 1)
There you have it. Elder Holland broke down and expounded this single sentence for the whole training. He focused on the fact that in order to invite others to come unto Christ, we need to be there ourselves. Basically we can't teach what we don't live, especially the principles of repentance and enduring to the end. He said lots of other incredible things that I'll have to share when I have more time.
Right after Tuesday, we had zone conference. That was awesome. Our fresh new A.P.'s, Elders Faust (Like 14 months out) and Derricott (my district leader not even three months ago, barely a year out) gave inspired training on finding with purpose and teaching by the Spirit. President Hess was inspiring as always, especially since it's our last training with him just about. Needless to say, we had two back-to-back powerhouse trainings.
Elder Jackson and I applied what we learned. On Thursday alone we found two new investigators and set three baptismal dates. The area has made a 180-degree turn in the past few days. Miracles. We set another date on Sunday night and another on Monday. Miracles.
So I'll tell you about one of our new investigators then I gotta go. A member's girlfriend, Angel, has been coming to church and right after gospel principles last week I invited her to learn and she accepted. We taught her the for the first time Thursday with Daylin, her boyfriend. We used the "How to Begin Teaching" principles like I never had before (just like we learned at training) and helped her recognize and understand the Spirit right away. She has felt the Spirit strongly as she's attended church. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and committed her to baptism.
So that's about it. Love you all, gotta go!
P.S. Can someone get me Niels and Lydia's emails? Thanks.

Monday, May 19, 2014

19 May 2014 - So Yeah

This week wasn't nearly as exciting as the last, but still a pretty decent week.
The most exciting news is that I went on a sweet trade-off in Grand Valley with my district leader, Elder Villaneda. He's from some place in California (don't remember) but he's the coolest Elder. We had a sweet day. Right after disctrict meeting/lunch we went and gave a blessing to an elderly sister who had fallen that morning. That was a nice experience, but the best thing is that we got stopped on the way out of this old-people community (I forget what those are called, too) by Rita, this cute little 90-year old lady with dementia. She asked us to sign the Book of Mormon we gave her and she blew us kisses and gently whispered, "I love you". She was flirtin' pretty hard.
After that we went doorkocking for an hour or so and set three return appointments on the same street. That was pretty crazy, miracles like that seem to always happen on trade-off days. The rest of the day was just packed with lessons with recent converts and investigators. We ended up doing splits later and I went with a member named Brother Jones to go visit less-actives. The first guy we visited turned his living room into a gun show. Three separate times he went to his back room and pulled out handguns, bullets, and a home-defense shotgun. Everyone was just handling them while I just sat there. It was pretty hilarious. We shared a message and got outta there.
So other than that, not much to report. We got cancelled and shined a ton. In fact, we're having better luck contacting and teaching our former's than our current investigators. It's pretty sad, but we're working hard and efficiently anyway so things will turn around.
I forgot my camera adapter again. We might swing by the library later so I can send some pictures.
It seems like all of my friends are leaving on and coming home from missions. That's pretty cool. I am so grateful every day for the blessing and opportunity that I have to be a missionary and a servant of Jesus Christ.
Love you all!

Myself by a windmill.
Myself and Elder Jackson. There was supposed to be another windmill in the background but my head is too big so it got covered up.

Monday, May 12, 2014


I have so much to say and I'm having an anxiety attack trying to remember everything about this week.
First off, I have a new niece! Baby Caroline is just the sweetest, cutest thing. Congratulations Clark and Amy! I love you both. Emmett is such a sweetie character too. I just miss the heck out of you all, family. Not too much though.
Elder Graves emailed me today to tell me about Midland. Curt and Patty are legit getting baptized next Saturday at 4 p.m. and I'm freakin' out. We were somewhat concerned to teach them the Word of Wisdom because they drink tons of coffee and Patty said several times, "I can't give up coffee, I live on that stuff." But nope. Once they were taught they were totally cool with it. Elder Graves will be performing the ordinace and he and Elder Hess are KILLING it in Midland 2.
I'm seriously hyper-ventilating right now. Everyone in the library's looking at me.
SO YEAH I don't even know where to begin with this week. Holland is seriously the best though. It is so so pretty (especially because it's Tulip Time) and the people are somehow even nicer than the Midlanders. People seriously yell NICE THINGS at us when they pass us in the cars ("Jesus loves you", "God Bless you", "May the Lord's choicest blessings fall upon you", etc). I can hardly even believe it. Some super cool stuff happened this week but I'm going to organize it by day so I can attempt to remember everything.
Tuesday was transfers and the transfer van was a blast. I wrecked everyone at "Book of Mormon Golf" (you read a chapter heading and guess the chapter) so maybe I'm a little pridful about it so what. I met Elder Jackson and we are super good friends already. He is from Cedar City, UT. He served a 3-month mission in Utah before coming out to the MLM and Holland. We doorknocked all day and got to know each other.
Wednesday was sweet, we mostly did finding because none of our investigators could meet with us all week because of Tulip Time. That's okay though because we had some cool people we contacted during the time we were supposed to meet with investigators. We gave the car to the sisters at coorelation (our rotation is one week on, one off).
Thursday started off super well. Weekly planned, contacted formers and set quite a few return appts, and found this guy named Devin. His only source to the church previous to us teaching him was South Park, so yeah, we get that a lot. He was somewhat hostile at first but he listened intently as we taught him the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. More and more he lit up and got involved. Finally, we talk about Joseph Smith and give him a Book of Mormon. We ask him to read the last two paragraphs of the introduction. He does so. When he finishes, he closes the book, throws it down on his coffee table, and says, "MAN, YOU CAN'T ARGUE WITH THAT. All you're asking me to do is read the book and pray about it?!" The spirit had softened his heart so much in the time we had met with him. He admitted that he let us in to listen for a while then bash with us but he was confounded by our message. He's super interested in learning more and we'll be teaching him next week hopefully.
Later in the evening, Elder Jackson's bike tire/tube exploded while we were way far away from our apt. A super nice non-member named Mark (and his family) recognized our distress and bought us ice cream while we waited for a member to come and pick us up. They had met missionaries before and were more than happy to help us out. They weren't interested in learning more but that's ok, they're saints. They'll be prepared soon I'm sure. Anyway, our Thursday proselyting schedule kinda went out the window but it was whatev.
We called a member to help us fix the bikes on Friday but for some reason they just never showed up and they weren't answering (they're alive we know, they were at church). We were completely stranded though. The bus schedule was wrecked for Tulip time. We got very little done Friday.
Saturday was better because we went downtown and just struck up conversations with people on the street. I had never done this before for a planned finding activity so I was nervous but once you start talking to people they just are the nicest. We talked to quite a few awesome people and got some return appts. We had to take time out of our schedule to take the bikes via bus to a shop to get the tire fixed. We also got to meet with a less-active which was a good end for the day.
Longest email. Dang. Sunday was seriously the best. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY BTW. Church was really good, the Holland ward is great, I met a bunch of people and made good friends. So coolest thing though- after sacrament, this young lady named K.C. came up to us and was like, "where's your gospel principles class?" We showed her around and heard her story. She had just moved back to Holland from Tennessee (mom she went to W. Ottowa) and was just baptized in March there! She is way cool. We or the sisters are going to hopefully finish teaching her the new-member lessons and maybe teach her non-member family! I'm so excited. She is so nice. After church we had a tasty grill-out lunch with the Betzold's. After that we gave a blessing to our very sick recent convert and member girlfriend, Roger and Jessica. The Spirit was strong and we taught a great lesson after. They gaves us four huge boxes of Pop-tarts to take home too. So yeah. Can't complain. As we biked home to call Moms I felt prompted to stop and take a picture by this windmill by the bike trail (p.s. there are bike trails going everywhere in Holland and it's just green and gorgeous and heavenly). Well, walking by was this college-aged kid who was super friendly and stopped to chat. Turns out he's from the Detroit area and his family had been taught by the missionaries when he was younger. I simply asked him, "Do you want to learn more?" and he was like, "OF COURSE" and I was like, "really?" and he was like "OF COURSE". We exchanged info and we'll be meeting with him next week. SO YEAH. It was nice to talk to Momster as well.
So that's about it. Today we went to a store called Aldi and it was basically the coolest. Have you heard of it? We also biked to Five Guys and had a delicious lunch AND they were playing the Killers and the Doors and I just about burst into tears like I usually do.
Sorry for the word vomit, this week was just so FULL. So many miracles, I didn't even tell you about all of them. I left my camera-to-USB converter at the apt. so you'll have to wait for pics until next week. I have quite a few of them.
Love you all! I should get going :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Transfers, etc.

Hello loved ones!

This weekend we got transfer calls! Mom, you're going to flip out. I'm being transferred to Holland! My new companion's name is Elder Jackson, he just got finished being trained. Anywho, I'm so excited! I'm going right in time for the tulip festival and everything! Mom, if you could get me some referrals of old friends or whatever, maybe talk to Aunt Diane as well and see if I have any distant relatives I could go visit. :) Mom, how long was it that you lived in Holland?

So that means I'm leaving Midland 2 after four transfers. I've absolutely loved my time here, there have been a lot of ups and downs. White-washing was a unique challenge but I wouldn't mind doing it again. We right away gained trust and love from the members and they are wonderful member missionaries. I'll always remember Heather Hale and Jeremy Hammers, my recent converts in the area. They're just great and I was so honored to teach them. I'm so grateful that I had the privilege to train Elder Graves, he's a great missionary. He pretty much trained me.  Elder Graves' new companion will be Elder Hess, the mission president's grand-son. Crazy, huh? They will do great and the area is doing really well right now. It is just building more and more week by week.

Alright, so at the beginning of this last week of the transfer, the zone leaders got this idea to set a goal of 20 new baptismal dates in the week. That was a pretty big goal, but all the Elders and Sisters were excited about it and everyone worked hard. Whenever someone set a new date the zone leaders would text everyone and tell us. 

We contributed by setting a new date with a former investigator named Helen Brown. She is super awesome; she was taught a ton by the previous Elders and ever since we whitewashed the area we haven't been able to meet because she got really sick. We met with her for the first time on Thursday and set a goal forJune 28th for baptism. Way exciting! She has a testimony and everything, she just needs to quit smoking and improve her health. If she does the first the other will follow. That was super exciting, 

So the coolest miracle was that on Saturday night at 9 p.m. the zone leaders sent a text saying we had done marvelous work but had missed our goal by just one. Even though we hadn't hit 20, we had set more dates than the zone had set in a single week in months. A few minutes later though they sent another text saying that a former had called the Elders and informed them she had quit smoking 3 weeks ago and was ready to be baptized. With that, the Midland zone hit the goal of setting 20 dates in just one week! 

So that's about it. Our other investigators are doing well. We had four investigators at church yesterday which was more than I had ever had in this area. We taught more lessons than we had in months. The area is looking so much better and I'm happy to hand it off in its current condition. 

Other cool stuff: Elder Derricott, after being a zone leader for a transfer, was called to be the new assistant! It's pretty cool. Just 6 weeks ago he was my district leader and now he'll be instructing in half-mission trainings. Haha. He's a great missionary and a good friend. We had a great time serving together in Midland. 

Tender mercy: I've had to get rid of some of my clothes because they are just too baggy, including a suit. Well, we've been volunteering at a resale shop that supports a shelter house for the past few weeks, and every time I go there I find something in perfect/barely used condition that fits me perfectly. The first week I found two really nice long-sleeved shirts, the second week I found a still-tagged brown belt and slacks that I bought for dirt-cheap. So this week there wasn't a lot of new men's stuff but I felt prompted to look through the suits again. I found a custom-tailored suit that fits me perfectly that I bought for $10. God provides. Life is so amazing when you begin to recognize the Lord's hand in everything. 

So there you have it. I love you all and I have a ton more of stuff to do so I gotta go!


So I have some pictures for you.

One is of me and Jeremy, the other is of Curt and Patty Cormier and myself.

District Photo!
Sisters from left to right: Dille, Procopio, Fulmer, and Greene.
Elders in the same order: Graves, ME, Krebs, Anderson.

We had this tasty ice cream for district lunch, it's called Great Lakes Ice Cream Co.