Kentucky, Louisville Mission

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 103 "Ya se acabo"

This week has felt very similar to what my mission felt like as a whole. I felt tired, stressed, overwhelmed, excited, humbled, and extremely blessed! Words can hardly describe the feelings I have and I don't know what I can say to help you understand everything, maybe I can’t but I can try to fill you in on the details!

On Friday Felipe Nieto married Tanya Price!  Then on Saturday he got baptized!  After investigating for more than 2 years they finally made the decision and Elder Hamilton and I were very blessed to be able to be a part of it. I have never been a stronger believer that God knows the end from the beginning and he will bless us as we diligently demonstrate our faith and love for him! What an amazing way to end the best experience of my life, it wasn't the easiest or the funnest but it was easily the best. I've often heard it described as a million dollar experience you wouldn't pay a dime to repeat haha but I would not be who I am today if it wasn't for everything I've experienced the past two years. Looking back now I can smile about certain times when I didn't understand why things happened the way they did but now I know that God knew and I am amazed. I love you guys and I'm so grateful for your support these last 2 years, I couldn't have done it with out you! 

¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Email for Ward Mission Leader in Clarksville, Indiana

I am the Ward Mission Leader in the Jeffersonville Ward of the New Albany Indiana stake. Bishop Roger White and I wanted to write you about a missionary that is coming home to you this week, Elder Follett. We are copying his Bishop and family in on this email as well.

We know that you likely get a number of missionaries that return home from your stake. While it is not a common practice for us to write a stake president about a missionary's service, we think that there are some things you should know. Please know that Elder Follett has served with honor. I get the privilege to serve with many missionaries (we have had 4-6 missionaries serving in our ward most of the last 20 years.). He is among the most notable. Thank you for sending Elder Follett to us. He was an amazing tool in the Lord's hand. 

Missionaries who serve in our area are an integral part of our ward. We have 4 full time Elders in our ward alone, with about 185 people attending each week. As you can tell from those numbers, that means that the missionaries are often in members homes and working with them closely. Their service is important to our ward, which covers much of a complete county.

Elder Follett served as a leader in the mission and several of the missionaries took me aside when he arrived here. I think what they told me speaks volumes about how he served. To a person, they confided in me of his dedication. They mentioned that he served most of his mission in areas that the other missionaries were glad they were not serving in. (That is putting it mildly.) They told me of how hard it was and how much they respected him for serving diligently and without complaint, when others did. They told me that the areas he served in had little to go on and it was truly tough to find investigators. This was all unsolicited by me, but they wanted me to know how truly good an elder he was and is. In the time we have served together, I have come to see why they respected and loved him. When he arrived in our ward, he was one of the friendliest, warmest and most fun missionaries I have ever served with. He was comfortable in the humblest of circumstance as well as  the most formal.  

 I truly wish I had more time to serve with him. It is a shame that we do not get more time together.

Elder Follett has served in our ward only 7 weeks. The last 7 weeks of his mission, which is partly why we are writing.  It is uncommon for missionaries to get "trunky transferred" (transferred into a brand new area on the last transfer of their mission.) But it does happen.  

In his case, the area had been closed the previous transfer due to a shortage of missionaries and then reopened. No teaching pool to start with. No one who knew the area to start with other than the other Elders in the ward. Only the area book and 7 Sundays to do something with it. Elder Follett took on the challenge and wrote an epic last chapter to his mission. It was a treat to observe.

I have watched many missionaries shut down on the last weeks of their mission, and it would be even more typical to expect it in this case due to the difficulties, but he did not. Even tonight he is serving with everything he has. 

During this 7 weeks he connected with virtually all of the members of our ward. His area was expanded to include his old area temporarily as well, due to other missionaries being transferred. (His mission president was comfortable having him cover whenever there was a need because he knew it would get done.)  He helped locate more than a few people in our county that we did not know where they were and served diligently and well. He has worked tirelessly. We thought you should know. We consider him family.

We have had a number of people in the area that missionaries refer to as "eternigators". One such couple was Felippe and Tonya and their teenage children. They have been attending the neighboring ward on and off, and because I had worked with them and knew them, I got to work with Elder Follett and his companion in teaching them.

They have been studying off and on with the missionaries for several years. Still not married. Husband still not baptized. Wife is a less active member. Children attending church only now and then.  I counted no less than 12 missionaries that had taught them at one time or another. 

Elder Follett's loving persistence was there at the right time. I am writing this on Sunday night. Earlier this weekend, on Friday, they were married. Elder Follett helped them get the paperwork so that they could get married. He helped prepare the reception for them, as they live humbly, and with medical expenses and it was out of reach for them. He found a missionary that could decorate a cake. He found decorations. He literally found a way over every obstacle so that they could get married and so Felippe could get baptized. All of this again happened in 7 weeks, from not knowing them to befriending them, to  teaching them, to facilitating all of this. Amazing.

I had the pleasure of sending some of the missionaries that had served here the news that after years, these people had finally been married and joined the church and that their efforts to teach them were not in vain. It was a tender moment.

There are no words to describe how thankful returned missionaries are who don't even know Elder Follett for him taking care of the person that they taught 2-3 years previous. 

The number of obstacles was impressive. Elder Follett and his companion stayed with it. I have attached photos of their reception and of Felippe's baptism yesterday. Felippe was confirmed today in that ward.

You also need to know that while we love all of the missionaries, we do not write letters to Stake Presidents about all of them. You are indeed standing in the presence of greatness and humble service when you greet him as he arrives home. Please welcome him home appropriately for his valiant service. Please thank his mom, dad and family for their sacrifice in sending him. They have sacrificed greatly. We have appreciated the time he has been here more than you will know.  

And we realize, that our ward is only one of the areas where he served this valiantly.

As a Ward Mission Leader you grow to love all of the missionaries, but you especially admire and appreciate the ones who have that special balance of confidence and humility and love that Elder Follett does.  They are indeed special.

In a couple short days we will send Elder Follett home to you safe and sound (and tired ;-) ). We will miss him. Since we cannot be there, we would ask that you do a couple of things to show him our gratitude for his service.  

Please share the contents of this letter with him as appropriate and  (again) thank his family for his service. Please make sure that they FEEL it. His family needs to know that he was a great missionary. So often people try to measure the mission by the number of baptisms, but each mission is different and his was full  of extraordinary challenges. Having several children serve missions and one to go,  I could only hope that they served to his level. That is all I can say. I am honored to have served with him. 

Please convey the love of the families of our ward to him. Please let him know that he has #refrigeratorprivileges here in Jeffersonville and that we expect him to use them. (grin)

Please pass the contents of this letter as appropriate to your high council to let them know what an impact this young man has made. I am sure that while they get to see many missionaries return, they would want to know of his service. He has returned with honor. 

Thanks again for sending one of your best and brightest to serve on a mission. It has been our honor and privilege to serve with him here, even for a short time. He has made a dent in our universe and a lasting impact. 

We hope and pray things continue to go well for your stake. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 102 "Una mas"

Hey People!  

This week went really good!  We have a pretty eventful week ahead of us!  We have meetings out th wazoo haha 4 people to be interviewed for baptism, a wedding, a reception, a baptism and a whole lot more so this will be a really fun week to go out with a bang!  Honestly I don't even know what to tell you about this past week haha we worked hard and are finishing up all the lessons with Felipe and Tanya and things are going really well!  We're very excited for them and feel super blessed to be able to have met them and worked with them.

This week we have been trying to meet with every less active member on our records and its been interesting, met a few families who didn't know spouses were members and weren't too happy about it haha and other interesting things!  Like Louis for example, Louis is a 85 years or older less active man who was a little confused when we met him, he told us that his wife and him were married in 2006 and that they just hit their 25th wedding anniversary and they got married 6 months after they met in 1962. (if you add htose numbers up they don't make sense trust me haha) but we have been having a good time trying to track down a lot of people who haven't been to the church in a really long time and its been great.

Other than that not much to report!  Things are going really well and we are working our hearts out!  Love you guys, hope you have a great week!

Para siempre Dios este con vos!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 101

Hey people! this week was absolutely crazy haha 

So last week i talked a little about how we needed a miracle in order to get Felipe married before his baptism and we definitely got one! We went over there last Monday night and had a lesson with them and just taught them about the 10 commandments and basically they just decided right then and there in a split second that they were going to get married, so i was pretty excited and asked when they wanted to go get the paper work and they said lets go tomorrow! so we did haha we went and got their marriage license and everything (for the most part) went really smoothly! so now me and Elder Hamilton and scrambling around trying to get their marriage and baptism planned so this will be a very busy and exciting 2 weeks. They will be married the 17th and he will be baptized the 19th so we'll be cutting it really close haha but I’m excited!

Other than that this week has been pretty normal, The sister missionaries made it back to Louisville so we no longer are covering 2 areas which has been really nice. For some reason every English investigator we have has dropped off the face of the earth so really things are pretty normal for me here only teaching Spanish people but my poor companion feels a little unused haha he’s trying his best with his Gringo Spanish though.

We are also teaching a guy named Armando who has investigated for a long time, he is very quiet and very unsure about everything and pretty hard to get a hold of but he has a lot of potential, he's read in the Book of Mormon up to Alma and pretty much knows it’s true, now we just have to help him act on what he has learned. Last night we also picked up a guy named Silvestre, he lives in an apartment where we kept being sent back to, first looking for a guy named Eric, than we met Ledio who said we could come back, couldn’t find Eric or Ledio but later ran into a guy named Jose who said we could come back, lost Jose but then found Silvestre and taught him the restoration last night haha he seems pretty cool so we're excited to see who else we can find here. 

Anyway, love you guys a lot, hope you have a great week! 

¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 100

Hey people! this week was crazy, we've been busier than a one legged man in a butt-kicking contest! 

So first off, the 2 sister missionaries that took over my last area in Louisville are now no longer in that area haha we don't know exactly what happened but all we know is that since President Brough had no other option he assigned me to cover my old area as well as the new one so we now officially have the largest area in the mission haha so it’s been really fun and I’ve loved being able to still work in Louisville with a lot of the people that i have been teaching for the past year but it is a lot to cover and its pretty stressful so I’m ready for some sisters to come back now so hopefully President finds someone quick! 

Other than that this week has been pretty normal! Felipe is doing really well, a lot of stuff has happened that’s made it hard for us to meet with him as much as we'd like to and Sunday morning rolls around and we call him to make sure he's still coming to church and he doesn't answer, so we drive to his house and knock on his door and still nothing! so we head over to the church a little disappointed and just assume he's not going to make it. We were sitting there a few minutes before the meeting started when all the sudden we hear a whisper "Hermanos" haha and we looked up and there was Felipe! we don't know how or why or when but he came to church by himself which was great. He is very close to his baptism, we just have to pray for the Mexican miracle (marriage before the baptism) and all will go smoothly! 

I got asked to do a special Musical number at a baptism this Saturday and didn't think much of it, i was nervous and felt inadequate for the job but those feelings have become pretty normal as a missionary so i just did it and it went okay and like i said, i dint think much of it. Well later i received an email from a man I've grown to respect a lot the past few weeks, He said " What you need to know what that yesterday was a tough day for me. At the time the baptism was going on, my son and daughter-in-law were getting married in the Louisville temple, and I could not be there and neither could Jen. We did this out of respect for their wishes and the fact that her parents could not be there because they are not members, so they did not feel right with us being there.
It was not an easy moment for me personally. My heart was tender because I wanted to be with my son and daughter in law. (For the record I LOVE he and JT, they are amazing and I am SSSOOOO glad they got married in the  temple! I am proud of them, it was just tough as a dad not to be able to be there.) Some things that are very RIGHT are very DIFFICULT. This was one of those times.
The other dent in the universe I felt yesterday came from Elder Follett. He had no idea (I am sure) of what was on my mind when he pulled out his guitar and sang "I Need Thee Every Hour", but trust me, it hit home.
Maybe it was that I grew up on a farm listening to country ballads with just a guitar, but it was what I personally needed. It touched me. It was one of those things that  took me "home" when I really needed that. It was the Savior's way of sending me comfort. Of all the places you could have been yesterday, I am glad you were where you were."

I was very grateful to have been able to help in a very obscure way that i would have never known something so small could have made so much of a difference. I was grateful that he shared that with me and made me feel like all of us succeed in ways that we will never know about, i would have never known that i made a difference if he hadn't of emailed me that but i was grateful he did and reminded that success is very hard to measure sometimes. 

Love you guys, hope you have a great week! 

¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 99

Whats up people! this week went by pretty quick! 

We have been super busy and we are seeing some great success. One exciting thing that's going on is that Felipe and his family came to church yesterday! so we have a few small hurdles to clear with him but he should be baptized in March which will be great. But they are going really good and progressing well. 

We had a lesson with a recent convert named Manuel who is from Mexico and we taught him the restoration, and I usually like to make the comparison of The great Apostasy to having all the police in the world suddenly gone, so I asked Manuel what would happen if there was no police in the world, and he quickly replied that there would be less corruption hahaha not the answer I was looking for but definitely very appropriate coming from someone from Mexico haha

Later I had another pretty funny experience, I was on an exchange in nearby New Albany Indiana and we were biking down a fairly busy road just minding our own business when all the sudden from behind me I hear a car honking excessively and people yelling  so I whip my head around to see what’s up and to my surprise see a small car full of rather large unpleasant young woman shouting and yelling not nice things at myself and my companion but my face was like surprise and happy that someone was honking at us (I just assumed it was members happy to see the missionaries) but my face immediately changed to shock and slight disgust when I saw a small car with several large and unpleasant young woman haha and they also thought my reaction was pretty funny. but it reminded me a lot of how Nephi puts it "they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers" haha 

We also started volunteering in a local Community Kitchen which has been pretty fun, we get to meet a lot of very interesting people haha so it’s been a good time. 

Things are going pretty good here, hope everything is going good back home! Love you guys, have a great week!

¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 98

Hey sorry to send this mid week but I tried sending it on Monday but apparently there was a technical problem worldwide with the myldsmail service so they told us to resend our emails home!

Hey people! this week was a week haha we had some really interesting things happen!

I really don't know where to begin haha it was a really good week in some aspects but also a really bad one in others haha we had a few good lessons with some people who decided to stop investigating which has cleared up some time for us to find new investigators and it’s been going pretty good. 

One of the more disappointing dropped investigators was Danielle, she told us she couldn't continue learning about the church because her husband disapproved, I wasn't devastated because I know she will be baptized eventually when she realizes that the church has what she wants but it was a little sad that she is putting off receiving the blessings she could receive. 

Another pretty crazy thing happened this week, we have been teaching a part member family and have a baptismal date with a guy named Felipe, we have seen him a few times this week but he is going through some hard times health wise, he thinks he had a stroke and the doctors can’t figure out why or what it is and hes been suffering physically lately. So we were at his house in the middle of a lesson with him and since my companion doesn't speak Spanish it was just me and him one on one in this lesson and he kept getting a phone call and ignoring it and eventually he said , "hey this is from Mexico, I need to answer it" and he found out that his youngest brother had just barely choked and died, and he was absolutely devastated, and he was crying and super upset and their i was left alone to try and comfort a sick man grieving the very recent death of his youngest brother. (i later found out that he had 46 brothers and sisters in total but that's not super uncommon in Hispanic culture) but the words of president Eyring definitely came to mind,
"All of us must speak and act in the name of God in moments when our unaided judgment will not be enough without inspiration. Those moments can come upon us when there is not time to make preparation."
Like President Eyring says in that same talk (Personal Prayer and the Priesthood) i was very
grateful that for months i had followed a pattern of prayer that allowed me to know what to say. All i could tell him was that his brother was with God and that he would return to see again. I also opened the Book of Mormon and read with him in Alma 40:12. I tried my best to follow the spirit with him and do what i could but i was grateful that even though i was alone in the fact that i was the only one to respond in his shock, i wasn't alone because I knew that the spirit would guide me to know what to say. 

I love you guys, hope you have a great week! 

¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos! 

 "Hoosiers are less tolerable than Kentuckians"

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 97


This week was very, very different haha it’s not so different actually but it kinda was! 

Tuesday we went and met up with our new companions and got everything squared away and headed over to Indiana! its great here, Clarksville is a little city smushed in between two other cities, New Albany and Jeffersonville (or Jeff as everyone calls it here). The City knew it would run out of space eventually so they invested in like retail shopping centers so basically the city of Clarksville is a huge shopping center haha we live like the other side of a mall parking lot. We also live next to the 2nd biggest Bass Pro shop in the states (or so they say haha) but it really is huge. 

So they way they split it up, we cover the city of Clarksville for the English work which would be a good sized little bike area, but because I cover Spanish for several counties we get a car.

 Our first day on Tuesday pretty much the first thing we did was go visit a former Investigator named Danielle, she is awesome! She was introduced to the church by her neighbors about three years ago who have since moved, but she is so open to learn! She is very devote Christian and she is very active in another church, which is our only hurdle, but she told us that she can feel the spirit more when she reads the Book of Mormon than when she reads the bible haha so after walking away from that lesson my eyes were 4 feet wide and i asked him if English people were always like that haha and right after i said that we talked to a lady on the street who told us to get the heck out of there haha so i came by to earth after that. 

We also had a funny experience talking with people on the street, My new companion has a very different style of missionary work than me and a few times he told me that i should take it easy or go a little different approach haha but I walk up to this lady in her car and said "hey we share a message about how Christ put his church on the earth, then it was lost, than he put it back on the earth through a prophet, can we share this message with you?" and I could see my companion like role his eyes like Uhhh this Spanish missionary doesn’t know what he's doing haha but then the lady just said "yeah, i think i can do that." haha it was so funny because i sounded like a complete crazy person and she was open to it haha

But things are going really great here, the ward is absolutely amazing, we've been fed everyday and the members are really excited to do missionary work which is great. 

Also flash back to my first transfer in the mission, this picture is of me and 2 sister missionaries who both went to AF, the one on the right was in my woodshop class junior year and now she is in my ward here and just had a baby haha crazy! she like moved back and married a member here and now she’s in my ward haha nuts! 
Anyway love you guys a lot, hope you have a great week!

¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos! 

Elder Birky went home!

Louisville Street Art

Me and Elder Hamilton

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 96 Cruzendo El Rio

Whats up people! its been a very great week here in Louisville and a lot of things are about to change! 

So Saturday we received a call from President Brough telling me that even though i only have one transfer left he felt inspired to transfer me! sadly my companion Elder Clawson will also be transferred and we will be replaced by 2 Sister missionaries (Hermanas). BUT thats not all haha im not going to far, as the subject of the email says i'm just going to be crossing the river! I am being transferred to Clarksville Indiana! There hasnt been missionaries in that area for the last 2 months so me and my new companion will be re-opening the area. Its literally like right next to my area right now, it is also still in my district so i will continue to serve as the New Albany District Leader. And i am truely blessed! i have been going to southern Indiana on exchanges for about 9 months now and i have grown to love it, i always said it was my area that i never got to serve in but now i get to serve there haha it will be a little different from what my mission has been so far, not only am i changing states but i am also going to have an english companion, (an english missionary who doesnt speak spanish) so i will be teaching both english and spanish speaking people for the first time! im gunna have to pull out my english preach my gospel and dust it off haha but i am very excited and feel very blessed. 

This week we had a very good week, i actually spent a few days of exchanges is southern Indiana and had a great time. We also started teaching a Family from the Dominican Republic and set a baptismal date with a man named Jhonatton (yes his name is spelled like that haha) but they are a great family and we are sad to have to stop teaching them. We also set a baptismal date with a man named Hermes from Cuba so the sisters are gunna have it pretty easy when they get here haha.

Anyway thats pretty much everything, I've learned alot here in Louisville and im excited to see what Indiana has to teach me and am looking forward to my last transfer! Love you guys, hope you have a great week!

¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos!

Southern Indiana

Packing to leave, I found the pair of pants I wore on the plane ride to the MTC  Haha Alot of changes in 2 years!

Bishop Wilkerson of the Louisville 4th ward

Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 95

WHATS UP PEOPLE! this week was not too shabby! we had some really interesting experiences haha
So first interesting thing to mention, Tuesday we went over to see that Yorjanis guy i talked about last week and we knocked on his door and he let us in, we sat down at the table and as soon as we sat down he said, hey can yall come with me real quick? i need to pick up a buddy and i asked him how long it would take and he said oh dont worry itll be real quick just come with me haha so after driving about a half hour out of our area i began to worry haha but it turned out okay we basically just talked with him and got to know him more and after he picked up his buddy he asked hey can you guys show me where the church is? so we said sure haha and we drove to the church and had a unplanned church tour with him and his friend which was really good! they both commented that they felt something really peaceful when we entered the chapel so it was a really cool experience.
Wednesday we had the cool experience of watching a worldwide Missionary Broadcast put on my members of the Quorum of the Twelve and the Missionary Board which was really cool, we received training from Neil L. Anderson, David A. Bednar, and Dallin H. Oaks and others so it was really cool.  Later that day we went and had a lesson with José and managed to convince him to come to try and visit some people (José is very timid and he only agreed to come after we promised to not make him talk and after we gave him a piece of candy haha) but he came with us and we had a great lesson with a Family of four, Parents and their 2 teenage daughters.  The daughters were a little more interested (probably because we had José "El Guapo" with us haha) but the parents were VERY VERY catholic.  They asked us if we would be offended if we came in because their house was full of "saints". they had at least 500 million statues of Mary or Jesus on the cross and everything in between. But they were a very nice family and were excited to keep teaching them. José also said it helped him a lot to be able to come teaching with us, which is exactly what we wanted haha.
Thursday we had a meeting with our Bishop here which went really good. After we had a breakthrough lesson with a less active member named Vidal and he committed to come to church and to bring a friend which was a huge step for him.
Friday was the worst haha we got a text from President Brough saying we should stay inside because of the "snow storm" that was going to hit. It maybe snowed 4 inches but it took like all day so it really wasnt that bad. But i ran out of things to do quick haha Elder Clawson told me i would make a terrible Astronaut because i got cabin fever after like 2 hours haha
Saturday we were able to help shovel some snow which was good. We also sat down and had another lesson with José, he is going through a lot right now but has been really steadily progressing.
Sunday we had Yorjanis and his buddy Alexey both lined up to come to church but they bailed on us the morning of which was lame. BUT Vidal did come and he brought a friend which was super cool! His friend was very interested in coming to church but told us he wasnt ready to meet with missionaries yet but that will change soon.
Other than that things our going pretty good around here, not much else to report! love you guys, hope you have a great week!
Para siempre Dios esté con vos!  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 94

Whats up people! we had a really good week this week, the weather wasnt too big of an issue which was good. 

Tuesday we went out with a member to visit some families in the ward and this member is a semi-retired cop here in Louisville and we heard some pretty interesting stories haha but it was a good time we went and visited a few widows in the ward here. 

Wednesday we taught a man named Hermes(Cubans always have crazy names haha) and he was pretty accepting of the gospel and accepted a baptismal date for late February so that's pretty exciting. 

Thursday we had a Zone Conference in New Albany and received some great training from President Brough. In Zone Conference its tradition for all the departing missionaries to share their testimonies at the end so i got to share mine which was really weird! i felt like i was giving my goodbye speech but i still have like 2 months left haha crazy!  Thursday i also did an exchange with an Elder in New Albany which was really fun, we learned a lot from each other. 

Friday we had a really good lesson with José and talked about Alma 32 with him. He has been up and down with his feelings and testimony but our lesson was really good and the spirit was super strong.

Saturday we  found the worlds most golden Cuban haha his name is Yordanis (again with the Cuban names haha) but we talked to him a little and found out that he had read about the book of Mormon and Joseph Smith so we taught him about the restoration and before we even invited him to read the Book of Mormon he said "can i have this book? i need to read it!" haha and then before we could invite him to church he said "what time is church tomorrow?" haha he sadly didnt make it yesterday but he did accept the invitation to be baptized in February so were pretty excited to keep teaching these Cubans! Viva Fidel! just kidding Cubans hate that guy haha

Sometimes in missionary work, you never get fed hardly any meals, until one day when all the stars align and every body you see wants to feed you and that's exactly what happened yesterday haha we had three meals in a row but you gotta love it! My companion hardly doesnt eat anything either so he would like dumb his food over to me like i was the dog under the table haha

Anyway hope yall have a great week! love you!

Para siempre Dios esté con vos! 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 93

God sent la migra, the Devil sent the snow


This week we were surprised to find a large amount of people were in their houses almost whenever we would try and visit them and we just kinda chopped it up to be random luck but later we found out that since the 2nd of January, la migra (ICE, immigration, or whatever you wanna call them) have been on the loose haha they are trying to track people down mostly just those who have like criminal charges or run-ins with the law but that causes the word to spread around and generally scares everybody to just stay home.
So that has helped us a little bit, we had some pretty good lessons this week and things were going pretty good, we had a family committed to come to church until Sunday morning we opened the door and saw a little bit of snow on the ground, and as is typical of Kentucky lots of ice! so our little investigator family didn't make it to church, thus the subject of the email! 

Other than that things are going pretty good, times is flying by and were working our hearts out here in Louisville. Thanks for all your love and support! love you guys, hope you have a great week!

Para siempre Dios esté con vos!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 92

WHATS UP PEOPLE! this week was another good week, a lot of stuff has happened and i've learned a lot. 

I think one of the biggest and most important lessons I've learned this week is that even through our trials if we don't doubt our testimony, in the end it will be for our good, but if we do doubt our testimony our trials will have no point other than to make us suffer and eventually we will lose our testimony. I don't know if that makes sense and is relative to you people but just remember, don't doubt what you already know when hard times come!

This week i was able to go on an exchange and work with a really new missionary which was a lot of fun. We worked really hard and saw a few tender-mercies. We were walking through a trailer park and it was really windy and cold and we saw a guy on his porch talking on his phone and we decided even though he was busy he probably still needed to hear about the restored Gospel so we just walked up and waved at him and stood there waiting until he got off the phone haha awkward but it worked! he then invited us to sit with him on the porch and him and a friend proceeded to pound us with doctrinal questions and tried to confuse us about everything they could think of but it was really comforting being able to rely on the spiritual witness that i have received of the Book of Mormon and not having to rely on the philosophies of man. They could receive so much more knowledge and blessings if they would just ask God if it was true! but they weren't willing but maybe someday. ( i just picture Ashley's face saying "Sucks to suck! haha) but it was a pretty good exchange and we learned a lot together.

Thursday we spent the New years celebrating and partying hard haha not really i drank too bottles of Martinellis by myself and we went to bed at like 10 haha HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

But this week over all was good and we are starting to teach a few new people which is good. We've had a few cool experiences finding people and getting the opportunity to teach them, we teach so many people the first lesson and then never find them again haha but all we can do is carry on! 

Love you guys, hope you have a great week!

Para siempre Dios esté con vos!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 91

WHATS UP PEOPLE! this week was really good, time really has been flying by.

This week was full of activities and its been lots of fun! Monday we had the mission Christmas conference, Wednesday we had a Spanish Group Christmas party and did a white elephant gift exchange which was really fun, Thursday was Christmas eve and after 6 we couldn't proselyte so a member invited us over to play the guitar and sing Christmas songs with a bunch of other families which was super fun. Friday was Christmas and it was great to get to talk with you guys! saturday we went out to eat with Roger and José and had a really good time! after the ward did like a little talent show/music recital and a lot of people came which was really cool. 

We had some really cool lessons this week and have been working really hard lately but havent been seeing much outward results. Sometimes thats just how things go i guess! but i know it'll start getting better soon, its gotta pick up eventually! 

We are teaching a few families which is a huge blessing but so far they are all pretty non committed, the have a lot of potential to progress soon, i guess this is what makes missionary work fun! it'd be too easy to just baptize people all day haha although i wouldnt mind! but i know that this is the lords work and that things will happen in his time. 

Love you guys, hope you have a great week! 

Para siempre Dios esté con vos! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Week 90

HEY PEOPLE! whats good! this week was a long time ago haha so today is p-day because yesterday we had the Mission Christmas Conference in New Albany Indiana which was really cool.  But to be honest I'm having a hard time remembering just about anything right now haha
Our car was in the shop for a few days this week but we got it back pretty soon (especially compared to the last time we dropped it off for 6 weeks haha) but we biked around a lot of trailer parks and met some cool people, nothing super big though.
We have been trying our best to find new investigators but right now it seems to be our challenge, we can find Hispanic people and teach them the first lesson but then many times just because of the nature of their lives and their work, i don't care how busy you think you are, i promise you, migrant workers are more busy haha
Also this week our bishop took us to the worlds largest underground Christmas lights display here in Louisville! its called Lights under Louisville and its like some huge abandoned mining cave that they decorate with Christmas lights and music which was pretty cool!
Anyway, i am excited to see you on friday! Love you, hope you have a great week and a Merry Christmas!
¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 89

What's up people! This week was crazy busy haha it was a good week but we had a lot going on!
 Monday is isn't after I get mailed you guys I got in a fender bender so our car is going back to the shop next week. Hopefully it won't take 6 weeks like last time haha but we'll see! Back to biking haha but it's not super bad because it's been in the 70's here all weekend so can't really complain.

Tuesday we had a new missionary training for all the new missionaries and their trainers which went really good. Wednesday we started an exchange in New Albany and it went really
good. I did a baptismal interview for an investigator they are teaching and she seemed absolutely solid.
The next day was Thursday and we had a Zone Conference for all the missionaries in the zone and the Zone leaders asked me to give a training which went really good. I gave the same training to three different groups and by the third time I had lost track of what I had said and it felt like I was repeating myself a lot haha but hopefully it made sense to everyone. Right after the zone conference I went on another exchange in New Albany and we went over to see the
investigator that I interviewed the day before and she was like laughing her head off and tripping all over herself, and then she would start crying and she told me she loved me haha she was plastered drunk! The day after I interviewed her to be baptized haha needless to say she wasn't baptized. Hopefully if she can figure everything out she will be soon.
That next day, we found out that Elder Clawson had left the phone in New Albany with me and had been in Louisville without a phone the whole day but it ended up working out and we got back to our normal companions and normal areas okay. BUT THEN I got a call that I had to do a baptismal interview for the zone leaders, but I already had one scheduled for the sister missionaries investigator at the same time, so I had been back in Louisville for like 2 hours and then went back to Indiana on an exchange to do a baptismal interview for somebody else and one of the zone leaders interviewed the sisters investigator, which went really good.
Then, on Saturday night at like 10 I get a call from the sisters telling me that they're investigator wanted to be baptized but was moving on Tuesday, so we worked it out with the ward and the mission presidents approval and I interviewed the lady during 3rd hour of church and then immediately after church we had a baptismal service and she asked me to baptize her, so within the span of like 3 hours the sisters decided to do it today, I interviewed her and then dunked
her haha it was nuts! Later that day we went and saw the Cuban family I told you about and this was our second time meeting with them and when the mom saw us she shouted "oh children so happy to see you!" And then proceeded to grab my companion on the shoulders and give him the little cheek kiss greeting thing and then do the same to me haha it's just a cultural thing (kinda like in Italy how the kiss both sides but in Cuba they only do the right cheek) haha so you just never know what you're gunna get when you teach Cubans. Then that night we had the area Spanish fireside which I had to conduct but it went really good, I've learned a lot this week and it's definitely been busy haha anyway I love you guys, hope you have a great week!

¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 88

Whats up people!! 

This week has been a decent week, we've come to the end of the road with a lot of old investigators which left us with a lot of time to find and we started teaching 3 or 4 families this week which was a huge blessing. Pretty much anyone we teach is new since most other investigators have gone for one reason or another. I've really re-learned the principle of relying on prayer which was really good for me. When life beats you to your knees, might as well pray while your down there haha but I've really found strength in relying on God through prayer. I know I've learned that a million times before but it was a great reminder this week.

Other than that it was a pretty normal week, doing what we can and things are slowly getting better> i feel like we've weathered most of the storm and are now slowly trying to climb out alive haha we have seriously been blessed with some awesome families! we've taught all of them the 1st lesson and have a bunch of appointments set up with them so we'll see of all of them which ones stick. We started teaching a Cuban family last night who are so cool! the english sister missionaries found them last week and told us to go by and visit them and they are like so friendly, we barely met them and immediately we were treated like family, it was pretty cool. they were asking if we were married and telling us we needed to find ourselves a Cuban wife haha so i like patted my companion and kinda gave him the "go ahead" facial expression and they thought it was really funny and they told me i was too scared and wouldnt be able to handle a Cuban women haha so i explained that i had a girlfriend that was waiting for me, and they were really confused and were like, wait the 2 muchachas you came last week? haha and i was like NO NO NO they are sister missionaries haha but im pretty excited to keep teaching them, its cool to know about other peoples cultures because they think its really cool when you know about certain foods of theirs or other cultural things, it almost like gains their trust really quick. 

Anyway i love you guys alot, hope you have a great week and that you always count your blesings! 

Para siempre Dios esté con vos! 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 87

Whats up people! this week was not very busy to say the least haha we have a very small teaching pool and it continues to get smaller haha but its been pretty good. 

We started teaching a very smart 11 year old girl named Naomi, she had met with sister missionaries in the past and we picked her up this week. One of the first things she asked us was if she needed to be baptized again haha to which we responded ehhhh maybe haha no im just kidding we told her she needed to get baptized again haha but the biggest problem with that is we dont know if her mom will approve it and she is going to Cuba for 4 weeks so we'll pick her back up when she returns! But i really love teaching kids, its really easy and fun. they are so much more open to the spirit and all we have to do is explain it in simple terms and bear our testimonies and they will agree every time. 

We also picked up a little family, its a grandmother (who has 12 kids in total!!) and her 30 something year old daughter who has 5 kids of her own but they are very nice and genuine people and accepted our message but are VERY set in their beliefs. They told us they would be willing to read and pray about the Book of Mormon though so we'll be following up with them for sure. We'll see what happens! 

Also just received a notice saying that my mission will be extended one week due to a change in the amount of time native speakers spend in the MTC (before was 12 days now it will be 3 weeks) so every transfer after february will be extended one week. Which means i will come home on the 23rd of March instead of the 16th!

Anyway love you guys a lot, hope you have a great week!

Para siempre Dios esté con vos! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 86

Whats up people! This week was another one haha it has definitely been a finding week! but we didn't find to many people haha how do i say this, i don't wanna say that this week sucked but we are struggling to find people to teach! we've seen a ton of less active members and we've tried really hard to find new people but we just haven't had much luck. We are planning on changing a few things and i'm pretty excited to keep going. we had a lesson last night with a less active member and in the middle of the lesson his wife came in and we were able to teach her which was really difficult haha she is from Vietnam and doesnt speak much english. (or spanish haha) but she works as a nail doing lady or whatever its called and she is NEVER home but we were finally able to teach her and it went really good. before we left she made us a HUGE plate of Vietnamese food which was cool! 

Jose is doing super good, he is still fighting some pretty big battles but he has been doing super well and progressing a lot. I really love that guy! we were talking with him this week and he was telling us that he was a different kind of convert because he was never religious before like he wasnt catholic before or baptist before but he said he feels like he's 100% Mormon haha the more i think about it the more i realize how Golden he was! like because he knew nothing about religion or God before he had like no preconceived notions of false teachings embedded into him and even though he wasnt actively searching, just because he was open all we had to do was teach him true doctrine and the spirit worked in him and conversion was a natural process. Super cool to be a part of and to see the change in him. 

Well people, hope you have a great week and a happy thanksgiving! Love you! 

Para siempre Dios esté con vos!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 85

People! whats going on! this week was another crazy one. 

Tuesday i said goodbye to Elder Weeks and picked up my brand new companion, Elder Clawson. he's from Silverdale, Washington and took a few years of Spanish in high school which is great. He knows a lot more than i did when i first came out haha but it's been a pretty decent first week. i wouldn't say we've exhausted all out efforts with baptizing José but we have definitely come to the end of the road with a lot of other investigators this week, a lot of the people we used to teach we haven't seen in a while so we're kinda in a finding mode, we teach a lot of new people for one time and then they disappear and we never can find them again, so were just like cycling through the people trying to find the prepared ones.

 I've learned so much about charity this week. Without it, its almost impossible to do anything successfully in missionary work. and i think that's the reason or motive for anything Gospel related. We can keep the commandments out of fear of being punished or because we want blessings but we don't actually avoid the punishment or receive the blessings until we keep the commandments because we love God. (John 14:15) and the same applies to missionary work. You cant do it unless you love everyone involved in it, that lesson has been clearly impressed on my mind this week. 

That's pretty much everything, i love you guys and i hope you have a great week! Pray for José, he needs all the prayers he can get! 

Para Siempre Dios esté con vos!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 84

HEY PEOPLE! i don't even know what to say about this week haha i guess i can start with the biggest news, José got baptized! i was so dang excited i had to like restrain myself from doing the baptism dance after haha but it went really good, it was really stressful because we had to like organize everything because none of the leaders of the church speak Spanish so like we were in charge of everything haha but it ended up being really good. José was really happy after, before he was a nervous wreck though haha he's like really timid and kinda quiet and this week before the baptism we asked him if he would like to share his testimony immediately after his baptism and he just said no way haha he said he really didn't like to talk in front of people, his actual words were "maybe after a year of being a member I'll give my testimony" haha so we said okay that's fine no big deal, so we didn't put it in the program. Well the member who was conducting the meeting decided to just say to heck with the program and he invited José to give his testimony, and he just looked at me and said "nooooo!" haha but he got up and gave his testimony and it went really good! it was a lot of work but it was so worth it, it was probably the most amazing experience to see him from start to finish, he has come a long way and learned a lot and it has been so rewarding to teach him and get to know him more. but its not ending there! to the surprise of everyone I'm not getting transferred! President Brough called and asked me to train another brand new missionary haha so I'll be staying here in Louisville for at least 2 more transfers! (and i only have 3 left haha) but I'm super excited to train a new missionary again but i think the biggest feeling is shock haha i really didn't see that one coming! So maybe there's something i didn't learn the first time that i need to learn this time haha
Other than all that this week was like CRAZY! i had to do an emergency exchange with the Zone Leaders to interview a 16 year old girl for baptism and it was up in the air if she would qualify for baptism or not but with some help from President Brough we decided that she would so she got baptized on Saturday which was pretty cool. Also a lady who Elder Weeks contacted on the street on an exchange like 2 months ago got baptized on Saturday also which was pretty cool!
anyway, i love you guys a lot and im so grateful for you! keep on keeping on!
Para siempre Dios esté con vos!