Monday, January 25, 2016

Snow Week, Further Lesson's with Betsy and Igor, Back Flip's and So You Think You Can Dance!!! - 01/25/2016

What is up everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful day and you all had an awesome week! I know I did haha. 

Monday was pretty chill. We didn't do anything to crazy. We pretty much spent our day doing shopping and just relaxing. For dinner a family from the ward took us to Cafe Rio which is always great!. After dinner we had a lesson with Betsy! We taught her the last lesson, so she is pretty much ready for her baptism. We are very excited! For that lesson we also brought some priests along with us so they could help fellowship Betsy's 17 year old son who has been starting to come back to church with his mom. It went really well.
Tuesday we pretty much spent the whole day calling people and checking on less actives since our meetings were canceled for the week due to the missionary broadcast that we watched on Wednesday. It was a pretty long day.
Wednesday we watched the world wide mission broadcast which was really well done. They shared a lot of good things. It was a good reminder of the preach my gospel basics. After the 2 hour broadcast we went to our weekly appointment with Harold. He told us of a storm coming and he insisted that he buy us some groceries. So we went to the grocery store next to his place and picked up some food for the storm. Elder Bentley and I knew of the storm, but we hadn't known it was going to be that big. After we were done with Harold's we went to dinner with a family in the ward. Their names are the Padilla's and yes they are related to Brent Padilla who use to be in AF 10th ward. Haha small world. When we got out of our dinner appointment it had started to snow! It was awesome! that was the first snowfall this season that actually stuck to the road. Anyway we had an appointment with a referral that we had gotten a couple days before. Her name is Millie. We knocked on her door and she welcomed us in very kindly. She let us sit down and share a lesson with her. At the very beginning of the lesson she asked us to make it quick because she had to make dinner for her kids. So we shared about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Millie really enjoyed it. She loved our visit and she just kept talking to us and asking different questions. The lesson ended up being just over an hour long. She is very interested and we committed her read and pray about the Book of Mormon. She accepted that with no problem. We are very excited for her. When we got out of our appointment it was still snowing. It took us an hour to get back to our home and usually it would only take 30 minutes. You would have thought that there was a foot of snow on the ground, but there was probably less then two inches. I was the one driving and I was weaving through cars. The average posted speed was 45 mph. Most of these cars were going 15 or less with their hazard lights. It was pretty funny. We also got a call out from President Cooke telling us a little bit about the storm coming and how they put $20 on each of our cards and how we need to go shopping because we would be stuck inside for a few days.
On Thursday we went shopping, getting ready. The looting had already began. A lot of the fresh produce was gone and the shelves started to look a little empty. After we had finished shopping we went home and did some weekly planning. After weekly planning we had dinner with a family in the ward. After dinner we went on splits with the Young Men's President. That evening was awesome! We were able to get in contact with one of the referrals and we set up an appointment with him for the next day and we were also able to get a hold of Igor. We have been trying to get a hold of him for the past month with no luck. We were giving him a call to see if we could come over and teach him a lesson. While on the phone I was praying so hard that he would answer the phone. My prayer was answered! Igor answered the phone and we were able to teach him about the World of Wisdom! Part of the reason why it has been so hard to get a hold of him is because he as moved a couple of blocks out of our area. Elder Bentley and I are very sad about this. We loved teaching Igor. He is such a good guy and he has so much potential. During the lesson we started to talk about switching missionaries to him. Igor was also sad about this. He told us a little bit about his back story and the feelings he was having. He came from Brazil to America with nothing and with nobody he knew. We knocked on his door just a couple of weeks after he had moved form Brazil to America. He told us that when we called him to ask if we could come over, at first he was a little hesitant, but as soon as he saw us, something inside him told him that he could trust us and that we would be friends. He then told us that we were his first family in the US and he wanted us to stay in contact with him. It is going to be very hard not to be able to teach Igor all the way, but we will for sure stay in contact with him. After we had finished with Igor, the Young Men's President had to get gas for his care.He literally stopped at 3 different gas stations because they were all out off gas. People had been lining up all day to fill up their cars and gas tanks. Needless to say we got in pretty late because of that.
Friday we quickly went to our appointment with the referral that we contacted the night before. We then when shopping for a couple last minute things and then at 12 pm we were locked into our apartment because of winter storm Jonas. We have been locked in for almost 4 days now. We had to be a little creative to keep our elves from not going insane. But overall we have had a lot of fun. We spent some time reading, we have been learning how to do some back flips on the ground. We even got into a Dance off with some other missionaries in the mission. Haha it has been a great time. The total snow fall where we are at is about 32 inches. 

Thanks for the emails! 

Keep them coming! 


Snow Pictures:

Have an awesome week!

Monday, January 18, 2016

First Snow of the Season, Butt Dialing 911, Crazy Wolf Lady, & an Evening with the Washington's - Praise the Lord!!! - 01/18/2016

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful week! It has been a pretty good one for us. 

Monday was just a super chill Pday, nothing really exciting there. 

Tuesday we had our meetings and then we went to work on the farm. It was really fun. The kids we we're helping were enjoying it and seeing the smiles on there face just makes your whole day better. While we were helping with riding in the barn, it started to snow! It was the first time that is has snowed this season and let me tell you Elder Bentley and I were pretty excited. 

On Wednesday we spent the day meeting with recent converts and less actives.  We also met with Harold, who is the member who takes care of our meal calendar. He is a very interesting man. He is really lonely so he loves to spend time with the missionaries.  After dinner we had our lesson with Betsy. We were teaching the world of wisdom and the Ten Commandments. I was kind of nervous about this lesson because the very first time we met with Betsy, she was wearing a I Heart Coffee shirt. We went over the lesson. Other thank her kids being really rambunctious and our phone butt dialing 911, the lesson went well. She didn't bring up any concerns about the word of wisdom and she committed to follow it.

On Thursday we met with some less actives. One of the guys we had met with had been a member since the 80's, but he stopped going to church 18 months after his baptism because of a few trials in his life. He is currently agnostic and he doesn't know if he will ever come back to church. He said he has nothing against the church, he just has something with God. It made me pretty sad that he has spent a good chunk of his life in that state of mind. I hope he will turn around sooner rather than later. We were also able to spend some time with Brother and Sister Chaney for dinner. Brother Chaney was baptized about a year ago and he is a really solid member of the ward. After dinner we went to our ward mission leader's house to have our ward correlation. It went really well, Brother Matsen is really good at what he does. 

On Friday we spent a lot of time at the bottom of our area visiting some lonely members. We visited this lady named Sister Puckett. She is known throughout the mission as the crazy wolf lady.
She is very kind and she loves the missionaries. One of the things we helped her out with was buying some supplies, so she can make some shirts. (She was the lady who made our wolf dream catcher shirts). We also had a finding activity at the metro. It went pretty well. I was able to teach a couple of lessons, but nobody was really interested.

Saturday we spent pretty much the entire day checking on all of our 17 referrals. It actually went really well. We were able to drop in on a couple and we were also able to set up a couple of appointments for this week. Saturday evening we had a very interesting dinner. Probably one of the craziest dinners on my mission. It was at the Washington home. A little background on the Washington family. Sister Washington is African-American and she is very proud of that. She is one of those people that just goes on and on about race. She has been a member for quite a while now, but she has been less active for years. She has just started coming back to church for about a year now. Sister Washington is married to Darrel, who is also a member, but he is not active at the moment. They have three boys. Sister Washington invited two of her friends for over for dinner. We found this out when we arrived at her home. She put Elder Bentley and I together with her nonmember friends in the front room by ourselves. Sister Washington proceeded to tell us to start talking about the church with them. It was pretty awkward, but we tried our hardest to make the best out of it.  All throughout the dinner, relatives of the Washington family kept piling into the cramped apartment. All of them moved into the family room to watch the football game, while Elder Bentley and I were in the front room trying to make good conversation with these friends of Sister Washington. When we were about finished up eating, Sister Washington invited us into the front room with everybody else. She told us that she wanted us to share a quick message and tell people who we were. She then proceeded to mute the TV while everyone was still trying to watch the football game. She then told everyone to be quite and listen to us. So I told  the small crowd of about 20 people that we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that we go around teaching people about how they can live happy lives and how they can come closer to Jesus Christ.
Elder Bentley shared his brief testimony and added that we do not worship Joseph Smith. After he had concluded speaking, Sister Washington went around the entire room having everybody say something religious. There was a wide spectrum of religions represented in the household. Most of these people were Christian, but there were a couple of Muslims. When it came to be Sister Washington's turn, her whole speech was pretty much about racism. She told everyone that the church was no longer just for white people, but it is also for the black people now. One of  her sons told her to stop making it all about racism. She then told him that it is all about racism. This whole conversation was very awkward because Elder Bentley and I made up two of the three white people in the entire house. The rest of the 20 were all African-American/African. I found it very amusing, it brought me back to the good old days in Anacostia. When everyone finished with what they had to say, Sister Washington randomly broke out into an old Baptist hymn that I had never heard of. Everyone started to sing along. If you have ever seen one of those Baptist choirs in a movie or on TV, that is pretty much what it looked like.  Elder Bentley and I were just awkwardly standing in the corner not knowing what to do.  Ha ha, it was a very fun night. 

On Sunday we had church like all the other Sundays, but this Sunday Betsy came once again. Yeah!! She had an awesome time with her kids. Her two kids went to primary and they both loved it. Her older son Alex went to young men's and he also seem to enjoy it. The ward did such a great job of fellowshipping all of them. Betsy is planning on being being baptized on 31st of January. We're very excited for her. Later Sunday night we went to the visitor center for the Why I Believe fireside.
It was excellent, the main speaker was a man by the name of Terryl Lynn Givens. He is a professor down in Richmond Virginia. He has written a few Books.  He wrote The Crucible of Doubt, The God Who Weeps, and Wrestling with an Angel. He gave an awesome talk! After the fireside I talked to the sister missionary who has also been working with Betsy. She told me that she had been talking with her about the Word of Wisdom. Betsy told her that after her fasting, she had not had the desire to drink Coffee. That made me very happy to hear.

Anyway that was our week in a nut shell. Thanks for all of the emails that you guys have been sending. It really means a lot. 

Have a fantastic week!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

English Lessons with the French Elders, Betsy's Answer, A Visionary Man, and Exchanges with President Cooke - 01/12/2016

I apologize in advance! This email looks like my brain just threw up on the page. Sorry everyone...

Hey everyone!

I am so sorry about the late email. This week has been sweet! Monday was just another super chill day. We did not do anything super exciting. 

Tuesday we had our usual meetings and once again, the farm was canceled last minute, so we had an open day. We we helped out the French Elders teach English which is always really fun. And after that I was able to get a hold of a family that was in my first area which is probably 10 minutes away. They invited us over for dinner, and let me tell you, it was so fun. It was Elder Bentley and I, and two other missionaries who live right next to us that went. One of the missionaries, Elder Warens, served in the ward a couple transfers after I left. It was really great to see them. They are probably one of my favorite family's I have come into contact with on my mission.

Wednesday we had our normal visit with one of the crazy members in our ward. Our roommates and us also had dinner with the Natalie (the recently returned missionary) and her friend. After dinner, Natalie and her friend came with us to our investigators lesson and it went really well. We were able to find out that she had been praying and fasting to know if the Book of Mormon was true and if this was the true church. She ended up getting her answer on Tuesday. This investigator's name is Betsy. Betsy and her family were visiting the Festival of Lights at the temple. A sister missionary contacted her and asked if she would like missionaries to come and visit her and Betsy said yes. A couple of day's later we got the referral so we went and knocked on her door and nobody answered. We tried a couple of times, but still nothing. Finally a couple of weeks later we got a hold of her over the phone and we set up a lesson for December 30th. That day roles around and we show up for the appointment. We go in and got to know the family. We find out that it's actually a part-member family. Betsy is a non-member. She has 3 kids, Alex age 17 (he is a member),  Aiden age 7, and Gigi age 3. Her husband and his family are members, but he is very less-active. So we started teaching her the first lesson and it went pretty well. At the end, she said that once she got her answer about if the Book of Mormon was true, then she would be baptized. We then set up an appointment for the next week. Okay,  fast forward to this past Tuesday, January 5th. One of the sisters during our meeting was asking us about some referrals that she sent off from the visitor center and one of them was Betsy. We told her everything that had happened up until that point and she was very excited. She told us that she would follow up with her over the phone. Now this brings us back to Wednesday at her appointment. Betsy tells us that she had been fasting and praying to know if the Book of Mormon was true and if the this was the true church. She started her fast on Monday the 4th. On Tuesday she was still fasting for her answer. Some point later in the day Betsy was watching Mormon messages with her kids. During one of the messages her mind drifted into a "prayer mode." While she was in this state, the sister missionary missionary called her and she felt the Spirit so strongly that she started to cry over the phone. So she told us that she had her answer and that she wanted to be baptized. So we set her date for the 30th of January. That lesson also went really well! We taught her the plan of salvation and let me tell you,  it helps so much went you are teaching with members who have just gotten back from their missions. Haha, sorry for the very confusing story, my mind is all over the place. It would be much easier to be able to tell this story in person. 

Thursday we were visiting with one of the less actives in the ward. His name Is Josef and he is from Turkey. We were going into this visit with the mindset that we were going to teach him the first lesson, so we could get some practice and help his memory. Well that was certainly was not what happened. We were able get through the first point and then out of nowhere he tells us that he has visions. He starts describing all of these visions that he has had and all of the ones that have come true. It was pretty trippy.  

On Friday we had exchanges with President Cooke and it went really well. We had a really great evening planned out. We were going to take him to both of our investigators who are doing awesome right now, but one of them canceled on us so we took him contacting at the metro station for that time. We took him over to meet and also help teach Betsy. We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it went really well! The Spirit was super strong. 

Saturday we had a couple of lessons with some less-actives and a recent convert. Later that day we were suppose to go to the temple with a recent convert, but he was not able to make it, so we visited some other people. 

Sunday was great! Betsy and her kids came to church and they loved it! It was awesome to see them all there!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year! How Do you Solve a Problem Like Sunny? 1:00 o'clock Church, and New Year's Resolutions - 01/04/2016

What is up everyone! Happy New Year! 

I hope all of you guys had an awesome, and safe New Years! It was pretty crazy hear! Let me tell you haha. It has been a pretty great week. 

Monday was a normal chill P-Day. Nothing to exciting. 

Tuesday our lessons with our investigators got dogged which was unfortunate, but because we did not have any appointments planned, Elder Bentley and I were able to help the French missionaries teach an African to speak English. It was really cool! In the process of helping teach English we were able to learn some French as well.  
Wednesday was pretty interesting. We were on our way into an appointment with a new investigator when all of a sudden we get this call from a North Carolina number that neither Elder Bentley or I have ever seen. I answer the phone and it was a little man with a thick Asian accent. I could not understand him for the life of me. I thought he told me to hang up the phone and he would text us, so that is what I did. I hung up the phone and then 5 seconds later we got a text saying why did you hang up on me? So I quickly called him back. Thank goodness this time I could understand him much better. He told us his name is Sunny and he wants to learn more about Jesus Christ and the Mormon Church. Elder Bentley and I were pretty stoked. We talked to him for a few minutes before we walked into our appointment. We found out that he lives in North Carolina and he got our phone number off the computer. We told him we would call him back as soon as we got out of our appointment. He asked us what time we would call him, so we told him around 3. We went into our lesson and it went really well. It was a young part member family. We commited them to reading the Book of Mormon and almost baptism. We also setup an appointment for next week. Our lesson went a little over time. As soon as it hit 3:01 we get a text from Sunny asking us what happened to us. As soon as we were out of the appointment we called him. He was kind of mad at first, but we were able to calm him down. We told him that we would get missionaries in his area to contact him and we would call him back on Saturday....( to be continued)...

Thursday we spent a lot of time finding with little success. Our mission had announced that after 5:30 on New Year's Eve we could not proselyte. So we pretty much spent that time with members. A family in the Ward was having some of the youth over for a party and they invited us as well. That night was full of good food and board games. 
 Friday was a non-proselyting day because of the holiday so us and our roommates had a pretty chill day. We enjoyed ourselves with some Cafe Rio and we spent a good chunk of the day transferring photos and videos off our iPads on to our flash drives. Elder Bentley and I had dinner over at a member’s home. When we got there all of the Spanish missionaries in the zone were there so it was packed, but it was lots of fun. The lady who was feeding us was originally a member of our ward, but for the past year she has been going to a Spanish ward with her son so she feeds all the missionaries from both wards. After dinner, all the Spanish Elders left and Elder Bentley and I got to sit down and talk with Lulu (the member who feeds us) and Natalie (Lulu's daughter who just got back from her mission a month ago). It was so much fun. They are some really cool people.
On Saturday we were in our studies and all of a sudden we get probably 5 texts within 10 seconds. We check the phone and it was... Sunny (story continues). He sent us 5 of the same texts. They pretty much said "What happen to you guys? Did you read my last text I sent?" So Elder Bentley gives him a call. We tell him that we would give him a call back at 11 when our studies ended. 11 comes around and Elder Bentley calls him up. Sunny tells him that missionaries have not contacted him and he wants to learn more, so Elder Bentley proceeds to teach the first lesson to him over the phone. He commits him to read the Book of Mormon and he commits him to be baptized. After he got off the phone He goes to to call the bishop of the ward that covers the address that he had given us. The Bishop picks up the phone and Elder Bentley tells him he needs the missionary's number who serve in the area. The Bishop asked what the name of the referral was, so Elder Bentley tells him. The Bishop proceeds to tell him not to worry about it. He tells Elder Bentley that Sunny is a member in his ward and he has been a problem. He has been calling missionaries all over the United States wanting to learn more about Christ. The Bishop told Elder Bentley to block Sunny and he was already working with Sunny on that problem. THE END. The rest of the Saturday was spent with a couple of members. One of them was Harold, who is the person who passed out at church. He just got back from Hawaii and wanted us to give him a priesthood blessing. I was able to give him the blessing and while I was giving it I felt inspired to say that he would get better. I know God has a plan for him. I just hope he is willing to align his will with God's will.
Sunday was our first day of 1:00 o'clock church. It felt really weird walking out and the sun was setting... Kind of depressing haha I felt like those penguins in Antarctica during those dark winter months.
Sorry for the lengthy email once again. I hope you all enjoy the start of the new year and I hope you all have made some kind of New Year’s resolution that you will keep longer than a month, I know I struggle with that, but I feel like this year will be different (I know, I know... everyone says that). If any of you guys were wondering here are a few of the New Year’s resolutions I have made:

1.       No carbonation :(
2.       Write in my journal every day
3.       Drink at least 60 oz. of water a day
4.       Exercise everydayπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ, except the Sabbath πŸ™
5.       Read the standard works.

Thanks everyone! Have an awesome week! Please!

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈElder JohnsonπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ