Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Arlington National Cemetary, DC Traffic, Departing Dinner With President & Sister Cooke, Final Interview With President Cooke, Elder Brimhall Heads Home, & Meeting the New Ward - 06/27/2016

Sorry for the late email. We have been away from WiFi all day...

Hello Everyone! 

I hope you all are having a wonderful day and I hope its week as been great. As for me it has been very crazy.

On Monday we had our Arlington trip with President and Sister Cooke. It was a pretty amazing experience. I have been to Arlington before, but it was pretty cool being able to go with a bunch of fellow missionaries. We also were able to do a couple of things that we would usual not have been able to do, without President Cooke. One of those things was being able to into a chapel they have and sing our mission song. This chapel is off limits to the public for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons is that the actual chapel is located inside the compound where all the military personnel live. During our visit were also able to go to the tomb of the unknown soldier. We watched the changing of the guard which is always great. Another awesome thing that we were able to watch was a reef laying ceremony. President and Sister Cooke had bought one and they were able to lay it on to the tomb. It was chilling experience. Unfortunately as of right now I do not have the video of that, but I will be getting hopefully sometime this week. After Arlington I stayed on an exchange with some other missionaries for the rest of the day.

On Tuesday I met my companions, Elder Schank, and Brimhall at the new missionary training meeting. This meeting was an all day thing. It started at 9 and we didn't get out till 4. And unfortunately the drive back into our area is a long trip so it took up almost all of our day. On our way we got stuck in the nasty DC traffic and on top of that we got caught in a massive rain and lightning storm which caused even more delays. We had to move our dinner back an hour just so we could have some time with them...

Wednesday was a pretty interesting day. We got to go into Virginia for an appointment. We showed up a little early so we decided to take a nice drive through DC. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a nice drive through DC and I was also the one driving. What we thought was going to be just a nice smooth drive turned into me aging 5 years. Once it was time to head to our appointment we maid our way back over to the Virginia side of Potomac. After the appointment had finished we headed out and traffic was already starting to get bad. We had a pretty hard time trying to get back home. The traffic plus the Virginia road system makes it for a long day. We did finally make it home. Wednesday we spent a total of 5 hours in the car.

Thursday is our meeting day. We had our district meeting which went really well and for after distinct meeting the senior couple who is serving where I am took me up to the Kentland's chapel for our departing dinner with President and Sister Cooke. It was a really fun night with lots of great missionaries who I have been able to share a lot of time with. During this dinner each missionary (about 30) took 60 seconds to share a story from there mission. I shared the story about Igor. Towards the end of the dinner President Cooke presented us with our coins. It was an awesome night.

Friday we had our final interview with President Cooke. It was a pretty surreal experience. It brought back some memories of when I first met him. After interviews we worked on scrapbook pages for the Cooke's. Friday was also the day that Elder Brimhall headed home. He had been dealing with anxiety for the past few years and it had gotten really bad on the mission and so he decide to get it taken care of at home. It was really sad to see him go, but I know that he will get some much needed help. After interviews, we headed to lunch/dinner with this single lady. She took us out to Texas Road House and it was awesome! After we had finished with that we were able to meet with one of our investigators! Yay!  His name is Steve Berry. He is an awesome guy who is very interested in the gospel. When we first showed up he pulled up this Word document that looked like research paper he had been working on for months. It was all his notes and questions that he had been taking down since he had been meeting with missionaries. He had a bunch of random questions about the Book of Mormon that he asked us. After he had discussed that we told him to do his studying from the Preach My Gospel manual and to study the 5 lessons that are found inside. It was awesome! He pulled up Preach My Gospel on lds.org and started reading through the first lesson. One of the first things it has in that lesson is a list of baptismal requirements and he had a little self evaluation moment and we now know what we need to focus with him on. He then told us that he will read through the lesson and come up with some question that he has about it for the next time we meet. I have not taught anyone this way before and I don't necessarily recommend it, but it seems like it is going to work for Steve.
Saturday was one of our very first days that we have been able to spend the entire day in our area. We spent some time checking on referrals. We also had a bible study with three people which was awesome! When we showed up, we found out that we were kinda in charge of leading this class. So Elder Schank and I taught a 45 min class and it actually went really well. We then spent some more time trying to get a hold of people to set up appointments for the rest of the week.

Sunday we had our church service and it was the first time we were introduced to the ward. So far everyone that we have met has been awesome. They are very excited to have Elders back in the ward. The members have been loading us up with names of people to check on, so that should keep us busy for good while. After church we had dinner and then we once again set out trying to contact our referrals.

Love you all have a great week!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Shipped Off to Amish Country, Zone Activity, Patuxent Ward, A Trio of Companions, and the Cooke's Last Why I Believe - 06/20/2016

What is up everyone! I hope you are all doing well on this fantastic Monday afternoon. This week has been pretty hectic with all the things that were going on. 

Monday we had the opportunity to go to the Marriott's house for our zone activity. We got to got together and played lots of sports like volleyball, Frisbee, and catch with a baseball. It was pretty great. Later that night I found out that I would be getting transferred to the Patuxent Ward, which is located in southern Maryland and I also found out that I was going to be in a trio. Once I found that out, I started to pack. 

Tuesday Elder Crandall and I spent the entire day visiting different family's in the ward. I am really grateful for the time I have been able to spend in the Kentland's Ward. Some for the names of the family's we visited were the Carvers, the Martinis, the homestead, and for dinner we went with the Clark's to Cafe Rio. While we were at dinner a few other members of the ward were there. After dinner we went and visited Marie to say goodbye to her and then we ended the night at the Blewett family which was a really bitter sweet moment. 

Wednesday we woke up early and finished our packing. We drove to the church to drop off some last things to Sister Blewett and then we headed to the church for our transfers. I received Elder Schank as one of my new companions and Elder Schank got called to be a trainer for Elder Brimhall. Both of them are really cool guys and I am very excited to be with them. At first I was really not in the best of moods when I found that I was going to be white washing in the outskirts of the mission in a trio, but I now feel like that is where I am suppose to be because of s few reasons. After we we got all packed up into the senior couple's van we made our way down to our area which is about 2 hours away from the temple. That first day in the area we were able to meet with the ward mission leader and with an awesome family for dinner. The ward mission leader is an awesome guy! He seems to be very dedicated to the ward mission. One of the great things he does is he assigns family's to feed the missionaries. That way we are able to meet the whole ward.

Thursday we stared our days off with some studies as always. And since Elder Brimhall is a new missionary we get an extra hour personal study which is great. So far the feel to a trio had been kinda strange. This is the only one I have been in and it is quite a bit different, just because you have to balance things out between all three companions ships. For example teaching a lesson with two people feels different then teaching with three people. Training a new missionary in a trio also feels a lot different then just the normal 2 person companionship. After our study's we drove 45 min to get to our 12 week meeting for Brimhall and our zone district meeting. Meetings were pretty good. All we did was play games, which is fun for a few minutes, but then you start to feel like you are just wasting time. It was good though. The zone I am in now is very young, so I don't know too many people and he games helped me get to know them a little better. By her time we got back to was time for us to go to Dinner with another awesome family. We stood around there house for a little extra time so we could meet their son who is thinking about serving mission. It was a very fun evening with the Ray family.

Friday we spent a lot of time trying to set up appointments for the up coming week. We also tried getting s hold of our investigators, but unfortunately they didn't pick up. After we had finished planing we tried knocking on some of our investigators doors, but nobody was home. We then proceeded to dinner and after dinner we dropped in on members in the surrounding area. 

Saturday we spent most of our time checking on people who the sisters had been trying to work, but we had no luck. We had dinner with another awesome family for the ward then we headed an hour up the road to our stake center for the Saturday session of stake conference. Stake Conference was pretty great! President and Sister Cooke both gave the same talks they gave in the Stake Conference that I went to two weeks ago and even though it was the same, Sister Cooke's talk hit me. She talked about how if we are struggling, to take the focus off of ourselves and help that person is having a harder time than you. I have been put in my area to help my companions reach their potential and to obviously preach the gospel the Patuxent Ward. 

Sunday we had the Sunday session of Stake Conference which was also really good! We were not able to meet very many members of the ward unfortunately because of how many people were in attendance. After church we drove to our house, ate and then we drove up to a members house to take us to Why I Believe. The keynote speakers was the Cooke family because this is their last Why I Believe. The fireside was awesome and it makes me really sad that they are leaving here very shortly. Sorry for the super long email!

Hope you all have an awesome day! Byeeeee. Oh yeah there is also Amish that live down here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Elder Crandall is Heading Home, Transfer on Wednesday, Saying Goodbye to Ward Members, and Sacrament Meeting Talks - 06/14/2016

Hey everyone! It's that time of the week again when you receive an email from your favorite missionary. Hope you all had a great week!

This week has been a very bitter sweet experience. We have been spending lots of time saying goodbye to the members. Elder Crandall is going home and I am being transferred Wednesday. And tonight I found out that I am going down to very bottom of the mission. It should be interesting.

Some of the highlights of the week was able to spend time with the Hanson family. They are one of my favorite family's in the ward! They are a family of all boys and they are pretty funny. We were able to spend time with the Blewett family. They took us down to a Canal down near their house. We walked with them for a little bit and that was very fun. We were able to go to the farm and have some fun there. 

On Sunday Elder Crandall and I both were assigned to give talks during sacrament meeting since we were both leaving. We took the place of the youth speakers so the talks were very short. It was very weird though.

It felt like I was giving my departing/homecoming talk. It was very surreal. Thanks for everything you guys do. 

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Marie is Progressing, Stake Conference, and a Mission Fast - 06/06/2016

Happy Summer! Another enjoyable week on the mission! It is getting pretty crazy to think that it is going to be wrapping up hear shortly. My companion, Elder Crandall, goes home in 9 days, which is also very weird. Anyway here are some of the highlights from the week. 

On one of the days we were able to meet with Marie. She is still doing pretty well in progressing in the gospel. She is just going at her own pace, so it may be a while before she is baptized, which is fine with me. If she takes a little longer than most, then that's okay. We don't work with God at his pace, he only works with us at our pace. At the end of our meeting she even told us that we have helped her out a ton in her life, and she  said that when some of her life situations are figured out, she wants to be baptized. We are hoping that is coming very soon. 

Another big highlight of the week was most definitely stake conference. Every single talk was given so well. Sister Cooke gave an awesome take, President Cooke gave an awesome talk, and another person you all may be a little familiar with, Dick Marriott (guy who started the hotel business) spoke as well and he gave a very good talk as well. The spirit was definitely there. 

One of the highlights of the week for me was our mission fast. As a mission, we all fasted starting Saturday evening and ending Sunday evening. We all fasted for our areas and some personal things. All my life I have been struggling with fasting and I feel like I haven't really put to much effort into it. This time a tried to do better and it really paid off. It was a much better experience then ones I have had in the past. And over the next few weeks we will see the blessings coming from the fast.

Thanks for the emails everyone! Have a great week!!