Monday, October 24, 2011

Best Week Ever ..... Again! :D

Hola Padres y Amigos!     24 October 2011

Well this week has been an incredible, awesome week! It was one of the best ones of my whole mission. Since there is so much to cover with such little time to do so, I am sorry if I do not hit on the points or the questions that you have sent. There is a lot I want to say, so hopefully I will be able to cover it all.
We have been extremely blessed over this last week with so much to do. We have had so many spiritual lessons with our investigators and have really been about the Lord's work with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. We have been planning a lot more efficiently for our investigators and it continues to pay off. I have been feeling the Spirit guide me more and more every day. We also had Zone Conference this week. It was a good experience, but it was pretty strange for me. On the way down there we drove right by Hurricane and then we had to drive through the St. George area I was in to get to where it was. It was weird to think that I was on the complete opposite corner of the mission two weeks ago and now I am back down in the south. 
One of the crazy experiences that I had this week - Well one comes by way of a potential investigator named Carlos. We went to knock on Carlos' door around . He kindly invited us in, which is quite unusual for us to just have someone ask us to come in. We  got to talking and he said that he has some friends that are members and so we asked him what he liked about the Church. His answer was completely shocking. He said, "the baptism". He led into exactly what we do as missionaries. We had a really good talk about baptism and we have a return appointment for this week on Wednesday. We are looking to extending the baptismal invitation to him. We also had another random experience in the city of Enoch. We were going out there to try and contact a potential Native American to teach, but when we knocked the door, some guy started to speak Spanish to us. It is a pretty big shock when you are expecting to hear English and then you get Spanish. We went in and we taught Miguel the whole Restoration. He really enjoyed the outcome and the message. He is extremely excited to hear more about what we have to offer. He took a copy of the Book of Mormon and promised us to read it for himself.
The next story is probably one of the craziest, but one of the greatest from the week. We had received a referral for a lady named Sophia about two weeks ago. She lives with her granddaughter and her granddaughter's husband in a neighborhood that you wouldn’t really expect to go to teach the Gospel. The house she lives in, is probably one of the biggest and nicest houses that I have seen on my mission. We came back this week and we finally had a lesson with her. A little background on Sophia is that she is 80 years old and says that she is looking for a change in her life and was wondering if we could help her find that. We taught the whole Restoration to her and right after we said the First Vision in Spanish, you could just see her physically relax/melt. Afterward, these are the words that she said, "Oh how beautiful that God and Jesus Christ would come and answer that boy's prayer. Also that God loves us so much that He put His Church back on the earth." I was just completely amazed when she said that. It was so shocking and not what I was expecting. At the end of the lesson we extended the baptismal invitation and she accepted a date to be baptized for the 19 of November! It is just another tender mercy of the Lord that has been put into our path. I am just continually grateful for all that He has given me, especially the help here on my mission.
We finished off this week with a baptismal service. In that baptismal service, we had three baptisms. It was just the topper to the week. The three people that got baptized were from the same family that the mom shared the testimony with us. It has been amazing to see these three men/young men embark on this journey to eternal life. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to teach them and to see them make this step.
I am just so grateful for everything that I was able to see this week. It is just a great experience to be on a mission. I just want to thank everyone that has helped me to get here to this point. There are so many people to thank, but to just throw out a few: my parents, my Church leaders/teachers, Bishop Lott, and my seminary teacher, Sister Lott. I am grateful for all of these people. If I didn’t have these people and all the rest of the people that helped shape my life, I know that I would not be here today or be the person that I am. Always remember that what you do everyday may have a major impact on someone else’s life.

Live it, Love it, Preach it!    les agradezco y les amo!     ELDER D

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Hola mis queridos Padres!      October 17, 2011

This was just an absolutely crazy week! I guess that is to be expected with all the changes that came this week. My new area is awesome! I love it so much! We are busy all the time, but that is a really good thing. I actually gave you incomplete information about the area.  It really isn’t an all Spanish area, just mostly Spanish. We cover two branches; one is the Spanish branch for all of the Cedar City area, and the other one is a Native American branch for all of the Cedar City area. We just call ourselves the "Lamanite Missionaries".
I have been pretty lost the last few days, but I am starting to get it all down. I am the official driver, so I was just thrown under the bus and have been trying to learn the streets and all of that. It is a pretty tough thing to do when you cover the whole city and surrounding areas.  I found out that I didn’t really lose my Spanish, but that my mind just works in Spanish a little slower then it did when I was in St. George. I have definitely been trying to work on getting my mind working in Spanish again and it seems to be going pretty well.
I guess it is on to the companion. His name is Bernardo Castro. He is from Salt Lake. Well I guess he technically claims Kearns, but it is all the same right? He was born in Mexico, but has lived most of his life in Utah; mainly the Logan area. He is so awesome! We were in the same zone when we were in St. George, so we know each other pretty well. It is such a big difference to go from having a rough time with a companion, to being with a companion that I get along with. It is pretty awesome. We actually both have the exact same time in the mission. We went into the MTC on the same day.
I am learning so much here in this area. Elder Castro is bringing out the good side of me and I feel that I am continually progressing and becoming the best missionary I can be. There are so many little things that you pass over as a missionary, but those little things can make a huge difference. I have been learning about how we need to properly set our goals and plans, and that we are accountable for these goals and plans and if we reach them or not. Just a lot of learning is going on.
This week was full of amazing teaching experiences.  President Leonard has really been stressing that we create lesson plans for each investigator that we have and that these plans are specifically for them. I can truly testify that a lesson plan really helps us bring the Spirit so we can help our investigators. We had an awesome lesson with this couple named Erica and Julio. They have only been taught for a little while, and we put a baptismal date to them, but they declined. So we decided to go and teach the doctrine of baptism and really help them understand it. We read from the Book of Mormon and taught the covenant and the blessings of baptism. Then we re-extended the commitment to be baptized, and this time they accepted! It is such an exciting thing when an investigator really accepts a baptismal date.
The next experience comes from a less active lady. We are teaching her family, and they are getting baptized next week. We have taught them a bunch, but they always seem kind of shut off towards us and their feelings. This weekend they got married, and we had a lesson with them afterwards. We asked her how she felt, and she just started to break down and cry. We were just like "wow, what is going to happen?" She then talked about how great of a blessing it was to have her whole family getting baptized. She had been less active for quite a while and had moved around a lot.  She had always secretly wanted to go back to Church, but she could never find it within herself to go back or to take those steps. Then one day the missionaries came and knocked on her door. She thanked us for coming to her door and that we have taught them and helped them be able to enter into the Church again and that now her family can share the blessings of the gospel with her. It really is just a true testimony on how Heavenly Father truly prepares people for us to find, teach, and baptize. He is doing His part in the missionary work; we just have to do ours.
 It doesn’t matter if we are members or full time missionaries, we can all be part of the great work of bringing souls to Christ. That is my little challenge for you this week; to go and find a missionary opportunity!  I am so grateful for this chance I have to serve a full time mission and I am grateful for all of your support! Dios les bendiga!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!    les amo!        ELDER D

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Area - Cedar City, and a ZONE LEADER!

Buenas tardes mis queridos Padres y amigos!    10 October 2011  
 Elder Chad sends birthday wishes to his niece, Chaylyn, who turned three this week!
Well it sure sounds like there is quite a bit going on back up there in your neck of the woods.  Life is really just one big test right? It is how we overcome the challenges and trials that are placed before us. Just keeping pushing forward and doing what you know you should, and the Lord will bless you will the strength to overcome these challenges, or at least push through them.  (Chad’s father lost his job this past week and now seeking new employment. Chad’s mom has to return for exploratory surgery this week to find out why she has stomach pains.)
       This week for me has been pretty tiring and exhausting. It was the week before transfers, so I was basically running around trying to get stuff cleared up.  The thing is that we really don’t know if we are transferred or not, but that is always in the back of out minds. We try to focus on the here and now, but that doesn’t always work.
There has certainly been a weather change down here. About the middle of last week, it just snapped from summer to winter. There was about one day of fall, but it isn’t too bad. I think it is hilarious to see my companion all bundled up with a sweater and a huge trench coat, when I am still just wearing a white shirt. It isn’t that cold, it was just the shock of it changing from around the upper 60s to the 40s over night. Probably the craziest thing was while we were helping a recent convert move from one apartment to another, we actually saw it snow. It was already pouring down rain, so we were battling that the whole time. I did get pretty soaked from head to foot, but luckily we were in street clothes. During the course of the time that we were moving into the second apartment, the rain slowly turned into slush and then into snow. Pretty crazy to have it snow the first week of October! (Welcome to UTAH weather, Chad!)
       We did have a really cool experience this week. On Monday evening we received a call from a counselor from a Bishopric here. He said that he needed to set an appointment with us so his friend could be taught by us. It comes time for our appointment and we meet him and you could definitely tell that there was some potential. We taught the whole Restoration to him. He seemed to absorb it pretty well, so we asked him how he felt about it. He then looked up at us with tear filled eyes, and said that he believed it all and that is was completely true. The Spirit was so strong at the point; there was only one thing we could do. We extend the commitment to be baptized and he accepted it! It was a really great experience.  I am amazed on how prepared some people really are to hear and receive the Restored Gospel. It is just another testimony that the Lord is truly preparing people for missionaries to find, teach, and baptize!
This is the end of the transfer, and before I tell you where I am going, I want to clear up a few things. I know that my time here with my latest companion was pretty crazy and had a ton of ups and downs, but I really think I learned what I need to learn. I think the Lord tested me with the constant emotional roller coaster to try and test me to see how I would react to the situation. It was definitely hard to keep myself from freaking out at times, but I learned a lot about patience and charity this transfer - Two extremely vital things in life to possess. I will break the news and tell you I am leaving the area here and am being transferred to Cedar City. Oh, and I will become a Zone Leader there. It is a crazy thought to know that I am now a Zone Leader. I don’t know if I am completely ready for all of the responsibility that comes with it, but I am sure going to try and do all I can to follow through with my calling. It is a pretty bitter sweet call. I am pretty bummed to think that I am leaving Price/Wellington and all the people that I have come to love so much, but I am excited to the fact that I get to be in an all Spanish area once again, and an area that has a ton of potential. It is going to be a new experience and a crazy transfer, so we will see how that all plays out over the next 6 weeks.
I am sorry the letter really isn’t that long, but I hope it will do until next week. (We are grateful for Chad’s letters.  Other missionary parents comment that they get about a fourth of the size of letters that Chad sends.)   I wish you the best and I am always praying for you!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!

les amo!     ELDER D

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Instrument in the Hands of the Lord

Buenos Dias!                          October 3, 2011
 This week was a pretty fantastic week! It was not one of great numbers or filled with baptisms, but there was just a great feeling left over from the week. I just feel like I went and did what the Lord wanted me to do, and I was rewarded with many "tender mercies of the Lord". I have been learning so much, so rapidly! This week I learned how important it is to have the Spirit and to truly be an "instrument in the hands of the Lord".
This letter may be a bit jumbled and hard to understand, but I will try my best to provide a good account of all these events this week. First of all, I am still having ups and downs with my companion. He really is more emotional then a woman. That is probably the toughest part. One day he is on top of the world, and then the next he doesn’t even want to go out and work. It is just a tough thing to deal with all the emotional change back and forth, but I am still trying to help him and understand more about who he is. Not all of this is easy, but there is something that the Lord wants me to learn by serving here with Elder McCarty.
We put our shoulder to the wheel this week, that is for sure. I had a pretty crazy experience with this guy in an apartment complex. He just came up to me and was like, "hey, I am not Mormon. What do you got for me?" So I just started to talk to him about what we believe and it became apparent that all he really wanted to do was "bash" with me. There were so many points I could have called him out on, or said that he was contradicting himself in many ways. But those were things that Elder Davis wanted to say to this man, so I could prove my point. But it turns out that the Spirit had other plans for this situation. I was really calm through the whole experience. I had moments where I thought to get angry and start being really rude to this man, but the Spirit was there. I was really made an instrument of the Lord at that point in time. I was speaking the words that the Lord would have spoken. I testified boldly about the Restoration of the Gospel and left him the opportunity to pray about these things for himself. After I had left this invitation, he just sat there staring at me, like "well this didn’t work to my advantage at all". It was a bad situation turned good.
I also went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I went to the Zone Leader's area with Elder Wood. He is from Olympia. So we had a few arguments about which side of Washington is better, but it is a clear statement that Eastern Washington is so much better! It was a different feeling to be out teaching people that I didn’t know their stories or background. So I really had to rely on the Spirit to help me when it came time for me to teach a part of the lesson. I have never been a really shy person, but it is something really different to go into a teaching appointment with absolutely no knowledge about this person and try to relate the Gospel to them. I met a guy that they were teaching that reminded me a lot of Ricardo. So it was a good experience there.
When we exchanged back, Elder McCarty and I had another amazing lesson with Claire. I mentioned her a week or two ago and about her lesson, but we had another tender mercy of the Lord with her. She is really listening with real intent to everything we teach. This lesson that we had was about faith and how she can better increase her own faith. Well that was the main topic, but it weathered down to her personal conversion and testimony. I think that this was the first time that I have really cried in a lesson in quite awhile. The Spirit was just so strong there and we were able to read the last two paragraphs of the Introduction to the Book of Mormon and then testify of these things! The Book of Mormon is really the keystone of our religion and through that book we can truly come to discover the Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church upon the earth. We must all pass through reading the Book of Mormon, pondering it, and then praying about it. That is the only way that we can know of those things. It was just such a wonderful lesson and it opened her eyes to see how she must truly gain her own witness of the Church and stop living off of "borrowed light".
Right after this lesson, we went to teach an investigator named Mike. Mike had been struggling to follow the Word of Wisdom, and we kept following up on how he was doing, but he would always slip a little bit. We walked in the door and started talking about how he was, and then it lead up to the usual question on how he was doing with the Word of Wisdom. Usually he just looks around and says that it hasn’t been going well. But this night he looked straight at us and said that he was done for good. We had not been there to help his decision or to force him to do this; he completely decided to do this on his own. I think he finally realized that there is no way that he can progress towards baptism if he continues to not follow this commandment. It completely set the tone for that lesson and we were able to set up a really good plan to help him finalizing his quitting.
There were just so many miracles that happened this week. These miracles were both big and small, but they came through obedience and personal worthiness. We cannot expect to have huge miracles or blessings from the Lord if we are not striving to do our part and be continually obedient to His commandments.  I honestly can say that at this point in my mission, I feel that I am the best I have been. I know that I am far from being a perfect missionary, but I have been able to grow and develop what is necessary in my life as a missionary. So the great benefit from this is blessings and miracles that I have seen here this week. I know that the Lord is blessing me for my obedience to His commandments and the mission rules!
General Conference was pretty amazing! I absolutely love Conference now. Looking back on my youth, I can’t believe on how much I seemed to let it pass by without giving it any thought. I mean I would watch it, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I just thought it was awesome that I didn’t have to get dressed in my white shirt and tie to go to Church, but that I could just kick it in my sweats. Now, Conference plays such a bigger meaning in my life. Especially as a missionary, I have received so much guidance and counsel for my personal self, my future, and right now. I know that from now on, my Conference experience will be more meaningful for the rest of my life! I will always cherish those short hours that we have to listen to the Prophet and Apostles speak the words in which we need to know for our days. It is an amazing time in my life as a missionary to listen to these other men that also hold the title of "Elder".
Well I know it is Chay Chay's birthday next week, so give her a big hug and kiss for me! I really miss all of you and you are always in my prayers! Have a great week!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!  Les amo muchismo!   ELDER D