My address is2516 Normandy Dr. SEGrand Rapids MI 49506
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
So we were walking through downtown Grand Rapids going to an appointment. As we were walking into the building, this young black woman shouts out, "DANG! Yall some good looking missionaries! What church you go to?? Im going to have to start going there!!" We started talking to her for awhile, but things kind of got strange when she started asking us about our chastity. We just gave her a card and took off. The weirder part is something like that happened a couple of times this week... I guess that's what happens when you serve with Elder Bell and Elder Kofoed.
The week took some adjusting, being in a new area and all. It felt like my first week all over again. The area is much different. The city is HUGE and a lot of the houses are mansions from the 1870s. It is pretty sweet. We did a lot more tracting this week, but I had a great time. My companions are awesome! Elder Bell plays football for Utah, is from Huntington Beach, and is super funny. Out personalities are identical, so we get along super well. Unfortunately, he goes home in 3 weeks and he is just a little trunky. Elder Koefed is a awesome guy. He is mildly autistic, and I love him! He is really a funny guy, except when he is shooting me with nerf guns...
The week was a little slower as far as the work goes, but there was one experience I wanted to share. We knocked on this mans door, and he came around from the back. The introduced ourselves and asked him if he had a faith in Christ. He said "sometimes. It is up and down." We talked for a while and he invited us to sit down on the steps with him. We talked about his shaking faith, and read Alma 32 with him and testified how faith in Christ is the anchor when the waves of life roll through. He began telling about his alcoholism, and how miserable he was. We read some scriptures on the atonement, and testified of the Savior's love for him. He started crying and said, "I could have blown you guys off, but something told me I shouldn't." He was mentioned he was thinking about religion quite a bit that day when we came knocking. Coincidence? I think not.
Talking on the phone with my family this week was awesome, but I realized I am not very good at adequately describing the experiences I am having. Missionary experiences are something that cannot be adequately shared, only experienced. There are no words to describe witnessing conversion. The emotion, love, and changes that the person and the missionary undergo in the process of conversion are indescribable. I wish I could convey the feelings of being on a mission, but they are often to sacred to express. They are just something you have to experience, and I thank the Lord everyday that I get to. I am so thankful to be a missionary. There are no words for the experiences and changes I have witnessed and undergone. All I know is the Gospel is true. Jesus Christ is its Author. He is our Savior and Redeemer. The bread of life and the Prince of Peace. But the truthfulness of this gospel cannot be explained, only experienced, and I invite the whole world experience it for themselves.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
We got a call from President Hess Friday morning, and he says, we don't normally do this, but the Senior companion is staying and the junior is leaving. I felt like I got punched in the gut! I have been assigned to labor in Grand Rapids, and will be serving with Elder Bell and Elder Koefed. It is still a little unreal to think I am leaving and it is super bittersweet, but I am super excited!
It has been a really good final week. We had 2 lessons with Noah, and he is so excited and prepared to be baptized. He is so sincere and sweet. He honestly feels like a little Brother. He asked me to baptize him, and it was really hard to tell him that I wouldn't get to be there. I am super bummed out about it :( But he is progressing, and he wants to serve a mission! He is the man.
Carenda is so solid. She is another reason I am so sad about leaving. We had an awesome lesson with her on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is now through Mosiah. She knows it is true, and the only thing keeping her from being baptized is her trust issues for the one baptizing her, but she knows that as she keeps reading the Book of Mormon, that concern will be solved.
Simone and Gwen are still some of my favorite people on earth, but sadly they are still not reading the Book of Mormon. They know that they need to, they just aren't. Agency is wonderful, but it is very frustrating. Every time I go there though, they just make me laugh so much! It is wonderful! They are great people! They just need to read the Book of Mormon!
Terry also came to church again, and stayed for two hours this time! He has strengthened my testimony how love and not words change hearts. I swear he doesn't hear a word we say, but the love we have shown him has begun to change him. Love truly is the only thing that can mend the broken heart. We have loved him back to church, and I could not be more excited about it! I am going to miss him!
We did happen to have a miracle this week as well! We got a media referral for man named Martin Smith, who we later found out was a returned missionary. He hadn't been to church in years. He referred himself on mormon.org because he wanted a Book of Mormon so he could find out if there is really a Jesus Christ. We gave him one and came back later in the week. We planned on getting to know him better and follow the spirit from there. He was baptized at 22 and went on a mission at 24. He served for 13 months, and received a medical release for a couple of severe knee injuries. He became bitter towards God, because he had been doing everything he asked, and he still was sent home. He fell off the deep end from there. He had major issues with the commandments and covenants he had made. After awhile he felt so awful, that he went to the church and tried to get excommunicated. He didn't, but he couldn't bear the thought of coming back. We watched a mormon message on how the Savior wants to forgive. I bore my testimony of my experience with the atonement. I testified with all my heart that I know what its like to be weighed down and trapped with mistakes, and feeling like you will never get out, but I bore my witness that it can and will happen. The savior wants to forgive. I was prompted to say, "I know he is there. I know he is real, and I know that you know it too." He started to cry. In the closing prayer, he thanked our father in heaven for a Savior and his atonement. It was one of the most powerful moments on my mission. I am so thankful for my testimony of the atonement. I am grateful to have been through what I have been through and I am grateful that our Redeemer saved even me. I love him with all my heart. He came to church on Sunday for the first time in years and the ward was so excited to see him again. I love that man. I wish I could stay just so I could keep teaching him.
It is so bittersweet to think I will be leaving. We have door knocked in some of the prettiest places I have ever been. I have met the most amazing people, and the ward is wonderful. Elder Yates said that if it is hard to leave an area, you did it right. I must have done wonderful then, because it is super hard to leave, but I am so excited to go to Grand Rapids. I am really going to miss Elder Yates. He is a wonderful missionary, companion, trainer, and friend. I am really going to miss quoting Spongebob with him haha He is a great man!
Life is good! The Savior lives!
|Martin Smith! What a man!|
|Grant and Gloria!|
|The Dream Team|
|GRANNY!! The one dog I like here!|
|This is Terry Deters!|
|The Carriers! Noah is the one on the left! They have become another family!|
|Tyler is the man! He just blessed the sacrament for the first time! That is the best to see as a missionary!|
|Yvonne Jones. Nuff said|
|Jake Mcnese is like our third companion and served with Jake Tui in Salt Lake! He is one of my mentors!|
|The Freeloves, one of my favorite families. Johnny, the young man in the black Jacket is the one drives us everywhere. I love that kid! He is a great missionary. Sister Freelove is the missionary mom. She is so great :) I love this family!|
IT HAPPENED AGAIN!!!!
This last Friday, we had another super crazy day, and got called over to Kalamazoo for Elder Yates to perform a baptism interview and we didn't have time to eat. We had an appointment with a super awesome couple named Ken and Courtney at 5, and we walked in and sat down on their couch. They told us to come into the kitchen, where we found the table was set for us to eat with them. She had worked all day to make us Pot Roast and potatoes, and it tasted so good! Just like mom used to make! They are the coolest people in the world!!! We taught them about Prayer and the nature of God, because she has absolutely 0 Christian background. She is super fun to teach though! They are progressing slowly but surely!
On Monday, Elder Yates came up with the brilliant idea to shop at 6:30 in the morning so we can work out in the afternoon for longer. It was great! We also got to finally play ball again, and I didn't sprain an ankle or tear an ACL so that's a good sign.
I came to the conclusion that Noah is just not supposed to get baptized yet. We hit another road block when his grandma called and said that her and his parents didn't want him to get baptized because of his temper, which isn't totally his fault because he is bi-polar. We had a super powerful lesson that night on the atonement, and made a list of things to do, such as family prayer, study, and saying "I love you", that there family HAD to do before they could go to bed. It has been going very well, and there hearts were softened. His parents are very bitter against the church, and they too are praying with Noah! He has been doing so good! We were good to go for baptism, and then bishop said no because he feels that Noah isn't ready. That was a very humbling experience for me. At first I was angry at him, and then I was mad at Elder Yates because he wound up taking Bishop's side without even talking to me about it. But then I realized how many road blocks we have hit with this, and I realized that they were right. Noah will get baptized, it just may be longer than he or I want. I love that kid though. He really is so sincere.
Carenda continues to be solid. She is moving forward, and at Church, she came up to us and said, "I hope you are ready for lots of questions." and we said of course! She also told us that she was reading in Jacob and said she is really starting to believe all this! She is so awesome! The Book of Mormon Rocks! Church is true.
Simone is still awesome as always. She still hasn't read, but she is always like, "I know I need to do it! I know that I need to put God first!" In her prayer she said, "I know that I need to put you first in my life, and it took these two to come to my door to help me realize it, and I thank you for them." That really hit me, and also helped me to realize I am actually helping people. I am so thankful for the converting power of the Gospel. She is so gold!
Meeting with Terry has made me very thankful for the atonement in my life. He is so bitter and closed off, that I don't think he hears a word we say. When people are blind with anger, they begin to go deaf as well, but they sure are able to speak. I don't think I have met anyone who can talk for 45 minutes without a breath until I came to Michigan. It is a talent. We managed to move a baby step forward, and he says it is a miracle that he is even let us come over and that he came to church. I love that man to death, and it kills me to see him so hopeless, but I know that he is never to far gone for the savior.
We didn't have to many interesting door knocking stories except for this one guy who said that he hoped we find the truth one day because "Mormons don't believe Jesus is the Son of God." Really. I have been a member my whole life, and I had no idea! I wish that he would have been open enough for me to bear my testimony to him, For I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
I am nervous about transfers this week, and I am going to be really bummed out if I lose Elder Yates. He is a great missionary and a great man! I couldn't have asked for a better trainer!
It is crazy to know how good the Lord has been to me when I feel like I don't deserve it. He really does love all of his children. No one is too far gone to feel his love.