The Salt Lake City East mission president, President and Sister Hillier have extended a challenge to all those in the mission. This is to read the Book of Mormon, cover to cover by Easter Sunday. President extended this invitation to us during our Zone conference on Thursday. In the Zone conference the Book of Mormon was discussed as the main topic. There we discussed the importance of the Book of Mormon and how important it is in missionary work and how it is the keystone to our religion. The question that brought up the conclusion was, "How different would we be and how would we accomplish missionary work if we did not have the Book of Mormon?" No one could fully answer that question because we did not have an answer for it other than, we would not be that successful in bringing others to Christ.
The testimonies of the Book of Mormon was another part of the discussion and was given by fellow Elders and Sisters including the President. Lastly we watched a video of Elder Holland giving his powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and in his hand was the original copy of Hyrum Smith's Book of Mormon. The same copy that Hyrum folded down the corner of the page of Ether 12: 37. "37 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father."
As our missionary purpose states, "Our purpose is to invite others to come to Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."
The main key in our purpose is to INVITE. As representatives and servants of our Lord and Savior, there was another invitation given by President. That is, to invite others to accept this challenge that has been presented. So I invite you to accept the challenge to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover and finish by Easter Sunday. I am also inspired to invite you as well to accept the challenge to invite others you know to take this challenge, member, nonmember, family, friends, coworkers, or if you want to really go out there you can invite a random person to read with us.
I bear my testimony, that this challenge has been inspired of President and Sister Hillier by our Savior. I know without a shadow of a doubt and with a burning fire in my heart that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, another testament of his only begotten Son, and the most correct book we have on earth. This will be my second time reading it cover to cover on my mission. The first time I have never felt any closer to our Savior and Father in heaven as a son of God and a servant of our Master.
For those who have not yet had the privilege knowing without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is the word of God as I do, In the scripture 3 Nephi 27: 28-29 it says,
28 And now I go unto the Father. And verily I say unto you, whatsoever things ye shall ask the Father in my name shall be given unto you.
29 Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened."
Christ tells us and let's us know that if we ask we will receive if we have the desire to do so. If you are not motivated at first to ask, know that there is another special scripture in Alma 32 : 27 that states,
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
Our Father in Heaven is pleading for us to realize this is something he wants us to do, and to experiment on His words and promises. To not be afraid or to doubt and to give it a shot and to let Him fulfill His promise when we have done our part to take that step in faith. I promise you the blessings that if you accept this challenge and complete the challenge by Easter Sunday and are diligent with faith, that you will feel the love of our Savior and our Father in Heaven as well as feel closer to Him. I promise those who have not had the chance to know that the Book of Mormon is true that if you are looking with real intent having faith in Christ that you will come to know that it is true.
A famous scripture used by missionaries and part of my conversion as well, Moroni 10:3-5 states,
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
I know that these are true. I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know and have seen it first hand while out here that the Lords work is hastening. For the Gospel will be taught to every Nation, Kindred, Tongue, and People. I know that we have a modern day prophet. I know that some day, I will be able to see my Savior and stand before Him and know that I have put in all my heart, might, mind, and strength into serving Him. That He has made my weaknesses strong to serve Him.
D&C 18: 15-16
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
I leave these things humbly with you, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
This was a long busy week. So after P-day, Tuesday was a normal day here in the area. And then it all started Wednesday. On Wednesday we had a global broadcast for missionaries from the Quorum of the Twelve Presidency and some of the Twelve Apostles. This broadcast was for new announcements and changes. Well the first 3/4 of it was just regular missionary stuff....we already knew and everyone was about to fall asleep. But finally like the last 8 min. was what we had all been waiting for so we were on the edge of our seats. So the new announcement was about the missionary schedule. The original missionary schedule consisted of this:
Wake up 6:30
Work out 6:30-7:00
Shower, get dressed, eat breakfast 7-8:00
Personal study 8:00-9:00
Companion study 9:00-10:00
Return home 9:00
Nightly planning 9:00-9:30
Free time at home 9:30-10:30
So that's the strict missionary schedule I'm sure you're all familiar about. But the brethren have decided to change it up and let missionaries exercise their agency, plus they want us to be more flexible in our schedule and learn the skill of being flexible when we return home.
So, we still wake up at 6:30. Then from 6:30 to 10:00 we can put those things in any order we want. If we really wanted we could shower and then exercise if you feel like it. Then they also took planning from 9:00-9:30 and put it in the morning. Then from 10:00-9:00 we don't have 12 weeks anymore because my companion and I aren't new, and we don't have language study. But all those things in there we can switch around in what ever time slot in that time space we have that we think will be most affective to our area. For example, we could have a lesson at 10:30 am, and push companion study to 8:30pm to 9:30 pm. That kind of thing. So then when we get home (and this is every missionaries favorite part) we can just rip off our clothes and jump in bed! There's no nightly planning and we can go to bed from 9:30-10:30! We don't have to wait till 10:30! It's amazing. And for having to deal with the strict schedule for 5 1/2 months this is amazing, and I feel bad for the missionaries going home this transfer. Because they only get to use it for 3 weeks. And so our P day is similar it's but not as strict.
Everything from 6:30-6:00 pm we can move around in an appropriate order. So it's really awesome being flexible, I could email earlier or later if I wanted to the companionship just has to agree on it. But for now I'll stick to the same time until we can figure out a new time if we want. So then Thursday rolls around and we have Zone conference, from 8:30 to 3:00. It gets pretty long sometimes, but it was a good day to be inside because it was snowing out. Plus it had been snowing a good part of the week which stinks I don't like snow when you're in a walking area, if I had a car I wouldn't mind. So then that took all day, so then after Zone conference we had exchanges. Right after. So that went from Thursday to Friday. And there's a new rule in exchanges, the old rule was pretty much you swap companions, I'm pretty sure you already know about and you 4 work the DL's area and you and your companions area. Well now it's all 4 of you work in the DL's area. So that means our area sits there for 24 hours getting no work done and we are double working the DL's area. So the way our DL's area is, it only covers 2 wards and it overlaps with another companionship's area that are in our district. So they can cross over areas. So literally at one point there were 6 missionaries walking together on the streets hanging out it was fun.
For dinner we split up into trios and I went with the other Elder's in my district and they're my buds, just great guys. Bunch of squirrels. And they're the only elders I've met out here that can nerd out on Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. I was like "my people 😍" one of them, Elder Sulzen is from Canada and he came out the same time I did he just served in Canada for 1 transfer and then Elder Drake has been out a little longer than us. When we were done with the dinner appointments we met up with the other Elders and the two I was with for dinner, one of them was being a goof and was like "can we stay in trios like this for tonight I just felt so much power and authority."
They pretty much wanted me to stay with them haha. But then long story short (haha) not really when I was with the DL on Thursday night we were walking around and he told me about this certain event. A couple nights before he was with Elder Sulzen. And they were walking around the area and there are some sketchy ghetto areas in our stake and they got the worst spot. They got the armpit of the stake. Anyway they were walking and they saw a guy on top of a roof wearing all black and a black ski mask holding a butterfly knife and was watching them. The DL called the cops and the guy noticed and ran away. The cops couldn't find him. So the next night they were walking in that area again and they saw the same guy following them with his knife out walking fast towards them behind them. He wouldn't stop until both of the Elder's split different directions and turned around and faced him and started talking to him. The guy just turned around and left. So my DL said he almost pooped his pants from almost getting stabbed. So when he told me this I was like there's no knife guy you're just telling me this to get me freaked out. So when I was with him we continued the night and were walking down a street on the shoulder of the road. And my DL was on the phone with an investigator telling them the story of the guy with a knife. So we're walking and I notice a guy on the sidewalk to our right coming the opposite direction. And he had a hoodie on but I couldn't see his face. And I'm sitting there watching him and then he gets under a street light and I'm able to see his face. But it was very pale with a thin mustache. And then he passes and goes towards some apartments. And then we noticed something.. wait a second. That was a mask. He was freaking wearing a mask from the movie V for Vendetta. We both looked at each other and the DL is still on the phone and he's like holy crap I just passed him! That's the guy! We kept walking but the rest of the night we were watching our backs.
Later that night before heading in we stopped in the house of the senior couple missionaries that cover their area as well. We walked in and they had a pretty nice place and I could tell the DL had been in that area for a while because he went in their pantry and pulled out a basket of big candy bars for us and then went to the garage to get drinks and he's like what do you want to drink. I was thinking to myself you've made yourself comfy here. So we were there for a bit and we heard another knock on the door. We were like oh great it's my companion and my DL's companion stopping in too. But it was Elder Sulzen and Elder Drake. Then we were all eating candy and soda and the senior Elder was like "if you leave here hungry it's your own fault." And then we were in their living room and we tried to do a three man push up haha. Where one is in push up form on bottom (that was Elder Sulzen) then a guy on top if him with his feet and ankles over his shoulder and holding on to bottom guys ankles(me) and then the third on top (Elder Pesigen(DL)). It's a lot harder to be on the bottom. Then we tried with two of us I tried bottom and Elder Sulzen was on top and we almost got it. This is the kind of stupid things missionaries do when we are bored haha. Then since my companion and I both worked in the DL's area there were four of us to an apartment and you can imagine how that goes. But then on Friday at 3 we got to come back to our area and get the ball rolling again. When you're gone from you area for two whole days, it takes two whole days to get the ball rolling again so we're back on track now. I keep forgetting to tell you guys but please find a way to renew my license before it expires on my birthday and get it done ASAP so it's not a struggle to get my license again while I'm not there. And please send a scanned pic or something of my patriarchal blessing.
Btw we got two people on date for baptism this week.
Done with week #2 in this area, where does time go? But there are days that just drag on and then there are ones that are really fun and just are done in a blink of an eye. There were a little bit of both. This month is almost at a close already, but didn't it just turn 2017? And 9 more days left of January. And then when I reach the middle of February, that means I have been out 6 months! 1/4 of the way done. And then after that the rest of the year will fly and then I reach my year mark. So my boots came in on Friday, it took two freaking weeks only to find out that they don't fit! Really? So I'm really irritated and aggravated with that. I'm pretty sure I ordered 13 E or 13 EE. The dopes sent 13 D. Typical! Oh how I don't miss California... except for the weather that's it. California can go fly a kite, especially after how the state wanted to split away from the country because Trump won.
Anyway, got off track. So I'll be sending the boots back home to you guys because I have no idea what to do with it and I don't have time to mess around with it. Hopefully you can get the money back from it. We are teaching a melting pot in this area. You would not believe how many people are here from the Middle East, and it's nice to find the ones who are actually Christian's. That means we have one less obstacle to jump over when teaching them. The other obstacle is the language. But they're very humble people and very nice.
My favorite family are a family of 5. They are Christian and are very nice and interested about learning. They're culture is awesome too. When they open the door, there is like one couch, and a couple kids on it. When they let us in they shoo their kids off the couch and let us sit down. And before we can start it's small talk like how our week has been and so on and trying to understand their English. While we are talking as soon as we sit down the women go in the kitchen and fix a little something. Which is incredible because literally every middle eastern family will do the same thing, they put a little table in front of us, and then bring in something like cookies and juice. And then they'll sit there and stare at you until you take some of it haha.
But anyway this family we're teaching is really nice, the father is recovering from a surgery so the mother works. So she's usually there too but last night she wasn't. But we still went over to say hi and of course they sat us down because of their culture, and even though the mom was gone their 13 or 14 year old daughter Zahara did it all herself. I was impressed because American girls would look at you like you're crazy if you want them to do that. But that family is doing well and the mother and daughter are really interested because they can speak better English.
The experiences here are just so different. The weirdest part, is when we go tracting in the apartments with all the refugees because when we knock, they don't even care if you're strangers they'll invite you in, having no idea why you're there. And then they only know a little bit of English and then when we try to explain what we do as missionaries and they'll just sit there and stare at you having no clue what you're saying. But yet they'll give you food even though they have no idea why you're there and who you are. It's just bizarre.
It's been snowing now like crazy, we are getting a bunch, apparently more snow than Utah has gotten in a long time...and of course I have to be there for that. Because it sucks walking. Utah is on top of it for their roads when it comes to plowing but they do a horrible job when it comes to sidewalks. And when I say horrible I mean they totally forget about the sidewalks. Businesses and peoples property are supposed to take care of it but some businesses care less. So we're walking on mountains of compact snow from being pushed off the roads. It makes it twice as long to walk if not three times longer. I don't mind the cold, but when it gets to the point when you literally can't feel your face and you can feel your muscles slowing down when you move, it's too far.
I find a lot of people here stick their head in the sand when it comes to everything outside of Utah. Oh well. Only 19 more months. And your email topic was floating along in So Cal..and there's a lot of rain. Maybe the stake can have a stake fast for, a Noah's Ark 2 and wash away all the dumb stuff in California? No? Hhmm.
Sooooo this week is full of all sorts of fun stuff. This new area I am in is completely different from my last. My last one was all suburbs, family's, and 23 wards right? Well this new area is only 3 wards...and 90% of it are apartments full of all sorts of people. From people that are poor Caucasian, to really poor Arabian people who barely speak English but are super humble. They really respect LDS people because we help them out here. I also went from, getting dinners pretty much every night to it's hit and miss because the ward mission leader's do not help us keep up with getting them. So we pretty much feed ourselves most of the week.
I don't know if we do the same amount of walking as I did in my last area or not. Our apartment is pretty sick, it's a duplex. we have 3 living rooms, two bedrooms and a bathroom AND has a working gas fireplace. Pretty sweet! We are more busy here than ever, and more than my last areas. We have freaking 20 investigators. we had to drop some of them because we couldn't contact them or they moved or something. so it dropped down to like 15 this week but now we found more and now it's back to like 20 investigators. We taught 14 of them this week. I'd say that is pretty good. This Sunday we had a cool experience, we had 4 Arabic investigators come to church and after sacrament, we had like a gospel principles class and taught the Restoration. Two of them spoke pretty good English and then one did not so much, so we were lucky to have a translator who studied Arabic at BYU who was in the ward. Pretty sweet!
Good experiences already in this area. Can't wait to go to Walmart and get my food because I had nothing when I moved, so I'm starving right now. Haven't received my boots yet, I won't slip I know better not to wear them when icy. Lately it hasn't snowed in like two weeks so it's just kinda like windy cold now. So dry ground, woohoo!
So probably the most interesting thing happened this week is, we were out tracting and we knocked on a door and this older guy answered it. He let us in, so we walked in and this guy was literally watching some naughty naughty adult videos. My companion and I looked at each other with huge eyes. The guy offered us to sit on the couch and asked to move the controller to the coffee table. My companion came in clutch, as he was moving the remote he turned it off and the guy didn't notice. Then after we shared a message we walked out and just stopped and looked at each other and had an awkward silence, then continued on.
The Elders in my zone are dopes. A couple of them tried walking on the ice of a pond and one fell in. It was so funny he had to fish his shoes out of the pond. The other ones rode their bikes on it and slipped and ate it. It was so funny. We laughed for a long time. We took videos but unfortunately we can't send them it's a mission rule so you'll have to wait until I get home to see them. Also have a video of an Elder crawling through a vent hole. It's amazing. Wish I could send them. But we got some pretty crazy guys here.
Even though I'm like 10 min away I am in a different zone. My last zone was sugar house, but my last area got dissolved into Holladay. Now I am in the Murray zone more to the east of our mission. The days have been going fast and I can't believe it's been 5 months. 1 more month and I will be 1/4 done with my mission already.
Well as you probably already know from the Barnett's I am getting transferred tomorrow. Where am I going? I have no idea. These people don't like to tell you things around here in the mission. And what fun is it to pack everything you have and still have the unknown right? Members here say most missionaries in this area end up going to Wyoming, and they keep saying I'm going to Wyoming...
Well they weren't wrong when they said the same exact thing to my trainer Elder Manansala. And where did he go? Kemmerer, Wyoming! So we'll see. We think it's cold down here, the lowest it reached so far has been 6 degrees and just from that when my companion and I walk outside for a good distance, we can't feel our faces, ears, and we notice our muscles slowing down. And that's at 6 degrees. Wyoming has been around 30 below....poor Elder Manansala. If I go up to Wyoming, it looks like I will have to invest in some more thermals to last me a week. And the thing that irritates me the most is that now that we have things moving pretty good and another baptism on the way and another potential one....now I get moved out of this area? Come on!
So the only ones getting transferred that are in my current zone is just me and the zone leaders, they're getting white washed. I'm having a hard time letting this area go. Considering that it's my first area. I know the area really well and the members and just being here for 4 1/2 months, it really feels like home. And now it feels like leaving home part 2 and I do not like it at all. So I'm hoping to get a good area for my next one. And a good companion. You guys won't know where I am or who my companion is until next Monday because we find out tonight and ship out in the morning. Unless the Barnett's ruin the surprise.
This week has felt slower than most. Probably because Transfers were coming up and the anticipation of wanting to know if you're leaving or not. It's been snowing pretty good up here, people around here say this is the coldest it's been and most snow they've had in like 15 years. And of course I just happen to be serving here when it happens. It's too cold. Unless you have a car then everything is good. Because you're not outside as much. So if I get sent to Wyoming, even though it's deathly cold at least I'll have a car.. if we can get it running. Not to much happened this week. Got quite a bit of lessons in. We did exchanges on Tuesday to Wednesday. It was ok the elder I got wasn't the best but it is because he's going home tomorrow. Sadly the elder from our stake leaves as well, so I will be the only Simi Valley Elder. I'm going to laugh if they send someone else from Simi Valley to this mission when I'm reaching the end of mine. There must be a trend. Because apparently I'm the 3rd missionary from Simi Valley to come to this mission.
And I don't want to hear about how cold it is at home you guys! Before this I would be freezing with that weather but now if I came back I could run around in shorts and a T shirt. We are getting a lot of snow and some freezing rain, and by freezing rain it's not hail. It falls as rain and as soon as it hits the ground it turns to ice. So all the roads are icy, everyone is sliding driving or walking. It sucks. But for some reason today it's 40 degrees and really windy. So now we can go outside with no coats, woohoo! It's pretty nice and warm now. Kinda feels like home, cool, cloudy, and windy with wet roads. Just without the snow everywhere else. And without the Mormons everywhere too. Well I'll let you know where I am and with who next week.
This week was busy but didn't find as much success as we would have liked. Mostly because of the holidays of course. We worked hard and we did set up a lot of appointments but 85% of them cancelled on us the day of. We do unfortunately have sad news about the baptism...it's been postponed. Will I be here when he is baptized I don't know? We'll find out on Saturday. Let's see the highlight of the week!? I was bit by a freaking dog!! We were going to a bishop's house and his wife answered because he wasn't home and their dog walks right out of the door to us. Well I like dogs so I went to pet it and it jumped up and bit my arm! I raised my arm up and got the dog off the floor and he let go and went inside and the lady just kicked the dog and acted like nothing happened!?? I'm grateful it was a freezing day and I had 3 thick layers on so it didn't puncture my skin. UGH. Well now I have the stereotypical missionary story of getting bit by a dog. (Doggy must have gone for a bit of a ride when Andrew raised his arm because he's 6'4...geesh) Nothing else to exciting happened. New Year's Eve was a regular day for us except nothing to do like usual on holidays. The Barnett's had family over and one of their family members has a Niece serving in Simi Valley and is a spanish speaking sister, her name is sister Lethbridge. Look for her and tell her we swapped places for missions. I need to get cowboy boots soon because they've got nice ones! 😁(Silly kid, Wyoming must be kicking in LOL)
- ! can't think of a name