April 10, 2017
Hello all! We had a great week!
Monday was a crazy zone P-day, with an easter egg hunt, and sports. We went to the Jacoxs’ house for dinner and Sister Jacox told us about her conversion story and how they had a civil marriage and then a temple sealing. It allowed the parents to be there and helped them transition with her being a recent convert. We talked about the Book of Mormon and how it helps us grow and build our testimonies and to help others, especially since they have two young kids. They were a lot of fun and we had a great time! That night, after having an over the phone correlation with our ward mission leader, we followed the spirit, and went to a potential that Elder Greding and Elder Lutkin met a while ago. We knocked on the door and Poon came out. He is from Hong Kong and has lived in the US for about 40 years with his wife, Sue. We told him we had met Sue on the street and she wanted us to come and teach about Jesus Christ! He was excited and we set up a return appointment, With 10 minutes to go and nothing to do, we tried to follow the Spirit, and stopped by a media referral on the way home. We knocked on her door, and she happened to be home! We set up a return appointment and then all of a sudden, her son pulled up next to the door, and he said he would be interested too! 5 potentials in one night isn’t too bad! The spirit is amazing when we devote ourselves to it!
Tuesday was interviews. Usually, I’m a little nervous going into interviews, not knowing what questions to ask, but again, I tried to follow the Spirit. I’ve found that the Spirit works in sometimes not normal ways, but as we follow it, we start to see how the Lord thinks. I played some basketball to warm up, and ended up winning 7 on the line somehow (You have 7 lives, and when someone makes it, there is a life on the line, and when you miss, you lose based on how many people made it before you). I eventually got all my questions together, and had a calming experience with President. We talked about the area and he encouraged me to Teach Repentance. The main focus for the last few months has been to teach repentance. It is part of our main purpose, and as we do it, we are more centered. We can teach repentance to anyone, and it always draws us closer to Christ. As we teach repentance, we are able to retain more investigators, assist investigators to baptism, have more hope, and be able to help people keep commandments. It is really an all-in-one deal. We have been teaching more repentance lately than anything. Any lesson involves it in some capacity, and we have seen that it truly brings the blessings for which we hope. We also talked about Scripture Study by topic, and how there is always a need you can pray for. You either have an investigator who needs something, or you should have an investigator who needs something. Another thing that stood out to me was the blessing of teaching in unity. We need to be unified, and then teach in unity to convey the power they need to feel that comes from the message. It builds trust and helps the Spirit to reside with us. Interviews are always a relaxing time for me and I always feel refreshed after spending time with President Miller. We were a little sick starting after interviews, but it has gotten better over the week. Pretty amazing, we felt to go and see a less active member in the ward on the other side of town, and we had time, so we drove over, and when we got out of the car, one of the members in the ward was walking down the street! When we told her why we were there, she said they were trying to get in contact with her as well. The Spirit strikes again! Even though she wasn’t home, we found a connection point to someone in the ward for her, which is crucial for reactivation. I’m so grateful for the spirit and the blessing that come from listening to it!
Wednesday morning, we went to see Sue and Poon with Acshi, who served in Hong Kong, and at first, they weren’t there. We drove around to see if they were walking their dogs, but no luck. We wanted to leave a card in Cantonese, which is their native tounge, and so Acshi was doing his best with Google Translate, but it was getting tough. As we were working, they pull up behind us! Sue was excited to see us, and was sorry they were late, but as we talked, church came up and we invited her to come. She promised she would be there with Poon 15 minutes early, which thrilled us! During the week, we forgot about this, so stay tuned 😉 (Mom Note: I think he forgot to finish this story at the end of the email…..but Poon and Sue came to Sacrament Meeting, like they promised!) During the afternoon, we taught two more lessons and had dinner with Sister Taggart, which is always delicious. They are visiting France soon, and had lots of travel books, like Rick Steve’s, which brought flashbacks to the days when our PBS programs would end, and mom would come take a break and watch Rick Steve’s travel all over the world, especially in France. Good memories!
Thursday morning we weekly planned with Edet 🙂 We didn’t get a ton done, but we learned a valuable lesson from him. He told us to get to know our investigators. If we don’t know them or show that we are interested in them, they won’t really care to learn and we won’t understand what their concerns are. It was insightful to hear someone else plan with us and to understand from an investigator’s standpoint what hits them the most. Later in the day, we finished planning, and devised a To-do list form. Instead of just planning for the people, we added on all of the things we plan to do in a list form to make Daily Planning easier. That way, we can use our time efficiently and wisely. We were able to see Sergio, and I learned another vital lesson from our meeting with him. We haven’t had a member come with us in a while, and we realized that we have been taking on the role of the teacher and the member, which isn’t healthy for us. A member is an amazing resource! They answer any question, provide fellowship, are able to do things outside of lesson with them, and take a lot of the friendship load. They also bear witness and testify of the truthfulness of principles that are taught. Support and help can also come from members, and it brings personal blessings to them and a feeling of involvement in the work of a missionary. We realized that this would be the next step in Sergio’s progression, and someone being there for him and helping him get to church will be key in his growth.
Friday was Zone Meeting! We focused on…. guess what???…. Teaching Repentance! I love teaching repentance! You catch on really quick, especially when it is coming from Salt Lake. As Elder Neal A Maxwell told Elder David A Bednar, “Dave, never be afraid of repetitive teaching”. They started with a Handbook Training from the Introduction. “Strive to understand and live the principles and standards taught in it.” Not only should we read them, but live the principles we read about every day. There are a lot of small things in the handbook that sometimes we forget, but if we want to be completely obedient, the small things matter! The Zone Leaders asked us some deep questions regarding our investigators. How do we know if our investigators have repented? We know by their fruits, and in order for them to repent, we have to repent, too. How do we help them desire repentance and baptism? We help them properly repent. The rest was a great lesson on how the Atonement of Jesus Christ affects us and how we can be able to help our investigators to repent and Come unto Christ. Between the first and second halves, I played a musical number, “If The Savior Stood Beside Me” (Thanks for having me learn it, Dee Dee!). During the second half, we talked about numbers for our Zone and Districts, and they followed on on commitments left at the last Zone Meeting. I love the idea of following up, and the fact that we were followed up on helped us to focus on them. We could easily commit and then forget about it and not follow through, but since we were asked about how we did, it kept us to our word. That evening, we did Family History with Christine to prepare for going to the temple the next day. We found her lots of names, and I got to work on some as well. It is so much fun!! When you find sources for your ancestors, it becomes addicting and you just can’t put it down. That is a healthy thing to do a lot, try it out!
Saturday morning, we were planning on going to the temple with Christine, but both Joe and Christine were sick, so we decided to reschedule. It was tough for us, but we decided that the Lord allows for things to happen in certain ways, so we might as well use the time we had. We went tracting for most of the morning, and through lots of different promptings, the Lord provided about 3 or 4 solid potentials for us. It was a miracle to be able to see, and it was a blessing for us to see. We have a lot of investigator turnover, so picking up new ones is awesome!
Sunday at church was a refresher. It was tiring, since we have 7.5 hours of church, but I always love the Spirit that comes from it. We had a great evening with lots of member visits and great food!
I love New Haven and am grateful to be out here. Thank you for all of your support and know that I really appreciate every little thing. I love you all! Keep being an example and sharing the gospel will come easy!