Monday, October 16, 2017

A change is a brewing...and of course lots of awesome missionary work continues!

Hey Y'all! 

Monday was eventful.  So after I was done emailing, I sprained my elbow punching a basketball out from being stuck between the rim and backboard haha.  Leave it to me to do that right?

Tuesday we went to Brinkley for an exchange.  I went with Elder Hall!  He's a hoot let me tell ya.  He went to Davis but lived in Layton.  We saw Dominic and he's excited to be baptized!  We did a lot of busy work and writing emails for the Stake and Zone and stuff so not much happened.  Lots of appointments fell through and it was tough.

We exchanged back on Wednesday and Elder Ogaard was super sick.  We stayed in and while he slept and died basically, I called a bunch of people and tried to set things up.  We had a meeting with the Stake president and President Hansen and a few other Stake people.  So many meetings this week.  We went home early cause Ogaard was dying.

Thursday was better.  Ogaard was still sick but we had district meeting and saw a bunch of people.  Lots weren't home so we went Finding for a bit and found some cool people!  We saw Braxton and had a breakthrough lesson!  Basically we asked how much he would lay down for the truth, including school and family stuff.  It's a tough situation he's in.  I feel so bad for him but we're gonna fast with him next Friday for an answer to know what he needs to do.  We saw Steven as well!  They're absolutely my favorite family, and I'm not just saying that cause they told me they read these letters every week!  Hahaha shout out to the Hester's!  Steven agreed to be baptized with his 2 sons, Dathan and Leland on Christmas Eve!  All I ask is prayers this way for help that it'll happen! 

Friday we did a long weekly Planning again.  But, sneak peak, that's the last time we're using Preach my gospel for weekly Planning...I'll get into that later.  We found a bit and saw Russell.  That was fun.  He gave us pizza and we left.  Not much else cause he had to give his son a bath.

Saturday we had MLC bright and early at 9 where we got a lecture from a guy from Salt Lake on how we have a new weekly and daily planning guide, so we don't need chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel any more for planning.  With that being said, there were some missionaries who ripped chapter 8 out of their Preach My Gospels.  I'm not gonna lie, it was, for the most part a confusing MLC.  Lots of confusing and irrelevant comments were made and it didn't help me much at all.  But what I did get out of it was great.  We're changing the mission culture.  We had a good discussion on how to do that.  It's a work in progress, but we want all the
new missionaries coming in to see that we talk to everyone and are bold to the max and are out with a purpose.  So I gotta step up my game a bit!  Everyone we had planned to see that day wasn't home except a couple.  A Hispanic lady that Elder Ogaard taught and a less active named Chance. 

Sunday was good.  Church is always good.  Dominic came and made sure everyone knew how pumped he was for the 28th of October!  Haha I'm so excited for him.  The sisters' investigator named Sue is being baptized this Saturday and Ogaard is doing it.  He's also giving a talk at the baptism so that's cool!  She's really awesome and loves all the missionaries.  We went out and tried to see some less actives and gators but not much was home.  We went home teaching and we ran into some pretty cool people! 

Good week!  Thanks for all the love y'all sent me this week and for all that y'all do! 

Kings Do King Things
Goin' Buck Wild

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Birthday, big dog, Mormon Bible hysteria, and bike troubles...another week in the life of an LDS missionary.

He's not horsin' around here...
Hey y'all!  This week was a good one!

Tuesday - I went with Elder Cepeda on an exchange.  He's dope!  He's from Mexico and he was out in this mission before but went home for a few months cause he tore his ACL.  So he's back!  We saw a bunch of people and saw Dominic.  He was very emotional that he couldn't get in touch with us cause his phone broke.  We saw a less active who's the son of our last relief society president.  He has an English mastiff who weighs 170 lbs. so in other words, my head could fit in his mouth no problem.

Thursday - Here's a story for the ages.  I exchanged with Elder Sandman and he's in an all bike area, so I got to be test out my leg endurance!  Well we ride to a less active who's pretty dope.  Shared a message with him and talked.  We rode away for about 2 miles and I saw a curb that looked like I could get some sick air.  So of course I hit the jump!  And of course my front tire we called that less active and he came and picked us up and took us to Walmart to get a new tube.  Stud of a guy let me tell ya!  We get back to his house to change the tire and all was well and done, so we rode off...and literally not even 5 seconds later I turn to elder sandman and ask if he hears something and as soon as I say that...MY BACK TIRE POPPED!!  So I was pretty salty.  We went back to the member and he laughs his head off haha.  He took us back to our apartment and we ate something and planned out the rest of the day.  So we just start to walk and we go to their baptismal dates house.  Well as soon as he opens the door, this dude says "let's go back over the lessons" so in my head, I'm thinking "wonderful, he got anti'ed."  So we start teaching and all is well until about the great apostasy...this dude just starts to argue and bash and then tells elder sandman to not use his Bible cause it's in "kahootz" with the Book of Mormon...well I used my bible, which is an old baptist bible but he's still not having it!!  So I'm sitting there like "for realsies?" So we start to tell him if he just wants to bash and argue we won't come by anymore.  That scared him haha.  He apologized and said his way of learning is to argue.  So I tell him how dumb he is and we left (dad edit: I am certain he didn't really tell him this).  So yeah, that was my Thursday.
Birthday first I wondered why he had a snorkel...

Doing the Lord's work.
Saturday - We had a meeting with Elder Kleibengat again!  He came with Elder Anderson in January.  But he threw down on obedience and taught us how to use the Book of Mormon.  So that was pretty cool.

Sunday - We had to find a ride to Conway (an hour away) for a musical devotional.  Well we asked and asked and finally found a ride there and a ride back.  So that was dope!  We sang and I got to hang out with some mission buddies.  It was awesome!  Great birthday 10/10!  Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday!!  I love y'all so much!

Kings Do King Things

Good dog...don't eat me!
More 'Murica!

Horses need religion too.
I don't think he has ever seen one before...

More churcin'

Still in the church...

Church posers.

Shameless selfie

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

I am going to go out on a limb and say he is lost in the work...his words are few.

We know him as Kai Bear, this is his brother.
Hey y'all!  Not too much to write about this week.  A lot of meetings and exchanges and just lots of driving!  The temple was a blast!  I went with Elder Edwards and Pickering and it was just awesome!  I loved Conference!   Not going to lie, my favorite one was Joni L. Koch.  We have absolutely 0 right to judge someone else.  I loved the quote "we have no right to portray anyone as an unfinished product."  There is absolutely no way to justify our evil actions in putting someone down or trying to make someone feel as if they aren't good enough.  We ourselves are unfinished and have flaws.  Oh what need we have to look upon others as we do ourselves!  In Matthew 25:40, Christ himself says "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  Everything that we do or say or even THINK towards one another is directly the same thoughts you are thinking towards the savior.  Our words about others reflect our words towards the savior.  I beg and plead of y'all to please look upon others through God's eyes, as HIS children.  I love y'all so much and pray for y'all nightly.

Kings Do King Things
Goin' Buck Wild

I hope the Elders aren't the cause...
Joyful Temple Leaping

We be ridin...

Let us all press on... the work of the Lord.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Short and sweet, the work is progressing!

Chop, chop, choppin' on heaven's door...
Sorry for the short email, we're going to the temple soon and I won't have much time afterwards to email.  I just drove 2 hours in a mini van to get to Memphis, my birth place and home!  Let me tell ya, I'm never EVER owning a mini van.  This week was good.  We saw Steven a couple times and he came to church!!  We gave him some clothes and I gave him my American flag tie with the Statue of Liberty on it.

That's how you know I'm serious about this guy haha.  We taught a bunch of people and literally DOMINIC JUST CALLED AND WE SET A DATE WITH HIM!!!!  It's been 3 weeks but we got him!!!  Anyways!  Hope y'all have a great day yall!!

2 Nephi 33:6
6 I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.

I glory in my God and in Jesus!  He answers prayers and gives love to all who come to him!  I love y'all so much!!

Kings Do King Things
Goin' Buck Wild

Beany time...whoa, whoa...
Swing that seeing this boy work!

Hmmm, not sure what this is...or why this is

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Elder Ogaard has arrived, and other happenings.

Monday I picked up Elder Ogaard and we headed back and unpacked.

Tuesday we started off the day by giving Sister hall, a sister missionary, a blessing.  Then we went to an investigators house.  They're Latino and Elder Ogaard was originally a Spanish elder so they hit it off.  We went Finding and found some other Latinos to teach so that was cool.  Got dropped by some gators and then we went to the Mauldins.  As we got there, they thought they had lost Dayton but she was just hiding in the closet.  It was scary though.  I sped off to go look for her but as we swung back around we saw her with sister Mauldin.  Went to dinner but it went over so we missed an appointment with Louis and rescheduled for tomorrow.

Wednesday we helped the Reynolds move some lumber and went to the library to figure out everyone's mile allotments and key indicators.  Super boring and long process.  We saw the Bensons and introduced Ogaard.  Had Stake correlation and got roasted by the Stake President so that was fun.  Good day.

Thursday we helped Sister Duncan take the top off her jeep and set up a time to see them Saturday.  Went to a house that was back in the sticks and just set up another time.  Cats everywhere and it smelled pretty bad, but that's just backwoods Arkansas.  Taught Clearance and Audra, nothing too big.  We had to get some Mountain Dew for me and Dr. Pepper for Ogaard cause we were freakin tired.  We found a dude looking for Dominic cause he's still Mission.  Lagomarsino's fed us dinner and we saw Steven.  Really got to know him and invited them to have family scripture study and prayer.

Friday we had a meeting for ZL's and STL's so we could get smartphones and Facebook.  It's pretty cool but I just don't know how to use any of it haha.  We saw a few more people out in Kensett and had not much success.  We saw a guy who we thought was Dominic but it was actually a student at Harding.  He wanted to know why people think so weirdly of Mormons and the truth about what we believe.  Went over basic beliefs and he wants us to come back next week.  Got a referral from some elders in Nashville and had a Facebook video session with the elders and he referral.  This dude is currently reading Jesus the Christ and preach my gospel.  By the way, Facebook is a lot harder to set up and use than I remember.

Saturday we saw Braxton again (referral) and found out he can't be baptized cause he will lose his full ride scholarship.  The scholarship requires him to be a fully active Church of Christ member.  So that sucks.  We started reteaching him the lessons.  Tried a few potentials and nothing came out of it.  We taught a Harding science teacher in a coffee shop right outside campus so we got a lot of weird stares but it's whatever cause he's dope.  Name is Luke and he's super young and cool.  He's 23 and a professor.  We went to see Monica at a park but we saw a guy who was visibly distraught and crying into a girls shoulder so we went and talked to him.  Lots of stress and stuff but we helped him feel better and he loved our spirit.  It was pretty cool.  Talked with Monica and finished the night with Steven.  Taught the word of wisdom and in his words "I think it's retarded."  So we had to explain a little more haha.  But he got it.  It'll be long, but he'll accept it.

Sunday we did our weekly planning after church.  We taught the deacons, teachers and priests about mission prep and why it's important to serve.  We were gonna go to a BBQ but we had dinner with the Theimanns and rescheduled for tonight.  Can't wait for that!  We saw the Duncans and he showed us his silencers and all his guns and needless to say I had a great time.

Kings Do King Things
Goin' Buck Wild

Monday, September 11, 2017

Elder Smith's last was a busy time for the boys in Searcy...bring on Elder Ogaard!

Spreading the love!
This week we had a mission challenge to invite 3500 people to meet with missionaries and to have 50 companionships talk to 70 people in a week.  It may sound small, but that's huge for the mission!  We usually only invite around 2000 or 2500, so it stretched us!  We saw so many miracles come out of it!  But I've come to expect miracles daily cause God is eager to have us recognize his hand!

Monday we went up to Heber Springs and I got over my fear of heights and had a blast rock climbing with Elder Ullery!  He's actually from Cottonwood, AZ so obviously he's a cool dude!  We BBQ'd with the Duncan's and hiked.  I fell into a creek so that's was fun.  After the Heber trip, we went Finding in Walmart and surrounding places.

Tuesday was district meeting and President asked us to instruct on prayer.  We used 2 talks given to us by the AP's and they were "Improving Our Prayers" from March 2004 Ensign and "Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer" from April 2007 Conference.  I recommend reading them cause they're awesome!  I taught on the former.  Basically the gist was that God will answer your prayers, whether now or later.  It was kinda an eye opener for me in a lot of ways as I was studying on how God really will answer our prayers, but also in ways that we might not want.  We aren't always going to get the perfect answer that's in OUR will, but rather we're going to get the perfect answer in GOD'S will.  Sometimes, no answer is an answer in itself.  I exchanged with Quitman this week and went up there with Elder Ullery and we had a blast.  Did some service and went Finding for a bit and then had dinner at a member's house.  We explained northern Arizona to him and he told us that we're convincing him to move haha.  A kid from the Quitman Ward also got his mission call to the Mesa mission!  Seems like all the kids in the south get called west haha.

Family time.
Wednesday we exchanged back and Elder Smith and I went to lunch with the Easters.  They live in a Church of Christ retirement home, so when we go over and eat, we get some stares!  Church of Christ doesn't like us here.  We're technically not allowed on campus and technically Harding Place (where they live) is campus...but it's whatever cause the Executive Manager loves us.  We do service there a lot.  Brother Easter was a Fire Chief and talked with me about it for about 20 minutes and it was awesome!!  He was a wild land fire fighter and told stories of some crazy stuff!  When we left we went to go see Dominic...well he moved and we have no idea where to.  We knew a general area so we went across town to a place that he explained and started knocking.  We found and taught a lady named Jessica who wanted us to come back, but when we texted her the next day, she dropped us :/ sweet is the work.  We then knocked into a lady named Hannah and she actually goes to school with Sister Duncan!!  They know each other super well and we're gonna try to get Candace to talk with her more cause she was super nice!  We continued on and saved the rest of the complex for later.  We found in an area that was pretty nice middle class homes and found a Jehovah's Witness.  He was 17 but stuck in his ways so we talked about tracting stories with him.  We saw Barry after all at and we got on the topic of guitars and holy crap can this dude play guitar.  He played Thunderstuck by AC/DC just by ear!!!  His wife, Mary, (isn't that cute?  They rhyme!) can sing super good!  But they love us and told us to come back Thursday.  We had dinner and then taught Book of Mormon class.  At basketball, brother Ryan brought a dope friend who I wanna start teaching.  That night we made a video for the Zone on the challenge the mission is having.

Smiles all around.
Thursday we did service at Habitat for Humanity and helped a family move.  We visited a member who was baptized last year and read with her and another member who's getting their endowments this Saturday!  That was cool to hear.  We also saw the Mauldins and went over the plan of salvation with them and had them teach us.  Peyton, one of the boys, got kinda sad cause he fears for his nonmember friends salvation.  We explained how everyone will get a chance to accept the fullness of the gospel whether in this life or the next.  He was still down though.  Barry and Mary had to cancel cause random family stopped in and so we went trying to find Dominic again...still no luck!  But we did find a guy named Quenton.  We knocked and got to know him and taught him about the Book of Mormon and everything and he invited us over on Friday!  We then had dinner with the Rushtons and deuced on over to Steven's.  Well,  JESSICA IS PREGNANT!!  Ya see, she was told years ago that she can't have another baby due to some health issues.  She was super sad about that cause she wanted to have a child with Steven.  But God is awesome and "opened her womb" (Genesis 30:22).  It's super funny cause it got Steven to stop drinking!!  He promised Jessica if she got pregnant he would stop drinking, and it kinda took him for a turn when she got preggers.  After Jessica brought up that promise, Steven said "I only made that promise cause you weren't supposed to get pregnant!"    Hahaha super funny but he's genuine I swear.

She loves her some Elder Adair.
Friday was crazy.  We saw Toney bright and early at 9 am.  He looked way down and asked us to pray that he will receive an answer to a question he's been asking God.  We prayed with him and left.  Weekly planned a bit then went to go see Quenton, who was at work, but his girlfriend was 2 doors down and we talked to her, Daysha, and her friend, LaFraydra.  They were stand offish cause they thought we were a cult...but since we aren't we explained it to her and the Book of Mormon and what a mission is and that we have 1 mom and someday might have a wife.  She also asked if we allow black people in our church...for some reason people think we don't...but we said yes.  LaFaydra told us she is gonna come to church and bring her 2 sons.  We finished weekly Planning after that and then went to Bald Knob.  Saw a member and a guy who wants his records removed but is too senile to remember to ask us, so we just aren't gonna help him do that and instead regain his testimony.  After Bald Knob we headed back to Searcy to go Finding and then we saw the Bensons for a little bit.  Sister Benson told us to come back because brother Benson was sick.  We helped with fixing her car battery...which never got fixed...oops.  We talked about Searcy football with a potential and set up another time to see him as well.  Had dinner with the Bowles and set up some service for Saturday.  After that we crammed some Finding time and talked to literally everyone we saw.  It was awesome!  By the way, the challenge we had was to see who could get the most Return Appointment Attempts (ARA) in the zone, and the Brinkley district won :/ so Elder Paopao and I, with either my new comp or Smith, on Monday are gonna get egged :/

Hey, look up here!
Saturday we did the Bowles yard and got chiggers and a couple ticks, then helped Sister Clemons move.  We met another one of her sons and had a grand ole time.  We saw a huge tortoise that the Beebe Branch president has...his son rides it like a horse.  Hear that Crew?  You got a horse.  Also, my new companion is Elder Ogaard.  He came out with me but he's Spanish so hopefully I get to learn a bit of that!  We've talked about serving together before as a joke but bam!  Here we are!  Elder Smith is headed to Pine Bluff so it's sad to watch him go.  I'm gonna be Zone Leader 1 now...which is terrifying.  We went and got some stuff to clean our apartment with at Walmart (kinda funny cause the fire department was outside at a fundraiser thing...) and found a less active...who addressed himself as "Hi!!  I'm Devin Pruitt and I'm inactive!" So that was hilarious because we got assigned as his home teachers.  We had lunch and went and said goodbyes.  Saw the Mauldins and that one was hard.  We saw the Ryan's as well and sang karaoke with them.  So that was dope.  We went to dinner with the Duncans and it was the time of my life.  We drove the Jeep with the top down and sped off to dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  It was awesome!  We ended the night with pictures with them.

Da boy's last ride...
Sunday started out with cleaning again and getting ready for the transfer so we had time to see all the people we needed to see.  Church was awesome!  I mean, LaFaydra didn't one did...but the Gonsers came!!  That's huge!  They even brought an inactive friend!  There was good talks and Elder Smith got to bare his final testimony so that was cool.  We said goodbye to everyone and we were going ALL day!  Person after person haha.  Lots of sad moments but Elder Smith is off to a great place!  Pine Bluff!  It's ghetto and a mini Memphis, but what better place to die!  In the mission...not actually die...hopefully.  But it's awesome!  We're going to see quite a few people next week so we hope for awesome stuff with Elder Ogaard!  Can't wait for this next week!!

It was a pretty awesome week!  It really showed how many people we can talk to and how crazy lengths we went to to invite haha.  Elder Smith and I were inviting people at stop lights and pulling up next to people super creepily and it was a blast!  Elder Ogaard is super hyped up and spastic so we're gonna slay it this transfer!!  Love y'all and can't wait to hear back from ya!!

Kings Do King Things
Goin' Buck Wild

Mmmm, eggs.
If this doesn't make you smile, you're broken!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

I do declare, my son has become one with the south!

Go Hogs!
Monday we went fishin!  Elder Smith caught a couple gar and elder Thurgood caught a catfish.  That night at Walmart, we ran into 2 women who had met with missionaries before and wanted us to come back!  We later found out one is a friggin less active!!  Elder Smith and I also did face masks.

Fisher of men by day, fisher of fish by P-day.
Tuesday we had district meeting.  I instructed on planning and why it's important and the new way our president wants us to plan.  We sang happy birthday to President Hansen afterwards.  We saw Dominic for a bit and then went to sister Mauldin's house to get her some ice.  After we got her ice we talked a bit before the kids got home from school!  We talked with them some more and we had a good time.  Monica was a good visit!  She made some fried chicken and we ate a bit and read with her and sister Henley.  Monica just took out her endowments a couple weeks ago and sister Henley is about to go!  We went to the Ryan's again for dinner and had some great discussion and she gave elder Smith the best skin care treatment you can buy for free!  It was just a little bit, but still.  We saw the Duncan's after dinner and was awesome!  He made us grilled chicken wrapped in bacon!  It was bomb!  Also, Cave City watermelon is the best watermelon I've ever had!  That city is like super popular for it!  Russell gave us fishing lines and lures to use when we go fishing next.  Prayers were answered and things are going so great for them!

Sometimes guys need facials too.
Wednesday we saw Toney but he was sick so it wasn't a long meeting.  We were gonna head out for some for some fishing finding, but we both felt super uneasy about going so we didn't and went and did service for Habitat for Humanity for a bit.  People here in the south are very bad at pronouncing anything, so as we were talking to a lady, she said she has a nephew who's Mormon and who's going on a mission to "o-ray-gone!"  Hahaha it's great!  We helped move an investigator for the sisters and then went to pick up Dominic for Book of Mormon class.  After the class, I shotgunned a Dr. Pepper with elder Smith cause why not.

Thursday was my year mark in the field!  Exactly 1 year ago I entered good ole Arkansas!  Anyways, we had MLC and some HUGE things are coming to the mission!  We're getting smartphones and Facebook!  After MLC, I shaved elder Goaslind's chest with "ALRM" haha.  When we got back we had dinner with the Draney's and then we saw Louis!  We had a discussion on the 3 degrees of glory and we brought up D&C so that was insane cause it's hard enough to get people to accept the Book of Mormon as scripture haha.

Friday we weekly planned with the Cabot elders and then interviewed an investigator for the Beebe elders to be baptized!  We played catch with the kids (members) while elder Smith interviewed him.  He passed!  Oh and I cut my own hair that morning too.  Thanks mom for the package!  Love the suit!!  We finished up some planning and headed out to the Mix's for dinner.  They were baffled when they heard we didn't have a lot of southern foods back home haha.  They can't live without it!  And neither can I!  I also had the BEST green beans of my life!  We headed to the Lagomarsino's  and talked with them about life and helped them have a good night.  We played with the kids a bit and they invited us over for lunch the next day!

Saturday was great!  We had lunch and the most home-like Saturday morning ever!  We ate home made pizza with cartoons playing in the back as we talked about scouting and life!  Not gonna lie, got a little trunky!  Then we went to Elvin's baptism!  It was great cause his son performed the ordinance!  We headed back to the Lagomarsino's to get elder smiths ipad.  While there, I got caught up in making a frog and Arkansas A in Little beads that you melt together...kinda reminded me of playing with Ella!  Nadia, the daughter, reminds me so much of Ella it's scary!  She even likes those Lala Loopsy things.  Weird.  But we left and hunted down a gator we met and taught at a hospital.  He was discharged and we didn't know where he lived so we looked him up in white books and after trying a few houses we found his!  He wasn't home, but we still found it!  We went to the Bowles for dinner and then saw Toney for a bit.  He's better and wanted to come to church.  We ended off the night by writing the weekly email for the Zone.

Sunday was good!  Dominic came to church again and was welcomed by everyone!  He makes friends fast!  Talked about his date the whole time to "join with y'all and get right with gawd!" I love the guy but he's high maintenance haha we had to chase him everywhere as he talked with everyone.  We had a skype call with the AP's and STL's about a mission challenge to talk to 3500 people as a mission this week.  We're way too down to beat that number!  It's the biggest number we'll ever hit if we make it!  We had dinner with a member who lives in a shop that was converted into a home!  When I say shop, I mean like a garage shop haha.  It was awesome!  He was a fire fighter and showed me pics and all this stuff and I can't wait until I can do it too!  We went to the Duncan's again (Candace and Brody came to church!!) and had a dart war with Brody and his friend and Russell joined in too haha it was awesome!  We had a great night as we invited them to come hiking and tailgating with us today! They were sooo down!

Well, like I said, we're off to have a great day!  I'll get back to y'all later on! Can't wait to hear back!  We're going hiking, tailgating, waterfall watching and playing sand volleyball and other stuff a we grill hot dogs with the Duncan's and the district!  Love y'all!

Kings Do King Things
Goin' Buck Wild