Baptism Nov 7 2009

Baptism Nov 7 2009

Friday, July 15, 2011

Final Words

The final days of my last week were amazing! I had the privilege of baptizing Emil. Richard was also baptized. On my last day, Sunday, we gave the Holy Ghost to both Richard and Emil, and gave the Priesthood to Ed. What a great way to finish off!! I have loved my mission! Being home now is still a bit weird, I'm still adjusting and I imagine that it will take a couple more weeks to get back into the swing of things. Like I said last week, I prepared two papers, my most spiritual experiences and what my mission has meant to me. I would like to share both of those with all of you, you'll just have to forgive me for their length! Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers, I felt them each day, and needed them! I love you all... I did it!!

My Most Spiritual Experiences

My Most Spiritual Experiences
Elder Burns
Washington Spokane July 09-11

I'm sure that everyone feels the same way; it is very difficult to decide on a most spiritual experience. With that being said, I have two categories that I’m going to pull my thoughts from. Number one: Spiritual experiences that involve other people, such as investigators. And Number two: Spiritual experiences of my own. I'm trying to keep in mind also that I'll be writing about what my mission has meant to me, so I'll try not to overlap the two.
As I discuss the most spiritual experiences I've had with my investigators, I'll be accounting them in the order in which they occurred. The first is named Cody Lorenz. Cody was actually not an investigator, but a less active. He was in my very first area, in the 15th ward in Spokane Valley. He was a senior in high school. During this time I was "temporarily" reassigned to the Washington Spokane mission. When my Mongolian district in the MTC found out that we were all getting reassigned "temporarily" to await our visas, we each knew that there was a reason why. We each believed that there was someone we had to find, someone that we were meant for.
After a couple times of meeting with Cody and his family, I began to feel a strong connection with him. One morning, during my personal study, my mind was turned to Cody and also, my current situation. I felt like I needed to pray. As I did, I felt a very strong, personal answer that he is the reason I was there and that I needed to help get him activated and prepared to serve a mission.
Over the next few weeks I shared with Cody my testimony, and shared with him powerful scriptures that helped me as I was contemplating serving a mission. I'll never forget the lesson where I told him that he was the reason, the spirit was very powerful. I never did find out whatever happened to Cody. But, before I left the area he was passing the sacrament, and that was good to see.
For me, what I learned from this experience has more to offer than the experience itself. You see, I've contemplated this a lot on my mission if I got a specific answer from the Lord that the reason why I was temporarily reassigned here was for Cody, why was it not temporary? What I learned is that its not so much that there are specific people prepared just for you to teach in a specific area, but rather, no matter where you are or who you're with, the Lord will lead you and will prepare the way for you to find and teach those that will listen to you, that are prepared just for you. Elder Bednar talked about this, about how if the keys are going somewhere, the Lord has prepared someone for the keys. Now, I hope I conveyed my thoughts clearly on this, because it means a lot to me and has helped me throughout my mission to understand why certain things happen the way they do.
The next experience I wish to share comes from when I was serving in Beacon Hill with Elder Moleni. When I got to the area there was a man named Will Thornton. Will had been taught for a while and already had a baptismal date set, and has had for quite some time, but had to keep pushing it back due to drug use. His wife, Evelyn, had the same problem about six months back when the missionaries started teaching them. But she was able to quit back then and be baptized while he was not able to do so. By the time I arrived on the scene, Will had quit everything in the word of wisdom except for marijuana, and he just couldn't break it, couldn't let go.
I remember that as Elder Moleni and I were creating a lesson plan for Will during one of our companionship studies, my mind reflected back to the MTC. My companion, Elder Marquis, and I were both struggling. In my personal study, in the MTC, I had read the book of Moses, chapter one. Elder Marquis and I decided that we would memorize verses twelve through twenty-two where it relates Moses' confrontation with Satan wherein Moses realizes and learns that he is a son of God, and with that personal divinity and identity, Satan can be overcome. But, at first, Moses thought that he could do it on his own. Twice he tried to cast out Satan with no avail. It wasn't until he called on the Lord and used the assistance of Jesus Christ that Satan finally departed. Elder Moleni and I decided that we would share these verses with Will and Evelyn.
When we shared Moses' account with them, the spirit was so strong! I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. I felt the spirit work through me, guiding my words and my thoughts, loosing my tongue. It felt powerful and yet very humbling at the same time. We focused on Will's divine identity and the power the he has over Satan when he calls on the Lord. This lesson took place about a week and a half before Will's scheduled baptism date. I consider this to be number one on my most spiritual lessons list!
We met with Will the following week, and he looked horrible! He told us that he hadn't slipped up but the withdraws were killing him, and he looked it! We shared with him scriptures and powerful testimony and at the end of the lesson, his fellowshiper, I don't remember his name, gave Will a blessing. A couple days later, Will was baptized. After his baptism, he just took off! To this day he is on fire with the gospel of Jesus Christ and he hasn't looked back since. One of the great blessings of my mission is that I was able to participate in the endowment and sealing of Will and Evelyn Thornton.
My next experience took place when I was in the Rocky Reach Ward in East Wenatchee with Elder Mudrow. I don't remember her name, but there was a sister who was getting ready to serve a mission. While she was at work she shared the gospel with and gave a Book of Mormon to a co-worker named Jared Heath. Jared, in my mind, is the definition of elect! She invited Jared to church and he came and stayed all three hours, he even brought his Book of Mormon! On the way home, Jared called and asked the member what he had to do to get baptized. She told him that he's gotta meet with us! The following Sunday, she and Jared came to our ward, stayed all three hours, and we taught the Restoration to him after the block. I felt impressed to share with him Alma chapter 7 and invite him to be baptized. I did so. He told us that he now, finally, understands what baptism is for. We extended a baptismal date and he accepted.
Jared had just gone through a really rough divorce where his wife was cheating on him for some time. They had a child together and he was only twenty-one years old. The gospel brought great comfort to him. During the time that he was being taught and baptized, he was giving rides to and from work to a friend, Jessica. During their car rides together, Jared shared with Jessica what he had been learning. His excitement was contagious. After he was baptized, he invited Jessica to come meet with us, and she did. Jessica did not as readily accept the gospel as Jared had. But, Jessica exercised greater faith than anyone else I had taught up to that point and even till now.
We invited and she accepted a baptismal date on the very first lesson. There were tears shed at every single lesson we had with her. She willingly acted on every commandment we invited her to keep. She was very nervous about the Sabbath Day and tithing. Jessica helped her parents with rent; she brought in the majority of the income. She was also saving up money to go to school soon. Her job had her working on Sundays. When we taught her about the Sabbath Day, she was very hesitant, but we promised her that if she exercised her faith, the Lord would provide a way. The next time we met with her, she said that her boss had no problem giving her Sundays off from then on, something that she said never happened! We promised her the same blessings when it came to paying tithing. With tears running down her cheeks, she said she would. Just a few days later, Jessica received a grant that she had little hope in getting that would pay the way for her next semester and her books! With Jessica I really felt like a true disciple of Jesus Christ. As we extended promised blessings, the Lord fulfilled them all! It was an awesome experience to be able to watch as Jared baptized Jessica!
The final experience I wish to share happened in my last area. When I got there, In the Clayton Ward in Deer Park Washington, with Elder Fordham, There was an investigator named Ed. Ed had been taught for a couple weeks and had been invited to be baptized a couple of times but never said yes. My first day in the area we taught Ed about the principle of setting goals with the Lord and he accepted a date for June 25! Ed continued to progress and gain a testimony of the gospel. He read the Book of Mormon all the way through before his baptism, and he fasted every single weekend leading up to it. The spirit was strong as I was able to witness Ed follow his Lord and Savior into the waters of baptism! A week and a half later he gave a talk at Emil’s baptism on the Holy Ghost and it was powerful! He already looked and sounded like a returned missionary! He is planning on serving a mission in a year and has already registered for a mission prep class at BYUI! My very last day of my mission I stood in a circle of Priesthood holders as we gave Ed the Aaronic Priesthood.
There are many more experiences that I could share that involve other people, but I realize this is getting lengthy and I need to get on to the next category: Spiritual experiences of my own. Outside of what I'm going to talk about in my other paper of what my mission means to me, there are three events that stick out in my mind where the Spirit spoke to me very powerfully and personally. The first one is the very first leadership training we had with Brother Bothell. The other two have to do with General Conference.
For the very first leadership training I was serving in East Wenatchee as a District Leader. I attended the west side sessions. Brother Bothell, from the missionary department in Salt Lake came up to help introduce us to the Fundamental Principles of Preach My Gospel. My knowledge, testimony, and understanding of the gospel, and how to teach it, grew exponentially. I really believe that these three days of training became a turning point for me and my mission.
There are two things that Brother Bothell taught that the Spirit bore powerful witness to me that they were true. The first one is the sacrament. We were being trained on revelation through church attendance when questions from the missionaries arose concerning the sacrament. Lunch time came and there were still questions amongst us. When we got back from lunch, President Palmer told us that because there were still unanswered questions concerning the meaning of the sacrament, he had asked Brother Bothell to expound on the matter.
Brother Bothell laid out so beautifully the significance of the baptismal covenant, as well as partaking of the sacrament, tying it directly into the plan of salvation. He focused on taking the name of Christ. He shared some great scriptures and explained them so plainly that none of us could misunderstand. I received a powerful witness that what he shared was true. It has stuck with me ever since.
The other two events took place during General Conference. The first was during the October 2010 Saturday Morning Session. In preparation I prayed that the Lord would confirm my testimony of President Monson, that he is the Lord's prophet on the Earth today. That answer came to me during the very first session. In fact, it came to me during President Monson's opening remarks! As soon as he called every worthy, able young man to serve a mission, the Spirit immediately testified to me that he is a prophet of God!
In preparation for the next General Conference of April 2011, I took a look at what my life was going to consist of for the next six months. That included a whole lot of things! Enduring to the end of my mission, starting a new life, school, marriage, work... not to mention all the questions for my investigators! I came prepared with a list of questions, having faith that conference would be a revelatory experience for me. And it was! Every single one of my questions were answered. Even the questions that arose from the answers given! It’s amazing how the Lord can teach an inquiring mind. I walked away from that conference completely filled, way more than I thought I would! To be exact, I came home with thirty-seven things to work on and apply to my life over the next six months!
To conclude, I want to go back to Brother Bothell at the leadership training. He related an experience that he had while training the east side of the mission just a couple of days before. He said that he was going over obedience and the Holy Ghost. He said that we as missionaries have to be so very careful to be exactly obedient so that the Holy Ghost will stay with us. As soon as we are disobedient, the Spirit withdraws. As he went back to the hotel that night, he said that he felt very uneasy about something he said during the training that day. He said he couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was. He woke up in the middle of the night, still feeling uneasy. He got down on his knees and prayed for help. The Lord came to him and said, "You go back to those missionaries and you tell them that for those two years, I never leave them".
I testify that that’s true. I’ve had my ups and I've had my downs, I’ve had smooth places and I’ve had rough. But, with all of it, the Lord was in it. It will never cease to amaze me how strong and how clear the Holy Ghost is and was with me as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I will be His disciple forever. This work is true, I know it is. This is the Lord’s work. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

What My Mission Has Meant to Me

What My Mission Has Meant to Me
Elder Burns
Washington Spokane July 09-11

It is difficult to accurately express what my mission has meant to me. In Mosiah 18:30 it says, “yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, how blessed are they, for they shall sing to His praise forever.” This is how I feel about my mission. How beautiful it is because this is where I came to an understanding of my Redeemer. My mission has been the place of my conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, I had a testimony before my mission, an undeniable one, but there's a difference between testimony and conversion. Because of my mission I have become converted.
First and foremost, my testimony lies in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Everything else that I discuss will be and is but an appendage to that Atonement. The reason why I wanted to serve a mission in the first place is because I had felt the power of it in my life as the burdens of my sins were lifted and filled with a desire to help others come to our Savior so that they too can partake of the infinite Atonement. Jesus Christ is our Savior.
“Joseph Smith, the prophet and seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.” Why is that? Because without the restoration of the gospel, we could not fully apply the Atonement in our lives. All those people who are in Spirit Prison would not be able to partake of the Atonement. Realizing this has given me a great sense of urgency in spreading and preaching the gospel. Without the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, none of us would be able to partake of and apply to our lives His Atonement. Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A tool that has helped me to become converted is Preach My Gospel. I love Preach My Gospel, I have learned and grown so much from reading its pages and then applying them into my life and into my missionary work. For Easter 2010, my parents sent me a brand new quad! I was very excited to have a new fresh set of scriptures that I could start a new system of marking and referencing. It took me a long time to organize it all together, but that new quad has become my Preach My Gospel scriptures. My marking system correlates directly with Preach My Gospel, particularly chapter three. Every other chapter in it ties back to a principle taught in chapter three, except Christlike Attributes, I wanted those to be marked separately.
What I did was go through every single page in Preach My Gospel and marked in my scriptures every single scripture reference in there. Whenever I came to a blue box, I numbered every reference, marked it in my scriptures, then wrote a summary of the passage in the notes section of that page. This took a long time to finish. But, through it I came much more familiar with the scriptures, and gained a much better at understanding of the doctrine and how to present it in a much clearer way. Going through Preach My Gospel in this way has helped me to become more converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Another thing that I have learned from Preach My Gospel and from applying this principle to my mission is goal setting. Not only goal setting but “mastering the techniques of living to reach my goals”. At the beginning of my mission I set two goals concerning baptisms: 1. Baptize in every area. 2. Baptize on average at least once a month. When I arrived in my last area, I only had six weeks left and the area had zero on dates. Because of this I was a little nervous at first that I wouldn't have the opportunity to baptize in that area. I had previously accomplished the goal of baptizing in every area. I was also lacking my monthly goal, in fact I still had three more to go with only six weeks left to do it. Instead of becoming discouraged, Elder Fordham and I set some lofty goals for the transfer. Our goal for baptisms was seven. After setting the goal, we gave it to the Lord so that He would “consecrate our efforts for our good”. We promised that we would give everything that we had if He would make up for the rest and provide for us the opportunity to reach our goal. We held true to that promise and the Lord did provide. We finished out that transfer and I left that last area having witnessed three of my fellow brothers enter into the waters of baptism with four more people on date. The lord provided for us the opportunity to accomplish our goal. I'm going to apply the principle of goal setting to my life for the rest of my life so that “I will then be able to make a great difference in the results I attain in this life”. The Lord helped me to reach the goals I set in my mission, I know He will help me reach the goals I will continue to set for the rest of my life.
Before my mission, I read the Book of Mormon just one time cover to cover, and that was right before I turned in my papers. I read it again while I was in the MTC. This time I feel like I gained a whole lot more from it, since I already knew the story line, having read it just a couple months before. Within my first four transfers, I read it again. I then read the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Then I started on the Bible. I got through Exodus and decided that I just wasn't feeling the Spirit as much as when I read the Book of Mormon and modern revelation. So I finished the Old Testament in about a week or two by only reading the chapter headings and when something caught my attention, I read that chapter. I decided that I needed to get back into the Book of Mormon. I got about half way through Alma when President Palmer invited us to mark the references to and the words of Jesus Christ, so I started over. It took me about three weeks to finish it, and I loved every minute of it! When I finished, I got a copy of a paperback New Testament and began marking the same things in there. I got about halfway done when, again, I wasn't feeling the Spirit as strongly in my life. So I decided to take my mini Book of Mormon and do the same marking activity in it. This time I took it slow and kept a study journal with it. I finished that with about two months to go on my mission so I decided to read it one last time, making six times total, five of which were during my mission.
I love the Book of Mormon! I have gained so many insights into my life from reading its pages. I remember when I was with Elder Tamblyn, he was getting ready to go home and so I began to think about whats its going to be like for me when I go home, having changed so much since I've been gone. I started to be fearful of falling into old habits. I prayed for guidance and direction. At the time I was wrapping up the book of Mosiah and through it I was able to receive answers to my prayers. It was amazing. I don't think I've ever had so much revelation come to me at once, pertaining to my own life, then I did at that time when the Lord answered my prayers. I love the Book of Mormon! I've decided that for every time I read it from now on, there will be a topic that I focus on and mark as I go through it, and I'll keep a separate study journal for each topic. I know the Book of Mormon was written for us, for our time. It is a guide book for each of us in our life and contains the answers and the questions and gives the insights that we each need to lead a successful life, allowing us to return to live with our Father in heaven.
In my Patriarchal Blessing, it says, “On many occasions you will be called to serve and teach. But, you will also be called to lead in Quorums and Councils”. Since that blessing the only leadership position I've had has been on my mission because I received the blessing just a few months before I left. During my mission, I had the opportunity to serve as a senior companion, a trainer, a district leader, and a zone leader. Each of these chances I had to serve allowed me to stretch and grow. I learned so much about my self during those times. I would say the single most important event that took place for me on my mission was becoming a zone leader. I served as a zone leader just one transfer short of a year. In fact, I became a zone leader exactly, to the day, one year of me entering into the mission field, September 21. I really believe that becoming a zone leader saved my life. I have learned so much about myself, the gospel, and how to lead. One of the reasons why being a zone leader is so great is because you become companions to a zone leader! I have had some amazing companions. Another great thing that comes from being a zone leader is zone leader council. Its an amazing feeling to be in the same room as and counseling with the cream of the crop missionaries in my mission. It can be a very humbling experience.
Elder Oaks has said that when a missionary is assigned to a mission, he's not being assigned to the mission as much as he's being assigned to a mission president. I feel very privileged to have served as a zone leader for so long under President Palmer's direction. I have learned so much from him; how to lead, how to serve, how to be a good missionary, how to love, and the list goes on and on! I pray that some day I will be half the man he is. Now that would be an accomplishment!
Another thing that comes to mind when I think of what my mission has meant to me is that I served stateside instead of foreign. I was thinking about all the privileges there are from serving in the states. Then I thought about if I had gotten my visa and gone foreign to Mongolia and over half the things were crossed out. I really feel like I have learned how the church is meant to run, how the leaders are supposed to lead, how a member is supposed to do missionary work, and how I can be a disciple of Jesus Christ forever.
I love my mission! The things I've learned and the experiences I've had has completely changed me! I'm not the same person I was when I left, and I will never be him again. What does my mission mean to me? Absolutely everything! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

93rd and last week in Spokane

Its hard to believe that this is the last email! Its been a great adventure! This last week was really good. We went to the temple last week with a couple other Elders.. Elder Harmon and Elder Allred. Elder Allred is coming home with me so it was both of our last time to go to the Spokane temple as a missionary. It was a great experience. This last week has been filled with service and teaching! We helped someone move, painted a guys house, mowed a lawn, and shoveled ten yards of top soil! We had a good time! And with all these baptisms coming up we had to do a whole lot of teaching! Last week and this week are going to be completely full!! Emil is being baptized tonight. He asked me to baptize him. It has been so awesome to see his conversion, from when we met him outside the baptist church till now, there's a huge difference! Ed is doing awesome too! He registered for classes at BYUI this week and he signed up for mission prep! He is super excited! Emil is now talking about serving a mission as well. Richard is good to go for his baptism on Saturday! He is extremely excited! His girlfriend says that is all he talks about! It was really cool, last week we taught him the word of wisdom and he said that he absolutely will not be able to give it up in that amount of time. Recently he has given up a whole lot of things and coffee is something that he was still holding onto and needed more time to kick it. We asked if he would like a blessing and he said yes, so we gave him a blessing that the desire and the addiction will be taken from him. The next time we met with him he said that he has no more desire to drink coffee and that he hasn't taken a sip of it since the blessing! That was really cool! The Lord fulfills His promises! The countryman family, however are not yet ready to be baptized, so they are going to wait just a little bit longer. Good things are happening! Yesterday, we had Zone Leader Council.. my last one! it was really good! I love spending time with President Palmer. Elder Fordham and I were asked Monday night to give a training Tuesday on how to help struggling missionaries. It turned out really good though! President Palmer has asked each of us that are coming home to write to him my most spiritual experience and also what my mission has meant to me. So, I'm going to type it up and post it on here. I've learned so much on my mission and I am excited to start applying those things to my life now! I love you and thank you for your continued support!

Monday, June 27, 2011

92nd week in Spokane

We had another awesome week! Ed got baptized!!!! The service was really good! We also had a child of record baptism at the same time so that was pretty awesome! Also, the Crumps brought a friend to the service and now she wants to be taught! So we are looking forward to that! Emil is way solid now for his baptism on July 6th. We also had a way good lesson with the countryman family. They have been kinda shaky about their date of July 9th, so we went over not having prepared anything to teach and we just wanted to let the Spirit guide. We shared with them a few scriptures, asked a few questions, and the spirit was way strong and everyone was crying and they are solid about that date now! It was a way good experience. Richard is still good to go for July 9th.. he just needs to quit drinking coffee but he said last night that nothing is going to stand in the way of him getting baptized this time around! So that's going to be an awesome day! We taught a family named Bouvette, and she is Brother Countryman's sister. That lesson was way good, she has a daughter that's not baptized yet so we are going to shoot for her daughter getting baptized with the Countryman's on July 9th too! This week we also had zone conference. It was way good as always. We had it set up to where my companion and I were going to sing “come thou fount” as a duet but my voice got way horse and so we had to get another missionary to do it. He is super shy, but we convinced him to pray about it and he said that he got a pretty direct answer that he's supposed to sing. So right as soon as he decided to take my place, my throat got better! It was pretty funny.. obviously the Lord wanted him to sing instead of me.. it was way good for him, help him come out of his shell! Well, that's about it for me, we have a very busy and hectic next couple of weeks with all these people getting baptized! I sure do love this work!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

91st week in Spokane

It just doesn't slow down up here in deer park! This week we were teaching like crazy! It's the most lessons I've had in a week in a long time! It has been amazing! Everyone is still pretty solid! Our lesson with Richard on Wednesday went through and we were able to invite him at the very beginning of the lesson to be baptized on July 9th and he said yes! Ed is doing awesome! He is constantly quoting scripture to us from the Book of Mormon during our lessons. He has been a big help to Emil because he will teach him while we aren't there. He will be getting baptized this weekend! We've been teaching a guy named John, and this week we were able to focus on baptism. He's made a whole lot of changes in his life and he is finally ready! So we invited him to be baptized on July 16! On Tuesday we went on exchanges with the assistants and I was able to go down to Spokane to the 15th ward for a day! It was pretty fun trying to see all the people that I taught when I was there. The 15th and 22nd wards were my first area that I covered when I first got to the mission! So that was fun. With the countryman family we were able to teach them and we were able to find out one of the main concerns and so we taught to that and then they did a fast and so did we on Wednesday and they said that they received their answer! So we are way excited about them and are praying that they won't get cold feet for July 9th. Its amazing too because in the zone right now, there are eight people preparing to be baptized on July 9th! We were able to do some service this week.. my favorite! We split up about three cords of wood!! It was awesome!! Alright, so last night, we were at a members house eating dinner and he is from Cambodia so he made us some food from there and it was delicious, its called fa. But then after dinner, he had us try out some hot sauce. Brother Lim has done a whole lot of research to find the hottest sauce in the world and the one that he has is called the bomb! It was insanely hottt!! It was a solid fifteen minutes of straight pain! It was awesome!! They got it all on video, they said that its a tradition that whatever missionary eats at their home has to try it. It was intense!! Well, that was pretty much our week! we are continually being blessed! love ya!

Monday, June 13, 2011

90th week in Spokane

We had, once again, an awesome week! I keep on getting amazed at the blessings that the Lord has been giving us! Last week I mentioned the countryman family. Well, they wanted to learn more about the sacrament. I was excited about that because in order to know about the sacrament, we gotta know about baptism. So we talked with them about baptism and the covenant that we make when we are baptized. We read the sacrament prayer and pointed out the three things that we promise to be willing to do.. Take the name of Christ, Always remember Him, and keep His commandments. The last two are self explanatory, so we focused on what it means to take the name of Christ and why that's important. We drew a diagram of the plan of Salvation on a white board and then drew a straight and narrow path from earth to the Celestial Kingdom, and drew two gates, one at the beginning and one at the end. Then explained that baptism is the gate and the Priesthood is the key for the first gate. We then talked about the second gate and read a few scriptures with them.. we focused on Mosiah five, and also read some verses in doctrine and covenants sections 18 and 45 and then did a role play with them that we were at the gate at the Celestial Kingdom. I know that the way I just explained it sounds confusing, but with it drawn out I promise it makes sense! The spirit was so strong during that lesson and we invited the family to be baptized on July 9th and they said yes!!! It is such a miracle! They are an awesome family and I am so excited to be with them as they make this leap of faith by being baptized! So that was miracle number one. Miracle number two comes from the lesson that we had right before the Countryman's. We actually didn't have time to teach a lesson because Richard was late getting there, but we were able to talk to him for a few minutes. He has been coming to church for a few weeks with his girlfriend, he's 25. He also took the lessons a couple years ago but wasn't ready at that point to be baptized but he says that he's ready now. When we asked him what his expectations are with meeting with us, he said to be reminded about the fundamentals, and to be baptized! So we will be meeting with him on Wednesday and inviting him to be baptized July 9th. Miracle number three is CRAZY! we left our apartment and it was raining, Elder Fordham asked me if I wanted to drive.. I said no, lets walk. So we started walking. There's a Baptist church right across the road from us and there was a guy sitting right next to the front door. Elder Fordham asked me if we should go talk to him. Immediately my mind quoted the white handbook "do not proselyte at or near other houses of worship" so I said can we do that? But we felt like we should, so we went and talked to him and it turns out that he got kicked out of his brother-in-laws house the day before and was homeless, he's 23. So we talked to him about the Book of Mormon and we read the introduction with him and he said that this is what he's been looking for, he said that he felt like the Lord was guiding him to the Baptist church so that we would run into him. So we called our bishop, then took the man to a members home a couple doors down, taught him the restoration and invited him to be baptized on July 2 and he said he would. So he met with the bishop and right now he is living with the same member that Ed is living with! His name is Emil. He is a tender mercy of the Lord. He's my same size so I gave him some slacks, a tie, and a white shirt. His backpack was all torn up so i gave him mine. He's an awesome guy, very sincere, very humbled. The Lord lead us right to him and He lead him right to us! Then at church there was a member that came up to us and said that their son, who is not a member, would like to take the lessons, and he was at church with them. so that will be happening this week and hopefully be putting him on date to be baptized on July 9th! I also had a very enlightening study this week. I've been studying about Christlike attributes in Preach My Gospel. I've also had on my mind about living the Doctrine of Christ and what evidences are there to show that. Well, in the first blue box in the Christlike Attribute chapter, there's a question that says how do the first principles of the gospel and Christlike attributes relate? The scripture it gives is Moroni 8:25-26. I read that and it hit me like a ton of bricks... If we are living the doctrine of Christ, the fruits or the evidence of that would be that we are living the Christlike attributes. So as a missionary, to test ourselves if we have the Doctrine of Christ in our hearts, is tested by the Christlike Attribute self test.. along with check your progress. Also, in the teaching skills chapter, in the very first paragraph it says, essentially, that in order to teach with convincing power, we must first have Christlike attributes, and then study the material, and then master your language, and then we can fully rely on the Holy Ghost in our teaching to teach with convincing power. But first and foremost, we gotta master the Christlike attributes. because without it, how can we be Christ's disciples? Without it, how can we have the doctrine of Christ in our hearts?? So Elder Fordham and I have talked to our District leaders and this week we are going to take about ten minutes in district meeting and talk about this so that our missionaries can more fully have the Doctrine of Christ within them. I love this work! I love being an instrument in the Lords hand! I love being a missionary!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

89th Week in Spokane

We had an amazing first week together! I came to an area where there are a few fence sitters. The first night here we taught a 19 year old guy named Ed who they had been teaching for about a month but he wouldn't commit. We were able to talk to him about faith and goals and how we prove to the Lord our faith to Him. We set a goal with him to be baptized on June 25 and he said he would. Since then, he has gotten really excited about his date and he said that he will be serving a mission in a year! He is just staying here for the summer, he will be going to BYUI in September, he's the man! Then a couple days later we taught another investigator named Murry, he's 18, we taught him about the plan of salvation and tied it right into baptism and he is now preparing to be baptized on June 25. On Sunday, we had seven investigators come to church! It was a really good day! There's a girl named Sara who has come a couple times with some members, she's about 23 or so, and we set up an appointment with her for after church and we taught her the Restoration. The Spirit was so thick it was tangible! It definitely ranks in the top five most spiritual lessons I've had on my mission. She said a prayer that rivals King Lamoni's first prayer.. it was so sincere! There's a family that has been taught for a long time here that won't commit named Countryman. I'm really praying that they will be ready to be baptized on July 9th, it will be my last Saturday. They are so awesome.. they are just scared to commit to baptism! Its a husband and wife and two kids, the husband is actually a member and a week before I got here he told the Elders that he's ready to start making some real changes. We also found a new couple to teach named Randy and Mariah, they are pretty sweet too, he's 20 and she's 19 and they have a 6 month old named Aden and they seem really prepared. This transfer we are really gonna be focusing on working closely with the members, building their trust and confidence in the missionaries, it seems like its always a constant cycle.. the members are way awesome and then some slacker missionaries come and screw everything up and then new missionaries have to come repair whats been done and then the cycle starts all over again! It seems that has been my role many times on my mission. But it has always been really nice to see the results that come from it. My companion asked me what I want to become when this transfer is over and I get on the plane. I told him I just want to be exhausted! Spiritually and physically. And so far it has turned out that way. I'm so grateful that the Lord is pouring out His blessings upon us on my last transfer. I've been praying for this transfer my whole mission and I can feel the effects of those prayers now and I know that the Lord will continue to pour out His blessings upon us. I love this work!

Monday, May 30, 2011

88th week in Spokane

This week went really well, as far as our teaching goes, we taught more lessons than any other week since I got to the area, so that was nice to finish it off that way. So yes, I am getting transferred for my last transfer to Deer Park, Washington, I will still be a zone leader. my new companion is Elder Fordham, he came out the same time as Elder Anderson, the missionary that I trained, so he's been out about a year now. We'll have fun together. So some highlights for this week would be that I went on exchanges with Elder Walker, he's serving in Libby, Montana. and we actually just chopped wood the whole time so that was fun, it had been a while since I'd done any of that. Another way cool thing that happened this week is we were out walking around and saw a guy pruning some trees so we went and talked to him and he started telling us about his church, that they aren't affiliated with any denomination, some are Christian and some are not, he said that they are all just spiritual seekers that get together and discuss beliefs. So I asked him more about the logistics of who speaks, is there a minister, or how that all works and he said that they just have different people come and share their beliefs. So I asked him if we could come and teach about ours, and he got excited and thought that it was a great idea! So we went into his house where we met his wife and got the info of how we need to go about arranging that, but its gonna be an awesome opportunity for Elder Van Dyke and his new companion. Hopefully they will be able to plant a whole lot of seeds because everyone that goes there is searching for something, and it just so happens that we have the answer for every single one of them! But unfortunately I won't be able to do that. But its one of my new goals to teach at another church before I go home. So first thing I do in my new area is to search out all the local pastors and ask them if we could come teach. and we'll see how that goes. We had a great couple of lessons this week, one with a girl named Nicki and we invited her to be baptized June 25 and she said yes! So that will be exciting. and we also finally were able to teach Lisa and she is absolutely golden. She is just absorbing everything we say and is loving every bit of it. It was really an exciting thing to teach her because she was just so on board with everything! She does have a couple things she needs to get over still, namely smoking and the sabbath day. But that will come around very shortly, I'm excited for her, she will be baptized this month I'm sure of it! Today was fun, for Memorial day, we went hiking, and that was really fun, we went with a member, Brother Leifson. it was a pretty short hike, but really steep, we were able to get some really nice views of the valley. It made me excited to get back into hiking! Well, I think that's really all I have to say this week, I gotta go pack! Love ya!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

87th week in Spokane

Its too bad we weren't raptured up this Saturday, I was really looking forward to that!! This week was kind of interesting. We packed up a days worth of clothes and headed to Clark Fork Tuesday morning like usual. On our way to Clark Fork we called one of our district leaders to set up an exchange with him for the following week. That day wouldn't work for them and so we set it up to go Wednesday night to Friday morning. Then we called another companionship to go on exchanges with them and it just turned out to work best to go from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. We planned it so that I would be going to the other elders area both times, so I only spent a couple of days this week in my own area. It was good for Elder Van Dyke though just in case he's gotta take over the area in a week! While I was in Priest River, ID and Newport, WA, we taught this really neat family, a single mom with eight kids! She was raised in the church but quit going soon after she left home. They are Hawaiian and they're pretty funny. But we taught them the restoration and it went really well! Hopefully they will continue to have a desire to keep meeting with the elders there. When I was in Sandpoint and Westmond wards, we went to this huge event they have annually here called lost in the fifties. There were tons and tons of people here, it was crazy packed! There was an hour long car parade where people from all over came and drove their restored cars, it was pretty fun. Mostly people were just drunk, so we had a few funny conversations with people just talking around the streets. Well, our bishop in the Sandpoint ward, Bishop Boren, was released this Sunday and we got a whole new Bishopric. So we are excited to start working with them! We had our last Monday morning study with Bishop Boren. I'm really gonna miss doing that, I've learned a lot from studying with him. But when he was a mission president in New York, he had study assignments that he always gave to the missionaries every transfer, and today he gave us a copy of all the assignments and materials that he would give them, so we've got a huge stack of papers to go through now. I'm excited about it! But its gonna be one of those things that's gonna have to wait until I get home because I have a couple other things that I need to get finished studying before I go to that. Speaking of Bishop Boren, he's an artist, and he gives a print of one of his paintings to everyone who reads the Book of Mormon cover to cover that asks him. I had heard about this from other people and so when I first got to the area I asked him if I could have the same challenge and he said of course, so this week I finished the Book of Mormon and today he gave me one of the prints! Its an awesome print, its of a cowboy sitting in a chair reading the Book of Mormon! As far as the teaching goes, we were able to find a few new investigators that seem pretty promising so we are excited about that. There's a whole lot of really great things that are surfacing right now that are going to yield a whole lot of fruit! That's all I got for this week! Love you all!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

86th week in Spokane

Another great week here in Sandpoint, Idaho! The sun is shinning, the lake is glistening, and I can't even get in it!! We had a really great week! I wanna start with telling you a story that happened on Friday. We went up to our old house to check out its progress (because it had a fire) well, the kitchen is completely gutted, they found asbestos so they had to take all the insulation out of the walls and ceiling. its gonna be a while before anyone moves back in there. Well, just outside the house, they have a little trail that goes up a hill with a little campfire ring and then a little past that is an awesome lookout to all the valley. So I ran up there to check it out.. its only like a hundred yards long. Well, I got up to the fire pit area and I heard a noise, like the brush moving, so I turned and looked and about ten feet to my left was a moose! The brush noise came from it going from a laying position to a standing one. By the way, when I was in Utah, me and another guy were chased by a massive bull moose and that was pretty intimidating even though the guy with me had a gun, so needless to say, without hesitation, I turned down the hill and ran! My companion said he's never seen anyone run so fast! haha unfortunately, because I was running downhill, I got a whole lot of speed, so much so that when I tried to stop when I got to the car, my feet slowed down but my body didn't and I fell haha.. I got a bruise on both sides of my hips, my butt, my right knee, left shin, and got my right palm all cut up! It was pretty exciting! but I would much rather all that than a hoof print on my face!! Gladly, the moose didn't chase.. I dont think I gave it enough time to think about it!! So that's my big story for the week! Kinda funny I think! As far as the teaching part of this week, it was really good for that as well! We taught more this week than we had all transfer! Kathy is the lady that is preparing to get baptized in Clark Fork, she is supposed to be doing it next weekend, but I don't think shes gonna be ready for that day, which is fine, it needs to happen when she's ready for it to happen, but she is pretty solid and she will get baptized, I'm confident about that. We made some great progress with Carla this week as well, we talked about the word of wisdom again, and she committed to quit smoking and cut back on the alcohol, which is huge for her!! It will be really good for her to be rid of those addictions so that the Spirit of the Lord can be felt by her more abundantly. Also in Clark Fork, we got a phone call from a young man, he's a teacher, that two of his friends want to get baptized! We went and taught one of them, because the other was sick. and the spirit was way strong during that lesson, he's a really neat kid, his name is Johnathan and he's seventeen. He has been reading from the Book of Mormon and knows its true and from God. He is preparing to be baptized on June 11! Only problem is that his mom has not yet given him permission to do so, his dad has, but not his mom. So we will be working on that. On Thursday I was able to spend the day in Bonners Ferry, and that was such a blessing! I was able to go teach Gerald Rate and Jaak Sanders, and that was awesome! We talked heavily with Jaak about the Book of Mormon, and I feel like we made a lot of progress with him. With Gerald, we read from the Book of Mormon, 3 nephi 14 and that went way good because he had said in their last lesson that he wasn't really interested anymore in the church. Again, we were able to make quite a bit of progress with him as well. On Saturday we had dinner at the Palmers. Sam Palmer is the one that got baptized last month. Well, it turns out that they have been talking to a lady named Lisa about the church Lisa is someone that our bishop told us to go see about a month before, but we hadn't ever been able to make contact with her. But the Palmers had given her a Book of Mormon and she has been reading it and absolutely loves it! She said that she has never read anything that has rung so true to her and that she will more than likely be joining the church very soon! So that was good to hear!! Hopefully we will be able to teach her this week and invite her to be baptized!! Oh yea! other big news... Joseph Black finally got baptized this weekend!!! I am way happy about that! I really enjoyed teaching him! He's in Bonners Ferry. Also on Sunday, Elder Van Dyke and I gave talks in church in Sunnyside! I feel like it went pretty good, I think that it was my first time being assigned to talk on a talk from general conference. It was from Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy “The Atonment Heals All Pain”. I had fun talking on it, I shared the story about when I cut my leg and at that same time I was going through the repentance process preparing to serve a mission and how through the Atonement I was able to be healed spiritually and physically, it was fun! Well, I think that's all from me! I sure hope everyone is doing great! Love ya!

Monday, May 9, 2011

85th Week in Spokane

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!! It was nice to be able to talk to the whole family! I'm excited to see everyone in just a couple months! I'll give you a couple updates on the investigators.. Kathy is doing awesome! She came to church again and is loving every minute of it! We had a good lesson with her this week about baptism and about Jesus Christ, we watched with her The Lamb of God and that went well. It turns out she has very very minimal knowledge of anything about the scriptures so its kinda nice to work with a blank slate. We have a lesson with her tomorrow so that's gonna be good. We also started teaching another lady named Jerri. She's pretty cool, about seventy. Her husband is a less active member who is the commander of the American Legion in this district. We had a way good lesson with her this week and we hit really hard on the apostasy, it was probably the best apostasy lesson I ever taught, so I was excited about that and so it made the restoration make more sense as far as why it was needed. We invited her to be baptized the first weekend in June and she said that she would work towards being ready by that date. I had what I'm pretty sure was my last zone leader council on Tuesday, and that was really good. We watched a talk by Elder Holland given to the MTC in January and it was awesome! I recorded it so I will still have it to listen to again. We also had interviews with President Palmer which was also my last interview with him before I have my exit interview. We were able to have a real nice talk about how I can best endure to the end. He gave me a lot of advise which i am grateful for! We also had a fun time on Friday night at our ward family activity. We invited a ton of people to come to it but no one showed up. Actually one less active guy did show up and that was really good because if he gets reactivated, his wife will for sure join the church because she has been on date to be baptized about two years ago but since he wasn't too strong in it, she wasn't able to follow through with it. But hopefully he will be able to start coming back! But the activity was really fun, we all got split up and mixed around and then we played a bunch of different competition games. It was a lot of fun. Well, I think that's about it for my week.. can you believe that I only have eight more of these to write?!? Weird.... LOVE YA!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

84th week in Spokane

We definitely had our ups and downs here this week. On Monday we were teaching a less active family whose daughter is not a member, and that went really well, we are going to start teaching her and the family is going to start coming back to church! While we were there, her mom told us about an accident that happened that day. A car hit a deer and the deer flew up and hit right in the windshield of the car behind them causing the back car to run off the road into a telephone pole. She died just a couple days later. It turns out that the lady who got hit by the deer and died is a recent convert in the Sunnyside ward that was baptized on Christmas Day. She and her husband were both baptized then. It has been really tragic. But its amazing what that has done for the extended family who are not part of the faith. There was a memorial service held at the church on Saturday and all their family of course came and they were able to see the support of the ward towards Roy, the husband, and they were also able to feel of the special spirit that is in the church. They were taught that day the plan of salvation perfectly. It was a really special service. Judy (who passed away) has a sister that came up from Nevada and by the end of the weekend she decided that she wants to be baptized when she gets back home. We went to the Clark Fork branch for church this week so we weren't able to go to the Sunnyside one. But we heard all about it, and the testimony meeting there, we were told, was just out of this world spiritual. Just being a day after the funeral, there were many who were eager to share their testimony. Again we were told that there were a whole lot of non members and less actives that decided to come to church that day and they all felt the spirit. And of course we missed it and weren't able to meet these people! Oh well. Its amazing to me how a tragedy can turn into such a blessing.. if we allow it to. We aren't too disappointed however about missing that meeting in Sunnyside because in Clark Fork we too had an amazing day. We had three investigators come out to Clark Fork, which is huge for them! But, before I get to them, I gotta tell ya about a little boy who wanted to share his testimony. His name is Samuel and he's right about three years old, maybe four. His mom brought him up and she was holding him and whispering in his ear what to say, but he wouldn't say anything, he just froze. So she went ahead and bore her testimony and then started to walk away and he started yelling, "no no mommy I wanna do it I wanna do it" so she walked back and whispered in his ear and he leaned forward and just froze again, then he turned and said to his mom "tell them to stop looking at me" so she turned so that he couldn't see anyone, but he looked to his right and pointed his finger and said "they're looking at me" so she started to walk away again and he just started yelling again "no mommy I wanna do it, let me do it, I'll do it this time". So she, being really embarrassed at this point, walked back to the microphone and again he froze and pointed at some people "they're looking at me!" So she said "I love you son" and gave him a kiss on the forehead and walked away. He screamed and cried the whole way out to the foyer "no mommy, I'll be good, I'll be good!" It was so funny! But so sweet at the same time, here you have this little boy who so badly wanted to do whats right, but just couldn't muster up the strength to do it. Well, two of the investigators who came were Carla and Jack. They actually live in a little town called Hope, Idaho. and they absolutely loved church! So hopefully they will start coming out regularly so they can get baptized. The other lady that came, we actually had never met before. But her name is Cathy. Her friends, the Trunnells, invited her to church and she came out and stayed for all three hours and loved it! So we were able to meet her a little bit and then after church we were driving around and we saw her sitting outside of her trailer and so we stopped and talked with her and she had some questions so we taught her about the restoration and invited her to be baptized May 28th! So this week was especially an emotional roller coaster! I love being a missionary!

Monday, April 25, 2011

83rd week in Spokane

Had a fairly good week. We are teaching this new couple named Leah and Dustin, they are fun to teach, they always have tons of questions. Right now it just seems like they are going at it at an educational point of view, but as they read from the Book of Mormon they will gain a testimony of it. One really exciting thing that happened, I don't remember if I had mentioned it before, but we tracted into the Methodist pastor in Clark Fork and talked with him for a while, and he covers three congregations, one in Clark Fork, Id, one in Heron, Montana, and one in Noxon, Montana. After talking with him, we sang him a song and he invited us to come sing at his church on a Tuesday night worship service. We did that this week and it was pretty fun! We sang “I know that my Redeemer Lives”, “I stand all Amazed”, and “Redeemer of Israel”. it was a good time! We were sorta shuffled around again this week with our living situation, but we are back again now with the Bennetts. So things are going good here, we don't really have any investigators that are progressing, but we're working on it! In the zone, though, we have three baptisms this weekend so that's gonna be really good! Another guy we're working with is Stan, we made some way good headway with him last week with the Book of Mormon which will cause him hopefully to take a more serious look into things. We see him tonight so we'll see what happens. Well, that's all I got this week, love ya!

Monday, April 18, 2011

82nd week in Spokane

We had a very eventful week! On Wednesday we got a call from the people we live with and they told us that there was a fire in their kitchen! The kitchen is completely destroyed, thankfully no one was hurt. So we had to go and gather up all our stuff that got covered in smoke and soot. we stayed for two nights at a members home and then we moved again to a different members guest house where we will be staying for probably about two months. The Kopsa's house will be gutted and repainted and a new kitchen and new carpet and all that. Pretty crazy. The new people we live with, the Bennets, they have in their basement a six year food storage for five adults! There is a TON of food down there. Anyway, about a week ago, their basement flooded so they now have to remove their concrete floor and fix their foundation, which means they need to move all of their food storage. So Saturday morning we helped with all of that... and I'm still sore from it! Then we had to run real quickly afterwards to the church to start filling up the font. This became very frustrating. There was no cold valve which means that it was just straight hot water coming out which means if we wanted it to come out fast then the hot water would run out very quickly and if we let it go so that the water would heat up as it went, it would take way too long. So... when it came time for the baptism, the water was cold, and extremely low, barely even to their knees! They tried dunking twice which didn't work, then the third time they had Sam sit down and his dad kneel, and that worked. I felt pretty bad because it was our fault for not starting the water sooner. Oh well. It was a way good service, the spirit was very strong. Then, the next day he was confirmed and then we took Sam out teaching with us to a boy named Michael who is also fourteen who was baptized about two years ago but hasn't been to church in a bit. It went way good, Sam did awesome! He's an amazing kid! Well, we got transfer calls yesterday and... there's no change for us. But, the zone got mixed up a bit. In Bonners Ferry there's an Elder coming in thats from Knoxville, and I've served around him before so that will be good, his name is Elder Trowbridge. In Libby, Montana, an Elder is coming in to be the District Leader named Elder Crosby, he served with Katie, my sister, in the Saskatoon Canada area, he was the ward mission leader when Katie was serving in his ward, so that's gonna be fun. One more exciting thing has happened.. For my new years resolution I wanted to lose twenty pounds before I came home so I decided that at the end of each transfer I would weigh and measure myself. Since January, I have lost a total of fifteen pounds. Three inches off my stomach, and two and a half inches off my waste! I've still got a lot of work to do though in order to get where I wanna be by the time I get home! The Bennets have a treadmill too so that is going to be very helpful! The work is going super great! We were able to find five new investigators this week! We had the highest teaching and finding week then any other, so things are looking up here in Sandpoint Idaho! Love ya!

Monday, April 11, 2011

81st week in Spokane

There's not a whole lot of new and exciting things that happened this week, Sam Palmer is still good to go for this Saturday! Things have been going great with his teaching. We spoke this week in Clark Fork, and that was really fun, I like speaking in front of people. Elder Van Dyke talked about prayer and faith, it was really good. I spoke on the Atonement and the restoration and tied it into missionary work, it was fun. A cool thing that happened this week though is that we tracted into the Methodist pastor and he invited us in and we talked for a while and at the end we sang “I know that my redeemer lives” and he invited us to come to a multi-faith music festival to sing there, and that's next week, it will be a good chance to get our faces out there and also to get our testimonies out there, especially since Clark Fork is extremely anti! And I mean actively anti! So that's gonna be good. Well, this week's is short, but that's what I got! love ya!

Monday, April 4, 2011

80th week in Spokane

Conference was awesome!! To prepare for it I looked at what is going to be going on in my life in the next six months and then wrote down five questions accordingly. Then, during conference, I had with me two different colored pens, one black and one blue. With the black pen I wrote all the things said that stuck out to me and with the blue pen I wrote all the answers to those questions, and other things that I need to work on and apply. It was awesome! I was able to receive a lot of direction and instruction that I can now apply and work on in the next six months! As far as missionary work goes, we had four investigators watch at least one session of conference. Sam Palmer is doing awesome! We had a really good lesson with him this week that was really neat. His mom was there and she was able to share her testimony about the gospel. We are praying that Sam's decision to be baptized will bring them closer together in the gospel and help to reactivate the family. Well, I think that's really about it as far as the highlights go. I've got a question though, does anyone know why Elder Hales didn't speak this conference?

Monday, March 28, 2011

79th Week in Spokane

What an amazing week! I was able to get permission to go on Saturday to the temple with Elder Moleni and Elder Aslanian to be with Will and Evelynn Thornton as they went through the temple together and get sealed for time and all eternity. It was so awesome! I'm so happy for them, they both looked so good and so happy! It was a really neat blessing to be able to be there with all of them. That was definitely the highlight of the week. but there are some others too. I told you last week about the man that I taught a few times in Bonners Ferry, whose grand daughter lives here in the Sunnyside ward. On Friday we had zone conference and that was really good, we talked about how to help our investigators receive revelation and also how to help them make and keep commitments in preparation for them to make and keep covenants with the Lord. It was good. However, we accidentally double booked our dinner appointments that night. So we drove straight from zone conference to our first dinner appointment with the man that I taught in Bonners at his grand daughter's house. So we ate dinner there and taught a short lesson about coming to church and invited him to come, which he said he would. but then he didn't. Anyways, we had to rush off to go to our next dinner appointment with another member in the ward, the Lopers, who have been working with their friends, another couple, the Hunts. They have had numerous religious discussions with each other over dinner so they invited us to tag along. The Hunts are Seventh Day Adventists. Both converted to it fairly recently. The wife had been reading in the Book of Mormon but stopped because it talks about the spirit world, which the Adventists don't believe in. And so she came to the dinner with a packet of six or seven pages full of scriptures to prove her view of death. Looking at it in the way that she was, it all made very good sense. However, there are a few instances in the bible which talk about the spirit world, which we pointed out. To which she responded, “well here's fifty verses to your three or four”, all of which were from the bible (ours included). We tried to explain to them that in light of the way that we view it, all those fifty verses point to how we believe, and if Joe Schmoe, the nondenominational christian pastor down the street were to be here then he would use the same scriptures to argue his point of view. So what does this all mean?? It means we need a second witness.. which just so happens to be the Book of Mormon! So we tried to get that across but with no luck, she kept saying show me in the bible, show me in the bible, if its in there I'll believe. So I've been doing a lot of studying since then about the subject and have found some pretty defining evidence in the bible that I hadn't thought of before. Now just to be clear, we know that Satan is the author of contention, so this was not a bashing session, it was very civilized and the spirit was there, they are very good people seeking the truth, and if proving to them about this spirit world thing out of the bible is what we have to do to remove the stumbling block that is keeping them from continuing to read in the Book of Mormon, then that's exactly what we'll do because there is so much power in reading from the Book of Mormon, its amazing! I've got one more highlight to share with you from this week, and this is definitely a good one! At the beginning of February, I fasted that Elder Tamblyn and I would be able to have a baptism together. That night, we put Tiffany Redford on date to be baptized. then three days later, she fell off date, but we taught Ed Brown and put him on date to be baptized, and we were able to be together when he was baptized, so the Lord answered my fasting and prayers. Well, I decided to fast for the same thing this time, that Elder Van Dyke and I would be able to have a baptism together. And then during church we had a member come up to us and say that his son would like to take the missionary lessons again and be baptized. So that night we went and taught Sam Palmer. He is 14. He has a desire to make changes in his life and be baptized, and so we put him on date to be baptized on April 16th which is the last Saturday of this transfer. The Lord is very much aware of us and He hears and answers our prayers and our fasts. I love you!

Monday, March 21, 2011

78th week in Spokane

Not a whole lot of new and exciting things happened this week, most of our appointments that we had set up fell through. One that didn't though is a girl named Brooke. She was taught by sister missionaries in Southern Idaho and just recently moved here. Her mom is Mormon and her dad is Catholic and was never baptized in either one. All her siblings have since joined the church though and so she's feeling some pressure from there. She's got a few concerns and questions about God, and I think that if she were to gain a testimony of Him then the rest would fall into place. The great thing is that the Book of Mormon is a great place to be able to gain that testimony! She's really sincere and I'm excited to be able to teach her. Also, I found out yesterday that a girl who used to live in Clark Fork moved to Bonners Ferry and then to Libby, Montana and just now moved back to Clark Fork! The cool thing is that she was preparing to get baptized, had a date set and everything here in Clark Fork before she moved. but couldn't ever do it because she wasn't married to her boyfriend and wouldn't get married to him, who is a member already. So that was her hold up and then they split up and she moved to Bonners where I actually met her and helped her move out my first week in the area. She moved to Libby where I again met her there and taught here a few times while she was there when I would go on exchanges with the Libby elders. Her hold up then is that her ex's family all lived in Libby and they all went to church actively and so she couldn't stand to go to church because she would see them and have to relive the split up all over again. So now she is back in Clark Fork where she hopefully, finally has no excuses! She knows its true and she wants to get baptized, that was the last thing I heard about her while she still lived in Libby. So I'm excited to see that unravel. Also, there was a lady in Bonners whose dad isn't a member and we taught him a couple times at her house, but he lives down here in Sandpoint. The good thing is that her daughter lives here in the Sunnyside ward and so we talked to her last night and she's gonna have her grandpa over this week for dinner and a lesson! There are things that are coming to surface here and we are excited for it! Also I found out yesterday that Will Thornton and his wife are getting sealed this Saturday!! He was my very fist lesson that I taught in beacon hill. That is good news! Also this week we had a district leader training held in Spokane that we went to and that was really awesome. President Palmer is amazing! I think we are going to see a huge lift in this mission very quickly! I think that's all I got for this week. Love ya!

Monday, March 14, 2011

77th week in Spokane

I'm lovin my new area! Elder Van Dyke and I came here without any preconceptions of whats going on and we have just hit the pavement and gone to work! We've knocked on a whole lotta doors and talked to a whole lotta people! We didn't actually teach a whole lot this week, but we got a whole bunch of return appointments for this coming week and so that's gonna be way good! Sunnyside is quite a bit bigger than Bonners Ferry. and there's a pretty decent little down town area where people walk around and go to all the different shops, so we've gone there a few times just to walk around and talk to people, its been fun. Elder Van Dyke is from Salt Lake City. He's an awesome missionary, he's been out just barely over a year.. he's got a lot of fire. President Palmer calls us the dynamic duo! Its kinda weird, when we recorded our voice mail on our new phone, we both talked, and I couldn't tell a difference in our voices. Its gonna be good. Clark Fork is pretty similar to Bonners Ferry, really small in town population and just a whole lot of boonies. We got into the area on Tuesday, and went to Clark Fork Wednesday and Thursday and came back for the rest of the week in Sunnyside. we are planning on working it so that Tuesday and Wednesdays we will be in Clark Fork and then we will alternate going to church each week. While we were in Clark Fork, we stopped in to meet one of the current investigators, who is seven.. so technically not even an investigator, but we went to meet her and her Mom. The Moms boyfriend ended up being there too, so we were able t teach all of them, the boyfriend seemed really interested and we are going back tomorrow to follow up. In Sunnyside, we didn't really teach any lessons, like I said, just contacted a whole lot of people and set up a bunch of appointments. which is good because since we have appointments, we can now have a member go with us and that helps the investigator meet new people and it also helps the member get fired up about missionary work! So we are excited to get things rolling here! If you remember, a couple weeks ago, I went on exchanges with Elder Thorman in the Sunnyside ward and I told you how we had to walk up about a quarter mile driveway. Well, we've had to do that a few times this week! I miss having the four wheel drive that I had in Bonners! Oh well! I was tempted to just take the truck with me and just swap it out with the car. But it would have just been selfish reasons because yea, it would be real nice and would save us a lot of time, but they definitely need the truck up there more then we do down here. Our Bishop here is amazing! We had breakfast and study with him this morning. He has been a Bishop before, and a Stake President, and a Mission President in New York! His mission covered the Bronx and Harlem, he has some great stories! But he is all fired up about missionary work and is really excited to have the zone leaders in his ward. It was really neat too because on our first Sunday, President and Sister Palmer came and spoke in our ward in Sunnyside. It was perfect! He talked about member missionary work and he called us up to stand on either side of him and he told everyone that he has given us to them to serve them, he called us his Ammons because we're here to serve. It was pretty neat. I am excited to see the work here grow, there is definitely room for it! The gospel is true and I am lovin it!

Monday, March 7, 2011

76th week in Spokane

Ed got baptized!! It was an awesome service! I love baptisms, there's always such a neat spirit there. Elder Tamblyn is gone.. I've been staying with a member from the ward so that's been fun. We had an awesome teaching week too! We taught more lessons this week than any other week that I've been here. The work is just booming here.. there's gonna be four or five baptisms within the next two months! Jaak is sooo close he can taste it! The Lord has really been compelling him to be humble! And he recognizes it and we invited him to be baptized but he said that he's not quite ready yet, but he's close. He only has one more thing to resolve so we invited him to pray to overcome it. He is excited to overcome it because he is excited to be baptized. Joseph is still just waiting for his next interview and then he'll be good to go. We found a new investigator this week named Gerald and he is super solid! We taught him twice last week and he came to church yesterday! He will definitely be getting baptized in April, no questions, he is golden! We had lost contact with Jeremy and then he came to church yesterday! Hopefully he won't disappear again, and we will be working on getting him in the water by the end of this month. Ed brown is doing awesome! He has really caught fire in the gospel and will be getting the priesthood and a calling soon! I don't remember if I've ever talked about Billy. He was baptized as a kid but his family fell away shortly after and he's been in and out of state care for most of his teenage life, he's 17 now and he recently came to live with his grandma in the second ward. At first he wanted nothing to do with the church so we would visit a few times a week for a little while and just helped with some chores and got to know him better. Then he finally came to church and hasn't missed a Sunday yet. He got the priesthood and has even been to a few teaching appointments with us and is planning on serving a mission! I think I've talked a little bit about Sis Wells before, we accidentally pulled into her driveway thinking that it was a road because she lives out in the boonies and I was about to just turn around and keep looking for the house, but instead we felt like we should go knock on her door. So we did and she said that it was an answer to her prayers and she asked us for a book of Mormon! She is already a member, got baptized at eight, but neither she or her family have been active since, and shes been involved in a few other churches her whole life but she said that something was telling her to revisit the Mormon church. Its been a struggle with her, she has been 'kicking against the pricks' the whole time! She would text us all the time asking us questions and she just kept fighting and kept looking for excuses wherever she could, but we kept pursuing and just being there for her. Now she has been totally converted and just wants to serve! Its been awesome! She bore her testimony yesterday and she called me her 'spiritual bodyguard' and said that I would be for the rest of her life, so I told her I'd take that on! I have loved serving in Bonners Ferry, there's been its hard points where people used there agency and chose another path when they have been so close! But it has had so many rewards, I have been given so many blessings from this area, the people here and the environment here. I've learned so much about myself and also about what the Lord has in mind for me for the rest of my life. Its been awesome! So if you haven't guessed, I'm being transferred. The mission president decided to move the zone leaders to a different area in the zone and so I will be covering the Sunny Side and Clarkfork wards. Clarkfork goes into Montana a bit which means that I have served my mission in three states.. Washington, Idaho, and Montana! My new companion will be Elder Van Dyke. We served in the same district when I was in Beacon Hill, my third area. So I'm excited! We are both sweeping into a new area so it will be fun! Plus, I will still get to see everyone at stake conference! Well, I love my mission, it has saved my life! love ya!

Monday, February 28, 2011

75th week in Spokane

This week was pretty exciting with the weather and all. Like I said last week, we had about a foot on Tuesday when I emailed, then we got about another six inches the rest of the day. On Wednesday the temperature dropped to about 5 degrees and we had blizzard conditions where the wind was blowing so hard with the snow that you couldn't see anything in front of you, not to mention it was cold! Plus that night I was with another missionary and when we came in for the night, we couldn't drive up their driveway so we had to park at the bottom and walk the rest of the quarter mile home! On Thursday and Friday the temperature dropped down to -20! I think that I mentioned last week that we have passes to go to the local gym here in town in the morning to run. Well, Friday morning was definitely an adventure going to the gym at -20 and then coming out of the gym all sweaty and having everything freeze almost immediately! Going to the gym every morning has been awesome!! On Saturday and Sunday it snowed again another 18 inches! It was fun shoveling all that! Well, that's the weather report, as far as the work is going, we had a great week! Taught a whole lot of lessons, but unfortunately didn't get to find any one new to teach. On Thursday Elder Tamblyn and I gave a training to the zone about finding and tracting, We think it went pretty well. That day was also interviews with our mission president, and that was awesome like usual, I love my mission president, he's just always so full of love for everyone he talks to, its awesome! He was able to give me some good council on a few questions I had for him, it was great! And then that same day, Joseph was able to get interviewed by him for baptism, and President felt really good about it and is sending Salt Lake a recommendation for him to get interviewed again, its gonna be awesome! We were asked to give talks this week in sacrament meeting and were told we can talk on whatever we want. So on Saturday I wrote my talk and then that night we talked to a really neat guy that wasn't too interested in us teaching him, but he had a few questions that we weren't able to address right then, and so we invited him to come to church to listen to us talk and he said he would. On Sunday morning I wrote another talk that was directed right towards him and the questions he asked. Since we cover two wards, in the second ward, one of the speakers didn't show up (because there was about a foot of new snow on the ground and she's old) so it just so happened that I had another talk handy, so I gave that. It made me happy because I was excited about my first talk ha-ha. But things are going really great here, we had four investigators come to church and we have a baptism this Friday!! Ed Brown. It has really been amazing to see the change that has taken place in that home as the spirit and the gospel has come into their lives, I love it! So this whole transfer I've had it in mind that I'm going to stay another transfer because Elder Tamblyn is going home, but during my interviews the mission president asked about what I thought about moving the zone leaders to a different area in the zone, and I think its a pretty good idea, not that I want to leave Bonners Ferry, I love it here, but it makes sense to move the zone leaders into another area. So now I have no idea what to expect when transfers come around, which is this week! Crazy how time flies! Love you all!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

74th week in Spokane

We had a great lesson with Joseph this week, we were going to teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but while we were with him we felt impressed to teach about the word of wisdom. Turns out that until about three weeks ago he was an alcoholic and he is addicted to coffee. He committed to quit coffee and then, three days later, he didnt show up at church so we asked his brother why and he said that since joseph hasnt had his caffeine fix he woke up with an extreme headache! But he is doing good and is getting interviewed on thursday! We were finally able to meet with tiffany again. and they decided not to get married until june 15 and they dont want to move out and so she cant get baptized until she gets married in june. when we asked them why they said because they dont want it to look like they were just 'getting hitched' ..apparently they would rather look like adulterers instead... Its pretty impossible to move ahead spiritually when you are knowingly living in sin. So we'll keep visiting them here and there but theres really nothing we can do. We had way good lessons this week with Ed and Jeremy. we also taught the word of wisdom there and found out that Jeremy smokes and Ed drinks tea. So they committed to quit. We have a stop smoking workshop that we teach thats guaranteed to quit smoking in seven days. so we got all the supplies for them and then come sunday, jeremy didnt show up to church and wasnt there for our lesson afterwards or our lesson yesterday. not sure whats goin on there. but ed is doing really great, he'll be getting baptized on march 4th!!! Things are going really well here. the zone as a whole hit a record high in the lessons taught this week! thats really exciting! We have a goal that every companionship will baptize in march. So far we have three out of the five that have people with a date set already! Its crazy Elder Tamblyn goes home in less than two weeks! Its kinda weird knowing for sure that I'll be getting a new companion and that I'll be staying in the same area. But he's doing great! He's a great example of enduring to the end! But dont worry, I try to remind him he's going home soon as often as possible! Ive been a bit concerned lately about slipping into old habits when i get home. So Ive been praying alot about that this week and ive been reading in mosiah in my personal studies and ive been able to get some great insights on what i need to do to avoid that. especially from chapters 24 to 29! Its been really nice to receive answers to prayers like that through the scriptures! We were able to get a free two week pass to the gym here in town to run on the treadmills and this morning was our first time, we both ran two miles... it felt great! and from being sick for a week, i was able to loose five pounds! only got 15 more to go!! (i hesitate putting that info in here, because now you know how much ive gained on my mission!) But no worries here, you'll never see it when i get home because it'll be long gone by then! By the way, it snowed about a foot here this morning! well, love ya!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

73rd week in Spokane

We had another awesome awesome week! Elder Tamblyn and I both got the flu. I got it the first part of the week and he got it the second part so we didn't get near as much work as we had hoped, but with the little time that we were able to get out, the Lord blessed us! I'll start with the bad news. We weren't able to meet with tiffany this week, we got a call from them and they decided not to get married yet, so that's really frustrating. I'm ready to go lay down some Alma 39 on them! And they didnt come to church. But on to the good news.. One of the lessons that we taught was with Ed Brown, and he had a friend over, Jeremy Chipman. We read straight out of 2 Nephi 31 with them and invited them to be baptized and they said they would on march 4!! And they both came to church yesterday!! So thats a good thing. also one of our investigators that comes quite often, but just for sacrament, and has been coming for years, his wife is a member, we invited him to stay for all three hours and he did for the first time! So that was really exciting! Also in the first ward, we had Elder Risemay come and speak in our sacrament meeting. He's an area seventy and his talk was awesome! Unfortunately none of our investigators came to that meeting! Happy Valentines Day!! Love ya!!
I forgot to tell ya a couple things! First, we got a little bit of snow this week and Elder Tamblyn was driving and we came up to this big turn in the road, but we just kept going straight and ended up off the road a bit. Then when we called the member that we were going to they called it 'dead mans curve' we wonderred why and then we just happened to glance off the hill that we almost rolled down, and sure enough, we would have been dead men!! It was pretty funny! The other thing that I forgot to mention is about Joseph! He decided to get baptized! But since he is from a polygamist background, he has to be interveiwed by an apostle, so that is in the works and once that happens, he'll be baptized! Things are goin great here in bonners ferry! love ya!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

72nd week in Spokane

We had a GREAT week! Two of our investigators decided to get baptized. Joseph decided to but we can't set a date for him yet, it will probably be in March, near the end of the month. So that will give us plenty of time to make sure he is truly converted! Tiffany decided to get baptized too! She is getting married this Saturday so that she will be living the law of chastity. She is solid! She is really ready to make the changes necessary in her life and is tired of procrastinating! We were able to set a date for baptism on February 26! The only road block that she needs to overcome now is smoking, so prayers on her behalf are very much needed. We had just a really great lesson with her last night and we were able to focus everything on Christ and baptism. It was great! On Thursday we're going to be teaching her about the word of wisdom and get her on track to quit smoking and drinking coffee! I love teaching the word of wisdom! Its gonna be awesome! The zone is doing really great too! we are excited about whats happening and whats going to continue happening! We also had three investigators attend church this week.. so that sure was a blessing! The neat thing is that yesterday I fasted that Elder Tamblyn and I would be able to have a baptism together before he went home. And then the Lord blessed us that night with Tiffany! Missionary work is amazing! I studied this whole week in Jacob 5 to try and really understand it and some of the things that really stuck with me from it is just how involved the Savior is in our lives, and just how much He is involved in the missionary work. It is His work and He has hired us to help Him. I cant tell you enough how grateful I am to be a missionary! Love ya!

Monday, January 31, 2011

71st Week in Spokane

Went on exchanges this week with Elder Van Kampen in Libby, Montana and we had an awesome exchange! We were blessed with a new investigator that we were able to teach the restoration to and invite to be baptized and he said he will when he knew it was true. We were also able to put one of their current investigators on date for Feb 19! It was a great lesson! She is way solid and way prepared! Lynette Stone! You've gotta meet her, she is just hungry for the gospel! All because of the Book of Mormon! She started reading from it and just cant get enough! She has no doubt that its true! The Book of Mormon is amazing! I know its true! I love being able to watch as people read from it and are completely changed by it! What a blessing it is to be a missionary!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

70th week in Spokane

Elder Burns didn't send a blog entry today. Apparently his computer time was very short, we only got personal messages from him. Its transfer time again. He and Elder Tamblyn are both staying in Bonners Ferry. He thought that was a good thing. If we do hear more from him we will post it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

69th Week in Spokane

This week was definitely an exciting one! It started out with a companionship in our zone having some difficulties and so we went on a 24 hour exchange with them where I went to their area with one of the elders and the other elder came to our area with elder Tamblyn. It went really good except for two things.. one. elder Tamblyn got sick, and is still sick. and two. It snowed about 7 inches! So it was pretty exciting and we were able to help the other elders out. So when we got home the next day about three o'clock, elder Tamblyn went to bed and I went out and shoveled for a couple hours! We've got a pretty big driveway and with seven inches of snow, it took some time! Not to mention the temperature was in the low teens! Well, the next morning, there was about another seven inches on the ground! So we went out and shoveled that out of the way! And then of course by night time, it was raining! And it rained all the next day.. and about half the next and then everything froze! Before I tell you what happened next, let me remind you that missionaries have a mile limitation that they are allowed to drive per month. Also, for mom's sake, I'll spare some of the details until after my mission!! So in our area, there's a shortcut that takes you up the side of a mountain, its called Blume Hill Rd. (in case you want to Google map it!) Well, we had an appointment at the bottom of this hill at six and then right after we had an appointment at the top of this hill. So obviously we took this short cut that would save us about twenty miles. So here's the problem. There was a sign that said "not maintained in winter". Well, this sign has been up for about two months and I've been up and down it countless times, especially since we're teaching someone who lives at the bottom, and there's never been any problem at all, we just pop our truck into four wheel drive and off we go. And this night, there were fresh tire tracks going up this hill, so I never thought twice about it. So we went up and it was no problem.. until the last 200 yards.. it was solid ice! So we kept going up it with the momentum we had and that took us about 2/3 of the way up.. then we started sliding backwards. But luckily the side stopped us because there was a little bit of snow there, just before the ditch. Well we tried a few times to get out but with no luck, Whenever we tried we would just slide backwards. so we thought we'd just try to back down to where there wasn't any ice. Well that didn't work either because we had zero control while we were on that ice. So we called up a guy in our ward that sells chains and asked him to come get us. Well, he didn't bring any chains and so when he came, the exact same thing happened to him, except he was bounced into the opposite side of the road into the other ditch, which was a good thing because this ditch was only about six inches deep. So he tried using that to get him to the top of the hill and that didn't work so he decided to try backing back down the hill using this little ditch. he got down almost all the way to where there wasn't any more ice when his tire popped out of the ditch flinging his back end across the road to where his back tire was hanging off the other ditch. So they got out, called a tow truck who then came and got both of us and we got home at about 11:00 that night. So like I said, I'll have to spare you the really exciting details for when I get home.. for moms sake! So that was our little adventure this week! As for out teaching. we were able to start officially teaching a part member family, who finally agreed to take the missionary discussions!! So we are very excited about that! There's also a few other very exciting things going on right now with our teaching that I look forward to reporting on as they unfold a little bit more. I love you all!

Monday, January 10, 2011

68th week in Spokane

This week we were at meetings for two days. a zone leader meeting and a zone meeting. It went really good, we had a lot of really good trainings, but they were both about two hours away and so with pday thrown in there too, we didn't get as much teaching done as we would have liked. On Wednesday it snowed about four inches and then by the end of the day it started to rain and it rained all the next day and then when it stopped raining the temperature dropped down to single digits and so everything turned to solid, thick ice! It was interesting going tracting! We were sliding all over the place! In our zone leader council we talked a lot about setting goals, in our mission and also in our life, it was a really good training and I'm really trying to live to meet my goals. Well, there's not much more to report on, we were able to meet with Joseph again this week and he came to church so that was really good! We got a lot of really good things lined up for this week though so that's good. Yesterday was Jessie Torkelson's one year mark from her baptism which means that she's be going to the temple really soon! So I'm way excited for that! Its gonna be a really neat experience! Well I love ya and hope everyone's doing good! Oh ya one more thing.. I hit my 18 month mark! Love ya!

Monday, January 3, 2011

67th week in Spokane

We had a great week! Probably the highest teaching week I've had in this area. And we were able to find quite a few new people to teach! All but one came from tracting so that's good! Someone I forgot to mention about last week is a guy named Joseph Black. His family used to be a part of the FLDS group in northern Arizona. His two brothers broke away from it and now live here and have since joined the church. Joseph just moved in with his brother and so now we're teaching him. It was kind of interesting at first when we were trying to figure out what to teach him about. But of course we are teaching him the normal lessons and having him read from the Book of Mormon like everyone else. He just needs to gain a testimony of the current prophet. We were also able to meet a less active member this week named Brother Brittenham. Man oh man, he is the biggest story teller I have ever ever met! He told some pretty out there stories, hopefully someday when I get home I'll be able to tell you more about it! We had a great new years eve! We went over to our ward mission leaders house because his family went out of town without him. We cooked up some crab, lobster tail, squid, and shrimp! We had a pretty good time and then we finished it off by watching the best two years! Well I wish I had a bit more time to tell you everything, but unfortunately, I don't! love ya!!