Monday, February 24, 2014

"For a long time we've been marching off to battle. In a thundering herd we feel a lot like cattle. Like a pounding beat, our aching feet aren't easy to ignore. Hey! Think of instead a girl worth fighting for." -Mulan.

Yeah, me and my Comps have been singing Disney songs this week.   That one quite often.   It is super fun, I love these guys.   

 (Elder Dean is the one not wearing glasses.... Elder Hogan is...)

California is beautiful.   A little too hot, my skin gets itchy when it gets too hot.   My skin is super dry too.

Our area is doing great.   We got 27 lessons this week, 15 of which were non-members.   We are finding a lot of good people who are interested in learning more.   And a lot of good people, who while not being interested in our message thank us for our devotion to our Lord.   We have been able to do Splits more and more often.   President Watkins expressed to me as the driver that he wants us to be doing splits nightly if we can.   Splits are when one of us goes with a member and then the four of us go out and try to see people.   It is super fun, and it lets the members experience the life of one of their missionaries.   We got to meet with a referral that we received, a man named Thad, we taught him about the Restoration, and then we walked with him down to his friends house, and then he asked her to come to Church with us (we had invited him to church in our lesson.)   His friend accepted, and so we planned a ride for them.   Sadly the following day, Sunday, we learned that they wouldn't be able to make it there, and our other investigator Paul couldn't make it either.   But when a window closes the Lord opens a window.   We got to meet with a man named Mark who asked a lot of great questions about the doctrines of the Church, and who we plan to meet again next week.   Some times all you can do is work.   "We all have work, let no one shirk, put your shoulder to the wheel."   We are continuing the work.   

My companions and I have been getting a long really well.   We laugh and really enjoy teaching together.   We teach really well, and we teach a lot of great people.   We have been hoking about wether I will get transferred next week.   They are coming up, and looking at my track record I might not stay put.   But that is okay, we work hard together and live for the day, and for the good people that the Lord has put in our care.   

I know that hard work will pay off, eventually.   That referral Thad, we had tried to see him for almost three weeks before we finely caught him.   I was reading about Joseph Smiths First Vision, and it occurred to me that when he called upon God to deliver him out of the grasp of the enemy of all righteousness, he wasn't freed right away.   He was freed after he was ready to sink into despair, after his own efforts to free himself were exhausted.   The Lord will let us go through hard things so that we can grow, and then when can do no more of our own power, he will give us more of His power then we had before.   Brad Wilcox said that "Grace is not the finishing touch, but the Finishers touch.   It is not a buster engine that kicks in after all we can do, but is with us every step of the way."   It was by trusting in Gods grace that Joseph knew he could call upon God for answers and help, and by the love and grace of God that that help and answers were given.   We all need grace and the Lords help in this our lives.   I know that we have that grace, and that as we recognize our need for it we can learn better how to use it to change us into what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know we can become.

We shared a message this week to a family about Helaman 5:12 about building on the Savior and being able to weather the storms of life.   Well the grandpa of the family said something I like.   The verse talks about the rain and floods of life.   The grandpa said "Don't worry about the Rain.   Put on a rain coat."   I like that.   Put on your coat.

The only word on my visa is from Elder Stimpson, the only member of my MTC Zone to make it there.   He said that Sister Cook says that they have stopped calling foreign missionaries to Zimbabwe and that they are still having problems getting new visas, but they are able to renew visas just fine.   Prospects don't look that good for the visa coming very soon.   But I will stay hopeful and work hard.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Wake up, Rise and shine, its another fabulous morning in the Big Apple! Lets go! Yea not for me. I'm calling in sick. What? I found another brown spot on my shoulder, right there. Melmen, you know its all in your head?"

Wow this was a good week.   I am loving being here, and the work is going great.   

We had an investigator come to church yesterday!   His name is Paul (not the same Paul from Cambrian Park.)   He was only able to stay for Sacrament Meeting, but at least he came.   We had two other investigators who came to Church last week, but we passed them off to the Sisters, for convenience.   We do a lot of cleaning up the highways here.   President Watkins wants us to get ten hours of service a week, so we do Garbage Man a lot.   It was so cool, we were cleaning up the streets and this guy rides past on a bike and tells us thanks.   Then he rides away, and about 30 seconds later he comes back!   And he is all like, "I had to come back, you never see this."   We spent like 15 minuets talking with him, got his contact information and he told us to call him, and said he would love to meet with us.   It is so cool seeing the way that the Lord puts us in the path of those who are being prepared to hear His message.   The guy's name was Nicolas, and he bore a powerful testimony about Jesus Christ and Miracles.   It was so cool.   And then he told us that to him it is very important that we were in a group of three, because he said threes are powerful.   He then told us like what he saw as our personalities, he said Elder Dean was wisdom and knowledge, and Elder Hogan was joy and laughter and he said I was powerful.   What is cool is Elder Dean is super smart, Elder Hogan has a great sense of humor, and he was like the fifth person to tell me that I am powerful and have a powerful presence.   It was cool, and we will be trying to get into contact with him.   Our ward council gave us a list of less actives that they want us to go see, so that will fill our weeks with people and names.   YES!!!!   The only bad thing was that Elder Hogan was feeling sick the past few days and threw up a few times, so we will watch him and make sure he is healthy.   

My companions and I are doing really great.   We have a great friendship, and we laugh a lot and have a lot of fun.   But we never lose sight of our Sacred calling.   We have been doing a lot of spilts as of late, meaning that one of us goes with members for a few hours, helping them have missionary experiences of their own, and since I am the only driver I get to spend a lot of time with my companions in a one on one situation, and it has really helped us learn how to work together.   

I have a Testimony of Prophets.   The Bible tells us that "Surly the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.   We were watching a video last night about the life of Joseph Smith.   And the more I think about what he and his brother Hyrum went through from being persecuted, to being martyred at Carthridge Jail the more I know that if they had not been called of God, had Joseph not seen that Father and Son, had Hyrum not known his brother was a Prophet they would not have gone through what they went through.   But more then that, every time I go through their story, every time I learn about what they did, I have my testimony reaffirmed to me.   I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God.   I know that he restored the Church of Christ to its fullest.   I know that he was given the Authority to act in the name of God to bless those around him, and I know that I have that authority as well.   And I know that Thomas S Monson is now our Prophet.   I know he leads us in the ways of the Lord, and that he will never be allowed to lead us astray.   I know that we must follow the Prophet, and that if we do we will be safe.   "When it starts to rain, it is too late to start building the Ark."

Thomas S Monson once said "The Redeemer chose imperfect men to teach the ways to perfection.   He did so then, he dose so now."

Gordon B Hinckely once said "One way to know the Church is true is  because if it wasn't 19 year old missionaries would have ran it into the ground centuries ago."   

I am not perfect, but that is okay.   Him who the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.   There have been a lot of times where my companions and I have bumbled or made mistakes, but that is okay.   We don't convert people, the Holy Spirit does.   I love to be out here, I love seeing how even when I mess up, the Lord covers for me. 

"Just one more chorus and we're out."
"This one, this one, oh! Tony, he don't speaka English very good."
What you need is a log puller.   I said a log puller!"

What are these from.   You ought to know.       

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"I knew I should have taken the left turn at Albuquerque." -Bugs Bunny

Well this week was a great week.   I got some stuff to say, so let us get right to it. 

The area is doing good this week.   We had an investigator and her daughter come to Church yesterday, and that went well.   They went to all three hours, and they really seemed to be interested and to be enjoying what they were experiencing.   They accepted a Book of Mormon, and the Sisters are working on setting up another time to meet with them.   Since there isn't a man in the house it is easier for the Sisters to teach them then for us Elders.   We have had a lot of great lessons this week, and we were able to give a sick brother a blessing yesterday.   I am beginning to learn the area, and driving in Cali isn't so bad.   But people here don't use their blinkers so much, so it is a little like Washington.   We had a Zone Conference and a Mission Conference, both of which were great, and I will go into the Mission Conference in more depth latter.  

My companions and I are really doing well together.   We are working on getting better at inviting people to baptism, because if we don't invite they can't use their agency to decide to say yes or no. We had a talk last night or the night before about how we need to "assume goodwill"  and make sure that we show our gratitude for each other and be open and honest with each other.   We were doing good at that anyway but it was something we felt we needed to discuss.   We go jogging every other day in the morning, and either I am going to die from it, or it will make me stronger.   I am not sure which.   

I have a lot to say as far as testimonies go.   I have a testimony that the Lord honors fasts.   I don't know if I said this last week, but if I did I don't care.   California has had 63 days without rain.   We were in a terrible drought.   They were talking water rationing, and all this other stuff.   Then we had a fast for rain, and it wasn't just us.   We invited all those who are religious to fast or pray for rain.   This past week we have received rain that made me feel like I was back in Washington.   Another reason I have a testimony of fasting is this; this past week I was informed that my Pop-Pop was in the hospital for surgery because he had fallen and broken his hip.   I was terrified for my Pop-Pop.  And so the night I was informed of it I started to fast for him.   The next night I was told that he was doing okay.   That they were working with him, and that everything should be good from here on out. I know that if you have faith and pray and fast, wither it is for some huge change in the weather to bring rain to a drought stricken land, or for the health and safety of someone that you love Heavenly Father will honor that fast and your faith, and bless you and those you are fasting for with what they need.   I don't know fully the condition of my Pop-Pop, but I have been told that my Momma is down there with him, and that gives me comfort.   I know Heavenly Father loves us and will NEVER let us down.   

We had Mission Conference this week, on Saturday in fact.   And we were blessed to receive guidance from an Apostle of the Lord.   Elder Quinten L Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, came and spoke to us as a whole Mission.   They shared many things that were amazingly spiritual, and the Spirit and love that they had for us was amazing.   We were all invited to shake their hands, and they had a warm smile and friendly words for all of us.   Elder Cook testified to us that we are where we are supposed to be.   He told us of the process that they go through to call us to our areas of service, and he said he knew that the Spirit would not let them call us to the wrong place.   He testified that for one reason or another the Lord needs us to be right here, right now.   He ended his talk by bestowing on us a blessing, and Apostalic Blessing.   The Spirit in that room was so peaceful and powerful when he blessed us.   He blessed us and all those that we love.   I know that he is an Apostle of God, a special witness of Jesus Christ.   

I love you all and I miss you all. 

"When's the last time you got oiled?   I can't really say with my kid sister right here."
"Get out of here before I call the brute squad!   I'm on the brute squad.   You are the brute squad!'
"I think bowling with porcupines wasn't a good idea.  Yep got to up there with bobbing for snapping turtles."
"I'll get that arrow pretty boy, and I'll do it with my shirt on."

Do you know those ones?   If I am repeating ones I am sorry, it is hard to remember which ones I have used.        

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pictures.. Feb. 2014

Fist bump for Darth.

 Elders Mercer and Sant.   Elder Sant is the shorter one on the right.

Big Sur selfie.

 Elder Giles is in a blue sweat shirt, Elder Fakava is the short Tongan and the other one is Elder Horlacher my companion.

"Well thats a big Surprise! Oh that's an incredible Surprise! I think I'm gonna have a heart attack and die from that Surprise!"

Well this week has been full of Surprises.   A great week but lots of stuff happened.   

I am in another new area.   I was emergency transferred out to Seaside Monterey so that I could help an Elder who needed a companion while he waited for his actual companion.   So I was there for two weeks, and I loved it.   The people were great, and the area was beautiful.   It was a great experience.   And then at the end of two weeks I was going to go back to Cambrian Park.   

But, I was Surprised with the information that I wasn't going to Cambrian Park.   I was being emergency transferred in my zone to Cherry Glen/Dry Creek areas, because the Elders there needed a driver.   So I went to mission office and I filled out the papers to gain what is called Driving Privileges, so that I could drive.   That took some time, in which I bid farewell to Elder Horlacher for the time being.   After that I went with my new companion Elder Dean and the Zone Leader Elder Mohl to work in our area.   They were on exchanges and at the end of the exchange we went and picked up Elder Hogan.   And I have been driving ever since.   (Mom, please don't freak out.   I am being careful and President trusts me,or he would be letting me drive.)    So now I cover two wards.   Dry Creek and Cherry Glen.   I honestly don't know much about them.   I only got here on Saturday. But from what I have seen so far they are great areas to be in and I am with great Elders ( I knew them before the transfer that sent me here) and the wards gave me a nice big warm welcome.   I am going to enjoy being here, I just know it.

My companions are Elder Jackob Dean, and Daniel Hogan.   Both of which are from Utah.   They are both in the second half of their missions and are both very experienced in the work.   Elder Dean is super athletic, to the point of hauling us out of bed to go running in the morning.   You know what they say "My momma always says, What doesn't kill ya makes you stronger." "That's the stupidest thing I have ever heard."   (Can anybody name that movie?    Elder Hogan is a Whovian (fan of Doctor Who which will make this very fun) and a Brownie (or a fan of the The Ponies) and we laugh and quote Doctor Who a lot.   I love being here already.

I have a Testimony that this is the Lords work, not one persons.   At the beginning of my Mission, I was told that President likes to leave people in one are for about six months.   I have had three months in the Field and I have already been in four areas, and had 7 companions.   The Lord knows where he wants me, and when he wants me to be there.   So I have learned, or at least am trying to learn, that where He wants me to serve is my Home, and my Zion.   I have seen his hand in my mission, helping me and my companions to know what to say and do to help people.   He blesses us in so many ways.   I have seen on days when it seems no one wants to talk to us, and everyone gets mad at us for trying are the days that He sends a member family from out of state to holler at us out of their car because they want to say "hi" and give us fruit snacks because they can.   The Lord blesses us with what we need, not always what we want.   But he always blesses us.

I heard a quote this week, yesterday in fact, from a Sister here in my zone.   I really liked it and it rang true.   It said "You don't need to tell God how big your storms are, when you can tell your storms how big your God is."   And I liked that.   It is true, often times in life we get caught up on our problems, and worry to much about what is happening to us, instead of putting our trust in the One watching over us.   I know that we all face storms in life, big or small, but I also know that God sees every problem, every storm, and every tear that comes into our lives.   And I know that as we trust in Him and lean on His arm for our strength, we can endure any storm that comes our way.

I love you all.

"At ten you got to get a girdle from some Amazons"
"What a Woman!"
"Nymphs! They can't keep their hands off me."
"I thought I was the cute one?   NO you're the fat stupid one with the big mouth!   What are you saying exactly?"

Can you name those?   This week is easy.   Every other one is from the same movie.   So do you know who says it?