Monday, February 29, 2016

Return and Report, Amy, Phyllis, an exchange, and Michelle!‏

Transfers are this week and it's quite possible that I could already get a new companion because Elder Yeager has been in Centreville for a pretty long time, but anything can happen. This week was solid!
We had a busy and fun P-day last Monday! First we got to visit this huge farm. This guy that some other Elders met owns a huge farm much bigger than this picture! Reminded me a little bit of being in Moses Lake, Washington with all my family.
Some elders in our zone! Front row: Elder Yeager, Holdaway, Snow, Evans, and Krambule. Back Row: Elder Stenquist, Belnap, Hall, Duvall, and Meldrum.
Didn't smell that great but I thought of the words of Grandma Duvall, "It smells like roses!"


After our visit at this farm, we drove a little bit further out into the countryside and went on a hike. It was pretty fun! Here's a few pictures from it:

We ate dinner at a members house on Tuesday, and the father is an outrageous Star Wars fan. He owns over a quarter million dollars worth of collectibles, memorabilia, costumes, autographs and a ton of random little things organized in their basement. It was crazy how much stuff he had!! He plans on selling it all a few years down the road so he and his wife can travel the world a little bit and visit some places they've always wanted to go. He let us snap a couple pics with his light sabers.

On Thursday, we had our "Return and Report" meeting for all of the new missionaries. We received some good training on how to do effective weekly and daily planning, and how to teach simply yet powerfully. It was sweet to be with everyone that I went through the MTC with. That meeting was probably the last time our whole MTC group will be together in a small setting like that for the rest of our mission. It was cool to hear about some of their experiences and what they've learned throughout the first transfer.

Thursday night we went to do some service for a lady named Phyllis. She needed some help moving some stuff around her house. We met her a couple weeks ago and told her we are always willing to help out with anything. She gave us a call and we headed over! We didn't know much about her other than she met a couple missionaries a few years ago. So we helped her out with moving some things up and down stairs in her house and wanted to share a message with her before we left. We ended up talking for about 45 minutes about the church and what makes it different from other churches. Turns out, she watches BYU TV all the time and enjoys watching the shows and conferences on there! She actually had a Book of Mormon from a long time ago but it has been in a box for a while. She found it and we read a few verses with her and taught her about where it came from and how the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. She hasn't had much interaction with the church in a few years, but has been to different holiday events that were at the church years ago and she has some LDS friends. She didn't make it t church yesterday but we're hopeful for next week! She also wants her to meet her son and try to help him overcome some struggles he's working with.

On Wednesday we went over to Amy and Kadija's house, along with their home teacher, and we taught them a lesson on how they can be missionaries too and share the gospel with their friends and family.
We were supposed to take them to the Temple Visitor's Center in DC yesterday, but ended up not going because the members who were going to take us up there had something come up. We might go up there next Sunday. Amy started her FamilySearch account yesterday and will work on finding names to take to the temple on the 9th!

I went on an exchange with our district leader, Elder Bradley, on Friday and had a great time we taught a lesson about Jesus Christ and the Atonement to a small Filipino family. They were super friendly and loved learning and they had a lot of really funny questions that we answered. They live in pretty humble circumstances and as we were about to leave she told us that she prepared a meal for us. She made
an interesting Filipino dish that tasted pretty good! I'm not sure what exactly I was eating, but it was some sort of soup and rice. This little family didn't have much, but they were so willing and excited to share a meal with us. It was sweet to be able to meet them and talk about the gospel with them. There was a slight language barrier because their English isn't the greatest, but they express that they felt the spirit as we talked about Jesus Christ.

On Sunday night we taught another lesson to Michelle. We taught her about part of the Plan of Salvation, focusing on Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and on baptism. It was a sweet lesson! We extended the
invitation for her to prepare to be baptized on March 19th and there was a few seconds of awkward silence that followed. She then responded by saying "Will that be enough time?" We assured her that we will help her prepare as she learns more and acts upon the messages we share with her. We explained the importance of setting a date as a goal to work towards and she felt a little more comfortable with that date after the Bishop talked for a couple minutes more about baptism. It's awesome that our bishop is so willing and supportive in our missionary efforts letting us teach in his home. The spirit is always strong
there and it's super awesome being able to involve his kids in the lessons. We are so excited for Michelle and can't wait to help her reach her goal as we continue to help her grow closer to Jesus Christ!

On another note, one thing that stuck out to me in my studies this week was a talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin "Come What May, and Love It." Elder Wirthlin said, "But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life. If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness."

He went on to explain things we can do to react well to adversity. First he encourages us to laugh! Laughing is one the greatest antidotes for sorrow and despair.

Then he encourages us to have a more eternal perspective, reminding us of the words of the Savior to Joseph while in Liberty Jail: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions
shall be but a small moment; “And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

He also reminds us of the principle of compensation: "The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be  returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude."

The last thing he advises us to do when faced with adversity is to trust in the Lord. Elder Wirthlin stated that "The Lord Jesus Christ is our partner, helper, and advocate. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be successful. If we do our part, He will step in. He who descended below all things will come to our aid. He will comfort and uphold us. He will strengthen us in our weakness and fortify us in our distress. He will make weak things become strong."

I love everything he taught about facing adversity. Remembering to laugh is important. When we laugh, our days are so much better and those around us can benefit from it as well. As we strive to have an eternal perspective we will know that everything we go through truly is for our benefit. As we understand the principle of compensation and as we put our faith and trust in the Lord, we will be able to better endure through the trials we face in this life. I'm grateful for modern day prophets and apostles that lead and guide the Church with their counsel and teachings. I loved this talk from Elder Wirthlin and I know that it's through Christ that we can not just endure through life, but enjoy life as we endure it.

There was a meeting about to go on in the White House today when we were outside it, so there were a bunch of officials walking in through an entrance by the Treasury. There were all these secret service men all over the place. While we were walking by the National Treasury (before this picture was taken) right next to the White House, this man stopped us and asked us a couple quick questions about the Washington DC LDS Temple. He said he was from Illinois and he was about to go into a meeting with President Obama in about 15 minutes! So he was in a rush but he said he wanted to talk to us, so he had us write down our names and number and he took a picture of us and said he will call us later and explain everything. We were so confused as he was saying all of this. But we thought it was cool that we met this random guy that was about to go talk with Obama! His name was Doug and he looked pretty official, but we have no idea who he is haha. Anyways, we thought it was cool, and we'll see if he calls us later!

I'm looking forward to this week and I hope you all have a great week! Love you all and don't forget to laugh!

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