Monday, August 29, 2016

Week #50

Hey Mis!

Glad to hear you had a decent week. I'm glad you're settling into your job and apartment! That's cool you got to see your friends! I remember when I had friends, but now I'm a missionary haha. I'm glad you like your ward too! I'd actually hate that ward haha, but I'm glad you like it! My only student ward had about a 50/50 split, but the pre-mi to RM ratio was 2:64,738,875,261. It was just me and a kid from Georgia haha. Thanks for being willing to send me a package too! No rush for when it gets here.

I had a pretty good week! I did an exchange with Elder Demetropoulos, one of the elders in Blythe. He came up to Parker and worked in my area. It was an interesting exchange. He's sort of a goofball, but he does work really hard. We had a lesson with a guy named Marcus Tuchawena (too-shoo-way-na). He's a really good guy! He's in a band, he's pretty cool. We taught him about the BoM. His uncle just passed away and was a member of the Church, and his uncle always talked to him about it and told him to read it, but he never did. Elder Demetropoulos and I taught together pretty well, so it was cool to see. Later in the week when Elder Rigby was back, we went back to his house. We knocked, and his grandpa opened the door. His grandpa was a less active member. We sat down with him, his wife, and Marcus, and we chatted for a little bit to try and break the ice. As we were talking, the grandpa, Ron, started to break down. He and his wife had been raising Marcus, they hadn't been to church in years, and he said that he feels responsible for Marcus not being taught the gospel growing up. He says that he feels that he'll be accountable for that one day, and so he wants us to teach Marcus the gospel, and Marcus agreed. It was a suuuuper spiritual experience, seeing the testimony of this man who hadn't been active in the church for so long. But his testimony was still there!! So we're going to see Marcus on Tuesday, and we're excited!!

We also visited with Josh and Iliana Grenwalt this week. We were on splits, and I was with a member named Bro. Lamb. Bro. Lamb and I taught the Plan of Salvation, and they soaked it up like a sponge! We invited Josh to be baptized on a specific date that he chose, and he said "how about sometime in October?" Elder Rigby and I had planned on inviting Josh to be baptized Oct. 1st beforehand, so it worked out perfectly! Funny how things work like that! There was also one time this week where Rigby and I were visiting people in a housing complex called 100 Homes. In the middle of the complex, there were some basketball courts (where we often pros-balled). Rigby and I approached a house, and as we walked up to it, we saw a younger guy shooting hoop. He was Native, had a black Crompton SnapBack on, shirtless, wearing some sagging shorts and white socks and high tops. As we knocked on the door and waited for the answer, we watched him shoot hoop. Shot after shot, he missed, and missed badly. We knocked on the door again, and continued watching. He still kept missing. Finally, he gathers himself and walks to the free throw line. He composes himself, and then shoots a free throw. It ends up being a brick that bounces right back to him. Frustrated, he yells, and he chucks the basketball back at the hoop, turns around, and starts to walk away. As he walks away, the ball hits the backboard perfectly, and comes straight back to the guy walking away. BAM! The ball hits him right in the back of the head, and he falls to the ground. Rigby and I lost it!! It was soooooo funny. We were laughing for a solid five minutes. Luckily, the guy didn't see us, but it was hilarious!! Easily the funniest thing I had seen the whole month. We wished we had caught it on video!

Saturday was an interesting experience. We went to visit Ronnie Thomas at 10 am. As we pull up, we see a car already out front of his house. We knock, and Ronnie answers. "Ahhhh man," he says, "the JWs are here, they sort of just dropped in. Can you come back a little later?" We told him yeah, but we also asked him if he had been reading the Book of Mormon and Bible and praying, which he said he had. We told him we would come back in about an hour. He said okay and we said goodbye. We left and visited some people. We came back a little later, this time at around 11:30, and that car was STILL THERE. We knocked on the door, and Ronnie answered again. "They're still here!" he said. "Dang Ronnie, that's a long visit don't ya think?" I said. "Yeah I know!" he said, "but I think we're almost done. Can you come back later today?" Rigby and I looked at each other. "Okay," I said, "but make sure you keep reading the Book of Mormon and the King James Version of the Bible, okay Ronnie? Remember, they do compliment each other, and bring the fullness of the gospel together! You can always pray about it too, Ronnie, because God will always tell you what is actually truth, okay bud?" I heard a sigh from Ronnie's living room. "Okay, sounds great!" Ronnie said. We left. (I can be a little snarky sometimes.)

We came back later that night at about 8:30pm. As we walked up to the door, we saw a "PRIVATE PROPERTY: NO TRESPASSING" sign on Ronnie's door. So, we knocked. Ronnie answers, and his face lights up. "Hey guys, come on in!" We walk in and sat down. He told us that the Jehovah Witnesses that were there put that sign up, and said that that'll keep people away from him. We were mildly amused, and then Ronnie told us after we left the second time, the Jehovah's Witnesses started to tell Ronnie all these bad things about Mormons, and how false our beliefs were, and about how we don't use the Bible. Ronnie said that he didn't like the way they bad-mouthed us at all, and that it wasn't very Christ-like. We agreed. So, Ronnie allowed us to make an alteration to the No Trespassing sign (which I'll send a picture in a separate email), we shook his hand, and we left. Ronnie has been doing very well lately, and he's getting even closer to baptism! We're super excited.

That was my week! Pretty crazy stuff. We have a baptism this Saturday which I'm stoked about! It's a part-member family that's getting baptized. Parker hasn't had a baptism for a while. The font has been so dry that there were cockroaches in it when we cleaned it last week. Yick. Things have gotten better in this area! I'm excited. I hope you have a great week!

Love you Mis!

"We thought the sign was funny, so Ronnie let us alter it a bit. :)" (Sent 8/29/16)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Week #49

Hey Mis!

That's a busy week! I'm glad you guys made it safe to Utah. That's cool that you got to see a lot of family too! Are you excited for the new semester? How many semesters do you have left? As for the package, transfers aren't for two weeks. I'm mostly sure that I'll stay for another transfer to finish training, but who knows. I'd most likely send the package to the address I'm at now. 

This week was eventful! We visited with a part member family named the Paddocks. We're teaching their two youngest kids. We taught them the Plan of Salvation, and they loved it! They really like sports, and so we compared it to trying out for a basketball team, and how it was like either making Varsity, Junior Varsity, or being cut. It was a stretch, but it worked. At the end of the lessons one of the kids named Miranda kept saying "I wanna make varsity! I wanna make varsity!" Haha it was pretty funny. We've been meeting with Ronnie Thomas this week almost every day. He's doing well! He just got a job at McDonalds, and he's super happy about it. We even surprised him one day and stopped into McDonalds for dinner, and he saw us and was like "my brothers!!" Hahaha. He had to work this Sunday, so he wasn't able to come to church, but he said he's going to talk with his boss this week about getting next Sunday off! We're excited, he's doing well! 

We're also teaching another part member family, two 9 year old boys named Jiovanny and Julysses. We brought Bro. Penn teaching with us, and he loves kids!! He's a really funny guy too, so it worked out! We taught them the WoW and the 10 commandments with the hand motions to remember them, and it was really fun! The kids are super energetic, so they really enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun! We also had a great lesson with the Grenwalts, a less-active, part-member family. We had been teaching Josh, who isn't a member, and he's absorbed it like a sponge! Bishop was really intrigued by them, and so he wanted to come to an appointment with them. So he came along and we taught about the Book of Mormon. Bishop testified suuuuper strongly about the Book of Mormon, it was awesome!! We're seeing them again Wednesday, and we're
planning on inviting them to be baptized. I'm stoked! 

Thursday night was suuuuper sketchy. We took one of our ward missionaries who is a senior in high school, Jared Nelson, to 50 homes for an appointment. Sadly, there was no answer at the door. They have monsoon season here in August, so the winds were kicking up and there was a little rain off and on. When we left the doorstep, we saw a guy walking, so we waved to him. He waved back and said "I haven't seen you guys around here in a long time!" We went up to him and started chatting. He was Native American, short, but stocky. He had an old ball cap on, and some a gray tee shirt and some jeans that were a little beat up. As we were talking, he asked us what we believed. We started to teach him about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration, and suddenly his face went cold. He looked at me and said, "This is bull****, you're lying! I know you're lying because of the storm that Grandfather has sent!" Elder Rigby, Jared, and I, looked at each other all kinds of confused. We tried to explain more, but he was like "It's too windy, come in." So, we went in. His house was dimly lit, there was a couch that was pretty worn, with a table in front and a soft shake off to the side. The three of us sat on the couch, while the guy sat in the chair. He sat us down, and then he was super friendly. He introduced himself as Mr. Wilson, and offered us some water. We politely declined, and we asked him about his beliefs. He explained that he believed in the Native way, and he talked about how the white people stole land from him and his people. He talked about how they forced religion on his people and how it wasn't right, how he had killed two people and had gone to jail twice, and how he has firearms lying all around the house, with a .38 in a drawer in the corner of the room where we were sitting. He then asked us what our beliefs were. I started to tell him that we believe that God is our Heavenly Father, that he loves us, and that we're given different trials for our learning and understanding. He looked at me dead in the eye and said "That's bull****, quit preachin'. What else?" We then explained to him about the Book of Mormon, how it was another testament of Jesus Christ, and that it was translated by Joseph Smith. "That's bull****, quit preachin'. What else?" This went on a couple more times, and then he reiterated what his beliefs were. Every time we answered his question, he thought we were "preachin'". Finally, he thanked us for coming by, and he showed us the door. We shook hands, and he said to come back any time. We stepped outside the house, and it was a straight-up monsoon. Things were flying through the air, it was insane!! Rigby, Jared, and I ran to the car, and we started to drive home. Even though it was terrible weather, we were able to make it home safely. We dropped Jared off, and he was like "That was super sketchy, but awesome. I need to come out more!" Haha it was pretty funny. It definitely was sketchy, but oddly enough I didn't feel in danger at all. Even when he was talking about the people he killed and the guns he had in house, I didn't feel scared at all in his house. Afterwards was when we realized how sketchy it was. It made for a good story though!

Sunday night was crazy too. We had another ward missionary out, Hunter, and we were going to visit a less active family that Bishop wanted us to visit. When we were walking there, we saw a guy smoking a cigarette, so we stopped and talked with him. His name was Andy Ramirez, and he was legally blind! It was super cool. He said he was raised Catholic, but he never really felt good being at church there. But he said that he went to a couple funerals at the LDS building, and he felt a "special spirit" there. So we invited him to church. He said that he's a stubborn guy, so he said maybe one of these Sunday's coming up. He talked about how his aunt and cousin is Mormon, and as he talked more about his family, we realized that he was related to Hunter! That's Parker though honestly, everyone is related to everyone haha. But it was pretty cool! The more we talked with Andy, the more he talked himself into coming to church. He told us that he'll come
this Sunday! Hopefully he will, but we'll see!

Saturday was a rough day. We had a lot of cancellations, plus I was thinking a lot about Mom. I was actually trying to find a place to get a slurpee, but there was no 7 eleven anywhere near Parker haha. It's crazy that it has been a year now, but it's definitely been a testimony builder to me that overcoming these difficult trials is possible through the Atonement of Christ. I've relied on it a lot on my mission, and I've continued to see these many miracles. I still miss her, but I know that she's doing the same work, just on the other side!

That was pretty much my week! Busy, but productive. This area has come a long way, and we're hoping to see the fruit of our labors soon!

How's Marshall and your friends doing? Do you like your boss at your new job? Have a great week!

Love you Mis!


Monday, August 8, 2016

Week #48

Hey Mis!

Training has been different, but fun. Yep, the 12 week program is still going strong! It's a good refresher for me too to re-learn and practice the fundamentals, it's helped me a lot! 

We had a busy week this week! It started with an exchange Tuesday. I went to the ZLs area with Elder Romero. He's from Colorado, and he's been out 3 months longer than me. He's a good guy. At the end of the night, on the way home we stopped at McDonald's, and after we got our food at the drive thru window, he gave a pamphlet to the guy at the window! Haha. It was pretty funny, I got it on video. Rigby was with the other ZL in Parker, and they went and visited a guy named Ronnie Thomas that we used to teach. We got ambushed by his pastor, and since then, he hasn't wanted to talk to us. Elder Gerloff, the other ZL, used to serve in Parker and taught Ronnie, so they stopped by. Ronnie was super happy to see him! They set up a time to visit again, and Rigby and I have visited him every day since. He's on pace to be baptized next month! 

We also got to see the Diaz family again. They're doing super well! We're going to teach them tonight, which I'm super excited for. We met with the Grenwalt family this week too, Josh and Iliana. Iliana is a member but hasn't gone to church since she was little, and Josh isn't a member. They had been coming to church for a few weeks, and we were trying to figure out the best time to start teaching them. Well, we got a referral through a text that said that Josh Grenwalt requested a Bible! 30 minutes later we were at their doorstep. Josh wasn't home, but Iliana was. She was super excited to see us, and we gave her a Bible and a Book of Mormon, and set up a time to visit the next day. The next day, we taught the Restoration to them, and they soaked it up like a sponge! It was awesome. We're seeing them again this week, and I'm excited!! 

Friday was the new missionary temple trip. It was a long day driving to and from, but it was fun! We carpooled with Elder Ryder and Elder Smith, and they're really good guys. It was a fun trip, I'll send pics in a separate email. This weekend was also stake conference, and President Cavalieri from our mission presidency spoke. It was a fun weekend! It's neat going to other people's stake conferences besides back home, it's cool to see how it's still run the same anywhere that you go!

That was my week! I hope you have fun in Utah, especially with your new job. Travel safely!

Love you Mis!

Contacting at the drive thru (Sent 8/15/16)

Ice cream after stake conference (Sent 8/15/16)
Temple!! (Sent 8/15/16)
Temple!! (Sent 8/15/16)

Week #47

Hey Mis!

Training is fun. It's a lot of work, but it's fun! Sounds like a decent week that you had. Could've been worse! (Trev's email got cut off here, but he said that this next part is describing Elder Weber, an elder in his zone...) He's from Cedar City, UT, and he's 25. He decided to wait a little to serve a mission. He came to Parker for the day, and we had a lot of fun! We taught some good lessons, and I got to know him pretty well. His dad passed away like 6 weeks ago, while he was out on his mission, so we had a really good talk about it. He seemed to open up to me a lot, which was cool. 

We started to teach a PMF (part member family) this week! They have two sons, Jiovanny and Julysses, that aren't members. We taught them the Restoration, and invited them to be baptized, and they accepted! They'll be getting baptized in a couple weeks. 

We had interviews with President Snow on Friday! It was good to see him. I don't know why, but my interviews with him are usually really short haha. Like 5-10 minutes. I'd like to think it's because I haven't done anything stupid yet... but then again, who knows? We had some fun during the trainings at interviews though, which was cool. 

Later that day, we took a kid named Hunter De Leon out with us. He just graduated and is putting in his papers to serve soon! As we were out, we were having problems finding people to talk to, so he said "we could visit my cousin. He wants to read the Book of Mormon, but doesn't have one..." Before he finished his sentence we went to his cousin's house. Hunter knocked on the door, and his cousin came out. They hugged, and Hunter introduced us. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and we talked with him about it. He was super happy, and he said he would start reading that night! We're going to teach him at Hunter's house Saturday! 

On Saturday, we went to visit a potential investigator named Stella. When we pulled up to her house, she was just leaving. We talked with her, and she said she was going to help set up for an event. We asked if she needed help, and she said she did! She gave us the address, and told us to be there at 11:30am. So, at 11:30 we pulled up to the place. It was sort of just a random building in town. We didn't really know what it was, so we rang the door bell. This middle aged lady answered the door, and gave us a funny look. "Can I help you?". "We're here to help Stella set up," we said. "Okay! Come on in." She opened the door and followed her in. As we walked in, we started to smell cigarette smoke. We turn the corner, and we see a bunch of TVs on, and people sitting up front, drinking. Then it hit us... we just walked into a bar. A bunch of guys looked at us funny. One of the older guys even got up, walked over to us, and started to act big. Me and Rigby walked right by him, and the lady that answered the door came back with the owner. We told the owner we were here to help Stella. "Well, when we showed up to set up, someone else had already set anything up. But thanks anyways!" she said. "No worries!" we said, and we started to walk out. The guy that was acting all big followed us out the door. He kept trying to get near us, it was pretty funny. After we left and the door closed, me and Rigby just busted up laughing. It sounded like a start to a bad joke, "so, two Mormon missionaries walk into a bar..." 

Sunday was AWESOME! We had been working with the Diaz family for a while now. Sis. Diaz works at the local casino, and couldn't get Sunday's off, and the Diaz's love to do everything as a family, so it was tough for them to come to church. We hadn't heard from them for a couple weeks, when Sunday morning, we pull up to the church, and we see a family of four walk into the building. We pull up to the church, and walk in. Sure enough, it was the Diaz's!!! Sis. Diaz took up a job at the school district, and now she has Sunday's off! We set up a time to see them tonight, so now we'll get to help them more!! I'm super excited! There's also a part member family named the Grenwalts that have been coming to church. We're going to start teaching them this week!!

I hope you're doing well! 

Love you Mis!

"Rigby, a mini missionary named Weston, Elder Gerloff (ZL), me, and Elder Romero (ZL)" (Sent 8/8/16)
"Look at this sketchy house we knocked" (Sent 8/8/16)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week #46

Hey Mis!

How's the ward doing? Any new missionaries? Do you go out teaching with them much? I wish I did that more back home. Even if I did an hour a week, it would've been awesome. This has been the most tiring week of my mission, but super fun at the same time! There was so much going on this week, and a lot of traveling! On Tuesday we drove to Dolan Springs where transfers were taking place, and I dropped off Elder Peterson. He wasn't my favorite companion, but it has been fun to see him grow and change for the better. After I dropped him off, I spent the rest of the day with Elder Ryder, who is serving in Golden Valley, near Kingman. He was training too, so we were companions for the day. He has a really cool area, a lot of good members, and a lot of people who were interested in the gospel! We were driving down the road on Tuesday, and he said that they had been struggling to find more people to teach, and he asked me for advice. I half-jokingly told him that sometimes when we're driving and we see someone walking alongside the road, we'll pullover and talk to them. He thought it was interesting, and that he had never tried it before. We drove for another 10-15 minutes, and we saw a guy walking down the street. So, Elder Ryder looked at me and asked, "How do you do it?". And before I could answer, he pulled to the side near the guy and rolled down MY window. I was shocked he just pulled over like that, but I street contacted the guy anyways. It ended up being really cool. It turns out he lives right around the corner from Elder Ryder's house, and that he used to talk to missionaries, and he wanted to know more. So, we got his information, gave him a Book of Mormon, invited him to read the intro, and set up a time to come by. He thanked us, and we parted ways. As we drove for a few minutes, there was an awkward silence in the car. Then, Elder Ryder said, "I can't believe that worked!!!" It was pretty funny. That night, we planned for the next day, and we had some time left over. So, we watched a couple of the Book of Mormon cartoons. My favorite was the Tree of Life cartoon. It was kinda cheesy, but funny haha. Nephi got punched in the face as he tried to help someone stay by the tree. I don't remember that being in the scriptures!!! 

On Wednesday, we drove into Vegas, and we went to pick up our new missionaries. Elder Ryder and I were both super excited, but nervous at the same time. We waited for about a half our in the chapel, and the. The greenies arrived. We saw the list of new missionaries, and there were 12 elders and 8 sisters. 2 of the elders were from Utah. As you know about my opinion of Utahans, I was realllllllly hoping I didn't get either of the guys from Utah. Elder Ryder was hoping the same thing. So the meeting started, and President started to announce the people. Elder Ryder got called before me. He got Elder Smith, out of Logan, UT. Then, my name got called. President announced that my trainee would be Elder Rigby. Elder Rigby was out of OREM, UTAH. Of all the missionaries, Ryder and I got both the Utahans. As we talked with them throughout the day, they turned out to be really cool guys. Elder Rigby played football when he was in high school and wrestled. He just graduated this year, so it's a little weird training someone who graduated 2 years behind me. It made me feel super old 💀💀After we picked up our greenies, we decided to stay in Vegas to save miles. So, me, Rigby, Ryder, and Smith all worked with Elder Leakehe and Aitchison's area that night, which just so happened to be my old area!! They gave us a list of people to visit, and on our list was one of my recent converts, Rob Dietz! So, we got to visit him, and it was super cool. We surprised him, he wasn't expecting me to be in the area haha. We sat down and talked with him, and he's doing really well. It's cool to see how much the gospel can change people's lives. Afterwards, we stayed the night in Leakehe's and Aitchison's apartment.

Thursday was the new missionary meeting. It was a long meeting, but it was really cool. Prez talked about how "trainers have the most direct influence on the work", and so it freaked me out a little bit haha. It was cool cuz I got to see some people I served near in Green Valley, like Elder Dodge and Sister Kohler, because they were both training too. After the meeting we drove back home. Ryder dropped us off in Dolan Springs where our car was, and then we drove home. On the way home, we stopped at a Walmart in Kingman to pick up some bedding for Rigby. When we came back out from Walmart, we had trouble finding our car. Finally, I recognized the license plate, and walked over to the car. We didn't recognize it at first, because Rigby's bike was no longer on the back, and neither was the bike rack... Before we started traveling, we put Rigby's bike on the rack at the end of our Corolla, and locked his bike to the rack itself. Well, I guess someone really needed a bike, so they took the whole entire rack too. It sorta sucked, but looking back now it's pretty funny. 

Friday was our first full day in the area. We had district council, and then afterwards we got to see the Leivas family who we started teaching. There are two sisters and a brother that we're teaching, and they're doing well. Then on Saturday, we had a zone leadership meeting in Kingman, so we got to drive two hours up for a one hour meeting, and then two hours back -_- We got to visit some people that day, and then that night we pros balled against some people in the ghetto part of Parker. It was funny because they smack talked the whole time, but me and Rigby beat them. So, we taught them the Plan of Salvation, and we gave them all pamphlets, and we're supposed to see them Tuesday night. It was pretty funny haha, although now I'm nursing a bunch of blisters on my feet. Dress shoes aren't meant to play basketball in... who knew?

Sunday came around, and we attended ward council for the first time. It seems like the members didn't like the missionaries in the past, because I had never been to ward council in Parker. Elder William H. Stoddard of the Seventy came to visit, which was super cool. He attended ward council, so I got to talk with him a bit. He's super funny!! He spoke in sacrament, which was really cool too. Then, Sunday night, we went to visit a lady named Myra. She was just on our list of potential investigators, but we felt like we should stop by. It just so happened that she was sitting on her front porch. We talked with her, and she said that she talked to the missionaries one, and they set up a return appointment, but they didn't show -_- But, we sat down and talked with her, and taught her the Restoration on the spot. She felt the Spirit hardcore, so we invited her to be baptized, and she accepted!! She prefers Spanish, so we gave her a Spanish Book of Mormon, and we're seeing her again this week. Holy miracles!!!

That was my week. Sorry the email was long, but it was jam packed with stuff. Have a great week!

Love you Mis!


Trevor and his trainee, Elder Rigby (Sent 8/1/16)