Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mama's boy

I miss you! Happily, I have updates as to the conditions and circumstances of my mission thus far. When I arrived in Rockford, the Rockford 1st Ward had two sets of elders serving in the area. With my arrival, another elder transferred into the area, and we joined the two elders experienced in this area of the mission. Of course I joined Elder Noho, and the other new elder, Elder Williams, joined with Elder Davis. They are both incredible missionaries because they use each of their unique capacities to bring all others into the fold of Christ.

Elder Williams is from South Carolina, and has been out for four months now. Elder Davis will return to Montana in August, and will have served honorably for two years. Elder Davis is our district leader, and it's amazing how he is able to both control the weekly meetings and inspire all of its members. I really look up to him because we have luckily much in common. In the beginning of his mission he struggled with depression and allowing himself to change, so his advice on those subjects has been incredibly instructive.
Anyhow, what happened was that as Elder Williams entered into the area, he found that he had suffered a tear in his esophagus, which limited what he could eat, and how much of it he could eat. This began to stress him out, and exacerbated anxiety attacks he'd always had to cope with. Eventually these conditions couldn't allow him to be effective, so President Fenn had to send him home. Now Elder Davis, Elder Noho and I are in a trio. It's strange to have basically two trainers now, but with an extra person to provide their own vision, I'm learning that much more.

Another update is that my happiness has increased exponentially since we last spoke. It was uncomfortable and agonizing to allow myself to be shackled by the adversary. I could not allow him to discontinue my hope. So ultimately it was a decision to work together with my Savior so that the changed me could change others. I made that decision, but the results did not sprout over night. It's a process, and every day that I smile more and speak my mind, the day is a success. Every day I feel the Spirit and understand the miracle of introducing someone to the restored gospel, I'm happy, and I'm changed for betterment of my future, and theirs if they make the right choices.

Anyway, I'm steadily improving, and wouldn't rather be anywhere else.

Although I do miss all of you so much, and think about you all of the time. I'll have to send you a picture of the three of us. Love you all! Thank you for the package! (I think this is the "greenie" package I sent a few weeks ago!)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hello all! Well, I surmise that what will function as a sufficient description of these past weeks is the word brutal. Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and all the chaos in between.  Naturally there's a beginner's apprehension toward the many facets of the work, but it's been exhaustingly aggravated with my ADD. It's frustrating. When I make a mistake or am reminded of something which should easily be remembered, the logic unveiled is not exactly foreign. It becomes more of a mutated memory than a factual remembrance. And that's been difficult for me as well as my companion.  When I am struck with these ridiculous realizations, I'm honestly embarrassed. If circumstances were otherwise, my memory would serve me loyally. ADD weighs down not only attention span, but memory. It's a challenge not to forsake myself. What sparks my rejuvenation is my knowledge that I'm not an idiot. I just have a stumbling block. I know that as I fast and pray humbly, that The Lord will compensate for weakness, but I must do all that I can to assist the process.

On a more positive note, we finally have a progressing investigator named George. He's been reading the Book of Mormon, has committed to be baptized, and will be attending church meetings this upcoming Sunday. Teaching has definitely lessened the aches and pains of the mind. People matter more and more to me as I abide in their homes and connect with their families. I'm thankful for the Spirit and it's ability to transcend man made chasms of prejudice and malcontent. Other prospective baptisms are two nine year-old girls from two part-member families. I have faith that The Lord will have three new children by the end of this transfer.

Anyway, glad to hear that everyone is well and occupied. Congrats Dad (on going back to work full-time).
Well I love all of you so very much. Have family home evening tonight and each of you share your favorite story from the Book of Mormon and how it adds to your testimony. I love you all!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

First lesson delivered!

I got a text from Elder Campbell's surrogate mom today, letting me know that he taught his first lesson today and he did great!  I mailed him a package containing a big jar of his favorite strawberry jam and some instant breakfast. Good news is that the jar of jam didn't break, but instant breakfast envelopes might not make the best packing material. You win some, you lose some!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Um, ouch?

How has your day been? We were playing soccer this afternoon, and a
run for the ball resulted in the pulling back of my left foot's big
toenail. Wrapping it it up in band aids was all I could really manage
to prevent infection. Anyway, I'm fine other than that. Love you

Monday, May 5, 2014

Best. Kid. Ever.

Hiya family! I've been anticipating this moment the entire week since I first arrived in Rockford, IL. Before, even in the first few hours with my new companion, I felt confident that the transition would pass by as smoothly as my expectations permitted. But my commitment became real when we arrived at the apartment.

The apartment is stark, simple, clean, and we have our own washer and dryer, but when I deposited my bags into the room, there were no sheets and there was no pillow. Thankfully Elder Noho's previous companion left behind a comforter. Consequently, I was forced to adapt to the state of my bedding. My robe functioned surprisingly well as a pillow.

Next we went to the store. I picked up a few items, under the impression that we'd be fed most evenings. Thankfully I bought some spaghetti. But I don't mind having to cook for myself. I'll make the best of it and hopefully attain some mediocre cooking skills.

I could go into detail as to what has filled my days this week, but I'll summarize by saying that it's been hard to get through to anyone this week. The area is interesting because quite literally on most street corners, there's a church, some which cater to a very specific demographic. So when we knock on doors, more often than not, the
person or family is already Methodist or Baptist or Catholic, just name a few of the available denominations. What's more interesting is that when we knock on a door, ready to share our message about Jesus Christ, the Christians don't seem to desire to hear about Him, which is both illogical and frustrating. Much of our teaching has been to recent converts and less actives, which is noble in it's own regard, but when we reported our numbers last night, it was difficult to continue to report zero after zero. But I know who to rely on.

It's been hard to be away from you all. It's not like I ever took you for granted, but the reality of my situation became painfully apparent. When I'm scared or would easily come to any of you for guidance, I realize that you are no longer readily accessible. I've never appreciated and loved my family as I do now. I'm grateful for that. But I wish I could have reached this understanding some other way.

I want you all to know that I love you with a magnitude which defies description. You make the world worth living in, and I'll always love you.

Anyway, I love you all, and want you to know that I'll be okay, that I know that this isn't about me. It's about the people who need to hear the truth. I'll assimilate eventually, I'll become excited to work, and I'll change for the better. I love you all. I love you.