Monday, April 28, 2014

The Good and the Bad

Another week gone by here in Simi valley, and I am still alive (only barely). As far as numbers go this week was the worst week I have had on my mission thus far. I did have some good experiences though. In the beginning of the week I went on an exchange with Elder Anderson, I went over to his area and we had a great time together. We taught a guy named Billy and he had a lot of questions about why do I even need to go to church? and things like that. Sometimes people like him can be difficult, but by the end he said it makes sense and he believes what we are saying. We set up a return appointment with him next week, and now Elder Anderson has a new investigator. We had a stellar day together and talked to a lot of people and taught 5 lessons. It was just a really good day. Then I had to go back to my area the next day. It was a bad day. Then on Saturday we got to help with Mormon helping hands. We went to a cemetery and we were supposed to level some headstones, but the groundskeeper didn't show up. So we cleaned out a garage and put together some metal shelves. While we were putting together the shelves the press came and I got stuck with the job of getting interviewed by them. I answered all the questions and it was fine. they took a few pictures of us while we worked and one of the other missionaries was positioning himself so he was in all the pictures. It was funny to watch, then we all joked around at what the headline in the newspaper would be. "Standing Tall in Simi Valley" or maybe "Mormon Missionary looks down on community". I am yet to see what it actually says. As far as missionary work goes we have done a lot of tracting, and that is always entertaining. We have one investigator and we meet with her this week (yay!). Also we have presidents interviews this week so that is exciting. I am sure glad I like my companion though, because this place is difficult. The good news is that things moving along and if nothing else I am learning a lot about myself. I love you all and Thank you for your letter Timothy. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Everybody needs a picture with Alan

This week has been packed with all sorts of exciting things. It went a lot better than the first week I can tell you that. Now that we know the area a little bit and we have mended some of the wounds left behind, we have started to really get to work and build this area. 
Since my companion is the district leader I will be going on a lot of exchanges this transfer which I am super excited about. Exchanges are the best, and I went on one with Elder Willis this last Wednesday. The morning started off really slow we didn't talk to anyone, because there was no one to talk to. So later on in the day we started on a Less Active hunt. We have a big list of names that the bishopric knows nothing about, so we hunt them down and find them. One of the houses we went to the person we were looking for had moved, but the lady who lives there now, Jessica talked to us for a while and after going over the restoration we gave her a Book of Mormon and she committed to read and pray. She seems to have a lot of potential, but we will find out tomorrow if she is serious about it or not. So she was one of our new investigators this week then on Friday me and Elder Moser were tracting and one of the ladies said she has some good friends that are Mormons. Her name is Tina and after talking for a little bit we set up an appointment to come back the next day and meet with her and her husband. Friday rolls around and we get in there and meet them and their family they have a really nice family, but the kids are really shy and we would just see them poking their heads in every once in a while. The lesson was ok, they aren't really willing to change anything in there life and they asked us like a million questions, and they all started with " so we heard you believe this. . .is that true?" Let's just say it was a really long lesson and me and Elder Moser were both excited to get out of there. We did help them realize that they had a lot of misconceptions about what we believe. I don't know what I was thinking, but I set up another appointment with them in 2 weeks. So they are new investigators as well. Then on Saturday I got to shake Elder Russel M. Nelson's hand! Him, Elder Bowen and Elder Garns were all there with their wives. We got to meet them all briefly at the beginning and Sister Garns said and I quote "I would love to have a picture with you!" So even the General Authorities want a picture with this Elder.(two thumbs pointing at myself) The meeting was fantastic and I took a lot of notes and I am definitely inspired to work harder and be better. It was pretty cool, when Elder Nelson got up he just answered questions we wanted to ask the whole time. 
So I am doing really good here in Simi valley, Elder Moser is great, he is a picky eater though which makes dinner appointments more fun. He doesn't say anything about it, so no one really knows that he is picky, but I know so I help him out. One of the dinners was really bad and I could tell he was really struggling to eat it. So I ate all my food then when the members weren't looking I traded plates with him and ate his food too. In the end everyone was happy. I find myself feeling at home as a missionary and more and more confident in myself. Sometimes it stinks, but most of the time I'm working hard and having fun! 
thank you all for your love and support. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cars and Trucks

Hello Everyone,
This week has been interesting to say the least. It started off ok we went to transfer meeting, met my new companion and he is fantastic. I was excited to go to my new area, this is the first time white washing for both of us. Then we got there. . . we have all of our stuff and we walk into the apartment and it was trashed. It looked like they were expecting to come back, and it was the most disgusting bathroom I have seen in a missionary apartment. So for the first couple of days we spent most of the time cleaning out the apartment, so we could live there. I was finally able to unpack everything and feel a little bit at home 4 days in. Its all fine now, but the apartment wasn't the only thing the Elders before us neglected. We were at a ward activity, a car show, and one of the members came up to us and said " I have a bone to pick with you." He then proceeded to chew us out for missing a dinner appointment that his wife worked hard to prepare. we apologized as he stormed off, and thankfully the other Elders in the ward talked to him and told him it's not our fault we just got here. The other Elders in the ward are great Elder Willis and Elder Young. They were so excited to see that we were coming to the ward. The good news is that we couldn't possibly mess this up, this area hit rock bottom there is only going up from here. I guess that means that the Lord trusts us to get this area back on its feet. It will be a even more difficult than I expected, but it's nothing I can't handle.
We did have some good experiences this week though. We went by this less active's house , the Mulfords, and they were excited to see us and let us in. The mother is great has been a member her whole life she just doesn't come to church because of her husband who isn't a member. They are tall too, their son Sean is 6'7" and there daughter is playing volleyball in Michigan. We connected really well and invited them to the ward activity the next day. The next day we helped out at the car show setting up chairs and helping serve the tri-tip sandwiches. I had a good time and I have learned a lot about cars too. These people in California are all about their cars. Then at the end of the car show the Mulfords showed up which was fantastic. I was also able bear my testimony in testimony meeting which went well, I told one of my usual jokes and I think the ward is beginning to trust us a little more. I am excited for the future this area has some serious potential, and I am super excited about the challenge. Also this Saturday Elder Russel M. Nelson is coming to the mission to speak to the whole mission. So I get to meet an apostle this week!
I love you all and I am doing good here in simi valley. In reference to Elder Bednar's talk, I have a big load in my truck with some serious spiritual traction going on.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Moving Day

My time here in Thousand Oaks has come to an end. It is a bitter sweet, but I am excited for my next adventure. It's like 5 minutes away in Simi valley 4th ward, my new companion will be Elder Moser and from what I hear he is a big goof ball, so I guess we have something in common. There are four missionaries in the ward, and me and Elder Moser are white washing in. Which means that we are both new to the area and we hope and pray the Elders before us wrote everything down. So a lot of things are changing and that is exciting. As far as Elder Shields goes he is training and will be in a tri-pan. Basically this new Elder will have two Elders training him at the same time, at least for a little while. 
As far as the missionary work goes, we talked with Jacque for a while and she said her mom was asking to come to church with her some time. It was fantastic! So now our next appointment will be with her and her mom. Jacque was worried about her mom not being involved, but if she gets baptized too that will solve all our problems. Unfortunately I won't be there to see what happens, but I trust Elder Shields. 
Then to finish the week off we had general conference which is pretty much the best thing ever. Its hard to decide on what I liked the most, but Elder Bednar's talk was just superb. The question I am asking myself now is how can I get more spiritual traction? Then the talk right after that from President Monson was great as well. we need to be considerate and sensative which applies especially to those we are closest to. Here is another question: Who told the story about jumping out of a smoking semi? and why did he tell that story?
Love you all, thank you for your prayers,