Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 2

I'm really starting to like it here, and Elder Hurley is getting used to it. He really didn't like it at first but I think he's coming to. Elder Hurley and I area getting along great! It's great! He's been out only 2.5 transfers but he's a great teacher, It's amazing. I really enjoy serving with him thus far, we're having a great time serving together.

This week went well for our finding efforts we actually found a new investigator! It's pretty exciting and he seem to have some good promise to him. His name is DeShawn. He's a great guy really looking for the truth and the right church to go to. He loves the bible and is open also to the Book of Mormon. So that's nice.  Our investigator, Norm Harper is coming along nicely too. The reason he didn't come to church this past week was that he went to the emergency room Sunday morning because he woke up with a bloody nose, and ears and also with high blood pressure, so he wasn't able to make it. We were able to visit with him Sunday evening and he was really sad that he couldn't make it to church and that his baptismal date is going to have to be pushed back a couple weeks too. So he does have a baptismal date, and he is progressing. Okay! And with Norm there are 2 scary things that happened to him while we've been teaching him, that have strengthened his testimony.
1. Last week He was walking home after an appointment we had with him in which we set him with a baptismal date. As he was walking home, he was pushed into an alley way by three guys, held up a gunpoint, and robbed. Luckily those guys didn't kill him because the cop that was getting the story from Norm said that he knows those guys who did it and they usually would have killed their victims. So he told us that and said that he was confident that the Lord was protecting him because he decided to be baptized! Testimony strengthener!!
2. It was the event that happened to him on Sunday morning. When he called us up to tell us why he wasn't at church, he said that the doctor told him that basically if he hadn't of started living the word of wisdom a couple weeks earlier, when that high blood pressure spike hit him, that it would have triggered a stroke and he would have died, because the caffeine in coffee and tea would have made his blood pressure triple. So that strengthened his testimony too!! He's a great guy and really progressing well!

I love serving here in the city, there are people everywhere and I love it! I can't wait to see the area start to flourish! It's great. We're really starting to see some blessings here in Southside. The area is starting to make sense now, and I'm starting to figure out the bus schedules well so that's a blessing! I never thought I would catch on so quickly! I love serving a mission and am honored to be out here, I love this gospel with all my heart and I know the church is true!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 1

So guess where I am!!! I'm now officially serving in the South Side/ Mt.Washington area of Pittsburgh PA!!! I thought it was so cool that I am now serving in the City. It is way different than Johnstown. But I like it. And it turns out that my companion and I got "whitewashed" into the area where we're at. That means that they took the last 2 elders out and put 2 brand new elders into the area, that have no clue what's going on. So, both me and my companion don't know anything about the area. And on top of that, we're in a walking area and we get to figure out the buses! So we get to ride on buses and trains and stuff in order to get around. The Mission supplied us with bus passes so that's nice. It's really exhausting when we get back to the apartment at night and we're just beat because it's physically and mentally exhausting trying to get around and figure things out. It's insane! But the city is really cool! I really like it. And now I'm in the Oakland 7th ward!!! Yeah!! I'm back
in the 7th ward haha! The members here are really nice so it's great. It turns out that the elders that I'm with aren't bad at all. The mission took all of them out and either sent them home or put them somewhere else. So they cleaned out the bad ones and put in the good ones. That also means that we have to build up member support and trust again which really shouldn't be that hard.

Oh yeah, my companions name is Elder Boise Hurley! Yes his name is like the capitol of Idaho. And it's no joke. Anyway he's been out 3 months, and he's awesome and he's from California, Bakersfield area. We're
really kickin it off and having a great time. He is a little, well, less than excited we'll say about our area because it's walking and busing around everywhere, and because it's really hard to set up appointments
around bus schedules, so that's fun to figure out. Another great thing about this area is that there are a lot of missionaries around! So on p-days we get to hang out with the other elders and play b-ball or Frisbee or something where as in Johnstown the nearest elders were 45 minutes away. So it's pretty cool I like it.

We have an investigator named Norm ..... and he's going to be baptized probably next month he has 4 quadruplet sisters that are moving in from London, that's where he's from too, and they are all wanting to be
baptized as well, then to top things off his two children want to baptized as well!!!! So that'll end up as 7 baptisms here in the south side with in a couple months, so that'll be exciting!! It's way cool to be serving in the city! It's legit!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Johnstown Week 24-The last from J-Town.

This week was pretty mediocre. There really wasn't that many things that were interesting that happened. I had the opportunity to be able to lead out the discussion and lesson for our district meeting that was held on
Wednesday. So that was fun! Luckily it was a short meeting, because we had an opportunity to be able to give blood! That was pretty exciting! It was Elder Killpack's first time doing it so he was a little nervous and was asking all these funny questions about the procedure. But he did fine. I think I finished mine in 7:28, one of my best I think, and I didn't even get any bruising at all! Although I did take the band-aid off a little early and bled on my shirt a little, but it was fine. I enjoyed it, oddly enough. There is this elder in our district that is from Washington state, and we were teasing him about giving blood, ya know, because of Twilight and he's from Washington. It was great!

Oh yeah, and I'm getting transferred!!! I got a call from the Zone Leaders Saturday evening and they told me that I needed to start packing my bags because I'll be leaving Johnstown! I got here in Johnstown a little over 6 months ago, and I guess it's about my time to leave. It's kind of a surreal feeling because I've never been to any other place for my mission, so I only know J-town. And I'll be serving as a District Leader my new area, of which I don't know where it is. I'll be heading out of Johnstown tomorrow morning and heading to Pittsburgh where I'll find out where I'm assigned to be! It's very exciting and I'm pumped to go out to different areas and see what I can do there. The new district in which I will be leading has had some issues pertaining to obedience and what not, so President called me up and told me that I have a challenge ahead of me, and I'm responsible now for "cleaning up the acts" of these missionaries so to speak. So really I'll be needing all
the prayers I can get, and then some. President Summerhays has a lot of trust in me, which I don't' know if that's a good or bad thing haha! But I'm excited to be able to go and serve in another place. So make sure if you send anything this next week, send it to the mission office, because I won't be in Johnstown and you won't find out my apartment address and where I'm at until next Monday. I am sad to leave Johnstown though, I got to know the ward very well and they've become like family over here too. The hardest part though was  leaving Dawn. That was so sad, because I was able to baptize her and then be with her for the first 5 months of her membership, and really help her along. She started crying and it was just a hard moment for us, but I'll see her again, and constantly keep in touch with her. She's awesome! And Dawn and Alphonso are getting married on October 30th so that'll be so awesome, I don't think that President will let me go to that, but I'll try my darndest!

These past 6 months have really made a difference and I have absolutely loved it! I cannot wait to see what the next 18 will bring to me and the people I'll get to meet and teach. Serving a mission is the greatest thing ever! I absolutely love being here and I'm excited for what the future will bring to me. I love this Gospel, the church is true, Thomas S. Monson is God's living prophet today, God lives and Christ also, and the field is white already to harvest.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Johnstown Week 23-6months!!

Yup yup! August 3rd= 6 month mark!! It's super exciting!! Mostly because I get to burn a tie! You'll see a picture next week for sure! I'm pumped! I've got a tie picked out and everything that is dedicated for the fire, it's going to be great! So this week has been pretty mediocre. Not too many things happened. Except one. We had interviews with President Summerhays on Tuesday and while he was interviewing me he said to me that he just released the current district leader for my district and that he was going to make me the next district leader! I asked him when I would start and he said, Right about now. I was a little taken back, but of course I accepted the call so I'm officially now that District leader and will probably be staying in Johnstown for another 6 weeks!! The transfer day is August 10 and so I'll know officially if I'm staying or not. So that's been pretty exciting! So in my very first area I was: Trained for 1 transfer, "follow-up" trained for 2, then Trained for 1, and now I'm district leader. All in my very first area of the mission!!! That's pretty unheard of, so I guess Pres has a lot of trust in me. Which is cool and scary at the same time haha! Because I never know what president will have me do next, so this will be fun being the district leader. For responsibilities that I have now that I'm a DL, I have to be in charge of a weekly meeting that the district has, and come up with a lesson or discussion that we're supposed to have for that meeting. I also get to call up the other Elders in the area and get their weekly numbers of how many lessons they taught, how many new investigators they found, how
many baptisms, etc. Then report it to the Zone Leaders, so that's fun! I'm basically in charge of the success of the District.

This week we had a great opportunity to speak with a lot of people for different countries!! We had a pleasant conversation/lesson with some Muslim people. They're for Bangladesh and he's moved here for Doctoral work and what not. They're really nice people and they gave us some amazing Ice cream! We had a great discussion about each others beliefs and scriptures. They read the Koran and said that they would give me a copy of it in English! So that'll be cool I'll probably just send it home and look through it when I get home, Don't worry I'm not converting, I'm on a mission for the True Church of Christ, so no worries there. One thing I really respect about the Muslim religion, is their utmost respect for their scriptures. Before they even pick up their book, they wash their hands out of respect for it. I thought that was really cool. Then we had an opportunity to talk to a Russian man! He had an amazing accent and it was fun talking to him, because he was going through a rough time in his life and had a lot of questions about things, the purpose of life, who is God, things like that. And we were able to answer a lot of his questions so it was great! I love answering questions as a missionary because the people that are really searching for answers are so open to ours, and since our answers are true, they really believe them!

Once last happenstance that occurred last night. We were walking around town looking for people to talk to, and this guy that's always out, that we've talked to many times called us over again. I was like, great...
what does he want now. So we went over and he introduced us to his friend that he wanted us to talk to. So we spoke with her. Her name is Mary, and she has had one horrible life, full of abuse of every kind, and every kind of bad situation/environment one could image being in, and because of which she has a lot of mental illnesses. She looked like she was in her 50s or 60s but then she said that she was only 34, and due to all the drugs and alcohol and what not it looked like she's aged much. Anyway, she expressed to us that she had a hard time believing in God because of how horrible her life has been and all the stuff she's been through. And I got this distinct impression to tell her this,"Mary, I know God lives and that He's there, and He wants you to know........." And after that Ijust said the things that came to my mind, I don't even remember half the things I said, but the whole time her eyes were glued on me. And after I was done saying the things I was to say, no one talked for a good 10-15 seconds, because the spirit was so strong there. It was an incredible experience. I had the opportunity to be a mouthpiece that evening in hopefully giving Mary some hope.

I love being here on a mission, and I love being able to help people out. There's nothing greater than this. The Church is true, I know it! And there's nothing that'll move me from that. Be sure to look for people that need the gospel and give referrals to the missionaries! They always love receiving those.