Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 7

It's so crazy people are growing up!! It's weird especially from the missionary stand point because I don't really realize how much stuff actually goes on, and keeps going even though you're not there watch it.

Well for the past couple days I've been pretty sick. Not horribly but still it's no fun being sick. I have a fever of 99.5 last time I checked but it's not too bad. It's no fun whatsoever being sick on the mission because you wanna go out and work but at the same time you know that you should probably stay home and rest for a bit so that you don't make yourself worse. Hopefully I'll have a quick recovery. :)

I am pretty excited for general conference though. I love it! It's cool, now that this is going to be my 2nd one on my mission that means I'll only have 2 left! Crazy!So some more exciting news from here in Pittsburgh. My trainer, Elder Zaleski is in my district!! He became the new zone leader here in Pittsburgh and he happens to be in my district, it's pretty cool. I hadn't seen him since he got transfered to Erie, PA, which was over 6 months ago. So it's pretty neat having him here. Elder Hurley is doing well, and we get along. Which is nice ya know? It would just be horrible if we didn't get along because we have another whole transfer to go together.

This past week we did really well with our teaching of the less actives, but sadly none of them came to church, and none of our investigators did either. Our one investigator Norm almost made it, but he got sick Sunday morning and canceled his ride that was supposed to come and pick him up. We're contemplating on dropping Norm, because he's no longer keeping his commitments outside of coming to church i.e. Word of Wisdom, Reading the Book of Mormon daily, etc. And it's been about 8 weeks that we've been meeting with him. Our investigator Baily had some family issue that she had to attend to over in State College, the city, this
weekend so we weren't able to meet with her or get her to church. We do, however have an appointment set with her this week in which we are planning on setting her with a baptismal date!! So that will be exciting! We have a new investigator and his name is Chase..... ., when we first met him he was at a really low point in his life, he got beat up, lost his job and his girlfriend, and was about to lose his co-signer for his college loans, and we were able to cheer him up and talk to him for a while. We soon came to find out that his mom and grandma are members of the church and so there's that connection there. We answered all of his questions and were able to spark some interest. We're excited to be able to teach him in the coming weeks! It's amazing how the Lord always puts people in the pathways of our travels and helps us know what to say to help them.

Elder Benjamin

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 6

This day is a pretty good day! It turns out that it's the end of the transfer tomorrow and good thing I didn't get transferred or that would have taken you all off guard and I wouldn't be in Pittsburgh anymore!  But luckily I'll be here until November the 2nd now so you don't have to worry about me getting transferred for another 6 weeks. yay! This week was a pretty tough week for us. Many of the set appointments we had with  investigators and less-active members fell through, were canceled or re-scheduled. So we spent many hours finding and for some reason it seemed like nobody wanted to talk to us. It was kind of a not good week to end the transfer with but it is a incentive for us now to work even harder this next transfer. I'm excited to serve another transfer here in South side I love it here.

Our investigator Bailey was out of town this past weekend and when we set up an appointment with her again we're going to set her with a baptismal date. We feel she's golden and will accept readily! It's pretty exciting. Norm is sane we think/(response to a question)/, and is kind of getting a little frustrating. We've been meeting with him over the past 7 weeks and he's keeping all his commitments except coming to church! So we're not sure what to do with him. We've tried many times to set up a ride to pick him up, and he says he's called them, yet, the member to pick him up says they never got a call. He's expressed a desire to still be baptized, and we've set him with a date many times, yet coming to church has been his setback. So hopefully we'll figure something out to get him to church for sure! We're in a mad finding stage again as well. We contacted a referral yesterday. An APX security system salesman who was going door to door, contacted her and she let him in and they started talking about religion. (of course the APX salesman was an RM(return missionary), they all are!) And he referred her to us and we were able to go over to her house and talk with her and we were able to teach her about the church and the Book of Mormon so it was nice to get to know her. She said that we could come back anytime and that she might even cook us some dinner! yay!! So all in all we have had an okay week over here.

I just want to share something that I learned this week in my studies.  I've been focusing my studies this week on King Benjamin's adderss to his people(in the Book of Mormon). I have found that this address is even more amazing than I had once thought when I was just reading through the Book of Mormon when we were asked to read it again once more. There are a couple things that stood out to me. In Mosiah 4:14-15 he counsels his people how they should raise their children: "neither will ye suffer that they... fight and quarrel one with another" "Teach them to walk in the was of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love on another, and to serve on another". And I feel that's how you raised us kids mom and dad, and I thank you for that. then he goes on to say in 16-26 how we all depend on God for everything therefore we should help all those who stand in need of it, thus being a very service oriented people as he was to his people.

I love this gospel and I know it's true. I love serving a mission and can't wait to see what comes my way and in what ways I can learn and grow.

Elder Benjamin

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 5

Pitt's Burgh is doing alright. I love being here in the city. There are a lot of people to talk to. And they range from Absolutely-Crazy-Escaped-from-Institution to Very-Chill-and-Down-to-Earth. But I love it. We met a really cool guy yesterday, Alex. He was sitting on a bench that was overlooking the city and we stopped to talk to him. He invited us to sit with him on the bench and talk. So we talked for a while, discussing beliefs with him, and found that he is a believer in God and wants to get closer to Him. So I pulled out the Book of Mormon, and read the quote in the introduction that Joseph Smith said "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." And then testified of the truth of that statement, and offered one to him, and he accepted. He also shared with us that he thinks that he wrote about us! (he was writing some poetry at the time we talked to him) and he basically did. So that was an awesome experience! This week was a pretty good week, I believe it was the best we've has so far over here in the South Side of Pittsburgh.

Our 2 new investigators are Baily and also Leon . They are both really excited to learn about the gospel. Leon and his girlfriend came to church on Sunday and both really liked it! They said that they were for sure going to come back to church! Leon is the a friend of an investigator, Deshawn, and one day we went to visit Deshawn and found Leon there and he wanted to talk to us. So that was exciting! And with our investigator Baily, we had a very spiritual lesson with her. Her Uncle and his family are members of the church, and she saw how happy they were together as a family and wanted that for herself too. So one night she was praying to know what to do and she got the prompting to get in contact with us, and so she found us on the street and we set up an appointment with her. And now she's really excited to take the lessons and hopefully we'll get her boyfriend interested as well.

Elder Serrano

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 4

This week has been somewhat of an eventful week, I think... All these days keep mushing together and now I don't have my handy Missionary Daily planner with me right now to help me remember some of the things
that happened this week. (It's locked in the institute section of the church building, along with my camera so I can't send you any pictures...)

Okay, well let's see... Last Monday was p-day and it was alright, we went and did some e-mails downtown and a massive library, then went and got some University of  Pittsburgh shirts. Actually only Elder Hurley got one because he didn't have any cash to get the one he wanted so I gave him the money
I had, and told him that he had to take me out to Hard Rock Cafe in exchange. So we did. That place is so yummy and it's in our area! It's great.

Our investigator Norm didn't come to church...... again! It's getting kind of frustrating because he says he's coming every week and he has means of transportation but he never shows. He always has these excuses of why (hospital visits, sisters flying in late at night, ride didn't come and get him, and a sister almost killed herself due to their father passing away). It's almost to the point to where we want to give him the benefit of the doubt because they're all very valid and good reasons as to why he never came, but at the same time we've never met his sisters or gotten into any contact with them, and we've been trying and hounding Norm, so we don't know for a fact that they exist. It probably sounds harsh to you all back home that we are kind of skeptical about his excuses and situations but we've been working with him for almost 5 weeks now and things keep coming up. It's a tough situation, but we're going to have a good sit down talk with him next time we meet with him. So as of yet, we don't have any baptisms lined up. Which is too bad. But we do have a few more people that are new and seem promising. One, her name is Baily. she's really nice and really wants to learn about the church, we have a meeting scheduled with her for tonight so hopefully that will go through. DeShawn is
doing well.

Cool Experience of the Week:
It was Friday night and we get back to the apartment at around 8:15pm and we usually don't go out because it's dark and it can get a little sketchy around in these parts. But I put down my bag and looked on the
counter and saw a Book of Mormon with a pamphlet in it that I had set there a few days ago, and I had a strong impression that I needed to go out and give that to somebody. So I told Elder Hurley that we needed
to go and hand it out even though we had about a half hour left on the night. So we set out with only the one Book of Mormon and that pamphlet and a few cards in our pocket. As we are walking I see a man walking towards us and I talk to him, nothing, he's not interested and agnostic. So we keep walking until we get to a really busy street that has a lot of people on it and we get going down that. There are mostly couples up there that are all into each other having a romantic night on the lookout over Pittsburgh at night, so we skip them. Next we see a lone man walking down the street, perfect! We stop him and get talking to him! He was a very nice guy and listened to us! He had a lot of great thoughts and insights, and we just had a great discussion about prophets and modern day prophets! we gave him the Book of Mormon and challenged him to read and pray about it and he accepted and left on his way! It was amazing! Then as we were heading back to the house there was this man walking out of a liquor and pizza store and as he walked by us, he said, "Jehovah's!" (we get confused with jehovah's withnesses a lot) and so we stopped and corrected him, which later lead to a quick lesson that we taught to him, Eric, too! He was a very nice guy! Then once we got home 10 minutes later, Eric calls us! He said that he and his mom would be interested in coming to church with us and learning more about it! What an inspired night!!  Just goes to show that the Lord will bless you if you have a desire to

Elder Benjamin

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 3

Things are going well, the city is way cool, even though we don't get to serve directly in the dowtown area, it is a great experience seeing a lot of different people! There are a lot of tourists that always ask us questions about where to go and what things are, but of course we have no idea haha! We always get to see the big city all the time though because of where we're at, we have a nice couple of look outs. It's pretty sweet! I love it!

DeShawn is progressing fine, we tried setting him with a baptismal date, it caught him a little off guard but he's really thinking about it now. He wasn't able to come to church this week due to some family emergency, but he said he'll for sure come next week. He's really awesome, I don't know if I already told you this but he said that he can always tell when someone is teaching false doctrines, like he gets a feeling that it's not right, and he told us that he hasn't gotten that feeling once while we've been teaching him. He also believes from our words that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is true, but he said that he wants to find out for himself that it's all true. He's intellectually converted, not spiritually... yet. :)

(I've found, so far on my mission, that there are 3 types of conversion that investigators need in gaining a true testimony of the gospel and staying. 1. Intellectual 2. Spiritual 3. Social [social meaning that they feel very comfortable at church and that they know that the people in the congregation live what they teach, and love
others] there may be more and i'm looking)

Norm Harper has a baptismal date for the 25 of September, and he's really preparing for it. His 4 sisters flew/moved in from England yesterday and we're pretty excited to meet them. They have been taking the lessons over in England and have been taught and gone to church numerous times. They said that they have a letter of recommendation from the branch president over in England that they are ready to be baptized!!!! Ah yeah!!! Of course Elder Hurley and I are going to go through the lessons with them, in review to make sure that they really are ready, and we'll go from there. And we could be having a baptism for all 4 of them coming up in a couple weeks or so!!!!!!!!

Being a DL isn't very hard in the area I'm in. Because I have a zone leader in my area I really don't have to call and follow up and get his weekly numbers with him and his companion, so all I have to call is the Sisters who are serving in downtown Pittsburgh. And that's really not hard because the sisters are always so perfect, and cause no trouble what so ever. It's probably because they're much more mature and are way more spiritual then elders, they're pretty much amazing. So DL here is pretty cool.

This week I had a couple of way long meetings that I went to. They were all about leadership and how we can become better leaders and how to help my district. All the zone leaders and district leaders from 4 or 5 zones were there. So that was intense. One day it went from 1pm-8:45 and the next day it went from 9am-5pm so they were mind-numbingly long, but!  I learned a lot of great things like how to properly invite people to do things. But other than that, my week has been okay. Long and tiring. But hey that's what comes with the job! :)

I love serving a mission and I love helping people change their lives, it's the most rewarding thing i've done as of yet in my life! The Church is true!!
Elder Serrano