We made a movie for the Zone this week! We're probably gonna show it tomorrow. We're seeking President's approval to post it on FB right now! Hopefully he'll say it's okay pretty soon!
We had transfers this last Thursday, and I got a fresh, outta the box, brand new missionary! Hooray!
His name is Elder Coles, and he is from Meridian Idaho. He loves engineering and aviation, and he is sure of his purpose and he loves the gospel! I like him; I think I'll keep him. :)
We are in the church's first ever quad-panionship (#putthatoneintherecordbooks), and we are making things happen! What we'll do is we'll send two missionaries out into the cold and dreary wilderness to find some people to teach (or go to an appointment), while the other two drive the car and visit members or go to appointments.
It's pretty exhausting being the one my companions will turn to and depend on to make decisions all the time, and to take the lead on things, but the Lord is giving us all strength! Thank you for all of your prayers for us, I know that they're helping us be the best we can be, even when we're completely out of energy, or when we're close to giving up.
The Lord is looking out for us. We're spending a lot of time in people's homes! We're seeing 2-3 different investigators as often as 3 to 5 times a week. It is such a great blessing, because we're giving those we're teaching an opportunity to feel the Holy Ghost every day.
Samuel is getting baptized on Saturday! He is really excited, and the young men are basically running the program. It is really good for them to get fired up about sharing the gospel with their friends, so we're making sure to capitalize on this opportunity by asking the youth to invite their friends to the baptism and to other church activities.
We're working with an investigator, Connie, to help her stop smoking. She was smoking up to 1 1/2 to 2 packs a day, and she's doing really well! Last week, she only smoked one cigarette. She is reading through the scriptures like it's candy; she's loving it! There are some sisters in the ward who really want to visit her and help her to quit, which is awesome! One Connie gets some strong friends that she can rely on when she undergoes temptation, then she'll make it for sure. Members are so important.
Other than that, not a lot happened. IT was an awesome week!
Love you all!
So sorry this is so late! This has been such a terribly irregular week/transfer. Here's a quick run down of what's been on my mind/what's happened this week:
We got a second trainee. Seriously. His name is Elder Raisor, and he is the other Bulgarian visa waiter. He was in the MTC with Elder Taylor, and they came to this mission at the same time. Elder Raisor was being trained first by Elder Gemar and Elder Ni, who are Zone Leaders in Centreville, but now he's over here with us. We are officially the church's first ever quad-panionship! So put that one in the record books!
The reason why this is the way it is is because Elders Taylor and Raisor were forgetting their language quickly - they didn't have anyone else to speak it with. There's also a Bulgarian family in the Franconia ward they're teaching, so they give them practice.
President Riggs called me last night and told me that I will be training a new missionary, while finish training the two Bulgarians this next transfer. I will be staying in Mt. Vernon, but I will no longer be serving as a Zone Leader (glory, hallelujah! Haha).
When Elder White gets transferred I think I'm gonna smash both my big toes with a frozen sledge hammer. He has probably been (now, don't tell any of my other companions this), one of my top 3 companions. The reason why I say that is because he is one of the only companions that understands my biting sarcasm. JK, I'm not really sarcastic, I just have a strange sense of humor. He is so hilarious, and we get along really well. He's been here for 3 transfers now, and he's going to be serving as a Zone Leader elsewhere.
Oh well. It's been a good run! I've really enjoyed being a ZL. I have learned so much about ministering and administering. It will be relieving not having to worry about so many countless meetings, planning on what we're going to do for the zone and whatnot. It'll also be interesting to see what it's like in the audience during District Meetings again, especially with a new lens I can look through now since I've served as a ZL.
This week was really good! We have 2 investigators on date for the next two weeks, and we're teaching lots'a souls! The work is Hastening, don't get left in the dust!
It was a week!
MLC was this week - it was a little bit different than other ones I've been in. Several missionaries who don't normally go to the meeting were invited to attend. Some were District Leaders, and some didn't hold any leadership assignments at all. President separated himself, his wife, and the Sister Training Leaders from the Elders. It was pretty intense. I think the purpose behind that was so the Elders could say whatever they wanted to say without fear of offending the Sisters, or being rebuked by President.
The Assistants were in charge of the discussion with the Elders. The first question they asked was, "Why is the mission complacent with 19 baptisms this month?"
Man, it was as if they had set off a nuclear BOMB! The conversation got pretty heated - it was so awesome. :) We talked a lot about how the Leadership can do a better job of loving others and treating them like equals, and how everyone who's not in leadership absolutely hates everyone who is in leadership.
So basically, MLC was a big call to repentance. But that's okay, because the Lord chastens whom he loves!
It was kinduva slap in the face. I learned a lot from the Spirit while we were in there - about what I can do to change. One thing I need to do here is truly love my Zone. I don't feel like I'm doing a good enough job complimenting the Elders and Sisters in my stewardship enough for the good things there're doing. I could do better at SHOWING my love :).
I didn't realize how many great friends I made when I was in Annandale until today. Right now, we're back at the Ox Road chapel in Fairfax, where a lot of the Elders from Annandale are playing basketball, and recording some songs for President Riggs. I can't believe how many smiles, hugs, and "I love you's" I'm dishing out and receiving!
When I leave Mt. Vernon, I want the Elders and Sisters there know without a doubt that I love them.
We were just leaving a member's home, when Elder White asked how them how their son was doing (His name is Jack, is18 years old, and he's struggling spiritually right now. He likes us a lot, so we're trying to help him out). They said he was in their room, down a long hallway, the last door on the left.
Elder White peeked inside, whispered, "Jack, are you there?"
No answer. It was dark inside.
Elder White quietly shut the door, he saw Jack was asleep. On his way back down the hallway, I hear a loud bark, scurrying and a yelp from my companion. The member's vicious Jack Russell Terrier, Shelby, popped out of one of the dark rooms, and chomped down on Elder White's ankle! It was rad!
A couple weeks ago, the animal did the same thing to me. I innocently walked out of the bathroom, minding my own business, when Shelby came out of the darkness and nipped my index finger. What an animal!
She's actually a wimp, she didn't even bite me or my companion that hard. She's just a cowardly dog who doesn't like strangers walking down her precious hallway.
We're also kinda teaching this drunk guy named Don. He's in his fifties, lives on his own in a trailer home, and I've never seen him without a beer in his hand. Every time we go teach him, I feel like we're on a movie set, because he makes everything intense and over-dramatic.
He doesn't really want to change his life, no matter how many times he tells us how much his life stinks. We keep promising him a better life from living the gospel and keeping the commandments, but he's just grown so comfortable - he's frightened of change. We're trying to get him to church, but he's too afraid. We'll keep working with him, though! He needs some more of El Libre De Mormon.
Samuel is still doing awesome, as always. He's truckin' through the Book of Mormon, soaking up every verse like a sponge. He came to a baptism in the ward on Saturday and loved it, and the he and his family came to church on Sunday! (His family is less active). He is still on track to be baptized onNovember 29th! Tonight we're teaching him in Bishop's home, which is going to be stellar.
All-in-all it was a great week! We taught 10 lessons to investigators! It's the most I've taught to an investigator in a while now. Mt. Vernon is where it's at!
Love you all!
Washington D.C. South Mission
Another beautiful week in Mt. Vernon! So, just as a heads up, we're going to D.C. today, so this Email will probably be short. I'm writing this on the Metro, and I get motion sickness really easily. I usually have to stop writing pretty early on in the ride.
This week was so irregular. I feel out of tune with time, space, and continuum. Part of the reason is because of day-light savings, but it's actually from a bunch of out-of-place meetings.
Monday was our Half-Mission Conference with Elder Kopischke, which was great! I think I already told you about it last Tuesday. The rest of that day, we did something important, I'm sure. Oh yeah! We taught a member who gave us a sick part-member family referral, who we visited later in the week and snagged a return appointment with.
On Tuesday we had Preparation Day, and we played basketball at Jone's Point Park underneath the Woodruff Wilson Bridge again. It was a lot more fun this time around because I had my contacts in and I could see stuff. :) We didn't have District meetings this week, because of the Half-Mission Conference, so that really threw off our schedule.
After basketball, we taught Samuel, our 14 year-old investigator from Ghana. The Sister missionaries passed him off to us, because things weren't really going anywhere with him. We must've done something right, because he's on date for November 26th! Our first lesson with him was so ballin'! (Elder White told me to use that word). We began with an opening prayer on our knees, and explained to Samuel that we were going to stay sitting in silence for a few moments after the prayer to pay attention to the Spirit.
The 3 of us sat back down after a few moments and waited for Samuel to follow suit. Instead, he stayed on his knees for a solid 30 minutes. He peeked his eyes at us and asked, "Is it okay if I pray sitting down? My knees hurt." He sat cross-legged and continued in silent meditation and prayer for another solid 10 minutes. 40 minutes of prayer!!! We taught him about baptism, and pulled out a calendar for him to select a date when he could be baptized. He chose November 29th. It was such a powerful lesson!
We had MLC with Elder Kopischke on Wednesday, which was also really good. We learned a lot about leadership and how to conduct effective exchanges. He also taught us about focusing on teaching Doctrine , instead of focusing on loading investigators with commitments. He shared with us Acts 2:37-38 and said that those verses describe an ideal lesson. In this story, Peter and the rest of the apostles are teaching at the day of Pentecost. At the end of their sermon, the group asks, 'men and brethren, what shall we do?' The people have felt so powerfully the message the apostles shared, that they wanted to know how to ACT. The apostles replied, "Repent, and Be baptized!"
On Halloween, we went to the church and watched Despicable Me 2 and Frozen. My companions and my self weren't able to watch Despicable Me 2 because our ward had their trunk or treat party going on at the same time, so we went to that to gain member's trust. The Sister missionaries and other set of Elders in our ward decorated their car for the trunk or treat, and won "spookiest car award!" It was comedically humorous.
It was a pretty good week. Thank you for all you do for me! Love you all!
Elder HansenWashington D.C. South Mission
Big news!!! We picked up our new missionary last Wednesday night at the mission office in Burke. There're only 2 missionaries waiting for their visa for Bulgaria, and we got one of 'em - lucky us! His name is Elder Taylor, and he is from Cedar Hills, Utah. He is a cool guy, and we love him to death!
For Elder Taylor's very first lesson, we taught the Stake President. His first step into the mission field was in the Big League! Earlier that morning, we studied, planned and practiced what we were going to teach. At his home, we taught the Restoration to him and his wife, and it was so powerful! After sharing the First Vision, we did a power pause, then the Spirit flooded the room. We waded in the warm silence for about 10 seconds, then asked how they felt. They described the warmth and peace they felt, and bore testimony of the reality of Prophet Joseph's calling. We committed them to being better missionaries by inviting them to 1). Pray to bring someone closer to Christ every day, 2). Pray for the missionaries by name and 3). Invite someone to an activity inside or outside the church. They accepted with open arms and took our commitments one step further. President Davey had a meeting with Elder Ballard about 6 months ago, where they were each committed to inviting someone to take the missionary discussions four times in a year. He re-committed himself to doing that with fire in his eyes. We were so edified after that lesson, and we are excited to have our second lesson with President Davey tonight!
Most of our week was filled with lessons like that taught to members in our ward. Mt. Vernon is on FIRE! The members really truly want to have missionary moments, and they're showing it by accepting us into their homes, and doing the things we invite them to do. I hope to be here when the tidal wave of baptisms hit, because if the member work here keeps up like it is now, it's going to be monumental in the future.
We have had tremendous experiences with teaching the members already. In one case, after sharing the First Vision, we had a brother leave the dining table, grab his phone, and invite one of his friends to see Meet the Mormons. The wife perked up and committed to inviting her non-member friends to feed us. Wow! The member's motivation to do the work of the Lord is inspiring. I know that this fire comes from hearing the Doctrine of Christ. The message of the Restoration - the Doctrine of Christ - is just so powerful to the humble and soft hearted, that it motivates them to act and share it with others.
I think often of Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life. When he tastes the exquisiteness of the fruit, his natural instinct is to share it with those he loves. He even invites Laman and Lemuel, whom he knows are hard hearted and will probably respond bitterly! Such love transcends fear. The pure, unconditional love of Christ (see Moroni 8:16).
I went on an exchange with the Assistants on Friday; I went with Elder Miles (MTC Comp.)! They drive a Chevy Silverado, and I got to drive for the day! :D I felt like I was driving the Gladiator again. I was large and in charge of the roads. Much unlike our Corrola.
We drove to a street called Pope's Head, in search of a missing member. Pope's Head is nortorious for its large houses, pristine 5+ acre yards, and beautiful sunsets. We were driving through at just the right time, around 6:30, when the sun was dipping below the treeline. The falling leaves, cool brisk air, rolling meadows and pink clouds turned our drive into a scene from 'A River Runs Through It.' Elder Miles and I didn't have a care in the world. We were commenting on the beauty of God's creations, our fortune to be in this mission at this time and the kindness of waving, smiling pedestrians. Life couldn't have been any better!
We found the home we were looking for, and gawked at the length of their driveway. There was no way we were parking up that - Elder Miles would be backing me out for... Well, miles ;). We couldn't park on teh side of the road either, for it was privately owned property, no trespassing with no shoulder. So we parked at the entrance of their driveway, walked the long walk to their doorway and knocked.
A nice man answered and started to talk with us, but was interrupted by loud honking and a shrill yell from where we came.
He said it was his wife coming home from work. She did not sound pleased. We ran down there, to find his wife outside of her parked car looking absolutely anathemic. I hopped in and got out of the driveway as quickly as I could, while Elder Miles took the verbal abuse of a contentious woman for a good 7 minutes at least.
I rolled down the window and listened in on the bashing. She was accusing us of all sorts of crimes, everythign from loitering to man slaughter, I swear! We apologized again and again and promised never to set foot 5,000 miles within her domain.
She suddenly turned our perfect fall day into a scene from a movie that makes you feel really crappy after watching it. Because that's how we felt.
It was awesome! haha, missions are great! :D
That's how my week was. Thanks for all of your love and support!