Monday, December 31, 2012

We had a really awesome week this week. We got a referral from
missionaries in another area and so we went and taught them a
Christmas message. We used the story of the 3 wise men in Matthew 2
and then crossed referenced it to 3 Nephi 1: 19-21. It is an older
couple, and they just loved it. We invited them to come to the Church
Christmas party on Friday and they came! They even brought friends! We
are going back this week to start teaching them about the restored
gospel and doing service for them! The lady is so sweet, she didn't
want us to come do service because she had no way of paying us, she
was gonna have her 64-year-old, 350 pound husband do all of this back
breaking labor, just because she can't afford help. It was so sweet to
see the smile on her face when we told her we want to help her without
any type of payment! It warmed my heart to know that she could feel
the Savior's love through us!
Another sweet totally awesome ridiculously cool miracle! This is why I
think I've been her for so long... So earlier this week we got a text
from Alex (an investigator that we have been teaching for nearly a
year) and he asked where he could get a marraige license at. He has
asked that before, so I wasnt too excited. But I asked him if he was
serious about getting married to Alicia? He said..."Yes, I have been
noticing a lot of changes in here, she has been a lot of the things
that I have been looking for her to do." Well we as missionaries know
why she has changed. About 2 months ago we got sister missionaries in
our area (they are amazing) but they started to meet with Alicia while
Alex was at work. They started off by just reading the Book of Mormon
with her, then Alicia started reading on her own. So they started
teaching her the lessons in a way that she could apply. Slowly her
actions reflected what she was reading and what she was being taught.
She has read up to Mosiah 7 and yesterday asked for a blessing to help
her to live the word of wisdom. She asked me to give her the blessing,
which I was honored to do. I was nervous to give this blessing because
I knew how big of an impact it would have on her. It would basically
make or break her testimony of the priesthood.  Well this morning we 
got a text from her, to summarize... "Hey guys I just thought you should 
know that I think the blessing worked, I lit a cigarette this morning 
and when I took one puff I felt sick to my stomach" The spirit hit me 
like a ton of bricks. I knew that it was because of her faith that the 
blessing worked, not because anything I did or said. I love Alex and Alicia 
like my own brother and sister. To see them progress to the point where 
hopefully, by the time I leave, I can see them get baptized, if not at 
least married, would make everything worth it. I feel it's the gospel
that changes people, not other people. And Alex and Alicia are huge
examples of how that is true!
So I got a new companion this last week. His name is Elder Gates, and
he is from Las Vegas. He is a really good kid. 
The beginning of the week was kinda rough, we weren't really teaching 
a lot of lessons. But Saturday and Sunday were really good. We were 
able to find a few people that are interested. Church was awesome this 
Sunday! Mainly because Alan Hettinger, who has become one of my closest 
friends in Morgan City,finally came to church. In all 9 months of me 
being here, he had never come to church. But this Sunday he did! We went 
and ate at his house last night and he had a friend over that was asking 
us a bunch of questions and said he is going to go to church with Alan 
next week! So that was probably the best part of my week! You couldn't wipe the
smile off my face when I saw him walk in. We could really use him in
the branch. 
President Wall wants us to become the best teaching mission in the
world. So we have been working really hard on using different ways of 
teaching the gospel. ie) pamplets, the scriptures, videos, pictures. We are
also working on getting really good at asking inspired questions--questions 
that make people think and really get down on a spiritual level. The more 
and more I practice, the more and more I realize that I have a lot of 
improvement to make! 
I love being a missionary, I know that the Savior lives and that this
season is the best of them all, to reflect on his birth and sacrafice
for us. This season I would wish that y'all would find someone that
maybe "uncool" or doesnt have a lot of friends, and then go befriend
them. Be an angel in their lives!
So the news on transfers is that I'm staying! I'm actually really happy 
about that. I get to stay here for Christmas and it should be really fun. 
I'm thinking of getting my records transferred here and
then I have tithing settlement with President Jordan on Sunday after
church. The members here are starting to joke about me getting an off
shore job and getting my own apartment. At the end of this transfer it
will be about 10 1/2 months I've been in Morgan City. Like I've said in
the past, I would like to get a few more things accomplished before I leave
I hope everything is going well back home. Just know that the Savior
loves you and that he is the reason for the season! 
Last P'day we went to New Orleans and played in a big turkey bowl. 
Our team was one of the best, but at the end they decided to just 
make an All Star team. New Orleans Vs Baton Rouge. I played with the 
New Orleans side and we won. Jake played on the Baton Rouge side. 
We had two main appointments on Turkey day. In the morning we went 
to the Jackson's and had Brunch. Then in the evening we went to the 
Albert's where they served a deep fat fried turkey! It was
so good! I loved it. Definitely one of the most unhealthy things I
have even eaten. But it was totally worth it. 
We had another rough week missionary-wise. One of our top
investigators moved back to Texas and doesn't want the missionaries to
stop by. Another one has just disappeared and Alex and Alicia can't
seem to get along. 
On a happy note.. the Gospel is still true! Jesus is the reason for
this wonderful season. And I'm so thankful for the opportunity that we
have to remember the Savior and enjoy this time of the year! I know
that as we push all the worldly items of Christmas aside and remember
the true meaning Christmas, the Savior, that we will have more love in
our hearts and have endless joy. I love y'all and I can't wait for next
year when I get to spend this time of year with y'all! 
I don't have much time this week cause we are going to New Orleans to
play football with a bunch of other missionaries! It should be really
Something cool that happened this week is that we had Zone
Conference. The Assistants instructed us on leadership, and then
President took a long time to talk about missionaries. Specifically
about missionaries feeling like they arent acceptable to the Lord, 
which I feel like every missionary feels a certain degree of. But
basically what President did was just quote President Uchdorf
"Stop it" It was great. I loved it because what I heard was... "
Get over it, man up and just be a missionary" President didn't really
say that, he said it in a much nicer way. But that's what I took from
I really do feel that if we do our best and do all that we can, even 
if sometimes we don't see success, then the Lord will say "Well done 
thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, 
I will make thee a ruler over many." He only expects our best. And that 
is different for every single person. But our best can always become better. 
I've learned that when we become satisfied with our efforts, then it's time
to look for more improvement in ourselves. It's our job to find out
what the Lord expects from us, and then we need to do it! "And If you
believe all these things, see that you do them" Mosiah 4:10
I can't believe that Madeleine comes home today!! That's so exciting! I'm
sad that I can't be there to see her come home, but I know you will
tell me all about it and send me plenty of pictures. I know she must
be going crazy right now. It's hard to leave something you have been
doing every single day and then go back to an old life. Madeleine, I
love you and I'm so proud of you! One more year and then I will join
But as for our week, we had a really good one. We were able to find
some really cool new people to teach. One guy said that we were
"glowing" at Walmart, and that even though he couldnt see us, he knew
exactly where we were at cause we glowed through the aisles. Kinda
weird, but really cool because he said that something told him to come
talk to us. So, we were able to testify to him that that was the Holy
Ghost telling him that we have something that he needs. We had such a
sweet lesson with him. He has had a real rough life, he has made a lot
of bad decisions, but is ready to change and said that he has finally
found God. He even said that this Mormon thing is what he needs. He
even came to church! We are excited to see what happens with him.
Alex. Alicia, their son Zackary and Chelsie all came to church as
well! It was a great day at church. They are all progressing, but at
different stages. We want them to go through this together as a
family. But first we need to help them become an official family by
getting married. Alex is still hesitant, but we are hoping that seeing
Alicia make these changes will help him see her as a wife. Chelsie is
so awesome, she is really sincere and wants to change a lot of things
in her life, and her actions are reflected on that desire to change.
A lot of really good things are happening here and I feel blessed to
be a part of it! This Branch is starting to get the feel of missionary
work and we hope to get members more involved than they have been in
the past. I have learned a lot about myself while serving a mission.
My strengths, my weaknesses, the things that bug me the most, and the
things that I enjoy doing and make me happy. But most importantly I've
learned that we have a loving Heavenly Father that is watchful over
all of us. He knows whats best, and allows others to help us get
through difficulties that we all have. We are never left a lone.
We had a really crazy and exciting week. Probably one of the better
ones of my mission. First of all we got a new Spanish Elder. Elder
Wilson, He is a cool cat and hopefully  he will help us make the
necessarily changes that need to be made here. President Wall called
me on tuesday and told me that I would be the new District Leader. I'm
very humbled, but excited for the new responsibility and learning
opportunity. Jake got called to be a Zone Leader! What a stud. We also
got two new spanish speaking sisters. These sisters are very sweet and 
supportive. I hope I don't let any of the missionaries down. I'm gonna 
try my best to help each of them grow into the missionaries that they 
can become. But first I need a lot of work ;)
We had a cool miracle happen this week. A few weeks ago while trying
to contact a less active member that has been nearly impossible to
catch at home, we were able to talk to his roommate named Chris.
Within in the first few minutes of us talking to him he shared the
experience of his Mom's death that happened just a few months ago.
Following his mom's death he lost his job and lost his car and has just
been in this rut that he just can't seem to find his way out of.
Luckily he has a Father in Heaven that knows him and  was able to
guide us to to go see him this week! We were able to teach him about
the Restoration and bear testimony that the Savior lives. The spirit
was so strong and I know he could feel it, so we invited him to be
baptized and he agreed! We are hoping to set a date with him this
week. I'm stoked to see what happens this next month and a half. This
area is full of miracles waiting to happen!
We were able to go to the Susan G Komen for the cure this past
Saturday. It was really fun! I can proudly say that I jogged the
entire 5k and finished in 30 minutes! Yes I know that's extremely slow,
but its not bad for a fat kid! I'll attach some pictures of all of us
at the race. I was proud to be able to represent Aunt Dan and Sister
Dupree at the race. They were my motivation to keep going when my
mountain dew belly was telling me to stop. It was so cool to see all
of the breast cancer survivors their at the race. It made me think of
Aunt Dan a lot. I hope to be able to do a lot more of those races when
I get home! 
This week we did a lot of service for different people. Mainly this
less active member that has been through the temple with his family
and everything! He has just lost his sight on the ultimate prize that's
all. But we helped him completely rip out his floor and then install a
new one. It was a lot harder and a lot longer than what all of us
anticipated. But he has opened up to us a lot and we hope that we
showed him that we love him and that's why we sacrificed three
days of time to help him. We want to start meeting with him and his
family each week now that we have a really good foundation with him.
He even invited us to go fishing next week! Which is always a plus. He
is the member that we went with one time and he straight up threw his
knife and stabbed a water maccasin while it was coming after him! 
We also had a lot of success this week. Alicia came to church with her
friend that is living with her and Alex. Sadly Alex had to work, but
it was great to see Alicia and Chelsie there. Alicia even got up and
bore her testimony! It was so sweet. We had one of the best testimony
meetings that I've been apart of on my mission. The Spirit was so
strong and I know everyone there could feel it. The best part was that
everyone had a big smile on their face and they just testified of how
happy they are because they are living the Gospel the way that it
should be lived. Chelsie said she cried, but with tears of joy. 
I also hit my year mark last week, which is a way weird feeling cause
I still feel so new at this. Time has flown by so fast, I don't want
the mission experience to end. Good thing I have a year left! I'm
excited to take what I learned from this first year and make this
second year even better!
Both elder Silva and I are staying! At the end of this transfer I will 
have been in Morgan City for 9 months! I might as well buy a house and 
get my records moved here! But, I'm actually glad to be staying. I 
have some unfinished business to take care of before I leave. Things 
are actually starting to pick up! We are trying a bunch of new things. 
They seem to be working and we are finding some really
awesome people.
We have been working really hard on "filling people's needs." We first
need to help people with whatever it is that they need before we just
throw all this Jesus stuff in their face. Cause if there is something
that is bothering them or something that's giving them stress, then
they won't want to hear what we have to say. 
For example, Saturday was our filling needs day. We played
basketball with all the neighborhood kids. Then we went and
helped this widow build a fence for her dog. Then we helped Alex with
his trailer and we went fishing with them afterwards! Filling needs :)
Because of helping people get over their concerns or problems, it has
opened new doors. So those  miracles that I mentioned last week are 
starting to happen. I can see the hand of the Lord in everything we do.

Lately I've been hearing a lot of people saying how they have lost a
loved one or someone they knew. It's a sad and dreary time when a life
is lost. Sometimes we don't understand why someone we love that is a
good person has to die when there are tons of really bad people
running around. I read Alma 14:10-11 and it gave me some comfort. 
I encourage y'all to read it. But I know that our loved ones are in 
a better place, a place of happiness and a place of rest from all pains 
and sorrows. We will see them again. I can promise y'all that. I can 
promise you that because the Savior lives and he suffered so we can see 
our loved ones again and live with them forever.