Friday, February 22, 2013

This last week was really good, we taught a lot and did a lot
of good things. I’ll be getting a new companion tomorrow. Still don’t
know who it will be.

But something really cool happened this week... we got a truck!! It’s
so sick, I love it. It’s a 2013 Toyota Tacoma. I feel like a real boss
driving in it. We fit in pretty good with all of our members, cause
they all have trucks too. We even picked up a recliner off the side
of the road and brought it back to our apartment, just because we can.

The Mardi Gras parade was so much fun. It was pretty clean for the
most part. We got tons of beads and their floats were pretty cool.
Some people on the floats would see E. Bennett and I and would say,
"It’s the Mormons" and then like the whole float would just start
throwing beads at us. It was pretty funny.

Something that I’ve enjoyed from my studies this week is in
3 Nephi where Christ teaches the Nephites. I love the way he does it.
It shows me the weaknesses and strengths of my own personal
teaching. I’ve noticed that he uses language and stories that relate to
them. And then teaches them simply and clearly. I also love how he
teaches his 12 disciples and then tells them to go teach exactly what
he taught them to the rest of the multitude. I think that’s important,
because president tells us all the time that when you are taught
you only retain 15% of what you hear. But when you teach someone you
retain 75% of what you hear. That’s a huge difference. So he was
allowing his disciples to retain and understand more of what he was
teaching by allowing them to teach others. I think that is why the
new Youth curriculum is so important, because it forces them to retain
and understand it, because they are the ones teaching. I know that
from experience as a missionary, that I understand it better when I
get to teach it. I love the example that the Savior has set for us,
and I got to learn a lot more on how he taught people.

Mardi Gras!

This past week I would count as a good one! We were able to stay in
our area almost everyday and we did a lot of teaching. When Elder
Allen Packer came to our mission a month or so ago, he challenged us
as a mission to teach 20 lessons a week! On average I would say we teach
from 10 to 15. It depends on your area. This past week Elder Bennett
and I taught 12, which isn’t bad considering our circumstances. We are
going to try and teach 15 this week.

We were able to see our main investigator this week. Her name is
Shasta, she has been investigating for a couple years I think now, she
claims to be a Mormon but isn’t baptized, she even defends the church
when someone tries to attack it. So we are going to try and help
her out as best as we can. She brought her brother to church this
week, so we hope to start working with him too.

Tomorrow we are going to a Mardi Gras parade!! I’m so stoked, We are
going to the one in Metaire, which is outside of New Orleans. I’m gonna
catch so many beads, I might even have to push little kids out of the
way to get the good stuff! Everyone says that most Mardi Gras parades
are good for familes and are clean. It’s just the ones down in the
French Quarter in New Orleans that are bad, and those are at night. I’ll
be sure to take lots of pictures and hopefully some cool videos!

I’ve been trying to study a lot on the Atonement lately. Its such a
deep and personal topic, I didn’t know where to start. But I have been
learning so much. It doesn’t just cover the repentance process, the
Atonement covers so much more! It strengthens us to do more than what
we could do on our own, it allows is to grow in ways that we didn’t
know, it enables us to have power over temptations, and so much more.
We can have eternal life if we take full advantage of it.  The more I study
the more I see more and more weaknesses that I have, but because the
Atonement I know that I can overcome them and become strong. Even
though we might not receive all the blessings of the Atonement in this life,
we have the hope, that the gospel gives us that we can receive all the
blessings that it gives, throughout eternity! My mind can’t even
comprehend what that even covers. Sorry I just got my mind blown
this week. I got a lot of work to do! :)

I had a kid ask me this week why I decided to serve a mission, as I
sat and thought about the thousands of reasons, one came to my mind...
"Well the Gospel is true" That’s all I could say, and that’s all I need to
say--the Gospel is true. We are in good hands.

Something cool that I learned this week is something that I read in my
personal study, I read 3 Nephi 11. Which is easily one of may favorite
chapters in the Book of Mormon. But the part I want to focus on is
in verse 5 where it says "and their eyes were towards the sound
thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the
sound came." I love how it says their eyes were towards the sound. I
relate that to another favorite part of the Book of Mormon where King
Benjamin is speaking and it says that the door of their tents were
pointed towards him. I think that if we have our priorities pointed
towards living the Gospel and focusing on what matters most. Then we
will get a lot more out of life and feel that happiness and peace that
we all seek.

This week I went on 3 exchanges! Normally we only have 1 a week.

But since this transfer is shorter, we only had 4 of the 5 weeks to do
exchanges and the assistants called and wanted to do an exchange
this weekend as well. So over all, we have 8 exchanges to do in 4 weeks!
It’s crazy. At the beginning of this week we went to Convington to go
on exchanges with the district leader and then the other set of
missionaries in Mandeville, who are in the process of training and
being trained. I had a lot of fun and got to get to know a lot of the missionaries
better. On Tuesday I got to play basketball there and was able to beat
up on all these high school kids. Little did I know but 12 of them were
not members. Convington is this super rich, nice area and is
probably one of the nicest areas in our mission. I saw Tim McGraw's
mansion on the water. It was pretty sweet. Then this weekend I went

on an exchange with one of the assistants, Elder Carter. He is a cool kid and 
I was able to learn a lot.
For those of you who don't know what an exchange is. It's.... When my
companion and I go to another missionary's area and I go with one of
them and Elder Bennett goes with the other. We get to talk, teach and
get to know them. It's a great way to learn new things from different
missionaries and sometimes it's to get a companionship who is not
getting a long away from each other. 
This week we were able to have a lesson with this one family who I
will probably be talking a lot about... the Costas. They have tons of
part members in their family, so we hope to be working with them a
lot. But we were able to use that story that momma sent me about the
guy playing the violin in the DC subway station,and how he was played
Bach and stuff but no one really noticed him... that one. Well we read
it and they loved it. Then I asked who can the people in the story
represent. And we came up with that the guy is Christ and the precious
music is the Atonement. The people passing by is us. Some of us just
walk right on by without even noticing what Christ is constantly doing
for us, and some just stop for a second, throw a few coins and then
keep on going. I loved how only the children wanted to stop and
listen, but then the parents want them to keep going. We all know how
much Christ loves little children and how so much more spiritual they

are then the rest of us. The spririt was super strong and I know that
they all felt it. It was awesome. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Albany, Louisiana

Lots of new and exciting changes this week. It was hard to say goodbye
to all the people in Morgan City, but I think that both Morgan city and
myself needed a change. I am now in Albany, Louisiana. My new comp
is Elder Bennett. We both were trained by Elder Davidson, so its funny to
He is from Canada, a suburb of Ontario. He goes home at the end of this 
transfer. So I have about 4 1/2 weeks to get to know the area and to know 
how to be a zone leader! Should be a interesting few weeks, but I’m 
looking forward to it!

I really like Albany. It reminds me a lot of Many, small country town
with a small ward, but awesome members. It’s a nice change from Morgan
City. We play basketball every Thursday night and football every
Saturday morning. I think Ill fit in just fine! We are just working a lot with
less-active and part-member families. Almost all of the main families in our 
ward have at least one or two non-members, so we are going to be working 
closely with all of them. The leadership of the ward is really good and they
are really missionary-minded, which is such a nice relief. The stake 
president lives in our area too and he is all for missionary work. So he helps 
us out a lot.

So far being a zone leader isn't much different from being a district
leader. But I think that’s about to change pretty quick. We have to go
on exchanges with all the district leaders in our zone and then also
all the missionaries that are training. So that makes 7 exchanges in
the next 4 1/2 weeks! Should be pretty crazy, we will hardly be in our
own area and hardly with each other. But I’m happy because it will give
me a good opportunity to get to know a lot of the missionaries in our
zone. We have 28 missionaries in our zone so I have a lot of people to
get to know!

In closing I’d like to share what I learned in church this week. We had
a high councilmen come and speak in our ward. He spoke on how D&C 4
can apply to all of us, not just missionaries. He talked about how if
we try to apply and live the principles mentioned, then we will be
more aware of surrounding missionary opportunities for us and also it
will just help us maintain and increase our own personal testimonies.
I wish you could have heard it because I really enjoyed it. My favorite
thing about missionary work is knowing that when I go home, I get to
use all these cool things I’m learning and all of my fun and crazy
experiences. All of it won’t just stop when I get released, I have a
lifetime of "normal" life to build off of what I learned in two years!
But I still have tons of time left, 9 1/2 months to be exact…just
in case anyone was wondering.