Monday, October 27, 2014

A Great Week!

   We had a pretty busy week last week. Lots of stuff has been happening. First of all, our investigator C...decided to be baptized! I'm so excited for her. She has been great and prayed about what we taught her about the restoration and she got an answer that she needs to continue in this direction. We still have more to teach her, but she is scheduled for Nov 22 to be baptized. Unfortunately she wasn't able to come to church with us yesterday, but there's always next week. 
   Our other investigator W... decided she wants to look into the church a lot more. She wants to start coming to church. She was supposed to go yesterday, but she had a migraine. So I guess we'll just have to go next week with her too.  At least J... and his two girls were able to come to church. The girls both had parts in the primary program and they did great. One of them gave a short talk about D... meeting with us and being baptized. It was really sweet. We are going to meet with D.. and J... this week again.  It should be fun.
   On a not so happy note, B..., a recent covert that has been having a lot of struggles, just took a turn for the worse. She'd been letting a lot of shady people associate with her and they just got busted yesterday for breaking the law. She's getting kicked out of her apartment, and very possibly will lose her newborn baby. She's a single mom, and her parents won't take her in so she's in a bad situation. We are really praying for her. 
  About the bunk couch, we don't actually sleep there all the time. We all have normal beds to sleep in but we also have like 5 couches in our house haha. The inspectors didn't approve of that many but I think they're fine lol. We all have a couch to sleep on at nights when we do use them. They're actually just as good as my bed because my bed is too short for me and my ankles hang over the edge of the bed. It's a bed though, and it is all mine.
  My eye is doing alright. I'm still using the drops and wearing my glasses but I haven't gone to see the eye doctor again yet. I'll probably just keep using the drops for another week or two and go see him next week, depending on if I'm going to leave for Taiwan at the end of this transfer. We just had interviews with our mission president and he says things aren't looking promising. He thinks I'll probably be here for at least another transfer and possibly a few more. At least I'll be able to finish up some more of the work we've been doing. I really want to go to Taiwan, but that seems like a distant thing now. Who knows what will happen.
  Oh we just got a new investigator. His name is C..., he's 17 and he moved here from Virginia and has been investigating the Church for a while. We met with him this morning for the first time and talked about the atonement, baptism, and the Holy Ghost. He said that he's a little hesitant about baptism because he wants to understand things first. He said he would continue to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. He's a great guy and I think that he will get an answer soon because he is very sincere. 
  Wow that picture of the yard sure looks different with all of the trees gone. That's too bad that all of them are dying. It looks a little barren now, but at least you were able to get them taken care of. Ian nice job this season with soccer. You're doing great! you've won a ton this year! And I'm glad to hear that Alexa hasn't crashed the car yet. I'm still a little nervous lol. 
  Oh one more thing. Tonight I'm going to be teaching two girls from Taiwan who are exchange students. A guy from Hong Kong is going to help me teach them and says he speaks Cantonese and only speaks a little Mandarin. I guess we're both going to have an interesting time haha. I'm excited, but a little nervous because my Chinese has gotten a lot worse since I left the MTC. Wish me luck though.

   Well I love you all very much. Hope you all have a great week!
Teaching Exchange Students From Taiwan

Monday, October 20, 2014

Painful Eye, And More Teaching...

  Hey everyone! My week here has been pretty good. However, my eye has really been bothering me. It might be the same thing that was bothering me during the MTC but I'm not sure. It's basically been hurting for my entire mission so far so I've worn my glasses a lot to lessen the pain. Hopefully the eye drops will work quickly because I really don't like wearing my glasses. One of my roommates bent them a bit so I need to get them adjusted. Until then, it's very annoying to wear them all the time. So hopefully I'll be able to wear contacts again soon. The eye drops he told me to get were $100 and I didn't want to pay that much so I got two different eye drops that were the combination of the medicine in the other bottle. They only cost $22 but I hope that they'll work as effectively as the other kind. Should I buy a few daily contacts to wear until I get to Taiwan? Would that be pretty expensive? and did the doctor say anything about being able to wear my weekly contacts when I got to Taiwan because it would be a lot less dry there? The doctor is pretty cool. He is actually the stake president of the stake that I'm in.

   The teaching has been going very well so far. We had a lesson yesterday with another new investigator named W...  Actually a recently returned missionary met her on the side of the road and helped her fix her tire. They started talking about the church and she wanted to learn more so we came and talked with her. We didn't actually teach a lesson like we were planning, but we really got to know her and her concerns. She is really prepared to hear the gospel and I look forward to teaching her more. She said we could visit her whenever we liked and we're going back this Wednesday. She has a 15 year old daughter and a 9 year old son that we will meet then.
   We had a great lesson with C... the other day. We got to know her and were able to share a brief message of the restoration and gave her a pamphlet to read. We're going to see her tomorrow and teach her again. She is amazing too. She's been looking for a church for a long time and her kids are wanting to know too. 
  All of our other investigators are going well too, and hopefully they can progress. We haven't been able to get a sit down lesson with J... because he has conflicts when we try to go to his appointment. But hopefully this week we'll meet with him.  Actually one reason we couldn't teach him was because we ran into his neighbor on the way to talk to J... and ended up talking with his neighbor for an hour. He's a less active member named T... and he's great. He's been less active for a long time and is an alcoholic. We came back and talked to him on Saturday with a drug addiction service missionary and had a great talk. He really wants to change and stop drinking alcohol and has had a rough life recently and is turning back to God for help. I hope we can continue to help him.
  Elder Carlin and I have had a great time here and have found a lot of people, so if I get my visa this transfer I will actually be a little sad and disappointed that I couldn't finish what we started. I guess that either way is alright with me. I'm really excited to go to Taiwan, but I want to finish the work here, so whatever happens will be okay with me. I really need to work on my Chinese though cuz it's getting worse since I never get to use it. I got to talk to a Chinese speaker yesterday. We were driving by and saw her so we got out and walked to her and started talking. She didn't speak a whole lot of English and I think she was able to understand what I was saying. She didn't know who Jesus Christ was so I told her and we got her name and number. She isn't in our area, but she agreed to meet with some other people. It was a lot of fun to use my Chinese, but I probably didn't have the best approach cuz I was just so nervous about using my Chinese to teach someone haha. That was cool though.

I am trying to work on my Chinese.  I don't have as much time to study as I would like. Sometimes I'm able to study real well, but sometimes it's hard to focus on learning Chinese when there's no use for it around me. That lady was the only Chinese person that I've seen here except for at general conference.  I've been trying to learn lots of characters (kanji), because that's a lot more interesting to learn to take a break from just studying flash cards. I can read about 90 or 100 characters and can write close to that amount. I read from the Chinese Book of Mormon a lot with the pinyin and characters. I can understand a lot of it while reading the pinyin but have to look up a word or two every verse just about. I can read some stuff from the characters book but I have to refer to the pinyin side of the book for help a lot. It's fun to be able to read in a different language. The Chinese Book of Mormon expresses the verses quite differently from the English version in many instances so it's interesting to get that different angle on the verses.

 I am also studying a lot from Preach My Gospel.  I certainly know a lot more now than I did before I left, but I still have a lot to learn. I read from it and I try to apply it when I teach. It's pretty nice, especially the scripture references that they have for the different lessons. I also like the other section about teaching, Christ-like qualities, and recognizing the Spirit.

 As I said before, we get fed by members almost everyday, except on Monday. We get more of spaghetti than any other meal! We eat a lot of eggs and cereal besides that cuz they're on sale. Members sometimes give us leftovers and we eat those off and on. My apartment is pretty good.  It's also a little small for 4 Elders but we get used to it, and we don't spend a whole lot of time there. It's good enough for our needs and I'm ok with it. The kitchen is the worst though. There is lots of dirty dishes.
  I'm glad that everything is going well back home and you're all having a good time. I'm sorry it's getting cold again. It's not too bad here but I can definitely feel the chill coming in the air. Hopefully I'll go to Taiwan before all the snow comes! Well I love you all and wish you all a great week!

ps. did you get my letters in the mail yet?
I'll try to get on later and send some pics because I haven't taken any. Sorry about that. I'm just not very good about taking the time to get my camera out to take pics.

Our Couch Bunk Beds.  They Are Really Comfortable Except For All Of the Chips That Are Found Between The Cushions!

Elder Stevens And Elder Palhegyi 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lots Of Teaching Opportunities!

Hey how is everyone doing! Conference week was amazing and I'm really glad that I was able to attend two sessions! I know I've been there to the Conference Center in the past, but I didn't really remember it very well. This time I was really paying attention so I could learn how to improve as a missionary and I really got a lot more out of the talks. I really liked Bednar's talk on why we share the gospel with everyone, and the talk about staying in the boat...I think it was Ballard's. I also agree with you dad, Uchtdorf's talk on asking "Is it I?" was really good too.

We are teaching a lot of people!  We spend most of our time with less actives and recent converts and they need lots of help. We have several others who are non-members who we are teaching. We have our second lesson with a guy named J...  who is a methodist. He is a really nice guy from Ohio so we get along well.  The first lesson went well and he said he would pray, and if he got an answer he would be willing to be baptized! J..., D...'s friend is also looking more hopeful. He came to church with us yesterday and during a class, he bore his testimony about how grateful he was for us and for coming into his life and helping him and D...  become better people. He said that he has never felt how he feels now until we came into his life and helped him to change around. He really started crying too. I can tell that he really wants to change his life, but he's a little scared of the change, so I can understand why he dodged us a bit and had some relapses. He really wants to change though.

We were riding our bikes the other day and three girls stopped us and wanted to talk with us. We had a good talk and we have an appointment with one of them, named C..., tomorrow. We baked her some giant cookies for the birthdays of her two kids. She is a single mom in her 20s who needs help. It seems that a lot of people we teach are young single mothers. I can't imagine how hard that would be. We have a few others that we will hopefully be able to get some appointments for lessons. We really have so much potential in this area! I actually kind of want to stay here for another transfer because there's just so much to be done! There's no word on the visas yet, so I hope that they come in soon, but maybe not that soon haha.

I'm glad that Ian's team is doing so well this season! Nice job! I knew all that training with me would pay off haha. Actually, Ian you're just a good player. Keep it up! I got to see the movie "Meet the Mormons" one day before it came out in the theaters. We got a special viewing of it. It was a really good movie. I really liked the pilot and the story of the missionary mom. It's also neat how you'll probably meet the guy from Nepal with Choice Humanitarian. When I saw the Choice Humanitarian shirts in the movie I got really excited! Well I'm all out of time. I hope that you all have another great week! I love you all so much!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Great General Conference Weekend!

Hey how is everyone doing? Things have been going pretty well this week. I had a great time at conference on Saturday. We got to go to the Saturday morning and the priesthood session of conference. I really enjoyed both of them. We took several recent converts to both sessions and they really enjoyed them a lot because they'd never seen conference before. We had pretty good seats. They were in the terrace section, the second story section, and they were right in the center.  I liked how they did a lot of talks in different languages. I wish that the Chinese general authority would've spoke in Mandarin instead of Cantonese so I would've been able to practice, but it was still cool. I noticed a few similarities between the languages and I picked out a few of the words.  Everyone has been telling me how good Elder Holland's talk was, but that was the only session of conference I missed because we were visiting a family during that time. I'll have to watch it sometime soon because I always like his talks. I also liked Elder Bednar's talk about why we always like to share our beliefs with others.
 We still only have three bikes, but luckily since I'm not the smallest, I don't have to sit on anyone's handlebars. We either just walk around or bike. It's good to walk and honestly I'm glad that we have to so we don't get lazy in a car lol. We play basketball every morning for exercise and then I come home and do some more exercising so I'm trying not to gain weight with all the food we have. I had actually lost weight at the MTC and I still haven't gained it back yet, so I'm good so far haha. Ya Janae told me that someone was coming to talk with them from Taiwan. I really hope that they can fix the visa situation cuz I'm so excited to go. I was looking at pictures from the Taiwan mission page and it made me really want to go there. I enjoy it a lot here though and my roommates, so I don't mind being here for a little bit more.  But I'd like to get to Taiwan next transfer if it is possible. I try to practice Chinese everyday but it still isn't as good as when I used it all the time at the MTC or if I were in Taiwan. I met a lot of Chinese people when I went to conference and had good conversations with them. They seemed like they could understand me haha. That was really fun! 
  I hope everything is going well back home. Ian, nice job in soccer, I'm glad to hear that you've been doing really well this season. And Alexa, I'm sorry to hear about your knee.  At least you'll be able to weight lift more :) And taking dance classes is good too. Well have a great week everyone. I love you lots.
ps. idk if I told you or not, but put apartment #3 on the address if you mail me stuff. If not, I'm pretty sure the mailman knows where the 'Elders' live so hopefully I'd still get it. lol
Conference Center

Temple Square

Exciting Day!