Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27,2015

Hello Mom!

Clogged sinks, the HOA, old people, new investigators, and other shenanigans

Wow. Sounds like I missed a truly epic family reunion! Everyone must have had a lot of fun! But, the big mean missionary machine must roll forward, so I remain out here.

The crutches on the bike rack only lasted for a few miles. We decided it was best to keep it a one-time gag. 

It's been a really great week for us! For one, it was below 100 most of the week, and another, we found a couple new investigators as well! We had dinner with this lady named Cindy who is a single mother with her son, Shawn. We had a member of the ward come with us, and we got to know her family more. Turns out she had lived in Orem for some decent time, so she knows plenty about the church, but she came down here after she divorced her husband. I connected well with her son, he's an avid gamer. But if they become members it'll probably be a long-term conversion effort.

We also met this one guy in the same neighborhood named Jose. Holt and I street contacted his sons in their garage one evening and they said we could stop by again for a prayer in home. It took two times, but Jose did invite us in when we tried again a few days later. He was really stern at first, and funny thing, he abruptly opened the door on us and demanded I hand him what was in my hand, which was a restoration pamphlet. Fortunately, as soon as he learned we weren't Jehovah's Witness he relaxed a lot and became much more friendly. He was interested in our message because he was looking for a church and we left him with the pamphlet and Book of Mormon. When we returned for the 1st lesson we brought a Spanish one and we could feel the spirit as we taught him. The member we had with us was a certain Bro. Irvin and he did a good job contributing. Jose said that he would read it and we're  excited to see where he goes with that. But we may have to pass him off to the Spanish missionaries, but we really hope we can teach him.

We also re-established contact with a former investigator named JR. He's a nice fellow who has a wonderful home that's decorated with the colors, smells, and antiques of the desert. He's been to everywhere in Nevada, and would like to come to church, but has asthma problems and doesn't like how all the perfume in the congregation hits him there. We are thinking about giving him a blessing and getting him re-interested.

We had another lesson with Bro. Denninis, and Bishop accompanied us. Not much to say about that one, but we showed him the Patterns of Light videos by Elder Bednar. He's kind of waiting for an "aha-moment" to tell him to convert, but we have faith he will come to learn for himself.

Outside of teaching lessons, though, things are lot more rougher. I've found out that old people really have a habit of chewing us out whenever we meet someone who wishes to speak their minds. This past week we knocked on a less-active's door and his wife appeared and started to give us one of those feminine "This is what is wrong with you" talks. It wasn't pretty. Kind of like some of the phone calls I've heard the girls on staff make to their boyfriends if I'm honest. Then a few days later we were trying to get into the side gate of the same gated community, our remote wasn't working, and this old lady pulled up and basically told us to get out. So we took the main gate instead. Remote just worked fine, and we waved at the guard post as well! We happened to drive by that same lady's house, and we made brief eye contact as we drove by. Ahhhhhh, sweet, sweet, circumstances.

Oh, and the HOA hates us too! Turns out when someone reports us after spotting us in the neighborhood, one of the member's who live there (the one who gave us the remote) gets a fifty dollar fine. Oh well.

We also have an awesome ward mission leader named Bro. Hernandez. We call him coach Leo. He's fearless when it comes to sharing the gospel. When we were at Buffalo Wild Wingz, he contacted our waitress, who gave us her number, and when we brought him with us to knock on doors, after a day of no action, everyone opened up and we got to at least give a pass-along card away or actually went in and sat down and talked.

Anyway, he said that if you guys needed to send a package, just send it to him. I don't have his address, but I'll get it too you. 

We also clogged the kitchen sink. I learned that not all disposals are un-stoppable (I was dumping a month-old mac salad down the drain). After trying to clear it our ourselves, which made it worse, we broke down and called some members for drain-o. It worked, and now our fridge is less empty again!

Yeah, that's about it for the week. Holt shouldn't be on crutches for too much longer, but we keep going.

Glad to hear everyone is doing fine, it must've been nice to have everyone at the reunion again!

Take care,

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015

Dear Mom,

Well, glad to hear that the family reunion is going well so far. I'm not going to lie, I am a little bit bummed myself that I won't be there. But, there's greater things to do out here!

I also learned that anyone can email me besides family! Funny, I never knew that was a rule. That being said, would you kindly let Mckay know that he and my other buddies can email me if they want (him because he has all the class contacts). It would be nice to answer more emails every week, we actually have a good portion of time in the family history center for internet use. And it would also be nice to be able to email people about hobbies and time wasters rather than missionary work. (You can email Michael at

We still haven't gotten i-pads yet, but I hear they're coming! Personal study is by far one of my favorite parts of the day. Funny, I kind of feel like that being out here gives me a greater appreciation for the scriptures. I'm also reading out of Jesus the Christ by James Talmadge, and I have found it to be a most satisfying commentary. That and Our Heritage. Either way, morning study along with companion study make the day have a good start. Elder Holt and I daily hold good discussion on the scriptural doctrine. He's from South Bend, Indiana, and has a conservative outlook. In terms of comparison to The District, it's decently on point. Planning does a pretty significant job in our lives.

I also had some pretty special experiences with teaching the last week. In order to keep my anti-sentimental attitude that I hold so dear, I will just say that we were teaching an investigator who has been learning for six years. His name is Bob, and his wife is a member, and he is having trouble converting because he fears that he would need to forsake his Catholic heritage. I felt at heart I needed to speak to him, and when I spoke, it was....errr....poetic. I bore testimony to him that despite what conflicts are inside us, we need to take that step into the dark relying on the Savior to help and guide us. I could feel the spirit, and I must say, it was odd to have whatever wall erected around my emotions melt. 

On another note, we did find some new potential investigators. One is named Cindy, who has a son who had questions about what missionaries do. She had been taught in Utah 15 years ago, and so we hope to maybe re-start the process, even though she told her son that there was no religious obligations. There was another Sandra, who accepted a blessing contact (just an invitation for us to pray in their homes), and from another fellow named Austin. 

 Funny story, we went to try again to speak to a flaky inactive member, but after he didn't answer we decided to knock on the neighbor's door to see if he knew anything. An elderly guy answered with a glass of wine in hand, and after telling us he didn't know anything about his neighbor told us we were nuisances and to go screw ourselves and that he believed we were working way to hard for way too little results. I had to stifle a chuckle at how low and calmly he said it. Holt does a good job holding back irritation, but he also seems to take things a little more personally. We told the guy that  even if we left without one convert, we would still return better men. And after he told us to get off his front steps I told him to take care. Walking back, I kind of felt like laughing out loud for how similar his spiel sounded to the ones Venegas used to give us.
I thought it was hilarious!

Holt's also on crutches now, he had a hair line fracture in his foot from overuse (walking, I guess), so we've been slowed down for a little bit. So far, no one has swallowed the sympathy card.

That's about the last week. Mission life is pretty awesome, I'm not going to lie! I feel more energized and productive having to wake up at certain time and going to bed at certain time, and it feels nice to be responsible for your own actions. 

I've also included a couple of pictures from the week, and none of them have me in it! Sorry, but I figure you guys already know what I look like and quite frankly it's hard to find someone to take a picture for your when you're proselyting. 

Besides, every time we get going, I can look across the valley and see Redrock casino! So I can still see home from where I'm at.

Anyhow, hope the reunion goes well. Please send me pictures. I would really appreciate that. Remember that I love you all, and for those of you reading this on the blog who I have no idea as to whom you are, chances that I would like you anyhow!

Best regards from heck on Earth (temp wise)

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015

Hello Mom!

Greetings from Henderson! Yep, that's where I'm at. I was rather relieved that that's where they landed me. So don't worry, I'm not in the ghetto on East side or down burning in Arizona. As a matter of fact every time we drive down the beltway I can see Redrock and the mall, so I'm not too far away from home!

First week was alright, I'm not going to lie. They teamed me up with a fellow named Elder Holt. He's been out for near 23 months, so this is his last transfer. He knows what he is doing, and he and I get along just fine. He's going to be going to Utah State and doing the ROTC there, so I was able to relate to that. But the first night was spent cleaning the apartment, and it needed cleaning. I did all the dishes by hand (the dishwasher seemed a little shaky), and cleaned the sink and counters as well. 

In terms of actual proselyting, Holt and I do a lot of street contacting in-between appointments. I actually street contacted this one lady living in some lower-down apartments named Brenda and we helped her bring her coffee table inside. We set a date to get back to her, and I was feeling pretty excited about it! Until we met her husband. When we visited back there, the apartment smelled like a smoker's corner, and Mr. Koch (those were their names), went on a religious rant against just about everybody. Fortunately he never turned on the LDS church, but the spirit was far from present, and he and Brenda lighting up a couple more smokes didn't help either. So after letting all his philosophies out, we left. I was polite enough to at least thank him for his service in the Marine Corps, but we decided it best to drop them. Bummer.

So that was my first teaching experience! Fortunately we had a referral named (get this) Dave Matthews. We thought it was a prank. But lo and behold, his wife answered very friend-lily, and we set a return date. There's also another investigator who's been being taught for years about now, and he was once a news broadcaster. So I had the chance to talk to him, and he and I also share a taste for Roman history too!

The members are awesome as well! They've been feeding us good and are very hospitable. I'll have to send some pictures or something like that later.

I don't really need anything right now, but nerf guns are allowed, surprisingly. Harmonica's aren't. I'll let you know if I need one of mine sent over here, but other than that I can't think of anything.

Anyhow, thanks for all your prayers, and just remember that I'm not too far from home now! Remember that I love you all and that the Lord will help us through tough times!
Take care!
Hey Dad, 

Well, that's a bit of a bummer to see what had killed the mower. Doesn't really surprise me, it was being pulled by the cords for a little bit when the bolt connecting the mower to the hitch fell off. 

P-days are Mondays over here. So it was an awful nice change to the average Monday feel. First week was challenging in the sense of adapting to mission life, but it wasn't too hard. In fact, I felt more evolved having a set wake up call and exercising. Our apartment complex has a member gym, so it provides most of the equipment. But if you haven't learned from Mom's email, we don't use our bikes. We are given a mission car, a well-functioning Corolla. The apartments we stay at are also at the apex of a very gradual mile-long slope, so biking up and down it daily in the blistering sun would be a bear. Not that it's impossible, but when you have the car, why not use it? 

We cover two wards here, so that means about 6-7 hours of church ever Sunday! But after a hectic week, church seems pretty nice if I'm honest.

But yeah, I've come to try to rely on the spirit more often now that I'm out here. First week proselyting was nice, I talked to people very normally actually! But I've also gotten around to feel the spirit when I'm serving someone else, and also after rejection. The latter aspect serves as a nice comfort, although I'm not having any troubles taking things personally. But I've felt pretty spiritually uplifted this past week. Knowing that the Lord will bless me for my service kind of makes me want to serve more!

Anyway, have fun at the reunion! It guess it will be different without me there, but don't let that slow you guys down! Enjoy the water there too, Henderson is pretty much the same temp as Summerlin, but Missionary Uniform adds just a little more weight to it.
Still, could be hotter!

Take care!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July 11, 2015

Michael entered the Nevada Las Vegas Mission on July 8, 2015.  We drove him directly to the mission home and dropped him off--suitcase, bicycle and all.  We met his mission president, President Jack Snow, and his wife, who were serving pancakes and bacon to all of the incoming missionaries.  What a great way to start your mission!