We were without much access to the internet for a bit due to the move, so I am including two week's worth of emails from my boys here.
Missionary #2 November 7
Apparently I'm allowed 2 hours of computer email time every week which is pretty nice. I completely forgot to grab my camera, so I won't be able to send any pics this week. I guess it probably doesn't matter as you will be lacking any sort of good internet for the next few days.
West Virginia is pretty beautiful. I'll see if I can't get some good pics of the trees here. Although all the leaves are quickly falling and there's not much of Fall season left. Soon it'll be freezing cold and I'll be a little Elder Connole popsicle. Whenever I tell someone I'm from Arizona and San Diego they start to laugh because they know how much I'm going to freeze. In fact, one of our investigators offered to get me some thermals to help me out. :)
My trainer is Elder Ames. He's from Washington, and says he is slowly losing his ability to speak properly. The West Virginian accents are slowly catching up to him. I'm in South Charleston right now, so the accents arent' that bad because they're city folk. There's been a few people that I really don't know what they're saying half the time. It's really bad when the someone says they're retired because it sounds way too much like the word retard. lol It's pretty great.
When we first got into the mission office, they were telling us about cars and the regulations on them. A couple of the elders really lit up when they heard that a lot of the missionaries drive 4 wheel drive trucks and jeeps. We drive just a regular car though. Apparently its a necessity in a lot of the areas, the roads here are way worse that San Diego. Not only are they crazy and curvey, they are often only big enough for one car to go through. E. Ames says that I've got the easy side of things since I'm in the city. I'm kinda scared to think of the craziness that happens in all the other areas.
Speaking of which, they shut down the area in Hazard, Kentucky. E. Ames and his companion were actually the last missionaries in that area they were out tracting and area right before a huge drug bust. Now a lot of the dealers think the missionaries are undercover agents and busted all of them. President Pitt pulled them out of there right away because one of their investigators said that the missionaries had better stay away from that area or else some of the dealers might try to get even and "go string them out in the woods" as E. Ames put it.
Yup, good ol' West Virginia! Here in Charleston there is literally a church on every single corner. It's ridiculous Everyone belongs to some church, and a lot of them have read the bible in and out, back and forth, and quote it left and right. Theres actually an old retired minister who lives a couple apartments down. He really likes us, but he has really bad alzheimers, and doesn't ever remember anything we say.
President and Sister Pitt are awesome! President Pitt is such a teddy bear, and loves everyone. He, and everyone else in the mission, greets everyone else with a big hug.
Let me give you a quick run down of my week so far.
Pack and get ready to go, finish up classes and whatnot at the MTC
Early morning leave to West Virginia. We reported to the Travel Office at 5am. bleh... Flight was relatively pleasant. Handed out a pass-along-card to the gentleman next to me. Get to the mission home, and have a wonderful dinner. Jet Lag kicked in, and travel weariness put me to sleep.
Met my trainer, E. Ames. Found out that someone from our AZ stake is in my mission. Pretty rushed day overal. Taught a recent convert, Bro. Childers, about keeping the sabbath day holy. Tracted till 9.
Tons of Unplanned service, which is rare out here. Helped the ZL's with one of their potential investigators. He needed help rebuilding his deck. Dinner and service project, followed by raking leaves for a member's next door neighbor. Two Appointments cancelled, and our backups didn't work either. We ended up teaching an investigator with a baptismal date of Dec. 4th. We taught her about the Word of Wisdom and she committed to live it. We fumbled around a bit as it was our first real teaching appointment, but overall it was a pretty good lesson. Placed a Book of Mormon later that night.
Spent an hour on mormon.org. Missionaries are supposed to spend two hours a week on there so we can direct investigators and contacts there more efficiently. The church is really pushing mormon.org now. It's on all of our pass along cards, and the newest cards emphasize the people aspect of mormon.org. Went tracting, but it wasn't going very well so we stopped by a sister's apartment. Her kids were going a little crazy, so I entertained them with pamphlet pictures while E. Ames read from the Book of Mormon. The lesson, overall went pretty well. Had another cancelled appointment, so we went and met Bishop Larsen, the bishop for the ward we're in, and also met his family. Tracted till 9.
Recieved a random text from an investigator that we've somewhat lost contact with. Visited with her a little later on for about 15 min or so. She has never come to church, even though previous missionaries have been inviting her since August. She committed to come to church which would be the 3rd investigator to do so on the week. Taught two 40 year old twins. They've been taught by several sets of missionaries, once was on date to be baptized, but never followed through. The lesson started strong, but one was quiet vocal, and had been reading anti-mormon literature. The other kept wanting her to calm down, and started almost teaching the lessons for us. One will commit to stuff, but have trouble believing, while the other will have trouble committing but not believing. Arg! The lesson ended on a good note, and the spirit was definitely there, hopefully we'll be able to help them out more in the coming weeks
3 lessons today which is pretty solid for a sunday, it was somewhat dissapointing at church when none of our investigators showed up. :*( But on a good note, a random lady we talked to earlier that day showed up and sat right next to us. She saw that everyone was bearing their testimonies, so she went up and did as well. She ended her testimony with "thank you" and left the stand. After sacrament, E. Wiederholt (one of the zone leaders) and I talked to her and found out she lived in another state, but was very fond of mormons. I gave her a pass along card, and I hope she goes to church out where she lives. Two of the lessons were for less active members, one of them, I could only really understand about half of what she said. The other one we stressed being an example to his family. We also taught an investigator again for a short lesson. (she's the one who offered to get me some thermals) It all went fairly well. and overall the week was pretty great!
Love you tons! Keep me posted on what going on with life. I'll send pics next time.
Elder Brayden Connole
Apparently, every month after entering the MTC you have a click day. Basically it's a monthly anniversary. Why it's called click day, I have no clue, but that's what the zone leaders, and my Trainer called it. Click day for me was on saturday. I can't believe I've been out a month already. It's seems like I just barely left.
So here's my last week:
Good relaxing P-Day. We have trouble getting our laundry done because the zone leaders and the Assistants come and use our washer and dryer. Usually we just put a batch in between appointments while we are at home during the week.
We tried to follow up with some contacts in Southmoore apartments (they are just up the road from the church building we have), but none of them answered, or they were busy. It's strange because tons of people out here live in government housing, and when we tract there, it's really hit or miss, some people could really care less, and others are really searching for some help, and some light. Our back up was to continue tracting those apartments, so we did. It was really hard to see anything or talk to people because the sun was abnormally bright reflecting off of the buildings. We tracted into an older lady. She invited us in because we kept squinting in the sunlight, and really had trouble seeing and talking to her while we were outside.
She's a seventh day adventist, and she told us about her faith and what she believed. It was interesting because she actually believed a lot of the same doctrine we did. We showed her in the Book of Mormon some of the passages where our beliefs coincide. We left her a copy, and she committed to read it. Apparently she had met with sister missionaries a year or two back and was somewhat dissapointed when they didn't come back. We set up a return apointment, and she was exctied for when we return.
We ended up giving away 3 copies of the Book of Mormon today in addition to teaching a couple of lessons. It was a good day.
Visited an elderly couple who are not members, but are completely into geneology. They've been to Salt Lake twice to use the geneology stuff out there, and even admitted that there was "something special about mormons." We talked about a variety of things, from Blacks and the Preisthood to prophets and baptism. They told us in the MTC to use the Book of Mormon to resolve any problem that the investigator might have. So we did. When they had a concern, we would tell them what we new to be true, or that we didn't know the answer, but that we knew the Book of Mormon was true, so whatever concern they had could be resolved through reading and praying about it. The Book of Mormon is awesome. They definitely came closer to Christ that lesson, it was really great!
Elder Wiederholt says hi. ( he's my Zone Leader, and just jacked my keyboard) He's a funny guy.
Feeling a bit under the weather, I think the change of environment and the colder weather is catching up to me. Don't worry though mom, I'm taking vitamin C, garlic, grapefruit seed extract (because mormor said to do so when I start feeling sick), and drinking lots of water. I took a few naps during the day, but we still got quite a bit done
Ended up taking a two hour nap instead of just a half hour... woops, although I think it was probably a good thing for me to take a rest. We taught the acouple of lessons and tracted for a while. It's starting to get colder, but apparently is supposed to heat up to the 60's this next week which is really hot for this time of year.
Raked the leaves outside the church building in the morning with the rest of the ward. We have a pretty strong ward out here, and get fed fairly often. AKA every other day, sometimes more.
Everyone out here really knows the bible. We'll just be talking to someone, and they'll quote several verses in connection to each other about how our church must be false. They know their bible. I just have to take a step back and tell them, that the reason I know is because I've prayed and the Holy Ghost has told me it is true.
None of our investigators showed up at church again! ARG! It's especially frustrating because we don't know what happened to them, and two of them are scheduled to be baptized soon. They need to come, but just dont! I don't know what their reasoning is, but regardless, they need to show up at church.
Funny thing though, we had a 17 year old kid randomly show up at church. His name is david, and he should be coming to play basketball with us on P-Day. It was nice to have a new investigator after the bogusness of none of our other investigators showing...
The rest of the day was spend studying in bed, my cold had gotten a lot worse, but I'm feeling much better today (monday) hopefully i'll continue feeling better, as there's lots of work to be done.
Love you all tons!
Elder Brayden Connole
Missionary # 1 November 7
Woah, yeah that was really quick to get released! But I think it will probably be better to have more time for ya. And you get to teach a class that you know a lot about haha!
So I am in Arequipa today and tomorrow, we just got off a 5 hour bus ride, blech. And it was even worse for me because here I am tall so they actually have the seats way to close together, so I was squished for the first like 2 hours until they made a stop in Moquegua and a BUNCH of people got off. Then I could spread out, whew, thank goodness. We are gonna play some basketball today so I am pretty pumped for that! And then tomorrow we have the ZL conference.
This week was a lot better than last week, we had 2 investigators at church, one was M. Guerrero, and ex Jehova´s Witness´ and she loved it so much that this week she is going with the Bishop´s wife to visit less actives! Woot! So she is on track to be baptized next week, because she has a lot of concepts and beliefs and we have to work out and explain to her because the religion that she was in is very different than that of the LDS church.
Lets see I dont have that much time because we gotta go do some stuff so I´ll just give you a brief report.
We worked hard this week and now that I´ve got the area down we were able to work a lot more effectively. We found some really cool people and some not so cool people haha. We are really excited for a part member family that we found yesterday. They have been inactive for a while and have a 12 year old son who hasnt been baptized yet. We were contacting houses and as we were heading up the hill we found a little 8 year old of a convert family that got baptized in April and he was like so excited to walk around with us and he actually knows the family there. He gave a good little testimony about his baptism and now the 12 year old wants to get baptized too. We just gotta get them to church and we will be good to go.
Other than that we had a dilema with the temporal that was gonna be with E. Ruggiero until the end of the change. Turns out that he brought his cell phone so that he could talk to his GF during "break" periods (which dont exist) and so when he and I were on splits I got on him about it and he wasnt willing to give it up so we had to send him home. So the Assitentes are looking for another comp.
Well I think thats pretty much all the exciting news, I´ll have a better report next week :)
Elder Patrik Connole
Oof, dont I know it! I am the second tallest person in my zone here so its gonna be really weird to go home and have all these people that I know who were short be tall. And just the fact that I am slightly under the average height in the states is just weird to think about!
Looks like you got internet up and running again.
Lol, no we do not use Mormon.org all that much here. If I was in Lima we might do so, but Id say that only about 30% of houses here have a computer in house and like not even all of those have internet. And generally we dont end up working with those people because they are just a richer and prouder. Generally we have more success with the poorer people.
So yeah this week was a lot of traveling like I wrote to you that it would be. We had a lot of fun playing basketball and soccer as zone leaders, (My team won 1 game in basketball even though we didnt have very many good players, and we took 2nd in the soccer tourney). Tuesday we had a good training about how we need to be more effective and we need to work harder so that we can baptize every week. We headed out and got back around 1 am Wed. morning.
But we got up at 6:30 and went to work again. We had to help out E. Ruggiero who was still without a companion until that night So we both headed up to his area after working a little bit in our area and helped him out. We went to visit a member and as we were there we found a less active family who have a 9 year old kid, so the parents asked us how soon could he get baptized, Hello! We took advantage of the situation and baptized him that same saturday. Way cool, the family was so excited and they all showed to church for the confirmation and they are committed to being fully active once again.
Thursday we had our planning meeting then we did some splits with E. Gamarra and E. Ricra. We had to buy some glasses for E. Ricra and that was in our area so we did the splits to not waste time. E. Gamarra and I worked in his area and we found 3 new investigators, 2 of which were a family. And we had another guy that as soon as he opened the door and said, come in I need to know the truth about religions. So we went in and taught him about the Restoration a little and them we taught him about baptism and he committed to baptism. Sweet!
Then the next day we went on splits with E. Rojas, and once again I went to the other area. We taught 5 lessons and had 30 contacts that day, But with the last lesson we ended a little bit late and had to sprint several blocks to get to the room before 9:30, that was not fun, running with your backpack after a long day of work. But hey we have to be 100% obedient right? That night, I went to the bathroom and when I tried to leave the dang door knob was broken and wouldnt turn! So after being trapped for about 25 min E. Rojas finally got me out. We had to break the door knob to the bathroom and then pull everything out with pliers to finally get it open. It was so ridiculous that it was funny.
Saturday, E. Ramirez and I finally worked together and we found a few cool people to teach.
Sunday we went to pick up that part member family that I was talking about last week for church and as we were climbing up the hill to get there, my companion bit by a HUGE dog, It didnt kill him or anything, but it left a pretty gnarly bite mark on his arm where he was protect himself. It would have been worse if I hadnt found a rock and chucked it at the dog scaring it away. Anyways so after dropping off the family and taking the sacrament we headed over to the hospital to get it checked out. after like 4 hours of waiting we finally got him cleaned up and today we have to go for the rabies shot. In the belly button, ouch. That took up most of sunday, but we were able to go back to that family that we had dropped off at church and taught them the restoration and the 12 year old is excited for his baptism