Monday, September 3, 2012

Mama Rika Missionary Updates...Uninterested Cows...Plus Pictures!


Letter 1:

Monday:

Pday, went shopping, emailed home, played some games, taught some people, the usual.

Tuesday:

We had a ton of appointments fall through, but we were still able to visit a lot of our less active members. It seemed like that was exactly where we needed to be. Whenever one appointment fell through, we were able to still teach and be led by the spirit to know where to go and who to see. It was overall a pretty good day.

Front street here in Richlands was closed for bridge repair, so it added a lot of extra miles to our journeyings. Something we didn't really have to worry about so much in AZ or in CA were all the rivers everywhere. It can be a hassle if they're repairing the bridge, or if there isn't a bridge where you want one.

Wednesday:

We had a half zone meeting on Wednesday. I guess that is kind of a weird name, but it's what I'm calling it because half of the zone got together and had a meeting. (or "meet'n" would be more accurate lingo for the area)  I guess the church as a whole is trying to get the missions to have regular zone meetings, unfortunately for us, we are so spread apart that it is not feasible for the entire zone to get together regularly. So we make things work with a half zone meeting. It was a really good meeting.

We learned a little about the "eye of faith" which phrase only appears three times in the Book of Mormon. See if you can find them. :) It is a really great topic to study on. Seeing things with the eye of faith before they actually occur.

The rest of the day was pretty good, we gave a less active member a blessing for her heart problems, had a few appointments fall through, then rushed to dinner with a member. After dinner they had a neighbor come over, and we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with her. It was a cool way to introduce the gospel to someone. She wasn't very interested in the Book of Mormon or learning more, but was very grateful for the chance to watch the DVD. We gave her a copy, hopefully it will plant a see that later missionaries can harvest.

Later that evening we struck a deal with some investigators who had struggled with their reading commitments that if they would read 5 chapters of the Book of Mormon, I would make a missionary rap and perform it to be recorded and posted on YouTube. And yes, I'm a failure of a rap artist, so I don't know why they agreed to the terms. Hey, if it gets them to read, I'll do my best.

Thursday:

After our studies and our planning session, we went to teach a young couple more fully about the restoration. Well, when we got there, we found out that they'd been getting into a bunch of anti stuff again. For about an our and a half, we listened to all of the research that a catholic scholar did to disprove the Book of Mormon. It was frustrating to see how they wouldn't even give the Book of Mormon a chance because of it. If they would simply read it, and sincerely pray about it's truthfulness, then they would be able to find out it's truthfulness for themselves.

We testified that we knew it was true and how we found that out through prayer and study, and they were softened quite a bit by it. It was cool to see the spirit work on them. They actually invited us over for dinner sometime, and we've been able to talk to them a few times since. We'll keep up the good relationship, and when their hearts have been a little more prepared, they'll be able to accept the message then.

We also tracted into a guy who had never answered the door for missionaries before. He was drunk when we were talking to him, but he expressed a sincere desire to change his life around and pull his family together again.We left a Alma 36 for him to read, and we were surprised later in the week when he called us to tell us how much he enjoyed the chapter. He went to the Gethsemane Baptist church this past Sunday with his wife. It was the first time he'd been to any church in years, so it was a good step in the right direction. We'll see if we can get him and his wife out to the branch here.

Friday

We had a couple of morning appointments fall through, but we were able to find a solid new investigator afterwards. She accepted a baptismal invitation, but wasn't so sure when we talked about a specific date. We'll have to go for that next time. Unfortunately, she'll be out of town for a few weeks, but she has brought her Book of Mormon and wants to read. 

Later that day, we headed out to Honaker and did some work there. We talked to the neighbor of a member, and now he wants to have a lesson in the member's home next Friday. Sweet! We're all for that!

Saturday:

We walked a lot to conserve miles today,  I was very grateful for bed that night, and slept very soundly. We ended up having 5 solid appointments fall through that day. When I say solid, I mean we'd talked to them the day before and they were still good to go. We ended up doing quite a bit of tracting as a back up.

Sunday:

We had a ton of people at church. Total there must have been 70 or so there. (normally we have 40ish) It was crazy! We had a bunch of less active members show up, 4 or 5 different families, and some stake visitors and people from out of town in for the funeral for a member. It was really cool to see the building so full. Now if we could only get that on a weekly basis.

We had dinner with R that night, He told us he wanted to read the Book of Mormon from the beginning all the way through. I'd be ok with that.

Monday:

Definitely one of the most unique days I've had on my mission. We helped out with J L's funeral. I've never met the man, but his mom (a member of the branch) asked me to sing "I Am a Child of God" accompanied by our branch president's wife on the violin. We only had about  30 min of practice time before the funeral to make everything work out, but I think it went well overall. E. Guthrie was given a call at 8:30 that morning and asked to give a short talk. I guess, at times, missionaries do a lot of things out of the ordinary, this was definitely one of those times. 

We went to the burial service up on White Mountain where our branch president dedicated the grave. It was a touching service, and I was glad to be a part of it.

When we got back we visited a less active member in the hospital, and later that evening we visited an investigator at the same hospital. So most of the day was spent around death and sickness. We did a lot of ministering to the sick and afflicted.


That was our week this week, a lot of good things are happening in the Richlands area of the Lord's Vineyard.

Elder Brayden Connole








 September 3, 2012

So, this week I didn't do super well at updating my journal every night, so some days aren't going to have much in them.


Monday:

Monday was Pday, nothing too crazy went on.

Tuesday:

Tuesday was pretty sweet overall. First thing in the morning, we got a call from a member that we home teach, telling us that a bat had been stuck in their house all night, and she and the kids had been scared to death all night. They told us that the "beast" was lurking somewhere upstairs, but they didn't know where exactly. We arrived on the scene, grabbed a few pairs of gloves, a broomstick, and a laundry hamper, and set out for our Man vs. Wild adventure. The bat was just hanging upside down on the ceiling when we got there. After we scared it, and it flew around for a while, we trapped it under the broom and stuck it in the laundry hamper. We then took the bat outside and released it to it's true home. Yay! I love happy endings.

Isn't that a great way to start the morning?

Afterwards, we went to the food pantry, then to the Library where I made a few copies of my favorite E. Holland talks. (Safety for the Soul, We are all Enlisted, Laborers in the Vineyard) I HIGHLY recommend you (yes you, whoever is reading this) go onto lds.org and find these talks, they are AMAZING. The audio resources on lds.org are sweet, there are so many good things to download and listen to.

When we finished there, we went to the church and taught N her last lesson before she was to be baptized. Yes! She was very excited for her baptism, and It's really having a great effect on the whole family.

We had a couple appointments fall through that night, and our back ups also fell through, with nothing to do and it being 8:30 pm, we finally just decided to walk down the road to a potential investigator's house. I've had some potential investigators turned off because of missionaries coming to their house when it's dark out, so I was scared that we might scare him off because of the lateness of the hour. However, we were greatly surprised, and blessed, when the potential investigator invited us in right away, and had already read several pages of the Book of Mormon we left him two or three weeks ago. The Lord really blesses us when we endure to the end.


Wednesday:

 I went up to Blacksburg for exchanges with the Zone Leaders. They needed to Interview N. E. Reidhead (the ZL I was with) only had been in the area for less than a week, so we mostly just went around street contacting. It's pretty easy to do in Blacksburg (a college town) when compared to Richlands. There were people everywhere we turned, so we just talked to everyone. We got a 3 referrals from nonmembers, and on our way to contact one of them, we set up an appointment with a guy from Egypt. That doesn't happen every day.

Thursday:

We exchanged back, Did our weekly planning, not much else happened.

Friday:

We helped out with the food pantry in the morning, and we stayed extra long to help unload a van full of donated items. We were out of miles for the month, so we were dropped off in Honaker where we walked and talked and taught for the next 5 hours before our dinner appointment with a member. We were contacting some referrals, and tracted into an excommunicated member. That has only happened twice on my mission, he had lost his Book of Mormon, so we gave him another one, and he's thinking about coming back into the church. He doesn't fall under our jurisdiction though, He's under the Branch President's.

Later, we saw a guy out killing wasps in his shed, so we decided to talk to him. After a little while, his wife came out, and gave us some cream soda, invited us in and we taught them about the Book of Mormon. She was very excited about getting her copy. She asked us if there was a website she could go to so she wouldn't run into anti stuff. Yes! We gave her a mormon.org card.

Later that day we tracted into a Barn and a bunch of cows. They weren't too interested.


Saturday:

Baptism!

We left first thing in the morning (around 8 or so) to start filling up the Font. (it takes a while) N showed up a little later than we expected, but other than that, the baptism went very smoothly. We had a couple of families in the branch there to support. Probably the most profound part of the service was the final song, "families can be together forever". Halfway through the first verse, I looked behind me and saw N's Dad with a kid in each arm, and tears streaming down his face. I looked away quickly and found a couple tears trailing down my own face as I listened to the words:

1. I have a fam’ly here on earth.
They are so good to me.
I want to share my life with them through all eternity.
[Chorus]
Fam’lies can be together forever
Through Heav’nly Father’s plan.
I always want to be with my own family,
And the Lord has shown me how I can.
The Lord has shown me how I can.
2. While I am in my early years,
I’ll prepare most carefully,
So I can marry in God’s temple for eternity.
It was a great moment.

Right after the baptism, true to the song we sang, we taught N's little 11 year old brother, M. He's excited for his own baptism at the end of this month. I was surprised at how fast he picked up on everything, and was ecstatic when he told us afterwards, pointing to his Book of Mormon, "you know, this stuff is pretty cool".  He read 8 chapters that night.

Sunday:
M  had read another 2 chapters Sunday, right before church, and during the "boring" parts of church. On our way back, we were able to stop by a couple of less active members. We were excited to be able to see M (baptized last month, then moved just outside of the mission.) who was visiting her Grandma. (Maw maw as they say out here)
We taught some investigators that night, and they said they'll attend church next week.


That's all for this week!

Elder Brayden Connole

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