Monday, August 13, 2012

Well I've been on my mission a year,

and what an amazing year it was. It is incomprehensible to me how time has gone so very fast. I am told that it only picks up in speed from here. This has also been an amazing week. I had part in my first Zone Leader Conference, which happens once a month. We received some great training that Elder Sevison and I will be passing on to the zone tomorrow. On Sunday Elder Sevison and I had a chance to speak in the Tongan Ward! I haven't heard hymns sung that well in sacrament meeting in my entire life. :) I spoke on The Atonement and Missionary work. It went well. I was told by many men, quite larger than I am, that my loud assertive voice woke them up from their weekly nap. :) I have grown to love their culture even more on my mission. The greatest miracle of the week happened yesterday when I met with a man named Aaron Percy. Brother Percy comes from a family of members. He went to seminary as a teenager and later married a member of the church. Through all of that he has not been baptized. For the last, who knows how many years, he has chewed up missionaries and spit them out. No one has ever gotten close to getting him baptized. A few weeks back Brother Percy was sitting in Sacrament meeting when he said a voice came in response to a friends testimony and it did not come from his head. He said it came from his chest. The words he heard was "this is true." He looked around to see if someone said something to him. He now knows that The Church is true and that he needs to be baptized. Yesterday we set a baptismal date with him for the eighth of September. Don't get me wrong, I can see why no missionaries were not able to get to him. He is a very intimidating man who works with sarcasm like other artists work with clays or paints. :) It seems we just happen to be the missionaries here while his heart has changed, and I am grateful for that. We are still working with several others whom we hope will be baptized. It is nice having a companion who isn't a young missionary. I don't feel like every responsibility rests on me. The Fontana Zone had a great week with many new baptismal dates and new investigators. It is neat looking at the work from a bigger perspective. On the Tenth of August we got the zone together for a commemorative burning of shirts and ties etc., which signify you reaching a landmark of time on your mission (6,12,18, or 24 months). I burned a shirt for hitting my year mark. As it burned I couldn't help but to think that the fire of my mission is still burning. I will have many battles, many losses, and a few precious victories still ahead of me before It is time to clean up the ashes. I hope all is well for you as you finish reading my rant-like weekly email.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away,

So when I entered the MTC one of my roommates was Elder Sevison. We became great friends while in the MTC. When we arrived in the mission we were made roommates again serving in Hesperia! It wasn't long after that we were both in the San Bernardino Zone. He is probably my best friend in the mission. Guess who my new companion is. :) Elder Sevison and I are serving as Zone Leaders in the Fontana Zone! The day of transfers couldn't have been more nerve racking. I knew that there was a chance that he would be my companion, but he had only been a ZL for one transfer. It wasn't too likely that we would be put together. The City of Fontana is very diverse it has it's higher end neighborhoods (similar to Rancho Cucamonga) and it has it's more Ghetto areas(like San B). The entire place is covered with palm trees. The area that Elder Sevision and I are working in is the Summit Ward. It is a very rich area with a lot of young families. They haven't had a baptism in this area for three years. Luckily Elder Sevision has worked hard here for the last month and we currently have four people lined up to be baptized on September eighth! (Alexia, Addison, Teola, and Jen) We also met a family yesterday that has been taking the lessons for six years. The family is ready for baptism, but the husband isn't ready to commit just yet. I am excited to see what we can do for that family. Being a ZL isn't much different than normal missionary life. There are a few more meetings and responsibilities that we have, but all of our other time is devoted to our area. I was worried about going ZL because a lot of Zone Leaders serve in YSA wards where they do not have much work. I am glad to be in a regular ward. The work here in the valley is quite a bit different than my time in the mountains. You almost have to take a completely different angle with the missionary work in the mountains. Down here the houses aren't mostly rental or seasonal homes! I am excited for what lies ahead these next few months. I hope I rise to this call I have been given. This has been a major change for me, and it will assuredly stretch me.

Love ya guys,