Monday, July 18, 2016

Week 103
La Ultima Semana de la mision 
(The last week of the Mission

Former Elder Butler, me, and David y Maria

  Well since it is my P-day today, I figured that I would write one last email of this week's happenings!

  Towards the beginning of the week we were finally able to see Efren again after his vacation to Colorado!  He is super solid and we were able to teach him.  He had been asking us to play basketball with him, so a few days later we were able to play with him at the park.  And it was so hot, that I though my shoes were going to melt.  He beat us pretty good the first two games, and then the last game I pulled off a miracle and won!  Later that night we went to teach him a lesson at his apartment and when he sat down he said "are y'all ready for Sunday".  It kind of took us by surprise but he said "well y'all won a game, so I'm going to come and check out the church"!!  That was awesome to hear, because we know he will have a great experience if he comes, he just needed to make the decision.  We had a great lesson with him, and he is looking really solid.  We are going to see him tonight as well.  

  We have been seeing Billy frequently as well which has been great.  So here in this town about everybody works at this chicken plant.  So we asked Efren if he knew Billy (because they both work there).  Efren said he did and he as well said that in the last few weeks, that Billy has seemed so much happier as he has working.  That was awesome to hear, and it's amazing the happiness the gospel brings, as well as how much other people notice.  While teaching Maria, she mentioned something about Billy and said that now at work he is a lot happier and he goes around saying hi to everyone which he normally didn't do!  We committed Billy to invite one person to church by the end of the week, and he said he'll do it!  

  I can't remember if I mentioned Kenny last week, but we found him while looking for a new member move in.  It was the lost members old friend, and this week we were able  to see him for or his return appointment.  He as super interested in what we had to offer, and had many great questions during the lesson.  We are hoping to see him again soon, as he lives far out.  We are excited for him and it's always amazing how the lord will lead us to those who are prepared.  

  Another cool thing that happened this week was we were able to see David y Maria several times and last night they invited us over for dinner.  During dinner David was saying how they love when missionaries come back and that his house is mine anytime.  Then there was a knock on the door and it was a returned missionary "Elder" Butler.  He just happened to be in Danville and came to visit at the exact time we were there.  That was pretty cool to see them, and David committed coming to church this week as well!  

  We were able to do quite a bit of service this week which was great, and overall it's been a really successful week.  I can't believe it's my last one on the mission, and I'm sad to leave so many great people.  I wouldn't trade my experiences on my mission for anything in the world.  I can't wait to use what the lord has taught me in the "real world" but I'm looking forward to the next challenge. I'm looking forward to see y'all in just a few short days.  Love y'all and thank you so much for all the amazing support that y'all have given me over the past two years!  

Con mucho amor,

√Člder Geddes

Monday, July 11, 2016

Week 102
From Danville to Little Rock
Our Zone
  Another great week here in the Arkansas Little Rock mission.  We had a lot of good things going on this week, and it was a great success overall.  

  We had a great Fourth of July on P-day as we were able to go to a flea market, and have a meal at a members home.  They had family from all over there, and something I love about the church is you can always make connections.  I was able to relate with several people there that had mutual friends!  We were able to see a few fireworks and it was a great day celebrating the freedom of this great country!  The next day we were able  to see a guy named Ricky who I had met on exchanges the week before.  When we saw him he was so grateful that we gave him the Book of Mormon and had read from it.  We were able to review over the restoration and set a baptismal date with him!  We have seen him several times and he is really excited!  He was going to come to church, and had even shaved.  But when we went to get him he had slept really poor and was pretty sick.  We are excited for him next week!!  

Exchanges with Elder Diaz
Changing a tire!
During the middle of the week we had Zone meeting down in Conway.  It was a great zone meeting and I was able to give my final testimony as well as another missionary who went home on Saturday.  It was mixed emotions, as it still hasn't really hit that I will be going home in a week.  After zone meeting a senior couple was able to drive us down to Little Rock for our exchanges!                                                           

  I got to go with Elder Diaz, and it was awesome being with him again and to be able to go where it all began!  We had a great day and taught a really awesome family who is preparing to be baptized at the end of this week.  We were able to have dinner at Yader's new home with his family!  It was a great time with them and we had a really cool discussion as he asked us about some reflections as we are coming to the close of our missions.  He told us how recently how it was becoming difficult in his calling as 2nd counselor in the branch.  He was having doubts, and before church he opened the Liahona (ensign) and read a paragraph that was a direct answer to his prayer.  He said after conducting the meeting and taking the sacrament he felt so much better, and realized that the work in God's Kingdom is hard, but it's totally worth it.  I love being able to see them, and seeing each time how much more they have progressed in the Gospel! 
     
Yader & family at their new house!
        
Ana y Israel
                                                                     
Hermana Foster
That night I was able to see Hna Foster and her kids at the church!  As well I got to see my son Elder Ceron!  To close the night we were able to see Ana and she made me some of my favorite mole poblano.  It was unreal and awesome to see her and that she is doing well.  The next morning the office Elders picked us up y we had to go to Hot Springs which is a really cool city and then headed back to our area. 

 The other great highlight of the week was the Confirmation of Billy!!!  On Sunday he was able to be confirmed and he even teared up after the prayer was said.  He has really been enjoying church, and each day continuing to progress.  We were able to see him a bunch of times this week, and it'll be sad to leave him for sure. I also gave a talk in church that went really well!   Well that'll about do it for this week, next week should be another great one! Love y'all and have a wonderful week!
Hike with Elder Clardige           

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week 101



  Feliz cuatro de Julio amigos!!  This last week here in Danville has been another great one and it ended off in a great way!!  


 Earlier on in the week were were able to go on exchanges with the ZL's and Elder Thomas was able to come up here with me in Danville.  It was a great time with him, he's one of my good friends and we were able to get a lot of work done.  We got to see Efren and had a great lesson with him!  He said "you're right, I just need to ask and decide what I'm going to do". He's a really awesome guy and we can't wait until he is able to come to church y progress more.     Later on in the day he interview Billy for his baptism and Billy passed and was all ready to go!  At first he seemed a little nervous for the interview, but after he was really excited.  And throughout the week we were  able to see Billy every single day this week which was awesome.  One of those days we show up and his roomate Jama said that Billy had cut off his hand that day at work.  We were pretty scared for him and after a few minutes Billy came back for the store and his hand was all wrapped up.  Luckily his whole hand wasn't cut off, but a couple of his fingers were pretty shredded.  He was trying to get a chicken out of the neck skinner, and his glove got caught and started pulling his hand in.  But Billy was in really high spirits though, and glad that it didn't get hurt worse. 


  On Sunday was the day of the baptism and the ward mission leader and I went to pick him up.  He was all ready to go with all his stuff.  We had church and I was able to give my last testimony during fast Sunday on my mission.  After church everyone went to the overflow where we had the baptism.  Right before the baptism  I went with Billy and we wrapped his hand with a clear plastic bag, a rubber band, and some tape so that his wrap wouldn't get wet.  Brother Torgerson was able to Baptize him and it all went well!  Billy was really excited, and his roommate y wife were able to attend as well.  It has been amazing to me how much the spirit has touched Billy and helped him progress in the gospel.   Our Heavenly Father truly does prepare people to enter into his kingdom, and will do anything he can to prepare them for making those big steps.   His progression has been a miracle and I know that his son (who was a member) was guiding him along from up in the Spirit world.  It was the best gift I could've asked for on my Birthday!  

  The rest of my Birthday we were able to do some teaching and then Elder Claridge and I went to the church to do some grilling.  We cooked up some Steak, Fish, and Brawtwurst that was super good.  Even if we failed for a while trying to start up the grill!  

  As for the rest of the week, we continued to teach a lot.  We were able to see Patsy several times, and she is progressing little by little.  We are hoping that the spirit will touch her one of these lesson, and lead her to take action.  We taught her the entire plan of salvation this week and she believed it to be true, but she is content on the level of knowledge that she has now.  She's super nice, and is always will to listen when we come over.  I was able to teach an Hispanic and I couldn't really tell if she was actually very interested.  But then I explained the Book of Mormon to her and after she looked up and said that she wanted to read the whole thing!  It was a lesson to me to always be teaching even if they don't seemed too thrilled, you never know what's going to get their attention.  Overall an awesome week and we are looking forward to Billy's confirmation the next Sunday!

Have a great week, and I hope y'all have a wonderful Fourth of July!  Love y'all!




Friday, July 1, 2016

Week 100



             P- Day 
     Hiking Adventures
      Once again another great week here in the Pueblito of Danville and time is flying by!!  The workiI going great up here with Elder Claridge and we are keeping busy.  

  Every single day this week we were able to go and see Billy an teach him for a few minutes.  We have focused on keeping the lessons short and simple allowing him to understand better.  It ha been working great as he prepares for his baptism next week as long as he is ready!  He had made huge improvement, and at the end of each lesson he has started giving great prayers, where at first he would never want to pray. Something he has continually prayed about is to have his roommate and his wife (Jama & Rita) come to church with him.  They are a couple from Nigeria and are super nice.  One of the lessons Rita was listening in and at the end of the lesson she said that she wanted to come to church with us this week!  So on Sunday her and Billy were ready for church, and she really enjoyed it, She was even taking notes and everything!  She told us that in her country she wanted to join the church at one point, but then moved away.  We are looking to start teaching her more and as well try and get her husband more involved!  We will be praying hard this week that Billy will be able to overcome some word of wisdom problems and enter into the waters of baptism!

  We have also been able to see Efren a few time this week which has been great.  One night we had an appointment scheduled with us but then he texted us saying that he needed to cancel, but that he wanted us to come over the next night at the same time.  We went to his house the next night and he had brought his girlfriend Marlet over!!  That was awesome that we did that and we were able to teach her the Restoration, it went really well, and Efren was really excited about getting her involved.  He said he was trying to convince her to go to church with him, and he told us that she is not 100%....yet.  Efren is rock solid and continues to love everything that we teach.  We talked about the importance of going to church. and how we need to have a trial of our faith before we receive an answer.  He loved when we shared him Ether 12:6 and he even went to his room to grab a highlighter so he could mark it. He should e coming to church next week and we are planning to see him several times this week.  

  As well we were able to see our investigator Carolyn who lives out in a little town called Plainview.  When we saw her she was so excited about us coming by because it had a been a minute.  And her friend was telling us how much she had been talking about us.  She had just broken her foot pretty badly but was in high spirits. Last time we were there  we had given her a blessing because she wasn't feeling well after a seizure.  She said that blessing helped her so much and made her feel calm.  It always amazes me to see how priesthood blessings comes to pass each and every time.  I'm very grateful to have to knowledge of the priesthood on the earth today, how much better would this world be if every house had a worthy priesthood holder in it.  

This upcoming week should be another good one!  Well I love y'all lots and hope that everything is going great!!  

Won Distirct contest, so Pied AP Elder Cuningham


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 99

Enjoying the View!
  
  I hope that y'all had a wonderful week last week!  Since Wednesday we were able to get a lot done in Danville and we had to stay in the pueblito all week because we were on Bike week.  Two days were crazy hot last week, we were soaking wet as we were riding our bikes haha.  But luckily it has cooled down and we are going hiking today for the 3rd week straight!  
Grocery Carrier
  We have continued teaching Efren this week and were able to have several appointments with him.  One day we walked in and when we sat down he was excited because he had read the chapter we had left him.  Whenever we teach him he always asks "is there anything else you want to share" and he is just soaking the gospel in.  We were able to set a baptismal date with him and he is going to be praying about it as well.  We asked him to pray about the Book of Mormon and he told us that he already knew it was true!  So he is pretty awesome and he should be coming to church this upcoming week. 
  We also have been teaching Billy pretty consistently and have started to teach way more simple so that he could understand a lot better.  It has been helping a lot and we left him with a big print of the Book of Mormon and he was excited about that.  The next appointment he had read and the next day he was able to come to church for the 2nd week straight!  He loved it and it was awesome he was able to come for Father's Day especially because some of the members knew his son that was a member there before he passed.  So Billy is looking great and we are working through a few word of wisdom problems and we are praying for him to overcome those. 
   All is well in Danville and I was able to teach a lot in Spanish last week, especially with being in town all week.  But that's about all for to this last week, and sorry for the shorter email since it's only been 4 days.  Love y'all and have a wonderful week!!  

Hiking on P-Day
Me and my companion
                                       A Menber gave us a drink she called a virgin missionary.
                                                             Orange juice and 7-Up

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Week 98
My sweet bike!
   Bless them if they have to go upstairs to do their laundry that they won't fall!  Feels like it's been forever since I have written y'all!  This last week was a good one and we were able to to get a lot done.  Back in Searcy this last Saturday  Brayden, Payton, and Hayden were all able to be baptized!!  I was so happy to hear that they were able to enter into that covenant and I heard that the program went super well, and the whole Ward was involved.  I got to talk to their mom (Cori) right after the baptism and she was really excited for them, she jokingly told me "this is all your fault" ha ha! I told her well that's a good thing!  She said she really enjoyed the service and as well that her husband and some of their other family friends were able to attend.  Before I left Searcy I had them write in my signature book and they wrote some really cool things.  Their testimonies are really strong, and they have embraced the gospel so well.  
Payton ,Hayden and Brayden's baptism!
   Back in Danville we were able to see a bunch of different people, and also it has been extremely hot.  As well we have actually been  going to this tiny town called "Ola" pretty frequently.  We have been teaching this lady named Francis and she is pretty awesome!   We taught her on Wednesday and she loved the restoration, and really wanted to come out to church.  We were able to set a baptismal date with her, and then we were  able to teach her the plan of salvation the next day which she loved.  We are going to be seeing her again this week!  My favorite quote of the week came from her when she prayed at the end of the lesson she said "Bless them if they have to go upstairs to do their laundry that they won't fall" ha ha!  We had told her that our laundry machine is upstairs. She's a very sweet older lady!  
  As well in Ola we are teaching a guy named Joe.  We have been teaching him for a while, and we always teach him outside on his porch.  One lesson we taught the Plan of Salvation and you could tell that he really opened up.  He has problems with eyes so he said he won't be able to come to church until he gets his surgery.  So the next lesson we gt back.  He asks if we want to go into this house and the first thing he said is that he wants to come to church this week.  On Sunday he was able to make it and he really enjoyed, It's amazing that time and time again the spirit can always change people and lead them to better things.  
  One day while riding our Bikes in Danville (we always ride our bikes when we are in town because it's so tiny). We went to see a guy named Efren.  Elder Claridge had met him a few weeks back.  At first he was on his phone and said that he was busy working on his car.  Then we asked him when we could share our message with him and he stopped and said "well I guess right now would be good".  We taught him the Restoration and explained the Book of Mormon.  When we gave him a Book of Mormon he was so excited about it and said he was going to read it for sure.  We then go back yesterday, and he had read everything we had left him to read and really enjoyed it!  He mentioned how much he was already learning.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation, and now we are going back to see him on Thursday.  
  We are also teaching an older fellow named Billy!  He has a baptism date, and we have consistently been seeing him a few times a week.  We had a good lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ last week, and we were pretty direct inviting him to church and letting him know that his ride would be there in the morning.  He said he would be ready to go in the morning.  He was ready, and he was able to make it to church and really enjoyed it.  He was fellowshipped well. Turns out his son who has now passed away used to be a member of the church and some of the member there knew him.  That was an awesome connection, the Lord works in so many ways to help people feel loved and comforted.         
     
                  
                          Elder Geddes and Elder Claridge      Elder Geddes and Elder Taleni

   All is going well for us in Danville, Elder Claridge and I get along super well which is awesome.  On Monday we had a great meeting with Elder Arnold of the Seventy. It's amazing the spirit they always bring.  As well I got to say goodbye to many of my good friends for the last time, crazy to think about.  Last P-day we were able to go hiking which was a lot of fun.  And hopefully we are going to go again today.  Hope y'all have a wonderful week, love you much!
                  
                 
                                  Lily pad pond                                  Beautiful hike!



Sunday, June 12, 2016

Week 97
  Last transfer to Danville, AR 


  For this week it was quite the adventure with leaving Searcy and heading to Danville.  My last three days in Searcy were awesome though.  We continued seeing Monica every day and preparing her for her baptism at the end of the week.  She was loving everything and was so ready to be Baptized!  I left not Thursday and she was baptized on Saturday, and confirmed the next Sunday, I heard it went really well!!

Monica's Baptism
  As well in my last couple days there I got to say goodbye to everyone, there were so many amazing people that I had already met in my short time there.  Some of our coolest investigators (the Carpenter's fed us several times.  As well as Dee our Recent convert made us some dang good fried chicken before I left.  We also got to go over and say goodbye to the Mauldin's.  At the end of our visit with them I played the song "I am a Child of God" and we all sang it.  It was super cool and one of their friends even joined in with them.  I have been so impressed with those kids and all that they have learned..  It was sad to have to leave them but they went to Monica's Baptism, as well as church last week.  They will be getting baptized this upcoming weekend!!  

                              The Mauldin's                                   The Carpenter's
 After leaving Searcy I headed up to Conway to spend the day with the Zone leaders because we couldn't get a ride up to Danville until the next day.  It was a great day with them and we were able to teach some cool people.  They had BOM class and at the end of it an investigator and a less active walked in thinking it started at that time.  So while everyone played Volleyball Elder Crane and I were a let to teach her the restoration and she loved it!!  She accepted a baptismal date and is really excited about learning more.  It was a great lesson to me about teaching at all times, you never know when unexpected teaching opportunities will come up.  

  The next morning the office Elder came and picked me up and we headed up to Danville, which is one of the furthest west areas in the mission.  Here are some things to know about Danville:
* The town has no stop lights (neither do the 5 surrounding towns.)
* 70% of the population (2,500) are Hispanic
* 30% of the town works at a chicken factory called Wayne farms.
* I saw the entire town on my first day.  
* I ride a road bike from the 90's that has an awesome basket on the front.
* There are two fast food restaurants (Subway, Sonic).  
* The closest Walmart or Taco Bell is 20 miles away.  
* There is a mountain, or in western terms a "hill"

  If you couldn't tell by the description I am out in the Boonies!!  It is really pretty up here though, and it has been a great first week!  I have been in a trio for the last couple days with Elder 'Iongi and Elder Claridge.  My new companion is Elder Avery Claridge from Tuscon, Arizona and he is awesome!!  We already get along super well, and we are going to get a lot of work done this transfer.  We will be serving in a "Zebra" companionship.    

  They were excited that I'm serving here because I have been able to talk with a bunch of Hispanics that they haven't been able to.  On church some Spanish investigators were able to come, and I was able to translate which I love doing.  We went out to a town called "Ola" last week and we tried this lady named Velta who the Elders had found the day before.  She had talked to missionaries in the past so we started teaching her the Restoration and she loved it!!  She said living prophets made so much sense and she believed everything that we taught to be true.  If all goes well she will be baptized on my Birthday! That's the update that I have for this week!

 I love y'all lots, and wish you a happy summer week!

                         Sayng Goodbye to Sister Hugentobler     All miss my king bed!