Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2nd week In South Arkansas

  It sounds like you had a great week, and that the Temple dedication was really cool!  We really are so lucky to have temples that are so close to us.  The work that we do in them is incredible.  I can't wait until I will be able to go to the Memphis temple, I appreciate the temple more and more now that I haven't been there for a while.  That's cool that you got the pictures from the mission home, I loved spending the night there it was so nice. 
What an awesome example Pres,Wakola is to all of us though, especially his missionaries. 

 This week was a pretty good week.  We got a few new investigators and met a lot of cool people.  The week flew by as usual, and I'm starting to understand a little more Spanish, but not a whole lot.  They just speak way fast.  On Saturday we  did service and helped a lady and her son move out of her trailer.  It was pretty easy, because they didn't have too much stuff.  A trailer a few down from them had just burned down a few weeks prior. It looked pretty crazy!  Going to trailer parks seems normal now, because it's pretty much all we do when we go tracting. 

  Later that day we went to see a referral from the Hermanas.  It was a guy named J.L..  It was our first lesson with him, and he seemed pretty interested from the beginning.  We taught him the restoration, he told us how he doesn't smoke or drink.  He is like a golden investigator.  During the lesson the spirit was really strong, and he agreed with all that we taught.  At the end we asked him to be baptized.  The spirit was extremely strong when we asked him, and I know that he could feel it.  He said yes, and then we set a baptismal date.  It was such a cool experience, especially because he said that he wanted to change in his life.  It's always easier to teach when the spirit is so strong.  There is no doubt that the spirit does the converting, as missionaries we are the messengers, and guides for them. 
  We have a couple investigators that want to be baptized.  Erica M.is just waiting for an answer from immigration if she can get married.  I really hope she gets a good answer, because she is so awesome and wants to be baptized so bad.  Then there is C. and A. who are not married, but both want to be baptized.  They come to almost every church event.  They are actually going to separate because they don't want to get married, and then get baptized.  I'm looking forward to a couple baptism's next month hopefully!  Other than that all is good over here in the south.  I got to get my hiking in last week, we hiked Pinnacle mountain and it was super fun.  It felt so nice to be back on the mountain again, even though it was pretty small.

At the top of Pinnacle Mountain

 The article by John Bytheway in your letter was super awesome, especially the story about Heber J. Grant.  Knowing that you know the truth is sometimes hard, but that is why we need to have faith.  Our testimonies are always growing, that is why this gospel is so awesome.  Oh and Elder Zwick is coming to our Mission tomorrow.  He is the one who gave a talk about how his wife jumped out of the Semi truck with their kid because she thought it was going to explode.  I'm really excited and looking forward to be able to hear from him.  We read his talks to get prepared and on one of the pages, there was a picture of my friend Cynthia Leal from BYUH.  I knew she was in an ensign, but it was funny it happened to be that talk!  His talks were both awesome, it will be a great day tomorrow. 
Anyways I love you so much, and hope your week is fantastic. 
Elder Braden Geddes

  Visting with some Branch Members

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

First week in Arkansas!

Well I have now been out in the real mission field in Arkansas for about a week.  I love it out here, it is pretty nice and most of the people are very friendly.  I'm serving in the South Little Rock area.  My companion (trainer) is Elder Castaneda.  He is from super awesome and I have already learned a lot from him.  He is from Guatemala and has been out for 21 months, so I will be his last companion.   He actually speaks really good English which is nice.  He is a super cool Elder, and I can tell that I'm going to like him.  He has been serving in the area for 9 months so he knows everybody and everything about them.  

It's been pretty easy adjusting to the mission life in the field, it's way different but I like it a lot.  I'm always way tired by the end of the day, but it is a good kind of tired.  I thought I could understand Spanish, then I came here and can hardly understand anything.  It's frustrating not being able to talk much to the people, or understand much.  But I just need to be patient, and it will come.  I'm serving in a Spanish branch, and there is apparently around 50 members that come every week, so small!  This last Sunday we were combined with the English ward because they had the primary program.  Watching the kids sing and talk is always great.  I have met most of the members already in the Spanish Branch, and they are all super nice and friendly.

So a typical day here is we wake up, and then study, eat and do other things to get ready for the day.  We study until 1:00, we have extended study time because I'm on my first 12 weeks.  We then leave to go to our appointments or knock doors (harvesting).  We have a car for 3 weeks and then we bike for 1 week, it's a pretty good system.  This week we met a good amount of people while knocking doors that seem pretty interested.  We have appointments to go back and see them to teach a real lesson.  We have a couple investigators that are ready for baptism, but they need to get married first.  That's the biggest problem that the Spanish community has, they all live together but are rarely married.  Everyone is always pretty nice when we are tracting and they will always at least talk to us.  I just can't wait until I can understand and talk to the people. We normally go to trailer parks to harvest, the first time I have ever been to one!  They are pretty crazy sometimes, but we normally end up meeting a few cool people.  Nothing crazy has happened yet, only a drunk guy wobbling down the street, that was pretty funny.  Arkansas is really pretty with a lot of trees, the downtown area is super awesome.  It's not in our area but we have driven by it a couple times.

                                                                Capital of Arkansas

This last Saturday we had an activity at the church for Mexican Independence day.  It was a lot of fun, we had tons of food.  We also did a couple skits and there was Mexican dancing.  Elder Castaneda was the star of the show, he danced, sang, did the skits, just about everything.  A lot of the people from the ward showed up including some of our investigators which was nice.  I'm pretty sure that there are 4 Spanish sets of missionaries in our Spanish branch.  

Here in the south there are tons of churches, it's like Utah with churches, except none of them are LDS churches, it's crazy.  I think it's awesome that we have the same churches worldwide, with the same name on them.  Where here they all have different names, and always fighting against each other, or preaching anti-mormon doctrine.  If you know your church is true, why do you have to preach against the other ones?  It just reassures me even more that our church is the only true church on the earth.  I'm honored to be able to share it with the people here in Arkansas.

  My apartment is actually pretty nice, I like it a lot.  Elder Castaneda keeps it really clean as well.  I get to be designated driver which is pretty fun, Castaneda knows the area perfectly so he is the GPS of the car!  
I hope that all is going well at home.  I'm glad to be in the same country as you now. .  All is good here on the other side of the United States.  I love you so much and hope you have a great week.

                                 Elder Geddes  feeling at home on his street in Arkansas


Elder Braden Geddes

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Last Week at the CCM and Arriving in Little Rock Arkansas!

Wow I can´t believe that in a few hours I will be heading out into the mission field.  I am so thrilled to get to Arkansas and spread this everlasting gospel with many people.  It is going to be so cool to see the change that the gospel brings to many peoples lives.  The gospel is happiness, no doubt.

This week has flow by just like every other week here.  It feel like just a few days ago you dropped me off at the airport, but then at the same time it feels like I was born here!  I have grown so close with so many missionaries, it´s going to be sad to leave them, but the journey ahead of us will be incredible.  I  can´t wait to meet a bunch more missionaries In Arkansas.   I have gained such a greater knowledge about the gospel here in the CCM and how to share it.  Leaving the CCM is like i´m leaving for my mission all over again!

Elder Geddes and his Zone at the CCM

                Elder Geddes and Hermano Tapio               
                                                 Elder Geddes and Hermano Carmono

The highlight of this week was definitely yesterday (Sunday).  It was a fast Sunday so I had the opportunity to fast for the 2nd time here in the CCM.  The entire day was filled with the spirit and I could tell that I was receiving many blessings because I was fasting.  We are blessed to be able to fast, it´s such a small sacrifice that can bless many others and ourselves.  
This Sunday  we decided as a district that we would give each other blessings of comfort before we head out to our different missions.  It was my first opportunity to be able to give a priesthood blessing.  I was able to give my first blessing to Elder Beatty.  It was cool, because earlier in the day I felt that he would ask me to give him the blessing and comfort then he did.  It was an amazing experience to be able to act by the authority of the priesthood.  After that Elder Weese asked me to give him his blessing. The blessing I gave him was way powerful, and the spirit in that room was so strong.  I know for a fact that the words that came out of my mouth were not from me, but they were from god directly talking to Elder Weese.  I´m so grateful that we have the priesthood on the earth today, it is such a blessing in our lives.

District 12E at the CCM

  Every Sunday night we have video presentations where we are able to watch different Church videos.  They are always pretty good videos, and this week were were able to watch 3 videos.  The first one was about the first sister missionaries that were called to serve, then The Stonecutter, and then Finding faith in Christ.  In the Stonecutter it is about the man (forgot his name) who would walk from I think Alpine all the way to the Salt Lake Lake City to do stone work on the temple. You probably know but he carved Holiness to the lord on the temple. He then lost his leg in an accident and made a wooden leg for himself.  After he got comfortable with the fake leg, he would continue to walk the distance to work on the temple.  He did this for many years all the way until he died.  Such and incredible story about diligence and fulfilling your calling.  We can all be more like him, and give a little more effort in all that we do. The next video was all about Christ´s earthly ministry and how we can have faith in him.  I twas incredible to see all that he did while he was on earth.  While watching the video the spirit came over me strongly and I knew without a doubt in my mind that Jesus is our savior.  I´m so grateful for his perfect example, and all that he did for us.  My favorite scripture Mosiah 16:9 ´´He is the light and life of the world, yea, a light that is endless that can never be darkened.  Yea, and also the life of the world which is endless, that there can be no more death.  He truly is the light and life of the world, he is our everything and because of him we are able to live with God again.  

After the videos there was a video presentation with pictures of all the departing districts.   After we always sing God Be With you in Español.  It is such a cool song, that always brings the spirit so strong.  After all of the videos, all of the departing missionaries stayed after for a testimony meeting.  They were all about 1 minutes testimonies so that a lot of missionaries would be able bear their testimonies.  As a district we all bore our testimonies, and probably about fifty others.  Every testimony was so simple, but yet so strong.  It was one of the strongest times I have felt the spirit here in the CCM.

  I have never appreciated my stateside mission call more until being here in Mexico at the CCM.  Even though i'm  inside a fenced off area, I realize how lucky we are to be able to live in the United States, it´s going to be a great feeling returning back to the states tomorrow.  

 I love you so much.
Elder Braden Geddes


Elder Geddes and President and Sister Wakolo

Dear Brother and Sister Geddes

Your Missionary has arrived safely!

We are so excited that Elder Geddes is here.  We truly look forward to working with him.  What a blessing to have a son on a mission.  We will do everything in our power to watch over him while he is in our care. 
Missionary work is so rewarding and miracles happen on a daily basis. We are anxious to get him to work so he can experience what sharing the gospel and serving others is all about. Thank you for sharing your son with us for a short time and for letting us love him for eternity.

Blessings will come to all of us as we strive to be obedient with exactness and love the Lord with all our heart.  What a blessing it is to share the gospel and serve the Lord every day in every way.

                                                        With Love and Gratitude,                
                                                       President and Sister Wakolo

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Week 5 at the CCM

Today was a great week as always. It went by so fast and I can´t believe that at this time next week I will be in Arkansas.  Wow I´m so excited to get there and see my mission president again, I know that he will be an awesome mission president.    I can´t wait to head out to Arkansas and find those people waiting for me, I´m going to have so many amazing experiences ahead of me! 

I really like that quote from Elder Holland, we are so blessed to be able to have true Prophets on the earth today who receive revelation from God, what a blessing it is for us to hear their inspired words.  We just need to listen to those words and stay on that straight and narrow path.  I have been able to watch several things from Holland in devotionals and class here, he really is such an amazing speaker and his words are so powerful.  I can´t wait for this upcoming conference, I´m no doubt going to appreciate it more than I ever have before.   

.  I am traveling with Elder Heaton which is awesome, we get along so well.  It will be so nice to be able to travel with him all the way to the mission.  We also fly into Atlanta with Elder Weese and Elder Blood from our district. 

  Anyways this week was a pretty usual week here in the CCM.  My Español is getting better and there is always tons more to learn.  One cool experience from this week was when we were teaching our ´´investigator¨ Hermano Carmona.  He goes by Augustin in the lessons. When we got there he told us he had drank and smoked again and that he couldn´t go to church because his work was on Sunday.  We helped him realize that he could get through his problems, and that he needed to have a lot of faith.  All of the words that we said were really strong, and it was the best I had ever done in a lesson. I just felt like my Spanish flowed and all the things I said were what he needed to here. The spirit was really strong, which was cool it is the best feeling when the spirit is strong in lessons.  They are always better when we are guided by the spirit.  Even though it is not a real investigator the spirit can be really strong and every person is an investigator even if they are a member.  There is always more to learn in this everlasting gospel.  

This last Sunday was our last normal Sunday here in the CCM because next week is fast sunday.  The leaving districts got to perform a special musical number.  It was us and another district from our zone.  We sung Armies of Helaman in English then the first 2 verses of Llamados a Servir en Español (called to serve).  It was a mix up between the two of them and it sounded really awesome.  The spirit was so strong as we were singing it.  Every week that a district has left the special musical number has always been amazing, I love how music can bring such a strong spirit.   

  Another story from this week is when we were talking to Hermana Carmona.  So we asked him about if he was getting a new phone.  He told us that his phone was stolen  a couple weeks ago, when he was riding the bus. 
He the said what happens is that two guys come on the bus with guns, one on the front and back.  They go around pointing their guns at people making them give them their wallet.  If you don´t give it to them they will shoot you. He says all of this while sort of laughing like it is just a normal story.  He has gotten 2 phones stolen from him at gunpoint.  One time he said during a baptismal service guys came in with guns and stole peoples laptops, cars and other things, so crazy!!  2 of his parents cars have been stolen as well.  He says that it is just normal here in Mexico City, he was really surprised that this stuff hadn't happened to us before.  He also told us that they will kidnap bishops and missionaries because they think the church will pay to get them back, even though they will not.  Just so crazy the different life styles that seem normal to people in different countries, makes me appreciate my call to Arkansas even more!  

Other than that one more week left, and i´ll be out in the field.   I love you so much and I hope that all is well at home, have an awesome week!

Much love, 

Elder Braden Geddes

Our Districts favorite drink at the CCM!
P-Day At the CCM