Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 96

  Transfers calls have come  and gone and it looks like I'll be staying in Searcy for the long haul!!  I'm pretty excited about that, we are going to have a great couple months here!! I was going to be happy with whatever option for my last transfer, and I would say staying was probably the best one!   

  This week was another solid week!  It has been super busy and a few things fell through, but overall it was great!!  We have been seeing Monica really consistently this week, and she is rock solid.  We saw her Wednesday morning and then left her a chapter to read in the Book of Mormon in preparation for the Book of Mormon class that night.  She read it and made it out to the class.  After she texts us how much she loved it and how this time around with the missionaries she just feels so much different, and knows that it is true.  We were actually able to push her baptismal date up to this upcoming weekend.  She made it out to church on Sunday and we were able to see her later on that day.  She is excited for her baptism, and she has made so many amazing changes!!  

  Last Monday we were able to see Allison and the girls at the park.  We taught a great lesson with her and we were going to be seeing her every day this week in preparation for her baptism.  Some things came up and then she ended up getting sick.   We felt we should drop by on Saturday night to see how she was doing.  She had faced some opposition but she fought through it super well and asked us questions openly!  They're such a solid family and we are pumped about their progression and the great changes they are making.  Even though she was sick she still had her two daughters go to church, and a member was able to take them to church!  

  As well we have been consistently seeing the Maudlin's and they are doing awesome!  We were able  to set baptismal goals and they should be being baptized in a couple weeks! They are excited for that and Cori was able to drop off the boys for the last couple hours of church so they could make it to their classes for the first time. They loved primary and had a good time! 

  Also I made the return to Jonesboro again this week on exchanges!!  We taught a lot of cool people and then as well I got to see Claudio and Takiya.  Claudio is doing really well and just got a calling with the young men's, it will be great for him!  Takiya is excited to prepare for a mission when she turns 19!  I also got to see a lot of other members because there was a baptism on Saturday morning, it was sweet!  Claudio y his wife took us out to lunch that afternoon!  It's always the best going to Jonesboro!  

  But all is well here in Searcy!  Elder Plaira is a teaching a couple people from the Phillipines, so now I know how it feels when I'm on exchanges with English Elders and i'm teaching in Spanish!  I love y'all and have a great Memorial Day!

A change in plans...goodbye Seracy- Well all the transfer/release calls were all made last night and this morning.  And I never received one.  But then a few hours ago I opened up the mission email and it shows me getting transferred.  So I'm going  to serve in Danville, Arkansas with Elder Claridge for my last transfer.  There are a bunch of Hispanics so that will be good for speaking Spanish as we will be a Zebra companionship, just a big shock for me.  Should be good though.  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 95

  Pretty incredible week here in Searcy!!  Earlier on in the week we had our big Specialized training as a Zone up in Batesville. We instructed on our Power y Authority, and how to be effective when inviting people to church! There was a lot of preparing that went into the meeting and it all went super well!  .  

   After the meeting we went on a blitz in our Area.  I went with Elder Hooker and we were able to teach a bunch of sweet people.  We went to give a guy a card and he initially said  "you'd be wasting your time".  We were pretty persistent in at least just giving him the picture of Jesus and he accepted.  We started some small talk and then starting talking about our beliefs.  He ended up being really open about everything, and when we explained about Prophets a lot of things clicked for him.  We explained him what the Book of Mormon was, and he said "why do people give y'all such a hard time?".  He asked for a copy and for us to put a bunch of chapters for him to read.  We saw him later in the week and he had read them, We discussed some things, and he asked for more chapters to read!  It's amazing what the spirit will do when people will actually do their part and have a desire to learn.  One of the Devils best tricks is convincing people to not even taste of the true gospel.  As well Elder Plaira went to see an investigator who is the husband of a recent convert.  The assistant had taught him before, and when they went to see him he had changed a lot.  He wants to be baptized and now he has a date.  We went to see him later on in the week. and he was very excited about his baptism and was asking for chapters to read and for us to come over several times a week, We are looking forward to that!  

The Group at the blitz with the one and only Freddie Green!

  Last week Bro Fitzgerald took us to help move a plastic pool for a guy and it was only going to take a few minutes.  When we got there it was already done, but we asked the guy (Kevin) if we could come by and teach him.  He said yes and that he had actually talked with missionaries a few years back.  This week we went to see him and had an awesome lesson with him, He loved the Restoration and knew of all it to be true and accepted a baptismal invitation.  Later on that night he came to Book of Mormon class.  We were able to see him several more times this week, and he loves everything that we teach!!  

  Do y'all remember the Perry family??  So earlier on in the week we went to see her and she told us that she wanted to wait to do lessons for a week and a half until her girls got out of school, but that she was still going to come to church.  We were worried especially because she was so excited about her baptism on the 28th.  Later on in the week she texted us and said how much she missed us, and the spirit that was brought into her home.  She asked if we would be able to come over the next day and if she could still be baptized next week!!  Our prayers were definitely answered with that one, and we had an awesome lesson with the Primary President with her and her daughter.  We taught the word of wisdom and she started crying, because she had just bought a new coffee pot.  It was a great sign of her dedication though, as she knew that she needed to start living this commandment.  We are super excited for he,r and we are going to be seeing them almost every day this week!  

  To put a cherry on top of all that happened this week was on Sunday!!  In the morning had a meeting and then our investigators just kept showing up to church.  Everyone that we expected to come to church made it out!  That was the first time that had happened on my mission. and in total ten investigators were able to come!!  All that came were the Mauldin's, Perry's, Kevin, Dylan, and Monica.  They all loved church, and it was great to see the fruits of all of our hard work!!  The Lord's work is progressing greatly here in Searcy and we are grateful that he trusts us as his instruments.  We are pumped for next week as we have tons of appointments set up.  Hope y'all have a great week, love y'all!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 94

     The Geddes duo 

   Another awesome week for the great land of Arkansas!!  So y'all remember the story I told last week of finding a family and blessing their home?  We have seen them like 4 times this week and they are so legit!  She fed us on our first visit with them, and  we brought a member who had been one of their kids substitute teachers.  We taught them after the dinner, and they want to be baptized in two weeks!  They also came to Book of Mormon class, and after she asked me "how do people deny this book when it says the same things the bible says?".  She told me how she was glad she came to the class. Her husband played basketball with us afterward as well.  Then in our next appointment we taught her and her daughter the Plan of Salvation.  When we got there she asked "what about all those people who didn't get baptized with the proper Priesthood Authority".  We explained to her about baptisms of the dead and temples and she loved it!  They came to church this last week, and they enjoyed the service.  She came up to me after and told me how grateful she was that we knocked on her door and, how much she loves about learning!   We are pretty excited for them and to see them several times this week!  

  For exchanges this week I got to go up to Paragould with Elder Geddes!!  So it was the Geddes duo and we had a great time.  Every time we introduced ourselves everyone was so confused, and we were able to teach a lot of really good lessons.  I also got to conduct my first Baptismal interview of my entire mission!!  He was a Marshallese guy named Ken, and he was very ready to be baptized.  He was a way nice guy, and the interview went well.  He was baptized and confirmed this last Sunday, and elder Geddes said he kept saying "one more step" referring to the temple because his wife is already a member.  

When we exchanged back we met up in Jonesboro, and I got to visit Claudio and his family.  They are doing really well and were super excited to see me.  My "Sobrino" has grown a ton already.  Claudio is doing great, and still loving the gospel!  It was really nice to see them again. It felt like going home.  We also got to drop by to see Takiya and she has decided that she wants to serve a mission!!!  That is awesome because she has always kind of wanted to, but now it is in her plans.  She also gave a talk this past Sunday in Jonesboro.  

  This week we had a member move from Nevada, his name if Brother Fitzgerald and he was baptized 3 years ago.  He has been helping us out a Lot ,and we are excited to have him here!  This morning we got a call from him saying that he met a lady at the hospital and told her about blessings.  It was her dad that was dying and she said that she would like for him to get a blessing. We met brother Fitzgerald at the hospital, and went to give the blessing.  The whole family was there and they said he only had a day or so left to live.  I gave the blessing and basically told him that he would pass in peace, and will learn more once he goes to the other side.  It was a cool experience and the family was grateful.  After we left I told Elder Plaira "we will probably never know what happens to that guy".  A couple hours later Brother Fitzgerald calls and says someone wants to talk to us.  A lady came on the phone and it was the lady who requested her dad got a blessing.  She told us that a few minutes after we left he passed away peacefully.  She said thank you so much and that's what he needed.  It is amazing the power of the priesthood! It truly connects Heaven and earth and I'm grateful it's back on the earth today.  

All is well in Arkansas, have a wonderful week and I love y'all!!

                Searcy Zone Leadership                               Baseball with the Mauldins                                                            

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 93
Spanish Amigos

  It was awesome talking with y'all on Skype yesterday!   After skyping we went to try some recent converts and less actives.  We went to a recent converts apartment and they were not home. We saw there were some people walking around a few doors down and I we felt that we needed to knock that door.  We knock the door and a lady opens up and was like hey y'all got to the same church as my neighbors right?   Then she started asking us a bunch of questions about our basic beliefs, and she was happy and surprised how "normal" they were.  We clarified to her what the BOM was and gave her another copy, because the Recent convert had giver her a copy.  Then she asked about blessings on homes, and if we do things like that because they just moved in. We said yes and I offered to give a blessing on the home.  Alyssa, Charles y the family all got together and we had a kneeling prayer as I blessed the home.  It was a cool experience, and  they even asked us if they could come to church and what time it was at!  It's amazing what small promptings will lead you to. Later that night when we were driving back home we get a call from that recent convert, and he said when he pulled in his neighbors couldn't wait to talk to him.  They told him we had came by and blessed their home, and how she and her daughter had felt the spirit really strong during the blessing on the home!!  The Lords work continues to amaze me.  

  As well on Friday night we got the zone together on a conference call, and we all knelt in prayer as we fasted to set 20 baptismal dates as a zone on our super Searcy Saturday!  There was definitely power as the whole zone was united on their knees in prayer.   We sure saw the fruits of the fast from the next day.  In the morning we went to see a truck driver Richard, his name had popped into my head the night before while planning. I had never met him but talked to him on the phone and, he seemed really nice.  We got to their house and they were out on the porch.  We pretty much  went straight into the restoration telling them how awesome it was.  They were all paying attention and but they didn't have much time.   We ended the lesson pretty quickly and boldly invited them to be baptized on June 11.  Richard agreed to it at first, but wasn't too committed.  Then Elder Plaira mentioned somethings about Authority and everything just clicked in his head, and he told us how he can't wait to learn more.  He started testifying to his friend that she needed to be baptized by the proper authority and how much it would help her!  It was an awesome experience, and as a zone overall we had an awesome day setting 18 baptismal dates and seeing miracles throughout the zone!  

  We also set a date with a lady name Melanie later that day, and we taught the lesson outside.  She had no chairs so we taught the lesson form the back of the truck.  She came to church the next morning and seemed to like it especially with her occasion "amens" throughout some of the speakers talks haha.  I'll sure miss the culture here in the house!  Overall great week, and this week should be grand as well.  Have a great week y'all!

Exchanges with Elder Bare

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Week 92
A cliff we found in Arkansas, as good as it gets!

  Una buena semana aquĆ­ en Searcy!  This week we were really busy again with lot´s of teaching an exchanges!  We started off the week well, by going to dinner  with the Sherwood's.  They live in a small town own named Beebe and live on the little Farm.  After dinner he took us out to go Milk his goat.   He then sprayed the goat milk directly into our mouths!  It actually tasted a lot better than I thought it would, and then he taught me how to milk to the goat.  It was way fun!  

This week was actually transfer week for the rest of the mission.  So there was a lot of exchanges in our zone, but we still have a lot of good missionaries so we are excited about that!  And to answer your questions form last week Elder Plaira is a zone leader and it's his first time being one.  He just got transferred from his first area and has been out about 10 months!  

One day we went out to see Dee and to our surprise her daughter Jeanene answered the door and then after went back to sit on the couch.  Where she normally will leave right when we get there.  Recently we have been able to talk to a little more like outside and she has been opening up.  But we were able to teach her and really just explain what our purpose is as missionaries and remind her of her role as a daughter of God.  She really enjoyed the lesson, and we were able to give her a Book of Mormon.  When we were leaving I went to grab my Bible and then the BOM by instinct and she was like "hey that's my copy".  She's pretty excited to read it!  

Remember how  we went up to the fair in Heber Springs the other week?  So we had gotten an address for a lady in Kensett which is a tiny town right next to Searcy.  So we went and knocked the door and no one answered so we left a not.  Then we got a referral for a lady named Tammy so we called her and it was her!  She had called in to Mormon,org  and told them she is dating a member and had met the missionaries before, and wants them to come over.  We have an appointment with her this afternoon which should be great!  The fruits are already showing front he 2 days at the fair.  

We also went up to Batesville to do exchanges, I went with Elder Jennings but this time we went down to Searcy.  It went well and it' always great to see him and his companion Elder Taleni.  He is Samoan and a super great guy!  That is about all I can think of for this week!    Y'all have a great week, love y'all lots!


                                            The ward Grill out with Tanya y Larry