Monday, November 13, 2017

Spectacular

Dear Family & Friends:

Elder Jensen and I had such a great week!

11/7 Tuesday
Today we taught a man named Henry. Elder Jensen met him last Saturday on exchanges. They knocked on an in-active member's door. A man came to the door and called out who is it. They replied that it was the missionaries. The man let them in right away and sat them down in their living room. It was not the in-active member but it was a man who is really struggling and so he felt like Elder Jensen and Elder Christensen were angels sent to him. He opened up to them and told them that he really struggles with drugs. They taught him the Restoration and set him with the baptismal day and he absolutely loved it. Elder Jensen gave him a pretty hefty assignment on that first meeting on Saturday, so we could know if he was solid to teach today. His assignment was to read three chapters in the Book of Mormon, as well as, dispose of all drugs in his apartment. When we taught him today he was waiting for us at the top of his stairs. He had read and felt the Spirit while doing so. He said it was like taking a nap but better haha. For a second I thought he studied Lehi’s dream, haha jk but he read King Benjamin’s account. As we taught, he continues to talk about his desires to serve God and change his life around! He is super awesome!

11/8 Wednesday
Today, I was on exchanges with Elder Ebert. We had a super fun day and were able to meet some great people. We met a lady that was super, super nice and said her family would be interested in hearing our message. We went on bikes for a little bit today and the weather is so nice for biking. We also taught Henry again today and we met his girlfriend, who he will be getting married to shortly. He is doing well.

11/9 Thursday
The other day we street contacted a man named David. David told us he would be interested in having a discussion and today we were able to teach him. He knows a lot about the Mormon Church and has read parts of the Book of Mormon before. He is moving in like three weeks but we will hopefully teach all the way up to his move! We had interviews with President and then had a short meeting with him and Sister Walker. Transfers are going to be fun this time...😐 (Four missionaries leaving, twelve coming to the field, opening up four areas and loosing ten cars.)

11/10 Friday
Today was practically a pre-pre transfer planning day haha.  We had an office staff meeting and then we started talking about transfers and the next thing we knew; it was 5:30!

11/12 Sunday
Fast Sunday's in Las Vegas are great except to bring investigators to. Haha I always enjoy hearing people’s stories and their interesting comments. Sometimes they get off track quickly! This week there was a 15-minute story from a guy nobody could understand and when he finished his story he just said “Amen” and walked off haha!

Elder Jensen and I had such a great week! We did some biking just for kicks and giggles and because the weather is just spectacular right now. It is like sunny and 75 and then chills down to like 60-65 haha it is beautiful. We haven't seen rain in centuries but can't complain too much haha. We are starting to teach more.

Love,
Elder Call

Monday, November 6, 2017

Step It Up

Dear Family & Friends:

This week was another good week. The front half of the week went by super fast, but the second half of the week definitely went by a little bit slower.

10/30 Monday
So today we got permission to go to Mount Charleston so that we could get rocks to use for training at MLC (Mission Leaders Council). They're definitely rocks a lot closer than Mount Charleston in Nevada, but we wanted to go do some exploring. It was way sweet to see pine trees and be in the mountains once again. As we were up there we felt the fall breeze, where the sun is really warm but the wind is really cold. It was a lot of fun we went on a little hike and then headed and played some basketball.
Nevada Las Vegas Temple

10/31 Halloween
This year for Halloween, President want to do something different than having all missionaries just sit in our apartments from 6 to 9, so he scheduled with the Temple President for the whole mission to go to the temple. Elder Jensen and I drove 10 of the out of the valley missionaries to the temple. Elder Jensen and I helped in the baptistery the whole time. After we did a few names ourselves we helped with confirmations. It was pretty cool to be able to help out at the temple. The out of valley missionaries came in and are staying at the mission home tonight. We drove them to the temple in the "Man Van," so that is always a good time. I was changing lines on the freeway and traffic was a little crazy and I smoked a big piece of a blown tire. Luckily, it just made some noise and a little bump, so nothing was hurt!

11/1 Wednesday
Today Elder Jensen and I had the wonderful opportunity to rebuke the MLC... haha  So, President has been really hurting lately with a bulged disc in his back.  He is hardly sleeping at night. He has been beat. We are pretty frustrated with the zone leaders right now and so we had to invite them to step up. President didn't want to do it, because when he is tired he comes off mean haha. We weren't sure if we should be the ones to do it for obvious reasons and so we all agreed that Sister Walker should give them the “step it up speech!” She did a great job and Elder Jensen and I did a couple training's to help the missionaries feel the need to be better and take lead! It actually turned out quite well, but I definitely think the missionaries knew we were serious haha! We met with Marco tonight and had a discussion on the Plan of Salvation. It went well.  We are having a hard time getting him to keep his commitments.

11/4 Saturday
Today I was on exchanges with Elder van Vleet. I have gone on exchanges with him a couple times before. He is a great missionary and I always have a super good time with him. We taught several people today and many of them are progressing well! It was a lot of fun to be in the south part of town again. I really enjoyed serving in the Painted Mountain and Coronado Wards. The missionary I was with eats some interesting things, so for dinner tonight we had fried spam and egg sandwiches.

11/5 Sunday
Tonight we had Zions Youth. We also met President’s son Corey and his family.  They came up for the weekend. President’s son served in Latvia and he was a very successful missionary there, so we were able to pick his brain on how we can improve! The Heimarks came to Zions Youth and loved it.

This coming week is going to be an easier week, we just have a temple trip this week. The following week is transfer planning....😰🤕haha

Love,
Elder Call

Monday, October 30, 2017

God's Work

Dear Family & Friends:

We had a slow week and only found one new investigator. It was still a good week though.

10/23 Monday
I forgot to mention, we met a man named Marco and started teaching him this last week. We initially met him by knocking, looking for a less active lady. She was not there and so we struck up a conversation with him talking about the Bible. He mentioned how he isn't even sure how correct the Bible is because of all of the changes. We told him that we believed in the King James version of the Bible, as well as, what we called the Book of Mormon. This intrigued him greatly and so he let us in and we begin teaching him. He asked many questions about the creation and fall and many other aspects of doctrine. It was a super fun visit because we were able to go back-and-forth and talk a lot about The Truth of the Gospel. We have taught him twice now and we will be going back on Thursday to teach him again. He is extremely interested in the Gospel. After the first visit with him, he followed us outside and kept asking more about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but we just kept telling him we would talk to him about it at our next visit. Today, President returned from the Mission President seminar and we got our Zone Conference assignments, which start on Wednesday, so I'll be making a big push to get it done by Wednesday.


10/24 Tuesday
Today we did a lot of zone conference prep. We were able to work this evening and had a great evening. We have the ward Trunk or Treat later this week and it is going to be a big event, so, we stopped at members to have them invite their friends to the Trunk or Treat.

10/25 Wednesday
The first day of Zone Conference went smoothly. Elder Jensen and I gave a training on things that we can do as missionaries to increase the number of investigators we have progress past the first lesson. There was a study done and it showed that 50% of investigators don't make it past the first lesson. It is pretty devastating to think about and so we are working on that!

10/26 Thursday
Today I was able to have a bucket filler. At about 8:05, we decided we would go and knock on Brother Hiemarks’ door, the inactive that wants to return. He was not there, but his son answered and let us in. His son is 23 years old and works at Rhodes Ranch golf course. As we were talking we made the connection that nine months ago, when Elder Pedersen and Elder Ebert, Elder Jensen and I went golfing, we had met him. He is a nonmember and we were able to have a great conversation with him about the Plan of Salvation. It's crazy to see how God is in the details and the small things of our life's and this is truly God’s work! When we made the connection he expressed that I looked familiar but he didn't know from where. It was super awesome!

10/27 Friday
Today was the last day of Zone Conferences and that went all right. Period. There were lots of missionaries today that did not want to be there and are being very disrespectful and so that was pretty tough. On a better note the ward Trunk or Treat was tonight and it was a huge success. Elder Jensen and I set up the back of our truck and I think we were definitely the favorite. We had many pictures taken of us haha. This ward’s parties are nuts. They had a semi-truck that was a maze inside, they had several bouncy houses, cooked uncountable number of hotdogs and baked potatoes, and went all out on the candy.

10/28 Saturday
Today, I was on exchanges with Elder Price and we had a good time! We had a great visit with the Hiemarks! They are super awesome!

Thanks for your love and prayers.
Elder Call





Monday, October 23, 2017

Tools in God's Hand

Dear Family & Friends:

10/17 Tuesday
Today was a needed day! This week, in the mission, we are having not a push but a focus finding new investigators! As a MLC we set a goal for 225 new investigators this week. It will be a stretch but I know we can do it and I am stoked to work towards that. The District Meeting, I attended was really good! The elders in the district were super excited and were on fire. We all left spiritually lifted and encouraged. Elder Jensen and I set a goal today to find two new investigators and man did we see miracles! The first one to mention is we went and saw an inactive family and that was alright, but right after that we crossed the street and started talking to a man who is actually an inactive member! He went inactive when he was around 18 but still has a very strong testimony. Elder Jensen, asked him if he had been feeling a stronger desire recently to return to activity.  As tears welled in his eyes, he said, "yes, yes I have."  Wow, it was so powerful! We then asked what we could do to help him. He just told us that he needs to make time to visit with us and get back into it. He was a super great guy! At eight thirty we still had not reached our goal of finding a second new investigator and we were at correlation meeting. We asked our Ward Mission Leader if we could end a little bit short, so we could have time to reach our goal. At 8:40 we prayed and asked, where are we needed. We felt prompted to go to a former investigators house. We knocked and her sister answered. She was very apprehensive at first and as we started talking she opened up to us she said that she wanted us to pray for her because her pastor told her she could not be forgiven nor saved... we testified of the Atonement and set up a return appointment. As we walked away, we received confirmation that we were tools in Gods hand!

10/19 Thursday
A scare... today I almost got beat up, hardcore. Elder Jensen and I are cruising down the street and there is a group of people outside. They were all in their early twenties and all black, there were probably 6-7 of them. I talk with everyone I pass, but for some reason, I just said, “hello” and was going to keep walking. One of the guys stepped in front of us and said "give me five dollars" I said, “nope, sorry but I will give you something worth way more than five dollars.” He interrupted and said I am hungry (he said he was hungry, but I think he was “hangry” haha) give me five dollars. This escalated very quickly when he pointed at Elder Jensen and asked do you have five dollars on you right now. He said no. He pointed at me and asked and I said, “yes, I do.” He flipped out and started yelling and swearing at me. I honestly thought I was going to get punched. I thought, well, if I am going to get punched, I am going to take like a man haha. Thankfully, it cooled down a little bit and we started walking away towards the end of the dead end street, because we wanted to visit someone and it blew up again, because they wanted us to get off their "block." A lady, from the next house over, started yelling at them and told us to go inside and that she was a member. We told her to not yell at them and it wasn't a big deal and her son came out and wanted to file a report and so we told him we didn't want to file a report but he didn't care... haha.  We made our visit and we walked past those people again. A lady called us over and we started talking to her and she was a member and the guy that was going to beat us up came out again and asked for a Book of Mormon.  Elder Jensen gave him one and he said, "thanks I have been looking for one of these."  He opened it up and saw the picture of Christ and started to yell at us again because Jesus is black, not white... it was crazy!

10/20 Friday
Today, I was on exchanges with Elder Olsen.  We had a super good day! We found a family that is super awesome! We taught them about eternal families and the power of the Book of Mormon! They were very excited and very interested! Walking away from that, we both said there is nothing that we would rather be doing!

10/21 Saturday
I served out in Pahrump today with one of the super new missionaries in the mission! We had a great night and were able to teach and find many!

10/22 Sunday
We had stake conference today! One of the ladies that spoke talked about how it is important to have the temple in our sights. Both her and her husband were very far off course.  Her husband had been locked up for a while and she was not living correctly either. The Atonement is real and they we're able to make it! It was a powerful story!

I am starting to get cold in the evenings.  Anytime it is under 70 degrees, I get chilly. We found seven new investigators this week, which was way fun!

Love,
Elder Call


Monday, October 16, 2017

Turn To God

Dear Family & Friends:

10/2 Monday
Turn TO God, not from God. Las Vegas definitely was shook up today. (The result of the mass shooting.)

10/3 Tuesday
Today we were able to go see the McDonald family. They are a less active family that I've mentioned a couple times that we have been working with. We were talking to Sister McDonald about how her day was going and she expressed her gratitude towards Heavenly Father. Her and her daughter had purchased tickets to the concert that the shooting occurred but her daughter had her baby two months early so they sold their tickets and did not go. We had a great talk with Sister McDonald and she expressed her desire to return to church and to the temple. She mentioned that her husband has a fire burning within him to return to church also. It's cool to see that the Lord is continually preparing the hearts of his children to return and to come to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We, as members, never know when someone is ready to return to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to continually invite and fellowship our brothers and sisters. Today we also talked to one of our new investigators named Eileen. Her son just graduated from the Police Academy and his first day of work was front row at the concert. He had gotten a job being a police officer on the strip. Luckily, he was not injured physically, but Eileen shared with us he was definitely struggling with the entire ordeal.

10/4 Wednesday
We went on exchanges tonight with Elder Rivera and Elder Lungren. I was with Elder Lungren. He has been out for a couple weeks and is a super good missionary. We had a great night, we taught Charlie, as well as, AG, both of whom are doing well and progressing!

10/5 Thursday
We transfer planned today and wow it was a long day haha. It was good though! There are a lot of missionaries coming and a lot of things changing.

10/6- 10/15
Well I'm going to be super honest. I have slacked off the last couple weeks with my journal writing. It has been a crazy couple of weeks.

On Tuesday, Elder Jensen and I were transferred into a new area. The new area doesn't have much going on, so we are trying to work hard to pick up the work. At the beginning of this last week it was transfers. Transfers are super stressful and it kind of turned into a mess for a little while. The last few transfers, we have been trying figure ways to be more efficient and use a more effective way and this one was rough. On top of transfers, I ended up getting sick which added to the stress. One of the highlights of the week was being able to go to the temple with the departing missionaries. It is always super amazing to be able to spend time in the temple.

We woke up early on Wednesday and took the departing missionaries to the airport. After that we had a meeting with all of the district leaders in the mission and then following that, the new missionaries arrived and we are with them for a few hours before they met up with their trainers. We have 19 missionaries coming in this transfer as well as two more missionaries coming mid- transfer.

We spent Thursday training the trainers as well as the new missionary orientation. To put the cherry on top of the week we had MLC on Friday. It was another long stressful day. We had not had much time to prepare and we had to give an hour and a half of training. To give you an idea how tired I was, the other night I got on my knees to pray and I woke up drooling and my head bouncing a few moments later. Then, for companionship prayer Elder Jensen started praying and all I know is I woke up a couple minutes later and said, “amen,” but his prayer had been over for a several minutes, haha.

There were definitely some proselyting miracles this week as well! We went to knock on a part member's door and it got shut in our face and as we walk away we hear, "The missionaries, I love the missionaries," from down the street. We started talking to this young lady that looked pretty rough around the edges and she asks where we were from, Elder Jensen said he was from upstate New York and I said I was from Star Valley, Wyoming and she freaks out. She said, “no way! I lived there and I have a bunch of family that still lives there!” She is related to the Hunsaker family. When she first started talking to us her boyfriend started walking away mumbling things about us, but when he heard us talking about Wyoming, he came up and joined in as well! They were on the run but said to stop by anytime. They have really been encouraging and pushing what we call, “The Elder Ballard initiative,” here in Las Vegas.

Last night, we met the nicest old man I have met in a long time. He has been inactive for a while. He started telling us stories about everything you could imagine. He served in WWll. He also told us stories about his wife, who he lost three months ago. They had been married for 67 years. He was a great man. He also had a big talking bird.  It was the craziest thing I have ever seen!

I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting and I shared a line that President Walker uses a lot, "Christ was selfless not selfish.” It is a profound statement and takes a lot of work, but as we rely on Christ’s Atonement, we can always improve!

Well, I hope to get back on the normal routine of writing unless you prefer this way.. let me know. Next week!

I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Pictures from today's hike to La Madrid Springs.





Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Update for the Week

This week Elder Call did not send a weekly update.  On Sunday evening a message was sent with pictures from a couple in the Pueblo Ward.  It said, “Your cute boys were a blessing to serve with in the Pueblo Ward!” Transfer news came from the member, “(Elder Call and Elder Jensen) are staying together and being transferred to the Meadows Stake.  They are busy-going to call all the missionaries to let them know if they are getting transferred too.  They are awesome and we will miss them.”


This was transfer week, so the family was not expecting a letter until Tuesday, but this is all we received. (We are really spoiled, because we usually get better letters.)

Early Tuesday morning, Elder Call sent this message to his mom:
“I got super sick last night and wasn't able to sleep.  What could I eat that won't come up today during transfers, temple and departing missionaries?”

After a quick reply to remind him that 7-Up or Sprite, bananas, soda crackers, applesauce and plain rice help upset stomachs, this was his last reply for the week:
“On our way out this morning we stopped by the gas station to grab a 7-Up. I accidentally dropped it and it exploded all over and we had to find another pair of suit pants for Elder Jensen. Let's just say it was a rough start to the day.  I'm doing OK now.”

This was his letter to his dad: “So we are actually getting double transferred out of our area. But yes we were teaching several promise investigators.”

This is the note to Hannah: “Transfer planning went well this past week. We are trying a new way to
do transfers and so that's been a little bit stressful but it has gone somewhat smooth thus far. I am staying with Elder Jensen for another transfer at least, but we are moving wards. We will be covering the Alexander and Pioneer Wards in the Meadows Stake!

Monday, October 2, 2017

General Conference = March Madness

Dear Family & Friends:

9/24 Monday
Today was a super great day. It started off by seeing Brian and Tracy. We invited Brian to Priesthood Session on Saturday and he said, chances are he will be there. We then had a lesson with Ken. When we knocked on his door, he was actually reading the Book of Mormon. He thought it was super awesome that we knocked while he was reading. We had a great lesson with him, but he did bring up a couple concerns that we will be able to resolve next visit. We invited him to watch conference this weekend. It will be good for him to watch because he struggles a little bit with the idea of apostles and prophets.

9/25 Tuesday
We visited the McDonald's... no not the restaurant, the family haha. We knocked on their door probably three weeks ago for the first time. When we did, we talked with Brother McDonald and invited him to come back to church. He has come two of the last three weeks!!! Today we invited him to come to Priesthood Session and he said he would definitely be there!

9/26 Wednesday
Exchanges! I was with a missionary from Guernsey, Wyoming. We had a couple great lessons with Kevin, as well as, Charlie. It has been a little tough teaching Kevin because he is struggling with medical issues. He is super great though and very open to the Gospel! Charlie is ridiculous! haha She goes to seminary every morning, reads the Book of Mormon and prays daily.  She watched Women’s Conference and took a bunch of notes. She is super awesome and would totally get baptized, but she doesn't live in our area and so we are waiting on her family situation to settle down a little bit and get passed off.

9/27 Thursday
Got sizzled like bacon. Man oh man!  So, today we got to teach an older Hawaiian lady named Flora! She is way nice and was part of the Jehovah Witness church in Hawaii but has not attend since moving to the states. She said a couple days ago that we could come by and so we did and taught her the Plan of Salvation! I thought the summer heat of Las Vegas was all over but I guess sitting outside on a pure bright white picnic table, surrounded by brick walls, creates a very hot and bright situation. Elder Jensen and I have extremely sensitive eyes and the sun beaming down off the table was so bright I could only keep one eye open just a little tiny bit haha. After the lesson I got in the car and pulled the phone out of my pocket and it was straight wet from sweat haha. It is a good thing our message is important and true because I would have bounced if it wasn't! She loved it and we all felt the Spirit testify to us of God’s love and His plan for each one of us!

9/28 Friday
Today didn't quite turn out as planned. Our plans fell through but thanks to Elder Jensen being in tune with the Spirit, we were able to teach a lady named Eileen.  Eileen is an older Catholic lady. Who is been through a lot in her life. We taught and testified of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was willing to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, but was not interested in changing religions. I feel if she truly does put in the time to read the Book of Mormon, she would receive answers that she is looking for. One of my favorite things happened tonight. I absolutely love it when I teach the Plan of Salvation.  It like blows people's minds haha! We taught Brenda's sister, Roxy, tonight and she was just loving the lesson! The whole time she was like, "wow, now I understand why Brenda joined your church,” “wow, that makes sense,” “wow, I can't believe how awesome this plan is!" It is my favorite!

General Conference!
It was a super, awesome conference! I loved every minute!  Conference on the mission is like March Madness haha! There were many things I learned: serve more, have faith, fear not, and the importance of the Book of Mormon! We had several investigators watch and they all loved it!

Love,
Elder Call

Pictures sent during General Conference from Las Vegas members:


A note received from the Church today about the shooting in Las Vegas:

2010577@LDSChurch.org                                                       Today at 10:33 AM
To: parents

Message body
Dear Missionaries and Family-

We are saddened to inform you of the recent attack in Las Vegas where an estimated 50 people have been killed and at least 400 were injured when a gunman fired on a Las Vegas country music festival Sunday night on the gambling strip of Las Vegas. The gunman killed himself after the attack.

This is not an area where missionaries proselyte in either of the Las Vegas missions and all of our missionaries are safe.  Please keep the families of these victims in your prayers.

Our missionaries are encouraged to continue blessing the lives and bringing comfort to the people in their area and to not spend time investigating or dwelling on the event.  We read in Preach my Gospel page 2 that President Ezra Taft Benson taught: "We are commanded by God to take the gospel to all the world.  That is the cause that must unite us today.  Only the gospel will save the world from calamity of its own self-destruction.  Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace.  Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family."

Our missionaries report that they are frequently asked why God allows tragedies to happen.  Missionaries are encouraged to ponder their response to such questions. How does our gift of agency prevent God from intervening in poor choice?  How does our gift of agency allow us to live by faith?  How do life's challenges allow us to grow spiritually?  How does this relate to the plan of salvation?

Bishop W. Christopher Waddel, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, taught in the Sunday morning session of conference that whatever change in life's circumstance may come our way, and whatever unexpected path we may have to travel, how we respond is a choice.  Turning to the Savior and grasping His outstretched arm is always our best option.

We know that God loves the people of Las Vegas as do the missionaries.  We will pray for them and the missionaries will continue bless to their lives.