Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving Week

Dear Family & Friends:

11/22 Tuesday
Today we had a lesson with a man named Chad. Chad is around 40 and is a great guy. He is a little lost but we had a great lesson with him and we are really hoping that things continue with him. We had a lesson with Lily and she is doing well.  She is ready for baptism but just isn't ready to fully commit yet.

11/23 Wednesday
Wow haha today we had a lesson that I will never forget! Unfortunately, it is not because of how spiritual it was... the lesson was with Tina so we went to her house and Skyped the ASL missionaries. During the lesson, Tina had this thing burning which was like a hollow green plant of some sort that burned very slowly... and it put off a lot of smoke. Supposedly, it is for making your house smell good, but all it did was fill the apartment with smoke the scent burning extremely green wood. About five to ten minutes in the lesson my eyes started burning and watering bad. And my nose was running super bad as well. Elder Barton thought it was funny and asked if I was going to be OK in a very sarcastic way. I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to be able to endure haha. The lesson continued between the ASL missionaries and Tina and we continued to endure, except it kept getting worse and worse. It was like sitting by a really smoky campfire and having the smoke blow in your face for an hour! Half of the way through it was starting to get to Elder Barton as well and we both straight up looked like we were bawling our eyes out haha. At the end the sister missionary asked if we wanted to add anything to the lesson. We said that it was good and we could just close! During the prayer that is when the spirit (or smoke) took a big hit to me and I had constant tears streaming down my face because they were burning so bad! After the prayer Tina noticed us and that we were crying and we typed to her that the smoke was hurting our eyes. She thought it was the funniest thing ever and she probably is excited for the opportunity to torture us again. We had to go home and shower and change because we smelled like straight up campfire haha.

11/24 Thursday Thanksgiving
Today was filled with lots of food! We only had three dinner appointments today! By the third one, I was struggling big time eating because I had already ate so much but I managed to eat a big plate full! At our first dinner we had packages waiting for us from our families! I love getting mail and it was a great surprise! I am so grateful for all that I have been blessed with and all I have been given!

11/25 Friday
The highlight of today was being able to teach Cheryl and talk about her baptism which is next Saturday! I am so excited for her!

11/26 Saturday
Bummer.... it was a rough start today... during personal study this morning I asked Elder Barton if he would come out to the car with me so I could grab my scriptures. We went out there and I hadn't locked the car when we went in last night and someone had gone through our stuff. Several things were stolen which is a big time bummer. Cheryl planned her baptism today so that was cool! Things tonight were crazy it was like we were up to bat and the pitcher threw five balls at once and we were supposed to hit them all. We were only 45 minutes late to dinner and once we had arrived only had fifteen minutes to eat and get to our appointment at six. The member was very understanding and very helpful so we were appreciative of that!

11/27 Sunday
Today I hit my four-month mark which is absolutely crazy! Time is flying out here! Today we spoke in Sacrament meeting and that went well! Kitos actually made it to church today so we were way excited about that! In Priesthood there was a comment about people's example and behavior at Church and Kitos made a comment about getting kicked out because of his tattooed eyebrows! Haha he is not scared at all to speak up so that is cool. Cheryl came to church today as well which was super great!

This week I truly gained a testimony that I am here in Las Vegas in the Charleston area because that is exactly where God needs me and that is exactly where God wants me! I am loving my mission a lot and there is not a place I would rather be... except fishing
Have a great week!

Elder Call

Part of Ben’s talk on Sunday 11/27/16
Good morning brothers and sisters. I am Elder Call and I have been serving for four months. As many of you know I am from Star Valley, Wyoming. In my farewell talk I joked that I was going to a foreign country because of the differences in Las Vegas and the small town where I am from... haha I shouldn't have been joking because this has been completely different than what I have known for eighteen years. I am kind of a numbers guys so I am going to give a few statistics before I begin my talk. Star Valley has a population of around ten thousand people, but those people are stretched over close to 70 miles of land so there is not much out there. I am not positive on this but I think Las Vegas including its outskirts has about 2.2 million people and millions of tourists that come year round. So that means there are 220 times more people here than my small town. And to even beat this a little bit more the actual town I am from has a population of 196 people and so Las Vegas has over eleven thousand times the people. There is a big difference!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Doesn't Get Better

Dear Family & Friends:

11/15 Tuesday
Today was amazing. A kid from the ward named Newman comes out with us quite regularly because he leaves in January to Panama for his mission. Tonight Newman came with us to Lilly’s and to Kenneth's lessons. We taught Kenneth the Plan of Salvation and we asked Newman to give his testimony of the Plan of Salvation. Newman lost his father when he was five years old and he testified that he knew without a doubt that he would see his father again and that he would be able to get to know his father. We all felt the Spirit and it was super amazing! I know that Kenneth felt it and hopefully realizes that he will see his mother again, who passed away in a car accident when Kenneth was 8 months old. Wow it doesn't get better than feeling the Spirit on a daily basis!

11/16 Wednesday
I went to the dentist today to check up on my splint and broken tooth. The dentist looked at the X-ray and looked at me and said "Miracles happen every day but your tooth is not going to heal by itself"..... bummer.   Today we got some exciting news! Hugh has a daughter that is an atheist that spent last weekend with him so he couldn't go to church. We saw Hugh today and I asked him what she thought of him meeting with us... he laughed a little bit and told us that she was very opposed to our meetings. But he said that by the end of the weekend she said to him that he should continue to meet with us because we probably do him some good! Now this my personal interpretation of this experience but I would bet that she could already see a change in him and that he was a better man because he has been accepting Christ in his life and that she could see that light! We saw Javier today as well and taught him the Plan of Salvation! God has a plan of happiness for everyone!

11/17 Thursday
Tonight at our dinner appointment we had a discussion about the Book of Mormon and the Bible and how it is easy to shy away from the Book of Mormon when teaching and just using the Bible but we need to share from the Book of Mormon because the restoration of the gospel is amazing!!

11/18 Friday
I am already going bald and this whole mission thing isn't helping at all. Every time someone lies to us or cancels I just want to pull my hair out! And there was a lot of that today! The work just hit a straight up brick wall the last two days not a single lesson has gone through. Tonight we had three member presents lined up back to back to back and every one of them canceled! While I am in the ranting mood I will continue, the mission has taught me a lot and one of those things is to hate dogs. Tonight we were walking down the sidewalk in the dark and along the sidewalk is the retaining wall that is there to flatten the homes yard. As we walked by, a pit bull (which are extremely popular here) hit the fence and started barking. Since it was at my ear level and a very intimidating bark I dang near jumped on top of Elder Barton! It scared me bad haha. Anyways enough of that! Tomorrow is going to be a better day I know it!

11/19 Saturday
Today was a good day! We gave Lilly a call to see if we could drop by and see her because she took a fall on concrete after the Relief Society activity on Thursday and we were very concerned about her. We were able to see her and she said she was feeling a little bit better and was going to church tomorrow! I wish all investigators were as devoted to church attendance as she is! Lilly has been battling a super bad case of the shingles for the past almost three months and she took a fall on concrete and she is 85 years old and is at church every week! What a sweet heart! We saw Cheryl today for the first time in a while because she was in the hospital again. We taught her some of the commandments and things are looking good for the third as her baptismal date except she needs to come to church!! Tonight was great we were talking to this great guy that likes to talk with us. As we were talking he started laughing and spit all over me... I didn't let it phase me and I had to push back some serious thoughts of disgust! Haha it's all good though and I think he was way embarrassed about it!

11/20 Sunday
Cheryl came to church!!!!! I was so happy for her haha. Our Gospel Principles class is probably the most entertaining meeting that happens church wide every Sunday!  We   Have    Some    Characters! Haha
The weather here is getting cold! I know all of you will chuckle about that but my blood has thinned fast and I am used to the warm weather so 55 is a little on the nippy side! Haha

Well I think I wrote enough this week to bore all of you so I apologize about that! Tuesday and Wednesday I had strong witnesses that God does indeed have a plan for us and that plan is one of great joy! The Plan of Salvation is made possible THANKS to Our Savior, Jesus Christ. We will all live again.  We all have purpose and we all have potential in God’s plan! As Thanksgiving approaches, I am already filled with gratitude for all the Savior has done for us! Every time I think of Christ's life I am amazed by His infinite love for his insignificant brothers and sisters that are here on the earth today!

I hope all of you have a great holiday and will spend some time on your knees thanking God for your many blessings!

I love you all!!
-Elder Call

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How Has the Mission Blessed My Life?

Dear Family & Friends:

This week was super great! We had a lot of lessons and a lot of people at church! If all the people came to church that said they were going to we would have had a ton! Haha you gotta love agency! We had 5 people still come so it was good!

I did get to go to the temple on Thursday!!! The Las Vegas temple is so amazing! I went to the temple desiring to know what my purpose is in the Charleston area.  I received an answer as to my question, so I am going to continue working hard and trying my best so I can accomplish that.

Here are this weeks journal entries:

11/8 Tuesday
Wow, today was a great way to start off the week! We had received a couple of referrals so today we tried contacting them. The first one is a man named Neto. As we were walking towards his house he was walking out. God’s divine timing is super amazing! And we were able to give him a Book of Mormon and a Bible. He is not very religious but is starting to make his life in line with God, so he is doing all he can to become better. The other referral was a boy named Kenneth. He is 13 years old and is kind of a trouble maker, so his dad, who is a less active, wants him to get into the church.... not the ideal missionary situation we thought! We knocked on their door and were let in right away! We taught the boy the restoration and realized that he was very open to us because we had made the mistake of getting into the lesson to quickly. We took some time and just to know him a little bit and the situation changed! They told us they would be coming to church and they needed the address and info about it. That was way exciting and they want us to come back frequently!!

11/10 Thursday
Brother Davis gave us a ride to the temple today! He is an older man in our ward; from Star Valley and loves talking to me about it and oh can he talk!! He has told me the same story like five times haha! He only had me sweating bullets once haha I thought we were going to be in a car Wreck! The Las Vegas Temple is amazing! It out does any of the temples I have been in by far! I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be in the house of the Lord and to receive revelation!

11/11 Friday
Today was exchanges with the Zone Leaders again! I got to practice my flawless Spanish once again so that was cool! I literally was in Mexico today, which was super cool. There is a large group of one level apartment buildings that are almost all Mexicans. And they are all from the same city in Mexico too, so that was cool. We bought some tacos from a little taco stand in there and they were super yummy. We are going to go there for p-day food because they are 2 for $1.25! I can understand the jist of the conversation that is going on in Spanish, but I cannot speak Spanish whatsoever! The people are really nice which makes me wish I could be a Spanish missionary!

11/12 Saturday
We started today by eating breakfast at a member of our stake presidency’s home.  He is a dentist and while we were at his house and he asked about the bar on my teeth. He wants me to come to his office this week so he can do an examine because he said that these splints can cause damage he asked for Jim's info so he can talk to him. So I guess I will go in and see what he has to say, he at least wants to X-ray it? (See the end of this post for the story of Ben's front tooth.)***

We finally got to talk to Fernando again after several weeks! He was getting kicked out of his house that night and going on the streets because he lost his job and his wife didn't want him there. It was really disappointing to learn we probably would never see him again.

11/13 Sunday
We had quite a few people at church today! Kenneth's father Guillermo told us that church was confusing but he liked it haha. I hope Kenneth liked it. We got to go give a blessing to a very ill man in a sad situation at the hospital. He has such an amazing family! And is a very nice man.

Things are going well for Elder Barton and I.  We had a successful week this week and we look forward to working hard to keep the work increasing in this area! God’s hand is in this work and blesses us every day! At the breakfast we went to on Saturday with the zone each missionary was given the opportunity to answer the question, "How has the mission blessed my life?" There were a lot of answers, but I have come to know what it means by saying that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. I know that the Book of Mormon is from God and it proves that we have the blessed opportunity to be in the true church on the earth today! I love this gospel!

I love you all!
Elder Call

Editor’s Note:

The members in Ben’s mission are incredible!!!! More than once a week I get an e-mail from someone that is feeding the missionaries and then sends a nice note:  Here are the two I received this week:

1. Sister Call:

Another nice evening with the missionaries.  They are such nice young men.

My husband is the Young Men President of our ward.  He invited your missionary and his companion to teach the lesson in the Priest Quorum last Sunday.  They did a great job engaging the young men to participate and helping to strengthen their testimonies and the priests had fun while doing it.

My granddaughter wanted to take her picture with the missionaries.  She's three.

Have a great day!
Sister Webb

2. We had your good son over for dinner tonight.  He's a great missionary.  Your son loves the Lord and is giving great effort to his work - you should be proud of him.

Thanks for sending him to us.

***Ben's front tooth:  The first Single Adult Family Home Evening Ben attended after he graduated from high school, he was hit in the mouth and one of his front teeth got damaged.  He was less than two months from leaving on his mission.  The orthodontist sent Ben to the dentist (Uncle Jim) who discussed Ben's situation with a Periodontist and an Endodontist.  The suggestion was to splint Ben's front teeth with a permanent retainer for his mission, hoping the bones around the broken tooth would heal like a broken arm.  Here is a picture of the x-ray of Ben's tooth.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Good Week

November 7, 2016

Dear Family & Friends,

It was a good week!  We had four investigators at church yesterday, so that was good.  Now for the week:

11/1 Tuesday
Today we got to pick pomegranates. It brought back the good old memories of picking apples at the Logan house. Except that pomegranates are way harder to pick and the branches like to scratch. It took way longer that we thought which is usually the norm when it comes to service! We met with Hugh and he is way excited for the Zion’s Youth Concert, so it will be good!

11/2 Wednesday
Finally!!! We have a part member family that we have been trying to visit for the last 12 weeks...  and we finally got in and we were able to teach the restoration to her son who is seventeen! It went super well and we are excited about that! He is a solid investigator!

Kito's wall for childhood cancer.
11/3 Thursday
Lilly is finally back from New York! We got to go see her and she is as funny as usual. She tells us how the doctors don't know much and she always argues with them. We have to start over the lessons because she forgot everything on her trip. We also saw Brian tonight and I have no idea how to help him decide to act upon all the answers I know he has received. He knows everything about the church but isn't ready I guess.

11/4 Friday
Food, food and more food. Today we decided to have a late lunch and so we had a big lunch at like 1:30, soon after that we received a call from a less active that we had talked to a week prior and they wanted to feed us lunch. So over there we went and ate a meal. From there we had dinner and got to eat yet another meal. The next two homes we visited offered us food and there was no possible way we could eat more!  

11/5 Saturday
More service! We had another service project that we told this lady that we could help her for an hour! We opened up her storage unit and it was so packed full we called in reinforcements and helped for several hours. She wanted to go through her stuff and get rid of some junk. And so we pulled everything out and put it back in because she couldn't get rid of anything.... it was pointless. haha  I stepped on a scale, and let's just say my suit pants are TIGHT........

11/6 Sunday
We had several people at church which was exciting! It was fast and testimony meeting and it is extremely interesting here in Vegas! Haha all of the people that the bishopric would never ask to speak get up and bare their testimony/tell their life story!  Tonight was Zion’s Youth Concert! Hugh was able to come and he absolutely loved it! It was such an amazing performance to watch!

Elder Barton, Hugh and Elder Call after the Zion's Youth Concert.
Elder Call