Monday, December 26, 2016

Strengthen Your Testimony

Dear Family & Friends:

Here is a look at my past week:

12/19 Monday
Today was a great P-Day! This morning we had the Word of Wisdom lesson with Sister Fuapapa. Not very often, when you teach the Word of Wisdom, the person tells you that they have a testimony of it and that they have already stopped drinking coffee. She said that she had talked with her side of the family that are members and they taught her about the Word of Wisdom! She is super excited for her baptism on Saturday! Today for P-Day, young men showed up to play ball with us.  There were so many people! We just split in teams of four and rotated in the games! It was a lot of fun.

Sporting his Christmas sweater.
 12/20 Tuesday
The most exciting part of today was opening Christmas presents! I don't have the will power to see a present wrapped and not know what it is, so I opened all my presents... Mom is going to be mad! haha Oh well, I got some super cool things! I have an amazing family!

12/21 Wednesday
Dinner was a hoot tonight.  We had a lesson with a part member family that is from Louisiana! It was some of the best food I have had out here! We were laughing the entire dinner. So that was lots of fun. We also helped clean out a garage today and organize it. I love doing service.

12/22 Thursday
Lots of Candy! (About 30 pounds of candy)
Today was a busy day. We had Zone Conference and that was a great meeting.  We talked about how precious our time here as missionaries really is and how every minute counts. We found out today that one of the Apostles will be coming to the mission towards the end of January! That will be an amazing experience to be able to receive counsel from an Apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ! We get the most amazing things as missionaries! Today Sister Fuapapa had her baptismal interview and she is completely ready for baptism! Our Zone Leaders forgot that they had to do the interview, so they were super late and then they didn't have a baptismal record, so we had to go get one while they were doing the interview and it made us way late to dinner. But after all of that, we were able to have a lesson with some recent converts and that was super spiritual. We talked a lot how as missionaries we can tell people nonstop about the Gospel but that doesn't do any good if they don't ask and pray for themselves to know if God has restored his Church.

12/23 Friday
What a testimony builder this week has been. Tonight we had a lesson with a man who has been investigating for a long time. We went over all of the baptismal questions just to see where his testimony is at. He said that he isn't sure that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that we have a prophet here on the earth today.  He also isn't completely positive about following all of the commandments. It is interesting to see the difference between him and Sister Fuapapa. She has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and Prophets, therefore, the commandments are easy to follow. But when you don't have that solid testimony, all we are asked to do seems like too much. The Book of Mormon is the keystone!!! Joseph Smith is a prophet! We have a prophet that leads us and is giving his all for us every single day! If any of us are struggling in the Gospel, please, look at your testimony of those three things, and start strengthening that testimony now!

12/24 Saturday
Baptism!!
Sister Fuapapa was baptized today. Earlier this week she asked if she could have a few minutes to bare her testimony of the Gospel! She stood and bore her testimony and it was amazing to hear an absolutely clean from sin person bare testimony of her love and gratitude for our Savior! Her son came who is not a member and he felt the spirit, so I hope that we will be able to start teaching him. For Christmas Eve, we got to go and spend the evening with different members. We took it easy because Elder McClure got sick today and wasn't feeling too great! Hopefully he is feeling better tomorrow!

12/25 Sunday
Christmas!!
Church was super great today and I got to talk to my family! It was so good to see them and to talk with them. Saying goodbye sucked so next time I call I will just talk and then when time is up, I will just hit end and then l won't have to go through the goodbye haha.  Tonight's dinner reminded me of Star Valley dinners! We had a huge steak and a little salad! Haha I love Christmas and the spirit that can be felt!

I hope all of us had the chance to think on the gifts that God has given us. I thought a lot about John 3:16 and how much God truly does loves and what amazing gifts we have been given. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is a gift. Christ bled and suffered because of me and I will be forever grateful for that. It is a miracle every time we kneel down and ask for forgiveness. Family and friends, I bare testimony that God loves you! Count your many blessings, name them one by one!

Love, Elder Call

Monday, December 19, 2016

New Area

Dear Family & Friends:

12/12 Monday
Today was a busy day. I got to my new area around 10:30 and met Elder McClure. He is a really nice guy. We had to switch apartments with the sisters and that took a really long time. We finally got everything done and it was time for our dinner appointment. We went to the apartment of the member that was supposed to feed and knocked on the door and they let us in and it was really weird because there was no food cooking and we just sat in the living room and started talking to them. Elder McClure then realized that he had gone to the wrong people's house and so he told them that and the member misunderstood him and thought she was the one feeding us and she got embarrassed. We got everything worked out after that. It was super embarrassing.

12/13 Tuesday
We got right after it today. This morning at 9 am we had a lesson with Sister Fuapapa. She has been coming to church for a while now and will be baptized on Christmas Eve! There were two members at the lesson and it went great. After that we went to teach a mother and her son who is in his 30's. They are great we have work to do with them but they are keeping their commitments and plan on being baptized on the 14th of January. We then had lunch with a new couple in the ward that had signed up for dinner but had to move it to lunch. They are super awesome. He is a pilot and flies back and forth to Hawaii.

12/14 Wednesday
We had a couple lessons today. The first one was with a lady that refuses to have anything to do with the Book of Mormon, but doesn't want us to drop her because she wants God in her life. I am not sure what we will do, because she I don't see her changing. Dinner was amazing! It was with a new investigator that doesn't speak like any English. We brought a member with us that knows Chinese and could talk with them and translate for us! When we first got there we were met at the door, took our shoes off and put on these slippers. I don't think that they usually have white guys go in their home because the slippers were a little small! I was so proud of myself because I ate almost the entire meal with chopsticks and only got one hand cramp. I was eating entire squid and all sorts of stuff it was great. We could not let her see the bottom of our bowl because she wanted us full and was offended if we said we didn't want anymore. She asked what type of meat we liked better and so we pointed to one and then they tried fixing a different meat so we would like it. It was a great dinner!  It was delicious...and a little different than Panda Express.

12/15 Thursday
Elder McClure and I are getting along great but we most definitely have our differences. He has the worst road rage I have ever seen... he gets mad at the stop signs, round abouts, red lights, green lights, cars going too fast, cars going too slow. It doesn't matter, he is a frustrated driver and constantly complains about the driving in Vegas. I just let it happen. It isn't worth an argument over it haha. Tonight we had a new member lesson with the couple that was baptized last week. They are great and super solid.  He is getting the Priesthood Sunday so that will be cool.

12/16 Friday
Members make your day sometimes. We made a pit stop today at a gas station and as we were looking around, an islander family saw us and were very happy to see us. Every head turned when they yelled "Mormons, Mormons aren't allowed in here."  They were talking crazy loud and giving us hugs, people weren't sure what to think. I went to pay and one of them pushed me out of the way and was going to pay for me. He was about double me so I joked that he better let me pay or I was going to beat him up. We joked some more and went on our way. They were super cool. Then for dinner we went to Cafe Rio for dinner and some members were going to pay for us but an anonymous person left a card at the register to pay for our meal as we went through the line. It made our night! After that we had a lesson with a Chinese man that has been investigating for quite a while now. We think that he will get baptized soon because he is definitely ready. It has been stormy all day and has turned cold again.

12/17 Saturday
We had two lessons today that went well. The work is going well for us, so I am excited and grateful for the people we have to teach. The ward parties were tonight so it was fun to try to get to know the people in the wards! The Coronado Ward has done a super cool service project where three families have adopted three refugee families and have taken them under their wing to help them. The ward did an angel tree for them so it was cool meeting them.

12/18 Sunday
We had 7 people at church today!! There are a lot of part member families that are in this ward. Things are seeming to be promising for us in the upcoming weeks.

The wards are great.  They are young wards and are full babies. We serve in both wards and I am having a hard time trying to keep things straight between the two wards!
Elder McClure is from Arkansas and he has been out for just over a year. The work is good in these wards so that is exciting.  We have a potential of four baptisms this transfer.
The work is great; things are just falling into our hands right now, so we can't ask for much more. I am grateful for the birth of our Savior. We are so very blessed for all God has given us. I often forget that I have so many blessings and I am definitely not deserving of His blessings. Prayers of gratitude have been a focus of mine because it helps me grow my trust and love for God as I do so.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!!

Love,
Elder Call

Monday, December 12, 2016

Transfers

Dear Family & Friends,

I am on early today and won't be back on until later because of transfers. It hasn't been as cold the last few days. I am nervous for this transfer because President called me and gave me a little assignment. The rest of it is in the weekly.

The man, the myth, the legend, it is pistol Pete himself. This is Elder Willie.  He was the mascot for UW cowboys for three years!
12/6 Tuesday
Today we finally got in and were able to teach Hugh! It has been a couple weeks, so it was way exciting to be able to catch up with him. We invited him to come to Friend’s Day at church this Sunday so I am expecting for him to come. He keeps his word so that is nice. He has been reading the Book of Mormon but he gets frustrated because he can't understand what it is talking about. We decided it might be better for him if he read the children's Book of Mormon to get the story line down and then read the real story, so he might understand more. He was excited to be able to read and understand! Tonight, Lilly was swearing and then she said something after and I didn't hear what she said so I asked her what she had said and then she didn't repeat what she had said after the swearing she just looked at us and said, "I said %#&$." There is something about an 86-year-old lady swearing that is really funny!

12/7 Wednesday
A funny story from today. So some other missionaries wanted to go out to eat for lunch and the elder that is from the Philippines is going home this Monday got to choose where to go. He chose "In and Out Burger."  We got our food and started eating. This man that was a little crazy was sitting outside eating and we had a perfect view of his meal. This man would get distracted from eating and talk to people that were outside as well. Every time he would turn away pigeons would come and eat his fries. He was starting to get mad. haha So he ran after the flock but they flew up and around back to his food faster than he could. That trying to chase birds thing went on for a while and we were laughing super hard because he was getting absolutely mocked by the pigeons! I don't think he ended up eating a single fry!

Elder's Diaz, Call, Barton, Gonzales
12/8 Thursday
Tonight we had a lesson with Kitos and his family. It was great we had a really good gospel discussion and he is trying to help get his inactive friend back into the church! Kitos needs a lot of help and has to change a lot of things in his life but he is a great man! He said that him and his family will be at church!

12/9 Friday
We had a great lesson with Brian Burton and we had a combined dinner with a few missionaries to say farewell to Elder Gonzales from the Philippines! He is a great missionary and we will miss him a lot. He is crazy good at basketball as well, so he will be missed more! We cooked s'mores for dessert. I miss campfires so much! I didn't think I liked them that much but it was way fun to sit around and roast marshmallows!

12/10 Saturday
This week was long because tonight we got transfer calls. I am leaving and going to South Stake. Elder Barton is staying and getting a missionary that has already been in Charleston Ward and requested it for his last area.  Elder Barton and I have really enjoyed the transfers that we have been together! We are great friends. We never got frustrated with each other, not even once! He is a great guy and I am glad he decided to serve a mission!

Posterity knife & tie.
12/11 Sunday
I said goodbye to a lot of people and that was hard I don't want to have to start over all of these great relationships! There are several families that tell us that we are family. I love them and they love us. Having these families here make it easier to be away from my family! Today It hit me that in two weeks from now it will be Christmas. It doesn't feel like Christmas at all because it is not cold and there is no snow. I started thinking that I will get to talk to my family! It made me miss my mom a lot! I have been blessed with such an amazing mother and family!

This week was great I am glad I could serve in Charleston! I am going to the South Stake in the Painted Mountain and the Coronado Wards. It is a new developing area. I am hoping that there is a lot of work out there.  I am with Elder McClure. I have heard a lot about him and I will fill you in more next week about him. I love you all!

Christ is the light of the world!

Love you lots!
Elder Call

Elder Diaz & Elder Call
Elder Call & Elder Barton

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Greatest Gifts

Dear Family & Friends:

This week was pretty good. As far as the work it is good it is crazy frustrating though because we will teach someone and then they just out of the blue completely ignore us and avoid us. They love us and we are always welcome and they like what we teach and then I don't know what happens but they will just be done. Some of the members are way good at sharing the gospel but most are pretty quiet! We are having a friend’s day at church this Sunday and the members are excited to invite their friends to come hear messages about Christ!

Next week is transfers.

11/29 Tuesday
Cheryl & Elder Call
We had a great lesson with Kitos tonight! We started talking about the Plan of Salvation and then we shared this video that does a great job explaining the great plan! We were almost through the video and we could tell that it was hitting home for Kitos. He stopped us towards the end of the video and asked us if we could watch it again because he wanted his kids to see it. He went and woke them up and had them watch the video again with him! We all felt the Spirit and it was great.

11/30 Wednesday
What a roller coaster! Today was a pretty nerve wracking day. We had Cheryl's baptismal interview and we did not think about the standard in the church where two unmarried people of the opposite sex may live together in the same household. We didn't think about it because the man that lives there doesn't have any relationship with Cheryl. The Zone Leader told us that she wasn't going to be able to get baptized. We talked to him and Cheryl and concluded we needed to talk to President because all four people in the house are on disability and cannot support themselves. President approved the baptism so we are still set for Saturday! Thank goodness!!

12/2 Friday
We met with Lilly tonight and taught the Plan of Salvation for like the twentieth time haha. She struggles remembering so we repeat everything we do a lot. She signed up to feed us dinner towards the end of December and she is so excited! She already has it planned out what she is going to cook and the whole works. She told us that she was talking to a friend (who is a member) about it and asked her friend what kind of wine she should get for this special occasion. She told us that the member pretty much got mad at her for even thinking about it! She had forgot that Mormons don't drink even on really special occasions!

12/3 Saturday
Today was the baptism! Except for several last minute problems, it was great! One of the talks didn't come and we had to get another witness and our pianist forgot and was a little late but once we got everything worked out is was great! It is a powerful thing to say, “Having Been commissioned of Jesus Christ.” I think everyone at the baptism felt the Spirit because it was obvious that God has lots of love for Cheryl and that He was a proud Heavenly Father. What a blessing it is to be able to know that we have the opportunity to make covenants with God that gives us promised blessings as long as we are worthy. Tonight was the Ward Christmas Party. In Vegas the Christmas parties are a big deal. They put ours to shame. They have a live band, catered in food, fancy desserts and little performance/comedy skits by the different groups in the ward. Elder Barton and I had to help the Elder’s Quorum out. It was a way fun evening to be able to interact with the ward and to see ward members befriend the investigators that we had there!

12/4 Sunday
Cheryl was confirmed today! Another reminder of the things we take for granted! The Gift of the Holy Ghost is a big gift that gets forgotten about and often times, mocked by us as members, as we sin and make mistakes. I loved the talk tonight in the First Presidency Christmas Devotional about the gifts we have been given! The one that I have been thinking about a lot is the Atonement. There is a kid that we see on occasion that we talk to. He is like 21 and he is a member but not active anymore. His dad is a seminary teacher and both of his parents are returned missionaries. He was really active until he left the house. He lives on the streets and he is a tagger so he goes around and writes and paints on stuff. I asked him the other day what pushed him away from the church. I was surprised by his response. He said that he was active but inactive. So he believes and I think he realizes that the life he is living is not going to get him anywhere. He feels guilt and it saddens me because I think he is not sure that God still loves him and he is probably a little lost on to what to do. I can testify that the Atonement covers all sin and is a Gift from God because God loves us and He knows that we will be lost sheep at times so He gave us a way back to Him. As I apply the Atonement in my life every day I feel more love for Him and his sacrifice.

Family and friends may we all look into our lives and notice the things that we need to fix and may we never take the gifts we have been given for granted! I love you all and hope that you all have a great week!

-Elder Call