Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Lots of Changes

Dear Family & Friends:

P-day is Tuesday this week because of transfers, thus, every six weeks p-day will be on Tuesday. That is why the letter today instead of yesterday.

1/23 Monday
Fellow Wyoming man Elder Sorensen and I! He is from Evanston!
Did the same old same old for p-day. Played basketball all day which is always a good time.  We played a best out of three series and we lost so we had to buy them drinks after so that was disappointing! We had dinner and a lesson with the Leavai's and Sister Fuapapa, so that went well! Not much else to report.

1/24 Tuesday
Bad news. Some of our investigators got kicked out of their home and so we won't be able to teach them anymore. It was very out of the blue so it was surprising. We had a lesson with the Stuckis tonight and Sister Stuckis baptism got pushed back a little bit. But it should be here in a couple of weeks!

1/25 Wednesday
Big changes!! We had the World Wide Broadcast today and we have quite a few changes! Along with the daily schedule changing and the key indicators we are no longer allowed to have dinner with people more than once a week. Some missionaries were super upset about it because they now have to cook every night! We had five lessons today so we were pretty booked!

1/26 Thursday
Today we met with President and he asked to me be a trainer this upcoming transfer. I am pretty excited about it but am a little worried because I want to make sure I do a super good job with my greenie! We told our bishop that one of us was leaving and he is super mad about it because he personally asked President to keep us together in this area.

1/27 Friday
Today was the Train the Trainers meeting, which is a meeting that all the missionaries that are going to train meet and talk about skills and things that will help as we train new missionaries. There are 6 English elders coming out. Elder Couch (MTC comp) is training as well. I was excited for him!

1/28 Saturday
A part member family moved into the ward today and so we were able to help them move their stuff. I love doing service so it was fun to help them out. Tonight was transfer calls...so Elder McClure and I decided we better tell President that our bishop is upset about the transfer deal and it didn't go well. We got chewed out by President twice for even telling our bishop when we found out and so it was discussed between President Walker and the stake president that it would be best to go against the original inspiration and to keep Elder McClure and I together so we could continue to try to help Bishop not be so mad. We found out as well that we would be in a trio with a missionary from Brazil, named Elder Beccari. He will come to the area on Tuesday. He came out with me but I don't know much about him. It was an eventful night and was very frustrating.

1/29 Sunday
Today was pretty rough, we didn't have anyone at church. Elder McClure is kinda bummed out about transfers. He got released as the district leader and he was not happy about that. We had two lessons tonight which went well.

Church attendance this week was a little pathetic but we do have baptisms scheduled we have five people with a date so there will be some coming up. It has been cool to see things pick up in the area since I got here none of these five had dates.

Love, Elder Call
Me and the chinchilla that started biting me haha!
A chinchilla is like a mix between a rat and a rabbit.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Amazing Week

Dear Family & Friends:

This week was great and very successful! The conference with Elder Bednar was just our mission so that was cool! We talked a lot about teaching people and what they need to understand in this gospel. Faith is seriously the most important thing that any of us can have! It leads to everything else.

1/16 Monday
Basketball was way fun today. The zone leaders invited one of their investigators to come play! He grew up playing street ball in Oakland... practically the same as growing up playing on the Meadows Ward Skunks team... Haha, this guy was good but the game was a little too much for him because he spent a good while in the bathroom puking. We had dinner/lesson with a family that have a nine-year-old daughter that will be getting baptized soon, so we are excited for her! We also had a lesson with Brother Labovitz and Sister Hennings which went well. We read Alma 18.

1/17 Tuesday
Today was the bomb. We talked with so many people today and had a lot of lessons! One of the best parts of the day was knocking on a recent converts house who went less active a few months ago. He wasn't home but his wife was and so we were able to talk with her for a while. Her and her daughter are not members so it was good to be able click with them and hopefully we can start teaching them!

1/18 Wednesday
Today was another successful day but we got stuck in Brother Campbell’s house for two hours! He talked nonstop for 115 minutes. Towards the end Elder McClure was doing my dad’s famous head bob. Haha he was falling asleep in a recent converts home! I finally had to interrupt and tell him we needed to go and asked if we could say a prayer and who he would like to say it and he said "we will have Mr. Sleepy say it" haha. I was embarrassed for him! We had a lesson with the Herlean’s again today. Sounds like they will get baptized in March.
A March 2016 picture of Ben Call & Rudy
1/19 Thursday
We had a lesson with Charlene today. Charlene is a frustrating investigator because she isn't willing to do much. I wanted to stop teaching her when I first got here but I am glad we didn't. While we were there we started talking to her nephew. He has been a nonstop alcoholic the last 14 months and he had stopped 8 days previous. Cigarettes had been an issue for a long time as well and he had stopped three weeks previously. We told him about church and the Addiction Recovery Program and he said he would be at church on Sunday, so hopefully he comes! We had a lesson with the Stucki family which went well. Sister Stucki, hopefully, will be getting baptized on the 28th. We also had a lesson with the Robinson family tonight. They are super amazing and their son will be getting baptized next month!

1/20 Friday
Today was exchanges with the zone leaders. I was with Elder Elbert for the day! He is the best/ most successful missionary in the mission so it was super cool to be able to learn from him. We get along super well and have similar backgrounds. Last night we stayed up to 2:30 talking.... it made for a rough day because we were so tired! It rained like crazy today so it was fun to be able to get away from the sun! The zone leaders have two investigators that walked into our ward a couple weeks ago that we saw today. They have a rough situation. They don't have parents and so they live with an aunt. The boy had a pedal bike but his sister only had roller blades and so that is how they would travel around. But a missionary's parents had given him a bike that was not a very good mission bike and so they gave it to her! She was super excited and grateful!

1/21 Saturday
Not even sure what to write today... I had an amazing day. Elder Bednar came to the mission and gave us a training! It was pretty much a 3-hour Q&A. It was sweet. Something that I love is that these General Authorities have super great personalities! Elder Bednar reminded us that “happiness is a choice.” To add to this amazing day is knowing that Rudy was baptized. I was so excited and touched by Rudy’s decision to be baptized! We had another lesson with the Herlean’s tonight and that went well, also!

Ben told his family, "Thank you so much for going to the baptism! I bet it was super cool! Thank you for the pictures!"
1/22 Sunday
Today was the polisher for a great week! We had seven people come to church and had two lessons tonight. Our ward mission leader came with us to the lesson. We were teaching the Rodartes and this story is gross haha. So their little girl, Amy, was sitting on Brother Headlee’s lap and all of a sudden I see disgust come over his face and he picks Amy up and sets her down. I figured what had happened but no one else picked up on it! After the lesson Brother Headlee told us that Amy had gone the bathroom on his lap and gotten his pants all wet. Haha gross!

Being in the presence of an Apostle was an amazing experience! I can testify that he is called of God and that Christ lives and is shown in him and us as we serve and as we put our lives in line with the teachings of the gospel!

I love you all!
-Elder Call

Monday, January 16, 2017

We Have A Savior

Dear Family & Friends:

1/9 Monday 
Today was alright. We got to play a lot of basketball and then got to work. We had a FHE with our ward mission leader and the Rodartes (recent converts). We were going to have another FHE with a part member family but they ended up canceling. 

1/10 Tuesday 
Rough day. We had a couple lessons set but everything fell through. It seems to be happening quite a bit lately and so that is super frustrating. We knocked a ton of doors today but not many people were home. We did see some miracles though! We were able to talk to a couple of in-actives today and set up a lesson with one of them so that was cool! 

1/11 Wednesday 
Things were better today! We had a lesson with a man who joined the church about 10 months ago. He is super awesome and we were able to hear his conversion story. We also had a lesson with the Herleans, which went well.  The members that came with us helped out a lot. The oldest son told us his story of feeling the spirit while he was reading the assignment we had left them. He is ready to get baptized and will probably have a date next time we see them so that is exciting!

1/12 Thursday 
It has rained all day today! I love the rain here in Las Vegas because it is so rare! Tonight was dope (super cool)! It started off by knocking on a less actives door and being let in and welcomed warmly! We got to know him quite well! We found out he has a boy that has autism who is fourteen and another son who is nine and a daughter that is seven. They are a great family and he said he hasn't been to the temple in ten years and wants to get back! He had just talked with his wife about inviting the missionaries over to get the spirit in their home again and help her testimony! It was cool to be a part of their beginning of getting back on the straight and narrow path! After this and dinner, we stopped by a part member and set a temporary baptismal date for the 28th of this month! It is quick but that is what they wanted and they have been taught everything and have been to church a lot! Their goal is getting sealed in the temple. After all of this we had a lesson with the Fullers! They wanted to sing a song and they chose, “Come Rejoice....” Y'all know me and I can't sing to save my life and my comp isn't the greatest either. The main problem was that they didn't know the tune nor worried about reading all the words. I was able to sing a few notes in between my resistance to chuckle! They would have sung all four verses, but I spoke up after the second and asked if they thought that was good and they agreed we had had Great day!

1/13 Friday
So tonight we had a great dinner! It was some type of chili and it was pretty good! We had parked a long ways away from dinner and had walked there stopping and seeing people as we went that afternoon! It was great except on the walk back it hit Elder McClure that he needed to go to the bathroom....soon haha.  He kept groaning as it kept hitting him! I thought it was super funny and I was messing with him and would walk slow or other stuff...I messed around and before long, haha, it hit me and there was no more slow walking haha. We hustled! Karma is not good sometimes haha. We did end up making it to the church in time so it was a blessing! I thought those things only happened in foreign missions!

1/14 Saturday 
We met a crazy/interesting man street contacting today! This man knows what is going to happen before it happens. He created a math formula when he was 11 years old that tells him what is going to happen 90 seconds in advanced! Pretty cool huh? So, when I think of a guy that is telling this stuff, I think of a younger guy that is just a little off but no this man is 77 years old and has been doing this since he was eleven. It started out with him seeing us and he said he wanted to tell us a story. In his 45-minute spill I asked him a few questions and had a few responses that were slightly on the sarcastic side... He was telling me that by knowing his formula you would save your life multiple times a day! And he talked about his books he sells and all this good stuff.  I had to ask him why he wasn't the richest man on earth? He said that all his money goes to his grandson because he doesn't care about money at all... that grandson may not have the equation for the future figured out but he has got the way to earn easy money figured out haha. On to the more spiritual side of things, religion was brought up and he said that any person could be Jesus Christ and the entire thing was a hoax . . . I was seriously baffled by his response.  I wouldn't say it made me mad, but I was immediately saddened from this man’s negligence. Alma 7:11-12 states:

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Family and Friends. No other man on the face of this earth now or will be or that has ever been on this earth could/can do what the Our Savior did. No man could suffer the pains of the world, no man could suffer for the sins that the world has committed, no man could loose the bands of death unless that man is the very Son of God. I want each of you to know that we do indeed have a Savior. We do indeed have an Older Brother that knows exactly what you are going through and He knows exactly how to help. We do indeed live after we die, thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

1/15 Sunday 
It was a great day.  We had five people at church so it was a successful day!

I am so blessed to be able to see the change and see the Gospel truly bless and make a difference in people’s life! 

I love you all have a great week.

Elder Call

Monday, January 9, 2017

Find the Blessings

Dear Family & Friends:

At Stake Conference on Sunday, a man said, "Elders where are you from?" We replied and he commented "both great places but there is nowhere better than Las Vegas because that is where God has called you to be...” Wow, that took me by surprise, but oh how true it is that there is no better place than Las Vegas, Nevada, because there is no other place where God has called me to be!

1/2 Monday
Tonight we had a lesson with a part member family where the father has Jewish beliefs. We had decided to teach the Plan of Salvation and the lesson went quite well. It was then brought up that this man’s mom had passed a few months previously. The wife told us that after his mom had passed they had a conversation where she testified to him that he would see his mother again. After she had said that in their conversations he said to her "I hope you are right, I hope that I will see my mother again."  Wow! It is true that the times we are closest to heaven are when loved ones come into or leave this life.  I am so happy that I can bring the knowledge and comfort of the Plan of Salvation to those here in Las Vegas.

1/3 Tuesday
Not much happened today but we started exchanges tonight and I will be with Elder Sorensen for the next 24 hours! He is from Evanston Wyoming so it is cool.

1/4 Wednesday
Today was a great day for missionary work because it seemed like every door we knocked on, someone was home. We had a lesson with a man from Guam, who is like a Fourth Knight in his Catholic Church. I don't know what that is, but he is a nice guy. We invited them to pray to ask if what we taught was true and he said that we believed the same things Catholics do so he didn't need to pray because he already knew... haha not sure if he was following what we had to say haha. Today we got super exciting news. Elder Bednar is coming to our mission on the 21st of this month! Along with him is the Presiding Bishop of the Church and a member of the Presidency of the Seventy and an Area Seventy! It is going to be amazing to receive counsel from them!

1/5 Thursday
Today was another lesson that didn't quite go the way we wanted it to. We were teaching the Herlean boys and we were teaching the Plan of Salvation. For the plan we drew one of those diagrams on paper. For the celestial kingdom we drew it yellow, for the terrestrial kingdom we drew it brown, and for the telestial kingdom we drew it pink... that was the problem, haha, the youngest boy when he heard he would be going to one of those said that he wanted to go to the pink one... not quite what we were shooting for haha. We may have to redraw them a diagram and switch the colors up a little bit!

1/6 Friday
Today we had interviews with President so that is always the best! We had dinner tonight with a single guy that had asked us what we wanted to eat a few days before. We mentioned that we liked steak and oh did he make us steak! The steaks were almost as big as the plate and a good 1"-1 1\2" thick. Along with that there was salad, a pasta dish, vegetables, and brownies and ice cream. The steak was super good but was still moooing a little as I ate it! It was rare! Haha, I finished everything so I was a little disappointed in how much I ate. Also, today I gave up drinking soda. I am tired of gaining weight so I am giving up pop... I have done this 5 times now on the mission but I think this time is for good haha!

1/7 Saturday
Today we able to go to the baptism of a lady (Brianna) I was able to teach a few time on exchanges with Elder Townsend and Elder Sorensen. This lady got married to this guy who served a mission in Florida, but fell away shortly after. When he met Brianna, he was not active at the slightest, but when he asked her to marry him she said she would as long as they found religion. The man’s parents were promised if they went to the temple each week all their children would be faithful in the gospel and for years they went faithfully and now their prayers and faith had paid off. The answer to their prayer wasn't even a member! They got to hear their daughter in law bare testimony of the truth that has come into her life! She has such a powerful testimony it was amazing!

1/8 Sunday
Today was stake conference and we got our stake split. We aren't sure exactly what is going to happen with the district/zone so it will be interesting. There was a talk today that was really good! He talked that the first principle that the missionaries teach is that God is a loving Father in Heaven and why that is important.  It is important because as we truly understand that principle, we receive a higher vision and we can live according to that higher vision. In a lesson today with Tom, it is apparent that he is very worried about what others think of him. He does not understand the blessings that await him.

One of President Walker’s favorite sayings is "claim your blessings." We as children of God and as members of the church, we have blessings that we are holding ourselves back from. This week, may we find the blessings that we are holding ourselves back from and live in accordance to receive those blessings. God loves each of us and he blesses us daily. Please look for His love and His hand!

I love you all!
Elder Call

Monday, January 2, 2017

Out With the Old

Dear Family & Friends:

Here is a look at my last week of 2016

12/26 Monday
Tonight we did a FHE with the Rodarte and Kidd families. It went super good, except that it was a little noisy because of all the kids haha. We talked about how, a lot of times in our lives, we look back and dwell on things of the past and how that slows us down. Our Heavenly Father loves us and will forgive us of past mistakes through repentance. We need to always strive to be better and improve!

12/27 Tuesday
Miracles happened today!! We have been getting worried about our teaching pool but today things took a turn for a little better! There is a part member family in the ward that has three unbaptized kids (the Herleans). The ward has been trying for years with these kids and nothing has happened. The dad is a returned missionary that served in the Dominican Republic. The mom has been a lifelong member but they fell away from the church and haven't let their kids be baptized even though they beg them. The dad called us today and said he wants us to come over and start teaching the discussions to his boys! Also Joseph and Claudette (who stood us up last week) reached out to us and asked if we were meeting with them tomorrow!

12/28 Wednesday
Today we were on exchanges with the other set of elders in our district. I was in their area for the day! It was way fun. Elder Townsend and I walked everywhere today, so that was good to put in some good walking exercise!  Elder Townsend is from Nebraska and is super cool, so we joked around all day and got a lot of work done! We almost got killed but it turned out good! We were tracting and we knocked on this door that had a sign with an AK 47 and it said "nothing on this property is worth dying for". We knocked on the door and a Russian man answered and said "wait there, I am going to get my brother" and he closed the door and left. Memories of the “Saratov Approach” movie flooded in and I was sketched out. I looked at Elder Townsend and he was like "this is going to be really good or really bad."  We waited for a little while and then his brother opened the door and we taught some of the Restoration and got his contact info, so that was cool. And we talked to guy from East Africa and that was cool! He knew like no English.  Elder McClure had lessons with Joseph and Claudette and the part member family and all five of those people are on track for baptism by the end of the month, which that could be 6 baptisms this transfer!! That would be so sweet!!

12/30 Friday
We had another lesson with the Herleans. Things are going great. The dad who doesn't consider himself a Mormon anymore was teaching his boys, along with us, about the Book of Mormon and the first story in it! Finding was uneventful today except a dude came to chew us out because we knocked on his door and I guess we scared his wife because there were dressed up guys at the door. He was from out of states and didn't know who we were, so we told him we are missionaries and he said sorry and left haha!

12/31 Saturday
Things keep getting better with Joseph and Claudette I thought there was going to be an issue with the Word of Wisdom but they said that they would give their iced coffee up no problem. They didn't think that Mormon’s drank soda, so they were pleased to know that was aloud haha! We had to be in tonight by six because of the New Years. So it was a pretty exciting night, I paced around the apartment and watched bible videos, and went to bed early! The mission life is sweet!

1/1 Sunday
Haha 8:30 church was a little too early for the ward members I guess. There were like two families there five minutes to the start of church. We had two kids walk in today and we sat by them. They had been taught all the lessons and even had their baptismal interview but then moved and so they never got baptized! We got their address and they live just outside our ward boundary... dang it!! Joseph and Claudette came to church today so that was awesome to have them there!

As missionaries we are promised that the Lord’s hand is unrestrained in our work! Sometimes I fall into the pattern of the mission and start taking the time out here for granted. This week I let myself fall into that trap a little bit... I know that God is involved in this work. He truly wants to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" Moses 1:39 He cares about the people we contact everyday. He wants them on His team and He is ready to pour His blessings on them! I am so grateful for the knowledge I have that God is involved in my life and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to help others find the love God has for them! I think that we all have so much potential that we may not even comprehend it! I am working each day to try to achieve my potential as a missionary and a follower of Jesus Christ. I love you all!
-Elder Call