Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas From Waterbury

Tuesday morning we had to get up wayyy to early, around 4 o clock, to make it to our Mission Christmas Conference/party in Boston. We started off the morning by all going to the Boston temple and doing a session. That was my second time in the temple here, but it had been a while! The temple is definitely the place to be, that peaceful feeling you get inside there can't be found anywhere else in the world! After our session we had a few hours to kill while the other groups of missionaries went through and did their sessions, so we went into Boston to grab a quick lunch. Our Christmas Conference took up the rest of the day after that. First we had a musical devotional which was reaaally good, there are some talented people in our mission! After the devotional we had a nice ham dinner, and then partied the rest of the night. Well partied as much as missionaries can at least. Each zone had filmed a 5 minute funny film this month, and so we all got to watch each others film. There were some pretty good laughs, I will see if I can get our zones video to send to you all. We did a Hunger Games re-enactment, it was pretty sweet. We got out of the Christmas Party at about 8 o clock, and there was about 8 inches of snow on the ground and it was still coming down hard! President and Sister Packard decided pretty quickly that they didn't want us making the drive back home that night, so they made arrangements for all of us to stay somewhere in the Boston area. Our zone ended up all staying at the mission home, so it was a pretty wild night. There was about 30 missionaries and the Packard family all chilling at the Mission Home that night. It took us like an hour and a half to make the 20 minute drive to the mission home after the party. The freeways were just at like a complete standstill, thank goodness we didn't have to make the trek home that night.

The work is still going well, the past few weeks we have had some major struggles getting our investigators to come out to church. With the snow storms and then the holiday approaching everyone seems to be "too busy". It really is pretty frustrating, so we will probably be having to push back a few of the baptismal dates that we have to try and get them to come out to church a little bit more before they are baptized. We did pick up three new investigators this week, so we were pumped about that. One is a kid named Brandon, he is 14 and is the brother of another of our investigators, Michaela, who is getting baptized pretty soon. We were teaching Michaela and he came walking in, he just barely moved back to live with his Mom and Michaela, and so I invited him to join our lesson and he said sure! The other two are a couple named James and Miriam, we met them at our service we do each Tuesday. Miriam is SUPER interested, she was just soaking everything up that we were teaching during our first lesson on Saturday. James is a little more hesitant and is going to take a lot more work than Miriam, but he is still a sweet guy and really knows his stuff. He has studied out of the Bible a ton, so now we just have to get him to start studying out of the Book of Mormon also!

We had one of the best baptisms I have ever seen in our ward yesterday. There is this family, the Castro family, who are some of the strongest members of the ward. They are a great family that moved here from the Dominican Republic a few years ago. Their entire family are members, except the father was excommunicated quite a while ago. Since they have lived in Waterbury, their father has been completely active in the church and in the Gospel. He is a great part of our ward, and last week he finally got clearance to be rebaptized into the church. His 17 year old son was able to baptize him, and after he came up out of the water they just turned and gave each other a HUGE hug! It was a pretty special moment.

We had our Christmas program at church on Sunday and Bishop asked me to share my testimony of Jesus Christ as part of it. I had been thinking about it all week, and didn't really know what to write about because there is just so much about Him to say. At the center of Jesus Christ life though, and the center of our Gospel, is the Atonement of Jesus Christ and so that is what I talked about mostly. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas, we should remember what the point of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry was anyways, and a major part of that is the Atonement that he performed for us. In Helaman 5 there is a verse that says something like "The Lord should surely come to redeem His people, not to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins." I am forever grateful for what Jesus Christ did for me personally, and for all of us. I know what it is like to carry around the feelings of guilt and sorrow from making poor choices in life. However because of the Atonement I also know what it feels like to be freed from those burdens. I have never felt more close to the Savior than when I have been putting the Atonement to the test. The Atonement is real, I know that Jesus Christ suffered for each and every one of our sins, and because of that we can be forgiven! I am definitely grateful that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and my redeemer. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and have a lot fun this Holiday season!

Elder Pulsipher

The Boston Temple
 Merry Christmas from Waterbury!!!! This is our District with our Wal-Mart special Christmas sweaters.
 Just walking out of the Christmas party and we were pretty excited about all the snow on the ground!
Elder Hermosilla and Me
 Elder Hermosilla, Paulsen, Me, and Concha
We rode with the Southington Elders to the party, I was pretty glad I didn't have to drive in that garbage.  Rear wheel drive cars don't do too well haha.  But it is Elder Seaich driving and Elder Greene, then Elder Boone and me in the back.
Traffic was hoooorrrribbbbleeeeee!
Sleeping in the mission home, we were all just scattered throughout the house.  I lucked out and got one of the bunk beds in the basement though.
Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Cheer

Helllllloooo everybody! Hope you are all doing well. The work is still going great, we have been REALLY busy. President actually talked to us and asked us if we needed extra help in our area since we have so much happening lately. He offered to pull in other Elders from surrounding areas to come and work in our area for a day to help us out with all of the investigators, especially those with baptismal dates. We told him we should be alright though. We definitely have tons of work to do, but we should be able to handle it on our own. We didn't see a lot of progression with a lot of our investigators this week, which is pretty frustrating. Most of them seem to have just hit a roadblock where they just aren't progressing as much as they should be and as much as they could be. It is pretty disappointing when someone is progressing really well but then they just plateau out and stop progressing. They aren't going backwards or anything, but they just don't seem to be moving forward as much as we would hope. It is alright though, we just have to keep motivating them to make these changes in their life. The Gospel is not an event, it is a process. Conversion doesn't happen overnight, it is a life long process that we must go through. So definitely keep our investigators in your prayers please!

This week we had our first Webex meeting, it is a new thing our mission is doing. So usually once a month there is a meeting where all of the District Leaders and Zone Leaders all meet in Boston for a meeting. This month though they did it online, basically like a video conference call. So everyone just gets to stay in their own areas and participate in the meeting online. Since Elder Boone is the DL we were able to be a part of this first one. It saves a lot of time and a lot of money to do it this way rather than for everyone to drive all the way to Boston just for a 2 hour meeting. So now all of the leadership meetings are going to be online from now on, and also the first Tuesday of every month the entire mission will have a giant online meeting where President and Sister Packard will talk to us for an hour or so and give us trainings, we are pretty pumped about it.

We got hit pretty hard with snow in Waterbury this weekend. It snowed all night on Friday and then all day on Saturday. A lot of the wards cancelled church on Sunday, but ours didn't. We had a whopping 50 people show up to church though, so we had Sacrament meeting and then called it a day early. Not gonna lie, it was pretty nice to have 1 hour of church haha but I won't count on that happening very often. For the most part we spent most of the day Sunday out shoveling snow for some of the single sisters in the ward and then for a few of our investigators also. It was a good time, I am definitely feeling it today though.

Tomorrow is our mission's Christmas meeting, so we will be heading to Boston bright and early in the morning. We start it out by going to the temple for a session early in the morning, then we just all get together and have a giant Christmas party and devotional type thing. I don't really know what all will go down, but everyone says it is pretty fun! It should definitely be a good time!

Some random Ariel that we ran into during our day Saturday. How often do you see a giant Disney Princess just hanging out in Connecticut?
Pretty good District unity here, right? We all went to Wal-Mart and got ourselves some pretty decent Christmas sweaters and then wore them to our Zone Meeting. Just trying to spread a little holiday cheer haha
Elder Slade and I put the gingerbread kits you guys sent to use on Sunday night and continued our own family traditions on out here in the mission field. We had some struggles at first but the finished product came out pretty good.
The finished product! We had a lot more ideas but we kind of ran out of steam there at the end, it was getting pretty late. Gotta represent the MBM (Massachusetts Boston Mission) in all that we do though!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Just Stand Bold and Never Give Up!

Alright so at the beginning of this week I had a pretty cool experience with my personal studies, so I wanted to share it with you all! So Monday night Elder Boone was sick and so we had to stay in the apartment and let him rest. For some reason that night and into Tuesday morning I was just feeling pretty down and not happy. I was thinking a lot about some things that have gone wrong with investigators, how hard it is to find people to teach, etc... Really I was just thinking about how hard a mission really is, and was getting kind of discouraged. I don't really know what was going on, but sometimes that just happens out here in the field haha. So then on Tuesday morning I am just getting ready to start my studies and we get a phone call from our investigator named Jean. She is the sweetest little old lady, she is 88 years old. Her daughter is a member of the Church that lives in Utah, and had referred her mother to us a few months ago. So last week we extended a baptismal date to Jean, and she was a little hesitant and so we committed her to pray and find out if she should be baptized. Well on Tuesday when she called she said that she had prayed about it and that she had gotten her answer...For some reason though she said she felt like her answer was no, and that she should remain affiliated with her current church and that she would like to stop meeting with us. It was pretty heartbreaking haha cuz I love this little old lady and I wanted her to accept the date soo bad. So there I was on Tuesday morning even more discouraged now...

So for my studies I just started reading in the Book of Mormon where I had left off, and it was in 3 Nephi 3. In this chapter Giddianhi, the Gadianton Robbers leader (the bad guys)  is writing to Lachoneus, the governer of the Nephites (the good guys) and is basically telling him to give up, to surrender and join with the Gadiantons in their evil works.

 In Chapter 3 verse 3 it says "And it seemeth a pity unto me, most noble Lachoneus, that ye should be so foolish and vain as to suppose that ye can stand against so many brave men who are at my command, who do now at this time stand in their arms, and do await with great anxiety for the word—Go down upon the Nephites and destroy them."

Then in verse 7 it says "Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us".

So Giddianhi is basically telling the Nephites to just surrender, to give up and quit trying. He tells them to come join with them in their evil works, because it would be a lot easier than trying to fight off the evil to remain righteous people. This is basically what the adversary was trying to tell me on Monday night and Tuesday night. That a mission is too hard, that it would just be easier to quit trying, to just give up.

But then later on in the chapter in verse 12 we see Lachoneus response to Giddianhi's threats. It says "Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time that the robbers should come down against them." So Lachoneus basically just said "Yeah I hear you guys over there, but I'm not scared. I know that it we turn to God for strength and trust in him, that we will be alright." There was no way Lachoneus was going to let the Nephites join with the Gadiantons in their evil works.

Then later on in the next chapter we read all about how Lachoneus and the Nephites gather together and fight against the Gadianton's. Of course the good guys win, and the Gadianton's are completely destroyed. So of course I was never going to give up or anything like that, but Satan is always trying to tell us to give up. He is always trying to work on us and tell us that it would just be easier to stop trying to be righteous, to just start living life the easy way. To join with all of those people in the world who are living in evil, because it is just a lot easier to do than to try and always live in righteousness. But it was good to see the example of Lachoneus in the scriptures of not even being scared, not even considering to join with them in their evil works. We can all be Lachoneus and not even be phased by the Adversaries attempts to discourage us, or convince us to join with him. Just stand bold and turn to God for strength, and go to battle against Satan and his evil works. Sorry if that was just me rambling on...hope it made sense to someone out there haha.

Later on in the week we had a few AWESOME lessons with Lisa and her kids! You all know Lisa as the lady who tried to rape me haha, but let me just tell you about this lady. She is making some amazing changes in her life, and I know that it is because of her desire to accept the Gospel and live it! She realized that her drinking was affecting her and her children, and so she stopped drinking...this was before we even taught the Word of Wisdom too! So Lisa has really made some great improvements in her life...it is like a complete 180 from when we first met her. She still has a ways to go of course, but she is doing really well. The past 2 lessons we have been able to have her two sons, Nate and Javier join us. Nate is 15 and Javier is almost 12. So at the end of one of our lessons while Elder Boone was talking to the 2 kids I leaned over and was talking to Lisa and told her she should invite her two sons to be baptized with her on January 19, so she did and they both said yes! The Gospel is exactly what this family needs right now, and I am pretty pumped to see what happens with them. I just pray that they continue to recognize the blessings that are coming into their lives with the Gospel, that they stick with it and continue to make these changes. Life is good in Waterbury though! Hope you are all staying warm!

P.S. What is up with everyone getting all these new iPhones? I was always making fun of Ashlee, Grandma Pulsipher, Grandma Reeder for their old brick flip phones...now the tables have turned haha. I couldn't believe it when Dad told me Janet got an iPhone, and that Ruth is thinking about getting one now too! That is pretty sweet, I am proud of you guys haha. Now I am stuck here with an old brick phone while my grandma is chilling with an iPhone...I never thought I would see the day haha.

Elder Pulsipher

I got the Christmas package on Saturday, that was nice of you guys! Thanks a bunch! We had been wanting to get some Christmas decorations for the apartment, but you guys took care of that haha. We threw up the lights in our study room to liven it up a bit. I know they were probably for the tree...but as you can see the tree is pretty sad looking. We didn't want to waste the lights by putting them on the tree haha. So instead we threw a mink fur that was laying around on the tree to spruce it up a bit. Looks pretty good right? Haha nah it is a pretty rough looking tree, but we like it!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

We had a REAL good Thanksgiving here in Waterbury....lots of good people and lots of good food. We had lunch out at the Ward family's home. They are an older couple who have been in the ward for a looong time! Brother Ward was actually the first Branch President of the Waterbury Branch. Their son Nathan has a band that he goes on tour with each year, and so after we ate he gave us a sweet little private concert down in the basement. Then we hit up the Lopez house for some pie, and then for dinner we went to Sister DaSilva's home. Each year she always invites the missionaries over and then other people from the ward. She is a single lady, so she likes to invite people over. She is Brazilian...and man does she know how to cook. It was sooo good. I couldn't even force down desert at her house, I was just too full.

Saturday night we were able to go and help out with this little town's Christmas celebration. So the Schriver family that I have told you all about, they live in this little town of Thomaston. Each year on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving Thomaston shuts down Main Street and throws a party to kick of Christmas. Well the Schrivers help out with a few things at the festivities and needed some volunteers, and so they asked us! We had a pretty good time and it was just a fun night.

Sunday was Mike Schrivers baptism! About 10 years ago the entire Schriver family decided to start coming to the Mormon church, and came for about 3 months before they decided to go back to the Catholic church...and Mike was the main reason they went back. He HATED being at the Mormon church, and would always just go and hide during Sunday School and the other classes. He would always just say "No, I am Catholic!" Haha but now the tables have turned and him and his younger brother are the ones trying to get the rest of his family to join our church. It was a pretty awesome experience because his younger brother Steven, was the one who baptized him. Steven was baptized himself just a few months ago, and now he has already baptized his brother. So now their father, and the two oldest sons are members...we are still working on the mother and the two younger kids :)

Soooo we had a crazy turn of events this week. You all remember my friend Lisa...the one who we had that very memorable experience with? She accepted a baptismal date for January 19! Haha we were on exchanges with the Zone Leaders on Tuesday and we had an appointment with an investigator named Maria first thing in the morning. We had a recently returned missionary with us as our chaperone, and then Maria wasn't home when we got there. We were close to Lisa's home, and had to fill the time with something and so we decided to go see Lisa! Well she was sober this time and the lesson went awesome!!! We were teaching the Restoration again and were talking a lot about the Priesthood. She has been attending a Catholic church, and she really wanted her sons to be altar boys or something? We said something to the effect of "Ya altar boys are great and everything, but in our church your sons can hold the same Priesthood that Jesus Christ healed the sick, raised the dead with, etc. They can use that Priesthood to bless others, administer the Sacrament and baptize"....once she heard that it was game over haha. We still have A LOT of work to do with Lisa and her boys (mainly Lisa) but she really does want to follow Jesus Christ example and does want to make changes in her life. But we definitely have our work cut out for us! Love you all and have a good week!

Thanksgiving with the Ward family! Brother Ward, his son Nathan, and then Sister Ward's sister who lives in Bridgeport CT. Sister Ward refused to get in the picture, she hasn't let anyone take a picture of her for like the past 15 years! She says she is too old and wrinkly. She is still a beautiful woman...and a really good cook too!
Thanksgiving Dinner number 2! This was at Sister DaSilva's house, and man was it good. So it was us 4 Waterbury Elders, Sister DaSilva, and then the entire Manger family. The Manger's are members of the ward, but their one son Matt is one of our investigators who is getting baptized at the end of December, on the 29th. He was just adopted into their family about a year ago.

We were happy campers after eating at Sister DaSilva's.  Elder Slade, Hermosilla and me.
It is a bad picture but this is me with Matt Manger!
Mike's baptism on Sunday! We were trying to go for the serious look in the first one...just couldn't quite be serious for that long. Elder Boone, Steven Schriver, Mike Schriver, and me.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Great "Bump" Week!

Hellllllo! We have had a few really good days since I talked to you all on Wednesday. We haven't had another lesson with the Schriver family yet, so still no answer for their baptismal invite. We are pretty sure that the mom isn't quite ready to accept the invitation, but you never know! Their oldest son Mike is going to be baptized this Sunday, so we are still pretty excited about that. So on Friday we had to go to one of the Spanish Elder's investigators home to do a baptismal interview. While Elder Boone was doing the interview, I was sitting out on the couch just kind of waiting around. Then the investigators 10 year old daughter, who speaks English and not Spanish, came out and sat on the couch and was watching tv. I started talking to her and asked her if she was getting baptized too, and she was like "noooo?" And looked at me pretty weird haha. So I asked her why not, and she just said "Well I don't really know". So to make a long story short, I started teaching her right then and there and at the end of the lesson she agreed to be baptized on December 29! Her name is Michaela, and she has been coming to church with her mom since her mom began investigating the church. Throughout the lesson she kept asking me to teach her more and tell her more, she was loving it! When I taught her about the Holy Ghost she said "Wow...I want the Holy Ghost!!!" Haha it was pretty cool. Then every time we have seen her since she has asked us if we can teach her right then and there, she just wants to learn more about Jesus every chance she can get.

On Tuesdays we go to St. Johns in downtown Waterbury and serve food at a soup kitchen. When I was taking some food to this guy, another guy stopped me and was like "Heyyy Elder, I heard you guys had a baptism at your church the other day?" It caught me off guard...haha most people around here avoid us, not many people come up and start talking to us about the church. It turns out he is a family friend of the little girl Disney who was baptized last week, and had talked to one of her family members about it. So I sat there and talked to this guy Brian for a while, gave him a Book of Mormon and got his number to set up an appointment for later in the week. We had our first lesson with him yesterday afternoon at the church, and it went sooo well! Right when we sat down he said "Okay so tell me about this young boy Joseph Smith and the vision that he had, I have just got to hear this story." He was pumped to hear it haha. So we teach him the Restoration and talk quite a bit about Joseph Smith and then at the end of the lesson Brian says "I completely believe everything you Elders have taught me today." Pretty sweet right? So we invited him to be baptized on January 12 and he accepted! As I have told you guys, we don't do a lot of personal contacting in this mission, and work a lot with the members instead. But this week I really saw the Lord's hand in His work. He placed people in our paths who were ready to hear the Gospel, and I am so grateful we were able to take advantage of the opportunities and share the Gospel with these people.

I forgot to tell you in the last email about the Zone Conference we had last week. Elder Gifford Nielsen of the Seventy came and spoke to us and it was amazing! Definitely gave me the spiritual recharge that I needed. I was able to see all of the other Elders from my last district too, and talked to Elder Batts about the Waterford ward for a while. It sounds like they are all doing great still. I don't know if you all remember me telling you about Tom, he was the investigator we got a few weeks before I was transferred out of Waterford? Well anyways, he is going to be flying back to Seattle this weekend and is going to be baptized by his friend that introduced him to the Gospel. I was stoked when I heard about that. And Sovong was supposed to get the Priesthood this past week, the Nehila's sound like they are doing well too.

Just so you all know, we will definitely be well taken care of this Thanksgiving. We have 4 houses lined up that we are going to eat at. So we have 1 lunch, 2 dinners and then a dessert visit to end the night...and we even had a few more people invite us over that we had to turn down. So you can all stop worrying about me for the Holidays, I will be well fed and taken care of this Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving yourself, remember to be truly grateful for what our Heavenly Father has blessed us with. I know I take for granted the many things I have been given in this life. Love you all, take care!

We hit up the mall a few weeks ago and did some shopping. We thought we were looking pretty fresh...

This is where the fun happens on P-days and if we ever have a minute to spare. We have had some pretty intense Foosball games lately, the Spanish Elders have been kicking our butts though. Their soccer skills must help them out with Foosball too or something.
So it is tradition to burn a tie at your 6 month mark, a shirt at the year mark, slacks at 18 months and a whole suit at the end of your mission. Not sure if I will follow through on all of the rest but I decided I would do this one. My 6 month mark was on Friday, so that night I burnt a tie to celebrate an amazing 6 months!

**A few months ago I sent Elder Pulsipher an 'ugly' tie package.  I was teasing Elder Pulsipher and replied, "I sure hope that is not one of the 'ugly' ties I sent you!"  He laughed and said, "You caught me! I hope you don't mind!"  I really didn't. I was actually glad it was an ugly, dollar tie instead of his fancy nice ones.  Haha!  I had been struggling trying to think of what to send him for 'bump' day and never got a great package put together.  So I was so excited to know that he had something to celebrate his 'bump' day mark! Happy 6 months Elder Pulsipher!!! We love you!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Transfer Week

Hellooo everyone! We survived transfer texts on Saturday, both Elder Boone and I will be staying in Waterbury together for another 6 weeks. Elder Boone has been in Waterbury for about 6 months now, so this may be his last transfer here. You  never know though! Our roommate Elder Martinez got transferred after only being here for 6 weeks. There is a missionary who has only been out for 12 weeks coming to replace him, so now I finally won't be the newest missionary in the district.

This week was the primary program for our ward, and it was definitely a good one. You can always count on those for some pretty good entertainment. Anyways, we were really excited for it because one of our investigators, Belinda, has a 5 year old son who has been coming to church with her for the past month. So he has been practicing with the primary each week and their whole family was super stoked for this primary program. We thought it was going to be a great experience for their family and help Belinda continue to grow in desire to be baptized. We were wrong though, it ended up causing some big problems. During the program Belinda had her iPad out and was recording her son singing and all that good stuff, but technically no one is allowed to film or take pictures inside the chapel. So a member of the bishopric went up and asked her to stop recording the program, and I guess she got super offended or something. We had no idea that it had happened, but she called us later Sunday evening and told us the whole story. Then she said that because of that incident she no longer wants to meet with us, no longer wants to be a part of our church and called off her baptism. She was supposed to be getting baptized in a few weeks. We were pretty shocked after that phone call. So this week the bishopric was going to try and do some damage control and see if they could repair the relationship with her and change her mind. Hopefully they can get things straightened out.

Last night we had an amazing lesson with the Schriver family, definitely the best lesson of my mission so far. We read Lehi's Dream of the Tree of Life with them, and it is crazy how well it related to them and their familiy. No matter how I describe it, it won't do it justice though haha. It was just one of those lessons that you always wish would happen. It couldn't have gone any better. The Spirit was sooo strong, my hands were shaking, heart was beating and all that jazz, it was pretty sweet. But anyways, at the end of the lesson we invited the rest of their family to be baptized on January 5. The mom's only hold up is her Catholic parents, she doesn't want to hurt them and her relationship with them. So they are all going to pray and ask God if this is what He wants them to do. If it is truly what God wants them to do, then they are going to be baptized. So keep them in your prayers! Pray that they will accept their baptismal dates! Love you all, thanks for all of the letters and emails and packages you all send... I definitely get spoiled. 

This was Saturday night at our T-Text party! Our district and then the Southington Elders too. Back Row is: Elder Boone, Seaich, Martinez, Me
Front Row: Elder Fowler, Hermosilla, Paulson and Butters. If you look at Elder Butters face you can see that he is a little sad that he got transferred haha.
This is us with Disney, she was baptized this Sunday. Out here a lot of families have us go over and teach their 7 or 8 year olds the lessons before they have them baptized. So we get to work a lot with the kids from the ward who get baptized. It is always a lot of fun to go and teach the kids, they always keep it pretty entertaining.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Keep On Pressing On!

This past week was a pretty rough one for us, it seemed like nothing could go our way. We had eleven appointments cancel on us throughout the week, so we had to do a lot of contacting unknown people from the ward directory and some former investigators. It seemed like every appointment we had cancelled on us though.  Some weeks are just like that though, not much that we can do about it. So throughout the week I was getting pretty frustrated, because nothing was working out the way we expected it to. We kept working hard each and every day though, no matter what happened. Then on our very last appointment for the week on Sunday night, I guess the Lord was blessing us for our diligence and for not giving up on the week....or maybe we just got lucky haha. But we had our very first appointment with a guy named Mark. He is the husband to a lady in the ward, and he is a Catholic of course. We were teaching him the Restoration and we decided to watch the movie with him. Well during the movie, right when it was done recounting the First Vision, we look over at Mark and he is crying! So I hurry and got up and paused the movie, and then we bore our testimonies of Joseph Smith and of the Restoration of Christ's church. It was an awesome lesson, and we are planning on extending a baptismal invitation to Mark this week. So even if things are really rough, and nothing is going your way, just keep on pressing on!

We had a pretty crazy experience this week with another new investigator that we picked up. On Wednesday we had our first lesson with a lady named Lisa. She is in her 30's and has two kids and is a single mom. Our lesson on Wednesday went pretty well, and so we set up an appointment to come back on Sunday. On Sunday we show up to our appointment and after like 1 minute of being in her house we realize she is just completely drunk out of her mind. She was GONE! Right when we sat down she came in and started smearing whipped cream all over our faces (not sure why exactly), and was basically throwing herself all over me, so Elder Boone and I look at each other and are like "We gotta get outta here!" So we get up to leave and are walking out the door, and Elder Boone goes out the door first. I am right behind him, but then Lisa grabs my bag and pulls me back in to her house and then shuts the door and locks Elder Boone outside on the porch. So I am stuck in the house with this crazy drunk lady and she won't let me go out, she is standing in front of the door and blocking it. Then she turns to me and says "I want to have another baby...Can we make a baby together?" Haha I about lost it right there. I kept trying to escape from this drunken lady's home, but she just wasn't allowing it. So finally I yell and get her 13 year old son's attention and tell him to come control his mother. He came in and had to restrain her while I opened the door and made my escape. So, our drunk investigator tried to rape me...pretty crazy!

So yesterday I got a phone call from the AP's. They said that they had just gotten out of a meeting with President Packard, and that my name had come up as becoming one of the new digital missionaries. So they were calling to see if it would be something I would be interested in doing.... I have told you all a little bit about the Digital Mission, but I don't know a whole lot about it myself. Basically there are a few missionaries that are on the Digital Mission team, and they run this website that we use to basically go and find people in our area online who are searching the internet for Gospel related topics. So these missionaries are serving online everyday from 10 AM to 4 PM, and then they go out and do normal proselyting. It would be a pretty cool experience, I would be serving right in Boston and would be working with some pretty interesting things online. I just got to Waterbury and am loving it here, and we have a lot of good things happening in the area right now, but I told them I would do whatever President wanted me to do. So I left it up to them to decide. Transfer Texts are coming this Saturday, so I guess we will see what they decide. Hope you all have a great week!

This is our homie Chris! We have been teaching him ever since I got here, he is the friend of some members in the ward. Chris has struggled with drug addictions his entire life, but has been trying lately to get his life in order. He realized that he needed God in his life to ever make it, and that is when he started meeting with us. He has made some HUGE progress so far, and now it is time for him to take the next step! He left this Wednesday for rehab in Bridgeport. So we passed along his information to the Elders there and they are going to keep teaching him.
The James Family! It was sooo nice to see a familiar face all the way out here on the East Coast! They were kind enough to take Elder Boone and I out to lunch at Nardelli's.
This has been our district for the transfer! Friday was our last district meeting of the transfer, because we have Zone Conference this week. Me, Elders Paulson, Fowler, Martinez, Hermosilla, and Boone.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Fun Visit!

Kayd had a fun visit this week!  Scott and Tammy James went to visit their daughter and were pretty close to his area.  So they were able to take Elder Pulsipher and his companion to lunch!  Happy hump day!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Baptisms Coming!

Hello everyone!!! We had a really good week here in Waterbury, I am pretty pumped to tell you all about it. We extended three baptismal invites this week...and all 3 accepted! I will tell ya more about that in a second. The middle of this week was full of exchanges. On Wednesday we switched companions with the Spanish Elders that cover the Waterbury ward. I don't know if I told you all yet, but all four of us live together. So we didn't have to go far to make the exchange haha. But Elder Hermosilla came with me and we served in our English area for the day. I don't know if you remember, but Hermosilla was in my district my very first transfer in Waterford, so it is pretty cool to be back with him! He is working on his English, so I let him practice a lot in the lessons. Thursday we went on exchanges with the Southbury Elders who are also in our district. I went up to Southbury and got to see quite a bit of their area. Their area is right by Newtown, CT, where the school shooting took place. We drove through the town and saw the Sandy Hook school, kind of. They have it blocked off still and they are starting to tear it down. The whole town had a pretty eery feeling over it. Then on Friday we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders who serve in Woodbridge, CT. I went to Woodbridge with Elder Carvalho from Brazil. It was a great exchange and I learned a lot from the day we spent together. It is always fun to go on exchanges, to see what other Elder's areas are like and to see what they are doing in their areas to have success.

So I told you guys about the Schriver family last week, well their oldest son, Mike, is going to be baptized on December 1! We sat down and talked to him after church on Sunday and invited him to set a date for his baptism, so that we would have something to work towards. Mike already considers himself Mormon, he already made it Facebook official I guess haha. But he just wanted to read more of the Book of Mormon before he was baptized. So we are going to try and work together so that he has read enough of it before Dec 1 and feels ready to be baptized. So the dad, and one son are already members, and now another one of their sons is getting baptized. We are hoping that Mikes decision to be baptized will be that final little push that his mother and rest of the family needed to make the decision for themselves to be baptized. 

On Monday night a member of our ward called us and you could tell that he was just super excited about something. Well he told us that his daughter was finally ready to take the missionary discussions and learn more about our religion. He had been waiting for this day for 17 years he said. His daughter's name is Belinda, she is married and has a little 5 year old named Jacob. So Belinda and Jacob came to church last week with her parents and she just really liked the church service and her son loved going to primary. She just felt like she was at the right place, and so that was what made her decide to take the missionary lessons. We had our first lesson with her and her husband this week and it went really well. Belinda also committed to be baptized on December 1. Her husband had to leave before the end of the lesson so we weren't able to invite him to be baptized also, but he seemed really interested throughout the lesson and so we are hoping to invite him to baptism also at our next lesson. 

Last week we picked up another new investigator that I forgot to tell you guys about! There is this kid named Matt who is 15, and was adopted by a family in the ward earlier this year. When they first adopted him he didn't want anything to do with the church, but he has slowly came around. He comes to church with them every week and goes to seminary every day, but he didn't want to be a member of it. Anyways, we started teaching him last week and things have gone really well! He is slightly autistic, but he is SUPER smart. This kid knows his scriptures and the Gospel really well. Anyways, he told us he wants to be sealed to his family and so we were like "you need to get baptized in order to be sealed to your family Matt!" And he agreed, so December 29 is the date! He wanted to end the year on a good note, and start 2014 off with a fresh start. 

Everyone keeps asking about Halloween, but we really couldn't do anything haha. We had to be in by 6 PM, unless we were having dinner at a members home. But then after we were done eating we had to go straight home. So we had dinner at a Spanish members home, and then that was it! Apparently they get pretty crazy on Halloween night out here in the ghetto, so Pres. Packard didn't want to take any chances I guess. But it was still a nice night and we had a really good dinner. It is pretty nice having a large Spanish group within our ward. The Spanish women sure know how to cook good food. Speaking of food, I had the most disgusting thing in the world the other day. I really have no idea what it was. We went to give a woman from the ward a blessing, and then after the blessing she offered us a drink, so we said sure! Well her husband is from Ecuador and so they brought up some drink that is popular over there around Halloween. Oh man it was terrible! It had strawberries, prunes and who knows what else in it. But it was warm for some reason and the fruit wasn't even cut up or blended or anything. It was all chunky and oh man, it was bad. She could see that we were struggling to get the chunks down I think so she brought us out some spoons, how nice of her haha. Before my mission I was a pretty picky eater, but I hadn't had any problems eating anything so far on the mission. This was the first thing I have actually had to force down, and man was it terrible. Anyways, hope you all had a Happy Halloween! Have a good week!

Me and the Spanish Elders.
 Me and my main man Ethan. We went to rake up some leaves for a member of our ward who has back problems and his son came out and helped us. Him and his little lawn mower helped out a lot!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fishing on P-Day!

We found some fishing poles in our apartment the other week when we were cleaning it up, and so we decided to put them to use on P-Day. There is a river that flows behind our apartment that we decided to try out. Not much luck with the fish, but it was nice to sit back and relax along the river for a while. The leaves are starting to fall off, and there sure are a lot of them. It is starting to get pretty dang cold here. It is definitely a different kind of cold than in Utah.

On Saturday we had the Ward Trunk or Treat and Halloween party that we got to attend. We threw on some pretty festive Halloween ties and handed out some candy from the back of our trunk. The ward did an awesome job of inviting their friends and family to the activity though. There were probably about 10 non members there, and so it was a great opportunity for us to talk to them and get to know them at a casual event. Ward activities really are a great missionary opportunity. It gives non members a chance to come and interact with members of the ward in a non threatening environment, and just lets them see that we are just normal people too! Because lets be honest, most people think that all of us Mormons are weirdos. Speaking of Halloween though, you all overdid it with the Halloween packages! I will probably be gaining another 15 pounds this month with all of the candy. So thank you to everyone!

We had a few really solid lessons with some of our investigators this week. So I told you a little bit about our new investigator Danny last week. Well we had our first lesson with him this week and it was AWESOME! Plus his friend Chris (the one who is going to rehab this week) happened to be there too and sat in on our lesson. We taught the Restoration and watched the full length Joseph Smith movie. Both Danny and Chris were loving the movie, they were getting pretty into it. But after the movie we were talking and Danny was just opening up big time to us. He was saying how he is just ready to get his life back on track, he is so grateful for the mercy Heavenly Father has shown towards him and he knows that now is the time to make a change. Danny then went off and bore solid testimony to his friend Chris about how Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon was the straight up word of God and that this was the true church on the earth. It was so sweet, he was just laying it all out on the table. Both Danny and Chris want to get baptized together. It was pretty cool to hear them saying how they have been to rehab together, been to jail together, back in rehab together and now they both realize it is time to stop messing around. They want to get their lives turned around, and they want to do it together. It was one of the most powerful lessons I have been apart of! So because of legal things that are still going on, we have to get 1st Presidency permission to baptize them, so that will be a little ways down the road. We are pretty stoked for them though.

So for the past few weeks we have been going over to the Schriver Family's home for dinner each Friday. Brother Schriver has been a member for about 15 years, but has been inactive until about two months ago. Once he was reactivated, his son Steven who is 17 decided to get baptized also. But his wife and 3 other kids are Catholic and attend that church each Sunday. We have had some really awesome discussions with them throughout the past few weeks. The only reason the rest of the family goes to the Catholic church still is because of tradition. Their extended family goes there, and they are just pretty firmly rooted there. Sister Schriver has a strong testimony in the Book of Mormon, loves everything about our church, and she has lots of issues with the Catholic beliefs, but she is just pretty stubborn to be honest haha. She even told us last week that she "wishes she would have raised her kids in the Mormon religion." The rest of the kids would definitely follow her if she ever joined our church, but she has to make the first move. So this week we are going to go in there pretty bold and just lay it all out on the table and see what is holding her back from taking the leap of faith and being baptized into our church. So we need lots and lots of prayers! The work is going great, we are staying really busy. I hope you all have a great week!

Fishing on P-Day!! We didn't have much luck, still had fun thought!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Will Go & Do...

My first week in Waterbury has been really busy, but really good. I am starting to get situated in the area and getting a feel for everything that is going on. We have got a ton of work to do, which is exactly what we like haha. A week before I came they taught 4 total lessons throughout the week, and this past week we were able to teach 20 lessons so things are looking up.

Waterbury used to be a pretty happening place, but it has kind of fallen to shambles lately. It was known for being the "Brass City" of the world, and that was what their economy thrived off of. It was a pretty booming city, but ever since the economy tanked it has become a pretty rough place. All of the brass factories are all closed down now, and it is just a pretty ghetto place. So a lot of the people we teach are living in pretty rough situations, and come from pretty rough backgrounds. It makes things interesting for us at least! We actually have a decent amount of investigators right now.

We were teaching a guy named Chris, he is a friend of some members of the ward that we met when we were going to visit the members. He just happened to be there at the time of our lesson and he was interested in learning more! He is a heroin addict and is trying to overcome his addiction, so we were trying to help him with that. Luckily for him he got accepted into a rehab facility in Bridgeport so we won't be teaching him for a while.

We have a first lesson scheduled with a guy named Danny tomorrow morning. He is the husband of a member of the ward. Danny just recently got out of prison and is looking to get more involved with the Gospel to try and get his life back on track. He has been coming to church ever since he got out of prison and seems to be doing really well, we are looking forward to meeting with him tomorrow.

We picked up a new investigator this week, her name is Amie. She was excommunicated from the church quite a while ago, not sure why but that doesn't really matter anyways. The Elders had been meeting with her for quite a while here, just talking about the Gospel really, but now she has expressed pretty serious interest in joining the church again. She realizes she has made some huge mistakes in life and she now knows how important the Gospel is and the commitment that it takes to live it each and every day. She has definitely come to realize the power of the Atonement in her life, and it has been pretty cool to see that. She is facing some legal issues from the past so we kind of have to wait and see what happens with that. (Like I said, this is a pretty rough area haha).

We did have a pretty cool experience with this guy named Gene. He is like 65 years old and has stage 4 cancer, and he has been meeting with the Elders here for about 6 months now. He believes in the Book of Mormon, believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet but just wasn't willing to take that leap of faith. They had extended 3 different baptismal dates in the past, but he had declined all of them. During our first appointment with him he got up to go to the bathroom and while he was gone I leaned over and told Elder Boone I was going to throw out a baptismal date for this guy. We had been talking about Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life, and I was just like "Gene this tree is what we are all trying to get to. We all want to get on that straight and narrow path that leads to the tree, but the only way to start down the path is to take the first step and be baptized. So will you be baptized on Dec 1?" He didn't even hesitate and was like "Of course!" Haha it was pretty sweet.

Then just yesterday we were over there teaching him the Word of Wisdom and we got to the part about coffee and he was like "Oh boy..." Apparently he is a big time coffee drinker. We went through and explained why we have the Word of Wisdom and talked about the blessings that come from living it in our lives. Then right in the middle of when I was talking Gene gets up and walks into the kitchen, unplugs his coffee maker and hands it to us and says "There is a dumpster outside and to the right. Throw this away in there when you leave." We were pretty stoked about that! You only dream about that kind of thing happening.

We do have a few more investigators but I will have to tell you about them next week. Saturday the youth from the ward had a temple trip and we were able to go up with them and help out with the ordinances. Then Elder Boone and I were even able to go through and do an Endowment session. It was my first time being able to go through the Boston Temple. It was great to be able to go to the House of the Lord and feel the peace that the temple brings into our lives. I forgot to take my camera up with us so I didn't get any pictures. Sorry!

The Bradshaw's from Waterford. (The picture that I forgot to include last time!)
 This was our last night at the Waterford apartment.  Elder Batts and I along with the Spanish speaking Elders.  Elder Pope (the taller one) came out 1 transfer after I did and then his trainer Elder Ramos finished his mission last week.
 Saying goodbye to Elder Batts for now!
 Me, Elder Ramos, Elder Pope, Elder Batts
 Here is my main man Gene throwing out his coffee maker! Can ya tell how pumped I was??

Monday, October 14, 2013

Welcome To Waterbury

Waterbury is a pretty sweet place so far! It is the 3rd biggest city in Connecticut. Apparently it used to be a really nice place to live, but it has gone pretty downhill now. Waterbury itself is a pretty ghetto area. Lots and lots of drugs, especially heroin for some reason. A few of the outlying cities are pretty nice, woodsy areas though. The ward seems really good, lots of nice people so far. I am just trying to get familiar with the people and the area as fast as I can right now. I hate not knowing what is going on within the area.

The work has apparently been pretty slow in Waterbury for quite a while, but I am not sure why. I guess this ward has had quite a bit of bad luck with missionaries in the past year or so. The missionaries have not had the greatest relationship with the members, and it seems like the members haven't really trusted the missionaries. So there is a lot of repair work and damage control that we have to start working on. It really is too bad though because there is SO much potential with this ward. There are tons and tons of members who have family or friends that are ready to hear the Gospel but for some reason it just hasn't happened. So I am really excited to be serving here. There is a lot of work we have to do, but that is good! The Lord is definitely hastening his work, and He has prepared many people in this area for us as missionaries to teach. I can tell great things are going to happen in Waterbury, but it will probably take some time.

My new companion is Elder Boone, he is from Pleasant Grove. He has been out almost a year now, and he has been in Waterbury for 4 months already. He is a good guy, I am excited to be serving with him. My first day in Waterbury we picked up a new investigator named Ricky. He is a boyfriend of a member of our ward. They were thinking about getting married but she told him that he needed to have God in his life. He didn't like that idea, so they broke up. But then after a few weeks he figured out that he had made a mistake, and so he agreed to meet with us finally! He doesn't even know if God exists, and so we had to start out really basic. Our first lesson was all about God, and how Ricky can find out for himself that God truly does exist. We read in Alma where King Lamoni is questioning whether God exists himself, and that story tied in pretty nicely with Ricky's situation. So we challenged Rick to do what King Lamoni did, pray sincerely to God and ask Him if He is there and if He exists! We talked to Ricky's girlfriend and she told us Ricky did pray, and we are going over there on Wednesday to see how it went. Hopefully he got his answer that God is there! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Last Days in Waterford

Conference weekend was probably the best weekend of my mission so far! We watched all 5 sessions at our chapel in Waterford, there was usually about 10 other members at the chapel each session with us. We were pretty pumped to hear all the talks about getting members more involved with missionary work. I dont know if you guys remember the talk given by Elder S. Gifford Nielsen or not, his was the one where he kept saying "Exclamation point!" throughout the talk. Well anyways, he his coming to tour our mission next month and is going to be speaking to all of us missionaries, so that was pretty cool to hear him speak in conference too. Our schedules on Saturday and Sunday went pretty much like this... Eat, Conference, Eat, Conference, Eat.... haha the members were stuffing us full like crazy in between sessions. Our investigator Tom even came to Priesthood session on Saturday and he seemed to really enjoy it, so that was a nice bonus!

Since I found out late Saturday that I was being transferred from Waterford to Waterbury we have just been making the rounds throughout the ward and telling everyone bye. So today I will just be sending lots of pictures of the people that we have been working with and some of the members that have been a huge part of my life for the past 4 months! I have loved every second of my time in Waterford, and the Lord has blessed us with quite a bit of success too. I will miss the area and the people, but the Lord needs me in Waterbury now!

Selfie on the beach, I am looking pretty fresh right?
This is me with Sister Liz Chase, our first baptism in Waterford! We really didn't have to do much for her though, she was beyond ready before we even met her.  She is very strong in the church and she is now the Visiting Teaching Coordinator for the Waterford Ward...and she still studies the Gospel like crazy!  She recently went to the Boston Temple and did baptisms for the dead and had an awesome experience doing temple ordinances for a few of her ancestors.  She was even able to have a young man stand in proxy for her husband and her son who passed away a few years ago.  She is an amazing woman and I am grateful I had an opportunity to be a part of her conversion story.
Just a random picture. The leaves are just starting to change colors. I guess it will still be a week or so until they will be at their brightest and best colors.
 This is the Danforths!!! Ed and Tina, haha. Two of my favorite members of the Waterford Ward.  They were baptized jut over two years ago, so they were in their 80's when they were baptized, its never too late I guess! They are the coolest people ever.  We have gone over there about once a week to do service for them around the house.  Brother Danforth has been battling lung cancer for the past two years.  He got it right after they were baptized, and they didn't think he would live much longer.  But the cancer went into remission and he and his wife were able to go to the temple and be sealed together! But now the cancer is back, and he has had to go through chemo once a week for the past few months.  He is staying strong though and goes through it all with a good attitude and keeps his sense of humor.  His reaction when I told him I was getting transferred was the best!  I told him I was leaving on Thursday, and he slammed his hands down on the table and said "DANG!" (Except he didn't say dang hahaha!)
This is Sister Whitehead! She had been inactive in the church for about 6 years due to work and some other issues.  We stopped by her house a while ago and it happened to be the day she had gotten home from the hospital after having a mini heart attack.  She kind of took that as a wake up call of sorts.  We have met with her and her kids once a week ever since then.  She is now active in the church and has been doing really well. She is one of the strongest ladies I know! She has raised all 4 of her kids on her own living in the projects of New London.  Elder Batts was definitely her favorite because he is the first black missionary that she has ever seen and so she was pretty pumped about that, but her and I were still pretty tight too.
Oh man...the Nehila family haha.  You can tell by this picture how crazy their household is.  The kids sure made it pretty tough to teach the lessons, but we somehow manged to get through it.  Luckily during the time they were investigating the church we had some members that would be willing to come along and play with the kids while we had the lessons.  The Nehila's are still doing awesome! Jason is the Elders Quorum secretary and Sandra is a Ward missionary.  The kids are starting to actually like going to church, and it is amazing how fast they are learning in Primary.  They are still planning on going to the temple and being sealed as soon as they reach the 1 year mark, so that is something we are all looking forward to still.
This is my boy Morgan Gilmour! He is the assistant ward mission leader for our ward, so we have done quite a bit together.  Morgan was baptized into the church about a year and a half ago.  He is an engineer here in New London, but he has decided he wants to be a doctor now so he is applying to med school!  He is also single, so if anyone out there is interested let us know!
This is my main girl Sister Eberly.  She was recently widowed this year when her husband David passed away.  We have tried to stop by at least once a week to just visit with her, share a quick message and then see if she needs any help around the house.  I know how hard it has been for Grandma Janet since Grandpa passed away so I figured it would be good for us to keep an eye out for her.  She is a SUPER smart lady, and has been a member of the church since she was in her early 20's.
Just preaching the good word of God to the homeless people of New London. The lady is actually an active member of our ward in Waterford. She hit some rough times this past month and is now homeless, so we see her as we are walking down the streets occasionally. The guys name is Virgil....and that is all I know about him! He was pretty sweet though.

Here is Savong and Sabrina! I am sure you all remember them, they just got baptized at the end of September.  They are awesome kids, super smart and each have a really strong testimony.  Sovong is going to be getting the Aaronic priesthood here in the next few weeks, so I was pretty bummed I have to miss out on that.  Their grandma is active in the church again so they should keep coming regularly.  I told them I would be checking up with my sources throughout the next few months to make sure they were still going to church.
 And this is Vickie! She was the investigator who we had to hand the teaching over to some other Elders because of boundary issues.  She was baptized at the very end of September.  She can't attend the Waterford Ward because she lives outside the boundaries, but she still comes to our Book of Mormon class each Tuesday night.  She is living proof that member missionary work is effective!  She  would have never known about the Gospel if her friend wouldn't have invited her to church and talked about the Gospel with her.  So ya'll should get to work!
 This is Bishop Hanson.  He is an amazing guy and has sooooo much love for everyone within the ward.  It is crazy how much he loves and cares about each and every person within the Waterford Ward.  This guy can talk your ear off, we have had numerous hour long phone conversations that are usually him talking the entire time, but we still love him!  He is passionate about missionary work and did so much to help us out!
 Here is the Weseman's!!! They are the nicest people I have ever met in my entire life.  We call them Pops and Mom, they call us their sons, and that is just how it goes.  They have fed us at least 3 times a week every single week, usually more though.  Pops goal is to make the Elders gain weight while they are in Waterford, and he did a pretty good job with me...I have gained 15 pounds since I got here, so he is pretty proud of that.  Pops is our Ward Mission Leader, and so we spend A LOT of time together.  Sister Weseman is the Relief Society President of the ward, and she takes really good care of us missionaries too.  You won't meet more generous and giving people than these guys! Love 'em to death.
This is Harriet, but we just call her Triple H (it's a long story).  She is Sister Weseman's mother who lives with them.  She is a devout Catholic of 50 years.  She has read the Book of Mormon and I even got her to come out to our BOM study class one night, but she is pretty firm with her Catholic beliefs, but we still love her haha. I have had a lot of fun teasing her, scaring her and just messing around with her...you know how I am with old people.  She's definitely one of my favorites here in Waterford.

 Brother and Sister Austin.  Sister Austin has been a member for about 7 years, and Brother Austin was just baptized almost a year ago.  Each Sunday she would get up and ask him if he wanted to go to church and each Sunday he would say no, but persistence pays off I guess!  Bro. Austin thinks he is pretty tough as you can see in this picture, but he is just a big softy.  If you can see in the background, we are in front of a store called Cakes and Cones. This place is amazing!!  The Austins take us there every time we are over to their house.  It is an amazing ice cream shop, I will definitely miss this place.  It probably has something to do with the 15 pounds that I have gained.
This is the Bradshaws! Bro. Bradshaw is a member but has been inactive most of his life, and Sister Bradshaw has been a Catholic for her entire life. Their son Darin is an active member of our ward and so we have been trying to work with him to help get his parents out to church more often and get Sis. Bradshaw more interested in the Gospel.  We have tried everything we can to help them come to know the truthfulness of the Gospel, but we weren't able to get it done yet.  They were one family that I really, really wanted to be able to help receive the blessings that the Gospel can bring into their lives.  Can't win them all though I guess.  Hopefully Elder Batts and his new comp. can continue to make progress with them and we will see what happens!

(He forgot to add the picture but I liked the story)

And now I am off to finish packing my bags! Love you all very much.  I will talk to you on  Monday!