Monday, June 24, 2013

The Digital Mission

Well I made it through the first month of my mission! It seems like I got dropped off at the MTC forever ago, but the days are starting to fly by now. Guess that is what happens when you are having fun! This week has been awesome. We have been working a lot with Jason and Sandra this week. We taught them again last night, and they both committed to be baptized on July 21!!! This mission has always been a very low baptizing mission, so having 3 baptisms in a month isn't too common. Elder Fletcher and I are definitely feeling very blessed for the success that we have had so far in Waterford. Sandra has always thought that families should be together for eternity, and so when she found out that the LDS church believes in eternal families, she was so excited! We are so excited for them and the changes they are making in their lives.

We all had the opportunity of watching the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast on Sunday night. All I can say is what a great time to be a missionary! We are all pumped for the Digital Mission to really take off. There are actually a few areas in our mission where the Elders already have iPads and can use them in their missionary work! We are hoping for our own iPads sometime soon haha but we aren't counting on it.

The Apostles gave some amazing advice to us and all other members on member missionary work. The Boston Mass. Mission has been a little ahead of the game, and has already been implementing the ideas that the Apostles shared with everyone last night. So the Apostles have been watching this mission a lot to see how it has worked, and it has been a HUGE success. After making the switch and focusing more on member missionary work rather than tracting, this mission work here has exploded! It is so important for the members to work hand in hand with the missionaries. I know it is hard for some members to go outside of their comfort zone and invite their friends and family to church or to meet with the missionaries, but it doesn't have to be that difficult! I think the most important thing to remember is to just invite the person out of love! Make sure they know how the Gospel has blessed your life, and the only reason you are inviting them is because you love them and want them to be able to enjoy those same blessings that you receive!

The 1st counselor in our Mission Presidency is Clayton Christensen. In 2011 he was named the Worlds Best Business Mind, and he is now the Head Professor of Harvard's School of Business, so he is a pretty amazing guy! Anyways, he wrote a book called "The Power of Everday Missionaries". He has some great ideas of how members of our Church can become better member missionaries. You all can check out his website to learn a little bit more about it! It has some amazing advice for all of us to become better missionaries. Have a good week!!!

A day at the beach!
 Package from Aunt Deb
 Package from Rylee and Rhett
P.S. Thank you so so much for the letter and package!!  The Hispanic Elders in our area LOVED the pins and wristbands that you sent. They are from Chile and Peru, and so they thought the American pins were so dang cool! They each took one and put it on their backpacks haha! Tell Rylee and Rhett I loved their drawings...I put them up on the fridge even! Have a good week! Thanks again!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Put ALL Trust In The Lord

The work here in the Waterford ward is coming along great! This week we have been working hard to try and get around to a lot of the ward members and introduce ourselves and tell them about what we are trying to do with the ward and all that good stuff! There are so many great people in the ward! Being in a military area is kind of difficult though because people are constantly moving in and out. So the ward has not had a lot of stability, but they still make it work somehow. Our investigator Liz is doing so well! She studies sooo much on her own each day and she is just loving learning more about the gospel. She is working on planning out her baptism service and she is just so excited for July 14 to come, and so are we!

 Elder Fletcher and I have also been working with a young couple, Jason and Sandra. Jason works for the Navy alongside a member of our ward, and they recently decided that they just needed religion in their lives. Sandra has had a few friends who were Mormon's also, and she has said how there was "just something about the Mormon families. They all seemed so happy, and I could just see how much they loved each other." This is something that she really wanted, which led her to look into the LDS church. That just shows how important the examples that we set for all of those around us can be. Just be the way we live our lives, by our actions from day to day people will notice us. They will notice how happy the Gospel can make us, and how much it can bless our family relationships as well. 

They have 4 young boys who are all under the age of 6, and they really want their kids to grow up in a good environment. So for our lessons we just meet at the church, let the boys run crazy in the gym while we teach the lessons in one of the classrooms. Anyways, they have shown a lot of interest in learning more about The Gospel and the whole family attended church for the past two weeks! They are fitting right into the ward, and have already made some friends that are fellow-shipping them.

Something that I have already learned from serving a mission is to just trust the Lord.  On a mission there are the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. Helping people come closer to Christ and seeing the blessings that flow from their good decisions is so amazing! But then trying to offer the Gospel to other people and getting rejection after rejection can get very discouraging. And then pile all of the other hard things that come with serving a mission on top of that, and it can get really discouraging. But I have learned to just put ALL trust in the Lord, Proverbs 3: 5-6. This goes for just everyday life also, not just the mission life. If we put forth our best effort, and do everything that we possibly can, we will have success. We can't do everything on our own, and so we just have to turn to the Lord and ask for Him to help us with the things that we can't accomplish on our own. We like to say that if "You do your best, the Lord will take care of the rest", and that is so true. The Lord will always be there alongside us, every step of the way, in everything that we do!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Member Missionaries

Just got a letter from Elder Pulsipher today! It was kind of personal, but I know there are some family members who would want to read it and he had a good message for all of us. He sent a story with it, but it is really long so I am going to summarize it....

Elder Brook and Elder Line were shot-gunned into a new area.  They knew members would be an important part of their focus.  They began calling families in the ward to set up times to visit them in addition to their dinner appointments. The Iverson's were one of those families.  Sister Iverson describes their first visit: "I could tell they were going to talk about our member missionary efforts and you are always a little anxious about that as a member because you feel nervous that they might push something on you that you don't want to do.  But I could tell right off that they actually weren't going to do that."  Elders Brook and Line explained that they were there to help them set their own missionary goals.  They didn't introduce a program but had an open honest discussion about their goals and concerns.  The first visit was pretty simple and neither the Iversons nor the missionaries remember anything extraordinary happening.  The power came in the second visit.

The elders went back a week later to follow up on the previous visit.  "It was evident that they had prayed about us and came prepared to help us with the goals that we discussed," said Sister Iverson.  Elder Brook said that, "I honestly feel like our desire was to help the Iversons be successful missionaries.  We weren't just going to get to a referral."  They shared a quote from Elder Holland from Preach My Gospel about listening and taught the Iversons how to transition from small talk to meaningful conversation by asking questions that matter and listening with love as they interact with people every day.  This totally changed the way Brother and Sister Iverson viewed missionary work.  "It became more about loving people instead of wondering how to give out a Book of Mormon or invite someone to church," they explained.

The missionaries continued to work with the Iversons and they role played.  There was a genuine foundation of trust and care between the Iversons and the missionaries.  Future missionaries continued to follow up with the family and they discussed names of friends whom they were reaching out to.  Some did not work out the way they would have hoped, but seeds were planted.  But one did!  Sister Iverson was at the park and befriended another mom.  The mom didn't have many friends that same age who had young kids.  Sister Iverson said she had lots of friends who were young mothers because she was a Mormon.  She involved the young lady, Stephanie, in upcoming kid friendly activities with these other young mothers.  One of them was the primary program.  Stephanies daughter loved it and begged to continue going to church.  They did and that sparked more interest in Stephanie.  The next step was meeting with the missionaries.  Sister Iverson explained that the missionaries could answer all the questions she had and they began teaching her with Brother and Sister Iverson.  The teaching went smoothly and Stephanie was baptized January 2013.

What up Abba!  I don't really know why, but when I read this story I thought of you and felt like I should share it with you!  Out there in the Prairie you might have a few friends who aren't members I'm guessing.  I don't know if the missionaries that you have over ever talk to you about your own missionary work, but that is what we are all about in this mission.  It just seemed like the "Sister Iverson" was a lot like you!  So next time you have the missionaries over have them teach you how to be a missionary!  Then go out and teach the Gospel to those other Prairie mom's! Haha!
Elder Pulsipher

It wasn't a long letter, but it was exciting to hear from him and like I said, he had a great message!  We have the opportunity to have our missionaries over quite a bit, being a small branch and community, and have actually been working with them a little here in our branch with a family.  But I never thought to ask them to teach me how to be a better missionary.  I guess in some ways they teach us something each time we are with them.  I think we could all ask ourselves how we could be better missionaries!  Time to take Elder Pulsipher up on his challenge!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Mish Has Begun!

Well I finally made it out into the actual mission field! On Tuesday morning we got up bright and early and left the MTC around 6 AM and left for the airport. There were 19 of us missionaries on the flight to Boston, and Elder Calvert and I were the only two Elders, pretty crazy! We made it to Boston around 4:30 Boston time and President Packard and Sister Packard were there at the airport to pick us up. They are amazing people! On Tuesday night they took us all to the mission home and fed us dinner. It was so nice to eat a home cooked meal, the MTC food was getting real old. The rest of the night we just hung out at the mission home and got to know President Packard and his family. They have four kids, their oldest is serving a mission in Chile right now. Then they have Angela who is 19, Natalie who is 16 and Michael who is 12. They are all super nice and just a great family! Wednesday they took all of us Greenie's and fed us to the wolves. They piled us in some vans and then took us into downtown Boston. They dropped us off at the Boston Common, gave us a few Book of Mormon's and some pass along cards and had us go street contacting for an hour or so. We were pretty nervous at first, the people here aren't the friendliest haha. But it was great! Elder Calvert and I were able to have some good conversations with a lot of people, but none of them were too interested in learning more about the church. We like to say we were just planting seeds, ya never know what could eventually come out of that one conversation. Then after they let us know that we actually wouldn't be doing much street contacting in this mission. The New England people are really closed off and aren't really open to hearing our message very often. So a lot of our work in the Boston Mission is going to be working with member's and a lot of work with less actives. The rest of that day we had interviews with President Packard and then a lot of training and A LOT of good food. Thursday we got up bright and early and headed to the Belmont Chapel (right by the Boston Temple) where we had our transfer meeting and found out where we were going and who our companion was! Pres. and Sis Packard spoke and then they had the departing missionaries speak too, it was a way good meeting. Anyways, my companion is Elder Fletcher, from Layton Utah. He is a way funny guy, we get along great. He only has 6 weeks left, so at the next transfer meeting he will be heading home unfortunately! But things are great. We were assigned to the Waterford, Connecticut area. It is soo pretty here, and there are trees EVERYWHERE. The area is pretty big and includes Waterford, New London, East Lyme, Lyme (apparently the place where Lyme's disease was first found) and a few other cities. We have the Naval and Coast Guard academy's here and so a lot of the people here either go to school there or work for the Navy and stuff like that. We are right along the Thames river and also part of the Connecticut coastline. It is a pretty cool area! Our apartment is great, it is way big for missionaries. It is actually a house that they have converted into apartments, and we have the whole first floor to ourselves. I will have to send pictures next week! But Elder Fletcher and I are "shotgunning" it, which means we are coming in and starting up a new area. They haven't had Elder's here for a long time, and so it is kind of crazy! We didn't really know where to start because usually when you get to an area you just pick up where the other Elder's left off. It seems like the Waterford Ward was just waiting for Elder's to get here though, because they have a TON of work for us to do. There are only about 80 members that come to church regularly, and there are a lot of less actives in the area. So that is where we will be doing a lot of our work to begin with. We have had quite a few appointments with members, just trying to get to know everyone. We have even had two appointments with investigators already! Our one investigator, Liz, is amazing! The story of how she found the church is so cool! To make a long story short she was looking for a new church and had been trying out a few. Her JW friend gave her the address to her church, and so Liz was going to give it a shot. Somehow, someway she ended up at the LDS church house that Sunday instead of the JW church, she walked in and the rest is history. After that Sunday she went out and bought a Triplet and began studying the Book of Mormon and Preach my Gospel like crazy. She has already taught herself so much! So we went and had a lesson with her on Saturday...and she now has a baptismal date set up for July 14! Haha only three days here and we got our first baptism date, but she did a lot of the work herself. We are super excited to be here in Waterford and are trying to get the missionary work started throughout the whole ward.  Send me some letters!!! Give a shout out to Debbie Reeder for me.  Tell her thanks for the package and all the great stuff it had! And thanks to all of you for the dear elders at the MTC.  They were great. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Here We Go!

Tomorrow Elder Pulsipher will fly out first thing in the morning to enter the mission field of Boston Massachusetts!! We are all so excited for him.  He sounds like he has really applied himself in the MTC and will do great as he starts this journey.  Notice the updated address on the side.  As of now we are sending mail to the mission home until further notice.  He LOVES dearelder letters!!