Monday, February 24, 2014

Busy & Exciting!

This past week was pretty busy, with lots of exciting things that happened. So on Thursday we had Zone Conference that we had to drive up near Hartford for. Zone Conferences are always a lot of fun because you get to see so many of the missionaries that you have served with or around in the past. I was able to see my MTC comp Elder Calvert and talked to him for a while during lunch. He is doing really well and is actually in Ashford, CT now, it is right by my last area Waterford. But at Zone Conference we received some awesome training from President Packard and his counselor President Haight, and also the AP's. This Zone Conference was all about staying busy and using our time effectively. They gave us some pretty good ideas to help us be more effective and Elder Morgan and I have already started working on implementing them into Waterbury.

This week we picked up 5 new investigators!!! That is a really good week for us. 3 of the new investigators come from this family that we started teaching this week. It is a dad, Angel, his wife Lisette and then they have 3 little girls, but only one of the girls is above 8. But anyways Lisette went on Mormon.org and requested a free copy of the Bible, and so a few days later we got a message with her name and address on it. So we stopped by like 4 times earlier in the week and just had zero luck, and couldn't get a chance to talk to them. They were always just walking out the door or had already left or had company over, we just couldn't catch a break. But they kept telling us to come back another time so that is what we did. Finally on Friday night we were able to have a lesson with them and we taught the Restoration and it just went perfectly! The Spirit was so strong in that house and they were all just soaking up the entire lesson. They had never heard of our church or of the Book of Mormon, but they loved the idea of the Book of Mormon and were pretty stoked to read it after we left. You never know how these things will end up but as of right now they look pretty promising! They don't have a car to get to church though so that will be an issue, I swear nobody in Waterbury has a car...it is crazy!

Saturday one of the AP's came with Elder Morgan and I for the entire day, just to check out Waterbury and to see how things were going. Elder Kilgore was the AP that came with us, he is a pretty chill guy and we had lots of fun that day. We had a really good day and had some pretty awesome lessons. We had dinner at a members home, and this family is working really hard to share the Gospel. They have a neighbor who is the foreman of the temple site for the new Hartford temple that is being built. They really want to share the Gospel with this guy and his family, and so we came up with some pretty good ideas that they are going to try and do to help this man and his family come closer to the Savior.

Yesterday afternoon we had a few things fall through and so we had some gaps in our schedule. We went out to try and find some Less Actives for a little bit and ended up going inside this pretty big apartment building to try and find one lady. Well this lady had moved away a few years ago, but then for some reason we decided to tract out a few doors throughout this complex. We don't really tract a whole lot, this was probably like my 4th time ever on the mission tracting because there are a lot more effective things we can do with our time. But anyways, we decided to kill a few minutes tracting. And for some reason the Lord decided to bless us for that decision. We found 3 families that were interested in learning more about the Gospel and wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon, but they were all Spanish families. So they gave us all of their info and we hooked up our roommates with 3 nice referrals. But then we went down to the 3rd floor and knocked on some more doors and then this young couple answered the door and we just gave them the usual spill and asked if they would like to hear a message about the Restored Gospel...and they said "Sure come on in!" Haha we couldn't believe it, no one ever lets us in their homes in New England. Neither of us had ever gotten inside a home while tracting, and so lets just say we were pretty unprepared for the situation! We sat down and taught them about the Restoration though and it went pretty well! They were asking some really good questions and said they would love to have us come back over soon. They gave us their phone numbers and everything and set up a time next week to have another lesson. So we found 4 families in one apartment building in like 30 minutes that were interested in learning more about the Gospel! I hope you all have a good week! Love you!

One night last week Elder Pennington the "greeny" was having a rough day and we have this joke in the apartment that whenever anyone is upset or discouraged we say "Let's go get ya a shake!" Haha! So that night we actually went and got him a shake!
We got to the library today and I realized I was slacking on the pictures this week so we snapped one real quick just so nobody would be complaining back home!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Companion, A Baptism and More Shoveling!

The weather sure knows how to mess things up, we have been getting hit with soooo many winter storms lately. There is just one after another. We had to move transfer meeting from Thursday to Wednesday night because of a storm that was coming on Thursday. So I picked up Elder Morgan late Wednesday night in Mass. and then we didn't make it home until 11:30 that night. Then our first day together in Waterbury we were snowed in, so we did a lot of shoveling that day too. Now today we are getting hit hard with another one of these dang storms. We just can't catch a break. My new companion Elder Morgan is a really cool dude though! We are a lot alike, just really laid back and calm guys. He is from Salt Lake, and has been on his mission for a little over a year now. We are already getting along really well, I am stoked to be serving with him!

Wednesday night right before transfer meeting President Packard called and asked me if I would serve as the new District Leader for the Waterbury district. Sooo I guess I am the district leader now. It adds quite a bit of responsibility and takes up some extra time, but that's alright! I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and if the Lord thinks I am qualified to lead our district then I guess I will be fine!

Sunday we had the baptism of Madi Morales!!! I have told you all about Madi before, she is an 18 year old girl who has lived a pretty crazy life already. She has 2 daughters, two and one years old. They are some wild children! Madi bounced around in foster homes and all that stuff when she was growing up, and had a pretty tough childhood. She got into drugs and drinking and smoking at a pretty young age, but she was able to give all of that up to be baptized. Her biggest struggle was with cigarettes, but two weeks ago she smoked her last one and hasn't looked back since! It took a lot of gum and sunflower seeds, but we got the job done haha. Madi was baptized by Bishop Marble and will be confirmed this Sunday!

We are supposed to have the baptism of Lisa and her two boys Nate and Javi this Sunday, the 23rd but that isn't going to happen yet. Lisa isn't quite ready to be baptized, she is still trying to overcome smoking and drinking. It has been a struggle to kick these life long addictions, but she is still making big steps towards baptism. The 3 of them are actively coming to church each week and have basically become part of the ward, which is exactly what we want to happen. Her boys Nate and Javi are ready to be baptized for sure, and they REALLY want to be baptized this Sunday and Lisa wants them to as well. So we had the baptism all planned out but then the Ward Council kind of shot that idea down. They don't think it is a good idea to baptize the kids without the mom being baptized because they are worried that Lisa would stop coming before she was baptized and then the kids would just become less active. But I talked to Nate and Javi about it and they have told us that they will just walk to church if their mom ever doesn't come, because they live only about a 5 minute walk from the church. I do agree that it would be better for the kids to be baptized together with their mom, but all 3 of them wanted to go ahead with Nate and Javi's baptism this week. So we were pretty bummed about that, so now we have to figure out a new date where hopefully Lisa will be ready by then so they can all 3 get baptized together. It is tough, but we have to respect our church leaders and follow their counsel.

That is about all that is going down here in Waterbury. We are working hard and it gets really frustrating at times, but we know we are doing exactly what the Lord wants us to be doing. Hopefully this crazy weather will calm down so we won't be slowed down by it anymore. Have a great week, love ya all!

Me and Elder Boone heading out for trasfer meeting!

Madi's baptism on Sunday!! The guy that baptized her is actually the bishop of our ward, Bishop Marble.
Elder Morgan, Madi, Bishop Marble and me
 I ran into a lot of my long lost friends at transfer meetings.  These are just a bunch of guys that were in my districts but then have been transferred away.
Elder Paulson, Me and my main man Elder Hermosilla (we just call him Chile though)
 Elder Fowler, Paulson, Hermosilla and me
Our original district here in Waterbury!  We were all pretty tight, lots of fun memories made together!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Making The Best of Storms

The winter storm Nika hit us pretty hard early last week and kind of put a damper on the work for a day or two. The Lord is hastening his work but Mother Nature unhastens it real fast too haha. We got pounded with snow late Tuesday night and ended up with over a foot of snow. Then it quit snowing for a few hours and then we had freezing rain come for another few hours. Needless to say we were snowed in the apartment for a fair amount of time. We made the best of it and were still able to stay busy the entire time though. We were outside all day Wednesday with our shovels. We were pretty much the only people in our entire apartment complex with shovels, and so we went around and shoveled out every single car in our parking lot so that they could move their cars so that the snowplow could come and clear out the parking lot. It was quite a bit of work, by the end of it we were soaked because we were shoveling during the freezing rain part of the storm. It wasn't really very fun haha but that's our job! The apartment manager was very thankful for our help and ended up buying us each 10 dollar gift cards to Subway for helping out. 

We found out on Saturday that Elder Boone is getting transferred, after being here in Waterbury for 8 months! He is heading up to the Boston 1st Ward, a walking area. He is thinking he will drop off a few pounds of the mission weight since he won't have a car up there. But my new companion is Elder Morgan, and we don't know a lot about him yet. He has been out for a little over a year. Our big transfer meeting is supposed to be tomorrow, but we have another huge winter storm (I think they call this one Easton or something like that) and so they just text us and said the transfer meeting has been moved up to tonight at 630, before the storm hits. So unfortunately we have to cancel all of our appointments for tonight and the fun plans we had for pday so we can get ready and head up to Mass. for the transfer meeting. I guess it is better to be safe though!

We have been working really hard with this woman who has been inactive for quite some time, we generally meet with her like 2 times a week. She made a New Years Resolution to become active in the church again and she hasn't missed a week since the start of the year! It is great to see her active again and we are now working reeaallly hard to help her get back to the temple. Her daughter who has been excommunicated and her non member son in law also live with her. The son in law had been in prison for the past 3 years and just barely got out right before Christmas. Ever since he has been out we have always just casually chatted with him, talked about sports and what not, and just tried to build that friendship. Then we started sharing a scripture with him and the kids and would have a little spiritual thought with it. There were a few times that I really wanted to invite this guy, Angelo, to start taking the lessons with us and begin investigating, but I could just never get myself to do it. It was weird, but I just felt like we should take it nice and easy with him, and I guess it worked! A few days ago when we were there to see his mother in law he was just leaving as we were coming in. He stopped me and was like "Hey, you are gonna still be here a while right?" And so I told him that I would be sticking around for a little while longer and then he said "Alright man so you wanna start going hard with me, with the lessons you guys teach and everything? Let's start meeting and studying together man, I am ready!" Haha I was pretty dang surprised, I'm not sure how I reacted but we are going to start teaching him this next week once Elder Morgan gets here so that's pretty exciting. 

We have Madi Morales baptism coming up on Sunday, it is going to be pretty sweet! She is pumped for it and she was finally able to quit smoking last week so we are good to go! Life is good, thanks for all the Valentines packages and cards, you guys are the best. Have a good week and Happy Valentines Day!

Out shoveling all that snow after Winter Storm Nika.
Okay, here is the tour of the apartment that you guys keep asking for!
Notice the huge 65 gallon fish tank in the corner.  A member that lives in our apartment complex was getting rid of it so she asked us if we wanted it, so we said sure!  We bought a few fish for it but then found out that one of the mission rules says we can't have pets.  So unfortunately for the fish and luckily for us they all died about a week later.  Now we just have a huge fish tank chilling in the apartment, it makes a nice decorative piece though!
Our bedroom with all 4 beds crammed in there.  It gets a little stuffy in there at nights haha but we definitely have some good pillow talk each night.



Monday, February 3, 2014

Ward Abounding With Eager Spirits!

The Waterbury Ward is doing REALLY well right now, we have had over 140 people at Sacrament for three weeks straight now which pretty much never happens. The ward usually averages around 115-120, but we have been seeing a ton of investigators and less actives start coming to church a lot more recently. Our ward has quite a few Spanish people in it, and the Spanish Elders have been doing a lot of hard work to build up their group. Since we have pretty much filled the chapel every Sunday this year, the ward had a meeting on Sunday after church where something pretty cool happened. By the end of the month we are going to be having two separate sacrament meetings in our building, one in Spanish and one in English. If the attendance numbers continue to increase like they have been, then we will take the next step and officially form a Spanish Branch. It is pretty exciting times in Waterbury and both us and the Spanish Elders have been blessed with so much success in the past few months. The Lord is definitely hastening His work.

Earlier this week we had a pretty sick lesson with our investigator Madi, where we taught the Plan of Salvation. She has been making a ton of progress since we started teaching her and she hasn't missed a week of church yet. She loved the Plan of Salvation and had no idea about life after death. It amazes me that people live without knowing where we go after we die, I don't know how they handle just not knowing that type of thing. That would be hard. But we extended a baptismal date for the end of February, just a few weeks ago. She has already changed a lot to have her life be more in line with the Gospel, now we are just trying to get her to finally give up smoking! So keep her in your prayers that she will be able to kick the addiction in time to be baptized.

A pretty funny story from this week haha so on Sunday morning we were asked to teach a primary class because the teacher wasn't able to be at church. So we said yes of course, and then we found out it was the 4-5 year old class, with about 10 kids in it. Ahhh man we did not know what we were getting ourselves into. The kids were just wild, we managed to make it through the lesson alright though. But at the end of the lesson we finished about 3 minutes before all of the other classes were out, and so I figured we would just chill with them and wait to let them go. But I guess Elder Slade, one of the Spanish Elders had another idea....He just opened the door and said "Alright you are free, go find your parents!" The kids just took off out into the hallway running and screaming like wild childs. Definitely wasn't our brightest idea haha the Primary leaders were a little bugged but I guess that's what ya get for having 19 year olds teach wild little kids. Anyways, hope you all have a great week! Take care!

No pictures this week so we will do a throwback!  This is Elder Calvert and I right when we got off the airplane in Boston.  The Packard's were there waiting to meet us and this is us with their youngest son Michael.