Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Ye Know Not But What They Will Return And Repent, And Come Unto Me With Full Purpose of Heart"

Wow, this week was awesome! It was probably the most exciting but stressful week of the mission so far. Like I told you, we had the baptismal interviews on Sunday, a week before the baptism for Elizabeth, Nate and Javi. They all passed and everything was good to go, but we still had to make it through the week leading up to the baptism without anything going wrong. Elizabeth had been fighting off life long addictions with alcohol and smoking, and so we knew this week was going to be tough for her. The adversary was going to be throwing everything he had to get her to fall back into her addictions, and so we had to do everything we could to stop that from happening. 

Last Sunday night Elder Morgan and I were just thinking about everything we needed to do to make sure the baptisms went through and what we could do to help Elizabeth avoid the temptations throughout the week. We decided we needed to visit them at least once every night for the week leading up to their baptism, and just have a ton of daily contact. We didn't want to drive them crazy though, but then later that night Elizabeth called us and just asked us if we would be able to come over every single day for that week to help her and the kids be ready for the baptism....so that worked out well! We visited them every single night for like 9 days in a row, and would just go over and read the scriptures with them or watch a little church video, just something to bring the Spirit into their home and to help Elizabeth stay away from her addictions. We pulled out every single trick in our bag this week, and we definitely needed every little trick that we had. Satan has been working so hard on that family ever since we met them, and this week was no different. Thankfully, we were able to make it through to Sunday and the baptisms without any problems! So thank you all for all of your prayers!

The baptismal service went perfectly, it was by far the best day of my mission so far! I am sure I say that a lot but it really was haha. I ended up baptizing Elizabeth and Nate, and then one of the Spanish Elders, Elder Slade baptized Javi. Elder Slade had came to a few appointments to their house while we were on exchanges, and we all go to the same church on Sundays and Javi just loved Elder Slade to death, they hit it off right from the beginning. Elder Slade was pretty stoked when Javi asked him. We did the confirmations right after the baptisms and they had asked Bishop Marble to confirm them. So Elizabeth, Nate and Javi are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! 

Ah man, you guys have no idea how long I have been waiting for this day for these three to be baptized. We have worked with this family soooo, so much. There have been some major ups and some major downs throughout the 4 months of teaching them, but Sunday by far outweighs all of the downs that we have experienced. There was a time about 2 months ago that Elizabeth wouldn't even open the door for us, or answer our phone calls, but we never stopped trying to get back in their house.   I was reading in 3 Nephi 18 where Jesus Christ is instituting the Sacrament in the Americas and he was talking about people partaking of the sacrament unworthily, but  this scripture hit me pretty hard even though it is a different situation.  Verse 32 says  "Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them." We could have easily given up on Elizabeth and said she will never change, but we just kept ministering to her, and to her needs. Like that scripture says, we never know if someone will change their ways and come join us in this wonderful Gospel. We can never give up on people, never stop ministering to them. We can always continue inviting people to come unto Jesus Christ, and let Him heal them. I am so grateful the Lord let me be a part of this families conversion and trusted us enough with this great family. 

This Sunday we will have Paul Canales baptism as well. We had the interview yesterday and so everything is good to go for Sunday. Love you all and thanks for all of the support. Have a good week!

Oh and by the way, we had transfers this weekend.  Our whole District is staying here for another transfer together! 6 more weeks in Waterbury!

Elder Pulsipher

Getting ready for the baptism, Nate is still learning how to tie his tie haha.  I tried to help him out but we were running late already so we just let it be.  You will see in the pics it is a little bit short...but A for effort!

All suited up for the baptism!  Me, Nate, Elizabeth, Javi, Elder Slade
About a month ago Elizabeth had said that they really needed a new family picture together, so I told her at the baptism they could get their family photo when they were all dressed in white..so that is what this is!  The next day we went and printed the photo off at CVS and bought a frame and took it to them.  So now they have a new family photo!



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Baptisms!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Exciting things are happening all around our mission and around Waterbury specifically, it is pretty exciting to see the ways the Lord is hastening His work. Our mission has 92 total baptismal dates scheduled for the month of March, which is pretty amazing! The record for baptisms in a month is 62, and we just set that record a few months ago. January and February haven't been the greatest months for baptisms in our mission, but it is looking like we will bounce back in a big way this month! Of course not every single one of those dates will go through, but we are praying and hoping that they will! 5 of those 92 baptismal dates are going to be happening in the Waterbury alone, so that is pretty sweet! We had one of those baptisms yesterday. The Spanish Elders investigator Jose was baptized right after church. Jose is such a cool dude, since I am the DL I had to go and do his baptismal interview and it was great to get to sit down and talk to him about his upcoming baptism. His English isn't the greatest, but we got the job done. He was pretty pumped about the baptism and just kept saying "This is a new life!" He even asked me to say the closing prayer at his baptism. So the entire service was in Spanish until it was my turn to say the prayer. My two years of high school Spanish just wasn't quite enough to help me pray in Spanish.

In our mission the past few months and in the coming months 12 new groups/branches will be created, and one of them is in the Waterbury ward! We are officially going to be holding separate services, and creating a Spanish group. It is pretty amazing to see the growth of the church even in just this one little area. The English and Spanish programs have both been growing like crazy this past year, and now we are just waiting for the Stake President to OK the new group being formed. This Sunday we actually had our first sacrament meeting separated from each other. The Spanish families met in the Relief Society room and they had that room packed all the way full, with like 42 people in there. That took out a good chunk of the people who are generally in the chapel for our sacrament meeting, so we were worried we were going to have an empty chapel. But we had a ton of people turn out for the English service as well, a little over 100 people. It was just a good day all around and everything went great.

 We had 7 of our investigators show up to church, some of them for the first time. The entire Schriver family has been coming steadily for about the past month and a half, which is really exciting to see. Sister Schriver and the younger kids used to go to the Catholic church with her parents while the dad and his two older boys who are members would come to our church. We had a lesson on eternal families and talked about them being sealed in the temple, and that is the one thing Sister Schriver really wants! So we decided that the next step for them becoming an eternal family would be to attend church together as a family. Hopefully we can keep helping them get closer to becoming an eternal family, step by step.

Sorry I don't have any exciting stories this week, we had an awesome week and were able to accomplish a lot of things though! Hopefully next weeks will be more entertaining. Transfers are in 2 weeks, hopefully I will stick around here for 1 more transfer to finish up all of the things we have started! Have a good week, love you all!

Monday, March 17, 2014

EVERYONE Has The Same Opportunity To Be Forgiven

We had a pretty busy week and definitely saw a lot of miracles take place. This weekend was Stake Conference for our stake, the New Haven Stake. Saturday night was the adult session and our zone actually performed a few musical numbers throughout the program. You all know how terrible of a singer I am, so that was interesting. But no, we actually sounded pretty good, that's what everyone told us at least. Maybe they were just being nice though. President Clayton Christensen came and spoke at the Saturday night session and he gave an awesome talk about sharing the Gospel of course. He discussed the Savior going through the Atonement for each and every person who will live on this earth, even though he knew a large part of them would never use the Atonement in their lives and all of that pain and suffering would be for nothing. But just because He loves us all, He wanted to give EVERYONE an opportunity to be forgiven of their sins. We should have the same attitude as we are out sharing the Gospel. Of course we know the majority of the people we invite are going to reject us, but because of the love that we have for our fellow brothers and sisters here we have to at least invite them to come and partake of the joys of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! But yeah, we are hoping his talk got the Stake even more excited to share the Gospel.

Sundays session was really good as well, it was all focused on the temple and performing temple work for ourselves and our ancestors. President Packard made the trek down and spoke at this meeting also. That man knows how to deliver a talk haha he just killed it as always. He told us afterward that he didn't even give the talk that he prepared, a few minutes before he stood up he just completely changed his mind and went by the Spirit. It was sweet though, we had 5 of our investigators there at Stake Conference to hear all of the great messages, there is no way they didn't feel the Spirit in that meeting.

Lisa, Nate and Javi's baptism is scheduled for this Sunday, March 23! We have been working like crazy with this family to help prepare them for this date and things have been going really well with the boys, and there has still been some struggles with Lisa and her addictions. We were worried she wasn't going to make it for this date, but last week we had a super solid lesson with the three of them where we just reviewed over the baptismal interview questions with them. At the end we just asked Lisa if this is what she wants for her and her family, and if she is willing to finally do what it takes to make it happen...and she totally agreed. So we set up the interview for yesterday. For some reason Saturday night I decided I needed to fast for the interviews and everything to go smoothly, and later Sunday I found out why.

Nate and Javi passed their interviews just fine, and then it was Lisa's turn. Without getting into details we found out that there was something Lisa hadn't told us of about her past that made it so President Packard needed to interview her for baptism. Thankfully, President Packard was still at the Stake Center and dropped what he was doing and came straight to the house to do the interview. He had a great talk with Lisa and she came out bawling tears of joy, and President said "Elders, this woman is ready to be baptized!" Definitely the sweetest words I have heard in my life. Then President left a priesthood blessing on the home and we left. We talked to Lisa later that night and she is just on fire right now, her and the boys are so stoked to be baptized this Sunday! We need all the prayers we can get though that Lisa will be able to withstand the temptations that will for sure be thrown her way this week. So keep her in your prayers please! But we were soooo blessed that it went that smoothly considering the situation. The Lord's hand was definitely in this every step of the way, if we would have had the interview at any other time we wouldn't be having this baptism this Sunday. We are definitely blessed!

We also had a great lesson with Joann again this week and that one didn't go according to plans either but still ended up really good. We went in there planning to teach the 3rd lesson the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but for some reason we felt like we should just simply read 1 Nephi 8, Lehi's dream, and talk about it. So that is what we did, at the end of the lesson we invited Joann to be baptized April 27 and she said yes! And she has been to church the past 2 weeks now and has really liked it, so things are looking good for us in Waterbury! Hope you all have a great week!

Just a GIANT cross that sits at the top of the hightest point in Waterbury.  This place is known as the "Holy Land".  You have no idea how many times a day we hear, "No I'm Catholic". Gotta love it!

 Elder Slade and I just bored one night...
On Wednesday we went on exchanges with the Southbury Elders and I was able to serve with Elder Johnson for the day in Southbury!  Elder Johnson is actually my "brother" in the mission, he was also trained by Elder Fletcher.
All of us just heading out to Stake Conference.  We thought we were looking pretty fresh so we took a picture.  Me, Elder Pennington, Slade, and Morgan just being a weirdo like always haha!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Miracle Moments

Hello everybody! In our District meetings we have started this new thing called "Miracle Moments". Each companionship just gets a few minutes to share a miracle that happened within their work throughout the week. The mission life is definitely discouraging at times, and I know a lot of times I am always focusing on the things that are going wrong rather than the things that are going right. This miracle moment makes us all pay a little closer attention to the miracles that happen to us and with the people we are working with each and every day. Miracles are happening on a daily basis in the mission field, but we don't always recognize them and truly see how much Heavenly Father is blessing us in our work. This week was full of miracles for us, and so I was just planning on sharing a few with you all today!

I told you a few weeks ago about our new investigator Angelo. Angelo, his wife who used to be a member, and their kids all live with their mother in law who was recently brought back into activity in the church. So as we have been working with his mother in law and getting her back to church, the kids would always sit in on our lessons because they come to church with their grandma. Then Angelo started joining us occasionally until he actually became a new investigator a few weeks ago! This week we made some amazing progress with Angelo, we were at their house like 4 different times this week having lessons. On Saturday they called us and asked if we had time to come and share another lesson, and we had to say no because we had 2 more appointments scheduled that we had to go to. Then like 5 minutes later both of those appointments cancelled on us, so now we had time to go to their house! We went and had another lesson with Angelo and it ended up being one of the coolest lessons of my mission so far! We sat down and read Mosiah 3, part of King Benjamins address. Then we really focused in on Mosiah 3:19 where it talks about putting off the natural man and becoming a Saint and true follower of Jesus Christ. Angelo has struggled to do this throughout his whole life. He has been in a ton of legal trouble, and just recently got out of prison after 3 years. He has been through it all. He sincerely wants to change his life, and he has been doing really well lately. He has just been afraid to firmly make that commitment and promise God that he is going to stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But reading this chapter just really hit home with him, and he realized that he is ready to make that promise, he is tired of sitting on the fence. So we threw down a baptismal invite for April 13 and he said "Let's do it." So a man that has spent half of his life in jail and has never been able to commit to God that he is going to change his ways finally did that and is going to be baptized, definitely a miracle.

One day we had a break in our schedule from like 2-3:30 so we decided to stop by this less active members house and see how she is doing. We were sitting there in her kitchen talking to her when she starts telling us about this friend of hers that is in her living room who is really having a hard time. His sister had just been shot to death and he had just barely found out about it and was having  tough time so he came to her house a few minutes earlier to talk things out. So we go and talk to this guy and his name is Jay, and then we find out that his father in law is actually a member of our church! So this guy knows two Mormon families already. Anyways all of a sudden he just asks us if he can pick our minds for a minute, so we say sure. Then he asks "Is there anything in that book (pointing at the Book of Mormon) that can give me some comfort right now?" Haha that was a perfect question for us. So we talk a lot with Jay about the Book of Mormon and the comfort that it can provide to us during difficult times, then we read some of it with him. Needless to say Jay became a new investigator and then later in the week we taught him the Restoration. and watched the Restoration movie with him. It definitely wasn't a coincidence that Jay was at their house, looking for comfort, and that we showed up at the exact same time. So there is another miracle!

Tons of other awesome things happened this week but I would take all day typing out the details. Madi Morales was confirmed on Sunday and she asked me to do it, so that was pretty sweet! Unfortunately she is probably moving to New Haven so she might be switching wards. We picked up another new investigator named Joann who is a roommate of one of our members that is also trying to cope with a loss of her son who died at a young age. Then we have been teaching this 15 year old kid, named Paul, who lives with his grandparents who are members of the church and Paul agreed to be baptized on March 30! Tons of good things happened this week, God is still a God of miracles. We just have to take the time to notice these miracles happening all around us! Love you all, have a good week!

My man Elder Slade hooking me up with a free haircut.  It's not quite like a haircut from Natalee but it will do for now :)