Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Another week down in Groton, this week has been pretty exciting! Thursday was my 1 year mark if you can believe it! It is so crazy that a year has already passed by, everyone always says it will go by fast and they were speaking the truth. This past year has been amazing, definitely the most fulfilling year of my life. I have been blessed to see so many miracles happen so far, and hopefully many more to come! We didn't do anything too special to celebrate, but we did burn a shirt! I took a picture but I forgot my camera so I will send that next week!

On Friday we had a mission conference up in Boston, where our whole mission got together to hear Elder Hallstrom (a Seventy) and Sister and Elder Holland speak to us. It was the first mission conference I have had, so it was cool to see the entire mission together. We were all able to go up and shake their hands before the conference started, it was awesome to shake an Apostles hand, especially Elder Holland! When I was going up to shake their hands Sister Holland stopped me and said "I have Pulsipher's in my family, we must be related!" so that was pretty cool! But the mission conference was such a good meeting! The Spirit that was there was incredible. Sister Holland spoke and bore a powerful testimony of the truthfulness of her husband being an Apostle of the Lord. She shared some really cool stories and experiences that they have had together. Elder Holland spoke for most of the conference, almost 2 hours straight of Elder Holland speaking to us, and that man can speak. We were all ears. He talked to us some about going home and what do to when that happens, how Preach My Gospel came to be, and how we can help our investigators have spiritual experiences. There was so much he said, I took a lot of notes but I don't have that with me either, but just trust me that it was really really good! Elder Holland had some really good things to say about our mission and President Packard. First he said, "This is the best missionary meeting I have ever been to in my entire time of being a General Authority, and that is a lot of meetings! Your mission just has a special spirit that we feel here today." So that was a pretty cool compliment coming from him! Then later he said, "I have been trying to hold back from saying this all day, but you will not find a better mission president than Dan Packard." Which is definitely true I think. We always thing we have the best mission president, I am pretty sure every missionary thinks that, but to hear an Apostle say that was pretty sweet. So with all those compliments Elder Holland gave us, he basically told us where much is given, much is expected. He told us that the Lord is very pleased with the work we are doing, but is definitely not satisfied and that there is much more for us to do!

We are teaching some people that are pretty frustrating. I can't believe these people still aren't baptized. We are teaching this guy named Justin, he is married to a member. They are a really young couple, like 23 years old or so. Justin comes to church with his wife and kid every single Sunday, loves the church, and even pays his tithing. He has been meeting with the Elders for like a year now, and for some reason just won't get baptized yet. And that is pretty much how it is with most of our investigators. They all just seem to have tiny, irrelevant things preventing them from being baptized. We are going to keep trying, but we may be dropping some of them soon if nothing changes. Hopefully within the next week or two we will have some investigators with baptismal dates.

Today we were able to go up to Boston for a temple trip. A young couple took us up with them early this morning, which was super nice of them. The husband actually has a brother who is serving in our mission right now and was in my last zone. But at the temple I ran into Jason Nehlia, a convert from my first area. He was up there doing baptisms this morning. But he told me that he is going to receive his Endowment on August 2nd, and to put it on my calendar! So that will be my first convert that I will be able to go to through the temple with.  And tonight we are going to a members house for a BBQ so it should be a pretty good Memorial Day. Love you all!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Apostolic Blessings

Heeeeeey! My first whole week here in Groton was great, especially with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland visiting us this weekend. It was our Stake Conference on Saturday and Sunday, and Elder Holland was presiding at it. So I got to hear Elder Holland speak 3 different times, it was amazing! He was cracking jokes left and right, he had everyone laughing soo much. But then when he got serious and down to business, it was powerful. It was pretty awesome to hear an Apostle testifying of Jesus Christ. Saturday night Elder Holland talked about how 3 home teachers that visited his inactive father saved his entire life, and made it possible for him to be the man he is now. I am sure most of you have heard that story before, it is pretty awesome though. Basically Elder Holland said that we all need to go out and rescue that one person who is like his own father was 60 years ago. Then on Sunday he talked pretty much the entire time to the youth of the church, and how important it is to make sure kids don't fall through the cracks in their teenage years. And at the end he left an Apostolic blessing on the entire congregation, which was pretty sweet. Now on Friday we get to hear from Elder Holland again, he is going to be speaking at our Mission Conference....a week full of Elder Holland is always a good thing.

On Tuesday we went on exchanges with the New London Elders, Elder Hunter and Wharton. I went and spent the day in New London, and was able to see a lot of the people from the Waterford Ward! Pops and Mom (Brother and Sister Weseman) found out I was in town and took us out to dinner that night. It was soooo nice to be able to see all of the people from my first area, there were some great people that I have missed.  On Wednesday night we had a Stake Reporting meeting, where we met with President Packard and the Stake President, President Hutchins, and other stake leaders. We just talked about the stake as a whole and how it was doing, and how the missionary efforts were doing in each unit. It is pretty exciting to discuss all of the awesome things going on within the Providence Stake, the church is growing really quickly in this part of the world.

We are teaching a decent amount of people here in Groton, no one in particular is getting baptized really quickly though. We will see if we can change that. One of the guys we are teaching is a man named Rob. He has been best friends with a member of the ward for quite some time, and the member has invited him to come to church over and over again, and then finally a few months ago Rob agreed to give it a shot. He has been meeting with the missionaries ever since, and has agreed to be baptized, but for some reason he wants to wait until November. He says everything significant in his life has happened in November, and so thats when his baptism should be. So right now we are trying to figure out how to get him to be baptized a little sooner than that.

Another man we are teaching is named Charles. Charles rides motorcycles with a member of the ward who invited him to church, and to meet with the missionaries. Charles has lived a pretty crazy life. He served in Vietnam, then came home and got into riding motorcycles a lot. He joined Hells Angels and was in the group for years and years, where he did some things he isn't really proud of haha. But then his wife passed away, and he has tried to turn his life around. Ever since the death, he has been on a spiritual journey to try and find the truth. The one thing he wants is to live with his wife again, but so far he hasn't found a place where that is possible. He isn't convinced we, or the Gospel of Jesus Christ, can provide him with eternal life with his wife, but when we can help him find out that this Gospel is true, and that he can in fact be sealed with his wife, then I think we will be set.

Sorry if this seems really quick and not very detailed, but we are running a little late today! We were searching for shoes all morning long and it took a little longer than expected. But anyways, have a great day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More Goodbyes in Waterbury

Heeellloooo!! It was so great to get to see and talk to all of you yesterday, even if it was just for an hour or so.  Everyone back home seems to be doing great!  I hope all of you Mothers had a fantastic Mother's Day filled with lots of good food hopefully.  I am here in Groton now and it is a great place to be.  A lot of the members of our ward are in the Navy, because there is a huge submaine base right here in the center of Groton.  There are lots and lots of families in the ward, and they all seem great.  The work is a little slower here compared to Waterbury, but we will get things rolling here pretty quick.  I will tell you all more about Groton next week, but today I will just finish up with all of the awesome people that I met during my time in Waterbury. Love you all! Elder Pulsipher

Saying goodbye to Elizabeth, Nate and Javi was definitely one of the hardest goodbyes.  Ah man I can't say enough about this family.  They have come so far since I very first met them waaay back in November.  It took a lot of work, a lot of persistence, but being able to baptize the three of them together a few months ago was one of the best days of my life so far!  It was something that didn't seem at all possible when we very first met them, but I am so grateful Heavenly Father made us keep going back there and helped us to never give up on them.  I will miss these guys like crazy!
Another one of my favorites from Waterbury, the Alicea family.  They are just the coolest people around, they were pretty much our family!  They treated us like family, we treated them like family.  Bro Alicea is our Ward Mission Leader and is doing a great job, he helps us out a lot.  Their son Ethan is the cutest little guy around, but has waaay too much energy for me.

My main man Brother Darby.  He is the coolest guy ever, he grew up in the Bronx and lived a CRAZY life, like I mean Mobster type of life.  He has some pretty intese stories to tell haha.  He was baptized about 5 years ago, but then fell away.  We started going over there about a month ago, and him and his wife have been to church like 4 times in a row now.  His wife said she wasn't ready and so she wouldn't get in the picture, but they are both great!
Erica Mendes and me.  Erica is one of our investigators, she is scheduled to be baptized in just a few weeks, on May 25th.  She promised me she would still go through with it after I left, so I am hoping it will happen.  She is doing great and is coming to church every week and everything, so I am pretty sure it will happen!
JoAnn, who was just baptized two weeks ago.  It was definitely a miracle the way we met JoAnn and began teaching her.  Heavenly Father had everything to do with it.  I am grateful I had a chance to teach JoAnn from the start to the finish and see her baptized.  Maybe she was one of the reasons I stuck around in Waterbury a little bit longer.  JoAnn needed some peace and comfort in this hectic world, and she has began to find that in the Gospel, which has been so rewarding to see.
The McNiven family.  Bro McNiven is the YM president, and a lot of our baptisms in Waterbury were young men, and so we worked together a lot with Brother McNiven.  He was a great help with all of the young men and is doing awesome things with them.  I am thankful he is still around to take care of Nate, Javi, Brandon and Paul!
The Schriver Family!  They are sooooo awesome, definitely one of my favorites in the Waterbury Ward. Not all of them have been baptized yet, but they will be someday.  They are an awesome family and they had us over pretty often.  Sister Schriver is a great cook and made some REAL Italian food for us.  Their son Steven wasn't at home when I went to say goodbye, so we had to go hunt him down later.  Steven was baptized in September and is preparing right now to serve a mission.  He is going to be a great missionary and I am excited to see where he goes!

My man Paul.  Paul is doing great right now, he just got the Priesthood two weeks ago and can now pass the sacrament, which will be great for him.  He is an awesome kid and taught me a lot.  He hasn't had an easy life growing up, but he is still just such a happy and genuinely nice kid.  Hopefully one day he will serve a mission as well!
Simon and his family.  Simon was baptized about a year ago but has been struggling to come to church and remain active in the Gospel.  We have been meeting with him and have gotten pretty close to him.  He is working on coming back, and wants to bring his wife and son with hopefully that happens soon.
Sister Lopez and her grand kids Brooklyn, Elena, and Donovan.  Sister Lopez is the most amazing woman in the world.  She is just the nicest, most giving lady I have met.  She has custody of her grand kids, and the look on her face pretty much sums it up haha...these kids are pretty wild.  Sister Lopez wasn't really active when I first arrived in Waterbury, but we worked with this family sooo so much.  At least 2-3 times a week we would go over for lessons. But Sister Lopez has returned to activity and brought her grand kids along with her also.  My last day there as I was saying goodbye, Sister Lopez said the sweetest thing ever, she told me that she had gotten her temple recommend again!  It has been a long time since she has attended the temple and that is something we were working so hard to do.  Her son leaves on his mission in a month and now she can attend the temple when her son goes to receive his endowment.  I was so stoked to hear that, this work is definitely rewarding when experiences like that happen.
The St. Hilaire's. Sister St. Hilaire was our Gospel Principles teacher, so she always taught the Sunday School class that our investigators attended.  They are both just the funniest old couple ever.  They are awesome though and are doing great at sharing the Gospel as well.  Their neighbor is a non member and is actually the foreman on the Hartford Temple.  So they have been doing great missionary work with him. The Elders back in Waterbury actually had their first meeting with this foreman and his wife yesterday and they said it went great!
And then saying goodbye to all of these studs wasn't that fun either!  The 4 of us were just the best of friends, it is crazy how close ya get to people out here and then all of a sudden you have to leave them, but that is just part of our gig as missionaries I guess.  I loved serving with my man Elder Morgan, he has been an awesome companion.  The Elder Slade and Pennington, our roommates.  I have lived in Waterbury with Elder Slade for 6 months now, and Pennington for almost 5 so we have definitely grown pretty close.  I will miss all of these guys for sure, and all of the people of Waterbury, but I guess it is time to move on and see what adventures await me in Groton!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Goodbye Waterbury

Wow, I am leaving Waterbury after almost 7 months of serving here. I found out on Friday that I am being transferred to Groton, Connecticut. I will be leaving Waterbury on Wednesday, so I still have a few more days left here. I have loved every second of serving in Waterbury. It is a pretty crazy place, with A LOT of crazy people, but I have seen miracles happen in this city. Waterbury has helped me become even more humble than I was. We meet with people from all walks of life, in so many different situations, different circumstances etc. A lot of people in Waterbury have been in and out of jail, battled drug addictions, been homeless at one time or another and things like that. It really is a pretty rough city. It has been awesome to be around people who have completely turned their lives around from these situations, and have become strong members of the church. It has been even better to watch that transformation take place in some of the people we have worked with here. It has been a huge blessing to serve here. There have been so many things I have learned the past 7 months, and so many amazing experiences. I started saying my goodbyes yesterday after church, but we still have a lot more people to go and see before I head out. We have like 5 appointments tonight after pday and then 10 more families we are going to see tomorrow, so it is going to be a crazy few days.

My new area is the Groton CT ward. It is actually really close to my first area, Waterford. There is just a bridge separating Groton and Waterford. I spent a few pdays in Groton last year, so I am a little familiar with the city. It is right on the coast, so that will be nice for summer. Right in Groton the Navy has a huge submarine base, and so a big portion of the ward is made up of members of the Navy. Groton is along the Connecticut, Rhode Island border so I will be getting to see some of Rhode Island as well. My new companion is Elder Jones, he only has 12 more weeks left in the mission and then will be heading home.

Going to Groton actually comes with a new assignment for me as well, I have been asked to serve as a Zone Leader in the mission. President called me Friday and asked if I would be willing to serve as a ZL, so of course I said I would haha. Now I have to be responsible for my own area as well as 7 other companionships and their areas. Elder Jones has been a ZL for like a year now, and so I will have a lot to learn from him. Our zone is the Providence South Zone, so we are responsible for all of the missionaries serving in the southern half of the Providence Rhode Island Stake. That includes Waterford, New London, Norwich CT, and then Westerly, Narragansett, and Newport Rhode Island. We go on exchanges with all of the Elders in our zone once a transfer, so I am excited to get to see all of these different areas.

Like I said, we started the goodbyes last night, so I will show you a small portion of our people here in Waterbury! The rest will have to wait until next week....

This is Angelo and Amie Aquino, and their baby Zachary.  Zach was the baby that I was able to bless two weeks ago.  Amie grew up in the church but is not a member right now, and her husband Angelo isn't a member either.  He has been meeting with us and taking the lessons for a while, and actually agreed to be baptized.  His date has passed by now though, he wasn't quite ready I guess.  The biggest thing is getting him to come out to church regularly, which has been a struggle.  He knows the Gospel is true, and he will definitely be baptized someday, but just has to take care of some things first.  Amie is actually in jail now and is pretty close to my new area, so I might get to see her again if I can go visit.
 Me and my homie Brandon.  I have spent a lot of time with this kid, it has been great to see him grow.  He was baptized in January and has done really well.  He told me he is going to serve a mission, so he better actually do it.  We have a great YM program in the ward, so I am sure the other YM and the leaders will help him do that.  He is only 15, so he has 3 years to prepare still.

This is Brenda and Luis.  Brenda is Brandon's mom. They were both baptized in November when I very first got here.  The Spanish Elders taught them, but we spent a lot of time at their home teaching Brenda's kids.  Luis is just the nicest guy around.  Luis is a movie fanatic, so we took about every single church video ever made and watched them all with him.
 Me with the Cogswell family.  Brother Cogswell was baptized almost two years ago, and is now a counselor in the Elders Quorum presidency.  It has been great to see them grow in the Gospel, and hopefully someday soon they will be heading to the temple to be sealed together as a family!

 The Pettway family is the greatest!  Bro and Sis Pettway are converts to the church, they saw a TV commercial and called the number and the rest is history.  We went to their home quite a bit to help them out with their missionary efforts.  The Pettways LOVE the Gospel sooo much, and they are awesome missionaries.  Sister Pettways brother was baptized into the ward a year ago because they worked so hard to share the Gospel with him. They are an awesome family.
 Sister Slocum and me.  Sister Slocum lives in a nursing home in Waterbury and has been a member for a really long time.  We faithfully visited her every single week and read scriptures with her.  I would always just remember President Monson talking about going out and visiting the widows and how important it is, so we just set aside a time every Thursday morning to go and visit Sister Slocum.
The Vaness Family.  Well....they are a pretty crazy family haha.  Not your typical Mormon family, but I guess that is why we love them.  They are all members except for their dad, Danny.  We taught him when I first got here, then he went to jail, then we started teaching him again a few weeks ago when he got out.  He agreed to be baptized on June 8, hopefully he will be ready by then.  As you can tell in the picture, he still has a few things to work out regarding the Word of Wisdom haha!