Monday, September 8, 2014

The Ups and The Downs

We had a nice, super busy week! Lots of ups and downs, a few really hard downs haha but that is life I guess. On Monday once we got back from the temple we all met up at a place called Devil's Hopyard, it is a State Park here in CT. It is a super pretty place with some hiking trails that we checked out....and surprisingly it was a legit hike, not just a flat walking trail like everywhere else here. The Weseman's from the Waterford ward came with us and grilled us a nice lunch while we were out hiking. That couple is just incredible, they do so much for us missionaries and for the Lord. They are the perfect example of being fully consecrated to the Lord in all that they do! We had a really good time with the zone, and it was a super pretty area to go hiking. Lots and lots and lots of trees, but still really pretty! The trees here are just barely starting to change colors, next month is when it will start getting into the real deal!

I spent Tuesday on exchanges in Newport, RI and we had a really good time. Man I love that place and the ward there is amazing. Newport is just another beautiful place, it is starting to get less crazy there now that the tourist season is coming to an end, but it is still pretty busy there. I was there with Elder Henrie, he is an amazing missionary and I was able to learn a lot from him. We went out on splits with Brother Bob Wood, the former General Authority that is their Ward Mission Leader in Newport. After our lesson he took us out for lunch as well, so we had some quality time to just talk with Brother Wood about the Gospel and all sorts of different things. Brother Wood is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, especially when it comes to the Gospel. He knows EVERYTHING about the Gospel it seems like. It is pretty entertaining to sit there and pick his brain and hear all of his stories. We also had a mission wide Webex on Tuesday, it is just like an online Web Conference for our entire mission. President Packard issued us a challenge to read the Book of Mormon throughout the next 2 transfers and to highlight all of the tender mercies from the Lord throughout the entire book. We did this a while ago and highlighted all of the references to Christ, and it was a really good experience so I imagine this one will be just as good!

Wednesday we spent the entire day up in Boston for the Mission Leadership Council. We talked a lot about what we have been doing to help our missionaries become more consecrated to the Lord and to their missionary service. It is always nice to go and talk as a council and learn from one another. Then we received some trainings from the AP's on developing more faith to find people to teach. Last month our mission found over 500 new investigators, which may not seem like a lot but it is huge for our mission. Then President trained us on how to fill in the gaps in our planners with productive things to do, which is something we desperately needed. A lot of our missionaries struggle to find productive things to do from like 10 AM to 2 PM while everyone is at work, so this training gave us lots of really good ideas. Then to end things off President sat down and read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with us, which lasted for like an hour and a half. So we didn't leave Boston until around 7 that night, it was a long but really good day! Then on Friday we had our Zone Meeting where we trained our zone on the topics that we discussed at MLC on Wednesday, we feel like the meeting went really well! The Spirit was there, and that is the most important thing! We also received our transfer texts on Friday after zone meeting, not a whole lot changed in our zone. In fact, only 1 missionary was transferred out, Elder Henrie is leaving Newport to become a Zone Leader up in the Boston Stake, so we were pretty excited for him. We also are getting 4 extra missionaries in our zone, so now our zone will have 20 missionaries serving in it.

Now on to our people we are working with, this is where a lot of the bad news comes in. I told you about that guy Devon we were teaching, he had agreed to be baptized at the end of September....well his old church/pastor that is pretty anti Mormon got to him and Devon decided he wants to just stick with his old church for now. He is still willing to meet with us but that is about it. He feels like his old church is where God wants him to be. So that was pretty disappointing. That was just the beginning of the bad news though.

Thursday night we went out teaching with the Stake President, President Hutchins. He is an incredible Stake President, just a really good guy! Well we went and visited this young man named Elyjah, who we have been working with for ages! Elyjah is 12, and his mother and grandmother are members of the ward. Elyjah comes to church pretty regularly, and is very involved with the YM program, but for some reason just hasn't been baptized. We had a really good lesson with Elyjah and he agreed to be baptized on September 28, and we were all sooo excited about it! The ward has been working with him for 3 years to try and get him baptized, and now it was finally happening! Well on Saturday we went and did some service for his grandma and she had some super depressing news for us. She informed us that Elyjah didn't want to be baptized anymore and that he wants nothing to do with the church. It turns out his dad was talking to him and changed his mind. His dad told him that all religions are BS and that God doesn't even exist, etc. etc. All of that really got to Elyjah and of course his dad is important to him so he decided to listen to his dad. Ahh man I was devestated! I love this kid, and he has so much potential, but I guess now is not the time. A father figure is sooo important for a teenage boy, and it is pretty sad his father isn't supportive of this area of Elyjah's life.

On a brighter note, Hannah is progressing super quickly! She is now attending seminary full time and is loving it, she is super active in the class and participates. Hannah was online and found this Book of Mormon challenge thing, which helps people finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, and so Hannah decided to do it. But that wasn't enough, she decided to recruit her seminary class and also the rest of the Young Women to do it with her. So our investigator is going to seminary and is already doing missionary work. We are going to ask Hannah to speak with her parents this week and see how they feel about her being baptized and the church at large, and then hopefully we can set a baptismal date pretty soon. That is all for this week, love you guys! Have a good week!

Our hike up through Devil's Hopyard last pday.

 Most of our zone!

 Rob's trip to the temple last week.
Kayd knows how much I love covered bridges, so when he came across this bridge he snapped a quick picture for me :)

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