Monday, April 27, 2015

A Solid Week in the Mission Field

This week was solid all the way around. I am just trying to stay focused and work hard to the end, thankfully that hasn't been too hard because there is just so much work to do. Matt is still progressing a ton, and we had three different lessons with him this week. We have taught him pretty much everything, and he is really accepting of it all. This week we taught most of the commandments including the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity, and he agreed to live all of the commandments. When we were teaching the Word of Wisdom he was grilling us left and right with questions about why we can't drink coffee and tea and we took like ten minutes explaining it in detail because it seemed like it was going to be a struggle. Then after we explained it all he just said "Oh makes sense, its okay I don't drink coffee or tea anyways I was just wondering." Haha he is always asking us tons of questions, but they are always really good questions. This week he came to church in a white shirt and some slacks that I gave him instead of his jeans and t shirt, so he is even starting to look like a Mormon now haha. His baptism is scheduled for May 9th right now.

Monday night we went out on some visits with Hiller, a member of our ward from Uganda. He is a pretty sweet guy. Anyways we went and visited a young couple with a 4 year old son, and they are from Haiti. The mother of the family had went online and ordered a Bible for their son because they want to start getting him into studying the word of God. When we delivered it we mentioned that we have illustrated versions of the scriptures for children and offered to bring some of those later in the week. So on Monday we went and dropped of those and had a great visit with this family. They currently attend a Haitian church in Lynn, but they were super welcoming and open to hearing our message. We shared our purpose as missionaries and explained what we do, and invited them to allow us to teach their family about the Restored Gospel. They accepted the invitation and the father said "You guys are bringing the teaching of Christ into our home, the door is always open to you." We were pretty stoked about that, they have a lot of potential.

We went on exchanges with the Portuguese Elders this week and had a great time and saw some amazing things happen. I stayed in Lynnfield and Elder Araujo came and spent the day with me....I love this kid so much haha he is hilarious. We have a lot of fun together. But we had a super good day in Lynnfield,we even picked up a new investigator for the Portuguese Elders. One of our appointments cancelled and I was trying to think of what we should do, and I remembered this little old woman named Noemi that we had visited a few times when Elder MacJanet was in the area. Noemi is from Portugal and doesn't speak English very well, and so when Elder MacJanet left we kinda had to stop visiting her. The Portuguese Elders didn't have a car at that time and so there was no way for them to get up here to Salem to see Noemi. But now the Portuguese Elders have a car! So I had Elder Araujo call her and ask if we could come visit, and she said sure come on over! So we went and taught her a lesson and then Elder Araujo invited her to take the missionary lessons again she said of course! So that was pretty cool to see Noemi back in the picture.

Something crazy happened on this exchange as well. When we were on the phone with Noemi, we pulled off to the side of the road. We didn't have Noemis address, and so we were sitting there waiting for her to text us her address. All of a sudden I looked over out the passenger window, and I saw the back of this ladies head. We had no idea where she came from, or what she was doing. So Elder Araujo locked the door haha and then that got her attention. She realized we were in the car, and then she just looked at us and said "Shhhhh." Then she said "Don't open the door!" Haha we didn't know what in the world was going on, it seemed like she was hiding from someone. Then all of a sudden she stands up.....and her pants were down. She took a few steps forward, pulled up her pants, and then walked off. Sooo yeah.....she was squatting down next to our car peeing. Haha we couldn't believe it, it was in the middle of the day and in broad daylight. People are crazy I tell ya!

We had some good things happen in the Digital Mission work as well. We still get to Skype with our friend ManHin at least twice a week, and he is now meeting with the local missionaries in Hong Kong which is pretty awesome to see. This week we also met a guy online from Cleveland, I asked him if he was a Lebron James fan and he claimed to be Lebron's cousin through adoption....I'm not sure if I believe it or not haha. Anyways, we talked to him about the Plan of Salvation and invited him to meet with the local missionaries and he said sure! So we contacted the missionaries in his area and referred them to this guy. Hopefully things work out there.

We had a regional conference this Sunday, for all of the Stakes in the North East United States. It was awesome! We had Elder Hales and Elder Anderson of the 12 speak to us and then Elder Kacher and Sister Reeves also. It was broadcast from SLC but it was still pretty cool! Sister Reeves talk was the powerhouse one for sure. She talked about repentance and the forgiveness process. She said something really cool about how we should react when others are going through the repentance process, I wish I had the quote exactly. She basically said that sometimes we are judging and criticizing those who have confessed of their sins and are repenting, which is the exact opposite of what we should do. We should be happy that they are trying to make those changes in their lives and we should support and encourage them. The repentance process is a joyous thing, for the person repenting and for those around them. We shouldn't think differently of others as they are going through this process, we should be cheering them on.

Soooo yeah, life is good. I love this work and love being able to serve all of the individuals in this area. It is pretty awesome. Less than a month left, but lots of work to do! Oh and for some reason I decided to cut my own hair this week. I had been going to Raul and having him hook me up with a nice cut, but one night I decided to just buzz it all off. It seemed like a good idea at the time....hopefully it grows back by the time I come home haha. Love ya all, have a good week!

Exchanges with the Portuguese was an awesome day!  I was actually happy in this picture, I promise.  But I wasn't quite ready to take the picture! haha!
One picture from last week I forgot to send....Elder Hyer and me at the Red Sox game during the rain delay!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Patriot's Day

Today was a pretty big day here in Boston, they go all out for Patriots Day. We had a lot of fun joining in on the celebrations today but it was a little bit wet and cold outside. Still had a lot of fun though. We got up suuuuper early, like 3 AM early,  to go out to Lexington to watch a reenactment of the first battle where the American Revolution began. We met up with our zone, 3 other zones of missionaries and the Packards. Then a member that lives nearby the Lexington Green had us all over for breakfast. Then a few of us headed into Boston and went to the Red Sox game. It was a fun game, it was raining throughout most of it but luckily our seats had an overhang above us so we were covered. The Red Sox won so that was a plus. Then we headed over to watch some of the Boston Marathon. It has been a long day, but it was fun!

 The people we are teaching are doing really well right now. Our favorite investigator Susan moved away this week, that was tough to see her go. She is continuing to progress and keep her commitments, and is pretty close to baptism. The missionaries in Michigan were ready for her and were hopefully going to pick up right where we left off. From what it sounds like, Susan should hopefully be baptized here in the next month or so. We went and said our goodbyes on Friday, and we were able to meet her niece who was the one that called us and asked us to go visit Susan initially. She is really happy to see Susan accepting the gospel and making such great progress. This has been 70 years in the making, which is crazy to think about. When Susan was a senior in high school the Elders would come by and teach her family occasionally, but none of them were ever baptized. I guess it just wasn't the right time for Susan, but now at the age of 90 she is ready haha. She told us she wished her family would have put more pressure on her to look into the church when she was a bit younger than 90, but it is all working out just fine. We have Susans number and address so we will definitely be keeping in touch with her and are excited to hear about how her baptism goes out in Michigan.

Matt is just impressing us every day. We pretty much met with Matt every day this past week, he has just been super into learning about the church and has tons and tons of questions, so it has been great. We had two lessons with him this week, but then he also came to dinner at a members home with us, and then he came out to breakfast with us and a member on another day. The members have just soaked Matt right up and have been super supportive of him and his desire to investigate the church. He came to church again this week and it was great again, he is progressing well towards his baptism on May 9th. We had a meeting after church on Sunday so we couldn't talk to him long after church, but then when we came out an hour later he was still there at the church and had just been talking to some members and asking them some questions about the Gospel. He is golden. And man is he a funny kid. We love hanging out with him but teaching him the Gospel has just been so much fun. He has some intense questions, he is definitely searching for truth in his life. The Gospel seems to be clicking for him right now, but keep him in your prayers for sure!

We have been meeting with a less active guy named Anthony for like 4 or 5 months now, and he has made tons of progress. He has been active for the past few months and has been working towards returning to the temple. The last step was the Law of Tithing, and he has been doing great with that. So this past Sunday he had his interview with the Bishop and the Stake President, and he got his temple recommend again! We are now planning a trip to the temple so that he can go and do the work for his father who passed away a few years ago. We are really looking forward to that.

Skype lessons are going great still, we had a nice lesson after church on Sunday. We met this girl from Brazil and were teaching her about the Book of Mormon. She had read some pretty crazy anti things online and so we were able to use the Book of Mormon and Bible together to help her see that the Book of Mormon is really just another Testament of Jesus Christ. It amazes me what misconceptions people have about the Gospel, even though I have been hearing them all for the past two years. There always seems to be new ones that come out of nowhere. Oh well, the lesson went well and we seemed to help resolve her concerns a lot.

Everything is great, I am loving the mission life. Have a great week!

Battle at Lexington Reenactment

Had to say goodbye to this guy, Elder Calvert! My MTC comp goes home on Wednesday.  Craaazy how fast it has gone by.
Watching the marathon.
At the marathon again.
Red Sox game!!
Last pday at Opening Day for the Red Sox game.  We couldn't go to the game because it started too late but it was fun to go and hang around the stadium.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Obedience and Consecration

So I don't have a lot of time this week but I will try and tell ya everything that has been going on lately. And next pday is Patriots day, which is the Boston Marathon day so we will be heading into Boston then so things might be a little crazy over the next few weeks.

We had our zone meeting this Friday and it went super well. It was all focused on obedience and consecration. Typically these meetings are where we can train our missionaries on how to be better at finding/teaching/baptizing and try and help develop skills in those areas. But President Packard feels really strongly that our mission needs to be much more obedient than we already are. It isn't like there is a lot of big problems in the mission, but it is just the little things. The first part of the meeting we talked about obedience and why we need to be obedient, and then we just went through some of the rules that are the most common ones missionaries struggle with. Then the second part of the meeting was super special. We talked about consecration and how we can continue to give up things that are holding us back as missionaries. We each took like 15 minutes to ponder and pray about what it is we need to sacrifice this transfer. Then we went around the circle and each shared what we were going to do to become more consecrated. I was impressed with the sacrifices some of the members of our zone made, they were huge. The spirit was super strong when we were all sharing our sacrifices. Mine wasn't anything too crazy, but I committed to the zone that for the last part of my mission I won't talk or mention or say anything about my post mission plans. It seems like that is what everyone wants to talk to me about now that I am so close to going home, and it is exciting but sometimes it gets a little distracting from the work. And I really just want to enjoy every minute of this final month of my mission. This is just too much fun, and too special to be looking ahead to the future. So sorry if you email me and ask about post mission plans... I will let ya know in a month or so!

We had some amazing things happen this week. On Wednesday we were sitting in the church having a lesson on Skype with a girl in Russia and then right in the middle of our lesson someone starts knocking/pounding on the front door of the church. We finished the lesson super quick and then went out to see what was going on. It was this 20 year old kid named Matt, who lives a few houses down from the church. He went on to tell us how last week he had a dream that he died and went to heaven, but when he got there God wouldn't allow him to enter into heaven because he was unworthy. So after that dream Matt started going around to all the churches in Lynnfield to see if someone could help him figure out what he needs to do to be forgiven and be worthy to return to live with God. Fortunately for us all of the other churches were shut down during the weekdays and he couldn't get in contact with anyone from any of the churches. Thankfully we were there at the church when he came to ours. We had two lessons with Matt this week and he is super accepting and willing to do whatever he needs to in order to find forgiveness of his sins. He came to church this Sunday for the first time, stayed all 3 hours and had a pretty good experience there! He is an awesome guy, I am super stoked to keep teaching him. We set May 9th as a baptismal date for him to work towards, so keep him in your prayers!

The digital mission has been an amazing experience all the way around. It has been amazing to visit and teach people all around the world. We have met tons of amazing people and have found many who are ready to hear the gospel. I sent a picture of one of our Skype lessons with our friend M.H. from Hong Kong. We have been teaching him about our faith for the past two months and he has begun meeting with the local missionaries in Hong Kong. This past Sunday he attended church for the first time as well. We Skyped with him on Saturday and had a sister from the ward join us who served her mission in Hong Kong and still speaks Cantonese. It was an amazing Skype and it just amazes me the things we can do with technology. We are super blessed to be able to be starting this new and exciting version of the Digital Mission here in the MBM, we are the only mission in the world doing it. Missionaries throughout the world are just blown away when we call them and tell them we have been teaching someone in their area through Skype and they are ready to meet with them and prepare for baptism. To me, the Digital Mission is how the gospel is going to spread forth to all nations, kindred and tongues. It is incredible to be a part of it! Love ya all, have a great week!

Teaching some people on Skype with Elder Chang!

 Zone lunch after the meeting...Chinese buffets :/

Happy Easter #BecauseHeLives

Time is just going waaaay too fast for me. Transfers came on Friday and I am staying in Lynnfield for my final transfer. It is really hard to believe this is the last transfer, I just got my flight plans in the mail the other day. Super weird, but there are still tons of great things happening that I am glad I still get to be a part of for a little bit longer.

For pday on Monday we went to the Bunker Hill monument just outside of Boston. I decided I better make the climb to the top before I leave here, and before it gets too hot. It was only like 294 steps to the top, not too bad and it was an awesome view up there. There are just sooo many awesome things to see in Boston, I still haven't gotten around to all of them. I still have lots to do on pdays I guess. Monday night we met up with Joe and Elder MacJanet in Boston for dinner. Joe is the main man and took me out for my birthday. We went to this sweet place called Jacob Wirths, it is like the oldest continually running restaurant in the country. Everything in Boston is old haha.

We went on exchanges with the Lynn Spanish Elders this week and it was great! I went to the Lynn branch for the day, and we ate like kings that day. Spanish people just are the most amazing cooks in the world. The Lynn branch is doing great right now and we have some awesome Elders there. Our whole zone is great really. We have a few Elders leaving this transfer but it shouldn't be too bad! 

Oh! Our zone found 74 new investigators in March!!! It was crazy, we set the goal to find 70 at the beginning of the month and I was a little scared about it. Guess I was just lacking in faith or something! But our zone was just on fire this month, finding people all over the place every single day. Going into the last day of the month we had found 64 new investigators, and then on the last day we found 10 more and passed up our goal. It was an amazing month for us, and it was awesome to be a part of it. We prayed for this goal a lot, we fasted together, and then we just worked super hard towards it and had faith that Heavenly Father had the people prepared. I am pretty sure he has that many new investigators, if not more, prepared for us every month. We just actually wanted it bad enough this month and so we went out and found them. Like President Packard always says, "We aren't waiting on the Lord, the Lord is waiting on us".

We are just absolutely loving teaching our 90 year old friend Susan about the Gospel. She is like the sweetest woman on earth, and she loves having us come over. We taught her the plan of salvation this week and talked about baptism! We invited her to be baptized in Michigan once she makes it out there to be by her family, and she said she would! Haha she is so excited to keep learning more about the Mormon faith, and she is super stoked to get out there in Michigan and be a part of that ward with her nieces. Susan is very humble and open to our message. After we gave her the Book of Mormon during our first lesson, she committed herself to read it every single day. She has been studying every day at least a few pages, and is going to read all the way through the entire Book of Mormon. She is just a saint! Soon she will be a Latter Day Saint also haha.

Conference this weekend was top notch. I mean wow, it was powerful! I loved all of the sessions but there were a few talks on Saturday afternoon that I really liked! Elder Wilford Andersen's talk "The Music of the Gospel" was one of my favorites. His analogy was right on point. But then the talk right after his by Elder Renlund of the Seventy was probably my favorite. This quote takes the top spot 

"My invitation to all of us is to evaluate our lives, repent, and keep on trying. If we don’t try, we’re just latter-day sinners; if we don’t persevere, we’re latter-day quitters; and if we don’t allow others to try, we’re latter-day hypocrites. As we try, persevere, and help others do the same, we are true Latter-day Saints." 

Man what a great blessing it is to have living day prophets and apostles, guiding and directing our church. These men give their lives to the service of God, and they are happy doing it. They truly speak the words of God. Whatever Heavenly Father needs us to know, or needs us to change, he lets us know through the prophets. In D&C 1:38 it says "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." I love this. When the Prophet and Apostles speak to us, it is same as if Christ Himself were delivering that address. I am pretty excited to sit down and go through the addresses given and figure out what I need to change in my life to become a little better. I don't want anyone to think I am a latter day hypocrite haha. 

Easter was great for us, especially with it being General Conference weekend. That made for a perfect day. We had a nice ham dinner at a members home, and they even let us join in on their Easter Egg hunt. If you didn't get the chance, be sure to check out the Easter video the church put out... 
Love ya all, have a great week!

Elder Pulsipher

Birthday dinner on Monday night, Joe is the best!  Joe, me and then Elder of my old companions!
Easter Egg Hunt!! Found an egg or two!

 The one and only former Elder Bradley came through with his family this week!
 Last zone picture before transfers!
 Me and Lilly watching some conference together haha.  She is the little girl that got baptized last month.
 Dinner at Sister Le's house....She always makes us some delicious Asian food.  Chicken Pho this night!

 Bunker Hill Monument last PDay.
 Climbing to the top!
 And view of Boston from the top!

Happy 21!

Wow, time is going waaaay too fast out here. This Friday is transfer texts so I will find out if I will be dying here in Lynnfield or go to a new area for my last six weeks. We will see! This week was awesome though, especially for our zone. We have made huge progress in our finding goal. This month we have found 64 new investigators, we need to find 6 more in the next two days! We can do it for sure, well the Lord can do it at least idk about us haha. We all fasted together as a zone on Sunday in gratitude for the investigators that Heavenly has already led us to this month, and petitioning His help in finding the rest this month that we need to in order to reach our goal. As I said, it isn't all about the numbers. With each number there is a name, and a unique individual behind it. The number 70 represents 70 of Heavenly Father's children that we hope to minister to and teach about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! Anyways, the zone has been working super duper hard and it has been a truly amazing month for us.

On Tuesday we went on exchanges with the Chinese Elders! Aha I love these guys. It is Elder Chang from Taiwan and Elder Anderson from Cali. I stayed in Lynnfield with Elder Chang. It was awesome because we actually had a Skype lesson with our friend over in Hong Kong and so Elder Chang was able to teach the lesson in Mandarin and it seemed to go a lot smoother. It was awesome to have him there that day! We had a great day together, Chang is absolutely hilarious. We also had some splits with the Assistants this week. Elder Stones came and spent the day with us on Thursday. We had a solid day together and we were able to visit quite a few people. Then on Saturday we had another exchange with the Cambridge Portuguese Elders. I spent the day in the Portuguese program with Elder Araujo. We had a nice today together. I wasn't much help during any of the lessons, but it was still a great day. If there is one thing I learned, it is that Brazilans know how to make the BEST food ever. Seriously, we ate like kings on Saturday.

We started teaching this awesome lady named Susan this week. Get this....she is 90 years old. Yes, 90!!!! She is the best haha. Her niece is a member of the church in Michigan and she invited Susan to have us over and talk with us and she accepted. So we visited with Susan 3 times this week haha. When we taught her the Restoration she was just loving it and agreeing with it totally. After the lesson she told us that everyone should be a Mormon and that then the world would be a lot better place. She is already reading the Book of Mormon and committed to read it every single day before we even invited her to. She is hilarious, btw she is the saint who gave me the vacuum. Susan is going to be moving in about a month, to Michigan to be close to her family. She is going to start going to church with them once she moves in, and so she wanted to learn more about it before the move. She is amazing, and has lots of good stories :)

Sunday was my bday! It was just another day at the office haha. We just worked like any other day, but some nice people here took care of me and gave me some cupcakes and ice cream and birthday cake. Joe hooked me up big time with a nice cake and present Sunday night. He gave me a nice new tie and a bow tie. I am always complimenting him on his bow ties, and so he hooked me up with one of my own now! I gotta learn how to tie them now though. And tonight we are having dinner in Boston with Joe and with Elder MacJanet, one of my old companions! It should be a party. Love ya all, have a greeeeat week! Happy Easter!

Birthday celebration with Joe...he is the best haha

 Birthday cupcakes at our dinner Sunday night.

 Castle Rock in Marblehead.

 At the end of a long dwarf thing in Salem.  It was freeeezing.
 Outside the House of Seven Gables for all you Nathaniel Hawthorne fans out there.
 Prayers are answered.  One of our investigators gave us a niiiiice new vacuum.  We have been using a tiny, handheld vacuum for our apartment.  It doesn't work at all.  This was probably like the highlight of the week. haha!
 Selfies for dayzzz.