Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hot with a Cold front

It has been hot this week. Very humid and very hot. I have been sweating like a pig. I just can't seem to keep the sweat in. But it's not the end of the world. It has also been more humid than I can ever remember. We had a little rain in the beginning of the week that caused a lot of humidity. It has been humid most of the week except for today. This morning when Elder Leishman and I left our apartment the second that we left we felt a cool breeze. It felt sooooo good. I can't tell you how good it felt. It was about 70 degrees outside. It felt just like home. It also smelt fresh for some reason which is not a common smell in Stinkadena. At least that is what some people call it.
Anyways, this week was a very good one. The Lord has been dropping things into our laps it seems and we are being so blessed. On Sunday a companionship from the Texas Houston East mission handed off an investigator who is getting baptized in mid October. Just out of nowhere tells us about them and that they live in our area. Also many of the people that we have contacted that we are starting to formally teach are very prepared. Many of them have a desire to learn and a desire to change. Pasadena is a rougher place. There are a lot of people who are living in some pretty serious sins. SO they either don't want to change at all or they want protection from the world, or they want out to be saved from the world they are in. It has been a special experience being here. I really get to see what the "good things" in the world do for people. Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and immorality bring no lasting happiness. Sure I have been taught it all of my life and I believe it to be true but being here I have really seen what these things do to people and how it destroys their lives. It doesn't make any of them happy for any reasonable length of time. It is very sad. But the best part of all of this is that we have the gospel. The Lord is merciful to everyone who wants to be saved from their sins and guides us to people every day. He also has given us the gospel to tell to them to help them find eternal happiness. I have seen it change lives and bring happiness into those lives. I just wish more people would except the gospel. But like the scripture says the members of the church will always be a small number in comparison to how many people are in the world.
It really does make me very sad and frustrated sometimes at the things people do to themselves. But there are great people who change and live a better life. One of our new investigators is making some serious changes in his life. He has spent the last 13 years in prison for a bank robbery. He wants to change. He is a sincere man who has been humbled and has felt the love of a member of the church who cares for him and his happiness. This man that we are teaching is so excited to join the church and has changed everything about himself to be a stronger person. He is an example to me and someone who I need to follow more in his commitment to give up doing his will and turn it over to God and follow him.
Another strange thing about this week has been the sicknesses. There have been a huge number of people who have become sick. Elder Oliver in our district was one of the first and after him many people have become sick. From all across town. Half of the ward was not at church this past Sunday most likely because they were sick. Just one of those bugs have been going around I guess. I am a lucky one. I have always been blessed to not have much sickness in my life. I have been a pretty healthy person. I don't get sick easy. Neither does Elder Leishman.
I know in my emails I just around a lot but it's because I need to cover a bunch of stuff and I really am not that fast of a typer. But those are the main highlights of the week. This coming week I am excited for General Conference. It is going to be great. Then the week after that Elder Costa is coming to do a tri-mission conference again as he did last year. that will be SWEET!!! He is a great man and a very funny person as well. As are all of the general authorities. I am excited. General Conference always helps me out with what I can do better in my life and what I need to change in order to do the Lord's will. I encourage everyone to watch all 4 sessions of conference and to learn from them and listen to them with an open heart and an open mind.
May the remainder of this week go well for all of you. Have a wonderful week.

Monday, September 20, 2010

From the south

It's been pretty busy this past week. Sadly there have been a good number of appointments that have fallen through. But we have talked to some GREAT people. Take Virginia for instance. We were walking around this rather ghetto apartment complex and she sees us. She asks us if we are going home or if we are preaching. It is dark so I thought it might be one of the staff at the apartment complex getting ready to kick us out. Then we came up and started talking with her. She had had missionaries talk to her before on the street and she told them that she didn't want to listen because they worship Joe Smith. Then at work the day before we talked with her she started a new job. Her co-worker started to talk about her beliefs and about our church. This made Virginia very interested and helped her understand that we do not worship Joseph Smith but God and the Savior. She told us that she wishes she could have gone back in time to talk with those missionaries but she was happy that the Lord sent us to her. We will be teaching her tomorrow. That is just one of the many great people that we spoke to this week. We have a lot of sincere people that wish to know more about the Lord's church.
On a different note. This week we had a ward activity. It was a lot of fun. We ate BBQ and potatoes. Most of the ward showed up for the activity. We had a man named Brian come with us. He is a good guy. With a great heart. He is staying here in Pasadena until his construction job is over on this new building. He has been here a few months. He is very interested in the gospel. He has a very strong testimony and is very active in the church.
Something kinda funny that happened this week while I was on exchanges with Elder Oliver. We stopped by for an appointment at the end of the evening Wednesday. We taught Devin and Jaret. We also ate dinner there. It freaked me out. There were also others there. Being from age 34-83. But we taught them. They are a year apart and Devin is 17. He is also the older one. But every time I heard his name spoken by someone for a split second I would freak out in my brain. Nobody has called me by that name in a long time. I also think it is crazy that his brothers name was Jaret. So close to Jared. Anyways, it was a great lesson and they will hopefully be reading the Book of Mormon every night.
Another interesting lesson that I had with Elder Oliver this past week was one with the Morgan family. We prepared to talk a little about the Book of Mormon. The Morgans are a part-member and less active family. The son (who is 21) is not a member while most of the family who are the proper age are members. The son had a lot of questions about some things that he read on the internet. All of them were so far out there that I can't imagine how anyone can seriously believe that that is what we believe. It was ridiculous. But it was a good lesson. We talked about the Book of Mormon and how we can know if it is true or not. As long as we read sincerely than we can know if it is true or not. It was a powerful lesson and the spirit was there in abundance. Something that I feel a lot of people bring up to me when I bring up reading and praying is that I am choosing to get the answer in my mind of what I am leaning for. That is not true. For most people we teach they doubt. They need to know that this is true and to ask sincerely they have to be open to both answers. That if it is true they will follow the revelation received. Or if it is false then they will follow the revelation received. When I wanted to know if the Book of Mormon was true or not I had to be sincere. For a long time I read a little and prayed to know. I was not sincere in the beginning. Because I believed it and I was not willing to sincerely ask. When I finally realized how important this all is and that I am needed to do allot of difficult things than I needed to know whether or not to follow those teachings. So in order for me to ask sincerely I had to be open to receiving an answer that it is not true. I had to be sincerely looking for the truth not just what I wanted. And that is what all people have to do to receive an answer. The Lord is gracious in his answers to many people if they are willing to ask. I have been blessed to receive an answer if the Book of Mormon is the word of God or not. That is why I am out here. I know that this church is true and I know that, because of the Book of Mormon and the direct revelation to me through the power of the Holy Ghost that this church, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and every teaching is the truth.
I hope that this week goes well for all of you. This church has in it all of the happiness that you could ever want and more than you can imagine. I know that the teachings of this church are the teachings and doctrine of Heavenly Father. I have seen this gospel change people lives.
I love you all and have a great week.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A week of strangeness

It was an interesting week what with P-Day on a Tuesday and then zone conference on Thursday. P-day was a good day to start off. We did a lot. Our district went shopping at a bunch of stores then we ended the day with getting haircuts. It is kinda girly if I say it that way but it was a little girly I guess. They cut my hair too short. It was my fault. Down here they ask you what number you want your hair cut at. I said a 4 on the top and a 2 on the side. I forgot how short that was. Now I still don't look too great but right after Elder Leishman and I got our haircuts we looked a little like thugs. It was kinda funny but it is just us that think that. I have never had my hair this short. to be honest I actually miss my old haircut before the mission. But I don't miss how it looks just how it feels. Elder Oliver was the smart one and remembered the sizes and his haircut looked really good. Elder Manoa didn't need a haircut.
SO that was P-Day. Like I think I said in my last email Monday was full of rain and other things. But Tuesday went pretty well. We had a study at the church and then we had a good lesson with that family that we are teaching. They came to church again this past Sunday and really enjoyed it. There kids are more reverent than most of the active members. It is sooo cool. They are good parents to those kids and you don't see very many couples as young as they are who are so responsible or who are such good parents. It makes me happy that they have their priorities straight. But they are doing well. They have been reading from the Book of Mormon and have been keeping their commitments. I am excited to see how they progress and I am excited for the day when they receive their answer that the Book of Mormon is true.
Besides Amanda, Gilbert, and their kids there are many other people that we are starting to teach. But not very many are easy to stay in contact with. But that is how the work goes. We are trying to find more people to teach though. This area is packed with people but most of them just speak Spanish. I wish I knew a little more Spanish but I don't know much. Elder Leishman knows even less than I do. So we are giving a number of people to the Spanish missionaries but luckily they seem to find all the English people for us and refer them to us. Like this lady Jan for example. She is a really nice lady and very intelligent. She has been reading from the Book of Mormon and is very into it. We haven't taught her in about a week but we will be seeing her tomorrow.
SO this week was zone conference. It  was really good. I didn't know closely too many of the missionaries but I knew a few very well. There was a group of maybe 13 missionaries that gave their departing testimonies. Which means that this was their last zone conference. There are so many great, strong, and spiritual missionaries that will be going home. I feel like almost all of the missionaries that I look up to are going home. It has been so sad to see so many of them leave. But that is the mission. You also get to see many wonderful missionaries enter into the field. It's weird being one of the older ones though.
Anyways the zone conference was great. President Saylin is a loving mission president who always seeks the will of the Lord for the mission and for what he should talk about. He is a good man, leader, and friend. I wish sometimes that I would be able to get to know him a little better but he is a busy man and I have always been in areas very far from him. I know him well though. I want to be more like him some day. He is a prime example of what the gospel can do for a life and for a family if you live all of the principles, seek the will of the Lord, live a clean life, and go to the temple often. He always reminds me of my father and Sister Saylin always reminds me of my Mom. I swear if they know each other they would be good friends. Especially Sister Saylin and my Mom.
Anyways, I have to end. This week looks like a good one and I hope that it was allot like this week just with less rain. It did rain a ton this week. Anyways again, I look forward to next weeks email. I love you all and I hope that life goes well for all of you. Keep the faith and stay strong. The gospel is true. I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that Joseph Smith was a prophet. As well I know by the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ walked this earth and payed the penalty for my sins.
I love you all and have a great week.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


So I resigned in and it usually doesn't work but I have more time. So I will tell you more from where I left off.
Rhett actually was companions with Elder Leishman while his foot was healing. So we both knew Rhett and became friends with him. His foot is still not healing very well. He was told by his Mission President to just go to school. So he is going to LDS Business College in Utah. He has already left which is why he came and took us out to lunch.
SO a quick update for anyone that wants to know about Ex-Elders Robertson, Maw, and Schwartzman
Tallon Robertson is now playing basketball in Wyoming and is doing wonderfully. I guess he is really happy (even in Wyoming, go figure) and is having a great RM life. He is not dating anyone so if anybody knows anyone in Wyoming let them know that he is around.
Jake Maw, my zone leader in Friendswood for a number of transfers, is in Logan at Utah state university. I don't know too much fun stuff to share from him other than something you will learn from the next person.
Steve Schwartzman , my district leader while I was in Friendswood with Elders Robertson and Maw, is roommates with Bro. Maw at Utah state. They always said that they would but nobody believed them. He is doing very well. He has actually written a book since he has been home that is supposedly pretty good. He was a journalist before the mission and has won national awards for some of his writings. He is a very good writer. I have read some of his stuff.
So that is a random update on the lives of those now back in the world.
I haven't heard from any of my past companions in a long time. Hopefully I will have an update from Brett Jensen soon though. But he just got home.
Anyways life has been pretty good. We really want to find some new people to teach and get our pool bigger. I don't think that there are any missionaries who are satisfied with how many people they have to teach unless they are in Chile.
Last P-day our zone gathered for a large activity in League City. It was a lot of fun. I didn't know too many of the missionaries but I saw some that I have not seen in some time. Elder Demile for one. He is going home at the end of this transfer and it was good to get to talk with him a bit at the activity. I also saw a member from Friendswood who is now at the branch because of being in school. He got married 4 months after getting home. To a girl that he met a month after being home. Kinda funny. Bu the activity was good. We ate a bunch of food and played sports and other activities.
I just want to thank everyone for everything that they have ever done for me. I appreciate all of the prayers and help that you have given in my behalf. I know that the church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that a man will get closer to God by reading the Book of Mormon and following it's teachings than any other book. That is a promise. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Not of himself, but he was called of God. I know that the Prophet and Apostles are truly Apostles and Prophets. I know that the doctrine we teach is true and that without it there would be no purpose in life. I challenge anyone who has even a little doubt to cast it aside and find out if this is the truth. I know that it is and that you can find the answers that you have in your heart in the gospel. It is not just good philosophy. It is the truth. Test it as the Savior challenges you too. I know that the Holy Ghost is real. I know  that revelation is real and that any person may receive it.  I know that I have received far more from the way i have lived my life the past year and a few months than any other time. I thank the Lord that he has been merciful to me and that he is merciful to everyone that I meet.
I promise all of you that if you want to know what to do in your life. Ask your Heavenly Father because he knows what is best and will help you "find yourself" a lot quicker than you can on your own.
I love you all and I hope that this week goes well for all of you.


First I will talk about the weather. It has been absolutely crazy how rainy it has been. Today we have a flood and tornado warning so that is exciting. Yesterday it rained so hard. We were on bikes but luckily were seeing someone when the rain hit and they gave us a ride home through the flooded streets of Pasadena. The water got as high as about 1-2 feet on the sides of the road. It is crazy. There has also been much lightning. This weather always is nice when it hits, (unless your on bikes), but afterward the humidity kills you. That is the part that I don't like.
Elder Leishman and I this week started teaching an awesome family of six. Gilbert and Amanda. I still can't remember all of the kids names so to keep from confusion I will include that in my letter next week. They are amazing. We met with them on Tuesday of last week and they were very interested. They have committed to be baptized. They love our visits and show a determination to know the truth and find it out for themselves. They were a text message referral that we received and they are great. We followed up with them the next day and they had read their assignment in the Book of Mormon and asked questions about it. That always makes you happy. If someone is reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it then that will do more for them than hearing me talk with them. It is a tool of conversion for every soul on the earth. It is an amazing record. I am excited to see this great family progress and continue coming to church as they have this past week. I will keep you all updated on their progress.
Other than that there has not been very many exciting things going on. It was a little slow this week but that is the way it goes. We took our P-Day today so that we could work on Labor day with everyone home and stuff. But it rained very hard so we didn't find any new people to teach.
This past week however Rhett Oliver from Friendswood 1st ward took Elder Leishman and I out to eat and told me how my old missionary buddies and companions are doing. I would tell you more but for some reason today the computer is only giving me 30 minutes instead of an hour. So I actually have to end my email. But I love all of you and have a great week.