Monday, July 25, 2016

Week #54--July 25, 2016

Well, there's not a ton to talk about, so I apologize that this one will be short!

Holy cow, the end of summer could not come soon enough. This last week we spent like 2 hours tracting one morning, went to Dan's to get a drink of water and his digital thermometer (which is kept in the shade) read 110 degrees. That means it was quite literally 110 in the shade (kind of like the musical? But anyone I mentioned that reference to gave me a weird look... But it's whatever)

We really wanted to find a lot of investigators this week, and it just didn't happen. We did find 2 different lost-members while tracting, which was pretty cool, but other than that, pretty much no interest. 

We did spend quite a bit of time with some less-actives, and those lessons went pretty well. I think now that tracting isn't working for us like it did for Elder Wedel and I, we're really going to focus on the Less-Actives and Part-member families in the ward to see if those can lead to teaching opportunities (their friends and family in the area).
Dan is still Dan. Man if only he would freaking get baptized. He's the ultimate homie, he does more service for the ward than the ward itself, he understands the doctrines well, but for whatever reason he's putting off baptism :/ I just pray that I or the Elders meant to baptize him will know what to say to soften his heart and bring the spirit into his life, and help him know that he needs to be baptized and sealed to his wife. 

Oh, and I did a magic trick for a recent convert 9 year old with Asperger's to try and get him excited about the lesson. Unfortunately it was a little too good of a magic trick and he almost started crying because it blew his mind a little too much. Keep in mind this kid watches Horror Movies and plays M rated video games like it's no one's business and doesn't bat an eye (according to his family) so seeing the look of pure terror when I said "Is this your card?" Was a little unexpected to say the least. So no more magic tricks for Kenny, haha. My bad. 

Quote of the week:

"Christ's Atonement, of course, is for super sinners, and the midrange sinners, and then good people who make a lot of mistakes but are not wicked." -Neal A. Maxwell

So in other words Christ's Atonement is for you! And as a brother said in Sacrament meeting yesterday "Christ is not waiting to save you when it comes time for judgement, Christ wants to save you right NOW."

Love you all!

Church is true!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Week #53--July 18, 2016

Well this week was FLIPPING AWESOME
We went on exchanges this week; 2 fold! Which is fancy talk for two exchanges. I went on one with a member of the district and then our Zone-leaders did one with me and Elder Jensen. The first one was great. Elder Carter is his name, and for those who know Jarom Hess, he is like Jarom Hess' doppleganger. They are one and the same. They even have the same first name! So it's always a pleasure working with Elder Carter. I love him SO much. And we had an awesome time! He's going home this transfer, so I got to learn a lot from him and his struggles on a mission. We talked a lot about labels, and how unfair it is that we label people so swiftly and refuse to let them change in our eyes. I don't know if any of you have experienced it or seen that, but I see it way too much in myself, and then get frustrated when others don't let me change in their eyes! How silly and contradictory of me! 
But we had a great opportunity to talk (way too late into the night, getting up at 6:30 the next day was a bear) about focusing on the good in others and looking for the ways they've improved and then letting them know that we notice those things! Very wise missionary. 
We also taught the single most frustrating (well, IDK... it was frustrating, but maybe not #1) lesson of my mission. He wouldn't stop talking and when we would try to explain principles he was kind of demeaning and all like "Well, when you grow up you'll start to see that this isn't the most important thing" (Followed by rude, un-christlike voice in my head: WRONG! IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. PERIOD.) Or "Well, you guys are too young to understand the important things of life. And it doesn't help that you were sheltered your whole-life" 
Legit I thought I was gonna bust a gasket. Like come on. I'll own up to somethings: I was sheltered! No way around it, I was raised in the shire and lived a relatively easy life with a family that loved me which is a lot more than many people here in California can say. But still... I'm not dumb. And even if I was, that's not the point of the lesson and there's no need to point it out! 
Ugh. But besides that, it was a good exchange. 
Then my second exchange was with Elder Kleinman. We came out together and he's pretty much my favorite human being on the face of the planet. Like, holy lovable. He's just an amazing zone-leader/missionary/friend. And literally, we've talked about how badly we've wanted to go on exchanges together for the 4 transfers I've been here now. Similar sense of humor, similar personalities and it was well worth the wait!
He lives in a house with another set of missionaries, one of which came out with us as well and we exchanged on our year mark day, so we burned a shirt each. I wrote 'the past' on mine and gave a long dumb speech about how with this burning, I burn THE PAST  and how we're letting go of THE PAST  And if anyone question's our authority to burn away THE PAST ... Well.... I... Then they.... Hm....  BURN THE PAST!!!!!  Then THE PAST Blew away into the trees and almost caught the back yard on fire. 
But I learned a lot from him. And we came up with the idea for tassle ties. Hard to explain over e-mail, but basically they're ties with tassles all along the sides, and they are going to be the biggest thing in fashion since pumps and purses. 
Quick spiritual thought:
1) Please do not label people with anything bad. A.K.A. 'The missionary who came home early' 'The Girl who got pregnant in high school' 'The Guy who isn't going anywhere in life' etc. Rather, if you're going to give someone labels, give them positive ones! 'The guy who is just so loving' 'The really smart girl!' 'The guy who is a friend too anyone!' etc. It will make you and those around you happier.
2) If you feel you are labeled by those around you remember this quote by Dr. Seuss that has kept me going many times "Those who Mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind". They love you unconditionally, which means they don't just love you sometimes, or love just parts of you, or love you as long as you never ____.... But love all of you, no matter what, always. 
3) Remember the Savior never sees us as who we were. He sees us as we are and as we can be. Allign your view with the Saviors (for yourself and others) and you'll find that EVERYONE you meet is worth a lot more than meets the eye. 

I love you all! Church is true!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Week #52 (Hump Week)--July 12, 2016

Hello! I can honestly say it does not feel like a year since I left on a mission. It feels like I'm in this strange dimension that I will never leave, and I will spend the rest of my existence as a missionary. But then again, I still feel 18, and I still feel like I'm getting trained. 

Yesterday the Library's internet was down so e-mailing got moved to today. 

We had a good week this week, complete with all kinds of shenanigans, including (but not limited to): Missionary work.

I can't think of too many specifics honestly, other than we taught a lady in her car (in the middle of the road at that) because my companion is a better missionary, and more Christlike, than I. She was in a yellow bug and pulled us over  (in the middle of a fairly busy intersection... Like cars every 45-90 seconds or so)  and starts asking us if we're even doing anything in Hesparia because it's going downhill, if we were the ones behind the boat stealings going on in the area (We definitley ride bikes. Definitley don't know how we could steal a boat, but it's w/e) and all this mumbo jumbo. I swiftly labeled her as crazy and, after a few angry cars passed, I was ready to throw a card in the window and drive away and avoid yellow volkswagen bugs for the next 12 months. But Elder Jensen swiftly turned her questions back to Christ, and within the next 5 minutes had taught the whole restoration and given her a book of mormon, which she promised to read and told us she'd come to church. It was pretty cool. The spirit was strong, we were all 3 moved, and as she drove away I asked Elder Jensen "So did we get her address?" 
So we are on the prowl for Yellow Bugs! 
Okay, that last part was a bit of a stretch, she did mention that she's kind of homeless, and bouncing between places so I don't know if she has an actual address, but the point is that if we want to teach her it will be by the Grace of God and him showing us that little yellow bug again. 
I sure am happy to be on a mission. Real quick I want to throw out some cool quotes.

"It is by Obedience that we gather light into our souls" -President Uchtdorf
"Obedience is a choice. It is a choice between our own limited knowledge and power and God's unlimited wisdom and omnipotence." -Elder L. Tom Perry

So for the first quote, just think about some of the things light does. It gives us direction, it reveals things, it casts away darkness, it acts as a beacon for others, it allows us to see more clearly those around us and those in need, it helps cast darkness away for others. Perhaps that sheds a little more light (hehe) on the command to 'Stand in Holy Places'. We could just as easily set a goal to 'Stand in Lighted Places'. While it is true, that we can make wherever we stand a Holy Place, it is our obedience that constitutes it being holy in the first place. If we feel we cannot be that beacon, then the steps are simple! Stand in places where the Light of Christ is already abounding. Stand with righteous, obedient friends. Stand with family who keep their covenants. Light will fill our soul, cast away dark feelings of sorrow, and give us the desire to do good. This is because these are fruits of the Spirit, and as we are obedient, we will find ourselves filled with Light and the Holy Ghost will be our constant companion.

The second quote is a lot more self explanatory. Elder Holland is quoted as saying one of my favorite quotes: "You can have what you want, or you can have something better." Please remember that when we make choices, it truly is a choice between what we want or a better solution. President Hobbs (before he left the mission) told us of a man who bore his testimony once and said "If God had given me all the things I wanted, I'd be half the man I am now."
So just be obedient. Don't do it for praise, just do it because it's what we're supposed to do and we will be happier for it. Perhaps not immediatley, but in the long run. Do you honestly think you'll ever regret doing the right thing?

I love you all! 
I know the Church is true and Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer and he can HEAL us. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week #51--July 5, 2016

Okay, bear with me because a fetch ton happened this week

Let's begin with our new Mission President. President Taylor seems awesome! He seems like a super nice guy. We met him on Thursday, and it was a cool experience. We'll get to have private interviews with him sometime this month, which will also be an interesting experience. He's very organized and business like but also very smiley and loving. His wife is such a sweetheart too. They are definitely very different from President and Sister Hobbs, but I'm sure they're exactly what we need!
Next up: We got called to help some people move this week. They are non-members with a member aunt and let me just say they became our homies so fast. Elder Wedel and I felt so comfortable with them, we were all cracking jokes and having a good time and we got the move done really fast. They kept saying how much they were dreading moving their piano, and I was too (considering how many times I've moved our family's piano) until I saw it! Holy cow, it was a pansy piano! It was about 1/4 as heavy, (Elder Wedel and I could pretty easily lift it) much smaller, and had wheels. *sigh* but alas. 
They were very grateful and took us out to eat the next day. Elder Wedel and I had had a long day of working in the sun, so were exhausted and began to chug water like it was going out of style.
This resulted in us going to the bathroom
3 times
in 45 minutes. 
The 3rd time, I pulled a classic Brown move. Get out the record books for officially one of the greatest Brown moments of all time. *Insert Olan Rogers telling the following story* So we walk into the Bathroom, and it's just me and my companion, freeing water from our body in the natural way! The Weedster (Elder Wedel) finished first. I suppose he had consumed a slightly smaller amount of water than I had, and he washed his hands and went on his way. At this time, I am moving towards the sink to cleans my mitts with soapy water when by happenstance, a large tatooed killer (actual criminal history: unknown) walks in and steps into the stalls and I can see hear him lower his pants and sit on the seat. As I move to dry my hands and walk out of the door, my natural instinct kicks in causing me to TURN THE FREAKING LIGHTS OFF LIKE THE TRANCHE I TRULY AM. It didn't hit me until I was a few steps out of the bathroom and the door was swinging closed that "Great Googly Moogly! We got to go!" I book it back to the table, hasteningly try to explain my story and we leave. As we're getting in the car we saw Mr. Jacked Banana's coming out and giving us the angry eye. 
Our hostess then asked "Why didn't you just turn the light back on and apologize?"

I had no answer.

Finally, the sad news of the daily... News.
Elder Wedel got transferred :( (although, we did get to wear Samoan Skirts to church in celebration. See Ramona For details) This was a sad day. After a wonderful 3 transfers/4 and a half months/19 weeks/133 days of being companions, we separated.
But I got a new companion! Huzzah for Elder Jensen!! He's a champ guys, I'm pumped to be with him. He's very different from Elder Wedel, but no less swaggin than that man. And we have a ton in common. In fact, he has a ton of nerdy card/board games and last night (the 4th) since we had to be in by 6:00, we just stayed up playing them. Granted, I'm a baby now with staying up late so I didn't make it past 10:15, but still! It was a party. He also has a super quiet dry sense of humor that I love already. Like today we were talking about how some people talk differently and I turned to him and I said "Your turn Elder Jensen, Say something!" And without missing a beat he turned to me and said in a dry tone "I'm giving up on you." I freaking died.

But picking him up was... an experience. I had to go down the hill to pick him up with another missionary... And neither of us ever had to be navigator when driving down the hill... For any of you who know anything about the California Freeway system... well.. You'll understand... Essentially, to make a long story short we ended up in the middle of the Ghetto in San Bernadino scared to death of the possibilities, almost getting in a very serious car accident, because the driver did not see a red light... Or the cross traffic we legit almost drove through. Yep. We drove through 2 missions to get there too. #Swag #TheLongRideHomeWithElderReese (that last hashtag is going to be a novel. It's going through editing right now and should get publish sometime in the fall.

Then when we got back, Dan and I decided to pull a little prank on my boy Jensen, so I told him we were going to go visit a potentials house. We show up at Dan's, and he comes out (he deserves a freaking Oscar for his performance) and says "I'm sorry boys, I don't want any magazines or whatever you're selling today" and we were all like "Oh no, we're mormon missionaries! Is your wife home?" And he get's this blank stare and asks if we were here a few days ago with that red headed kid, and we said yes, and he pulls out this baseball bat and starts coming at us saying "MY WIFE LEFT ME AFTER SHE TALKED TO YOU! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE! WHAT DID YOU TELL HER! WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?!?!?!?" Elder Jensen just about pooped his pants. So I stood in front, held up my hand and said "SILENCE!" and Dan just got a weird look on his face and started walking away. 
"Did you just rebuke him?" Elder Jensen asked, and we lost it. We were laughing so hard. It was hilarious!!

So that was pretty much the highlights of the week. I hope everyone had a safe 4th of July and had a lot of fun! 
I love you all so much! Church is true!