Monday, January 14, 2013

Joshua's email - 1/14

BOOM! I'm done being trained! Hahaha! Now it's time for me to buckle down and continue using everything I've learned in the past 12 weeks. I'm sad that Elder G is leaving Sun Prairie.  He's been here for 7 months now, and the ward really likes him. He's going Zone Leader in Milwaukee North, which should be pretty cool. As far as I can tell, Elder G is one of the best missionaries here in Wisconsin, so I don't doubt that he'll make a good ZL. Anyway, my new companion is Elder J.  I think he's from Bountiful, Utah, and he's SUPER tall. I'll write more about him next week when I know more about him, because I'm still with Elder G. until Wednesday.

This past week was pretty good, and I've learned a lot.  Monday, Elder G. and I started applying the fundamentals that we began learning in the MTC, and planned a message to share with members at dinner appointments.  We invite the members to either invite others to church, or invite them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and we even give them a deadline.  We ask for referrals every time we talk to someone, member or not.  The bishopric asked us to give talks on Sunday about missionary work, which was perfect, because we've been really focusing on member missionary work.  The ward here is the best at fellowshipping, but we're trying to get them involved with finding people to teach as well. We're excited to see the fruits of our labors!

Tuesday, we had our first lesson with a potential investigator we've had for a while, but she's been really busy.  She has a big family, and seemed really promising, so we started to really focus on her.  She doesn't agree with marriage for whatever reason, and we talked with her about her concerns with our ward mission leader, and she said she would pray about it, and read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true. She texted us the next day and told us that she doesn't think that "the mormon path is right for [her]," so I called her back to leave a voicemail, but she hasn't gotten back to us.  We had a lesson planned for Leon today, and he called and said, "Hey, I don't think this mormon thing is right for me." I asked him if he had any questions or concerns we could help with and he replied, "Yeah. I read online that if I become a mormon, then I have to travel to another country for two years and hike around all day.  I'm not cool with that."  I told him that as an almost 30 year old father, he's not expected to serve a mission unless he really wanted to much later down the road, and he was really relieved about that.  He told me he didn't think he was going to be interested in us continuing to visit, but he said he'd call again soon if something happened.  We also had an appointment with M that we were really looking forward to! She called us a little before and told us that her brother in MN got in a bad car accident, so she had to drive there to see him and his family.  She rescheduled an appointment with us, so that should be good.  We were able to talk to her about reading the Book of Mormon and she said she feels really good about it.  She said, "Every time I read the Book of Mormon or I talk to one of you guys about it, I get the chills! Why is that??"  We told her to pray and ask God what that feeling was.  It's so awesome to talk to an investigator who is so receptive to the Holy Ghost, haha!  We really enjoy talking to M, and we're hoping that everything works out with her brother so that she can still be baptized on Feb 9th.

Later that night, we had dinner at one of my favorite member family's house.  The Es!  I wish you could meet them, because they're always fun to talk to.  We always talk about deep doctrine with Brother E, and he's a very strong recent convert who knows a TON about the New Testament, so we always learn something from him.  His family loves to prank the missionaries, so we decided to get them back by pranking them and playing a mind reading game that Brother E CANNOT figure out.  It was pretty hilarious. To top the night off, they said they needed to measure Elder G. for a "coffin."  Neither of us were quite sure what that meant, so we just went along with it.  They made him lay on the floor and they put a blanket over his head so that he couldn't see while they measured his length, width, arms, legs, etc.  They then told him that they had to measure the distance between his feet, so they pulled one leg into the air, and while Brother E was measuring, Sister E poured a huge bucket of ice water down his pants! HAHAHAHA.  It was pretty hilarious.  Elder G just kind of froze and then shrieked when he realized what was happening.  We love the Es.

Wednesday was New Missionary Training. Despite us nearly dying several times on the car ride to and from the meeting due to the inexperience of the driving missionary, it was pretty good.  One really interesting thing happened. The GPS that we were using told us to get off the highway as we were driving.  Elder G. has been to this meeting at the same place a total of 7 times before this time, so he knew how to get there, and getting off the highway would make us late.  The elder who was driving blatantly ignored his words and said that the GPS was telling him to get off the highway, so that's what he was going to do.  Five minutes later, we realized that we were completely out of gas, so we had to find a gas station quick.  We filled up and were able to make it back onto the highway and get to the meeting only a couple minutes late.  It really struck me that had we not gotten off the highway, even though it was the wrong way, we would have run out of gas and we probably wouldn't have even made it to the meeting at all.  It's crazy how I've been able to see God's hand in my life, especially since I've been on my mission.

Anyway, all the missionaries that came out with me from the MTC have grown a TON.  I learned a lot and decided at that point that I want to be a hardworking missionary throughout my mission.  I want to continually be able to see my own progress, and help others to progress as well.  Everyone always talks about how you have to be bold as a missionary, but I learned why it's so important to be bold AND loving.  You can't help people if you're only being bold to fulfill an assignment.  You have to help them see that you honestly care and have charity for them.

Thursday, we had a district meeting, and I gave a Christlike attribute training on virtue.  It went pretty well, and the district took a lot from it.  We all made goals to use more dignified language, even in our apartments, and to spend any free time we may find ourselves with (such as before meetings), studying and feasting upon the words of Christ.

Friday and Saturday we got a lot of work done and prepared our talks for this past Sunday.  We also took pictures at our dinner appointments with two of our very favorite member families.  The Gs and the Ss.  We got some pretty hilarious pictures with them and we really enjoyed talking and sharing our message with them.  Both families are striving to be a part of missionary work, and we always love to see members who actively do that. :)

Sunday we gave our talks on missionary work, and mine was focused on member missionary work, and in particular, my testimony of the success that comes when the ward works actively with the missionaries.  Both of our talks went really well and the ward appreciated them. One of the recent converts (baptized at the end of October) gave a great talk on missionary work too, so that was really cool to see!

Anyway, that's pretty much what we did this week! We had a lot going on, so sorry this is so long. I hope everything is going well back home, and I love you all! :)

Elder Whicker

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