Monday, April 16, 2018

Week 99: In which Roxana sets a goal, I get a haircut, and we eat s'mores


3
(written 16 April 2018)

Hello, everyone!

This has been a hallmark week. By far the most exciting thing has been that Roxana agreed to work towards baptism on May 5th! We were on her doorstep, reviewing the Plan of Salvation, and we had felt that morning like we needed to invite her to work towards a specific date for baptism. Well, she said yes! We gave her a copy of The Lord Jesus Christ, a beautiful artistic rendition of the Savior, and we wrote May 5th on the back (in pencil, so she understood it was flexible if needed). 

Roxana's doing really well. We now just have to frantically find a solution to her biggest obstacle: before she can live one of the commandments, she has to work, but she can't work because she needs to give her son rides every day. That's a challenge, but we're trying to find people who can give him rides so she can work and figure it all out for good. Honestly, there is nothing else standing in her way!

Monday, we had a Family Home Evening with the Morenos, a family who lives in our area. They are amazing! We roasted marshmallows and made s'mores. Delicious! We then had a great lesson later that evening with Jackie, a relatively recent convert to the Gospel. We talked about the Doctrine of Christ and what she can do to figure out how to come back to church more regularly and re-commit to the Gospel.

We've also been finding several promising new investigators to work with. We're extremely excited, for example, to now be working with Mario, who lives with Jackie. He is so amazing! He's really nice, and also very interested in learning more. We've also been working with another lady, Lorena, so we're very excited to see where that goes.

We have been trying to prepare for Zone Conference this Friday, which is a big deal. We have car inspections, but that is also the day we are receiving our new smartphones! It's seriously going to change so much about how we do things. Everything we do is going to be so much more efficient! To prepare, we had a lot of things to do today. First of all, we did a deep-clean of our car. We also got haircuts. It has been a seriously crazy day.

This next week is going to be crazy! Love you all!

Elder Adams

Questions from Editor Mom

Are you still happy and working hard? - Yes! Things have just been getting better and better!

How can we help you this week? - I'm not entirely sure, honestly. There's not a lot more to do. I just need to stop procrastinating sending things home to prepare for the often grueling packing process.

How's everything with your companion? - Elder Kopp and I are doing really well! We've been getting along just magically, and he and I have been seeing a lot more happen here lately! It's really exciting.

How's your area? Are you staying safe? - Yes, I'm staying safe. Our area is honestly not even that bad, it just includes parts that are bad for Moses Lake. I have been in MUCH worse areas. Also, we try very hard to be careful. I figure that if we honestly do our best to stay safe, God will take care of the rest.

Our area has really started to do very well, though! Roxana is getting very, very, close to being ready for baptism! It's really exciting. We're just working on sorting out a few final things before we're pretty much ready.

Are you driving safely and feeling confident about that? - Yes, I feel like I'm used to driving again, and I'm feeling pretty confident with my abilities to not get pancaked.

Have you been taking lots of pictures? - Not this last week, not as much. Sorry. :-/ I carry my camera everywhere, it's just that I really find it hard to know when I should take a picture. There are not a lot of opportunities, especially since I can't take any while actually doing missionary work. :-/

Love you!

Elder Ben Adams

Pictures






Each missionary was asked something about their goals, and Ben wrote:
Elder Adams:  I want to be more meek in every encounter, especially taking advice.  I want to never miss a chance to serve those around me and truly minister to them.



Week 98: In which I ponder meekness, pass Conception to the hermanas, and learn I am going to heaven.

4

(written 9 April 2018)

That's right, everyone! I found out I'm going to heaven! I'll tell you all of the sweet details later on.

This has been another good week. This last Monday, we had an amazing lesson with a lady named Concepcion. Sadly, she doesn't live in our area, so it was a pass-off lesson, but it was still amazing nonetheless! She has apparently taken a real interest in the Book of Mormon since then, and has been reading it regularly.

We also learned better how to help Roxana improve her situation. We now know what is standing in the way of her splitting up with her boyfriend. We just need a ride for her small child to get to a special program to help him learn to speak better! We're so glad that we now know what we have to work around. She's doing so well! She was trying to share the gospel with one of her acquaintances, and as it turns out, that acquaintance and another friend of hers tried to dissuade her from liking the church. They tried to fill her mind with lies and half-truths about the church, but she just told them "I prayed about it, and God told me in a dream that it's true. Why would he do that if it weren't actually true?" She then told us about this experience, and asked us to teach her more so that she can refute them better in the future. We were pretty happy about that.

Also, she had prayed to know if the Church was true on one previous occasion, and that night had a dream where she saw me (that's right! She saw yours truly) as a missionary talking to her sister in El Salvador (that's right, I was in El Salvador). She then said in one of our lessons this week (with our Branch Mission Leader, Mitch Poth there!) that she knew that I was going to Heaven because she saw me in that dream. Yes, that's right! I am going to Heaven because Roxana says so. Hey, I'll take what I can get, right? 

I wish it worked like that.

Love you all, and have a blessed week! Also, I hope you all had a happy Easter and also Orthodox Easter (that was yesterday)!

Elder Ben Adams

Questions from Editor Mom

So, what parts of conference are still fresh in your mind, a week later? - I still was struck by the talk on meekness. I wish I had known that a long time ago. It may not have changed much then, but I am so glad I could finally get that straight! I honestly think I struggled before my mission, not as much with pride, but with a lack of meekness. I mean, it is the same, but I never felt I was arrogant, and so it took me a very long time to figure out how to actually work through that. I now also know for a fact that Pres. Nelson is the Lord's living Prophet today.

What do you most want to remember about the last week? - I want to remember the lesson we had with Concepcion Martinez last Monday. She doesn't live in our area, but used to. We found her a long time ago, but just this last Monday, we were able to have a lesson with her and Hermanas Birchell and Timm. It went really well, the spirit was really strong, and she is amazing! She's one of the Hermanas' most solid investigators now. She has been reading in the Book of Mormon and trying to send pictures of what she's reading to the Hermanas. Sadly, our phones are too old and clunky to do things like that. That will change in about a week and a half, though. :-)

How are your investigators coming along? - We've really only been able to teach Roxana for a while, and she's doing really well. We're really working on finding more solid investigators, but it has been a little bit of a challenge of late. Ojal√° que lo podamos hacer muy pronto, ¿verdad?  [Hopefully we can do it very soon, right?]

Here's a big one: Tell me some of the most important things you have learned and/or done on your mission thus far. - Shoot. That's a doozy. Well, one thing I have learned is how to humble myself more and be more meek. I've also learned an incredible amount about the Spirit World; it's real! I've learned how to give blessings to people and use the priesthood. I've even been able to be the voice in a few blessings when we commanded the sick person to be healed in the name of the Lord. They felt better in a matter of 1-2 days, hours, or even minutes. It has been amazing. I have learned that there is power in the ordinances of the Priesthood. They work! The Gospel works! I've learned how to exercise faith more on my mission. I've learned better how to actually love people; I've learned that boldness is important, and teaching simply and directly is the best way. I've learned how to be bold, how to follow spiritual promptings, how to discern someone's spirit, how to look inside someone and, following the Spirit, say what will pierce to their soul. I've learned that the gifts of the Spirit are real. I've learned how to better repent. I've learned how to apply the Doctrine of Christ to my daily life. While I'm not perfect at it, I've better learned how to study. I've learned there is power in studying from and reading the scriptures daily, specifically the Book of Mormon. I have gained a testimony of the importance of that great book. I have come to know my Savior better, and understand how He and God show their love for us. I now understand that sometimes, "tough love" is the best kind of love, and what people need to move forward.

I could go on and on. Basically, I now know more than ever that the Gospel is true. It's really true. I know it.

What made you laugh this week? - Well, that brings me to another thing I've learned. I've learned that I'm going to Heaven. I know that, because Roxana said so. Man, I wish it actually worked like that. I'll elaborate a bit in my main email.

Love,

E. Adams


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Week 97: In which a woman comes out of hiding, I share my Easter candy, and General Conference blows my mind

5

(written 2 April 2018)

Hi everyone!

This has been a wonderful week. The two biggest miracles we've seen in the work have been our two new investigators! One of them is a young woman in a family we have been teaching. She has always hidden around the corner and listened to us in the past, but has never wanted to sit in on a lesson. She even has read the Book of Mormon a fair amount! This last Thursday, she finally accepted our invitation to come join the lesson. It was truly a miracle!

The other miracle has been a continuous one. There is an apartment complex in our area that has been tracted out many times. However, neither my companion nor I has actually knocked very much there. As we have knocked there this past week, it seems like every other door we find someone who is incredibly prepared! Just last night, we knocked on the door of a woman who had talked with missionaries before, and she had a lot of really amazing questions about why bad things happen to children, as well as how she can know what is true.

Roxana is doing really well! She is so prepared! The only thing she needs to figure out now is how to find a job that fits her needs (she has a small child who needs a lot of extra help than normal; he is having trouble learning to talk) so she can be financially independent of her boyfriend and live separately from him.

Love you!

Elder Adams

Questions from Editor Mom

¡Hola mi hijo! Espero que has gustado el paquete de las pascuas y que no tienes demasiado “junk”. Espero que puedes compartir muchos de los dulces. [Hello my son! I hope you liked the Easter package and that you do not have too much "junk". I hope you can share a lot of the candy.]Si, lo recibi! Gracias! Fue muy genial. Ya he compartido algunos dulces. Tambien espero que no lo coma en total demasiado pronto.  [Yes, I received it! Thank you! It was very cool I already shared some of the candy. I also hope I don't eat it all too quickly.]

How was conference?Conference was mind-blowing! It was incredible! I feel so spiritually refreshed, as always happens after Conference.

What messages most resonated with you? I remember specifically enjoying the talk about meekness. I feel like that was really good, and helped me understand the difference between meekness and humility, which is slight but present.

Where did you watch it? We watched it in the Moses Lake Stake Center.

How are your investigators? Roxana is doing really well! She is so prepared! The only thing she needs to figure out now is how to find a job that fits her needs (she has a small child who needs a lot of extra help than normal; he is having trouble learning to talk) so she can be financially independent of her boyfriend and live separately from him.

Do you feel totally fluent in Spanish now? Depends on what you mean. Yes, I do feel very fluent, but there is still a lot for me to learn.

Do you speak Spanish or English with your companion? - Mostly English, and a lot of the people we are around speak English. However, we do speak both quite regularly.

How are you seeking inspiration to know where to be and what to say to those you encounter?I try to be in-tune and listen to the Spirit, pray often for guidance, and follow the promptings no matter what it is. Often, it works out really well.

What’s your favorite scripture or thought from your readings this week?I don't know anything specific off the top of my head, but I have been inspired while reading the book of John. To be really honest, a lot of the things I've learned this last week were from my Patriarchal Blessing. I've been trying to read it more often.

Are your allergies under control? As of right now, they're not even posing an issue.

I love you too!

Elder Adams

Pictures

Hermana Birchell at a service project helping move Jackie Pacheco, one of the more recent converts they have been working with, into our area.


I took one of Elder Heaps' Heath bars and did this to it. I was very proud of myself.



Elder Kopp and I!


Saying goodbye to Elder Tapia :'-(



Our district last transfer:

    

Monday, April 9, 2018

Week 96: In which I think about miracles, we clean our apartment, and I learn who will kill me

6
(written 26 March 2018)

Dear everyone,


It has been yet another good week. Admittedly, it was largely dominated by our cleaning the Vintage apartment (long story), but it worked out in the end. Roxana has been doing extremely well, and has started making a lot more friends at church! She already knew one member, and knows Isauro (who just got baptized a week ago and confirmed yesterday), and is meeting many more friends! We're really excited for her. She is basically already a member, she just needs to 100% resolve the boyfriend situation, which she is actively working on. She's trying to find a new home and a job, and will go from there.


I also went on exchanges with Elder Memmott in his area this last Thursday (Not Friday like I said earlier). It was really good, and we visited several people, one of whom I am convinced was extremely high during the lesson. It was pretty funny, actually.

Honestly, nothing happened this week because the rest of the time we were cleaning. The details are in the other email. Sorry. I wish I could send more details, but there really aren't any.

Love,

Elder Adams

Questions from Editor Mom

So, I have a few obvious questions this week. First, what are you doing to celebrate Easter?President Lewis invited all of us to read the Gospel of John before Easter, and specifically to time it so we read the last chapter on Easter Morning. That's what I'm doing, anyway. It's pretty exciting! Other than that, we're not really doing anything.

Does your mission have any special policies about how to spend your time on Easter?Nope. It's pretty much just a normal day for us.

Second, how have transfers affected you and your district? Elder Ruesch is leaving to be a Zone Leader down in The Dalles. Actually, the Zone Leader area was combined with my old area, so he might be working with the same people I was! I'm super excited for him. Other than that, no one is being transferred. I'm stickin' around as District Leader, and Elder Kopp will be the one to "kill" me (be my last companion when I "die", or finish my mission). 

What are some cool insights into the scriptures that you've had recently?I'll try to remember. Gimme' a sec... Okay, in John 14 you find this:
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
On my mission, I have realized that miracles really are possible. I've been thinking about it, and I realized there is a self-defeating cycle that many of us get caught in. Very often, we tell ourselves that since we haven't done anything like move a mountain, we don't have enough faith. In a sense, that's true; however, if we keep telling ourselves we don't have the faith to do miracles, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy! If we tell ourselves we can't, we can't! That's how faith works! However, if something occurs to us, and we're feeling it is right (i.e. it's uplifting, we feel the spirit, etc.), we can just take a leap of faith and go for it!  

What unique experiences have you had this week?
 - We were cleaning the old apartment (the Vintage) so it could be inspected... all week long. It was awful. The English Elders who live with us didn't help for the bulk of it (mainly because one of them was in denial about moving, so intentionally avoided anything to do with cleaning or moving. It got us pretty ticked for a while. However, I went on exchanges with Elder Memmott , and Elder Ruesch ratted them out during the pre-inspection the mission did. THEN, they got calls from unhappy people in the mission office telling them to take care of the rest of the cleaning (this was Friday) and chewing them out for their lack of assistance. After that, they finished the rest. Hehehe. We still spent 40+hours cleaning this week, so pretty much nothing else happened.

About how many people do you think you have talked to on your mission? I have no idea. At least an average of 5-10 (so 8) a day, times the number of days I have. Somewhere over 3000, probably.

How's the new apartment? Have you given it a name?It's fine, but doesn't have a name yet. It's not nearly as nice as the Vintage, and the oven is terrible, and there is no washer/dryer. Aside from that, though, it's fine.

For that matter, have you lived in any apartments that have had names?I don't think so, no.

Have you named your car? Nope.

How's the weather? It's consistently around 50 during the day now, and warming up pretty quick.

When is your next zone conference?April 20

How about interviews? April 14, I think.

What is your favorite part of every day? I would have to say actually teaching people lessons, but I also like pretty much everything else.

Do you still have treats left from Christmas and/or Valentine's Day? (I do :-\.) I do as well :-/

Do you think you have walked down every street in Moses Lake?Not at all, not even close. First of all, we hardly go into the city itself, since our area is only the part north of Highway 17, north of the actual city. It's basically just the bad part of town. Also, there are so many roads way out in the boonies even in our area that there is no way I've walked down them all. I've driven or walked on probably every road in the Base and the Blacks (the two main parts of our area), though.


Hope you have a fun P-Day! - Thanks, I will! 

Love,

Elder Adams