Thursday, January 11, 2018

Week 85: In which we meet Othello transplants, I bond with a greenie, and we sing in nursing homes.


Hello again!
(written 8 Jan 2018)

Hello again, everyone! Man, it seems you just can't get rid of me! Here I am, back like a rotten egg, writing another email on every single Monday. Well, I'm very happy to do so.

This week was absolutely amazing! A few weeks ago, we met a lady named Brianda. This last Tuesday, we went back to talk to her, and her husband, Luis, opened the door and immediately invited us in! We went inside, and talked with him a bit. His wife later came back, we talked a little bit more, and then set up a return appointment for Thursday. They also told us a few very interesting things: first, they moved to Moses Lake from Othello only a few months ago! In fact, when I asked them where they were from in Othello, they actually said they lived on a street in my old area! In fact, that particular street was part of a group of duplexes owned by members that we visited a LOT. So much, in fact, that I pretty much talked with everyone who lived there, provided they opened the door. That means that there is approximately an 80% chance (or so) that I talked to them back then! Isn't that crazy?!? Coincidence? I think not.

Also, they told us that they are super good friends with a couple of the active members here in the Moses Lake 9th Branch: The Lunas (Bro. Luna is in the Branch Presidency, and his wife is from Massachusetts) and the Morenos (Bro. Moreno joined the church a little less than a year ago, not too long after his wife, and they both come really regularly).

We then went back on Thursday, but this time the Morenos came with us. Bro. and Sis. Moreno shared powerful testimonies of how the Gospel has blessed their lives, and both Luis and Brianda were listening really intently. They showed a lot more interest as we continued to share about the Restoration, and we'll be going back today. They are both so amazing, and we're really excited to keep working with them!

Everyone else is doing about the same. Honestly, not much else has happened, except for exchanges.

Elder Memmott is the new missionary in our district. He is just starting his training period, and he is fantastic! He's actually also going to be a music major, and he'll start at BYU after finishing his mission. He's trying to decide between Composition, Percussion Performance, and Pedagogy. He and I also relate about a lot of other things. He makes me think of a music major version of Elder West. I'm so happy he's here! It's going to be great.

Everything else is going really well. I'm so grateful to Susie Roberts for the letter! Muchisimas gracias, lo aprecio mucho. Estoy muy agradecido que yo pueda estar aqui, compartir mi testimonio con los demas, y aprender Espanol. Also, thank you so much to Sis. Jeffrey for the little Lego missionary! That is so awesome! I also really appreciated the card from the Nobles. I'm very happy that all of you are well, and I wish you all the best. This gospel is so amazing!

Much love,

Elder Adams
 
 

Questions from Editor Mom

Hi Elder Ben! - Hi Mom!

How's the work coming in the Prophet's Puddle? - Actually, great! We found some amazing new investigators this week, and we're pretty excited for our return appointment tonight!

How's the greenie in your district doing? - He is amazing! His name is Elder Memmott, and he's actually also going to be a music major! He is a bit like Elder West and I in a lot of ways. I'm really excited to have him here; we're going to have a great transfer in this district.

Are you managing to keep your allergies under control? (I take alertec a lot, which helps me; do you want me to send you some)? - I manage well enough. I pretty much just blow my nose a lot at this point; I'm (very) mildly congested... all of the time. But it's mild enough it doesn't bother me a ton.

What do you do for service in Moses Lake--do you have a regularly scheduled opportunity, like the food bank or something? - We go to the Food Bank pretty regularly, and we also sing in large groups for the Nursing Homes in the area (for some reason, we tend to visit Alzheimer's Wards a lot; that's probably because they don't remember that we came a few weeks earlier).

Please tell me something that made you laugh this week. - I honestly don't know. I usually forget pretty quickly.

What are you looking forward to now that Christmas is over? - I'm excited for my birthday, and each transfer brings new excitement with new missionaries and changes. That's honestly all I can think of.

What was your district meeting like this week? - We didn't have one. We only have them if we don't have any other meetings. The first week of the transfer is always District Leader Orientation (DLO, where we learn how to be better leaders), the first week of each month is always Mission Leadership Council for the Zone Leaders, where they get information to be passed to the District Leaders in Zone Leadership Council (ZLC). That's happening this coming week, though, because the first week of the transfer and the first week of the month coincided. Then, we have Zone Conference once a transfer. The rest of the weeks, usually 2-3, are District Meetings. I'm not sure if we get 1 or 2 this transfer.  The calendar the Zone Leaders have said only 1, but everyone agrees that doesn't seem quite right.

What's the best thing that happened this week? - I think the best think that happened this week was finding Luis and Brianda! They have a lot of potential. They are so amazing!

Love you,

Elder Adams
 

Photos

 
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Week 84: In which I return to Toppenish for a baptism, make New Years resolutions, and eat a chicken foot!


Not much time this week...


written 1 Jan 2018


Sorry about that.



Well, hello everyone! I hope all of you had a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year! It sure has been great here. Updates on current investigators:

Jessica - She's not doing as poorly as she was before. She's on the slow up-and-up, but still not reading, praying, or coming to church. She's just not as depressed as she was before, so there's some hope. We could only really stop by once this week.

We haven't been able to meet with any other of our current investigators for a while because of the holidays (and them being out of town and things), but I have 2 more things to share quickly:

Ramon and Selenia - Selenia was an investigator a few months ago, but Ramon has never really talked with missionaries before. We decided to go by one day, and it happened to be one of their 2 days off every week. They work a LOT. We set up a return appointment for tonight, as they've been missing the regular missionary visits!

And one more thing: This Saturday, I had the immeasurable blessing to be able to return to Zillah for the baptism of David, Albert, and Winterhawk "Bubba" Munoz. Elder Rigby and I found them and began teaching their family together, and they finally got baptized only a few days ago. David is the dad, Albert and Bubba are his 2 boys. Priscilla, his wife, and the rest of his family also attended and are finally showing some interest in going to church and really looking into the Gospel. That is such very, very, good news. I'm so happy for them!

I simply want to end with my testimony that truly, God is still a God of miracles. They do happen, provided we have the faith. They happen because of Jesus Christ. They always have, and they will continue to happen because of the glorious truth that He lives!

Love,

Elder Adams

Questions from Editor Mom

OK, Question number one: How did you spend Christmas Day after we talked? - Well, we studied, then had dinner, then tried to visit people, but they weren't there, so we then spent the rest of the evening cleaning off peoples' cars.

Of course, please tell us about transfers and how they affect your district. - They actually don't! Everyone is stickin' around, and Elder Reusch is going to be receiving a greenie from the MTC (or CCM, depending on if he went to Provo or Mexico).

How was your Christmas District meeting? - To what exactly do you refer? Are you referring to the District Meeting that happened right after Christmas, or are you referring the the one right before Christmas, or the missionary Christmas Brunch? Assuming you mean  the District Meeting itself, right after Christmas, it went really well. We talked about the character of Christ, how to be more like Him, and how to rescue the 1 out of the 99. It was good, and I think we all left edified.

Have you managed to make your district laugh yet? - I honestly have no idea. Probably.

Who taped your Christmas talk, which I found very meaningful, by the way? Whoever did has a very high opinion of you. Makes me proud. :-) - She said she has actually talked with you, and complimented your Spanish. She also said you were a very nice lady. She is very nice to missionaries. She also sent a video of me singing Joseph Smith's Fist Prayer after our fist dinner appointment.

Do you have any New Year's resolutions? - Yeah I do! I have some more detailed goals, but overall, it's all about redoubling my efforts to be a more obedient, diligent, and effective disciple of Jesus Christ. There is nothing so sweet as the news we can repent. Isn't it great?

How are your investigators progressing? (Feel free to share this in the main letter.) - I'll do my best :-)

Love,

Elder Adams

 Pictures

 The Best Picture...
Special Bonus Video which someone texted us:

 






Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Week 83 - In which we brunch with the Zone, clean windshields, and carol for Christmas

Week #83

(written 26 Dec 2017)

Hi everyone! To preface this, Elder Shoemaker is really good at doing tons of math in his head. He's a boss.

Today is weird, mainly because our P-Day is shortened today. Because of that, we're emailing a little earlier than usual so we can squeeze everyone in.

This week was pretty ordinary. We were with Elder Ruesch for the evening on Monday and most of Tuesday. It was good.

We kept trying to visit a less-active member of the ward, an 18-year old young woman named Lorna. We ended up starting to teach her dad, Ernesto! He's really nice and Catholic.

Honestly, Christmas was fantastic. We had a Zone Brunch with chocolate chip pancakes and eggs and bacon while watching The Best Two Years. Christmas Eve, we went caroling with and then ate with the Bergesons. They are really nice.

Not much else happened this week except it snowed a bunch and we scraped/cleaned off people's cars.

Love you all! There is really not anything else that happened this week.

Love,

Elder Adams

Questions from Editors Mom & Dad

What was your favorite moment on Christmas this year? - One of my favorite moments was cleaning off people's windshields from snow and ice. We have an amazing scraper tool that is basically a giant monster-destroyer. It's seriously huge, extendable to 5-or-so feet, and has what is basically a full-fledged broom on the end. It knows no fear for ice or snow. It even has a squeegee on the same end as the broom! Anyway, in order to make everyone's Christmas bright, we cleaned off most of the cars in our nearest apartment parking lot from ice and snow, just because we could. It was enormously satisfying. Afterwards, someone even made us some delicious hot pumpkin spice apple cider. It was awesome.

Do you have any thoughts on how you will carry the Christmas spirit throughout the year?  How will you continue to light the world? - We'll honestly probably just do what we normally do. As a missionary, the Christmas Spirit is pretty close to the Normal Spirit. I guess I'll try to remember to do what, in the words of Elder Oaks in the last Worldwide Missionary Broadcast, was just to "keep on keepin' on".

Have you picked up any sports skills from Elder Shoemaker? - No.

What is the best thing about your current area? - There is a lot of support from local members, and the church is extremely well established here. It's one of the strongest Spanish branches I've seen, and could probably even be a ward. In addition, our side of Moses Lake is the awful side of town, so people are generally pretty humble. Either that, or drunk or high. Not like Toppenish, though.

Pictures


Me with a hook used to pull out turkeys from a giant box at the Food Bank.


My sweet voice recorder:


This is an interesting house in our area, in a neighborhood known as "The Base" because it used to be an Air Force Base. See if you can spot what is strange about this picture of an otherwise ordinary front yard. Hint: Zoom in and really SEARCH. I'll send you another email with the answer.

Let's just say Elder Jensen really liked dinosaurs, and we found this wonderful image on a church computer in The Dalles. Enjoy!



Photos sent by members Ben visited:





If you understand Spanish, you might enjoy listening to Ben's Christmas talk, sent to us by a member of the branch.  Audio only.


Week 82: In which we talk with Luis's mom, find an island of Spanish speakers, and have our mission Christmas party!


Super short letter, sorry... :-(

written 18 Dec 2017

Hi everyone! Some incredible things happened this week, but I just don't have time to tell you about them all. I'll just have to forward a portion of my letter to President Lewis this week.

This has been a fantastic week! One of our investigators, Luis, is still a teenager. All the missionaries before have said that his father was far more interested than his mother. His mom is just really, really, Catholic. For a while, Luis was even concerned if she would want him to do much more than meet with missionaries.

However, this past Monday, we saw a miracle! We were able to get in and teach Luis because his father was there (in the back room). Though his father didn't want to join us, his mom did! His sister also quietly listened from the other room, but didn't want to actually join in. In that lesson, we talked with Luis and his mom about the Plan of Salvation, sharing some scriptures from the Book of Mormon. The woman who was not interested at all before really opened up in that lesson. Since then, she has begun really keeping appointments and taking the Book of Mormon with her to work and reading it on her breaks. This last Saturday evening, she came to the Branch Christmas party and loved it! Right now, she's going to visit her baby in the hospital in Spokane every Sunday, but she will get him back on January 18th. She said that after that, she wants to come to church! We're so excited for her and Luis.

We're also excited that we found, late Sunday night, two amazing new investigators. They live in a part of our area where previous missionaries have said there are no Spanish-speaking people. However, we felt like we needed to go there, and we found 5 houses of Spanish-speaking people! In the very last house, right before calling it a night, we found Indalecio and Maria! They are young parents who currently adhere to the Catholic faith. However, They have amazing questions and are really excited to begin looking into the Book of Mormon.

Love you all! Sorry this was so short and lame. Bye!

Love,

Elder Adams

Questions from Editor Mom

Hi Ben! - Hi Mom!

How was the Christmas party? What was the best part? - I loved the Christmas party! It was amazing! There were at least 20 non-members there, which is incredible for this branch! We also had 2 of our investigators come. I'll definitely fill you in more on them in the big email.

Note: Haha! You meant the Mission Christmas Gathering. I was talking about the Branch Christmas party. :-) The Mission Party was epic. We watched a movie called "Freetown" about missionaries trying to escape Liberia during the Liberian Civil War. They all about died a lot of times, and it was an impressive story of faith. It was a very intense movie. I also got to see Elder Fordham again, which made me very happy.

Do mid-transfers affect you, your district, or your zone? - Yes, they do. Elder Buchanan, an Elder in our district, is going home today. He was trained by one of my favorite people ever, Elder Call (one of my first Zone Leaders, who I lived with my entire time in Wenatchee). His companion, Elder Reusch, is going to do one of three things: stay, leave, or receive a new companion. If he stays, he will be with us in a triple companionship (or "tri-pan"). We will all almost certainly temporarily move to their apartment. If he leaves, we will probably just temporarily take over their area. We would probably move to their apartment in that case as well. If he receives a new companion, everything will stay more-or-less the same.

Do you have any exciting plans this week? - Not really, except having Christmas Eve and teaching some BOMB-SAUCE AWESOME people! I'm super excited for that!

Are you doing any caroling in your district or zone? What are you singing? - We're probably caroling, but it's probably just going to be from the hymnbooks.

Are you staying warm? - Yep!

Have you had interviews with President Lewis? If so, tell us about them! - Yes, I had interviews! They were great! I talked mostly about our Christmas traditions with Sister Lewis, and got my temple recommend renewed with President Lewis. I also asked how to be an even more effective missionary, and got some great advice. I'll save it for later, though (for time's sake).

Sister Lewis advised us to be talking to you about our Christmas call. Have you figured out where you will be and when you will call on Christmas Eve to discuss the details yet? I hope we'll be able to Skype reliably. How long is the call supposed to be? - I know where we will be. We will be with the Luna family (Sister Luna is actually from Massachusetts). I don't know when I'll call on Christmas Eve. We can call right after church, which will be around 12:30-1:00 our time. That's about 3:30-4:00 pm your time, if I'm not mistaken.

What did you talk about in your District meeting this last week? - We didn't have one this last week (because of the Christmas Party.

What are you doing to spread Christmas cheer? How are you implementing the Light the World program? - We're trying to share #LIGHTtheWORLD with everyone we can! Admittedly, we're not the best at sharing it all the time because of everything else to talk about.

I love hearing about your thoughts and experiences, so share anything that comes to mind, please. And send pictures! :-) - I'll try to! Love you!

Elder Adams
 

Pictures from Sis. Lewis




Sis. Lewis asked each missionary to describe their family's Christmas traditions, and to tell what they plan to do this year as a missionary.  Ben wrote:

Elder Adams:  We take Christmas Seriously.  We have lots of Advent calendars–about 10 and lots of decorations inside.  We get a live tree, heavily decorated.  We make lots of German treats and celebrate the 4 Sundays before Christmas with treats and hot chocolate.  We also celebrate St Nicolaus Day on Dec 6th, putting our shoes out and getting stuff to use during the Christmas season (chocolate, ornaments).  In the week before Christmas we carol to about 50 people–family and friends.  Christmas Eve we light candles on our Christmas tree, turn out the lights and sing carols with hot Cocoa and cookies.  We have a nice dinner and a live Nativity.  (My parents both lived in Germany–mission and military).  This year I’m making a list, not of who is naughty or nice, but of Christ’s characteristics and attributes.

Sis Lewis texted the following picture directly to Tammy:

Pictures

Our wonderful district after the Branch Christmas Party! Left to Right: Elder Reusch, Elder Buchanan (who just left for the Mission Home), Me, Elder Shoemaker, Hermana Birchell (a new missionary), and her trainer, Hermana Burrup. Fun fact: Hermana Burrup is from Richland, WA. That's in Tri Cities, and is also where the mission's main temple is. She's on her mission about 1-2 hours away from her house.

 ELDER FORDHAM!!!! (He's going home in a few weeks)
 

(Right to left) Elder Hamblin, Elder Shoemaker, and I are getting our packages after the Christmas Gathering

 This is the creepiest family history picture I've ever seen... and it's in the Stake Center.

Pictures from the Mission Christmas Party














Bonus Videos

Try and spot Ben: