Friday, October 28, 2016

Week 22: In which I reconnect with Analy, prepare for a temple visit, and brace for cooler weather.

Cool Story...

Hello, everyone!

So, cool story: it's getting cooler. Also, cool stuff is happening! Because we're going to the temple tomorrow, I have significantly less time to write email today.

We're still working with Juana, and she's doing really great! We're going to meet with her tonight at Bro. Clive's house.

This week, we felt particularly inspired one evening during nightly planning to try by a certain former investigator as a backup for our plans if they fell through. It was pretty clearly a moment of direct revelation, and was strongly confirmed by the spirit. It was very odd; we had only ever talked to this person once, they showed great promise, and they then fell off the face of the earth. We determined that should our plans fall through, we would most definitely stop by this former investigator.

Well, as luck would have it, our plans indeed fell through. We walked with faith and excitement to follow through on the prompting we had received the evening before. We knocked on their door, and while my companion had never met this investigator, my heart leaped for joy when she opened the door! As it turns out, our one visit nearly a full transfer before had needed some time to take full effect. She told us that she was extremely grateful for our help, as we had lifted her up during a particularly difficult time of her life. She told us she had been praying the way we had taught her ever since, and in a later visit (where we taught her again), she informed us she also has been trying to read in the Book of Mormon each night when she finds some peace before going to bed! She then said that she has felt a lot more peace and happiness in her home and in her life since beginning to pray the way we taught her. She had clearly been influenced by the spirit.

We were blown away. This is an investigator who we had only seen once before, and that significantly more than a month ago! Finally, she told us that she has felt she needs to go to church, but doesn't know anyone at any churches here in Wenatchee. She then asked us if she could come to our church, since she already knows us. She asked for the address, and we gladly gave it to her.

We returned on Saturday to teach her, and are going back again on Wednesday to continue. She sadly did not come to church this last week, but finding her, seeing the changes she chose to make in her life, and helping her understand that we can help her find even more joy has been one of the most inspiring moments of my life to this point. I know that if we really dedicate ourselves, in planning and in practice, we can receive revelation to help us in this work.

By the way, you may be interested to know who this investigator is. I told you about our first miraculous meeting in my August 29th email. Her name is Analy.

I am constantly humbled by the grandeur of the work of the Lord. Truly, the plan our Heavenly Father has for us is perfect to every detail.

I love you all, and wish you all the very best!

Elder Adams
Questions from Editor Mom:
Still butt freezingly cold? - Well, yeah. Hasn't gotten warmer. It's the good kind of cold (that I like).
Do you have a cello in your apartment? - Yep, cello in the apartment, thought that will not be the norm. Haven't been able to return it for a while.

Anything we could send for your investigators or compadres? - Not that I can think of immediately, no.

Boots still comfy? - Um, sadly, my black dress boots, while still very comfy, began falling apart early in the week. I am now just wearing my brown shoes you sent me. This incessant walking is destroying my footwear!

Temple trip? - Tomorrow; I can't do the initiatories for the family name you sent, but I plan to call the temple so they can send someone through to do those before me so I can do the endowment for them.

Checked the boxes? - Yep. People tried to put money in them, and nothing else yet. We plan to put out some other boxes as well for a free english class the church holds.

Bikes yet? - Nope. We've got some, but they're in really bad repair. We can't ride them according to mission standards.

Ward activities? - Not too many right now, mainly the upcoming trunk-or-treat.

Elder Boren, trying to avoid this picture:

Me, with some awesome finger-less mittens that a member here knits for missionaries, as well as beanies. Also, Elder Call is behind me doing his Elder Call thing.
From a while back, we walked for a tiny bit on this bridge one P-Day. It's pretty, I guess.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Week 21: In which I hang with the Villalobos family, meet Jefferson, and help Juana commit to baptism

I think we need a bigger building...

Aaaaand another week bites the dust. They are just flying by! This week was super, super cool. There have been a ton of miracles. We are still teaching Lady and Juana. We've also found a lot more really awesome people. I don't even know where to begin!

Well, let's start from the very beginning (it's a very good place to start). We were able to stop by Juana last Monday with the Carreras. She seemed pretty hesitant to make too many commitments, but we just left her again with an invitation to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Since then, we've also been visiting Lady. We also had a second visit with her son, Jesus. She keeps forgetting to read and doesn't really want to pray with us, but we're working with her. She's pretty awesome!

Friday, we went by some awesome members here, the Villalobos family. They're super cool. We taught the Restoration to them, and promised them that names would come to their minds. By the end of the short lesson, Brother Villalobos was in tears. The spirit was very strong. He told us he actually had a good friend come to his mind whom he wanted to invite over to his house to listen to the missionaries. His friend lives in the area of the other elders, so we let them know and we hope that good things come of that.

This last Saturday, we were walking to try to meet with someone who was potentially interested, and we walked past a house I remembered. A while ago, we had helped the people there move a couch into the house from outside. They seemed pretty nice, but we had never really gone back. As we walked past Saturday, I felt that we needed to knock that door and ask how they were doing.

We knocked the door, and said hello. When I looked in, I mentioned that I recognized the couch, and immediately a young man stood up from off the couch and invited us in. His name is Jefferson. As it turns out, he had moved relatively recently from El Salvador. While in El Salvador, his dad had actually been studying with the missionaries! However, their family had to move and came here without his dad. He seemed super interested in the message of the restoration. He said that recently, he'd actually been wondering a lot which of all the churches was the true church that Christ established. He said he totally wanted to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. He then asked us if there was a time we could come back to talk more!

Yesterday, a member of the ward (congregation) here invited one of their cousins to attend church! I sat next to him the whole time to help him feel more comfortable and answer his questions. His name is Angel. As it turns out, he lives right in the middle of the area where we work! We're going to try going by him tonight.

Finally, last night, we went by Juana Gonzalez again (she had been busy before). We brought another member, Brother Wengreen, with us. She then told us that she had actually read a tiny bit in the Book of Mormon! We then taught her about the Plan of Salvation. When we asked her how she felt, she responded "It's true. That is what God has done." The spirit was totally there, and she agreed that when she got her answer about the truth of the Book of Mormon through prayer, she would be baptized! She agreed to the 12th of November as a goal. She then asked us if we have church on Sunday, and Bro. Wengreen invited her to come and offered to stop by with his wife beforehand so they could go together and show her where it is and things. It's been so awesome!

This week has truly been full of great blessings. It's pretty amazing, really. I've been able to see quite clearly many foundations being laid for a long, long time. Now, it feels that even as the apple harvest continues, we are finding more and more people who have been prepared and are ready to be gathered together.

I love it here! I love all of you, and all the people here. They're so great.

Lots of love,
Elder Adams


Q&A from Editor Mom:

Just a few questions this week, because I'm on my phone in a bus. You know how that goes....

Boots and shoes holding up?
Boots and shoes: check.
Tell me about your interview.
Interview: Sweet. Basically, talked a bit with President and Sister Lewis (separately) about the work here and the gospel. It was really cool! They're both such great people. We could totally end up family friends after my (and their) mission! Also, you would love the Clives. I already mentioned Bro. (Sterling) Clive. They're a young family, and just the kind of people who tend to end up family friends, too.
Socks comfy?
Socks: Heaven.
Having fun?
Fun: Check.
Getting along?
Getting along: Check
Warm enough?
Temperature: Butt-freezingly cold. But I love it, and am plenty prepared just in case.
Love: return to sender (while keeping my share, of course) ;-)
Pictures copied from the Mission President's Wife's blog, and from Ben's companion's blog:

The Mission President's wife texted this photo to Tammy:

Photos posted on the Mission President's Wife's Blog:

The following photo came with this caption.  The Mission President's Wife asked each missionary what they most enjoyed from the recent General Conference of the LDS Church:

Elder Adams:  I loved the talk about prayer and the Inca bridge at Machu Pichu.  We need to follow spiritual promptings when they come, and then follow through with our actions.  Loved Elder Rasband’s talk on Faith and the feeling I got when he said, “You know what to do, now do it!”  We must keep building our faith and use our faith to keep going.  Humility + Faith = Miracles!

The following was posted on Elder Boren's blog:  (Elder Boren is Ben's companion)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Week 20: In which I lose Jorge, find Lady and Juana, and teach with a Mexican polka accompaniment

Helloooo, my wonderful family and dear friends! I am happy to report that I am indeed still alive and walking on my own two feet. This was a triumph. This week, Elder Boren and I have been working on continually finding more people, and while some of the people we've met before have since disappeared, we've met some really, really cool people this last week!

Sadly, despite our best efforts, we have been entirely unable to find or contact Jorge again. He seems to have fallen of the face of the earth. However, we have met two really awesome new people! Their names are Lady and Juana. Juana is also a lady, but Lady is the name of a different lady. We've had a couple of really cool lessons with both of them, and they seem to be starting to get really interested in the things we're sharing with them! It's so refreshing to be able to actually start teaching people proper lessons again. I'm making a note here: huge success. As the next week unfolds, I am confident we are going to see even more miracles take place.

With Lady, we shared the message of the restoration, and she told us that she would like to get baptized, she just wants to know more and find out for herself. That's so exciting for us! It's hard to overstate my satisfaction. We are going to be going by her again tonight, when we'll get to follow up on the things she said she'd do last time. I know that as she takes the time and remembers to read and pray, she will feel that confirmation in her heart. We're not anywhere near perfect teachers, but we do what we must because we can. It's a really cool thing, being able to be out here helping people as much as our strength allows us.

With Juana, we taught her really briefly the first time, but when we returned last night, we again shared the story of the restoration. Unfortunately, as the lesson began, her husband and some of his friends were outside working on their cars and blasting really loud Mexican-type music (similar to a polka). It was really hard to feel the spirit, since it was so distracting. We tried to invite him to join us, but he declined. As a result, we were just stuck there on the porch trying to teach a lady while this really loud tuba blared in the background to a romantic Mexican polka. Inconceivable!

As we stood there talking, I just thought in my head, "This just isn't going to work. This weird Mexican polka is just way too distracting. I mean, I can hardly concentrate myself, and it's got to be impossible for Juana! Man, if only that speaker would break, or the music would somehow stop, or if only somehow, this distraction would just disappear."

It was then that I remembered some of our earlier training sessions on faith. Just earlier that week, we had had a large meeting with all of the missionaries in this area. The two Zone Leaders, who live with us, felt that they should focus the meeting on faith. I had also been studying the subject in my own time. I then realized that there was only one thing to do: pray in faith.

In that moment, with all of these nearly impossible distractions creating chaos around us, I said a small but sincere prayer. I prayed that somehow, we might teach the lesson in peace. That perhaps if the music were to stop, if the car that was playing it were to leave, or that somehow, it would be muffled completely. I prayed for that, and simply prayed with faith that if we were to continue trying to teach and not give up to try again later, God our Heavenly Father would answer that prayer.

So, we just kept teaching. We taught through the noise. We taught quite a bit about ancient prophets, about Christ and his ministry on the earth, and about how the church He established was lost. As we began to share the story of how that same church was restored, I suddenly realized that there was no music. It had stopped! Not only had it stopped, but it had stopped right as we began to share the most special and powerful part of our message. It never came back. There were no more distractions, but just ample room for the Holy Spirit to testify of the truth of the things we shared. It was a powerful experience for me, and it was also powerful for Juana. After we invited her to read the evidence of that restoration, or the Book of Mormon, she said that it actually looked familiar. As it turns out, she had one in the back of her house. We invited her to start reading it and to pray to know if all of the things we had shared were good, true, and of God. She agreed, and said she would actually like to do all of that. Finally, at the end, and with our help, she said a wonderful prayer. She told us she definitely felt something good.
She even invited us to return the next day: today. We said we might bring some friends of ours who aren't missionaries. I am so excited for this evening, when we will be able to help her understand the significance of all of what we have already shared. It's a lot to take in, for sure! Tonight, we will be passing by with two amazing and strong members of the congregation here, Xavier and Jessica. Their testimonies will affirm the amazing experiences Juana has already had.

This week has brought so many blessings, and Elder Boren and I are so excited to be able to watch the progress of these two wonderful children of God, as well as many others who are ready to hear and accept the restored Gospel. It brings me a lot of joy, principally because of the joy it brings others.

Well, those are the highlights of this week. It's been a really cool one! I love you all, and I love this wonderful mission here in Yakima. I love Wenatchee.

Ciao! Nos escribiremos!


Elder Adams

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 19: In which I teach Jorge, fall off my chair, and receive skulls in the mail

Pues, esta ultima semana ha sido fantastico! Estoy tan animado por la proxima. Estoy seguro que muchas bendiciones veniran muy pronto. Hoy, quiero ablar de muchas cosas, pero espisificamente de una persona (realmente dos, porque tambien quiero hablar de mi companero), una corta historia chistosa, y un evento. Lo siento a las personas (como mi madre) quien hablan bien espanol. Por la mayoria aqui in Wenatchee, personas hablan espanglish, entonces es possible que mi espanol no es bien correcto.

[Well, this last week has been fantastic! I am very excited for the next. I am sure that many blessings will come very soon. Today, I want to talk about many things, but specifically about a person (really two, because I also want to talk about my companion), a short, funny, story, and an event. I'm sorry to the people (like my mom) who speak Spanish well. Mostly, here in Wenatchee, people speak Spanglish, so it is possible that my Spanish is not really correct.]

So, first off I'd like to tell you all about Jorge. Jorge is a super cool guy; Elders Aguirre, Call and I met him at his mom's house (remember Leonor?) Monday when we were coming back for an appointment with her. She unfortunately wasn't there, but Jorge was. After talking for a few minutes on his porch, he expressed to us how he wants to make good choices in his life, but just doesn't know how to overcome the obstacles in the way. We simply shared with him our own testimonies of how our message and the Gospel of Jesus Christ can really help him to know how to overcome those obstacles. After all, that's our job as missionaries!
When we went inside, we just taught a simple lesson on prayer. At the end, he offered a really heartfelt prayer to God pouring out his soul in thanks and in pleas for help. It was pretty powerful. He then thanked us for coming and helping him and invited us to return. We set the appointment for Wednesday.
When Elder Boren and I came back Wednesday, he was there waiting for us. He immediately invited us into the house and we started the lesson with a prayer. He then eagerly engaged as we shared with him most of the message of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He had a lot of really awesome questions for us, and we did our best to help him with those. He had some doubts about prophets, but we felt inspired to share Amos 3:5 with him and invite him to pray about the truth of Joseph Smith's call as a prophet. He accepted. When we were setting up a return appointment, he said that he wouldn't be free the next day because he was going to go to church, but that he wants us to return this week. We then set up an appointment for tonight. We'll see how it goes! I hope we're able to help him out with his questions and help him find his own answers.
Now, it's time I talk a bit about Elder Boren. Yes, Elder Boren, who recently came from Sunnyside training a new missionary. Elder Boren, who's from Dallas, TX and really likes photography. He's looking to be an electrical engineer after his mission. He's already been to a semester of community college. He's a great missionary, and an excellent example. He has a lot of knowledge about the Gospel and about missionary work. He's on the quieter side, which is very different from Elder Aguirre, but honestly, it's super awesome. When he speaks, he knows exactly what he's saying. We've started talking a bit more as companions, and I personally feel this next transfer is going to be a great one.
It was actually kind of funny: during studies this last week with Elder Boren, I was rocking back and forth in my chair while discussing the needs of our area. However, I quickly learned from experience the errors of my ways. You see, I am a bit too heavy to safely be rocking in a rolling chair. As a result, the chair started to heave in a backwards motion with just a tad too much force. I had a good 4 seconds for the realization of my imminent fate to register. After about a second, my face registered sudden concern in the middle of talking about the area. About a second later, my eyes widened as I started leaning forward in an attempt to balance out. By the third second, I started to go down like a damaged zeppelin while murmuring "Oh noooooo." Finally, the chair fell backwards, swiveling, directly into the wall. Thankfully, no damage was done to me, the wall, or the chair. However, it was quite loud. The other elders asked me afterwards why they heard such a long series of clunks, grunts, and expressions of surprise. As it turns out, it wasn't actually me swinging a cow around hitting things. That would be silly. It was a chair, not a cow.

This last week, I got a few packages from my family and friends. I even got one from the Activity Days girls from my ward back home (it's basically like cub scouts, but for girls). Thank you so much, it was so fun to get those little notes from home! It was a bit humorous to see the expressions on the other missionaries when they saw that one of the packages contained 3 realistic chocolate skulls.
Finally, we had the amazing opportunity to hear the chosen servants of the Lord speak this last weekend during my first General Conference here on my mission. One thing I learned is that we should really focus on the simple things. We shouldn't have "itching ears", even for things in the Gospel that it's not time for us to understand yet. We should just focus on building our faith in the simple, glorious basic truths. We should find joy in those truths. If ever we doubt, that's all right! Just don't ever forget that first love, that first testimony.
I know that The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple and brings joy. I know that it has been restored through Joseph Smith. I know that by the power of God given to him, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, which I know is another testament of Jesus Christ. I know it is true. I add my witness to those of the prophets, those of other missionaries, and those of countless others. I know that innumerable blessings and immeasurable joy can come through this restored Gospel. I love this work, and can't wait for the next week! Hasta la pasta!
Much love and good wishes,
Elder Adams
P.S. I forgot my camera this week. Sorry.
[Additional questions from Editor Mom.  Note: In recent weeks, the mission president's wife had posted a pretty complete picture of who is serving where in the mission, and with whom.  The editors of this blog recreated this "Transfer Board" in an effort to better understand what's going on throughout the mission.  Elder Adams refers to this below.]

Q: Tell me about your new companion. (You knew I'd ask this.) :-) 
A: Well, judging by Dad's letter, you probably know more than I do. ;-) For real though, I'll tell you a bit in the weekly email.

Q: Any luck finding people to teach?
A: Well, actually, yes. We're still mostly doing finding, but we were able to start teaching someone. I'll tell you about them in the email.

Q: Are you following the rules and getting up on time?
A: Psh! What do you think? Of course I am! Siempre!

Q: Have you gotten your packages?: socks, boots, and the other one?
A: Yes, yes, yes! Thank you so, so much! They were all so awesome! It's a bit funny how it all worked out, though. The other missionaries in the apartment had never seen gourds used for decorations I don't think, and were pretty weirded out by them. They just saw weird, slightly moldy, warty vegetables. Then, when you sent the next package with the chocolate skulls, we didn't immediately realize they were chocolate (or even edible). So, basically, I got a package with some weird random moldy vegetables followed by a package with 3 skulls. Finding out we were supposed to eat them was actually even funnier.
Finally, to add to all of that, we found out you've been recreating the transfer board and stalking us. ;-) It was just kind of funny to see everyone start trying to connect dots and starting to feel slightly uneasy about things. I mean, there are four of us, one of me, and 3 skulls... It's been super fun. :-D

Q: Can you believe that over 1/6th of your mission is over? (The time will go by faster and faster--I promise.)
A: Believe me, yes. I don't exactly want to think too much about it. It's even weirder to realize that I have but one summer left.

Q: Have you thought about how you might use your talents to bring people to Christ? Don't be afraid to plan a special activity that members can bring their friends to, for example.
A: Yes, it has occurred to me. We haven't yet found an opportunity to do exactly that yet, but there have been a few really good Choripan and Carne Asada cookouts which have been... delicious. Also with non-members and presentations about how the gospel can bless people's lives and things. So at least that! I've mentioned it a few times, but not that much.

Q: Did you enjoy conference?
A: Hmm, I don't know. I think there were too many speakers and not enough singing.
Psh, of course I did! It was fantastic! I had so many opportunities to learn. It's super intense, but also really a great opportunity. I suppose I can talk a little more in the main email.

Love you a ton!