Tuesday, December 17, 2013

So I was like, “okay,” and I did.

The first thing I can think of, happened about a week ago.  The first part is studies, when I received a super strong prompting to study The Plan of Salvation, so I was like, “Okay,” and I did.  Then we biked out to visit some investigators, who lived down on Camp Street by the waterfront.  But, for whatever reason, we seriously could not find the street.  People gave us crazy directions.  Elder P’s GPS would tell us to leave Harrisburg, it was nuts.  Super discouraging, but finally we found Camp St.  I realized that I had switched the addresses – instead of the people we had meant to see, we had the address of an old referral who hadn’t been super interested the last time we stopped by.  But, we were already there, and it had taken forever, so we tried the door.  She opened it, let us come in, and was super glad we stopped by.  She had a ton of questions about our purpose here on earth and what happens after we pass away, which was what I had been compelled to study that morning.  So it was really incredible! We were guided to where we needed to be at that time. Awesome!

Another new thing is Elder P! He’s from ID, been out for just under a year.  So far, we haven’t had any contention or anything because he is just really laid back.  He doesn't want to cause waves, I guess, so he just goes with it.  Which is good because this area is way different from his last one, and I’ve been taught how to do things differently from other missionaries I guess, just because we teach so many lessons here in Harrisburg. 

The other thing is that he is not a Spanish elder.  And with Elder L gone, the weight of our Spanish lessons (which have picked up lately) is all on me.  So, I’ve been studying way harder.  It’s been way tough.

So, I had been out on a team up with Brother T and we had been trying to locate a Carmen M, a less active member from Peru.  We had the address, knocked on the door, and a woman named Carmen let us in, all excited about the missionaries, who had met with her in the past.  So we taught her, and she was enthusiastic, so we came back a week after.  As we taught her and her brother and sister-in-law, she told us she didn't think she had ever been a member of the church, which was weird.  (All this in Spanish, by the way.)  And things like Joseph Smith and the Book Of Mormon all seemed really new to her.  So, we asked the ward council about Carmen M, and they told us about some much older lady with a 20-year-old son.  So it turns out that this was a new Carmen M, who had moved into the same house, who had previously met with missionaries.  So now, this Carmen M is our new investigator!

Love,

Elder Wright

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Bike Shop


I’m kind of holding my breath that something crazy happens.

So, last Sunday when we did our weekly call in report to our district leader, he asked, as he always does, what did we want to learn about in district meeting.  I said “How to Begin Teaching,” which is a section on page 187 of Preach My Gospel” that we use to establish a relationship with those we teach.  So Elder D. says, “Okay, you’ll teach that.”  So I taught at district meeting last week on “How to Begin Teaching” and it was pretty awesome!  Showed a clip from Elder Holland and just discussed everything.  So that was cool and taught me to never respond when asked what I want to learn.

So on Thursday I was in Hershey on exchange with Elder D. as well.  I’m pretty glad I am in a walk area because there is so much dead time just driving to appointments.  Though I guess the trade off is you don't freeze, but anyways, we had got a legit media referral for this Chinese guy named Y. L. He grew up in Mainland China before coming to Penn State and had no concept of God or religion or anything.  So we did some “How to Begin Teaching” and asked him to pray if there was a God.  He did, and then we had the inspired idea to have him pray again, in Mandarin.   He was worried because he didn't know how to say things like “Heavenly Father” or “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen," but I said, “Well, I know that grandfather in Mandarin is Y Yea Yea, so just address him as father.” He was like, “Ok.” So he did it, then stood up and was like, “I feel something peaceful, and happy.  I think it is God.”   Wham! Legit!

In other news, work with less actives is just taking off.  It’s so cool, seeing these hearts soften and people gradually return to church.  The N family for one.  We really want J to start getting prepared for a mission, and so we’ve been working with him.  And Sister N just got a new and better job, so we told her, “Look, you start coming to church and see what happens.”  We’ve also seen Sister M, who hasn't been to church in decades, just start coming.  That’s been awesome.  She has two young teenage kids as well; who we’ll start teaching the discussions once she is more solid.  They are pretty into mutual though, so that’s cool.

At the bike shop, I learned how to fix brakes, totally, like completely taking them off and replacing them with better ones.  R. the guy who does all of it is pretty cool.  He’s older and has a pretty Pennsylvanian accent (something not too common in the inner city) and he just rattles off analogies all the time, it’s pretty funny.  But he is a bike genius, he can basically fix anything, and he is really willing to help out.  By the way, we're going there Saturday mornings now because it works better with our schedule, which is pretty dandy, except freezing, because it is not heated.  It's pretty bare bones.  It’s a bummer it gets broken into so frequently, because the bikes that are there, that he sells and repairs, are so cheap! But that’s the way life goes.  Oh well.

So the Harrisburg Inter Faith Council is Wednesday night at the chapel; it’s like a big old service with tons of religions, from Buddhists to Muslims to everything.  We (the missionaries) are passing donation baskets for a scholarship that the council sponsors.  So that’ll be unique, for sure.  I’m kind of holding my breath that something crazy happens. 

I love you all!
Elder Wright

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Farewell

                                           Elder L was transferred to Pittsburgh this week.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pretty, cool...

                                                    So, Elder Street is in Harrisburg,
                                                     And Wright Ave is in Gettysburg.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I realized how much I missed history and stuff!

The  BIG thing that's happening is TRANSFERS. I'm not leaving. But Elder L is. We kind of expected it, c'mon, the guy's been here 9 months. But it's still sad. He's going out to Pittsburgh and he'll be a District Leader out there. I still don't know who I'll be with. I got recommended to train but there aren't very many missionaries coming in right now, so I won't be. I'm a bit bummed. But it's ok!  So I'm here, no word on who my new comp will be yet. But should be exciting, I just really hope the guy has a serious work ethic and dedication. This is a busy area; I know I was (and sometimes am) exhausted by the end of the day a lot. I'm kind of nervous, because Elder L and I are at a point where we're working super well together and I don't really want someone completely new to adapt to!  But we'll see.I'm pretty excited on the one hand for a new companion to shake things up and stuff, but it'll be stressful and tough to get him up to speed on everything and get to a united point. But we'll see. I'll find out tomorrow, so you'll have to wait a week!
Highly typical to get no warning. We were with the Zone Leaders when they got the calls, and when they gave the calls too. It's pretty blunt. But Elder B is leaving, and so that means there’ll be a new ZL as well. And Elder D is leaving so we'll get a new DL as well, probably my companion. So there'll be a bunch of new faces showing up. 
So, Gettysburg: I kind of wrote a lot about it in the letter. But basically it was really cool! We did the free stuff, mostly because we didn't have that much time. So we saw part of the museum but didn't go to all the things, which was a bit of a bummer. I would have loved to see it all again. But Bro V was a one-man tour, he just showed us all the important things on the battlefield, talked about strategy and troop movements, and provided tons of trivia. The civil war was pretty sad because families and friends were just fighting against each other! There's one monument to a general who died in Pickett's Charge, who as he lay bleeding out, asked to see one of the opposing generals, with whom he had been best friends. He was informed that was impossible because his friend lay dead on the ground about 20 yards away. Pretty sad, right? And we took loads of pictures. I'll get them to you in the next email. It was LEGIT! I realized how much I missed history and stuff! It was a long day, but we got to run around a lot at Devil's Den and so we had a truly great time.
So Thanksgiving was awesome! We had the Turkey bowl in the morning, not a huge turnout though because it was freezing! But still fun. Elder B loves football with a passion, so he had the time of his life. After, went to the M's for dinner. They live in the ZL's area, a less active family but super nice. Sister M refers to us, instead of THE missionaries, as HER missionaries. So that's pretty fun. We ate a decent plate there. Had real legitimate pumpkin whoopee pies, by the way! Thought you should know. You can pass that on the Char and Stan.
Then we went to the M's, who also had the L's over. Two super friendly families, just tons of food. We ate a ton there.  Then went to Brother B's apartment. He was kind of in a bad mood but we had a third meal. By this point we were all so terribly stuffed it was almost miserable. I can't recall ever being more full in my life. But then we played Uno with Brother B a bit and he was just having the time of his life! Cheered him right up. So that was pretty good.  And that was Thanksgiving!
 And the winter clothes came pretty much just in time, because now it's pretty dang cold here! It's snowed but nothing heavy yet, nothing's stuck. The only problem is lessons to women when there's not a man present, because we just have to stand outside and teach and it's bitterly chilly! But things are just moving along pretty well!
Love,
Elder Wright

Gettysburg was LEGIT!





Thursday, November 21, 2013

A hot wings eating contest....



So a rite of passage we have in Harrisburg is the Buffalo Wild Wings challenge. It's 12 blazing hot wings in 6 minutes, and it was pure concentrated misery.

Pretty terrifying, right?

Here’s some exciting things that have been happening this week.  
So, in zone training, we learned that we should be inviting our investigators to be baptized in the first lesson.  Seems pretty terrifying, right?  I think that too often, though, we think of baptism for our investigators as the last step.  Really, though, it is the first step into the Kingdom of God and they need to realize that.  

Anyways, I was in Harrisburg, but we were helping out the “drive” elders because all of our night appointments fell through.  So I was with Elder B.  He is really awesome, just friendly and generous and super personable.  We were trying someone they’d met, a 20 year old named J.  He wasn’t home, but his mom was.  She invited us in and was just super impressed that men of our age would be out doing what we’re doing.  We spoke to her by the Spirit and she was really touched.  She has seen the hand of God in her life when she survived a gnarly car wreck, and she was discontented with her church because she feels like it is corrupt and the Bible has been changed.  We shared the message of the restoration, and invited her to baptism.  She just said, “If it’s right, why not?” Then J came  home We briefly talked and extended the same commitment, and he wanted to too!  It was so cool.  I had such a big grin on my face because of them, it was just a great experience.

So have I told you about the N family? We really love them. They're members of the ward that we have set up a weekly appointment with. Brother N is active, he is super enthusiastic about missionary work and he comes out with us on team ups. Sister N is less active, as well as the rest of the family, a 19-year-old son and two younger daughters. It's been really miraculous seeing how they've changed in the last few months. We started trying to see them weekly, and at first you could tell, they weren't huge fans of us coming around so often. (Except Brother Nl.) But we've gotten to know them better and they've opened up to us. They are super warm and friendly now, and they've been to church every week so far in November! Getting them to stay is what we're working on now. We taught them last night, with the Atonement pushup lesson. It's a cool one. First we showed a Bible Video, basically about Christ's Atonement. It was called For God So Loved The World. Then we talked a bit about the Atonement. Then we changed it up. Elder Lozano told everyone they would be offered a piece of candy that they could accept or not. So he offered it to the first daughter, she took it. So he tells me, "Do 10 pushups." The second daughter declines, but I do 10 more pushups. Sister N doesn't want one, but I do 10 more. Brother N takes a chocolate, but I still do the 10. The purpose, as they were led to realize, is that it's like the Atonement. It's always there, Christ suffered for every one of us. We have to accept that, and really use his sacrifice to change for the better. The Atonement is limitless. What is limited is only how much we choose to apply it in our lives. They were really affected. They're going to start staying for all of church, and really kick some bad habits. And I got a nice arm workout from it. It was a great lesson!

So we had a ward activity this past week, the Hoe down! It ended up being a smashing success. We were pretty worried at first though because when it was about to start, there were like two families there. Needn't have worried though. Mormon standard time was in effect, everyone showed up at like 15 minutes after. We played the stick pulling game a bunch and I went bobbing for apples. Also had some intense games of checkers. But what was really great was how many less actives were there! Sister M has been coming out to church a lot after not being even on the radar for years. She is so nice and positive, and I think that once she is fully active then we can begin to teach her children, who haven't been baptized yet. IT's so great to be a missionary! I love it!
~ Elder Wright

Monday, November 11, 2013

So, I just boldly testified....

Dear Family,

So email time is pretty reduced.  So odds are you’ll get more letters.  Yay!  But anyways, this week has been pretty good.  Busy, for sure.  It’s also been unexpectedly warm, which has been super nice.  But that’s over.  Today is cold again.  Anyways, here’s some adventures that have happened.

I gave a blessing in Spanish!  That was pretty intense, it was for this less active lady named M, who is the sister of Sister D.  She just had a baby and was pretty wiped, but the blessing definitely brought in the Spirit, all her kids stopped screeching, and it was pretty intense.  Definitely need to increase my Spanish vocabulary though, I had a stupor of thought for a second where I couldn't think of anything and no words came to mind.  But then, the Spirit took over, which was neat.  

So we also got a media referral this week.  The success rates with these are abysmal, I guess people are pretty surprised missionaries actually show up when they request a visit.  But we contacted this lady who did, and arranged a time to come back.  So we came back, and the first thing the lady says is  “Nope, I’m not interested anymore.”  Some person at her church had told her a bunch of crap about our church, that we didn't believe in Christ and some nonsense.  So, I just boldly testified of Christ, and she was like “oh, you can come in.  I don’t want any pamphlets or your book though. “  So, we came in, and we just kept teaching and testifying until she took a pamphlet.  She wouldn't take a Book of Mormon though.  So we bore testimony of Joseph Smith, how he really was a prophet of God, and she felt the spirit.  So she said, “Okay, I will take a Book of Mormon,” it was super awesome!  Definitely glad for the Spirit’s help in softening her heart, she went from straight up rejecting us to saying she would come to church.  (She didn’t, but we’re working on that.)  It was great.

In other news, we followed another great prompting and got another new investigator.  It’s for the other elders though because she is just outside of our area.  But we had several appointments fall through, and I was leading that day.  I got this strong prompting to visit an investigator who lives pretty far away, biking.  But we trekked out there, only to discover that she was, as usual, not home.  So I was feeling pretty discouraged, but Elder D suggested we ask a neighbor if there would be a better time.  So we did.  This lady answers, finds out we are missionaries, and invites us in.  She’s awesome!  Just starting to go back to church and she was super interested in the Book of Mormon.  And she was saying some questions she had that were so well answered by the Book of Mormon, like about infant baptism and other stuff; it was pretty perfect.  I invited her to be baptized and she said she would if she found out that what we had told her was true.  So it was awesome! Yeah! 

Something I have been thinking about recently is how much the gospel can really change people if they let it.  Like K - when I first met him, he was shy, pretty reserved, not much of a smiler.  But at church last Sunday, he was grinning, talking to people, really enjoying other’ people’s company and coming out of his shell.  And R, a guy who was recently baptized by the “drive” elders.  He’s diabetic to the extreme, super big with a full time insulin pump.  But, he’s really loving church, he comes every week and brings his kids.  He is so eager to be there.  Last Sunday, Elder L and I were int he foyer when the sacrament was being passed because we were responding to a phone call.  Halfway through the prayer, 300+ pounds of R come barreling in full steam trying to make it on time.  We had to hold him back and explain he should make a more dignified entrance after the sacrament was completed.  It’;s pretty great though, just seeing people’s lives improve and brighten as they learn about Jesus Christ.  

Keep up the good work, help the missionaries, and read scriptures together!

Love,
Elder Wright

Friday, November 8, 2013

Spoiler, it went awesomely!

     I sent a letter to you on  Wednesday with the thing for Sister E, and how our Halloween went... Spoiler, it went awesomely! But you'll have to wait for that till it gets there. I’ll be writing more letters in the future for reasons I'll explain:
      So a new thing that's happened is that we cannot email at the library anymore. Probably because of disobedience things, but now we can only email when we have supervision at the family history centers. So there are only three computers and 8 elders, and at least 4 elders at any given time. So I’ll be writing more and longer letters.  Really hard to know if I'll have a lot of time or not. 
     That's all a result of last MLC, which the Zone Leaders went to. There was another sweet announcement that we heard about as well but I will wait a bit to tell you that one...HAHA!
     Guess what, I'm basically a chef! We made it a goal to start giving our team-ups something when they go out with us. So I have made brownies, snicker doodles, and red velvet cake. It’s pretty awesome!  We don’t really have tons of supplies so full-on meals are tough, but I have been making rice and beans and eggs and things too. And inventing some cool meals as well.
     Ok. Also to answer your question from a while ago, Yes, I am playing a decent bit of piano. Usually in priesthood when Brother C is out, which is a lot because he has some rough shifts with his medical program he's in. So I get to play the piano a fair amount. It's cool.
     This week has been really good. We’ve been just talking to everyone and it's paying off, we've got four new investigators and a bunch of potentials! 
Love Elder Wright

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Beautiful Pennsylvania

                   Pink water in the fountain at the Capitol building for Breast Cancer Awareness.
                                                                Fall in the parking lot.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Friend, A Calling, and Spiritual Nourishment


Hello! 
Sorry about last email session, I was pretty bummed out. I'm more cheerful today…And in general. The mission is really tough because Satan's going after us every step of the way, but I've got to be more positive and keep my head up even when it's difficult. 
So basically this week was also pretty tough. I led all week, which was majorly stressful, but definitely a learning experience. We had a lot of dropped appointments but the lessons we taught were pretty powerful. Nothing's more discouraging, though, than teaching some great lessons and then watching people not show up to church. 
So here's the lowdown: Last week, K got baptized! That was super cool, he's still doing awesome. He's just really busy because of his work schedule. K also got baptized! That was great, the Spirit was there, and things were awesome. But no one in the family was in church last Sunday. We tried all week, no communication. But on Saturday we were finally able to see them! We were pretty nervous; we weren't sure what the family reception was going to be like. But he high-fives us and the first thing he says is, "So when am I getting the gift of the Holy Ghost?" Last Sunday, E really put his foot down and wouldn't let anyone go to the church. He's really "anti" right now. So that's what we talked to L about and she said she was really going to try to get out there. She's also fine with us to keep meeting with the family. They weren't in church yesterday- disappointing. But we just need to be patient and trust the Lord. I know that He'll provide a way for this all to work out. We just need to trust a little more that it'll happen.
There are so many less actives on the rosters, and it is really hard tracking down if they've moved or not. Man, it's rough! Gordon B. Hinckley says: Every new convert needs a friend, a calling, and spiritual nourishment, and that's so true. They need to be fellowshipped so much!
Yep, I got Nathaniel's letter. Cracked me up! He is such a stud; I knew he'd do great out there. I'm really impressed that there are baptisms going on!
I know trunk or treat is on Tuesday for us. We are not going, I think. That's too bad. I think I'll put out that little pumpkin that I got sent for my birthday. It's not carved but I drew a face on it. And I'm actually not sure about trunk or treat, I think it's allowed but the people wouldn't be in our area anyway so the drive elders probably will. I'll let you know if we do though! On Halloween though, we've got to be in our apartments by 6! And we can't leave. So that day's shot for proselyting. But don't worry; in order to celebrate the spirit of Halloween we're "weekly planning" that night. Should be FUN. Fun like a shot in the mouth.
Man, it is getting cold here! The days are getting darker and it is certainly chilly out. I've been doubling up on socks and I might buy some other gloves today if I can find cheap ones. It was especially rough this week because we weren't having any success with our appointments, so we were biking around all day in the cold, and biking a LOT. (Though that could have been my poor planning skills.) A quick thought about boots. That elder who said they weren't necessary was almost certainly a DRIVE elder. They have nice and cushy cars, like Ford focus's or Legacy's or whatnot. Our zone leaders have a big truck. But we're biking and walking, so I will most certainly need boots. 

Elder Wright

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Three Missionaries walk into a font...

                                                         Using the mirror to take a selfie.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

You can't be a man until you've served in "Harrisburg Walk".


So it was my birthday on Tuesday. That was pretty cool. I wanted to thank the many many many people who sent me cards or packages. We have enough assorted snacks to feed us a month and sugar us into a coma. And all the cards meant a lot too. My companions and the ZL's bought me a nice tie and also the “Challenge Accepted” shirt you saw in the pic. They're really awesome. So anyways as a "birthday present'' Elder L had me lead for the day. Also, we had exchanges that day with the Zone leaders, so I was with Elder B and Elder B. Let's just say it was really hard and stressful. We had plans that fell through and back up plans and I definitely messed some things up. Specifically, directions. But I didn't fail, we taught some really great lessons, and it was pretttty cool.  So that's my birthday! I'm 19 now! And a true man, we've decided, because you can't be a man until you've served in "Harrisburg Walk".
As you saw in the pic, I got a bed! Yay! So for a while, I was just sleeping on an air mattress. That wasn't too bad but sometimes my companions would steal it while I was in the bathroom and I'd have to find it. So we were waiting for Pittsburgh to get one in for me. So then this family we teach- a less active and an investigator husband- randomly asked us if we needed a bed after our lesson. So we were like," SWEET! " So we called up our Zone Leaders, they took the truck out and grabbed my bed, brought it to the apartment. Only problem? It was huge. Like, probably a queen, box spring and mattress. So my sheets didn't fit and it didn't fit. Then, like the next day, we got the call that my bed had showed up. The ZL's had some business down in the area (they had to make reports and stuff) so they drove and picked it up. We built it and it fit, but now we have a giant extra bed in our living room that we don't know what to do with. And Elder B, after serving for 6 months here, finally got his visa to Brazil! He got the call on my birthday! He's leaving us the 22nd, which is wonderful! (And sad.) The only thing is, after he's gone we will have TWO extra beds. Oh well.
 It's been a bit discouraging this week. We've had to push N's baptism again because he's struggling with the Word of Wisdom. I think it could be a good thing though. I think he's been humbled by the difficulty of this addiction, and he fasted the other day to help break the smoking habit. What's tougher is K's date. His dad E is really trying to thwart us, he wouldn't let the Zone Leaders in to interview him and then he kind of cold-shouldered us last night when we went by. So we need to get all that sorted out. 
But K is on for Saturday! He is a golden investigator; he's such a BOSS! There'll be pictures!
Love you a ton,
Elder Wright

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pics from this week.

                              Elder Brady's red pen leaked, so we pretended he had been shot.
                                                     With Elder Brady and Elder Lozano

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013


Conference was so special this broadcast. I wrote a lot about it in my letter I'm sending you, but I'll tell you that every talk had so much spiritual power behind it. Elder Uchtdorf was phenomenal, but I actually also really enjoyed Ulisses Soares, a 70 from the first session. His talk on meekness was really good.
So there's some bad news. We have to delay N and K's baptisms a week. So instead of the 12th, they'll be on the 19th. The reason, most simply, is that they don't have the church attendance they need. So frustrating! But accepting the Lord's will (and the zone leaders will) is what we're doing. And they're so prepared. When we were explaining to K about why the delay of his interview was happening, he was bummed! He was like, “Man! I stayed up last night memorizing the things you can't put in your body because of the Word of Wisdom!" So he's set. And N is really excited about his baptism still too, he came out to Priesthood session on Saturday. Said he thought it was super cool. 
Oh yeah and the other baptism we have on the 19th is K. Can't remember if I've talked about him, but basically he's the definition of a golden investigator. Comes to church and ward activities almost every week, and is very accepting of what we teach. He's a podiatrist, doing his residency actually, so he's super busy with all the odd jobs they give him. But he's really great. It's pretty incredible looking at how God has prepared him for us. He grew up with some Mormon friends, and he would have moved to Texas had he not gotten denied from the program there. So he came to Harrisburg, where he saw the church building and decided to stop in. So that's how he met the missionaries! And that program he wanted in Texas just got shuttered, so you can really see how he's been blessed to be here! Man, missionary work is so cool!
 So Wednesday was crazy! We had a bunch of team ups with the ward, so I was out with another member (Brother T) but not my companions. So we taught B (a less active) about Christ like attributes, and she wasn't really getting into it. She then told us about a lot of struggles she was having right now, and that she had a tumor on her neck. Not cancerous, but giving her crazy migraines. I immediately cut the lesson short and we gave her a priesthood blessing. She had faith in it, and said immediately that she felt better, and more at peace with herself. So that was pretty cool. Our next appointment was W, who is married to a less active, S. They both speak Spanish. Brother T doesn't. So I was understandably nervous. I really had to trust the Spirit as I taught the lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was amazing though. I was filled with inspiration and words and sentences, even verb conjugations, flowed out of me that I certainly could not have remembered on my own. I then invited him to be baptized later in November. He said that he would, and that he would pray about the date. That was so cool. I felt spiritually exhausted by the time the night was over. It was a testimony builder for me of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Elder Wright

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pics from PA

                       Arriving in PA with the other missionaries from the Mexico MTC.
                      The beautiful mission home in Pittsburgh (this is not where Isaac lives)
                                                    Ready to make a run for it any minute.
                                 The missionary closet: "Gee, what shirt should I wear today?"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September 30, 2013 letter


Hey family!
Man that is great that you won a pie! Blessings through service right there! Trust me, I can now say from experience that there are few feelings worse than seeing the meal calendar passed back almost empty. There are a couple families who feed us every week, but I think a lot of people really don't see how much we depend on members to do missionary work. So help the missionaries however you can! I think it's so great that you're doing so much for them already. Trust me, they're grateful. Reach chapter 13 in PMG, it's pretty clearly laid out by President Hinckley. Pretty rebuking! 
So our district taught a ton of lessons this past week. That is really really good. It's the best in the district history and it's because everyone is really stepping it up big time. I know that we've been squeezing out every hour of productivity that we can from our day!  
N is such a solid investigator! I just wish he'd be able to get to church but part of that is that he doesn't have a car and depends on L for a ride. But he's quit all his addictive behaviors, he's fine with all the commandments (though surprisingly  monthly fasting is the hardest for him) and he is so eager to get baptized. To prepare him for baptism, we asked him the baptismal interview questions. One was, Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is true? or something like that. He just shoots back, "I don't believe it's true. I know it is, with every part of my being." Goes on to bear incredible testimony. It was great. Also, he refers to Christ and his disciples as JC and the Boys. It's pretty hilarious.
Ok fine a quick story.
So K is N's nephew, he's the son of L(a less active) who's living with E (a kind of investigator.) Clear? Anyways, he's getting baptized on the 12th, and there are still some of the big commandments we needed to teach him. So, Friday we taught Word of Wisdom. E kept coming in and trying to bash us with the New Testament, but I shut him down by explaining how his scripture actually supported our statement instead of his. So he left, which was good. AND we taught Law of Chastity to him, a 10 year old kid, with his mom (who's not living it) in the room. Aca-awkward, right? But he totally felt the spirit like a boss, and straight up asked his mom why she wasn't living it? She sputtered out some excuse about not knowing about it, and he was like, "Well, you know about it now!" He's so cool! I love him! 
Picked up three new investigators this week! I'll briefly talk about them. First was D. We'd taught him once but then he went off the grid. Randomly saw him on the street, wearing a dress. He said it was a joke but didn't elaborate any further. But anyways. He is interested in every academic way, which is nice because he will listen and try to understand, but frustrating because it's hard to pinpoint where his real desire comes from. He felt like it was a sign from God, though, that he asked to come to church on the week where Gen Conference was scheduled and we could hear the prophet’s words. So that was cool. Also, H, an ex-con who wants to change his life. Really enthusiastic to learn about Christ and took a Book of Mormon first time we talked to him. So that was great. We're meeting with him twice a week. Finally M, who's N's cousin. It's miraculous to see how that family is being influenced by the Gospel and is strengthening each other. So many small miracles throughout the week! 
I wish I had more time! But also I popped my tube on my bike, and then the brakes stopped working on the back and the seat fell off. So there are some repairs that need doing. But the work is good! 
Love you, Elder Wright

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Letter and a BIRTHDAY request


Isaac's birthday is coming up in two weeks, on October 8.  It would be so nice if people would send him a card.  I just learned that sometimes missionaries only have 30 minutes on the computer to both read and write emails, and they run out of time to read what they receive, so a real card in the mail would be a very nice gesture, that I know he will appreciate. Even better, throw in a simple recipe in your card  …see below.

Thanks!
His Mom

Elder Isaac Wright
3300 Union Deposit Road
Apartment A-105
Harrisburg, PA 17109

The news for this week:


Here's the down low. Basically, no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing! I'm working harder than I've ever had and it is paying off. Even though so many of our lesson plans fall through and so many people bail on us, the work is still just great! We taught 27 lessons this week, which is super high! And we have two people committed to baptism on the 12th, N who I told you about and his nephew K! Plus more the next week! 
On Wednesday we did exchanges with New Bloomfield. That means that Elder L and I went down to their area and met up with Elder H, and Elder G went to Harrisburg to work with Elder B. It helps shake things up, exposes us to new teaching styles, and gives Elder L (district leader) a chance to see how other missionaries are doing. I am super glad we're in a "walk" area after spending a day as a "drive" missionary. It's so hard to talk to people and I feel like so much time is wasted getting from place to place. Plus less exercise! But since I'm a Spanish missionary most likely I'll be in walk/bike areas most of my mission. 
To just answer your questions- when we cook, we do it really quickly; we don't want to just waste time that we could be teaching. So microwaved stuff, or basic things on the stove like quesadillas or beans and rice. And the first week, we had like three dinner appointments bail, so we were doing a lot of our own stuff. But last week, a bunch of member dinners. So we ate like kings!
Our neighborhood is nice, but we do most of our Work in Area 3, which is inner-city and sketchy as heck! Ghetto! 
Real fast, things that I need:
 Maybe mail some simple recipes that can be made with basic ingredients? I don't know, I'm getting tired of ramen. 
We had zone conference on Friday. It happens every three months, it was super cool to meet a bunch of other missionaries. We learned a bunch of things, but what really stood out to me was grace. It is such a miraculous concept! Read Brad Wilcox's talk on it, and then the one by Elder Bednar. It will change your perspective on the Atonement. Also, go to Mormonchannel.org! It is honestly so cool! And a great way to share. There's one investigator named E, the husband in a part member family. He likes missionaries but is hard to convince to do anything. We were having a hard time with him, but showing him the Mormon message on fatherhood was super cool and helped him open up to us. So use those too!
Also help the missionaries in any way you can. If there's something I've figured out, (PMG Ch. 9) it's that members mean everything. Fellowshipping new members, having missionaries for dinner, giving them rides, going out with them. If they're not asking the ward for these things, they should be. They should know who needs help, and if you help them you will open the doors to incredible missionary work. When members are resistant to ideas or push back when we suggest things, it just kills us. So help them! God knows they need it! 
Quick story: Teaching K, an investigator with a baptismal date. He desires to believe but doesn't just yet. After the lesson was very I was prompted to ask him to share his testimony. I Thought, "No that's stupid". Then the Spirit was like,  "DO IT ISAAC" so I asked him. His testimony was simple and short but grew in the bearing of it! Go Holy Ghost! Listen to the Spirit!
One more quick story. So Elder B is one of our zone leaders, he lives directly above us. He turned 20 last week. So we cooked a ton of eggs, rice, beans, all that stuff. Tossed some cinnamon, milk, and hot chocolate mix in the blender, made horchata. Then combined chewy candy, PB&J, chocolate syrup, Swedish fish, cookies cupcakes and pretzels and made a sweet cake. Wish I could send you pictures, dang it! But next week. He was super stoked and surprised. It was great. It's the little things, honestly, that get you through the tough times. 
Oh yeah! So every Tuesday we do service at this place called Recycle Bicycles. It was started by this one old guy, and basically for the cost of a bike lock you can waltz in and take a bicycle. They're donated in crap condition, but people come by and pick one out that they like, then we fix it up right then, and they take it! For at most, like 6 dollars! So that's cool. I was pretty useless last week but I'm learning how to fix bikes. Which is great! Also we can soup up our own bikes (that's where we got ours from to begin with) so we can keep ours in good shape. I'm going to fix my brakes and maybe add a kickstand to mine tonight. It's fun stuff!
Elder Wright

Monday, September 23, 2013

Word Puzzle from Mexico

                                         This arrived in the mail, it is from the Mexico CCM.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

                                     At Stake Conference with a big plate of cookies from Lynne.

First week in PA


September 16, 2013
Finally I'm on! Man this has been such a long week, and I bet you were dying too! But get ready for the scoop! Though you've probably heard some from Scott and Lynne by now. So, after showing up pretty late to the stake center, we headed back to the mission home. It was Elder O and W and I (the CCM elders) and about 21 missionaries from the MTC. Coming from Mexico made us somewhat celebrities to the other elders, that was pretty cool actually. But President and Sister T are super cool! They're not super uptight and just seem very fresh and funny. President T has super white hair. Very GA-like. 

So the next day we all went back to the Stake Center for more missionary training. I guess that was Tuesday. We knew that there were three Spanish elders in our mission, and so we were trying to figure out who they were and where we'd be serving. Well, I am serving my first transfer in the Harrisburg Walk area! It's legit! I've got two companions, actually, so we've got a tripanionship action going on here. Elder L is my senior companion; he's from New Jersey and is fluent in Spanish! He's super friendly and really has his head in the game. He makes sure we have plans and are busy and is able to keep us constantly improving. He was the one who was there to pick me up. So we were leaving the building and President T asks really quickly if someone can take one of the mission cars down to Harrisburg. Elder L doesn't have a license, so on my first day in the field I pulled off a 4 and a half hour drive from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg. Kind of brutal, but gave me a great chance to get to know one of my comps. And I only got lost once!

Once we hit the apartments, (which was after we checked in all the other elders, since Elder L is also district leader) I met Elder B, he's from Colorado but he's been called to Brazil, he's been in Pennsylvania 6 months because he doesn't have a visa. But he's really cheerful and upbeat and positive, and a good counterbalance to Elder L. And our apartment is big! One of the biggest in the mission actually, which is good because there's three of us. And I'm sleeping on an air mattress, which leaves a bit to be desired I guess.

To answer your questions, we're the Harrisburg WALK mission. So we actually never drive. We do have bikes, which is really lucky, which we use all the time. The Elders above us have a car; they're the DRIVE mission.
Elder L's parents are from Mexico, he grew up speaking English and Spanish. God's got a sense of humor! Earlier, Elder L was in a district with two Elders named J and Wright. He loved them! He prayed that in his next transfer, he'd be a companion with Elder J. He got paired with another Elder named J. Before his mission, he was praying he could learn Portuguese. Elder B, our third companion, got called to Brazil and is trying to learn Portuguese himself! And Elder L was praying to be companions with the other Elder Wright as well. He got me. I guess God's trying to teach him about specific prayers, huh?

So there are a few Hispanic families in our ward, and there are some in Harrisburg! So I will be using some Spanish at least! And I'm really going to focus on speaking it more with Elder L. He's going to be a big help in that regard. But let me just tell you- the days are long! And tiring! But so so worth it! Honestly this mission is such an incredible experience! The chance that I have, to share a message that can touch and change lives, is so incredible. So Sept. 11 was my first day of technically missionary work. I'll describe it in detail to give you a better sense for it. But first- Harrisburg is the highest teaching area in the mission. The members are all excited for missionary work, and we're focusing on getting tons of referrals this week. And we have! We haven't done any straight up tracting yet! So here was Wednesday. Woke up, dressed, showered, STUDY! I have to study so much because I’m a new missionary, it's like an additional hour on top of everything else. First we taught a lesson to a less active member (we do a lot of that) who lived in our apartment complex. By the way there are two other drive missionaries who live above us. But we were halfway through our lesson when some neighbors came out (nonmembers) and asked us to say an emergency prayer for their daughter who was having a baby in the Philippines. So we were able to talk to them a bit too. We got picked up by Brother C, an older member, and went to teach another less active but he wouldn't let us in. So we taught another less active member who was really receptive to our message. That was great. She lives with her dad, who's been excommunicated twice. But was a nice guy, he gave us popsicles. Oh yeah it was like 95 degrees on Wednesday. That was brutal. Humid too. But after we went back to the apartment and got bikes, because we're one of the few bike areas in our mission. Taught a recent convert named S at a member's house (the D's). They speak Spanish so fast I can understand barely 50%.) And one time Bro D said something to me in English and I thought it was Spanish because his accent is that thick and indecipherable. Embarrassing! Rode to N's house, an investigator, he wasn't there. More on N later. Biked back to the apartment, had a quick dinner of microwaved taquitos, headed out with Brother H and taught a recent convert named C and a less active member named B. Then we got back and planned for the next day! So that was just straight up exhausting!

There's way too much to tell you all! There's this place called Sheetz here, it's a gas station that makes super cheap food. It is a big and expanding chain here in Pennsylvania. Pretty good too. We went to the grand opening of one of them on Thursday after the district meeting. So some bullet points from Thursday- we biked to E's house. She's an older black lady who was super receptive to what we taught her. We asked her to read and pray about what we told her, and then to be baptized if she felt the Spirit! She said she would! Awesome! She was at church yesterday too by the way and loved it. Then it started DUMPING rain. And I had basically nothing. I got soaked. And a car drove by and I barely dodged the big water spray. As I congratulated myself on that close shave, another car drove by and soaked my legs. So. 

Here’s the story of N. It's pretty miraculous. So he's had this crappy life, he's a young adult, addicted to cigarettes and the like, living with his brother and brother's girlfriend, who's a less active member. Elders L and B were teaching the brother and N walked in, they told them who they were and he asked a boatload of questions. He was apparently pretty standoffish. But he agreed to read from the Book of Mormon, and then called them and asked for more lessons. His whole demeanor changed, he now just wants to know more more more. For example, we taught him the Word of Wisdom, all that no smoking and drinking and everything, but he had already read the pamphlet and said he would. So we followed that up with the Law of Chastity, which is a lot tougher to swallow. He said he would do that as well. I invited him to be baptized October 12, and he said he would be! Miracle! Wow! And that's only a fraction of what happened on Thursday!

We set crazy goals as a companionship. It can honestly be a little overwhelming, and I did not have a lot of faith on Friday. But after our weekly plan session, Elder L told me to think of a number between one and 10. I said 7. Then we went out in our day and I didn't think about it. We taught two lessons in the day where we extended a baptism invitation. The first was to K, actually the son of L, whose boyfriend's brother N is getting baptized. He's 11 and he goes to church, but for whatever reason no one has baptized him. So we've begun teaching him all the lessons.  And there's this other guy named K, who was basically just interested in Mormons and agreed to take discussions. He's really smart, asks a lot of questions, and follows through. He wants to be baptized later this month. So at the end of the day, we tallied up our numbers. 7 referrals received in one day- that's new people we could go out and teach. And 7 lessons taught- that's a ton. Way more than I thought we could do. Some of the more suffering areas in our mission teach that many in a week! I am so blessed! This mission is freaking incredible!

Sunday was stake conference for us. Good experience, got to meet some members but not that many. President T made a suprise visit, he was giving a talk. His wife asked if I was in shock yet, I replied in the affirmative. But of course I saw Scott and Lynne! That was so cool! What incredible good fortune! I'd been kicking myself all week, actually, for not knowing in what part of Pennsylvania they lived in. But Lynne called us last week and so we're going to set up a dinner sometime. And she made us cookies! They're delicious, and definitely needed because we work hard all-day and everyday. Whoo!


Love Elder Wright