Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Talk About Being in the Mission Field.

Well, hello!  I am living in Fredonia, a recently reopened area.  It is a really weird change from the middle of PA, where I have been my entire mission. I can't quite place it yet, New York is just... different.... than Pennsylvania.  We have a car (Jeep Compass) and cover a humongous amount of territory. That is really the biggest change, my "walk areas" were small and even Dover was remarkably small to be a full branch. But we have Silvercreek, Dunkirk, Fredonia, Stockton, Brockton, Cassedega, Westfield, and a couple of other towns that I can't even remember all in our area. We have to drive a lot! The church in Fredonia closed down a few years ago, so we go to Jamestown for church, a little less than an hour's drive. 
I really hated to leave Dover, but it was what the Lord needed I guess. This area has a lot of awesome potential, so I am really excited about it actually.  The ward is nice, but has some structural issues, namely-over 900 members on the rolls but only 160 at church on Sundays. Just last month, it absorbed the failed Warren ward, so now Jamestown is even more enormous geographically. It is very hard to coordinate with folks, or get fed, just because we live so far away from anyone or anything. We are trying to set up a way to correlate without ward mission leader via Skype actually, just because we live so far away.
I have also noticed a slight detachment between members and missionaries thus far. Really, it's almost ambivalence. With the exception of some awesome members, the vast majority did not even seem to notice I was new or care to know my name, much less introduce themselves. That's not good. And frankly, that is my goal to change. We are going to get these members pumped up about missionary work again.
Here's the good news though! We are reopening the Fredonia building in January and starting a group. Not a branch, a group. There are about 4 active families in our area and that will be about the core. So this is really a new experience, it's going to be super interesting but super cool! I feel like the presence of the church will help to drive many members out of inactivity. This is a really exciting time to be in Fredonia. Talk about being in the mission field, no one here even really knows what a Mormon is! 
So of course, you want to know my companion. Or should I say... companions? I am serving with Elder O and Elder S. I actually came out with O; we were in the same casa in the CCM. S is his trainee, they just finished training. So it's back to the tripanionship for Elder Wright. We are working really well together, they are good missionaries with sincere desires to work hard and serve. We’re going to do awesome together.
Yeah that's the such.
Love ya,
Elder Wright

Live from NY...

                                  Jamestown is the birthplace of Lucy from "I Love Lucy."
              With my new companions, Elder O and Elder S... yes, I wore this caroling.
                                                     On the shores of Lake Erie
                                                       Fredonia, NY - where I live.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I am getting transferred...

To the meat... I am getting transferred. AH man! No news where, though I will write immediately. It's hard, but at the same time, I know it's because I need to be somewhere else. I suppose the Lord wouldn't do this unless He was sure. So that is a big help. I feel like Dover was huge for me because I saw effective church leadership in action. The church can be so effective if it streamlines in the right ways. Gospel principles of leadership, service, humility, and authority, all played in and I was really able to witness miracles happen because of it. There's a lot to take with me that I can learn not just for the mission but also for the rest of my life. So that was a huge blessing. I asked during PEC if I could bear my testimony, and the 2nd counselor Brother F looked at me awkwardly and asked if I would be willing to speak for a little longer... the third speaker didn't materialize, so I ended up giving a talk this Sunday. Luckily, the 2nd speaker delivered a lengthy discourse so it was not as long as I thought I would have to fill. Oh, good old church intrigue! What fun.
C is doing wonderful! She has a calling now, she is serving in nursery! That is nice and I am glad the presidency is so on the ball, but it's a double-edged sword. You don't have any way to meet members or form friendships if you are in nursery, much less acquire more gospel knowledge if you can't make it to Gospel Principles or Relief Society. But she decided to go down to see the temple lights last Saturday, and she loved it! She really had a great time, plus she dragged her roommate M there, as he owns a car. And he enjoyed it. So we may begin to teach him, because now he quite interested in temples, at the very least.
Z and A are still going through really bad times. Just struggling in a lot of different ways, I think that the constant trials, pains and lows that they are hitting are starting to drill something into them though-that they need to commit to this gospel, especially studying the scriptures and praying if they have any hope of survival. I stopped by to see both of them last night and we had a really good talk. I have a lot of hope for them.
A cool thing we are working with is the “ He is the Gift" initiative. We have really seen it give us a window into talking with people, sharing the gospel, and opening closed hearts. We have been able to get some new investigators and potential investigators through sharing it. So that has been thrilling! 
Elder Wright

Monday, December 8, 2014


This is the last week of the transfer. WE have been making a huge push to share the #He is the Gift video, don't know if you've seen it, but the church is making it a big deal. It's all over YouTube. It is really powerful. I really like the way the church takes modern technology in stride to fulfill greater and grander purposes. Who would have thought that the gospel could be taken to all the earth via a mouse click? Cool right?
I'll tell you quickly about the B family. They are this wonderful family that was inactive for 20 years after getting bitterly offended. They were on our “ Do not contact" list, though we didn't know it, and so we went to see them. It gradually progressed from talks at the door to the porch to the house, and the family has warmed up so much to us. Brother B has an angry look to him, he is a hard man but has a heart of gold. Sister M, his wife, has really made a 180 degree turnaround ever since she started reading the scriptures again. She knows her purpose again and it's incredible to see the difference in her eyes. They have begun coming back to church, they have been warmly received, and last Sunday Sister M bore her testimony about how we had given her new hope and once again put her on the right path. I am so proud of them. I have this sinking feeling I am getting transferred soon, which would be heartbreaking, but in the meantime I have joy while laboring in the vineyard! It's great!
Elder Wright

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

This Week on the District...

                          Sharing with everyone.
                               The District
                                 Do you want to build a snowman?
                                It was massive.
                            Leading the cannonade!

Truly, God works in pretty cool ways.

So the big thing is that we went to Gettysburg this morning. It was pretty cool,  It was nice to return, remember last time, and also the weather was a lot warmer today so we could enjoy it more. Brother M, our assistant branch mission leader, took us and the West York elders. It was an awesome time. I had a lot of fun.
We have hit a recent doldrums of investigators, nothing really new happening and no real progress with our others. But we're re-shifting focus this week, we really want to have a baptism this December. The branch support is there, the work ethic is there; we just need the help of the Lord to find a golden investigator. 
We have been seeing a lot of progress with less active and inactive families though.  It's been awesome, we had a lot at church this Sunday, including for the first time the B family. They moved from Oregon, haven't been active ever, were offended before. The brother was actually a Do Not Contact person, but we didn't know... Anyway it took some work but we have really developed a warm relationship with them, including their special needs son, who is deaf-mute and has charge syndrome. And they finally came! Just a cool way to see the gospel change lives. The very first time we met him, he said that he could never come back. This was stopping him that was stopping him. Here's the thing: people are either looking for excuses or opportunities. At first, any excuse would derail him. Now, he is looking for opportunities to come and ways to make it work despite his challenges. It is really heartwarming to see. We're pumped. 
So here's the lowdown on C. As I may have alluded to, she had a pretty traumatic early life. She has a lot of siblings, but none of them really know each other because her mother put them all up for foster care. So she has worked for several years to find who they all are and reconnect them. She grew up with her mother for a while in Lancaster City and York. At one point, her mother was in a relationship with an inactive church member named D. I have actually met him once before, he is the ex-boyfriend of J, an inactive member that Elder G and I found and located in Lancaster City and started working with. We met with him one time, but were unable to get much further than that. It was an eye opener to me though that the Lord has all the right moves in all the right places, I am essentially one of two missionaries in the entire mission that could have recognized that name, put it to that face, and connected that dot. Anyway  it appears she was baptized during that window of time. It was very hard to nail that down due to the fact that C's mother went by multiple names, multiple boyfriends, and multiple addresses. (as well as abandoning her daughter later on). Plus C's name was legally changed at age 5 as well. So this was much more complicated than I am making it sound. But we broke the news to her and she was so excited. She said, "Maybe that's the reason I just feel at home so much when I am at the church." So she is loving it, she has brought two friends to church already and we have talked about beginning to teach her roommate. I had a question nagging me, though. Why did both Elder B and I feel so strongly to set her with a baptismal date of November 29th? It had seemed inspired, and the fact that that date was the date she beat cancer three years previous had seemed to confirm our spiritual prompting. Then I realized the date during the lesson that we revealed she was a member of the church. November 29th, 2014. Truly, God works in pretty cool ways. So she didn't get baptized on that date, but she found out she was a member of the Lord's true church. And she wasn't confirmed on the 30th, but she did have her records moved in and was officially welcomed to the ward. Cool, no?
 The other big thing was Thanksgiving! That was pretty darn cool, the day after the big snow, but a whole bunch of people from the different wards showed up anyway  Compared to last year, when there were like 10 people, this year there was a few dozen! Anyway  for a lot of these big guys with desk jobs, it is a big time to flex their inner manliness, so things got pretty rough for two-hand touch. It was really fun though. Then afterwards we made a giant snowman, like over 6 feet tall, and left it on the bleachers. We drove by today and it was the only chunk of snow still remaining, a little bowling ball-sized splot of snow. Oh well. Anyway we also went to Gravity Hill. It is a strange mysterious place in Pennsylvania where the very laws of gravity cease to function. You park your car in neutral at the bottom of the hill and it will roll backwards, uphill! Pretty special! Ha-ha it's really anticlimactic but kind of cool. (The trick is that it's all angles. The hill intersects with another, much steeper hill, so it looks like a downhill while actually being a slight uphill.) 
 We were going to just have one dinner, but then we ended up eating another dinner in West York with their investigators and then another (!) at a member's in our area. Luckily, remembering last year, I paced myself and thus got terribly full but survived. Elder B, still full of youthful enthusiasm, was dying by meal two. I'll send some pictures so you can see what I mean. The second meal was with a Spanish family, and they also made sure we ate a big dessert. Elder B shoveled his entire slice of pie and cake onto a little kid's plate when no one was looking. Basically we got stuffed but made it through. Man it was a toughie!
Elder Wright

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Dover Silo and more...

                                      Selfie of us in the car.
                                     Cleaning the font.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bittersweet Week.

I am sure you did a great job with the training. I really like the quotes you included. A lot of them are quite applicable! There was a point in my mission when I was trying to focus on getting in all the details, making sure everything was nice and neatly tied in. But then I realized that was teaching lessons not people, and that it is really so much better if you can solidify their testimony of a few principles rather than scampering through all of them. Obviously you have to teach them all the doctrine but it never says do it all in one sitting. That's been something I have really tried to change in my own teaching. The other point, asking questions, is perfect. Any lesson where we do most of the talking is not a good lesson. That ties into the other quote, helping people discover their answers. This not only builds their ability to receive the spirit of revelation but also builds their self confidence that they can learn this on their own and be ok without a missionary to guide them every step of the way. Too many times I've seen an investigator give an honest and true, if not complete, answer to a question, only to have a companion expound on it for another 2 minutes. Too much of that will lead them to doubt their ability to give good answers and feel like there's no way they could learn all the things we've told them. Building them up is how to do it. If not, in the words of Elder Bednar, "You are teaching neither people or lessons. You are talking to yourself in front of investigators."
Anyways. This week was wonderful but also really hard. Z and A had a wonderful baptism. The attendance was great, the branch was excited, and we had several investigators there. However, they were not there on Sunday for their confirmation. T, their one-year-old son, was bitten by a brown recluse spider and they had to take him to the doctor on account of the swelling and grayish pus that was oozing out of his arm. So that was a big downer. They were so devastated as well. We went over with their new home teacher to provide a blessing for T, and A was really worried it wouldn't be possible for her to receive the Holy Ghost. They will be confirmed this following Sunday. So that is a bad thing but we are just glad that they are okay. To quote our branch mission leader, "The thing about Z and A is that if anything bad can happen in their life, it will."
A big thing that we are excited about is C, our neighbor. She is progressing really well and had her baptismal interview Sunday before church! She passed! She really wants to be a member of the church because she knows it is true. What's tough is just that she has no support at home. She lives with her niece of whom she has custody, her brother, and a roommate. We've only ever seen the latter scampering from room to room to avoid us, but he doesn't like us. The brother, according to C, thinks we are "full of it." But this is from a guy with a mouthful of broken brown teeth, a criminal record, and a belief in aliens. C is still on track regardless. What makes this branch so great is that they reach out- Brother S and family are having her over for dinner Wednesday to get to know her better and teach a lesson with us. So we're pretty stoked on that. Anyways. Bittersweet week.
Elder Wright

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Church Cake

 The field is white, already to harvest!  And he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store, that he perisheth notbut bringeth salvation to his soul.
 Quote: "I've met with Elders like you for years. I've seen everything. All the arguments, scriptures, I've heard them all. There's nothing you can do that hasn't been already tried." Well, with that challenge in mind, we baked him a church cake. We'll be dropping it off tonight.

Elder B was insistent about cooking "gator".  We cooked it. My comments? Pretty gamey. And it all gets stuck in your teeth. Honestly, not too big of a fan.

It's God's Hand.

Well, you guys must have been praying for me or something, because this was a really good week. Things are looking up a lot, we are very happy with how things are going. It was a pretty dark time last week with the whole Z situation, but everything has improved. He is actually kind of sick right now, but is ready and prepping for baptism! He's been reading the scriptures a lot more, he is always asking us for new chapters in the Book of Mormon. A is still going strong. She has been clean since Sunday and she has committed she's never going back to cigarettes. In her words, "I've come too far." That’s pretty cool, right? We are gearing up for their baptism- the hymns Z chose (and was actually kind of adamant about) are “As I Went Down To The River To Pray” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”. If you don't know what those are then I would direct you to the South, like back in the early 20th century. Ha-ha but it should be fun. They have come a long way and have come through the worst of it.
Well, when service opportunities are hard to find, just keep trying! We have now found ourselves with tons of ways to give back to the community! Even though it started off a bit frustrating, we have been able to get around the lady who didn't like us at the food bank and now help there every Thursday. We also shelve books at the library weekly, which is actually really nice too! (Though I get a little trunky. Also Elder B. doesn’t really like it at all.) And we have started helping a part-member couple in the ward with outdoors stuff, splitting and stacking wood, moving gravel, anything. They live in the deeps of the woods. It's pretty fun too. So we're doing great! It shows that Heavenly Father does answer our prayers! That was sweet!
Also on the whole prayers thing, I am glad for all the prayers you offered up for Z and A recently. A especially recognized a lot of miracles that made it easier for her to quit, and I have seen a lot of them as well. What's funny is that I could see myself looking at these things a year ago as just kind of random chance and good luck, but now I know it's more- it's God's hand. It's like something the director of 17 Miracles mentioned when he was asked what the exact 17 miracles were- he said, “There's way more than 17. Some people look at the film (read: life) and see only half a dozen "miracles". Others see 5 times that.” Cool thought, right?
Elder Wright

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Missionary Halloween

                                 Brother F  has a big John Deere tractor!

Plus here are the three benches we built and installed for Ws eagle project- what an ordeal! 
Well, this was Halloween!
In the short time that these mustaches were worn, I was told twice that it looked natural on me. I'll leave it to you to know if  that was insult or compliment.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gamble's Folly

It's funny that you should mention that about answered prayers this week because I have been focusing on having more sincere prayers and have felt a dramatic difference. This week, we were having a lot of hardships and so we were praying for strength. One of our less active members, K, ran away from home. We were pretty worried about him. He came back though! Yay answered prayers! Our investigator A was having the absolute worst day of her life on Sunday- she called us to tell us that she couldn't make it to church. We talked with her and prayed silently, but she was still really hesitant. But she came! She came! And she was in tears in the beginning (from stress and stuff) but by the time sacrament meeting was over, she had a peaceful smile on her face. So that was really cool. I couldn't find my notebook, so I said a prayer. I didn't find it. Maybe an hour later, as I walked through the bedroom, I got a feeling to flip over my Frisbee and there it was! Prayer answered! So to answer the question, yes! Prayers do get answered and it's pretty cool.

We helped with an eagle project this week. It was painfully under planned. This kid was going to make three big wooden benches for his high school, with the assembly during the week and installation on Saturday. The first day we helped, we had all the supplies laid out to work at our branch president's house, while the kid told us plans and stuff. He hadn't specifically asked anyone to come so we were the only other ones there. Then we asked where the screws were and he realized he'd forgotten them-even though they'd been at the store that day to pick up all the supplies. Then he dropped the electric sander, which belonged to the branch president. The branch president works in construction and VERY particular about his tools. I believe his beard may have begun to steam as he suppressed his anger and left to buy screws...
Anyways that set the tone for the rest of the project. When we carried the benches in for installation we had to carry them further because the kid had forgotten to arrange for the main gates to be open... Then it was tough because we had no auger and only one iron pole to break up the earth. Man! Ha-ha as missionaries we were trying to keep everyone focused and positive but boy was it frustrating! What should have been two hours of labor ended up being 5 or 6- though we left after three. What I'm trying to say is, planning! Preparation! Way important! How did I do with all that? I'm trying to remember, I feel like everything for my project ran pretty smoothly but I guess I may have forgotten some parts.

 For our Halloween, we went to the branch trunk or treat, where there were like 15 different types of chili to try. It was excellent. A lot of fun. Elder B and I had to be in by 6 on Halloween (so we don't run over any kids trick or treating) so it's not like we were out that night, but we wore the matching ties that mom sent. Plus we wore mustaches. All day. Just kidding, just for our dinner appointment. Then I had to collect District information for the Stake for like an hour because no one had it prepared. Then Elder B and I sat down on the couch that a member had given us the day before, microwaved some chili (more chili yay) and watched 17 Miracles. We borrowed it from our branch mission leader’s wife, Sister S. She wouldn't let us borrow it at first. We had to promise her that we would do 17 miracles that week in Dover.
Then we gave the couch to the West York elders because we have two others and they have like no furniture. We made Elder Gamble give us two ties for it though. The funny thing is, they got the couch on Saturday and Elder Gamble got transferred, he's leaving today. So he got gypped! We have named the couch Gamble's Folly in remembrance of his sacrifice.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The last time he set foot in a church, it burned down.

I have definitely come to admire President Johnson's inspiration at sending me to this area. I was at the point in my mission where the forward momentum of youth was tapering out and the pressure of an imminent homecoming hasn't yet set in. Going here has pushed me in many different ways and has forced me to continue to learn, develop, and not get complacent-something I have noticed happens to some missionaries in my point of the 2-year cycle. It says a lot, I guess, about his trust of me and also him knowing what I needed to keep me sharp, focused, and hardworking. And I am seeing it pay off. A lot of progression, a lot of strong friendships with the Branch members, and just a really good challenge. I have this feeling I’m not going to stay in Dover too long (shorter than my last two areas, I mean) so I really want to give everything and work really hard here.
Elder L told me on his last exchange with Elder D, a past Zone Leader, that he was challenged, “ Be the member missionary you wish you had on your mission." It made me think a lot of how I'd want to be as a member again.  Take a look at Elder Bednar's last talk in GC, he said something about the most sure sign of a member's conversion to the gospel was that they would have a desire to share it. Interesting thought.
Our families are doing way good. Z and A passed their baptismal interview! Big milestone! They are way excited, not using tobacco; A  is attending the Addiction Recovery Program, which is a big help, and Z has started a savings account with the money he isn’t spending on chew. The first time he's ever had savings in his life!
C is way good! She came to church, felt the Spirit there. She still just has so much confusion about churches because she has heard so many things, but she knows that she feels the Spirit when we speak. She accepted the W of W the other day, no problem. She'd already done and quit everything on it, except for iced tea. So that is what she has to do! What was interesting was her brother R came to church too, and he was deathly afraid to. The last time he set foot in a church, it burned down. So he had a bad taste about it... but he came!
 Love, Elder Wright
PS Fall leaves are pretty awesome

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

I don't know how you can turn down well-dressed free labor, but they did it.

Well, here are some missionary adventures for you:
New area:
Tough. Things are picking up but not at the rate I'd like. It's hard because it feels like all the skills and tools I've learned this far on my mission are not as needed here, I am having to learn new ways to find and rescue and everything. It's a bit discouraging. What is really making it good is that we are getting along really well with the members. And the branch leadership is really missionary oriented. Last week was our first ward council because of the conferences and stuff and so being able to report we had contacted every person on the list they'd made, and being able to report a lot of progress, was all really good. We made a strong first impression and showed them what we could do.
New comp:
The Chili pepper thing- well, I definitely didn't encourage him... but I didn't stop him. Elder B will do just about anything for a dare. This pepper was a bit too much for him... Our assistant ward mission leader, a recent-ish convert named Z, is trying to go into the hot sauce business. He got ghost pepper seeds this year (at a dollar a seed!) at he ran out and gave us the pepper after a lesson we had at his house. He left us with a strong warning to not swallow- it's a good thing he didn’t or he would have been in unending agony. As it was he barely survived. The guy who gave it to us told us when he makes hot sauce he has to wear a respirator and take breaks every 15 minutes or he could seriously injure himself. I don't know about you but that sounds too hot. Just too hot.
Weekly Service opportunities:
Here is an excerpt from my letter to president. “Well, we tried really hard to set up a weekly service opportunity. We were told by basically everyone that they just didn't need any help. I don't know how you can turn down well-dressed free labor, but they did it. We bounced around from the library to the food bank to the clothes tree to the rescue mission, and were politely turned away (and in one case, kicked off the premises.) But it's okay. We're going to keep trying. “
The work:
There's this LA guy named Brother C. He's built like a small tank and has a voice like rolling thunder and a personality to match. He knows the church is true but is a girl’s softball coach and their practices are always Sundays. Ergo, he's been inactive for a long time. The first time we came by, he was really in our faces. Very confrontational, I believe Elder B almost peed his pants. We basically finished off by powerfully testifying, confounding him, and then leaving. So we decided to come by again. This time, we focused more on helping him. We got to know him, broke down his gruff exterior, and really talked with him. He expressed his testimony and his vision of getting to the temple. He really wants it- but at the same time, he doesn't want to give up Sunday practice. He has a vision, but no goals or plans, so it is essentially worthless. I straight up told him so. Next time we meet, he agreed to create goals and plans to achieve his vision of the temple. Hopefully we'll see a sign of progress soon!
We also had a cool experience going through our member records; we stopped at a trailer park to find some person, and instead got a new investigator! The member hadn't lived there in years, but this lady was really nice. Her name was C; she had only recently started to get back into religion at all. We taught the restoration and she told us "All the things in this church just make sense." So that was cool. What was not cool was her crazy dog, an Australian sheepdog that leapt around a bunch and head-butted me twice, nearly biting off my nose. It wasn't fun. But so is life.
 Here's the story of C. So she has had a really rough past, she has been bounced from foster home to foster home, believes that God must not like her if He does exist. Wouldn't even pray when we first met. As we have taught her, her heart has softened a ton! She has been reading the Book of Mormon, and she told us that she feels "tingles" whenever we talk, telling her that this is right, and she needs to give prayer another try. She's been praying. She doesn't feel like she's gotten much of an answer yet but she wants to keep trying. I thought it was pretty cool.
Elder Wright

Monday, October 13, 2014

Long time coming. Big time payoff.

Well, this week was full of exciting turns! First we got to watch Meet the Mormons, which was great! A very cool missionary tool that should help to break down tons of barriers about the church. Ignorance and prejudice abound regarding the Mormons as a whole, our investigator C was fed a whole bunch of lies recently and was quite confused. She was told we could say the “F word" but were not allowed to drink caffeine… oh well.  I liked it a lot. My favorite was the Candy Bomber! His story about living a good, service filled life really struck me.  Who was your favorite? I think it's funny that the ties are what you noticed... I noticed the very last image before the credits is a Mormon missionary-that is subliminal and intentional. I actually did recognize Darius Grey in the movie,  I did not realize his voice was just like James Earl Jones’. Seriously. 

This is what our mission president sent us about the movie: 
Box Office Surprise: It was wonderful to see each of you last week at our screening of Meet the Mormons. I hope you enjoyed our pre-opening screening of this moving film. The box office results for this past weekend showed Meet the Mormons had the eleventh highest ($2.7 million) ticket sales of any movie in the country.  This ranking came despite the fact it was playing in only 317 theaters (the top ten movies were playing in an average of almost 2,800 theaters).  On a per theater sales basis, Meet the Mormons had the second highest ($8,500) of any movie!  Hopefully, in the coming weeks many more will see it and be touched by its’ message.

The cool thing was this weekend we had  President’s interviews as well as Stake Conference. All of this took place in Littitz, about 30 miles away, and so it would make little to no sense for us to drive down for interviews, back, then down for Saturday night session, then back, then down for Sunday morning. So we blitzed Lancaster that day! And can you believe it? M was getting baptized! I will not relate the story of why this took so long to happen, but basically it involved conflicting schedules and being out of town and lots of things and should have happened a month ago, easy. So that was great. She was really surprised and shouted "Hermanito!" when she saw me, meaning "Little brother!" which is what she always called me in lessons. I got to give a talk on baptism, which was very nice. Then I had my interview with President J, then back for... another baptism! This was A. He’s 9, and he is so awesome! So this was such a great thing. 

Then we got to spend the rest of the day in Lancaster before heading to Stake Conference. It was honestly a big miracle. I didn't realize that I would be able to be present for either one of these events. Long time coming. Big time payoff. The church is true.
Love Elder Wright

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dover, PA

                                                 Posterity Picture
                                               No longer a "walk" elder.
                                         "Straight-up swanky"

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

So now our apartment looks straight-up swanky.

Thanks so much for the birthday wishes! I definitely felt remembered-I have received the shoes, the comic book, and the box-as of yet unopened. Plus an assortment of cards and gifts from friends and family. I will send thank you cards-do not worry!
That is very sad that C passed away. She was a nice old lady and I know that she had a hard life. She will be missed by me, and many others I am sure. The consolation is that in the Spirit world, those handicaps will be done away. And she will be resurrected in a perfected body free of physical or mental obstructions and she can have a fuller and richer peace and joy. That’s a helpful perspective to have in times like these.
General Conference was very interesting. I enjoyed it so much. A couple of themes I picked up, one of them was sustaining the prophet. Another was that the members of the Church need a personal conversion-relying on the functions and organizations of the Church is not enough or even the way it should be. Christian charity and love needs to be evidenced in everyday action. I felt that Saturday was almost a little rebuking-a cry to repentance for a lot of members who allow little things to lead them astray. I really liked Elder Christofferson's talk on the role of agency-that will become a classic- and also the 70's talk about the 6 things we can do. The one that stood out most to me was President Uchtdorf's talk in priesthood-"Lord, is it I?" ( watch it for yourself because it's LEGIT). It was a great experience.
On a somewhat funny note, we watched Sunday Afternoon with some old folks in the branch-kind of “dooms-dayers"-who seriously thought that the Independence MO move would be announced, and that we would settle in camps like the olden day pioneers. Wasn't quite sure to make of that.
 The week this week was a good one. Weird, but good. We just had reminders that God puts in the right place at the right time. We asked Branch President H. and his family for some referrals, and they gave us several. We immediately went to contact them, and while most were not interested, we stopped by a neighbor named S. She was interested and invited us back. When we taught her this week, she told us that she had been having a crisis that other evening and had sunk to her knees, overwhelmed, pleading for help. Less than two hours, we came by- and she did not see that as coincidence. We didn't either. Our stake has been praying and fasting for those who have been prepared to be found-or for them to find us. And this was a good example of that happening. Very cool thing.
A and Z were able to watch conference this weekend too! That was great! They enjoyed it and have a lot of great questions. After the Saturday morning session Z said that learning about choices had made him realize tobacco was such a bad and stupid choice for him. SO now he has a lot more desire to quit, which he didn't have as much before.
SO that's a couple of cool things. Pictures of stuff to follow.
The birthday boy

P.S. Here's a cool story (that you may not believe.) So when we got to the apartment in Dover, it was a (lightly stated) pigsty. Empty soda bottles everywhere, food left out, dishes in the sink, and it just smelled bad. So we embarked in an epic cleaning project, and the Lord blessed us for it! Namely, we got donated two sofas and two bookshelves, which is exactly what we needed! So now our apartment looks straight-up swanky. Just a thing for you to remember-I thought it was a stupid myth that you couldn't feel the spirit as well in a dirty room, until here. Now I know it's actually true!
Elder Wright

Monday, September 29, 2014

Let me add that you never appreciate the benefits of a clean house until you follow a pair of missionaries into utter squalor.

Okay, here's the sitch!
So I'm in Dover now! It's still in the Lancaster Stake, but it is indeed a branch. It covers a wide area but we do meet in the Lewisberry building, partly because it is very underutilized but also because it's a bit closer for the members. We're in an old missionary apartment on 20 Stony Lane, Apt. A , but just 20 A. Stony Lane should work. 
Well, here’s the lowdown, Dover is the very opposite of Lancaster and Harrisburg, whereas I was quite used to straight ghetto, Dover is farmland! It is very rural with a dash of hillbilly. (See later on.) So that was a huge change! I am driving a car for the first time in my mission, which took some getting used to. But it's been great here. The members here are wonderful, they are so missionary minded. They have a huge drive to hasten the work of salvation and are willing to love and help and fellowship to do it. It's great. We have a great ward mission leader, Brother S, who is very hands on and focused on our investigators. Almost all the investigators we have right now (which isn't a lot yet) were found by HIM. That is crazy!  Branch President H is also very focused on the work and that is just awesome. I am looking forward to a lot of great experiences here.
So I am training again, and I am still District Leader. My trainee is Elder B, a great guy from Sierra Vista AZ. He is straight out of high school, loves cars, drives big trucks, and can (and plans on post-mission) grow an enormous beard. We're getting along dandy. He's got a lot of drive and he works hard, so it's been a great experience thus far. 
Let me add that you never appreciate the benefits of a clean house until you follow a pair of missionaries into utter squalor. Let's just say that there's been cleaning taking place every day, but I will not send any photographs of the apartment until next week. There's a lot of organization that needs to take place but we're hard at work at it.
Here's two investigators I'll tell you about right now: Z and A. They are just great people, a very sweet couple that really wants to join the church. We invited them to be baptized on the 18th of October and they are so fired up about it. They have some W of W struggles to overcome but are committed to it. We talked about temples and eternal marriages with them yesterday and you could see how much they wanted that. That was really cool. Also as we were leaving we had A say the prayer. As soon as she finished, Z said, “Whoa! Just got a warm and cold shiver!" And A said, “I feel that all the time when the elders are here.” We were able to explain that was the Spirit, testifying of the truth to them. Very cool experience.
Elder Wright

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I know I've done here what the Lord needed me to do.

Tons has happened in the last few days and things are way crazy right now, so we will be on the computers for a short while.
To start- Talent Show! Ha-ha this was craziness that worked out really well. We had this idea of doing a rendition of "Go Down Moses" for it. The Ephrata Elders own a banjo that an investigator gave them and they lent it to us. So I told Elder G he needed to learn the banjo in two weeks. (I am the hardest trainer ever, apparently.) He pulled it off really well and so despite difficulties such as sickness, broken strings, and almost incinerating the sheet of music I made. But we did it! It sounded awesome, check out the video on Drop box. We were followed by Sister C doing a series of poem readings. I'll include those too if I have the time.
Second- J got baptized! There's been a lot of struggles and whatnot leading up to this but it has all worked out incredibly well! Elder G performed the baptism, his first! So proud of him. And of J, he really is a very bright and aware kid. Probably knows way more about the gospel than a typical 9-year-old. L.C. gave a talk on baptism (which I translated) and J’s brother A gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. A is a great kid too. He will be getting the priesthood this Sunday, which is great. We held the baptism after church on Sunday and so we had decent attendance, which went a very long way in helping S (the mom) to feel the love and trust of the members!
Third- well, I'm getting transferred. Not a huge shock but I felt very sad all the same. I have really grown to love the people in this area so tremendously. They are such hardworking and loyal Saints in Zion. I couldn't help tearing up a little bit as I packed everything away last night. What is so incredible to me is looking back on my time here I can see how the Lord guided me to certain families and people. I can feel satisfied with my labors in this part of the vineyard because I know I've done here what the Lord needed me to do. I don't know if another missionary could have done it better, or differently, but I am so grateful Heavenly Father chose me to work with Him here.
I’m also excited to move on to a new area. I don't know where I'll be going, though I have my suspicions. I am sure you will find out though through your own little methods... I will be doubling in with a new missionary to train, as well as serving as district leader there. I leave for Pittsburgh tonight and I'll pick up my new greenie tomorrow. So that is exciting. What is also so exciting is that Elder G is training in Lancaster! We're going to get a little father-son road trip together to Pitt! He is really qualified and ready to take on the area. He has done so much good work, and he's going to continue to tear it up with his new trainee!
That's the major scoop.
Elder Wright