Monday, April 28, 2014

I have never felt better to be a missionary...

Life is exciting. Something weird this week was there was this big comic-con type thing, so the city was packed by people cosplaying as animals or people-animals or anime characters or whatever. I have never felt better to be a missionary... That was interesting. 

The fun thing we did this week was Elder H and I performed in Sacrament meeting! We did “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief," and he sang (he has a way deep bass, he puts Ochi to shame) and I played piano. Started in major key, then went into a minor (switched it up, it was awesome) then went back into a major for the final verse. We were planning on only doing 4 verses but Bishop approached us before the meeting and asked us to sing them all because the speakers were going to be way short. So we did. It was awesome. We sounded legit, if I may say so myself, and we received a lot of compliments from the ward. The thing that maybe was the best was Sister S came up afterwards and thanked me for doing all 7 verses. She isn’t a member, her husband’s the EQP and she attends every Sunday (she's the cub scout leader herself) but she doesn't want to join. But she was really touched and said she felt the special spirit of all 7 verses. We should make an album…

Taught a dude yesterday named P, he's Nepali (surprising amount of them here) and has such crippling back pain that he's essentially disabled. It's really tough for him. And the language barrier isn't awful but still makes it tough to teach. We finally just started showing Bible videos and he was captivated. He said that as he watched Jesus he was finally free from the pain, he literally STOPPED feeling it. Just a small miracle but proof that God helps you out. I’m not sure how well we’ll be able to teach him, but basically we'll be using videos the whole time from now on!

 Well, the church is true. Never forget it. Just forgive people, you feel better. Trust me, I’m a missionary!

Elder Wright

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

“They’re going off-script?”

It’s been an awesome week! Tiring though.  

The news, transfers happened.  Nothing changed, just Elder S left from Ephrata and was replaced by Elder Wright.  He’s a cool guy, funny, friendly, and he’ll be a big help for Elder P.  He pulled up, but it doesn't appear we’re related anywhere down the line.  Too bad.

In exciting things here, we picked up a new investigator, named M.  He let us in and was super enthusiastic for what we had to say, and we taught the whole Gospel of Christ, most of the Plan of Salvation, and part of the Restoration.  Elder H challenged him to baptism in that lesson on May 10th and he accepted!   We were bummed he wasn’t at church Sunday, he called us the night before to tell us a work conflict had come up.  But, we’re excited to keep meeting with him.  He seems golden.  He has a wife with twins on the way, he lived a pretty rough life in the Bronx, but is now sincerely trying to turn things around for the better.  He’s got tats all down one arm, and a big scar on his face from where he was knifed one time. So yeah, a little rough.

The other thing I am excited to report is we got in with Brother M.  His whole family is baptized, he’s interested to find out, and he does come to church when he can.  Just the last few weeks, he was crazy busy so we couldn't get in to see him.  But we taught the whole Restoration to him and tried to go in depth.  He was taught by missionaries a long time before, and you could tell it kind of threw him off that we didn't have a rote, memorized discussion anymore!  We’d ask him questions and he’d look at us for a second like, “They’re going off-script?”  But it was good.  My thoughts with him are that he will commit if he receives his answer.  And he knows that if he sincerely prays, he WILL get his answer.  So there might be fear to be able to commit completely.  But, we can work with that.

The other cool thing our mission was pushing this week was a video called #Because of Him.  The church released it last Sunday and we’re encouraging people to share it as much as possible.  Also, we’ve been using it in lessons.  Check it out, it’s on  It’s pretty legit.  

Anyways, that’s about all for now.  Stay cool!

Monday, April 14, 2014

We Need to be Disciples of Christ in Word and Deed.

So, some cool things that happened this week…Well, I went on this cool exchange with the Zone leaders, Elder D came here and I went to Elizabeth town with Elder T.  It was cool, we had an unexpected blast of summer, and we were just out talking with literally everyone we saw.  That was fun, got into some interesting discussions and handed out a bunch of Book of Mormons, and confounded this one old dude who started railing on us on everything from the hypocrisy of serving missions to the Mountain Meadow Massacre.  Man, that was bugging me. 

What stuck out to me most from that day was this dinner we had with a part member family.  Going into it, Elder T told me that Brother B was the member and Sister B wasn’t, but I would never have guessed it.  He was sullen and monosyllabic, while she was energetic, friendly and so excited to be a “mom” on the Trek this summer.  She even wanted to know who our investigators were so she could pray for them. (we wanted to say, “Well, we ought to add your name to the list.”  but we didn’t.) Wow, cool, right?  I guess I bring this up because even though Bro B was the member, the light of Christ didn't radiate from him at all.  It’s not enough to just be members, we need to be disciples of Christ in word and deed.  That’s my spiritual thought here.  

Also exciting was seeing Grandma F, this really nice but lonely old lady.  She’s less active, but starting to come back to church.  Anyways, one of the points I brought up in our lesson was how important the theme of remembrance is.  It’s the big reason for everything we do in the church, remembering Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us.  That’s why it’s in the Sacramental blessing twice.  At the end of the lesson, Grandma L prayed and a phrase that caught our ears was “Thank you for the Plan of Salvation.” We remarked on that unique phrase and she began to weep, telling us her husband who passed away a few years ago would always say that in his prayers.  Her saying that was her way of remembering him and the great knowledge he had, that being that families can be together forever.  I thought that was pretty cool.  

In other news, we are clutched in the last icy grip of winter and hoping for Spring.  Elder H is sick and I am hoping I don't get it.  He coughs up a lung and a half each morning.   And, we almost got a mennonite investigator, but he refused to open the door for our return appointment. But, such is life.

Love you all, 
Elder Wright

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I am so excited! It's the coolest thing ever in the world!

Yeah general conference was awesome! I was just loving it! So many good talks and I felt like many of them were aimed directly at me. A couple of focuses I noticed on a whole: Do temple work! The sustaining of the prophet. The need for personal worthiness. Standing true amidst the coming persecution. I really thought it was an awesome conference. My three favorite talks were Elder Bednar, who spoke about grace and the Atonement's enabling power. "The load is what gives spiritual traction." Interesting and needed perspective on trials and sufferings. I also loved Elder Christofferson's talk that was a powerhouse testimony of the Savior. The one that I felt like I learned the most from, surprisingly, was Elder Oaks' talk in Priesthood session. I'd encourage you to watch it too. He threw down on the priesthood, and very clearly outlined the power, authority, and keys of the priesthood. I learned a lot. I am very interested to hear the reaction of the Ordained Women Organization, because after that the only two real responses are to disband or apostatize...  I loved it what Elder Ballard said about owning and using Preach My Gospel! Something we are doing is working with active members to do the activity on pg. 172. We call it the Elder Arnold Thingy because he challenged us to do it when he toured the mission last October. 
Lancaster ward is great! (That is what it's called.) We are probably getting fed 5-6 times a week, which is pretty phenomenal. The ward is pumped up for missionary work, just not sure how to channel their energy. So we are helping. I can't remember, did I tell you about our awesome district meeting last Wednesday? I will now. We had it Wednesday night at the church, and all the Lancaster youth came. Something like 11 YW and only two YM. (All the rest were at sports, dang it!) But we did our district meeting as usual, just with the youth as a focus. So we discussed missionary work, what it is, how to be effective, and then we split into groups to role-play. That was the best part. Every missionary working with a couple of youth, just going through situations and teaching a lesson. You could really feel the Spirit and it was awesome. I feel like getting the ward more involved is what is going to get more baptisms and reactivations here. 
We have had a couple of cool experiences lately.  We have been teaching F, who is married to a less active member named J.  We taught about thePlan of Salvation and answered some really solid questions of the soul.  Then we asked how he was feeling at that moment, and he said he felt a calm and peaceful feeling.  We told him that was the Spirit, and he was like, “Wow! I’ve felt that whenever you guys teach!”  This was critical for him because he has had a lot of trouble recognizing the Spirit so far.  We set him with a date to be baptized on May 17th, a date we prayed and felt strongly about.  Yea!  We also met J and J, J’s siblings, they live at their mom’s house, who is active.  It took a lot of patience, listening and waiting for the promptings of the Holy Ghost, but we were able to teach them and begin to help them.  So things are looking up, as usual.  If God is with us, who can be against us, right?  That’s how I feel anyway.
OK and best for last... Elder Holland is coming to our mission May 22! I am so excited! It's the coolest thing ever in the world!
Elder Wright

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Slapping a T-bone in front of a baby and telling them to chow down...

It is barely becoming spring-y here in Lancaster.  The work is going well, we picked up a bunch of new investigators this week, which is exciting! But the devil always throws his hand in the works, tossing up discouragement and disappointment at us. A couple of people we've been meeting with have asked us to stop coming by, like the H family I was telling you about last week. So that's tough. But I'm not discouraged! Things are looking way up! 
We have had some great experiences taking members out with us this week, it helps us a lot but it remarkably helps them a ton as well. It can be hit and miss though! Yeesh! We were contacting referrals with Brother H, and he jumps in and starts bearing his testimony to this guy who opens the door. So we’re like, "Cool," but then he starts talking about how the government is trying to cover up the truth of the BoM and all these crazy theories so we have to hastily just redirect back to something else so this guy doesn't freak. Bro H was pretty solid though for another lesson we taught though, and afterwards his wife told us how much it meant for him to go out with us. It was the highlight of HIS week and that's good because he has some tough physical handicaps that make life misery for him; he has no feeling in his hands or legs. So that was positive overall. But we took out J, who is a recent convert as of Saturday! I'll tell you about him in a second, but anyways he is just pumped out of his mind to help us teach and he was super excited. He bears testimony like a boss. We were teaching J and Y, two teenagers whose landlord is a member. We were teaching the restoration and it was good, you could really feel the Spirit strongly. However, there was some member sabotage to an extent. Bro G, the landlord dude, was also there, and is just so passionate about the gospel that he just tosses everything he knows about the BoM out all at once, and you can tell it just blows these girls' minds. Have you read the part in the New Testament where Paul tells us to have milk before meat? Well, this lesson was akin to slapping a T-bone in front of a baby and telling them to chow down. And if you think it's hard to redirect a lesson, try doing it in Spanish when the guy's talking 500 words a minute! Yeesh! But despite this, the Spirit still testifies of truth when you let it, and they both accepted the invitation to be baptized. I am super excited. 
Something interesting is the effect that testimony can have on people. It invites the Spirit and can take a volatile situation and defuse it. People can tell when you have a genuine witness and they do feel the power of it. 
But anyway about J, he and his wife Y have been investigating the church for 5 years. They have seen scores of missionaries; they come to church more regularly than some active members, and are generally awesome. But they finally took the leap of faith to become members, so they were married Friday night in the chapel. (I'll send the details and stories in a letter, because they are many.) Suffice to say it was a lovely service and they are really an awesome couple. They had a slideshow of pictures, and the last was of the Washington DC temple, withe the words 'Our Goal" written next to it. They were baptized Saturday and confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday and that was a very cool experience. They were just glowing. It was awesome. He will get the priesthood in a few weeks so he can baptize his 8-year-old daughter, G. 
So the takeaway of this is that the Gospel does change lives! Sometimes it just takes awhile. But it does happen, and when it does it is wonderful. And it will impact this family for generations, hopefully, to come. Also, when we share the Gospel, we don't have to bury our friends in words, doctrine, and testimony. The Byron Elton elevator pitch is a valuable method because it is short, direct, testifies, and informs. That's all you need. Milk, then meat.

Elder Wright