Monday, June 30, 2014

And now, time for the weekly report!

President Johnson is here; we will meet him in Harrisburg on Wednesday at a big conference… It was super weird, I called President Topham Saturday to ask a quick question and he was ON HIS WAY to the airport to leave... so sad! I will this that man so much; he seriously is such an inspired person and very caring. But we'll have to see what PJ brings to the table now that PTop is gone.
New companion this week! I drove up to Pittsburgh with Elder B, who's going home. That was a fun experience. He's a great elder, very wise and sage like ha-ha. I knew who my comp would be right from the get-go because he was the only one who came from the Mexico MTC, but I didn't tell him right away, I actually wore my English tag to stake him out a bit and get to know him. But then I introduced my self,  my comp is Elder G from Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a determined and hardworking elder, but very sharp and quick on the draw. Super willing to open his mouth, and that has been a huge help this week! He's also pretty good with Spanish, but the dialects can trip him up a bit. But it's all-good. Elder G actually has a lot in common with me, he plays piano, graduated from high school at 17 (though he did early) and went to BYU, where he stayed at Building 9. And he is a lot of fun. So training is going really well. 
So we have been beasting it up this week! I don't know if it's because Heavenly Father wants to help Elder G out because it's his first week but things were going really well. We just focused on talking with everybody, and we saw incredible blessings. We stopped to talk to this lady on the street who was completely indifferent to us, but her friend on the porch invited us inside. She had met with missionaries many years before with her grandmother, and remembered that we brought a good Spirit. So we taught A the Restoration and the Spirit was really strong, we invited her to baptism on August 2. She accepted and is on track! She also gave us a referral to go find her grandmother, so maybe we can start teaching her as well.
We also met with Ms, who is the mother of Brother G. She is this really nice old lady, very Catholic, but she definitely has felt the Spirit at the church. She talks in way thick Spanish though. But we will definitely keep working with her.
And finally the other night we were out with Brother H and everything just fell through. it was pretty bad, all our fallbacks were bailing on us too. Then I got the impressing to go to T and S, a couple we had talked to earlier as we were walking to an appointment. I told them that we had been sent as representatives of Christ to teach them the message they needed to hear in that moment. They let us in. They had met missionaries in Puerto Rico and had liked them but had never taken the discussions. We taught them in Spanish, and even though he had no idea what was going on Brother H bore some incredible testimony. It was legit. Afterwards they asked how many missionaries lived in Lancaster. A little taken aback, I told them 4, two elders and sisters. He seemed surprised there were so few, but ran to his kitchen, handed us a carton of 30 eggs, and made us promise to give half to the other missionaries. Ha-ha it was pretty weird. But awesome. It was a real lesson in diligence; if we had given up after all our lessons bailed we would not have taught them.
So what's the takeaway? That there is so much more success when there has been a seed planted. Sometimes, it's another missionary. Even better, it is the example of a faithful member who opens his mouth to invite the missionaries to stop by. 
Man, the life of a missionary is awesome.
Elder Wright

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Life in Lancaster

That's what's up.

“If you go inactive after your mission, I will haunt you!  One night, you’ll be home in your bed and I’ll be there scratching at your window!”  Elder Holland (figured you could use a good Holland quote).
Yeah, ward council is interesting. It's tough, but really you need a mix of determination, patience, and optimism.  I know that sometimes there is a sense of people being rushed into the church before they are ready, and that is a valid concern. There are safeguards so that shouldn't happen. Bottom line is, no one is truly prepared for the church. We have grown up in it, we are fully ingrained in the doctrine and terminology since Primary, so imagine someone who's just discovered the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet, and then slam them with all the rest that makes up the culture of our church. That is why a strong friend, Home Teacher, and fellow shipper is so important. 
I am doing ok this week, this one was a toughie. A lot of appointments fell through. We've been working with this guy named C, 48 years old, he's been inactive for a decade or so but really wanted to turn his life around. He's been on some hard drugs that've fried his brains a bit, but he is just really nice and wants to be active. He's been coming to church consecutively for almost 2 months. Then he went to a single adult activity and somehow got the impression there was alcohol there. Got super offended, now he won't let us in or talk to us. Plus, bashers have just been coming out of the woodwork to heckle us; there's been a lot of crap. Just one of those weeks. The biggest antidote for hard times, I’ve found, is to lose yourself in the service of others.
Something exciting though is that we are picking up a lot of momentum with getting a separate Spanish sacrament meeting every week! We've been doing it once a month for now. But one of the high councilors has been trying to get it going, our 2nd counselor working really closely with us to help the inactive and less-active members who are Hispanics, and the Stake President asked for my take on it to see if the area is ready. So we could see this happening pretty soon! I'm excited for that. 
That's what's up.
Elder Wright

Monday, June 2, 2014

He was straight up golden...

Elder Holland was on a mission tour with Elder Hallstrom. They saw 4 missions in like 2 days, and so we met in Cranberry, which is north of Pitt. So we had a gnarly day of driving. Basically 5 hours there and back. Sheesh. But worth it. It was so great to have the whole mission back together too. Even though it was just a brief time. And it was Elder Durham who received the ticket, poor guy. 
We’re working with the W family, who are less active, and Bro W had Elder Holland as an Area Authority when he was in Chile. At one of their conferences, he got so agro he started snapping the dry erase markers and stuff. Then Brother W's comp had a seizure... Elder Holland came over and said, "It's ok, everything's under control now." Man GA’s are way intense.
Good luck with everything for girl’s camp. To make you feel a bit better, guess what the church out here just found out. The Church purchased a big campground from the Girl Scouts, calling it Camp Liahona, and they have just discovered there are three dens of rattlesnakes in the camp. And because it's right near some state park or something, they are not allowed to move them or kill them. So that's a bum deal if you ask me.
By the way, got a letter from the Relief Society on Saturday. Lots of nice comments. One of the most baffling was "Beware of pods of killer whales." Do you know who wrote that one?
Not sure if this is related but I might as well tell you about this one lady, Sister C. She lives in the heart of our area (read: ghetto) and is real old, kind of dumpling shaped, short grey hair and not many teeth. Yesterday she bore her testimony that she'd had several suicidal thoughts, not that she would act on them, but they were there. And how she has taken in a street cat because she's lonely. And one time she confided to us in a dinner appointment that she is struggling with jealousy-she's jealous of her daughter's drug dealer because she spends more time with her than Sister C does. On that note, the church is true!
Now for the IMPORTANT STUFF ha-ha just kidding.
 L got baptized! That was such a great experience! He is such a great man; it is actually very interesting to see how he has changed. I'll give you his full story, summarized. It's dramatic. So to start, his wife, V, is an excommunicated member. Long time ago, but basically she's got 5 kids out of wedlock. Two are members, oldest is 14. So we were starting to work with them, and the first thing she says when we met her was, “ I got married!" (This is a big deal). L first met her when she went to the Dominican Republic. He started calling and Skyping, which they did for a year, then he immigrated over, then they got married! So we started teaching him. He is super yolked, works out all the time, and very silent. Just a naturally quiet guy. He has a son named A, 4 years old and so cute. L has a tattoo on his back that says "A". I got to know him, and I found out that L's sister had been taking the lessons back in the DR and had gotten baptized. So that was why he actually wanted to meet with us in the first place, he had wondered why his new family was Mormon but didn't go to church ever. So he started to come, and started reading the BoM and now is just tearing it up. He reads every night before bed, and last Sunday he was asking the Spanish elders quorum teacher for good scriptures to read in the Bible and BoM. But anyways, he was straight up golden. He got baptized, then on Sunday was confirmed. And though the dude shows hardly any emotion, he was crying as he was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost. So cool! So that's the big news this week. I am loving it. 
The thing that has actually been most frustrating here for me has been ward council. Our bishop doesn't announce baptisms the week before because apparently he's done so before and some haven't happened. So the baptism was communicated basically by our word of mouth. A bit disappointing, it wasn't as well attended as we'd hoped. This is the first baptism by walk elders in this area in over 2 years, so I'm excited anyways. Here’s to more to come!
Elder Wright