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

Monday, September 8, 2014

They passed through trial and temptation of unimaginable proportions...

So here's the news this week.
4 cool things. 
1. We got creative and bold with K. She’s been investigating the church for 3 years now and still has no firm faith in Christ. She sees the goodness of the church without gaining the testimony, sort of a forest and trees situation here. And no one can get an answer about the BoM without a faith in Christ as well. So we had a lesson at the P home and we had asked the P family to invite her to baptism on the 27th. It was a spiritual lesson, and they popped the question, and K basically freaked out. She turned bright red and started crying. It was basically a high speed collision of the Spirit with every doubt, fear, and insecurity that she has (and she has many). She did commit to pray about it and at the very least it has really forced her to confront the real need for her to get an answer. That was cool.
2. The M’s! Getting closer and closer! Sister M had a dream this week in which her dead grandmother appeared to her and told her she was going to get baptized. I don’t know how you can still hold out with that kind of ancestral pressure. She wants to get baptized in November. Which is great! I just want that to be sooner... 
3. J! i don't think I've mentioned her before, maybe I have, but she is a less active member that we found through straight up divine guidance. We received a referral to see this random street guy's mom, and  J was living there and happened to roll up (she's in a wheelchair FYI) right as we were about to leave. She was at her rock bottom, and we were there for her right when she needed us. The ward has really come together for her; she came to church this week and just really loved it.
4. C  and E! Best for last! They passed through trial and temptation of unimaginable proportions to come to church yesterday! Seriously! They got a notice of eviction (long story) plus some random friends stopped by and just began hating on the Mormon Church. All on Saturday night! Seriously, the adversary isn't even subtle sometimes! But they came, and they enjoyed it. Even more crazy, it turns out they are related (cousins) with the M’s! So it's a big happy family! Then even better, Brother R comes up and invites us all over for an early dinner after church with his family! So they got super fellowshipped, the R’s helped so much, plus a lot of great food! 
Sunday was just crazy in general. Got to church, played the piano for Spanish sacrament, substitute taught Gospel Principles about the Lord's Covenant People, then had a meeting with the Stake Spanish People Representative (might not be his actual title) then back to Elders Quorum to shore up a completely disjointed and crumbling lesson. (Freakin' elder’s quorum, seriously.) But it ended up being awesome and wonderful and a day full of blessings! Just like every day!
There's a part in PMG where President Hinckley talks about his mission, and basically throws down on prideful missionaries and tells you to be more humble. I've realized that God trusts us when he sees our character and our actions. If the missionaries are slackers, the Lord isn't going to trust us with His elect. I've been trying to make sure I’m not that kind of missionary. It's always a struggle, but I know that I'm working as hard as I can so that's some comfort to me. 
Elder Wright
PS We completed repairs on two junk bikes, so now we’re back on wheels! A very cool and satisfying experience. We named them Danny Boy and The All-American Moses. They are pretty legit.

Danny Boy and The All-American Moses.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

So every time I wear them it makes my socks sticky.

So you'll be excited to know that Elder G and myself took the ice bucket challenge. I have the video on my camera but no idea how to get it to you; do you have a drop box account? That'd probably be the easiest! I'm very impressed with you though. Funny thing is, it seems to be really big right now but the ghetto has been doing it since June at least. So it's weird that it's only quite recently become a phenomenon.
Regarding the rule about the missionaries; if that were the case for us we’d never get fed either because everyone in our area is less active. We are only allowed to be fed once a month by any given family though, so it probably balances out. 
My shirts are doing ok, one has accumulated some really weird stains but I don’t wear that one anymore. I also have had some good fortune to have acquired two really nice white shirts recently, one from Dagmarette and the other from our neighbor.   But I'm doing fine. Do you know what my warranty is on the shoes? The nice looking ones, with the gel soles, melted. So every time I wear them it makes my socks sticky. So if you could check into that that might be good. I think I got them from CTR Clothing but I can't be sure.
1. C family is awesome as usual; their referrals have all really just had great starts but not enough willpower to progress. We're working with them still but it's been tough going. That family really is so cool. They saw we weren't getting fed on Saturday so they signed up, and that's his birthday so we felt bad. He told us, "There is no one I’d rather have there than you guys." They are recent converts of 5 years, can't remember if I told you this, they got tracted into in some low-income housing and invited the missionaries in, got baptized 4 weeks later and completely changed their lives. Way cool. 
2. J is on track. He was at church last Sunday, and things are finally getting better. The mom has been giving us  a lot of trouble because she really doesn’t like this bishop and has some history with the ward as well. She was adamant last week that she would not be going back to church here. We plead, reasoned, and testified with her, but what helped out the most was her sister (also an excommunicated member) coming up and telling her that she had been exactly in those shoes and that she had to humble herself and talk to the bishop for things to move forward for her family, and that he was called of God and would care and help out. That was a really big thing coming from her because she had been so stubborn when we first met her. Such a great change. We're planning for J's baptism on the 13th if things go as they are now.
3. L is going to be blessing the sacrament next week! And he wants to get to the temple. We're going to be talking to him about that next time.
Elder Wright