Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Where true happiness comes from...

 Hey there! It's twig talk, with Elder Wright.
The twig is going well. The ice storm hurt expected attendance, unfortunately-we are still in the mid 30s but hoping to grow that! But unfortunately the twig will be closed the next two weeks, for fast Sunday and then for Ward conference, both of which will happen in Jamestown. So that's lame! But it's ok. We'll figure it out and get things happening again after a brief interlude.
And story time! Well, some families have been bringing cookies and stuff for after church, just to encourage folks to get to know each other better. Sister W, a less active member who's coming back to activity, was going to bring Oreo's but she slipped on a frozen STOP sign (long weird story) and landed hard on her back, so she didn't go to the store on Saturday. She was like, "The Lord would definitely understand if just this once I went to Wal-Mart on Sunday to get the cookies, right?" And we were kind of like, "Um, keeping the Sabbath day is pretty non-negotiable..." But anyways we said we’d just buy the cookies so she wouldn't have to break the Sabbath. So Saturday night we are driving back and it's like 9:15, we've been jam-packed with appointments all day, and we haven't bought those cookies yet. So we are going to do a Wal-Mart lightning visit, and I tell Elder S, “ There's no way we'll get in and out of here without running into a member of the church." Sure enough, we are almost to the checkout line when this random dude finds us (he's not even in our stake or mission) and is like, "Elders!" and proceeds to launch into a 10-minute monologue. By the time we extricated ourselves we were most certainly late to get home. But we helped Sister W keep the Sabbath! Yay!
About R: He said something that really describes his personality pretty well-he was with his wife, who is just an all-around stud member, and he was asking just tons of questions on church organization, functions, etc, and K gets perhaps a little fed up and asks, "Why do you have ALL these questions?" He goes, "I'm an I-N-V-E-S-T-I-G-A-T-O-R.  I'm investigating! It's what we do!" The core of it is he really is a good, genuine, guy, with a very firm testimony of Christ and a true desire to do what's right. I really have enjoyed teaching and learning from him.
The gospel is true! It's awesome! I had an interesting thought last night as I flopped down, exhausted, on my bed after a long day of talking, teaching, testifying, listening, and praying. I'm essentially working 6 days a week, not getting paid, fulfilling the equivalent positions of street minister, therapist, and unskilled laborer, without girls, media, or even a decent cell phone. But I am the happiest I've been in my life. What a weird thing that is! There's something to be said for that, I think. About the kingdom of God, and our roles in it, and how we manage our time, and where true happiness comes from. 
Elder Wright

Friday, January 23, 2015

Braving the Erie Wasteland

                                 Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
                                 The Erie Wasteland
                                Brother C makes homemade hot sauce.
                                  The Fredonia Elders

Just a little icicle on the tip of the mission.

Well, let me tell you about a couple of things...
Episcopal drama
The bacon dropped into the fire for our investigator R this week. As I might have told you, she's dating a member of the church, J, which led to her investigating the gospel. She is heavily involved the Episcopal Church as well, she does secretarial stuff as well as altar duties. Well when her parents found out she was engaged to a Mormon, they flipped out and threatened to disown her. Things didn't necessarily improve when she said she was getting baptized. So she was really distraught about that. But this crisis is what pushed her to the point of calling to her Heavenly Father for help. And He gave her the testimony that she needed to be sure that this was the right decision. She talked to her pastor, who was kind of too shocked to protest, and then met with Bishop F. He sealed the deal. He was a former Episcopalian himself, and friends and family rejected him as well when he converted. So he was able to lend a lot of needed support. So the baptism will be the 31st at 1pm! Yay! 
The ranks of the Fredonia twig were thinned this week by a virulent flu that's been sweeping the area recently. That being said, we had 37 people there this week! That was really cool to see, because we actually had some new faces as well  -  other less active members who came out. And the spirit of friendship and fellowship has been great! Afterwards, we all had cookies and hot chocolate together! I'll be speaking next week about the Malden Twig experience and what we can do to learn from that. Really great things are happening here. We are also getting fed a lot more now which is nice!

We are really cut off ha-ha, just a little icicle on the tip of the mission. 
Elder Wright

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Amount of Mail Received Over Time


                                              The Area
                                            At the Border
                                      The Fredonia Chapel is right alongside a stream.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pray for the Twig!

Well, the moment of truth... what happened this Sunday in the #fredoniatwig ?
Well before I tell you that, I have to tell you that Elder O  got emergency transferred. He got the call Tuesday and left Thursday. Because of the large number of missionaries leaving early to begin school, things got crazy this last week. It was something expected, but still disappointing. I loved serving with Elder O! He got transferred to Harrisburg Drive, where he will be a Zone Leader! So that's pretty cool! He'll be right near my old stomping grounds!
Now for the group news. There were three groups that opened yesterday, the Fredonia, Warren, and Corry groups, the last being a split from Erie ward. So we showed up early, just to make sure everything was prepared for the twig to begin at 10:30. Our group leader had set up the old Primary room to be where both meetings would be held, due to small number expected to arrive. We were very unsure about how many people would be there. We had run the ward roster, visiting every inactive member we could and telling them the twig was opening, but this was going to be the moment of truth. I had been hoping and praying for at least 25 in attendance. As the time wore on, I got more and more nervous. At 10 minutes till, there were 7 people there, including us. And then... a miracle happened. People begain arriving en masse. We were scrounging around the church for additional chairs to set up. Active members were there, but so many inactive members as well. We had four investigators in attendance as well. The large primary room was filled to bursting, and after Sunday School our group leader made the executive decision to move to the chapel for the Sacrament meeting. We had 50 people at the church this last Sunday.
As I sat in the pews, I realized how powerfully the Lord has answered the prayers that faithful members have been offering for almost three years. An older inactive sister that we had found and invited was in attendance, just crying as the Spirit bore witness to her spirit that this was where she needed to be. Another less active sister remarked that entering the chapel after these years was "like coming home." The feelings that everyone had were very deep and heartfelt, and there was such a spirit of determination to reach out to others who have not been in attendance. It was such an incredible experience, and I am so grateful that I have been able to be a part of it. 
The Lord really took that bit of faith that I had, took it, and magnified it. And made a miracle. How about that!
Pray for the twig!
Elder Wright

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas pics

                            For District meeting, we did a Nativity Dash.

"That's like Yoda!"

Well, let me tell you something I learned this week. Basically, a testimony of the truth is much more powerful than a lie. That may sound trite. Let me explain. We stopped by to try this less active family that hadn't been coming out to church. Sister R was really nice, you could tell she had a testimony of the church. Then Brother R opened his mouth and a freaking torrent rushed out. He told us how he thought he had tricked himself into his testimony to get baptized; that the church just didn't make sense, the whole reason people believe in God is because they are afraid there is nothing there. He unleashes this big long thing, and it really seemed like he was still just trying to convince himself of his own words. Then I just stopped him, and bore my testimony of the reality of the Book of Mormon, that there was a living God who did and does answer the prayers of His children. He just kind of gaped at me. Then started spinning this whole long convoluted argument again, which I let him do for a bit, then just kind of raised my hand, bore testimony, and confounded him again. This happened like two more times. I felt like Alma taking on Korihor or something. It really just made me sad though, because I could tell he was a good guy, that he was really just kind of fighting his own testimony. He had even served in the Fredonia branch presidency and then gone inactive. I really hope he can regain his testimony. But he has built up so many of his own walls that it will be very hard for him. To conclude, his wife was really grateful we stopped by. She came back to church this Sunday, which was really good. She also gave us tons of cheesy potatoes and ham. We are drowning in leftovers ham, everyone gives it to us. I would estimate we still have about 6 pounds to eat.

The exciting thing I got to do yesterday was play piano for primary; they grabbed me right before Priesthood and basically told me they needed someone. So that was a lot of sight-reading and improvisation, thank goodness I paid attention in Primary so I knew the songs. The Sharing time was on the Second Coming, and man, do I love Primary answers. They were talking about the 1000 years and one kid yells out "That's like Yoda!" Another good mention was when we learned Jesus would descend in a red robe. One child was convinced that Jesus was Santa, as the similarities were just too much. Oh, good times. 
Elder Wright