Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I'm not worried because I have a great companion.

Well, here I am, in Pittsburgh! I've wanted so serve here my entire mission, I am so happy to be finishing out here. Really excited and ready to just give it my all. I am in the Pitt 7th ward, aka Southside. There is a lot going on here. It meets in downtown Pitt, and because of the location boundaries almost all our members are young couples, usually with a baby or two, either in or finishing college. The best part is that they're all pretty fresh from their missions, so they know what it's like and are ready to help out however they can. They have us over for dinner, try to help us find people to teach, and try to come out with us. It's pretty darn cool. It's an especially interesting change from Fredonia, where there were hardly any members. And especially with the demographics of the Jamestown ward, which consisted of mostly really old people. The other challenge we have is the ward just lost two missionaries, the Swissvale walk elders. So we are now covering the whole ward. The other thing about young RM's is that they are brutally honest in their dissemination of missionaries, almost every single family we've met has told us how lazy the last elders were. So we have to show we are really willing to work hard here. Finally, there is a Spanish group in our ward that operates at the same time, and we are the designated Spanish missionaries for all of Pittsburgh. It essentially pulls in any Spanish speaker in the tri-stake area, so technically our area is massive, as we may need to travel anywhere from Penn Hills to Butler to Carnegie. No bikes, but we do have a car. Honestly, Southside is so hilly that bikes would be an impossibility, there are some hills our car has trouble with. 
I'm not worried because I have a great companion. His name’s Elder T, he just finished his training, so essentially he's been out as long as I've got left. He has a lot of energy and passion to share the gospel. He really wants to do great things and work hard, so we are going to get along awesome. I'm really excited! He is from Colorado and is the first in his family to serve a mission, which is pretty cool. 
We have one investigator right now who I'm very excited about. He's really old and his name is M. He met the missionaries grocery shopping and took them home because it was raining, and started taking the discussions. He loves the church, he has read almost thirty chapters from the BoM, he pores over Mormon.org to know more, and this week we set him with a baptismal date for May 16. He is a very nice person and knows Pittsburgh like the back of his hand. He is super connected. He came to our ward BBQ on Saturday and skewed the mean age by about 40 years. He also came to church this Sunday for the first time, which was cool. (Bit my fingernails a bit during Hymn #292 Oh My Father.) 
This Sunday was regional conference, which was pretty cool. First one that I can really remember, part was broadcast from SLC, where Elder Anderson and Elder Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke. Elder Anderson talked about missionary work, and named specific people and places in our region where missionary miracles had occurred! One of them was Lancaster PA! A lady was invited to church by a friend, and then joined soon thereafter! I thought it was pretty cool. 
Let me tell you something cool from this week... Well last night Elder T and I were out walking, trying to visit a bunch of our inactive members we know nothing about. We walked by a porch where this dude was sitting, said hello, he seemed friendly, and then we kept going. And a little feeling just told me, turn around and talk to him. But I didn’t, I was tired, I ignored it. But then the dude called out, "Hey, come back here!" So we went back, he asked us who we were (He thought we were salespeople.) We introduced ourselves, he told us he had tons of questions about religion but didn't know how to answer them. We gave him an answer, set up an appointment for today! He texted us last night, he was really excited! Cool huh? It just goes to show you never ever know who is ready and who isn't for the gospel. So that's why you have to talk about it with everybody!!!
Finally,you know I went to the Sacred Grove a few weeks ago, right? So as I was walking, I figured, when else am I ever going to have an opportunity like this? So I knelt down in a secluded part of the grove, knees in the snow, and prayed to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ to know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. That he really did see the Father and the Son, thus nullifying centuries of apostate creeds declaring the Trinity and revealing the true nature of the Godhead. And I got an answer by the power of the Holy Ghost. Clear, unmistakable, like a bell ringing in my ear, just telling me it was all true. You don't need to see them to know. That's what the third member of the Godhead is for. 

Elder Wright

Well, here I am in Pittsburgh!

                             At the overlook, a five minute walk from our apartment.
                                    Elder T and I.
                                                It's a sign!
                                            Ran into Maddy Marquis at church!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Honestly, the awesome thing about the mission is ...

I was atrociously sick last night. Let me tell you about it. When I found out I was getting transferred, I asked if I could bear my testimony in the #fredoniatwig before I went. Afterwards, a lot of members were asking if they could feed us, so we ended up having two meals yesterday, which just kind of churned in my stomach that evening as I was packing. So I was having a bad time and praying to Heavenly Father for a little relief, and I get a feeling I need to ask for a blessing. And I immediately discount it, that's dumb, but then I was like, that was the answer to your prayer, you idiot! So I woke up Elder A  and he gave me a blessing. And as soon as he began to speak, I felt a swelling in my chest. As soon as the blessing ended, I ran to the bathroom and threw up violently. It took a long time, finally got it out of my system. No, I won't send pictures.  It reminded me of an event in the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith, when an enemy slipped him poison. Upon discovering his danger, he asked his brother Hyrum for a blessing. Following the laying on of hands, he vomited the poison out with such force it dislocated his jaw. I felt a similar parallel to my own situation.  Ah, mission adventures!

Other things- not really sure what to make of this whole situation. So there is this really old guy who lives in Brocton named C. He's a member, the nicest and most Christlike guy you'll meet. He suffered a terrible stroke about a year ago, and he essentially had to start over. He forgot a lot, and is really frail. As soon as we set him up with a ride, he has started coming to church regularly, and even though he's active, we visit him because he's lonely, and the beginnings of dementia are starting to creep in. So it's a little sad. Anyways, T (his ride) calls us Sunday and says he's knocking and knocking on C's door, no answer. And there's a bad smell coming from the house. He called the paramedics, and the door got forced open, and it turned out that there'd been a huge gas leak- he'd have died if he'd been there. But he wasn't! As our knowledge the day developed, it turns out the Jehovah's Witnesses had showed up at the door in a big white van early that morning and took C to their church, which actually saved his life. So that was good.  Anyways, I am glad that he is ok. Still got to figure out that situation, though I suppose it is now Elder A’s  job. Last night, probably as a result of my stomach conditions I had a really freaked dream. We were teaching C about the true church when the door literally exploded open in a gale-force blast, and two Jehovah's Witness sister missionaries charged in and began bashing with us. It was weird. Woke up in an icy sweat.

So I wanted to share a really cool experience that strengthened my testimony of tithing. We were meeting with Sister B, a member of the church who is being reactivated. We had been encouraging her and encouraging her to meet with the bishop about getting a temple recommend, but she kept putting things off. Finally, we got her to share her concern, and it turns out she hasn't been living the law of tithing and feels guilty about it. We taught about the promise of the Lord to those who pay an honest tithe, and she committed to live it. She was very worried because she is very low income and has been using all of her extra funds to save up for a car, but she committed to start. The very next day, she received a letter, out of the blue, that her rent was being lowered. Because of her commitment, she now has the money to pay tithing! It was a really cool miracle. Honestly, the awesome thing about the mission is that it strengthens my testimony of every single principle of the gospel. I am serious, I could probably tell you an experience about every single aspect of the gospel. It is legit! I love it!
Elder Wright

Farewell Fredonia

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Truly, all the forces of hell have been conspiring against her.

Well, this has been a good week. I think I forgot to tell you, but we went to the temple again this Saturday! It provided me with a lot of clarity and as always it was a wonderful experience. It is such a blessing to be able to attend the temple. The mission rules are every six months for personal worship, if you live within two hours drive. Or, you can go with recent converts or returning members for their first time if they are taking family names. So with any luck, I will get to go again before my mission ends, because R is being baptized this Saturday! I am so proud of her. Truly, all the forces of hell have been conspiring against her. She has faced bitter rejection from her own family, she has had to sacrifice her job (she does work at the Episcopal church) and she has had her own struggles on top of that. But her experience has taught me a lot, and I have so much love and respect for this lady. This gospel really is "the pearl of great price," which Christ describes as being worth selling all in order to obtain. She has sacrificed so much because she knows this is true. It's a good question to ask- what am I willing to sacrifice in order to come closer to Christ? It's interesting- as you know, she has previously had a date, which she didn't reach. In these past two months, she has grown so much in faith and strength, she is so much more prepared- not that she wasn't before, but she has a much deeper and richer experience now than she did. Just more proof that God's timing is the best!
Well, this is about all I got for today.
Elder Wright

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mission Life

                                          Zone Conference
                                          Zone Conference
                                          Fast Sunday

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My gut tells me I finish in Fredonia. Which is good.

I loved Conference! We watched it with members or investigators, and it was very powerful. I loved Elder Anderson's talk as well, he came to our mission 6 months ago, if you'll recall. And the Thailand temple announcement had me jumping up and down. How exciting!
The news here: I got the organ. It's sweet. I cleaned it up and it plays really well. It's old! Like from the 60's! Best thing ever!
Something cool this week was the fact that I found a bike shop! It's the brainchild of a retired Fredonia professor, it's a volunteer operation to supply bikes to the community at need, and though it's a little slow what with the never-ending winter, there should be stuff for us to do once it warms up. In fact, the guy in charge wants to hook us up with bikes to help us do missionary work! That is going to be critical for the Dunkirk/Fredonia area, we'll be able to get where we need to be and talk to a lot more people. I am stoked!
My gut tells me I finish in Fredonia. Which is good. There's a family here that I feel like they are the reason I am here, to help them to accept the gospel. And that will probably be the end of my mission. I am glad to do it though; there is a lot of good happening in this place right now.
Elder Wright


 We saw some tracks on the fresh-fallen snow, and since there was nothing else, we followed them. Stopped following them once I realized they were bear tracks.
 Post-district meeting just escalated until I became the District.
 Easter!  As you can see, Elder A. thought these were kind of dumb. But he put them on anyways.
I got the organ. It's sweet.