Sunday, December 11, 2016

Obedience and Trying New Things Brings Success (Week #79)

My week's been pretty interesting! 

Elder H is a great guy. He's a really good replacement for Stone. We get along super well. He's from Salt Lake and he was going to go play D-1 football, but he tore his ACL his junior year. A school in Iowa called William Penn gave him a full ride after his mission. He's reallllly good. Super hardworking guy.

Yeah Sister F is from Hillsboro. I don't know much about her honestly. She's really quiet. She likes to run. Doesn't know anyone I do.

We're still working with M. Every Sunday something keeps him from church. This last one was the closest yet though. He was literally in the parking lot of the church at 10;30 and backed out cause he thought it was over (lack of cars apparently...only 6 people at churchSunday  including us...). G has completely dissapeared...we tried by everyday but she never answered...weird..

What are the main things that happened on the following days?:
• Monday - Went to the H's like every pday and ate with them. Taught a lesson about obeying parents (obviously I know nothing about that...)
• Tuesday - Today we had a meeting in Corpus, where President Torres came up and talked to the missionaries and the ward leaders. Basically trying to get everyone on the same page and working together. It went well but it's a little tough to plan with your ward leaders when you don't really have any...
• Wednesday - We had a lesson with M and tried to help him get an answer that Joseph Smith is a prophet...We testified super hard and prayed with him, but he still doesn't get it..The spirit was really
strong. I don't think I've ever testified so hard, so many times to one person, without them feeling it. Something's holding him back...
• Thursday - We had our monthly leadership conference thing. It was really good. President changed things a little bit. Now we have an hour a day where we go out and just knock doors. It's weird haha drove 8 hours...the whole day was driving and in a meeting. Craziness
• Friday - First day trying out the knocking doors was super weird. The first one pretended they weren't home even though we saw him walk in, the second was a JDub who tried to convert us and just about everyone slammed the door in our face and turned us down. My sarcasm came in real handy to keep a positive attitude haha but we found a really cool lady named C who has buddies in Utah who are Mormon and wants to come to church!
• Saturday - Finally got to see the G's again! They're doing good. We're still working on church with them.
• Sunday - Had 6 people in church. We got to talk to M. He asked us for a church tour on Wednesday which'll be cool.

What has been your biggest challenge this week?
We had a lot of time spent in other places cause of meetings and stuff like that. So we had to make up a lot of work.

What has been your biggest concern?
Sorta concerned about what M is missing. We've done just about as much as we can. We'll see what happens.

What has been your biggest success?
Finding C was a really cool thing. Good sign that obedience and trying new things brings success.

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?
Elder H. He's a really fun guy and works and works and works.

What has been your most significant tender mercy?
It's been super hot over here. It'll rain for like a minute and then get so humid it feels like 115. It's nuts. So anytime we get water it's a huge tender mercy.

What are you looking forward to this coming week?Teaching M and C and knocking doors everyday.

Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week?
I read a little bit about the atonement the other day. I felt God's love really well when I read it. It was awesome.

How has your testimony grown this week?
I've seen the importance of listening and obeying God's servants. We'd never tracted in our missions before so it sounded a little crazy before, but once we tried it, it was simple. Kind of like the Israelites and the brass serpent.

Love you guys tons!
Elder Hess

Jumping in Puddles and Such (Week #78)

The week's been real good! 

We head to the mission office on Thursday. 

Elder Stone went down to be a zone leader in McAllen. My new comp is Elder H from Salt Lake. He's a good guy. Yeah Elder Ho is the District leader in Robstown now.

Now we have:
Me and H in Sinton,
Ho and J in Robstown,
Sister St and Sc, Sister E and E, Elder L and P, Sister P and F (she's from Hillsboro)B and S, H and W. They're all really good people. Fun peeps.
Sinton is good. We finally got a ward list, so we can work by knowledge instead of just'll be nice. We had 13 at church. It was small again.

L is awesome. He's never really wanted to join the church. His mom is bedridden and she's Catholic.

Brother M connects with everyone. He's had a crazy life and a really cool conversion story that he shares with everyone. He's only been a member less than a year, and he's a better missionary than most
member's for their whole lives.

The new apartment is really big. Well bigger. I don't have any pictures, but the old one was probably the size of the downstairs bedroom in total and it had cockroaches everywhere....

What are the main things that happened on the following days?:
• Monday-Last full day with Stone. We stopped by people so he could say his goodbyes.
• Tuesday-Worked with Elder J while transfers were going on, and took Ho by a bunch of people to introduce him.
• Wednesday- Stopped by M. Had a really good lesson with him and he asked us to stop by on Friday to help him not drink. Also talked to
a recent convert named G, who really wants to go to church but has tough health issues.
• Thursday- Really tough day. Worked suuuper hard in super hot sun and then a random rain storm, and didn't get to talk to anyone. Literally like 2 people, but they wouldn't let us teach...
• Friday- Stopped by M and he wasn't there.... Actually all our appointments fell through. Turns out in these little towns, all there is to do is watch high school football....Fridays will be tough for a
while...but we had a really good talk with L about Ether 12:27 and how we can help him with his weaknesses.
• Saturday- Appointments fell through again...But we got to talk to M, and he didn't drink and he said he would come to church and wants to be baptized.
• Sunday- Had a ward council in Portland and no one came to church..

What has been your biggest challenge this week?
Keeping a good attitude. H will be a huge help.

What has been your biggest concern?
Finding something new to try, so we can change the area and make it really good.

What has been your biggest success?
Teaching M has gone really well. He feels the spirit really strongly.

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?
L. He's a huge help. Has us over to eat and jokes around with us. Just an awesome guy.

What has been your most significant tender mercy?Rain. It's a huge blessing no matter how hard it dumps. Takes away the heat for a while. I mean it comes back twice as bad, but it's nice while it lasts.

What are you looking forward to this coming week?
We're having a meeting with president and all the leadership of the stake, which should be a really good meeting. And we're going over to help out L organize his house. And I get to see stone on Thursday!

Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week?
I've been studying PMG a lot and the chapter on finding is awesome. Taught me a ton and gave me some good ideas to use here. We're going to focus a lot more on service this week.

How has your testimony grown this week?
I saw on Thursday, how much God trusts us. We were having a real sucky day, but God put us there for a reason. It was weird revelation. It was a hard day, but we made it a lot of fun. Jumping in puddles and such.

Love you guys a lot!
Elder Hess

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

We're Doing God's Work, What More Could We Want? (Week #77)

Things are going well! This week was really rained for the majority of we didn't get to talk to anybody really because they all make excuses...super lame!!

Elder V only has about 3 months left. Yeah tomorrow is when the switches happen. We already know Elder Stone is leaving and I'm staying...So yeah...
"God Be with You" is a depressing song. I think we'll sing it at your funeral and dress you up in a clown outfit for the viewing. [Personal note to me, his mother--nice! Something for everyone to look forward to, but I have demanded no viewing when I die].

Speaking of flooding in the south! I got a call from Bill Christensen this week! He said he was in Louisiana and wanted to come visit me! So I got permission from President and he drove all the way here and visited with us for a couple hours. Taught us some more harmonica and such. It was awesome! He's a great guy!
Church attendance was better but only because we had a huge family from Portland come to give talks. They asked me if I was related to the Napoleon Dynamite guy...we really should figure that out...
Yeah S doesn't really get what the Bible is trying to tell him and seems to be stuck on his conspiracy that the Pope and the Catholic "system" he calls it, is trying to take over the world. A bunch of random crap about how if you add things up it equals 666....weird stuff.
The best ways to find are pulling yourself out of your comfort zone. God's made you who you are for a reason. He's given you your talents and weaknesses too so why not use them both right?
The families we found have disappeared. I'll have to refind them...

What are the main things that happened on the following days?:
• Monday- Regular pday stuff and visited the H family for dinner. They remind me a little bit of our family. They have a little 7 year old named M that's a lot like L.
• Tuesday-We went to a meeting in Kingsville (about 45 minutes away) in some of the craziest rain I've seen. Like driving into a wall. Portland prepped me though. Not many people talked to us...Kinda depressing haha but we got to visit a guy who's not a member but he's helped the missionaries for 30 years or so. His name is L.
• Wednesday- Tried to visit people in Taft. Super tough day.
• Thursday-We had splits with some of the members in Portland. I went with a guy named Brother Mu. He is the coolest guy I've ever met. He's only been a member for 11 months or so and he testifies to everyone. We had a tough time finding people to talk to but at the end of it, one of our investigators, M, was home. and we had the coolest lesson. We sat down and Mu just went off. I could barely get a word in but M was blown away. The spirit was really strong.
• Friday-We went up and worked with Beeville all day. Didn't get to visit many of the people I knew over there but I got to work with Elder Puga who's probably the funniest kid ever.
• Saturday-Went by L's antique store to check it out and visit him. He showed us all the cool stuff there and we got to share a message with him. 
• Sunday- Tried to visit our investigators but nobody woke up to come to church...

What has been your biggest challenge this week?

 Finding people who aren't afraid of the rain to talk...

What has been your biggest concern?

 I'm a little worried about transfers. Who my next comp will be. Me and Elder Stone had a ton of unity and it was the most fun i've had on my mission. I hope this next one's as good as he is.

What has been your biggest success?
I think the lesson with M was pretty great. He saw the light a little more I think.
Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?
 Elder Stone, L or Bill Christensen. They're all super cool peeps.

What has been your most significant tender mercy?
I think the new apartment is a big one. We have more room and it's not a tiny little cockroach infested place...

What are you looking forward to this coming week?
Seeing who my new comp is and who comes to the zone.

Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week?
I really like the scripture about Jesus casting Legion into the swine. It says that they came and worshiped him. They were afraid of what he could do and that's the same way Satan feels about us.

How has your testimony grown this week?
I've seen a lot of how hard work helps out. There's a quote in PMG that talks about how work makes us happy as missionaries and it's absolutely true. We're doing God's work, what more could we want?
Love you guys!
Elder Hess

Our navy jumpsuits

We were running to get in the frame and somehow we ended up looking like this (not planned at all, but we still look like goobers)

Bill! (I'm sure the van looks familiar)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Fiery Pit of Misery and Torture (Week #76)

Singing was good. It sounded a lot better than when we practiced it. It was us, Elder V, Elder J and the E family. We
sang "God Be with You Til We Meet Again." Never thought I'd be singing that song at so many funerals....

The weather here...You know how they tell you that hell is a fiery pit of misery and torture? It's a little like that...haha it actually rained yesterday!! First time in like 3 months! It was awesome!

Church attendance was pretty good for here. The people in Sinton should go to the Sinton group and the people in Taft go to Portland. But if they have kids, they go to portland because they have a Primary and Young Mens and
stuff there. It's doable..

We saw M and shared a scripture with his family. He's a super good guy.

Brother J lives in Taft. His wife is getting chemo treatments all the time so he can't help us as much as he wants to, but they buy us groceries a lot which is awesome.

S pretty much told us he wants us to spread what he's teaching was a little weird. He doesn't believe a lot about the Sabbath and church's and stuff and he told us we have more influence on people than he does so he talks to us to spread his ideas. yeah....Everyone else has kinda dissapeared...really weird..

The H's are doing good. Yeah they help us out in Sinton. The people in Portland come over here to help us out actually. It's pretty cool.

President Torres doesn't really tell us what to change. He basically told us if you've never failed, then you've never tried anything new. So if things aren't working then you have to change something and left it to us to do it. We're trying to teach really spiritual lessons with people using scriptures from all the books. It's working really well so far.

We do a lot of street contacting and referral work. we haven't had a lot of opportunities to be creative yet.

What are the main things that happened on the following days?:
• Monday - 
We went all over the place trying to find people and no one was home for 3 straight hours...
• Tuesday - We went up to have a district meeting with Beeville. We also got to talk to Brother R. He's a less active but only because he's a corrections officer in the prison. He said he'd do his best to get work off on Sundays.
• Wednesday - Went and saw S. He showed us some weird pastor talk he had on his computer. The guy said some good stuff, but it wasn't amazing or anything...IDK the true church seems a little better to me than some guy yelling crap.. maybe that's just me..
• Thursday - We had interviews with President Torres. He's an awesome guy. Just talked about the zone and what we've been changing. Then we met with M's family. We talked about seeds and growing them and how they can grow their seed.
• Friday - Elder C (one of the AP's) came and worked with us until yesterday. We found a super cool family in Taft with a mom and dad and 2 little kids that are reaaally interested in the church. They said they've been looking for God for a long time. So we're bringing them to him.
• Saturday - Found another really cool lady who had a Book of Mormon and had some questions. She likes the idea of Christ's church being on the earth and stuff. It's really cool to be able to answer questions with scriptures.
• Sunday - IT RAINED!!! Nobody answered the door BUT IT RAINED!!!

What has been your biggest challenge this week?
Still working hard through the sun. It's been reaally hot. It's weird, whenever it's hot people don't answer the door, and then when it's rainy they don't answer either...

What has been your biggest concern?
Well, we dealt with the whole who-goes-to0Sinton thing. So that's pretty much been solved.

What has been your biggest success?
Finding people. It's always really exciting when you find people here who are interested. It's so small sometimes it feels like missionaries have talked to everyone. But there's always more people.

I'm out of time! I'll try to write some more later if I can! Love you guys!
Elder Hess

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Billion Cats (Week #75)

It's reaaaally hot. We walk everywhere so we can meet the 4 people that are crazy enough to be outside with us. Haha!

Church attendance was at 10 this week... turns out people avoid testimony meeting because with so few people, they have to give their testimony.

So we found out this week that everyone should be going to Portland and not where we're at...they need special permission to go to Sinton. So anyone who moves in or is baptized gets moved over to the Portland Ward. Some new family moved in and showed up asking where they were supposed to go and they got told they need to go to Portland even though they live in Sinton....yeah Portland isn't in our zone it's in the Corpus zone.
The group leader is Brother J. He's a cool old surfer dude from Cali. Good guy.

What are the main things that happened on the following days?:
• Monday - 
We visited the H family. They're a really cool big family that go to Portland. We ate with them and shared a lesson with them.
• Tuesday - We had MLC. Some really good stuff. Pretty much no one reached their baptism goal as a zone, so he talked about changing what doesn't work. He likes to use Powerpoint so he has some cool thoughts up there.
• Wednesday - We've been teaching this guy named E. He's on parole for 4 more months, but he loves us going by. So we went by and explained about the Bible and Christ's Church and how they support each other.
• Thursday - We had a zone meeting. We pretty much run those and we talked all about diligence and getting stuff done. 
• Friday - Met a kid named A. He apparently has a huge family and a billion cats (his neighbor says 17, sounds like a billion to me) but he was really interested in learning and was really nice.
• Saturday - One of those days where you try to talk to everyone and no one is home and doesn't wanna talk. Super tough day. But a good one.
• Sunday - We had 10 people at church...kinda anticlimactic..

What has been your biggest challenge this week?
Talking to people. It seems like we spend a long time trying to get people to talk to us, but no one's home. 

What has been your biggest concern?

Well it's discouraging to think that no matter who we get to come to Sinton, they end up going to Portland anyways...doesn't seem to have much of a purpose if the kingdom can't grow here...

What has been your biggest success?

We've been really fired up to change things since MLC. So I'm excited to see what kind of changes we can make.

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?

We found a less active named S. He's this funny guy who looooooves to preach. So we read a few scriptures with him and he goes off for like 20 minutes in some sermon where he's up throwing his hands around and stuff. It's hilarious. We just kinda watch him go.

What has been your most significant tender mercy?

Well I found out Elder E chose to go home this last Friday...He didn't do anything wrong, he just decided it wasn't for him...And it was really tough for me. Felt like a failure as his trainer..I was pretty much awake all night. And I said a prayer and asked what I could have changed and done better. I'd never felt that "hug from God" thing before, but I felt it then and I knew it was going to be ok.

What are you looking forward to this coming week?

Well we have to sing at a funeral in a few hours so that should be fun....

Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week?

Ether 12;6. That chapter has some great stuff. 

How has your testimony grown this week?
I've seen that God really answers prayers. He knows us and he wants us to be happy. I'm really happy to be here.

Do we still have Grandpa's old guitar? Stone's been teaching me..

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Least We Can Do is Help a Few (Week #74)

The work is super hot!!! We've been walking everywhere and it's hotter than ever it feels like. Everyone warns us about August and how that's when summer really we'll see how that goes.

Life is great! Tons of good stuff going on. Church attendance was smaller than it has been but I can feel it'll go up soon. The group is actually under the jurisdiction of the Portland Ward (it's near
Corpus, super confusing). So the Bishop there is in charge of everything but there's a group leader guy who's in charge of sacrament meeting.

Reactivation is slow but it's going. There's a few people that seem like they're right on the edge of it. They just need that little push.

The Ns are doing ok. The mom works a ton, but the kids really want to come. They didn't come to church, but they love when we come by.

We found a bunch of new investigators that should be really good soon. Really interested people.

Things are going fairly well. President Maluenda would always say that being positive is just a decision, like a switch. And it is. but sometimes it's tough to flip the switch. So I think about the reasons I'm doing things and how I'm doing them.

Zone conference was really cool. President flipped the work around a little bit. He really wants us to focus on less actives and building the kingdom. We have to build up the attendance. In the past few years, missionaries have baptized a lot, but the attendance rate has decreased which doesn't make sense. He wants us to change the way we teach and work with people. Really awesome stuff. He's an amazing dude. He was offered a pro soccer contract back a while ago and had a really good company and left it behind for this and he doesn't worry about it at all. The assistants have told us he like to walk around in just socks and he takes greenies bikes out to the parking lot to do bunny hops and stuff on em. I like him a lot.

What are the main things that happened on the following days?:
• Monday

We walked around in super hot weather. One of those days where you feel like nothing is happening and then super fast you find a few really cool people in the last couple minutes of the day. Found the M family. They were taught by missionaries before and they're really nice. Gave us water and stuff (biggest blessing ever)
• Tuesday
We taught a girl named K. She really wants to learn and grow and her 5 year old has really been bugging her about church. We taught her about the restoration and she said it all made sense. we also helped a member named Brother R out. He's a good guy. His wife is super sick so while she had a doctors appoinment, we set up a new air conditioner for her and cleaned up a bit. Brother R used to be a Navy mechanic back in the day so he
gave us some Navy coveralls. haha Super cool.
• Wednesday
We worked in Taft. We've had people try to sell us watches they've stolen and stuff. Met a less active named Brother S. We'd talked to him before and he said we remind him of the missionaries who baptized him. He's been really hard to meet with him and he told us he's rarely sober. Taught him about God's love and how he needs to work to get closer to him.
• Thursday
Thursday we had zone conference so from about 8 to 5 we were in the meeting or traveling. After that we found a guy named J who was reeeeallly nice. He loves the missionaries but he's been at college. He said he wanted to come to church and told us to teach his friends at the skate park and said he'd teach us to skateboard.
• Friday
Back in Taft. All of our plans fell through and so we tried to find some new places to work. Ended up in the middle of nowhere with fields of hay surrounding us. We saw some apartments we'd never seen before and said a prayer and the first door we knocked we found a lady named R who's been going through a tough time. We shared 3rd Nephi with her when Jesus heals the people and she cried. a lot... and then the 2nd door we knocked was a less active member who we didn't know lived there. She was also raised FLDS so she talked a lot about how she was raised with multiple moms and stuff. But she's super cool!
• Saturday
President set up this new schedule where 2 hours of the day are just spent looking for less actives and reactivating. So we tried out one of them and it turns out his son really wants to change and come to church! it was a big miracle for sure. and then we went around inviting everyone to church. Met a cool guy named S who wants to learn.
• Sunday
Nobody came to church which was lame but we found a couple of new people to teach .

What has been your biggest challenge this week? 
Finding a way to touch all the less actives. The majority have been offended by something people have said in church and we have to find a way to fix that through the scriptures.
What has been your biggest concern? We really want to build the kingdom here, but people are really slow to move. So we have to try something new to get people to come.
What has been your biggest success? Finding the less active in the weird apartments. Turns out it was
someone the bishop in Portland had been looking for and asked about the day before. We didn't know that.
Who has been your favorite person this week? Why? Elder Stone. I don't think there's another missionary I would like to walk around with in this kind of crazy weather. We have a lot of fun.
What has been your most significant tender mercy? Finding R. She's a really sweet lady with some big problems. It'll be nice to be able to help her out.
What are you looking forward to this coming week?We have MLC this week (Missionary leader conference). We do every start of the month but we talk to President about our goals and get trained and he always gives really good suggestions. It's awesome!
Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week? I've been marking up my New Testament to use it more and I love that the sermon on the mount is like almost completely marked up. Toooons of good stuff to share with people.
How has your testimony grown this week? I think my testimony of this work has grown more this week. It's not
about us at all. We're only here to help like Jesus did. Sort of like mining. You have to dig through tons of worthless rock and tough times to get through to the gold. Jesus went through way worse things than
any missionary has and helped out thousands. The least we can do is help a few.

Love you guys a lot!
Elder Hess

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Either Way You're Stuck With Them (Week #73)

This week has been pretty good. Elder Stone is always the best. He's a super good kid.

Church attendance was lower this week. We had like 14 people there. Reeeeaally small. But it's going to go up this next week. 

We haven't been able to find the Aloha lady at all. She disappeared. Weird how you can do that in a city smaller than my high school...She used to work on like the border of Aloha and Beaverton. Apparently right on it. She thought it was hilarious that she "was in 2 places at once"...

We've been working really hard on reactivating people but they're really hard to find and we have a huge problem with people being offended by things....a lot like it is back home (and everywhere I guess).

We found a bunch of new investigators, a couple really cool families, but they didn't come to we'll fix that.

We got moved to be an example area. It's one of the hardest areas in the mission and he want's his "best" there. So he moved us over here to show that the work is possible. It's going to be a zone leader area for a while I think.

My ankle's doing fine. I only feel it at night sometimes or when I smack it on something. It's all good.

What has been your biggest challenge this week?Focusing on the positives. We haven't had a ton of success here. But once I changed my attitude, we started finding more and more people and better things started happening.

What has been your biggest concern?
We really need to reactivate some people. This place has been a group for a year and since then it's gone down in attendance. So we really need to do something.

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?
Elder P. He's one of the assistants. He worked with us for a few days. He's the low key funniest person. I love working with him. He has this weird thing about trains...I'm not really sure what it is but he loves them. He could stare at them for days and never be bored.

What has been your most significant tender mercy?
I've been getting a lot out of my patriarchal blessing which is huge. I love studying it.

What are you looking forward to this coming week?
We have a zone conference this thursday and afterwards, President Torres is going to come work with us. It's going to be awesome!

Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week?
I've been reading about Alma and how the prayers of his family and friends brought him back to the church. So I've been focusing my prayers a lot on the people who aren't coming to church.

How has your testimony grown this week?
I've learned a lot about the purpose of families and why we have them. And the mission is set up the same way. God's got one crazy plan. Stick you with a bunch of people and become a family and figure it out, or be miserable but either way you're stuck with them. It's exactly what we need to grow and learn. I've seen that through a bunch of the families I've met recently.

Love you guys!
Elder Hess