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