Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Elder Aaron Johnson

i had the most amazing experience this week!! here it is:

Miracles are happening down in AZ! So last monday elder allred and i went over to pat and jerris house and taught them the last little bit of lesson 4. which consists of the law of chastity and the word of wisdom and things like that. ( i taught the law of chastity...fun stuff...even if they are an older couple) then we taught about the word of wisdom. they said that they drink coffee and that it is something that they both have been perscribed by their doctors. (my heart sunk at this point...i thought that they would hav to push back their baptisimal date). apparently jerri has been getting these migranes since she was 17 and the doctors have no idea what causes them or what medication to give her. she has tried all sorts of pills and the doctors found that a cup of coffee a day and some tylenol do the best job in subdueing the pain. then pat said that he found that coffee boosted his blood pressure the best out of anything. so when they heard that they couldn't drink coffee if at all possible they were pretty skeptical. we explained to them that it is a commandment that we are supposed to keep our bodies clean and free from addiction and shared with them 1st nephi 3;7 ( which says that the lord gives no commandments that we cannot accomplish). so they committed to give it a shot and stop drinking coffee. then we offered to give them priesthood blessings. elder allred gave jerri a priesthood blessing then i got to give pat a priesthood blessing (my first one!!!) i was nervous i will not lie. it wasn't the prettiest but i think it got the job done. but anyways after we did that we left their home. we planned to meet with them on thursday to see how it was coming. on thursday they told us that they have been off of coffee since monday and that jerri has had NO headaches whatsoever and pat went to the doctor on wednesday and has no more blood pressure problems!!!!!!!!!!! i couldnt believe it. we just wanted to jump and shout for joy right then and there. it was amazing!! the best part was on monday after we left their house and as we were biking home i said a prayer in my mind that everything would work out...and right then and there i got a spiritual witness that everything would work out and that they would be ready on Dec 18th. talk about an answer to a prayer!! such a testimony builder for me...if it werent for the lord none of this wouldve happened. crazy!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Elder Stringham

I went on splits with my district leader Elder Gomez who is from spain and i learned so much it was ridiculous. my knocking has become about 500% more effective and all i did was change one thing, instead of saying "would you be interested in this" at the end of explaining something that we teach i say, "do you have time now or is there another time that we could share more of this message with you" it works really really well.

This transfer is Temple transfer so i went to the LA temple this morning and that was sweet its HUGE it was really cool and LA looks exactly like the postcards like i felt like I had already been there cause it all was very familiar,

on last Wednesday i think it was we went by a members house randomly that we had never stopped at before and i walked into there house and the 3 of the 4 foster kid investigators that i taught in my area in whittier like 4 months ago were in the house! it was crazy definitely a miracle that i just happened to walk in the house on a random day at a random time and my old investigators were in there so i taught my old investigators a lesson it was sweet! then on sunday i saw them at church because when i was teaching them before they were going to a different ward with their foster mom because they knew people in the other ward and it turns out that im in there ward so i saw them again! so i get to see my old investigators once a week now its pretty dang sweet.

This excerpt is from September: So this week has flown by just like the rest, its been a crazy week. so first off its been really really really hot this week, ive been drinking about 6 water bottles a day and everyone we knock into has been giving us water bottles because we look like we went to a water park because we are sweating so much. my shirts are always drenched by lunch time yesterday it got up to 109 degrees and we were riding our bikes up a whole bunch of hills so ya... it was hot.

Olympus Elders took over the MTC when Steve was there:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Elder Ward

Guess what? I'm a language giant now, so I can officially start learning chracters. Speaking is more important, but characters really help you understand that they're just freaking cool.
I've been studying about hope this week. To me hope is really just having an eternal perspective and knowing that everything in this life is given to us as a blessing. If we hold on to that perspective we can make it through anything.

Peter's Baptism
Peter Wong was baptized on the Sunday after conference. It was so awesome! Peter is 16 and we met him just walking on the street. He was so open to everything we had to say, it seemed like he already knew many of the gospel principles. His parents signed for him to be baptized and his mom even came with him to a conference session.
So yeah, the baptism. Peter came to church wearing the white shirt and tie we bought for him and he was just ready to go. Then after conference we changed our clothes and had the service. I was pretty nervous, not gonna lie. My first baptism, saying the prayer in Chinese and the water in the font was pretty low, but it was fine, no worries. It was so funny; after it was done, Peter just said "gam faai?" - that fast? I was kinda thinking the same thing. Baptism is so simple but so important. He was so happy afterwards. It was an awesome experience.

Kennedy Town ward members


Light Show from the Star Ferry Pier on the Island

This Week we had mission tour and President Perkins the Asia area President from the 70 came and just taught us for 6 hours. It was so amazing I learned so much. My testimony of General authority's Divine calling really strengthened. there were a couple things that stood out to me that aren't just mission related. At the beginning of the meeting he noted that in scriptures the lord says something along the lines of "ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened 75 times, and said that asking questions is the key to revelation. So he had us write down 2 questions and promised us that those questions would be answered before the end of the meeting. After the meeting he had everyone who had 2 questions answered raise their hands, and everyone did. it was pretty cool. Asking question just opens the door to revelation, so just ask. pretty simple really. Also he broke down the word ENTHUSIASTIC which when broken down means in a godly state, so the best way to be Enthusiastic is to develop Christ like attributes, I just thought that was interesting, and if we all want to be "an example of the believers" we definitely need to be enthusiastic about the Gospel. The last thing that really stuck out to me was that we talked a lot about love. The love of God, the love of the Savior, and the love that we need to have for our Fellowmen. Love was something that I was so hyped up on in the MTC, but that I've kinda let fall by the wayside out here. It's not that I don't love the work, or the people, It's just that I wasn't letting love motivate everything I was doing. When we let love motivate us everything is just better, we'll be happier, we will make others happier, and there is no room for and negativity, or anger. When we see everyone as Children of God, as our brothers and sisters, we will be filled with love for them. So the phrase "Let Love Motivate" has Just been running through my Head since, It's just so important. At the end we had a huge testimony meeting which was awesome! a room full of missionaries bearing testimony is pretty powerful. It really strengthen my testimony of this Restored Gospel so much, and just how much God loves us to Restore the fullness of the Gospel through Joseph Smith. We are so blessed to live in the fullness of times, and I feel so blessed to be here in Hong Kong Sharing the message of the Restoration, and helping others receive the fullness of God's Blessings. Just too blessed.

Elder Litton

In MTC with Elder Peterson?

Elder Estrada

Jose's district had a Mini-Mtc, including a paella lunch. These are photos from the Spain Barcelona blog. Can you spot Jose?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Elder Litton in Texas

So this has been a pretty good week. We pretty much knocked doors...mostly in trailer parks...and talked to everyone we saw all day every day. And well, it worked how we wanted it to work...we have more people to teach. About half speak only spanish so I'm stoked on that. Investigators are a little hard to come by around here, especially hispanic investigators, so when we have one we don't want to screw it up so my comp dosen't really let me speak (or at least try and speak) as much as I would like but that's ok...listening helps too.

We knocked on this lady's doors whose name is Maria. Spanish name but go figure she prefers to speak english. Anyways she let us in and pretty much the first thing she said was I was born a catholic and i will die a catholic.... but despite that she was willing to listen probably because at the begining we were willing to listen to her. She has had a hard life...she has two sets of twins die as babies and her husband took her kids away for like 7 years when they were young. She is now a grandma and lives with her son in a little town called Brookshire. So well...to make a long story short we taught her the first lesson...The spirit was so strong. We were towards the end and we were talking about how you need to pray if you want to know and she stopped us....She said "wait a second...just let me tell you something" My companion and I were like NOOOOO...it was going so good but then came her reply, "I feel you are an answer to my prayers" She said I wasn't gonna say anything but I feel the catholic church is becoming to commercialized and this might be what I'm looking for.... so we promised her it was and at the end we asked her to pray. She said she wanted one of us to so I said after I pray it will be your turn.....and then I prayed and said amen and kept my eyes closed and my arms folded and waited....I think my comp was a little confused too but I just sat there and waited and then she started to pray...it was awesome. We left her with a Book of Mormon...all we had were spanish and she could not read well in spanish but Elder Rupp promised her she would understand it if she truly wanted to cause God didn't want her to wait.... Anyways we go back to Brookshire soon so we will see how that went. It was a pretty good spiritual boost. We found a few other investigators this week that had lots of questions and we have appointments with them so I'm pretty stoked on that. Its a pretty slow area like I have said before so its good to have some people and i feel like if we keep working as hard as we have we will find more. We helped a few inactives come to church this week so that was good too. Well....that's about it. Hope everything is going good for whoever this email goes too..

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Elder Pinnock

David has been transferred to Fresno, California waiting for his Mexican VISA. He was excited to begin 'real missionary work'.

From his last letter in the MTC:
"Yes, I have been reassigned to Fresno, California Spanish speaking. They are still having problems with VISAs so this is where I'll be until it comes. I am actually really excited to go somewhere in the U.S. before Mexico. It should be a better transition from the MTC into the mission field. I know now that there is no possible way someone could be 100% ready for their mission and if one of these people exists he is a pretty cool guy. I have learned a ton since I've been here and I have kept a really good study journal (it is my best friend). I think the most important thing I have learned in the MTC is to be obedient. There were a lot of lessons, firesides and devotionals about obedience. It really is easy as soon as you get a habit of doing it. I just hope I get a companion that is completely obedient."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Elder Smith

September 20: I can tell you that it would be super easy to be a bad elder here. All the time we're at the houses of members of the bishopric and they tell me to go take a nap or watch TV. And it’s not easy to say no because I'm almost always super tired, but I do. There’s worse stuff than that in the mission that’s just an example. I don't know if I told you but I think 5 or 6 elders have been sent home early from my mission because of breaking serious rules. But my companion is good and I do my best too. We've tripled the productivity of our area since we got here. It’s awesome to see the progression. And I had my first baptism yesterday a little 10 year old kid that we've been teaching. He's the coolest. And a couple we've been teaching is finally getting married and baptized next week. It’s exciting times.

Elder Ward

From up hike up on Victoria Peak, above Hong Kong:

This was with our summer missionary. We climbed the wall instead of walking down the hundreds of steps. He was terrified ha ha. It's not as big as it looks.

JJ and his companion, Elder Quinn, stayed in West Point this move and both are happy about it. Things have picked up there and they're hoping to have some pretty good success. Right now they have the "most golden of Golden investigators". Peter Chan is awesome. JJ and JD met him on the street and he has been so open to the gospel. He has set a baptism date of October 10. Because he's 16 it's possible his parents won't consent to his baptism so prayers would be appreciated!
Street contacts are always interesting and we had two particularly interesting; one guy yelled at us that we should convert to Buddhism! Another guy seemed very interested in talking with us and offered us each a cigarette. We had to tell him we didn't smoke. Then he wanted our phone number so he could call us and go out for a drink; we had to tell him we didn't drink. Then he saw we were sharing a cell phone and he thought we might be gay. We had to tell him we pretty much liked girls but right now we were missionaries and our focus was sharing the gospel! We have his number and it will be pretty crazy if we see him again.
I'm looking forward to conference (which we won't get to see until the week after you guys do) and to staying in West Point. Here are some pictures - the first i'm offering a helping hand to our summer missionary. The other two are from a hike we took to Victoria Peak with some of our ward members, who are pretty awesome by the way.

Elder Litton leaving MTC

Scott was chosen to sing in the Priesthood choir at General Conference. He said "Singing at the Conference Center was sooo awesome. It's crazy standing up there, knowing you're singing to the world... The spirit was super strong.. and if you watch it online you can see all the general authorities turn around right when we start singing. For everyone who didn't see me, you can watch it on LDS.org. I'm in the last sing "Called To Serve" in the bottom corner for like 3 seconds. Just a little dot in the corner.. ha ha... It was way funny to watch all the people in the crowd trying to get the attention of their kids or brothers right after conference ended. Some of them had even made up a dance...

So this is my last week at the MTC. I'm stoked on Texas! I'm so ready to actually do the work. I might need some work on my Spanish though, ha ha. The church is awesome. It's Pure, Simple, Logical. It just all makes sense and it's full of Hope.

Elder Ryser transferred again

I am now in the incredible city of Zaragoza. It's out in the middle of nowhere but is amazing. I came at a perfect time. They had a party named La Fiesta do Pilar. (see his blog)

We have two baptismal dates for this Saturday and they are golden. They had been homeless for about 3 months when a member felt like he should go talk to them. He invited them to stay in his house and come to church with him. This was a month ago. Now they have hope. Islamil is waiting on a job offer.

Bowling on p-day

Spain is full of classy art

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Elders Litton and Pinnock

From Elder Litton: So...I have some pretty good news. They're sending a MTC choir down to sing for priesthood session and i made it. I think there's about 200 people who did. We had to fill out these forms about our prior experience and stuff and somehow i got in. I guess i'm glad i was in the childrens choir now. But for those that are going to priesthood session watch for me. Maybe they will do a big close up on my face so the world can see all my zits...haha. Im super excited though...its gonna be a way nice time. we have practice everyday now. Its sounds really good....but i need to memorize all the songs. Sooo much stuff to memorize here....Spanish, Gospel Stuff (lessons), and now all these songs. We have to have 3 back up songs on top of all the songs we already have just in case one of the general authorities passes out of something. So maybe this will give you a good reason to stay awake during priesthood, haha. jk

Other than that not much new this week. We have to teach the first lesson in spanish for the first time tonight so that should be interesting. Im starting to understand spanish pretty well but speaking is a whole different story. I guess i just keep on praying for the gift of tounges. haha

Something cool I learned this week.....The general authorities we have during our lifetime will be our judges along with our Heavenly Father. Thought that was neat.

Here's Elder Pinnock at the MTC!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Elder Litton

Elder Litton entering the MTC

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Elders Smith and Ryser

Luke emailed from Tahiti: ""so yeah I'm not going to say much this week cause the computer is acting really stupid right now; but everything is going well. I'm still in Punaauia with the same companion... love you all, Elder Smith" Alas. Communication is spotty to and from his mission.

Nick is enjoying summer in Spain - hiking, sightseeing... and missionary work in the meantime. For his year mark, "I got to go to Burgos to do an interview for a guy to get baptized. He's all good to go. The elders there, being the great guys they are, made me a Reese's cake. You would have loved it. Also some fajitas. It was the most delicious filling meal I have ever had on the mission from an elder."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Elder Johnson

Aaron wrote us from the MTC and said:

"I see David, Max, Will and Treyden almost every day. So it's been fun. Actually David has the room above me so we talk every night. On Wednesday I get the privilege to act as a Host Missionary to the new missionaries. That means I might host Scott and/or Andrew Menlove, which would be so cool."

His address as of August 24 is on our address list.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Elder Ward

From JJ's mom: President Uchtdorf has been in Hong Kong and the missionaries were able to hear him talk and got to shake his hand. His visit coincided with district and zone leaders and trainers' training so it was a slow week investigator wise. JJ said: "On Sunday President Uchtdorf stopped by. We got to take a picture with him, shake his hand, hear him talk to just the missionaries, and then hear him talk to the members of Hong Kong. It was a pretty good day. He talked a lot about just following the spirit, and being an instrument in the Lord's hands, and just completely dedicating ourselves to the work."

JJ mentioned that they would be getting a new companion, making their twosome a threesome for a couple of weeks. In Hong Kong 16 year old boys are set apart to be summer missionaries. For two weeks they live with full time missionaries and work right along side them. How cool is that?
JJ said: "Cantonese is coming along and I feel more comfortable all of the time talking with members and new investigators. We've picked up some new investigators, dropped some old ones, and have a few people coming close to baptism. Yesterday (Aug 3) we played basketball in our shirts, ties and dress shoes with a kid who was just shooting by himself. It was pretty funny - three missionaries playing in dress shoes in the middle of the afternoon. We were all pretty sweaty after that, but it was fun. You have to switch it up sometimes out here."

"Everyone is pretty much stuck or completely dropped off the face of the Earth. So we are doing a lot more finding right now and less teaching. Wilson's parents don't like other churches at all. They are strict ancestor worshippers, and they don't want him meeting with us... so things with him have to go really really slow. And then most of the other ones just won't progress... that's just how it goes sometimes. Everyone has their agency."

"Thursday it rained so hard, have you ever heard of black rain? Well it isn't completely black just really dark. I had the awesome opportunity to run from the Kowloon Tong chapel to the train station in it without an umbrella. in about 30 seconds I was as wet as I could get. It was actually pretty fun. But my shoes are still drying... haha"

Love you all. Thanks for your support.
Elder JJ Ward

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Barcelona Mission

Gamji and Zunu spent a whole week together learning new policies from President Hinckley.

Elder Estrada is training a new missionary

and Elder Ryser is a zone leader (this is a pday with members, overlooking Bilbao).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Elder Smith, July 19

We have our visas and flight plans and we're leaving Thursday morning. It’s so soon I can't wait. I feel so ready to get out there and start making a difference. I know I won’t be able to understand very well or communicate very well, but I can smile and bear simple testimony, and share simple experience, and I know even that will make a difference. Also my companion probably won’t speak English so I'll be force to learn at least French pretty fast. And I can understand my teachers probably 80 percent of the time, even when they speak fast. I'm so excited to just get into it. My last two weeks here have been so awesome, I've grown so much and learned so much its amazing.
My testimony has grown 10 times as strong as when I got here, and I've really learned a little bit about the power of prayer. I can’t even count the times that I was discouraged with the languages, or mad at people here, or frustrated with my companions or my self, and I've prayed and almost immediately been comforted. I've grown to love my companions so much, and their testimonies have really strengthened mine.
To my family and friends I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your examples. I've always been able to look at my older brothers and sisters and mom and dad as awesome examples to help me make decisions and become the person I am. I love you all so much. And I just want to tell you all that I know this church is true, and I can't wait to go and share it with other people. I know there are many tough times ahead, but I also know that if I rely on Christ I will be able to get through any trial. Like Enos I know that God cannot lie, and He tells us time and time again that if we have faith in Christ, and if we lay our burdens on him and repent of our sins that we can accomplish all things in him, and anything he has asked us to do, we can do it. I love you all so much. Elder Luke Smith

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Elder Strigham in the Field

Elder Stringham in the MTC

Elder Ward

JJ Ward flying high for Hong Kong

JJ Ward in Hong Kong (finally) with President and Sister Chen

JJ reports that Hong Kong is really hot and humid; he is getting used to being wet and sticky. Air conditioning is one of the best inventions in the universe!

"Got to do international work last Wednesday. There are tons of Phillipino/Indonesian domestics in HK, who get one day off a week. Most go to this one area to send money home on their days off. Anyway, Sacrament Meetings are held everyday but Mondays and the missionaries have pretty good success working in this area. I spoke English almost the whole day and helped teach a ton. It was crazy! Love this work!"
June 2010, Hong Kong