Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Elder Stringham and friends

Steve just sent me a picture of Megan Morgan, Lindsay Stephens and Steve.  They were visiting a friend in Huntington Beach and ran into Steve at an early 4th of July celebration.

Elder Andrew Menlove

Aloha! Or should i say Malo e lelei?! 
Without a doubt, this has been the craziest, most stressful, most rewarding week of my mission! I don't even know where to begin....
Monday and Tuesday i spent most of the time packing and saying goodbye to people. It was a bummer to leave Kauai. I truly love the people there, and the work was incredible. Kapa'a is doing way better than it has for years-July is going to be incredible for Elder Miller! I jumped the plane on Wednesday morning and headed back to the rock for transfer meeting. It was a tough to go back to the hustle and bustle of Oahu-there are WAY to many people on this island. Anyways my new companions are Elder Nawatu and Elder Mafi. These dudes are awesome! Elder Nawatu is from Fiji, and Elder Mafi is straight off the boat from Tonga. They're both hilarious and hard workers.  I'm back in the Honolulu Zone, but President totally changed it since i was there. We've got some big challenges here. About half the zone is new greenies, and the other half pretty new to both the mission and the area. President had a special assignment for us-we are whitewashing the Kahala Ward (the Cloward's ward and President's ward), and covering the Honolulu Tongan Ward! Holy Cow! The Kahala ward is also the American SIgn Language Ward, so i am learning both ASL AND Tongan! I can sign my name in ASL and say a little bit in Tongan but it's totally nuts. We are also pretty much homeless. Our pad has MAJOR plumbing issues and we cannot use the bathroom. We've been sleeping at other Elder's houses until we get a new place. Both the Wards are great-we went to about 7 hours of church yesterday. It's been really challenging to whitewash a new area but we have seen many miracles just the the past few days. The Lord is guiding us and helping us and that is all we need. 
Happy Fourth of July! Brother Cloward had a huge party at his house on Saturday and it was the Tongan Ward Conference yesterday! I walked in to find TWO PIGS sitting on the table! They don't eat till they're full here, they eat till its all gone and everyone hurts! So much for my working out in Kapaa. 
I don't have much time to write but i love you all and wish you the best. CTR!
Ofa Atu,
-Elder Menlove

Elder Treyden Johnson Happy 4th!

Well its getting hotter and hotter here in eugene, and it feels great to get a little sun and not be in the rain all the time. This last week has been pretty amazing, and the lord has blessed us so much. My new companion who I am training is Elder Bradham from Atlanta Georgia. He is a really smart guy, out here for the right reasons with his head on straight. He is down to work hard, and have fun like myself. Right from the get go Him and I have been seeing some blessings when it comes to the work. We found two families, the Kellys, and the Freemans, who are less active with unbaptized children. With sister Kelly we have been teaching her and her son Dieter for the past week and they came to church last sunday. Sister Kelly loved being back, and her son Dieter has a baptismal date for July, we cant wait. Sunday was amazing, there were 8 investigators at church and we sure had our hands full. This gentleman John Green who we have been working with for ever finally came to church, and is reading the book of mormon. The whole Washington family came to church, and the mom Katie told her husband at church that she wants to work on getting baptized, we were so stoked! Also the Stapletons came to church, and I had a wonderful talk with Andy Stapleton man to man, and It was way spiritual and we are great friends. Andy is getting re-baptized then we are going to baptize his wife and kid, so we have been teaching them a lot about eternal families and getting them to the temple. Working with each of these individuals has shown me how much God loves each and every one of us. I look at all the people we work with, and try and help, and I realize I have a sincere love for each and everyone of them, and I can't even fathom how much more love God has for us. 
         Ok this was the miracle of the week. The other day, i was thinking of a lot, like honestly and the spirit of the lord hit me so strong. I just realized how lucky i was to have a family, and the knowledge of the gospel. In prayer i started to plead with the lord and I got way emotional. I was asking where to go, how to find more people who need this message. Honestly pleading. I received two distinct answers in my thoughts. I heard the words.. "Just go and do", and then "Marcola".  Marcola is a town twenty minutes out of eugene, that is in our ward boundries. I have been wanting to check it out for a while. So marcola it was, on saturday we set aside some time to run up there and follow the spirit. As we got to marcola we parked on a street, and also we had a map of the town. We prayed and in the prayer i asked god where on the map should we go. Right when the prayer was over, my eyes were drawn to queen street on the edge of the map. We knocked a few doors where we were at, but then headed over there. We knocked everydoor on queen street with much faith and diligence, and nothing. I thought thought we came to that street for a reason so we stuck around. We were about to leave, then right across the main street of queen street we saw a house on stilts by a river? We were thinkin, should we knock it or just leave? We knocked it, and Mom what I tell you is true. We knock, and a little girl answers, but runs around the house. She brings out her mom, and we start chatting a bit about who we were and our message. Another teenage girl came out and said she has been talking to missionaries since she was like 8? As we were trying to pull the pieces together the father came out. I thought he was going to shew us away, but once i brought up that we were known as the mormons, he said hey im mormon too! We were like yeah? thats awesome. this guy's name was jimmey, and he told us he was been trying to find missionaries to come up to marcola. He hasnt been to church in years, and there family doesnt have money to get down to the valley to church. He said, he was like lost? Then he said yeah, my two kids are baptized but my other two are not, and I want them to be baptized, and my wife to be baptized as well so we can go to the temple. I look at my comp with a dropped jaw! We knew we were led to this family. Jimmy went on by telling us he has been trying to teach his wife but couldn't so we set up a time to meet on wednesday! Mom the spirit is real, God doesnt tell us exactly where to go. He doesn't hand things to us, but he leads us, and it is up to us if we want to continue to seek what he has in store for us. Always seek, and find out what god wants you to find. Oh and yesterday haha, there was this really drunk lady who came running up to us, asking us if we were virgins. We tried to revert the conversations to more teaching her about the gospel, and it got way serious. She like started to trust us so much, and told us like everything! I dont know if it was the spirit telling her to tell us or the alcohol talking haha. She told us even though she was drinking she wanted to change, and for us to teach her. We have a lesson with her tonight!
           Things are going great, and I am still loving this area and my companion. Eugene is still radical, and I hope I can stay in this area for ever haha.  Love you all!
Elder Treyden Johnson