Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Email Update: 9/29/2014

Dear Everyone,

It sounds like things are going really well for all of you guys, and thanks for the stamps and such. I'll make sure to use them. As for Jeffrey's play, I don't really every remembering him slowing down with what ever he did, so it's no surprise that this is the same. By the way, it may be a big place, but don't leave it, at least until after i get home; have you never seen the RM? 

And finally, "Swigs?" Yeah, it sounds very much like a teen bar.

Anyways, on to some of my life. To start things off, this week has been pretty awesome, all things considered. First, WE CAN FINALLY BREATHE. I never really know just how big of a difference that makes until it's gone. You'd think that i would remember, especially because it happens every year, but it always comes as a new surprise to me whenever it happens. So, with that awesome little development, we were able to get out a lot more this week, and we saw a whole lot more people. We even were able to find a new investigator, named McDaniels, who is a fairly recent convert's mother. She has seen everything that the Church has done for her daughter, and she is ready to see what it can do for her. She even said that she would be at church this Sunday, though that didn't end up happening due to Jessica (her daughter) having a super huge work load this week, and not wanting to come alone. We had a really great chat with her on Tuesday, and got to know who she was as a native Nampa woman. It was really fun, and I am excited to get to teach her some more.

Some other cool things that happened this week include Elder Richie getting to go to the Temple for his half-way mark, something that came with a bit of a grind on me along with the awesomeness for him. When missionaries up here go on their temple trip, their companions get paired up with each other until they get back, and i was paired up with a mini-missioneer named Elder Valle (pronounced viiiyay). He is an... interesting guy. I spent the majority of the time that we were together setting up appointments for the coming week, so i didn't end up talking to him very much, but the next few days we went and saw some of the people who he ended up teaching on splits, and the most common description was "Bible thumpy." It's an appropriate one---kinda. Elder Valle is of the opinion that the only parts of the Bible that are true are the sections that are talked about in the Book of Mormon, so he is a bit more "Mormon Thumpy" in my opinion than anything else. So, we spent a bit of the week after that doing some damage control. 

Now, that was a whole ton of not so cool stuff, so let me reiterate the cool part; Elder Richie got to go to the temple! Aaaaaaand on to some more stuff.

Possibly the coolest part of the week happened yesterday and the day before. We went back over to Keiran's house and were able to teach him most of the fourth lesson in Preach my Gospel, "The Commandments." After we finished that, we talked to him and his dad, and confirmed that they are moving out this coming Saturday, which kind of undermines the original plan we had for his baptismal date, for November 8. So, after we finished the lesson, we talked to Keiran about baptism and how important it is, and we gave him a new possible time for his baptism; this Friday. Like i have said before, the kid is as smart as a whip and twice as quick, so we really felt like he was ready for it. we talked about it for a while, and his dad texted his mom to see what her thoughts on it were. She said that, even though she would love to be there, it was entirely his choice when he was baptized. With that in mind, we (including his dad) said that this was something that he needed to think about and pray about, and that we would ask him about it tomorrow. When we got to church the nest morning, he came up to us and asked us to set up his baptismal interview; he wants it to happen here! I have to say, it's always a really cool thing to see someone younger make big decisions fully understanding what they mean, and for that choice to be entirely theirs. I mean, it almost defeats the purpose if the choice is someone else's; is supposed to be a covenant between YOU and God, not anyone else. When that is the case, everything else really lines up.

Just a quick story to finish off. We were over to teach Kelly the third lesson (the Gospel of Jesus Christ), when Elder Richie started acting really strangely. By that i mean, stranger than he usually is. He was making comments all over the board, about everything from animal sacrifice to wiener dogs (yes, those were actual topics), and having an extraordinarily hard time staying on track with the lesson. By the end of it, he had actually passed the entire lesson off to me, so that i was the only one teaching. We finished the discussion, and were getting up to leave, when he made a weird comment about all of those people who like to wear their hoodies and sweaters down around their elbows, and the he proceeded to declare that he was going to wear his backpack that way for the rest of the day, to see what it was like, and to see if he could figure out why people liked it. We said our goodbyes, and started walking away. When we were on a path nearby, out of earshot of anyone, Elder Richie leaned over to me, and said, "Dude, we need to go home. My pants are super ripped." I look over, and hidden beneath his backpack, his pants had ripped right along the seam, almost all the way from the waist band to the crotch. Apparently, right when he had sat down to the lesson, he had felt them rip, and when Kelly had looked away for a second, he put his hand down to check and make sure that yes, he hadn't imagined it. From that moment on, he was having to  try and concentrate on both the lesson, and try to think of how he was going to get out of there. Hence the whole backpack thing. 

It made my day.

Well, that pretty much sums up our week. Hope you have a good one yourself!

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, September 22, 2014

Email Update: 9/22/2014

Dear Everyone,

First off, sorry that I didn't get an email off last week. The week was a little annoying, because both Elder Richie and I caught some kind of sinus thing (most likely just a cold) that was enough to keep us in for almost four days. In have officially decided something; being sick is lousy. I mean, i'll be honest, the first day off was kind of nice, but anything after that, I was starting to get really stir crazy. It felt like we weren't able to do anything for the whole reason that wee came out on a mission---to be missionaries. We frankly have it so good out in the Idaho Nampa Mission that not keeping up with what we are called to do is like spitting in the face of every member who counts on us to do our job. Being stuck inside for almost four days was almost as bad as---or worse than---the sinus thing (which managed to not let me breathe, and made me throw up. I was mad.). (By the way, how are you supposed to order that; when a parenthetical is the end of a sentence, where do you put the period? I have always been curious).

Now, on to some good news. I think that I have mentioned a lady named Kelly and a boy named Keiran in past letters. Kelly is a young single mother that we met off of a referral from the Bishop of one of the wards. She has four kids, one in Marching band, and the week before last, we taught her the 2nd discussion. In her own words, "It just makes sense." After we finished that lesson, we were able to help her commit to baptism on November 1st(though we are going to see about making it a little sooner), and Elder Richie even put together a check list for her, so that she could see the steps she has left to be ready, and can mark them off as she completes them. She seems really excited, and most importantly, and wants to do this for herself. To be honest, she brought up the whole issue of baptism all on her lonesome! I feel like she will be ready, and willing to do the things that are necessary far sooner than the 1st of November.

Now for Keiran. Bluntly, the kid is smarter than almost 90% of the adults that we work with. I mean, come on! 10 years old, and he has kept every reading assignment that we have left. He asks his own questions, sometimes without needing us to prompt him. We've had him teach us back portions of some of the lessons after we finish, and he'll teach them smoother and more simply than I ever have. His memory is so good on all of the stories that we teach from the scriptures, it's almost a blow to the ego for me to have to look some of them up. And, he also now has a baptismal date set for November 8th. The two best parts of all of this is the fact that one, his dad is willing to help him as he's learning. Patrick is a convert himself, of just a few years, so he knows a lot of what is involved with the process. He will make sure to remind Keiran of the reading, and is always encouraging him as he is learning. Second, even though his dad is helping him, everything that Keiran is doing is because Keiran wants to do it. His dad isn't pushing him into a decision. He understands what he is getting into. And he is the one making the choice. To me, nothing is more important than that, especially for someone young.

Well, that is pretty much all of the exciting things going on out here. Thanks for all of your stories, and I hope that Jeffrey and Linda are doing alright. Good luck with Taming!

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, September 8, 2014

Email Update: 9/8/2014

Dear Everyone,

Sounds like things have been really relaxed without me there.

I'm not sure how i feel about that correlation...

Oh well, i guess life just needs to calm down sometimes. ;) As for me, yeah, things have been a little interesting with the new lines. Sacrament was honestly a little insane; the active member base had almost literally doubled in size, and they almost had to bless the water again. Luckily, they have a habit of blessing an emergency pitcher of water at the same time, so things went alright. The deacons were a little frazzled, though; they almost missed an entire section of the congregation. It's been crazy for us, too. The new subdivision is nearly half of the entire area of the ward, so we haven't yet been able to figure out where everything is yet. Those people that we have been able to meet have been awesome, including our new ward mission leader, Brother Beames. The first thing that we did when we met him after church yesterday, was sit down and he read what his role is as Ward Mission Leader is. The reason that matters to me is because there are a lot of WML's that I don't believe ever touch the handbook or the preach my gospel. Of course, just because others aren't helping doesn't mean that we stop what we are doing, but it certainly makes me feel better when they do. Most of the things that we talked about while we met with him centered around finding new people to teach. One of the things that we all agreed on was the fact that a lot of the members that we want to work with know that they should be doing missionary work, but they are either nervous about how their friends will react, don't know what to say when people ask questions, or just don't have the desire to do it. So, the meeting was all about brainstorming ways to address those concerns. One of the ones that i feel like will work pretty well is first trying something that we called "service tracting," where we go around the neighborhoods with tools and work clothes, and just offer service to build community relations, without trying to set up discussions to start. Another thing that Brother Beames suggested was to find six of the more common topics that people have questions about, and to write up a one minute response and a five minute response to each of those topics. Then, we are going to set up mini firesides or multi-family FHE's, where we teach each of these things to the members, so that they don't have to worry about what they are going to say, because they already have the answers that they need.

That's all of the more exciting things that happened this week. Thank you for everything that you do!

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, September 1, 2014

Email Update: 9/1/2014

Dear Everyone,

Yeah nothing ever spells my name right. Don't worry about it. And thank you for the package, i love it! Sounds like Jeff is getting dragged through a grinder; hope things go well.

As for my life, nothing too spectacular, just the usual walking around, trying to find someone who isn't so jaded against us, so that they'll give us the time of day. We had a couple really good visits, though, and were even able to pick up a couple of new investigators on Tuesday. One is an 11 year old kid, and the other is his soon-to-be step mom. The lesson went really well, and we were able top commit them to start reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning. It was actually really cool; he already knew the basics of a lot of the stories that we talked about, and was willing to read during the lesson. He didn't even have too hard a time reading all of the funky names! So, we're excited on that point.

Other than that, there was just one other unusual thing that happened; one of our wards split. Well, kinda. What more happened was that it gobbled up a good half of a different ward, that happened to be the sister missionaries' area. They were sad, because that section housed their one and only investigator, their Ward mission leader, and their Relief Society President. Funny little insert, the split also sliced out the subdivision were we are living, and gave it to the other ward. Which happens to include our ward mission leader. Yeah, there was a bit of give and take.

Well, that is all of the exciting news for this week. Again, thank you for the package, it made the week.

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver