Monday, October 27, 2014

Email Update: 10/27/2014-- Transferred to District Leader

Dear Everyone,

Well, it seems like life is pretty fun for you guys right now. As for the picture, you're welcome. Oh, and "Hi, everyone!"

Life has been a little crazy for me as well, due to one significant change: I have been transferred. This transfer should be an even more interesting one than usual, because even though i've been moved, it's not really a new experience. You see, i have been sent to serve in the Fruitland Idaho area---in the same ward that i served in back in New Plymouth times. Driving through the "new" area has been like a giant shot of deja vu, and apparently (according to my new companion, Elder Riley), a lot of the people here who knew me, still remember me. So, it should be cool to get to see everyone again. I will say this though; i am sad to leave Elder Richie. It's been a great few transfers with him, and we did well together. But, i guess it's time for a change.

Speaking of change, I guess there is one thing that will be new to the area. They made me a District Leader---over a district of only Sister missionaries. That particular change wasn't expected (nor really desired), but i don't think that i have a lot to say on the matter, so might as well make the best of it. My first district meeting will be tomorrow, where we get to see just how crazy things can get when i'm "in charge." To be honest, i'd thought that i had dodged that bullet. It's already been a year and 3 months, and everyone else in my group had already been made leadership, within just a few transfers. With that in mind, i thought that i had flown low enough under the radar, that i wouldn't have to be a leader. Since the first transfer, i haven't really wanted to be one, and was glad that i had been "missed." Just goes to show that, once again, i'm not in charge of all of this. 

On the good side of things, the area looks like it's going crazy. The board the missionaries use to record people is almost full of people to go see, including 12 investigators, and 6 very recent converts. The best part is that the list was up to date, and kept track of, so that means these are the people they have actually been teaching. So, in terms of the work, i think that this next transfer is going to be an exciting one.

Either that, or i'm going to come in, and everyone will disappear. One of the two.

Well, i think that is pretty much it for this letter. Thank you for everything that you all do, and for all of the stories.

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, October 20, 2014

Email Update: 10/20/2014--6 months in Nampa

Dear Everyone,

I miss rock climbing. *Sniffle* Oh and Elder Richie says that Michaela and Mario are awesome for teaching Mei-Chan how to rock climb.

This week actually had a lot happen for me as well. The first exciting thing that happened is on Tuesday, where I got to go on exchanges with my District leader. I went to his area with his companion, Elder Eliason (EEL-a-SON), and Elder Knighton came to our area with Elder Richardson. It was really fun to get to go to someone else's area for a little while; life can get a bit old when you're trapped in the same 2 mile square bit of concrete for 6 months. I got to meet a couple of the people that they are working with, named Nicholas and Lucas, who are 18 and 14, respectively. Nicholas is also autistic, and i got to see how well Elder Eliason worked under that situation. As it turns out, he did very well, and Nick seemed to understand almost all of what was taught. After that, we were able to give their mother a blessing, after she had got out of the hospital. Elder Eliason gave that, and it was a really cool blessing. The last cool thing of that day was dinner, where i think that i had spaghetti that was actually close to your's, Mom. That was cool.

Thursday was the nest fun thing that happened this week. At 1:00, i got to drive up to McCall with my old companion, Elder Painter, to help baptize Kathy, a lady that we both started to teach while we were there. Her sister had passed away when we had started teaching her, and Kathy wanted to know what Hope (Kathy's sister) was learning before she died. once she started learning, she really just soaked up what we taught---she just seemed to never stop talking. Anyways, Brother Marshall was willing to drive us both up, so we left our comps in Elder Painter's area, and drove for 4 hours. It was fun to go down that drive again, and to be able to recognize everything that we drove past. We got there a bit early for the actual baptism, so we went and introduced Brother Marshall to Nate (the mortician) and David (one of the less active people we had been working with). Both are a good kind of crazy. At 6:00, we went and got ready for the baptism. It was weird, because this would be my first time in white for a baptism, and i'm too fat for my white pants, so i had to borrow a jumpsuit that they had there. (Fortunately for me, i can't find any pictures of that...) Kathy is really crippled, so even though Elder Painter was baptizing her, i was in the font to help her stay steady. It was really cool, and something that i would love to do again if the opportunity came. I did get one picture that i sent to you, and i will try to get a few more of that.

The last thing that i want to talk about was on Sunday, where something happened that i never really thought would. There is a lady in one of the wards that we cover named Gina, who missonaries have been working with since before i got to Nampa 6 months ago. She, some investigators that we have been teaching, and another less active family that we finally got to meet a couple of weeks ago named the Gonzales family, all made it to church! I didn't think that Sister Gage would ever make it back---which is why I'm not the one who is really in charge of all of this stuff. Heavenly Father is a much better judge of character than i am.

Well, that pretty much sums it up for this week. I hope your life keeps being a good kind of busy!

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, October 13, 2014

Email Update: 10/13/2014

Dear Everyone,

Jeffrey. Is 17. That. Is. Weird.

Sooooooo... He lost because he did things better? Yeah, that makes sense.

I haven't met any Lamars, at least not yet. Transfers aren't for another 2 weeks, so i don't know if it's likely that i will, either. Tell Stephanie/Roy that i say Hi!

My niece is walking, and i haven't even seen her in person yet. *Sniffle*

Anyways,  This week was pretty awesome, actually. We were able to meet with Jed and Rachel again this week, and I think that we just had the definition of a golden investigator lesson. We asked him what he felt about there being a prophet on the earth, and he proceeded to teach us about chain of authority, how the church needs people in charge using the power of God to keep everything straight, and basically our entire lesson on prophets. It was awesome. We were teaching the first discussion (second, of course. Why would we teach the first first?) and he pretty much soaked up everything that we taught, and expounded on it. He was even willing to say the prayer at the end of the lesson, in it asking for help to find out if the church is true. We are excited. The way it sounds from the bishop is that all we are really waiting for is for hem to get married, which they are already planning on doing in November. So, we should have a baptismal date set up fairly soon.

Something else pretty pretty cool happened the night before, when we had first tried to go and see Jed and Rachel. Jed wasn't there, but we saw this guy moving a U-Hail full of stuff up to the top floor apartment---by himself. So, we offered to give him a hand, and he accepted. Turns out that he and his niece had just moved out of his sister's place, and she had just left when we walked up. We were able to finish off the whole U-Haul in the next hour, and got to talk to them for another half. Their names are Carlos and Alandra, and even though we weren't able to talk much about the gospel, they did say that we would be free to stop back, as long as we could catch them. 

So, all in all, i feel like we had at least two really good experiences this week. I hope that your week is just as cool!

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, October 6, 2014

Email Update: 10/6/2014

Dear Everyone,

First off, yes, I did notice the language thing with Conference, mostly because I knew about it before hand; Brother Marshall, the man who we are living with, read about it on the church news website about 2 weeks ago. It was actually pretty funny, because I had been hoping that President Uchdorf would be speaking in German from the time that he told us about it, and President Uchdorf made the comment about it in his Saturday talk. As for the rest of conference, I always love that weekend, mostly because it is pretty much a chance for the rest of the world to take a backseat, and the talks are always amazing. I think that my favorite one this time might actually be President Packer's Saturday morning talk. I know, I usually prefer President Uchdorf's, but I really loved the focus on our belief in Christ that the whole conference had, especially his talk. Even in Idaho, people seem to think that we don't know what we believe in first, and second, that even if we did, we don't believe in a Jesus Christ that gave everything for us. It's honestly been more and more frustrating, especially when people make comments that slander men that spent their lives just trying to leave a better world behind. It was great to hear such a strong and repeated testimony in who we are and what we know; That Jesus is the Christ, and that he died to help us be better than we could be alone.

Now to explain that little rant. In the past week, there has been more insults, misinformation, and slander tossed our way than almost anytime in my mission. I can now officially add the "Joseph Smith was a pedophile, a sexual prisoner" comment to the list of rumors that has been thrown my way. That one really bugged me, because we didn't even say anything that would provoke that kind of response. 

What did we say? "Hi!" ~Elder Richie

That was all we said. I mean, if we had knocked his door, tried to stop his run, or made any kind of move like that, fine. I'd be a little frustrated if someone tried to mess up my day by saying a lot of stuff that I didn't believe in. (I believe that I am displaying that frustration right now.) But just "Hi?" It's just a common courtesy! Even more than that, what do they hope to accomplish with these comments? Do they think that we will stop teaching? Do they think that we even haven't heard or heard of them before? That we don't know the history of what we believe, and the rumors that came from it? We are wearing tags that show us as representatives of an entire church, and they don't think we understand the basics of what we teach?

Well, out of all of that, one thing at least should be clear---I can rant for quite a long time over little things. Moving on.

As for some of the awesome things that happened this week, It was jam packed. Like I said in the last email, we had invited Keiran to be baptized this last Friday instead of in November, due to their family moving out on Saturday, and Keiran accepted. So, almost all of the week was spent getting ready for the baptism. Little side note on that, I did something that I never really thought that I'd do; I called the Primary President cold, invited her to the baptism, and asked her to give a talk on baptism. I think that I had a good quart of adrenaline running through my veins after the call; I don't like asking people I don't know for favors.

Anyways, we went over on Wednesday to teach the last lesson and a half to Keiran, and it was quite possibly the most simple version of the Commandments and the Laws and Ordinances lessons that I had ever been a part of teaching---and I once again am glad that I have Elder Richie as a companion (though I probably wont tell him that, due to his tendency to over exaggerate things). That man can talk, make things easy to understand, and fun to listen to, all at the same time. I don't think that the lesson would have gone very well if I had had a different companion, or if we were on splits with the Ward Missionaries. Best of all, Keiran just soaked it all up. In fact, before we started the lesson, Keiran said that he had taught his siblings the lesson that we had taught the last time we were over, the Ten Commandments, that morning. His siblings actually knew them, too! The next day, we went back and took the District Leader with us, and he gave Keiran his baptismal interview. They came back in not ten minutes later, and Elder Knighton said that he hadn't interviewed someone who understood what was taught so clearly before (though this only his first transfer as district leader, so that is understandable). Aaaand the next day was the baptism! It was one of the smoothest operations that I have been a part of, even though we didn't know if we had someone to preside for a good half an hour past the time that we were supposed to start. It was really awesome, and I could tell that Keiran understood and enjoyed it.

The other really cool thing from this week happened just last night, after the last session of conference. The bishop had signed up for us to have dinner with his family, and on Saturday, he called us to say that he was able to invite a part member family that had just moved into the ward about three weeks ago, and that they accepted. When we got there, he introduced us to the couple, Rachel and Jedidiah (I love that name), and their three daughters, Lily, Macy, and Sophie (also know by their parents as Large, Medium, and Small). The dinner went well, and after we taught the Plan of Salvation, with Elder Richie naturally showing off his drawing skills by working up a detailed "flow chart" for Jedidiah. They both listened well, and put their own insight into the discussion. They were also the ones to talk about setting up a day to come back and teach some more later this week, so I feel like we have a new family that we can work with, which is always amazing.

Wow. I think that that was one of the longer letters of my mission. Hope you all aren't bored. Have a good Life/Week!

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver