This week for Sam

August 31, 2012

Not so far behind this time:

Thank you Mom and Dad for keeping me up to date on my car. I’m still hoping it’ll be running when I get home.

This week was a little crazy. Last district meeting the zone leaders came by and told us they felt inspired that this week we could reach the standard of excellence as a zone. So this week we had everyone texting in each time anyone added a new investigator or put anyone on date. Well, yesterday we added up all our numbers and we came up a little short. 3 baptisms short. I didn’t have the best attitude I admit since we keep on having little challenges to boost numbers. There’s always been a big focus on numbers and it’s easy to forget there are people behind them.

This Friday we had our mission toured by two members of the seventy: Elders Foster and Whiteington. [? The closest name to this I can find is Elder Scott D. Whiting.] They did some interesting trainings, mostly on working with members. It was all about being the kind of missionary they can trust. Elder Foster was mission president in Arcadia California where it was illegal to contact people on the street or knock doors. The only way they could teach was through members so he knows what he’s talking about.

I checked out Sister Winn’s blog and it’s way out of date. oh well.

Gotta go. I love y’all.

In totally unrelated news, the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve in Quebec was broken into and millions of dollars of maple syrup were stolen. What is the world coming to?

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Catching up on Sam

August 25, 2012

I know, it’s been a long time coming.

July 2, 2012

So, I got your package on Friday. Thank you for the cookies and things. I need to send some thank you notes to Memaw and Grandma Pew.

It’s gotten harder for me to write. I still haven’t gotten acclimated to this walking area. We’re getting in every night late and tired. It’s official. My mission now covers Bountiful, Farmington, and Layton. We haven’t seen any big change yet. Because of the Fourth of July all p day activities are postponed until then and today is a regular proselyting day except for emailing. The Fourth is gonna be an all day p day, with a nearly mission wide party that evening and a time where Pres Winn will introduce the new missionaries from the Ogden mission.

It’s a little funny. We got this referral and called him up. He lives by temple square and for the first time we meet we’re gonna meet him there. The thing is the Sisters over there might get offended if we don’t let them know so we called them. They were very understanding and all and said it was fine to go and talk over there. The weird thing is they said that if he asks any questions about any of the displays they want us to get the sisters. So we can talk, but not about any of the stuff around us?

Well, not a whole lot happened this week, but zone conference is coming up soon. We’re struggling to find people to teach right now, but quite a few of the leaders have some good suggestions. I love y’all lots. This is Christ’s church on the earth.

July 9, 2012

To answer Mom, we walk everywhere. Recently we’ve completely redone our teaching pool, so we’re mostly trying to find referrals, but since we’re no longer going by people who never answer the door we’ve been knocking some random doors. It’s been very difficult this week finding anyone who wants to listen, but there’s a few things we haven’t tried yet. The District Leader has started having us pray for each other every night. I just tried to attach a video Elder Ahwireng took, but it said the video was too big. Which is too bad. We knew this dog was at this place so Elder A started filming and as soon as I knocked on the door this little yappy dog bolted around the door and nips at me. I got startled and nearly kicked it. You wouldn’t believe how many people own dogs here.

The mission told us we’d get bikes, but they haven’t given them to us yet. Bikes would be a big help most of the time, but there’s also these very steep hills around the capital.

The mission had a huge 4th of July party. Lots of games and things. We also got to meet the new missionaries from Ogdon. Friday we had district meeting and the Zone Leaders came by and helped us with our area. One of the ZLs has served here and wants to help.

Yesterday we stopped by this guy. His son answered the door, but we could hear him (rudely) telling him to send us away. So we said we’d leave and he closed the door so we stepped back to figure out where we should go next. While we were trying to decide we heard some yelling. The dad of that kid comes out and starts telling us to leave. Then he says we upset his kid and to go apologize to him. Elder A went over to do it because he wanted to talk with the kid. I however got a little offended. I said to Elder Ahwireng, something like “is he really asking us to apologize for this?” The man gets right in my face and is all like “you got a problem with that?” (He was a head shorter than me) I didn’t want to start anything so kept very calm and just expressed that I thought it wasn’t very nice to come out when we said we were leaving. He backed off and sort of whined that his kid was mad at him.

Another day in Salt Lake City. That’s really the first time anyone seemed like they were gonna start a fight, well except for this one time with this guy holding back a very large dog, but we meet a lot of people who don’t like us. Usually they’re just dismissive.

I’m sorry Mom. I’m not trying to get sent home or anything and I’m going to avoid anything like that in the future if I can help it. That’s where the railway share comes in.

Well, I love y’all and pray for you. I’m glad to hear the ward is splitting. You know that means it’s growing. You know, like my mission.

July 16, 2012

So we’re still pushing along here in Salt Lake Stake. Our teaching pool is still quite low and Tuesday night the Zone Leaders dropped by our place. They had some tings to say to us before Zone Conference on Wednesday. Turns out after they their suggested improvements they really came by because one of them had a cold and wanted a blessing which we did.

Zone Conference was amazing. They combined our zone with bountiful zone. President really raised our vision for the mission by talking about who we were and what brought us here. He used the verse in Esther that basically says; who knows if you were put here for “just such a time as this.” Right now our mission is behind it’s goal of 3500. His message was to step it up and become the missionaries the lord expects us to become. There’s lots of work to go for the rest of the year.

This week was still a little disappointing, but we’ve had a few people come out and request lessons from us. Yesterday, we taught Relief Society in one of our wards on one of George Albert Smiths missionary lessons. We also slipped late into a different ward and saw Elder Cook there. We had heard it was his and Elder Perrys home ward, but hadn’t seen them there yet. He spoke at the end and I sat up a little more. We didn’t get close enough to shake his hand or anything.

Saturday night we spent the evening making sure some drunk guy didn’t do anything stupid. There were police involved. It was a little weird when one of the police told us he was a ward mission leader over in West Jordan, but I’ll explain in greater detail in my next letter. I will send one soon.

Last week we did see a lot of smoke in the distance. The stake had everyone pray for favorable conditions for the fires to go out and this week has been pretty wet and a little muggy.

We haven’t gotten any bikes. They’re searching the mission for extras, but nothing yet. I think with the mission change a lot of bikes ended up over in the west mission since none of them have cars.

I love y’all and want you to know that I know this church is led by Jesus Christ though inspired servants.

July 23, 2012

So this week was interesting. We got a call Thursday asking us to speak in sacrament in Capitol Hill 2nd ward. We have been trying to be visible in as many wards as possible so we said sure and asked if they wanted a specific topic. He said 1:modern day prophets and 2: seers.

Really? So that’s what we did, but I added a missionary slant to my talk on seers. We asked to talk in all the wards so I guess we shouldn’t complain when we’re asked, but why would you give those topics to the missionaries?

Saturday morning as I was getting dressed we got a call to give a blessing. So we ran down before breakfast. His father was an active member, but he wasn’t. His dad talked our ear off for an hour after the blessing. Then we had to run all the way up the hill to get to a lesson on time. Then we ran back down the hill to talk with a less active family. We were doing exchanges so that whole day I was with the district leaders companion, who’s from Germany and doesn’t speak English very well. His name is Elder Kopischke (you try and pronounce it however you like. I’ll give you a hint: it’s Polish.) He served part of his mission in Germany while he waited for his visa. He loves Germany better for everything except missionary work. I was a little worried after he told me he was a butcher before his mission. This is the reason we’re coming home exhausted.

We almost lost a very promising lady we’re teaching named [redacted]. She was living with a less active woman named [Redacted]. The landlord doesn’t want them living together because of some hearsay from the neighbors which is causing some anger on their part.The problem for us is the landlord is a bishop over another ward and I think [Redacted] is associating the two together. Lucky for us [Redacted] has some friends next door who took her in. Some of her friends over there are a little questionable.

Pioneer day is tomorrow, so they moved the rest of our p-day activities there. It’s a big deal here since it’s a state holiday. There’s the parade with a rodeo after.My zone is going to be along the parade rout to answer questions and things. Should be fun. They announced all over the stake that our float with be the first in the parade. I got ahold of a news paper with this stakes float on the front page I’m gonna try and send it next time.

Well, we’re doing good. Transfers are coming up and you know that as far as I know I could be in Toolie by next week. Elder Ahwireng said he thinks I should leave, but I think that’s just because I joked about some very spicy hot sauce some members had. It was nice for me to recognize the very bad stuff thanks to firehouse.

The church is very true. I know it. Sometimes the members aren’t, but that’s not your problem. Anyone who reads the Book of Mormon and asks sincerly can know it is inspired of God. I love y’all.

July 30, 2012

So Tuesday we got a text from the zone leaders that Elder Ahwireng was leaving and I was staying in the area. That sent him into a depression for the rest of the day.

Tuesday was also our p-day because of pioneer day. All the missionaries in the vally were at the parade. They had a competition going with certain points involved with extending certain commitments during the parade. We did alright, but I kinda felt weird assigning points to this stuff. We met some interesting people some of which were seriously talking to us. The floats were great, but I think a lot weren’t really on the pioneer theme.

Wednesday was transfers. I have two new companions: Elder Casey and Elder Danies. They’re both from the Ogdon mission and were serving in Bountiful before the split. Elder Danies was kinda tacked on since, because of the transfer day difference between the missions, he’s going home in three weeks.

It’s taking a while to get everything back on track, but now we’re ready to pick things up where we left them.

Well, I love y’all. Please keep praying for me. Last transfer our district leader started a prayer circle within the district. We asked for help finding new people to teach and that week we found 4 new people. It works. God does hear and answer our prayers.

August 6, 2012

So, this week has been a little slow news wise. Elder Casey, Daines, and I have been out working hard. Nobody is acting super prepared right now, but we’re keeping up with them. A woman named [Redacted] came to church yesterday. She moved here from Dallas and we met her a couple of days after her move. Unfortunately she’s going to school right now and she said we couldn’t meet again until after finals.

[Redacted] is also very curious, but always seems to get sick every Sunday. President Winn gave us a good referral yesterday. Her name is [Redacted] and she’s been attending church down in my old area in Bonneville stake, Yale ward. Since yesterday was fast sunday I made sure my comps went up so the wards could meet them. A lot of the members came by to speak with us and a few spoke of some people they we’re thinking of. Next week I’m gonna try and set it up so we attend 4 sacrament meetings.

The church is true, Christ lives and loves us. Elder Daines, because he’s going home soon, is allowed other church books and he’s been reading this book by Elder Maxwell that’s about doctrines that help us through the tough times. It really shows how even the simple doctrines are essental to understand God and his love for us. I know he does.

August 13, 2012

That really sums it up. Drama.

It’s not all bad stuff, it’s just complicated social interactions. There’s this one street named Ardmore Place. There’s a few houses and a few low income apartments. Everyone in and around those apartments knows everyone living in and around those apartments. We first got involved over there when the spanish missionaries gave us a referral for a part-member family. Then we were asked to visit a less-active family. We quickly learned it’s not the best environment to live in.

In other news some people have started popping out of the wood work who want to be baptized. One lady, Lorraine, has been going to a different ward for months and just recently some people have told her where her real ward meets. In our first meeting she said she knows it’s true. Always a huge faith booster to hear that.

On the other hand we heard that the news came in that in all there are 7000 people living in the stake, 2000 are members and 1000 are active. I guess it’s good for us since it keeps us busy, but I wish there was a little more evidence of all the work that’s been done. There are a few members with a very negative attitude because so many of the converts have gone less-active. Some almost as soon as they’re baptized. Regardless, we still have people super excited to be baptized and that’s just what we’ll do. They should know people are much more likely to stay active with some friends in the ward.

The Salt Lake Temple opened today so we went to a session. It was packed because they had been closed so long. There must have been some major renovations, but it was all the same as usual. Usual = awesome.

I love y’all. I’ll write some more this week.

August 20, 2012

So, as planned, last Wednesday Elder Daines went home. It was weird. His family came straight to our apartment and grabbed him. Their van was all decked out with little sayings on the windows and when he got inside there were a bunch of little yellow smiley face balloons. His mom gave us one. It sort of ruined our day. Now it’s just Elder Casey and I.

Things with [Redacted] are moving forward. She got her sister to be in on our last two lessons and for next time she’s invited her father. We went with her to church yesterday to a different ward then the one she’s been going to.

We went to the homeless shelter on Friday looking for [Redacted], but we couldn’t find her. That place was packed with people. Our ride had the look straight ahead and ignore all else thing down. We left a message for her so hopefully she’ll give us a call.

We saw Elder Cook at church yesterday. We walked up the stairs and there he was; sitting outside the bishops office. We didn’t get to talk though. I still haven’t seen Elder Perry yet and since his birthday was last week (he turned 90) I don’t think we will for a few more weeks.

Well, that’s what I’m up to. I love y’all and will write soon.

Farewell to NYOS

August 14, 2012

Last Friday Julia found out David and Jonathan had been accepted to Gateway Academy charter school up in Georgetown (Jonathan is still on the waiting list) so today she went to NYOS and withdrew David. That means that tomorrow, for the first time since the school opened (in 1998, if I remember correctly) we won’t have a child enrolled there.

As you can imagine, this feels like a big deal. We do think we’re doing the right thing for our children, though. NYOS stands for “Not Your Ordinary School”, but over the years it’s become more and more ordinary. Today, as far as I can see, the only thing that distinguishes NYOS from a public school is its smaller size and nearly year-round schedule. Gateway Academy has a reputation for being more rigorous academically, so we’re looking forward to seeing what it’s like.

What went wrong at NYOS? My impression is that as the original faculty moved on over the years their replacements (and the new teachers added as the school grew) never really caught the vision that was there at first. So they started falling back on what they’d done at other schools or learned during their teacher training.

I wish things had turned out differently at NYOS, but here we are.