Sunday, December 22, 2013

Living close to the spirit in becoming a better missionary

Letter #17
 December 16, 2013
Area: Broadway 3 North
Companion: Thomas

Hey guys! This week went by really fast too, but it has been good. As I already told you, we had our Christmas Conference on Wednesday, but it really feels like that was a few weeks ago... This week I spent a little time almost every day reading in Jacob 5 studying it in depth and I never understood it as well as I do now. I never realized that it is basically the history of the world and God's dealings with it. I have concentrated a lot on thinking of how I can be more like Christ and especially become a better missionary throughout this week.

This last week has been very difficult in some ways, but amazing in others. We went contacting a lot, but didn't get very many people who were interested in listening... But last week we had decided to talk to a lot of members to see when they would be available this last week because we wanted to actually get members set up for lessons. When we went out this week, we had almost no lessons planned for the days that members said they would be available. Through the week we had the hand of the Lord with us because we only had one member that we had to cancel on--we got lessons with all of the other members! Really felt rewarding, though I know it is because of our diligence and the Lord's blessing being poured down because of this.
We also saw a few other miracles happen throughout the week during Hour of Power and when we were contacting referrals. We were knocking doors during Hour of Power and we weren't really finding anyone that was interested, but we found a man later that day that let us in and was talking to us about his past experiences with missionaries. It turns out that he has talked to missionaries for about 4 years, but it has been about a year since he's seen them. He said he would love to have the missionaries over again and the only reason that he hasn't come to church is the fact that he and his family are kind of "stuck" in their ways. There is potential for us to help him along his pathway of getting 'unstuck'. Then on Saturday we went around contacting the referrals we've been given, and we went to the wrong house and found a former investigator! He said he would love to have us come back, so we set up an appointment with him for this next week.
I love you guys and you better be all together on Christmas when I call :P 
I almost forgot to mention, on Saturday I used the fact that we didn't know who was leaving to get a few less-actives to come to church! :) But that night we found out that I'm getting transferred tomorrow.

Here are a few pictures while I was serving here is the Broadway 3 North area:
Zone leaders with us serving a dear sister.

When you want something to happen, you need to...

Letter #16
 December 9, 2013
Area: Broadway 3 North
Companion: Thomas

Well, it seems like you guys had a good week, for the most part, except maybe Angie :P Well, I have had a great week too, but man did it fly by... :) Yes it has been cold, but luckily we still haven't gotten rain during this cold front...whew.

1) Well this week has been pretty full of finding, teaching lessons, and in the rescuing of less active members, but really we haven't taught many less-actives this week because they weren't home whenever we tried. We actually got our second-highest number of 'lessons for a week' this week. And, we got 6 new people who we taught, and almost all of them seem really prepared to hear the gospel and follow the steps they need to to become a member! While we would knocking on doors, we found a guy and it turns out that his wife is in prison and about to be deported because she doesn't have papers to be here. He invited us in and we got to teach him the first part of the Restoration.  Sadly we couldn't teach him since, but we have another appointment set with him for later this week :) We ended up having 5 lessons just in the last 2 days because we were on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, but instead of having one companionship in each area, we were all in my area, so we got to find and teach people in 2 places at once!
2) hahaha, Mom, Lilian is the mom of the family from Honduras, and now living here. And yes, we have gone back to teach those people, but we think that Lilian isn't coming to church because her husband doesn't want her to... We invited her to church and even had a member set up and she was perfectly fine coming and taking her whole family too, but she apparently called and cancelled the ride saying her husband would take her.  It's too sad when one spouse is receptive and the other one isn't.  It makes it hard for the one that really would like to attend church and find out more:(
And actually, Pablo is a guy that we have been teaching ever since the 1st or 2nd week I've been here. He is a man that has known about the church for 40 years and has talked with missionaries many times in the past. We have taught him almost everything, but he still doesn't feel ready.  We continually tell him to read the Book of Mormon and pray, and come to church and everything, but he still isn't doing it... He recently started dating a member who is also a divorced person and he is planning on marrying her, but we just found out about his plan to move in with her in January because she doesn't mind. :  (sadly she hasn't been to church in about 6-7 months because of work, and moving in together isn't conducive to gospel principles,...). So we talked to him about the Law of Chastity and asked him to follow that commandment. We'll have to see if he commits and carries through.
3) Well, my Spanish is good enough that I can say practically everything that I would want to say in a lesson, and even if I can't say exactly that, I can usually say it in a more round-about way to make it work out still. I am definitely still learning, and I know of a ton of stuff that I want to learn, so I know that I will keep studying it until the end of my mission. Sadly, when we miss Spanish study, Elder Thomas doesn't want to go back in and study it, so we have only done that once or twice, and we have missed a lot of Spanish study time...

This week I have really learned a lot about how sometimes when you want something to happen, you need to get down on your knees and ask. The guy that I was talking about whose wife is in prison, we found him behind the 2nd door we knocked that day :) That morning I specifically prayed to have us be led to somebody we could teach because we don't have very many people, then that happened. Now I ask every morning for our Father to lead us to somebody who we can help or talk to.  The blessings are amazing, and we really haven't had to knock as much--like yesterday, we had every hour after church scheduled with a lesson. Sadly, some lessons got cancelled that day or fell through, but we had the thought to go try some people that weren't ones of our backup lists and it worked out. We had the opportunity to teach a family of 3 yesterday, and I really think it is because we showed God that we were willing to plan out what we would do and pray to be led to people who would hear us. 

Another interesting thing that I learned while studying this week is about the power of faith/priesthood. It is actually found in Jacob somewhere in the first 4-5 chapters and it says that if we have faith and hope that something will happen, then ask God to do it, it will happen. We have the same power as the people in ancient times and we can say to the mountains "move" and it will happen, same with basically everything else. When I read that, I just thought of the Bible videos that are online and the ones that were shown last night at the Christmas devotional and how I have the same power to do those miracles--it just depends on my faith and the faith of the one being healed. :)
Note: here is the link for the 2013 Christmas Devotional that Elder Dye spoke about:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Insightful Thoughts

Letter #15
December 2, 2013
Area: Broadway 3 North
Companion: Thomas

Well, mom and dad, no, you never did tell me what you were doing with the Heims, you just said you were planning something great :P and why didn't we ever do that before? that sounds fun.  (We were invited to Grand Cayman Island).

It sounds like everyone has had a great Thanksgiving week, but for us, Thanksgiving as I've never had it before.... we got way fewer lessons and found out that some of the people that we were visiting were going to be in Mexico until after the New Years. It was difficult to teach people when there was nobody to teach and our lessons kept cancelling and when we were only getting out of the house at about 4-5 hours each day... At least we had all of Thanksgiving off as a P-day, so we got to spend time with the other missionaries and eat with a member. But sadly, unlike Shanny, we didn't have pie, which made me sad, I was looking forward to pie...(note: Shannon's family had 13 in attendance at Thanksgiving, with 15 pies!)

Well, even though we weren't teaching much this week, we did go and knock a lot of doors and find a lot of possible people to teach, and we placed a few copies of the Book of Mormon. We really needed the Tender Mercies of the Lord, and we got some really nice ones, here is one that is more memorable:

    On Saturday we tried everyone that we could go visit and we had already knocked doors for about 2 hours, making it so we really didn't know what to do. It was a little before 8 and we had an appointment soon, so we went in the direction of our investigator's house. And then while we were heading that direction, he cancelled on us, saying that he wouldn't be home by 8, so we ended up just stopping near his house and thinking of who we could go see. We were there for a few minutes just thinking, then an idea popped in my head that we could try calling a guy that we met knocking last week and haven't been able to teach him. We called, and it went straight to the answering, that was disappointing... We decided to go over and see if he was home anyway, so we went over there, and his son answered the door. His son is about 27ish and we talked to him about the Book of Mormon, and we even left him a copy :) It turns out that his dad was going to be in Mexico until about Tuesday, so we set up an appointment with them for this week and we are going to teach at least his son, who is really interested.

This week I've learned quite a bit as I continued reading a little from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and The Fourth Missionary. I just finished the second-last chapter in 2 Nephi and there are so many awesome things in the chapters right before it. One thing that I found was a couple of chapters before it, and it was about the descendants of Nephi. It said something like the gospel will be brought to his posterity and it will remind them of their fathers and of the beliefs of their fathers and it really hit me because I've been called to do exactly that, to bring the gospel to his descendants.  Here is all of 2Nephi chapter 29, and then followed by Chapter 30 thru verse 6.
 Also a funny thing that I found is a simplified version of the Lord of the Rings (in a way, it really reminded me of that story) in Mark 5:4-21. I really got a good laugh out of those verses :) And I've really been working on my mindset through the week trying to become more like the "fourth missionary".

Hey Carolyn, I wanted you to know that I got your announcement today. I still think its weird that my little sister is all growed up and she is getting married...
until next week,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

All that God has can be ours!

Letter #14
November 25, 2013
Area: Broadway 3
Companion: Thomas

Okay, so, I, like mom, have felt like this week flew by! Tuesday we had exchanges with my district leader, so I led our area for the first time and I was with another guy who was with me in the Mexico MTC, so I really had to know where to go and what to do... We ended up planning and doing really everything way better than I usually do, which felt good.  We had to stay on top of things if we wanted to be able to do things right. It was good to be super productive with Elder Petersen. I know that planning thoroughly does help to reap the blessings that the Lord has waiting to His obedient ones.  I do feel that our companionship study suffers some..I guess there is always each day to do better than the day before.

Other than that, the week really hasn't been too interesting. We were contacting a lot, but the main difference this week was that we had Zone Conference. Our zone, area in the mission, gets all together, and we had kinda classes with the Mission President, his wife, and the Assistants. In the first meeting, where we started the conference, we talked about how other churches believe in the trinity and how confusing it is for the congregations.  Also, how blessed we really are to be able to truly know our God-- who He is and who we are in relation to Him :).  And that the Godhead is made up of three distinct beings: God, our Heavenly Father; Jesus Christ, our Savior & Redeemer, and is the Son of God; and the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit.   For the class with the Mission President, we had to study a talk called "The Fourth Missionary". In that talk, there are four kinds of missionaries you can be. And really it talks about the four kinds of people you can be, so I want you all to read it when you have time, it really is a good talk. Through this week I have been thinking about that talk [the fourth missionary] a lot, and I have been more aware of the kind of person I am being and where my thoughts and heart are. I have also been reading in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi, around chapter 26ish where it is an Isaiah chapter, and I realized how 'blinded' Satan has made people in this world....these words clearly foretells plainly what Joseph did and went through. To be exact, Isaiah 29 talks about the Book of Mormon coming forth, speech coming from the dust (in other words being brought out of darkness into light...being revealed) and how it will be brought forth by an unlearned person..Joseph, who had little formal education, yet was called by God to bring forth the translation of ancient text..  As I learned those things, I really started reflecting on myself and what I might be missing that is in plain sight, at least plain sight for me, meaning my thoughts and feelings. I have tried to think of how I can be the "fourth missionary", the one who is changed significantly from his mission and truly consecrates himself. In the talk there is an interesting observation mentioned, there are the people who give up time, money, and food, or really whatever else they have, but really it is Sacrifice because what we are giving up are really already God's. We know we will be blessed immensely if we sacrifice things, but consecration isn't just sacrifice! It is giving up the only things that God doesn't have--our mind and our heart!  When we give those up, it makes all the difference!! We give up ourselves to God and He gives us everything--don't you think that's worth it? Giving up everything that we have, both of the things we truly own (our mind and heart), and then receiving everything He has in return!  Moses 1:39  God says, "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."  All that God has can be mine... I think that is the best deal ever made, and I am trying my best to do exactly that.

I love you guys so much, and congratulations to you, Kimmie, on the pregnancy,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Week of broken records!

Letter #13
November 18, 2013
Area: Broadway 3
Companion: Thomas

 I can't believe how fast this week went by! This week we broke our record of lessons taught and we found out a way to get new investigators! But first the questions before I forget :P
0)  I only have about 5-6 people emailing me.  Last week one of the missionaries in our district was actually going home last week, so we cut our computer time short. He wanted to take some time to sell his bike, and then head to the chapel early to get more time to do other things.
1) each p-day(preparation day) we wake up, exercise a little (usually just walking to the store to get quarters, but I do have a tennis racket now and we have a court nearby), study a little while laundry is going, then finish laundry, clean the apartment, email, then go out to eat or eat the food that we bought at the chapel, and then we play basketball, write letters, etc at the chapel
2) we are still teaching the Honduras family, but we haven't see them for about 1.5 weeks.  They were busy or not home, but we finally got a lesson in this last week, and we have a lesson set for tomorrow :)
3) morning studying goes as follows (the rules of a missionary--diligence and obedience):
*1hr personal study (scriptures, PMG[Preach My Gospel], and whatever else you want to study),
*1hr companionship study (share what we learned while studying, prepare for lessons, and make our lessons better by learning scriptures to share with them),
*1hr of additional training study (the training booklet that we got when we got to Houston-usually just working on making lessons better),
*1hr of language study (whatever words you want to learn, read a chapter of the Spanish Book of Mormon out loud with companion, whatever else you want to do to study language)
4) the 'willing and brief" approach has been used with almost everyone that we have worked with.  I guess it works, it definitely helps us set up appointments, but one of the flaws is that they might say yes or no just to move us along they might not be home, so really only a couple of the appointments have turned into lessons...
5)i got the family pictures and I really like looking at them.

          okay, now back to my week. I had a pretty good week, it was full of disappointments when lessons fell through, when we didn't catch our backups at home, and stuff like that, but we found more people to teach and we taught really well :) One way that we found more people is by not looking as much. yes, I know that sounds counter-productive and stuff, but what we did, is we went to the less-actives and the people we felt like we should go see and the lord blessed us with more people. So one trick to get more people is to work harder to bring back the people that are already there! We got a couple of referrals this week and we decided to go to try one really fast before we went to teach a less-active.  While we were going to his apartment, we were called over by a guy that was across the street. We went over there and it turns out that he was an inactive member that was willing to have us come over to talk to him Tuesdays :) We also got a new investigator because one of the members, that has been accompanying us to our lessons, had a friend over when we came to eat, so we got to teach her.
          Like I said, we had a lot of disappointments and challenges this week, but I know that the Lord wants to give us the people to teach and He wants us to bring people unto Him. I know that as we show God that we are willing to work to keep the people He already has in His fold, He will open ways for us to bring more in.  This insight is not just for missionaries, He is asking all of us to do this. I want to ask you all to make sure you continue to do your home teaching and visiting teaching, and do what Mom did and go out with the missionaries to the lessons that they teach. Really do all that you can to help people come to Christ and then help keep them there.

I love you all so much,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Enjoying time with missionaries in district!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Listening to and following the voice of the Savior

Letter #12
November 11 2013
Area: (transfer week) still Broadway 3
Companion: Thomas
This week we prayed to be guided to the people that we could share the gospel with, or to those that we needed to talk to.  While we were out, we found one lady that was an amazing referral for the English missionaries.  She said that she was fine with us coming over whenever because she felt God's love while talking to us, and that is what she needed lately.  Also, right after praying to find people, I talked to a group of guys and it turns out that one was a member trying to turn around his life from the bad life it had became.  We were able to invite him back to church, and he'll be playing basketball with us today.  It's amazing what happens when we take the time to truly be in tune with the spirit, and then are quiet enough to be guided to where the Lord needs us.  There is a peace and joy about the Work, and a feeling of warmth inside.
        Yesterday we had the craziest experience.  Elder Thomas and I were having a slow day and had nothing to do from 8-9pm because nobody seemed to be out, so we were heading back home to lock our bikes and start walking. On the way home we passed this woman walking/stumbling down the middle of the road mumbling.  Later, at about 8:50ish, we were walking back home and we were pretty close to home. I was just telling my companion a story and right then, I saw her again. This time she was on the sidewalk squatting in the beetle position and she was muttering something.  All of the heat left my body, and I felt like I was as white as a ghost. My mind went blank and the words froze in my mouth. My companion wondered why I stopped talking and then he saw her.  When he saw her, the same thing happened to him. We started walking faster to the apartment and kept looking over our shoulders.  It felt like she would be right there because she was possessed or something... It felt like she was a zombie in her own body....that's the only way I can describe it.  We quickly got back to our apartment, but I didn't warm up until we were inside for a while and even then it felt like I had ice inside my chest. I kept having the feeling that she was outside the apartment, so I kept checking until I finally had to go to bed. I prayed for a long time that night because I was scared.  I'm fine now, but that was the single most freaky thing I've ever experienced....

This week I've experienced polar opposite  internal feelings: those where I felt the spirit of the Lord inside--peaceful and warm feeling,  and then in contrast the cold, empty feeling experienced with that freaky lady.  I'm thankful that I can turn to my Savior and pray for guidance, peace and comfort, and actually receive these blessing, as well as safety while out here on my mission. 

--until next week

Note:  this contrast in feelings that Elder Dye went through this week led me to this message:  Voice of the Spirit.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Work Continues On...

Letter # 11
November 4, 2013
area: Broadway 3
Companion: Thomas

Thank you so much for the good stories! :) And to answer your questions:

The work is still going...going slow, but going. We really have been trying to find people to teach--I mean a lot of finding this week-- because we keep trying to connect with those who said 'yes, come on by,' but they won't be home. Personally, it has been really sad seeing the lack of commitment-- people aren't doing what they say they will and they won't be home when they ask us to come back.    We taught Lilian (oops, I thought her name was Liliana because of how her accent makes it sound, but it's Lilian) a couple times, but we haven't seen her in a while.  She's either been too busy or gone when we show up.  I was really sad that she didn't come to church again on Sunday. We are starting to be a little less hopeful with her.  The gospel truly would be a blessing in her life. 

We recently started using the "Willing and Brief" invitation ourselves as we contact.  Yesterday alone we got at least 7 people who were willing to have us teach them, one fed us dinner :), and we actually taught another one.  Also, one bright moment--this week we got one of our investigators to accept a date for baptism.  We really had to focus on how he needs to make certain changes in his life in order to be baptized, and to be able to live with God, Jesus, and his family. We taught him the blessings of the Plan of Salvation, and helped him learn about everything he needs to do..

Personally, I believe that the Work of Salvation is hastening, and I like how much members can help us; but I really dislike how little they actually do... Really, our most effective lessons with investigators have been with members present.  Unfortunately most members don't think this way--they think it is only their job to help us find people, then for us missionaries to do all the teaching.  That approach really needs to change... I would ask all of you to be willing to open up your homes for investigator lessons and the missionaries.  And please go out with the missionaries to help teach lessons when you have some free time.  It really does help and they appreciate it.  I know this because I'm a missionary!  And you can also ask them what the lesson will be, and what parts you can help with :) 

I'm glad you all enjoyed your Halloween! And thank you mom for that package, it really filled up a cupboard, and I enjoyed showing my companion my Mother's amazing never-ending packages :) And I did share with my companion.  [note from mom: Elder Dye's 5 older sisters all talked about mom's amazing Mary Poppins 'I-can't-believe-she-fit-all-this-in-that-one-package!' type of package. Now he has experienced the wonder and joy of receiving one!  Glad that I could put a smile of his face:) ]

And transfers are next Tuesday, but I doubt either of us are getting transferred.  The mission uses a "12 week program" to train, so I believe they usually leave you there for at least 2 transfers. We'll see.  I  can't really think of any super spiritual experiences from this week.  We really need to knock on doors more sometimes, instead of riding around.  Even though knocking isn't always effective, you never know who the Lord has prepared, so maybe that one time of persevering, and knocking, just might be effective!!...I have been sent here, to Houston, for a reason.... so I'll keep working on....

And Carolyn, yes I would love an invitation...and that tie ;)  And, Angela, thanks for the scripture 1 Peter 3:15 "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”   I will do my best to be always ready.

Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Hey, I finally remembered my camera cord, so here are a few pictures to enjoy:
My 1st district after arriving in Houston

Houston's Minute Maid Stadium, outside our mission backyard!

Cool car seen Halloween day--it even has a miniature battle scene on the car's hood!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Christ Changes Men

letter # 10 (corresponds to 10th week in mission)
October 28, 2013
Area:  Broadway 3 North
Companion:  Thomas

     This week wasn't as rough as last week, but we still only taught 3 lessons up until Saturday.  The past few Saturdays, we would head over to Raphael to help with some yard work.  He is a kind, old man that called out to us one evening to offer us some punch to drink.  We saw yard work to be done, so we asked him if we could help.  He willingly accepted.  While working with him, he was really interested in the Plan of Salvation so we started talking about it with him a little before the English elders could have a chance to go over.  They finally were able to come by for a visit, so we turned Raphael's teaching over to the English elders..
This Saturday we had a really good lesson with Liliana and we set a baptismal date with her. She also came to the church party with her kids. The party was great. The sister missionaries put together a game of 'pin the tag on the missionary', which the kids really liked.  Liliana seemed to enjoy herself and said that she was going to come to church, but sadly they didn't come. But, all in all, we ended our week with 8 lessons and a lot of potential for this coming week.

       In the words of Scott's mission companion "so we didn't have anyone at church, and we didn't have any baptismal dates, but we can only keep looking forward for this week. . That's what's so great about missionary work. One day can suck so bad but there is always something to keep the smile on my face. The Lord is changing me so much, and has been the biggest blessing in my life and I've only been here for almost 8 months. Note: as a mom, you can only thank Heavenly Father for watching out for your only son, and ask that he be led and trained by someone who is serving for the right reasons and loves the Lord as much as Scott.  I'm thankful that this companionship is learning to trust in the Lord, and allow Him to work with them...turning each missionary boy into a spiritual man that will make a difference in the area in which he serves....Ezra Taft Benson, shortly before becoming the President of the Church made this statement: "The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. . . . The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment" (Oct. 1985). I am thankful that my son Elder Stanley Scott Dye, and Elder Thomas, are allowing Christ to make the necessary changes within each of them in order to become stronger, more patient missionaries.  Their challenges are only making them more ready and eager to share the truths of the Gospel of Christ and their testimony of their Savior, Jesus Christ.

The following are responses to questions that family members asked, and each give a little more insight into the life of Scott as a missionary:

1) do you have pictures of Christ in your home? yes and no, they give each apartment a picture of Jesus to put in the window, but I would like more.  (note--mom has already sent more).  I have a pass-along card with Christ leaving the tomb on my desk.  But my favorite Christ picture is the one hanging in our livingroom at home.  "Lonely No More" [artist Greg Olsen].  I also like the one with Christ knocking at the door that has no handle on the outside--(He stands always ready to enter, but we just need to let Him in!).

2) what do you eat for breakfast?  I eat cereal like frosted flakes and lucky charms, eggs, buttered toast, or if I have time the night before, I'll make french toast and then heat it in the morning because I don't have enough time to make and eat it in the morning.

3) dinners with members?  we don't get many meals from members, usually 2 or 3 a week.  This week we got 4, so that was good.  Helps save money, so that it will last the whole month.

4) got more pictures for me? yeah, i have more pics, I just didn't have time to send them last week, and that was the only time I had the camera cord.  I do want more pictures of family, especially of my nieces and nephews:)

Until next week,
Elder Dye

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Keeping our eyes, and hearts, open

letter # 9
October 21, 2013
Area: Broadway 3 North, Texas
Companion: Thomas

         Well, this week was pretty challenging.  We've had a lot of days where there have only been a couple of teaching opportunities..making for really long days.  A lot of time trying to 'find' people to teach. On Thursdays we have our "hour of power" which is when we knock doors for an hour while the general authorities pray that we will be able to find someone willing to hear the gospel message or who will accept the gospel. This Thursday we ended up knocking doors for about 4 hours, and not teaching anyone...we were tired, sore, and about ready to give up. But right as we were about to give up and go back in a little early, we stopped to talk to this guy at a bus stop. He was nice, and we found out that he taught at the school down the street.  We started talking to him about what we do. At first he said it was all good stuff that we do, and that we're just Christians with better morals.  Then as we continued talking, he first stated that it was all pretty hard to believe that the Book of Mormon was translated from gold plates that were given to Joseph, and that Joseph really saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ because he was alone...but as we continued talking, he started to change from that. We taught him a little of the Book of Mormon lesson, and you could see him thinking.  You know that softening that occurs.  By the time the bus came,he accepted a Book of Mormon, and he had already said that he would 1) read the Book of Mormon and 2) pray to know if it was true.  He said that he already respected our church-- he just needed to know that the Book of Mormon is true. I hope he takes all that we spoke about to heart and will learn the truthfulness of the church :) We placed a Book of Mormon with another guy (this one actually speaking spanish), and hopefully we can teach him later :)
         We talked to a few more people on the streets the next few days and we will be teaching a few of them this week.  After all of our struggles, we did find a "golden family"--a family consisting of a father, mother, and 4 kids (3 over the age of 8)  We were just knocking doors, and they were the first house that we tried. The kids were playing out in the front yard.  They just arrived from Honduras the week before, so they don't speak English, but we speak Spanish!  Being new to the area, they are looking for a new church to go to:)  We have already taught the wife 3 times, twice with a member (and they are getting along like good friends).  The husband is willing to listen too, so we'll see if this goes where we want it to go.  Keeping our hearts open, which helps our eyes to 'see'.
        This past Saturday we had stake conference and with that they had the youth and missionaries sing a special combination of "We'll Bring the World His Truth" and "Called to Serve" :) I really enjoyed it, and what made it even better is the fact that there are about 70 missionaries in our stake [all but 2 of the 10 missionaries who came with me from the MTC were in this choir with me] :D   
         You know I have come to realize that I can't give up while I face these difficulties. I have had the choice to give up almost every day because, like I said,this is difficult!  But when faced with the choice to give up, I think of what it would be doing, what would happen if I gave up.  My mind goes to this poem that I heard "He's Been There Before"(by Elder Whittle)-- it's kind of what I am going through, especially that day of knocking for 4 hours. He's Been There Before   I have thought of all that I had to do to make it here on my mission.  I've thought of all I would be giving up and how disappointed everyone would be-- how disappointed I would be.  I have days like that--days when I am thinking of what it would mean to just give up and I realize, the saying is true-- the only failure is the one that gives up.  I don't want to give up!  I know that at the end of each storm there is a bright sun-shiny day waiting for me.  I know that at the end of the day, if I've tried my best all day, I will have that one person I talk to that will be the diamond in the rough.  I have experienced that each day of "failure" that we have had.  The days that nothing seems to be going right, when Elder Thomas and I have a hard day, we always get a good end to the day, right when we are about to give up.  Heavenly Father always prepares us to find that one person who will listen (might become converted) just because we have stayed diligent with willing hearts, and are trying to 'see' the way God sees this area. 
      Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of a good courage: be not afraid, neither be though dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

I love you mom, and dad, and I want to make you proud.
Your son,

I am proud to bear the name of my father, I know I will do everything that I need to do to do his name justice :)



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Estoy entendiendo más español cada día

Letter # 7/8
Oct. 14, 2013
Houston, Texas
Companion: Thomas

Translation:  I understand more Spanish every day.

Well, I've been out in the field for 2 weeks, and the work that we are doing doesn't always feel productive or successful.  We do have 6 people we are teaching, but it is just 2 families and one other person--out of this whole area that we have.  So we have been trying to find more people to teach, or just find people who are actually ready to listen. We contact on the street, but there is hardly anyone on the streets...And we knock on doors--a lot, but those who do answer are English speakers...and since we are Spanish missionaries, we end up sending a lot, I mean a lot, of referrals to the English elders.
     As missionaries, we have a planning meeting before heading out for the day, so we have had a lot of long days of almost nothing working out as planned.  Like this last week, we had a couple of days that seemed like they would be pretty productive--we had multiple appointments set up and everything, but then most of the appointments fell through.   We ended up knocking or trying a bunch of former investigators who just happened to either 1) not be home or 2) not wanting to listen.  I'm not giving up--I still have hope that behind one of those doors is a Spanish speaking John Tanner (the man who was converted almost right away and basically saved the Kirtland Temple and gave the modern-day equivalent of millions of dollars to the church and asked nothing in exchange).  I know that there is a reason that we are in this area...we eventually will find those searching for the peace the gospel can bring...we need them to be still and listen.  In the meantime, we'll continue knocking, biking around, talking, testifying about Christ, and handing out Article of Faith cards...we'll probably continue having rough days, but my companion just says that we need to keep our eyes open and look for Heavenly Father's little miracles because they are out there for us.  
    Also this week, the Stake President wanted all the missionaries in the stake to sing in the stake conference this next week, so we had Choir practice yesterday.  There were probably about 60 missionaries or more there. I'll let you know how it goes this next week.
     I am feeling the importance of member missionary work.  It certainly would help us out more.  We do have the ward mission leader helping us, but we do need more helpers in 'finding' those that the Lord has prepared.  The Church has introduced a series of videos to provide an introduction to the Church, its members, and its various programs and organizations. Here is the link: Mormon-introduction-videos
 Love you all a lot!

Your favorite missionary, son, and brother,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

It is all about what the Lord wants

letter #6
Sept. 30, 2013
Houston, Texas   
   I know that it doesn't matter what I want or wish, it is all about what the Lord wants. I will admit that I really miss my baritone, and I can't wait to be able to have the opportunity to play it when I get home :)
       I survived waking up at 2a.m. to go to the airport! Well, surprisingly I wasn't all that tired when arriving in Houston... I was knocked out for a good half of the first flight to Dallas, but I woke up and  got to watch the sunrise from about cloud level :) Now who can say that they got to see the sunrise over a lake (Clearlake, CA during the summer) and a sunrise over the clouds!  It was just majestic :)   And, I don't have a favorite memory of my time at the Mexico City MTC--I would have to say that I enjoyed the whole thing because there is no way for me to choose one experience or memory from the amazing 5.5 weeks!
     Welcome to Texas-- Texas BBQ style!  Wow, what a feast!  I went back for seconds, and I wanted to continue going back for more because I didn't get anything nearly that good the whole time in Mexico... I am hopefully gaining back the weight that I'm sure I lost from not eating as much in Mexico, and not eating as much of a variety :P   My traveling district sisters slept that evening in the mission home, and the guys--well, we stayed at the Assistants' apartment and we made a new record for the most missionaries sleeping in the same apartment! we got 15 :D 
My traveling district to Houston! Sept. 30, 2013
...Now for real investigators and real lessons! 
I have plenty of hope and faith that we will be able to find and teach many people and baptize them into the church and a better life with the Holy Ghost :)

     My companion Elder Thomas and he has been out for 7 months, and is a pretty fun guy.   He doesn't exactly enjoy the humidity, but he has had to endure more of it than me. I'm not minding the weather--it isn't too bad with the humidity, and it isn't too bad about being hot :P But it feels cold when it is 70 here because of the huge difference in heat...
My 1st companion in Houston, Elder Thomas
       I am not 100% on the bike.  We have knocked on doors quite a bit due to our area being the "new" area.  It was made from the less visited parts of 2 other areas. We have a pretty nice community of people in our small area.

 We have 3 investigators from before I got here, but we haven't really talked with them because we haven't ever caught them at home.  We also have a bunch of previous investigators. Of the previous investigators, we have taught 3 lessons (2 being families which is always a plus) and committed 5 to be baptized with a "soft invitation"-- which means inviting them to be baptized but not setting a  specific date. I  met with a few members during the week, but I was able to meet a lot more when we went to General Conference at the Church... and we watched it in English (phew...)   here is a link to the talks that were given:
AND--Wait, Grandma is better?!? You have no idea how great it is for me to hear that! I couldn't help but think of grandma, and you (mom) and Kimmie, when Elder Jeffrey R. Holland talked about the horrible effects of depression during conference.  I did not know that he also suffered  from this mental disease.  And recently I had been thinking about grandma, and how I hoped that I can see her again before the next life, and how her health had been going downhill for the longest time...This truly is a blessing that I hope will continue throughout my mission.
    Well, the Lord blesses those who wait.  And I'm grateful to know that our Father in Heaven is merciful and loving. So, I want to relate this story that my sister told me:  A close friend of hers (a girl she roomed with at college) and her husband have been trying to start a family for a few years.  They did infertility shots and all, but nothing happened.  They finally accepted that they weren’t going to have any children of their own, then soon after found out she was pregnant. When they went to find out the gender, they also found they were going to have twins! A boy and a girl. Since there were twins, the doctors planned a c-section. My sister's friend went to the hospital a little earlier than planned because she actually started going into labor. The doctors soon found out that the little girl had passed away a couple days before:(  They had no way of knowing what happened, but knew that her amniotic fluid also contained blood, so she couldn’t survive. But the blessing in all of this is that if it had happened any differently it could have caused this mother and her other unborn baby to die too. The little boy was delivered and is doing great . It is amazing what Heavenly Father decides our trials in life to be. Throughout this whole trial, this little family has had the best outlook. Even with losing the daughter, though very sad-- the parents are focusing on celebrating in the fact that their daughter was sent down to Earth to become a part of their family, even though she didn’t stay long. She just needed to receive her body, and enter a righteous family, but was valiant enough to not have to sojourn this Earth life, but to just return to Heavenly Father.  This family will be able to raise their daughter in the Millennium.
     My sister also shared a portion of a talk from Sister Linda Reeves (2nd counselor in the General Relief Society) "the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity.  We have seen the lives of loved ones--and maybe our own--figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving  and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen.  But He does not leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him.  He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His Spirit can dwell eternally." 

  I do believe that this is true, and one of the reasons that I can help serve the people of Houston...Well, until next week...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dallas Airport- Layover preparing for Houston Arrival

September 30, 2013
Leaving Mexico City MTC; heading to Houston, TX

Note:  Elder Dye arose the morning of his flight to Houston at 2 a.m. in preparation for him to head back to the United States.  He stated that he had a fantastic time in the Mexico City MTC, and will be looking forward to working with those living in the Houston Texas East Mission for the next 22 months.  Unaware that he'd be able to call us, his parents, while waiting for his connecting flight in the Dallas airport, an excitement rose within him only to be dashed.  Neither of us answered his call :(  Had we only known that he had this opportunity to call.  His response was: "Mom and Dad, it's okay that you couldn't talk to me, it was only disappointing for a little while, then I just sucked it up and went on my way because there is no reason to be sad. I chose to come out here to the mission field, and I only expected being able to talk to you at Christmas and Mother's Day (which you better pick up the phone or answer skype  :P) And I know that it doesn't matter what I want or wish, it is all about what the Lord wants."
   What a wonderful kid!  I (his mother) probably felt more saddened than he, though a mother has the right to express that sadness because of all the time and effort that is put into each child-- in nurturing them and helping them to become the best person they can be.  Yet, the Lord watches out for the parents--we were able to receive an email from his mission president upon his arrival in Houston.

Your Missionary has arrived safely to T.H.E. Mission!  Upon arrival we met your missionary at the airport and took them directly to the mission home where they were fed Texas Bar-b-que and met the office staff. 
1st official day in Houston--welcomed by President Crawford and wife

  An orientation by the office staff followed lunch while individual interviews were conducted by President Crawford.  That evening they were invited to share their testimonies. 
Arrival of Elder Dye's district from Mexico City MTC

 The following morning was focused on training after which they met their new companion and were transported to their area of service.  They are now out diligently searching for our Heavenly Father's children and doing the work of the Lord. Thank you for sending your daughters and sons to us, they have added great strength to our small army here in the Texas Houston East Mission. We love them and are so grateful to have them with us. You will find attached a picture of your newly arrived missionary with Sister Crawford and myself as well as their arriving group and Trainer.

 We are delighted that your Missionary is here and look forward to working with them.
President and Sister Crawford
Upon arrival in Houston, some time during the day, Elder Dye was able to write his thoughts on a post card that was sent to us, his parents...

"Mom and Dad,
  I have arrived here in Houston!  I will meet my new companion tomorrow and start the work from there:)  I can't wait to be giving my first lesson and eventually be getting my first baptism.  Mom, Dad, I will try my best to make you proud:)  Thank you so much for helping me prepare for my mission!  
                        I Love You,
                       Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Friday, September 27, 2013

Qualify - with an eye single to the glory of God

letter #5
Sept. 23, 2013

Well, word that Clif's father passed away unexpectedly, and that he really wasn't that old, has made for some extremely sad news.  Nicole, I will make sure I send a letter to you before I leave here.  I haven´t had much time for letters, but I made time to write one to Shannon (I got the letter on the 24th, so only about 16 days after it was sent :P) Hopefully it won't take that long to get to you.
I´m not the zone leader, probably partially because they don't want to have to call a new one every week :P The guy that was called is doing a good job.  Oh, he wants to do BYU marching band when he is back from his mission, so if we both make it into the band, we´ll have an even better friendship! :)
      So my district will be leaving on the 30th at about 2am because we have to be there 4 hours before the flight leaves and apparently there is traffic at 2... :\

     With only a few days left here at the MTC, the work is getting harder for us, too.  This week we have 5 "investigators" who we teach... of course we already had our last lesson with one of them (Hermano Cruz, our teacher in the morning), and then we have our last lesson with the other teacher, Hermano Valdez, this Saturday. We have 2 more lessons with 2 of our district members who we are supposed to teach this week.... but the blessings are coming too.  Like me getting a letter from Shannon, and another from Sister Erskine.  And I have had the opportunity to teach with the spirit so strongly that after the lessons the person we taught would tell us that we did a good job, and that they could feel the spirit the whole lesson :)  Something that I've been striving for for some time.  
      Also, we have the opportunity to go to the temple every other week, so I got to go again this morning and yeah, the rooms are really pretty.  They are different than any I´ve been in, but pretty. [here are a few pictures of the Mexico City LDS Temple and the surrounding grounds] 

Mexico City Temple Visitor's Center
Christus statue in the Visitor's Center of the Mexico City Temple
    Dad, I am doing my best to focus all the time, and I have been trying to help my district focus on studying and planning, but sometimes it is can be a challenge, but I'm trying to use my time well.  And, Wow, I can't believe that the church has been involved in scouting for 100 years!  That's a long time...
     Shannon, I appreciated all that you said... it is a good way to lighten up my mood after the sad news about Opa. That is nice to know that Brianna is loving school and is not as timid at soccer.  And that Chelsea..she is such a fun goof dressing as Cinderella, dancing around and singing made-up lyrics to classical piano music:)
    Okay, one of our exercises was trying to determine how to best help out our companion, so we tried to create a scripture chain that would help with this need.  Without knowing the 'need of the companion', but being led by the spirit, I came up with a scripture in the book of mormon to help them.  It was pretty cool how I thought of the scripture chain too, so I can explain it in the letter and you can share it with the family because I cant think of it right now...And, I have been reading my spanish book of mormon more and I actually understand almost everything it says now! I occasionally have to look up a word or two, but i understand it!  And most the time i don't even have to translate it into english to understand :)
    On a final note:  I am always trying to recognize the blessings that I'm receiving here and I have expressed so much thanks to the Lord.  I´m excited to be going to Houston, but I´m nervous because now I have real investigators that I have to teach and if I mess up, I mess up for real, so I will be relying on the Lord so much more. I feel pretty ready, but it´s intimidating. I have less than a week...6 weeks has gone by so quickly....

Friday, September 20, 2013

Going Strong and Steady

Letter #4
Sept. 16, 2013

Well, Mom to answer your question, my companion and I are getting better at teaching, but we have to teach in spanish, which is harder :P  
Also, I have been writing these things in my journal, but I'm mostly just writing the spiritual stuff because I don´t always have a lot of time to write. September 15th was the Mexico Day of Independence, which we watched on TV, but I really liked the Saturday night event better than the independence day video because they had youth members, from around the area, come and dance Mexican dances. And they had some guys doing dance things with machetes!
1) The MTC does serve its meals like a buffet-type thing, but they have the main course handed out to people who go up to the "hot food counter". My favorite meal is every tuesday night, when I can get my favorite food :) (you know what it is!)--[note, Scott's all time favorite food is PIZZA]... but other than that, i like the hamburger/cold-cut sandwich counter where they make burgers and sandwiches, then they decided to start putting the burgers in the sandwiches :)

2) pues, nosotros estamos aprendiendo muy bien, pero algunas personas en mi distrito tienen problemas con cosas en la idioma :P
translated: well, we are learning really well, but some people in my district have problems with things in the language.  (Note: I had asked Scott how their district was faring with the language, since he had some in his district that had struggle last week.  I also asked if the native Latinos were used in helping them learn the language--which his answer is below).
We haven´t been doing very good about actually talking to the natives since the other native Latinos left, but my dormmates and I liked our latinos who arrived last week, but one spoke english/spanish (the one that we helped stay on his mission) and the other basically learned english while here.  Also, our newest set of elders got here tuesday evening.  we spoke with them that night, but they usually stick to themselves....
                                                           My Dormmates
3) we have taught our 'investigators' every day this past week, but when you are down to the last 2 weeks in the MTC, the routine changes some.  They have you pretend to be an investigator for another companionship (along with having the 2 other investigators). So some days we teach 2 lessons, other day we only teach 1, and on p-day or on Sunday, we don't teach any.

4) The weather is still great. We do get rain, and we hear awesome thunder because when it hits somewhere in the valley, it echoes all over :) but, apparently there´s a hurricane headed towards my teacher´s family (they live near the coast).

 Dad, i´ve been here 4 full weeks, not 3 :P Yeah, time is flying... it´s sunday, then before I know it, it´s tuesday (pizza night), then the next day is Christmas Eve (day before p-day), then it is Christmas (p-day), then it´s sunday again before i know it...
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning)died... it just doesn't launch anymore...(note--not sure if Scott is excited about this or not).

Boy, I'm just thinking of how it will be for me to see how big all of my nieces and nephews are when I get back :P  (Scott is uncle to 4 who really don't communicate because they are 18 months and younger, so in 2 years they'll be walking and talking).

Well, recently my district has been doing stuff other than soccer because some people were lame and took the balls back to their dorms and/or houses, so there were none left... so we played a little tennis, which is hard because, though i´m not really good, I am better than the rest because they don't really know how to play well... and we played Ultimate frisbee with other districts in our zone. So there is this tradition that is pretty cool...The district that currently has the frisbee (that we use for Ultimate frisbee) had gotten it from another district, and this frisbee-owning district will be leaving this next monday, so as a "Christmas Eve" tradition the frisbee gets passed on to another district.  But before passing it on, they sign it. So they gave us the frisbee yesterday, and we plan on playing ultimate frisbee a little later:)      until next week...

Elder Dye