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