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