Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Letter #67
December, 8, 2014
Area: Trinity River
Companion:  Gamez

Hey guys, have I mentioned that I love being able to read about your week? We should definitely continue doing this weekly email thing after my mission ends. But Carolyn, maybe you should set a reminder on your phone for every Sunday at like 7pm to remind you to email :P

This week was a very interesting week, but a good testimony builder. We weren't teaching many lessons at all at the beginning of the week, we had only one lesson going into Thursday, and we were disappointed in ourselves. I had noticed that Elder Gamez wasn't helping at all during planning, and I was frankly just annoyed with him because it seemed like he wasn't trying very hard to help or to pay attention at all. During Weekly Planning I opened up about how I was feeling, and even though it didn't really fix the problem, I haven't been bugged by it as much, so I guess it fixed the other problem, my patience. We made plans to fix that and we started planning a little smarter, and from Thursday to Sunday we had at least 2 lessons a day. We got to meet with more of the less-active members that Brother Christiansen asked us to meet with, and we had the opportunity to bring out a couple of members to lessons.

We had a couple of really good lessons with the Chavez family this week, but sadly they couldn't make it to church because of car problems the day before caused Francisca to miss work that day, meaning she had to work Sunday. We also had the opportunity to teach a few of the less-active families, of which 3 families came to church Sunday, so we can see the progress from them. We also got to meet a couple of the part-member families that the hermanas were teaching, and they came to church as well, so we were very pleased with the response of the people this week. We were also glad for the opportunity to listen to the Christmas devotional and still have time to meet with the Chavez family afterwards to see why they didn't make it to church.

Elder Gamez has been doing well and as a companionship we have been able to have some spiritually edifying lessons. We luckily haven't had any accidents like him falling out of the shower again, but our ceiling started leaking this week, so it flooded the bathroom, which the apartment office had fixed, but then the next day Elder Gamez didn't notice that the curtain wasn't fixed from them moving it to fix the ceiling, so the bathroom flooded again... I was glad that we had a bunch of random extra towels in the apartment, which I used to clean up the water.

I personally have been reading more out of the Ensigns because I was looking for an article for the Chavez family, then I remembered that I really should be reading articles, so this morning I read an article on discerning the promptings of the spirit. I really enjoyed the message and I feel like it helped me understand a little more of how I can receive inspiration for the missionary work.

I know the missionaries are doing the same thing, but I want to remind you guys. VISIT! It has a great video that reminds us of the true meaning and importance of Christmas. I invite you to watch it as part of Family Home Evening (FHE) and then to share it with friends, both member and non-member. And I would say to try to invite some non-member or less-active friends over for a nice FHE to help love them into the gospel. When I was in West Lake Houston, one of the part-member families was invited to do FHE with one of the other members and that was one of the non-member husband's favorite things about the church. :) Plus if you do these things, your missionaries will love you :)

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Humbled to be Serving

Letter #66
Dec 1, 2014
Area: Trinity River
Companion: Gamez

I have been called over to serve here in the Trinity River Branch with Elder Gamez. I feel blessed for this opportunity to serve. Elder Gamez and I have been getting along great! I believe that that is due to the need of service. Elder Gamez has Cerebral Palsy, making it so he is unable to do some of the tasks that we do normally, at least he can't do them alone. If you don't know what Cerebral Palsy is, it is a paralysis of the nervouse system or of the brain, something like that. Elder Gamez has difficulty with the left side of his body, he has to walk slowly and even though he can use his left hand, it is more difficult, it naturally goes more into the "claw" position, his hand closes and drops down close to his arm. I have the opportunity to tie his tie each morning, as well as help him down stairs at times, hang up his pants, etc. Sadly, on Sunday morning, we were running a little late for studies, then a meeting we had because as he tried adjusting the showerhead, he fell out of the shower. He luckily wasn't hurt or anything, but the bathroom got all wet, so I went in there to soak up the water before I got in the shower. Elder Gamez however, is far from incapable of being able to serve the Lord, but I have noticed that at times he just needs help, or he does it slower than most people. I already love Elder Gamez because of his pure desire to serve and help others, and especially because of the spirit and testimony he has.

The Trinity River Branch is struggling as well, and they are so grateful for the support of missionaries. This week, the branch had a total of 30 people there, including us, the Stake President, and Elder and Sister Christiansen, the elderly missionaries assigned to the English ward. They are still a dependent branch because they do not have enough active members to have the full leadership necessary to be a functioning branch itself. Sadly there are families that were active members that have recently moved out of the area, so they have lost some of their numbers. But I was able to help out with my musical talents by directing the music, as well as them asking me to sing in their Christmas program, and sing a song with the primary or something like that... The English ward as well as the branch are extremely willing to help though! We have Correlation meeting with the Ward Mission Leader on Tuesdays, and after that, at 7pm, they come out for a Visits Night, where we will go visit member or non-member families with them, and if we have an appointment set up at that time, they will come with us.

We have had the opportunity to eat with all of the members of the Branch Presidency and get to know and serve them. I have found that we have especially been a great support for Brother Christiansen, the first counselor, because he has been very stressed and weighed by the responsibility that has fallen onto him. Sadly the branch president, President Escobar, has been in Washington D.C. for the last month and will be until after Christmas because his work has him out there. And the second counselor, Brother Garcia, has been called into work for 3 Sundays in a row, so this Sunday was the first Sunday that he has been able to attend this since November 2nd. Brother Christiansen has been having to fill the roles of all three of them, but he has done the best he can, and more. We had the chance to eat with him on Saturday, and the spirit in his home was so strong! Elder Gamez and I could both tell from the strength of the spirit as well as what the Christiansen's were saying, they have truly become consecrated to the work. I truly love that family. Brother Christiansen seems to barely be holding back tears whenever we offer to help and when we ask what he would like us to do. We have been able to visit about half of the families that he has asked us to visit, and we have plans to visit the rest. I am honored to be able to help this branch, as well as bring new people into it. Brother Christiansen was also really surprised at how much we already knew about the branch and some of the families/investigators because I took it upon myself to truly study the records of the teaching visits and the progress of the different people.

There are many people prepared for the gospel in this area of Liberty and Dayton, and the hermanas were working with some of those non-member families. We haven't met very many of these people, but we have been able to make good use of our meetings with some of them. We were able to get the help of members for teaching a couple of those lessons, and every lesson we have had has been spiritual. Sadly, none of the investigators were able to make it to church, which is supposedly a rarity, but we still have the faith, hope, and desires to make this branch self-reliant. We hope for it to become a ward, and it has that potential with the reactivation of the men who are of age for the Melchizedek Priesthood and the baptisms of men who in due time will receive those same covenants and responsibilities. We have high hopes for this next week with members coming out with us, teaching the different less/in-actives, and helping the leadership.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

PS: I finally found a baritone player!!! The branch president's son plays baritone, so they might have us play a Christmas song together for their Christmas program.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

God blesses us with the opportunity to teach

Letter 65
November 23, 2014
Area: Broadway 2 Central
Companion: Heath

I will start off with saying what happened Friday. We get calls for the areas getting flushed (both missionaries taken out) on Friday, and we were talking with Elder Anderson on the phone in the evening (like always) and we told him that we got the flush call, completely jokingly to try to convince him that we were flushed, but like a minute after saying that, Elder Williams, one of our AP's, called. Elder Heath was talking on the phone at the time and just heard a beep and when he looked, he thought, "Oh crap, we actually are getting flushed," and showed me the phone. We said bye to Elder Anderson, then answered Elder Williams' phone call, and he flushed the toilet (typical AP way of flushing a companionship). He then told us that our area is switching to an Hermanas area, so we are packing up and stuff.

I have loved serving here and seeing it grow, along with the people in the area. Sadly, we weren't able to baptize here, but I feel we made an impact on a lot of the less-active members here in the area, as well as some of the other people that we have taught. This week we were unable to see many of the people we planned to see, mainly because appointments kept getting cancelled. We both love the ward here and have seen so many members grow in their desire to serve the Lord. Even though we both wish we could stay longer, we know the change is necessary, especially with some sister missionaries coming into the area. Many of the people we visit are hard to visit because we need a man in the house and either they live alone or the man that lives there works late. We feel like it will do the area a lot of good by having the sister missionaries here, which will allow for more teaching and growth, and we feel like they will be able to baptize this next transfer, and the following one as well.

This week we were a little disappointed by the numbers and we really do feel like we did more than they say. Like I mentioned before, lessons kept getting cancelled, so we contacted a lot, as a result God blessed us with the opportunity to teach 2 new people as well as the opportunity to teach another one of our investigators again. We ended up teaching Gumaro, and we actually ended up walking up to his door to find him talking with 2 men from the Catholic church. We got to talk to him and testify of the restoration while the men were still there. When the men left, he invited us to sit down to talk. We got to just talk about the purpose of us being there, and we found out his concerns about already having been baptized and not understanding why it would be necessary to be baptized again. We got to share some scriptures about the authority of the priesthood and we testified, but mainly we listened to him, let him say what he was feeling and thinking. I feel like just doing that helped him open his mind more and he is going to read the Restoration pamphlet and pray about if it is true.

I am really excited to move on to my next area and see what it has in store. I know that wherever it is, I am needed there and I will be able to help the area grow. I honestly can say that I am tired of not baptizing and I am determined to do so this next transfer, so look out world, here comes the gospel!
Here's some crazy pictures that we've enjoyed taking: 
Larger than life--Gotta love these Reese's!~ Yum!
So huge-- It was trying to get me!

The work continues even in the rain...we got soaked, but missionary life is good!

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

I have that renewed hope and desire

Letter 64
November 16, 2014
Area: Broadway 2 Central
Companion: Heath

This week was pretty good, but it was difficult and disappointing at the same time. We had multiple member present lessons on the calendar, but they somehow fell through--either the member would have to cancel, or the investigator had to cancel, sometimes both. We were disappointed by that, but we feel like we were doing our part. 
I feel like the highlight of my week was Friday during Zone Meeting, we got to learn about becoming the 4th Missionary. I feel like my main problem or thing that holds me back from being that missionary is my own diligence. I feel like my desires are in the right place and that I have the faith to move forward, but I still have that desire to see where I'm going. We sang the song "Lead Thou Me On" and it really hit me, and I really feel like it applies to me, and I want to say to the Lord "lead Thou me on." I don't know what was holding me back, but now I feel like I have that renewed hope and desire to do so and I know that all will go well. 

A few weeks ago, I felt the need to be a little bolder with the less-active members in our area because I have been studying about the gospel of Jesus Christ and I have found how much we truly need to do the simple things to be able to return to God. I shared my sincere feelings and I told them how it is and will be without beating around the bush, and we have seen results from that. Three of the less-active members from our area have come to church the last couple of weeks, and the have been reading the scriptures more often. We are still working with them to keep them active, but I am glad we have been able to help them so far, and their respect for us has grown so much.

I am so glad to be serving in this area of the mission, and I hope I can help these people progress more towards having a thriving testimony of Jesus Christ. We recently had an investigator from a part-member family accept a baptismal date for the 13th of December, so we are working with him to help him grow his faith and testimony, as well as that of his wife, who is a member, so they will come to church and do what is necessary to know what is true.

Recently, something that has been on my mind was that Oscar and Ana H weren't coming to church and it seems like the elders in their area don't really care that much about them... Just a reminder, Oscar is the guy that Elder Galvez and I taught back 11 months ago and Oscar was baptized 2 weeks after I left, I think it was the 15th of February. It was eating me on the inside not seeing them at church anymore and never hearing the other elders talk about them, and I have wanted to stop by to set up a dinner or something with them so I could visit them while I am still in the area. While at church yesterday, I had the feeling that we should go over there to do exactly that, especially because I feel like I will be leaving this next week for transfers. We went over there, and they were home! Oscar has changed jobs 2 times since I left the area and now he works 13 days and then gets 1 day off, but he didn't work this weekend. I got to catch up with them a little, and I got to meet their new baby boy. Their little boy, Oscar, now is 2 years old and still remembered me apparently from before, but now he walks and runs around, and stuff, he makes me think of my nieces and nephews. Their new baby boy is named Osiel Oscar Herrera, and is as cute as ever. I am so glad that I got to play a role in their lives, I feel so blessed to know them and I am so glad they remember me! We are going to do a dinner with them this week and Ana's older kids from her first husband are going to be there as well, which makes me more excited because I got close to them as well. That visit might not have been 100 percent obedient, but I got permission from Elder Anderson to visit them, and I felt like it was inspiration from God because the other elders couldn't ever catch them at home, but the one time I go, they were home. I was also able to get Oscar's schedule for work, so now the other elders can visit them to make sure they make it to the temple to be sealed. Frankly, I felt like it was necessary to remind them of their potential, seeing as Elder Galvez and I instilled in them their true potential in the first place.

I love you guys, and please pray for the people we are teaching:
Jorge: that he will remember his duties as a father, as well as accept a baptismal date because he isn't living with Suyapa anymore
Efrain: that he will be able to continue forward with faith toward his bap. date of 12/13
Alma/Gumaro: that we'll be able to get in with them again

Elder Stanley Scott Dye

A Golfball in the Pocket

Letter 63
November 9, 2014
Area: Broadway 2 Central
Companion: Heath

I was just thinking of how fast the time is flying. It feels like it wasn't too long ago that I got moved to West Lake Houston as my third area, but now that I think about it, that was just more than 9 months ago. I now only have that much time left on the mission, 9 months. 

This week was good, we had some troubles getting in contact with some of our investigators, but regardless, we still had a lot of success. Our week was a little strange because we tried to change our approach in the area; and it seems to be going well. We are trying to do better at receiving and contacting referrals, as well as contacting more people each day because we have been really bad at doing that consistently. We found a way to make more of a game out of it so we have more incentive to do what is necessary and to remind us of what we need to do. We have already seen some of the success from doing this. The game is that one of us has a golf ball in their pocket, which gets kind of annoying, but when they ask someone for a referral, they get to take it out of their pocket and give it to the other person. Then whoever has the golf ball at the end of the day gets a point marked against them, then at the end of the week we'll total the points and whoever has the most points has to buy the other ice cream or something. We have already seen it work because the day that we started it and that we were creating the rules, we remembered to ask everyone for referrals.

We saw a few miracles as well through talking with everyone, especially on Friday night, after Zone Conference. Our 8pm appointment cancelled on us, so we went to try some other investigators that we weren't able to see all week, but they weren't home. We quickly thought of some people that were close-by that we could try, and we started on our way over, while riding our bikes from the house of the people we just tried, we passed by a group of guys that were talking outside by their truck and we talked with them. We ended up having a short lesson with them about the Plan of Salvation, and they continually asked questions. Eventually, they had to leave, but they said we could come back a different day, and it seems like they really have a lot of interest in learning more about this message.

This week we also had Zone Conference, so our Zone and another Zone met up for this conference with President and Sister Drake and the AP's. We had to get there at 6:45am, so we had to wake up at 5am, wow I am glad I had early morning seminary, but that lasted until 4pm, and we weren't able to leave until about 4:45pm... It was a really good meeting, but I had a really bad headache getting out of it because they had to re-finish the gym floor and they didn't air it out, so basically I didn't feel well once we got out. I started to get a migraine, so I popped the medicine and we went on with the day, and I luckily felt better because I caught it early enough.
Zone Conference- area picture
But there is really good news that we found out at Zone Conference! You know how I told you about Bertha, our investigator who is friends with a few members and has come to church a ton of times without having met with the missionaries, she talked with her friend that we had over with us when we taught her for the first time, and told her before she left for Mexico, that she was going to her own church once more. She said that she was going so she could say goodbye, she has decided that she wants to join our church. So, we just have to wait for her to get home from Mexico, and hopefully she will be able to be baptized before she goes to Pennsylvania for the rest of the year.

Then Saturday we had a service project at 8am, so we had to leave by 7:30 and we still wanted to exercise, so we woke up at 6am. The service was fun, but I ended up standing outside in the sun for 2.5 hours helping out with a 5k run. Then when the 5k was over, we got to go over and get our free flu shots from the same event. So, yes mom, I got my flu shot. :P

That is basically all of the interesting stuff that happened this week, but I should hopefully have more interesting stuff to tell you about next week.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Forward with Faith

Letter 62
November 2, 2014
Area: Broadway 2 Central
Companion: Heath

This week felt really long because so many different things happened. On Monday evening I started getting a migraine and fought it long enough to get back to our apartment at almost 9pm, but I wasn't there very long before I got picked up to go on an Exchange with Elder Reed in Broadway 2 West. Then this Thursday we had weekly planning, Halloween on Friday, a Ward Party on Saturday, and Church on Sunday. Even with all of the craziness that went on this week, I feel we had a lot of success this week.

Recently we have had a lot of troubles finding our investigators home because they have been working so much and when they aren't working, they are busy with other things.  Nevertheless, we still got to contact almost all of them this week. We found out more about their schedules and we got to set up appointments for this coming week. Meanwhile, we have been trying to find new investigators more and trying to improve our contacting. We had some success with that because we got some good referrals from the English missionaries in our area, and we stressed contacting them the next day! We taught the mother of a family of 9 kids from age 15 and down, we had set a lesson for Sunday.  We were able to bring up our success in finding the family at Ward Correlation, and our other successes this week, and they got really excited! We had four lessons set up for later in the day (Sunday), and we were able to set up members for each of them. We then continued with our day Sunday and sadly, nobody we tried was home, and the member set up for 8pm had to cancel suddenly at about 6. We just kept going forward with faith that there was something that we needed to do, and we were able to catch one investigator family at home, this being the first contact we have been able to have with them all transfer. We were able to find out what their new schedule was like, and we have plans to see them Friday. We then went to talk with a potential that we found at the beginning of the transfer with Elder Williams, and he was home! We found out that he is finishing up on the job that has been making him have no time and we were able to set up an appointment with him for this next week as well. After talking with him, we went to one of the families that we tried to take a member to, they had gotten home, and we were able to set up a lesson with them for 8pm today. After talking with them, we went over to a family that wasn't home on Saturday when we had our appointment, and they were home as well! We had the intention of stopping by and setting a time to come back, but they invited us to come and sit down, and they got out their Book of Mormon, and wanted us to teach them. We were completely fine with that! I felt like I needed to start out by asking them about if they remembered/understood where the Book of Mormon came from, which they didn't. We realized last week that our first lesson with them wasn't exactly the best lesson, there were too many distractions, so they didn't understand everything we taught, but this time we were able to explain things clearly and they expressed a lot of questions and uncertainty about the Plan of Salvation, all of which are answered through the Book of Mormon. We had the wonderful opportunity to testify of these truths and leave them chapters to answer their questions. We had no idea that they were so prepared! We met them by a lesson falling through before, and now we got to teach them specifically how these things can apply to them because of lessons falling through. It is weird to see how the Lord makes some things happen in order for other, unplanned things of greater importance to happen.

Elder Stanley Scott Dye

PS: Angie, we had to go inside by 7pm on Halloween, that was all

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pray can truly be Powerful!

Letter #61
October 27, 2014
Area: Broadway 2 Central
Companion: Heath

This week was just full of miracles.  We are still working on building up the area, but on Friday we had interviews with President Drake, where he told me to start praying more specifically to have my righteous desires be brought forth in the area. I have been doing that, and we started seeing results immediately!  Heavenly Father is there, always, just waiting on us to ask/pray for the right things that will help us most, and he always delivers (ie. blesses us)!

20 October 2014

We went out after P-Day, sadly getting out a little late, so we headed straight to dinner with Mark, one of our members, where we ate quickly, so we would have enough time to ride the 15 minutes to our appointment with Suyapa and Jorge, the part-member family.  We had scheduled a member to be with us, but he had to cancel. This whole time I was praying that they would be home because we really needed/wanted to talk with them.  I was also praying that we would get there on time and know what we needed to say. When we got there, well, they weren't home... 

It was already about 8:00 pm, but we wanted to stay near-by, just in case they showed up. We noticed that one of their neighbor families was outside cooking on their grill and having a good time, probably a family party, so we decided to say hi and just talk with them a little. They told us their names, Alma and Gumaro, and ended up inviting us to eat with them and wouldn't take no for an answer, so we sat down and just had a good normal conversation, that ended up turning to the topic of religion. We started talking about what makes our church different, and they seemed interested when we said that we know that God has called a prophet to guide us in these days. We ended up talking to them about how they can know for themselves, and about how the Book of Mormon is the key to that. We gave them a Book of Mormon, invited them to read from the introduction, and we asked them when we could come back. They told us that Saturday is when they wouldn't have work, so it would be fine to come then. 

By the time we left it was already about 9:10, and as we were getting up to go, when Suyapa called us to see where we went because our bikes were still outside their home. We accidentally missed the call, but right when the phone stopped ringing, we saw them getting out of their truck, so we called to them and talked briefly. They invited us in, but we explained that it was late, so we set up an appointment for Wednesday. 

We were so blessed to go there and find them not home.  We found a new family, and we still got to reschedule the appointment (which we were able to with them and teach the lesson that we had planned), but I realize that we wouldn't have been able to meet Alma and Gumaro had the 'planned schedule' been fulfilled.

24 October 2014

Had interviews with President Drake, but they took a little longer than we thought we would, so we were running late getting to our area. We had an appointment set at 4:30 pm, but it was already 4:15 and we were barely getting home (and we still had to change and go on the 30 minute bike ride there). We left with faith that it would all go well, and we prayed that we would be able to at least set another time to come back if we weren't able to teach her then.

On the way out, we were biking really fast and while riding, I remembered the scripture that it is not right for God's elders (missionaries) to be moving quickly while the people beside us are dying from unbelief. I realized that we should still talk to people on the way, since there was no way for us to be on time.  So I repented and prayed that God would put some people in our way that He has prepared for the gospel while we were riding. We saw some people holding a garage sale and we pulled over and looked at some of the stuff to make it less awkward, then we started talking to them. They asked what we were going around doing and we obviously answered that we were missionaries and how we bring a message to the world that God has once again called a prophet to teach the truth. They were interested, so we talked a little more about it and gave them cards to receive the evidence that God has given of this event, The Book of Mormon. One of them said that he knew this was from God and that God had sent us to tell them these things (which really made us think that he was a member), but he said that he would make sure they called the number on the card to receive a free copy. After that, we thanked them for their time and went on our way.

Soon after that first encounter with people, we passed by these two guys that looked like they were in their early twenties, and I felt like we should stop and talk with them. I sadly passed by them, but I decided that it would be the right thing to do to go back to talk with them even if it seemed ackward for me. We went over and one of them was gone, but we talked with the other. We told him that we were missionaries and a little about our message, then he told us that he was just visiting his cousin, who lives in this area, but he would be willing to listen to missionaries. We ended up just giving him a card for himself and one for his cousin, and he said he was going to call the number on the card as well.

I never realized how powerful prayer truly can be. President Drake had said that as long as our will is in line with the will of God, whatever we pray for will come to pass, but only if we act in a way to make it come to pass. I really look forward to these next weeks and the success that will come as we pray specifically for the people in our area.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

I am helping people, so there is success. I love being out here!

Letter #60
October 20, 2014
Area: Broadway 2- Central
Companion: Heath

This week went pretty well, we still had a hard time getting in with investigators and potentials, so we did a lot of contacting. We also got a referral for a really prepared woman named Bertha, who is a friend of a few members and has gone to church multiple times in the past.  She said that she has gone to many different churches, and the one she feels the most comfortable at, or the best at, is ours. She finally accepted the offer for a missionary visit from her good friend, who accompanied us to the lesson. Bertha is very much prepared to receive the gospel, and we are hoping, and praying, that she will accept the message and that all of the family problems that are occurring will be fixed. Other than her, we had the opportunity to finally catch a couple of the less-active members that we haven't seen in a while, so we did have a good week despite any difficulties in having lessons to teach. We also found out that our investigator, Jorge, is really wanting to be baptized. He has been working towards getting everything in line to get married, and we helped him realize what he needed to do to be baptized. Finding out how much he wanted this gospel made me realize that I am helping people and that there is success in this area.

This week I took a step back and I made sure I was trying to not stress myself out for what I can't control. I realized that I was stressing about me "not doing enough" to have the people act on the message.  I realized that I am doing my part by teaching simply and with the spirit and inviting.  Those on the receiving end have to make the decision themselves that they want to act. I have also been really working on studying more effectively so I can actually use it throughout the day.  As part of my studies, I have been also taking some time to read out of the Missionary Library to strengthen my testimony and to grow my knowledge.

I love being out here, and I love you guys,
Elder Dye

Sunday, October 19, 2014

with very little success, but on the bright side

Letter # 59
Oct. 13, 2014
Area: Broadway 2- Central
Companion: Heath

Hey guys,

This week seems to have flown by...we have been trying all transfer to get our area better, and we have had some success, but this last week was hard because it seemed like nobody was available. We tried and tried, with very little success, but on the bright side, we were able to work with the less-active members more and we finally got to meet with Jose Guzman, he is the guy that was baptized right before I came to the area, but he hasn't been very active since. We got to talk to him a little and he said he should be able to start going to seminary again and he should start coming to church again soon because their band mainly stops marching when football season ends. I am excited to be working with the less-actives and recent-converts again because it seems that when we are doing what we can to help them, the rest of the work blooms. 

I don't really have much to say about this week, except for that there were a couple of thunderstorms and it is obvious that winter is coming. We are all kind of hoping that a hurricane happens this year because the heat left so early, leaving about 2-2.5months for hurricanes to possibly come. I don't want a hurricane to happen, but it would be exciting because they evacuate us until it is gone, then they put us back in to help for the next couple of weeks. it sounds super interesting/fun. 

Other than that, I am officially halfway done with training Elder Heath and I am probably getting transferred in 6 weeks, so just a heads up for that. I feel like this next transfer will have more success and some baptisms though because we got good news from one of the ward leaders about how easy it should be for Suyapa and Jorge to get married, so when we teach them tonight, we are going to include talking more about marriage and try to have them set a date.

I love you guys, and pictures should come this next week because I keep forgetting my camera cord when I email.
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

I feel more like a missionary than ever

Letter # 58
Oct. 6, 2014
Area: Broadway- Central 2
Companion: Heath

This week was an interesting week, yesterday I was wondering why it felt like we didn't really do anything, but then I looked through my planner and realized, we only had 2 full days to work! We had P-Day on Monday, then New Missionary Training on Wednesday, Weekly Planning on Thursday, and General Conference on Saturday and Sunday. This week was miraculous for us, seeing that we only had 2 full days to work, we helped our four most solid families progress a lot, and they really have the desire to move forward, but it seems like there are still concerns or issues that we have to address to help them come to church. We have taken the time to thoroughly think about them and their situations and we feel like we have made realistic goals that will make them stretch to reach.

We have still been getting along well as a companionship, obviously there are a few quirks along the way, but we are trying to find ways to keep having fun while working hard. I particularly want to do that because I am starting to stress quite a bit about the area and the people. I am really trying to think of how we can help them, and what we can do each day to prepare the way for them to come to church and eventually accept the covenant of baptism. I feel more like a missionary than ever, but I have felt more stress than sometimes I think I should. I look forward to this next week and transfer and the success it will bring because we have been working hard and doing our best to bring about this work, and the Lord has been blessing us for it.

I love you guys, and could you pray for some of the people that we are teaching?

Elvia Cuervo and her family - That they will be able to make it to church despite any difficulties that may arise

The Garcia family - That they will accept a baptismal date and actually work towards it

Suyapa and Jorge - That their baby boy will be healthy enough to go to church

Lucero and Efrain - That we will be able to teach him clearly and Efrain will accept a baptismal date

I love you,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

The WORK has been fun and fruitful!

Letter # 57
Sept. 29, 2014
Area: Broadway- Central 2
Companion: Heath

Hey everyone!

This week has been really fun and fruitful! We have been working hard these past few weeks with very little success, just miracles happening with us finding new people to teach, and this week we finally have seen the work moving forward! I believe that I told you all last week that we got a referral from some other elders for a family that has gone to church a couple of times in their ward because they are friends with a member there, well this week we were able to set a baptismal date for them for October 18th, to give us time to teach them more and to include the rest of the family and get them all baptized the same day.
We also had a really fun ward party on Friday, it was called the Fiestas Patrias, where we celebrated all of the different countries that people in the ward come from.
We had the great opportunity to have Elvia Cuervo, and her 4 kids that live at home, come to the party.  They ended up being some of the first people there and talked with some of the members, including the bishop. We missionaries (the 6 elders in our ward) were able to participate too, we got to dance some of the many Hakas that are common in the Polynesian cultures. We had Elder Mamea, who is a Samoan that lived in Hawaii for a while, teach us. Then we got to see each of the different groups perform. The Primary, Young Single Adults, Young Women, and Relief Society were able to present different dances from the native cultures of where some of our members are from. And there was also food from the different countries, mainly El Salvador, Mexico, and Honduras. It was a really good experience for the Cuervo family.

This Thursday, during Hour of Power, we were able to find a less-active that we didn't know was on our books.  Her name is Lucero, and she is married to a non-member and has a baby that is only a few months old. We decided to stop by on Saturday because we were in the area, and her older brother, who is a returned missionary, was there and her husband was there as well. We ended up teaching them about the Plan of Salvation and who God is because Lucero's husband doesn't have much of a background in religion.  That conversation turned towards us talking about Eternal Marriage. It went really well, and Lucero's brother was really helpful in teaching because he knows them and he knows the doctrine as well. We really saw that as a miracle because Lucero's brother has been praying a lot for Lucero and her husband, and he was only going to be in town for the weekend. They said that they were just talking about us stopping by on Thursday when we knocked the door. It seems like that kind of thing happens a lot...people talk about us, and we show up.

We have been able to move forward with our different investigators by teaching them very spirit-centered lessons, and they have started to progress more. I really look forward to the next few weeks and the opportunity that our investigators will have to see General Conference.

And now to answer your questions mom:
1.1) Cesar has sadly decided to not meet with us, but we hope to work with the rest of the family so the spirit can work on him. Elvia recently has been keeping commitments to read and she came to the party and had a great time. We truly believe that she will be baptized in the next few weeks as long as Cesar doesn't decide to have our lessons with her stop.

1.2) Jorge, Suyapa's non-member "husband", is progressing well as well. They really want to come to church and only haven't because their baby has to live on a schedule because of it's syndrome, which makes it difficult for them to be able to wake up for 9am church. We met with Jorge on Saturday and had a great lesson, and we mainly concentrated on getting to know them and having them get to know us an feel more comfortable. We helped them understand some other things which they had questions about and we taught them about the Priesthood and Auxiliaries to prepare them to know what to expect at conference. They were talking about Jorge being Elder Heath's first baptism when they get married, so we really believe they have that desire to go forward, and we want to talk with them about them getting their birth certificates from Honduras to get them married.

1.3) Manuel, Cesar's friend...we actually haven't been able to catch him because he has a crazy schedule with school and football, and we really want Cesar there while we teach him. We are still trying to at least get him to activities and church...

2) yeah, I got that package, the writing on the outside was a little worn off because it looked like it got rained on a little in Hawaii...(the package took an unplanned 'detour' to Honolulu, Hawaii, instead of the Houston, Texas address written on the package)

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

the opportunity to work with members

Letter #56
Sept. 22, 2014
Area: Broadway- Central 2
Companion: Heath

Week 57...I have been out 57 weeks? I hit 13 months 2 days ago. I can't believe time goes that fast when you don't think about it....

This week has been great for us, we have had the opportunity to work with members quite a bit and we got referrals out of it! I love getting member referrals because they already have the member support and they have friends in the church, and they have someone to motivate them along the way. We were able to get a total of 4 member referrals, and we look forward to working with them as well as the people we already have.

We started teaching another family that already knows members and has actually been to church a few times. We had a very spiritual lesson with them on Thursday, and we look forward to meeting with them tomorrow (Tuesday).  With this family, on Thursday, we barely missed having the son/brother there, so we have another potential investigator in that family. We also taught our investigator, Elvia, again and had another spiritually edifying lesson with her. She really enjoys what we teach and willingly accepted the baptismal invitation as she came to understand the need of authority. 

We have also had the opportunity to find many more less-actives, and we have had the opportunity to start working with them. One family that we work with, the Rivera family, was really helped by our efforts.  The mother and 2 daughters came to church on Sunday, but sadly the husband is still working on fixing his testimony to make him want to return. We are making plans to bring our ward mission leader to visit with him one of the days this week.
From the streets of Houston, Texas

The happy smiles of Elder Dye and Elder Heath
I have been having a great time with Elder Heath here.  Though, I feel like I am more stressed because I know there are so many things that I need to do and that I should be doing, but there just isn't enough time to do it all. I have recently reviewed some goals I have and I made the goal to finish the whole standard works before the end of my mission because I know the scriptures bring peace, and I have felt like I don't know enough, which adds to my stress. As I have been reading/studying over the last few days, I have felt the stress leave and it is replaced by the peace and knowledge of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and a deeper understanding of His teachings. 

This week we had exchanges, which always adds a little change to the week. And what made it better is that we had nothing set up for that whole day, so we did a lot of contacting. We ended up going to the park and trying to find people there, but sadly there wasn't a ton of people there, so we locked up our bikes and went around walking. We got to the other side of the park, and saw a bunch of geese and ducks, so I took some pictures. Then we noticed that one looked like it had an extra head, so we asked this man about it. He wasn't quite sure, but we just started a conversation, in which we found out that he is a member of the church, but hasn't gone for about 12 years... We got his information, and he went on his way. Then we were walking back and saw a kid walking over to the soccer field with his ball in hand, so we asked if we could play. We ended up playing a little with him, then other kids came up and we got into a game that lasted about 40 minutes, and during the game, we were talking with the kids and I became like best friends with a little 8 year old girl. They were all awesome, and after playing, we went over and talked with their parents, and they had seen us playing with the kids, but sadly that didn't soften their hearts enough to listen to the message, but they knew that we were nice/good people.

I love you,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Missionary work is hard, but spiritual

Letter # 55
Sept. 15, 2014
Area: Broadway- Central 2
Companion: Heath (newly entered the mission field in Houston)

Hey, it's nice to actually get an email this week :D :P I was wondering all week whether or not Angie had the baby... I guess she did, so now I have a second niece that I need to meet when I get home... I just wonder how many more there are going to be because everyone is getting settled in to different homes that are more permanent than before... And Carolyn, you need to wait until I get home to have your first because when I eventually get married, my kids are going to be like 10 years younger than their cousins.... :P

This week has been rough for our area.  For whatever reason, we had a hard time getting in contact with people the whole week. We started it off well though--on Monday, we had the opportunity to go and contact a referral, named Cesar Cuervo, that we got from the church headquarters, it was from a member. We went and knocked on the door and Elvia, Cesar's wife, answered the door. She let us in and called Cesar, who wasn't home that evening, but is really excited to meet with us.  We just started talking with Elvia and it turns out that she has been reading the Book of Mormon that his member friend gave him!  She was also really interested in the message we, as missionaries, bring. We ended up teaching her about the restoration of the church and the Book of Mormon.  We had her pray at the end of the lesson to know if what we taught was true, as well as what she's been reading in the Book of Mormon is also true. She accepted our invitation to pray, and she felt the spirit very strongly.  God had/has prepared her, so when when we taught with the spirit, her spirit felt God's love and desire for her to learn more of His truth. It turns out that they have 6 kids; 24, 23, 16, 10, 8, and 6. I really can't wait to teach them again. We have a lesson scheduled at 5pm today, so we are ending P-day a little early to teach them with a member! I am so excited and I am determined to hopefully see the fruits of my labors (and possible see the baptism of members of this family).

Sadly the rest of the week didn't work out like that, it was a struggle. We were in 'finding' mode this week,  and we were planning/trying to have meaningful lessons with the people we are currently teaching.  Yet those plans fell through since many of the people that we are teaching haven't been able to meet with us.  I have found that people are much more busier now that school has started, so they weren't home or wouldn't be home for the lessons we would set up with them.
Answers to questions that mom had:
1) We did the normal P-day stuff on Labor day, there were just a bunch of members that went to the church, so that was fun, but annoying at the same time.

2) We still have 1 hour of personal study, 1hr companionship time, 1hr language, and now we have 1 hour of study added to our day in which we study the lessons and the basics of being a missionary.

3) My companion is an 18 year-old, he played trombone, loves older music

4) Working in this area is still a little harder, but we have been trying to find new people and think of ways we can serve/work with members to get referrals

5) Well, I don't really like telling you those things (unusual happenings) because I know you will freak out... but if you insist, this last week I kinda got hit by a car, and I got my first migraine on my mission. The car didn't have a turn signal on and they started out going straight, so I started going straight to go around them to turn left, but then they suddenly turned and hit my front wheel. I saw what was happening and I was already off my bike when it happened because that was all I could do, but I left without a scrape and nothing was messed up on my bike. And the migraine-- I started to get a migraine when we were in our apartment one morning, and I noticed it when I started having a headache and the sensitivity to light, so I went and got the medicine in me, and then laid down.  I was fine in like 30 minutes.

6) the weather--Did I tell you that we almost got hit by lightning one lesson? We just got freaked out because we were outside under a covering, then lightning struck right above us.... Other than that, it hasn't changed much for us, it is starting to get a little colder.

7) My readings include: the Book of Mormon, Preach my Gospel, and talks for missionaries

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Week 1 Training - COMPLETE!

Letter #54
Sep. 8, 2014
Area: Houston, Central 2
Companion: Heath

This week has gone great! We have put in a lot of effort to find new people to teach and have had success in that. We sadly didn't have a ton of lessons, but we really feel like we are preparing the area right by taking a couple steps back to take steps forward with a good foundation. I really feel like the training call was inspired.  I have been pushing myself a lot harder to work on the area and myself, while trying to help Elder Heath learn how to do things right. We have taken a little time to re-do our whiteboard so it will be useful in the process of weekly planning, everyday work and planning, and especially finding out the needs of the different people we teach.  I have found that as we were doing it, we were receiving inspiration on how we could do it even better. We have also made sure that we take the time to contact and reach out to everyone we meet throughout the day. As we have been doing these different things, we have seen a lot of progress in ourselves and the few people that we teach. 

We have been getting along great as a companionship, Elder Heath really reminds me of Adam Ure, and we are working well and hard together. I am proud of Elder Heath because I can rely on him to do his part of the work. I know I am training him, but he is learning so fast and well that I have no doubt that he'll be just like a normal companion with experience by the end of training. He has really surprised me in his memorization abilities and he already has almost all of the Joseph Smith History memorized. I have really high hopes for him, and I look forward to helping guide him a little in week 2 of training.

I personally have been doing a lot better, I feel more focused and relaxed at the same time. Before getting the call for training, I was kind of falling just into the routine of things. I felt like I was wasting so much time because I was too comfortable with where I was at. Now I am constantly thinking of things I can do better, more efficient ways of doing things, ways to better the area. I really am thankful for this training call.  I feel like I have never been a better missionary than I am now-- sure I am not teaching a ton of lessons, but I feel like soon enough, we will have all of these things sorted out and have baptisms come. I really don't feel like I am training, I feel like I am guiding Elder Heath to be the most efficient, hard working missionary he can be. I am so happy and grateful for this opportunity I have to serve and to be here.

I can hardly believe that Linzie is already 1 and that Brianna is already in 1st grade and Jacen is already in preschool.... Time just flies too fast, I feel like I just got here, but I'm already on the downhill slide back into reality. The only things I could say I would be excited for are: 1) meeting all the new nieces and nephews; 2) having my good ol' big bed; and 3) being able to participate in choirs and bands again.

I love you guys, even though you didn't email me... :P
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Evaluating life's 4 Loves-- How do I measure up?

Letter #53
Sept. 2, 2013
Area: Houston, Central 2
Companions: Spencer, Petersen, and now Heath

This week in the area has been great! It was a little unexpected to lose Elder Petersen from our companionship.  On Thursday he was called to different area because another elder was having medical problems involving the nerves all over his body.  The mission leadership/mission doctor ended up sending him home to make sure that he gets all the necessary care, so I felt the responsibility fall to my shoulders because I know the area and the people. 

We worked really hard trying to find new people to teach, trying former investigators and potentials, and we found a really good new investigator from a part-member family. He is really prepared and I am really excited to move forward with teaching him. We also had a really good experience going on splits with the youth from the area.  We found one of the friends of these two young men, who just happens to be a recent convert. This young man has been talking about the church with his friend, but has been really hesitant to invite him to church, though he has invited him to activities. This split that we did was on Saturday, and we asked the young man to invite his friend to church for Sunday. Sadly the friend was working with his dad, which is an uncommon occurrence, so we have high hopes for this guy. We have a lesson set up with the recent convert with his friend for this Saturday, and we hope to see him at church Sunday. The area is slowly, but surely, starting to perk up. We have the expectation to be able to baptize these two people in this transfer or the next because they already have the support of members and friends. 

I am glad to be in this area and to be able to see the fruits of my efforts lift it up. I am also glad to have the opportunity to train Elder Heath.  He seems like a great missionary and I have high hopes/expectations for him and myself.

I guess I didn't have the opportunity to tell you yesterday(Labor Day), but we got a call last Saturday saying that Elder Spencer was leaving the area, then on Sunday we got a call saying that I was going to be a trainer, and Elder Spencer was going to be English for a period of time. So my greenie's (trainee) name is Elder Heath and he is from Orem, Utah. I really don't know much else about him because I met him about 5 hours ago and we've been moving in and stuff...

We did end up moving to our new apartment that will be safer for us to travel to and from (ie the configuration of the road is just safer). And the English sisters are actually in the next building over, so they were really nice and baked us cookies. Yesterday, because we couldn't email and we weren't going to shop due to transfers, I decided to make us all french toast for breakfast as a thank you for the cookies and stuff.

1) Elder Spencer didn't exactly believe us when we told him that his bike had been stolen, but then he didn't really freak out because we knew we could fix the problem the next day when we went to Kingwood for the meeting with Elder Cook.

2) The 4 loves were specifically for a missionary, but I guess they can apply to you guys. They were 1) Love your companion (spouse or family member); 2) Love the people (in the ward and your area/community); 3) Love your Mission President (or your church leaders in your case); 4) Love the Lord

3) Yeah, we have worked things out and mainly just laughed about each other's mistakes. Now I'm with my new companion, and I really am just determined to teach him right.  I have enough experience as a missionary that I usually know what to do and how we can do better. I am excited for this experience, especially because I have been feeling like it was just my time for it--I have really needed something to get me out of just going through the motions...

4) I actually have been reading it.  It is something that somebody spoke about recently and I have been reading it to see what it says specifically about my mission and after so I can make goals to become what God sees me as.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Me, the 'experienced' Missionary!?

Letter #52
August 25, 2014
Area: Broadway- Central
Companions: Spencer and Petersen

Hey guys, it sounds like each of you have been having a great week! It is so weird to think that I've already been out for over a year...this week I have been thinking a lot about what I've done on my mission and what I want to do this last year I have out here. I still feel new in the mission, but it is weird to see all of the new faces coming out and looking up to me as one of the "experienced" missionaries.  

 Elder Dye's mother, who responded to a request, had asked Ramirez to 'pass along' a hug from his mother, since she knew Ramirez would be feeding Elder Dye.  She wanted to express the family's thankfulness in Elder Dye's willingness to serve the Lord, since he'd be hitting his 1 year missionary mark.  This picture came back, to her surprise, and delight.  He sure looks HAPPY serving the people of Houston Texas!  

This week has been a good one even though it was still pretty rough in terms of numbers. We have been working on a number of things that we can do to help the area grow and help the people progress and "come unto Christ". I have personally been working on making the goals for my mission, then breaking them down to a manageable number for daily contacts and invitations to do things that lead to baptism.

Recently, we have been struggling in actually finding people and in teaching our current investigators due to their lack of progression. To try to resolve this issue, during weekly planning, we spent a good amount of time looking through the former investigators to find the ones that were progressing before.  This will allows us to go and try to teach them again and figure out why they stopped progressing. We then had Elder Ek, our Zone Leader, come on an exchange with Elder Petersen and I.  This really helped because he was the one that opened the area and as a result knew most of the former investigators. So, we ended up using his knowledge to help us out.  We found a few people that he used to teach, and they are still willing to meet with us, so we look forward to visiting with them this next week.

I have also heard of a prophetic promise that if you memorize a scripture a day on your mission, you will have photographic memory by the end of your service. Before I was trying to do this, but I was shaken from it due to uncertainty about the details.  Yet I have determined that the advice of 1 Nephi 3:7 applies to this as well, so I have been memorizing a scripture a day.  I can honestly say that I have already seen the 'good fruits' of my efforts in the everyday life of the mission.

I actually have a couple of stories for this week:
1) We were on exchanges with Elder Ek, and we went to his recent convert's house to eat dinner, but while we were there, Hermano Linares, the father, came inside and asked, "why are there 3 of you in here and only 2 bikes outside?" We went out to look, but I was certain my bike was the one that would have been stolen because it is the one in the best shape, and it was the most accessible. We didn't lock up the bikes because they were on their porch and Hermano Linares was outside. We looked, and my bike was moved back and Elder Spencer's bike was gone...Elder Ek was using it, so we were really surprised, partially because Elder Spencer's is the one in the worst shape... So we had an interesting time getting a ride home from the other elders and basically hanging out in a creepy park until past 9:30, waiting for them to pick us up.(family note: hopefully he learned his lesson and will lock up his bike at all times).

2) We had Elder Quinton L. Cook come and speak to us this Saturday (Aug 23), so we got together as a mission to hear him. He just talked to us about the inspiration that went into Preach My Gospel,  and many of the things that we can do to become better missionaries. I sadly don't have my notes with me right now, but he also pronounced an Apostolic Blessing on us and our mission and explained the most important "4 Loves" that we can have right now.  I'll have to bring my notes next time, so I can give you these 4 thoughts.

3) Lastly, our apartment got inspected, and the inspector basically said that we were going to move because they found out that we are biking along this road that goes beside the freeway and it isn't really safe. So, I wouldn't recommend sending letters this week. We got the call saying we can move today, but a) we don't know the address of the new place, and b) we have transfers next, we don't really know what to do...until next week :)

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Blessings of Comfort and Peace

Letter #51
August 18, 2014
Area: Broadway- Central
Companions: Spencer and Petersen

It sounds like you all had some family fun and fun with friends!

This week went by a little differently than we expected it to, but it was still good. We had the opportunity to teach and bless some people according to their needs, especially our less-actives. One of our less-actives has a friend that has been going through hard times, yet this less-active she feels like she can't really help him and encourage him because her own testimony is weak or suffering from a long time of inactivity. We were able to focus on her and help her find ways to strengthen her testimony. We were also able to give another less-active comfort needed to continue forward in her difficulties. She has a baby that has a syndrome that is similar to down's syndrome, so she has been struggling in her faith.  She has, to her credit, continues to see the little tender mercies that God sends. We gave her a blessing of comfort and peace to help her get through this trial.

We had the wonderful opportunity to talk to our investigators, Ricardo and Griselda. We called them on Wednesday to confirm an appointment we had set up with them, and Griselda answered the phone sounding really sad and upset. She said that we wouldn't be able to come that day because they weren't going to be home for the appointment time. She asked us if we could come Thursday and she asked for us to pray for her over the phone. We said the prayer and asked her if she would want a blessing of peace and comfort, she said yes. We went over on Thursday and she was feeling better, then we gave her and Ricardo blessings of comfort and guidance. I had the opportunity to pronounce that blessing for Ricardo, and I had no idea of what to say.  I just went to do it and as I was speaking, the spirit literally put the words into my mouth--they just came out and thoughts just came to mind when needed. I have no doubt that the promise of the Lord is true about Him putting the words in your mouth in the very moment needed.  I experienced it! I never understood it before, but it is so true.  I am so grateful for this experience.

I don't know what else to say, other than I got about 20 awesome ties from a member this week! We did service for him, and he pulled out a box of about 200 ties.  He said that we could just grab as many as we wanted. He told us that he felt that he wanted to change ties for every meeting he had on Sunday, so many of the ties have been worn very little.  Kind of a different idea, but hey, I got 20 awesome ties and felt the joy of giving service.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Friday, August 15, 2014

Seeing the Fruits of our Labors

Letter # 50
August 11, 2014
Area: Broadway-Central
Companions: Spencer and Petersen

 This week went well for us, we are working hard and are starting to see the fruits of those efforts. We haven't been getting as many lessons as we would like, but we know that we are doing our best and we are getting more new people and we are helping the less-actives from the ward. We believe that the service and love we are showing to others is causing the change in their actions because we had 3 less-actives come to church this week!

We had the opportunity to teach one of the less-actives that we found last transfer, and help her move out of her dad's apartment and into her own. She said that now we can go and knock on her door to wake her up for church if she doesn't message us in the morning saying that she is awake. She is really excited to get back into going to church, and she was able to attend the baptism that our ward had this last Saturday. She met the bishop of the ward and we got her to church so she could participate and get to know some other members in the ward.

We also had the opportunity to find and teach a couple of new people that seem more interested/willing to act than the ones that we have been teaching in the past. We are excited to take part in allowing them to find out the truth for themselves and to partake of the blessings of the gospel. We did visit a couple of the investigators that we have taught in the past.  As we mature in the mission, we realize that our approach needs to change- we have shifted our vision from teaching them in a way that is just throwing information at them to now trying to help them see what they can gain from it and why it would be important. We are having them think of goals that they can set for themselves to get them to progress.  It is a good approach because it has personal agency involved, which is one of the true gifts Heavenly Father has given to us...personal agency, personal goals, personal 'change of heart' = slowing down enough to know and feel the love that Heavenly Father has for each of His children.

As for the people behind those four doors that we contacted before (the ones that Carolyn is asking about), I have no idea what happened to the first guy, I assume the English missionaries are seeing him, but if not, I will ask them to do so. The second person hasn't had anything happen with her, we have seen her once since that initial contact, and she still isn't interested. The less-active we found as a result of knocking on the third door is the one we helped move, and she is super awesome. We almost had a member present lesson with her, and she came to church on Sunday because we were able to knock on her door. And the last guy we found has gone to church, but said that he didn't really like it, mainly because he didn't feel like he learned anything (we think he just went to sacrament meeting and left before the classes...)

That about sums up our week, it was a pretty good one, could've been better, but we are starting to get there.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Help comes in small ways

Letter # 49
August 4, 2014
Area: Broadway-Central
Companions: Spencer and Peterson

It sounds like all of you have had a good week and have been enjoying being outside. Shannon, it sounds like you had fun in the 100 degree weather.  I have been having a good time in my 90ish degree weather with an added touch of humidity!  It surprisingly doesn't feel too hot, but sadly that means that I'm probably going to freeze after the mission....

This week has been a good one even though our lessons still haven't picked up. We have been working hard and have had the opportunity to visit/meet more less-actives in our area. I met with a couple of less-active members that I have never met before.  We are looking forward to really getting to know these people in future dates in our efforts to see what their needs are and determine how we can effectively teach them with the goal to reactivate them. We have also had the opportunity to do service, which is enjoyable and helps the people to know that we really do care for them. We are also excited and looking forward to the opportunity to work with the new potential investigators that we are finding, this is because the people that we had been teaching have become less serious to carry through with things that we have asked them to think about and do.  I do know that there needs to be a 'desire to act' in order for the 'change within the heart' to start to take affect.

We have been putting more time into trying to find people.  We know that there are people prepared to listen to our message and to accept it. We just need to be humble enough to find them. We had a miraculous experience during this week's Hour of Power.  We were knocking doors without much success, and then some children that were outside playing told us that we shouldn't knock about 5 or so of the doors that were coming up because the people weren't home. We followed their advice and knocked where they said we should, and we found people at almost every door that we knocked. We not only found people, but almost every one of them said that they would be willing to listen to our message and 3 of them were Hispanics, with whom we set return appointments. One of these people had been taught by missionaries about 10 years ago, but then she moved and never saw the missionaries again. We were knocking, and she was behind the last door we knocked. If those children didn't help us, we wouldn't have found her... We know that that was a miracle and we look forward to teaching her this week.

Our companionship is also doing well; we are working hard and setting goals and making plans to achieve them. We are also working out problems that we may have, so we are doing better with companionship unity.

I love you guys and I want to wish Carolyn a happy late birthday,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

The work continues...

Letter # 48
July 28, 2014
Area: Broadway- Central
Companions: Elder Spencer and Elder Petersen

This week was a good one. We have been working out the challenges that come from being in a trio, and I have really enjoyed being with Elder Spencer and Elder Petersen. I feel like our companionship has been growing closer and working better. Working and living with your companions 24/7 has been a personal growing experience.  I know that things each of us may be doing, either consciously or sub-consciously, can be distracting.  We each come from different experiences in life, from family dynamics to even where you are in the birth line up within your family.  Missions bring all that we are, and what we can become, together in close proximity, so there are times when habits bug another person.  This is the case for me.   Before I knew that Elder Petersen had issues with me, but I never knew why.  Elder Spencer has been open about what Elder Petersen has told him about his thoughts about me. I am happy about that because sometimes we just decide to hold things in and not say anything, especially to the person who is irritating you, but we really need to be open in a loving way. That is exactly what Elder Spencer has been doing, so I feel like I can be open with him and I can trust him to tell me if anything I do is bugging him. I have been working on being open with Elder Petersen and also changing the things that bug him in any way that I can that aren't changing me for the worse.

With regards to the area and the work, this week wasn't the best. We have been having troubles getting in with some of our people that we thought were ready, so we have been trying to find new people that are truly willing. We found one man while trying to get in with a person we found during Hour of Power a couple of weeks ago, and he is really interested as far as we can tell. We had a great first lesson with him and we are going to visit him this Wednesday. I am really glad about how the lesson went because it is usually pretty hard to get the skill of teaching in a group of three developed. Knowing this from past experience, we decided to create thorough lesson plans for each lesson that we are going to teach because we don't want to have the confusion about who is going to teach what.

We have been having a great time here, and we have been working hard. I have been doing a lot of reading from Jesus the Christ and the Book of Mormon, and that has really been helping my testimony grow. I now know more about my Savior, and this love that our Savior has for each of us is very evident with God's dealings with those in the Book of Mormon.  It's teachings and dealings all point to the Savior and His love and desire for us all to return to our heavenly home.
I love you guys so much, and have a great week!
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

PS: still waiting for pics :P and here are some fun ones of us
What were they thinking -- Chronicles of Narnia?  Who knows--they're 19/20 year old boys!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Self Reflection and applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Letter #47
July 21, 2014
Area: Broadway Central
Companion: Petersen

Hey guys, it sounds like you all have been having a great week, and I had one as well. :) We ended up changing the focus in our area a little bit because we have been having a hard time finding new people and teaching in general. We are starting to focus a little more on the temple because we got the notification a few weeks ago that we need to teach lesson 5 before baptism and we have been pondering on that announcement. We have met with a few more less actives and recent converts and have tried to set the goal of going to the temple with them. We have also started thinking about investigators eventually going to the temple, especially because this Saturday we had the opportunity to go to the temple with one of the recent converts in the area. It was the first time for both of us actually doing the ordinances, specifically confirmations. I lucked out and was doing the confirmations for the youth and all of them speak English, so I just did it in English, but then Elder Petersen did some converts who only speak was interesting because we already had a hard time pronouncing the Slovakian names, but then he had Spanish added onto that.
Youth temple trip to Houston Temple on July 19, 2014. Elder Petersen and myself with our recent convert.
           I have really been thinking through what I can do better as a missionary and companion this week, and as I have been working on myself, I have found more peace. Even though Elder Petersen still is doing the same things, I have been looking at it in a more open view. I know that sometimes the things aren't necessary, but even then, I just give him a small reminder and pray for him. Yesterday we had the opportunity to attend a Stake Priesthood meeting, and one of the counselors in the stake presidency talked about the "spirit of persuasion"(as talked about in the oath and covenant of the priesthood). He was relating it to parents trying to get the youth out on missions, but it is also used in general for doing what is right. I know that I can't change Elder Petersen, and quite frankly, I don't want to, but I will help remind him of what he needs to do and why.

Things are looking better in the area because we are putting more effort into it and trying to work it in the right way.

1) The ward helps because most are willing to come out. We are just hesitant to invite them out because we don't really have people to teach with them...
2) actually I haven't had a flat tire for a while--I guess God thought he has humbled me enough

I just wanted to mention something that I have learned as I have been out. When we are baptized, we covenant to always remember him and to follow his commandments. We are cleansed from sin through the Holy Ghost (see Mosiah 3:19) and not because we are immersed in water, though I do know that the immersion is representative of Christ death and resurrection and our giving up our sins and being a better, more righteous child. When we are baptized, we say that we are willing to take upon us His name. I won't give you all the answers, but I would encourage you and everyone else to think about these things:
1) if during baptism isn't when we take Christ's name upon us, when do we?
2) What does it truly mean to take Christ's name upon us?
3) What does this action, notice I say it's an action, mean/do in the eternal scheme of things (the plan of salvation)?
4) What does "enduring to the end" have to do with these things?

These are some things that I have learned a little about out here. I really love finally understanding a glimpse of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I know there is so much more than what I know. I have also been studying about the Atonement, and from the book Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage. I love understanding a little more about my Savior and what he has done for you and for me.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Heavenly Father is aware of each of us!

Letter #46
July 14, 2014
Area: Broadway Central
Companion: Petersen

This week we made an effort to not fall back into our usual backups that weren't even good investigators. We finally got a new investigator by trying a person that Elder Petersen was scared of trying the whole time we have been together, it worked out great! The man we met was willing to have us come over again to teach him and was really nice. He is a good man, just a little lost in his ways, he ended up drinking a bottle of beer, then he pulled out a cigarette and smoked the whole cigarette, all while talking to us. He used to be a missionary for the Catholic church and was really active, but then he just stopped.

It is difficult working when your companion doesn't want to work as hard as he should, but I feel like Zone Meeting this week helped him because it helped him realize that he came out for the right reasons and is out here for good reasons, but his desire isn't where it should be, so recently he has been doing a lot of self-evaluation and it has helped us in the work. This week's Zone Meeting was centered on our personal testimonies/desire and teaching, it helped me as well because it required a lot of self-evaluation.

On Thursday we saw a delayed Hour of Power Miracle from last week. Last week, 4 people opened their doors, the first was a lost sheep found, the second gave us water, the third gave us a return appointment, and the last one we invited to church. We went back this Thursday to try the man who said we could come back(door #3), but he wasn't home, so we talked to the man we invited to church(door #4), who was outside at the time, and he said the English missionaries could come back, so we set them an appointment and got his contact information for them. We had the feeling that we should leave, so we went back to our bikes and a woman pulls up in her car and said "Hey, I need to talk to you!". She parked the car and said, "I think you are looking for me, I live in Apartment #13", (which was the number of the apartment of the man behind the third door that was opened). She proceeded to tell us that she just barely moved into the area about a week and a half ago and she was a member from a different state. She had talked to her bishop to have him send missionaries to her new place, but in a prior experience when she did this it took about a month. The miracle is that we got there like 3 days after she moved here and we never got notification that she had moved here. We just decided that Heavenly Father didn't want her to have to wait another month, so he put the idea in Elder Petersen's head a few days earlier that we should knock that apartment complex. I know that miracles happen, and that God allowed us to be a part of one these last two weeks!

Other than that, the struggles in the area are still here and I'm sure they will be fixed by just getting out and working because it seems like that is what's lacking...

1) my cold has gone away, just a lingering cough now :)
2) we met our new mission president; President Drake, but we haven't done interviews, he just talked with each companionship for about 5 minutes and then they talked with us all as a group and told us a little about themselves.
3) Well, yes I got the package, and no the tire liners haven't seem to help me.  I got a flat because the tire liners are apparently not made for slime tubes.  The slime makes a fiber-like thing that acts like a clot, a lot like blood/scabs. The liner slipped around a little and kept taking the little clot out of the hole, making the tire go flat, so I just took them out. They seem to be working on Elder Petersen's bike though, and I haven't had a flat recently, so I guess I'm fine.

Thanks for the advice everyone! And thanks for the updates on the kids, I would like pictures more often, but I think you would say the same :P

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye