Saturday, February 15, 2014

Enjoying my mission! Each week is full of new joys and adventures...

Letter #25
February 10, 2014
Area: Humble
Companion: Owens

It sounds like all of you had a pretty good week and had fun with the families :) I am really enjoying my mission, each week is full of new joys and adventures, but it is just flying by! I am already more than 1/4 done... :o
My companion is Elder Owens and he has been out for 18 months. He is a pretty fun guy and we get along really well, and it helps that he is excited to finally get out and work again because his last companion was sick for most of the last transfer

I am serving in one of the biggest areas of the mission because there are so few pockets of spanish speakers. We cover the same area as 5 English-speaking areas and have to drive at least 50ish miles each day just to go to appointments and try people... We have had a lot of fun though and we have a lot of really awesome members.

I have had an interesting week because this week I switched from the Spanish missionary paradise of the mission to the part where they are few and far between. This Monday we had a good lesson with Oscar H and I got to say goodbye before we left. I was happy to be able to say that it really wasn't a goodbye, but more of a 'see you later' because Oscar is getting baptized in a couple of weeks :) Then in this area we really started working miracles to bring it back to life these past few days :)

After the transfer meeting we came home and I unpacked a little and then we went out to try a few people and taught a couple of lessons, and ate with the Rendon family (the 1st counselor). My companion told me that in 1 day we almost taught half of their average lessons per week for the last transfer... One thing that I thought was super funny is that in the first 3-4ish hours of being Elder Owens' companion, I had already met the 1st and 2nd counselors of the bishopric :) 

I hardly even know what to say right now because I still hardly know the area and the people.  I am just glad that Elder Owens does know the area and people, so we don't get lost... I can tell you this though, we have a really solid investigator that is super cool and surprisingly he is 70! He is the oldest hispanic I know and he still has good health too :) We found out that the english sisters have taught him almost everything, but he is more confident with spanish, so they passed him off to us. He is really fun and he has already made it most the way through 2 Nephi, it is amazing how much he loves the word of God. Oh yeah, we also met a guy who is 18 and he had been meeting with the missionaries for a while, but his whole family is Catholic, so he doesn't really want to change much, but he wouldn't mind talking with us again every once in a while. We talked with him yesterday and just focused on his family and showed him that we care and testified about how the gospel can bless his life. When we asked him about if he would read the Book of Mormon, he opened up to us more and he told us how he has a reading problem, so he doesnt really understand what he reads all the time. When he said that, an idea came into my mind about the Children's Book of Mormon booklet that we can get with supplies, so I told him about it and how it is like a picturebook that makes it really easy to understand. He told us that that would help, so we told him that we would get one of those for him as soon as we can.  He was really glad about how much we cared for him and his family. When we were about to go, we asked if there was anything that we could do for him and once again, he opened up and told us about how his friend has cancer and is doing Chemotherapy. He really is scared for his friend and feels bad for him and asked us to pray for him. I told him how Uncle Merlin went through the same thing and it just means he is fighting cancer, and one thing that we can all do for him is being positive because if he is positive about it, he is more likely to win that fight. We left him with a prayer and told him that we have high hopes for his disabled uncle and his friend.
Another thing I forgot to mention is that we went to try to contact somebody and as we were leaving, we talked to a couple of guys next door. One of the guys talked to missionaries before when they had helped him get his truck out of a ditch and he told us like right away that he wanted to get baptized. We have yet to talk with him again, but here's hoping that he truly wants to know more.

My Spanish is really surprising me now, I am understanding almost everything and Elder Owens and I did almost all of Weekly Planning (2-3hrs) in just spanish! :)

I love you guys and I will try to write a better letter next week and I will try to send you guys cards or something for Valentine's Day

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ire y hare lo que el Senor ha mandado

Letter #24
February 3, 2014
Area: Broadway 2 East
Companion: Galvez
This time I'll do the questions first because I almost forgot to last week...
Yes, I got the package, and thank you.  We have been listening to the talks that you downloaded to the USB drive.  Thank you. We keep pulling up different talks. I am glad there are so many because I enjoy listening to them more than just music because it is something that I can follow along with and it brings the spirit more strongly.
The weather has been crazy over here! One day it will be nice and sunny and get warm enough that you're sweating when you ride the bikes, then other days it is really cold and you don't really want to go outside...

Well, this week really flew by for us here.. We spent most of the time teaching a few people, and helping them progress more. I think I told you last week about how we got one of our investigators to get a baptismal date, but this week we went by and taught him about the 5 steps in the 4th article of faith (the 5th being enduring to the end) and he understood it perfectly again! He even compared baptism to a ticket that Jesus is offering to you. I continued on with that analogy and said the ticket was a trip for him, and his family, to a never-ending paradise with God and Jesus Christ. Elder Galvez asked Oscar (the investigator) when he would accept that ticket if Jesus was offering it to him right now, and Oscar understood completely and answered that he would take it as soon as possible, meaning right now. Oscar is super excited to be baptized and when we invited him again to be baptized the 22nd, he said that he would and that he would to everything he could to do so.

Not only did Oscar accept the invitation to be baptized the 22nd, but we invited the 2 kids of a less-active member of the church, and 2 other investigators we have. We were super excited when all of them accepted our invitation, and they all were willing to prepare for that date. (The only kink we have is the fact that the less-active mom keeps making excuses to not go to church, but we'll try our best)... I am excited to help these 5 people make that baptismal covenant with our Father in Heaven, and I can't wait to go to the church that day and see 5 people that I taught [basically from the beginning, meaning the lesson on the Restoration], enter into the waters of baptism, and start a new life as members of the church!  Seeing them progress and change in ways that you can see in their eyes the desire to live a life that will bring them closer to their Savior and in serving others.

We also saw a lot of miracles happen this week from knocking :) One day we were having a pretty bad was cold, and almost all of our appointments called and cancelled. We contacted a few of the referrals that the English sisters gave us, and then went to the house of Oscar to teach him that lesson that I described above, but we got there a little early, so we were talking through the lesson a little and listening to a talk from the USB. We got a text from Ana, Oscar's wife, and she said that he was working a little late and asked if we could come at 7:30 instead of 6:30... We decided to drive down the road a little farther, and I just kept going a little farther before I stopped. We were just sitting there for about 5-10 minutes listening to the talks, but then I had the feeling that what we were doing was a waste of time and I felt like we should go knocking... I shrugged it off at first and just kept listening to the talk, but the feeling was still there and it was bugging me, so I told Elder Galvez, "Let's knock a little bit, we've got about 50 minutes", to which he responded "It's cold, I don't want to go...". I told him to come out and knock and I turned off the car in the middle of the talk that he was really interested in, and he got kinda mad and said that he was listening to it. I just said that I was too and I got out of the car. He was being a little spiteful for me making us go knock and he told me that I had to lead us to where we were going to knock because I wanted to go so bad. I had no idea where to go, so I prayed and asked to be led to those who were ready to hear the gospel. I felt the need to knock on this one door off to our left, so I went over and we knocked it, and Elder Galvez still being spiteful, told me that this one was mine to contact. So I started talking to the person and she said she was a little busy, so we got her name and address and said we would come back another day in the afternoon. We went farther down the street and I felt like I wanted to knock another door, but I wasn't sure if it was just me wanting to, or if it was the Holy Ghost telling me to, so I thought to myself "What's the worst that could happen?" and knocked it. It was kinda awkward at first, but then the person invited us in because it was cold outside. We taught her about God and His love for us and how the gospel can bless families, then we ran out of time, so we had to go... But I know those feelings I had were from the Spirit because it got us 2 new investigators who are pretty interested and they were fun and reminded me of you guys.
We went back to that first house one of the next days and found out that the lady is from Mexico, but used to live in "the valley", which is this supposedly really cool place in southern Texas, and she used to meet with missionaries there, but then she moved here. We asked her how she felt about the missionaries visiting her and what they taught, and she said she was fine with everything. So, we asked her if she was willing to have us come back and visit her. She said we could and gave us her phone number to see if she is home and she told us the best times to go visit her.

The saddest part of the week was when we got the call on Saturday saying that I, once again, am getting transferred.... I really wanted to go through the rest of the lessons with the people we have baptismal dates for, but I guess the Lord says my work here is done and He needs me in a different area. I am glad that I at least get to come back to see the baptisms of these people I helped teach this transfer. I am glad to say "I will go and do the things the Lord commands" (or in spanish "Ire y hare lo que el Senor ha mandado"). I don't know where I'm going to go, but wherever it is, I will work my best.

Les amo y me encanta mucho leyendo sobre sus vidas,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Faith Proceeds the Miracle...

Letter #23
January 27, 2014
Area: Broadway 2 East
Companion: Galvez

Well, it looks like you all had a good week. :) We had a horrible one.... :( just kidding! We had a great week! The week kinda started out interesting because we had exchanges with other missionaries.  But not just any exchanges, we had super exchanges! Meaning that all of us ended up having a different companion--one that we have never worked with before. We had me leaving our area, and joining our district leader and another missionary (who was from our 3rd area with elders).  Then to end the mix, the 2 companions of the district leader split up and went to the 2 other areas. So basically there was a huge amount of confusion :)  until we all got into our areas for the exchange. It was good to work with these other missionaries.  While on exchanges we taught a few people, including a couple that they found the week before. I also was taught a new way to teach the first few points in the first lesson, so we tried it and it worked great!

During the week we decided to try a few different ways to find people to teach and then we used the new way we found to teach lesson 1.  We were able to interest a lot of new people. This week, something that I found the most interesting is how God brings about miracles. On Friday, we ended up having a freezing day, meaning the rain that came the day before froze and the whole day was around 32 degrees. We went out, and school had been cancelled for the whole area. We visited one of our part-member families, and talked to them for a while(they also offered to feed us), so we got out of there a little later than we expected to, but we started heading home on our bikes and just as we were about to take a little shortcut, a guy called to us. We went to talk to him, and it turns out he is a member that lives in Utah, but is here for a couple of weeks for work. For some reason he didn't know where the chapel was, so this question was on his mind, and then he saw us, the missionaries. So we were able to answer his question....We never know why things happen the way they do, but the Lord has his ways-- and if we didn't eat with that family, we wouldn't have seen that guy, and he still wouldn't know where the church was. :) 
Then later that same day we went with a member to visit some people that live in apartments near our house, but they (this family) were about to go out and do something as a family (because the husband's work was cancelled and the kids were at home too), so we couldn't teach them...We decided to go  try a less-active/recent-convert that lives pretty close to where we were located, and usually can't teach her because she lives alone and we need to bring a member (missionary rules). We headed over there, and  found her with her sister and her sister's boyfriend! Super exciting.  We taught her sister and the boyfriend on Sunday, but we couldn't count them as new people for us because they lived in a different area, but when we went on this Friday, we found out that their baby came on Monday and they moved in with Casandra, the person we were trying to visit. :D    So thinking back, we were kinda disappointed that the lesson right before visiting with Cassandra had to reschedule(the family with the dad and kids home because of the weather), but then Heavenly Father blessed us with the chance to meet these two again and teach them with a member!   Modern day miracles!   Then that evening we went to a couple that we were going to do a FamilyHomeEvening lesson with and they didn't have their DVD player working, so we couldn't do the FHE that we had planned.  We rescheduled with them, but still shared a short message.  Since we got out of there a little sooner than we thought we would, so we went and tried an investigator that we have, and he was home! We shared a short message with him too because he was a little busy but was willing to listen to a quick message. Then we still had time, so we went to a less-active, that we had never met before, and she was home and let us in. :) We found out that she only hasn't been able to come to church because her son was underage and did something stupid, so she has community service that she has to do...she told us that she will be done with that in a few weeks and will be able to come back to church :)

On Tuesday we finished teaching our investigator, Oscar, the Plan of Salvation and he had the biggest breakthrough at the end of the lesson.  He realized that God brought us into the world in families, and he wanted us to leave as families.  He said that he wanted to do what was necessary to live in the Celestial kingdom with his family! :D  And, yesterday (Sunday) we had the best experience ever.  We brought a member to a lesson with Oscar and we watched the movie, The Testaments. We felt the spirit really strong, and Oscar, and each of us were in tears. We each bore our testimony to him, and we invited him to be baptized and he accepted! We explained to him that  by "following the example of Jesus Christ" he, Oscar, can live with his family with God and Jesus, just like he had realized when he had a breakthrough during our Plan of Salvation lesson. We invited him to make February 22nd the date for his baptism, and he accepted, and said he wanted one of the first missionaries who taught him to baptize him.

And a funny note is that one of the English-speaking missionaries just walked up to me and asked if I had a sister that just got married to a guy from San Diego a month ago. The sister is in the English speaking companionship that works in the same area as me.  It turns out that she is from San Diego, and Ryan is in her home ward, and she basically grew up with him... And another elder that is in our zone is named Elder Bolanos, and he is from the same stake as the Heim's, and he knows all of them a little.  How small this world is!!  It's so crazy!

Finally--The weather here is crazier than the weather in Utah and was great weather Mon-Wed, then Thurs was cold and rainy, then Fri was frozen, then Sat-today was nice again... It is supposed to snow Tuesday though! :D

I love you guys
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Progressing Through Life

Letter # 22
January 20, 2014
Area: Broadway 2 East
Companion: Galvez

It sounds like you all had a pretty good week :) I had a decent week, it would have been better if people didn't cancel appointments with us... We had 21 set lessons to teach and only about 6-8 worked out...the rest cancelled or the people weren't home.. We tried so many different people without success. We had a fine day on Monday, and a great day Tuesday, but Wednesday and Thursday were horrible, we didn't teach at all... As a mission we are currently reading in Acts and just today I read the chapter where Paul and Barabas were serving a mission together and in one of the cities, most of the people rejected them and they were sent away, but instead of being sad or mad, they "shook the dust off their feet" at the city and walked away. As they walked away, they were filled with the spirit and happiness. I don't care how much people reject me, I know that what we teach is true and it is their choice to accept it or not. I never really feel sad that we are rejected, I only feel sad that the people aren't willing to change for the better.

In answer to your question about my health: I have been keeping my body strong and well, I have even noticed myself getting stronger. While biking I really only use 2 gears, occasionally 3, 3 of the highest gears! I have been eating pretty well too, but not quite as many vegetables as I should be (I know my nieces are putting me to shame by eating their vegetables), but I will always eat a salad when members offer it with dinner. I have been eating bananas and apples though.

We have actually seen some progress with some of our investigators, even though we didn't teach many lessons. With one of them we have the plan to invite him to be baptized this week.  And actually last week we did a lot of service for their family. Their family is a part-member family and Oscar, the husband, works a ton, so we helped him start putting together a treadmill and exercise bike that he bought. We started doing that 2 weeks ago, and since then he didn't have time to do anything on them, so last week (with his family's permission) we spent some time to put them together and get everything set up so he could use them. He didn't know anything about this until Saturday-- when we surprised him with them. He is one of our best investigators, and we have been helping him strengthen the testimony that he does have and to help him be willing to take that step and get baptized soon.
This week's Hour of Power had another little miracle too. We went knocking on doors, on a street after saying our prayer with a member.  We were knocking every door with little success. We talked to a few people, but they didn't seem too interested, but the second to last door that we knocked was a really good contact. She is a really Catholic lady and she hasn't ever wanted to talk with missionaries before, but while we were talking I felt inspired to ask how her faith in Jesus Christ has helped her in her life. She opened up and told us about how she had lost her father recently, and how her faith has helped her feel a little more at peace with that. We talked to her a little about the Plan of Salvation and that she can see her father again, and she got more interested. We asked if she would be willing to listen to a brief presentation we have about that message, so she invited us to come by another day when she could have more time. What made this an even better experience is when we knocked the next door, we found a member! We completely forgot that the member lives on that street, and it is actually better that we did forget because we probably wouldn't have knocked it if we did remember. We talked to her about this neighbor, and it turns out that she knows the neighbor really well and goes over there quite often. (yay) We asked her if she could talk to that friend a little bit more about the Plan of Salvation. This member has been wanting to invite that friend to listen to us for a long time now, and now she gets the chance to-- because of our miracle during Hour of Power! Proverbs 3:5-6 " Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths."  Through faith and trust in the Lord and His work, which we are doing, He do direct our (my) path--miracles do occur!
We also have an investigator that has been taught for 10 years and has only one problem for baptism...smoking. We have been working with him still and we met with him on Sunday with our new Ward Mission Leader (his good friend/our neighbor), and this member was super good in that lesson. We didn't even have to tell him that we want to be blunt with this investigator-- he went in there with us and a great lesson was taught. Visits with members along are always much more effective.    I know that this man has a testimony, and I am so glad he has been reading scriptures.  Now he just needs to tell us that he is ready to start the addiction-recovery program we have from the church to kill his smoking addiction.

I love you guys and I love this work. I feel like Paul the apostle, I feel happy and full of the spirit even though I am getting rejected multiple times a day. Haha, I don't even care that I'm rejected, I just care for the people and hope they eventually realize that they need the message and accept it.  Some are opening up their's to a good next week :)

Love you all,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye