Saturday, March 29, 2014

Multiple Days that were Full of Miracles :)

Letter # 31
March 24, 2014
Area: Humble
Companion: Owens

       This week has been pretty good for us, we had multiple days that were just full of miracles :) By far our biggest miracle of the week was this guy named Juan Zarzate. We found him a few weeks ago during Hour of Power when we were just walking down the street. We had tried calling him a couple of times, but he never picked up when we called. Then this last Tuesday, we were just trying to figure out what we could do that would be effective that day.  I had been sitting on the chair, but my back was hurting (because of sitting in a chair for so long), so I laid down on the floor. When I was on the floor, I saw the card with Juan's phone number under Elder Owens' desk and I said "Hey we could call Juan to see when we could stop by sometime", so we called...and he answered! When we asked when we could stop by, he told us "Pues, tengo tiempo ahora" (well, I have time now), and we went over like 10 minutes later and taught him.  After arriving, he said he had been wondering why we "never called."   No answer there, but he was super receptive to our message and told us that he would be willing to come to our church and be baptized. We arranged another appointment for Thursday and would bring a member.  We went on and started explaining the Book of Mormon, but we ran out of time because he needed to leave, so we asked if we could finish explaining the Book of Mormon to him the next day and he agreed. So we went on Friday and explained it, and then again on Sunday to explain the Plan of Salvation.  We got about halfway through it and invited him to be baptized on the 13th of April.  He had a lot of questions about what comes after life... We asked when we could come back and he said basically the Spanish version of "You can come back tomorrow" (which would be today).  But we scheduled the visit for Tuesday because we already had other things scheduled today.
      Elder Owens and I were so surprised that Juan's name came to us even though he really wasn't on our 'thinking about investigator's list'.  Heavenly Father does know His children, and if we are receptive to His promptings, we'll be able to bring about His great work. Again, even before Juan was invited with a date to be baptized he had expressed that he wants to join our church! :) He even wants to change jobs because  he wants to come to church and his job makes it difficult.  So we are going to ask a member if he knows anyone that might be hiring people.  If it works out the way we are hoping it will, maybe Juan can have a chance at a job with a member looking for a help in his landscaping business.  His work load is really picking up and he (the boss) doesn't make people work on Sundays. :)

Wow that was long....but I am just so excited about Juan! :D He doesn't have enough time to have a law of chastity problem, and he said he doesn't smoke or drink and he is just overall really prepared for baptism.

Other than that, we have found a ton of people throughout the week, and yesterday we found another trailer park that neither of us were aware of (more potentials :).  This week we had a total of 17 lessons that were taught (4 of those were for Juan), 1 was for a less-active member that we never caught at home before, and another was for a former that we found yesterday that really wants to come to church next week.  The last one was for a really amazing family that we got a referral for... Basically all of our lessons this week were results of miracles :)

I love you guys,

Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Being thanking for God each day...

Letter #30
March 17, 2014
Area: Humble
Companion: Owens

Hey guys, it sounds like all of you had a good week and those kids of yours are all growing way too fast. I hope you all enjoyed the Pi Day too because I totally forgot and I didn't have pie anyways...

Some of the best stories this week are of how we found some people and other stuff. We also found out that nobody in our district is being transferred , so we all are lucky, and excited, therefore there aren't any general changes in what we are doing (which takes time away from serving successfully).   I really liked one of the miracles that we saw on Thursday.  We found Concepcion and her husband home! We had been trying to visit them (multiple times) after we found them during Hour of Power, but never have been able to found Concepcion's husband home.  We had started feeling bad for bugging her daughter in asking if her father were home. So, we decided (or got smarter) that it would be better to try back when Concepcion's husband's car is home. We were passing by the home, this week while we were trying some former investigators, and he was home! We walked up and right when Elder Owens was going to knock, they opened the door slightly (because they were about to leave), but then closed it. We knocked, and they answered, and her husband (who is awesome) and was willing to listen, but not right then:( So he told us to try back Saturday. But when Saturday came, sadly Concepcion's allergies were wreaking havoc on her asthma.  So because Concepcion was resting, her husband said that hopefully Sunday would work out, so we rescheduled for Sunday. We finally were able to meet with them (on Sunday), and they had some really good questions.  Turns out that Concepcion was born and raised in another faith that doesn't believe in modern day miracles, yet she does believe in miracles that occur today.  I feel that they have been prepared by God for the gospel :)  We'll see!
A 'future' missionary! Serving with Elders Dye and Owens.

I really am enjoying my time out here and I am learning a lot all the time. :) Just recently we were told to start using personal study for "Investigator Study" to help us receive more revelation for the investigators and to make it more purpose-driven. This week I haven't done a ton of reading for myself in the Book of Mormon or other books, but I have still learned a lot. I have really learned from Preach My Gospel.  I would encourage you all to study and/or read it. I learned that the investigators learn how to pray from us, and, in your case, your children will learn from you.  We need to teach them how to pray sincerely, by example, which is difficult, but I have been striving to do so.  I have also realized that there are a lot of things that I should be thanking God for each day. And one thing that I came across again this week is that we need to pray for those that hate us, as well as those that love us, and then we'll feel God's love for them.

Until next week,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The blessings and miracles of serving the Lord

Letter #29
March 10, 2014
Area: Humble
Companion: Owens

It sounds like all of you are having a great week and also like my nieces and nephews are growing up way too fast! I've only been gone like a month right? feels like its only been that long... I can hardly believe that I have already been out almost 7 months! :O

Well,  this week was another fast one and we had a lot of challenges throughout the week... We started the week off with exchanges and a ton of lessons.  Then it was full of cancellations, and stuff like that, from Thursday on. While on exchanges, even though we lost an hour of work on Pday, we still got 2 lessons in that day, and then we had 4 lessons the next. We had been trying to get a hold of a couple of people and we were basically out of ideas for a while, but then I felt like we should try a referral that we hadn't tried in a while.  On the way there, we saw that a man, who we taught a few weeks ago, was home. We stopped by and asked him if we could talk to him for about 15-20 minutes, and he let us in. He said something like, "I don't know what that book you left me is, but it is not like the bible." Which really made me happy because he continued and told us that he read the first part (the intro and testimonies) and was really confused. We told him we were sorry we didn't explain it well to him last time, but that is what we wanted to talk about this time. We taught him a quick Book of Mormon lesson and left chapter 1 of 1st Nephi with him to read :) and that was all after he understood it a lot better :)

We had a really good Hour of Power experience because we just went all out.  We were almost racing between houses and we were being excited about our message, so even though we didn't get any lessons, we set up 4 return appointments :)

We had a really noticeable miracle yesterday as we were going around trying to contact a few referrals, we actually made it home! :D We were going out to the other end of our area to contact a few people and we realized that we were really low on gas... We weren't even sure if we would have enough to get home because we were really far away, but we weren't even sure how far away we were. We did all we could to save gas and drive efficiently on the way back and somehow we made it... We had supposedly about 18 miles left on the tank and we went about 30 or so miles! Elder Owens was watching the odometer and the miles left on the tank, and it was about 1.5 miles for every mile on the miles left log... I thought it was a great miracle because we were determined to not buy gas on the Sabbath.  And we did it without pushing the car,  and we got to the gas station this morning with still 1 mile left on the tank :)  The blessings and miracles of serving the Lord.

Elder Stanley Scott Dye

A dog and a street~

Letter #28
March 3, 2014
Area: Humble
Companion:  Owens

Wow, this week flew by, but also it was pretty slow... We didn't have all that great of a week lesson-wise or in finding new investigators, we mainly were trying to contact those who we met last week and save miles on the car to not go over... We did have a lot of fun and some miracles though!
One of the fun things that happened this week is that we got to teach a little family home evening lesson with one of the recent convert families based on the Fourth Article of Faith, which went really well and was fun because the kids were the perfect ages for the activities. (Here is a link to all 13 Articles of Faith)

A miracle that happened was during our Hour of Power :) We had our Weekly Planning running a little late, so we were only out for a little while.  We weren't sure if we would get any lessons and our member that was planning to go with us had not contacted us (well, we really don't even know where is actually is). Anyway, we pushed forward regardless of the things working against us.  We went to a member that lived in the area where we had planned on knocking.  We taught them a mini-lesson on faith and had them pray. We went down the street a little and before we even knocked a door we found a potential--we talked to him as we were walking and he said he would be willing to listen to our message and that we could come by a different day! We then  knocked a few houses and almost everyone was fine with it, just a different day; but we continued and one of the people we found was really prepared for our message. She told us that her daughter is a member of our church and she served a mission and stuff like that. Sadly she couldn't have us come in because her husband wasn't home and her oldest grandson was only 10, but we set up a time on Saturday to come by. We knocked a couple more doors even though we didn't have much time left, and ran into a man who had talked with missionaries before.  He invited us in and we taught him in about 10-15 minutes before our dinner appointment. We got a good lesson in with him, but he is decently strong in his own beliefs (Catholicism) and had a TON of stuff with a picture of a pope on them..yet a seed was planted.

On Saturday, we went over to the house of the lady whose daughter had gone on a mission, and she invited us in and she was on the phone crying. We realized there wasn't a man home, which is against mission rules, so we couldn't stay.  But before we left, she told us about the phone call (which wasn't good) and told us that she did read the entire pamphlet that we had previously left for her. She does want to have us talk to her and her husband, but he wasn't going to be home for a while... We are still trying to meet with her, but we still haven't caught her husband at home...she is one of the people that is basically already Mormon, but isn't quite yet... She is super prepared and I can't wait to teach her!

We had probably the funniest experience ever this last Saturday.  We were in an unfamiliar area and we were looking for a street, but as we were looking, a dog ran out in front of the car. I obviously stopped so I wouldn't hit it, but the dog just walked closer and closer to the car.  It got to the point where I couldn't see it anymore, so I tried backing up a little, but it followed us.  So I tried turning around, but it went in front of us again... We were stopped for like 10 minutes by this idiotic dog just being in front of us... I finally got out of this situation by outsmarting it! I backed up far enough to where I could turn on the last side-street. I went slightly forward towards the way I came and then I quickly turned and gunned it the other direction and got away. What makes it even better is that a mini van passed us-- heading down that street, and the dog stopped it too...poor guy!

This week we also had probably the quietest district meeting ever because one of the sisters had (and still has) a migraine, so we whispered the whole time, it was awesome! :)

Well, I can't think of much more to say, but I love you all!

Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Obedience brings blessings with an opening up of doors!

Letter #27
February 24, 2014
Area: Humble
Companion: Owens

My week went by so fast and it was very successful! We started out the week decently slow for lessons, but we were trying out a new style to teach that would have cut down the time in our lessons, but it didn't work out very well. This Wednesday we got to go to the Houston Temple, and I really payed attention to what it said and the different covenants and promises.  I felt the spirit really strong, and I felt the truthfulness of the promises and I thought of ways that I can live more fully the covenants.
The biggest miracle of the week is the number of people we found.  We started out the first half of the week by getting about 3 new people to teach, but then it just exploded! Thursday we were starting the new and improved way to do weekly planning which is really just the way you should do it and it took about 4ish hours. It was good planning.  We finally got out of the house to pick up one of the young men to teach a lesson with us and then knock with us for Hour of Power. We ended up getting 2 potential investigator,s and then right at the end of the hour we ran into a really funny thing(funny in my mind)--we knocked the door of a person from Laos...I know what you're thinking--I too, had no idea where it is either...Well, she only spoke about 10 English words, so we tried our best and I thought just a little, and realized we had Jesus (our member helper) and he could use a translator on his phone! We translated "Hello, we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and translated came out with a language that was way harder to understand than have to look it up! But, anyways, she got super excited and went off talking really fast, probably thinking we understood her, but we were all confused...we ended up not teaching her.

Now actually to the miracle of the many investigators...we started the week with 6 new from Monday-Thursday, which in itself is a lot, but then on Friday we had zone meeting.  We learned about having 20 minute lessons, which has been found to have people much more willing to let us come more often, so we decided to try that out a little later with one of our investigators and he was perfectly fine with it! Saturday was where the real magic happened though, we were on exchanges with the Zone leaders.  I was leading our huge area for the first time, and I was with one of the best missionaries I have ever met! We made a really great plan to just go out and visit a lot of the former contacts and potentials to church (when we didn't have anything else planned), but we didn't really follow any of those plans because something came up when a member needed our help. We went over and helped her move a couple of beds and actually half-way through the service we found out that there was no man there...we didn't know what to do because we were already there and everything, but it is against the rules of the mission to enter a house without a man. We decided to be obedient and tell the sister, then we went outside and called our ward mission leader (hoping that he could come over for like 20-30 minutes, but sadly he couldn't). BUT the Lord blessed us because the mission leaders son, Moroni, could come and help us out. So, Moroni came right over and we all finished moving and putting together the beds, and we even got to know Moroni better. After that service, we went back to work and biked over to a trailer park where we had a scheduled lesson. We went to the trailer and knocked the door and somebody new answered it, but she was interested in hearing our lesson, so we taught her a quick 25 minute lesson going over almost everything about the restoration. We thought of where to go next and I felt like we needed to go down the street a little bit more, and there was a man and his wife with their 2 kids.  The wife said that she had actually been going to the church for years with her uncle before she moved over here. They didn't have time right then, but we set up a different time to come by and invited them to church and told them where it was. She seemed really excited to come again. We then started on our way to another person to invite them to church, and on the way we found a family that was outside stepping on cans they had been collected to recycle. We talked to them, and helped crush some cans, and then we taught them a really short restoration lesson overview in about 15 minutes.  We left them with a pamphlet to read, saying that we would come back Tuesday. After that, we went to the house of the person we were going to invite to church, but there were people across the street, so we went to talk to them first. We found out that they had been taught by missionaries before, but they had no idea why they stopped coming, so they invited us in and we taught part of the restoration lesson with the husband and invited him to church. Then as we were leaving, I saw a guy walk into the house of one of our former investigators and it reminded me that I wanted to invite her to church too, so we knocked on her door. When she opened the door and was super excited to see us and invited us in. She was super happy we came by and we taught a review of the restoration lesson with her, and really focused a lot on the guy, who was her brother-in-law. We set up a time for today to go back to see her.  She's planning on moving in about a week, but at least the seed was planted.  Then to end our adventures in that one trailer park, we went to a bunch of people who were outside grilling fish and one was really interested, but didn't live in this part of town, so we got his information for the elders there. In only about 3.5 hours, we got 4 new investigators, and set up a lot of new appointments, and got a referral for other elders! I am pretty sure a lot of that was because we had been obedient mission rules earlier that day in getting Moroni to help with finishing the service.  Even though it would have been easier to just ignore the rule,  our obedience was blessed with an opening up the doors to missionary work. Then that night we went to the lesson we set up with the huge family and we taught a decent lesson, but it was hard because there were so many of them... There were 4 non-members there, and each were at different levels, and apparently they all have been taught before in El Salvador.. But in one day we taught 8 new investigators, 4 lessons without members, and 1 with a member present. It was a very blessed week and especially a blessed day.

I don't really know what else I could say, but I felt the spirit really strong this week and I love you all,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Putting into practice the Principles of Planning

Letter #26
February 17, 2014
Area: Humble
Companion: Owens

 Hey guys! It sounds like you all had a great week and had a fun Valentine's Day, and Mom, it sounds like that computer chair really getting a workout--glad that you are doing and work.  :P

 This week Elder Owens and I decided to start writing down at least 2 miracles that happen each day and wow, it is really nice to see the miracles that God had given us because there are so many. This Friday we had Elder Aidukaitis from the 70 come and talk to us and we are super motivated now. He told us about how he was a Mission President before and there was a missionary that really mastered how to set goals, then plan to meet the goals, then carry the plans out. He had gotten a call from a Stake President or Branch President complaining about how that missionary was causing problems, not bad problems, good ones. The leader said that the missionary brought over 100 people to church and they didn't have enough room to fit them all! The missionary not only did that, he also baptized every week of his mission after he mastered the principles of planning. Elder Aidukaitis talked to us a little about that and the principles of faith and patience. He told us that patience is an act of faith and diligence is too and how with diligence, a person will continue until the work is done, not just until he is done. He taught us that "the field is white and ready to harvest" means that people are already prepared to be baptized, the only thing that holds them back is that they don't know where to find the truth. Elder Aidukaitis said that the way we should plan is that "0" is not a goal, we should push ourselves in everything and we need to have faith that what the Lord said is true and people are already ready for baptism.

When we got home we decided to try to do exactly that, we started planning with high goals and setting the goals first, instead of setting them after we plan. We finished the week really strong and found ways to try to meet our goals, and then set the goals higher and have that faith that God will lead us and prepare the way. On Saturday morning, during our companionship study, we decided to make a list of people that we felt were prepared.  That list alone had 20 names, and that is not even the ones that we found in the area book yesterday nor the people that we haven't even met yet. We decided to start to fast every Sunday and Thursday for those people who we have on the list, as well as having the spirit with us as we plan for the week and try to find ways to meet our goals.

Speaking of having written down some miracles that happened during the week, we had miracles every day since we decided to write them down. The first day was Thursday, and we had the Hour of Power, like usual, and as part of that we decided to bring one of the young men with us knocking. We were knocking and we decided to walk down a street and you know how you can look at a neighborhood and sort of know the nationality of the person living there.  Back home, especially around Diwali time (most Indian's homes a decorated with colorful lights), well in stereotyping, we kinda figured that most of the homes were owned by Caucasian owners, but the guy we had with us, Jesus, told us that one of the houses was definitely a Hispanic home, so we went and knocked it. When the guy answered, I started introducing us, but he opened the screen door and his eyes lightened up! My companion interrupted me and said "Hola, Armando" turns out that it was a really solid investigator from before, and Elder Owens hadn't seen him in about 3 months.  The guy was almost baptized and he believes everything, just his wife is against it and not willing to change, so he doesn't want to get baptized and make her mad because he married into the family... Jesus bore his testimony to him about how the gospel has helped him in his life, Armando looked really happy to see us, but really sad that his wife is against what we believe. Elder Owens didn't think about knocking that house, but having Jesus with us and relying on the spirit--Elder Owens found someone that he had taught before! It was a blessing to have Jesus with us because he was able to help a lot and he has that rare and special ability/desire to be a great helper to the missionaries. That wasn't even the only miracle of that day, but I don't have that much time and I want to get to the biggest miracle of the week.

Saturday was the biggest miracle, we went to try a less-active that we had taught once before and we found her at home. When we started the lesson, Elder Owens and I decided to share 1 Ne. 8:8-12 and how Lehi wanted to share the gospel with his family. Elder Owens thought of that scripture because I had shared it with a different person earlier in the week, and he didn't remember where it was, so I took over. When he told me which scripture he wanted to share, I realized how perfect it would be for her, since she is the only member of her family and she loves the gospel. I felt prompted to ask her about her desire to share the joy she has found with the gospel with her family, and she really wants to share it. I continued by inviting her to share the gospel with her family by inviting them to listen to us.  I felt prompted to share with her that we felt her husband was prepared to be baptized because of how he looked, felt, and acted the last time we came. I felt prompted to tell her about the fast we had already started for those people on the list and that we believe that he really is prepared, and really anything is possible with faith. I invited her to fast with us on Thursday that her family will be ready and open to the gospel. I felt prompted to promise her that everything will work out and her family will follow her example and join the church.  I felt the spirit really strong telling me that I had to promise her that she, with her husband, will be sealed in the temple. I can't even describe the whole thing, it was a miracle and I felt so confident in what I was saying, I had no doubts that it would happen and I don't know, I just love her.  She really reminds me of Mary Poupart and I really want to see her, with her husband and family, sealed for Time and all Eternity in the Lord's temple. She told me that she could see the strength of my faith and my testimony and thanked me for it and said she would fast with us and she would invite her family to all be there on Saturday at 8pm when we come. When we were ending the lesson, she asked me to pray and I broke down in tears during the prayer and asked that all that stuff would come to pass. When we got out of the lesson, Elder Owens said that was the most powerful lesson he has ever been in, and he never would have been as bold as I was in my promise to her. I always remember how, when set apart as a missionary, that I was promised the gift of faith, faith to influence others, faith to build others' faith, I feel that I have faith sufficient to bring to pass the miracles that God wants to come to pass. I felt like I needed to share that promise from me getting set apart with Elder Owens, and I told him that I think it is the greatest and most important blessing I could have.

I love you guys and I hope you start writing down some miracles each day, and go out with missionaries if you can because we all really appreciate it.

Love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye