Sunday, May 25, 2014

The blessings come when we are diligent in listening to the spirit

Letter #38
May 19, 2014
Area: Humble, TX
Companion: Anderson

Hey, it sounds like you guys have all had a great week and I am glad to say that we have too! We started out the week pretty similar to last week's start, but we kept thinking and thinking about the best way to approach the area and help it grow and progress, and on Thursday we had a breakthrough! We were weekly planning and Elder Anderson remembered something that Elder Yukon had told them during a zone meeting, but it had never made sense for him until now. We have been applying it to our area and thinking about every investigator, and less active, a lot more to find out what they need in order to help them specifically. The thing that Elder Anderson remembered was an equation about lessons and what is most important, going: MP>LARC>Active Member>OL. We have really been concentrating on how we can get members out with us each day, and at the same time trying to use members that connect with the investigators.
         These last few days that we have been applying this have been miraculous. We have seen our lessons triple or quadruple, we had 5 lessons Friday, all of which were quality lessons, and we had 4 lessons Saturday, still with each of them being quality, but sadly we missed out on our member because we didn't follow the promptings of the spirit... Our lesson had fallen through before the member go there, so we went to a solid backup early, but then accidentally let the church member leave 2 minutes before one of our investigators came home. Sad, but a lesson learned.  
      We have mainly been visiting less-actives in the area because we have a lot within our ward boundaries, and our ward attendance has been going down.  Yet through our diligence in following the spirit and following our plan, we have had a huge success! We have figured out somethings that can help some of our less-active members, and one of them even came to church yesterday because we decided to bring a member out with us! Yesterday (May 18) we saw the attendance of our ward jump from the normal 90 or so to 124 :)  It was a real miracle because Elder Anderson and I were able to get an investigator family to attend church.  They are a family of 8 (the husband wasn't able to go), and we started teaching the mother's sister,and her 3 children, as well as this lady's mother. We have really seen the work change in this area and we have the true desire to find and unite families.

This week the biggest miracle of all our miracles happened on Sunday, while we were at church.  Bishop Morales told us that he wanted to talk to us after church, and we, being missionaries, immediately started thinking, "oh no, what did we do wrong?". But when we talked with our bishop, he called over a young lady from the ward who hasn't been baptized and said that she has made the decision to be baptized! We knew she wasn't a member because her parents were offended by the church and wouldn't let her be baptized, but that seems to have changed.  Our bishop said the parents gave her just enough wiggle word room to get baptized saying "If you want to get baptized, you can, but we want you to know that we don't want you to". Well, she really has been touched by the spirit and desires very much to be baptized.  We were amazed and grateful for this miracle because she was there every Sunday and knows and lives the gospel principles already, she just wasn't able to be baptized and nobody wanted to mess it up because it was a sensitive family. We only talked with the grandparents and the rest was with the bishopric.  This sweet young lady has been a work in progress for years. Ever since getting in the area, I have always wanted to do something to try to help, but I have been respecting the bishop and his decisions.  I have prayed and fasted specifically for her family. After all that I could do, her parents softened their hearts enough to let her be baptized, so this is literally an answer to my prayers!  I am eternally grateful for this blessing and opportunity to take part in helping this girl be baptized. On Sunday, Bishop Morales said that she has selected the 31st of this month to be baptized.  She would have gotten baptized this weekend (May 24), but it wasn't possible due to firesides and ward conference.

Once again, I love you guys :) Have a great week.
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Progressing in the work of the Lord

Letter #37
May 12, 2014
Area: Humble, Texas
Companion: Anderson

        It was a great week this week and I especially liked the things I learned throughout all of it. During the week, Elder Anderson and I have been continuing to grow the area.  Though we haven't had a lot of opportunities to find and teach the people that Elder Owens and I taught,  Elder Anderson and I have had the chance to find more people and expand ourselves in contacting, and relying on asking inspired questions. We had a very uplifting Zone Meeting on Friday based mostly on internalizing our missionary purpose and how it will help the work progress forward. I feel like that is an area that I can improve on, and others have expressed the same thoughts.  We all said that the Zone Meeting helped, and ever since I have been thinking more about the 'purpose filter' and what I can do to think of helping investigators (and less-actives) progress in knowing their Father in Heaven.  This process will help us help them to internalize the lessons rather than us looking at the lesson numbers. As we have shifted our focus, we have already noticed a progression in the work and that the Lord is blessing us with more opportunities to teach people. 
     Going along with learning this week, I had the opportunity to go on an exchange with Elder Willden, with him coming up into our area. As we were planning, and going throughout our day, we realized there were many ways we can allow the Lord to bless us in the work. I had the opportunity to stretch myself, and my confidence, because Elder Willden speaks no Spanish, and the people we visited either didn't speak English, or weren't fluent in English. Because Elder Willden was with me, I really had to make sure I listened closely to our investigators and let the spirit guide what I said and what I translated for Elder Willden in order to help him understand what the investigators needed.  I know that I was stretch and bettered because of this exchange.

After Zone meeting, I have read through the talk in our orientation binder about the missionary purpose, and I have studied it thoroughly to find out ways in which I can internalize the purpose and let it drive me.  Afterwards I went through the chart on the "The Fourth Missionary" talk, which allowed me to do an in-depth analysis of myself, and my heart and mind, to truly be honest with myself and know what things I currently lack. I am beginning to make goals for how I plan to apply what I have learned and allow it to drive me and help me change myself greatly so I am what the Lord wants me to be.  I am looking forward to this journey.

Our area has been growing continually since Elder Anderson and I have been together.  We are trying to take on a new project of helping one of the less-actives (as 20 year-old) get back to church and go on a mission. Our first efforts are to help him feel the spirit and encouraging him to be consistent in reading the Book of Mormon.

On another note:
Here is a picture of one of the family's that have been supportive in our area. 
Humble, Texas area with Elder Owens and myself, and Familia Pilataxi.

I love you guys, I hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Don't let the numbers fool you! Life is Good!

Letter #36
May 5, 2014
Area: changed boundaries, Humble
Companion: Anderson (the red-head)

It sounds like all of you had an incredible week! I definitely had an interesting week because Elder Owens was transferred and Elder Anderson, who had been serving in the south area of our ward got moved up with me as my companion. So the first few days just felt as if we were on exchanges and after a few days everything would just be back to the way they were...but nope, Elder Anderson is still with me.
answer to some of your questions:
1)  P-Days are every Monday and we usually do laundry at our Bishop's house and study there, then we shop, clean, and grab some exercise clothes and go to the chapel. We usually end up playing some basketball, soccer, or frisbee, but a few weeks in a row we were playing rugby...not tackling each other, we played 2-hand touch rugby, so it was fun and safe :)

2) Elder Anderson has been out for about 10 months, so one transfer ahead of me, and he is from Utah, I am blanking on what city, but yep, Utah, like almost everyone else :P

3) Mother's Day call-'s not happening... They said that it detracts too much from the work, sorry.
    This week has been a good week for the area.  We have been working hard and we are seeing the payoff for it.  We have decided to focus on finding this week.  We thought of many ways to do this 'finding' and also save miles on the car (we only have a certain # each month).  This is the first week of Elder Anderson being a District Leader, but he seems like he has been doing it the whole time.  He is doing great and he even had the opportunity in conducting a baptismal interview for an investigator of Hermanas Hunter and Lockhart on Friday!  While he was doing the interview, I made good use of my time by talking with the hermanas and found some things that are bringing them success, things that could help us build up our area and make it better.
   We only had 5 lessons with investigators, and 1 lesson with a less-active member, but don't let the numbers fool you.  We worked hard and had a lot of success in our area.  All of the lessons we got were with new people, and there was a part-member family that just moved into the ward that came to church.  The non-member husband is fine with us coming over to visit them!  I really enjoyed this week, even though it was the worst week number-wise that I've had on my mission.  We have thoughts that we will be able to add on at least 5 lessons a week with people we find.  Our goal is to eventually make it so we drive the car to one area (within our assigned boundary) and park the car, and from there we'll have the whole day, and enough people in that are, that we can get at least 4 lessons that day.  We feel like there is so much potential in the area, and we are both really excited to see where it goes.
    We have still been tracking some of the miracles that happen each day, and it is great!  We really had a wonderful day, on Saturday especially.  We went out to the far end of our area, that is far enough away that we usually wouldn't have the miles, or time, to go out there.  But we dedicated almost all of Saturday to being in that area, and basically trying to contact everyone there.  We ended up with the chance to find a couple of really solid people (one who actually worked with the 2nd counselor of the bishopric). We taught a couple of lessons.  One was to a new person, who we found, and the other to a family where the kids have the desire to be baptized, but can't get parental permission. Oh, if these parents really understood the the fruits of the gospel, they too, would have the desire to be baptized.  These two kids have their grandparents (who are members) setting a good example to the family members.  We explained to Book of Mormon to them and promised them that by reading it they would feel God's love for them.
   I really enjoyed this week, and I feel like it was really successful, even though we lacked numbers, but that should change as we meet with our investigators and less actives this coming week.
    As for the Mother's Day call-- I really was just kidding!!   We apparently get to call (using a member's phone) and talk for up to 40 minutes.   --snicker, snicker...sorry, mom, for teasing you earlier in this letter :)

  I love you guys, and I love hearing about the kids and all of you (and the progress of your lives).
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Can't know Sweet, without tasting the Sour

Letter #35
April 28, 2014
Area: Humble
Companion: Owens

This Easter was an interesting one because I was sent down to a different area.  To explain, the Elders (in a different area) were having a baptism of an ex-alcoholic and his temptation to drink is greater when he's alone, so we invited him to come to our dinner with members after church and before his baptism.  Well, he decided to take one of the elders, from his area, up to our area, therefore I was sent away. It could have been either of us to be companions with the other elder( again the one in the different area), but Elder Owens chose me to be sent down--no scheduled dinner, no easter egg hunt...and no cake for peoples' birthdays... :(
(I was bummed for a short while, but I'm over it now).

We had a great time this weekend with our mini-Missionary, Jesus. (If you don't know, there is an opportunity for young adult members of the church, like Jesus, to be ask to help the missionaries (as if a missionary) for a week-long 'mini-mission' when they actually live the life of a missionary.  Well, Jesus had this opportunity, and we really tried our best to help him get the feel of the different parts in missionary work and still have a good time. The best part of Jesus' experience was on Saturday as we helped out at the Genealogy Conference. A man walked up to him and asked for a Book of Mormon. On the way to get one in English for him, he told us that he wasn't a member, but he wants to read the book. Jesus really enjoyed that experience and told many people about it, he felt really good about having the opportunity to do that for the man. We really wanted to do the Mini-Mission because Jesus really isn't sure if he wants to go on a mission, he wants to, but he also has the desire to go to the Marines, I believe that he will look back on this experience as he continues to grow and mature, and I hope it will help him make the right decision whatever it will be. Again, thank you for giving us that opportunity to give this young man a chance to experience a little sample of the mission.

Now on to the week, this week has been a difficult one for the area again, but it has been successful in many ways. I feel like we had a difficult week, again, because we still aren't exactly following through on our plans. We keep setting high goals, but then we get lazy or tired during the week and so we don't look for ways to meet the goals we set during the week. I have been trying to work hard and help Elder Owens and myself become the best missionaries we can be, but it is hard sometimes. I really have the desire to help people in the area progress, but I feel like I keep falling short. We work hard and try to resolve the concerns of the people, but then things come up and they can't come to church or they can't meet with us. I feel like we will have plenty of success soon because we have a few people that really have the desire to learn more and come to church, but they just can't right now because of work. [I do know that the 'fruits' always come after some else can we enjoy the sweetness without having experienced the sour.]
       I think the best part of the week was when we were at church though, we were there just waiting for the meeting to start, then an investigator of ours named Manuel walked in. We didn't expect him to come, but we had gone over on Saturday to invite him and well, he came! We haven't had an investigator come to church the whole time I've been here, and I believe our bishop was starting to lose trust in us, but he looked really happy when Manuel came in and he was really happy to meet him after the Sacrament Meeting. Our bishop had just given a talk during the meeting and it touched the investigator, and Bishop Morales invited him to come next week because he had a previous commitment, making it so he couldn't stay longer. Manuel said that he wanted to come again and come to the classes (one of which is about baptism next week), and he would make plans to be able to make it.
I love this work and I can't wait to see what comes. And the biggest news this week is that Elder Owens is getting transferred and they are changing the area boundaries for the missionaries in the ward, so I have Elder Anderson, a redhead from Utah as my new companion starting this Tuesday.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye