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!