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