Sunday, March 29, 2015

Contacting and Teaching in the Liberty Area

Letter #82
March 23, 2015
Area: Liberty
Companion: Syrie (English speaking area)

This week went pretty well for us, we were able to contact effectively and many times the contact turned into teaching. We struggled with getting scheduled lessons that actually ended up working at the time we set them up, making it difficult to get members out this week. We were able to see many miracles happen during the week, we were able to finally get in with our investigator, Lynn B, because he has been working a ton, but had a day that he took off this week. Lynn is sincerely looking for an answer of truth to the things that he is being taught.   He is willing to put forth the effort to follow the Word of Wisdom.  He is a good man and already avoids any problems with the Law of Chastity, and he has supposedly already paid tithing or given a donation to the church. He is good friends with Bishop Devereaux, so if he has any questions, he asks us or bishop. Other than Lynn, we were able to visit Margaret and help her move.  She accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 11th of April, but we haven't been able to get in with her to confirm her commitment for that date. We visited with Danny, another one of our investigators, who sincerely desires to follow God's will. He has questions that nobody else wants to ask.  He knew basically the whole Plan of Salvation from studying the Bible, and he really desires to ask God about baptism by proper authority.  He has been baptized at four different times in his life, but he still has felt like something was missing, and he thinks it is possible that the missing piece is the authority (which is true).

Elder Syrie and I have been getting along well, we opened up about some things that have been bugging us and we are making goals to improve in those aspects. Overall, I love serving with Elder Syrie, he has a lot of faith, we are just really trying to focus on truly acting upon that faith that we have because sometimes our laziness catches up to us.

I think I might have mentioned this before, but I feel a theme that has been more prominent in the people we talk with, either they are really interested and sincere, or they are completely closed to the teachings we bring.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye
No Texas visit is complete without purchasing a Texas Longhorn Belt Buckle

A Priesthood Ordination and an Unexpected Transfer

Letter #81
March 16, 2015
Area: Trinity River / Liberty
Companions: Gamez/Reed, and Syrie

Well there is exciting news from this week, Ernesto got the Aaronic Priesthood! Then also this Tuesday we got a call from President Drake, Elder Croney, who was serving with Elder Syrie in the English ward in Liberty, got his Visa and went to the Czech Republic, but they pulled me over to the English ward that evening. This week as you probably know, was pretty interesting for me. It was a great week though because Elder Syrie and I have been really putting our faith and trust in the Lord. We don't have too many people that we are teaching, but we were able to follow the Spirit to know where to go to find people and to know what to teach. In fact after President Drake shared his insights and the way that some missionaries in his mission had been led by the Lord, we have done that same method a couple of times and we know of two streets that we need to knock, one of them is currently flooded and there is no way of getting there. We were able to continue teaching Margaret S, and we actually were able to go over and give her a blessing yesterday because she wasn't feeling well, making it so she couldn't come to church on Sunday, and she felt better immediately. She could feel the love of God for her and she could feel His care in sending us to help. I love the Priesthood and the abilities it has.

Speaking of Margaret, she is pushing forward with faith, she just ran out of her medication and it was causing her to have pain and have unclear thoughts, so the blessing was an immediate relief of that. She is a very faith-filled person and she has a desire to keep learning and feeling the Spirit. There is no doubt in my mind that she will be baptized, but we have to push it back to a later date.

I am excited to be here in the Liberty Ward and work with the English people, and I have been finding a theme in the people we come in contact with. As we have faith that the Lord will lead us to prepared people, we have been led to people who have had discontent with what they have, or they have been to many churches and haven't found one that really felt right. We look forward to teaching many new people, including Ernesto C's sister, who we found yesterday while biking around.

The transfer ends on March 31st, so I don't know if I'll stay or not, I have mixed feelings about it because I miss Spanish, but I love these people.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye 

Though rough the road, the Lord is always aware of our efforts

Letter #80
March 9, 2015
Area: Trinity River
Companions: Gamez and Reed

Hey guys, sorry for the short letter, but this week was pretty rough, we were trying to find investigators and having no success, then the days that we planned some time to go out and contact and knock had multiple things put us behind schedule or make us leave the apartment late. One of the most exciting parts about the week was the fact that we were able to get one of our investigators to come with us to our dinner with his cousin, who is one of the members. Our investigator, Rafael, was able to learn a lot and the member, Seth, was able to testify as well as clarify some things for Rafael. I feel like it was mutually beneficial, and it helped Rafael be open to the teaching. 

In our search for investigators, a name of one of the people that I contacted with Elder Smith came to mind, and we were able to teach him this last week, and he is extremely open to the teachings and is receptive. He seems to have the true desire to learn the gospel as well as act on it, but sadly he will be out of town for two weeks for work. We have high hopes for him when he returns.

Other than that, there was a bunch of contacting and a couple of good new member lessons with the Chavez family.
I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

The power of specific prayers is real

Letter #79
March 2, 2015
Area: Trinity River
Companions: Gamez and Reed (and splitting with Smith)

t sounds like you all had a great week! This week continued to go well for us, but we have been facing problems getting members to lessons. I personally feel like that is because most of our lessons haven't been very set up, we just end up having to stop by some of the people. Other than that, we have been seeing miracles happen as we get outside and contact. We were able to teach three people and give multiple referrals, including those three people, to the English Sisters and Elders. Both of their areas have been struggling recently, so it was a blessing for them to receive those referrals. We also saw multiple miracles because of specific prayers, I want to tell you about a couple of them.

The first one happened on Tuesday in the evening, while I was in my area on exchanges with Elder Smith, one of my Zone Leaders. We had our lessons at 7 and 8pm fall through, so I had no idea what to do, it was 8:30, so I decided to start heading on the 10 minute drive back to the apartment because there was an investigator of ours that lives down the road from us. She wasn't home. I thought that we could either head in early or go contacting, I chose the latter. I drove to a trailer park that was also close to home and we walked around there, we got to the end of the park, and headed back. Nobody was outside, and I didn't want to be that rude guy who knocks on someone's door at 8:45pm. We had jokingly mentioned milkshakes earlier, so as I went to keep walking down the road and said to Elder Smith, "Well, unless you want to go get milkshakes, I have no idea what to do." Elder Smith said, "Well, there's more of a chance that we can talk to someone at Dairy Queen than out here," and I agreed and we were talking about how to make our Dairy Queen visit purpose driven. We went to Dairy Queen and on the way we said to each other, "8:50 contacting miracles!" While we were there, we talked with the cashier and brought up church and it seemed like it was going well, but we didn't get the chance to invite her to do anything. We both felt like that wasn't quite enough, but we started on our way out the door. While walking out we noticed a guy kinda staring at us and he waved, but we walked out to the truck and didn't talk to him. Elder Smith mentioned, "It kinda looked like that guy wanted to talk to us," so we decided to go back inside, even though it was 8:58, and talk to him. He only spoke Spanish, so I took over, and he turned out to be really interested. He mentioned that he was here in America from his home country of Nicaragua because he was trying to send money home to help build a temple for God and he had me translate for him to ask Elder Smith a question. The question was, "What is it that moved you to come back and talk to me?" Elder Smith said that he felt like he needed to, or that the Spirit was telling him to, I felt the same. I explained that as missionaries, we are messengers from God, sent to bring a message to his children who he has prepared for the message. When Elder Smith and I got back to the car, he asked me if we had just witnessed a miracle and asked me to tell him what happened, when I told him, he told me he had prayed to the Lord when we first went to contact that we would find somebody for my area, then when we went to Dairy Queen he prayed that we would find that person at Dairy Queen, and we found him because we followed the prompting that the Spirit gave us. I commented that I wasn't even hungry because I had eaten something that didn't agree with my stomach, but I had brought up shakes as a joke, but we decided that shakes came back into my mind probably as a prompting from the Spirit.

We were astounded by what God did through us that night, so we decided to pray specifically as a companionship the next day for something to happen. The next day, Wednesday, we went through our plans, and by 2pm all of our plans from then until 5pm had fallen through. We decided to pull the car over and pray before going anywhere because I was aimlessly driving. We asked that the name of a person he wanted us to visit would come to our minds, and right when we did that, the name, Sister Bufford, came to mind. We called, no answer. Stopped by her work, nobody was there. We even went to her house, nobody was there. We knew there had to have been a reason to go there, so we went contacting, and found some people, and decided to start heading off. We started driving away and decided to pull over and offer a prayer of gratitude and also to know if there was any other reason for us to be there. Right then another name came to my mind, Hector, so I got his address and put it in the GPS, and started on our way, which took us past the Bufford's home, and there was a car. We went over and the Bufford's weren't home, but their friend was there, and we got to teach him. He ended up being one of the referrals given to the Dayton Sisters. When we finished all of that, it was almost 5pm, we were back on schedule!

The power of specific prayers are real, there were other experiences with it this last week, but it always ended with miracles.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

Seeing the Blessings of God

Letter #78
February 23. 2015
Area: Trinity River
Companions: Gamez and Reed
It sounds like you all had an interesting week, and that there were a lot of birthday parties celebrated! This week wasn't the best for us, but we tried making the best of it. We ended up having a lot of appointments cancel or fall through, but during those times we decided to go contact referrals or go walk around contacting and we were able to see the blessings of God as we did that. Our branch is in need of more Melchizedek Priesthood holders to be able to separate more from the English ward. This week we found out that a family of four is moving into the branch and the father of this family is a Melchizedek Priesthood holder! We also found out that there are two more inactive Melchizedek Priesthood holders that live in the area and are willing to talk with us.  One has said that he wants to come to church, he just needs a ride. We have also seen the blessings in the form of new investigators--three of the four lessons that we taught to investigators this week were with new people, and the last one was with an investigator that we haven't been able to talk to for about a month.

The investigator that we weren't able to contact for a month is Maria M.  Since the death of her mother to cancer a few months ago, and her husband, who was supposedly doing fine after his eye surgery in Mexico, has recently started having problems again, and he is receiving treatments. She has been really worried and depressed due to those things, and miraculously we showed up just during this time that she has started to feel bad again. We were able to give her the help that she has been needing; she specifically mentioned that she felt like she was knocking on a bunch of closed doors and is trying to find her way through this time, but she can't seem to find the right way to go. I suddenly had the phrase used in 2 Nephi 31:17 "For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water" come into my head. It was perfect because in Spanish the word used for "gate" is the same as the word for "door", which is "puerta". We were able to explain to her that the reason we come and the reason we teach these things is because we have found the door, or gate, that we need to enter, and we are on the path that leads to Eternal Life and we want everyone to know it. She obviously felt the Spirit testifying to her the truthfulness of these things and we left her 2 Nephi 31 as a reading commitment and she committed to read an pray to know if these things are true. I truly love that woman, and I feel a stronger connection with her because Mom wrote me a letter that said that when she was about 27, she lost her mother to cancer, and I was able to share that with Maria and that the gospel knowledge and assurance is what pulled Mom through that.  I honestly feel like she will progress if she just lets the Spirit work with her.

I love you guys, and sorry, no pictures this week either, I need to get a new memory card reader thing for sending pictures, which I'll probably buy today.
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

A third transfer! another 6 weeks! Additional companion

Letter #77
February 16, 2015
Area: Trinity River (Yes!)
Companions: Gamez AND Reed

I'm just kidding  about not having time (or the desire to write:). We just had transfers and Elder Gamez and I are actually staying together for a third transfer! This is the first time that either of us have had a companion for three transfers, but the twist is that we ended up getting a trio, our other companion is named Elder Reed. He came out with Elder Heath and Elder Anderson trained him in the same district as me.

This last week went decently well, we had a really hard time contacting some people that we have been teaching, and some of the less-actives in the branch are active now, so our number of lessons took a huge hit. We were working a lot towards finding new people and new areas that are more densely populated with Hispanics. It really seems like we will be able to turn around the area this week though because with Elder Reed, we have knocked on a total of three or four doors while finding, a lady opened the first one and talked a little bit with us and then let us right in, we got to teach her and she is going to let us come back, so she is a new investigator. Then we knocked a couple more without any answers, but then the last one we knocked we ended up with a potential investigator, and he seems really willing. I know that this transfer we are capable of baptizing, and I honestly feel like if we do our part and have the faith, we could baptize multiple people, as long as we put that trust in the Lord.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye

A Marriage and 2 Baptisms!

Letter #76
February 9, 2015
Area: Trinity River
Companion: Gamez

It sounds like you all had a good week, but I still don't see any family pictures :P :( I can't believe Jacen is already turning 5, I remember playing with him back in the old apartment. It is crazy how time flies. Elder Gamez and I were talking about how these 2 transfers have blended into 1 and have flown by! We get transfer calls this weekend, which is a little hard to believe...but what is harder to believe is that it is February 9th and it is 79 degrees outside, and it is only about 1:20pm, I hope this doesn't mean that this summer will be extremely hot...

This week went really well, we were able to make progress with most of the people we have been working with. Over the last few weeks the attendance in the branch has been going up! It has been in the mid to high 40s instead of in the 30s! We have had some of the less-active families from the branch as well as investigators there each week. The highlights of the week were the marriage and baptisms of Ernesto and Francisca Chavez, we were able to meet the sons of Ernesto and Francisca's daughters and talk with them and we will be trying to meet with them to share our message sometime this week because they are all interested and willing to learn more about what has helped their parents so much.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve here in the Trinity River Branch, I have learned so much while serving here! I am glad to be of service to the branch and to the people here. The Chavez family has grown so much in their understanding and they can feel the Spirit working with them. Ernesto and Francisca were both in tears during the baptismal service and wedding and were so happy they couldn't describe it.
I can only describe it as them having found the Pearl of Great Price and having given all of themselves to get it and accept it into their lives. I am so glad to have been part of the Chavez's lives and conversion, now I hope to be able to be part of the lives and conversions of their children.

I love you guys,
Elder Stanley Scott Dye