Monday, November 23, 2009
Things have been progressing well here in my new area, Manhattan Beach!
I am currently with Elder Bingham form West Jordan, UT, who has been out for a little less than a year.
We have one investigator, Chantal, who we are really excited about. We found her and her mother through street contacting. One day we were visiting a less-active member and, upon finding him uninterested, were heading back to our car.
We saw a woman struggling to get her groceries out of the back of her truck so we went over and helped her unload. After talking with her, we learned that she and her family had just moved out here from Las Vegas (about half a mile from our house actually) and had had contact with missionaries before.
She invited us back a couple hours later to meet her daughter, Chantal, who is 15. We met her and learned that a friend of hers had actually taken her to church several times in Vegas, but lost contact with the church after she had moved away. She has now come to church twice here and we will be setting her with a baptismal date later today for December 6th!
I'm really excited for this work and can't think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas than BAPTIZING PEOPLE!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Well i found out today that I am being Transferred. as to where i wont find out until tomorrow but i know that im being moved again. I realized that if I get 2 more companions i will hit the 20 comp mark! oy vey!
Things are Really slowing down in our area as we no longer have any active investigators... but at least transfers are on wednesday and I'll get a new area to work. Kepp your fingers crossed that I will go back into the branch!
Good luck to zack going into the MTC this week, good luck in the MTC and ill see you out here in january! PS wake up earlier than 630. you'll avoid the line in the shower. and if you end up in room 16M-101 get the top bunk by the door! 'Twas my old bed!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Conference was this week and was TOTALLY FREAKING AWESOME! I loved all the talks Especially Elder Holland's talk on the truth of the Book of Mormon. you don't know how many times I hear people saying that the Book of Mormon was made up. All I have to say is watch that and know.
I also noticed how many of the talks, especially on Saturday, were all about Love. Love to one another and especially love toward god. I liked Elder Oaks' remark that God does not need our love. We need it.
AHH! I can't wait until conference releases and i can study the talks more in detail.
Alexandra is having struggles right now so please keep her in your prayers that she will find the truth of what we are teaching her.
well love all of you!
PS: for my birthday i really don't need all that much. Its getting colder here and we are allowed to wear sweater vests with our suit coats. we were at JCPenney last week and i saw some beautiful ones but they were like 30 dollars...
IDK really. im coming home in 5 months and don't really need a lot. Money mostly to be honest.... :P
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Transfer information came in and i am staying here in Harbor 1st Ward for the next 6 weeks.
We went to see the baptism of David Turner, a deaf man that me and elder balaich were teaching. It was really nice to see everyone in the branch again. Ihey all said how much they missed me and were asking again and again when i would be returning. I hope I go back. Pictures to come soon.
They also know about the "new" Elder Tritsch coming to the mission and are very excited for him.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
As you may have heard, TRANSFERRED!
Yep you heard right. I was transferred. Out of the ASL program. Right when they needed me the most. Well, I'm now in Palos Verdes, serving the Harbor 1st English Ward and the Cabrillo Spanish branch. I'm also in a threesome with Elder Spellman and Elder Hirschberg. Elder Spellman is from Dallas, TX and Elder Hirschberg is from SLC, UT.
We had a slow start, but things are going great here now! We just set 2 people with baptismal dates this week!
The first one is Beverlin, she is 15 and the daughter of a less active member. She has accepted a baptismal commitment for the 26th. Although we might need to push it back because she and her father did not come to church on Sunday.... argh.... it seems lile getting people to come to church is like pulling teeth sometimes......
but the second one, that one I am excited for!
Her name is Alexandra and we actually ran into her at the end of a long sequence of miracles.
We went to try and contact a less active member who lives in Palos Verdes, but they were not home. This left us with about a half an hour of time that we needed to fill. So, since we had nothing else to do, we went tracting.
We knocked all up one side of the street, getting NOTHING! When we finally got to the end we were thinking, "lets just move on. Nothing is working here." But then we all got the impression that we should at least tract back to our car on the other side of the street. We were all like, "okay whatever" and we crossed the street to the next door. A woman opened the door and made our classic door approach (if you dont know what that means, ask dad).
About 30 seconds in she interrupts and says, "latter day saints... isn't that like the Jehovah's Witnesses?"
*mental jaw smacks against the pavement*
"No. We are not the Jehovah's Witnesses. some people call us the Mormons."
"oh! m'kay. wait.... isn't that the church that has the 15 wives?"
*mental had smacks itself repeatedly against nearest solid object*
"no... that's a different church. we haven't practiced that in over a hundred years. What he are here today is going around sharing a message about Jesus Christ and about how god loves all of us, his children."
*more awkward silence*
*woman starts crying*
"its like a miracle or something....."
What had happened was that the day before, she had given up on God an thrown her bible away, saying that he either doesn't exist or that he hates her because she has had a hard life. Then, the next day she is talking on the phone with her friend telling her all of this when a knock comes at the door. She tell her friend that she isn't going to answer it because she was not in the mood to talk to anyone else. Her friend nonetheless tell her to go and answer the door. She relents and opens the door. and its US!
This was on Saturday. So we taught her about the love of God and that all the trials and struggles we have are actually for our benefit and it is how God shapes and prepares us to become the people that He wants us to be.
She was really happy and we give her a copy of the Book of Mormon and an invitation to church the next day.
The next day we are at church and sacrament meeting is beginning and, as per usual, NO ONE IS THERE.....
Thats kind of par for the course for us anyway. Getting people to come to church, as I said before, can be like getting a root canal without novocain. lots of pain.
Its fast and testimony meeting to the meeting move on as usual, sacrament is passed and the doors open again to let those in the foyer into the chapel to join the meeting and THERE SHE IS! and not only that, She brought her friend, the one on the phone!
I completely explode in happiness to he her there and move to sit next to her.
The testimonies begin and i am just praying my hardest that something weird doesn't happen. Testimony meetings are really good experiences because investigators get to hear the testimonies of other members, but sometimes things go awry.... again ask dad if you don't quite understand.
But this time it was REALLY GOOD. 2 members who actually are her neighbors, got up and bore their testimonies about how God has helped them get through recent struggles in their lives. Then a woman who lost her eldest son in a motorcycle accident got up and bore one of the best testimonies that I have ever heard in my life. Both of us were feeling the spirit STRONG!
She had a great experience at church and when we visited her today she accepted a baptismal date for Sept. the 26th!
so aaaaanyway thats what happened this week!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Things are still pluggin along as usual but a few interesting things happened this week so here is the latest update.
We are still working with the Maravilla family, the son has been in jail for a while but is now out again. he is really humbled by the experience and is excited about the gospel and what it is doing to help him. They will be moving to a better part of the city (they are in South Central right now and they're moving to Hawthorne, a much better area) and that will help get him out if his situation there. He has been in trouble mainly because he has been conscripted into a local gang, against his will. but now he is stuck and cant get out again... we are solving that by getting him as far away from SoCen as possible.
I found out its about a 95% chance that I will be a trainer of a new missionary. Elder Johnson and Ikeda, two of the four ASL elders here, are going home in 3 weeks which will leave the entire branch to me and Elder Balaich, who goes home 6 weeks later...
Which means that 9 months from now ill be the only one left... A new missionary is coming in the day that Elder Balaich leaves so I will almost certainly be training him, barring unforeseen circumstances.
We picked up a new investigator in Rodrigo. Well, he's not a new investigator, just that the other elders passed him to us in anticipation for the IMPENDING DOOM that is the combining of the areas (BTW, if my letters seem a but more frustrated after August 19, you know why. combining two busy areas into one led by a man who has NO IDEA what he's doing while trying to make his greenie THINK he knows what hes doing, quite frankly scares the crap out of me... but i digress...)
Where was I? Oh right, Rodrigo...
He is the new husband of one of our recently reacivated members. They have been living together for years, but when the other elders started teaching him, he agreed to marry her so they can live the law of chastity. Sounds like a great guy right? sounds like a baptism is around the corner right?
For some reason, even though he lives all the commandments and I've gotten him to bear his testimony about everything necessary to be baptized, he wont commit to it. he says, "I don't have a testimony yet" or "I'm not sure i believe everything" (usually he says the latter immediately after he tells us that he knows its true....)
One of our investigators, Carla, has accepted a baptismal date for Sept 6th! Keep her in your prayers that she will follow through and enter the waters of baptism!
I was assigned to interpret at a Statewide Young Single Adults (YSA) conference this past Saturday. Funny thing though is that one of the members, who was also assigned to help interpret, Sue, believe that missionaries should not be interpreting for fear of repetitive stress. So, we ended up just sitting there as she would not allow us to interpret. lol
We are still working with other people and preparing for the impending merging of the two areas.
CONGRATS TO ZACK on applying to go on a mission himself! Now you have the opportunity to not get any sleep at night thinking about all the places the Lord is going to send you and having nightmares somewhere along the lines of, "WHAT THE CRAP DID I JUST DO!!???!!!??!??!?!?"
Don't worry. That will go away as soon as the call arrives.
Well the nightmares wont, but at least you'll get sleep...
until the week you leave, then you'll be a basket case....
until the MTC when the nightmares come back...
until the field when you'll be too tired at night to care.
Welcome to the mission!
Dont worry its not half as bad as it sounds. I'm just making fun :)
Love you all and keep doing great wherever you are!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Things are going great here in sunny California. The branch was reorganized and we now have FULL DEAF LEADERSHIP! This is the first time in the history of the branch that all member of the branch presidency are deaf. This is so cool!
The new branch president, President Sutton, has a lot of really cool ideas and wasted no time in putting us to work! We are really busy teaching a lot of people but unfortunately no one has realy progressed to the point of noteworthiness. We are refocusing our efforts on people who have not been active in the church for a while and really think that most of them we are working with can be reacivated soon. I will try to note any as they begin to make strides.
Happy 4th of July to everyone.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Things keep chugging along here in LA. Elder Balaich and I have been staying really busy. We will be getting a new Branch President this Sunday (for the deaf branch) and we have already met with him to discuss what changes he wants to make.
We are working with the same group of people, though we have found a few that turned out to be less-active members of the church. So we are now working with them, too.
We had an epiphany today. We asked ourselves, "Is there a common factor as to why all these people went less active?" Then a thought popped into my mind to reread President Hinckley's talk on how to help recent converts. He says that all new members of the church need 3 things: a friend, a responsibility, nourishment with the good word of God. We thought, "Do these members have those things?" We went down the list and realized that ALL of them were missing at least one! Ok and behold, we now have our new strategy for reactivating members!
Happy @ Sarah! You beat out my blog in word count, grammar, and interest. LOL. You always were the better writer. Sucks with the swine flu though at the MTC.
Well that's all for me this week! Tune in next week for hopefully more pictures!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Not many things have changed I'm the last couple weeks except we had to delay the baptismal date for the Maravilla family because the eldest son got put on house arrest for truancy and implication in a burglary. But he is free and clear on June 30 so we set the date for the 5th. Fun times.
Another of our investigators, Eddie Parker, got baptized last Sunday! yay! picture is attatched! Eddie has been investigating the church for over four years and has overcome drug addiction, alcoholism, and many other problems to get where he is today! He looks so happy like a weight is being lifted off his shoulders! you should have seen him once the baptism was complete! he looked magnificent! Elder Balaich performed the baptism and I did the confirmation. its my first confirmation in ASL and was a neat experience!
Funny tracting story. We were knocking doors in San Pedro and we came to a house where a friendly man and his sin answered the door. We had a really nice discussion and I learned that the boy hold the work record for the youngest professionally sponsored drummer. Trust me, this kid is good. Check him out his name is Cole Marcus. He's got some sick YouTube videos he says.
Here's a few:
Been raining on us the last couple of days. Kinda reminds me of Miami until I realize that it's light rain... Unlike the rain in miami that's so dense you can't see more than three feet in front of you... LOL I miss that place sometimes.
Other than that things are pretty much business as usual.
Big shout out to sarah, GOOD LUCK AT THE MTC AND IN ARGENTINA!!!
Trust me, you want as much as you can get... But I mean that in a good way.
One tip: the morning schedule sucks and it never gets easier. But it's worth I so do it anyway.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Dad, you're right I have a lot to report on, but I'm going to try and keep it short as i can. I'M IN LA!!!! (as if everyone doesn't already know that)
I flew out on Wednesday after spending the morning in the mission home. I had my last Personal Priesthood Interview (PPI) with President Hale, wherein I took the missionary tradition of tie trading to a new level by trading ties with President Hale, (he says he plans to wear mine next Zone Conference). The flight took me through Atlanta and I landed in LA about 9:15 PM. After getting lost in LAX trying to find the Delta Baggage claim, I met my new Mission President, President Blackburn, as well as both my new companions! Elder Johnson is from Arizona and has been out for 20 months. he is really cool and has a truly good grasp of ASL. Elder Balaich is deaf. He is from Denver, CO and is, as i just said, as deaf as Zack is. In fact, he remind me quite a lot of Zack... just taller... and bigger....
I am serving immediately in the Torrance 4th Branch for the Deaf (the ASL branch) and have really dove into the work. Things are going quite good!l Love everyone!
I had to leave some stuff behind but right now I can't think of anything im in need of. but, as always if you want to send stuff im not going to say no... :) j/k
Love you all.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
We received a phone call today from Jared. He received a phone call this morning from his Mission President, telling him that he will be transferred again. But this transfer is quite a bit different from his other transfers.
With the closing of the Miami Deaf Branch, there are now too many ASL missionaries in the Ft. Lauderdale mission. So under the direction of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, Jared is being transferred to the California, Los Angeles Mission. There is a high need for ASL missionaries there.
He is being transferred on Wednesday.
His new address is here on the blog.
Please keep him in your prayers for a safe transfer and success in this new area of service.
Its a bit of a bittersweet week this week.
The deaf branch is officially closed and the members have been split up over 3 wards. One of which being my ward, so, about 8 members from the deaf branch will now be attending our ward... and guess what? I get to interpret for 3 hours straight! Also, Elder Gundry was transferred away. Due to the changes in the deaf branch, we requested that each of those three wards would have 2 ASL missionaries in them to make interpreting possible. So elder gundry went up to coral Springs and I have a new companion in Elder Fraser. He was in my MTC district and came out with me. Hes cool and all but he is hard of hearing himself... so doesn't really help me much on the interpreting angle. He tries, but when he can't hear the speaker himself, its a bit hard to interpret...I got to do my first ever confirmation!
We had a baptism on the 22nd. The boy bring baptized is named William, and he is the little brother of one of our recent converts. He is 10 years old. We had been teaching the whole family, mostly working with the mother and getting her to commit to a baptism date. We did not really think William was ready for baptism just yet, but when we extended the commitment for baptism to his mom, she felt she wasnt ready. But, William pipes up and says, "can i be baptized?" and we were floored. "of course!" we said, "that is, if its okay with your mom." The mom gave her consent and we have a date set! yay! plus its going to be a double baptism with one of the 8 year olds in the ward so that will be really cool to see!
William was then confirmed a member of the church and he asked me to perform it giving me my first opportunity to do that. that was pretty cool.
Elder Zwick of the Seventy is touring our mission this week so he will be attending our zone conference on Wednesday.
Thanks for all the Support!
Here are some fun pictures.
374 - The last Day of the Deaf branch
375 - President Juall (ASL branch prez), Brother Hawes (high council), David Toledo and his new baby.
707 - ZONE! Elder Kikongi (black guy), Elder Baggaley (left kneeling), Elder Fitzgerald (on couch), Elder Olsen (next to him), Elder Knickerbocker, Elder Call, Elder Lybbert (pink tie), Elder Gundry (in back), Elder Smith (tall guy on table), Elder Rose (thumbs up), ME, and Elder Robinson
710 - tie trading 101 - step 1: Find a tie your companion Really loves.
712 - Step 2: trade him for 6 ties you like better :)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Things are progressing smoothly here, and we have picked up a few more investigators too! We are teaching Rosa, who is the aunt of one of our recent converts. She is really interested because she has seen the massive positive change in her nephew's family. We may pass her to the spanish elders since she is having a hard time understanding everything in english. We also are working with Linda. She is from Haiti, but grew up in New York. She ordered a bible form the TV ads and is really interested in learning more about our church. She is REALLY Catholic though so we will have to see what happens with that.also we are still working with Lorena. She is the mother of another recent convert and has come to church a lot. We are meeting with her on Friday and going to try and extend a baptismal commitment. yay! Other than that things are rather smooth here in Miami Shores and not much else to report. But... heres some more pics though!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I was transferred yet again, but this time I was tranferred back into the Miami Shores Ward! YAY! I'm in the other area though, so i get the best of both worlds: New area to explore AND old friends to catch up with! I'm really excited about this transfer as we already have a lot of work that is being done!
My new companion is Elder Gundry. He is from a little town of 900 people names Grace, Idaho. He acts just like hes from a backwoods town too. His favorite pastimes are "muddin' out in the brush wit' my bronco" and "shootin' small critters." Yes those were actual quotes :P
We are getting along really well, and I once again am Senior companion. He has been out for 5 months as of yesterday.
THE NEW AREA
We have a couple people that we are working with currently. One is Patrick, who we met through a media referral. We just contacted yesterday. He is from Haiti and really has a lot of faith in God. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and are meeting with him again later this week. We also are working with Norma, another media referral. She already knows the Book of Mormon is true and wants to be baptized, but she works 16 hour shifts on Sundays and can't come to church. bummer!
We had a really great experience on Saturday with Jim Emmerman. Jim is a member in the ward who is really having a hard time of it. He works as a security guard for a company who will not under any circumatences give him time off on Sundays to go to chuch. he has been trying really hard to find a new job but so far has had no sucess. Because he is really poor, he lives in rather... unlivable.. cicumstances. Besides all that, he is really a spiritual guy and tries his best to keep faith in Christ. He is a Jewish convert and this is his story:
For almost 30 years, he has had on and off contact with the church. Unfortunately the first time he was taught, one of the missionaries that was teaching him did not really have interest in him and it showed. Needless to say he lost interest. He had a hard life, getting himself into alcoholism and drugs and really dropped far. Until one day he was walking through Walmart and he sees 2 Elders. He walks up to them and asks to once again meet with the missionaries. They tell him that they don't cover his area but that they would pass his name and number to those who did. They give his number to my trainer, Elder Seegmiller (who was at that time in his first area if I've counted it out right) and his companion. When they arrive at his house, the place was so disheveled, there was a 6 inch layer of rotting newspapers covered in cocroaches and other nasty things, all th furniture was either broken or disease ridden. (his description.. no lie) Nonetheless, the missionaries began to teach him. Jim tells them that he has no reason why he would keep on living and that he was planning to commit suicide. He then PULLS OUT A GUN and shows them the gun he planned to shoot himself with! holy crap!
But undeterred, the missionaries still showed him love and compassion and helped him through those tough times. In fact, on one visit, Jim had the flu and the elders gave him a blessing that he would recover and be able to go back to work. While Jim went back to sleep, the missionaries took on the task of cleaning up his house. When Jim woke up the next day, he found his whole apartment cleaned up, redecorated, and looking like an actual home instead of a disease-ridden hovel. He was baptized soon after and now has a great testimony of the power of home teaching and love. His home teachers take great care of him even though he feels like he can't give as much back to the church because of his work situation.
That brings us to Saturday. Elder Gundry and I were making some stop by visits when my companion gets the impression to go and visit Jim. So, we head over to his place and we knock on the door. Jim answers with a look on his face like he just woke up. We come to see that his bike (his only mode of transportation) had broken. Jim was offered a bike from a friend, but he had no way to pick it up and because of this, he had gone back into a depression low (he has clinical depression). Suddenly, I had a prompting from the Spirit. It said clear as day, "you have a bike rack in your car, dont you?" So I offered to go pick up the bike for him. He was SO GRATEFUL! Elder Gundry and I went and picked up the bike, and while we were strapping the bike on the car, I got another impression to ask if there was anything else he needed while we were out. He said he needed to go to Walmart to pick up the HD converter box to get his TV wokring again (Miami has recently switched form UHF to HD signals so those with old tvs need to get a converter box to handle the signals). So, off to Walmart we went. When we came back from the store, we were headed up to his apartment and another man was on the elevator with us. Then and there, Jim starts testifying to the man about how much the church has helped him in his life and how his knowledge of the truth has brought him, "from the pits of despair to the heights of excstasy" Needless to say, I was on quite spiritual high after that visit.
This week was awesome. Jim is probbaly one of the most grateful, humble, thankful people I have ever met and he really boosted my testimony in the healing power of the gospel. Suicidal maniac to stuggling, yet faithful disciple of Christ is quite the change! Well thats all for this week. love y'all!
For the past month, I have been working with the deaf members of South Florida. My companion, Elder Brogdon, who is really cool! One of my favorites already. He is really energized about the work and we have been taking the branch head on. We have 3 active investigators with the possibility of a baptism this transfer, which would be the first baptism the branch has had in 8 months! yay!
I saw Karen Cotton again and she is doing AMAZING! She is really involved with the ward to which is awesome! The Hollywood Ward has really brought her into the fold and she is happier than I've ever seen her. When she was getting ready to be baptized, I don’t think I’ve prayed harder for anyone before. It was a really intense week with her and I am glad I was given to opportunity to be there. It is kind of funny she has taken on the title of my, "good southern mama" for me and Elder Crowther. Which is kind of funny, :)In other news the knee is improving. im meeting with the doctor today to see the progress so keep your fingers crossed.
Also... we dropped one of our better investigators, Rogelio. He decided that he was going to refuse to pray.The ASL sister missionaries with whom we work just broke the mission record for lessons in one week. Before the record was 63, and the sisters beat it with 80! go ASL program! w00t!We going to try setting Judy Jones with a baptismal date tomorrow. Pray for us there. She is progressing really well, but she needs to get Sundays off so she can come to church.Sthis is a big problem since she only works weekends as it is....things are progressing quite well here in the ASL program. we are teaching a lot of people, especially we are working with Nelson and Paula to increase their missionary efforts as well as prepare to enter the temple and be sealed. thus this letter is quite short... sorry but things do progress slowly here so not much has changed since last week.oh! i got the boxes! THANK YOU!!!! the needles are so cool and ive already casted on a pair of socks with them. :) and the food was much appreciated. :)
Things are continuing to improve here in the ASL south area. We recently picked up a new investigator, Yveltalene (sp?). She is totally awesome and has already read the Book of Mormon stories through and watched the Restoration dvd. She has prayed as well which is awesome. We will be encouraging her this week to watch the actual Book of Mormon in ASL as well as possiby commit her to be baptized! Yay!
She attended Presinnia's baptism which went really well. Im so excited for presennia as she is the first baptism the branch has had in months! Double yay!
One of our other investigators, Jessenia, is also coming along nicely as she is steadily reading the Book of Mormon. She has committed to come to church for the first time on Sunday so we will be excited to see her there.