Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28, 2010 - Week 72

Elder Garrick during our Christmas Day Skype call.

Jared and Elder Prawitt with the Brown Family

Jared, Ian, and Elder Prawitt.

Jared at the Portland, OR Temple.

Elder Burgin, Nicole and Jared at Nicole's baptism.

Nicole's Family at her baptism.

Jared and Elder Burgin at a Christmas party with some of their zone.

Jared's Christmas - spoiled boy

Hello Everyone,

What a great week it has been. I hope everyone had a great Christmas this past week and are enjoying the time with family and friends. With my Christmas phone call I feel like there isn't a whole lot to talk about, but I will give you the updates from then until now. After our phone call together we went off to the Williams house. This is Ian and Nicole's cousins. It was so much fun to be with the Williams and with the Martins (Ian and Nicole) for Christmas. They did so much for us. They obviously already had their Christmas that morning and afternoon, so the night was completely dedicated to us. They had made our favorite treats and tried to make everything feel like home. They made a ton of my favorite potatoes. After dinner we played games. We had a blast. There were times when I was crying because I was laughing so hard. I feel really grateful for what they did for us that night. After games we opened up presents in which they had a few gifts that went along with some Christmas poems they had. A nail and an orange. They gave me cheese and crackers and some orange sticks. We then opened up the scriptures and read the Christmas story in Luke. Ian and Nicole are doing well. They seem to be doing a little bit better. We have held off teaching them because their lives were just so crazy and we started to become an annoyance to them. If the gospel ever becomes an annoyance, then something must be wrong, so we figured we would back off for a while and see what happens. Hopefully we can teach them again in the future.

On Sunday Nicole got baptized. The Spanish sisters had a baptism before us so they told us that they would fill up the font and leave it for Nicole's baptism. Usually it takes around 3 hours to fill the font. We arrived a little early, just to make sure everything was okay and to set up chairs. When we get into the Relief Society room we noticed that the baptismal font was draining and was almost empty. We quickly turned the water back on and Elder Burgin jumped in and plugged it back up. Ah!!!!! Baptisms never go smoothly! But it worked out like it always does. We were able to fill the font just in time for the baptism. Elder Burgin baptized her and then I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. The Spirit was so strong during the service. Nicole's parents and best friend came. Her mom was just crying the whole time. It was pretty big that they came because her Dad is kind of anti against the church. I'm sure they felt the spirit, hopefully we can talk to them some more. They were very nice people.

Well we also found out about transfers. Both Elder Burgin and I are staying. This is also Elder Burgin's last transfer so I will be sending another missionary home. Most likely I will stay for at least one more transfer after that, to train a new missionary to the area. That will make this the longest area I will ever have on my mission. I'm going on transfer #4 here and will probably stay for the 5th. Its great though. I love Vancouver. I love the people here and the rain is actually starting to grow on me. Elder Burgin and I went running on Monday. Yes I went running. First time I have ever done it on my mission. I usually just work out inside. But it felt so good to go outside and run in the rain. Its refreshing.

We continue to try and find new people to teach. We are finding more and more potential new investigators, but currently aren't able to get in the door with them. Yesterday we were finally able to see this couple that we've been trying for a while. We showed up to their house and they were actually home. The husband (or boyfriend) just lost his job. They are really struggling right now and have definitely been humbled. The girlfriend is ready to accept the gospel. She just wants to have something change. She even recognizes that money wouldn't solve their problems and they need something else. We had a great talk with them. By the end of our conversation they accepted to listen to our message and to come to church on Sunday. They were very grateful that we were there. I feel so blessed right now. The Lord always leads us to those who are willing to receive us and who need the help. It is truly the humble seeker of truth that is found. That's it for me this week. Have a Happy New Year!

Elder Garrick

P.S. Thank you to everyone who sent cards and gifts. I have some amazing family and friends.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22, 2010 - Week 71

Good morning, Good morning, Good morning!

What a week it has been. We have had so many Christmas things going on it's ridiculous. We found out the other week that the Portland Mormon Choir were coming into town. They were performing at the nearest high school and the person in charge asked the closest zone leaders to help out and get everything organized for what they needed done. That just so happened to be us. We were in charge of setting up and ushering people during the concert. We also had tickets that needed to be dispersed among all the missionaries in Vancouver which is 2 other zones. It was pretty crazy and actually took a lot of time away from proselyting. It's okay though. The concert was amazing. The choir was so good and they had an orchestra there. It was like we were watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We had a few less-active members go to the concert and Nicole went as well, so I would say it was a success. The missionaries in the Portland mission got permission to come over too. I tell you what, ushering is not fun at all. People just don't even listen to what you have to say. They just sit down at the end of the aisle and refuse to move. There were a lot of non-members there, so we were told to just ask people, but if they don't move then don't make a big deal out of it and just try to be friendly and leave a good impression. Besides dealing with all the crazyies, it was a lot of fun. We also had our Wards Christmas party this week. It was the same night as one of the Choir performances. We thought, "Oh this is going to be so nice. We can just go to the ward party and relax and have a fun time with everyone." When we showed up we found out that the activities committee needed a few more people to help prepare and serve food. So the whole night, we were running around serving everyone. We finally were able to eat our food at the end. It was good food though. Prime Rib and Ham. At the end the Brown family put on a performance that was just awesome. It was about how we are from all over the world, but the message of the gospel and the celebration of Christ's birth is the same. They are such a cool family.

Yesterday was our Christmas Zone Conference. Man that was a ton of fun. We had a brief training at the beginning and learned more about the Savior's birth and the message of Christmas. We set our Missions Baptismal goal for the next year and President Greer spoke upon what we need to do as missionaries to find these people and help them receive baptism and the holy ghost. Afterwards, the office missionaries made a Christmas slideshow that was great. It was so much fun to see all the pictures of all the missionaries I have been able to know and serve with. Half our mission was at the zone conference so I saw many friends. Elder Olsen was there, Elder Williams, Elder Cashin. Many of the other Zone leaders were there that I have become good friends with. After we had lunch Sister Greer set everything up for a movie and we got to watch Toy Story 3. Best Movie Ever!!!!! It was so intense. That movie is hilarious too. I'm there with the Mak. I love Toy Story. So that was fun for everyone.

As for my missionary experiences for this week. Like I said we have been so busy lately that they haven't been a ton, but there are still some really cool things that happened this week. We had a lesson with the Gonsalves family this week. As we knock on the door, Brother Gonsalves answers and says, "Sorry boys, we can't do a lesson today." We were shocked that he would say that. He usually loves having lessons with us. He then says, "Come on in, your helping us meet our neighbors." We had a lesson with them a few weeks ago about doing missionary work and how hard it is to overcome that fear of sharing the gospel. We talked about the first step of missionary work is just developing a meaningful relationship with people. So as we walked inside his house, they had prepared about 12 Christmas bags with goodies and candy inside. They had a note from their family and then they threw in some pass-along cards. Then as a family, we walked from house to house and Brother Gonsalves introduced themselves and us. We wished everyone a Merry Christmas and went off to the next one. There was one widow that we stopped by who was so grateful and she was just so nice. Brother Gonsalves said, "That just makes this whole experience worth it." You really could feel the spirit of Christmas as we went around. It was a lot of fun. I was very proud that they decided to do this because they are a pretty shy family. They even said, "If you would ask me 6 months ago if I would ever go around from house to house with two guys in white shirts and ties I would say you were crazy."

The next experience is a finding experience. Elder Burgin and I are really struggling to find people to teach right now. We set a goal to talk with as many people as we could and actually have 10 meaningful conversations with people in which we could invite them to learn more. The entire day it seemed we were trying to find people. We found a trailer park and started knocking doors. Our time is so precious so we did only the doors we really felt that we should go to. We stop by one house and a kid answers the door. Turns out he is really searching for some type of purpose right now in his life. His mom died about a year ago and it has been really hard for him and has made him question a lot of things about life. We had a really good conversation with him and scheduled a return appointment. He said that he thinks his entire family would be interested. We went about the rest of our days activities. As the night approached we tried to see a few of our investigators. No success. We had about 20 minutes until our 8 o clock appointment and decided to do some more finding. We were walking down the street just looking. Then we felt as though we should go right into the next neighborhood. We knock on one door and talk to a lady who said that we don't really know anything and if we went out and sinned then we would have more experience and we would be happier with life. Hmmmm....interesting. Alma 41:10 So we brushed it off and moved on. I felt very strongly that we should go to the door at the end of the street. So we wasted no time and went straight there. An older man opens the door and is very friendly. Turns out his brother is a member who lives in Pasco. I actually think his brother lives in one of the wards I served in at Pasco. He said that he did a study on Joseph Smith and was amazed how an uneducated boy could write something like the Book of Mormon. He said he couldn't do it and it must have come from God. He said that he is one of those people who just never really got baptized because of a few things that bother him. We talked about it and he agreed to meet with us after Christmas. We walked away just smiling. Elder Burgin was jumping up and down. There really are people out there who the Lord is preparing, and if we listen to the Spirit, he will take us directly to them. I have come to know that is true each and every day I am on my mission.

Nicole's baptism is this Sunday. The day after Christmas. She is amazing. She has progressed so far. Before her baptismal interview she talked with us about how much closer she feels to Heavenly Father. She loves her little boy. She recognizes that she has made mistakes in the past, but she is ready to make that change in her life and start fresh. She has made friends with another girl in the ward and they are spending a lot of time together so we are really happy about that. That will just seal the deal for one of the greatest Christmas' I will ever have. Being on a mission at this time is so amazing. My gratitude for what the Savior did and the importance of Him actually coming into this World has grown so much. My faith that we can literally overcome anything through Him is so much stronger now than it ever has been. I truly believe that. We can overcome anything with the Savior. It gives me so much hope and so much joy. Merry Christmas to you all. Have a wonderful holiday. Thank you to all for your letters and your testimonies and love.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14, 2010 - Week 70

Good Morning Everyone!

Well I just got my 12 days of Christmas package. I set up my tree and my presents and hung up all the ornaments of our family. That was so neat. I can't believe how much everyone has changed! We are all getting so old. It was great. I spent all morning putting it up and reading the notes.

Well this week has been a good one. My week always changes depending on how I feel today haha. We are still doing our best to find new investigators this week. Many of our current investigators just aren't progressing and for many, it is time to move on. It is always sad when you have to make this decision. We will still keep in contact when we have the time, but I don't know if we'll make them a priority. I went on a couple exchanges this week. One was with Elder Schneider. I went over into their area and guess what....its a biking area! Oh Gheez! The dreaded bike. You will not believe how many hills there are in Vancouver too. Nothing is flat. And to make things even harder, it was the rainiest day of the year so far. Elder Schneider and I rode as rain is just pounding us in the face. We were drenched! It was actually a lot of fun. Elder Schneider almost turfed it a couple times. We decided that after lunch it would probably be best if we dried off and walked. It was a good exchange though. Work in their area is really struggling right now. We weren't able to find many people, but I hope I was able to lift his spirits and help him. The members that they live with are actually related to the Eldridge's. They know Scotty and Chase. I think the wife is Scott's aunt. Yesterday I went on exchanges with Elder Torgeson. He is a new missionary this transfer. I brought him into our area. We had district meeting that day and then had to help some other missionaries with some service. I really wanted to go out and do some missionary work, but we only had about 2 hours until we had to exchange back. We decided that we would go find. I don't know what it was, but people were just not happy yesterday haha. Door after door was slammed in our face. One guy opened the door and then noticed there were missionaries on his doorstep so he tried to shut the door as fast as he could. It just so happened that his door came out and the guy was just slamming his dog in the door repeatedly. The dog was just yelping, but I guess he didn't notice because he was so worried about having to talk to us. I told the guy what he was doing. People are really funny sometimes. So I could tell that Elder Torgeson was getting discouraged. Man I'm just used to it by now. I thought it was funny. I told him that we just haven't found who the Lord is preparing. We went to a different neighborhood and tried some more doors. Still rejection. We see a lady out getting her mail and we go talk to her. Turns out, she is the care taker for an elderly woman in our ward who we have been meaning to go see. We walked with her to Sister Cole's house. Paula, the care-taker, has actually been reading the Book of Mormon and had questions. We explained to her what it was and shared with her in the Book of Mormon when Christ is about to be born and he announces his own birth to the people in America and they see the star. She thought it was amazing. She actually lives in a different ward, but she wants missionaries to come over, so we will pass her over to them. As we left we saw a man sitting at the bus stop. We talked to him a little bit about the purpose of our lives. He said he has always wondered what our purpose is. We got a return appointment for Saturday. As we walk away and back to the van, Elder Torgeson has a giant smile on his face and says, "Missionary Work is Awesome!" It was a good day.

We are still meeting with Nicole Gentry. She is the person who was referred to us by some members. She has a 15-month son and she herself is only 18 years old. She is doing awesome! She has come to church twice and got to meet President and Sister Greer. Sister Greer sat by her all of church and helped with her son. She is willing to do anything, because she just wants to change her life. Just like any investigator who makes this commitment, opposition always occurs. She recently found out that her best friend has cancer. We also met with her last night, and her parents have kicked her out of the house. She said it wasn't because of church, but that this happens frequently and she feels its time to leave for good. Her fellowshippers are her boyfriends parents. Her boyfriend is a member, but not very active and isn't too supportive of her at this time. It is amazing the type of faith that she has. We talked to her last night about tithing and how it's not really about paying money, but showing your trust in the Lord. Really the gospel is always about faith in the Savior. Everything that we do requires faith that we are willing to trust God, more than we trust ourselves, and then we hope that His blessing will come down on us and He will provide for us. Last night we talked about tithing, but it was so much more than tithing. Nicole is strong and is receiving help from the ward. She has committed to be baptized on December 26th and it will be a white Christmas for her.

I have been really studying about faith, hope, and charity. They are so important. Again I go back to hope, and the hope of eternal life. The Spirit truly does bless us with a portion of heaven. When we are close to Christ, we are touching heaven and we can feel and see that in our lives. Thank you for your talk you sent me from President Eyring and Christmas. To be bound together in love with our families and having that love last forever really is eternal life. The greatest gift we can receive. We open up the corners of this gift each day, more and more, as we feel of His Spirit, and share of His love. I hope you're all doing well this Christmas season. It is such a great time to think of the Savior and what he has done for us. I love you all and have a Merry Christmas.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 2010 - Week 69

Hey Everyone,

How is everyone doing? I feel like there hasn't been a whole lot that happened in this last week. It's literally been pretty slow for us. We have had some meetings and had to do a lot of planning. It seems like our proselyting time has been cut short and it sure is having an effect on us. I might as well give you an update on how things are going right now with some of our investigators. Ian's baptism did not go through once again. I really have no idea what is going to happen right now. They are going through a really rough time, and I think Ian might be embarrassed about everything. We haven't really even been able to meet with them this week. He is starting to work full-time again so it will be hard to catch him. It will be completely impossible to meet with Ian and Nicole together, so we are going to do it separately. Maybe this is all in God's plan. We talked to Nicole and she has a small testimony of the gospel. She believes it's true just from the way she feels as we come over and when she went to the temple years and years ago. Hopefully things will progress and we can help them. In other news, we have been teaching another girl named Nicole. She is the girlfriend of one of the members in our ward. She is about 18 years old and has a 1 year old boy. T
he little guy is the most important thing in her life right now and she was interested in the church because she saw how different her boyfriends family was from hers. We taught her a lot this week. She is reading the Book of Mormon and praying. She came to church on Sunday and loved it. She said that she was pretty nervous to come, but when she finally came into the building she was at peace. In our last lesson with her she told us that she believes everything is true. We set a baptismal date for her on Christmas Day. She is really excited for it. There may be some bumps in the future, but she is determined and ready to be baptized.

Really not a whole lot has gone on besides that. There are a lot of investigators that we have been recontacting just because it has been so hard to meet with them lately. We are doing a lot of finding, when we get the time. Last night I went on exchanges with a new missionary. His name is Elder Broadhead. Yes Elder Broadhead. He is the cousin to the Broadhead family in the 1st ward. He is such a good kid. He has a strong desire to do good and serve others. He is already way ahead of the other missionaries in his teaching ability and he speaks Spanish. He is a Broadhead alright, he looks just like the whole family and acts like them too haha. You'll have to let them know that he is in my zone.

That's it for me this week. I think this might be the shortest e-mail of my whole mission. This next week is going to be a good one. We are going to work our tails off. I love you guys.

Elder Garrick

Quote from Brother Steve Gonsalves, "I can find one thing in one church, and find something else in a different church, and try and piece it all together and come up with my own belief, but I don't want to do that. I want it all now! This is where the whole truth is. I have learned more in the past few months than I ever did in my entire life going to church."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 30, 2010 - Week 68

Hello Everyone!

How is everyone doing? It is raining once again in Vancouver. In fact, it hasn't really stopped raining for the past couple of weeks I swear. It is all good though. I'm pretty much used to it by now. A few things happened this week. I better start off with Thanksgiving. I had a great Thanksgiving day. In the morning we did service from about 10 am to 2 pm. We got about 10 missionaries together and grabbed some rakes and garbage bags and went around raking peoples lawns in our stake. We did a lady's yard in our ward and finished up pretty fast. As we were driving to the next house we saw an older man doing his yard. He had a ton of leaves and hadn't really done a whole lot of it yet. So we pulled over and so did our convoy of missionaries. 10 missionaries came out with their rakes in hand and offered to help. His wife eventually came out and offered to give us some hot cider and cookies. We went in and they fed us while we warmed up. We talked to them for a while. It was really neat. We were joking around how they probably haven't had that many Mormons in their house at once. They are actually in our area so we are going to go back and invite them to one of the wards Christmas activities coming up. After service we went to our first dinner, the Maynes. It was great. That family is hilarious. They fed us a ton and we chatted and played some apples to apples. Literally right after that we went over to the Gonsalves house for our 2nd dinner. We loaded up there and met some more of the Gonsalves family. Brother Gonsalves and Cajia are still doing awesome. Sister Gonsalves is warming up too. I think she can really see how the gospel has blessed her family and she is starting to soften up. Last but not least, we went over to the Browns house for dessert. The Browns are the Samoan family in the ward who were recently baptized right before I came here. They fed us this dessert called pani po po. It's these rolls with coconut milk and brown sugar on them. Its kinda like a cinnamon roll. We were about to die at this point because we had eaten so much. As we finished up the pani po po, they bring out a big bowl of ice cream and a plate of cake. Oh kill me now. We ate most of it, but just couldn't finish it off. Elder Burgin and I weighed ourselves when we got home and we both gained 10 pounds just in one day. You know me though, it was gone in about 2 days. I just can't keep weight on. Oh well. Someday I will get fat.

The big downer to the week was Ian's baptism was put on hold for a while. The day before Thanksgiving, Ian's in-laws picked up their son and took him four-wheeling. Ian really wanted his son to be there for the baptism so we decided to do it this week. We talked to him about because it's just not a good idea to put off your baptism. The adversary really gets involved the last week of your baptism and if you put it off, it just gets even worse. But it's what he wanted to do and it's the way most of Ian's family and Nicole's family could make it. Ian said he would be okay. Now there are just so many things coming up that are making it even harder to do the baptism this week. Hopefully it can work out this Saturday. After so many miracles that happened in this whole process, you can see how Satan makes an attack and tries to stop it all from happening. I have confidence that all will work out, we just need to help their family as much as we can this week.

The work right now is slower than usual. I have been having internal conflicts with myself all week. I have just been struggling with how I could be a better missionary. You would think that after 15 months of doing this that I would be a pro. I recognize so much the missionary that I could be and sometimes it is difficult to know how to be that missionary. I have been praying and studying so much this week. With fervent prayer I have gained so many answers to my prayers, it is unreal. Today we went to the Portland Temple. Once again I thought that things were going to keep me from going to the Temple. We were giving a few missionaries a ride. One of the missionaries had a mis-communication problem and was super late. He ended up not even coming because he was so late. This of course made us really late because he told us he wasn't even going to come about 30 minutes after we were supposed to leave. We showed up to the Temple and barely missed the session. Our ride was able to sneak in at the very last minute, but we weren't. We didn't know what to do. We decided that we would do initiatories while we waited. We just did one each and then we decided that we would go to the later endowment session. Once again the Lord answered my prayer, because doing the iniatitories was exactly what I needed. The Lord works in mysteries ways. Elder Burgin and I are trying to work things out in our area and find some new investigators. We just taught one of the members in our wards girlfriend. It was a pretty good lesson, could have been better, but we figured out what we could do, once again through a lot of prayer and study.

It sounds like everyone had a really good Thanksgiving week. I'm always glad to hear that the family is doing great. Take care of yourselves and enjoy this time of year.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23, 2010, Week 67

Good Afternoon Everybody!

This has just been one great week for me. A giant test of my faith, but everything worked out great. I don't even know where to begin. I guess I should start off with, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I can not believe that it is that time of year again. We are hitting all of the holiday seasons now. This transfer I will have Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then the beginning of next transfer is New Years, but that's never too fantastic when your on a mission. Well for this Thanksgiving we are going over to a members house in the afternoon. Their names are the Maynes. They are awesome and love having the missionaries over. We are going to have dinner at around 3 o' clock. Then we are going to go over to the Gonsalves family for 2nd Dinner. And then last but not least, we will probably go over to the Browns, the recent-convert Samoan family at night. In the morning we are going to do some service for people. We wanted to go to a homeless shelter and serve food and other things like that, but they are all full. I guess people only want to be charitable on Thanksgiving and Christmas. So instead we are probably going to rake some leaves and other yard work. That is if the snow melts away. Yes, it did snow in Vancouver. It really isn't bad at all, but people are just going crazy. They drive like turtles because they aren't used to driving in the snow. I guess on the east side of the mission, like in the tri-cities, it snowed about 7 inches. Crazy! It is getting real cold too. I broke out the warm clothes again and bundle up each time I leave the house.

Oh so my new companion is Elder Burgin from Kaysville, UT. He is awesome! He was actually my district leader in Pasco for a while. He has been out for 21 months and goes home next transfer. President is just sticking me with all these old timers. That's okay because I am able to learn a lot from them. He is definitely different from Elder Prawitt, just as each new companion has been different from the last, but we work well together and are doing great. He is hilarious and is always joking around.

So let me tell you about the miracle week that we had. In our weekly planning we set goals for how many lessons we want to teach, new investigators we want to find, people we want to have a baptismal date, and people to get baptized, etc. Well we have been teaching Ian as I have talked about for the past couple of days. His baptismal date is November 27th. That is this week. He has a lot that we haven't taught him yet and we weren't sure if we could do it, but we decided that we wanted to work towards it because it would be good for him to have it this week instead of pushing it back. Ian is just doing awesome. He loves coming to church and meeting with us. His wife, Nicole, has been really closed off lately and has stopped meeting with us for some reason. She has never come to church and is really worried about change and what people will think of her. So we stopped by Ians house and had a lesson with him. We taught him of the Word of Wisdom. He said that he already has quit all of his addictions. We told him we wanted to meet with him more often, like everyday, so we could help prepare him for his baptism. Then next day we talked about tithing. Oh boy tithing. Ian and Nicole are going through a BIG financial crisis right now. They are working with an attorney over something and may have to sell their house. Money is just a big deal right now and we knew that tithing would be a big obstacle that they would have to overcome. We taught Ian the importance of paying tithing, why we pay, what its used for, and the great blessings that come from it. We talked about how it is an act of faith, a way to show Heavenly Father that you are putting your trust in him to provide for you, by keeping his commandments. Ian's whole appearance changed from his usual happy and excited face to a look of worry. He said, "Oh I didn't know that tithing was a requirement for getting baptized." He said that he knows it is what he should do, but the problem is that he didn't know what Nicole would think. Nicole handles all the financial stuff. Ian was really worried. We told Ian to talk to Nicole about it, to explain his feelings and beliefs and then to pray for help. The rest of the week Ian was in our prayers. On Sunday we fasted for him. We didn't even announce his baptism in church because we weren't sure if he was going to be able to be baptized. Ian, of course, came to church on Sunday. He had a great time and learned a lot. After the meeting we asked him if he talked to Nicole yet. He said that he had. He said that he was just so worried that he kept on praying and praying for Gods help. When he talked to Nicole, she understood and allowed him to commit to paying tithing when he gets baptized. He also said that this has been incredible for him. Ian's boss has been extra nice to him for some reason. On Friday Ian's boss gave him two $50 gift cards to show his appreciation for Ian's hard work. Ian was interviewed on Sunday and passed with flying colors. He will be baptized this Saturday. I am so happy. The Lord truly provides. Ian said that the only condition now is that Nicole doesn't want us to set up any more appointments without her being there. I think that's great. It sounds like she wants to be involved again and hopefully she can follow her husbands footsteps.

On Sunday night we were planning for the next day. We are struggling trying to find people to teach right now. Most of our investigators are just falling off the radar like crazy. They either are going through something that makes it hard for us to meet with them, or they don't want to commit to do anything. We just have very few people we are actually working with right now. I have been doing a lot of finding. Finally, while we were planning I thought, "Man, I am just so sick of tracting on doors and getting rejected all the time. Is it okay to pray for God to lead us to someone who actually wants us to come, who is actually praying for missionaries to knock on their door?" E. Burgin and I discussed it and decided that we were going to do it. So that night and all of the next morning, we prayed for it. We went out to find. Every house we tried they just were not interested. The wouldn't even talk to us. Out of the whole morning and afternoon we talked to 1 person who would actually listen, and that 1 person was not interested. We finally decide to go somewhere else. We tried a potential investigator and no one was home, so we decided to knock a few more doors to find that person we were praying for. We see a house at the end of the street and we feel we should go there. When we knock on the door, a girl opens the door. She says, "Oh Elders! It has been a while since I have seen elders." She said that she used to meet with missionaries all the time. Her husband is an inactive member. She grew up with her foster parents who were LDS. She would go to church and went to a couple years of seminary in high school. She said that when she reads the Book of Mormon she gets such a peaceful feeling come over her. For the past couple weeks she has been getting a feeling telling her that she needs to go back to church, she needs to read her scriptures, she needs to pray. She has been getting these feelings for a while now. She wanted to go back to church, but didn't know where the church was. She had actually been praying about it that day. Then we knock on her door. She is going to come to church this Sunday. She said that she wants to get baptized. She knows it's true, there were just some things in the past that held her back from getting baptized in the past, but that have now been resolved. How amazing is that?

My testimony that Heavenly Father hears and answers specific prayers was confirmed and strengthened this week. Two amazing experiences that I wasn't so sure would happen, but decided I would try, were answered. I have always known that Heavenly Father listens to my prayers and He comforts me when I need comfort, but this week I know that if we actually ask Him for things and then trust in Him, He will give it to us. How incredible is that. My scripture for this week is 3 Nephi 18: 19-20 where Christ is teaching the people how to pray. I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and is aware of my righteous desires and hopes. I'm thankful that I'm not alone in this battle against life. I have been studying about the Savior recently. Not any thing different, but just the Savior. He overcame all things. Trials, temptations, and even death. It fills my soul with hope to know that through him, we can overcome everything too. Whether it be a test of faith in living a commandment, financial problems, or having to push through to improve the area you are serving in, if we put our trust in God we will overcome everything. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for right now. Enjoy that turkey dinner.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 16, 2010 - Week 66

Hello Friends and Family,

Man what a week it has been. This was Elder Prawitt’s last week. You would think that for a missionaries last week in the field, he would be blessed with miracle after miracle. This week was not so much that way. We were able to see a miracle happen when Cajia Gonsalves got baptized. That was something really special. The young women really put the whole thing on. The Spirit was so strong there. Cajia had to get baptized twice because her head didn't go all the way down the first time. Her Grandpa baptized her and he brought his own clothes so we didn't have to deal with another clothing fiasco. Everything went really well for this baptism. The young women sang a really cool song called, "He knows me." It was really good.

We have been struggling really hard lately to find people who we can teach. People are very busy and it seems as though the people we are teaching are just falling off like crazy. One of our really progressing investigators is having problems with her boyfriend and is trying to figure things out. She is getting all ready to move out. This will either be a blessing or it could be bad. If she wanted to get baptized she would have to move out sooner or later, or get married, so maybe this is what needs to happen. Although, it is making it very difficult for us to meet with her. She has a lot of kids that she has to deal with. I told you last week about Rebekah and how she is living in a homeless shelter. She hasn't yet left, because her aunt just doesn't have the heart to kick her out. We actually met with her aunt this week and had a lesson with both of them. Her aunt is really wanting to go to church. Her husband passed away recently and she just hasn't been able to get over it. Well after the lesson we thought things would work out and we just found out that Rebekah is going to leave sometime to go to the homeless shelter again. Needless to say, many of our investigators are just disappearing and the adversary is making it hard for us.

We have been blessed to be able to help Ian. We had our movie night on Friday. It went really well. We had about 40-50 people show up. Most of them were less-active/recent-converts and there were a few active families there. There were a lot non-members there. Ian showed up with his son. We were so excited to see him. We got a big popcorn machine and Ian helped us make all the popcorn. The only mix up we had for the movie was the light in the projector was burning up. We of course tested everything out before hand and it all worked. The video was going and the sound was great. Then we actually start playing it and the color is all messed up and once in a while the screen will just go dark and made it hard to see what was going on. It worked out though. Elder Prawitt went into the next room and said a prayer that everything would work. The picture was never the best, but you could still see the movie and the Spirit was there. That is what we wanted. We just wanted people to feel the Spirit and learn more about who Joseph Smith was. After the movie I got up and bore my testimony. It was a good night. Ian really liked it and the other missionaries’ investigators really liked it too. After the movie Ian asked his son what he wanted to do tonight and he said that he wanted to pray. It was really neat. His son was going crazy because there were so many missionaries there. He was going around counting all of them.

Well with all that said let me tell you about the week Elder Prawitt and I had. My whole time with Elder Prawitt he has been focused on the work. These last few weeks we have been talking about home more and more which is just normal. We worked so hard. Since all of our investigators have been falling off, we have been doing what we should be doing, finding more. Yesterday was his last day here. He left Vancouver at 1:30 pm so we had from 10am - 1pm to work. We decided that we just wanted to find some new investigators. We went tracting. We didn't have much success for a while. We knocked on a few doors and no one was home or not interested. We finally see this lady getting into her car. She says, "Hey you guys are missionaries right? I have to go get my son from school right now, but maybe you guys can come over for dinner sometime. My Sister-in-Law is Mormon." We told her that we would love too. So sometime in the future we will have dinner with this non-member lady and her family. Pretty cool huh? After that we had an appointment with a new investigator. We knock on the door and she is not home. Of course she is not home. That would have been Elder Prawitt's very last lesson. So we go to the next neighborhood. We knock on a few doors and then the 3rd one we get to opens up. This Indian lady answers the door and is very friendly with us. She says that her husband has met with missionaries before. They are Hindu, but like learning about other people’s faith. They used to live in California across the street from one of the Temples. She invited us in and we taught her a lesson. It was so great. We are going to try and see her again with her husband sometime this week. The Lord provided for us. The time was 1 o'clock and Elder Prawitt decided that he would end on a good note. We grabbed something quick to eat and went over to the church. Man I miss that kid a lot right now. It was so sad saying goodbye. We gave each other a big hug and then he just looked at me. He said thank you and I thanked him as well. I don't think I have ever been this sad to say goodbye to a companion. Maybe it’s because he is going home and I realize that I won't see him again in the mission. We were great friends. I know I haven't said much about Elder Prawitt because we have just been so busy. He is the best companion I have ever had. It was a privilege learning from him and working side by side with him. We had so many miracles happen the past 2 transfers. And I tell you what, I have never worked as hard on my mission as I do now. I have never grown so much as I have now. I understand the true purpose of missionary work and I understand how to do it. That doesn't mean I know everything and that it's not hard anymore, because it is and from seeing this last week for Elder Prawitt, it always will be. But now I know that diligence, faith, pure love, humility, hope, and the guidance of the Spirit are what I need to become a great tool in the Lords hand. Since working with Elder Prawitt I have come to love missionary work, not because it makes me happy and I feel the Spirit, but because I want to do the Lords work and make other happy and feel the Spirit. I love doing missionary work, because I love bringing people closer to Christ and their true relationship with their Heavenly Father. I don't know if I ever told anyone, but Elder Prawitt served in Ukraine for a year then had to come home for health reasons. He was sent to Washington for a purpose. He has always strived to be the best missionary he can be, even when his companion didn't want to. He and I have a lot in common. At about 4 o clock today he will be home with his family. I can't believe it. It’s amazing how fast time goes by on your mission. One day that time will come for me and it’s probably closer than I think. Right now I'm ready to move on and to keep working hard. I thought that for this week I would share Elder Prawitt’s favorite scripture and one that I have come to love as well. Helaman 3: 35. May God bless all of you this week. Take care of yourselves.

Elder Garrick