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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 9, 2010 - Week 65

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Well there have been some good things going on right now in the Washington Kennewick Mission. After my email last week we immediately drove down to Kennewick for our 2 day training. It's about a 4 hour drive that we have to make each month and because Elder Prawitt and I drive the soccer mom van, we are the ones who drive the rest of the zone leaders down. I tell ya what, road trips to St. George will be no problem for me when I come home. The training was really good. 2 men from the mission dept came and spoke to us. They talked about some of the new fundamental lessons again. We learned about the Doctrine of Christ for the 18th time. They are really trying to drill this into our heads. It really is so important though and I can understand why they are giving so many trainings on the same lesson. Many missionaries are not understanding this one concept. We talked about how we are to invite people to be baptized on the very first lesson. By the second lesson we should invite people to set a specific date for baptism. That's pretty intense, but it will help the missionaries and investigators out a lot. We also found out that we have the privilege of texting now. HOLY COW!!!! We had the longest discussion about it in our zone leader council. Right now we are going to start it off with the zone leaders and see how it goes. Eventually we want to have the whole mission to have texting. Its pretty exciting though. It will help out so much in missionary work. We can follow up with reading assignments, see if people are coming to church, verify appointments.

Well let's give an update on what is going on shall we. Ian is doing fantastic. We had a church tour with him. The guy has just changed so much ever since we gave him a blessing. He has always had great anxiety and ever since our blessing he hasn't had that anymore. He came to church on Sunday and had a great time. His wife is still very nervous about coming, but we want to talk to her about it as well. Things are really shaky right now with Rebekah. She is the one who was homeless for a while and is now living with her aunt. Well we just found out that things aren't working out at her aunts house and she will be leaving today to go to another homeless shelter. The only place available is one that allows people in at 7 pm every night, but then kicks them out at 7 am every day. She will then have to wander the streets for 12 hours with her 3 year old son. Our ward mission leader gave us a stroller so that she can push him around in it and hopefully he will stay inside it and not run away. Its pretty horrible. We are working with the Stake President and also the Bishop to see what we can do for her. Last but now least is Cajia Gonsalves. Her baptism is this upcoming Saturday. I am so excited for it. Cajia is still really nervous and doesn't want a lot of people there. We are going to have the young women put it on. It will be like a young women baptism. They are going to sing a song and the speakers are going to be the YW leaders and the prayers by girls in the ward. Last but not least is Philip. Philip is progressing really well right now. He continues to read the Book of Mormon. This last lesson we talked about prayer and Philip gave the closing prayer. It was really neat. Hopefully things will continue to work out for him.

This Friday we are going to do a movie night with the missionaries. Mom, you told me about this a while ago and we finally decided to put it into action. I am so excited for it. We are going to project "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration" onto the big screen in the gym. We are going to have popcorn and drinks and other goodies. We are telling everyone about it and people seem like they are excited for it too. A young man in the ward said he wants to get all his friends and have them ask non-member girls to the movie. PERFECT! I want to start doing one activity like this every transfer where we can find more people to teach and do it in a different way than just knocking on doors. Well this is Elder Prawitt's last week. Man I can't believe it. Do missions really end? It's so weird to me to hear that many of my friends are now home. I remember thinking that when that day came, I would not have long left on my mission and that it would probably fly. Elder Prawitt has served a great mission. He is the companion that I have wanted my whole mission. We work hard, we teach, we find, he is a powerful teacher. It has been so great being able to serve with him. Next week I will have a new companion and I'm sure he will be great too, but serving with Elder Prawitt has been amazing. It's the first time I have been able to serve with someone who has my same desire and determination for missionary work. Well that's it for me this week I hope everyone is doing well. Enjoy the sunshine, because its always rainy and dark here in Vancouver. I'm getting used to it though. I love you all.

Elder Garrick

November 2, 2010 - Week 64


I had an awesome week recently. Man there is so much to say. I guess I will start off with Halloween. On Friday we had our wards Trunk or Treat. They had games and activities for the kids from 6-7 pm and then after that everyone went outside and people had decorated the trunk of their car and all the kids went around in the parking lot and got candy. It was great. One of our investigators and her 7 children came and they all had a blast. All the little kids were making friends with them. It was a lot of fun. Elder Prawitt and I switched tags, so I was Elder Prawitt for Halloween and he was Elder Garrick haha. Super nerdy I know, but what else could we do. We have a great ward. They love the missionaries and are pretty good about helping us out. On Halloween day we went over and had dinner with some other missionaries and the members they lived with. It was pretty fun because they had a ping pong table and a guitar. Oh man do I miss the guitar. As I played it I had a ton of songs just flood back into my mind, but unfortunately I couldn't remember all of them. It will come back I know. So that was pretty much our Halloween. Oh man I have to tell you. While we were with the other missionaries on Halloween, their members cat came up and sneezed in Elder Nillsons eye. Well guess what we found out about 10 minutes later. Elder Nillson is allergic to cats. He didn't even know. Maybe he is only allergic to cat sneezes. So his eye swelled all up. It wasn't too bad, but it was hilarious. Thank you to everyone who sent Halloween packages and letters. I have been stuffing myself with candy.

So I have some great news. We currently have 3 people on date for baptism! Cajia (pronounced Kaya), Brother Gonsalves daughter, decided that she finally wants to get baptized. I had the strongest prompting on Sunday to invite her to get baptized, but our lesson was just going a different direction. Topics kept on changing and it was all a little scattered. Whenever I would try and lead to baptism it would go a different way. I finally just thought, well I will do it next time. Well I guess Elder Prawitt had the same prompting because at the end he just randomly said, "So have you prayed about baptism?" She said that she had and she wanted to. It was a good lesson for me to always follow the Spirit, even if you're scared or it's not the ideal situation, you always follow the Spirit. This week I came across a scripture in my reading that really applied. 1 Nephi 1: 26-27. This is Lehi talking about Nephi. I thought it was really neat. We also had Stake conference. One of our investigators showed up. His name is Philip. We just barely started to teach Philip. On Tuesday we showed up and his son and daughter were there so we started teaching the whole family. Philip really just wants to change his life. We invited him to church and then realized it was stake conference, but we did it anyway. He came and we are hoping he liked it. It was 2 hours long which is really long for someone new to church, but I really hope he felt the Spirit, I sure did. One of the speakers spoke on following the Spirit. He talked about how prophet after prophet has come to the current living prophet in vision and told them to tell the people to have the Spirit of the Lord as their guide. He then talked about how if we get a prompting and we follow it and it doesn't go as planned, do it again next time you get a prompting. It is how you show the Lord you are willing to follow his direction. So that was really neat.

This week we met with Ian. Ian and his wife are someone that we have taught in the past and we thought were just golden, but recently we haven't been able to meet with them. They live with their cousins who are members of the church. Well Ian's back has been hurting so their cousins said that he could receive a Priesthood blessing. We went over there and talked to him about the priesthood and about blessings. It was only Ian, Elder Prawitt and I in the room with Ian's kids going crazy all over. We gave Ian the priesthood blessing and everything just went calm. As we finished Ian was crying. He said that he hasn't felt like that since he was a kid. He said he just had this energy go through his body and then he felt calm. We bore testimony that what he felt was the Spirit telling him that what we talk about is true. We then talked about how the Priesthood was restored to the earth and how by that same priesthood we can get baptized. We invited him to get baptized and he accepted. He then prayed at the end of our lesson and gave such a sincere and heartfelt prayer. He told God that he knew what we talked about is true, he prayed for his family, and then prayed that he could follow in Christs footsteps. We met with him again yesterday. We read with him. He said that the chapter we read apply so much to what he is going through in his life. He is going to come to church with us this Sunday, he just doesn't have a tie. So today we are going to go tie shopping and get him one.

Last but not least, we met with a lady named Rebbecca. She is the lady who I talked about in my last email. She is currently homeless, but is living with her aunt. We were able to meet with her late in the evening when her son was asleep. Man we had such a great lesson with her. She wants to start over. She has made a lot of mistakes and just wants to change. We again talked to her about baptism and she accepted. It's amazing what is going on right now. Elder Prawitt and I are working hard and seeing miracle after miracle. This week I have been focusing on my love for Heavenly Father. It changed everything I did this week. I want to be better, I want to help others, I have the Spirit with me when I love God. Charity is so important. I learn more and more about it all the time. Well that is it for me this week. Today we have to drive to Kennewick because we have an extending Zone Leader Council Meeting. Tomorrow people from the missionary department from church headquarters are coming to meet with us and give a training. It should be good. Hope everyone is doing well. I love you.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 26, 2010 - Week 63

Good Morning Everybody!

Well another week in the Washington Kennewick Mission. The rain is finally here and I'm not sure if its going to go away now. It has been raining all week. I am sure getting good use of my coat. Well this week was Steve Gonsalves baptism. We met with him almost everyday to help him be prepared for Saturday. He is an amazing man. On Friday night we went and had a lesson with him. At the end of our lesson we read with him D&C 20:37 about the qualifications for baptism. Tears swelled up in his eyes as he realized the changes he had taken in his life and that he was truly worthy to be baptized. He just started to thank us. He said, "I hope you realize how lucky you are, to have grown up in the church. I would have been much better off if I would have had this in my life earlier. I know that my past is something that shaped me, but you are just so lucky to have had this. I want my kids to be like you. I want them to be able to not give into temptations." He then just started to sob. He grabbed the Book of Mormon in his hand and held it tightly. He said, "I know that this book is true. I know that it is true because it changed my life. It not only changed my life, but it saved my marriage. That woman (talking about his wife) means everything to me. She means everything to me and I want to be with her forever." What a great man he is. He has truly changed his life. You would not even believe what kind of life he used to live, and you would never have known it. He is one of the nicest men you will ever meet. He said that he is excited for his baptism because he can finally put his past behind him. It's buried in the water. He was even more excited for his confirmation, because he said that's when he becomes an official member of the church. He was so excited to receive the gift of the holy ghost.

So his father in law came up from Kennewick to baptize him. He got there the day of the baptism. We didn't know if he had baptismal clothes or not so we brought an extra white jumpsuit. They show up for the baptism and sure enough he doesn't have anything. We gave him the jumpsuit and he tried it on. Unfortunately it was super small on him. The baptism is supposed to start in 10 minutes. We are scrambling wondering what to do. We call the person who has all the clothing and she doesn't answer. Ah man! Time is drawing closer and we literally do not know what to do. Finally we see a guy just randomly walking in the church. He just so happened to have the same size waist as the father in law. So he ran home and grabbed his white temple pants. We started the baptism and had the talk on baptism. The pants still weren't there, so Elder Prawitt and I did a "missionary presentation." We stalled for as long as we could. FINALLY they show up with the pants and Brother Gonsalves father is able to get changed and we could proceed with the baptism. Holy cow was that stressful. I swear all baptisms are stressful. It seems like something always goes wrong at them.

Not much else happened this week. We were able to meet a couple new people and start teaching them. One is a lady named Rebecca. She is homeless right now and living with her aunt. She is so humble. I guess she had met with missionaries in the past and was going to get baptized, but her boyfriend wouldn't let her. She since has broken up with him and her whole life has just fallen apart. She has spent some time in jail and there realized that God was still there for her. Her life is still very hectic right now as she is trying to get everything figured out, but she wants to be baptized. She keeps on pleading for us to come back. We met with her yesterday and are going to see her again tomorrow. She really just wants to change her life. We also met with a lady named Rhonda. She is really cool. We have been trying to meet with her for like 3 months now, but she has always been too busy. She wanted her and her husband to meet with us, but they could never do it at the same time. Finally the husband said he just wasn't interested, so she said we could come by just to see her. We had a great lesson with her. We introduced her to the Book of Mormon and she said that she would read it. God has always been very important to her and overtime she just stopped going to church, but she realizes how much it helped her. She can see how her kids don't have the same thing she did and she really wants them to have it. This week we are having our Halloween Trunk or Treat. We are inviting everyone to it. Hopefully a lot of people show up. Guess what? We have to be in our house by 6 o clock on Halloween. BUMMER!!!!! I don't know what we are going to do. Hand out candy I guess. Oh well.

This last week we had interviews with President and Sister Greer. They are awesome. It was interesting because Elder Prawitt's interview was really short. They pretty much just asked him what he is going to do when he goes home. My interview; on the other hand, was a lot longer. President was drilling me with questions about the Zone and telling me things that need to get done. I guess they are preparing me for when Elder Prawitt leaves. All the responsibility will fall on me. Oh boy. Oh today we are going on a hike. There is this pretty cool waterfall that we are going to hike up to. I'm really excited for it and I'll be sure to take a lot of pictures. Well I think that's about it for me. Hope everyone is doing well. Talk to ya later.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19, 2010 - Week 62

Hello Everyone!!

Well it is just another day here in Vancouver Washington. The sun is shining and the rain clouds are gone. This week has been pretty good for us. Not a whole lot has happened this last week, but I will hit some of the highlights. I conducted my first baptismal interview. It was an 11 year old boy, so it wasn't that difficult. And man he was rock solid. He has such a testimony of the gospel. I really liked interviewing him. It's amazing to see how much the gospel can really bring happiness into peoples lives, even an 11 year old. So I'm glad it went well. I was stressin out all week and studying up on how to conduct an interview and what I can do to help the person feel comfortable. As most of you know, interviews are usually stressful, and it is for the one doing the interview too haha. But it was not bad at all. Speaking of interviews, Brother Gonsalves had his this last week. We found out some information about him that needed to be taken care of with President Greer. Brother Gonsalves is an amazing man. I can't believe the life that he used to live. Growing up in Boston is rough. He has changed so much and now all he wants to do is do the right thing and follow Christ. Elder Prawitt and I love that guy. We had a long chat with him. He loves to talk. His baptism will be this Saturday and his father-in-law is going to come up from Kennewick to baptize him. I'm so excited for that day.

Really not much else has happened. We didn't teach as much as we usually do. There were just a lot of little things that we had to do. Its funny because we have just been so busy and we have been trying to cram in as much proselyting time as we can. We have put off some of our zone leader responsibilities because something else comes up and we have to take care of that and then we are already running behind on schedule so we just go to our next teaching appointment. We had a big realization this week that we need to slow down and get everything organized. We spent a good day just planning out what needs to be done and how we can do it. It was really good. Everything is working out now and moving smoothly. And now that we are organized we have more time to go proselyte. Its good. I came across this scripture and it really hit home Mosiah 4:27. I can't tell you how much that is true. Yesterday I went on exchanges with an Elder in our district named Elder Mcelhaney. He is such a good kid. Man does he work hard. He didn't have a lot of teaching appointments so we did a ton of tracting. He is a Spanish missionary so he did all the Spanish doors and I did all the English doors. We actually had a lot of success and got a lot of return appointments. I am realizing each and every day that everyone has their own personal conversion to the gospel. We talked a lot about how Heavenly Father gives us opportunities to grow and to learn. Many of these opportunities are things that we are going to struggle with for a while, but we can face those challenges and come out stronger, or we can blame God and just fall deeper into a hole. Elder Mcelhaney was diagnosed with cancer before he came out on his mission. He said that in high school he was doing some awful stuff. He said that he would party a lot. One day he was at the gym and noticed a small lump which he later found out was cancer. He immediately had to go through chemotherapy. He said that after that he changed his life. He should have died, but amazingly he didn't and now he is serving the Lord and doing his best everyday to make it up to him. He said that he is thankful that he got cancer, because cancer saved his life. He was going down the wrong road and now he is back on the right path. Well we had a great exchange. We had an awesome appointment with one of their investigators. Unfortunately it was all in spanish so I just sat and smiled. I could tell that it was good because the investigators were so excited to hear about prophets and the restoration. The spirit was strong too.

Well that's it for me this week. I'm not sure what we are doing for p-day today. I don't think anything special. Take care everyone and enjoy the fall.


Elder Garrick

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13, 2010 - Week 61

Good Morning Everyone!

I'm sure you all probably guessed that I had a meeting yesterday. For the past two days all the zone leaders and district leaders had training on these new fundamental missionary lessons. It was amazing. But that is why I did not email yesterday. This week has been hectic. Transfers were this week and boy does that take a lot of time. There was some confusion on housing so we had to get that figured out. One of the sister companionships left and they brought in two elders. What they didn't realize is that the sisters were living in a house with a single sister and the elders can't live there. So we did a lot of moving and calling around and finally got everything figured out. WHEW! There weren't a whole lot of activities or anything that happened this week but I thought I would give you an update on people we are teaching.

Brother Gonsalves is doing great. He is completely ready to get baptized and he knows this is all true. He wants to do everything he can to change his life and completely follow Christ. Its amazing. His wife; on the other hand, is already a member but does not want to come back to church right now. This kills Brother Gonsalves because he wants to do this together and he keeps saying, "I want to go to the Celestial Kingdom with you." Elder Prawitt and I both realized that it would be best to just move forward with Brother Gonsalves so we can prepare him for his baptism. Its the best thing right now.

We have been meeting with this Turkish lady for a while now named Seren. She is pretty cool. She is muslim and doesn't have a real Christian background. She always talks to us but has never really gotten into the things we teach or anything. We decided to change our teaching to fit her needs. The past two lessons we've had with her have been great. She is now curious and wants to learn more. She is excited and making efforts on her own part to learn. Its pretty cool. We also met for the first time with a guy named Jerry. We met him before and just talked to him, but this time we were actually able to teach him. Man this guy is so ready for the gospel. The questions he asks are just so soul searching and with every question, the gospel has an answer. He was really wondering where we come from and what happens to us when we die. We explained the Pre-Earth life and how we have a Spirit body and a physical body. He was amazing and it just clicked inside of him. It was a good lesson and we hope to continue onward. Lastly is Birry (prounounced Beeray). We tracted into this family just yesterday. They are from West African and have lived here about 13 years. We were talking to the wife, Birry, and she said that she was Muslim. She started talking about Mohammed (sp?) and how he was a prophet. We explained that God has always called prophets on the earth and he has again called another living prophet. Her response was, "What! Are you serious? A living prophet! When did this happen? Are you serious? There is a prophet on the earth?" We simply told her yes and asked her if it would be important for her to find out. She said, "Of course it would be. This is a big deal! Why have I never heard about this before? I'm confused, when did this happen? Did God just drop him out of heaven one day?" It was amazing. She honestly wanted to know. She couldn't meet with us then but we rescheduled for a latter time. She said, "Good I want to hear more about this prophet." So we are meeting with her tomorrow. I am really excited and will have to let you know how it goes.

Our 2 day training was great. We talked about Our purpose as missionaries and how important it is to truly love people and to rely on the Spirit. Its so important in everything that we do. We read from D&C 50:13-14 where it says, "Unto what were ye ordained? To Preach my Gospel, even by the Spirit." President Greer asked us when did we accept the call to do missionary work. One elder raised his hand and said, "When we got our mission call." Another missionary raised his hand and said, "When we got baptized." I then realized that I accepted my call to do missionary work much earlier than that. The spirit bore witness to me that this is why I am here right now. I accepted this call long ago and now I'm fulfilling my calling, that I was sent here. Its amazing. I can't believe how great this work truly is. To help people come closer to Christ, its the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I realize that more and more everyday.

Well that is it for me this week. I hope you're all doing fine. I pray for many of you everyday. I think for P-day we are just going to play some basketball. I have a lot of letters that I need to write that I probably won't be able to write. I love you guys.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 5, 2010 - Week 60

Hello Family,

Man this was such a great week. I have so much to say, but am unfortunately already running out of time. I hope that I can type fast enough. Well this week we had Zone Leader Council again. This is where all the zone leaders get together with the Mission President and discuss the needs of our mission and what we can do. We drove down with all the zone leaders on the west side of the mission on Thursday and the new zone leaders. And guess who is a new zone leader. Elder Buchanan! I hope that he does well in his new position. Also Elder Brinton got called to be a new zone leader. He is in our district right now and is a great missionary. At ZLC we always have a testimony meeting where President Greer usually asks the leaving Zone Leaders to bear their testimony. Those testimony meetings are the most spiritual meetings I have ever been to. There is such a great love for God, for missionary work, and for each other in the room. The past two ZLC's the Spirit has been so strong. It is such a great feeling.

Well I wanted to tell you really fast about Tim and Shilo. We have been teaching Tim for the past couple of weeks now. I think I talked about him in my last email. He has his own belief in God but he came to church with his recently activated girlfriend and we have been meeting with him ever since. We have had some good lessons with him. So the other day we show up to their house and Sister Carlson's, she is Tim's girlfriend, brother is there. He just got out of jail that day. As we sat down he immediately came over to us with a Book of Mormon in hand and started to ask us questions. He said that while he was in jail he went to their library and asked for a Book of Mormon. His grandma is LDS and he wanted to check it out a little bit. Well while he was in jail they took away all of his belongings. He literally had nothing except for the Book of Mormon. He considers it a sign that he should learn more. So we start to explain to him a little bit about the Book of Mormon. Then Tim jumps in and he starts teaching and testifying on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. It was amazing. Our investigator is teaching another investigator about the gospel! Shilo, the brother, had studied Native American religion. We told him how the people in the Book of Mormon are the ancestors of the Native American. He was completely amazed. We are now going to start teaching Shilo with Tim. It was pretty cool.

The Gonsalves family is doing pretty well. Brother Gonsalves is solid. He knows this is true and he is leading his family out and setting the example. He has changed so much. His wife is a less active member and has more doubts and concerns right now but we are going to work with her and see if we can help her. Their family is awesome. Brother Gonsalves said that he considers Elder Prawitt and I like his sons.

Wasn't General Conference amazing. Holy cow the first session was just mind blowing. I had so many questions that I wanted answered and most of them were answered in the very first session of General Conference. By the end of Conference, all my questions had been answered. It was so great. I thought it was so cool to see at the very beginning President Monson said that we need more missionaries. I recently heard that only 30% of young men are actually going on missions. As President Monson spoke I could tell that it wasn't coming from him, it was coming from Heavenly Father. My other favorite talks were from Elder D. Todd Christopherson about consecrating yourself. I have really been trying to do that lately with my mission. He gave some great guidance that I am going to try and follow for this next transfer. And President Uchtdorf, surprise surprise. He is still my favorite. His talk on focusing on what is important was so great. The simple things are what really matter. Our relationship with God, family, others, and ourselves. That was so great. And he gave a great talk on Pride. I have really seen how that is the great stumbling block for everyone. I have seen it in investigators, members, missionaries, and sometimes even in myself haha. What a great talk. There was another talk, I can't remember who gave it, but he spoke on faith and character. He said, "We become what we want to be, when we be what we want to become each day of our lives." I loved that. I'm focusing on that everyday. Well that's it for me. I love you guys. Hope you enjoyed General Conference too. I'm always glad to hear that everyone is doing good. I love you.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 28, 2010 - Week 59

Jared's current District at the Portland, OR Temple

Jared, Elder Prawitt, and the AP's having fun!!!

Hello Everyone,

Well this has been a pretty good week for us. Zone Conference was last week and it was so good. I can tell you what, it was not as enjoyable partly because I was the one giving the training for part of it. Usually it’s just a great time to sit back and relax and learn more about the gospel and how to be a more effective missionary. This time I was just stressin out until our training was finished, then I could relax. It went really well though. Elder Prawitt and I had been preparing for it for the past couple of weeks and somehow everything we each studied on our own came together when we planned it out. I got to see Elder Buchanan at zone conference too. He is doing awesome. That kid is a baptizing machine. They just baptized 7 people and have about 8 more on date. I don't know how he does it. President gave everyone a little bit of a rebuke. There have been a lot of problems with missionaries in this last transfer and President is just getting fed up with it. It was probably the best rebuke I have ever heard though. He said what needed to be said, he encouraged us to be better, and he did it all in the spirit of love. There are many exciting things ahead for missionary work and he said that if the missionaries cannot be more obedient than the work will never progress like it should. There is this new thing called, "I'm a Mormon," Where people are making profiles of themselves. It’s to show that members are a diverse group of people, but that they are all blessed by their belief in Jesus Christ and the gospel. They are really promoting it in some states like New York and Florida. I bet Max Johnson is having a blast right now. I believe his mission was one of the ones where it was really working good. People are able to get online and then talk to missionaries’ right on the internet and ask them questions. Some missionaries are even having time where they go to computer labs and just chat with people for a couple hours. President said that the goal of this is for missionaries to get off the streets to find. Anyway it’s super exciting and President is asking for a higher commitment of obedience so maybe in the future our mission might be able to do the same. This week was pretty fun because the AP's were on the west side of the mission almost the whole week. Elder Prawitt and I are their favorites so they stayed with us haha. It was a blast. We had such a good time. Elder Lavin is the senior AP and he goes home this transfer. He was pretty sad because he said that he wants to do this again when we all get home. He is a good kid.

Well I guess I will tell you just a little bit about a couple of people who we are teaching. Some things just don’t go the way you would have hoped they would. Many of the people we have been teaching, we weren't able to see this week. It’s kinda disappointing, but we will continue to try. We have been meeting with this guy named Tim. His girlfriend is a less active member who has recently been coming to church. They are in their 40's/50's. Well Tim has some very interesting ideas on religion and God. He came to church a couple weeks ago and so we have been meeting with him ever since. He has been warming up with us more and more. He always likes to feed us and he feeds us some weird stuff. This week we had shrimp pizza. It actually wasn't that bad. Well like I said he has some interesting interpretations on things but we are getting through to him. He is now reading the Book of Mormon where a couple weeks ago he refused. He is really starting to like it too. We asked him how he feels about things and he goes, "Well, I'm pretty sure the Mormons aren't of the Devil. This seems like the way I’ll probably go in the future, but there is still more I need to know." So he is doing awesome. Progress is slow, but there is progress. This week we also met with Brother Gonsalves. We had a great lesson with him. He just wants his family to be happy and he knows this is the way to do it. They have been having nightly scripture study and nightly prayers as a family. There is just a different spirit in their home. Brother Gonsalves said that this just feels like the right way to go. He has said for a long time that he will probably get baptized, but he just doesn't feel ready yet. This time, we invited him and he said yes. He is so on fire. He has so many questions about everything. When he comes to church he is participating more than the members and he is just so curious about everything. He said that he wants to become part of the ward family. We were so happy. He has a 12 year old daughter who has been coming to church. She loves Young Women’s. She is very shy and doesn't have a lot of friends, but the girls have really reached out to her and she loves it. She doesn't feel ready to get baptized right now, but it’s probably because she doesn't understand it very well yet. We are pretty confident that we can set a date for her to get baptized with her dad. Brother Gonsalves baptismal date is October 23rd, but we are thinking we might move it closer just because he is completely ready for it. There is no need to wait. We will have to see.

That’s about it for me this week. Kind of a short email. I want to try and send some pictures this week though. I love you all and hope everything is going well. I'm so excited for General Conference. It is such a great privilege that we can hear what the Lord needs us to hear. It’s a true testimony that the windows of heaven are not shut off. Here is my scripture for the week. D&C 21: 4-6. I'm understanding more and more how much our Heavenly Father loves us. He truly knows each of us separately as individuals. It’s amazing to think about how He has been in my life and influenced me. How the certain events that have transpired have helped me and blessed me so much in the future. And then to see that same influence and love in other people’s lives. It’s amazing. I'll give one more scripture, just because it’s my favorite. Alma 26: 37. Yes another scripture from Alma 26. But it is one of the best missionary chapters of all scripture in my opinion. Well I love you all. Take care of yourselves this week and enjoy Conference.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 21, 2010 - Week 58

Good morning everyone,

Ah there has been so much that has happened in this last week. I don't know where to begin. I guess I will just start off on how the week went. We had a lesson with a man named Kenny this week. He was a referral from some members in our ward. Kenny works with one of the members and one day Kenny came up to him and started to ask him questions. Kenny's daughter is a recent covert to the church and just got married in the Temple. Kenny was really confused and kind of angry that he could not go to his first daughters wedding, so he asked one of his co-workers who he knew was LDS. They had some really good talks with each other. Kenny started to ask more of his co-workers who he knew were LDS. To make a long story short, they did a great job explaining everything to him. They bore their testimonies to him and he felt the spirit. They described what he was feeling and that the spirit was leading him to the truth. When we showed up to teach Kenny he was holding a Book of Mormon in his hand already with the testimony of one of his coworkers on the front cover. We had a great lesson with him. As we taught about the First Vision he said, "I have that feeling again. The feeling I had when my friend talked to me." We bore testimony that it was the spirit. He said that he already knows that all of this is true. We asked him if he would be baptized and he said, "Of course I would." It was so great. But here is the catch. Kenny lives in Portland, OR so we will have to pass him on to the Portland missionaries as soon as possible. He is a great guy and completely prepared for the gospel, a golden investigator.

Next we went on exchanges with the Assistants this week. It was great. Actually a lot of our appointments fell through so we did a lot of finding. I went with Elder Baker. He is a great missionary and I learned a lot about serving in a leadership position and also better ways to find people. While we were together we had a lesson with Ian and Nicole. They are cousins to some members in our ward and they are all actually living together at the moment. They are great too. As we were teaching them we were about to commit them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. Everything was going pretty good and then we hear this bang. Ian jumps up and rushes out the door. We hear crying from their little boy. I guess he tried to do a jump on their front porch and fell. As he came down he bit a hole right through his tongue. There was blood everywhere. It was so crazy. They rushed him off to the hospital as fast as they could. Needless to say, the lesson didn't go as we had planned. They are really cool though. We checked up on the little boy and he is doing fine now. They are trying to come to church, but are having difficulties with his work schedule.

Ah the next day we had some more Sister drama. This time there was an elder who was involved. Two missionaries, an elder and sister, have kind of gotten close to each other. They spend a lot of time together because they are both Spanish speaking and all the Spanish missionaries have dinner together, go to church together, and even teach lessons together. Well it went a little too far this time. Nothing serious happened, but it needed to stop. The Assistants were still in Vancouver so they came back to our zone and we had to sit down and talk with both companionships. Unfortunately the elder in our zone was emergency transferred to Pasco and will be there for the rest of the transfer. There were a lot of tears involved. President and Sister Greer came up on Sunday to settle everything down. Man life of a zone leader, not as fun as everyone would think sometimes. We were pretty sad too because the elder that got transferred is a good friend and missionary. He really just wanted to help the sister missionary out, but his feelings for her got to close. I hope he does well. So because of all that our zone has been pretty crazy. I think with a new mission president a few missionaries are thinking they can get away with some things. President is pretty mad about it and he is cracking down on it. Our mission is actually really good. Missionaries are more obedient and diligent than they used to be, even a couple years ago, but even the most minor things are not acceptable. So that was a bummer for us this week.

The Gonsalves family is still doing fantastic. They came to church this week for all three hours. Their 12 year old daughter is really shy and doesn't have a lot of friends. She was so nervous to go to Young Womens. The whole time she was saying to her mom, "Why do I have to go? Please don't make me go!" They told her that she did. Right before the 3rd hour of church was about to start they thought they would go get her and take her home. At this point she was talking to the rest of the young women. Her dad asked her if she wanted to leave and she ran off with her new friends to the next class at church. They had a great time and Brother Gonsalves said that he really enjoyed church and that a lot of his questions were answered. We are meeting with them more and more during the week. Bro. Gonsalves said that he is really jumping into this with both feet. They are having nightly family prayers together and are studying the scriptures together too. They are great. We also have started to meet with another members niece. Her name is Cailynn and is from New York. She lived kind of a crazy life and she came here to live with her aunt and uncle to straighten things out. She is really open to learning more about the church though. She has already come to church twice and is really excited when we come over. There is a girl in the ward who is about the same age so they have been hanging out together literally almost everyday. It is really good. We had a pretty good lesson with her yesterday and she said that she is excited to learn more now. We are hoping that everything goes well for her. She loves to read so she said that she would start reading the Book of Mormon.

Well other than the crazy stuff that has been going on in the zone, I am doing really well. It seems like things are finally starting to pick up for us. We have some really solid people we are teaching right now who are sincere and want to learn more. I'm really hopeful for the future. This week we have zone conference and I will be giving my first official training as a zone leader. I'm really excited about it though. It is about recognizing and relying on the Spirit in conversion. Elder Prawitt and I have been working on it for the past few days. It's going to be great. We are working really well together. Elder Prawitt is awesome. We are very similar to each other. We like the same music, pretty much have the same personality, and the same desire and drive for missionary work. We are hoping that we can stay together for his last transfer in the mission. Well hope everyone is doing well. I love you all. I'm so happy that I have so much support and love while I have been out. Take care everyone.

Elder Garrick

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 14, 2010 - Week 57

Hello Everyone!

Well this has been another busy week. I tell ya what, it just never slows down for us. I am completely fine with that though. I enjoy being busy. Time is going by so fast. It actually makes me nervous sometimes knowing that it is flying by. Well I want to assure everyone that I am getting their letters. Seriously I just haven't been this busy in my life ever. It is very hard for me to write letters back. Even our P-Days are hectic and we are usually the ones who organize our p-days and get everyone together to do things. So it's even hard to write on p-days. I will try my best, it just may take a little longer than it usually does.

There isn't a whole lot of amazing things that happened this last week. President challenged the Zone leaders this week to have 10 OYM's (Open Your Mouth). This just means that each day he wants us to talk to 10 different people and teach them something and invite them to do something else. For example, stop and talk to someone on the street, teach them about the Book of Mormon, and then invite them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. It hasn't been that hard. Elder Prawitt and I do this a lot anyway. It has been helping us to talk to everyone and focus on our purpose as missionaries. We are being blessed for it as well. We have a lot of potential investigators that we could teach in the near future. There are also people coming out from nowhere at church who just came with their aunt or boyfriend etc. Its really exciting. we are hoping we can meet with them and start teaching them as well. This week we also met with the Gonsalves family. The wife is the only member of the family. The husband and their 12 year old daughter are not members and the missionaries have been teaching them for a little bit. We had a great lesson with them this week on the Restoration. Brother Gonsalves is praying about a baptismal date for sometime in October. They all came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed it. We have high hopes for them. We have also been finding a lot of Russian people. I don't know if I told you all yet, but Elder Prawitt served in Ukraine for the first half of his mission. Because of medical issues he had to come home for a couple of months and now he has been serving in the Kennewick Mission for almost another year. Well Ukrainian is very similar to Russian so its nice because if they can't understand what we are saying then Elder Prawitt can translate it for them. Russians are very funny too. They are really nice and curious about the things that we teach them. We will see how it goes. As for our other teaching appointments, nothing too big. We had a few appointments cancel on us which was a bummer, but we keep trying.

This week we also went on exchanges again with two companionships in the zone. That was a ton of fun. I really like doing that because I am able to really get to know the other missionaries and talk to them closely. This week the AP's are coming to our area to go on exchanges with us. We will split up and do double the work for one whole day. It will be pretty intense though. I'm really excited for it. The AP's are really good missionaries and I am becoming good friends with them. This last week we also had a Sister's Conference for all the sister missionaries on the west side of the mission. Since we have 6 sisters in our zone, we were asked to come help and give training. It was actually a pretty good meeting. We role played and taught with the sister missionaries. It was definitely different from teaching with elders, but I learned a lot from them. On September 11th we did the Day of Service at the church's carrot farm. That was a ton of fun. The whole stake was there and we spent the day picking carrots, weeding, and cleaning the carrots. All the missionaries were there together too. I can't believe how many carrots we actually had. It was amazing. Probably 8 truck loads. All the elders had to load the carrots from the truck to the store house.

Well that's pretty much it for me this week. Very busy. I am learning more and more about sacrifice and consecrating my work to the Lord. President Greer said something at ZLC that has stuck with me. He said, "So many of the missionaries are still stuck in Utah, or Arizona, or wherever they may be." His point was that there are many missionaries who are still trying to live the lives they lived back at home. I'm doing my best to get completely lost in the work. And from Lyndsie's comments, I am doing a good job at it because she said I am now one of those weird missionaries. It is probably true, but this is the one time in my entire life where I can literally devote ALL my time and attention to serving God. It's an amazing experience. I know that it will be different when I come home, but I don't want it to be all that different. I want to do the things I am doing now for the rest of my life. I want to know the things I know for the rest of my life and live the way I am right now for the rest of my life. I take that back, I want to be a little better tomorrow and the next day. Today we went to the Portand, OR Temple. Man that is such a beautiful temple. I loved it so much. I went in today with a lot of questions on my mind. I had a lot more questions come up during the session. As I sat and pondered of these things in the Celestial room, I prayed and searched the scriptures. I came away with so many answers to my questions. We just barely got back. I think we are just going to go shopping now and try to get some sleep because we had to wake up really early. Oh I'll be honest, that probably won't happen. We will probably play basketball or frisbee. I'll will definitely write some letters though. Take care everyone. I love you all very much.

Elder Garrick