Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January 26, 2010 - Week 24

We received the above two pictures from Sister Pierce. She wrote the following: "Your Missionary had brunch at my house Today!! We had a P-day Brunch today at our home here in Pasco! It was the day before transfers! So there were a few goodbyes! We love your missionaries too!! From a fellow missionary Mom. I have a son serving in Layton Ut / Ogden Mission!"

Hello everyone,

So guess what happened with transfers?..... I am staying in Pasco! What's even crazier is that Elder Cashin is staying too. This will be 3 transfers together. Right now that is the longest companionship in the zone. It's not uncommon though. Elder Cashin was really hoping he would get transferred to the west side in Vancouver. I really didn't care. I was hoping I'd get transferred to India haha. Our district leader is being transferred and his new companion is going to be in a tripanionship. Another elder is leaving and he will be a district leader in his new area. They are awesome guys. They're so funny. I'll have to get a picture with them so you can see them. So everyone can still send their mail to my same address.

What is good about all of this is that both of our wards are really happy that both of us are staying. Last week I talked to the Stake President and told him about how hard it has been in these two wards. I'm pretty sure he talked to both bishops. but last Sunday we challenged the auxiliary leaders to do some missionary work. We created a packet thing and presented it to them and challenged them. We then talked about missionary work the rest of the meeting. It was great! The whole ward is very excited, especially the Bishop. I think we have really gained the trust of our Wards. Lynds and Dan you're right, there are the referrals where you go try someones neighbor and there are referrals where they invite to teach their friends in their home. That is what we are searching for and that is exactly what we are getting.

The Bishops wife is amazing. Her daughter has a friend that has been coming to Young Womens. So Sis Swanberg, the bishops wife, invited her and her mom to learn more from the missionaries. The mom declined, but she said she would let the daughter come. So last Sunday we had a great lesson with the daughter at the bishops house. The girl is 12 years old and I really think she felt the spirit. The problem is that the mom is allowing her to take the lessons, but doesn't want her to get baptized until she is 18. We will see. Then this morning Sis Swanberg called us again because she has another nonmember girl who has been coming to Young Womens. She again invited her and the parents to come to church. So we will probably start teaching them too. What is crazy is that all this week we have been praying to find a family of 3. We have tracted and searched for this family and we haven't found them. Then today Sis Swanberg calls us and tells us of this family of 3 she wants us to teach. AMAZING! That's what happens when you pray in faith.

So that is literally all that has happened. And this has happened in the past couple of days. If it wasn't for the past couple of days this email would probably be even shorter haha. Just not much went on last week. Oh something that did happen, Elder Cashin broke our shower haha. He felt so bad. I have no idea how he did it. But right now we are showerless so we stink. Haha Just kidding. Our members have let us use their shower. Hopefully it can be fixed soon though. Yup that's it.

Dad I want you to know that I haven't forgotten about you. HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLD MAN! I hope you have a good one. I'm gonna try and write ya a letter today so you will probably receive it sometime this week.

I love you guys. Talk to ya next week.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19, 2010 - Week 23

The Elders with Santa

Hey Everyone,

Sorry I couldn't think of what to title this email so.....ya. Well not much has gone on this week. This may be a shorter email. As you probably saw in my last email, things are pretty rough. And they just keep getting harder and harder. Many of the people we have been teaching don't want to take the lessons anymore and even some that we are teaching just aren't progressing. I tell ya what, Americans might be some of the hardest people to teach. Everyone thinks that Mormons are just crazy and they all have false views about us that their preacher tells them or that they read on the internet. And most of the time people don't really listen to us, they just disagree with us and try to convince us that we are wrong. There are very few people who actually want to listen. We have been trying to contact some old potential investigators that no one has seen and even try some old former investigators who stopped investigating a while back. We got some appointments so hopefully all goes well. We also have been trying to work with our wards. It's really tough because our ward mission leaders aren't really doing much and when you live in a state like Washington, everything really depends on the ward and the ward mission leader. We have a great Stake President here. He just took our whole zone out to lunch at the Red Lion. I talked to him about it and he was very concerned. He said he is going to talk to the bishops and see if something can change. He is a great guy. I have never seen anyone, literally anyone, who works with missionaries as much as he does. He is already busy with being the stake president, but then he does all this extra stuff because he knows how important it is to spread the gospel.

So that's pretty much what has been going on. Pretty hard, but it can and will get better. On brighter news, I just thought that I would tell you a little bit more about Adrian Sandavol. Last night we had our first New Member Lesson with him. He is awesome. Ever since he got baptized he has been studying the scriptures and he sat by me in church last Sunday and he was looking up all the scriptures and answering questions. The bishop asked him what made him decide to get serious and how did you know this was true. He said it was because Elder Cashin and I actually got down to business. I guess the other missionaries just kinda hung out with him and never really taught him much. But Elder Cashin and I actually went in and taught him, and he liked it better that way. He also said that he found out it was true because he was actually open to the spirit this time. He said the spirit is what made him join. I know that it was when we had that great lesson with him about God appearing to Joseph Smith the same way he appeared to Moses. That was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. So when we met with him I asked him how he felt. He said that he feels complete, he feels whole. He said that there was something missing in his life, but not anymore. He said that he is a lot happier now too. He just got the Aaronic Priesthood this Sunday. We talked to him about Missionary Work and he got all excited. He wants to share it with his friends and his family. He said, "I can baptize now right?" We told him yes and then he said, "I need to find people to baptize now!" He is great. Him and his wife actually bought Elder Cashin and I a couple of ties. They want to have us over for dinner before transfers.

So speaking of transfers, we will find out this Saturday if we are leaving or not. I'm pretty sure that I will be staying but you never know with President Belnap. I'm pretty sure our District leader and another missionary in our district will leave because they have both been here about 10-11 months. Elder Cashin thinks that he will be leaving too. So if you need to send me anything, then you better send it to the mission office. I will let you know by next p-day if I'm leaving or not. And hey mom I already got the Band of Bros. Andy's mom sent it too me. If you see her tell her thanks for everything. Also I got Anne, Leon, and Kaylene and Hailee's (I hope I spelled everyone's names right)card and thing to McDonalds. Tell them thank you for me as well. I have just been so busy with things lately I haven't had time to write. It takes us forever to plan for some odd reason and I have been getting to bed really late. Late as in like 11:30. That's not really late, but for a missionary it is haha.

Today we got to go to the Temple. Boy was that great. I miss going to the temple every week. I really needed it today. I also thought that if I go to India pretty soon that this could be one of the last times I get to go to the temple for a while. And with my visa to India.....I am willing to go if the Lord wants to send me there. I know last week I said I was gonna write India off, but I just can't do it. I know I'll get there someday. Well I hope everyone is doing good. Thank you all for your support and your letters. I will try to catch up on them today, but I can't promise anything. Love you and I'll talk to ya next week.

Elder Garrick

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 13, 2010 - Week 22 - First Baptism

Elder Garrick with Adrian Sandavol and Elder Cashin

Adrian Sandavol and his family, wife Angie, his little girl Bella 3 yrs. and Jaron 1 yr.

Hey everyone!

So I sent that letter to the family, but for everyone else who doesn't know, I got my first baptism on Saturday! It was Adrian Sandavol. He has been investigating the church for years. His wife is a member and he has two kids. But we started to teach him shortly after I got to Pasco. He has changed a lot and he is a whole new person. We had some amazing lessons with him that I know I have talked about in past emails. Well 2 Sundays ago we put him on date for January 23rd. We met with him again on Wednesday and he asked if he could be baptized this Saturday. We said he could so we got everything planned out and it all went great. He was baptized by a friend in the ward who is a major reason why he was baptized and then he was confirmed by his father-in-law. Elder Cashin and I got to be part of the confirmation. It was great. I sent some pictures of us with Adrian and of his family. They are amazing people. Adrian's family isn't too supportive of this, but his sister did come. I don't what else to say about it haha. It was just amazing and it felt so good to see that someone who I have been teaching has changed so much and has made this commitment to God. He is so happy now and so is his family.

Well in other less good news, this week has been pretty rough for us. The Storms, one of our best progressing investigators, decided that they want to try some other churches for a while and not continue meeting with us. It is too bad. They were doing so well, but I think they found out about the Word of Wisdom and he said that he is not ready for that commitment yet. We hope that they will come around sometime. Also another investigator dropped us this week. We are doing all that we can and things just aren't working out. We decided that we need the help of our ward. We have made plans to help members start doing their own missionary work and find people for us to teach. We are also going to try and get as many referrals as we can because tracting is not productive. We met with our bishop last night and he said he will support us. I think it will work out. Another family we are teaching just found out that their grandpa has cancer. This is really stressing the dad out and I think is going to hinder us meeting with him. I don't know maybe this is what he needs so he can finally turn to God. Maybe he'll find his answer now.

Yesterday we had interviews. That's why I did not email yesterday. Today, Wednesday, is our p-day for this week. It was a really good interview and I learned a lot from the training we got. I finally met with President Belnap. He said that he considers it a blessing that I am in the Kennewick Mission. I guess Elder Cashin told him that I have helped him a lot. President also said that he has spoken to many members of our wards and they all see that we work hard. He said we are gaining their trust. Its nice to see that people actually recognize the work we do. I talked to President about my visa. He hadn't heard anything. He advised me to not think about it and to just serve. He's right, it does distract me. It's like I have a girlfriend waiting for me and I'm just waiting for the dear john letter saying that I'm not going anymore. So I have decided to write India off. It's sad, but its something that I should do. I'm not even going to think about it from now on. My mission is the Kennewick, WA Mission. If I get my visa then that will be a nice surprise, but for now I'm done with it. Hopefully I can now focus and not let this distract me.

Well Dad you talked about teaching your Sunday school class. If I could just give any advise it would be to bring the scriptures to life for yourself and for the class. Paint a picture in their minds and then apply it to them, especially with the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon. Listen to "Get an Attitude" by John Bytheway. That may help. It sure has helped me. So about a book to read....Jesus the Christ is amazing. I can't believe you gave up on it. I hear The Miracle of Forgiveness is also amazing, but you have to read the whole book straight through or you will just feel horrible about yourself. But if you get to the end, then it's the best book you can read.

Everyone's New Year sounded fun. I missed all the food and games. Oh hey mom, stay off your dang foot! What are you thinking. Its a big deal! Its better to be laid up for a little while then to have surgery. The Christmas cards that I sent were Elder Cashin's. He actually drew them. I only made a few copies and it was after I had sent most of mine anyway so I only sent a few. But he's pretty good huh. Hey Lynds your funny about the TV. I will probably watch TV when I get home. I definitely don't want to watch as much as I did before my mission though. If you listen to "Turn off the TV and get a life" by John Bytheway you would understand. Those were a good Christmas present if you couldn't tell haha. But I'm sure that the flat screen is pretty cool. And now your an HD snob huh. I still can't tell the difference. Hey Dan you're the Ward Clerk! Sweet! That's a big job. I bet your pretty busy now.

Well not much has gone on. As you can see from this email, there are a lot of high ups and a lot of low downs on your mission. And you can have both in the same day. It's really weird, but we are going to continue to work hard and hopefully we can start teaching more people in members homes. That is our goal. Next week we get to go to the Temple so that will be nice. Today I think we are just gonna hang out and play basketball or something. Next week will be our last week of transfers. How crazy is that. Elder Cashin and I aren't sure what will happen to us. Pretty much anything could. E. Cashin is thinking he might leave. I think I might stay, but who knows. Well I love you guys and hope everyone is doing well. That reminds me, how are you doing Whit? How is the family doing? You'll be okay. Well love you all and I'll talk to ya next week.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January 5, 2010 Week 21


So I am starting off because I'm so excited and I can't wait to tell you. And no I have not gotten my visa. By the way, have you heard anything about my visa? They told me probably sometime after Christmas. That is very general, but it is sometime after Christmas now. They will probably tell me sometime after Valentines next. Okay the good news. Adrian is now on date to be baptized on January 23rd! Heck ya! The guy is awesome. We asked him if you wanted to and if he would prepare himself for that date. he said yes and his wife started to freak out. She was just in shock. She kept on saying, "Seriously? Are you serious this time? What does this mean?" He just sat there so I piped up and said, "I think he is saying he wants to be baptized." Anyway it was really fun and they are really happy and really excited about it all.

Other good news, I am going on exchanges with our district leader today and tomorrow. He will be coming into my area and Elder Cashin is leaving. But we are going to try and set a date for baptism with another family, the Smiths. It’s the father and his two sons. So hopefully that goes well and we might get at least one more on date, hopefully 3 though. So ya, things are going real good right now.

Last night I went on exchanges with the zone leaders and went to their area, Spanish area. We were in a threesome because there was an Elder from Murray, Utah who was going home today. I didn't know him though. He is also Spanish speaking so I just kinda hung out. It was fun though.

So how are things going with everyone back at home? Hey Whit and Pete, how is Kansas? I guess your all moved in now and getting used to it. How’s the rest of the family holding up back at home. So Lynds and Dan, how many times have mom and dad been over to your house this week haha. Well I hope your all okay and its only a short time.

My New Year was not the best. It was just a normal night for us so we went out and tried to see people but everyone was either gone or busy with family stuff and parties. This whole week has actually been really hard with the holidays. A lot of people cancelled and everyone said to come back after the holidays. So the holidays are over now and I'm hoping we can get back into the swing of things.

That’s pretty good the Utes won their bowl game. I guess they did okay this season right? And ya, I had no idea Urban Meyer was retiring. That is interesting what he said. I wonder what religion he is....

So you had a question about transfers. A transfer is 6 weeks. We are on Week 4 right now. This transfer will actually end January 24th. We get a call on Saturday and find out if we are leaving or not and then the next Wednesday of week 1 we get transferred. So we still have a few weeks until the end.

Well that’s pretty much it for me this week. I hope you’re all doing great. I was thinking that now I don't want to leave until after January 23rd. I have to see Adrian get baptized. But we will see. I’m hoping that with the new year the Indian government will start to get rolling on signing our visas. Take care everyone and I will talk to ya next week.

Elder Garrick

December 29, 2009 Week 20

Me just walking in the cold. See how I'm all bundled up?

Hello everyone,

Well I talked to the fam on Christmas so there's not much to say. But I will tell you all a little about my Christmas since I know that mom forwards this to other people. Oh by the way, I want to thank everyone for all the gifts and cards they sent me. I wish I could personally thank all of you, but time won’t allow it for a missionary. We stay pretty busy. I am very grateful for everyone’s love and I truly hope that you all had a great Christmas and that your New Year will be the best you've ever had.

So on Christmas day we woke up and opened all the presents that everyone sent to me. Man did I get a lot. I thought that as a missionary I would only get two or three presents. I was wrong. I got about the usual amount as when I was home. Everything is great and I love it all. Then we went upstairs and had brunch with the members that we live with. Their whole family was over, and they have a big family. It was a lot of fun. We ate and played games with them. Then we kinda hung out some more and tried to figure out some of the stuff we got, like that metal puzzle thing you sent me Jo and the Rubix cube mom and dad gave to Elder Cashin (which he has played with constantly, he can't put it down). I also tried to play with that finger skateboard you guys gave me. Let’s just say I'm not fit to be a skater or a finger skater, but it’s still fun to dink around with. Later we went and had dinner with a family and it was good, but after that we went over to another member’s house. Here I got to talk to the family and they can tell you all about that. Then we played Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader and ate pie. Yup that’s my Christmas day.

Then the very next day, we went out as usual and got back into the swing of things. It was so nice to relax and talk to everyone. Missionaries need that every so often. I guess that’s why they do it every 6 months.

So not much else happened. We were going to set a baptismal date for someone on Sunday, but they had to cancel. We are going to meet with him this Friday or Sunday so hopefully all goes well there. Oh the Storms came to church on Sunday and I think they had a good time and they felt the spirit, except for the husband because he couldn't hear any of the speakers. He's kinda old and his wife said he is too stubborn to use hearing aids.

Yesterday we had district meeting and the Assistants to the President came. My district leader wanted one of the AP's and I to teach lesson 1. He gave us 5 minutes to prepare. So we prepared and we actually taught a really, really good lesson.

Well I love you all. I just realized that I end my emails like that in almost every email. But it’s true so I'll keep saying it. You should read my Journal haha. I think everyday starts out like this, "So today..." Ah well. Thank you again everyone and have a fun New Years. I have no idea what I'm doing for that. I'll probably be sleeping, how sad.

Elder Garrick

December 22, 2009 Week 19

Merry Christmas everyone!

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Markie and Tara a Happy Birthday. I hope everyone has a great holiday season this year. Well from my subject of my email I hope I didn't get you guys too excited. I have not gotten my visa to India yet, but I did get a small taste of what it is going to be like. I will tell you all later in the email.

First I'll start with my usual answering a few questions I got and stuff. Mom how is your foot doing? When do you think you will be able to get out of that dang boot? And yes Ninja Warrior sounds even more intense. I'll have to watch it in ummm... 20 months. Whit, were you able to find a house? And that story about Dad and his belt was hilarious.

Thank you everyone for all of the cards and letters you have sent me, from family, friends, and ward members. You are all Fantastic. Thank you very much.

Hey mom thanks for the package. I'm set on thermals now. I'm probably good on the long sleeves. And as for a wool coat, I can probably last with the one I have now, but if you get reassigned somewhere else or here, hopefully I won’t, I think I would like one. So we will hold off for now. When I do go to India, I will have a lot to send back. And guess what you were right about the Murphy's law. Now that you sent me all that warm stuff, I didn't get my visa to India, but it warmed up to about 55 degrees yesterday. Great, everything does go wrong. But I'm pretty sure this is odd weather and it will cool back down again.

Dad you asked about how I get money. Well we usually have credit cards that they put our monthly allowance on. I used that for a while but church headquarters called the office and took it away from me because I'm a visa waiter. They now put all my money on my companions card and in January they are only going to give me half of my money a month and do that until I leave. I guess that’s a good sign, hopefully. But it’s kinda dumb so I just go to the bank and take all my money off of E. Cashins card and I use cash. And I don't have to pay bills. So you asked about how to feel the true Christmas spirit. You know what I'm not sure how to feel the Christmas spirit, but I feel like I know how to feel Christs spirit. Every sacrament meeting I go through the baptismal interview questions to myself. I ask myself, "Do I believe in God as our Heavenly Father and that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer of the World? Do I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Do I believe President Monson is a prophet of God? What does this mean? Do I feel like I have truly repented? Do i actually promise to take upon myself Christs name, obey His commandments, and always remember Him?" These are the questions I ask myself. Every time I do I give a little testimony in my heart and every time I have felt the Holy Ghost confirm to me that these things are true. That’s how I feel Christs spirit every week. Try it out dad.

So you also asked about our investigators. We are still teaching Adrian, the guy who I gave the Moses explanation thing in my last email. The guy is awesome. I asked him if he would get baptized if he found out this was true and before I could even answer he said he would. I think we are going to set a date for him next time and figure out what we need to do to prepare him. I don't know if I told you too but I kinda put another kid on date. He takes seminary and knows everything. He said that he wants to be baptized. We are teaching his dad too and he wants to be at our lessons from now on. He thinks we are pushing his son into it, but his son wants to do it. So we are getting real close with him too. Vien has again decided to stop taking the lessons. She is getting a lot of pressure from her family and her other church. I think she is getting a lot of misinformation from others. We will still try to keep in contact with her. We taught this family this week. The father tries to think of stupid questions to try and stump us. He said it’s to make us better teachers. He went off on our all the original 12 apostles were Jews so why aren't they now. I explained that God gives his priesthood to any worthy male who he can trust. I said some more too, but the guy was confounded. It was awesome. He couldn't say anything. He sat there for like 10 seconds with his mouth open and then he said, "Oh that was a good response." It was pretty cool.

Okay so for my taste of India. Last week we got picked up by a member lady. She said, "Oh elders I'm so happy I found you. Our neighbor across the street is Hindu and from India and they want a blessing for their wife who is pregnant. She is sick and I think it will be a great missionary opportunity." So we jump on it, especially me, and see them. Well it turns out that the wife is doing pretty good. She is actually Catholic and not Indian, but the husband is Hindu and from India. It was his idea. I said he just wants a blessing and it’s something he wants to do. He wants to invite all his family over to the church so they can see something different than Hinduism. We try to explain to him about Christ, faith, priesthood, and blessings, but he just doesn't get it. He keeps on saying, "ya it’s all exactly the same. The things you guys do, we do to, it’s just with a different name for god." We try to explain that it’s not the same, but he still insists with this same response and he actually starts to get mad. Well he knows the 1st counselor in the Stake Presidency so we call him up and he says he would be glad to do it. When the day comes, they show up probably 40 min late (which is Indian standard time I guess). They bring about 10 of their family members to the church, half of them actually visiting from India and going back in a few days. President Libbert tries to explain these same things to them but they don't listen again. There is a big commotion with President trying to explain and the husband translating into Hindi. It was crazy. So we start the blessing. I start to anoint the wife with oil and they all pull out their cameras and take pictures. We had to stop and explain this is sacred and no pictures, but you can have pictures after. President gives the blessing and they are talking in Hindi the entire time. He finishes and they ask if he will bless their sister’s baby too. He agrees, luckily he was there because we can't do that without permission. So he gives the baby a name and a blessing. Crazy, huh? So that was the crazy thing that happened to me this week. And that is how it’s going to be in India. It is going to be a completely different experience when I go there. Teaching, culture, the people, everything will be so different.

Well I love you guys. I gotta go. We are having our p-day with the Stake President. He is going to take all the missionaries out for lunch and then we are going back to his house. It should be fun. Love you all and have a merry Christmas. I'll talk to some of you soon!

Elder Garrick