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.