13 Dec 2010
I almost didn't get to e-mail you today! Our cars were grounded last night from all the snow and ice. As it is, we had a member drive us to the library so that we could e-mail. Apparently this is the most snow this area has seen at this time of year in a long time. You think highs in the 40s is cold...it was seven degrees last night.... ;) That's unusually cold for this area too. Hopefully it will warm up a little bit after all the snow and ice melt. I guess we can only expect it to keep getting hotter and colder as the earth keeps reeling to and fro....
I love my new area. The whole city has the feel of a military base, so it feels a lot like home.... I don't know if that's weird or not...but.... :) I don't know if you already know, but Oak Ridge (that's my current area) is the location of the Manhattan Project. We only use bottled water here so that we don't risk growing a third arm or something. Apparently this is one of the world's largest stockpiles of weapons grade uranium. There is a lot of really interesting history here. The members here are great too. The vast majority of them work for the Department of Energy, so they're from all over the United States. We have a family in the ward that recently moved from Las Vegas. We have a lot of support here and I look forward to great success. There seems to be a whole lot of potential in part-member work here.
My companion's name is Elder Howe. He goes home in a little under a month. He's a really great guy.
28 Dec 2010
We have permission to e-mail today since our preparation days have been unusually scheduled, but I'm at a different library so I don't have as much time as usual. It was wonderful to get to talk to you all on Saturday. It's good to know that everything is going well. We just got out of the first day of a four-day training meeting. We talked about the doctrine of Christ and teaching by the Holy Ghost today. I love studying the doctrine of Christ. I am amazed by the relevance and the plainness of His Gospel. It really is true. I love you all!
11 Jan 2011
I'm e-mailing from a winter wonderland! We got around three inches of Sunday evening and another inch last night and it's still snowing! Apparently this is the most snow this area has seen this early in the season ever.
This last week has been very busy again and the next few days show no promise of slowing down. My companion went home on Friday so that he could make the start of the school semester. I'm currently with another missionary whose companion also went home for the same reason. Transfers are tomorrow and I will be getting another, hopefully more permanent, companion. It looks like this will be the biggest transfer the mission has ever seen. We are getting many more missionaries than we are losing, so we will be opening several new areas. Our entire zone will be going to transfers as well. Every companionship is losing at least one missionary (we have two areas that are being white-washed). I've heard that that's the case around the whole mission. It's definitely going to be a big change.
With the end of last year and the beginning of this year, we have been looking at our goals from the past and for the future. As a mission, we had great success. We finished the year with 365 baptisms as a mission, which was exactly our goal for the year. It averages out to one baptism per day for 2010. We are very pleased and look forward to continued success in the coming year.
Congratulations to Bryan on getting to have your wisdom teeth out! Life's about to get exciting! I can't wait to hear more!
I love you all!
18 Jan 2011
Sorry for not writing yesterday...the library was closed due to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. My new companion is great! His name is Elder Carpenter and he's from Arizona. I think that we will have a lot of success together. All the snow is finally washing away today in the never-ending rain. It's a good trade-off. :) I really appreciated your letter this week. Sounds like it was a busy, busy week at work!
It has been really busy here too. The work we are doing will also revolutionize missionary work. Now if we could just get it working.... Applying the eight fundamental principles of Preach My Gospel and President Monson's Rescue Plan has been like trying to stop a train. As missionaries, we learned to teach one way and quickly got set in those ways. Then the missionary department told us that we are really not applying Preach My Gospel at all and need to completely change the way we teach again. It's been very difficult but extremely fruitful. There is not a doubt in my mind that the leaders of this Church receive specific and direct revelation for us. It is actually really, really cool to see how everything fits together and then to see the great success that comes from it as we do it the way we should. Trying to get wards and branches to start applying President Monson's Rescue Plan has been at least as difficult as changing the way we teach. We see so much success from applying these principles, but it is so much work to get it going. Little by little, our stake is starting to get it going. One of the stakes in our mission, the Chattanooga stake, is the model for the entire area of the Church in applying the Rescue Program. President Gonzalez, our area president, told all the stakes and missions in the area to figure out how they do it and to get it running in their own stakes and missions by the end of January. Our stake is getting pretty close. We have a wonderful stake president.
We had a pretty cool thing happen last week. A lady called the Church building last Sunday morning requesting a ride to Church. Apparently she had met with missionaries twelve years ago, but had not been back to Church since. She came last week and set up an appointment for us to meet with her during the following week. When we went to the appointment, we invited her to be baptized and she said that she had already told her friends she was going to be baptized and she just needed to know the date of the service so that she could let them know when to come. She had definitely been prepared by the Lord. She will be getting baptized next Saturday.
I love you all mucho much! Just like a snail loves its new shell after it outgrew the last one, shed it, and spent hours and hours slugging along looking for the perfect size one to allow it to keep growing. That's how much I love you.... (that's a lot...) :)
24 Jan 2011
Congratulations on getting a mouth dissection Bryan! ;) It's well worth it. After a little bit of admittedly not-so-fun-ness you don't ever have to worry about them again. Plus, for a couple weeks you will have extra storage space for bacon until the holes close up. I can't wait to hear when your papers are in and everything. That's so exciting! Read Preach My Gospel, especially chapter three, and the Book of Mormon over and over again. That will be the best preparation you could do. Make sure you watch "The District" online too when you get the packet that tells you about it. You'll see what I mean.
We had an interesting week-end. The lady that was supposed to be baptized this Saturday encountered some less-than-friendly reading material from a local preacher. She won't answer her door or her phone right now. We are praying that the Lord will help soften her heart so that she can overcome her concerns.
Not much else interesting has happened this week. I'm trying to write better letters home...but I can't ever think of anything to write.... :/ ...I had a dream about dinosaurs last night...that was interesting...
Anyway, I love you!
31 Jan 2011
This week has been very busy! We have been working our tail ends off trying to find people to teach. We have had a lot of success this week as we have worked diligently.
Our mission has had a rough enough winter. The last couple days have been absolutely gorgeous though. Upper 60s and sunshine. We were kind-of hoping it would last for a while.... The weather here can change 50 degrees overnight. You never know what to expect. It definitely keeps us on our toes!
Anyway, I love you all!
Thanks for your prayers!
07 Feb 2011
This week has been extremely busy. I think that the last week has been the fastest week of my entire mission. We have been working very hard trying to find people to teach and the Lord has blessed us for it.
I had a wonderful surprise opportunity on Saturday! We had another Spanish conference down in Dalton. Elder Cornish, our Area Authority Seventy came to speak to us as well. He served both as a missionary and as a mission president in Spanish speaking missions. Afterwards, I got to ride up with Elder Cornish, Elder Woller (my trainer), and another missionary from Dalton to Knoxville. It was quite the two-hour discussion.
Anyways, hope everything is going well back home.