Called to Serve

Monday, February 24, 2014


Well.....this is all I got for ya this week, exchanges with Elder Jackson. This lady had a bunch of wigs (she love her wigs), she asked which one i liked best so i had to try them on just to make sure.

Hey Fam!

This week has been one of those good/crazy ones! Elder Davis and I went crazy on Tuesday with finding new people for us to teach! It was a warm day which made all the difference because when it is a warm day in Arkansas there is barbeques, basketball, and bible studies and every street corner! So we were able to find some cool families this week that we are going to go back and teach.

You know Neo? The rapper and singer?....ya me neither! But he is famous and we found his grandpa and had a nice little chat with him. People down here are awesome! They are so nice. They always invite us in for a cold glass of kool-aid and some food, and i have never been one rude enough to turn down food. But it creates a lot of finding opportunities for us!

So on Wednesday we had zone conference in North Little Rock and it was sweet! President Petersen......that guy is awesome. Everytime that guy speaks he makes me want to be better and reach my full potential. He spoke a lot to us at the conference about the Book of Mormon and the power of it. Here is the not cool part about being a zone leader: Elder Davis and I have to get up in front of everyone and instruct, and then role play teaching someone. This time we talked about something called "How to begin Teaching." Page 176 of PMG. Its good stuff. Its just about the first few minutes with the investigators, really setting the foundation for the lessons you will teach. 

Anyways after zone conference I went on exchanges with Elder Jackson down in Arkadelphia. Elder Jackson is awesome, not to mention he is Gladdys Knights grandson. But ya we had a way good exchange. President wanted us to focus on How To Begin Teaching so during the exchange we taught 12 lessons and 11 were How to Begin Teaching! The first lesson we taught was to this dude in McDonalds. He looked like he was having a doozy of a day so I asked him how things were going and he said "I've had better days." So we talked a little and he told me how he had been kicked out of his apartment because he couldn't make rent and he could not find a job. So Elder Jackson and I had a nice little chat with the guy where we taught him some restored truths and testified of the Atonement and Book of Mormon. At the end we invited him to be baptized and he said YES! So this is the crazy part. Seconds after he said yes the McDonalds employee came back and said that Wal-mart called and offered him a job! He said he had just applied a couple of hours ago. We helped him make the connection that as soon as he decided to follow the example of Jesus Christ he was blessed! It was sweet. Like 7 miracles happened on that exchange. It was crazy. 

So on sunday I missed church for the first time in a good minute. We had a meeting in Memphis with President Petersen, all the stake presidents of the mission, Elder meredith who is a 70, and all the ZL's and STL's in our mission. It was sweet! We had a council and set an area goal for baptisms. The meeting was really spiritual! Man if we just get the missionaries and the ward members working together the work will explode!! I have a whole new vision and outlook after that meeting. It was sweet!

So we are still working with Jhonequia to get baptized this week or next. She has a lot of opposition with her family but she is getting spiritual confirmations through the Book of Mormon. Pray for her please! Thanks for the Letters! Thanks for everything. Family thanks for inviting people into the home to be taught the Gospel. I know that true happiness in this life comes form applying the doctrine of Christ in ones life and inviting other to do the same. Have a great week!

Monday, February 17, 2014

First Week in Little Rock!

LITTLE ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yup its true. I'm in the heart of it now. Its way awesome! My companions name is Elder Davis from Idaho! He's crazy! And by crazy I mean funny and awesome and a good missionary. We get along very well!  He is black so we got some soul power up in this companionship. He has been out for a little over a year. We are the Zone Leaders over the Little Rock zone! Which goes from Little Rock area and covers the whole southern Arkansas side. Its a really big zone.

So ya it was pretty sad saying goodbyes to everyone monday and tuesday. I could hardly go see anyone else though because Chris and Jess wouldn't let me leave! ha ha Chris has some family in Little Rock though so we are going to try and teach them. 

This week has gone by so fast. It has been crazy. So I got to meet some awesome investigators we have. One is name Jhonequia and her friend Gisheera just got baptized and she referred us to her. Jhonequia is awesome and she wants a change in her life and know she needs to get baptized. Her mom is super against it though. She goes to college at UALR so we teach her in the lobby there. She went home to Hot Springs this weekend so I hope her mom doesn't try to change her mind.

 Little Rock is a great place but let me tell is not all sunshine and rainbows. In the couple of days I have been here there has been 2 shootings! Its sad but kind of exciting! On Saturday Elder Davis and I shot some hoops in the ghetto with some straight up G's! We are going to comeback and teach them this next week.

The other night we were out knocking doors and one family let us in and they were so cool! There was 6 kids and they all had to craziest names ever. They told me their last name was Jordan and I asked if they were related to Michael kind of sarcastically and they said they are like 2nd cousins! It was awesome!

So on saturday we pretty much drove around the whole zone!! We had to fix the car share situation in our zone so we drove down to Monticello which is the south east corner of Arkansas then drove dropped it off in Camden, then took a tag to the southwest corner in Nashville and Hope. We had a crazy experience there.......and thats about as much detail as I can tell ya right now. Didn't Uncle Kelly say his favorite area was Hope? I went there!! Thats where Bill Clinton is from (sorry Grandma Udall). But ya I was about to throw Uncle Kellys name around a little bit in his old stomping grounds but I never got the chance.

Last night we got asked to go to the hospital to give this girl in the CCU a blessing. She was really sick and her body temperature was really low. She couldn't talk to us or move at all. All she could do was open her eyes and she could barely do that. Elder Davis and I were a little confused on what to do because no one was in the room except us and she didn't know us, nor was she a member of the church. So we walked up on the sides of the bed and she grabbed both of our hands. This is going to sound super weird....and I don't know what happened but when she did that I felt so much love for that lady. She looked really sad and even though we had just met she acted like she needed us there. Again, she couldn't talk but we asked her if she would like a blessing and she squeezed our hands really tight. So we took that as a yes and we gave her a blessing and as we did I just felt a whole load of compassion for this lady! It was crazy! After the blessing she had tears in her eyes and the spirit was really strong. We left her a Book of Mormon with with a note. Afterwards a bunch of nurses asked us what we did and where we were from. It was such a cool experience! The Priesthood is REAL!! Its so important to be worthy of that power. 

So Little Rock ward is pretty awesome. The people are great! They don't feed us to much or come out with us hardly at all so we are going to try to get that going! Anyways....I need to send some stuff home so I am going to try to get that done ASAP! Thank you for everything! Keep Little Rock in your prayers!

Monday, February 10, 2014

First Transfer will happen this week! Bittersweet! but mostly bitter

Well........the Cooksey's are a great family. Chris is really hanging in there. He said he's a real warrior mormon, we never give up on anything nor anyone. I just love them so much. They say they can't wait to meet you!  It is going to be hard to leave Searcy!!

Well the email that was just sent was Chris's, not mine. I typed the "Whats up family" part and he did all the  "real warrior mormon" stuff. s  I am going to miss this family! Anyways......I got the call this morning......and the time is here! I am getting transferred. So ya its been a pretty sad weekend. I actually knew on Tuesday. We asked President Petersen about it and he said I was leaving. He said I needed "new experiences." So I am pretty sad about the whole deal. It still hasn't really hit me yet though.
So this week has gone by so fast. We have been everywhere it seems like! Tuesday we went over to North Little Rock for Mission Council. Thats always a really good meeting. After that we stopped at a members pet shop in Cabot where we taught the restoration to 2 of his employees! It was awesome! Then they took us out to a chinese restaurant where I chowed down on some monkey brain.
On wednesday we had zone meeting here in Searcy. Elder Soelberg and i focused on the Book of Mormon and chapter 5 of Preach my Gospel. We went over the power of the Book of Mormon and how we can use it as a finding tool and to respond to every objection. It was a good meeting!
After that we went on exchanges with the Paragould elders and I stayed here with Elder Freestone. We had some good experiences! On Wednesday we drove up to Paragould and exchanged back, and then Elder Soelberg and I drove through Missiouri to Blytheville and blitzed their area. It was sweet! I got to do some baptismal interviews for some awesome people. I worked with an Elder from St. David, AZ who is actually going home tomorrow. We stayed the night at their place and just slept on their couches.  The next day we drove to Jonesboro and did work in that area with the missionaries there. Its been crazy!! We have not been in Searcy that much this week but we were able to go teach this family the Schulists and teach them. They have a 9 year old son named Kaia that hadn't been baptized yet so we went over and taught their family and prepared him. Its a single mother and she is awesome. She has been less active for a long time but its been amazing to watch the change take place as we taught them and as they have read the Book of Mormon together. The first time it was a little awkward going over there for some reason, it just didn't feel that comfortable. The lesson went well though and the next day we went over there and it was completely different. They said they had been reading the Book of Mormon together and we could tell before they even said anything. You could really feel the difference. Things just got better and better progressing towards the baptism and at the baptism the mom gave a talk on the Holy Ghost that was so powerful. They are so much happier now! I wish you could see the difference. On sunday when they pulled up to the church parking lot the mom got out and saw us and had the biggest smile on and did like this fist pump! It was was awesome! Experiences like that make every sacrifice of a mission worth it. To be able to be apart of bringing a family together through the Gospel.
One more cool story: Remember the guy that is Brigham Youngs descendant? He heard about how we give priesthood blessings so last week he asked for a blessing for his sight and memory. That he would be able to see more clearly and remember things better. So we were able to give him a blessing and afterwards he said his eyes had immediately started to "open up." It was cool but he still couldn't see that well and I hadn;t really though about it until yesterday Sister Easter called and told us he can see patterns now! Everything used to be a blur but now he can see patterns and read!! The Priesthood power is real. I have 2 more miracles that happened to me that testify to that but they will take to long to type.
Anyways yesterday was really sad. It was my last sunday and it was sad saying bye to everyone. We have like 8 dinner between today and tomorrow though because people want to feed us before I go. Man.....this is kinda bitter sweet, mostly bitter, almost all bitter.  but I guess it needs to happen.  I love you all so much!  Thanks for your support!




Monday, February 3, 2014

I love the people in Searcy! How can i ever leave?

Well it won't let me "reply to all" so mom I am leaving it in your hands to spread the word! Well first I just wanna squash the rumor that may be floating around that missions are stress free! This week has been crazy with stress for people that I have gotten close too. Every bit of that stress and worrying and praying and working is worth it though. It is amazing watching this cycle that takes place with everyone! The worst trials and feelings and stress comes right before the craziest miracles. I like to think that in Lehi's vision, right before the people get to the tree of life and partake of that amazing fruit, thats when the darkness is the thickest. Thats when the trail gets bumpy, but man is the fruit worth it!!

This week we went on exchanges in Clinton and I went to Clinton with Elder Farnsworth. It was a good time! Clinton is a really small town and the closest church to them is 40 minutes away so they struggle with that sometimes but we were able to have some good experiences on the exchange. That night it was about 8:45 and we had nothing else to do, we were near our apartment and the Elder I was with suggested we just call it a night. Well we still had a good 15 minutes so I told him that we could just go walk and see what we could find. So we did and absolutely no one was outside. It was about 12 degrees and windy so we were not really expecting anything but then what do ya know! A woman comes to take her trash out! So we offer to help and talk to her and set up a return appt. to go teach! She seems really prepared!

BRANDEN AND SIERRA GOT BAPTIZED! Hallelujah! It was awesome. I baptized Sierra and Kevin Berkheimer baptized Branden.  Jessica spoke on the Holy Ghost at the baptism and it was one of the best talks I have ever heard! You would think she was a member her whole life! She had everyone crying. There was so many people from our ward there we had to move it to the chapel and even then it was full! We accidentally forgot to turn off the font water so it over filled into the bathrooms.

Ok one last experience because I am sick of typing! Last week we had dinner with some members,  and we asked if they knew anyone we could teach and they said nothing good has ever come from sharing the gospel after all these years (and they are pretty seasoned), so they have just kind of gave up. I promised them if they would pray for a missionary experience that night that the Lord would put someone in their path. Well 3 days later a man came and knocked on their door and said he was a direct descendant of Brigham Young, he wasn't a member of the church but wants to no more and he heard they were members so he was wondering if they could teach him! He came to church this sunday and now we are going to teach him! Crazy stuff! Too many things have happened this week. I cant write it all! Anyways thanks for everything!

ya!! man mom.......i m most likely getting transferred, says Bishop. which sucks but its ok. All my companions are great but Elder Soelberg has been my favorite companion by far.
ya this is like home. i dont know how i'm going to leave! I love the ward and everyone I teach. I never thought I had the ability to care about people like I do right now. I used to hate people! But now all I want is for them to live this gospel. Mosiah 28:3 status. Missions are crazy. I know Kylie is the best sister missionary out there right now.
 I love you mom. Every night I pray for you by name. (I use mom not rita don't worry) I would never have came out here without you. This mission has already changed my life so much. I am so grateful for how much you love me.

Week of January 27th

This week has been the busiest week ever. It has been crazy!! So we went on a couple of exchanges with some district leaders in the zone.

First I went to Heber Springs with Elder Blocker, who is actually a visa waiter thats going to Australia today. I went with him and man we had a wild time. We had a lady pull up in a hippie van when we were walking to an appointment, she said that God told her to stop and talk to us, so we started talking to her and I asked what role the Savior played in her life, She said "O thats my husband!" Well I will let you imagine how the rest of that conversation went. Basically she was on drugs.

Anyways before Elder Blocker and I went out that day we made 2 goals: to talk to everyone, and to set a baptismal date! We were able to accomplish both. It was great stuff. That night we went hometeaching with a member. His name was Dusty Sherwood! So naturally we had our little  sherwood "Who's who" conversations. He was a way cool guy! He invited me to go ride horses with him on a P-day but unfotunately i cant do that. 

So the next day I went on exchanges again in Jonesboro. This time I was with Elder Reid! He is awesome. He is from Montana, he is a red head, and he loves hunting, sports and country music. He actually quoted the song "Pick-up Man" and Joe Diffie at the beginning of the exchange. So I knew it was going to be a good one. And it was! I got to interview some of their baptismal candidates. I love doing interviews. It was a god time.

 So on Saturday night we had the night session of Stake conference and they wanted all missionaries to go. Elder William R. Walker of the 70 was there. Chris, Jessica, and Brandon sat on the 2nd row. They loved it! After the session we walked up to talk to them and they were talking Chris and Brandon were talking with Elder Walker and President Petersen!  A couple minutes after that ELder Walker walked up to me and Elder Soelberg and shook our hand and told us how much he appreciated us. It was cool stuuf. But ya the next day we had stake conference again but it was in the Lonoke high school basketball gym. There was so many people there. They split the stake! And guess what the new stake is called, the Searcy Stake! O ya! But ya that was a cool little deal.

Anyways last night we had a baptism for Cassie! It was so awesome! She was elect and prepared. So many things have happened this week its hard to remember all of it. I wish everyone could have the chance to see what we as missionaries get to see everyday. My understanding and testimony of the atonement has grown so much from watching it work in peoples lives. It is a literal power. It not only cleanses people it changes them! I have seen peoples desires change completely as they live the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. His grace is sufficient not only to heal us but to transform us. Thanks for all your support everyone!