Called to Serve

Monday, June 30, 2014

Best Week Ever!

I AM AN UNCLE!! That is crazy! I can already tell little Cash is going to be a stud at everything he does. I can already tell he has his oldest uncles good looks and charm. On Wednesday right before a teaching appointment with President Petersen he texted me and said "congratulations you are an uncle!" I was pretty dang excited. I can't wait to meet him! 

So as if my newly found title as uncle Rulon didn't make this week the best week ever, it was followed by a load of other crazy experiences. I will be really brief with each one.

1. We taught the last lesson of President Petersens mission with him, Sister Petersen, and President Beheshti (our stake president) in his home. It was a great experience! The spirit was their really strong and she told us she recognized what she felt. We are teaching her again tomorrow.

2. We picked up President Wakolo from the airport!! Thursday afternoon we went and picked the family up, Pres. and Sister Wakolo, Glen (17), and Jasmin (10). Let me just tell you our first experience with our new Fijian President. We walked past some people in the airport parking lot and said hi to them. Then when we were on the other side of the lot, President Wakolo grabbed a book of Mormon and literally ran across the whole lot to give these people a book of Mormon. I have to admit it was my first experience watching a 47 year old Polynesian man run down a person in a parking lot to give them a blue copy, so I was pretty excited. We spent the whole day with the family getting to know the mission a little bit.

3. On Friday President Wakolo came out teaching with us. Right before we went to pick him up our appointment we were pumped for fell through. But on your mission, when things fall through, its because something better is about to happen. And it did! We went to an investigators house right after that. It was a couple we are trying to get married so they can get baptized. The man is a big black dude. In our lesson with him, President walked up to him, grabbed his arm and said "look me in my eyes," in his broken English. The man was shocked and looked up and President said "If you were a man, you would marry this woman." It was really bold, and I was nervous, but the man almost broke down in tears and he said he knew what he needed to do. They are getting married in 2 weeks. We had a lot of insane experiences in those couple hours of teaching with him. I will tell you the rest in a year or so.

4. The book of Mormon play was in Memphis this week. Me and Armstrong went down on Tuesday night for it. Basically what we did is got a lot of missionaries and stood in front of the orpeum theatre (President called it the great and spacious building) and invited people to our open house and gave them pass along cards. It was a neat experience. We went down on Saturday and sunday with Pres. Wakolo and his family to it too. It was pretty neat. Being on beal street in downtown Memphis late at night is a crazy experience! For the most part the play ended up being a great finding opportunity. I got called a polygamist a time or two but other than that we had positive reactions. 

Thanks family for all you do. It would take me all day to tell of the experiences I had in just this week. Just know that I am grateful for the prayers! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

   I cant believe Christie is having her baby!! Man I am excited for that little guy!!
Sorry I am writing so late. I didn't have a whole lot of time to write today but Sister Petersen told me that if I didn't write my mom she was going to beat me up. This last week was great! It was transfers so that's always a doozie! It was a big transfer to but everything worked out just peachie. We had a baptism a couple of days ago which was nice! Very spiritual. Elder Armstrong and I got a total of 2 days to work in our area this past week, Saturday and Sunday. But we still had some great experiences! One of my favorite people we are teaching right now is a girl and her 4 kids. She has the same personality as you mom so you can only imagine how wild our lessons get! Last night we re-taught her the restoration. She had a lot of questions because she has been receiving some pretty thick anti from her friends. The spirit was there though and it  helped us know what to teach. I want her to get her answer of the Book of Mormon so bad. She told us how she wants to change and she wants something better for her family. She loves how this gospel is centered around family. Family, please pray for this woman to receive an answer!! I feel like something is going to happen soon. We have another appointment with her on Friday and guess who is coming with us......PRESIDENT WAKOLO! He emailed us a few days ago and asked if he could come out teaching with us on Friday! It will be sweet. I am really going to miss President Petersen. We are going to teach with him at our Stake presidents house on Wednesday. We are teaching a girl named Rita! It should be a wild time.
   Today President and Armstrong and I had one last 3 point shooting competition before he left. He killed us. For an old man he is a baller!
   A couple of weeks ago I prayed and asked Heavenly Father what I needed to learn or understand in order to grow and progress more and boy was I taught a lesson. These past 2 weeks were hard. I felt frustrated, inadequate, and ineffective the whole time. I didn't know what was going on. I felt like I have been on a hamster wheel. Running and working hard and getting absolutely no where. Both in proselyting and in my calling in leadership I just felt like nothing I was doing was helping anyone. I constantly made goals with myself on what I was going to do the next day to be better and nothing was getting any better. right before the baptism I had these same feelings again and I finally just prayed and told Heavenly Father I would do whatever he wanted and however he wanted. I just wanted to know what to do! Rarely has this ever happened to me but almost immediately I felt the spirit and I knew exactly what I needed to learn. That it wasn't my work and I shouldn't try to do it my way. I know this sounds stupid and obvious but I don't think it ever seeped in until that moment. The savior promises us that if we let him, he will  " go before our face, he will be on our right hand and on our left, and he will send angels round about us to bare us up." D&C 84:88   This promise is real. Everyone who knows me know I am a stressor and that I get nervous. But fear is opposite of faith. We should always trust him to keep his promise.
   Tomorrow we go to Memphis where the book of Mormon play is. Armstrong and I and a few other missionaries will be standing in front of the theatre talking to as many people as possible. Thursday we pick up President Wokolo! Should be a good week!
GOOD LUCK TRUSE! See y'all later. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hey Family!
So sorry I wasn't able to send an email yesterday. We were so busy! We didn't even have a p-day because it was so busy. It was a good week though! I will start off with the sketchy story of the week: Elder Armstrong and I were in a pretty sketchy apartment complex a few days ago contacting one of our potentials. So I started teaching Chris about the restoration while elder Armstrong was talking to a couple of other guys close by. This man that I was teaching,  was a super humble guy that had been through a lot and wanted to change. So there we were, me and him, just unfolding the scriptures and having a good lesson, paying no attention to the outside world. Elder Armstrong came up to me after a little bit and said we needed to go. He said that the guys he was talking to were part of this gang and a rival gang pulled up while he was talking to them and they almost got in a shoot out over it. I was just oblivious to this whole thing! Anyways, fast forward to sunday night we went over there to see why Chris didn't come to church like he said he would and when we got there there was 9 cop cars in the complex! So we snooped around to see what happened and apparently there was a big shooting and a lot of guys got injured. Chris was all good though. We may shy away from that complex for a while.

         Sunday was stake conference and Carsha brought her 13 year old nephew Lamaje with her to church. The whole time during the meeting Carsha was teaching her nephew out of the gospel principles manual about the church. She talked to him about serving a mission a lot too and how he needs to make sure he gets baptized so he can be a missionary. It makes every struggle of a mission worth it when you hear your recent converts teaching other people about the church! Carsha just loves learning the gospel. She has a notebook that she brings to every church meeting and every missionary lessons and she is a diligent note taker! Anyways, she is just awesome.

       Yesterday President organized a temple trip for all the leadership of our mission! It was sweet! I love going to the temple. Lately I have been focusing on revelation and how I can give myself more opportunities to receive it. The revelation I received at the temple yesterday was so clear and distinct. It's amazing how involved Heavenly Father is in our lives when we allow him to be. 

      This last week has been crazy. Between the zone conferences we had around the mission this past week and transfers, we had almost no time to work in our area. I am busy but I am happy. I love working around President Petersen. Every time I'm around him he raises my vision. I don't know how he does it but every time I'm around him I just have an overwhelming desire to improve and to help others improve. He has made a lasting impact on my life.

HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD! Since I have been out on my mission I have realized 3 things about you: 1. You were right about all the things I always thought you were not right about. 2. You are very prone to injury. 3. You love children, even Ryan. I know that sounds obvious but I was just thinking about the sacrifices you have made for us and the ones you make every day. Thank you for being a great dad. Thanks for everything everybody! 

TELL BAKERS HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I cannot believe she is 12. Transfers are tomorrow. It's going to be nuts.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Heeding small promptings makes a huge difference!

Hey Fam! 
This week has been busy but good! Last Tuesday seems like a month ago! But anyways last tuesday we had our mission leadership council. It was my first one conducting. It was crazy! Those meetings are always really spiritual because President Petersen is awesome.
On wednesday Elder Armstrong and I went to Conway for their zone meeting. After that We went on exchanges and I stayed and worked in Conway with Elder Durham! It was sweet. I love going into other areas and working with missionaries. A couple of days later we drove to Southaven, Mississippi to go on exchanges with those elders. About five minutes before we got to the apartment we get a text from one of them that said "be prepared to give a blessing." Those texts make you nervous sometimes. When we walk in the apartment there is an elder who is sitting on his bed and in a lot of pain. Apparently right before we got there he bent down to pick up his suit case and his back went out. He was shaking because it hurt so bad. So we gave him a blessing and took him to an urgent care. After almost 2 hours of waiting (not so urgent care), he finally got checked out. They told him that one of his back discs almost popped out and it could have been a lot more sever than it was. She said it was a miracle that it did not pop out all the way. Power of the priesthood. So by that time in the day it was to late and to stormy to drive all the way back to Little Rock for an exchange so we stayed the night there and worked their area with them.
At the end of the night we met at Zaxby's for dinner. I  love Zaxby's. Anyways while we were in line I had a strong feeling to talk to the guy behind me. I ignored it for a while because he was talking with his family. Finally they started talking about the NBA finals and thats when I maneuvered my way into the conversations. After some small talk about stats and scores I was able to talk about what I did as a missionary. We talked about how when Christ was on earth he established one church. We talked about how there was churches on every street corner now, all teaching different and conflicting doctrines. I asked him why there was so many churches and what happened to the one founded by Christ himself. We were having such a good conversations that we let people cut in front of us. I testified of the restoration of the Gospel and the guy asked if we could come tell him more. So we set up an appointment with him.  
I have found on my mission that heeding small promptings makes a huge difference. I love being able to just talk to people all day long and to teach them about the message. It has changes my life. Everyone deserves it and everyone needs it. Thanks everyone for your support. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the letters!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Gospel fills gaps...

Hey Family!

Sorry I am emailing late, we played ball with President today. We decided we would get some elders together and play one more time with him before he left. I am still standing by my statement that he is the coolest mission president of all time. He played with us forever. Me and him were guarding each other and it got pretty intense! He is dang good for an old man! Afterwards he bought all the missionaries little caesars. It was a P-day for the ages. 

Anyways this week was pretty awesome. We went on exchanges with the frayser elders on Tuesday.   Frayser is in Memphis and its the sketchiest, most dangerous, most ghetto place in our mission.  It was an eye opener for me. We taught a lot of people though and it was way fun! 

Kate will appreciate this story: While I was in Memphis we were at a dinner and we were talking to a guy that said he knew Michael Oher. (Blindside) The neighborhood he grew up in was in the area I was working in that day. We asked the guy if he could set up an appointment with his family for us to teach them and he called them right there! So I am pretty sure those Memphis elders are going to start teaching Michael Ohers Mom and brother. Crazy eh? 

On the way home from Memphis that day Elder Armstrong and I were stuck in traffic right after we crossed the Mississippi for 3 hours on the I-40.

Yesterday was fast sunday and Carsha bore her testimony! It was so awesome! She loves the church and got a calling to be the sunday school vice president. Ishia came to church again too. We are still teaching her and her family. Her kids are good to get baptized now and so is she but she wants to wait to get baptized with her husband. So its kind of a sticky situation but it will all work out.

I have been so busy but I have found that the busier I am, the happier I am. On Saturday we went and helped with a ward out reach with the searcy ward. It was nice to see all of my hometown people again. Things are going well over here. I love missionary work and I love testifying. I know that this Gospel "fills gaps," in the words of Rocky Balboa. Anything unfair or painful or missing about life can be made up, made better, and found through this Gospel. 

Thanks family!