Address

Elder Eric Johnson
1830 R W Berrends Drive SW Apartment #2
Wyoming, MI 49519

Please send letters or packages by First class or Priority Mail via U.S.P.S. so they can be forwarded to him.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

12 February 2018 More Chiwawas, Sabbath day, Foundation of Christ

fam,

Tuesday I had a great trade off with Elder Waters. We met with one of their investigators. Elder Magalei and I picked up a man named Jose. I think we met with him twice before I was moved to this side. Turns out he is doing really well. In less than a month he read the entire Book of Mormon and has a pretty impressive understanding. He talked about the Book of Mormon like a member would. He said he didn't even like to read but that something drew him in. Unfortunately he still hadn't prayed about the Book of Mormon. We talked about that and committed him to do so. It's pretty amazing that he finished The Book of Mormon and his comprehension is even more amazing. At the end of the day, however, it doesn't really matter how many times you read the Book of Mormon but how those principles found in it are applied that bring us closer to Christ and help us become better disciples.

The Sarmientos are doing well. Wednesday we had a lesson in the Pinas home. We taught the shortest lessons we've ever with them, I think just under 45 minutes. We try to be short but it's so hard when just golden questions are being thrown left and right. We taught the Sabbath day and it turned out really well. I figured I would never use Exodus 31 because how intense it is with the law of Moses, the whole "whosever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death" felt like a little much. For our lesson it proved to be just the right thing, well just verse 13, which says,"Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you"

Thursday we passed by a member who recently had fallen and broken her back. The family let us in and she was asleep but her inactive sister and non-member husband were home and we had a great visit with them. The lesson was short but powerful. The thing was at the end Elder Rencher went to the bathroom leaving me with the two. The wife asked me if I wanted a Guatemalan sweet juice called "calientito," who am I to say no? She ran off to get a little for me. She came back and I took a big sip. Calientito translates to a little warm and oh my gosh it was so hot, it immediately burned my tongue. Still I finished pretending as if nothing happened, sacrifices bring forth the blessing of heaven, right?? My tongue is almost back to 100%, still hurts alittle

Friday we had another escapade with Carlos. We knocked on his door and he welcomed us in and sat down. We talked for a minute and started with a prayer, as usual. We planned on watching the restoration video to make it easier to share a restored truth, which turned out to work pretty well. After the prayer the idea came to mind to sit more defensively. The geography of the room had me sitting more angled towards him leaving my side to a hallway, where the mad chiwawas charged from the week prior, which I changed putting me in a more oblique position to fend off the little critters if they were to break free. This turned out to be an inspired change. Towards the end of the video Carlos got up to blow his nose. In that process he opened the door separating us from the tiny monsters bent on attacking us. I heard the sound of running coming our way and immediately knew what was coming our way. This week he had two chiwawas bolting around the corner towards us. For some reason both came at me practically ignoring Elder Rencher. They both charged and jumped at me in full fury. As I fended off the beasts, Carlos stumbled around the corner yelling at them saying we were friends. It brought to memory the scene in Finding Nemo when the sharks unsuccessfully try to change their disposition to, "fish are friends, not food." Carlos scooped up one but the other slipped loose then proceeded to charge full force around the coffee table, jumping on the couch and at full speed charging as if to jump from the arm rest at Elder Rencher. Rencher was able to then stop the dogs progression with my meeting the dogs face with the underside of his boot. Carlos was then able to grab the other and throw them in their previous room. Seriously those things are crazy. Like I've seen jumpy dogs and dogs that like to bite but never anything which such fury. 

We had a good miracle on Saturday. We felt like we needed to visit with a member currently suffering with cancer. We knocked on the door and one of her roommates, who also is a former from a few months back, name Javier opened the door. He invited us in and we talked for a minute. Turns out he and his extended family are going through a lot right now. Basically the toughest Mexican rancher I've met practically broke down in front of us and asked us to share something with him. The lines "a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall," which I recognized to be part of Helaman 5:12 and the line "And ye cannot bear all things" which is a line from D&C 78:18. With what I had from the spirit I figured that Javier needed the part about how a life built on the foundation of Christ cannot fall no matter what trials come their way. After we read verses 9-12 and asked what he thought he pulled out the lines on repentance and explained a bunch of coincidences that gave our visit to him greater significance than we though. The whole experience reminded me of 1 Nephi 4 when Nephi was led by the spirit not knowing before hand what he would do. We were given just enough information to proceed and had a greater and different effect than we imagined.  

 Sunday church canceled again, but hopefully won't next week... Apparently waking up to 7-8 inches means no church, but it does mean lots of shoveling driveways.

Monday, February 5, 2018

January 29 and February 5, 2018

January 29, 2018
fam,

Wednesday was pretty good. We had interviews with President Brennan. I really enjoy interviews, especially if they take us out to lunch. We are the smallest district in the area and the last two times he scheduled us for a time where we could grab lunch before the next district came in, perks of being a Spanish only district with only two companionships. It got exciting when we carpooled to the nearest chick-fil-a We were in President's car following the zone leader's car. Light turns yellow and the ZL's drive through and President totally gunned it through a red to stay behind the zone leader's car. It was pretty funny. Luckily no one was at the intersection but still. He apologized.

Friday we stopped by my very first media referral. Carlos Rodriguez, asked for a Bible and a Book of Mormon. We stopped by and knocked the door and no answer. Knocked again and still nothing. But as we were leaving this old guy yells out to us to come back. We come back and he asks us if we had some time to talk for a minute. That was an obvious yes. It was pretty interesting. He had us open the Bible to Acts chapter 8 and we read 1-23. He then began to scold us about how we didn't have authority to do the things we did. Authority comes from God and we only went to a seminary and got a fancy diploma saying we were priests. He called us phonies. It was pretty funny actually. He wasn't in the mood to listen even though we told him that we were two representatives from the only church that agreed with him. One thing I found interesting is that he said that authority comes from the Holy Ghost. That's where we parted our common ground. Now in the Old Testament, Aaron got his priesthood from Moses by the laying on of hands. In the New, the Apostles got their authority from Jesus, and the Apostles chosen after Christ's ascension received that authority from one who already had that authority from Christ. In the book of Mormon it's the same when Christ came to the Americas (3 Nephi 11). I'm not sure why people think that's changed if they believe authority matters....Even with just a Bible it should be clear that things have not changed or shouldn't have. That is why I'm so grateful that the Fullness of the Gospel was restored through a living prophet bringing back the full power and authority to lead and guide God's church, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lead by those prophets and apostles. We left the guy with a pamphlet and a return appointment a week later. He has with him a pamphlet explaining how God has not changed and still runs his church "built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." (Ephesians 2:20)

Saturday we had a great lesson with Santiago. It was super funny. We had planned to read with him about baptism. We read the baptism of Jesus in the New testament and 2 Nephi 31. It turned out to be really spiritually powerful. As we closed our visit he started talking about his JW pastor friend he also is meeting with. That isn't ideal but I'm not terribly worried. He talked about how he was confused about the differences between all the different churches. He also brought up the things his JW Pastor teaches him that he doesn't like and are just confusing. Santiago was like "Everyone talks about a God of love, but how can that be true if he only will save 144,000 people?? I mean, I'm for sure not one of those! Also why not 150,000?"  Santiago is a lively guy and really is straight forward with everything. He said what we teach just sits with him well and the other pastors really just confuse him and what they say doesn't sit right with him. 

We always go to the Branch leadership meetings and but yesterday they got a bit heated.  They proposed what could be called a "Branch Mission Plan".  The plan is supposed to help us turn the branch into a ward.  There has always been a big problem getting people to church in our branch.  Many people can't drive, and even if they can they don't have a vehicle.  There are some families that drive four cars just to pick up four car loads of people.  The branch presidency proposed that we rent out one of the Catholic cathedrals downtown to hold our meetings so that, we can get more walk-ins, people can bus to the church (which they can already do at the perfectly good LDS chapel we already have), and so that we can be more like all the other churches and have a place to meet downtown.  It did not go over well.  I think they had good intentions, just a bad plan.  The Primary President gave a powerful testimony about how when her family lived in Columbia they had a two and a half hour trek to get to church, and they same journey on the way back.  She spoke of how that had strengthened her testimony and the blessing her family had received from that sacrifice.  She said that the members don't need to sacrifice anywhere near as much, and that they would be greatly blessed for doing so.  They also threw down on the idea that it was impossible for some people to get to church without a car.  Kind of needed because it really is just an excuse.  I loved one thing the Relief Society President said, responding to the idea that we should move downtown just like all the other churches.  "You can't compare us to other churches because we are the only true one." It was a good point. I really just think one of the counselors got antied pretty bad from someone and was a little frazzled. Also side note, a chapel burned down somewhere north of here and they petitioned to build a new chapel and the church said no. Apparently the church won't be building more chapels in Michigan until activity goes up.... crazy.

Having an Elders Quorum president in our branch is SO nice especially when combined with the new format for third hour classes. Last Sunday was on the Sabbath day. It was a pretty fantastic lesson and was actually spiritually satisfying, not a very interesting topic but taught in such a way the spirit was there in abundance. For a portion of the lesson we read Genesis 2:1-3 and discussed why God rested on the 7th day. After all isn't he all powerful? Why would he take a rest? It was a really interesting discussion. 


February 5, 2018
fam,

We had another lesson with Carlos Rodriguez. A light refresher from last week was that he tried to anti us with basically the doctrine from our church, interesting. Our lesson was slightly eventful. Friday we got a few inches of snow and it was slightly cold. We knocked on their door and were graciously let in. Our last visit was on the porch. We sat down and were joined by his English speaking wife. We talked for a minute and he seemed pretty excited to see us. Out of no where this tiny Chiwawa charged around the corner and was just ferociously barking and jumping at my feet and ankles trying to bite. Never have I seen a more furious dog in my life. I stuck my boot out to separate me from this demon and it kept jumping at me trying to get around the shoe. In my head I was thinking this wasn't ideal. First off, I'll never let a dog actually bite me and this thing was going for the kill. The wife kindly added that the dogs were nice and never bite but in my head I was thinking how much of a shame it would be if I actually had to kick this dog to stop it from doing the very thing it "never does." Small chew marks where left on the toes of my boots, but it's fine. Once we said a prayer and that dog was carried off things calmed down a little bit. We actually were able to teach a little, emphasis on a little. His understanding of the Bible is actually impressively accurate, some false doctrine but nothing so wild. He misquoted a few things but the doctrine was near correct. He ranted a little about tithing and how churches nowdays are businesses. Impressively he knew and understood the doctrine of what Jesus did during the three days between his death and Resurrection. The understanding of those three days between the death and resurrection comes from like one verse in the Bible, a doctrine clarified by virtue of the restoration, but still impressive. Side note apparently you can buy faith in other churches, that bothered him deeply. It was a good visit but he didn't read, won't let us teach much, kind of antis, so we really can't do much there and I'm sure the bite marks will buff out.

Tuesday was trade off day. I went with Elder Magalei again and it was a decent trade off. We did some good service at meals on wheels and had a few good lessons. Nothing too crazy. When you've been companions with everyone in the district already being someone's companion just feels like an extended trade off. 

Sunday church was canceled. We woke up to 7 inches of new snow which was pretty, but unfortunate. We went through our studies and right as we were almost ready to leave we got the cancellation text. With that much snow our travel times are significantly increased. The Ford fusion preforms so much better in the snow than the Malibu did. All wheel drive is superior in every way to the front wheel drive the Malibu had. 

Wednesday we had a really good lesson with the Sarmientos. Our last visit Daniel said he wasn't ready to ask God whether it was true or not, but he consistently reads and really is fun to teach. We teach something and we obviously do our best but he'll check his understanding by making analogies that teach the same principle that on the spot are better than the stuff we to bring to lessons. It's pretty impressive and really helps our teaching skills. The lesson was really spiritually powerful and I think he now is way better equipped to get an answer from God. In that same lesson his wife, who normally is really quiet and seems to focus more on the care of their two year old, opened up and talked about how she had been reading and asked God and immediately got a really strong answer of the truthfulness of the BoM. We talked about baptism but couldn't set a date quite yet. I suspect they'll be on a solid date pretty soon. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

13 January 2018







fam,

The last two or so weeks have been weird, but good, serving in a trio. Transfer calls came in Friday and it really never is a surprise. My first area was Grandville Spanish 1 and as a trio we also covered the Spanish 2, "the other side". Elder Magalei will be "transfered" back to the sp1 area with Elder Waters. I'll be with Elder Rencher for likely the next two transfers in the apartment we are in right now.

Elder Johnson
1830 R W Berends drive sw apt#2
Wyoming, Mi 49519

After we emailed last Monday we quickly tried our hand at making some tacos de pastor.  They turned out slightly off from how we learned from the francos but the were quite good. Pics will be added

Later that night we had a good lesson with Griselda. We walked in and she was like "you've got 25 minutes and then I have to leave." We taught a really fast word of wisdom lesson. Everyone always pushed back on coffee, everyone, and Griselda was no different. She was like "even coffee??" We talked about the different blessings she has noticed in her life from ever since we started teaching her and promised that these would only become more abundant as she lived the commandments we shared with her. She agreed to try. We would have been out on time but we've never left that house without being given a load of food. She warmed up some hot coco and we made it out well over her set ending time. 

Tuesday we meet with the Francos. We talked about their reading in the Book of Mormon and how church went for them. Its a weird scenario; Juliana wants Marco to learn English, they want to go to church but feel like they can't leave the taco shop, the English ward for their area isn't the one they are going to, if the family gets passed off the one kid not baptized with be taught by English elders and we will continue to teach Marco. It's a small mess, but we'll work something out. Marco mentioned he just felt really good for the rest of the Sunday. That's the biggest blessing of taking the sacrament ever week at church, you just feel better because you have the blessing of having the spirit with you. 

Thursday was pretty intense. Its started off a little rough. Elder Rencher wasn't feeling well and it looked like we were going to stay inside. At around 2 he got up declaring we were going to do something today. We had a few referrals we wanted to stop by so we made our plan and headed out. It was the warmest day of the week, peaking up around 45 degrees if I remember right and just pouring rain. I was driving and we had stopped by a bunch of people and no one really let us in. We were wet, slightly cold and at about 6 we stopped by a gas station. I got out to fill the car up and heard this weird sound, It didn't register but I saw a few stopped cars in the road next to the gas station. I noticed some people moving in that direction on phones and it finally clicked what I was hearing, hysterical screaming. Looking around I saw someone on the ground in the road and realized the screaming was coming from that direction, specifically what looked like a person laying in the road. Elder Magalei, Rencher and I ran over to see if there was anything we could do. We got there as some bystanders carried this lady to the side of the road. Beyond that, no one really knew what to do aside from stand around and look nervous calling 911. We were able to shelter her from the rain with some yoga mats from some random bystander. Turns out the stuff we learn in boy scouts really works, we did all the things they say to teat for shock and within a minute or two hysterical screaming became relatively calmed breathing and crying. She seemed to have been hit on the side pretty hard but was coherent and conscious. Cops arrived in about 5 minutes and a medical team from a firetruck was only another 2-3 minutes behind them. We handed all responsibility over and then went back to typical proselyting.

One thing I found interesting about the whole experience was that although everyone wanted to help no one knew what to do so they just stood around as this lady was in obviously a significant amount of pain. They looked to us, for what ever reason, for direction. We asked for the things we needed and people quickly helped out. Being prepared helps us preform when things get hard or when unexpected things happen. Did either of us know someone was going to get his by a car and that we would be there to help? No. Would those people have helped if they new what to do? For sure, but didn't only because they hadn't made those decisions and preparation before they needed to. Be prepared. 

Mission life is weird. I definitely felt like we were in the right place at the right time.  

-eric

22 January 2018





fam,

Monday we had a really interesting dinner appointment. As usual we had good food. We were transitioning into our message we were going to share. We basically just discussed the Book of Mormon and why it's important. At first we got the typical answers about how it's evidence God speaks through prophets in our days as he has in all of time and that it's the keystone of our religion. Things were typical and we asked Jorge one of the kids in the family. He paused for a moment and told us that the Book of Mormon is important because as we read it we start having questions. Those questions are then taken to God to get answers and getting answers to questions help us to actually come to a knowledge of the character of God. He concluded his answer by saying that the Book of Mormon was written to come to know God and those who read it with real intent can obtain that blessing. The spirit was like, "you should remember that." Most of the members who feed us live on this side so I don't really have a lot of experience doing the meal and message thing but our most powerful messages have all been in that member's house. 

Tuesday was pretty good. We watched the broadcast at the chapel with the Zone leaders and the other Elders. It was interesting, a little awkward at least in my opinion, I was expecting something more spiritually powerful. The day ended with a mission correlation where we actually had our Branch Mission Leader and it was super good. It's basically been a mini district meeting for the last few months.

Wednesday we had a powerful lesson with the recent convert Gasper. He's moving down to Nebraska for a few months. We spent our last visit with him putting him in contact with the local bishop and the missionaries down there. We also had a mini testimony meeting with him that turned out really well. The spirit was super strong and it seemed to really lift his spirits. 

Thursday was fun. We meet with a less active named Axle. Such a good kid. We were just talking about life and he mentioned he was struggling with the stress of school at the moment and not being able to keep up. The talk given by President Nelson clearly came to mind and we first opened with prayer and showed the talk. In my mind the promises made by President Nelson to those who read the BOM daily would really apply to him and figured that was why the talk came to mind. We watched it and I could see the spirit was working with Axle and at the end we asked him what he thought. He totally took the talk in a different but very important way. The spirit revealed what we had to do to help Axle but in a way I would never have known if he didn't tell at that moment. I just found it interesting that through the soft nudging of the spirit we were able to put Axle in a position to receive pretty strong revelation on some things he needed to change and start doing. 

One things Elder Rencher and I have started was simply reading with members for a few minutes every week. We only have two members right now who we prayerfully picked and we've seen some impressive changes. I really like the scripture in Alma 31:5 which says, "And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to that which was just- yea, it had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God." That principle is true and really is one of the reasons I know the BoM is true. There really is a power in that book.

Elder Rencher is the district leader so we had a trade off with the Zone leaders. I spent the day with Elder Guerrero and it was like we never left, comp unity was spot on.


Transfers
Elders Rencher, Magalei, Guerrero, me, waters

Monday, January 8, 2018

January 8, 2018

fam,
District Meeting
Add caption
I LOVE Mexican food!


Tacos de lengua: still not my favorite




With the Saturday P-day last week the week started off with church getting canceled due to poor weather conditions. It really hasn't been that bad though. Yes, it's been chilly with the temperature typically in the single digits and dropping below zero at night and in the mornings. But during the day it's not that bad. Sunday was also not bad at all. The sun was out and it was a "warm" 15 degrees. 

Church being canceled was extra aggravating because that morning we had a pretty big miracle. We met with a former investigator who had dropped Elder Rencher and Guerrero a little while ago and called us out of the blue asking us to come over. We met with him and he explained what's been going on with him. Turns out his sisters home got raided and a few of his family members are most likely getting deported. It was an unfortunate story but touching in the same way. Any time people go through big trials, like this clearly is for him, one has to make choices: Move closer or move away from God. He moved closer. He started living the commandments he apparently said he would never do, has listened to a good portion of the BoM, and his prayers have become heartfelt. The change really has been impressive from the little I saw beforehand and it was touching when he shared that "this was the first time in [his] life where he really needed God and He hasn't left [him] alone." We committed him to come to church with us the same day, something he said he likely would never do, and to start meeting with us regularly again. He said yes. It was pretty great up until church got canceled. He was doing a fundraising activity this last Sunday so we should get him next Sunday so it's okay.... sort of. 

This last Sunday was really good. We've still been meeting with the Francos and recently committed them to come to church. With the craziness of the taco shop and their personal finances that's been really tough. I think they understand why church is important and they seem to have a true desire to attend but have told us they don't feel comfortable closing Sundays or opening late..... yet. We compromised and got approval from our Zone leaders to attend the English ward with them in the morning and it was great. It was my first English service in a year and it was weird. English at church and English talking about the gospel just sounds weird haha. That's an interesting change. The family, with the exception of Marco, speaks pretty good English and they might decide to attend in English because it just works better for them. Juliana also really wants Marco to learn English and she sees it as an opportunity for him. We obviously don't want to pass them off and we want them to be able to stop working on Sundays. Going to church when they won't be working is a short term solution that I would prefer they wouldn't take. Long term solutions take longer but likely will stick better and that's what we are pushing. 

Sunday we also visited with a family we don't have the opportunity to visit very often. Due to the tough situation in which they live, going to church has become very difficult. In the last year I've seen the whole family at church twice. Even with all the obstacles they face in their life their home is one of the most amazing homes I've ever been in. When we visit with people, we can typical tell how they live the gospel, not by anything they say or anything they do, but by the light that they have in them and/or by how you just feel around them. Although humble, their home emanates with the spirit in a way almost incomparable to any other home I've ever been in. We had a short visit with them, but it was just so good. Definitely a goal I'd have for my future home.

Lastly the address I sent last week is correct, but we are in Apartment #2. Hopefully that didn't through anyone off, our mailbox says "the church guys or Elders" so hopefully I got everything.

Next Pday is Saturday.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

December 30, 2017

fam,

Monday was good. Skyping was fun. Unfortunately we didn't have a full P-day and were out working at 6pm. It was kind of blizzardy outside and no one was outside. We stopped by a few people and distributed some presents given to us to pass out by our branch president.  

Tuesday is when things really began to happen. This week has been consumed by two occurrences. Tuesday was a clear and snowy day and Elder Magalei and I were making our way to visit with someone we met a few days prior. I was driving. The street we were driving on has a few streets that flow into it off of some actually steep hills. Unbeknownst to us, someone was coming down the hill at a speed where they couldn't stop. They ran or slid through a stop sign in front of us leaving us with little to no time to react or divert any momentum. We only saw them about a second and a half before we collided, but with the amount of snow on the ground there wasn't really anything I could have done to avoid the collision. We collided and all airbags blew. Obviously we came to a quick stop, but the first thing we I noticed was a considerable amount of smoke in the cabin. A little jumpy on adrenaline Elder Magalei and I both jumped out of the car pretty quick thinking it was going to burst into flames or something crazy like that. Only later did I realize it was likely the airbag charge. 

Once we were out of the car we noticed the other car was gone. I was a little disgruntled thinking it was a hit an run. We then called the police and our vehicle coordinator. I thought I had a good idea of putting all my warm coats in the car for emergencies but turns out when you smash the hood in, and the trunk doesn't have a physical key or lever or even a latch in the cabin you can't access any of your stuff.... what a design flaw. The other car came back about 15 minutes later and the first cop came another 20 minutes later. The crash took place just outside Wyoming city limits and when the Wyoming cop got there he basically asked if we were okay and then dipped out pretty quick. We exchanged information and these two sketchy SUV's pulled up and were kind of eyeing us and giving us some angry looks from the other side of the street. It was a little worrisome but luckily they left when the Grand Rapids cop came. Not sure what was going to happen with the people in the SUV's but it definitely was sketchy. 

Our car had to get towed but we were fine. All our stuff was still locked in the trunk, but our zone leaders graciously came to pick us up and get us out of the cold. The zone leaders then dropped us off where our car got towed to and we waited there for a while. After a little over an hour they said they couldn't get into the trunk which contained all our warm cloths and missionary materials so we were definitely crippled from that. Elders Rencher and Wall let us borrow some warm clothes and we were outside for the rest of the day.






Wednesday we got dropped off at the dealership, where our car got towed to and spent an hour there trying to break into the car without breaking anything more and without tools. The bigger problem was the guy who would help was busy, so we had no access to tools beyond what I had on me. (Editor's note:  if you know Eric, he's pretty handy). Eventually he was able to join us and using a thin pole pushed through a gap in the seats was able to release the physical lever on the inside of the trunk. That took a sizable chunk out of the day and then I had to fill out some church forms to report the accident. A fun day. 

The other item that has taken so much time this week was that with Elder Wall going home with a group of missionaries finishing their missions, Elder Magalei and I had to clean out our apartment to move into the other Spanish apartment. We packed and cleaned and then moved everything over. Elder Wall got picked up by the transfer van at the church at 7 pm. We had one appointment after that and then we began to unpack. Now with all the Spanish elders form the branch together our area has become the size of the stake. Technically I'm still in my first area, it's just like twice the size now, same amount of miles, but that's okay. Also I'm back in a Trio. It's still weird. 

Teaching in a trio is very different. It's much more relaxed because instead of the teaching being on two person's shoulders, it's now on three. 

December 30, 2017

Fam,

Two days to Christmas countdown. It's going to be so weird to skype haha. 

Tuesday we had a great trade-off. I went with the soon to be late Elder Wall. We had a good long day of finding planned. We were able to get a few miles in of walking through Little Mexico which was fun and more or less productive.

Wednesday we got a call from someone we talked with about two weeks prior. We met this lady after we got stood up at an appointment and were walking around seeing if there was anyone in the area we could talk with. We started talking with her and offered some service and were able to rake her lawn. We had a good conversion with her and shared Light the World with her. She asked us if we could help her to deliver some Christmas packages with the community organization she represented. We jumped on the service opportunity and met her at this random retirement community. It turned out to be really fun. We delivered hams, pastries, and Christmas packages to a bunch of people.  

The same day I also felt inspired to study "Living water" as found in the scriptures. Throughout the simple study I was thinking about spiritual self-reliance. My favorite scripture from that study was found in D&C 63:23 which says "But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life." 

Obedience is prerequisite for most of the blessings in the gospel, but what I found interesting is symbolically the well of living water source is from within someone. One can go to church and have to appearance of being spiritually powerful.  However, more important are the little achievements one does privately. Gaining a strong testimony or praying daily is not something public, but these things are personal achievements that lead to large and important consequences. Once you stop doing the little things it's like you stopped watering a plant. It doesn't immediately die but will slowly loses its strength and withers. Your faith decreases and you lose the understanding or testimony you may have at one point had. We had a great experience this week catching a member who is going through some trials with their faith and we were able to read with them. Just reading with members can be surprisingly important to helping members build their faith. 

Zone conference was Thursday. It was really, really good, as usual. President Brennan's remarks are almost always the highlight. He spoke on angels and their role in God's work as well as miracles. He pulled examples from almost all the standard works including, the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine & Covenants. It was really interesting and he made the point that God works in one way and that doesn't change. We also watched clips from the Christmas story film "The Nativity." It was really interesting but the acting was not that great. On top of the acting the Angel Gabriel was a little freaky. Elder Wall made the joke that when people have angelic experiences they tend to be scared at first and that this was why. 

Friday we had the first practice for "O Holy Night" with the Reed family. I'm accompanying them on the piano (this makes the editor of these blogs VERY happy) and it sounds pretty good. Turns out when you ask someone if they can count when they don't have a musical background and don't realize that you mean beats in a measure when it's 6/8, they might be slightly offended. Oops haha.