Monday, November 8, 2010

Trav's letter 11/8 (his half birthday)

Wow everyone's last week sounded like a blast! Utah must've been crazy fun with everything the boys did, that was a bummer tyler didn't get to go but at least he won his playoff game and is hanging in there with the football season. That must've been pretty fun to see BYU woop up on unlv, haha i remember the game last year went the same way when we all went to vegas. That was a bummer to hear about real salt lake though, i guess we can't win every year :).

I can't believe that chris lynch was baptized! oh my gosh that just made me smile to read that! It honestly makes me so happy, i remember way back in like 8th grade or 9th grade when we would be talking with brother kinney and he would always talk about how our exmples would have an affect on our friends specifically, chris and a few others. I just am so happy that he took those huge steps of faith to work with the missionaries and even leon and brother kinney to just hear more about the church and look what happened! Ahh man it all seems surreal to me, i seriously am just in a stupor that is so awesome! I bet Elder Kinney is just soo happy right now too. i'm glad you guys got to go and be apart of it all too, that must've been special. i will pray for him though and that'd be good for dad to reach out and try and help him get involved with singles ward.

That part of missionary work is sooo helpful, when the members fellowship, it is what keeps them coming back. My week had some MAJOR ups and downs. i know i say that every week, but this was still different. We had some awesome lessons though, and we got to finally teach angel and destiny the 9 year old and 11 year old that are just waiting to be baptized. We taught them the restoration and the plan of salvation this week. It was so fun to teach just to little kids because it really simplifies our teaching but at the same time makes it more powerful. I think too often we try and "complicate" or teachings to make them sound more sophisticated and impressive when really the simplest methods of teaching are in fact the most sophisticated. I think that was a quote from conference too. but yeah it was just awesome to teach them and see their sincerity to learn and be baptized as they take these things so seriously and important, even as kids. it was soo awesome to teafch them this week, and we are going again today. The ramirez family is doing awesome, they had their baptismal interviews last week, and jose the dad had to get one with a member of the mission presidency just to make sure he was ready to be baptized, and that went smoothly so this weekend, there were 7 people that were baptized!! (ill get to that in a second). they seriouly are doing so well though.

This week however, we had some speed bumps with chris. He is seriosuly soo prepared to recieve the gospel but as his baptismal date gets closer, he had some major opposition last week. There were a lot of questions arising and friends gave him some anti stuff, but he was good about checking it all through us so we had two real good lessons with him, just kind of resolving concerns and stuff. One though, we were on exchanges, so i was with a member and puertas was out doing work elsewhere. Chris said he had some questions. We sit down at the shambaugh's home (the members where we always teach him), and then he asks about the temple. He said that he had been given some stuff and read up about it and it all seemed kind of sketchy to him. At first i was kind of like uhhh, i don't know WHAT i can say. Not because i didn't know what i was talking about, but beacuse i just didn't know what i could say you know? So i was glad to have the members there with us but i got into the conversation and we just explained how sacred and beautiful the temple is. We explained that you make special promises with heavenly father and it's just an awesome place. Also though, that you are not forced to do anything you don't want, or that there is nothing inappropriate that goes on in there, it is an awesome place. We ended up talking about it for like an hour and he seemed to be satisfied after we left so that went well. BUT, we talked with him later that week on splits again, and he was saying that he felt really uncomfortable about his date this upcoming saturday (11/13/10), and that he wanted to call it off. He said he wanted to know everything before getting into it and he felt like he has just rushed everything. I was kind of confused because he has just been super excited about all that he's been learning and even for his baptismal date, he's been telling all of his crazy friends and even they have been relatively supportive so this just kind of came out of no where. He attributed it to how he feels he lacks a testimony of the book of mormon. We kind of understood where he's coming from but felt like there is something more to it. We sat down with hi m yesterday and puertas and i have been praying and fasting about his situation and all this week, i felt like it was his family that was holding him back. He said he was going to tell them but was nervous about their reaction, and then we never followed up with it. This whole week, i kept telling myself, "ask him about what his family said" but for some reason i never did it.

So now as we've been praying and fasting it's like well DUH that must be it. And then we talked with sister shambaugh who's been helping us out and she calls us this morning and is like "hey i know what's bothering chris! he hasn't told his mom and grandma and they mean so much to him, and he is afraid of their response" And so that was kind of a confirmation too that we were on the right track. We still have to talk to chris but we are feeling confident that that is kind of where he is uneasy, just talking to his family about it. It's makes so much sense too, we just have to now prepare a way to deal with that and help him understand that this special decision he is making isn't between him and his family, or between him and the missionaries, it's between him and God. We need major help from Heavenly Father this week if we are going to make his baptism work out this saturday but we are feeling really good about the situation today whereas last night we were pretty bummed. We have another family that all of a sudden this week is doing really well. Last week at church only a few of the kids came with us but ended up really liking it, and ew have been tryuing to have a sit down lesson with this family FOREVER. This week though we finally got some time with them. We talked about the Restoration of the Gospel and the first vision and it went really well, we even set a date with them to be baptized on the 20 of this month.
The mom just loved it and it felt good for us too and so we are super excited for them. It's a single mother but she has like 10 kids who stay in and out of her house during the week because she has a sister that lives close by. But the little girls are soo cute ha i love going over there and just h anging out with them and then teaching with them cause they all just feast on every word we tell them it's soo awesome. They all just smile all the time too, it's so fun to go over there. The only frustrating thing is that we alwayus need to find someone to go with us and Shawna ( the mom) is pretty flaky so, it's just frustrating sometimes. But They did come to church this past sunday too which was kind of hard since it was stake conference, but we just entertained the girls the whole time and they were laughing and smiling and even though it was a long meeting, they enjoyed it.

It was really funny, i dont know if anyone will remember this but you know when daniel used to squeeze our wrist really tight and then rub our fist and then when we opened our fist, he would "pull" something out of our hand and it just felt kind of tingly? If you don't remember then this won't make sense but i'm hoping someone will, but all during stake conference i showed the little girls how to do it and told them it was the holy ghost inside of them hahah i hope that's not too sac religious. It was super funny though.

Okay so now for the major down side and then the best part of all. Thursday night after a lesson with chris, we came home and this was after he had told us that he just didn't feel ready for his baptism. I was kind of frustrated and i felt like the lesson didn't go that well and i was being hard on myself cause i was the one that led it since i had a member with me, not puertas. I just felt down and wasn't in the best mood so when the other two spanish missionaries slept over too, i was just kind of ehhh annoyed i guess. Anyway, we fell asleep and then i wake up at 1:30 in the morning super sweaty. I'm just laying in bed and i'm super sweaty but i'm not even that hot. i just layed there for a second and then instantly it was like wow, i feel super nauseous. So i ran to the bathroom, (took out my retainers), and then threw up in the toilet. For one thing i was super happy that i made it to the bathroom but it was still a bummer throwing up. Then i kind of cleaned up got al ittle drink and went back to bed. Then i woke up at 2:00 and threw up again, but this time i didn't have much in my stomach so it was super painful. This time i was feeling worse afterward so i slept right outside the bathroom and threw up again at 3:00. This time all the other missionaries woke up and then gave me a blessing. I wish i payed more attention to what was said in the blessing but nearly the whole time i thought i was gonna throw up again. i did catch some things though and i was glad to have gotten it, from elder puertas too. I ended up throwing up again and i just had the chills really bad like i was sweating and stuff but still felt cold. It was just aweful. I ended up throwing up two more times before 6:30 when we all got up and then one last time at 7:30. I was exhausted and my back and stomach were just killing me. It was necessarily nauseuos it was just achy too. So that was like the worst night ever and then we had district meeting in the morning so we went on splits with the spanish missionaries so i could sleep for a little bit. I got like 2 hours of sleep and then we went to the church to meet up with them. It was the hardest day ever because i felt pretty useless but at the same time i wanted to be working. While we were at the church, district meeting finished and then puertas had lunch and i rested there at the church and then he had a coordination meeting and i just made phone calls for appointments and splits for the next week and following up with some people.

After coordination got out at like 3, we went to go try some people at their homes but we didn't have much luck. Then we went home for a second to rest but ended up going out again to try some more people and again had no luck. At 7 we had a chapel tour with the Ramirez family and that went really well. Jose (the dad) had some concerns though that he wanted resolved before his baptism and even wanted to change the date for a second but we just talked him through it and later he shared with us something cool that even when he was sharing his concers, he kept feeling something inside that told him "don't change the date!" and we talked about how that was the holy ghost. That was cool, but the chapel tour was tedious and it was hard just to keep smiling for everyone but it was worth it, especially for them, they are such an awesome family. Then after that we had dinner with a recentconvert family and were gonna teach them about baptism and how to do it since the dad named hector was going to baptize his sister the next day. She made me a littl ebit of rice and soaked it in chicken broth which was pretty good but i seriously just was not hungry. I didn't eat anything all day though so i kind of forced it in and it ended up sitting okay so that was good to get something in me. But i was so ready for bed haha!

We got home and took forevver to plan ugh i was so annoyed but i was being selfish too, and then finally took some nyquil and passed out.Waking up saturday was great! I felt so much better and with 7 baptisms planned, i was soo happy to have been feeling better. I was thinking a lot though about what i was supposed to learn during that time and while a lot of it was to turn those pains and things over to the savior since he has felt even the sicknesses that we experience. I though a lot about the baptisms we had on saturday. I was thinking that maybe i was getting to caught up in the number that i wasn't thinking about how special and awesome it was that 7 of heavenly father's children were going to take a huge step closer to him this weekend. I was thinking that maybe since i was so excited myself to be the one to baptize the mom and the daughter of the ramirez family, that i was forgetting how important the decision itself was. BUT, i did get to do it anyway since i felt way better on saturday and i think i still learned the lesson though. The problem on saturday though was that all the other elders were feeling a little under the weather. MY BAD! But luckily puertas wasn't too bad, he just had a sore throat and jsut kind of tired. He was strong enough to go out and we saw a few appointments and then took an early dinner and went and set up for the baptism.

It was so cool to see so many people in white!! Not just the people being baptized either, it was awesome seeing Hector, a recent convert, dressed in white, all ready to baptize his sister and her two daughters. We worked with them for a long time, and finally this week everything just fell right into place and they decided they were ready so just like that, we added them to the program and it was such a special day. It went really smoothly though and we didn't run into any speed bumps. One of the members juan rodriguez baptized Jose ramirez, i baptized his wife alma and the daughter saith, and then Puertas baptized the son Heriberto. it was an awesome service and just super spiritual, everyone felt good. Even alma came up to me before we walked into the room that goes into the font, and was like ahh i feel so good i just feel like crying! And then saith the little girl who is way cute was talking with me after the baptism. We were all eating since the relief society made something nice for everyone and she was like, "i feel different". I was like really is it good? she was like yeah i don't know why, i just feel good and different. hahah it was so simple but just was such a sweet testimony of what she had just done, by following the steps of the savior, was baptized and cleansed of all uncleanliness, and a step closer to living again with her heavenly father and jesus christ, and Family forever. It was a sweet moment.

Ahh so yeah that was petty much the week, it went really well and the baptisms made everything so worth it, even the sickness. I'm feeling good these days, a little achy still in my back but it's alll good. i'm on the up and up.Anyway, i just wanted to say that i'm doing really well and trying my hardest. This week was another good one and i seriously can't believe how fast the weeks go by. Already, this weekend we are going to get transfer calls and then next week is the lst week of the transfer! I will let you guys know if my adress changes or anything, but as for this week, it will definitly be the same. To be honest with you, i really hope i stay here, i love it here in salem and we have a lot of big plans that are just in the works right now. It's been awesome to see the lord's hand here in this part of oregon. We are kind of feeling like Puertas is gonna leave though. That's such a weird thought for me though i really want him to stay. He's such an awesome missionary and teacher and i guess i'm just kind of nervous for change. I think that is why he will go though, because feel so comfortable with him, i think the Lord is gonna throw me for a little loop and give me a test with this next transfer. I don't know though, it's just speculation :).

i do want to tell you guys how much i love you though! you guys mean everything to me and the more i read and teach and just am a missionary, the stronger my testimony gets that We have the potential to be together forever, that this life is just a teeny tiny experience in the grand scheme of forever. It makes difficult decisions easier to make when we look at the impact they can have on eternity, not just our life here. That is what has been cool to see with our investigators too, the little decisions they make, that are not easy, all the way up until baptism and they finally take that huge step! Right now it will change their life, but not only that, it is opening the doors of heaven to these families and individuals. Thanks for all the support to everyone.

I continue to pray for each one of you and can feel your prayers on my behalf so thank you! i love you all so much and just pray that you will always stay true to what you know, especially to the little boys :) you guys are such studs and just look at what happened to chris lynch. I didn't think that the example of me, mike, and erik, and nate, and jeremy, would have an effect on him, but look at him now. You boys and the family too, can have an affect on others that will help them make decisions that will not just bless them in this life but more importantly in the life to come. I love you soo much!love elder edwards I was reading helaman 5 this past week and wow what a killer chapter.

I have seen on so many occasions that what president checketts said when he set me apart as amissionary has come true. I have read through scriptures and stories that i've already read before but they have taken such a new meaning to me! It's been incredible to read and feel like i'm reading these stories for the very first time and just be enlightened by all sorts of little underlying themes and messages within. It's been awesome to say the least! I particularly liked these verses when it talks about the joy that nephi and lehi had, and also the people, as they repented, and thne the "pleasant voice" that came unto them. Ah it just is so powerful! i love you guys :)

43 And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were aencircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.
44 And aNephi and bLehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that cjoy which is unspeakable and full of glory. 45 And behold, the aHoly Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could bspeak forth marvelous words.
46 And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying:
47 aPeace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.

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