Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fireside Follow-up

Happy Monday!

There's plenty to do and see here in Cincinnati, and I actually got a call a week and a half ago from Ryan Starks (recent convert from Wilmington) who had found out that I was in Cincinnati now. He said that he and Kim, his girlfriend/fiance who is also a member now, wanted to come down on a future P-day to spend the day with me! I'm guessing that will take place next week, so I'm pretty excited to see the sights with them here as well!

One of the places we will visit is the Reds Hall of Fame (big surprise), as well as a few other attractions.

This past week was BUSY!!!! We were able to contact 10 of the 26 referrals that we received from the fireside, and as of right now NONE of them have turned down a return appointment. Several of them were very excited when we came to their door, and we are looking forward to contacting the rest of them throughout this week. They are very well spread out in our area, so we know that we can go to any suburb and have plenty of work to do. We are also focusing on having more lessons with members present and also teaching the members a lot more.

This past week was difficult because we spent a great deal of time working on the referrals, but if anything we should get the members involved in that. We can only do so much by ourselves. With all that we have to do right now, it's very important that we maintain balance or else we will have less success. The members have been very gracious to us and have definitely helped us tremendously, but there is more work to be done. Interestingly enough, most of our PEC meeting yesterday was spent listening to the various leaders talk about how they struggle to friendship people outside of Church meetings. They used to have some get-togethers apparently, but it only involved the same 10 families.

Elder Kirk and I have been talking about this very thing lately and how to use activities as a means for finding new investigators. In my experience, it works!!!! So we're pretty excited for the Memorial Day picnic because that is a PERFECT opportunity for people to see that we are actually normal, even though we missionaries continue to be the oddballs no matter what the setting. :) Regardless, this is something we are going to pursue and we know that the Lord will bless us as we strive to make it a successful missionary-minded activity. Well, this letter is shorter than most but I think I summed up everything that I wanted to.

Thank you for continually increasing my spirituality through these letters as well as from your prayers. Have a great week, and keep counting your blessings!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Very happy boy

The Gladys Knight fireside was absolutely spectacular!! I have no doubt that everyone present was able to feel the Spirit, although there were probably some who did not recognize it but who will probably ask us when we come by. Speaking of which, the zone leaders told me that there were a lot of request cards for Cincinnati, so I'm WAY excited to get out and start teaching those people. It was great to see the members bring friends as well, and it was also nice to see people I've known from other areas. We plan to be very careful about how we manage all these referrals, making sure to stay balanced and plan ahead. This is a gift from the Lord, and I am hoping that we will be able to carry it out effectively and see some people join the Church as a result.

I'm also looking forward to using the new "We Believe...." cards that Pres. Robbins has put together with the help of the Church Proselyting Department. We are the only mission in the world that is using them, so it's pretty cool. I've looked them over (Elder Kirk has a stack) and they look really good, so I hope to have some good experiences to share over the remaining months I have in the mission field. It was also a joy to speak with you!!!! It's obvious to me that you are all doing extremely well and are being prospered mightily by the Lord.

It's crazy to think I'll be SEEING you in 3 months, not just talking to you. We were able to find some great new people to teach this past week, two of which came from a member referral, and the other was someone who we talked to on the bus. Since we spend a great deal of time traveling on the bus, we've made it a goal to utilize that precious time by speaking with other passengers. We've talked to some really good people who were interested in what we had to say.

One thing I've really learned on the mission that I have tried to remember always is that there are MANY honorable means to find, not just the usual tracting or street contacting, which can get old really fast. We have a great opportunity to find through Church activities this coming Memorial Day, which is when our ward will be having their annual Memorial Day picnic. This provides us as well as the members with a perfect opportunity of inviting friends and neighbors to something that is non-threatening and gives them a chance to see us from a different angle. As Pres. Hinckley once said, "Activity is the genius of this Church." I believe that wholeheartedly! Many members have their fears when it comes to doing missionary work, but one thing I know is that they are incredible when it comes to planning and carrying out activities.

We have three weeks to prepare for it by inviting investigators to attend, and we will also focus on encouraging the members to invite people they know as well. So to sum it all up, the Lord is presenting us with great opportunities to really expand our teaching pool and therefore our effectiveness also. It's going to be great, I'm looking forward to having a lot more to do! Thank you again for sharing your experiences with me, it helps me try to be more grateful to the Lord for all that He has done. Have another great week!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gladys Knight takes Cincinnati!

 Well, I am very excited for this coming week for two main reasons: First of course, is the Gladys Knight fireside on Thursday. We gave out about 40 or so tickets to members yesterday, and more importantly, they each have people they are bringing!! And we still have a lot of extra tickets that we are going to try and give out during this week. I am very confident that this fireside is going to bring a harvest within Cincinnati, whether in the short term or long term. We also gave a few tickets to a less active member that lives really close to us named Chris, and he is planning on bringing his non-member brother and a sister, I believe. He has transportation as well, and both Shawntae and Michelle are also planning to attend and have rides set up. So therefore, we were called by the assistants a few days ago and asked to help set up before the fireside. I understand that a ride will be arranged for us, so hopefully we'll know within the next day or two. I don't mind coming to help set up,  because I love serving!  All of the people we've invited have rides and people to sit with, so that is also really good. 

The member work here is going pretty well, we have several families in the ward who have ACTIVE (very important word) family mission plans, and we follow up with them pretty regularly. I liked know that following up needs to be a priority, and that if we don't then we're just wasting the members' time as well as the Lord's. I was disappointed when I got here to see that there were only THREE family mission plans in the area book, and they were all at least 2 years old! On top of that, the previous missionaries had actually done a few family mission plans but did not record them, so of course that doesn't help me any. To make a long story short, we're doing it the right way now! Preach My Gospel tells us to start with the bishop, and that is what we have done; and other members are noticing that the bishop and his family are bringing someone to Church and now they really want to as well. In fact, our follow up is so frequent that the members already know what we are there for and can't wait to tell us the progress they are making with their friends. 

Before I forget, we went by the Brooks family yesterday so I could thank them for their kind remarks to you, and Bro. Brooks gave me a hug that he said was from Mom, and a reminder from Dad to brush my teeth. :) Well, I'm happy to report that I am keeping that. Hopefully, Bro. Brooks will not ask me that in the future, but it would probably be just a joke if he did.  So anyway, when you factor in the effective member work with the upcoming fireside here in Cincinnnati, there is a lot to be excited about!!!! I LOVE IT!!!! 

The second big thing I'm looking forward to this week is talking with all of you, amazingly for the last time as a full-time missionary! I bore my testimony in Church yesterday and shared my witness of the power and influence of our family on me, and on the cleansing and sustaining power of temple covenants, and also on how much the Lord has blessed you because I'm out on a mission. It is very humbling to me because I really don't think I'm doing a whole lot, it is pretty much all because of the Lord and His tender mercies. Speaking of the temple, it's a blessing that I am going to take better advantage of once I am back home.....but before that, I'll need a valid temple recommend! I'll probably get a new one from Pres. Robbins the week of interviews. Anyway, at any rate I am very grateful for you in helping me become who I am now. The work is a lot more enjoyable when you are constantly reflecting on how much you and your loved ones have, and I believe that people do take notice of that and it does open doors to gospel conversations. 

Well, it is definitely starting to get warmer again, and I've been trying to prepare Elder Kirk for it because he has only experienced an Idaho summer, which is a lot like Utah. BRING ON THE 100% HUMIDITY, I'M NOT AFRAID!!! I might get thirsty, but I'm not too worried as long as I have Gatorade handy. I can't wait to hear from you all, although it's hard to believe that it's been 5 months already since I last spoke with you! Man how time just flies by! I hope that you have another great week, and you'll have to let me know if you speak with other members to have them remind me of my dental hygiene. :) I love you all, thank you for being there for me!