January 27th, 2014
Last Monday, we went up to Texas State University in San Marcos and played disc golf for our pday, and it was sweet!!!
It was a beautiful day, and we had a great
time. We have also gotten into the habit
of occasionally going to play disc golf at lunch, since the park is right down
the road. It's been really nice! Two of the times we went, it was
freeeeeeeeeeezing outside, though. More on that in a minute.
Tuesday, we went to teach our investigator, “A”, who is 11 years old. He’s decided that he wants to be baptized. He is from a part member family, and his family loves us. They attend church every week, and he's' decided he wants to take the discussions. We were there for a WHILE! We got there at like 7, and we left at like 8:30. But it was really good! We taught the restoration, and since he's very new to coming to church, we have to take it very slow to make sure he understands it. He is young, so he likes to make comparisons and analogies in order to better understand things.
Honestly, it was a wonderful experience; he's such a great kid. His dad has such a strong testimony of the church - it's insane! He was helping us teach and was bearing his testimony frequently to “A”, and at one point he was even tearing up. It was so awesome. Austin had lots of questions, and just kept asking us to stay longer. That was probably the second time in my mission that I’ve really just felt so loved by my investigators, and realized how large of an impact we as missionaries can make on people.
After we finished teaching, I bore my testimony, and it's funny because I haven't had the opportunity to bear a real sincere testimony in a while. But, it was powerful. I felt so good about it. The cool thing about the spirit is that no matter how many times you say or read or hear something that's true, it'll always testify to you of truth. It was just a fantastic experience. I wish I could relate it to you in words, but it's not really describable. I just feel like I was sent to New Braunfels specifically for this family. I get along so well with them, and I feel like I’m meant for them – It’s just such a great feeling.
Wednesday night, we taught J&E, who are less active recent converts, but they absolutely love missionaries and have us over every week. Apparently, before I came to this area, they were also teaching E’s mom, who is a non-member. But, I haven't taught her since I’ve been here. Every single time I’m there, I invite her to come to the lesson, and she's always said no. HOWEVER, this week she said yes. She broke out her Book of Mormon and marking pencils, and my companion and I taught another lesson we created. Basically what we did is we went through Nephi chapter 17 and 18, picked out some versus and did a little game. This is the story when Nephi is commanded to make a boat. We get out two pieces of paper and pretend that elder wright is the Lord (don't get upset, it's just pretend) and we ask one of the people we're teaching to be Nephi. Then, we ask him to build a boat, and then we read a scripture about how the lord directed Nephi to get tools and materials, and we give him paper, and so on. We eventually, through the scriptures, have fun with it and elder wright teaches them how to make a boat. That probably sounds lame i know, but it's pretty good.
The principle we teach at the end is about prayer and asking for our Heavenly Father's help. It's a sweet lesson. At the end, E’s mom was super into it, marking scriptures and telling us experiences she's had with prayer. She also committed to coming to church next Sunday! It was a fantastic lesson because we not only talked about prayer, we talked about the spirit and it's promptings and a lot of stuff...very spiritual, awesome lesson.
THE BEST PART was that Elder Wright and I weren't even really teaching. We were just guiding, asking questions and letting them teach themselves. It was so fantastic. It was the best lesson we've had yet as a companionship.
So, I’m some of you heard about this, but New Braunfels, and a lot of Texas, got some INSANE weather on Thursday and Friday. We had like an ice storm or freezing rain or sleet or whatever you want to call it. AND….as luck would have it, Elder Wright and I were on bikes that day hahahahah.
We went out on Thursday, and I didn't know it would be that cold! I had just a sweater on, and after 5 minutes of riding around we had to go back and layer up. I was in my sweater, big jacket, beanie, etc. BUT - one of the other elders lost my gloves. So, I was just like pssshh I don't need gloves. BAD. IDEA. It was SO cold, about 20 minutes into our riding, and it was raining! OH, MAN - it was bad! I was freezing. It was probably 32-33 degrees at that point, and the wind howling, and it was super moist…. so it was really cold – The coldest I’ve ever been in my life, because of the wind and moisture. I was *told*, (don’t quote me) that the wind chill and moisture made it feel like it was like 1-4 degrees outside. It sure felt like it to me!
ANYWAY - I didn't have gloves, and we rode to teach a lesson, and when we got out it was even colder outside. So, I bought another pair of gloves. We rode around in it all day. After we concluded our last lesson at 8:45pm Thursday night, we had a legit ice rain. It was in the 20's, but for some stupid reason it wasn't snowing. It was rain, and then little chunks of ice but not hail. All the rain was freezing as soon as it hit the ground so there was ice everywhere...annnnnnnd we had to ride home!!!
When we got back to the apartment, we were SOAKED, and our jackets were literally cracking because the water turned into ice on our jackets. It was actually pretty cool. TERRIBLE. But, cool.
|Yep, That's ICE!|
The next day, when we go outside at around 10am, ALLLLLLLL the rain from the night before was ice. ICE WAS EVERYWHERE. They shut down the CITY. All the stairs were icy, the cars were literally just ice. There was probably ½” of ice on everyone’s car. I rolled down the window in the car, and there was a huge layer of ice still there where the window was. I got to punch it and it exploded everywhere haha it was so sweet. Icicles were hanging from cars and houses and trees. The freeway to San Antonio was straight up closed until 12 o clock. Texas is not used to this weather. Still, we went to play disc golf at lunch that day. The whole grass fields were just ice. You could start running and then just slide forever on it; it was so sweet. I had a great time! But, I was on bike both of those days so that was not good... but whenever we'd knock on people's doors, they would call us crazy for being outside. Then, they'd feel bad and they'd give us hot chocolate or food or something haha. Everyone was so nice! We got tons of work done those days believe it or not!
Let’s pause, I have to thank my family for the awesome package they sent me this week. Brooklynn, your bracelets are AWESOME. I gave one to each elder in my apartment, and with the others, I try to match my tie to every day. I am wearing a red bracelet and red tie right now actually. And guess which tie it is? The one Dallin picked out for me! I love the ties you sent me as well, and the socks! I wore the crazy blue and green socks to church on Sunday. It was so awesome. And, the cookies were so good Dallin; we ate them all up really quick. That package made my day. It was cold outside, early in the day, and I wasn't in a very good mood. But, when I got that, it just made my day. Thank you so much!
Okay let's continue. We had a lesson with S&A this week. “A” is a member, but “S” is not. He’s already been taught EVERYTHING; we're just waiting so they can get married, and so “S” can get baptized. He comes to church every week and loves it. He's such an awesome guy. I've met him at church lots of times, but it was the first time I got to meet with him outside of church this week. “S” and I hit it up. He was a big time baseball player in college. He was a STUD. He has a similar body structure to mine, and he played the same positions: pitcher, short and third haha! How crazy is that? We talked about baseball forever. It was so awesome. He keeps telling me to come over so he can play catch with someone that he wont hurt, and I can't wait. He was an awesome pitcher at one point, so i wouldn't mind learning a couple things from him! He’s only like 28, 29 years old, super cool, super funny guy. You guys would love him.
Saturday night, we rode over to “D’s” house, a recent convert of 2 years. He is the most inspiring person I’ve ever met in my life. He tries SO HARD to be the best he can be. He works 70 hours a week, every day, and he STILL does whatever he can to make time to come to church at least once a month or so. He tries so hard. His wife is inactive, and he brings his two girls to church with him all by himself. He has so many trials in his life, but he just keeps trucking along, constantly talking about all the blessings in his life and just praises the church with all he's got. Seriously, if I could aspire to be even a little bit like him, I would be twice the person I am now. That's how inspiring he is.
Anyway, we stopped by and chatted with him for a bit, then we left at about 8:30, which was plenty of time to get home…… BUT I walk outside and guess what? MY TIRE WAS FLAT! AGAIN. FOUR WEEKS IN A ROW! I was upset because Elder Wright made me ride through a field earlier in the day. I didn't want to because, you see, in Texas there are THORNS EVERYWHERE. Seriously, Texas is great, but the grass and fields here stink. The grass is all yellow and scratchy and gross, and there are thorns everywhere. It’s frustrating. I can't walk barefoot on the grass here. I tried, and I ended up needing elder Swonson to carry me to asphalt, so I could pick 40 thorns out of my feet. Anyways, I had to walk my bike a couple miles home. It wasn't too far away so it wasn't bad. We still made it home on time.
Why do I tell you this, though? Because when I got home, there was a package waiting at the door, and its for me! I open it up, and it's from my dad, and what is it? It’s bike tires! The bike tires with the green slime in them, and the green tape stuff to prevent punctures and flat tires! How crazy is that? I mean, i wouldn’t have minded that a couple hours earlier, but whatever, it was still a mini miracle because I had just ran out of tires again! I have gone through 5 tires since I’ve been on the mission. Kills me!! haha. But hopefully these ones do me better now!
Last story: Elder Swonson's birthday was Thursday. On Wednesday his mom sent us cake mix and a letter addressed to the "other elders," with instructions to make him a cake for his birthday. So, the next morning, I woke up early and baked him a sweet cake. Well, I’ve never baked a cake before, so I thought it was sweet. I’ll send you pictures.
That's it for me this week! Thanks for all the letters I got on Christmas from the ward! I just got those not too long ago. Thank you ALL for everything you do! Love you!