At The Tiki Room -
Not The One In Disneyland
The One In North Carolina
We had a day dedicated to fun! We met as a district at a member's lake house! We pulled up and already, the zone leaders were in street clothes. I knew it was going to be so much fun when I saw Elder Morrow's HUMP DAAAY shirt on! We didn't have time to change before we had lunch and all that, so we showed up in pross (proselyting) clothes and had to change there. Elder Morrow saw me get out and said, "Pross clothes?! Aren't we forgetting what day it is??" I love our zone leaders! They are the best! We are so glad we get to have them in our district because they make everything more fun. So after we changed, ate our food, and relaxed for a few minutes while the Elders were playing a 3 on 3 game of foosball. After that, it got serious! They moved the couches against the wall, put the dinner table in the family room, moved the pool table out of the way so they could get the ping pong table into the kitchen, moved the pool table into the middle of the game room and it was war! We had a GIANT game of Quelf at the dinner table which was soooooo much fun! Elder Burrop won. That game is the next game our family needs to invest in! It's the next Snorta... but way more fun! Then some of the Elders went to play ping pong, so Elder Morrow and I went head to head in pool. I accidently sunk the 8 ball the first game and lost. Then I won the second game by sinking the 8 ball at the appropriate time, but then the cue ball scratched it and I lost again, and I sunk the 8 ball when playing Elder Burrop. It was an embarrassing day for pool. haha But it's okay, because Elder Morrow said that he would give the second one to me due to "gentleman's rules". Then, the elders grabbed my ipad from me when I was transferring pictures so we could get the new ones on Wednesday. Well, they saw my drawings that I did and we broke out into a debate of how much I should charge for them and keep doing them when I get home. Of course I am going to keep doing them, but I didn't think about charging any money for them because I love doing it. Well, suffice it to say that Elder Morrow one that argument and says he wants to pay me to do one for him when I get home. (But I probably still won't charge him any money!) ;) Then we had to start cleaning up and go grocery shopping. But Elder Perron and Cravey said they weren't done playing ping pong. So they said they would clean up everything. Let's just say... I hope they did it. ;)
We had the very special opportunity to start family history with a returning member. He didn't have much information, but to see everything slowly come together made him so happy. The light in his eyes alone was enough to make my entire week better. We almost got his four generations done, but he has very little information about specific dates. He was so willing to continue in the work, that he said, "My aunts and uncles are the only ones with the information about our family. I don't really have a good relationship with them, but I will try my hardest to get all that I can so that we can do the work for my family." Just the pure willingness to try anything to get the blessings to the members of his family was amazing to me. Seeing as it has been a long process for us to get our family's work done, I have so much respect for that. He is working so hard to be able to get the information necessary and get his life in order so that he can be the one who takes the names to the temple. It is truly an amazing thing to help others unlock and discover how many people, stories, and backgrounds there are in Family History. If anyone reading this hasn't done their own or tried to help others, I encourage you to do so. It brings such an amazing feeling to you.
This day we had zone meeting! It was a really special meeting in which we learned all about "Asking Inspired Questions". We have now talked about that in not only zone meeting, but zone conference as well. It is something that we are not only focusing on asking good questions, but asking questions that will make the investigators teach themselves in the process. It is something that is so awe-inspiring to me, that I will probably continue doing it even after my mission in teaching, leading, and guiding others closer to Christ. The fun part of this meeting consisted of two things:
1. Wasn't actually so much fun, as it was funny! We have had so many backing accidents as missionaries, that Salt Lake is practically shaking their heads at missionaries because of it. Check this out. In car missions in the church in the past year, they have had to pay 25 Million Dollars for backing accidents. That's pathetic... right? Our mission alone has had 5 in the past three months. When someone asked how it is even happening, they gave an example. Someone in the mission was backing up someone else, and they saw that a tree was in the way. Instead of stopping them and doing a 3-point turn, they just stepped out of the way and panicked while they saw the driver hit the tree. What's worse, is the driver wasn't paying enough attention to see the tree. So we had to have the zone leaders and their third companion give us a "backing demonstration." It was possibly the funniest thing I have seen yet. One was driving, the other backing, and one narrating. OUR ZL'S ARE THE BEST! And P.S. Anyone that is going to go on a mission, just pay attention and don't be stupid. It's not that hard.
2. We got our new iPads! They are so amazing! They run so much quicker because they have so much more storage on them for pictures, videos, etc for teaching. And we get to keep them afterwards. They even took extra precautions. Included in the price that we paid for them, which was actually 1/4 of retail price, (thank you tithing) ;) I'm totally kidding, was a knock-off otter case to protect it. It's the best thing ever! If you have any specific questions about who gets them, how we are using them, what programs, etc. Write me next week and let me know. But as my mother asked me, yes. We are off of Facebook temporarily. And we are not planning on returning to Facebook as a mission until about June. No missionaries are. They are leaving it up to the mission presidents to put it back as they see fit, but we have to do at least a month and a half of training beforehand. But we will be back soon enough.
That night, we had a lesson with our recent converts. This lesson was so amazing. Not really because of the message alone, but what came from it. You see, we were on exchanges that night, and our sister training leader looked at them and asked what they had felt change in their lives over the past couple of months or how they have seen the gospel play a role in their life. Now, our recent converts are a husband and wife couple. The wife responds to everything and is very social. The husband speaks, but only when asked. He is just quieter. But, out of the blue, he was actually the one to respond first to this question. He looked at his wife and said, "You don't actually know this because I never told you. But Mormon missionaries have come by the house before. Numerous times, actually." She looked surprised and said, "Are you sure they were Mormon missionaries." He nodded and said, "Yes I am sure. They would always come by and say they have a message for us. But I was never interested." Sister Perez, (our sister training leader), responded, "Barry, what changed?" He pointed right at me and said, "That one." I almost fell out of my chair! I shockingly said, "Me? How did I change all of that?" He looked at me with all the sweetness I have ever seen in him and said, "You asked me if I believed in God. No one had ever done that before. You just came right out with it." I was breathless at this point. Even typing it right now brings back all of the goosebumps, chills, and everything else I felt at that moment. I couldn't believe it. There was verbal proof that I was the one that he needed. He had been given the opportunity before, but had never told anyone about it until this moment. The undying love I have for the two of them is amazing. I know that missionaries are sent and inspired to go to different areas because there are specific people waiting for you. It was so much of a testimony builder. And honestly, it made me feel so good inside that I just started crying. Isn't that amazing???
That night, we were able to go with some less-actives to the church for the Relief Society Birthday Party. It was so much fun! The theme was a Luau. They had everything decorated so well and it actually kind of made it feel tropical in there. They had Hawaiian music playing and everything. I attached some pictures. We ate hawaiian haystacks for dinner and watched Johnny Lingo. If you don't know what it is, go watch the old version that the church put out in like the 70's. It's a good one. Sister Buckner and I practically memorized it before they took it off of Gospel Library. So we were just quoting it the whole time. Then the president got up and said a few words about Self-Worth. It was really inspirational and it made me think again about how much our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. If someone is going through a hard time, turn to our Heavenly Father. He knows what you are going through and he is anxiously waiting to help you, if you will simply ask.
We were able to teach a member referral that night at dinner with some of the recent converts in the ward. She is... well... interesting? She came right out with a question about tea and the word of wisdom in the middle of dinner. So we jumped on it and turned our dinner discussion into a Restoration Lesson. She is very, very, VERY, sassy. She is a middle-aged aftrican american woman who is more than comfortable with telling you exactly how she feels. We tried to teach her each principle with a resounding... "NO. THAT'S NOT RIGHT." at the end of each one. Sooo... I don't really know what else to say about her, other than that. We are going to keep teaching her this week, but we definitely have our work cut out for us. Pray that we will teach according to her needs,so please pray that her heart will be softened and that we will be able to get the message across to her. I will follow up with y'all on that next week. But I had to throw in the fact that not every lesson goes according to plan. haha ;)
We were able to go do some service for the Habitat for Humanity Restore. I swear, I am so glad that they have instituted doing service into our week. It makes me feel so amazing every time I am able to help. This instance, we were able to paint some signs for the member that manages the Restore for the 5K they are having in April. Not only were we able to gain some SERIOUS member trust, but we were also able to have fun, do art (thank you for artistic ability Heavenly Father), and we were able to gain more service opportunities from it. Not only does he want us to make him some more signs, but he wants us to either help work at the 5K, or to run in it. We told him that if we are still in Shelby, we would love to help out. Transfers are coming up soon, but I'm sure that whoever is here at the time would love to help with it. Also, in order to prepare the board on Saturday, we had to detach all of this metal siding that had been clamped to it. Mom and Dad - Thank you for teaching me to do things and never giving up. Also, thank you for making me do things in the yard and elsewhere that gained me some muscle, because I had to get rid of all the siding on the board by myself. Either my companions didn't know how to do it, couldn't do it for lack of strength, or didn't want to learn. I thought it was rather comical, actually. But I got it off all by myself. And it only took me a little less than 10-15 minutes. Only using a screwdriver I might add. ;) I'm feeling a little accomplished about that one. haha
We were able to go see a less-active yesterday named Mark. We have been seeing him on and off for about a month and a half now. The only hard part about it is, we can't get to him as easily because he lives in Grover. But when we went down yesterday, we brought Bishop Shaw with us. That was really special because Bishop was the one that baptized Mark about 25 years ago. The only problem he has about coming to church right now is, how others will look at him. He has tattoos, long hair, and jeans and a t-shirt for Sunday clothes. We just threw down (in a nice and loving way), about how no one should care about that and how he shouldn't care what others thought anyway. We did a very brief gloss-over about the foundation of the church and why principles like "God is our loving Heavenly Father" are the only things that should really matter. The great thing is, his wife is not a member, and she sat in on the lesson the whole time. She was even asking questions about the church, the beliefs, the missionaries, etc. We told her that we would love to come and start teaching her if that is something that she is interested in. She said that she was!!! We invited them to church for the third time and are really hoping that they come. This Sunday is stake conference, so it may be harder for them to get to Gastonia one day and Charlotte the next, but we see so much potential from the both of them. So could you please pray for Mark and Sandy as well? I would severely appreciate it.
Apart from that,
Mom- Phoenix is sounding like so much fun! I can't believe it is already 90 degrees. In fact, it is supposed to be 81 in Shelby today. So we are planning on going to hike Crowder's Mountain as a zone! It's going to be sooooo much fun! So expect pictures next week from that! But anyway, how was the Phoenix temple? I didn't know that it was super tiny. When you compared it to the size of the Vernal temple, Sister Grace and I just laughed because that is where Sister Buckner is from. Do you have any pictures from either the Phoenix or the Gilbert temples? I would love to see them!
As for the questions you asked me:
You are completely fine to look at my Facebook page mom! I hope you do! The spiritual thoughts that I have on there are for everyone to read and re-read. I am glad to hear that that is happening. And it would be even better if you know of someone that could benefit from them and you can share it with them. But like I said, I think sometime in the end of May or June is when the mission is scheduled to get back on Facebook.
Things in Shelby are alright. We actually hit the standard of excellence for total lessons this week! We hit 18 lessons this week! That is the first time that has happened on my mission and I hope to see it continue happening with many baptisms and converted brothers and sisters of mine as well.
Transfers are going to be on the 31st of this month. So probably don't send anything in the mail past the 23rd or the 24th. There is probably a very good chance that the trio will go down to a pair
Sister H is the woman in the ward that is expecting the baby. She is doing soooooo much better. She only gets migraines when she is pregnant, and she can't take anything for them. So it is harder on her, but she is doing really well. She loves me so much! And I love her soooo much! Every time we see each other, we give each other a big hug and say, "Hi Best Friend. I just love you." She is planning on taking us all out to lunch, shopping, dinner, and family home evening on the 30th. So we/I are super excited for that! We definitely have to go see her when we come back. Apart from the fact that she is the S's daughter, she is just wonderful. Her husband is too! :)
Investigators are doing well. None progressing at this point, but we hope to have a few progressing in the coming week or two. So remind me about it and I will send you updates and let you know who to pray for besides those that are already listed in this email.
I really liked the spiritual thought about the bamboo plant, mom. Thank you so much for that. I will re-read that sometimes. It practically described the past week I have had in the sense of learning to grow through adversity and realizing how many blessings we have in our lives.
I would love to hear the testimonies that you all wrote down! Mom - You can just send me yours when you get home or next Monday. I would love to hear friends, family, and my sisters and father's testimonies as well. You hear me! Send 'em my way! ;)
As for how we are gearing up for the change in mission presidents... You can bet your life we are. We are having TONS more meetings and at the start of every single one, President Craven looks at us and says, "Elders and Sisters. I feel an URGENCY to share all of my knowledge with you." We actually are pretty entertained by it because he is trying to teach 3 years of lessons to us in about 3 months. I am starting to count how many times we hear, "You are the culture of the mission. You have to keep it running." So apparently he thinks that as soon as he leaves, we are all going to go "hog wild" and not do anything anymore. But never fear, the missionaries are here! We are going to rock the presidential exchange like nobody's business.
If you have any more questions about the iPads, like I said, just send them to me. I don't really know what you are curious about, so it's hard to talk about. But let me know and I would love to answer them.
I am really excited for this upcoming week because we are having Elder Kopischke coming to do a mission tour and giving a mission conference on Friday. AND... Sister Buckner and I are singing O My Father in the beginning of it. So I will definitely let you know how both of those things go!
Tell Grandma and Grandpa Deinstadt and Irwin that I say hello! I love them and I miss them. Tell all my cousins, aunts, and uncles as well.
I just love you alll soooooo much! I can't even describe to you how much my mission means to me because of all the things I am learning, people I am helping, and testimony I am gaining. Please remember that our loving Heavenly Father has unconditional love for each one of you. I couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of the church. I am so proud to call myself a Mormon. For a challenge I am going to extend to each of you this week:
Try writing down everything that means the most to you. Things that you couldn't imagine your life without. Then make a list of how many of those things you have because your Heavenly Father has blessed you with them.
I am off to go hike a mountain with some amazing people! LOVE YOU TONS! Hugs and Kisses from NC!