Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Loving being a missionary

Hey everyone,
This last week has been really awesome! I think I've turned a corner, I genuinely love being a missionary now. I have been doing all of our planning over the last 3 weeks so that I will be ready to take over the area when Elder S leaves (in 1 week!). Planning can be kind of hard, especially in this area. There aren't very many people here, this is definitely one of the smallest areas in the mission population-wise. But we have started working with the members and getting referrals, and I'm super excited to continue in the direction we've been going. I thought I was going to get sick of this area because it's so small and there isn't a whole lot to do, but as we work with the members we are able to get a lot accomplished. If every member gave some concerted effort towards missionary work, we'd have more to do than we could handle. I'm excited! We are working with Hunter and he might get baptized this week before Elder S goes home. We also invited a couple part member families to hear the lessons, and they accepted. We've been getting about triple the referrals we've previously received, and I think the members are getting excited again. They were pretty excited for us to come back, but now they are more excited to do missionary work.

So yeah, this has been a great week. Something that really helped me was we had a visit from Elder Richard J. Maynes of the First Quorum of the Seventy. The information I gained from that has been invaluable to me, and I'm looking forward to continuing to apply the counsel I received and seeing the results. He taught us about connecting our purpose to our work, and that our purpose can be summarized in 3 words: find, teach, baptize. Since we have a new mission president, a lot of changes have been taking place. President C has been taking the mission in the direction described in the Missionary Handbook and Preach My Gospel, which has ruffled a few feathers of some of the old-timer missionaries. But I was amazed at how much what Elder Maynes taught corroborated what President C has been teaching. They are two truly inspired men... I'm still trying to learn as much as I can and be the best I can be.

Dad, thanks for the letter. To answer some of your questions, the leaves haven't changed yet. I don't know how much of the fall colors I'm going to see, this area has a LOT of pine trees. Elder S said it was greener up in Raleigh, so we'll see. I'll be sure to send whatever pictures I get of it. And it is still pretty warm, there hasn't been a frost yet. When it hits is when all the collards start getting popular because it sweetens them up. I'm sure most of you have no idea what collards are, it's a leafy plant kind of like spinach. They are a very Southern thing. I think they're ok but a lot of people don't like them. Thanks for sending me the list of missionaries! That's really sweet to hear about Jordan, Daniel, Jacob, Taylor, Colton and Levi. I actually saw Brennan when I was in the MTC and his cousin (Tray I think? The redhead). Tell Jacob to keep an eye out for an Elder Gundersen, he was my neighbor at college and he is in Tahiti right now. Which Phillipines mission is Colton going to? I have a couple friends from college who are there right now...

Royal lost to Zillah? That's pretty surprising. Tell Michael that I'm going to be sorely disappointed if they don't win the state championship.

This area is a very interesting area. It's different than a lot of the rest of North Carolina because the people are pretty uneducated for the most part. We haven't really Bible bashed much, it's much more common for us to hear, "You believe your way and I believe my way". They listen to their preacher, but haven't really studied the Bible that much themselves. They hold to the traditions of their fathers, for no good reason other than that's what they grew up hearing.

As for time management, it's really just important to break things down. You shouldn't measure performance on time spent (unless it's studying the scriptures), but on tasks accomplished. Otherwise it can be pretty easy to spend a lot of time on something that isn't worth it. I know for me it has helped big time carrying a planner with me everywhere I go, because when I remember something that I need to do I'm able to write it down and get it accomplished. Just think about what your purpose is, and whether a particular activity is helping you to accomplish your purpose. So yeah, that's my time management advice to everyone, most especially Dad (cause he asked for it!).

Oh, and you wouldn't believe how many times people have told me that they think Obama is the antichrist. I'm not a fan of Obama by any means, but that seems like a bit of a stretch. I did hear that he wanted to cut all U.S. ties with Israel though. Any details? If that is true, then that could play a pretty key factor in the Second Coming. Or at least I think so...

Well, in closing, I'm grateful to be out here. Not just because I know that it is my duty to be out here (which it is), but because I know that the gospel is true and that sharing it brings profound joy. Tell me a little bit about the missionaries currently in our ward. Are they up to snuff? If they are, you should definitely think of someone that you can share the gospel with and do your best to get the missionaries involved. I love you all! Until next week!

Elder Casper

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