Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A couple of yo-yos

A Good Connection

Hey everyone,
How are y'all doing? I am doing great. The weather has cooled down quite a bit here, too. I like it. I was getting pretty sick of the hot summer days. I am really enjoying my missionary service here. My companion is Elder Brady Alan R, and he is so cool. I'm so glad to be his companion, we connect pretty well. He's from Oroville CA and he just came from being a zone leader in Wilmington. We're doing great things together, and honestly I just enjoy being around him and talking to him. I love the ward here, too.

Something funny happened just recently. When I was with Elder S he knew I had been on Jeopardy, but he didn't tell anyone in the ward about it so nobody knew (obviously I wasn't going to say anything!). Well, Elder R heard that I'd been on Jeopardy from the AP, Elder C, and he and Mike S asked me about it. They found out that was true, and then Elder R told Kyle D, the first Counselor, when we were having dinner with his family. He in turn told his brother in law, the bishop, who announced it in priesthood meeting. So everyone finally knows and asks me about it now, it was pretty funny when it got announced. So now people know! Ha ha.

Well, here is the missionary report from this week. "There are 5 people that we think will get baptized before the end of the year. They are Tiffaney, Mike P, Hunter, Brian, and Alex. We had some really good news with Tiffaney this week. She and Michael got married last weekend! So she is now pretty much good to go for baptism. She wants Michael to do the baptism ... Mike P is getting closer and closer to baptism, after we taught him about the Restoration he asked us about what he needs to do to get ready to be baptized. We're just waiting on December for Hunter to get baptized, we're pretty excited for him. We're going to see what we can do to get his Mom focused on getting herself rebaptized, there's no reason that she shouldn't do it soon. We taught Brian the message of the Restoration, and he understood it very well. He said that if he did find out it was true, he would get baptized (because you would have to if you did know that). He mentioned that he wants to give up smoking and that he was willing to give up tea. We taught Alex, who is turning 9 in just a little while. Her stepmother Danielle sat in on the lesson, and we committed her to read 3 Nephi 11 and pray to know if it's true. So we've got a lot of good things going on, there are 2 or 3 more other part-member families we are making efforts to start working with."

So things are going great here. I'm glad to hear about all the exciting things that are going on at home. Todd, you were right. Back home seems like a dream and that it doesn't/shouldn't really change while I'm away, but it definitely does. I'm glad that the time in St. George was good. I can't believe Grandpa's 80 years old! I assume that he's still pretty spry if he's playing in a band. That's pretty sweet. Derek, it’s good that you put on that ACT seminar. I remember Dad suggested to me that I do that same thing, but I didn't capitalize on the opportunity. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Dad, I definitely should have taken your advice more often. I'm pretty jealous that y'all will get to hear Elder Holland speak. By the way Mother, we didn't get to listen to apostles speak ALL the time! Ha ha, we got to hear only about 2 or 3!

Oh, and I never did respond to your question. President C's all about being led by the Spirit, while President W was more old-school, everyone reports to the people at the top. President C's emphasis is getting the mission to do things according to Preach My Gospel and the Missionary Handbook and allowing us more discretion so that we can be guided by the Spirit. This means that some of President W's traditions are being done away with, such as the assistants and the zone leaders going on exchanges all the time. The assistants only go on exchanges with the zone leaders, and the zone leaders only go on exchanges with the district leaders (as described by the Missionary Handbook). There are also a lot more younger missionaries being called to leadership positions. Those are 2 of the examples of changes that have ruffled the feathers of some of the old-timers, I think he's a very inspired man, though, and there shouldn't be murmuring. There's not a whole lot, but my first couple transfers a couple of the missionaries that I served around complained about it a lot. But anyways, that's that. And as much as I would like you to send Bro. Bott's book to me, you probably shouldn't. We're still restricted to the missionary library. And I did read Jesus the Christ a couple months ago, it was amazing. Talmage certainly was a smart man.

Ok, so I have a couple requests for you Mom. My bank account is low, I've made some purchases with it. Basically we aren't allowed to buy personal items (including clothes) with mission money, so we have to use our own money. It would be nice if I could get maybe a couple hundred in there, there are some personal things I like to buy every once in a while (for example last week I bought a scale and a jump rope so that I can try and lose some weight; they stuff me every night and I've gained about 20 pounds!!! Yikes!). So that would be nice. Yes, I did get your package, thank you very much. I forgot to mention it last week, it definitely is nice to get something from home! I don't get very much mail at all (maybe a letter every couple of weeks), so every little bit is great. And I had a request for an early Christmas present. I really don't have any pictures of my life before I came out here, so I would really, really, really appreciate a photo album that has some pictures of my life throughout high school and college. You can get college pictures off of my Facebook account or there's a bunch on my computer, maybe you can get Chris or Derek to help you. But I would really enjoy that, if you could spare the time/energy/effort. Thanks for everything, I know that the church is true! I've been reading from the teachings of Joseph Smith, and I know that he truly must have been a prophet. I hope y'all have a great week and are enjoying life. Until next time.

Elder Casper

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Lizard Hanging"

New Companion, Elder Robertson

How is everything going? I hope that it's going well. Things are going great for me. I am really loving the work. My trainer Elder S just went home. He was a good guy and I learned a lot from him. My new companion is named Elder R. He is such a cool guy! I am definitely looking forward to working with him, we are going to get so much done together. He is an amazingly happy, optimistic person and an awesome missionary. He's from Northern California, a town called Oroville, and he's been out for 20 months. He was just a zone leader in Wilmington, so that might tell you a little bit about the kind of missionary he is. I'm glad to have him as my companion.

Well, I'm getting sick of writing two different accounts of the work every week, so I've decided to start including a portion of my letter to the mission president.
"Well, there have been a lot of good things going on. Elder R had a good conversation with Michael S on the way back from Raleigh. We are teaching his girlfriend, Tiffany; they are both really awesome people. They aren't living the law of chastity, they were in Vegas this weekend, though, and they may have got married. I do not know. If they aren't married, we are planning on working with them to set goals and determine whether they will get married or get separate apartments. She wants Michael to baptize her, which may take a while. We will see, but it will probably be best if somebody else baptizes her and they work together to get worthy to go to the temple.

We also taught Mike P. He's a really cool guy in a part-member family. When Elder S and I had last been there we had left him with a commitment to read 3 Nephi 11 with his family. He didn't do it, which was pretty disappointing. We did end up reading the chapter with them, though, and the Spirit was definitely there. He committed to read 2 Nephi 32, I'm pretty sure he will actually do it this time though. We also committed his family to start studying scriptures together as a family, which will of course be good for all of them.

We also saw Hunter this week. It looks as though he is going to be baptized in December, so we're going to continue working with him so that he will be ready and excited for it. We would also love to see his excommunicated mom get back into it, since we've been coming over and teaching him she's had a little bit more light enter into her life. We also committed them to start doing family prayer.

Then last but not least, we had a really good visit with Brian & Caitlin last night. Caitlin is a less-active member and they are not married, but they have two kids. Brian's been having trouble finding work, but it looks like he might get hired on as a prison guard. He would have good benefits and it will eliminate the excuse of financial insecurity as a reason that they aren't married. Anyways, we talked with him about running 3 mornings a week, and we got onto the subject of him smoking. We talked about the stop-smoking program, and also about how the gospel can bless his life. We invited him to take the lessons, and he accepted! We're pretty excited to work with him, and he's already been getting some great fellowship from the ward."

So that's pretty much what has been going on with the work...I love being a missionary out here and there are great rewards that come from being bold and consistent in missionary work. I also know that the gospel will bless our lives if we don't harden our hearts against it. I can testify of that, I've seen many amazing changes in my life over the last 10 months. Prayer is a powerful tool if we allow it to be, and I'm grateful for it and the other blessings that I have received.
Well, keep me posted on anything interesting that's happened at home. I love you all!