Monday, October 25, 2010

Great New Location

It's been an interesting week.

"I'm pretty well settled here in Pembroke now. I'm still adjusting to the change. Elder Lopez is a good missionary, and the ward here is really awesome. So I'm looking forward to working some more here.

We had one investigator come to church, Bobby. Bobby's a really good man. He's been to church 5 times now, and he has a baptismal date. His main concern at the moment is the Word of Wisdom. At the moment, he doesn't have a strong desire to quit. But our Gospel Principles class was really good, about eternal families. Maybe that will help him gain a stronger desire.

We have another investigator with a baptismal date named Joann, but I haven't actually met her yet. She's a member referral, and she sounds solid. We'll do what we can to get up with her this week.

We have a lot of other investigators right now that aren't too solid. Ronald dropped us because he became involved in another church, and we're going to drop Hubert because he's more interested in talking with us than actually considering whether he would like to become a part of it or not.

I look forward to doing more member-missionary work in this area. I think there's a lot of potential for it here."

So yes, I have been transferred to Pembroke. I'm sure Wikipedia can tell you all about it. It's populated with a bunch of Lumbee Indians, which aren't a real tribe. But I'll let you read up on it. There's a pretty decent college here, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. It's a pretty unique area. It only has about 100 or so active members (definitely the least on my mission so far), but they make up for it in awesomeness. The ward is very involved here. So I'm excited for my stay here.

My companion is Elder Lopez. He's from the Los Angeles area, and he's of Filipino descent. He's only been out for 3 transfer cycles. It's possible we'll only be together for six weeks, but who knows?

So, do you remember how I told you about running into Terry Cook? He gave me the address for Corey's mom and sister. It's in Clarkton, which is in Lumberton's area (Lumberton is only 10 miles away). So I have a big request for you. I was wondering if you could ask around and get some of the locals to round up any pictures and write down stories about Corey and send them to me (it might be easiest to do it via e-mail). I'm pretty sure he's in one of my prom photos. You might be able to have some success by asking Bro. Edmonds, Coach Riner, Taylors, Jenks, etc. I just have a vision of being able to bring that to his mother in person and bring her some comfort, and possibly open up a door to share the gospel. So do what you can, and let me know if that sounds feasible or not. That would be great!

Well, that's about all I've got. Dad, thanks for writing me again. I really do appreciate the time you take to do that. I love you all and look forward to e-mailing you again next week!

A Very Special Baptism

October 18, 2010

Hey everyone,

It's good to have yet another opportunity to e-mail you and let you know how things are going. Here's from my LTP:

"Thank you so much for sending me to this area and for having me be companions with Elder Tibbitts. There's no doubt in my mind that it was an inspired decision. I hope that the small amount of success we've had here will be a stepping stone to greater success and more member involvement in this area.

The highlight of this week was the baptism and confirmation of Bro. Madison. Bro. Madison is of course restricted to a wheelchair due to arthritis. Elder Butler, Elder Tibbitts, and I carried him on a chair down into the baptismal font and baptized him on the chair. I held his legs down, and Elder Tibbitts performed the ordinance. It took us 4 tries to get him all the way under the water! I felt a very good spirit there, and the next day, as I confirmed him in Sacrament meeting.

We have continued to work with Sis. N, a less-active member, and Sis. S, an excommunicated person. They are both progressing very well, and we've been excited to see their progress.

None of our current investigators are keeping commitments right now, but we do have some good potential investigators that we're excited to go see. Elder Tibbitts will do great as the new district leader."

On Saturday, I got the call from President. I'm being transferred, and going back to being a normal missionary. Elder Tibbitts is taking my spot as the district leader. The only hint President gave me was that it's one of the "neat" areas in the mission and that he has been there "several times". I'm curious as to what "neat" means, I guess I'll be finding out tomorrow at transfer meeting. It's been a good experience to be a district leader for these past ten months, and I'm excited to go back to normality.

My time here in Goldsboro has just flown by. I can't believe it. It's been somewhat of a difficult area, but it's still been wonderful. I'm really going to miss the elders in my district, I wish I could just take them with me! I hope I will be able to serve around some of them again.

It was good to read the round robin letter. That's a genius idea, and I hope it keeps up! I really wish I could be there to see Max, Easton, Everett, Emma, and Jett. I haven't heard anything about Chris' new business. Or Aaron interviewing for a job. "Come on guys, I'm the boss, I need the info!"

Thanks for getting the ballot for me. You could just send it to the mission address, and then they'll forward it to me in my new area.

Song suggestions for the Cantata - one comes to mind. I think it's called "I Need Thee Lord", it was on Jessica's BYU-ID CD that she sent me. I really liked it.

Holy smokes, I can't believe Andrew gave his homecoming talk yesterday. I hope he's able to make the adjustment well. He really sounds like he was an outstanding missionary.

Well, I think that's about all I've got for now. I'm sure I'll have lots of exciting things to tell you next week! I love you all, see you next week.

Elder Casper

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Door

It's good to be able to e-mail you again. From my LTP:

"We were able to have a couple of good lessons with Bro. M this past week. We thought we were going to have to reschedule his baptismal date from the 16th to the 30th, but fortunately we won't. He's ready to be baptized. That'll be happening next Saturday. We're working to figure out how we'll baptize him (he's wheelchair-bound), but I'm sure it will work out. He knows that he needs to get prepared to meet God, and that's why he wants to be baptized. We're excited for him.

The other people that we have been teaching haven't been able to meet up with us and aren't progressing. I has been going through some health struggles with his shoulder. The A's have also been going through some health struggles. Z and C haven't been progressing. C put us off last week but we do have an appointment with him tomorrow.

We've spent a lot of time finding. We've got 3 or 4 appointments for this week with potential investigators, so hopefully we'll be able to add someone new to our teaching pool.

We met with Sis. S a couple of nights ago. She's an excommunicated person. We called and talked with you about teaching her. Anyways, she seems genuinely excited to become part of the church again."

So yeah, things are going ok here in Goldsboro. The past couple of weeks have just been exhausting for some reason. We aren't teaching as many people as we'd like, but we're trying to find more people and fulfill our purpose. And I guess it's not the results of your missionary work that make you happy, it's the missionary work. So we will press forward.

Next week is transfers. Don't know for sure what's happening, but I'll know by next e-mail. I've been here for 4 transfers now, which seems to be the average length of stay in an area in this mission. So if I don't defy the odds, then I'll probably be getting transferred next week. We'll see what happens though.

We had an interesting night this past week. We had an exchange scheduled with one of our members. He didn't have a cell phone and got lost. He never picked us up! We had to call and cancel our appointments because they were both with single sisters, and we aren't allowed to go over unless there's another man present. So when it became apparent that he wasn't going to show up, we went out in the car and tried to stop by some people. Then it was getting late (probably about 8:30ish) and we didn't have anything to do. I personally don't like to tract that late because people tend to be a little grouchier, but we felt like we should do something and not waste time. We decided to knock *one* door. We chose a door, and bam, he was a less-active, part-member who was not on the church rolls. He's going TDY to Las Vegas with the Air Force, but we're going to try to keep after him and try to teach him and his wife. It was a neat experience.

This week on Thursday we're going to have a full day of leadership training. The last ones we had were really good, I'm excited to go to it again.

It makes me a little nervous to think that in a week I'm going to have a new companion. Elder Tibbitts and I have been together for so long and had such a good time together. I love him to death. We're just so used to each other and everything, it's going to be weird to be companions with someone else!

So what is everyone from back home up to these days?...What are Blake, Flynn, Tyler, Landon, Mark, Jeff, Julie, Candice, Emily, Camie, etc. up to? Let me know if you can.

Well, I love you all. I know that this work is God's work. I look forward to e-mailing you all again next week.

Elder Casper

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Trip to the Temple

Sent 10/8/10

Hey everyone,

Today's been a crazy day, and I won't get to write as much in this e-mail. But I'll write what I can.

"This week we've been doing some finding, and as much teaching as we can. None of our investigators are progressing right now. Bro. M should be getting baptized soon, but it might not be on October 16th. Work has been eating up a lot of his time recently. Other than that, we're just trying to find new people to teach and continue to work with the ward."

Today we got to go to the temple for the first time in about six months. It was very peaceful and soothing. I always feel renewed after going through the temple. I'm so glad that we have a temple in this mission.

Last weekend was General Conference, of course. It was amazing. Truly amazing. I think even more amazing than the other ones I've had thus far on my mission. I can't wait for the conference issue to come out so I can start studying it. I really felt the Spirit as it went on. Pres. Monson has quite a big responsibility, and he seemed to be feeling it a little bit. I really liked Elder Christofferson and Pres. Uchtdorf's talks. They were both powerful.

We unfortunately haven't found out why K dropped us. S {their convert from a few weeks ago} is doing well, he's been super busy and his mother hurt himself in a car accident, but he is being assimilated into one of the wards up in Raleigh. He's living up there full-time now.

Thanks so much for the package! It was wonderful. I really enjoyed the family history stories. Do you have any more you could send me? I would love to make an effort to regularly work on family history work after my mission.

Is David Gledhill getting my e-mails? If he's not, could you forward them to him too? That would be great!

Thanks for getting into contact with Sam F. I love that guy, he is the man. I got a short e-mail from him, and I'll be writing him a letter on Monday. It's the weirdest thing - I'll go for weeks without getting a letter, then in one week I get 3 letters and a package. I certainly don't get as much mail as I would like, but it's not too bad. Thanks for the Round Robin letter! That's a genius idea.

Well, we're actually running short on time, so I'm going to have to wrap this up. I love you all, and will be sending a longer e-mail on Monday. I promise. Take care!

Elder Casper

Highs and Lows in Goldsboro

Sent 9/27/10

Hey everyone,

Hope you all are doing well. Excerpt from my LTP:

"This week has been pretty good. We had some canceled appointments and whatnot, but we still had some good things happen.

We taught K and C on Tuesday night. She loved church, and was doing very well. We were excited to see her again on Saturday. The next morning after our appointment, she texted us and told us not to call her or to come by anymore. I'm still dumbfounded as to why she dropped us. She knew that what we were telling her was true, and it was quite miraculous how we found her. But she has her agency.

We weren't able to teach Bro. M this week, but we did help him move. That was a good service opportunity. It's been a while since we've seen him and we're a little concerned that he's losing some of the gospel fire. Hopefully we can teach him again this week.

Sis. A also canceled the appointment this week, but according to her sister-in-law they'll be at church for sure next week. We'll see what happens, we are very anxious to see her succeed. She is a good lady.

We were able to get up with C yesterday. We had a good talk with him. We asked him to start keeping a study journal, too much of what we've been teaching him has been going in one ear and out the other. It's going to be a longer process with him.

We taught I this week. He's doing pretty well. He is slowly but surely progressing. He was sick and wasn't at church, but we still have high hopes for him.

We were very encouraged by the progress that C has made. He has been able to find a little bit of peace about the death of his wife. He committed to come to church, and he did come to sacrament meeting. He looked really nervous and anxious, we'll find out what his experience was like. Bro. Smith has been doing a great job of encouraging him and answering his questions.

Last night we stopped by the M family and had a good talk with them. We're going to start teaching Sis. M again. They've been having some marital issues which have been hindering both of them. Sis. M wants to learn and is interested though. I feel a lot of love for their family. I really want to see them succeed."

So yeah, the saddest thing was K dropping us. Again, she has her agency, and we're just going to keep pressing forward.

This week we had interviews with President Cotterell. It felt like forever since I'd been interviewed! We've had a new schedule put in place in the mission - we used to have interviews every transfer but now we have them quarterly. So it has been about 3 months, which is the longest time I've gone without an interview! It was good and very helpful. It was good to receive counsel from the person who is my spiritual leader. Towards the end of the interview, President asked me how my family was doing. I told him that Michael was supposed to be getting his call this week, and he told me that I could call him to find out where he's going! I didn't know we were allowed to do that either! I enjoyed the call with Michael, and I'm excited for his assignment to serve in Brazil. He will do well. I'm glad that I'll get to sneak in one more call before he takes off.

That's really good news about Dad and the Yankatanks! That's awesome. With all of these new orders coming in, you're going to be pretty busy at the shop! And I hope you're taking some good notes with all of this fishing that you've been doing with Justin Jenks.

Next Friday we will be going on a temple trip. We won't be having our next Preparation Day until then, so you won't get my next e-mail until then. Unfortunately. Sorry!

Bro. Jackson builds homes for a living. He has a construction company or something like that. In fact, he built his own home {This is where Elder Casper is living}. That's the biggest one he's built. Yes, I've got to know most all of the members here. I've been here since May, about 4 1/2 months now. At the end of this transfer it will be about 6 months. You never can tell, but I'll probably be getting transferred. If I'm not, my companion certainly will be. And life in the mansion is great! It's such a nice house, definitely a departure from where we were living before.

Care package? Sounds good to me. Hmm... some new music would be nice...

I have some requests. Could I get a four-generation pedigree chart and my priesthood line of authority? That would be great. Recently I've been bragging about my pumpkin I carved two years ago (holy cow!) at college to some missionaries, and I was wondering if someone could track down that picture and send it to me. Thanks!

I got a really good letter from Lee this week. He told me that he's enjoying it down in Argentina. One of our roommates, Sam F, went to the same mission. Lee told me that he got really sick and ended up being released after 9 months. Is there anyway you could track down his address? I would love to write him a letter and see how he's doing.

Let's see, I think that's about all I've got for this week. Thanks for the great letters. I hope you are all doing well, and I look forward to writing you next week.

Elder Casper