Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving in Pembroke

Hey everyone,

It was great to get your e-mail. I hope you all are doing well. Let me tell you about my week.

"Unfortunately, we won't be teaching B anymore. He's just not willing to read or progress. He's not willing to live the Word of Wisdom. We're going to keep inviting him to church, but no more teaching visits. He knows what he needs to do, he's committed to do it in the past but just won't. I hope that things will change for him.

We haven't been able to get up with W at all this week. He's just fallen off the map and is difficult to get ahold of. But we still feel like he has a lot of potential, so we're going to keep trying.

I was able to meet a less-active/part-member family this week for the first time that missionaries have been working with in the past. J and T seem like they have the potential to become active and reform their lives. We have a return appointment set with them for Thursday.

We got in to teach M and J, some people that we tracted out. M was kind of rude to us, and we won't be teaching them again. M thought that we couldn't teach her anything that she didn't know. We talked about the Restoration and a prophet. We asked her about what she would do if Moses was on the earth today. "Would you go to the church that Moses was at?" "I would if it was close to me." Ah well, at least we tried. We bore testimony about the Book of Mormon, invited her to read it, and left it at that.

Bro. Wilkins told us that he's been talking to M (who we taught once) more about the church at work. She asked her Baptist preacher about the church, and he told her that we believe that Joseph Smith is Jesus Christ and that we "drink and party and have a good ol' time in that church!" Bro. Wilkins was able to set that straight, and pointed out to her that her preacher had just told her two bold-faced lies. She's reading the Book of Mormon and forming her opinion on it right now. We'll be going back over there soon to follow up with her."

On Thursday, we helped out at the fire station, helping serve Thanksgiving Dinner to the homeless. It was good. We're supposed to do some kind of service like that every week. After that we had Thanksgiving Dinner with the Chavis family. It was really good, I enjoyed it very much. They're an awesome family. We did some weekly planning, and tried to stop by a few people. So it was good. I can't believe that a year ago, I was having Thanksgiving Dinner in Harker's Island with Elder Robertson. That's just nuts.

Our mission tour meetings were great! It was a little different from last year. Elder Packer talked a lot about the importance of the guidance of the Spirit. I definitely felt it there. It was wonderful.

I think this ward has always been fired up about missionary work. They're just not afraid to share the gospel. Even the less-active members.

So, as it turns out, Elder Lopez is being transferred after spending 6 months in his first area. I will be getting a brand spankin' new missionary. I'll be sure to let you know the details next week. I'm a little nervous to train, but I'm sure it will be good. Pembroke is a good area to train in.

You saw Susanna at Walgreens? Cool beans. I do like her, she was a funny girl. It was a pity that she had to move away. And she's dating a member? That's awesome!

Holy smokes, I can't believe Wes is home. Tell him hi for me. I did write him a letter a couple of weeks ago that he should have hopefully got.

Sorry I haven't been sending you any pictures lately. I really haven't been taking too many. But I will definitely have some to send you next week! Which of my pictures made the Christmas newsletter this year? I can't wait to get it.

Guess what? I get to make the 3rd call of my mission in 4 weeks! Is that crazy or what? I can't believe 2010 - the full calendar year spent as a full-time missionary - is almost over. I'm getting old.

I'm still working on getting the stuff to Corey's family. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Well, that's about all I've got. Thank you so much for the e-mails, they really lift me up and help me out. Take care, and have a good week.

Elder Casper

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Elder Casper and Elder Lopez

A Tough Week

Hey everyone,

So nice to hear from y'all. Here's how my week has been.

"This week has been kind of a tough week. Pretty much all of the investigators that were here when I came into the area either got baptized the week before, have dropped us, or just aren't progressing. So we're going back to the drawing board and finding new people to teach! I'm excited for this area though, it has a lot of potential. Especially with the great member support we have.

B isn't progressing...He's a good guy, but the whole time we've been teaching him I've kept getting this feeling that he isn't going to be ready to be baptized on Nov 20th. That day is certainly out of the question now, we'll see if he has any chance of progressing and keep teaching if he does.

J was our other investigator who had a baptismal date. She was at church on Sunday, and told us about how she was excited for her baptism. We talked to her fellowshipper on Sunday, and she just up an moved to Fayetteville this week. No forwarding address. We're disappointed but hope that things will go well for her.

In our finding efforts we were able to get one new investigator. We were out biking and trying to track down a former investigator. There was a girl out hanging clothes on a clothesline. Some little dogs came out and started barking at us. I stopped, but Elder Lopez (who is deathly afraid of dogs) took off biking, and they chased him a good distance down the road. We talked to the girl. Her name was K. We sat down with her on her porch and taught her. She's only 21, but she wants to get things right in her life. She never actually finished high school. We taught her the doctrine of Christ and invited her to be baptized. She accepted the invitation. We invited her to church, she said she couldn't guarantee she would make it but she would be more likely to make it next Sunday. We invited her to pray, and she did. We have a return appointment with her on Tuesday. And as it turned out, her parents were the former investigators. So we'll see what happens with her.

Other than that, we're just going to be finding. I honestly couldn't make heads nor tails of the map book that was here. We have a pretty nice wall map, and we've worked with our ward mission leader to find out which members are active and less-active. We posted a lot of really old former investigators on our map, and we'll be trying to visit a lot of them. We'll also try to do some contacting on the college campus. We didn't do any this past week but we feel like it would be worth the time to contact over there a couple of times a week."

You asked about the ward. The ward here is very involved with missionary work. Our ward mission leader, Bro. Lucas, is amazing. We talk to him every day and keep him posted on how the work is going. Robeson County has a lot of challenges - there are a lot of evil influences here. I think it's helped to strengthen the members. We have someone to take us on exchange pretty much every night, and people talk to their friends about the gospel. It's a good ward.

Mom, thank you so much for taking the time to round up those pictures and articles [about Corey Cook]. Make sure to thank everyone who's been involved for me. I didn't get the e-mail with Julie's pictures in it. So try sending it again, I guess. Lumberton [where Corey's mother lives] is only 10 miles from here, but it's in a different stake. Not only are they not in our district, they're not even in our zone! So I'm going to need to get special permission from President in order to go on exchange there. So, I probably will only have the opportunity to go out there once. But maybe not. Who knows? Anyways, I will just keep waiting on whatever else you've got coming my way. Just let me know when you've sent all that you can, that will be my cue.

You asked me about Santa Claus. Keep looking for that CD and see if it's come out yet! I read an article in Mormon Times about it, and that's how I became aware of it. Just keep looking under Jason Deere. Do I have any other music requests? I might, but I'm going to have to think about it. [How about some]long johns?... I think I'm pretty much still the same size. I wouldn't mind getting a nice black sweater. I've liked pretty much everything that you've sent me so far. If you could find the time to e-mail me back some more of the photos I e-mailed home, that would be great too. Ha ha, I don't want to be greedy! I can't believe you're asking me about what I want for my second Christmas in the field. That's crazy! Oh, you could send me the Josh Groban Christmas CD! But preferably some time before Christmas, it would be kind of pointless to open that up on Christmas Day, if you know what I mean! Just don't spend a lot of money on me.

So, the weather here has been really cold! I think it hit the freezing point this morning. I fear it's going to be another bitterly cold winter. Apparently, I'm cold-blooded. This past summer was the hottest in many years here in NC, yet it didn't really bother me at all. Then it gets down to just the freezing point (it hits that all the time back home), and I'm getting hypothermia. Weird.

This week will be zone conference. I'm looking forward to reporting the spiritual insights and whatnot that I gain from it to you.

It was great to hear about the Hauni and Derek families! Ha, what happened to everyone else?

Well, everyone, I love you all. I know that the gospel is true. I look forward to hearing from y'all next week. Bye!

Elder Casper