Monday, April 11, 2011

Working hard in Durham

Hello everybody,

Holy smokes this week has been a crazy week! That transfer just snuck up on me, I had no idea that was coming! I was transferred to the (drumroll please).... Durham 2nd ward! This area is so much different from all of my other areas! I'm actually in the city now. My area covers North Durham, and our ward has about 250 active members in it. Lots of Duke medical students with little kids. It's pretty crazy, it was really loud in sacrament meeting because of all the kids! The ward is really good, it's just loaded with all sorts of awesome members. I'm really excited to be here. My new companion is Elder Koplin, from West Jordan, UT. He's been out for about 5 months now, and he was actually in my last district (he was in Smithfield). He strongly reminds me of Lee Crowther in his personality. It's going to be a good next 2 transfers!

OK, now from my LTP:

"Elder Koplin and I are really trying to get things going here in Durham 2nd. When we got here, the first thing we did was organize the apartment. There was a lot of "legacy" items/ junk in the apartment, and we just couldn't live with it. It was left clean though, which was good. We set goals to contact at least 10 people every day this transfer, and to help 5 members a week commit to do something to share the gospel and set a date that we can follow-up with them. We figure that if we stick with those goals, the Lord will lead us to the elect and bless us with people to teach. There were a few investigators that the sisters were teaching that we've been trying to get up with, we want to see if they are willing to progress. The ward here is amazing. They seem to be really excited to have elders back in the ward. We've been able to talk to some really good people in the few days we've been here, and we're sure the Lord will bless us with people to teach. We are striving to be exactly obedient. The more obedient we are, the more blessings we receive. It will probably translate into more baptisms in this area, and even if it doesn't, we will receive many other blessings. I truly believe that.

We did find two new investigators this week, K and K. They live together but are not married. We left them with copies of the Book of Mormon to read. They have an opportunity to find out for themselves if it is true. If they do want to continue their investigation, we will teach them the law of chastity and invite them to act on it. If they don't repent, we won't teach them anymore. They're good people, and they liked how they could read and pray to find out if it's true. So we'll see what happens.

We also taught an investigator named M that the sisters were teaching. He's 18 and a nice kid, but he hasn't acted on the message at all. We tried to read from the Book of Mormon with him but he kept getting off onto random subjects. He doesn't seem to have too much real intent. We'll see what happens though."

There are a few things I've learned about prayer on my mission. I've learned that the Spirit is given by the prayer of faith. So, praying with real intent and full purpose of heart will help us to feel the Spirit. Prayer is something you need to work at. Our answers to our prayers always come through the power of the Holy Ghost. Sometimes you receive a small prompting while you are still on your knees, sometimes you'll be going along and later you'll have a deja vu moment, and sometimes miraculous events will happen where after witnessing the event the Spirit will hit you like a ton of bricks. In every case, it is the Holy Ghost telling truth to your heart.

This week I was at district meeting with a bunch of the other missionaries serving in Durham. I noticed one of the elders was Elder Calaway. I said, "Elder, where are you from?" He said, "Washington state." I said, "I'm from Basin City!" He said, "Jessica Casper is my cousin!" I said, "She's my cousin!" Ha ha ha, it was crazy. His name is Kellen Calaway, and he's from Richland (although his family lives in St. George now). His dad is Bret Calaway. He knows Brad and Sanette's family real well, and he's even been up to the cabin with them. He's a pretty funny and crazy guy. He was on his mission for about a year in Puerto Rico, had to get sent home for a year to have knee surgery, then was reassigned to this mission about 3 months ago. Small world!...

I had a question for all returned missionaries in the family. What were some questions that you would ask people while you were contacting them when you served? I'm just looking for suggestions so that I can better improve in that aspect...

Derek, and any self-proclaimed/uncertified legal experts in the family - is it legal to ban religious solicitations in the United States (seeing as we are non-profit)? Have there been any court cases about it? Does NC have any state laws regarding it? That's a question that I've wondered about my whole mission.

I'm glad Michael is doing well in Brazil. Tell Bishop Nielson thanks for the e-mails. I would reply myself, but out of a desire to be obedient I'm not. When does Lee get back from his mission? What's going on with Ashley? Somebody please tell that girl to write me a letter.

I couldn't help but laugh when I read about Mom, "the bird killer". Ha ha, that was funny. And what do you mean, we've never had a problem with birds striking the windows? Don't you remember the quail incident? And by the way, those little metal square foot gardening things are pretty neat!

Well, I gotta go now. I hope you all take care and have a good week!

Elder Casper

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