Thursday, February 8, 2018

"I desire to dwell among this people...

...for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die." The Spirit may call me another way later, but I'm spending another six weeks here in Cal City with my favorite Cal City Boy, Elder Simspon!

I say every week has been the best week ever, but seriously- this has been the best week. We are so excited. You know how everything bad always seems to happen at once? That's this, but with good things.

So first- Gina. She was at church! It was so cool, and she even brought her son. He hadn't been to church before, so it was really good. Her boyfriend wants to be there to baptize her, so we had to push her date back a little, but that's okay, it's just icing on the cake that he wants to be there.

We had exchanges with the Rosamond elders again this week, and right at the end of our exchange, we got a text. It was a referral for a family that moved onto the base a while ago from Alaska, and the wife is not a member and has met with the missionaries in the past. So of course we had to set something up with them. They are the nicest people, oh my goodness. She likes the church a lot, and they should be there this coming Sunday.

We had an appointment with someone at a member's house fall through earlier in the week, but then the member texted us and told us that an acquaintance of theirs wants to come to church. Then we heard about the same person from a totally different member, and about how plans had already been made for who she was going with and how she'd have a friend there who normally goes to another ward. Wow.

The second counselor in the Bishopric here came to us and told us "I think this is the most exciting time for missionaries in Muroc ward in... well, ever." It seriously is. I'm having so much dang fun here, it's incredible. Things are just kinda happening... we have no way of working on base and the members have a lot of restrictions, so I guess Heavenly Father has decided to intervene and touch some hearts that we can't.

We had a really incredible thing happen on Sunday. We had a really spiritual comp study, talking about what Christ told to the Nephites after all the destruction in 3 Nephi 9. He's so tender and kind and just really wants the people left to repent and partake of the blessings He is extending. We really felt the Spirit strong, and I got to share a little bit about it in fast and testimony meeting. It really touched a member who'd just gotten home off a deployment and hadn't been too active while he was gone, but he really felt spiritually refreshed and thanked us and bore his testimony, which was something we needed to hear too. We can see the hand of God moving here, creating ways where there were none and bringing about the salvation of His children.

Six months left doesn't feel like long enough.

Thanks for all your support everyone!
Elder Adams

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Gina Update: Jan 29

Hey Everyone!

This week has been out of sight! Far enough out that I can conclude that it's been the best ever.

I have CRAZY news! Quote from the to-everyone email from President Layton:
" Big News –
In the summer, our mission boundaries will grow as we take on two more stakes! We currently have 7 stakes and we will expand to include two more stakes in the LA County area to bring our total stakes to 9. This will happen in July. More details will follow as they unfold.
The kingdom is on the move and it is exciting to have a front row seat to how the Lord is directing His work here."
WOW. And I'll see it for maybe two months ;P

I got sick again. Darnit. It's not too bad, just obnoxious. I should be better tomorrow. Also, transfers are coming up next week, so ya'll will get to hear what's happening to me next Monday. Scary! I hope we don't leave- I'm having a great time out here. I'm the happiest person to live in California City, that's a good incentive to not transfer me, right?

The fun thing about when someone is getting close to baptism is that they seem to become the center of your world. Like every day it's "she's on date! What do we need to do today to help her get there??" It's so fun. That also means that I don't have many things in the way of exciting news besides about Gina and her baptism date.

We're having a baptism on the 24th of February! Really I don't think anything can get in the way. We had an incredible lesson with Gina this past week, and we were able to set a day for her to be baptized on. She said something about getting baptized on her birthday at first, so we asked "when's your birthday?" "August." The member with us saved us from having to say the obvious: That's too far away! They started talking about doing it around Easter, but since we went over the questions and she knows pretty much everything, she decided that February would be good. We're really excited!

We also had a really great lesson this week with an investigator named Emily. She made us cookies! But that's not why the lesson was great. She opened up to us about why she hadn't really been active in any church for a long time- the idea of a physical resurrection is hard for her to wrap her head around. She's not the first person to feel that way, the original Apostles didn't get it at first, either. So we're going to help her gain a witness that Christ is the Lord through the Holy Ghost, just like it says in Corinthians. It's so satisfying to have people to meet with and to help resolve their concerns.

During interviews this week, President Layton encouraged us to really plan specifically by the Spirit so that we can find more people to teach. While we haven't found anyone yet, we've gotten to experience one of my favorite missionary feelings- when you're knocking on doors and things aren't even going well but you're really enjoying it anyway. When we do what God asks us to do, it's hard to be in a bad mood about it! I'm confident that we'll be able to be guided to new people to teach this coming week, and that we'll be able to see more cool miracles happen.

Thanks for all your support!
Elder Adams

The Greatest New Year's Resolution Ever

Hey everyone!

You know those weeks where you do lots of things and they're all very well and good but there are one or two things that blow everything out of the water so much that they seem like all that happened that week? That's this week.

It's been the best week.

So we had exchanges in Rosamond to start the week, and that was cool, but what happened after exchanges was way cooler. Last week a member on base called us to tell us that he'd given our number to a person who came to his office (he's an optometrist.) I was all "neat!" (he's always doing missionary things.) I figured maybe it'd turn out to be something after a few weeks or months, he'd have to follow up with her a few times.

Fast forward to a little after exchanges end. I'm sick because fast food (why do I ever eat it, what's wrong with me I almost always feel cruddy) and we get a phone call! It's Gina! That's the lady's name. She tells us she lives on base and met with missionaries in LA and wants to meet with us. Wow! WOW. That doesn't happen to us very often! So we set up an appointment to meet at the church.

On Friday, when the appointment was, things went sideways some. The member who was going to come with us had to cancel, and we couldn't meet with her alone, so we were stuck. We were eating dinner on base, though, and the members we were eating with kindly offered to let us have the lesson at their home! (They told us they have a 100% success rate of people getting baptized after having a lesson in their home.) They got along really well with Gina, and we got to know where she's at really well. Basically- her resolution for New Year's is to get baptized. Again, WOW.

She's already had the first two lessons and knows basically everything else. She's been to church a bunch and has been reading the Book of Mormon (she hasn't finished it because she keeps going back to re-read things), believes the church to be the restored church, and knows that Russell M Nelson is a prophet (she watched his message this past week. She was distressed, asking us what was going to happen to President Uchtdorf because he was one of her favorites.) The only thing I can see standing between her and getting baptized right now immediately is that her boyfriend is a member, but is in Tennessee at medical school right now. I don't know if she wants to wait for him to come back to visit, but I'd imagine she would. I hope he does soon.

We also got an incredible opportunity. I mentioned last week that members of the ward council had been asking us recently for people to visit and for our help, and now we've been invited to come to Ward Council this Sunday! Which is really really cool, because missionaries haven't been to the ward council here in at least six months (we did every week in all my other areas.) It was a great meeting and they got to see how hard we're working and the miracles we're seeing.

The Stake President spoke in our ward today, and something he said really struck me. He talked about how people can memorize all sorts of facts about sports and figures, and asked if we know that much about the Savior. More than just being fans, we take His name upon us, we should know Him very, very well. Do I know him better than I know how to swim? Do I recognize His attributes better than I recognize the fighter jets that fly over all the time here? What better way to learn that by serving our fellow man, just as He did. I have a lot of renewed motivation for my studies and work after hearing that.

Thank you for all your support!

Angels Are Declaring It Unto Many

Hey everyone!

I always say it was the best week ever, but this was the Best Week Ever. Despite lots of crazy stuff going on, we got so much done. So much. It's been incredible.

A crazy thing happened. So the sun has been setting pretty early, so by the time we finished up at the church last p-day it was dark. We drove back to Cal City in the rain, and I joked about how we couldn't even see the lights of the city, it must really be rainy. Well we get back to the city and there aren't any lights. None. Zip. The power is out for the whole town, had been for about five hours, and would be for another seven. It was real spooky, being in Cal City with no lights. Eventually they came back on at two in the morning.

The next day it was raining again in the morning, but by the time we were ready to go, the rain had stopped. Someone must have really been praying for us to meet them or something. We did get to meet a less-active lady who'd just barely moved here and had been having surgeries and taking care of family, so she hadn't been able to come to church yet. She was happy to see us though, and we should be able to find her some friends at church :)

The zone leaders came up to have an exchange with us- Elder Simpson's first! He got to head back down to Lancaster to speak Spanish, while I stayed up here in Cal City. We had an incredible day! Pretty much everything we'd planned fell through, but the Lord had better stuff in store for us, and we found some really cool investigators.

We also got to teach the restoration a bunch of times to new people. Things are really picking up here in California City! We're finding new ways to collaborate with the members of the ward council as to how we can best help less-active members and provide fellowshippers for investigators. We're setting the groundwork now for what capabilities smartphones will bring when we have them. Of course, we can do it all without them, but the little run-up going on of working together will be made really satisfying when that is added in.

Two big things happened this week in terms of working with members. We had dinner with the new elder's quorum president, and he asked us to send him an update whenever we visit anyone, whether less-active or not, so that he can be more involved. Later in the week, the primary president expressed her desire to visit the families of less-active children, and asked us where to start. Luckily, we've met some real cool people the last two weeks that she can visit first! It's really cool how the Lord is nudging us all in the same direction and preparing us to work together, so that when things happen we are ready to deal with them.

One of the best parts of the week was dinner on Saturday night. We were going to eat with our Ward Mission Leader, who lives on the base, so he had to pick us up at the gate. When we get in his car, he tells us that he invited a part-member family from on base to come to dinner with them that night. We have no other way of meeting this family, so we were really excited! The wife is just getting active again, and they just had a baby, so now is the time to get him involved in learning about the church. We had the dinner and got to talk to him, and now we have a return appointment! Of a sort. It's for another dinner, a seafood boil with another member family. Still super exciting.

Also had rice-a-roni with a Major General the next night and had to give a talk about goals. Good times.

This week was so great, and we attribute it all to God. He heard our prayers! Or at least Elder Simpson's, he's got some pretty good prayers. But really, we felt so much the blessings of it, and I've learned a ton about how using prayer to bring our will in line with God's will for us can bless us. It's been the best week, and by using what we've learned, next week can be even better.

Thank you for all your support!
Elder Adams

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

We Dem Mormon Boys

Hey everyone!

Before I say anything else, it rained last night. I haven't seen rain in like five months. Wow. Everything smells weird. Deserts are weird.

It's been the best week ever out here in good ol' Cal City! The week started out a little slow because Elder Simpson was still sick, but we built up momentum pretty quick and things turned out great.

We had zone conference this week. The whole first half was all about how when we get smart phones we are the bosses of the phones, not the other way around. They're tools to help us do missionary work (and whatever other important things we do after the mission, I dunno. What even comes after the mission, I forget.) We also talked a lot about making a spiritual connection when finding.

We got to see another case of instant blessings when we put what we learned at zone conference to work the next day. The very first door we knocked on, we really tried to do as we'd practiced. We definitely weren't perfect, but it worked anyway- we found a really cool lady from Syracuse in New York, who knew a little bit about the Church and thought the blessings we were offering sounded good. Neat.

We were walking along after trying to visit a couple people in our neighborhood when we heard a lady shout out "LDS!" Yes that's us. "Mormon boys! Come here!" It was a less-active lady who'd moved a while back, but just moved back into town. We helped her carry some furniture around and she told us about how she knew it was time for her to come back to church. We gave her our bishop's number and ours, and when church started, so hopefully we'll be seeing her there from now on. Funny enough, lots of people seem to be calling us 'Mormon boys' recently. Maybe we just look really young.

Also got to meet with James again this week. He's the one who ordered the bible. He's a great guy, but still thinks we do bible studies! Just wait James, we do lots more than that! We talked to him about the Plan of Salvation, and he seemed to really know it already, which is cool. People are taught stuff by the Spirit.

I was sad to hear that President Monson passed away, but he's likely doing much better in the Spirit World. He's there with his wife and he can visit all those widows he used to visit as a bishop. It's just like it says in the Doctrine and Covenants- the faithful elders of this dispensation continue their labors on the other side of the veil. Only now, they're not constrained by the many physical troubles we have here. They could teach all day! I better learn to love the work like President Monson did while I'm here. His life can be a great example to us- "These, the marks of a true finisher, will be as a lamp to our feet in the journey through life. Ever beckoning us onward and lifting us upward is He who pleaded 'come, follow me.'"

I'm really grateful for the way succession in the presidency of the church works. It's easy to see God's hand in how each man gets to the office of prophet. President Nelson will be a wonderful leader, I know it. I know President Monson was a man of God, called to lead this church, and that the keys still reside with the current President of the Twelve.

I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Adams

PS I'm Canadaizing, I really wanted to spell labors with a u for a minute there. Labours.

Pic 1: Me and my tall blonde sons.
Pic 2: E Lancaster zone

Sunday, January 7, 2018

CALBAK 2K18

Hey everyone!

It's been the best week ever, a fitting end to the best year ever.

I don't remember if I mentioned this last week, but we learned it's finally happening. Our mission is finally getting hip with the times- we'll be getting smartphones in the next two months!

Last Monday we got to call home! Which my family already knows about, but not everyone has heard. Calls home were good. I always feel better after talking to my family. Also the members gave us chocolate oranges, which is awesome because I thought I wasn't going to end up having any this year.

A little kid, upon learning how new and young my companion is, called him a "baby missionary." Been called a lot of things on my mission, but never that. Also we got mistaken for police a bunch more times.

We walked around a lot this week. Actually, I think more than any other week in my mission. We've walked so much, but it's been awesome. Super tired, but I'm pretty sure that means we're doing something right. Talking to lots of people and helping some.

An old lady told us her son really wanted to talk to us, so we came by the next day to talk to her son (with much excitement on our part.) It turns out that he is a member who was visiting from Hawaii and just wanted to ask how the ward was doing and say hi to us. Darn bait and switch miracles.

Cool story about planning by the Spirit. We were figuring out where to go during planning and I felt like we should visit a member who's been sick for a couple months, so I haven't met him, but he used to be active before he got so sick. We sat down and shared a message and he was really happy because he had started to get out of the habit of reading the scriptures. He also told us about someone who recently moved into the area who wasn't active, but he'd baptized when he used to live in Palmdale, so now we have someone else to look into teaching and reactivating. Neither might have happened if we'd gone by at a different time or day. He's also selling a car and there just so happens to be a part-member family we were working with who just had their car stolen. Hmm. Maybe this is the beginning of a very good thing.

So another awesome thing happened! We got a referral a while ago for a guy who wanted a bible to give as a gift to his wife (ya'll might remember that story.) We'd never been able to catch him at home until this week, and we finally got to share a little with him. Life is pretty rough for him right now, but he has already made a lot of good changes- he prayed and asked God what to do when he was younger, and felt that he needed to quit smoking and swearing. He also never drank in the first place! Funny how people are prepared to hear about and accept the gospel. We're super excited to get to teach him the gospel.

New Year's Eve itself was really chill since we had to stay inside, and Elder Simpson was sick again. What luck we're having! That's okay though- what better way to begin the new year than by sleeping!

There was an awesome talk given this week in Sacrament meeting about spiritual goals, why we set them, and our motivations for reaching them. I really liked it, and the biggest thing for me that I'm going to apply going into this new year is to try to set goals that are of the "thou shalt" rather than the "Thou shalt not" variety. I want to be the kind of person who does keeps commandments and does things because I love to and love God.

I hope everyone has a happy 2018!
Elder Adams