Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Eleventh Hour

Hey everyone!

It's been the best week ever once again! I only have so many more, so I've gotta make them all count.

Honestly it was actually a pretty slow week until Sunday, but that's okay because a whole week's worth of stuff happened this weekend and it makes up for any slowness in the rest of the week.

We've got a baptism coming up this week! It's a neat thing. We're super excited for Adrian to get baptized and for his family to keep becoming more active. In a couple weeks they're moving to another house in the ward, so doing some service to help them with that will give the ward a good chance to get to know the family better. Things are going really well.

On Sunday we got up super early so we could go to ward council and then make sure Adrian was awake afterwards. While we were at church, a member came to us and said "hey I want to introduce you to my friend" which is the best sentence to hear ever. His friend was actually a member though, but his friend's son is ten and not baptized yet, so we need to teach him the lessons since they're just getting back to church. That was a super cool blessing.

All week we'd been struggling to find new people to teach. People just were not talking to us! And it was discouraging! Until Sunday afternoon, when everyone was super awesome and we picked up a couple new people to teach. We had to wait and work all week so we could get the blessings at the end, and sometimes the mission just is that way. It's great though, it's so satisfying to look back and see God's hand in my life and mission.

Not a super long email this week, but really things are going great here. It's been really cool. I love Monica ward and love serving here in Bakersfield.

Thanks for all your support!
Elder Adams

As for pictures this week: words continue to be unable to describe just how beautiful the world can be at times. It's almost a little symbolic- just like we had go wait all day to see the pretty sunset, we had to wait all week to get some good work done.
1. Shout out to Elder Wright for taking this fresh pic of me taking a fresh pic.
2. Panorama if the sunset. Really the lighting was way crazy because there was a lot of dust in the air.
3. That's not even the sun there, just the sun reflecting off the clouds.
4. Barbed wire and palm tree sunset aesthetic.
5. There were these flowering vines that grew from a wall over onto this palm tree and it was seriously so nice looking.

Spring Weather

Hey everyone!

It's been the best week here in Bakersfield! Nice and warm, with some rain at the end. Not that the weather is the most important part, it's just a nice bonus.

So the best news is that Gina got baptized! I wasn't able to be there for it, but that's okay. Just knowing it happened and that she's getting those blessings is so worth it.

Otherwise, we worked a lot. Pretty normal week that way. It's not bad to work, it's still great to be able to testify to people of the wonderful truths that we have. It just leads to less fun stories for my email when we don't have a lot of crazy experiences. Not every week can be incredibly entertaining, but every week can still indeed be the best. To make it up to y'all though, I made sure to get some pictures this week.

I'm really glad to be able to come to church every Sunday and partake of the sacrament. I feel like I talk about that a lot, but it's because it's really important to me. To have that time every week to renew our covenants with God and come closer to the Savior is a really precious thing. We can feel so much peace at church, with the Spirit teaching and encouraging us. I know it's easy to get wrapped up in our responsibilities there at times, but it's important to make the most of the wonderful gift we've been given and strive to remember Jesus Christ and become more like him.

Thank you for all your support!
Elder Adams

1: some graffiti in our area that I love.
2: a panorama of (mostly) our area. It's actually huge. We cover part of Bakersfield, a couple smaller towns, and a bunch of empty space going way out to the mountains.
3: excellent prop for our photo shoot.

The Most Important Week Ever

Hey everyone!

It's been the best week ever! The week of General Conference is always really cool, especially on the mission. I love getting to hear instructions from the prophets and apostles.

This week was pretty cool for us, we got to teach some really great lessons to our investigators, and set several of them with baptism dates. We retaught the restoration to one guy, and he thought it was so cool. He had heard it before, but understood it a lot better this time. He told us that he was really pumped about the gospel and learning whether the Book of Mormon is true or not.

We got a referral from some Spanish missionaries for a kid in our area who has been taught almost everything, but had been going to the Spanish ward with his grandma. She moved though, and he really only speaks English, so they felt like it would be better for him to come to our ward. We got to sit down and teach him too, and he's so ready! He loves the church, even though he couldn't understand much, and he knows what he's been taught really well. We're super excited to help him make a covenant with God, and hope it'll help get his family more active in the church.

Oh boy, what a conference that was! It was so exciting! I love seeing these kinds of things happen, we might have solidly established doctrine, but changes and advancements in the organization that is the church to help us fulfill our purpose are so cool to see. It's evidence to me that the kingdom of God is really governed by "revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed." We've got a prophet who cares a lot about us and the church, and loves the Savior and follows His example. Isn't that the neatest thing?

I loved when Elder Uchtdorf talked about what the most important day is,and how for each of us it is the day we commit to follow the Savior and try to repent. Wouldn't it follow that the most important day is also the best day? Even more evidence that every week is the best week ever, because every week I'm trying harder to follow my Redeemer. What a wonderful opportunity! I also really appreciated Bishop Causse's story about his objectives as a stake president. I'd love to have great numerical success. But it's really about individuals. I've come to really learn that on my mission. Related shout-out to Elder Simpson and Elder Coburn, commenting on stuff on Facebook and trying to make me cry because they're so nice. I'm so grateful to have met so many awesome people here, and I hope I've touched their lives a fraction of how they've touched mine.

Thank you for all your support!
Elder Adams

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

California, Finally

Hey everyone!

It's been the best week ever out here in beautiful Bakersfield. It is actually really pretty right now, the weather has been really nice and everything is (kinda) green. I guess it'll be back to brown when I leave, but I'm enjoying it for now. This is what I thought California would be like! It finally feels like it, twenty months in, haha. I'm enjoying it a lot.

Monica is a cool area. I'm finally back in the city, and there are so many people here! It's a really busy part of town. We cover the English work out in Arvin and Lamont, too, so part of the area has more of a small town vibe. It's cool.

We've got a lot of awesome investigators and recent converts here, it's awesome. It's been a crazy week, lots of us running around meeting everyone and trying to squeeze lessons in where we could. One of the really awesome investigators we have has been meeting with missionaries for a while now and is really ready to get baptized, her boyfriend just needs to marry her already! Another one was introduced to the church by his girlfriend, but she goes to the Spanish branch and he doesn't speak Spanish, so we're teaching him. The work here is going so well, it's incredible.

We got to spend a little time meeting all the missionaries in the district and zone, too. I hardly know anyone anymore, haha. I was out in the middle of nowhere for so long, I never met anyone new! It's cool though. Our district has the missionaries in the YSA ward here in Bakersfield and the sisters in Tehachapi, so we're all doing missionary work in different ways because our areas are so incredibly different. That's okay though, it's all the same work at the end of the day, and we all get to see such incredible blessings from it.

At some point in the last year I stopped worrying about being a bad missionary. Not sure when that was. It's not like I'm not trying, I really am. But I just don't worry and think that I'm not cut out for this anymore or that I can't do it. I think I just do my best to follow the Spirit and trust that God will put me where I need to be to help Him in His work. It's really nice, having that trust in Him. It takes a huge load off of me. It didn't happen fast either! It happened so slowly that the change had already happened before I noticed. I'm really glad it did though. When we're really trying, God does His work and we get to be a part of it and it's so so cool.

Thanks for all your support, everyone!
Elder Adams.

Pic 3: Adios, Cal City!
Pic 2: The south side of the mission does not have a monopoly on crazy sunsets.
Pic 1: The awesome ramen from last week. 10/10 would eat again.
Pic 4: Excuse my squinty eyes. The sun was very bright. The background was too good to pass up though. That's what it looks like (on days where you can see the mountains.)

Little Bit Of Monica In My Life

Hey everyone!

It's been the best week ever, even if it's the last one with Elder Simpson. I'll miss him, because transfers have rolled around again, and I'll be leaving California City to head back to Bakersfield!  I'm going to Monica ward, and my companion will be Elder Wright, who came into the mission at the same time as elder Simpson. The ward is in east Bakersfield, making Ridgecrest the only zone I haven't been to yet. I'm pretty excited to be back in town, even though I've loved it here. Our district is only sisters besides us, so it'll be quite the change of pace!

We had a really busy week, getting ready for transfers and going on exchanges. It was really wild.We first went on exchanges down in Lancaster with the Zone Leaders. We went down the night before so that we could start then, President wanted us to try something new. We didn't have dinner that day though, so we stopped by a sushi place in Lancaster and got to do a little bit of missionary work while we were there. There was some live music, and one of the band members was pretty surprised to see us, so he asked us some questions and then played us a song. It was pretty cool.

The elder I was on exchanges with was recovering from an illness and surgery, but we still manages to get out and work for a little while, which was cool. We spent a while talking to a couple of guys in front of someone's house about Christ and His Atonement and what it does for us. In the end they weren't that willing to listen, but it was a good conversation. While we were talking though, a B2 flew right over head! It was flying so low, it was incredible. I wanted to take a picture but I didn't want to be rude, so that's why there's not a picture of it for y'all this week :/

We had exchanges with the elders on Rosamond, too. They're great missionaries, so it's always really fun to worn with them. I was here in town with Elder Busdicker, and we had a great time finding new people and getting in contact with a couple former investigators. Even having been here for six months, there are still a ton of people I've never met. We were trying to co tact a potential investigator at one point, but she'd moved, so we just talked to the woman there. Turns out, not only had she met with missionaries before, the elder I was with haf actually taught her on an exchange in Lancaster! It was cool to see how God really watches over each and every one of his children.

I've had some ups and downs in this area, but it's been a great time overall. Really, if I've learned anything here, it's been about happiness. So much in life is out of our control. God's given us the capacity to chose our responses, though. We can train ourselves to respond positively to circumstances through practice and the influence of the Spirit. Lasting joy and satisfaction really do come from the gospel of Jesus Christ and by playing our parts in His kingdom. Having that consistent purpose and drive has made me such a cheerful person. I can't even tell you. I'm so grateful to have spent this part of mission here, and I'm excited to see what the future holds for me in my new area.

Thank you for all your support!
Elder Adams

The Crazy Thing Is, It's All True

Hey everyone!

It might be one of my last weeks here in Cal City, (that autocompleted to Calgary, oops) so we've been working hard and have made the best of it. It's been the best week yet!

This week we had exchanges again with the North Edwards elders. We didn't end up having very much time, but one of the people we got to visit was a potential investigator who we got to teach about the restoration. It was awesome! It helped her feel like God really cared about her, because she'd been struggling recently. It's always nice to be able to do that for someone.

The next day we did some service out there in North Edwards. That's what the picture was- Elder Bird and I digging up a flower bed to put down some deer fence to keep gophers out. What the picture didn't show was the other half that we also had to dig up after we filled the first part in! That's alright though, we don't get to do too much service in our area, so it was a nice change of pace.

I also got to do the baptism interviews for a couple the Rosamond elders have been teaching. Wow was that cool.  It was so spiritual and so neat to hear them talk about the changes in their lives made possible by Christ's Atonement. The baptism on Saturday was really a special experience. Ordinances bring the power of God into our lives, and help us become more like Christ. It's so cool to be able to see that happen.

Because of what we've learned about teaching from the Book of Mormon and having more spiritual lessons, we made sure to plan really well for a lesson we had with an investigator on base on Saturday. She's read a lot of the book of Mormon, but always found it kinda dry, and while she's softened to it a lot, she still has a lot of doubts. We felt inspired to teach her about how we come closer to Christ through faith and repentance, and what the Book of Mormon teaches about that. It was so so cool. I wasn't sure how we were going to get to the invitation, but the Spirit was so strong and it gave us the words to say. She definitely felt the Spirit too, so when we invited her to read the Book of Mormon to come closer to God, she realized that might help her really find her answer- if it draws you closer to God, it has to be inspired of Him. I was so grateful we'd prepared and were able to help her understand why we are here.

As for the title of this email, the general over the air force test center talked in our ward, and used Star Wars as an analogy for several gospel subjects! It was a really great talk, bug it's hard not to laugh a little about it. I liked how he compared skeptical Han Solo to people now- they too can be brought around to realizing that "the crazy thing is, it's all true. All of it." I've really come to understand the gospel better on my mission, and I'm proud to say that I know it is true as well. The Atonement of Christ, the Book of Mormon, eternal families- they're all real. I'm so grateful to know all this, and hope that I'll be able to use what time I have left to share it with more people!

Thank you for all your support!
Elder Adams

Not Even We Get Nice Weather

Hey everyone!

Despite the weather (though I'm sure everyone else's was much worse), we've had a good week out here in California City, California! Actually, it's been the best week yet!

We got to go on exchanges with the Rosamond elders earlier this week (love those guys) and we had an incredible time. It's the first time I've hit our finding goal on exchanges in a good long while, so that was really fun. It's so satisfying to testify to people of the great things we have and to see them react positively. I can't wait to see some of them progress :)

The next morning we helped someone move. It was a stressful morning though, because a plumber was supposed to be coming around 9, and by the time we had to leave (11 or so) he still hadn't come! And we really needed to get our sink fixed. It was a Problem. So we went and helped a lady move into Mojave, ended our exchange, and came back unto town. We got back just in time to see the plumber about to drive away after finding us not at home! So we were still able to get our sink fixed. God's looking out for us by helping us get home at just the right time, even if the plumber is late.

We also got to have interviews with our mission president this week. Since one of our zone leaders is in the hospital (a story for some other time), he had some extra time and called our whole district in. He shared some really powerful thoughts about teaching repentance and expressed how proud he and the Lord are of the work we do. Sometimes it feels like the stuff we do out here in the Muroc district goes unnoticed, which is fine-tune kingdom is run by thousands of people quietly serving with no thought of recognition. It was nice to have that reassurance, though. It was a very sacred experience for me.

The Atonement of Christ really is the secret to happiness. If I've learned anything, it's that. I'm happy now! I think it shows through in my letters. I hope so. Not that I wasn't before, but there's just something so satisfying about knowing my Savior and growing closer to Him. It's nourishment for the soul. More than transient excitement, more than brief pleasure, knowing what I know and trying to live as He lived gives me such joy and fulfillment. We can have a bad day, but every week us the best week because I get to take the sacrament and encourage others to make and keep covenants with the Lord. I don't worry about being imperfect anymore, because I know we all can be someday. Maybe not right this minute, but just like a parent is proud of a baby's first steps, Heavenly Father is proud of our most simple, inadequate efforts, and helps us- even when we're not perfect. Truly, we can hope for a better world through Christ.

Thank you for all your support!
Elder Adams

Pic 1: A brief break from cloudy skies.
Pic 2: Not my glasses (but aren't I handsome??)
Pic 3: Bros before snows (he's so far from Canada, the poor boy)