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

"Is Every P-Day Christmas?"

Hey everyone!

This has been the best week of my mission yet. A little bit because of Christmas and a lot because of Elder Simpson. Seriously, this elder is great.

Elder Simpson is my new companion, and he came here all the way from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada! I can forgive him for that. At least for now. I'm sure someday we'll be drawing six-shooters on each other out here in the dusty streets, but we didn't have the time or energy to this week, haha.

The first half of this week went really well! We worked super hard and set up a lot of good return appointments. I mean, some of them fell through, but hey that's life. Some are still good.

Friday afternoon we both started to feel sick. Normally I haven't gotten sick at the same time as my companion. But I also don't normally get food poisoning. And so recovering from that was the rest of our week, pretty much, at least besides the Christmas festivities.

On the bright side, I can't think of an elder who I'd have a better time getting sick with. Elder Simpson and I had a lot of fun (at least compared to being sick alone) for people who couldn't eat much.

So merry Christmas everyone! It's a cool thing. I mean, as a missionary we're like 100% giving all the time, so that part is not too different for us. I'm grateful that we have a holiday to celebrate the Savior's birth though. It would not be some required feast like the Jews had, I don't think. It doesn't feel like Christ would ask that of us. Instead we have this great chance to do whatever we feel is best to celebrate our families and the wonderful events surrounding the birth of Jesus. It's totally different for everyone! Some things are the same though. Last night we had Guatemalan Tamales (VERY different) and sang Christmas carols (very much the same.) It's cool to just be a part of it, to celebrate along with everyone in our unique ways of showing the Lord how we fulfill the commandments to love Him and love one another.

I'll talk to most of you again next year! ;P
Elder Adams

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Camel Spider and a Brand New...

Companion! This is the first day of a new transfer, and tomorrow I'll be receiving the best Christmas present a guy could ask for- A son! I'll be training another missionary, which I'm super pumped for. Elder Chamberlain will be venturing to the far-off land of Taft, to be with Elder Taylor (who I sent a companion to be with before, Elder Webb.)

This week I found a camel spider in my bathroom. I would have taken a picture, but I was too busy smashing it. I'm glad I saw it before it saw me. Our bugs have upgraded. It used to be just these obnoxious but harmless beetles.

Besides the aforementioned horror, it's been a good week. The best week actually, especially with that great transfer news.

On Wednesday we got to head down to the temple. I love going to the temple, it's really so cool. I hope I'll be able to keep up my zeal for it when I go home- it'll be close enough I won't have many excuses not to go. Surely there are some ancestors whose work hasn't been done yet, too.

Thursday we had surprise cleaning inspections. Surprise! We only found out a couple hours before. But that's okay because I keep everything clean anyway. We planned after that and that was the day. Normal day.

Sometimes it feels like I haven't made a difference in an area too much. Things are still so similar to how they were before! But I can go look at the area book and say "oh but look at these people who got taught more and progressed at least a little bit." It adds up over time. I hadn't realized just how much we actually end up doing. That's the cool thing about keeping a journal, too. It's hard to ignore the hand of God in your life if you can look back at all the times you saw it.

Friday was the ward Christmas party. I love those, it's so nice to be able to be with everyone and celebrate something we all care about. We got to meet a couple non-members who might be interested as well, so I can't complain.

Nicole is doing... eh? She's having troubles with the Word of Wisdom. Not in practice, in concept. She can keep it, yes. But she doesn't think she has to be 100% on it. So we're working on that.

Our other great investigator, Noah, couldn't come to church this week or last week because his sister's car got stolen... uh oh. Rotten pre-Christmas luck.

We talk to lots of people that have lots of problems out here. Some have family issues, some are in dire financial straits, some have health trouble- it seems like many have all of the above and more. We talked to two this week that stuck out to me, and reminded me of the sisters in President Uchtdorf's talk from the most recent women's session of General Conference. One is mad- everything is someone's fault and she's angry about it. No one wants to help her and she drives everyone away. Instead of asking for help, she just expects it should be given to her. The other one (who honestly has more on her plate) accepts what comes gracefully and tries her best to keep going, to remain positive and help others. What's the difference? I'm sure there's plenty, but the happier one (at least in my view) is keeping the commandments better. She's making church a priority, she pays her tithing, she keeps the Word of Wisdom. And while things might be hard, she knows the joy that will come in the future, and like Moroni, can "hope for a better world." Truly, wickedness was never happiness, and those that keep the commandments of God are in a more blessed and happy state, even in their struggles.

Thank you for all your support, and merry Christmas!
Elder Adams

Heavenly Father Wants You To Be Sane

Hey everyone! Finally, a weekly email off at the normal time. A p-day where we don't get stuck and don't have to run halfway up and down the mission.

This week has been a pretty good week. On further reflection, I think it's actually been the best week of my mission.

We went on exchanges out in Rosamond and Mojave this week, which was cool. I always enjoy exchanges because you get to see a slice of the work going on somewhere else. Like this is happening in our area, and their area, and in more than 75 other areas just in this mission. Wow. There's a lot of good work getting done! And then with all the missions worldwide... dang. It helps me feel like we're a part of something bigger than just "make people join the Church in Muroc ward" (which is still a good cause that we should all support.)

We also drove down to Lancaster for interviews with the mission president. That's always a good experience. Even when President Layton has to leave the interview for a minute to shoo away a homeless guy trying to get into the building... East Lancaster is a fun place. Anyway, good interview, good day.

Also had District Meeting in Mojave, where the Zone Leaders came and told us about More Rules. Which happens sometimes. Missions have rules and we follow them to get blessings. New situations arise and we have more chances to get blessings. Not a problem thing.

With all this driving we hardly had any time to spend in our own area! Agh! But we still got some work done, especially with Nicole. We ironed out some concerns about the interview for baptism, and were making sure she understood the commandments when we stumbled across a couple of gaps in her knowledge of what the commandments are... so we've got to spend a little time reteaching and getting her solid on that. We're still shooting for her baptism in the beginning of January, send us your prayers for her!

We also got to meet with a cool part-member family who moved up here from Palmdale a little while ago. The wife knew some missionaries and members that I know, like Elder Puyogao from earlier (MUCH earlier) in my mission. Time sure flies! We're going to be working with them now, too.

So the title of this email. A member of the bishopric here said it in a talk, and besides making me laugh it really rang true. God doesn't want to drive us crazy this Christmas season by overextending us with our service to others and making things and giving gifts and family and all the other million things we already do. He just wants us to be happy and to help others to be happy. As a missionary, I might not have to worry about a lot of those things, but I do feel like pulling my hair out sometimes! There's a lot to do and it's not always easy! But I can trust that God'll make all things possible without anyone freaking out. So things will always turn out alright. Do all things in wisdom and order, right?

Merry Christmas everyone!
Elder Adams

Happy Peaceful Christmas Spirit

Hey all!

Despite the wind chill, this has been the best week of my mission yet!

This week we got to go on exchanges with the Rosamond elders. I was with a new missionary who was going on his very first exchange! It does my heart good to be around elders with that "greenie fire." Gee wilikers, I sound like an old man.

We also finally got to have another appointment with Nicole! Apparently her mom was baptized when she was really young, and just hasn't been active in a long, long time. Something about the gospel runs in families, I guess. We also got to eat dinner with a part-member family who are super excited about celebrating Christmas with #LightTheWorld. See, it's not even December yet and it's already helping missionary efforts!

So that super exciting referral we got a couple weeks ago turned out to be a member already. Darn! But she'll still be taking care of her younger siblings in the future, and I don't think they're members, so that'll be someone the missionaries can work with.

Sunday was the best day ever, it was awesome. Nicole came to church and brought a friend along (who doesn't live in our area, but hey still cool), a new member moved in who brought her brother who isn't a member but is interested in learning, and we had a couple of less-active members who we visited this week show up to church! Really good Sunday. It feels good to have things go so well. We didn't expect so much, God really rained down some awesome blessings.

Also got to go on a tour of Edwards AFB this morning. Super bomb. I'd send pictures, but can't right now. Maybe later!

Normally I share something spiritual, but I've got nothing coming to mind right now! Well, I just hope ya'll get to feel the Spirit super strong this week. Not in a "oh boy gonna cry" kind of way, but in the happy peaceful Christmas spirit kind of way.

Thank you for all your support!
Elder Adams

They told us to "not look like we're proselyting" and that's why the hawaiian shirt. Not proselyting in that.


Get Thee Off the Mountain

Hey all!

Our car got stuck on a mountain this morning and then we got a flat tire. Four hours of rolling in the dirt later, I am finally here to email.

It's been the best week ever here in California City, mostly because I am the judge of how the week went and I say it's the best.

We actually spent a terrible amount of time driving and in Palmdale this week. Zone conference, doctor appointment, etc. The usual nonsense. It was weird to drive through Lancaster though, it feels like I've been away a lot longer than just six months.

Thanksgiving was cool! We got to eat with our ward mission leader and his family. I really appreciate people opening their homes and their traditions to us, I think that's what I've been the most grateful for this holiday season so far. And obviously, we ate leftovers for the rest of time afterwards.

On Saturday we tried again to get in contact with Nicole. We hadn't heard anything from her in almost two weeks, so we were worried! We'd stopped by her house and called her and texted, and she never responded. So I felt like we should at least try texting her to see how her thanksgiving was. She responded several hours later, saying it was good and asking if we could find her a ride to church. YES. I felt like Oprah. You get a ride, and you get a ride, everyone gets a ride to the church! I was so happy to hear from her and that she's still interested.

It was a good sacrament meeting, too- we had three returned missionaries all speaking on the same Sunday! Hopefully with that boost, and the Light The World initiative for this year, we'll be able to see more incredible miracles!

I find it awesome how the introduction video for this year's Light The World cuts between the service people give now and the service the Savior gave to individuals. Really it's almost the same thing- just instead of the Savior doing the work, it's men and women who've covenanted to take upon them the name of Christ and serve Him. We know the the service of our fellow beings is the service of our God, so what better way to fulfill the divine mandate to serve? It's an awesome thing too, because it's not complicated- we call our parents. We donate money and water. We reach out to our neighbors and friends. Cumulatively, all the little things we do add up to make the world a better place. It's like one of my favorite quotes goes: "The telling blows against evil are struck one act of love at a time."

Thank you for all your support everyone! Go #lighttheworld!
Elder Adams