Monday, November 6, 2017

Preparing for a Miracle

Hey everyone!

This has been by far the best week yet in California City!

Before I get to last week, I gotta say- we tried to go visit the desert tortoise reserve this morning, and all we saw was a snake. That's not a tortoise.

On Tuesday we met a real cool lady named Kesha. She was pushing her son in a stroller and he was all "hey policeman!" not quite, buddy. Turns out she'd talked to missionaries five years ago in Lancaster, and would love to talk to us again. We also were driving along later in the day and got stopped by a pack of dogs. It was strange. We'd move and one would bite at our tires. It left tooth marks in the paint. So yeah, we were accosted, but had a car to defend ourselves. I just didn't want to run them over, y'know?

So, Wednesday. It started out kinda blaaah, you know those blaaah days where you're just like "blaaah"? But we were still trying to do stuff. We got to go talk to DuBois (the bomb guy we met from a miracle last week) and he tells us that not only has he been reading the Book of Mormon, his whole family has been reading it together! Every day! His brothers have to read for school every night, and take notes and learn about the setting, so not only are they reading it, but they're trying to understand it. Whaaaat. Best news ever, oh my gosh! Not to say I'm pessimistic, but I'm not used to it being that easy to get people to read! Things were hectic when we talked to him, but he said he really wanted to be able to sit down with us and talk about what he got out of it. #miracles

Thursday was planning. Really, it's not so bad. Even when things don't end up working out, I'm always glad we planned so we know what we would have done, and God often blesses us for it.

Friday we had district meeting and a whole bunch of appointments in the afternoon! But almost all of them fell through. It happens sometimes, but I wish things would just go more smoothly. At least the one appointment that was kept was pretty alright, we got to read the Book of Mormon with some less-active members. Bad news, too- we were going to meet with DuBois, but he had to take his girlfriend to the hospital, she got really sick. Hopefully she recovers okay.

Saturday we walked around a ton and got to talk to cool people. Unfortunately, no one was too interested. A member did buy us lunch though, so we were still blessed. While we were there, we met an investigator from out in Boron who asked us about when church was, so maybe we got to help them get someone to church. Also had the trunk-or-treat that night! It reminded me a lot of home, but not in a trunky way, just a pleasant one.

Sunday was a little hectic. Because of a misunderstanding and some bad luck, Nicole didn't end up making it to church today, and we were late. It's frustrating, but all day we talked about gratitude and forgiveness, so and enduring through trials, so I guess that's that! I felt much better after church, I just hope we can convince people this coming week that they'll feel the same!

I've been thinking about Peter a lot this past week. Maybe it's just having been studying in the New Testament, maybe not. He's been my favorite prophet for a good long while now, and I've always gotten a lot of comfort from his transformation from an impulsive fisherman to a powerful leader. I've also related some to his feelings when he denied knowing the Savior. I make mistakes too! And have wept bitterly at times over them. Something interesting about that I noticed this week though, is that Peter, just hours before his emphatic denials, drew his sword in the face of an armed mob. It was just him, the Savior, and several other Apostles there in the garden, facing what would seem to be certain doom, and Peter rushed in and chopped off someone's ear. That is not fear! Well, maybe a little, but that seems like bold action to me. Why the denial, then? If he was willing to fight a mob, then why deny the Savior to a much smaller, less threatening group?

I don't really have an answer to that, but maybe his thoughts just got to him. Like when he walked on the water, he let the waves and wind, his own internal doubts and fears, stop him from continuing. But the  Lord still saw His potential, and the fact that he had started strong, and Peter still continued to grow. It makes me feel better for being up to the task only some of the time, being bold at one moment and timid the next. God knew we'd all make mistakes, that's what repentance is for. He knew we wouldn't be perfect all at once, that's why we have this probationary state. I'm really grateful for these gifts, because even when I'm inadequate I know that God is definitely more than powerful enough, and we weren't sent into this life to fail, but to grow.

Thanks for all your support! I hope you have a great week!
Elder Adams

Friday, October 27, 2017

According To Men's Faith

Hey everyone!

Another great week here in California City, probably the best one yet! Nah, it's for sure the best one.

Tuesday we worked a bunch! It's one of those ordinary days where you try hard, and not a lot happens, but it's alright in the end because you tried hard, and as long as you have a good attitude, you'll like it more the next time.

On Wednesday we were just about to leave, when someone knocked on our door! Surprise, it's the Jehovah's witnesses! It was... surreal? I mean we knock on people's doors all the time, but to have someone knock on ours was very different. We also got to meet with Nicole again, and she opened up about some of her worries with coming to church, so we can address those now. She also shared some bomb spiritual experiences she's had while living the word of wisdom, which is real neat.

Thursday we had zone conference down in Lancaster! Having to drive so dang far made it seem like a real big event, which was neat. We learned a whole bunch about a lot of things, but focused a lot on the importance of daily planning and companion study, which were things Elder Chamberlain and I were already trying to improve on. We got back in town really late and had to hurry out to the base for dinner, so we didn't have time to do anything else that day :/

Friday we had district meeting!... at our house. All the churches in our area were being deep-cleaned, and the district leader's apartment is too small, so we all met here. It was an adventure! It gave us another good excuse to clean, haha.

Saturday we had an Incredible Miracle. Seriously, it was so cool. We did morning planning that morning and set a goal of three new investigators. Where are we finding three? not sure but we'll see what happens. The Spirit said to. So we go out to an area we were going to go to earlier in the week (but that's where the JWs were), we're walking and trying to talk with people, all we got was one guy who wanted to bash with us. Dang. We're walking along the main street and this guy pulls over "Hey do you have an extra Bible?" sort of? So we gave him a Book of Mormon and went to his house. He'd just lost his father and his girl is pregnant and he's trying to get closer to God because he's been turning his life around. Hey! We help with that! So we got to teach him and his wife(?) about the Plan of Salvation. There's two, right there! I'm seriously so happy, I know what kind of a difference covenants can make to their family. We also got to meet with Nicole again and set her with a really solid baptism date- November 11! (as a side note we might have to change that, that's the week of stake conference. This isn't even the first time this has happened to me!)

We got Nicole to church! We got her a ride and rode with them out there, and she had a great time. She really hit it off with a  recent convert who happens to be best friends with her aunt. Small town. When we got back we went to have a lesson with some people that Elder Chamberlain and Elder McEntire picked up on exchanges. I felt like such a missionary, sitting on the arm of a beat-up couch and teaching the restoration to a bunch of black kids. The mission is so funny like that- we have these moments that are like "THIS is the mission." and are just so darn satisfying.

God is real and loves us, and because of that, He wants us to know He is there. He leaves breadcrumbs everywhere! Just look at the history of His people- without Him even revealing the Plan of Salvation, it's a constant theme. Adam left his home, the garden of Eden, and his goal was to come back into God's presence. Abraham left his home and was tried so that he could receive blessings from the Lord and inherit a promised land. Jacob left his home to find a wife, have a family, and then comes back to be reconciled with his brother and receive his inheritance. Joseph is sold from his home, but comes off much better for it, and his descendants receive that inheritance. The Israelites were led from their bondage into a promised land, and their whole history is one of being scattered and leaving so they can later be gathered home under the banner of God. Everything points to that great, grand theme of creation- we left our heavenly home to come here, to be tested and tried and proved fit for our inheritance, and our goal is come back to that home, to be with our Father again. In all of these examples, somehow the power of God was manifest, and in our own lives it takes the great atoning power of Christ for us to return home. I imagine for those righteous ones, judgement day will not be stressful, but the greatest homecoming one can envision. I hope I will be able to live up to that, and I love the opportunity to show others the way here in the mission.

Thanks for all your support everyone!
Elder Adams

Saw a Tarantula This Week

Hey everyone!

Another busy week here in California City, and it's the best week so far.

Tuesday was a good day! Also kinda funky, but good. We got to meet a cool lady who told us that she saw some other elders riding bikes earlier (the spanish elders.) Then we had a great lesson with Nicole, where she told us how she saw some elders on bikes that crashed and she almost ran over them (the spanish elders.) Then, when we were talking to a member, she mentioned how she saw elders riding bikes, which is weird since we all have cars (guess who.) Then before dinner, we get a text from the aforementioned elders: "yeah sorry, we're in Tehachapi at the doctor for elder so-and-so, he crashed on his bike, so we can't make it to dinner." How much happened in one day to these elders??

Oh, and we also met a bomb dude named James who ordered a bible online so that he could give it to his wife because they're fighting and she... wants a bible?? I dunno. We're gonna give them a family proclamation too, though.

Wednesday we worked a whole bunch! Stumbled into a pretty ghetto part of town, tried to contact some people, and then realized our GPS(borrowed from a member) said "(street name) DO NOT GO DOWN THIS STREET" oh goodness, what happened on this street to make the GPS say that?? I know someone just changed the name on the GPS, but still! Also we had dinner with the Bishop, which was neat.

Thursday we planned. I've written that 50+ times now. Planning is actually not so bad when we do it right. When we have people to plan for it's great. We just have to get lots of people to plan for first.

Friday we had district meeting and exchanges out in North Edwards. What a different town that it. You can't even drink the water. We did a bunch of service, including filling water jugs for a guy who'd had back surgery. Lots of sympathy for those people (shout out to my mom.) We also got to visit with some less-active families and set up lots of appointments for service in the coming week. Well, for the elders there. Not for us. Elder Chamberlain and his companion for the day found a family for us to teach though! I'm so excited :)

We got up super early Saturday morning to help move a bunch of wood and take down a tree. The tree was mostly down, it was just the main trunk and the roots. A member brought a backhoe to help out (where did he get it????) which made the work go pretty fast. It made me think of a gospel application as well- that backhoe had the power to rip the tree out of the ground all by itself. We couldn't have done it with all the people we had- we didn't have the time or tools. But we did have to be there to help guide the backhoe and hack away at roots with an ax and chainsaw, otherwise they wouldn't get cleaned up. God doesn't interfere with everything in our life, He won't clean up all the little details for us, but He does have all the power- He can and will take care of all the big stuff we couldn't possibly do. We just need to be hacking away at what we can.

Sometimes all the problems and things we need to deal with as missionaries seem so big. I mean, that happens to everyone, with everything, but still. I think about Nephi though- he got to the promised land, had to run from his brothers, establish a new nation with cities, keep the people worshipping the proper God in the proper way, provide for his family and teach them to provide for their families, and so on. So many problems! But somehow they all still got done. And he built a temple. And they did missionary work (or tried to.) In comparison, we don't have as much to do. How could one do so many things?? With the power of God, of course. Nephi did as he was asked, and he was not left alone with the results of that. God didn't get him int trouble to leave him there- every time Nephi came up to a challenge, God was there to help him through it. Like Moses, he was made strong enough to accomplish superhuman feats- like doing all of those many things and still beginning the most important book of scripture we have today. God knew Nephi could do more than build a bow or build a boat- they were just preparatory steps to building the beginnings of a nation. Our trials are like that. There's always another one, and it always seems harder than the last, but God is always there to help us through them- "His arm is stretched out still." Because of that, we'll be made mighty, even to the accomplishing of all the incredible works God might want us to do- parting a sea, calling down fire from heaven, or something as simple as saying the right thing at the right time. We just have to do our little part.

Oops, really long spiritual thought. I guess that means I'm doing good. Thanks for all your support!
Elder Adams
                                               abandoned, unfinished hotel

The Land of Desolation

Hey everyone!

Has this been the best, dustiest week ever? You bet!

Tuesday was transfers, and we got to travel all the way down to the wonderfully dusty California City. We've got one of the only lawns in town, haha. We got settled in and went to meet some of the members.

Wednesday we got to head out and work! It's always a little exciting to be in a new area, especially when things have been slower there- who knows what untapped potential there is? We met a girl named Maria who is kinda skeptical about God, but her grandmother was a convert who came here from Mexico- something about the blessings of the gospel is multi-generational and doesn't let go easily, even if someone falls away for a time!

Thursday we planned. Normal planning. Actually it was super weird because neither of us really know where anyone lives or where anything is here, so it took some time to figure that all out.

Friday we had district meeting! For that we meet way out in Mojave. For some reason. But that's okay, because that's where the only grocery store in our district is. Not complaining about being able to go there. We also got to meet one of our investigators who is on date to be baptized- Nicole! She's really cool, but is sick right now so she's kinda out of it. Hopefully next time she'll be feeling a little better. We also got to dinner and heard news that a member of the ward had passed away, so the members there asked us to come help load her stuff up- she wanted it (or the proceeds from selling it) to be left to the church. So we helped move stuff for a while.

Saturday we got to work a bunch more, and meet some more of our investigators (who live way out in the middle of nowhere.) They came to church a few weeks ago, and had kinda mixed feelings, so we cleared up some misunderstandings. We also got to meet our Ward Mission Leader, who lives on base. Gee willikers, Edwards is totally different than Cal City. We can't proselyte there, but it's kinda cool to at least be able to visit members.

Sunday we went to church! Because on Sunday we go to church. Actually, I really enjoyed it. Even in a new place, where the AC and mic are broken, sacrament meeting is still a special experience. The church is the church, no matter where you are, and the Saints are Saints, no matter how they got to where they are. Even if that place is California City.

Thanks for all your support!

Elder Adams

Nevertheless, God Called YOU.

Hey everyone!

This has been pretty much the best week ever. It's time for transfers again! I'm headed to California City, in East Lancaster! Back to the Antelope Valley! My companion will be Elder Chamberlain.

This past Tuesday we went up to Frazier Park again. Suzie was kinda sick, so we just had a short lesson and read some of the Book of Mormon with her. She asked us "so this is what the prophets talked about then, what do your prophets talk about now?" WELL it just so happens that they're talking to us THIS WEEKEND. Haha, it was such an easy question! Plus we got to talk about the Family Proclamation, which is always awesome. It's seriously an inspired document.

Wednesday morning we had interviews with President. He gave me some good advice about how to find more people in our area and about planning. We had some appointments that day, but none of them ended up working out. That's alright, they'll just have to happen another day- they might go better then anyway! In the evening we were trying to figure out where to go, and I said "we'll go to the gated community to visit some part-member families!" And so we did. Elder Jackson's pretty intimidated by the double-gated one and the huge houses there (honestly so am I!), but we decided that if the gate happened to be open when we got there, we'd go in and visit someone. And lo and behold, it was! A sign! (or just a nice coincidence.) We did stop by one family, but they weren't interested. Now we know they're not interested though, which is more than we knew before!

Thursday and Friday we worked some more, but all that working was kinda swallowed up in the joy of conference, so I don't remember that much of it, haha.

And conference happened! Oh boy do I love conference. I'll just jot down a couple thoughts I had and things that I liked from each session.

It's really inspiring as a missionary to hear an apostle talk about how everyone has heard the "call of heaven," so I really enjoyed President Uchtdorf's talk. Knowing I've felt that feeling helps me to help others recognize it, the yearnings for an association for that God which gave us life. Elder Holland's talk also gave me a lot of comfort. We've got a lot of commandments, and missionaries have a lot of rules! 10000 talents is a lot! But I can handle doing my little bit, giving (and forgiving) that 100 pence at a time. That's not so bad. Also hearing from Elder Pingree was super cool, since we got to eat lunch with him a couple weeks ago. Another elder asked him what he felt had prepared him most for his service as a Seventy so far, and he said his mission! More motivation to make this time worthwhile.

Elder Cook's talk on Saturday afternoon was really cool- I've been thinking a lot about accountability should play a role in my life, and it helped me fit it in better. I also like how he threw down on how hateful people are these days- being "authentic" or "real" are not reasons to be un-Christlike. Elder Nelson speaking about the Book of Mormon really touched my heart, because I've felt a great desire to share this wonderful gift pretty much only when I'm doing just that- treasuring it and reading it every day. He also said that we would make better decisions if we are reading it, and that's a pretty cool blessing in my book.

The priesthood session is so cool! The combination of Elder Renlund's talk and the focus in missionary work on helping people make covenants really solidified to me that we're the only source on earth where people can get the power to make covenants to experience the full power of the atonement. The only one. That's such an intimidating concept, but it really drives me to work harder. The title of my email is taken from President Uchtdorf's talk- despite our many weaknesses (or in moments of pride, our supposed over-qualifications) God calls us to labor in certain parts of His vineyard, where we have the great chance to bring His light there. I also really appreciated Elder Eyering's talk. I've felt the faith of members here aid us in our work, and seen the faith of those under the stewardship of leaders strengthen them. It's so cool to be a part of such a great organization.

Elder Bednar's talk was a little hard for me to follow at first, but once he started comparing the Sabbath and the temple, I was blown away. Our time on Sunday has the potential to be that holy and consecrated to God. Wow. Suddenly keeping the Sabbath day holy seems like a much, much more serious commandment to me. I noticed a theme among the talks of choosing how we reacting, and choosing to act in faith- really, our eternal destiny is entirely in our hands, and we need to take charge and actively live the Gospel.

Elder Ardern sad something that I felt like really fit in with President Uchtdorf's talk- he spoke about how we have to serve God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength to really have a strong enough light to push back darkness. Satan's going to keep trying harder and harder, so we need to as well. Elder Anderson's talk was just... wow. Hearing that bit of the talk Elder Hales had prepared, the fact that Elder Anderson happened to have it, him speaking about how every subject in conference is given by inspiration and not coordinated... it was a miracle that I felt unfolded right before our eyes. He spoke about how we often feel "calls to repentance" during conference, and I certainly have a lot to work on. But I also feel confident that it's not too much to ask, that I can accomplish it. We got to hear the word of God this weekend. Isn't that incredible?

Thank you for all your support! I'll write ya'll from the desert next week!
Elder Adams

Meat and Potatoes

Hey everyone!

Has this been the best week ever or what?? 14 months so far, and it' still getting better.

Weird thing, about half of our dinners the last two weeks have been varieties of meat and potatoes. Also multiple of them included the same old lady who also got invited to dinner. Every other day "Hey Sister Palmer, long time no see!"

We got to go ice skating last Monday for our zone activity, which was pretty cool. Even if the rink was owned by the Edmonton Oilers. There are much better hockey teams than them!

Tuesday we spent much of the day trying to contact part-member families that we don't have any notes about, or that ward members don't really know. We also had our coordination meeting in the evening, where we tossed around a lot of good ideas and got some good reports from members going on visits.

Thursday night we went out to visit some people with our ward mission leader. Mostly people had just moved or their address didn't exist, but we had a good visit with a couple that's been investigating almost longer than I've been alive.

Friday we had district meeting, then drove up to Frazier Park. We had two appointments up there, and the second canceled, but the first was awesome! We didn't think we were going to have that one either, Suzie wasn't there at first, but then she showed up! It was an awesome lesson, too. She'd started out by telling us that she didn't want to join a church, just learn more about God, but now she's asking questions like "Okay, so hypothetically, if I were to get baptized..." "So if I want to be with me family together forever..." She's really warming up to the idea of joining the church!

Saturday morning we were driving to check something, and we saw Mina just sitting out on her lawn! We hadn't seen her in over a month, so of course we had to stop and talk. She's still interested too! Just had a really rough month. Now that we're back in contact things will hopefully go better. I'm really glad :)

President Layton showed up at Oaks ward's sacrament meeting, so we got to say hi to him there. It's always kinda awkward though- like sorry, our investigators decided not to come today :S I mean, Kathy probably came to church, just in Tehachapi, not here.

The guidance of the Spirit is so so important in life. We were talking to someone and she said "I just wish God would tell me 'do this' or 'hey don't do that'" and the Spirit is really the way that God does that. The gift of the Holy Ghost is incredible really, it's hard for me to imagine life without it. Even if sometimes we just get little nudges in the right direction, those can have a big impact. So many things that happen on the mission are one in a million chances (not that there are even a million people in mission boundaries, I don't think there are) without the hand of God in this work we'd never get anything done.

Thanks for all your support!
Elder Adams

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I'm Warmer Than the Weather

Hey everyone!

The mission is the best thing ever. I love being a missionary. And this week has been the best yet. Not just because the weather cooled down a bunch (but a lot because of that.)

Tuesday of this past week we headed out to Taft again. Wow, what a town. We helped an older couple move in, and it was pretty fun. The wife was German, and was pretty interesting to listen to. After that we worked like normal. My companion for the day was listening to the Spirit though! We were trying to find a house and he stopped and said "Nah, we're going to Valley Acres now." Which is a little ways away. We did, and visited a family that the missionaries in Taft had helped move in, and we got to teach a mother and her daughter the restoration! Just as we were leaving, another son walked in. He's doing recruiting for the marines, and recently finished training, and told us how he'd met a lot of Mormons in basic and how he'd been studying and praying with them. People are prepared in the darnedest ways.

Thursday we got to drive up to Frazier Park, and finally met with Kathy, the lady who'd listened to all the standard works and been to church. She's still going to church and doing good, she's just not getting baptized yet because her husband doesn't like it. So we've got to act on faith and hope he softens his heart. She's a really great lady though- she goes to Tehachapi some weeks to see her mother (who is also taking the discussions from the sisters there) and her sister (who's been a member a long time.)

Friday we got to meet with Elder Costa and Elder Pingree of the Seventy- one of the longest-serving members and the newest. It was really great.

Elder Pingree talked a lot about receiving personal revelation, and what needs to happen so that we (and our investigators) can receive it. He also spoke about how that revelation should guide our planning and goals, not us just making them and trying to force whatever God wants to happen into the box of what we think is going to happen. Finding was another thing Elder Pingree spoke about- thank goodness, since we spend so darn much time doing it! He talked about Phillip teaching the Ethiopian in Acts 8 (Acts has lots of stories, but this is one of my favorites) and principles from that story that we can apply in our finding.

Elder Costa spoke to us about repentance, and how everything we do is to help people through the process. We also learned that just writing down "church" for the three hours we meet on Sunday is the "worst plan." We should always plan to find, even just at church, by prayerfully asking for referrals. Later he talked to us a lot about soccer. Really it was about goals and how hard we work, but he used a lot of soccer analogies. We also learned "Elder Costa's Rule": never mix spiritual and social. If you go somewhere to do something spiritual, always tie it back to the spiritual, and if the Spirit says "go" at an awkward time, then go anyway.

Saturday I got sick. Obnoxious 24 hour fever. So fun to have a thermometer in your mouth and slowly see it tick up into the triple digits. Like it's not even that hot out anymore, come on. Ugh. I mean, I was fine Sunday, but it sucks being sick even for a day. So we had an inside day since I didn't want to stand very much. It was like having the flu but only for a day.

This week I learned that if we really, truly believe that there are people here who are being prepared to accept the Gospel, then we will know that we MUST find them. Not a "we can find them" or a "we might find them" sort of thing, but a deep, driving force- a desire for the salvation of our fellow men. Imagine if your parents spent a long time preparing a great opportunity for you, one that would not only benefit you, but change someone else's life for the better, forever- and likely the lives of many others. Would you not work hard to make the most of that? That's what God does for us in preparing people to receive the Gospel. We've got a great opportunity to give glory to God by doing our tiny part of His work- what a blessing!

Thank you for all your support!
Elder Adams

1.I went to jail.
2.Service in Taft.