Thursday, February 22, 2018

"You Guys Still Come Around Here?"

Hey everyone!

It's been the best week ever out here in the great Muroc ward. Still the happiest person in the whole town, haha.

We were walking in a trailer park on the outskirts of town and a lady pointed her head out her window and called out to us : "you guys still come around here??" yes ma'am! "you really think you're gonna change anyone's minds out here?" Yes. I don't think I've ever said anything with such conviction as that yes. I was so entirely certain, and still am. She said "wow you guys are determined. Have a nice day, you wonderful people." she went back inside, but oh boy did we feel motivated after that.

This week was otherwise really cool but not super productive for our area. I'm sure God understands though. This week we got smartphones, Facebook, and we went on exchanges with the zone leaders down in Lancaster. It was real fun, and we're seeing a lot of great stuff for the future, but this week was mostly setup. This coming week though? Gonna be super sick. We'll baptize some people yet in this area!

Elder Simpson and I felt inspired to read the Book of Mormon together during companion study this coming week. We think it will help us be spiritually revitalized and focus more, so we're really excited. Reading on your own is awesome, so how much better is reading the book of Mormon with others?? We read with our investigators, why not with members and with each other? The seeds of my testimony began with family scripture study. My appreciation for it has grown so much since I've been missing it, but I'm so very grateful to be able to share the wonderful blessings I've seen from it with other families. Props to my wonderful parents for going through so much effort to get us to read.

Some days it feels so gloomy, like the world is about ready to be swept off. There's just so much wickedness out there! But there's an awful lot of good, too. There hasn't been any more in the history of the world. We can hope for a bright, eternal future with our families because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. So yes, we do still come around here. There are souls to be saved, and while we might not be able to convince anyone ourselves, our message has something special to it. This is the true church of Jesus Christ - that's why we're here to tell everyone about it. It is not the license to sin, but the truth that will set men free.

Thank you all for your support and prayers!
Elder Adams

The Way Life Is

Hey everyone!

It's been the best week ever. Full of life, the way it's meant to be lived.

We knocked on a lot of doors this week. Sweated some (the sun is really hot, even if the weather has been nice.) Talked to a bunch of people. Some of them were kinda interested. It feels good to testify to them and promise blessings, even if they don't accept right away.

We were expecting a really good week at church today. Like a REALLY good week. Gina was out of town this week, so we couldn't meet with her, but she was planning on being back by Sunday so she could come to church. The part-member family we're teaching on base was planning on coming. Members from our ward AND from other wards were going to bring friends to our ward. We met one less-active earlier this week whose first words to us were "Ah right, I do need to come back to church, don't I?" We were going to meet with another less-actiive girl earlier in the week, but the appointment fell through, but then we saw her while we were walking around on Saturday and she told us she'd be at church. Also, the member whose car got stolen was planning on getting a new one this week and bringing her non-member brother who likes our church a lot.

No one came. Gah!

It was frustrating! We put in a lot of work this week in helping people get to church, and none of them came! I'll admit, I was stewing a little bit. I felt about as deflated as a balloon from a birthday party that ended up behind a couch for three weeks, you know what it looks like. But our high priests group leader gave a really good talk in sacrament meeting about how trials are a part of life, and if we just look at them as part of life then we will be able to endure and even enjoy them. Now we've got a busy week ahead of us, following up with all these people! It's just the way that life is that some of them couldn't come and the rest chose not too, but there was a time granted unto men to repent. Not just one week, but a whole lifetime.

Another important thing we learned from this was about our motivations. Talking about it after church, Elder Simpson and I were frustrated the most not because we were embarrassed that people didn't come, or that our numbers wouldn't look as good, but that these people weren't going to get the spiritual boost and renewal from coming to church and partaking of the sacrament. There are such cool blessings, and if they don't come they don't get them! We're really excited to be able to work to help all our investigators and members that we're working with obtain some of the wonderful things God has in store for them.

One scripture I really liked this week is from Jacob 5.22: "And the Lord of the vineyard said unto him: Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit."

We're in a desolate little bit of the world here! And there wasn't too much going on for a long time, but there were really good missionaries here and they worked hard, so now the Muroc district vineyard is starting to bring forth some pretty sick fruit. We might not have had as good of a Sunday, but the other missionaries here had awesome weeks, so we're excited for them and excited for what's going to be happening in our area.

Also, Gina might still be getting baptized in late February or early March! She said that if it's too long to wait for her boyfriend to be able to travel here to baptize her, she just wants to be baptized by someone else. Either way, we're excited :)

Thanks for all your support!

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