June 8, 2015
Hola mi amigos! It’s been a pretty good week here for myself down in Lubbock, Texas!
Well to start off, it stopped raining this week! I don't think it rained a single time all week! That's like, the first time that's happened since I had a few weeks left in Sweetwater! It has been getting warmer though. We've been upper 80's and a little in the 90's but it hasn't been bad, although I just saw that the forecast for Thursday is 99. So I am not looking forward to that, but maybe if I walk enough in the 99 degree weather I will lose a few pounds. We shall see about that. I'm crossing my fingers!
Anyway, my new comp is Elder Parkin, like I said last week. He has been out for 6 months and is from Ogden (go figure). I am now at 3 Utah companions and 1 California companion. So I am doing good so far. Only 75%! He's a good kid and came ready to work, so we've been going to work and I've already seen a jolt in the area in just the first week!
So, when I went to the mission office for transfers on Tuesday, all the new missionaries were there and were all starting to get shipped off. I saw this new Elder who looked familiar. I looked at his name tag and it read "Elder Kempe". It took me no time at all to recognize him as a kid from either my kindergarten or first grade class. He moved right after whatever grade we were together, so its been a solid dozen plus years since I had seen him. Oh man, am I good or what?! I said, "Elder Kempe!" (and I knew how to pronounce Kempe because I specifically remember asking him how to say his last name all those years back). He looked over and I asked, "Are you Braden?" (somehow I remembered his first name). He responded with a "yeah" and I proceeded to tell him that we were in the same class in elementary school one year. He was pretty blown away that I made the connection... I was too! He had moved to Pocatello and grew up the rest of his years there. He asked me if I knew Brogan Moore and said that he went to his farewell in Poky. So I told him that we were in the same ward and that was just another crazy connection that I have made in the TLM! They are everywhere!
We went to the temple on Saturday! It was wonderful! I hadn't been since I got out so it was wonderful to go and feel the spirit within its walls! It was a good reminder of the covenants that I have made and just a nice opportunity to get away from all the worries of the world. I was thankful to just sit in the Celestial Room and clear my mind and just have some peace and quiet with no distractions (besides the whispering couple who were quite annoying).We have a rule we can go once a transfer to the temple, but we didn't go last transfer so we went the first week of this transfer and are counting it as last transfers trip. I felt good about doing that and still keeping the option open of going again. Usually you try to get someone to the temple with you, obviously, but if you don't get anyone you can just go at the end of the transfer. So we are working with some people to help them get to the temple this transfer and will hopefully be able to go with them! You cannot drive to the temple in your mission car, however, but luckily we live like two blocks from it so we were able to get there!
We had interviews this week with Pres Heap. It went super well for myself. We talked about a lot of good stuff. He said right at the beginning, "This is your interview. What do you want to talk about?" So it was a very personal interview and we were able to talk about what really needs to be talked about and not just talk about stuff because that is what he is talking to everyone about that round of interviews. On the way out of his office he told me that he was very impressed with my 5K and told me that I am an "impressive physical specimen." hahaha! YES!
We have done a lot more walking this week trying to find people. We haven't had too much success. This area is rich, and the percentage of people that are active church goers is absolutely insane. This is definitely one of the harder areas around. We did have one miracle though. We were knocking this county road yesterday (I haven't knocked in 6 whole weeks btw) and we were approaching this trailer and a lady saw us walking up and opened the door and came out and stood there waiting for us. I did a more typical approach when I started talking to her but then I decided to just bust out a Resto on the spot. She wasn't very talkative, but you could tell that this was definitely an inspired run-in. We gave her a BoM and she said she'd read and pray about it. We'll see how it goes. I am hopeful! She seems to be going through some interesting stuff right now, so that’s always good when it comes to missionary work!
We also taught a less-active/part-member family on Monday. I mentioned them a couple weeks ago. The husband (non-member) made mention of the 3 kingdoms one night and was pretty taken back when his wife told him that is what her church teaches. So we went for Elder Jones to say goodbye (we do service for them so we know them pretty good) and talked about the Plan of Salvation for a while. Pretty solid potential there. We just need to be careful because Mark is just now opening up to missionaries more so we can't become pushy at all and drive him away.
Also, we go and visit the Luna family every Sunday night. The missionaries met them a few weeks before I got here. They are an awesome family and we always have really good visits with them. At this point we have an incredible relationship with them. When we go over we usually visit for a while and talk about what they talked about at church that day (they are Catholic) and what we talked about at church that day. We usually get into the scriptures a little bit as well. We use the Book of Mormon sometimes and they now have a few copies in their home. It’s another situation where we have to be careful not to push anything on them. We have to really follow the spirit and make the right moves at the right time. They will get baptized someday, that’s for sure, but it is going to be an intricate process! I love them so much though, they are wonderful people and just love the crap out of us!
Oh yeah, I caught my first turkey this week! It was actually pretty easy. The chickens were the hard ones to catch. They are fast and are smaller and harder to grab. But with the turkey you just walk up behind it and pin it to the ground and pick it up. It tries to get away and flap its wings but you just have to hold on really tight! It got away from me once because it went berserk in my arms but I got a good strong hold on him the second time and he wasn't getting away! I felt pretty accomplished!
Anyway, that's all for this week! I hope y'all have a good week and I keep praying for many of y'all specifically every day! Keep it real.