Monday, January 30, 2012

Drum Roll Please . . .

Well before I get to the big news let me first say we had an incredible week this week!  It has possibly been the best week of my whole mission.  Elder George and I are getting along incredibly well.  It really has helped us in our work.  Well okay here's the news.  WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A BAPTISM!!!  I'm pretty sure of it.  It was crazy!  You'll love this story.
So we were biking on Thursday, and we were just cruising along saying hi to people and passed this particularly happy guy.  As we kind of rode by he asked "are you guys Mormons?"  We stopped, turned around and said "yes we are."  "I want to talk to you," he says.  So he crosses the street and tells us this story that he has been investigating all of these different churches and he didn't like any of them.  He said he remembered when he was 17 he saw the Salt Lake temple and really wanted to go inside.  When he was in Job Corps in Utah he went to the LDS church there and said he really loved it.  But he didn't want to get baptized because he wanted to look at other churches.  So several years had passed and he looked at different churches, Pentecostal, Catholic, Muslim, even Jehovah's Witnesses.  He didn't like any of them.  So he said that only a couple days ago he felt like he wanted to find the LDS church again.  In his pocket he had the addresses of three LDS churches around the area.  WOW.  So the first question he asked us was "how do I join your church?"  AHHHH!!!  So we taught him right then and there part of the first lesson, and he said he felt really good and we set up an appointment to meet him.  So on Saturday we met him at the church and sure enough, he was there, hair combed, got the nicest stuff on.  We taught him the entire first lesson and he told us he wanted to be baptized.   So we set him a date for the 18th of February and that date is looking pretty solid.  We invited him to church on Sunday and while we were driving, we saw him just walking down the street to church with the bible and book of Mormon we gave him with this big old smile on his face.  He stayed for all three hours and told all the members that he really wanted to be baptized and was going to do whatever it takes to get there.  So that was the highlight of our week.  We plan on meeting him twice a week until he gets baptized and confirmed.  Oh and another fact, this guy knew nothing about the church, he had never even seen the book of Mormon before. All he knew doctrinally about the church was the Word of Wisdom. (He even told us he stopped drinking and chewing just so he could get baptized faster)  He never even heard of Joseph Smith.  All he remembered was the feelings he had while attending church in Utah.  Now that's how you listen to the Holy Ghost. 

Otherwise we had of course a great week.  We found 5 new investigators to teach.  But a bit of bad news, the druggie guy I told you about dropped us.  He just dropped into a depression and is rotting away in his drugs.  Well maybe someday he will come around.  But yeah, this is a good week.
Oh and one other funny thing.  I used to really hate salads and Mexican food, but recently that's all I've been fed by the members, so incredibly, I'm starting to like salads and Mexican food.  WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME??  ha ha Well, let me know if you have any questions, and I'll gladly answer them.  It definitely was a great week.  I can't wait for the coming weeks.  Thank you all for your love and support.

Elder Bringhurst

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Better Letter

Okay finally I have my full hour to write you guys. I have some news for the week. I met with President Maynes this week! It was really a relief because I hadn't seen him for quite a while, over a month at least! Well anyway we had a good talk and he keeps telling me "you look good Elder." So I thought that was funny. He really is such a great person you can open up too. I told him Elder George and I were very different from each other and president with perfect understanding said “I know, but he has a desire to serve." That was awesome.

We had a much better week this week and we were able to put in 21 lessons. So it was nice to be working hard. By the way the weather here is incredibly WARM!! For the last 3 days it’s made it over 60 degrees. The wind has picked up so much because of it and that caused a lot of problems. However, Elder George and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to ride bikes! So yeah I rode bikes for 2 days this week. And yes I was able to assemble the bike just fine and it rides like a dream. Thanks dad for showing me how to do it all.

Okay so I guess I will share a couple cool experiences.  Elder George and I were tracting a pretty beat down neighborhood and we came to this big black door with the windows covered and everything. The whole place just looked like "drug dealer." But we knocked it anyway and they weren't home. But then this guy pulls up and with eyes wide looked at us and said "are you the cops??"  We said no.  He was kind of okay, but from the get-go it was obvious this guy was on a number of substances. We talked to him a bit, told him who we were, and he let us in his house (I was pretty nervous about this) and he started talking about his meth addiction that he's had. He has no job. He would just go on and on and I really wanted to say something to bring it to the gospel. But something stopped me. After 30 minutes of him talking (he was now on government conspiracies or something) he looked at us and said, "No one has ever listened to me before. I have no friends, my girlfriend doesn't care, and I'm glad you listened to me.  You are welcome to come back anytime to talk about your church." Unfortunately by that time we had to go and never taught him a lesson, but it was cool. Obviously we aren't going to go in his house if he's high anymore for safety reasons and this guy will probably be a LOT of work, but I thought it was a cool experience. Hopefully it turns into something awesome. We'll get him to an addiction recovery group or into rehab to help him get clean but he seemed receptive to our message.

It’s really sad a lot around here because people just don't want to hear our message. The place is like 70% catholic and apparently Catholics are incredibly against hearing from other churches, so it’s hard sometimes. Also its hard whenever I bear my testimony about the church and how I know it will bless them and they say "well that's great for you but it's not for me." Also a lot of people are Christians, but they believe that they will believe in Christ but not through any church. I'm really praying that I will get a baptism, but so many people we teach are either not progressing or someone in the family feeds them anti-Mormon material. It’s pretty frustrating sometimes, but I know the Lord will lead us to those who are ready.

I was doing really great this week, but it gets discouraging when week after week you put 0 baptisms in the weekly report. One of the things I really wanted to see on my mission was helping people change, but so many people just don't want to change. And those who do don't have the will to do so.

I would just like to apologize for not sending enough information about my doings here the last couple times. I feel bad. I am getting behind on my letters and am going to write back to everyone who has written me, but my time is restricted on the internet.  I will redouble my efforts in writing people and do all I can to keep you updated. Thanks family!

Elder Bringhurst 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Greetings from Edgewater Colorado

Alrighty - my first week of the transfer: (Sorry I didn't email yesterday but it was MLK day and libraries were closed)

My companions name is Elder George. He really wants to work and he really wants to be obedient. I got transferred to the "Mountain View" ward and I actually have the Denver Broncos Stadium in my area. That should give you an idea of where I am. But wow, it’s a crazy area. This area's probably more like Christopher’s mission areas.  We do at least 2 hours of tracting every day. So yeah, I get to meet all kinds of people.

We have a few investigators to teach, but last week we totaled 9 lessons, so this area is slow. The ward is sweet though. It’s like everyone has simple gospel knowledge because so many are converts. The Bishop is super young for a Bishop - maybe his mid 30's or so and the ward has about 80 active members.

I still feel like we can baptize in this area. Ha ha, we met this guy a few days ago and he said to come back today.  He said he couldn't talk then but he gave us a Wikipedia article about his church, the Uniformatism Unitary or something like that church. You believe and do what you want and the God you believe will save you. So it was funny. We'll see him next week. But yeah some people we teach could really get baptized! I’m excited for that!

Well this library is pretty strict on time as well so I will have to conclude my letter. Till next week!

Elder Bringhurst

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Survived!!

Well I have officially survived my first transfer, and we had a knockout week despite Elder Houston not being here. So that boosted my confidence. Also big news, I'm being transferred! I don't know where yet but I'm going to a new area tomorrow. So yup, I will have two fathers (Elder Schoepfle and Elder Houston) going into my next 6 weeks. It’s SUPER rare that that happens so I'm going through a crazy training period.

"What a great picture.  This just made my Sunday.  Thanks!"
-- Sister Wells

To answer the question about the picture you received on your phone, that is a picture of me and Elder Schoepfle and the Bishop of our ward, Bishop Wells. They took a picture and asked me for your cell number so she could send the picture. So you got that picture from Sister Wells.  Ha ha that’s super fun that she sent it to you!

So anyway I’m packing today going to venture into the unknown. Wow the week has been crazy. One thing I learned about the Holy Ghost:  We were teaching this family. One guy is a member and his girlfriend is investigating. He was always super grouchy and just didn't care and was never paying attention - completely inactive. But we were teaching something out of the plan of Salvation and suddenly he just got excited and said "I really want to go to church!" He committed the whole family to read 10 minutes a day and he went to church for the first time in 3 or so months this last week. He even told us to go over there to wake him up so he could get ready.  We did, and he showed up. WOW. Guess the Holy Ghost touches people in ways that we never intended. We weren't asking him to go to church and BOOM. He wanted to go. That was a special experience. It was awesome.

Well I'm super tight on time so until next week from a new area!

Elder Bringhurst

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

Well here I am again. I wanted to write an email last week but unfortunately none of the libraries were open that day, so I had to wait until now.

Well anyway, Elder Schoepfle (pronounced Chef Lee) and I are trying to get used to the area and figure things out. He's super stressed because he is the only zone leader here so sometimes it gets a little hectic around here. Oh and by the way, I am the designated driver for the rest of the transfer :) Elder Schoepfle can't drive because he has gotten two tickets before his mission so church policy says he can't drive. So it’s me behind the wheel of a 2012 Chevy Malibu.

It’s taken some time, but Elder Schoepfle and I are beginning to warm up to each other, as we both are relatively shell-shocked at the sudden absence of our dear companion Elder Houston. (He left last Wednesday to become AP.)  He knew the area and the people so well, so we tended to have consistently successful days.  Anyway, we finally had a good day yesterday, and pulled in 4 lessons.  Wow that was super hard to do and we were going crazy last night trying to find people.  We were sprinting back to the car to try and make it to as many places as we could.  But since it's the holidays, everyone was either gone or sick. (Probably my fault, as I got SUPER sick last week.)  Now Elder Schoepfle is sick, and I’m all better :)  Anyway, it’s all about figuring things out, but I am getting desperate for a BAPTISM.  We have people that we could really push for baptism, but man it's hard to catch them at home these days.

Well I don't know what will happen at transfers yet so we'll be on our toes and I will keep you posted. I love you all and thank you so much for all the wonderful Christmas presents! I had a great Christmas and New Year! This year is my "black hole year," or in other words the year spent entirely on my mission. I love you all and Happy New Year!

Elder Bringhurst