Friday, March 23, 2012

On a mission, on a mission.

It's so strange how time is passing by.  I've gone through a Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and now a St. Patrick's Day all on my mission. On the way to Easter!

I'm super excited for conference.  That should be great, as I will probably pay attention to conference a lot more than I ever have! The reason is to find better ways to teach the basics. Other conferences I was always excited for "new" stuff. Stuff to learn. But now I'm looking for stuff to teach. And who better to take it from than the prophets of the church?

It's interesting how you are all participating in a 40 day fast.  I am too. I stumbled upon a talk written by president Maynes to leave behind all things that hold you back from serving with all your heart and put it completely on hold for 40 days. I had the impression to actually try it out, so I wrote down some things that might be holding me back and started this 40 day fast yesterday. And come to find out my entire stake back home is doing the same thing. Wow there is power there.

So this week was kind of slow again. But I have a cool story or two.  We got this referral for a guy. The text said he had been in a halfway house and was currently on parole. We went to the address, desperately tried to contact him for days, and no answer came. One day we got the impression to find the nearest Halfway house. We got the idea that a pizza delivery place might know, so we went there and they pointed us out to the place. We went there and wow I thought I was walking into Shawshank prison or something. There were all these angry looking guys just staring us down, smoking and tattooed up, super scary. We went to security, and they (being extremely rude) were being uncooperative. But finally I just said, "We are ministers, and this guy wants to contact us, just send him a message." and they agreed to send a message to him. Yes, he was there. Guess what? The next day, we get a call and this guy had been investigating the church and wants to be baptized. Wow, and guess what else? He showed up at church yesterday. The guy is kind of rough looking but we taught him before church started and told him we would talk to president about baptism (being in his situation requires a higher authority than us).  So that was cool.

Next story:  we tracted into this lady who has brain cancer, who had read the book of Mormon cover to cover but was turned off to the church because she asked a strange question in Sunday School and apparently they threw her out. But we established a common ground of belief with her and then just for some reason talked about Jesus Christ. It was really powerful. She said "you guys have convinced me to give this a try again.   I thought I was done with Mormons, but come back on Tuesday and we can talk more." She told us she was terrified of death and we plan of teaching her the plan of Salvation. Those were some highlights to my week and I'm glad we are on a syncopated fast!

Elder Bringhurst

Monday, March 12, 2012

I Got Home on Friday to a Surprise

(NOTE FROM DIANA:  For Valentine’s Day this year Cory gave me a gift certificate for dinner at our favorite restaurant, J. Alexander’s.  We discovered it when we lived in Dayton.  It is an east coast franchise so we rarely get to eat there.  Upon searching for the nearest J. Alexander, Cory found one newly built in Denver.  It was the cheapest plane ticket so that’s where we went this weekend.  It was a quick “over-nighter” just for dinner.  However, since Brandon was serving right in Denver this transfer, his apartment was 20 minutes or so from the restaurant.  We decided to leave him some of his favorite frozen items we can’t send in the mail.  We had fun shopping at the grocery store he probably shops at!  We were sneaky and made sure we wouldn’t see him or he us!  I even asked Heavenly Father in my personal prayer to allow us to deliver it safely without us seeing each other. I wrote Brandon this week that I love him and want to send fun stuff, but it is all about OBEDIENCE and SACRIFICE and I would never break a mission rule.  I think our little surprise turned out great on both ends!)

So it’s late, and we are going home to find a Styrofoam freezer on my front door. At first I thought it was a package just delivered, until my brain kicked on (it was late) and I realized there was no way something like this could be delivered. I opened it up to find some of that fudge.  Yup it was from mom! Elder George fell over dead. I called the zone leaders and they were laughing really a lot. I played a prank on my district leader telling them we had an hour long conversation and you refused to leave. He was about to call President then I told him I was yanking his chain and we all had a laugh. I was like, "My family was here.  I'm going through the weirdest set of emotions right now." Oh it was great! Yeah that means I don't have to go shopping this week J Thank you guys so much. What time did you do it? (P.S. you would have a good chance of missing us that day. We are NEVER at the apartment. Just for sleep mostly.) We usually go back for lunch and we are out at 1 o clock and don’t come back till 9 or 930. So that was a great finish to my day. But don't worry about it making me homesick or anything, my mind is fully on the work. J

Well I had a better week. Our numbers would disagree but we are trying! I've learned a lot about life this week. Sounds weird huh? We had zone conference on Wednesday and President Maynes gave us a talk on integrity. He told us that Jesus Christ will save ANYONE who wants to be saved. And that means everyone. The telestial Kingdom is a Kingdom of Glory right? He told us that every Kingdom has one thing in common: honor (or integrity). Telestial is people with little or no honor. Terrestrial are the honorable. Celestial are the honorable WHO MAKE AND KEEP THEIR COVENANTS. Integrity! Thus he told us that the purpose of this life is to become men and women of integrity. That's how we can become like him! Integrity and Honor are actually the source of God's power. His integrity is so perfect the ELEMENTS obey him. It really affirmed my purpose as a missionary. It’s not just to baptize, it's to find those people who are willing to become those men and women of integrity. Baptism is the way we show Heavenly Father that we are willing to become men and women of integrity (keep commandments, etc.) God doesn't have a little magic wand that makes the planets move, he commands them to move and they obey.

I love being a missionary. I learned this and now have such a better understanding of the mission of the church. Other churches seem to be checklist churches. Baptism? Check. Communion? Check. Restitution? Check. Come to church? Check. I love it when we talk to people and they say, "I've already been saved." Our church is not like that. It’s about the gospel, and the gospel is to perfect us -- to become men and women of integrity. If you can’t tell I really ate up that talk President Maynes gave us.

Well in other news we are having trouble finding more investigators to teach, and it’s a slow process. And now I'm okay with that! I've learned that even if I go the rest of my mission without a baptism, I will have at least converted myself. So I can save my children, and teach them to save their children. I've learned a lot about my purpose as a missionary. Everything I go through is to give me experience and will help me. God is perfect and I just need to trust that He will help me along the way, as long as I stay an honorable man of integrity and keep my covenants. It’s amazing how my understanding of these things can help me understand about the basics. I love this gospel!

Thank you so much for all the emails you send me. J Thanks for the fudge, egg mcmuffins, and pizza's. J  I really needed them... We are poor as missionaries... Love you all!

Elder Bringhurst

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Another Week Passes By

Well, well, life as a missionary . . . It can really be a tough road, and a lot of hard work goes into it. Not necessarily physical labor, more like emotional and mental taxation. Not fun sometimes, but hey the work progresses.

This week I really have to honestly say there is not a lot to report. We just basically taught less active members of the church this week, many of whom really don't ever want to come back to church. They are the people in Lehi's dream who partook of the fruit and were ashamed. I hear a lot of them generally say that they gave the gospel a "good try" and now they are done. Sometimes I want to say back, "If you gave it a good try you wouldn't be less active."

I am also trying to encourage my companion to find other methods rather than tracting. He is angry at the request, but in my mind, missionary work is evolving out of that. There used to be required tracting hours for every week, and now if you look at preach my gospel, they give a list of about 50 things to do to find people, one of which is tracting. I feel like the day and age we live in is not conducive to only tracting. Many people get offended simply at our presence. Even people who would probably respond favorably to the church are automatically inclined to tell missionaries who show up at their door that they are "not interested.". People are kind of going "hermit crab." It makes it a lot harder to find people through our own efforts as a missionary.

I had to go on exchanges this week with an Elder Cook, who doesn't talk a lot. This was last Tuesday, but it was really cool to be able to work the area for one day. It's really hard, but I was able to fill our day with meaningful activities and we were able to teach 4 people that day. Yah!! So it really was fun.

It’s kind of sad how poor we are though. We really don't get a lot of money from month to month. Good thing I like ramen! I'm gaining weight for some reason.   I'm up to about 166 pounds.   So I might be a fatso when I come home. Haha

Well that's my report this week. Thanks so much for all the letters you send me! J

Elder Bringhurst