Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another week at the CDSM

This letter may not be as long as my other letters.  I sure do love to say a lot of things sometimes. But I'm sending pictures this week and I'm kind of technologically inept at these things so I don't have all the time in the world to write letters today.

This is Chris on his baptism day
My first companions when I got to Denver
Snowshoeing on P-Day
This week was really a great week.  Well, kind of . . .  Elder Croft has a medication that requires him to stay at home after we eat dinner with some people, so our lesson count has gone down. But we still managed to pull in about 15 lessons. We started teaching that meth addict I told you about a couple months ago. He seems like he's in a pickle. But he actually has turned out to be quite a nice guy. We were also able to do some service this week for a member, and he was so appreciative of it he took us out to Burger King for dinner!

Speaking of dinners, this ward must have missed feeding us, because now every night is completely filled clear to the second week of May. It's really awesome how much the ward is helping. The lady we were teaching with brain cancer kind of took a step backwards.  She basically told us it was getting to be too hard and that she didn't want to do this anymore. But we helped her out and she is still meeting with us. If only she would just come to church . . .

But we do have someone with a possible baptismal date! She is a nice lady named Lisa who really is just a fun person. She has met with a lot of missionaries, but she told us that she feels that the church is true and that she wants to get baptized. Her boyfriend/fiancĂ© is in California and he is also a member, so she wants to become a member as well. She has been smoke free now for almost 2 weeks after being a heavy smoker for 26 years. Wow. She wants to get baptized on May 26th, but her boyfriend is moving back this Saturday and they will be living in the same house as an unmarried couple so we might have to wait until AFTER she gets married on June 6th.  Oh well.  President Maynes will know what to do.

The work is progressing here and I'm super excited for some baptisms coming up in the near future.

Elder Bringhurst

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Convert Vs the Life Member: The Musical!!

Haha!  So I have to explain the subject line. Elder Croft and I were talking about the Book of Mormon Musical that won the best Musical award last year on Broadway. We thought it was kind of sad that they devoted an entire musical to making fun of what we do. So we said, "We need to show them what real humor is." Thus began The Convert Vs. the Life Member: The Musical! This is a story of a missionary who has been a member for life who pairs up with a convert as his missionary companion. It's really funny. Some of the songs we invented are "The worst part of serving with a convert/member for life is...", "I don't get these primary songs." and "I wish I was better, but he needs to be like me." All of these are duets.

Anyway, on a more serious note, the mission focus has changed recently. President Maynes this last zone leader conference (zone leaders only) told everyone that we are no longer focusing on lesson count as the main priority of our key indicators (a.k.a., the number of lessons, referrals, etc.) He is changing the main priority to new investigators. This is good news for us because Elder Croft and I are pretty good at finding new people to teach. We consistently find new people to teach and it’s pretty awesome. The reason is because we try to find new investigators from our current investigators. Think about it: investigators hang around friends all the time, and it opens up a lot of questions for us. Anyway, it’s pretty good that the focus has changed, because I feel we are both pretty good at it.

We had 3 investigators come to church this week! A new record! Ha ha! One was a lady that just got engaged to a member who lives in California. She is really awesome and wants to get baptized next month. The other was that university student who always talked about women's rights in the church. She agreed to feed us and we are finally making progress with her.   We changed the purpose of our visits from school project to a search for the truth. She is going through a rough time and we asked her to pray if Jesus Christ really is her Savior. It's helping. The third was the wife of a less active member.  It really was a great week.

Also, remember that lady who had part of her brain removed? We taught her the Word of Wisdom for the first time and she literally threw away all of her coffee, tea, and pot (marijuana). That's commitment. She has since relapsed a bit and is really struggling but now the ward is involved and the Relief Society President decided to actually send visiting teachers to her pretty soon. We are helping her find a testimony of the gospel and this will most definitely end in a baptism sometime in the future. So lots of things are happening in the ward and many things are starting to happen. Every night for the rest of the month is completely booked.

So the ward loves us, the work is moving forward, and Elder Croft and I are getting along incredibly well. Thanks for the support and prayers, we need them!

Elder Bringhurst 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The [area] is now mine to command, TO CONTROL!!!! (Movie line from Aladdin)

So yeah, I'm now the person in charge of this area. Wow, that's just insane for me. I never thought I could do it, but I can!!! We had a day where we were able to get 7 lessons!

My companion is actually Elder Croft, my former district leader, so we know each other.  I've been on exchanges with him, and in fact, come to find out he requested this area to be in and requested that I would be his companion! Wow! He has big plans for the area and is trying to learn the area as fast as he possibly can.

Elder Croft is a convert to the church, converted at age 17. He is the only member of his family and wow he really has a strong testimony. That's a plus in some way.  Since both Elder George and I grew up in the church, when people would ask about why we were in the church it was kind of hard to convince other people about how awesome this church is if it's the only church we know.  Elder Croft is an amazing missionary and he teaches well... but he ignores the rules about music and a WHOLE lot of other things, claiming that "these things don't prevent him from feeling the spirit." So it's hard sometimes and I'll talk to the district leader about it or maybe the zone leaders. I know how I can handle these things.

Otherwise, we got 18 lessons this last week and the mission average for transfer week is 12 lessons. So I'm really glad that all of this has happened.  I'm able to plan a full day. I'm still junior companion, as Elder Croft has been out for 17 months, but that's normal. It's kind of a shock to suddenly be the one to have all the answers regarding the area, but it works for me. I'm actually really happy and feeling a lot better about it. We even found two new investigators this week!  One was a former investigator named Christina.  We just stopped by and she told us she was still interested in the church but was rushed by the missionaries. The other was a guy named Chris. He is the son of one of the investigators that we already have. So that is amazing.

So quick funny story:   We were eating dinner yesterday and there were pecans in a little salad that was given to us. I ate a few bites and I got that same horrible itchy sensation and nasty taste that I do when I eat peanuts. So after dinner I get really sick and I feel like I want to throw up. I could tell the signs that I was having an allergic reaction. Elder Croft was freaking out and wanted to take me to a hospital.  I told him I would be fine and this happened a lot. I took some Benadryl and I told him we should go out and work but he was afraid I was going to die, so we stayed home Sunday evening. It wasn't bad, but I thought it was funny that Elder Croft had a heart attack. I told him I have had this happen a lot and it wouldn't get bad enough for a hospital.

Oh well. So the area hasn't died, and things aren't too bad here.  Elder Croft and I get along really well and he has already said he thinks I'll be one of his favorite companions.

Quick note - he has an incredibly strict diet which makes it hard to eat any sweets at all. So if you send him things, no candy. J I love everyone who writes me! Have an awesome day.

Elder Bringhurst

Monday, April 9, 2012


Okay first things first. Transfers: It was a long night for everyone because transfer calls were on Saturday, but this Saturday happened to be priesthood session. So transfer calls didn't start until like 8:15. So we get a call and my predictions were correct. Elder George is leaving and I'm taking over the area. Craziness all around! Elder George is packing and I finally will be able to have a clean apartment! Haha!  I'm just really nervous because now I have to plan the days out and I am the constant with both our investigators and the ward. I will probably stay here for maybe 2 transfers.

Mom I did get your Easter package and grandma sent me an Easter package. We haven't been able to hide the stuff and because Elder George is leaving.  We agreed to do a little Easter egg hunt with my new companion.

I got to watch all of the sessions of conference. We watched it with a different person each time, mostly less active members of the ward. Wow it was a great conference. I really liked President Monson's talk on Eternal Truths. It’s amazing that all he did was quote scripture, lay out the plan of salvation, and reaffirm his testimony that the plan of salvation is true. It was a powerful talk to say the least. But it really strengthened my testimony that what I teach my investigators here is really an eternal truth. My favorite quote from conference was from Russell M. Nelson concerning the big bang theory. "Now tell me, if an explosion happened in a printing shop, would it produce a dictionary?" It made me think yeah that’s true, God had to be governing the creation of the universe.

One funny story:  We found a less active lady and she was just drunk as a Russian sailor. She invited us in and we cautiously came in. Come to find out she only went less active because she is confused (yeah I'm sure booze will boost your understanding). Of all the questions she had, she wanted to know God's name. We just told her that we refer to God as our Father and He is the Father of our spirits, so we address Him as such. Then she started crying, "but He has to have a name, He has to have a name." like tears. This is how drunk she was. So we finally just told her his name. Yup she stopped crying and we have a return appointment. Great. She also had a boyfriend there, and he was, in a word, Baptist. He insisted on saying the closing prayer and he just said the funniest prayer I ever heard. I was trying my best not to laugh. It was funny.

The Zone leaders told us that President Maynes is really happy about our area and expects great things. Well, next week you will find out my next companion. Thanks so much for all you guys do and for your prayers. I need them J

Elder Bringhurst

Monday, April 2, 2012

It says I should put a subject here, so it's "CHEESE"

No, my letter today doesn't have to do with cheese. Remember that lady I told you about last week? The one who had been turned off by the church a few years ago? Well come to find out, she has 2 children, has progressive brain cancer, and is missing part of her brain. Nobody talks to her anymore. The poor lady has no friends. So we've decided to meet with her twice a week and are bringing a relief society sister with us this week. (Do the math: lady with no friends + relief society = HAPPINESS!!) She is already doctrinally converted, now we need to get her to church and get her socially converted. I bet she could be baptized in the future sometime. She has had a rough life, and the gospel really is going to help her. It's people like this that make me glad to be a missionary. She even asked us to give her a blessing. Elder George anointed and I blessed. It was really a different feeling giving a blessing to a nonmember. The blessing really was surprisingly simple. It's probably why it was such a special experience for her. I found out my authority to do that is very closely connected to the prophet. We act under the authority of the bishop when blessing members, but for nonmembers, I act under the authority of the mission president, who acts under the authority of the first presidency! Wow talk about amazing!

Otherwise, we are trying our best to find people. We tried 2 really strange methods of finding this week. One I suggested was that we put our names on lists at hospitals and funeral homes as clergy for people to talk to in times of crisis. (Hey it’s actually an idea given in Preach My Gospel, so it's inspired!) The second is we went through all the contacts from our phone and called all the people that we don't recognize. If they didn't answer we would just leave a message saying like "hey bro/sis/ so and so, it’s the missionaries yah di dah di ha, just give us a call and let us know how you are doing." We totally pretended like we knew them and guess what? We have 3 appointments this week from doing that. So we are finding new ways of finding people to teach. And our efforts are paying off!

Just to let everyone know I'm pretty sure I'm sticking around for another transfer or two. President Maynes HATES moving people.   He wants us to have only 4 areas in our mission, six months for each area. Two transfers to learn the area and two to teach the area. That's the ideal situation anyway. If I get transferred I'll be surprised.

Well I love reading all the letters and emails sent to me. J  It makes me happy to get mail. I love you all!

Elder Bringhurst