Monday, July 30, 2012

A Day in the Life of . . .

(July 23, 2012)

If I had one piece of advice that I would give myself earlier on the mission (and although there is a lot I'd like to say), this week my advice would be invite EVERYONE in on the lesson. My whole mission it seems like I was focusing on one person in a family and didn't take any notice at anyone else in the house who might have an interest. The reason I say this is an experience I had this week.

We have been meeting with a less active lady who was baptized at 17 and since has not come to church. We have been pushing and pushing for her to come but somehow she never has had the drive or the determination to actually come. She has had a really nice boyfriend over at her house a few times and he has been friendly towards us but always leaves the room when we start the lesson. Well we went back there a few days ago and the boyfriend answered the door. Turns out he has been encouraging this lady to come to church and to continue meeting with us. He informed us she was busy at the moment and to come back later. So we went in the car and he came back out of the house and knocked on the window. He told us he was trying to establish a relationship with her and that he grew up Catholic and then asked us if we had anything from our church that he could read. So we gave him a Book of Mormon and explained a little about what it was. We will have to follow up pretty soon on how that went and hopefully some fruit would come out of it. But the moral of the story is you never really know who might be interested in learning more, and you can't just assume someone is not interested. It's really neat.

There's also the black lady who grew up Jehovah's Witness and wanted a church for her kids, turns out her boyfriend is also interested in learning from us and he is taking lessons with us now. How cool is that?

On a funny note, we went to a child of record baptism of a less active family this week. And when he got baptized, he said "thanks everyone for coming to my baptism, this is my best baptism ever!" Lots of chuckles around the room. But it also was one of the sweetest baptisms ever. The family was less active, so the room was filled with people with tattoos, hardly anyone was in missionary clothes, and it was just neat how a little event like this could bring a family together. It was so sweet to see. We were also invited to be in the circle to confirm him a member of the church, and after the blessing, he shook everyone's hand, but when he got to me, he gave me a big on hug and continued to give everyone a hug as well. It was sweet.

Yes I had a good birthday, did lots of work and helped lots of people. Thanks everyone for the gifts :)
Elder Bringhurst

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


My email this week won't be about what I've done, but what I have learned. In the movie "Only a Stonecutter" the beginning starts by saying, “There are two types of people in this world, those who are acted upon, and those who act." I've learned recently that this is a true principle. The world is only shaped by people who act. The world only moves when people act.

I've recently had to deal with a trial that forced me to make a choice: to either react, or to act. As a missionary, the world has its eye on you, for good or for evil. The members expect you to be a source of strength for their children and for their friends, and the investigators expect you to have all the answers and show them that things will always be okay. It took a lot of strength for me to do this. To hide my true emotions from the world and continue to strengthen people when I had none for myself. But despite this, I knew what I had to do. Even though I felt alone, I stood up. I put the tag on, and I went out to strengthen the world. This act alone was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But I learned something by this ordeal. I learned that our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can ever imagine.

In a talk many, many years ago by someone I can't even remember, the speaker talks about how Heavenly Father will often cut us down and bring us low in order to truly bring forth good fruit, much like an orchard farmer must trim the trees every year in order to produce the crop. He talks about how the trees at the time of the trimming cannot understand why the farmer would cut them down. Despite the growth they made, the farmer must cut them down in order for the fruit to come forth. So our Heavenly Father has dealt with me. I felt like I was growing so well on my mission. I had made such wonderful growth, and then I was cut down. From the talk, the Father's reply to all of this is, "I'm the farmer here, I know where you are and I know what I want you to be.  If I had let you grow the way you had wanted, you'll never amount to anything. But someday, when you are laden with fruit, you will say, "Thank you Mr. Farmer, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me."

The adversary would like to fight against God's plan. He whispered to me that because I had been cut down and trodden over, that this meant that I was a failure, and that God had cut me down because I could not reach the expectations set for me. I realize now that he was a liar, and that the choice is to act. Not to react. I know why I am here in Colorado. I am a missionary set apart to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

Thank you so much everyone for all of the prayers and the support.

Elder Bringhurst

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cloudy with a change of Meatballs

July 9, 2012

So the word of the week has to do with the Monsoon season of good old Colorado. What a great break from the summer heat!  

Well we had a good week this week. For the 4th of July Elder Schwegler and I decided to take advantage of the low prices on food that was being sold and treat ourselves a rib eye steak dinner with corn on the cob and potato chips. It only cost me like 10 bucks to do it. Super satisfying! I've also never cooked a steak before and had no idea what to put on it. So I grilled it with onion powder, seasoned salt, and Italian seasoning. It was an interesting flavor, but it was really good. Unfortunately I got slapped with a 100 dollar parking ticket on the 4th because they were doing fireworks at the Broncos Stadium and I missed the "resident only permit A" zone, even though the people we were eating with had a permit for us to use. But guess what? It was expired. So I have to deal with that.

Also on the news of the mission, the lady who bore her testimony at church last week came to church again today! She stayed for all 3 hours this time, and we had a meeting with the bishop afterwards. It is really a good thing happening. I also had an interesting experience. We went on exchanges with the district leader, and they introduced me to a guy they were teaching that was a devout Jew. He had the whole getup -- the yamaka, the shawl.  I seriously thought I was talking to Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof. He said he can't stand Fiddler on the Roof because they lit a fire for the Sabbath, and you aren't allowed to light fire on the Sabbath. He was cool. But I was shown about 20 articles proving that the bible in original Hebrew condemns human sacrifice, and you cannot atone for another's sins. Cool guy, just extremely unwilling to change. It was fun though. They fed us a "kosher" dinner. So I had "kosher pizza." It was cold obviously (Jews believe microwaves make your food unclean, and he made it the day before to avoid breaking the Sabbath) but it wasn't half bad. Did you know they have found 613 commandments from the Torah (first 5 books of Moses) and must obey them all? It's crazy. So if you've ever wanted to know something about Jews, I know a guy. J

But we had a great week!   Let me know if anyone has questions!

Elder Bringhurst

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot Hot Hot!

July 2, 2012
It's been really hot here. Our apartment A/C doesn't really combat three digit degree weather so we try to avoid going home for lunch. But we were able to get another A/C unit from a member and it's been a lot better. I’ll have to send you a few pictures of all the ridiculous things we missionaries do to stay cool. Ha ha!

Well one funny story:   We just got out of an appointment and we got into our car and this old guy knocks on our window holding a pizza box. He said, "Now I'm not interested in your religion because I'm Lutheran but I really respect what you guys do so please take a pizza and let's have old George Romney in for president.” So this random guy gave us a pizza just because he is a huge Romney supporter. Maybe someone needs to let him know that it's Mitt Romney. J  Oh well, as much as we try and disconnect missionary work and Romney's campaign, people still won't leave us alone about it. Ha ha!

We had another cool experience this week. We were looking for more people to teach and we looked through some former investigators we had. Three years ago some sister missionaries taught a lady named Esther but stopped meeting her because she "showed no interest." But we knocked on her door, she was glad to welcome us in, asked for a Book of Mormon and we met with her. As it turns out she remembered just about everything the sister's had told her and actually read the book quite a lot. She began reading again and is currently halfway through 1 Nephi. She loves the doctrine of the Plan of Salvation and even said the prayer! It was really a neat experience and it was great to finally start seeing some successful people.

Number two neat experience:  We had been meeting with a lady with some drug problems and she has been meeting with missionaries for some time. This week she came to church for the first time. She even went up to the pulpit and pointed at me and said "if it wasn't for this elder right here, I would not be here today, he stuck with me through all of my drugs and problems and I just want you to know that I know your church is the true church." Wow... that was cool. Next time we see her we plan on talking about baptism!

Well that's my report this week,  And have an awesome 4 of July!
Elder Bringhurst

Monday, July 2, 2012

Another Week Another Transfer

Apparently President really likes me here in the old town of Mountain View. I've been here now for 4 transfers, and President is having me stay yet another transfer so more than a quarter of my mission will be here. Elder Schwegler will be staying with me as well.  At the end of this transfer I will have been here as long as Elder George was which is abnormally long. It was expected though and I'm excited.

I don't know what else to say in the way of news this week.  It has been a slow week. But we have been teaching our regulars and even got a new one! Her name is Esther. She was being taught by the Sister missionaries about 3 years ago but they got transferred and Esther did not get put back into the works for some reason. We taught her the first lesson and committed her to read and pray about the book of Mormon. We will be seeing her on Wednesday so hopefully that works out to be a fruitful contact.

It is getting hard with the ward here. The church is structured in a way to benefit families and mold you into a solid, productive person. But the people here never stay put for more than a year, and hardly anyone has a job, and family values are being thrown out the window. So the ward expects us to bring nice, conservative, families into the church but keep getting unemployed individuals who have had problems in the past. But if all we did was go for the solid, conservative families, we wouldn't have anyone to teach. It's the nature of the area we live in. Everyone in the ward council understands the situation, except our ward mission leader. It's hard, and we haven't gotten a referral from the ward for at least 9 months. Take it from me. Missionary work goes nowhere without the members -- just nowhere. But on a positive note we were second place in the district as far as lessons go! Whoopee J

Well that's all I have for now. Have an awesome week everyone!
Elder Bringhurst