Monday, April 29, 2013

Two Words: Potato Cannon

I had an interesting experience this week. We are teaching a self proclaimed "jack Mormon" named and he is an interesting guy. He connects really well with the people here in Grand Junction, so he is a great contact to have.

He has all of these cool toys, like he let me shoot this 80 pound crossbow that's about the size of a pistol (whoa), and he had some fun. Then he said "hey do you want to see my potato cannon?" (I was imagining like a PVC pipe with a funnel attached to it powered by an air compressor). "Sure" I said. I needed a drink inside so while I was getting a drink, unbeknownst to me, he was filling a large metal potato cannon with gas. I came outside, unaware he had already loaded it and said "whoa that's super cool, can I hold it?" He chuckles, "sure just hold it real straight." I don't know why I didn't catch he had loaded it so I said "why?"  He said "You'll see." He then strikes on a wielder and just as soon as I realize what's going on ---- BOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! The loudest noise I've ever heard literally pushes against me, followed by the most acute ringing in my left ear I'd ever heard. About 15 seconds after the blast the tennis ball that was inserted inside landed near the house.

That ringing didn't go away. My ear is still ringing as I write this letter and everything sounds like it’s underwater in my left ear (my right ear is okay thank goodness) This happened Saturday afternoon, so yup..still ringing. I'll add that to my list of stupid things I've done in my life haha. No my ear didn't bleed and most people I've talked to said it will go away in a couple days.

Another interesting experience. We were biking and someone's dog decided to dart in front of our bikes (super smart) causing us to slow for fear of running the dog over. Well the owner came over, a19 year old who announced he was high on drugs and was conversing with his friend. We started talking with him and then got to start talking to him and his friends. The conversation went really well and he actually handed out 2 books of Mormon and a pamphlet with our phone number. Haven't seen them since but hey, the whole need no physician right?

Can't think of any other things that happened this week, but we are still trying. I wish I could get at least 1 more baptism though.

Elder Bringhurst



Da News

April 22

It’s an interesting time here. This week we got this HUGE snowstorm, 5 inches at least everywhere. I don't know what all the peach farmers must have been thinking. It was nuts. It’s nice and warm now and all of the snow melted, but it was just crazy. It was funny because prior to that I was contemplating sending back my heavy winter gear back home so I would have less weight in my bags for transferring.

I'm coming up on 18 months here in a couple weeks. That's just scary. When I first was on my mission, someone who had been out for 18 months was considered "ancient" in my eyes. This is strange.

Anywho, in other news I had a good interview with president Maynes this week (every three months or so this happens) and he told me basically what is happening for transfers on May 21st so no surprise in store for this time. Let's see, I don't know what else to report except that we are doing well with the single mom who has three kids and hasn’t been to church in over 2 years. She came for the second time in 3 weeks yesterday, even if it was only in time for relief society. Her kids enjoyed it and it was a good experience. We are also teaching this super hilarious guy. He's about 4'11 and looks remarkably like the oompa loompa from the most recent Charlie and the chocolate factory. The he wears overalls and loves guns. I can't stop laughing when we teach him. He is a fun guy. Last time he told us he was heartbroken to see his favorite actor, Clint Eastwood, wobbling around like an old man when he remembers him as this big tough guy in the movies. You'd have to meet him to see how funny he is.

Well that's all I got this week. Hope everything is going great over there!

Elder Bringhurst



Monday, April 8, 2013

Conference Weekend

Conference is always a mixed feelings time for me. Great because I get to watch conference, but sad because it marks another quarter of my mission finished. This is my 3rd conference, which means I'm almost 3 quarters done with my mission. We got transfer news yesterday, as I predicted we are both staying together for another transfer. So I will remain in Grand Junction.

The zone leaders also asked me to give a talk tomorrow for transfer meeting about "helping investigators progress." So I think I've decided to talk to them about the importance of what you do after and before lessons that will help them progress. Every missionary knows what to say and what to do in a lesson to help them progress, but I've noticed that once missionaries walk out of a lesson, that's the last time they think about the person until the next week. So I will briefly give a couple points of advice. 1. Pray for them as if they were your own children. (I'll share Alma's father, Alma praying for his wayward son as an example) 2. Constantly think about them and where you want them to be (sharing president Monson's experience about a missionary who managed to baptize every month by envisioning each of his investigators in white ready for baptism). 3. "Remember Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, and diligence." (D and C 4: 6) hopefully it should be pretty good.

One thing that I got out of conference was the Brethren apparently want us to change our approach to missionary work. President Monson shared an excellent talk about how we can insure our success. He suggested some things that don't really have an immediate connection with missionary work such as "plan your life with purpose." but the most important I think being, "teach with testimony." A lot of talks encouraged us to bear powerful testimony with our teaching. I especially liked Elder Uchdorf's talk about our "titles" that we have in priesthood. I even used the analogy of the struggling toddler in my teaching yesterday. How we are all infants compared to our Father, and he wants us to walk, even if we stumble.

On the missionary news front we gave away a golden investigator to the Young Single Adult missionaries L We got a referral for this guy who is 22 and wants to change his life around and be baptized, but because he is a YSA we had to hand him over. But that’s okay.  It doesn't matter who or where he is baptized, because we all hold the same priesthood under the same church.

I framed a "conference theme." and I think it was "preach the gospel and build the church." a lot of talks really emphasized this point.

Well that's all I have for today. I wish I had more, but this week was mostly about getting people to watch conference. I love you all!

Elder Bringhurst
PS Funny picture for the week:
Yes, there are Hobbits in Grand Junction



Guess There's No Spring in Grand Junction!

April 1

This week was a lot different. Suddenly it was really warm. Even hot. I feel like we just skipped the transition phase and are going right on to summer weather. It's interesting though, when Elder Nielson and I finally got to go without sweaters, suddenly everyone recognized who we were. Biking down the streets yielded about 4 or 5 "hail Satan’s every time we went. Apparently the white shirts are extremely characteristic to missionaries.

We went to our main investigator’s house the other day and she told us that God told her she needs to be baptized. Wow that's neat. But she described about the strangest experience I've ever heard. Usually people tell us they had a good feeling in their heart or felt at peace or the like. But she related an experience where she had all of these strange sensations and she felt weak and feeble and even felt frightened at one point??? We are not quite sure how to respond to this one. It's great that she believes she needs to be baptized … because she does. but I really don't think all of her experiences came from the Holy Ghost. It sounds like we need to teach her how the holy ghost talks to everyone JI think what I'm going to do is tell her that the holy ghost has already told her several times that you need to be baptized, but he came as gentle promptings.

Yesterday she came to church and I asked her how it was and her eyes welled up with tears as she said "I'm home, I'm really home." Then she hugged me (there is no defense against this) and started crying harder. The ward isn't convinced of her change though. The Bishop and Relief Society president has said "This kind of thing happens all the time with her." I’m inclined to believe them, but I think she really is going to make a step this time. We also had a, single mother about 23 years old with 3 kids, come to church after nearly 2 years of absence from it. She had a blast. She definitely has a rough past, but how wonderful to finally get her to church. It took a LOT OF WORK. I told her basically to expect everything to fall apart about when she decides to come to church and decide to come to church anyway. Well everything did fall apart. She lost 100 dollars while buying dresses for her kids, and her job wanted her to work on Sunday. She turned down the hours on Sunday and came to church anyway. I hope Heavenly Father lets her know He's proud of her effort!

So it was a good Sunday Easter. We had dinner with the Relief society president and we had rolls and deviled eggs. I also got the package from Grandma with all of the Easter Stuff in it. Elder Nielson didn't want to hide mine and I hid his. He's only found 7 of the 14. I hid them really well. It will probably take the rest of the transfer for him to find them all. I also got the Easter basket from mom and I made the cookies in there. Yum! I've got a lot of Candy to eat now... I'm getting really fat, but I don't have a scale so I don't know how much I weigh. All I know is I'm pretty fat. Anyway that's my Easter letter. Having a blast in GJ!

Elder Bringhurst

PS Here is my funny picture for the week!

You know you are in Grand Junction when you can buy firearms and get a haircut in the same shop



Windy City

March 25

Wow, and I thought Spring was coming. Grand Junction broke a record a couple days ago with a frigid 14 degree morning. It’s just cold. On top of that, it’s just windy. Biking one direction is quite easy, but biking the other feels like a wind tunnel. But its pretty fun.

I had a pretty cool experience. We are teaching this lady which knows the church is true and wants to be baptized, but has at least 10 million things holding her back. Every time we go over there I feel like a psychologist. She goes on and on and on and on about her horrible life story and how her family hates her etc. At first I was really sympathetic, but this recurrence went on every time we go over there. She refuses to see hope and happiness in her life. 

This week we went over there and she and her husband had gotten into an argument so there was quite a big dark cloud in the room. I knew tensions were high and I had to choose my words carefully, so I prayed in my heart. "Heavenly Father, I don't know what to do, please give me the words that I need to say." I hadn't the faintest idea what to do, so I simply opened my mouth and the first words that came out were "we need to have the proper spirit in here, may we all kneel down while I offer a prayer?" I knew I was on the right track, because I knew at this point my words were not my own. So I offered the prayer and waited for her to "vent.” After that, I said very simply "Sister, you cannot change the past, there is nothing you can do about it. Take the lessons you have learned from the past and start looking to the future. I have never heard you laugh or even smile, and the message that we bring is not one of sadness and hopelessness, it is the gospel, it is the "good news." God can only heal your heart if you let him. This life is not a life of just enduring to the end through endless trials. It is meant to be enjoyed." I felt really good about this. But she simply wasn’t in the mood to listen and she continued to fret and dwell on the hopeless. I left feeling sad that she hadn't listened. But on the way out her husband pulled me aside and thanked me sincerely for being there at that time.

But yesterday, which was Stake conference, her and her husband showed up for the services. After the meeting she told me she had a "new birth" and was ready and willing to go. I told her, "It sounds like something wonderful has happened." She said, "yes, something did, I have decided to let go of the past and look toward the future." I was so happy to hear that. So hopefully we will start seeing great things happen! That’s all I have for this week!

Elder Bringhurst