Tuesday, 13 May 2014

All About Change

Monday 18th of February, 2014

So this week has been busy, they had their zone conference, it was the Tule Springs, Elkhorn Springs and Lone Mountain zones combined. The focus for this conference was on developing Christ-like attributes. They all had to prepare 3 minute talks, and then they just call random people up, luckily Sam wasn't chosen as 3 minutes isn't long enough to really say anything meaningful!
At the end of the conference, President Ahlander interviewed Sam and Elder Calderwood again, since their last interviews were only 3 minutes long. Sam had a good discussion with him, they just talked about some of the challenges of the work and what to do to overcome them. By far the biggest challenge is that people don't want to change, because it's hard - Sam said he wouldn't change if he didn't have to! haha. But that's what he is there to do, invite people to make changes in their lives to bring them closer to Christ, but not everyone is willing to do that.
Sam had a good experience about it. He was studying for a less active family in the ward, and he was pondering what they could ask and what they could teach. He decided to focus on remembering Christ daily. They visited them on exchanges, (Sam was with Elder Loertcher), and he asked brother Laub what he did to remember Jesus Christ, and that was like the magic question, he just told them his story of why he was less active and why he wasn't coming to church, which will make it a lot easier for them to work with him now that they know what his concerns are.
While on exchanges they ate at a members house, it turned out her husband forgot about valentines day and she was upset, so she prepared them both a plate of food then just left to go and babysit, so Sam and Elder Loertcher were left by themselves in the house. Sam thought it was pretty funny, they just ate, loaded the dish washer, and then her nephew came home and was surprised to see them!
Also the Normans, Samantha is really enthusiastic and is loving coming to church, she didn't this week because a couple of her children were sick. They also found out that her husband (who was totally against her taking the lessons, and didn't even want a Book of Mormon in the house) is now getting curious and wants to sit in on their lessons. So hopefully they will get the opportunity to teach him tonight!
Today was busy, they were going through their regular morning routine and they got asked to help move some more hay, so they had to bike to the place where they were loading it, but they also had their District Meeting right after, so Sam had to put his whites in his back-pack, dress in service clothes with his suit coat, then carry a football since one of the district leaders needed it, they then got a phone call so Sam was riding down the street talking on the phone, carrying a football and wearing a suit coat and shorts, it must have looked pretty funny! Those bales were heavy, it was hard work for him but it felt good.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Ward Update

Monday 10th of February, 2014

This week Ryan was baptized in the Waterfall ward in the Highland Hills stake, he is the 14 year old they taught the first couple of discussions to a while back. After he was baptized he bore his testimony to everyone there, Sam said it was amazing to see how much he had grown in the few months since they last saw him.
Samantha and Krystina Norman came to church again this week, and Samantha's older daughter came for the first time as well. They are getting a lot of support from the ward and they seem really happy.
There's not a whole lot else to report for this week, a lot of appointments fell through, and they found a lot of families who moved and never updated their records. 

The fighter jets at the air force base were flying really low doing some practice drills, they're really loud, and a lot bigger than you would think!
When Sam was a young boy he used to have a toy rabbit which he took EVERYWHERE, so he has chose a Jellycat Rabbit for Maghan's baby when she comes along.
Today it's 19°C and it's going to warm up to about 25°C later in the week! That's summer temperature during winter! People keep saying that they're in for a brutal summer, since there's been barely any rain or snow on the mountains, it's going to be really dry.
The ward is really good at feeding them dinners each evening, they occasionally have an empty spot if something's happening like a conference or something but the Normans have also started feeding them dinner each week, it's a good sign when investigators start offering you dinner!
Sam has to wait a week each time to hear any news if his sister Maghans baby is born as she is due on 15th of February, so it's especially exciting for him to check  his emails now!
Transfers are on March 10th, and he will really likely be getting transferred, he is kind of ready for it as he has been in the same place for a while and he is starting to have a bit less enthusiasm for the work. Sam feels bad for Elder Calderwood, there's probably not going to be a whole lot to do after this next month as they've contacted nearly everyone on the ward directory and most of the area has been tracted now. They might be starting to work with a less active family (the Jenkins), they're really friendly so hopefully that will start to go somewhere. Sam has been in the same ward since about September 22nd, so he's been there about 4.5 months and has about 1 month left.

Service, Service and More Service!

Monday 3rd of February, 2014

This week has been a fun (and a tiring) one for Sam. They've had a lot of service, on Tuesday they helped someone move, and they hadn't packed anything, the garage was just littered with rubbish, and Sam couldn't tell what should be kept or not, so he just threw random stuff away that looked useless. As they were helping them move, somebody else up the street needed help moving, so they helped them, then as they were getting ready to leave, they got a text from the Zerkles asking if they could help move 100 bales of hay, so they went and helped with that as well.
Then on Friday the Zerkles needed help moving 250 bales of hay, they helped and it was really fun. Each one weighs 100lbs, but Sam learned the trick of picking them up so it was a lot easier the second time. His shins are all scratched up now, but it was great for him to be able to do some physical labour! Their son (Vernon) is coming back from his mission on Thursday which Sam is looking forward to meeting him!
They haven't had a lesson with Martha yet, a couple of things kept coming up but they are scheduled for Tuesday at 2pm. She has some huge Egyptian statues with Egyptian writing on the bottom, Sam thinks they're really impressive! When she had to reschedule she asked them to promise to come back, they told her she didn't have to worry about them showing up!
Also, Samantha Norman (the mother of Krystina Norman who they've been teaching) came to church for the first time yesterday, she was really nervous, but the ward welcomed her really well, and she sent Sam & his companion a text later that day telling them she really enjoyed it and can't wait for next week. Their lesson was lesson 3 in Gospel Principles, about how you chose Jesus Christ to be our Saviour in the pre-Earth life, and they read from the Book of Abraham and Moses, so Sam was a bit nervous to what she would think, talking about "the intelligences" and seeing the facsimiles in Abraham, but she was answering the questions that were asked under her breath (she's a bit shy) but understood the lesson really well.
Also, Ryan who they started teaching, but had to pass off to the elders in a different ward, is getting baptized on Saturday, so they're looking forward to that!
There's also Todd Johnson and his wife who they tracted into a while back, something has come up each week, but he wants to sit down and talk with them next Monday, so hopefully they will finally have a lesson with him!
Sister Sams also came to church again this week, they will be visiting her again this week and help her along the way of reactivation. She's a great person and will be solid as long as they can help her feel comfortable and welcome at church.
Sam got the new Seminary Book of Mormon manual, it really helped with the Isaiah quotations in 1st Nephi 20 + 21, he feels like he got a much better understanding of the role of Jesus Christ as our Saviour and got a feel for His characteristics. The frustrating thing is he really can't explain it to someone unless it's by the same spirit he understood it, he guesses that's how Isaiah's prophecies work!

Friday, 9 May 2014


Monday 27th January, 2014

So transfer calls came this week, Sam is staying in Tule another 6 weeks which he is happy about, there's still so much work to be done! There are about 85 less active families in the ward, they have contacted or are working with around 30 families, so many people just aren't interested, lazy or just don't have their priorities right, however there are some great people as well, all it took was one visit to a less active sister in their ward and she came back to church. She's really nice and felt bad about missing their lesson (she had to go to the hospital), so she took them to u-swirl.

Less active work is just like tracting really, finding those who are ready to commit or re-commit to following Christ. Sam is not going to lie but says it's pretty frustrating when he meets with people who just don't "get it". But it's all worth it when people do listen and keep commitments and have a sincere desire to live the Gospel.

They've tracted about half the streets in the area and hoping to get the rest done the transfer before Sam leaves! There's also a lot of members there who aren't on the ward directory, it's surprising how often they tract into them!

Tonight they are eating dinner at the Freeman's, Sister Freeman cuts their hair but her son just had surgery and so she hasn't been able to cut their hair recently (as you can tell by the photo). But Sam doesn't want to go somewhere different, since he loves visiting them! Her Dad is the MTC president at the Preston MTC, so she tells them stories about the missionaries there.

Sam got a nice surprise last week, remember Daniel Black who he talked about a while back, who he tracted into in his last area? Well Sam got a text on Friday morning letting him know he would be baptized on Saturday! So he got to go to his baptism and meet everybody from his last ward :) It was a great experience, he has a lot of support from the ward and he has progressed a lot since Sam last saw him. That is Sam's first 'Tractism'

Sam thinks he's gained about 15lbs being on the mission, he is 155lbs now, and that's staying pretty consistent.

Missionary work is always hard, but in different ways. When he first came out it was hard since he had to learn to teach, tract, street contact etc.. it was all new and he was really nervous. Now it's hard because sometimes he just feels like he is banging his head against a wall. Hopefully the wall breaks before his head does though! :P
They received a referral, and he called her and spoke with her (her name is Martha), she told them she feels like most Churches are man-made, but feels like ours is true, since it helped her son out a lot. They have a lesson with her tomorrow at 11am so hopefully that will start to go somewhere!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014


Thursday 13th of January, 2014

So another week has passed in the field and a start of a new year, the time is going so quickly for Sam right now! Sam and Elder Calderwood are getting along great, he is going to ask President Ahlander to consider keeping them together one more transfer.

It's really warm over there, 50's and 60's which is really nice, he is wearing a short sleeve shirt!
This week has been a good week, they have got two new investigators, and have a few potentials as well.

There is a young black boy named Joshua who has been going to their ward every few weeks, and they went by his house to meet with his family, they taught his mam (Tracy) outside, and she was really interested in the fact there were prophets in America. They will be going back tomorrow with a Book of Mormon and hopefully Joshua will be there this time so that he can be involved as well.

They also went tracting yesterday with Jake Ludwig in their ward, in the ensign-story style, they were about to go to dinner, and it was the last house on the street, Elder Calderwood knocked the door, talked about families and asked if it would be something she would be willing to learn more about, surprisingly she said yes, then invited them in. That's the first time they have been invited into someone's house there and then for a discussion when tracting. Her name is Moreena (Not sure on spelling), and she told them how important her family was to her (she has photos of them everywhere). She is pretty young, around the same age as Sam and Elder Calderwood, and Sam asked her why she felt to let us in, she told them she wasn't really sure, just that it was Sunday and she was getting ready to go to church. So the timing worked out well, and she already has a religious background, so hopefully more will come of this!

They also had a cool experience where they received a referral from a member, and they went by his house and spoke to him for a while, he was a pretty funny person and they had a good discussion with him outside, but he wasn't really interested. After leaving they felt like they could have said something more, so they got a Book of Mormon and left a message in the front cover for him, with the intent of leaving it for him on his porch, however once they went back Sam just felt like they should knock, so he came to the door again, and surprisingly he didn't mind and accepted the book. They probably wont see anything from that yet, but it is a seed that's been planted, and it would have stuck in his mind that they stopped by twice, so hopefully he will start reading more from the right sources (it seems like he's read some anti stuff before). His name is Tom Garvey.

This week they are hoping to meet with Todd Johnson, Harold and Greg, the first two they tracted into, and Greg is a former investigator from a while back, he invited them back, but wasn't able to invite them in since he had been waiting on a call for two hours and had just got through (something to do with Obamacare, nobody likes that there, and from what Sam has heard, it's terrible).