Monday, 15 September 2014

Eventful Sunday

Monday 21st of July, 2014

So Sam got an unexpected call on Thursday, President Ahlander called Sam and asked him to be the district leader here, so he'll be staying in the Evergreen Ward another 6 weeks! His new companion is Elder Matheson, and they will be getting a car, so hopefully they will be getting a lot more work done this transfer.
So now Sam has to prepare district meetings each week, go on exchanges, call in stats, do baptismal interviews, and just make sure everything is going well in the district. It should be an interesting learning experience for him.

So yesterday was eventful. After sacrament meeting a sister came up to Sam and his companion and told them there was somebody who needed their help. It was a guy around their age (21), and he said he needed to get a ride up to Reno, and that he has no where to stay. He borrowed someone's phone to make a phone call, and two guys walked into the chapel and one said "Don't make us drag you out of here", and the kid didn't want to leave with them, so one of them leaned over the pew and grabbed him by the shirt and tried to drag him out. Luckily the bishop asked them what the problem was, and they started talking about how Hernan had beat up their dad and smashed their windows and slashed their car tyres. He started crying and turned to Sam and told him that he just needed to get out of there. So Sam took him into one of the side rooms to make a phone call with one of the priests, and Elder Matheson went with Brother Hirschi (he works for Metro Police) to talk to the guys who walked in. One of them said "We just want to talk to him", and pulled out surgical gloves and started putting them on his hands. Brother Hirschi told them that he doesn't care about what beef they have between each other, but that it was a church building and that there were children there, and he doesn't want them doing anything. They had some people from Elder Quorum waiting at the exits, since he wasn't allowed to leave until the police came. He asked Sam if they were calling the police, and he just told him that he didn't know what they were planning to do. The police came and talked to the guy who got assaulted, and Hernan left in handcuffs, he had a warrant out for his arrest. So that was a pretty exciting sacrament meeting.

Then last Monday, after transfers, they were giving Elder Denton and Elder Cease a ride back to their apartment. Elder Cease commented that the apartments on the other side of the road looked nicer than theirs. Sam commented that they probably get less black-outs than they do, and literally the second he said that, all the power went out on the street, the traffic lights, the apartments. It honestly couldn't have been timed any better!

Sam loves Elder Matheson, they've been getting along really well, they've picked up the work a lot, his last week with Ete they only taught 5 lessons, this week they taught 16. They've also been contacting a lot more part member and less active families as well, and have some referrals to contact still as well. So they're staying pretty busy. Having the car makes the work so much easier, they can actually spend more time contacting people, rather than biking everywhere.

Transfer Time

Monday 2nd & 9th of June, 2014

So they got their transfer calls, Elder Bowser is getting transferred to Pahrump. Sam will be staying in this area with Elder Ete. Sam sort of knows him, he was in his last zone, he only has six weeks left before he goes home, Sam said he will make sure he works and doesn't get trunky! This means he will probably stay in this area another three months, unless they double transfer him and Elder Ete out at the same time, which he hopes they don't do.

So after they've had success with their baptisms, their teaching pool is filling up again, they got four new investigators this week: Joseph, Juan, Kevin and Marcy.

Joseph is going to be moving soon, and he has some mental issues from drug abuse in the past (he's been clean for a while now).

Kevin is 16 and he's a cool kid, he has pretty good insight and understanding despite only being 16, he told them that after he prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, he got the impression that he would receive an answer, but God is going to make him work to get his answer, and that he will need to act on that answer.

With Marcy they had a really interesting experience, they taught a lesson about the Book of Mormon, and showed her the promise in Moroni 10, after reading that promise, she excused herself and went and got a notepad where she had written down a prayer she had given a few days earlier. It read to the effect: "God, please help me find the truth, guide me to where you would have me be". She started crying and the Spirit was really strong, she accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 28th of this month, but they invited her to pray about it herself to get a confirmation that it's the right time for her to do it.

Elder Ete is from Samoa, he lived in Seattle before his mission, he has five weeks left! They get along well, and they work together well also. This week has been a long week, they've been working hard, Sam almost burned himself out, he should be ready to work again by the end of P-day though :)

Elder Ete really wants to get at least one more baptism before he goes home. They tried contacting some former and potential investigators this week, they managed to pick up one new investigator, but other than that they haven't had a whole lot of luck finding new investigators, Sam and Elder Ete are going to start finding their own people to teach now.

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Monday 27th of May, 2014

This week has to have been the best on Sams mission so far. He had six baptisms, one on Wednesday and five on Saturday.

On Wednesday Eric Blodgett was baptized, and he was confirmed on Sunday, he still has a lot going on, but now with the gift of the Holy Ghost he should be better prepared to face his challenges.

On Saturday, Brother Tim Gardner was able to baptize his whole family, the spirit was really strong, and while Sam was standing next to the font as a witness, he started crying, just a bit, it was an amazing day. 

Helen Davis who gave up smoking and coffee was baptized also, and all the confirmations were on the Sunday. Sam had the privilege of doing three of the confirmations, he confirmed Helen, Bin and Jane.

This week hasn't been without it's drama and opposition however! Eric Laurence dropped them over a small misunderstanding. He doesn't like to be picked up from outside of his apartment, since he doesn't like people knowing he is not home, so instead he meets Sam and his companion outside of Jack in the Box before going to the church for their lessons. Well Sam called Brother Guthrie and asked him if he could pick Eric up from Jack in the Box, which he agreed, however he forgot and went to Eric's apartment instead. Eric called them and asked them to tell Brother Guthrie he drove past him, so they called Brother Guthrie and told him Eric wasn't at his apartment, and Eric calls back and tells them he doesn't want any contact, that he's tired of people showing up without calling him first. It was sad, but there's obviously a deeper problem than just that.

They had a great Zone Conference this week, a lot of great training was received. It's from 8am - 4pm so it's pretty tiring, but also really useful. Sam made a custom ring tone for their phone with Sam just saying 'Ring... Ring.... Ring....' and it went off in the middle of the last talk which Sister Ahlander was giving which was pretty funny.


Monday 5th of May, 2014

This week has been amazing, they taught 28 lessons again, they had 9 investigators at church, 6 are set with a baptismal date, and 2 more are progressing towards baptism.

Eric Laurence came to church. They had a lesson with him earlier in the week, about the scattering and gathering of Israel (it's fascinating to study, Sam and Elder Bowser had one of their best companionship studies yet), Sam mentioned that if he was baptized he could receive a patriarchal blessing and he explained what they were about. He responded "What do you mean if I'm baptized?" So Sam re-phrased the statement to say when he was baptized and he was really happy about it. At church he got up and bore testimony, it was an overall powerful meeting, the Spirit was really strong. They met with him for a short lesson after church and he wants to work towards baptism on the 30th of this month.

They also have Eric Blodgett who has been interviewed and is ready for baptism, he's been investigating for 25 years, he's wanting to get baptized either this week or next, they haven't set a specific date yet.

Finally there's the Gardner family, Brother Gardner is a member but has been less active most of his life, he is wanting to work towards receiving the Melchizedek priesthood on the 18th so that he can baptize his wife (Bin, she's Asian, and their three children Candy, Jane and Joey) on the 24th.

Helen is going to  be starting the stop smoking program next week, she's ran into some financial difficulty and needs to take care of that situation, but as soon as she's given up smoking and coffee she's ready to be baptized, she's coming to church every week, and she is really sensitive to the Spirit.

Also on a random note, Sam caught a lizard/gecko thingy outside their apartment, he called him Jeffrey, but he refused to eat part of his meatball sub or the half a grape he put in his box, so he let him go free the next day. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Weird Las Vegas

Monday 17th April, 2014

Sam was teaching a lesson at Mary Allen's house, she got her daughter back from CPS, and has completely changed, if you could see her now compared to six weeks ago you would be amazed, the Gospel really does change people and bless families. As they were finishing up they heard a helicopter outside, she lives in a pretty bad part of this area, so it was searching around with a search light, and as they walked out of her apartment it shone on them. Sam wonders what they thought "oh, it's just missionaries, obviously they haven't done anything... keep looking!"
They had a new investigator named Michael come to church. He had a panic attack outside of one of their other investigators homes (Helen) and now he's living there until he can get back on his feet. During the gospel principles lesson he went off on a tangent about how he is Michael the Archangel and how he's a warrior. Then he had a random outburst when he was explaining what anger was. He also believes he can't die, but he'll give him the benefit of the doubt, he probably meant that he couldn't kill himself because he couldn't bring himself to do it. (But in other words, he is totally out of it and needs professional help).
Talking of insane people, they had a random guy walk up to Sam and his companion while teaching Zoa (they teach her outside her apartment). He asked Sam what his favourite scripture was, he told him about Alma chapter 7, and he started playing this pipe. He explained that he covers all six holes and blows through it, and it plays the tone of E. Then said he couldn't make the tone without the pipe, and that was just like that scripture. Sam had no idea what he was talking about. He then wandered off, and came back 10 minutes later with his hand painted blue, and pulled a song he had written out of his pocket and asked Sam to read it out, he had to censor it a lot, but it didn't really make any sense.
Then they had a musical fireside last night, during it Sam got a call from a guy named Anthony, he wasn't able to answer the phone, but he sent a text saying he was never going to trust them or any other missionaries again, that they betrayed his trust and told his girlfriend everything he said about her. They've never talked to her, and all she has done is lie to him and get him into all sorts of trouble. Last week he got jumped on by 8 people, who were then waiting outside of his apartment and he didn't know what to do, so they spent 2 hours trying to convince him to call the police, but he wouldn't do it. Sam ended up playing a game in the back of his planner with his 8 year old son Alex, who they offered to find a safe place for him to stay, but he wanted to take him back to the apartment where the gang was, he really needs to get his act together.
They got 5 new investigators this week, they should be setting some with a date pretty soon, they already have one (John Bolin) who said he's read the entire book of Mormon and is ready to be baptized on May 10th.


Monday 7th April, 2014

So this week Sam had my first baptism in this area, Mary Allen was baptized and Sam had the privilege of performing the baptism, for the first time on his mission! She has changed so much, and she is loving church, she's been fellowshipped well. Sam actually had to baptize her twice, her hand didn't go under the water completely the first time. Elder Bowser did the confirmation the next day, she is getting to see her daughter again, Sam is confident she will get her back, everybody is on her side.

This week has been another great week. They didn't teach anywhere as many lessons as last week (we taught 15 lessons this week). They lost a couple of days doing service. There was a sister who had her house short sold, so she had two days to get out. They helped box, load the U-Haul, unload it, and then box and load it again. It took almost two straight days, they got to leave a couple of hours early, but one set of elders were there from 10am - 9pm, they were there from 10am - 6pm on Tuesday, and most of the previous day as well. Sam and Elder Bowser helped pack up all of her food storage, there were tins dating back to 1991 in there. There was so much junk she didn't need it was frustrating for Sam loading 20 year old lamp shades, and 30 year old ultrasound machines,  just total junk she will never need.

They started teaching a man called John, he is a landscaper and just recently lost his wife. They talked for about an hour on two separate days, he told them about some experiences he's had in the past, and explained that normally he doesn't talk religion with people, and for some reason he didn't tell them to go away. He accepted the invitation to work towards baptism, they even talked about how he could be sealed to his wife in the temple, which is also something he ultimately wants to work towards. He was also telling them about how he is trying to find his purpose in being here, and said that he believes they are the reason and can help him find that purpose.

They also taught one of their members friends, Ash, they had a really good discussion with him. They are using a new style of teaching, and it was amazing for Sam to watch as he pretty much taught himself the plan of salvation. The fall of Adam and Eve is probably one of the hardest principles to teach without going off on a tangent, but he sat considering what he had just read for a few seconds and then asked: "Wait, isn't it a good thing that the fall happened? Why does everyone else think it's such a terrible thing?"

Double Headed Dragon

Monday 24th March, 2014

So this week has been interesting. They went on exchanges, and Sam mentioned to the District Leader that something bad always happens on exchanges. That day he got a phone call telling him he had to go home for surgery, and Sam got what is called "double headed dragon" (vomiting and diarrhea at the same time). He has never thrown up with so much force or volume before. He had eaten rice for lunch, which made for a really interesting texture when it came back up. That totally wiped him out for two days, so they're behind on their goal to teach 120 lessons this transfer, right now they're up to 35, they need to be up to 40 to be on track for our goal.
Sam also discovered a bed bug infestation in the box springs in the apartment, so they had to throw them away, that was pretty interesting, Sam has never seen bed bugs before. He finally found the reason that there was blood on the sheets every morning!
They talked to some people outside their apartment, her name was Jarene or Janene (I'm not sure exactly). She had just lost her mother and they offered some words of comfort and they saw them again the next day and invited them to stake conference. Elder S. Gifford Nielsen was there, and she had the opportunity to talk to him and he gave some words of comfort and counsel as well. It's really handy to have a seventy tell a potential investigator that they need to take the missionary discussions!
Sam also sang in the stake choir, it was really hard since he effectively had to sing tenor because the bass part was so high. He only got one hour of practice before they actually had to sing. The stake is big enough that it actually has to be broadcast to another stake. They got a text from another set of Elders telling them that the way the camera was zoomed, whenever somebody walked away from the pulpit it was zoomed in on Sam!
Mary Allen is ready for baptism, she will be getting baptized on the 29th, she has struggled with alcohol (I told you about her relapse last week), after she was admitted into hospital they totally de-toxed her and she has changed a lot. She is a lot happier and will hopefully be getting her daughter back shortly. They also just taught her a lesson last night about family history and temple work, and she accepted the commitment to prepare to enter the temple to do baptisms on behalf of her ancestors.
So one year tomorrow Sam was at the airport to leave on his mission, how quickly has that went by!? People say that the next year is going to fly by, and he is betting it does, time just gets faster and faster the longer the mission goes.


Monday 17th March, 2014

So this week has been a rollercoaster, the area is on fire, they have so much work to do, they had 22 lessons this week and found 2 new investigators.
The area is pretty ghetto, but the people are humble and willing to listen. They're working with too many people to talk about each of them, but the ones which stand out are Mary Allen and Eric. There's an area called the 'Sundance Apartments', it's pretty much the Byker of Las Vegas. Sam saw someone start their car by lifting the hood, pulling something inside to start the engine, then driving off, he has never seen that done before.
Mary is trying to overcome an alcohol addiction, it was so bad that she had her daughter taken away (back to England in fact!). She breaks down into tears a lot and tells them how much she misses her. They were teaching her the word of wisdom, and she turns to Sam and asks if they're ever going to give up on her. They promised her that they never would, and more importantly Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father never would either. They left her apartment with a trash bag of her alcohol, tea and coffee.
She came to church for the first time yesterday, she got a lot out of it, unfortunately after church, she relapsed and called the paramedics, Sam think she's been admitted, one of the members here picked her up and took her to the hospital.
Eric is carrying around a lot of guilt and pain from the past, he's really struggling to let it go, however they had a lesson with him on Saturday morning, and apparently two things which he's never done is let anyone in his back yard or in his house. They had a lesson with him in the back yard, and before they left they were invited into his house briefly. The next day he came to church, and Sam didn't realize that it was the first time he had come to church in 20 years! Elder Bowser says he can see something changing in him, so they're going to keep working with him and help him unburden himself of all the stuff that's happened in his past.
They also got asked to speak last minute at church, they got told about 24 hours beforehand so it wasn't too bad, a lot of people enjoyed their talks, they were on looking at others as Christ would.
They also had the opportunity to talk to some people who were trying to mock them, they responded with love and they didn't know what to do and just ended up walking away.
They heard there was a lady who jumped out of her car near their area and killed herself, there's also a ton of police cars here. This area is anything but "quiet" or "boring"!
There's so much work to do in this area, they're actually considering assigning another set of missionaries to their area to help out. It's only 2 square miles but there's a ton of people here, there's no shortage of people to teach, the ward directory is also 25 pages long!