Greetings from the Arizona Desert - it is getting very hot ha. But that makes the work twice as fun when you are sweating all the time.
These last 2 weeks have been CRAZY - with the switch of the mission presidents life has been very busy and fun. Here is the last 2 weeks.
20 June 2011 - Thumb still jammed - hurts to write. Played volleyball this morning and I and another Elder on the other side both went for the spike and jammed it. But it was fun. Washed our car today - threw some wax too. We drive like a 2009 Silverado - it's a very nice truck so we take good care of it. Took a nap. Got haircuts and then had dinner with a women and her two sons - one is partially active. They cooked us some good ribs. Went into the office to get everything in line for zone conference this week. This will be President and Sister Beck's last time in front of the missionaries to teach and work with them. So it needs to be run flawlessly. Worked with some missionaries too.
21 June 2011 - Day 1 of zone conference today. I conducted and I forgot to do announcements, so after the vehicle instruction I had to get back up and do those - also learning how to adjust the microphone so it's at the right place when people come up to the pulpit - fun stuff you get to learn. Sister Beck had Elder Brase and I do a little skit in front of everyone (Ammon and King Lamoni) it was really funny and everyone loved it. We also had to demonstrate teaching the whole first lesson, with inspired questions, resolving concerns, using scriptures...all in 10 minutes which is very hard. President and Sister Beck gave their testimonies too and gave everyone a hug.
All missionaries world-wide are getting portable DVD players so we have been working the kinks out in that. Handed them out today with Preach My Gospel training DVD's to watch.
22 June 2011 - Day 2 of zone conference. We improved our skit and the missionaries loved it - we keep things fun and exciting. President Beck this week is speaking on the Restoration and change management. He's taught that change is external and we have no say in it, but transition is internal and we have complete control over that - transition is the process by which we accept the change and do everything we can to embrace it and move forward. Sisters did a great musical number with a violin and piano. As the missionaries hug President and Sister Beck, I stand behind them and give them the bio of President and Sister Taylor (moving from one to the other). Emotional for lots of people - not really for me yet. Then Elder Juchau came home with me on exchanges. Got up to 113 degrees today. Stayed over 100 past 9pm. It's getting hotter. Went on bishopric splits.
23 June 2011 - Went down to Pep Boys to get them to replace one of our tires that got gashed - 12 inches long. Went to district meeting. I gave a talk on how we use the Book of Mormon to answer the deep questions of the soul. We then took off for Prescott - about a 1 1/2 hour drive. Prescott is up in towards the mountains up north and is great weather. Exchanged back and came back to a dinner appointment at the Power's home. They invited a neighbor over who had lots of questions. Went well and we made out with a chocolate cake.
24 June 2011 - Day 3 of Zone conference. This one was a long week. Today went really well though. Right after I went to Elder Henries area on another exchange - he is really good - I like him a lot. We had to drop off a bed, then a washer. Quick dinner, tracted and then went to a baptism service.
25 June 2011 - Craig Rider - formerly Elder Rider who was in town for a week for a sealing took Elder Brase and I out to lunch. He was my zone leader when I was only 3 months out who recommended me to be the next district leader - which happened so I have him to blame for everything ha. In the office for a couple hours, then had to drive all over Phoenix - hit 3 places and had to pick up/drop off beds, bikes, etc. Had to work with another missionary - just wish people just make the smart decisions. Over 100 all day long, high of 111.
26 June 2011 - Stake conference was awesome today. The stake president here, President Wagner is like the Mormon version of a baptist preacher - and he says it how it is. Like really direct, straightforward, and bold (so of course us missionaries love him). He discussed that when we don't do our hometeaching, we are not fulfilling the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. Then he reads a verse in D&C 84 and says, If you don't do your home teaching, your sins will not be forgiven you...and you will live in the terrestial kingdom. You will not be with your family forever." Great stuff.
Then discussed how God doesn't care if we want to keep the commandments, or if we don't like it. All he cares is if we will do it. and says "do you think God cared if Abraham wanted to sacrifice his son...no...all he cared was to see if he would do it. Then he brought his whole family up to the podium and says, "My wife and family is not the most important thing to me....then discussed how it is the baptism and temple covenants that is the most important thing to us because they allow us residency in highest degree of celestial kingdom and allow us to be with our family forever.
Brings back memories of dad saying. What is number 1 priority - your relationship with God, 2 is your wife, 3 is your family...and 10 or something is your job. Ha.
He also discussed facebook and gave warnings and the law of chastity and it was great. We had an investigator there who said he wasn't too big a fan of the presentation of how President Wagner said it, but he was fine.
27 June 2011 - Elder Brase and I have some excellent companionship studies. Went into Pres. Weathersby's office - chiropractor for Elder Brase - he was the stake president of the last stake I was in, so good to talk with him. Ran around the whole day - busy P-day, did some deep cleaning. I am the most tech savy of the 4 assistants so I get to do all the technology/computer assignments. So I spent like 2 hours on President and Sister Taylor's cell phones trying to set them up for when they arrive. Lots of preparation being made. In the office a lot today.
28 June 2011 - Had zone leader council today. It was in the high council room of the stake center - this would be President Beck's last council to the zone leaders and assistants of the mission since he leaves tomorrow. Sister Beck spoke on relying on the Lord. President Beck spoke on leadership and how we must choose to lead and make a difference. Very good. I don't think the Lord is giving us any time to really think about them leaving - still hasn't hit us. At the end, President Beck gave us each a letter that President and Sister Taylor had written and given to us. So fun to read that. Went over to the mission home right after and helped them clean out there friends. More office work. Had a lesson with Jamie and Larry Weber and brought their home teacher - she has been less active for awhile and we have been working with her for like 3 months and now her non-member husband has been sitting in. Had coordination meeting and then ran back into the office to finish some things for President Taylor in the morning. Got letters from the Telford family.
29 June 2011 - Today was the big switch. Elder Brase and I went to some district meetings and while that happened, President Beck picked up the Taylor's from the airport and they met for about 3 hours. Just a quick overlap and then President and Sister Beck were gone and President and Sister Taylor were in. We were scheduled to have a lesson tonight with an investigator with President Taylor, but it canceled two hours before we were suppose to go out. So we ended up going over to the mission home and meeting/getting to know the Taylor's. They are just awesome. They even have a 16 year old son they are bringing (they have a blog you can look up). They are so nice and comfortable and easy to talk to, and really smart, sharp and talented. They are great. Sister Taylor is so sweet and nice. Braden, their 16 year old, is a really good kid too. So then we went tracting with President Taylor for an hour and he taught us to be personable which was great (really showed by example). Then we made a couple visits and then went back and had dinner with them and discussed some things and some changes that might occur - nothing too big. On his mission, President Taylor went through 4 mission presidents and asked us where we stood. We told him that the biggest lesson we've both learned is that there is safety and blessings that come from following your priesthood leaders and honoring your covenants and we support anything he says or wants done 100%. They are just great. We are so excited and they are legit. Great things will continue to happen.
30 June 2011 - Weekly planned, lunch, office, tracting. Had dinner and a lesson at an investigator families home with their member friends and they accepted to begin the discussions which was great. Also had to drive down to the ghetto of Phoenix to drop off an AC unit - only saw like 4 people get beat up, just kidding. Then got dropped off with Elder Mouritsen in his area for exchanges.
1 July 2011 - Played some racquetball this morning - it is tough. Had a first lesson with a tract back and totally just set a baptism date with her like it was nothing. She is golden and was just ready. Then went to a district meeting. Went tracting and taught another one of their investigators - it's nice going into other areas to teach their people. Had dinner at a nice restaurant missionaries eat for free at - market bistro - really good food. Elder Mouritson is really good - been in leadership almost his whole mission and just solid. Swapped back.
2 July 2011 - We have been jogging the last couple days (one secret is that soon this will be a running mission) - so Elder Brase and I are taking the lead and we are going to go running every morning. Had a lesson with a stubborn Romanion Christian who fought almost everything we said, until we just threw down the doctrine and she was stunned and didn't say anything. Followed it up with solid testimony and committed her to read and pray and then just left. So we'll see.
3 July 2011 - Stephanie and Coleman both came to church which was great. President and Sister Taylor came too and bore their testimonies. Tracted for over 2 hours - it's warm outside. Storm came in the evening after we were getting in - some little rain, but it brings the humidity. Had a dinner and lesson with Stephanie. She made some mushroom, chicken soup with coconut milk - decent. We threw down baptism on her again since she is leaving for CA in 3 weeks and so we'll see if she commits.
4 July 2011 - Did a run this morning. After studies, we drove to the mission home and then President Taylor drove us and Braden out to a zone activity - so we played volleyball, basketball, and dodgeball for a good couple hours. On the way there and back we had some good discussions on rules and how too many just complicate things and shrink the trust box. Good exercise. His forte is being very personable with people. We had to be in by 6pm today unless we had a teaching appointment, so President and Sister Taylor had us over at 6:15 and we had some burgers with them. Then we discussed things until 9:15 - lots of changes are going to happen. This will be a very busy and exciting and fun next few months. Ha! Oh I can't wait. Big stuff that I love.
This morning we ran into the office and he asked if I had gotten any sleep with all the stuff we talked about. I love it.
President and Sister Taylor are just great. Our mission will just embrace them.