Monday, January 26, 2015

The Mission is Going By Too Fast!

So this week started with a Zone BBQ!  It was sweet!  Me and elder Mcdonald, and Elder Dennis came up with it, and then we got the whole zone to help out.  Everyone brought food and games and we all met in my original area, Texas City.  We made hot dogs and had stuff to do sandwiches along with chips and drinks.  We played football, lacrosse, and even slack lined!  Then we ended it with a huge game of kickball!  It all went really well.  Everyone in our zone, like all 25 of us, got a lot closer as friends and got a lot more excited to be missionaries.  And now we can take this excitement and friendship and help each other out a lot more in our own areas and with the people we teach.  We will probably try to do something like this again in the coming weeks.

And then this week we ended up working on of our most crazy days with no phone.  That meant we could not contact any investigators or lessons, we couldn’t talk to the other missionaries (we were supposed to teach a couple people in their areas), and we could not contact our ward mission leader about our meeting we had that night.  So we just had faith that it would all work out, and it all did... kinda.  We went to the lessons and taught most of them, and when a person cancelled, we were able to talk to their neighbors and set some other things up.  

Then we went to our mission leader’s apartment complex for the meeting and found out that there was a baby shower where we normally have it.  So we went and called him from the gate keypad box.  He was pretty surprised, but we remembered it went straight to his cell phone so that is all we had.  Long story short, we found out where the meeting was moved to, and the other Elders brought our new phone to the meeting.  Finally we were able to set up our most important lesson, and we crushed it!  And because we went by, they came to church on Sunday!  They are the Palacios family, but they are not in our area...

But for our area, Ana Chicas is progressing super well.  She is reading the Book of Mormon and praying all the time.  The only problem is she backs out on church every week!  So we need to figure out the problem there.  It is probably because she doesn’t know anyone at church yet so she has no friends there.  So we will just have to focus on getting members to the lessons with us this week.  

And we have been working with 3 kids named Jonathon, Juan, and Julie Lopez.  They are super fun.  They are 15, 12, and 10.  But because they are young, finding the true church is not so important to them.  So we just need to work on getting them to a bunch of activities with other kids their age.  Right now, we just go over and play games and have object lessons with them.  But the really good part is their mom is super supportive of them talking to us!  #blessings

Everything here is going by super fast now and this is when I don’t want it to.  The first chunk of my mission I spent following the lead of some really great missionaries.  That’s when we had a lot of success.  Then in Port Lavaca, I was in the lead and we worked really hard, but it wasn’t always in the smartest way.  I think I gave it my best, but I still had a lot missing.  Now here, I am in the lead again, but also with a few great missionaries around me.  Now I feel like I am working my hardest, best, getting the least amount of sleep, having a lot of productive fun, but that all just makes time go by way too fast.  So now I have got the rest of the time to just progress as much as possible personally and also with the area.  And now I think I have finally figured out what it takes to be a better leader and I am doing more with the responsibilities I have, which is super good.

Love you all!

Elder Lund

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Losing Bets to the Sisters...and Girls Soccer

This week was another hard working, busy week, but we did a lot of fun things too.  Elder Mota and I made a bet with a sister companionship that we could teach more lessons with a member present this week.  The bad part is that they usually get about 10 and we usually get about 2 or 3, just because of the fact that the whole branch lives in other areas and none in ours.  So we made the bet so we would work super hard, but let me tell ya, it was almost impossible. We would invite about 2 members a day, and something would always happen and it wouldn’t work out. They would get a surprise call to go into work, we would get too busy in other important things, they wouldn’t be home, just anything possible.  It was the same way with the sisters too. In the end they beat us just by a few lessons... So now we have to buy them pizza.  Whatever, knowing them, they will eat a slice each and then give the rest to us.

Also this week, we went to a recent convert’s high school girls’ soccer game.  I am pretty sure that might not be the best place for an Elder!  Just a bunch of high school girls from a bunch of teams in their small uniforms, and then 4 Elders in the middle, haha.  Luckily it was really cold, like 36, so most of them were covered up.  But she loved that we all came so I guess it was worth it.  We also started playing soccer in our branch on Friday nights.  It is pretty much just the missionaries and all the youth, members and non-members.  But we think that when it warms back up again, we will get a lot of the other members too.

But the best spiritual thing that happened this week was with our Mission Leader, Hermano Briones.  He is a single 30-yr-old guy who is super rich and super lazy when it comes to church.  So we went over after church and ate with him (super good Ecuadorian chicken by the way) and then taught him how to be a man.  We watched the Mormon message, "Let Us Be Men" and talked about sacrificing for the things that matter most.  So we made good plans that he is going to read his scriptures everyday, and also start changing himself into a better person instead of just complaining about how much the other people in the branch suck.  And guess what? He called the other Elders last night and asked if he can go teach with them!  That was super cool because he is always too busy to teach with us or give people rides.  Making progress!

(On the subject of what Parker may want to do for a living later)  My patriarchal blessing says I will travel many nations and see much sadness and poverty, but I will know how to help them.  And I need to get a doctorate degree.  I want to talk to Pres about it in my next interview, but when I read that, I thought humanitarian of some sort, because my Ecuador service trip is one of my most favorite memories.  Maybe I will start a clean water project in Sierra Leone, haha.  

I am going to BYU in the fall, Pres told me so.  And he says I am getting a stupor of thought because I already made a decision and God doesn’t want me to change it.  I am still working on accepting it as the best for me, but I know he is right.  Anyways, if that is true, wouldn’t I need a little 4 wheel drive thing for Utah, and to go up the mountain to ski? I haven’t thought about it much.

Elder Lund

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Busy But Fun Week!

Fully packed car on our way to Zone Conference
(Not Parker)
I am so tired... haha!  This was one of the few weeks of my mission where I can honestly say that I did every little thing possible to help the work!  So we have a mission goal of 60 baptisms this month and we have a zone goal of 25 of those. Thats a lot!  But we had a lot of talking about it between the ZLs and DLs and STLs and we think we can do it.  

Well this week, we saw that we had about 6 people that could possibly be baptized if we worked super hard.  But let me tell you that Satan was working super hard too!  One companionship of sisters had 3 potentials. After a week full of being in their area everyday to tract down people at work and home, giving baptismal interviews, teaching lessons, keeping people busy and away from temptation, and doing things to grow our relationships with them, and after all that… Ivette got baptized! Josue got drunk with some old friends after work when his parents told him not to be baptized, and Jairi ran away from us and didn’t show up to church.

Then in our area, Irma didn’t show up to church after we recommitted her every day this week. But she has been super floja (lazy/never does her part) forever, so that was actually a sign that we shouldn’t focus on her soo much so that was good in a way... Then in the other two areas, two other people brought up some doubts they had never said before.  So in the end, Ivette got baptized!!  And we found out a lot about how we can help the others progress a lot more!  Plus there was another baptism in a different part of the zone so we got two this week!  

And for me and Elder Mota's area, we have a lot of potential people, and a couple people that just need to do a few final things, so we just need to teach a lot of lessons this week and get the ball rolling. To help do that across the district, we just keep making bets and competitions with people. For example, one day we made a bet that we could hand out more pass along cards and get more names than the SW Sisters. Plus the cards were all Christmas cards for He Is The Gift that we needed to get rid of anyway. In the end, they handed out more than we did, so we had to eat chile pequins plain, and the other elders have to sing a hymn to people in a public bathroom, haha.  But, because of this, the Sisters now found 4 new people to teach and already have a baptismal date with one of them! And last night, we bet the SE Sisters that we can teach more lessons this week (with members at them) than they can. The losers have to buy the winners a pizza. This will be good for us, because it is what we struggle with in our area because it is so far from everyone else in the ward.  But the sisters are really close and really good at it, so we have to work hard!

So we are working super hard, and doing crazy out of the box things. Yesterday I asked a girl named Vanesa (she was at Ivette’s baptism) if she wanted to be baptized right after Ivette, even though her baptismal date isn’t for 2 weeks.  I thought it would work, haha, but in the end she said no.  As a result we found out she is afraid of what others might think so that was good, and she didn’t get mad or think we are forcing her, even though she kinda needs it, but in a good way.

But also this week, P Days here are super fun.  I get to see other missionaries!  Like last week, we played rugby and volleyball with like 4 other companionships, and a couple members.  It was so much better than just shooting hoops with one other missionary.  Then we had to spend the night in Texas City for zone meeting the next day, and we got there a little early, so I went to go visit the Ramirez family from my first area! They are the ones that fed us all the time, and she took care of us like her kids, and we helped her kids get active again.  Anyways, it was super cool to visit them again!  But I didn’t have my camera so I couldn’t take a pic. I seem to never have my camera these days... 

We also taught a Muslim which was way different.  He was super cool though and we just discussed religion.  I hope he invites me to his mosque. Speaking of which, we went to Grace church this week.  It’s one of the biggest in Houston, I think.  Look it up.  And there is one in San Diego supposedly.  But it was the best free concert I have ever been to!!  The first half hour was just singing songs and there was a big band on stage preforming-ish and there were a bunch of lights flashing around and other concert stuff.  Elder Mota and I partied with our part-member family, the Penillas.  But now I can see why everyone likes to go to those churches!  Socialize before with all your friends, go to a concert, listen to a 20 min sermon (it was on prayer and fasting) and then sing another song and go home.  No commitments necessary!  But it was sweet!  And the family is all coming to our church next week!

Anyways, it was a fun week, but tiring.  I can’t wait for every week to be like that now!  Pray for us!  I found a few final pictures from our last car ride from Port. We had so much stuff that we all had things on our lap and if we crashed, no one would have moved an inch, haha.  Here is just a sample of it, or all I could get in the picture from the driver’s seat.

Love, Elder Lund 

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Area and New Companion!

I have 100% complete faith that this was the mission for me, just not sure why yet.  When I email my foreign friends, they talk about crazy South American things and its pretty much like, oh man that would be so cool to be living there. But that doesn’t really matter.

But yes, I did get transferred, and back to my original Galveston zone. Now I am in Kemah, but technically, all of our area is in Houston.  Just a bunch of suburbs right outside the city, and they are mainly on the average to poor side of town.  But I am back in an all-Spanish branch and we speak Spanish all day long in the companionship and the apartment.  

My companion is Elder Mota from Mexico City!  He is super cool!  And he was in my last zone for a little so I already knew him.  Turns out, he has had some really strict and hard companions his whole mission and it has been rough for him.  So pretty much we are going to work hard, but have fun doing it, so he starts to love the mission.  And I live in an apartment with another companionship, so that is really fun too.  There is always something going on.  Oh and PS, Elder Mota is just teaching me how to cook food from his home, so hopefully I can learn a lot from him.

The one hard part is we live 15-ish minutes outside of our area, and the church is 25 minutes from the apartment in the other direction.  So that makes working a little hard if we are tight on time.  For example, church ended at 3:30pm yesterday.  By the time we finished things up, it was about 4pm and we had a dinner appointment right next to the church.  So because of the time, we just sat at the church in the family history room for an hour until our appointment.  Then afterwards, we went to give a blessing in the sisters’ area and by the time we finished there it was 8pm. This meant we did not have time to drive to our area and teach, let alone the miles to drive all the way there for 1 lesson.  So we just visited another member in the sisters’ area and didn’t even see ours all day yesterday.  So we will have fun with that little aspect.

Other than that, I love it here. Speaking Spanish all day!  English is for little girls y somos machos!  We have a couple of super cool recent converts that are around 20 and they both come out with us all the time.  We have a bunch of church activities again.  And there are a lot of missionaries around here, so I don’t have to go a whole week before I see another companionship, haha!  Next week, I can talk more about the people we are working with...

Elder Lund