Monday, January 30, 2017

Best Mission in the South!

So, I will send a video out- 13 minutes long that includes some experiences… 
<mom note- check back on his blog later,  because he never sent the video>

First off, I have some news! We had a worldwide missionary broadcast on Wednesday the 25th. It took place during a session of the missionary executive council. Presiding was Elder Oaks, and present in the council was Elder Bednar, Anderson, Nielson (director of the missionary department) Waddell, another dude, and Sister Oscarson. We received great council on teaching repentance and baptizing converts. Elder Bednar made a point that too often in the church we have a checklist mindset. We have commandments we have to follow- check! We took sacrament this week-check! We paid tithing-check! We did service-check! We said our prayers-check! We have to get out of that. We have to understand with our hearts the letter of the law, but live according to the spirit of the law. 
Elder & Sister Clayton, Pres. & Sister Turner with Greenville, Greenville East & West Columbia Zones 
They focused on being agents unto ourselves, and unveiled to the world the new missionary schedule that I had shared with y'all a few weeks ago. This is helping us prepare for after our missions, when life will get crazy. It will help us keep our schedule going of daily prayer and scripture study. Unknown to every mission president and missionary, they changed our key indicators. We will only report 4 key indicators now, instead of 11. They are:
  1. Investigators baptized and confirmed
  2. Investigators with a baptismal date
  3. Investigators at church
  4. New investigators
This will focus our efforts on truly finding diligently and doing our part in preparing our investigators for baptism. Elder Oaks mentioned that "missionaries should not lose themselves in the little things, and thus lose sight of the great purpose of their calling." Sometimes those little things were the amount of key indicators we had to focus on. Anyway that was a game changer for us and I'm sure for everybody. But, the Lord has been preparing us for this change little by little, so it shouldn't be too bad to make the transition. 

We had once again many experiences this week that were testimony building. Two were when visiting a less active, and the third with Elder L. Whitney Clayton and his wife.

On the 25th, we had planned to go and see a guy named Francis. He is less active. As we knocked on then door, this lady and her friend pulled up in a car asking us if we had seen a beagle running around. We said no, and asked them if they knew Francis. They said yes, and that he was at his dad's house. His dad is named Frank, and he is also a less active member. Frank apparently passed away that morning. She told us that the day before (24th), his wife Glenda, also less-active, was buried, after passing away on the 20th. 

What was sad for me was that we had originally planned to see Frank on the 20th, but for whatever reason, did not have time to visit him. Maybe we could have been in the middle of all this to help…lesson learned- when you plan something, don't push it off! Especially if you feel inspired to go see somebody! The ward did not know about them, even who they were. I don't blame anybody because there are not enough people to do home teaching, and very few actually do their home teaching. We need to be strengthening each other as members, so that when a need arises, and one always will, we can be there to strengthen and keep each other's beds up. We all need a friend, so let us follow Christ's example, and be one!! Let us look outside ourselves, and bless the lives of those who are in need of being comforted. 

We spent 13 hours with Elder L. Whitney Clayton and his wife on Friday. We had a meeting between the ZL's and STL's in the Greenville, Greenville East and West Columbia Zones. We focused on being an example of the believers. He mentioned that we are a very balanced mission, we know how to have fun and to work, and we are obedient. We are above average in all categories and we are currently leading the south--aka we are then best mission in the south! It was very uplifting. We heard many testimonies, 2 by stake presidents, and the conversion story and testimony of our temple president-which was very powerful. 

Elder Clayton instructed us on many topics, one being an analogy of the vine, branches and fruit. He left us asking what we ended to do to keep our vines nourished. He had me and Elder Fife stand up in front of the three zones and share an experience that I had shared with him and his wife at lunch (BTW they sat with me at lunch and we talked for a bit about all kinds of stuff--we had an MLC afterwards at 6:00 and man, I am so grateful we have a priesthood leader who is truly a man of God at an important position in the church! I grew a love of him and his wife!!) 

Anyway the story goes as follows: (from Brayden's journal)

Thursday afternoon, we had planned on the previous week's planning session to go and visit a guy named Benjamin Frederick. He lived- or so we thought, close by our apartment. We go there, and parked, but we could not find his apartment. We walked around the street behind, then looked back down the street. We knocked on some doors to see if anybody knew him, but nobody answered. Two young boys on bikes came up the hill. We stopped them and asked if they knew where this particular apartment was. They continued to respond, not having a clue as to where it was. We gave them an article of faith card with a picture of Christ and little children on the front side- being that they were 9 and 11 years old. We asked where they lived, if their parents were home, and if we could share a message about Jesus Christ with them. They said yes and pointed down the street and said that there was a 'basketball goal' in front. So, we proceeded to embark on another hunt for a 'basketball goal.' We went to a whole new street and the last house on the left corner had a beat up basketball hoop. I wasn't so sure about it at first. The porch was raised up and there were a few plywood boards blocking the way. The signs of "no trespassing" weren't intimidating, but obviously they didn't want visitors. However, we were diligent and knocked on the door- leaning over the plywood of course. 

A very nice lady came out and we told her that we had met her sons. We taught a brief restoration and bore testimony, and gave a Book of Mormon, and a restoration pamphlet. Elder Fife, being diligent as always with asking for referrals, asked if she knew anybody who would like to hear a message about Jesus Christ. She then pointed to a yellow house on the corner and said it was a business that people owned and employees lived there. So we went down, knocked and this younger black lady answered. Immediately, she was excited to see us! It caught me off guard, because when is anybody excited to see missionaries? She said that she had heard a out missionaries knocking at people's doors, 
Our new investigator, Kristen, who was so excited to see us!
and thought it was just a myth! She couldn't believe it happened to her. She has a good friend from high school who is a YSA member in Columbia, whose parents are actually int he Greenville 1st Ward. Thanks to that friend, she has been prepared little by little to accept the gospel and the spirit! She asked so many questions...all sorts of 'is it true that....' questions. She cannot wait for us to come back! She is super elect!  She was so stoked to be given a BofM, and she wanted to take a picture with us- then posted it on Facebook & snapchat! Once again, you never know why the Lord has placed you in a certain spot at a certain time. 

love y'all adios!!!
National Champs, baby!
Only way to cut onions, and still manage to cry in the process
Getting creative with food
My dear friend, Mitzie, has a brother that lives in the ward Brayden's serving in! 
Victor, an investigator helping us read the Book of Mormon in Quiche to
 another investigator who cannot read at all. This is Victor's first day at church. 
Pushed Fife from his chair - it was too comfy; he didn't want to get up

train??? but idk why he sent this one.

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