It's P-day again. We’ve had a great week full of lessons and service
appointments. Sorry if this email doesn't seem as funny as some of the
others, I'm having a hard time right now, or as Mom would say, "he's not
feeling the Mojo". Recently, we got a new rule that says missionaries
cannot congregate as zones for P-day. This means we cannot leave our
district areas so we have to quickly create a new P-Day routine. In spite of
our recent afflictions, we still had a lot of things happen this week.
On Sunday the 27th, I hit the 2 month mark of me in Tennessee! Woohoo
22 for to go!
On Tuesday we had some team ups that went really well. We begin by
contacting a referral that ended up being a dud. We were looking for a guy
named Mr. Logan. Well we found his brother, who introduced himself as
Minister (different first name) Logan. He was very uninterested in our
invitation to watch the Easter message video. He tried to bash and when he
wouldn't give us the actual location of his brother, we departed. Then we
visited with Aida, a woman who has been investigating the church for 3
years. She's been through several sets of missionaries during that time and
when we sat down with her, she told us we've been the only missionaries
that have her considering coming to church. She really likes us, but is hard
to work with her because she doesn't let us prepare lessons. We just
answer her questions and come as friends. She's told us she's going to
come watch General Conference with us, and then come to church with us
the following week, so I think that is big progress and hopefully a bright
future for her.
Roger came over later in the day and we all worked out. Later that evening
we went contacting less active members with the ward clerk and found
someone is now an active member of an Episcopalian church. That was a
Wednesday we did some service for a member in the ward. The member
had a 500 lb bag of leveling sand we had to move up and out of the
driveway. With 3 people it took us a good 15-20 minutes. The hard part
was getting it on a palate which took some creativity. The final solution was
to wedge it up with a wheelbarrow with a wedged ramp on the other side
while pulling from a 3 foot wall. Elder Beard threw out his back, but he's
A new family, the Strub Family, from
Mesa/Phoenix/Tempe/anyotherphoenixsuburb moved in and they fed us
deep fried tacos. Man, they were good Corn tortilla with some meat in the
middle, fried up with some cheese, sour cream, more meat, beans and rice
on top. Oh yeah!
Thursday was zone conference. President talked about the importance of
contacting media referrals within 1 hour because those referrals have been
verified by people in Salt Lake. We also cannot wear white-soled shoes or
crazy socks while proselytizing. Also, no more large print ties, but these
knew rules don't really affect me so I'm not too bummed out. Later that day
Roger Johnson came over to work out and we did chest day. Ben Softky
would have been proud.
Friday was weekly planning, then we went out contacting passing out pass-
along cards. We passed out about 40 cards. Our ward mission leader came
with us to visit a less active family who has an 8 year old trying to get
baptized. The problem with this family is that they are very irreverent. The
kids do whatever they want and hardly pay attention during lessons. On
Sunday, they were so bad, a ward member cussed them out in the parking
lot. It was a pretty scary thing to hear. Lesson learned: don't play with the
people in the South, they aren't afraid to repent later. A member took us out
to eat on Friday to some Mexican restaurant. It was good. I ate a super
burrito but it wasn't nearly the same as Los Gallos in Redwood City!
Saturday, we did some service for Bro. Rogers, the craziest guy you'll ever
meet. This guy grows his own hot peppers. Not jalapeños or habanero, but
like Tasmanian hellfire, or Carolina something, and many others. He takes
these peppers and brews his own hot sauces. He let me try some of the
hottest sauce ever. It was amazing. The sauce I tried had been aged for 10
years and was full of flavor. It wasn't just heat and no flavor, it had
immense flavor...with a ton of heat. Bro Rogers cooked us Mancakes (15
inch pancakes) with a 5 inch sausage pie per person, and 3 eggs. I ate one
of everything topped with lots of this hot sauce. Then we went to go do yard
work for 2 1/2 hours, and when we came in he's made BBQ sauce and hot
sauce infused hot dogs smothered in liquid smoke mesquite sauce. If you
asked if I ate good Saturday, the answer was yes!
We went out and visited a few people with the Elders Quorum President.
We talked to a women who just became a new investigator, but she speaks
Spanish and little English so we're probably going to hand her off to the
Spanish Elders. We tried visiting our investigator Chris, but his girlfriend
was there and wouldn't let us in or talk to him. Roger came over and
worked out, it was arm day.
Sunday we had a lot of E and C members come. The Chapel was packed
of less active people and recent converts. To put into perspective how
many less active people this ward rooster has, we have an average
Sacrament Meeting attendance of 120 and the ward roster is sitting around
500. That's nothing compared to some of the Baptist churches around who
draw over 1,000 members for a service.
We had an 89 year old man give a talk on the atonement. It was an
awesome talk, and what made it extra special was that he had a stroke
about a month ago and is on oxygen and can't walk without a walker.
Despite his physical condition, he wanted to speak in church. So he did.
His wife who is 20 years younger, spoke on the true meaning of Easter and
how Christ is alive and how we will all be resurrected because He loosened
the bands of death.
We had lunch at a member’s house and it was phenomenal. Pork chops
marinated overnight in soy, onion, paprika, (and some other sauce I can't
spell), seasoned asparagus, cheese broccoli, rice and fresh rolls. Then we
went over a few hours later to another house for dinner and we had
salmon, rice and salad. I never ate salad before the mission, but I've
decided as long as it's just greens and Ranch Dressing, it's alright. But it
has to be Hidden Valley Ranch because all the other brands taste like
runny, white, dog poop.
Here's a little spiritual thought I found this week during my personal study.
I've been reading the book of Matthew these past few weeks. It takes me
about an hour to read a chapter because I'm always looking for what God
is trying to tell me in the chapter. A few days ago I was reading out of
Matthew 27, versus 57-60. It reads,"
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathæa, named
Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate
commanded the body to be delivered.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and
he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed."
When I read this I was instantly struck with a testimony of paying fast
offerings and service. Now if you had asked me to pay fast offerings two
months ago, I would have told you, “you are not even getting tithing from
me right now". But this is so powerful what Joseph did. He gave up his own
tomb for Christ...literally his body. Back in these days people had to chisel
out by hand the rock to make a tomb, it was very expensive. It took several
months, if not multiple years, depending on the specifications of the tomb.
Joseph decided to give up something of great value for him, for someone
else. While that person is Christ, we learn in Mosiah 2:17 ,"
17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye
may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only
in the service of your God"
So there are two things here. While we cannot render service to Christ
literally as Joseph did, we know that when we serve and take care of our
fellow man, it is just the same in the eyes of God. Joseph was also a rich
man, but he didn't let his social status be an excuse not to go do work
himself. He didn't pay someone to go beg for the body, he did it, he moved
it himself, he did all the work. God is watching y'all, God knows the intent of
our hearts, we cannot trick him into thinking we are humble when we are
actually greedy or prideful. One way to show the intent of your heart is by
paying a generous fast offering. Yeah, it's going to be hard sometimes, but
God always will bless you to find a way.
Here's a example from my mission:
We've been encouraged to pay fast offerings to the ward we serve in while
on our mission. We didn't pay in February, which was a really bad month
for meal appointments for us. We got maybe 2-3 a week. In March, I paid
$20, which doesn't seem like a lot, but out of the $140 we get a month, it
made it stressful. My companion spent most of his money shipping boxes
home as he gets ready to return to California. So I ended up buying most of
the food, cleaning supplies, and bus passes. We breezed through our food
quick. But a few Sunday's ago, we got blessed big time. The ward decided
they weren't doing a good job feeding us, so we got every day taken care
of for the rest of the month. That $20 would have allowed us to get enough
food to last us the 2 weeks we needed to go, but instead the Lord decided
to give us real meals instead. I'm telling you, sacrifice and following the
So next time you find out someone needs something, don't think you can't
help, and don't think writing a check is all you can do. We all have bodies,
we can all work and nobody is too busy to serve. Serving our fellow man, is
serving God. We are blessed when we serve, and we are blessed when we
pay fast offerings.
Hope y'all have a good week and prepare for conference!
The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission