Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24 Letter

First, if any of you missed the broadcast last night, you missed out BIG TIME. If you fit that boat, hurry and go watch this video:

And then later on, you can watch the full version of it here:

Really, though, it was great. They nailed it. (Ha, go figure, six apostles of the Lord know what should happen?) We can knock on doors all day long, or even contact referrals, and get nowhere. But when a member of the church talks about their beliefs with a friend, invites them to learn from the missionaries, has the missionaries and their friends over to their house for the discussions, and remains their friend throughout their investigating and in the church, things are so much easier. It's always so hard when we start teaching someone to find a fellowshipper for them, because we're kind of shooting in the dark on things, plus it's almost like people feel like as long as they are there for the lesson, their job is done. And really, it's hard for us to find someone who is naturally going to be your best friend. The solution? We teach your friends! It's perfect!

The downer of the whole broadcast? In attendance at our branch was a young man we dragged along, and two couples. (None of whom were the branch mission leader...) Haha broadcasts about member missionary work are MUCH more effective when members are there to hear about it. I was sitting there when Elder Nelson told us that we shouldn't have time to knock on doors wondering how much time two families could fill. Anyone who is reading this now, though (mom, dad, Megan, Emily, especially), you had BETTER listen to the Apostles and get to work! There's actually a high counselor out here in the Rochester Stake who is still pretty young, and has had 26 convert baptisms stemming from his invitation to attend his family's Family Home Evening. Get to work, guys!!

Now as for this week. Really, it was a pretty weird one. Tuesday we spent most of the day in Palmyra at the base of the Hill Cumorah for our last transfer meeting with President Christianson. Friday we were back in Palmyra with Drew and Wesley. And Saturday we spent most of the evening at a birthday party/wishing President Christianson goodbye barbeque at a member of the branch's house. I'll talk a little more about each of them and some of the other things we did, but when you have things like that that fill up such huge chunks of the day, there are fewer stories to tell.

First, the transfer meeting. It was crazy. President had all of the missionaries in the mission attend. If I'm not mistaken, my MTC group made it so the NYRM had 88 young missionaries. This newest group made us top 180. But President is such an incredible man. I don't think I've met too many more spiritual people than him. He also gave us a bookmark with two pretty cool quotes on it. They read:

"Faith is the power,
Love is the motive,
Obedience is the price.

"The Spirit is the key,
The Restoration is the message,
The Members are the means.

"Christ is the reason,
Baptism is the way,
Joy is the reward."

Then the other one is from Bruce R. McConkie: "Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. It is always given when righteousness is present, and the greater the measure of obedience to God's laws, the greater will be the endowment of faith."

The whole time he was talking, I was thinking about things I need to do better at. We need some miracles out here, so time to really crack down!

Then of course, we went to the sites with Drew and Wesley on Friday. I don't think I've ever spent as long in the Sacred Grove as we did with them, which was very nice to be able to just walk around in it for a while. We probably also got the best tour of the Joseph Smith Farm that I've ever had. It was good to see them!
While in Palmyra, we went to lunch at this pizza place called Nima's that the missionaries always go to. The waitress there was actually a girl who Elder Thueson and I had taught a little bit one of our times there. When we'd first taught her, we gave her the Palmyra elders' number and she said she'd get ahold of them. Well, as of Friday, she still hadn't! So I harped on her a while, and she committed to setting up an appointment the next time they were there after a District Meeting. Will she? I don't know. Luckily for both of us, we get to use Facebook! So I searched "Megan in Palmyra, NY" and she came right up! Haha we'll get her learning soon enough.

Almost without question the best part of my week was before the barbeque on Saturday, President came down to meet us at the church. He and I just went and talked for an hour about all sorts of questions I had. I don't know what I'm going to do without that man! Be watching for an Elder Christianson to be called to the Quorum of the Seventy sometime soon haha. He's got my vote!!

Also at the barbeque, I had a fantastic conversation with Amy. We've been spending a lot of time at her house with her sisters. One of them, Jenn, is a member of the church, but had a very bad experience with her young women's leader, and hasn't been back for years. The other, Meghan, never got involved at all. Their mom is a less active member, too. But their relationship with her is strained, at best, and it seems to a large extent that is part of why the girls don't want anything to do with the church, because they associate it with their mom. But, Amy and I talked about how to go about things with Jenn and Meghan. Amy is working on getting their uncle's name ready for the temple in the next few month and invited both her sisters to come if they could get prepared for it. Surprisingly for both of us, neither were nearly as opposed to the idea as we expected. We've both been praying and searching the scriptures for how to open their hearts to hearing the gospel, and I'm very excited to see where it can get us. Really, Amy is probably the best one in our branch at doing exactly what last night's broadcast is all about. She will always text us whenever her family is coming over or whenever her friends are coming over. It's great!

We also finally met with Renate this week. I get so frustrated with her. She can't wrap her head around the idea that she can know the truth. We'll talk about something, and she'll always say that everyone has their own interpretation of things. So we read 2 Peter 1:20-21 with her, then talk about praying to know the truth. Annnnnd then she doesn't. I just don't know what to do there. She's willing to read the Book of Mormon with us and come to church, but then doesn't really seem to want to know at all. It's like people out here don't really comprehend what we are telling them. We are telling them this is the way. And they just go about their lives. It's aggravating haha.

But we really got teaching a guy named Tim! I don't even remember what I have or haven't said about him yet... But a couple weeks ago, he walked right up to us on the street and asked if we had any reading material that he could have. Yeah, that doesn't happen too often to us, so we weren't really sure what to do. But, we did get his address and gave him a Book of Mormon. Well, we met with him last week and really started talking to him about the Restoration. He seemed slightly interested, but almost in an academic, "I like to learn how other people see things" sort of way. He's a crazy kid. Our first lesson with him, he told us all about all these drugs that he does, but said he was realizing how artificial of a life and friendships it was creating for him. Haha he also somehow related the Apostasy to humans creating a batch of robots that became smart enough that the could override the computer control system and fight back... not sure how that happened.

We weren't really sure how serious he was taking anything, but then this week we got a call from the Batavia elders, asking us about Tim. We were really confused about how they knew about him at all, but apparently one of the recent converts they have been working with is good friends with him. Sam, the convert in Batavia, said she kept getting texts from Tim asking questions about different parts of the Book of Mormon. We hurried and called him up and set up an appointment for he next day. He had read all of 1 Nephi, and was halfway through 2 Nephi! Haha of course, when we asked him what he remembered, he said, "Umm... tough to say. I'm a stoner, remember." Haha but as we got going, talking about Lehi's family leaving Jerusalem, he really seemed to remember just about everything. When we were talking about how straight-forwardly obedient Nephi was, he told us, "Yeah, the whole definitely restored my faith in commandments a little bit." Haha I would have never thought after our first lesson with him about robots that he would be one of our fastest progressing investigators, but I'm pretty stoked to see where this ends up taking us!

Well, I would send some pictures, but I lost my cord somehow. No clue where it is. So, until Amazon can mail me a new one in "3-5 business days," you won't get to see me with Drew and Wesley or with President and Sister Christianson.

Annnnd, I do believe I'm out of stories. But, in President Christianson's favorite words, "Hurrah for Israel!"

I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

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