Monday, October 27, 2014

Post before Dallon's birthday

Let us start with Dallon's letter from Oct 20
Sounds like a fun week, with lots of fun activities. A member here named Brother Marquardt had us over for dinner on Monday, and he also loves to scuba dive, he has gone all around the world doing dives. He has traveled the world, working as a magician, so whenever he can he goes scuba diving too, and he has a lot of cool stories as well as amazing magic tricks. Well your week sounds more a little more exciting than our week was.
My first day with my new companion Elder Ward was really good. We had a lot of success street contacting. We found 4 potential investigators in an hour of street contacting. Two of which seemed very interested, and were really engaged in our conversations about Jesus Christ. So that was really cool.
Then we got exciting news with Dana!! He got himself a job doing maintenance from 9-7 5 days a week. Which means he will make more money so he can get an apartment, and he doesn't have to work on Sundays so he can still come to church!!
Then we are still slowly but surely working with Alfred and his wife Pauline. We did some service for them on Saturday, and then went over there for dinner on Sunday. After dinner on Sunday, Alfred told us that because of the bad experience Pauline had in Denmark they were not ready to come to church, but that because of the fellowshipping we have been doing, she is opening up to it more and more, and he is open towards the church now too. It was awesome to hear that our service has really touched and helped them, and as long as we keep going over there and helping them, and invite them to activities, they will eventually come to church. They said that they would probably come to the ward Halloween party, so hopefully that goes through, and they meet and make friends with a lot of the ward members.
Other than that nothing else has gone on. Elder Ward has been sick pretty much all week, so we weren't able to meet with our potential investigators that we found, and have spent most of the week in our apartment. He is feeling better today, so hopefully this next week will be full of hard work and success. I love and miss you all!! Can't Wait to hear from you!
Elder Burnside

He is from South Carolina and has 11 siblings!! It was very boring, I read from the scriptures, took a couple naps to catch up on sleep, but that was about it. It is still warm here, during the day, but then it cools off at night into the 50's. I really do appreciate all the different people I have met, especially being in the Hollywood ward, I have learned so much from them. The jets are just doing awful this year :(, at least it is the year I can't watch. How much longer till Rex Ryan gets fired? I love being out here, and I have just had so many really cool experiences. I love you!!
Elder Burnside

Elder Burnside's letter from today

How is everybody doing? I hope you all are doing well. This week was a pretty frustrating week for us. So there is not too much to share. Since Elder Ward started feeling better on Monday, we were ready to get back to working hard. We set up a lot of appointments only to have each and every one of them get cancelled at the very last second. We had over 15 appointments fall through, so it was a slow week.
The only appointments that didn't fall through were with Alfred. We went over there Wednesday and did some more service with him on his house, and he told us that he was going to have eye surgery the next day. When we called him on Saturday we found out that he was really feeling awful, and he wasn't recovering quite like they expected him too. So we got to go over there and give him a blessing, which was good. Both him and Pauline really appreciated it, the spirit was super strong. We hope that the blessing will now give us a chance to share the gospel more, and make some good progress.
As we had good news with Alfred, we got bad news with Dana. We weren't able to meet with him at all this week, but we talked to him on the phone, and I have just never met anybody as unlucky as him. One day after he got the job, the company went under and had to fire everybody, and then he came out to find that he had a broken tail light, and then he lost his phone. So he had to spend all his money on fixing his car. Again. And he had to buy a new phone. So he spent this week down in Long Beach with some family to just kind of step back. It is frustrating how he can not catch a break, and amazing how through it all he still is incredibly grateful for what the lord blesses him with. Every time we see him, he tells us the new bad news, but then he immediately precedes to show Gratitude for all the little blessings that he sees in his life. We know that now is his time of trial, and that he will be blessed immensely once it is over for staying faithful.
On Saturday there was the ward trunk or treat, so the missionaries all got together to make a trunk. I got dressed up in armor, and we gave the kids a little mini lesson on putting on the armor of god. It was a ton of fun, and everybody enjoyed it.
I hope you all have good next week. Have lots of fun. I love and miss you all! Have a Happy Halloween!!!!
Elder Burnside

Cool. Me and Elder Ward are doing well, we get along together very well. The only problem with him is he goes home December 30. So he is excited to go home and is what we call trunkie. So he can make me a little trunkie at times but we still do good work, and he is really cool. I am low on my account because we had 2 parking tickets in August, so I only got 60 some dollars in September, so most of that is from back in September but I am ok with money now. Primary program sounds fun, there are more kids in the primary, then there are members here that showed up on Sunday. There was a stark contrast in the number of members this week than there was last week when we had our primary program. Your email contact always says R&D Engineer, what exactly is that because I just tell people you are a mechanical engineer. I get Grandma's emails, and we email back and forth. It is cool to compare our missions to each other. I got Grandma's package which was really cool, but I didn't get yours yet. I love you too, and I will pray that you get the job!
Elder Burnside

He attached the following pictures

Update 2 of 4 weeks

Dallon sent this letter on October 6
Hey, sounds like a pretty decent week. That's too bad about the baptism, I hope that he still decides to get baptized. That's good that you were able to see Brandon, even though you may not be getting through right now, you need to just keep that influence there, so that when he does open up to it, he will know where to go. An electric razor would be nice. Maybe maybe a new pair of jeans, the ones I brought were pretty small to begin with, and of course treats. Otherwise I can't really think of anything, but I will let you know if I do. Our week was pretty quite too. We went on exchanges twice this week, and had general conference on two other days, so I really only spent 3 days working in my area.
Monday nothing really happened, and Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder Spencer. We went and taught one of his investigators at the institute building at Santa Monica Community College, where President Weidman decided to join in on the lesson at the last moment. Second time in a week that I taught a lesson with him, and both turned out really well. He has such a strong testimony, and he knows a lot about the gospel so he has been able to answer tough questions.
Wednesday we got to actually watch Meet The Mormons this time. It was a really well done movie, and I would recommend it. It comes out in theaters this week. It talks about 6 different Mormon families around the world, and about how their faith affects their lives.
Thursday we had a pretty cool miracle. We were street contacting and started talking to this one girl who attends college in the area. We talked to her for a little bit and she was really interested but she had to get going, she said that she would love to read the Book of Mormon in her first language (Spanish), if we had one. Which we didn't but we told her we would get her one, then right as she was leaving the Spanish elders happened to ride by on their bikes, and we were able to flag them down and give her a Book of Mormon. It was really cool because the Spanish elder never go to that are, that just happened to be the quickest way to their dinner appointment.
Saturday was general conference of course, and the two talks I really enjoyed were the Elder Holland's and Elder Uchtdorf's. We went to the stake center to watch it, and it is really weird because if you looked at the building you would guess it was Catholic. It was huge and hag a bunch of stained glass windows, and just looked completely different then the normal church buildings. I enjoyed Elder Holland's talk about helping the needy. And how Christ was technically homeless during his ministry yet he was all about serving others. Missionaries watch a lot of Elder Holland talks, so I have come to really enjoy his talks. I too enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf's "Lord is it I?" talk. It was an interesting point that none of Christ's apostles accused anyone else, but instead asked if it was themselves. I had never thought about how much humility that they showed right there. I had always thought of it as a lack of faith, but really they were just were just trying to improve themselves, and perfect their faith. I really enjoy listening to Elder Uchtdorf, he is my favorite.
Sunday was awesome. General conference was good, they kept talking about sustaining the prophet, so I thought he was going to come out with some crazy new announcement, but it never happened. Elder Eyring's talk was really good, about receiving confirming revelation. The spirit was just really strong during it, and I enjoyed his story about the inspiration his parents would receive. Then after General Conference we had Sister Pat's baptism!! It was the most interesting first baptism. There were no talks, just a song prayer and then the baptism. We did it at the pool at her apartment complex. So there were a bunch of people that were at her pool that watched it. That is normally a good thing except there was a gay couple that either took pictures or recorded it, so you may or may not see us on the internet. Then when they actually did the baptismal ordinance the member dunked her before she was ready, and she freaked out a bit because she got water up her nose, she came up pointing her finger and yelling her husbands name. It was actually pretty funny. But after she changed she was so happy and thankful towards us, you could tell she was feeling the spirit. Overall it was an awesome experience, like most of the church stuff that goes on here, it was chaotic, yet still full of the spirit. Not a lot happened this week, but the few things that did were awesome. Hope you all continue to have a good time, Can't wait to hear back from you. I love you all!
Elder Burnside

He attached pictures for the baptism

Then he followed with

The member baptized her, but Elder Taylor went in as backup in case he need help, since she is old and fragile. I got too go, but I will talk to you next week, I love hearing from you all. I love and miss you!!
Elder Burnside

The following week he emailed us again

Sounds like you all had a fun week, the balloon fiesta is always really cool. This week was really slow. We don't have many investigators right now, so we spent most of the week contacting and trying to find new investigators. Sadly there is not much to report about there. We did make progress with two of our investigators though, Alfred and Dana.
We have continued to help Alfred pretty much remodel his house. WE built a new railing, put in a dishwasher, and helped him fix his windows. He is extremely grateful for all the service we provide him, he said that he has seen missionaries plenty of times before, but none have actually offered to help him out like we did, and so he has never really connecting with any other missionaries before. His wife Pauline is grateful to, and she has really opened up the past week, she has started to talk about church with us, and she even said that they will start coming to church next week! Because of all that we have done for them.We are really excited for them, we took them to the departing missionary fireside last night because Elder Taylor's last companion who found them is going home. There they met several members of the ward who they really connected well with, and will stay in contact with. So slowly but surely we are getting them to church. It was crazy before we took them to the fireside, because they had us come over to barbecue, and the grill just completely went up in flames, right on the deck! When we tried to spray the fire extinguisher on it, we couldn't get it to work! Luckily in the end it only left scorch marks on the wood, and didn't actually burn anything, and we were able to put it out. But it that was pretty exciting.
We met with Dana the other day, and we read the first three chapters of the Book of Mormon. He said that he had read a couple chapters, just from randomly opening and reading a chapter, but never from the beginning. So we sat down and read with him, and the spirit was so strong, he loved it! He wanted to keep on reading for awhile, but we had to get going to another appointment, so we told him about Book of Mormon class,and he said that he would go this week.He told us that he really wanted to read more of the Book of Mormon and that he would start reading it from front to back. He is such a solid investigator, and I am sure that he will be baptized, but he needs to find a home first. He has somebody who is going to help him find housing though, so hopefully it won't be long.
Then transfers are happening tomorrow! I am staying here and will be with Elder Ward. He has been serving on the other side of Hollywood, so I already know him. He is going home at the end of the year, so he is on the opposite side of his mission from me. My trainer Elder Taylor will be going to the most ghetto part of the mission over in Watts. SO wish him luck lol. I am excited for this next transfer! I miss and love you all!
Elder Burnside

Thanks, I have really come to love doing service for people, it really is the best feeling when you serve someone without expecting anything in return. I am excited to serve with Elder Ward, we have a lot in common. Is Brandon there? How is he doing? Elder Burnside

I will post more letters in a bit

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Finally a post on Dallon's Mission Blog.....

My son reminded me that I am being terrible, since it has been so long since I updated this blog.  I guess you are seing my procrastinating side.  Well let's look at believe it or not 4 weeks worth of letters.  Start with September 8,

I can't believe that you waited until right after I left to get football back!! And just in time for the Jets to win the super bowl too! Anyways this week was pretty solid, there wasn't anything that was super exciting, but it was a good week. Wednesday was our most exciting day, we were running from appointment to appointment. First we went to visit a guy named Bart. He is in his late 40s and he is a big guy that is really into fitness. He is a return missionary, but he hasn't been going to church since he got excommunicated several months ago. We got his info when he saw the Spanish missionaries in Subway, and told them that he wanted the missionaries to come by some time. We had a nice conversation and got to know him. He still has a testimony of the church, and knows that it is true, the only thing stopping him is his addictions. He is a pretty cool guy, and we will probably try to stop by again this week. After that we went over to see how Mark (the one who was raised Jewish) was doing with his Book of Mormon reading. We found out that he had already finished it!! It was full of tabs and highlighted verses, and he said he was going to read it again so he could understand better. He still had lots of concerns, but the main one was that he says he can't pray with a sincere heart because he does not believe in God, and does not believe that he will get an answer. Otherwise he said he would do it. He then asked us to stay, so we could teach his girlfriends who was on her way over! When he did that it just confirmed to us that he has felt the spirit, and somewhere deep down he has a belief that what we teach him is true. Our lesson with his girlfriend, Tatiana, was ok. She wasn't as open to the gospel as he is, and mostly just asked us questions about the word of wisdom, and the law of chastity. She was mostly just trying to make us look bad, but by the end she actually understood the word of wisdom and law of chastity, and she said that she would read the Book of Mormon if she had any free time. e had a really good lesson there, but it went late and we were on our bikes. So we biked as fast as we could to the church which is on the other side of Hollywood so that we could go to Book of Mormon class because Annette said that she would go. She ended up having to cancel at the last second though. After Book of Mormon class we went to have dinner with a guy we met on the Street last week named Hyrum. When we met him we thought he was just a less active, but after talking to him more it appears that he is the only person in the world named Hyrum who is not a member of the church. He said that his dad was a member but his mother wasn't. But his dad went inactive so Hyrum never got baptized, but he saw the missionaries a lot growing up. So when he saw us on the street last week, he jumped on the opportunity to talk to us and invite us over.
He is a pretty spiritual person he prays a lot, and all that kind of stuff, But when we invited him to church right before we left; his whole mood changed and he made up some excuse on the spot. SO that was our super busy day.
Then Saturday we helped our bishop move out of his apartment, he is moving to Gilbert, Arizona, so we too will be getting a new bishop in the next couple weeks. His apartment was a 2 bedroom, so it was a decent size but not huge or anything. But he had a ton of stuff. He filled one of the extra large moving trucks to the brim, we were barely able to get everything in, it took some extremely good packing skills. A lot of people came to help though so it was really good, we had probably 15-20 people there.
Sunday was a little bit disappointing. We had four or five investigators who said they would try to come to church, but they all had to cancel last minute. SO we haven't been able to meet with Imran or Annette at all this week. Although something funny happened. This lady that we met on the street only speaks Russian, but we gave her a card with the church address and tried to tell her to come. And for the past three weeks she has come to church, but we haven't been able to find anybody to talk to her in Russian so we could find more out about her. Than this week we finally found someone who could translate for her at church, and when we started talking to her, we found out that she moved here about two years ago, but that she was a member of the church back in Russia and even had a temple recommend! So that was pretty funny. Anyway that was my week. Love you all and can't wait to hear from you!
Elder Burnside
He did follow up answering a couple more questions

Well I got to get going here in a couple of minutes. I will keep the good attitude, because everyday we see the blessing of the Lord, and know that we are doing his work, and that he is right there with us to help us out. It is crazy how much I have learned on my mission in just 9 weeks. I'm pretty sure the money comes from the first option and not the second lol. Hardest part now is not being able to watch football, I saw the patriots dolphins score on the front page of the newspaper while waiting in line at the store today. It would have been cool to watch, but I know that I am doing something more important. Can't wait to hear from you again.
Elder Burnside

Now onto September 15th

Sounds like everybody had a fun week. Wow, Stokes will be speaking Hmong in Wisconsin, I bet nobody guessed that. When does he report to the MTC? Sounds like a really good new bishopric. We will be getting a new one too any week now. We had a pretty good week.
Tuesday was our worst day though. Mission President called us to tell us we are not allowed to teach Imran anymore. Since he lives in Malibu, we had to let the missionaries there teach him, and we haven't heard anything from him since. So that was kind of frustrating since he was our best investigator. But it is all ok, as long as he still learns the gospel.
Wednesday was a pretty good day. We had gotten three or four referrals from on Tuesday night. It was pretty funny because one of them was fake. So when we called it ended up being the church of Scientology. We had a good laugh about that one. We were able to see Annette for the first time in a week. She hadn't been answering her phone, but we had a good lesson about the importance of prayer and reading the Book of Mormon.
Thursday was awesome. In the morning we got to go over to the temple and do service there. We tore out all the grass on the side of the temple, because it had some kind of weed in it that is illegal in California. Then we got to help carry a new carpet that was about 80 feet long into the celestial room, and help put it in. That thing was freaking heavy, we all thought that that was going to be the easy part of temple service, but it ended up being way more tiring then tearing out the grass. Then for dinner we went to Rosco's. Where we had chicken and waffles, and surprisingly enough the two go really well together. We then had a really cool experience when we went and contacted at one of the malls. We took a member with us, and we started talking to a guy around our age named Jose. The member asked us how our favorite story in the Book of Mormon has helped us in our life. Then while we were testifying he stopped us and said that he had this really amazing feeling in his heart, and wanted to learn more. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and he was excited to read it. The only bad part is that he lives in downtown Los Angeles so we had to refer him to other missionaries.
Friday I went on exchanges with the new zone leader Elder Villalba. He is from Uruguay. It was pretty much like a day off, because he is a Spanish missionary, so I just sat in on lessons and pretended like I knew what was going on. Then occasionally I would talk to an English speaking person while we were on our way to our next appointment.
Saturday was a lot of fun. The Spanish ward had a celebration for independence day in central America. They had a bunch of food from different countries, and each country did a native dance from its country. We brought one of our investigators Dana. He is a black guy that got out of jail in April, and sells water on Hollywood boulevard. He served 20 years in jail, and he became pretty religious while in jail, so he loves it whenever we stop by and talk about what we believe. So he really enjoyed it, and said that he would start coming to church as soon as he found a normal 9-5 job. He is really cool, because he talks to all the other venders on Hollywood boulevard about us, so we have a couple potential investigators that we have found through him.
Sunday we had a pretty good sacrament meeting. It was missionary themed, so me, Elder Taylor, and Elder Ward all spoke, and then they had a convert who has a grandson on a mission speak. They had me bear my testimony, and I talked about my experience with Thomas, and how the gospel makes people better. Then Elder Taylor gave a talk about the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. Elder Ward gave his testimony and talked about how he prayed on his mission, and received the answer that the Book of Mormon is true. Everybody really enjoyed it, and the gospel principles teacher said that the spirit was really strong, and that he felt that there was going to be a huge missionary effort in the near future, and that the ward was really going to change. So sacrament was really cool, but our investigators that said they were going to be there all had to cancel. Overall it was a good week. The mission is already starting to fly by, I can't believe that I have already been out for over two months! I love you all, and can't wait to hear from you..
Elder Burnside
It was really disappointing that they couldn't continue to teach Imram, but the spirit provides and new opportunities are provided as you can tell from his letter.  It is always inspiring to see the work progressing and the new contacts they make.  On September 22 we first got some pictures from a less active that they have been helping.

Elder Taylor and Elder Burnside,
You were both Fantastic!
Thank You for Your help on the applying the deck coating and painting the house.
I enjoyed our fellowship and you help on getting it done.
Here are pictures of you both after completion.

Then Dallon sent a letter that day:

Cool, sounds like a fun week. I'm glad stevie enjoyed the card. We are actually going to go play ultimate Frisbee today, although it isn't as fun here because we can not go with more than two other companionships. It is cool to hear about your home teaching of him, it sounds like he is pretty open for the gospel, which is great. We had a pretty good week this past week.
Monday was pretty cool, for non-missionary related reasons. After we finished emailing and all of that stuff, we went and had dinner with a member who is a professional magician, and works at the magic castle. He showed us his best trick, one that he had made up himself, and it was pretty amazing.
Tuesday was good too. We went and set up a couple more cameras for the member we have been doing service for. Although I mostly just helped his son with algebra homework, while everyone else set up the cameras. Man I thought I was finally getting away from math homework when I came on my But the service was good though, his son finally began to understand how to do it, and is now passing his math class. Then that night we went and contacted a referral that was way up in the hills. He and his wife had rented a cabin from a Mormon family in Utah for a couple weeks, and the family had given him a nook of Mormon, and then sent the referral to us. When we first showed up, he was extremely uninterested, and did not want to talk, But as we bore our testimonies on the Book of Mormon and how we have seen God in our lives, he began to open up and by the end of the discussion he said we could come back sometime. It was really cool to see the spirit slowly but surely soften his heart and open his mind as we bore our testimonies.
Wednesday we went and met with a recent convert. Our mission president has asked missionaries to really put a focus on getting recent converts the priesthood, and getting them to the temple for baptisms for the dead, and for endowments. SO we went over there and started talking about the importance of going to the temple. He told us he had already gotten his recommend but hadn't gone because he has been having doubts lately. He said that he hadn't been feeling anything when he prayed or read the book of Mormon lately. Which led us to a good discussion about how when we have those doubts or are struggling with our faith, that is when we need to go to the temple, and feel the spirit there, so we can receive personal revelation, and receive answers to our questions or doubts. So it went really well, and at the end he said that he would go to the temple.
Thursday we helped a potential investigator clear out his backyard. His name is Alfred and he is a non-member who's wife is a less active from Denmark. They are going to Europe for a couple months, and really needed to finish stuff up on there house because they are renting it out. He is really cool, but not really interested in the gospel. It was fun service to help out with though. Then later we found two new investigators while street contacting, one is a 16 year old in high school named J.R. and the other was a girl named Nakita who moved here recently from Australia. Her family is all Jehovah's Witnesses, except for her, but she was super interested and asked us question after question. We are going to meet with both of them this week, and try to set up a baptismal date with each. We are pretty excited!
Friday we went back to Alfred's house and helped pain his house and coat his deck with protective stuff. It was a lot of fun. We also helped a member tear out the carpet in there room. We did a lot of last minute service this past week.
On Saturday we went back to Alfred's just to see how it all looked, and set up a time to come by next week. It was cool because he was super thankful, and he had told his neighbor that he had some cool Mormon guys helping him with his house. SHe then asked him if he could get us to help her too. So he asked us if we could help both of them, and when we said yes, he said that we could even share a message with the two of them afterwords! So it was really cool to see service open somebody up to the gospel. Hopefully as we continue to help him with his house and share the gospel with him, he will become more and more open. Later we got a call from some missionaries that Paul is going to get baptized. If you remember, Paul was the guy who showed up to church the same week that we found Mark (the one who dropped us), But we then later found out that even though Paul lived in our area, he was getting taught by missionaries in Sherman Oaks. Apparently he accepted there baptismal invitation last week, and will get baptized there on Sunday, and then will start coming to our ward after that. SO we were happy to hear that he is going to get baptized.
Sunday was a little disappointing, because all of our investigators that said they would come bailed on us. But we still had a good service. We got a new bishop, so our sacrament meeting was pretty similar to yours last week. THat evening we went over to Brother Forsyth's nieces house, to talk to update them about a referral they had given us. We ended up meeting his other nephew who lives in Los Angeles, and having dinner over there. So that was pretty cool. THis past week was good, but we think this week will be better. We have a feeling that we will set at least one baptismal date, hopefully It works out! Love you and can't wait to hear from you all again.
Elder Burnside

Kind of funny that we are just getting one letter without as much back and forth on Monday's.  I think Dallon is getting more comfortable where he is and maybe less homesick.  It is so good to see him progress.  He sent the following letter the next week on September 29.

How is everything going? Sounds like you had a good time at Brandon's birthday. I have heard that you are not keeping up on the blog... you better get on that! lol. We had a really good week this week, it was full of miracles. The beginning of the week was kind of slow, but then it really picked up at the end.
Monday and Tuesday were pretty slow, and not much happened. On Wednesday we got to meet with Paul. We taught him the last little bit of the lessons he needed, and then gave him a baptismal interview. His girlfriend who introduced him to the church was actually less active right before meeting him, but she had a very strong testimony that she bore at the end of the lesson. Paul loves the church, and was super excited to get baptized, (he ended up getting baptized in his girlfriends ward which is outside of our mission so we weren't able to see it). But it sounded like he had a really great experience.
Thursday we had an awesome experience. Wednesday night we talked with our potential investigator Dana, and we all decided to fast for him on Thursday. He had served 20 years in Jail, and got out in April, but hasn't been able to find a job, and is living out of his car. We love Dana because even through all his struggles, every time he sees us he tells us how the Lord really blesses him, and he is so grateful for all of his blessings. He just has amazing faith. Anyway we fasted with him so that he could find a place to live and a solid job. When we met up with him for Dinner he was so excited. He told us that he found a place where he can stay for free until he has enough money to rent an apartment, and he got accepted into trucking school! He has wanted to be a trucker ever since he went to prison. He knew it was because we fasted. The coolest part for us was that we got offered so much food through out the day, things were happening that never happen . We had people that we were just talking to on the street offer to buy us food. We were having members invite us over to eat. We had at least 5 people offer us food through out our fast. We stayed strong though and declined them all. But it was really interesting to see Satan working so hard through out the day to get us to break our fast, and then seeing huge blessings after staying faithful. It was an awesome experience, and it is just an amazing feeling to see Dana so happy because of the blessings he received from our fast. And after he saw those blessings he agreed to come to church with us, which is a tough decision for him since he really needs to keep working to make money for an apartment.
Friday was just as good as Thursday. Our investigator Pat is married to a member, and has been coming to church for over a year. She is 81 years old, and really struggles with the idea of baptism. She is very afraid of getting baptized and always says she can't do it when we ask her about a baptismal date. On Friday we took a member over to her apartment so we could just practice the dunking for baptism. It took almost an hour of talking to her before she would even get in her pool with the member. She actually loves getting in the pool, she is just very afraid of going under the water. It took about another hour for her to actually dunk her head in the water. After she did, she still wouldn't accept a baptismal date. SO for another hour we talked to her about how happy she would be, and how she could have an eternal marriage in the temple. Then after all that and after her husband, the member we brought, and us all bore our testimonies she finally accepted to be baptized on October 5, this upcoming Sunday! She is still very afraid, but has decided to rely on her faith, because she knows it all is true, and we are all very excited for her!
Saturday was a lot of fun. IN the morning we went to a zone conference to watch the new church movie, "Meet the Mormons". But after about 15 minutes it stopped working. That was kind of disappointing because it was really funny. So instead we watched a talk by Elder Uchtdorf about having no fear. The talk was really good, and I liked how he talked about Peter. During Christ's ministry Peter was full of fear, he had the whole walking on water incident, and he denied Christ three times. Yet after Christ's atonement he was made president of the church, and from that moment on he was a changed person. He boldly testified of Christ, even though he faced increasingly harsh persecutions all the way up to the time that he was crucified himself. Elder Uchtdorf continued to talk about how we are just like Peter, and even though we have fears, if we put our faith in Christ like Peter did we can accomplish so much. So I really liked that. Then we went and did some more painting for Alfred, we have about half of the house painted now. He is so grateful, and is slowly but surely opening up to the gospel. Then Saturday night we brought President Weidman to a lesson with Mark and Tatiana. With President Weidman there, the spirit was extremely strong. At the end of the lesson Mark said he loved the idea of what we had told him, but he just can't accept it to be true yet, but he committed to pray about it. Tatiana said she needed more of a sign that what were teaching was true, and agreed to actually read the Book of Mormon this time. It doesn't sound like they made a big change from the outside, but we could tell that they felt the spirit, and had come closer to accepting the truthfulness of the gospel.
Sunday was really good too. Paul was confirmed, and the new bishop gave him a very powerful blessing during it. Dana came to the meeting and really enjoyed it, so much that he was telling everybody on Hollywood Boulevard how great church was. A member told a cool story about how she normally rides the bus to the beach, but felt prompted to drive her car last time.Then when she was getting ready to go, a guy came crawling out of the water in severe pain. When the life guard attended to him it turned out that he had dislocated his knee. The guy said not to call an ambulance because he couldn't afford it. But he had no way of getting home, when the member asked him where he lived she found out that he lived across the street from her, and she was able to give him a ride home. She talked about how great it is to follow a prompting from the spirit, and then see the rewards from it later. After church the other elders had a baptism service which Pat came to. It was a really great service, and afterwords Pat said that she was still ready for baptism! Towards the end of the day we were reporting our numbers for the week, and saw that we hadn't had any new investigators, we decided to say we got one, and prayed that we would be able to get one by the end of the day. Shortly after the prayer we saw a guy open the hood of his car, and really struggling with something. Luckily Elder Taylor is really good with cars so we went to help him. It turned out that before work his phone had slid down his windshield and somehow fell inside the fender. He really needed it too because he was living out of his car, and currently in the search for a new apartment. While we were working on getting it out, we called it to see where in the fender it was, and it turned out that he was a former investigator in our area. And after talking to him for a while he said that he was re interested in the church, and wanted another Book of Mormon since he had lost his. It was such a miracle to answer our prayers. Hopefully next week is a good as this week was, we are excited for the baptism! I love and miss you all!
Elder Burnside