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,
He did follow up answering a couple more questions
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!
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.
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.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.
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 Mormon.org 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 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 mission...lol. 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.
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!