Monday, June 22, 2015

A Slow Week

June 22, 2015

Dear Family:

So this has been another frustrating fall through week. We have found a bunch of new investigators the past couple weeks, but nobody keeps their appointments so we are having a difficult time teaching. It is annoying. But eventually we will have a week where we teach like 20 investigator lessons and it will be sweet. However, so I am not too much of a downer this week. I have a couple of good things that I have seen this week. It has been really cool to finally see people that I talked to on the street become investigators for us. It is a cool feeling to see that you are making a difference in the mission and in people's lives. Second, my teaching has really improved. Obviously I still have a long way to go, but it is nice to see that my focused efforts to improve in that area have paid off.

Overall the transfer has flown by -- it is already week 4. This is the most exciting time in my opinion. The whole transfer builds up to the last couple weeks. We also had my first zone conference on Tuesday! That was a lot of fun. It was cool to see some new missionaries and be exposed to what more of the mission is like. So far I have only met my district and a couple of people in my zone so it was cool to meet new people. But I came out with so few missionaries that it will take me awhile to really meet some people. It was President Meredith's last zone conference too, which was sad. He is an awesome guy, I love him. But we get to meet the new president the week after next so it is a really exciting time to be here!

Sorry this is sort of a lame email, but not a lot happened this week unfortunately. Next week I will do a better job.


Elder Hyde

Monday, June 15, 2015

Settling into Mission Life

June 15, 2015

Dear Family:

This week has been pretty good. I am starting to feel like a real missionary more consistently which is fun. The key is just being bold with people I guess. I really focused on that this week and I felt really good about my efforts this week.

We had a pretty average week teaching wise, but things are slowly starting to pick up in the area. I have realized that last transfer when we found basically no investigators was an anomaly, we are finding pretty consistently each week. Now our issue has been getting people to progress, part of which requires us to meet with them which is difficult when no one remembers you are coming and the fact that we are spending less time in Richmond nowadays. But things will work out for us if we put the effort into the right things. We have a lot of maybe people who are just one or two steps away from something significant- investigating, progressing, baptismal date, etc- but not many who are actually there yet. That is what we spent most of the week doing, trying to get those maybe people to the next step. We had mixed results.

We did find two new investigators who are super cool. They are David and Mischa. We had an awesome lesson with them! Elder Schaeffer and I are really becoming good teachers together and they were really receptive. They are super prepared and the Spirit was strong as we taught them. David is blind, and he is really a cool guy. I am excited to teach them again in the future. This was especially nice because earlier this week we had a very strange experience. We met a referral at a Burger King at the mall on Tuesday. He was a nice guy, but he was really into kind of an anti church. He prayed and in that he asked that God would give us a "supernatural witness" that the Book of Mormon is not true. We shook it off but it was nice to see that although there are many people who have hardened there hearts, there are those here that are prepared for the message we share.

This week we have made it a big point to work with members in the ward, especially sharing with them the ward mission plan. we ask them to prepare a list of 100 people they know and to prayerfully select a few and we will follow up with them and a couple weeks later. 100 people seems like a lot of people, but this is a plan put forth by Preach My Gospel and therefore it is inspired. Among those 100 people there will be at least 1 person who is ready to hear the gospel. So everyone should do that. I am excited to see how this effort will work out, I am expecting many miracles and many great things to happen through these members.

On Sunday I got to go to my first "Why I Believe" fireside. It was awesome! The highlight was that Spencer Hadley, former BYU player and current Raiders player, came and spoke. He gave an awesome talk! He is an awesome guy and I really admire him. He served in Roseville too which is pretty cool. This week is my first zone conference so I am excited to go to that! President Meredith is going home in July so that will be weird. He is awesome. But the future is exciting.


Elder Hyde

Monday, June 8, 2015

A New, Golden Investigator

June 8, 2015

Dear Family:

This week went OK, pretty normal week. We have started to go up North in our area more so things are a going a bit slow. We do not have many people up there to teach but we are trying to build our teaching pool there. But we are still in Richmond a lot which is always fun. Lots of things fell through there but we are used to that.

The highlights of this week were two of the lessons we taught. The first was to our investigator Anish. He is a Hindu from Fiji and that makes lessons with him very unique. We have not made much progress with him though. However, when we went over on Tuesday the lesson went really well. That was probably the first time on my mission that I have had an experience with asking inspired questions. It was really cool to see how asking the right questions and having the Spirit with you can really help people open up. For the first time we finally got him to talk to us and he even asked us questions back! With that we were able to testify of the Book of Mormon and got him to commit to reading it which was sweet. 

The other lesson was with our new investigator Lequita. She was a referral from the YSA elders and she is the most prepared I have seen. She walked up to the YSA elders and thanked them for what they were doing. So we set up an appointment, but it fell through unfortunately (she actually called us to cancel though and that was cool since no one ever does that). But we were able to meet her finally on Wednesday. She was super cool, she asked a lot of questions and we pretty much got to know her and talked about a couple of principles. It was a really short lesson though, and I left her with the Restoration pamphlet to read. We were able to meet with her again on Saturday and that was the most by the book lesson I have experienced. She had flipped through the pamphlet and when we asked her about it she said she loved the Joseph Smith story so we were stoked. We told her about that and the Priesthood and the Book of Mormon and she loved it all and thought it all made a lot of sense. To make things even more ridiculous, an ice cream truck went by right before Elder Schaeffer used the ice cream truck vs cop-priesthood analogy. And we got it all done in 20 minutes, which is how long our lessons are supposed to be in this mission. It was insane. I could not believe it when we were driving away. So that was a really awesome experience.

We also had stake conference this weekend and that was really fun. We got to go to Concord so I saw some more of my mission and the zone. The talks were really good and the temple president spoke at that Saturday night session and then President Meredith at the Sunday session which was sweet. So it was a nice weekend. 

That is pretty much all I have for this week.


Elder Hyde

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Baptism!

June 1, 2015

Dear Family:

So this was an interesting week. We had a lot of awesome plans for this week and they pretty much all fell to pieces immediately. On the down side, we only taught like 8 lessons, which is bad for this area. Plus, we were not able to see a lot of our investigators. Richmond is a lot of fun and you get to teach a lot but the people there have a hard time keeping appointments. Despite the down week teaching though, we definitely saw a lot of miracles.

First of all, we had a bunch of people placed in our path by the Lord that we were able to talk to and set up appointments with. The Lord really blessed us as we tried our best to talk to everyone we saw a lot of people were willing to listen. We were shocked at how willing people were to hear our message. Hopefully those people will act on the invitations we left them and we can teach them in the near future.

The other biggest miracle of this week was that we had a baptism! Her name is Lilia and she is awesome. I will tell you some of her story so that you can see what a miracle this was.

When I first arrived in the area we were about to drop Lilia. She had a teaching record that went all the way back to 2006! Missionaries had been teaching her off and on for 9 years, and we had only recently re-added her to our teaching pool. We planned to teach her the Plan of Salvation and commit her to baptism, but we were not expecting much since she had had several dates in the past. Her big issue had always been the Word of Wisdom and we had little expectation that things would be different this time. Nevertheless, we taught her and she accepted, and committed to keep the commandments. So we were happy but unsure if anything would come of it. In the past, missionaries had worked so hard, trying everything to get her ready for baptism. But we just committed her and said if she is ready then she is ready and we will do our best to help her. If not then oh well, maybe someday. But each time we went over we found that she had an increasing desire to be baptized and had quit coffee the day after we committed her to baptism. That is miracle #1. She quit everything all by herself, with minimal help other than support and prayers from us. We were amazed. We had set the baptism for the 6th of June but that turned out to be Stake Conference. So luckily for us, she had started keeping the word of wisdom exactly 3 weeks before May 30th. So we moved up her baptism and were praying like crazy for her to make it.

Unfortunately, Lilia forgets a lot of stuff. She is a funny old lady and sometimes we would set appointments and she would just forget that we were coming over. So we were a little concerned she would forget the baptism. Last Wednesday we scheduled her baptismal interview and told her about 5 times the date and time and who would get her and everything. We went down and she was not there. And since we were not sure if she would pass the interview we could not finalize the baptismal plans for that Saturday. So we were getting nervous. Then we tried again the next day and she was not home again. Finally, Friday afternoon we managed to get her into the interview with a miracle effort from a sister in the ward and some awesome zone leaders that changed plans for us. Sure enough, Lilia had forgotten that her baptism was the next day. Thankfully she was interviewed and found worthy. So that night we called a bunch of people and had everything ready to go. That whole experience was miracle #2.

On Saturday we went down early to Oakland to fill up the font at the ISC (Interstake Center) and got everything ready. The Thulin's a ward missionary couple (they are awesome and so funny) were the only ones there. So we were worried Lilia had forgotten again or no one had come. But it was just the door was locked. So that was a relief. She was baptized and confirmed yesterday in sacrament meeting.

I have not told this story very well, but the fact that Lilia was baptized is a huge miracle. It has shown me that there are people all around us who are prepared to receive the gospel, and that no effort is wasted. I am sure those missionaries had no idea what a long journey this would be when they talked to her on the street 9 years ago. It is on the Lord's timing not ours. Elder Schaeffer and I basically did nothing, it was all Lilia and the Lord. It was an awesome experience, and she is an awesome example to me.

That was pretty much the highlight of the week, as I said most everything fell through. We did add 2 investigators that also seem very prepared at this point in their lives to accept the gospel. I feel like I say this every week, but next week should be awesome!


Elder Hyde