Monday, July 20, 2015

A Most Taxing Week

July 20, 2015

Dear Family:

This has been one of the most taxing weeks of my mission. I spent about half the week feeling like I might have a heart attack from stress. But it was a good week.

Monday was my last day with Elder Schaeffer. We taught a couple of good lessons. It was sad knowing our time together was over though. I love that guy, I am really grateful that he trained me.

Tuesday I met my new companion Elder Rowley. He is from Winchester, Virginia and goes home in November so he is pretty old. He is cool, I like working with him. But Tuesday we just had District Meeting and then made a run up to Crockett. That is really when the stress started. While I am technically the junior companion, Elder Rowley does not know the area so I was responsible for everything. So I was in charge of getting everything set up in advance and then take the lead in all the lessons. It was difficult to say the least. But we had a good day, we taught a few lessons. 

Wednesday was fun, I got to take Elder Rowley to see Richmond for the first time. We got to teach a few lessons. I was especially excited to see Akana, a member of  our ward who's wife is not a member and we are teaching. He is Samoan and super awesome. While I was disappointed not teach his wife, he is an awesome guy. He has a lot of great plans for his family, I really hope they get there.

Skipping ahead to Friday, Friday was awesome. We had weekly planning as usual, still stressful because I was in charge of getting the plans in order. But it was not too terrible. But we were able to have dinner with the Fautanu's, one of my favorite families in the ward. Unfortunately we were not able to teach anyone for most of that day. But we were able to meet with Craig, one of our longtime investigators. He was actually the first investigator I taught when I got here. We have been trying to get him to keep commitments forever, he just never did. So the last we had we read half of Alma 32 and asked them to read the rest by our next meeting. Based off previous experience I was not very hopeful of anything having changed when we next met. But actually they read 6 chapters! It was the best feeling ever! It was really rewarding to see someone I have tried so hard to help for so long to finally begin to progress! That was one of the best moments on my mission. 

We had a good week overall. We taught the most I have ever. Not sure how that happened other than miracles. So it was nice that the Lord supported me throughout the week. I feel pretty good knowing that I made it through, and not only that, but we saw a lot of progress in the area.

Hope you all have a good week,


Elder Hyde

Monday, July 13, 2015

My Trainer Got Transferred to Berkeley!

July 13, 2015

Dear Family:

So this week was kind of crazy, it was the last week of the transfer so that is always a good time. We had a good week. As usual we had a bunch of stuff fall through but we got a lot done despite that. Unfortunately I do not have my planner with me so I do not remember too much of what we actually did.

Tuesday, I went on exchanges into the Lao ward, that is always fun. It is nice to get perspective. If you think your life is difficult then try finding investigators and getting stuff done in the Lao ward, speaking lao. There are a lot more Laotians here than elsewhere, but not that many really. But those guys are awesome.

Most of the rest of the week we spent in Richmond trying and mostly failing to meet with our people there. But we added this awesome kid Edwin on Wednesday. He is like 16 and we met him a couple weeks ago on the street and he was super receptive. We finally got to sit down with him and he asked a bunch of really good questions about life and we taught him the Plan of Salvation. I am excited to teach him more. He, like everyone else is pretty hard to meet with though. He is young and does not currently have a phone. Plus getting inside that apartment complex is always an adventure, the gates are always locked so we walk around until we see one open and then sprint in. I've gotten pretty good at that on my mission.

Sunday we got to go to Why I Believe. It was good. They are funny because it is full of people who do not know Mormon culture so it gets pretty rowdy. Its good to get some interesting people in the church. The speakers were all good, and President and Sister Frandsen were awesome. I think we are about to see a lot of great things in the mission. Our most recent convert Lilia was able to come and she loved it so maybe we can get her to speak at an upcoming one. That would be awesome.

Lilia is doing well, she has been hard to meet with but we got to sit down with her this week. We have really been pushing her to read the Book of Mormon daily and she does it pretty consistently! She is about to get into 2nd Nephi even, which is awesome. Its been funny the past couple weeks talking to her, she is like a completely different person since we first met with her. She is so happy now and active, whereas before she mostly just stayed at home and did other stuff. But she comes to church and Book of Mormon class and is out doing stuff and is living again basically! It has been awesome to see the change the Gospel has had in her life. The Gospel is awesome!

So we had transfer calls on Saturday, very exciting. Elder Schaeffer got a call from President Frandsen in the middle of studies to be a District Leader in Berkeley! So I knew that their were some changes coming. I am staying in Hilltop 2nd and my new companion is Elder Rowley. He is currently in my zone so I know him a bit. He is from Winchester, Virginia so that is cool. I'll let you know more next week.


Elder Hyde

Monday, July 6, 2015

Meeting the New Mission President

July 6, 2015

Dear Family:

This was a pretty crazy week for us.

Monday we went up to Pinole and did some work up there so it was a pretty laid back day overall. E had an appointment fall through but he left a note to his "Mormon Friends" so that kind of made up for it. Definitely a change from Richmond though, people just aren't there when we show up usually.

Tuesday we had District Meeting and went up to Crockett, the northernmost reach of our area and I think the farthest north the mission goes but I am not sure. We also went to Concord to see the doctor for Elder Schaeffer so that was fun. It is fun going out of the area once in awhile. But it took a lot of time so that kind of sucked, we did not have as much time to work today.

Wednesday was pretty exciting. We have this investigator who we have been working with for awhile who has not let anyone into his house because it is so dirty in 4 years. But on Wednesday we got to be the first ones in 4 years and we went in and cleaned with him. It is a big step in changing his life around and we were really excited. Unfortunately he feels like he needs to put the Gospel on hold to turn his life around. It sucks when people think they do not need the Gospel or they think it would get in the way. It is tough because we know that the Gospel is the one thing that will help them fix anything in their lives than anything else. But we will keep working with him and hopefully he realizes what we have to offer soon.

Tuesday we got to meet President Frandsen. He came around and shook all our hands. He was nice, super tall, and pretty hardcore. I think we will get along well and I am looking forward to working with him for the rest of my mission. It is going to be a great 2 years!

The weekend was a bit slow because of the holiday. But we had a good time, people were nice to us. And we got fed really well on the 4th of July so that was nice. The Lord really helped us out this week.

Transfer calls are next saturday so this should be the most exciting week of my mission yet! Anything can happen! Find out next week!


Elder Hyde

With Incoming Pres. Frandsen

With Outgoing Pres. Meredith

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