Monday, September 29, 2014

Sept. 29, 2014 in Concord, NC

Hello yall! Time is short this week so this letter will be for everyone. We spent a long day at stores and the mall. It was a pretty great adventure, and we found some super snazzy ties!    :)

I've heard great things about the women's conference, I definitely want to watch it. 

Have you heard of Meet the Mormons? It's a movie coming out about 6 different Mormons and it sounds really great! AND we get to watch it as a Mission!!!!!! We were invited by the First Presidency :D 

We have a Zone Conference this week with our Zone, the Assistants, and President Craven :) 

We saw some amazing miracles in the past couple of days. S will be baptized in October. Also, we have a new family we are teaching and E and K are honest seekers of truth, so we're excited for them. 
This week was full of testimony builders :) It's fantastic :) We have some bad days but it only makes the good days so much better! It started out really slow and we weren't having much success. We had a very spirit lead weekly planning session this Thursday though and after that, we just started seeing miracles!! We found a bunch of potential investigators and talked to lots of our current investigators. All of our lessons felt much more spirit lead as well, and we just got along really well. I'm so grateful for planning, for personal study, and for the Spirit.
Since being out on a mission, my testimony of the gospel has just grown and grown. Literally anyone who wants to find truth will come to know that this church is true, just by study and prayer!  

I'm super excited to see General Conference this week, and to see Meet the Mormons soon. This gospel is great!

Elder Zac Branch

Sure, I'd love to memorize The Living Christ with you too!

I nearly have the Mormon Message: Mountains to Climb memorized. We use it tons with our investigators. It's brilliant. And so is the Living Christ, and the church, and general conference, and everything else!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sept. 22, 2014 in Concord, NC

I'm stoked for general conference! We will be watching it at the church unless we get to bring an investigator to a members house. 

We got to serve the other day. A family in the ward had us come over and do some yard work on a house they rent to people. I got to drive a riding lawn mower around some and do some weeding and mulch spreading.  We saw a giant praying mantis while doing it! It was bigger than my hand and it attacked a grass hopper! I saved the grass hopper though by knocking the mantis's legs out from under it. It was super wild! Another time we were picking some weeds by some bushes and I felt a plant fall on my neck. I grabbed it and threw it and when it hit the ground it wasn't plants, it was a freaky crazy looking spider!!! I flipped out! It was super scary! But we're good now :) but yeah, that was service this week.

So last week was absolutely ridiculous! We didn't even go shopping so we just had to survive. It made me happy to hear that Sister W wrote you though, they are a great family! The man in the brown shirt and sunglasses that moved us too is C.H. and they are amazing parents!
The new apartment is in a really nice neighborhood closer to downtown Concord and is practically a mansion compared to lots of missionary apartments. We also saw a bunch of neat critters the other night, including a big millipede, a tree frog (I know that Hunter loves those!) and another big praying mantis. North Carolina is a pretty boss state! 

So I forgot but did I get to email y'all about our mission conference where we had Elder Wilson of the Seventy speak? If not, then it was super great! It was 2 weeks ago and he talked with us about the Book of Mormon and the power it has to convert people. One of the things we are doing now in our mission is asking members to read with our investigators. It's brilliant! Our investigators understand it much better and they learn to love reading the Book of Mormon. And once they know the Book of Mormon is true, then everything else falls into place! And then it's up to them to chose the right and be baptized :) It's brilliant! Haha

We got a great new investigator this Sunday! The Bishop introduced us to him and his name is J. He was in Georgia serving in the military until recently. He's awesome and when we taught him it felt really led by the Spirit and was just a good experience. 

Other than that, life here is good! The church is true! Love ya!

Elder Branch

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sept. 19, 2014...Still in Concord but it was moving day so no letter

Thank you dear Ashley!!!

It was moving day so we didn't get a letter from Elder Branch.  :(

We did, however, get pictures from the fantastic Ward Mission Leader's fantastic wife, Ashley!
Bless her!!     :)

Here are her pictures...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sept. 8, 2014 Concord NC, The lease is up on their place so they'll be moving this week.

Our lease is up in the place were staying so this next week we will be moving to a new address. Please let people know :) I'm not 100% sure of the address yet but I'll let you know.

I've been hearing lots about the temple from friends. I'm soooo jealous! I miss the temple.

Your story about hiking reminded me, Elder Z had a good analogy the other day about hiking. "In hiking we always have to remember to look up. We often spend so much time looking down at the dirt and obstacles we miss the amazing views we are passing. We may make it to the end or the climax of the hike, but we missed all the other rewards along the way! It's just like life. So many times we get caught up just trying to make it past our trials and forget to have fun and enjoy things. It's important to watch out for trials, but we shouldn't spend all our time there:)" It was a really neat analogy. A good quote from Elder Nelson I heard was:
"Real joy awaits each of us on the other side of sorrow... Jesus Christ lives and is the Master Healer"

About study time, we get an hour of personal study each morning and it's my favorite part of the day! Our Mission President calls it our personal interview with the 3rd member of the Godhead.

So my week was pretty good, we met with S who we thought had dropped off the face of the earth but turns out she's actually just starting a second job at Taco Bell. (Taco Bell is the best!!!!) :D

We also met a couple of interesting guys this week. First we met one who called himself Lord Oz!! He asked us to do push-ups for him and then insulted one of my companions about his physical abilities. My companion responded "whatever" and Lord Oz said, "See, that's why I say good day. Maybe once y'all grow up we can talk."  We said thanks, asked if we could do anything  for him, and then went on to an appointment. It was pretty wild!!  Poor fella.

The other three were named D, M, and K. We were walking down the road from S's house to the library and we heard someone call "Hey!" We looked over and there was this little shack house thing and a guy was waving to us. We went in and there were three guys sitting there smoking hard core.  

D, the one who had called us, told us that they needed prayer and that we should pray with them. The one named M was saying that he didn't need prayer and M was saying he was already saved and that we don't believe in God and Jesus. D paused and asked us if we believed in God and Jesus and we told him we did. They all started talking again and D said loudly, nearly crying, "We need prayer man, we need it bad. We're going to Hell if we don't get some prayer now!" Elder Z said a prayer and a ways in they started interrupting saying "End it! Be brief! No vain repetition!" And freaking out (it wasn't vain repetition). He closed the prayer and D started thanking us while the other two started saying how it was too long. K told me he was German and saved already again. D shook our hands, asked our names for the second time, told us their names a third time, and said that Elder B looked like his son. All of a sudden he looked at me and started crying and saying "do you see this one!? There's something special about him! I don't know, but somebody's gonna be blessed by that young man today! Do ya believe me!?" Elder Z said he did and D was like " no you don't! You don't believe me do ya?" And crying more. M was like, "yeah, something about that one, the way he holds himself" and D kept talking more saying the same thing. D asked for a hug so I gave him one and he kept bawling harder. K started in too saying how it was in all 3 of us. Then they all started talking more. D shook our hands and hugged us again, told us he was a drug addict, to which M interrupted and said "No I ain't!!" We thanked them and left them then.   :)
It was da best!!! We were laughing and smiling all the way to the library.   :)
So yeah, never know what will happen, I really like the people we run into.   :)

We were able to get out with lots of members and we were able to visit less active members so it was really great!  One of the things I want to work on is asking less active members for referrals and friends that we could talk to. Another improvement I felt we made was the lessons with the members. Instead of showing a video or just reading a scripture and bearing testimony, we've been committing the members to do things. One commitment is we have them write down some names of friends, to pray for those friends each night that their hearts can be opened and that they will be interested in hearing the gospel. We've followed up with a few people and they have been praying. One final thing we want to work on is staying in better contact with people. Whether through text, Facebook, or in person, we want to check up on our investigators and really help them progress. When we don't see investigators for a couple of days to weeks, it's real easy to lose contact and have them fall away. As we get more contact with investigators, they will remember commitments, ask us their questions, and be able to progress. I'm super excited to see what is going to happen in Concord in the next couple of weeks and months!

Thanks for your emails! And the pictures! The Church is true!

Elder Branch

Btw, could you send me some of my paisley ties? Turns out they are legal :)Ooh, and plaid ties! I love plaid ties!! :) But not as much as I love you all!! ;) Thanks so much!

This was after p-day last week, after a good bout of chair soccer.  Elder Z, Elder B, and a member of the Kward named C.   :)      He's 18 and is getting ready for a mission and is so great!  He's gone with us a couple of times even though he's in K ward instead of Concord :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sep. 1, 2014, Concord NC, Transfer day today in the mission but no changes for him and his companions.

This week we had struggles getting members out to lessons, but we were still able to have quite a few lessons, which was better than nothing!
One of our best days was this last Thursday. On Tuesday we found woman named A that had been on our potentials list and we got the chance to set an appointment up for Thursday. We also found another lady in her neighborhood that same day named S who said we could come back and asked some really deep doctrine questions, like about dealings after this life, our potential to become like Gods and all those other questions! When we went back and visited her, we told her that we didn't know all the answers but we knew the Book of Mormon to be true. The Spirit was able to take over that lesson and direct us as to what we should say and what questions we should ask. It all really boiled down to her and her testimony of the Book of Mormon. We were able to give her a Book of Mormon and she's going to pray about it. 
Our lesson with A just added to our blessings. She was so excited to learn about the different denominations and how they all came about because she had those same questions. She got real excited about Joseph Smith too. Her only question was about the Book of Mormon because she values the Bible so highly that she doesn't want the Book of Mormon to take away. We once again were guided to share some scriptures and she came to understand how the Book of Mormon doesn't compete, it only adds to and supports the Bible. We are planning on visiting her and her husband again sometime soon and talking to him about the Restoration. Life is good and I'm so grateful for the Holy Ghost. Thanks for all you do!

Elder Branch

Our companionship has been quoting the Lego movie and the song recently (they haven't seen it but I taught them the rap ;) ) our favorite line is "Life is good, cause everything's Awesome" :) Life is good, and we are super blessed to have this gospel :) Love ya!

Elder Zac Branch