Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 26, 2015 in Greensboro, NC

Hello :)

P-day is today due to yesterday we had a "day of finding." It was a rather humbling experience, because the past week we have had quite good success talking with people and at least getting their address or phone number so we could come by. When that happens though, it is tough not to get prideful in how well it seems to be going. Even though I knew in my mind that pride was dangerous, it still must have slipped in, and we were really struggling yesterday because of it. It just seemed like no one wanted to talk and we weren't seeing much success. I said a silent prayer asking for forgiveness and help. The very next friend we dropped by, named A., talked with us and it all just went so smoothly as we felt the Spirit guiding us. We made an appointment for in 2 weeks, which was better than not at all! Then as we rode away from his house, Elder G. and I each felt impressed to stop and talk to this man by his truck full of yard care equipment. We talked with him about his business (yard work), and also his family and church, and once again we were lead to start talking about the Book of Mormon and what it is, and he accepted a copy! He said "usually I'm not always comfortable accepting things like this, but I feel ok with this one. After all, it seems to be all about Christ from what you explained." It was great!! So pray for N. that he will read and feel the spirit :) It was once again a testimony builder of prayer and of God's willingness to help us know how to share the gospel as we humble ourselves and let Him lead.  :)

Our teaching appointments were great this week, Elder G. and I are learning all kinds of new things as we go and things just keep looking better and better. Specifically we would like you to pray for J. He is a friend the Sisters met 9 months ago, but they were transferred and lost contact with him. We were at his apartment complex visiting other friends and decided to give J. a try and so we knocked. He came right out of the door and started talking about how he had met the Sisters and how he just had so many questions about religion because of all the different denominations, that the only thing he knew to be true is that there is a God. We set up an appointment for that Saturday, and asked C. to join us. We went to the appointment and J. was so excited. He said he didn't think we would come back, but when we did it really made him feel special. We had a wonderful Restoration lesson and he wants to be baptized!! He hasn't been baptized before and he really understood the importance of Priesthood Authority. It was great!! He wasn't able to come to church this last week, and we can't reach him by phone so we are going by tonight, so please pray that he will continue to learn and feel the Spirit!

To answer some of your questions:

We usually get the car 2 out of 3 weeks (tri-share), but the sisters in the S. ward are both leaving so we gave it to them for an extra week so they could visit members and such. We have been on bikes the past 2 weeks but we will get the car today from the G. Elders ;)
-Our ward is pretty small, but the people are all really nice and willing to help us.   :)

-Our area has tons and tons of apartment complex's which is tough because in the past, people kick us out and threaten to arrest us. Fortunately, most of the people here are still pretty nice even when we knock on their doors or when they aren't interested. They will still at least talk to us and sometimes give us water :)

Hey, we showed the Mormon Message "My Brother Hyrum" to a woman who teaches the special needs kids at her school, and she loved it! The pictures of Hyrum's baptism really added to the story! So if you hear from them, tell them thanks for the great video, it is a wonderful, wonderful, message to share!  :) I hope all is well always! Sure love y'all! :)

Elder Branch :)

PS: I've picked up sir and ma'am the past 2 weeks. They come totally natural now. Dad will be excited ;)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 20, 2015 Transferred to Greensboro, NC with Elder G.

Transfers were quite exciting, and I'm glad to be with Elder G. here in Summerfield. The work here is progressing well and we have seen quite a few sweet serendipities this week. When I got in the area Tuesday, there wasn't much going on investigator-wise, but we were able to plan and work together well throughout the rest of the week and were blessed to see so many people open up to us. We found 2 new people to teach, and a number of other people that we are hoping to set appointments with. It's been great. As of right now, we have 10 lessons already scheduled for the next 3 days, and we have members to come with us to every single one! It is so exciting! The Lord has been so good to us.

When we have been contacting people, it's been really interesting to see their attitude throughout the conversation as we ask questions as lead by the spirit. We get the opportunity to watch their hearts soften right in front of us. It's a great privilege to witness those experiences.

One person we met this week was named M. We knocked on her door one night and she came out and started talking with us. She feels there is too much arguing between different denominations and she doesn't understand why there are so many. It led us into a discussion about the Great Apostasy and how so many churches were formed, but how through the Restoration, Christ's church was brought back. Then I felt impressed to add "and it's not so much about the denomination, but it is really about strengthening our relationship with and faith in Jesus Christ." Then she started asking more questions. At one point her boyfriend came out to tell her to come back in but she shushed him and told him that she was talking with us, so he headed back inside. At the end, she asked for a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet. It was great to feel the spirit lead our words,  And it wasn't just with her that that happened, we probably saw the same thing with at least 4 or 5 other people too. One lady wanted nothing to do with us at first, but as we talked about our common relationship in Christ and showed her "Because He Lives", she ended up accepting a pamphlet and giving us some root beer! :)   so tender mercies have been everywhere, and we are so grateful! Thanks for your prayers for us!

So last thing from this week. On Sunday it was Greensboro Stake Conference and we had Elder Kopichke. It was neat to see him again. The Stake Conference was on the same topic as the one in Gastonia-Councils and the Sabbath Day- and it was super neat to see some of the same things as last time, and also some different things. One of my favorite parts was when he talked about signs we have to help us bring spiritual experiences into our life. Some of the main signs or reminders we have are the sacrament, our garments, scriptures, and the one that really stuck out to me is how we use the Sabbath Day outside of church. He said that how we dress and appear on the Sabbath is a sign to the rest of the world. We should treat the Sabbath day as a specific, holy day, and when we as latter-day saints keep it holy (wearing church clothes all day, spending time with family), it provides a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a great conference, and gave me lots to think about :) so yup, all is well!

Sure love yall!! You're the greatest!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May 11, 2015 in Rock Hill, SC - last week here - transfers on Tuesday

Hoorah!! Super fun call last night for Mothers Day, y'all are so great!! So do I sound like a Southerner yet?

Since we got to talk yesterday, this week will be mostly pictures.

This week has been exciting, and in general a huge improvement over the past couple weeks. Elder A. and I had a strong week, working in unity and praying and seeking miracles, while living worthy to see them. And sure enough, those miracles came. We were able to have lots of sweet serendipitous moments throughout the week, from finding people to teach - to surprise member present lessons. One of the best things this week was giving Mothers Day cards to a bunch of awesome people!

One story before I go. So on Friday Elder A. and I got a phone call from a member who asked us if we could give a blessing to another man's mother in law. The man is from Lancaster, and works in Rock Hill, and his wife asked us if he could get someone to give her mother a blessing. We were able to go, and a member met us there to help.

When we got there, there was a lady who volunteers with people in hospice named J. We were able to talk with her for a bit and she mentioned how she sees us riding bikes sometimes, and how she likes our look. She asked us if we believe in Christ and we were able to explain that yes, we believe Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet, not a Savior. She said "Ok, thanks! I've always thought you did, but other people said not. So now I can defend you!" It was great!

We got to give the blessing then and J. remained in the room. Afterwards, we talked more with her and the son in law who arrived. We got to teach most of the Restoration and J. had lots of the same questions about denominations as Joseph Smith did. It was wonderful!! So we got her info and hopefully the other Elders will be able to be good with her since Elder A. and I are getting transferred. 

Sure love ya!!
Elder Branch

Kangen Water - suppose to be really good for ya

 Love the people of South Carolina

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May 5, 2015 in Rock Hill, SC

As far as how I am, I am stressed but surviving. We just seem to have backslid the past couple of weeks, even though we have been working hard.

We do have a bunch of super families we are working with. That would be great if you could pray for them please!! :)

My favorite visit was with the N's this week. Ever since being in the area I have felt a special connection with them, and I feel like they are definitely people I was friends with in the pre-earth life. We had a great lesson about how to receive the Spirit and discern the Spirit. It was a really good visit. I love them, they're great.

Love ya!

Elder Branch

Pictures of District activity to Lazy 5 Ranch