Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sept. 28, 2015 in Greensboro, NC

Hello all!

This week was only just the very best! Ok, probably not best ever but it was a lot better than the past couple :) We got to go on like 3 days of exchanges practically with the Zone Leaders, and that was a party because the Zone Leaders and us are homies. While on exchange on Wednesday, we were able to see B___ briefly and we should have an appointment with her tonight. She is just the best!

The other highlight was a girl named E___. She is a friend of S­­­___ who has come to seminary 3 times in the last 2 weeks. We met her on Tuesday, and this week we have been making plans to teach her with S___ and Sister S___. We are going to have a skype lesson this Tuesday, so please pray that E___ will be open and want to learn more.

So on Thursday, we went with the Zone leaders to help a family move clear across the Zone because they moved away from our area. It was pretty much all day, and it was lots of fun. The best part was when we were moving them in to the new house, 2 of the bedrooms are upstairs with super narrow, curvy hallways. The last thing we moved was a giant heavy 3 person couch, and it was impossible to fit it upstairs to where we needed it. So we loaded it on a pickup and drove it to the back of the house where there was a second story deck. Then 5 guys picked it up long ways and lifted it up to 4 of us on the deck, where we had to rotate it and bring it through the sliding glass door. Fortunately, it fit (barely), so it worked out.

One spiritual though. Lots of times as I study, I have these impressions that come, but I just kind of write them down without trying them out. This week I was praying for some ideas, and the though popped in my head "Elder Branch, I give you thoughts all the time. Why don't you try them out and see which ones work?" (Read this in President Uchdorfs voice, not cause that's what it sounded like, it just seems like something he would say). It was a good reminder though to trust personal revelation, no matter what it is.

We didn't get to watch the women's session yet, but I am excited to catch it later on, it sounds amazing! Thanks for the quote!

So today we took a ramble out yonder to Burlington, Elder J___'s old area! It's a fun place, I want to serve here! We are bowling and visiting members today, it's been fun. Oh, and K___ said she saw y'all at a concert the other night, that sounds fun! She told me how she is engaged now, wildcard! (Not). Haha, but it's all good.  I'm happy for her. So yeah, thanks for the stories! Y'all are the best! Love you!!

Elder Branch

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sept. 21, 2015 in Greensboro, NC A new companion in Greensboro

Hello!! I'm glad y'all got the pictures and everything, we made sure to get a picture of our new companionship this week.

So my companion is Elder J___ . He is from South Salt Lake City, in fact he is pretty close to your work, mom. He is 23, and he has only 3 months left on his mission! He is super not trunky though and we are ready to work hard!! Back home he was sponsored in Skateboarding and Snowboarding, and he has a skateboard with him. This makes my second companion who is a sponsored skater, I'm going to be a good sports videographer by the end of my mission. We are getting along super well.

So this last week we made a plan for moving forward with the work here. We talked about it with President A___ separately in our interviews (which were also this week), and he just encouraged us to figure out how to find friends to teach. To help us, we went on google maps and made a whole bunch of pins on all the people we'd taught, so that when we are in an area, we can pull that up and see exactly who is around us. It also helps us tell which areas are never visited. We were also able to have some good visits with some members, and came up with a bunch of people they want to help introduce to the gospel, so we are making plans there to follow up with them.

We weren't able to contact B___ this week, but we are going to give her a couple more try's. We also couldn't see G___ and S___. We did get to talk to a maintenance man for our apartment a little though when he came to fix our sink. It was super funny, he told us he probably believed 90% of what we did, and told us he was Jehovah's Witness. Then he asked if we believe in the Trinity (they do not), and when we said "no" he was super surprised! (In my head, I was like "95%"). So that was a pretty fun seed we got to plant :)

Wow, I sure loved the email updates this week! It was one of my favorites! Glad to hear all is going well, I sure love you guys! Thanks for everything :)

Elder TooBlessedToBeStressed Branch

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sept. 14, 2015 in Greensboro, NC

Hello everyone!

So transfer calls came, and Elder G­­­­­­___ is leaving. Elder H___ will be getting a new companion down in the Guilford area, and my new companion will replace Elder G___ as the district leader. Plus side is that I get to be here for 6 more weeks, for a total of 6 months! Yeah!

So this last week was absolutely wild and crazy. We were trying to work in both areas which resulted in lots of chaos. We also had to clean up the Guilford apartment hard core, because it was a mess! So between all that, we don't have many new updates on the people. We are hoping to have a church tour with G___ and S___ this week, and we are going to work hard with my new companion to find (hopefully and/or faithfully) loads of new friends.    :)

We did get to teach B___, and she is way neat! She never was raised in a church and says she is liberal and doesn't like when Christians accuse people's beliefs as 'sins'. A soon-to-be missionary who lives in the ward and I got to teach her the Restoration and she asked tons of questions. At the end we asked what all this would mean in it were true, and she responded "it means I have a responsibility, which honestly scares me a little." We invited her to pray, but she was pretty hesitant at first. At our zone meeting just a couple weeks ago, sister P___ gave a training where she compared us inviting friends to pray to having someone ask us randomly to sing a solo. We would probably be afraid and worried about "performing," and she talked about ways to help them overcome the fear and understand what prayers really are. So when B___ was hesitant we were able to simply teach her how to pray, and she then offered the prayer. It was so simple and honest, and afterwards I could feel the Spirit booming. We shared that with her, and she committed to continuing to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. So pray for her please!   :)

So recently President A___ has been emphasizing how if we elevate our studies, we will elevate our teaching. So today I had a really good study about being temperate, and what it really means. My favorite thing I learned was in Corinthians. It talks about how those who strive for self mastery are temperate. It reminds me of Jesus Christ and how much control he had all throughout his trial and crucifixion. He was in absolute control the whole time, and never fought back or responded to the threats and abuse. I want to pray and develop that spiritual gift myself, I know that it is one of the most important spiritual gifts for all of us to develop in order to bless ourselves and our families!

Other than that, the rest of our week can mostly be described in pictures, so I will include those there. Thanks for the fun stories and emails!! Y'all are the best! Luvs!

Elder TooBlessedToBeStressed Branch

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sept. 8, 2015 in Greensboro, NC New companion joins us at least for the week until transfers

Hello all!

We had a wonderfully wild week here as well! But first off, thanks for the stories about sacrament meeting, they were great! In our ward we had 3 different prayers offered that specifically prayed for the missionaries in S., and in one of them the Sister even said our names!!! First time I have ever had that at church on my mission. We heard a quote that said "people love hearing their names, especially in prayer," and boy is it true!

We are still teaching G., her and her husband watched BYU TV this weekend since they didn't come to church. It's a start in the right direction! ;)

So we have had a couple good positive contacts this week, and we are excited to see where they lead. One of them was with a man named B. We met him in the apartment cyber cafe. He was super friendly! He asked us to pray for his son to choose the right. He went to seminary for his church, but is currently non practicing and loves to learn more. He is mainly searching for truth. He said to stop by in a couple weeks when they have finished moving some stuff in to their apartment. We gave him a card with our number and told him to call us so we could help them move in. It was really exciting though because of just how open and friendly he was. He kept complimenting how we just seemed honest and trustworthy. He mentioned the word "light" a couple times too. It's amazing how people recognize the difference, but don't quite realize why. It reminded me of the women at the beach in Oregon before my mission who approached us and asked "are y'all Mormon?" I love this gospel!

Another woman we met was named B. We were in an apartment complex to meet with a friend but they weren't home. We were just sitting on a curb talking for a bit, and had just gotten up to head home for the night (8:50 ish), and a woman came outside to walk her dog. We were able to talk with her for a bit, and she actually knew that we were missionaries, and was totally down with having us come back! So we are hopefully seeing her tonight :)

Finally, wild story. Elder C. hurt his knee about 2 weeks ago and they think it is a torn meniscus. So he had to fly home yesterday and Elder H. was transferred over to our companionship for the next week until transfers. It is super fun to be companions with him, but it was sad to see Elder C. go too. We are excited for this week though, and we want to tear it up! :D

Elder Branch

Elder TooBlessedToBeStressed Branch

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Aug. 31, 2015 in Greensboro, NC on Elder G.'s birthday

So today is Elder G's birthday!! He doesn't like parties so he wouldn't tell me the specific day, but I managed to buy birthday cake Oreos without him seeing last week so it was fun.  ;)

We went to the Guilford Court House Battlefield Visitors Center today, and it was super neat!! They had tons of revolutionary war artifacts, and it turns out it is technically a National Military Park.

Our week was fairly decent. Brother R. drove us around today for shopping, and we are going to go back this week and play some guitar with him. We got a referral for a man named D. but haven't been able to contact him since, so that's a bummer. At least he has a Book of Mormon now. I'd say my favorite part of the week was on exchange with Elder S. We were in his area, but we were just super busy and had lots of great lessons. Back in our area, Elder G. and Elder L. saw good things too! I love exchanges, because we always see wonderful "exchange miracles."

Dad (Oh man, that was bad! I just typed "Brother Branch" and "Elder Branch" before I finally got it right!) mentioned in his letter how we are staying optimistic, and we actually had a conversation about it last night. Sometimes in missionary work we don't have much control about what happens. In the end it sometimes comes down to timing. That doesn't mean we can't find people, and that doesn't mean we have an excuse to be disobedient, but at least it helps explain why we struggle so much sometimes. So we are just continuing to pray and work and hope that whoever we are meant to find, we will find, and until that happens we will just keep trying.

We have been having good dinner messages focused around inviting people to learn of Christ and His gospel, and this coming week we are both speaking in Sacrament meeting. We are fasting and praying for the members, that as they open their mouths, they will know what to share with their friends, and that their friends hearts will be receptive to the invitations they extend.

Sure love y'all!!! Thanks for the emails!

Elder TooBlessedToBeStressed Branch