This week was the best week that Elder Sewell and I had this transfer.
I have a lot to say and I apologize now for the long email.....
It started out with 2 zone meetings in a row. We can't Proselyte on
Halloween for many reasons but the main one being it is impossible to
teach people while they're trick or treating. So we had a zone meeting
from 6:00 to 9:00 on Monday. We talked a lot about finding the elect,
dinner etiquette, and how to help investigators come to church on
Sunday. I learned a lot and I felt very inspired to think about how I
can become more considerate of the situation of others. Especially
what they must feel like to be talking to missionaries. My goal was to
come up with ways to "disarm" the negative feelings that they might be
That was Monday and Tuesday was the start of all the cool things that
happened to us is week. We had a second zone meeting that was focused
on finding the elect more than anything else. It was great and
afterwards I was PUMPED!!!!!! We worked really hard that day and we
ended with a miracle. There is a kid named José that we've talked to
in the past. He's super cool and showed some interest. We found him
home and he invited us in. We started to teach him about church and
then the conversation changed to baptism. The entire time however
there were his little brothers and sisters running around everywhere
screaming!!! I couldn't even hear what was going on but in the midst
of everything going on, my companion invites José to be baptized and
he says yes!!!!!! I extended the date for the 26th of November and he
immediately accepted. We told him how important going to church would
be and he told us that he might not be able to go to church this
Sunday. We were bummed but he said that the plans his family had was
not final. With much prayer the plans he and his family had to go to
California over the weekend cancelled and he was committed to come to
church!!!! Sunday came around and Jorge was able to pick him up for
church. José is looking great and we're really excited for him!!!!
We're going to go by today to do a family home evening with his
brothers and sisters and with his mom.
Another exciting thing that happened this week is that Elder Sewell
and I cleaned out a chicken coup. 45 chickens and it hasn't been
cleaned out for 2 years. So there was a huge layer of chicken dropping
built up on the ground. It was our job to use a pick ax and a shovel
to get everything out. It took two hours and we took out hundreds of
pounds of chicken poop. Well it was super dry in there so we got a bunch
of dust (chicken poop) in our lungs and we were coughing like smokers
for the rest of the day. Elder Sewell got a lot in his nose and got a
huge nose bleed when we got back home.
Elder Sewell nearly dying.
The service did not end with that however. The next day we saw José's neighbor shoveling a bunch of dirt out of his property. Apparently in Utah you cannot park on dirt. So he had to take out all of the dirt on one side of his driveway and replace it with gravel or the city would fine him $50 a day. So we , with our white shirts and ties got some shovels and helped him. We filled up a truck and unloaded it. He told us to come back the next day with different clothes and we did. We did 3 more tuck full of dirt and unloaded 2 truck fulls pf gravel. It was a tough job but we got repaid greatly. The brother had a box filled with old religious books that he was going to take to DI so Instead he gave them to us. I now have many nice books that I'm going to be sending home soon because we can't read them on the mission. We also got our hands on the old discussions that our parents and Grandparents used a thousand years ago to do missionary work. They're really cool and we got some really good ideas on how to teach touchy subjects like the great apostasy.
The finished project
Us with brother Firth
Wednesday was the start of a true miracle. We were working really hard all day but we weren't finding anyone to teach. We both felt the strong impression however to get a member out with us immediately. So we prayed about it and we felt really strongly that we needed to have Hermano Meneses out with us. He's not someone we usually take but we went by his house anyways. He told us that we could come pick him up at 7:00 so we're like "great!" We pick him up and take him with us. We're contacting many people and knocking on doors that we've never knocked on before. One of the doors opened and it was a man just visiting the people there. He yelled at the owners and said "hey the Mormons are here!" They yelled back and said "we're very catholic!" I stuck my head in and said "well we're very Mormon!" The man who answered the door ended up liking us so much that he invited us to come visit him sometime where he lives. Unfortunately it was outside of the mission so we sent the referral out.
We kept working hard and the last house we visited was where the miracle happened. There was a man sitting outside smoking a cigarette. This man looked up and saw us and was about to wave us off but then he saw Hermano Meneses. This man is named Juan. He came here from Mexico with his family in 2002 and the very first person that he had met was hermano Meneses. Of course this was before hermano Meneses was a member. They were great friends for some time but them lost contact for years. This was the first time that they had seen each other for years. We were immediately invited inside and we were able to meet Juan and his younger brother Wilmer. Hermano Meneses talked about what happened to him after they lost contact and about how he was converted to the church. We then took over and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Juan is definitely interested and Wilmer accepted a date to be baptized. We then taught Wilmer for the next three days in a row. We also met the wife of Juan and she is probably the most interested out of all of them. We took them all on a chapel tour and at the end I played "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" on the piano while my companion and Jorge had them follow along with the words. The wife loved it and said that she could feel it. It was a complete miracle that we could meet them.
This Sunday was the last miracle. José came to church but Juan and his family didn't. We thought that would happen because of work but they promised that they would come the next week. However we had someone come to church out of nowhere. It was a man named Ramero who is from Peru. He was brought by a friend from an English Ward. We talked to him and set up a lesson with him for that night. It turned out that he lived with that member and so when we came by it was the member that answered the door. We talked for a little and we just taught as we got to know him. We were able to testify of the Book of Mormon and how he could get an answer. Then my companion invited him to set a goal for baptism. Unfortunately that is when the main concern came out which was baptism. At that point I though "well I guess we're going to put all our cards out on the table now." Before I could say anything however the member friend started talking with him and was really bold. More bold than I have ever been with anyone. But it was perfect. I then was equally as bold and he now knows that we are there to convert him. And we ended with "don't trust us but trust the words that God will give you as you pray about this." He really liked that idea and he promised to read the Book of Mormon and to pray to know if it was true. The member friend was very happy with having missionaries like us there and he invited us back for Tuesday.
It was a wonderful week and I only have one more funny story left. This week we were knocking on a door of a man named Javier. His wife is named Blanca. He opened the door and he said "sorry we're eating and busy." Immediately Elder Sewell says "we'll you know we could help you eat!" Afterwards I asked him why he said it and he said "it came out and then I realized what I said and I thought 'oh no what did I just say?!?!?!'" Well Javier then looked at us weird and said "okay come on in! Do you like pizza?" We said of course and then his wife left to buy us pizza. We had a great time talking to them and eating with them. I volunteered Elder Sewell to repay them by making chicken Alfredo this Tuesday and they accepted. So we'll be seeing them then.
That's everything that happened this week more or less. It was an amazing week and we're going to make this week even better!
Elder Kallin James Austin
Utah SLC South Mission