I'm finally in Louisiana! It is so great! I'm in a
town called Natchitoches. How do you say it? haha. Good question:) I had
that same question. It goes (nac-i-desh). I don't exactly know why, but
that's how it's pronounced. My apartment is nice. The lake is literally
my back yard, but it looks more like a river. It's actually called Cane
River Lake. haha. The people here are so nice. They are true to who
they are. This last week was quite eventful, but a great growing
experience. I experienced the humidity coming out of the airport. I met
my mission president and his wife there at the airport. They are so
great and caring. We had dinner at the mission home and slept there
overnight. We had a testimony meeting as well. The next day was the
transfer meeting. My new companion is Elder Lehr! He is a funny
missionary. He works hard, but has a fun time doing it. I think he's
been really good for me. We drove 3 hours from Baton Rouge to
Natchitoches, then got settled into the apartment. The first full day,
we went out to try and meet one of the progressive investigators, but he
wasn't there. So we just tracted around in the trailor park and
actually found 2 new potentials. Reggie was a nice guy, but wondered why
God would allow bad things to happen in this world. We made a return
appointment, but we haven't been able to get a hold of him yet. The
other was a family. They invited us in to hear a message. They were Baptist and Christian. They invited us back, but we're going to let the
sisters in our town teach them because there usually isn't another man
there at their house. The sisters missionaries in our town are Sister
Carpenter and Sister Neilson. They are both really hard working and nice.
And by the way, we're on bikes!!! It's crazy, fun, and even more crazy.
The temperature index has put the temperature at 107. It's really 98
or so, but with the humidity it feels like 107. It's really easy to get
dehydrated because you sweat all the water you drink. Haha. Honestly,
it's not too bad. I thought it would kill me, but it feels nice to ride
our bikes. That is if the bike works. Haha. I had two flats over the
past two days. They were both neat experiences. The first day, I got a
flat, but Elder Lehr didn't notice and he kept riding away until he
couldn't see me. He called President and the Sisters in our town, but he
found me when I called him using a phone from inside a mexican food
restaurant. We had to go to Walmart to get some goo stuff to fix it, but
while we were walking over there, a member from Idaho pulled over to
help us, and he drove us over to Walmart and even paid for our stuff.
What a great man! I was trying to fix my tire, but it just wasn't
working!! I got to the point where it was all or nothing. It would
either work, or not work. I finally humbled myself to say a pray in my
heart, pleading for God's help. I don't know why I didn't pray earlier,
but God helped me instantly. My tire started to inflate again and the
problem was fixed! I know God gave me that trial so I could learn
humility and so that I could gain a stronger testimony of His presence
in my life. The next day, the same tire went flat in about the same
place as the day before. luckily we made it to a member's house, Brother
Donaho. He cheered me up a bit and helped us out a lot. We had to go to
the Wood's house, which is an older couple in the ward. I think the
flat tire was the means of some missionary work. It allowed others to
have an opportunity to serve, it taught me a lot of lessons, we found
referrals and was able to get it all fixed. One of the investigators we
met was an older man who served in the Vietnam War. His name is Bob. He
reminds me of my own Grandpa Hatch. Bob committed to go to church, which was miracle because he
wouldn't commit for a long time. It's so exciting! He's coming next Sunday.
This last Sunday was great. The ward is so nice and inviting. But I
admit, they aren't the best singers. Haha. They make up for it in how
nice they all are. They all feed us pretty well. We've already had a
couple meals and dinner appointments. At church, during the gospel
principles class, a man walk in and sat right by me. He was in a white
t-shirt and jeans. I was guessing this was his first time here. His name
is Bruce, and he came because a friend gave him a pamphlet with the
church address on it. He is a humble, quiet, and caring guy. He even
offered to help with a service project that was announced in Priesthood.
How amazing is that!!! Seriously, God must be looking out for him. I
really hope we can help him grow closer to Christ. He is such a nice
man. I hope all y'all are having an amazing week. I love you all!
Monday, July 27, 2015
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Hello Family and Friends,
This week has been.... well indescribable! The first day I was here, I was super sad and scared right when I walked away from my family. As I met my district and my companion, Elder Hunter, I began to feel at peace. Elder Hunter is such a hard worker, but he is still fun. I'm so grateful for him. He has helped me out a lot, even more than I have realized. And it truly helped to have a great friend that coincidentally ended up in my district. Elder Rentfro was one of my great friends at Westlake. The Lord put us together in the same district for a reason. Both him and my companion have great testimonies and strong spirits. They are both really excited to share the gospel with those in their missions. The MTC is such a sacred place, although we still laugh a lot. We wake up, get ready, and have study time. We'll normally teach some investigators, then eat lunch. The food isn't the greatest. It's ok though. I just can't wait for the food in the south. We then have a classroom instruction time where we gain a better understanding of our purpose as a missionary. Then dinner and another classroom instruction until 9:30, unless there is a devotional or something. Then it's bed time. It's difficult getting everywhere on time, but we are still working on that. I'm doing so well. I love it here and can't wait to share the gospel with the people in my mission.
Throughout my stay here, I have truly been converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know God is my Heavenly Father. I know that it is only through Christ and His atonement that we can return to live with God for Eternity. As I have followed the doctrine of Christ, looking outward, I haven't had as much joy in my life until now. It can get difficult and tiring at times, but through diligence and relying on Christ, I have been able to find so much joy in serving others. Through the atonement of Christ our weaknesses truly become strengths. We just need to have faith in Jesus Christ and do all that we can do to follow God's commandments. I challenge each of you to strive for your own personal conversion. To be truly converted is to be true to what you believe. Think of how you can be truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and make a goal to do that if you aren't already doing so.
I love you all and I'm doing great! I hope all of you are doing great as well!