Week 47; September 29, 2014: In Rain or Shine!

On Tuesday, we met with a family that was recently re-activated (right before I got into the area) and we are re-teaching them some of the lessons. How they got re-activated is pretty interesting because both parents were very inactive even when they got married. And what got them active was their 9-year old son who wanted to get baptized. So Elder McGonigal and his last companion taught him the lessons, he got baptized, and the rest of the family has become active again. And they are now taking Temple Prep class and working towards getting sealed at the temple. So that’s really cool. We just briefly went over the Word of Wisdom and the blessings that come from living the Word of Wisdom.

Also, “K” (the investigator that wants to baptized in January) wants to have regular meetings with us twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday at about 2PM, which is really good. So we met with her on Tuesday and read a chapter from the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 31), which is the only chapter of the Book of Mormon she read and understood. Because beforehand, she hated the Book of Mormon because she didn’t understand it. Because missionaries in the past would just tell her to start from the beginning and move upward and the story of Lehi and Nephi confused her. So we chose a chapter way further in (she’s only read the first 50 pages of the Book of Mormon before, never any farther) and a chapter that focuses on pure doctrine that she needs to know about. So that went really well.

She and her husband also had this toy for their kids that we played around with for a little bit that was really cool. It’s a flying toy helicopter thing… but the controller was the iPhone. And the controls were surprisingly smooth. They were smoother than most remote control helicopters I’ve seen. It was pretty sweet, not gonna lie!

Friday, we met with a former investigator. She had been meeting with the missionaries off and on for a couple years and from what we’ve read on the Teaching Record, it sounds like the main reason she was a former was because the missionaries could never stop by when she was home, and so not a whole lot happened. She’s been taught the Restoration and a little bit of the Plan of Salvation. So we stop by and introduce ourselves and she lets us in. All her kids were running out putting on Halloween decorations and getting ready for all of that. She seems pretty receptive and is willing to take the lessons again, but she is going to have family over and says it would be better to meet in a couple weeks (beginning of October pretty much)… that seems to be a bit of a common theme with people I come across… eh, anyway. Hopefully things will go well with that. She went to the Gilbert Temple Open-house and I told her about the Phoenix open-house and she wanted to go to that and wrote down the address on a sticky note to put on her fridge and everything. So things seem promising.

Saturday, we met with the “C” family to see how they are doing and they are doing well. They haven’t had any issues with Word of Wisdom at all this past week, which is good. And nobody was sick or any random situation like that, so all five of them were able to make it to church on Sunday. Stayed all three hours and really enjoyed it and felt really welcomed. Sister “C” also went with one of the members to the Women’s Conference (since the power went off in the stake center, they watched it at the member’s TV in their home), so that was good. They are still on track for October 11th, so as long as things continue to go smoothly, they should be golden. We’re probably going to go over there to watch the Saturday morning session of General Conference with them this Saturday so that’ll be cool.

“K” (the investigator who wants to be baptized in January) was ill so she didn’t attend church Sunday, so we and Brother Flake (Ward Mission Leader) went over to her place after church with the intent of giving her a blessing. Brother Flake talked with her for quite a bit about the baptism and everything and talked openly and boldly to her about how any doubts that would be put into her mind aren’t of God, but are of the adversary. With her making the decision to being baptized, who doesn’t want that to happen? Satan. So how hard is he going to work on her? And so we talked about how she can very much be ready to be baptized despite whatever circumstances surround her situation and gave her a blessing. And we managed to get her to bump up her baptismal date to November. It’s on November 11th, which is kind of random considering it’s on Tuesday, but that’s the one she wants to go for. But it would be really cool if she could get baptized before Phoenix temple gets dedicated so she could then go to watch the dedication broadcasted.

There is another family, who are a part-member family (the dad is a member, the mom is not) and they came to church the Sunday before I got in and the Bishop approached her and asked if she would like to take the missionary discussions and she said yes. So we kept trying to get a hold of them and we weren’t able to until a few weeks ago. Then when we did meet with them, they said they would be out of town the next couple of weeks (so until the beginning of October), so we weren’t able to teach them anything yet. But they should be back in town this week, so we’ll try to get a hold of them and hopefully that can be another family we can teach.

Things are going really well here! Oh, and of course it rained a lot Saturday night. And our house flooded a little bit again. This time we found out the water isn’t going through under the door because the area over by the door was completely dry, but the carpet on the left was all wet. So I guess what’s happening is that it is leaking underneath the house somehow and getting there. Soooo that’s another mess to have to clean up. And this time when it rained, we were actually out biking in it, so that was a little tough. I was getting worried that all my stuff in my bag would get soaked, but most of my stuff was relatively dry (a little damp, but nothing got damaged)

Sunset Clouds

Hope you guys have a great week!

Love, Elder Foxx

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Week 46; September 22, 2014: TV Donation Fail

On Tuesday, we had dinner with the Attridge’s. The first thing we’re asked to do (since dinner wasn’t ready yet) was help move this 20-year old TV over to their truck so that they could drive it over to the D.I. later. So me and Elder McGonigal start lifting up the TV… and it was no sooner that the bottom of the TV snaps completely off. Brother Attridge laughed about it a little bit and said he knew the bottom was very weak. Then we tried moving the rest of the TV and we barely even get to pick it up before the back of the TV completely breaks off from the front monitor end and the entire TV is trashed.
TVDonationFail

Then on Friday, we met with the investigator family we visited previously. They pretty much went through all of the lessons and we were trying to get them to commit to a baptismal date. So we planned out a lesson centered around one of the chapters of the Book of Mormon and then try to extend the baptismal commitment. With this in mind, we go to the lesson and the father starts off by taking the lead on what we were going to talk about by asking a bunch of questions. He just came back from Ohio and has contemplated about his dad and his mom and wants to know where they stand before God. He explained that his mother was a good Christian and his father was a very good man, but doesn’t know how much he has fit into the Christian lifestyle. So we quickly reviewed the Plan of Salvation lesson with a major emphasis on the Spirit world. And we talked about how everyone who ever lived here on earth will have an opportunity to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accept it out of their own choice in the spirit world. And that it is one of the big reasons we have temples, so that we can perform saving ordinances in behalf of those who have gone before. And he was really concerned with knowing what he can do to help his parents and explained that the best thing to do was to be baptized himself and then go to the temple and be baptized in behalf of his parents.

He then explained how he slipped the past week when it came to alcohol. During the trip to Ohio, he had a little bit to get over what was going on and everything. We told him that was okay and that was what the Atonement is for is so that we can repent and improve and explained that it was very possible for him to overcome that. We asked what it was they felt they needed to do so that they could get progress towards baptism. And he went through everything about the church and explained that everything else was good, it was just the alcohol that was the problem. So we said, “Okay, let’s set a date we all can work for.” and extended the baptismal date for October 11th, and gave him a blessing to overcome the alcohol addiction.

The lesson went really, really well! So if all goes well with them, we should be getting a baptism on October 11th!!! That’s really exciting!

Anyway, those are the big highlights of what happened this week. Sunday was the Primary program, so all the primary kids came up to sing and everything.

Hope you all have a great week!

Love,
Elder Foxx

Week 45; September 15, 2014: Eternigator

So now that I have my camera with me, here are some pictures of some of the water we’ve been getting during the rain. Granted, all these pictures were taken during the calmer parts of what happened here as I didn’t have my camera ready when the rain was really crazy.
Flood1
This used to be completely dry ground. On the night before the photo was taken, the water was about 3 feet deep and we saw kids in their swimming suits going in there to swim.
Flood2 Flood3
This was at about 9:00 AM on Monday. At 11:00 AM that very morning, the water was up about an inch on the concrete (that was when it was flooding the house)
Flood5 Flood6
Also, here are some pictures I took of our little humble abode.
 House
Living Room/Kitchen area
Inside House
Our back yard
Elder Foxx horse farm
Missionary Way- And that’s how you know how to get to the missionary’s home.
Missionary Way
That very Monday night, we had dinner with a family named the Schnepf’s for their Family Home Evening. They own this place called Schnepf farms at Queen Creek, which is apparently a big place that people go to, particularly during Halloween. We shared a message on Sacrifice using scriptures such as in Genesis (the story of Abraham and his son Isaac) and in Matthew Chapter 6 verses 25-33 (with emphasis on the JST for verse 33 in relation to how we are commanded to be willing to consecrate and sacrifice everything to build up the Kingdom of God, and that if we do so, God will take care of all of our needs). And we showed them a clip from The District (it’s basically “Missionary Work: The Reality TV Show”) about Elder Christiansen and how he gave up being a rockstar to serve a mission. And the family absolutely loved the whole message and was convinced this was a message we shared for a while, (when in actuality, this was our very first time trying something like this and we didn’t have THAT much time to plan it).

This was a semi-broken toy we found while we were over at the Schnepf’s and we were still waiting for dinner to be ready.

Then there was this investigator that we stopped by the next day. She has been meeting with the missionaries for over five years now, so she is what missionaries would refer to as “an eternigator.” Her story is pretty interesting. Her biggest concern with getting baptized was that her husband wasn’t interested and she was always told that if you and your husband are two different religions, it leads to divorce. Well, three years ago, she prayed about if the church was true and if she would get baptized and the answer she got was “Go get baptized and then the rest of your family will follow.” It wasn’t the answer she wanted, so she didn’t act on it. Apparently then a bunch of other things happened for the past little while, so when we stopped by (very first time I ever met her) she said she wants to get baptized. She apparently found out that her husband was secretly atheist this entire time, so he’s like “Well, great! We’re already two separate religions!” And she prayed about baptism again and got the answer that not only did she need to be baptized, but if she was baptized three years ago when she first got prompted to, then all the hard things that would have happened in her life would have been more bearable.

…Aaaaaand she wants to wait to get baptized until January. Yeah, that’s pretty far off. We’re gonna try and see if we can push that up a little bit. Maybe the end of October or the beginning of November. At least before Elder McGonigal finishes his mission (he finishes November 25th) In her entire time investigating the church, she has only gone to church twice. So we sent in all the ward members to friendship and fellowship her and she was able to get a ride to church this Sunday and it went really well. She friendshipped a lot of people and really loved it. So that’s really good.

And it was a pretty good Sunday to attend too, because it was a missionary farewell for the Saville Park Ward Mission Leader’s (Brother Flake) son who is leaving to Toronto, Canada. So the spirit was very strong and there were lots of good messages on service. And we went over to their place for lunch and there was a LOT of people. The entire house and backyard was filled with people everywhere (I’m pretty sure about half of the people who were at Sacrament meeting came to this luncheon, as well as a few of his friends). They had lots of food there, so we got stuffed pretty good.

On Thursday, we had F.H.A. (Family Home Afternoon). Basically, once every transfer, each zone will have a thing called F.H.A. where we go to a Senior couple’s home and play activities, have a spiritual thought, etc. Basically just a typical family home evening as a zone. Well, Sister Esplin (one of the senior missionaries) was talking with President and asked “Do the Family Home Afternoons necessarily have to be with a big lesson or can they do something like watch a movie?” And President said “Yes” since some Family Home Evenings would consist of watching a movie, haha!

So we watched The Best Two Years on Thursday. Which was a pretty good movie! I was kind of surprised at how accurate it was when it came to the home setting of a missionary. I’m pretty sure the movie is way funnier to watch as a missionary than if anyone else saw it lol.

On Saturday, there was this family (investigators) that we’ve been trying to stop by for a while, but they have been out of town a lot. We were able to catch them on Saturday night, just before the dad leaves on Sunday morning to go to Ohio for a funeral for his dad. They said he’d be back Wednesday, so we’ll see if we can try to catch them again some time after that. From what I’ve been told and from what I seem, they seem like a really cool family and a really receptive family, it’s just that lately they’ve been out of town all the time. We mostly just made it a stop-by visit, although the daughter had a question about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, so we talked about that and explained that they are all separate beings, but they are one in purpose and all work together for the purpose of bringing us salvation. So we were able to clear that up a little bit.

Anyway, so things have been going really well! Glad to hear things are going well for all of you and I hope you all have a great week this week!

Love, Elder Foxx

Week 44; September 8, 2014: Flooding in Queen Creek

So I got transferred over to Queen Creek in the San Tan zone and my new companion is Elder McGonigal from Northern California. The house we live in is really interesting because it’s almost closer to a barn with a big open dirt yard all around us. And it is just the two of us that live in the house. No room-mates this time. The two wards we cover are “Seville” and “Seville Park.” In both of the wards, we have quite a few youth compared to my last areas (especially Seville ward). Seville ward currently has 16 missionaries serving away from it. And we went over to Priest’s quorum for the 3rd hour on Sunday and the Bishop’s office was packed with about 10-12 priests (and 3 adult leaders + us missionaries, so about 15-17 people in that small room)

We have a car right now, but we barely ever use it. We only get 400 miles per month for this car, so we’ve just been using it to get to church, meetings, and P-Day (and emergencies if need be). So even though we have a car, I’m pretty much in a bike area again.

As per usual during the week of transfers, this past week pretty much mostly consisted of trying to get to know everyone in the wards. We don’t have much of a teaching pool. We have a potential here and there and we have a part-member family referral from one of the bishops (I can’t remember which) that seems pretty solid, but not a whole lot going on yet.

Last night, it started pouring rain. So much so that we woke up this morning to find two inches of rain on the concrete and our living room a little flooded (some of the water seeped through the door somehow and got on the floor). And it’s still raining pretty hard. So we had to try and clean a little bit of that this morning. That was interesting.

I completely forgot to bring my camera with me, so I don’t have any pictures to send right now, but I will send some next week.

But anyway, things are going well. Elder McGonigal and I really get along, which is good. This Friday, it will be officially 10 months into the mission. That’s a weird thought. I’m now starting to hit double digits into the mission field.

Hope you all have a great week!

Love, Elder Foxx

Week 43; September 1, 2014: Horsin’ Around

So this week, we continued teaching the German foreign exchange student and that’s going relatively well. Right now, we are just focusing more on “Faith in Jesus Christ” and “Prayer” and trying to give her more of a motivation to pray. I’m thinking that it might be good to sometime soon show her the movie “Finding Faith in Christ.” But we’ll see.

Then Thursday was EXCHANGES!!! I went out of my area to be with Elder Legrand (the missionary from France) and essentially went to my old area back when I was with Elder Peery (Cooley Station and Chapparal). Although I guess they now have a third ward that they cover (the Maplewood ward) so it’s a little different. But it was super fun. I’ve realized that I have honestly missed being in a bike area. I dunno what it is about being on a bike versus being on a car, but when I’m in a car, I don’t feel like a missionary as much as I do when I am on a bike. I dunno what it is, the bike is just part of the whole “missionary look.” But anyway, Elder Legrand had a birthday the day before and all the members in the ward were getting him birthday stuff and taking him out to eat and the day we were on exchanges, brother Sue (Cooley Station ward) took us out to Joe’s Farm Grill for a belated birthday lunch. That was pretty good! And then just stopped by a few people here and there and were able to get some pretty solid appointments set up for their area. And we spent some time OYM’ing some horses. I dunno, it was just a good day and a much needed break from the current situation I’m in.
Horse1 Horse2

On Friday night, we had dinner with this family named the Kinder’s over at the Gateway Married Student Ward. And everytime we visit this family, it is always a blast and the kids love us (they have two girls and two boys) and it’s always crazy in there. Well, this one time as we are walking out of the house, the smallest boy (his age is only a year and a half) starts running out over to our car and tries pulling on the handle and tries getting in the car. So I couldn’t help but take a picture of it. But he stayed standing there for a long while trying to get in with the car to come with us. One of the girls actually had to come over and pick him up and move him away so we could back up the car and head out, haha!

Ride

Saturday, we went to the baptism of one of the zone leader’s investigators (since Elder Furse did the baptismal interview), which turned out really well. But I found it funny because I looked at the program that was printed off and the scripture they used was Matthew 6:33. And my very first thought was “Huh… Interesting that they chose a verse that wasn’t entirely translated correctly.” (JST footnotes) I think it’s safe to say I know the scriptures decently now, lol!

 

And this week, we got our new Zone T-Shirts. Our zone is the “Temple View” zone, so it is just a blue shirt with the words “TVZ” on it and a design on the shoulder of the Gilbert Temple, which is pretty cool. And the Stake High Councilmen over Missionary Work offered to buy the entire zone the T-Shirts, so we didn’t even have to pay for them.

TVZ1

TVZ2

Anyway, those are the big highlights of this week! Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Love,

Elder Foxx