Week 60; December 29, 2014: Happy New Year!

So last week was Christmas Week!

So they turned last Monday into a half P-Day since they were turning Christmas into an all-day P-Day. So we had P-Day from 10:00 – 2:00 instead of 10:00 – 6:00, so we could do emailing and shopping and that’s it. Just like what they did last year. So Monday afternoon, we had a lesson with a less-active family in Seville ward and shared the “He Is The Gift” presentation with them. In that evening, we went caroling as a zone into our area. The idea is that we would carol at random doors and after singing, we would have a portable DVD Player with us and share “He Is The Gift” and then invite them to learn more. We got one return appointment and two other people that said, “Just stop by anytime outside of this week.” So that was pretty cool. We have gone caroling as a zone three different times in three different areas and every time we caroled, we have always gotten at least one return appointment. So that was pretty cool.

Tuesday, we had another lesson with the Thompson’s. We followed up to see if they read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and they haven’t. So then (since the lesson was on December 23rd) we centered it around more of a Christmas message and read some scriptures from the Book of Mormon like Alma 7:10-12 and shared “He Is The Gift” with the question, “What are some of the gifts that God gave us and what are ways that we can give back?” So they answer with “Reading scriptures, praying, service,” and then the mother said, “By keeping the commandments and keeping covenants.” So we then talked about the covenant of Baptism and what it means and then soft-committed them to Baptism (when you find out these things are true, will you be Baptized?) and re-committed them to read the Book of Mormon and specifically 3rd Nephi.

Christmas Eve, we had dinner with the Swapp’s, which is a family in Seville ward that has a missionary return home – Jordan Swapp (he returned home around the same time Elder McGonigal did). So we were there for a little bit and then went caroling as a zone again for the evening.

Then came Christmas, which was an all-day P-Day. Started off the day by opening a few packages and presents and then went on over to the Mizukawa’s to Skype home. After that, we had Christmas dinner with the Swanson’s and then we went together as a zone and watched Lion King. And the entire time, me and another missionary (Elder Marler) were writing notes during the whole movie about how everything in Lion King ties into the Gospel. I ended up writing three pages of notes by the end of it, it was pretty crazy. When we got home, it was kind of weird to think that Christmas was no over. Christmas is kind of interesting holiday where there is a whole lot of build-up to it and then Christmas finally happens and it comes and goes and it’s like, “Oh… well… Christmas has come now. Huh. That’s weird.”

December 26th was Weekly Planning and afterwards, we had F.H.A. with the Esplin’s and did White Elephant Gift Exchanges. I gave this Ninja Bow&Arrow toy, which ended up being fought over by three different missionaries and it ended up in the hands of Sister Taylor (who is from Japan- so it works). The funniest part of that day was one of the gifts that one of the Elders gave. There was this big box wrapped up and he warned everyone that it was “fragile.” And I heard it making noises every now and then (bumping the box) and so I was wondering, “Uuuuuh, what do you have in there?” Finally, it was Sister Seastrand (which was perfect that it was a Sister that opened it) who picked that box and she opened it and out popped up the head of a live Chicken. She freaked out so hard and we were laughing so much! It was pretty funny! There was a member who owns chickens and gave this Elder this chicken because it wouldn’t lay any more eggs, so he used it for the White Elephant Gift. It was really funny, I wish I had my camera out (or that SOMEONE would have had their camera out). It was easily the highlight of the day!

Then on 10:05 PM that night, our bathroom got flooded and so I was trying to clean it and grab as many towels as I can to have it soak in all the water… then I ended up slipping and I fell and twisted my left ankle. The next day, I called the mission nurse, she referred us to the Urgent Care over on San Tan Valley. We waited there for two hours and finally they called me up and took a couple X-Rays, wrapped my foot, gave me crutches (personally I don’t think I need crutches, but they told me I had to use them anyway) and said I had to meet with another doctor this week. Sooooooo yeah. Fun stuff.

So apart from that, this last week was pretty good. It’s weird to think that another Christmas has come and gone. And in just three days, it will be 2015. That’s really weird to think. I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year!

Love, Elder Foxx

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Week 59; December 22, 2014: 2nd Christmas in the Field

Not a whole lot happened this week. Just continuing to “Share The Gift” with those we come in contact with. Our appointment with the Reader’s and with the Chadwick’s had to cancel, so that was a disappointment (one of them, we were going to the Mesa Temple lights too and we still haven’t gone yet, so it’s looking like it’s not going to happen).

On December 18th, the whole mission went to the Temple to do a session, so that was really cool. Then December 19th, the mission had a big Christmas party where we had a dinner there, played some activities, and we did the balloon thing like we did last year. We had over 400 balloons with little lights at the end, each of which represent people that were baptized or people that have been touched by the Gospel this year and then we let all the balloons go and start singing Silent Night. So that was fun.

December 20th, we finally had a lesson with Kim and shared “He Is The Gift.” We also invited her to have her and her family come to the Seville Park Ward’s Night in Bethlehem activity happening that night and to church that Sunday, and they went to both. (I was really surprised to see them at church, but her and her husband booked it right after sacrament meeting was done).

Then Sunday was another seven hours of church. But it was good. It was the Christmas program which means that most of it was Christmas songs and reading the Christmas story, but it was really good. We had five investigators attend church that Sunday, so that’s great.

Gotta say it’s really weird that Christmas is this Thursday. It doesn’t feel like it should be this soon. Nonetheless, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

Love,
Elder Foxx
You can see a video of us letting go of the balloons here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/108431389@N03/15894065850/
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16081353055_7e928b7920_o Elder Jamison is one of the first Elders I lived with in the mission and he is going home December 27th. I tried to get a last picture with him, but he would refuse to smile, so I never got a good one.

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Elder Bailey, Elder Parsons, Elder Foxx, Elder Meyer

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Week 58; December 15, 2014: Great Visits!

So on Monday evening, we had dinner over at a part-member family’s home. It is a single mother and she has two kids (16-year old son and 14-year old girl) who are not baptized because their father is very against the church and will not let them get baptized. But we went over and shared “He Is The Gift” and how we can share the gift with others. The kids are rock-solid. They are just like any other kids their age that are members of the church in regards to their testimony and knowledge of the Gospel (actually, it is probably a little more so than most of the members their age), they just aren’t Baptized. But what was really cool was that when the ward split happened and a few members from Seville got put to Seville Groves, both Bishop Conway (Seville) and Bishop Hunsaker (Seville Groves) stopped by and did kind of a “transitioning visit” a few weeks ago. And Bishop Conway is an awesome Bishop, he is very much inspired and just has the spirit around him all the time. And he told the 16-year old that he had the impression that his dad’s heart has been softened and that his dad might allow him to get baptized at the age of 17 instead of 18. The 16-year old sees his dad this weekend, so he plans on asking him. Hopefully all will go for the best.

Tuesday evening, we had dinner over at Kerry Kenney. Her mother was spending a few days over so she was there (she is a highly practicing Roman Catholic). So we had dinner and at the end shared, “He Is The Gift.” This was the first time we ever shared a message where Kerry’s husband sat in on, so that was really good.

We were also able to finally meet with Kim Cruz (an investigator that we have not been able to get a hold of at all). We just stopped by randomly and she was home and asked when we could come by and continue teaching. She said she doesn’t know for sure, but that halfway through next week (meaning later this week) would work and then we talked about how as missionaries and at the Christmas season, we are going around sharing a Christmas message and asked if we could come by and share a Christmas message with the whole family. She’s totally open to it, but her husband works late hours is usually only available on weekends. So we don’t have an exact date set up, but we’re going to text/call/follow-up to get a specific date. Hopefully all goes well there.

We also were finally able to meet with the Reader’s (part-member family) and asked when we could stop by and continue with the lessons. They said it would probably have to wait until the first week of January. But then we asked if there was a time we could come by and share a brief Christmas message with the whole family and we got an appointment scheduled for tomorrow evening. So that’s really cool.

We also just started teaching a family of five in the Seville Park ward. This family has been worked on for a long, long time and they have been investigating and attending church on their own for the longest time. And finally, they decided to take the discussions with the Missionaries. So we went over there and taught the Restoration and committed them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. The wife already read and prayed about the Book of Mormon… aaaaand already knows that it is true…… wait, what? Yeah. She already knows the church is true, she’s just waiting for the rest of the family to find out it’s true and then get Baptized as a family. Sooo she already bore her testimony about finding out the Book is true…….. dang. The dad is the big stumper in the thing, I think. I’m not entirely sure what the big concern is. He talked about prophets and had a problem with how do they have authority and so we explained it and he seemed to have got it. But then he just talked about “Well, I don’t know how I would even know if Joseph was a true prophet or if these things really are true.” …And he didn’t read the Book of Mormon and did not pray for it. So that made for an easy commitment. It was really interesting, but hey, I’m cool with that! So the lesson went pretty well. I have no doubt that they’ll get Baptized soon. The mother is already ready and the kids are just about there… so yeah, that’s pretty cool.

On Friday, we had Elder Packer from the Seventy (the son of President Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) and his wife come and speak to the Mission. It was an interesting talk because it didn’t seem like it had a specific directive, it kind of went off into the bushes a little bit. The only theme I could really say I was able to point out was following the spirit, and qualifying for the spirit, teaching by the spirit, etc. Overall, just on following the spirit. But it was kind of funny because he went on this 10-minute tangent talking to us about marriage and making sure that we marry someone who is worthy to go to the Temple and that we are worthy for that person we marry and how that is the next important thing to be focusing on in life. And he talked to us about attaining the spirit after the mission into the rest of our life and making sure we are staying worthy and that we stay active and all that stuff. This is the third time in my mission that a general authority came and spoke to us and all three of them have all essentially said at one point in their talk, “Don’t go less-active.” Kind of scary because it means it’s a big problem for Return-Missionaries.

But things are going well. It’s been a good week. It’s hard to believe that Christmas is next Thursday… that’s pretty crazy. And then two weeks after that is Transfers… man, this transfer has just flown by, it’s crazy. Anyway, hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,
Elder Foxx
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Week 57; December 8, 2014: There is Nobody Home for the Holidays

So I realize that the Holidays are a fantastic time for missionaries and a terrible time for missionaries. Fantastic because there are so many opportunities for missionary work and sharing the Gospel and it becomes a lot easier to talk to strangers about Jesus Christ. Terrible because everyone is running around and about and is extremely busy with just about everything and so it is hard to get into people’s doors.

On Wednesday, we had an appointment with one of our investigators Kim… and she cancelled saying that she had a dentist appointment. On Wednesday night, we also had an appointment to meet with the Chadwick’s and “Share The Gift.” That got cancelled and got moved to Thursday night… which then also got cancelled and got moved to Friday night… which then got cancelled and moved to the week of December 15th. And we had a lesson with a family we are just now starting to teach that was set for last night… and they cancelled and said they could either meet this Wednesday or wait until Sunday. Soooo yeah, that’s been pretty disappointing.

Saturday evening was the Seville Ward Christmas Party (which the Chadwick’s were helping set up, which is a big reason why they kept cancelling) and so we went to that. It went pretty well and we got to make our rounds of talking to a lot of different people and talking about “He Is The Gift.” There were a few there that were not members, which were good. I also got to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what I wanted for Christmas, which was probably the highlight of the night! Then later after the party, we tried stopping by the Reader’s, who are a family we taught one lesson to and all the others got cancelled and we stop by and they usually don’t answer the door. Well, we stop by Saturday evening at about 8PM and they answer the door! We talk for a little bit and they said they wouldn’t be able to continue with the lessons until the first week of January. So then we asked about us coming over and sharing a brief message on Christmas with the whole family, and we got one set up for December 16th. So that was good!

As you can probably tell, all of our missionary efforts thus far are pretty much focused all on “He Is The Gift” and sharing that with everyone. The Brethren are spending a lot of money on this. Buying out billboards in Times Square and the YouTube banner is not cheap. And I think about it and no other church would ever spend that much in a simple 2-3 minute video like this. Why is that? Well, there is the story in Matthew 26 when Christ was anointed by extremely expensive ointment. Judas Iscariot rebukes the woman who anointed him and said that it could have been sold and given to the poor and that it was a waste. Christ then responds by saying that she did a good work and essentially that Christ is our most important focus. It is the same here. Some may say that it is a waste of money for the church to be going all-out on a simple 2-3 minute video on Christmas and on the Savior… but the church recognizes that the wealth of the world are nothing compared to the heavenly wealth that we should seek and that ensuring that the Gift of Jesus Christ is shared to all the world is far more important than anything else. So just a friendly reminder that “He Is The Gift” is something that the church is taking very, very seriously, and that we need to make sure it reaches its full potential.

Sharing the “He Is The Gift” on our side has been going good. Haven’t seen too many results yet, but I think if we continue to diligently get at it, great things will come from this. This area has a LOT of potential, we have great ward mission leaders and great bishops in all of our wards, we have lots of investigators that we could be teaching if the lessons would stop cancelling, we’ve got lots of potentials, it’s just a matter of getting in the door of those we’re trying to contact. I really think it’s just a matter of time if we keep it up. We have been seeing a LOT of decked out houses this past week, which is pretty cool! In the Seville ward in particular, there’s a huge gated community which is pretty much all just big rich houses, so of course they go all-out on Christmas decorations. So that has been fun.

So it’s been a bit of a crummy week in many cases, but I’m still having fun. Honestly, that’s just what I’m trying to focus on right now more than anything else is just having fun. Yes, there’s the crummy parts of missionary work like the disappointments, the cancellations, other missionaries and missionary leaders hogging down your throats for stats and chastising you and making you feel like you’re not good enough during almost every zone meeting and district meeting in the most unchristlike manner ever… but I’m just sick and tired of having to deal with that. So I’m going to worry about the wards that I cover, the people I am teaching, doing the best I can, having fun as I’m doing it and that is it. Nothing else really matters as long as I am doing those things. And by focusing on that, I find myself a much happier person. There were many times when I have dreaded the mission… for pretty much four and a half months straight. But after going through probably my toughest time in the mission and – probably life in general so far – in September I was put in a good area with a good companion where we just went out and had fun and did mission work… which is really what I wanted before I got to the field. Just to go out there, have fun, and see miracles! And I have been able to see that. The mission is a good thing. I’ve got only about a year left… and after seeing Elder McGonigal go home, that served as a reminder to “enjoy to the end.”

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas time this month and that amongst all the gift shopping and everything, we all remember that the most important gift is the Savior Jesus Christ. Hope you all have a wonderful time!

Love,
Elder Foxx

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Ward Christmas Party

 

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I Want Some Investigators that won’t cancel their appointments, I want a couple of Baptisms, eventually a Sealing, and then…

 

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Y-O-D-A – YOOOODA!!!

 

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Tree of Life

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Week 56; December 1, 2014: Thanksgiving

Well, this has been an extremely interesting week. Monday afternoon at 3:30 PM, Brother Harris came by and met us at our house and picked up Elder McGonigal to take him to the Mission Office. In a way, it was kind of depressing seeing him go. There’s a reason that in missionary terms, they refer to being someone’s last companion as “killing them.” Because it almost felt like he was dead, just in thinking that I won’t be seeing him again for a long time. It was really weird. It was REALLY weird. So from then on, I was in a trio with Elder Petty and Elder Christensen in their area from Monday evening to Wednesday morning. Then Wednesday itself was Transfer meeting.

And my new companion is… ELDER ANDERSON! Now this was a very interesting transfer right here. Elder Anderson came out in December of last year and has served in the San Tan zone (the zone I’m in right now) his entire mission so far. And his area was over on Power Ranch in the San Tan stake. And that was his only area his entire mission. So then he finally gets a transfer call and gets a District Leader call and he ends up transferring just a stake away to the Queen Creek Chandler Heights stake with me and STILL stays in the San Tan zone. He’s staying in one single zone for over a year. That’s crazy! We keep joking with him saying that this will be the last area of his mission and that he will have served his entire mission in one single zone. But yeah, it’s pretty crazy. So I already knew about him before I was companions with him. So he’s been out for just about a year and is from Ogden, Utah.

So Wednesday evening was really interesting because at 6:30 PM, the Sisters had a baptismal interview for one of their investigators. They already told me on Monday evening since it was assumed that I would be with a District Leader since Elder McGonigal was a District Leader. So we had dinner with one of the families in our area at 5:00 PM and then at 6:30 went to the Baptismal interview. Then at the last minute, our zone leaders give us a call saying, “Hey, Elder Anderson, you have two baptismal interviews to do tonight!” So Elder Anderson had to do three baptismal interviews HIS FIRST NIGHT as District Leader. Wow! That’s a way to break him into this calling, haha! So we had a baptismal interview at 6:30, 7:15, and 8:00. Soooo we didn’t have the chance to work in our area at all that day.

Then the next day was Thanksgiving! at 7:00 AM, there was a member in the San Tan Park ward who wanted to have all the missionaries in our zone over for Breakfast. So we went over there and had some food. Then we went to Brother Laux, who is the new ward mission leader for Seville ward and talked to them about the “He is The Gift” initiative the church is doing this Christmas… and then had some food. Then we had Thanksgiving dinner with the Martin’s from Seville ward at 2:00 PM, and there was a LOT more people there than I was expecting. I never been to the Martin’s home before, but it is HUGE and there was loads of people there. I would say at least about 50-60 people. And so everyone was all over the place, some watching football, others eating outside, kids playing in the bouncy house in the backyard, etc. It was pretty chaotic. We were hoping to share a message on “He Is The Gift,” but with everyone running around everywhere, we figured it just wasn’t a possibility. Then we stopped by Kerry Kenney and by that time, I was already super stuffed and she offered some food. If this was a year ago, I probably would have been able to eat more. I don’t know, I feel that being in the mission field has weakened my stomach in some areas because I feel like I can’t eat as much as I used to without getting full. Maybe it’s just getting older, I dunno.

Then on Friday, we tried stopping by a few people from Seville Groves ward that Bishop Hunsaker asked us to stop by. Not many people were home/answered the door. Saturday was busy and we didn’t get to do a lot because the Sister’s baptism was at 12:00 and one of the zone leader’s baptism was at 4:00, so we had to go to those since Elder Anderson did the Baptismal interviews and then the rest of the time we tried stopping by the Bishops and Ward Mission Leaders and dropping off the progress records and discussing the work. Gotta say it’s really tough trying to balance out managing three wards. I mean, we want to focus on Seville Groves because it is a brand new ward and it needs to start off with a good start, but then Seville Park has a lot of stuff happening and a lot of potential new investigators to get, but then Seville also has a part-member family we’re trying to teach and a few potential investigators. It’s crazy. Busy, busy.

Sunday, we had all-day church. Seville ward starts at 10:00, Seville Park starts at 12:00, Seville Groves starts at 2:00. So we had church from 10:00 – 5:00. And for the third hour at each ward, the stake had the Bishop, Ward Mission Leader, someone from the Stake High Council, and us (the missionaries) talk about the new Christmas initiative “He Is The Gift.” It is very similar to the Easter initiative, “Because of Him” where the church will be buying out the YouTube banner for most of the month of December and buying out billboards in Times Square for this video about how the Savior is the most important gift we should focus on this Christmas. And so we were busy giving presentations on that. He Is The Gift is pretty cool and I can see a lot of miracles happen as a result of this if we use it to the extent the Brethren want us to use it. The video is over on: christmas.mormon.org and also is one the Arizona Gilbert Mission page on: http://www.arizonagilbertmission.com/

Oh, and also Elder Petty and Elder Hansen (Christensen got transferred) are now living in the Cloud house because the apartment they were living in got flooded. So we have four missionaries living with us again! YAAAAY! (sarcasm) The house is a complete disaster right now. But whatever, I can deal. It just means that we know what a majority of our P-Day today is going to be… Also, our fridge is FULL of Thanksgiving leftovers people keep giving us. We also ate an entire pumpkin pie last night (we cut the entire pie into four slices and each ate it). Probably not the smartest thing to do, but whatever. We had fun.

It’s going to be an interesting transfer, that’s for sure. But anyway, apart from all the craziness that has happened, all is well. Hope that you all have a wonderful week! Happy Belated Thanksgiving and Happy first day of December!

Love, Elder Foxx

Elder Foxx and Elder McGonigal

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Thanksgiving Elder Foxx and his new companion, Elder Anderson.
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