Week 109: December 7, 2015: It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

So this week has been quite the blur. We haven’t been able to get a hold of Sandra for the longest time , but luckily she did text back to us and we FINALLY have a lesson set for next Tuesday evening. And she and her two kids were there at church yesterday, which was great to see.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere we go. Decorations are going up like crazy and it seems that this year a lot of people have gone the easier route and have chosen to purchase lasers to just shine on their houses. And just about everywhere we go, we are trying to share the message that A Savior Was Born for each and every one of us and what that means to us.

Friday morning was the Departure Temple trip for the missionaries departing in December. Aaaaand I missed it. The session was at 10:00 AM and the plan was to have someone ride me there at 9:15. He got there at 9:22 and then we got at the parking lot at 9:55. We booked it in and of course there’s a long line to scan in the temple recommend. And then when we go to change clothes, the person I was with forgot to bring white temple pants. So needless to say, the session already started by the time we got there, which stressed me and depressed probably a lot more than it should have. We ended up just going to the 10:45 AM session, but completely missed seeing all the other missionaries and the mission president and his wife and all that. So that was sort of a bitter-sweet moment.

Saturday was interesting. Elder Grayson and I had a little power exchange in the morning and we helped the Moon’s from Santa Rita ward move out. That was an interesting experience that just put everything in full-circle. Back in February 2014, Elder Bailey and I helped move that family in and now in December 2015, Elder Grayson and I help move them out.

Later in the night, we had Madero ward’s Christmas party. It started off as a service by putting together these children’s kits full of blankets, stuffed animals, picture-books, and toothbrushes for needy families. Then there was a dinner and it ended with a skit. We invited a lot of people and a couple of them seemed really solid that they were coming, but then we didn’t see anybody there that we invited, so that was disappointing.

Yesterday was my last Fast Sunday as a full-time Missionary, so I couldn’t help but go up to the pulpit and bear my testimony. It’s weird that time has come this far… the question I get asked is no longer, “How long have you been out?” or “How long until you go home?” It’s a matter of “How many days do you have left?” That is so weird that I am at this point.

Transfer calls came and I’m being transferred for my last week as a missionary… just kidding. As you can expect, nothing is really happening. At transfer meeting, Elder Sites and I will be in a trio for a little bit until I get home. It’s interesting, they’re barely touching the zone this transfer. The only people being transferred in our zone is Elder Shively and Sister Cowan. That’s it. Anyway, it’ll be interesting. Tonight I’ll be going to the Nattress’s home for the departure dinner. It’s crazy to think I’m at that point. It’s so odd… there’s almost like a small hint of fear that comes with going home. Not like I’m afraid of something happening… but… I dunno. It’s very similar to the anxiety and fear that was there before I left for my mission.

Anyway, I hope that all of you have a wonderful week! I hope that all of us will be able to remember the spirit of Christmas this year. I know that Christ was born because of His pre-ordained Mission to save us from our sins and our sorrows. And I know that it is through Him and through obedience to His restored Gospel that we can feel of that love in His fulness and have a desire to share it with others.

Love you all! Be safe! Elder Foxx

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Week 106: November 16, 2015: Burning Suit and Trip to the ER

Welp. This has been a very interesting week. So Monday evening we had a lesson with the Arrington’s and with Sandra Cool. We taught the Arrington’s about Priesthood organization, Ordinances of the Temple, and Family History. The girl’s Baptismal date is set for this Saturday, November 21 at 6:00 PM.

We followed up with Sandra and the kids about going through the chapter in 1 Nephi and marking the verses. And so we had a good conversation about the different specific verses that were marked from each individual person and why they marked them. Aaaaand then the lesson turned right around back to prayer again due to the conversation from all the members at the lesson, haha! But yeah, that’s been interesting.

Then Tuesday evening, we spent the night over at the Persimmon house (Elder Grayson, Elder Barr, Elder Marler, Elder Martin) so Wednesday Elder Grayson and I would go on exchanges to get to the office and Elder Barr and Elder Sites would go on exchanges in the other area. Weeeeeell what ended up happening is at 9:30 PM Elder Sites started complaining about his vision and how it is becoming harder to focus on things and it gives him a massive headache. He took ibuprofen and just played it off as nothing. Then at 11:00 PM he says, “Elder Foxx, you still awake?” I say, “Yeah” and then he proceeds to explain to me that his vision’s gotten way, way worse and his left elbow down to his fingertips are completely numb, his left foot is completely numb, and his mouth and tongue are completely numb and explains that he’s had these symptoms before during 8th grade and one other time during his life and that it was classified as a T.I.A. (or “mini stroke”) And he’s playing this off so nonchalantly and saying, “Yeah, I’m just telling you this so if I freak out in the middle of the night, that’s what’s going on.” And I go, “Um… dude, do you need a blessing?” And he goes, “I don’t know…Nah, I think I’m good.” And then I go, “Are you sure?” Needless to say, I wake up Elder Grayson and Elder Barr, we all agree to call Sister Payne (mission nurse) before giving the blessing and then after telling Sister Payne everything she tells us to call 911 immediately before doing anything else.

I call 911 and literally 60 seconds after ending the call there are four firemen inside the house checking on Elder Sites and about another 60 seconds after that, the ambulance comes with a stretcher and take us to the emergency room. I call Sister Payne again, then call President Nattress, and Elder Grayson and Elder Barr follow the ambulance to the hospital. They did a bunch of different tests such as CAT scans and sticking him in IV’s, etc. So there was a point where the room had Elder Sites, myself, Sister Payne, and President Nattress. When it was all said and done, they diagnosed him with TIA (“mini stroke”) and told him to take baby aspirin (which is what he was on before the mission but then completely forgot to bring it with him to the mission). So we didn’t get home until about 3:00 AM. So that was fun.

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So then Wednesday, Elder Sites went with Elder Grayson to the office since he wasn’t allowed to work at all for a day and I went with Elder Barr in his area. But yeah, that was an interesting couple of days.

Then next thing I know I hit my Two-Year mark as a full-time Missionary. Dang… that’s crazy to think. Two years has now passed on by. (It is a tradition to burn a suit coat when you hit 2-years…)

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Friday, we then had Elder Foster (Seventy) come and speak to our mission. It was really good, it taught a lot about ways of working in our individual areas to make each ward a “Level 3” ward. (level 3 is defined as a ward in which the vision is caught that the members are the ones doing missionary work and the missionaries are simply there to assist them in this effort and to teach). There was a lot of things he talked about that I don’t necessarily have room to describe, but it was a really, really good meeting.

There was one statistic that Elder Foster noted that I thought was very interesting… a little surprising even. This statistic is only related to active members of the church (those who come to church each week, have callings, etc.) He said that only 50% of active members actually believe God hears their prayers. Only about 45% believe that God answers their prayers. And only about 40% believe He loves them. Those are kind of scary numbers for something so basic and fundamental in the church. I hope and pray that we always remember those basic truths; That God DOES hear our prayers, He DOES answer them, and he DOES love each and every one of us. A large majority of problems that occur in the world come when someone does not know these fundamental truths.

I hope that all you have a wonderful week! Be safe!

Love, Elder Foxx

Week 74; April 6, 2015: San Tan Valley

I am no longer in the Queen Creek Chandler Heights Stake. It’s a pretty weird feeling now. Monday and Tuesday was pretty much filled with a lot of goodbyes to members, recent-converts, and investigators. It’s weird leaving that area. I’ve been there for 5 transfers – which averages to about 7 and a half months. I’ve never stayed in an area that long and for being there that long, it really starts to feel like home. It’s super weird leaving.

I am now in San Tan Valley.with Elder Conover, who has been out for about nine months. He grew up in California all of his life until two years before his mission when he moved to Logan, Utah, so he just claims he’s from California. He’s a convert to the church of about two years.

We cover one ward – the Desert Hills ward in the San Tan Valley Stake. It’s kind of weird going from three wards to just one ward. Although it is a pretty good ward. We have quite a few people that are less-active in the ward and we have a lot of people we are teaching. We have about ten investigators we are working with right now, so we are keeping busy.

Last Friday, we had a lesson with an investigator named Leslie and we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This was the third lesson we had with him and we did it at the church building. We asked how reading the Book of Mormon and praying has been going and he said it’s been good and that he’s felt he’s been slowly getting answers to his prayers. So we took one of the LG TV’s out of the library and plugged in a flashdrive to the TV and watched the Bible Video of Christ suffering in Gethsemane. And talked about how because Christ suffered for us, we can be cleansed from sin and from pain and suffering and that by living the principles of the Gospel, we can gain eternal happiness. We talked about Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. When describing Enduring to the End, I asked him to read the scripture Helaman 5:12: “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation wheron if men build they cannot fall.” and I emphasized the promise given there that by living the Gospel of Christ that hard times are still gonna come, but that the promise is that they will come and we CANNOT fall. Not that we may not or probably won’t, but that we cannot fall. And that scripture hit him pretty hard. And so Elder Conover asked him if he would be Baptized and Leslie said he would and that through the lesson and through that scripture, it hit him hard that this church is true and that he needs to be baptized.

So that was a really awesome lesson! We haven’t picked a date yet but in the next lesson, we are extending a date and hopefully we can have a member present there with us. That’s been one of the struggles in this area it seems is getting members to help and fellowship. Which is weird, I’ve never really had that problem. It’s crucial to get members to come with us to help in the missionary work, especially with fellowshipping investigators. Elder Conover and I have talked about it and we’re going to try to work more with the members, because this area seems to be struggling a little bit with member support so hopefully we can boost it up.

But so far things are going well. It’s really weird being in a new area right now after being in my last one for so long, but things are going good. It’s a good area, there’s lots of work, so I’m pretty happy about that. Then Saturday and Sunday was General Conference and that of course was really good. All the talks were really good. They covered a lot of different topics such as families, pride, RM’s (not “retired mormon” lol), the atonement of Christ, etc. It was a really good conference. And Easter was really good. I hope that all of you had a chance to view the church’s new video “Because He Lives.” It is a really great video to remind us what Easter is all about and even now as Easter has past, it is always good to get that reminder of the importance of looking towards the Savior in our daily lives.

I hope you all had a great Easter and will have a great week this week!

Love,
Elder Foxx

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Elder Bailey’s last transfer meeting – will be going home in six weeks

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The Nicholl Family (Seville Groves)

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The Chadwick family (Seville Recent-Convert)

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The Joy Family (Seville Park)

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The Flake’s (left) and the Doxsey’s (right) (Seville Park)

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Kerry Kenney (Seville Park Recent Convert)

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The Harris Family (Seville Park)

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The Mabee family (Seville Groves)

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The Erickson family (Seville Park Recent Convert)

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The Lewis Family (Seville)

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Elder Foxx and Elder Simons

Week 72; March 23, 2015: Knocking

I wish I had something exciting and new to say that happened this week… but there really wasn’t. We had our zone’s temple trip on Thursday, so that was fun. But beyond that, I really don’t have anything new to say. Everything is still the same. We had two member-present lessons set up for Wednesday that both cancelled.

We’ve been knocking a lot more doors just because President Nattress asked that we knock at least 10 doors a day and gave the promise to the mission that we will find two new investigators if we do so.

Everything’s still going slowly. I really hate being down and everything in these emails, but I really don’t have anything exciting to share. Hope that you all have a great week! And I hope things start to get better…

Love,
Elder Foxx

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 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.
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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.
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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)
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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