Monday, July 29, 2013

Leaving Solvang....Headed to Ventura....Sad, but Excited.

Hello!! So I am being transferred to Ventura 1st ward!!! I just got here..... I am sad to leave Solvang... ): But the Lord must need me somewhere else, so I'll go where ever the Lord needs me! Elder Castro and I will be transferring together and opening a new area in the ward down there. We are excited! Elder Clark is going to Simi Valley, and this area is getting 4 spanish sisters! Crazy...
But yes, I get to play the piano a lot! Much more than I do the guitar! It really is such a stress reliever! It's great (:

This past week we were able to teach a dinner message while the members non-member sister was visiting from Oregon. It was really great! We taught her the Restoration, and half way through the lesson she expressed her concern that she hadn't really ever got a confirmation that God was really there. So we spent the rest of the lesson talking about how we pray to God and how to recognize answers from Him through the Holy Ghost. Then at church, she was the only visitor in our gospel principles class, so we talked all about Joseph Smith. She accepted to read the Book of Mormon and she told us that we had helped her out a lot. We are going to have the family refer her to the missionaries up there.

We got a referral from church head quarters. Her name is Alissa Ly (Lee). It is the same as John and Jolyn's girl! Kinda funny (: She is awesome! She is very busy though. We went on splits with our bishopric, and our 2nd counselor came out with us. He added many needed testimonies during the lesson. It was great! Half way through her lesson, we found out that she had no Christian back ground. I felt silly for not finding that out before we started the Restoration... oops (: but she is really open, and she was excited to read the Book of Mormon! She understood the lesson pretty well for having no Christian background. We set her with a baptismal date of September 1st, but she is really busy, so we are going to see if she can make that date.

We talked to Ramon about tithing and fast offerings. He is open and willing to change and he is very kind. It's good that there will be Spanish Sisters here, because he really does understand better in Spanish. He is funny, we would try to talk to him about gospel things and he would change the subject and talk about his truck, and other things ha (: He's funny! He fed us orange chicken this past saturday. He's awesome!

Brad came to church this week! We are so excited! We went by his house on Saturday and he actually sounded like he meant it when he said he would possibly come to church. We had a member pick him up, and he stayed for Sacrament meeting. It was so good to see him here. The members did a great job at talking to him and getting to know him a little bit! It was a great experience (:

Our zone leaders asked our whole district to study D&C 50, so I studied that for one of my studies. Its a really good section. In vs. 13-20 it talks about how we as missionaries are ordained to preach the gospel by the spirit, and by no other way. I just know that is so true. The best lessons we have with people are the ones where the spirit is really strong and we teach it by the spirit. I also like in vs. 35 how it says that we have the power to overcome anything that is not of God. That is so awesome! It just reminds me of the scripture in Corinthians where it tells us that God will not tempt us above that which we are able.
I don't have any more time right now... But Thank you so much for all your love and support that you give me! It really means so much to me, and I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful family supporting me behind my back (: I love and miss you tons! You are always in my prayers and thoughts! Have a wonderful week (:

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Temple was AMAZING!

Hello! This week was awesome (: First off... One of Leroy's best friends who was a bishop a while ago, but is now on the high council came and spoke in my ward yesterday. He let me know that Leroy didn't get baptized this past saturday :/ Not exactly sure why... but he is still planing on baptism really soon (: And yes, it joys my soul that Jeaninne got married and baptized! It makes me so happy that I was part of both of their conversion stories (:

Yesterday our investigator Clu came to church. She goes out of town a lot, so we haven't had a lesson with her yet... We are planning on talking about tithing, because that is her big hold up. I think we are going to focus on finding if she has a true testimony of the Book of Mormon or not. Because if she does, then she should know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and if she knows that, she will know that it is a commandment and the promised blessings will come, no matter how hard the circumstance.

Okay... the LA Temple was AMAZING!! I always love going to the temple! There is such a special spirit there that you can't really get anywhere else. It was cool, during the endowment in the terrestrial room, I had this overwhelming feeling there that I had been there before. It was more than just a deja vu, but I really felt like I had been there before. It was really cool (: I really can't wait to go back to that temple again! and yes, that is what all missionaries get to do for their birthdays (: My birthday was awesome!
And for the talk [Mom's talk on his mission this Sunday]... Just update them that I have experienced the promised blessings from living the mission rules. In my mission call letter it talks about a few things I need to do as a missionary, such as follow the counsel of my mission president, obey mission rules, and leave behind all personal affairs, and if I do so, I will have an "Increased knowledge and testimony" of the Gospel. I have definitely lived and experienced those blessings! My knowledge and testimony has grown so much! I love this Gospel (:

Our investigator Brad is still planning on his baptismal date of August 17th. He is having a hard time committing to live the Word of Wisdom and coming to church. I think he is just afraid to walk by faith. He keeps desiring tangible evidence to know that The Book of Mormon, D&C 89, and other scripture is really from God, and he is afraid to move forward if he doesn't have that evidence. So we are just going to keep working with him and help him walk by faith.

We met a guy a couple weeks ago named Ramon and he is doing great! He is a Hispanic man who can't speak/understand English very well, but he has been prepared by the Lord. He had talked to Spanish Elders before, and he reads El Libro de Mormon every day. He has a true and honest testimony of Joseph Smith and of the Book of Mormon. He is doing wonderful (: His only problem is it is hard for him to get to church, so we are trying to help him with that. His baptismal date is for August 24th. and rumor has it between Elder Castro, Elder Clark and I that there will be Spanish Elders here along with us next transfer (: So exciting! Elder Castro is still here waiting for his visa! It's amazing how much he has grown since 5 weeks ago! He is doing great (:

Mark, Gloria, and their two children (the family we tracted into my first week here) got back from Holland this past week!. They are awesome! We stopped by and we talked with them a little bit about their trip (: They have been reading the Book of Mormon Stories to their children, and they said that they all were loving it! Woo! They invited us back this week to answer their questions about what has been happening in the story (: We are really excited for that!

In my studies this week I was reading Elder Uchtdorf's talk "The Love of God" from October 2009. It is such a good talk! I really liked his quote "at the heart of joy, you will find the love of good things." It is so true! If we love and invest our time in good wholesome things, like the scriptures, there, we will find joy! It just makes so much sense (: I love having a knowledge of this Gospel, and I love the scriptures! Having a love for the scriptures truly does bring me so much joy in my life! More than any other worldly thing can bring, even music (:

Ha..... so yesterday....After eating dinner at a members house, and after giving them a message about the Holy Ghost, they wanted us to sing them a song. So they got their guitar and I played and we sung the hymn Nearer my God to Thee. Yeah... I was bawling. Tears streaming down my face. And after the song, they were like "awwww it's the spirit!" yeah. what they didn't know, is that something got into my eye and my eyes just started pouring!! So to save myself from looking dumb in front of a family with 4 girls and 1 boy, I just let them think that it was the spirit that made me bawl. yeah, no. hahah But it is quite a spiritual song (: It was fun.
That's good to hear that you [mom] will be going back to school! I'm happy that you are making that decision (: It is definitely a smart one. And that's cool to know that Heather's face is on the dance thing for Snow [College website]! (: Yeah she was on the drill team down there! That's way cool (: you'll have to email her and let her know!

I hope everything is going well at home! You are always in my prayers! Love and miss you (: have a wonderful week!
Elder Teeples!

Some of the temple (:
Chandler is with us in one of the pictures. He is the WML's son, and he drove us down to LA. He's awesome (: He should be going on a mission soon.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I get to go to the temple and Leroy is getting baptized!

My birthday was great! I got a surprise birthday cake from my ward! It was good (: I dont' have my camera this week... but I will send pictures next week! And thanks so much for the birthday money! (: I got the package right on my birthday, which was good! Thank you again so much!!! I will be sending a letter home soon (:
I actually spoke this past week during church (: I got asked to speak the day before! It was about blessings from being obedient. And I kind of talked a little about having faith through trials as well. It went pretty good (: That is so crazy that Bradon gets home next month! Time went by so fast.... nuts.
Zone conference was so great!!!! It's so amazing being able to hear from the mission pres! he is great. I'll write a little more next week (due to my lack of time this week), but the main thing I learned was to conduct myself in a way that others will be able to recognize us as true representatives of Jesus Christ. Also we read over Alma 37:35-37. We talked about lying down unto the Lord, and how at night, when we pray, that after we get off our knees our prayer shouldn't end. We should keep talking to the Lord and keep our minds focused on him and if we do,"He will watch over us in our sleep."
We are going to the temple tomorrow for my birthday! The LA temple is the largest temple in the world other than the Salt Lake temple (: I'm so excited! It will be such a great experience! I'm stoked! 
I actually have a car in this area (: (Thank goodness...) So it's good. We usually drive like 20-30 miles a day. It is really awesome (: I love the people here! All the members are great, even the ones who are less active! We have been seeing the Stapp family recently. They are so awesome! The daughter, Hayley, made me banana cupcakes for my birthday (: They were sooooooooo good! She makes the best cupcakes ever!!! (Next to you of course ;) )
We went on exchanges with our Zone Leaders this past week. It was such an amazing experience!!!! I heard from my leaders that Leroy is getting baptized this Saturday! and that Jeaninne got married and baptized! I'm so happy for both of them (: I wish I could be there, but I am just glad I got to see that change happen in their life when the Gospel and the spirit touched their hearts. such an amazing experience!
I am just about out of time.... But I will give an update on our investigators next week. Thank you soooooooo much for the package and for everything you do (: The love and support I receive from you and the family is what gets me through!! I have almost been out for 6 months... that's crazy! Time is going by so fast. Hope to hear from you soon and I will email next week (: Love and miss you! You are always in my prayers!
Elder Teeples

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy 4th!

This week went really well. The 4th of July was good (: Although fireworks were out of the picture this year as a missionary, I still had a good time walking around the parks here in Solvang and seeing all the festivities going on (: It was great! How was the 4th of July back home?
We were walking around Solvang this last Wednesday, and a farmers market was going on (that's where local farmers come set up stands and sell their products), and we started talking to this lady named Ann who was working at one of the stands. She is a bee keeper and she sells this really good honey (: We have talked to her before and she has told us that she wasn't interested at all in listening to us, but this time we told her all about the Book of Mormon. I expressed to her how it has blessed me in my life, and she seemed to be interested in it. We left her with one, and she told us she'd read it. It's so fun to see people say they're not interested, but when they find out what we are really trying to share with them, and realize that we aren't crazy weirdos with 7 wives, they are a lot more open to us (: Some person the other day was very convinced that we had horns.... And many people think we believe that Joseph Smith was our 2nd coming.... It's crazy what people think about our beliefs!

On the 4th of July we were walking around during the parade and we started talking to this lady named Jennifer and her daughter, Cade. They were both really nice! We talked to her about the Book of Mormon and about the message of the Restoration of the Gospel, and how we as missionaries go out into the world to share this message. I told her about our belief of eternal families, and how that has brought happiness into my life. I then asked if she'd like to hear the message we have, and she said she would like to! It's always the best feeling when somebody is open to us (: We are going to go by some time this week and share the Restoration with her. We are excited!

We ran into a guy named Ramon a couple days ago. Apparently the Spanish Elders in Lompoc (Which is like 30 mins. away) used to drive out here to meet with him when they used to have a car, but when they were switched to bikes, they weren't able to come out here to see him anymore. We went by his house and he is a really nice guy. He has been reading to Book of Mormon in Spanish and he says he is enjoying it. Elder Clark suggested getting a member who speaks Spanish to go over with us to find out a little bit more about him, so that will be fun (:
I got to bare my testimony in church yesterday. It went really well! I told of an experience I had when I was younger. I remember we went to a wedding reception (I don't remember which aunt/uncle it was for (: ) and I wasn't feeling to good. The reception wasn't going to get over for a while, and I got a ride home with Aunt Michelle (I think it was her...) So after an hour drive or so, I got home, and she dropped me off. At this point I felt awful, so I took my temperature, and my temp. was 106.3 F. Not good! I just remember my jaw dropping down, and I didn't know what to do. All I could think to do was pray, so I knelt down and asked Heavenly Father that you and Dad would get home soon, and that I would be okay. Then I layed down on the couch, and when I woke back up a couple hours later, my temp was back down to about 99. That is an experience that I have had with prayer that has moved me a lot! I'm very very thankful for the many experiences I have had with prayer and living with the Gospel in my life!
Well, I hope to hear from you soon! I hope all is well at home (: You are in my thoughts and prayers daily! I have some letters that I will send home this week. Talk to you soon (: Love and miss you!
Elder Teeples

Lovin' it in Solvang

These are my new companions, Elder Clark on the left, and Elder Castro on the right. Elder Castro is the new missionary, who is waiting for his visa for Australia.

And this is the picture of Jeaninne, Cliff (guy next to me), her son Noah, and Cliff's 10 year old son Logan

Hi! Yes, I am very excited to be staying in the Ventura mission (: It was great to get that news. 
So, about a week and a half ago, on the first Friday I was in Solvang, we met a lady named Gloria when we were tracting. We talked to her a little bit about our church, and I guess she had talked to missionaries before, and knew some members of our church. She invited us in and we talked a little more about the Book of Mormon and about coming to church. She said she'd come to church that next Sunday, but her son ended up having an ear infection, so she wasn't able to make it. So we went back the following day, which was this past Monday, and taught her and her husband, Mark, the Restoration. I think that was the most powerful lesson I've been in so far! That spirit was so strong, and Elder Castro, Elder Clark, and I taught with a lot of unity. It was really cool, when I testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and how it has blessed us as a family, I could see that they were feeling the spirit. I really felt like I was supposed to take part in testifying truth to them as a missionary. It definitely was a lot more than just a coincidence that we met them! We left them with a Book of Mormon Stories for their 5 year old and 7 year old sons. They are leaving for Holland in a couple days, but will be back in a couple weeks, and we will continue teaching them. From what we have heard from Gloria, she and her family are enjoying the reading!

We also met with Brad Rodges a couple times this week. On Saturday night, we hada REALLY long lesson simply about coming to church. Brad has been meeting with the missionaries on and off for about 5 years now, and has only come to church 2 times. We were really determined to have him at church yesterday. We testified that going to church would improve his life and his living situation, and he even shared experiences with us how church has blessed his life. Yet, every time we asked him to commit to coming to church, he would say, "I'll try, but I can't promise." He is afraid of commitment I think. Even though he does not have plans for the next day, he doesn't want church to get in the way of whatever may come up, if something comes up. Unfortunately, We went by around 9:30 yesterday morning to see if he was up to coming to church at 10. We found that he was not at home, but he was at a breakfast gathering somewhere in town. That frustrated us a little bit.... We are going to talk to him about commitments next time we meet with him and see if there is a deeper concern. It's so sad to see how much this Gospel can bless peoples lives, but they won't take it no matter how hard we try to help them see..
Thank you for the notes on Heather's talk! I'm so proud of her. She is awesome (: This week a couple nights ago, we were planning pretty late.. it was almost 10:20 at night, and we had our door open cause it was blazing hot. (It has been 105+ the past couple days (: ) and a guy came up to our door, looked in at us (Elder Castro was sprawled out across the floor), and asked, "Is this the bible room??" We looked at each other, and said sure... so he walked in, sat on our couch, and started talking to us about UFOs, and the rapture for 20 minutes..... it was pretty random, and funny haha (:
Well, I'm out of time for emails. I hope all is going well!! You are in my prayers and thoughts daily! Thank you for all the pictures of Tadum and Emma (new nephew and niece) (: They are so cute!! Have a wonderful week (: