Monday, September 30, 2013

So excited for Conference next week!

Hello! This week went really good (: So I have like minimal time..... ugh. The emailing situation is hard, so we have 12 missionaries who need to use 5 computers in a matter of 2 hours..... and there is no better option than to come to the FH history center, so we don't get a full hour to email our mission pres and to email home.... so it's nuts. 

This week went really good though! We were able to teach a few of our investigators. We taught Jarred Sullivan. He is really a humble seeker of truth. We read Alma 36 with him and he thought it was all so interesting and he loved learning how we can overcome spiritual pain and agony through being humble and accessing the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He is slowly trying to soften his wife's heart to Christianity. She has a jewish background, and he has tried to push it on her too hard in the past, and she is closed minded with it as of the moment. But he says he is hopes to see her learning from the missionaries in the future.

We were able to teach Paula this past Saturday. She is so great!  (: She really just has such and awesome spirit about her. We had a wonderful lesson with her on the Word of Wisdom and she loved every bit of it. She said that she wanted a couple extra pamphlets to share with her friends. and.... She also said that she would come to general conference next week at the church building!!!!!!!! Ahhh! So exciting! That makes me even more excited for next week!!!!! (: We invited her to bring a question and see if she can find the answer in something that the prophet/apostles say. We are excited for her! She has been investigating for a LONG time now... and she has never come to church. but hopefully this will help her feel more comfortable with coming to a church service!

We had a good lesson with Caren yesterday. She is a really sweet woman also with a Jewish background. She called us and said she needed help with her laundry yesterday. She has an injured arm, and can't lift her laundry basket, so we helped her carry her clothes to the laundry room and had a lesson with her while her clothes were washing and drying. She is a consultant for Pres. Obama and has been consultants for the past couple Presidents of the country. Pretty cool (: We read with her from 2 Nephi 31. It went really well. We also discussed on why people have to suffer, because she has suffered a lot of pain both physically and spiritually in her life. We talked about it for a while, and went over 2 Nephi 2:25 with her and helped her realize that we feel pain so we can truly experience what joy feels like. She thought that was interesting and said that she would ponder about it a little more.

In my studies this morning I was reading in Alma 37:37 and it really hit me how important it is to "lie down unto the Lord". Maybe you could read that scripture together as a family and discuss it. It is really good (: 

Elder Spencer and I are getting along very well! We have a lot of fun making funny voices and such. It makes the work enjoyable when you are with somebody you can joke around with (: We connect a lot and we are doing well in our missionary work. He is a great missionary for only being in the field for 3 months. We see some promising potential investigators for the future and we are excited to see how the work progresses! The Hermanas in our district found a guy named Chris who speaks English and wants to be baptized! So I'll keep you updated on that (: Being a DL is a lot of extra responsibility, but it really is awesome! Such a privilege (: 

Thank you so much for all that you do! I hope all is going well at home (: I love and miss you so much! Talk to you next week! 

Elder Teeples

Enjoying getting to know the district missionaries better.

Hello Family!! This week went really good (: Last night was crazy... as part of being a district leader, I collect everybody's weekly numbers (how many lessons they taught, new investigators they found, etc) every Sunday. Last night I had write down and talk about the goals that they had set on how to be more consecrated missionaries and it took a long time! I was on the phone constantly, and writing everything down from 9 pm til 10:29... One minute before I had to go to bed! it was busy! But it was awesome being able to talk to all the members of the district and get to know them each a little better (: We have 3 sets of Sisters and on other set of Elders. It is great!

So this past Saturday, we went on exchanges with our ZLs and I was with Elder Kleinman. We visited Paula. It went alright, but I learned that choosing the right member to come to lessons with us is really important. We had a member come and the lesson was not focused and got off topic very frequently, unfortunately. We did our best, but the way the lesson turned out and how we came across was like we were being far too pushy, but I guess it went alright. Paula felt the spirit during the lesson and I guess that is all that matters. We were really determined to get her to church yesterday, or this coming week, but through distractions between her and the member present, we didn't accomplish what we wanted to.

We had an awesome lesson with Adam last night. He turned 18 a couple days ago. He is awesome (: I don't know if I mentioned it earlier, but he plays guitar really well and he showed us one of his songs that he wrote recently called "Evergreens" It was really cool! He expressed to us his desire of having a stable life before he moves forward in the church. He also has a desire to start coming to church regularly and to learn more about the church. We talked a little bit about baptism, and I felt prompted to go over the baptismal interview questions with him, so we went over them, and it seems that he hasn't actually prayed about Joseph Smith and having a current prophet on the earth, so we invited him to do so. He has such strong belief and faith in what he knows. We talked a little bit about the spirit world with him and he truly believes in that. His father passed away, and he believes very strongly that he is there. He is such a great guy! 

We went by a former investigator named Mike Dunn. He is awesome! He has said that he would be baptized, but his wife said that she would divorce him if he did.... bummer. so he decided to back off on it for a while. But we went over and talked to him about the Book of Mormon, and he is still very interested in it, so we invited him to read 3 Nephi 11-16, and to compare it to the sermon on the mount in Matthew. He thought that was really cool.

Elder Spencer and I are doing really good (: We are getting along and we are doing our best to further the work in our area. We are truly searching for those humble followers of Christ and we are praying that as we go about our days that we will be able to recognize them and bring them into the fold. It is more of a tough area, but we are doing our best!

During my studies this week, I studied the talk "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. It is sooooo amazing! You should find it, and read it for FHE. It really just amazes me how selfless the Savior truly is. In all that He did and does now, He always turns outward to aid to other peoples' needs rather than focus on Himself. I want to strive to develop that kind of love and charity as the Savior has, and I feel like my mission has aided in that soooooo much! 

I don't have anymore time.... the emailing situation here is crazy, but I dont' have time to explain (: hahahah. But I hope all is well at home! You are in my prayers daily! Love and miss you (: 

Elder Teeples

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Got a car..a cool comp and a righteous side bag. Awesome!

Hello!! (: My first week in Newbury Park went really good. It is really nice here! I am in a car area, so I get to drive! Wooo! Hahaha my driving skills are a little rusty... so I'm still getting used to it (: but things are going good. My new companion is Elder Spencer. He has openly admitted that he was a band geek, and he's proud of it! But he's awesome. He played ultimate frisbee in high school, and he loves that. He used to listen to Brian Regan, Jim Gaffigan, and other comedians like that, so we have fun quoting them sometimes (: That's kind of cool how Bishop Carter mentioned that [put in leadership positions] and then I got the call! 

Yeah there is a whole spanish community and a pretty big Indian population. (Not Native Americans, but from the other India) and it is so weird walking around there and not being able to tell what anybody is saying... It's quite the experience (: haha.

Jax got braces?!?!? Sucker.... haha (: That's not fun..... but they will help his teeth in the long run.

We had a really good lesson with our investigator, Paula Schwartz. She is so funny! She has a Jewish background. She has been taught by the missionaries for at least 6 years now. She is very humbled by experiences in her life. We planned to teach her the Plan of Salvation this past Saturday, and when we got there we found out that it was a Jewish holiday: "Day of Atonement." And as we know, the Atonement is the center of the Plan of Salvation. She thought that it was so cool how we planned to teach that to her on that day! We had a really good discussion with her. She believes all that we talk to her about, she just won't come to church. She knows that she needs to go to church, she knows that she will have friends to sit by at church, she has a ride to church, but she just won't go. I don't fully understand it at this point... ha but I hope that by the gift of discernment Elder Spencer and I will be able to help her overcome whatever concern she might have. She drinks iced/green tea, so we are going to talk to her about that. We think that the tea may be hindering her spirituality, so we are going to talk to her about that. But she really is such an awesome lady. 

We met with Adam the first night I was here. He is awesome! He is a really good musician! We had some fun playing a little guitar together (:  He is turning 18 near the end of this week, and he really expressed his desire to us of being baptized and eventually going on a mission. His mother wouldn't give permission for him to be baptized, so he is excited to turn 18 so he can "start making [his] own decisions," baptism being one of them. He really is great. He hasn't been reading the Book of Mormon lately, so we are going to help him with that. 

Also, I found a side bag on Saturday! At the end of the day, a lady that had a yard sale was giving away all the stuff that she didn't sell, and she had a side bag! SWEET! So you don't need to look anymore for one of those (: But yeah, just whenever you can find some tan slacks that would be great! Just make sure to compare them with the pictures on becasue I don't think that can be too light... but yeah (: and thank you for the music (:

I hope all is well at home! looks like you had fun at Lagoon! You are in my thoughts and prayers daily! Love  and miss you (:


Elder Teeples

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Transfer....District Leader at Newbury Park....I'm Stoked!

Hello! This week was great (: guess what?? I have been called to be a district leader!!! Crazy! I am very looking forward to it! It will be such a great privilege to have that extra opportunity to love, serve, and learn from the missionaries! I am excited (: Transfers are tomorrow, and I am being transferred to the Los Robles ward in Newbury Park. It is a more wealthy part of my mission, and I have heard that it is beautiful there. I am excited! My new companion will be Elder Spencer, who I will meet tomorrow. I'm stoked! Elder Moser (the Elder who went to school with me) will be taking my place in this ward with Elder Castro. As of the moment, he is still waiting for his visa.

So this week we saw Luigi a couple times. We set a goal with him to read one chapter of the Book of Mormon daily. He said he feels good about that goal and he is keeping that commitment. It has taken him a really long time to get up to Alma... Like 9 months. and by reading a chapter everyday, he will finish the Book of Mormon near the end of January, which is like less than half of the time it took him to get up to this point. So that's good (: We really feel that is the only thing holding him back. He wants to know for sure what is in the Book of Mormon before he makes a big commitment.

Rose gave us a call this week and let us know that some personal problems had come up in her life and at this point she doesn't want to study any further with us, unfortunately. ):  But she was very appreciative of our time and looks forward to meeting with us again. Elder Castro and Elder Moser will be having the last lesson with her this Wednesday.

We met with Tim and Suzanne Gagnon yesterday. We didn't get to say too much during the lesson... they basically just told us all or their concerns on why they think our church is false. But it went good, we answered some of their questions that they had. Towards the end, we were able to bare testimony of the Book of Mormon and we invited them to pray specifically about it, because they hadn't done that yet. They accepted and said they would. The main thing we focused on while bearing testimony to them was how the Book of Mormon brings us closer to Christ. I explained our purpose as missionaries is to "invite others to come unto Christ" and how the only way we can do that for strong Christians is through the Book of Mormon, and we promised them that they would be brought closer to Christ through that book. I know I have come closer to Christ through reading and applying it's teachings! I know the Book of Mormon is true!
And yes, Sis. Gonzales did make it to the temple!! She was able to [be baptized for] her mother and her grandmother (: She said it was such a great experience!
That's so crazy how much Mark has grown up!!! And Luke! and Everybody! Wow... it's crazy what 7 months will do! So Keith is doing cosmetology this year huh? That's pretty cool! Haha yeah, I'd imagine he would be the only guy there (: Is it part of school? Or just a job? That really is such a blessing to have that anonymous person [in the ward] pay for part [two months] of my mission! I will definitely be keeping them in my prayers (: I hope Heavenly Father blesses them greatly. I hope things are going good with your schooling!
Thank you so much for expressing your appreciation for me (: I just tried to do what I was told. Thank you so much for being such great parents! Seeing the families our here in the world really has put our family into perspective for me, and we have an AMAZING family! I feel soooo blessed to have this gospel in my life and to have such righteous parents who are doing their absolute best to raise their children in righteousness. I can't thank you enough for that (:
I hope all is going well at home!! You are in my thoughts and prayers daily! Hope to hear from you soon! Love and miss you (:

Elder Teeples

The Power of the Priesthood is so Awesome!

Hello! This week went really well (: This past Saturday was soooo hot! Apparently Mexico had a tropical storm, so it pushed all the warm air up into the states. So it was hot and humid... Nasty. Not a good combo! I have decided I'm never going to live somewhere where it is hot and humid.... So that's good to know (: I am so climatized to California it is funny.... Anything below 50, and I'm cold. Anything above 80, I'm burning up. It's going to be a sad experience when I come home and it is 3 degrees. Ha should be fun!
Anywho! We had a great week! this past week was the 5th week of the transfer. The transfer has gone by so dang fast! I can't even believe it. I really feel like I just got here! Ventura is awesome though. The member and investigators here are great.
This week we were able to see Luigi a couple times. It is so funny, because he knows that he needs to be baptized and is going to be baptized, it is all just up to him on WHEN he gets baptized. So Elder Castro and I hint at it so much, it's funny. But we are just reading the Book of Mormon with him, because he feel like his "answer" will come that way. We went over the baptismal interview questions with him, just to see where he was at. We figured out that he is good on all aspects of the interview excecpt about Joseph Smith. I think that is his big hold up. He has a skewed vision of Joseph Smith, and I have no idea how he got it.... but he did. We are hoping to help him over come that! He has three daughters, and two of them are baptized, and one is being baptized next year I think. Past missionaries and his wife's family have been working with him so he could baptize his daughters but he has missed two so far. His wife was joking with us yesterday, and was like, "maybe when he can't go to our daughter's weddings he'll start really getting into it!" haha I got a kick out of that. But yeah, we are just praying that he gets whatever answer he is looking for, or that we can help him understand what a true answer is.
We were also able to see Rose again. We showed up to her house for a lesson and she had a question of why do bad things happen to people, because whenever her son would ask her that, she didn't have an answer. So we read Alma 14 with her and talked a little bit about Ether 12:27 to kind of help her vision. She was really appreciative of the visit.
We are also planning on stopping by the Gagnon's this week to hopefully talk a little bit and set up a return appointment.
We have been still seeking out all the less actives in our ward. There have been lots of varied experiences with that one! A few slammed doors, a few people looking confused becuase the people we are looking for moved, and just a lot of other things. But we are making real progress with that. We haven't found anybody to teach through the people on the list, but we have found a couple potentials from the areas where they live, so that is good (: we also have found some great less active members that we are trying to help get back to church, including the Martin's who I will talk about a little bit.
We were also able to give a couple blessings this week. They were both amazing experiences! One of them was with Sister Gonzales, the first person we gave a blessing to here. She couldn't remember much of the last blessing, so she wanted another one along with a blessing for her leg. She wasn't having a good past couple weeks, due to stress with work, health, getting her bike stolen, etc.  So we gave her another one and one thing that was said in the blessing was that she would "remember what the previous blessing said" After the blessing, we looked down at her and with tears in her eyes, she said, "that's it. I need to go to the temple." The blessing talked a lot about the temple, and getting back to it, as did the previous one. She hasn't been to the temple in 7 years, and she is going back this saturday, and she explained to us how it all made sense to her that she was having a bad couple weeks, because she was planning on going through the temple again. The adversary really is working on her hard. Keep her in your prayers!

The second blessing this week was one for Sister Martin. Bro and Sis Martin are less actives, but they are sooooo cool! They are awesome. We have had dinner with them in the past and we are going there in a couple days. We have been helping/inviting them to come back to church, and the came a week ago, but weren't there yesterday, so we stopped by last night to check on them. Sis Martin's back was hurting quite a bit, and she asked us for a blessing. They went for a long walk yesterday, and she said that her back had been bugging her a lot all day. (I could tell because she wasn't walking too good.) Bro Martin insisted on us giving the blessing so Elder Castro gave her one after I anointed, and it was so great! After the blessing she was very grateful and she said it felt a lot better. and I could tell because she was walking normal! It is so amazing what the preisthood can do (: It is so amazing!
I hope all is going well at home! I love and miss you and you are all in my prayers every day! Thank you for all that you do for me (: I hope your schooling is going well and I hope you are getting into the hang of things! Love ya!

Elder Teeples