Monday, December 29, 2014

Carina's getting baptized on the 10th of Jan!!! Awesome!

Hellloooo (: 

   Wow, it's so crazy that Christmas is already over! Whoa. Christmas always such a great time of year, especially as a missionary. It has been the most amazing time being able to truly get into the spirit of giving everything to the Lord. I love it, because I have gained a pretty good testimony on sacrificing things for the Lord. It may take some faith giving up whatever it is (2 years, 10% of your income, etc.), but in the end you will truly find that what you "sacrifice" isn't a sacrifice after all, because the Lord blesses you with SOOOOOOOOOOO much more than you give up! It's truly amazes me and I feel the spirit testifying to me that that is true everytime I make a "sacrifice" for Him and His work. The Ewings had us over for Christmas dinner and that was a lot of fun! They are great. 
   The area is doing well! We had 4 lessons with Carina this week, one of which was the time we went over to her grandmother's house on Christmas Eve, and had the experience I told you about on the phone. (At least I think I told you.... basically we went over to visit her on Christmas Eve, and we ended up playing a couple Christmas songs for her whole family on the guitar and with us singing. Then we went inside to teach her, and slowly almost everyone that was outside came in to listen to us teach! It was so sweet! Then there was a lady named Angela who wanted to go to church, so we got her information to send to the missionaries in Simi Valley, where she lives. I asked her if she had a Book of Mormon and I pulled one out of my coat pocket to give to her, and she was like, "you'd just give that to me?" and I replied that it was our Christmas gift to her. She then explained that she had been searching for a Book of Mormon for a long time, and could only find one in Spanish from a used book store. She was super grateful and I'm pretty sure she's been contacted by the missionaries over there! #miracleshappen)  Carina is still excited to be baptized on January 10th! We'll be setting up a baptismal interview for her sometime soon. Our investigator Jesse has been in Utah for a while and we haven't found out when he's getting back, but we'll find that out soon. We met an Indian guy named Ulhas walking down the street this past week. He was really nice and recognized us as Mormon missionaries. He just moved to the states like a month ago, and he is a Christian. We taught him about the Book of Mormon, and read Moroni 10:3-5 with him, and he understood it perfectly! I thought there would be a huge language barrier, but he understood it really well, and the spirit was super strong. He was really excited to read the Book of Mormon! He didn't show up to church yesterday like he said he would, but we have a lesson scheduled for this Tuesday at 8 pm and we're excited for it. 
    Elder Driggs is doing awesome. He really is such a strong missionary, and he loves being here. He's shared some of his personal experiences with me, and it was a long process for him to get on a mission. His experiences have really helped me! It really was a tender mercy for him to even be able to come on a mission. He's a fantastic teacher, and he always stays enthusiastic, which are two things I am trying to work on, so he's helping me with that. 
    I really love the atonement and all that it does. It has really carried me so much, and I wouldn't be who I am today with out it; and I won't be the person I am today when tomorrow comes around because of it, and I'm so grateful that I can change for the better. Change is always happening, and I love it! I found an amazing scripture yesterday during the sacrament. It's Isaiah 55:6 "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near." That scripture really hit me, to always remember the Lord in the "good times" and to strengthen my testimony now, so when trials come, I will be able to "bear them with ease."
    For service this week we helped Carina dig out some tree stumps in her back yard. That's hard stuff! We were hacking and digging at two of them for like an hour, and we made a few dents, but they are still solidly stuck in the ground. It's amazing how many roots those things grow. We'll probably help her more with those this week. But it was a great week over all and we are excited for new years this week! It should be great. 
    Thank you for all your love and support! I hope you have a great week! Talk to you next week! 

That's me on Christmas morning! 
Elder Teeples!
Here's a couple random pictures... 
That's when I met Alex Boye. Ryan really wanted a picture with him!
And a sweet district picture that we took this morning!
Here's a pic of me and Elder Driggs. That was a cool game that they had for us at our mission's Christmas devotional. They had everyboy's baby pictures up on the wall with a number by each one, and we got a list of all the missionaries there and we had to go around and guess who's picture was who's. It was fun. (: Everybody got a kick out of how the right side of my head was bald. 

I was cooking bacon last night for dinner, and this is the apron I wore (: It's pretty sweet.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!!!


   Dang, can you believe Christmas is already here?! What the?! Time is flying by so fast, it's overwhelming! Oh well, what do you do? I wish I could control time though! I'd slow it down just a little bit.... (: 

   This week was great! The area is doing fantastic! It's good being back in Newbury Park (: We got to visit a couple families that I knew when I was here last year, and that was good! We have a couple really great potential investigators that we found this week! This area really is great, and I'm so great I get to stay in the same ward. This ward is amazing, and all the members are so willing to help us out with missionary work! It was funny, at church yesterday a lot of people I knew before they left for school were home for Christmas break and they were surprised that I was still here! It's great (: Love it here! We also plan to work with members more. We want to teach their friends! We taught our investigator Jesse, and that was really awesome! We found out that he lives in the TO side of our ward though, so we may be passing him off to the other Elders soon. Probably this week. He is great though! He's been investigating for about 6 months now, and he seems solid. He is engaged to a member, so he's going to have to make his decision to get baptized or not sometime really soon. Hopefully sooner than later, right? (: We also taught our investigator Carina a couple times this week. She is great! She dresses a little bit gothic, but she has such a pure desire to be baptized. Her image doesn't reflect her desires at all! She's been coming to church for a while now, and she accepts everything we teach. We actually have a lesson scheduled with her today at 2. It is her birthday, so she wanted to meet with us as part of her birthday!

   Elder Driggs, my new comp, is awesome. He is really on top of things! At the beginning of this week after transfers I asked him if he had thought about zone goals at all, and he told me all about what he thought would be good with zone goals! He basically already had all the zone goals figured out! We only ended up using one of those goals for our official zone goals after brainstorming and praying about them, but I feel his preparation allowed us to work this week. Usually coming up with zone goals takes forever during the first week of the transfer... But we only spent maybe an hour in the apartment dedicated to figuring out zone goals. So we stayed effective! He's a great missionary, and he is good at striving to talk to everyone. We have a goal to both do better on that this week. He wants to stay really focused, which is awesome! It seems like he's had a lot of companions who don't have that desire to be focused and to work hard, so I'm glad I can help him out with that. He also likes running in the mornings, which I LOVE. I've been waiting for a companion to go running with! I need to lose my flab around my core so you can recognize who I am (:

  My testimony was strengthened a lot this week! The day of transfers Elder Driggs got pretty sick. He looked awful! Not good at all. He asked for a blessing and we got the permission, and within 30 minutes after the blessing he was ready to get back up and work, and he seemed fine. The priesthood is real! It's so real. My testimony was also strengthened of God's love. We met a guy last night named Sergio, and he told us about how he has 6 kids and he is working as hard as he can to provide for them, and at that moment I just felt so much love for him. I talked with Elder Driggs afterward and he felt it too. God's love is real, and I love being a missionary because I have the opportunity and privilege to feel His love for other people! Sergio told us how he probably wouldn't be able to get much for his kids for Christmas... Elder Driggs wrote his testimony in a Book of Mormon back in August, and he has been marking scriptures in it as he felt inspired to, and he felt like this was the person he was supposed to give it to. So I wrote my testimony in it this morning, and we plan to wrap it and give it to him. It's the best present we could give him! 

I'll probably call around 1-2 on Thursday. I'm excited to talk to everybody! I love and miss you lots (: Have a great week! Talk to you soon! 

Elder Teeples (:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Last Transfers...I'm staying in the same ward to finish my mission (just different stake)!!! Yeah!

Hello (: 

   Transfer calls came last Saturday!!!!!!! I need a drumroll!!!!!!!.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.' I'm getting transferred to Newbury Park to be a zone leader there!!! And the Newbury Park zone leaders serve in the same ward as we've been in!!!! :D (because the YSA ward covers both the Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park stakes) That was such a tender mercy to know that I'll be staying in the same ward for the next 6 weeks! Such a blessing! So that was exciting (: My new companion will be Elder Driggs. I've never served around him, but I've met him a couple times and he sounds great! This was a great week! Elder Moser and I just had a blast serving together for this last week! We worked really hard, and we did our best. I love this ward! And it seems like the work is going great on the other side of the ward (Newbury Park area). Elder Miller and Elder Law (the Elders that have been in Newbury Park) have been working really hard, so that will be much appreciated when Elder Driggs and I get there. (: 

   The area is so good! We had a couple really good lessons this week. We had a few with Dee, which were just great! Saturday was sooo amazing! Dee's baptism went so well!. It was one of the best baptisms that I have been to! So many people showed up that we had to move the service into the chapel rather than the room the font was in. It all flowed so smoothly, which was really good. The spirit was super strong and she bore her testimony at the end, which was amazing (: Also on Saturday, Alana and Sister Hartkop took us out to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch! I got like a 2 pound breakfast burrito. It was good being able to spend some time with them! Then after the baptism (which was at 3) we went out with Dee, and her boyfriend's family to dinner at Woodranch Grill. It was sooooo good! We got spoiled on Saturday (: Part of that family was one of the main screen writers of Despicable Me 1 & 2, Horton Hears a Who, and many other movies. It's so crazy "rubbing shoulders" with those kind of people all the time in this area.  We also had a great Restoration lesson with these two girls that we met on Moorpark college campus a while ago. A member was with us, and Elder Moser and I thought that we were able to teach really simply to them, and they really understood it. Jordan, one of the girls, has been reading the Book of Mormon and has made some good progress. We also had an amazing lesson with a less active named Brandon. He is bipolar and has schizophrenia and a couple other psychological disorders, and we was in a depression state. We talked about the hope we can have in Christ, and how that hope is always there. Then he asked for a blessing, and it was so amazing! He was having really bad anxiety before the blessing, and as we placed our hands on his head I could feel him shaking and his teeth chattering. As the blessing went on the shaking and teeth chattering gradually ceased. By the end of the blessing he wasn't shaking nearly at all. That was a huge testimony strengthener to me! The priesthood is so powerful if we simply have faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. 

    We were able to help out the Catholic church set up for one of their Christmas events for service this week! It was really good, and it seemed like they really appreciated our service. They were very kind to us and it felt so good to help out! We weren't able to stop in and see the event, but I think it went good. I love doing service, it always makes me feel so good! 
   Thank you so much for all your love and support! Thank you for the letter (: I got it in the middle of this week, and it made me happy. You're in my prayers! Have a great week! Talk to you soon! 

Elder Teeples
That is before Dee's baptism, and her boyfriend, Shane, baptized and confirmed her! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Spirit of Christmas is Service.


   This week was really great! I love the Christmas spirit, especially in the mission field (: It's amazing! I don't know, there's just something about the spirit of giving and missionary work that bring the most amazing feelings! I love this work, and I love serving others! It's such a blessing in my life! 
   The area is doing really great right now. Dee is progressing really well! We are so stoked for her baptism this Saturday! It's going to be huge! She had her baptismal interview this past week, and passed with flying colors. We were going to talk to her afterwards about who she wants doing what for the baptismal service, but after the interview SHE brought it up to US with an almost completely filled out program, with prayers, hymns, a musical number, and everything. She is ready for sure (: We have a lesson with her tomorrow, and it should be great! Ryan is still doing great! We were pretty busy this past week, and we've got another really busy week this week! We are going to be doing some service for the catholic church in Thousand Oaks by helping them set up for a Christmas program thing. Good things are happening! I'll be really sad to leave this area. There are just so many good things happening! I will miss it. Regarding transfers, I have felt some strong promptings on where I think I'll go, as far as a specific ward goes... But I trust fully that President Felix is called of God and that whatever ward he assigns me to for this next transfer, I will know it is where God wants me to be! 
   Elder Moser is still doing great. We both had a great week this week! It really is cool already having a foundation of friendship before being companions, and having seen that grow throughout the transfer. We really enjoy serving together! We have a lot of fun while still working hard.
    My testimony was strengthened this week on fasting and prayer. I won't go into the details of it, due to it being pretty personal, but in brief, we prayed and fasted in faith for a recent convert who had been struggling since he had been baptized. We prayed and fasted that he would have a softened heart, and it worked! He is a completely different person now. Amazing! I know that fasting and praying in faith work, and it truly brings miracles! 
    For service this week we had a couple good opportunities to help members out. This type of service was more to gain member trust, and to build our relationships with them. We did service for the Ewings by helping them trim down this huge bush! It was awesome (: It was partially raining too. I wish I had more time to tell you about my other service opportunities! 
    Have a great week! You are in my thoughts and prayers! Love you (:

Elder Teeples!

Here are pictures of the two districts in my zone with our tie dye zone t shirts! 

Elder Moser and I

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pouring blessings...and....rain...What a great week!

Hello! (: 

   This week was so great! We saw a couple really awesome miracles this week. Good things are happening here in Thousand Oaks! 

   I'll start off by talking about the exchanges I went on this week. I went with Elder Bryson, the assistant, on Wednesday, and that was a really good exchange. Elder Bryson and I got along really well! He is a great missionary.It really seems like he loves his mission, and that was such a great example to me! I can always love my mission more, even more than I do right now! He is so calm and relaxed all the time, but yet he is still diligent at getting things done. He is so sincere when he is sharing the Gospel with others, and that gives conviction and power to his words. It was a huge blessing for me to be with him for a day!   I also went on an exchange with Elder Corbridge an Elder in our zone. He is a great missionary! He is much more mature as a missionary than I was when I was at his point in my mission (about 4ish months out). He did a really good job at leading out on finding and teaching, and also planning. We also found that we were fellow brethren in our love for the Legend of Zelda (: But we didn't talk about that much... for too long at least (; We saw a huge miracle in teaching their new investigator named Barbara. We found out half way through the lesson that I had actually taught her sister Karen in Newbury Park about a year ago. But we taught Barbara the Restoration, and it went so well! We were teaching really simply, and she was understanding all of it. She was really open and willing to receive the message. She definitely felt the spirit, and when we were done teaching her about the First Vision, it was like she already knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet. We talked a little bit about baptism, and then taught her about the priesthood and how it was restored to the earth through Joseph Smith, and how we need to be baptized by that correct authority. Then she asked, "can I have a baptism in your church?" YES! It was just so cool to see how when we teach simply, and with the spirit, the Gospel will seem appealing to them, and they will desire it.
   Whoa!!! Everybody looks so different. It's so crazy! It'll be good to see them all in a couple short months, but as for now, I am focusing on the work, keeping both feet in the Great California Ventura Mission. Send my love to them! 

   The area is doing good! We taught Dee a lesson on Tuesday, and we talked about all that we had to teach her. We even gave her a list of all the things we teach before baptism, and she reviewed the list and said that she already knew everything. Raquel, the member taht was with us, had a great comment where she said, "you know, it's going to come to that point that you'll have to take that leap of faith. You know everything, and you'll have to take that step, but like we learned in church on Sunday, Heavenly Father won't let you fall," or something of the sort. That seemed to hit her. That night after we had gone to sleep we got a message that said, "thanks for the lesson. Does the 13th still work?" because we had talked to her about being baptized on December 13th, 20th or 27th. We texted back that it would definitely work, and she said, "definitely ready.... let's do the 13th :)" YEEEESSSSSS!!!  :D :D :D I was sooooo happy! That was a great day! So we have that set up for the 13th of December. We went through a lot of the commandments last night, and she understood them all really well, and we plan to teach the rest pretty soon here. 

   We had a couple non members that we met up on Moorpark College campus skype a member with us, who has been in the hospital for the past month or so. The spirit was really strong as we shared a message and sang, and at one point Taylor and Jordan (the non members) started singing along to I am a Child of God with us. It was great! We have come to become good friends with Taylor and Jordan, as they have been coming by our table most weeks on campus. They're hilarious! Ryan is still doing good! We had a couple lessons with him this past week. 

    My testimony is still going strong! I like mentioning this in my email every week, because it causes me to evaluate my testimony which is something that I really need to do. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way to happiness! And I know that it was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. Christ lives. He is my Savior and my Friends, and I will give my life for Him, because He gave His life for me. I love Him, and it is such a privilege to serve Him in this great work! 

    We got to help a member in the TO1st ward with his Eagle project, along with Elder Harper and Elder Willis. He was repainting a building at an elementary school, and we got to help them prime the whole building it was really great to help serve in that! 
   I'm sure you've heard about the He is the Gift initiative at already, but we are going to be learning about it tomorrow at MLC! We are excited (: We've also been getting some rain down here, so the Lord is pouring out blessings upon this area! 

Thank you for all your love and support! Your prayers are always felt! I hope everything is going well at home (: Love and miss you lots! Have a great week! 

Elder Teeples!
Zone Activity last P-day! We tie-dyed shirts! 

THE most amazing text (: 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week of singing, hot pots and....feeling really tired. :)

Hola (: 

This week was great! I seemed to be really tired almost all of the time though! It's good I guess. It makes me feel accomplished at the end of the day when I can barely keep my eyes open. I feel like I need to take a 2-week-long nap after my mission! 

I had an awesome exchange with Elder Boyce! He is doing really well. He is a really solid missionary and I'm glad that I had the opportunity of being with him for the day! He is only on his 4th transfer, so he is like, less than 6 months out. It's so crazy that not very long ago, I was at that point.... Time has flown by. But we got to be good friends on our exchange! 

Don't worry, I'll be taken care of here as far as Thanksgiving goes! We've had many invite us over. We are going to the Ewing's home for Thanksgiving. They are awesome! Raquel, the daughter, got home from her mission like 3 months ago, and she has just been on fire ever since she got home. She worked a lot with Moorpark College and made our weekly table on campus happen. She is a solid member missionary! Her family is awesome, so we are excited to be with them for Thanksgiving! They have definitely become lifelong friends after spending time with them. We love them, because whenever they need anything (whether it's a car wash, or as simple as putting a new chair together) they call us for help! It's great (: We just love helping and not very many people take us up on the offer! 

Our area is doing so well! Our investigator Dee is so solid. She came to church yesterday and she seemed to really enjoy it! In this past week we were able to teach her the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She learned a lot, and we quickly learned that she is very diligent in her reading assignments. We asked her to read 3 Nephi 11 before our lesson on Thursday this past week, and she read it like 5 times! What?! She just soaks everything up! She just wants to know everything, it's great. She knows she needs to be baptized and hopefully we can help her set a date for baptism tomorrow in our lesson. It is interesting though, because Preach My Gospel doesn't necessarily mention anything about the Millennium, so in our Gospel Essentials class yesterday, we learned about the Second coming and the Millennium, and she asked us why we didn't teach her about that.... so we'll be teaching her about that tomorrow! Haha along with Temples and Family History work (: She is doing great though. Ryan is also doing really good. We are going onto Moorpark College campus tomorrow, and we are excited for that as always. Ben, our recent convert, and his wife, Anna, came to church yesterday and it was good to see them there. We taught Anna about the beginning part of the Plan of Salvation. Later on in the week, Ben texted us and said "we are going to have a hot pot party at my apartment. Do you want to join?" and when Elder Moser first read the text, he didn't see the word "pot" so he thought we were being invited to a "hot party" in his apartment... Haha! But we stopped by, and their apartment was full of Chinese people! YES! I love Chinese people (: We ate some food out of their "hot pot" (which is like a boiling bowl of broth and they just throw things in it and it cooks them), and I ate a fish egg! It was interesting... but we sang "I am a Child of God" to all of them, and bore our testimonies. It was so cool! 

So I was asked to sing the tenor part in a musical number this past Sunday, and we met up like an hour before church to practice it. My part was sooooooooo high! I can maybe reach the C that is an octave about middle C... and my part went to the F above that! It was crazy. So I sang in my falsetto voice in front of the WHOLE ward! Haha it was pretty crazy... But I think it went alright (: 

My testimony is doing really well! I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I love how simple it is. That is one thing that Elder Boyce and I noticed when we were studying for Dee's lesson to teach her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is so simple and it flows to smoothly. I know that it is the way Heavenly Father wants us to live! It brings us true happiness. It is impossible not be happy while truly living the Gospel.

We got a call from Sister Morrison, Sister Williams, and Sister Angimarou saying that one of the less actives they are working with needed help putting up a shower curtain, and they didn't know how, so they wanted us to go over and help her with that. The shower curtain rod that she bought didn't ANY instructions on how to put it up... but I think we did it right! After we did so, we used her guitar and sang "How Great Thou Art" to her and her dad. It was a cool experience and committed her to come to church! 

Thank you for all your love and support! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving (: You are in my thoughts and prayers always! Love and miss you! 

Elder Teeples 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nearer My God To Thee


   This week was really great! Really tiring, but really great. We had a good first lesson with a new investigator named Dee! She was the one who came to church a couple weeks ago and is dating a member in the Westlake family ward. She is so prepared! She goes to church in the family ward every week! She has a lot of knowledge about the church. In the lesson we talked about the Book of Mormon, and asked if she had prayed about it at all, and she replied with,"well... I don't really need to, it's true!" She also had an experience a while ago where she prayed for a week straight if she should be baptized or not, and she went to church on Sunday and during Sunday school, there was a scripture read that said, (how she described it), "if you want this, then be baptized. If you want that, then be baptized," so she knows she needs to be baptized! She just needs to take that step. She didn't mention that it is hard for her to commit, but we feel as if it will be just a matter of helping her see that she has already committed, she just needs to step down into the font! So we just spent the whole lesson getting a feel for where she's at, and helping her understand our purpose as missionaries. We have a return appointment with her this Thursday after zone conference and it should be really great! 

   We also met with Ryan a few times this week. We taught him about Adam & Eve and how they lived in a perfect garden. It's so fun teaching him, I feel like it is preparing me to be a father in helping me learn to teach the gospel to children. I'm definitely going to continue loving Ryan beyond my missions end! 

   Elder Moser is doing really good. We are really getting along well, since we already had that foundation of a friendship before we became companions. I feel this week we did a really good job at teaching in unity, especially in zone meeting. We had so little time to prepare, yet it turned out good because I feel like we were on the same page, regardless of how scattered our notes were! I really love Elder Moser and we have fun together. We sang in sacrament meeting yesterday along with an Elder named Elder Law, and a member accompanied us as we sang " I know that my Redeemer Lives" It was really cool! That was the first time I had sang in sacrament meeting! So I was nervous but nobody said we sounded terrible so that's good (: We were singing to a member of the bishopric and his family after dinner this past Wednesday and asked if we'd be willing to sing in sacrament meeting the next Sunday and we did it! 

   I realized more than ever this week that the sacrifices we make as missionaries is soooooooo much less than what we receive from our "sacrifice" to come on a mission. I don't feel like it should even be called a sacrifice. Christ suffered so much for us! He made the ultimate sacrifice. I feel I am just expressing a small portion of my appreciation for His and Heavenly Father's real sacrifice by giving two years to the Lord, when in reality is truly a blessing. Relating that to obedience, it just gives me more reason to be obedient. His sacrifice enabled all of us to learn to be obedient, so why not take advantage of that blessing and learn to be obedient sooner? I love my Savior, and I love my Heavenly Father. I heard a cool scripture this week, it's 3 Nephi 5:20. We can truly use our agency to "bless [our] God and [our] Savior Jesus Christ" by choosing His will. 

   For service this week, Raquel, a member in our ward called us up just at the right time as we were in their area, and asked if we could help them put together a couple chairs that they received in the mail from Target, or somewhere like that. We had a good time strengthening our relationship with the members as we helped them with these chairs. It was cool talking with them and doing our best to build their faith in anyway possible. I love serving others! It's always a good experience. Always.

   We have zone conference this week, and we are doing a musical number for that too! I am playing and a companionship of Hermana's and Elder Moser will be singing! It's a medley we came up with of Nearer My God to Thee, and I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go. It is soooooo good! I wish you could hear it! But I guess it'll wait til after my mission. I'm going to record it in one of our practices this week! I also have hilarious videos of Ryan that you'll need to see. 

Thanks for all your love and support and all the prayers! They are definitely felt each and every day! Have a fantastic week (: 

Elder Teeples!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kickin' it with Elder M. in Thousand Oaks....How great is that!

Hello! :D   

   This week was really great! We had another successful time on Moorpark College campus on Wednesday, and we will be there again tomorrow. It's such an awesome opportunity for us! I really feel like it is effective, more than most other things we do, in a YSA ward. Elder Moser seemed to like it as well! It really hurts the first few times you greet somebody as they are walking by, and they just ignore you... but after the first few times it doesn't hurt so bad anymore (: So it's great! We had a few good lessons with Ryan D and that was really great. He was able to come to church yesterday. Xinxing's wife, Anna, came to church yesterday as well. Xinxing passed the sacrament for his first time yesterday! Oh it was so great! But it was really good to see her there! The non member that was going to feed us last night, Tianna, wasn't able to make it, unfortunately, but we are going to try to set something up with her soon. Due to coming up with zone goals we weren't able to meet with a lot of our investigators this week, but we were still pretty productive. We are planning on handing off our investigator, Trevor, to the Simi Valley Elders, since that's where he lives. 
   Elder Moser is doing great! We were able to catch up on how our missions have been going. it's great because we have come to be pretty good friends over the course of our missions. He expressed a lot of his feelings to me this week about he hasn't been around somebody who he feels completely comfortable around until he became companions with me, so it was a relief for him. We shared some of the strong spiritual moments, and some of our learning experiences with each other this week. He is doing great and he is going to love the YSA ward! We also talked about a few things, about how we think our next/last transfer will play out, whether we'd be training or not, etc. But we both agree that it's all up to the Lord's will, and we are willing to do whatever He knows is best!
   My testimony is doing great as well. Coming up with zone goals is always such a cool experience! After we had thought about them, and come up with the ideas and started writing them down, we were talking to Sister Guthrie and Sister Higgins on the phone and we asked for any last suggestions for zone goals. Sister Guthrie gave a suggestion for a zone goal and, almost to a T, was the first zone goal that we had already come up with. It is just so cool to see how through the spirit, we can know what we all need to work on. So my testimony has been strengthened this week in that aspect, that if we are in tune with the spirit we truly will be unified!

Sorry this is shorter... But I hope you have a wonderful week! I love and miss you lots! Talk to you soon (: 

Elder Teeples

Also, also! Luigi, one of the investigators I taught in Ventura is being SEALED! Valentines day 2015! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

I get to stay! Thousand Oaks ROCKS!

Hola!!!!!! (: 

We got the transfer calls!!!!!!!!!!!! They did it differently this transfer and we got the call on Saturday, rather than this morning! It was really nice knowing before hand. Definitely a lot less crazy. BUT I AM STAYING!!!! :D Which was a surprise because Elder Gerber was here for 2 and I have been here for 3. But Elder Gerber is going to Camarillo, where I came from! He'll love it (: I am going to be with Elder Michael Moser! The Elder I went to high school with and the one I was in the MTC with!!!!!! It's going to be so great (: But I will miss Elder Gerber so much! 

The area here is going so well! Like really. We are going to see a lot of progression this next transfer! We have a couple non members that came to church yesterday, and they are baptisms waiting to happen. One of them is named Dee, and the other is Tianna. We are excited to start working with them! We have also been finding a lot of success from going onto Moorpark college campus. That has been really good for us. We get to talk to so many people! Ryan D has been doing really great. He has been so good at coming to church and coming to all the activities that we have for the ward. He has really been a blessing in my life. We also taught Xinxing's (Ben) wife, Anna, this week. She doesn't have an "interest" in being baptized right now, which is sad, but we are going to do all that we can to help her! Elder Gerber and I studied a lot about desires this week, and we feel that we have a good idea of how we can help her.

My testimony has strengthened a lot this week as far as doing the Lord's will goes! He definitely has a plan. I thought I was going to be transferred this transfer (I know, I got into that mindset when I really shouldn't have...) and I was so confused, and I was feeling as if I hadn't really accomplished what I needed to in this area yet. Especially with Tianna who came to church yesterday. We met her going to the very small institute class at the beginning of this transfer, and she is from Santa Maria. Her best friend growing up that lived down the street from her was LDS, and Tianna had gone to girls camp quite a few times, and even knows "I am a Child of God" by heart. Now, as you may recall, my first area in the mission was in Santa Maria 3rd ward, and when we first met Tianna, we came to find out that I knew her best friend because I served in her ward. It was just a small world, and it "broke the ice" really quickly, and it took a while to get the ball rolling with her, but now that it is, we hope to start teaching her soon. She and another member are feeding us dinner next Sunday and we hope to have a good discussion about her.

For service this week we actually got to do some service! We got to help an investigator being taught in a different ward move stuff into a storage unit in Moorpark. She was so appreciative of the service and her heart really softened! We also got to serve a couple members by washing their cars. It was so amazing! I absolutely love serving people so much! We did 3 hours of service this week. 

Thank you for all your prayers and support! I love you so much and miss you tons! Have a great week (: 

Elder Teeples 
I met Alex Boye!!!!
Here's a side picture of him (: A last minute fireside was set up this weekend where him and Abby Andersen, a 17 year old singer from Texas, spoke and sang for us. Super cool! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

No ZL for a day...Pretty nice.

Hello!  We had another crazy busy week!!!!! Sometimes I feel like it will never slow down! This week, we had a couple exchanges with the district leaders, some paperwork, a day at Moorpark college, and a few other things, and with that, we have like no time at all! But we are still doing great and the work in our area is progressing (: 

Nothing too much to report on as far as our area goes. Ryan D brought a friend to one of the lessons that we had with him and she had some questions about the afterlife and we got talking about the Plan of Salvation, and read part of Alma 40 with her. It was really good! She said that she would read the Book of Mormon and would like to start coming to some of the activities we have, including ward temple night next month! So that should be awesome (: Ryan basically knows almost all of Thousand Oaks, so his baptismal service is going to be packed! 

We had a pretty successful time on Moorpark College campus! We saw a lot of the same people as last week, but we found a couple other people, and got their numbers, so we are going to start inviting them to things and see if they are willing to come out. The only thing about Moorpark College is that students from almost everywhere but Moorpark go there.... there are a lot from Simi Valley, and the surrounding areas, so we will basically be giving off lots of referrals if they ever become interested (: 

We had a couple "intense" lessons this week. With going on campus, there comes a lot of people who are strong Christians, or strong atheists, and they only want to debate their points of view. But it's cool seeing them having that intention, but our message is simply an invitation to learn more, and we bare simple testimony to them about what we know. They all worked out, and we still seemed to be on their good side by the end of the lessons so it was good (: 

For one of my exchanges with a new missionary, Elder Harper, I got to get away from the "zone leader" phone. It was soooooo great! I think Elder Harper and I got a total of 2 text messages on his phone the whole day! It was so great (: We had a pretty open day so we got to go out and talk to everyone we possibly could, and not worry about any administrative things that we needed to do. I loved it! Near the beginning of my mission these leadership positions seemed somewhat "desirable" but looking on them now.... It's so much less stress being a normal missionary companionship! But I love it at the same time. Heavenly Father is definitely teaching me valuable lessons that I need to learn! His purposes are definitely greater than my own! 

As goes for a Halloween package, yes, I am definitely still trying to avoid sugar! My companion and the other companionship living with us get enough candy.... So I'm good on that (: I'm not even sure what I'd want for a Halloween package.... I can think about it and let you know next week, because transfers is next week, and I'll know where I'm going by next Monday. We get our transfer calls this Saturday morning! I think President Felix is changing it from Monday morning to Saturday morning which is soooooo nice! But if you send letters early in the week I should still get them, so that'd be fine. And as goes for Christmas... I'm not sure? I'd say just save the money you would spend on me and wait til I get home so I know what I can actually use when that time comes. I would like to come back to California soon after my mission to visit, so maybe that could be part of my Christmas gift. I'll keep thinking and let you know! I hope all is well back home! You are in my thoughts and prayers always! Talk to you next week (: 


Elder Teeples! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

I love to see the temple....again! Sweet!

Hellooooooooooo (:   

This week was really good! Super busy... so it flew by!!!!! Wow. Anywho! We saw Meet The Mormons! You really need to see it, because it's so good. Elder Gerber's head is in it! He is part of the mission prep class that they show for the missionary leaving on his mission. You really need to see it soon, family! We also went to the Temple and it was so great! It was Elder Gerber's second time, so he was so relieved to finally go again. He hasn't gone for a whole year! And this was my 5th time in the field (: I've been blessed. I learned so much this time! We actually got there at 8 am, and we looked at the schedule and a session had just BARELY started... so we did initiatories (which was amazing!) and went to the 9:15 session. 

   The area is doing well! We have been trying to get onto Moorpark college campus more often, because that's where we feel we could be really effective in the YSA ward. Going through neighborhoods is always good, but it's not the most productive finding activity for us in finding YSA's. We taught a couple really great people from the college! We were able to teach a few other great people this week. We taught Ryan D and that went really well. He was at church last week. We also taught a guy named Lyndon from Moorpark College and he mostly just vented about things going on in his life, but that's alright. Hopefully we can gain his trust! We also taught Ben, and he had a question about what "taking upon us the name of Christ" meant, so we had a great discussion about that. We are truly being blessed in this area! 

    My companion is still doing great! We are still getting along, and still working great together. I love his work ethic and his diligence. That is something I am working on right now, and he has been a huge help. He is good at listening to the spirit as well. I wish I could follow the spirit as good as he can! He's so great at it. He definitely is really good at discerning the need of any situation too, which is great. 

   My testimony was strengthened a lot this week. Yesterday morning, I was praying and right in the middle of my prayer, doubt entered my mind, and I thought to myself, "am I just some crazy person kneeling on the ground talking to myself? Is God even there? Is He real? And if He is, does He even have time to listen to me? He must have so much other things to do, that He wouldn't have time to listen to my constant prayers." Then I prayed sincerely asking Heavenly Father if He was there, and if He heard me, and loved me. I asked Him if He knew my name. Then I went about my studies yesterday morning like usual, and I randomly started reading this Ensign from January 1994, and I read the first Presidency message by President Hinckley. And there was a quote in there that goes something like, "... let us never forget to pray. God is real. He is near. He is accessible to us." And I just felt the spirit so strongly at that moment. Then the talk in sacrament meeting was all about how God answers prayers, and during lunch we listened to a talk by President Monson from October 2012 about how God answers prayers, and it was just really powerful. So now I know even more so that He does! 

    We didn't get any chance to serve this week.  But we helped out a little bit with the foodshare up at the Moorpark Institute (where the institute has free produce and gives it away), and there was a girl named Jesse that we've seen there the past couple months. She seemed like she was going through a hard time, and she pulled us aside, and asked if we could say a prayer for her. That is huge because in the past she said that she is athiest! She expressed her appreciation, even to tears, for us giving away free produce, and making it available for those in need, because she was in need at the time. It was a really cool, spiritual moment! 

D&C 112:10 "Be thou humble, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers." 

Thank you so much for all that you do! The love, support and prayers are definitely felt. I also got the letters from Mark, Luke, Korissa, and Joseph. Thank you so much! That's the first letter that I've got in a while now (hint hint (; ) Love you lots! You'll be in our thoughts and prayers! Talk to you next week! 

Elder Teeples!
Me and Elder Gerber at the LA Temple

Monday, October 13, 2014

Good times at Moorpark College

Hello Family! (:

This week was awesome! We kept really busy, and we've got another busy week ahead of us. We get to watch Meet the Mormons tomorrow! We are stoked! You should go see it (: I'm sure it is showing in Utah. Then we have President interviews, a temple trip, setting up tables on Moorpark College Campus, and a few other things. We are so excited! 

  The area is doing really great. We got to proselyte a quite a bit this week and we had a good time at Moorpark College participating in the club rush there. (Where all the clubs set up a table and get people to sign up) So the institute there had a table up, and we talked to a lot of YSA's and it was really successful! We are excited to follow up with those people. Ryan is doing good, he came to church again yesterday, and we had a pretty good lesson with him this week. Ben bore his testimony about how he wants to share the Gospel with ALL his friends! He is so great (: I love him to death! He also received the Priesthood which was amazing. Such a great example of what Elder Bednar talked about in conference. We taught a new investigator this week, who's name is Ryan B. He has really been prepared! He's had a lot of friends get baptized within the past year, which is a great influence on him. We also had a couple really intense lessons this week with people who just wanted to debate, but it all turned out alright. The bishop of the Thousand Oaks 3rd ward invited their daughters friend over for dinner last night and had us over. Their daughter is on a mission in Honduras, and we were celebrating her birthday although she was gone, and we got to teach her friend, Colby. She committed to read the Book of Mormon last night, so we will follow up with that. 

   My testimony was definitely strengthened this week. During one of the "debates" we were in, one of the people we were teaching, John, asked this question: "If God really wanted everybody to believe in Him and follow Him, why doesn't he magically show up on all the TV channels, or appear into everyones' mind and tell them straight up?" I've thought about that question a lot, and there are many answers that people could come up with. We then asked him, why would you remember that? What would be so significant about that experience? Then we discussed how we forget what things look like, and we forget what things sound like over time, but we will remember our feelings for much longer. If God were to appear to everybody, it would be a great experience, so much that we would remember perfectly how we felt. But why would God do that, when He can give us that same exact feeling through the Holy Ghost, and through prompting others to do good? That way we have the choice to follow Him by faith which causes us to grow in the process. I know that the Holy Ghost teaches us all truth and it can be just as powerful as a knowledge as if we saw God Himself. 

Sorry this is shorter than usual! Thanks for all your love, prayers and support (: I love and miss you lots! Talk to you next week! 

Elder Teeples! 

PS Brother Leatham, thank you so much for being such a great example to me of humility and charity. It really has changed the way I act and respond to many situations. I always appreciated your willingness to go out of your way to minister to me and my brothers. I will always consider you as such a great friend. A new missionary just moved into our apartment with us, Elder Alexander Harper. I was looking at his pedigree chart and I think his grandpa or greatgrandpa's name was Alexander Leatham. So maybe you're related? Pretty cool though! I have definitely learned though that the Lord's Will will always be done. Whatever happens is for our good! Thank you again for your stellar example of love towards me. Love ya!