Monday, August 25, 2014

Building a 'zion zone'.

Hey... (: 

This week was really good! It seemed to fly by! The weeks seem to be going by quicker and quicker as my mission goes on. It really is a joy though, to be living as a missionary all the time. I feel like at this point it has just become who I am! I am still the same Jared Teeples, just... I don't know... better? Haha a better me! When my mission ends I don't feel like what I do every day, as far as daily scripture study, prayer, etc. will cease. Training me to be a better person for the rest of my life! I'm excited for that day, but we are staying focused on the work in this great area. We had Zone meeting this week and it was awesome! We had input from almost the whole zone during our discussion of how to have a "zion zone." It was good to get everybody else involved instead of us blabbing the whole time.. It was also really cool to see everybody open up, and give their input. It was a great zone meeting, and we have heard a lot of good feedback from the missionaries here and how they liked it. We have zone conference on Thursday and we are excited for that! 

We have heard that the zone goals that we came up with a couple weeks ago are going really good. One of them focuses on helping people smile! Then the missionaries keep tally marks of how many people they make smile. We feel it is a good way to help them see how they truly are a "light" to this area, despite the rejection we receive. We also came up with a program to help the members do missionary work, and it is called the "Find a Friend: Be a Light, then Invite" program. We have heard some good feedback so far! It is 5 weeks long. We drew it up, and I'm so thankful that my legibility has improved, as far as handwriting goes! It seems to have improved on my mission (: A member in the Thousand Oaks 1st ward actually made a printed copy of it for us to use, so it seems that the members might enjoy it as well.

As far as the work goes in the YSA ward, our investigators Ben/Xinxing and Anna/Qianqian brought their friend Lily/Jingchong to church yesterday, and Lily loved it! She said she has gone to Christian churches before, but she really liked our church and said she would come next week. It was kind of cool how she ended up coming with them. She woke up yesterday with some sort of skin condition, and Ben texted us and said they wouldn't make it to church because they had to take Lily to the clinic to get it checked, but the clinic was closed, due to it being Sunday. So they just came to church and brought her with. I was talking to Lily during church and asked if she believed in God, and she said that she doesn't know, but if there was a God, He led her to church today by "closing the clinic" ha (: It was great. She actually lives in our apartment complex so it will be pretty easy to teach her. 

No update on Alonso... He couldn't make it to church yesterday and we didn't get to teach him, unfortunately. 

We taught Luke and that went really good. We brought a fellowship who did most of the talking during the lesson. It was more like a conversation that was being focused by the member. Luke likes to talk a lot, but we committed him to read at least one verse of the Book of Mormon everyday, and the member was going to follow up with him often, so we'll see how that goes. 

Ryan is also doing good. We plan to talk to his mom this week to see what she thinks about him being baptized. We feel he would make a really good contribution and addition to the ward, despite his disabilities. He really has such a sweet spirit and he is just a friend to everybody he knows!

We received a referral from some of the sisters in the zone to a girl named Micaela, and apparently she is super interested. We have an appointment with her tonight and we are excited to see how that goes (:

In my studies this week I studied a bit about humility and how that is a key thing to have in a "zion companionship." To truly be unified, at least for me, I need to almost eliminate the role of Senior companion and Junior companion and I have to see us equals. That is truly how I have found I can be unified and be humble to put my companions interests before my own. I have been noticing that a lot this week, and it is so true! Being humble makes things a lot easier, but it is hard to always be humble.

Thank you so much for all your love and support! You are in my prayers daily! Love and miss ya!

Elder Teeples (:
Elder Gerber and I

Monday, August 18, 2014

Being with Elder Enthusiastic is Sweet!

Hello! (: 
My mission now is asking that instead of sending letters to the mission office (3301 W. Gonzales Rd. Oxnard, CA 93036) to send letters to us DIRECTLY rather than through the mission office. They are trying to decrease the amount of mail coming into the mission office. My current address is:
2473 Vista Wood Circle #13 Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

This week was really good! I am loving my new companion, Elder Gerber. He is such a great missionary! He definitely is sincere about helping the investigators and less actives in this area. I have definitely seen that in him in the short time I've been with him. He is really upbeat and enthusiastic, which is awesome. I've never really had a companion that has been overly enthusiastic so it is really great! We had a great time coming up with zone goals this past week and we are excited to get them rolling.  We are doing really good though and the work is going great! 

Our investigator Alonso actually got "dragged" to church by his friend named Matt, who is not a member. MIRACLE! Alonso and Matt came to the family home evening we had as a ward this past Monday, which was a pool party. At first Matt didn't really want to be there, but he came into the backyard of the house where the pool was, and members started talking to both of them, and about 10 minutes later, members convinced Matt to go swimming... So he took off his shirt and went into the hot tub! Since then he has been happy to see us when he does, and he convinced Alonso to go to church yesterday. They showed up near the end of the 2nd hour and it was so good to see them there! 

Stephanie also came to church yesterday. We had a lesson with her right before church, and she told us how she doesn't really have a desire to investigate any more and feels like she simply keeps coming to church to keep her friends happy... It was kind of a sad lesson but the spirit was definitely there. We aren't completely sure if we should keep teaching her or not but our plan right now is to teach her everything about the church and see if that helps. She just feels frustrated because she has been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon but she doesn't feel as if she has gotten an answer. She doesn't know for sure if God is really there, which is also a hurdle she needs to get over, but we are doing our best to help her. 

Our investigator Ryan expressed desire to be baptized this week. He has special needs and I'm pretty sure the ward has come to the conclusion that he doesn't "need" baptism due to his condition but we've been talking about it with the ward council and we are thinking it may be good for him to feel like he is truly part of the church by coming every week and having a calling as well as having home teachers that could be assigned to him for the rest of his life. (:

In my studies this week I studied about light a lot because that is what our zone goals are based around, is being a light to others, and helping members be a light to their friends. It has been really cool studying how that light can be part of our countenances by living the Gospel and doing God's will. 

Thank you for all your love and prayers! It really means a lot to me. Have a splendid week (: 

Elder Teeples

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Love Love Love the Temple! And....I got a new comp!

Hello  (: 

TRANSFERS ARE HERE!!!!! Crazy how fast time goes by! I have been praying for Keith and his surgery. Hopefully he recovers quick! I will be staying in Thousand Oaks with an Elder named Elder Gerber (yes, like the baby food (: ) I have served around him, and I am excited to be with him! Elder Welker is actually going to the Ventura 1st ward, which is the ward I was in, when I was in Ventura. But this week was awesome! The work has been going really well around here! Elder Welker and I are sad to be transferred away from each other, as we have come to be good friends, but he will do some great work in Ventura and for the missionaries there.

I was really impressed by the missionaries we live with this morning around 4 AM. One of them is the district leader over 12 Sisters O.O crazy. Last night, a sister called around 4 AM asking for a blessing. She had been experiencing some breathing problems and wanted a blessing as soon as possible. The whole situation was a complete miracle.  The Elders forgot to put their phone on sound last night, and left it on vibrate, but as the Sisters called early on in the morning, one of the Elders miraculously woke up to the vibrating phone. That was a miracle, because he usually doesn't even wake up to the alarm on full sound in the morning! And even the alarm to get up for exercises this morning he slept through it. But I was very impressed with their willingness to get up and sacrifice some of their sleeping time to minister to those Sisters, and this morning we received word from them that Sister was feeling better this morning. A true miracle, if I do say so myself.

Work-wise, this week was great. We started teaching Xinxing's girlfriend Qianqian (Anna)! That was a huge highlight of our week! In the past she has seemed really hesitant about going to church, and was skeptical about that, but we taught her for the first time this past Tuesday, and she told us that she wanted to know if God was really there! It was so great! We talked to her a lot about faith in that lesson, and in the lesson on Thursday. She said the closing prayer at the end of both lessons, and it was so great. They both made it to church yesterday, and it was awesome! They are headed down to San Diego this week and they said they might stop by the San Diego Temple.

We were also able to meet with Alonso. We kind of lost contact with him this week, because his phone is broken. We tried to go by a couple times each day, but couldn't catch him. Then last night we knocked on his door, because he didn't come to church, and he wasn't there... So we worked around his neighborhood and we actually ran into him walking his dog! Miracle. We had a lesson with him then, and we have an appointment with him tonight. 

We taught Luke this week as well. We talked with him about REALLY being committed to reading the Book of Mormon Stories book that we gave him, because he hasn't read it yet, unfortunately. He did, however, go down to the LA Temple with the ward for ward temple night on Thursday and he enjoyed that. 

We also taught Stephanie, and we had a really good lesson with her about faith and why we set baptismal dates as goals. it was a really good lesson and the fellowship was perfect. One of them left to Utah this week for school and the other one reaches out to her often, so it works great. She really is so humble and willing to learn it is great! She really has a strong desire to know this for herself so it is awesome.

In my studies I studied this article in the August 2013 Ensign called Worlds Without Number. It truly is amazing! It really puts into perspective just all of God's creations. That, along with going to the Temple on Thursday, has really helped me be humble and I really have learned a lot about submitting to God's will. The temple was soooooo great! I loved it (: I actually ran into somebody I went to high school with! So that was aweome.

Thank you for all your love and support! Have a wonderful week (: thank you for all that you do!  love and miss you!

Elder Teeples (: 

Priesthood blessing to calm a troubled heart.

Hello! (: 

Well this week was a lot better! At the end of my interview with President Felix, I received a blessing from him and it was amazing. The blessing touched my heart, and I really feel like I have been more effective in the work, especially with keeping motivated when opposition hits. I feel a lot better with everything (: 

So this week, we were pretty productive in the work. We were able to set our investigator Xingxing/Ben with a baptismal date of September 20th. He is doing really solid as always. He and his girlfriend, Anna, came to church yesterday. We had our regional YSA conference (which is where the surrounding YSA wards come and have a 2 hour long fast and testimony meeting, and eat afterwards). It was great to hear all the testimonies that were borne, and they both really liked it! I saw a lot of members from the Camarillo YSA ward. 

We saw our investigator Stephanie as well. We invited her to be baptized on September 27th, but we have received word from her fellowship that it has been overwhelming her a lot, just thinking and praying about it. So we are going to discuss that with her this week. We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it was a great lesson! 

We had a lesson with our investigator Riley. We just stopped by Saturday night, and it was really good. She was going through a hard time, but we testified of the peace that can come through reading the Book of Mormon and having the spirit. It was really good and she learned a lot.

We made a lot of progress with our investigator Alonso. We set him with a baptismal date of September 27th, and we discussed the commitment it would take to be prepared for that day, and he seems to be committed. We have a lesson with him today and it should go well.

In my studies one principle that I have really found to be grateful for is the resurrection. I guess in my life, we have never really had to worry about disease or cancer in the family too much, until I heard about Jax. So I have really appreciated the knowledge of that principle in Alma 40:23. My family is quite bummed though. I also studied more about courage, repentance and the atonement. I read the story of the 2000 young warriors this morning, just looking to their examples of courage to see what I could learn. It always amazes me how these young men scared off these grown lamanite men, and I have found that it was because they were diligence in obedience to God's commandments and because they had courage. I plan to study more about courage this week!

Sorry this is shorter! Thank you for your love and support (: It is truly felt. Love and miss you! Have a great week! 

Elder Teeples!