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 (: