Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 15, 2015

Hey Family,
I have always loved the rain.  I always have more energy on rainy days. However, no one else seems to agree with me.  The streets have been empty.  Please pray for a stop to the rain. It is hard to get new investigators like this.

The work has been incredibly slow this week.  We still haven't found any new people and the people we work with have been as flaky as ever.  I'm about ready to wipe all the names off our whiteboard and just start from scratch.  I don't know what it is with this area but we turned in better numbers than this in Korea.

Ms. M is the only one I have much hope for.  She came to a baptism in the ward this week.  We just need to get her to read the Book of Mormon.  She always has an excuse not to though.

Elder Madsen and I work pretty well together.  We are way different but we are able to work past it.  He is willing to compromise and hear things from my perspective.  He puts others ahead of himself and is genuinely trying to work hard.  I respect him a lot.

I did get the package.  Thanks!

I have been impressed with the members this week.  Two of the families we had visited were actively working with specific people to share the gospel with and one had a recent convert over that they had introduced to the church.  They were able to make sharing the gospel a natural thing.  They cared about their friends so they shared the most important things in their lives with them.

I'm sad to hear about Saruman.

Glad to hear trek went well.
Love you,
Elder Stapley

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June 8, 2015

Hey Family,
I realized a couple weeks ago that I had hit my two year mark as a missionary, but I still have more than a year left.  It is weird to know that almost everyone I served with is home. 

So the work here is quite slow.  We have plenty of people to visit but almost all of them are unwilling to put any effort into changing.  They haven't really had new investigators here in forever.  We are trying to find good solid people though referrals, which is the only way I have ever found people that really progressed.  It would be great if we could get referrals from the members but unfortunately that is harder than getting good referrals from nonmembers that we meet.  We do have one family that consistently invites friends to church though.  We are going to be meeting with them as much as we can to help them with their efforts.

Our two longtime investigators that actually follow through with commitments are C and Ms. M.  C has a testimony of the gospel and really wants to join the church but has a huge Word of Wisdom problem.  He is trying very hard to get it taken care of.  We can't meet with him very often because of his schedule and because he spends most of the week outside our area.  Ms. M is a grandma.  She is good with the commandments, even the Word of Wisdom, but hasn't yet received a witness of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration.  She hasn't read the Book of Mormon yet and is being way stubborn about it.  She comes to church though.

I still haven't gotten pictures but I will next week.  We are going to the Omaha Zoo today.  It is the biggest in the States.  I'll be sure to send you pictures from that at least.

Have fun on trek, Dad.  You might run into some people from Lincoln.  I think they were headed out there about then.

Thanks for the pictures, love you,
Elder Stapley

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June 1, 2015

 Great companions, Elder Jones and Elder Stapley

 In Lincoln

Elder Jones and Elder Stapley

Hey y'all,
I have been transferred to Omaha!  The ward is Lake Cunningham.  It's northern Omaha and I have the temple and trail center in the area.  We actually live in an apartment just down the street from the temple.  The area already seems familiar to me for some reason. 
My companion is Elder Madsen from Utah.  He is really cool and I think we a going to get along great.  
So you know how Elder Jones and I didn't have much of a teaching pool in Lincoln because we referred everyone away?  We had been working really hard on finding new people to teach.  On my last day there we felt like we needed to knock one particular apartment building.  Out of the 8 doors we knocked 4 answered the door.  Two of those said they would be interested and told us to come back later.  The other two apartments belong to a couple Syrian families.  At both doors they lit up when they saw us and immediately invited us in.  They were all Christians and were interested in learning more about what we believed.  We spent quite a bit of time in the second apartment.  They told us how they had had to flee their home in the city and live in a small village for three years.  When they were finally able to return home they found the front of their house destroyed.  They then accepted copies of the Book of Mormon and asked where the church was and when meetings started.  They surprised us by saying they would be there Sunday before we could even ask.  They gave us hot cocoa and nilla wafers and pop tarts to eat as we talked and promised to invite us over for some Arabic food.  I was so sad that I had to leave right after we found them.  Elder Jones and my replacement are so lucky.

On receiving my transfer orders I was immediately told two things about my area; it had the trail center and was super ghetto.  It is pretty ghetto but the ward extends outside the city as well and is quite diverse.  The ward members are very friendly and engaged.  We have so many team-ups and meals.  The ward council is on the ball and our efforts are well supported.  I am really excited to work with them more.

I have met a couple of investigators so far.  One of them really wants to get baptized but has some serious Word of Wisdom issues.  He had quit smoking and drinking and was doing really well but since relapsed on smoking.  He is so sincere and is willing to try anything to quit.

Yesterday we went out with Bro. Bradshaw, our ward mission leader, and looked for some lost sheep.  We prayed and decided to try to find one particular woman who's name had just arrived.  We found the house and knocked.  She answered right away and invited us in, smiling.  She had been a strong member of the church up until her divorce about eight years ago.  She had desires to go back to church but didn't know where the building was and didn't know anyone there.  Just that morning she had been going through some boxes for the first time in years and had found her scriptures.  She had pulled them out and decided that she needed to start reading them again.  Then we knocked on her door that evening and invited her to read the scriptures and come to church.  That was cool but as we kept talking she mentioned her mother was in a nursing home in Lincoln.  I asked what her name was and realized that we had visited her with the bishop a few weeks ago and given her a blessing.  What are the chances?!  She promised to read the scriptures and come to church.  Bro. Bradshaw did a great job of making her feel comfortable and showing interest in her.  I'm going to learn a lot from him.  That whole night was a great experience.

What is Mom's cell number?  Some members want to be able to send pictures.

Emily, I never really baked anything in the rice cooker.  In Masan I had an oven and in Sujeong we had a toaster oven that I was able to bake cakes and brownies in.  I also got pretty good at microwave mug cakes.  Try to bake something in the rice cooker though, I'm really interested in how it would turn out.  I have made omelet things in the rice cooker.  I cooked it over night.  It worked well once.  If you do something like that make sure there is plenty of grease.  Learn how to substitute for butter and milk in things as well.

Thanks for all the ideas.  I love you,
Elder Stapley