Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25, 2016

Dear Parents,

This week was kind of long.  We had exchanges with another set of Elders in the district.  Of course that was the day when all of our appointments fell through.  The other Elder and I got back to the apartment after a long day and after our planning we got a call from our companions in the other area.  They were on the way to the ER!  My companion had been getting over a stomach bug but had suddenly gotten worse.  They gave him a bunch of drugs and we had to take it easy for the next few days.  I spent a lot of time reorganizing the apartment this week.

One of the sisters in the branch challenged me to a chocolate chip cookie bake-off for her brother's baptism this week.  She 'bout to be humbled.  I found some hazelnut extract that I'm going to experiment putting into the chocolate.

The mp3 player hasn't been working well and deleted a lot of music.  Could you send it again just on a flash drive?  I'll get a new mp3 player here.

Both of our investigator families cancelled this week and we weren't able to see much of anyone.  In addition to the time we spent sick I don't think I've ever had a less productive week.  I did feel like I was able to help the Elder I was on exchanges with.  He goes home in a week and he said I am one of the few who has ever done that before.  Leadership assignments aren't a ton of fun but I do feel like I have more opportunities to fulfill my purpose.

I am probably going to transfer on the 5th.

Jack has been plunged headfirst into this church.  He is now our Branch Mission Leader and is feeling very inadequate but we have seen him as he has been continually progressing.  This week he seemed to really understand that we can someday be like our Heavenly Father and that goal gives us purpose as go through this life.  I know that we will one day be perfect in Christ as long as we love God with all of our might, mind and strength.  It makes all of this worth it.

I love you,
Elder Stapley

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19, 2016

Dear Parents,

I had a great week.  We had exchanges and I went down to Norfolk.  The Elders down there are in a trio of two Spanish and one English speaker.  It was fun and we were able to make some real progress with one of their investigators who was trying to quit smoking.  We saw him twice and the second time he informed us that he had thrown away all his vape pens and had spent all his smoking money on some new scriptures!  We were ecstatic.  

While I was gone my companion and one of the Spanish elders visited a teenage investigator of ours.  While there one of the young men from the branch walked in! Turns out he is good friends with this kid and his participation seemed to soften the rest of the family's heart.  The mom invited us to dinner and promised to participate in the next lesson.  We'll go and see them tomorrow.

I cooked up the sausage thing we got from our Vietnamese family.  I thought Korean food was pungent!  I put the leftovers in the fridge and by the time I opened it again the entire fridge smelled Vietnamese.  

On Sunday it was so cold here that we got a message from President telling us to stay inside unless we had set appointments to go to.  It was so boring.  It actually worked out well though because Elder Poole was sick with something and barely made it through church.  He still isn't feeling great but is doing somewhat better.  He got so dehydrated that we nearly took him to the hospital!

Our interesting older couple moved this week. They had collected so much stuff that they needed a bigger place.  They had promised to be packed by the moving date but when we arrived they really hadn't done anything.  We spent about 10 hours this week helping them move stuff out of their one bedroom apartment into a two bedroom apartment.  We weren't the only ones helping either!  We did convince them to get rid of a lot of stuff though.  We snagged a creepy Santa doll wearing nothing but boxer shorts.  They wanted to throw it away but we are definitely going to hide it behind Norfolk's bathroom mirror.

Emily's testimony in her letter pretty much said exactly what I wanted to.  This Gospel has to be true.  There is the part of PMG Ch 1 about the power and authority of our calling.
Your power and authority should be evident as you work and teach. Power may be manifest in many things you do, such as:
Being led by the Spirit to say what the Lord would have you say at just the right moment (see D&C 84:85).
Receiving guidance about where to go or what to do (see D&C 28:1531:1175:26–27).
Having your testimony confirmed by the witness of the Spirit (see 2 Nephi 33:1D&C 100:5–8).
Taking part in ordinances of salvation (see D&C 84:19–20).
Giving priesthood blessings if you are an elder (seeJames 5:14–15).
Praying with and for the people you work with (seeAlma 6:68:18–2210:7–1131:26–35D&C 75:19).
Expressing love for the Lord, your family, fellow missionaries, and the people you serve. 
We have all seen the evidences of our power and authority.  It is the coolest thing to recognize and one of the best things about being a missionary.  I look at the email from Emily and the miracles she's seen and the things you are doing with both of your callings and the miracles happening there.  I love that we can know that these things are true.  We can know that we are doing the Lord's will and exercising His power.  That is one of the things that I think is so attractive about what we teach.  You don't have to guess.  You can know.  People want that kind of confidence.  I'm glad that I was blessed to find it.

We have the best family ever.
I love you,
Elder Stapley

Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11, 2016

(The goofy smile again!) 

Hi Parents,
I got your package today.  My companion is really excited for the mp3 converter thing. I didn't tell him it was coming.  Thanks for all the stuff.  I do still have the speaker.

We were able to find Vietnamese pamphlets on and printed them off.

I contacted President Hoesing.  It would be so great to be here when he visits.

We got a couple promising referrals.  One is the friend of one of the young women and has some family who are members.  She actually said that she wants to change and be baptized!  Another is a guy who was taking the lessons elsewhere but moved and got in contact with the church to find the missionaries again.  He lives in Vermillion which is outside our area but since there aren't missionaries there we got permission to visit him.  It is perfect. We have enough miles this transfer to be able to make the trip and the Vermillion branch is doing everything they can to convince President Gardner to get them missionaries again.  They are excited to help us out and fellowship this man.

This week I was trying to decide if the microwave was messy enough to clean and solved the problem by trying to see if an egg would explode when microwaved.  It did and then it was finally messy enough to be worth cleaning.  But I realized that the egg got fairly well cooked before exploding.  I tried again today on low but it still exploded just as quickly.  I thought I had discovered a quick way to hard boil an egg.  Just so you know.

I'm sorry my emails are so short and boring.  There isn't much going on here right now.  This next week we should have some good progress to report.

Love you,
Elder Stapley