Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016
Well, here are some of the thoughts I had: as mom asked me to write down what I learned. I hope they make sense. I love you all! I am happy to see you soon!
So what did I learn from this experience? To tell you everything would require maybe a few years and there would be a book published out of what I would want to say. But I will try my best to express my feelings so that I can get the main message across. There will be small added things and I will emphasize everything in bullet points to keep my thoughts more organized. Ok, here we go.
- I have learned that the Book of Mormon is the most powerful tool we can use to find our direction in life. I have seen through the small, but what seemed immense at the time, difficulties that I faced on my mission, that I enjoyed my personal study of the scriptures. As I pondered about the reason why, I realized that it was because of the power of the Book of Mormon and other holy scripture. It is truly my daily bread and I see it so. As I read in the Book of Mormon daily, I felt a feeling of peace and comfort. Not only that, but I was able to use the scriptures that I read as friends to help me throughout my day. Now, I have become addicted to the Book of Mormon. That will be something that I will have to make sure that it is being done daily, and in the best conditions, before I start my day.
- I have learned the importance of setting goals. Sometimes, the most important thing is not reaching the goal, but living a life where I am constantly striving for a goal. I am not perfect at this, however, I have seen that through setting goals, I can become someone better, and reach that goal that Christ Himself gave us, to become perfect, even as He and the Father are perfect.
- To follow that, I learned that perfection is not reached in this life. It was not obtained during my time being a missionary. But it is a goal that should always be at the front of our minds, and that is, to be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. scriptures teach us how to reach this goal and what life paths we need to take in order to accomplish it.
- I learned to always pick up after yourself, and that means immediately, and to not follow the "I will do it later" rule
- I learned the importance of cleaning
- I learned that it is always better to be early than late
- I learned that planning is a life habit for success
- I learned that exercise is the key to energy and being awake throughout your day
- I learned how to sit through a 6 hour meeting and not fall asleep and actually pay attention
- I learned how to bear my testimony
- I have learned how to adapt myself to my surroundings
- I have learned how to be a good listener. It requires love, patience, and eye contact every now and again
- I have learned that the best of things are hard to do, but not impossible
- I have learned the German Language and have a basic structure of the language
- I have learned to trust my God. He is the one that knows all things. He even knows the thoughts and desires of my heart. And when I put my trust in Him, and do what He wants me to do, then our vision becomes one.
- I have learned that when you are full, not to eat anymore.
- I have learned the importance of keeping track of time.
- I have learned to love general conference and our general authorities. They are truly our watchmen on the tower. What they have to say to us is inspired and leads us back to the presence of our Eternal Father.
- I learned the importance of laughter.
- I have learned to capture the good moments, and sometimes that includes a camera.
- I have learned that it is important to greet all of our friends and family at church and notice that they came. Sometimes that requires talking to them for a while and seeing how they truly are doing. A handshake is good, but a handshake and concern for their well being is better.
- I have learned the importance of having the gospel in the home. A home centered on the gospel is a fortress against the things of the world. I have felt that in multiple occasions in the homes of the members that I was standing in fortified homes. That requires also effort and occasionally talking to your family even when they are sitting in the same room. Or even a weekly family home evening would be good as well.
- I learned to check the laundry and make sure that no colors got mixed with my whites.
- I have learned the importance of always having a study journal while studying the scriptures. I have no idea how to really use one, but whenever I had one, my study of the scriptures was a lot better.
- I have learned how quickly I can invite the Spirit into my life.
Feeling His presence is as warm as feeling the sun on my face. (And I lived for almost a year of cloudy skies and not really seeing the
sun.) When you can feel the presence of the Holy Ghost, then you know that the Comforter is with you, and that God is with you.
- To add to that thought as well, I have learned how quickly we can drive the Spirit away through our thoughtless words and actions. I have come to know that when I cannot feel the Spirit, there is almost a void in my feelings. A hole, that is not filled. That has become a warning bell for me and I need to then do the things to have the Spirit back in my daily activities. If that means a physical or mental removal from a certain place is necessary, that I will do it.
- I have learned the value counting my many blessings. Counting my blessings has helped me in my missionary life to see that God is always with me. It is also very humbling to know that He is very proactive in my life. I have learned how to count my blessings, by noticing the things that brought me joy or whenever I was grateful for a experience or sometimes a warm smile from a stranger. Those small blessings have brought me lasting joy.
And the list goes on and on. I can imagine myself adding things to the list in certain circumstances and by always remembering the wonderful things that happened on my mission. I think to end my learning process, I have learned that I am a Son of the living God.
That is the most powerful connection I have with the God who gave me life. He is watching out for me and is always by my side. I have seen how He helped his Son, Jesus Christ, and I know that He is standing there, willing to help me as He did him. As I read more about the life of Jesus Christ, I am at awe at the wonderful message that He shares with me. Not only what He said, but what He did for me has changed my life. I know that God and Jesus Christ live. Jesus Christ is my Redeemer. For God so loved the world, and that includes me, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe on Him, shall have eternal life. I believe that. I know that Joseph Smith was a chosen Prophet of God. He ushered in this last Dispensation of the Fulness of times. What does that mean? I know through the power of the Holy Ghost, that Joseph Smith restored the lost pieces of the Gospel that was taught in the Bible. Through the help of the Book of Mormon, another Testament of the Jesus Christ and His gospel, he was able to find answers to His questions. I believe that the Prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson is his authorized servant today, to receive the revelation for this church, for us as a body. This church is true. The Book of Mormon is true. That I know.
And these experiences that I have made, I leave them for anyone to read, and close in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love you All! See you soon!
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Well, this week was a mile marker for lasts. We had our last zone training meeting. It was weird, I have to be honest. I didn't really know any of the missionaries that were there and so it was just a new for me. I also was asked to bear my last testimony at a zone training meeting and that was also weird. I just remember watching other people and giving their last testimonies and now it came to me. But I have gotten to the point that I love sharing my testimony. If anyone ever asks me, I love to do it! So that was good.
We spent also two days in Oldenburg, because our district leader is there and so we both went there for exchanges. That was fun. I was with our district leader and he is learning Persian on his mission, and so he had this little skype conference with other missionaries, studying the Persian langaauge. I was just sitting in the background, twiddling my thumbs until we could go back out to work. But overall it was really good.
This week, we have been working really hard with our Persian friends.
Unfortunately, we found out yesterday that they are not able to be baptized. We sort of knew this, but in the middle of the week, they sent us a text message and we thought that they had some legal things explained, but it turns out that they are still not elligble for baptism. But that is ok. Like I said earlier, I know that one day they will be able to do it. Other than that, we did a lot of finding.
Sorry, the weeks are going by really fast and so I am sorry that there is really nothing else to report on. I am happy. I am working. Trying to do my best and forget the rest. I am not going to lie, some days it is really hard, but then there are those moments, where I think that I can keep going. So I try to have the keep going moments more than its really hard moments.
I love you all and have fun with the week!
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Well, it is official. I am no longer 22. (No more Taylor swift song of her singing 22) being 23 really feels no different. I just woke up with back pain and was like great, the old is starting to settle in. But I am going to get that checked out this week. And for the birthday we went out to a Mongolian restaurant. So that was good. Thanks for all the love and support!
We had a lot of finding time this last week and we saw some good success out of it. We found some people who would like to meet with us and that was good. I am looking forward to this week. We even found a guy who speaks Portuguese and so I am able to do some small talk with him. Hopefully, by the end of the week I will be able to say some good gospel stuff with him. We even met with a teenager this last Saturday, and it was really funny because she was soaking it all up like a sponge, but didn't really talk. For me, it was a little funny. But I hope that she wants to keep meeting with us. Bremerhaven has been an interesting city. We live in a crazy part of town, but I guess that is makes it interesting. It has been fun. I even had some friends in Hamburg come and visit me this last week. That was great. Turns out, that their family comes from Bremerhaven and a small city in the area, so it was great to see them.
These last few weeks I have sure learned a lot. I have seen how much the lord has been helping me even when it comes to finding. It's hard to explain, but He is even helping me to endure to the end and keep pushing forward! I am excited to be able to tell you all this in person. Oh, and Hana will be in my prayers. Is everything ok with the baby and everything. I have no idea what that means. Keep me updated please!
I love you all and we shall see each other soon!
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Well this last week went by like a flash. It is weird to be in my last area on my mission and I will explain to you why. But I hope everything is going good back at home. Hey, my first question is... Have we heard back about BYU? Do I need to do anything else on my side? I havent submitted anything on my side, but if i need to, I can take some time next week to do that.
Ok, so the week started off really well. My days in Flensburg ended off with a really high note. We met with the new convert in our branch for the last time and we were just really saying goobye the whole time. Afterwards, we asked him if he would say the closing prayer for us as we parted ways. He then started to cry as he prayed to bless and guide me on my travel to Bremerhaven. He then said after the prayer thank you to me for the things that he learned. I never knew that our meetings meant so much to him but he said that he learned a great deal about the plan of salvation. We had to laugh together a little about that, because we had one appointment where we talked alot about deep doctrine of the plan of salvation and we both left that day confused, but just laughing. I will surely miss him. It was such an honor to get to know him. He was also sustained to recieve the Melchesidek Preisthood so it will be sad that I wont be able to see that. And then afterwards, some of the ward members threw a little going away party. I was happy for that, but at first a little upset. I dont like going away parties. It was first a family home evening but then it became a goodbye party for Elder Bretzing. But I was still nice and thanked them for what they did for me.
I am in another little branch here in Bremerhaven. About 20 active members who come to church. My first few weeks have been fun. My new companions name is Elder Rogers. He is a great kid and I hope that I will be a great support to him for my last few weeks. Its funny, because he tries to get me to talk about how I feel about going home and so I always joke that he is more trunky than me, but he is great. Bremerhaven is a beautiful city and I am happy to end the summer in another harbor city. It is alot cooler here and I am happy for that. We really have no investigators here in Bremerhaven, except for 2 Persian couples. I still dont know their names right, but we will call them my persian friends. They are amazing. I remember, the first time I met them, that they wanted us to pray before we did anything else. Like that was funny. Usually I ask if we can pray but they beat us to it. They are refugees here in Germany. And they were able to get permission to stay here but because of the status as refugees, they cannot be baptized. They are soo ready. They even call themselves Mormons. They have been explained the rules and are waiting patiently for the day that they can be baptized. But they have been such a pleasure to get to know and see how they are doing is amazing. They even come to church in white shirts and ties. And they are all really so warm welcoming. Before the end of our first appointment, they were hugging me and letting me know that I was their brother. Man, what a great group of people. We also had a street display in Bremen, because the sisters there do one every week. That is also a beautiful city. Everyone was making fun of me because I didnt let a single mom and stroller pass me without talking to them. When missionaries saw a mom and a stroller, they let me talk to them. I guess I am trunky. But that is ok. I thought it was funny. This district is definately one of the different ones I have been in on my mission. But I am looking forward to working with these missionaries.
Ok to the question to mom, yes.... we will go somewhere for my birhtday. But dont think that I am going to make a big deal out of it, because I aint. But I will be excited to see you at the end of the month. That will be a great birthday gift for me. I also was just not planning on emailing on that last week of my mission and just tell you in person what I learned. Can I do that? Or do I need to write?
Well, I love you all and I hope all is well. I always say this at the end of my emails so you know that I am leaving. We hear from each other next week!
Last Zone conference of the Mission
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Well, like it said, this last week marked the beginning of the lasts. We had our last Zone Conference. Well... my last one. Elder Adler from the 70 talked to us and that was great to hear from him. He promised everyone there success in, and he used these words, within the next month as they follow what we learned during that meeting. I immediately thought to myself, hey I only have 1 month left! I am starting to understand a lot more what it means to trust our leaders and their promises they give us. We also had an area seventy at our stake conference this last weekend and he is from italy and he promised everyone there that if they do the things they learned at stake conference, they can double their numbers before 2020. He even gave them a promise that they can double their numbers by next Stake Conference if they start today. And he said that he is not one bit afraid to give us that promise, in the name of the Lord, because our church leaders have also promised us these things and we can do it as we follow their council and guidance. So these next few weeks will be great. I can feel it. And I think there is still yet something that I need to learn.
Oh my goodness, I almost forget. Well I got my last transfer phone call. I have been transferred. They call it in the mission being ghosted because you go somewhere for your last few weeks. So I am going to a city called Bremerhaven. Its more north, but another harbor city. I find it interesting that the lord knows me so much because almost all of my areas, I have served near a large body of water, or a large river that cuts our city into two. But I had to laugh at that. My new comp is called Elder Rodgers. I dont know him. I dont know almost all of my new district. Now I am starting to get old. So I will be there on Wednesday. That will sure be interesting.
It was weird here in Flensburg, because of Stake Conference, not so many members know that I am leaving. Shoot, they all thought I was going home this transfer, but I told them not til July. But I was able to say goodbye to a few but not all. That will also be somewhat interesting. I am going to also miss Elder Vasai. He will do great. We were somewhat bummed, but I am happy that I am going. I will get a little bit of refreshed energy working in a new area.
Well, that is basically our week in a nutshell. Alot of traveling. This week was the week that we also found alot of new people. It was really cool. We even had a girl come up to us in the bus just saying she wanted to learn alot more about our church and she was there for our appointment! So I am super excited for Elder Vasai to take over. It is all in good hands!
Well, I love you all and miss you and we shall see each other soon!