Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Navasota Week 13

Hey mom!!!

My new companion is awesome! His name is Elder Curtis, from queen creek Arizona. Yay not another one from Utah. He's just come up out of the city, and has had quite the culture shock coming out here to the country. 

So the district has changed a bit, the Hermanas are back, and we have two new elders, my comp and elder Guzman. Oh, something cool, Elder Noriega is in charge of three areas, and Navasota is one of them, so he will be coming in and out of the area, so that will be fun. 

Navasota the river is flooded. But I haven't had anything hit me hard. The struggle is that after dark, everyone thinks that it is too late to be knocking doors, so they become more irritated, and less willing to listen. So this week was still a part of the process to build up the teaching pool, and so we contacted a TON! It's pretty fun though because some of the cool/ funny people you meat are from contacting. We met a few drunkards, people that probably won't remember that we talked with them... Also, we knocked for about 2 hours in the day in the pouring rain. For 2 days.... It was a ton of fun. 

So, since I contacted most days this week, nothing overly interesting happened. We met some pretty cool people. One of them has said that he has been looking for a new church, so I am pumped to teach them. At the end of the lesson, they gave us some crawfish to eat. It was some pretty good crawfish. 

Sunday was a little slower of a day, all our appointments fell through, and people are out of town for spring break. We just tried a bunch of potentials, and a referral we got from a member. At the end of the night we went and visited a less active and talked with them about doing the basics as a family. I shared my experience that I had last Christmas with the family prayer, and what it meant to me, I almost cried sharing it. 

This week I get to go to the temple! It will be awesome because I will get to do everything for this family member, baptism up to the endowment! I'm so pumped to do this! I love hearing about all the fun that has been going on at home. I never thought Kiley would play lax, an interesting choice, so we will see how it goes. Poor Lathen he must have had a crapy week. I love y'all so much!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Navasota Week 12

Hello Mom!

I am staying in Navasota for another transfer, I have no idea who I'm getting because elder Heiner is leaving. 

That's awesome that you used the video, it was just something I found, and since I love Joseph b Wirthlin, it was something that stood out to me. 

So, this week was pretty good. We had, again, a ton of finding, just trying to rebuild our investigator pool. So Monday Tuesday and Wednesday were all a bunch of the same. To be brief, Tuesday and Wednesday we had the service with the old people, bingo and such so that's always fun. On Wednesday we had a lesson with Pablo and Lupe, some of our investigators, taught us the restoration, instead of us teaching them. Thursday was a long day of weekly planning, and ended up at the end of the day contacting. We talked with some pretty cool people. One of the people was drunk, and he started preaching to us, and said that Christ rose on he 7th day, and then his friend started laughing and said it was the 3rd. Friday was a pretty fun day. We had zone meeting in the morning, which is always fun to see the other missionaries. After that we went to a pizza place because it was one of the elders birthday. 

That night we went to do some service at the birthday bash, a giant party celebrating Texas' birth as a republic. It was awesome, because there was a ton of people, and some Texas country artists playing in the background. Saturday the birthday bash was going on again, but we didn't go until later that night. We had a bunch of lessons fall through that day, so it was kinda sad, but we lived. We ended up seeing some less actives. One is going through a hard time, and the other is in the process of building/moving to a new house. We were able to help him do a bit of flooring, which is always fun to learn how to do. 

Sunday was a pretty good day as well, we did a ton of driving though. We had church, and so many people showed up, not too many investigators, but a lot of regular people. After that was break the fast, which is always fun too eat all sorts of good food. We then taught Andrew, and it was a good lesson, he is doing awesome. We then drove down to Plantersville to see a part member family. We then went to Bedais to see another part member, and then back to Navasota to try to teach some investigators. We saw Serafin that night.Then Monday we went and chilled with our district for the last time:(

I love you so much!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Navasota Week 11

Hey mom! Are you trying to make me trunky? All this talk of what's going on when I get home... It sounds like everyone has been enjoying themselves, and being awesome in their respective spheres. It's weird to think that Dallin is getting married, I didn't know he was seeing anyone. 

This week we spent a lot of time contacting, and trying to build up a teaching pool, because everyone is flaking out on us and not really interested. So, a lot of the time I was knocking doors. It's something that I haven't been a big fan of knocking, but I've been ok with it. All of the days were very similar to the other weeks that I have had.

Monday we just saw Serafin and tried some potentials.  Tuesday we just had Jingo in the morning, and then we went and tried to see some more potentials. That night we had English class and then invited some people after that to the next English class we would have. It's been a struggle to try and find people that are Hispanic to bring them to English class. We've put up a lot of posters, but nobody will come. Wednesday was just a big finding day as well, we weren't able to find anyone too interested. That night after English class, we went and tried to talk to other churches to offer service again. One of the churches we talked to the organist, and she said that I could play the organ if I wanted to. We also talked to a JW church, and they said that they were not interested in any service opportunities. Thursday we went out in the morning to talk with the pastors of some local churches, because they were not there the previous night.

In this little journey we stopped and got donuts, they were delicious. We just finished up planning, and then went finding, and it was an area that was pretty Hispanic, so I'm excited about that. There was a pretty cool Hispanic man we found. Friday, I went on an exchange with elder Thorne. We don't always go on this many exchanges, but they are fun. Elder Thorne is such a fun elder, I'm so sad he is leaving so soon. We saw Andrew that night, and he is doing awesome. He loves learning about the gospel, and is super excited for every time we come over.
Saturday was pretty fun, we tried doing something we've never done before. We got to go out contacting in the ranches, something that we haven't done before. It was tough because we had to drive, stop, get out, knock, get back in, then repeat. It got a little tiresome doing that over and over and over. We also saw this one less active, he's in the process of moving, and he's a little stressed about that. We shared the Mormon message "Sunday will come", that's one of my favorites, maybe you could share it during FHE, say it's a lesson from me! 

Sunday was a normal Sunday. The highlight of the day was he lesson we had with Andrew. It was super powerful, and at the end he shared his testimony briefly about what he has been learning. It was really awesome to see that, and to hear how his progression is going from his own point of view.

The rest of the day was basically spent contacting. We met some pretty good potentials.

Today we went golfing in the morning, Elder Heiner and I. I won, which was really fun because i haven't golfed in forever. The rest of the day has been just chilling with missionaries and enjoying that company I love you so much mom, thank you so much for all you do!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Navasota Week 10

Hello my favorite mom (see I don't have to add anything in front of it)!

I'm so happy to hear about all the fun stuff happening in D-town right now. Lathen sounds like a terd right now. Dad told me about that story and I just laughed, he's such a funny kid, but I love him. I'm so happy to hear the checkup on the siblings, and I'm glad everyone is doing awesome in their own lives. Tell Lilly awesome that she's
reading,she will love it. Tell Bella congrats on the math, I miss math, tell her to enjoy it for me. Arielle is probably really pumped for the play, I know she'll do great. Could I get a picture of her fully costumized? 

I had a great week out here in Texas! It is treating me nicely, although it feels really warm for February. I'm am eating well, we had a fish fry on Friday with some members, but now that is just a spoiler alert. The banana bread was delicious, I even got to give some to president Mortensen. It was a ton of fun to make and eat. I have enough to make probably 2 more loafs, so basically, I'm set.  Monday we tried seeing a few of our potentials after pday ended, but there was only this one guy home who let us in. We talked with him a little about God's love for us, and how he is our Heavenly Father. It was a pretty good day. 

Tuesday was a Tuesday very similar to any other Tuesday. We had the morning jingo with the old people, and what not. We had a lesson with a guy who was not interested at all. He was more letting us in to be nice. It was kinda disappointing. Then we had some English class, and taught a guy named Serafin. He wants to make changes in his life, and he was doing pretty great. On Wednesday, it was a normal Wednesday as well. We had some bingo with the old folks, and then we had dinner with Pablo and Lupe. We had some pollo y frijoles. Also during the day, we tried to reach out to the city of Navasota to try to get some more service opportunities, one is called Texas Birthday Bash, a giant party with lots of people there. English class fell through, so we tried to put up more posters to advirtise for it. That night we set up an appointment with another potential for the next night. We also tried talking with some people at the local Baptist church. It was fun, because they are really nice. 

Thursday was really awesome, we had a zone conference which is always such a good experience. President Mortensen is such and inspired man, and I love hearing him speak. We talked a little bit about the Abrahamic Covenant, and how we relate to it. That zone meeting we role played the restoration. It was a really cool experience, because we role played with the ASL missionaries, and one was actually deaf, so the other translated. It was really cool to see how they teach in sign language. At the end of the role play, we said a prayer to know if the BoM was true, and I received an answer that it is true.... Again. It was an awesome experience because the spirit filled me. 

After we came home and did a little planning. That night, we went and visited the one potential, she was pretty excited for us to pass by and share the message of the restoration with her. On Friday, we had a normal day, except I was on exchanges with Elder Moon, one of the ZLs in our zone. He's a cool kid, he came out in my group, so it was fun to reminisce the first night in the field. He is full of energy and just talks with everyone. We had a fun time, and we stayed up later talking about our lives and were we would have been and what have been going on with each other. 

That night, we had an awesome fish fry when a bunch of Spanish people in the branch. So many less actives and investigators there. Saturday we exchanged back, and then we weekly planned the majority of the day planning. At the end of the day, the last three hours, we went and saw some people. One, a set of investigators, and they are awesome. A very spiritual lesson, and they are really are excited to continue to learn. Then we saw a less active family, and had a powerful lesson on the Book of Mormon. At the end of the night we had a good lesson with Serafin.  Everything was really good. Then on Sunday we had an awesome time at church. We had about 15 more people at Sacrament meting, and 9 investigators there! All the people we saw on Saturday came to church, it was awesome. After church we saw Andrew and the lesson was good, but we had to go quick, because he was tired. We also had a contacting day. It was fun. We prayed to find a Hispanic family that was interested that had 3 kids, and we found a Hispanic family with three kids, but they weren't interested. This week was a really fun week, today we've just played ball.

I love y'all so much!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Navasota Week 9

Hey, what's good?

This week was a really fun one for me. First of all, yes I did get my package, thanks so much, I will enjoy my cleats and the cookies, you picked great choices. :) So I got some videos from Arielle, and she looks so much older! It's not funny! For one of them I was debating if it was her or not, she looked so different. When did she get braces? I don't remember this! And from what it sounds like all of the siblings are growing, I feel like it will be so different when I see them again. 😢 

Things out here are keeping me busy, lots of stuff to do. I think out here there isn't just a place for us to go to give constant service, but there are things that pop up every now and the.  One of the members told us he's fixin to lay some concrete, so he's gonna need our help sometime in the future. something else, in Waller, there was a member that went out to search for service opportunities for us,  so that probably helped there. So, Monday after pday ended was just a normal day. We went to go see one of our investigators, named Serafin. He has read a lot in the Book of Mormon, and we have a lot of hope for him. Then Tuesday was a normal day as well, we had the jingo in the morning and then we tried planning the week a bit because we didn't get a good plan in last Thursday. It was pretty helpful to just have stuff planned out like that. 

That night we had English class, which is always fun. After English class went to see Kelly and Ascencion, some investigators of ours, with a youth named Clayton. He is such a good kid, already really prepared to head on a mission. So Wednesday was a pretty normal day as well, we did studies, and we went and did Bingo with the old people. I love doing that, the old people are so funny. After the old people, we went and saw some potentials. They are two guys named JJ and Luke. They own some of the nicest pit bulls I have met. They didn't try to kill me, so that was very nice. After them, we just contacted in that area until English class. While contacting, we met a pretty good Spanish family. After that, English class, and then we went and saw a less active family. Thursday was just a weekly planning day, I had two this week, Yay!! After weekly planning, it turned into a day of contacting. We didn't find anyone too interested that night... On Friday I went on an exchange with elder Aholelei. After district meeting and before the exchange, we went to Wings and More, a place where we ate wings. I had 13, entonces estoy gordito. 

With elder Aholelei I did a little more weekly planning with him, so I guess I ended up doing it three times this week. Aholelei and I went and visited a lot of people that they didn't know, because they took over the hermanas area. It was fun, we found a giant field and some guys were playing lax on it. That night, I also found 20 dollars, it was just laying on the middle of the floor. Aholelei and I cleaned their apartment, I murdered the kitchen there. Then on Saturday, we switched back, me to the glorious Navasota. Their we went to the birthday party of the kid of a recent convert. We had pizza de Pizza Hut. After that we went to go see a less active, and helped him build a floor for his new house. How about that for service? I had such a great time, and it was cool to learn how to do that. After that, we just saw some potentials, and tried inviting people to church.

Sunday was a fun normal Sunday. In sacrament meeting, there was another high councilor, but he was a lot easier to translate for, he talked slower and more clearly. The guy that I helped move the hot tub last week also came down and spoke for us. After church we taught Andrew, and he is doing great! He's been reading in the Book of Mormon, and we finished up the plan of salvation with him, and then set a baptismal date. After that, the rest of the day was a finding day. We met a lot more people who actually seemed interested, another Hispanic, so I'm excited about that. Today we went up to Bryan College Station, and have been hanging out with the other elders up here. We balled for a bit, then we went to play soccer. We beat a team of Latinos really bad, it was fun, thanks for the cleats!

I love y'all so much! Keep on being such a great family!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Navasota Week 8

Hey mother!

I'll let him know about the email ASAP! (His Mission President needed to respond to a BYU email) Wow! Y'all had a really busy week! Looks like everyone enjoyed Gpa and Gma, and congrats to Bella for winning! I wish I could have have rooked it up with y'all, it would have been a blast.

I don't need a sweater, I have sufficient. Could I request a recipe for banana bread though? I have some bananas that I want to put to use. 

Random something funny, the way I read the email it looked like you were fixin to send me a valentine/girl something (I said I was sending him Valentine Girl Scout cookies)and I got real worried for a second, but then I saw everything else. 

This week I felt so much better! Lots of energy and everything, but nevertheless, Monday through Wednesday were a bit of struggle days. Something though, I've put a bigger emphasis on working out in the morning, and I've been sore, but a good sore. We have a weight set, so I've been doing a semi modified football like workout, or at least the lifts that I'm doing. Something sad that happened during those days though, a less active we have been working with told us that he would not be coming back to church. :( 

Thursday we had a meeting in the morning about what we need to do to become better planners, and what we should be doing to help plan more effectively in our areas. The basics of planning, not only in missionary work but also in life is having a vision, making goals to lead to that vision, and then plan according to those goals. 

After this meeting, we had weekly planning, which was just normal as always. At the end of weekly planning, we went contacting, it was pretty fun, we found one guy that has some potential. On Friday and Saturday I was on an exchange with elder Thorne. It was fun to be with him again, as always. I went up to college station with him, and that Friday, they do a first Friday thing, so we ended up talking with a bunch of college kids and ended up teaching the restoration to one of them. On Saturday, in the morning, elder Thorne and I helped this one family move a hot tub. We tried soccer contacting, but all the fields were taken. We also taught this one kid, we read the story of Ammon with him. I came back to elder Heiner in the middle late of the day, and we went out to the boonies to go and eat, and see a less active. When I say boonies, I mean about 30 minutes away from Navasota. We ate pizza, and shared a message about the tree of life with them. We returned to Navasota that night to try to see some menos activos and invite them to church. We ended up talking to this one guy named Detroit, and we shared the Book of Mormon with him, and every time he had to read the word "Mormon" he replaced it with "Baptist". 

Sunday was a normal Sunday. I got to translate sacrament meeting, which went over due to testimonies. It was a bunch of fun, also a baby was blessed, so translating was fun. A member went with us to go and teach some investigators. It was nice to get him out to see some of our investigators, and it was nice to get our investigators to know more people in the ward. This one guy named Andrew is probably our biggest potential right now. 

Well, off to party with the district! I love y'all so much!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)

Navasota Week 7

Hey mom!

I eventually got it (a letter), and it was fun to see what everyone was doing. I did get the sunglasses, they came on Friday. It's fun to read all the emails from home, it hit me this week how old everyone will be when I get back. Kileys practically fixin to be an adult, Arielle will already be a Mia Maid, Bella will already be a beehive, Lilly will just be older, and Lathen will be fixin to start kindergarten. It was a strange realization. I'm glad grandpa and grandma got to come and visit, did they get the letter I sent before they left?

So I'm not gonna do a day by day this week. Probably one of my lowest times on the mission happened this week, but also one of the highest. We started teaching a husband of a member, and he is really cool. It was fun because the whole family was there when we taught him, so it was us (the missionaries), the parents of his wife, and the five other kids. It was fun trying to include everyone in that lesson, but we managed. One of the siblings made a cool comparison, that peace and salvation is like eating cookies forever. It was very deep. Lol. 

Lots of the regular stuff we did this week. We had the days of bingo, which is always really fun. I think this week they were closest to getting feisty over bingo, it was fun to watch, but luckily crisis was averted. SCORE! One of the people we are teaching, it turns out, works at the place where we do bingo. It was cool because there is that connection there, kinda. 

So now for the high and the low, and naturally the low came first. So Friday, don't know exactly what went wrong, but I woke up at 4 in the morning, and I threw up... and in the course of the next few hours, I threw up twice more, so that was a very fun morning. Elder Heiner and I were both under the weather for the rest of the day, so we rested that day. Then the next day I had the high, we got to see President Nelson, which was so cool! We got to go shake his hand and everything. Such an awesome cool spiritual experience! That's the second Apostle that I have seen on my mission, I feel so lucky. 

The rest of the week was the same, just a little slower trying to overcome the rest of the sickness. The bad thing is that being sick threw off my sleeping schedule and makes it harder to sleep at night.  It's tough, but I'm living through it.

I love y'all so much, you are the best! I love hearing about all the funness that is going on in your life!

Elder Atkinson (Nic)