Saturday, August 30, 2014

My testimony of this gospel, and of missionary work. - A final post as a full time missionary.

Dear, Brothers and Sisters in the field, Friends & Family,

           This week i'm writing you, not from McCall, not from Kuna, not from anywhere in Idaho, but today I write to you from Ogden Utah. It is incredible how quickly your life can change.  . .  Last week I found that my little sister was sick. So, knowing that I would have an impact on her overall health, and after a lot of prayer & discussion with my Mission President, Stake President & Parents. I came to the conclusion that home is where the Lord needs me to be. I am so so grateful for the 7 months i was able to serve the Lord. I know that It has strengthened and prepared me for the trials that my family is facing now, and for the obstacles that i will face in life. I have a new respect for missionary work, I know that even though i am no longer a full time missionary, I can do missionary work. I'm confident in that, and i'm proud to say that i'm still constantly looking for people to teach & serve. I loved my mission, I love the time that I was able to serve. It has changed me. It has given me something that I could not find anywhere else. I have become fully converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel that I've been called to a new mission here at home. I know that I've made an impact on the people I've had the opportunity to serve and teach in Idaho. And each of those people have had a huge impact on me. I look up to each of you that are serving so much. I plan on continuing to write and update each of you on the spiritual & missionary experiences i have in the field back here in Ogden.  One i'd like to share with you today is from last Easter Sunday.  Obviously it's a day where our thoughts are so much more fully focused on the atonement of Jesus Christ, and that day our family needed it more than ever.  Jaden wasn't doing well, so my Dad & I were able to give her a blessing. The Priesthood is real, The atonement is real, and i'm so grateful for it. Without Christ's sacrifice we would not be able to receive his grace. #BecauseOfHim we are made whole, #BecauseOfHim we are strengthened. And I can feel that. Now more than ever.  Thank you all so much for the love and support.  Maybe one day i'll be able to return to the INM, but until then I will "press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men." Though I no longer wear his name on my chest, I will always wear it on my sleeve, and always "stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places , even until death."  I love this gospel you guys. I loved my mission, every second of it.   

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Week #26 April 2, 2014 ha-KUNA- matata!!! Transfer!

Man, it has been a crazy two weeks! Last Saturday I got a phone call saying that I was going to be transferred to Kuna Idaho. It is just outside of Boise. So, I went from the Northernmost part of the mission to the Southernmost part.

 Things are completely different. Rather than having a 3 bed 2 Bath house (plus a garage and full kitchen) we live with members in the room above their garage. But at the least we have our own bathroom. Rather than a 4 wheel drive truck we have a 2 wheel bike.  But It turns out that I really enjoy the biking. Rather than it taking almost 4 hours to drive from one end of our area, it takes 30 min to bike it. Its all good because it is all so different and new. 

Also, my new companion, Elder Cope from AZ is way awesome! He and I have been in the same zone before so we were already pumped to be companions! After two days, I can already tell that this will be the best transfer of my mission so far. The area is not as active, the area isn't as fun to look at. But me and Cope are ready to work. And we get along way good. We have things in common, and we can actually have a normal conversation. I'm excited for things.

 First day in the area we spent our entire day riding bikes in the cold rain. #hotwifepoints. But I was excited about it because I had a good attitude about it and my companion is awesome. I would imagine that this is what it would feel like to serve in Ogden haha. Just about every house in this area is a member. We basically cover 5  subdivision within a 2 mile radius. To sum it all up, Its way different than McCall.

 To tell a little about my last week in McCall though, Monday the Sisters from horseshoe bend came up and we gave them a good tour of McCall, played around in the snow and walked around on the lake. Thursday we went on exchanges with the Elders in Payette, that was a lot of fun. The reason that we did was to give a baptismal interview for a kid named Louis. (18) He is getting baptized in about a week. I'm bummed that I wont be there to see it. He is going to Conference in SLC. There are 4 other people that I spent time teaching, that will be baptized this month.  Friday we had our last district meeting, I had us all play a good game of "preach my basketball" for the skill check. It was way Fun! 

Finally after I got the call for transfers we spent a lot of time visiting people, and saying good bye. Also, it was my 6 month mark, so we "burnt my tie" by wrapping it around 2.5lbs of tannerite and shooting it with a AR15. I still have some small pieces of it. haha. It was sad to leave everyone, after 6 months in one spot, it started to feel like a second home. Lots of families that I was really close to, lots of investigators that I was able to teach. It was awesome, but i'm ready for Kuna.   

    - Elder Maynard 
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Week #25 March 24, 2014 Giving a Book of Mormon to the cop that pulled me over.... didn't work.

Greetings from McCall!

    Its been an interesting week! Last Monday we actually hung out with a members boyfriend who lives down in Boise, it was a ton of fun! Mostly nice because we are so secluded from other missionaries. . . We just never ever see people that are close to our age. . . It was a lot of fun though!

 I don't have a ton of time this week, we are about to go meet up with some people and try and get a hike in. So i'll just share a couple quick experiences! We taught a guy last week in Council Idaho. . . It was a referral from his friend. . We knocked on his door and he just stood there. (drunk) And said "follow me" We went in and sat down. He looks up at us and says. "i used to be a stake president, i was married in the temple, i know the power of the priesthood. but i screwed up and i lost everything, so if i can tell you boys one thing. It is don't let the adversary get a hold of you even a little bit. . . . I want to change. I've been praying a lot, I need you guys to give me a blessing."  I stood up and said, let us. I then gave him one of the most inspired blessings I've heard. We were there for probably only 20 min. But in those short minutes, I have never felt the spirit so strong. As we spoke with this guy, I realized how important this gospel is. 

 Yesterday in sacrament, one of my cousins. (turns out i'm related to everyone in Idaho) was giving a talk.  . The guy giving the talk has a son out on a mission the same age as me. He was speaking of missionary work. He wasn't well versed, he didn't bring up anything incredibly profound. . But what I learned from his talk was that he was so so proud of his son. And I came away from that talk with a new mentality. A new question to pin on my sleeve. "Are you making your father proud of you? Are you making your heavenly father proud?"  It was some new found motivation that i desperately needed.  Well i'm off to explore the mountains of McCall.  . 

    Keep it real!  

   - Elder Maynard 

 ps.  I got a ticket this week, And when the cop came to the window I tried to hand him a Book of Mormon and said. "I'm glad you stopped me, I have a really important message to share with you."  ( I think that is why i got the ticket rather than a warning) #BikeAreaHereICome! 

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Week #24 March 17, 2014 In the INM- we change lives!

Hey all, 

       So this was was kind of interesting, we had zone conference down in Nampa, and district meeting in Weiser. because of that we ended up spending the three days in Nampa. It was pretty awesome to be able to hang out with some other missionaries! It honestly felt like we were on vacation! haha because we were so far away from "home" and we were gone for 3 days. . So basically in other words no missionary work was done this week haha. We tried hard, but between all of our meetings and the time we spent out of town there just wasn't much time to accomplish anything. Somehow in the time we did have we taught lots of valuable lessons. One of our investigators who was supposed to be getting dunked tomorrow pretty much disappeared. After that I was sitting in sacrament meeting yesterday feeling pretty down because about half of our investigators have dropped. But then i started to look around looked at the three families & two converts I have been able to teach & re-activate and I realized that i'm really changing peoples lives. That is what this mission is all about. Our ZL wrote the question on the board at conference. "In the Idaho Nampa Mission we. . . . "  (and we had to fill in the blank) I think its different for lots of missionaries. Some wrote Baptize, some wrote Party & get sent home, to me. . .  it's change lives! 

 Keep it real Gentlemen! 

      - Elder Maynard 
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Week #24 March 17, 2014 a "Thank You" note

This is a letter President received from someone who was on vacation in McCall & heard me speak. Finally ended up in my possession around Jan 10th 2014.
President [Cannon],
    My name is Andy Weir, I'm a member or the church from queen creek AZ and i just wanted to write to tell you that i was very impressed with one of you missionaries recently. I was in McCall for vacation and on Dec 29th I went to church there with my family and heard the missionaries speak. IT was wonderful. They both did a great job. The older one, Elder [young] spoke on small and simple things - and how great things come from small beginnings. The younger one, Elder Maynard I believe gave an outstanding talk. He described his experience of sharing the gospel with a friend before the mission and drew insights from the to council the congregation on how to talk to and invite friends. He was humble, articulate, and the spirit was there - all combining to create a powerful message. 
     My various extended family members seemed to all have discussed Elder Maynard's talk in their different vehicles on their way home and we ended up talking about it further when we were all together. 
  I obviously don't know this elder but i know that he speaks with power and that he allows the spirit to convey the truth to those who hear him. I would like to tell him "thank you" for doing a great job that Sunday and i wish him well on his mission and life. 
     Its great to know that you have excellent missionaries in the [Nampa] mission and that the Lord is working miracles through his servants.
        Sincerely, Andy Wier.

Week #23 March 10, 2014 I really enjoy the whole rainy pine tree environment.

Hey all, 

     It looks like conference season has begun. We just had our stake conference up here in McCall. It was pretty awesome. We actually had 8 investigators come! I was so pumped about that, especially seeing how most members can't seem to make it haha. But all the talks were great! Everyone was inspired. All of our investigators said they really enjoyed it as well. Its getting to that point where after working with these people for so long that they all are really really close to being ready for baptism. I would expect I'd be able to pull one or two after almost 6 months in one area. I'm really excited though,

 Louis, the kid I jammed with last week, (and again today) will be getting baptized in April after he gets back from general conference! I'm jealous that he gets to go and i don't haha. There is another family that is about ready too. The one that we split so much wood for back in November. We have actually really become quite good friends with this family. I'm excited to see them finally ready to make commitments. Savanna, the 12 yr old girl is one that is ready, i'm so excited for her and her sister to be baptized. They have so much faith. Chad & his wife Sam. This is the guy that had a seizure in sacrament meeting a couple weeks ago. But he is generally doing better. They are preparing to be dunked. And then there is Matt, he is totally ready! His wife just needs to get their paperwork together so she can get divorced from her old husband and they can get married.  There truly are soooo many people that are just prepared to hear the gospel, and we are working hard to not let any of them slip through our fingers. When I got to McCall, we had 1 active investigator. . Today we have 15. Its crazy how much of an effect the ward members can have on these people.

 So we spent a lot of time in the car this week. Zone meeting is in Baker city OR. I am the driver, so my companion slept the whole 4 hr drive. Which was nice. Its good to get to "pretend your alone" every now and then haha. The drive is just beautiful though. It was a drizzling morning, just cruising though the canyon with giant pine trees all around you, and the fog all patchy in the tree tops. I love it. I really love it up here in McCall. So my companion is a super creepy guy hahah, He has been spending lots of time writing a comic that is basically missionaries going around "cleaning up" their area.[murdering apostatized people] I don't really know how i feel about it. . but hey, he is creative. I'm sorta to the point where its like "you do your thing & i'll do mine and then we will go teach the gospel."   But it brings up a really important fact that you need to be yourselves when your on a mission. You cant be fake, you just gotta be your best self.

 Its been raining for about 7 days straight now, I like it. I really enjoy the whole rainy pine tree environment. Waking up to the rain on my window every day always makes me happy. Or the sound of the tractor backing up. (that is how i know it snowed more than 4" while we were sleeping.) McCall is just awesome, The members are awesome, the people are awesome. I told president I would serve my whole mission up here if he wanted haha. Because its pretty much the only pretty place in the mission. Its all fields and cows everywhere else. 

"I don't always move mountains, but when I do, I use the Priesthood."
Keep it real fellas! 

- Elder Maynard 
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Week #22 March 3, 2014 "No Jill, I will not marry your daughter!"

Hey all!
       Greeting from McCall! It was another week that was just on fire! tons of people that are so so prepared to hear the word of god! We taught a investigator in a members home 5 nights this week! That is pretty much unheard of around here, but it is so important! First off, Cool little side story, so the girl who gave me a hug in sacrament meeting a couple months ago, her boyfriend that was at the meeting that heard my talk has committed to be baptized! Its so crazy! He is in Tacoma Washington, James? is that in your mission? or is tacoma its own? Either way its cool to see someone progress that far! 

So funny quote this week. "The LDS church is the only legitimate pyramid scheme!" 

So we had one lesson with an awesome investigator named Louis, by the time we met him, he had already read half the Book of Mormon. On our second visit he brought his girlfriend, and she brought her friend! All of these people were sincere and are now investigating the church. After the lesson, Sister Caven's called and gave me quite the compliment. She basically said that she has noticed that My companion and I have very very different personalities, and she says "He does a lot of things that give you a lot of opportunities to make degrading comments towards him, but you never do, you always support and encourage him, and that really brings the spirit!" It made me happy because some{all}times i really do have a hard time getting along. But i suppose I'm doing a good job. Tyler! My companion is wayyy into yugiho, so i can totally relate with you on that! I think its funny. 

So we spent the night in a Motel last week. That was pretty awesome! We had a meeting in the little town of Cambridge, so to save miles, we spent the night in a motel that a member owns. I was thinking to myself, this is probably a very once in a mission sort of thing, but it was cool.

 Some other funny quote this week. Me - "NO JILL! I wont marry your daughter! I don't care if she is my third cousin, The word cousin is still involved, besides there are thousands of RM's" -Jill "Yes, but there is only one Elder Justin Timberlake"  And a funny story to sign off with. So my companion tells everyone about how he has gained 60lbs in 6 months. The other night at our dinner appointment, he just finished giving the same 60 in 6 spill. Then right as he takes the last bite of pie the chair he is sitting on collapses, and he falls to the floor. haha. I guess the chair was already broken & re-glued, but the timing was incredible. "I think that's a sign Elder" Probably the highlight of my week besides yesterday when two of our investigators got up in sacrament meeting and shared how they now know that this is the true church. I love it! Things are going so good! Fasting works! The lord is blessing us! Love all of you guys!
       - Elder Timberlake
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