Monday, December 23, 2013

Week #12 First Baptism!

Merry Christmas!
  
      Sorry, I don't have a lot of time today, so its going to be short and sweet!  We had a very Christmas oriented week! We have been doing a ton of service which awesome, because i feel like service is at the heart of the Christmas spirit. Plus this last Wednesday we went down to Nampa for the Christmas Zone conference! We did a white elephant gift exchange which was pretty awesome! I got a sandwich skillet! (I've used it just about every day since) Elder Nelson, (one of the Ap's) got a "buns of steel" work out video! Which is pretty hilarious because he is so strict. There was tons of awesome music and Christmas stories. I've said it before but I will say it again. I love it when all the missionaries meet together! The spirit is so strong! So all day Saturday we split wood for a family that has just moved in. I don't know if I have mentioned them, but they basically have nothing. No furniture, food, dishes, Christmas, and the list goes on! But over the last two weeks with the help of the ward we have gotten them taken care of, and most importantly turned their house into a home! Splitting wood was fun though. We did about 3 cords of wood. I think each of the rounds that we split weighed around 200 -300 lbs. They were giant! So after a day of wrestling those around and throwing the wood into the trailer, I was pretty sore. But you forget about all the pain when you see how big of an impact that it makes on the family! We have a lot you guys! Soooo much to be thankful for! Anyways, That family came to church  the next day and we held a special gospel principals class for the mother. She broke down and just expressed how much love she has for all of us. And how she feels like she is finally "home!" I was so happy! But it gets better when she says this. . "how can I learn more about this church!?" That right there was probably the best Christmas present we could have asked for! I am so excited to continue to help this family and teach them more about how the gospel we have will bless her family soo much! So last Friday we had a Baptism! It was a young boy (14) named James! It was such a good program! We actually got all of the young men involved, one was doing the baptism and all the speakers were youth! But the most impressive part was that there were over 60 people at the baptism!!! (that is almost as many come to sacrament meeting!!) I was so excited to see the support that was there & I think James was a little overwhelmed by the attendance! The spirit was so strong the whole evening! Another cool thing is that about 10 of the people who were there, were non-members! Things are going really good here in McCall! I can't wait for Christmas! We have plans all over the place to visit, I'm excited to see everyone's traditions and get to talk to my family! This truly is a special time of year! Especially in the service of the Lord!    Church is true!
            Merry Christmas!
     - Elder Maynard

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week #11 - Faith is the Key


    MMMMMcCall says hello, unfortunately there is still not any snow! Just enough to cover the grass. (almost) I was really excited for feet and feet. But i suppose it could still come. So these last couple weeks have just been incredible! We have had the opportunity to talk to and meet with so many new people. One of the ward mission leaders said to me one night, "do you feel like the flood gates have been opened?" He couldn't have said it any better! I think our teaching pool has tripped in size since i got here. and they are all good lessons, families that have been prepared to hear the gospel, Less actives that are ready to make the changes in their lives that they have been procrastinating. We were teaching one family this last week, they moved here from Mexico 16 years ago and during our last lesson they said that they all want to be baptized! I was so excited for them, but then we found out that they aren't legally married. . at first i was really really excited because earlier this month i set a goal for my mission to "be the minister at a wedding!" haha.  But because of other legality they cant get married or they will get deported. So, we are working with that one. But I have faith that they will baptized soon! These last couple weeks i have really learned that faith is key. We have been teaching the youth minister from a non-demoninational church here in mccall. It is awesome, I learn so much every time, and i really feel like i am teaching them a ton each time we meet. They are almost to the point where they will admit that they believe that there was a need for the restoration, and that joseph smith is a true prophet of god. I say "admit" because i already know that they know it! But that is a tricky situation as well because he would have to give up his job to accept what we are teaching him. Plus he is a big time jeeper so he and i connected really well right off the bat. We went out to the Tamarak ski resort/town this last week and it just blew my mind. It is so beautiful! There is billions of dollars in that resort, and all the homes that  have been built up there. Apperantly in 2005 there was a big "tamarak boom" and there was tons and tons of development up there but about two years ago it went bankrupt and pretty much everything stopped in its tracks. Its sad because it really is an incredible place! So of the 300 homes/ski chalets there are 8 full time residents. We had the maintenance guy (member) rat them all out and we went and visited. It actually turned into a good trip. We have two return appointments from that. But i loved the area, the whole time i was up there i was just thinking. "Man, I could live here! and just skii all the time!" Okay, i wanted to share two funny quotes from people we are teaching. 1st: we were just finishing a lesson with this sweet old lady named Bessy, she was raised a southern baptist. (so she is pretty firm on her beliefs) but we finished the lessons and she was praying for us and said. "please bless these fine young men to know that not everyone is a Mormon, and i am definitely one of them." haha, i almost started laughing in the middle of the prayer. 2nd: We were teaching a less active that is doing sooo good! she is coming back to church and preparing for temple etc. anyways, we were talking about how she is going to start dating again and she goes, "I'm done looking for hot guys, my new plan is to find someone like Jack Black, just fat and funny!"  It was awesome! I really love all these people that we are so blessed to have the opportunity to work with. It seems like each week the lord teaches me a very important lesson. last week it was "work work work" this week was "love the people" What a blessing it is for us to be able to come out here to devote 2 years of our lives to become more like Christ! Love you all! Thank so much for the letters/emails. Especially to all ma boiz out in the field! I look up to each and every one of you! Church is true!
Love Elder Maynard!
ps. The fox is doing great! she lives on hot dogs & sour craute, and she loves it when i sing the song "pusha love" to her.  #JT
#I'mLivingTheDream!
#TheFox
#IknowWhatTheFoxSays
#Suit&Tie

 Displaying walking in the snow.jpg

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Week #10 Three simple lessons

"I've often said the key to missionary work is work"  This last week has been one of the greatest weeks on my mission yet! And when I look back at it, I realize it is because we worked hard! We taught more lessons than we ever have, and more than the McCall area has had in the last 12 months. The work is just exploding up here right now. Potential investigators seem to just walk right up to our door every day!


This happened last Tuesday when a man showed up to pick up some wood for a family that has just moved in. We got to talking to them and found out this family has nothing. No furniture, no dishes, no anything. So we sent him on his way with the wood and a Christmas tree that we had the week before! Later that afternoon we went out and visited them. At first they were resistant to any contact at all, but once they found out our purpose for coming, they were more than happy to meet with us. Later that week they actually showed up at the ward's Christmas party! President Monson gave a talk in the 80s about when he was a bishop, and helped a family that was moving in from Germany. Once he found out where the family was moving into he went and inspected the apartment, and with the help of the ward, completely remodeled, furnished & stocked this home. So that when the family arrived, they would have a warm welcome. I was really moved by this story. This last Sunday we met with the ward council and I have high hopes that we will have a similar story by the time we have finished helping them. I love serving people!


 This last week a investigator that was dropped months before I got here called and she said. "I don't know who else to call, but our water has been out for a week and we don't know what to do. Can you help?"  My comp looks at me, and I was like "Don't worry, I got it!" Long story short I ended up crawling underneath their trailer house with a handful of pluming that I picked up from the hardware store, and fixed the frozen and broken pipes. It was cold and wet, but they were incredibly grateful and we have an appointment to teach them this week! The Lord truly does answer prayers. 

We have had so many solid appointments, with people who are truly prepared to hear the gospel! In one ward alone we got 5 new investigators! Last Saturday we went to visit a less active that we were teaching, and when we got there we found two guys we had never seen that were definitely waiting for us. One of them was quick to tell us how he used to be an active member and he has been waiting for a sign to come back. The other was in a similar situation, though he was not a member, he too had been waiting for something to come into his life to bring him to repentance. After talking for only a short while we got into a very strong spiritual conversation. Without having ever taught this man about the gospel before, he told us that he could see that we were men of God. I had a very strong prompting to invite him to be baptized. I thought it was kinda crazy since he knows nothing about the gospel, but I opened my mouth and the spirit put out the words. I explained the priesthood, and how Christ died for our sins, and finished with a simple " will you be baptized?" He said yes!   Then I asked him what he thought baptism was. He listed off a dozen incredible things, (repentance, becoming clean, committing to God etc. )  after he finished, he just fell into tears. Along with the LA we went to teach, and the other kid we just met. It was powerful. The next day all three of them showed up to church! He was excited to learn about everything. After I gave him a book of Mormon, and he basically told me that the spirit has already testified to him that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God! It was almost overwhelming, but it is incredible how the lord really does go before us to prepare the hearts of men. 
This week I learned three simple lessons. 1. Teach boldly and simply of the truths that you know. 2. Put all your trust in the Lord.  3. Work work work.  
Chruch is true boys!   love you!
       - Elder Maynard!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week #9 Rise up like the Son, and labor til the work is done.

Greetings from McCall Idaho,

   So I am starting to think that when someone up here says, "but you've never experienced a McCall Winter!" They don't realize that it snows anywhere else in the world. It's been 50's all week and just rainy! I think when it finally does snow it will end up being the same as i have always experienced back home! Either way I can not wait for it to actually start snowing! On the other hand the rain has been really nice this last week because we did a ton of service! I love doing the service though, its a good break and really good use of our time in the early afternoons. We helped two people move this week, and they were each big moves! I think it was Elder Steiner that said "when i signed up to be a missionary I didn't realize that I was signing up to be a moving company, a family therapist etc. . " I love that! This last week we were defiantly a moving company! Its good though, probably helps us to stay in shape because of all our Idaho meat and potato dinners. Speaking of dinners, Thanksgiving was awesome! We got to eat with a family down in Cascade that just sent their son off on a mission. So we were sorta like the replacements for him. It was way fun, we just ate a ton of really good food. It was a good solid traditional Thanksgiving feast! I
realized that I have a lot to be thankful for, especially serving as a missionary. There are so many blessings coming into my life because I am in the service of the lord. After that feast we went back to McCall and visited one of our favorite investigators! When we finally rolled up they were standing around a campfire eating goose! I have never had goose! (now I have) It was actually really good, one of their kids actually shot it last week right before our teaching appointment with him.   As we were driving over we came around the corner and he was sledding down the road with his rifle slung around his back and the goose in tow. It was way to funny. Then we ended up eating it! We had one of my favorite service opportunities yet Saturday morning after Thanksgiving we joined the ward for their "Christmas Tree cutting party!" Our job was to find trees for the older widows etc. in our wards. It was way fun to be able to go out and find our own "Grizwald family tree"




I think that it is a tradition that I would like to start up in my own family! It was way fun though, the Campbell's got a tree that was bigger than their van! We even got a little Charley Brown tree for our house! It really was an awesome week! We were noticing that all of the major holidays are going to take place in this transfer so we are getting really excited about that!  So, I think that I may have found my new favorite missionary scripture! I hope that one day soon I will be able to be as good as a missionary as Alma! 

 Alma 29:1-2  
1 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
 2 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

Also,

"Rise up like the Son, and labor till the work is done!"
                                              -Brandon Flowers
Labor on boys! We are in the service of the lord!
Love Elder Maynard!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Week #8 Disney Princess Moment

Its official, I made it through the first cycle of my mission! I am happy to report that I have another 6 weeks ahead of me in the McCall area. And I am still serving with Elder Young. The week wasn't too exciting. Nothing much happened with any of our investigators. One of them actually went to jail (haha) so we had to drop them.

There was something super exciting that happened this last Monday! Right when I got back from e-mailing, my fox was hanging out on the front porch so I walked right up to her and started to pet her. After like 5 min she just crawled into my lap and went to sleep! haha. I was so happy. Then it started to get kinda cold so I was faced with the dilemma of staying outside and freezing or getting up and letting my "Disney Princess" moment end. Then I decided that I would just take the fox inside! haha. So I scooped her up in my arms and carried her inside like a baby. My comp was sooo surprised when I walked into our room with her in my arms. Anyways we ended up teaching the fox the first discussion and now she is completely tame and lives in our apartment 24/7.    It is probably the coolest part about serving in Idaho. Coming home after a long day of proselyting just to see foxxy chillin' in her chair reading the book of Mormon. I love that fox.  (haha - TJ said they let actually her go after about an hour and have not seen her since - too bad, hopefully she will come back for another discussion!)

 ...and I love doing service projects! It really gives me a chance to exercise my planning/organization skills. We had an awesome service project this last week. A tree fell over and hit this lady's deck! So we went over and assessed the damage and what it would take to get the project done. The following Wednesday we had all the YM, their leaders, and several less active members there to help. We cut that tree into rounds, split two other entire pine trees for her to burn this year for heat, and put up plastic around her shed to protect the wood from the snow. It was really awesome to see everyone come together to help this lady out! One of our investigators even came and was able to do a lot of work. Right after that he came up and asked us when we could meet again, and we said. "how about right now?" It was one of the best lessons that we have taught with him. And he told us that he wanted to be baptized soon. He is super committed, and is excited to be working towards a date! We were joking that we should hold his baptism on Jan 1st at 12:01 so he could be the first person in 2014 to join the church. We just need to get the mission president to approve it. Wish me luck!

- Elder Maynard

ps. Beau, My ward mission leader & his wife just got his call and he is headed to your mission! I'm super jealous to be loosing him to you. He is awesome. Watch for him in Dec. Elder Rodger Cambell. 
 

 


elder maynard and elder young ~


Week #7 Christ has no hands on earth but yours

Friends, family, hello again!
       McCall is starting to get some winter weather, and i am really excited for it! I really love this area! So last tuesday we were just studying and I looked out the window and saw some guy throwing some wood out of the ward's storage into the back of his truck. I was like "Elder, do you know this guy?" haha. So we went out and started to talk to him, he ended up being a Jehovah witness. Long story short, after some conversation about what he believed i ended up teaching him the plan of salvation and giving him a Book of Mormon which he committed to read!  We are supposed to meet with him sometime this coming week so I will be super anxious to hear what he has to say about the Book Or Mormon. We are currently teaching a family that we met at the ward party, and its kinda weird to me to be teaching exactly in the form that we always learned about and role-played in the MTC. Just a sweet little family, mom and dad and their two kids, and they all ask pretty much the exact questions that we always prepared for. It is crazy because it just never happens but I love teaching them. Our teaching pool is slowly growing, and I guess that is all we could ask for! I can't wait to experience being a missionary during Christmas, Because being a missionary is sorta like being in that Christmas spirit all the time. So we had a thanksgiving Zone conference down in Nampa. It looks like we just can't get through a week without having at least one day where we drive for 6+ hours. But it was way fun, we did a ton of team building stuff and after fasting for the whole day we had a huge thanksgiving feast!  (we left our place at 4:00am so the fast seemed extra long for us!) I love the conferences though, just being around so many other missionaries is always a treat! When you are surrounded by 50+ of the lord's servants, you cant help but feel the spirit. We had an awesome service project this week too. We helped this crazy old miner move his entire house into a 52' semi trailer. He was awesome. His name was Buck and he just cracked me up. He is a survivalist, so he has like 20 of everything, unless it has to do with guns, then there is something along the lines of 200. I swear we moved like 100 amo cans. (and they were all full!) His brother Digger was there helping us. He is actually one of the coolest guys i have ever met. He is a convert to the church of 20 years, and before that was a hardcore biker. But after one year of being converted he has had uninterrupted service in the church as a missionary. Woah! this guy is dedicated! But the cool part is he still looks like a biker. He has a huge beard, but even still, is one of the spiritually strongest guys I have come across.  It has been a great week, we had lots of good lessons. Last night we taught what we call and "eternal investigator."  This guy has been seeing the missionaries for over 2 years. But as we taught him last night it was really the first time that I really felt like i was teaching 100% by the spirit. There was no doubt that he and his family were touched by it. It was really one of the greatest experiences that I have had up to this point. It reminds me that if you humble yourself and fully trust in the spirit, then you will be able to teach the things and teach the way that Christ would. I still hang by the words of the poem that i read in my farewell. "Christ has no hands on earth but yours." Everyday I just try my hardest to better myself so when it comes time to let the spirit take over I am prepared. I love this work, I love this gospel, I know that being out here has a giant impact on both my life and the lives of those that i have the opportunity to teach.