Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29, 2016: Transfer Doctrine

I'm outta Shawnee.

Dang it.

But it's all good. I'm going to Edmond 1st Ward, where I hear many good things are going on. My new companion will be Elder A., who had been in our district for three of my six months out here, so this will be cool. Shawnee is pretty much set for Elder L. to train his new companion (this is his second "son"). I'm pretty happy about that because when I got here, it seemed that nothing was going on, and that's not the most enjoyable way to start.

Yep, six months out here in Oklahoma. Lucky for me, time seems to be moving pretty normally (except for this last transfer). Hopefully it stays this slow.

I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing well, except for the homework ... I can't say anything about that without being hypocritical but


M. is an investigator again! We dropped by randomly one night and she just happened to be home. We had originally dropped her because she was working two jobs and wasn't home ever, and would not keep commitments. Now that her cousin has moved out, she hasn't had to do near as much work. She said she's been really wanting to get back into church and has seen the difference between where she was and where she is now. When someone isn't ready, drop them, record them in the area book, and revisit them. They'll be ready at one time or another.

So, the sisters found while they were out tracting one of the "potentials" we were really trying to get in touch with that we left the Book of Mormon with. She seemed to be avoiding us, from our perspective. But when she talked to the sisters, she told about how she had actually just recently finished the Book of Mormon in the space of about four weeks and said it made a lot of sense. She had her old phone busted so she couldn't contact us.

Joshua and Jacob, stop picking at each other.

Elder Rice

Shawnee North and South

Monday, February 22, 2016

February 22, 2016: Progresstigators

We just had a ton of people come to church! A whole family we're teaching, and N., and a bunch of super-less-active people! Not only that, but a bunch of former investigators we thought would never come around are saying they want to give it another go! I'm a little nervous, though. I've been in Shawnee a long time and I'm probably not going to get to see the end result of all of this.

L. and his family said they liked the church service and their kids where pretty attentive the whole time. They've only been to the Catholic church before. The talks given where straight out of Preach My Gospel as well, so that was awesome.

It was kind of funny how we convinced them to come out. We bribed the kids with treats if they prayed and they agreed. We said we'd bring the treats for the next time we visited. They had already sort of agreed to come to church, so Jon sealed the deal when he said, "Can get those tomorrow at church?"

It sounds like Arizona was a blast! The weather there seems pretty similar to here—80s most days this week and super humid. This summer is going to be so happy ...

Well, I guess there's a lot of Shumways I'm going to have to get to know some time. Crazy Mormon families and their “multiplying and replenishing.”

Thanks again for the package!

Elder Rice

February 15, 2016: Improvement

[Resent on Feb. 21 after a server problem interfered with delivery.]
This weekend there were 20 baptisms in the mission, Sister T. being one of them! She's so excited to get to the temple and do work there for her family! It was sort of an (I hope this is the right word) unconventional baptism, but that's the charm of Shawnee.

Well, we were able to bring one of our investigators and the bishop gave a few thoughts on missionary work. I have to say, all the members there got stoked for member missionary work. I know I'm excited to help another investigator get there. There are two that are fairly close, M. and N. N. was the investigator that came and I think he's pretty well on his way.

The changes this work makes in people are so obvious when you're there from start to baptism (too soon to say about after). I guess that's what I'm excited about. This gospel makes people happy when they act on it, and is the only source of lasting happiness.

I think I've gained a real appreciation for the temple. I don't know why, but before I just didn't get the purpose of the endowment. I wish that we could have stayed longer, to really actually enjoy the trip.

Thanks for the package! I definitely enjoyed all the drawings on the package. I'm not sure who it is that requested "game ideas" or specifically what kind of game they were talking about, so some clarification is needed. It's actually better that I cook it [brownie mix] here. That way it'll be fresh.

We just got a boatload of candy and everyone seems to think I can handle massive amounts of candy, so they dump the excess on me. I think I have about the same amount of candy that I would get at Halloween.

We'll keep C. in our prayers.

As to the weather out here, it's been pretty fair. I can't believe it's February.

Elder Rice

Monday, February 8, 2016

February 8, 2016: Temple Trip

It's been a pretty spiritual week so far. Sister T. had her interview and is right on course, we just had stake conference, our zone just had six baptisms, and we're going to the temple Wednesday. It seems like work in Oklahoma is picking up.

Our investigator struggling with homosexuality agreed to, at least in the short term, live the law of chastity. We explained our standpoint and the whys, and there wasn't any contention during the lesson. He expressed his concern, but wanted to do all that he could to see if this church is true. He already wants it to be, he just has this one struggle that is holding him back.

Besides those things, it’s been just regular missionary work. Just for Dad, I ate some frog legs.

Elder Rice

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1, 2016: A Good Week

I’ve got less time this week than normal because we have to leave early for zone p-day and the STM (sister training meeting). I try to take time to think out what I type and I think I spend a little too much time doing that, so I don’t get to email everyone. Sorry if it seems like I send a bunch of random information in this week’s email to you guys.

We just got two more baptismal dates this week. One is with an investigator who has been struggling with finding faith in God (probably connected with his struggle with homosexuality). We found him on accident when we were trying to find an inactive member. He was really polite and was open minded enough to consider what we taught (even with the church’s stance on gays). He’s agreed to prepare himself for the 27th of February. We’re going to need prayers for help on that one. The other is with a guy we met while street contacting. He was just tossing around a football to himself and we took some time to throw the ball around and share a message. He’s hit some really hard financial times and is trying to stay on the right side of the law (he had some wild experiences in his younger years). He said as we talked with him that he felt in his heart that our message was true. He’s also set for the 27th.

Nothing really crazy happened this week but there are all sorts of quirks to our place in Shawnee that make it great. Like our stovetop smoking and setting off the fire alarm whenever we cook. Generally we keep the doors and windows open, even if it’s cold, for that reason. It’s actually made for some of the nicest days out here.

Our new struggle out here is anti-bashing. Everyone we’ve talked to in the past couple of weeks has a concept that all Christianity is true. This is a little conflicting considering their different opinions of how exactly we’re “saved.” It’s actually a little harder to help them because even when they feel the Spirit and we testify of the truth, they agree that it’s correct and that so is everyone else. We’ve found that explaining the last line of the introduction to the Book of Mormon helps, and follow up with the commitment to read and pray to know if it’s true.

I’ve got pictures this week!

Service at the thrift shop
Our apartment complex
Found an emu out biking
Accidentally ordered seven McChickens