Monday, June 19, 2017

May 22 - The Trio gets transferred :(

Hey guys here's my week!  

Monday- Monday was good!! We got our shopping done in the morning and then we headed down to Carson St. with a couple other Elders. We went to this gourmet-waffle place for breakfast called "Waffles INCaffienated." It was dang good  we just split a few of them to hold us over until lunch but it was fun to try it out! It's one of those places you have to try while in Pittsburgh. After that we went to a few stores like H&M and the 412 Shop and stuff. Then we headed up to the church to play basketball and email and stuff. Mom ordered us Papa Johns and it was delicious. We also laid outside on the lawn for a little bit again because it was sunny haha. We went to dinner that night at the Stevenson's house, Brother Stevenson is actually the son of Elder Stevenson, the Apostle! So that was kind of cool, he talks about his dad like he's no one special not like he's an Apostle or anything like that. But I guess to him, it really just is his dad🤷‍♀️ After dinner, we dropped Elder Condie at ESL and then Elder Halls and I went to visit Dorothy. She was doing super good! No cigarettes and she's been learning a ton in the scriptures lately. 

Tuesday- On Tuesday we had District Meeting and our last interviews with President Johnson because he goes home next month! It's coming so fast. We had a good District Meeting cause Sister Johnson taught and my interview with President Johnson was so dang insightful. He basically just gave me council for the rest of my life, it was cool. After District Meeting and interviews, we went to the Reyes house to help them get ready for the temple this Friday! Then we went over to Jorge's house and had a lesson with him, it actually went really well. I think he will accept a Baptism date here in the near future. After that lesson, we went to our lesson with Dorothy and she was doing so good! We had an in depth lesson on the Atonement and she bore testimony about how she has seen Jesus Christ help her quit smoking  Then we went back to the apartment for dinner and I ate the rest of my pizza (thanks Mom)  

Wednesday- On Wednesday we had a lesson with Dorothy in the morning and it went super good. We are just going back and re-teaching her all the lessons in more depth because she's already been taught all the principles. But she's understanding everything super well so it's been good! After our lesson with her, we went and met this new less active named Bill and he told us to come back later in the week on his day off so we just planned for that. Then we talked to a few more people on the street and then we headed to Days for Girls for service. After that, we went and tried a couple hispanics in the area. We went to this one house where we had taught hispanics before and this Asian lady was standing outside near the house and she was like "no you no can go in, they no speak english"  we assured her that it's okay because we speak Spanish but it was kind of funny haha. Then we knocked on the door and this new girl answered and so we talked to her for a second and told her to let the other people know that we stopped by. Then we got back in the car and I instantly felt like we should have tried harder to teach her something, I could tell that Elder Halls felt the same way, so despite as weird as it was, we decided to go back up and knock on the door again and try and teach her. We were only able to give her a pamphlet with our number and stuff but it was better than nothing. I still felt unsatisfied but we couldn't go up 3 times so we left  Then we went to the Columbians house because we weren't able to see them on Sunday and we hadn't heard from them. Rou(the mom) wasn't there but her parents from Columbia were in town and they were just chillin on her porch so we talked to them for like an hour haha then her daughters came outside and we taught them a little bit more about the Plan of Salvation. It ended up being a really good visit even though the mom wasn't home. Then afterwards, the daughters starting walking up and down the street and writing down addresses of their relatives and friends as referrals for us hahah it was awesome. Then after that we made a quick stop by Dorothy's cause she had some treats for us and then we headed home and ate dinner. We tried making our own flour tortillas because we had all this leftover meat from the Spanish party and we didn't have any tortillas. It was pretty much a disaster because flour tortillas are so dang hard to make without a tortilla press and a kitchen with decent counter space. But it was funny to see 3 missionaries trying to cook. After several failed attempts, I finally made a good one.  

Thursday- Thursday was all over the place, it started off pretty rough and sad. We went for a nice run in the morning, it was a warm day. Then we had studies and stuff and then we went to see Don because we have had no idea what's going on there. He came to the Ward Party last week with his family and had a great time and then he didn't come to church and then he started sending us weird texts again so we just decided to go over. I can't even really describe what happened over email but his whole demeanor has changed. The conversation was just us trying to figure out what was wrong and he just said he doesn't believe the Book of Mormon is true. Even though he's had spiritual experiences that he's described to us about it, he won't believe it. He had some other theories and doubts and stuff too but we rebutted all those. You would've been proud because we didn't hold back at all, we were straight up bold with him. It was to the point where he didn't want to hear our testimonies so we actually had to use scriptures and facts to counteract his arguments and we did with every single one and he knew we were right. For example, he said the spirit was telling him all these things and that he should try other church's and stuff and Elder Halls basically straight up told him "Don you don't have the gift of the Holy Ghost so the spirit can't talk to you.."  then he started saying that the Beatitudes were exactly the same in the book of Mathew as the Book of Mormon like someone had just "plagiarized" the Bible. I explained to him 3 separate where they differ, then explained to him that of course they were going to be similar because God's word doesn't change then I asked him if he had even read passed chapter 13 of 3 Nephi and he said no. Then I said that the next 12 chapters were all witness of Christ ministerios and teaching from Jesus Christ that he wouldn't find in the Bible and he refused to read and see for himself. After realizing that he didn't have any legitimate argument, he just said "no, I won't read it anymore." And we pretty much said goodbye to him. All of this started when we taught him the Word of Wisdom. He didn't want to believe that there were more commandments that he would have to follow. So he tied it all back to the Book of Mormon and denied everything from there. It was sad. The craziest part was that during my personal study earlier that day, I read 2 Nephi Chapter 29 which described the whole situation perfectly. So it strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon if anything. To lighten the mood, after our final lesson with Don, we went to a part member families house named the Lizarragas and taught the kids the Restoration and it went super good! The mom only speaks Spanish but the kids understand English better so we just taught them in English but they loved everything we taught and understood it perfectly. Ricardo(the younger kid, 10 years old) even asked if he could get "early access" to the priesthood before he turns 12 hahaha. At the end of the lesson, they both accepted a Baptism date! So we lost Don and Tammy, but we picked up the Lizarragas! Brother Stoddard(the Stake Patriarch who comes out with us all the time) teamed up with us for that lesson so his presence was helpful. Afterwards we were talking to him and we told him that we had bad news, then he said "it's about Don isn't it?" And we were like "woah you really are a patriarch" then he told us that they had been on his mind. He said for us not to worry, he's not going to let them go yet. Even though we had been uninvited to return, he said he's going to go knock the door in a month or so and talk to them. After all that, we went to dinner at this family named the Winkles house. It was fun! They made some good food and gave us coupons to Chipotle  After dinner, we went to this Hispanic member family's house named the Lopez to share a message with them about missionary work and it went really well actually! 

Friday- On Friday we saw Dorothy and a couple less actives in the morning and then we did weekly planning. We were supposed to have a lesson that afternoon but it fell through. We had dinner that night at a Family's house named the Whites and it was good because all the food was from Costco lol. That night we had exchanges so an Elder named Elder Jarvis came here and Elder Halls went to one of the other areas in Pittsburgh. That night, I went to ESL class and helped out there while Elder Condie and Jarvis tried to see a couple people in the area. Then we hooked back up afterwards and went to see a couple hispanics but we didn't have much luck. So we went to Las Palmas and started talking to some people there and we found 2 old potential investigators and set up appointments with them! Also, the Reyes had the opportunity to go to the temple for their first time on Friday!! They went to the Columbus Ohio Temple and I guess they had an amazing experience doing baptisms for their family members. It was so good to hear because we have been helping teach them the temple prep classes so the work paid off. Next month they are going to get sealed! 

Saturday- Transfer Saturday!! On Saturday we played basketball in the morning ⛹️ Then we went and did some service for this less active guy haha he was kind of weird but he gave me a box of Fruity Pebbles after we helped him move his air conditioners so I was happy  then later we went and taught Dorothy an actual lesson and it was fantastic. We found a Mega-large-print Book of Mormon//D&C//PoGP triple combination and we brought it to her and she was the happiest person alive hahaha she's like "I can read this thing without my dang glasses!!" After that lesson, we struck out with pretty much every single person that we tried.   It was a long day.. we finally were able to stop by the Cárdenas that evening and share a message with them. I was pretty much completely on my own though because it was Spanish and Elder Halls was in the other area ha but whatever, it went well. Then we headed over to the church for language study and "draft night." So all the Elders in the Pittsburgh area decided to take their dinner hour at the church so that we could be together for when Transfer Boards came out. So we all sat in a room and we had to put our iPads in the corner so that we couldn't look at them and see the transfer boards. But there was one elder at the front of the room who had his and he was the "commissioner for the Draft." So when the Transfer Board came out, he read us the name of the area and then who they selected to serve there just like the Draft  so for example he said, "With the first pick in the May 2017 PPM Draft, Pittsburgh Southside selects Elder Nelson as Senior Companion" then everyone claps and stuff haha it was super fun when he read everyone's name. Soooo in real news, I'm staying here!! Elder Condie got transferred to State College and Elder Halls got transferred to Harrisburg. So I'm the only one of the trio who survived   an Elder named Elder Herzog is coming here and I'm super pumped because he's one of my favorite Elders that I've met haha we served near each other for a couple transfers when I was in Lebanon so I know him pretty well! He's like 6'4" and super skinny but he's hilarious. He goes home in August so he doesn't have much time left so I might be staying here in Pittsburgh for quite a while but we'll see. I'm here for now though! 

Sunday- Sunday morning I made Banana Bread  Mom you would have been so proud. I made it all by myself and it turned out super good. On Sunday I was supposed to give a talk in the Spanish group so I had been preparing all week but then we got a call 5-minutes before leaving for church saying that Elder Stevenson(the Apostle) was in town and that he wanted to speak in our ward. So clearly he took precedent over me 🤷‍♀️ So the Spanish group combined with the English Ward to listen to Elder Stevenson! It was super cool! Elder Halls and I did the translation for the Spanish members so we were up on the stand with Elder Stevenson. We had met him before but it was still cool to have an Apostle at church. When he bears his testimony of Jesus Christ, you can tell that there is something different about it. After Sacrament Meeting we talked to him for a second and we asked him to introduce himself to a couple our investigators and he did!! We had 4 at church and 2 of them met him so that was sweet. To see him(an apostle) talking to Dorothy while just smiling was so dang sick. She told him about how we had taught her and helped her find something new in life! The Lizarragas also came to church and it was the Mom's first time at church in years! Her son met Elder Stevenson as well. During the second hour of church we taught one of our other investigators named Olga the Restoration with the help of several members in the Spanish group and it was super cool, they all bore testimony and shared their experiences. After church, Dorothy had her baptism interview and she passed so we will go through with the baptism this coming Saturday. I also gave her some of my banana bread after church and she couldn't believe that I made it, so I got the Dorothy approval. Then we went to our dinner appointment at the Ford's house and it was super good  Then we went and saw the Columbians for a second but they had family over still so we are going to go back next week. Then we went searching for a couple less actives for Bishop and then we came home. Well that's my week! I'll be serving here in Pittsburgh for at least the next 5 weeks! This transfer is only a 5-week transfer because President and Sister Johnson go home the last week of June  Well I will go respond to all your emails when I can. I love and miss you guys!!

-Elder Nelson

 Gettin' the free missionary haircut -- haha! 

 Elder Condie and Elder Nelson on the T-tracks

The Trio with Brother Stoddard, the Stake Patriarch

The Reyes at the temple with Brother Stoddard and the Spanish Group Leader (not sure if you care about this one but it was huge for us because we helped get them ready!) Brother Stoddard started crying when he heard the trio was getting split up because he's been working so closely with us. He said he's never seen missionaries work together so well and effectively and he was super touched by it. It made me want to burst out into tears too, it was such a nice compliment. He actually called President Johnson a couple weeks ago to tell him how impressed he was with us and President Johnson told each of us about it in our interviews.

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