Monday, January 30, 2012

Highs & Lows

What a Crazy week. Its been the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows and back again. 
The week started off pretty well. We had a great PDay chilling with the South Elder before Elder Reidhead would be transferred. We also had a lesson set up with Carlos and a Spanish speaking member to help us out. Well that didn't go so well. In fact, it was one of the hardest experiences on my mission thus far. Due to a strange and sad series of events, Carlos decided to drop us. I was pretty crushed. I'd already come to love the guy and wanted to much to help him out. But Satan has a way of entering into people hearts and turning them away. Elder Heiner had been feeling down already due to some pretty nasty doors and just general lack of success in this area. After Carlos, I was pretty low too. 
We got up Wednesday morning, neither having much to say or to do with each other. It was just a depressing day. I felt so helpless in knowing what to do besides pray and read the scriptures. It helped, but the weight of the previous days events still hung heavy over us. I had to make it to a doctors appointment in order to be officially discharged from the Doctors care. On the way there we got a unexpected phone call from the Assistants. Elder Leah would be staying with us for a few days. Most people had expected for Elder Leah to be released from assistant since he's been there quite a while, but instead a new one was called and they became a Tripanionship (3 serving together). We soon learnt why. After my appointment we picked him up and headed back. We went out to work, but were still dragging around our pity party balloons by our heels. Thanks to his motivation we were still able to make a successful evening out of it.
The next morning during Weekly planning he addressed us forwardly. President Pitt had sent him to Evaluate the area because of its struggles over the past year. It had picked up since Elder Heiner and I have been together but we still weren't producing much fruit. But Elder Leah wasn't sent to rebuke us. He came to build us up and improve where we'd fallen short. It was still a tough pill for us to swallow, and a very humbling experience, but it also came as an answer to many prayers. Not only did it come at an Ideal time to build us up at our lowest of lows, but I'd been praying for months to the Lord to help make me a more effective missionary. I'll admit, this is the hardest work I've ever had to do. Its draining physically, mentally and emotionally. It makes getting up at 6:30am to work in the cold at the concrete pipe plant seem like child's play. I was in good spirits, but still knowing that I was not achieving my potential when it mattered most. But the Lord Answered my prayers. He just had to bring my low enough to do it. I don't know that if Carlos hadn't dropped us if I'd have been as willing to take Elder Leah's Advice. But I'm glad it all worked out the way it did.
Even more so because since we had that meeting, the Lord has blessed us. We went out and worked hard all that day and the day after and I saw more success than I've ever seen. We have 3 new investigators, 3 baptismal dates, 10 Books of Mormon given out, and a list of over 10 people to go back and Visit. This has been the hardest week of my mission, but it has also been my best. Funny how that works. I Know I'm still going to struggle at becoming a better missionary, and with people dropping us and low times, but I know too that the Lord has my back and I can always rely on him. Its built my testimony and given me strength to carry on. 
Thank you for all the prayers that come my way from home. I Love each one and need them.
Love Elder Sunada

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yo Hablo Espanol?‏

Its been pretty fun this past week trying to keep on top of things. I think I mentioned that We were teaching a man named Carlos, and yes, he is Mexican. Which is way sweet!! I love teaching and working with the Brown brothers! Its really fun too because though he understands most of what we say, he doesn't speak very well. Likewise with my Spanish I can get what he's trying to say most of the time, but I know I'm butchering all of the grammar and congregations of verbs. But its ok. We both get our points across for the most part and he really loves us coming over. We will be going over tonight with a member who served a Spanish speaking mission in California and are going to extend a baptismal invitation! So its way exciting. 
A few weeks ago we got a referral from Pres. Pitt to go visit a man he talked to in Taco Bell. President Pitt is an awesome example because he's never hesitant to share the Gospel where ever he goes. We only got the Address for the man who happened to live in Walker West Virginia which is in the Rural part of our area. Looking on the map we tried to decided the best way to get there. Either A: take the long way on the highway, or B: take a back road and save miles. We of course chose B and decided to go on an adventure. We ended going up and over several mountains on a one lane pot-hole-and-gravel road out in the Boonies. It was way fun to drive don't get me wrong, but I decided there could probably be a more effective way to work. So I gave in and bought a GPS. And actually I think it will be worth it. I went through and uploaded the ward roster on it so we always know where the members are and who we can work with in a specific area. I don't need it much for getting around in the city but its proven helpful in finding country homes and points of interest. Found out there's a Lebanese restaurant downtown I would like to try out! Cultured food yay!
Also Friday was an exciting time in the mission as we had Elder Pieper of the 70 come to Address us. It was a long meeting lasting nearly 8 hours of teaching. Half of the mission met in Charleston and the Rest met the next day in Roanoke. He spoke to us on many topics including Finding the Elect, How to use Missionary work to bless the Members, and how to use peoples desires to help them make Righteous covenants with God. It was an intense meeting and I have already been able to start applying the principles that he gave us. I think one of the coolest things about being instructed in missionary work is I've never been instructed on tactics to convince people the Gospel is true. Its always been things more along the lines of "Learn to love them to open their hearts", "Listen closely to the Spirit for what to say", "Serve others as much as possible, Regardless of their interest in the Message".  There's a wonderful quote from Elder Packer of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles which goes something like this:
"A study of true doctrine will do more to help improve behaviour, than a study of Behaviour will improve behaviour."
I've come to know that that's a true statement and I've seen it work. We are taught to apply principles in our lives, so that we can become more effective in the lives of others. Everything else I've had to learn by experience. The knocking on doors, talking to people in the Street, making more than awkward phone calls. Not much in the manual on that. But that's also been the fun part of it too. 
We also had some rough doors this past week. Every now and then we get one that is particularly unpleasant and we have to remind our selves that even Christ himself was persecuted. The very Son of God was hated for his Testimony and rejected by his own. Are the Servants better than the Master? Always a humbling thought. 
Its Transfers tomorrow, but I will be staying here with Elder Heiner. I'm stoked. We have some Great "Compunity". Sisters will be doubling out the Elders in Marietta and Elder Dailey will Replace Elder Reidhead in Parkersburg south. So some interesting changes in the District but that should be ok too. I think Thats all.
Love ya!
Elder Sunada

Monday, January 16, 2012

Signs of Faith

We have had an Awesome week!! We worked hard, we got Results. It was a lot of fun too! 
We've been working to rebuild the area, after nearly a year of little success or prospects. Most of our work has been finding. Knocking on doors, Asking for referrals, street contacting. Things that take a lot of time and often offer few results. But we've been blessed for our diligence. 
We chose a few main drags down which we would knock out, as well as look up less active members and former investigators. Pres. Pitt as well as the Zone leaders challenged us to try what they called 2x2x2. Which was that whenever we have an appointment fall through, instead of just moving on to the next appointment knock 2 doors on the right, left, and across the street. Its worked with astounding success. First we found a couple who invited us in right away and was entirely open to our message of how Familes can live forever. We had more success when trying a less active who was not home, but finding 2 potentials to try next week, one of which i feel very good about. And a few weeks ago we tried a referral given to us by a drunk guy on the Bus to visit him. It was a bogus address, but it led us to Carlos. We stopped in and followed up Saturday morning and came at just the right time. He was Lonely and wanted to serve God better. He agreed right away to come to church and DID the very next day. 
Pretty exciting stuff. 
I'll have to fill in more as my computer is beeping 40secs left on my session. Its been so great to finally see some good things coming here. Love you all. Love the Lord. 
Elder Sunada

Monday, January 9, 2012

Preparing with President‏

Thing have been picking up here in Parkersburg North. We've been able to hit the Streets some more, Set up more appointments, and work with the Ward a little better. Tracting in Parkersburg has been a little different. I don't have to walk 10 mins between houses. People have a peculiar way of greeting you on the streets. Some even take the time to shout various Greetings as they drive by in the car. We ride the bus occasionally when we don't have the car, and you get to see the "regulars" or people who buy a Bus pass and ride around on the buses and public libraries for a profession. So far my favourite is a man We've nicknamed "Humbug" Because he's always talking to the drivers and Calls them Humbug. "Been a long Day humbug?", "Rainy weather aint it Humbug?", "You looking forwardward to getting off today Humbug?". It keeps the rest of the the passengers amused, or just annoyed. In any case, I'm hoping to be able to report a few more people we'll be teaching next week. Currently we have a Woman named Goldie. Our main man Craig Dropped us last week because he had too much going on in his life. But I have a feeling he'll be talking to Missionaries again in the Future so no big worries. 
Saturday was President interveiws! Its always a good chance to talk to president one on one. I do like being closer to Mission HQ so I have just a slightly higher interaction with him now. Pres. Pitt always has the right way to encourage me to press myself to do better and help others. After talking with him, I'm determined to get a few baptisms while in Parkersburg. And within the next Transfer. I know the man is lead by inspiration and the Holy Ghost because of the way he knows just what to ask and the way I always feel love in his Voice. I would love to be able to be that in Tune with the Spirit. I guess I've got a few years to catch up to him though haha. 
In the coming month we're also supposed to have another General Authority visit the mission and direct his time Towards missionaries!! Elder Pieper of the 70 will be spending the better part of the day instructing the WVCM in both Group and individual settings. We've been super blessed to have to much interaction with the GA's of the Church. Maybe even a little bit spoiled. In any case, I'm trying to do my best to finish reading the scriptures we've been assigned. 
Also I had Sis. Poole of the ward inform me that a Relative of mine had given a letter to her Husband! Apparently I live in a small world. I haven't gotten it yet but I'm very excited to. The Lord has blessed me in so many ways I don't even know how to count them. I'm so Grateful for being able and well enought to serve and only hope to do better. 
Elder Sunada

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Timmy Time

Hey Everyone!
Sorry for the Delay! Government workers take every Holiday they can so the Library was closed yesterday. 
IT FINALLY SNOWED! I mean not a lot of snow, But there is a little snow on the ground and its a tad Chilly outside. In fact the night it got cold our Thermostat inside our apartment also decided to have its battery die. It was a pretty chilly morning inside. But thankfully Elder Heiner had some extra batteries and saved the day. 
I Don't know if they did this back home, But the Stake decided that since New Years fell on a Fast Sunday they didn't want to crash any one's party so they moved Fast Sunday to next week. Because of this last moment change they needed some speakers. Turns out the Sunday I went in for Surgery I was also assigned to speak, So this was the perfect opportunity for me to complete my assignment. Bishop Bohning Even made the comment to me that "not even an appendectomy will get you out of speaking. Don't try breaking your leg either..." He's a funny guy.
Other than that its been back to work as usual. Some street Contacting, Checking on follow ups, People forgetting or dropping appointments. Missionary life. We did do some shopping at the mall. The first really decent mall I've seen on the mission. Nothing all that exciting but a somewhat big deal. I typically try to avoid the mall unless I need something there. To many people doing normal things. I don't know its just weird as a missionary. I bought a pretty sweet hat though. When I figure out how to upload pictures on to this Libraries computers I'll show it. 
OH! And Guess where we went for Lunch?! That's Right. Tim Hortons. And Yes, It was Glorious. I think some people in there were a little concerned with my Enthusiasm. But hey, if you Can't go to home to Canada, The next best thing is bringing a little bit of Canada to you. They just don't get it.  
Well I think that's all for this week folks! Hope Y'all had a great New year with plenty of great food and fun to Boot!
Elder Sunada