Monday, April 30, 2012

Stake Conference

Yesterday was the Charleston Stake Conference, so we got a ride down to Sissionsvile which is where the stake center is. Upon arriving we got to meet up with a few of the other missionaries from the Zone prior to the meeting. I met one of the New Elders named Elder Nelson from Mapleton UT and struck up a conversation. It was strange in a way to see someone so fresh out, on his 11th day in the field. Still full of "greenie fire" and still learning so much everyday. I saw a bit of me almost a year and a half ago. To see how much change has occurred since those early days amazes me sometimes. He was a good kid and I hope I'll be able to get to know him better in the coming months.

The talks during the conference itself were wonderful! There was one where a woman from a Small branch just south of Parkersburg talked about how she shared the Gospel through her everyday living. It was so clear by the way she talked and the ways she showed love to her friends how strong her testimony was. Also Pres and Sis Pitt spoke.

Sister Pitt focused on the Book of Mormon and what a powerful record it was. She said that having the Book in our home was not enough. Simply reading it would not be enough. Until we actually apply the teachings contained in that book its full impact will not be felt.

President spoke on many things which hit me in particular. He shared the story of a young man who's Family was from Japan. His Father had served a mission and when the family had moved to America they always wanted their oldest son to serve a mission to Japan. When his mission call came it was for Columbia. He continued to serve faithfully and in the last months of his mission a man of Japanese Decent approached him and asked him in Broken Spanish if he was a missionary for the Church. He replied in his Native Japanese that he was and arranged a time to visit the mans family and some friends. At their appointment there were 64 Japanese who he was able to teach. They had a old worn copy of the Book of Mormon they had carried with them for years and were waiting for someone to teach them more about it. All 64 were baptised by this Elder. Before he left they asked him to sign their original copy. In the Front of the book he found the most power testimony written that he'd ever read. It was Signed by his Father. President Pitts testimony of this experience was that God was more loving than we could even understand. We can't always see how his hand is at play in all things. Though I'd heard this story before it struck me in particular. It made me want to be sure to always do what I can that I can be an effective tool in our Father's hand to do those things, and find those people who he has sent me here to find, and to gain the experiences I will need to bless others.

Though its hard I try to commit myself every day to do better. I Love the mission, And my Family and the Lord for everything that I have.

Elder Sunada

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wedding jitters

Hey Everybody!

Its been a somewhat slow week. Transfer weeks often are. It takes some time to adjust when someone leaves and comes. Even though it was the Southside Elders that got switched, we often work so close together that they are almost and extension of our companionship. Often we are together at least once a day and sometimes more then that.

This weekend was actually cold! It was awesome, though unexpected. But its no where near what its still like back home. I'm pretty excited for Steven's Wedding coming up soon! I expect a full report from those in Attendance!

We were able to pick up a few more investigators this week. I'm still looking to find more of the Elect, or in other words those who will hear us and open their hearts to our message. Most of the time we find new people to teach they aren't really searching too deeply into our message. Just curious. And that's not bad either, But its nice to teach people who are searching Because they really want to know the truth and act on it.
We have a neat opportunity tomorrow. Sis. Newell teaches a sociology class and had invited us to address the Class concerning the Church. We still have to get some more specific Details but it will be nice to be able to teach to a large group of people in a setting where they are interested in what we have to say. Hopefully we'll be able to spark some curiosity and maybe add a few people to our teaching pool.

Aside from that I can't think of too much to add this week. Ya'll take care now yeh hear?!

Elder Sunada

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sigh of Relief‏

So because I've been rushed for time in writing my general email to everyone, I decided that I should try to write it first, that way I'll be able to finish what I want to say without having to beat the Library computer clock. 

This is Transfer week again, and to kill the suspense early I'll let yall know that I'm staying in Parkersburg with Elder Penn for another round. Elder Dayley will be leaving and going to Salem Virginia, which was in my first district next to Cave Spring. I told him its a great area and how much I loved the Roanoke Zone, but he's still pretty bummed to be leaving the area. In part I suppose because things have been going pretty good for Southside. Bro Hutchinson got Baptized last Thursday and it was a great time! We've all loved getting to work with and know the Hutchinson Family. They will always be among the Families that come to mind when I think of my mission. To Replace Elder Dayley we will be getting Elder Squires!!! I'm way stoked for that! I served around him while in Gretna and we even went on a few exchanges. He loves to cook as well so hopefully he'll help me hone in on my culinary skillz. He's from Fallon Nevada but has lived kinda all over. Its going to be great!

As talk of transfers was coming up missionaries often  talk about who is going home in the coming weeks. It was mentioned that one of the Sisters I came out with will be going home the transfer after this. Kinda strange. Also made me realize that I'm getting close to my 3/4 mark in the mission. I took a little time to reflect on all that has happened. The good times and the bad. Yesterday for instance a man on his bike stopped us and proceeded to give us the usual dribble of anti-Mormon sentiments. He eventually got mad and biked away because I just kept smiling at him. I've realized how much I've grown in how I felt after he left. A year ago I might have been very disgruntled and discouraged. Now I get over it almost as soon as its over and just go on. I'm still a little sad that sometimes no matter what I do, I can't do anything to help some people (I even tried to commend him for doing what he thought was right, he didn't like that either) But aside from that the discouragement that would follow those situations and others seems much smaller. I've found that increased earnest prayer has been such a huge help in getting me through tough times. I'm excited to see what The Lord has in store for me in the coming months. There's still so much time. So I'm not to worried about everything ending yet. Perhaps that will come when I get down to a month or two. Hopefully it won't hit me till a day or two before I board that plane. I'm happy to be where I am, doing what I'm doing. I know God Needs me here and that is enough.

Otherwise in the work we've had good meetings with a lot of less actives this past week. We are going to work on teaching them and helping them come to church more often. What good is it to go and Baptize people if after a few years they stop coming and learning more? The beauty of the Gospel is that we are never done learning. Just this morning in Scripture study I found answers to questions that I had. I've been told that "the Creation" Is one of the Three Pillars of Eternity, according to Bruce R. McConkie anyways. But I could never figure out why it was so important. I mean it seemed pretty straight forward. An Earth was organized, day was divided by night, the waters from the land and so on. But without even looking for answers specifically I came across some scriptures, which while I'd read them before, took on a deeper meaning and I feel like now I Understand better the importance of the Event. Though perhaps not enough to explain it more fully at present haha but that may come with more time and study.

Also! Elder Penn found my camera!! It was under a couch which I'm sure I've checked under, but somehow it appeared when he was looking for some Malt balls that he'd dropped between the cushions. And who said snacking wasn't a productive activity? The problem now being that I have two cameras, and my new one is a good deal nicer. So Still unsure of what I'm going to do with the old one. But I'm glad that at least I was able to recover the pictures that were on it :) In Lieu of recent events I've tried to do better at Journal writing, whereas before I relied upon a Digital Photo Journal. I also realized how many precious moments that I'd missed on recording and so I'm hoping to record them as I go.

Well I think this was a much better week for Writing. I've been getting a few hand written letters out too, so for all you who are waiting a reply, I Haven't forgotten! I'm just slow. I'm stoked for the Wedding coming up and Can't wait to hear about the details when it finally goes down! Love hearing about the goings on back there and I appreciate all the Prayers.

Love Yall!
Elder Sunada

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Season: He Is Risen

Hey Everyone!

What a great weekend it has been to be able to reflect back on the life of Christ! Its been a big boost to have Interviews with President, General Conference, and then Easter Sunday all in a row. It puts into perspective the focus of what I'm doing out here. I follow the instructions I've been given as a missionary, so I can teach people about the Restoration of the Gospel through Prophets and Apostles, who Testify that Jesus is the Christ and that he Lives and Loves us. Its also been cool because the Church released an appendage to the site we share with Investigators to help them learn about the summarizes the last Week of Christ's Life that I've been able to share with people. Its from the Bible Video series that the Church has been shooting. 

The websites are:
Go Check them out!

I also tried to make the Focus in my teaching this past week to have everything focus on Christ. Its been neat to see how I've changed my view of Easter and how I view this time of year. Serving the Lord has blessed me with a greater understanding of How and Why I live the Gospel, instead of just What I do to live it. I think that this transition of thinking has helped me grow more than I had thought possible. I just hope that the People I teach come to that understanding early on and will have a head start when they join.

Which Brings me to another exciting bit of News. There's a family in our ward that I've come to love dearly during my time in Parkersburg. Each Member of it has been a beam of light to me, Especially the Father, Mark. He has just decided to get baptised this Thursday. The rest of his family were members but its taken him a while to accept the Gospel. They live in south sides develop a personal relationship with all of them anyways. Its been so cool to notice how in the Last two weeks he's changed. And I could notice it! I still didn't think it'd be this soon (He announced this last Thursday) But I'm glad I will be able to see this come to pass. Its transfers next week so I might have missed it. 

Well Gotta Run Again! Bye!

Elder Sunada

Monday, April 2, 2012

General Conference Weekend!!‏

Whoa, what a weekend! 

General Conference was such a blast! I love being able to listen to Apostles, Prophets and other church Authorities in hearing what they have to say to the world. I'm also proud to say that I only dozed off for a few minutes in the Sunday afternoon session, a new personal best! I probably would have been able to stick the whole thing through but the Ward decided to have a Potluck Lunch between the two sessions. Fill me with good food then stick me in a dark room and the result is inevitable, as many of my high school teachers will attest to.

Some of my favorite talks were Pres Uchtdorf's on resolving contention and forgiveness, I can't recall who but the Saturday morning session speaking on Sacrifice in our lives, and Elder Baxter's comforting words to single parents and broken families. The last one I mentioned was a message that struck me particularly because of some of the situations which I have seen in the past few weeks. I've been struggling to know how I can help families, particularly single mothers and their children, and from that talk I've been able to find new solutions and comfort. There were many other messages that struck me and that I made careful note of. My notes for this conference are also several pages longer than the notes I have for previous ones, and volumes larger than any notes I tried to take in school. Perhaps the habit will transfer back to a secular usage one day... But I have learned that if I prepare myself to listen, I'll be fed more than I otherwise would have. Each conference Just gets better!

Darn it! Fighting the Clock again. Well, just a few brief updates then. Lost my Camera. Can't seem to find it. Might go buy one today so hopefully pictures will resume here shortly. The week went by pretty well. I had a Wonderful interview with President. Much to prepare for.

Well I love you all. Glad its been a great day in the kingdom!

Elder Sunada