N's email 4/27/2015

area: Broadway 1st Ward (Houston, Texas)
zone: Broadway
companion: Elder Hobbs

The days are all combining together into a blob under the file of "missionary time" in my brain. So I apologize if I repeat things that I've said before.

I love being a missionary! It really is the best thing in the world! While I was in high school I kept hearing that "high school is the best time in your life, so enjoy it." Well, try a mission. On a scale, high school lands at about a 10, while a mission lands at an infinity. That might change after I get married and have kids, and probably again when I'm a grandparent. But still, there's nothing like being a missionary.

We had a lot of fun again this week. I'll tell you a couple of quick stories. One was on Friday, we went to an apartment complex that's not exactly the nicest, and there was some people outside who stopped us to talk to us. One of them was quite drunk... He kept switching back and forth between loving us and hating us because apparently we're racist or something. He started yelling at some other guy so we left. Then a super drunk Hispanic man came over and tried telling us something in Spanish, I think he was offering us marijuana for Elder Hobbs' bike. After a minute of us trying to tell him that we didn't understand him and that we needed to get to an appointment, the other drunk guy came over and tried translating, but he didn't know any more Spanish than we did. So we have a drunk black man (who thinks we're racist), translating for a drunk Hispanic man (who we're pretty sure was a drug dealer) for a couple of Mormon missionaries. It must have looked hilarious!

Another was that we knocked on a door of someone on the ward list, she opened the door, and we said who we were and asked if she was a member and the rest of the conversation goes as follows:
"Yes, but I don't go anymore."
"Well, why's that?"
"ummmmmmm... I'm not really sure."
"Alright. We're here to invite you back."
"Oh, ok."
It was pretty great! I love those kinds of less active members.

A lot of people ask me why I came on a mission, and I tell them a variety of different things, and then they see that I have reasons for giving up 2 years of my life, but many still don't understand. And I accept that. It's kinda difficult to understand a teenager, who did well in high school, saying "I'm not going to college for a couple years. I'm going to Texas to be a missionary instead. No, I don't get scholarships, or paid. No, actually I need to pay to be out there. Yeah, there might be other places in the world that need more help than Houston, but that's where I've been called. etc..." I understand that it's hard to understand. But if you would like to understand, read the Book of Mormon, you'll find out really quick why I'm out here.

I love all of you. But I love Jesus Christ more. And this is where He wants me. So this is where I want to be.

N's email 4/20/2015

area: Broadway 1st Ward (Houston, Texas)
zone: Broadway
companion: Elder Hobbs

This week was the most tired I've been so far on my mission. I also learned a lot in this week and laughed more than I have in a while. It was a great week!

We were able to contact a lot of people again and it allowed me to continue getting better at contacting. Role playing does help but actually being able to contact this many people helps so much more!

We were also able to teach a few lessons that went really well. I'm still getting used to teaching with Elder Hobbs, but we had a really great lesson yesterday with our investigator John. It was about the Plan of Salvation, and being able to teach him really confirmed my testimony that the Plan of Salvation really does provide so much hope.

On Friday night it flooded in Broadway pretty bad, like 6-12 inches in our parking lot and I heard it was deeper a little ways down the road. The Zone Leaders showed up just before water started bubbling out of the cracks in the parking lot and told us the Assistants were coming for an exchange. When the AP's finally got here they grabbed our bikes and started riding through the parking lot. So the rest of us joined in, it was so much fun! Then, because of the flooding, they all slept at our apartment and then went to the Zone Leader's in the morning. Our time with Elder Brewer really helped. I learned the importance of being bold, and that we don't need to be afraid of it because those who are ready will understand and come closer to Christ and baptism.

Elder Hobbs is also a good basketball player and he went on an exchange with Elder Dean on Tuesday and they went and played street ball to contact, but they also became friends with the people who you'd normally try to avoid, but because we serve here it's awesome to have them as friends because they'll watch out for us. I love this area so much!

I love all you you. But I love Jesus Christ more. And this is where He wants me to be. So this is where I want to be.

N's email 4/13/2015

area: Broadway 1st Ward (Houston, Texas)
zone: Broadway
companion: Elder Hobbs

I love being a missionary so much and this area, Broadway 1 West, is fantastic! I had a lot fun this week. Elder Hobbs and I laughed a lot.

Monday - After dinner we road our bikes over to Reville Park and Elder Hobbs played some street ball while I talked about missionary work with the guys sitting on benches around the court. It was awesome! We also got to pray for a couple guys that waved us down on the way home, we just stood on the side of the road in a circle and prayed for blessings.

Tuesday - We taught an awesome lesson, where we pretty much just went around and explained why we follow Jesus Christ, to a man named Guirrmo.

Wednesday - We taught a somewhat crazy lady named Sue. She's awesome though, just gets distracted and goes on random tangents all the time. She accepted a baptismal date though and committed to progress towards that. We also met the Stake President, President Howard. He's awesome and incredibly missionary oriented.

Thursday - We had dinner with the Terence family again. They're so great! She's a fantastic lady who's worked in several temples and he's a practicing Jew. I'm not quite sure how they get that marriage to work, but they've done it for the past 45 years. We also taught Guirrmo again. The lesson was going awesome, even through Joseph Smith's first vision, but then we mentioned the Book of Mormon and he completely shut off. I don't get that! All these other churches get their people to focus on that one little verse at the end of Revelations that is taken completely out of context since Revelations wasn't even the last book written in the New Testament anyway. AND Revelations was written by John, the same who wrote the Gospel of St. John, who says at the end of that book, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." There's also "by their fruits ye shall know them." There's also "if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." There's also "the stick (scroll) of Ephraim." And on and on. But we don't say that because it promotes Bible bashing. so we just bare our testimony and encourage them to read it and pray and leave.

Friday - Elder Monson (our district leader) gave us a great lesson on happiness and success as a missionary.

Saturday - We biked around the airport, talking to people and finding members, it took a few hours, and about 15 miles later we got back to our apartment. We then went over to apartments along Broadway street and just talked to people who were outside. We talked to 44 people! It was also Elder Hobbs' Birthday so his sister in Colorado called the pizza hut here and had them deliver. We laughed a lot at him trying to blow out candles in an oreo in his mouth... just wait for the pictures.

Sunday - Church was awesome! We were asked to teach Gospel Principles at the last second. The Spirit and us did a good job covering the Atonement. The members here are great! After church we just went around talking to more people and knocked a few doors. It also rained a bunch and we were soaking wet. We must have looked so ridiculous, but we just laughed.

We talked to 127 people about the Gospel this week! Heavenly Father loves us! And He loves these 127 people too!!!

I love all of you. But I love Jesus Christ more. And this is where He wants me to be. So this is where I want to be.

N's email 4/6/2015

area: Broadway 1st Ward (Houston, Texas)
zone: Broadway
companion: Elder Hobbs

This week has definitely been different. Broadway is definitely not Kingwood... There's so many more people here! And they're all outside! And they actually talk to us, or are willing to talk to us. Elder Hobbs is fantastic! He's such a hard worker and he's obedient. I'm so grateful that I'm able to serve with him. I'm also super excited to serve here in Broadway.

Because of General Conference (twice a year the prophet and 12 apostles speak to the church and it's televised around the world in many languages) we still haven't been able to meet many people in the ward. White washing (both companions coming from a different area so no one already knows the area well or the people) is super confusing. But it's good because it practically forces us to be humble and there's none of that, "Oh, we already knocked this apartment complex" or "We've already spoken with that guy." It's all free game! That's how we were able to get 78 contacts in 5 days. We were literally talking to everyone. And it feels so good to do so. Also, because so many people here are receptive there's so much less fear in contacting. So far we've only really talked with 3 members of the ward, one being Bishop Cruz, he's so cool! I'm so excited to get to work with him.

Now, Broadway is a little sketchy. It was an absolute culture shock coming from Kingwood. I think the worst part about it is that the sidewalks are a complete wreck. But, they also provide some sort of adventure feel in the city. Being here kind of reminds me of living in downtown Reno. I'm just glad that nearly all the nonmembers here appreciate us (missionaries). I definitely wouldn't go into some of these complexes without my white shirt and name tag.

Don't worry about Elder Hobbs and I one bit though. Because "whoso receiveth [us], there [Jesus Christ] will be also, for [He] will go before [our faces]. [He] will be on [our] right hand and on [our] left hand, and [His] Spirit shall be in [our] hearts, and [His] angels round about [us], to bear [us] up." D&C 84:88

I love all of you. But I love Jesus Christ more. And this is where He wants me. So this is where I want to be.

(he sent this extra little note to me) this place is awesome, don't worry about me one bit Mom. It's not dangerous, especially compared to all those scout campouts you encouraged us to go on.
Thanks for all you do