Nathan - Fred - Souza, Batista - 8/23/2016 to 10/4/2016

area: Fred, Texas (Silsbee, Texas)
zone: Beaumont
companions: Elder Souza, Elder Batista
dates: 8/23/2016 to 11/14/2016 (Transfer Periods #16-17)
Transfer Period #16
email: 8/29/2016
I love Fred! I love my new companion Elder Souza! I love being a missionary!

This last week was great! We got a lot done and saw a lot of miracles!

Quick story: We have an investigator Michael. He's 17 years old and he's amazing! He walked 4 miles to the church for mutual and church this past week! We taught him afterward both times. And got him rides home. We would have gotten him rides to church as well but he told us he only lived a mile away... I can't explain his whole situation but he's so humble, and he needs the Gospel! He's got a lot of the members excited about missionary work!

I think I have a greater understanding of what it's like for the missionaries in the Camino Ward. Everything so spread out on little country roads. But lots of good people, and many who want to get baptized, just so much space in between them. Except here we only have 50 members in a branch verses a ward. It's perfect though!

I love y'all! But I love our Savior more. And this is where He wants me. So this is where I want to be.
email: 9/5/2016
I love being a missionary! Life is so great! Fred is so celestial!

We have several people we're working with right now. Michael will be getting baptized on September 24! We're so excited for him. Out of all the other investigators, the ones who are making the most progress are Jamie and Donielle. Donielle has been coming to church for quite a few weeks with friends, but she's still working on understanding the spiritual significance of it all. Jamie knows it's true, but is struggling coming to church. They're both going to get baptized within a few months as well.

Elder Souza is great! I love him.

Quick Story: Elder Souza and I were driving down this county road and there was a couple on the side of the road looking up into the trees. We rolled down our window and stopped. The conversation goes as follows:

Elder Souza: "Do you need any help?"

Man: "No, we're good." (after he said that I noticed he was holding a rifle kinda behind his back)

Elder Souza: "Did your pet get stuck in the tree?" (I thought, "why would they shoot their pet with a rifle to get it out of the tree...?")

Man; "No, haha. Just shooting squirrels."as he pulls the rifle out in front of him)
We all laugh.

Me: "Alright. Have y'all ever seen missionaries like us before?"

Man: "Maybe. I don't go to church though."

Me: "Do you want to go to church?"

Man: "Nah, I'm not ready for that yet."

Me: "Sure you are. But anyway, our purpose as missionaries is to prepare people to get baptized. We have messages to share to help us do this. If you came to know our message is true would you be baptized by someone holding Christ's authority?"

Man: "I don't know... You can come back Tuesday though."

Again, Fred is great! The people here remind me of Apple Hill! The Branch Mission Leader is amazing! He has so much faith in this area!

I love my mission.

I love y'all. But I love Jesus Christ more. And this is where He wants me. So this is where I want to be.
email: 9/12/2016
I love Fred!
I love being a missionary!
I love Elder Souza!
I love the Texas Houston East Mission!
I love Jesus Christ!
I don't have a lot to say. We had a another good week.
I do have a story though!

Quick Story: I was on exchanges in Jasper with Elder Galbraith. In the morning, we were trying a few potential investigators and less active members. For some reason, we drove down this road and it ended up being a dead end. As we were turning around though, I saw large, round, white things sitting on the ground in the forest of this empty lot. I asked, "Were those eggs?" Elder Galbraith didn't see anything. So we flipped around again and he looked at them and said, "Those have got to be rocks..." I jump out and rolled one with a stick. I noticed it had a hole in it and it was hollow on the inside. "That's an egg!" "No way," responded Elder Galbraith as he jumped out of the car. He looked at the hole and was surprised like me. Because it already had a hole in it, we figured we'd break it open and confirm it was an egg. So he took a stick and hit a few times, but it wouldn't break. He ended up snapping the stick. He hit the egg one more time with the remains of the stick and then it broke open. Whatever was in it had died a good while ago, there were maggots crawling around. I immediately smelled it. ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING! "That smells nasty! Go! Go! Go!" I was saying but Elder Galbraith couldn't smell it. So he meandered over to the car. Just as he got in, he finally smelled it and started gagging. Bad bad bad smell!

We had lunch, then continued with our day. We talked about the eggs, thinking they were alligator eggs, but then a member told us that alligator eggs are pill shaped while these are round. Anyway, during dinner hour we went back and took a couple of them. We realized all of them had little holes in them and they were all dead.

I now have a giant egg behind our trailer which this morning I started cleaning out.

The miracle of the story is is that over the past month I've been praying, asking for cool souvenirs (I know, not important at all, but still a little want I was having) and Heavenly Father answered my prayer. It grew my testimony of "if it's important to us, then it's important to Him."

I love y'all. But I love Jesus Christ more. And this is where He wants me. So this is where I want to be.
email: 9/19/2016
We had a good week. Work slowed a little bit but we managed to stay busy.

In district meeting we talked about using scriptures and it went well. Elder Chamberlin and Elder Ericson (who are now together as zone leaders) were there and they helped with discussions about how to use the scriptures and sharing stories.

This morning I finished cleaning out my egg. That was exciting! It still smells a little but I'll figure out how to fix that.

Last thing - our investigator, Michael, had a goal to be baptized this coming Saturday, the 24th. But his sister who is kinda his legal guardian won't give permission for him to be baptized. He might need to wait until he turns 18 in January. He still loves the Church and us so it'll all be good. Just need to work on patience a little bit.

I love y'all. But I love Jesus Christ more. And this is where He wants me. So this is where I want to be.
email: 9/26/2016
This week was good! We did a little bit of everything. Service, tracting, biking, teaching, driving, eating, sweating (lots and lots of sweating, it's still very hot), and churching.

It looks like we might have some surprises this week, not sure though. Just expect to be surprised next week from my email…

We had Jehovah's Witnesses knock on our trailer door this week. We learned a little about contacting. Like we should look people in the eyes because when we don't, they feel like our message isn't personal. Also, to speak confidently because if we don't, then it's difficult for them to believe what we're saying is true.

We also read the Book of Mormon with Michael this past week, just going through reading some of the more important verses pertaining to doctrine. It brought the Spirit so strong. There's so much power in the words of Christ! As Alma put it, "And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just--yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them--therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God." I love the scriptures and how much they teach me about Jesus Christ.

I love being a missionary!

I love y'all. But I love our Savior more. And this is where He wants me. So this is where I want to be.

Your favorite missionary, Elder Combrink
email: 10/3/2016
This week was good. I absolutely loved General Conference during the weekend! Those talks were so inspiriting! I think my favorite one, for now, was Elder Cornish's talk on Saturday. I love how he said, "we just need to keep trying, and not rationalize or rebel... But we really need to be trying!" in order to one day live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again.

Elder Souza is being transferred. I'll miss him. He's really helped me grow these past few weeks.

I am staying in Fred though!!! I love it here so much! I think I'm very similar to our Branch Mission Leader Brother Balla, or at least I hope I am. We both like it away from the city where we all have elbow room and fresh air. He likes to joke around a little bit too.

I have also been asked to train. I'm excited about that. He'll make sure I stay focused these last few weeks!

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

Your favorite missionary, Elder Combrink

We also had a missionary die...
you know... he's going home.
He was in our district so we had a funeral for him on Friday during District Meeting.

Transfer Period #17 (last one)
email: 10/10/2016
My new companion is great! His name is Elder Batista. He's supposed be serving his mission in Trinidad but his visa hasn't been approved yet so they sent him here until it is approved. He came from the Missionary Training Center in Dominican Republic. But yeah, he's awesome! He's diligent and excited about the work.

We had a few really good experiences this week! We helped the Elders Quorum build a deck for a man, not a member of the Church. Afterwards we asked if we could come back when we weren't all sweaty and share our message with him. He told us to come back whenever we would like, so we went back on Saturday and taught him the message of the Restoration of the Gospel. He didn't exactly accept it, but he was open and he received a Book of Mormon at the end of the lesson. He also sent us home with some deer sausage! Super good! We're going back tomorrow to teach the Plan of Salvation.

We also had another investigator, Tori, say that she WANTS to come to church next week!  Missionaries have been going by for the past 18 months and finally she’s going to come to church!!! We're so excited!!!

I love being a missionary!

I love y'all. But I love Jesus Christ more. And this is where He wants me. So this is where I want to be.
email: 10/17/2016
Fred is great. Just the name is great! Being a missionary is great!

This week was good. We had a Zone Meeting about the importance of reading, pondering, and praying about the scriptures. It was really good.

Elder Batista is a great missionary!

We had a bit of an adventure this week. I thought I had learned my lesson in Jennings about trying to take side roads or shortcuts. Well, I guess I didn't... We biked around the side of a national preserve on a county road and went down about 6 miles looking for a less active member of the Church. We got down there but we couldn't find the address and we were running out of time to get to our next appointment. We knew there was a trail that went up the middle of the preserve so we found the trailhead on the county road we were on, then started down it. At first it was really fun! By the end we were so tired though. It ended up being 8 miles instead of 6. With all the twists and turns and the little inclines and declines, it got rough by the end. Still a fun experience though. We made to our next appointment with 2 minutes to spare.

Again, I love being a missionary. I love serving in THE Mission of the Church. I wouldn't trade these experiences for the world.

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

From his email to Mom:
I got accepted to both BYU and BYU-Idaho. I'll be praying about it this week.

email: 10/24/2016
This week was good!

We had a Zone Conference on Thursday and I felt the Spirit so strong throughout the whole thing. At the end they asked missionaries who are going home this transfer to bear their testimonies. I was the second out of three of us.

I said something like, “Well President, I don't know why I'm up here, I've only been out a little over a year.” (Missionaries who have been out over a year usually just keep saying “Oh, I've been out a little over a year” whenever anyone asks to keep from getting anxious about going home.)

I continued, “But I'm grateful for any chance I get to bear my testimony. I would like to start by testifying of Jesus Christ. I know Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and died on the cross. I know He rose the third day. I know He lives and loves us. And I know He loves you, personally and individually. I know Jesus Christ appeared with our Heavenly Father to Joseph Smith in 1820. I know our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ called Joseph Smith to be a prophet. I know President Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet of God on the Earth today.

“My grandpa would often ask me a question while I was growing up that has shaped the course of my life. I grew up in California and he would ask me, ‘If the prophet called on the phone and told you to pack what you can and be in Utah by sunrise tomorrow would you go?’ As a 10 year old I would think, ‘Grandpa, why would the prophet need a 10 year old...?’ But I also decided that if the prophet called, then I would go. When President Monson said that every worthy and able young man should serve a mission I knew he meant me.

“I am so grateful for the gift of serving a mission. I love being a missionary! I wish I had a count for how many times I have said that... I love being a missionary! I waited 19 years for this gift, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love being a missionary!

“I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. And I know God loves His children.

“In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

I love being a missionary!

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

From his email to Mom:

I accepted the invitation to attend BYU Provo. It still feels right. Thank you for everything!
email: 10/31/2016
This week was good! I just want to share a few experiences we had.

The first is on Wednesday we went to Houston and had new missionary training because Elder Batista is new. It was so spiritual, I loved it.

On Saturday we wanted to go to Warren to see Jamie, someone we're teaching, but we didn't have the miles. So we biked there. We rode 43.4 miles that day and nearly 10 miles out of that on a sandy road. It's hard to ride a bike in sand... oh well. It was worth it. We got to teach Jamie.
I love Fred! I love being a missionary.

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

Your favorite missionary, Elder Combrink
email: 11/7/2016
This week was really good! Jacob and Sadie, 12 year old twins, are going to be baptized this upcoming Sunday right after church! I testify our Heavenly Father hears our prayers and grants according to the desires of our hearts.

Our FNM2 was really low, we just didn't really try earlier in the week, procrastinating and stuff, so we only had 2 by Sunday. But then we realized that last week's key indicators were going to be the last ones we would report before the district in the greatest mission ever, and we didn't want to report less than 14 FNM2, so we went out and started finding. But in Fred, there's hardly ever people outside. And through Tracting, we only get 1, maybe 2, at a time. But the Lord in His infinite mercy placed 2 groups of 6 people outside of their homes in our path. If I were the Lord, I would have said, "Ha! You wasted all the opportunities I gave you all week, and now, in the eleventh hour, you want to meet your goal? Ha!" But no. He saw that we wanted to reach our goal, and that we were out working, and He was merciful. I love being a missionary!

I guess this is my last email. I hope everyone really knows how much I love being a missionary.

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

See y'all soon.

Your favorite missionary, Elder Combrink
email: 11/14/2016

I love you'll! And I love Jesus Christ!

Your favorite missionary, Elder Combrink
pictures: 8/23/2016 to 11/14/2016