Thursday, October 22, 2015

The "Wild West" is Still Happening

Dear family,

This week is going great! Elder Thomas and I are getting along. He is a great missionary and has a lot of good experience which has been really helpful. He has taught me a whole bunch.  It is going to be a good learning experience when I have to leave this area, but I know it will be pretty hard. I wonder a lot about why it is that change and saying goodbye is such a big theme in missionary work, and kind of life in general. I have some theories, but God is obviously trying to stress that point for missionaries to learn. 

I really need to get onto the bishops here about us speaking. We haven't given a talk in church yet, but we have borne our testimonies and done a few firesides. That is something that I have found that I enjoy doing a lot as a missionary, firesides, especially with the youth. It is really fun to be able to help the youth get excited about missionary work. I have an opportunity to tell them all the things I wish I had understood about missionary work before I was a missionary.  Focusing on the cares of the world is a big problem for the people out here it seems. We pulled the prospective elders list for the stake and there are 52 pages for a grand total of 788 prospective elders. With all the miners and oil field workers, work is one of those cares of the world that they let get in the way. There are plenty of good members who are active and oil field workers, so it is not a good excuse. They also say that this is where in actives come to hide from Utah Mormons. 

We went to Manila and McKennon this week again on Tuesday and Wednesday and we picked up a new investigator that wants to be baptized. We are excited and have more things to do now when we are there. We have a baptism tomorrow that we are really excited for! We are just doing the final preparations today.

Christlike attributes I am working on this week are humility and charity. Humility, specifically to humble myself before the Lord and listen to the things He would have me do. This is his work and I need to submit myself more to Him.

This week I had an opportunity to go on an exchange with Elder Bass in Evanston. At the beginning of the exchange we were setting goals to accomplish during the time we were together. I had a feeling to set a goal to pick up three new investigators. I thought I was being a little crazy, but I set it anyway. We had an amazing night and we prayed like crazy for guidance with everything. With Gods help and guidance, we did it. He guided us to three new investigators to teach. We also set a goal to see a miracle. While we were at someone's house teaching, there was a man who walked in, talked to us for a bit and then went into the other room. Towards the end of the lesson we asked our investigator if she wanted a Book of Mormon so she could do the nightly reading that we committed her to do. She wanted one, and the man that we thought had left, stepped back in the room and said, "Can you grab two?"  He was listening the whole time; we just didn't know it.  Setting worthy goals with God's guidance, and then working towards those goals, is an inspired pattern. I know this to be true.

"This is our legit cabin when we're in Manila."
It is really nice and pretty here; the traveling is good sometimes. We get to take a break from each area for a while, but it makes it hard for scheduling things when the towns are so far away from each other.  That is one of the things that blew Elder Thomas away because he is used to his area being a few streets wide. That is going to be an adjustment for me when I have to go down to the valley. Wyoming is the promised land! "That's a fact." (Weird accent) Everyone wants to come here. I was super lucky getting born here (my first area). It would probably be good to do more walking so I don't get fat, but I have actually lost weight, which is weird but good!  The other really cool thing about this place is like the West happened here. Like Jeremiah Johnson and Billy the Kidd and stuff. Especially in Manila and McKennon. Elder Thomas says he feels like the West is still happening. There is a law here that if you ride your horse to school the principal has to feed it and shovel its poop. That’s no joke! There are old run down log buildings you see every once and a while built into the side of the hill that look like outlaw hideouts. And almost everyone in McKennon is a rancher or used to be a rancher. Some of them own 1000s of acres.

"Here's the inside of the sick legit cabins we can stay in when we come to Manila, UT at least once a week."

Today we might go hike to see some Indian petroglyphs here in Green River. If we find them, I will send some pictures. 

Here is an entry from my journal. I have started typing my journal on my iPad instead because of advice from a general authority before I came out:

There is this kid named _____ and when we first went over to his house because of advice from the sisters, he was super disinterested. We figured that he wasn't too promising, and didn't think that we would ever come back. One day when trying to figure out something to do, we parked on the side of the road, and this kid pulled up and asked if we could go meet him at his house and talk. We said of course. We had no idea what was going on. When we got to his house, he told us that his parents were at the church right now and he didn't know if they were going to stay together. He was scared and didn't want to have to be a dad to his younger siblings. He said he had been praying and driving all over Green River looking for us. We had a really good meeting, but then in the meetings after, he seemed really disinterested and wouldn't get off of his phone. So tonight, when we went over to meet with him, the whole first half of the meeting he seemed disinterested and was on his phone the entire time. He was on his phone even when we were sharing a video with him. I was frustrated that he was paying no attention at all and I wasn't going to say anything after the video was over. Elder Thomas was talking after the video and he asked him about what he thought about the video. He said stuff about how it caught his attention when the guy in the video said something about suicide and how that caught his attention and how he could relate or something. After that, he went right back to playing on his phone. I was just sitting there thinking and the spirit told me to ask him, "are you happy?" I was expecting him to say that he was because he is popular and stuff. But the spirit kept telling me he really wasn't and that he knew that he wasn't and to ask him the question. When I asked him, he opened up again and said that he wasn't happy. He said he doesn't really know what that means and he never has. We promised him that the gospel could bring him happiness and that is the only place to find it. This is the Lord’s work. He is at the helm. I am but a tool in his hand and I know that.

There are so many occasions as missionaries where people's problems are so much bigger than we alone can help them with. I have no idea what to tell someone who has PTSD, depression, epilepsy, a hard addiction, or whose only parent just ran away and left them. I can do nothing to help them. So it's a good thing that I am not on my errand; I am on the Lord’s. He knows EXACTLY what these people need to hear and what they need to feel. Through me as a tool, HE CAN HEAL THEM. I am nothing. He is an all powerful, all loving, all knowing Father to all of us and all I have to do is listen to HIM. Getting out of the way for Him to do His work does not mean doing nothing and just letting Him take the wheel. It means crushing your own pride and desires and doing all that you can to have His spirit. Actively searching day and night to know His will for His children. That is my work as His missionary. 

God is our Father. Jesus lives. He has restored His church.

Elder Moe

"Notice the John Deer in the filter thing."
"The Sisters made us Sushi."  AKA rice crispy treats wrapped in fruit roll-up with a gummy fish.

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