Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 20, 2016

Dear Family,

Things went pretty well this week. I guess you could say things are heating up a bit in the area! But seriously, it was hot this week. It made the work a little slow because nobody left their houses all week except to go swimming. Not exactly conducive to missionary work.

We made some really good progress with W this week though. Unfortunately his family won't let us in his apartment so we had to teach him outside in the blazing heat. We just sat there on the little
porch in front of the door, sweatin' up a storm. That was an experience! Totally worth it though because he's completely sincere and can probably be baptized this summer. Our only concern is that he doesn't really understand the purpose of baptism and he has a hard time staying focused. It may take a little longer to teach him but he'll get there.

We weren't able to teach B a whole lot this week unfortunately, just a quick stop by. That's an interesting story actually. We were driving around his apartment complex trying to find parking and had driven around a couple times before we finally parked. Elder Reich kept driving past the open ones without realizing it. As we were walking to the apartment, B and his wife drove up! If we had parked quickly and knocked we probably would've left before they got there.

We had another experience kind of like that yesterday. We were in yet another apartment complex and were looking for a referral. Her apartment was right next to where we parked but we didn't realize it so we walked around the entire complex. About halfway around this lady waved and said hi to us (she was walking the other direction) but for some reason we didn't stop to talk to her. Right before we found the referral's apartment, the lady walked past again and said, "Hey, do you have brochures or anything for people?" Uh, yeah we do! So, yeah, we gave her a restoration pamphlet and a Book of Mormon. Those moments are always awesome.

So, that was my week. I hope life stays awesome for y'all up there in the north where the sun isn't trying to kill you!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 13, 2016

Dear family,

It's been yet another fun week in Texas. The weather has been weird as usual. This morning I was wearing my glasses because my eyes were bothering me and every time I got out of our car they fogged up from the humidity! You just can't win here. Other than that, the storms have been coming in waves. Sporadic. And powerful. Waves. No rivers behind the apartment though.

I can't remember if I mentioned this, but this week was President Ames' final Zone Conference in the mission. It was super spiritual as expected and he even left us with the advice he usually gives the
departing missionaries. Immediately before dinner we were talking about kneeling prayers during lessons and President Ames explained why we're asked to do them. It's hard to describe over email so I'm not even going to try. Suffice it to say that everyone in the room was probably thinking, "Wow, who's the guy who has to follow that up with a blessing on the food?!" It was me of course so I walked up to the front, looked at everyone for a couple seconds until they knelt down on the gym floor, knelt down myself, and poured my heart out. I didn't even get a word out before I started crying. It was one of those prayers where I knew for a fact that my Heavenly Father was listening. Easily one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission.

The rest of the conference mostly had to do with helping people understand the importance of church, prayer, and reading the Book of Mormon. I left there totally motivated to hand a Book of Mormon to
every Texan I saw. Unfortunately Elder Reich was sick the next day so we couldn't do a whole lot of that. I did read quite a bit of the Book of Mormon though! That itself was a spiritual experience.  The day after that Elder Reich was doing a lot better so we finally got to place a copy.

I suppose you might want to know how our investigator is doing so I'll tell you briefly. We had a lesson with him on Tuesday about the plan of salvation and asked him what he thought about baptism. He said he hadn't thought about it so we committed him to pray about being baptized. This week we're hoping to set a date with him. He's super sincere and keeps his reading commitments so it's looking likely. I let y'all know how it goes but for now I hope you have a fantastic week!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

June 6, 2016

Dear Family,

Sounds like everyone's had a good week. I can't complain about mine either; things keep improving slowly in the area. This week we were finally able to meet with one of our investigators. He's probably our most progressing investigator but the last couple weeks he's been busy. In our lesson we just read and discussed 3 Nephi 11. It's one of my favorites. He seemed to enjoy it and agreed with everything but unfortunately we haven't committed him to baptism yet. Hopefully we'll do that tomorrow.

This week I also got to go on exchange with Elder Simmons. Originally I was supposed to go with his companion, Elder Farr, in their area but they changed it last minute. That also meant that I had to take over my area for the day with almost no preparation. It went alright though and it was cool to be back with my trainer. We basically picked up right where we left off. Him and Elder Farr gave us some good ideas for the area too so we've got some good things in the works.

Well, take care this week! Sorry for the late and short email, I went turtle hunting with no success... Bye!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

May 30, 2016

Hello Family!

It's been another fun week in Denton. I'm finally starting to get to know people here even though it's a little more difficult with two wards. We mostly focused on contacting referrals this week since they tend to pile up for some reason. Texans like free Bibles, I'll tell you that much. We had a couple successes though and even got one lady to accept a Book of Mormon as well. Usually they're not so much into that part. 

Besides that we've just been doing a lot of moves it seems like. Two out of three were for people outside of the church so it was definitely a good change from tracting. One of them was in our apartment complex so we just went over there and asked if they needed help. At first the guy instinctively said they were alright but then we were basically like, "You know we're serious right?" and he said we could help with the couch. We gave them our contact info and everything so we'll see what happens in the future.

Elder Reich and I are still getting along well; sometimes a little too well honestly. Last night it rained a ton and we had a massive pond behind the apartment so we decided to get our flip-flops on and walk in it. In case you were wondering it came up to about mid calf. That's after about an hour of rain. By this morning it was completely gone though. Oh Texas!

That's all I've got for this week. Have an awesome day!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

May 23, 2016

Hello family!

It's been a pretty good week here in Texas. I can officially confirm that I do indeed live directly on a golf course. As in, I have to walk past one of the holes to get to the main office. One of Elder Reich's favorite pastimes is collecting the golf balls that end up on our side of the fence. He has quite a few.

Let me tell you about my last few days in Saginaw though, then I'll get back to Denton. So, Tuesday we had yet another zone service project of cleaning up someone's yard. A lady drove by during the last one and asked our zone leaders if we could do the same thing at her house so we did. The awesome part is that this lady is a total nature/animal guru and owned three lemurs, two tortoises, and about a dozen cats. It. Was. Awesome. We got to watch the tortoises eat and everything! Once again, the lady was really appreciative and it was an awesome experience to end the transfer. 

That night we just contacted potential investigators for a while. One of them actually called the cops on us for talking to his kid who was playing in the front yard. He wasn't the guy we were looking for anyway. In order to spare a certain companion's dignity I won't tell the whole story. Suffice it to say that said companion learned something valuable that day and that no missionaries were taken into custody. 

Transfers were a little stressful as usual but I was excited. My ride to Denton from the Stake Center was also taking a new missionary and his trainer so I had to wait around for the new missionary meeting to end. That also meant that I had to hang out with all the departing missionaries for over an hour. I could almost smell the trunkiness. Anyway, so when the meeting finally ended, out walks this guy who I went to EFY with in 2012. He was the new missionary I was waiting for! Fun fact. On the way back he commented on how many trees there were in Texas which was hilarious because that's really only a Denton thing. His trainer and I looked at each other like, "Don't say a word. Let him figure out how ugly Texas is for himself." 

Besides seeing someone from EFY, I also found out that my trainer, Elder Simmons, is one of my new Zone Leaders. It's awesome but super weird because I've now been out twice as long as he had when he started training me. 

I'm loving my area too! Things aren't booming quite as much as the rest of Denton (another companionship had 23 more lessons than us) but there's a ton of potential. Elder Reich is awesome and hilarious so we've been getting along super well. I'm excited for this transfer, it'll be good!

Well, everyone's waiting for me so I better go. Love you, have a good week!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May 16, 2016

Hello Family!

Well, first off I was able to go to the temple on Tuesday so that was awesome. We barely made it though because we had to leave at 5:45am and my alarm didn't go off. It took another set of Elders walking in at 5:55 to get us up but we hurried and made it out the door just in time. It was good to go again and we even saw some Dallas missionaries there! I asked if they knew an Elder Barr and they said yes but that he was on the opposite end of the mission.

The rest of the week was a little slower than I would have liked it to be but oh well. We did our best. I was really praying for some kind of change this transfer because I just need a restart. I've especially
been wanting to go to Denton since the beginning of my mission for a couple reasons. One, Elder Martino of the Seventy is from there and said it was awesome when he was at our stake conference in Lethbridge. Two, because the rumor in the mission is that it's the promised land. So, you might have guessed by now, but prayers truly are answered and I'm going to Denton this transfer. I'll be covering both the Denton 2nd and 5th wards and my new companion will be Elder Reich who I know nothing about. It's a car area too so I'll most likely be spending the entire first half of my mission in a car. I'm super excited!  It seems like I just get whatever I want as far as areas and companions. I usually change my mind later but hey.

Well, once again, I hope your week is awesome! Wish me luck in Denton!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

P.S. My new address is:
5001 Par Dr. #3625
Denton, TX 76208

And yes, it's apparently on a golf course