Saturday, February 25, 2017

February 20, 2017

Dear Family,

Well, once again we basically did the same thing as last week. Say it with me! "We contacted referrals." We finally got it down to about 35 uncontacted though. Then we got two more this morning but I think we're finally on top of them enough that we can get at the least the new ones contacted quickly enough.

This week we actually got to meet the guy from whom the lady was demanding chicken and who "was taking care of business downtown." Let me tell you, that situation makes even less sense now. They were just neighbors that do random favors for each other sometimes, including bringing each other chicken I guess. Anyway, we sat down with the guy to teach him and he ended up talking at us for about an hour and a half. He has a triple combination and says he believes it's all true but the problem is he's basically taught himself from it. He got a couple things right like a few things about Adam and Eve. The rest of it was weird, random theories. It's like he put our doctrine in a blender, drank it, and spat it all over us. It got weirder too. Some Sister missionaries called him in the middle of our lesson and he put it on speaker. He explained that he was currently meeting with missionaries and they sounded super confused. We assumed that they were calling from the referral center to follow up with him since they've been doing that a lot with our referrals. After the lesson we got the number so we could call and tell them how it went and apparently they were actually proselyting missionaries in Austin that received the exact same referral we did for a different city. The guy must have referred himself twice and not put the city in one of the times. It made for a very awkward conversation... but we got it sorted out.

We do have a couple of investigators who are beginning to progress a little more, neither of them from bible referrals. One is a lady who began investigating in New Mexico and recently moved here. She is a self-proclaimed free spirit which makes for some funny conversations sometimes. Right now we're working on getting her to commit to a baptism date and gain a more sure witness of the Book of Mormon. She keeps most of her commitments so it's going pretty well.

Our other investigator moved from Indonesia fifteen or twenty years ago. A friend of hers who happens to be in our Ward introduced her to the church a few weeks ago. She's sincerely seeking for truth right now so she is determined to figure out if the church is true. She's been reading the Book of Mormon pretty much whenever she has free time. Our goal with her is basically just to help her understand how to recognize the spirit so she can really get that answer.

Things are going relatively well so let's just hope that keeps going!

One thing I forgot to mention earlier was an interesting activity we did at a dinner this week. We were eating with an older couple and they set an extra place for an ancestor of our choice. We each went around the room and talked about who we would invite to the dinner. I thought of Grandma Wood at first of course but then I thought wait, what about Edward J. Wood? So I invited him and talked about his missions to Samoa a bit. I thought he'd enjoy a missionary dinner in Texas. He's also been an inspiration to me on my mission. I wish I could talk about my mission like he did but I'm not quite to that point yet. Maybe someday. I'm sure Grandma Wood came too, she doesn't need an invitation.

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 13, 2017

Dear Family,

It's been another interesting week in Fort Worth. I really wasn't kidding when I said we get 2 or 3 bible referrals a day. Most of the week was trying to take care of those. We're hoping to get some other work going in the ward besides delivering bibles. It's great to only talk to people that have already agreed to but most of them still aren't really seeking for truth. They just want the free bible 'cause why not. Some good will come of it soon enough I'm sure.

Another thing we do a lot of is giving blessings at hospitals. I've given three since I came to the area. I think that's mainly due to the fact that we have a couple major hospitals in our area. On Monday we're pretty sure we saw a girl who had overdosed. She was curled up in a ball on a stretcher in the hallway next to a police officer. That's about the worst thing we've seen so far in the hospitals. Could be worse I suppose.

Last week we met this one bible referral that was pretty interesting. He invited us in and everywhere we looked there was wine, whiskey bottles, and evidence of just about every vice known to man. That happens, that was no big deal. What got us was when we looked over his bed and saw a Melchizedek priesthood ordination certificate. Next thing we know he's showing us his temple rec month or two ago. That's pretty much all there is to the story but it just left me scratching my head you know?

Probably the funniest story I have for the week happened on Saturday morning. We were trying to find a bible referral in an apartment complex when suddenly this large lady sitting on a bench across the street yells, "Hey, y'all from the Church of the Mormons?" We said yes and then she told us to come over. I knew she was either going to anti us or praise us. Before she started talking to us she told us to wait a moment, called someone with her landline phone (it was in her pocket) and said, "Hey, bring me some chicken! I'm hungry! And answer your phone! Pick up your phone and bring. Me. Some. chicken. I'm hungry!" We then talked about the Book of Mormon a bit and found out the guy she was demanding chicken from was our bible referral. He was "taking care of business downtown" in her words.

Mission life is back to normal.

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 6, 2017

Dear Family,

Well, that all happened fast. I mentioned last week that I'd be emergency transferred in the next few days probably. President Whitney told me it would be at least until Tuesday before him and the assistants could figure out all the logistics but sure enough I got a call at about 6:00pm. He told me I'd be going to Fort Worth 8th with Elder Arndt (if I would've written down a guess, that would've been it so that's cool) and that his assistants would get back with me on when that would happen in the next day or two. Since it was official I went to tell one of our Ward Mission Leaders I'd be leaving sometime during the week. While there, the assistants called and asked if I could be ready to leave at 11:30 the next day! I told them I could then went back to the apartment to pack frantically.

I suppose you probably want to know a bit about my new area. It's definitely one of the more interesting areas I've been in since it covers downtown and pretty much most of Fort Worth. I'm definitely not in suburbia anymore. It makes for some interesting views driving around all day. I actually enjoy it quite a bit. Probably because I'm not the one driving right now but hey. The traffic was especially bad this week because of the stock show too.

Most of the work here right now is contacting bible referrals. We get one or two a day it seems and when I got into the area we had sixty or so that weren't contacted. Elder Arndt and his old companion were whitewashed in at the beginning of the transfer so they had all this kinda plopped in their laps and now I do! The difficult part is trying to get everyone contacted without going over our mile limit. It takes a lot of planning and making people work around our schedule. They're getting a free Bible though so it should be all good.

The people in general are a lot poorer and more diverse than in Heritage. Nothing against either area, it's just true. The culture is just overall different. My first meal in the area was spaghetti and cornbread which I didn't mind at all. It was delicious just not a meal I think people would think of in Heritage.

Anyway, it's been fun. I'll tell more funny stories and hopefully send some pictures next week. For now, I have to go to the zoo since it's in my zone again. Love ya!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

P.S. I wrote this 5 hours ago and just got wifi. Also, I'm sitting in a hospital waiting to give someone a blessing. Life is crazy.

Monday, February 6, 2017

January 30, 2017

Dear Family,

Crazy week to say the least. I'm sure you've heard about the new key indicators and schedule. After thinking about it a lot it seems to be a step in the right direction. I can't tell you how many times I've heard of missionaries just doing things so they can count a lot of lessons or something. As for the rest of the week, I'm just going to copy and paste my journal entry that I've been working on all week. 

It's been a couple of those days again. Wednesday was transfers and half my district finished their missions. I especially had gotten close to Elder Rarotoga and Elder Reich so it was super tough to see them leave. Overall, I felt that my mission this transfer has as much to do with my companion as it does my area and that the Lord is pleased with me. 

Thanks for all the prayers! Love ya'll!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

January 23, 2017

Dear Family,

Well, probably the toughest transfer of my mission is coming to a close... aaand I'm training again. How do I keep ending up agreeing to this? Curse you submissiveness! It'll only be for a transfer this time though because the Elder is already a transfer into his mission. His name is Elder Peck and he'll be coming to my current area. Just to clarify, Elder Rarotoga is indeed going home this week along with two others in the district. Actually, the only missionaries leaving our zone this transfer are going home. There's only one way out! Kidding of course.

You would think that I'd be used to training by now but it freaks me out every time. I could hardly sleep last night worrying about the area and Elder Peck. It's really hard to describe. I guess I've survived everything in my mission so far, so I'll most likely survive this too. Plus, maybe some greenie fire is what the area needs. We'll have to see what happens I suppose.

I really have nothing to report teaching-wise for this week. We're still working with members, trying to help them with their missionary work. I can see slow and steady improvement though. Timber Creek almost has a Ward Mission Plan put together so that should get things moving a little. Hopefully I'll have happy news for everyone soon. Until then I'll have to just make the most of what the Lord is giving me. There must be something I'm supposed to be learning.

Take care! Thank you for all your support and prayers!

Elder O'Brien