Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 14, 2017 (One more to go)

Dear family,

I had a lovely email almost typed this morning, but I seem to have misplaced my iPad somewhere between Walmart and my apartment. We checked there and they haven't seen it. Could be on the road somewhere, could be stolen, could show up sometime in the next 10 days, who knows. 

Well, looks like Barry will be baptized this weekend which is great. He asked me to baptize him which will be a great way to close the mission. 

JeJe still hasn't committed to baptism but says she thinks she will be "very soon." 

I finished my study in the topical guide this week. Overall, my testimony grew of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer, the Only Begotten, the Firstborn, and the Son of God among other things.

Love ya'll! Try not to lose valuable items like some people.

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 7, 2017

Dear President Whitney,


Dear Family,

It was a bit of a slow week overall but we made progress with Barry at least. First of all, he came back home and is no longer missing. That means he's able to stay on date for the 19th which he's still excited about. We've starting getting some fellowship going for him as well which will hopefully keep him grounded in the church while he's vulnerable. Another plus is that he made it to church yesterday! My only concern is that his date is coming up on us quickly and we're still only on lesson 3 with him. I guess if he's ready, he's ready and if he's not he's not.

We didn't meet with JeJe this week but that was because she was invited over to a member's house. She reached out to them first and wanted to get their perspective on the things she's learning. I was okay with it because they could testify of things like tithing a little better than we can and we were thinking maybe she would ask them questions she wouldn't be comfortable asking us. The members reported back to us afterwards and it sounded like it went well. This week we definitely need to meet with her though.

I was also able to bear my testimony one last time in front of the ward. That was a special experience. I'm slowly getting used to the idea of going home though it still seems a little surreal. I never thought this would be such a strange concept. I'm sure I'll be fine though!

This week I was able to study Jesus, Taking the Name of. My favorite scripture was Acts 5:41 "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." This is when John and Peter had just been arrested and tried before the council. The statement that they rejoiced "that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name" really made me consider the times that I've suffered shame in this work. Of course, it hasn't been to the extent of any of the early Apostles, but it still happens on a smaller scale. People just don't see us as humans sometimes and it's kind of sad to see and often hard to take.

For example, this week some other Elders went to visit one of their members at the Baylor All Saints hospital when they were stopped by a woman who had just lost her child and was pretty desperate. They called us to come over and talk to her since they had to get to their own member so we willingly went to see what we could do. When we got there, a hospital volunteer was with the other elders and thanked them for stopping and helping out a bit. She then told us and the lady that a chaplain was coming soon but was busy on the phone right now. So, we let this lady vent to us a little and tried to convince her to wait for the chaplain with us because she wanted to leave and rest a bit. Really all we did was stand there until the volunteer came over with the chaplain and thanked us for keeping the lady company. The chaplain however had fire in her eyes and asked, "What are they doing here?" then turned to us and said "you cannot be here unless you're visiting a specific person. She asked to see me not you!" Exact quote. She then spent the next five minutes or so telling the volunteer and a security guard how we were trespassing while the lady who lost her child sat and waited for her. Long story short, we were essentially kicked out of Baylor All Saints by a chaplain.

I'm slowly getting over it, especially with that scripture that helped me realize those kinds of things are a characteristic of the lives of worthy disciples of Christ's true church. It's been that way since Adam and Eve.

Back home, I'm up to seeing anyone that wants to see me, haha! So, I'd be glad to visit with Bishop Nelson for a bit. I think I'd like to see David as well if he's available that night.

Have a good week! Love y'all!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

July 31, 2017

Dear family,

It's hard to believe tomorrow I'll be entering the last month of my mission. I was going somewhere with that, but don't even know what more to say... Anyway, it was a good week. We were able to set a baptismal date with Barry who we met last Sunday. Well, Elder Ball did while I was out of the area on exchange. It's set for August 19th which is my two year mark and last weekend in the mission. He seems excited about it too. Unfortunately, when we went by yesterday to see why he wasn't at church we were told that nobody has seen him in a few days. Brings me back to the beginning of my mission! This was never a problem I considered before my mission... Well, we'll be praying he comes back. If he doesn't come to church next week I'm afraid he'll have shot himself in the foot as far as his baptism date goes.

We were very close to setting a baptismal date with JeJe as well but she told us she'll just call us when she feels ready to be baptized and basically we can do it as soon as possible after that. We're working on it. She did fast with us which was great to hear. She seems to have her tithing concern mostly resolved and I'm sure the Word of Wisdom will come.

While I was on exchange in the YSA Ward this week we were on our way to do some service when one of our back tires blew. I think that's number seven or so for the mission. We had a good conversation with another guy waiting at the shop though. He's a Pentecostal and just finished Bible School recently so it was an interesting discussion. Luckily it didn't get bashy or anything either.

This week I really enjoyed studying Jesus Christ's relationships with the Father in the Topical Guide. It was interesting to read about their unity and how unashamed Christ was to call God his Father despite the persecution that came because of it. Once again, it helped me realize the depth of love that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ had for each other and how real of a sacrifice the Atonement was for each of them.

Have an awesome week!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)