Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 1

So let's just go for names and then cool experiences. We have an investigator -- Nancy we'll say. Nancy is a very sweet lady and learns all the time, but has little desire to quit, and doesn't make the gospel a priority in her life at all. The witness is there, but she can't receive it because she won't open herself to it. It's crazy to visibly see.

I had a sweet study on what makes a bright countenance. That's another good thing. I've got 4 journals. This one where I e-mail, my letters to president, my nightly journal, and my study journal. I've been much better at that ever since our Mission President told us we were dumber than a sack of hammers if we didn't keep one. Whoops. :)

Melody, our sweetheart who is a type of Haley Richardson is wonderful. She's going to be baptized the Saturday after Conference. We're gearing up for that because it's going to be great. The Conference part. I mean the baptism too, but mostly conference. I've been able to see a lot of growth from the physical pain that I have. The Lord blesses us for sacrifice, and when I do what he tells me to, I'm not in pain. I'm just a little slow. That's pretty typical. I've been able to give a couple blessings of comfort, and they're probably the greatest blessings to give. It's amazing to hear how the Lord speaks right through me. Saying things I don't think about or couldn't know. Using phrases that are special to the people we talk to. It's outstanding. He truly knows and loves his children.

I love the many people we get to meet here. It's such a privilege to see how touching people's lives on a day to day, and moment to moment basis is the biggest part of the work. It's like mom said. I need to make sure I'm impacting people, not just teaching doctrine, or offering empty service. It's truly a pleasure to serve along side Elder Bateman, too. He is my brain, and my conscience. He keeps me in check, and for some reason puts a lot of stock into the things I say. Nothing makes me prouder than what happened last week. I got into a light hearted, but argumentative conversation with someone whose daughter ordered a copy of El Libro de Mormon... only in English. Anyway, we went back and forth on a lot of doctorinal points, but he would change the subject when we debunked him on things. I realized we'd been going a while, but then Elder Bateman cut me off. He said, we really needed to go, bore his testimony, and even stuttered a bit through it, and you know what happened? He shut up, and we left. I was going for more than an hour and a half, and the only thing that got through to him was the simple testimony of a new missionary. Humbling.

Let's see, I've been learning to cook pretty well. I make a mean burger, and I make brownies. It's wunnerful. Life gets a little redundant in the food department because It's not that I CAN'T make other things, it's that I don't have the time to try, or the faith to buy the things I'd need. So it's pretty basic, but I can't complain. I always eat well.

I've realized how wonderful my parents are. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I have the best parents in the world. Scripture constantly backs them up. The more I learn about Christlike attributes, or whenever I don't "laugh at this misfortunes of others" or when I "strive for inner peace." When I remember to "be obedient first" and recall that "discretion is the better part of valor." There are hundreds if not thousands of things that I do and say that are a direct by product of my parents, and they make life work better. Who knew. I find people saying things that I know to be wrong. I've even been blessed with fantastic leaders like Rod Fife who taught me to choose to be happy. People hate to hear that, but it's true. Clint who taught me that a grudge only hurts me, and that enthusiasm is the only thing more contagious than a lack of it. I'm very much a byproduct of my surroundings, and somehow the Lord blessed me with good ones. I have even been given the best sister ever. People hear about the way she and I get (and got) along and are awed. I realized how many people will say things meaning to be critical that aren't at all that way. "Oh, look at you being all charitable." or " goody-two-shoes." People hate the righteous when they are not. It is MY prayer that the good examples I have continue to impact others, and that those who feel like they are tired of being good because it's thankless remember that I thank you. That there are people every day who need you. I tend to feel that I am pretty tough and handle things pretty well, but I'll be the first to admit, that when someone I really respect does something I wouldn't expect of them it hurts me. I hope to never let others down. Remember, people look up to us, in and out of the Gospel.

The church is true. I know it because we are the only denomination that knows the truth about the atonement and the fall. I know it because no mortal man could have written the Book of Mormon, nor could they have suffered what Joseph did for such a fantastic story. I know that Jesus Christ knows each of us personally, and loves us, and "wants us to succeed" as Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said. When things are bad or negative, it is because Satan is working against us. The night is darkest just before the dawn, my friends. Please, remember how merciful the Lord has been, and if you can't remember, strive to find out. This is my testimony, and I leave it with you my family, and anyone else who may come across it on my blog. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Savage

September 24

Guess who I got to talk to this week? Michael Scott. He's one of 8 children in a family that ordered the book of Mormon. Laws Yes. Lawwwwws yes. I miss my phrases, too. It was weird, when I first came out It was like I was in a dream, and Everything else is gone. I was not really like me very much until now, but I'm getting more wonderful (like my usual self all the time).

So.... Alan Bernard died. It was pretty sad. That's the last time Elder Bateman and I joke about "You know, our investigator could be dead in there." According to what we know, he was. Sad stuff. At least we can do his temple work without familial consent in a year though. Huzzah! President Jensen told me I look much more mature, so maybe something strange has happened. I'll let you be the judge. Umm... Not much else is happeneing here. The Nischtwitz boys got baptized, and they are so gosh darn cute. they're all so very little, and so very much like our own brothers. Ian is the strangest lad I've met in Ohio. You'll like them. Peace!

-Elder Savage

September 17

Ok, so big news out of Greenville this week.

I was being dumb and played a littttle bit of two on two. Really, I mean it was on an 8 foot hoop, I was barely moving fast and I only jumped like twice. I walked away unscathed, but I'd been in some pretty wretched pain for a few days. It started to really worry me, and it got me down to the point of thinking (and mom should know why) that I had lost some of my promised blessings and that I wouldn't be able to stay the whole two years. The day before our Zone conference, I fasted and asked my mission president for a blessing because I wanted some healing and some guidance. I received the perfect blessing from the Lord. I was told that all blessings that had been promised me were still in faith. I was told that the Lord saluted my faith. I was told that I would be healed by the power of the atonement, but it was to be a process so that I could learn to depend on the Lord and show gratitude to him in All things. Then I was given instructions on what to do. I was told that I would be able to sleep well ( which I didn't know I was struggling to sleep, but I was always tired ). I was told that I would serve two full years. That was the comfort I needed. I realized also that the faith of the person administering the blessing is a huge thing to have. I am striving to have it, and when I get home, I will be totally healed. I'm once again cheerful and doing very well. Just a small scare.

Want to hear something great though? This is a good story. Ready? Ok. So Josh, our awesome Recent Convert (RC) not only comes to lessons with us, not only bears a strong testimony, and extends commitments, and not only is a great guy, but he is now a Cougars Fan, is thinking seriously about a mission, and has a good gospel sense of humor. Two examples.

1.) I was expressing my sorrow about leaving greenville someday and he goes, "Well leaving makes you sad, is that a bad feeling?" I agreed that it was and he goes, "Oh, well you should just ignore it, that's of the devil. Satan'll get you." He's a genius!

2.) We were talking and Elder Bateman asked if he had read his scriptures daily, "No, last night I missed, but I've been pretty good." I just looked over at him and went, "Oh, Josh, didn't we tell you? That's a commandment. Now you're goin to hell." Funny Stuff.

So the work is good, we have another investigator with a baptism date, her name is Nancy. She's really great, just takes a while to realize she's getting an answer. We found that there's a problem with teaching primarily an over 60 crowd. When we knock on the door and no one answers we look at each other and go, "Oh my gosh.. .they could be dead in there...." Yeah, it's a very real situation. Pray for us to find families to teach from the members. We gave them commitments, and so we just need some action from them. It'll come. The Nischwitz boys get baptized this saturday, and they and the nicely family are getting along really well. Ron and Jackie actually spent like 2 hours after a cottage meeting one time just talking while their kids played. Neat stuff. I love members fellowshipping. :) Welp, that's all this side of Indiana. I realized the other day I'm close to David Formenti.

Love you long time.

-"The Elder Swear"

September 10

"The COOLEST place to be."

Greenville Ohio? Really? Truly.
We had a crazy old man in church with us. His name is Alan, and he's 85 years old. We had this exchange. During the Sacrament. He was speaking very loudly, since he can't hear well.
He said, "What's happening now?"
"We're having the Sacrament or communion."
"What? Is it the Lord's supper?"
"Do you have it every month?"
"We have it every week."
"Every Week?!"
"Who can partake of the Lord's supper?"
"It's for anyone who keeps the Lord's commandments." I replied, being brief because by this point the prayer was being said.
"Can I partake of the Lord's supper?"
What a sweet question to be asked, by a man 4 times my age who truly desired to follow the will of his Father in Heaven."Yes, Alan."
As her partook of it, he said, "Do ye this in remembrance of me."
Then as they were passing the water, he said, "Do all Latter-Day saints do this?"
"Yes, all of them."
"Do you prefer to be called Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons?"
I explained why we prefer to be called Latter day saints. In spite of it being really amusing to the congregation, what with him talking loudly during the most sacred part of the meeting, the most powerful thing was to see how he sincerely wanted to do just what the Lord's will was. He has since read from and understood the Book of Mormon, he has also prayed for us and desired to quit smoking. He recognizes that preachers twist scriptures to their own liking. I love that. He is so smart. It just goes to show that even a crazy 85- year old man not only needs, but wants, and is ready for, the gospel. If you have an hundred sheep...The Nischtwitz (actually pronounced Nisht-wtiz he found out yesterday) boys are ready to be baptized. Things are going well with them. Melody is going to be baptized on the 10th because of scheduling conflicts. (going to Florida, general conference).
There's a plethora more to talk about, but I'm out of time. Love you long time. I appreciate the love and support I receive from you lot. It is a very real reminder that the Lord has blessed me abundantly. With you. That's right. You. Mwahahahahahahahahaha.

-Elder Savage

(I know, and here you thought I had become so mature.)

September 3

Still in Greenville! YAY!!

That's all I really need to say this week. Jackie is up to being baptized, with her son. For the record, I realized it sounds like there have been more baptisms then there have. Just two (Ruthie and Josh!) so far in Greenville, with at least 5 more on the way while I'm here. All wonderful people Good stuff. I love Elder Joshua Bateman. He dear Jane'd his girly, and so he's lackin' letters. Just saying. It worked for Eld...I mean Jason Knighton. :) I've had lots of time this week, so I sent out like 6 letters. Mostly to family though. But the extended kind. Also, I love you. We went to transfers and had a sweet talk with Brother Nishwitz (Knee-Switch). It was quite the day. That's all for now. I owed my mom a good letter, so you get the short end. I'm reminded all the time that God loves me more than anyone else, or at least that I have the world's best mom. I think those two are inseperable though. I'll be here at least until October 15, so if you want to send stuff for my birthday, send it either to the mission home (in powell) or before that day. I keep having nightmares that I'm being sent home early, or that I'm at home. Strange thing to have nightmares about, but they're at least dreams with panic. About once a week. Not a big deal. The reason I sent e-mail on Friday is becuase we went to the temple, and so we had to move preperation day to the day we went to the temple. The family that took us (the Sullivans) are some of my favorite people ever. They're Dennis and Jenny Sue. Cool stuff, eh?

Love, Elder Savage

August 27

"(Greenville- Knighton+Bat(e)man) 5_consecutive_weekends_with_baptism_dates= Super Rad."

So I'm pretty sure all the stress in the world is being lifted off by the prayers of others, and by the great faith of my trainee Elder Bateman. He's a solid solid missionary. We had some struggles and working in a three some was weird, but now that we're on the same page, and I am learning to let him do more work, things are going splendidly. We have been richly blessed by the Lord in being chastned and redirected. Truly, there couldn't be anything better for the work than having good leaders and people who tell you what they really feel. We've learned that if we're to have any kind of success all of our teaching has to help people see that this will strengthen their faith in the Savior, and we're doing it because we love them. That's it. If we do that, the spirit does the actual teaching and conversion, and we can pretend that there's something special about us. There's not. We're the most inexperienced companionship in the history of companionships. However, the "Sledgehammer" as my mission president so lovingly calls him, is really good. He's very good at being open and honest with people. Here's some name specific updates.

Josh V. P. -- He's totally converted and ready to be baptized. He's accepted and met every commitment, stood strong in the face of Anti-, and been a really neat guy to work with. He's probably going to go straight to the singles branch, but he may open the door for his family and friends to be interested because of the total conversion he's had. Remember, pray to find those who are earnestly seeking truth.

Melody -- She recognzied she has a witness and is going to be baptized. More than likely on the 29th. She's such a sweet woman. If you can imagine Haley R. 25 years from now (only if Haley R. had some rotten luck with guys and hadn't been raised in the church) that's Melody. Both artistic, both have huge hearts, and both have people occasionally wondering if there's something wrong with them. Just kidding. :)

Jackie N. -- Accepted a baptismal commitment from the sledgehammer last night. He's a great missionary. She watched M. Russel Ballard's talk "Daughters of God" and loved it. We've had neat miracles due to conference talks. They're a staple. Who'd have thought living scriptures (not the corny animated movies) would be so key to conversion? People who are special witnesses of Christ carry a bit more punch than we do.

Joe F. -- Is going to quit smoking. He will, and he'll be baptized on the 12th of september. If there's one person to pray for, make it him. Just dont' fast, because as missionaries, we don't tell people back home to join us in special fasts. It's against the rules. He's a great guy though, and is doing well.

Joe B. -- Doing fine with not smoking. He's a good man, and a good father.

I'm sending a picture CD home, and some of these folks will be on them. Lots of Elder Knighton, Ohio and other stuff though. I cut my own hair today and it looks... not too shabby. Another Cottage meeting tonight, not too much else going on in the forefront. Lots of strong people seeking for truth that I haven't mentioned though. They'll be brought up here soon. Look for the Miles Family, the Perreira's, Krista H, Penny B., Amanda F., Alan B. (who I LOVE. Coolest 86 year old around. He won't let us take any wooden nickels!), and more. The work is good, My companion is better, and I'm feeling my best. Thank you for keepin' up with me, at least in prayers... right? Guys...? Brothers and sisters?...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 20

"What's new Greenville?"

Quick Hits This week.

Josh V. -- Being Baptized Saturday and he asked me to give him the gift of the Holy Ghost. That'll be neat. He's so prepared, it's crazy.

Melody S. -- She's all set to be baptized, but she doesn't want to inturrupt anyone else's special day she says and so we are holding out on her until the 19th.

N. Fam -- Doing good, and will be baptized 9-12. Their dad is so great. I wish you could hear his voice. Anyone who though Nathanael Sackett has a cool voice (which he does) hasn't heard this man. Except me. Yes!

Jackie/Chevy N.-- Jackie is going to be baptized the 5th, and her son is thinking about it. He's talking and doing pretty well. Fortunately 10 year olds don't have much in the way of Word of Wisdom or Law of Chastity issues. She's got some other stresses, but she'll be OK.

Nancy R. -- She heard the first lesson, felt the spirit, and then dropped us because her pastor said, "Joseph Smith isn't in the bible!". Well we talked to her about that, and she's got the right understanding now. Her and her separated husband are listening. We'll see what happens.

Alan B. -- is the coolest 86 year old I know. He constantly admonishes us to not take any wooden nickels.

I realized the singular downfall to leaving without a girlfriend. "You know, Elder Savage, my 13-year old daughter..."
"You know Elder Savage, my niece in the Phillipines..."
"You know Elder Savage, I have a cousin in..."
Yeah, so... Pictures from my friends that are cute girls would be appreciated for my next area. That way I can just be like, Sorry sister ______ I'm taken by this cute girl. That and it would make me feel special. Hint hint... :)

Umm... 2 miracles really quick!

We got a referral for someone to get a bible. We knocked on the door. "Hi, are you Amber?"
"um... yes."
"I'm Elder Savage, and we're missionaries from..."
and so on. We come to realize that she didn't order one, doesn't know any latter-day saints and has been praying a lot lately. Well Elder Bateman was a bit taken aback you see, so I said, "Miracle!" [you're my best friend if you know what that's from].

That's all the time I have folks. Next week, look for the name Ryan S. Also, Joe F. told us he just wanted to have friends, doesn't want to quit smoking or be baptized. Ouch. "Say it ain't so Joe!"


El....Der Savage