"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
-- Alma 26:12

Monday, August 29, 2011

Whatever Week this is, It was an Interesting One

Hola Familia,

(Ya I've wanted to do that, Kenna you're not the only one that gets to talk in espanish hehe)

So this week was a very interesting one. We taught Kelly again, and she's just plain awesome, and ready to get baptized. She wants her husband Jake to confirm her. Only problem, he's still a priest, and not an active one at that. So our goal this week is to try and get him in with the bishop, and to try and get her to have him baptize her instead of confirm. But interesting story: Kelly and Jake Bingham invited us over for dinner, we eat monstrous T-bones and enjoy. Then right as we finish dinner, Jake gets a text and goes, "OOOOh crap!". The owner of the company he works for showed up at the store he manages. Jake had left early to be at the appointment with us, and the store wasn't in tip top shape. So he blazes out of there on his ridiculously huge motorcycle, and we are left on the front porch. Then Kelly being awesome says we can just teach her on the porch because we can't go in because Jake isn't there. So we teach the lesson, it's awesome, and Jake pulls up right as we're finishing. He doesn't say a word, and looks really down, and we felt sick because we thought he'd lost his job in showing up to our appointment. He thought he did too, but we talked to them two days after, and he kept his job because the owner likes him. He just got reprimanded. So he's been working nonstop now to compensate for his mistake, and we invited them to an EQ BBQ/softball game, and obviously he couldn't go. BUT Kelly showed up with Garret her son, and it was awesome. She met a ton of people, they fellowshipped her and were way nice to her, and it was just amazing to watch. She fits right in with the ward. Her son Garret, 9, is a stud too. We're teaching him along with her. They're just awesome people.

Also, on thursday, I was really sick. Like 101 degree fever, hurt to move, sore throat kind of sick. So Elder WAshburn was also pretty sick and we watched church movies all day at the house (I mostly slept while E Wash watched them). It was the worst day ever. It sucks not to work on a mission, you feel like crap. Working=happiness, and the key to missionary work as far as I've been able to tell.

We also taught another investigator named Fred Hurlburt who is investigating the church for his wife who is a member. He is a really intellectual guy, and we are just trying to get him to forget the intellectuality and feel the Spirit. REally, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, not everything has to make sense. When the Spirit testifies of truth, that's enough, and there is no need for rationalization or intellectual stuff.

Anyways, I don't have much time today, but I love you all and really miss you this week. Sunday was especially hard for me missing you guys and all that jazz. I love you forever, and I'll include my little asides to you guys each next week, no time today. Love you.

Elder Logan Bryan

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Week of Fire and Ice

Hi family,
I love you.

Well I've got some good news and some bad news. Bad news first: I may be eating antelope on Wednesday.

Good news........It's with the part member family that came to church last Sunday. The same part member family that we ate dinner at on fridaythis week. The same part member family named the Binghams that just moved into the ward in the beginning of august. The same part member family that the husband, Jake, is the member, and the wife, Kelly, is the nonmember who told us at dinner on Thursday that she not only wanted the missionary lessons and to learn more about the church, but that she wants to be baptized and confirmed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Heck yes! The Lord is blessing our area like crazy, and that was the biggest tender mercy I could have ever asked for.

But, I'll go through my week now. Some of the days were just plain hard. We had a day where not one thing went right, and it was just one let down after another. Those were pretty much the day before we ate with Jake and Kelly, and the day after. Kind of a little insight into how Satan works--like the talk by Elder Holland you guys sent me. We had dinner at the Wilzbach's on Wednesday with another PMF. Jessica and Fred Hurlbert. Fred is not a member, and we're eating dinner with them again at Bishop's house on Tuesday and we're going to teach a lesson. So that's exciting. Spencer cancelled on us, Amber no-showed on us, and that's pretty much how the week was until friday when we met with the Binghams. They were both married before to other people and have kids, but then they got divorced from their previous spouses. Then a few years down the line, they met eachother (after having sworn they wouldn't get married ever again) and got married a year and a half ago. Kelly has talked to Jake about the church. When we were done with dinner on friday, a wonderful dinner of shrimp and mussels, we started talking about stuff, and then E Washburn in a not-so-masterful transition asked what she thought about the church. He asked if she wanted to get the lessons and know more, and that's when she said she wanted to be baptized! I had to keep myself composed, I was about to just bust up laughing because never in a million years did I ever think she was going to say that. Then we asked her if she liked going to church, and she said ya she liked going to sacrament. Then we asked if she felt anything specifically at church--and this is the clincher. She said she feels an overwhelming feeling inside of her when people bear their testimonies, and that she doesn't want to be like a really emotional person, but that's kind of how she feels at church. BINGO!!!! We told her she was describing the Holy Ghost, and that she was what we call a "golden investigator" who is totally ready for the gospel. She has been talking with her husband about it, and wants to know more, and is just completely and utterly what this area needed to get going. I'm super excited and grateful for the Lord's blessing to this area and this ward.

As far as other stuff goes: the miscellaneous paragraph! Everyone, and I mean everyone, eats corn here. It's a staple. No joke. I bet only twice since I've been here has there not been corn at dinner. Wyomingians (or however you say that) are proud of their state. It's supposed to be an early winter here. Oh joy. Four-wheelers are street legal here as long as you have a license plate on them, and I'm jumping on the petition for missionaries on quads. We've biked probably close to 230 miles since I've been out. Zone conference was good, and I learned a lot. The APs trained us on a talk Elder Bednar gave at the new mission presidents' seminar called "Becoming a PMG missionary" if you can get your hands on that, do, because it's an awesome talk. The members here are awesome, a select few are working extremely hard for missionary opportunities, and there's a few potential investigators that we should be meeting with soon. I'm still homesick, but it comes in waves, and I'm told will never completely go away. I love you all, and miss you like crazy, but know that the work progresses, no matter what. Love always and forever,

Elder Logan Bryan

P.S. Special thanks to the Taylors for their package, Nana and Papa for their letter, Kara for her letter to me in the MTC, Scott Watson for his dearelder to me, Seth for his email and letter to me, and the Stephensons for their letter to me. All these helped me out so much, and I'm working on replying to all of them. Sorry it's been delayed.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Much Better Week

Oh how I miss you. This week was much better than last week, tons better. It was really a tender mercy from the Lord. This week we had 5 lessons with potential investigators/investigators. Elder Washburn said that is the best week this area has had for 6 months! Then yesterday, before church, Bishop told us his friend (a kid he coaches on his daughter's shooting team [she is like in the top 15 in the nation for shooting .22]) has been talking to him, and Bishop said he was a little afraid to ask him to take the missionary discussions because he said he knew what the answer would be. But Bishop asked him, and he said he was ready to have us teach him, so we'll be doing that at bishop's house this next week or two. Also at church, two part member families came that haven't before. One, named the hurlburts we're having dinner with at the Wilzbach's on Wednesday. The mom is a member, but the father isn't. But he talked with the Bishop and his wife on Sunday, and apparently he said he's ready for us to teach him. Also, another family that nobody has ever met before came to church with 4 kids. Also a part member family. I don't remember which spouse isn't a member, but they talked to a member of the bishopric, and they want to be taught as well. So we have had some crazy success this past week, and I think the Lord is blessing the ward for the active role they have been finally taking in missionary work--they just completed a 40 day fast on Thursday.

So we taught two PI's on Monday, the first named Amber. She is a lady with four kids, no husband, and lives in a trailer on a dirt road (there's a ton of that here in cheyenne).We taught the first lesson with her, and she agreed to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. It was a good lesson. We went back on Saturday to give her a Spanish BOM, and asked if she had read any of the English one, and she said no and apologized for not coming to church. Except for the weird and obvious fact that church was tomorrow, and she wouldn't have had a chance to go yet. So we told her that church was tomorrow and we'd love to see her there. But, needless to say a weird conversation. We have an appt with her tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes.
Next PI we taught that day was Chris. Oh chris. We were at his trailer for an hour and a half! He kept talking in circles about how he was open minded, but didn't believe in God because God isn't perfect, but he hoped he was wrong for everyone else's sake. It was the most frustrating, ridiculous, confusing conversation that I ever have had. Also, obviously, the Spirit was not there, so that didn't help. I don't think we'll be going back there, although he did invite us to go frisby golfing with him some other time, which we politely thanked him for the offer (and not so cordially turned it down in our minds). He's a good guy, just really misguided.

Tuesday was a trainer/greenie meeting with the APs and President in Loveland, CO. It was great. Everyone got to take a minute or two to talk about their first week and experiences, and I talked about how I know Satan works on missionaries hard, and it's not easy being away from family, but it will be worth it. I kind of cried a little.

Wednesday we taught a PI named Aaron who teaches World History at the high school, but emphasizes world religion. His purpose in meeting with us was to better understand and represent our religion when teaching his students. It was a good intellectual discussion, but at the end, E Washburn told him that although we loved talking about it with him, we know that it has power to influence his personal life as well, and we challenged him to read the BOM and pray about it to know if it was true personally. He said he would and was open minded, but we didn't get a return appt so we'll see how it goes.

Thursday we went to the temple, and went to the Scheuler's for dinner. They have a daughter that lives in Henderson. She went inactive about 4 years ago. Her husband is an RM, and he knows better, but she kind of wears the pants in the family, so what she says goes. They have a son who needs to be raised in the gospel. I'm almost sure they live in Uncle Mario's and Aunt Sunny's ward. This needs to be sent to Aunt Sunny and Uncle Mario. I don't know how they want to go about it, but they need to be fellowshipped and brought back. The mom won't listen to her family, but they think she might listen to a friend or the missionaries. The dad will pretty much for sure let the missionaries in, so I'm giving the info to you, and do with it what the Spirit guides you to do. I know you guys will do awesome.

We taught another investigator on Friday named Spencer. He has been taught one lesson already, and we were planning on teaching lesson 2, but he had tons of questions about the BOM and about the Restoration. He told us he is investigating all churches, not just ours because he doesn't know which God to believe in or whether it matters where he finds happiness as long as he finds it. He even asked us, "Why should I worship your God instead of other gods like Zeus or Jupiter?" Weirdest question of my life, but truth is, he should worship the one and Almighty God because He is perfect and His purpose is to bring our immortality and eternal life-to make us happy. Why would someone worship a god that messes with people's lives, has affairs all over the place, and doesn't really show love? like Zeus. Well the answer to that is in the scripture that Dad sent the missionaries from our ward. They don't have the truth because they know not where to find it. Anyway, we have another lesson with spencer on friday, and we've been preparing for it and seeking guidance from the Spirit.

My bike's back tire blew out on Saturday, so we had to go to walmart to buy a new tube. Also in my personal study I've been reading Our Search for Happiness by Elder Ballard. It is an awesome book, and I encourage all who get this email to read it. It's a super easy read and outlines our beliefs in a powerful but meaningful way. I've been studying it and so has E Washburn for Spencer and insights in how to teach him.

So this week has been awesome and sooo much better than last week. However, Satan still works on me, and on the people in this area. He has had intense influence in many people's lives to harden their hearts or lead them away from the truth. The mornings are still difficult to me, and today especially was hard missing you guys. I can't even describe how difficult the concept is that I won't see you for what seems like forever. BUT, "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still water. He restoreth my soul...my cup runneth o'er." I truly feel the Lord blessing my life and the lives of the members and people in my area. There is no describing what it feels like to just be blessed with opportunities and success after trials. I know it won't always be this easy, but there is ALWAYS hope for the future. I love you guys.

Elder Logan Bryan

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Area--Buffalo Ridge, Cheyenne, Wyoming!

Hey Family. Well, sorry I didn't get to talk to you last week. It's been good. President Toombs interviewed me and I shared the stuff from elder Martino, and he said that he promised at some point I would get to use Spanish, whether I had a Spanish speaking comp or area or whatever. He told me I'd be in Buffalo Ridge Area, Cheyenne WY. Bike area haha. I got my trainer on Tuesday, his name is Elder Washburn and he is a great guy.

The mission field is so much different than the MTC, I miss the constant spirit that was in the MTC. It is more lonely out here, just me and my trainer, and I miss you all so much I can't even describe it. In the mornings when studying or getting ready or stuff, Satan works on me a lot to get me down and to make me feel like 2 years is impossible or to miss you guys to the point of physical sickness or whatever. It's hard. But when we get to the real work, those depressed feelings of inadequacy or incapability go away. It's weird, but it makes sense. Tomorrow we go back down to Loveland, CO for another new mish training sesh with President. Hopefully it will be awesome. Our area Buffalo Ridge is cool, but kind of big and hilly for bicycles. Elder Washburn on Saturday told me that since Tuesday, we had ridden probably 80 miles on bike. Kind of crazy. I'm eating really well too, so that's good. E Washburn is really health conscious so it's easier for me to be as well. The members here are great, but I'm almost sure that the less actives in the ward outweigh the members by a longshot. That's almost all we do, is visit less actives. E Washburn said that when he got to the area the bishop (Bishop Ross, who we had dinner at last night and he's an awesome guy) said that if he visited less actives faithfully, the work would boom. Well, this week we visited a ton, and we had no visits with investigators--kind of different than Kenna's mission haha. We have one investigator, but he's been out of town until sometime this week, so we'll contact him sometime this week. We have 4 appointments this week with potential investigators which is really good because I don't think that happens very often. The family we are staying with are named the Wilzbachs. They have a 1.2 million dollar home, but it's kind of weird because both e washburn and I feel like we can't touch anything. It's good though because if the wilzbachs hadn't housed us, than we wouldn't have been in the ward. That's the deal with our mission, if a ward can't house us, they don't get missionaries. One of the days this week was super hard. We went tracting and got rejected majorly, and appointments fell through, and it seemed like everything we were doing was getting shot down by Satan. At the very end of the day, like 9:00, we were going to go home, but I told E Washburn that crazy stuff happens when we work til the end. Well, we went to visit one last Less Active (LA) and she had moved, but this guy on the porch of the apartment above kept asking us questions, and then we got into like a 20 minute discussion of the gospel. His name is Chris, and he has had a rough life, but he told us to come back any time this week and talk to him more. It was a tender mercy.

The work here is slow, Wyoming people are kind of set in their ways, but it will progress, I know it. My first night in the area, a family named the Browns made me a green dinner, everything was green because I am a greenie. And then my first lesson was pranked. I'm sending a cd with the movie file on it (yes they filmed the lesson, if you can even call it that). It was funny though. They went to so much effort to make it believable.

Man I miss you guys like crazy, it's like nothing I've ever felt before. I don't feel at home here, there is no real extended family like I felt like I had in the MTC. It's lonely and I know that Satan works hard on the Lord's missionaries. Every family I go and visit reminds me of you guys and how much I miss you and love you. It's hard, but I know that it will be worth it. I am trying to be as obedient as I can, and I know that with that and faith, God works miracles. Read D&C 68, it's got a promise in their about what speaking through the Spirit can be. It is scripture, and although I haven't felt super inspired since being here in WY, I haven't even taught a real lesson, I know that when the Spirit speaks through the Lord's instruments, the Lord is speaking himself. It's a crazy, humbling thought. But, I know that the work will progress. As Joseph Smith said, no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. I love you like crazy, I love my mission president, I know that with time I will love my area and the people in it. I'm grateful to be training under Elder Washburn, he's got his head on straight and is a good, obedient, hard-working missionary. He says that people say a mission is the best two years of your life. Elder washburn says, "I like to say it's the best two years FOR my life." It's true.

In closing, I love you all more than I could ever express. I know that the Lord will help me through the hard times, and that as Dad liked to tell me, he doesn't lessen the burden, he strengthens the back. I can already tell that as I am in theLord's service, the influence of Satan can be great. However, when I really throw my heart and soul--and attitude (that's one of the most important things)--into serving the Lord, Satan's influence retreats and the Lord helps those who are on His errand. I can't even describe how much the letters and quotes and talks you've sent me have helped me. I hear your voices as I read your words, and I love you even more. This isn't easy for any of us, but it is worth it.

I will love you forever and always,

Elder Logan Bryan