"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, September 26, 2011

First Baptism!!!

Well my beloved family who I love so very mucho,

This week was pretty good. It started of slow, and then got fast, then slow again, then time basically stopped, then it sped up again. Kind of like a roller coaster. So last pday I pretty much had a cruddy day (mostly due to my bad attitude since I didn't get to read any emails or anything like that) but the good news is I bought a UW nike shirt that says "Bleed brown and gold". It's pretty sweet.

We met with the Binghams pretty much every day this week. It was good, we finished up the lessons, reviewed them with Garrett, and went over the baptismal interview questions. The Baptism was amazing!! I felt the Spirit so strongly and I was so proud of Kelly and Garrett and I was so immensely happy and overjoyed to see them take this step. It was awesome. Jake baptized both of them, and had to do it twice because he forgot a word, but it was still stellar. Then Jake's dad, his brother, the bishopric, Brother Olsen (WardMissionLeader), and Elder Washburn and I got to stand in the circle to confirm them. Jake's dad Craig confirmed them, and both times I felt the Spirit overwhelmingly as he said the words "Receive the Holy Ghost". It brought me back to a talk that one of the devotional speakers in the MTC gave us about the Holy Ghost. It was an awesome talk about sanctifying ourselves to have the Holy Ghost with us. At the very end of this talk he said, "You all have the authority. Receive the Holy Ghost." He was telling us that we needed to let the Holy Ghost into our lives. We've all been given this gift; when I was confirmed, and probably up until the last few months, I haven't fully realized how powerful the ordinance of receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is. As I've been reading Elder F. Enzio Busche's talk "Unleashing the Dormant Spirit", I have realized just how critical that really is. It should be our quest in life to continually receive the Holy Ghost and it's promptings. We need to let our desires go, give up our will for God's, and truly receive the Holy Ghost. The Baptism helped me realize how blessed we all are to have the opportunity to be guided in our lives by the Holy Ghost--a perfect being that won't let us go astray if we constantly are focused on seeking its guidance. It's so cool.

On other notes this week: I went on exchanges with Elder Quicaño on Thursday. He really doesn't like biking but is a super funny guy. Every day we have to ride up a big hill to get to wherever we're going, and yup you guessed it. We have to ride up that hill every night too. It's awesome. And yes Dad, to answer your question I would say this area is hilly. In a weird way. Our area basically has part of it down the big hill (not the one aforementioned) and up it. We live up it, but most of the people live down it. Since you know where I am on google earth, the dimensions of the area run east of converse to whitney. South of four mile rd to dell range. Then there's a chunk on the east side above four mile that we hardly ever go because almost nobody lives there. But most of the houses are south of Storey, and we live north of it. There are basically four roads we take to go down and up the hill: Blue Bluff, Ridge, College, and Panorama. They all suck to bike up, but it's super fun to bike down them. Panorama is the steepest. So enough about the area. Back to Elder Quicaño. As we were riding up the first hill Elder Quicaño yelled to me from behind me "Did you bring your oil?" I said "What do you mean?" He said "Did you bring your consecrated oil?" I said "Yeah, why?" He said "I'm going to need some." I started busting up laughing. He's awesome and is doing great at learning English. I would be excited if we were made companions one day.

So about Fred and Todd. Todd is progressing. We talked with him this week about how if we're committed then God helps us achieve our goals. We said that as we set a goal, God can do whatever He needs to to get us there. Then we dropped the question: "Will you prepare to be baptized on October 22nd?" He sat there for ages!!! Didn't say anything! I felt like Ammon in front of King Lamoni, except for it was nowhere near an hour of silence. But then he said "I'll give it my best shot". We tried to get him to say a full on yes, but after a while, we were happy with a "I'll give it my best shot". Todd's awesome, he and Trudee and Tanner were at church on Sunday, and they were at the baptism. I am just hoping above all hope that he sees the light and finds his answers. During our lesson with him, Elder Washburn brought up 3 Nephi 11 and how the Spirit felt to the people there-it pierced them to the very center. It was great, and then I talked about how interesting and insightful I have found that the people didn't recognize the voice until the third time. They looked all around them first, and the second time they couldn't tell what it was saying or who it was. It wasn't until the third time where they looked up to heaven (figuratively and literally sacrificing their preconceived notions or desires to God) and they heard the voice and saw the light. I told Todd, we may have ideas of how our answer may come, or from where or who, etc. BUT, we have to realize that it isn't until we get rid of our will and ideas that we find our answer--and it may come from sources to which we gave absolutely no consideration. I'm sure the people at the temple didn't think this voice was coming from the clouds, but they turned and looked, and were saved. It doesn't matter where our answer comes from, but we have to be ready for it, and we have to be willing to look to sources beyond our own comprehension or comfort zone. It was a great lesson, and I really am happy for Todd, and we're going to do all we can to get him to progress.

Fred is a little slower. But this week he is realizing that he needs desire and hard work to find answers. He made a comment to us at the end of the lesson that he prides himself on being a good student and learner, but maybe he wasn't being a very good student for us and for God. He's seeing the light and he's seeing how he's going to get his answers. It's good, and we're excited.

We did a lot of service this week: we helped Brother Mayne put up drywall, and we helped Brian Thomas with his deck. Speaking of Brian Thomas, we have an appointment this week on Thursday with him and Jess, and we're starting the lessons with her. We're taking Brother and Sister Baum with us (they're studs) to fellowship and help teach her. I'm excited about Jess taking the lessons, and I keep feeling that she will progress very quickly and very well. We'll see how it goes. It should be awesome though.

The work here is awesome. I love it here in Buffalo Ridge, and I don't want to leave. Today hopefully on pday we'll go bowling. if not, we'll probably write letters or play frisbee golf (which I am coming to hate because apparently in this mission this is all people ever do on pday). (pdays are way more glorious in concept than in actuality) The working is the fun part. Well, I love you all, and I truly do appreciate the letters and emails that have been sent to me. They help me out so much, you guys have no idea.

Elder Logan Bryan

Monday, September 19, 2011

Frustrating Email Problems

Dear Family,

Today was really frustrating on email. I tried and tried to log in but it wouldn’t let me. I’m really depressed right now that I won’t be able to read your emails. I hope I will this week. Well first off, I was going to ask for a couple things-I know you guys have already sent a lot, but I was wondering if you could send my ukulele (yes it’s approved), my black vans snowboarding jacket (shell), and some zone bars. Hopefully that package won’t be too expensive, I know you guys have already sent me a lot.

Well this week was good. We taught Kelly lesson 3, the doctrine of Christ. And we also taught the word of wisdom. It was great and she took everything great and accepted everything, and she is just ready. Garret is doing awesome too. He doesn’t understand everything, although most 9 year olds wouldn’t, but he wants to do what God wants him to do—and he knows that is being baptized. We’re planning on visiting them every day this week to make sure they’re doing ok and to make sure they have no other concerns. Jake quit his job and is now going to work full time on a carpet cleaning business he co-owns up in Buffalo so he’ll be gone all week and come back on the weekends. Hopefully that will be ok, and I’m praying that he’ll keep progressing even though this whole week he’ll be in Buffalo. He’ll be ready to baptize them on Saturday though. After our lesson with them, I felt impressed to ask if they had ever been to mormon.org or seen mormon messages. They hadn’t and while we were wrapping up, Jake got on and went to the one I suggested “Good things to come” by Elder Holland. They watched it while we were there, and Kelly was wiping tears by the time it was done. It was awesome and I know that she felt the Spirit.

Todd is doing pretty good. After a long heart to heart about real intent, we asked him what he was willing to do when he got his answer to the question he finally asked. We told him that God, once he answered him, wants him to be baptized. And after some resolving of concerns he said that when he got his answer yes he would be baptized! So it was awesome and unexpected, and he’s progressing greatly.

We also met with Brian Thomas and his girlfriend Jess for dinner on Wednesday and she accepted to receive the missionary lessons! Awesome! And we met with Fred briefly while we gave his wife Jessica a blessing, and I know he felt the Spirit because he looked a little emotional. He’s an awesome and hilarious guy, and he always appreciates what we do—I hope he’ll progress in the gospel, and I hope I’ll be able to see it, but if not it’s ok. He’ll come around eventually. He’s a great guy, and he’s got a great heart.

Man, it’s been a long time coming, but I love Cheyenne. Despite the crazy weather (which it’s been cold lately), despite the Wyoming hickness, I love being in the Buffalo Ridge ward. The people here are awesome. The families here remind me of home, and I hope I’ll get to stay here for a couple more transfers. Well, we should have a great week this week, and I hope that I’ll get to read your emails. I’ll send specific stuff next week. I hope all of you guys are safe and well, I love you so much.


Elder Logan Bryan

Monday, September 12, 2011

What a Week!

My Dear Family,

Well this week there was some seriously weird stuff that happened to us. We had a good week, a successful week, but some strange stuff. Elder Washburn was kind of sick on Wednesday so he took a 3 hour nap in the afternoon while I read this month's ensign front to back. It was good, but all about marriage which is an interesting topic for a missionary. Anyway, on to the good stuff.

On Thursday we had a lesson with Garret Bingham-lesson 3 (the doctrine of Christ). We did a bunch of object lessons because it is much different teaching a 9 year old than an adult. It was good, but hard for Garret to focus. I'll have to work on my child-teaching skills. It really is a totally different ball park. It was fun though. Garret is a really good kid, and I think he'll grow so much in testimony as he goes to primary and starts reading scriptures and all those things. He is kind of a deep thinker for a 9 year-old, and he will be a great addition to the ward once he gets baptized with his mom Kelly on the 24th. The baptism is set for the 24th at 4:00 pm, and it should be awesome. The only setback this week was that the Binghams didn't come to church on Sunday because they said they got no sleep and took sleeping pills at like 6:00 in the morning so they were dead by the time 1:00 rolled around. They'll be at church this Sunday though, they wouldn't have stayed home unless they were really feeling badly. Kelly is just prepared, and I am grateful to have been in this area to see her progress and receive the gospel. Bishop Ross was talking with Elder Washburn and I this week and he was saying that he was kind of disappointed and regretful that the Binghams had been living within the ward boundaries for the last year and a half, but it wasn't until they moved to the house they're in now that we got in contact with him. But then he said, but from what I understand, a year and a half ago, Kelly wouldn't have been open to the gospel. It is amazing how the Lord works with people, and gives them experiences to prepare them to receive the gospel--that is exactly what happened with Kelly. She went to her in-laws's house, felt of the Spirit there and at church with them, and ever since then she has known that the gospel is what has been missing in her life. It's awesome.

We also had a lesson with Todd Hufford and his wife Trudee. When we met with him, we asked him what he thought about going to church on Sunday, and he said that it was good. We asked him if he went with a question in mind like we asked him to, but he said no he thought about coming up with a good question all week, but he couldn't think of a good one. That kind of bothered me, and I was bold with him and said, "I'm not saying I'm like you, and I'm not saying this is your situation, but if two young guys came into my house claiming to have the fulness of Christ's gospel, claiming that I could be with my wife and child for forever, claiming that there was a man on this earth that speaks directly for, with, and from God, than I would have a couple of questions to ask." Afterwards, I thought to myself OH NO! What did I say?? But he didn't take it badly at all. In fact, with a little more conversation and some great spiritually-led testifying from Elder Washburn, he realized that to come up with questions and to receive answers, he had to do something himself. He came to the realization that instead of just reading the Book of Mormon just as an intellectual read, he needed to read it with the intent of asking if it is true, with the intent of actually getting something out of it. And he realized that is what he needs to do with his search for the truthfulness of this church in all aspects: scripture reading, church attendance, prayer, etc. I think it was a key lesson with him and it was a pivotal moment for his investigation of the gospel. He and Trudee came to Sacrament meeting this week, but again booked it so fast out of there that I didn't get a chance to talk to them after the meeting and invite them to Gospel Essentials class.

So this week we had a lesson set up for Genesis, a potential investigator from our Area Book who we contacted last week and set up the appointment. We got to her house with Bro. Mayne from the ward, and a guy answered named Dustin. We talked to him on the porch for a while, and he said Genesis would be home in a little bit, and he actually invited us in to talk with him. He is living in the same house because they both needed somebody to split rent, and they were acquaintances from back when Dustin was in the AF. So we started talking with him, and he has had a really rough life. We taught lesson 1 with him, and Genesis showed up towards the end. It was a good lesson, and they both agreed to read the Book of Mormon to know if it's true. BUT, we only had one copy, so they said they'd share, and we said we'd bring another copy by the next day. So we did. And we got there and gave Genesis the Book of Mormon on her porch, and she said it would be a while before she could meet again because of work inspections, and we said OK, and that we would give her a call or stop by. Well, she walked inside and we walked to our bikes, and then dogs started barking from inside her house, viscious barks, and then Genesis started screaming. Shrilly screaming, and we ran to the door, and apparently one of the dogs had just latched on to her arm and bit her badly. It didn't draw blood, but it will definitely bruise, and it was crazy. Then one of her other dogs escaped and we chased it down and caught it. It was a really weird experience, and afterwards both Elder Washburn and I felt really weird, and on edge. Needless to say, a weird experience.

Well, it was a good week, we had 10 less actives at church which was awesome. We're hoping to get a lot done this week as well, and we're trucking forward. We also have a dinner appointment with Brian Thomas and his gf Jess. She has, since our blessing to him, shown interest in learning more about the gospel. On wednesday when we eat dinner there, we're going to invite her to hear the lessons. It is going to be great. Cheyenne is doing good, and I'm grateful to be here. I love you all so much.

Elder Logan Bryan

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Church is True cuz the Book is Blue

My beloved family,

Thought you'd like the title of this email. I heard it from Elder Jones companion of Elder Quican(y)o who is an awesome elder from Peru who came out the same time I did and he's in the other district in my zone. So this week was pretty dang good, and at times pretty dang frustrating. Also apparently the prank video of me is on youtube under the title: punk a mormon. Check it out, I could become famous.

So first off, Kelly. We met with her twice this week, once for dinner and once for a lesson. They love feeding us by the way, and the antelope wasn't half bad. The lesson went well, we're trying to get her to read the Book of Mormon, and she hadn't by our second lesson. So we recommitted her. Our dinner appointment with her and Jake and Garret got me down in the dumps. So it was good, and we talked for a while, and then we got somehow on the topic of tithing and fast offerings. We taught, she committed to do them both (because she's awesome), but I felt like we needed to commit Jake to as well because he's been less active for a long time. Well I asked him if he would, and he said "probably not". Not the answer we would have liked to hear, but we asked him why and he told us he had paid for 10 years while married to his previous wife, and saw no blessings, in fact he saw himself get deeper and deeper in debt. Now his ex-wife wants a lot of child support from him, and he may have just lost his job, and he said he doesn't have enough money to pay. And Kelly got kind of mad at him and said they had enough money, but she would for sure pay tithing. Then I felt like I needed to ask Jake if he was committed to coming back into the church since Kelly was going to be baptized and he was supposed to be part of that. And he said, "We're not talking about this right now". So I felt like a terrible missionary, and I was really down that night. Well, on Sunday both Kelly and Jake had interviews with the Bishop. We asked them how it went right before Sacrament Meeting and they said good, but they had to stop the interview so they could make it to Sacrament and they would resume it after. Well, we talked to Bishop later on in the day, and he told us how it went: he personally challenged Kelly to be baptized in the next 2-3 weeks which she said she would try but she has to get her father in law to come down to confirm her, he told us Jake is working on a few things, but should be ready to baptize Kelly, and he met with Kelly's son Garret and Garret said he wanted to be baptized. So, I love the Bishop. Bishop Ross is an inspired man and an awesome leader. Kelly told him that she would call later on Sunday night to tell him whether the baptism would work or not. AND, She and Garret are getting baptized on the 24th! Holy Smokes Awesome!! We went golfing with them yesterday for pday, and that was really fun, but I'm sunburned dangit. The Binghams are awesome people and I really thank God for letting me be here to watch them progress in the Gospel.

On to Todd Hufford. So it's been interesting with him, and we didn't know really what to do or how to approach it. We had a lesson with him on Wednesday, and Elder Washburn started talking about coming to church, and he asked Todd how he felt about church. Todd said he never got out of church what he felt like he should. He said he never came out feeling closer to God. Well then I just started talking (not randomly) about how I've always felt myself get more out of church when I went asking God a question and expecting an answer. Then something literally clicked with Todd, and his face changed and it was like a lightbulb went off. I then challenged him to go to church asking God something important and expecting to receive an answer at church. Trudy said she had to work on Sunday so she wouldn't be able to come (which is kind of important because she is a member, and the biggest fellowshipper of Todd), but Todd said he would come and bring Tanner, their little kid. And he came! He booked it out of the chapel after Sacrament but he still came and we're going to meet with him this week to see how things went. I think I've never prayed harder in my life for someone to receive an answer than I did during sacrament meeting for Todd. It was kind of a miracle he came.

We also met with Fred Hurlburt and he and his wife commited to read the Book of Mormon together, and we're still unsure what Fred needs to progress. But Bishop talked to us about him and Bishop thinks the key to Fred is through his wife's testimony, which during our first lesson she bore her testimony and brought me and Elder Washburn to tears. It was great, so we're going to have her continue to bear testimony.

So yesterday after Pday, we had dinner with the Blanchards who are awesome, and then we went over to a less active guy's named Brian Thomas to give him a blessing. He's been having stomach issues and has gastritis, but that's not the whole problem so he's getting a colonoscopy today to check to see what's wrong. We had previously given him a blessing, but he wanted one before he went into the doctor's office. So He is married/living with (not sure which) a nonmember named Jess, and they have a daughter. We really want to start teaching Jess because she is a really awesome person, and so Elder Washburn shared the spiritual thought with them on how Heavenly Father loves us, and Jess was really liking it and participating. Then we gave Brian a blessing, Elder Washburn was the voice, and I felt the Spirit very strongly, and after the blessing, both Brian and Jess were crying or tearing up. It was awesome, I know they felt something, and it was just a really cool experience.

So Elder Washburn was made District Leader for this transfer (I just started my second transfer), so that's pretty sweet. He'll do a great job. The work here is just blazing forward, and I thank Heavenly Father for being able to be here and help in the ways that I can to further the work. The church really is true, if you want to know that try it out. By their fruits ye shall know them, and the gospel's fruits are infinite and good. Read D&C 84:61 and 2 Nephi 4:19, 27-35. Awesome scriptures that have helped me out a lot. I love you guys so much.

Elder Logan Bryan