Hey my awesome family!
This week was similar to last because many of our solid investigators that Elder McKay and I were working with didn't answer, call us back, or come to the door. They are in a way dropping themselves in the Lord's way. I also think this might be the Lord telling us that there are others, more ready and more elect, than these people. It's hard because I love them, but I know that I can't spend time trying to convince people to become interested. We got a new bishop! It is Bishop McCormick, Bishop Ross's first counselor. He has been a Ward Mission Leader and is very missionary minded, so he will be great to work with. President Bailey, first counselor in the stake presidency here in Cheyenne, gave a 3rd hour lesson about the ward doing missionary work through home teaching and fellowshipping. He talked a ton about prospective elders, and there are over 800 in the stake. We got a list for our ward, and we are going to work on inviting them to church, and inviting their families (if they have them) to learn about the gospel. I know you guys have had a lot of success from this approach in the Desert Valley ward.
This week, Elder Anderson and I were blessed to be part of a miracle and tender mercy from the Lord. We were tracting, and on the way, we were visiting potential investigators. I felt like we should visit one, and we knocked but whoever was there (and they were there) didn't answer. As we were walking out of the apartment complex, I got the distinct impression that we needed to knock on a specific door--the middle right door. I hesitated for a second, but then went ahead and knocked. A lady answered the door and said, "Hi Elder." That stunned me because nobody calls us elders. I asked her how she was and she said she just just moved there from Indiana. I asked her if she was LDS, and she said she had been meeting with missionaries in Indiana before she moved, and that she thought we had a "beatiful religion". We set up an appt to meet with her, and she said, I don't speak much English, and I said that's ok, I understand Spanish and we have a ward missionary that is fluent. So on Saturday we went back, and talked to her. She believes wholeheartedly that the church is true and she was working toward baptism where she moved from. She has a boyfriend now who was raised Catholic, but is not interested in religion at all when she brings it up, and he changes the subject. We asked her to come to church, but she is dependent on this guy and doesn't want to ruin the relationship with him--they're plannning on getting married in 6 months. She is waiting until this week when he gets home from his traveling job to ask him, but she is so prepared and the only thing holding her back is her boyfriend. She told us that everywhere she's gone or moved to, the elders have found her. She knows this is God telling her that this path is right for her. It was so awesome being able to hear her story and her faith. The Laws (ward missionaries) had her over for dinner that night and are fellowshipping her. I think she willl progress and be baptized. The Lord has placed her here for a reason.
Elder Anderson and I taught Rita again this week. She read most of the introduction of the Book of Mormon, but is planning on reading much more. She wants to read the whole thing and know what it says. We talked to her about what follows if the Book of Mormon is true. She told us she knew if it was true, then this was God's church. We talked about the Holy Ghost, and how it would answer her. And we asked her when she came to receive an answer from God that the Book is true, would she be baptized? And she said that she would!!!! It was awesome! She is prepared as well, and I think the Lord is continually teaching us we have to go find the elect--those who harden not their hearts when they hear God's word. It was amazing!
Well this week was great, and even though not all the success happened that we wanted, we were blessed immensely. I love being a missionary, and I am trying all I can to become better and work on becoming more Christlike. Charity is the answer, I've come to realize this lately. Charity NEVER fails, and if we have it, we have absolutely no other option but to succeed. If we have charity, we will become like Christ, and when He comes in his eternal majesty and wonder, we will "see him as he is". There is almost no thought that scares me more in this world than thinking that I might not know Christ when he comes. Charity is the only and simple solution to every singular problem or issue we have. To become like Christ is to know, apply, live, have, and understand his perfect, pure, untouched love. Unconditionally he gives us His love, which penetrates us and changes us if only we can give our will to know His and open our hearts to the understanding of God. There is no greater gift that He gives us than His love, and there is no possibility of peace, discernment, or true happiness in this life, without making it ours. We need Him every hour, and He is waiting for us. I love Him immensely. I know the gospel is true, and this work is God's.
Elder Logan Bryan
Monday, January 23, 2012
Hola mi familia!
This week was crazy depressing and sad, but it had an unexpected twist at the end. This week has definitely been one of the most interesting weeks of my mission. I feel like most of it has been a trial of my faith, and of the faith of Elder Anderson. We have had over the last week, many of our investigators that were progressing drop us. Teresa, whose dad was murdered and who was golden, changed her whole countenance when we taught the Word of Wisdom, and she told us she would never quit drinking coffee and smoking and said she wouldn't be baptized. TaShanna and Abby her daughter are dwindling. Abby could be baptized as soon as she comes to church two more times, but Tashanna is telling everyone different stories, and she isn't letting Abby go to church or mutual, and she is lying to us and to the ward. Jeff, the boy Pres. Toombs interviewed, was set for baptism on the 31st of this month, but just yesterday he slipped up and the Olsens might not be able to have him anymore. Ricky and Erik Garnica cancelled on us three times this week. We went tracting for about 8 hours in the last three days and all of the appointments except one no-showed (not super surprised, but it just added to the discouragement). I had been feeling immensely discouraged and wondering what we could be doing differently yesterday. Nothing was working out, and nothing we were doing seemed to change any of that. I had been trying to set a good example of a full and hard-working week for Elder Anderson, but it seemed like nothing had an effect on any of the investigators or potentials or key indicators. I was feeling inadequate, sad, unproductive, and I felt like I wasn't setting a good example for Elder Anderson.
Yesterday, finally we had a return appointment with one of the people we tracted into earlier in the week, and this 80 year-old man we had met let us in. We talked for a while, and his wife Rita was there. Then she asked us, "Well what can we do for you gentlemen?" We then told her what our purpose was, and she asked if we were Mormons. We said yes, and then she talked about how her son converted to Mormonism a while back in Seattle. We asked her if she had ever talked to him about what he believes, and she said once or twice. She told us that she grew up religious, but then got away from going to church, and she said she wasn't sure how she felt about organized religion. It was at this point that I felt very guided by the Spirit in speaking with her. It seemed as if the promise of just opening our mouths and them being filled was fulfilled right then. I started talking to her about the organization of the church, about its divine roots, and its authority. I told her about how it is the same church Christ set up, and it has been restored with apostles and prophets. After that she looked stunned. She then asked, "So you're telling me your church is different than all the other ones?" And we told her yes, we were God's true church once again on the earth. We then testified of the Book of Mormon, and gave here a copy, and she was excited to read it. We set up a return appointment with her, and it seemed as if she was Heavenly Father's way of telling me: "Ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer. For I will lead you along." (D&C 78:18). I am so grateful for that experience.
Well, Elder Anderson is a great missionary. He is ready to go, ready to work, and ready to teach. I am grateful for his willing heart and his faith. In tracting this week, Elder Anderson has been doing great! He has great faith and the Spirit with him. I have been amazed to see that even though each approach he does isn't the most eloquent, comfortable, or polished, the people respond to him and invite us back. I have learned from him this last week that it doesn't matter at all how charming we are at a door, or how well we express ourselves. What matters is the faith we have that the person behind the door is one of our Father in Heaven's children ready to accept the restored gospel. The district I'm in has the potential to be one of the best districts of the mission. The problem has been, not all of them have lived up to their privileges and their potential. The feeling I have of responsibility for these elders and their areas is amazing, and I have never really felt this before. I have so much more respect for the leaders I have had now that I experience a tiny fraction of what they feel. I hope that in some way I will be able to influence these elders for the better. I am so grateful for this gospel, and for the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I love the work. It's crazy every day, but it is so amazing in every way.
Elder Logan Bryan
Pic 1: Posterity Picture--Elder Washburn, Me, Elder Anderson
Pic 2: Elder McKay and Me with the Blanchards
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Yes. It's true. I am in Buffalo Ridge. Still.
Well on Friday, President called Elder McKay and I, that's what he does when you're going to have leadership callings, and called Elder McKay to be a zone leader in Aurora (that was a huge shock to both of us) and me to be a trainer in B ridge. I was so surprised, and for a few days, I had a very hard time accepting I was going to be here for 3 more months. We were also going to lose our car, which would be terrible because we couldn't get the work done that we have been. We have 18 investigators. That would be super estinky on bike. Well, I was having trouble with this, and I don't know why, because the Lord always knows what we need.
On Sunday night, right before transfers, Elder Goesch (my previous zl, present AP) called and asked me to be the district leader here. So I said yes, and we get to keep the car. The Lord knows and cares about us--always. Today in our new trainers meeting, President Toombs (kind of like Kenna's mission president) asked a few people to bear their testimonies, and I figured he'd pick me since I'm the youngest one there besides the greenies. And he did, and I went first and was very grateful to be able to do that. Elder Anderson is from BC Canada, and is ready to work. He's going to be a great msisionary and I'm so excited to be able to be his companion. Don't have much time, but I love you and will talk next week.
Elder Logan Bryan
Pics: Me with horses
Me with Zone Leaders in our Western Attire
Me with Sister Sengbusch (an 85 yr. old woman with some crazy stories)
Elder McKay, Jeff (Olsen's foster child), Me
Monday, January 9, 2012
Well my dearest family, this week was amazing!
Well this week was pretty great, and Elder McKay and I felt the blessings from Heavenly Father were very abundant in our area. We have felt like the few weeks of the holidays were trials of our faith, and we were being tested. We feel very much like we have seen so many blessings this week that the Lord has held in store for us as long as we exercised our faith in him. We finally saw many of our investigators come to church this week. Teresa came, Abby (TaShanna's daughter) came and actually bore her testimony! We had several other people there at church, and although it was hectic at church, it felt so great to know that finally these children of God were able to put some effort into growing closer to Him and feeling of His spirit. Neil and Jess also came to church, and during Sacrament Meeting (fast and testimony meeting) he started to cry and got emotional. It was so great to see him be able to feel the Spirit. This week he has put a lot of effort into stopping smoking, and although he isn't there yet, he has made a huge effort, while his wife has not. It was such a blessing for me to be able to see how much more receptive he was to the Spirit while at church after having exercised faith and work toward pleasing God and keeping His commandments throughout the week.
This week we also had a lesson with probably the most golden family I've ever met. We tracted into Ricky a week and a half ago, and he was a really nice and polite 14 year old kid. He told us we could come back this past week when his mom was home and we could talk to them. When we did, his mom invited us in, and she, Ricky, and Ricky's brother Eric sat in on our lesson. Ricky and Eric were some of the most attentive and focused teenage kids I've ever seen in my life. We got to know them, did some "How to begin teaching" from PMG, and taught lesson 1. After the first vision, we asked Ricky what he thought about all of this, and he said, "This is serious". We asked what he meant by that, and he said, "There's no joking around about this stuff. It's really serious." We later found out in the lesson that their mom had taken the missionary lessons as a young teenage girl in Corpus Cristi, TX. She actually was baptized! She remembered a little bit about Joseph Smith, and what she learned. Their family is awesome! Their name is the Garnica Family, and it's Tabitha and her husband, and 5 children between 10 and 18 including Ricky and Eric. Well, at the end of our lesson Eric asked us if a certain young man came to our church, and we told him that he did, and he said he knew him. That young man is probably the best fellowshipper a kid could ever have, and his family is one of the best I've ever known. The lesson we had with the Garnicas was probably one of the best lessons I've ever had on my mission, and I know I felt the Spirit there more strongly than I have in a long time. We feel so blessed to be getting to know these amazing people and help them find the truth.
Well, I just feel so blessed to have been able to see these blessings this past week. I would never have thought when I first got into this area that we could have had 7 investigators at church, or 6 new ones in a week, but this week it happened. But I now have a strong testimony of how much the Lord wants to bless us if we just exercise our faith in him, and go to work. It reminds me of the scripture shared several times this past general conference, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." I know that we show our love for God by doing his work, and I really have seen the promises of this blessing in my life over the past 6 months. Recently, the zone leaders and Elder McKay and I have been talking about the work going on in our zone. We have been talking about work, and using time wisely. There is nothing that brings blessings more than just stepping out the door, and doing work. However, there is a way to do work in a wise way. When I first got to the mission, I felt like people here had changed the purpose of missionaries from "inviting others to come unto Christ through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, BAPTISM, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end" to "visiting less actives". When Elder Maynes came to our mission, he told us that if we could summarize our purpose into three words, it would be "Find, Teach, Baptize". Then he said, if you could pick one of those to be an all-encompassing purpose statement, it would be: "Baptize". As missionaries, we have a goal. That goal, if kept in mind and heart daily, will lead us to do things daily to get us there. However, if we are not connected to that purpose, we find ourselves wasting time and participating in fruitless, mindless, and mundane tasks and activities. Missionary work requires work. The same is required in life--if we want a happy, spiritual, and successful life. My testimony of the gospel has strengthened so much on my mission. I realize that it gives us purpose in life. It gives us a goal, that, if we stay connected to on a daily basis, we will find it easy and sensible to do the right things and become more Christlike. I love the gospel and it's inspired and divine plan, and the goal it gives us to work toward.
I have a testimony of this gospel. I know that what we do is God's work. It changes lives, and it changes us. The Book of Mormon has the power to make us "new creatures in Christ". I love God, and I love His Son. I am forever grateful and humbled at how much they love and bless me with mercy, and with love. I love being a missionary.
Elder Logan Bryan
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Well this week was pretty great, even though the missionary work was pretty slow. I am so ready for the holidays to be over, and I am glad they are now. Well, I'll give you some thoughts since I'm pretty sure I'll be leaving here in a week and a half: I have loved being able to learn from the leadership of Bishop Ross. He is a wonderful man with his mind on missionary work and on power in the priesthood. I have been so grateful to learn from Elder Washburn and Elder Mckay. They are two of the most excellent missionaries I have ever met, and I have loved being able to learn from them and work with them. I don't know how I was so blessed to have such great companions so far, but I know it has been a blessing. I have felt a little down this week, but I have also been awakened to the all-powerful reality of the atonement and Jesus Christ. He really does strengthen us and help us fight each day to become better. I am so grateful for Him.
Something I've gained a stronger testimony and been extremely grateful for lately has been the priesthood. I think for a lot of my life, I have taken it for granted. I have been able to feel the power of it in my life this week, probably stronger than ever. I was really sick one day this week, and Elder McKay and Brother Blanchard (from the Bishopric) gave me a blessing. I felt my faith increase, and I knew that if I kept my faith strong in the power of the priesthood and in Jesus Christ I would be healed. I was better the next day. Elder McKay was extremely sick the next day. He asked for a blessing that night, and Brother Olsen (Ward Mission Leader) and I gave him a blessing. He said that immediately he felt better, and he was better the next day as well. All this brings me back to what Brian Thomas said when we met with him this past week. We asked him how he felt being able to baptize Jess, and he said it was awesome. Then he said, It just hurt looking up at you guys confirming her and knowing that if I lived my life a little differently, I would have been able to be there. He is a wise man, and a good man with a strong testimony. I am so grateful for all those who live worthily and exercise their priesthood boldly with no hesitation or embarrassment. I am grateful for the honor and privilege I have to bear the Holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God. It is an immense blessing to know that God loves us so much, He has entrusted us with His power to bless the lives of others. I love this gospel, it is true. We met with an investigator today, Amy Robinson. She talked about running into missionaries from another church, and after listening to what they had to say, she was fearful of them and their church. Then she said that when we come over and teach her, everything we say just makes sense. I then told her she was exactly right and she was feeling the Spirit. I quoted the scripture: "For God giveth us not the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". I told her that was God telling her what we were teaching was right, and Elder McKay and I taught her the rest of lesson 1 and she committed to be baptized on Feb 25. It was a miracle how we found her--walking around downtown Cheyenne, and she lived in our area we found out after talking to her for a while. It is amazing.
Well, I love this work, and I am so glad and honored to be a missionary for my God.
Elder Logan Bryan