"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."
My Mission Posterity--Elders Anderson, Aguayo, and Guymon
This Christmas was great. I loved being able to talk to you, man I miss you guys, but I don't want to come home. We had like 3 breakfasts Christmas morning. You spoiled me way too much.
This week, we were able to do some work. It was awesome. A family in our ward got together some Christmas gifts and a care package and basket for Tyson and Haley last Sunday, and we delivered it with them, and that was awesome. Then we went over this week, and they were ok with us teaching a lesson. So we taught about prayer. It was a good lesson--a little long, but pretty dang good, and we asked Haley to say a prayer at the end. It was cool to have her step outside of her comfort zone, but the prayers need some work. Then we went over yesterday with one of the young women in the ward and taught them about the scriptures, and they just weren't feeling it. I tried to testify and share my personal experiences, but I hope it helped them. We're working slowly with them, and it's cool their hearts have been softened by the good works and service of the members in the ward. Tender mercies!
We found 2 new investigators this week. It was pretty cool. The first's name was Daniel. He was a potential Elder McKay had found a while back, and we stopped in and he allowed us to teach him. We did some How to Begin Teaching and invited him to be baptized, and he accepted! That was pretty cool. The other one I wasn't there for, but Elder McKay and another missionary taught this lady named Nicole. Things are going well. Elder McKay and I have committed to have a baptism in January so I've fasted and will continue to pray and fast for that. It will happen!
I know the gospel is true. It's amazing how many times you can be taught something and not understand it until years of being taught. I am just starting to see the purpose and blessing behind goal setting and planning. It may seem like a secular subject, but it is far from it. It is one of the most spiritual things we could ever do. There is no intelligent accomplishment until thought is linked with purpose--and that is what goal setting and planning does. It needs to be coupled with the Spirit for success. It's an amazing blessing, and a Godly attribute (just look at the creation). How much of a blessing the mission is. I love it. I love my Savior! He lives! Love, Elder Logan Bryan
Alright. So I will be calling at around 11:30. The phone number I'll be calling from is my number. It's weird to have my own cell phone instead of having a companionship phone, but such is the way of being an assistant, I guess. When you call and get my voicemail it says, "Hello, you've reached Elder Bryan, A Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints..." instead of "Hi you've reached the missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Elder so and so and Elder Whatchamacallit". Strange. So I don't have a ton of time to tell you what's going on in the area. I got pretty sick on Saturday, and was pretty bad yesterday too. Today is a ton better, so I'm grateful for that. I know that that has a lot to do with your prayers and love. Thank you.
Elder McKay and I had a pretty cool experience this week. We got some inspiration through some discussion with a lady in the Relief Society presidency, actually Sis. Kaiser's mom. On Wednesday, we decided to go to some churches in the area and ask if we could sing/play "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" for their services or something. So we went to a Baptist church first, and no luck. We later on went to a Presbyterian church, and they were about to have choir practice. The director, a cute little old lady from Europe, was super nice and was so excited that we wanted to sing for them, so she had us perform it for their choir. Pretty cool, several people were in tears. On the Presbyterian church property, there is another building that the Anglican church rents from the Presbyterians. On our way out of performing for the choir, we saw several people in that building singing/playing guitar, and we decided it was worth a shot. So we walked in and a lady asked if she could help us. We asked if we could listen to them. She told us we could, and went around organizing things and it looked like she was setting up the place for something. We asked if we could help her out, and then she started talking with us. It turns out, they were practicing for their Church dinner/Christmas party, and setting up for it. It was going to be on Friday night. We started talking to her and told her that we had been trying to do this song for as many people as we could, and if it was possible, we'd love to do it for their party. She told us that her husband, one of the guys singing, was in charge, and she could ask him. So he came over to us and basically said we could do a try-out. So we did it for them, and everyone else when we finished, clapped and said "Add them to the program", but he was still hesitant. He told us the only reason he was hesitant is that he knew we had doctrinal differences, but he said the song was about Christ, and he could "probably make this happen". He told us he'd text us the next day and let us know for sure. We got a text the next day telling us to come and sing on Friday! So we showed up for dinner, and ended up sitting next to the two ministers. They were nice, one of them started disputing a little doctrine, but the other one was one of the nicest guys ever. We ended up talking to him for 30 minutes after everything was over, and we tried to develop some interfaith friendship and future service connections. We performed during the musical program and everybody loved it. Several people came to us afterwards and told us how much they loved the song. I know it softened people's hearts to the LDS church and missionaries. It was such a neat experience. The Lord is always helping us.
I don't have much time, but I know Christ lives. He is our Savior. I am so grateful to think I get to represent Him at this most wonderful time of year, and for these years of my life. I love Him so much.
I feel a little bit confused, and I feel like I have no control of the situation. I feel like a part of me is being taken away. I feel weirder than I ever have in a long time. I feel a little bit alone.
I have had, for the past 17 months, a companion and best friend here in Colorado--and ESPECIALLY a companion and best friend in Guayaquil, Ecuador. I can't describe how much the connection between Kenna and me has helped me on my mission. There have been many times when I have asked myself, "What would Kenna do in this situation?" or "Kenna, being one of the very most Christlike people I've ever known, would handle this situation, or teach this person, how?" I haven't realized until now just how much I love my sister. She, and Dallin, are the best friends I could have ever wished to dream of. I will forever be grateful for the family I have been given, and for the last 17 months of my mission where I have been able to spend time in the service of my God with my sister--completely and honestly the BEST missionary I have ever known; a missionary to rival the faith, the commitment, the diligence, and the charity of that of Ammon, of Aaron, of Nephi, of Abinadi. I will never know how to adequately express the feelings of my heart towards Kenna, other than in proclaiming to the world that one of the "Noble and Great Ones" has spent the last many months of her life in consecration and dedication--that she has become the 4th missionary, that she has become consecrated, that she has become truly "a new creature in Christ", that she has "come unto Christ..and den[ied herself] of all ungodliness", that she "putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord". How beautiful upon the mountains she shall be for declaring glad tidings.
I love my Savior. I know that now, in this moment where I feel like I have much to work on, and much to complete, and so much missing, I have only one option. I have given up on failure. God didn't intend for me to fail. I am one of his Sons, blessed with inherited attributes of divinity--buried somewhere deep beneath the natural man in me. For the work to do, the tasks to complete, the gaps to fill in, I know and testify that I can rely on nobody but the Author and the Finisher of my faith. For the work to do, He will help me do it. For the things to complete, He isn't called a Finisher for no reason. For the things I am missing, I echo Paul in saying, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN AM I STRONG." For me, for my mission, for my road toward becoming like Christ, there are many, many miles left. There is Gethsemane to pass through. There is being spit on and scourged to endure. There is Golgotha on which to be raised up. I repeat with my confirming witness the words of a sacred hymn, "Nearer, My God to Thee. Nearer to Thee. Even though it be a cross that raiseth me." I have been called to bear the crosses of the world, and even though it may be a cross that raises me up, I will be raised up nearer to my Lord and my God. I bear testimony with all that I am, and with the mantle of being an authorized and set apart representative of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lord Omnipotent, that He, of whom the prophets and apostles have written, lives. He died. He bore the pains and the afflictions of all of us, His people. He rose triumphantly. He, to whom we devote this season, is not long since dead and gone. HE LIVES. With all that I am, I bear testimony in His name that He does. The promised peace of His gospel is real. I know it. I love Him. And like Him, I bear testimony of His Father and ours. He loves us. Let us love Him.
This week has been a pretty crazy week as well. I was in the area for Pday, then on Tuesday, I went on an exchange in Aurora. Wednesday, I was in the Denver North Zone (Thornton, Woodglenn area), and Thursday I was in Arvada. Friday we had ZLCs which was good. Man, President Toombs is such a good man. He is so guided by the Spirit and truly invites the Spirit to personally reveal many things to us as we listen to him teach with power and authority. He taught about planning, and it was honestly one of the best trainings I've had. He teaches with moral authority, having truly lived the principle himself. On Friday, we were going to exchange with Longmont, but they got sick, so we couldn't. Saturday, we did work, and also had the ward Christmas party which was good, and Elder McKay and I sang The First Noel in front of the ward (I was super nervous). The work went well this week, though. It was amazing.
First off, Roy Coleman. We taught him on Saturday and brought Bishop Reed with us. They hit it off super well--Roy is a software engineer for an aerospace company (Lockheed-Martin) and bishop is literally a rocket scientist for Ball Aerospace. Roy had read 1, 2, and 3 Nephi and invited us in and we had a really good lesson with him. He wanted to know about how the Nephites tied in with the 12 tribes of Israel and such, and we told him we would explain the origin of the Book of Mormon first. So we taught the Restoration. It went really well, and he literally disputed nothing. He agreed with everything and has a very strong testimony of personal revelation. It ended by us challenging him to read the Book of Mormon, but more importantly gain a testimony of it. He said he would. He told us to give him a month to read it, then we could get in contact. Bishop asked if it would be alright if we just stopped by in between now and then, and Roy said it would. I think he is awesome and will be a fantastic member of the church. I really think he'll progress!
Elder McKay while we were on exchanges, went with another missionary to go meet Bro Sakurada. He said he was super friendly and told them he loves the church, and is really thinking about becoming a member, the only real question is just, "When?". They asked if they could come by and teach him, and he kind of shied away from it and said he was super busy right now with the holiday season (he runs a movie theatre), but afterwards would definitely be reaching out to us and looking to join! So good potential there.
Tyson and Haley! So Elder McKay taught them while I was on exchanges. They taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, and apparently Haley thought they were being a little pushy when they set her for baptism, but she told them, whenever you say the word baptism, I feel this swelling in my heart! Wow, talk about the Spirit working hard on her. They invited them to the Christmas party on Saturday, and they said they would try to make it. We planned to go over to their house so they could follow us over if they were coming. We were hoping they would come, but weren't sure. We got there and they opened the door and said, we aren't quite ready yet, give us a few minutes. So they came!!! And had a great time and were fellowshipped marvelously. It was awesome. They said they were going to try to make it on Sunday, but they didn't come. We'll probably go over in the next day or two.
Well, I don't have much time at all, but I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of they that publish good tidings. Somehow my feet have been placed in the midst of so many of God's chosen servants, and have become those that carry the message of the restored gospel. How beautiful I feel to be able to have this amazing blessing and opportunity to represent Christ--the One who set the example and bought our salvation with an infinite price. I love Him.
I love you so much! Man, for some reason I've really been missing you guys a lot lately. Probably because it's Christmas time, but I love you all tons.
My heart hurts knowing that Kenna will be coming home in just 2 weeks. How hard that will be for her. And how hard it will be for me. I cannot express or put into words that will do justice to how much I have grown because of the influence and example of my angel sister. She truly knows the meaning of Charity. She knows the meaning of the scripture: "He that loseth his life for My sake, shall find it." She knows what it means to "have chosen the better part". And when all is said and done, I know with all my heart that the Master will look upon her selfless dedicated service and sacrifice and say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." I love you Kenna!
This week was good. I have felt the meaning of "missing the mark" as I have trained and realized how mistaken I have been in choosing what to train the elders and sisters on, and how to do it. The Lord really works by small and simple things, and I started off this week's Zone Conferences by giving a training that was not small and simple and missed the mark. Well, I think by Friday the Lord had shepherded me back to the small and simple things. How patient He is with us, and how patient President Toombs is with us.
This Saturday I was on an exchange in Fort Collins with Elder Kasten. He's a stellar missionary that I served around in Cheyenne. We had a great day--one of the best exchanges I've been on in a long time. At one point, we were heading into the institute in Fort Collins, and a girl was rollerblading behind it as we were walking by. She looked kind of unstable on them and told us she had just gotten them that day, and then kind of roller-stumbled on. I felt badly we hadn't invited her to listen to us or anything so I kind of called out to her if she had ever met with missionaries before. She hobbled back and told us she lived in Draper, Utah for 2 years in high school, but not really. She had never been to church and didn't even know she could come to church. Her name is Hallie, and she was very interested in coming and meeting with us--tender mercy! We also tried a potential investigator and when they weren't home, we decided to tract that building. So the last door of the building, a guy answered named Cody. He was a cool guy, kind of socially awkward, but nice. We talked to him for a while, and testified of the restoration of the gospel. We offered him a Book of Mormon, and he refused it. We testified again of the restoration, and asked some inspired questions; we then offered it to him again, he accepted saying, "Well I guess it couldn't hurt, right?" Then we asked him if he came to know it was true what that would mean. He said it had the potential to be life-altering. We then invited him to be baptized if he knew it was true. He said if he knew it, then he would. All on the doorstep! Man, the Lord is preparing many to receive the gospel.
Miracles in Broomfield 3rd: Roy Coleman, a guy Elder McKay and Elder Hernandez tracted into a couple weeks ago had read the Book of Mormon they gave him all the way through 2nd Nephi! He wants us to come back this week and teach him! Sis. Sakurada came up to us on Sunday asking about the gospel essentials class. I had never met her before and got to talking and she just got married two weeks ago to her nonmember husband who is very interested. He has been with her to church many times, but just wasn't there that day because he had to work. I talked about the plan of salvation and she said that's his main draw to the church. She said we could come by and talk to them this week! Last night, we were needing to find a new investigator and we knew it, and it was 8:10 at night and we were praying to know where to go. Elder McKay thought of a person he had tracted into a while ago, so we went to that place and knocked on the door he thought it was. Nobody answered, so we went to the next couple of doors over and the first we knocked on let us in. It's a man named Tyson and his wife Hayley. Tyson grew up in Pocatello and his dad is in the stake presidency there. Hayley is not a member and is very interested. We taught them about families and God's love. They want us to come back! MIRACLES!
I love the gospel. The Lord's work is His work, and He is the one who guides it. I love Him! Love, Elder Logan Bryan