Monday, May 7, 2012

Kansas City Temple Celebration and Dedication...SIMPLY AMAZING!!!

Hey! Sorry about your trouble, Aubrey. [She crashed on her bike.] Bikes are the worst. When I read the story I couldn't help but think you have got to be pulling on my leg. Collin, POWER THROUGH. Only one more week. Man! I can’t imagine how stressed out you probably are right now... Oh wait. I forgot. I actually do... It's kinda hard to forget those precious moments when we brought the demons out of Coach Vee; namely the Bosco Tournament last year. Haha. Just learn to laugh it off. Oh, and I sure am bummed that I wasn't there for the big 50th anniversary party. I don't know if it's from being a little homesick or what, but as I try to picture how it all went I'm sure everything leading up to it was pretty stressful, but when the whole family was gathered together I'm sure you guys got a small taste of what heaven will be like—the whole family gathered together enjoying each other’s company without a worry in the world, especially compared to all the hard work and effort it took to make it so GREAT... And, of course, our Heavenly Parents in tears overjoyed because of their family. But it’s okay. I got my own taste of heaven pretty much every day this week, so here we go.

Tuesday after P-day, we were out tracting and ran into a big, black lady name Stephanie. I started talking to her and shared a little bit of the Restoration with her and asked if she would mind if we sat down and explained more. She let us in and we talked for about an hour and invited her to be baptized on the spot. She said YEAH!!! We set a date for June 2nd.

Wednesday, haha. Something funny happened. We went to go see a lady named Cassandra and, well, she wasn't home, but the apartment door right next to hers was wide open so I told Elder Bills let’s do this one. We saw an older lady inside and we knocked gently on the door. She turned around and saw me and said, “NOOO NNOOOOO NOOOO!! GET OUT!!!! or im calling security!!! And then Elder Bills just said, “Okay, well I hope you have a good day!” Then she responded, "I HOPE YOU DON’T!" haha I thought it was funny. Elder Bills had a hard time recovering from that one, but it was okay. We still had a good day. We met with Connie and taught her about making sacrifices and shared Mark 10: 17-23 with her about the rich young man and also shared Alma 7:11-13 and explained how we can't give the Lord more than He gave us because whenever we give He just gives back blessings that overcompensate for whatever sacrifice we make... We set her on date for June 14th. SHE is totally getting BAPTIZED!

Thursday: I really don’t write about it much but Elder Bills and I are really different... We sat down and talked things out and have resolved to be better FRIENDS and to work TOGETHER... which is good because later that night we went to go see Mindy and Alexa and we invited them to be baptized on May 26th!!!! I'm so excited for them!!! Mindy is okay but Greg gave away all 50 pairs of her shoes and all of her clothes to charity (Mom can probably imagine how truly devastating this would be) so I started to round up the relief society reinforcements and Mindy cannot believe how loving everyone is in our church.

Friday: Yet again, ANOTHER MIRACLE! This is biggest of them all! Remember Cedric and Fawn??? The couple from a LONNNNGGG time ago? Remember how they fell off the face of the map after Fawn went into rehab? And then after went to jail for driving on a suspended liscence? Well, Thursday we visited a Samoan family in our ward and the husband used to come with us to meet with Cedric and Fawn and even had them over for dinner at their house... Anyways, Brother Olamelava is his name. He was working at the temple open house and he said that he saw Fawn there and she waved to him... Are you following this??? Okay. So we asked him if he was sure because she was GONE and he said he was pretty positive. So Elder Bills and I decided we would go by and, what do you know, she is there!!! We were so HAPPY to see each other!!!! Then the craziest part was that she didn't even go to the temple... The Lord is so mindful of all his children. It is crazy! We also set her on date for June 16th!

Saturday: We had the cultural celebration. TOO MUCH happened that day. It was SOOOO COOL! First, I got to go with the ZL’s to practice so we could help organize the other 160 missionaries. Being a district leader’s companion has its up-sides!!! Anyway, it was sweet! We got to watch the whole performance and then got to rehearse with about 50 missionaries plus our mission president and his wife. Then we met with all the other missionaries and I GOT TO SEE ELDER CLARE!!!! Then we went down and sat in the nose bleeds until the end when we had to run down for our part. It was amazing!!! So, toward the end, all 3000 youth are on the floor and the youngest sing, “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.” Then the older ones sing, “If the Youth of Zion Falter.” (Is that the right title?) And then the music comes on for “Army of Helaman” and our mission president and his wife lead out all 210 of our missionaries in rows of four. Then as we’re singing, we line up and all face the Prophet and sing to him... SIMPLY AMAZING! All the youth that were standing on the floor with us knelt down and the whole audience—YES, EVEN THE PROPHET—stood up for us... The spirit was overwhelming and I got to stand in the front row only 50 feet from the Prophet and he totally waved in my direction! AMAZING! It also made me realize the love and respect the Prophet has for his missionaries... AREN'T YOU JUST PUMPED, ZACH?! Oh! Also, afterwards we went outside the packed theater and I sat on a small cement column and talked to a guy who ws going to Scotland, Ireland. I told him about Elder Carter and Elder Lewis and I told him that he will make his mission what he wants it to be. His mom was super grateful. :) Oh, and IT WAS CRAZY! After I went to go sit on my cement column again, cuz my legs were tired, and I looked to the right and it was the craziest thing EVER. I saw Tyler Erickson and his whole family taking a picture together just 15 feet away! So I just yelled, “DUDE NO WAY!” and Tyler freaked out too. We gave each other a man hug and talked for awhile about my mission and about getting ready for his. We also took a picture together and, Mom, she asked for your cell phone number so she might give you a call soon... I’m not sure.

Sunday: The dedication was sweet. We attended two of the three sessions. Jeffrey R. Holland was there and Elder Hallstrom was the other guy. He gave an awesome talk on the Church and the Gospel this last conference... It was super spiritual and made me so grateful for the temple!!! Also, they did a cornerstone ceremony where they put mortar on this rectangle block on the corner of the temple that just reads, "Dedicated 2012." President Monson IS HILARIOUS! He put some in and started calling EVERYONE to help out. He was just saying funny stuff like, "Oh watch out!" or "Robert, that was very good, but go get your wife to help clean it up." He even started calling up little boys and girls from the audience to help out... Everyone in the stake center was laughing pretty hard. But family, I’m not sure what night it was but as I was on my knees thanking Heavenly Father for all the success and love and, well, just everything in my life, I could not help but cry... My heart was and is still so full because the Lord has helped bless my life soo much...

One last story. The first dedication session we got a ride with the ZL's by a family in their ward named the Afrovias. (They’re Samoan and a really old couple.) They are both hilarious and they always feed us a ton! The wife makes us give her a hug and says its okay because we’re her sons. Anyway, after the session, Brother Afrovia drove us straight to his house to feed us... While they made food Elder Jensen, the other zone leader, and I talked outside on the porch and enjoyed the nice weather on a rocking bench. After about five minutes a car pulled up blasting heavy rap music and stayed in the driveway in front of us for a little bit. Then the dad came out on the porch next door and started yelling and cussing out his son to hurry up and get inside... The spirit was super gone after that but when the teenager got inside I realized the difference the Gospel can make in one’s life... On one end of the street you have a family that hates each other and cusses each other out for nothing really... and then on the other side of the street is a family that takes in people they don’t know, feeds them a TON of food, calls them their sons, and it is absolutely impossible to not feel Love and Peace in their home...

I love you guys so much and wish you the best... I know that this Church is true. Be good and go win State. Please.


Elder Ward
Goofy Connor!

Connor's District??
p.s. It’s okay if you don’t win. There are more important things than volleyball... trust me.

p.p.s. Sorry, I wrote a ton.

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