(This is probably the last update Bryson will give of his mission as he comes home next week. We are excited to be with him again!)
April 27th, 2015
This week was one of the most sad and torturous filled weeks of my mission. Y’all already know what happened, but every day something that was horrible happened. Long week. But it was also filled with miracles.
We were down just to N****, who left for a week in California on Thursday. He is solid and getting baptized though. But then, at church S********** told us that her husband is coming up here and getting baptized (we thought that was out)!! MIRACLE!!! That’s in two weeks. Can’t wait. This fulfills my prayer/goal that we have been really, really trying to reach of baptizing someone that is related to another RC (recent convert)!!!
Miracles happen often, but most of the time are just cool faith builders and don’t turn into baptisms. These are cool because they are going to turn into baptisms. We are seeing a lot of them! We are being so, so, so blessed this transfer. So much success every time we turn around. We are full of the spirit, and have a ton of fun. Knocking is fun for probably the first time of my mission. Elder Singleton is so funny. He makes people laugh a lot. He is a good guy! I love hanging out with the Pres. and Sis. Blatter so much, and living in the mansion is crazy. Its going to be weird going from a house with six crazy guys who are all going home really soon. I am going to have to calm down a lot. 🙂 This is the best possible way to end my mission.
We were knocking, and often we knock until 7:30. A series of events led to a miracle!! As Elders, we are scared of anyone under the age of 16, unless they are a boy then is is 14+. We look like creepers talking to them. This young girl was at the door of this apartment upstairs, so we knocked just the downstairs and nobody answered. We crossed the street, and saw a car full of gay rights stickers. We were so excited to meet these people.
First door, nice guy answers, and declines our message and says he’s gay. Used to be a member but he can’t be Mormon. He was really nice. We knocked the rest of the five doors in that hallway, and as we left, we were calling someone to see if we could get a ride later. Up in his window, the guy’s partner asks if we are ok or lost? We were just standing there figuring stuff out. We talk with them for a bit. They were very nice! They tell us about this door across the street, which we had already knocked on when we were scared of that young girl, had a lady that is nice and would like our message. Our focus this week is referrals, and for the sake of not disappointing the man, and for a number, we went and knocked it again. Turns out, it was a member!
She answered and we talked for a minute. We were done knocking, and we started to walk off. Something said, JONES! You can’t leave those two upstairs doors un-knocked. Don’t be lazy. You need to knock them. Just do it please. I said OK! So we turned around, and went up. We weren’t scared any more because the girl was gone. The second door answered. This lady was very nice, and told us how she used to babysit alllll the time for our old stake presidents family. She was very Catholic, and knew so, so, so much about our church. When we prayed, she asked why we didn’t fold our arms like the rest of Mormons! She knew that much. We all got along really, really well, and she loved us. We loved her too. She was just so nice and happy and fun. We answered a few doctrine questions she had.
Then her daughter, the girl we were scared of, and her friend, show up. This girl was very smart and mature. Didn’t do things for attention. She talked to us. We find out she goes to mutual with some family in another ward sometimes, and loves it!! She starts begging to go to ours after we tell her about it. Then, she starts begging to be baptized!!!!! WHAT?????!!!!!! Not an immature attention getting thing. She actually wanted to be baptized. Her Mom said no. But they invited us back, and were all so excited to for us to come by on Wednesday. The daughter kept reminding us so we didn’t forget. We spent 45 min there, and walked away feeling like family, and the mom said love you as we walked away. They also have a son thats older than 8. We can baptize this family!!!!!! It was a huge miracle. We are blessed!
I had my exit interview last night. WEIRD!! He mostly talked about going home and staying spiritual, worthy, and on top of life! He talked a long time about a career. I have been freaking out about how I feel I have no purpose after a mission, but he said something that put that to rest. He gave me two things that are my new goal. Instead of baptizing, I should be doing everything I can to prepare myself for and find out my career. College, working at different places, choosing a major, dating. I don’t know about finding a wife yet, but preparing myself so that when the time is right I will be ready. Now I know my purpose, and will work towards it.
I get to go the the temple this week. Once for baptisms with S**********, and once with F**.
May 4th, 2015
MAY THE 4th BE WITH YOU!!!!
Surprisingly, I am not that trunky. I am not yearning for home, kind of just anticipating whatever may happen. Everyone in the mansion is always reminding me how many days I have left. They don’t help. 🙂
I had seriously, completely, literally for surely the best week of ALL TIME!!
Wednesday we went and saw our family that we found, and they are so cool. We are so excited to baptize them. They will be the best members of all time.
Thursday we went to the temple with S***** and J******, who is a recent convert of the sisters from last transfer. We had our favorite family, the S****** go, and also the Brother T*******, a really great older man who might take us golfing next p-day. It was so spiritual. The converts both got baptized for a grandparent. I got to be baptized too. S****** has to be one of the best converts ever. I met her and she already seemed Mormon. I can’t imagine her not ever being Mormon. She is one of my favorite people on earth.
Friday I got to go to the temple with F******!! He and his wife were both going for their endowments. I would much rather go for the sealing, but he was really looking forward to me escorting him. It worked out really well too because it was more one on one and there weren’t all of the kids and ward members and craziness like there was at the sealing.
I got to be his escort!! I barely know what the heck I am doing in there, but I loved it. I almost didn’t recognize him and his wife. Being active for two years has changed them so much. I love to see it. They dress, talk, and act completely different. They are really Mormons. F**** is one of the most humble people I know. He was just so amazed at how far he had come. On the way home he told us some stories of things he had done when he ran around Hill top as a young guy. Yup. He has come a REALLY long way.
He introduced me to everyone as the reason he joined the church. I was so humbled. The more he said that, the more I realized none of it was me. He is so prepared and had humbled himself so much that he couldn’t help but join. He was ready. He took it and ran with it.
This time (during the endowment at the temple), rather than thinking the whole time about the doctrine and connections with the whole session, I kind of just tried to feel. I missed a lot of it because I was deep in thought, but it was a totally different experience. I waited in the Celestial room while he was with his wife coming through, and when he got to me we just hugged, for a really long time. We were both crying. He looked around and you could tell he was so amazed at where he was right then. He has been very low when I met him, and I could feel how happy he was now. It was one of the most spiritual and happy moments of my life. I made a commitment to myself that I will do everything in my power to have my entire family in the Celestial room together. There is nothing else like it. Bishop Shumate was there and it was so great to be with him! I love him so much. We saw Bishop Bonham from Dungeness there too.
They got sealed the next day. N***** also cleared his Baptismal interview that day. His friend from highschool in Cali flew from his home in Utah to baptize him. Cool guys. I love N******.
Sunday was the best Sunday of my life. We had a meeting at 6:30 at a mansion overlooking the sound. Bishop asked me to bear my testimony. All the young women got up and did theirs, then I went up with S***** and she did hers after me! It was amazing. Then Elder Singleton and Sister Heaton did too. Then Brother Thompson got up and bore his testimony. They are a great family that I have gotten to know. I have not worked very hard at ward relations at all because I figured I would be gone soon and ward stuff takes a while. He talked about how much him and his family would miss me. I felt really happy that I was still able to do lots of good in this ward when I wasn’t focusing on it.
Then all of a sudden N**** got up and gave the most incredible testimony. He started out as a guy who was interested because of a girl. I watched him become converted, and he wasn’t expecting it at all. He said it is the only thing he has really ever been scared of. He almost threw up. This is big huge army dude who got recruited by navy seals. We told him about fasting the night before and he decided to just do it right there. The next day, he waited until after he was baptized to break his fast. He and his friend drove up to walk around the temple in between church and his baptism. You couldn’t ask for a more solid guy.
We had some good second and third hour stuff. S****** passed his interview, and then we spent the rest of the afternoon running around doing baptisms, records and preparation. We got there early to fill the font, and had a member bring us a cello so Elder Singleton and I could work on “Be Thou my Vision” for transfer meeting. The baptism went really well!! I got to baptize S******, and that family was complete!!! President drove us to the office that night and we got to talk on conference call about our miracles!!
I prayed for some incredible things to happen, and they did. I don’t know if I deserve them, they just fell in my lap, but I guess that is the only way good things really happen. I love baptizing SOLID people. I dont think I could end my mission with any more of a BANG than this last weekend, I will go hard this last week, but this weekend was the best ever!!! God blessed me so much. I know he loves me, and cares about our desires and needs. This week was evidence.