Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spiritual Experiences, Future Missionary Training & iPads

Hello everyone! I missed talking to you yesterday but I am grateful for those who have served our country! 

Last Tuesday was transfers and as we all know I will be staying here for a little while longer! we had a good lunch with our Relief Society President at Chick-Fil-A that afternoon and then we had a lesson with a part member family that went really well. 

Wednesday, we volunteered at TEAM resale shop here in Tomball in the morning and we just helped them organize some of the clothing that they are getting ready for the summer. We had dinner with the Bean family that night and then we knocked their apartment complex for a while to try to find some more gators. After that we went back over to their place to head to a lesson with Cynthia and Dante with them. We finished teaching them the Plan of Salvation and set a baptismal date with them for June 13th! Cynthia is pumped, but Dante is still a little hesitant because he needs to work through a few addictions before he gets baptized. Please keep him in your prayers! 

Friday, we had a sweet district meeting with our new district leader, Elder Roberts. He did a really nice job. We had a lesson with Orion that afternoon with some of the Bikman boys in our ward. They are two brothers that we hunted down at the dollar store to come out with us. We called their dad and he told us where they were but that he couldn't get a hold of them so we went there ourselves! They were happy to come and teach with us and they did an incredible job with making Orion aware that he has many friends that are there for him and that care about him. We also met with Dustin that evening. he is the grandson of Sandy who we talked with a while back and she was not interested, but he was. We had a great first lesson with him and his other grandma! They both were really interested to meet with us again yesterday but it turned out that he was busy. 

Saturday was sweet! We had Timothy Pope come out with us in the morning. He is going to be leaving for his mission in a month or so to Independence Missouri! We were planning on seeing a man by the name of William but he ended up not being there so we went to visit a lady who we tracted into the day before. She needed some help with taking down her blinds to repaint them and we helped her out with that. We needed a drill so we went over to Rick and Corban's house and they had one. Corban came with us and we were able to help her out pretty fast with a power drill. After that we went over to see Cynthia and Dante with timothy and we taught them about temples and family history. We then invited them to attend a baptism in the stake that night. The Bishop, which is Timothy's dad, ended up going with his wife to pick up Cynthia that evening to go to the baptism. The stake is our zone, so if we have investigators going, we can attend the baptismal services as well. We showed up and came to find out that Beth who was going to be baptized this Wednesday was there along with Elijah. There was two at one service! So sweet! Cynthia liked it and she got to see what it will be like at her baptism next month. 

Sunday, we had a great time at church but Dante didn't come with Cynthia. Sunday evening, we had the opportunity to go and speak to the youth in the stake that are preparing to serve missions. Elder Petersen and I were asked to speak for 5 minutes each about what was beneficial for us in preparing for a mission. I just told them that I never really planned on serving a mission until i found out for myself that the Book of Mormon was true. I told them that daily prayer and scripture study are key in preparing. Right along with that, Preach My Gospel has every tool a missionary need to be successful. I made mention of the adversary and then shared Helaman 5:12 with them and told them that it was really beneficial for me to go on splits with the missionaries. Shout out to Elder Michael Costello; you are a boss, man! I am grateful that I was able to go out and teach with you. There was a young man by the name of Kamerin Spahr there that evening who is from Mesa!! We went to school together so I was able to talk with him for a little bit and that was really sweet. He is two years younger than me, but we were at Shepherd Jr. High together. 

Today was such a spirit-felt morning. We had the opportunity to go to a mission conference and Elder Brent H. Nielson of the Seventy was there to train us on the iPads that are here! We will have them in just a couple of weeks. They are going to help the work so much. I am grateful for the training that we had on using technology how the Lord intended. There were so many different things that stuck out to me today but I will share 1 or 2. He said that he has been present when they assign missionaries to their call and sometimes they assign missionaries to the mission president. He said I want you all to know that President and Sister Mortensen are called of God and I want you to think about what the Lord wants you to learn from the Mortensens. That was really powerful when he said that. The two biggest concerns the church had with distributing Ipads were 1: We would forget our purpose; and 2: The dark side to the internet. We had a lot of training on how we can protect us and our companions from all of the garbage that is so easily accessible. We have filters on our iPads to help keep us safe, but when we take them home that filter is taken out. They taught us on how we can stay clear of things online even after we go home. They said the best filter is YOU. Know what you are going online. Don't go online when you are bored or if you have no purpose because that is when we could look at something that we shouldn't. It was a really good meeting! 

We that is our week. It was great! Looking forward to another great week. I love you guys! 


Elder DeLuca 

​Here is Elder Petersen working on a planner cover for me! 

​Here is Petersen and I after we talked to the youth!

​Kamerin from Mesa!! AZ babyamerin from Mesa!! AZ baby!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tomball Just Can't Get Enough of Me!

We received transfer calls last night and I found out that I am staying in Tomball, not just for another 6 weeks, but for 12!!! I am going to kill off Elder Petersen and then I'll stay here another transfer with someone else to get them broken in to Tomball! :) I am stoked! I just feel bad for the ward! They are stuck with me for a total of 9 months! Hehe. Our ward mission leader said, "Yeehaw!" when I told him that he was stuck with me another 3 months! This seriously is one of the best wards I have ever served in so I am really happy to stay! :) 

Last Monday, we went fishing for a little bit before our dinner appointment and I caught my first fish! That was pretty sweet. It was the first time I ever went fishing! There is a member with a pretty good sized pond and they have it stocked with some largemouth bass, blue gill, and some catfish. I think it is safe to say that it was beginners luck! 

Tuesday, we met with Cynthia and Dante and Sister Riedel came with us. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and only taught half of the lesson because it can be tough to keep them focused. The lesson went well and both Cynthia and Dante explained that they want to be baptized! Dante really enjoys coming to church, but he cannot see well and his new glasses are not here yet so he didn't end up coming to church yesterday. Cynthia and Angel came though! Later that evening, we went tracting at an apartment complex and we found a new investigator named Kenneth, but when we came back the next day he wasn't there. We have to go back and follow up with him. 

Wednesday, we saw Brother Mason and had a nice little visit with him then we grabbed some lunch and went church tracting. We went by a few more churches in our area and just offered service and they really like that! There were a couple who gave us their number and told us to call them back. After that we went over to visit with Orion with Ryan Barnett and we taught him the Restoration again. We have decided to go back through the lessons with him to help him feel more comfortable with being baptized. We had a dinner appointment to get to and then after that we had a lesson with Rick and Corban and we had Ben Ure come with us. He and Corban have become really good friends that past few weeks. We went over some of the laws and ordinances with them and arranged some items for their baptism that Saturday.  

Thursday, we had our weekly planning and that took up most of the afternoon and then we had a dinner appointment with Rick and Corban. Oh my goodness, it was so good. Rick loves to cook so he made home made pasta, like he made the dough and pressed the noodles and then made this fettuccine alfredo sauce with chicken and green beans. So good! Then we had a lesson with them and our ward mission leader came over after we ate and we finished up the 5th lesson and worked out all the details for Saturday

Friday, we went on exchanges with the Windrose Elders before our district meeting and I went with Elder Backstein. He is a solid missionary. We had a great day! We went out to lunch after district meeting and we went to Chipotle and a member from another stake was picking up an order to go right as we were about to pay and then he offered to pay for us! Yes please! Haha, missionaries are broke and it aint no joke! 

Saturday was so sweet! Rick and Corban's baptism was at 10:00 am so we got up and showered then headed to the building to get everything set up! The water heater in our building always runs out of hot water like halfway as the font is filling, so we started to boil a bunch of pots of water in the kitchen to bring them back to the font! Can you say red neck? Haha! It ended up being pretty warm for them. We actually didn't even baptize them, so the hot water was a selfless act for those of you that may have thought I was doing that for me (Jimbo)!  Rick has a friend from Katy who recently moved to our ward and his son is about to go and serve in the Las Vegas Mission and he was the one who baptized him. Corban had Ryan Barnett baptize him and Ryan brought his non-member mom to the baptism! Rick and Corban asked us to give the talks there so I gave the one on baptism and Elder Petersen gave the talk on the Holy Ghost. I talked about the covenants that we make when we are baptized and then pointed out the three main characteristics of Christ's baptism: age, immersion and the authority. Then I closed by sharing Mosiah 18: 8-9 

 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—  
I told them that the ward needs them and that they would be a great asset to everyone there. We all need each other! Then I bore testimony of what they were doing and that was it for Elder DeLuca! Elder Petersen did a really good job. 
Sunday, we had their confirmations and Brother Ure Sr. confirmed Rick and then Brother Ure Jr. confirmed Corban. Really great Sacrament meeting! Cynthia and Angel enjoyed their time spent there. 
So, we had a great week and are looking forward to 12 more to come! You can send a letter now Bailley. :) I love you guys and I will talk to you soon! Have a great week! 
Elder DeLuca

​My first fishy I caught! 

​It snowed a little bit here this past Saturday

So excited for Rick and Corban! It has been great working with them. Solid members! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Another Great Week!

Hello everyone! This week was filled with exciting things! 

Monday evening, we went over to Rick and Corban's with Brother Aaron Finch and we taught them some more of the commandments lesson. That went really well! Brother Finch is a stud. He is always really anxious to go out with us and he is so enthusiastic about sharing the gospel. It's great! 

Tuesday, there was another LDSSA meeting at the Tomball Lone Star College so we went to that in the afternoon. It was a good lesson, but not that many people showed up because classes were done. We were actually scheduled to have another lesson with Rick and Corban that evening but Rick got called into work so he had to cancel. We had planned on going finding in their neighborhood that night anyway, so we still went over there to go tract. We parked right by Rick's house and right when we got out of the car we started talking to this lady on her porch and Elder Petersen invited her to hear more and she was like, "Yes!" We talked to her for a few minutes then came to find out that her husband had passed away just a week ago. We talked to her about the Plan of Salvation and also a little bit about the restoration and we gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she would start reading from it. We told her that we would come back on Thursday to check up with her! After talking with Sandy for a while, we ended our night by going to do some planning with the elders in the zone. Good day! 

Wednesday, we brought some of the young men in the ward to come and visit Orion with us and we read from the Book of Mormon with him again. He is still pretty hesitant about being baptized. After dinner we went over to the church and we met with Rick when Corban was at mutual. We went over the program for their baptism this coming Saturday and asked him to be thinking about who he wants to participate. 

Thursday, we had a Zone Conference and President Mortensen went over why we have commandments and the blessings that come from them. It was seriously an awesome meeting. He also split up the elders and sisters and we stayed with him when the sisters went with Sister Mortensen and President talked to us about the Priesthood and our duties. We ate lunch after that and then we role played how to more effectively start out the lesson when teaching about commandments. We had the opportunity to use what we learned that day and apply it to Rick and Corban that night. We went on exchanges with the assistants and I went with Elder Barlow in our area and Elder Petersen went with Elder Halterman in the Woodlands. Sandy had her grandson answer the door and give us back the Book of Mormon and said that she was not interested so we invited him to learn more and he said, "Yes" and gave us his number. :) We had a good lesson with Rick and Corban anyway, so it was still a great day! 

Friday, we had District Meeting and then we went on exchanges with our district leader Elder Chatwin and his companion Elder Hanks. Elder Chatwin and I had a great day in Tomball! We visited Brother Mason with a recent convert Ryan Barnett and then we went to see Orion with him because thy are close to the same age. This was the most effective visit we have ever had with Orion. He and Ryan just clicked. It was so neat to watch it. Ryan invited him to come to one of his school plays that light and they got it all worked out and now Orion has a new friend that is there for him. So sweet! 

Saturday afternoon, we exchanged back at the church and we had Rick and Corban come there to have their baptismal interview by Elder Chatwin. It all went really well and Elder Chatwin said that they were good to go! That night, we had the opportunity to go to Lois' baptism! Do you remember me talking about Lois? Elder Christensen and I started teaching her in the hospital and then, when she got better, she went back home to Waller, TX. Anyways, the Sister Missionaries started teaching her there and she was baptized this past weekend and she invited us to come! Then we went to Buc-ee's which is a giant gas station here in Texas. They have a few of them here and I have never been. It was crazy! Seriously, check it out online! Haha.

Sunday was awesome because it was Mother's Day! I got to talk to the family and that was really sweet. I want you all to know how much I love you and how great it was to see all of your smiling faces! Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful mothers out there, especially the two that I got to talk to! I love you!! 


Elder DeLuca

​Here is Lois and I at her baptism this past Saturday!! She is great! 

Buc-ee's was seriously awesome. It is like the size of a Wal-Mart! ​I almost bought the hat, but I decided to save the money and just take a picture. :) 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Meetings and Peeps

Tuesday, we had MLC where we received the training for zone meeting on Friday. That meeting is from 8:30-3:30 so it takes up most of our day and then we have to plan for zone meeting after that. We had dinner that night and then we were able to meet with Rick and Corban. They are doing great! We went over the first couple of commandments and then the word of wisdom. It was a great lesson! After that we went to the hospital because we received a call from James Kendrick, Paul's Brother, that Paul had a heart attack and he was just getting out of ICU. We went over there and gave him a priesthood blessing and just visited for a little bit. Please keep him in your prayers. I love that guy! He is running off of only 25 percent of his heart so he has to get a transplant within a year. 

Wednesday, we went over and met with Orion. Sorry I have been spelling his name wrong this entire time and I just found out this past week! We talked to him a lot about his baptism and he was saying that he was not quite sure if he wants to get baptized that soon. We talked to him for like 30 minutes with his grandma and it got nowhere so we just told him that ultimately it is up to him. It was really frustrating!! One thing I have learned about myself is that when I get frustrated, the Spirit ceases. We knew that it wasn't really effective to stay so we just thanked him and then got him a ride to young men's that night! 

We also met with Rick and Corban again on Wednesday and we went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson with them and we had Brother Ure Sr. and his grandson Ben with us. It was a good lesson! They are doing really well and they love meeting with us almost as much as we love meeting with them! It is so much more effective when we can meet more than just once a week. 

Thursday, we saw Angel, Cynthia, Dante, and a new investigator Jesse. We watched the 20-minute Restoration video with them and it was really powerful. We then talked a little more in depth about Joseph Smith and the actual restoration through him. Dante said that he really liked the music that was playing during the first vision. It is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and it is "Joseph Smith's First Prayer," hymn #26. We explained to him that it was the Spirit that he felt and that was why he felt so good! It was sweet!

Friday, we had zone meeting and it went really well! One thing that we decided on at MLC was that as a mission we should have 3 investigators at Sacrament Meeting, and 5 member-present lessons per companionship each week. That is about double of where we are right now, but this was the standard of excellence that we all agreed on in MLC. I was the one introducing this new standard of excellence to the zone so I started out with an analogy that President heard at his mission president seminar. If you were stranded out in the middle of the ocean on a little paddle boat with nothing in sight, how hard would you be paddling? Most everyone said not very hard. Then I asked, "So, what if you could see and island in the distance?" Then everyone was like, "Well. I would be going as fast as I could! Sparks would be coming off my paddle!" Just kidding, but seriously. Okay, so what changed? At first, we had no vision of what to achieve, but once we had our minds set getting to that island it motivated us to work towards something. Then I went to Alma chapter 8 where Alma heads to Ammonihah and is at first rejected by the people so he leaves and then he is visited by the same angel that we read about in Mosiah 27. He tells him to go back and so he listens. On his way back to Ammonihah, he runs into Amulek and asked him for something to eat in verse 19 (meal calendar for missionaries). Then they go to Amulek's house and he feeds him and then Alma blesses his family. Then they go out together! Verse 29&30....member present!!  So we know that they go out together and in chapter 9 Alma basically throws it down and tells the Nephites that the Lamanites will be better off than they are if they do not repent. Then this is the part I love. In chapter 10, Amulek is testifying of everything that Alma is preaching and then in verse 12 we read that the "people began to be astonished." Obviously, not everyone listens and we know that Zeezrom gave them a bunch of grief but that is okay because he is converted in chapter 15:12. :) It's all good! Anyways, I just likened the scriptures unto us as missionaries taking members with us when we teach. It is so much more powerful and the investigators have someone to relate to other than a bunch of weird missionaries. 

Then I talked a little bit about our goals and asked each companionship the number of baptismal dates they are planning to have set by the end of this month. I then shared two quotes that my Mom sent me a while back. "If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it." And also "To reach a goal you have never before attained, you must do things you have never before done." I shared these because we have committed to get 7 baptisms a month as a zone and we were able to do that in March because we were persistent, but in April we only had 2 because we were not consistent. It flowed really nice into what Elder Petersen shared about not being an elevator missionary, but rather an escalator missionary. Meaning don't just find someone to teach and bring them all the way up to baptism and then have to go back down to pick up more investigators to teach, but rather be constantly finding new people to teach as well as having the ones you are teaching. This way when you do bring someone to the waters of baptism, you still have people in your teaching pool. He did a really nice job at explaining it. This was why we were so low in April because we were only focused on who we were teaching in March. 

Saturday, we went back to the house where a bunch of our investigators live and we actually went over the Restoration again to make sure that Jesse understood the importance of it. Aaron Finch came with us and bore powerful testimony to them, and then offered to pick them all up for church the following day! 

Sunday was great! We had a Stake Correlation meeting in the morning so we were late to our Sacrament, but Rick and Corban came and Aaron picked up Angel, Cynthia, and Weldon who is another guy living there. Dante and Jesse didn't make it. Church was great and then afterwards we had the opportunity to give Rick a priesthood blessing for something that he is struggling with the word of wisdom. I did the anointing and  Brother Ure Sr. did the sealing. It was the most powerful blessing I have ever heard pronounced upon anyone. The Spirit literally filled the room. I cannot explain it. After that, when his children walked out we pulled him aside and explained that we ALL have our struggles and to not worry at all. He is such a great guy! We told him to not feel pressured about the 16th and if need by, we can push it back a week or two and he was like well I don't want to move it back so I am doing all that I can to be able to be baptized on the 16th. 

The gospel changes people. I know that! I have lived it and experienced it myself. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be out here sharing this wonderful message with those that Heavenly Father is preparing for us. Life is good here in the great state of Texas! I love you guys! 


Elder DeLuca

​It looked way better in person, but here ya go! 

​Here is our zone again! My companion was tired. 

​When the truck fills up, just ride on the mower!