Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Better Planning, More Miracles!!

This past week was great! Tuesday, we went over to Trey and Xavier's house and we read from the Book of Mormon with them. It is still really hard for us to get them motivated to read on their own. Niki and Pamela are pretty good about reading with Xavier, but Trey doesn't really have much of a desire to read so we get some Jolly Ranchers for them when they read. :) 

Wednesday, we went back over to Chris' house who told us that he was going to talk to the boss to see if she wanted to meet with us, I guess she wasn't super stoked because they didn't answer the door. We also went back yesterday and the same thing. Anyway, on a more exciting note, we had the best lesson yet with Paul and Melissa that evening! Our ward mission leader and his wife picked us up and we all went over there. Paul likes when we bring people with us. We were a little hesitant about four of us, but it was the best thing ever. Satan didn't want us all to go because he know what would happen. So get this. We reviewed the first half of the plan and then finished the rest of that lesson. It went really well and Paul said, "I could see how this all makes sense from your perspective." Yes, please. At the close of the lesson, we said, "Really, what it comes down to is not if the Plan of Salvation is true, but rather if the Book of Mormon is true. Does it bring you closer or farther away from God? It's either true or false. It's that simple." We walked them back through the introduction and insisted that they each had their own copy to read from. I asked Paul to go get the copy we gave him a few weeks ago and then Elder Allen gave Melissa her own copy. We had Paul read the first paragraph looking for what the Book of Mormon contains and then asked him if it contains a fullness of the everlasting gospel (and we are claiming that it does), what percent would that be? He was like, "Well, I would hope 100%." Then we said, "So, if it contained a fullness, wouldn't you want to know if the book was true or not?" He said, "Well of course." So, we then had Melissa read in the second to last paragraph to see how we can know. Read, ponder, and Pray. Then I read the last paragraph stating what further knowledge comes when we come to find out that the Book of Mormon is true. Then Brother Small and I bore powerful testimony. The Spirit was strong you guys. Here is the miracle: After that, Paul said, "You know guys, I appreciate all that you have done for us and I like you guys coming into my home and I wish more Christians did what you do. I will read the book." Are you kidding me!?!?!?! This is one who just a couple weeks ago was completely AGAINST the Book of Mormon. Then to top it off, he was saying that Melissa was reading through the entire page of the introduction and then continued over to the three and eight witnesses!!!! Their hearts were softened and I know if it because of all the prayers from you all and also our prayers and fasting. Thank you! We are planning on seeing them again this week and see how their experience has been from their reading. 

Thursday, we had our weekly planning and we have been doing a lot better. It takes us about 3-4 hours to weekly plan. That's a long time, but we have to get into all of the details with everyone we have been entrusted to be stewards over. President actually told the mission that we should be taking that long to plan. If not, we are doing it wrong. My testimony of planning has strengthened so much these past few weeks. When we plan the Lord's way, he blesses us so much more than if we were to try and do it our own way. We have been having so many more member-present lessons and it is all because of our planning. Our mission standard is 5 member-present lessons each week and we were usually like 3 or 4 and this past week we had 10. We are teaching more and our lessons have been more powerful ,in my opinion. 

Friday was sick! We had a really good district meeting on how to respond to an investigator if they do not want to read from the Book of Mormon and then after that the sisters made french toast for us. It was good, but it was no "Mema's French toast." No, it was not even on Mema's level! After that, we went on exchanges with the assistants. They met us at Panera Bread where we were teaching Caitlin, a new investigator. Hence, more blessings. We met Caitlin at Wal-Mart a few months ago and things just didn't work out. She was always super busy with work and then we lost contact but then like 2 weeks ago she was working and she was our cashier and she complimented me on my tie (the flower one that Elder Graves gave me) and I was like, "Wait, I know you!" Then we set up a lesson. So we taught her the restoration on Friday and it went really well then we committed her to be baptized if she knew it was true and she said something really cool. She was like, "Yes! I had a lot of friends get baptized when I was growing up and I was always a little jealous because I wanted to be baptized!" How cool is that? Then we had a lesson with Angel and he told us that he wanted to quit smoking so we are going to try and help him with that. Ryan Barnett came with us to both of those lessons. He is one of the most solid youths in the ward and he has only been a member for just over a year. We had Brother Williams meet us at HEB and then we went over and had a great lesson with Horace. Brother Williams was so bold with him and that is what Horace needs. He is stubborn! 

Saturday was sweet too! Friday, we had dinner with the Cannons and we asked Westley who just returned from Brazil like 4 weeks ago to come to a lesson with Caitlin the next day and he said, "Of course." He also invited a non-member friend to come! It turns out that Caitlin had to cancel, but we taught Westley's friend Michelette. She came to his homecoming talk and really liked church! We taught the restoration and it was good. She lives outside of our area so we are going to have to pass her off to the other missionaries in Cypress. Later that night, we had a super yummy dinner with Horace and Brother Mason. We went to Horace's house and dropped of our car then rode with him to pick up Brother Mason. He took us all to this really nice seafood restaurant, like really nice!! It was so good! Then we had a lesson with Horace after that and he committed to come to church and he did!!! 

Sunday was great! We had a good ward council meeting and then Horace came to sacrament meeting! He sat with Brother Williams, but had to leave right after the hour to make it to his church as well. We had a dinner with the Clarks and Caroline. Caroline is about to go to school at Utah State and she is going to meet with us on Tuesday with Caitlin. They are about the same age so we thought she would be a good person to come to the lesson. Then we had another mission president's fireside that night. It was so good! Charlie from my Copperfield area was there!!!!! He left really fast after, so I was not able to talk with him but we participated in the choir so I saw him. 

Anyways, we had a great week! There is so much to share and this is just part of it! I hope you all have a great week and know that your prayers are felt. Thank you, and I love you! 


Elder DeLuca

​Petey just couldn't get enough of me. He came back with his family and they took us out to lunch! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Book of Mormon is the New Covenant

This week was saaaweeet!! On Monday, we went to pick up Spanish Elder Allen who was a travel assistant for the last two weeks of his mission. After we got him we had a nice dinner with the Svedins and they are super missionary-minded! Sister Svedin is going to invite her friend over to hear a lesson from us! Oh yeah, and they gave me a jar of homemade or processed whatever you wanna call it, honey!! I seriously love honey so much it is crazy. I eat it ever day!! After that we went back over to the halfway house place that we were at a few months ago. It's been a while, but I wanted THE Elder AllenS to meet Angel. Turns out Angel said he wants to know all he can about the Book of Mormon! YES PLEASE!! So, we are planning on teaching him again. I'll keep you posted. He came to church yesterday, too! After Angel, we went to go by a referral that we had received that morning. A lady named Eddy wanted requested a Book of Mormon so we brought that to her and set up a return appointment. Super nice lady who Ill talk more about later in this email. Then we had a planning session with Spanish Allen because he is like the master planner in our mission. It was good. There is a lot that Elder Allen and I could use improvement on. 

Tuesday, we went out to dinner with Horace (He is too nice.) and then we had a lesson with him at his house after that and Brother Small came to meet us there. It went well. We actually answered some questions he had from reading in the New Testament. John 14:2 talks about "many mansions" and he was like, "What does this mean??" Uhhh yeah, we would LOVE to answer that!! So we did. We also saw Trey and Xavier that day and we taught them about the importance of daily scripture study (BoM) and daily prayer. 

Wednesday evening, we met with Paul and Melissa and we brought our high counselor over missionary work in the stake with us. We meet with Brother Siddoway weekly, so when we met two Saturdays ago, we asked him to come. We only taught half of the Plan of Salvation because there were a lot of questions and we didn't get started with the lesson until like 15 minutes after we arrived. That is our bad. We let go of the leash. So we taught them up until the Spirit World to leave them on a cliff hanger until next time. Dun dun dunnn.... :) 

Thursday, we went on exchanges with the Windrose Elders. I went with Elder Backstein who is a district leader in our zone. We went on exchanges with all of the district leaders this past week to give them the training on the planning so they can then give the training to each companionship in their districts. We had such a good exchange. I used to not like going on exchanges when I was first out, but now I love them! My least favorite part about exchanges is putting my sheets on the bed. I thoroughly dislike putting sheets on any bed. I don't know why, but there is just nothing appealing about putting sheets on a bed and its just one of those things we have to do. Other than that, we had a blast together. We taught an investigator who will be baptized within two months because she is that solid, then we had one of the best dinners I have had in a while. It was chicken (that fell off the bone) and green beans and mashed potatoes. Mmhmmm! So good. Then we found a new investigator that night while we were tracting! So sick!!

Friday, we went to district meeting and the topic was the importance of the Book of Mormon. It was so good. The Book of Mormon is everything. Period! Everything we have hangs on whether this book of holy scripture is true or not. I love it! I like it when things are simple because I am not the brightest crayon in the box, if ya know what I mean. Heavenly Father made it so simple for His children. He told us how to know if the Book of Mormon is true, and then gives us the further knowledge with it WHEN we find out that it is true. I learned a lot on Friday and we had a stellar role play with how to better introduce the Book of Mormon. I would encourage you all to read the talk "Flooding The Earth With The Book of Mormon" by President Benson in the October 1988 session. Seriously do it! You will love it! 

Okay, Saturday was so sick. We started out great and ended even better!! We went to a baptismal service for the Magnolia Elders and Sean, Michael, and Jamie were all baptized! They are the family we interviewed like two weeks ago. It was great!!! Then we went back to Eddy's house and we met her husband Robert and her 11-year-old daughter Autumn. It was so good! Okay, so we went back to introduce the Book of Mormon better with the further light and knowledge we received on Friday and to set up a return appointment. Robert had read the first 13 chapters from when we gave Eddy two copies on Monday! Are you kidding me!?! I was like, "Robert, we try to do all we can to have our investigators read that much. Holy cow man! That is AWESOME!!!" Eddy read through the intro and the testimonies as well. We had planned to not be there super long because we want to show our investigators that we can be in and out within 30-45 minutes that way it doesn't seem like a hassle to meet with us. Also, that way we can meet two to three times a week as opposed to seeing them for one hour once a week and then leaving the entire rest of the week for the adversary to be working on them. It was a solid lesson and Eddy started us out with the first paragraph in the introduction then Robert read the second to last paragraph then Autumn read the last and she is such a great reader! Way better than me. It was so good. They said we have one question that we would like an answer to so we said shoot! Robert was like, "What is your guys' belief on hell? Because most of the churches we have gone to say you are either part of this religion or you are going to burn in hell." I was like, "Well, if the only way we were going to heaven was to be following Jesus Christ and doing all that he has asked us to do, most of the world would be hosed. Does that sound like a Loving Heavenly Father? NO WAY!" We were like, "That is a great question and we have the answer for you, but can we please come back and discuss it with you guys because we know this is your weekend and we do not want to take much of your time." Eddy was like, "We are not pressed on time, you guys can stay and we can talk about it?" We said we'd love to stay but we have another appointment that we have to get going to. Cliff hanger baby!! :) Don't worry, we really did have an appointment. Then we went and met with Horace again and actually talked about the Doctrine and Covenants with him. We went finding that night and found another new investigator Chris who was out front working on a bike with his two younger sons. We have a return appointment with him this Wednesday. He said he was going to talk to the boss to make sure its okay. :) We don't want anyone getting into trouble. :) We finished up our night by going over to Julie's house to talk with her about her reading and everything. She said she would come to church and bring Madison. 

Sunday was good! Okay so Preach My Gospel says that if you have a choice about whether to go to Ward Council or visit your investigators to make sure they are coming to church, do the latter. We all know this but for some reason not many missionaries do that here. I don't know about other missions. I'll have to ask my boys that are almost all home now!! Anyways, so we sent Brother Small our ward mission leader a text and told him that we were not going to be at ward council because we were not certain that all of our gators were coming to church. We first went by Julie's and we woke everyone up and the dogs were going crazy, I thought Tim was going to come out and shoot us. He came out and was like pretty nice about. Maybe this is why they don't do it? They don't want to get shot? I dunno. He said Madison came home late and Julie was still in bed so I was like well were are super excited to see them at church and you are more than welcome to come with them! Then we pretty much bounced. We went to Horace's and he said he would not make it this week, but he will next week. Then we went by Trey and Xavier's to ask them and Sister Harthan was not feeling well, so they were not able to come either. I can honestly say we put forth the effort to get them to attend and guess what? Julie and Madison came as well as Angel. It was one of the best Sacrament Meetings they could have attended because the talk on patience from Brother Siddoway was incredible. It totally related to Julie and her family and I knew that, but more importantly she felt that. The Spirit was there. 

I have so much more to say, but I type like a 7-year-old so this is taking a while. I continue to learn so much each week and I absolutely love it. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. As we have repented and done better with our planning, the Lord has been pouring out His blessings upon us. Why would He bless us with more people to teach if we do not take care of the ones that He has already entrusted us with? He wouldn't because He is that loving. He wants everyone to have a fair chance to hear and learn about His gospel so He will wait until we or someone is ready to take care of them. I am certain that this work is so real. I know that I came on MY mission to serve and convert others to the gospel, but I am the biggest convert in the process. I am grateful for the restoration of the gospel and for modern prophets and apostles who lead and guide us through this ever-changing world. Hold to the Rod. I love you all so much! 


Elder DeLuca 

​I love my companion. hahaha!!!! 

He boxes when I work out in the mornings but I had to try them on! 

​I really am a lover and not a fighter. I just love America okay? :) 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Zone Meeting & A Cool "Coincidence"

Hello everyone! We had a great week, but we are going bowling with some elders in our district so I have to hurry today!

Tuesday, we had MLC and received the training for our zone meeting on Friday. It was a long day, but a Spirit filled day. We had dinner with the Snyders then we drove down to Magnolia because the elders there had us interview three baptismal candidates. They are going to be baptized next weekend! 

Wednesday, we had lunch with Sister Rittman at Chick-Fil-A and Elder Allen was at a new leadership training with Elder Erickson so I was with Elder Hendrickson. We met back up and exchanged back and then Elder Allen and I went to teach Xavier the Restoration. That night we met with Paul and Melissa and Brother Ure Jr. came with us. It was really beneficial to have him there with us because he was able to answer a lot of their questions better than I could. 

Thursday, we had interviews with President Mortensen and mine went really well. I love the council he gives. We went back to our apartment after that and started to finish up our weekly planning that we started Wednesday afternoon. After dinner we went finding in an area where a inactive member lives because we were asked to check up on them and see if they still lived there. We didn't have that much luck with finding anyone new to teach. 

Friday, we had zone meeting and it went really well. The training was on the new area book app with our iPads, planning, door approaches, having hope, and the importance of the Book of Mormon. President committed all of us at MLC on Tuesday to read from the Book of Mormon every day for the rest of our lives. It was so sweet! We saw Brother Mason that afternoon and then had dinner with our Bishop. We felt prompted to go finding in their neighborhood the previous night while planning, so we did just that. It wasn't until we knocked two doors before some guy pulled up and was so rude to us. He told us that we were soliciting and that we needed to leave or he was going to call the cops and all this and that and I really had to be patient because the natural man in me wanted to have a little discussion with him. I told him that we were not soliciting and to go ahead and call the cops but he didn't. We ended up just walking away and I am pretty sure I had steam coming out of my ears. We didn't even have that much time left and we had a lot of planning to do but we decided to go back to another area we were in the previous night to finish tracting a few houses. We parked the car and said a prayer and then went for it. Within 30 seconds we walked into a guy named Joseph and he was a good Christian. We asked him about the foundation of Christ;s church and where are the Apostles and Prophets today? He didn't know, but was very interested. We gave him our number and he said he would call us. We continued on and walked up to a house and a lady was our front and she was super excited to see us! She was so nice! We talked to her for like 5 minutes and came to find out that SHE WAS JOSEPH'S MOTHER! It was so cool!! We gave her a Book of Mormon and she was so happy. They were going to try to come to church but didn't make it. We are planning on seeing them this week when her husband is there so please keep them in your prayers. 

Saturday, we saw the Mertes family and it was good to see them! We also taught Xavier and Trey the Plan of Salvation and it went well. 

Well that is the gist of our week. It was good! I love you guys!! 


Elder DeLuca  

​This is Elder Graves. He is a stud muffin. He gave me a sweet tie too! :) 

This is Elder Allen and I back at the MTC. You could say it was love at first sight. I had so much more hair then! I wanna cry!! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Same Area, New Companion!

This week went really well! Monday evening we had a bonfire at the Ure's house and Elder Petersen burned a bunch of clothes he didn't want to take home....haha! 

Tuesday, he left me and then I got Elder Allen as a new companion! He is the one that came out with me. We were in the MTC together. We saw Julie that afternoon and had a short little lesson on the Book of Mormon, then we had dinner with the Matthews.

Wednesday, we did our weekly service at TEAM and then we saw the Russell's that afternoon. We then went to meet Julie and Madison at the library and we taught them the Plan of Salvation. It went really well and we had Sister Hughes meet us there to help us teach. We had dinner with the Giffords and then a lesson with Horace right after that. Brother Small, our new ward mission leader came with us to see him. We just read a chapter with him in the Book of Mormon and discussed it. We finished up out night by going to see the Castillo family. It was nice to get Elder Allen introduced to them! 

Thursday, we had our weekly planning and we had a little lunch break and met Sister Rittman at Chick-Fil-A. Yes, please! After that, we went over to help a sister in the ward move out an old washing machine and then move in a new one along with a dryer. Then we went over to see Brother Mason. He is doing well! We went over to the Harthan residence and Orion and Trey were not there because they were on a camping trip, but Orion's little brother Xavier was there and he said that he wants to get baptized! We read through 2 Nephi 31 with him and explained why Christ was baptized and we are going to start teaching him this week! Then we had dinner with the Matthews again! We forgot our meal calendar last week so we didn't have many people signed up.. 

Friday, we had district meeting and then we went over to Sister Hughes' house to mow her lawn for her. She fed us lunch when we got there. :) After that, we met Brother Ure at Lowe's because he was getting some supplies for his house, but he was going to come to a lesson with us. We went to see Lee again and it was a similar visit as last time. He had a few scriptures that he had "questions" about in the Book of Mormon. We addressed them and then just simply asked if he was willing to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and he said yes. We are going to go back and check if he has, but if he has not we are not going to continue meeting with him. We had dinner with the Dias family. They are awesome! He turns 80 today and he looks and moves around like he is 60. He made us some cinnamon bread and it is so good. I always look forward to going over there because he has been making us one every time we come over. They are great to us. :) 

Saturday, we has a Fourth of July breakfast/little rodeo thingy at the McLane's. We invited Julie and her family and also Horace. They ALL came!! It was so sweet! Sister McLane is a professional mounted shooter and so she showed us what is was all about. She threw it down! I have a video on my iPad. She hit all of the balloons! It was sweet! We went back to our apartment to do some studies and then some members from one of Elder Allen's old areas came and took us to lunch at Goodsons Cafe. Sound familiar Bailley?? :) It was really good! 

Sunday ,we had church then studies and then we went over to the Dias' house because I bought them some chocolate for his birthday. He loves chocolate.....like more than anyone I know, and he is in good shape! After that we had dinner with who? The Matthews AGAIN!! They fed us three times this week and they were happy to do it! I am so grateful for all of the wonderful members here in this area. They take care of us for sure! After dinner we went by Paul and Melissa who are some potential investigators that we have been trying to meet with for so long and then as we drove by Elder Allen was like wow that is a lot of cactus at that house and then I was like well lets go talk to them and then I pulled into their driveway! He was like, "Are you serious!?!" He didn't know that I knew the people there and then I was like, "This is Paul's house." It was pretty funny! Anyways, we went in and we taught them the restoration lesson and we have a return appointment with them this Wednesday. Their two biggest concerns are that they believe that there was a continuation of priesthood and they claim to believe in the trinity however, they couldn't even explain why. They really don't believe it, they just think they do! 

I hope you all have a great week! 


Elder DeLuca

​This is the crew. Bye bye, Petey! 

I think it is safe to say that Elder Allen likes Reese's more than I do!