Merry Christmas!

Today for Christmas Elder Osborne was able to bear his testimony to us in person.  We’re sharing it here so you can be touched by his spirit just as we were.  Merry Christmas everyone!

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and He was sent to guide us back to our Father in Heaven. I know that through Jesus Christ, through His Atonement, that we can return back to God. I know that Jesus Christ’s Gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that through the Gospel we can all change. I know that the Gospel is for sinners as well as for the saints so we can all be edified. I know that this Gospel is true. And because the Gospel is true, I know the Church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that through the Book of Mormon we can learn of truth and we can learn the fulness of the Gospel. I know that we are able to make sacred covenants with God and with our families so we can all return to God. I know that Christ lives. And I don’t need to know anything else. Because of the fact that He lives, we can live with God for eternity. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Semana 16: Flat tires and all that jazz

Hola!!!

So, finding investigators is very difficult. Our mission has a thing called “4 by Thursday, and 7 by Sunday”, as well as a program called “Family at 5 Friday.” We only hit both of those goals two weeks ago. This week we found some people who were “elect” for 5 hours, and then they texted us and dropped us. Not fun at all. So, we are back into square one; finding people to teach!

In our mission, door approach starts with a prayer. After the prayer, if they feel the spirit, we have a scale of electness before we actually start teaching them. We start off by inviting them to be baptized, which shows a desire to make covenants. We then set up a return appointment, which shows that they desire to learn how to change (we focus the lessons on change and repentance before baptism. The details are taught after baptism). We then commit them to come to church, which shows they are committed to act. It is called the 1-2-3 Scale of Electness. If they fail in any of these three categories, they aren’t ready yet and we do not go back. We give them an official baptism date by the second lesson.

The people we found whole-heartedly accepted all three things: baptism and a return appointment and church, which qualified them to be elect investigators. But then by the end of they day they had called or texted us saying that they were no longer interested in the message and that they didn’t want us to come back.  People do that a lot, actually.

I have all of my skill points into teaching, but I have none in door-knocking endurance (we have a knocking requirement of at least 1 hour every day, we can do more if we desire). Elder Allred has more skill points into door approaches than teaching, and so we have been using that to our advantage. Still, we are not finding any keepers.

My story for the week: We went to an area that was far away from our home and from our next appointments. We finished up our knocking and went to see an investigator. They canceled on us, and so we went to the car to go finding near our next appointment. As I back Elder Allred out, I see that one of our tires is flat! Like, no air left! Just rubber!

We pull into the closest guest spot (this was at an apartment complex), and call our Vehicle Coordinator. He started to walk us through it, but then we realize that…we do not have the lug-nut wrench! It was missing! So, we did the best thing we could do: knock doors for help. The problem was that we had just finished our knocking at that complex. Everyone knew we were Mormon missionaries, and that we were knocking on their door less than a half hour earlier. And so they did what most people would do: they didn’t answer or they yelled at us through the door. One person answered their door, but they didn’t have the wrench. We finally pinned someone down in the parking lot, and he was kind enough to give us his wrench (we did return it). I did most of the work on the tire because…well…I insisted. It was my first real time being a “grease monkey.” Here is a tip: Turn on your E-Brake before you jack up the car. Elder Allred forgot to, and so the car rolled back and got the jack stuck sideways. We had to lower it as far as it could go to get it out and start over again. It took us 45-60 minutes to change it, but it was freaking awesome!

Not much else happened. Have a great week guys!

Con Amor,

Elder Osborne

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Feliz Navidad! Us with Bishop and “Sister Bishop” 🙂

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Finding where to put the jack.

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Jacking up the car.

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What an adventure.

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My comp taking selfies while I work.

 

 

Semana 15: Family Matters

Hola mi familia y mis amigos! (At times, I wonder if they got the idea for Jar Jar from Spanish, simply because I’ve heard so many Latinos say “Mis-a”…)

I am really glad that I was “born” into the ward I am in now; although we are in an English ward, white people are the minority. We have lots of Haitians and Latinos that prefer English, and so I get to have the best of both worlds. It is a great place to be trained. Still, I would like a pure Spanish area so I am more absorbed in the language.

I heard a really great talk this week from an LDS businessman and Motivational Speaker named Hyrum Smith. This is probably one of the best motivational talks that I have heard in my LIFE! It is called “The Belief Window.”  He lists out a diagram of why people behave a certain way. It is a short talk, but it is amazing! If you want someone to help explain how to change your thought process or behavior, listen to this talk! (This is a great attitude changer outside of the scriptures, of course. This helps magnify what is taught in the scriptures). Another one of my favorites that he did was “Why 1820”, in the which he describes why (logically and historically) a restoration could not have possibly happened before 1820. It is really interesting.

It has been a little over 3 months since I have entered the MTC and started my mission. And BOY has it been the hardest 3 months of my life! I have never pushed myself so hard in all of my life, especially physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, I would not ever give the past 3 months back. They were, so far, the best 3 months of my life, and the best 3 months for my life. I have learned so much, and I have sweat so much. I had laughed so much, and I have cried so much–about 1/4 was from laughing so hard!     XD      I still am working on changing myself to be a better missionary, but I have changed so much that you would not recognize me if you just saw my attitude change. I still hate mornings, but I love everything else (like Chobani…Ginger Ale…Jarritos…Latino food…Horchatas…and the people that we meet every day.) I never thought I would have so much fun doing work, especially in talking to people. I said last week that I have met every religion but Hindu. I have now met two Hindus in the past week. I have actually not met any Satanists yet, and now that I say that I will probably meet 5 this week. We’ve meet some really funny people out here in the mission.

Extra Cosas: This area is interesting. We have been living with another set of missionaries (Elder Wilhite and Hanson) since the beginning of last transfer. Elder Wilhite and I get along the best out of everyone in the house because we talk about the nerdy stuff like Star Wars (90% of our conversations), the Dark Crystal, Batman vs. Superman stuff that his parents told him about (which sounds even more awesome!), favorite comic heroes and villains, etc.  We do have a lot of fun together, though. It’s like having Uncles.

There is not a lot of other things that have happened. I love you all and can’t wait to share the adventures that happen this next week!

Elder Osborne

PS.  I don’t have any pictures for this week.  Sorry!

Christmas for Elder Osborne

The books are almost ready to go!  If you haven’t emailed us yet and would like to have your testimony included for Elder Osborne, we would love to have a few more, but we need everything by TOMORROW, DECEMBER 12.  Everything goes in the mail on Monday!  We would love your help to make his first Christmas in Florida special! IMG_2487

Semana 14: Rain for days!

Nothing much has happened since last week. After Anci was baptized, he moved from our “Progressing Investigators” pool to our “Less Active/Recent Converts” pool. Our investigator pool went from 1 to 0, and so we spent a ton of this week finding. We didn’t find that many people this week that were interested in even a prayer, so…yeah no mucho esta semana.

It rained a ton this week! Like, we got text messages saying ” be careful of flooding” IN FLORIDA! It rained for 3 days straight! I got some pictures of it.

Fun stuff; I got to play an Organ Last Night!!! YAYAYAY!!!!! We went to one of our churches to see the Christmas Devotional, but no one was there (it turns out that the Elders in that church changed their plans last minute and did not tell us.) So, while we waited, I got to play a few songs on the organ.  I don’t think I did it right, but I made it through “Silent Night” and “Nearer, My God, To Thee” with both keyboards and the foot pedals. I am so happy right now!     😀   😀   😀

That is about it for this week. We do not have many pictures this week because of the amount of rain.  We were basically swimming in the rain, but President Richardson said that it wasn’t swimming, so we are still keeping the rules.     😉

Con mucho amor,

Elder Osborne

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Rainy days!

Semana 13: La Prima Bautismo!

We had our first baptism in the Cypress Creek ward since earlier this year!! YAY! Remember Anci, from last week? He did it!

Last Tuesday, we took Anci to the temple. We walked around the grounds and talked about the temple. He wanted to go in so bad! That is where it took off for him. We went over the questions on Wednesday, interviewed on Friday, met with him on Saturday (best quote: “I’m ready to take the plunge”), and baptized and confirmed him Sunday afternoon.  President gave the consent to do a Water-side Confirmation since it was right after Church and most of the ward was there. He is preparing to receive the Aaronic Priesthood next week, and then do baptisms for the dead the next Tuesday in the temple! After the baptism, he said “My goal is to make it through ALL of the temple.” This is the mark of the elect. Oh, and the baptism was done by yours truly. I had to do it twice because I forgot a word the first time…but it was still awesome! Well…I forgot an extra shirt, so that was quite humid, but HEY! Who cares!

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At the Temple with Anci.

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Great day for Anci!

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Baptism day!

 

We did the baptism at the bishop’s new house in his pool.  Our building is a rented out Baptist building, so we don’t have a font.  The ward is good, but it is really small.  We spent most of my first transfer trying to find less active members who would want a message.  We only have five less active members/recent converts that want us.  We are working hard with meeting with the ward to find people to teach, but we haven’t received any referrals yet.  The ward likes us and trusts us, but they are just too afraid to open their mouths.  We are trying to visit with as many members as we possibly can.

This is my second holiday in the mission (not including Veterans Day, simply because my companion refuses to count that one.) It was quite…interesting. We spent a lot of time finding.  We had transfers the day before, and so we met with our new district early in the day.  Later we had dinner with a Latino family and it was awesome!  They didn’t do much of a Latino twist on the meal, which I was hoping for.  They just added spices to the stuffing.  I didn’t eat as much as I am used to eating at Thanksgiving, but Elder Allred was feeling sick all night.

We did meet a few J-Dubs (most of them were really nice people), Hebrew Israelites (a lot of them were also nice people), and grumpy old white ministers who wanted to bash with us (not as many nice people). We also met a really nice Muslim guy. We can’t teach or baptize any Muslims without consent from Pres. Monson (for the safety of both the church members and the Muslim himself, because the family could very well try to kill him and members of the church if he joined. Cool experience: Elder Allred almost baptized a Muslim once.) I have met members of almost every religion except for Buddhist. I met a Hindu a few weeks ago, and she quickly denied us. I love meeting people of different religions! They are awesome people sometimes! (Not all the time because, like normal people, some are not nice.)

Well…that is it. Nothing else is going on. We are knocking doors for at least 2 hours every day, and still haven’t found people.  Hopefully everything goes better this week. Have fun, guys!

Elder Osborne

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Fort Lauderdale Temple

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We had an epic sword battle this week!

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Elder Allred was stalking me in this picture.

Semana 12!

This is it: my first transfer out in the field. Disclaimer: A transfer is a 6 week period in the mission. A trainee (me) normally stays with their trainer for 12 weeks, or 2 transfers. I am not getting transferred at this time. I am going to be counting my weeks differently at this point. When you enter the MTC, that is the start of your 2 year mission. So, by translation, I have been a missionary for 12 weeks, or 3 months. I still feel green, yet I also feel a smidge more experienced than I get credit for. It’s not like anything is different between a new or old elder. Well…actually…greenies have to add one extra hour to their morning routine, and this is the killer hour! ARGH! (I am a pirate since I live by the ocean.   XD  )

The past few weeks have been a bit difficult; our purpose is to find, teach, and baptize, and right now, our Area Machine (that is what we call it) is having trouble processing anything to the teaching stage. We have one investigator (who I will talk about in a minute), and we have not been having much success anywhere else. I’m trying to find the loose screw or the rusty gear, but so far we have not found it. (After explaining this allegory to my companion, he asked if I was into the Steampunk genre… and I think I am after getting asked that.)

Our only investigator right now is Anci. And BOY is he SOLID! Anci is 32 and retired military (14-15 years; about 5 in Marines and 7 in Army. He served in Iraq for one tour.) He is currently in school, living with his mother, and is on Medical Funds (has PTSD bad and has other health problems). Our first time meeting with him, he talked about how he thinks that Jesus only watches him because he (Anci) is a troublemaker. He’s been to church twice, and his testimony has grown so much. Last night, he shared how much he has felt God’s love for him, and he was almost in tears. He is solid for baptism on November 28 or 29. Our chapel doesn’t have a font, but the Bishop does have a swimming pool. However, he is still moving, and so we may end up doing a baptism and waterside confirmation on Sunday the 29.

Nothing much is going on. We OYM (Open Your Mouth, or contact on the street) at least 10 people every day. We are planting a lot a seeds. I may not be here when they sprout, but we are at least showing people that 1: Mormons are regular people, and 2: that we are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. MY GOSH! One out of every 5 doors we knock think we are JWs (or, as we call them, J-Dubs).  Also, although we haven’t gotten a lot about the new handbook change, we do get a lot of the Book of Mormon musical and the South Park Mormon Special stuff a lot. We are just normal people who love Jesus!

We get to have Thanksgiving dinner with some members who are Latino, and so I will get a twist on it this year . They are inviting all of their Spanish friends and neighbors, and I am really looking forward to it!

I would recommend having everyone read “His Grace is Sufficient” by Brad Wilcox.  (Thank you mom.   🙂   ) I have learned so much from that talk, and it has strengthened my testimony of the savior and His grace.  Also, it talks about the piano. WHICH I AM FINALLY PLAYING! I have been recruited to play the piano for the Primary Christmas Program! YES!!!! Now I have an excuse to play the piano. They also want me to play for church, but they still don’t send me the hymn numbers before church, so I can’t practice them.

I think I may have a minor case of ADD after proof reading this email…but I cannot help it. If you see me in person, I am not naturally like this. I am more laid-back. Yet I cannot keep it in. I am having so much fun. This is probably the hardest work I have ever done. It may not be the hardest physical work, but it is the hardest work that requires mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical endurance.

Quote for the week:
“It is true intelligence for a man to take a subject that is mysterious and great in itself, and to unfold and simplify it so that a child can understand it.”

–President John Taylor

That is it for this week. Until next time!

Con Amor,

Elder Osborne

I the computer I am using refuses to read my SD card, so I can’t do pictures this week.   😦    Sorry!