Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pearland Texas, Week 79: March 21, 2016 - March 27, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

We had a good week!! It was slower though. Things were kind of tough in the work sense this week. Spring break makes people busy busy. We had a great highlight of being able to see Brandon twice this week! He is doing really well. He loves the lessons and has good questions and is actually reading too! He also came to church for the second time. It was cool because we invited him to P-day with all the missionaries today. We thought he would like to get out of the house since its just him and his sister in law and no work haha. Also, all missionaries are his age pretty much. He unfortunately couldn't make it due to not having a car and no ride available. But his sister in law will try again next week.

We had another cool miracle of being able to see a less active part member family that can be way tricky to contact. We went over for the first time in almost a month. We had a cool Easter lesson with the husband after watching the church's new Hallelujah Easter Initiative. Did you ever see that? You totally should if not. Very powerful and family centered. Go to''. That guy (Brooks) said we could even come back to see his wife. We asked if we could come the next day when we would have multiple priests on splits with us and do splits and we asked if we could let them practice the lessons with them. Brooks surprisingly was open to it even though his wife is still hesitant of the church. It never worked out the next day because she got home too late but big faith and courage for Brooks this week.

We also got a new investigator named Robert who is an ex gang banger and is in a wheel chair after a shoot out. He's so down to earth and sweet though. He's quite the man. He's 35. He had met the sister missionaries because they work up there trying to find Spanish speakers. He loved what we do and accepted the Book of Mormon. He started reading even before we went to meet him!! When we met him we just kind of recapped and said we would go through the restoration pamphlet next time and read with him.

We got to see Elizabeth this week. We stopped in and saw her at work actually. She works at a home builder office. We had a good chat and she is still interested. She just got better from being sick and now way busy. We plan to go see her and husband this Thursday.

We got to help out with an eagle project this week as well. That was some rigorous service. We had to dig a three foot deep hole being a foot and half wide. We're going to install some fancy yard swings by a pool. Its at the place I used to go to in my last area where some older people own a big ranch and they let cancer patients and family stay while they are going to the MD Anderson hospital downtown. So,  we had a tough time because two of the four holes were right next to an old giant tree and the hole was infested with roots. It was too narrow for us to use the ax and chop them out so Elder Dawe and I volunteered to get in and just slice them with the shovels. That was hard, haha. It was like an intense tricep P90 workout. We had to chop over and over and as hard as we could to get them out. Eventually we got big posts in and next week we will put together the top runner board and the bench swing.

We still volunteer at the shelter. We try to go 1-2 times a week. Nothing else is really on a regular basis. Just lots of members that could use a hand on serious or not so serious projects too.

Man I forgot that I had even hit my 18 month mark haha. I didn't burn anything, no worries. I've never done it and not too much of a fan of it. I like to keep all my stuff. Things are awesome. Were busy and were loving the people we teach. about to see Stephen today or tomorrow!

Love ya!

Pearland Texas, Week 78: March 14, 2016 - March 20, 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

Had a great week here!!! We were able to get Brandon, Aaron the recent converts brother, to church for the first time! I even lent him one of my dress shirts to wear because he just moved in with Aaron and didn't bring any. We also taught him the Restoration this week. We had shared Mormon Messages and taught about faith in the past,but realized now he's ready for the legit discussions. It went very well. Aaron helped a ton in testimony and explaining from a recent converts view. We had our monthly gospel principles class bbq this week. We had Aaron take both Brandon and Shelby. It was cool with Shelby because we taught him on Tuesday and then he didn't answer the phone or respond to texts until we had some members text him to come to the bbq. He would if he could get a ride.

Our Bishop took us out to breakfast on Friday to coordinate the work. We went to Dennys. It was awesome. We got a lot figured out, planned and united on. Weren't able to meet Stephen this week, he was busy. We got to see Damon and Skylyn again. Their mom was there to talk to us quite a bit and help in the lesson too! She's coming along.  Darrell and Elizabeth were about to meet with us, but they got sick!So, we offered to give blessings and they were down but then they forgot to call us back. We dont go to see Roosevelt anymore. He is just always in the middle of something and doesn't prepare himself for lessons. We're trying to get in touch with Thaddeus, so we'll see.

This week, I got to go on an exchange to another district leader that I hadn't ever been on exchange with. We went to his area in Rosenberg. It was a bike area, so got to saddle up again. Got some sun for sure being out riding all day. We also did a sweet service project over there. We helped some organization plant things in a state park. We were on soil shoveling duty. We had to fill up planter pots with a special soil they had. But, because it was a ton of soil, they had it just poured out and covered with a tarp.  As we were digging, we realized that tooonnss of critters were living in there!! We had mice fly out, a snake, roaches, worms, frogs, etc,  haha. I was wearing gardening gloves so I grabbed all this stuff except the mouse.

Yes I got the package. I love the capo. Thanks for the beads too! We wore those to a St Pats party that some members invited us to. We just had dinner with them and everything was all Irish themed, even corn beef and cabbage haha.

Thats too bad with the Utes. I wanted them to  keep working their way up! Next year they'll have even more experience. Weather has been fine. Just partly  cloudy. My companions are doing great. We are getting along really  well. We're having fun but always make sure we keep the rules. Thanks for all the love  and encouragement. Pumps me up. Hope you have a grand week this week.

Love you!
Elder Deans

Pearland Texas, Week 77: March 8, 2016 - March 13, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016 

We had a great great week this week!! We found 4 new investigators and all four have accepted baptism!! One we already knew, named Stephen. We just didn't have a return appointment or a sit down lesson yet, so we just decided to stop by randomly yesterday and go for it. He was home and he let us right in! We had an awesome Restoration lesson and he understands it quite well. He's got a date for April 16.

The others are Daryl and Elizabeth! Miracle... so I've shared how their good friends with the Monettes from the ward and they said we should go visit them. Few days ago we had an appointment with them and it was super exciting. They were way loving and kind. The wife lived in Utah for a couple years. We taught the Restoration to them and they liked it as well! dont have a solid date quite yet. But it was cool because the husband said yes way fast to the baptismal invite and the wife was all surprised and looked at him all charmed and totally down with it and she said she would too. Monettes are going over with us this Friday for the next lesson.

The other guy is Shelby. He was a referral from the Houston Mission. He had been to church up there, had member friends, heard a couple lesson and best of all, he has read the whole Book of Mormon before. We had a cool lesson with him, mostly just getting to know him and using something we call 'How to Begin Teaching' where you get to know them, see their religious background and then show them what you're there to do and how they can be blessed with it. I shared Mosiah 2:17 with him because he said he wants to do service and help people in his career. Shelby said he would come to church the day before and so we had time to get him a ride. Shelby is a former marine of 14 years in the service. We got Bro Mosis, who was also a former marine, to come pick him up. It was tight. This was the first time in this area we had a member go with us to pick someone up to take them to church. If feels so good!

We also had a huge opportunity to do service for Bro Mosis this week because he was fixing a leaning wood panel fence. We went over and dug around the posts kinda deep and wide and then hooked up a rope and pole pulley to pull them straight. Then we poured new cement into the holes to lock them in. It was definitely a manly service. I'll send a picture of how grody I was afterward from digging and mixing cement.  No luck with Roosevelt or Thaddeus. I'll call Thaddeus soon.

Last week was just a zone meeting, not conference. Conferences are multiple zones at once with President. Meetings are just our zone individually. But it went really well! Actually, one of the best we've had in a while. We planned carefully and specifically and it paid off. We had lots of different missionaries go up and do little presentations. My segment I showed a video of missionaries exemplifying asking good questions and teaching to the needs of the investigators. People seemed to like the way I would pause the video and point out key things and discuss it. Had everyone role play and  practice just like in the video. It was cool.

Man... it rained like crazy this week. Almost for a day and a half straight. The flooding wasn't too bad in our mission. There wasn't much home damage and we haven't heard anything about going to help clean up, maybe though. But, we have been working hard. We go as hard as we can every day thinking of the best plans, working with members and having an attitude of finding new people. We have been blessed immensely lately. By the way, the next transfers will be April 13th.

Love ya tons,
Elder Deans

Elder Deans with his ward mission leader, Mike Barton

Looking grody after the manly service project

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pearland Texas, Week 76: February 29, 2016 - March 7, 2016

Tuesday , March 8, 2016

We had a great week this week! We were able to actually  find some  really promising new investigators. Lately I've told about finding new ones, but these are even more reliable than the other ones. So thats a nice touch. We found one because other missionaries in another ward just talked to some guy they worked with at service. Turns out he lives close to us. We kept trying to contact him for a week and it was no luck. Then finally we go over a few days ago and the front door was half open!! We got excited because we would at least say a word or two and see someone. He came and talked to us and it went awesome. He's way friendly and interested. His name is Stephen and hes like a 25 yr old black kid thats pretty hip. Goin to see him again tomorrow for first sit down lesson. Just talked on porch before.

Also had a huge opportunity because some members had one of their brothers move into town and they had already talked to him about the church.  We had shown a Mormon message with them and him last time he was in town.. Its the  Sanford family who we are way close to. They have given us two referrals now. the other one was George a friend from work. But the guy that moved in is Brandon, Aarons brother. He's going through a super hard patch in  life with drug quitting, no work, girlfriend drama, new baby! He just wants to start over and he's looking to the gospel for help. We had a lesson with Aaron and Brandon at the Monettes house the other day and it was powerful. We just started by teaching Faith in Christ to help him really feel that what we teach can help. Aaron and the Monettes had great comments that helped a lot. Brandon is starting to pray more now and wants to meet with us weekly. We're stoked.

Elizabeth and Daryl are still on hold until Thursday for our first lesson. Roosevelt is kind of a poo. He is way hard to get in contact with and when we go over, he just has tons of friends over, beer everywhere and they're in the middle of doing stuff. So we can't teach and that's been tough. He thinks sometimes we just want to hang out with him. I'm pretty sure because he talked to elders in Louisiana that did that. We're gonna have a good DTR with em. Thadeus is on hold as well. Tried a lesson this week, but he didn't call us back when he said he could and we went over and no answer. But we think he just fell asleep because he said he had a crazy week and was sleeping a lot that day.

We're working with Day Day again, the 17 kid we know. He accepted a baptismal date this week!! Its exciting but I didnt get too pumped because getting him to church has been a failure multiple times in a row. So we gotta get that more set. Lessons are going swell though!

We got to do some more service for the city in Houston again and we did the Saving Smiles project again. This time we were helping as the kids were about to get their teeth cleaned and sealed. I was helping them stay in their lines and shifting down a seat every time someone moved to go in, entertaining them with goofy stuff, answering questions and this time even had to quiet them down a few times! We did 6 schools all back to back and I stood amongst hundreds of crazy kids for 3 and a half hours straight. It was tiring but rewarding, haha.

We're about to have a big zone meeting tomorrow. I'll be teaching and basically practicing how to teach based on peoples needs and listen and adjust to what helps them most. I'll let ya know how that is. Being a Zone Leader can be kinda stressful. President Hall gave me a great suggestion on how to manage that stress.  He suggested that I use a paper to write down all my stresses or worries at the time. The next column would be if I had control over that at all, yes or no. The last was simply the plan to help. That works way well actually. I liked it. Hes a lot like me we decided. Were both perfectionists and we get impatient with people that don''t want to help us hit our goals.

Last week after emails,we just went out and partied with the zone. . today were gonna do the same.    The work is going great. Our weather is pretty springy too. Its gonna be rainy this week. Its been way warm lately though. it got up to high 70s a few times.

Love you,
Elder Deans

Pearland Texas, Week 75: February 22, 2016 - February 28, 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

We had a really good week over here. Some of the highlights include a new bishop called to our ward, finding a couple new investigators, one through a member and the other by knocking doors, pinewood derby with Damon our recent convert kiddo and helping an old lady set up a new computer and etc.

Our old bishop got called to be the 2nd counselor in the stake presidency. The new bishop is so awesome. The old one was incredible, so its hard to say which is better. But the new bishop invited us over for dinner last night and we got to talk about  some new missionary ideas such as 'Bishop splits' and also bi weekly Dennys breakfast meeting with him to go over the work. Those will be massive blessings.

The way that we found our one investigator was through the Monettes! They're at it again, in finding people for us. This time they just sicked us on a cool family they knew. We just talked to them on the porch and taught a tiny bit but it went really well. They were very receptive and nice to us. Their names are Deryl and Elizabeth. The other came from trying to visit a less active member and she didnt answer. So we knocked on the neighbor's door to ask when the best time to catch them at home would be and thats when Thadeus, our new investigator, came along. He didn't know the  members at all, just moved in. So we just transitioned to focusing on him and taught him a brief Restoration at the door. Both of those people we found want us back so we will see how it goes. Roosevelt didnt make it to church this week. We didn't get to visit him until yesterday evening.

We  went to the ward Pinewood Derby this week and it totally reminded me of when we went to g-pa's to make my batmobile. We went and supported our recent convert, Damon, who just got baptized.

We have been having a sweet P day!! Had fun getting groceries, and we're going to hang out with the whole zone and do activities at the church later. Usually we just hang out by ourselves and window shop. We decided that is depressing and doesn't bring much fun,  so we fixed it, haha. I'll take some pictures of the apartment and the wonderful Corolla and send them to ya next week.

Love ya tons,
Elder Deans

Pearland Texas, Week 74: February 16. 2016 - February 21, 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

Splendid week this week!!! Damon and Skylyn DID get baptized!!! It was sooooo sweet. The whole family was overwhelmed with the Spirit during the program. I also got to do a surprise vocal number, haha, because the grandpa that baptized the kiddos was from Alvin. His name is Scott and you know his wife Ceteka Perry. They came and they said, well basically made me sing when the kids were drying/changing after. It was cool! I sang 'Come Thou Fount...' and Ceteka played. Everyone liked it. The ward was way supportive of the whole deal too. Lots of families came to the baptism.

We made more progress with our investigator Roosevelt. Just read with him and we stressed coming to church. He should make it next week. Renee actually moved away. She moved outside of the mission to Katy,closer to her work. So thats kinda stinky, but we definitely got her thinking and she will be excited to see more missionaries in the future. There wasn't much progress with anyone else this week. It was slower besides the baptism. But, we're committed to be in the grind hard this week and find more investigators that wanna learn and change their lives. Working a lot with the ward to share the gospel and help us find solid people.

Got to go on another Chinese exchange this week as well!! It was awesome because we did a triple comp exchange with the two Chinese areas and they put 2 Chinese natives together. But they needed a driver because they can't and I went to that area. We had a good time. We ate at Tornado Burger, apparently the most famous burger joint in Houston. It was pretty good but over the top signs and advertising in my opinion. Nothing amazing. We also got to play a basketball night with some teenagers in the Chinese area, Just like in Memorial. We played at a park. They schooled us. Got to teach English class again. Thats always so good. I love it haha. They were good to me. Only made fun of me once because I like Autumn more than they do, haha. They think Autumn is depressing when the leaves fall, but they haven't seen Utah.

I got to do a 'role play' with the counselor in the Presidency of the 70!!! Elder Maynes came to a MLC with us. He called me up and we acted out how to plan to drop investigators and then we dropped Elder Evans, our lame investigator, haha. He was awesome. Taught a lot about mission culture and how to change it. Also showed us more realistically  how long it takes in average to baptize in the America southwest area. Its around 65 days to baptize new investigators.

We had another way solid day at the Humane Society. No fights this time. All really sweet pooches. Thats a blast. Getting to know people there. We try to talk about who we are and the gospel every time we go and we have had moderate success.

Things are super. Haven't touched the bike once while I've been here. Its just chillin on the patio, doing well. I would like to keep the bike, yeah. If its in decent shape, I'll ship it home. To answer your question, we don't have any tablets and I dont think we will in the future either. The brethren reviewed it like 6 months ago and said we are not ready, haha. No news since and President doesn't think we will get them. OH, and big news... I'll be here for another 7 weeks! One week longer transfer than usual. But none of us are leaving! Didn't see that one.

Love ya,

 Skylyn  & Damon Baptized!!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Pearland Texas, Week 73: February 8, 2016 - February 15, 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

We had a really cool week. Damon and Skylin weren't baptized because we changed the date and they are set to be baptized his Saturday. So we're just trying to get all the baptismal program details, their baptismal interview and beside that they are good to go!! We did a baptismal interview practice with them last night which was interesting, haha. They didn't quite comprehend everything we taught, so we would ask the interview question and if they didn't give the right answer we would briefly teach that doctrine and then keep going.

We also found a new investigator named Roosevelt. We came across him as we were trying to find a less active family in our ward. So we knocked on the door thinking it would be them and he answers and everyone is confused. He tells us they dont live there and he doesn't know them. So we just made the most of talking to him right there and put the focus on him and had a good gospel conversation on the porch. He liked us and said we could come back. We went back a few days later and we had a bomb Restoration lesson. He was way into the lesson and already has lots of gospel knowledge, very spiritual and he said he would read and pray about Book of Mormon and also come to church this next Sunday. That was sweet!!

Renee is doing pretty good. We had the lesson that was crucial in her progression on why Jesus Christ is so important and she actually didn't really get it. We think that her heart is just a little hard right now because she has grown up her whole life just thinking all we need is God and to be a good person and we will be fine. We taught about how the gospel is what  connects us to Christ and thats the only way to be made clean and get back to Heavenly Father but she's stuck. She's goin to keep reading and pray about it and that should help tremendously.

The Chinese exchange went really well too!! I'll tell ya bout it. So it was just me and the DL, his name is Elder Peterson and he is from all over the world. His family moved a lot due to dad working at a big corporation. But we got straight to work and the first place we went was actually kind of funny. So, the guy was a less active and he takes care of a ancient old Chinese man and he was working there at the old mans house and thats where they usually teach him. We had to sneak in once he answered because the old man doesn't want us in there, haha. Had a full lesson in Mandarin, spoke no English. So all I said was Hi and Thank you. He even got a picture with me because I reminded him of the missionaries that baptized him long ago. We also got to teach English class that night. Man... that was a blast. Now I've done both Vietnamese and Mandarin English class. The people were super humble, eager to learn and silly heads. We taught about grammar, how to get to know someone, and some vocabulary. They gave me a Mandarin name and apparently its Ding Zhang Lao. meaning Elder Deans, haha.

We got to do some more big service for the city of Houston. Instead of dental care this time they did a "See to Succeed" program for vision. I just helped kids by directing them where to go as they moved around the clinic. Elder Dawe got to hold their heads in a machine that tests their vision. Seemed more fun, but whatever. We also had a huuggee opportunity to do some service here in our own area. We signed up to serve at the Houston Humane Society!! SO we registered and they had us come in and do an orientation before we started. We got training and now we are certified Houston Humane Society dog walkers. We did our first full shift yesterday and it was super fun. We just take the dogs that haven't been walked in a while out from the kennels onto the nice trails they have in the back. They built like a mini grove of trees and garden around the trails. Its way nice. The craziest part was that we witnessed two dog fights that day and they said that rarely rarely happens, our luck... I had to break up the second one. We were taking a rowdy stinker back to his kennel and he shared a room with another dog, but as he came back in he got way aggressive to his roommate and pinned him down and starting biting his ear. I, from learning in my training, pulled the aggressive ones tail and swung him off and moved him outa there haha.

Zone Leader stuff is great! My favorite part is probably teaching. I have realized in the past few years I just love to teach people things haha. "  I love teaching whether it be in meetings, on exchanges or over the phone. Its also cool because ZLs are very in tune with President and get the inside scoop and hear info quickly.

Love ya,
Elder Deans

Pearland Texas, Week 72: February 1, 2016 - February 7, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

We had a rockin week!!! Lots of cool miracles came about. The kiddos are good for their baptism this weekend!! The grandpa has healed and is ready to baptize em!! We had the Monette family from the ward bring the kid they brought to church last time, this week again and he liked it even more. He actually bore his testimony in church!! Like what?!! Who does that? Super awesome. We had a cool experience where we were able to go see a less active dude we have only talked to a couple times and Saturday his wife was there. Got to meet her and we showed them a Mormon message where apostles testified of the Atonement of Christ. They liked it. I asked "In what ways have you seen Christ lift you in your lives?" Brooks, the dad had a good answer on growing up. She (Leigha) said she has yet to have a spiritual experience like that. But that is totally cool because that makes us want to work even harder in going over to see them once a week and they said they would come to church this week.

Got to meet with Sis Radamacker again!! She was doing pretty good. We shared a key verse in the Book of Mormon and discussed it for a minute. Her husband, Bill was right with us too. That was a first and a biiigggg step because he used to not talk to missionaries. We got to help some members learn more about family history because on Sunday, the mom was leading a family history workshop. That was fun. Andrea couldn't make it to church. We just talked to her on the porch for a minute. We're gonna help her with homework on Wednesday and read Book of Mormon.

Didn't quite get to have a FHE with the Moratayas and Monettes, but something almost as good came up along those lines. Rick invited us over to have dinner with him and Brooke at their place. We were stoked!! It went great. We showed a Mormon message on trials and overcoming them. Both enjoyed it. Rick wants to come to church now. Renee is doing better!! She helped us a ton and told us her main concern. I thought it was that she didn't like organized religion but its just that she doesn't know why Jesus is so important, hah. So thats a fat concern. But we like it because we can now have a bomb lesson and she can pray on it. Its pretty cool, tomorrow I get to go on a Chinese exchange!! One of my DLs is a Chinese Elder. I'm pretty excited for this. We recently have been getting so many bible referrals. We ran out of the bibles at one point. Keeps us busy, its just hard to get those that will allow us back.

The most satisfying experience I have had on my mission is watching people get baptized. There is the true joy the apostles promised in the call letter. It feels like they just get over the obstacles of life and know the gospel the way I do. Such a spiritual experience and its also accomplishing. I love to give blessings as well. When people are just full of gratitude and they had no one else to turn to at the time, its sweet. I have a huge testimony of prayers getting answered. that also is way satisfying watching the Lord's hand come down and make things better. Such as companions improving, more unity, knowing where to go, people coming to church, having all the small things work out that maybe wouldn't have.

The weather has been nice. Its kinda neutral warmth but the wind can be cold when that blows. Hot hot starts around June but it'll be hot by end of March I'm sure, crazy. Thats cool to hear it snowing so much over there. Thats awesome. Everyone here brings it up knowing where im from. But, things are really good. We are just moving along!

Love you,
Elder Deans