Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Well first off I want to throw a shout out to my sister for getting married this week! I am happy for her even if I was only present as a card board cut out. This week we saw some great things, even miracles, happen. We have really been working on finding lately. We haven't had too many people to teach but this week as we continued to work hard the Lord blessed us. We got a referral from a member for a family. Their names are Autumn and Chris. We went over for the first lesson and they said that they had been waiting all day for the lesson. They were super willing to listen and the spirit was definitely in the lesson and they even committed to be baptized. We taught them later in the week and they said they would be at church on Sunday. But he went to the hospital Saturday night so he wasn't able to make it. They are awesome though. We also we are able to find a lot of LA members to work with. We just stopped by and a lot were home and wanted to start meeting with us. Kay was one of the people we stopped by and when we invited her to church she said sure! She was there and even brought her niece who we will be teaching as well. It was a great week in Altoona.

Thanks to everyone and the support you give. Have a great week!
Caves we went to.

A member on P day took us to a Freemason temple and let us wear his stuff.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Well this was a great first week in Altoona. It is weird not being in Pittsburgh, but I know that this is where I need to be right now and I have loved Altoona so far. I have gotten to know a lot of the ward already and they are great people and have made me feel very welcome. My new companion is Elder Kap. He is from Syracuse Ut. and has been out for about a year now. We served in the city of York together about a year ago! We were in different areas but the same city. He is awesome and we get along great. 
This week we were able to have some great experiences. We were invited to do a presentation about the LDS faith in a Presbyterian care center. There were a lot of residents and workers who were there. It was such a cool experience. We went up there in front of a crowd of people and were able to testify of Joseph Smith and of the Restoration. Some people had questions and objected what we said. We just put it all on the Book of Mormon and it being the keystone of our religion. The spirit was really strong and some of the workers asked us afterwards if we had a Book of Mormon that we could give them. It was a pretty awesome experience.

We were able to teach a lot of great people in this area this week as well. I am excited to be here in Altoona and to work as hard as I can for the rest of my mission. I know this is the Lord's work and I love being a part of it. I love Pennsylvania and know this is where I need to be out of any other place in the whole world. Thank you for all of the support!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Well it happened... On Saturday I got the call that I am going to be transferred from the Green Tree ward. After 13 total months of serving here I am going to be leaving for my last transfer. It is pretty crazy. It was pretty hard saying goodbye to the ward. I almost felt like I was leaving on my mission again. For my new area I am going to be serving in the Altoona ward. It is a pretty small town so that will be a pretty interesting change up from Pittsburgh. My new companion is going to be Elder Kap. I already know him super well so I am really excited to serve with him. Well I don't have much time today but thanks for all of the support. I am excited to serve wherever I am called! Have a great week.
Our investigator Marlon who is going to be baptized in a couple of weeks.

Bro. Olson and Julia

The Smith Family

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hey Everyone! His was an awesome week! Heavenly Father has been blessing us this week so much. We have been able to find many new investigators who are so amazing. We have been working with Rachel and Annie a lot this week. We have been doing service for them and after one of the days of service, we got a text from Annie asking if we could bring her a Book of Mormon! She is going through a lot and she wants to find something to help her. I know the Book of Mormon will be able to provide that peace she needs. Rachel took a picture of us and put on face book saying that she has adopted Elder Halsey and I as her two Mormon sons. She put a little bit about what we do and how grateful she was. She is awesome and has such a big heart. I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father! We have been so blessed in this area. He has put into our path so many people who are ready for the gospel! It is so amazing to see how aware of each of his children he is. I am so grateful for the Savior and for repentance. I love the peace that can come as we humble ourselves and allow the savior to heal us, all because of His choice to atone for us. Being a missionary is such an amazing experience to teach people of that. Have a great week everybody!

Monday, July 18, 2016

This was an awesome week! We had the opportunity to do service with a lady named Barb! She is the coolest lady and so prepared for the gospel. We saw her outside trying to mow her lawn with a weed wacker. We asked her if we could help and she was so appreciative. Her shoulder is really injured and she had a really hard time doing yard work. She had gotten a citation from the city saying she had until a certain day to clean up her yard. She said she had been praying for help and then we came and asked if we could help her. As we were helping her on Tuesday she really opened up to us. She told us of her family troubles and physical health challenges as well. It broke my heart to hear of all the trials she was going through. We felt the most important thing we could do was to listen. Afterwards we felt we needed to show her a video and she started crying. She turned to us and said, "how did you know to show me that?" She told us how grateful she was for us and that we were like her sons. She was just grateful for someone to listen to her. It is moments like that that really humble you. To see how hard people have it really makes you grateful all you have been given. We taught her the restoration the next day and she agreed with everything. She is excited to read the Book of Mormon! The work is going great here and I love this ward. Life is going great! Thank you for all of the support!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hey Everyone! So this was a pretty crazy week with a pretty big change that took place in our mission. We got an email on Thursday from our mission president saying that the Lancaster and Harrisburg stakes, and all of the missionaries serving there, are now part of the Maryland, Baltimore mission!! So we lost about 50 missionaries and some of my closest friends I have made out here are now in a completely different mission. My last area, York, is now part of that mission as well. So that was pretty crazy. I didn't know things like that happened. But all of the missionaries who are a part of it are taking it really well.
We had some great things happen this week! I told you a little bit about Rachel in my last email, well this week she called us and invited us to have dinner with her family. When we first met her we got to know her really well and she asked what were some of the things that we missed the most, and I told her my Mom's home cooked meals. She said that really touched her heart and that she wanted to cook us a homemade meal. She is so awesome!! She told us how her greatest desire really is to be a good mom. I thought that was so cool especially in the world today where a lot of things seem to take a higher priority than motherhood. We got to talk to her and her family for awhile and we talked about all sorts of things. We talked about the spiritual experiences we have had on our missions and how the best part of our missions is how our relationship with Jesus Christ has grown so much! She said she really wants to come to church so hopefully her and her family will be there this week. We will be going back to see her this week as well.
The rest of the week was pretty typical! We were able to see a lot of people and found some new Investigators to teach as well. Every week at church I get asked multiple times when I am going to be moving into the ward! I think they are going to be giving me a calling soon haha. I am grateful I have gotten to serve in this area for 13 months! Have a great week everyone!

Elder May

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hey everyone! This was another awesome week! 
This was transfer week and I will be staying here another one with Elder Halsey. I think this might be my last transfer here now, but we will see. Maybe I will finish my whole mission here haha.
We met with Julia this week and she is doing great! She will be getting her Patriarchal blessing In July and will be going to the temple as well that same week. We went to her house and did some Family History work with her so she could have some names to take to the temple. She has been doing a lot of work so she will have a lot of names to take.

Everything is going great out here. We hope to work more with Rachel and her family this week. She wants to have us over for dinner and that is definitely okay with us! Thank you for all of the support!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hey everyone! This has been a great week! We saw some great miracles happen! So about a month ago we were driving down the road and we saw a mom playing outside with her kids. Once we got down the street a ways, we got the feeling that we needed to go back and talk to her. So we did and she was awesome! Her name was Rachel. We got to know her really well and she said that she would call us to do so service! Well we hadn't heard anything from her in a really long time so we were going to go by and see her again. That day she actually called us!! She said that her neighbor needed some help and she remembered that we had offered to do some service. So we went over and met her neighbor and helped her clean all of the blinds in her house. To everyone who has never done that before it is pretty tough. Well after hours of intense physical exertion we finished. Rachel came over towards the end so she could talk with us. She is such an awesome lady! We sat and talked with her for an hour or so and she told us about the struggles of raising a family in the world and some of the personal things she was struggling with. We talked about the church and how God wants strong happy families, especially in the world today. She had some questions about church and at the end she said her and her family were going to come this week! It was awesome! When we were about to leave we asked if we could share a scripture with her and her neighbor. Well there were about three families all outside in the neighborhood and they came to listen. It was amazing to share a scripture about Christ with all of these families gathered around to hear. I have such a strong testimony of families. "God gave us families to help us become who he wants to be." I am grateful for my family and for this gospel that blesses families. The longer I have been out here the more I have come to realize how much God wants us to be happy. We are here to be happy and families help us accomplish that. Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Another week has flown by here in Pitt! There were some great highlights for the week! It started with our lesson with Marlon! He is progressing really well and is excited for baptism. We really wanted to focus on him fully understanding what the restoration is and why it is important to be baptized in this church. At the end of the lesson he said that he understood the priesthood is essential and that is why it is important to be baptized in this church! It was great to teach him simply and for him to understand and for things to connect in his mind. After we knelt down and said a prayer. He prayed sincerely to know if this church and if the Book of Mormon was the word of God. He said he already believed in his heart it was true, he just wanted to know. It was awesome. The adversary tried to disrupt the prayer by having someone pull up in front of his house blasting "Smooth criminal" by MJ, but Marlon persevered and said an awesome prayer.

Yesterday was awesome! Julia and her dad are continuing to come to church! Julia is doing awesome and has been working with members on going to the temple really soon. She will be heading out to Utah soon so going to the temple beforehand would be the perfect way to go. After church we were able to go on three team ups with RM's who are out here just for the summer doing door to door sales. It was so fun to be able to go with these guys who had been home from their missions for a year. They talked about how much they missed being a missionary and how they wanted to go out with us as often as they could. It was cool to see the change that had taken effect on these guys. It showed me how much my mission will continue to mean to me after I get home. I am grateful for every single day out here, and it sure does fly. I love the happiness and joy I feel out here. People wonder how it is possible when we are so secluded from worldly things. It's because you have the opportunity to think about others and care for them and there is a joy that accompanies that which you can't find anywhere else. Thank you for all of the support, have a good week!
Elder May

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This has been an awesome week! We were able to find a whole bunch of people who are super open and interested in what we have to share, so we are really excited about that! The lord has definitely been blessing us with people to find. One of the cool stories was we were talking to a lady named Linda and we taught her pretty much all of the restoration while we were outside with her. As we were walking away her neighbor, who had been listening the whole time, waved us over and said he had some questions as well. He was really sincere and when we told him about the Book of Mormon he was excited to read it! Maybe we will just keep working our way down that street haha! Memorial Day was today and it was awesome! I had so much fun with the ward. We had some great food and then we played soccer and softball. Our investigator Marlon came and he just fits right in with the ward.
Everything is going great! I just love this area more and more. Have a good week everyone!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Well this was an exciting week! We started off by not knowing whether or not I was going to be in a trio for the rest of this week, or if my new companion was going to be able to be healthy enough to leave the MTC and arrive in Tuesday when he was originally scheduled. Well I went to the meeting where all of the new trainers and trainees are and my new companion was there! He got approved to leave the day after everyone else from his group had left so he flew on the red eye flight to Pittsburgh and made it right on time, with no sleep either haha. His name is Elder Halsey and he is awesome. He chipped and sprained his ankle in the MTC so he has a boot on but he will be wearing a brace it looks like now. After the meeting I was saying goodbye to some missionaries and one of the Elders who I was in a trio with, came up to me and said that during the meeting they went to see some people and had popped our tire... But he did wish us luck with the whole thing! So we had to replace a flat tire our first day together so it was pretty exciting. This week has been great finding new people to teach. Elder Halsey is really in tune with the spirit. We have had a lot of people who have said that they would love to meet with us. We were walking down the street one day and I told Elder Halsey to pick a door he was feeling prompted to knock on. He walked right up to a door and knocked on it. We met the most awesome lady ever named Carolyn, or Mama C. That is what we call her haha. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon and as we were testifying of it she said she was getting goose bumps all over. I was showing her one of my favorite scriptures and after I finished, she took the Book of Mormon back and said, "Hey give my book back!" It was pretty funny and now we will be going to see her this week. Sunday was great! Our investigator Marlon came to church and had a great experience. We were super busy the rest of the day. We met with a LA lady named Stephanie as our last appointment for the night. She is going through a lot and is really determined to put Christ first in her life again. As we shared scriptures and bore our testimonies of Christ's love she started crying. She is so awesome and her goal is to make it to the temple before too long. I love being a part of this work! It is such a blessing to be able to have this time where we have opportunity to forget about ourselves and serve others, and that is one of the greatest feelings there is. Thank you everyone and have a great week!

An abandoned house in Pittsburgh with a tree growing out of it

Elder Hasley and Elder May

Monday, May 9, 2016

Well this has been a pretty crazy week! My companion, Elder Slade, had some bad kidney stones so he had to go home. We dropped him off at the airport now I am in a trio with Elder Wood and Posada. They are awesome and we have been having a good time serving with each other! We are covering Both of our areas at the same time so that has been a little bit tricky, but we are making it work. I also got a call from President Johnson saying that I will be training. I am so happy about that! By the time I am through training here, I will have been in this area for 13 and a half months. President Johnson said that I broke the record for being in an area since he has been mission president. I am so happy to be in this area though, I love it with all of my heart!

This week we were able to see so many great things happen. The best part of the week was being able to talk to my family. They are the best and I am truly grateful for them. We were able to get a new investigator this week named Mike. At the beginning of the lesson he told us about how he didn't feel good about religion because it confused him. We taught the plan of salvation and by the end, he was talking about the peace he was feeling. It was awesome to see he spirit soften his heart.

We were also able to have a family home evening with Sister Etzi and her boyfriend Bill. When the missionaries first started seeing him, he didn't know about how he felt about us. But now it is like we are best friends. We usually play a little game and then share a spiritual message with them. Sister Etzi said she wanted to read about the first vision this time. As we read Bill was really interested. Sister Etzi bore her testimony and Bill said he wanted to know for himself as well! That was amazing, we will see what continues to happen with him.

We also got the feeling we needed to go knock on the door of a man named Don. He is the neighbor of some members and a really nice guy. When we knocked on the door he saw us and said he knew why we were there and everything. We just asked if we could do any service for him. He said he could really use some help with his lawn. His health has been really bad and he could not do it on his own. He kept saying how the timing of this was perfect! We have gotten a great relationship now. It was definitely the spirit that led us to him.

Well I just want everyone to know how much I love being a missionary. For the good times and the hard times. That is what sculpts us into what we are! Thank you for all of the support!

Elder May

District picture with Pres, Johnson

District pancake making in the mission home

Monday, May 2, 2016

This has been a great week! We were able to help another couple in a pretty sticky situation move out of there home this week! They were really grateful because they had to be out by the end of the month. But I definitely learned the importance of having love in a home. We were able to see a lot of great things happen with the less active members we have been teaching. There are a few who have been coming to church and are working on going to the temple! So great things are happening there. We also have seen so many great things happen as we have been spending a lot of our time finding investigators. We have been led by the spirit to many different people who are prepared. One young man named Damon is one of them. We met him last week and gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read it. When we went to go see him this week he said that he had been reading the Book of Mormon for an hour every night and that he had been loving it!! He said he loved what it taught and that he wanted to learn more. As we were preparing to have like the best lesson ever with him, his mom started yelling to him from the inside of the house. She chewed him out pretty bad and them came outside and yelled at us as well... So we weren't able to teach him but we will keep trying. Oh yeah miracle of the week! I couldn't find my magnet name tag anywhere and I thought it would show up eventually. Well I was on exchanges this week and apparently a less active lady came up to Elder Slade while they were in Mckees rocks and told them she had seen my name tag in a mud puddle on the side of the road. So we looked over there a couple of days later and we found it stuck right in the mud on the side of the road! But hey I found it! I lost this same name tag for all of last winter in a church parking lot and some members found it when all the snow melted. So I am still being blessed on finding my things haha. Well thank you for all the support and have a great week!

Monday, April 25, 2016

What an awesome week! First of all the weather was amazing all week long. There were three of four days right in a row that had clear skies with 70 degree weather! It was amazing to see everyone come out of hibernation for the winter, people actually do live in Pittsburgh haha. Last week I told you about Andre who we met as he was trying to pack everything up to move. Well this week we were able to take some time to help him and his family move and to get rid of everything they needed to so they could make the deadline they needed to be out by. It was cool to see how grateful they were. They repeated over and over again how we were an answer to his prayers. That is one of the greatest feelings I have been able to experience, when you listen to a prompting from the spirit and then realize that your listening and acting was an answer to someone's prayers. This week we have been able to spend a lot of time finding new investigators! I love seeing the hand of the Lord in everyday life. As a missionary if you will just go out and work, he will always provide. I have seen that time and time again. We were able to find some people who are really excited to meet with us this upcoming week. I am excited to see what other miracles will happen. We also were able to meet with Julia. She is doing great! We were talking about the temples and her working towards going there and she said that she wanted to go as soon as she can! She plans on meeting with Bishop in the next couple of weeks for her recommend. Yesterday we were on a team up with Brother Muñoz. Him and his wife just moved into the ward and they are awesome. During our lesson with Sister Jackson he asked her if we could sing some hymns with her and her family. She was like, "Man I don't sing!" Haha but we convinced her. After a couple of verses of the spirit of God, she was pumped about how good we sounded. Her 6 year old daughter, Precious, came in and we sang I am a child of God with her. It was really fun and it also brought a great spirit. As we were leaving precious ran out to us and yelled, "Thank you for teaching me how to sing!!" It was an awesome day. Thanks for all of the emails and support! The mission is going great and flying by way too fast. I love Pennsylvania with all of my heart, it is truly the promised land. Have a great week!

Monday, April 18, 2016

This was an awesome week!! We have really been praying and working with Julia and this week she was able to be baptized! It has been awesome teaching her and seeing all of the miracles that have happened and then being able to see her be baptized. I haven't met someone as prepared as she is. The baptism went great as well. She was able to sing "I heard him come" with her dad and it was really good. Her whole family was able to come even her grandpa and aunt from Utah, along with a lot of her friends from School so it turned out really great. She is excited to go to the temple so hopefully she can get there before too long!

After the Baptism Elder Slade and I were walking around visiting people and Elder Slade said, "I feel like we need to be an answer to someone's prayers tonight." I kind of brushed it off and didn't really pay attention to it. But that night we felt strongly that we needed to visit certain people but none of them were home. As we were walking up the street we saw some people outside so we went up to talk with them. Turns out they have a couple of days to move everything out of the house they are in. They had no way to move it all out by themselves and were praying to receive some help. They told us how much of a blessing we were to them. So we will be going back to help them this week. I was really humbled afterwards thinking about how in tune Elder Slade was with the Spirit. I just brushed it off but he was listening and we were able to be that answer to their prayers. It was such a great week, and we were able to see God's hand in so many different ways! Thank you for all of the support!

Elder May 

Julia's baptism (My arm is on the glass behind her, not around her!!)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Well it looks as though winter has struck Pittsburgh again! We got a couple inches of snow the other day... It was kind of sad looking at all of the blossoming trees with all this snow on them... But hey eventually it has to stay warm right? This week I was able to work hard with my new companion Elder Slade! He is awesome and he has a great desire to serve. It has been great going out and working hard every day! We had a zone training this week on finding new investigators and one thing we really emphasized is the effort of talking with everyone. We were out trying to get in contact with a couple of people and there was someone walking on the other side of the street with those big old headphones on jamming out. Well we decided we would just go for it and see if we could talk to him and he was actually interested and willing to talk to us. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and we even got a time to go back and teach him! So that was a really cool experience. Sunday we had another great lesson with Julia! She is so excited and after our lesson the member we had come with us said, "I have never met someone so prepared for the gospel before." And that is so true. We had a lesson on temples and doing family history work. President Hoggard who was with us has one of the most powerful testimonies of the temple. He lost his wife about 10 years ago to cancer. So when he bore his testimony of the temple the spirit just filled the room. Julia is excited to start working towards it! After Brother Olson, her dad bore an amazing testimony to Julia of this church and of Thomas S Monson. It was a rare experience. We are so excited for her baptism and to see her able to enter into those covenants. I am just so blessed that Heavenly Father allowed me to be a part of this experience.
I am loving Pennsylvania so much. After being here for 19 months it is a home to me. I love the green, the humidity, the cold, the crazy roads that have no rhyme or reason, everything! I truly know that we get sent to where we are supposed to serve. If I was asked if I could go back and have my mission anywhere in the world, I would choose right where I am at. I am grateful for the people out here. They have truly changed who I am. The Gospel is true and I am grateful for the happiness it brings to me! Thanks for all of the support! Have a great week!

Monday, April 4, 2016

This was a great week with General conference of course being a highlight! I loved the spirit felt and how encouraging all of the speakers were. We had the opportunity to see a lot of less actives and investigators this week with the help of a lot of the members. The work is going great here and we are seeing great things and miracles truly happening. Man it is awesome to be a part of. Have a great week!

Monday, March 28, 2016

This was one amazing week and it started with a pretty big miracle. On Monday we went to go see Julia. She has been praying a lot about baptism and if that is what the Lord wants her to do. Well the week before she was praying about it and randomly turned to 3 Nephi 19 and started reading out loud to herself. It is the savior talking about the importance of baptism and she texted us letting us know the awesome experience she had. We asked her how she was feeling about baptism and she said she knows the commitment it is and she wants to make the right choice. We testified that God answers prayers and that he would answer hers if she was willing to act on that answer. She said that was exactly what she needed to hear! Well when we went to see her Monday we talked to her about it again and she told us how she was feeling. She said that she has been feeling kind of greedy because she has been asking to know if the church is true, but she had already received her answer that it was. She said that every time she went to pray and ask, she already knew what the answer was. She then told us she wanted to be baptized and is ready for it! It was so awesome. She is going to be baptized on April 16 and she is so excited for it! Her Grandpa is even going to fly out from Utah to baptize her. The rest of the week was great as well. We have either dropped or been dropped by all of our investigators so we have spent a lot of time talking with people. On Saturday we prayed specifically that while we were out that night, we would be able to find someone to teach. Well as we were out walking there was a lady on her porch and as we talked to her she let us right into her home and we were able to teach her and her husband. It was so amazing to see that prayer answered. I have had so many powerful experiences with prayer and I truly know that God hears our prayers and he does answer them. Easter Sunday was amazing. Julia's whole family came to church! It was so cool to see them all there as a family. We went over to their house for dinner afterwards and got to play some games with them. It was a great Easter and one of the best I have ever had. I love this time of the year as we have the opportunity to remember the life of the Savior. The thing I am most grateful for in my mission has been the opportunity to know Him better. It has changed my life and I can't describe my gratitude for Him. I know with all of my heart he lives and one day we will stand before him again. I know this is his church and we have the opportunity to be a part of it. Thank you all for the support!
Elder May

Spring is here

Julia's family. Julia is the one in the middle by her dad.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Hey everyone! We had a great week. On Monday we went downtown to the church building. It is also the institute building so they had ping pong tables! So we got to play some pretty intense ping pong games. It was so fun, we were all sweating pretty good by the end. I'm not sure if it was because the matches were super intense or because we are all out of shape. We went on exchanges this week and Elder Ord and I were able to go together. He is an awesome guy and a great missionary. We were able to see a lady named Sister Carty. She is an older African American lady from Atlanta Georgia. She is so funny! When we went to see her, she needed help with a couple of things, opening two cans of tuna and moving her fish from one tank to a little bowl. Well I took the initiative to get the fish. I went in to scoop up the fish with my hand and she didn't think that I could get the fish with my hand so she said to hold on while she got a cup. I decided to try anyway and I scooped he little fish right up and plopped it right in the bowl. I guess I did it pretty gracefully because when Sister Carty saw me do it she started going crazy saying, "Oh my goodness, it's like he's an angel! Did you see the way he scooped that fish?" Haha I guess she liked the way I treated her little beta fish. She told us the next day that the fish doesn't like her anymore... I guess it got attached.
We were able to see Jiquelill this week as well. He had been praying for direction in his life and that he was willing to act on that as well. After that we showed up. He is a less active member and is a senior in high school. We stopped by his house and he wasn't home so we talked to his mom for a little bit. Just as we were about to leave he showed up. He said he had been out with his friends and he had felt like he needed to be home, so he ran all the way home and when he got home, we were there. This Sunday he was there for stake   conference and he said that he would be coming to young men's and church again this upcoming week. It has been a miracle. With stake conference I was also able to see a lot of people from the wheeling ward. It was awesome. I love those guys so much and I was so happy seeing all of them there. Maybe since I came back to this area president Johnson will let me go back there as well. Julia is doing great and has found answers to her prayers through the Book of Mormon. Her and her dad are awesome and it has been amazing to see what the gospel has done for them. Thank you for all of the support, have a great week!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hey Everyone! Well this has been another great week! The weather has been phenomenal and there has actually been people out and about to talk to. We have been working a lot with a less active member named brother Rumpf. He hasn't been to church in years and we set him with a date to come to church of March 20, but he was determined to come this week. We had dinner with him on Wednesday and on Sunday he came to church! It was awesome to see him going around shaking hands with everyone there, even the ones he didn't know. He was so happy to be there and it was great to see. He has changed so much and is so much happier. It is amazing to see what living the gospel can do. On Tuesday we had zone conference. It was great to see President and Sister Johnson and to have trainings throughout the day. I am grateful for all of the missionaries out here. It is crazy how close you grow to all of them in the short time you have known them. We also have been working with a less active member from Jamaica. He has come to church the last two weeks now! Every time we go over he wants to have a sleep over and a pizza party. We have to remind him that even though we like pizza, after our missions haha. On Sunday we went over to teach Julia with brother and sister Kusuma who are both converts from India. We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Kusuma's bore some of the most powerful testimonies I have heard. It was one of Those lessons where the spirit is just so powerful. We invited her to be baptized on April 16 and she said that she would pray about it. She talked about how she plans on being baptized, she is just a little nervous to take the next step right now. You can't deny the spirit that was in that lesson though and it had a really powerful effect on her and her dad. It was awesome. Well I just want everyone to know how grateful I am for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It has brought me so much happiness and I know it is lead by Jesus Christ. It is our choice to follow him. Thank you for all of the support.

Family friendly graffiti (once it was photoshopped)

Our new pet

Monday, February 29, 2016

Great week! The weather is starting to warm up and I am definitely getting some spring fever! I can't wait for the warm weather to return. This week had some great things happen! We had a lesson with a recent convert named Marilyn. While we were there we met her brother David. He came and sat in on the lesson. He didn't really say anything but at the end of the lesson he had a couple of questions. We talked a little bit about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. After he looked at his sister and said, "I guess I'll come to church with you tomorrow." You should have seen how happy Marilyn was! She testified that this church was "the truth" and that were the ones with "the plan" haha. He came to church the next day! We had a pretty interesting experience with our friend Billy Bob. He was telling us about his stomach problems and how he was going to have to have surgery. I think part of the problem is that he likes to eat out at a pizza restaurant every day. He started patting his belly to demonstrate that there was a problem with it. Then he offered us the opportunity to rub his belly so we could feel how weird it was. Elder Griffin declined the offer so I decided to give it a little poke just so he would feel good haha. The people you meet out here are awesome! We had a lesson with Julia and it was great. She is trying to recognize her answer from the Holy Ghost. We asked her why she comes to church every week and why she allows us to come and teach her. She said that she has never met nicer people before then the ones she has met in the church. She told us how every time she goes she feels the Holy Ghost and the whole thing just feels good. She then said that she has never felt closer to God before then she does right now! It was very powerful when she said that. She knows this is all true, it won't be long before she is ready.
Well thank you for all of the support. Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

This has been a wonderful week! We had the memorial service for sister Wells this week and it was a very spiritual meeting. We talked about the plan of salvation and were able to celebrate the life that Sister Wells had and to also remember the amazing missionary she was. At the end the missionaries were able to all sing together. I felt the spirit so strongly singing with all the missionaries around me. It was one those moments where you just feel so strongly that this church is true.
The rest of the week was great. We asked Julia to be baptized on Monday and she said it is something that she sees herself doing for sure. She just wants to know for herself that the Book of Mormon is true and that his church was restored through Joseph Smith. She has such a strong desire to know for herself independent from anyone else, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And the best part is that she is doing all she can to find out. She comes to church every week, reads and prays daily, comes to young women's. So pretty much everything she can do. I know for sure she will receive the answer she is looking for, and it is going to be so powerful for her when she does! We had a lesson with her on the Holy Ghost last night. She said that the reason she has come to church every week is because she feels the Holy Ghost whenever she is there. She said if she didn't feel the holy ghost, she would not be coming. It has been so cool to be able to work with her whole family. They are so prepared and it is humbling to think out of all the places in the whole world I could be, I am here in Pittsburgh and an able to be a part of this. I am very grateful for my mission and I know Pennsylvania is where I need to be. Something cool that happened is our ward took in half of the Pittsburgh 5th ward. So we are a lot bigger and we are now the Greentree ward. That was pretty exciting. I am grateful to be a missionary. It is an indescribable experience. The Savior lives and this is his work. Have a great week everyone!

Monday, February 8, 2016

What a great week! And the best part is transfers have come and I am going to stay here! The crazy thing is the Elder Wilkins is getting transferred. This is his first area and he has only been here for a couple of months so him leaving was definitely unexpected. I am going to miss him for sure. I have loved learning from and serving with him.

We were able to get new investigator this week named Al. We talked to his sister while she was sitting outside and she said we could come back. When we came back she wasn't too interested but her brother who is living with her was. He had actually been taught by missionaries a couple of years ago. He said that they would always bring him donuts though.... So we can't compete with that!! Hopefully being spiritually fed will be good enough for him. He said he was going to make it to church but when the ride called him he said he was sick. Thats alright we will keep working with him.

On Sunday Julia and her dad came to church today. We taught her about Lehi’s dream and showed her the picture that goes with it; the one with the iron rod and the tree and the building. Well after the lesson she pulled that picture up online and drew it, she put it on social media and a lot of her friends were asking her about it. So she told them what it was and explained it! She is awesome! A couple of her friends want to know more so hopefully this week we can meet with them.

Life out here is great and I am happy to be staying in the 6th ward. I love the people here. They are missionary minded and really help us feel like family. I love being a missionary. What a blessing! I have changed in so many ways that I could never thank my Heavenly Father enough. I know if we do the things he asks us to, we will be happy and we will be able to fulfill our potential. It's interesting isn't it, once we decide we actually don't know better than God and do what he asks, we receive so many blessings and are truly happy. He loves all of us so much, I know that to be true. All he asks is that we follow him. Have a great week!

Monday, February 1, 2016

What another great week! Pittsburgh is seriously one of the best places out there. I am so blessed that I have been able to spend a large portion of my mission in this area. This week we had a member come with us to teach a lesson, but they said today wasn't a good day. So as we were heading back to the car Brother Haglund said, "I know who we can see." So he took us to this oil preparing/ packaging factory. He said that the owner of the factory was a really good friend that he hadn't seen in 20 years! So we went up to the gates and the security guard let us in so we could see Brother Haglund’s friend. When we saw him, they both were very happy to see each other. We talked to him for a little bit and then he asked if we would like a tour of the factory! So he gave us hard hats and safety glasses and showed us around. He showed us where the barges delivered the oil from the river. And then he showed us around to all the assembly line machinery and it was awesome. I just remember walking through the factory and thinking to myself, "well this was an unexpected event for today!" Haha It was awesome though. This Sunday was awesome as well! Julia and her dad came to church again. Julia told her boss that she can no longer work on Sundays so she will be able to come to our ward every Sunday now. She's doing great and is such an example of a sincere heart. She is reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it is true and is acting to get that answer. Last night we also felt prompted to stop by a potential investigator named Ashley. When we met her she was just sitting on her porch and said we could stop by some time. When we got there, her brother answered the door and let us right in. We had an awesome lesson about the Book of Mormon and she told us how she feels it is so important to be open to things in life. She's excited to start learning more and for us to come back. Being a missionary is the best. I definitely can't complain about the 60° weather we’re having out here. The church is true and I know the Savior lives. Have a great week everyone.

Monday, January 25, 2016

This was another great week! You all probably heard about the storm that hit us on the news. Don't worry, we all survived! We did get a lot of snow though. We went to teach a lesson and when we got out it was like a blizzard! Driving in the snow in Pittsburgh is a whole new experience. With all of the hills and cobblestone roads it is definitely expert level! We got to shovel a lot of snow and it didn't even snow after we got done to ruin all of our work his time haha. It is amazing how grateful people are and how much a small act of service means. The snow has definitely been a blessing to be able to see that. Julia is doing great. She came to young women's this week and to church and choir on Sunday. Her dad even came in a suit and tie this week! He is doing great and I feeling more and more comfortable at church. It has definitely been a blessing to teach that family. It just shows more and more of how this is Heavenly Father's work and he is preparing people! They have been such a blessing and it has been awesome to see how much they are growing and changing. Yesterday we had a great blessing. We were driving home from church when I had that very familiar feeling that I was forgetting something. So I looked around and sure enough I had left my iPad at the church. We drove back and looked around and found it, which was nice, and we also were able to talk to one of the members who was still at the church. We talked to him and we asked if he would be able to come see some people with us. He said he could and that he wanted to take us to see some people as well. He took us to see the Darbous family. Brother Darbous has cancer and doesn't have much longer to live. It was such a sweet spirit in that home as we talked with them. They were all so happy even though there was this hardship they were going through. It was such an example to me of how Christ wants us to live. He wants us to be of good cheer. And because of the gospel and his restored church, we can do that. We have hope that this life is not it and no matter what we do, we can start fresh and be clean. I am grateful for all the things we have to be happy for in life. I pray we can all look around and find those things. Thank you everyone! Have a great week.