Friday, July 20, 2012

Sorry it took me so long!

Hey family, sorry it's taken me so long to write this week, but no worries, President and my companion made sure I'd write! haha just kidding I was going to write no matter what, it's just been an incredibly busy, stressful, and crazy week! So first of all I have to tell you about this family, the Fletchers. They're this awesome family that has 10 kids, and the kids are all just awesome, haha they remind me a bit of our family. They make sure they all read their scriptures, some are into theatre, and they're all slightly crazy, not to mention the fact that one of their daughters is also named Rachel. Haha she's kind of similar to Rachel, but she's nicer to me and only 7 years old  She wrote us these little notes about how she feels the spirit with us and then made us friendship bracelets. Haha it was a pretty cool experience, it just about made Elder Pierucci cry, and myself I guess, but I'd never admit that one. Anyways, the main event of the week was the departures and arrivals. Not to mention the fact that being the Senior Assistant has been one of the most stressful and humbling experiences of my life. Around last Thursday the mantle began to shift when the new assistant came in. His name is Elder Brown and he's from St. George Utah. We were actually in the same ward at BYU and he lived in the apartment right below me. He's a pretty cool guy and we should get along just fine. Still, it was super stressful as Elder Pierucci began to step back and let me take the lead. It's crazy to think of how much stuff we have to do and remember, and just trying to make sure that it all goes smoothly has been quite the task. However, it's definitely strengthened my testimony in the enabling power of the atonement. There should be no way that we can accomplish as many of the things as we do in such a brief amount of time and on so little sleep, but the Lord provides and we've seen at least a part of the fulfillment of the promise in
Doctrine and Covenants 84 of the renewing of our bodies. This Sunday Phil also spoke at a fireside for new members and investigators. It's called a "Why I Believe" fireside where there's a keynote speaker and then several converts share their testimonies. It was incredible to see him share his testimony and story only two weeks after being baptized in front of hundreds of people! He's solid and truly converted to the gospel!
This Tuesday we picked up the new missionaries and they are one solid
group! They're all incredibly solid missionaries and you can see that they'll be
the future leaders of the mission. It's always an interesting experience to see the new missionaries and the dying missionaries just 24 hours apart. It just shows that the work of the Lord continues on no matter where we are or what we're doing His work really will just keep marching forward. A sister missionary mentioned that in her dying testimony, that she realized that the Lord doesn't need her to do the work, but that she has just been priveleged enough to take part in it with Him. It was just awesome to see the love these missionaries have for the Gospel, whether at the beginning or at the end, and to see the growth of some of the missionaries. I use to believe that all missionaries were perfect and that all returned missionaries would return home with incredibly solid testimonies, almost like Demi-Gods. It's been sobering and at the same time inspiring to see the reality of it all. Every missionary begins and ends at different levels, but what matters is the progression in between. There were a few missionaries that departed that maybe weren't those demi-gods but they had progressed a ton and it was incredible to feel the love of the Lord for these missionaries and for their sacrifice and effort. Still, it was an incredibly good group of missionaries and a hard group to see go. I think I mentioned it before but this marks the transfer where every single leader I've ever had in the mission has now returned home. Every DL, ZL, and AP.... It's been extremely humbling to think that all these missionaries now look to us for leadership and to realize that we're supposed to know what we're doing. Still, it's been incredible as it's helped me to turn more and more to the Lord for help. The mission/Gospel truly is incredible.
It shapes and changes us to the disciples of Christ that God would have us be. It can take all of our weaknesses and shortcomings and make us equal to the task. It's just been an incredibly humbling week. Still, things are going well, we just had leadership meeting and everything went smoothly and our training went well as well. It's an interesting and unique opportunity to train the leaders of the mission. It's once again extremely humbling and a blessing to be able to pass on some things we've learned as well as what we feel the Lord would have us say.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Wow, I literally could've sworn that I just wrote you guys... I'm not even entirely sure what happened this week! Well, most of this week has been spent working on transfers! Yep, it's a pretty interesting experience, we have this gigantic board with all of the missionaries on it and we work on moving them around. It's been an interesting lesson on receiving revelation, it's a lot of thought and meditation just like it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, not to mention just kind of feeling things out and listening to what the spirit has to say about our decisions. We've also had a couple of meetings with President due to some policy changes that will be coming throughout the missions in the entire world, so we were working on getting ready to implement some of the changes in the meetings and whatnot.
Haha it sounds really weird to be talking about all this kind of stuff. Sometimes it's weird to realize that I'm still only 20 years old and yet holding "business meetings" with someone who is probably a multi-millionaire and actually feeling relatively trusted and relied on The Lord definitely magnifies our abilities. It would be impossible to do any of the things we do without his help! With transfers it was also a cool experience to do some of them with President. He looked out all our recommendations and then we talked about them and if he felt there was anything to change we worked through it until the whole board felt good. It was a pretty cool experience to see that we really had been receiving revelation as we worked on the transfer board, and that President actually had little to change. We also had an awesome lesson with an excommunicated member where the spirit really spoke through us to him. It was one of those moments where you knew that the words you were speaking weren't yours but were in literal reality the words of the Lord. Hm, other than that it's been a really fast week, lots of transfer stuff, lots of administrative stuff, but with a few opportunities at ministrative work as well. Phil was confirmed and given the Aaronic Priesthood this last week, which was incredible! Not to mention the fact that the ward has finally really begun to trust us and has got more of a feel for missionary work than ever before! Haha it's amazing what seeing one baptism can do. We all seem to be reminded of the eternal perspective in our lives and the lives of those around us. Oh, another random/awkward experience. Last night I gave my first vocal performance ever... Haha it wasn't very good, it was a terrible duet in front of about 100 hispanos... We sang Jesus lover of my soul, and I sang the alto part on the harmony part... Haha man, singing is definitely not my strength but the mission sure has a way of pushing you out of your comfort zone. Let's just say that everyone complemented me on my piano accompanying skills and just kind of didn't mention the whole singing deal.
Haha, I'll have to send you that cd someday, after I listen to it and edit it. It was honestly probably one of the most nerve-wracking experiences ever, but I think I did better than expected. Well, that's about it family.
It's been an interesting week, and the pressure is still mounting for this next one, it's going to be crazy crazy busy! Picking up the new missionaries, getting the new assistant, sending the old missionaries home, getting everything set for transfers, it's going to be one crazy week!

Another Week!

Man, this week was literally probably the most insane week of the mission! Haha it was crazy! So much happened it's going to be tough to tell it all! Well, first of all we finished out Zone Conference which went well, our training got progressively better and were able to get a good feel for the mission. The mission seems to be doing well, though there are always those groups that are struggling; however, it was still a good experience and especially good to see that some of the missionaries we were worried about were actually doing alright. Then Friday evening there was the storm. Man, it was crazy! We were talking to all the Zone Leaders, receiving their reports, when all of a sudden we looked outside and the wind was picking up like crazy, then the lighting started coming and then the rain. In about 15 minutes it went from a calm evening to a raging storm! For over an hour the sky was consistently lit up with lighting strikes, and the rain just poured down! It was insane, haha and if you read in 3 Nephi when it describes the storms, it's a pretty good description of what just happened in Maryland.
Last year we had the hurricane, but it was honestly a 10th of what this
storm was, it was crazy! The next morning we woke up to no power, about a
third of the missionaries had lost power, and it started a stream of calls
that didn't end for the whole day. We were coordinating stuff with
President and all the missionaries and Zone Leaders to make sure that
everyone was safe and accounted for and had power. The next day was the
same with making sure everyone had places to stay so they didn't die from
the heat, and making sure they had food since most had nothing to cook with
and the fridges had gone out and the food was going bad. It was crazy, and
as Dad said, it was kind of epic!  Haha at times we felt like battle
generals organizing task forces and whatnot, and honestly some areas
literally looked like a battle area. There were trees down everywhere and
we were driving around them trying to get to some member's homes, haha it
was quite the experience. We did have the opportunity to serve some random
people as well. There were some ELders in Kensington that helped a family
who had had a tree fall on their house.... We also moved a lot of stuff out
of the road. Haha we had a Good Samaritan story as well. We're in a really
rich area and no one was moving things off the road that could definitely
be moved, so Elder Pierucci and I decided to help out and move some stuff.
Tons of rich white people passed us by just looking at us struggling with
these branches, and then a random black guy, dreads down his whole back
pulled over and helped us out, and then so did a hispanic. Not being racist
or anything, but it was just an interesting story. So that was the first
incredible event of the week.
Second incredible event of the week was Phil's baptism. So we weren't sure that he was going to be baptized because his lifelong friend that was going to baptize him had a wife that was overdue with her first child... Yeah, so the baby was going to come anytime. Haha so he calls us that morning and says "guys, it happened, the baby's coming! But don't worry, I brought my baptismal clothes with me, so if it comes by like 1 o'clock I'll just jet over there and baptize Phil" Haha yeah, the guy is crazy, but he's legit. Anyways, to make a long story short, she didn't end up actually going into labor, and Phil was baptized! It was an awesome experience to see him be baptized by his best friend, they're literally like brothers, and Phil has been welcomed quickly into the ward! He's going to be an incredibly strong member!
Third crazy thing that happened. President gave us a full day P-Day for the 4th of July and gave everyone permission to stay out until 10:30 so they could see the fireworks on the mall! Crazy right! Yeah, it was honestly the most insane 4th of July I've ever had! We were on the National Mall almost the whole day, seeing all these folk performances, checking out a bunch of booths, and then watching the fireworks as well. We were sitting between the white house and the Washington Monument with the fireworks right in front of us literally just filling the entire night sky with a bunch of other missionaries. It was a pretty surreal experience... Just to think that we were all missionaries sitting on the national mall on our Nation's birthday, it was incredible! There really is no better mission in the whole world (sorry Jessica) .
We've also been able to go on several exchanges which has been informative and enjoyable. It's good to be able to associate with the missionaries and see how we can help them better. The stress is also piling on because soon Elder Pierucci will be going home, and it'll be up to me to take on the role of Assistant in a lot greater role... It honestly scares me to death.... I just pray that everything will work out and I won't mess up the mission too badly.