Tuesday, June 12, 2018

June 11, 2018 in Ellsworth, Maine - transfers

Hello! This week has been great!

Elder Dayley headed up to Vermont, I was sad to see him go. He’ll do well though!

I received Elder Lockwood who is just starting his mission! He is from Ohio and is super awesome! He loves sports and is really kind. He’s doing a super good job and we’ve had some great experiences together already! :)

A. gets baptized Saturday!! She has been getting hit with things still but has done a great job! She’s so excited and so are we! She had us over to celebrate her birthday and gave us lobster, fiddleheads, Maine ginger beer, and a Friendly’s ice cream cake, so it was an authentic 100% Mainer meal! ;) So nice of her!

P. is good, we weren’t able to see him this week but have had good contact. He reached out to us and said he’s really excited for us to visit tomorrow, so that’s a great sign! The ward and we are going to participate in his softball tournament, so we’re pumped to support him and his cause, as well as play some softball! :)

J. is good, we’ve got a good idea of what he needs, and what we can share the next several lessons to help him most. He was busy this week for church but we want to get him to A.'s confirmation.

G. is a really great lady who is RLDS. She had family in town so she missed church, but we’ll see her tomorrow and try to set a baptismal date with her! :)

We, as always, want to emphasize finding this week and find at least 10 new people to teach. It’ll be a busy week, as we have a General Authority (a church leader) coming to speak to us this week so we have to travel.

The weather is getting warmer and we’re loving how nice it is! We’re going to go hike this afternoon to get the most out of this beautiful part of the country.

Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Branch:)

Elder Lockwood and I at A.'s "party"!

D. hazing my tadpole

I caught a tadpole!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

June 5, 2018 in Ellsworth, Maine - transfers and we're speaking espanol this time!

Hey everyone!

It’s been a great week!!
We were able to find a bunch this week and have some solid people from it!

A. is still working hard to get baptized next weekend! She had a rough week with Satan fighting against her, but she is amazing and is still going! We shared the Mormon message “Spiritual Whirlwinds” with her yesterday which she really liked! We also gave her a little drawing on a piece of wood that she liked.  :)

J. came to church!! :) He showed up for second hour and checked out primary and Sunday school. The lesson was the Word of Wisdom, which is a health code given to us by the Lord, just like He’s always given His followers. The lesson was going really well but then it took a few turns onto things that are not in the Word of Wisdom. Luckily he seems to be ok and not scared off, we’ll be visiting him again tomorrow. It’s always good to remember that everyone is at different points in their gospel learning so we should be careful with what we say in cases of opinion rather than doctrine. If we stick with the Lord's word and simple doctrine, with the promised blessings, we know we will be safe.

A lady named G. has been doing really well! She hasn’t been to church in a while, but has read and believes the Book of Mormon because of past religious affiliation! She loved our chapel and we’re visiting with her again tonight with some members.

Others like P. and A. have been hard to catch, but we have appointments with both this week.

We have a few less active families who really just need friends in the church. We’re hopeful we can find members who will minister to them and be friends. We can only do so much because we come and go. Members in the area reaching out in love can help people make the changes they need. If you don’t know who needs help in your area or community, ask the missionaries! :) They will have some great ideas of those who need a friend and can introduce you.

We got transfer calls and I will be staying! Elder Dayley will be heading off to Vermont. I’ll be training a new missionary who speaks Spanish! It’ll be an adventure for sure! :) Not sure how that will work since I’m just English speaking, but maybe I’ll pick up a little more Spanish, I guess we will all see!

Have a great week! :)

Monday, May 28, 2018

May 28, 2018 in Ellsworth, Maine

Hey friends!

This week was nice! We got to see lots of those were teaching. Lots of them are still in between making the changes in their life they need, but they are coming along. We also got back in contact with lots of others.

Church we had lots of people planned as usual, but we just had A. and K. again. P. had to work, J. didn’t make it, and lots of those who are less active who’ve been returning had other things come up. Oh well, better luck next week. Church was especially good this week. I read the sacrament prayers and was reminded of how merciful the Lord is to us. Sometimes when someone we’re teaching cancels and appointment, just doesn’t show up for an appointment, or doesn’t do what we asked and invited them to, it makes me frustrated. I always get over it quickly, but in the moment it’s easy to think maybe we should just give up on them and help someone else. Of course there are times where we have to if they don’t have real intent, but even those who are seeking truth with a real desire make mistakes. I thought about how each week we probably do a billion things that make God sad for us, and more than anything he just wishes we would obey. He never gives up on us, and that gives me strength to not give up on anyone we’re helping as well as long as they continue to strive.

We had exchanges with Machias Elders which was good, we both went to their area. I got to teach an awesome family who will really be blessed by the gospel. Later in the day, we found a new man for them to teach who was a photographer as well as artist. He showed me lots of his sketches which I loved! He is from France as well which was really cool, I loved his accent! He has grown a nice Mainer beard though so he fits right in.

Yesterday we set up a booth in Bar Harbor and did the Book of Mormon experiment with people! We invited them to read a page of the religious text, high-lighting how many times Deity is referred to. We also invited them to mark anything they like from it. We met some great people and had a blast! We got several people’s information, and had about 40 people read pages! It was interesting to see how some people had great comprehension, while others had amazing pages with testaments of Jesus Christ, but didn’t open their hearts or understand any of it! It will be exciting to have more people read as the summer progresses.

Today we were able to hike in Acadia with the Rockland elders which is always a good time!

Hope you all have a great day,
Elder Branch :)

Book of Mormon experiment

Cool art at Frenchman's

Random past Mission President bought us massive cookies - how nice was that!

Pre-zone conference hike in the morning with Elder Donn


Monday, May 21, 2018

May 21, 2018 in Ellsworth, Maine


This week was fast! Everything is so fast now!

We had some exchanges this week and I went to Belfast. We had a really cool miracle while there! It was night time and we were getting eaten by black flies and mosquitoes, so we went to the store to get bug spray. The Elder I was with saw a member of the ward so we went and said hi! She was really nice and shared some of her story with me. She’s been a member her whole life, but went inactive as a teenager after some poor decisions that she thought were true freedom at the time. Over the years she has gone in and out of activity. Eventually one day she was thinking about when she’s felt the best, and she realized the place she’s felt the happiest was in the beautiful celestial room of the temple. She decided then to live worthy to enter the temple and has been active since. As she was telling us this story, another lady walked up the aisle. As she walked by us I said something , I don’t remember what. She stopped and we started talking. I realized she had some really cool earrings that my sister would love! I asked her about them and she said she made them! We continued to talk and we learned she was actually an inactive member of the church! She shared some of her story and the member we were originally talking with jumped in and talked too. They connected well and we discussed lots of things like dealing with loss, the Book of Mormon, and eventually divine design. I told her about the great talk given by Elder Rasband 

which talked about how lots of things happen for a reason. I knew that us all meeting up in the store that day was by divine design. She agreed and shared that her young son has just begin to talk about God these last two weeks. Her husband isn’t interested at all, and she doesn't know if she’s ready to come back, but she was eager to set up an appointment to meet with the missionaries again!

A. is doing so well! She is excited for her baptism and we’re beginning to plan out all the details. She has great real intent and has truly read and asked God if the Book of Mormon is true!

P. missed church again which was really sad! We had some ideas, and he’s doing a charity softball tournament in a bit, so we're organizing a team to play for the ward! The members are really excited! :)

J. is good, we taught him Wednesday and sent him a video from some awesome members on Friday which he LOVED! He’s hoping to make it to church again this week.

We have started sending K. daily 3 minute video’s of us just teaching one principle at a time. She loves those as well, and once or twice we’ve been able to have members do them with us which was great!

Have a great week!
Elder Branch

Monday, May 14, 2018

May 4, 2018 in Ellsworth, Maine


It has been another wonderful week in Ellsworth! We had Zone Pday today in Acadia Nat. Park which was awesome so I’m short on time.

A. is doing great! We had a church tour with him and he loved it! He’s hoping this next Saturday to get his whole family to church. He especially loved the art at the church. Talking about Jesus visiting the people in America, or quoting the first vision while looking at a painting of the experience is powerful! :) We saw him in the park later in the week and were able to have him sign our Mother’s Day board! We had been meeting with our ward Mission leader in the park so we were able to introduce them which was super, they had a great time talking! Thanks members! :)

A. is also well, she and K. came to church. A. is still progressing towards her baptismal date of June 16. We’re working on scheduling her interview! This last week when we taught her she gave us some Vermont maple syrup from her brother who lives there! We had some great pancakes after our run the next morning!

P!! We got to meet him because of a crazy miraculous change of plans because an Elder forgot his tablet after District Meeting. We had been planning on going to Bar Harbor that night but had to head half way to Machias instead. On their way back we adjusted plans and decided to stop by P. He let us right in and we were able to teach. The spirit was SOOO strong, and he understood what we taught. I could go on and on about it, and probably will later, but because of time today I’ll just say he really wants to learn and grow, wants to get his family to church, and has a baptismal date now for July 7th! :)

Others are good. We dropped a few who aren't putting in the effort to learn, and may drop some more. The good part is, meeting new people to teach is my favorite thing! :)

Have a great week, thanks for all you do to share the gospel with those around you! Even if you feel like you don’t know anyone who needs the gospel, I promise you do. Even if your sphere of influence is small, pray for missionary opportunities, fast for them monthly, and do the best to live the gospel yourself, and God will show you who you are called to serve.

Have a great week!
Elder Branch

Monday, May 7, 2018

May 7, 2018 in Ellsworth, Maine


This week has been great both A. and A. (2 separate people we’re teaching) decided to be baptized and are working for June 16th!

A.’s lesson was pretty awesome! We were there with a member and got to know her. She has learned from missionaries before but went away, and now came back. We were teaching Christ’s gospel, which is all about Faith which leads us to repent, or change. As we repent we will want to be baptized, which is a covenant or promise with God to try to follow Him more closely. As we promise God to do that, God promises us the gift of the Holy Ghost which helps us feel peace and happiness, as well as leads us to make better choices. As we taught, A. had all kinds of questions and concerns. She started to focus on baptism and lots of hold ups she would have. We talked, shared scriptures and discussed how baptism isn’t the end, we have to continue to have faith, repent, be baptized(or take the sacrament), and continue to receive the Holy Ghost through our whole life, as a repeated cycle. Eventually our member had to leave part way in but we were able to keep talking. Eventually I felt I should pause. I asked for a second to consider how I wanted to word my question, and I prayed for what I should say. Without really thinking, I listened to myself ask, “Alicia, do you think God wants you to be baptized?” In response, she told us about how she had sabotaged the dates missionaries had given her to be baptized before because she was too nervous. She told of how she’s tried to turn to other places for the “truth” but couldn’t find it. She told of how God always draws her back to the church, and how the Book of Mormon has changed her. She is kinder, more willing to speak up for herself, and feels closer to God. Eventually she said, “So ya, he does want me to be baptized... I was thinking June.”

Haha, I was so happy! She decided on June 16th. 😊

We had interviews this week and I learned a lot as usual, but this time it wasn’t from what was said. As I looked at how I was helping the missionaries around me, because lots of the interview was focused on the others I could help, I realized a day or two later that I could change my approach to be better and more Christlike.

We had Stake Conference in Bangor and it was really fun to see people from Newport again! :)

N. is falling off which is sad, but we’re going to try seeing what’s going on. P. is good! We saw him yesterday and he wants to bring three of his kids and his girlfriend to church! :) Others are all good as well. We had a great lesson with J. this week! He talked about how he loves the church and if his wife likes it, they will join! We’re glad he enjoys the social and family centered environment there, but now we’re really focusing on getting him into the center of our message, which brings a more powerful spiritual witness that this is the true church. We really need to get him to regularly read and pray about the Book of Mormon, to gain a testimony of Christ and the restoration of His church.

J. talked about how he loves us and it surprised me when he started telling Elder Dayley how grateful he is for me! He said he felt like he really knows me and knows I care, that all the Elders have been really amazing and some of the best people he’s ever met, but he has a special connection with me. It was super nice of him, and I’m grateful I know him as well! A couple other people, members and investigators, said similar things this week. They felt like they knew me before and had a special connection. I have thought about that a lot as I’ve heard these things. Even though when I first got my Mission call to New Hampshire of all places I wasn’t incredibly thrilled, I’ve come to know that God really does know where he needs us and has a plan in place. I’m grateful that God is a lot smarter than I am! ;)

Elder Branch

Us and the Machias Elders

A neat finding idea...

Monday, April 30, 2018

Apr. 30, 2018 in Ellsworth, Maine - Transfers...


So, I had written out my email and was almost done, when my iPad crashed and deleted it all. 😭 So, my motivation and time are lessened to write, but I’ll still give you the basic highlights.

Wednesday we had to pack because we left that night. We were able to stop by and teach some people that day too so Elder Powell could say bye.

We drove for about 9 hours Thursday because of the drive down, back up, and picking up Elders along the way to bring them to their new areas. Looooong day, but fun to see people. Elder Powell will do well in Vermont. I received Elder Dayley. He is from Idaho, is a saxophone wizard, likes the indoors, but isn’t opposed to the outdoors, and likes to joke!!

We found a track by our apartment, that made me so happy! My mile time on a treadmill got down to 5:47 in Manchester, but that was 3 months ago, but the weather is nice now so we can finally run, and I had a 6:27 mile on the real track without feeling to tired so I’m excited to get to keep running in the mornings! :)

We stopped by a guy named A. who we had stopped teaching a few months back and had a great lesson! Things in his life are clearing up a lot more now and we’re doing a church tour with him tomorrow morning!

Lots of our investigators weren’t able to get together this week, because of the craziness. N. sent us a text that sounded like he wasn’t going to meet anymore which made us super sad! We stopped by though and he actually just meant he was starting work so he’d be a lot more busy and it would be harder to meet. He also was worried about all the commitments he’d have to make. We told him to chill for a second. If we relate the gospel to math, he was trying to do calc without even learning or experiencing addition! We explained that the reason God sent us was to help him, one step at a time. First thing is he needs to read in the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it’s true. We shared Alma 32 and talked about how we had given him a seed of faith, and he said, “ya, and I need to water it, I haven’t done that.” We were really glad he made the connection, hopefully he’ll read!

P. has been busy but we have contacted him a few times and he still wants to meet.

The S. family hasn’t really been keeping their commitments or appointments. We stopped by this week after having scheduled the appointment the day before, to find no one home... we left a note asking them to call us to reschedule because they have missed a bunch recently. If they don’t call we will just wait and come back by in a month or two.

K. is good, she was out of town.

J. had a busy week but we’re excited to see him again.

A lady named A. who had been checking out the church before I got here, came to church this week! We had never met her in person, but had talked on the phone a bunch of times and she had always seemed interested still. She has been sick and busy for the last few months, but has continued to read the Book of Mormon and is noticing how it has been changing her life! We will see her again this Wednesday.

Last thing, I had been praying to receive a sure knowledge that President Nelson is a prophet. I believed he was because I know the church is true, but this week as Elder Dayley and I were praying together before we went to bed, I prayed that God would bless the prophet President Nelson. That was the first time I’ve asked God to bless him since he was called and in that instant, I felt the spirit tell my heart he is a prophet. It wasn’t overpowering or emotional, it was just a happy and sure feeling. I’m glad God answers prayers in his way and time.

Elder Branch :)

Awesome Elder Powell

A work in progress...

My new comp, Elder Dayley is the second from the right.

Elder Dayley is taking this picture