Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Oct. 18, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire

Happy Wednesday!

Hello everyone! This week we had a meeting with all the new missionary and their trainers up where Joseph Smith was born on Monday and Tuesday, hence the Wednesday email!

Last week was busy! We had 2 Zone Conferences which went well. We finally were pro's at training people on Smartphones and their set-up by the third one (which was the last one) so I guess we learned how just in time!!.. ;)

This week one of our investigators named N. accepted a baptismal date for my favorite day, November 11th! :) He is doing really well, but his wife had bronchitis this last week so he wasn't able to make it to church. That was too bad she was sick. They both want to come this next week!

Last week along with M., up in Newport where I was before Manchester, S. and D. were baptized!!!!!! They got married a few weeks back and now they are members of Jesus Christ's church! :) It is so exciting to see people who have changed their lives, I remember the night Elder Carlson and I knocked on S. and D.'s door and their cat ran away so we had to help them catch it!! :) Haha, it's pretty cool how that eventually lead to them getting baptized to bless their new family for generations to come!!!!!

We have a pretty open week this week, so we're excited to get to do more missionary work!!!!! It is so exciting to get to teach and talk to people all day rather than be doing things in the office! I remember at the beginning of my mission I though it would be nice to get to be inside doing office stuff haha. I love the saying that "a ship in the harbor is safe, but that's not what it's made for." It is fun to realize how my attitudes have changed where I am looking forward to my chance at the "ocean" when stuff keeps us stuck in the "harbor" for a while! :) We have MLC next Tuesday, but other than that these next few weeks are beginning to look a lot more open, and I'm excited! :)

We found several new people to teach last week, even though we only had a bit of time, and one of them named J. is especially cool. It was about 8:50 at night and we had just taught some other people and we're heading back to our truck. We walked out on the street and J. walked out just before us. We tried to talk to him as we walked down the street, but he just answered all our questions about sports (since he had some cool sports stuff on) without even turning around to look at us. Eventually we got next to our truck and he still hasn't stopped, so I just said something about how it was good to meet him, but we hadn't even gotten his name, and we'd love to shake his hand! He stopped finally and shook our hands, then started talking! He told us all about him and his background, and how he's been praying for answers and help, and he thinks we were who God sent, he just hadn't recognized it till he got to talk to us. He has a rough past and is excited to get to meet, learn more, and try out church. It is cool how people are always being prepared, and we can't give up and have to do everything we can to help them chose the right and listen.

Love you all, hope you have a great week and go get out of the harbor!

Elder Branch

The Elders all slept in here because it was 27 outside. 

(These pictures are from the fantastic Senior Missionaries 
and Mission President's Wife)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Oct. 9, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire

Heyyyyy everyone!!

M. got baptized!!!!!!!!! It was so great, she is the best! She invited several people but a friend of theirs had actually passed away so they had to go to the funeral, but it was sure cool M. was inviting people! She bore her testimony and told her whole conversion story after she was baptized, which was incredible!

It started with an apology because she doesn't feel like she speaks very good English. (We all love her accent though!) She told about how she has 7 kids and a few grandchildren and her husband still lives in Sudan. She first met with the Church when she visited her daughter in Utah who joined. She felt like it was good and true and different and she wanted to join the Church in NH, but didn't know where to go. Her daughter got her the number, but M. was always too tired from working two jobs to call.

M.'s daughter came to visit her later on and was only going to be there for 4 days. On the second day M. made lots of food and had all the family and friends over to celebrate her daughter's visit. During the party the daughter came up to her all excited and told her the people she needed to talk to were there! That's when we met M. Her daughter saw us walking by on the street after an appointment heading back to the car and she called us over.

M. said that we started teaching her and she felt good. We got her an English copy of the Book of Mormon but she couldn't read it very well, and then we brought an Arabic copy. She has read all of 1st Nephi and knows that it is a book from God.

The first time at church with us she didn't feel anything. The second time though she felt so calm and happy and knew it was God talking to her. She loves the Church and this week her boss promised her she will never be put on the schedule for Sunday again!

She talked a lot more about the things she's felt and experienced, and the spirit was so powerful as she testified. It was so cool, I'm so glad we got to meet M. that day!

The rest of the week has been good too, we've been training a LOT on technology and have two more Zone Conference this week. We are excited to get back out to work more again! :)

Love you all!
Elder Branch :)

Pictures from the mission facebook page....

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Oct. 2, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire

Happy October everyone!!

This week has been absolutely wild, probably one of the busiest of my mission. We had visa waiting missionaries fly out Monday as well as new missionaries fly in! They are all awesome and we got to take them all out on the streets for a bit. I went with Elder Walker and Elder Taylor (who is now being trained in Exeter where I was!)

Tuesday we had transfers and Elder Bester left to go reopen an area and train for his last 2 transfers! We'll miss him here!

My new companion is Elder Petersen! If that name sounds familiar, that is because it is, Elder Petersen and I were MTC companions over a year ago! It is crazy to be back together again! We have both changed and learned so much on our missions, and so it is awesome to see how we've improved. :)
We ended up having a lot of planning and moving missionaries those next few days and got very little sleep, but we survived!

Thursday we had Mission Leadership Conference with all the mission leaders which went really well! We were able to set a bunch of other missionaries up with facebook and smartphones!

We got to work a little more on Friday and ended up getting 6 people we're teaching to come to church and watch General Conference! B. and T. (A.'s, a recent convert, siblings) came and watched it. A lady named A. whose brother is a member, E., a lady who we found on the street who was really interested in Prophets on the earth today, as well as R. (who has come to church twice) all watched it as well! The coolest though was M.!

M. had her baptismal interview this week and she passed! She will be getting baptized this Saturday! We're so excited for her! At the end of the Sunday morning session of conference, she leaned over to me and said, "You know the second man who talked about miracles, well he said if we have faith miracles still happen. I believe it was a miracle when you and Elder Bester found me." Can I just say, that was the coolest thing!? Missionary work changes lives and is such a joy. :) 

Hope you all have a great week!!!
Elder Branch :)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sept. 25, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire

We didn't get a letter from Elder Branch this week. 
Thank Heaven, the dear Senior Missionaries and Sister Blair 
posted pictures on the mission facebook page 
so we were able to see our dear Elder Branch. 

It appeared his companion was transferred 
and would be training a new missionary. 
We didn't know who his new companion was
 but just a few days ago we received a facebook message 
from a dear Sister Peterson 
who said her son was his new companion. 

They were companions a year ago in the MTC! 
Here are the pictures. =D

Their mission is receiving smartphones. 
This is the initial training on the devices. 

Sept. 18, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire

Hello Hello,

This week was just wild, but great!! We had a meeting with all the new missionaries and their trainers at the Joseph Smith memorial on Tuesday which went really well. It is always so nice to be up there! It is really pretty and they have hymns playing and it is great! :)

Wednesday we had exchanges with the Winthrop Elders! Elder Peterson (my mtc companion) went with Elder Bester and I went with Elder Jacobson and Elder Wells, they are a trio. We had a great day, and on this one street found 6 new people to start teaching! We also ran into one of the people they were teaching named C. and got to teach her, which resulted in her calling us later in the week on Saturday night and deciding to come to church!

Thursday we got to go teach people most of the day and then had to get ready for Elder Bednar. We had dinner with the Blair's and planned, which was super fun and exciting!

Friday, Elder Bednar came, which was awesome!! That morning was crazy since Elder Bester and I were in charge of getting everyone there and in place and ready for the meeting. We were going to take a picture outside, but knew there was a chance of rain. The Blair's were picking up Elder Bednar and we had to move people a ton because it started raining so everyone went in the gym and set up for the picture inside. Then it stopped raining so he all went back outside and set up again! Haha, but everything ended up going really well! He was fun and taught a lot. He had it be really interactive and was always having us ask questions and he was asking questions. The main message I got from it was that there are agents and objects in the world. We need to help people to be agents and use their agency. As missionaries as well as in life, we need to try to make situations for people, ones where they can use their agency to choose the right. He talked about how putting people on the spot as well as asking questions in a way that makes it the "guess what's in the teachers mind" game both turn people into objects and doesn't let the Holy Ghost touch them. After the meeting he just had to leave quick and didn't have time to shake hands, but since Elder Bester and I were sitting next to him he shook our hands and just said, "You learn things sitting up here that you learn in no other way." That was a pretty neat experience!

Saturday we were on exchanges again and I was with Elder Dudney. We had some massive pancakes up in Laconia NH and then worked in Manchester for the day!

So sad news this week. T.'s mom is getting involved with his baptism. It's a long story, but he won't be getting baptized this Friday any more and we're not sure what'll be the end result. :( M. came to church though and brought her grandson, J.! C. also came and they all loved it. M. will probably get baptized in 3 weeks, since general conference is in 2 weeks.

Sure love you all and have the best of weeks!! :)

Elder Branch

(Thank you dear Senior Missionaries and Sister Blair for the great pictures!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sept. 11, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire

Hello Hello! :)

This has been a busy week! We had a Zone Conference and 3 exchanges, so we were all over the mission! I got to go back to Newport and that was so fun! We had coordination that night so I got to see and surprise some awesome members, it was great! :) We also saw some of the people I taught there which was fun! S. and D. are getting married on the 23rd this month and they are expecting it sounds like! They don't have a set baptismal date but hopefully this next week.

I got to go on exchange with a new missionary which was really cool. We found a lady who we gave a Book of Mormon to who was at Wendy's! She sees missionaries there a lot and has always wondered what we do, but she's been working. She was on break when we met her and it was great to see Elder R. testify. We taught the Plan of Salvation to a man who is recovering from some addictions right now and it was such a cool experience. He loved how God knew us before we were born, how we have a purpose here on earth, and that we are going somewhere after this life! Then late that night as we were out on the street catching up with a few people who they have met before. We had some interesting experiences. We met a HUGE (like just really tall and strong) older man who said his name was Void, and that he owns a studio. He raps and sings. It was pretty crazy, we saw him then decided to go talk to him because we talk to EVERYBODY, and then when he turned around we thought we were dead! Haha, he was pretty cool though. We said hi to this lady a little while later and asked her a question because we were a little lost, and she just gave a quick answer and kept walking. I had no idea in my mind how to relate our little conversation to the gospel and she started to walk away quickly. We almost turned around and kept walking too, but then I just felt like I should say something more. I turned around and said something, although I have no clue what I said or asked her, but all I know is that it definitely wasn't very smooth and didn't make a lot of sense. She turned around though and then next thing we knew we were teaching her about the Restoration of Jesus Christ's church and giving her a copy of the Book of Mormon. Those Elders are going to go visit her this next Wednesday, and it is pretty cool how the Lord always makes our efforts, no matter how frantic they are, work out for good! :)

T. and M. both came to church again this week. We were hoping to have 9 people there, but lots of people had to cancel. That's how it goes sometimes, but were gonna help them all make it there one of these days! :) T. is planning to be baptized on the 22nd and has his interview today. There have been a few hiccups recently, so prayers on his behalf would be great!! M. is amazing!!! She is one of the most amazing people I've met in my life. She has sacrificed so much for her family and kids and works so hard for them. She is going to be baptized on the 30th now we think. She accepted the Law of Tithing this week, which is amazing to me because she is working two jobs all to support kids going to college, family with health problems, and keep her little apartment. She knows it is a commandment and God will bless her, and I think it is amazing to see that much faith.

Elder Bednar will be visiting our mission this week and everyone is really excited! :)

Sure love you all and hope you have a great week! :)
Elder Branch