Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dec. 26, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire

Merry Christmas everyone!

This week was great, we had some great experiences finding which was really cool. Early in the week we had to have some get-real lessons with R., G., and D., as well as with L. We talked about how if they really want to know they have to put in the work (come to church, read scriptures, pray) for at least a month and then look back and see how their life has changed. R., G., and L. weren't willing to put the work in yet. D. got pretty real, and really wanted to keep learning, but since then she missed church and hasn't responded on Facebook. 

A less active recent convert we work with never will come to church, and this week early on they told us her younger sister, who has been interested and loves to have us over, wasn't allowed to go because her dad said no. They have a brother who was way cool and when we stopped by Sunday morning it was just him and the sister. We asked if she could come and then they had a big argument in Nepali, and then B. told us that she had been lying about not being allowed to go and she didn't want to come to church. She just liked having us come as company. It was really nice of him to tell us and he felt bad, but it was good to know the truth.

So, a few bummers this week, but the Lord blessed us by adding 8 new people to our teaching pool!! We found some really awesome people who have a ton of potential. One named T. came to church this week and is excited to come again. Also, t
here was a three apartment house that we felt like knocking, and the people behind all three doors became new investigators!!! Sometimes you just have to have the faith to let go of people who aren't prepared quite yet and know the Lord will help you find more. :)

Christmas was really fun! It was a late Sunday night in the office putting in the mission numbers, so when we got back to the apartment it was Christmas Morning! We decided we couldn't wait, so we opened some very early morning Christmas presents. ;) Thanks to all those who sent things, it's nice to know there are people thinking about you!

We watched Mr. Kreuger's Christmas last night with James Stewart, and I love the part at the end where it says something like: "'I love you', Clarissa said it to Mr. Kreuger, Mr. Kreuger said to Jesus, and Jesus has said it to all of us in so many ways." That is very true, and I'm so grateful for that. :)

Love you all,
Elder Branch :)

(Picture from some awesome people in New Hampshire that was texted to us.)

(Pictures from the mission facebook page)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Dec. 18, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire Merry Christmas!!

Hey everyone!

So sorry, probably shortest weekly yet, but highlights of the week:
- D. and G. set baptismal dates for January 27th.
- I gave a talk in sacrament meeting about patience. :)
- I lost my wallet and someone returned it! I had had $65 cash in it, because they encourage us to carry cash, which was stolen. :( That was a pretty big bummer, but I guess I'll just try to save up again! And hey, at least they left the change! ;)
- Transfers have come and I'm staying in Manchester again, which will be my second 7.5 month area!!
- We put up Christmas lights and our apartment looks great!

Hope you all have a great week!!! Merry Christmas! I'm grateful for this time and for Jesus Christ's example. :)

Love, Elder Branch

(Pictures put on the mission facebook page 
by the awesome Mission President's wife and the Senior Missionaries.)

They got new missionaries today!

Mission Leadership Conference

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Nov. 11, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire, Christmas in the mission

Hello everyone!

This week was CHRISTMAS!!! We had the two half mission Christmas conferences, so it was a blast! Elder Petersen and i had to get there early each night before to set up half a bazillion trees and lights to make it a "Blair-y" Christmas, which was a party! The program had tons of music, lots of Christmas stories and testimonies, but my favorite part was when Luke 2 was read with someone playing Christmas songs in the background. It is so powerful to hear the story of the Saviors birth. Sometimes life can be crazy and we can get caught in the rush, but scriptures and music have a way of pulling us back down to reality.

We're beginning planning for 2018 for the missions goals which is a party in and of itself!! One thing I've learned these last few months is that there is a TON more that goes on behind the scenes than we realize in organizations!

This week we were finally able to get R. to church!!!!!! He texted us the morning of and said he couldn't come, but Elder Petersen went and stopped by while I stayed for Ward Counsel with one of the other Manchester Elders, and Elder Petersen was able to encourage him to come, and he stayed for all three hours! I'm speaking next week so we made him promise to come again then, with G., D., and A. We also had a really awesome and brilliant 10 year old kid named D. come, along with his mom and two younger brothers. The Ward did a great job of saying hi and making then feel welcome, and they had a great time! They want to keep coming as well! We also ran into one of our past investigators who had been close to getting baptized before, and he wants to start learning again! We aren't sure how far that'll go because of really rough family pressure, but who knows!?

Over all, it was a great week! I love to see people come to church and progress! :) 

Love you all and Merryyyyyyyy Christmas!
Elder Hunter Branch

Monday, December 4, 2017

Nov. 4, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire

Merry Christmas!

This week was pretty good, Mission Leadership Conference on Tuesday was good as usual. We were in a parade this week and it was pretty funny. In a two hour long Christmas parade, we were the ONLY float themed on Jesus Christ! Our float was a nativity and we handed out #LightTheWorld advent calendars. If you haven't heard of that yet, check it out! It's a worldwide initiative to do service each day leading up to Christmas! Elder Petersen and I were talking to people on the sides of the road and handing stuff out, and ended up getting left by the float!! 😂 We just walked along after that and asked people if they had seen our float and talked about how it was the only one about the real meaning of Christmas.

One really sad experience was as we were walking back to our car we encountered a man, his young son, and the boys friends. We talked to them and got a lukewarm from the dad who said they were another Christian faith. As we talked to the kids about Christmas we asked them if they knew what Christmas is all about and the first things they said surprised me. People always talk about how Christmas is really commercialized, but people and kids I've met have always known it is all about Jesus Christ. These kids however all shouted out things like: toys, gifts, money, Santa, and food! We told them about how it is because we're celebrating Jesus's birthday and they were clueless. Thanks mom and dad for teaching me the true meaning of Christmas! :)

I hope we all remember to love and serve others this season to honor Christ and His example to us as our Savior.

So, R. and G. played football with us on Thanksgiving. They couldn't make it to church this week, but D., G.'s younger sister who is a junior, came and she brought a friend! They both had a great time and D. wants to keep working towards baptism. It is great to see them all slowly making changes! :)

Love you all!
Elder Hunter Branch

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Nov. 27, 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello and happy Thanksgiving! 

Hope your having a great week! We had a great week and saw some awesome progression, but no one ended up making it to church! Haha, you can't win them all. We'll try extra hard for that this week! :)

Also, saying we had no one at church isn't quite true. We found a less active sister whose family we're teaching now, and she came to church! She is from the D.R. and is awesome! She was baptized as a teen and hasn't been in forever! We met her on the street, brought her a Spanish Book of Mormon and she is doing great. Between her family and a few other we've met at her house (an amazing 10 year old named D. who is a genius and is super exited to learn, as well as a teen named O. who is pretty excited to come to church this next week) it has been a goldmine!

This week we went on exchange with a bunch of missionaries!

Nashua: Elder Collins (who replaced me in Exeter) and I had a great time, where we taught a lot, and talked to everyone we had time to and found a couple awesome people who want to learn.

Exeter: This was fun to be back in my old area!

I went with Elder Augir and had a good exchange. We didn't get to go see many people I knew, but we got to see some great people and promised some amazing things like health if they committed to pray and ask God to help them make it to church on a set date, as well as a promise they could quit smoking if
they read the Book of Mormon everyday for the rest of the year. We also had
an awesome experience with a less active dad and his family! We had dinner with them, helped prep for thanksgiving (first time sticking my hand in a turkey skin, that was exciting!), and shared a powerful thanksgiving/Restoration message! The family really felt the spirit. They plan to check out church soon! God really does direct this work!

Peterborough: I went with Elder Spadafora, who just left Manchester!

We tried to talk to people, but it was on the streets of a small, wealthy downtown on Black Friday, and I don't know if I've had a harder time getting people to talk!! We were knocking on car windows, sharing the #lighttheworld video, talking to people on the street and shops, and just NO ONE would have it! It was insane, it humbled me with finding for sure! We talked about why and talked about finding good finding atmospheres. Rich, Black Friday, dusk, and cold were not a good mix, especially using a new finding tool of light the world and transitioning to Book of Mormon and Restoration. We eventually found one really cool lady at Dunkin Donuts, thank goodness! Not everyone you meet is nice, even when you're just being a pal and spreading Jesus, but that's ok, it makes it exciting! ;)

Thanksgiving was great, aside from the seasonal allergies after playing football. We had two really cool guys we're teaching come to the game and they had a really good Time! They are both young, so it was huge to just get to connect. On top of that our team won, so good times!

On a sad note, we stopped teaching Carol who was going to get baptized. I'll spare you the details and just say things didn't work out there. It's sad and hard sometimes to be a missionary, but that's only when you lose sight for a second of how amazing the work you're doing is! :) There are so many amazing people we're teaching right now who are wanting to change their lives. :)

Hope you all have a great week,
Love ,
Elder Branch

Zone p-day activity

Thanksgiving dinner with the awesome Collett Family - thank you!

Boxed water while on exchanges

Thanksgiving with the Blair's

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Nov. 20, 2017 Happy Thanksgiving!


So this week I was sick ALL WEEK! It was rough, but luckily I think this is the first week since being in Manchester that we didn't have some sort of important meetings, so it was well timed, except for that we had been really excited to have the chance to work!

Tuesday we went up to Maine and went on exchange. I was already sick but decided to ignore it, which worked until we had to call President Blair for something, and then when they heard my voice they told me to go buy medicine and go to bed! It's a good thing we have adults to help all us rookies out!! ;) That morning though on exchange, the four of us set goals for the day. We started with each companionship wanting to find 4 new people to teach, then since that would be 8, we decided why not 10!? We went out into the cold on foot and talked to everyone, and by lunch at 12:45 (we got Chick-fil-a all together) we had found 10 people already!!! We decided to keep going and by the end of the day we found 14 new people to teach (each companionship found 7!) It was a crazy cool miracle because usually not everyone and their dog is dying to talk to the Mormons! (Which is still a wonder to me, I think we look pretty good!) I was on exchange with Elder N. and we had a great time. We stopped and talked to people with ear buds in, people on the corners, people just walking out of houses, and we even got the information for a mail lady who was still in her mail car! :) We were just pleasant, joked around a ton with people, and made lots of friends!

The rest of the week was a lot of sleep, medicine, office time (I couldn't do much else), and a couple of lessons. We had some of the nearby missionaries go on exchange with us so one could stay with me while Elder Petersen went out and worked.

I'm glad to report that I'm feeling better now and C. has her baptismal interview tonight at 6! :) She has her baptismal date coming up soon so keep her in your prayers!

Hope you all have a great week! Happy Thanksgiving, I'm so grateful for all of you!
Elder Hunter Branch :)