Monday, June 29, 2009

The heat of the southwest sun‏

I have quite a bit of time to write this week but I'm not how long this will be because I've been having trouble organizing my thoughts lately. I think I need to meditate because I have a lot of information in there but none of it fluidly is coming out. So I make some time to do that today.

As for events as a missionary its been kind of good and kind of bad. All of our dates have been pushed to next transfer. Theresa who is 8 years old should be next transfer. Aminata doesn't really understand us when we teach so we just pushed her back as well. As for other investigators, we've decided to give Matt to the Assistants who cover the singles ward, we think he'll fit in better there. Jellys is having struggles in the family and asked us not to come by this weekend while his wife was there. Bee is awesome. She is going to have her baby by the 11th of the July and will be baptized as soon as she is feeling well enough to do it. I'm excited for that one. Only a few came to church but one of them was a 19 year old named Yea. He's kind of our miracle story. We were on our way to teach someone when we were stopped by this young man from Sudan. He asked if we did bible studies and we said we can. Then we talked a little bit and he agreed to take the missionary discussions. When we went over we began to teach and to our suprise he knew a lot of it without even reading the bible. He said he thought a lot about it and he thinks it works like this. Elder Yates and I were kind of shocked and we left he said thats never happened to me before.

Not a lot of these people are doing anything though which is making us a little frustrated. We're thinking about just letting a lot of them go and starting from scratch. Its a sad thought but it might be what needs to happen.

We had some weird things happen to us this week. A lot of it was on Friday.We had dinner with a recent convert family. We had enchiladas(which we had 5 nights in a row). We began to talk and remembered that everyone had joined except for the dad. Elder Yates just asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he said yes. It was crazy because it was just that simple. Love it when its simple. After dinner we stopped at the church and a homeless guy came up to us. He wanted some money and a ride to WalMart(he had a really long story and Elder Yates and I thought he was full of it but we helped him anyways). We got him a ride and 20 bucks. That kind of shot our evening. Then one of the craziest things I had seen a while happened. We were talking to a lady and her 5 kids. We asked if we could come by and share a message with them. She said we could with the kids and the kids were excited. Elder Yates asked if she would like to listen with the kids. Then she told us a little a bit about her history and everything.It was a pretty nice conversation. Then something just blew. She started screaming at us. We're not even sure what set her off but she just started saying every prejudice thing we've heard about the church. The kids were kind of scared. She was just yelling and the kids were yelling at her "Let them talk". She just kept going, people were beginning to come out of their apartments. Finally Elder Yates got stern with her. He stopped her and said "I don't think you know what you're talking about". He said "Everything we believe is in the bible and if you have one I would love to address all your concerns right now". That set her off again and then her husband came and pulled her inside. It was bizarre.

We got to have a few exchanges this week. Thursday Elder Yates wanted to evaluate Elder Bickmore and Elder Keir. So I went to stay with Elder Forkner and Elder Robertson. Their area is going really slow we ended up knocking a lot of doors and spending some time in my area. It was a lot of fun though, I had a pretty good time. My other exchange was last night. We had an interesting situation. I was asked by someone to speak to the youth that evening. But we were taking an investigator to the visitor center in Mesa. We couldn't be in both places. I told them they'll probably have to find someone else to do it but they said they really wanted me to speak to the youth. So We decided to have Elder Keir go with me to speak and have Elder Bickmore go with Elder Yates to Mesa. Elder Keir wanted to make a lasting impression so we formulated our plan. We were given about 45 minutes to speak. We started off by me just rambling on about faith while I was doing that Elder Keir ate an entire plate of brownies. The kids were all laughing but I pretended like I didn't notice. They were falling for our trap. He finished up licking the plate and I asked him if he was finished. He said it was way awesome. I asked him why he didn't share. He said because I didn't ask. He then taught the true principle we were there to speak on which was inviting people to hear the gospel. He asked people in the crowd if they would eaten a brownie had he asked "will you eat a brownie". We then showed a movie. Then I taught and shared experiences from my own life on how important and easy inviting is. It was a lot of fun.

I'd like to end my email by explaining the topic. It's gotten really hot here lately. A member family told us it 124 degrees at the airport on Thursday. I don't think thats true. It was a funny dinner that night. We were leaving and the dad in the familoy hugged his daughter. And Elder Yates said "Oh a girl hug I haven't had that in a while". Just for the record Elder Yates makes great impressions on people. Anyways the dad's response was "Well when you get released come back over here and we'll fix that". I had trouble not laughing and as we left I gave him a ton of crap about it. Hey is Michael Jackson dead? Someone told me that but I'm not sure.

Alright that was way long but its ok, peace out for now.

Love, Elder Caywood

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ungodly Hour‏

So our P-day has been officially moved to Tuesday. Next week I'll be writing on Monday but after that just expect on Tuesday. Let me explain why. Last Tuesday we had our Zone Conference. It was quite enjoyable and I certainly learned a lot. President Bassett always shares his concerns with us and any changes that will be made during the beginning of the meeting. He said that after careful thought and prayer that P-day will be moved to Tuesday. This puzzled us because Monday is one of the least effective days for missionary work(which is true because yesterday we had 4 appointments fall through). He explained one reason is because the temple is not open on Mondays. But the main reason actually has to do with emailing in libraries. Because of budget cuts all Mesa public libraries close on Mondays except for the main one. So every Monday this main library would have 80 to 100 missionaries show up. People began to get into arguments with them and they were persecuted greatly. President Bassett really struggled with this but he said there wasn't really any other option. I haven't really noticed because in North Phoenix theres only 8 of us.

I titled my email the ungodly hour when it really should of been ungodly hours. Let me explain. I've quickly learned that 1 pm to 5 pm pretty much stinks. There isn't a soul walking around in that heat. So we aren't finding a ton. And it seems that with the summer coming people have become more irritable. Its definitely a different feeling than my first few weeks. Another thing we struggle with during that time is keeping our eyes opened. It just zaps your energy. I thought it was just me but Elder Yates had felt tired and he was getting frustrated from it. Then we went on splits with one of the zone leaders who said he's just been exhausted the past 2 weeks or so. I began to discover that other missionaries felt this way too. Its been quite tough.

So I guess this week I'm going to center my topic on members. Our investigators are all at a stand still. Jellys are most promising one stopped moving forward. Our forsure baptism on the 11th said yesterday that she may want to push it back a week. Its puzzling that most of these people accapt but they don't do anything about it. Anyways I wanted to share some experiences I've had with my favorite member here. This guy is a super missionary/convert from Africa. His english isn't great but he's the best member missionary we have. His name is Brother Aaron Camara. He does everything that he is suposed. He has somebody for us to see everytime we see him.

Going off more Brother Camara adventures I have to tell you about an experience we had. In the Mesa Mission we have the gift of having a visitor center in front of the temple. It is a great tool for missionary work. As I've previously stated in past emails we are teaching in an apartment complex full of African refugees such as Jellys and Bro. Camara. We decided to borrow a 15 passenger van and take a bunch of investigators down to the visitor center. We showed up Saturday night and went to the two apartments we were picking up people from. We got the first two but Elder Yates went to the other one and none of them could come. We went down and including ourselves we only had 6 people for the van. We were sad. Brother Camara asked where the other people were and Elder Yates said they're up there. He then puts his phone away and walks up there. He knocked on the door and walked in. We waited outside and after 5 minutes 9 people walked out of that apartment ready to go. It was awesome. He also said one of the funniest things I've heard on my mission. We taught a lesson in his home last night. It was visual lesson. He walked us to our car. He told us "Man I love you Elders, you illustrate your lessons so well that no matter how dumb the person is they have to understand what we're teaching." He was completely serious and we had a hard time not busting up. Theres a careful line between doing missionary work with members and hanging out with members. President Bassett always reminds us that none of the members like you. You have a tag on and you affect them in no other way. So stop hanging out with them and get to work. He has a list of the families missionaries shouldn't be around. I see where he's coming from. We show up for what 3 months?

Well thats about all I got, no pictures this week forgot my camera(and also I didn't take any.)

love,Elder Caywood aka as Brother Camara would say Elder Wood

Monday, June 15, 2009


I'm feeling super good right now. I slept the best I've slept in about a month. I had been having some troubling thoughts that had been keeping me up a lot. Like I'd have dreams about it and it'd wake me up all the time. I'd been trying to figure out what it was for a few weeks now. I had wondered if it was my medication making me drowsy. I wrote that off. I wondered if it was the fact that I haven't been eating breakfast for like a week because we haven't gotten groceries in 2 weeks. Once again I thought that wasn't it. It was the area. Something just wasn't right in our area. And it was driving me crazy which just made it worse. I decided that the reason I felt this way was because we weren't being bold enough. We were teaching too many people who accepted what we taught but didn't do anything about it. Like people wouldn't do anything we asked them to, no life changes. *sigh* It had been going on for a while and the fact that we weren't seeing them progress started to drag on Elder Yates and I. So we talked it out on Wednesday and we've been gradually getting better and better. We set a few baptism dates, we have about 4 on July 11th and we're hoping to add 3 more to that by the end of the week. So 7 baptisms possibly on July 11th, I know crazy! Its a high goal but the thing is... It's possible.

I better talk about the title of this email. Last night we had dinner with this kid from some hick town in Oklahoma. He had an accent but I didn't want to be judgemental. But then he talked about frying up a squirrel and getting his sister a dead possum for her birthday. Elder Yates and I were having a hard time understanding how anything he said added to our conversation. Then he said something I'll never forget. "Don't you guys love sweetarts? I sure love sweetarts, they're mighty fine but I wish that they didn't give you so many blisters in your mouth when you eat too many." It was so redneck and Elder Yates and I couldn't help but laugh, it was the most awkward dinner of the week.

It appears that my driving priviledges may be taken away. Let me run through the scenario. Two weeks ago was transfers. Our district is 6 Elders. Elder Robertson's companion Elder Unversaw went home. Elder Robertson came with Elder Yates and I who were meeting someone in Mesa that evening who we were teaching but were giving to Elder Bickmore and Elder Keir because we were switching wards. So its like 5:30 that day and we have our car Elder Robertson has his. We got permission from the vehicle coordinator to have me drive Elder Robertson's car to Mesa because he was uncomfortable driving. The reason this made sense was I would introduce the investigator in Mesa to his new Elder(Bickmore) while Elder Yates showed Elder Keir around his new area. Well, heres what happened. We were at dinner when I recieved a phone call from the person in Mesa asking where were? He had been there since 5:45. He misunderstood because I said we were meeting at 6:45. So we ran out to the car and drove as fast as we could. Long story short I failed to notice the speed limit change in the rush and got a ticket for going 11 over. Lets just say President Bassett may have my head soon.

Saturday night was fun. Elder Bickmore and Elder Keir were at the church late. Elder Yates said we should mess with them somehow. So we went over there and I got some vaseline and put it on their doorhandles. It was Elder Yates' idea and I was just following orders but it was pretty funny to see them go the car and find out. Bahaha.

I got a letter from the Van Wagenens and in that letter Jenny briefly described her experience at some of the historical church sites in Illinois. I really wanted to go before because I didn't know a lot of that stuff was still there. I get to watch church movies and I see all this stuff happen and I as I read about her experience, I thought "man, I would love to go see all the historical sites". I imagine it being like when I saw the Salt Lake Temple for the first time last fall. I was on cloud nine during that short little visit there.

The work is moving forward. We're entering week 3 of the transfer, we really want to get things moving along here. We're so impatient bahaha. Oh well. Peace Out.

love, Elder Caywood

PS I found this little things of bricks with names on them. One of them said Megan Caywood on it! Apparently the Caywoods aren't alone! Its so awesome I was beginning to wonder.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dumb diseases‏

Man, I am tired. I am really tired and I'm kind of in the opposite mood that I was in last week. We've worked really hard this week and have had no results from it. Tuesday we rode bikes all day and talked to everyone we saw. Only when said we could come back and he wasn't very promising at all. We sat down Tuesday night befuddled thinking "wow we just worked super hard and nothing happened". Wednesday went a lot better. We taught our most promising investigator Jellys about God's plan for us. He understood and had some great questions about it. It really made us smile and we're going to take him to the visitor's center in Mesa this weekend hopefully. Thursday we had a lot of appointments but most of them fell through.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday had to be some of my most frustrating days on my mission. We didn't have anything positive to take away from those few days. We taught a few appointments but we had a hard time trying to make it reverent where we taught. Saturday night was the peak of our frustration when a meth addict tried to tell us that the King James version of the Bible was written... 28,000 years ago. Elder Yates, Elder Galbraith, and myself we're bewildered by this woman. We gave her perfectly legitimate logic. Such as the printing press wasn't made until the late 1500's. And that Jesus Christ lived 2000 and 9 years ago, thus the bible cannot be 28,000 years old. We then got into a heated discussion on what the year 2009 means because she believes Jesus lived 6000 years ago. ARGH!!!(Pirate voice). A lot of our appointments ditched us this week(even ones with members). Hard week.

Now let me elaborate on the title of the email a little. You may have noticed that earlier in the email I put myself, Elder Yates, and Elder Galbraith. We had been upped to a threesome. That is because Elder Galbraith was suposed to get a new trainee from the MTC on transfer day last week. Unfortunately the swine flu has put the MTC on quarantine, so no one leaves. So our mission is now 9 elders short. President Bassett told Elder Galbraith find people you can stay with when you can. SO he was with for a little bit until a couple teenagers became available. I can't imagine how that is for him. It has to be tough. But Elder Galbraith did get to witness a rather cool event. On Saturday we were having companion(plus Galbraith) study. Elder Yates and I were practicing teaching. We finished with the lesson we were practicing for and then there was an awkward silence. Elder Yates glared at me and then in his pirate voice yelled "YAHARGH!!!!" as he quickly got out of his chair. I knew what he was doing immediately. It was going to be a Caywood Yates grudge match. He barreled into me but I got him on the floor and got my arm around his neck as we fought. Elder Galbraith sat on the couch confused. It was epic but ended in a draw. Elder Galbraith said he wanted to join in but we were so much bigger than him he was afraid he'd get hurt. It was a lot of fun though. Elder Yates has one weakness, when he does his pirate voice I know he's going to do something weird.

Well honestly I feel better venting a little about the lack of success we're having but pray for us because we need to help these people! Sorry about this late email, I played basketball all day and essentially shot all my P-day time down the toilet! What is Sarah going to do all summer now that school is out? How hot is it in Colorado? We hit a low of 85 the other night when we went to bed. I almost went out onto the Bjarnsons hammock because of it. I love the Bjarnsons hammock. I lay in it on P-days when I'm writing. Well I'm running low on things to write about it. PEACE OUT

Love, Elder Caywood/that other guy who's with Elder Yates

Best watch yourselfs boys‏

I apologize in advance. This may be short because the sand of time are quickly descending down the hour glass. Yes my hour is almost up. Will that stop me from writing the greatest email ever!!!!!!! Actually it probably will! Nevertheless I must try anyways. Hola world you may have noticed by my eccentric first couple sentences that I am in a chipper mood. Well it's because I'm in a good mood.

The main reason for that is that myself and Elder Yates will be in this area for another week. Transfers are tomorrow but that doesn't really concern us. Tomorrow will just be an all day working day now. The work has been going good but its been a bit of a crazy week. First off the area has been switched(not split) We now cover ShadowMountain(home to the square YES!!!) and Greenway(The snobby rich people booo). Heres the sticky situation we still live in Thunderbird with Bjarnsons and it doesn't look like we're leaving which makes using our time effectively a little harder. But we're still on it.

The work has been awesome. We've essentially just stayed in the square all the time. Elder Frisby has sent me some good spanish phrases to use which have been helpful for me. Bless his heart! He's so good at it now. I should explain the title of the email as always. We were tracting in the square when 3 teenage girls asked why two white boys were walking around the square. They told us to watch out for gang members from MBP. They said we'd get jump. But I don't know. I talk to a lot of them and they like us. Whatevs.

As for the people we're teaching. We stay true to about 3 apartment complexes regualry. Jellys and his family came to church this week. Which was excellent. We spoke on missionary work. I told the congregation that if we expect to bring people into the gospel then we must first be converted ourselves. Because once we are converted the overwhelming joy we'll have sharing the gospel will overpower our fear of talking to people. It's so true though! We inspired the members(we think) and we think they'll help us out more. We have 8 investigators in that area but none are as promising as Jellys.

Tonight it seems like I'll be going to the visitor center in Mesa with an investigator from our old ward. I really love it there. I can't wait to serve in Mesa so I can be there all the time. It'll be so awesome. I'm looking forward to a week of working hard. Suposively the Nuggets lost? That stinks. But I think it should be a really good series. Dwight Howard is a monster on the boards.

So Sarah is going to be a senior now? Exciting! Is she going to take AP Calc? I would if I was her. It will help so much in college. She'll be far ahead of the game. It really helped me. I didn't do particulary well in AP classes but it certainly made college seem more real if that makes sense. I got a letter from Spencer a few days ago, he seems to be doing well and he also appears to be somewhat gangsta. Well as gangsta as Minnesotans can get. Its really hard to imagine that he has one transfer left. Thats just incredible but he's going to come back an awesome person. He served well and I think he now has an awesome work ethic. He'll be going places I know it. Going to have great success. Minnesota is losing one heck of an Elder. I'm glad I got the chance to be a missionary at the same time its kind of cool except for the not seeing each other for 4 years part. Oh well.

This week I've been focusing a lot of my studies on chairty and love for others. It makes it easier when you're talking to people. Instead of "Hey listen to us because we're missionaries" what we really should be doing is listening to the people and helping them out with their problems. Then you come to realize that the answer to their problems is the church; its just so awesome. So much awesomeness, I'm in a great mood.

Well I'm really sorry but I have to go my time is up! PEACE OUT!


Elder Caywood