Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Week of Awesomeness‏

Well I'm honestly not sure where I should even start. It has been an excellent week. It really has. We were able to participate in 5 wonderful baptisms here on Saturday. I'll talk a little bit about them in a bit. We also had our interviews with President. We know what will be happening in the area but who will be a part of it we don't know. It is frightening to me to see how fast this is truly going now. One of the Elders in our district, Elder Maxwell is going on Tuesday(that is a week from today oh my gosh!) I came up here with him and he still had 6 months left and now he is leaving. Its amazing how fast time truly does go by here. I love my mission, if it were my choice I would love to be an Elder forever but since that is not the case, I must make the best of what I have been given over the next year. I just hope I do.

Besides that random lamenting lets get started! This weekend we had 5 baptisms! YAHHOOOOO!!!! The first one was Saturday night at 5:30 for Cindy, Will, and Anna. They all live with a recent convert of about 7 months now. She began taking them to church and they got interested in being baptized. We began the lessons about a month ago. Cindy went down from smoking a pack a day to nothing in the past 3 weeks. It ha been an incredible transformation. They are all learning and in tune to the Spirit, Will taps into it very easily, he's awesome. I had the privilege of baptizing Anna and confirming Will a member of the church. I remembered my own confirmation when that happened. To be honest at the time I didn't know what a confirmation was or the that I needed to do it. But it is such a cool experience. We also baptized to sisters who are Apaches. There names are Shania and Tewana, they are the adopted daughters of a recent convert of 6 months. When we taught the 1st lesson it was one of the most spiritual lessons ever. The Spirit flows so easily through that home! We were late to their baptism which is why you don't see any pictures of them wearing white. It was such a good weekend!

Friday we had interviews and car inspections. The vehicle coordinator decided not to show which frustrated me a little because we spent a lot of time on our car for nothing. The night before Elders Robertson, Bickmore, and Fairbank silly stringed me to death which was funny. They got me good. President said he could tell me one thing. I'll put it in our words Elder Caywood says "So President where will I be this transfer what will happen?" President got a smile on his face and said" I can only tell you one thing Elder Caywood you will either stay or you will go" I'll know Saturday what will happen for sure.

Well I better go have an awesome week, and we'll see what happens at transfers. Laterz

Love, Elder Caywood

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Adventures of Elders Caywood and Bickmore‏

Ahoy! It's been a rather normal week for us and the "f" button on this keyboard sticks and that is going to drive me nuts. Argh. But besides that I'm doing relatively good. I ran a mile this morning and I ran a mile a few days ago too. I hate to say it but I hate running on tracks. It takes time to get there and time to get back and time is something that you really don't have much of as a missionary unfortunately. I really like treadmills and I've only had one close to me once in my mission.

So this week was way good. We hit 140 street contacts again we had to work for it though(we got 49 on Friday which was impressive for quaint Snowflake). Sunday night we had a missionary movie night for the area. We were showing on the Lord's Errand which is about President Monson's life. It was really cool but we didn't have as many people as we liked. It was maybe 40 or 50 people. When we showed the "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration" in February we had over 110 people show it was crowded and it was incredible. Were showing that again in May and In June we are doing to show "Finding Faith in Christ" and then give a church tour of the Main Street Chapel which is over 100 years old. That'll be cool. I doubt I'll be here for it(some things have to roll in my favor to stay here). Transfers are on the 4th of May and I think the only way they'll let me stay is if some interesting changes happen. We'll see.

On Thursday we went on an exchange. Elder Robertson took Elder Fairbank(Elder Bickmore's greenie, he's only been out a month I believe) to Snowflake to evaluate him. Which meant it was time for Caywood and Bickmore to take over Heber. We started the morning in a little place called Aripine where we taught a lesson and found a few people. We found this caved in cabin and an old broken down 70's van. It was way tight. We set the street contact record in Heber, we had 35 in one day which has never happened before. One of them was a drunk guy who was really really really drunk, he told us some interesting things about the stars and went on his way, so weird. We had a way good lesson with a guy that night as well. He has had a concern for a long time and the Heber Elders couldn't figure it out. Elder Bickmore finally got it out(he is amazing at finding people's concerns) and then I addressed it(Eh I don't have any talents but hey let the Spirit guide). Elder Bickmore and I talked a lot, we've been around each other 7 of the 9 transfers on our mission. We work well together and it sure be neat to be his companion.

I've seen miracles in the past couple days. Sunday night we needed just 6 more contacts for 140. We couldn't find anyone and then I stopped and said Elder Robertson say a prayer. Then in the last 10 minutes of our night we found some it was awesome. Yesterday was even cooler. Our dinners happen at 5 and are generally a hour. Our dinner was only 20 minutes because out host had to be somewhere. So we decided to spend the next 30 minutes or so taking care of things around the house. I then got a call from Apache Junction. It was a recent convert who I have been desperately trying to get a hold of(she stopped going to church after I had left). We talked about some of the things happening in her life and I had her read me a scripture that has helped me out a lot. Then she told me about conference and what she got out of it. She read her notes from conference and then I told her the time is now to come back to church. Don't wait God is in the present and then I told her she needs it and that her circumstances would improve if she did. I wrote her 3 page letter this morning after praying on how I could help her. The Spirit brought 3 things to mind and I wrote it down and sealed it with my testimony. Had dinner not been just 20 minutes I would not have been able to take that call and know what was happening. God works in mysterious ways.

Well I don't have a lot more to say. Its been way good over in Snowflake even though my time is short. This weekend we are having 5 baptisms! Woo hoo. I'll take pictures and tell you how it goes and who all is getting baptized but until then Laterz.

Love, Elder Caywood

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The ditch

Hurrah! I'm getting my pooch, my stomach looking so good(not). I haven't been able to excercise for like 2 weeks. So all my progress for the past 3 months or so have been a failure to launch ouch. In fact I was looking at myself in the mirror just yelling "you monster, whens the last time you did a sit up!? Can you even still do a sit up? I doubt it." I laughed realized that I was not only talking to myself but also mocking myself so I hung my head in shame put on my deoderant and went on with my life. Now you know how my brain works? Its something...*awkward cough*

Besides starting my email like some kind of moron it has been a relatively good week. We only managed to get 112 TTI's but we're looking to improve we just need one of those big days where we get like 40! We've been struggling to get 20 a day as of late. The wind has really kept a lot of people indoors. But it is ok. All of our baptism dates are still set for the 24th. 2 are certain and the other 3 were going to see tomorrow night. I saw one today and she said that she quit smoking on Saturday so she should be good to go. Its been complete will power for her, I'm so excited. But the 24th should be rocking.

We had an amazing zone conference on Friday. President Bassett talked quite a bit about conference and it was really spiritual. Then we had a cool training by Elder Stewart. Sister Bassett gave my favorite lesson of the day. She started talking about listening to our investigators. She talked about the two things I struggle with the most in my teaching skills. One is what I will say during a street contact and also asking good questions. She said the solution is to listen. This has upped my ability as a missionary like 10 fold (at least thats what it feels like). Its certainly been amazing to apply it and even take it a step further not only listening to our investigators but also to what the spirit is telling you.

We had Elder Young for us for a little bit (He is our new Assistant and was my trainer during training blitz early last May) we went to a recent convert's house who after being baptized stopped going to church. Elder Young made an amazing lesson on agency and how the choices we make are either good or evil, leading to eternal life or captivity. He painted the picture beautifully and she agreed to come back to church. It was a great day and right after that we had a great lesson with a family who is struggling. I shared a scripture out of John with them and with my eyes tearing up I told them "Be of good cheer I have overcome the World" and not to lose their faith and to look to the Savior. It was one of the most powerful moments on my mission.

The last little tid bit of information I'd like to leave you is this. On Thursday we found out that we would be recieving a 2009 Chevy Colorado in place of our '08 one. We were thrilled. Later that day we were driving down a narrow dirt path when a car came down the road towards us. They were there first so I backed up and went into a cement ditch. In a stupor we went out to assess the damage. The car's wheel was in the ditch and it was resting on the axel and the bumper. I stayed remarkably calm during all of this (Suprising) and called the vehicle coordinator who told us to call Hatch Motors to pull us out. They did and miraculously no harm done! I got pictures though so that you can scoff, chuckle, and point your finger at the screen.

I hope you are all having an amazing week and keep on keeping on! Peace out

Love, Elder Caywood

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Truly Amazing‏

Well this week has been really good for me as a missionary and as an individual I guess I can say. Whodathunk(I'm submitting this to be a word recognized in the dictionary and all of you have to deal with that). But we saw some miracles despite a slower week for people being outside; we still managed to get quite a few lessons in. We currently have 5 dates for the 24th, 2 for June, and 2 are pending on what their mother says. So we wait, watch, and pray that all goes the way it is meant to.

Conference weekend seems to be almost a holiday for the LDS people; if that is not a true statement then it is at least for the missionaries. As the missionaries are out longer and longer the TV becomes more foreign. When it is on it becomes almost hypnotic as you tell the person you are with to turn it off before your mind stupors off and you are suddenly stuck in a couch watching the tube with a complete disregard for the rules of a missionary. Conference is different, it’s strange the TV is on, you're usually in someone's home and it’s live. And you're not breaking any rules. Truly a golden time for the Elders.

But here’s what makes it truly special. The people who are speaking and have been selected to speak have been truly ordained of God. The things that they talk about they have prayed about. They have sought inspiration and they have prepared for months on what they will say to us. It is when we can know what our Father in Heaven wants us to do.

The past 2 conferences I have noticed 2 things. One of those things was I did not watch them very carefully. Last year conference weekend was my first weekend in the MTC and honestly the overwhelming thoughts in my mind were “I am so tired" and "I have no idea what is going on". So to be honest I wasn't prepared nor was I last October. I got the big things but not all of it I didn't take notes. But I did notice the message, how to remain faithful in perilous times. This year's was different, it talked all about strengthen the youth and the families. It was incredible. I gained so much insight from that and I hope everyone who watched did too.

Three talks stuck out to me (though I loved almost all of them). Elder Holland absolutely shut down the world we live in today and the slime it seems to be filled with. He stated the difference between lust and love. It was so plain and bold. I hope that brings change. I also enjoyed Elder Anderson's talk on applying the life of Christ to our children "When they look for a miracle do they think of the miracles Christ did" "When they pray do they think of the Lord's Prayer?" "Tell me the stories of Jesus". It was incredibly moving. But my favorite and what stuck out to me the most was our Prophet President Monson. I know he would speak on the resurrection I knew that he would talk of Christ and we can all obtain this, in fact it is given to us. He then talked about a young man who had a serious disease. The man's father came into his son's room and thinking he was asleep said something along the lines of "I hope you never lose your faith in Jesus Christ" The man's son rose and said the plainest and one of the most powerful testimonies of the Lord I have ever been privileged to hear "Never!" That young man passed away but his family knows that they will have him again someday. This story was powerful to me and I prayed that our investigators who watched had the same feelings.

The Lord loves us so much, I have felt that this week and I hope I can spread the love I feel to the ones around me, stranger or not. We can remember to place our "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, In all thy way acknowledge Him and He shall directly paths" I'm trying to apply this, this is not my work or the church's work but His, it's the Lord and he will guide us and comfort us if we allow Him to.

Love, Elder Caywood