Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Heat Wave‏

Last week was a lot of firsts and a lot of other things as well. I have come to terms that I am:
1. a salty old missionary
2. a convert missionary(which rocks)
3. Getting really out of shape and over weight
4. I have a lavish selection of clothes
5. My clothes though are falling apart and are stained with pure southwestern sun
6. Don't buy me new clothes
7. I am going to burn my clothes my last week of my mission because yeah they are gross(well maybe not we'll see in 6 months but I'm definitely going to burn my one suit I wear everywhere)

Now for some things that don't involve lists, well maybe they will. I'm feeling:

1. Spunky
2. Exuberant
3. Inspired
4. Hungry

Which in turn means, you guessed it, I am slowly but surely losing my mind yahoo!!!! But besides that lovely game we just played (game being listing things that don't necessarily mean anything to me let alone you), we had a great week.

Our lessons were a little down this week and we don't have a lot of super solid investigators. We're in a bit of a finding mode which is a phrase that I hate to use but we are. It's kind of like when I first got to this area but there are some differences. One is that we do actually have people to teach. We still teach 10 investigator lessons week and over 20 lessons in total. The biggest difference is that we have complete ward support this time around. About 5 months ago we did not. And I felt that I was completely on my own for the most part. It took all my energy to get it to where it's at now but now I have help and a lot of it. My companion helps, the bishops help, the ward mission leaders help, and the members help. They are all getting excited about missionary work and it is amazing! I haven't seen this on my mission. But it's happening miracles.

Speaking of miracles let's talk about the baptism we had on Friday night. It was for Darlene. Now this is interesting one because of how we found her. I was with a kid preparing for his mission. We had set a lesson with Darlene's daughter in the parking lot of her complex while we were biking around. We went there to teach but her daughter was not home. I quickly asked if we could teach her instead to which she responded we could. That first lesson we taught we set a baptism date. Spirit was very strong. She walked to church that week. Then we brought in fellowship. Everything seem to be getting better in her life. And I had the opportunity to baptize her. It was way awesome. Great service and very spiritual. I love it!

At times on my mission, it can be hard. I don't know the scriptures as well as everyone else. I may not know all the cool little Mormon kid songs everyone else knows, but one thing is true. The Lord has called us all to the same work. Being a convert doesn't change that. The Lord can use very different people from very different walks of life to fulfill the same purpose. He has, He does, and He will continue to do so. No matter where I am or what I'm doing I can remember the declaration of Paul the apostle in his epistle to the Romans "nothing shall separate us from the love that is Christ Jesus our Lord". Gotta love the mission.

Love, Elder Caywood

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Miracle on Date Street‏

Wow what a week. I haven't had a whole lot like this one. It's going to be a crazy one and might be long and I might ramble. I might cry, I may laugh, but whatever I do laugh or cry, scream or dance, whatever it is, it will completely and utterly freak everyone in the library out. So I will hold my peace for now.

We were privileged to be part of something really cool this week. we had Leadership Training at the mission office. Every leader in the mission was there and we were called for this special training for new missionary work. Let's just say that a new Preach My Gospel Manual is on it's way next summer. But the Principles of it are being taught to the leaders now so that they can teach the rest of the mission. Therefore when this change comes we will ready and we will be prepared. It was certainly one of the greatest experiences of my mission, it was daunting to be in the presence of so many Spiritual Giants. I felt awfully inadequate there and felt a little out of place but the Lord called me to do what I'm doing for a reason so I knew I was supposed to be there.

I've applied those teachings I've learned and wow is it making a difference! It's incredible. I love it, it's so much easier to follow the Spirit and to help others keep commitments, In turn we were also blessed teaching the most lessons ever in our area and the district taught a lot of lessons as well, the highest in 10 months. It was incredible.

But now for my favorite part of my week thus far. we have investigator whose name is John. He had been in prison for a long time for some fairly serious crimes. In prison he was taught the gospel and was converted to the church. He was released last year but has wanted to be baptized since '04. He had been on parole and probation which in turn those people who are on that cannot be baptized. He waited and waited. He attended church every week. He was taught by missionaries(myself included). Monday last week he was released from parole and probation at the same time which began a new step in his life. It also began the greatest week of his life.

He was interviewed by President Tuesday night and was informed that he could not be baptized for some time(possibly a couple years). President told me that he had to take this to a higher authority than himself. Thursday to my surprise at the training meeting President approached me and asked if John would ready to be baptized this weekend. My jaw dropped and President told me he would tell me tomorrow if that would really happen. The next day President gave me a baptismal record signed and ready. It really happened.We went to the Taylors who he lives with and made a plan. We called John to the house. Brother Taylor told John Sister Taylor needed his help. Sister Taylor told John that she needed help planning his baptism. He told her not to joke about those things and reminded her how much that meant to him. I pulled out of the baptismal record signed and said we're not joking. Tears filled his eyes as he rose up and gave me the biggest hug ever.

Last night was John's baptism. I had the opportunity to be a witness of the baptism and also to take part in giving him the Holy Ghost. I was asked to sing a solo and sang "I Stand All Amazed". It was one of the most incredible days of my mission. As we sang the last "Nearer My God to Thee"(which is my favorite) during the last verse I could not hold tears back. I looked up at John and saw how happy he is and could feel the joy radiating from him something I had never seen in him before. It was beautiful, I could for a moment imagine him at that point in time welcoming me to heaven. It was remarkable. I gave him hug at the end of it. John to me is a perfect example of how the atonement of Jesus Christ is available to all. He is living proof, that Jesus Christ can heal even the deepest of wounds, and pull us out of the darkest of places, and give us hope.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Return of Humdinger‏

Well Humdinger is back but now the unlock panel works. I had mixed feelings as I went to pick him up. This all unfolded and I will explain it in the follwing paragraph. I do hope I have time to finish this before my time expires.

I found out Sunday Night that I was actually suposed to be transfered and that by some miracles President forgot. Yes he forgot, he had written down that I was supposed to be trasnfered for over two weeks. He asked if he thought I could continue to ride my bike and I said I could. Well my head is still on fire anytime I get sweaty. This became an increasing problem that would stop me from working my heart and soul out. So I called Sister Ellsworth who told me to call the doctor. So I did, and he said no more bike for the rest of missionary service(super lame!) So then I call Sister Ellsworth and tell her the dreadful news. A couple hours later I recieved a call from President who informed me that I'd either be getting a car or getting emergency transferred and that he would call that night. I expected the worst. The call came and He said the Lord really wants you in that area. So they gave me a car again. So President told me make it count. *gulp* Should be fun!!!

We have seen many miracles lately. It's been way awesome. We set another baptism date this week and now have 5. We have pushed quite a few back but we do have one coming up on the 25th. That's going to be awesome. Her name is Darlene. A lot of big changes have come in the mission and what I'm about to say is one of them. We are no longer allowed to email anyone but family. We can still recieve emails from everyone and read them but we cannot respond. For everyone else I now have to write letters thought you'd like the heads up.

Love, ELder Caywood

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A New Calling‏

Well this won't be a long email, unfortunately because I have been giggling like a school girl with the other Elders, and then realized that I only had about 30 minutes left of emails which I quickly began to write. So once again go Elder Caywood! How exciting.

Well as you can see I titled the email new calling. This weekend as I was going about my Saturday night visits we got a call from the mission office. I thought I was going to throw up when I saw the number. I began to tremble and I answered the phone and heard President on the other side. He asked how my day had gone and humbly told him it could of been better because almost all our lessons had cancelled sadly. He then explained the purpose of the call. Since our current district leader was going home on Tuesday, he asked me to take his place as district leader of the O'Odham district. I still can't pronounce it but I accepted the call to serve. Now things will be fun as I get to help other missionaries, attend more meetings (ugh), and interview people for baptism (so sweet!).

The area is going well. We currently have 4 people with a baptism date with more on the way. I'm hoping before I leave here to have about 6 people baptized. I think we can do it because miracles are on the horizon. And of course if I try my best I'll get a hand from the Lord. Yay! The wards seemed really excited that I'm staying here. I think it's cool to see how much they care about missionary work and I feel that we are on the verge of something extraordinary. You can feel the excitement everywhere. I'm ecstatic and thrilled to be here one more transfer and hope I can make a difference to the people I serve here. I just hope I can do everything I can to bring everyone closer to the Lord.

Well that's enough ranting for one morning.......until next Tuesday!

Love, Elder Caywood