Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Training Part 2‏

If you can think of some crazy stuff that could happen to my area you don't have to think anymore because here we go transfer news. I was minding my own business Saturday Night(well kind of, I was in other people's business) when a call came from the mission office. Oh snap! I was a little scared and weary because had been working on this for a while. We had a lot of people that we are teaching and it's been amazing. We had 3 baptisms this past week. It was pretty cool, one of the baptisms fell through and she is going to have to wait until June when her probation is up. Anyways I'm drifting from the subject of this paragraph(no wonder I stunk at English). Anyways big news. I'm training again and we split our area and another missionary companionship is coming in. It's really wonderful! It's happening on Wednesday! Oh boy I'm pumped!

This week unfortunately Elder Whaley and I are being split he is off to Mountain View zone in East Mesa. We've had a way good time and though I'm fairly sure that I drove him nuts(I drive everyone nuts, I'm lucky I got any friends! Yay! :D ) He's going to do amazing things in the mission service and I'm excited for him. Great missionary.

I really don't have a lot to say. We had Thanksgiving this past week. Best part was the "Turkey Bowl" football will forever be my favorite part about Thanksgiving. We played for 3 hours and then we played soccer for a hour afterwards as well. I was so dead tired. I couldn't believe how sore I was on Friday. We had dinner with the Fullers. We only did one diner after last year's 4 I couldn't do multiple again(Thanksgiving still makes me a little sick from last year). But we had a great time there was like 40 people there or maybe more. It was so much fun! There was like 20 pies there! 20! I ate a lot and it was fun. That family is awesome!

This past week we had 3 baptisms and had a lot of fun. It was pretty much sweet. It was a little rushed but the Spirit was so strong and the people who got baptized were really sweet. I love the Spirit they carried. I wish I could say more but my brain is not working so I better just end this. i love you all and you're awesome. Wait wait, I forgot I got to do the Christmas Lights last night and it was so cool! It was so cold we were out there for 5 hours talking to people about Christmas and inviting them to learn more. I wish i had pictures from it but I don't maybe next time. Alright for real Love you bye.

Love, Elder Caywood

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

4 Baptisms and a Wedding‏

Well as you can see from the title of my email you know what I'm going to be doing on Thanksgiving weekend! I'm so excited! It's going to be way fun. I love serving here. Saturday is going to be interesting, it is also transfer news day. It's sickening to me to watch the time go faster than the speed of sound. It's the one thing that no one has control over(despite any sci fi guy's opinion). We're blazing through this but it's still awesome. I've been reflective lately. It's amazing to see that we are put where we are put for a reason. I love serving here and there's several reasons why I think I got put in Mesa. I think one of the big reasons is that I didn't know a whole lot about the church and teaching so much on my mission has allowed me to learn the doctrine very well and explain it too. There's plenty of opposition here where the majority of the people have at least heard the term Mormon and are quite aware that they are all over Mesa. That has allowed me to learn to rely on the Spirit and to show patience and love to those who some may consider our enemies(though I don't think the Savior showed any less love for his enemies). One thing this experience in the valley of the sun has allowed me to have, is it has allowed me to mature a lot. We are under the spot light here a lot. By members and non-members. What people's views of the members and missionaries are often reflected upon by your own behavior and admittedly I was rather immature at the beginning of my mission(and am still immature at this point and will more than likely keep many of those but hey I've grown up a little). While we are on our missions regardless of country or continent, whether we are having problems with are companions or struggling in the area all I can say is the Proclamation that President Hinckley said and that I echo "Lose yourself and go to work". There's a lot more to that than just being a little trunky for home and the things you used to do. You stop caring about yourself and those around. You wonder how you can help your companion and the people you teach in anyway you can! Then you're happy and successful. I learned that lesson and it's sweet.

This week was full of goodness. We lost one baptism date, she got "antied" by a "friend' and has backed off completely. We care about her so much and we're going to find a way to reach out to her. I was at Leadership Training for most of the week learning the new principles that have been given down to us from the First Presidency of the church. It's really an incredible experience! It's humbling to for me to be in the presence of so many of the wonderful leaders of the mission. They're examples to me. I hope sometimes I can be half the missionary some of those Elders are but I do what I can.

One of the scarier experiences of leadership training was seeing my name on the departing missionary list. It said Elder Brandon Caywood April 5th, 2011. It suddenly hit me like a brick, ah! This is creeping up on me! It gave me a since of urgency I guess. Which means I'm pushing myself more(woo hoo!)

This past Sunday I spoke in 3 different wards and prepared 3 different talks collectively adding up to about 30 minutes. Many of them were linked to my conversion which is something I'm asked to speak on rather often. It was crazy speaking that much but luckily I had prepared pretty well and had no problems.

This weekend Lisa is getting baptized. She is the mom of the young boy who was baptized about 2 weeks ago. It's going to be an awesome baptism! Then we are having Gabe, Kelly, and Shelly getting baptized on Saturday as well. They are so often and I don't know if I ever met anyone with Greater faith. For example Bishop called yesterday and said "Gabe and Kelly aren't married!" My jaw dropped as I thought of how they were going to handle this news(we thought they were already married). We went to teach them and Gabe said "Did you hear the good news we're getting married on Friday! Bishop said we couldn't be baptized until we got married so we're having it this weekend!" It was sweet I'm pumped! We also had a cool experience with an investigator named Kenny, Kenny was supposed to be baptized this weekend but we asked him if he had quit chewing tobacco, He told us he had been doing better but that's not what we asked so we told him to get baptized on December 4th his new date he had to quit completely that night. He said follow me and we walked into the bathroom and he flushed all of his chew into the toilet and threw the container in the trash can. Then he said "Well I'm done" once again it was awesome, God is helping so many of these people.

Well many of you probably have dropped out of this by now so for those of you who have made it to the end of this email I will bid the fondest of farewells.

Adieu :D

Love, Elder Caywood

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quarantine Part Dos‏

I think that's how you spell two in Spanish...dos. Not sure but that's ok, I don't got any Spanish police on me. I'll explain more about that later. But this week has been a good week for us. We set another date bringing our total to about 14 now I believe. It's been really wonderful. They span from a cool black lady from the south to a guy who wears an eye patch to church. It's pretty much sweet. I really enjoy teaching all of these wonderful people. It gets my mind off of "you only get to do this for 4 more months" argh!

Well I mentioned that I was sick. I think it's official that I have gotten way sick in every area I have served in. I need to eat healthier I thinking I'm slacking more than ever right now. That might have something to do with a lot of my health problems dang inability to cook! Anyways Thursday we are on a zone leader exchange and had an amazing day but I was quite certain that I was going to die throughout the day. I had a terrible headache, I was tired, and swallowing seemed a little more like swallowing quarters rather than swallowing spit. It was miserable and began to lose it which is so exciting because I'm already crazy as it is. I sat around inside for about 3 days or so and have been told to take it easy which is really really hard for me(I like to work!) But alas there are blessings in obedience and if I'm told i have to slow down a little there's probably wisdom in that.

Right now I feel alright but a lot better than I did before. This week appears to be exciting as we will be in Scottsdale for training. I've enjoyed my scripture study as of late. I've been in the Book of Mormon reading in Alma. The missionaries in that book are very bold and the people are very angry at them. Despite this circumstance they still find lots of people to teach and baptize(sadly enough the mean people burn the baptized people alive but that's not the point of what I'm saying just something I wanted to point out). It seems to me that there will always be people who are jerks about stuff. Granted there will be missionaries who seem like they are just as big of jerks! But nevertheless there are people out there who are lost who are searching but we need to find them.

I'll share a cool example from this week. There's a couple we are teaching and they are just awesome. They are Gabe and Kelly. They were way awesome the first time I taught them I was confident that they would accept a baptism date when it was extended. They immediately did and ere so excited to be baptized.To be honest we have not taught them since mainly because Keely at the time was 9 months pregnant and has been recovering since the birth of their 2nd son. Yet they still come to church and class and we are now on schedule to teach them tomorrow. They are amazing good people and I love them. Now I'll share the experience, this week we had a state wide stake conference broadcast from Salt Lake in which President Monson spoke. Gabe mentioned after the service that when the Prophet spoke he felt so good that it was as if God was speaking to him, Himself. It was powerful and they just looked so great, I'm excited for their baptism.

I love what I'm doing and I'm not ashamed of it, I believe it's true, if you say otherwise that's fine, but I know what I know and I'll share what makes me happy.

Love, Elder Caywood

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Good Morning!‏

Well I address this good morning because it is a very good morning and a long morning at that. We have been working hard. I've gotten up at 5:30 the past 3 days. Sunday night I was up late. Some stuff happened in the zone I had to take numbers really late. In fact I had to take it at about 11 PM, which was not fun because of the early day ahead of us. Admittedly I am beginning to feel it and I wonder how I ever could have done this before and I feel very blessed that I have Spirit to lug my tired out of shape body around. I'm not sure what will happen after the mission, eh whatever, that doesn't matter what matters is now, NOW!, NOW!

Why I say that is because many miracles have happened this week. 3 people I taught got baptized this weekend. 2 of which I got to attend. One was in my own area for a young boy named Curtis, he is awesome. He 's about 10 and he's very open and honest about what we are teaching. One thing I have enjoyed about teaching him is that he responds and when he doesn't get something he'll say it. I've taught many kids in my mission that when you ask them "What is tithing?" after just teaching, not all the time but many times kids will say "something Jesus does cause he loves me?" while somewhat true it's not quite what I'm looking for and generally we reteach and hammer it in until they get it. With Curtis you ask him and if he doesn't know or doesn't remember he means it. He's open and he's funny I love it!

The other baptisms were both people I taught in my last area. One I couldn't attend. The other one was for Lorraine Torres. One of the blessings about being so close to an old area is it doesn't take much effort to go back for something like that. Her friend Seth was the one who baptized her and it was a really cool service. One of the neat things about it was my last night in the area, she was thinking of delaying her baptism until next year. I asked her if she would get on her knees right then ands ask when she was supposed to get baptized. As we knelt I remember distinctly November 6th, it came to mind. So when we finished the prayer I smiled and said I know when you are getting baptized. She asked if I would tell her and I said "The Spirit told me because I'm your missionary now you have to go ask and let Him tell you", the next week when she told the Elders that she had prayed and had decided that she needed to be baptized on the 6th Elder Evans was ecstatic to tell her that was the day I had said when we left that night. It was a cool experience and the baptism was amazing.

This week I also got to see my good friend John Delp get married! I was shocked but so so happy for him! You may remember John just got recently baptized in September. It was a wonderful service.

We have a lot of wonderful miracles coming up, Elder Whaley and I currently are teaching a lot of people and have set 13 baptismal dates. Now they key is getting them to hold on! We're on track and we are going to see many many miracles. We intend to give as much as we can give back to the Lord for this Holiday season.

I'll keep you updated with stuff(that's so general it is completely open to interpretation).

Love you bye,
Elder Caywood

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Quorum of the Seventy‏

Well today has been pretty good thus far. I slept like a brick at the bottom of a lake last night. The alarm had been going off for about 10 minutes before it even roused me from my sleep. It was so ridiculous! Gosh! I've been so tired as of late. I think this whole working hard thing for 2 years straight might be catching up with me. Oh well. Man I have like 7 minutes to write this epistle. Is that an appropriate term for it? Probably not but I'll write it anyways! muhahaha!

Yesterday we got to be taught by Elder David F. Evans of the Quorum of the seventy. It was so crazy. I loved it so much. We met with him from 9:30 to about 4:30. I could of done that all day and night, I learned so much. I wish I had gotten that at the beginning of my mission. But I will use that which I have learned! Elder Whaley and I are doing really well and we were fired up to go teach! Unfortunately, all the people we had appointments with were sick so it was a little slow last night.

Halloween is kind of a sad day for missionaries. Everyone thought that we were in costume. People would say "Hey good Mormon missionary costumes!" It was kind of funny but after two straight days of it it got progressively less funny. Though at the Halloween we party we set up a booth. We parked our car and covered the windows with blankets so you couldn't look in it. We then opened our trunk and filled it with candy, then we had a little hole that you reach your hand into to get candy. It was funny because people would reach into the car and grab stuff. Then one of us would hide in the car and shake them and scare them. It was so much fun.

Right now we have 13 baptism dates. Its going really well and we are hoping to split this area. We have baptism coming up this weekend. I'd love to say more but the time is far spent. I love you all and take care of yourself. November can be a scary month some times. oooooo Thanksgiving! Bleh! Love you bye!

Love, Elder Caywood