Monday, February 28, 2011

A Week of Faith...‏

Well I'm not going to sugar coat it, we had a hard week, and I feel that Elder Hill and I's faith was tried. We had a lot of appointments fall through though we still managed to teach a decent amount of people. We have the potential of having 7 baptisms this month which would mean a lot. It doesn't matter when it happens in all honesty but there's nothing quite like going out with a bang!(but it's a little selfish) I'm going to give everything I've got to help the work move forward. I'm working hard, and the work here can be a little hard at times and yet there are so many miracles that still happen. There's so many people who still extend a helping hand. There will always be people to invite unto Christ. Though my faith may be tried, I'm not going to give up, I'm just going to run harder and faster and do everything in my power to help. Elder Hill is in the same boat, we support each other a lot. I don't know what I'm going to do without a companion around me all the time to support me and make things better, I've learned to rely on that quite a bit in my mission. I've learned a lot of things that I'm going to apply for the rest of my life.

Let's see as for the week... Tuesday went well, we taught an investigator that we hadn't seen in a while. She comprehends a lot and it honestly caught me off guard, she is reading a little and she's grasping it but she is still hanging on to a lot of old ways. It's hard for her to make the connection( if this is true you should probably do something). Wednesday was primarily a day for less actives and recent converts, not a whole lot of progress, I think I ate something that day that made me feel a little under the weather... Thursday we had a lot of good lessons. We went over the baptismal interview questions with Ethan and he's ready to go, we just need to find out if his dad is going to baptize him or if someone else is. I'll let you know, but I love that family so much! Taught Amanda and Buck that night as well doing the same thing that we did for Ethan, she's set to go for her baptism. She is so rock solid it isn't even funny. I mean it amazes how much faith she has. She is definition in my opinion of the gospel blessing her life. Their wedding was on Saturday, it was out of the mission so we couldn't go (though I hear it was pretty awesome, Buck and Amanda were on horse back). We went to the reception though and it was marvelous to see the light they had, I'm excited for Saturday.

Saturday was a little slow but we're beginning to see a lot of progress, in the wards. The work still fluctuates but the wards are starting to capture the vision and I feel that they know that big changes are around the corner. I'm sad I don't get to see it in full blossom but when it happens it's going to be beautiful. I feel the Spirit when I say that. It's all about believing it's possible that miracles though in a different form still occur today. I sang in the 8th ward, and I felt that I did pretty good. I'm getting less and less nervous about singing in front of people. Talking is no problem, but my knees are still a little feeble when I have to sing a solo. I'm excited for the week coming up.

Well I guess I can't scoot around this anymore... Saturday when we checked the mail there was a rather beefy envelope in there from the mission office. It had everything in there possible that could stab a Full time missionary right in the heart. I'll be flying out of Phoenix on the 5th of April at 10 AM, I'll be arriving in Salt Lake at about 1 pm their time and will end up in Colorado Springs at about 3:30 pm. It's hard to think about that because it's so close. But I know it's the Lord's will, He's asked me to serve two years, nothing more, nothing less. I will make the most of it though! Buenos Nachos ;)

Love, Elder Caywood

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Baptism and the Other Side of Heaven‏

Well if you have ever thought that I have been serious about writing really fast I'm about to write really fast, I hope that I can get as much of this in that I can. I'll try what I can do. Well this has been interesting, if you can't tell about the title this is going to be an interesting e-mail.

Well the week started out kind of weird, Tuesday morning we went to go see the Podiatrist. It stared out normal and apparently I not only had one wart on foot but about 6 clustered together. So he gave me options and I picked to just have him cut it out. I wanted the immediate fix. He took the needle and numbed it up. He stared cutting and then said "oh there's one I didn't see", the needle hurt a lot by the way, then he stuck me about 5 more times with the needle to numb it up even more, it's amazing ho sensitive your feet are. He then dug in there and cut. He got it out and there was now a big gaping hole in the bottom of my heel. He wrapped it up. I couldn't feel much because of the anesthetic. We went home and put my foot off and kicked of my shoe and Elder Hill said "Oh nasty!", I couldn't see from my angle so he took a picture and a few more which I have provided for your viewing. It's pretty fun I guess. I get to fill it with Neosporin 3 times a day. Went in for a check up yesterday and he said that it's looking good and should stop bleeding some time next week.

Rest of the week went pretty good. I conducted an exchange in Heber, things aren't super great there right now but they did set 3 baptism dates and the senior couple in Young said they're getting close with someone too. I may just get to go see the roaring mountain town of Young. Later in the week we taught two new investigators named Rene and Tiffany, they are really prepared but need some work before they get baptized. We have about 7 baptismal dates right now. They are all set for March, It's really exciting but a little weird to start planning baptisms for April when I won't be here! Ah! On the 5th we have Amanda and Ethan Tippits getting baptized for sure and possibly Mario, not sure when his going to be quite yet.

Saturday was amazing, I loved it. We had Renata's baptism and it was pretty much one of the most spiritual baptisms of my mission. It was snowing and we were worried because like 10 minutes til when she was suppose to get baptized no one was there, I know about Mormon standard time but this was pushing it! It's a baptism! We had a good turnout, the talks went well. The person who was supposed to baptize her was coming out of Heber and was caught in the storm but he made it about 10 after. She is just so happy, it's amazing to see her just get happier and happier. She's due for her 3rd child in about a month and a half.

Church attendance was pretty good but yesterday was one of the hardest days of my mission, it seemed like everything was going wrong. I was just ready to end the day but we kept going. Prayed a lot last night to pull through, I haven't had a hard day like yesterday in a long time. Well we both survived transfers, Elder Hill will be finishing me off. It's weird... last transfer here we go. Remember P-day on Monday from now on! Love you bye!

Love, Elder Caywood

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Baptism in Taylor!‏

Well I managed to write such a long email last week and totally spaced one thing, one very very important item. We had a baptism on Saturday, I can't believe I spaced that of all things. I mean its one of the most important things in missionary work and I really can't believe I spaced something like that. Wow I must be loosing my mind or something, I've been so loopy the past few days (someone had a cat and it got all up in my face and I've gotten more and more allergic to those things since my mission). I haven't been able to breathe through my nose. Oh well.

Anyways as for our week, Wednesday if I remember right went really well. I went on exchanges with our zone leader Elder valentine. It's nice because one I've been out on my mission longer than he has by like a month I think and two it's cool having a companion for a day that's been out that long that really knows the ropes. We had a great time and we were able to give each other realistic feedback, the only hard thing was at the end of the day we were trying to give each other feedback and we were both like "well umm I can't think of anything you're a really good missionary", we taught some stellar lessons that night to both Charles and Amanda. Amanda and her fiance are so awesome, they said "we believe everything you guys say, God blesses so much anytime we begin to live one of His commandments", I don't know how or why the Lord is blessing us with so many wonderful people to teach, but He is and I hope we just continue to live worthy of those blessings.

Thursday was a little harder. We had our weekly planning session which went well though it seemed toward the end we were having a hard time focusing. We only had one lesson hold through. The one with Renata, we taught her all the remaining commandments she needs to live before her baptism. When we taught Chastity we asked her if she was willing to live it (because we thought that she wasn't based on her last name being different from the guy that she is living with) she said that she already was and kept her last name because her dad only had daughters and she didn't want the name to die. We taught about observing the Sabbath on Sunday and she said that she already believes in that. We talked about tithing last which I was honestly a little concerned about seeing that was having a hard time financially as it was. It was humbling for me to hear how willing she was to live it, how she knew a Mormon Navajo on the reservation and that he paid his tithing and that it was evident how much the Lord blessed him. I was touched by that experience. She had her interview yesterday for baptism and is going to be baptized this coming Saturday at 7pm. It's so exciting!

Friday we had zone conference, it was rather awesome as we talked about capturing the vision of the mission and then creating our own vision for our areas. We set a goal of 1500 baptisms for the Mesa mission this year. The past two years we have had 1202 and 1083. Both really good in fact we were told they were the two highest baptizing years in Mesa mission history but we have to develop the faith to do even more than that. I'm hoping to contribute my fair share. I know we can. At zone conference they asked the missionaries who are going home to bear their testimonies. I knew it was my last zone conference but I was surprised when I was called on. I shared my testimony and cried all the way through it (I'm a baby but I'm going to miss being a missionary). Later that day we went on to a lesson with the Tippits family. They are trying to get active and doing a very good job. We're teaching their son Ethan whom I've mentioned before. We moved his baptism to the 5th of March. The parents asked for blessings at the end, and we were able to give it to them. It was one of the most memorable experiences I have had being part of a blessing.

Saturday we had our baptism Ethan Johnson, he asked me to baptize him and Elder Hill to confirm. It was cool because it was a pretty well attended baptism and many of Ethan's relatives came out to support him. It was funny because we had been told how cold the water was. So Elder Hill and I came about a hour and a half before the service and filled the font with hot water. We didn't think it'd be all that hot, and just went on conducting our business. When it came time during the service for the actual baptism I stepped in the water first and thought wow this is hot. Ethan came in after and he thought the same. When I baptized him and he came back up his eyes were so wide. It was kind of funny and Ethan and I were joking about it when we were changing.

Well this is the last week of the transfer, I doubt that I'll be moved again. We'll see if I get to stay with Elder Hill or not, I'm really not sure. I can't believe my last transfer is starting, it really doesn't feel real. Oh well I'm going to make it count!

Be good and don't do drugs and all that jazz......
Elder Caywood

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Temple Tuesday‏

So you may be wondering as to why I'm emailing so late in the day. Well it's because today was TEMPLE TUESDAY YAAAAHOOOOO!!! It was rather exciting, I liked it a lot. We got up early this morning and went at about 8:30 or so. As we were leaving the people working in the temple came up to us and asked us if we would mind doing baptisms. Normally we can't and it's against mission rules. They were pleading because they had about 120 names they needed to do. Fortunately the 1st counselor in our mission president President Porter was there and he said that we could. It was a really great and experience and ended up being in the temple for about 4 hours, it was exciting. I'm going to miss having the temple so close in Colorado but luckily in Rexburg it's visible from everywhere and I'll get to go often(awesome). I'm grateful to not only have one so close but that our mission president let us attend every 6 weeks or so. It's amazing to be able feel the Spirit of that place.

Anyways I'm trying to collect my thoughts and remember what we did last week. Well last P-day Elder Hill and I caught the stomach flu and I'm pretty sure that it's like the 5th time my mission. It gets a little old,ugh. Wednesday was recovery day Elder Hill and I were rather loopy you might say. We started getting our appetite back a little in the evening and began craving some random things(like Blue Berry Muffins and Jell-O) we had some fun and bonded quite a bit. It's amazing how much you can talk when neither of you can think and you're not allowed to watch TV or do any normal things like when you get sick at home. I'm better now though, woot.

We had a good teaching week and we saw some miracles! Yahoo! It's hard to teach here so I feel really blessed when things go well. Missionary work never really has been exceptional in this area and by no means am I trying to boast because there is so much oh so much more that can be done. But it's amazing to see the Lord bless with people to teach and as we completely rely on Him, He has been showing us where to go and what to do! We're not perfect by any means(I'm certainly not there's so many better missionaries than me) but we feel Him directing us.

Thursday we taught 5 member present investigator lessons. Amanda decided that she is going to quit smoking and drinking coffee. She knew she had to and she was at work. While she was at work she was deciding whether or not to buy another pack. Instead of doing that she began to pray. As she was praying she went to grab her coffee mug and thought "you know I probably shouldn't have this either" and then she threw coffee out the window! She was having withdrawals a bit and we were still a little sick so it was a fun lesson. We've been teaching a family named the Tippits, They're a good family and have gone a little less active in the past few years, their youngest boy Ethan is nine and he needs to be baptized and wants to be super bad. I love teaching him because he's one of the best little kids I know! We also had some other lessons that day that we hadn't foreseen coming, a member family that we were having dinner with invited to of their kid's friends over for a lesson. They have a unique living situation and as much as I wanted to commit them to baptism we didn't. We've got it pretty worked out now but it doesn't look like we'll be teaching them. But they told the family that invited them as the family drove them home, "my sister and I have thought about it and we have both decided to be baptized into your church). It's so cool! We also taught Renata again and actually just saw her at the restaurant we ate at. She's doing well, we taught about the Word of Wisdom and it was pretty much the easiest situation I've had in my mission, we asked if she had any problems with smoking, etc... and she said "no, I've been living this all my life" I could only think how convenient!

This week at church was awesome! Best turnout I have had since coming up north! We've been working hard and I felt so good seeing everyone attending the meeting! We had 7 investigators at church! It feels like a Taylor record! It was cool because it was also the fast for missionary work and a lot of people shared experiences about doing missionary work and the blessings of doing missionary work. To experiences particularly stuck out on Sunday. During 4th ward(we cover 6 wards so Sundays can be long) we were about to finish Sacrament meeting. Right before it finished Ethan Tippits(the 9 year old I told you about earlier) got up and bore his testimony. It had been he first time his family had attended church in a long time, I'm not sure how long it had been. But It was so cool! It was powerful, I can hardly believe that a 9 year old seems to be pulling his family back into activity! It's amazing. The other awesome thing was in Sunday School in 8th ward. The teacher asked anyone if they had made any important decisions this week. Renata raised her hand and said that this week she had decided that she wants to be baptized. It was so good to feel of her Spirit! She's so shy and to hear her say something like that let you know she meant it! It was wonderful!

We've taught a few times again since Sunday. We taught Amanda again, it was so cool. She was rather quiet and as was her fiance. We taught the gospel, and it was really wonderful. The cool part was after the lesson when she said "you know it's funny whenever you guys show up, whatever you say is exactly what we need to hear", I'm grateful for the Spirit directing even some missionaries out in rural Arizona. Last night we taught 2 kids for a family home evening, a member family invited them over and had a great lesson(it's kind of cool being a convert and getting to be a part of a legit family home evening). We finished the night by teaching Nikki. She's in her 20's and is riding in Rodeo for the college here and has a legitimate chance of going to Nationals. We ended up once again teaching the Gospel, we spent a lot of time on the Holy Ghost and it was cool to see it click! You know when the light goes off and it's like ding! That's why I want to be a math teacher, same concept less fun... Hahaha.

Well I wrote a lot, if you made it this far I commend you, go reward yourself with a milkshake.

Love you bye,
love <3
Elder Caywood