Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Week 34: February 20, 2017

This past week was an awesome week! We were able to achieve our goals that we set as a companionship. As an entire district, we had been trying our best to get more investigators to sacrament meeting. This was something we had really been struggling with. After much prayer and faith, we were able to get 5 investigators to come to church this week! Of these 5 that came, 3 of them have baptismal dates. The first one, Gregory has been taking the lessons well and has read the entire Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. The second one is Robert. His friend was a member and had passed away recently. In his honor, he wanted to turn his life around and become a part of the church. The last is Sierra. Her friend at work introduced her to church. She's come 3 weeks already and has read a chapter from the Book of Mormon everyday since we gave it to her. She's also taken extensive notes. It's been such a blessing seeing miracle after miracle of the Lord working through us. It's amazing to see how He has prepared these people. They've all gone through different experiences in life but each has had someone reach out to them about the church. Gregory took a wrong turn and ended up in the temple parking lot where a stranger gave him the books. Sierra had a member co-worker that introduced her to the church. Robert had the example of his friend to turn his life around. Be an answer to someone's prayers. Don't be afraid to reach out to them. Preach the gospel always, with words if necessary.

I keep asking my companion if anything funny happened this week that I can write about but I keep forgetting. Hmmm well President Frandsen, our mission president, is coming out with us this week! That should be fun.

Here's an old picture of my companion, surrounded by and full of regret and failure. He tried to open a bag of pasta noodles for dinner. You can see the regret in his eyes. (PS, he gave me permission to send these pictures)

Week 33: February 16, 2017

This past week, we were able to set another baptismal date! Our investigator, Robert, had a friend who was a member and wanted to turn his life around. Before we even brought it up, he said he wanted to come to church and was asking for the time and address. He said he would pray about baptism but he felt that it was definitely something that he wanted to do. We had another great lesson with Gregory, our other baptismal date. He has a great understanding of all that we've talked about. He really wants to go to the temple. We are planning on going with him to the visitor center next week. The ward has been super helpful when it comes to meeting with our investigators and most importantly: feeding us. We had a great ward dinner this past Saturday. We had 4 investigators come to it. Many of the ward members came and greeted them and made them feel welcome. 

I don't have much to write about this week. Hopefully I'll have more next week. Oh, this week we went to the temple so we had a half P day on Monday and the rest of it today which is why I am currently typing this out right now and not a few days ago for those of you who are wondering.
Until next week,
Elder Kaitoku
PS One of the members from Hawaii said she got the hook-ups. Maybe I'll get some poke or poi this week. Fingers crossed!

Week 32: February 6, 2017

This week, we were able to add two new baptismal dates! Both of these dates have been added through investigators we had just met that week. The first one was a referral from our bishop. Pat, the investigator, has family members who are members of the church and her parents were members but left the church early on. She regretted that decision and ever since has been wanting to join the church. When we went to talk about the plan of salvation, she basically taught it to us, even going into some deep doctrine. She had been going to another ward for about 4 years and just never got baptized. The second one was a gentleman named Gregory. He had made a wrong turn in San Diego and ended up in the parking lot of the San Diego temple. There, he talked with some missionaries and he received a Book of Mormon. He has read the entire thing already and wants to get baptized. It has been a week full of blessings and miracles. We have learned the importance of being bold in inviting and sharing the gospel. Even though we had only met with these people once, we both felt that we could set a baptismal date with them. They accepted.Transfer calls have come and gone and Elder Peterson and I are staying here together. We have learned much and grown much together. We are excited about the work that is going on out here. We made crab legs and kalua pig and pasta salad last P-Day and ate like KINGS. 

I told Elder Peterson I would show him a magic trick and I put two cups of water on his hands and he was stuck there. Hahaha I learned that one from my high school band director Matty Matt. I eventually freed him but not before taking a picture.

Week 31: January 30, 2017

This past week, we had a few changes to our missionary schedule. We are also focusing more on certain aspects of the missionary work in order to help fulfill our purpose of inviting others to Christ. So far, I have been loving the new schedule and we have really been able to use it to focus on each person more individually according to their needs.

This week, we were able to find 4 new investigators. One of them had grown up in another church. When we shared our testimony of the restoration of the gospel, she said that she really connected with Joseph Smith. She said she had always grown up going to church with her mom and then with her dad and had always wondered to herself which of them was the true church. Once she got old enough, she stopped going altogether and spent a great deal of time searching for this truth. When we knocked on her door, she said she felt something and she gladly accepted our invitation to read the Book of Mormon. Theodore, the pastor that I wrote about last week has been reading the Book of Mormon everyday and said he's been loving every moment of it. It was very exciting.
At church, we taught the 3rd hour class which was a combined priesthood, relief society, and youth. The entire chapel was full. No pressure right? Let me tell you something, I am totally comfortable with performing shirtless onstage for thousands of strangers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. But giving a 45 minute presentation in front of the ward? Terrified. We talked about the importance of member-missionary work. We got some great feedback from the ward and we hope to have inspired and excited them about doing the work.
Lastly, a story. We were tracting one evening down a pretty sketchy avenue one evening. As we knocked a door, a gentleman opened the door. Before we could say anything, his face lit up into a huge smile. "Do you guys wanna come in??" We were so excited! He seemed to have known us or recognized missionaries. We were super excited with the potential that this gentleman had. Had he met with missionaries before? Was it going to be a "I wanna join your church" moment? Was he a less active member praying for re-connection with the church? Turns out, it was none of those things. "You guys want some weed??" We politely declined (as TEMPTING as it was) and he proceeded then to offer us several other commodities before we left. We did share our testimony of the restoration of the gospel with him. Before we left, he smiled and said, "Man, thanks for coming over. I feel so happy. Wait til I tell people I blew some smoke with the missionaries!" Uhh please don't go around saying that. We did not participate.
I've come to truly love the people here. Regardless of how they react to us or what they may offer us or what they may say, I have come to love each and every one as a brother or sister. I know that this gospel can and will bless their lives. I have a firm testimony that it is by this way that we can gain the most everlasting joy in this life and the next. I love each and every one of you for your love, support, and prayers (and occasional letters and packages). Thank you all! Until next week,
-Elder Kaitoku
PS I cut my companion's hair a few weeks ago. I thought it looked pretty great especially since I had only ever cut hair once before then; a fact I relayed to him after giving him the haircut. #freshfades 

Week 30: January 23, 2017

This past week, we were referred to a gentleman named Theodore. In the description, it said that he was a pastor for another church. Honestly, I was a little skeptical and nervous about stopping by. Often times, when we get a referral like that, we are lead to a bible bash meeting. This was definitely not the case with this man. When we got there, he told us that his sister was a member of the church and that she had taken him around the temple and visitor center. He recounted to us the incredible spirit that he had felt while there and that it had brought tears to his eyes. As he told us this story, he shared with us that ever since, he's been wanting to read the Book of Mormon. He said, "I would be the happiest man on this planet if I could just get a copy of that book!" Of course, we gave him one and shared our testimony of the Book of Mormon and its power. With tears in his eyes once more, he hugged us and thanked us profusely for us stopping by. This humbling experience has taught me the importance of being bold in sharing the gospel with EVERYONE regardless of who they are. This man, a pastor for another church, agreed to be baptized. It was such a touching and spiritual experience for me.
In other news, we FINALLY got our window fixed! (Safelite repaaairs Safelite replaaace!) No more driving around with a garbage bag taped to the outside. My companion can finally see out the back right window. I also got new scriptures to replace the ones that got stolen! Hopefully someone finds them and reads them and is touched by the spirit. 
I will attach pictures one of these weeks once I have a camera to do so with. Hopefully you won't have forgotten what I look like in that time. Until then, A Hui Hou and Malama Pono!-Elder Kaitoku