Monday, January 27, 2014

27 January 2014 Wow! We worked hard and even more..We thought hard!

Greetings All!

Well I don't know what to say about this week except, "Wow we worked hard and even more...We thought hard!" I never thought thinking could wear you out but truth is thinking about principals and pure hope and all the things that Our Heavenly Father has given us  is hard work. 

I know that Callings are inspired of God.  I know this with a surety now more then ever. I don't know what change will bring, but I do know that the Lord has inspired my Mission President to change things up a little.   I got my first Transfer Call on Saturday night (Yes, I was a little nervous.) I did not know what to think.  I knew that things were changing, but I did not know why and I still don't. Other then the fact that the Lord knows what we need. I am half way through my training period and my Trainer is leaving to be my Zone Leader.  I get a new Trainer, so I get to be trained by two completely different Elders. 

I am actually excited.  I get to stay in Nixa for at least another transfer.  I like it here.  The people are awesome, funny, down to earth, and real friendly. I love this place and I think that I will learn to love my new companion.  I have not met him yet, but he is a surfer. That is about all that I know.  Maybe he could teach me how to surf when I get home. I really am excited about the change, not that I don't love Elder Hughes, but I think it will be cool to see how the two different people train. 

Elder Hughes totally got chewed out by this guy because of a misunderstanding and afterwards I popped off with something really funny.  That night as we were talking about it I said, "Wow that backfired worse then gas station sushi!" We both got a kick out of that. I don't know if you will find that as funny as I do, but as missionaries you learn to laugh a lot. I am always finding things to laugh about and to think about. People are so awesome and funny.  In everyday life you just have to listen to them and you will realize how many funny things come out of their mouths.

I gave a talk in Sacrament this week. I was not nervous.  For the first time in my short life, I felt comfortable talking in front of a congregation. I believe its because I prepared by saying a prayer right before the meeting.  I know how much prayer means now. I have to say it was a pretty good talk about being fully converted. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and will help us to be fully converted. I believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is not a list as we sometimes think but it is ongoing. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and Endure to the End we should all be thinking bout this all the time.  It is the way and the only way we can be saved. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we can return to our Father in Heaven.

Thanks for all the support over this time and your excitement inspires me. I love being able to share the gospel with those in need. It has not all been roses, but looking back at the thorns I find beauty in them, too. As long as we learn a lesson from everything.  (Yes, I do mean everything)  We will find even thorns have helped us.  A rose would not be as beautiful without the contrast of the thorns. I know there is opposition in all things and it helps us push forward with a Love and passion for that which we believe is right. 
Remember always Isaiah 41:10 FEAR NOT 


Elder Caldwell
My Current Zone..we are an awesome bunch!

The Missouri skies are beautiful!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

21 January 2014 New Lessons Learned

So this week has been interesting, probably not as interesting as last week.  

I learned that no one hopes for the church to not be true. They only fear that it is true because that makes them have to change. Fear is to hold you back God would never hold you back. Our Heavenly Father only wants to uplift us with hope and love. I don't have a lot to write about except the fact that I learned some great lessons this week. 

1. How to break into our apartment in about 5 seconds
2. My companion Elder Hughes is really light 
3. OTM= Open Thy Mouth or Oklahoma Tulsa Mission or Obesity Through Members  ha ha All 3 being true.

I will start by talking about us breaking into our apartment. First off, we live on the second floor right above a field. Second, we have a balcony with a sliding glass door that does not lock. It all started with us locking our keys in our apartment and we had our ward mission leader waiting for us to go to an appointment. We quickly devised a plan to get into the apartment from the balcony. I boosted my companion way up over my head (mind you the 2nd floor starts at about 12 feet from the ground) so it was quite the boost. He then proceeded to climb up over the railing grab the keys and met me back at the top of the stairs.  All this happened in about 5 seconds. We were then telling our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Stephens about the experience and he said somethin' real funny "Wow Elders you got more guts then a slaughter house."   We had to do this twice in one week... My companion really needs to stop lockin' us out! haha 

OTM is the ackronym for my mission.  I heard a rumor that the name of my mission will probably change in about 18 months, as we change mission presidents. They came to the realization that Tulsa is in the outskirts of the largest mission in the United States. It would just make more sense if the hub was somewhat more central. This means that I may get a real rare opportunity to serve in two different missions. I Love that there is a saying that goes with the initials of my mission OTM... Open Thy Mouth.  Is that not what we all need to do?  Missionary and Member alike to build the Kingdom of God? I feel like we are in need of this as the church grows we have experiences.  They open new missions, they build new temples, they build churches. Brothers and Sisters, if we are Gods offspring then don't we need to treat everyone as such... BROTHERS and SISTERS?!?

One of our investigators is having a really tough time. He is an illegal immigrant and he is trying to become legal. In the process he may get deported. Where he comes from, the church has not yet reached.  There is no LDS church in the place in which he came from. This is really hard to watch because he knows it is true and if he gets deported he wont be able to fully honor his baptismal covenant. The reason I tell you this is not to discourage but to  excite. For the Hastening is alive. I know that in the days to come at some point, if we all strive forward with faith, we will be able to press forward and open up missions in all the places where missions are not. If only we would OTM or rather Open our Mouths.

I love you all!

Elder Caldwell

Monday, January 13, 2014

13 January 2014 Snow, Wind, and Drifts in Missouri

This week I had some interesting experiences.   We found 2 new people to teach and one of them was tracting, pretty cool, heh?

We were talking to this man who was driving us to zone training.  As we were talking to him, he started giving us dating advice.  Pretty funny when an 80 year old tells you that the only ways to break up with a girl consists of "Ummm..I got to go."  The second is "it’s been fun these last couple dates but, well, you're just not my soul mate." He is the funniest nicest man. He got lost in thought at some point.  He was saying "that tree makes me feel..."  He said you can say how things make you feel. He (also in this session) said that "we would all do great, except my companion.  Not because you ain’t cute, but because you're stupid."  He said that in response to my companion saying, "That sunset tickles my fancy." Either Brother Brooks is super funny or you just had to be there.

We have this Non-Active that we have been teaching when we can find him working on a car.  He won’t answer the door if we come up, but he is always good for a good chat.  I think we opened his eyes, but before I get into that I must talk about last night and the funny experience we had.

We started talking to him, asked him how he was doing and he said he was doing alright, but that he had been in the E.R. earlier that day. He had caught his shirt on the hood latch of his car. While he was in the middle of pulling a part out of the engine compartment, he yanked back real hard and realized that it was not just his shirt, but his nipple ring was caught on the hood latch ripped it right off. As he was talking about this, he pulls out a Ziploc baggie and shows us his nipple still attached to the ring.  I guess people here in Missouri are more open than those back at home.

I really like this guy, he reminds me of all my old friends at home.  He is hilarious. When we were done talking about the E.R., we started teaching the plan of salvation.   I saw his eyes fill with hope and love.   I never knew how much you can tell from a person’s eyes.  His eyes acted as a gateway to opening my eyes. He was so ready for that lesson.  God had prepared him and put him in our path.

I know we can return to our Heavenly Father.  I know that I am here to help and I am excited to see that look in other people’s eyes! Love you, til next time, bye.

Love Elder Caldwell

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

07 January 2014 Fried Turkey for New Years....YUM!!

Hola Mi Amigos 

It has been an amazing week.  We got Fried turkey on January 1st.  Sorry, but there is no way I will ever not fry a turkey!  I thought I did not like turkey, but fry it and dang.  Especially in peanut oil, great flavor and juiciness!!  The Botshons had us over for Texan fried turkey and I am in love!  This family is way cool and they also have my two dream vehicles in their garage: a Plymouth Duster and a Honda Shadow.  He also has a CJ-5 Jeep..LOVE IT!! Haha. It’s so fun!

 I have had many interesting opportunities here.  They actually canceled church because of the snow and ice.  So me and my companion went all crazy and decided we were going to make that day just another day for the Lord.  We are not able to ride our bikes or drive in such conditions, so we went walking around for miles with snow shovels, shoveling driveways. One guy said he did not want help but we could do the neighbors.   When he saw how fast we busted it out and got it done,  he tried to pay us 40 dollars.  We refused saying that we are Elders from the Church of Jesus Christ and that's just what we do is help our fellow man.  He then said we could drop in anytime we wanted as long as it was warmer.

 We body slammed some 4 foot snow drifts.  It was awesome!!  I can't believe that there was ever a time where I did not want to do this!  I have had so much fun and I doubt it will end anytime soon.  It has been so great to be out here bearing my testimony to others, but also to myself. 

To tell you a little about my companion Elder Hughes, he is an avid runner and he is a little over the top.  Ha ha..  No, he is cool.  He is from Nampa Idaho.  He has a pretty dry sense of humor and I am his first trainee.  He is about a year out and works hard every day.  He is very active, which is good.  I’m in the best shape of my life, both physically and spiritually.  

 I actually went on exchanges in Branson, MO this week with my zone leader Elder Sudsberry.  Our homes are actually about 10 minutes apart, we went to the same High School, and were in the MTC together.  I had a real good time on exchanges catching up with Elder Sudsberry.  He is a good Elder.

I have had many cool experiences.   I saw Elder Page and Elder Holyoak at Zone Conference.  I got talking to them a little.  One of the Elders in my district, sort of got trained by Elder Holyoak.  It’s a crazy small world.  We did a lot of crazy fun things at zone conference .  We watched Pixar shorts, played some Minute to Win It games.(Yes, I won the oreo cookie challenge!).  We played dodge ball…left handed..that was tough!  Then my mission president and some of his sons played some music. My Mission President has some real skill with music.  The played like The Devil Went Down to Georgia, but saying the OTM (Oklahoma Tulsa Mission) scared him down to Georgia…ha ha ha ..Good Times!  Then they talked and fed us pizza.  It was pretty awesome!  I can't even imagine how much work that must have been to put all that together.  It was way cool and I love the family I have been adopted into for the next two years.  I would suggest the mission life to everyone!  It is truly AMAZING!

 I love you all and hope you have a great week I hope to have pictures for ya'll next week till next time...


Elder Z Caldwell