Monday, March 31, 2014

31 March 2014 Placing 10 lbs of Books of Mormon in 9 days! That's 28 Books!!

Hello Fellow Earthlings...

This week has been amazing. I love the work and love the challenges we give each other. I love being able to come up with hard goals and to not only reach them, but to reach them knowing that the next weeks goals must stretch us more then these goals.

Our goal was to have 24 lessons this week. We smashed it and hit 31. In a week and a couple days we were able to give away 28 Books of Mormon. We have been able to teach many who are ready for the truth. I cannot even begin to describe how much this is the Lords work.  I am just a tool, much like a hammer to be used in the Lord's hands. I know I could not have done half the things I did this week without him. 

Yesterday was really the most spiritual day I have ever had.  ***There is a small disclaimer on this (DON'T EVER, AS A MISSIONARY, STAY UP UNTIL 2 IN THE MORNING WHEN YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP AT 530 AND GO TO CHURCH ON A FAST SUNDAY!!!!)   That being said, I prayed time and time again yesterday that I might make it through the day. Not only were my prayers answered, but I was able to do many great things in the hand of the Lord. We taught a total of 7 lessons, placed 5 Books of Mormon, and got a Referral. 

We rode our bikes for most of the day from lesson to lesson. One of the opportunities we had was really random, God works in mysterious ways right well he definitely did that day. We talked to a less active family and as we were talking their kid crashed on his bike over by their neighbors house and hurt himself pretty good. The Neighbor came running down the street with this kid in her arms... Long story short, we were able to teach her and give her a Book of Mormon.  We even invited her to watch General Conference and she got excited about doing just that.

We got out of dinner at 7 PM last night and we still had 2 books to place to hit our goal of losing 10 pounds of Books of Mormon.  I knew we could do it, if we just looked to the Lord and asked him what to do and where to go. Mind you, we were on bikes because we ran out of miles this month and I do not want to be that Missionary that says "oh well we went 5 miles over that's pretty good!!"  No.  We have goals and we have Mileage for a reason.  That is the maximum, no excuses for going over. (Anyways, enough rambling, back to my point.)  We were on bikes, and the whole time I was saying a prayer (with my eyes open) that we would find 2 people, open to what we had to say and willing to check it out. We found those people and we taught, We ended up with one new investigator from this experience. 

We started a 40 day fast which is where a different family in the ward fasts for missionary work everyday. We got such an awesome response to this idea.  I am so excited this ward is truly willing to go forward. They are ready to hasten the work.   I am so excited for this month to come. I know that as people pray and fast for the opportunities they will receive them.
                                                                          Elder Caldwell

P.S.This is all about one day in the week.  All the days mirror such experiences.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

24 March 2014 "...she calls us Missionaryers."

Oh, what a blur of a week!  I have been trying to figure out exactly what I did this week. Good thing I have a calendar that I use for the main ideas of my journal entries!! 

This week we gave the sisters in our district our car while theirs was getting fixed. This area became a bike/walk area for 3 days.  We hit to the streets hard... boy am I outta shape!!  Anyways, during this time our Mission Presidents wife challenged all of us to lose 10 lbs. Both Elder Marriott and I looked at each other and decided that we don't have ten pounds to lose, so we resorted to losing 10 lbs of Books of Mormon!  (For those of you who do not know 14 books equal 10 lbs.) 

On the 19th, we ate at a non-members house.  His name is Bryan,  He has 2 kids and both of them love soccer.  We promised them that if they could get their dad to come to church we would play soccer with them. I love this family!  The daughter, Alexandria, is so funny and energetic.  She is very loud and she is always asking us funny questions.  One day we played a trick on her and switched tags so we both were Elder Caldwell. The confused look on her face was great!  Well anyways, she calls us the Missionaryers...kinda funny and cute. 

We keep on growing.  Last week 21 lessons this week 23.  Hopefully we can get 26 this week with more member present lessons. The craziest day of the week was definitely the 21st or Friday.  We walked around Nixa a lot. We had our car, but we drove a total of 17 miles all day and walked the rest. We went to help a lady clean up her yard. She had razor grass everywhere!  It is like picking up razor blades, but it looks totally normal. We ended up cutting our hands up a little... We did have the great opportunity of giving her a Book of Mormon and teaching her. She said she might come to the church sometime. 

Also in that day, we ended up with some teenage girl "cat-calling" us as we passed.  Sadly the only way back to our car was past that girl's house. We walked back to the car and we hear very loud and clear "Everyone outside!"  Next thing we see is some girl making out with a mannequin. I will never understand girls.  When I start to think they are some-what normal, that's when they start making out with mannequins and trying to get our attention... Ha ha!  Well that was a weird Mission story to share. 

One more awesomely funny thing happened.   My companion got locked in a Members bathroom. Brother Gravlin had to take off the doorknob to get him out.  I had a really hard time not laughing as  Elder Marriott was trying to get back to dinner. That took only about 20 was pretty awesome!

I attached some pics of some flyers that are being put out all over Nixa from a local church.   Interesting to think that a church would need to offer a free T-shirt just in case they "suck".  Hmmmm...

 Well I got to Email the President.
Elder Caldwell

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

17 March 2014 "We received a gift...Thor's Hammer!

This week was amazing.  I cannot say that it was an easy where everyone is accepting of Gods teachings but I can say that we worked our tails off. We only taught a total of 20 lessons. We were able to never stop moving. This was the week of cancellations/transfers. God loves us enough to give us these trials to make us better.   I can not believe how much I love my companion now and all that he does for me. I can not express the greatness I have experienced this last week. 

I can say that this has been the hardest week I have had so far in the last 3 months. However; our faith did not waver.  We pushed forward and in the toughest of times we were able to put our Heavenly Father first and to look to him in our time of need. I have never been so physically, emotionally, or spiritually drained in my life. I will never say a Mission is easy, I will say that My Mission is the hardest yet most rewarding thing I have ever done. I know that God tries us so we can be better in the end. I know that we are the Children of God, I know he is watching me and has a plan for me.

On Saturday Morning we had a General Authority in our Mission speaking to us for a zone conference. He was able to convey the Atonement so beautifully to us... I have no doubt that he is called of God. He personally took the time to shake every missionaries hand. I loved his talk, the spirit was so strong in this conference. I felt such joy and comfort. I know I am not perfect but God knows me and he loves me and he has forgiven me. I know He is perfect. 

Just the other day, my companion and I were laying in our beds and he said to me something that hit me very hard. He told me that President Shumway said that He had never felt so strongly about a transfer as he did with the one that Elder Marriott got sent here to Nixa and also with me as his companion. Elder Marriott continued saying  "I am so glad you are my companion. I have served 21 months of my Mission and because of you I finally understand how to be a great Missionary." Nothing has ever meant so much to me.  I feel that My Mission President is one of the most inspired men I have ever met. Elder Marriott can't even begin to know how much he has blessed me and my mission. 

I am going to tell a couple funnies from this week. We received a gift from a member...Thors Hammer.  He made it out of wood.... Naturally we spent half the week thinking of things that we could smash with Thors Hammer. Our first thought was apples, second a broken calculator, third and finally a Milk jug full of water... Yes I will include pictures of this event that happened this morning. It was tons of fun. Also, we Rapped for a family in our ward.   I hope one of the family members will send the video of our rap.  It is pretty impressive.  This is what I rapped. 

Elder Caldwell can you please convey a little something bout this heavenly gang

Sure I'll let it out like a drain 
Mr. Attwooll protect the fam from this crazy man whos not part of the plan
Gettin' referals from Shalla give us a halla...
I can't even think to flow with da girl Dannah Attwooll
Never rapped before gunna hit the flo of da basketball court
Marens not so short... 
Ya I take the time for this silly rhyme 
Its so sublime like peanut butter 
Here comes another 
I roll the dice been here once or twice 
Halyn tha gal in the isles 
She's all smiles 
Gunna bring right back da train 
Rap bout guy with such a brain 
Time to go and get away 
Find out if I go or stay 

Well I got to get going, I know its a bit long but that's it. 
         Elder Caldwell

Monday, March 10, 2014

10 March 2014 "Hallelujah"

Hola everybody!

I had such a great week!  We were able to do a lot.  We got to teach 21 lessons this week and 3 new investigators. All together, our mission gained 222 new investigators in one week.  Sweet Success.

One day me and my companion got creative with our morning exercise.  We decided to go sledding.  We had a good old time!  We made jumps and berms.  We went back the other day for more. We got up earlier than we should have...but it was worth it. 

The snow is gone and the rain is in.  Not a whole lot of difference.  It seems colder when it rains here than when it snows, though. 

I had my first baptism this last week.  A sweet lady that I love named JC.  She is 68 and has leukemia.  She was not able to come to church, but we were still able to push forward and baptize her.  She was so happy.  She came out of the water with a big grin on her face and said, "Hallelujah". I never thought I could learn to love people so much. I almost cried when she asked me to confirm her a member of the church. This is the Joy we should all carry, knowing that we are in Christ's hands and he is guiding us. The Church is a huge blessing that can be overlooked if we are not careful. 

Last Sunday, Church was canceled due to weather.  I can not tell you how happy I was to go to Church this Sunday.  It was like coming home after a long journey.  Not being able to have that push and the sacrament to help us through.  Our church meetings are to help us remember who we are, why we are here, and the joy that the church brings. 

Elder C
Playing with the pigs.
One of my favorite bridges in the Nixa area.
Never thought I could learn to love people so much!

Elder Caldwell is still just Zach sometimes!  LOL

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

03 March 2014 It was like The Amazing Race-Missionary Edition!

Greetings Earthlings!


At the beginning of the week , we started out a little slow.   Our last P-day, my companion crocheted me an awesome beanie! Not real important but I thought it was cool.  We lived on top ramen and also mac and cheese for the last week and a half of the month.   On the 26th of February, we were able to ask for a blessing from the bishop and received one.   I now have no doubt that the bishop here in Nixa is spiritually guided.   He knew exactly what to say and what I was going through.  I can  not believe how awesome that was and how much I needed that blessing.

Really exciting news...0n Thursday our area got blitzed by the zone leaders (aka my first trainer Elder Hughes and Elder Sudberry.)  We took to the streets.  Knocking on doors and talking to random people.  It was like The Amazing Race-Missionary Edition!  We were challenging each other to see who could get the most lessons.  They had to be real lessons.  In a total of 4 hours, we got 2 new investigators and 9 total lessons in between all of us!   I was with Elder Hughes.  Elder Marriott was with Elder Sudberry.  In between the two companionships we got all those numbers.   Totally revitalized my desire to serve the Lord. 

The Friday after that, Elder Marriott and I got a total of 6 lessons.  The area will explode with numbers. All in good time.  A little bit of a push and we started rising up to the occasion.  We were able to finish out the week strong  hitting 21 lessons total.  The standard of excellence is 20.  I feel pretty good about this week. 

Also on Thursday, one of those investigators we found came to a Nerf war that we set up at the church.  It was pretty awesome!  You want to see missionaries go crazy?  Give them Nerf Guns and chair barricades. We also gave him a tour of the Church.  He is 17 years old and is writing a book about world religions. Pretty interesting.  He is a very intelligent kid.  He even tested out of High School.  Anyways, that was a pretty awesome experience.

We have not had one investigator come to church since this last transfer started.  We had 3 planning on coming this last Sunday and then church got canceled because of the icy road conditions.  Hey, there is always another week and another Sunday.

I love tracting in the hail and snow...mostly hail!  Ha, ha!  We have this joke going around the mission- the more raindrops that hit your Mission Tag, the prettier your wife will be.   My take on that is:  Wow!  if raindrops will do that, then what is in store for hail pelting your face??   I thought it was kinda an awesome experience to go through.  

Other experiences??  We were able to play Hockey with a guy on 2 inches of ice in the street.  Pretty cool opportunity.   Also, we had someone telling us that the Bible was Perfect.  It's so hard to not fight with scriptures when its pretty obvious to me that in common sense,  if the Bible was perfect and they did not need more, then why are there so many versions of the Bible?   If it was perfect, it would make sense that there would only be one version of the Bible. 

This last P-day we could not go anywhere because we got 5 inches of snow and so we ended up cleaning our kitchen and decorating it, too.  We found some Christmas lights, some pom-poms, those clear fish tank rocks, a light bulb, and some yarn and made this beautiful lamp for our kitchen! I Love it!!! The things that Missionaries do when we start to find arts and crafts items and putting them together to make something pretty amazing!   I can not even express how cool that lamp is!  It turned out better then I ever would have imagined!!


     Elder Caldwell

My awesome hat-crocheted by Elder Marriott!
Our wonderfully clean Kitchen!  Elder Marriott's tie is too beautiful to hang in the closet.  It is a piece of art displayed properly on the kitchen wall!
Our cleaned kitchen decorated by amazing Elders.  Notice the beautiful pics of the Mountains (thanks Mom), the duct tape that is doubling as an easel for my calligraphy message, and the boombox antenna that doubles nicely as a hat rack.  PERFECTION!!
Our amazing new kitchen lamp!  Who've thunk two missionaries to make something so wonderful!!