Monday, September 19, 2011

Paint the Town Red...Ute Red

Man, things closed down for the work Saturday. Everyone knows I attend BYU, and boy did I hear it on Sunday. Good thing I'm on a mission and could care less about sports right now.
We are having a baptism this Saturday, for our new friend from Africa. The ward has really helped him become acquainted with everything, and he is excited. We also have a Native American man scheduled for baptism on October 15th. He likes certain parts of his culture and their beliefs, but many parts he is confused on and does not accept. His wife is a member, and he feels that our meeting him at this point in his life is exactly what God wanted. He is excited for baptism as well, and even more excited about making it to the temple one day to be sealed with his family for time and eternity.
Things have cooled down, temperature wise and also with the missionary efforts. I'm trying to stay upbeat about it, I can always improve in one area or another, so miracles will come as I continually strive to become better. I still get along with the companion, I'm trying to get him to do more know and to overcome his fears of talking and teaching. It will be frustrating, I definitely am a "do it myself" person. I know, however, that for both of us we will make leaps and bounds in our progression. Wish me luck, baptisms may come slowly, but right now, my concern is to help this young missionary, who is still struggling socially to the mission, and no one is better at the social aspect of the work than Elder Warczak, I love to talk!
I am preparing for general conference. I have many questions to be answered and qualities of my life to alter to align myslef more with my Heavenly Father and His will. You get out of conference what you put into it, just like anything else. If you wake up, roll out of bed, and into the living room two mintues before conference starts, you're cutting yourself short. It only happens twice a year, might as well make it count :)
This past week the mission began reading the Book of Mormon again. I am amazed by the insights I see as I read. As I talk to many people that have hard feelings against the church, it blows me away how many of them have never read the Book of Mormon. Oh they'll say they have, but when you ask them a simple question such as, "Who's Nephi? What's one thing he did in the Book of Mormon?" None of them can answer. Truthfully, if you want to know if the LDS church is true or not, just read the Book of Mormon. So many I talk with get their information from places like youtube, very intelligent wouldn't you say?
We attended the temple today, what a priviledge it is. I hear many negative comments about the temple throughout the week, how it's a place of evil and full of pagan worship. Not so. The feelings of peace and clarity that come as I enter therein can only come from God. I hope those of us that can attend the temple do it often, I'm making sure after the mission that the temple is a top priority for my life.
Enough of my own conference talk, hopefully I didn't bore any of you. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, and President Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today! There we go. Take care, I love you all and pray for your safety daily.
Elder Scotty

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Door Slams and All

The past week was very enjoyable for me. We met many anti-mormons, who threw all kinds of things at us. My companion, being new and all, got his first door slammed in his face. In the missionary field, missionaries like to refer to trainers as "fathers" and those missionaries they train as "sons". Also, when they speak of one's first assigned area, they will ask, "Where were you born?" or, "where did you come out of the womb?" Well, that never flew with me. When people ask me who my father is I reply, "John Warczak, heck of a man I tell ya! Oh, you mean who trained me, that would be Elder Barnett!" "Where was I born? Palmdale, Los Angeles County, California, May of 1989. OH! You mean where did I start my mission...Granger Stake." It's just weird to me to refer to Elder Kodama as my "son" and myself as his "father". With that said, the door slam was definitely one of those moments where I thought, "He's growing up, his first door slam!" It was precious. He was kind of upset about it for awhile. Don't worry Elder Kodama...that's only the beginning! HA!

We should be having a baptism this weekend. Perhaps two! They are the two solid people we have, everyone else we know of is still in the early stages of embracing the Gospel. This week is leadership training. Those are always eventful. 

The picture is yours truly with Joseph Freeman, the first black man after President's Kimball's 1978 announcement that all worthy males could hold the priesthood. He spoke in the half-way house branch we cover. He said it himself, he went to New York and spoke on Good Morning America as the first black with the priesthood in the Mormon church. He is an amazing speaker, I was enthralled by every word he uttered. 

That's the week, tons of opposition. Nothing I haven't heard before. "Joseph Smith's a fraud, con, temples and masons, polygamy", all the same old same old. My testimony still stands, I love to declare it to them and see them think I'm crazy. Even Jesus Christ was rejected, that's what I tell myself as I walk away from someone like that. Even He.

One plus one is two, the sky is blue, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. 'Nuff said.

Elder Scotty

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm From Lakewood, Elder...this is Nothing!

This past week, as we were leaving the note on an investigator's door, a bunch of trucks and suv's were pulling up across the street one by one. The property across the street is a compound, this area we were in is more farm-like, with cattle all around. All of a sudden, police jump out of all the vehicles and swarm the compound. Guns drawn and all sorts of yelling going on. As my companion is ready to wet himself and tells me we need to get out of here, I stand in awe and say, "COOL!" As he looked at me confused I reminded him of my upbringing, "I'm from Lakewood, we're on the show COPS every week, this is nothing." 

Wonderful, just spectacular things have happened this past week. We have four people on date for baptism. Two of them are so elect, I think they should be teaching me. One man in particular is from Togo, Africa. He's been here a few months and is living with family members, who are all members of the church already. He accepted baptism the first night we met him, and on Sunday he leaned over to me and asked if he could go up and share his testimony, since it was fast and testimony meeting, or if you had to be a member to do so. As I told him he could, a few minutes later he walked up there and gave a simple yet powerful testimony of the Savior and how good he felt being there at church. 

Our mission is struggling. We only had 20 baptisms last week. The goal of 3,000 for the year is still reachable, but every companionship needs to be baptizing each week. I'm definitely up for the challenge, but I'm making sure the people I help baptize are ready, none of this meet them, teach them everything in one week, and baptize them the next Saturday when they haven't met anybody at church. No no, that will not do. Quantity AND quality as Elder Ballard puts it!

Every thing else is just peachy. The weather is cooling down, I have people to teach, conference is coming up, there's nothing to complain about. Yesterday during preparation day we went to the Gateway Mall, which is in our zone. I'll tell you, if you want people to stare you down and avoid you like a plague, slap on a missionary name tag and white shirt and tie and you got it! BOY was it weird, I don't plan on going there anytime soon during the next 9 months, nooo way!


Elder Scotty

Someone Turn off the Sun, Please!

Ok, this week was ridiculously, can't even laugh about it, HOT! Even with a car, getting out of it was like opening the oven, a wave of heat would hit me. Since we live on the top level of the home we're at, nights are tough too with the heat, no blankets for me!

Yesterday we talked in two of the wards here in Granger North. I love speaking, absolutely love it. Elder Gene R. Cook talks about not preparing a formal talk to give, but rather preparing beforehand and then saying whatever the spirit wants to say through you. I'm trying that more and more and I'm getting better at just speaking from the heart, using only scriptures. The area is doing good. We have good referrals coming our way and I know one or two of them will turn into something solid. It would be excellent to leave this area with a few more baptisms and more on date for the weeks to come. 

My district will be interesting. The rest of my district, three companionship's, live in the Wells Stake, which is on state street and going east. Here in Granger North, I'm past 3000 West. Oh boy. It will be difficult to check up on them being far away, hopefully they all behave well enough :) The district is chill, Tongans, a Samoan, an elder going home this transfer, a fellow white boy from Florida, and two fairly fresh ones (my companion included). We'll have fun.

Last night as we were knocking on doors, I ran into a couple that I taught over a year ago in Granger Stake! It was so funny when we looked at each other and did the whole, "How do I know you" stare! They're so not interested still, but I wasn't too bother, I gave them our number and told them the time to church on Sunday. Yeah, I'm getting to be one of the older missionaries.

There is an amazing couple in the stake, the Flitton's. They are my parent's twins, I kid you not! Their definitely the missionary parents here, and every time I speak with them it feels like I'm talking to good old mom and dad. Sister Flitton is a school teacher and is very VERY loud and talkative. Brother Flitton is very chill and easy going, and has a sweet work shop, where he builds all sorts of things. It's terriffic. SO after the mission, I'll have to introduce my real parents to the "dimension X' parents of mine, that will be a sight to see!

The morning has been fun, we had to take an elder to the DMV at the fairgrounds, and that was over by 9:30, so we went to breakfast at the Nauvoo Cafe at Temple Square. I sat and looked up at the temple, how magnificent the Salt Lake Temple is! Only another month until conference! We're plucking away at people and names, I pray next week I'll have new investigators on date to tell you about. Thank you for all the prayers, I definitely can feel them during those tough days and hours. I love you all and thanks for the letters Laura, Dani (not Pete), Court, and Hjelm family, letters will follow!


Elder Scotty