Sunday, August 2, 2015

Week of March 29 - The Church is Perfect, the Members and Missionaries Aren't

Hello Everyone.

Sounds like things are going well in Colorado. Transfers were pretty good. I got a new companion who is from New Zealand. His name is McPherson. He is a solid guy who has been out about 16 months. He is very confident and I feel more confident in myself when we go out and tract and teach. He just spent 7 months down in Tasmania. I still feel like I have lots to improve in, but I think that the hardest thing for this transfer will be to try and break some old habits without being too "holier than thou". Sadly our investigators have been hit with some opposition from the most likely of candidates, the father. Apparently, he has been feeding the boys anti-Mormon literature and stuff and is against Evelyne being taught in his home. They still are coming to church though and really love it so I have resorted to just praying hard. This is a first for me, but I imagine it is not going to be the last. It's just sad to see a family that is so keen and ready for the gospel be hindered by someone who should be looking out for their happiness. 

My new companion and I are really close friends. I feel like we can get some work done and get the members to enjoy our personalities more than the last couple of transfers.  I plan on us continuing to work hard, while still maintaining and being true to who I am (I have found that those who put on a false persona often drive me crazy). 

Adam's New Companion - Elder McPherson (Big and Small)

I am very much like David (Adam's cousin) in that I dislike hypocrites in the Church. They are everywhere. The only thing that matters is that you are true to your personal convictions. There are many missionaries who are hypocrites themselves. They preach about change and conversion when they don't even have the personal strength to go out and work. Many of them also have not let go of their old lives and still resent the rules and then break them, but teach others about changing their lives. It is a sad thing to see and sometimes I feel like I am a hypocrite whenever I do not work my hardest each day, or when I encourage the members to share the gospel, but sometimes feel apprehensive about sharing the gospel myself and also the fact that I did not do it back home. I have felt that most people do intend to do the right thing, but lack the conviction to do it. People are imperfect but as long as personally we our true to our beliefs, I feel that God is pleased with our decisions. Perfection is a process, and I am far from it. I know that I have changed incredibly while on my mission, but I recognize that I am not at the level I hoped to be at. I know that as we continue to put our trust in the Lord and then ACT, that is when we will have a change of heart. I would like to say that I have no disposition to do evil, but that would be an outright lie. Missionaries are not perfect, but they are doing what they believe is what the Lord expects of them and by doing so hope to have that change of heart. My heart has changed, but there is still a long way to go. 

Love Elder Otterson

Week of March 22 - A New Resolve: No Regrets


To be honest, this transfer I have not been the best that I could have been and I did not do all that was expected. These last couple of weeks I noticed myself falling back into old habits and I hated seeing that happen. My companion is leaving the area and the ward really loved him. Like even the stake president said that I had big shoes to fill and the ward believes he is like the best missionary to ever serve there. It is interesting to see how the wards like missionaries who are good guys, but the harder workers and more diligent ones are sometimes less revered. He was a great guy, and the ward members did love him there is no doubt, but I know that we could have done more good and we kind of let each other slip up a bit. I guess the whole experience has made me think about what kind of legacy I want to leave, and I believe that it is possible to be remembered both as a good missionary who loved the members and a hard working, obedient one as well (without compromising one to obtain the other). It reminded me of the talk by elder Holland where he says people fashion gods to suit them (Jeffrey Holland: The Cost and Blessings of Discipleship), and they generally choose to reject the true God who requires them to change and repent. This transfer I will have no regrets. I promise you and the Lord.

Elder Otterson

Week of March 15 - The Dilemma: Stats or Effectiveness

Man your story is so legit (Dad - I had told him the story of a powerful conversion story that I experienced on my mission in France of Sister Barbier; I also shared with him story of Le Havre and it being a really tough area that had been "condemned" prior to the WWII). I have really wanted to dust my shoes after some of the people's reactions to us going around and knocking on their doors. It has been a real eye opening experience to see the rudeness people have for absolutely no reason. I guess I have learned that no matter where I end up on the socio-economic spectrum, I do not ever want to be rude to others for any reason. 

It has been a really good week here. The lady that we have been teaching is super awesome. She has been doing everything required to receive an answer to her prayers and wants and desires to be baptised after she receives the confirming witness of its truthfulness. I know that the answer will come it is just the waiting that is hard, and in today's instant gratification society, I pray that it will not take too long. Her son came to church again and he really loves it so we asked him if he would want to learn and he said yes, so we will be teaching him this week. I hope that we can do our part to help them become converted. It is hard to balance out trying to get stats and trying to do what is important. For example, we our supposed to teach 20 lessons a week, but since we don't have investigators, we only teach like 7, and most of them our member lessons. Also we are supposed to get 20 new contacts a week which is super difficult even in the city where we barely got 20 each week and they are a lot more receptive and willing to change and do something different. We know member work is the key and most effective way to move the work here, so we stop in on members and follow up with their missionary efforts to keep it fresh in their minds. Those visits don't count anywhere on the stat sheet, but is a way better use of time. I don't know if you faced a similar dilemma and what you did to resolve it?

It is great to hear about all of the kids.  [Speaking of Aaron's wrestling] Keep encouraging Aaron. I think one of the biggest things that I wish you would have done was force me a little bit more when I was younger. I know that is probably just myself wishing I would have been willing to be pushed at a young age and that I would have been happy and content with that. Show Aaron you are actively involved by filming everything and attending all practices and signing him up for all tournaments and chaperoning him. I think that as long as you show you are committed to him, he will be committed himself.

Elder Otterson

Week of March 8 - Lots of Finding...

So far the work is going well. It took 60 hours, but we found someone to teach. I found a Zimbabwean family that are so prepared. We have been teaching the Mom and invited her to church and she came with here family and they loved it. We will start to teach the whole family and try and set some dates for them by the end of this month. Other than them, we are still doing a lot of finding, trying to find some others of God's elect. I have grown to love studying the scriptures and wish that I would have read more doctrinal books and such before. 

The ward is awesome, they just have a hard time doing missionary work themselves. It's been more of a challenge on a couple of fronts here: First, I was put into a ritzy area (harder to find humble, prepared people that are willing to change); secondly, this area has had some less diligent missionaries in the past. I have been trying to change that culture and have been able to see some changes as well. I imagine that it would be a lot like serving in the home ward back home. I do not envy them. I think that that the family we are teaching coming to church was the kick that this ward needed to get the ball rolling. Missionary work and success is contagious! 

Love Elder Otterson