Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Un devocional magnifico!!!

Dear Family,
Last night was our stake missionary devotional with Elder Robert Packer, the area authority for the mission.  He talked about simple ways that members can invite their friends and do missionary work. I liked a lot of the points. 
One thing we can do to be better missionaries is invite our friends to church. 50% of all that come to church end up getting baptized.  80% that attend baptismal services get baptized.  We can invite our friends to these and other activities.  17% of all that get a tour of our church buildings get baptized. By inviting our friends to simple activities we can break down the stereotypes and open their minds to what we believe. 
Another thing he talked about was the way that we can turn comments into invitations.  For example, a coworker challenges that "you have too many rules in your church."  A simple way you can share the gospel is by inviting him to check out your mormon.org profile or by inviting him to a ward activity where he can meet about 300 people that are happy to explain why they like living those rules.
We are really hoping to use the devotional's momentum to carry the work forward in the San Jose South Zone. It was an awesome experience.
Elder Badger
PS Happy Birthday Mom.  I hope you have something fun planned. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Exchange City !!!

Dear family,
This week has been one of my busiest exchange weeks of my mission.  I don't mind exchanges too much, but I always find it hard to leave my area.  It's a stewardship thing.  Between all of the exchanges we have been super busy.  We are working to teach twenty lessons a week.  We haven't gotten there yet, but have lots of plans to make it happen this upcoming week.
The San Jose South activity committee did a super cool harvest fair this last Saturday.  It involved a talent show, booths, contests, and lots of corndogs.  It was a really great opportunity to talk to the members and get to know them a little better.  From what I hear, it was much better than the BYU-Utah game.  I am glad I wasn't in Provo to witness the massacre.
At the fair, I ran into Rob Petersen.  I now understand why Dad felt short in high school.  I don't know how we got to the topic, but somehow Rob and I ended up talking about some high school prank involving black powder and a battery. It was nice to run into someone who knows the family. 
We have been very pleased with the work we have been doing lately in the ward.  We are still working to increase our teaching pool, but we are begining to put the ward mission process in place.  It is amazing how quickly things are beggining to happen.  All it needed was a little nudge in the right direction. I think our work will take off very soon.
Elder Badger

Monday, September 12, 2011

Miracles Happen !!!

Dear family,
I will admit that this week hasn't been the easiest in my mission.  Elder Manning and I have felt like we have been swamped with leadership responsibilities and haven't had the time we want or need to devote to the area.  Nevertheless, we pushed on and tried to do the very best we could.  One of our goals was to contact twenty people a day.  It took a lot of work and led to some interesting experiences to write in our journals. 
The miracle happened when a man we had contacted came to church with his member friend.  There was nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary about the contact, but something led him to talk about it to his friend. She made mention that she was moving into the Los Alamitos ward and invited him to come with her to church this Sunday. 
 He accepted the invitation and came to church.  As we got to know Gonzalo and his friend Priscilla, we learned that he had been a day away from getting baptized two years ago.  He called it off on the day of his baptism. Some members remember him and confirmed everything he said.  After church we gave him a tour of the building and showed him the baptismal font.  We even invited him to be baptized.  He said that he would need a refresher on the missionary lessons before he could give us a definite answer, but was excited to meet with us again. 
What started off as a mediocre week turned into a pretty awesome week of miracles.  I have seen miracles come from street contacts before, including baptisms, but love to receive confirmation that what we are doing is the right course. 
Even better still, Elder Manning and I made ourselves a deal that if we contacted 140 people this week, we would get frozen yogurt.  I think 141 counts, so tonight is frozen yogurt night. We expect all of our missionaries to contact twenty people daily.  If we are to have that expectation, we have to lead by example.  We look forward to hearing similar stories from other companionships in the zone.
I hope Mom's first seminary lesson went well.  I wake up at 6:25 and wonder where she is in her lesson.  I am so glad that missionaries don't have to get up for seminary.  I don't think I could do it.  I get eight hours of sleep nightly, but still feel exhausted.  I think it is the spiritual aspect of missionary work.  It is possible to be spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally worn out.  I think I have experienced all four at some point in my mission. I even think there have been times when I have experienced all four at once. However, everything we do makes it worth it.  In Moroni 6, we learn that everything we do in the church is to help others experience the blessings of the gospel.  There really is no other reason to go to church.  Everything else is secondary. It is a simple principle, but one we must always keep in mind.  The biggest obstacle we see in some wards and ward councils is a forgetfulness in regards to the real reason we go to church and participate in the gospel.  Everything is centered on following the Savior. That makes everything we do as missionaries worth it.  We follow him through the tough times too.  It is the tough times that let us know how good the good times really are.
Elder Badger

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Go, Go, Go

Dear family,
I am liking my new area. It is an adjustment being back in a ward.  It is a new experience to not know everybody on the ward roster. I am working as hard as I can to learn everybody's names.  I forgot what it feals like to be new in an area.  I want to learn my area and get to know those with whom I will be working as soon as possible.
We are definitely at a finding stage.  It was something we were fasting for.  We were very pleased with the results of our fast.  At sacrament meeting, a part-member family showed up and brought their non-member parents and grandparents as well.  We are hoping to talk to the member tonight to see what he wants us to do and to encourage him to keep inviting. 
The San Jose South zone is doing well.  It is weird, but we they have always been neck and neck with the Morgan Hill zone for leading the mission.  We are hoping that the changes we have brought to both zones will lead them better for the long term.
We are also looking at how we can implement ward mission plans in the wards that have been struggling to get a grasp on the work.  It is going to be a key step as we work to push the mission to 100 baptisms a month before the end of the year.
This last friday was our zone leader council.  A great deal of time was spent discussing finding.  Of all of the things we do, finding seems to be the limiting factor for our success as missionaries.  As we become better at finding through members, we will find more opportunites to teach and share the gospel with the our brothers and sisters here in the Bay area.
Elder Badger