Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015

Hi everyone!!

So as far as some of your questions, we are still in a 2 man (no roommates) but it is much more common to live with roommates. And I'm missing having other people lots, but like you said we get to see tons of other people. Like for example we drove over to our closest metro stop and we are down at the Capitol Hill apartment for P-Day to hang out with Elder McDonald and his kid! We get together as an entire mission about once a month I would say. Every 6 weeks on transfer and then every 3rd Sunday for the Why I Believe. And then there's always a here and there event that happens and we are with the entire mission. And we are allowed to go to the temple once a transfer usually the week before the transfer cycle. 

So about Brian and Sampson. So since Brian is 8 we are having his baptism with another kid in the ward who just turned 8. So his should be this Saturday the 26th. And yeah Sampson is native from Africa. We have lots of countries represented in our mission and even here in our ward and stake. Example being at stake conference last week we had broadcast rooms where missionaries were acting as translators for the French, ASL and Spanish branches in our stake! 

So about our week here Monday and Tuesday didn't have much to talk about so I'll just jump ahead to Wednesday when I got my baby boy!! So my kid is Elder Schank from Las Vegas! He's 19 and graduated from HS
this past summer like me. He played the oboe at a performing arts high school but luckily he also ran track at a public high school so it's not two 100% music companions I'm a row! He seems like a good kid so far! Though I feel bad he hasn't been able to teach a lesson yet. Then again it took me almost 2-3 weeks to finally teach my first lesson! Only thing is he's kinda struggling with the cold haha. I walked out on Thursday morning and he was staring out the window at the rain. And he's always wearing a jacket and wears sweats in the apartment when
I'm in a tee shirt and basketball shorts. But other than that so far so good haha.

One thing I've noticed lots training is how much I have learned in these short 4 1/2 months! It's been kind of a confidence booster to see all that I have learned in the short time. Whether it be explaining all things mission related I've come to know or just the things like grocery shopping for myself. I took him to the store on Wednesday night so he could get some food and he just wandered the isles like I did my first time and even though I'm trying to improve on my cooking I can see my growth from the first time shopping for myself to now!

Another benefit of training is getting to go to the temple with the new missionaries! It's tradition that all the trainers take the trainees to the temple in the first week (something I didn't get since the temple was closed). But we went on Friday so me, Elder Levi, Elder Jenks and Elder McDonald and our kids went! And yes me and Elder McDonald extend the streak and sat next to each other haha. No joke we are going to try to every time out here. But it really was amazing the be in the temple a week before Christmas. I really felt like it added to the sense of the true meaning of Christmas I have been feeling this month out here on the mission. There is no focus on the hustle and
bustle of the season, just focus on our Savior and the true gift of Christmas.

And I guess that leads into yesterday. So we had the Ward Christmas program during sacrament meeting which was awesome!! We sang almost all the Christmas carols and really was an awesome meeting. Plus I sat between Lucie and Ismael and I was just so excited for him since it was his baptism day! The baptism was after church and it was absolutely amazing! I think the only time I've been happier sitting in all white was at my endowment. But siting there next to Ismael was amazing and getting to take him in for the font was such a great experience. And for him 3rd times the charm haha. He would not keep his feet on the ground. So after 2 time of some feet popping up I finally just stood on his feet and put him under the 3rd time! But he was so happy after it and I'm just so so happy for him!!!

It was a great week! I'm gonna keep it shorter because I'm going to talk to you all Friday!!!! Ah I'm so excited, really I'm excited for Christmas and all the fun stuff we get to do as a mission but I'm really just ready to see all of you! I can't wait! I love you all!!

Merry Christmas and talk to you soon!

Ismaels Baptism!!

Posterity Pictures
Son, Father, and Grandfather
Elder Schank, me, Elder Coombs

December 14, 2015

Hi everyone!! 

Along with the early Christmas present of Ismaels baptism coming up and all the packages from home this week, I got another Christmas surprise. I'm a father! Yup you read that right.. I was called to train this up coming transfer! Really I don't know how to feel about the whole deal, but I've got pretty use to having something big change every transfer I think I'm getting kind of use to it haha

So Monday night after P-Day we had an exchange with the traveling trainers. It was awesome to be with Elders Parker and Tanner for the night because they are just awesome! Plus we taught an awesome lesson to Jacob! Then after the exchange we came back to the apartment and gave Elder Williams a blessing since we had never gave him one after splitting his chin open at the ice rink since it was just fast paced getting him to the doctors and such. It is always a great opportunity to exercise the priesthood. I'm glad that so far on my mission I have been able to give blessings so I'm getting more comfortable and confident as I give them. 

Tuesday and Wednesday were days filled with lots of tracting and checking on all the Festival of Lights referrals. Which is nice with how many we get, but they almost all are just junk, people writing down their information for the sisters so it's kind of a waste of time in my opinion but hey I'm sure there are some that are successful. Also Tuesday night it became official, Ismael asked me to baptize him this upcoming Sunday!! Quick side note about Sampson and Brian. So Sampson went back to Africa for a few weeks so he's kinda on hold. And as far as we know Brian is set to be baptized next week, since he is 8 he is the wards responsibility, not really ours. But it was in our plans to follow up on that this week to see if it's all going to go through. 

So Wednesday night was where it all went down.. Like I've explained before in our mission it is a process of finding out transfers and such. And Wednesday a week before transfers is when they call the trainers. There has been some predictions that I would train and in all honesty I had kinda had a gut feeling about it, but still only being out 4 months I didn't really feel it was happening. But sure enough that night the phone is ringing and I look down and it is the APs who asked if I had a few minutes to talk to President, that is where he extended the call to me to be a trainer. It was pretty crazy and I think I'm still getting to grips that I'm getting a child (mission slang for my trainee) this upcoming week. I called Coombs that night to let him know he was becoming a Grandfather and he was pretty pumped about that haha

Thursday was a Zone Conference where we had some really great trainings by President Cooke, Sister Cooke, the APs and out Zone Leaders! Plus since my birthday is before the next Zone Conference it was celebrated and as a gift I got a sweet temple recommend holder from the Cookes!

Friday I had to attend a Trainers meeting, so I drove down to my home away from home Suitland to exchange! I seriously miss So Maryland so much! It was tons of fun to see all the missionaries down there I don't get to see as much. So I drove down there because I was meeting up with the other new trainers, which include my main man Elder McDonald and Elder Levi! Elder McDonald and I are both training together on our 4th transfers!! It's pretty crazy but I'm excited, I'm glad we can go through it together and help support each other since I know it's going to be challenging to be training this early on our missions. At the trainers meeting President Cooke just talked about the great responsibility and privilege it is to be a trainer. And told us to always keep in mind that is it a sign of confidence from him but most of all from the Lord. And he said it truly is the Lord who calls us, which was a nice reassurance especially to me and Elder McDonald who are training on our 4th and Elder Jenks is training on his 5th for the second time (he just finished training on his 3rd transfer!!). It's pretty crazy, there is now a few Elders who have become trainers really early. Elder McDonald and I on our 4th this upcoming transfer, Elder Jenks like I just mentioned, and Elder Torgeson (who's quickly becoming another really close mission friend!) who was called to train last transfer on his 4th! Us four are the fastest to train that anyone can remember in the mission..

Saturday and Sunday was Stake Conference here and it was pretty good. Then Saturday nights the Transfer Call Out came. It was pretty certain that I would be staying here to train so I didn't have to white wash train. And sure enough that's what happened, Elder Williams is leaving and I will be training here in Laurel!

It is amazing to me to see how fast paced my mission had been so far. Really I feel like there hasn't been time to really get comfortable yet haha. But I'm thankful for it, the Lord is keeping me on my toes, keeping my humble, and making sure that I relying on him. I have had a lot of things come fast where I haven't thought I could handle it, but every time the Lord makes it possible. I've listened to Pre Eyrings talk from this past General Conference "You are not alone in the work" a lot as a missionary and there is a quote from the end I always find comfort in. He says, 

"Whatever your calling in the priesthood, you may have at times felt Heavenly Father was unaware of you. You can pray to know His will, and with the honest desire to do whatever He asks you to do, you will receive an answer. Heavenly Father will allow you to feel that He knows you, that He appreciates your service, and that you are becoming worthy of the greeting from the Lord you want so much to hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord....

I am grateful for the examples of faithful priesthood holders everywhere. Heavenly Father and the Savior are grateful that you do your part. They know you, They watch over you, and They love you".

I truly know that as a missionary my Heavenly Father knows me, watches over me, and loves me. And with that I I know I can do all things (Luke 1:37). And of course thanks for all the love, support and prayers from back home!

I love you all! Tune in next week to see what happens with me and my new baby boy!


Picture from pday last week when we went ice skating!

December 7, 2015

We are going ice skating today as a zone for our zone activity so I'm getting my emails off early today so you don't have to wait around until later for me to send them!

I'll run down my week! It was another pretty good week here! 

On Tuesday I got to go to lunch at the famous Sister Mayes house. She's this older African American sister in the College Park Ward that LOVES missionaries. Example being her license plate cover which says "I love missionaries" that some Elders got custom made for her haha. Plus she has missionaries over every Tuesday for lunch. She's awesome! The only not awesome thing is your first time at her house you have to eat a scotch bonnet pepper. That pepper is like the second hottest naturally occurring pepper in the world. Yeah.. So this Crazy Jamaican lady makes all the Elders eat one then sit for 5 minutes until we get a huge bowl of ice cream. It was a terrible experience Haha. But at least I got the worst form of mission hazing I've heard of out of the way haha. I'll try and get my hands on the video of me eating it and send it!

Then Wednesday I got to go to the temple. Can I just say how much I love being in a mission with a temple so I can once a transfer! I love the temple so much and it's so nice to go. Plus I get to meet up with all the missionaries I don't get to see as much. So I got to sit next to my boy Elder McDonald for the season. I've sat next to him every time I've been in the temple as a missionary so far, so there fun. Hopefully we can keep the streak going until we come home! I leaned over before our session started and whispered to him, "I hope you realize that today makes it that I've been in the temple with you the same amount of times I have with my own Mom" He about lost it laughing. But it was a funny thing for us to realize together! Then after we got to go to our usually lunch with everyone at a nearby mall food court which is always fun to see everyone try and figure out why there is like 40+ guys in shirts and ties eating together!

A pretty cool experience we had was on Thursday! So remember that lady we kind of Bible bashed with last week? Yeah so she invited us over again. So Elder Williams and I show up and basically come to find out she brought her nephew, Justin, who is an assistant minister for her church to talk (bash) with us. Come to find out he's actually way interested in learning about our church. So he took a BOM and asked us tons of questions! It was honestly one of the best lessons I have had as a missionary! At the end he turned to me and asked for my email so we could keep in contact and talk about things! It was awesome! Then the best part was when Michelle (who was conveniently not able to come all of a sudden) shows up to see us still at her house. She was not happy but acted like she was fine. So we share the new Christmas video which Justin and her daughters loved! They were pumped about coming to the Festival of Lights! So hopefully they come. Plus we got to be apart of another hand holding loud Pentecostal prayer again and those are always fun. 

Then all day Friday I was on exchange with Elder Collins one of our Zone Leaders down in the College Park Ward. Nothing that great happened but I scored going to their wards Christmas party that night so that was pretty sweet. I love getting to be with other missionaries and learning from them. Everyone has their own way of doing things and teaching and it's nice to pick up on things from older missionaries here and there now that I no longer have an experienced comp to learn from. 

Sunday night we went to the visitors center for the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. I thought it was super good! Plus I got to sit next to Coombs. I love that guy so much!! Also just getting to see other missionaries I miss tons. Plus there are other missionaries that look out for me lots, like Elder Coombs and Elder Parker/Tanner will call me some nights just so we can talk. But things are going good! We do get transfer call out this Saturday (I know! Crazy it's already that time again!) so that should be interesting!
I hope you all have great weeks! I love you all tons!


Thought you guys would enjoy seeing Ismael! Plus he asked me if I would baptize him!! So nothing is set in stone but it looks like as of right now I'm going to be the one who gets to baptize him! 

So the story behind this picture. So I was at the College Park Ward Christmas Party and they had this set up for family photos. So of course us as missionaries decided to take one together. And attempted to make it an awkward family photo. 

Me, Elder Collins (ZL), Then 2 French elders, Elder DeMill and Tatuaapua. Elder Tatuaapua is from Tahiti so he pretty much hates life right now in the cold haha