A glimpse into the life of a Mormon missionary (Elder Creer) as he serves a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He began serving in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission- Spanish speaking. On July 1, 2012, he was transferred to a new mission- the Utah Salt Lake City West Mission.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Families being changed by the hand of the Lord...

Hola Familia!
This week we got to do something pretty sweet! We got to go and do service in the temple and set up some chairs for some meeting that the General Authorities are having before conference. It was sweet because we got to go to the 4th and 5th floors and got a tour which they said they don't do anymore so we were lucky. It was cool to see where the Prophet and Apostles meet to discuss things. The Spirit was also very strong, probably because normally just the General Authorities are up there.
My Spanish is doing alright. It is really hard to understand people because everyone is from a different country and speak with different accents. I can see that the Lord is helping me a little bit at a time so it is just going to take time for me to learn the language.
We had a baptism this week for a man we have been teaching.   Initially, he was really excited to get baptized because he felt that he should have done it about 8 months ago. However,the adversary was really trying to keep him from being baptized.  He said that all day he felt this bad feeling that was confusing him and he didn't know what was happening and also all of his friends were telling him he was making a huge mistake so he was really questioning his decision. The baptism was supposed to begin at 8pm and we were supposed to meet him at 7:30 to make sure he was all ready to go. We arrived and he was nowhere to be found. So we tried calling him and he wouldn't answer. Finally at about 7:45 he answered and he said that he didn't want to be baptized anymore because of those confused feelings. So we asked him if we could come over to his house and just talk to him real quick and give him a blessing. So we got to his house at about 8...everyone was at the church waiting for us because that is when the baptism was supposed to be. We talked to him for like 30 minutes and he explained how he was feeling confused and he didn't know what was happening and he said it felt like something was trying to keep him from getting baptized. He said he knew he needed and wanted to be baptized but wanted to feel peace about it before he went through with it. So we gave him a blessing and the Spirit was so strong and I know he felt it. After the blessing he asked right away if he could still get baptized tonight. It was 8:45! So we said “of course!” and we went to leave and his car wasn't working, we were thinking “you have got to be kidding, what else will go wrong?” So we call for a ride and finally arrive at the church at 9pm. Then guess what? There was another baptism that was going on that wasn't on the schedule so we had to wait and ended up going to another room. Finally the room opened up and we were able to see him baptized. It was really cool to see that if we have faith, the Lord's work cannot be stopped. Even with all the things that seemed to be going wrong with him, the Lord will always prevail!
We also saw another miracle this week. He had an investigator that was progressing a little and then we got a call that she needed to talk to us. So we set up a time and went to see her.  The family wasn’t in agreement about church. We read some scriptures and bore our testimonies about how important the family is. We asked her to talk to with her husband and we would come back the next day. When we went back, the husband was so humble! When we went back to visit them after they had talked and they were really looking  to improve their family relationships. We told them that the church is centered on families and with the gospel in their lives they could have a happy family and be able to work things out. So they both agreed to come to church. They loved it and their son loved primary.  It was amazing to see how the Lord is able to work miracles, once again to keep the family together. It has been such a blessing to see theses miracles of hearts being softened and families being changed by the hand of the Lord and becoming happier!
So that's pretty much the best of this week.
Hope you all are doing great and enjoying life. Make sure you put the Lord first because with the help of the Lord you will always prevail and be happier as a family!
Love ya!

Siempre Crean,
Elder Creer

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Lord can do anything to get a family together...

Hola Familia!

How's everything going there? How is the weather, still hot? The weather varies here every day it is either rainy or a billion degrees, haha.
This week I was only with my companion for a couple days. On Tuesday and Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Watson who is from North Carolina. We had a good time and worked hard. We also made Sister Winn cookies because we heard her dad passed away so I took the ingredients you sent me and made her the cookies. I gave her the recipe as a message that would work for a lesson where each ingredient stands for an idea or principle.  It was the recipe for overcoming life's challenges. She said the cookies were "divine" but didn't believe we made them, haha.  
We also ran into Geoff McIntire at the mission office too which was crazy, like what are the chances?
Then on Saturday my companion and I went on exchanges with the AP's (assistants to the President) which was nice. I went with Elder Green and he helped me out a lot. 
This week we had a baptism.  He is from Mexico and loves sports. I think we have a pretty good connection too. His whole family was baptized about 7 months ago but he wasn't living with them so he wasn't baptized before, but now he is! They have to go back to Mexico in November because their visas expire and they said that they are going to try and come back for Ruben’s school. His family was so happy at the baptism and it was cool to see how well it worked out. It shows how the Lord can do anything to get a family together.
We also met another investigator this week. He is 15. I knew we were going to connect right when he opened the door because he was wearing some J's. He is having a rough time right now because his football coach just kicked him off the team. They had early morning conditioning a couple of weeks ago and he didn't have a way to get there early. He tried talking to his coach about it and his coach didn't care and kicked him off the team. He said he wasn't the fastest kid but he could catch everything, sound familiar?  Also his favorite team is the Broncos too so that's another plus. He is going to try and come to play basketball or soccer with us today and then we are going back to teach him on Sunday. He seems like a really nice kid, his parents were baptized a year ago but stopped going to church because they decided they like the Catholic one better so we are going to try and work with the family to give him a support system.
Well hope all is going well there and school is great for the kids!
Love ya,
Siempre Crean
Elder Creer
 Brother Wilson's house
 Brother Wilson's garden
 At "the" restaurant
 A view of the city from where we begin our morning run

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I was surprised I was able to communicate so well...

Hola Familia!

Every Sunday Brother Wilson lets us have dinner with him and his guests. He takes great pride in his dinners and says I have been deprived for not having fried eggplant, buttered beats, zucchini soup and custard pudding, haha. Last week at dinner the guest was the son of Ezra Taft Benson..the prophet just in case you didn't know, haha. It was cool and he told some stories of his dad. Brother Wilson also is a famous gardener in Salt Lake. Every year they have the fair and they have a garden competition and Brother Wilson is notorious for winning it. He has been on the news, in the paper and everything. In his garden he grows literally almost everything. We did some service for him on Wednesday and helped him go through his whole garden and pick the best fruits and vegetables out, it was fun! He ended up winning tons of prizes and money!

As for the dinners - I just had the best dinner ever on Friday. We went to these members home who were baptized like a little over a year ago and they love feeding the missionaries (that is rare around here believe it or not). Anyways as dinner started, on the table were two huge bowls of meat, one was steak and the other was something else. But there was a bunch of toppings since we were having tacos. At first there was 15 tortillas on the table we started eating and the food was the best Mexican food of my life. When the tortilla stack got down to a couple the guys put on 15 more and they told us to keep eating- so we did. He did this two more times! We put down at least 50 tortillas between us and the family lol. I felt so sick after. But it tasted good. Haha

On Saturday we had companion exchanges. I was with Elder Yancey. He is the District Leader that is from Iowa Mom, he is from Cedar Springs or something with Cedar but I can't remember. Is that close to you? Anyways it was the most fun day in the field for me. We get along great and have a ton in common. Elder Yancey doesn't speak Spanish, and we were on exchanges in my area, which meant I had to take the lead for everything. I was surprised with myself how I was able to communicate so well. No doubt with the help of the Lord. It was nice to have Elder Yancey encouraging me too. We weren’t fed lunch or dinner that day but not to worry. Sister McPherson came to the rescue! They are a missionary couple…Technically, I think they are seniors but they are super young. They assist us Spanish speaking missionaries and I love her to death! Anyways she brought me some cookies! So that is what we had for lunch and then we went to Taco Time for dinner since it is free for missionaries.

 The exchange ended with the baptism of a mechanic from Peru. I didn't start teaching him but the missionaries have been working with him off and on for like 7 months. That was a neat experience.

We also completed the standard of excellence this week again which makes two weeks in a row. To get the standard, you need to get the highest numbers in all of the categories, (lessons, a baptism, progressing investigators, a bunch of stuff).  We had a miracle to get it this week. We need to get 5 investigators at church to get it. At the start of Sacrament Meeting we only had 1 and then God started working miracles. 3 more showed up so we had 4. Then at the last minute 2 more investigators who said they could probably never come to church came! It was cool to see again how if you do all you can and then trust in the Lord, he will provide!
Siempre Crean,
Elder Creer

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stay patient because when we get frustrated we can't learn...

Hola Familia!
To answer your question, I told President Winn the reason why I was serving a mission was because through many experiences over the last few years I learned to put my trust in the Lord and rely on Him completely for everything, then I shared the story of when I got lonely at school. I told him that as I learned to put my trust in the Lord I came to love Him and the more I came to love Him the more I felt His love for me and I wanted to help other people know how they could experience this same kind of love in their lives and help them realize how much God and Christ love them and want them to be happy. The only other thing I told him in the meeting was that I like basketball and football, haha -so it was pretty short.
And mom, the mail is picked up every Wednesday or Thursday morning at the latest and then we receive it during district meeting Thursday morning. My district leader is cool, we get along great. He played basketball and baseball in high school and is from Iowa. His last name is Yancey, don't know the first. Ring any bells?
So the first p-day we played soccer I was one of only a couple of white kids there. All the rest were from Mexico, Chile, Brazil and some other places but they were all good and I was terrible,  haha.  Buuut yesterday we were playing and guess what, white boy scored 3 goals! haha Bry you were right! My zone is the central zone. My zone leaders are Elder Fuentes and Elder Tory.

This week was somewhat frustrating! I can hardly understand anything people are saying and when my companion stops talking and looks at me, I don't know what is being talked about so don't even know what to say. I'm not too thrilled with the fact that I feel like I can't teach the way I want too. When I can say something in Spanish it feels like it has no emotion. Elder Fuentes told me that my Spanish was good for my second week and not to get frustrated and to give it time and stay patient because when we get frustrated we can't learn. I thought about it and agreed and have seen a difference so that is helping. I figured that I will do my best to let my personality shine though, haha. I have begun to carry around a candy bag for all the little kids. They get a piece of candy right when we get there and if they listen they get to pick another one out when we leave, haha. My favorite part so far has been the interaction with the kids. They can talk slow enough I can understand them. I also like when I can feel my heart burning during a lesson because the Spirit is so strong. Love it!
We had a zone training from President Winn at the mission office this week. We learned how to involve the Spirit more. It was helpful and it was also cool to see all the guys from my district again. Elder Romero and I won brand new ties!
So for the district meetings on Thursdays we practice teaching. It is cool to get help from other people who have been here for a long time because the more opinions you have the better you'll get. It's tradition to go to lunch after district meeting and there are two options, side by side and we have to all go to the same one. One is Cafe Rio and the other is Wendy’s. Guess what?  The majority vote has been both times..Wendy's! I don't even know how they are comparable, haha, but it looks like I won't be getting Cafe Rio anytime.
We had a sweet miracle this week. We were tracting and I felt a prompting to knock on this door clear at the end on the other side of the street. So we go and knock on it and nobody is home. A couple days later we were looking in the Area Book for former investigators to stop by and I saw this one and I had a prompting that we should check it out. So we went and it ended up being the same house. Still hadn't gotten a hold of them yet though. The next day during the district meeting we got a sheet of paper with a few referrals on it and one of them was this same house! So we went over there later that night and there were 4 adults and 1 kid (who is a fan of basketball and football) and we taught them a lesson and the Spirit was strong and all of them accepted baptism, except for the kid because he is too young. It was crazy to think that the Lord was trying to lead us to this house over and over again using different ways and eventually we found out why. Cool huh!
Another one of our investigators is the owner of a Mexican restaurant and when we go to teach him we get chips and salsa and orchata water. That is like cinnamon milk or something.
It seems like as fast as we are getting new investigators the ones we had aren't interested anymore so it is frustrating sometimes.
On Sunday I got to give the lesson in gospel doctrine. I guess the missionaries are the teachers. It was on priesthood organization and if my companion hadn't of saved me it would have been a disaster. I would ask a question and then not understand what their answer was. I can't wait till I got this down.
Anyways hope all is well there. We hardly have any time on p-days to write letters, like basically none. Oh yeah- tell Aunt Arne thank you for the package I got with all the snacks, shirt and stuff. Everyone was like “your mom is awesome!” and I said “this is from my aunt.” then they were like “you have the best aunt ever!” haha.
Adios, love ya!

Siempre crean,
Elder Creer