Thursday, June 14, 2018

Week 92 Getting to Know My New Area

Wow oh wow what a crazy week!!

This was a very good week to get to know the area. The sad part is we do not have much going for us. There are 3 really solid people we have to teach. They are a family. The hard part is they are not married. Their names are Dani, Leigh, and then their uncle Robert. Robert just needs to come to church and then he will be baptized. Once Dani and Leigh get married they will be baptized. It is amazing to see how solid they are. The fellowship is there and they love it!!

It is going to be really interesting to see what we can do in this area. Elder Olson has only been in the area for 6 weeks so he does not know too many people we can see. It makes planning very hard because I don’t know who we can see too... The good news is there are a million part member families who are keen to have us over!!

So for the majority of our week since we had no one to see we spent the time following up on people from our ward list to find out who they are, how we could minister, and so forth. As we did that we would also knock the street that they live on.

From that we have been able to be greatly blessed with people to teach at the door and then follow up with. Things are picking up and slowly we are getting people to teach. From our following up we did service for an older lady from Holland. She is at a real low in her life and is really looking for something. She invited us to clear out a shed in her back yard. I was on trade off with Elder Lal our AP. He came with me to the service and after we taught her about the love God had for her and how prayer can really bring her peace. She loved it and gave us her phone number and we are going back to share more. Little miracles happen when we put in just that little bit of effort.

One big thing that I really enjoyed this week was teaching people not lessons. There is such a big difference when a person is taught and not a lesson.

I was with Elder Lal and we followed up with a less active part member family. Only the wife was home who was not a member. We sat out back with her and started talking. She expressed that she believed in God but had no real understanding of who he was, how he worked, or even what it meant.

We started off by taking about how God was our father.... and how we can pray to him. I love how we did it. We said, ”Before we share this message could we start off by saying a prayer and then at the end you will be saying the closing prayer." We stated directly that she would be doing it. She freaked out and said, “Wait wait no way!!” But then it opened it up for us to really teach about how important prayer is and how God wants to converse with us. She was not too on board but open for it. We started sharing the restoration and it is so hard to describe. We taught the same bullet points but in such a unique way that was just for her. The Spirit was so so strong and she kept asking the greatest questions!! I thought at any moment something was going to happen to disrupt the lesson but it did not. We kept going and got to the end. She just loved it!! When we said are you ready to say the prayer she tried to get around it but we were on to it. We reviewed how to say it again and even got up and stood right next to her to help her. She said she would do it so we both went heads down and arms folded. It was silent for so long. Finally she said, “So all I have to do is ask if it is true?” Yup it is as simple as that. God just wants to hear from you. Then she did it!! She said a beautiful prayer and at the end said, “Wow that is it? That was easy.” She was so sincere and true in the prayer. I can’t wait to go back and follow up. Her name is T by the way...

I am just at the point were I want to do all I can to serve God for these last few months!! There is not much time left and I am really feeling it. I am not really that trunky because I want to work so hard. There is just so much to do and so little time to do it. This is the great work of all time and I am so exited for what is happening in this area!!

The members are so helpful too!! We have a great bishop, ward mission leader, and ward missionaries who are activity involved and helpful. Out of all the wards I have been to, this one actual does what they are supposed to do. We had a great correlation meeting on Sunday with Bishop and our WML with all the ward missionaries.

Great things are going to be happening in this area. I am so grateful to be apart of it!! Love you all. Have a great week.

Love Elder Cahoon

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Week 91 Transfered to the Cleveland Zone

Well one more week down. This was quiet the week as they all are. I got a phone call and it said I would be getting transferred.

The last little week in Redcliffe and Mango Hill things went well for us. We were able to see Karol again and teach her more. She is still keeping all the commandments. It has been so long since she had a smoke. She loves it. My favorite part about her is she says, “ I have not gotten an answer yet but what I am doing feels right.” She says she feels the spirit more in her life.

For my last day in the area we had a musical fireside. We all got to sing. The theme was the Restoration. I sang in a group the opening hymn and had a part where I had to read off some paragraphs. Karol was the only Investigator who came. She loved it. It was a good review for her.

Throughout this week Elder Tewes and I really wanted to help Elder Biranibwebwe progress in teaching the Restoration. So for our companionship studies we had him teach us the lesson. Over and over. We also taught it at every dinner appointment. By the end of the week we were all master teachers at teaching this lesson. It was amazing to see his growth.

We got some sad news that Joanne moved to Rockhampton. She was having family struggles down here and needed to get away. So the missionaries there are going to get a referral.

Usually I write down the highlights for my week in my planner but because this is a new transfer I don’t have my old planner.

I did get transferred and my new are is in the Cleveland zone, it covers all the way from Cleveland to Brisbane City. So when I have trade off I will be in the heart of the city. My area is about 30 minutes outside of the city but south of it. I am in two wards again. Redland Bay and Capalaba. They both are pretty big wards and keen for missionary work. I met one of the bishops last night and he is so excited to work with us. Compared to my last area this is a really well off area. People live in really nice houses and have good jobs. It is not like Gold Coast but not as poor as my last area.

I am really excited for my last two transfers!! My comps names are Elder Olson from Idaho and Elder Nicotra from Italy. He goes home in a few weeks and then it will just be Elder Olson and me. Things seem pretty great so far. It has only been two days but I have enjoyed it.

I hope everyone has a great week this week.

Love, Elder Cahoon

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Week 90 We're Getting Smart Phones

Haha I wanted to start out with one of the funniest things that we did this week. Since we have Elder Biranibwebwe we have to do a lot of studies. One of them is called 12 week. We go over pretty much missionary 101 and practice it in out flat. For one of our role plays we had Elder Biranibwebwe knock on our door. We were in the study room and he knocked on that door. When he knocked on the door we yelled out just a minute. From there we opened up the window and jumped out and closed the window. We ran around the house and peeked through the window. He was so patient and finally after a minute he knocked on the door again and again and answer. It was so funny. Finally he opened the door and was so shocked. He looked in the closet but we were nowhere to be found. Haha he lost his companions. It was pretty funny. Sometimes we have to spice it up and have some fun. It made for a great day!!

Last week out of the blue Sam called us and wanted to meet. He was a former investigator. We stopped by on Saturday and caught back up. He wants to turn back to the church for a second chance. It is amazing when you drop someone. It can be a really good thing. When you stop visiting they stop feeling the Spirit and recognize that something is missing. That happened to Sam. We invited him to come to church and arranged for a member to pick him up from work. Oh my goodness it was so funny when he showed up to church. I was surprised that he came but more surprised by what he wore. Since he came from work he was in short shorts and a T-shirt. What made it worse was there was a picture of a girl in a bikini on the shirt. It was not a good picture. So when members came up to greet him they were so surprised. The good new is that he has been to church before and all the members remembered him. So once they got over the inappropriate t-shirt they loved him!! Haha it was a crack up.

We have seen Sam a lot this past week. Almost every day. He is doing really good and wants to get baptized!! I hate smoking. It is the only things holding him back. Rob also and a million other Aussies!!

It was just such an amazing week. Last week we really tried to set up as many teaching apt so Elder Biranibwebwe can see what to do. We had a day when we did not even plan for the day because it planned itself. Every house was full. We had apt after apt. All of them were amazing. One was with Sam, Rob, Karol. Etc.... It just went on and on and on!!

Karol was a great lesson. We had Bishop come with us and start to go over what it is going to take. Karol was just so excited and can’t wait. She was been living the commandments for 8 days now. No smoking and now the law of chastity. She says she is keeping it because she says it feels good. She feels the Spirit. We finished the lesson and Bishop said, “Elders she is amazing.” During the lesson we told her that. I even told her that when we get into the car we always shout for joy because she is so good. I told her I took a video of it so when I feel down I can watch it and get myself excited to see miracles. Well now she wants to see the video. Haha I just love her so much!!!

During the week we had our Mission Leadership Conference and to start it out President McSwain said, “I was woken up at 4:30 this morning and have a message that the Lord wants you to hear today!!” Oh my goodness we got spoken right to the soul. The spirit was so strong and the meeting was amazing for so many reasons!! The general theme was why would the Lord send me to you today?

Well during our lessons we would ask that. Guess what it works. Miracles happen. We did not know why we felt prompted to see this one family that we have not seem in 5 months. So we stopped by and shared a scripture but it just felt awkward. So before we left I bore testimony that I knew we were supposed to be there. They then said we prayed that we could get a blessing. Can you give us one? Boy I grew in testimony that we are sent to people for a reason!! We are the Lord’s hands right now!!

At the end of our MLC President McSwain said, “Now I have just spoken with Salt Lake and they are sending over a million smart phones to our mission.” We are going to be getting Samsung smart phones next month. So for the two years that I will serve I will be able to use a smartphone for the last month.

Haha what a blessing. We will not have tablets but the smartphone is going to make a huge difference. We have been using the small Nokia brick phones. Geez they are a pain to use. So what a blessing it will be.

Last week we got a new investigator named Joanne. She is living with a member right now but will be moving out into her own house in a few weeks. We went over to see her. The lesson went so amazing. We taught the Restoration and at the end I nudged him to invite her to be baptized. Oh it is so fun remembering the first time you teach lessons and are so scared. He was shaking so bad but we just knew she was going to say yes. June 16. He did a great job inviting her and the lesson ended with her, her friend, and the fellowship crying. Miracles do happen. The best part is she is already living all the commandments. No smoking!!! YES!!!

Life is just so great and we are so blessed to have the gospel in our lives!! I could keep going on for hours writing about all the fun we had but what I have written sufficeth me. I have written it by my own hand and I know that it is true. I have read too much of the Book of Mormon lately that is has become part of my language.

That is one of the funnest things about the mission is you find so much joy in quoting talks or Mormon movies. We have memorized every funny line from all of Brad Wilcox talks and Ephraims Rescue. When we fall asleep at night our conversations get pretty funny.

Have a great week everyone, I love you all so much!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Week 89 I'm a Father

Wow where to start??? I have not had a busy week like this in awhile!! Well, first things first, I am a father now!! We got a call from our mission president that we would be picking up a brand new missionary. He stayed at the New Zealand MTC for 3 more weeks to learn English so he came in mid-transfers.

We picked him up on Wednesday last week. That alone was a crazy day! We had temple P-day that morning so we woke up at 4 am to get all ready to drive there through the traffic for the 8 am session. Oh how I love the temple. The only down side was they played the really really old video. Oh it was so hard to pay attention when there was no emotion. I still took a lot out of it but boy was I tired!!

From there we had to make our timing just right. Our Golden was landing at 1:00 but we had to meet at the mission office at 3:00. We had a few hours to spare so we toured Brisbane city and ended at the Ferrari store. Since we were dressed up in suits we fit right in and the sales people talked to us. It was pretty funny to look at all the nice cars and have people think we were really interested in buying one.

Well that does not matter. At 3:00 we went to our mission office and met Elder Biranibwebwe. He is a great elder!! He is from Kiribati and is doing really good so far. His English is far better than we thought. We have a few elders from Kiribati and they have been out for awhile and are still struggling. Elder Biranibwebwe struggles with grammar but he knows the words and sounds. Language study has been pretty fun. We do a lot of role plays and reading.

His first day was one like never before. We picked him up at 3:00 and hung out with all the senior couples in the mission office until 7:00. A few weeks ago we were invited to attend the BYU wind symphony in Brisbane Hall. They are touring Australia and had a guest singer with them from Australia. It worked out perfect that we were in downtown Brisbane on the day that they were here. So we drove with everyone from the office to the Hall and got to listen to the concert. What a great way to start the mission. My welcome to the mission was getting back onto an airplane and flying alone to a place I did not know. Having a Golden has brought back so many fun memories of first starting the mission and not knowing what to do!!

It has been really fun to learn again the basics of missionary work and help someone figure it all out. Boy it is hard to adjust to mission life. God truly does bless his new missionaries though. We have had things happen this week that just don’t ever happen. Out of the blue this week we got a call from a former investigator that said he wants us to come back tomorrow. It was crazy!!!

We also had a woman named Joanne come to church. She is related to a member in one of our wards and wants to get baptized. We stopped by this week and just got to know her and talked about the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ. She is Golden because of our Golden. The miracles don’t stop there.

Karol and John have really been progressing. They both have come to church 2 weeks in a row and then on other multiple occasions. We have really been enjoying teaching her but we know that getting baptized is something that will be hard because of marriage issues. Even though we see her regularly baptism has never been one that we set a date for or talk about. It is really hard to get divorced over here and then it takes 30 days to get married so if she were to get baptized it would be long term. So we thought... She sent us a text that said, “I want to keep all the commandments. I have given up smoking and moved into a different room than John and have my own part of the house. Can I be baptized?" Oh how do you reply to a text like that!! The qualifications of baptism are if they have a desire and are living the commandments. We gave our mission president a call about it. The only problem is the temptation is still there and the appearance of evil. What will John’s wife think of him and the church if she gets baptized but is not married to John...But then he said if she is living the commandments and wants to get baptized we cannot deny her that. It a tough one. So then we spoke to our bishop. The conclusion is going to be in order for her to get baptized she has to fully know and understand the consequences of sinning and meet with bishop every so often until she gets married to him and John has to either give permission or talk to his soon to be ex wife about how the living situation will be so she does not get a bad idea of the church or John. The good news is the wife is still active just in a different ward in the stake.

So that is that!! I love her desire but I am on the fence about it. But we cannot deny her the blessings. So it will be fun to work all out and help her get going. She gave up smoking pretty easy!! Her testimony is so strong that the church is true!! Boy do I love Brazilians!! First Bia and Alessandra and now Karol!!

Our week was just so crazy and full of amazing moments. One of my favorite parts of training right now is door knocking. The only way to learn it is to do it. With 3 people it can get easy for Elder Biranibwebwe to sit back and not get involved. So we are really trying to help him to participate. When we door knock we have two people go to the door and the other one hides up the road a bit, then we switch. We told him ok this time I will not say anything it is all you. He agreed and as soon as the person answered the door he froze. I remember doing it and then turning to Elder Cadiang for help. He did not give me help so we did not give Elder Biranibwebwe help. We had knocked about 25 doors and showed him how but now it was his turn. Geez the awkward silence is so painful!! After about a minute he finally got some words out. He is doing a lot better now and we do help him when he struggles but it is so fun to see them learn it for themselves!! Haha it has been a fun week!!

It was also really amazing to call my family last week. It was weird to think that it was the last call before I come home. I have felt like the time will never come that it is time to come home but every week I get reminded either by the members of the ward here or by my wonderful Mom. Haha I am excited to come home but look at this wonderful week. It is going to be sad leaving it. I love my mission so much. It has been so crazy to think of all the things that have happened and all the things I have learned!!

I love you all so much and hope you have a good week in the summertime sun!!I It has been really really cold over here right now. I always wear long selves and a jacket. We do not have a heater but have figured out a quick way to get warm in the morning while cooking breakfast!! You can look though the photos and see what I mean. haha.

Love, Elder Cahoon

Week 88 No Email, Just Pictures Because of Mother's Day Call

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Week 87 Sick of Door Knocking, Let's Use Members Instead

This week was pretty great for some of our Investigators.

I don’t know if you remember for not John and Karol. He is a member and she is from Brazil. Well we had not seen them for the last few weeks because John was in the hospital. Well he is out now and we have set up to see them every Monday night and Wednesday night.

On Monday this week we went and planned on teaching The Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a fairly easy lesson to learn. Most Christians already have that knowledge. So when we taught it to Karol it really made sense to her. We have been dreading the next lesson which is the Word of Wisdom. We always smell a very heavy smoke smell and have seen both of them smoking before we come.

At the end of our lesson about the Gospel, John looks over and says today we gave up smoking. Elder Tewes and I looked at each other in shock!! We did not see it coming!! They decided that morning that they would both give it up together. It is going to make our lesson with them tonight so great!! Karol is going to love it. She wants to give it up because it is unhealthy but once she learns it’s also because God does not want us smoking she will really love giving it up!!

Rob on the other hand is still really struggling to give it up. He is down to 6 a day but can’t go past that. Boy drugs and smoking can really mess up someone’s life. I think 9 out of 10 Aussies smoke. We see everybody smoking. In the car, the house, walking. They do it everywhere. It is so sad that they are all addicted to it!! Rob has decided that it is the fear of stopping that is preventing him. At our last lesson he said it is just going to happen one day. I don’t know how I feel about it just happening because it never just happens but he is trying so we have faith in him.

Last P-day we went with out the AP's and Office Elders to a outdoor laser tag place. They dressed us up in camo and gave us some pretty cool guns. For 4 hours we ran around completing different missions and shooting each other. It was a pretty fun P day activity.

Right now we are like I said last week really trying to figure out how to work with the members so we don’t have to knock on doors. It is useless to knock on a door. It takes 1 in 1000 to get a solid person to teach. I am done wasting time doing that. It is so great working with the members but so frustrating. This week our Bishop met with our Elder Quorum and Relief Society President to go over personal ministering and who to visit. We were invited and in the meeting all three of them talked about this family. The husband is a less active member. His wife is not a member and 4 of the 6 kids are not members. The other ones are still too young. WHY has nobody told us about this family??? We stopped by and it turns out he loves the church, his father is a mission president. After our visit we got invited back and hopefully we will start teaching the family. It was so great!! But what drives me crazy is I have been here for 6 months and nobody thought to tell me to go see this person. Everybody knows him but never told us. Instead I just go knock doors for hours at a time. There is such a better way to do missionary work. The members have all the knowledge of the ward. The missionaries are sent there by the Lord to teach and preach the gospel. The only way they can do both is if they have your help.

Sorry for the rant. I am just really passionate about this subject and we are trying to help both the missionaries in the zone and the members see this. The good news is our Stake President sees it and is on board!!

To get contacts this week we decided to do some GQing. It stands for Golden Question. You walk down a busy street and just start talking to people. It is something that I never have done because it is a bit worse then door knocking. We still have to report good numbers for our area but with all the time we have spent teaching we don’t go finding. We got rebuked for having low contacts even though all of are other numbers were really good. GQing is really fun because you can talk to 10 people in 1 min. So this week we planned our time really wise and we went for 30 mins every other day and got pretty high contacts. Nobody came from it but we got people from the members so it works out.

Missionary work is just so amazing. I love it so much right now!! It is a bit crazy to think it is going to end. I feel like I have been doing this for as long as I can remember now. It is a weird thought to think it ends one day. I am not looking forward to it. I am really interested to see if I get transferred or not. Elder Tewes and I are doing a great job and doing really well so I sorta hope I don’t get transferred but I also am getting tried of the area. Either way I will do what the Lord needs.

Have a great week!!


Elder Cahoon