Friday, August 23, 2013

Week 10: Missions are like a box of chocolates...

First off, before I start my letter, let me apologize in advance for my lack of English grammar skills that might be on display today...I woke up at 2:45 to go to Hale Akala (again) to see the sunrise, so its been a long day and I am tiiirrrreeeeddd!

Alright, well here we go. 

Ofa Atu friends and fam! 
This week has been an interesting week. In terms of missionary work, this week hasn't been too stellar. We only taught one lesson this week, which is not the best, and we taught a couple less active people. You could say it's been a frustrating week. That's okay.  It was filled with a lot of prepping for this week. This week should go better. We have a couple lessons lined up for this week! 

If any of you are kind of wondering what missionary work is like, let me paint you a picture.  Elder Hunter and I visited this woman, and she was about to leave her house, so we asked if there was a better day we could come back, so she said "In two days. Around 4." So that was Sunday, and we got out of church at 4, so we had to hustle over there. We got a ride with one of our members, and he took us to the lady's house.  The car wasn't in the driveway, so he asked if he should wait. "yeahhh...that would be best." Well long story short she wasnt there and when we got back in the car, the guy who gave us a ride was chuckling and was like, "Reminds me of the good 'ole days." That's what a lot of my mission is like here. It can frustrating, but it is rewarding! 

We met with our mission president this week! He is a really amazing guy, and even though he just started this transfer, I know that the mission is going to florish with him leading the way with Heavenly Fathers guidance. Anyway, I expressed the struggles we are having, especially with the help from the ward, and he believes that Heavenly Father is trying to teach the ward a lesson, and I just need to be patient while they learn that lesson. Plus, Heavenly Father is trying to teach me something, so I have to pay attention to the lessons I've learned while being in this specific area. Lately its been hard to see the upside of things, especially when I hear about the missionaries that are having a lot of success. I have just decided that this area I have been given should be viewed as one big opportunity and not a large trial in my short mission life. I have deemed that a lot of the mission, and a lot of life, is dependent on the outlook you have for things. The saying "Life is what you make it" is really actually 100% true. We've all been dealt hands in life. Theres always situations we've been given in which we can't control some aspects of it, but it's all about how we react to it. Happiness is dependent on how we react to the trials, and how we rely on Heavenly Father to help us through them. The same applies to the mission. Sometimes things that happen outside of my control (missed appts, people stopping lessons, etc) but it all depends on how I view them. Well I decided I am going to view them as opportunities to better myself, and learn from them.

Besides, missionary work is so much more then getting people into the water. Part of the reason I feel I have been sent to Maui is to better the missionaries around me. For example, an Elder came with me on exchanges, and that night we talked for a long time. I helped him with some concerns, gave him some advice on how to be a better missionary, and lit some fire in his missionary burners. He just came off of having a really sucky missionary companion, so I talked to him about how we need to work hard and have no regrets when we go home. It really inspired him, and I think it helped because he and his companion worked really hard this week! Maybe I was sent here to Maui for other reasons.

Okay well I got to go, but it was fun to give you a little blurb on my life. My companion and I spent some time riding in the rain this week! So that was fun. Plus we go to a local outdoor court and challenge all these little Filipinos to basketball, so you could say Ive got it in pretty good with the Filipino ballers ages 14-17. I know, pretty cool right? 

I hope all is going well to all of you all over the world! You are in my thoughts! Love you all!
Stay fresh from Hawaii,
Elder Gleave

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 9: Just another day in paradise!

So good news...I survived the Stormy! I know...hard to believe! So there was all this hype about this storm being a real doosy, but it didnt really affect us! For about two hours we got really bad rain and lightening, and our power went out, but nothing us missionaries can't handle! We had a car for the night so we went up to some missionaries who live upcountry because they had power. It was really crazy, just an insane downpour, then pow done. Oh well, all the hawaiians were freaking out because theyve never seen lightening before lol. Anyway I guess we have a hurricane coming? Should be interesting to see how people react this time.
Well another week gone by, another chance to spread the word. It's weird, normal life NOW seems like missionary life. Like it's hard to think that three months ago I was cruising on a lappytop and playing on an iphone and flirting it up with some ladies. It's weird too cuz I thought I would miss those things but I really dont! (except maybe the ladies part). Me and my comp are doing dynamite right now. We get along better than ever! It just goes to show you the harder you work, the more the lord blesses your life. 
Speaking of blessings from the lord, this week has been crazy in terms of missionary work. Usually, we count tracting contacts and knocking doors as "other lessons taught" which is just a way of keeping track of how many lessons we've taught, but this week the mission said that tracting no longer counts as teaching a lesson. So me and my companion were like "Oh well, I guess we will just have low number this week", but now that we are at the end of the week, we still have the same number of lessons! Which is amazing! Just goes to show you that the Lord's hand is in everything that we do, because we couldnt pull that feat off alon . Me and my comp have been crazy busy. Last transfer we had a lot of down time to do whatever, but now it' work work. After morning After Before we would get home around 7 and call it a day, but now it's a surprise if we get back before 830-9. Sometimes we don't even eat dinner until that late if we aren't eating with a member! And let me tell you I love it. I love it so much. 
I think one of the best things about being a missionary is becoming so close with the members of the ward. There are members here who are just like family to me!  This weekend, we ate at this families' house on Friday, and then did service all day for them on saturday, then ate at their house again on Sunday! I seriously LOVE it. They are the best. They have a bunch of little kids so I just play legos with them and run around and play with them and what not. I can't wait to have kids. On Sunday, I ate something I've never had before...FISH HEAD. Yahooo! The guy across from me was eating so I decided to try it too! I ate the eyes...the tongue...the cheek everything! Nomnomnom. That night we went to a fireside where a bunch of the graduating youth sang and bore their testimonies, and I went with the family who had a lot of kids, and so they were being all noisy so I pulled out the white board and booyah! It worked! Didn't hear a peep out of them the rest of the night. When we were cleaning up, I played tag with all the kids and it was like the best time of my life. 

We have this really interesting investigator. We tracted into him, and a lot of the time teenagers just dont really want to say no. So we went back this week, and I was really hoping it would work out, so we taught him about faith and he was REALLY interested. He was like, when are you coming back?! And we were like....uhhh tomorrow! So we went back again tomorrow and taught him about repentance and he was loving it! He was eating up every word we were saying. We invited him to church, and he said he really really wanted to but he works (like everyone here) on Sunday. He told us he would try to get it off, but apparently he couldnt because he wasn't at church yesterday. That's okay though, it nice to just have someone interested! 
Also Rodger, the guy that has no legs? Yeah he's pretty much awesome. He has SUCH strong faith, and his life is insane. He's lived in Tahiti, lived in Japan and worked as a Bennihana chef.  He has worked all different jobs all over Hawaii. He went to accupuncture school and knew more about human anatomy than the doctors did because he's a huinter, he won a gold medal in rowing, he said he saw Pele, and has survived two heart attacks, countless hours of dialysis, and has no legs. Yet he is SO POSITIVE. He has all these trials and yet he just jokes around and lets nothing bother him. We read the Book of Mormon to him and he said it was the first time in 40 years hes read or heard the Book of Mormon. He was really excited to hear it! It really touched my heart. We brought the bishop by yesterday and he was really excited to meet him! I just wish we could get Rodger to church. He wants to go oh so bad, but he doesnt want to until he gets prosthetic legs so he can walk in himself.  
Anyway, all is good from Hawaii! I love it here! I know the Lord has blessed me, and continues to bless me as long as I stay faithful. One of the coolest part about the gospel is that no matter WHAT situation you are in, the true and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ can help you. In anything. I can promise that in the name of Jesus Christ. The church is true, Heavenly Father knows us and loves us, and is waiting to help us out. We just have to ask. Thank you for all the love and support! Much love and aloha from Maui!
Elder Gleave

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Week 8: Tropical storm GLEAVE

Theres a storm coming...a big storm...with lots of water involved...A STORM OF BAPTISM BY ELDER GLEAVE! 
Just kidding...
Well not really! Nothing planned yet. 
Anyway...Hey fam! Whats up? First off...Miss you all! Heres the deal, I guess a tropical storm is supposed to come but I dont even think its happening because its not raining. So dont worry dont worry about me! Alls well from Maui. Literally.
Me and my companion have vowed to make this a better transfer. We decided that this is going to be a harder working transfer.  And let me tell you...its been WORTH IT.
Ive been out a little over 2 months now, and it feels like this is my normal life. It was werid to think that I couldnt watch TV or movies or anything for two years, and now its weird to think that I ever did that! Mission life can be very stressful at times. Sometimes you just want a break, but you cant until monday! But then most of the times, you are just involved with the work that you never want it to end! Man, I love missionary work!
Sometimes I struggle with the fact that other missionaries are teaching more lessons, or getting more baptisms than I am, but I have to constantly remind myself that success is based on my commitment to serve. And as long as I am out there working as hard as I can, and as long as I am remaining as obedient as I can, then I am a successful missionary. Its also hard, because most of our success is coming through Less Active members, which doesnt show up as "numbers" so the zone leaders think that we arent good missionaries. But thats okat I could honestly care less about numbers. 
This week we had like 5 or 6 less actives come back to church which is like a NEW RECORD. This ward has 500 members in it, but only less than 100 come to church each sunday, so its a long road ahead of us. Its hard too because since Hawaii is such a touristy area, and tourists generally like doing things on sunday, a lot of the people CANT come to work because they work. It is also a very difficult obstacle for investigators also. They have the desire to go to church, they just cant because they work on sunday. It warms my heart when I see the less actives at church because I know that they are making that step to live those covenants they made with Heavenly Father and come closer to him. 
This week has been a lot better than the weeks in the past! I am feeling better about myself each day. When we are more obedient, I dont have to go through my day worrying about what I didnt do that day that I was suppose to, and more about what I am doing that very moment. And we've been more successful! 
Me and my companion had a very cool moment with one of our less active members. Usually, we teach his children because they are not members, but on Tuesday we decided to focus on him only. We talked to him about why he got baptized, and he told us about how his wife left him, and all the members went and visited her and not him, so it really offended him. He decided then that he wasnt going to go back to church, and he has been going to the Salvation Army Church ever since (apparently they have a church). The Spirit had been preparing me all week to be bold, and so I straight up just asked him if he believed this to be the true church. That was very scary, because sometimes people dont react well to that question. But without hesitation, he told me that he did. He explained to us that he knew this was the true church, and that he needs to go back, but hes too nervous to do it. He doesnt have the courage. So we explained that we are only here to help him, and to help him get back to church, and that we will be there every step of the way. Its hard because he knows that the people of the church might lead you astray, but the church will never lead you astray, but its hard to remake that commitment to live the life of the gospel. Being a member of this church is hard, but its defiantly worth it. The Lord appreciates the faithfulness of living such a hard life, and we are blessed in return. 
Also a cool experience, I was on exchanges with another Elder, and we visited this old man named Rodger (I might have mentioned him before) but he has no legs and is blind because of diabetes. (Which is scary! Everyone stay fit!!!) He's in similar, almost exactly the same situation as the person I just mentioned. He joined the church when he married his wife, then divorced her when she started getting into drugs and then he got offended at church and never went back. But we talked to him for 3 HOURS! (mostly him talking) but we did manage to squeeze in a restoration lesson to him and his wife. We taught them all about the restoration of the gospel, and the Spirit prompted the missionary I was with to ask if she wanted to be baptized! She said she would once she found out the church is true. But its hard because she works on sunday from 8-4 and she doesnt speak english that well, but I have faith that it will happen! I dont know how, but I know this baptism will happen if she discovers the truthfulness of this church for herself, and wants to be baptized. Rodger, her husband, asked for a Book of Mormon, and wants to come back to church! Its just hard with his lack of lower limbs and his dialysis, but with the help of the bishop and the ward members I believe he can come back to church! Its times like these when I feel confident that I am a successful missionary. Its when we help these people feel the spirit that I know that I am making a difference of their lives. Its tender mercies like these that make me more excited about living and serving in this gospel. 
But I have to be running now! I love this church. I love serving. One of the best things about this gospel is that it can help out anyone in any situation they are in! No matter if you are happy, or sad, it can bless your life! 
I love you all!
Elder Gleave