Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 80--Merry Christmas!

Family. Friends. Before I begin. I would like to wish of ya'll A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Goodness. I love this time of the year. 

Well, I would first off like to tell you of a cool experience I had this week. We were going out visiting people with this goofy old guy in our ward, but we love his guts. He is just the friendliest, most spiritually-centered person you'll have the pleasure of meeting. Well anyway, we went to go visit one of our investigators, and he told us that he had a question about the nature of God. So this good brother asked our investigator if he had a pen and a brown bag. So I let him use my pen. He started taking apart my pen and began explaining something to us. He said, (and this is me greatly paraphrasing) "There is essentially two main theories of how the world began. There is the belief in the Big Bang Theory. Which essentially says that there was organized chaos which all of a sudden worked itself into an entire universe. And from that a planet formed that was capable of supporting life. And from there a single celled-amoeba formed (he is explaining this all the while shaking the bag with the pen parts in it). And that formed into a two cells and then to a four cells. And so on and so forth until we have a human being. Now according to the Big Bang Theory, and according to its statistics, we can shake this bag a certain number of times and the pen will come out as a feasible working pen. Let's see if it worked." And he dumped the contents of the bag onto the desk and nothing had changed. He then said, "Now we as humans are far more complex than a pen. I believe that we were created. We were with our Father before we came to this Earth, and he sent us here as fallen, imperfect individuals to become a more dignified, sanctified person. Now the biggest difference between big bang theorists and creationists is that the one needs Christ and the other does not. Big bang theorists believe that we are just here. That there is no real reason to be here. But creationists NEED Jesus Christ, because only through him can we become better people. Only through him can we go on and learn about him to become more perfect people. And in religion I have found a home. Because  it shows me that I can learn to bridle my emotions, to learn to distinguish between good and evil, and to learn how to become as my Father in Heaven is." 

All in all, it was a rather spiritual lesson. And when you look at it, it only makes sense that we have a Father who is there to love us and help us become a better people, like any father would.

We also had a small miracle. On Wednesday, our mission instituted walking Wednesdays, so we spent the whole day "fasting" from our car to try and help out the work. Although I spent a good chunk of my mission walking, it has been a while since I hit the pavement. And even though I can say it felt good to be at it again, I can't lie and say my dogs weren't barking. But we spent the whole day trekking around Kalihi trying to find people to teach. Unfortunately no one was home, which made things worse. There was a few times that I was thinking, "Why are we doing this?" But we kept our spirits up! We also had a lesson with one of the guys who we are helping return to activity to look forward to that night! So we just kept our hopes up for that. This man texted us out of the blue, and told us that he wanted to come to church. He's a really really nice Samoan guy, and just has a strong desire to come unto Christ. Well anyway, his fiance was having a hard time with the whole "Mormon" thing and was nervous about the church. But we have been praying really hard for her heart to be softened to the gospel. So we had started teaching Nation (the Less Active guy) the Plan of Salvation and were about ten minutes in when we heard footsteps coming down the stairs. At first I got excited thinking Santa had come early, but in fact it was his Fiance! EVEN BETTER! She just slipped onto the coach next to her soon to be hubby and just carefully observed the things we were teaching. My companion and I kept teaching, and in fact thought what we both agreed was maybe the best lesson we've ever taught on our mission. The spirit was so strong, and the words were flowing out of our mouths. It was amazing! By the end of the lesson, Nation's fiance and Nation were just lighting up with the Spirit. They were smiling and we both could tell she had loved it. I know that it was a small miracle produced from the honest prayers of Nation and the diligence of my companion and me. 

Anyway, God is good. I love you all! The Church is true. And Christmas is the best. Or rather Christ is the best. 

Aloha,
Elder Gleave


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Week 79--Stop everything and read this!

Dear friends and family. I have a very important announcement to make. One that I have been waiting for a long time to make. One that may or may not surprise you, but regardless, one that has to be said. I can't believe I am actually telling you all this, but I feel it needs to be said. I have been pondering the past few weeks about life and I am very happy to say:

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!

Oh my gosh. oh my gosh. OH MY GOSH IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME. If anyone knows anything about me, it's that I love love love Christmas. I think my companion is getting a little sick of it. He doesn't show it, and he's not a grinch or anything but I'm a little crazy about it. Actually, I think he really enjoys it. We went to Longs Drugs which is like the Hawaiian Equivalent to Walgreen's and bought a whole bunch of Christmas lights and candles and decorated our room. One night, we spent the whole night doing it. Plus, I left all my Christmas stuff in Makiki last year, thinking I would be far away, but it turns out I was right next door and so I swooped by and grabbed that. Let's just say the Christmas season is in full swing at the Gleave and Nielsen suite. 

This transfer has started out incredibly well. Since we have dropped the Samoan ward, Elder Nielsen and I began being able to focus on just our ward. A lot of people that we had been working with had either dropped us or went MIA and so we spent the whole week wrangling them back in. We've had more fun the last fews days then the last two transfers! We are working better than ever. We stopped by Vicinte, our 70 year-old investigator this week, and he wasn't home. But we got to talking to his wife, who is just as nice. But when we walked up, she was just sitting by herself, munching on some corn on the cob. When she told us to sit down, she came over to us with some corn on the cob to eat. They are very poor family, so you never know if you should take the food to be nice, or it is nicer NOT to take the food. But she was very persistent, so we unwrapped the corn and ate it. Let's just say that was a real mistake. It was NOT the corn I was expecting. Apparently, in the Philipines, they let corn sit out for a few days, till it becomes a little old, they steam it, and then eat it really warm. It's almost like corn jelly inside the corn. It was a real trip biting into something you think is crispy and getting a whole bunch of mush in your mouth. But it was a rather amusing sight. Two white missionaries talking story to an old Filipino lady while they all eat fermented corn on the cob. Life is so interesting sometimes. 

Well, while we were talking to her, she told us her husband use to be a sportscaster for basketball. We being basketball fans, our ears suddenly perked up. We had no idea. Vicinte is a quiet, old man who can barely walk. Our lessons are very quiet, and not much is usually said. So when we met up with Vicinte, we asked him about it. Suddenly we released the flood gate. Story after story of basketball memories came pouring out of his mouth, all the while me and my companion were absolutely baffled. We have been struggling to get him to open up, and this whole time HIS FAVORITE THING IS OUR FAVORITE THING. He told us of how he use to run his own basketball league, and how he would play on his high school team. He told us he wasn't very good, but the whole team loved him so much that if the coach wouldnt put him in, the whole team would refuse to play. He then told us virtually ALL of the NBA basketball statistics of the last few days. He was even laughing as we told him how we use to lower the hoop and play "dunkball". I had never seen him so excited. It was absolutely stunning to both of us. 

Like I mentioned above, I love Christmas. So one thing I have been looking foreward to is the Ward Christmas Party! Ours was this week.  Elder Nielsen and I wore festive hats, and everyone just thought they were the most dandy thing. They had a "freebee" room where people just donated old things they had and everyone could choose, and we scored this old suit jackets from the patriarch in the ward. Everyone was so happy. There was food, lots of food, dancing, little kids doing ridiculous skits, and of course a huge SAMOAN SANTA. I have never seen a brown Santa before, but let me tell ya, he sure was jolly, especially around the waist. All in all, it was an amazing party. The next day everyone was so happy at Church. Fast and testimony went 15 minutes over because everyone just really felt the spirit. 

There's so much that I could tell you, but I have to get going, but really, Merry Christmas to everyone! Please watch this video! It's found on christmas.mormon.org. We've been sharing it all week. I love all you guys so much. I miss you like none other during the Christmas season, but I am happy I am here! 

Please let me know if you have any special requests for Christmas presents. 

LOVE ALWAYS
Elder "CHRISTMAS TIME IS HEEEERREE" Gleave

1)Our Christmas Decorations. Weak...but good for missionaries
2)SantaSamoa





Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 78--Hilary Duff answered my prayers!

Hello Family!

In missionary work there is no bad days.

But that doesn't mean there aren't hard days. Entailed with missionary works comes a lot of joy, a lot of happiness, a lot of great, amazing times. But it's pretty ironic, because you also experience a lot of hardship, trials, struggles, and worries. It entails both ends of the spectrum. Many, many times throughout my mission, I've been brought very low, sometimes lower than I ever have before, but the amazing thing is the Lord always tends to lift you back up. This week, for whatever reason, I was experiencing a period of self-doubt. I just felt completely unqualified to be a missionary, to be responsible for all people we are trying help. I was completely second guessing myself, doubting every move I made until the point where I was nervous to say anything to anyone at all! It was pretty weird. But like I said, the mission does that to you sometimes. 

Anyway, that night I just got on my knees and just let it all out to Heaven Father. It was pretty much a "This is all I got Heavenly Father. I know it's not very much, but it's what I got." type of prayers mixed with a lot of "I'm sorry I'm messing everything up". Not my most happiest of prayers. And so I closed and just flopped on my bed, going to get ready for the next day. 

The next day I woke up, got ready, and was feeling pretty good. We tried to visit a few people, but no one was home. We decided to team up with the rest of the zone and go and do some service at the pre-school, and while working there I started to doubt everything again. It was really weird. So this Elder and I were working on chipping some paint, when we were sharing inspirational quotes, and as a joke one of the lines from "A Cinderella Story" with Hilary Duff came to mind, which says, "Don't let the fear of striking out keep you out of the game." And I said it and didn't really think much about it. 

Well, fast forward to later that day, we were teaching our 70 year-old investigator Vicent, and things have been going great with him. He's been coming to church every week, liking our visits. It's been going well. We had decided beforehand that we were going to see if he would commit to baptism. It's something we've talked about before, and I know he is ready to take that next step, but he doesn't feel ready. And it is always a risk to ask them more than once because they might feel pressured and back off. Well we were in the lesson, and we were talking about what he feels about Joseph Smith, and it came to mind to ask him about baptism. And I was like, "No, I am probably going to mess things up with him." AND THEN THE FREAKING HILARY DUFF QUOTE CAME TO MY MIND. I had to! I couldn't let the fear of making a mistake ruin what COULD be a good thing. So I asked him. And he thought about it. And thought about it. And thought about it for what seemed like an eternity, and then he said, "I believe everything. I don't see why not." And I practically pooped my pants. It was amazing. Definitely God answering my prayers. 

Well anyway, Thanksgiving was good. We ate at a buffet. It was a lot of food. I'm thankful for you all! I love you guys so much. By the way, I am staying in the same area with the same companion next transfer, only we won't have Elder Talatau or the Samoan ward anymore. 

BUT
Merry almost Christmas!
Love you all,
Elder Gleave

P.S. When we asked Vicent about Jospeh Smith, his response was, "It's less about the name of the person, but more about their relationship with God." I think there is a sense of profoundness in that statement. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 77--Service for Days!

My Family and friends. 
Aloha.

First of all, I would like to wish you a happy turkey day!!! I hope you all eat until your bellies can't hold anything anymore. I'm sorry if this email doesn't make sense. I currently have three elementary kids chatting RIGHT IN MY EAR about a new computer game thats coming out  and its a little distracting. So if this doesn't make sense at all, that would be why. 

Anyway, I am so very thankful for you all, for all that you've done for me, for the support, the prayers, the love. I feel it. Out of the long list of things I will forever be grateful for-- the mission, and my family are at the top. I know that I couldn't do anything without you guys.

This week was an interesting week. We had a two-day long meetings, two different wards to attend, and five service projects we had to do. So we have been busy. Really busy. On Tuesday we had zone conference, which is when two stake worth of missionaries get together and President trains us about how we can be better at doing missionary work. Because of some things we had to take care of the night before, me and my comps were pretty exhausted going into the conference. To make things worse, we had to give a training there, and we were going to prepare the night before. But we didn't get a chance, so pretty much we had to wing it. I was a little nervous, not about going into training unprepared, because I've taught a number of Gospel Principle classes completely unprepared, but because when we got in the room, President and one of the AP's were there to sit in. We chatted about how as missionaries we need to show confidence in order for the people we teach to really believe that we BELIEVE in what we are teaching. Luckily, President started going off on a long tangent about companionship study, and that took up most of the time, so we were pretty much off the hook. But we chatted about Alma chapter 8. One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. 

We have been doing some service for the past month at a local preschool in the area. It is run by a less active member and his non-member wife, and they are some of the sweetest people alive. They absolutely love the preschool, and the whole zone has been going over every Saturday providing service for them. They preschool needed a lot of help, and it's awesome to see how far the school has come with just a handful of people providing weekly service. It has become one of the highlights of all the missionaries' week in our zone. I was talking to Uncle Sandy, the man who owns it, and he is currently in a wheelchair. We were talking about life, and he said, "My whole goal in life wasn't to get rich. It was to make enough to provide a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food for me and my family. That's what I have right now, and I couldnt be happier." This is one of the reasons why I truly love service. Helping those that might not have much, but in some respects have everything. They have found joy in the important things, helping others and loving God. 

I have become increasingly more impressed with those people who have the characteristics of Christ. I use to look up to people who were the owners of companies, those who were famous athletes or movie stars, and those who were famous in terms of the world. But recently I have noticed how much I am impressed and have desire to be like those who have developed important Christlike attributes--love, kindness, faithfulness, happiness, and forgiveness. They inspire me to become the best person I can be. I never realized how much of an impact that they have on my life. We stopped by one my favorite member's house last night, and we were watching a mormon message called Refiners Fire, and afterwords she talked about how even though she goes through so many hardships, so many trials, she has complete trust in Christ and feels that everything will be alright.  All her trials are to teach her and make her better. She bore such a beautiful and sincere testimony that it will be something that I may never forget in my life. 

I love you all family! Im so very thankful for you. I hope you have a happy turkey day and to always remain thankful. 

Love
Always
King 
Turkey 
Gleave



Monday, November 17, 2014

Weeks 73-76



October 27, 2014--It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Hi family,
It is that time of the year again! Just like there is a tornado season in the Midwest, a hurricane season in the pacific, and a rainy season in South America, we are entering into the Holiday Season in the land of Elder Gleave! I love the holidays so much. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, it's all so great. So much candy, so much food, so much fun. One of the main reasons I love the Holidays is it gives all of an excuse to take a break from the busy lives we all live and spend some much needed time with friends and family. Parties, get-togethers, and pigouts just really make me so happy. I like to relate my joy to a fat kid who found a twinky stuffed in his suitcase at fat camp. And I feel okay talking about that because I am starting to be a candidate for that camp. 


Well, this week we had a Halloween party for the white person ward! It was so fun! They had all these games and booths set up for the little bat mans and pirates and you better believe I played them all. It was like I was back in elementary school just hamming it up. I even made a macaroni jack o lantern! (It got thrown away though, darn.) It was so great to just see every body there. I am a firm believer that seeing other people's happiness brings us more happiness. A couple of the people we are teaching came as well. Except one of the kids from the family we invited dripped fake blood all over the gym because he had one of those creepy blood ghost masks where you can pump the blood over the face. That kind caused a bit of a ruckus because a lot of people we were worried it was real blood. It made me chuckle. Anyway, I love seeing the adults dress up as well. Sometimes we just need to put away our pride and act like a little kid. 

To add onto the greatness of the Holidays, we had a baptism this week! Lipine (I think I talked about her last week) from the Samoan ward (you say he name like lee-pee-nay) ended up getting dunked. It was awesome. The Ward Mission Leader, a Samoan dude who looks like a Poly version of Mario, and his wife sang a song about Jesus Christ being baptized, except he used a guitar so it made it sound almost like a Samoan old western song about Jesus.  I really did enjoy it. Such a great spirit there. A lot of people showed up to support her! Even though about half of the people were snoozing most of the time, the Samoans really do know how to support each other. 

We also had a great lesson with a Samoan man named Tony. He was having a hard time coming to church and wasn't too serious about it, and Elder Talatau had been fasting and praying for something to happen, and one week he showed up and told Elder Talatau that he got into a fight with his boss, got fired, and now is going to be a church every Sunday. Funny how the Lord works. Well anyway, he was struggling with the drinking, so we were going to teach the Word of Wisdom (which usually isn't too spiritual of a lesson) but when he read that it was from God, he just started crying. He told us how much the gospel has begun to change he life, how he wants to get baptized at the beginning of next year to start his new life with the new year, and how he knows that the Book of Mormon is true and the Church is true. We checked with him on Church that Sunday, and he told us that every time he wanted to drink, he remembered the lesson and hasn't drank since then. Just a testimony builder that the church is true. 

Anyway, Happy Halloween everyone! Don't get too sugar high. I love you all. I have to go watch my comp get his in grown toe nail off. Should be fun. Much love to all!
Elder "Is that Lil Wayne or Elder" Gleave?


November 3, 2014--BOO!
Hello Family
First off, sorry if the title of my email scared you all. I didn't really mean to, but thought that it was fitting to write that due to the passing of the recent Halloween season! 
I can't believe it's November! I feel like the weeks are slipping through my fingers. Soon enough I will be an old man with a scraggly beard telling little boys to get off my front yard. Until then, I will enjoy each moment as they come.
Today's email is probably gonna be a bit short. Our Stake Mission Leader gave us free hair cuts but we didnt expect that they were going to take two and a half hours. So we are scrambling for time so all our P-Day isnt shot. Things are going well over here! Not too much to report. Just the same old shenanigans. 
There was something rather neat that happened! If you recall a month or two back, I told a story about giving a Samoan man a blessing at the hospital. It was such an incredibly spiritual blessing, one that has left a lasting imprint on me. Well anyway, that man wasn't sure if he were going to live. He just wanted to see his family again. A week later, we went back to go visit him, but he was already discharged, so I thought in my mind that we were never going to see him again in my life. Well on Sunday, a man slowly walks up to the pulpit in the Samoan Ward, removes a doctor's mask, and introduces himself as Brother Schroter. I then realize that the very same man who I never thought I would see in my life, ended up in the very ward I was serving. I don't know what he said in his testimony (because it was in Samoan), but when we went up to talk to him after, he told us that the cancer had spread to his spine and his spine had snapped that week. The doctor told him that he wouldn't be able to walk for 6 weeks. He walked the whole time he was at church, and he just kept saying, "I know the Lord helps me. I have faith in him." Truly a testimony builder that the Lord wants to help us, all we have to do is believe. Also, it assures me that the Lord knows ME, because he gave me such a tender mercy as to see the very man in which we gave a blessing to on his road to recovery. This type of experiences wouldn't have happened if I never went out and served. 

We have quite a few investigators who are really on the verge of getting answers for themselves about the Church. Almost at a make or break point. It's amazing to see how I KNOW that when they get that testimony, when they accept the gospel, such beautiful light and testimony will be poured into their souls, but it's impossible to tell them that without them experiencing it them for themselves. 

We also were able to teach this part-member family. They have been going through so many trials in their lives I just want to grab them and shake them and yell, "DONT YOU KNOW THE GOSPEL CAN HELP?" But I am not really sure how much good that will do. One thing I am a firm believer in, is that although we might still experience trials, those who follow Jesus Christ will receive increased help and strength through those trails. Daniel still had to go into the Lion's Den. He wasn't delivered from that trial. But with his faith the Lions didn't attack him (AKA we can receive strength during our trials.) Okay, well I have to run. I love you all! If you ever get a chance to go to a Samoan Choir, do it. They are amazing. Or a Samoan Halloween party. There is some many cute kids, and there is no-stop sweets! 

Love you all!
Elder GLEAVE


November 10, 2014--It.Has.Begun
This week has been full of a lot of full stomachs, happy hearts, and sore arms. The reason why I said it's begun, for the joyous fact that this week, or I guess more properly described on Nov. 1st, we moved into the Samoan side of the dinners. From the 15 to the 31st of last month, what we call the "white people" ward fed us, so that meant typical dinners. But on Nov 1st, the Samoan ward took over the dinner calender, and we've basically been eating more than a Poly boy at Golden Corral after Priesthood Session of General Conference. Last night, we were at dinner, and they put down food for the three of us that could probably feed the Brady Bunch for a few weeks, and told us "eat elders. eat." and so we started eating and eating. The bulk of the dinner was fried chicken, teryaki sausage, rice, and taro, but they also had turkey wing soup and friend fish. So we were eating and eating, silently praying that every bite we ate would some how evaporate from our stomachs, magically allowing us to eat more than we should be able to. But I don't know if God really does those type of things. At least he didn't last night! Anyway, Elder Nielsen is a diabetic, so whenever he gets full he just whips out his insulin needle and gives himself a shot. It sort of signifies the whole concept of, "There's no way I'm taking another shot tonight, so you better not make me eat anything else." And most people understand that. My other companion, Elder Talatau, gets off the hook. For some reason, one I am not sure of, they love making white boys eat. They dont really care about how much polys eat, but whenever a white boy is eating in their eyes he is never full. So both Elder Nielsen and Elder Talatau were excused to sit on the couch, and I thought to myself, "Watch this. I am going to impress these Samoans with how much I can eat." bad idea. At first I ate another sausage, then I ate some more taro. Then I was full. Then I ate more fried chicken. Then I couldn't fit anymore food into my belly. Then they gave me more sausage. I could see my life flashing before my eyes. Actually, I could just envision it all coming back up into the toilet. Now I am sure you all can too. Sorry about that. Well anyway, I was about half through my last sausage, and I regretfully report I could not finish it. It just wouldn't go down. I swallowed my pride, tucked my tail between my legs, and informed the family I couldn't finish it. I even tried the tactic of cutting it up to look like I've eaten more. But alas, it didnt work. The Mom said it was okay that I didn't eat all of it, and the dad kind of grunted and then grabbed my plate and scrapped the rest of the food onto his. Everything was okay after that. I survived. Expect the rest of the night it felt like someone had placed a bowling ball into my stomach. But that's okay. It happens to the best of us.

One thing that I've really grown to love in the Samoan ward is volleyball! They absolutely love volleyball in the islands. Everyone is good at it too. And we aren't talking about the typical "just try and get it over the net" graduation-style volleyball, we are talking about bump set spike, 20+ hits per point. The best thing about it is they don't take it seriously at all. It's weird, they all try their hardest, but when someone loses, or makes a mistake, it's not a big deal. In fact, if someone messes up, everyone just busts up like its the funniest things theyve ever seen! Even the person who messes up! And all are welcome. It's really a great time. It makes me feel alive. 

Anyway, on a more spiritual note, I have been pondering a lot about some things in my life, and I've been thinking about how sometimes we (myself included) get so wrapped up in trivial things in life. Our lives become focus on things that shouldnt be our greatest focus. Relationships that are struggling, church callings, materialistic things, etc. etc. Even things as great as our family become our main focus! But that shouldn't be the case. We need to have Christ as our central focus. We need to have an eternal outlook. What is more important, making decisions for the here and now, or for the future and eternity? Every decision, in some small way, affects who we are or are becoming. And who we are affects where we will be and WHO we will be after this life. The only thing we can take with us out of this life is our characteristics and our knowledge. We don't all just become heaven robots with all the same personality and floating on clouds while just blissfully eating grapes and being cooled off by palm fronds. We will be who we are here, and so we gotta be focused on Christ, our supreme example, to become who we need and should be after this life. 

There's my soap box for the day. I love you all! Stay faithful, read some general conference talks, eat some Halloween candy! 

Your favorite white boy,
Elder Gleave 
Malo Soifua family


November 17, 2014--Primary Programs Galore
This week has been a very special week. And that's for one reason only. It was my absolute favorite time of the year. PRIMARY PROGRAM!! Since we cover two wards, we got the privilege of watching TWO primary programs! I never really understand how great the primary programs were until my mission, but they are seriously the next best thing to cheese in a can and toilets. (Seriously. Imagine our world without toilets.) 

Sundays are usually a very long day, starting church at 8am and ends around 3pm. It often takes my best efforts not to fall asleep during sacrament meeting, especially when it is in full Samoan. But this Sunday, I was wide awake. I just really love how passionate and excited the little kids are. They are sooo funny, never ceasing to make me laugh. Here are some highlights:

From the English Ward: A kid gets up to speak, yells "HI" into the microphone, then he realizes he is standing in front of 150+ adults, eyes get real wide and then buries his head into the teacher there to help him, too embarrassed to even look at us. Hahaha. One of the kids was doing interpretive dacing to every single song which included playing an imaginary trumpet and conducting the music. There was the classic puts-his-face into the microphone and gives his line, making it sound like he is a mumbling God above. And there was the ones who just stared out into the crowd with an exact deer in the headlights look. Classic.

From the Samoan ward: This kid in a bow tie stands up, and I thought myself, this is going to be good. He then grabs the podium, starts speaking like a preacher, waving his hand in the air and points to the sky then he points into the crowd and everyone laughs. It turns out it was roughly translated as this, "The only way to return to God is to repent. Repentance is the key. And don't be like my dad. He doesn't repent. (pointing to his dad in the congregation)" It was the best I've seen. Plus one of the kids was the conductor. He would stand up, signal everyone to stand, then proceed to wave both hands as if a symphony conductor. When it was his turn to speak, he strolled up the stand, winked at everyone, said something in Samoan, then sat down with a smirk on his face. What a punk... 

Anyway, I just really love the primary program. I think my favorite part is how beautiful and simple the doctrine they sing and subsequently teach about is. I didn't notice it until my mission, but the primary program is basically the missionary lessons put into song form and taught by kids! It's beautiful. I think sometimes we think we need some passionate speaker or really educated sermon to learn something about the gospel, but if we are humble and teachable, I am convinced the primary program can really do wonders in teaching us about how we can be better people.
For example, one of the songs talk about how we need to have family prayer every morning and night. And the kids talk about how important FHE is. How many of us are REALLY doing those things? Or how important scripture study and repentace are. How many of us could improve on that? I mean seriously, probably all of us! I just really love it. 

Anyway, I know I am suppose to relate some awesome missionary experience about how we taught a person and they were crying and just loved the gospel, but I really just wanted to talk about the primary program. So I guess you'll have to wait till another week. But Love you all! 
Elder Uso Gleave

Friday, November 7, 2014

Week 72--Blessed be the Isles of the Sea




"But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea"
2 Nephi 10:21

OH HOW TRUE THIS SCRIPTURE IS. Blessed are the isles of the sea. This week was quite the eventful week. As part of the new transfer, me and my companion inherited a new ward and a new companion. One of the missionaries from the Samoan ward, Moanalua 2nd, had to go home from a few days to attend a funeral, and since there was an odd number of Elders in the mission, he just decided the he was going to stick the missionary and his ward with us. So on Wednesday, we officially took over the Samoan ward. Now we asked the missionaries if everything was taken care of until Elder Talatau (our new companion) got back Friday. They assured us everything was. So we were thinking "great, we don't have to worry about that ward until Friday and they we will work with Elder Talatau and everything will just be amazing." Well that night we get a call from one of the missionaries who use to serve in that ward saying, "Hey, the members called me and said that one of the people I was teaching there is getting baptized this weekend, what the heck? Why didn't you tell me?" and I was like, "I guess probably because we had no idea." And so what had happened was the missionaries serving in the ward before had asked Lipine (the person being baptized) how her smoking was going, and she would say, "Oh it's hard." and that's it. So they just assumed she was still smoking. But in fact she meant, "I have not been smoking for a while and it's hard making sure I don't smoke." But that was apparently lost in the communication. So the members were mad that we didn't believe her,  and were going to baptize her this weekend. So I literally know 0 people in the Samoan ward, and we have to set up a baptism. So we decided to visit the investigator, and it turns out to be the 2nd councilor's daughter-in-law, and so he made the program and then we interviewed her and in a miracle we got everything ready to go. We  were so excited! Then they called the next day and said we had to reschedule for next week hahaha and that's how the Samoan ward goes!  It all works out though. I love this ward. I never have heard such beautiful 10-part harmonies in sacrament meeting. It's like a choir of angels. Also, I've never been in such a well organized game of casual volleyball. Everybody was incredible, and yet no one was that competitive. Oh how glorious are the people of Samoa. The only downside is I have no idea what people say in church. That's okay.

Well it looks like we survived another hurricane! Hurricane Ana decided she was going to test her luck with the mean islands of Hawaii, but at the last minute backed down. We may be small, but like I said, BLESSED BE THE ISLES OF THE SEA. No one was really gearing up for this one, not quite like the last one. People were doing the equivalent to a dooms day prep for the last hurricane scare, and I guess since nothing really happened they didn't take this one quite as serious. I was just interested to see if the last one was the boy who cried wolf, and this was the wolf. I always thought that if God was going to do a Sodom and Gomorrah type deal to Hawaii, the area I was serving in would be the first to go. But we were spared until another day. It was just super duper rainy all of yesterday. I was tempted to go surfing down the street but I decided I would save that for after the mission. 

We also opened up a booth at the Swap Meet at Aloha Stadium! It didn't go quite as well as we hoped. WE just attracted a bunch of members. We weren't in an ideal spot, and because of Hurricane Ana, not many people showed up, but we are determined to do it again. We can make a difference. 

Sorry this email is not very consistent or that spiritual. I'm pretty distracted today. Plus I'm getting to the point (actually I've been at the point for about a year now) where it feels like I am just reporting on my everyday life, and less of me reporting on my mission. So sometimes it's hard to remember. But things are going great! My favorite part of the mission is being put into tough situations that you have no idea what to do, then praying to God and telling him you have no idea what to do and you need help, then going to work and watch miracles happen. It works everytime. Anyway, I'm glad I didn't die.
Hawaii+Gleave-3 
Hurricanes+Mother Nature-0  

Isles of the Sea win every time.

Fa'a Soifua
Elder Gleave
The one on the right is my new comp.




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Week 71--The Joys of Serving

Hey Family! 

Hope all is going well. I heard we got some people feeling a little bit under the weather. I'll send some prayers your way. 

So I guess there is so much that I could tell you about, but usually when I sit in front of this screen, all I can really remember is what I had for breakfast this morning (it was oatmeal, btw).  Well here is an experience we had yesterday. We were at this lesson for two 20 year olds that in are the military, and we were discussing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On the last page of the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet, it is talking about enduring to the end. And it quoted a scripture found in 2 Nephi 31. And above that scripture it said, "The gospel of Jesus Christ is a way of life." And although I knew that, and although I taught that, it kinda of hit me at that point. I remember one of the people I was teaching, after her first time going to church, said, "Your church is less of a church, and more of a meeting." And its true! Going to church on Sundays is not as much as making that all your religion, but more of seeing that your everyday life is in accordance with how God wants you to live. Its a lifestyle, not a religion. And I guess I have a slightly amusing story to go along with that. Every wednesday, one of the favorite parts of the week for me and my companion is jumping into normal people clothes to play sports with the youth. Its always a blast! Well, we were really excited this week to play football, and then last minute the Stake President texted us and said we have a meeting with him during sports night. What makes things worse is we already had a meeting the night before. I am not really one for meetings, in fact, in my mind, the less meetings the better! So I started complaining, saying things like, "This is stupid! Why do we need to go to meetings. Maybe we can just make a cut out of us and sticking them in the chair before it starts. Or maybe we can just say we had some sort of emergency that needed to be taken care of. WE got to think of something!" I was literally ready to have my comp hit my knee with a bat. I didnt want to go. But, I bit my tongue and went to the meeting. It was rather lame, and the stake president just read over some protocalls with us. Something we could have done on our own. Then he looked at us and said, "Oh yeah, are you going to be at this meeting tomorrow? We're expecting you there." WHAT. ANOTHER? I almost passed out. I was so frustrated. You can ask my companion. But the next morning I was dabbling in the 1st Book of Nephi for personal study and came across the part of Laman and Lemuel complaining about going back to get the gold plates from Jerusalem. Then a little thought came into my head that went a little something like this, "They are complaining because they have to go back to a place they just left a few days earlier, through a desert, with no way of knowing how they are going to get there, and youre complaining about what? A meeting? Who's Laman and Lemuel now?" And I tucked my tail in between my legs and said you're right Holy Ghost. And so I had a better attitude about the whole thing. I changed my ways.

Now I tell that story because it's not like I went to murder someone. I was just complaining about a meeting! Who hasnt done that? But this life is one to prepare to meet God, and so apparently, my contempt for meetings was holding me back ever so slightly from becoming the person God wants me to be. And I think thats what life is really about. Becoming better through "small and simple things." Although meetings arent my favorite thing, they aren't something I should worry about. But this week has been amazing, as with all weeks. I had a rather cool experience with fasting which I will tell another day. But I love you all. This gospel is true. Meetings arent. Just kidding... Kinda.

LOVE ALWAYS,
Your home boy,
Elder Gleave

Week 70--Generally it was Conference

Phew! Family, how are you?

Sounds like as we head into the pumpkin and monster season, the wedding plans for big brother are beginning to come full circle. Sounds like a complete blast! I couldn't be more happy for Will and Tess. 

The best thing about the whole entire week seemed to be our prophets and apostles speaking to us in general conference. Before conference this week, I have a CD with like 50 different talks from various general authorities, and one of them happened to be from Elder Holland. This was back before he was an apostle, and I think before he was the BYU President, so I guess you could say back when we were first boarding the ark (haha Noah jokes). But he was explaining the beauty of General Conference, and the fact that we have the wonderful opportunity to hear from a living prophet. He shared an experience in Tonga, when 800 Tongan members packed onto a boat that really only held 200 people, and waited  24 hours for a boat in order to see a prophet talk in person. It made me think, do I really give such emphasis on paying attention to our living prophet? I probably wouldn't even be able to recall what he spoke about last conference. And I decided that I was taking for granted the fact the we have a living Moses. Or a living Noah. Or a living Abraham, Isaac, Elijah, or Elisha. I would like to imagine that if one of them came down and presented a message to me, I would be rather inclined to listen. I guess I was being too much like the people in times of Noah, who didn't give the prophetic message the respect it deserved. So I committed to really listen. To really absorb. To really understand what the spirit is telling me. And boy, let me tell you, it was incredible. It was definitely the strongest I've felt the spirit watching conference, and just added on to the incredible spiritual experiences I have been having as of late. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves, are we the children of Israel? Are we giving the prophet the respect he deserves? Are we putting ANYTHING over hearing a prophet? Because God wants to teach us, but he can't if we aren't listening. I really enjoyed almost all of them, but in particular I enjoyed Jorg Klieberg's, Elder Christopherson's, and Elder Uchtdorf's in the priesthood session. 

Last week, we had a dinner with a part-member family, but they canceled on us last minute, so we weren't able to have it. Well, we were cruising around KPT (a giant apartment complex) this week and I was a bit frustrated because we had tried to visit people all day and no one was home, and so we decided on whim to go visit that family. Well they, and another part-member family we are teaching was at their house and they looked relieved when we knocked on their door. They exclaimed, "COME IN! Come in! We've been expecting you!" It turns out they had tried calling us that day and I guess our phone wasn't working or something because we never got the message, and so they didn't know if we were coming or not. So they just decided to make dinner and assumed we would come. And lo and behold, there we come walking in. Haha talk about faith in the missionaries... They explained how terrible of a weekend they had, and how all these family problems occurred, and how they should have had us come on Friday and how much better it was that we were there then. It was really quite the miracle! So we blessed their home, they sent us home with a watermelon, and all was well. 

Today we decided that it would be a good idea to hike Koko Head! In case you don't remember, its the 1,000 stair hike. Well, while we were at the top, we figured out my camera could take beautiful jumping pictures, and so we spent a good hour taking those. Some will be included. Anyway, in case you we were wondering, the mission is quite a spiritual, physical, and emotional roller coaster. It's not always sunshine and puppies here in Hawaii, (it is rainbows) and even though I don't make it seem like it, I do have times when I struggle. In fact at some points, I have never felt more alone. But I can honestly say, with all of my heart, I have never felt so close to some many people, so many friends, and so close to the Lord. It's not always paradise in Hawaii, but I wouldn't want it any other way. 

I love you all! Got to go! I have a bowling alley that's calling my name. (throw back to my bowling league in college)

Your favorite Pineapple Missionary,
Elder "I used so much gel this morning I couId be a pineapple" Gleave
1) Lunch with Jacob the Bear Man
2) Blue Angels!!
3) Jumping picture
4) Temple lovvvee
5) Leaving my mark in hawaii
6) Yup
7) School of Rock Tribute
8) A hike that's literally in my back yard


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 69--Planes, Temples and a Filipino Dude

Hey hey hey family! 

Sorry this email is coming on tuesday. Today was our quarterly TEMPLE TRIP. It was so amazing. There is something about being in the House of the Lord that is quite refreshing. Serving in Kalihi you see a lot of things that can be spiritually degrading, and going to the temple was a beautiful refresher spiritually. I was over come with the spirit that my heart was absolutely full of joy. It was cool, because I opened up the scriptures to Alma 27 and in verse 17 and 18 it talks about how Ammon had so much joy, and I thought, THAT WAS ME! So overall, it was a beautiful day in Laie. Plus, after we had the opportunity to watch "Meet the Mormons" It hasnt come out yet. It was similar to how it was when me and Dad went to the Yao Ming movie. It was a very great movie. 

This week the Blue Angels of the Navy were preforming in one of the military bases down here. No I am telling this to all of you, just because I know how much Dad would have loved it. We were teaching a lesson on Sunday, and from the building we could see them diving and turning and flipping over the base! They would could and bank over our heads really close and then fly back. It was so awesome. Incredibly distracting trying to teach a lesson though, because they would fly by and the whole would rattle with noise of it all. It is amazing how precise they must be, and one little mistake can cause failure. Similar to us, except we are lucky that we have Christ to help us if we do make a mistake.

The really amazing story comes from that lesson that we taught on that building. A few weeks back we met this old Filipino man named Vicente. Usually when we come across a Filipino they have a "I am born Catholic, I am going to die Catholic" mentality. I talked about him a little bit before, but we have been going over there to visit him, and we can literally see him change before our eyes. Now the amazing thing is that he had a stroke in April, and so he has been great impaired when it comes to walking. He says he hasnt broken a sweat since he had the stroke (well from physical labor). Anyway, this Sunday, he walked about half a mile to get to church. Even through the rain. It is amazing to see the devotion of such a humble man in order to find the truth.

Since our area covers two major hospitals, whenever there is a momo that is sick there, we get the call. In the past two weeks we have been to the hospital 8 times. It is rather eventful, but really amazing. Yesterday we gave a blessing to a 34 guy from Samoa. He only came back to church 3 years ago, and is in the Bishopric, is a seminary teacher, and was working on becoming a temple worker until he got sick. After the blessing he bore a powerful witness of how the Church has blessed him and his family. The emotion and devotion of this man to Christ was virutally unmatched by almost all people I've met. He told us about how he has fallen, and how he got back up, or rather how Christ lifted him up. It is experiences  like these that make me so happy that I am on a mission. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH. 
I will send pictures next week. 
I left my camera in the car...sorrryy..

Love Always, 
Elder GLeave


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week 68--Dream Team


Heloha Family!

That's aloha and hello combined in case you didn't pick up on that.
I sincerely wish everything awesome that happened each day, I could take off a memory card and just replay it for you. Maybe that will be a cool feature we have in the next life, but until then I will do my best to share with you a little taste of my week was like here. Unfortunately, when I sit down to write, its like my whole mind goes absolutely blank. So I will talk to you about something that completely stuck out to me.

On Thursday, we got a call to go give a blessing at the hospital down the street. It's not the first time that I have been there, and every time it is rather neat being in a hospital because it gives me a little taste of what Annie's going through. But that's not the interesting part. So we get the call to go down there and we end up in a man,s room named Don. Don is sitting upright on his bed, with various tubes sticking out of his back and some attached to his face. So it was. We sat down and he shared some of his life with us. Don grew up in the Church, he even served his mission in Japan. But due to some life experiences (which he did not go into detail about), he now believed solely in God and Jesus Christ, but has no particular belief in a religion. He is only 63, and due to his Mormon Upbringing, he has never smoked a cigarette in his life, yet he has stage 4 lung cancer that is terminal. I could tell the painful irony of the whole situation. I firmly believe that God shapes our lives little by little, but every once in a while he will do something or put you in some situation that will cause you to re-look and examine your life. And anytime that you come face to face with someone who is about to come face to face with their maker, it really makes you think. I remember that morning I was worrying about little things that were happening in my life, but as I talked to this man, those things suddenly didn't matter quite as much. They certainly didn't matter to this man. 

We sat down and talked a lot about God, and why he does these things to us. How he really does love us. The true meaning of what Christ did for us. All these things we discussed. It was interesting to get a view of a man who was on his death bed. He seemed exceedingly genuine and sincere. He kept commenting on how he believed in God and Christ, but besides that "I really just don't know. I can't be sure." It must have been quite nerve racking to be in his spot. To not really have the full understanding, or belief of where he is going. But his mother had told him to get a blessing, and after persistent pleas from his mother, he decided that it couldn't hurt to get one. When I give my blessings, I try to allow the spirit to direct, but one thing I try and avoid is starting, "Heavenly Father loves you and knows you." to stay away from being rote, but I surprised myself when I heard those words coming out of my mouth. I didn't stop it though, and I figured that the Spirit is pretty good with these things. After the blessing, Don said that was the part that really hit home for him. That's what his family always says, and he felt that God was personally talking to him at that point. He was nervous about a CT scan he was going in for, because every time he was on his back he went into a full-
fledged panic attack due to the fluid in his lungs, and so after he felt comforted that the CT scan would go well. We called him later and found out everything had, not surprised. But those are the types of events that make me so grateful to be here on my mission. Those are the things that leave a lasting imprint on your spirit for the good. I love it here. 
Also, here are some pictures for your enjoyment.


1) PUPPIES
2) Where one of our philipino investigator lives

I LOVE YOU ALL
Elder Gleave

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week 67--Finally Legal


FAMILY AND FRIENDS. 

I am currently writing this in love and appreciation for all da B-DAY shout outs I got. It was an absolutely stellar b-day. 

Here's how it started: the night before, I was really luke warm about the fact that my birthday was the next day. Partially because it is really weird having a day where it essentially like, "Oh hey let's celebrate the fact that I exist" when your whole entire life at the moment revolves around helping others. So that night we had dinner with a wonderful family, and the wife was like, "I am glad you could come, it's my husbands birthday." I was like OH GREAT. Mine's tomorrow! She had made cafe rio burritos and ice cream cake. THE BEST KIND OF CAKE. My compaion was very annoyed because the husband and I talked all night about how great people are that are born in September, especially around the 12-13 days. Plus they had left over lego's from when they went to the lego store and challenged each other to lego building contest, so they gave us them. That night, my companion and I had a lego building contest. I think I won.

The next morning I woke up and the first thing I did was open my Birthday Packages! (thanks fam). I loved the boomerang and am like half way done with the puppy puzzle. It's a big puzzle. That day three things happened that were particularly awesome. #1 We had back-to -back lessons with someone named "Cat" and "Kitty". Unrelated. Unfortunately Cat wasn't there.  I guess you could say someone let the Cat outta the bag. Ha. I'm sorry that was dumb. #2 The next awesome thing is we had a lesson on the top of seriously the most ghetto-looking building I've ever seen, and we were teaching this old Philipino man. Usually Philipinos are Catholic, and when they are, they are "born catholic, die catholic." But the first thing he asked us was about the different doctrines the Book Of Mormon presents and the Catholics teach. So we shared a little about that, then presented a powerful witness of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The man stopped, thought for a moment, and said, "Whenever someone comes by and talks to me like this (referring to religious people) I always wonder about how they tell us these things, yet there is so much pain and sorrow in the world." I could almost hug him when he said that! So we showed him 2 Nephi 2 where it talks about opposition in all things, then followed by having him read the fact that if there were no sorrow, there would be no pain, and finished with him reading about free agency. He seriously pondered the things contained in that section, and promptly declared, "Maybe this book will put to rest doubts I have had my whole life. This book contains wisdom unlike any other." It was a mighty spiritual moment. #3 We didnt have dinner that night, but when we brought a youth out to work with us, he was like, "Do you dinner tonight?" "No" "Hold on" Then he called his Mom and told him to feed us. Luckily, it was my favorite family in the ward, the Sudas! They are really, really awesome, and I couldn't have asked for a better family to eat with. They sang happy birthday to me, then covered my face with frosting. I loved it. 

The Lord really does watch out for us. I believe Heavenly Father really enjoys showering us with tender mercies. I think he loves seeing us happy! So be happy. Life's too short not to be. 

I love you all! Thank you for all your support. 
Love, 
Elder Gleave

1) Sudas are great!
2) Couldn't be happier about the sunscreen



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 66--The Book of Mormon

Hey family!

How are things? I guess I am gonna be an adult soon. That's kind of a scary thought. I remember meeting people who were 21 and thinking, "THOSE PEOPLE ARE OLD." Now I'M OLD. Goodness. I don't act like a 21 year old that's for sure. 

One thing I've really noticed is how much we really DON'T know. I use to think that a 21 year olds were so smart and knew so much, but I look at it and realize that I still have so much to learn! Even teenagers think they know so much about life, but really they are only scratching the surface. That's why it burdens me to see so many of today's youth making decisions that will affect them the rest of their lives. I recently had the opportunity to teach a 17 year-old boy who's been arrested 4 or 5 times on various different charges, and it's hard for me to see these so called "men" making decisions that will surely affect them the rest of their lives. I looked at this boy and just wanted to shake him and yell at him saying, "Don't you know what your'e doing to yourself? You're doing to your kids? You aren't just doing things that affect you now, they may affect you for the rest of life, even for eternity!" But he would probably look at me like I just got off a one-way ticket from crazyville. One of the hard things, about being a missionary is seeing these people make poor choices in their lives when you know deep down inside how much happier they could be. Then when you feel that, you start to develop this Christ-like love for them. Then it makes it even HARDER when they still make those choices. But the beautiful thing about the Gospel, especially the Atonement of Jesus Christ, is that there is happiness ingrained in all of us. Everyone is destined to be happy, because that of why we are here. And everyone is destined to be great. One of the blessings of being a child of God is the ability to change someone's life. Jesus Christ is all about change. Changing from someone you use to be, to someone God wants you to be. And the best way I know how to do that, is by reading the Book of Mormon. 

Like I said before, people don't know as much as we think we do. We are teaching this man who is named Kyle, and he's had a hard time accepting the Book of Mormon because growing up he had it hammered in his mind that, "the Mormons wrote their own book" and that the "Bible is the only thing that will ever be written." Now I don't believe these people were viciously trying to bring the Church down, but we had to explain to Kyle that more often than not, people struggle to believe in something that's new or foreign to them. That they automatically assume that what they have is enough, and there will never be anything more. But the amazing fact of the matter is that God DOES speak to us today, and he DOES love us the same as the time of the people in the Bible. He WILL give us all these things that are designed to help us, and the forefront of these things are the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Entailed in these sacred texts is the power to change lives. To unlock the potential we each have eternally written in our DNA. I am forever grateful for the impact these two things have have on my life, and it burdens my soul to see the increasing doubt this world has towards things pertaining to God. I reflect on the fact that I had literally no idea about any of this less than three years ago. But we can always get better. We can always start somewhere. We can always start now. God is good. 

I guess it's just been on my mind lately about how amazing God is and how many people don't even have an idea of that, but I thank Heavenly Father for the opportunity to be out here on my mission to share the incredible power that God brings. I got a lot of birthday emails this week (which I am so thankful for!!) and all of them asked how my mission was going, so if this email doesn't clear things up, I hope this does. My mission means everything to me. It's taught me to step back, to realize that I DON'T know everything, and to get ready to let God teach me. I love you all! I pray for you! 
Love,
Elder "Still a kid at heart" Gleave


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Week 65--Short one today

Hey family! 

Today has got to be a shorter email. We have an appointment soon because we had to email today since the library was closed yesterday for Labor Day. 

Well, here is a story for you. This week we were teaching a man and it has been going really well. His name is Kyle. We've been teaching him for awhile, and on this particular night his grandson was at his house. While we were teaching, the grandson comes out and pulls up a chair and then sits down and tell us he is going to listen in. Well, he listened for about two minutes, which I imagine is the equivalent to a few hours in eight year-old time, and, as any kid would do, decides it is his turn to talk. He goes on telling his grandpa, Kyle, about how his teacher is teaching him to walk on water, how his week was going, and just saying all sorts of ridiculousness. Then he starts telling his grandpa about how he got stung by a bee, and he asked, "Why do bees have stingers?" And me being a missionary thought that was a great time to teach him about God, so I said, "Because God made them that way." He scrunched his face, thought for a moment, then promptly declared, "God sucks." Hahaha it was so funny. Anyway, we explained how the bee could have been nervous and thought he was trying to hurt it and he stung you, but regardless the young boy taught me a very valuable lesson. Often times we will see or experience things that may lead us to question why such things are happening, I.E. a bee stinging you. And it's easy to simply blame God for what's happened. But in all actuality, things that happen to us, happen for a reason. Whether it is a natural cause and effect situation (because God is a God of order), whether it is the result of some other person's misdeeds, or whether it is by no ones fault at all, these things are here to teach us things. "It must needs be that there is opposition in all things" This is how we learn. It might teach us to not mess with bees, or it might teach us to have compassion on those who are going through similar situations, but I am ever more convinced that trials are there to better us, no matter what the trials are. 
I love you all, and hope you had a good Labor Day! 
Much love, 
Elder Gleave

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week 64--Kings, raw fish and a miracle

HEY FAMILY

Sometime I wish I could carry around a small camera and record everything I do so that I could go back and make a highlight film of all my favorite experiences. I would say that there was a few this week. ONE in particular that comes to the forefront of my dusty ole skull up there. 
It all started on Wednesday. We had planned to go to an appointment, but when that fell through, we made a quick stop by visit to a family that had just moved here from the island of Pohnpei (Pon-Pay). They are only here for a short time, while their toddler son gets an operation on his foot. When we went to teach them, their landlord, a 30 year-old woman sat in on the lesson. We asked her if she knew about the Church, and she said, "Yes. I was taught by missionaries in Pohnpei, and I went to Church with them once. I loved it! I was planning on coming to your Church this Sunday," so we were pretty excited about that, because that doesn't happen everyday. And so we taught her about the plan of salvation, she told us she wanted to be baptized, and then we set up a return appointment on Saturday. So that's where it gets weird. So on Saturday we went back, fully expecting to teach this family, when there are more Pohnpei people in this house! And so we sit down to teach the family and the young lady, and a man walks in and tell us we have to be quiet because there is a "higher up" that is staying there. Well, we come to find out that the second in line to be king of Pohnpei is staying there to get treatment at the local hospital. This added a little bit more tension in the room, because the last thing we wanted to do was offend a future king. But we finished the lesson and right as we were done, a rather confident-looking man walked in and said, "Come. Have some lunch with me." Then the same guy who told us that there was a higher up staying there came in and said, "You have been royally invited to lunch. You cannot refuse." So we sat down at the table and had lunch with the future king. It was interesting to talk to him. He was a warm-spirited guy, but you could tell he had an air of pride about him. I guess that happens when you are about to inherit a rather large island. He was a pastor of his own church of about 500, so that in itself added a bit of tension, but he was very respectful of the Mormon faith and told us about how beautiful the LDS chapels in Pohnpei were. It was rather intimidating, because any wrong move by one of us could reflect the LDS church, so if we ended up offending him in anyway, that could mean the end of missionary work in Pohnpei, an island of 34,000 people. A big custom in island culture is to not refuse any food given to you. So when I saw a large bowl of freshly sliced raw fish I thanked Heavenly Father I had learned to love that stuff on my mission and it was not a problem. (if you think that's gross, I would encourage you to look up Dinuguan. I had it that night for dinner). Overall, it was a very great lunch. We ended by providing a Book of Mormon to him. The last thing he said to us was, "If I end up reading this and getting converted, the whole island would go into a riot." Whether he gets converted or not, it speaks wonders to us members that stand as a witness of Christ "at all time, in all places." 

Well, that's the story of the week. I love you all! 
ELDER GLEAVE
1) I think I left something behind
2) nightly planning session


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 63--THEY GOT DUNKED!

Hello,

First off, I would like to give a shout out to my wonderful brother. Congrats on getting engaged! I'm sad I can't go, but I'm super happy for you! I know that the blessings of being with Tess for all time and eternity are so much greater than we can understand right now.

So while I am on the subject of life-changing events that I was unable to attend, there was one that happened this week that I am so very pleased about. As you may recall, I was working with a family of 5 while I was in Honolulu during the winter. They are the Fitzgerald family. In fact, they will probably read this at some point (well at least the Mom, she likes to blog stalk me)! Anyway, they were my absolute favorite family I've worked with on my mission. They are some of the most down to earth, kindest people I've ever had the opportunity of meeting. Well, they have been coming to church for the past 7 months as regular attendees of the ward. For all intensive purposes, they were the definition of  "Dry Mormons". They were waiting to get baptized until their youngest daughters turned 8 to make the commitment as a whole family. As a family-oriented church, I can't really blame them. Well, she turned 8 a couple of weeks ago, and guess what happened on Saturday. They got baptized! Unfortunately because of mission rules, I was unable to attend, but I am so overwhelmed with joy at the fact that this family was able to join together in the gospel of the Lord. I love them with all my heart, and I know their lives will be changed for the better from here on out. From the initial reports of the missionaries who attended, it sounds as if the baptism went well! Apparently the confirmations took about half of the sacrament meeting, but I don't think anyone really minded. The unification that the church brings into families' lives is simply splendid. 

Another neat thing happened in which I DID get to attend! A man by the name of Via Sikahema came to talk to all the missionaries serving on Oahu. For you ancient BYU football junkies, he's the guy who ran a punt return back for a touchdown to spark BYU's miracle come back in the "Miracle Bowl". He was also part of the national championship team, and became the first Tongan player to be drafted into the NFL, where he spent nearly a decade playing for three different teams. Now he a commentator for NBC and covers most of the Olympics, as well as serving as a Stake President in New Jersey. He was a super funny guy. I think the line of the night was, "Look at my son-in-law. He looks like he's right out of GQ. My daughter-in-law is drop dead gorgeous. I always tell my kids the same thing: 'Us Sikahemas don't marry ugly or dumb. We need to better our gene pool." It was relaying the point that on his mission he learned skills that later helped him in life, including finding a wife. It was cool to hear him say that out of all the things he's done in life, including playing in the NFL and being on a college national championship team, the thing that made the biggest difference in his life was serving a mission. He told us that everyday of his life, a memory of something or someone, or of something thought he had on his mission always comes up. He can't say that about anything else. It was a great experience.

The last cool thing that happened this week is we had a stake sports fest. Our ward isn't the most athletic of wards, so when we went, me and my companion weren't sure we would have enough people to play on the basketball team. As it turns out, we had 6 people, but one of the older guys took a tumble in the beginning of the game and had to sit out. So that just left us 5. A Mexican guy, me and my companion, a pretty tall navy dude, and a 60 year old short guy. I didn't think we had a popsicle's chance in hell that we'd win, but I guess we were out there to have fun, and coupled with an underdog mentality, we ended up winning! The bummer thing is that we had to wait like 3 hours for the next game, and half our team left, and so we were really tired for the next game and so we got destroyed. But it was all for fun, and I can't complain. I did jam my thumb pretty good and it got all swollen and bruised! It looks cool. BATTLE SCARS. 

Anywho, things are good! Life is good. Food is good. I love you all so much. 
Love,
Elder "Purple thumb" Gleave


Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 62--SALT LAKE AND HURRICANES


Aloha!!

Okay, first off, there is a few things I have to get out of the way. 
Congrats to my favorite brother on getting engaged! Tess is perfect for you, and secretly I always wished and knew you two would end up together. Nothing makes me happier than to know my family is happy. I am so happy!

Next, I have to admit I was being a little dramatic. Last week, I told you all that I was serving in the ghetto. That's only half true. I cover part of Kalihi, (the ghetto part), but I also cover part of a place called Salt Lake. Not to be confused with Salt Lake City, Utah. I know that confused me a lot when I first saw it. But It consists of mostly high rise apartments that are really hard to get into as missionaries. Plus we cover some military housing so it pretty much looks a lot like Draper, Utah over in that part. So I am half ghetto. 

I guess this week has been pretty interesting. Whenever news comes of a big storm over here, people begin to panic. And when the news that two hurricanes are coming back to back to attack the beautiful islands of Hawaii, people began to go bonkers. It was funny. The stores were absolutely OUT of water and canned goods. People were stalking their cupboards, getting ready for the worst. All the mormons were chuckling though, because we've got a the leg up on food storage. Like, "you silly people, we were preppin a long time ago!" Anyway, the storm came and went. The Big Island got slammed, but it died out after the storm went over Muana Kea. There was a joke that went around that Pele was mad that another women (Hurricane Iselle) was moving in on her territory, so she smacked her until she went away. And that's why the storm was so small. But we were instructed to stay in on Friday as a precaution, and it was suppose to hit around 11 o clock, but around noon I walked outside and told my companion, "I don't know about this whole hurricane thing...I can see blue skies." Life as a missionary is kinda funny when you can't watch the news.

I was thinking a lot about how the gospel, and I guess God in general typically doesn't like us to be comfortable. The more we are comfortable, the less we are growing. As a missionary, there are a lot of times in which you are severely uncomfortable. Whether it is talking to a person who doesn't want to talk to you, getting a door slammed in your face, or trying to teach someone who literally has no idea what you are talking about, I always seem to be squirming a little bit. I can see it especially at church. In this ward, we start at 8 o'clock in the morning. I don't care who you are, being at church, in all church clothes, at 8 in the morning is uncomfortable. I especially see it in the eyes of those with kids. But the more we are willing to go outside our comfort bubble, with whatever it may be, that is when the Lord can really mold you into some great. I've been uncomfortable as of late serving in the lower income areas. Whether it is urine on the walls, sitting on a dirty floor, or seeing people with literally nothing still be happy, it really gets me out of my bubble. But I love it. It makes me happy to know that I am growing.

Today we hiked to a waterfall and had to "repel" down to it. It was a good reminder that I am still in "Hawaii". I loved it! Then after we played volleyball with a group of Samoans. That always makes me smile. I was in the elevator with my companion and a teenage girl got in, and things were pretty silent. So  I decided to break the silence by asking, "Come here often?" She looked at me confused and shook her head. That was the end of that. See? Comfort bubble.

Okay I have to go. There's a group of elementry school kids mad that I am stealing their computer time and giving me the death glare. I LOVE YOU ALL SOME MUCH. Till next week.
ELDER G_L_E_A_V_E_