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.

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.

2) Where one of our philipino investigator lives

Elder Gleave