Monday, May 4, 2015

Serving and learning

Brendan's second transfer day finally came and the big news is that Brendan will be staying in International Falls, MN.  Actually that isn't the big news because that is really no news at all.  The big news is that Brendan is finally out of training.  As of this transfer, Brendan has been on his mission for three months.  According to the Winnipeg mission training manual (actually we don't know if there is a real manual), after three months a trainee graduates to becoming a full fledged missionary.  Brendan will now be able to spread his wings and fly..., or at least tract and teach and do all of the same things he was doing last week.  But, Brendan was really excited that he is no longer in training.  But there was more news that just that.  Previously in International Falls there was one set of Elders and one set of Sisters to cover the city.  As of this transfer Brendan's companion will be moving to another area and the Sisters are being reassigned somewhere else.  As Brendan put it,
"They are also closing down I falls for the Sisters. So now I'm going to be the only survivor. Everyone else got kicked off the island. So this should be interesting. The good thing is that we are going to have so much to do! We get all of the Sister's I's and less actives and also our own and the turnover shouldn't be too hard! But it is a little daunting. I'm excited though!"
Then after that news, Brendan heard that his new companion has a guitar.  Brendan has been dying to play the guitar ever since he left for his mission back in January.  But with the good news comes the bad.  As it turned out, Brendan's new companion wasn't able to bring the guitar with him so I guess he will just have to wait a little longer for that miracle to happen.

Brendan and his companion have a new goal in mind.  They want to be able to provide some service for some of the other denominations in their area.  They call it the Ammon project.  Recently Brendan and his companion were out knocking on some doors when they came across someone who is very active in one of the other churches in the area.  After talking for a few minutes, the person at the door made it very clear that they weren't interested in knowing any more about the LDS church.  So the Elders asked if there was anything that they could do in terms of service to help this person out.  The person indicated that in about a month or so they could use some help raking the lawn and sprucing up the yard.  Well a month went by and Brendan and his companion decided to get dressed in their work clothes, grab their rakes and head back to this person's house to do a little service.  When they showed up and started raking the yard, the home owner was stunned by the fact that not only did they remember to return in a month, but that they were actually there doing the work.  What was even more exciting is that after the Elders got to know this person a little better, the Elders found them to be very nice and the person even invited the Elders back some afternoon for lunch.  Later on Brendan and his companion stopped by one of the other denominations to talk to the minister to see if they could be of any service to their church or members.  Brendan said that as they talked, they had to keep diffusing the situation and bring the conversation back to how the missionaries could be of service to them.  In the end, there wasn't much in the way of service that the missionaries would be allowed to do.  But as Brendan told us, they certainly weren't going to stop there.  They were going to keep offering to serve them until their offer is accepted.

Speaking of other denominations, Brendan told us about how he recently went to Warroad, MN to go on some exchanges with the Elders that are assigned to that area.  Brendan went on exchanges with another Elder who is from Manti, Ut and as Brendan described him, he is a real cowboy.  This Elder was completely different from Brendan but they both had the greatest time working together.  Brendan said that they went by the local Catholic Church to talk to the Father who is in charge there.  Sorry Noah, Simeon and Connor, according to Brendan, he now has a new best friend.  Here is what Brendan said,
"We traveled to Warroad and went to the Catholic church and talked to the Father there. Man, I think I met my new best friend. Father Oggie is my new best friend. Like throw Noah and Simeon and Connor out the window. haha, Oggie is the man. He gave us a tour of the church and showed us all the symbolism and we talked a lot about our beliefs. He was super interested in temples and temple work. Seriously, it was so good."
So to finish up this blog entry I would like to let Brendan do it in his own words.  This was a paragraph that he wrote in his last email home just after his trainer was transferred as well as the Sisters in the area and Brendan was left to introduce his new companion to International Falls and the work that was left to be done.  This is the kind of thing that every parent loves to hear in a letter home from their missionary.  Over to you Brendan,
"But taking over this area has been a bit of a task. I don't really feel adequate for the job, but I'm trying my best to rely on the Spirit to help me out. This whole mission thing has been so great so far. I love it a lot and I'm loving it more everyday. There are some rough moments when I sinfully reminisce about disco skating or working at the office but those get kicked out pretty quick and I get back to work. This area is so great and my charity for Gods children has grown so much I can't really describe it. I haven't felt this much love for people ever. Like I love getting heckled and chirped by people. Cause all I think is "someday I'll get you, we do baptisms dead or alive sucka. There is no getting out of this one" I love it out here. I'm also learning so much.  Few things do I love more than personal study. I remember the weeks prior to leaving I was thinking about how I was going to have to study allll the time and dreading it. How dumb am I? It's the best. I sometimes want to spend all day just reading the good word. It makes me so happy! One of the best things I have learned out here is that the learning lifestyle I have out here doesn't have to leave when I take off the tag in two years. The thing that is making me change and grow so much isn't the tag or the white shirt, its my habits and my constant relying on the Lord. And that gets to get carried with me for the rest of my life. How great is that?"