North Carolina Charlotte Mission

Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are your brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. -Alma 31:35

Thursday, December 6, 2012

12/3/12 "Maybe Christmas, perhaps, is a little bit more"

"'Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas, perhaps, is a little bit more!'
"The Grinch read from the Book of Mormon, and, so they say,
his testimony grew three sizes that day."
(note from paula:   danny sent me an email first about various business items, which took time from his letter writing.  i'm grateful he's obedient about internet access . . . but his shorter letter this week surely whets my appetite for more details later!)
Surely there can't be a missionary more blessed than I am.

It has been an incredible week. I have been seeing answers to prayer left and right. There have been miracles every day.

There have been two days this week where we've had a 100% success rate of knocking doors. That is, every single person who's opened the door to us was willing to have us teach him. And every single one of those people was willing to let us come back.

Now granted, we didn't knock on that many doors because of this success, so had we kept knocking, the statistics would have leveled out. But still. It's been great. Ridiculous blessings.

I am extremely short on time, so I will have to save the stories for next week, unfortunately. I want to let you all know that people are progressing, so hopefully we'll start seeing some major success soon. My mission rocks. The church is true. Christmas letters make my DAY.

I love you all. Your prayers mean so much to me.

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

11/26/12 "It's a big tree"

"Not so close to the other ornaments, Connie Lou, it's a big tree!" 
(here Danny is referring to a quote from "The Forgotten Carols" by Michael McLean

So, as of yesterday, I am a sixth of my way through my mission. Not that I'm trunky or counting down the days or anything, it's just something I noticed. Something about running 63 laps 3 times a week before my mission made me good at keeping track of things. And thinking in fractions.

Thanksgiving was a lovely dinner at a part-member's home, so we got to kill two turkeys with one dinner by teaching a lesson afterwards. Thanksgiving is actually a great time to go find people to teach since they really don't have an excuse to not meet with's not as if they're working or if they're going to go anywhere, and the whole family's at home.

At this time, our mission is preparing for a White Christmas, which means having every single companionship baptize. To help inspire us, at a Zone Activity I made a poster of Santa baptizing an elf at the North Pole. (They were wearing white, of course.) Heavenly Father willing, we'll be able to meet that goal.

Douglas, our awesome member of the Community of Christ, is coming along really well. We had an awesome lesson with him last Saturday where he opened up. He told us that he's been concerned about all the changes that he's seen in his church throughout his life, and he feels that the Reorganized Church has become "too Protestant." He wants to know if, when the RLDS's presidents made those changes, were they speaking as prophets of God, or as men? Changes like accepting any church's baptism (except ours), giving the priesthood to women, etc. We invited him to come to the First Presidency Christmas devotional; that'll help him know President Monson is the prophet, and it'll all fall into place from there.

We've had a lot of interesting experiences this week, such as bumping into a man who is a follower of "A Course in Miracles," which is essentially the result of two psychologists who couldn't agree with each other, so they concluded that both of them were right and neither of them actually existed. It's essentially Platonic thinking mixed with Buddhism with Jesus Christ stapled on top so that people will actually stay around long enough to listen to it.
Needless to say, it was an interesting lesson. He thought the Plan of Salvation was fascinating, though. We'll be going back to see him soon.

But there were two stories this week that I wanted to point out. The first is the continuation of an ongoing story that would probably be best in number form:
1. On my first day in this area, Elder Heydorn and I reached an intersection, and we decided to cross the street instead of turning.
2. Because we crossed the street, we ended up meeting Henrietta.
3. Because we met Henrietta, we went to go find her days later.
4. Because we went to find her, we stopped in an apartment complex and picked a random spot.
5. Because we picked a random spot, we met Dora and Lenus, a less-active and a nonmember, and decided to head home immediately after the lesson instead of staying around there to find.
6. Because we followed our prompting and headed home, we met Gloria.
7. Because Dora and Lenus weren't home for our scheduled return appointment, we went finding around their apartment.
8. Because we went finding, we met a young married couple named Christ and Amber, and their son Junior. They were SO excited about the Gospel. I have yet to meet a group of people as excited as they were for what we could teach them. They were excited about the priesthood, about the modern-day prophet, about the Book of Mormon, about everything. They readily accepted the baptismal invite and wanted us to come back the very next day.
 And this list will just continue to grow and grow, all because we decided to cross the street one day.
Sorry, a lady in the library collapsed while I was typing, so we ran to go help her until the ambulance arrived. It kind of interrupted my train of thought.

The second story I wish to share was about a member we got to help this week. Long story short, we had felt prompted to go visit him during the week, and after the third day of calling him, he asked us to give him a blessing. He told us that he is addicted to painkillers, that he's been off of them for four days, and that he'd been praying for help. After our fourth call, he decided to take that as a sign. We gave him a blessing of health as he faces this addiction. It was a powerful spiritual experience.

It just goes to show, yet again, that the Lord knows. He knew when we crossed the road that we would eventually meet all of these people weeks later. He knew when we made those phonecalls that one of His sons needed help. And, as I saw a few minutes ago, He knew that the poor lady would collapse and wanted to make sure that the missionaries were at the library at that time. (By the way, the library I'm in at the moment is not the library we usually write emails at. Miracle? Oh yes!"

I love you all. I love my companion, I love my mission. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

1/19/12 "The turkey is a truly noble bird"

"The turkey is a truly noble bird"  
(danny is quoting from the movie of the musical "1776" - a conversation between john adams, thomas jefferson, and benjamin franklin about what the national bird of their new country should be.  adams votes for the eagle, franklin the turkey, and jefferson the dove.  you know who won the argument.)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I just want to take a moment to write down a few of things I'm grateful for:
1) A wonderful family, both my earthly family, and also my Heavenly Father, the Savior, and everyone else around me.
2) Being a member of the Church, knowing the truth, and having the chance to share it with everyone
3) A great mission, a great Mission President, a great area, and a great companion
4) Having a healthy body that can bike for hours each day without getting sore or tired
5) The existence of a Cici's Pizza in my area, which may or may not eliminate #4 on this list before too long. Its alfredo supplies suffered a major blow last Saturday at lunch

There are just so many things to be grateful for. I could explain my thoughts on this, but I would much rather give you some experiences instead.

First off, I got a letter from Laura this last week, which really brightened up my day. Thanks so much, sis! Due to the transfer, I'd kinda been out of contact for a while, and it was great to hear from someone.

This week we had a Leadership Training Meeting in the mission. I don't have any sort of leadership position, but I got invited to attend anyway, and it was some great stuff. Two former mission presidents from Salt Lake came and spoke to us. One of them, President Wade, had been the button-pusher for the Apostles when they assigned missionaries. He saw 160,000 assignments over 12 years, which he said was 16% of all the missionaries called in this dispensation. Wow. We talked a lot about teaching, and working, and how to prepare for the oncoming tsunami of missionaries. I was so glad that I got to go.

As I wrote in my last email, we met a lady named Henrietta my first day in Pineville who said she'd met with missionaries before and wanted to start again. Unfortunately, the number she gave us didn't work and we didn't get any of her address information other than A) she lived in an apartment and B) the apartment complex's name started with a W.
So, this last Sunday we went to go try and find her. We prayed very hard so that we'd be led by the Spirit, and headed off.

After biking for about forty minutes or so to reach the place where we met Henrietta, Elder Heydorn stopped to go try some apartments that did NOT start with a W. Then, instead of stopping at the entrance to lock up our bikes and start looking, like I would have done, he just biked all the way to the end of the complex. Third door we knock: lady opens up, says "Elders!" and invites us in. We actually had knocked on the door of a Spanish member, Dora, and her nonmember boyfriend Lenus (?), so we got to teach him the Restoration. It was really a great experience, and we felt led by the Spirit. I mean, what are the odds that of all the apartments in our area, of all the doors we could of knocked, we got the member?

But it doesn't end there. After that lesson, we had only a half hour or so to spare before we needed to be at home, so we had to decide whether to keep knocking doors in that apartment complex or to go and look for people in apartments closer to our residence. We both felt prompted to head home. As we were biking down the street, one lady called out to me, so I got Elder Heydorn to stop and we turned around to go talk with her.

Her name was Gloria, and she was waiting for the bus. She had talked to some elders 3-4 weeks ago and liked what she heard, so I quickly got her contact information (since obviously the elders hadn't gotten it before) before we started talking. Turned out to be a good decision, since the bus came moments later and she had to leave. When we got home, we found out that the elders who talked with her were none other than Elder Hales and Elder Howell, the Zone Leaders, who had felt really bad for not getting her address before.
If Elder Heydorn and I had not followed the prompting to head back towards home, Gloria would have gone onto that bus and she would never have seen missionaries again. Because we did follow the prompting, she met with missionaries a second time, and we're going to go visit her this week.

This whole experience just blew me away. We did not find Henrietta, but we found Dora, Lenus, and Gloria instead. I have no doubt we were led by the Spirit that night, even though we didn't feel any strong promptings or anything. We were just two elders trying to do our best, and the Lord was able to take that and make it amazing. I think it's so cool how the missionaries missed Gloria the first time, so the Lord made sure that we bumped into her a second time. He truly does love all His children.

This work is true, no doubt about it. It is Heavenly Father's work, founded and directed by the Savior, with one of His prophets at the head. Right now I get to be a part of it, and that's definitely something to be grateful for.

I love you all, and I love my mission! Happy Thanksgiving!

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

11/12/12 "My acorn is missing"

"'My acorn is missing.'"
"'Squeak squeaker, squeak squeakity.'"
(paula:  for those of you unfamiliar with this quote, it's from the Disney movie "The Emperor's New Groove")

So, the big news you have all been waiting for! I have been transferred to the Pinesville area, which is in Charlotte, and my companion is Elder Heydorn, from California. We are about ten minutes from the mission home, and we share an apartment with the Zone Leaders, Elder Howell and Elder Hales.

I really loved it in Dobson, but the area was so large that much of the time we were driving around in the car. It was really nice, but a part of me wanted to bike around like a traditional missionary. (This might also have been because the members fed us so well I was concerned with gaining weight, and, since Elder Molina absolutely refused to run in the morning, biking would be the only way I'd get cardio exercise.)

Heavenly Father answered my prayer, because Pineville is a full-bike area! Ever since I arrived on Wednesday, we have been on our bikes for several hours each day, and MAN! does it feel good. I love to bike, and it's felt great. The weather here has also been very nice. Heavenly Father also has apparently done something to my bike, because it has not given me any trouble this whole week, which is a major blessing.

Now, as for my first week in Pineville:

One thing I've noticed about this area is that it is crawling with squirrels. There are millions of them here. Hence the title of this email.

On our very first day together, Elder Heydorn and I went out to do some bike finding. After knocking on doors through an entire street with no success, we reached the sidewalk, and we could either turn and go down the sidewalk or we could cross the road to the other side. We both felt we should cross. After going down this street as well, still without success, Elder Heydorn remembered that we needed to make some phone calls. As we were currently in front of the house of someone who wasn't interested, I suggested that we should cross the street again to make our phone calls.
Well, after standing there for about five minutes, a car drove by, stopped, and rolled down its window. The lady inside called to us to come and talk, and we went to go meet her. Her name was Henrietta, and she had met with sister missionaries in the past, but she had gone to Africa and lost contact with them. She had returned to America not long ago, and she had just been driving on an errand when she saw us standing there. She wanted to meet with us to talk about the Book of Mormon, so we gave her a copy, got her general address, exchanged phone numbers, and let her head off. We'll see her before too long.
I thought this was a huge blessing from Heavenly Father. If we had not crossed the street both times, and remembered to make phonecalls, we would not have been in the right spot to meet Henrietta, and she never would have seen us. A true Cornelius experience!

Another great blessing this week was Rosita, a small little lady from Saipan. She was raised Catholic and joined the Jehovah's Witnesses when she was older, but had not been to church in a while and nobody from her congregation ever came to see her. She had been praying to ask for someone to come and help her study about God when--dun duh duh DAH!--the missionaries knocked on her door!
We taught her three days in a row this week, and she came to church this Sunday. She's been eating up everything we tell her, and she is extremely attentive when we teach. She told us Saturday that her boyfriend, who she's lived with for 20 years, went to our church until he was 17, so hopefully we can start teaching him as well. Rosita is as golden as they come, and hopefully we'll be able to resolve the living situation with the boyfriend so she can get baptized. (We didn't even tell her about the Law of Chastity. Rosita came to the conclusion by herself that she would have to get married or separated before getting baptized. How awesome is that?)

We've also been teaching a woman named Dolores, another former Jehovah's Witnesses. Elder Heydorn and Elder Howell bumped into her last week while finding, and she opened the door because she thought they were delivering her wings. Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways, doesn't he?
Turns out that she'd been ordering stuff from the Church for years and wanted someone to study the Book of Mormon with her, so we've been doing that this week. She works 11 PM to 7 AM, so while she came to church last week she couldn't make it this week due to fatigue. She loves the Book of Mormon, and I have high hopes for her.

Finally, the last notable person we've taught this week is Douglas, who is a member of the Community of Christ, a.k.a. the Reorganized Church. It's really strange, since he already has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, something we are not used to dealing with in an investigator.
You see, we are used to dealing with the Great Apostasy, but we aren't very prepared for dealing with our own apostasy. The standard approach to helping investigators gain a testimony of the church goes somewhat like this: Have them read the Book of Mormon, realize it's true, and thus realize Joseph Smith was a prophet, thus showing that President Monson must also be a prophet. But it doesn't really work that way with an RLDS investigator, since they believe the presidency of the Church passed on to Joseph Smith III, not Brigham Young.
We've decided to treat him like a less active who needs to gain a testimony of President Monson, so we've been teaching him a lot about modern-day revelation, like The Living Christ and The Family Proclamation. Thankfully, Community of Christ has just strayed so far from what it originally was that he will eventually realize it and come to understand that the Church is true, and he will want to be a part of it.
Douglas came to church this Sunday and also gave us a ride to a Mission Home Fireside on Sunday, so he's a pretty great man, and will make a great member. We'll just have to build up his testimony, one inch at a time.

Anyway, it's been a great week, and I have to go. I'll keep you all posted. I love you all, and I love my mission!

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder fisher

11/5/12- "This Land was my Land"

"This land was my land..."
"But now it's OUR land!" 
(*Wal-Marts, McDonalds and 7-11's appear*) 

(danny is referring to a hilarious video from 2004 about bush and kerry)

Can you tell that we've been getting a lot about the elections lately? I had one guy tell me the other day that he voted for Romney, even though he's Muslim. I definitely did a facepalm in my mind when I heard that one.

I've had no fewer than three dreams about Obama and Romney in the last couple of weeks. I also had one last Thursday about President Bush, where he gave me a ride in his enormous flying fortress. It had really nice showers in there...

ANYways, by tomorrow people will stop bothering us about it, for better or for worse. 

In other news, I'm getting transferred! Everyone in the branch, the district, and the zone were completely surprised, because Elder Molina has been in the area for six months already. They were all expecting him to leave, but nope, it's me. It's been a great experience here in Dobson, with some fantastic members. Elder Molina has also been an incredibly good trainer. While it will be hard to see them go, I'm also very excited to see where the Lord sends me next. That's the awesome thing about a mission: there's always something new and exciting around the corner, and I know that in my new area there will be prepared individuals that Heavenly Father is wanting me to meet. I wish Elder Molina the best of luck as he continues his labors in Dobson, and off I go!

This also means, however, that my address is changing. I'll let you know what it is when I get there.

We had a lesson with a young man this week with a few issues he needed to work out before he could be baptized. We were able to explain his concerns and work on his questions, but he still had some confusion over what he was supposed to do. We had a member there, Brother Branch, who was able to sum up the Atonement in a great way:

We're here on Earth, and we're all aiming at a target. The bull's-eye of that target is perfection, and what Heavenly Father expects of us. Try as we might, though, we can never quite hit it exactly. We can get close, though, and we can always work on getting ever closer to that bull's-eye. If we keep aiming, Heavenly Father can take that effort and make up for it through the Atonement, allowing us to hit that target and become perfect, just as He is perfect. If we aren't aiming at the target at all, though, we can't ever make it back to Him.

The analogy seemed to click with this young man, and he accepted the baptismal date we set with him. I will pray that Elder Molina will get to see him make that date.

I just want to say that I'm out here trying to help people find the right target to aim at, and I'm trying my darndest to get closer to that center myself. The Atonement is so awesome, and it's too awesome to stop me from sharing it with people.

Drat. I've gone and run out of time again. I'll tell you more next week. I love my mission, and I love you all!

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"I do believe in spooks!" 10/29/12

Well, it's incredible. Halloween is here already. Last week I realized that I've been out for three months, which means I'm 1/8 of my way through my mission already. Crazy, huh? 

One nice thing about Halloween on a mission is that we don't have to worry about getting dressed up or anything. Missionaries are already the scariest costumes out there. People will open their doors to demons and goblins and witches, but the sight of a pair of elders will cause them to turn off the lights and hide under the couch. Jack-O-Lanterns have been field-tested against all sorts of beings, and while they may drive away evil spirits, Baptists have learned through experience that they are not effective against Mormons.

Needless to say, Halloween night is going to be a lot of fun.

Now, for the mission itself:

We went to go teach Lina, our baptismal date, and found out that she has flown the coop. She's moved to another area in our zone, so we sent her information to the sister missionaries in that area and they will get to teach her. We still got to teach a lesson to her granddaughter Rashika, though. (Isn't that an awesome name?) 

The other day, we were going to an appointment with a potential investigator, and we saw this note taped onto his door:

"Mormon guys/Jehovah's Witnesses/Crazy Religious:
I am in the shower. If you knock hard enough, I will come to the door. Naked.
You have been warned."

So, I rang the doorbell.
He came out clothed.

One thing I wanted to talk about in this email was something called a "Cornelius Experience." In Acts, Chapter 10, a Gentile named Cornelius gets a prompting to send men to the Apostle Peter. At the same time, Peter received a revelation that the Gospel was to go to the Gentiles. Immediately afterward, he bumped into Cornelius' servants, and he ended up baptizing the whole groupy. Neither Peter or Cornelius was aware of what was going to turn out, but they were prepared by the Lord and led by the Spirit to be in the right place in the right time so that they would meet.

Some of you may remember that in General Conference President Monson told us about how he had kept a journal of every time he had been an answer to somebody else's prayer. In other words, he's recorded all of his Cornelius Experiences so that he hasn't forgotten them. I think this is great counsel, because it's only by looking back at those experiences that we recognize Heavenly Father's hand in our lives. And, most importantly, how we have been His hands in the lives of others. 

Here's two of mine from this last week:
1. I was on exchanges with Elder Collins, one of my Zone Leaders. We went finding in Surry Community College, and we bumped into a young man named Daniel. It turns out that A) Daniel worked with a member that Elder Collins knew, B) He had seen a Book of Mormon on this member's desk and started reading it, and C) He happened to have finished his classes for the day. It just so happens that this was the first time we'd gone finding at the College in over a month, and we happened to show up at the exact time, on the exact day, that Daniel would be there, with an Elder who knew the same person he did.
Is that awesome or what? Too bad he doesn't live in our area...

2. We had an appointment with a lady at 7:00 one night, but we didn't have a ride. After calling members for hours to get a ride there, with no success, I felt prompted to call one of our less active members, Brother Cheney. He was able to take us to the appointment...but the lady wasn't there. I felt prompted to go visit another investigator, Greg, who lives near Brother Cheney's. We did so. Greg was home, he was excited to see us, and we had an incredible lesson with him. Brother Cheney bore remarkable testimony, and what he said was exactly what Greg needed to hear; why the Church was necessary, how to get answers to prayers, everything. Without any sort of practice or preparation, his testimony blended perfectly with Elder Molina and I's teaching. Brother Cheney was also able to take Greg to church this Sunday.
It makes me wonder if Heavenly Father wanted me to ask Brother Cheney all along and was getting an angel to sabotage the members' reception or something so that I would have to call him.

I would encourage all of you to think back at recall those times where you were led to do something that ended up helping someone. Most of the time we had no idea we were even being prompted. To paraphrase Elder Bednar, we were just being good people.

That is why it is so important for us to be diligent, and to not get discouraged if we don't get success off the bat. We do not know what Heavenly Father is planning. If I hear somebody say, "I don't have time today," what it really means is "Hey buddy, get moving! The Lord has somebody else He wants you to see today!" 

If we are not persistent, and we give up, we will never meet those people; we will never have those experiences. Of the 140 people or so who attend my branch (my Piper Cub), I'd say about 90% of them are converts. Each one of them was in the right place in the right time. If the people in their lives had given up, or not tried, they would not be the people they are today. 

Anyway, my life is amazing. The work is great, and Elder Molina is an awesome companion. There is no doubt in my mind that this church is true. The Lord is telling us to step it up, and by golly, we can do it!

I love you all, and I love my mission!

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

"Do you hear... carving?" 10/22/12

One thing I've realized on my mission is that time is relative. The speed you're moving at determines how quickly the week goes. Well, this week went by really slowly, which means that we were probably getting a lot done! We were very busy, from start to finish, and that's always a good thing.

Just so you all know, I am on my second transfer. At the start of this latest transfer we got another brand new missionary in our district, Elder Larson. As I am the best at playing piano in my district (and my zone too, come to think of it), I always play piano for district meeting.
Well, I was fooling around on the piano before the meeting, since only four missionaries had shown up at that time and there was about ten minutes before it started. All of a sudden, while I was playing some stuff I know, Elder Larson said, "Hey! I know that song! That's Dancing Mad, Third Tier, isn't it?"

I nearly fell off of the bench. Apparently someone else in the world actually knows that song.

I actually got to go on exchanges with Elder Larson this week, and we had a pretty good time. We had to do some preparations for a fireside the branch was putting on that Sunday; it was meant specifically for nonmembers, so people would be giving talks about the Church, explaining what we believe, and Elder Molina and I would teach the first lesson. Afterward, there would be a question and answer session. Anyway, we wanted to get as many people as possible to this fireside, which meant we had to make a lot of phonecalls.

Apparently Dobson is in some sort of black hole of phone reception, because we can never make or receive calls when we're in our area. I think that our phone is a bit like the Liahona and that its reception is dependant on our faith. I have noticed, for instance, that the closer we get to the Dobson Chapel, the better reception we get...
So whenever we have to do any serious phone-calling, we head over to the church and sit by the chapel. Elder Larson quite patiently waited while I made 38 phone calls for an hour and a half.

Anyway, this week has been extremely busy. On Monday we had Zone Activity, carving pumpkins and playing a form of dodgeball called Hit Elder Snodgrass. On Wednesday we had Zone Meeting, where we received a lot of training from President Craven. It's been nonstop since then. We've gotten a ton of new investigators, so we're feeling really blessed. 

One other highlight this week was that we handed out an Arabic Book of Mormon to some Muslim refugees from Sudan. We also ran into a lady who raised I got to bust out Elder Ballard's conference talk, along with Ether 2:3, to get an appointment. Score!

Most of these stories are happy thoughts.
Well, this week we had a talk with a woman who has had a very hard life. A lot of abuse, a lot of addictions, a lot of bad choices.. I'd never really met anyone before who had really hit rock bottom, and this woman had. We had a very long talk with her, trying to help her. I will not go into details, but essentially, the base of the issue was this: she did not feel that she was good enough for God to love her anymore. And we told her that this was a lie.

In the scriptures we learn that Satan has been a "liar from the very beginning." We know that before we were born, Heavenly Father had a Plan for us, that we would go to Earth, be born, get a body, and live our lives. We would have the chance to choose and make wrong choices. If we gave it our best, we would be able to return home and become like our Heavenly Father because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Satan did not like this plan. He wanted power; to force people to do want he wanted them to do. But he couldn't do that unless people let him, so he came up with a story to get us to follow him. He told us that there was no way we could possibly succeed in God's Plan. It was too hard, he said. The only way we could return to Heavenly Father's presence was if he, Lucifer, forced us to be perfect, if he did everything for us. He said, in effect, that we were not good enough.

And that was Satan's first lie. His only lie, if you really think about it. Heavenly Father made us, and He knew exactly what we were capable of. He knew that we could make it. A third of God's children were afraid about having to choose for themselves, and so they decided to believe Satan's lies and follow Him. They did not think they were good enough to make it.

Some of you may remember my missionary scripture, Alma 31:35: "Behold, oh Lord, their souls are precious...therefore, give us power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee."

I know that every soul is precious. That's what I told this poor woman. That is why I am here on a mission. I know that we are all good enough, and that we all can return home to live with our Heavenly Father. That's why the Atonement was made to cover everyone. God did not calculate casualties, he knew everyone could make it. Satan says we aren't good enough; Heavenly Father says we are. Through our thoughts and actions, we show who we believe more.

We all can change. We all can become perfect. We are all worth the effort Jesus Christ gave. It's going to take work to change, but it can be done. We are the precious children of God, and, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, what does a God beget? Other gods.

The Church is true. 'Nuff said.

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It's been another fun week in the mission field! A few quick highlights, as usual:
1) Walking into a member's house and having their 23-month old daughter exclaim, "Elder Fisher!" Thatdefinitely brightened up my day.
2) One of the members, Brother Sutton, asked us what we were in the mood for in regards to dinner. I told him Swedish pancakes, so he said he'd give it a try. Man, eating those things felt like a sin. One thing about Brother Sutton: his cooking is unmatched. 
3) We were driving home one night, and our GPS, Isabel, led us off the pavement onto a dirt road, and then off the dirt road onto grass, and then into a dead end on said grass. In other words, she lived up to her namesake. As we navigated our way back to civilization, another car came down the dirt road and stopped beside us to ask what we were doing. Apparently this little track is so isolated that if these people ever see a car they don't know, they go and find out what's going on.

Now as for the week itself:

I got to go on exchanges this week with Elder Stringham, an elder who's in Mount Airy, the town north of us. The two of us went biking around town, which was loads of fun. Some people may beat Elder Fisher going up hills, but nobody beats Elder Fisher going downhill. He is the King of downhill biking. That's one nice thing about being a stout person: once you get up the first hill, inertia takes care of 70% of all the rest of them.

It's fun to go finding with Elder Stringham. He's Canadian, so when people bring up Mitt Romney (which has started to get a bit annoying) he can just say, "Sir, I'm Canadian, so I could care less. I'm here forJesus Christ."

Which is, quite frankly, awesome. Maybe I should start telling people "Sir, I was born in Germany. I'm here for Jesus Christ." Technically true...

Anyway, Elder Stringham felt prompted to stop at certain places while we were finding, but after about four hours, we hadn't had any success. He felt a bit worried about whether or not he'd been following the Spirit or not, but I assured him that Heavenly Father knew what He was doing. Sure enough, about half an hour later we bumped into a man named Esther right before he left to go get dinner. Esther is a single father of two sons, who lost his wife a year ago. We got to teach all three of them the Plan of Salvation.

This all goes to show, yet again, that Heavenly Father is completely aware of everyone. He loves all of His children equally, and He knows which ones are prepared. If you get a prompting, follow it. That's essentially what President Monson's Sunday Afternoon talk was about. We don't know why the Lord wanted us to stop somewhere, but it's important we do. Maybe it's because we'll knock on someone's door. Maybe it's because we'll meet someone on the way there, or on the way back. Maybe it's because the Lord wants us to wait so that they can come to us. You never know. It's kind of fun, in a way; trying to guess what Heavenly Father is planning.

Anyway, later Elder Stringham and I got to teach the Relief Society how to make profiles. It was worth doing, if just for the bread. They had some light snacks beforehand, and man, they had thebest bread I've ever had. The best. Elder Stringham was laughing at how much of that stuff I gobbled up. I had to explain to him what a Chubby Wumpkins is.

Another highlight of the exchange was watching Elder Stringham go down the stairs of his apartment in a cardboard box. I managed to get this on camera, forever preserving it for posterity.

This week we taught Sister Harris, which was the lady who lost her 7-year old daughter 30 years ago and got comforted by the missionaries. We finally got her to understand why the Book of Mormon was important, and she asked us to sign her copy. We'll see how her reading goes. We also visited Lina, our baptismal date. Surgeries and operations are really slowing her down, but maybe that's the Lord's way of telling us that we still need to teach her some things. Lina's a pretty incredible woman, though.

And finally, my thought on the Sword of Laban:

 I've often wondered why Moroni included the Sword of Laban with the Gold Plates. I can understand the Liahona and the Urim and Thummim, but I never really understood why he'd put the sword in there too, besides it being really cool to do so. After all, if you think about it, Laban was a wicked man. How did his sword get to be so important?

And then it hit me. Why was Laban's sword important in the first place? Nephi slew Laban with it. And why did he do so? Because he realized just how important the Brass Plates were. His descendantsneeded those plates; without them, they would have dwindled and perished in unbelief. Those plates were needed for his people's benefit, and the Sword was used to get them.

Now think to Moroni. He carried the Gold Plates for twenty years, guarding them with his life. Think about it for a moment. I'd guess that the one thing that kept him sane for those twenty years, on the hard days where it was painfully obvious to him that he was alone and hunted, was the knowledge that those plates would endure and one day come forth. His dispensation failed, but he knew that someday in the future a Dispensation would come which would never fail, that would stick it through to the day the Savior returned.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, but the Book of Mormon is the best way to counter the Apostasy. Heavenly Father knew the Bible would get messed up, so he planned for another witness to come forth. Moroni carried those plates alone so that we could get them. It was probably hard for him to bury them up into the earth, after carrying them for so long; that was all he had. But he completed his task, and buried the Sword with them. And why did he bury it? He included the Sword of Laban with because it was used to protect the truth.

Well, I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Moroni got to see his precious charge get translated by another man, a fellow servant of the Lord, who saw the same Christ, face to face, just like he did. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and did translate those plates, that he did see God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son, and I know President Monson is the prophet today. This is the last dispensation, of the fulness of times, that will never fail.

The church is true. It's that simple.

I love you all. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"You're sitting in a chair... IN THE SKY." 10/8/12

"You're sitting in a chair...IN THE SKY."  
(Sorry, I couldn't resist. Elder Uchtdorf's Priesthood session talk made me think about it.)
(here danny is referring to a quote from "everything's amazing and nobody's happy" by comedian Louis CK. If you haven't seen it, i highly recommend it (4 minutes) . paula)

Well, I've got Conference stuff, Mission stuff, and a spiritual thought this time around, with nice little section headings to help you if you're short on time.

Well, to start off:

18-year old Elders and 19-year old Sisters!? 

Elder Molina and I were so excited, you cannot even imagine. It's going to be so cool having all of these voice-cracking young Elders coming and teaching in our mission. This definitely was an inspired decision by the prophet. (And, hey, I guess it means that Steve can go on his mission at the same time as Tyler and Austin now.)

Is it just me, or was this conference particularly amazing? I don't think there was a single uninteresting talk. Maybe it was because I am a missionary now, or because I was taking better notes, or because Elder Scott was in the Sunday Afternoon session. Regardless, both talks of the First Presidency Members, both of the women speakers, Christofferson's, Bednar's, Holland's...all were amazing.

I would definitely say that the main message of this conference was becoming. Becoming the sort of person who loves God. We're supposed to help others change and become like this, either as missionaries, as ward members, or as parents (there was a ton about parenting this time.) Spencer W. Kimball raised the bar in the church from knowing to doing, and now we must advance to becoming.
I guess the chorus of "I Am a Child of God" needs to get changed again, to "Teach me all that I must be."

To accomplish this goal of becoming, I sat down Saturday afternoon and wrote down a list of resolutions so that I actually will learn and apply stuff I've heard from the prophets. I've even given these resolutions to Elder Molina so he can keep me accountable. I would encourage all of you to do something similar. I'm also going to take both President Monson and President Eyring's advice and keep a "small plates" where I can see how the Lord has answered my prayers throughout the years.

I definitely thought the music this conference was really great. Particularly the arrangement of "Love One Another" in the Priesthood session. It was good to see Boyd in the Mormon Tabernacle choir, especially now that I'm on my mission - makes me think how much it must mean to Zach, huh? 
I'm pretty sure that I saw Alex Boye, Ron Paul, Steven Martin, and Conan O'Brien in the Tab Choir this time around, too. Didn't know that the last three were converts, though there have been rumors about Steve Martin before :)


I got to go on two exchanges this week. The first was on Tuesday, with another elder in my district named Elder Snodgrass. He looks like the name sounds. We had a lot of fun. This Thursday Elder Molina had to go to a Leadership Training Meeting, so I went to Winston-Salem, the city south of Dobson, and went on exchanges with Elder Gomm.
The observant reader will remember that Elder Gomm was in my MTC district, so essentially it was the two of us, both trainees, that got to go to work together. That's not very common, just so you know. It was great; we learned a lot, and talked to a lot of people. Elder Gomm told me a story about how one of the members in his area was supposed to give an investigator a ride to church, but the member locked the car keys inside of his house. At the urging of his wife, he broke the door down, got the keys, and gave the investigator a ride to church. Is that guy a stud or what?

Another good story from this last week. We had an appointment with a lady named Michelle, but she called us up to say she couldn't make it. So we decided that we would go and see Lina, our baptismal date. We show up at the house and Lina's not home, but her daughter Lou was. We asked her if we could talk to her, and she did.
Man, I have never seen anyone on my mission who was so desperate for the truth as she was. She was really confused about life and what she was supposed to do, and she just drank up our message. Thankfully we were able to teach very clearly, and she understood what we were saying. When we talked about baptism, she asked us, "Is it possible for someone to be baptized twice?" and when we invited her to be baptized, she said, "Could you baptize my 9-year old son, too?"
We asked her to say the prayer, and wow. Just wow. Moroni says to pray with real intent. Well, Lou had it. I've never seen anything to match it before. She was in silent tears for a whole minute before she could get out the question, "Is this true? I need to know if it is." The Spirit was incredible. I truly feel that she is prepared; she took her Book of Mormon to work with her. We're going to go back and visit them tomorrow, so hopefully it goes well! It would be great to have three generations of the same family get baptized in November.

Well, I had wanted to talk about the Sword of Laban this time around, but I don't know if I'll get to it. Maybe next week.
Here down in the South we bump into a lot of opinions on how we get saved. Some people say you're saved by faith, and not works; that all you need to do is say "Save me Jesus!" and you're good. Some people say that your works will save you.
It reminds me of what C.S. Lewis said on the matter: (and I paraphrase:) "People say that God is looking for faith or looking for works. I think that what God is really ultimately looking for is not faith or works, but a certain kind of person."

And, during Elder Holland's talk, it hit me what that kind of person is: someone who loves Him.
That's why He made us. That's why we're here, and how we get back, and why He gives us commandments. After all, our love is the only thing that's really ours to give. We're here on Earth to see if we'll love Him more than everything else. We are to become the kind of person who does. It's a long process, but it can be done, and the only way it can start is if people learn the truth.
That is why it is our responsibility to share that love and that truth, wherever we are; me in the mission field and you at home.

I know that this is God's work, and that President Monson is the prophet in our day. I love you all, and I hope Becky enjoyed her birthday card. :)
Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"My daddy taught me good!" Oct.1, 20012

In which is written much information about Dobson, and the area roundabouts, and the proceedings of Elder Fisher and his companion, Elder Molina; their adventures, misadventures, random insights, and so forth. 

By the way, for those of you who were confused by the title of my last email, "BoM" is an acronym for "Book of Mormon." Just so you know.

And AAH! David and Amy are parents! I am so happy for them. Welcome to the world, Madelyn Moriah Fisher! Meet you in two years!

For thee short on tyme
A couple of fun stories about this last week. Wednesday Elder Molina and I were going to do some finding on bikes. We stopped at a less active's house, which was on a slope, and then our plan was to go finding in a place called Turkeyford. When we started out, my bike was in high gear and Elder Molina's bike was in low gear, so he got a pretty good lead on me up the slope before I could get into low gear. Anyway, at the top of the slope was a fork in the road, and chose the right.
Long story short, Wednesday was the first time I lost my companion. After I took the turn and went down the enormously large hill, I realized that Elder Molina was not in front of me. So I turned around, went back up said enormously large hill, and for the next hour, tried to find him. (I would have you know that I waited at the apartment for a good long while.) Thankfully, due to prayer and some caring members, we got reunited back together. Elder Molina had been mortified; I thought the whole situation was hilarious.

The second story was on Friday night when we were eating dinner. It was a small, local place, and I saw a pamphlet on the counter that said "God's Simple Plan of Salvation." I opened it up and gave it a look. It looked like someone had just discovered what the Caps Lock key did. Reminded me a bit of General BUFORD, actually. (here danny is referring the the movie "Gettysburg."   if you have seen it, you will remember that general buford speaks by putting a strong emphasis on random words . . . especially the phrase "HIGH GROUND!"). So, after I finished eating, I went up and shooked the hand of the lady at the cashier to thank her for the delicious meal while, with my other hand, I swapped out their Plan of Salvation pamphlet with one of our own. Elder Molina was actually very impressed with how smooth it was.

Some background info on Dobson. 
If you were to come to Dobson and drive around, you would notice that almost every single house or trailer has a rock in front of it. All of these rocks look exactly the same: grey, obviously fake, about three feet high and three feet wide. I've seen hundreds of them by now, and they're always in the exact same place; about ten yards out at a 45 degree angle from the front of the house. It's like everyone is part of some sort of Druid cult, or is saving up to make their own Stonehenge or something. I puzzled and puzzled for days trying to figure out what on earth was up with all these fake rocks. The first reader to figure it out gets a prize.

Elder Molina and I have a GPS which we have named Isabel, because she leads us astray. Here in Dobson, a GPS gives you directions based on how many Baptist churches you have to pass to get to your destination. If, for example, you want to get to East Bend, you take the first right after Baptist Church #6. If you want extremely specific directions, you go by the color of riding lawnmower on each house.

Another thing about Dobson is that EVERYONE has dogs here. Heavenly Father really has spoiled me. He sent me to a green, rainy place, with a nice apartment, with a companion from Los Cruces, in an area with good food, in a place that has plumbing and where I don't have to eat bugs, and there are dogs everywhere. How spoiled am I? But anyway, everyone has dogs here. If the person lives in a house, it's a big dog. If they live in a trailer, it's a little dog. 75% of the dogs have some strange habit, like walking around on their tummy, or moving by jumping sideways. I love it. (Elder Molina encountered one just the other day that liked sticking its head between people's legs. That was fun to watch.)

Right across the street from our apartment is a young German Shepherd, which has apparently learned that whenever it hears our garage door open, it means that I'm coming out to help back Elder Molina out of the driveway. So it has learned that garage door opening = friend coming out to play. It's really cute. I have my own little Pavlovian experiment going on.

Here in Dobson, I've encountered at least five different Bible translations, dozens of different churches, and 1,348.3 interpretations of scripture. It's funny how people can be living right in the middle of the Apostasy and have no idea that it ever happened. The harder they try to prove that it never happened, the more I come to realize that it did. That's why I am so glad for the Book of Mormon. It's weird that people don't know about it here; it'd mean so much to them if they had it. Having the Bible without the Book of Mormon is like eating a hotdog without the bun.

Dah, I've gone and run out of time again. Curses!

Next week: The Sword of Laban: Explained! You Don't Want to Miss This One!

I know the Book of Mormon is true. That book definitely came from God, and it was meant for our day. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I am really excited to hear from our modern-day prophets next weekend.

Love you all! Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Some days you just can't get rid of a BoM" -Elder Batman

This seemed like the longest week ever. Really great week, but super long for some reason. Time is relative, so if you're moving fast, it seems to pass by slowly, and we've certainly been going quickly this week.

Well, one transfer is almost over. Hard to believe it's almost been six weeks already. I'm staying in Dobson, which makes me really happy; it is so beautiful here, and the branch is just amazing. Saturday Elder Molina got called to be the new District Leader, so he gets that responsibility along with being my trainer. This means that I get to be super supportive for the next little while.

Some highlights of the week:
1) Giving a discussion with a python around my neck. (Too bad we weren't teaching the Plan of Salvation, he would've been a great visual aid for the Fall of Adam.)
2) Getting chased by a dog for the first time while riding on bikes
3) The mission president stopping by our apartment yesterday while we weren't home and seeing that it was clean. Score!
4) I HAVE A WORKING BIKE! One of our Hispanic members leant me his. Which means that when I ride it, I look a bit like the triceratops from "We're Back!" when he's on the motorcycle. But it doesn't have a cursed front tire, so all is well in Zion.

The real biggest highlight of the week was Lena, one of our investigators. She's been going to the hospital a lot, so we gave her a priesthood blessing this week to give her the strength to come to church. And she did! I was so happy. I was so happy, in fact, that I probably scared some of the brethren. But Lena is the first time that someone I have found--not an investigator Elder Molina had before--has come to church.

I had prayed so hard that there would be good speakers, and there were. A sister in our branch gave a beautiful talk on how the Atonement works and how it helped her accept the death of her mother, which really struck a cord with Lena. She wants to come back, which means that she's well on her way to her baptismal date. I am so excited for her. Now we just have to teach her tithing and the Word of Wisdom. That should be fun...

Now as for Dorothy, the lady the Spirit led us to last Sunday. We stopped by to see her, but since we couldn't get a member to come with us, we couldn't go in. Her granddaughter Annsley wasn't home, but Dorothy told us that Annsley wanted to know where our church was, so she could go to it. Fist-pump!

In short, this week was a great example of how you can still have an awesome week and get a ton of work done even if 95% of your appointments don't show up. The Lord really is guiding us, and I've been learning a lot from Elder Molina when it comes to following the Spirit.

I'm running out of time, so I have to head off. I sure love you all, and I'm still praying! And I hope that David and Amy will have something to tell me soon! :)

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Excerpt from Danny's letter to Browns

Last week, Danny sent off a letter to his sister, Laura, down in Dallas. It was full of wonderful stuff, but here is something that she liked in particular : )

        "You know, a mission is SO worth it. I'm so glad I went. Now is my chance to just put everything aside and give it all to the Lord, to dedicate all my time and talents to Him, as I promised to in the temple. I want to work hard and get tired each day, so I can look back without regrets when it's time to go home.
        In a way, a mission is kind of like our mortal life summed up in two years. It was hard to go and leave our family, but we have a work to do, and we need to do our best. We won't be able to see them, but they'll be rooting for us the entire time. Eventually, we'll reach the end, and we won't want to leave, but we will anyways. And bigger and better things await. That's Heavenly Father's plan: always going up, always getting better."

What a gem!

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Alas, Earwax" - 9/17/12

I've gotten a bit concerned that my letters are a bit too large, so I'm cutting it down this time.

"And there was much rejoicing. Yaaaay."

A couple of highlights from this week:
1. This week was the first time that somebody threatened to sic his dog on me if we didn't get off his property. Not that we were concerned; Elder Molina and I were pretty certain that the "dog" was just him shaking the door with a fuzzy black slipper. It still made my day.
2. I met my first Jehovah's Witness while on the mission. That was an interesting experience.
3. This week we had Zone Conference, which was amazing. Two zones met together to receive training from President and Sister Craven, as well as from the Assistants. The biggest highlight of this story was President Bonn, a stake president in our area who came to speak. He said he served in Korea, around 82-83, I believe, under a President Pock (that's what it sounded like.) Did Uncle Boyd ever know an Elder Bonn in his mission? Might be fun to find out; President Bonn wanted me to ask.
4. By far the coolest story from this week happened just yesterday, this Sunday. We were going to go give a do-or-die visit to an investigator who had not been keeping her commitments. Before we left the apartment, we knelt down and prayed, asking Heavenly Father to guide us to people we needed to meet through the Holy Ghost. We went, showed up, talked to her, and she did not want to continue investigating. 

We thus went to go find some more people to teach. Instead of knocking on the apartment doors around her house, though, Elder Molina felt that we needed to go elsewhere. We hopped in the car and started going who knows where. At one point, he reached a stop sign, and he had no idea where to go. He felt he should go right, which would take us to one of our potential investigators. When he got to the house, though, he was prompted to keep going. Every time he slowed down to stop, he felt that he should keep going. Finally he felt that he needed to stop at a certain house, and we got out and started finding. After half an hour and some doors later, we had had no success. The people in that area were fairly well off and fairly happy where they were.

I thought, "We're wasting our time here. We should go find somewhere else."

And then the thought came into my head, "Don't give up yet; keep going."

So I kept my mouth shut and kept walking. About three houses later, we knocked on the door, and an old lady answered it. She said, "Are you Mormons?" and we said yes. She said, "Thirty years ago, when I lost my 7-year old daughter to leukemia, two Mormon missionaries came and comforted me. They biked to my house every single week to come and help me in the hardest time of my life. I will never forget what they did for me."

Her name was Dorothy, and she invited us in. We couldn't at the time--there wasn't a man in the house, so we needed a member to come with--but we came back two hours later. We got to teach her and her granddaughter Anley, who was VERY excited to meet the missionaries. It was a wonderful first lesson. We talked about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, and they committed to everything. We have very high hopes for them.

It just hit me then that the Lord answered our prayer. I have no doubt that He was guiding us that day; guiding Elder Molina and guiding me. It also hit me that those two missionaries 30 years ago didn't convert Dorothy, but their service left such a powerful impression that she was opened to us now. We don't know what the plan is, but the Lord does. He is so in control of everything.

This leads me back to our experience with President Bonn. When he spoke to us, he started off by quoting a line from The Dish. I thought our family was the only people in the world who'd seen that movie. I certainly was the only other person in the room. Regardless, for those of you out there who have never seen or heard of The Dish, it's about a group of Australians who ran the satellite dish that picked up the Apollo 11 mission. It was a small but crucial job. At one part of the movie, when the Moon landing is being broadcast around the world, one of the workers says, "I can't believe that I'm a part of this."

That just hits me. I see miracles all the time. This truly is the Lord's work, and as He told us, His work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. That is what I am doing, and I can't believe that I'm a part of this. I can't believe the Lord has let me join in His great work.

The gospel blesses lives. The Church is true. Jesus Christ died, and He did live again. Dorothy will be able to see her daughter again, because He lives. I know this.

I love you all. I am so glad to be here. I pray for you always.

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's a Liplorodon, Charlie. A magical Liplorodon. 9/10/12

Man, what a fun week. We've dealt with grace, works, and even the Unknown Tongue. And to think everyone says we're crazy when we tell them about the Apostasy.

Yeah, we bumped into an older lady this week who just fired a gauntlet of questions at us about what we believe, finally asking us, "Do you believe in the Gift of Tongues?" By tongue, though, she meant the "Unknown Tongue." Some churches apparently believe that when you're REALLY feeling the Spirit, you start babbling like a Magical Liplorodon.

(Granted, I've heard some testimonies that sounded a lot like babbling, but still.)

So we said no, the Spirit always talks to us in a form we'll understand. To which she curtly replied, "Well, good day to you then." Nevermind that we'd agreed with her views on the last 20 questions. If I'd wanted to be a punk I could've quoted to her what Paul's opinion was on this "Unknown Tongue" nonsense.

The second story was a lady named May who had us sit out on her lawn chairs and apparently rehearsed her Thursday night Bible Study lesson on us. It was really funny, in a way. We told her that plain and precious truths had been lost in the Bible, and she didn't believe us, yet she was holding in her hand one of those non-King James versions where people went in and changed what they didn't like. She told us to seek truth, but blatantly refused when we gave her the same challenge and invited her to read the Book of Mormon. Sigh.

I start out with those two stories because they really hit home to me just how important the Book of Mormon is. We definitely use the Bible, but people have to read the Book of Mormon or they won't progress. So many people say the Bible is the source of all truth, but apparently  it wasn't clear enough. We got hundreds of Christian denominations, many of them polar opposites in what they believe, and they all use the Bible.  We can't use the Bible to convert Bible people; we've got to get them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.

I was told a few years ago that if someone won't read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, they're wasting your time; they aren't going to get converted. And it's completely true. The Church has some pretty big claims--restored authority, a living prophet, continued revelation from God--and the only way people can come to know they are all true is by reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it.

It seriously works, every time. I love how Dad put it in his recent letter to me: It's 500+ pages of scripture, and there's no way ANYONE could write it, good or evil. It is extremely obvious the very second you start reading it that it is from God.

So, in short, we use the Book of Mormon a lot out here. I find Gordon's approach is still one of the best: "This is what we believe, this is why, and if you want to find out if it's true, read and pray about this book."

But as for our investigators:

Lena, the cool older black lady, had been out of contact with us, so we went to go visit her. Apparently the poor woman's been having to have a lot of surgeries this past week and will be having more this week. Hernias; not fun. But she still wants to be baptized and still wants to come to church.

Most of our stories this week involve young men.

We bumped into a house full of college guys a few weeks ago, and this week we taught  one of them, a baseball player named Vance. When we showed up at his door, he said, "Oh, it's you. Let me take this out," and went and threw away his tobacco. He pulled us into a quiet room and listened respectfully as we taught him. When we asked him to pray at the end, he said, "These guys have asked me to ask You if it's true, and...I want it to be true." Awesome. Pure awesome. Though we learned afterward that he doesn't know how to man hug. We're going to try and visit him tonight.

While we were going to go visit Adrian during this past week, we were stopped by a young man on a scooter. His name was Greg, and he asked us about the church, so we talked to him and gave him a pamphlet. We set up an appointment with him for Wednesday, which he didn't keep, but then he called US Thursday night and asked, "Hey, where could I get a Book of Mormon?" So we set up an appointment with him on Saturday at the church. He made it to this one, and we taught him the first discussion and showed him around. He accepted baptism and called us later in the day to talk about the Book of Mormon. I hope he stays receptive; he's apparently homeless.

The third young man of the week was Jordan. We went to go visit Jack Johnson, one of our investigators, but he was mowing the lawn. We met his grandson Jordan, though. He had met with missionaries when he'd lived in Tennessee and had been given a Book of Mormon, which he'd read a little of. We set up an appointment and gave him a pamphlet, but then Grandpa Jack showed up. He invited us for a few minutes in to get something to drink, but he said he didn't have time to talk and neither did Jordan.

As we came in, Jordan plopped onto the couch and just started riffling through that pamphlet like nobody's business. I saw this, and I just jumped into the first discussion. As he had to leave, we made it fast, but he listened very well, said the closing prayer, and accepted the baptismal invite. We'll see how things go tomorrow when we meet him at the church building.

We also have some promising Spanish investigators. Elder Molina refers to himself as a "zebra", as he has been in both English and Spanish-speaking areas. We've met some promising Spanish investigators this last week, so we'll see where that goes.

I mentioned in my last email that we had quite the rainstorm this past week. Part of my quad got wet, so on Sunday I got to go through the whole thing, unsticking every single page. I found a lot of my markings from my Old Testament read through a few years page, so I've got some fun ones here. For those of you who looked up the scripture last week, D&C 38:28 was a Harry Potter reference. With that in mind:

Isaiah 1:14 - Apparently, even Heavenly Father grows weary of Twilight.
Ezekiel 35:6 - For you Star Wars fans out there.
Jeremiah 51:20 - Possibly my new favorite scripture. I'm trying to get
Elder Molina to let it be our companionship motto.

And another fun Baptist sign:
"Repent now. Beat the Judgment Day rush."

Well, I'm running out of time on the computer. Elder Molina and I are working very hard out here, and I'm improving every day.

I am SO THANKFUL for all the letters I've gotten, and most importantly, the PICTURES! Oh man, I love pictures. I've needed them. I was feeling really loved that day.

I'm going to do my best today to write responses to everyone. I sure love you all, and I really appreciate the time you spend to write me.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It's true. It is completely true. Moroni lugged those plates around for twenty years, braving hardship and Lamanites, so that he could bury them up, all because he knew that those plates would be needed. Just look at how many millions of people came to the knowledge of their Redeemer because of that precious record.

The Book of Mormon is true. It testifies of Christ, and Christ lives. That is why I am out here, spreading His Word, building up His Church.

I love you all. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

We searched HIGH... and LOW... over FIELDS... and STREAMS... 9/4/12

Wow. What an amazing week! I've learned a lot of big lessons and had some amazing experiences. I'm sorry that this is getting out a day late, but the library was closed on Labor Day.

I want to thank you, Mom and Dad, for your awesome letters, and thanks for the CD. Joy and Joey, thank you so much for you great letters. I think it's so cool that you got to do TRC! Who in your family was there? And Adam, that was an AWESOME picture! I am so impressed with your drawing! And Justin, your letter made my day. I'll write to you all soon!

Mom, I've sent one to you, so hopefully it will get there soon. I hope one stamp will be enough...I've included one of my camera's memory cards, along with some picture descriptions, so enjoy!

First off, the Baptist's "What To Say When the Mormons Come Knocking" course:

1) You woke up my little one, I'm sorry
2) I'm headed off to work right now, sorry
3) Oh, I have something on the stove, gotta go
4) I'm naked right now. (This last one works a TON better if the Mormons can't actually see your shirt while you say it.)

Elder Molina and I actually think it's tons of fun to see what they come up with next. It's only the Baptists who do it, too.
But it's also fun to see the clever signs that they have in front of their churches (and there are a LOT of churches here:)
1. "Ch__ch: What's missing?"
2. "A bad day at work is better than a good day in Hell"
3. "If you find yourself farther away from God, guess who moved?"

Anyway, I've got some fun stuff for you this week.

I've never read the Doctrine and Covenants all the way through, so I've been doing that in my personal study time. For all you readers out there, look up D&C 38:28. It will blow your mind out through your ears. I'll let you figure out why it blew mine...

The Bike Miracle

This last week we had to give up the car to the Mount Airy Elders; we'll be getting it back tomorrow. Last Tuesday we went to go finding on bikes. I go to look at my bike, and lo! the same front tire had gone flat. Those punks at the bike store evidently didn't fix it. I was severely irked. Mom, you might want to tell them that they didn't solve the problem. Man, I am so fed up with that bike; it's a tribute to how much I love biking to have been willing to put up with that thing for four years.

Well, we had to go walking instead, which completely changed the area we went to. As we were knocking on one of the last doors on one particular street, it opened up and an older lady was there. She said, "Oh! Come on in! We love you people! My husband used to be a member of your church!" We thus met the Houff couple, John and Donna. Donna is a Baptist, but John is a former member - he joined the church after about 10 years of investigating as a young man, and baptized his kids; Donna's his second wife - and we never would have met them had I not had a flat. We've met with them twice already. They LOVE missionaries, and apparently John still has a testimony of the church...bit of a mystery there, but we're visiting them tomorrow with the Branch President. If we can get him to read the Book of Mormon, we're golden.

But here's the amazing thing. When I first got my bike four years ago, it had some front tire problems. For years, I've been taking it to different bike stores to get that front tire fixed: they've patched it up, put in sealant, gotten new tubes, new tires, everything. Nothing worked. Before my mission, we took it to yet another bike store to get it fixed up before it got shipped to North Carolina, and the employees there said they'd find the problem and solve it. Yet, here I went to ride it and the same tire had gone flat. Because it was flat, we went finding close by, and found the Houffs.

I just think it's so incredible to see just how much in control of things Heavenly Father is. How could I have know, when I got my bike four years ago, that its front tire would be cursed and always go flat? How could I have known that, because nobody could ever fix it, that that front tire would lead us to the Houffs? It's so amazing that this meeting with a man who needs the gospel was set in motion four years in advance. Heavenly Father is amazing.


We were out tracting on Thursday, and we'd gone all the way up and down a massive street. We were on our way home, and there were two more houses on the side that we had missed. Elder Molina had wanted to keep going, but I said, "No, let's go see." the first house was an older lady, and she wasn't interested. But BEHIND the house, we saw a trailer, with a man sitting in front of it.

That man was Donny, the most profane, disgusting, and Satan-grasped man I have ever seen. He was just sitting on his porch, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, and watching the world go by. He drank at least two while we were there, smoked two cigarettes and one joint; he nicely offered us some marijuana, but we had to decline. But once he finished one thing, he'd move on to another. He had the most terrible language I'd ever seen. Basically, Donny said that this life was hell, that God was screwing with us, and specifically him. He said that God had taken all his family members - his dad, mom, brothers, aunts, nephews - and all on his birthday, too. (What a coincidence.)

I have never met a man so confused. He was literally so confused, and so high, that he could not even answer the question "Do you want to be happy?" He couldn't even say yes or no. He told us that God had told him often to shape up and take care of his grandkids, but he'd ignored Him. He's just perfectly happy to sit on his porch and be high, all day long. We essentially cried repentance to this man, using the most powerful language we could, and told him that he needed to shape up. He's 42, and at this rate, he's not going to make it past 43. He was just so stoned/high/drunk/everything that he could not listen to anything.

I do not think it was an accident that we met Donny. Apparently Heavenly Father has tried talking to him, and he won't listen, so we were led to him. I was hit with the same conclusion that Mr. Krueger reached: "You love him just as much as you love me." Donny is one of His children; Heavenly Father wants him to be happy, and boy oh boy, Donny is NOT happy. It's important for me to realize that everyone I meet is a Child of God, a precious soul.

We've got a couple of new investigators, like Adrian, a guy who looks and sounds a bit like Will Smith who we've taught twice, and Greg, a young man who approached US on the street and taught to us about the church's stance on homosexuality. Interesting, but we're going to go teach him tomorrow, and we'll see what happens.

Sunday I experienced my first North Carolina storm. It was a big one, and quite the experience. I've never seen rain so thick I couldn't see. It was a lot of fun!

Anyway, the work goes on. I love you all. The Gospel is true. I can see Heavenly Father's hand everywhere I go. Joseph Smith was a prophet, called to restore Christ's church. thomas S. Monson is our prophet today. The Book of Mormon is true.

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

They WANT you to eat the rolls! 8/28/12

Week 4

It has come to my knowledge that I mispelled the word "tobakka" in my last email. The proper spelling is "tuhbakka". I wish to apologize for this error.

And now, hello from North Carolina!

The members here have been feeding us EXTREMELY well. No, really. They've fed us really, really, really well. It seems like this area was specifically designed to give missionaries exactly the kind of food that they would like. And make them extremely fat. I've been taking it easy - and taking Zach's advice about what to eat for breakfast and lunch - but not too much at dinner, since it seems like a crime not to take seconds from these people. Or thirds. Or fourths.

Another thing about North Carolinians: they love canning stuff. I heard it said that they eat what they can, and can what they can't. It's entirely true.

NOW, as for the work. A couple of fun stories and thoughts.

We have an Elder Schauerhammer in our mission. Guess it IS a real name. I've resisted the urge to quote John Bytheway.  (in one of his comedy routines, john bytheway - who gets teased alot about his name - makes fun of a guy named schauerhammer)

Lena, the old black lady we taught on Saturday, is really progressing. Her faith is so strong. She has read a lot of the Book of Mormon (she was at Mosiah 13 last we checked) and we got her to say the prayer at the end of our second discussion. And boy, was it a beautiful prayer. We've taught her three times, calling in to check on her often, and we've set a date for September 22nd which she seems determined to keep. Awesome!

We also taught a discussion to Cole, a 13-year old boy living with his member aunt. We taught him the first discussion and gave him the Book of Mormon, and asked him to read and pray about it. He tried to pull a Baptist on us: "You know, I sure appreciate what you all do, but I'm a Baptist, and I go to [insert church here] and I'm happy with what I believe." Elder Molina and I almost laughed; we've gotten that one from experts, so we kind of just brushed past it and kept teaching.

We asked him to say the closing prayer. He fought us on it, but we bore testimony and let him sit there. He was fighting it, but we could FEEL him coming round. We could FEEL it. And then:
"Would it help if I said it?" said Sister Aguilar.
My head whipped around, and Elder Molina slowly emerged from behind the chair. Our combined gaze nearly nailed her to the chair, and she fidgeted uncomfortably for a moment before saying, "Am I not supposed to do that?"
I said, "No, it's fine. Go ahead."
Shoot. We'd almost had him, lady.

Cole came to church this Sunday, though, so that's good.

On Thursday, we bumped into a hardcore Baptist at the door. He had Mormon friends, and a bit of what we believed. He said that the Bible was pure truth, pure inspiration, and that he didn't need anymore. I asked, "What about the Song of Solomon?"
Man, THAT one made him think.
Anyway, he said his main problem with our church was our belief in prophets. "After all," he said, "Joseph Smith was a very disreputable man."
Oooh, that did it. Couldn't let him get away with that. I said, "NO. He was not. He saw God. In his own words, 'I knew it, I knew God knew it, and I could not deny it.' He was persecuted and hunted and ultimately died because he would not deny. He did not get a penny out of it."
We didn't get in the door, but at least he heard my testimony.

A lot of our investigators this week were found due to the Spirit. I'm sure of it. We met George, an older man, because we showed up at a spot to tract on Wednesday, didn't like it, and went somewhere else. Then, we picked a place to stop - again, not planned beforehand - and then went up a long driveway. A LONG driveway. Two roads split in a road, and we picked the one less traveled by, and that made all the difference. It started raining, and we got drenched, but at the very end of the road, we met George sitting under his porch out of the rain, and he offered us some shelter. The rain allowed us to teach him without him running away, and cleared up once we were done so that we could spend the rest of the day dry. We even bumped into a group of college guys who asked us to come back Saturday, because I was prompted to take a shortcut. I definitely feel that we're getting helped out here.

I got both your package and your letter, Mom, and you are right. Getting letters IS like Christmas. I get so happy getting stuff in the mail. I'll try and send something to you soon - including the farewell thank-you's. Since we don't have a way of downloading photos onto a computer, I'm going to be mailing my first photo card thingy to you soon. It's about time you saw all the stuff I've been doing.
I just think it's so fun to hear about Robby's wedding (yay Robby!). I LOVED the picture of Nathan you sent me! That boy is so cute! I was really stunned to see him with shorter-length hair. Almost didn't recognize him at first.
Adam is amazing. You didn't see ME coming up with quadruple alliterations when I was six! (I would have remembered doing that.) I love that kid so much. He is just so smart and clever, but with his parents, I'm not surprised.
So happy to hear about David and Amy coming up to Utah. The due day's just about here, isn't it? And Joy! AAH! Another baby boy! I think that is so wonderful to hear! I want you all to know that I pray for you MANY times a day.
And, in response to your letter, Mom. I thought the same thing about my email - I had that very same image of Clark Kent waving the smoke away from his computer. I love how we're so similar. I want you to know that I had the theme song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Mom, to answer your questions:
1. We do have a car for our companionship, since our area is huge, but we had to swap it off to the Mount Airy Elders, so we get to ride our bikes this week :)
2. My shoes fit great. No worries there!
3. The weather is wonderful here. A bit humid, but not too bad, and Utah is hotter. There are more trees here, too. Apparently I missed all the heat by a week or so.
4. I don't think I need a blanket yet, I've been using just a sheet every night
5. Our branch has a small phase 1 chapel to meet in - you know, like the kind you get everywhere in the world. Branch/ward size is determined by sacrament meeting attendance, as you know, and I think we need 150 people coming to sacrament meeting to be classified as a ward.
6. This is what my standard day looks like:
I wake up at 6:30 each morning. I get a couple of minutes to lift weights. We have two 55 pound dumbells, so at least my biceps will survive my mission. We get an hour of personal study at 8, and two hours of companion study at 9 (since I'm in training right now.) After lunch, we head out to go finding or appointments. If all goes well, we have dinner at a member's at 6, then head back into the fray until around 9. We plan out the next day for the next half hour, then write in our journal and get ready for bed at 10:30. Pretty busy!
7. All the daily life activities are going okay. Elder Molina is much cleaner than my college roommates. The one problem is that he doesn't use the dishwasher, and yet he doesn't wash the dishes by hand I have to run the dishwasher more the once a week, which *irks* me. (danny has favorite words - he had fun working that one in, i'm sure!)
8. We do get the Ensign. We get it with our media orders (where we refill our supply of pamphlets, Book of Mormon copies, etc.)
9. I'm doing good at the moment as far as cravings are concerned :)
I'm so glad to be out here serving the Lord. I pray that you're doing well too. Thank you so much for everything.

Augh! I have so much more to say, but I'm running out of time. I'll write more next week. I sure love you all. The Church is true. That's why I'm here. Stay strong!

Elder Fisher