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