Monday, July 29, 2013

Lynnwood Washington - 7/29/13

Elder Bahr is still doing great!  He said it has been sunny and hasn't rained too much...yet.

He wrote: 

I have been trying to send pictures, but I can't get anywhere to work.  I just purchased a new picture card, so I might send you the picture card that is in my camera now with all of the pictures on it from the MTC and what I have taken here so far. (This explains why we don't have any pictures to post).  My area is Lynnwood, Washington.  I am right by the I-5 that goes up into Canada.  Each day  I drive by the Lakeside/Lakeshore (can't remember what it is called) RV Park that we stayed at that one time. 

I am the designated driver.  My companion does not have a Driver's License.  When I got here, we had a 2013 Toyota Corolla.  Unfortunately, there was already some front end damage and then during the night, someone hit our car in the bumper.  So, we had to take the car back to the Mission Office so they could get it repaired.  Now, we have a 2010 Toyota Corolla. At least, the car drives and gets us to where we need to go.

The 21 lessons last week was a record for the incoming 35 missionaries President Bonham told me.  This week, my companion and I taught twelve lessons.  Saturday was the best day, though.  I had my first baptism after a week and a half in the field. 

One of our investigators, was baptized .  Her husband had been a member of the church for a while, but was a less active.  He was only ordained to the office of Teacher in the priesthood.  So, prior to the baptism, the bishop of our ward interviewed him and ordained him to the office of Priest so he could perform the baptism.  The baptism was a very spiritual experience.  The investigator's testimony was very strong and everyone that came knew that she was ready.  It is amazing how Heavenly Father prepares people to receive the Gospel.  That is why it is essential for missionaries to talk to anyone and everyone that they see. 

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to confirm her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and confer upon her the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  Prior to the confirmation, I took President Lundquidst's advice.  I shut all thoughts regarding that out and did not take any prior ideas.  When I stood up and confirmed her, I spoke purely by the Spirit.  The words were there and I did not even have to think.  My mouth opened up and it was an amazing experience.  Even though I had never done it before and I was a little scared, I knew afterwards that the Spirit had directed my mouth and everything had gone well.  She thanked Elder Haupu and I after the blessing and was so excited to be a member of the church.  This week was a very exciting week in our area.  Now, it is on to finding more people to teach.  We have five investigators still, but we want to keep it up.
Unfortunately, we only were able to teach the couple who we gave the church tour to once.  One of them got sick, so we could only teach them on Tuesday.  But, they are progressing quickly and we are very proud of them.  We know that they will keep growing stronger and the illness was just a trial that Satan wanted to try to stop them. 

During a Church Tour, we show the investigator all of the major rooms and parts of the Church.  We explain what happens in each room and who meets in the rooms  At the end of the tour, we take the investigator into the Chapel and review the importance of the Sacrament and the Atonement.  While in the Chapel, we play a movie for them, usually the Restoration.  The movie brings the Spirit and allows them to feel of the Savior's love while in his house.  A lot of times taking a Church tour motivates people to come to church on Sunday.  (We asked him what the missionaries do during a church tour).

We have a list of around 35 Potential Investigators.  That means, that we have 35 people in the Area Book that have been contacted before and have indicated some interest in having us coming back.  We are planning to visit some of them this week while trying to find some other new ones.

Preparation Day is every Monday.  Each Monday, we have time to send e-mails, shop, wash clothes, clean the house, and do any other things that we cant do any other day of the week.  Once a month, we have District P-Day.  That means that we meet with the other companionships in the district and do an activity with them for two hours.  P-Day goes by very quickly in the end.
I probably wont meet anyone from the other missions in Washington.  (We asked if he would meet anyone from the other missions since his mission is small).  We are told to stay within Mission boundaries unless given permission.  Tomorrow, though, I have to take an Elder to the doctor in Seattle.  That is one time where I travel out of boundaries. 

"The Lord will bless you as you do your best."

Elder Bahr

Monday, July 22, 2013

First E-mail from Lynnwood, Washington 7/22/13

Elder Bahr is doing great!  Washington is a busy area for missionaries right now.  He wrote:

My companion is from Pearl City, Hawaii.  His name is Elder Haupu.  He has been out three months and is already a trainer and district leader.

The area we are serving in is Lynnwood, Washington.  We are in charge of the Beverly Park Ward with a set of Sister missionaries.  The area has been productive so far.  Last week, we taught 21 lessons. 

The apartment we live in is not too small, but not too big.  All of the walls are white and have a few pictures on them.  We have a bathroom, a bedroom, and kitchen.  The kitchen has an oven and refrigerator.  We have a washer and dryer in the apartment that can fit all of my shirts.  It takes about three loads to wash all of my stuff for a week.  The apartment works and a lot of times we are only there for three hours in the morning and then after 9:00 pm.  We eat breakfast, study, and sleep there.

I have had many opportunities already to share my testimony with investigators and other missionaries.  On Wednesday, I had to share my testimony in our District Meeting.  I felt like I was rambling on at first, but afterwards, I was told that I did a good job.  So, I must have said some things that were half way decent.  Then, on Friday, we had New Missionary Training.  At the end of that, President Bonham called on me to share my testimony with all of the new missionaries.  I had no idea what I was doing, but when I got up there, I had things to say.  That time, the Spirit took over and the words flowed and made sense.  I could not tell you some of the stuff I said, but I know I did it.  I don't know why he called on me, but there were three missionaries chosen to share, and I was one of them. 
Later on Friday, I had the opportunity to give one of our investigators a blessing.  This investigator is being baptized this Saturday.  She was struggling with some of the challenges we gave her, so she asked for a blessing.  When we asked her who she wanted to give her a blessing, she pointed at me.  Because I had never given a blessing before, I was a little nervous.  But when, I started to give the blessing, the Spirit took over and spoke for me.  I don't remember the promises I made her or what I blessed her with.  I know that the Spirit does speak through me as a priesthood holder.  It was an experience that I will not forget, giving my first blessing to an investigator.  I can remember the feelings I had before I gave the blessing and after the blessing, but nothing else. 

On Saturday, Elder Haupu and I gave a church tour to one of our investigators.  During the church tour, the couple continued to say that they felt like they were at home and that things felt right.  I think that they know it is true and will be our next people to be baptized.  They are progressing quickly and want to see us three times this week. 
I have been provided dinner every night except one so far.  The members are pretty good about signing up to feed us.  I have eaten steaks, pasta, grilled chiken, and some other stuff.  They gave us some easy, quick recipes at the mission office, too.  So, for now, I think I am good on recipes and food.

I am excited to see what happens this week!

I love all of you!  Have a good week!
Elder Bahr

First Letter from Washington 7/16/13

Elder Bahr made it to Washington!  For some reason the mail was slow so we didn't get this letter until today (Monday 7/22).  He wrote:

"Well, I made it to Washington this morning.  We got up at 3:00 a.m. and left the MTC at 5:00 a.m.  The airport became missionary central today and employees continuously asked us where we were going and wished us luck.  Only in Utah would people so readily and willingly talk with us.

Today, when I got here, President Bonham was so nice.  He seems like a very friendly and loving man.    Today, we are being oriented to the mission and having interviews with President Bonham.

My P-day here will be on Mondays.  I will get my first new companion tonight and will start tomorrow (Wednesday).

Well, I am here and will see how things go.  Time to get to the job of listening, meeting a companion, and driving to a new area.  It is here and real!  Wish me luck!"

Elder Bahr with President and Sister Bonham

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

E-mail from the MTC - 7/10/13

Ryan sent us an e-mail last Wednesday.  It was great to hear from him!

"I have prayed daily more than I have ever prayed before and have seen it change my life.  I have seen God´s hand in everything I have done.  He has taught me so much from personal study and through personal revelation after prayer.  I am enjoying my mission now and hope to see even more as I progress.

Living with five other Elders in the room has been squishy.  The bunks are arranged in doubles.  My companion sleeps above my head, and it feels like there is an earthquake above my head sometimes.  Elder Smith also talks in his sleep.  I will send pictures at a later time when I have access to computers with picture access with all of us in it.  I have taken a lot of pictures for you at the MTC and will take more.

There are 10 missionaries in my district.  There are 6 Elders, the ones in my residence hall, and 4 Sisters.  Four of us Elders are from Utah and two are from out of state, one from Arizona and one from Nevada (Henderson).  Two of the Sisters are from Utah and the other two are from Florida and Georgia.  We meet everyday as a district for all of our classes and devotionals.

There are over 3,000 missionaries at the MTC between all of the campuses being utilized.  At the devotional last night, we sang Called to Serve, and it was amazing to see all of God´s army singing together.  Some missionaries are here for up to 8 weeks and some are here for 12 days like me.  The work is hastening on and I am part of a record breaking time in the church.  I am a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and can feel it everyday.

This week, there are even more missionaries coming into the MTC.  Today, I have seen a lot of people coming in with the orange sticker, and now I get to tell people, "Welcome to the MTC, Elder/Sister!"  I will not get to be a Host because I am here for such a short time.  Only those who are here for more than six weeks get to help the new missionaries onto campus.  It would be a cool experience, but I am grateful that I get to leave and enter the field so quickly, too.

I have received my flight and departure information.  We leave the MTC on Tuesday morning by 5 am and fly on Delta to SEA from SLC at 8.  I have been designated travel director and have to make sure that 26 Elders and Sisters make it to Washington.  All of those 26 are going to the Washington Everett Mission.  I will be able to call from the airport.  I will purchase a calling card from the bookstore here and will call around 7 on Tuesday.

The devotionals and lessons here have been amazing.  I have learned a lot for myself.  I have mainly learned that I need to be patient and rely on the Lord to help me through my struggles.  I may not know why the Lord gives me struggles, but in due time I will learn.  There is always a lesson for us as his children to learn.  We will never be alone even though sometimes we may feel that way.  We must learn to accept the Spirit and be receptive to it because it will come in various ways as we are worthy and ready to receive it.  I have loved the things I have learned so far.  The scriptures have become closer to me than ever.  I read them for at least an hour each day during Personal Study time.

Everyday, we wake up at 6.  Then, we get ready, study for about 30 minutes, and head to breakfast.  After breakfast, we study or start classes.   Classes and more studying go throughout the day.  Classes include Zone teaching and Classroom Instruction.  This last Sunday, we had Fast and Testimony Meeting with our branch.  The Spirit was so strong as missionaries shared their testimonies with us.  I have also noticed that the Spirit is very strong when hymns are sung.  We truly are the Army of Helaman ready to go forth to all nations to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Elder Bahr's foot began to swell and cause pain.  Some Elders in his district were able to give him a blessing.  "Last night, two of the Elders in my district had the opportunity to give me a blessing to help me through with my foot.  Our district leader, Elder Finley, picked two Elders to perform the blessing.  The two Elders who performed the blessing were Elder Lambourne and Elder West.  During the blessing, the Spirit was so strong and I knew that I would be healed of the pain in my foot.  It was good to have two Elders who I trusted and knew are worthy priesthood holders." 

Monday, July 8, 2013

First Letter from the MTC

Elder Bahr wrote us a letter!  On his first day right after we dropped him off, he received his name tag, ID card, and room key.  Next, he went to classroom study with his district which includes six elders who are all in his room and are also going to Everett. He says that his companion is "interesting" (we aren't completely sure what he means). There are also six sisters in his district who are headed to Houston, Texas.  After classroom study, his district went to orientation (record breaking week - 850+ new missionaries).  He has practiced teaching and met his branch.  He wrote, "I will never forget having the badge with an orange sticker placed on my suit.  After that everyone said, 'Hi Elder, welcome to the MTC.'"

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

MTC Drop Off Day

We took Elder Bahr to lunch at Olive Garden prior to dropping him off at the MTC (Missionary Training Center) today.  It was an emotional time, but we know that he is ready to teach those who are ready to hear about the gospel.  For those who are unaware of how MTC drop off works; you drive up, hug your missionary, take pictures, and drive away.  (Note to his friends' moms who may read this: hug your Elder lots at home because the MTC is a quick drive and drop).  He was lucky enough to be taken inside by an Elder from Washington which immediately made him more at ease.  Elder Bahr has a GREAT group of friends who have helped him and supported him through this transition.  He wishes that he could see his friends off to their missions, but he has lots of well wishes for them.

Elder Bahr's Friends

At the MTC: The host missionary was super nice and welcoming to Elder Bahr.

Walking away: see ya in 2 years Elder Bahr!