Washington Seattle Mission
June 1, 2014 - June 1, 2015
Something that stood out to me this week in my studies was Isaiah 41:10. It was the inspiration for one of the verses of How Firm a Foundation. I really love the powerful words of "Fear thou not; for I am with thee... for I am thy God". It makes me think of "Be still and know that I am God." All things are in his control and I need not worry about every little thing. In the words of President Gordon B Hinckley, "It will all work out".
Well, this week wasn't the best regarding the work but Sunday was AMAZING! So, just like my week, I'll start with the bad and progressively get better.
Connie fell off date. She had her baptismal interview from our District Leader (Elder Mills) and it went fantastic! He is an amazing and personable missionary. Although it went really well, she ended up texting us and told us she has no intentions of converting. She didn't understand the importance of baptism even though we had gone over it multiple times. Her plan had been to get baptized with us here and then attend her church. So... She's not getting baptized on the 14th. We will try and continue working with her but we'll see what happens.
Our other investigator Omar is off date as well because we haven't been able to contact him. I goofed up and didn't get more information than the address and he lives in a gated house so we have to use a call button to even get in. We haven't talked to anyone yet so there is still hope but he's off date :/
The week does get better though! Brother Caldwell and his son Christian took us out to dinner on Thursday night for a little birthday celebration! Then we went out to visit a few people with Brother Caldwell. Seriously one of my favorite families.
We went on another exchange this week. I went out to Beaver Lake with Elder Mills for the day. We had a good bit of fun and did a lot of walking.
To skip all the rest of the monotonous details, Sunday rolled around. This was the best part of the week. We had a special stake conference. Why? Because ELDER L. TOM PERRY was in town for a Priesthood Leadership training and decided to do a special conference for just the Bellevue stake. WAHOO!!!! So I got to see my first speak live (outside of general conference)!!! It was awesome!! He is a really funny guy actually. He told some funny stories. 6 months after he became an apostle, his first wife died and the prophet told him he needed to get married again because he "wasn't the same man without being married". His response was "I'm an apostle! I can't just call up someone and go on a date!" haha he did end up getting remarried but he didn't explain much more. His talk was about the family. He pointed out that in every book of scripture we read, it starts with family. The Old Testament starts with Adam and Eve. New Testament: Mary and Joseph. Book Of Mormon: Nephi being born of goodly parents. so on and so forth. The Gospel is all about blessing our families.
Its been a good week overall. Thank you again for all the Birthday letters and things! I love you!!
It was a good week this week. I'd like to start off by thanking everyone who sent me Birthday wishes!! I really appreciated it.
We had an enjoyable week. We went on 2 exchanges with our District Leader back to back as he took time to get to know each of us personally. It was a great experience to learn from him and how he works. He is a very strong missionary. The first exchange, I went to his area and we worked there. The second day, his companion came to my area and we worked together while Elder Pulini went to their area with the District Leader.
While we were together we had a pretty cool experience. We were walking home for dinner and on the way a middle school kid tapped us each on the shoulder (you know the reach around and tap to make them look the opposite way? One of those). At first -- from both that action and his appearance -- I thought he was just going to try and mess with us. He was joking around but as we walked and talked with him he opened up more to us. He told us how his parents were divorced and he only sees his real dad twice a month. He explained how they go to separate churches and that each one teaches something different. He knew that one of them must be teaching something right and one of them teaching something wrong because they couldn't both be teaching everything right since they didn't agree. We asked him who god was to him and we were able to teach him about God and prophets. As we approached his home, I invited him to be baptized on March 14th and he accepted! It will be tricky to arrange how to talk with him more and also get his parental permission but we will find a way to work with him. Please pray for him! His name is Omar.
Connie is back on date for March 14th as well. Please pray for her to come to church! That is her one big hold up. We continued to work with her and she is starting to understand just how important baptism is.
In other news, we did attend a Pinewood Derby! That brought back some good memories haha. We moved a freezer from a cobweb infested basement, emerging covered in webs but we were successful (I share that because any of you who know me decently know how much I hate spiderwebs). Overall, it was a fun week.
Reading in my scriptures this morning I came across something that I found to be humourous. I heard a quote once that went something along the lines of "The scriptures contain no jokes but many stories humorously told" and I believe it. Anyway, we often are faced with the question "Why do I need to [insert your choice of ordinance -- often baptism] again? Why is it any different?" Our standard answer comes down to authority. My studies produced a story about the need for authority. Coming from Acts 19:13-16 is the story of some "vagabond jews" who decided to "exercise" an evil spirit out of a man. Now, how many movies, tv shows, stories, etc. contain a similar story line? These jews (there were 7 of them) came in and exercised the fellow. It does not say exactly what they said but it was probably along the lines of "In the name of that Jesus which Paul preaches leave this man" yet these "vagabonds" did not have the priesthood authority from Christ that the Apostles had. So what happened? Well, the Evil Spirit gave them some sass "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" and proceeded to kick the daylights out of them (remember its 1 on 7) and sent them away "naked and wounded". Now, I tell this story in a humorous way but it presents a very real and needed message. Priesthood Authority is real. It is needed. One cannot simply command in Christ's name without his Authority -- especially when it comes to ordinances and Christ has restored that Priesthood to the Earth.
I love you! I hope you have had a great week! Thank you so much for your prayers and Birthday wishes.
Elder Connor M. Garriss
Elder Mills (Our District Leader)
Thanks Mom and Dad!
Elder Pulini shaving for the first time
A member gave us these for our birthday (he found them cheap online -- supposedly they are real but who knows haha)
A glasses style I was looking at today, what do you think?
We are thinking of you on your special day! The big 21!!! I will also say that all THE BEST people have birthday's in February! We have sent you a small package, so be on the lookout for that.
We sure do enjoy reading your letters. It sounds like you have a real challenging companion right now. Steve says if you have only one you are lucky. Half of his had big issues. Your companions, however difficult they are, are put in your life to learn and to grow from. Sometimes we learn how to report abuse and stand up for ourselves. Other times we may learn patience and tolerance. I know from being married that I had to learn that there can be more than one "right" way to do things. I aways thought my way was the only right way, but "different" does not aways mean bad. The great thing about it all is, it helps us to learn things that will increase our understanding for a better married life or with other roommates in the future. Even when we get to choose the people we live with, we still get irritated with them at times. I have had to learn both tolerance and how to have open communication about things that are important to me (sometimes that is really hard!)
You are amazing Connor!!! We are so proud of your choice to go on a mission. Also your choice to stay on your mission and searve the Lord with all your might. Know that he is pleased with you. You have searved well and accomplish a great deal. I love your comparision with the Apostles finding joy in suffering on behalf of the Lord. We will find great joy in the next life from any time we have suffered on behalf of our Savior.
I am reading "Jesus the Christ" right now and I love that he nicknamed Peter "the rock" and James and John, who were brothers "the sons of thunder", for their consistency in standing up for Him. I am really enjoying reading it.
We send you all our love and we always keep you in our prayers. May the Lord comfort you and bless you for your faith in Him.
This week has been a long week. We had interviews with President and Sister Choi on Wednesday (these were the normal once every 3 month interviews, not special ones) and that went alright. Elder Pulini and I had extra long interviews and then had to stay after and be interviewed again as a companionship. It was good for us.
We gave Connie a church tour this week and included our Ward Mission Leader (Brother Matthews)
and her fellowship (Sister Allen). The tour went great! She could really feel the Spirit and commit to coming to church on Sunday. Saturday night, we stopped by again and there had been a little melt down with her ex-husband. Without going into details, it wasn't clear whether she would be able to attend or not but she said she wanted to. She didn't end up coming.
Nothing too exciting is going on at the moment. We attended a ward activity playing volleyball and helped a new family move into the ward. We are just trying to find people to teach and stay out of trouble.
I am trying to become more like Peter and the Apostles of old. Peter and his Brethren were sharing the gospel with some men. One of them spoke up against Peter and the Apostles and "And to him they [the other men] agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go." (Acts 5:40). To me, I feel like I would have given up -- oftentimes I feel I do give up in similar situations -- or at least I would have been discouraged. Probably complained. But how did the Apostles feel? "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." (Acts 5:41-42 emphasis added). They rejoiced! I smile and even laugh a little to myself as I think of that. These men were just beaten up and they go away having a good time! I think of the number of times someone has yelled at us, or told us there is "no soliciting here" and we go away laughing, on to the next door! What a great opportunity we (all of us, not just missionaries) have to share the gospel and stand shoulder to shoulder with the Apostles of old as we "cease not to teach and preach Jesus Christ".
This week was a rough week but still a good one. We took Elder Pulini to a doctor because he wasn't feeling well (all better now) and our only investigator, Connie, decided she is going to another church after her mother's funeral down in Texas. She hasn't completely dropped us, we set up a church tour with her for this week but she is no longer on date for baptism. So we took the challenge from our new District Leader, Elder Mills, to spend 4 hours a day finding and the Zone challenge to invite 3 people a day to be baptized seriously and went to work. We didn't find anyone, but soon! We have been inviting a couple people each day to be baptized but no success yet and no new investigators yet but I know that it'll come "after the trial of [our] faith" (Ether 12:6).
We had a great Stake Conference this last weekend. We had Elder Bussey and President Choi as well as our Stake Presidency speak.
In other news, the Seahawks lost the Superbowl if you were curious.
Well, transfers were today. We didn't get transferred so I am going to spend 6 months in Pine Lake wahoo! New Record! Elder Pulini and I are staying together as well.
This last week was a good week. We had a great experience! We had a dinner on Saturday night with a nonmember family, in their home! They even invited 2 of their good friend member families over for the dinner! Afterward, we had a great lesson. The Spirit was way strong! It was great! Hopefully we will be able to work with them more when they get back off their 3 week vacation. They invited us back.
Sorry for the super short update! I had some business things I needed to get accomplished first and now I'm running out of time. Plus I don't have my last week's planner with me so I don't remember some of the stuff. That dinner was the main focal point though. I hope you are all doing well! I love you!!!!
This week was pretty good. We went on a pretty fun exchange with our District Leader! Elder Wood and I were together in his area. He's a fun Elder -- I've served around him a lot of the last year. He's been my District Leader and Zone Leader before and now he is ending his mission as my District Leader again. I'll miss him. Actually a lot of Elders go home that I'm going to miss at the end of this transfer (which is next Tuesday). Many of them have become good friends. Anyway enough reminiscing, back to missionary work!
We put our investigator Connie on date for February 14th!! But then she didn't come to church so she won't be able to make her date :( but that is okay because she accepted a date which means she'll accept another one. Hopefully she will get baptized in February -- it all depends on whether or not she comes to church. Please keep her in your prayers.
Outside of that, nothing overly interesting happened this week. Sorry its short -- I just don't have much to say haha. It rained a lot and, as I'm sure you know, the Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl again. Go Hawks! Literally every single person talks about that or wears a jersey/tshirt (if not both).
I love you! I hope you've had a good week!
Elder Connor M. Garriss
It is supposed to look like a lightsaber soooo yes!! It is a trick you can do with a certain type of colored pencil crayon and the flash of a camera.