Saturday, November 30, 2013

Prayers are Legit

This week we had an amazing experience. We have been struggling to find, teach and even meet with members. We got rocked actually, but this was a ray of sunshine.

On saturday we had a return apointment with a potential we had caught up with earlier that week. We went over and on the way in to his complex we saw a sign that said "Absolutely no soliciting and or distributing of literature of any kind. All violators will be prosecuted". Usually that isn't the biggest deal in the world but our back-up had been to knock around and talk to people in that complex because we felt as if we should. We went to go see Marvin (the potential) and he was not there. I had to pee really really really bad so we left quickly to hit a 7-11 around the corner and came back to try Marvin again. Before getting out of the car we said a couple prayers about where/what we should do after Marvin if he wasn't there because all his lights were still off. We both felt in the end that there was someone we needed to meet, and we needed to find them.

We went and knocked for one last faithfull try and he wasn't there. As elder Clark was writing a note I started banging my head on the wall out of frustration because this had happened so many times this week. I began desperately praying again searching for any sort of feeling of where we should go to find these people we needed to find. I asked over and over again if we should go left or right after exiting the complex. I faintly felt left after going back and forth, trying to test my feelings. I told Elder Clark and took the lead out of the complex and just started walking in a direction that felt okay. I looked at a building and said in my head, middle to the right, so I continued toward that building. There was a little kid playing soccer outside of the building and I walked past him trying to follow my feelings. Elder Clark stopped and said, "lets talk to him". I said, "great, whatever you feel". We taught him about the Book of Mormon and a living prophet, we asked him if we could teach him and his family. He said sure, we could go talk to him mom right now in the house which was # 102 which was the building I had been walking towards, middle floor to the right. We went and knocked. Long story short, she said she knew of our church, was Christian, has a friend who is Mormon who went to BYU and that we could come back any time this week. Magic.

Prayer is sooo real, and God provides for his servants. I knew it, but to see it again was a blessing.
I have recieved the birthday presents, I LOVE THEM, THANK YOU. The journal is awesome and I love the hat.
It is getting cold here and I love it
Love ,
Elder Bigelow

My profile picture that didn't quite cut the mission standards but I still might try to sneak on

A really awesome family who's daughter just got baptized and my bishop

Monday, November 18, 2013

Faaaaaalls Church

Hey fam bam +,
I went to the Crystal City Mall just barely, I am pretty sure I just drove past our old apartments again. The Crystal House? We went to Costco just barely. To answer one of your questions, I pretty much only go to Costco for shopping and eat at members houses one way or another.
I really like Falls Church a lot. It has a lot of the vibes I like in a town. A little artsy, a little old and lots of stone and lots of people. I am really excited to work here. The members in our ward and seem to have a strength about them that is different than what I saw before. I think more than anything it is the direction the Bishop and the Ward Mission Leader have for our ward.  One of them named Bishop King who is a high powered lawyer who works "down-town" as I am told and the other works as a consultant for Deloitte.  They both have some really great ideas for our ward as well as the guns to back it all up.
Moving to a new area and "blue washing" (When two new elders replace sister missionaries) has been really different. I don't know any members well, and the few that I did know from before didn't even come to Church on Sunday. We are basically starting from scratch because the previous missionaries didn't leave us any sort of relationships with member families, less-active families or investigators to visit. Because of this we have had to change how we do things, for the better. Everything we do involves so much prayer. We have no sort of direction to go so all we do is ask God to direct us. Our first night when we really didn't know what we were doing we just looked through the ward list combined with a few former investigators and prayed about where on earth we should go. We ended up finding a name we both felt pretty good about. We went to the house with a result of a very nice little english speaking family. Before they kindly declined what we had to offer we asked them if any of there neighbors were spanish speakers. Long story short, one of their neighbors is now our first investigators. With time their whole family will join in and begin their own journey in this Gospel. Prayer is so real. Prayer is something I  have always known works, and that I have always felt the power of. One of the very best things for me about what I do right now is telling people they don't have to trust in my words, all they have to do is ask God in prayer. It is simple, all the answers they desire or are searching for are only a few genuine prayers away. I know I can always improve my prayers. I know that I can better use this divine conversation I have been given every day. Because, I know that prayer works.
I will keep you updated on all the good news from Falls Church Virginia!
Love You all
--Elder B
Ps. Do you remember the Allen family from the 1st ward? They meet in our building the hour after us. Cool huh, we are going over for dinner on thursday.

Week of Nov 11

This week is veterans day, which is kind of the worst because the libraries are closed so all of our computers get mobbed, so I have to wait for like 2 hours to get a tiny bit of time. This does mean however that I might get to email tomorrow too.

This week as I gear up for moving into a new area I have been trying to do everything I can to leave a lasting difference here in my area. This has meant particularly really ramping up work with members and within the leadership in the ward. One of the most meaningful things we have recently done is creating a vision for the ward over the next transfer or two. Taking time to create visions, goals, plans and creating an accountability structure has made plans that will greatly impact this ward for long after I leave, regardless if I am there. Doing this type of planning all the time has really changed the way I think about the rest of my life. Just to think about it is kind of weird. I  have planned out so much of my life already. Who would have ever thought of me as the long term detailed planning type? Thank you all so much for everything. I have to run. I will try to write a little more tomorrow!

I love you all so much.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Another food related musing

I still really like drinking coke, like a lot.

I hardly ever do but it is always a good experience. During weekly planning which tends to last around 4 hours if you do it right I begin to want to kill myself (because I have to be inside) or I drink a coke, it is how I get through friday afternoons. Planning is great, though often strenous. That is how it is supposed to be as I understand it, so I wear my thinking cap and drink coke and everything is better. That is something really cool about things that God asks us to do sometimes. We are allowed, and I think expected to find and use our own productive coping mechanisms. I am always all over finding ways to make everything we do a little funner, or bearable, depending on task. Something our Mission President quotes often is his defenition of discipline: "Doing what you don't want to do, when you don't want to do it becasue you know you should". Thinking about President Riggs saying that to me always helps me to get through something I would prefer to avoid, and eventually helps me develop a desire to complete some things. If something seems rough and right now is a really inconvient time to do something I can just say, sweet, I am a missionary and I do it. Because, I know that becasue of my calling I have to do many things, and I often have to grow into my calling. I am here to become the person God sent me to be, so therefore, I must be disciplined. Anyways, enough about the coke.
This past Miercoles was Halloween so we watched some movies, which was cool. We watched Megamind, which is always good and we also got to see Monsters University, also stellar. It was kind of weird to just watch a movie and it not be a big deal, even though it was. I also ate lots of chocolate.
I had an interview with the President this week. Those are always great/scary becasue he often rips you apart in a really nice way and then makes you feel better at the end.
This is my last week in my first area. I said goodbye in my testimony on sunday which was very odd. A quarter is already over.
This past week I have learned again a tremendous amount about how much this mission is for me and my own changes. Everyday I change more into the person God wants, and needs me to be. As we continue to be obedient, tirelessly plan and look for opportunites to exert ourselves we have not seen many fruits of our labors this past month, but the success is evident within ourselves our resolve and our new vision for the rest of our lives. I now know many things I did not know to start and have a much stronger faith and belief in others. This Gospel will bless the lives of those I share it with because of the Love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his truthfullness.
Change into what you want to become
I love you all so much!
-Elder B.
ps. we found these awesome posters in the street. there will be a video of the gallery tour


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cookies and life lessons

Dear Mom,
MMMMMMMM... Them lemon shortbread cookies you sent are real good. Thank you so much for sending them out. I am still savoring the ginger pennies too. They have lasted very well in their little zip-lock bag. My companion Elder Facer really loves them all too, I think he likes the shortbread more. I am so glad my companion and I get a long so well. We have been able to do a lot of things together, including buying food together and sharing everything, even our packages for the most part, I still safeguard my chocolate though... I have a bag of guittard left...

I think I am kind of tough to get a long with now and again.  I just like having my way because I think it is the best or I am right. I am sure Dad remembers that. I specifically remember a number of arguments with him about how totally certain I was about something someone said, or how it was supposed to be done. I still do that, but I never let it get to an argument, I just say yep, you are probably right and let it go. Look Mom, I am learning! Isn't that great? But seriously, it is cool to see how we change and grow. There are many many things that I have decided that I will do and will not do for the rest of my life in my professional and familial life. One of my favorite parts about being in this mission is being able to listen to Elder (Jim) Ritchie, who was a major part of the Franklin-Covey "how to be a successful person stuff." I am hardly ever a "listen to this famous/rich person and find their secrets" guy, but he is something special. He, of course, is a fabulous, charismatic speaker, with all sorts of engaging stories and analogies, but they all come back to basic principles of the gospel. All of the 7 habits of successful people are truly based on scriptures. One of the things that he has specifically asked us to do is create a personal constitution. Meaning, to write out a record of our values and ideal characteristics in an order of importance, all elaborated and specified to our individual lives. As I try to do this with what little extra time I have I have been able to look ahead with the end in mind. I see situations that may come up and my decisions have already been made because of what I have chosen to foreordain. It is a great experience to go through and gauge yourself and decide what truly matters to your future. It is a lifelong process I think as one continues to develop and I am excited to continue to develop. It is a cool future to think about when I know what I want to become. You should do the same thing, or give it a go at least, if you haven't already tried it or have one.

In other news, for Christmas I will be receiving countless presents from all of my family and friends back home. Much, much too much food from members in the ward along with some presents. Hopefully some letters from friendly friends, as well as an Ipad and Iphone from my mission president. It is official, we will be getting these new devices to "hasten the work" this coming December. I can think of all kinds of great ways that an Ipad will help us already, particularly in showing videos to people who don't have internet connections. I am not sure what an Iphone is going to do for us other than be convenient; however, I am sure there will be a manual on how it will help us be more efficient and all sorts of great stuff. I am not complaining at all, I am all sorts of excited. Is anything cool like that happening at BYU? Free Ipads for everyone! It is cool to see the church truly start to adapt and use the wonderful benefits technology has to offer. 

This week I have really been able to see how I am being prepared to meet people as well as the other way around, but particularly me. There are a lot of people in this mission who I think are waiting for me to find and teach them, I, however, have to be prepared for them and they won't be put in my path if I don't change in the way I need to. We always hear the miracles of investigators being prepared, but I think more than half the miracles is ourselves changing into a person who is ready to bring someone else into the gospel. I will keep trying to change in the ways I need to to bring those to the Gospel who are waiting for me.

I love you guys lots! Keep doing great. 

Love, as always,

-Elder B
P.S. Still love playing soccer on P'day