Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Great Opposition

I feel like those two things go hand-in-hand.  It seems like that whenever a moment (or two or three) of trial and opposition come into our lives, the Lord blesses us with a moment (or two or three) of greatness that makes it all worth it.  This was a lesson that I re-learned this week.
Let me tell you what I mean.  

This week we were helping clean out an apartment when a guy pulled up in his truck and asked, "Are you guys mormons?"  When we responded "yes" he said, "That sucks."  and then proceeded to tell us about how we were living a lie, about how God isn't real, about how we need to do "real research" and learn from fossil records and things like that.  I've met a lot of people who are anti-mormons or even atheist on my mission, but this guy was easily the most rude and the least classy.  He was busting out every swear word in the book and saying every rude comment he could about how "we don't know anything" or how we've grown up in lies or.... it doesn't matter really what he said.  All that happened when he left was the four of us Elders felt a feeling of anger and, for lack of a better word, grossness.  The Spirit hadn't been there at all while he was talking and all four of us knew a whole lot better than to try and argue with him.  That never would or will accomplish anything.  Its people like that that make me more sure that this is the truth.  Its people like that that make me want to work harder, go further, knock more doors, talk to more people, invite EVERYONE to come unto Christ and feel the peace and greatness that the Spirit and the Gospel of truth brings.  

This week also had its great moments, like 2 awesome, spiritually powerful exchanges in Yankton and Vermillion, South Dakota.  The Spirit was most definitely guiding us on those exchanges, helping us to know where to go, what to do, and what to say.  There's good things happening in those areas and I know they'll continue to progress.  

I love this work.  I know its true.  I know there's opposition in all things, but I know the Lord allows it to come into our lives so that we can better recognize His hand in all things.  
I hope you have a great week!  I love you so much!

Lots of love,

Elder Zack Paddock

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Very Busy Life of the Zone Leaders

I never ever realized how busy life is as a Zone Leader until this week.  I wrote in my journal the other day how I have never felt so busy but done less teaching in my entire mission.  There's lots of things that Zone Leaders have to do like lots of planning, lots of random "errands" (like clean out an old missionary apartment of an area that got closed), and give trainings at Zone Training.  Elder Swan put it this way, "We do lots of stupid things so our zone can just focus on the work."  

Elder Swan has been out one transfer longer than me, is from San Diego, CA, and has been a ZL in Sioux City for 2 transfers.  He's also one of the funniest people I've ever met and I feel like a lot of our conversations consist of him telling stories and me laughing at them.  Its been a really fun week. 

Like I mentioned earlier, we had Zone Training this week.  It was so great to actually get to meet the Elders and Sisters of this zone and to be able to talk with them about how the work was going.  Elder Swan and I felt like the best thing that we could do would be to talk in our training about potential, setting goals, and broadening our vision.  A lot of time as missionaries, its easy to slip in "habits" and not really try anything new, even if what you're doing isn't bringing a whole lot of fruits.  This seemed to be something that the whole zone has been struggling with.  With this transfer brought changes to almost 1/2 of all the companionships in the zone, which means a lot of "newness" and a lot of potential.  We trained about how the adversary makes us think that what we're doing is "good enough"  and that he puts ideas in our heads that our areas are "fine where they're at".  This gospel and this work is to help us with our eternal progression, therefore we have to constantly be putting an effort into everything that we do.  According to our District Leaders, the whole zone really liked it and has got a lot of excitment about this transfer and the good things that are going to happen!  This week we start exchanges, so I'm excited to get to know the zone better and to work with them! 

In other news,today a member from the Sioux City 1st Ward drove all the Sioux City and Storm Lake elders down to Omaha to go to the zoo!  It really is the world's best and it was a lot of fun!  

I hope your week was great!  I love you!
Lots of love,
Elder Zack Paddock

Monday, April 13, 2015

I'm Home

Elder Hansen (He's from St. George. 
If I could serve with an English Elder, it'd be him.)
I can't believe what's happened this week.  This transfer took me completely by surprise.  Let me just give you a run-down of Transfer Call Morning last Thursday.
There I was sitting on the couch in our apartment while Elder Kummerman was in the shower and all of a sudden our phone started ringing with our President Weston ring tone.  I double checked the phone to see if that was really happening and answered it.
Elder Paddock: "Hello this is Elder Paddock."
President Weston: "Elder Paddock, good morning its President Weston."
EP:"Good Morning President, how are you?"
PW: "I'm doing well.  Elder, Are you keeping yourself clean and worthy?"
EP: "Yes"
PW: "Will you commit to 100% obedience?"
EP: "Yes"
PW: "Elder, the Lord would like you to be a Zone Leader.  Do you think you can do that for us?"
EP:  (After a moment of shock) "Yeah I think I can do that."
PW: You'll be serving with Elder Neuenswander in the SIOUX CITY area.  You should be a little familiar with that area, right?

And after an even greater moment of shock I laughed and said, "Yeah just a little bit."  Then he laughed and I laughed and then he said, "Well Elder I'm excited to be working with you a little more." and then we hung up and I waited for someone to call me and tell me it was just a giant, late April Fool's Day joke.  But it wasn't!   

Coming Home

Driving into Sioux City was one of the strangest experiences I've ever had in my entire life.  It felt like I was driving home.  Seeing these people again and working in the exact same branch I worked in for 9 months already is going to be such a great experience.  Church yesterday was so great seeing all the people who I love so much.  The greatest part was finding out the Brisenos are active members now and the even greater part was when Fernando, who got baptized my last week here, passed me the Sacrament.  Words can't accurately describe the joy that I felt yesterday. Everywhere we go to see people, they've all said, "Paddock!!  (or Padoki depending on who it is)(or De Vez en Cuando if you're Hermana Briseno) You're back!?"  Elder Swan is probably tired of it, but I think its really nice to know no one has forgotten about me.  Its good to know you're loved. 
Elder Paddock & Elder Swan: Our apartment

My new companion, Elder Neuenswander, or Elder Swan for short since no one can pronounce his name, is super great!  I'm going to have a lot of fun working with this guy.  I'm excited to learn all I can about being a Zone Leader with him and from the looks of it, our Zone is pretty sweet as well!  All the Elders and Sisters are hard working and I'm really excited to get to know them and work with them.

Leaving Crete was hard.  I love those people so much.  Elder Kummerman received an Elder named Elder Draper who was working in the Omaha spanish ward for 9 months so I'm sure that the two of them will do a lot of good out there.  I'm not worried at all.  

Saying Goodbyes to people
Elder Kummerman & Elder Paddock



Vidal and his family

Fernando and Veronica

The District


The Behrens family decided to cover us in Bacon.
53 packages or 36 pounds to be exact.

From Sis Behrens: I work in the knife room at a food processing plant, here in Crete. We have meat sales every once in awhile. That's where I get large quantities of bacon, bacon wrapped filets, pork chops, ribs, anything pork. they are large in quantity. As you can see, everyone gets excited about the bacon! (meat candy). The night of that picture, I was in bed not feeling well. My son, your son, and Elder Kummerman decided to find out just exactly how much bacon was in the freezer.....Now we know! I'm going to miss him!

Barbara (That was hard)

Brother Beck

Hermano Luis Genis

So that's the update for the week.  Just know I'm happier than ever and excited and nervous about this new opportunity and capacity that I get to serve in the mission.  I love this work.  I know it's the work of the Lord.   I love you all and I hope that you have a great week!
Lots of Love,
Elder Zack Paddock

In response to Mom's email "We had fun doing something totally different on a Friday night.
Will you be doing something different Friday night?"
Elder Zack, "Am I going to do something different this Friday night?  Not that I know of.  I'll have a food appointment!  That's different from the past 9 months!  We have food appointments 1-2 times a day this whole week!  I love being back in Sioux City!
Elder Paddock & Elder Swan

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Greatness of Using Members

"Your boy and a squirrel" pic sent to
Zack's mom by Dylan.  Thanks Dylan!
Holy Cow I loved General Conference!  Did you love it too?  It seemed like every question I had going into the conference was answered and more and I learned so much from the Spirit teaching me that I am so excited to put into action!  If you weren't able to go and watch it, DO IT!  It will be the greatest thing you've done all week.  
This week was filled with some pretty great other moments though!  And two of the biggest ones involved Members!
For example we were able to have a lesson in Sister Behrens' home with a lady named Mary that we've been teaching.  That lesson was powerful!  Teaching in a member's home is a completely different kind of lesson. Everyone knows that they are there to learn together and the Spirit is so strong.  Sister Behrens' testimony was powerful and EXACTLY what Mary needed to hear.  It was awesome to watch all of Mary's questions be answered one by one right there in front of our eyes and at the end, Mary said that she would be baptized as soon as she knew for certain that the things we'd taught were true.  Sister Behrens once again bore an amazing testimony on prayer which taught Mary exactly what she needed to do to know the truthfulness of these things.
Another great lesson from this week was with Eric, who is doing fantastic!   Eric's been having some questions about the Priesthood so we decided that we, along with Brother Pister, would teach about that this week.  It was great to see how Brother Pister said some of the exact same things that we've said in past lessons but in his own way and it just clicked for Eric.  That lesson was by far the best lesson with Eric that we've ever had and I know it was thanks to Brother Pister and his strong testimony that he is so willing to share.  
Members are amazing.  I love them.  I love working with these people here in Crete.  I'm sad to say this may be my last email while I'm in Crete, since transfers are this week and I've been here a fairly good while.  I guess we'll see though!  Its all in the Lord's hands.  
I hope you have a great week!  I love you!
Lots of Love,
Elder Zack Paddock
Random Pictures from this week's adventures:

Capitol Building

Squirrel taming (Her name is Chaparrita)

Egg Dying (Elder Kummerman gave up after one and just started eating them)