Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Let's Talk

 I met a member in Spencer who owns a Mystery Machine.
  He's kind of a big deal.

The title has a triple meaning due to a lot of the week's happenings.

#1 Angel, our amazing investigator, called us over and said he wanted to talk to us.  We went over not really knowing what to expect and after chatting for a bit, he told us that his girlfriend sent him a text saying that they should talk.  I think you can guess what happened.  Angel was pretty sad about it, and not really knowing anywhere else to go, he called his missionary buddies for some counseling.   The three of us couldn't even pretend like we understand girls, especially after 19-23 months of not going on a single date or anything like that, so all we could do was share with him Nephi's response to a question he didn't know the answer to:
 "I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."
He just laughed and agreed with us that as long as we know God loves us and we keep doing the things that He's asked us to do, He'll put people who love us just as much in our path later on.  
#2 was a little bit more serious.  Lately the three of us have struggled a little bit with communication.  Our companionship inventory at the end of weekly planning showed a lot of things that we could work on together, all of which could have been solved sooner if we communicated better.  During my personal study Saturday Morning I studied all about how to best openly communicate with your companion.  I learned a lot about the importance of Listening and the importance of Charity.   During companionship study I grabbed 2 extra copies of the booklet they give everyone at the start of their missions called, "Adjusting to Missionary Life," and handed it to Elders Swan and Ferry.  I said, "Alright, due to how yesterday's comp inventory went, I think it'd be best if we took a little bit to read from this section so that we can make goals and plans so that it doesn't happen again.  Sound ok?"  They both agreed and as we read it we were able to talk about things that each of us can do better and make plans for how to make sure it doesn't happen again.  There's been such a difference over the past few days!  We work so much more effectively and have a lot more fun!  
Communication is SO important!  Always be open and loving.  That's what I learned this week.

#3 is a reference to the very little notice that the three of us had that we would be speaking in yesterday's Sacrament Meeting.   I had the privilege of speaking on Sacrifice and how important it is to sacrifice things to come closer to the Lord (time, talents, tithing, habits, etc).   I hope that something I said in the 10 minutes I spoke were of help.   Elder Ferry gave a great talk on the sacredness of the meetings in the church and Elder Swan spoke on the sacredness of the Sabbath Day.  

I hope you all had a great week!  I love you!  
Elder Paddock


Since the Section was so useful for us this week, I thought I'd share it with you!  It could help with any kind of relationship  (Roommate, sibling, spouse,neighbor, etc.)  I hope you enjoy.

Communicating Openly with a Companion  

Listen first. When you live with someone 24/7, you will notice some things that annoy you. You come from different backgrounds and have different expectations and “rules” for what is appropriate or normal. Your companion’s behavior makes perfect sense to him or her, even if it doesn’t to you. During companion inventory, find out more about how he or she sees things by asking questions and listening carefully. (See Preach My Gospel, 185–86.) 
Respectfully explain what is bothering you. If you are critical or angry, your companion is likely to become defensive rather than cooperative. Explain your problem and what you need rather than criticizing your companion’s bothersome behavior. For example, “I have a real dislike for dirty dishes, but I also don’t like doing them all myself. I wonder if we could set up a way to share this job.” Or, “I worry you’re angry with me when you’re so quiet. Could you tell me what you’re thinking?” 

Be straightforward and kind. Avoid negative labels or judgments. Don’t bolster your position with long lists of your companion’s faults. Try to keep an even tone that is not angry or self-pitying (see Ephesians 4:29–32). 

Don’t take offense. Take suggestions, even if rudely given, with as much grace and humor as you can muster.

Compliment your companion often. Thank him or her for things you appreciate. 

Ask your companion for suggestions on how you can improve. Also ask the Lord to help you see your weaknesses (see Ether 12:27). 

Try to do something nice for your companion every day. Fix lunch, listen, shine shoes, make his or her bed, smile, hang up towels, put away dishes, write a thank-you note to his or her parents, iron a shirt, compliment him or her.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Members Are Great!

This week our members have pulled through for us like never before!  This week during the zone training that we had, Elder Ferry gave a training on how effective planning leads to effective work, and we've been putting it into practice.  We've been working really hard this past week in figuring out when members are available and then scheduling appointments for those times.  We've seen so many miracles!  For example, this week we struggled in teaching appointments WITHOUT Members, which usually is not the case.  Out of all the appointments we had this week probably 75% of them were with Members!  The Branch is starting to get really excited about missionary work again so we're doing our best to take advantage of that for the benefit of the people we teach.  Members are so vital! 

One of the many great lessons we had this week was on Saturday night when we took Hermana Rosa Flores, the Relief Society President, with us to see Jose and Emma.  We talked with them about the doctrine of Enduring to the End and how its always going to be neccessary for us to have Faith, Repent, make and keep and renew Covenants, and rely on the Holy Ghost.  Which in turn causes us to have more faith, find more things to repent for, etc, and the cycle continues.  That's what we call Enduring to the End.  A couple weeks ago, Jose mentioned to us that he was just scared of falling after he was baptized.  I pray that what we were able to share, coupled with the powerful testimony of Hermana Flores (who during the lesson said, "Jose, I can tell that when you are baptized, that you'll be a powerful leader in this church."  That made him think.), and with the great talk that was given on Enduring to the End in Sacrament Meeting by a visiting High Councilor have helped him clear up his doubts.

Being in a trio has been fun!  Its so very different but we've been using it to our advantage.  I'm learning a lot.  Its hard sometimes getting 3 people on the same page, but its teaching me a lot about the importance of Councils.  There's a lot of truth in the doctrine of Councils.  I learn that everyday.  

I pray that you're all doing well and that you're having great experiences as well!  

Lots of love,
Elder Paddock

Monday, July 13, 2015

Trying New Things

Elder Swan, Elder Ferry, and me
Well, It looks like this transfer we're going to be trying out new things.  Transfer news came Thursday morning and it took all of us by surprise.  Not only did Elder Swan and I stay together (we thought he was leaving since they usually take you out of leadership your last transfer) but we also received a 3rd companion!  Being in a tri-panionship is super rare, but being in a Spanish Zone Leader tri-panionship is even more so.  Elder Ferry is going to be a good addition to our companionship though and we're doing our best to help him get settled in to the craziness of our daily lives.  
Elder Ferry is from Corrine, UT and has been out about 19 months.  He loves the violin and singing and being a missionary.  He's exceedingly obedient and diligent and really does want to help this work move forward.  
Being in a tripanionship does have its ups and its downs though.  The Ups would be that now we can do lots of nifty things with team-ups and exchanges, such as allowing one of us to go on a split with a member while the other two of us work together (we tried it yesterday. Worked great!) or we can drop off one missionary with one set of Elders, for example in Vermillion, while the other two drive up and blitz the Yankton Elders area and then we meet back up at District Meeting the next day, making exchanges happen faster and allowing us to be in our area more.  

All the Elders that left the zone this transfer (with Elder Paddock)
In other transfer news, almost 1/2 the zone got switched up too!  There's going to be lots of new faces at this week's Zone Training!  

We're excited!  Things are going to be good!  (Even if it is my turn to sleep on the floor for the week due to the lack of bed frames)

I hope your week is also fun and exciting!  I love you!
Lots of love,
Elder Zack Paddock

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Random Text Picture

Elder Paddock, Elder Peters, Sister Grubbs, Sister Carlson, Elder ?, Elder Swan, Elder Ferry
Mom note: I received this picture via text on Sunday 12 July 2015.  
The text said,"You have a wonderful missionary son."  
I love getting random pictures of Elder Paddock!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Old Friends and a LOT of Progress

Elder Swan & Elder Paddock
This weekend in particular has been a crazy few days!  Happy 4th!  

photo from Gene Juan

photo from Gene Juan

Elder Paddock & Gene Juan

Saturday, Javier, one of the Less-Actives in our branch, called us and said, "Hey!  I think I've got someone here that might be interested in the Gospel!  He's been asking a lot of questions lately so you should come over and meet him before soccer!  Sound good?"  Of course that sounded good so we went right over!  After sitting on the couch for a couple three minutes, in walks the one and only Elder Juan!  To say I was surprised would be an understatement.  It was so great to see him!  He stuck around all day and even came to church with us the next day!  Not only he showed up this weekend, but Hermana Thompson also did along with all her family!  It was great to see her too! 

All I can even really think about was our amazing lesson with Jose last night, so let me tell you about that.
We felt it would be a great idea to take Brother Flory, our Branch Mission Leader with us to see him.  Luckily, Brother Flory wasn't terribly busy and was able to come out!  We had left Jose with the commitment to pray about getting baptized, so the very first thing we did was ask him about that.  He talked about how he'd been praying but maybe he wasn't getting an answer.  We talked about how he could recognize his answer as he continues to act.  We talked about the growth he's been feeling and the things he's been learning and the changes he's been making ever since we started teaching him 18 months ago.  We talked about how he's recognized a difference between how he feels on the days he reads and how he feels on the days he doesn't.   He opened up to us and told us about a few of his doubts and questions, each of which Brother Flory answered and cleared up so much better than either Elder Swan or I could have.  All of a sudden Mosiah 18:8-10 came flying into my head, so we opened up to that.   After talking about verses 8 and 9, about how helping others, keeping the commandments,  and standing as a witness of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places (Our Baptismal Covenant), we read verse 10 where it says, 
"Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?"
After about a 3 minute pause, Jose just looked up and said, "The truth is I'm just scared I'll mess up."  We then bore testimony of the strength we receive from the Gift of the Holy Ghost that it will help us to not mess up and strengthen us to continue onward.   Elder Swan then boldly told Jose that he already knew that these things were true, to which Jose nodded.  I just looked at him and asked, "So will you be baptized, Hermano?" 
After another long pause he said, "When's the day?"  
Oh my goodness I'm so happy.  I've seen so much progress with him!  We set him.... well it was more like he set himself for the 8th of August and I'm positive he'll make it!  I hope I stay this transfer!  

So many good things are happening here!  Its such a great time to be a missionary!  
I love  you and I hope you have a great week!

Lots of Love,
Elder Zachary Paddock