Monday, August 24, 2015

Bouncing Back

This week's events took me completely by surprise!  After 4 great days of working with Elder Ferry in our area, transfer call morning gave us a whopping surprise.  President called me and said, "Elder, I'm thankful for the work you've done as a Zone Leader, but for your last 6 weeks we need you in Lincoln."  In other words, I'm back in the Lincoln area, serving in the same ward I served in while I was in Crete!  I've been assigned as a District Leader again and guess who's in my District?!  Crete!  I'm so excited to go down there for exchanges in a couple weeks!  
My new companion is Elder McBride.  He's from American Fork, UT, has been out almost 8 months, and is so full of energy.  He's a lot of fun to be around.  He's been here for 2 transfers so he knows the area pretty well.  When President called me, he told me that Elder McBride had been struggling with some stuff and that for my last 6 weeks I was assigned to help him out and teach him how to work hard.  I'm thankful for the trust from my mission President and for the opportunity to give it my all.  
This area is great.  The members are great.  I really like Lincoln already.  
Leaving Sioux City the second time wasn't any fun though.  All the members/missionaries (including myself) were expecting that I was going to finish out there, so the fact that I was leaving so soon was weird for them.  It made it a little easier though when I told them I'd just call them in a few weeks :)  
I'm thankful for this work.  I know its true.  I've learned in the past few days the power that comes from being a true friend and helping others know you love them.  I know that that is exactly what our Savior Jesus Christ would do.  
I hope you have a great week!  I love you!
Lots of Love,
Elder Zack Paddock

Oh!  I forgot to mention!  I'm walking right into 2 baptisms this week here in Lincoln!  Elder McBride and Elder Smyth (The guy who took my spot in Sioux) have been working with this family and two of the kids are getting baptized this week!  That's so exciting!
Leaving Sioux City Pics:


The Adams Family

Jose & Emma Aguilar

The Flores Family

The Brisenos

The Alvarado Family
(Monica is usually the one who sends you pictures randomly)

The Limas

The Flores Family #2

Presidente Lagunas


The Ramirez Family

Angel Hernandez

The Florys

 Heading to Lincoln:

A couple 3 St. Georgians
 (Elder Hughes went to DH,myself, Sister Allen, and
Elder Nixon all went to PV ('13, '09, '12 respectively)

Driving down to Lincoln with Elder Peters (He went to Columbus)

Elder McBride and I

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Swan Song

Iowa at its finest.

What a crazy week its been!  With Spanish Conference, Zone Training, my Birthday, great lessons, and "killing off" Elder Swan, we've been so busy! 
Spanish Conference was amazing!  It was so crazy to think that it was my last one.  It was especially crazy when I was asked to give my "final testimony".  It was so great to see all the Elders and Hermanas.  It truly is a pleasure to be counted among them in our small family of Spanish Missionaries.  I've learned tons serving by their sides.
Elder Kummerman & Elder Paddock

The Dying Spanish Missionaries

Our Group

Spanish Conference

Zone Training

a great picture Elder Garff's mom posted on FB

I feel super blessed to have the missionaries that we have in our zone.  Coincidentally, Zone Training and my birthday landed on the same day.  The zone sang me happy birthday and even brought a pinata and afterwards all the Elders went out to Red Robin to eat, followed by tracting in an area where every single person we talked to said, "This place is dangerous.  Be Careful. You probably shouldn't be here."  It was great!  We ended up finding a SUPER solid person in that area!   It was a great day!  
Before Birthday Cake Face Smash

After Birthday Cake Face Smash

A great birthday tie (which I'm wearing right now) and
4lbs of Jelly Beans (which are almost gone already)

We also had an amazing lesson with Jose this week!  We met him at the church, did a church tour, in which the Spirit was present so strongly the entire time!  I truly felt guided as we talked to him about the importance of church and baptism.  At the end of the visit, we showed him the baptismal font.  I remember looking at him and he had a very thoughtful look on his face.  I remember saying to him, "You know you want to be baptized.  You've told me so. When are we going to do it?"  We talked about a plan to get to that day and set the goal for the 19th of September.  After which we all knelt down and he offered a prayer asking the Lord if that's what he should do.  He said he felt good about it so we're proceeding forward towards that goal!  

Elder Swan and I

the Trio this cold, and rainy morning

"Killing off" Elder Swan was probably one of the hardest things I've done on the mission.  Being an Elder's last companion isn't easy, especially since they're usually really excited about going home and starting new things that it's hard to keep them focused and in turn it distracts their companion.  Elder Swan did great though, working hard all the way to the end.  We dropped him off this morning to the AP's who will take him to Omaha until he flies out to San Diego on Wednesday.  The past 18 weeks with him have been so great!  He became one of my best friends and my favorite companion.  Every day was fun!  The Zone loves him and they were sad to see him go as well.  Luckily though he's going to BYU so I'll see him soon enough.     

I hope you all had a great week!   Thank you for all the birthday wishes.  You're the best! 
Lots of Love,
Elder Paddock

Sis Flory and her family feed us every Saturday Morning. 
Bro Flory is the Branch Mission Leader so we have our
coordination meeting with him and they feed us pancakes.
 I'm ok with it :) 
Sis Flory posted these pics on her FB

Angel posted this on his FB with the caption
"The amazing missionaries that help
us get closer to our savior"

Angel also posted this on FB "Meeting with the hermanos"

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Such a Fun, Crazy Week


Sunset over the Missouri

Ever since Monday after emails, the week's been jam-packed with miracles and fun.  Its been an incredibly joyful week.  
We've been so busy with a ton of meetings and Exchanges this week that it took a ton of time out of our area.  After a great exchange with the Norfolk English Elders (one of which, Elder Jones, is from Hurricane and his dad taught ceramics at PV for a while), we headed back to Sioux City to get everything ready for Interviews with President Gardner the next day.  
My Interview with President was really good.  We talked about the fact that you only serve a mission once.  I asked him what I could do in these past few months to finish stronger than ever and the only advice he gave me was "put everything off that you can until you get home and work, work, work."  I plan to do just that!    He also asked me how I'd changed over the past 22 months.  That's a huge question.  I listed off a couple of the things that I've noticed are different and he pointed out to me that all of those changes are the Lord preparing me for the future.  He said, "Elder,  the most important people you'll ever teach are not the ones you're teaching right now.  They're your wife and children.  The Lord's preparing you and changing you so that you'll be an incredibly prepared husband and father to help bring them back to the presence of God."  
Weekly Planning

Preparation for this week's Spanish Conference

That awkward moment when the guy you have an 
appointment with is asleep in his hammock
 when you show up...

On top of a great interview and a great exchange, we also had a great Missionary Leadership Council where a lot of the rules were discussed and we also received some great training on how to be short and simple in our lessons.  The AP's gave a really good training on how we can use the pamphlet to teach the entire Restoration Message in under 8 minutes, and then invited us to try it out over these next few weeks before Zone Conference. 
We've seen tons of success with it already.  When we go tracting now, we use the pamphlet to teach powerfully and simply this great message of God's love and invite them to learn more.  Its incredible how when people tell you they're "busy" and then you tell them the visit will only take about 10 minutes, all of a sudden they seem to have time and they're more willing to talk to you, especially Hispanics!  We ended up finding 5 new investigators using this tactic this week! 
Branch Party

On top of all those great things, we also had a great Branch Party, part of which was a contest of Horchata with the two judges Don Juan Carlos and Senor Cisne (Me and Elder Swan).  That on top of a huge game of Futbol and some really good food and a ton of Less-Actives and investigators showing up and getting fellowshipped makes for one great night!  

I hope you also had a good week!  I love you!
Elder Paddock

Last Night's crazy storm