Tuesday, July 24, 2012

07.23.2012 "Hot Weeks in Harrison"

Hello Everyone,

I haven't had much time to send emails these last few weeks, but this week I have a little more time, so I wanted to try to catch everyone up on a few things that have been going on lately.

Elder Piena and I just finished the second week of the transfer here. It's already going by fast! It's been pretty hot here lately, and I'm glad to have an air conditioner in the apartment, even if it's just one of those window ones. It's made for a window that slides up and down though, and we have one that slides sideways, so we had to kind of jerry-rig it into the window. But with a $12 piece of plexiglass, a stick, a bunch of clear tape, and a few old socks, we managed to get it sealed off pretty well.

Elder Piena had a bit of a shock last Monday after emails. He got an email telling him that his grandma who lived in Hawaii had died. It wasn't much fun, and seemed pretty down for a couple days, although he's doing better now. I guess it was kind of a sudden thing and wasn't expected. He seems to be doing pretty well though. It's good having a knowledge of the Gospel and knowing what happens after we do die, and also knowing the mercy of Heavenly Father and the plan that he has for our families.

We've moved cattle a couple more times over the last few weeks, but nothing too crazy. We also helped Brother Hileman put up an electric fence around a six or seven acre field. That was fun too, and it was a pretty good experience. Now I know a little more about putting up temporary fences (it's called a temporary fence, but it can last up to 20 years). We helped with some parts of it, and then he finished it up and got it hooked up to the charger, or the solar-powered power box that electrifies the fence, so I never had to worry about being zapped.

A couple weeks ago I had two dogs pee on my backpack, as it sat on the floor, in the same week! I had to scrub the whole thing down and spray it with this pet odor killing spray. It was not fun.

We've also had some fun with the bikes lately. My bike has been having some trouble for the last little while, and it's been needing some repairs. However, Sunday night we were visiting someone on the other side of town, and just before we got to their house my back tire suddenly seized up and wouldn't turn. We went in for the appointment, and after the lesson came out and started walking the bikes home. I found out it's really tiring to try to lift the back tire off the ground and walk with the bike. We walked about half a mile with me awkwardly carrying it sideways, and then I gave up and threw the bike over my shoulders, and walked the last mile or so home with it. I was pretty sore by the time I got home, and we got back late.

There was a member last Monday named Sister Rogers who offered to take us shopping at the grocery store here in Harrison. We met here there an she told us to go fill up our basket with food that we wanted and that we didn't get very often, and she would pay for it. It was really nice of her. By the time we were done, we had about $150 worth of groceries between the two of us. I felt kind of bad about it, even though she didn't mind at all, and we thanked her several times. Then we were talking to another member the next day, and we found out that that's something that she has done a lot in the past for the missionaries, every now and then. And we also found out that most of those missionaries would get about $200 to $250 worth of food. Hearing that made me feel a little better, but it also kind of made me feel like I should have gotten a few more frozen pizzas and maybe some ice cream! Sister Rogers used to have the missionaries over for dinner often though, until she stopped being able to because of a medical condition she had. So she decided to just take them out shopping every now and then. It was pretty nice!

Oh, and before I forget, it's always fun to embarrass people publicly by singing Happy Birthday, so... Happy Birthday to you! Happy birthday to you. Happy Birthday Dear Heather! Happy Birthday to You! Cha cha cha...  That's great that you're turning 12!

We had a pretty good lesson a couple weeks ago that I liked and thought I might tell about on here. We were talking with an investigator named Nicole about the Word of Wisdom a little bit. She had heard a little about it before, and she likes coffee and some tea so she wasn't sure why those things would be part of a health commandment. She started off by telling us about how she felt like science and religion were mean to work together. We agreed, and talking about that lead perfectly into why we keep the Word of Wisdom. I've heard people give lots of different specific explanations before about why certain things are prohibited in the Word of Wisdom. But the real reason why we keep the Word of Wisdom is not for scientific reasons. It is because it is a commandment of God. We talked about how we're all trying to learn truth, and about the world around us. One way that we can learn is from God, the source of all truth, the creator of Heaven and Earth. Another source we use to learn and find truth is through our own experimentation, through "science". Now, we know that the current scientific theories are always changing. Just a few hundred years ago, the best scientists of the time still taught that the world was flat, and that the universe revolved around the earth. Today the different scientific theories are still being debated and changed. Why should we think that suddenly we've already figured everything out on our own and know everything?

However, we have another source of truth that we have access to- a loving Father in Heaven. He wants us to understand our purpose here, and what we need to do here. And so he's taught those things to us, through the prophets and through the scriptures. We also know that what God teaches us is always true and never changes- See Mormon 9:10. So when scientific knowledge and the commandments and teachings of God seem to conflict, which is it that we should give heed to? The commandments of God always supersede what scientific evidence happen to tell us at the time. So why do we keep the Word of Wisdom? Because it is a commandment of God through his prophets. One we'll learn more about the reasoning why that commandment was given, but for now we can be content to trust in the Lord and keep his commandment.

When we talked about this, it really helped her understand it better. I felt that the Spirit was there and was helping me to know how to explain it to her in a way that would help her the most. It is always fun being able to teach by the Spirit and see it really help someone. It's a good feeling to have the Spirit speak through you. I love how simple the gospel really is, no matter how hard we try to complicate it. I know that keeping the commandments allows the Lord to bless us, and that we can keep the commandments because we love the Lord and trust Him, even when we don't know all the reasons for the commandment in the first place.

The Lord has blessed me quite a bit over these last few weeks. I feel like I understand the gospel much better, and I'm excited to teach it to other people. I love studying in the mornings, and the Lord is teaching me so much. I know that the Lord blesses us for working hard to magnify, or faithfully fulfill, our callings.

I hope that you all have a good week, and I'll hopefully get to email more of you back this next week. Love you all!

Elder Trevor Casper

07.16.2012 "Reply to Mom's Email"

I'm short on time.

I have no time to send an email out to everyone. Will you please apologize for me? I have stuff I want to talk about, but I always seem to run out of time. Tell everyone that I'll email them back next week, and maybe send a few pictures too. Things are going well here though. This last week was a busy and good week, the busiest in a long while. Can you pass that along also? And that I'm continuing to see the blessings of the Lord. I know the Gospel is true, and that God is there, and that the scriptures are His word.

Love you Mom, Bye!!

Elder Trevor Casper

07.09.2012 "New Transfer in Harrison"

Hello Everyone,

I have time for a quick letter this week. Hopefully everyone had a good Fourth of July! Ours wasn't too bad. We had fun watching the fireworks this year. It was about a 20 minute show, which isn't too bad for a town the size of Harrison. There's probably only a few thousand people here.

There's been a lot going on these last few weeks. And last week was Hot! And not only hot, but very humid. Everyone kept asking us why we were out in the heat dressed "like that". We actually were biking around too for the first part of the week, until Thursday when we got the car. Once I got used to just being drenched after a minute or two of being outside, the heat wasn't really all that bad though. I think the Lord blessed us for still going out in the heat, because we met a few promising people we're hoping to visit again this week. It wasn't a bad week at all.

The time is just flying by, which I'm not sure I'm happy about. I'm nearly at a year and a half now, which is strange. Oh, and transfer calls were this last Friday, and I found out that we're both staying here for another transfer! That makes Elder Piena my fourth two-transfer companion in a row. He's a pretty good guy, although he's a little quiet sometimes. I don't now how much I've said about him in the past. He's from Nevada and was born there, but his parents are from Hawaii (his dad is in the military).

Ummm... I'll have to tell you more about him in the future. Our Branch President has just showed up in the library. He's having us over for dinner tonight and it looks like I'll have to get going.

Oh yeah, and here's a quick picture of me holding some swords that one of our investigators has, and also a picture of Elder Piena and I outside an Amish store a few miles west of Clare (in our area)

Love you all! Talk to you next week, hopefully I have more time then,

Elder Trevor Casper

07.02.2012 "Sorry, Out of Time"

Friends and Family,

Sorry, no time to email this week, but I will talk to everyone next week! Transfer calls are this Friday, so I'll be letting everyone know this next week what happens. Love you all, talk to you next week! I'll try to send a picture or two also.

Elder Casper

Monday, July 2, 2012

06.25.2012 "My Third Transfer in Harrison is Flying By"

Hello Everyone,

This last week, things have been going pretty well here in Harrison. I've been having a good time, and we've been working hard here. I've definitely been blessed, and I've felt the guidance of the Spirit in this work. That's something that's been a great blessing to me since I've come out here. Before my mission, I didn't really understand how to recognize and understand the promptings of the Spirit. The Lord has blessed me immensely by helping me learn more on my mission about how to do that. If we're not listening for them, they can be difficult to recognize. We also have to be keeping the commandments so that we can be in tune with the Spirit. It works quite a bit like tuning a radio to avoid the static and get the right signal, actually. I see time and time again how the Lord really does care about us and is always ready to help us. Sometimes we go through difficult experiences, and that's part of this life and we need to be patient. But I know, because I've experienced it myself, that when we really humble ourselves, when we are become submissive to Heavenly Father and are really willing to put aside what we think or think we want, and we listen to know what it is that Heavenly Father want's us to do, he blesses us with that guidance. He wants us to come back to live with him again, and He's going to help us however we can to get back there. How comforting is that? I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a million ways and I am so grateful to have a knowledge of it. I know that it is true.

We helped out Brother Hileman a little more this last week with his cattle. Here's a quick picture of his big bull, one that we worked with a couple weeks ago. He weighs somewhere around 2300 or 2500 lbs. We don't want to mess with him! At least he has no horns. We loaded him onto a trailer with a few other cows.

We got a lot of rain this last week, but luckily we had the car. Because we had it, we were also able to make it out to Gladwin this week, which is about 20 miles from Harrison, and visit some of the people there. We were able to teach a good number of people this last week, and we also are going to be seeing a couple referrals this next week that seem really promising and interested in learning about what we have to teach.

I made a key lime pie this week for the first time in a while. I think we're planning on eating a couple pieces, and then we're going to give a few to some of the other people we teach. We're thinking of giving a few of the pieces to other people we teach, and leaving a note on the plate and the plate on the porch and doorbell ditching their houses. The only problem is, the days are long and it's still bright outside at 9:30 when we need to be home. The people we're thinking of have big front yards too. So it'll be interesting to see how it works out.

I found a couple scriptures this morning I liked. It was 2 Nephi 26:12-13. I've been thinking about that the last few days. I love how Jesus Christ doesn't want to leave us in the dark, and how He has promised that He will reveal Himself unto us by the Holy Ghost, and won't just leave us guessing at the truth. I love being able to promise the people that we teach that they really can know that God is there, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that the things that we teach them are true. They can really know it. They can know it through the Holy Ghost.

I'm out of time but I love you all! Have a great week everyone.

Elder Trevor Casper

06.18.2012 "Sad News"

Note:  Trevor did not send a general letter this week.  As mom, I pulled rank and asked him to write to the Anderson family instead.  They are our friends and the mom, Karla, passed away in early June.  I felt they needed to get a comforting message.

06.12.2012 "Busy Day in Harrison"

Hello Everyone,

I'm a little worn out today. This is going to have to be a short letter. Yesterday was a busy day here. It was our P-day, but we went to go do some service for Brother Hileman at his farm moving some cattle because he needed our help. It was only supposed to take a few hours, but in the end it took most of the day. He picked us up at 8:00 in the morning, and we were dropped back off at around 5:00.

We spent most of the time moving some cattle around to different places in his farm, and then moving a few into pens, and then into a trailer, because he was taking them to graze for a while at someone else's farm. It was actually a lot of fun, and we had a good time. Next time we go over to help, I'll have to take some pictures. There were a few problems that we had, which is partly why we took so much longer than we expected, but all in all we got done what we needed to. Something else that took a little longer is that we found a cow in the morning that was very close to delivering a calf. We decided to leave her alone for a little while to rest and check back on her in an hour or two. But when we came back later on, it was not going well. It was the cow's first time delivering a calf, and the calf was really big (about 110 pounds he said, which is apparently pretty big for that kind of cow). We brought her into the barn, then went in for lunch. Brother Hileman left halfway through lunch to go help the cow with the calf. he helped pull the calf out with some chains. We met up with him after we finished eating, and unfortunately, the calf hadn't make it. It had been gone since before we first found the mother that morning. So had to take it back to the back of the property (Brother Hileman has about 70 or 80 acres). It was pretty sad.

All in all it was a pretty busy and unusual day. It was fun getting the experience of herding cattle though, I really enjoyed it.

One thing that I've thought about this last week has been the importance of love in all aspects of the work of the Lord. In a Leadership Training Meeting, President Hess talked about John 15, which is a really good chapter that describes the relationship between us and the Lord when we are in his service. Keeping the commandments and love unfeigned are both critical to everything our Heavenly does, and everything that we do in his service. It gave me a lot to think about. I love how I am always learning and the Lord continues to teach me.

I love you all, and hope you have a good week. Did everyone see Megan's Graduation Announcement? The pictures turned out really good! It looks nice.

Bye everyone!

Elder Trevor Casper