Saturday, June 25, 2011

06.15.2011 "Great Week in Rainy Allegan, MI"

Hello Everyone,

I hope that the last week has been going well. It sounds like there've been a lot of different things going on back at home, so that's good. Summer is coming on in full force it seems! It sounds like the weather has been pretty crazy there too. It's actually been about the same for us here. It's been overcast almost every day this week, except today it's completely clear. But up until now, it's been raining on and off almost every day, and they clouds have been moving quickly across the sky so the weather keeps changing every 5 minutes. We've had some hail and high winds here in Allegan too, but luckily we missed that in our part of town. We still got some pretty intense rain and winds for a few minutes though. We've even had a couple small tornados touch down near the city. Yesterday, the tornado siren even went off. It was odd, because the weather was actually pretty calm right then, just cloudy. But who knows, two miles away it could have been completely different. Rain isn't much good for missionaries, especially when we don't have a car. I dont' even mind being soaked that much, but then everything else you have gets soaked too, like your planner and pass-along cards, so it makes it almost impossible to go out if it's raining hard (unless we have an appointment). But it's been clearing up a lot, and it looks like it might be nice this next week here.

We're not going fishing today, but we might next week. I'm a little addicted now, so that should be fun and I'm looking forward to it. We also had the opportunity to do some service yesterday. Brother Subacz, the Branch Mission Leader, had some materials and equipment that he was keeping in storage in an old friend's barn. Sadly, the old friend is starting to have many mental problems, including Alzheimers, demetia, and bi-polar-ness among other things. As a result, he is very unstable right now. Brother Subacz has been worrying about him for weeks. Yesterday morning he actually ran into his old friend in the store, and was told that he needed to get all his stuff out his friends barn that day. Brother Subacz was desperate, so he called us, and we spent about 3 or 4 hours moving it all out. It was kind of fun actually. Brother Subacz was really worried that his friend might be unstable while we were there, but the whole time we were moving stuff out he was in a good mood and was very helpful. It also looked like it was going to rain the whole time, but we didn't get one drop. The Lord blessed us and everything ended up working out perfectly without any problems at all. Brother Subacz was so relieved! He and his wife took us out to dinner afterwards, and we decided to go to a 50's style diner in town. When we got there, I found out that they had a deal going on for unlimited fish and fries for only $6.50! I was so excited, haha. Those are two of my favorite foods. It was pretty good, and it felt great to have a good meal after a few hours of heavy manual labor. It was a great day, especially since that morning we had taught someone we had met and they became a new investigator. That's one of the best feelings all week long, when we get a new investigator :) .

We've found a couple new invesigators this week, which is pretty exciting. So as of now, here in Allegan we're teaching Jeff, Scott, Chiquita, Jeremy, Stephen (pronounced steffen, sorry Stephen), Maureen, Archie, Dan, and Sherry. The Lord has been pouring out blessings on us, and I know that the work is ready to progress forward. He has promised great blessings for this area, and even miracles, and we're already starting to see that. Things are happening that we didn't even think were possible before we came here. Elder Ralphs and I are both completely different people than we were 3 weeks ago. The Lord has been preparing us to do His work here in Allegan, and he's been strengthening our weaknesses. These scriptures come to mind:

2 Nephi 4:15-16, 19 (second 1/2)
Ether 12: 6, 12-13, 23, 26-29, 35

We will be the instruments that the Lord needs us to be so that His work will be brought to pass here. I love the scriptures and especially the Book of Mormon, and I ponder over the things that I have read and recieved continually. I'm learning more and more how to recognize the Spirit and understand his promptings. I know that the Lord loves me, and I'm coming to love the people here in Allegan, and my companion, more and more. I love this work, and it's a great blessing to be a missionary in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a key part of the great work of these last days and of our Heavenly Father's plan, established before the foundations of this world.

I love you all,
Elder Trevor Casper

Sunday, June 19, 2011

06.19.2011 "Fishing in Allegan!"

Hello Everyone!

I'm sorry, but I'm out of time again to email this week, so this email might be even shorter! This last week has been great, and there has been so much going on. I have had many spiritual experiences, and my companion and I are very different people than we were a week ago. The Lord truly is guiding his work, and he is preparing and blessing His servants for the work they have ahead of them. By the way, transfer calls were again this week. They are a week early this time because the new mission president is coming in soon, and President Jones didn't want to make the new president have to deal with that right when he came in. So this transfer was 5 weeks, and the next one is 7 weeks. It turns out that I'm actually staying this time too! Both Elder Ralphs and I are staying, and we're pretty excited about that. The Lord has a lot of work here for us to do, and this next transfer is going to be amazing. The experiences that we've had this last transfer and especially this last week have really prepared us for the work that will come forth over the next 7 weeks. It is truly a great blessing to serve the Lord. I have never felt closer to Him in my entire life.

One last thing before I go. We're actually going fishing again today! I bought a license yesterday, and I plan to use it as much as I can before it expires. So we'll be fishing for a while today, and I hope we catch some fish to eat! I'll have to tell everyone how it goes. Have a great week and a great summer everyone. I love you, and pray for you.

Elder Trevor Casper

Saturday, June 11, 2011

06.11.2011 "Another Week in Allegan"

Hello Everyone!

I have very limited time this week, so this letter will be quite short. More of a status update, actually.

This week went really well. It was pretty hot, and lots of bike riding again, but we worked hard and were able to get a lot of things done. We had a number of spiritual experinces and tender mercies from the Lord, and it was a remarkable week. And today was pretty fun too. Its actually free fishing day here in Michigan, so you don't need a license to fish today. Luckily, this coincided with our P-day, and Elder Ralphs and I borrowed some poles and tackle today and fished in a lake near a member's home. We caught a number of bluegill, which was really fun! I've forgotten how much I enjoy fishing... especially when I actually catch fish. So that was a good experience. I wish I had more time to relate some of the many spiritual experience that we've had this week as well. There have been so many! The Lord's hand truly is in His work, and He truly does love all His children more than we comprehend. I know that he is watching out for me, and for everyone back at home as well :)

I'm sorry this is so short, but I promise there will be more next week!

Elder Trevor Casper

Monday, June 6, 2011

06.04.2011 "Another Busy Week in Allegan"

Hello Everyone!

Well I again am running a little short on time, unfortunately. But this last week has been really great here. Weather-wise, it hasn't been my favorite. Sunday it rained so hard, there were tornado warnings going off in other nearby areas to ours. In fact, I think there was a tornado in anothe part of south-eastern Michigan. But all we got in Allegan was tons and tons of rain. We got a call from the District Leader telling us that we needed to stay inside, so we were stuck in our apartment for most of the day. Later in the week, it got really hot.

Monday, we ended up going on a 25 mile bike ride to and around a nearby city named Otsego. With the temperature near ninety and the humidity pretty high, we were not having much fun at all. We're almost positive that Elder Ralphs was starting to get heat exhaustion near the end. Luckily, the Lord blessed us, and as we were riding down the road we ran into one of the few members living in Otsego, who offered to give us a ride back to Allegan, saving us another 10 miles. We were very grateful for that, and it was a tender mercy to us. 

Tuesday was even hotter and more humid, but we stayed in Allegan. Since then it's been getting a lot nicer here in Allegan. I heard that Idaho has been getting a lot of rain and stormy weather lately. If it hasn't been your favorite, at least be glad that it doesn't have 70 or 80% humidity too! I'm still trying to get used to that here.

This week things have been coming together really well. We've been praying hard this week, and on Thursday we both fasted all day. The Lord is definitely blessing us for that. We also got two new investigators this week, which is really cool and exciting. We're planning on many more in the upcoming weeks.

Things have been difficult, and we've both had our trials and struggles. But as we've tried hard to be humble and obedient, and do everything that the Lord has asked us to do, and to fast and pray and forget ourselves in the work, the Lord has poured out his blessings upon us. We know that the Lord has great things in store for Allegan, and that he needs us to do everything that we can so that we can accomplish what he has called us here to do. We've seen the truth in the scripture that says "He who loses his life for my sake, shall find it". As we've worked will all our hearts to serve the Lord, he has blessed us with additional strength to overcome our trials and hardships, and bear our afflictions. He loves these people in the Allegan area and wants them to be able to come unto Him and to be converted to the fullness of his Gospel, and His true Church on the earth. Our message as missionaries is about how God has restored the fullness of his Gospel and truths about the Plan of Salvation to the Earth through the prophet Joseph Smith, and that the Book of Mormon is the evidence that we have to know that this is true.

I have read and studied and prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true, and I can truly look people in the eyes and tell them that I Know that it is the word of God. I Know that Joseph Smith was the Lord's prophet, and that all the prophets since him have been called by God and hold that same priesthood authority. The only way to truly know the truth of these things is through the Holy Ghost, and I have been taught by the Holy Ghost and have recieved a knowlege of these things for myself. The Holy Ghost can impress these things on our minds and help us to know them more surely than we know anything else in this world. Most importantly, by the same power I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that this is His true and everlasting gospel that I am teaching, and everyting that he does is for our benefit. We can put our trust in Him and His promises, and the promises of His prophets. He is the rock of our foundation, a foundation whereon if men build, they cannot fall. I know that this is true, and that the scriptures are true. Read the scriptures every day, particularly the Book of Mormon, and pray with sincerity of heart, which faith in Christ, and with real intent to know if these things are true for yourself. Fast and pray, as Alma the Younger did in Alma 5, so that you can have a sure knowlege of these things for yourself. Build a foundation on which you cannot fall.

Have a great week everyone. Stay positive, and look for the ways that the Lord has blessed your life. Pray to be able to recognize them.

Elder Trevor Casper

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

05.28.2011 Getting Used to Allegan

Hey Everyone,

I'm sorry, but this week is going to be another short email I think. This week was another interesting one, and while it's been a long and somewhat difficult week, I've learned a lot and I think it's helped me quite a bit.

The weather here in Allegan has been pretty crazy this week. Luckily is hasn't been too hot, but we've also got quite a bit of rain. It's not much fun being out in the rain as a missionary, but the worst of the rain hit Wednesday morning. It was raining as hard as I've ever seen it in my life, but we were in a district meeting all morning and then driving home after that, so we missed the worst of it. But this week has been partly cloudy and cool for the most part, which is great for missionary work and I'm just fine with it.

We're still trying to get things going in this area, and we've knocked on hundreds of doors so far looking for people that the Lord has prepared to recieve his full gospel. We've found a few who are interested, and we know that we're going to find more and that some pretty amazing things are going to start happening in this area. Elder Ralphs and I had a good talk yesterday, and we talked about some things that we could both do better. I really can see how the Lord is blessing us and helping us in His work. It's not easy work at all, but I've grown a lot even in this short time, and I've learned a lot. I still have a lot to work on, but the Lord is teaching me and preparing me, and giving me experiences for my good and to help me be a better missionary. I've seen many answers to prayers, and I know that he is mindful of me and my companion.

We're actually both giving talks this Sunday, and we're supposed to take up the entire time between the two of us. The branch apparently likes to make new missionaries speak in Sacrament meeting, haha. Luckily, the topic that we're speaking on is the Book of Mormon, and that's something that we already talk about a lot as missionaries. It'll be cool to get to talk about it in Sacrament meeting too, and tell people about my experiences with it. It really is an amazing in invaluable blessing to have the Book of Mormon.

I hope everyone has a great week and finds something to smile about :) . 

Elder Trevor Casper