Monday, October 31, 2011

10.31.2011 "First Week of Second Transfer in St. Johns- Halloween" (RC)

Hello Everyone!

I should have a few minutes to get to send an email this week. It all depends on if the computer renews my log-in and gives me fifteen more minutes. We'll see I guess!

Things have been pretty good here this last week. It's been a little rainy, and in the 30's at night and 40's during the day. I'm so glad that I finally got my coat back! I think I forgot to mention this, but I actually left my coat back in Harrison about six months ago. I just barely got it back a couple weeks ago, and it was perfect timing.

I had a bunch of notes that I jotted down of things that I wanted to tell everyone about over the last few weeks. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of what's been going on here:

OH NO! It didn't renew. Only 5 minutes left. Ok, I'll hit the important points and save the rest for next time. Sorry Mom, I'll answer all the questions later.

One of the main highlights this week was the Northern Lights!!! I saw them better than I ever have before on Tuesday night. We just got home from a dinner appointment and lesson with a new member. We got out of our car at our apartment, looked up, and there they were! It was pretty spectacular and impressive, although they were still fairly faint since we were so far south. There was green, and a little purple, and deep red. It was so pretty! I'll try to send some pictures I attempted to take in the next email.

I got a new backpack this week! It is awesome and has a lifetime warranty. Thanks Mom!

I got a big huge box of candy in the mail from Brother Owens. It probably weighs ten pounds. I have been eating way too much this last week!

Well, I had a few other things, but that's it for now. Have a great week everyone! Love you all and have a Happy Halloween!!!

Elder Trevor Casper

Monday, October 24, 2011

10.24.2011 "Oh No!" (posted by Rebecca)

Hi Everyone,

I'm really sorry, but the computer did something weird and cut me out of some of my time, so I only have about a minute left. I guess that I'll have to fill you in and answer questions next week. Sorry everyone. Things are going well though for me. Hope everyone has a good week!

Love, Elder Casper

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10.17.2011 Another Week in St. Johns (posted by Rebecca)

Hi Everyone,

This week has been pretty good here. The weather has gotten a little colder, and we've had some rain in the 40's, but still no snow yet! Has it snowed again in Idaho Falls since that first time?

Things are going well with Elder Sheppard and me. He's not a brand new missionary, but he had only been out two transfers when I first got here. He's a really good guy though, and we have a lot of fun sometimes.

My mom sent me a few questions that she wanted me to answer in my email home this week:

How many appointments did you teach last week?
This last week we actually taught about 10. That is about average for the last few weeks, but Elder Sheppard and I are working on getting in contact with more people so that we can teach at least 15 this week. We're hoping to work up to 20 in the next few weeks, if not this one.

Do you meet more people through tracting, referrals or some other method?
Right now... It's a little difficult to say. We've been spending more of our time teaching than finding lately. Some of the people in this branch here are really good about sharing the gospel with others and giving referrals when they can. We also find new investigators through door knocking, especially in other areas that I've been in. Each is different.  Other ways to find new people to teach is by visiting with part-member families, personal contacting when we meet people on the street, church headquarters referrals (from temples and, and they aren't very common. Usually only about one every two or three transfers), and a whole list of other ways in Chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel.

Do you ever have car trouble?
Not usually. The most car trouble I've ever had so far is having to replace a broken windshield wiper blade. The cars are maintained well so that we will have as few problems as possible.

Tell us the names of your investigators.
Right now our investigators are:
1.                   Darnel Williams- He lives in another Branch's boundaries. We were teaching him for a while, but now he has been successfully transitioned up to the Ithaca Branch. He is such a great guy. He's actually getting baptized this next Sunday, and he's pretty excited.
2.                   Gale Junion-metz - She is really nice and has been a devout Lutheran her whole life. She loves the Bible and right now is reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it to know that it is the word of God, and what it claims to be. We're teaching her more in the meantime and reading with her and helping her to feel the Spirit. She knows that God will answer her prayers.
3.                  Brother Robinson- He is the non-member husband of a less-active sister. Lately they've been coming to church pretty regularly, and the Branch leadership is working with them to help them out. They've been a little hard to get ahold of lately, so we're hoping to meet with them soon. He is planning on getting baptized in November.
4.                   We have some other investigators, but we're trying to just get in touch with them right now and set up appointments.
5.                   Lately, a lot of the work we have been doing here is meeting with less-active members and the Anderson family where the Mom is a recent convert. Sister Anderson is doing really well, but is having a hard time with a part of the Word of Wisdom. We're helping her with that. They're both doing really well though and we love visiting them.

What did you have for breakfast today?
Breakfast is different every day. Today... I ate a golden delicious apple and a piece of toast, half smothered in creamy peanut butter and the other half smothered in nutella, folded over. It was pretty good, I just tried it for the first time yesterday.
I was part of a trade-off this last Wednesday and spent the day in Lansing with Elder Coon. It was a pretty good day, although a little hectic! We taught seven people that day. The missionaries there are working really hard and have many appointments each week. We're working on helping the area here to reach the same point. We love being busy! Missionary work is happy work, really.

I see so many blessings in this work. I know that the Lord is helping to strengthen me and refine me. This work isn't easy, and sometimes things are very difficult or stressful. But because of that, I can testify that I know our Heavenly Father hears our prayers, and loves and watches out for each one of His children. He may not always answer prayers in the way that we hope He will, but He always does. He may not always take our burdens away, but He will always give us strength to bear them, even as the people of Alma in Mosiah 34. I know that this is The Church of Jesus Christ. He is at the head of His church and directs us through His chosen servants. This work that I am in is His work, and He directs it as well. I know more than anything else that the Lord loves me and He will always be there for me. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I know that it is true. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can find true happiness in this life and in the life to come.

Listen to the words of our living prophets and study the Book of Mormon daily.

I love you all. Have a great week!

Elder Trevor Casper

Monday, October 10, 2011

10.10.2011 "Halfway through the Transfer... Already?" (posted by mom)

Hello Everyone,

Things here in St. Johns are going pretty well. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but we actually live in Dewitt, which is about ten miles south of St. Johns. Dewitt is kind of a suburb of Lansing. Much of the town is neighborhoods, and most of the houses aren't too bad. Some of them are pretty nice. The speed limit throughout a lot of the town is 25, which is a little ridiculous, but it's nice place to serve. There is also a bakery downtown named Sweetie-licious, which is a really cool place. I'll have to tell you more about that later because I'm short on time, as always. 

Things are going great here with missionary work. We have a couple investigators that we're working with here that are doing really well. One investigator named Darnel Williams is getting baptized either this weekend or the next. We've been teaching him because we met him through a member in our area, but he actually lives in another area and branch, so we've been transitioning him over to there, which is going really well. He's such a great guy, and it's a great blessing to be able to see the fruits of the gospel and of repentance change his life. He keeps asking for chapters in the scriptures to read and we always love finding more for him to study that will help him. 

We're also meeting with some other investigators and less-active members and helping them. There is a lot of work to do in this area, and we're meeting with the Branch President and our new Branch Mission Leader later this week to talk about and plan how we can help the people in this area. We're excited because we really feel like this area is going to pick up a lot and we'll be able to find many more investigators to teach. We and the future missionaries here will be able to make a difference in the lives of many people.

This last Sunday was a stake Conference, and it was great. They were actually reorganizing the stake and releasing the former stake presidency, so there were two members of the Seventy there and both spoke. It was a privilege to be able to hear what they had to say. They taught about how stake presidencies are called and they taught from the Old Testament about how this is a pattern that has always been used by the Lord. I know that this Church is the true and especially living Church of Jesus Christ. I am blessed in countless ways to serve here and I know that the experiences that I'm having here and the things I'm learning are going to bless me for the rest of my life and help to prepare me for what I will do later. 

Did anyone get to see the Relief Society Broadcast of General Conference? I've been listening to some of the talks and some of the things they taught have really stood out to me. Elder Uchtdorf actually spoke in that session, and I really like the talk that he gave. If anyone didn't get a chance to see that session, they should watch it online.

I hope that everyone has a great week and doesn't freeze from the early snows in Idaho Falls!

Love you all,
Elder Trevor Casper

Monday, October 3, 2011

10.03.2011 "General & Zone Conferences" (posted by rebecca)

Dear Everyone,

How are you all this week? This week has been a pretty busy one for us here. Things are going well, and I really like the branch here, even though I haven't met everyone yet. We have several investigators that we're excited about, and missionary work is going well. 

This last week we had our quarterly Zone Conference at the Stake Center in Lansing. We got to hear from our Zone Leaders, Assistants to the President, Sister Hess, and President Hess. I love zone conferences. They are always special experiences. There had been questions I was having in the days and weeks before the meeting about what I needed to work on and how I could be a better missionary. At times over the last few weeks I also felt overwhelmed and stressed. Some of what President Hess taught us in that zone conference was an answer to my prayers and was exactly what I needed to know. It was a great blessing to be able to be there, and as he spoke I was able to listen to what the Spirit taught me that I needed to do. I know that he is called of God to be my mission president.

How did everyone like General Conference? I loved hearing all those talks. Please go online and listen to them if you missed any of them. They were such powerful talks, and it is such a blessing to be able to hear from living prophets. I know there are things in there for each one of you, if you will listen and do what they say. There are great blessings in obedience to the prophets, and what they teach us is God telling us what we need to do and work on right now. I saw many other answers to prayers during conference as I prayed beforehand and listened intently. I received great strength from their words and I know that St.  Johns is where the Lord wants me to be. He will help me to do his work here and to accomplish what I need to.

I'll have to tell you about some of our investigators next week, I'm actually out of time. I hope things are going well back home! It sounds like things are rolling along there like normal, and I hope everything isn't too crazy. Happy Birthday by the way, Stephen! Thank you so much for all your letters and support. I'm going to find time to write back to everyone soon.

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Trevor Casper