Monday, May 21, 2012

05.21.2012 Another Busy Week in Harrison

Hello Everyone,

This last week was a busy one for us!

On Wednesday, the zone leaders in Mt. Pleasant (about 40 minutes south of Harrison) came up and "blitzed" our area with us, meaning that they came up and worked here with us for part of the day so we could get twice as much work done. It was pretty fun! It made for a busy day though.

On Friday we had something called Half Mission P-day. About half the mission went up to Petosky that morning, which is right up on either Lake Michigan or Lake Superior, I can't remember which. It's on the north end of mainland Michigan. It was about a two hour drive from Harrison. We actually got a ride up with President and Sister Hess, along with a few other missionaries. They all left from Lansing, which is another hour and a half south of Harrison, so they had to leave around 5 in the morning to get up to Petosky in time! Luckily we didn't have to get up that early.

We had a lot of fun. There were probably about fifty or so missionaries there, and we had different games that we played with points assigned to the winning districts. There was a three-legged race, a water balloon toss, a relay thing where we had to fill a make ourselves dizzy and then carry cups of water to fill a bucket, and a "jello snarfing" contest (it was fun to watch). Overall, the six missionaries in my district tied for second place, which was fun. We also had some time to just throw frisbees or footballs and just relax. I spend a little time fishing with Elder Porter and a few other missionaries. It was a great time to just relax and visit each other and talk to everyone. It ended around two oclock and we all went back to our own areas. A busy day, but it was fun!

On Sunday we had Stake Conference here in the Midland Stake. It was a great Stake Conference. Elder Haleck of the Seventy, who spoke in last General Conference, was there, and he spoke for about half an hour at the end. Along with him, the Stake President and his wife, President Hess and his wife, and the Detroit Temple President and his wife all spoke. There were a lot of really good talks. One thing that I remember in particular is a talk about the parable of the wheat and the tares. The speaker talked about three lessons he learned from that parable: 1) We can't tell yet whether people are wheat or weeds yet. We don't know how they'll turn out yet, so we really can't judge. 2) The Lord treated all the plants, both the wheat and weeds, as wheat, so they could grow to maturity. We should treat everyone else around us as wheat too. We all do some pretty weed-y things and we make mistakes. But the Lord still treats us as wheat, and He wants us to do that same to each other. 3) The Lord will sort everything out fairly in the end. I really appreciated those comments. I feel like I could treat people more like wheat sometimes, even if they seem to be acting pretty weedy to me. It's not my place to judge people. One of my favorite scriptures, D&C 64:9-11 teaches this pretty well.

I'm out of time, so I'll have to go. I hope you all have a great week! Hopefully its not too hot there. It's been a little warm here. Talk to you next week!

Oh yeah, and transfer calls are this Friday. We'll see what happens!


Elder Trevor Casper

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

05.14.2012 "Fishing in Harrison"

Hey Everyone!

Sorry this is going to be a shortish email. We went fishing today before email and I'm a little limited on time. Sorry! But at least I got to talk to a lot of you yesterday on Mother's Day. That's always really nice.

Fishing was fun today! We got up at five thirty and went in a little bit early to do some morning fishing. All in all, today we caught probably around 20 or so decent sized fish. Most of them are rock bass. Here are a couple pictures. One is a big rock bass that I caught (They're not the biggest fish, so this is a decent sized one. They're still fun to catch though!). I also caught a real bass, a largemouth bass. Unfortunately, the bass aren't in "catch-and-keep" season yet, so I had to release it, but I still got a picture! It was about 15 inches, so if it had been in season, I would have been able to keep it and eat it! (The minimum is 14 inches to keep it). I think I got a bit of a sunburn, which is rare for me and means that I'll probably have a pretty good tan in a couple days. We had a good time.

Since I don't have time to send a separate email, thank you Mom and Dad for sending me pictures. It's always fun to see the cool things that people are doing at home. Keep me updated on your ankle, Heather!

Here's a random tidbit, a thought that I expressed to President Hess in my weekly letter:

Sometimes I get frustrated when I feel like I know what should be done, but I can't for the life of me figure out the best way to do it, and then actually do it that way. I know the importance of doing. But as I type this, I think of the story of Nephi going back to get the plates. He didn't really know what he was doing either that third time, but the Lord showed him the way. Still, the Lord allowed him and his brothers to try on their own twice before he stepped in and guided Nephi and showed him what to do. I know that he often lets us make our own choices and try to figure out our own solutions to problems first, like the Brother of Jared when he needed light. It's something that takes faith. It really comes down to that faith.

One thing that I know really builds that faith in us, that foundation of faith that President Eyring talked about in General Conference (Read that talk, it's great!!) is studying the scriptures each morning. Even if you just start out with baby steps, just reading a few verses a day, it builds a habit that you can then improve on and work on. I've found so much strength, both before my mission and during it, in reading the scriptures each day. I really have a testimony of the power that it brings us during the day. It gives us greater strength to stay on the straight and narrow path, and to understand and endure well through the trials and hardships that come in our lives. I hope all of you try it so that you can see the blessings that come from it.

Love you all! Have a great week and last couple weeks of school!

Elder Trevor Casper

05.07.2012 "Monday Morning"

Hello Everyone!

This is going to be a short letter this week. Things are good here. We have a Zone Conference tomorrow, and that'll be fun. Who knew that I would look forward to six hours worth of meetings in the first half of a day? But Zone Conferences I always look forward to. The Spirit is strong there and I always learn things that I need to know.

We're going fishing again! Wish us luck...

Lately here we've been working with a lot of recent converts. Most of them seem to be doing pretty well, and that is really, really good to see. To see someone baptized and staying active in the church is even better to me than just seeing them baptized. So we're working with the branch to try to help them to build a firm foundation and work toward going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead, and then, later on, going to receive their endowments and get sealed together as families. Missionary work is fun!

I think that going through trial including things that we don't understand are all part of the refining process where our faith is tested. I'm sure that Joseph Smith had a difficult time sitting in liberty jail, after everything he had gone through in New York and then especially in Kirtland and Missouri. He had proved himself to be faithful up to that point. He didn't deserve the situation that he was in. His friends and family didn't deserve the hardships that they went through. Yet, they remained faithful, and that is how they endured well and became even greater saints and leaders in the Church later on. I'm sure that the armies of the Nephites under the command of Helaman, Gid, and Teomner in Alma 58 felt the same way. They had been faithful but had still been heavily battered and discouraged by the war. Yet, they remained faithful, and relied on the Lord for strength, and they found that He had never deserted them. Even on the cross, Jesus Christ cried out "Why hast thou forsaken me?". Yet he was never really alone.

Have a great week, love you all!

Elder Trevr Casper

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

04.30.2012 "Great Weekend"

Hello Everyone!

Just a short letter today; I'm very short on time. This week wasn't too bad! Today is a pretty rainy, but we're going to go fishing anyway. I actually just bought my own tackle box and I'm starting to get a few of some of the basics so I don't have to depend of my companion for them. I've always wanted to learn more about fishing and it's fun to finally be able to.

This last weekend was Sister Winter's baptism and confirmation! It was really cool to see. It's the fourth convert baptism that I've been to on my mission, and the third in my own area. It took a lot of planning, but everything went off great and there weren't really any problems that happened, which was nice. There was a great turnout too, which we were excited about because it showed a lot of support for the Winters family. They're really a nice family, and we like them a lot. Elder Poulsen came down for the baptism and baptized Sister Winters, which was cool. It was good to see him again. His companion is actually Elder Gilson right now, who was one of my companions in the MTC along with Elder Blackhurst. Two other missionaries came, so there were six of us total, and we all had a good experience. Sister Winters was excited for everything too and seemed to have her own special glow all weekend. It was good to be there for her baptism and confirmation. I know that she's on the right track and I am thrilled to think of the blessings that will come as they continue to move forward as a family and work towards going to the temple in a year. Here are a few pictures for everyone.

Love you all, have a good week, and Happy Birthday again, Megan!

Elder Trevor Casper