March 27, 2017


Second Area - Monmouth, OR


Elder Vega

Week 29

Service is the quickest way to open hearts. Not only service rendered to non-members, but to members of the church as well. This week especially, as Elder Vega and I have been called upon to help others, I have seen how the Lord blesses others through our faithful service. More on that later. :)

Tuesday we had the opportunity to have Zone Conference! That means a multi-zone conference where President and Sister Tateoka held trainings, as well as the Assistances to the President. The focus of our Zone Conference was planing. Specifically the area of planning for every single one of our lessons with our investigators. One thing Sister Tateoka focused one was the attributes of a successful missionary, found in the first chapter of Preach My Gospel. As we discussed this list, I felt a great sense of peace and comfort, knowing that what we had read thus far defined my missionary service as successful. I think a struggle I've had so far is not experiences as many baptisms as I had hoped. When, realizing what I need to focus on is my own personal conviction of the gospel, and the testimony I have. My success, I re-learned, is not defined by statistics, but personal gospel conversion. THAT is the message I share with others. Yes Jesus died for them and for me, and yes the Atonement allows us to be more than we could be otherwise, but we have to really believe it, otherwise there is no growth.

Wednesday we had an exchange with the District Leader, Elder Bowen. I'll preface this by saying he's a great missionary with a hilarious sense of humor. :) Unfortunately, he was sick during our exchange. Really sick. He and the bathroom got to know one another that night... if that's any indication. ;) On my end, for most of the day while he slept, I had the privilege of studying more in depth what we had learned the previous day at Zone Conference. Poor Elder Bowen... he got better in time to go visit a couple of people later in the evening. :)

Thursday was the exhausting day of service I mentioned above. We started by planning on painting a "room" (a strip-mall shop) at around 9:00 in the morning before weekly planning. We finished preparing for the day at 7:50, and got a call from a member in the Monmouth 1st Ward that her Hispanic neighbors were moving wood from a recently chopped down tree to a trailer they had. We ran over to help them out before 9:00, and long story short, we were able to help them load almost all the wood into the back of the trailer in 20 minutes. The man we met, Victor Padilla, tried to pay us for helping. Imagine two 19 year old kids telling some older gentleman we CAN'T accept money of any kind for service. :) Instead, he extended the offer to feed us dinner sometime in the nearish future. We were like "sweet!", and moved on. We ended up painting this lady's new office space with primer, so in a couple weeks we can come back and help her finish the actual paint. Both us and the Monmouth 3rd Elders did that project. It took us about two and a half hours to complete, and we still had to weekly plan. We tried something new for weekly planning, thinking switching something up once was going to help us get more productivity out of a planning session, since they are usually at our apartment. We went with the 3rd Elders to a Sushi place for lunch plus weekly planning, and we actually got a ton of things done.

One of those was the Area Book. I'll need to go back in time a little to explain. When I got to Monmouth/Independence three weeks ago, our Area Book was so messy, I couldn't even tell who we even visited, where they lived, and basically all the other important information I need as a missionary in order to teach effectively. So, I've tried to start changing how we've gone about the Area Book to make sure it's more manageable, and that we're actually able to focus on the people who actually matter. To the best of my abilities (and Elder Patterson's training) I can definitely see an improvement, and I've received many more ways to improve it. We had so many people who were never actually interested in missionary visits, and it's been great to let them go and actually focus our time with the prepared people. Let's just say it was hard to drop people for the past three weeks... it's hard for Elder Vega to stop seeing people. He loves everyone we talk to so quickly and easily, that even when they're clearly not interested, he wants to come back and visit them. We've butted heads a couple of times, but nothing too serious that we weren't able to work through.

Friday was a continuation of Thursday. We helped the Butler family cleaning some more of the milk crates they're using for storage in their garage. We got completely soaked, though for once in Oregon the sun was out shining! Miracles DO happen! ;) After them, on the way to our area, we got a call from the 1st Elders, asking us for some help. A member family moved into their house earlier that day, and we helped them unload the U-haul truck they transported everything in. It only took about an hour, with the four missionaries and two members we had. It was a wonderful opportunity for unplanned service. :)

Saturday was kind of a slow day. One of those days where it just drags by. We weren't having tons of success talking to or contacting people, and it seemed like we were stuck in a rut going no where. We were in West Salem for most of the day, trying to find people, while this was going on. We got back to Independence for dinner, a little discouraged, but determined to get something done. We ended up having a lesson with a part member family with a member present. That lesson made the entire day worth it. We invited them all to church in two weeks after general conference, and they all accepted. The miracle was we had gone on Friday to see the less active daughter of the family, and her non member husband. She and her husband were there at the parents house, and they're all excited to come in two weeks! The member we brought was awesome, too!

This week has been a good week in a lot of different ways. I've been able to be cheerful, and have joy even when I am in the midst of "tough times". I'm reminded of the talk by President Nelson from last general conference about joy. Joy, I've realized, is when we are happy, but also feel the spirit. THAT is how this week has been for me. I encourage you all to have joy this next week. I love you all!


Elder Kehl


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