Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sowing Seeds in Albany

Cicada shells we found. They're starting to become more prevalent.
Dear Friends and Family,

This week like others has flown by. The first two days were relatively uneventful. We had District Meeting on Tuesday in Moultrie.

On Wednesday things started to pick up. I had a Doctor's appointment in Tifton to get my toes looked at. I was hoping that they would be able to get my ingrown toenails taken care of, but they put it of until this Wednesday. Then I hope to be rid of this issue that has plagued me since I was in Thomson, almost a year ago. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, in a way. After getting back all 6 of us had supper at the Gaug's and then had Book of Mormon class. One of the points of the class was how Mormon must've felt as he saw his people turn away from the Lord their God even though only a few generations prior touched the hands and feet of the Resurrected Savior. It is sad indeed, but the Book of Mormon speaks as a voice of warning to those who read its pages. What a miracle to have it available as a companion to the Bible!
My toes hurt! 
Thursday morning was spent contacting some people near our apartment. As we were biking, a guy honked and waved us down. He pulled up next to us and gave us his business card and explained he's a member who moved from California who had just moved to Columbus but was in Albany on business. He told us to call him up so we could do lunch sometime this week. Later that day, after visiting with Cher briefly, we were on our way to our dinner appointment with Sis. Walls at Golden Corral, when Sis. Sauls stopped us and said hi and gave us money to get something cold to eat or drink due to the heat of the day. We thanked her and continued on and we were waved and honked by Brother and Sister Tumlin and by Barney, as well as Ralph, but we didn't know he did. Oops.. After a delicious supper we loaded our bikes and headed to an appointment with a less-active with Ralph. 

Friday we weekly planned most of the day and had a delicious meal of grilled pork chops. Tagging along with the other Elders, we went along to their next appointment. We ended up biking from there appointment on East Side and later met with all 6 of us at the Church to go over the Ward Roster. 

Saturday was a little tough. A lot of our appointments fell through and we only ended up teaching Mary, a less-active. On the bright side, we were able to set an appointment with a referral, named Arnet for the next day. 

After Church on Sunday we met with Arnet and talked a little about the Book of Mormon, which is what he wanted us to bring him. He had a desire to learn more so he could teach others, but it was clear that he thought the Book of Mormon is another translation of the Bible when it is a separate record entirely though related due to it being a record of those of the Seed of Joseph. After our brief visit and invitation to come back, we tried contacting some more people. We ended up getting a phone call out of the blue about some guy wanting to attend Church! We asked if we could meet him and he said that we could call him in a couple of days to set an appointment to teach him. Awesome!!

A fairly decent week, though we were only able to set some things up for this week. As laborers in the field we are either reaping or sowing. I feel like I have been doing a lot of sowing, but it is about what the Lord wants me to do. I know that this is His work and His people that we are to reach out to and bring into the fold of the Good Shepard and there find rest and a knowledge of the Restored Gospel.

Have a good week y'all!
Elder Kestner

Monday, August 22, 2016

The difference between the Book of Mormon & the Bible

Me & Elder Sorenson
Dear Family and Friends,

This week started a little different than usual. 
On Monday we stopped by to see Tiffany but she was not available. We then stopped to talk to Ricky for a few minutes and he told us he's been reading the Book of Mormon! We were also able to answer a question he had about the difference between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. after that we talked to Mary for a little. We then tried Rachel, Enoch's sister, but no luck. I then felt impressed that we should see Maquez. We hadn't seen her for quite some time. We were able to talk to her and her son about the Ten Commandments, service, and the Book of Mormon. The day ended on a really good note!

On Tuesday we had interviews with President Grayson in Tifton. Elder Davis, one of the Zone Leaders, exchanged with me in Albany while Elder Oldroyd went to Tifton with Elder Sorenson. On our way back and mainly because Elder Bingham wanted to, we stopped at Adcock Pecans and bought Pecan log and they were delicious! When we got back we went out with Bro. Anderson for a few hours trying some referrals in the northern tip of our area. Somewhat unsuccessful, we were then treated to sundaes at Dairy Queen. After being dropped off, we tried a potential, who was recently a contacted referral. We then stopped at a part-member family's house. we set up an appointment with the non-member husband whom we taught a few months back. We then tracted for a little bit and went back  and had supper. We finished the day by visiting with the Tumlins and seeing Sis. Oldham with Barney. 

On Wednesday we spent most of the day away from Albany. We exchanged back in Cordele and the four of us went to Macon for a Trainer/Trainee Meeting in the Mission Home. There was a good few of us, nearly 40 to be exact. I caught up with some familiar faces like Elder Ashton, Elder Ray (AP), and Elder Anderson. A lot of what was said struck a chord with me and encouraged me to be my best while training and for the rest of mission for that matter. As it got later in the day and approaching Supper, we went with the AP's, and some other Elders from Forsyth and Moultrie to Smok'n Pig BBQ. After a great supper, we drove the two hours back to Albany. 

On Thursday we had District Meeting in Moultrie. The Tifton/Nashville District was also there, making it more of a 2/3 ZTM. Great trainings were given and had a good sack lunch afterwards. After returning, our appointment with James, the part-member family, fell through. I also got an appointment to get my toes looked at. We finished the day visiting with Loreta, a less-active. 

On Friday we weekly planned for a good chunk of the day. Chris took us to my appointment which ended up getting postponed to Tuesday(tomorrow). 

Due to lack of time, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were likewise productive. We have been able to find more people to teach through tracting and contacting referrals. We also had a lesson with Enoch and re-emphasized the importance of the Book of Mormon.

This week has definitely sped by but it is one I am grateful for. Have a good week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner

Monday, August 15, 2016

"Who is actually being rejected?

All the Tifton area missionaries with Elder Sitati of the seventy!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week certainly flew by. Let's dive in!

On Monday, after P-Day activities, we helped a new couple move in to the Ward. Bishop Tolman then took the four of us Elders, Ralph, and sis. Tolman to Golden Corral for Supper which made me very grateful.

On Tuesday morning, all 6 of us went to the Fields' home and we helped paint their bathroom and bedroom for a few hours. Later that day Elder and Sister Grigsby came down from Macon to help us move the Sisters into a new apartment while Elders Bingham and Major move into the Sisters' former apartment. We had a good supper with them.

Wednesday came and went. We spent a good chunk of the day moving the Sisters in and helping Chris with some things. We had Book of Mormon class to end the day.

On Thursday morning we went to Tifton for ZTM. Brother Anderson took us and we had a good meeting. We then went to Rachero's afterwards for lunch. We then went on exchanges with Elder Vandertoolen coming with me to Albany. We had a good exchange and got some things done. 

Friday morning we exchanged back in Doerun with Chris taking us. After getting bak, we spent a few hours weekly planning along with companionship inventory. We then started to leave to go do RMT at the library across town. Before we even left the parking lot, we saw a kid running down the street. Taking a closer look, we realized it was a literal wall of rain behind him. We then hauled tail back inside, getting wet how briefly we were caught in it.  We waited for a few minutes until subsided until we only heard thunder. After RMT we came back to pizza and wings provided by Sis. Coston. On the way home, however, Elder Oldroyd's bike tire began to go flat. He spent a while fixing it and realized his wheel was bent as well. What a day!

After sports Saturday morning, we drove to the Fields' and helped them move a gun safe off a trailer. That sucker was heavy! They also had Krispy Kreme and milk for us! YUM! We were still looking to find a ride to Stake Conference that evening. a little while later we secured a ride with the Millerds after having a visit with Tiffany, a referral/potential investigator. We then went to Stake Conference with the Millerds. Presiding at the Conference was Joseph W. Sitati. A quote from him still inspires me and is a great help for all missionaries. The answer to the question was about facing rejection in the Mission Field and members reaching out to their non-member friends. "Who is actually being rejected? When you have been rejected, if you taught by the Spirit, they are rejecting the Holy Ghost and Heavenly Father, not you, so don't take it personally, realize you have planted a seed." Absolutely deep for sure.

The Sunday session was great and Chris took all 4 of us to Tifton. 
After getting back and having lunch, we were out once again contacting some referrals. Elder Oldroyd had the impression to go see a referral/potential we had already tried twice before, never finding her home, though her husband was. We knocked on the door and they were both there. They gave us watermelon and we ended up staying for an hour talking about the Book of Mormon and our basic beliefs. What a miracle it was and they are interested in hearing more!

Though weren't able to teach much we were able to serve others. And that is the most important thing, service. 

God Bless and have a good week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

More people to teach..

Wearing the same tie as Ben on August 3rd. The day Ben went to the MTC

Dear Family and Friends,

This week, like others before, have gone by quickly. This one was different, however. We really worked hard this week and our efforts were very fruitful. We had been trying really hard to contact as many of our referrals as possible. We had some interesting experiences as well.

Tuesday was a good day. We were able to find and contact a referral named Yolanda. We delivered the Bible she ordered and gave her a Book of Mormon as well. She was really receptive as we taught a good bit of the Restoration to her. She invited us back sometime this week. That evening we were going around trying these referrals when we met a guy named Roger. We had been looking for a woman named Ruby but we ended up meeting Roger. As it turned out, Ruby was a Former Investigator and Roger had seen us around before. We talked to him for a little bit and gave him a Book of Mormon. Later that evening, we met a guy outside a Dollar General. He just rambled on for about 15-20 minutes and we may have caught 10 words he said. Weird... 

Wednesday was similar in terms of more referrals to contact. 

Thursday was pretty interesting... We were making our way back home. It was around 8:30 when some guys in a car stopped us and pulled the 'do not add to the Bible' spiel, referring to the Book of Mormon. I really wanted to 'explain' or more or less bash with them. But they had been drinking and doing other things and Elder Oldroyd talked me out of it, thankfully. That was quite an end to our day!

On Friday we weekly planned for a good chunk of the day. We met with Sis. Walls at IHOP and had a good meal with her. 

On Saturday, we were quite busy. We tried a few more potentials and referrals. We also visited with Sis. Oldham and taught another individual. We then had Ward Correlation and that was our day.
Chicken on the Grill

Sunday was alright. There was a dispute about what a testimony meeting is and what a testimony was, which was interesting... We went out with Ralph, but we grilled up some chicken with him at his place before going to an appointment with Ruby. We tried another potential after that lesson, but not much luck. 
A lot of different stuff that happened this week and I am really grateful we are finding more people to teach and bring this message to them. 

Have a good week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Strong Week, Busted AC & Frosties!

Elder Oldroyd & Elder Kestner
Dear Friends and Family,
This week has gone by pretty quick. My new companion is Elder Oldroyd from Fountain Green, Utah. He is straight out of high school and he is a hard worker! There is also a new set of Elders. My old companion, Elder Bingham and his trainee, Elder Major. They are currently staying with us in a 4-pad! 

So, this week was an adjustment week and we eased into things. We got going contacting all of our media referrals and trying some potentials, less-actives, and former investigators. I didn't quite realize how much I have developed my biking legs when I left Elder Oldroyd on Wednesday. He asked me to slow down, so I did. He hadn't ridden a pedal bike since he was 5, but he did well this week. We also did some 12 Week Training for an additional hour each morning we'll be doing that every morning of the transfer except Mondays and Fridays, for P-Day and Weekly Planning respectively. 

On Wednesday morning we had a lesson with Enoch at a park. We had a lesson about learning and serving in the Church. We were able to discover that a concern is that of the nature of the Godhead. It was a good lesson and we told him we would study to answer his question about the Godhead. 

On Thursday, we were out contacting some potentials and formers when we tried one in particular. We met the wife of Patrick, who once took the discussions. She said we could come back later when he got home from work. We did some other things and we came back to the complex and tried two others while waiting for him to get home. Then one lady pulled up and said "Y'all aren't going door-to-door are you?". I responded with a "No, ma'am". We tried one other and that individual was not there. That lady parked her car as to watch us. We then biked to see if Patrick was home. Before we even got off our bikes, the same lady pulled up and said "You should just leave". She followed us out and made sure we were down the road. That left a bad taste in our mouths... We perked up that night by going to Zaxby's with Ralph and seeing Sister Oldham.

On Friday we did our Weekly Planning for this week. We were also fighting our A/C being busted. The pipes keep freezing that connect to the inside unit and it does not cool off the apartment to the temperature it is set at. It was very warm as we planned! It got up to 82 degrees and was showing no signs of cooling off. It honestly felt better outside than it did inside! Later that day we had supper with the Fields family with all 6 of us, which was a first. They then gave us another fan until we get our A/C fixed. We then got dropped off at home, changed into service clothes, and Ralph picked us up. We then met up with the Sisters at Cher's to help a friend of hers. We then drove to another part of town and picked up a dresser, some chairs, and a washer and dryer. we then delivered those to Enoch's apartment! He now has those things when he gets his water and power turned back on. Cher then gave Ralph some money and he didn't know what to say except for "Hey Elders, want to go get some Frosties?" which we thought sounded pretty good. 

Saturday went by quickly. We had sports in the morning, moved some stuff for Cher, and went to the Baptism of the Sisters' investigator, Jazlyn. We then had a good lesson with Enoch with Bro. Spiers with us. We had a discussion for more than a hour about the doctrine that was previously mentioned. Somehow, we were led that he needs to know if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith is a True Prophet. We committed him to that.

Yesterday we tried some people near the church, but slightly slowed down by a thunderstorm rolling in. We also found a turtle in the middle of the road that we named 'Thunder'! We then went back to our neighborhood and we were able to contact Cassandra. She is moving and we will be seeing her tonight. we then stopped at Ricky's. He was deep frying french fries when we pulled in. We just started talking and he asked us questions about why we're serving missions. He also said he really wants to come to Church, in fact, this Sunday! He also gave us some french fries, fried fish, water, and Pepsi. I was so elated and called us a few times his friends. 

Boy, this week really took a good direction. I am excited!

Have a good week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner