Monday, October 31, 2016

A trip in a Police Car and a Mouse in the House!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, things are going well as can be expected in Sweet Home Alabama! we've had a roller coaster of things happening this week. 

On Monday after P-Day stuff, we were picked by the Flowers and went to a place called Zeb's. Elder Buckley and I downed 30 wings (half mild, half hot). They were so good and they didn't give you the reaction you often get after you eat wings, if you catch my drift!

Tuesday morning we had District Meeting. After that and lunch we biked over to see some investigators that we and the Sisters joint-teach. We were able to talk to the daughter of Teresa, Brandi. We talked with her outside for a while until Brad came home and then we could go in. In that setting we taught and testified of the Book of Mormon and the power it has in our lives. I loved it! We then raced the 5 miles to our apartment to meet Bro. Whitmore at our apartment for supper. On the way we were waved at by Melanie Eiland (member). As we were coming up the hill to our apartment, Elder Buckley's back tire tube began to bulge or something. So that slowed us down a little. We get to our apartment, and have a great meal with the Whitmore's of ribs and potato salad. YUM! Afterwards, Bro. Whitmore got Elder Buckley a new tube and Slime, much to Elder Buckley's slight objection. It was kinda humorous to watch, to be honest. 
Who's Who?
Wednesday went by quickly. I wasn't feeling to good at all for most of the day, so it was basically a blur. Fast forward to AJ picking us up in his cop car and we head to the Ward Trunk-or-Treat. But before that, we swung by and picked up Malory and had a delicious tater tot casserole. So, we were in the back of the cop car. I really hope I don't turn into a criminal because those seats are not meant for 6'5 guys. The trunk-or-treat was pretty fun. The Goertzen's had a 'Haunted Van' and the Cornett's were Star Wars characters.

Thursday morning, the Ft. Mitchell Elders came over and we had lunch. We then all went and did RMT. After that, we walked around due to a hole in the new tube Elder Buckley got. Very unusual. We were able to talk with Greg for a bit and he gave us donuts, chips, and water to fuel us. We also tried Deoran, but asked us to come by the next day. We then met Bro. Goertzen at a CVS and had a great Supper with them. A very long and tiring day. I think I got a little sun-burnt but I wear that as a badge of honor! 

Friday morning we weekly planned, had lunch, and planned some more. Around 2:30 we walked over to see Wesley and we were able to talk a little more about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. we then followed up with Deroan but he wasn't home. We also tried Stan but to no avail. We then tried Shirley and Anthony, but we ended up talking to Keandre, their son. We then got picked up by Ft. Mitchell and had supper with the Cammack's. After that we met with the Owens and gave Sis. Owens a blessing, since she has been sick for the past week. We get home and I notice that my toes are particularly sore and a little red. Oh boy... 

Saturday morning started good. We walked around Idle Hour Park and talked to a guy named Robert for long while. Apparently he has been taught by missionaries and he said we could come by and see him later on. A little later while at our apartment... I was sitting on the couch and I saw a shape move across the floor. It kinda startled me. I then caught a better glimpse a few minutes later. A MOUSE!! Not in our house!! We then quickly bought some mouse traps and some stuff to help my feet. So, we set some traps in the hopes of catching 'Alberto'. Later on, all four of us had supper with J.T. and Melanie Eiland. We had deer meat spaghetti and fried Oreo's! Elder Buckley and I wrecked them! 

Sunday was pretty usual. Had lunch with the Eiland's, visited Sis. Brewer and such. We later had a Halloween supper with the Cornett's. We also set off a dry-ice bomb and burned some old pants due to me being out 18 months (as of tomorrow 19 months). Josten took us home and we discovered that Alberto ate the peanut butter on the trap without setting it off! This means war!! 
Burning my pants for my 18 mth mark

Dinner at the Cornetts

Halloween Dinner

Well, like I said in the beginning. A very interesting week. Happy Halloween Y'all! We will be spending it in our apartment!

Y'all have a good week now!!

Elder Alexander Kestner 
At the Cornetts

Always a good meal at the Cornetts

Hair cut by Josten

Monday, October 24, 2016

Happy Fall Y'all

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, another week has gone by and it was certainly better than previous weeks. 

On Monday, we got haircuts by Josten Cornett, said goodbye to Elder Munn and Sister Farmer. Not much else happened.

On Tuesday we biked around a good bit and tried a few potentials and less-actives. We were able to meet with the Rivers and give Bro. Rivers a blessing.  We then had supper with a family that just moved in, the Whitmores. We ended our night with the Owens, a family we are working with to bring back to church. A pretty decent day!
Donning the Sweaters
Wednesday morning we tried some old potentials and former investigators. We talked to Savoy whom Elder Stewart and I tracted into. He said it had been a long time since missionaries came by. He wasn't too interested this go-round, but we left him with a spiritual thought and a prayer that he offered and of which was the Lord's Prayer. That was a good start to our day. After lunch we visited Sister Melson, who lives in a care facility. She doesn't get too many visitors and both her and her non-member roommate enjoyed the visit. We then tried a recent move-in Bishop Zeh asked us to contact. As we were at the door, the neighbor across the street threatened to call the cops on us and have us arrested since she was at work. Very weird and it was in a good neighborhood too! We then biked down RailRoad st and talked to Deorun. We were both filled to testify of the Book of Mormon and the impact it could have on his life. We committed him to read it and pray about it. A very good discussion. A little later Bro. McClure(a different one) picked us up and we had a great meal with them of cheeseburgers. we then finished the night at Book of Mormon class. 

On Thursday, Elder Buckley was a bit under the weather. After RMT in the early afternoon, we visited Sis. Stevens and she gave some soup mix to Elder Buckley to help him out. we then met up with Bro. Bush and had a great lesson with Stan. In the lessons, I had a very surreal moment. For some reason, I imagined Stan in white and I believe that was a glimpse of how Heavenly Father sees him. We left with another appointment for Sunday evening. We then had supper with the Longerbeams, a part-member family. We're starting to get somewhere with Bro. Longerbeam, JUST GOTTA HAVE FAITH!
At the Longerbeams
Friday was pretty solid. We broke out the sweaters that day! We did some weekly planning, visited with the McClures(parents of Adrian, whose husband is in Ranger training). We then met Sis. Stevens as she dropped off some home-made soup and cornbread. I LOVE CORNBREAD! We then visited with the Collins, a part-member family. Sis. Collins hasn't been to church in a very long time and no longer claims it as her church. We talked with husband, Patrick who is the baseball coach at Columbus State. We had a good discussion with him and talked about what we do and why we do it. We then visited Sis. Hearn for the remainder of the night. It was quite chilly but felt very nice! The only downside is that Olivia dropped us... Such is the missionary life. We hadn't been able to meet with her for several weeks. 

Saturday morning we did some service with Bro. Bush and he afterwards treated us to Smokey BBQ, which was delicious! Not much happened the rest of the day. Tried visiting with Billy in our complex and walked around our part of town with no luck. A decent day at least. 

Sunday was pretty good. Bro. McCoy gave a great talk and in his talk he mentioned that Jon Schmidt's(of the Piano Guys) daughter, Annie, went missing in Oregon. Please keep the Schmidt family in your prayers. One of his daughters served in this mission. We ate with the Bush's, visited the Otts and Sis. Brewer. We then had a shortened dinner with the Sjostroms to make it to our lesson with Stan along with Bro. Bush. We get there and ring the doorbell twice. Nothing. No lights. I then get the impression to knock and a few seconds later Stan opens the door and invites us in. What a relief! Fist-bumps between us and Bro. Bush! It was a great lesson on Tithing and Fast Offerings. The Spirit was strong there and it was clear Stan was feeling the Spirit strongly. We left and all 3 of us had the confirmation that Stan would be okay. What a way to end the night and week!

Well, this week was amazing and the coming one I am looking forward to. 6 supper appointments this week which is very awesome! 

Have a good week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner

Monday, October 17, 2016

Chickens, Goats & Chili

Dear Family and Friends,
This week has been crazy and quick. First off, Transfer came and I am staying in Phenix City with Elder Buckley! Which means I will be here until the last week of November which is the week of Thanksgiving!

Tuesday after emailing, we biked quite a bit. We tried quite a few people but many did not answer or were home at all. We briefly talked with a lady on a motorized chair and she asked us if we were in school, which is an odd question in my book... Towards the end of the evening, we were looking for a less-active family and we found them! They didn't have time to talk, so we moved on. We get about halfway up 40th st when Elder Buckley's chain gets jammed between the frame and the gears. we got it fixed, tried another potential, and visited Sis. Hearn on her porch for the rest of the evening. 

Wednesday was pretty good. We tried some of the old potentials from the beginning of my mission. The weather was cool and breezy. Just the way I like it! after lunch we talked with Wesley who had been reading the Book of Mormon since we saw him last. Awesome! we then met Terrence, whose mother is a member who had recently moved. Not sure if he's a member.. We then visited with Sis. Stevens, a less-active Sister until we met up with the other Elders to go to the Woods for Supper. We then had Book of Mormon class and Bro. Prudhomme took us home. A really tiring day!

Thursday was ZTM. It was very insightful and helpful for me. Later on, we had Supper with the Goertzens. After we ate, they showed us their newly arrived livestock of additional chickens and goats (pics below). They then found out that their rabbits had babies and Bro. Goertzen found the head of one and another one still alive. Very odd. Bro. Goertzen then dropped us off and Bro. Bush picked us up to give a blessing to one of the Sisters' investigator who is having a hard time. we talked briefly and set a time to come back the next day at 1 o'clock. 

Friday was relatively uneventful after our appointment at 1 pm. we later did some weekly planning, met with the other missionaries and Sis. Brewer at Waffle House. We planned with the expectation of one of us leaving the area or both of us. 
The Cornett's and Missionaries
 Saturday was busy busy busy! We helped set up for the Fall Festival and there was a great turn out. I had decided to enter the chili-cook off and I was shocked that mine won Really was not expecting it. We had Transfer calls later on. Sister Farmer and Elder Munn transferring out and Elder Glenn training. 

Sunday was pretty usual. Bishop Zeh and Sister Harsh gave incredible talks about compassion and love like the Savior showed. After lunch with the Eilands, where Bug busted out some Arctic Circle Fry Sauce Bro. McCoy brought back from Utah. It was so good! We then visited with Sis. Brewer, the Newsomes, had a delicious Supper of tacos at the Harsh's and visited with the McClures for the rest of the evening. Another thing, Elder Buckley and I both had a strong impression we would have a Baptism this Transfer. 
Keep us in y'alls prayers so we can make this happen!

Well, that's it. Have a good week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Peanut Butter, Baptism, & Blessings

My District
Dear Friends and Family,
The days are finally starting to feel like Fall! Believe me, it is a welcome sight down here!

On Monday after P-Day activities we drove over to the Cornetts to help cut their grass. All four of us were there since Josten was out of town in Atlanta doing National Guard duties. After finishing, Sis. Cornett fed us a delicious roast for Supper. She then sent us off each with a jar of peanut butter with her signature and the time on it. It was pretty funny and a good way to end the night.

Sister Grayson and some of the missionaries in my District
Tuesday after District Meeting we had Interviews with President Grayson. It went well and we heard from Sister Grayson news about the hurricane going along the coast. The entire Savannah East Zone was evacuated, where I have previously served. Not much occurred after getting back from Columbus. We did some street contacting without much success. 

On Wednesday afternoon we were looking for a potential/former investigator when we found his father-in-law, Vincent. We talked with him for a while and he had some great questions. We moved on and we met with the Rivers and BJ. We later met up with Stan after about two weeks with no contact. He told us he had been reading the Book of Mormon everyday at work and he saw the impact of doing so helping his shifts at a chicken plant become less-stressful. He and his wife were planning coming to church when Stan got called into work. Bummer... He really wants to come and he is searching for another job that is more flexible. We then biked home via shortcut by means of the freeway. (There was a large shoulder to ride on, don't worry!)We then cooled off and had Supper. Bro. Bush then took us to Book of Mormon class which was a very good session. 

Thursday afternoon we went to see the Longerbeams and we ended up talking to Sister Longerbeam on their porch, since her husband wasn't home. Before we left, she invited us to come back later for Supper. As we were leaving, I noticed by means of pain in my legs and on my bike that my front tire breaks were squeezing the disc brake, thus riding with applied brakes. We came back a little later and had Hawaiian Haystacks. bro. Longerbeam then loaded our bikes on a bike rack and dropped us off at our apartment. There I fixed the problem and we the biked and finished our evening visiting with Sis. Hearn. 

On Friday we weekly planned, but Elder Buckley wasn't feeling too well, so he slept. I felt a little down that day when we got in and a little discouraged. Feeling prompted, I knelt in prayer at my bed for strength and to have an additional blessing of the Spirit with me. No sooner had I risen did I feel the love of my Father in Heaven. Elder Buckley cheered me up in his his natural funny way. A lot of what I felt was the Adversary getting at me for what would be happening the next day.
Bonnie's Baptism
Saturday morning, Ft. Mitchell picked us up and we went to the church to prepare for Bonnie's Baptism that night. I was honored to be the one to Baptize her. Elder Buckley assisted me and the Spirit was overpowering and we both felt out of ourselves.After the Baptism and as were mingling we talked to Jason, Bonnie's son who will be taking the missionary lessons. There is never a bad time to share the Gospel, especially after a Baptism! We got home that night feeling like we just went to the Temple. What a marvelous day!

Sunday came and Bonnie was Confirmed. Bro. Bush, Bro. McCoy, Bug, Bishop Zeh, and the four missionaries were in the circle with Bro. Bush as voice. Right after there was a baby blessing and the Spirit was so strong. After church we were waiting for the other Elders to meet with Bishop when a guy named Randall walked in. We started with some small talk and eventually the Gospel was brought in and Bonnie began testifying of the Book of Mormon since she was there on the couch. Sister Culpepper was there as well and I could tell he was there because the Spirit directed him. He came seeking help financially, but we left him with more than he bargained for. He had also roofed the church a few years back. We exchanged information to meet with him later this week. We then had lunch at the Bush's and afterwards brought the Sacrament to the Otts, Sis. Brewer, and Sis. McClure. What's more is that Sister Otts let me borrow a bigger Crockpot so I can make chili for the chili cook-off at the Fall Festival next Saturday. 

So, yesterday was Columbus Day and the library was closed which explains why send this on Tuesday. We golfed a little, got Sonic, and relaxed a bit. A good P-Day!

Well, this week had a lot of highlights and lessons learned throughout. I am starting to realize a few things concerning what it means to be out here and why I am out here. What a Blessing indeed!

Have a good week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Gospel is about 1 Lost Sheep

Dear Friends and Family,

This week has been pretty solid and the best part of it was getting to watch General Conference!

On Monday after P-Day activities, Sister Hearn dropped off some bread pudding and ice cream cups. We then went to visit some less-actives and potentials. We ended up talking with Sister Morgan for a while and she gave us some Fuze drinks which were good along with some crackers and other stuff.

On Tuesday, we helped the Ricks family move which took up a good chunk out of our day. We later had supper with the Clarks. 

On Wednesday we had District Meeting and Elder Glenn and I went on exchanges in our area. Our plans were somewhat scrapped due to time and the need to see of their investigators while Elders Buckley and Munn went elsewhere. After a brief visit with Nicole, their investigator, we biked back to the Ft. Mitchell apartment. As we pulled in, Elder Glenn's foot got caught on the pedal guard and he fell over in front of all of us plus their neighbor. Elder Glenn burst out laughing and we joined him. It was honestly hilarious. We picked him back up and had a good joint lesson with Bonnie who was released from the hospital and is back on track to being baptized. we then drove over and had a great time having Supper with Josten and Sarah Cornett. Afterwards we went to the church for Book of Mormon class. We set up a time to see the Rivers and BJ the following day. Brother Prudhomme then took us home. 
Thursday morning we exchanged back at the library and had lunch at our apartment. We then visited with the Rivers and BJ and reconnected with them. But before that, we biked down the infamous 'suicide hill'. we tried a few potentials and ended up seeing seeing Sister Susan Newsome. We then began biking down to see Stan and Nikki and others when we got a text that Bro. Goertzen was on his way to drop off supper for us. We then raced and trudged up Summerville Rd which took a lot out of me surprisingly. A pretty solid day. 

Friday was spent mostly weekly planning. The McGwins dropped off some supper for us. We then had a great discussion with the Owens family. There I killed a roach with my shoe as it crawled on their wall. I was quite proud of myself, actually. We then committed them to attend at least one session of General Conference and they came to the Saturday Afternoon session! 

Saturday was basically taken up with watching Conference. After the Priesthood Session, we all went and got ice cream at McDonald's and Brother Harsh took us home. A good way to end the day!

Sunday after the Morning session, we had lunch at the Eiland's. After the Afternoon Session, we visited with Sis. Brewer and were entertained by her mini schnauzer, Parker. We then visited the Newsomes and had a great discussion with them. That was our day! Well, before Conference, we had to assist the Sisters putting the spare on a tire that was punctured by a nail the day before. 

Now, I would like to share some of my favorite quotes from General Conference.

Elder Hales- 'If we love the Savior more, will we hurt less?"
Pres. Uchtdorf- "As members of the church of Jesus Christ, we have been given so much"
Elder Uceda- "Always pray with a sincere heart". "When you pray, are you just saying prayers, or are you really praying?"
Elder Oaks- "People learn when they are ready to learn"
Pres. Uchtdorf- "To be successful, we must find our Amuleks"
Elder Robbins- "The principles of righteous judgement apply to all of us"
Elder Bednar- "Serving Him requires our heart, might, mind, and strength". "We come to know the Lord as we feel His love"
Elder Nattress- "The Gospel is about one lost sheep..."
I have truly enjoyed this General Conference and I am ecstatic to apply the counsel and revelation given to each and every one of us. Another note... I hit 18 months last Saturday, which means the next time I watch General Conference will be the day before and the day of going to the Mission Home, preparing to return home. Last April seemed to be so recent. I admit, I was a little saddened after General Conference was adjourned this time around, but it makes me enjoy it even more. It truly was a delight. 

Have a great week y'all!
Elder Alexander Kestner