Monday, December 19, 2016

Of Mice & Men

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, this week was 100% awesome! A lot of different things were going on this week. First off, on the way to email this morning and biking around last night was really cold!

On Monday after sports and other P-Day activities, we had dinner with the Phillips. Now, I am going to keep saying it, but Sister Phillips make some really good homemade tortillas! We then got dropped off and I resumed my search for the hole in my bike tube. I found it for a moment then lost it. It seems to be a recurring theme for me. Another thing! While we were at the church, we found my biking tie clip! Made my day!

Tuesday was District Meeting and the Zone Leaders came down for that. They then went on exchanges and gave us a ride back to our apartment. I had given up on searching for the tube and put it back in and pumped it back up and began biking. We checked our mail and Sister Jensen called to confirm something for me. Elder Taylor then directed my eyes to my tire where there was some bubbling! Found the hole! We then bike back, because it was losing air fast, patched it, and then went on our merry way! We then stopped and talked to Wesley and Shane and a little later got picked up by Elder Darrington and Elder Allen. We then had supper at the Eilands with Carlos and the Sisters. We sure had a fun time! 

The next day we went with Bro. Bush to visit some less-active members on the roster to clean it up a bit. After that, we had supper, then got picked up for Book of Mormon class. Afterwards, we were dropped off and we had about half an hour left before heading in. So, naturally, we went walked around and hit up Circle K on our way back! We got our drinks and the cashier asked me a question about when Christ was really born and that led us to another few questions from her. We then introduced the Book of Mormon, the Plan of Salvation, and Light the World. Circle K got us a contact! The Dr. Pepper I got was also on point!

Thursday was awesome! We had RMT after lunch and headed to our Windows of Heaven area. We said a prayer to consecrate and covenant to talk to everyone we see. It was absolutely incredible! Door after door opened for us and we were able to teach 4 lessons and find 7 new investigators in the space of two hours! We also found a few potential investigators who met with missionaries in the past. It got me really excited! We then biked home, ate, and then visited the Owens.

The next day we followed up with a potential from the previous day, Jack. He seems pretty interested and we gave him a Book of Mormon and testified and encouraged him to read it. A little later we biked home to meet Sis. Rowe who was dropping off Little Caesar's for us. We ate and the other two sets came and we all went caroling to some people. They really appreciated it. In fact, we caroled to Sis. Hearn's neighbor, who tried giving us money. Miraculously, he had difficulty getting up the last few days, but he got up to see us at the door! It warmed our hearts for sure. We then caroled to the Hoggs and a few others, including Sis. Stevens. What a night!
Saturday, we were able to see Wesley and Jimmy for a little bit. We then had a brief visit with the Rivers as they were about to leave. We also played with their new puppy for a little bit while we were waiting for them. We then went to our appointment with Marilyn to find her still at work. We then tried a referral from the Rivercrest Spanish Elders but to no avail. With a little time left, we went to Captain D's at Elder Taylor's treat using a gift card from a previous companion. We got a drink and a little bit later, got picked up by the other Elders. We then went to the Ward Christmas party. We sat and talked to the Tripletts, sang Christmas songs, and got a picture with Santa! Bro. Triplett kept quoting movies which made us laugh a lot! Backing up a little, we discovered Frederick dead in our kitchen, but it was actually Olga! And yes, we checked! 3 for 3!
Sunday was good. We talked to Carlos to figure out the Skype time for Christmas. We then had lunch with Bug and Lulu. We the gave the Sacrament to the Otts and Elder Darrington came with me for an emergency exchange since he wasn't feeling too good and they had a lesson planned with a newborn in the house. We were able to to meet with Cindy briefly and talked to Sis. Stevens for a little bit. She gave us some smoked sausage her neighbor bought for her. We then went out into the cold and wet. We talked with Keith, Shirley and Anthony's son, nearly freezing my hands. We then meet Elder Glenn and Elder Taylor for pickup, and end our exchange. It took me a little bit for me to warm up, which is surprising to me. I guess I'm now acclimated to the humidity! 

So, this morning, we found a pleasant surprise in our room. We discovered... Charles! Dead of course. Elder Taylor wasn't crazy when he saw two mice in our apartment, one of which was Olga. A little too close for comfort... We are now 4 for 4! 

This week was a real boost to morale as our teaching pool has increased dramatically. With this week being Christmas, I will be Skyping home to my awesome parents and siblings. Have a wonderful Christmas y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner

PS. Library will be closed next Monday. Will probably email on Tuesday.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Give me a Holler and I'll be Here!

Dear Friends and Family,

This week was a good one. We've found some new people to teach and we are working on a new way to find people. 

On Monday, it rained basically all day, which made it difficult to see people...

On Tuesday we went with Bro. Bush on a "Rescue Mission" to contact Less-active on the roster. We were able to meet with one and confirm bad addresses for a few others. The one we did visit went well. As it turns out, her mother, Sis. Stevenson, is a convert from the 70's and has been attending for a few weeks now. Very good to know! After our excursion with Bro. Bush, Bro. Longerbeam picked us up for supper. We had chocolate chip pancakes and they were quite delicious! After we ate we toyed with a pair of his night-vision goggles which were way cool! We then got dropped off and went street contacting to end the night.. 
Wednesday afternoon we received a referral during RMT. We looked at the location and it was just down the road. So, within an hour of getting it, we contacted a woman named Cindy, who had ordered a Book of Mormon and a Bible. She has an interesting story. We were able to give her a 'marked-up' copy of the Book of Mormon and committed her to read it as well as to come out to church. She has some potential for sure! We then had a good visit with Deoran, just down a block or two. We pointed some of his questions of Christ's coming to the Nephites in the Americas. We were able to resolve that and give him a reading assignment so he will have questions for us next time we meet which should be in the next day or two. We then biked home, ate, and went with Bro. Bush to Book of Mormon class. The class was good, as usual. bro. Bush then dropped us back off. It was getting a little late, so we decided to walk over to Circle K to get a Polar Pop and talk to people. we get there and the assistant manager, who sees us in there fairly often, asked us about our 'Mormon Dating Protocol' which was kinda weird. It was an honest question at least haha.

Thursday we went to Auburn for ZTM and all four of us rode with Bro. McCoy in his Toyota Corolla. The meeting was very good and it was weird going to another time zone for a meeting. One of the training's was on something that the Spanish Elders in the mission have done for a while. It's called Windows of Heaven. In a nutshell, we set aside about 2 hours of time in one specific and prayed for part of our area and we be there on time and we talk with EVERYONE we come across. I have a feeling that this will work for us and the mission is seeing immediate results in finding God's Elect. Now, we had to catch a ride due to the other Elders' car being in the shop. We get back to Phenix City and they pick it up and we get some badly needed milk and a few other things. 

On Friday we were able to see a few less-actives. Coming down the road from Sis. Stevens' place, we saw a cat with a squirrel in its mouth. Naturally, I had to take a picture. We then nearly froze biking back home for supper. We then did a little weekly planning to finish the night.

Saturday we did service for the Otts in the morning. Later on we were able to finally contact a referral, Marilyn. We gave her the Bible and Book of Mormon she ordered and talked to her briefly about the Book of Mormon is spite of a ghetto ice cream truck blasting rap. That was quite annoying. As we were leaving, she began to read the Book of Mormon on her porch. On our way back, we visited Craig ( I have apparently been saying his name wrong; oops) and Melissa. We shared a brief message and went back for supper. I was able to get some Tuna Helper on the stove, but we had to reserve eating until after our appointment with the Owens that went very well. 

Yesterday, Sunday, was pretty good. We had great talks at church and I was asked to teach the Gospel Principles lesson on 'The Millennium'. It went very well! We later had lunch at the Bush's and then visited with Sis. Brewer before Elder Taylor and I got picked up by the Hussey's to go to dinner at the Woods' home. We had taco salad and it was sure good! Our day certainly went by fast!

Well, this week had its turnaround for us being able to find some new investigators and a good meeting in Auburn. Hard to believe Christmas is only less than two weeks away. Time is just flying by and soon it will be Christmas and shortly thereafter, New Years and on into 2017!

Anyway, have a great week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner
A cool barbershop notice near our home

Monday, December 5, 2016

It done be Cold!!

Caribou Burger & Deer Sausage

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, December is here and the weather is getting progressively far. 

On Monday, after emailing and stuff, we had supper with the Worthington's, and Elder Buckley said good-bye to them and Carlos. Pretty much our day... 

The next morning, Bro. Bush took us to Macon for transfers. Elder Buckley ended up going to Pearson and I got assigned to Elder Taylor, the very same from Pocatello! He went to Highland and Century, but I forgive him haha. We get back around 1-ish and Ft. Mitchell picks us up to go get groceries. Later on, all four of us had supper with the Woods and the Hussey's were there as well. Our day was quite exhausting, particularly with Elder Taylor who had just been transferred from Beaufort, SC which is about 3 and a half hours from Macon. 

Wednesday was a little odd. The weather was overcast and I am still down a bike since the chain broke. We're walking down Summerville Rd and some lady stopped her car and told us there was a tornado watch in effect and asked us of we needed a ride. We declined and called Elder Glenn and then the Zone Leaders. We continue on, despite the weather getting 'sketchy'. We tried Wesley and Jimmy but no answer. The ZL's texted us that all bike Elders need to go inside during the tornado watch. Well, we felt prompted to see the Rivers nearby anyway. The sky is getting darker and darker. It seemed like the Spirit was like "cross here" and "cut". We get to the Rivers' door and knock. No response. We knock again and right as Nadia opens the door a major gust of wind blew a wall of rain and we hustled inside as it became an absolute downpour. That was a close one! Thanks goodness we saw them and not turn back, otherwise we would have been caught in that. It rained hard for the next hour or so. BJ, their nephew then took us back to our apartment. Brother Longerbeam then shortly picked us up for supper. He later made my day by giving me a glass of eggnog! After that, he dropped us off at the church for Book of Mormon. 

Thursday morning we had some apartment repairs to contend with but we got squared away. Ft. Mitchell then picked us up for RMT and a ride over to the bike shop in Columbus for my bike. They looked at it, fixed it in no time at all and charged me nothing!  We hung with them as they were our ride to the Relief Society Christmas Activity of which we were asked to talk about what we can give to Christ this Christmas season. Ft. Mitchell also gave us a promising referral to boot. We also partook of the food at the RS activity. YUM! Only downside is that I seemed to have lost my tie clip... Darn it...
Fish from Brother Triplett
Friday, after weekly planning, we were biking around contacting potentials and less-actives. As we were on our way to Greg and Melissa's, we met Chloe, a 92 year-old woman. We asked her if she needed help with anything, and she only said that she wants to get her yard raked up of leaves. We offered our help right then and there. She told us not to because of our white shirts and tie. But this is our work clothes haha! We then told her we would come the next morning to work on her yard. We then visited with Greg and biked back for Supper and ended our night at the Owens'. 

The next morning we bike down and worked on her yard. It took a little longer than expected and she was quite feisty and liked to talk a good bit. We get back and shower and change. The weather was getting dark and cold later on. That evening, Bro. McGwin picked us up for supper. After being dropped off, we tried a few referrals and others. 

Well, we didn't have the typical Sunday afternoon/evening due to Ft. Mitchell having car problems. So, we went out in the rain with my fleece/windbreaker/glove combo. We were able to locate the apartment of a referral and get soaked and cold in the process. The person wasn't home. Maybe the Lord was teaching us diligence despite the weather?  Any who, we were able to talk to Patrick Collins about JustServe and #LIGHTtheWORLD Christmas Initiative. It was also good to get out of the rain. As we headed home to get dried off and warmed up, the rain stopped! Bro. Bush shortly after picked us up and fed us before we watched the Christmas Devotional. It was a very enjoyable evening and the Devotional was the icing on the cake. There is so much about the Christmas Season that goes beyond the Savior's birth. We have much to be grateful for. 

Well, as Christmas gets closer, the people become more receptive to messages of Jesus Christ which softens peoples' hearts even more. 

Have a great week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner