Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Last Email!!...Signing Off!

River walk along the Chattahoochee!
Dear Friends and Family,

So, this week was a blur and I cannot believe this is my last weekly email! This one will be brief since I want to do some other things for my last P-Day.

Monday after Zone Conference we went with the 'new' Bushes in the ward. We then got caught up on our studies and that was basically our day! 

Tuesday was pretty legit. We went on the River Walk and took some pretty great pictures. There was also a guy with a drone filming a group that was white water rafting. Definitely got a lot of sun! We went out with Bro. Stapley in the evening after P-Day to work in our area. We tried a few potentials, formers, and a referral. We go up to this one house of a former. No one at home, Bro. Stapley starts walking over to the neighbor and we strike up a conversation. There we met Jackie. She asked us two questions about practicing what we preach and the Church's stance on gay marriage. We answered her questions and introduced the Book of Mormon. Bro. Stapley was a champ! It was a great contact in every regard. She has a ton of potential that we fell blessed to find! 
Wednesday we had Book of Mormon class and did some work near our apartment. Quick day!

Thursday after lunch, we did RMT and then had a lesson with Roger. We weren't able to teach what we planned, but we did commit him to watch a session of General Conference with us! We later on visited with Sis. Stevens and had a late supper. 

Friday we did some pain-staking weekly planning. More so to ensure that everything transitions well to Elder Jole taking over the area when I leave, like getting addresses from my GPS and such which took quite a while! 
Flea Market with the District!
Saturday was a long day! That morning we went to the Flea Market in Smiths Station until about noon. It was pretty awesome and we handed out a ton of pass-along card and the Sisters found a new investigator in one of the neighboring vendors. We then went to Waffle House for lunch and then changed into service clothes and we helped the Woods move their furniture up the street into a home that is owned by members that have since moved and are now trying to sell the house. The Hussey's came to help, more so AJ since Malory is very pregnant and AJ made us laugh a ton! Bro. Hill, Bro. Goertzen, Bro. Leach, and Bro. Smith(Sr) also helped out. We were there about two hours and then we went home to do our studies and then we had supper with the McGwins that evening. 

Sunday, as I promised, I made White Chicken Chili for the Eiland/Bush/McGwin clan's Sunday lunch. It was quite a success! It felt weird that it was my last normal-ish Sunday in the ward. It was quite solemn at times for me. We visited with the Newomes and the Ft. Mitchell Elders' recent convert, Courtney and her new husband to finish off the evening. 
Cube Steak w/ fried Egg & Homemade Salsa Verde..Yumm
I am not sure if I have mentioned it in a while, but I have been reading the New Testament due to my goal of reading the Standard Works on my mission. I finished 1 Peter last night and I will be finishing up the remaining portion this evening and reading the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price for the rest of the week. 

Well, this is quite weird for me... Two years have gone by so fast. I have enjoyed my mission and I have come to know my Savior, Jesus Christ. For one last time, have a good week y'all! I'll be on Facebook adding a bunch of y'all when I can and my email is kestalex@isu.edu

Elder Alexander Kestner signing off...

Down & Out and Right Back In!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, this week was a little interesting. It picked up later in the week but these weeks tend to happen.

Monday morning I woke up not feeling well at all and my stomach was in absolute turmoil. We shopped and emailed and came back to the apartment where I collapsed in bed. I spent most of the day there...

The next two days were not good for me and I was not getting better. Even though we had supper with the Longerbeams, I could only eat toast and a few bites of rice and that was it for me. We then had Book of Mormon class and then I went on exchanges with Elder Strong.
Elder Chipman ( a Spanish Elder in Auburn)
 The next day I was well enough to eat some oatmeal with good results. Later at lunch, I had some Rice-a-Roni and all was well! We then had RT and then headed to Ft. Mitchell to do service for the Culpeppers. It wasn't strenuous, but I felt slight fatigue two hours in, oh well. Apparently my appetite was improving, because the Culpeppers fed us a supper of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and biscuits. I didn't eat too much and since then I haven't been able to eat more than one plate. On our way back through, we stopped and got a few pictures in a cotton field. We then visited the Newsomes and they insisted on giving us some caramel cake. They gave two plates to Elder Strong who then gave me the larger slice... I wasn't too happy, to be honest. BUT, I ate what I could. The cake took up most of the plate! We then visited Nicole and exchanged back. 

I was feeling a lot better the next day. Most of our plans fell through, but we had a wonderful meal with Sis. Brewer who made homemade Jambalaya, fried okra, and peach pie with vanilla ice cream. YUM!! She's such a wonderful cook, it was so delicious! We took leftovers home, which is another blessing haha!
Elder Ashton (Lanett)
Saturday we spent contacting some potentials. We were biking up to one and we noticed that there was something in the cul-de-sac. We pick it up and it was one of those USPS tracker scanner thingies. We then saw the mail car go past, so we chased it down and we got it back to the mail woman. That probably made her day and saved her paycheck! We then tried the potential and then stopped at Walgreens and bought a 32 GB micro SD card for $10. Killer Deal! We then visited with Bro. Johnson before biking back to change into suits and getting picked up by the Ft. Mitchell Elders to meet Sam Jones at the church to go to Opelika for a Baptism. The Baptism was for Robert, who was taught by the Ft. Mitchell Elders before he moved up to Auburn. What was also incredible was that AJ Hussey baptized him! It seems like it all came full circle. I had seen AJ baptized by my Trainer and in turn he baptized Robert. I broke me up a little, in a good way. We mingled a little before heading out. On our way back, Sam stopped at a gas station he had been talking about that had good fried chicken. We got some and they turned out to be pretty good! We get back home and we ate and then went to bed. It had been a long day! 
My Boy, Elder Anderson!
Sunday was good . I had the opportunity to teach Gospel Doctrine which happened to be 'The Field is White Already to Harvest'. With a few potato references, the lesson went quite well. After church we went with Bro. Bush to his home before the traditional Sunday lunch. We had lunch and then we got dropped off. We had our studies and then got picked up by Bro. Bush to go to a class/lesson that Bonnie had organized at Bro. Leach's home. The lesson was great. It was us, Sis. Polanco, Bro. Bush, Bro. Leach, and Bonnie. We talked mostly about Church Organization and Priesthood Line of Authority, which was great to discuss. That finished our night and week on a positive note! 

This week had its ups and downs, but all ended well. As much as I don't want to admit it, but next week will be my last weekly email. The Monday after I will be heading home. Thanks for putting up with my craziness! Have a good week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner

Monday, March 13, 2017

Cooling down..

Sonic & Trunky Papers
Dear Family and Friends,

Well, this week has been interesting to say the least. The weather cooling off is a welcome sight!

Monday, after P-Day, the Bush's, a new couple in the ward, took us to Zeb's seafood and Chicken for supper. We then met back with the Ft. Mitchell Elders and we helped out Sis. Brewer with moving some boxes and putting a tarp on her belongings in the carport. We also had a good visit with her and before we left she asked me what I would like her to cook before I go home. We got it figured out and she'll be making Jambalaya and fried okra. She is from Louisiana so you know it'll be delicious!

Tuesday we tried having some RMT, but the internet was not cooperating. We tried a few people plus a referral that may or may not even existed. Oh well... Before we headed up for a late supper, we tried to visit with Shirley and Anthony. We sit in their home when one of their kids comes down, telling us that they have to go to the hospital and visit a family member. They told us to come back, however. Btw, Shirley is William Rivers' sister. We bike up to our apartment and as we're eating, I start hearing a noise from the stove vent. We look outside and sure enough, it's pouring rain! Timed that just right!

Wednesday we did Windows of Heaven and it was a good experience. At the start, we walked past a house where there was some scurrying in the garage. We paused for a moment, deciding on what to do. But before we could turn back, a man shouted from the garage if we could use some water. We said yes and we got to talking to Leo. He told us he appreciated what we do, but he wouldn't be converting. At least he was nice though! He also gave us some referrals for his neighbors, which we followed up with, without much luck. We continued one and we were walking past another house and the driver of the car pulling out rolled his window down and shook our hands saying, "I wasn't planning on hitting ya" which we chuckled to. He drove off and we put a pass-along card on his door. We kept going and we met a guy named Charlie. He had talked to missionaries before and said we could come back and talk to him. We kept going and just a few doors later we talked to another guy who was just visiting his in-laws and we got the general area of where he lived. He was pretty friendly! We then walked to the end of the street and we saw a Mustang pull into a driveway. In an attempt to avert the awkwardness, we knocked on a few doors. But as soon as we knocked on three, the guy was back outside with his two year-old son. We introduced ourselves and started talking. He wasn't too communicative, but his wife/girlfriend came out and we started talking to her. She was more receptive and we talked about the Plan of Salvation with her. She, Sarah, said we could come back and we gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. We then made another loop around with luck and that ran our time up. We then biked down to visit the Longerbeams  who were outside enjoying the sunshine. We visited for a bit and Bro. Longerbeam offered to take us and our bikes to the church where our supper was and where Book of Mormon class would be. Here's something funny... So, our supper was in the fridge and that's all they told us. We ate the chili and cornbread in there. No problem and quite delicious. Later that night, we find out that one container, which was a yogurt container, was meant for each companionship (us and the other Elders). Oops!! There wasn't a whole lot in there, but it was quite funny, actually. 

Thursday we went to Auburn for ZTM which happens to be my very last one... The training's were good and insightful. We then had lunch at Chick-fil-a afterwards. We get back and almost immediately we get picked up by Bro. Goertzen for supper. we ate homemade fried chicken strips and instant pasta salad. YUM! It was a good night for sure!

A few things fell through on Friday, but we were able to get some things done to make it better.

Saturday was interesting, to say the least. We checked mail and we see an envelope with the Church stamp on it. Well, it was only a matter of time.. it was my trunky papers. So, we then walked over to Sonic for Happy Hour to drown my sorrows. We get back and get picked up by the McCoy's for supper at Sis. Morris' home. It was really good and we came home with some of the leftover homemade fried chicken. 

Sunday was good as well. Services were great and insightful. Now that I had my itinerary, I needed to ask someone for a ride to the Mission Home. I asked around and got a commitment from the Woods to take me. They are so awesome! After church, Bug and Lulu took us to their home before the usual Sunday lunch. We ate and later got dropped off by Bug at our place. The Ft. Mitchell Elders later picked us up and we visited Carlos to end the night. It had been a good day! 

Well, a lot of things happened this week and the Lord's hand in it was very much evident. 

Have a good week y'all!!

Elder Alexander Kestner

Monday, March 6, 2017

Kindness, Generosity, and the Plan of Salvation

The jalapeno, onion, caribou deliciousness!!
Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been pretty solid. The weather was warm and has since taken a cool dip which I do not mind in the slightest! 

Monday was P-Day, which tends to go by fast and it was enjoyable. We got stranded at the church for a little bit since the Ft. Mitchell Elders had a dinner appointment. Bro. Worthington picked us up and took us home and we had a pretty good evening in the end.

Tuesday morning we had District Meeting and the Zone Leaders came as well.  The meeting was good and afterwards we went to Subway for lunch. Elder Strong then went on exchanges with Elder Allen in Auburn and they dropped us off at our apartment on the way out. They also took one of our cakes we had been given with them haha. we then had some companionship study and tried a few people. We then got picked up by the Craddocks later on for supper at their home. During dinner and after Bro. Craddock almost fell a few times and we helped him keep his balance. We had a good meal of vegetable soup that was quite delicious and lemon meringue pie for dessert, YUM! It had certainly been a long day!

Wednesday morning we tidied up our place and had some companionship study and then lunch. We then tried a few potentials. From our efforts we were able to receive a time to come back and see one, Cynthia. We then cooled off at Walgreens and while we were there some lady came up to us and complimented us for what we do in spreading the Gospel. She also complimented us on biking in all sorts of weather and heat. That was nice and very refreshing to me personally. We then biked to a street we had planned to tract. We knocked on two doors... and nothing. The third one opened and a white guy in his 60's came outside in nothing but a lava-lava and kinda smelled like weed. The first thing he asked us was how long we had been out and then focused on me and what I would be doing after the mission. He clearly knew who we were. He then told us he had just converted to a Methodist church, previously being a Catholic just five years previous. He was a pretty interesting guy and we talked to him for about 20 minutes surprisingly. We left and then two doors later we met Cherelle. We talked to her about the Plan of Salvation and she said it was something she would like to hear more of and said we could come back! We gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and got her info. We then tried her neighbor across the street. He was in rush, but he gave us a time to come back. We knocked on a few more and nothing came of those homes. Sometimes that's just what happens! We then biked to Piggly Wiggly and picked up some fresh onions and jalapenos for our supper. We then made a delicious Cheesy Ranch Burger Helper with onion and jalapeno, giving it some flavor and warmth! We also used Caribou burger that Bro. Triplett gave us. It was very good and it was a team effort! Bro. Bush then picked us up for Book of Mormon class. We were reading the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies and the persecution from their brethren, the Lamanites, who had come upon them and killed many of them. But not one of the People of Ammon, as they were killed, broke their covenant to never again take up their weapons of war. What a wonderful example they set, staying true to the covenants they made! A question was posed by Sister DeMann which was, "What can we do to become like the people of Ammon?" and ponder that. It was great day and it ended great. The reference is in Chapters 25 & 26 of Alma.

Thursday morning we had companionship study and lunch before going to the library for RMT. We then went to a lesson with Todd and he related some experiences, but we were not quite able to teach much of a lesson. We were however able to shared with him a Book of Mormon and a passage to read before our next visit. We then hightailed it up Summerville to meet Sis. Woods who had brought us our supper, pizza! We ate and then had a rather uneventful evening. Well, I lied. We found out that half price shakes after 8 pm at Sonic are back. So, naturally, we hit that up!

Friday we weekly planned and like previous weeks took a good chunk of our time. Sis. Herting brought us a feast from KFC and we thanked her for her generosity. We then had a good visit with the Owens to end the night. 

Saturday morning we got picked up by the Ft. Mitchell Elders to help them setup for the Baptism of their investigator, Courtney. We helped set up chairs and such. When we had a moment, we ran across the street and I got a quick haircut. I was done in like 5 minutes and it cost only $8! Plus, I liked it! We then return and get everything ready. The Baptism went through without a hitch! We cleaned up and talked to the Whitmores who had decided to let their kids run around on the filed behind the church. Needless to say, we were quite wiped when we got home that night!

Sunday was a little different. We were picked up by the Petersens since Bro. Bush was sick. Services were great and I took the opportunity to bear my testimony for the last time in front of the Ward. After church, we were dropped off by the Petersens. We then had studies and then got picked up by Bro. Petersen for supper with him and his wife. It was very nice of them and the meal was delicious. Our evening after supper was good. We tried a less-active and the potentials from Wednesday but no answer. We then followed up with Tommy, whom Elder Taylor and I met a few weeks ago. We confirmed his phone number and said he and his wife both read the Plan of Salvation pamphlet we gave them. Tommy said he would have some questions for us when we set our next appointment. It was pretty awesome to see his preparation and his willingness to learn! That got us both excited! 

Well, a lot of great things are starting to happen here in good ol' Phenix City! And they can only get better! Well, peace out and....

Have a good week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner

P.S. Will try harder to get more pictures taken this week!