Monday, December 30, 2013

Here are some pictures we got this week!

December 30, 2013

"Talk to Y'all next year!"

Hey y'all!!
This week being Christmas was an awesome week for us! We had a struggle because being a military town, a lot of people went of leave and left Texas for vacation. So at church, we had the skeleton crew there. Haha! But we were able to have some great lessons with people. With Jason, we were able to teach the Word of Wisdom on Saturday. We were kinda worried because he likes to drink green tea. So we were worried how he was going to react to that. But the lesson went really awesome! We talked about where in the scriptures it talks about the word of wisdom. And he said that he would commit to live it! It was an awesome lesson! On Sunday, this is the best part, in Sunday school we were talking about how this next year we should commit to becoming closer to Christ. Jason loves to participate and told everyone in the class that once he is baptized, he wants to get fully involved with callings and everything! It was so cool! We are so excited for him!
We are also teaching this partmember family. His name is Stevan. He read the Book of Mormon in a week and is praying to know whether it is the work of God or not. We were really impressed that he did that. Haha! He broke his spine 10 years ago in the military and wakes up to a lot of pain sometimes. He was planning on coming to church this week, but woke up in too much pain to come. But he is really interested and keeps all the commitments we give him. However, his wife was baptized 5 years ago and was offended at church. So she didn't really want to come back, but we got her to pray about it. So that would be awesome to get her back to church! This guy though is pretty weird. He is the guy who has the degree in Theology. And he refers to people as humans, which is correct. Just the way he talks and stuff, he is trying to sound like he is better and knows more than we do. So it's kinda annoying when we try to have lessons with him.
Toni and Rona Vega are doing pretty good. We had a good lesson with them about the importance of church and why we need to go to church. They understood everything and commited to come to church. But they didn't come. Shocker right? They decided to go to San Antonio instead. They are kinda confusing us because it's like they are so excited about everything we teach, but then they don't come to church. So I don't even know. Haha.
So we have also been working with a less active family, The Davis's. Brother Davis served a mission in Germany and got married to his wife who got baptized a couple years before they were married. After that they moved down to Killeen and just stopped going to church. This week Sis. Davis was sick but Bro Davis decided to come to church! It was really cool to see him there! We are also going to be working with the Lacombe family again here this week.They went to California for the Holidays and are going to be back this week. It should be an epic week for us!
Christmas was an awesome day for me! I loved being able to talk to my family! It really made my day great! They next day we threw out our dead Christmas tree, which was almost as sad as throwing out our couch... I was happy to see some Christmas cards from the family! I was happy with what I got for Christmas as well! We are still working on the candy that was given to us! I hope y'all have a great New Years day! While the ball is being dropped, just remember that I will be asleep. Haha! I love y'all and thanks again for the emails!
Elder O'Brien

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23, 2013

"Merry Christmas to Y'all"

Merry Christmas Y'all!
This past week was a great week leading up to Christmas! We were able to set some baptism dates and get people to church! That's pretty good right? Haha! But I want to start off by saying that mother nature down here cannot make up her mind. One week is warm and the other is cold. Last night we froze to death biking home, but 3 hours before, we could walk outside with shorts on and be warm! It is so up and down I can't take it. But it is what it is.
This week we were able to teach the Vega family. They were a referral from Austin and have been taking the missionary lessons down there. We met with them on Monday, and are so solid! They know that the Book of Mormon was true as soon as they started reading it! That never happens! It was so cool!! We set a date for them for the 28th. We met with them 3 times this week to start teaching them the lessons before their baptism. However, they did not come to church on Sunday. That is all they had to do!!! We have taught almost everything except 2 things, but now we have to push it back because we want them to come to church twice before they get baptized so they don't just get baptized and not come ya know? So frustrating! But they will be baptized though. It will be pushed back on to the 4th on January. Which is still great!
We were also able to meet with Jason this week too. This was our first lesson with him for me and Elder Hyde. Me and one of the Zone Leaders had been teaching him before. It was a little different for him at first, but once we cracked a couple jokes to show that we are normal people too, he became more comfortable. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. He really loved it and is excited to be baptized. The really cool thing is that we prayed to know when a good date for him to be baptized would be. The member who he want to baptize him has a really crazy schedule. But once we set the date, he told us the a couple days before, he just decided to request that weekend off from work! So now he will be able to baptize him for sure! How awesome it that?! We thought it was so cool! His date is the 11th of January! Whaoo!!
Keva is starting to take a turn for the worst, sorta. We weren't able to meet with her all week, but we called her and invited her to a baptism on Saturday to see how it is done. She came and then we gave her a church tour. She loved it and she said she would come to church. But knowing the pattern of commitments she has said she would keep and do, she didn't come. So we are deciding what we should do with her. So we are praying to know.
Christmas here is different without snow, but the spirit is still strong down here! I love this time of year! There are a couple Mormon Messages that y'all should check out! It just says again what we need to focus on during this time of year! Luke 2 tells about the Christmas Story and so does 3 Nephi 1:9-21. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas! I love you all! Thank you for your emails!
Elder O'Brien

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013

"The Streak is Over"

Hey Y'all!!
This week was a lot warmer than last weeks! I can't even begin to tell you how annoyed I am from this weather! You never know how it's going to be. But with the warm weather, everyone decided to leave Killeen this week. This week was really interesting for us because we had 14 appointments cancel on us this week. Yes that is 2 a day. So it was really frustrating because we would plan the night before, then as we are doing our studies, and even while we are out proselyting, we get a text or call from the person canceling. So there was a lot of hard times during the day where we wouldn't know what to do. But we were able to have some success this week.
We had a really cool lesson with Keva too. We talked a lot about stake conference and how she felt about it. She said that she loved it and that some of the stuff that was talked about, like the plan of salvation, sounded really familiar to her. Which was really awesome! We talked a lot about the Spirit and shared some scripture in Galatians that talks about the fruits of the Spirit. She said that every time we come over and talk with her, and even at stake conference, she felt that. She had no idea that was the spirit, so that was really cool when she realized that. The only problem is that she doesn't remember the Restoration of the Gospel. So we are going to have to talk to her about that again.
So our Christmas Eve baptism has been pushed back. Jason is really cool though. He works for the FBI and has crazy hours too. He loves what he has been taught about tha gospel already and is really excited to be baptized. The only problem is that he still has quite a few things to be taught and we can only meet with him once this week. So that is not enough time at all to teach everything. But he has already committed to baptism and already choose the person who he wants to baptize him too. So he is really solid.
This week we also were able to work with the Davis and Kinder families. With the Davis family, they really want to be sealed in the temple together. The only thing is that the need to be active in the church for one year. So we set a goal for them to be sealed in the temple to together one year from now as a christmas present to them from God. IT was a really cool lesson and discussion that we had. We all could feel the spirit. The Kinder's, we don't exactly know what their problem is. It seems like they really want to come back, But at the same time, they don't. It's like they change their minds every week and they can't make up their minds. They are interested in family history so we are going off that.
Our streak on people not coming to church is over! We had this lady come named Sharon who we have only taught once, so we were really excited to see her come! We have an appointment set up for Wednesday to talk about church and more about the restorations. I hope you all have a great week! I love reading emails about what is going on outside of Texas! I Hope everyone has a great day!
Elder O'Brien

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013

"5 Pound Burrito?  No Problem"

Hey Ya'll!!
So to start out the letter, I will be staying in the Promised land for 6 more weeks!! (Killeen) I am super excited to be serving down here still!
Holy cow! I thought Texas was supposed to be warm, but I guess not. Mother Nature has lost her mind down here in Texas! On Wednesday this week it got all the way up to 80 degrees. The next day was down to 32 degrees.... And on Saturday, it got all the way down to 23 degrees. Yes I have proof on my camera that this actually happened.  That is just not normal at all! But every one down here is used to this kind of weather down here. This week was great! Last week I told ya'll that we were going to focus this week on Less Acive members, and we really did. We had some awesome lessons with those members. We were able to get active members to drive us around all week and visit these families as well and they were able to bear their testimonies and we felt the spirit way strong! It was so cool!
This week we had Stake Conference. And we were really pushing Keva to come because for the Saturday session, there were going to be converts to the church bearing their testimonies. So we wanted her to come because then she could know that other people went through the same problems and questions she did. And guess what happened...SHE CAME!!! After weeks and weeks of trying to get her to come to church, she came to stake conference and we were so happy that she made it. President Ames is the man! He gave a talk about how the gospel blesses lives, and she really connected with his talk and loved it. She was really happy she came too. So we are starting to progess with her more.

So after District meeting on Tuesday, I was challenged by another missionary to a eating contest. There is a place down here called FreeBirds. It's a burrito place. They have 4 sizes of burritos. Hyperbird, Freebird, Monster, and Super Monster. The super Monster is 2 Monsters combined pretty much. That was the challenge. Let me tell ya'll this, I would rather eat a triple cheese burger and go ride rollar coasters than eat that massive burrito and ride bikes to go teach lessons. That thing kicked my butt. I out ate him, He only ate about 3/4 of it and I ate about, I don't know, 5/6 maybe. But It really made me sick. I didn't eat dinner that night because I was so full! But it was so worth it!
This week we were able to teach one of our newest investigators named Nikki. We were able to contact her on the street. I got a flat tire and I had no idea how. So we started walking back to the appartment to drop it off and we ran into her at her car, she was not interested at all, but we helped her with what she was doing. She was trying to find the brake fluid for her car and we were able to find it. During that time we started talking about her faith and where she went to church. In the end, she invited us back to her home to just talk about our church and what we believe in. We were able to teach her lesson 1 on the first lesson. We also gave her a Book of Mormon to read a well. This past week, we had a lesson with her and she had been reading it! We were in shock that she was! We had members there for both lessons because she is a single mom and we can't go in unless there is a 3rd female in the house. But we were so happy! The Lord does really work in mysterious ways!
Also we were able to set a date this week for this guy named Jason. The Zone Leaders had been teaching him before and he moved into our area. He is really awesome! He is from New Jersey and works for the Army. We are still getting to know him better so I will give you more details. All I know is that he is set to be baptized on December 24th. Yes Christmas Eve. He called us this week and told us he wants to do it and he already knows who he wants to do it. So I will give yall more details next week when I get them!
President Ames a couple months ago gave us the challenge on Reading the New Testemant before the year ended, I am a little behind in 2 Corinthians, but reading every day to try to catch up. I pretty much was waiting til last minute to do it. Which is rare for me to do things like that. ;) I have really enjoyed reading it though. It will be my first time doing so, and I have loved it a lot! Being on my mission has helped me have more of a desire to study and read the scriptures that I never had before. It has helped me so much in my growth. Thank you all for your support! I hope everyone stays warm through the cold! We have been doing our best down here on Bikes. Love You all!
Elder O'Brien

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

Hey ya'll!!!
This week was fantastic! I really love Thanksgiving a lot! It is one of the most filling holidays of the year! Especially on my mission. We had that opportunity to eat 2 dinners with families. One at 2:30 and then one at 4. We were able to eat with the Garcia family who was recently baptized. We were also able to eat with the Unitt family. Their oldest daughter is leaving on her mission this week to Chile. I ended up eating 4 plate fulls of food not including pie. So just imagine a typical plate with turkey, ham, etc. Needless to say that we biked slower than usual around our area.
This week we were able to focus still on our investigators, but we also were able to visit a lot less actives this week. We have a ward list of 800 people and families and only about 200 come each week. So we have a lot of names to work with. Almost every person that we talked with was thinking about coming to church. We were able to have members come out with us almost all week and help fellowship these people. One family that we found is a part member family. They are from California and have been taught by missionaries before us. He is in the military and flies Black Hawks. The wife has not been to church since she was 13 and he has been catholic for his whole life. But we were able to share a message with him and he seems really interested.
Another family that we were able to see was the Davis family. On the ward directory it says that they are a part member family. But when we went over there, we found out that they were both members and the husband has served a mission in Germany. Which we were able to talk about a lot too. We got them to commit to start coming back to church but they don't want to start until next year. Which I don't know why you wouldn't want to start coming back now though. The Kinder family is starting to come along now. I think I have talked about them before but I cannot remember. They are from Kansas and we know that they do want to start coming back. We had a lesson with them last night and have one again this weekend. They really love us coming over and talking with them, and we were able to get a member involved as well.
Speaking of members, we were able to have 5 exchanges this week. This is really good for us. The ward is finally starting to get more involved and are asking to come out with us as well which is fantastic! They really are now trusting us more and are getting more excited about the work progressing forward.
Keva is starting to disappear from us. We can't set up an appointment and it has been hard to contact her. Ramon has an appointment with us this week on Wednesday. So that should be another lesson that will surely rattle my head. We are hoping to have more investigators at church this week than we did last week. Next week is transfer week. So I will hopefully be staying here in Killeen. Also we will be getting our Christmas tree this next week too. We are super stoked for that! I hope everyone has a fantastic week this week! Hope and pray for good weather down here! It doesn't feel like December yet, but its here! Love you all!
Elder O'Brien

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013

"Chance of Snow in Texas??  Oh man..."

Hey Ya'll!!1
Happy early Thanksgiving! I cannot wait for Thursday! For those that know my love for food, it is truly one of my favorite holidays of the year! This week we had a lot of appointments cancel due to the crazy weather we have been having down here. But we still had some awesome lessons this week!
Keva Scott has let us down this week. We had an awesome lesson about Church, Prayer, and Reading. Our mission President calls it CPR. Me and Elder Hyde have really been focusing on this for most of our investigators. Keva has been reading and praying, but won't come to church. It's frustrating sometimes. We had an awesome lesson on Saturday and got a strong commitment for church. We literally killed every excuse that she could make up. Her kids can go to primary, we can have someone pick them up, she can wear normal clothes to church, etc. Church starts at 11, and at 10:38, she says she isn't going to come today. Holy cow we were pretty disappointed. All we can do now is just pray that she comes next week.
We were able to teach Ramon this week. This guy is awesome! He really enjoys us coming over, but he has too many questions and doesn't know how to stop talking. We were able to figure out that he doesn't know how to forgive people. So we are going to be focusing on that as well. We had an appointment scheduled for Thursday evening for Thanksgiving, but he just texted us like 2 minutes ago that he can't do it. So we will hopefully be seeing him this weekend.
It has been freezing cold this past weekend. On my odometer on my bike, it tells temperature and it got down to 34 degrees on Friday and Saturday! It seems colder down here because of the humidity  in the air. Tonight there is a chance of snow here as well. So this week we are going to be relying on the members to be driving us around. We have a member tonight and one tomorrow already signed up to drive us. It's too cold for biking so when we don't have members driving us, we will be walking around. Which is still good for us. Today for P. Day we are going to the Tank Museum on Ft. Hood. So we are pretty stoked for that! Yes there will be pictures for yall to see.
So for Thanksgiving we are going to be sharing a mormon message on giving thanks to members and some investigators. We figure that if we go tracting on that day that we won't have very much success. So we are hoping to get some referrals from the members as well. We have for sure 2 dinners already. One in the afternoon and in the evening, and hopefully more to come! I hope yall have a fantastic Thanksgiving! The work is moving forward here! Love you all! 
Elder O'Brien 

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013

"Below Freezing in Texas?? Who Knew."

Hey Ya'll!!
I hope everyone had a fantastic week! It was great week down here in Texas for sure! This week we were able to do a lot of service for some of our investigators. There names are the Worley's, and they have a very interesting house. They have 2 dogs that shed like crazy and they hardly pick up the hair. We have been moving furniture for the past couple weeks for them and starting this week we have been scrapping up their floor and are going to be laying tile for them. There are 4 of us Elders doing it, and 4 of us Elders are not very experienced at tile laying. So this will surely be a service that none of of will forget. haha!
This week we were able to come into contact with the Deleon family! Ramon had ACL and MCl surgery at the beginning of October. So we haven't been able to catch him because he has been pretty loopy on drugs. We were prompted to stop by on the way home at 8:30 and just to see how they were doing and set up something for the coming days. We ended up staying a lot longer and started to talk about church with him. He believes that he doesn't need to go to church to get closer to God, or to gain more faith. But after us talking about the importance of church, he commited to come this week with his whole family! It was a really cool experience and a awesome lesson! The only this that went wrong is that when you commit to do something, you should do it right? Well, he didn't come to church. But we finally had a break through lesson with him where we actually did a majority of the talking. He's a Texas talker for sure.
We also had Zone Conference this week on Friday. It was from 9-4. So basically all day. We had to drive up to Waco because the last conference was down in Killeen, so it was only fair. It's about 45 minute drive north so not terrible. Our first conference was also President Ames first conference, So it was a new thing for him and for all us missionaries. This conference felt more planned for and also ran a lot smoother. We talked about President Ames's vision of the mission, The Work of Salvation, is what he called it. Where it's now just our job to preach the Gospel, it's also the members too. So he wants us to really work with the members for the rest of our missions. The only problem is that almost all of our members are in the military, and are always busy until 5. So me and Elder Hyde are working something out to start involving some of the Priests as well. Then it's less biking for us too. Haha!
Which speaking of biking, a while ago, I thought that we were only going about 10-15 miles a day. Well I found out that that's not correct. I got a odometer for my bike to start keeping track and on Sunday where we only prosilite for 5 hours, we went 15 miles. So this week I can figure out probably on average how far we go now. Haha. Biking this week was terrible though. On Tuesday and Wednesday, it got to be upper 20's after 7 o'clock. Thankfully, one of the members bought us some hand warmers and we already used like 10. Haha!
Me and Elder Hyde are starting to get along great! We have a lot of appointments coming up this week with a lot of potential for sure! Today for P. day we are going to be playing basketball, and I will be going into Black Mamba mode and start draining shots. Haha! I hope everyone has a fantastic week! I love you all!
Love Elder O'Brien

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12, 2013

Hey there yall!!!

So I guess I'll start off by talking about my spider bite since that seems to be the talk of the day in the emails. The hole in my back is almost filled in. So the anitbiotics are working. I got 2 new ones on Monday night. The doctor said that once it fills in that it will look like I got shot. So I can say that I was knocking on a door in Texas and I went to walk away and got hit. Haha! What a story right? 

This week we got a lot of referrals given to us. The first referral was going to be our next baptism. It was a member referral and he is 27 years old. His name is Brandon. We went and just had a good sit down just to get to know him. We come to find out that he has been taught L1 and L2 by the member already. We were able to share a scripture for the night from the Book of Mormon and it really hit him hard. Infact he wanted to get baptized next weekend because he knew that it was the right thing for him to do. He has already been to church and loves it! That was on WednesdayOn Saturday morning, we find out that he is not our investigator because he is between 18-30 years old and he is we had to give him to the Young Single Adult Sister missionaries...We were upset that we lost him.

Our next referral that we got was a guy named Jason. He is in his 30's and is from Jersey. He moved out here because of the army and in really interested in the Gospel. The Zone Leaders had already taught him part of the first lesson and I went on an  exchange with one of them, Elder Russell, to go meet him. We had a member come with us because he lives way far away and we didn't want to bike out there. He is a really cool guy and is excited about us coming over next week! Eventually, he could be baptized. 

Keva Scott hasn't really showed much progress lately. She keeps saying that she is going to come to church but she never shows up. This week her excuse was that she slept in. It's like she is interested, but not at the same time...Tonight we finally have another appointment with the Bonilla family if yall remember them. We are going to be talking about the Plan of Salvation with them and eating dinner as well. Food is always a good way to get missionaries over. Haha!

One last family I want to talk about is the Menard family. Jason, the husband, was excomunicated from the church and his wife, Danielle, isn't a member. We found them on the ward list one day and decided to drop by and see them. Turns out that they are really prepared to receive the gospel! They let us right in once we were there, gave some food and we were able to share a lesson with them. It's amazing how these kind of people get put into our path and we never would have known that would happen either! It was quite the miracle!

This week was fantastic! We have Zone Conference coming up on Friday. I can't wait for that! I will finally get to use my Cold Stone gift cards because there is a Cold Stone in Waco!! I hope ya'll have a fantastic week and thank you again for your letters! 

Love Elder O'Brien

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Its Veterans Day!  This means no email..  so instead I'm posting pictures we received this weekend.