Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013

"Week 3 ha"

Hey yall!!!
So this week has been pretty great! We were able to pick up some solid investigators this week! we have taught them this week about the first 2 lessons, The Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. They responded really well. Their names are Maddison and Jonathan. We were able to give them Book of Mormons and they have been reading them. We were so happy to hear that. They accepted the invitation to go to church and they were so excited to come. Sunday comes, and they don't show up. I was like, Are You Kidding Me!!! But we have appointments with them this week, so we will have to tell them that there is no excuse to miss church. Haha. I was able to give a blessing to this baby that I feel sorry for. The parents are not the best. The husband comes to pick us up, and you cant even see the bottom of the car floor because of all the Energy drink cans in the car. He smokes and just isn't all the way there. The mom just doesn't really take care of the house, and I'm not going to lie, me and my companion were really scared to eat dinner there that night. But we did and gave that baby a blessing. I hope he turns out okay.
I was able to go on my first exchange this week. I switched spots with another missionary for a day. So I went to a different area with a new companion. The guy I was with was pretty cool, and the area was not as awesome as ours though. But that day we were able to commit one of their investigators to quit drinking and to a baptism date. So that was pretty cool! But like I said it was only for a day, and i was happy because like i said, our are was a lot better.
I am in a biking area, and after not biking for a couple years, I am pretty sore. Our area is kinda big for a biking area and it takes a long time to get from one side to the other. But on Friday, we made that long trek to the other side of our area and had a lot of success. We taught 9 lessons that day and were able to pick up 5 investigators. So we have a lot of investigators now, the only problem is that they are not good at keeping commitments. Like we have this awesome family that we taught that day. They agree with everything, what we have taught has blessed their lives, and they just have a hard time reading and knowing that the Book of Mormon is true. But I just don't think that they are reading enough and praying about it. We gave them a week to read and they said that they would and they read a page in it. Like come  on. I know that this is new but only a page??? Frustrating stuff. But oh well.
On our P. Days, we have a zone activity. I am so happy cause our zone activity is playing basketball. One of the Zone Leaders actually is from Kaysville, Nantz is his last name, and he is really good. Our zone is really great. We have a lot of older missionaries in our zone, so we are pretty experienced, both in basketball and in the Work.
My companion Elder Vaoga, has a really cool conversion story. He was converted into the church at age 16. But he was into like drinking, smoking and all that stuff. He had a lot of those addictions and just had, what he thought, was a really good life. One day he was at a lake, and his best friend jumped off a cliff into that lake and his a rock and was killed. That week he asked God why this happened and if he was really there. 2 days later, some missionaries came to his house and talked to him. Not only did they answer his questions that he had, but he changed his life completely. He then converted his whole family into the church and is the first person in his family to serve a mission. He is the youngest of 11 kids. So he had been through a lot, and he is a really great missionary.
Just a heads up, I will be emailing all yall on Tuesday next week since it is labor day. The Library will be closed that day so it would be hard to email yall. I keep everyone of you in my prayers and I hope you guys have a great week! My scripture of the week is Mosiah 7:33. Check it out!
Elder O'Brien

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013

Tyler O'Brien
9:41 AM

"Week 2"

Hey Ya'll!!

I just want to thank everyone for your emails this week! I look forward to reading them each Monday! A lot of you had questions so hopefully I can answer them all. Monday is my Prep day. I only have 1 hour to email so i try to narrow down what happened this week. It has been pretty hot and humid here. We had a couple thunderstorms this week and the lightning was awesome!

This week has been a roller coaster week. We did not have very much success finding investigators on Monday and Tuesday. We had a lot of appointments with people that cancelled on us. I seemed like we were riding our bikes/Ferrari's all over our area just to be told 'no not today.' On Tuesday we had a girl text us named Danielle. Elder Vaoga and his other companion had been teaching here before I came here. We had a lesson with her last week and it went really well. But we got a text from her saying that she didn't want us to come over anymore. She found a church with her friend and chose that one instead. We were pretty sad and upset about that.

Wednesday I had my first zone conference. This is when all the zones that are in the southern part of the mission meet together. So the cities Waco and Temple join with us. I was able to see one of my roommates from the MTC there. We talked about the first week and stuff and we had about the same reactions. But President Ames and the AP's were able to come down and give us trainings. We had a lot of role play opportunities to help us incorporate what we were taught into our lessons. It was the longest meeting ever though. It started at 9 and went until 4 in the after noon. It totally ruined our prosiliting day. We didn't have very much success that day either because of that.

Thursday was about the same as this week. We had a lot of appointments scheduled and a lot of cancelled. But so far, only one person dropped us this week. We were able to talk to a couple people though that were not interested at all at first but then once we started talking, they finally agreed to let us come back.

So on Thursday I came back to the apartment kinda disappointed with what had happened this week. Both me and Elder Vaoga prayed really hard that night that we would be able to have a successful rest of the week. Thankfully our prayers were answered cause Friday was the most successful day I have had so far. We were able to teach 8 lessons and were able to pick up 6 new investigators. One of those 6 thought we were hitting on his wife and went to go get his gun. But we were able to show and prove to him that we were not here to pick up on his wife. We set a return date for this weekend, so hopefully that wont happen again.

Saturday and Sunday went by way too fast for me. Even though people kept canceling on us, we kept pushing forward to talk to everyone. We were able to have a second lesson with this woman and her family who are Catholic. Her whole side of the family though are Mormons so she just wants to know more about what we do and believe in. She seems very interested and has read through the Book of Mormon. So we can hopefully help her gain a testimony because she has already read through it! We were pretty impressed.

Sunday I had to give a talk. Thanks to Linda who was able to send me some valuable resources, I was able to talk about Covenants and Ordinances. I am starting to get to know the Ward Members a lot better. But I have a long ways to go to learn all the names. The Bishop here is really cool! And the members here that have us for dinner really know how to cook. Haha!

So I am starting to become more comfortable here. Even though sometimes people suck cause they cant remember appointments with us, they are still very nice and some are willing to listen and accept. I hope and pray that we will be able to set a baptism date this week and that I will be able to tell ya'll all about it.

 I love you all and have a fantastic Week!

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

Tyler O'Brien
9:48 AM (6 hours ago)
"First Week"
Hey Ya'll!!!
So this week was my first week! And holy cow this is going to be weird to get used to! That is wearing the shirt and tie everyday and getting up at 6:30. But this week has been very eye opening for me. I have always visioned me going up to doors and knocking and I will never forget the first door me and Elder Vaoga went to. But Elder Vaoga is from Samoa. His last name is pronounced as Vaona (The G makes a N sound). He is 20 years old and has been out here for 7 months. He loves to joke around and is a great teacher. We are going to be together for 2 transfers, or 12 weeks, in the city called Killeen. Killeen is at the bottom of my mission, and is about 3 hours South of Fort Worth. It is also one of the last places on my list of places to go on vacations. It is a Military town and there are people moving in  and out of houses all the time. The mission has this thing called the 12 week program which is just training and getting myself comfortable in the mission field. The weather down here sucks. It's like 100 degrees with 80% humidity. So you can probably imagine my enthusiam as I get ready to go outside for the day. I have never been so hot and sweaty ever! And the locals say that it stays this hot until October hits. Totally stoked for that month. haha
But back to that first door experience. I was so nervous that I didn't say a thing. I stood there as stiff as a board! The kids name was Talilee, and no I can't remember how to pronouce that. But after that door I started to settle down and actually talked about the Joseph Smith story at the next street that we tracted at. We knocked on this guys door and he let us in. His name was Richard. This guy is like 50 years old, but looks like he could bench like 500 pounds! We taught him the whole first lesson about the Restoration of the Church. We gave him a Book of Mormon to read and we set another appointment to come back to. I felt more relaxed once we got inside and out of the heat. We were also able to talk to 2 other people that day and got 2 return appointments. So my first day was pretty awesome. That was Wednesday.
Thursday was our planning day. For planning days, we plan from 10-2 for our next week. We got into depth for eveything that we plan. Set goals, figure out streets and appointments, etc. I never knew how organized I could be. Once that was over we went to our first appointment of the day. His name was Ken Patrick. We taught him lesson 2 which is the Plan of Salvation. He had a hard time understanding with the spirit world and the Kingdoms, but after a couple scriptures he was able to figure it out. We were able to track 3 streets after that. We taught 6 other lessons and get 3 new investigators. The reason why that number is off is because they can choose whether they want us to come back or not. After tracting, we visited other investigators and we have and just introduced myself to them. We followed up on commitments and left after that.
Friday I had my first Zone meeting. In this meeting, there was a lot of role playing in it. These meetings are designed to help us teach better and help recognize peoples needs. There was a lot of good advice given by not only our zone leaders, but other missionaries. However the kid in my ward, Connor Weaver, he is not in my zone. So no I have not seen him yet. The Zone meeting went from 10-2. So after the meeting, we had 3 appointments with investigators. 1 appointment cancelled and completely dropped us. The other 2 cancelled and rescheduled us for this week. We were able to tract more streets and I did finally get a door slammed shut on me. Usually the people here answer and kindly say no. This dude straight up looked as us and slammed it shut. It sucked I'm not going to lie. We didn't really talk to anyone that day so it was kinda depressing for me.
Saturday was a great day. We were able to talk to 4 people and they all asked for us to come back. We talked to this one woman though named Erica. She was like totally prepared for us. We got there and it was like a answer to not only her prayers, but ours. She has gone to one of our churches before and wants to know more. I extended the invitation to here to be baptized and she said yes and we also set a date!August 31. So within 3 days, I went from stiff as a board to inviting someone to be baptized! it was so cool! We invited here to church and she said she would be there!
Sunday came and I met the Bishop. He is a total cowboy with his accent and all. I was able to meet the Ward members and it was weird cause a lot of them have tatoos and stuff cause they are converts to the church. But they were all nice. None of our investigators showed up to church which was really depressing. But that just means we have to work harder this week to get them there.
Well thats my summary of the first week. Ill be talking to you guys in 7 days. I only have an hour to type emails so I try to summarize everything as best as possible. my new address is

Elder Tyler O'Brien
101 W. Central Express Way #1306
Killeen, TX 76541
Hope everyone is doing great! I love you guys
Elder O'Brien

Friday, August 9, 2013

Letter from Brother and Sister Ames...

Friday, August 09, 2013

Dear Family
Sister Ames and I want you to know that your missionary has arrived safely in Texas. 
We look forward to serving together in accomplishing the Lord’s work.  We hope
You enjoy the attached picture of your missionary as well as knowing that the missionaries are in good hands here as they are in the Lord’s service.  They arrived on Tuesdayand we took them to the Mission Home where we had a good Texas Barbeque meal and then a testimony meeting.  We went to a local Ward Building for some training and a personal interview with President Ames.

The Elders spent the night at the Assistant to the President apartment and the Sisters
Stayed at member’s homes.

Wednesday morning we had more training followed by a meeting with their first Mission Field companion.  That afternoon your missionary began working in the field and he looks great.

Your missionary’s first assignment will be in the Killeen area.  He will be serving with
Elder Vaoga.

Their apartment address is:
Elder Tyler A O’Brien
101 West Central Texas Exp #S1306
Killeen, TX   76541

Your missionary will email on Monday which is their preparation day.  They are always
Glad to hear from you.  Thank you for your support.


President and Sister Ames

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 2, 2013

"Final Stretch"

Hey family!!!

So this week has been one of the coolest weeks of my life!! Thank you for all your packages and letters! It means so much that you guys care enough to do that! Before I get going, I hate saying this but don't send anymore things to the MTC for me or the mission home in Texas for a couple reasons. 1 is that I am leaving Tuesday morning and I wont be able to get mail that day. And the reason for Texas is that i may not be staying at the Mission Home. So if you want to send letters, I will be able to give you my real address when i get there. But still send packages to the Mission home, Preferably.
Me and my companion are getting a long great. We have had the opportunity to teach people that were acting as investigators. When we started teaching our first couple lessons, we kinda struggeled. But lately, we have been killing it! We are starting to teach better with the Spirit and we have been able to talk about the same during the lessons. Even though I hate sitting in a classroom listening to someone talk, it has been worth it.
So this week like I said was amazing! On Sunday, we watched a previous talk that Elder Bednar gave on the Character of Christ. He gave it as a MTC devotional on Christmas Day in 2011 for anyone that wants to look it up. I highly recommend it. Later that night, I was able to give my first priesthood blessing to one of my Elders. It was probably one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. The spirit was so strong in that room giving it that it was almost over whelming.
Monday we had a lot of classes that day. Our teachers are Brother Holt, who was converted to the church 4 years ago and served a mission in San Antonio, Texas, and Sister Thomas who served in the San Diego, mission spanish speaking. We have two classes a day and the switch off teaching each class. Monday I was also able to give another blessing to an Elder in our district. However, these past couple days, this guy has been acting as though he is better than all of us. Like telling us what to do, and where to be. Kinda sounds like the District leaders job to do that right? But whatever. It was still a good blessing.
Tuesday we only had one class period. We then had a member of the quorum of the Seventy come. His last name is Rodgers, but I missed the first name. He talked to us about mission work and how to incorporate Preach my Gospel into that. He was a really good speaker. I would share my notes with you, but i have limited time on the computer and i left the notes in the dorms. Oops. But just know that it helped me realize how important it is to know the Doctrine before teaching it. Because when you teach people, they have questions and you have to do your very best to answer those questions. Later that night though I got a blessing, and I heard exactly what I needed to hear. It was so cool!
Wednesday and Thursday were just a blurr. We did this thing called In-Field Orientation. So basically we walked around to different classes and they taught us how to set good goals, how to plan days correctly, how to use members in the field, and other things like that. And the best part was every teacher was a Return Missionary!! Well they all are here. But they put on a little skit at the end and just showed how a day would go. It got me excited to get out there!
So just to wrap things up, I was so happy that I was able to come to the MTC before Texas. It has really changed my view of how mission work was to be done. I imagined it so differently and now I know how to go and teach properly. Thank you everyone for your support! I love you all! Ill expect a couple letters or emails while im in Texas!
Elder O'Brien