Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

"Kai-Kae-Mate Eh?  (Eat Til you Die)

This week has been quite different that's for sure. It has been I guess you could say a culture shock. Haha! Who knew that I would have to learn how to speak Tongan right? Well I don't have to fully learn, just like how to say key words. So I know have a language study in the morning to help me learn some words. It's weird going around and not seeing people in military clothes. Instead, the people that I see are in flip flops and relaxed. Haha! My new companion is Elder Ramsey. He is actually going to be going to Kenya instead of Ghana. I guessed wrong, sorry. He just got done getting trained by Elder Weaver. He is going to be with me for the whole transfer. If his Visa comes during this transfer, than he will leave at the end of it. If not, he is here for another 6 weeks. He says that he does like Texas, but he is excited to go to where he was called originally. He is from Tampa Bay, Florida and actually played baseball for UVU last year. He turns 20 next week, so he is older than me by a few months.
So the work here is a lot different than any other area in the mission. Our boundaries are the mission boundaries. Haha! But we don't really travel too far out from our appartment. We have an appointment tonight and hour away in a car. That's about as far out as we go. We usually just walk because where we are at, there are a lot of families that live around us. Most of the Tongans here go to the LDS Church, a methodist church, the tongan church, and I think a baptist church is the other one. So everyone here is religious, and love to talk to us. There are actually a lot of members who have gotten baptized into another church because it is closer than the LDS Church. Which is weird to me. The reason why though the work is different is because we literally work through the members only. We can go door to door, but it's not as successful down here. Plus over half of the members here are less active. It the 5 days that I have worked here so far, we saw 14 less active families! So we have been working with them to get back to church.
The highlight of this week though by far was church! I had only heard about the sacrament meetings here at church but I didn't know what to expect. The whole meeting is in Tongan, including the hymns, so I couldn't understand anything. But every hymn that was sung, was awesome! The Tongans know how to sing loud and good at the same time. It was something else! You couldn't even hear the piano at one time. It was the coolest thing ever!
The youth down here are really awesome as well. All of them speak english so I understand them better. Haha! A lot of them go to Trinity High School, which is really big down here. They have an awesome football team. A lot of them actually play for Trinity too. There is one kid named David, who graduated last year, he played full back and he is huge! He is going to Ghana on his mission in March. So he comes out with us every week.
I am really excited to start working this area. I am looking forward to speaking some Tongan getting to know a different culture. As far as I know, I haven't gained any weight yet (Key word is yet). I hope that y'all have a fantastic week this week! Thank you so much for the emails! Love you All!
Elder O'Brien

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014

"Deuces Killeen!  I'm out!"

Hey Y'all!!!
So I am leaving Killeen. Last Tuesday we were sitting down at a members house for dinner. We were talking about where Elder Hyde has served and some of the areas he has been to. One of the areas that he was talking about was up in Euless serving in the Tongan wards. He was talking about how they feed you all the time and you put on some weight up there. I then made the comment that if I have gained 30 pounds in Killeen, I don't even know how much I would gain up there. No joke, like 10 seconds later, I get a call from President Ames saying that I will be serving in the Tongan wards up in Euless. All because I didn't knock on wood. Haha! But that's where I am heading! After talking with Elder Hyde, I am really excited to go up there! So how this area works is that I only teach Tongans. So if we are tracting or street contacting and we teach someone who isn't Tongan, then we have to refer them to the Elders who work in that area. I don't have a designated area, or a car (Which means I can work off some of that food), but wherever the people are, I go to. Haha! My companion in Elder Ramsey. He is a Visa waiter and he will be going to Gana, Africa when it gets here.
So this past week was kinda a slow week for us. We were able to teach 11 lessons. But Sunday was awesome! We had 5 investigators come to church! So the first 3 people that came was a family, the Mendards. We have been teaching them for awhile and they are really awesome! They have been to church before when they were stationed somewhere else. We have been talking with them about the Book of Mormon and committing them to read it. As far as we know, they are keeping that committment. So when we saw them at church we were really excited.
The other 2 people that came to church was the Ford family. Bro. Ford is in his 80's and has bad knees. He is really outgoing though and has a fantastic laugh! Sis. Ford is his daughter and she works all the time. We haven't taught here that much, but she has been reading the Book of Mormon. Bro Ford has accepted to be baptized, but we haven't set a date yet.
One other really cool experience this week was on Saturday. They Sisters were having a baptism and had everything set up, except the person who was going to baptize her. So I got the opportunity to baptize her. It was awesome! The water was freezing cold because they forgot to turn the hot water all the way on, but other than that, it was a really awesome experience!
I'm really going to miss Killeen. I've been getting pictures with members and investigators for the past week. There are some awesome people down here and there are experiences that I won't forget. I am excited to go serve somewhere new though. My new Address is:
Elder Tyler O'Brien
105 E. Harwood rd. #505
Euless, TX 76039
Hope y'all have a fantastic week this week! Thank you for all your emails! Have a blessed day!
Elder O'Brien

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2013

"Baptism of Jason"

Hey Ya'll!!
This week was up and down the whole day! It was just like the Texas weather! Unpredictable. It started out when we went to go see a part member family. So her name is Jerri and we are teaching her husband. He broke his spine while he was in the army. They were refinancing their home and it didn't go through. So they had to be out of their house in a week. So she starting crying because of the stress that everything was going wrong. So we helped her slowly move throughout the week. Then on Saturday, we got the members to help. We got two big trucks and 2 big trailors. So she was really thankful for that! It took up like 8 hours of our week to help them out. But they really needed our help
We went on an exchange this week with other Elders. It was the best exchange that I've had on my mission so far. We honestly could've been good friends before our missions. But the best part about the exchange was we had about an hour before dinner and we were going to go tract and we found this Huskie that was lost and just wandering the streets. And everywhere we went he would follow us. It was the best! We would knock on doors and he would walk up to the house with us. We had a 3rd companion for an hour. Haha!
So the highlight of this week was Jason's baptism. On the Thursday before, he got his wisdom teeth out and an extra tooth pulled as well. ( Sounds like my experience.) But he had his interview for baptism that evening as well. The missionary who inverviewed him said that it was the most spiritual interview he has ever been in. And the baptism was just a spiritual. As soon as he walked in, you could tell that he was so ready to just hop right on in there. I can't even find the words to explain what I felt after he was baptized. Just know that it was incredible. On Sunday we was able to receive the Holy Ghost. Which was really cool as well. We got to stand in the circle. He was literally smiling the best he could with his swollen face. Haha. He was inverviewed for the Priesthood before sacrament and got it right after as well. After he was confirmed, the bishop made the comment at the pulpit saying that he was single and I've never heard a congregation laugh that hard before. He was asigned a home teacher companion after church and families as well. So he is hitting the ground running.
After church on Sunday, we went to go see Toni and Rona Vega. They have fallen off the face of the earth. We haven't been able to talk to them for a week now. And they won't answer the door. So we have no idea what happened. Hopefully we can get them this week.
Thanks for all your emails this week. I find out transfers this week. I will let all y'all know next Tuesday. The Library is closed on Monday for the Holiday. Love yall!
Elder O'Brien

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2013

"What a way to start the new year!"

Happy New Year Y'all!!
What a week to start off the New Year! We actually went on an exchange on New Year's Eve and switched back in 2014. Haha. However, even though we went to bed at 10:30, I set the alarm for midnight as a joke to see what Elder Pfister would do (One of the zone leaders). He threw a couple pens at me for waking him up for that. It was pretty funny though.
Jason is doing great! We had his 2nd to last lesson on Friday. We taught the rest of the Commandments. He agreed with everything and said that it all made sense to him. He is set to be baptized this Saturday at 4. We are putting everything together now. So I can't remember if I told yall this or not, but we found out from the member that he went to go see his dentist. And at his appointment, he started talking about the Book of Mormon with him and said that he should read it! I don't know if he really will but we both thought that would be so cool if he did! He said he is getting his wisdom teeth out on Thursday, but it won't stop him from getting baptizedthis Saturday. So he is really prepared and excited to get going in the Gospel.
Toni and Rona Vega had to get their date pushed back. We taught the Word of Wisdom to him and he has a smoking problem. However, he has been trying to stop. He said that he used to smoke 3 packs a day! That's 18 dollars a day. He is down to 3/4 of a pack a day and has a date set for him to be done by February 12th. We tried to push it forward to earlier, but he is set on that date. So that is where the Vega's stand at this point.
Story time. So Keva texted us this week saying that she didn't want us to come over anymore...She wanted to take a break and not continue the lessons pretty much. Me and Elder Hyde were seriously like What the Heck!! President Ames shared an experience last Zone Conference how he had an investigator do the exact same thing as Keva did and he still went to go visit them. So we decided to do what he did and go over the next day and just see what happened. So we went over and starting talking about it and she just wants to think about what she has been taught. Usually this is the time where the advisary starts to creep in and tempt people. So we starting talking about prayer and how the Holy Ghost talks to us and gives us answers. Elder Hyde shared his experience on how he received his answer and it wasn't like a slap in the face, it was a warm feeling, and he felt peace. She said that she has been feeling that and we told her to pray everyday to know. We really had a great lesson with her and now we are back to teaching her again! So President Ames helped us out like 2 months ago and we didn't even know it.
We also had a Less Active family finally come to church! The Mcknight Family. They were baptized in May and haven't been to church since I've been here. They came for the first time on Fast Sunday. Bishop got up and bore his testimony on the Atonement and Antonio really loved it. So it was a great Sunday for them to come.
Transfers are on the 22nd of this month. The odds are that I will be leaving. I really love Killeen, I have gotten to know the members really well and also gotten really close to investigators and even the Less Actives. But all will be well. I hope you all have a fantastic week! Thank you so much for your emails again! I love reading them!
Love Elder O'Brien