Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

"Just Doing the Work and Chasing a Dog"

Man this week was pretty fantastic! To start off, we had quite a scare this week for Elder Fifita. There was another funeral this week in the Tongan community. In fact it was so big that other Tongans from out of state came. Including Elder Fifita's dad. Haha! Everyone was asking if we had seen his dad because he was in town this week. Haha! Elder Fifita just shook his head when someone asked. He wasn't too happy that his dad was in town. But I think we was only here for a day. But we don't know. One more story. So usually, when a missionary talks about a bad experience with a dog, it means he usually got chased or bit right? Well this situation was a little bit different. We saw a members dog running down the street and its the type of dog that likes to run away from people. This is Casey's favorite type of dog right? Well we figured that we would be nice and try to catch the dog for them because it was way far away from home. So we start following this dog and we end up getting a member to help surround it right? Well it freezes looks at me and the member and starts to take off towards Elder Fifita. So Fifita got into his line backer stance and started closing in on the dog and the dog decided to go Reggie Bush back in his glory days at USC and just made him look silly. Haha! It was more of a "had to be there moment", but that's all right.

Now on to the good stuff, we were able to teach an awesome Part Member family this week! We took over a member and he actually grew up with this girl. They went to high school and the lost contact when he went on his mission. But we planned to teach the Restoration to her and then the Spirit directed otherwise. We ended up teaching about prayer and the importance of it. She ended up breaking down in tears and venting to us about how her husband doesn't really care about his relationship with God and she wants one so bad for her family. We promised her blessings as she prays and asks for help from her Heavenly Father. It was a really cool lesson! The member bore his testimony and shared how he ran into women in her position in Guatemala and how prayer helped them get their family back to church. It was an awesome spiritual lesson! She invited us back and we are going to be teaching here tonight. We are really excited to start teaching her and getting her to build that relationship with God.

We were also able to have the youth come out with us this week. We had a set of twins come out with us that are waiting for their mission calls. We split with them. So I went with one twin and Elder Fifita went with the other. We had 2 appointments set up for the both of us to teach and they both canceled. But it was still good because we were able to contact and set up some appointments this upcoming week. The twin that I was with placed his first Book of Mormon. He was pretty excited about it. After our exchange, we met up at the Shop Aloha and we headed over to Braums, or "Sister Braums". Haha! We picked up some Ice Cream with them and it was funny because we were in a mini van and the drivers door window doesn't roll down so we had to order from the sliding door. It was so ghetto, but it was funny.

We were also able to finally come in contact with this Samoan lady who really wants to get baptized. She has been coming to church for a year now and she wants to join. So we thought that she was going to know everything and we were going to set a date on Saturday. But we found out that she doesn't really know anything. So we just need to teach the lessons because her desire to be baptized is already there. So she probably won't get baptized by this Saturday, but for sure she will be baptized next transfer. So we are excited to start teaching her.

So this is week 6 of the transfer and it's probably my last week. I'm so bummed out it's already the end of the transfer. It's gone by too fast and I don't think I'm ready to leave. I wasn't ready to leave Killeen, but I'm for real not ready this time. It should be an explosive week! I so wish that I could light some fireworks this year! I cannot wait til next year when I get to light some off for the 24th! That for sure is going to be one of the first things that I do when I get home! Haha! I love you all and thank you for your emails this week! Happy 4th of July everyone!!


Elder O'Brien

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

"Exchange with President"

Holy cow we had a fantastic week! So on Tuesday, we got to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and I got to go with Elder Mitchell. Now Elder Mitchell's background is this. He's 19 years old, graduated from Davis High in 2013. He left on his mission on July 24th to come to the Texas Fort Worth Mission. Now this sounds kinda familiar right? Haha I guess the real question is, did we know each other? Heck yeah we did! Haha! It's Kade Mitchell by the way Leah! Haha! How funny is that?! So we had a really good time catching up and seeing how each others missions have been. And we actually had a really good day that day too. We taught one of our investigators who is the Hawaiian Samoan girl. She is just so awesome! She will be baptized this year, whether by us or other missionaries. She said that she still wants to get baptized on her birthday, which is really awesome. However, more on her story in a minute. But we also had 2 of the youth come out with us again on that same day too. Elder Mitchell was pretty impressed on how our youth call us to see when they can come out with us. In their ward, they just beg the members to come with them. We were also able to come in contact with a member who got baptized last year. She still has a great testimony of the church, we just don't see her as often as we would like to on Sundays. So we are going to start teaching her the lessons again because she does have some questions. So we are excited. That was our day for that exchange.

Now for the big exchange. Haha! On Wednesday we had interviews with President Ames. Mine was pretty awesome. I love talking to him. He knows what's up and what we need to hear and talk about. I couldn't ask for a better President! Interviews for both of our Districts were supposed to end at 2 o'clock. But since we are on MST (Mormon Standard Time), we didn't end until 3:30. Classic right? Which really hurt us. Because we had an appointment at 3 o'clock that we set up specifically so the President could help us teach, and we couldn't make it or push it back an hour. So we were pretty disappointed with that. But President is awesome! :) He is so chill too.  And he knows what to say. We had the impression to go see the Hawaiian Samoan lady, we stopped by yesterday and when we get there, she had bruises and scratches on her face. We asked what happened and she kinda just shrugged it off. But we started asking questions to see where she was at on learning and understanding the Gospel. Well we figured out that she didn't know that God was an actual person so we talked about that and President basically taught by asking questions and she figured it out all by herself. It was really awesome! I'm never seen someone teach a whole concept by just asking questions. I totally want to be able to do that! But after that lesson, President Ames used his lawyer skills basically figured out that she had either gotten hurt by her boyfriend or it was an alcohol accident. And he gave her some advice. It was really cool. After that lesson, he had to drop us off and head home for dinner, but he gave us some advice on how we can improve our teaching and our unity. It was much needed advice too. We didn't get to teach more lessons, and we didn't even get a picture. We thought of it was too late. But it was fantastic just being around President!
So big news this week also! We got 2 baptism dates!! Yup remember that house that I was talking about last week that we finally got in to? Heck yeah we set a date with 2 of the kids in the house! We taught the Restoration and it went fantastic! We really could feel the Spirit and I know that they did too! We are really excited to start working with them. One of them was really shaky when we asked them to be baptized and the other one was pretty solid. So we are excited to start working with them and helping them come to church and work towards baptism.
This week we have a lot of follow up appointments with some people that we haven't seen in awhile. We are really excited to have another fantastic week! I love you guys so much and have a fantastic week!

Elder O'Brien

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014


Man, what a week for us. It started off with some rain on Monday which kept the beginning of the week fairly cool. But just like that it warmed up by the end of the week. And today is pretty bad out there too. So hopefully it rains again this week.

Well to start off this week, on Tuesday it started off with a Zone meeting that we had. Every Thursday we have a planning session for 3 hours to plan appointments and finding activities for the upcoming 10 days. Well the way that we have been doing it out of the Preach My Gospel takes some time and it's probably the longest 3 hours of my life. But President Ames had a planning session with the AP's and decided that it took too long and that it was too hard to do. So he prayed about it and came up with a different approach to still get the same amount of work done, but just in a lot easier way. And it worked! It was a fast 3 hours on Thursday and I think it's going to help out every area in the mission too. President Ames is amazing!

This week we were also able to have one of the members, Preston, come out with us a couple times. He has his mission call to Hawaii and he leaves in August. We made him contact some guy on the street and he stepped up and did it. It was pretty sweet! Everyone else who comes out with us doesn't really have the confidence to do that. So that was pretty sweet! We also got 3 referrals from him too. I don't know if y'all heard about this last year, but there was a car accident in New Mexico that killed 3 kids. Supposedly it was all over the news and his Brother was in that accident. We was going to go play for Utah next year. The last name is Vaenuku. Well that's Preston's older brother. And we have been contacting some of Prestons friends and also his brothers too. We are actually trying to teach the older brothers girlfriend. They were really close and she had only known that he was Mormon. So we are trying to get in contact with her. But he is going to be coming out with us tomorrow

We also got into a house that we have been trying for months now to get in. One of the kids was outside and we were talking with him and we asked if we could come in and he said sure. So when we stepped into the house, we said hello to the mom and she turned to her son and whispered, "You let them in the house?" Haha! Heck yeah he did! So we talked with her for awhile and she eventually warmed up to us. Haha I think I'm calling Elder Fifita the Wild Card from now on. Because some people don't want to talk to us, but once they see that he's Tongan they start asking about his family. Then a connection is made and BOOM! We have another appointment with them! :) And that's what happened with this family. They know his grandpa and we started talking about that and really getting to know them. I then told them when they asked me where I was from and I said I was from Tonga too. That seems to get people laughing. But they seem really awesome!. She's inviting her Sister over to come learn too. Her sister is married to a member who we have been trying to get in contact with too. So we could hopefully kill 2 birds with one stone today! :) That would be awesome!

So the past week we have been trying to set up appointments for this Wednesday for us and President Ames. But we have been really picky because we want to have him come help us with certain people. One of those people happen to be a part member family. Their baby got blessed 2 weeks ago and the husband is a Less Active member. His wife is Catholic and she seems pretty interested. We stopped by with the husbands cousin, and we were able to get in and set up that appointment on Wednesday. It's a dinner appointment, so President should get a little taste of Tonga too! 

This past week there was another funeral again and 2nd ward had their ward camp too. So it was pretty interesting that's for sure. But we taught a lot of lessons on the streets this week when we contacted people. This week we have interviews with President so I'm really excited to talk with President again. That guy is just awesome! Next week I'll tell all y'all about the exchange on Wednesday! Should be awesome! :) Love you guys so much and happy Fathers Day yesterday!

Elder O'Brien

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014


This week was for sure one to remember for this reason. I went on an exchange with a deaf kid. Haha! He's our District Leader and he is fully deaf in his right ear and is like 75% in the other ear. But when he has his hearing aid on, he can usually hear pretty good. As we were going about doing the work, I did find myself repeating myself all day, but also that was on a Friday and we only got into 2 houses all day. Quick back story. So on Sunday there was another death in the Tongan community. But this one was a lot bigger than the one a couple weeks ago. Everybody knew this guy and it hurt our week pretty bad. Especially the weekend. We usually see a bunch of people during the weekend, but the Funeral services were on Friday and the burial was on a Saturday. Not including the various eatings throughout the week for the family. It was way sad because I knew the guy too and I shook his hand at church on Sunday and he died like 4 hours later. It was so sad. But back to Friday, every house that we went to was either preparing for the putu (funeral) or they were already at the funeral. And for those watching the weather, it was a wicked hot and humid day. Haha! So that was an interesting exchange. He's pretty cool though! Just got to speak up when we talk to him.

However, that was the bad news I guess. We were able to have some great lessons this week! We were able to find a new person to teach. She is Hawaiian/Samoan. She is 24 and is really curious. We contacted her on Wednesday and found out that the Sister Missionaries were teaching here already. So we were going to let her be. But then she called us on Thursday and asked if we could come over and teach her! Haha! Some say that is stealing, but she requested us. Haha! We were able to set up and appointment on Saturday and it went awesome! She didn't understand about what the Book of Mormon is and why we need it. So we talked about the Great Apostasy and how it testifies of the fulness of the Gospel and how it doesn't take anything away from the Bible, just completes the Bible. She really enjoyed the lesson and felt the Spirit for sure! But we had an exchange with us and he almost blew it for us. He started asking questions like "do you believe in God?" "Do you believe that Heavenly Father and Christ are all separate?" Questions that we already know she knows because we talked to her about that on Wednesday. And then he asked this not inspired question,  "Do you believe the Jesus had a Brother?" She was like what?? And we quickly did our best to get the conversation away from that question. Man he thought that was such a good question too and told us in the car too. Haha. It kinda killed the Spirit. But she said she would come to church tomorrow! :)

Yesterday we had our Mission Presidents Fireside. President Ames set this up where we can bring our investigators and also our less active members to listen to him give a talk on one of the lessons we share. And holy cow! It was fantastic last night! He talked about Christ and how we need to have Faith in Him. Not just Faith alone. He then talked about Baptism and the Holy Ghost. Man, he just talked about it so perfectly and how we need the Holy Ghost to have Faith in Jesus Christ. If you were to look around the chapel at all the people who came to visit, there was so many people that looked like they completely understood everything. It was so awesome! :) We invited our Ward Mission Leaders brother and they went to Six Flags instead. But our Ward Mission leader came and also a member of the Bishopric came. They both loved it and said next month they are going to let the whole ward know and make sure people bring non members to it. So next month should be packed full! Super excited for that! I also got to see Elder Vaoga last night again. I love seeing that guy!

Speaking of our Ward Mission Leaders brother and his family, they are doing pretty good. They are FINALLY reading the Book of Mormon! We were so happy when they said they read the chapter we gave them. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Chirst and it started off kinda slow, but the Spirit totally helped us out when we started talking about baptism! The He totally understood why we needed to be baptized by the Priesthood, but his wife we are still trying to help her understand. But we are finally starting to make some good progress with them. :)

With all of our other investigators, we are still trying to get in contact with them and set up a time to come teach them. We just really need a car to get to their houses because they don't like answering their phones or calling back when we call. Haha! But we are going to keep trying! We also found out yesterday that next week President Ames wants to come out with us after interviews! I almost threw up when I heard that. Not really, but I was pretty excited but nervous at the same time. So I'll have to let all y'all know about that one in a couple weeks. This week as of right now, we have nothing conflicting with the work, and we hope it stays that way. Thanks for all the emails this week! Love you guys!


Elder O'Brien

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014

"Slow Weeks Won't Stop the Work!"


Man first week of the transfer always seems to be slow here. I don't know why, but that's how it's been every transfer so far. But this past week, seemed to be the slowest of them all. Apparently, high school graduation is like 10 times bigger in the Tongan culture than what it was when I graduated. Haha! Man, every family whether they are members or not, was doing something for graduation. Graduation was on Saturday for both Trinity and L.D. Bell high school. L.D. Bell is the other big High School down here that has a lot of Poly's here. Every Tongan went to both high school programs. Because everyones 1st, 2nd, or 3rd cousin, grandkid, step kid, husbands-brothers-cousins-sister's daughter was graduating. You know what I mean. Everyone knew someone, and because of that, they all prepared food, or a party for the graduates. I'm not going to lie though, we went to one of the parties for one of the graduates. He has a full ride scholarship to Utah State and will be playing on the Defensive line, and that's a huge pick up for the Aggies. But at his graduation party, there was dancing, a ton of food, and a whole lot of people. It was really cool to see because I haven't seen a Tongan dance before, besides the PCC. I really don't want to go to another area to serve because it's just so awesome to be apart of this culture.

On to the Spiritual stuff now. So we were able to start teaching a Former Investigator this week. He is Samoan and when we went over to his house we started talking and trying to set up a time. But then his brother in law came out and started talking to us and asking questions. And once we started asking questions, the let us come in and talk to them. The brother in law is a mess though. He got kicked out of his own country because he was doing illegal stuff and just has nothing right now. We started talking about the Plan of Salvation and tied it into Repentance. After we shared a lesson, he pulled Elder Fifita outside to talk to him in private. Turns out he wants to find himself. Keep in mind he is 47 years old and he wants to now find himself. So I don't know what we are going to do with him, but that was on Tuesday and we came backon Wednesday to teach both of them and we only caught the former investigator. He is really cool and he just has commitment issues. We finished teaching the Plan of Salvation and he understood it. He said that he was going to come to church this week and we told him we would save him a spot.

We were also able to teach a couple Youth Lessons this week. We are teaching a set of twins and a older brother who just submitted their papers yesterday! They are all really excited about that. They are so solid in the gospel too! The twins have scholarships to play O Line at a College out here and didn't even consider playing a year before going on a mission. They are going to start coming out with us hopefully this week. The Stake President said that they had to lose weight, and what better way then walking with the missionaries around Euless spreading the word! Haha! We  have taught them the first 3 lessons and we should be finishing up the commandments this week with them.

We are also teaching another less active and we had a good lesson about reading the scriptures and after we closed, he started asking about how he wants to know all the races and all the connections in the Book of Mormon. Which you can find out by reading the the book! But it wasn't connecting in his head, so we gave him a chapter to read that talks about how a group of people left on a ship to into the West Sea (Alma 63). Hopefully this dude comes back to church man.

Last week for P day we played a lot of Volleyball at the Colleyville Stake center. It was a blast! I might just play it again this week instead of basketball...but then again, maybe not. Haha! Our Zone got pretty shaken up this transfer so hopefully I'll be able to recognize a few people that got transferred in. Love all y'all so much! Thanks for the emails!

Ofa (Love),

Elder O'Brien