Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jonathan Engle Oct 28, 2013

"Week #...??? I Think I'm Getting Lost"

Jonathan Engle
Oct 28

to Jan, me, Jared, June, Sierra, MISAEL, pat, ross
Greetings and salutations from El Paso, Texas!
I would first of all like to clarify, that me saying "howdy" here is pretty much received as it was in Utah. I'm still weird, woo! Oh, and my companion summarized El Paso pretty well. We were walking by two men cleaning their yard. He said, "Raking rocks and blowing dirt. That summarizes El Paso pretty well." It's true. Their yard care makes a wonderful parallel for this wonderful town. The symbolism is powerful.
Misc. quotes of the week:
A bunch of kids were playing in the grass (Grass is rare here, so it's kind of mind blowing), and this conversation occurred:
Child #1: "We need to take a break.
Child #2: There are no breaks...
Child #1: But he has asthma!...
Child #2: Just death."
Adrian is a retired cop with coarse-language, and tiny chicken legs. He claims, and very likely did have, a spiritual encounter where a light started illuminating the area he was in, etc...... It was pretty convoluted but I guess it was possibly spiritual. He thinks it was. Here was his reaction:
"I was so afraid, my butthairs clinched together. It was like sandpaper rubbing back and forth."
Good stuff! I'll try to have funny quotes every week. People say the darndest things...
This past week was very exciting. We baptized Nick this past Saturday. My companion baptized him and I confirmed him in church. It was super awesome to already be having baptisms. When we first came out to NM, they said this is a baptizing mission. The only standard of excellence for our mission is to baptize weekly. It's deceiving simple and takes a lot of planning and effort, but it's very rewarding. Unfortunately, we won't have a baptism on the 2nd because the people preparing for that date are impossible to get in contact with and are probably avoiding us.
We've got the most amazing family EVER. The Jones family is progressing so well! Brother Jones has pretty bad PTSD from being a field medic in Iraq for three years. He's seen the worst side of humanity to say the least. He's handling it through some pretty intense therapy and of course, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His wife is stellar as well, and their kids are hooked on Church (yes it's okay to be addicted to Church). We had to rush them out of Church early this past Sunday because the wife is almost full term with her baby boy, so we aren't sure what happened. They'll be baptized on November 9th, hopefully along with Carlos Figuero, someone we've been teaching for a long time.
I've definitely seen how tricky our reactivation efforts are. There are ~550 inactive members in our ward, so we visit tons of Less Actives.
One cool experience I'd like to share happened yesterday, this past Sunday. I was really pushing for us to try to meet our goals, but no one was answering their doors after hours of looking for Less Actives and Recent Converts, etc. We said a prayer and pondered many names. Without thinking much of it through, we chose one house and went there quickly. The Spirit guided us to catch him at a time when he wasn't working and to help him out. He even asked us to teach him, which never happens. He said he really needed us that night. He's been going single-parent status for awhile, which is everywhere, so it's really hard for him. Also, the two other houses we visited that night, I turned to their favorite scriptures and shared them without knowing they were their favorites. They both said they really needed that too. Super cool.
So many people are lost and confused. It's a hard world. I've seen so many people seemingly depraved of knowledge and direction in life. We had a prayer with someone we taught the other day that went for almost twenty minutes. He had huge pauses because he was crying. He's lost a lot of friends lately (I assume to drugs), and he's unable to find truth in this world right now. I'm excited to teach him and bring joy into his life. I hugged him and told him, at the very least, that we love him, and more importantly, God loves him.
The world is hungry. There's been a famine of words for too long. People need to hear the truth. The greatest gift you can give is to share the Gospel. Don't be selfish and keep it to yourself. Too much has happened, and too much has been sacrificed to let it all go to waste. The work is hastening. We have the words of eternal life.
This week's recommended reading: John 6.
What are you doing to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Jonathan Engle Oct 21, 2013
Weekly Letter:
Greetings and salutations fellow earthlings from the grand land of El Paso, Texas. I'm serving in the second most southern mission in the Albuquerque, NM Mission. My companion's name is Elder Gawrych and he's 6'6".
 We're right next to Juarez, Mexico, so tons of people speak Spanish. Most people here work for the military and border patrol, so times lately have been pretty hard on them. Most people here either work all the time or never seem to work. I don't totally get it when some people are home, but it makes our job easier!
I talk about how friendly people in El Paso are, but it's sort of a lie. Most people are busy and have their own agendas, so whenever people are rude or reject us, I've made up a game to explain it. For example, we scheduled an appointment with a lady we'd talked to. We came at the appointed time. She was in her yard, which for everyone here, is a bunch of rocks. She was putting out decorations. As we pulled up she quickly ran inside. We saw the door was still open but she had what is called a "Confession Door". Basically, you can't see the people inside much at all, which is SUPER annoying.  We knocked and knocked, etc., knowing she was there, and she never answered. My explanation is that she was in a hurry to run inside and get her burning pie out of the oven and then broke her leg silently. Makes sense right? :)
Really though, we've seen so many miracles. So many times we knock on a Less Active Members home, find out they've moved, but the new people there are interested in letting us in.
Funny story:
Every night we eat in a member's home, and we were eating this past Thursday in with some members eating tons of delicious meat, etc. I was in heaven. We started talking about ages somehow and I made a failed attempt at joking about something like age 70 or something, assuming no one there was near that age. I genuinely to this day think no one there was even close to my joke, but they all decided to be offended, and the other 3 missionaries there jumped off my sinking ship. Offending the members... wooohooo? I'm so thankful for Repentance. :P
Anyway, two quick spiritual experiences I'd like to share:
The first is the Jones family. They're progressing very well. The husband's retiring from the military because of all the medical problems and PTSD he has, which is very common around here. His wife has a child on the way and they already have two daughters. They'd received the first lesson already, so we taught them about the Plan of Salvation. They loved everything we were talking about. At the end of the lesson, I invited them to Baptism, despite the distracting pitbulls and the fact that I said the husbands name right, but my companion didn't know his name correctly, so he cut me off and corrected me, then I corrected him, then I resumed. It almost failed ha ha (not his fault by the way), but then the spirit testified very powerfully and they both committed with enthusiasm.
Then the came to church this sunday, went to all three meetings, and are super enthusiastic about everything! They're being invited to all these cool events by the ward members and receiving tons of fellowship. I have no doubt that this is going nowhere but up, so I'm SUPER happy.
Nick is an investigator who's been taught for a very long time and is being baptized this Saturday. He's the coolest stud ever. 19 years old and he's already saving up for a mission, quit all his problems with the Word of Wisdom, resisted an intervention from his super-Catholic parents, and he even loves jeeping. He has the same Cherokee that we have at home Dad! His lift is a bit smaller but he's looking to get an 8" lift with 35" tires I think. Something like that... Anyway, he's awesome. He might serve a mini-mission with us. He'd stay with us for about a week and do everything that we do. It'll be sweet.
Second experience:
We were out with one of the brothers in the ward and he felt like we really needed to visit the Johnson family. We did and initially it was nice reminiscent and friendly chit-chat, but they essentially laid EVERYTHING out on the table. The husband's an RM and the wife was baptized about a year ago. They're both essentially scared of living, he's got a stressful job in the army, and he feels his mission wasn't successful. They both went on for a very long time about all the fears, doubts, concerns, etc. that they had. It paralyzed them and prevented them from communicating happily and were unable to go to church.
The Spirit guided every part of that lesson and I was able to promise them a miracle. If they read every word of the Book of Mormon as a couple, praying about all their problems before and after, and lean on their faith, these problems they expressed would go away, they'd be able to go to church, and have all their temple ordinances performed. It was very powerful and I was blessed to discern their thoughts and concerns and tell them what God needed them to hear. I know they're going to be okay. We'll keep in touch weekly with them.
So my companion is Elder Gawrych. He's the District Leader and he's 6'6". He's been out for about a year now and he knows his stuff. He's got an amazing memory and he teaches very well. He's a bit of a self-declared pessimist but he's a great guy. We got along well, even though I often have no idea how to communicate or express myself very well. He's kind of like a super human missionary with a hint of robotics or something. He's great though. We have a lot of random things in common and a lot not. He's great at teaching but I have to ask questions to learn most of what I do. For most of our time where we don't have appointments, we use his GPS, where he entered all the less actives and former investigators in our area. It's very useful and we've found a lot of people this past week because of our work.
I have so much to learn but I'm glad to be out in the field. I don't care when my visa comes, although I would love to be in Brazil during the World Cup, but that's more of a worldly desire than anything. The work is going strong here and the only standard of excellence our mission has is to baptize weekly. It's a big goal and requires a lot of planning and effort, but we're seeing miracles and people are being prepared.
Recommended reading:
I recommend reading about Lot and his wife. That was my favorite study session this week. I don't have time to tell all I learned from it. Needless to say, I learned a lot.
Everything's going well. It's really REALLY hard, but I love the work. It brings me great joy despite the many difficulties. Especially since there's so many "Super Catholics" as we sometimes call them. They're usually good people but they have so many walls and barriers. Anyway, love you all and buh-bye until next Monday!
My address is:
3650 George Dieter #1101
El Paso, Texas 79936
-Elder Engle

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hey guess what!? I got my reassignment to the Albuquerque, New Mexico mission! I leave Monday morning, the 14th, at 4:30am and my flight is scheduled for 9:51 am. Sometime between those two times I'll be able to call home and say hello! I'm not sure what time, but I'll call and let you know how things are going, etc. while I'm in the airport. I'm using Delta Air Lines.

I know absolutely nothing about New Mexico except we have an Elder Shipley from my District who is from Albuquerque. Not sure what else to tell other than I'm super excited to serve anywhere. We've had orientation for the field all day today and I'm dying to get out and serve. These calls are just as inspired as my original calls and the Lord guided it. Elder Nielson, Elder Bednar, and a member of the Seventy are in charge of the reassignments and they're all inspired by the Lord. I'm thankful for every opportunity to serve.
With Love
-Elder Engle

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More Pictures Week 5 at the MTC

 Oct 8th morning at temple
 10/1 P-Day  We seriously look like brothers.
 Elder Phipps pretending to cry...?

                                         Our last Sunday in the MTC. Many tender farewells as you can see.

                                         Pictures with our wonderful MTC Branch Presidency and their wives.
                                        They're super loving and I'm so thankful to know them.

Week 5- Week 6? Glooorious Conference!

Hello world! (turn on epic narration) This week's letter features the highlights of another glorious General Conference and Elder Engle gets his reassignment this Thursday! It's like a second mission call opening. (Thanks Morgan Freeman, paz)

Random funny experience: Some Elders in our District said that they were teaching and instead of expressing sadness that their investigator's mother had died, they apologized for killing their mother. That was HILARIOUS. Our teachers have definitely enjoyed pointing out all our weird things we've done.

I hope you all enjoyed General Conference as much as I did! It's so important to go in with important questions, because I promise that you will and probably did receive answers. This applies with study sessions and everything! Our class has two sessions a week where we do a group reading of the Book of Mormon. We take a few minutes to write down questions, then we read for a good half hour and have spiritual discussion, have time to ponder afterward, and then talk about what revelation we've received. Every single time my questions are answered and we teach and uplift each other (which is really just the Spirit working overtime). Apply this to Book of Mormon reading, Temple visits, General Conference, Sacrament meeting, etc. The possibilities are endless.

I think my favorite talk is Deither F. Uchtdorf's from Priesthood Session and President Monson's from Sunday morning. Sunday morning was my favorite session. I loved the sincerity of President Monson's talk. I loved the quote from the old man who was dying who said, "Thank you. Heavenly Father has been so good to me." Amen and AMEN! One of the greatest moments in a person's life is to feel God's love and know that He is. I'm so thankful for the revelation I received during General Conference. I had probably 15 questions written down and each were powerfully answered. I received VERY POWERFUL and specific revelation about people to write, what to say, my purpose in life, how to teach about certain subjects, how to teach in general, the love of God, and testimony about the Savior.

I would like to point out that whether you're a  Missionary, a member missionary, or anything missionary related, our purpose is the same: To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.

I'm always running out of time so fast, but I get to send an email this coming Thursday as I get my reassignment. Brazilians RARELY get their visas in time, as is true with me. I'll go where the Lord wants me to go and serve with all my heart!

Thanks again to Bishop Blair for his email. It's given me a lot to think about with only a few sentences and it's been a powerful inspiration.

Love you all!
-Elder Engle

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Here is a jumping district photo for you.

Week 4? -The Adventure Goes On

This work is a wondrous work we've been given. I wish I had more time today to share some experiences. A few quick things:

So our roommates, Elder Gwilliam and Elder Christie, in a lesson, mixed up the word for improve or better, with woman. "Melhor" vs. "Mulher". It was their first lesson with our new investigator (Eric Smith, AKA Irmao Smith, is teaching us) and they were trying to say was that their children can become better through the Gospel. What they ended up saying is "Your Children can become women through the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Their investigator paused for a moment and said, "Serio?" (seriously?) He was actually probably more excited about that ha. It was HILARIOUS.

Also, when they were teaching us about the Plan of Salvation, instead of saying we lived with our Father in Heaven before this life, they said we died with him before this life. That was hilarious.

I want to testify of two things this week that have really hit home for me:

1) The Spirit is the key to every good thing we are able to do. We are powerless and worthless without the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. 

D&C 121:36 is my scripture for the week:
"36 That the arights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be bcontrolled nor handled only upon the cprinciples of righteousness."

Amen! It's true. The power we have with the spirit is limitless. The sorrow and pain I feel without it is hard to bear. The simplest casual things can take away the spirit. I can think of 3 specific experiences where I really diminished the spirit during my time here. Each time I feel my ability to teach go away, my ability to speak is reduced, and I feel like a worthless Missionary. This is in contrast to the power I feel when I have the spirit flowing through me. I can do anything. I testify that the spirit changes people, not your words. If ye are prepared, ye shall know what to say in the very moment you need it (somewhere in D&C is that scripture).

2) We go where we're supposed to go when we're needed. I know I won't get my visa and I'm totally fine with that. As long as I have my calling as a Missionary. put me anywhere in the world and I'll serve with all my heart.

I know this church is true and that we receive revelation through the Holy Spirit. Thank you all for your emails and I hope to continue to receive more and more! I love feeling love from home and it keeps me grounded. I bear testimony of the Divinity of this Church. It's all entered around Jesus Christ. 

Remember Alma 26:12!

-Elder Engle