Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This week has been pretty interesting. We had crossfit yesterday, and it sucked! We played basketball for 2 hours, then we did crossfit which consisted of burpees, pushups, lunges, situps, and running 200 meters. Then we played another 2 hours of basketball. It was pure torture! Elder Gulbranson woke up this morning and he could hardly move. It was pretty funny.

We really only have one investigator at this point, Sal, and he has quite a lot of problems. He was not able to make it to church this week, so that really sucked. I hope that he can make it the next few weeks. He is reading the Book of Mormon, and he really likes to talk to us. He is a pretty cool guy. We have been trying to find new people to teach, but it has been really hard.

The weather has been really hot lately. It is supposed to get up to 103 degrees in a couple of days. I am NOT looking forward to that! No place should ever be this hot! We had President interviews, and they went pretty good. We asked for a car because I guess that there is one that is not being used, and we could really use one. President told us that that is what members are for, but we can't ask members to drive us around all day long. I think that having a car would really benefit the area. I have put over 700 miles on my bike so far, and I am not ready for the heat that is coming very quickly.

I really miss looking at outdoor stuff. Nobody down here likes to hunt or anything. I can't tell you how many people that I have talked to that have made fun of me or said something negative about hunting. I get called a murderer all of the time. I just don't get it - or I think they don't get it. I can't wait to go hunting again when I get back home! I can't wait to drive either. I haven't done anything with a car since I left in January. I an not sure that I even know how to drive anymore!!!

Well, that is about all that is going on in my life this week. I hope you all have a great week. Until then...

Love you all,
Elder Braunstadter

Goofy Picture at Lili's baptism - what a fun bunch!

FISH EYE - in our room after a long day!

Monday, May 23, 2016

This week was not that great as far as talking to and teaching people. We have had a hard time because this is Elder Gulbranson's first bike area. He is still getting used to it, but it does suck because we have a huge bike area that is supposed to have a car!

We talked to Lili and she had some questions on tithing and where everything is in the church. We are going to give her a tour of the church and show her where everything is. She is the most golden investigator that any missionary could have asked for. I am super glad that I had the opportunity to meet and to teach her, but best of all to baptize her!

We also visited Sal several times this week. He had surgery and they are trying to get all of his cancer out. He isn't doing any therapy I don't think, but he is a real trooper! He has had a lot of problems throughout his life and he is still really positive. I wish that I could be that positive, especially if I went through all that he did. He still really wants to go to church, so that is awesome! He has another surgery soon and he said that it is going to be even bigger than this last one. I sure do hope that all goes well.

We have not ben able to meet with Christina because she is never home! We have tried almost every day but we have not had any success. We are going to try to set a specific schedule with her so that we don't waste our time getting over to her house for nothing.

We have not been able to pick up many new people, so that has been a real struggle. I think that we need more people to teach because we run out of people to talk to so we just go street contacting. While doing that we talked to this guy named Paul-Anthony. He was SUPER drunk and it was pretty funny. He said that he is probably reincarnated Paul! He was a really funny guy, but we will try to stop by another time when he is sober.

As we were biking down a pretty busy road, I looked down and I saw something plastic on the ground. I was wondering what it was, so I stopped and picked it up. It was a Tom Tom GPS! My Garmin is way better, but now I have 2 GPS's! SCORE!!! This is about the most interesting thing that happened this week... so stay tuned in for next week's broadcast!!!

Love you lots,
Elder Braunstadter

Lili's family at her baptism.

The best investigator ever! I baptized her, Elder Murphy gave a talk, and Elder Gulbranson gave the closing prayer.

Lili and her boyfriend, Steve.

Monday, May 16, 2016

So this week was by far the best week of my mission! At the beginning of this week we got our new companions. My new companion is Elder Gulbranson. He is AWESOME!!! He's from Vanderhoof, British Columbia. I got a companion from Canada!!! The sad thing is, that he doesn't even have an accent. He likes to hunt, fish, and do outdoor things! I can relate to him so much! We seem to get along really well. I think that this is going to be a fun transfer! He knows a lot, and he is a great missionary! Since he is from Canada, he is not used to all of this heat! And I thought I was not used to it!! Poor guy, it makes it even worse because we are on bikes! Even in all of the heat, we are doing really good. I think that we are going to hit standard again this week - hopefully!!!

We talked with Sal. He is gay, but does not act on it, he has Lupus, and he also has cancer. Actually today he had surgery, so I hope that everything went well with that. We gave him a blessing before he went into surgery yesterday, and I think that it really helped. He is super accepting of the gospel, and I think that he could very easily be baptized. He came to church and said that is was a little weird, and it was, because we are getting a new bishopric. Everyone talked about their callings and the hardships and blessings that come with accepting and getting released from a calling. I think that he liked it though. He said that he is really excited to learn more about our religion, and he is also excited to read the Book of Mormon.

We visited Brother Lopez, and it was a super sad lesson because we found out that Sister Lopez does not want to be sealed with him forever. She said that he is really hard to live with. It made me super sad and then they got in a big argument right in front of us. It was very awkward. I don't know if we are going to be stopping by there very much anymore.

We had to put Brother Bibbes on pause, because he will not do anything to progress. He is very difficult to work with, so we are not going to be stopping there very much either.

But the best part of the week was Lili. I got to baptize her on Saturday! She was my first baptism and it was GREAT!!! I was too focused on her hair coming out of the water and I didn't see her elbow come out of the water, so I had to do it again. It was kind of embarrassing, but it was still really cool!!! The Spirit was so strong! I really liked the talks that were given before and after the baptism also. IT WAS THE BEST WEEK EVER!!!!!!!

On the way home from Lili's house one night, we ran into 3 skunks! They are the first animals that I have seen since I have been on my mission, besides squirrels, cats, and dogs. It was pretty darn cool!

I hope next week is as good as this one!!

I love all of you very much.

Elder Braunstadter

This is Lili. She was my first baptism! I'm so happy for her.

Me and my new companion Elder Gulbranson on P-day! He's from Canada and is awesome!

My new best "bird" friend!

Beautiful sunset in Sun City!

Another shot of this awesome sunset!

We saw these 3 skunks on the way home from Lili's house.

I just couldn't resist taking selfies of me and my new companion!

My main mode of transportation!!!

I have over 500 miles on this bike in just 3.5 months!

View of the mountains of Sun City!

This is my area!

Landscape shot with the mountains in the background.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Hi there,
So this week was pretty good. I was the senior companion, because it is most likely Elder Murphy's last week in the area. On Saturday we found out that he is leaving, and that I am getting a new companion. It is going to be interesting to see what happens.

We met with Brother Bibbes, and he is not ready to be baptized. He has felt the Spirit, but he still says that he doesn't want to be baptized right now. I think that we might just have to drop him because he isn't willing to work with us. He argues about everything that we try to say to him, and he will not accept the things that we are trying to teach him.

We also met with Brother Lopez. I am not sure if he will be baptized either. He is kind of the same way. He doesn't want to do it right now. He agrees with the church, but he won't get baptized.

Lili is working towards this Saturday to be baptized, so that will be super cool. I hope that all goes according to plan, and we will not have to push her date back even farther. President Crippen interviewed her and said that she is one of the most worthy people that he has every interviewed.

We still have not met with Kaden, so that will be an interesting situation. I hope that through the church their family can find comfort and that they can be okay.

We found a new investigator, Sal. He has cancer, Lupus, and he is gay. He does not act upon it, so he should be okay to be baptized. He is going in for surgery in a couple of weeks, so hopefully that will help him out. He is really cool and is very open to the Gospel!

That is about all that is going on as far as teaching people for us right now!

I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Braunstadter

Monday, May 2, 2016

This week has been pretty good. We hit standard for the 2nd time since I have been out! The weather has been pretty hot here, but I am getting used to it. I can't wait to see snow again though!

We were not able to talk to Kaden this week. We found out that his father had been doing drugs, so he ran off. Kaden's mom filed for divorce, and right after he signed the papers, he killed himself. It is super sad to see what their family is going through. I am not sure how we can go about this one, because he is only 8, so it will be very hard.

Steve has not been doing anything, and it seems like he will get mad at us every time we go over there and invite him to church. He told us that he would not follow all of the teachings of our church even if he did join. I think that we are not really going to be working with him very much anymore.,

Lili was scheduled to be baptized this Saturday, but we have to have a 2nd interview with her, and so she will most likely be baptized on the 14th or 15th. So that kind of sucks that it got moved back, Other than that, basically everything is the same. We went on transfers, and I was with Elder Page for the day. He is a cool missionary from Utah. He is pretty forceful when he is teaching people, but he is also an effective person. It is super nice to be in a car for the day. I hope that we will get a car next transfer, because our area is supposed to have a car, but Elder Page has a bad back, so he has our car. I forgot my camera again this week, so I will try to get some pictures sent off next week.

Love you all so much,

Elder Braunstadter