Monday, September 28, 2015

First Transfer? Check! -September 28th, 2015

Hey guys! How was everyone's week? Mine was pretty great! It was a pretty busy week filled with a lot of hard work! And because of all that hard work we were able to accomplish a lot which was so great! This week will mark the end of my first transfer! Crazy! We got transfer calls on Saturday and Elder Anderson and I will be staying in Huntsville together for at least another transfer. I'm really excited to continue the work in this area and get to know the people better!

This week I had a request from the mama to answer some questions about my experiences this week. So I thought I'd make that the subject of this weeks email! 

The questions are 
- What has been your biggest challenge this week?
 One of my biggest challenges this week has been tiredness. The whole time I've been out, I've been pretty tired. But this week we just worked so hard that I was just physically drained and exhausted for the majority of the time. Our work would cut into our sleeping schedule and that made it really difficult. So this week finding a way to overcome my tiredness and have my spirit rule over my body has been one of the biggest challenges. But it was through involving Christ in our work that I was able to somehow find that little bit of energy to keep going and continue in the work. But yeah, I'm exhausted haha

- What has been your biggest concern? 
This last week, my biggest concern has been our investigators. They're really the main thing that I find myself worrying about recently. The adversary can be very powerful and will do whatever he can to push people of the path to Christ and I've seen that first hand since I've been out. Which is sad and hard to see but it just shows how important this work is and how important the gospel is in peoples lives. Why would Satan try so hard to stop something from happening or to distract someone unless what they were originally doing was of utter importance? So that's what my biggest concern has been.

- What has been your biggest success?
I think that my biggest success has been the ability and blessing to be able to talk to anyone and everyone about the gospel. It's something that, before coming out, I was worried about and something that I know I've only been able to do through Christ. Outside of missionary life, people hardly ever talk to other people randomly in public places or just go around knocking on peoples doors to talk to them so it was something very foreign to me. Obviously it's something that i'm still working on but it was something that I was really struggling with at the beginning of my mission and one of the things that i'd consider my biggest success so far! 

- Who has been your favorite person this week? Why? 
My favorite person this week has probably been Elder Ruano. Elder Ruano is one of my zone leaders and I had the chance to go on an exchange with him this last Friday-Saturday. I've really looked up to him since I came out and we got to have some really great discussion about a lot of things that really helped me and made me understand things more clearly. He's a great missionary and sadly he's being transferred out of Huntsville so i'm very happy i got to have that experience with him. 

- What has been your most significant tender mercy?
If any of you are wondering here is a definition of tender mercies that I really love; “The Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ” 
So figuring out the one tender mercy that has been the most significant is a hard thing to do. But I would have to say that the most significant in general is the strength I've received since I've left. There have been many hard times throughout this process but they would've been a lot harder if the Lord hadn't strengthened me and carried me through those trials. Whether that strength comes through motivation that I find, a new understanding or in a form of comfort and reassurance there have been many experiences and it has made this huge transition a lot easier and a lot more manageable. 

- What are you looking forward to this coming week? 
Oh man, a lot of things! We have a lot planned this week and so i'm excited for all the appointments we have. We also have dinner ever night this week so you know i'm excited for that! Its also the start of a new month which means our credit cards get topped up which means groceries:) I'm also just excited for all the adventures that this week holds and all the people that i'll be able to meet. So much happens in the course of a week as a missionary and there is a lot to look forward to! One of the biggest things is probably just the opportunities that i'll have to continue to learn and grow this upcoming week. Each week I've been learning so much and I really love it.

- Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week?
One of the scriptures that has made a huge impact on me this week is Doctrine and Covenants 10:5. The scripture reads  "Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." 
This week I've been trying to learn how to make prayer a much more personal thing and I've been trying to make it second nature for me throughout my day. I've had many experiences where i'll be struggling or we'll be having a bad day and i'll remember that I haven't prayed since waking up or since the previous night. And i'll take a moment, step back and involve the Lord in what we're doing and almost instantly things turn around and start going well. Its amazing how important it is, especially in this work, to always involve the Lord in all that you do so that you may "conquer Satan". 
It doesn't just apply to missionary life either. There is immense importance in involving the Lord in your day to day life. Proverbs 3:6 says "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." And I have a testimony that if you will do as the scriptures say and acknowledge the lord in your life, he will bless you in so many ways and guide you through the trials and experiences of life. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this game of ask the Elder;) Sadly I don't have any pictures this week because I've been super busy and been slacking on the picture taking. But I promise to be better this week and to take more pictures so that y'all can feel more involved in my life:)

As always thank you so much for all the love and support that's been shown to me. I can't explain how much I appreciate it! I love you guys and hope you all have a great week! 


Elder Honn

Monday, September 21, 2015

When Weeks Fly By...Email Quality Drops. -September 21st, 2015

Whats up y'all?? I hope you all had a great week! 

Just like the subject says, the weeks are starting to fly by quicker and quicker so its really becoming harder for me to remember all the many things we do, all throughout the week! Haha so as a result my emails may become less detailed about each day, the longer I've been out... so i apologize for that! But i'm always going to try my hardest to write the best weekly emails and to help you guys understand my experiences, and what it's like being a missionary in Alabama! 

I may not remember everything that we did throughout the week right now but i know it was a really great week! I'm still learning so much and I wake up everyday eager for what the Lord has to teach me that day.  

Something that has stuck out to me this week is all the lessons we've had this last Sunday about Pride. I've really loved all the lessons and discussions that we've had about this topic. Pride has been something that's been on my mind since the MTC and something that I think we all can struggle with at times. Whenever something good happens, i think its natural to instantly give yourself credit and become prideful. But that's exactly when you should do the exact opposite and turn to the Lord in gratitude and humbleness. Since I've been out I've occasionally caught myself thinking something like "I just gave a great lesson" or "i'm gonna have a baptism" and i have to stop and remember that everything that "I" do is not actually myself. The Lord is the one blessing me and using me as a tool to perform his work and bless the lives of others. The Lord could easily do this work without missionaries, but he loves us so much that he lets us be his tools and lets us learn how to truly become meek and humble. Its amazing. 

I've been told a lot that as a missionary, one of the most important things you can learn is how to forget about yourself and be humble. And I'm no where close to where I should be but I've been blessed to experience this principle, in a small amount, already in my mission. What I've come to realize, is that whenever i let the work consume me and forget about what I want, Is when we get the best work done and the Lord best uses us to bless peoples lives and guide us throughout our day. A phrase that's used a lot in this mission is "Always have your arrows out". Basically this means to always be thinking about others, because when we have our arrows in we're only thinking about ourselves and aren't nearly as good of missionaries. 

And this principle applies to life outside of being a missionary also! When we stop thinking so much about ourselves, and exert our attention to serving others, is when Heavenly Father can truly bless us. This can be hard, and its something that I work on every single day, but I know that as we at least strive to overcome the natural man, and make an effort to be Christlike that he will acknowledge our efforts and bless and strengthen us in our effort as well. 

Something that's helped me is first always remembering that EVERYTHING good comes from Heavenly Father. When we realize that He is the base of all goodness in our lives, its a lot easier to be humble and to focus on subduing our pride. 

The definition of "Pride" is "a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements". 
The thing that sticks out to me in that definition is "one's own achievements". Are they really our achievements? No. None of those achievements would have been possible without His hand in our lives, helping us to gain those achievements. Because truly, all that we have comes directly from Him. And when we think about that and apply that into our lives it becomes a lot easier to be more selfless and overcome the pride of the natural man. 

I bare testimony of the importance of this in each and every one of our lives. 

Now for some random things that i thought i'd tell you guys:) So I've been wanting to tell you about this since i got here but i always forget! The elder that i shared my bunk with in the MTC was awesome. His name is Elder Ah Sue and we instantly bonded because he has family in Laie that live right next to the temple. Something even more crazy is that he was called to serve in the Boise, Idaho mission! He's Spanish speaking so he was there longer than i was, but he should be out now. He's Polynesian looking, like 6'4" and is just the nicest guy ever. So if anyone see's him walking around or if he knocks on your door, or if he's even in your ward, show him some love and maybe feed him or give him some water or something haha cause he deserves it! 

So last week I told you guys that i was going to start cutting hair and become the freshest barber in the mission. Lets just say i'm on the path to doing so! This past week I cut five peoples hair and they all loved it! I've given two elders some pretty fashionable haircuts and they look really good! Elder Anderson was one of them and he absolutely loves it. It's been a lot of fun! 

I had more random tidbits to tell you guys but i forgot what they were haha so they'll have to wait till next week! 

I love you guys so much and hope you all have an amazing week! 

Sincerely, Elder Honn

The Hunstville Zone (Group of missionaries assigned to the Hunstville area)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Adventures at Unclaimed Baggage and The Temple -September 14th, 2015

Whats up guys!:) How is it already p-day again?? Holy cow! 

This week obviously flew by and to be brutally honest, I can't remember specifically what happened each day... and I forgot my journal/daily planner so this weeks email is going to be a bit shorter and a little different! 

On Thursday I had the immense pleasure to be able to attend the Birmingham, Alabama temple. It was an amazing experience. The temple is pretty small but it is so beautiful. It was such an amazing thing to be able to be around other missionaries and to be able to serve the Lord and his children in the temple, all together. I absolutely love the temple and ever time I get to go the spirit is so strong and it provides so much peace and light in my life. Lucky for me, we're fortunate in this mission to be able to attend the temple every three months. Which is amazing and very unique to our mission president. It is such a huge blessing and something that will be a strength and light for me all throughout my mission. 

Then on Friday we had our district meeting and after we went to this shop called Unclaimed Baggage. I can't remember if I've talked about unclaimed baggage before so ill explain exactly what it is. So basically it's a shop where all the baggage that goes unclaimed, all throughout the country, at airports gets bought by this store and others stores similar to it. I'm not sure if it's true but I've been told this is the only one in the country! So anyways while I was there I stumbled upon a gem... I was looking for a black suit jacket and I found something way better.... Anyone heard of the brand Hugo Boss before??;) That's right, I found a black Hugo Boss suit! It's Super black and I looked it up and it's an $800 suit....and guess how much i got it for.....freaking $75!! That's what i'm talking about! haha plus its brand new (still had the tags) and it fits perfectly like holy cow, the pants and the jacket!! Plus its slim fit! ahh if you can't tell, i'm so happy about it haha! Just one of the many blessing that come from being a missionary i guess;) 

haha I apologize for sharing that unspiritual experience but I just had to brag a little bit and share my excitement:)
After that we had the opportunity to teach a lovely lady named Lidianne and her family (mowed her lawn a couple weeks ago). We had a straight up phenomenal lesson with her, and she was really into the Book of Mormon and the fact that Christ also visited the Americas. A lot of the info was communicated in Spanish (because she spoke Spanish better than English so we brought some Spanish elder with us) so I didn't necessarily understand everything, but the Spirit was incredibly strong. It was amazing because they just loved everything we taught! It was a really great experience and we have a return appointment with her this week:)

Like I said earlier and in my last email the weeks are starting to fly by! This week i'll have been in Alabama for a month...So crazy. But I love it so much. I'm really getting adjusted and Alabama is really starting to feel like my home. Even our little apartment in Gurley, Alabama is starting to have a special place in my heart:) 

We've been finding and teaching a lot of people and i'm starting to really get comfortable talking to anyone and everyone wherever we go, which is pretty weird if I wasn't a missionary. The thing that I've come to learn is that I don't really have an issue with being rejected. Which is a huge blessing! Because I've already had some pretty bad rejections haha! But it just doesn't really phase me! I don't really know why but it's really helped me to adjust to talking to everyone because when you think about it the worst thing they can say is no! And then you move on and go talk to someone else! And down here in the south it feels like everyone has their own religion already. Which can be hard at times. But the good thing is that a lot of people are willing and wanting to talk about Jesus, even if they aren't willing to learn about the LDS church. And I've met a lot of really good people, of different religions, that have taught me some amazing things. Which has really opened my eyes.  

Anyways this email was a little all over the place and unorganized so I apologize for that, but I hope you were all able to get something out of it. I'll try my hardest to be more organized and take notes about stuff that i'd like to tell you about each day. 

I love all you guys to death, and hope you have an amazing week:)


Elder Honn

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Happy Labor Day! -September 8th, 2015

Hey, how y'all doing?! haha 

So this last week has just been all over the place... Sadly, we had almost every single appointment during the week cancel. This was pretty hard and forced us to spend a lot of time tracting and store contacting. The store contacting was great and we met some awesome new investigators! But the tracting was almost completely unsuccessful, the whole week... We knocked on so many doors but the number of people that actually opened their doors were in the teens...for the whole week! It was crazy! And it was pretty hard. But even though we had a hard week, we still had some pretty amazing experiences with the spirit and with our investigators. Which you'll hear about later when I go through my week!:)

Little side note; So right next to our apartment there are train tracks. And these train tracks are basically the worst thing ever... Every single night, all throughout the night, trains are going by. And it wouldn't be bad if it were just trains but we're also right next to the railroad crossing. So ever time a train goes by they have to sound their obnoxiously loud horn. So that's been something that I've struggled with. Because i'm a pretty light sleeper most of the time, ill wake up ever time a train goes by:/ Plus they'll sound their horns for a good two minutes straight, at least, all throughout the night. Lets just say it's really helped me develop my patience...:) But this last week has been easier, because we've been working so hard i'm a lot more tired at night and ill just pass out as soon as I hit the pillow:)

And now for this weeks news!;)

Monday: We last talked on Monday and I told you everything that had happened up until that point in the day. So after our emailing we went and taught Tony again. We talked to him for a while about some really great stuff. All of it was kinda focused around making sacrifices for the Lord to show our devotion and love. Tony is a super strong investigator and will probably end up getting baptized her soon but he wants a stronger confirmation that what he's learned is true. So we all decided to fast together this last Sunday. He was even going on a hike but still committed because he desired that confirmation so bad! He's such an awesome guy and I can't wait to teach him more. 
After Tony we taught Russ again. We taught him most of the first lesson and the spirit was so strong the whole time. Our discussion led into talking about baptism and we ended up asking if he'd be baptized. And he said yes! He told us that he had been looking for enlightenment for a long time and that he had studied many other religions but never the LDS church. He told us that he's always seen a glow/light in people that were Mormon and expressed the desire to have that light for himself. He said that he knew what we were saying was true and that what he was doing was right. So he committed to be baptized:) The whole thing was so spiritual and such an amazing experience! The perfect way to end a day:)

TuesdayToday we started the day by going to a bunch of different places with this old man named Brother Harrington. Brother Harrington is 87 and is basically our chauffeur whenever we need him. He's obviously retired and doesn't do anything so he'll just help the missionaries whenever we need him! He also takes us to and from church every Sunday. He drives us around in this prehistoric mini van that has 250,000 miles on it haha! I'll include a picture I took later that night in his car. I'm not gonna lie, it can be scary at times just by the way he drives and because he is rather old but we haven't died yet so no harm no foul! haha Anyways after we visited some less actives we went grocery shopping for the week. He ended up paying for us, no matter how much we argued! He's such a trooper. After Brother Harrington dropped us off we went and had our weekly frozen yogurt and then went tracting. After we tracted (knocking on people's doors to teach them) for quite a while, we went and got haircuts... My first haircut on the mission and lets just say it wasn't the best. But I've learned that it will grow back so I wasn't too worried. 
Side story; An elder name Elder Smith used to cut a lot of the missionaries hair and was able to make it pretty fashionable most of the time. He was actually in the group that was leaving when I was coming in... So after this mediocre haircut that me and my companion received, and after seeing some of the haircuts that the other missionaries in my area had done by themselves, I decided I was going to start cutting hair! I decided someone needed to replace Elder Smith and be able to provide some cool haircuts and I decided that someone was going to be me! So today I bought a cheap hair cutting kit from Ross! I feel like it can't be too hard to learn how plus with some missionaries it can't really get so yeah, that's happening:)

WednesdayNot a whole lot happened today. We weekly planned int he morning and that takes a while then we went out and did some finding for a little. Then circumstances arose and we had to go back to the apartment for a little. We then taught Russ again! Russ is just the best kid ever. He's so mature and aware of whats going on spiritually. The lesson was just fantastic. We taught the second lesson and again things went into talking about his baptism near the end of the lesson. Earlier that day we had been praying and discussing which day would be best for us to suggest he be baptized. The whole time I felt like October 3rd would be perfect for him and we prayed about it and it felt right. So at the end of the lesson we asked him if he would be baptized October 3rd and told him we had really thought and prayed about it. He got really happy and said that October 3rd was his birthday! We all freaked out a little and got really excited. After we calmed down he suddenly realized that he was going to be at his dads house, two hours away, that weekend because his parents are divorced. We were all a little disappointed but I bore testimony to him that even though it didn't work out we were still strongly prompted to suggest that date and that even though it didn't work out it just shows how much Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us personally, enough to know something so small as you're birthday. I think that was exactly why we were prompted to suggest October 3rd. Just so that Russ could feel for himself and experience that relationship that he has with our father in heaven. Because that was something that he was struggling with before we started teaching him. 
We regrouped and decided that October tenth would work perfectly and was still going to be just as special. He committed to be baptized on that date and things have just been great since then. He's reading the book of mormon and everyday we send him our favorite scripture of the day and he sends us his from his studies. He so solid its amazing. Sometimes he'll even share a mini spiritual thought along with the scripture! So amazing. 

ThursdayToday we had zone training. It was a lot of fun and we discussed and learned a whole bunch of good things! We did this one crazy activity that's hard to explain but basically we were led around the church blindfolded and had to be guided by nothing but a string. We had people trying to tempt us and make us let go of the string and the end goal at the end of the maze was "the tree of life" outside. It was a really awesome training and it was great to hangout with all the missionaries in our zone some more. After that we got chick fila then headed home. We spent the rest of the day tracting and finding. 

FridayToday was Brother Harrington's 87th birthday so we went to his favorite Mexican restaurant with him. It was pretty entertaining because everybody there doesn't like him very much because he can be kind of rude at times and basically has no filter whatsoever as to what he says. So despite the food being pretty bad, it was a fun lunch. After lunch we went and did yard work at a members house for a pretty long time. The member threw his back out so he couldn't take care of his lawn so I spent about three hours pulling some huge weeds all around his house while Anderson mowed his huge lawn. After service we went and got showered and changed and headed to our dinner appointment. On our way we saw a lady mowing her lawn in the extreme heat so we pulled over and i finished mowing her lawn while Elder Anderson talked to her and contacted her. Holy cow, I haven't been that sweaty in a long time, even after basketball. It wasn't even hard work, it was a push mower! But because of the humidity and the fact that I was in full missionary clothes, I was dripping sweat... It was lovely haha So we talked to her and she said she wanted to learn more so we're going back to teach her this week! We went to our dinner appointment a little dirty but we're very close to this family so it didn't really matter:)

SaturdayToday was hard. We had all our appointments fall through so we spent the whole day tracting and a little bit store contacting. It was over 100 degrees and it was a struggle. We walked so much and knocked on so many doors. Definitely the most physically hard day so far. We were both dying in the heat and hardly anyone was letting us in because Alabama and Auburn were both playing on that day...Im actually surprised we didn't have any guns pulled on us lol So yeah, Saturday was long and tough!

SundayToday was good, church was great! Fast and testimony meeting was interesting and someone actually bore their testimony about Tanner Mangum and the last play in the game lol so that was interesting but it was still great! We taught gospel principles second hour then had an awesome Elders quorum meeting in third hour. After that we went home and broke our fast and went out tracting. We then had a dinner appointment with an awesome family then store contacted to end the night. 

Even though this week wasn't the best, it was still a huge learning experience and my first experience of working very hard on my mission. Tracting is not very fun, but it shows obedience and a willingness to serve. And i've learned that it's something ill probably do my whole mission so I might as well figure out a way to enjoy it! And we were definitely blessed for our hard work with Russ committing to baptism! Please keep him in your prayers because even though he has a date, Satan will still be trying to knock him off this path and make things hard in some way. he's a great kid though and i'd be very surprised if something changed his mind. 

Thank you to all of you for the support and love that i'm constantly being shown. I really appreciate it. 

Much love!


Elder Honn

*Last little side note* I do not have an iPad and apparently this mission has been receiving promises of iPads for the last two years... so cross our fingers that during my time, the prophecies will be fulfilled! lol