Sunday, June 29, 2014

Three Photos from June 29, 2014

A man named Brian ownes this house and most of the drug market in that neck of the neighborhood. He also lives across the street from the flat that I stayed at in Dubbo. I saw many a drug deal happen while I was there. This picture was taken when I got to go back on exchanges. It was a three hour drive and I didn't take many pictures but luckily I didn't get transferred so I get one more shot at it! #Dubbstomp

This was district meeting with the other district in our zone this past Friday. The middle missionary standing up is my new companion for the next transfer.

It all came together! Five more family members yet to go! This is Levi. She is the middle child. She's very brave for being baptized. Originally it was her and her sister but then her sister didn't feel ready yet so she still went for it! I accidentally made the font too hot and didn't know it. When she stepped in she said, "that's too hot." So I had to turn the cold water on and walk down in a few steps to stir it around. It was like a hot tub. I was really nervous right before I baptized her but then afterwards when I was changing I felt so calm and light. The Holy Spirit of Promise was there. Such an exciting day for Levi!

AP Switcharoo

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Subject: AP Switcharoo
Date: June 29, 2014 at 9:04:28 PM MDT

So apparently the assistants and President were planning on transferring me this transfer but the Lord said no way jose! Wednesday morning we were studying at the Senior couples house because our car was getting serviced when the phone started vibrating in my pocket. I pulled it out and it said President was calling. I answered the phone and he wanted to talk to Elder Roberts. From his facial expression I was pretty sure he was the new Assistant. A few minutes later he handed the phone back to me and President confirmed my suspicions. He said that Elder Williams the current Assistant would be my new companion for the next transfer! I was so stoked. He asked if we could be in mortdale at the mission office by 4pm. So we straightway left our studies and he packed. Elder and Sister Hill were really sad. Elder Hill even teared up a little bit when he first heard.

We got there at ten minutes early. +10! and president wanted to meet with both companionships involved in the switcharoo. Then he asked Elder Roberts and his new companion Elder Shafer (As in President Shafer's son from Vancouver) to leave so he could talk to Elder Williams and I. He kind of rebuked me by overemphasizing that there is no senior companion with Zone Leaders. I found it a bit strange. No explanation for why he was saying it but then he said he got a phone call from the mother in-law of the mother of a family of investigators. We had a really hard time trying to reset expectations because the Elders before were really good friends to them and we just wanted to be missionaries. It was really rough and many phone calls and texts later and President is the 6th person to talk to me about this situation without my initiating it.

He in a nutshell said I screwed up. It was a really hard pill to swallow but I did. I told him with tears in my eyes I guess the worst mistakes to make are honest ones sometimes. Ever since we had that negative experience with her it's like it has followed me a haunted me. President saying what he said cut pretty deep. I felt like I was trying to be who the Lord wanted me to be and was being questioned on every side for what I had done. I felt betrayed. On the drive back Elder Williams and I decided we were going to make things right with this investigator. But I didn't feel like I had done anything wrong. I'm sorry for the way she took it but I was trying to do what was right. And I'm going to apologize so she doesn't have to carry any burden but I don't get what this is all about.

The next day we go to invite a non-member family to the baptism. Next door is a member of our branch who's husband passed away my first transfer here. I wanted to introduce my new companion. She opened the door with the biggest smile on her face and said, "Come in!!" I told her that we couldn't because of our rules. She snapped. She chewed us out and slammed the door.. The next day she came to the baptism and my companion apologized and she accepted it and everything was peaches and cream again. Then sunday I shake her hand and say g'day and she's still good. But ten minutes later she stands up as I walk past a chews me out again and sits down before I can say anything. So I'm sitting on the stand to bless the sacrament trying to avoid some piercing death stares. When the sacrament is over I sit down in the congregation and think, "How am I gonna fix this?" When sacrament was over she was irate and chewed out the most loving person in our branch and walked towards the door. She looked at me and said in a disgusted tone, "Goodbye!" I said," Sister I'm sorry that was not my intention to hurt you!" Then she let me have it again. Wow. I started doubting my people skills for sure! Four times in two weeks that people have said something like this to me! I don't understand where all of this is coming from!

Well President Palmer called me a couple of days later and told me he didn't feel right about what he said to me. And he wanted me to know I was a great missionary and that he trusted me. Yesterday his first counselor went and visited the angry member and solved it as best as he could. He spoke to me on the phone with his wife and they reassured me that they took some abuse as well (It felt good to know I wasn't alone) and that she was off her rocker because of the grief from her husbands passing.

This morning I read 1 Nephi which says,
9 And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.

I realized that what I experienced was adversity incomparable with the atonement. That adversity was hard for me to deal with let alone thinking about feeling another persons. And then to think "he felt that for all of us?" It put my little pitty party into perspective. I know that Jesus Christ is real. Whenever I ponder on his sacrifice I feel the Holy Ghost touch me to let me know it's real.

I heard a good quote by Elder Holland which reminded me of Dad. He said, "The path salvation always ran through Gethsemane". And that is not for Christ alone but for us also. We must go there to feel a token of his pain so we can receive his grace. Our branch mission leader returned from his mission in February and on Sunday is told us how when he was released he lost his "super-powers". The priesthood blessings that sustained him daily were taken away. I dread that day. I shouldn't have fear but I do. I have a life-style right now that is too good to be true. I don't want to waste a second of it.

I love you all heaps!

Elder Weiss VI

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Goal: Find the Gold!

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: June 22, 2014 at 7:50:57 PM MDT

Dear People,

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ… that ye may be filled with the Holy Ghost! (Acts 2:38)

Sincerely, Elder Weiss

OK, so we've got trouble right here in river city! One of our investigators preparing for baptism this Saturday missed church. Her sister said she was sick. But we are a bit apprehensive about the situation because she missed church the week before as well. It makes us wonder if she is ready yet. Tonight we are going to have a lesson guided by the spirit to assess where she's at and if we should go through with it. If we have to push the baptism back there is a chance I might get transfered!!! GAH the suspense is killing me!!

My companion and I are absolutely laying waste to everything in our path! Just kidding. But we are tracting heaps. I never wanted to be good at tracting because I thought it was ineffective… well, I think I was right but you've gotta start somewhere!!

We are doing heaps of finding! We need people to teach! Our teaching pool is becoming a teaching puddle. Satan did a cannon ball and splashed out heaps of water. I hope he's still sore from hitting the bottom of the pool.

Tonight we are going on trade-offs out to Dubbo (my older area). My presence will grace the Dub-stomp at least one last time!! Should be fun. The Peruvian lady we started teaching up there was still being taught by the missionaries but she just went to peru for 6 weeks on vacation but they sent where she's staying to the missionaries in Peru so maybe she'll come back a recent convert!!

Cant really think of too much that happened this week... Lot's of finding!! yay! Nothing happens 'till you find people. I've realized that my teaching doesn't really affect baptisms as does my finding. It doesn't matter how good of a teacher you are unless you can find them that will receive you. So that's our goal! FIND THE GOLD!!!

Ok, love you heaps!

Elder Weiss

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Sometimes it's not all sunshine and rainbows..."

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: June 15, 2014 at 7:26:00 PM MDT

Family is good. I'm trying to get more info but I'm pretty sure all is well. Sounds like my dad has some sort of Job while he continues working on a PhD. I'm trying to figure what that job is.

The area is good. I've gotten a bit overwhelmed by our zone though. Mostly just one area. It's like President says that the missionaries that are the hardest to love are the ones that need love the most. It definitely can feel like trying to hug a cactus with one Elder in particular sometimes. I'm not a huge fan of that but I reckon it's for the best in the end. He tells us about how his other zone leaders didn't push him and they were his friends. He tells us to be more loving. I think we are. We try. But he just throws it back at us. It's funny how he will be the first to say we don't love him and the last to say he loves us. I know I need to develop Christ-like attributes but...

sometimes it's not all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward! How much you can TAKE! And KEEP MOVING FORWARD! THATS HOW WINNING IS DONE!! NOW IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR WORTH THAN GO OUT AND GET WHAT YOUR WORTH, BUT YOU'VE GOTTA BE WILLING TO TAKE THE HITS!!! AND NOT POINTING FINGERS SAYING YOU AREN'T WHERE YOU WANT TO BE BECAUSE OF HIM, OR HER, OR ANYBODY! COWARDS DO THAT AND THAT AIN'T YOU! YOU'RE BETTER THAN THAT!!!

But our area is good We pushed our baptism back one week because we want to interview a week before hand and let things solidify for them. But it's amazing how much I've stopped caring about numbers. I think total lessons is the dumbest key indicator there is. That's probably why it's not in PMG. About six months ago I thought success meant I was teaching. But now I realize that success is whatever gets me closer to finding and helping people to be baptised. And that isn't reflected in total lessons taught.

I love my branch so much and I love the people we teach so much. I am more focused on people than I ever have been and somehow the numbers are as good as they ever have been as well. It comes down to the cliche "Work Hard, Be Obedient, Love The People." I'm going to have a really hard time leaving this area. We had a less active come to church on sunday who hadn't come for ten years. I've worked with him since day one in the area and see him come a long ways. It will be hard to leave him. I hope that doesn't happen for a while.

I love my companion! We share more in common than we give ourselves credit. Trade-offs really put things in perspective sometimes. He is awesome and I've learned so much about communication with him. Communicating our differences used to be a highly contentious thing. Now we can do it and keep the spirit in the room.

I know that even though sometimes it feels like you've got the world on your back that it's not true. Christ has the world on his back and I just carry a small burden. A missionary used to always say to me, "Do you feel as bad as the Savior felt in the garden?” “Are you as tired as He was in the garden?" and it gives me strength to know He made it through and so can I.

I love all of you. And I don't need weekly letters. Just weekly photos. Ben's photo took the cake this week! And fill out mom's survey and I'll be the follow up nazi when I come home!!

Love ya's heaps!

Elder Weiss VI

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It Keeps Getting Better and Better

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: June 9, 2014 at 8:18:49 PM MDT

It just keeps getting better and better. We had one of the best weeks last week of my mission. I can't really think of one to top it but just to play it safe I won't say THE best. We were so busy.

This week our miracle was the Book of Mormon. We wanted our investigators to gain a testimony of it. We emphasized it to them in our teaching. I guess the spirit grabbed them and shook them because when we came over next they were sitting reading it. The two oldest girls in the family are up to Jacob!! They had read a few pages here and there but they it was like an explosion! We asked them how they felt. They both noticed that when they read it, things go better in their day... sounds familiar! It was amazing to see their testimony grow.

Then yesterday they brought their friends along to our branch activity. Their mum came and really clicked well with the branch. Then when we taught them last night she was really surprised when we told her she had met everyone in our church. She thought we had this big massive church and was intimidated but now she feels a desire to go. Please oh please let the desire work in you!!

Writing letters is a good time of reflection... It makes me excited. Last night we were lying in our beds talking about how it felt like we had P-day the day before. #missiontimewarp So I'm supposed to report on my family to the mission president and I'm really at a loss for what to say because I don't really know what ya'll are doing. I don't need a lot but just a few lines so I know what your name is, your job, where you live, and your goals for before I see you again.

Last night we taught about the sabbath day. Our investigator brought up how it's a time for family. I shared about how much I loved sunday dinner when Sam and Ash would come over and the out-of-cachevalley-ites and we could spend time to together. I have the best family!

Yesterday we played "touch footy" (Rugby) in white shirts and ties for our branch activity. We planned the activity specifically for our P-day so we could play and then our P-day got moved. So I was stepping on everyone in my dress shoes. Touch Rugby is the best. I could've really gotten into competitive touch if I'd grown up with it. Each time you have the ball you get the same feeling you get in soccer as a center midfielder. You are the distributor. And when you don't have it you feel like a forward looking for the position, time and the gap to break through and score. What a great game!

I've seen some elders with this keyboard journal thing. It is a keybord with a small screen almost like a elongated calculator screen. That is what I would like. I feel like I would write a lot more because I usually pretty tired at night. But you write every day and then on P-day you take it to a computer and plug it into the USB and you can take all your journal entries and send them home. That's the only thing I can think of that I would like. Don't worry about candy. We are good on food unless you can send me a Large Hot'N'Ready pizza still warm or some freshly cooked mexican food from el toro viejo.

Love yous heaps!

Elder Weiss

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Get out of the way and be His instrument

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: June 2, 2014 at 8:59:55 PM MDT

Our area is the best it's ever been. We have two dates for the 21st (June) and they are keeping commitments. We hope it all becomes clear to them by then so they can be baptized. It's a single mum with four daughters and a son living with her. Their dad passed away in the last year and they have really been turning to God. We taught the plan of Salvation this week and committed them to be baptized on the 21st. The oldest daughters accepted and the rest aren't quite ready yet. We taught them about the spirit world and missionary work going on there. We told them that they are setting an example for their dad in the spirit world of accepting the gospel. They were listening very carefully and I believe they saw how the reality of the gospel can change everything for them. It reminded me of my ten brothers and sisters and my amazing parents.

My companion is great. Our personalities are so opposite it can be a roller coaster at times. But I know by the power of the atonement I can be made more humble and love him how I should.

I know that this is the Lord’s Work. And that means I don't understand how it works. I trust that he knows what He's doing and I can go out and whatever happens trust it's for the best. I have learned, however, that as I give all my heart and He changes me to become HIS missionary and do it HIS way He will send success. Not because I have any qualification of my own, but because I am willing to get out of the way and be His instrument so He can do it his way.

The Lord will baptize in every area He goes to. But it depends on us, His hands.  It can be a bit hard to take that you will never "have success" on your mission, because it's all His success, but I'm more happy and proud of who I am becoming.

We had an amazing day a few days back. We went to visit a potential investigator but she wasn't there. So by the direction of our mission president’s wife Sister Palmer, we tracted around the house. We found two potentials and then when we were walking back to our car the first potential investigator showed up and we taught her and her kids about prophets and set up a return appointment.

Then last night we visited that lady's neighbor who we tracted and he gave us a feed and we taught him as well! None of it would have happened if we hadn't looked for a reason for being in the neighborhood. If something doesn't work there is another reason you are there.

I hope you are "all alive and well".

Love yous!

Elder Weiss

Sunday, June 1, 2014

"Happy is the man whom God correcteth"-May 27, 2014

Sorry quick letter. We went to the Jenolan caves today and don't have time for anything!
I felt a bit overwhelmed by the mission conference we had yesterday. We were told about all these miracles and things and I got this image in my head that all of those things happen to a consecrated missionary all at once. My progress on my mission has been a bit discouraging. I have a tendency to scrutinize myself and lose the big picture.

Sometimes I wish my mission could be about helping other people. I don't like the thought that I'm the one that has benefited most from my mission but to this point that is how I see it. After the mission conference I felt rebuked. Not because anything anyone said was negative, but because it was all so positive it made me see my negativity and lack of faith. I felt the Lord correcting me and charting a new course for me.

This morning I read a scripture in Job 5:17 I think it was. It said, "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:" Sometimes I don't like what reality has to offer. The reality that I came to is that the Lord can do whatever he pleases with my area. There aren't any boundaries short of my own faith. I told the Lord that I'm going to try and speak with his voice and submit completely to his will. Tracting wont be hard because it's the Lords time, the Lords work, and I am the Lords also.

Through these times of unreal spiritual and emotion soreness we emerge on the other side with a spiritual maturity that can't coming any other way. Growing pains are good and necessary, but painful none the less. But pain is temporary but our character is eternal. So we can't sell ourselves short.
I love my companion. Elder Roberts is great. We are both focused and learning to love each other. I thank the Lord daily that he is my companion.

Love you heaps!

Elder Weiss