Sunday, August 31, 2014

Goal: To shine so that people stop and wonder

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: August 31, 2014 at 10:20:16 PM MDT

Boy oh boy. Too many numbers! I am tired of collecting numbers!! There is never any time at night to write in my journal. I've missed over three weeks!! So this will be a very good letter.

Last P-day was on a Tuesday. Because we forgot it would be on Tuesday due to a mtg, we had already set a two appointments and we didn't want to cancel them. Then during our studies we got a call from a member of the bishopric to go give a member a blessing because he couldn't make it. The hospital was in the middle of Liverpool: "The place of no parking spots". We drove around for ages before deciding to go park at this mall and walk to the library. We felt guilty not opening our mouths so we spoke to everybody and planted heaps of great seeds. Finally we arrived and began the search.

This hospital was massive. We walked for like 10 min. We gave the guy a blessing and he was already pretty right but he still accepted the blessing. We walked back to the car drove to email and shop after that we went home and played chess for an hour because it was raining outside and all the other missionaries took their p-day on Monday. I won and then we went to our appointment. No rest for the weary. My companion said he always wanted to work on P-day but at the end of this week we were so dang tired we realized P-day is a good thing.

While we were emailing I saw these two Maori ladies. Libraries and Maori people seem to be my secret finding technique. I invited them to let us come visit them and they said no. Two days later we are contacting at the bus station and guess who works there? The two Maori ladies! We talked to them again and found out one of them almost got baptized years ago, but she was living with a partner and so she let the flame die. We told her that her time is now to meet with missionaries again. She said," Maybe if we're lucky you'll just knock on my door" I said "You know what would make us really lucky is if you gave us your address!" So we got it but we have to pass it on because it's not in our area.

During that same time at the bus station another lady sat down next to us and said this is going to sound crazy but I want to talk to you guys because I've been to heaven. She explained how she did hard drugs and for one reason or another was comatose for a time. While she was out she said she went up to heaven and "saw the pearly gates" I felt like she was telling the truth. As we were talking her unbearable boyfriend came up and said "C'mon lets go" and lots of other choice language. So she walked away but we chased her down and got her details.

Later while we were talking to the Maori lady she came back so my companion kept talking to her while I talked to the coma lady. She started asking questions about missionaries and telling me more about her experience. This lady was not the most stable but I felt she was sincere. As we were talk the fifth bullet point from "How to Begin Teaching" came to my mind and I told her, "We all make mistakes in life. These mistakes create feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings cannot be relieved without repentance and forgiveness. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ you can be fully healed.”

As I spoke each word the spirit began to touch her heart and tears came to her eyes. I began to say the word "when" and the spirit changed what I was about to say and I said, "When you come to know that the things I'm telling you are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?" She shook her head back and forth and said "yes" with tears streaming from her eyes. Her bus pulled up and she said, "You've gotta love you guys. This is my bus I've got to go." And she was gone. We'll pass her details as well.

Thursday night our Stake President called and told us that he and his wife would have an investigator over for our visit. HUZZAH!! Our Stake President is 34 years old and has two kids. He's been in his call for just over a year and he and his wife are making it happen. We taught this 19 year old Samoan girl. It was a hard lesson because the spirit was up and down and in and out. It was a strange experience. But she accepted the invitation to be baptized on Oct 4 but her Mum is pretty strong in her own church and they go to church every Sunday at 8am. Her dad is a less active member who is more or less keeping the peace by not attending his own church from what we can tell. President Shum (our stake president) will take the Samoan ward bishop to visit him tomorrow night to see what the situation is like. PRESIDENT SHUM!!! He DOES WORK!!

Saturday we received a training from Elder O’Rirden of the Seventy. He taught us exactly what was missing in that lesson. He said, "When you feel the spirit, INVITE!". We felt the spirit but kept teaching and talking and saved the invitation for the end. The first time the spirit filled the room we should have invited her to do something. But now we know.

Last Month the Brisbane mission baptized 107 and we did 16. Together we made plans to reach the goal of each companionship baptizing every month. I've tried extremely hard on my mission but it just wasn't happening. Elder O'Rirden said that if we expect each companionship to baptize, we as Zone and Sister Training Leaders must be setting that example by one baptism each month. As soon as he said it I got excited and thought to myself, "Either we can do it, or he is a liar. And I know he isn't a liar! LET’S GO!"

Earlier that same day (Saturday) we went to teach a Catholic man whom we met a week or so ago. We felt like we should knock some doors on the way back to the car and his was one of them. He said we could come back and that he would convert us. A bold statement I'd never heard from a Catholic person before. We said alright we'll come back.

We rocked up and he invited us inside and sat us down. I asked if we could start with a prayer. I prayed humbly that the spirit would be there as we spoke. We began talking and he stopped us and said, "Why don't you allow others inside your temples?" Like I've done a hundred times over on my mission, I thought of a scripture that my mother taught me. I resolved his concern using Psalms 24:3-4. He was satisfied and back off a little bit.

We began to teach the restoration and when we got to Joseph Smith he said, "No because Jesus Christ was the last and he left us the Holy Spirit." I recalled a scripture from my bible bashing days in the book of Acts. My fingers shaking I flipped to it and asked him to read it. "And in those days there came up prophets to Jerusalem from Antioch." The scriptures goes on the show that Saul and Barnabas listened to these prophets and did what they said. He said, "But prophet could mean something like teacher or disciple." I said, "But..." as put the scripture in front of him. He read it  again and said, "That's probably and Greek translation of something else. Give me a minute." He got up to grab his massive old Bible off the shelf. This guy is a really well to do, highly intelligent man from Pakistan. I whispered to my companion, "I hope the translation is correct…"

I started praying with all my heart "Heavenly Father please let it be correct." He grabbed his Bible and we looked it up. His Bible had small historical explanations for each verse. He said, "Here, look!" I found the verse and the explanation and carefully began to read. The title read "Prophets visit Saul and Barnabas". I began to read out loud so he could hear. The translation WAS correct and then he really was puzzled. From that point forward he was all ears with what we had to say.

The spirit began to testify powerfully of the first vision. He said he believed that it could have occurred and admitted that it was powerful. As we talked about the restoration of the priesthood he said, "Hang on! It was never lost!” We said it was but he affirmed that the catholic church still had the authority. The only good argument he had...and we came to a stand still. He said he would study the scripture in Acts as well as a scripture on the apostasy that we left with him.

It reminded me of what D. Todd Christofferson said that "It is the Holy Ghost that will, in hostile venues, give you what you should speak."

Elder O'Rirden talked about how those who have the Holy Ghost shine. He said, "When you have the Holy Ghost people will stop and stare" That is my Goal: To shine so that people stop and wonder. He gave us a promise that as we are obedient, those that are prepared in our mission will start coming to us.

I love being a missionary. President Shafer's son (Stake Pres. from Vancouver, WA) goes home Wednesday. Scary stuff!

Love you all heaps and don't feel obligated to read this entire thing!

Elder Weiss

Monday, August 25, 2014

Look to the Man With the Keys

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: August 25, 2014 at 10:28:13 PM MDT

Dear Family Above,

It is great to be back with my trainer. He has helped me so much to open my mouth. He's also helping me with my Spanish and I help him with his English. He wants to do international business when he finishes. When he goes back to Columbia he'll try to get to the states asap to study at BYU provo. If he gets to Utah before me you'll have to have an FHE with him. He really wants to talk to Dad about business stuff and pick his brain.

Well, things have become very stressful lately. Being a leader in the city is a whole different ball game compared to the bush. The bush it's more about helping the missionaries find solutions to problems in missionary work. Here there is much more drama to deal with. I heard there would be problems but it all hit at once this weekend. We are working it out and I'm learning a lot from it.

Sometimes because of my natural man I get angry when missionaries are disobedient and show that they don't care. I pit myself mentally against them. I put them on the "other" side of the fence. But the Savior isn't angry, He cries for them. I want to learn to react with compassion and not frustration. God is the perfect leader. The most important thing we can know about God is that He loves us. I need to learn to copy that. Through working through things with missionaries we have grown closer for those who choose to be humble. It's an amazing bond.

On Sunday we did some rescue visits with the high council. As we were driving out the member we were with pulled up next to the Stake President and asked him where we should go. A lot like Nephi asking Lehi where to go. He gave us two names. The first one had just split up with her partner and made a goal to come back. The second is a prospective Elder who will hopefully come back also and receive the Priesthood. It was clear to see both were inspired visits. I learned to look to the man with the keys!!

I love you all! Stay happy and safe!

Elder Weiss


From: Joseph Weiss <>
Subject: Re: Leadership
Date: August 17, 2014 at 9:17:26 PM MDT

Being and leader and being in a leadership position are two different things. Being the position takes no effort but being a leader is so complex. I've learned the leadership is about who you are. You have to be yourself and confident that what you are doing is right but also that your intentions are pure. You must be and not only do. Leadership is easy for those who ARE leaders but for the rest of us we are still learning where we stand and figuring out what is right and what is wrong. We are still trying to understand our own intentions and purifying them. A good leader does the right things for the right reasons.

On Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 11:03 AM, David Weiss <> wrote:
16 Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,

17 Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd.

18 ¶And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; (Numbers 27)

Mark Weiss
To reach a goal you have never before attained you must do things you have never before done"  Elder Scott

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Leaving the Bush (Bathhurst) and back to the busy city (Fairfield)

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: August 11, 2014 at 10:34:29 PM MDT

HOLA!! Guess what!! I'm with Elder Urbina again!! I will probably end up killing my trainer. We are Zone leaders together in Fairfield. Back to the busy city. Our new zone has been known for being very casual about missionary work. I came into the flat yesterday and it was a mess. We spent a bit of time cleaning up. There is a culture that has developed that obedience is optional. Some missionaries go soft when things get hard and start losing the fire.

After all the experiences I've had on my mission it feels like they were all leading up to this. I've learned to be more bold and loving with missionaries. You've got to let people understand your expectations early on and make clear the good and bad so that they realize the choice they are making. Elder Duran taught me a lot about that on trade offs last transfer.

After being in tough situations my whole mission, an English ward seems like a piece of cake. Especially with Elder Urbina because we already understand one another and have a lot of respect for each other. We both bring different strengths to the companionship. He is a much better missionary. Yesterday we were back in Fairfield trying to get this cable for the GPS and he was talking to EVERYONE. It took us forever to get the cable because we talked to so many people, including LATINOS!! The gift of tongues is working. My spanish is coming back. I've been speaking about 50% Spanish to Elder Urbina. There is nothing like having a nativo around all the time! Hopefully I'll have three transfers with him speaking Spanish and then off to the Spanish ward to show off my newly found Spanish skills.

This past tuesday my companion and I were emailing at the library for P-day and I saw this lady that looked somewhat Hispanic. After circling the prey for a while I went up and talked to her. She was actually Maori and friends with our recent convert’s family. We talked and got her number and address.

Wednesday we were visiting old potential investigators from previous missionaries when Albi our RC's sister was walking past us as we were knocking this door. We asked where she was going. She said that she was meeting a friend at the Gym. We told her to bring him to Ping Pong that night and she did! AND HE CAME! I got to know him a little bit towards the end of the activity and invited him to come hear me speak on Sunday. AND HE CAME and stayed for all of church then drove with the youth an hour away to a fireside in Cowra. He did 7 hours of Church on Sunday!

Meanwhile Elder Williams and Elder Weiss pack up to get transferred out. But now there are sisters going in there so it'll all work out. I reckon Bathurst is about to BOOM!

It's good to be back in the city but I'm going to miss my friends in the bush so much. I used to think I'd never come back here. But now after leaving so many friends in the bush I've decided I will come back one day when I can. Once I'm filthy rich and stuff...

Love you heaps!

Elder Weiss

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The (English) Time is Far Spent...

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: August 4, 2014 at 7:57:50 PM MDT

Dear Family,

This week has been good. Our Branch President got released and a new one called. As President Reiri said it was a change of the guard. Now it's Pres Su'a. He will be amazing. He is the most humble man and I love him and look up to him so much. Pres Reiri stuttered a few times when bearing his testimony. His son told me that was as emotional as he has ever seen him in his life... haha. He's got a good poker face.

We found three new investigators this week. The heavens are still open ;) Things come at the strangest times when you don't expect it. One walked to church from about 3 miles away. He's 68! First he went to Mass at his church and came to ours after because it is close by. Another man named Rohan was an office referral. I think the first one that I have had that was real. A lot of people prank us. Rohan built resorts in Fiji for 13 years and has heaps of stories. He has health problems and is "keen as mustard" to learn about our church.

Another man we tracted into a month ago and finally got in! He doesn't believe in God but really wants to know if he does exist or not. So things are looking up and I am heading out. I got asked by Elder Roberts if I'm ready for the Spanish ward yet??  I said maybe one more area and then the last six months back en el barrio. We'll see what happens but the time is far spent and there is little remaining. My English mission is drawing to a close and the second half of my Spanish one is about to start.

Love Elder Weiss