Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Training and a New Companion

Hey Family,
Just a quick update on the family we are planning a baptism for, they are probably going to have to be baptized on the 14th of April because of a few complications due to one of them missing church this week, but they will be baptized and we are so excited!

(We let Elder Funk know that a good friend of his, Jake Griggs, had passed away.)

I talked to President Jones this morning and it was hard.. I have never lost anyone like that before so it is not going so hot but i'll get through it.

It's interesting now that I have to live what I am preaching to these people here in Texas. I have been telling of the love of our Savior. I have been declaring that he will get you through anything and everything and that His love knows no bounds. This has been overall probably nearly the hardest week of my life. Most certainly the hardest of my mission. It has been hard to train. Although Elder Low is a fantastic guy that loves the gospel we just can't quite go at the speed that Elder Kertamus and I were at when he left. I have felt stressed at the whole week and it has been so hard to go from place to place so quickly. I know that it might get easier with time but for now it has been so hard. It's so interesting that He gives us all experiences to grow that we may come to love him.

Let me just share one experience that we had with a man this week. We were out knocking doors, Elder Low and I and we ran into him. He started telling us that he thought God was a jerk. He makes people suffer so that they can turn around to show Him their love for Him. What kind of God would do that? Make the people starve, die and suffer all matter of pain and affliction. So they could do what? Love him? He went on to express that he could not be a God of love if we allows us to have all of these things happen to us. He was such a confused man. He is right about the people suffering why would this have to happen? I read a quote recently and it said. "God does not need to love us, but Oh how much we need to Love God." I testify of the truthfulness of that statement. That we all have these experiences that will in time allow us to love our Heavenly Father. He allows us all things and suffers us in our afflictions. He is a God of mercy and of Love. He would not, nor could he have, sent us here to live on this earth if there was not an eternal purpose. He could not have sent us here if we could not return to live with Him. He would not do that. He is Perfect, He is loving, He is My God. He rather takes this life and allows us to grow. These experiences that we have are not for his benefit. They are not for us to prove that we love him. He does not need our love to live. On the contrary we need His Love to live every second. There is not a day that goes by that we can breathe, speak, or walk, except through the infinate and unmatched love of the God. So how does he show us that? He sent his Son to die for us. He sent His son to die for me and for you. I know that he suffered all manner of pain and afflictions (Alma 7) and that he truely did descend below all things. This is the way to our happiness. The uncovering and the application of the gift of life, the atonement. This is the only way that we can obtain this happiness that we are so freely given. What am I to do with it? It seems at times that I have told people that he has felt of what they have felt and born the burdens of them that we speak to. Is that true? How could it be true? There comes a time when we are so humbled before God that we must ask ourself this..

Can this be true? Did he die for me?... In Alma 22 there is a King that says that he will give up all that he possesses even all of his kingdom to know that this is the truth. I know that after we give up all of our fears and all of our sins, our natural tendencies that we will be shown by a great manifestation that this is the truth. That Jesus is the Christ. The Son of God. I testify in the name of the Holy one of Israel that this is the truth. That He did die for me. He felt as I feel, He thought what I think, He saw what I am. He knows me more then I know myself. He could not be the God that this man thinks he is and by the God that I know he is. He Loves us so very much. He is not a God of fear and a God of destruction as some may assume but I testify that he is the God of Love the God of unrestricted blessing, the God of everlasting Life. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World, The redeemer of Mankind, the Brother and my Best Friend. I so testify this Easter season that He lives. He lives who once was dead for me. In his name I say this. even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Meatballs and Softball

(This is a portion of what I wrote to Elder Funk.  I included it to help his letter make a little more sense )
'I know you mentioned missing my cooking well I really miss cooking for you!  I keep making things and I have just enough left over.  I've started calling it the "Paul portion". '

The Paul Portion. What a novel idea. I do eat an insane amount of food. Today we actually went to eat at 2 restaurants for lunch and another member is going to take us to get cheescake. The members really do love us and want us to stay here forever! By the way I am staying in Fredericksberg for at least another Transfer. I get the opportunity to be Senior Companion and I am training a new missionary! Pretty crazy! Going to be interesting and a humbling experience for sure. I will get the new missionary on Thursday morning so I don't know anything about him yet.

I hope that everything else has been semi under control. Life just gets so busy sometimes. Here it feels like sometimes we just get the day rolling and it's over already! It's insane. We work really hard, the weather has been hot also which doesn't really add to the whole enjoyable work thing! It's been like 80 degrees and humid. A very big contrast to that of Utah. It's fun though!

I got to serve meatballs at "Hell Week" this last week. Hell week is a week were bicyclists come from all over the country to ride their bike around for a while. I really have no idea why. Just what they do. I did get the chance to meet quite a few of them and so that was really fun. Most of them were incredible rude though! They just didn't get enough meatballs. I guess their is probably an analogy tucked somewhere in there... Elder Kertamus laughs at me sometimes because I enjoy pulling analogies out of everything and anything.

A and J are doing so well. They love the church and they came yesterday!! They cryed alot the spirit was so strong. They really want to get baptized and I don't see a whole lot stopping them from doing just that!! Really such a blessing that we are able to see such a great couple of people come unto Christ. J had a little problem with smoking but I believe that she will get over it. We really just love them so very much and are so fortunate to be apart of this marvelous event.

We had a St. Patrick's day party at the church on saturday. It was so fun! We got to play softball and to eat baked potatoes. Elder Kertamus and I were the captains. Somehow I ended up with all the young women on my team and he had alot of the young men. We got destroyed but it was so fun. My competitive side has really gone down over the last couple of years and now I just enjoy getting to play for the love of sports. Even though we lost I had fun and hopefully all of the kids on our team did too!

We also got the chance to play in sacrament meeting yesterday. The branch was blown away. It truely left not a dry eye in the house. Not because we were fantastic, but rather we had done our very best for them. They were so grateful, they don't have a ton of people that can play music so this was something that was so special to them. I really love to be able to help people out with my talents. It really is such a blessing that we have been given so much as missionarys that we can give back. I hope that whether I am one that has been given the 10 talents or the 5, or the 1, whatever it may be I will work hard enough to be able to give back more than I have been given. What a blessing music is.

Today is Elder Kertamus' last day and what a blessing it was to be with him. We worked hard. We played a little bit. We were diligent and always strove to do our best. I know that we were truely blessed because of obedience to the laws of the gospel and the covenants that we hold so dear that we made to the Lord. What a blessing it is to be apart of this gospel. I know it's true. He is the Christ. This is His Church, His way, Forever.

Elder Paul Robert Funk

Remember who you are and what He stands for.

I love y'all so very much. Thank you for the letters of support. I pray that you will be blessed for the efforts that you put in, in my behalf. I am grateful to be on the path to become a Disciple of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March 11 Home Haircuts

Hey Family!!
Hey yeah it has been an awesome week! I hope that i'm able to answer some of your questions. For Elder Kertamus' P Day we are trying to fit in as much stuff as possible! Dad I think you asked me about how many hours we tract a week. I would guess upwards of 40 to 50. It's alot.. I wish we were able to teach more lessons but we are definetly working hard! We actually got to teach 8 lessons this week. 7 with Members. Which is a mighty miracle in itself. It's so much fun to able to help these people here.

Yes the thunderstorm came. We were actually out of town teaching a family and had to drive home in the rain and through a muddy road. We actually have to cross a stream, like through the middle of it to get there which was an adventure. We did alright though. Mostly it just rained throughout the night. We can actually start to take our suitcoats of when it hits 70 degrees and I swear everyday has been about 69 or 68. Heavenly Father has the best sense of humor. We are strictly obedient though. So we have worn our suits for everyday except for the space of about 3 hours when it was 71.

I got another hair cut. I cut it myself... So i started off and cut off some of the the sides off and it was looking good and so i had to drain the head of all the hair. But when I took it off again I accidently set it two lower then it was before. Which was sorta a bummer but it looked alright. I fixed it up and then asked elder Kertamus to help me finish up the back. He said so you want it on the lowest setting? I thought he was kidding so sarcastically I said "Yeah I want it on the lowest setting!" and off it went. It was reallly, really short. Luckily it has grown back a little bit. Anyway that leads me into the next part pretty well. President Jones came up to interview one of the canidates that we have for baptism. The first thing that he said to me was.. Elder Funk! Looks like you got a hair cut! I was like Dang it!! He just laughed at me though. The interview took over an hour with Tonja. President Jones is going to send in a letter to the first Presidency so that they can maybe approve her to be baptized since she is on probation. Elder Kertamus also had his interview for the final time with President for another hour. When President got out of the interview he looked at me and said "Elder Funk have you gained some weight? Looks like they are feeding you well up here!" Man... Fat and Bald. I'm a missionary for sure! Man I love President Jones, he is so funny!!

The family that we are working with is so neat. They are going to get baptized on Easter like I think that I have mentioned before. We went on exchanges this week and I stayed up here. We taught them about the Plan and they just love it. They keep saying this is what I believed all along! I just didn't think anyone believed like I did! It's so neat. They just get it. <The mom> is 50 or so and has had alot of health problems and she actually missed church yesterday because of it. Which was really sad but hopefully she gets feeling better! Joni is 26 and is a single mom that lives with them. She is working at a pizza place and trys to do her best. They really are so rock solid. Joni the other day googled Mormonism. We were sorta crushed. She said she went on read some stuff and went No way! That's not true! We were appalled! It was really so neat!

Exchanges went really well with this kid named Elder Rogers. He is from Colorado and is really just so full of energy and happiness. It was fun to be around him but I think that if I was around him for too long I might lose it! Just a great kid though. Fantastic Missionary.

Really a hard week. There is so times where it just is hard to kinda find the drive to push on. Door after door seems like it gets slammed in our face. Right before we came here to Email we were at HEB (like walmart) and a random stranger came up to us and said "What you Mormon boys doin?" I talked to him and told him about how we shop and stuff and he turned and said "Yeah I know my friend is Mormon too, he said y'all don't get alot of money, so here take this and buy y'all something to eat." and so he gave us 20 bucks. God definetly has some tender mercies on us. It really did just make my day that someone would take the time to give us that.

Well I don't have much else. It was fun and yes! I am so excited to be able to get those packages from y'all and my Patriarchal Blessing too! Thanks so much! Next week on Sunday night I'll get the transfer call. My guess is that I will stay here for at least one more transfer but I'll keep y'all posted on that! Oh and also Church Policy changed and now friends can email me or whoever. However... I really do enjoy getting the mail. It's so much more personal. I'll try and write back whenever I can. The only day we get to write though is P day. Elder Kertamus says that I might kill my next companion. I have made it a goal to be 100% obedient. It's real hard sometimes. But one day I'll get there.

Well the church is true and is led by a Prophet of God. How grateful I am for it. It is here forever. It is His way.

Elder Paul Robert Funk
Remember who you are and what He stands for!

Fish Fry--March 4

The lighthouse man gave his testimony yesterday. It was really cool he told us that the nearest body of water was the stockyard's watering trough but that he didn't care that his inspiration was in Matthew. "Let your light so shine..." It was really neat. He kinda told Elder Kertamus and I that we were training to become men during his testimony. All the people here in the branch totally love us. It's so much fun. He is totally the guy that would build a lighthouse though. He just looks like a sailor. He really is a pretty spiritual giant just likes to hold it in and is afraid a little to share what he knows.

We taught a scripture study class on Wednesday on 1 Nephi 8 and the tree of life. It went pretty well. Other then the fact that at the end, we had one Brother that can't hear or see get up and kinda rip us a new one for not writing big enough on the board and stuff. It was pretty rude and destroyed the spirit. It was a bit of rough day for us. We had another one of those weeks were alot of what we did just kinda fell apart. It was interesting. We went knocking doors on Saturday and we went an hour and a half not talking to anyone but one lady that just slammed the door in our face. It was a rough hour and half. It is all worth it though.

Yesterday we didn't have any of our investigators show up to church which basically is like worse then anything. lt is really a downer. It's like you prepare the team all week and then when it's game time they just decide that they don't want to play, even though we had so great a time during the week. It's so tough! So afterwords we went to go and see  the family that we are going baptize later this month. We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ through 2 Nephi 31. They just absolutely love it all. We had to push the baptism date back to Easter Sunday because they weren't able to come to church yesterday which made <the mom> really sad because Elder Kertamus won't be here anymore. It's so crazy to think that in a little more then three weeks I am going to be with a different companion! But the baptism will be done on that day and we might even see if we can do a baby blessing for her child on that day.

The branch is starting to get behind us completely. It has been a real long time since people have been baptized here and I think that they have gotten their hopes up to many times before to really have a ton of faith in us, but that really is changing. It's so nice to see. I can't think of to many more things that happened this week.

One other thing I guess is that I went to my first ever Catholic Fish Fry! It was crazy! Elder Kertamus and I were a little skeptical walking into a catholic church for a celebration of lent but it was so good! It was funny to see all the different looks that people gave us. We even had one kid about 10 or so that got dared by his friends to come up and talk to us. It was so funny to see. We actually recognized alot of the people that were there through knocking doors. Most of the people were at least a little friendly towards us. But yeah fish down here is GOOD. They have this tartar sauce that is like out of this world! I think I will probably be a bigger missionary then when I left home.. So be prepared!

Overall it was a great week to be a missionary. The church is so true! I don't how many ways that it can really be said but I hope that people will come to the realization that this IS Christ's Church. This is the gospel. This is the way. This Is the truth. It really is all that matters when it boils down to it. So I pray that this may help someone that reads this but just remember when life gets to hard to handle He is there. He will help you, He will always help you. That is my testimony, this is my life. I love it so, so very much. I am proud to be a servant of him.

Remember who you are and what He stands for!!
Love y'all and have a great week!
Elder Paul Robert Funk