Friday, February 28, 2014

Weed Week

Hey y'all. 
Alright well I can't believe that it is the end of Feb! Crazy! I am going to be 20 years old next month, which basically means nothing other than that is the age that I am going home at! Can't believe how fast the mission is going, the harder you work, the faster the days go. 

The highlight of the week was definetly getting Felecity baptized for sure! She finally got it done, we went to Converse which was right next to my old area and she did it. She was SOO happy and it was awesome to see the light that she had, I almost wished that I could get baptized again. Her BF did the baptism and it was just an overall spiritually powerful moment and a neat one for their relationship. Now we have to teach them about the temple and get them through there!! 

I loved the letters I got from everyone. Alex and Alyssa's were such a sweet surprise and I love the ones from yall. Thank you! They are like rain on a summer's day. Or a Mt. Dew during a weekly planning session. (Rm's will totally understand...)

Yes, I actually take alot of time to play the piano, I am trying to really get to where I can play now, I can do some of the hymns and things so that has been pretty fun. Last week when we were in choir there was a lady that was supposed to be playing the Violin on this song and she was kinda struggling with it so I offered to play and switch her out because it would also improve the Tenor section if I shut my mouth, anyway I don't think that her mom took that super well. Her mom is the lady that talked about Pancho Villa in her testimony... So I get to play in sac. meeting in a few weeks again! I am excited!

Well as you know I think my ideas of finding people to teach are not exactly success stories most of the time... So here ya go.  now it came to pass that the Young Men's President did also back up the elders and make a basketball game. What I am trying to get at is that we play some basketball and invite non members to come play on Thursday night. We had one come. Total though we had a couple of less actives come so it was a productive night. We were playing and the other team got stacked but since they were all old, we ran circles around them. Until the one non member went up to take the game winning shot and I stuffed him so bad! Literally so bad that I dislocated his shoulder. Gosh. Dang. It. Everytime.... So we put his shoulder back into it's proper place and kept on going. I don't know how it happened but I ended up hurting his shoulder again. It was just bad news.  
Everyone of our investigators smokes weed! Seriously remember how I was talking about weeks taking on a theme? This week was weed. It's so bad. I just hate that they all smoke! Terrible.. The other bad side is that everytime that you leave you smell like it too. When we turned in the Progress Record to the bishop to tell him about all the people that we met he just laughed and laughed. PEC was a good meeting, I'm glad we can make it exciting. Problem is, ALL of Seguin is pretty much like that!  Love every single one of the though. 

We went back over to the food place again. We got to listen to a couple of sermons. I think Paster Don read some serious 1 Nephi 13 before he did his talk because he got up and RAILED on the Catholic church. Seriously laid down on all of the people that pray to the virgin mary and think they can pay their way out of sins. He laid down on it! Soooo awesome, not something that I would do or that I would teach like but it was cool. Alot of the people took offense because most of the population that comes to the place is Catholic Mexican. When we were walking into the back of the room to go start the food deal, he grabbed me and said "Brother Funk! Do you believe what I taught?" I said, "Yes, yes I do! Sounds like the Book of Mormon! Do you have one?" He laughed and said that he did. I'm pretty sure that one of these days he is going to become a Mormon. We are going to have to re paint his Heaven or Hell van to have the three kingdoms on it though. YOU CHOOSE!

We had a do or die lesson with Ron and Christine, we have been teaching them since we both got here and they are just not doing the things that we ask them to do. Not reading or coming to church so this was kinda the last step. We talked to them for a while and she started bragging about how she read this 400 page book in like 6 hours or something I don't remember, but I said well.. Why can't you do that with the Book of Mormon? She said she could. Then the member that was with us bet her a dinner and a movie that she couldn't do it in a week. She took it, so we will find out what happened tomorrow. 

I love doing this work, I honestly do. I get sick of some of the people and frustrated with the simple mundane things that comes along with being a missionary and stuff, but I do know the things that I know and live worthy of them! I do know the Book of Mormon is true, I am going to finish it for the fourth time this week and start it for the fifth. I have read it everyday for nearly a year now, and love it more than anything else. I have the utmost testimony that it can heal the broken heart and do amazing things that are beyond our capacity to understand. Every single time that I have read it, I have learned something profoundly different and cannot wait to see how it reads this time. If you aren't reading, just start! You don't need to prepare or make a big glamorous study of it, just read it. Seriously. I'll race ya to the end. Then we can re start. I love you! 

Remember who you are and what He stands for! All the time!

Elder Funk

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Holding Down the Fort at the Single Guy Table

This week went by super slow... It was in one of those weeks where if something had a chance to choose whether it was going to go right or wrong it went wrong everytime. Yep.

Well last Monday I had some money left over from Christmas and I decided that I should actually use it to buy myself a present and I really didn't like my camera so I bought a new camera and it was super nice! I love to use that thing. I have taken quite a few pictures the last couple of days and I'll throw some on this email for yall.

Weeks seem to take on a theme in the mission sometimes it's Tithing like last week, this one was Pizza. I think that like 4 nights out of the week someone wanted to feed us Pizza Hut pizza. We had like 3 extra boxes in our fridge at one point. Also we helped a family move this week, they were less active but they really liked us and thought we were pretty funny, I think that in this area people either really like me or don't get my sarcasm at all and think that I am a terrible person. Well the bible does say to be hot or cold so it works right? Anyway, back to the story, the literally gave us all of their food. They were just going to chuck it but decided it would be good for us and we would enjoy some green beans that had been sitting in the back of their fridge for who knows how long, and a half pack of "White Castle Burgers". Well they were right about the White Castle burgers, those things are pretty good. I love em. That's why I am getting fat, oh and the fact that we sit in a truck like all day long.

Ricardo, the guy that paid Tithing last week, we got in contact with him again because we saw him walking down the street, he was homeless... That was a bummer because there really isn't anything that we can do to help that other then tell him God loves him. Which should be enough, but still, it was tough for the guy. Love him to death. It's been hard to try and find him though because we have no way to contact him.

Karma got me back so many times though. Felecity had to get passed off to the sister missionaries... It is the worst working with the sisters, the just never call us and anyway, I'll save the rant, but I just don't like it. Felecity didn't get baptized this week because of some complications with the sisters, so she should be getting baptized in the Converse ward next week. It'll all work out though.
I got to talk to President like 3 times this week on the phone trying to figure out this whole situation, and I brought up her member bf and how he is going to go on a mission and how it would be good to get her a sure foundation besides just him, even though she has a testimony of the gospel, and President started talking about Dear John letters and how he thinks "Every missionary should be able to get a dear John on his mission" I was like... Well... I got one! He didn't even pause and said, "and you're a better missionary because of it!" I'll take that as a compliment, I laughed for a few days about that one.

Well speaking of the love and Valentines day, we had a ward activity at the church this week for valentines. They wanted us to come and be apart of it. We got to hold down the fort at the Single Guy table, luckily Brother Tanner came and sat by us and so did another older man. So we did some good work. They decided it would be a good idea to play a whole bunch of love tunes and play name that tune. I was very fortunate that they played one of my "future wife's" songs. Yep "Love Story" I think Elder Van Oene and I were the only ones that knew it and could sing every single word of it. I hope missionariess find and baptize Taylor Swift, she could do some good covers of some hymns. The ward gave us a special gift basket full of dr pepper, queso, chips, and a what a burger gift card so that we could have a date night with each other or something because we are undateable people. Literally.
Well lets see... We really only taught like 5 lessons this week... Rough week. We taught one yesterday and the member kinda implied to the investogator that he didn't know Jesus, by the end of the lesson you could feel the tension in the air. It was not that great at all. The investigator, said the closing prayer which he hadn't done before,he prayed that "we would find the real Jesus and stop having our minds and all of our hearts blocked and be swayed" or something like that... We are going to try and patch over that relationship this week.

We had one of those weeks where you learn alot, but it doesn't seem like anything gets done... I learned something cool the other day though that maybe i'll share. I have heard it sooo many times when someone is going through a hard time someone says to them, "God won't give you anything you can't handle." Has anyone else heard that? I can't count how many times I have, even how many times I have said that to people without even thinking about it. I realized this week that of course God allows us many,many times things that are completely impossible for us to do. If God only gave us the things that we could handle we would really have no need at all for Jesus Christ. What's the point of Him? When we messed up we could just fix it ourselves because it would be something that we could handle or figure out ourselves. We would have no need for a Redeemer because we could in essence figure out all of the things ourselves. That is why he gives us situations that are beyond our capability to handle, we have to rely on the Savior to help lift our hope to new heights. There is things that we can't handle. The Savior can though, he knows the way and is the Way! I am so grateful to be apart of tough things, a mission is supposed to be hard and something that I can't do. It would be impossible for me, I am so grateful for the Savior that He already felt what I do, as he does for all of us. He loves us. I love Him! I hope yall have a great week! God Bless!

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

That is called "Bacon Explosion". It's bacon wrapped in sausage then wrapped again in bacon and wrapped again. It is exactly as unheathy as it looks. That was our dinner saturday. Texas, yep.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Utah boys in Texas snow

Well another week has already gone! I only have 10 months now. Holy cow the time really does go by faster and faster, and then faster. Unbelievable. 
In Redbud this week... Uh humm. I mean Seguin we had a pretty decent week. The whole town basically froze over, I read Kyle's (Elder Mohlman) emails and I feel pretty bad for complaining but it was probably in the upper 20's down here. Which if you didn't know is really, cold! Everyone basically freaked out and shut down the city. It was like a ghost town with two little Utah Mormon boys walking around in it. It "snowed" a couple of times this week. Basically it meant that someone in the sky unpacked their birthday present and some crushed Styrofoam balls fell on our doorstep, it was the biggest thing to the kids though. 
I suppose I will start with a miracle that happened this week. We got Megan back she is more golden than ever but she doesn't come to church yet. Anyway she wanted us to meet her Boyfriend and so she took us on a "date" and bought us some ice cream. So that was cool, I love Megan to death. She is so great, hopefully one of those friends that I get to keep after the mission. We had a lesson the next day and she brought her basher friend Mike, after I retired from bashing a few months ago, it completely makes me sick to do it. We started the lesson and we got to the part of baptism within the doctrine of Christ and boom. It all started up whether faith or something was enough. Elder Van Oene and I forsaw this and planned to split the lesson, so they went to one side of the Relief Society room and I went over to the other with Linda another student at TLU and Megan. We started talking and I taught her about the Word of Wisdom, she told me about how she believes it all and wants to pray about it and everything so she was set to live it. Then we went over tithing, she told me that she already pays it because her parents taught her to "pay 10 percent back to the Lord" Awesome! Ready for the kicker? To a different church, so I kindly explained what her tithing would go to and asked her if she would switch her tithing reciept to say the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints. She said she totally would when she is baptized. Love it. People are prepared beyond anything we can do.
Mike and Elder Van Oene bashed for an hour and a half... Good golly we were at the church for 2 and a half hours after it was all said and down. I don't think I know an hour and half worth of doctrine on the Commandments in total let alone, just Tithing. So we ended up talking about alot of different things from Tim Mcgraw to The Book of Mormon, when we got to the Book of Mormon she showed me a verse that meant alot to her about how Nephi kills Laban. That was pretty awesome. Usually I have had people bring that up telling me that it contridicts God's laws, but it actually was an answer to her prayer. She told me about how she had been struggling with a certain issue and that one of my random tangents last week had actually been the exact thing that she had needed to hear. She cried and told me that she wasn't afraid of it anymore and it was another confirmation to me that "the spirit will give you in the very moment what things ye shall say." Love the Spirit.
We went and helped out Pastor Don this week (called him the wrong name last time) and it was pretty neat, it was freezing in the morning so not many people were able to get out and go pick up the food, which was sad but hopefully more people will come next week. They opened us with open arms when we came to help out, most of them were 80 year old women who were trying to lift big cases of food and when we came they didn't have to do that. I was able to do alot of the work and save them alot of energy, overall it was a neat experience to see exactly what the Gospel is all about. Taking care of the Poor and Needy. 
On Tuesday I felt this feeling that I needed to pray for a baptism, naturally you would think that I would be praying for that every single day, but sometimes it just seems like I don't mean it or sometimes I don't even say it. I felt like I needed to, so I humbled myself and prayed for the Lord to bless us with a baptism, we went on our way over the next couple of days and started teaching Felecity (a member's girlfriend) who has been coming to church for awhile, we were teaching her Tithing too, weird how sometimes your weeks have a theme, and when we got to the end, I asked her something that was about baptism and she told us the most amazing story about how Tuesday she had finally felt the need to pray and that when she did she was given her answer, despite Satan opposing her by trying to have her boyfriend call her right in the middle of the prayer... Twice. But nothing stopped her and now she is getting baptized on Saturday! Awesome!
Now... Here is the Irony. I have been poaching her! Where does she live, I know that yall are on the edges of your seats... Yep the Sister in Converse, now if you will remember that was the sisters that hated me, because they had to give us rides in UC, the very same sisters that I complained about alot... Da gum.. So now we get to pass it off to them... Not that the baptism is a big deal, but it's just sorta one of those things where now I have to talk to them again, and they hated me as it was. I think yesterday one of the sisters made a comment about how mean I was... What? Whatever, I don't really now. Anwyay. She is going to get baptized!! We are so excited for her. It will be an amazing experience. 
Probably the other best thing that happened this week, is that I got to milk a goat. Yep straight up. The members told us that we had some potential, so if ever I get stranded and I don't have anything to eat, and there is a goat nearby, I can at least get milk. Now that didn't really make sense probably, but I have skills is basically what I mean. Case and point. We got our truck back and I forgot to say that last week I think, but Elder Van Oene thought he was super man or something and saw a truck coming from a different way when I was backing up into the road (he thought I was doing something different than I was, so I was completely in the right) but when I gunned it to get into the busyish street, I heard a nice loud, Thud! and Looked back and he was limping away.. haha he was completely ok other than a nice bruise, but it was pretty dang funny. Backing people up is annoying, but we do it anyway!
Brother Tanner had us over again last night and I love to go there, he just bears his whole soul to us, he always talks bout answers that he has found for himself. I love that, never to stop searching. He is an amazing example to me of perserving even when all Hell seems to be going against you. He has such a sweet heart and will give you the shirt off his back. He lives in complete poverty and has nothing, other than the things that matter the most. 
So going with this Tithing kick to wrap up this week. The Bishopric got up and rebuked the entire congregation about Home Teaching and Tithing, seriously used the words "I call you to repentence this day." With his best Elder Holland voice, we were there with and Investigator that we found on the street the day before, he was an interesting case, has a ton of substance abuse problems but good guy, and he stood up and walked out again because he had anxiety, when he came back in during the middle of the next talk, he had a tithing envelope filled with all the money that he had in his pockets and said, "Thank you Jesus for giving me what I have, where do I give this Tithing." I was blown away! I couldn't believe it, he literally went and did what the Bishop asked and wasn't a member, had been inside a Mormon church for all of about 20 Minutes and had done what we struggle with for life times as members. I hope and pray that I can have that mentality when I get to pay tithing to the Lord, "Thank You Jesus, for giving me what I have, Now where can I help another." I love this Gospel with my whole heart and mind, and consequently my might and strength follow. I love the Lord and hope y'all have a wonderful week. I Love you.
Remember who you are and what He stands for!
Elder Paul Funk

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Diffusion of Responsibility

Well here we go for the week! I left my notes, I usually prepare for my email home, it may be weird but I like to know what I want to say to yall, because I only have a bit!
We started out with P day! I don't really remember anything that happened. I am pretty sure that we didnt really get anything done for that day except the usual. Shop email and write some letters. It was ok I guess. What was great was that night that we went back to work! So we started off with going to the Medina's house for dinner, when I checked on the Ward Roster I saw that the only person that was listed was their one year old daughter, which was weird but I thought that might be a mistake... When we showed up they greeted us super nice and we ate some sweet mexican food! It was good. Gall I really love the food down here I think that will be the biggest thing that I miss other than the people. Anyway after dinner we had a little thought and I shared with them one of my favorite scriptures in Alma 37:44 about the Liahona and guiding our lives through the words of living prophets. When I finished I asked them who they were sharing the gospel with... The husband looked over at his wife and said... Well. Her! Somehow everyone forgot to tell us that they weren't members and that they are active non members. He was excommunicated and is working his way back, he served a mission and everything then hit a rough patch, he is leading his whole family back though and they love it. They all want to get baptized together, so it may be awhile before they get baptized but it is amazing! Talk about checking the blindspots. 
Then when we got out it was about 7:30, we had nothing really to do but we had gotten a referral from, and it was in the dog gone boonies. Like 15 miles away from home. For some reason I felt like we should go and see them and so we went! When we got there, the gate was closed and the house was completely dark... Great right? Just wasted like a half hour for  nothing. Well... I look over and boom guess what? The house that is down the road about a quarter mile is beginning to erupt into flames. Trailor Fire! I learned a lesson from Mr. Jones in Pysch 1010 that talked about diffusion of responsibility that whenever you see a situation everyone atomatically think that someone else will have taken care of it especially if there are people around, so I have always made it my goal to act. Elder Van Oene was not for going over there, but heck, it was cool. so I ran over to the gate and unlocked it and walked up and there was this guy just standing there watching it all, and I asked him if we could help. (Actually I think I said "Hey, how is it going?" Yep.... Not a good way to start a conversation when someone's house is on fire.) The biggest problem with a house fire isn't the house itself, it is all the memories and herilooms that you lose. Well that is what normal people lose. Here in Texas the biggest thing is Ammo for guns. Yep so we had to wait while the gun ammo went off before we could really do anything. I saw the guy's truck up there and Finally after like 20 minutes one firefighter showed up in a car. (Seriously we were in the Boonies.) I walked over to the fire and saw a truck a few feet away from it so one guy  jumped in and myself and the fire fighter pushed the car out of the burning home. See... That would be a cool story, in reality the truck was like 15 feet away from the fire and we pushed it another 50 feet away... Soooo it was still kinda cool I guess. By then all the neighbors had come from far and wide, kinda like the shepards in from their fields and I walked over and started talking to them. Yep, Preaching at a Trailor Fire, I can go ahead and chalk that one up as another idea that does not work for finding people to teach. But it did give us a chance to talk to tons of folks in the country that had never gotten to hear from missionaries before in their lives. 
The rest of the week was a blur! We did teach one lesson the next day to Ron and Christine who are a little different... They want to know alot of stuff and before we knew it, Elder Van Oene was explaining the alter worship that Abraham did or something like that. I have no idea, I have never read the old testament and honestly don't forsee myself doing so in the near future... Anyway, we had a good long conversation about teaching simply and to the point after that lesson. He likes to give the investigators everything that he knows. Which is good, but maybe... Ah you get the point. 
I got to go to Zone Conference this week! and President talked about Repentence. Talk about the most mind  blowing doctine that there is. President has a way of taking something deep then turning it around so simply that I couldn't misunderstand. For part of the conference we broke up into groups and had three 45 minutes workshops. President came in to ours and stayed way longer than he was supposed to, which I won't complain about at all. I love learning from that man. It may be weird but whenever I talk to him or see him I feel like he is as close to what Joseph Smith was as I have ever seen anyone be. Just a funny, charismatic, loving man. He let us practice being non-confrontational when people accuse us of not being christian or something like that. By far I talked the most out of our group, pretty much everyone was shy, so President asked if someone would like to give him some tough situations and role play with him! Of course I got to do it. It was a little weird to try and bash with President, because he gave us alot of scenrios to show bad examples and it was just weird, but he taught us alot. And I feel like that is one of the things I have really been blessed to do, just be able to accept people for what they are, they all have a little bit of truth, no matter how small and help them to grow it. That's what President does with us, that's what the Lord does with us, I don't know all the truth, I have access to the Fulness of the gospel, I don't live it completely though. I have such a long way to go, but that is what the Lord does just like us as missionarys, takes the truths that we know and magnify's them to grow and to change us. It was such an amazing meeting as I had prepared before hand and heard things that were never said. 
We went to visit the Recent Convert Family the Wilson's who by the way.. Came to Church!!!!... They totally love m, they gave us some referrals and when went to go contact them it was a whole Bible study! It was awesome there was about 10 people and we all studied together, I wish that we did more little group things like that in the church, because it is amazing!! Their faith in Jesus Christ is so simple and they try immensly hard to folllow Him. I really believe that they have a place prepared for them in the Celestial Kingdom, One day when they allow their hearts to hear the message, from those that they love perhaps in the next life, they will accept the fulness of it.
Fast and Testimony meeting. We had one lady get up and talk about how she was in the temple, a solid start to a testimony, and saw "a Mexican man walk in that was exactly like Pancho Villa", (Mexcian Robin Hood) and that if she saw him outside the temple she would have thought some bad things about him and been really scared but that since it was the temple it was all good. I don't know... But I'm pretty sure that was just racism. It was neat that she learned a lesson from it, I didn't think that I would ever hear Pancho Villa talked about in a testimony but God Bless Texas!
Saturday was tough, we drove all over and 3 or 4 appointments fell through, everyone thinks that Saturdays are the best time to meet because they will have free time, but I think that sometimes they forget that thier wives or husbands, also relize that they will have free time so then it becomes a competition of time and we usually are the losers on that side of things. I get it, it's a different balance in the real world.. haha but anyway long way to where I was going with this, so we had to go back to knocking doors. In all honesty I love to knock doors because I love to talk to people, half of the time it usual ends up them telling me about stuff that I didn't ever need to know about themselves or their hobbies but I just love all of these people so much! So we were knocking doors around 8 o'clock and when I knocked someone said "Who is it?" I responded with my usual, "It's Elder Funk!" because nobody opens the door when you say "It's the missionarys!" But when you say Funk, people's curiousity gets the best of them, well this time the voice said, come in and I opened the door and it was a 20 year old kid named Stephen. He was a little bit different than the normal kid, he didn't have any hands and couldn't open the door. When we started to talk, he explained that he was having a hard day and I told him about a scripture that I read and wondered if I could share it with him, eventually he let us in. He told me about how his cousin had just passed away and that he was having a hard time with it and it had happened just the other day. The Spirit directed me to the Saviours teaching's on the Mount when he said "Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted." I told him that I told him of God's love for him, he told us at the beginning that his friends have told him to not talk to us, but now he wanted us to come back whenever we can. As we left I said, "I love you Stephen, I really do, can I give you a hug?" He gave me a hug and we just sat there for a minute, I know how much he needed it that day, and I was so grateful that we hadn't given up that day and called it early because he needed me. God needs us all to do things, and we get to choose if we want to do them. I love it. 
Remember who you are and what He stands for!
Elder Paul Funk
P.S. I got invited to the superbowl by a family, whom I love dearly. They are awesome. I told the Ward Mission Leader that and he said that it was a great idea, he always felt bad that we didn't get to watch the super bowl.. I bet you can guess where this story is going. Yep, instead of watching the super bowl we resisted and did 3 hours of planning and area book work. Super Bowl Sacrifice, the Lord will never be more proud of you then when you do things you really don't want to do!