Monday, March 31, 2014

March Madness is Over

Alright here we go! Another week is already gone and it's the end of march! 
I get to be sentenced to Seguin for another transfer. I'm neutral on it really, I really wanted to go to Austin and see what is happening up there but I guess not. I don't want to finish my mission in Austin so maybe I can have two more areas in my next 5 transfers... That's my hope anyway. It's another one of those cases of "Thy will be done!"

I have forgotten to mention a couple of things that I have been doing the last couple of weeks. I completely quit soda! It's been a trial but I haven't had any since I turned 20. I'm doing pretty good, I bought massive amounts of Bottled water and so that helps me to overcome the tendency to want to have something in my hand. Essentially a Nicotine gum for soda pop. 

Another thing I have been doing to improve my entire life is that of improving my mental strength. Our District came together in a Justice league-esque fashion while eating at a ghetto seguin style Chinese buffet on Wednesday and decided that we would all take cold showers from here on out. The toughest thing is knowing that you could take a warm shower and having to turn it as cold as it will go. It's cool though I guess. Ha literally. 
I got a call from the UC a couple of days ago.. The area is booming! They are doing, so, so well! They are setting up a bunch of the people for baptism and it is coming along super great! I love it! The Magana family that we taught for a long time if officially active and are going to get baptized on the 12th of April. I can't even tell you how happy I was. They are the greatest people! I may get to go back and be there for it. I love them so, so much. It's amazing how much I have really become attached to the people, It really is a whole entire family inside the church. 

We went over to Brother Tanner's again and had a dinner appointment last night, he gets so lonely. We said that we are the only people that he gets to see besides working and things. It makes me so, so sad that home teachers are not doing their jobs. If they were doing it then someone would feel loved. I took the purpose of it for granted and didn't understand it while I was at home, I am so grateful though that Brother Metcalf took me under his wing and showed me how to magnify that calling. I will be a 100% home teacher every month.
We did a bunch of knocking this week, I really love it, you get to meet so many people in such a short period of time and tell them your testimony. We found a couple of neat family's to put into our teaching pond. Emma and Velvet were the first, she is having trouble with her husband and her granddaughter (velvet) lives with her and velvet has a son named JJ. She is looking for a church that will accept her because she in a Mexican and wants to find out where she belongs. She is going to love, love, love the church when she gets to come. She is on Dialysis so that makes it hard for her to do much of anything. Come to think of it, a ton of people we work with are on dialysis. I figured out what that was the other day. 

The other family we caught at home when they were doing a science project. We taught them the whole entire first lesson and she said that she has been praying to find the right church since November. God lives. There is no other way to explain things like that, We just went to find a former investigator from 2001, and decided to knock a random street. It was already getting late and Elder Van Oene had to go to the bathroom, but we decided to knock for 15 more minutes. That's what we found, a lady praying for the gospel! Love it.
Yesterday in church we found out we were teaching 5th hour. So we had a little bit to prepare it. It was the entire ward other then the kids combined. Brother Winters the Ward Mission Leader texted us and said, "Well Bishopric said you got the plan!" I texted back "I love when people assume that we know important details." He definitely started off the whole 5th Sunday off with that story. The whole ward doesn't understand sarcasm. I think it's hilarious but, hey it is what it is. 

I sold our truck the other day too. Totally forgot to mention that. The trucks switch out at 50,000 miles and we are getting within about a thousand of that, so it's about time for us to switch out anyway. We had lunch with a member from the ward, and he was talking about selling his old truck, I told him that he should buy our truck to replace it and he said that wasn't a bad idea! He went out into the parking lot, and I used the car talk langauge I learned from Elder Le Sueur and bam. Sold it! He called the mission and told him that he wanted to buy it from us, so now we are driving it until we get a new truck. That's a truck I've sold and scored a free washer and dryer for the mission. I'm either going to Hell for not taking time to fulfill my Missionary purpose or I should be getting a discount on my Mortgage in Heaven. One way or another I'll find out. 

I love this gospel with my whole heart! I am glad that Van Oene and I get to stay together for another transfer. It should be pretty good, we get along well and everything. We had probably our roughest week this week, but I think it was just because we have been together 24/7 for like 3 months. That's a contributing factor I suppose. ;)
I love to read the Book of Mormon, I am about half way done with it again. The power it has, there is no wonder that it changed 15 million hearts! It probably has changed mine at least that many times over, and will probably another 15 million times too. The work is going pretty well here we are trying to find some new people to teach which is a challenge but that's every mission right? :)

Well to end, when I was sitting in Sacrament meeting I thought of what a missionary's shoes show. If you really think about it, alot of time a changed shoe represents a changed man. A worn out, faded shoe often is on the foot, of a tired hard working man. I want to change my soul right along with my sole. When I look at the people's shoes I can tell a lot about who there are. 

A Soul Shaping Shoe

A many rips, a faded tan, 
Creases and Seams beginning to fray;
Play a role in the making of a man, 
For a good sole's work continues all day. 

Muck and grime, come along the path, 
Of many miles the soles walk and bike;
A man causing much of Satan's wrath,
His shaping soul becoming Christ-like.

His toe and heel, wear on through, 
The wear and tear tell quite a tale, 
This Man's sole, always God's will do,
A soul shaped by a mission's sole will prevail. 

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

P. S. I don't need new shoes. 

March Madness

March 24, 2014

Dang this week was just to fast, I'm not even really sure what happened to be honest. It's amazing how fast the weeks start to go. I wish I could just copy and paste this first paragraph to every email, because I feel like that is basically how I start them all. 

P day we went up to Kyle to play some basketball with Jonesy and some other Elders when we showed up there was like 8 elders that were there and no keys to the church. I called Jonesy to see where he was at, there were helping a family do a move. So I told Elder Dayton and his comp to load up and we headed off to the move. Yep that was a good 20 miles away. Apparently the ever-tardy Zone Leaders decided to swing by and pick up the keys about 3 minutes before we did without calling us and headed back down to the church. So we just went up and helped them unload for about an hour. Seriously there was so much junk that it was ridiculous. 
Tuesday we had exchanges and I went up to New Braunfels to do some work. One of the elders is super trunked out up there and they don't really do anything, not to put them down, but seriously... So we ended up walking for about 5 hours trying to see about 5 former investigators, none of which were home. I got sunburned, but it turned into a tan... "Count your blessings!"

We didn't teach megan this week because it was her spring break, she did call us and ask us about dating advice with her steady boyfriend and finding herself before she commits to a serious relationship. I was all in for that! Definitely should try and figure out the people that we are before we go and commit to spending eternity trying to convince another person to stay with us! 
We got to go over and do a whole bunch of service for Jose one of our investigators, mow his lawn and then he asked me to get up on the roof and take down his antenna that has been up there since the pioneers discovered cable tv. Crazy. 

We ended up teaching quite a few people this week. I like to knock doors because I think I have really developed at it, we even got in a few doors this week and taught the people. The problem with this are is that half of the people only speak spanish... that is really bad news for a kid from Logan that has trouble ordering at Taco Bell. It gets really frustrating at times to say the least. 
Transfers are coming up this week. We will find out on sunday if we are staying or if we are going to go. I kinda want to get out of here, but I will do whatever is asked of me!

Yesterday was kinda the pinnacle of the week. 
When we went to church we started by getting chewed out by a member of the bishopric because we invited someone back to church that he had personally chewed out and told not to come back. It was pretty messed up, I was ticked about it, I didn't say anything but it was frustrating. Granted the LA is involved in another religion and has a few messed up ideas, but that isn't a reason that he can't at least come to church. He doesn't have to be involved but he can at least come. Then in Elder's Quorum the EQP stood up and laid down the law because a few weeks ago we had a lesson about Expections we had for the presidency and someone said that they expected them to come to church and attend the temple. This is the first time that the EQP has been to church since I have been here. It was not pretty at all. 

We just had a guy come in and tell us about how his son is serving in Guatemala and showed us pictures for about 20 minutes. He loved his son, seriously was like the highlight of my day already. He told us how much he loved the people for taking care of his son, he is going to take us out to lunch today. Such a fantastic man. It just keeps on builiding my testimony that people are going to watch out for us and take care of us when we need it the very most. 

I have been studying the book of mormon more and more. I am already a third of the way down with it again. There will never be a day I don't read the book of mormon in my life again. I love it so much! It has so many things that are important to my salavation and I have truely grown closer to God by reading that book then I have in any other way. I wish that everyone would read everyday. If I had only one wish then that would be it. My Witness of Christ is so sure. I stand as his disciple bearing witness to the world that He did live. There is so much joy in his life. I love reading about it, every time something seemed impossible for the world he was able to overcome it in power. He is my hope and he is my salvation. I read so much everyday, there has not been one moment of personal study I have wasted on my mission. I mean that literally! I wish that I had more of it. I love the work, I love the Lord and I love all of you!
Remember who you are and what He stands for!

Elder Funk

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Praise to the Man!

Well what a week it has been. I loved, loved loved this week! Remember how I was talking about every week having a theme to it? Well this week was for sure, Joseph Smith.

We had a hard time once again teaching this week. It was spring break and everyone that we talked to was basically sick, or we didn't talk to them because the were gone somewhere better then Seguin. I don't blame them, but it sure makes missionary work hard to do when you don't have anyone to talk too! Dang it all.

We went over to Micheal's house, he is the most solid man that we are teaching right now. What is he up to you ask? Well he is improving his life and moving to Austin! Dangnabbit. It will be really good for him. When we went over there to talk to him, he told us so many times about how we have helped save his life and that we are his best friends and that he was so grateful that we knocked on his door, and that day saved his life. He was even more grateful that he had God in his life and that we had reintroduced him to the God. Over and over again I kept saying well that is God! It isn't us that is doing it. We responded with, "God is like a head coach on a football team. Yes, he runs the game and in the end everything is going to go the way that he wants to go, but he still needs the players. That is you guys." It was a great reminder of being on the Lord's team and what that really means. (It is so great to be taught with an analogy instead of teaching with one!)

The Kyle Stake here organized a camp basically the same as APIA but they call it Camp Helaman. This year there was about 80 or so youth that went up to camp and the man that was in charge asked the mission President if all the missionarys in the stake could go up there and teach them for a day. It was one of the best days of my mission. We went out into the boonies and saw all of the guys in white shirts and ties. I got paired with two young men named Tanner Monson (Yes, he is a distant cousin) and Jordan Villanueva. Both were 17 I believe. I spent about 3 hours answering their questions and teaching them about Preach My Gospel. Then we went out to work at 6! We got to go and knock a whole bunch of doors, they were so incredibly nervous and so I showed them how to do it a few times and then let them go for it. They got to do the doorstep said how are you doing today sir? and turned around to just stare at me. I said "You got it! Go for it!" The did so great.

Did I tell you Elder Dayton is in my zone? So we had one set appointment to go teach and it was one of his investigators. I went and asked about this guy and Elder Dayton just laughed and laughed, and said dang! You will be so good for him! I had no idea what that meant. But anyway we showed up to the lesson and the man was a total basher! Dang it. I don't get mad in lessons very much, but I was so heartbroken at first that this was the experience. After I know that it was the right experience for these young men. We taught about the Restoration, and it got to Joseph Smith. The kids bore there testimonies, and the guy turned to me and said' "So does one have to believe in Joseph Smith to get to Heaven?" I said, "No you don't have to believe in Joseph Smith to get to Heaven, however everyone in heaven will believe in Joseph Smith." I know that to be true with my whole heart! That there is nothing Joseph Smith as a person can do to save us. We can't be baptized in his name or anything, his martyred blood doesn't forgive our sins. If one intends however to be in the Kingdom of God we will accept all of the doctines that Joseph taught! I love the man, I praise the man! We walked out of there and the kids were just beaming! They were so, so excited and I just looked and smiled at them. I remember my first lesson just like that too. Every lesson is so special.
When we got back it was already late, about 9 or 9:30 and we said a closing prayer and all of us missionaries got up to leave and we walked out the back door and just as we did, two boys ran out of the group and came up to me and grabbed me and gave me a big hug. I love those two boys with my whole entire heart! I wish that I could spend more time with them. It was a great day.

I also got to play in sacrament meeting this week again. It went amazingly well. The congregation was in tears. I got to play with that 13 year old deacon named David. I think I mentioned him last week. Boy is he good. Just love to be able to share my talents like that. I am going to play again in a couple of weeks and I think they are trying to put a quartet together so that they can have me play again. I love to praise my Savior with Music! The other thing, this is one of those "doctrines of Paul" that I have, but ALWAYS sing all the verses to the song. It boggles my mind that we don't sing all the verses. Even if there are seven of them. Would you ever not say In the name of Jesus Christ amen in a prayer? Same principle if you don't sing the 7th verse it's almost as forgetting a sentence in a prayer!
In Primary this week I got asked to play the part of Joseph Smith, I was to testify of the Resurrection and the divinty of the Savior. It was a moment were once again I felt of the divine calling of the Prophet of God. He is the man. I told the Primary kids the first vision and as I did, something that hasn't happened in a long time happened. I just teared up. I had a hard time getting through it. That moment, that sacred, sacred experience has become so real to me I can testify of it as though I was there too. I never would have had that knowledge had I not come onto a mission. Joseph Smith did more for mankind than any man that has walked this Earth! He has done more then any man that will ever walk this earth. I can have Faith in Christ because through the Prophet I know who Christ is. I can repent because I know what the guidelines and commandments are! I can be baptized because the Authority was restored to the Man. I can receive the Holy Ghost because it was given back to the Boy who knelt in the Grove. I can be saved because I know the doctrine of Salvation.
I know that The son of God lives! I love him, so much! I cannot wait to be able to hand my mission over to him as one contribution to my life's work and ministry. I haven't always been perfect, but I have always done the right thing. There is no greater thing that one can do then to gain a testimony of the Son of God and there is no more perfect understanding of Him then that of what we gain through the Prophet Joseph Smith testimony and work. Praise to the Man!
Remember who you are and what He stands for! This week it might be appropriate to say, Remember who you are and what a Boy Prophet lived and died for!

Getting ready for Primary

Elder Paul Funk

Monday, March 10, 2014

Just About Grown Up Now

Well another week has already come and gone! I am getting to be SOO old. 20! That is like a fifth of the way down with my life or something! Crazy. Not really, I'm pretty sure I am going to live forever. 

This week was up and down, just like all the others, even the whether seemed a bit bi polar. I think it hit about 80 or just above it and then it also hit like 30 degrees. That's so dang cold! I don't think that I was meant to endure that.. I am grateful I am not on a bike though! It would be a really a ton worse then if we were. 
Well. As far as our investigator pool it seems to have kinda done another nose dive. Not really our fault, just sometimes it seems that it takes weird turns. 

Megan is doing well. She just won't come to church at all! Good golly it gets me frustrated. She always goes to San Antonio for the weekend and then just never comes back around in time for church. I don't really blame her, Seguin isn't the best place in the world to hang out, although we do have the world's largest pecan. Except that it is just fake.  Anyway, she is progressing pretty well, we just can't get her to come to church. 

Our other investigators pretty much are still on weed. Granted I don't think that we have gotten to the point where we can teach them the word of wisdom yet, but still. Smoking weed should be common sense as a thing not to do. Whatever. It just is really, frustrating. 

Micheal the guy that was going to commit suicide, is doing ok.. He just isn't coming to church. He is pretty much blind and so he can't drive to church and stuff and has to rely on other people whenever they take him somewhere. His house always smells weird too.. Weed. Seriously. Everyday we just smell like Weed.
Well Sunday came and I got to do a musical number and also a talk! That was a little bit different. I stood up and went over to play and it was pretty good. We played I need the Every hour with the choir. It was neat to be able to accompany a choir, it all went real well. Then it was weird because I had to put down my instrument and move everything and usually when I have done it in the past it was while a speaker was speaking so it wasn't like a dead silence. It was just weird. I didn't compliment myself or the choir over the pulpit either so that was totally breaking the Mormon tradition too. My talk went well, in the middle I thought of Yankee analogy that would tie in really well to setting goals and so I talked about them for a bit, it was kinda different, it wasn't something that normally I would ever say in a talk, for fear of my mom finding out, but after words we went to class and there was this Recent Convert that we haven't been able to get to open up alot yet since they moved her and boom. She loved baseball. She totally talked baseball with me and it was sooo great. She's a tiger fan, but that is what repentance is for. (*I totally support talk of the Yankees)

Last night we were studying after church and we heard a gun shot like right outside our apartment and we looked out and there wasn't screaming or anything so we kinda dismissed it and let it go or whatever. Then when we went home for the night and outside there was like 4 cop cars and a bunch of teenagers lined up outside the laundry mat. Goodness, I really don't know about Seguin. I'm pretty sure we are going to end up dying one of these days. I figure I am either going to the Celestial Kingdom or I am going to the depths of Hell. I really don't want anything in the middle. Celestial Kingdom or Bust for me. 

I mentioned that I started the Book of Mormon in my last email home, Oh I love it! As much as the mission has taught me and changed me, I don't think that I learn as much as I just start to know things. I now know the things that I say are true, I don't just say them anymore. There are things that are so real to me that it is as if they are more true then things I physically see. I love it. 

This morning I had a study and was reading the Isaiah chapters in the Book or Mormon and he talked about an "angel of light" and how Satan will come and try to deceive many by "transforming". It made me really think about the Angels that have come into my mission. I know there have really been so many. I see more clearly now some of the things that weren't as clear before. Who it really was that in certain situations helped me. 

One of the hardest things that I have ever had to do on my mission happened the other day. We were teaching this man named Jose. We picked him up the first week that we got here. I love Jose sooo much. We worked in his garden and he wanted us to help him put an addition on his house. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and a couple of weeks ago we went over and he told us that the story of Nephi made sense to him and it was something that he had always believed. We went over the baptismal questions with him and he said he was willing to do them all. Even the Law of Tithing. He was so golden. Everything that we taught him he soaked in like a sponge. Baptism was something that he wanted sooo, so badly. We kept telling how great of an experience that it was and we set him with a date in April. He knew it was all true. The Plan made his heart just jump, he loved it all! We took our ward mission leader over with us and we had a lesson, we confirmed baptism and everything, one of the most powerful lessons I have had on my mission. We walked out and the Ward Mission Leader said "That guy talks just like a Mormon!" Yep he totally does! The next day we had correlation with the Ward mission leader, and he pulled up a page on his Ipad and showed us, Jose was on Probation for Sexual things with a child, for the next 8 years. It was a such a dagger to the heart. 

So it became my job to talk to Jose about it, since we are such good friends now. I called him and called him. Finally later in the night he called, and I answered it. I told him what we had found and at first he got defensive, but then he realized that we were trying to help him and I told him the power of Repentence and that it can only work if we are ready to give up all of our sins. I told him that he was going to have to wait to be baptized. I have never heard a more crushed voice in my life. I could feel his spirit just sag. I love that man with all of my heart, and it grieves me more than anything that he can't be baptized on that date, I know how much it would help him. Baptism cannot rob Repenctence of it's fruits though. So we have to wait. We are going to meet with him today. 
I have gotten to use my viola here more than my other areas. I was telling a member I played and she set us up an appointment today to go and play some music for her friend that is a non-member. There is another member that has a kid that seems to be kinda struggling right now, but is phenomenly talented at the violin so he asked me to help him do a musical number. I love these people. The Lord really wants to use us and to help us become just like Alma "An Instrument in the Hands of the Lord."

It's a balancing act!

Baptism with the sisters in Converse

Getting in touch with nature

Remember who you are and what He stands for!

Elder Paul Funk

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blow Dart Gun Balloon Clean-Up

Well here we are once again, I'm not really falling to pieces, but I might be frozen into one. It's ridiculous. I think it was like 31 degrees when we got into the truck. Absolutely miserable. I hate it so much! I paid the price of the summer to not be cold and it is certainly not working out that great for me right now!

Well... I think that my absolute favorite thing this week was a baby shower. So we showed up to the church and the ward mission leader's entire family was cleaning up, well... Sorta, basically all the balloons had floated to the cieling in the gym, which happens at every single church event ever right? Well here in Seguin we don't let them just fall down, instead all the guys go out to the trucks and get their blow dart guns. Seriously. Baby shower balloon busting with blow dart guns. Gotta love it. Or something like that. The problem came getting the blow darts out of the cieling... Yep so out came the table then a ladder and the extendable duster, together. That was interesting.

Well... All good things come to an end right? Love doesn't last, whatever yadda yadda yadda. The saddest thing of all happened though this week. The last time that I threw up was February in the year of our Lord 2011. That was until this week. 3 Years and 12 days.... That is like a record or something. I pushed my limit though when I woke up feeling sick and decided to ignore it and had a good breakfast of Snickers and Nutella. OH and a banana to balance it out. It it was sad.. I crashed for a good couple of hours and then woke up and we went out to work again. It works I guess.

Megan is still doing good, She invited a few of her friends to come join us at bible study at TLU this week. So we had a nice little meeting. Megan can teach pretty much everything that we do. BUT she doesn't come to church. Gosh dang it. Frustrating.

Really this week was a bunch of less active visits. The nice thing is that you either get guns pulled or that you find the nicest people on the face of the earth! we had a ton of miles because of a short month so we went to the boonies. Sometimes we would drive for like forever and then nothing because the gosh darn gate. Whatever we got into a couple of sweet ranchs this week! loved it to death. I am totally on this Horse kick since I have been in Texas and want to buy a horse, now I know that takes some work and commitment and stuff but dang I can see myself riding one of those everyday. We went to visit one guy and he let us and talked our ear off for like 2 hours. He even fed us some Chicken Gizzards, which aren't bad, but he got offeneded 9 years ago and hasn't been back since. Ya know I think I get it, like it really is real life and real things happen, Idk if getting over being offended is as easy sometimes as we say it should be. It is really worth it though. It's neat to hear the testimonies of the people that had the reason to be offended but chose not to, and came back anyway. It is worth it, but it for sure is tough.

We got to go to 5 hours of church yesterday. I say get to because I want to work on gratitude, but 5 hours of church is alot for anyone. For real. I was pretty churched out by the end of the day. We went to like the first half our ours and then went over to the 3 hours of converse. I told the ward that we were going to replace the sisters and a few of them freaked out, although I think I saw some of them excited... (Maybe that was my heart imagining things, but.... probably not) and it was hilarious, then I explained to them I was joking and that we were their for Felecity's confirmation. Gotta love it. The Confirmation went well. Van Oene got to confirm her and it was a real special event for him I think.

Well I love being here! We are trying to find some people to teach! It is tough, It seems like we are always busy doing something, but the end of the day, sometimes it's like what did we get done to report? I love these people though.

Next week I get to play in sacrament meeting on the viola, AND give a talk. The Elder Funk show... We will see how it goes. Probably like a 25 minute talk... It'll be good.

Well, keep on keepin on. I finished the Book of Mormon this week and started it again for the 5th time. I have learned more in the first 50 pages this time then I have ever before! I am studying the change that takes place, every event that occurs I am looking at who is changing at what the source is. Pretty interesting. Well I love the Book of Mormon with my whole heart! It's true. IT really is.
Remember who you are and what He stands for!
Elder Funk
P.S. Played basketball this week and totally owned! Loved it. No dislocations though! Which is good.