Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Whale of a Week

Well Howdy once again. I know yall were expecting a short email, or something because you were sitting on the edge of your seats, wanting to know how my encounter with the Bunny harvesting went. Well it didn't. It got postponed for another week to do work. Dangnabbitrabbit. 
Well last week we went up to San Marcos to play some soccer for P day. I think I hate soccer in Texas. Number one it is already hot here, and two, it just really isn't that great. A person that doesn't play basketball is way better at starting that then the same with Soccer. So we all just looked like a a bunch of posers. Great. Oh and the AP, who plays football challenged me on a header. With his elbow to my face. Yes I scored, and yes my face hurt too. We ended up winning though, which is not the most important thing, as I found out last week. No competition in heaven...  
With Investigators this week we got meet with Megan again. Sometimes I don't know what it is, but the lesson just fails miserably. She wanted to know how she could shape her being to help her have God in her life all the time. I tried a parable, a few scriptures, eventually we just resorted to the song, "If the Savior stood beside me." However, that was all that really needed to be said. We didn't really leave after the 3 second sermon, and tried to keep teaching what we had initially planned which was the Proclamation to the family. I can't even express in words how weird the lesson was. Eventually I decided to cut the losses and end with. "Megan, anyway... re-read this Proclamation, and when you go to get married, you should really consider marrying a LDS man." She just laughed, then she basically told me that she thinks I'm going "go back to Utah, find a girl and get married in 6 months." So that has been like the theme of my week. "6 Months." 
I have been losing weight by eating only clif bars for lunch and exercising at night, then taking a cold shower. I really actually enjoy my schedule alot on that one. Basically if anything is tough or something I just tell myself "6 Months" and realize for her it will be worth it. ;) 
We had a District meeting this week and talked alot about being sincere, I don't know if it is a good thing or a bad thing, but I am pretty real when it comes to meetings. I don't try to give the watered down missionary answers. So we were talking about it, and it is amazing how you can know when the spirit is speaking through you because you teach yourself with the things you say. You have to be true to who you are and be able to acknowledge exactly where you are at in life. If the moment is terrible, acknowledge and be upset for a time, then when that moment passes, the emotion should too. I learned all about that in Tuesday's with Morrie. Yall should read that book. 
We had a couple of lessons this week with some of "Seguin's most interesting." The first was a former that we were trying to contact, we drove into the country a few miles then took an abandoned dirt road for a ways, (I think at least once every week we have a moment where I turn to Elder Van Oene and say, "If we were ever going to get shot and have our bodies hid, it would be here) it was pretty sketchy needless to say. Then a guy was coming out in his truck so he looked at us and told us that the man had moved into town and gave us "Redbud" directions on how to find him. Luckily we have been here a while and we know where "the old house that burned down" and "that one old chicken coop" are at. So with our redneck liahona we started off. It was already 8 by that time and when we got to the house, the man told us that he was a prophet. I was happy to hear it! We are all prophets and finally someone realized it in all honesty. However he doesn't understand the principle of keys in the kingdom and was "Out to do my Father's buisness, by calling all the people to repent and change, because my Father is not pleased with how his world is being treated." Still Golden! Then he lost it and told us how UFO's are God's angels coming to check on how things are going here. Great... Then he told us that how he became a prophet was that he was dropped from a spaceship to earth, after he had gotten high. I don't get Seguin. 
Then we have a man that is trying to convert us to be Muslims, while we are trying to convince him to be a Mormon. One day we will win, but as for now, he and his house serve Muhammad. 
I got to play in the sand this week with salt water and fish it was so great. The breeze was nice, the sun was hot, no shoes and just a little bit of heaven. All while standing next to a dumpster behind a strip mall. One of the member's owns an aquarium business that he decided to shut down and so he asked us to go help him spray out all of the tanks and transport them to his house. I spent like 3 hours, spraying fish matter off the bottom of fish tanks and getting completely soaked from head to too because of the water pressure on the hose. It was a fantastic service project. I totally want a fish tank now. I am pretty pumped, except they are soo expensive. Oh and Uncle Brandon, I told him about your fish cemetery, I mean pond, he said that you probably need to do some more filtering out of the water and putting oxygen in it. I said that you probably already knew all of that, anyway. Thought I'd at least let ya know. 
Church was pretty decent. We have been having the hardest time getting people to come to church for the last couple of months. Seriously like no one will come, I don't get it. We can't force them too, but I am getting pretty decent with the lasso, so I should be able to use that soon... An awesome couple gave a couple of talks and I basically remember that they were really good. Then for the second hour we got nominated to teach, in part because Brother Winters had a heck of week, and his daughter gave birth to a baby. Only Brother Felix showed up so I made the executive decision and cancelled the class. One of the Ward missionary's showed up late and we ended up talking about being a pilot. It was neat because he had never opened up before, until yesterday and now we are buds. No one cares how much you know til they know how much you care. Then we headed off into High Priests. Honestly I know why I don't go there, they spent an hour talking about how dumb young people are and about how we should get married faster and just jump into it. We were the youngest there and basically got burned at the stake in front of everyone in place of the entire population of young people. 6 months. That's all I gotta say.
We had a relatively good week, we are doing our best to try and keep the work always moving forward.  
Being a missionary is the greatest thing in the entire world, I studied alot about sacrificing this week. I studied about the practices in the Old testament and learned alot. I think sometimes we get this idea that they Lord will make up the things that we left behind to us. I know I have thought that before, like somehow we will get through school faster, or we can somehow make up the time that we left behind. I believe that sacrifice is the prerequisite to receiving blessings, and that blessings do not reconcile the sacrifice. I believe that they are independent, but that they are inseparably connected. We have to be willing to give the things the Lord asks of us, but the Lord does not give us blessings to replace what we gave up.
I love to be able to be taught by the spirit, I can't wait to continue that one on for the rest of my life. Alex Samuelu asked me what I enjoined most about my mission. It is the relationship that I have gained between myself and the Godhead. I have learned about Heavenly Father and what he does for us, I am learned the purpose of Christ and repenting, and I am taught by the spirit and led by him. I am so grateful to be a missionary. I love to be able to do His work, in His way. 
Remember who you are and what He stands for! 
Elder Paul Funk

This is from President's Email this week, no I wasn't "That" Elder:

In zone conference we discussed the relationship between good judgment and the Spirit. We emphasized that the Lord expects us to use both (D&C 62:8; 63:44). Good judgment comes from the light within each of us; the greater the light we attain, the greater our judgment (D&C 50:24).

By way of example of how this principle works, this weekend two elders, in two different areas, were bitten by snakes and rushed off to the hospital. One snake was a Copperhead; the other was later determined to be nonvenomous (Elders, you know I love you, and I hope you do not mind that I use you as examples, so that others may learn.) These snake bites occurred because these very curious elders, decided to reach down and pick the snake up. One may ask, "Why didn’t the Spirit warn the Elders not to pick up the snake?" So here is the principle: the Spirit will not interfere with good judgment.

Another will ask, "What about the promise that snakes cannot hurt the Lord’s servants?" It was to the meridian Seventy, not to the latter-day missionaries, that the Lord gave this instruction: "I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" ( Luke 10:19). Notice that the Lord is referring to accidental encounters with snakes; he was not inviting the Seventy to pick the snakes up and play with them. Many modern churches have misinterpreted this passage and have used snakes in their worship services. Recently a pastor of one of those churches was bitten and died. The Lord has bestowed in each of us his light; we are expected to use that light.

Now you may laugh, but there are many things every day that you may feel to do that are contrary to good judgment. Many service projects, for example, that you accept "out of the goodness of your heart" may place your health at risk and your mission in jeopardy. Many back and knee injuries come from poorly chosen service projects. Doing tricks on your bike, showing off on the basketball court, misusing exercise equipment–all these can abruptly interrupt your mission. Driving church vehicles is another area where good judgment is always required. Most accidents, even when "it was not your fault," could have been avoided with good judgment and defensive thinking.

Elder and Sisters, enjoy your missions. Be careful. Use good judgment. We love you.

Elder Funk and his companion live over the Coin Laundry

Love the Longhorms

Cowboy in Training

Monday, April 21, 2014

Perfecting Relationships

Wow. I love being on a mission! It seems like every single week brings so much new knowledge that I would not trade for anything in the entire world. I love to be able to change and repent. It is so amazing that the Lord does not force us to stay in the circumstances that we live in, I think that most correction that is given from the Lord is given to those that already do the most. Someone said this week, "If you need something to get done, assign it to an already busy man." I believe that the Lord does that too, Spiritually and Physically, that if he is going to invite a man to repent, he gives the correction to an already repenting man. 

Last P day we got to go and have a camping experience in Yorktown, they live in a trailer so it is just super small, but they have like 40 acres to themselves too. We built a nice little fire and found a grate in a pile of garbage so we burned off some of the ecoli and tetanus that was on it and made some deer burgers. So Good. We also had a whole ton of Smoreo's. Everyone thought that they were just the best thing that they had ever had. Me too. Me too. 

We had an amazing experience with Megan this week. After about a month of not being able to get into contact enough to teach her, we finally had a lesson. I might have mentioned that a couple of weeks ago when I was emailing she called and wanted some "Boyfriend Advice" (Clearly I haven't dated in a year and a half and know everything right?" But she woke up and just felt like something wasn't right. She told us that she wanted to find herself and that her boyfriend was just not what she was needing to be doing right at the moment. She had been dating the guy for 2 years already and basically they were engaged. (I won't rant about promise rings right now... ) Basically I just talked to her for 10 minutes or so and told her what I thought, and what the churches stance was on it. Really trying not to give life advice, but I could share a bit about my experiences and stories. Anyway she got a prompting from the spirit to break up with him, this whole time she has had a hard time understanding exactly what the spirit feels like and how it directs her life. She broke up with her Boyfriend, and found out that he was stealing from the family, and cheating on her. She learned a powerful spiritual lesson that day, she had a manifestation from the spirit and upon giving up all that she had to follow that prompting she learned the "why" of following. 
I feel like that is how I learn most of the time. A couple of weeks ago President sent out an email, banning all musical instruments because there had been problems in the mission. I was pretty bummed out about and decided that the rule didn't apply to me, because I had gotten his permission for mine. I was sitting there this week in Zone Conference and it hit me that I wasn't immune from the rule, and that I wasn't the exception. It wasn't a rule of Musical Instruments, it was to see, for me how I was willing to live my testimony of the Kingdom and the Keys of the Priesthood. Yall will be getting my viola probably on Wednesday. I am grateful I got to use it while I did. 
We had a zone conference this week. I love Zone conferences! That is where 3 or 4 zones get together and President comes to teach us all. I don't get to interact with President basically at all so it was a rare opportunity. Meetings are alot like Thanksgiving dinners I reckon. I remember thinking that if I didn't eat a couple of years ago, for a day or so before that I would be so hungry that I would be able to eat more then I had. However, I think that my stomach shrunk and I wasn't able to eat hardly anything! Spiritual preparation before a meeting is as important to eating and expanding our ability to feast the day before the Spiritual Feast. I feel like I had prepared for this meeting more then I have ever before. I came ready to learn and soaked in everything that I could. 
I learned about Revelation and it all makes so much more sense now. We act, and as we act we receive really. I always have heard people say after being invited for a calling "I will have to pray about it and get back to you." Now I realize there is really nothing to pray about, the revelation has already been received, now we are just in the mode to act! 

At the end of Zone Conference he let us ask about the "Forbidden Fruit of the mission" namely. Marriage. It was hilarious to see the questions that people had about dating when none of us have dated in years. Love it. Of course I took the opportunity to ask, "What should our time table be to get married after the mission?" He looked at me and said, "Well Elder Funk, I would say more then a week, but 4 years in spiritual Suicide." I guess announcing my engagement at my homecoming talk is out of the question, but everything else is fair game. It is interesting to see what different things that we asked as we have all grown up over the past year and a half, all the Elders questions were basically hinged on how to provide, and care for a family. President gave us some guidelines on how to select a job, that WE want. One of the most important things that I got from the meeting was something that was never said. I don't reckon that God really cares to much about the minute details of our lives, in a spirit of seeking answers. I believe to me He is a God who allows us to grow. For example through every prophet since the Restoration he tells us to "Prepare and get married in the temple." Obviously he doesn't tell us "who" for a reason. More and more I begin to understand the importance of becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ, because revelation turns a person into a revelator and we are able to know completely what we should do, because we changed who we are. I don't really see Elder Holland getting down on his knees and praying about how he should do a certain task and waiting and saying... "Wow! I finally got that warm fuzzy feeling! I'm so glad, it only took me an hour! I guess now I will know that I can read the Book of Mormon for 300th time!" Fuzzy feelings are a tool I suppose, but not the freeway from where revelation flows.
The Lord wants us to make our own decisions, yes we are instructed by Alma to Cry unto the Lord in everything, and we should, but how much greater would a prayer be if we could be giving thanks 100% of the time, and asking for more strength to serve more, instead of asking of things 100% of the time and asking for strength to be grateful. 

There has been so much drama here in the ward. I feel like a referee half of the time between members and we teach more about love and forgiving, so that they can repent and come back to church then we do teach restoration lessons. I am willing to do whatever the Lord directs, we have been able to see alot of Less active families come back to church these past few weeks, even though we haven't really had any success in the baptism category. All is the Lord's work, someone enduring to the end is as important as someone getting baptized. 
I am so grateful that I am able to learn things from the spirit. I think now that there hasn't been anything taught from any person, when it comes to spiritual lessons. The only teacher that I have is the things that I learn from the Holy Ghost. I sometimes wonder why I have to be so hard headed but I know that "The lord can only trust those who he can correct." (President Slaughter) Well I am always ready for more and more correction.

Easter was pretty good! we went over to the Drury's to have a dinner, have you ever seen someone put a pan of milk out for their cats and the strays come along too? That is kinda what eating with members on family holidays is. I am grateful that someone likes to feed the stray cats too! Every stray cat has a mom and dad somewhere that care about them and hope they get fed! We got to sing in Easter for church in the choir. Singing is such a great conduit of the spirit. I don't really understand why though we don't sing all the verses of the songs in the church. I don't really try and say my prayers and leave out the "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen" If the Song is Prayer unto the Lord, why do we cut it short? Just the ramblings of a missionary in God's Country.  

I wish that I could just tell yall everything that I learn every week. There would probably be not enough time. I love being a missionary, it has changed my life so much. I hope that everyone that who is worthy, will serve a mission, and if not worthy, get worthy and go. It is worth anything that you have to do to get out here. For a Sister or an Elder. Really it doesn't matter, why, just get out here and do it. I love it so much! I am by far the happiest I have ever been. The Lord blesses those who do His will. It's all true! 
Remember who you are and what He stands for! 

Elder Paul Funk

Monday, April 14, 2014

What a week, what a week, what a week!

Well I suppose that Bro Munoz got the pictures from the Baptism to yall. I "trunked out of my mind" for Universal City when I went back. Probably more then I ever have for home. Unbelievable how much I love the people in Universal City. The harder you work, the more you grow to love someone. The Bishop was at the baptism along with nearly half of the ward. He said it was the most people that he had ever seen get baptized into the ward. It was neat to actually watch a whole family get baptized. I love it. They are really some of the neatest people that I have ever been able to meet out here, we went over there soooo much to try and help them. They started at nothing, they hadn't even said a prayer before and then after the baptism we went to What-a-Burger, the youngest girl stood up and we all held hands and said a prayer. I was really humbled when the oldest girl and the next to youngest asked me to baptize them. I totally messed up on the oldest. She didn't tie her hair back and so I had to try and Dunk her extra then her knee popped up. Oh and her last name is Longoria. That'ts right, like Eva Longoria, that was one of my goals to come and baptize Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, but the is probably the closest I am going to get assuming that I am still in Seguin. 

I am so happy that I got to see Ry's mission call. Brother Felix is my favorite. Love him to death. I think that he is going to take us out again this week because it is Van Oenes year mark. Crazy how fast time really seems to get going after a while. I say it ever week. Congrats Ryan again. I know that Florida is going to be awesome! To Humid for me, but hey maybe they have stricter gun laws out there and you won't get guns pulled on you. 

We also had a lady this week named Cheryl that asked us to come and help her move through one of her member friends. She loved me, like so so so much. I should add that we did get roped into moving an entire house of furniture by ourselves. It took like 5 hours or something like that. It was good though. I think that one day they might really look into getting into the church. They told me that after my mission I am welcome to go stay with them in Baytown, Texas anytime that I want. I might take them up on that one day. The also gave us a rack of ribs after we finished moving, That was on Saturday night, who didn't fast on sunday? That would be me, just spaced  on it, and as a consequence of that I ate an entire rack of ribs, a giant can of beans and like a whole tub of potato salad in 24 hours. Texas. Gotta love it! 
We knocked on quite a few doors this week. We are really trying hard to find people to teach, it just gets old, honestly I just don't quite enjoy this area as much as I did my old ones. Which is weird because basically you just heard me complaining about the people, but I think I had to complain about them sometimes because I loved them so much. Opposition in all things right? One day I may get struck by lightening for taking scriptures outta context... 

Most normal days in Seguin, we get a call from our Granny. She is pretty great, I may have mentioned her before to yall. We go over there like every day pretty much to just say Hi or do a bit of service. She is 85 or something like that but runs around like she is 60. Not really to fast, but still has a hop skip and a jump. Plus the Ward Mission Leader's wife had to correct me because when I used to teach Earth Life I would say "After 60 or so years we all pass on." Apparently she is approaching 60 and that isn't old. Idk... that's like 3 of my life times. So I repented and changed. I say like 80 or 90 now. Back to Granny, she wants us to catch a couple of stray cats that she has and drive them way out into the country and let them go. Apparently she assumes that we have miles to do that. I think it might make a great story, so I'll keep ya updated on that situation. We go and mow her lawn like every other week or something. I like to think that it keeps me young.  

Well much to the pleasure of i'm sure everyone back home. I stopped the cold showers after a couple of weeks. It makes you more grateful for what you do have, when you see what you don't for sure! I liked it alot, try it out! 

I have been reading the Book of Mormon still every single day, and I just learn so, so much. I finally got to the Chapters where Alma is conversing with his sons and it makes me so glad to be able to have a dad that was faithful and can tell me the same things. We were street contacting yesterday and a man came out and was telling us about family and asked about our families back home. He told us how lucky we are to have the families that we do have. I completely agree. I hope that y'all know how much I love you and care for you. I am so proud of each one of you! The doctrine of eternal families is the one of the most comforting in all of the things that Christ taught. I cannot imagine what Joy Peter must have felt when he recieved the keys to bind on earth and in heaven. I am sure that he thought of his wife first off, and his mother in law. He loved them all so much. I do too. I love you all and am so proud of each of you in a different way. 
Remember who you are and what He stands for! 

Elder Funk 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Conference Week

Well Hey. 
So this week was the biggest blur of my mission. Our numbers that we turned in were terrible though and we hardly got anything done because it was one of those weeks... Ya know?

Monday was so sweet. We went over to Yorktown like I mentioned last week, it was all pretty cool, we got to go fishing but we had to buy our own fishing poles and stuff, which was sorta a bummer, but it worked out pretty good for us anyway. I caught a bass and so did the guy we were fishing with. His name is John Wayne. That name probably rings a bell, because he was on American Idol a couple of seasons ago. Look him up! John Wayne Schultz. He is a super cool dude. Lives down in the middle of the boonies, he is super chill, we just sat by the river and talked and stuff. He is so cool. I guess that is my bragging for the week. The one perk of being in the boonies. Honestly Yorktown is like an hour and half away. I kinda had the attitude that P day ended at 6 and that was when we were going to drive home. By the time that we actually got home it was like 8:30 and so we didn't really get nothing done. 

Tuesday and Wednesday were kinda a blur, we didn't really find anyone to teach we just knocked a lot of doors and taught a couple of people that don't go to church as much as they should. We call them less actives down here. Because they still tend not to come as much as they dog gone should. Love them to death though. They love us, mostly it's just that they despise someone in the ward, or they have "better things to do". It is what it is. 
Thursday was great. We had to go down to transfer meeting because we had to haul all of our District Leader's comps stuff down with us and another set of elders was getting doubled out so we had all of their stuff too. Anyway I was in front going like 80 down the freeway and they were a few cars back and all the sudden they were gone. Then we got a text from them. "Hello! Our Bike rack just flew off of our car and smashed into the car behind us! Lots of Love!" Yep. Totally destroyed, desecrated and demolished the 3 bikes that were on the bike rack. Along with the Dude's radiator and hood that hit it. Best part was we could do nothing about it and were still like an hour away from the meeting and when we showed up we found out it was the new car guys first day! Lovely day. He looked a little overwhelmed. So then after the meeting, Sister Staker got transferred, so we drove all of her stuff over to her new apartment and dropped it off, on the West side of San Anto then flew back and went to the East side in New Braunfels got the bikes back up off the freeway, and had to drive them back into Universal City to Howard at Action Bikes. He just looked them, and was told us this was the third time that Elder's have forgotten to put the safety pin in the past 2 years and this happens every time. Needless to say. We didn't do any work that day. We did drive like 200 miles, and have some good Hamburgers for dinner. Sometimes life gives you lemons, sometimes it destroys your bike. (one of the elders did get transferred to a full bike area by the way.)

Conference was pretty great! Loved it. Did it seem like President Monson was tired to anyone else? I think he really misses his wife. That would be really hard. He loved her more than anything else in the world. I want to be like him someday, probably after I'm resurrected or something. I really loved Elder Oaks talk, it was mind boggling to me. Not something that they teach everyday. I also really loved Elder Scott's talk. I don't remember much from it, but one day I'll be "The only true and living returned missionary" for some girl too. Elder Ballard set the bar pretty high though. 3 days after getting home is a tough one to reach! I did learn alot spiritually. Conference is one of the greatest times of the year. I just want to read them all and actually see what the speakers were trying to say. 

During Saturday we basically were body guards for the church The Ward Mission Leader wanted us to be there all day in case people showed up. One lady did and Brother Tanner too. Apparently the lady is crazy. Literally. She broke into the church and hide there until 2 am and made phone calls. The Stake President has banned her from bearing her testimony unless it is approved first. It's pretty sad, she has a sweet spirit, just not all there I think. So Brother Tanner had to leave and then it was us and her, you better believe l got the heck out of there, we ran over to Wendy's and got some wholesome food saturated in grease and went back, when we got there, Brother Winters had came and the Crazy sister was sitting outside. We went in the other way and Brother Winter's told us to hide out in the Family History center to eat. Apparently he had waited for her to go outside then locked the door behind her. It wasn't hot and it was a nice day so it was cruel or anything but yeah. We played army for awhile hiding underneath all the windows and openings of the door. Gotta love Seguin! 
I found out on Saturday that Alane's Husband stephen is getting baptized in a couple of weeks! Wow. It is really powerful and incredible to watch the things that you sow come to fruition when you just wait on the Lord. He is an amazing man and is going to get baptized 1 year from the day that Alane got baptized. A Family is going to be sealed in the temple in the upcoming year! The Magana's are all set to be baptized saturday, and I may get to see that one. I remember when President Pettit set me apart he said "You will witness families enter into the waters baptism." I will get to see that promise come to pass this month. Even when everything in the world probably said that it would never happen in Fredericksberg or Universal City. All from Hard work and knocking on a million doors. I would really knock a million more if one person was going to get baptized from it. 

Oh how I love the Savior! Some weeks just don't seem to bounce your way, it was the worst numerical week that I have had in a couple of years of doing the work, but it teaches some lessons that are powerful!
I loved what Elder Boyd K. Packer taught, there are some lessons that can't be taught, they have to be learned. That is the lessons that you learn on a mission. They can't be taught any way other then to be learned by experience. I am so grateful I chose to serve. I don't regret it at all. Talking with members, they talk about companions that don't want to get up or out of bed, because they got dear johned or they had something happen at home.. It's like so what? Yeah it hurts, yeah it is terrible, yeah, you wish it didn't happen. However, when you choose to lay and cry about it it never gets better. I learned that more and more about general conference. I am so grateful I have pushed through, I am grateful for all that push through! It makes you happy in the long run. I know and believe that endurance with faith is the joy that Adam fell for. Otherwise we would have all been stuck forever!

I pray that ya'll will have a great week! When life get's crazy or hard, when it seems to be going to fast, don't forget to put in the safety pin. It makes all the difference.
Remember who you are and what He stands for!

Elder Funk