Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Last One! 10/16/2017

This week has been a miracle and a half! Many of you may know that I have been looking for the last baptism of my mission this transfer. I told Elder Lund my goal and we set out trying to find the one! We prayed and we worked harder than ever! I mean every single prayer I was asking Heavenly Father to help me see one last baptism on my mission. In all honesty, this transfer went by so quick and has probably been my favorite transfer because of this newfound energy to find the one. Well at the beginning of the transfer we got a referral for a girl named H who was attending PLU a college here in the state. She had learned from missionaries in Montana and was coming out to the institute class and reading the Book of Mormon. But the closer that it got to me leaving it seemed like her baptism was going to happen closer to December because of her family not being supportive and school being out at that time. In result of us finding every single second of every day, Elder Lund and I saw so many miracles and doubled our teaching pool. But we still hadn't found the one, so we thought. 

At last desperation about a week and a half ago, we had a lesson with H and did our best to overcome all of her concerns. We invited her to pray about the 15th of October and just to see if Heavenly Father thought she would be ready by then. A few days later we got a text at night that said something to the effect of, "I was going to tell you Saturday, but I've decided to go ahead with the 15th for my baptism." Woooo! We were shocked! During our next lesson H told us her experience that she had prayed and in those few minutes of praying about if she should get baptized on the 15th she felt peace; all of her concerns and fears were washed away as she was given her confirmation that this was the right day and the right thing for her to do. We owe it all to God! He really does answer prayers and He really does help His children make decisions that may seem impossible. Yesterday we had the baptism for H and it was a wonderful experience.
Elder Lund, M, C, H, & Elder Bullough
The other miracle was that we didn't have just one baptism but we also had another baptism for a man named C. He was being taught by the Sisters and they had helped him come to church and prepare to be baptized and felt that he should be referred to YSA so he could be around more people his age. So we helped him throughout the week to prepare for the baptism and he was also baptized with H! This just shows that Heavenly Father goes above and beyond to bless us when we are diligently doing everything in our power to serve Him! 
Elder Bullough, M, C, & Elder Lund
And last tender mercy! Just to show how real God is: On Tuesday Elder Lund and I had planned to do a whole day of knocking! We started in Parkland left our car at home and went from city to city just walking around knocking doors and talking to everyone. Well during that time I had prayed to somehow run into J, one of my recent converts. We went by his house and he had moved out... Well at 4:55pm we were crossing the road at a stop light when all of a sudden I hear from the nearby parking lot: "Bullough!" And sure enough it was J! By "coincidence"-- not -- J just happened to be in the middle of Tacoma exactly where I was at that exact moment. And right before I was leaving this next week. Later we found out that he lives in Yelm, so it was completely "lucky" that he would be in that part of Tacoma that day! 
J and Elder Bullough
It has been great serving my mission here and I have been remarkably blessed! It will be sad saying goodbye to Elder Lund since we have been together for so long. But I am excited for the next chapter of my life! Love you all and see you soon! 

Oh and I forgot that I was surprised on my birthday this week by Elder Lund and the Callahans from Gig Harbor ward with IHOP! Such a blast! I seriously love them-- such a nice surprise! 
Elder Lund, Me, and the Callahans!

Elder Bullough's last Sunday evening dinner at Sister White's home:

Sister White & Elder Bullough

Sister White fed all of these missionaries Sunday evening!

This mission is the "GOAT"! 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Excerpts from Letter to Parents 10/9/2017

Here are a couple pictures from when Elder Lund and I went up to Gig Harbor to visit C and M. She made like the best Persian dinner I have ever had, well the only Persian dinner I have ever had. 
C & M are the last two ladies on the right
I am excited to work work work this next week and pray that we can have a baptism on my last Sunday in the mission!

Monday, October 2, 2017

WOOO! 10/2/2017

This week was long but also very good. On Wednesday and Thursday we went on a temple trip with the mission. It was a blast and I had a very great experience. I love that the temple is a place that I can go to find peace and comfort from the world. I may not understand everything about it yet, but I love the feeling that I get when I go there. The invitation to go to the House of the Lord often is something that really stuck out to me this week how important it is for us, even if it is just walking around the temple grounds we can feel a difference when we are there. 

We also had a chance to watch conference this weekend. It was awesome to hear from the Apostles! It was awesome to hear that some of our investigators watched the sessions of General Conference as well and had some of their questions answered.

It is a sad thought to think that, that was the last General Conference that I have had on my mission. But I have enjoyed my mission very much and have seen a lot of miracles that have all come from the hand of the Lord. And looking back many of these conversions that I have witnessed including my own, all resulted from reading in the Book of Mormon and getting down on sincere knees and asking God if the Book is true! 

That is probably why the talk that I liked the most was Elder Russell M. Nelson's talk about the Book of Mormon. He asked some questions that helped me think about how the Book of Mormon really does bring POWER into our lives. The quote that stuck out to me most from his talk is: "the Book of Mormon is the book that will prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ." I add my testimony that it is true! I love you all and hope that you have a great week! 

-Elder Bullough

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Baptism...at the Temple! 9/25/2017

As a preface to Elder Bullough's letter to family and friends this week, we wanted to share what he wrote in a letter to his parents on July 31, 2017: 
"One thing that has been on my mind, I have really been blessed on my mission and have had so many blessings that I attribute to God 100% and so that is why I bring this up: I have not yet had the opportunity to take a recent convert to the temple yet to do baptisms. And I would like to go before my mission ends so could you add that to your prayers? Thanks! And I will definitely be working to get someone to be prepared by then!"

Letter dated Sept. 25th, 2017:
It was another great week and started out on the right note! This past Tuesday Elder Lund and I, with a senior couple in the ward, went to the temple with C our recent convert to do proxy baptisms! It was awesome! The Spirit was very strong and C had taken the name to the temple of his brother who passed away when C was five. I love the temple and how it helps us link our families together in this life and in the next. Elder Bednar gave an amazing talk on this to the young adults of the church and talked about being a "welding link" in our family chain. That day C became the welding link in his family chain by following the counsel of one of our church leaders and apostles. [See blogpost dated 6/12/2017 for more info about C.]

Elder Lund, C, & Elder Bullough
Another reason the week was so great is because Elder Lund had such a fun time just knocking doors all week and trying just about every way possible to find at least one more person that is ready to be baptized before I leave. It has been so much fun because over the past few days we have seen a lot of miracles! I am just hoping to keep this faith to find till I walk on that plane!! 

Alma 13:24   "For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

No Soldier Left Behind! 9/18/2017

Baptisms from Sunday, September 17th:

C, Elder Lund, J, & Elder Bullough 

I hope that these pictures above could set the tone. This week was honestly one of the longest weeks of my mission, starting on Monday and Tuesday both of which went late into the afternoon. [Elder De Hoyos from the Quorum of the Seventy was touring the mission.] Then on Thursday having a new missionary training for 31 new missionaries and roughly 30+ trainers. It was to say the least very hectic and a bit stressful. Although each day was all made worth it after we would come home from our meetings with C and J the two men in the pictures above. We spent almost every night last week at both of their houses getting them ready for baptism, it was a blast! I will always remember the feeling on our drive back being grateful for the Spirit that both Elder Lund and I were able to feel at each of the lessons that we taught them. They were so ready and had made the decision clearly in their heads and to God. They prayed about it, even fasted about it and decided that September 17th was the day to get baptized! 

I want to briefly state their stories, I can't obviously include every detail but I will do my best to include the most important parts of their conversions. 

J found us through the Lakewood elders. They got a referral for him and went by and taught him. After their lesson they referred J to us. We went by that very next day and were able to talk to him and understand some of his story and why he was interested in meeting with us. He moved here from the Little Rock, Arkansas mission, and was taught by the missionaries down there and attended church quite a few times. The way he found the missionaries was quite funny actually. J said that one night he was wondering and prayed to God and asked him for a sign that even a dummy would understand. And the very next day there was a card from our church in his door. Well then, not sure that he could take that as his answer he asked the question again a little while later and then without fail, another card appeared on the door from our church. Boom! So he started meeting with the missionaries and learning and eventually he moved out here. At first he had a hard time with baptism and didn't feel like he was ready but we had one meeting with him where the Spirit was really strong and he committed that on Sunday he would have a date for us that he would be baptized. And sure enough on Sunday, he got his answer. He said that he finally understood why it was so important to come to church, get baptized and continue taking the sacrament, he related it to being recharged every week.--Perfect analogy in my opinion! So he asked us when the next baptism was and we told him that there was another person getting baptized on the 17th, and without hesitation J told us he would do it! 

C has quite a story as well. He grew up with a rough background and had gotten into drinking at a young age, so much that he had become an alcoholic by the age of 23. He mentioned that he couldn't get away from it, nor did he want to. Then one day in his drive back home he was drunk and turned into the wrong way of traffic and had to immediately over-correct and rolled his car, luckily just injuring the car and himself. But more pain than his physical pain at that time was the news that he would no longer be able to serve in the military and was being released due to his DUI. This devastated him and sent him into a depression that resulted in more and more drinking. And at the final moments of his life, he decided that he was going to ask God one last time if He was there. And sure enough no later than 30 minutes after his prayer, here comes the knock at the door of two Mormon missionaries. C said that he knew without a doubt that, that knock was not just a coincidence but was a direct answer to him from God. So he let them in and loved what they shared. As time went on he kept praying and reading, and kept asking God for more guidance. At the beginning of meeting with us, C had already gotten his answer about the Book of Mormon and noticed a huge change in his life for the better. He now had friends in the church, he had a job that one of the members helped him get, and he was overall a more happy person, he was no longer "subject to those chains that held him bound!" After C's baptism he gave an amazing testimony at our "Why I Believe Fireside" that night! 

Well over a few week process both J and C were able to be baptized on the 17th and came up out of those waters new men! 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Excerpts from Letter to Parents 9/13/2017

Elder De Hoyos from the Quorum of the Seventy was visiting the Wa-Tac mission this past Monday and Tuesday, so Elder Bullough did not get a P-day until Wednesday (9/13). He decided to not write a group email letter since Monday isn't that far away. The following are excerpts from his email letter to his parents:

Monday and Tuesday we had our mission tour with Elder De Hoyos and his wife. We learned a ton. The overall theme of what he taught was being better at member missionary work. It was a lot of information but the most powerful part was when Sister De Hoyos shared her conversion story of when she joined the church. It was incredibly powerful. And my favorite part about Elder De Hoyos is how laid back and positive he is. It seemed like that man has no fears in the world!

Elder Bullough, Elder De Hoyos (Quorum of the Seventy), & Sister De Hoyos

B kind of fell off the teaching pool... so we did not end up baptizing her. Although we had B fall off, we had some serious miracles happen and we have 3 solid people that we are teaching now! Two of them are on date for Saturday! 

C is doing great! He came to church last week, is planning on coming this week, and should be getting baptized this week so keep him in your prayers. He is way awesome and is totally converted! He is way fun to be around and super relaxed, our lessons with him are super fun. Like the last lesson we had with him, we just had him teach us the whole thing like we were investigators haha. It was a cool way to teach and it definitely worked well in that situation. 

Here are all of the pictures of me with the last group of departing missionaries. They have served pretty much their whole mission with me because we came out only a transfer apart (six weeks).
Elder Bird & Elder Bullough

Elder Strong & Elder Bullough—they spent a transfer together in Parkland

Elder Bullough, Elder Droubay, & Elder Bosshardt

Elder Bullough spent his first transfer in a 4-some companionship with Elder Bosshardt in Lakewood

Elder Bullough & Elder Tafua—they spent a couple transfers living together in the same house, but with different companions

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Great Things to Come! 9/4/2017

Well as many of you know, it will be my last transfer on my mission come tomorrow. Which means that I only have 6 weeks left..😱 I will be ending my mission with Elder Lund here in the College Heights and Skyline wards. I am so excited for the things to come! I am sure that these last 6 weeks will be some of the best weeks on my mission! I am praying and looking forward to the miracles that will happen before I leave this blessed place! 

This last week was super quick and super busy as usual. A couple cool things happened though. On Thursday we went to the temple which was fun and topped it off with a trip to Cafe Rio. Then on Friday we got a call from one of our former investigators, B. She said that she had been living the commandments we had taught her and had set some things right in her life and wanted to get baptized on Sunday. So we agreed to teach her the rest of the lessons and have her baptism on Sunday. Well it was definitely a race but we taught her lessons and set up the baptismal program and then on Sunday we went by to pick her up for church with T from the ward. And... nothing. She wasn't home!? Well long story short she had some cold feet about it and didn't come out to church or get baptized so hopefully we can help her with that in the coming weeks. But good news is that we have a lot of people that we are teaching that have the potential to be baptized in the upcoming weeks! 

Highlight of the week-
By far the highlight of my week was going up to the missionary fireside in Gig Harbor and hearing two of mine and Elder Lund's recent converts speak and share their testimony. "A" shared her story first about how she became a member of the church. It was awesome and brought back some great memories. And then C also spoke. C spoke about how she first met us, when we offered to help her move in. She mentioned how she listened to the message after we helped her, and then came to church, and the process that it was for her to get baptized. One thing that she mentioned stuck out to me, C mentioned how she was wondering why she should join the church if she was already comfortable and happy in her life. She mentioned that her answer came when we told her that the happiness and peace she feels now in her life will only be multiplied after she got baptized. And it did! I know that is true and I have seen it in myself, in her, and in the many other people that have joined the church as I have been on my mission. We may feel peace and joy and happiness in our lives but it is nothing compared to what we will feel as we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and follow his example and are baptized by his Priesthood. The fireside was definitely the highlight of my week and possibly the highlight of my mission! It is inspiring to see the change that has happened in these converts' lives as they are learning and choosing to live the Gospel. 

It was also a blast to see all of the people in the Gig Harbor stake that I had met while I was there, especially the stake president. Here is a good picture of Elder Lund and me with him:

Elder Lund, President Kasteler, & Elder Bullough