Monday, June 27, 2016

Week #55 - New mission record!!

So, this week elder Holdaway and i decided we would try to beat the
mission record for copies of the Book of Mormon handed out in a week!
The previous record was 93, held by the one and only Elder "Big Z"
Simpson (shouts out to my fam. Sorry I had to do it to ya...😉). But
here's how we did it.... 💯

So we planned a bunch of member splits and exchanges with other
missionaries to concentrate as many "hands on deck" as possible for
procelyting in our area this week. We decided to make our goal 150
copies of the book of
Mormon and in order to do that we would have to hand out 22 a day!
With miracles, tons of planning, lots of accountability and
hard work we passed out 154! We were SO exhausted every night but it paid
off immensely! We LITERALLY handed out copies of the book of Mormon to
every person we
saw, whether it was at a gas station while we're filling up gas, chasing
someone down from across the street or trying to squeeze in a couple Book
of Mormon in our "in between times" we made it work!

There was a lot of funny experiences this week with all the people we
talked to. One guy swung the door open after we knocked and said "NO
you even read?!" He pointed to a sign at the bottom of the stairs. He then
angrily put up an argument then shut the door. We went to the sign at the
bottom of the stairs and..... It said no smoking or littering... Hahaha
that was pretty funny.

One day this week we visited a less active part member family and
tried teaching the kids, but there was also Jehovah witness
missionaries there at the same time. So we taught the son in one room
while the Jehovah's Witness missionaries taught the daughter in the
other room. Went on an exchange with the elders in the Chinese program
this week. I definitely don't understand a lick of Chinese. I felt
like a dear in the headlights most of the night! It's such a cool
language to listen to though! We got some great work in.

I'm running tight on time today cuz we've got zone activity to put
together. We're going to a park off of bull run river that's right around a
bend so it's like a park with a river bordering most of it. It looks so
cool! We're setting up a volleyball net, soccer, baseball and football. We
also assigned every companionship a food group. It should be a blast! We
just have a lot of set up to do for the activity.

This week was hands down one of the best weeks of mission because I
came home last night just completely exhausted. After all the hard
work elder Holdaway and I put in, we were so excited to get a little
time off for pday. This week taught me such a great lesson on
perseverance and diligence. It also confirmed and helped me strengthen
my testimony of setting goals. We worked our tails off to reach our
goal of 150 copies of the Book of Mormon and for the other key
indicator goals we set. There is so much satisfaction that comes from
just checking something off. It was an awesome week! I'm excited to
see where everything goes this week with all our new investigators!

Love you all!

- Elder Tanner Leishman

Pic - as we were out grinding this week, we ran into some hippies that
have been traveling across America. And boy, let me tell you, they
need to shower ASAP!!! Also, they were all high off something, who
knows what it was but they were literally just like your stereotypical
hippies. But it was pretty stinking funny. Oh, and all 6 of them fit
into that small back car....😷

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week #54 - Dot it for the GAINES

So, I'll start this email off with some sweet news. Woodbridge, VA will be added into our mission starting July 1st! We'll be taking in all 24 missionaries from that stake as well. My fingers are crossed I get to serve there! They decided to move Woodbridge into our mission because the demographics are more similar to our mission than it is to Richmond mission, Woodbridge used to be a part of our mission about 4 years ago but it's finally coming back. I'm actually really pumped about this because if you guys remember Mike and Tamika and their family (recent converts from when I was in Falls Church), they moved to Woodbridge right after they got baptized. So now I will be able to go see them more often! 

Saturday was adult session of stake conference with Elder L. Whitney Clayton, member of the presidency of the seventy and Elder S. Mark Palmer of the Seventy. So to build it up, there's upward of 700 people in the congregation, (11 bishops, the stake presidency, our mission president and wife, and two general authorities) and he calls my mission president up to share how he prepares missionaries to keep the sabbath day holy. President gets up and says "how about instead of hearing from me, you hear from our missionaries that are here." And as soon as he said that I was like, "that's it, I'm done, he's calling on me." But then he said "Elder Holdaway(my companion), will you come up please?" So I was like oh I'm off easy haha. No stress but then as Elder Holdaway is walking up, President proceeds to say, "Oh and his companion better come with him as well." I think I about had to change my slack. So I literally had to walk up in front of all those people, with about 0 times to prepare and talk about how I prepare for the sabbath as a missionary. It was probably one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my mission. You never really notice how many people are in a meeting till you are standing at a pulpit look out over them. But after the meeting, Elder Holdaway and myself went up to go and talk with Elder Clayton and Elder Palmer. They thanked us for our comments and said we both did a great job. Elder Clayton told us to tell our moms, and I quote, "you two did a great job." He made us both promise to mention that in our emails home this week. So there's that, you could say me, elder Holdaway, Elder Clayton, and Elder Palmer are all pretty tight now, basically homies 😎👌🏼

We had several awesome lessons this week. Jose and Sandra are still planning on getting baptized July 9! They are honestly so ready. They've been taught everything, have powerful testimonies on the gospel because they've already seen countless blessings in their home since their children have joined. They came to stake conference and the general authorities visited their homes and met with them personally to talk about their journey in the church. That helped them out a ton also. We went be a couple times this week to go more in depth on what heir understanding is on some of the laws and ordinances of the church. Julie's still planning on being baptized but we still need to figure out where to go with her on how to help her comprehend what we teach. 

We had a lot of things happen this week! For starters, on pday we went fishing off of bull run river. I sent some pics last week. We caught one fish! It was about the size of a toothbrush so.... That counts right? I'm really going to miss the beauty of Virginia. The luscious green is seriously second to nothing (except the Rocky Mountains 😉).

We had interviews this week so it was fun to spend time with president and sister huntsman (Pics). 

Zone training was this week. We talked about the importance of revelation in missionary work and one thing I want to share with all of you from zone training is the three things that keep us from having the spirit with us!
  • Contention 
  • Distractions 
  • Disobedience
As we try to keep contention out of our hearts with love towards those around us, keep our priorities straight with staying focused on our righteous goals and by being obedient to the laws and commandments we know we're supposed to do then we'll have the spirit with us and the right to receive revelation in all things going on in our lives! 

Over the past two weeks, I've been able to reflect on how grateful I am to be serving a mission. I absolutely love his work, I love my area (Manassas 1st Ward), I love my mission president and his wife, I love my companion. In the words of the Mormon Pioneers and a well known hymn: 

"Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? 
’Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell--
All is well! All is well!" 

I love you all, have a great week! 

- Elder Tanner Leishman💯

Monday, June 13, 2016

Week #53 - One year baby!!

This week was awesome! I hit my year mark on Friday!! I can't believe
this time has come so fast....I feel like I'm still a brand new
missionary. But I'm so excited for what this next year has in store
for me. It's going to be a great year!

We are teaching this guy named E. E's a stud. He was chilling outside
on the steps smoking and we started talking to him and he accepted to
hearing our spiritual thought. He's been shot and stabbed 10 times! He
feels like Gods protected him so far for a higher purpose and we
shared to restoration with him and said that we are part of the reason
why he's been protected and the message were sharing with him. He said
he'd be up for meeting with us next time we're in the neighborhood and
hugged us afterwards. Thug life✌🏻️

We were trying to go to a follow up appointment with someone we street
contacted into. He had given us the wrong address and we really had to
go to the bathroom so the person who answered let us use his bathroom
and then we started teaching him the restoration and he was up for it!
He accepted to read the Book of Mormon and to let us come was
so dope. Also, Shirley is one of our investigators who's on date to be
baptized in July! She wasn't able to make it to church this week but
is still passionate about getting baptized and her scriptures are
super marked up with sticky notes. She's so solid. She just works
hardcore right now and isn't able to get work off on Sunday's yet.
She's been taught most the lessons and is just trying to get to that

We work really closely with the Bercians still.  This week was the
little daughters birthday so we went over and they made us carne
asada. SO DELICIOUS. We taught them several times this week to
continue preparing them for baptism. The two boys are going on high
adventure and scout camp in a couple weeks so they're getting
fellowshipped very well by the ward. Did you guys see the tweets
William sent out of us? Haha

We helped in a community service project this week. "Clean prince
William county". We had several trailers driving around and picking up
people's trash they left at the corner (previously arranged) and the
county garbage organization provided several huge dumpsters. We filled
up 4 of those bad boys by the time we left! A huge turn out.

I'm loving the area. It's seriously so much fun And me and elder
Holdaway have a blast. Our area is probably one of the most busy in
the mission too so we're working hard! Have a great week everyone.
Love you all!

- Elder Tanner Leishman

Ps. We went fishing this morning!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Week #52 - Eat. Sleep. Grind. Repeat.

Holy cow, it was a busy week for us here in Manassas. This coming week
will be even busier and I'll hit my year mark! What, what!!!

Every week we teach an English class and this week we had 5 people
come, 3 of which were non members! The funny thing is about teaching
English to Spanish people is that neither me or elder Holdaway know
any Spanish! Well, I guess I know enough to Do a door approach or
order some tacos. But what we do is read a paragraph from the ensign,
have them underline words they don't know how to pronounce or what the
definition is, we write them on the board then google translate them
and teach them how to pronounce it, then read another paragraph and do
the same. At the end we do a church tour! It was really fun, it was my
first time doing the English class when people actually showed up!

We're teaching a bunch of really great people!

Julie: She's from the less fortunate part of the area where every
other person has a pit bull and everywhere you look there's a
shirtless African American walking around all tatted up and EVERYONEs
pants are closer to their knees then they are to their waist! Hahaha
but Julie is great. She's a 50 year old woman who's very kind and very
simple. She's been getting taught for three weeks and is shooting for
June 25 for her baptism! She came to church this week and had a
wonderful experience.

Jose and Sandra: their two kids William and Brian were just baptized 3
weeks ago. They are shooting for July 9. They are from El Salvador and
are great! Sandra invited her friends to the English class and is the
reason we had more people show up! They both came to church this week
and we met with them to teach the gospel, law of chastity and word of
wisdom. They are solid and have definitely seen the blessings from
their kids getting baptized.

Angel and Isaiah: Homies from the hood! Angel met with us twice this
week and we talked about the Book of Mormon and plan of salvation, his
friend Isaiah (one of the "African Americans walking around all tatted
up with his pants closer to his knees") listened to bits of plan of
salvation too and they both said they'd be down to come to church
BUT... They bailed. Angel said he'll pray about baptism though. He's
definitely more solid then Isaiah and has told us he's felt the spirit
on asking if the Book of Mormon is true.

Another sweet experience, so remember all those guys we played ball
with all the time? Yeah, well we were talking to them this week
outside their apartment and there was probably 4 or 5 of them out
there when one of them finally agreed to a lesson (since we've been
asking him if we could teach him since the first day we met him like 4
months ago). So they all put out their cigarettes and put their beers
down and listened to a lesson. It was awesome. A couple of them were
more egged than the others but it was still awesome to finally see the
fruits of dunking on people come to fruition.

All in all, it was a great week! I'm super excited for this coming
week because on Friday I hit my year mark! I'm going to celebrate over
some cookie salad courtesy of my wonderful mother and family back
home! I love and miss you all! ☝🏼️ down, ☝🏼️ to go! John 4:36

- Elder Tanner Leishman

We sent Tanner the ingredients to make "cookie salad" in his hump day package.  He's celebrating 1 down - 1 to go!!