This blog chronicles Matthew Staib's progress as he serves an LDS mission over the course of twenty-four months.

You can also read his personal blog at different, defined.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Welcome Elder Mortenson

This past week has been showing Elder Mortensen around West Memphis. We're gonna really work on getting new investigators this next week, especially since it's bike week. A hurricane in the Gulf is said to make the next week pretty wet, so we'll see what happens.

Elder Mortensen is from northern Utah, near a small town called Hyrum. He loves snowmobiling and shooting. He worked at the This Is The Place monument as a maintenance guy, and knows how to handle horses and other such awesome things. We're quite the opposite of each other, but I know it'll be a good transfer.

Right now, at the top of our investigator list is a young family that's engaged to be married in September, or maybe October. In the near future, anyway. The man is a lyricist for a company in Memphis and the woman is going to cosmetology school. They're very friendly, and the lyricist even gave Elder Smith and me one of his songs right before Elder Smith left. He focuses his music on being uplifting and positive, as well as clean and Godly. He's had several incredible experiences in his life that turned him into a great Christian after having a hard life. It's tough to get an appointment with them, but we're working on it.

Well, I kinda got on the comptuers late, and I have to go. Hope ya'll have a good week! Good luck with school!

-Elder Staib


Saying goodbye to Elder Jarvis. He went home this past transfer.

Also saying goodbye to Elder Smith...

...and hello, Elder Mortensen!

I love my hot chocolate~!

We played some games at Zone Conference a couple weeks ago. The
winners got a yogurt-covered raisin!

Monday, August 20, 2012

I'm Getting a New Companion

Dear Everyone,

First off, Elder Smith is being transferred for the last 6 weeks of his mission, which means I'll be staying in West Memphis for a bit longer. At this rate, I will have been here for at least 6 months altogether. I never would've thought!

We said our final goodbyes to a wonderful family in the branch, the Houstons, on Sunday. They were incredible friends and had great kids. Bradley, who turned 13 last month, was a great help in the work, and it was fun to let him help teach us. One fun story I remember from that family is this: A lot of the time in Priesthood quorum, Elder Kowalk would let the electric piano play a preset hymn, and I would conduct the music. So I've been the go-to guy for leading music.

Elder Kowalk and I went to Bradley's 13th birthday party. As we gathered around Bradley with the lit cake to start singing, he said, "Can you lead the music, Elder Staib?" That was a highlight of the mission. I didn't lead, but the invitation was hilarious. Afterwards, we played foosball in the garage. Kowalk and I made a dynamite team!

Anyway, I'll miss that family very much. They're going up to Maine. The whole branch is devastated from the loss.

This past weekend, I was privileged to hear from two members of the Seventy: Elder Marcus B. Nash of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Elder Fred A. Parker of the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy. We heard from Elder Nash at the stake center in Memphis with a bunch of other missionaries on Saturday morning. The room we all occupied, with that man standing in the front to speak to us, felt like the temple.

He came with some material, but opened up the meeting by letting us ask questions. One elder asked a great question which we spent most of our time on, but I learned so many great and uplifting things from the meeting. One cool thing he said was, "I know that you attended an MTC before you came to this earth", as talked about in D&C 138: 56. I got to shake his hand and give him a hug. I guess that's one advantage Elders have over Sisters. We get to give General Authorities hugs!

Elder Parker was an interesting man. He was full of love and power. Unfortunately, the first two talks given during sacrament meeting left Elder Parker with 10 minutes to speak before the meeting closed, but we got to hear from him some more in the third hour with the Priesthood and Relief Society.

Again, he came prepared with some material, but he was impressed to go somewhere else. Instead, he talked about how we can strengthen the Spirit's presence in our homes, and how our homes need to be a place of refuge from the world, no matter who enters it. Then he left everyone with a challenge to go home, call up a family member, tell them "Thank you", "I love you", "I forgive you", and then bear testimony.

I heard from some good men the past couple of days, ones that are completely open to any revelation they receive. It was great to see that.

Let's see, the work... Some people have been getting blessings, others have had trials pop up. Nothing new has happened, really. The school year started today, so that's awesome. People are finally getting into a groove! It seems like anything Elder Smith and I have tried building up this entire transfer has just toppled down again. I hope he doesn't see this transfer as a failure. I certainly don't. Even if the area hasn't changed much, I know we have. And that's progress.

No pictures this week, so I'll try hard to get a chance to put some up next week. Elder Smith and I got to go to the temple this morning with departing missionaries. One of those missionaries was Elder Jarvis, who I got stuck in a tri-panionship with when Elder Warren left. Yeah, he gets on the plane tomorrow. He hit 18 MONTHS when I was with Warren. I'm pretty sure time is a thing that likes to speed up every once in a while. Heck, after this transfer, I'll be a week away from hitting A YEAR. Yup. Halfway point comin' up. I'm not sure what to think. I gotta be ready to burn a shirt, I guess.

I love you guys. I'm praying for every one of you, and I'm grateful for the support I've received. I'll let you know who my new comp is next week. There aren't too many missionaries in circulation for this transfer, and the ones that are floating around are pretty awesome, so I'm excited! Talk to you guys next week!

-Elder Staib

Oh, we also got to watch Pres. Monson's 85th birthday celebration, which was INCREDIBLE. Most awesome thing ever.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"I'll go where God wants me to go."

Another bike week gone by. We got blessed a lot last week, but no one's been following up. I've learned, though, that sometimes hardships aren't connected with diligence. They're just hardships for us to grow. This has been a week of hardships, but I've been growing.

I'm going to quote something I wrote in my journal on August 10:

"I really love this church, to the point where I'm sad if someone ignorantly blows it off. 

"We talked to a man the other night that didn't even know what we believed or how our church functioned, but he still insisted that we missionaries were being conned into giving the church money so that the Prophet could get a check under the table. Satan is so quick to grasp hearts! 

"This man's heart was so hard that I just wanted to bike away, not even letting him continue to flap his gums about he church he only just found out about. To him, money was more important than serving God. We could have bought cars and such with our money, but we instead decided to come to Arkansas to preach the restored gospel for 2 years of our lives. 

"I'm not out here because a group of men told me to serve; I'm here because God called me to serve. I know I'm nothing special or fantastic. I'm shy, small in stature, and even make inappropriate comments at times. But I follwed God's commands because He wants me to learn and become something that only this experience can bring me to be. I'm exercising faith 100% every day becasue of my love for this divine plan God has for me. I don't want to go home, even when I feel rejected here. I don't want to give in to the discouragement I [feel]....I want to overcome all of it, through the grace of Christ, so that I can become what my Father in Heaven, and my family, and my future family want me to be. 

"I won't falter. I won't break. I won't give in, and I won't give up. Even if I'm just a bastion to be bombarded for the rest of my mission, I'll do it. Even if Satan leads away the hearts of those I love, I'll stay. I need this mission. And there are people here and back home that need me. I'm doing the best with what I have, and that's all that God asks."

None of our contacts have been following up, so that's been a bummer. Next week, though, a Seventy is coming to our little branch to speak. We're excited! His name is Elder...Parker? We also get to watch President Monson's 85th birthday celebration. AND we get our car this week. So things are looking up!

This is the last week of the transfer. I honestly have no idea if I will be moved, or if Elder Smith will be. Either way, I'll go where God wants me to go.

-Elder Staib

Monday, August 6, 2012

We Got a Lot of Referrals

Hey everybody.

Not too much to say about this week. Elder Smith and I got a lot of referrals. We've only taught a lesson to each of the ones who are interested, so I can't say much about how the people are going, but we have a few prospects that are looking good. 

Summer is thankfully winding down, so people will finally go back to their normal lives. Man, only two weeks left in the transfer... This one has been going by pretty fast. We're also on bikes again this week, so we have that to look forward to.

I've been hit with distressing information and depressing attitudes lately, so please keep me in your prayers, that I'll have the strength to continue sharing happiness with those around me. One thing that's helped me find a new strength in myself is a talk my sister Kristen gave me before I came out. It's titled, "You Know Enough", given by Elder Neil L. Andersen in the 2008 October Conference. It's a good one, and I'm grateful that I read it when I did.

Continue to enjoy the summer, and good luck with starting school, everyone! School here starts August 20. Crazy.

-Elder Staib