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, June 24, 2013

Exciting Changes in Missionary Work

This week has been... all up-and-downy.

Let me just get the sludge outta the way. One of the members of the branch doesn't want to be a member of the church any more. He says there are things he notices that bother him. I have my own personal thoughts on his reasons, but for now, he is not in a good place. We'll try what we can to show him love no matter what.

Now, about the broadcast. That was so cool! I'm glad they saved everything onto a single website, or else I wouldn't remember it all. But we got some exciting announcements! Digital missionaries are on the rise, both on part of the full-time missionaries and the members. The brethren are right; door-knocking provides just the opposite affect nowadays. I don't know how many times I've knocked on a door and people look kinda scared when we say, "Can we come in and leave a blessing on your home?"

Everyone's on edge these days. There were some excellent stories shared, though. I've seen many similar examples of members reaching out in my mission. One things is for sure: as members more actively show love for investigators, less-actives or recent converts, those people want to stay. And as they stay, they become more solid as they build their faith and foundation on Christ. Member work is half the work.

For example, John, Jennifer and Creanne are very much loved by our branch. Even though they can't make it most Sundays, they come to the activities, and anywhere these three are, the members smile and chat with them. They have found a home here in the branch.

It's about the middle of the transfer, isn't it? I realized a short while ago that at the end of this transfer, I will have as much time as Elder Whetten did when I first got together with him. That's unnerving. Elder Kowalk goes home at the end of this transfer, too. I saw him for possibly the last time this past week. Last time until I get home, anyway. I love that kid. And then Elder Owen and Elder Rich, two of my other friends, leave the transfer after that... and then me. It's tough, having mostly senior companions. Many of my companions are home now. This must be what death feels like, I think? Heh, dunno.

Can I brag for a bit? Kinda like an Ammon brag? Brianna. She's as golden a recent convert as JT and Blake are. She'll be moving back to Fort Smith soon, probably around the same time I (might) leave Pocahontas at the end of the transfer, but it has been such a delight seeing her faith and testimony grow. She's been a great ally in trying to bring members back, and she loves to come with us to teach John, Jennifer and Creanne and others. I'm excited for her to return to Fort Smith where her small children are. In short, she, along with other converts on my mission, fulfill this scripture given by Paul (1 Thes. 2:13, 19-20):

13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his acoming?

 20 For ye are our glory and joy.

Love y'all! Hope you're having a good summer. Oh, let me finally include a cool poem that was read to us in church a couple weeks ago.

I asked God to take away my pain.
God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No. Her spirit is whole and her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No. Patience is a by-product of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No. I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No. I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me love others as much as He loves me.
God said, Ah, finally you have the idea.

-Elder Staib

Monday, June 17, 2013

Personal Insights

Hey everyone. Another week passes by.

There's not much to speak of in terms of news. We're still teaching John, Jennifer and Creanne, along with Ray's mom. Their faith continues to grow. We're helping them make minute changes. Changes such as praying as a family, reading more and knowing how to feel the Holy Ghost.

I would like to share, briefly, impressions that came to me this past week that I found were very neat.

I have yet to asked anyone to be married as a step to keeping the law of chastity. I just haven't run into those situations as often as, say, the Memphis missionaries. So on Tuesday, we were in a zone meeting with a bunch of other missionaries. For the role play we did in the meeting, I asked a couple Spanish missionaries to teach me the law of chastity to an unmarried couple. Not only did I receive revelation for my investigators, but I received revelation for myself. It was something very simple, but it meant a lot to me. The revelation I got was this:

A marriage centered on Christ cannot fail.

Now, I'm not saying every marriage centered on Christ is perfect. No, I can't expect anyone to be perfect. However, I know that couples that have faith in Christ and make Him their foundation from which to raise a family can endure anything through His grace and love. I'm so glad I learned that.

I think...that's about it for me. I have a little less than 4 months left here, but I don't dwell on it. I'm still serving, just as I've always been. Why should that change?

Love y'all! Talk to ya next week!

-Elder Staib

Monday, June 10, 2013

Welcome Elder Mayberry!

Hey everyone!

I've got a new companion this time around. Well, kinda new. This is actually his second time serving in Pocahontas.

His name is Elder Mayberry from Arizona. He opened the Pocahontas area back in November with Elder Whetten and only stayed one transfer. President has sent him back to baptize. I pray we can accomplish that. He played high school football, baseball and basketball, so he's very competitive. It's been good getting him back into the area. He remembers a lot, knows some people he used to teach, and is getting to meet all the new people that have been baptized since he's been gone. He focuses a lot on sharing his testimony along with doctrine, and I feel sincerity when I'm with him. He just takes a few moments to open up to new folks, is all.

We've been spending a bit of time with the Rasdons and Ray and his mom. John, Jennifer and Creane are moving forward as well, but they've gotten very busy schedules recently that make our visits more scarce.

The summer's coming on. We went fishing with Ray today for a bit, because fishing is his favorite thing to possibly do. I didn't catch anything.

Recently, I've been contemplating a scripture that my mission president had me read not too long ago: Jacob 1. I've been slowly seeing how it applies more and more to my mission, and my goals have not become goals to build me up, but goals to build those around me up. I want to help Elder Mayberry have a baptism here, and I want my converts to progress in the gospel. I'll be honest, I need to make a few changes myself to truly see miracles take place, and I'll be striving to make those changes. For now, though, my goals are there, and my desire is there.

I don't have much to say this time around, I guess. Oh, Elder Talbert went to Paragould, right next door. So we're still in the same district.

-Elder Staib

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ray was Baptized on Saturday

We had a baptism.

The water was very warm, and I got him in one, smooth dunk. Sounds good for a river, right? That's because we didn't have it in the river. It started raining on Thursday and kept raining for the rest of the weekend. I called Ray and asked if he wanted to push it to the next week...again. Ray said the covenant was more important than the location, and he was wanting to make his life better. The entire baptism scenario became immediately easier without having to worry about guiding everyone to the baptismal site and getting dressed outdoors and stepping on alligator snapping turtles and it was just all-around better.

I'm not disappointed in any way. In fact, I feel really bad about asking for a river baptism now since there was a lot of preparation for it on the landowner's part.

At the baptism, a young family showed up. Their names (if I have not talked about them before) are John, Jennifer and Creanne. I won't get into details, but the missionaries basically have a permanent place in their home. Their faith has done nothing but build since we've been there, and they're relying on Christ more in everything they do. They decided last week to read more often as a family. They're now coming to family nights just about every week. John was recently blessed with a job soon after quitting his other one. They came to church for the first time yesterday and loved it. I can see them as the next additions to the branch. They're wonderful and I love them very much.

Elder Talbert is leaving Pocahontas. I'm following the same trend I've followed for most of my mission, at this point. Stay with a companion in my first area for two transfers, and then as I stay, only have a companion for one transfer at a time.

Something cool is happening, though. This is only speculation, but we'll see what happens. Elder Kowalk is probably going back to serve in West Memphis for his last transfer. :D This means he'll be in my same zone. We have zone meetings in West Memphis. Elder Kowalk and I can have lunch together after zone meetings. Oh, that would be so nice! We have two zone meetings this transfer as well. I'll also be able to see his departing testimony. Talk about an end-of-mission dream scenario. I'm excited.

Well, that's it from me. I hope everyone is having a good summer so far. It's getting pretty warm here. This is transfer 15/17. The end still seems forever away, though.

-Elder Staib