Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Card from Ensley, Alabama

It was a wonderful Christmas as we had the blessing of speaking with Mason.  A little longer that we should of probably, but it was nice.  He sounded great.  Very happy.  Getting along great with his companion.  And working hard.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

More News From Ensley, Alabama

Expert from Mason's Email today:

Elders Dunn, Chugg, Taylor, Chelson, Rappyleye, and Baldwin with
Sister Cope (my Mission President's wife) at the Ensley Branch on Sunday
 "This week has been the best week I've had since I have been here in Alabama :).  I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am here.  I love Ensley so much! And I love serving with Elder Chugg! Me and him have been working so hard this week. Like non stop! We have been doing so much tracting.  I think we've done more tracting this week than I have done all together in Homewood. The thing I love about Elder Chugg is that he wants to work hard. He has a desire to really work and to be successful. And its really been rubbing off on me. Together we both want to make a difference here. This area needs to grow! The thing is with Ensley is that its a very dark place - really struggles. At first I was way scared and very nervous to work in a place like this. But as my time goes on here, I start to realize that bringing the light and love of the Savior to an area that needs it is a huge blessing and opportunity. I am so gratefull and so blessed to have this privilege.  

I have no doubt that this is where I need to be.  When I was at the transfer meeting (where you find out where your going and who your serving with), President got up and starting speaking before they announced where everyone was going.  He told us that around 4:00 that morning the Lord woke him up; telling him that he needed to make a change with the transfers. So they made calls to people who needed to get transfered that morning and told them to pack up and be at the transfer meeting at 9:45. I get announced that I am going to Ensley and that I would be serving with Elder Chugg. Later on that day I found out that Elder Chugg was one of those people that President called that morning letting him know that he was getting a new comp. So that was the Lord testifying to me that Ensley is where I need to be.  I am so happy here!  I cant even begin to describe it to you.  I am having so much fun here!  I love the other missionaries I'm serving with.  Everyday is a party . . . ha-ha.  We are working hard and having a blast!  I am so happy and honored to be here! I can't wait for what the future holds.  I'll keep you posted on how the work goes.

Sister Cope with her Primary Class at Ensley on Sunday
Sister Cope, one of our senior sister missionaries, enjoyed her last Sunday in the Ensley Branch. She will be heading home on Wednesday after fulfilling her mission with honor. She really enjoyed her assignment in the Ensley Branch. She has been a blessing to us all!

Christmas Lunch - Picked up his Christmas Package

KD put together a wonderful 12 days of Christmas for him.  He says he is being good and not opening any of the packages before he is supposed to.  We get to talk to him 9:30 Saturday for about 45 minutes.  We are so excited about it.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ensley, Alabama

“This week has been a long, but good one. As you know, it was transfer week.  It was rough at first. I now understand what missionaries mean when they say "you get transferred or sent home right as you begin to get comfortable."  I finally started to get comfortable in Homewood, but right as I did, they sent me out.”

“I was so scared to find out where I was going. They have this new way of doing transfers. They call you a few days before transfers and tell you if you’re getting transferred or not. If you are, they tell you to go to "Base" (the church in Hoover. It’s the church closest to the president).  It’s there they tell you where your going and who you will be serving with.  So it’s very scary ha-ha”

“I am now serving in Ensley, Alabama. Ensley is just south of Birmingham and is a WAY super poor area. I am serving with Elder Chugg. I am very happy with where I am serving and I am very happy with who I am serving with :) Elder Chugg is a stud! He has been out for about a year and half. He is from Morgan Utah. He is a super funny guy and a way awesome missionary!  I’ve only been here for about four days and already we have been working way hard!  We have been tracking like crazy!  We Have a baptism date set with a guy we tracked into. We had a way sweet first lesson with him and we asked if he found these things to be true if he would be baptized on January 1st. And he said he would :) His name is Kortez Brown. So if you could keep him in your prayers that would be way awesome!”

“Serving here is awesome! It’s kind of scary though.  Like I said it’s a super poor area. Remember how I said that there are some parts of Birmingham that are called the "Hood". Well that’s all Ensley is.  I’ve already heard gun shots. On every street here, there are at least 3 to 5 abandoned houses. It’s very sad to see how some of the people live. At first I thought I wouldn’t like this area because of all those things... but as soon as I got here, I knew for a fact that this is where I need to be. The amazing part about serving in an area like this is the light you bring into it. Because it’s already a very dark and scary place... But as ministers of Jesus Christ you’re bringing Love, Light, and Hope to that area. There isn’t a better feeling in the world. I love it more than my last area. It truly is a blessing to be here. And I have no desire to be any where else. I love it here!

 Ensley Alabama Branch
President Sanders, Nick and his father, Jeffery Prewitt up front
(Mason - Back Row)

Elders Chugg, Taylor, Rappleye, Baldwin, Chelson, and Dunn (our missionaries in Ensley) are working hard to help strengthen the Church in this part of the vineyard.

Elder Chugg (Mason's new companion), Brother Briggins, Nick Prewitt, and Elder Baldwin

Friday, December 10, 2010

1st Transfer

On December 6th, Mason's email said he was getting transferred.  He didn't know where or who yet.  He was supposed to pack his bags and go to the church building in Hoover, Alabama for his new assignment on Thursday the 9th.

Making Transfer Calls - Where is Mason going? 
Elder Lasike with Mason's Bags
Details from the mission about transfers: 
This has been our transfer week in the mission. We changed our format. We called all the missionaries involved in transfers and asked them to attend the Thursday morning transfer meeting in Hoover without providing specific assignment information.

1n the transfer meeting, held from 10:00 am through 12 noon, we announced the new assignments--locations, companionships, and callings (as zone and district leaders, etc). The assistants prepared a PowerPoint presentation that included photographs of each missionary, the locations of the new assignment, and a photograph of their new companion. They did this by zone. It went very well!

Elder Taylor talking with President Holzapfel
(Mason's new companion, Elder Chugg, looking over President's shoulder)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Word From Homewood, Alabama

"The Beautiful Alabama Sunset" 
"This is downtown Birmingham.  It's so nice.  Very flat though.  No mountains."
"Me and Elder Lasike after a service project.  We trimmed some bushes."
"Me, Elder Lasike, and Mat Diasio - Baptism"