Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Truth hurts some times

One time while i was emailing i was going through some pictures that where here on this computer in the office and I came across the picture of Elder McKenzie and I on my first day. And it really hit me how much different I look, the cheeks have practically doubled in size. So a theme throughout the church that President Young has used a ton is "real growth" we gave this picture to president in a frame as a gift. It is now on a table in the mission home. Enjoy! 

A very eventful week

There is a quote that gets passed down from assistant to assistant, it is from an Elder named Elder Sutton he was the classic perfect missionary, smart, hardworking, obedient  spiritual. The quote is "I was never more disobedient than when i was an assistant." It really is funny because if you focused on certain things it would seem like we were really disobedient  the only difference is we have been told to do those things by President Young. For instance, this week Elder McKenzie and I stayed up till 12:30, slept in till 7:15, Skipped district meeting, and did not have one complete personal and companionship study session, all under the command of President Young. 

So you are probably wondering why President would have us stay up till 12:30 and wake up at 7:15, there is a little story behind that and i will give it real quick. Wednesday night right as it was time for us to go to bed we got a call from the ZL's in Medford they said there was a companionship they have not been able to get a hold of and had been trying to call. They wanted permission to drop by their apartment and see if they were there, we felt it was good so they dropped by. They were not there. Our cars have things called "tiwi"s in them, they yell at us when we speed, but they also have the capability to be tracted if the mission president wants to see where they are. We called President at 11 and told him the situation and he thought it would be good to look threw the tiwi website where they were, but he was not sure how to get on so he had us to come to the mission home to help him figure it out. We went there and could not quite figure it out, but we knew we could if we went to the office so at about midnight we head down to the office. We figure it out and is turns out they were with some other Elders doing some things they shouldn't (nothing grievous, but it still was disappointing ) 

The Zone Leaders caught them and they all were pretty shocked. We ended up getting home a little before one and that's when President told us to sleep in a whooping 45 extra minutes. Because of this and some other stuff we had to scheduled a Emergency transfer that effected about 10 companionship  and we had to figure it all out when we were suppose to be having district meeting. The transfer was today and everything went smooth. So i know that i just talked about the bad stuff but there are a lot of good things going on in the mission, and in our area. We had one of the spiritual lessons yesterday with a less active member, we read in Alma 7 and taught and testified about the Atonement and the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

She was crying the whole time and knew she needs to come. It was a great experience i was very impressed with how in-tune with the spirit she all the sudden was as she had the desires to change. It really was a feeling of hope there. Her name was Rashelle and we are seeing her again this week. sadly i am out of time to email and cant talk all the other good stuff that's going on. I know there is probably some random details and stuff i include in these that would not really seem necessarily for everyone to know, but sadly i have not been a diligent journal writer and these emails are kinda my journal so i try to include all the things i want to remember, and naturally some of it would not be stuff i would regularly include in a letter home, but its stuff i don't want to forget. Well I love you all, and wish you the best of luck.
Elder Covey  

Fearless Via Faith

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A very memorable week

I am actually getting a chance to email on P-day which is pretty crazy, this is my first P-day in 9 weeks that i have had any time to actually do P-day stuff! It has been a really good 5 Days, and something I forgot to mention in my last email was on Wednesday we had the wonderful opportunity to take one of our visa waiters to the airport at 4 in the morning. The day before President and Sister Young took two visa waiters to the air port so they thought this time they would give us the opportunity ha ha. Its weird how much we go to the airport at first it was weird but now it is completely normal.

So as i said in my last email last week was Zone Conference week. We had a Zone Conference each day from Tuesday to Friday. The Zone Conferences went really well, our presentation was on being able to introduce the Book of Mormon so who ever you are introducing it to can understand what it is and why it is important for them to read it. Its not a very easy skill, the best ways to do it i have gotten from the introduction page of the Book of Mormon. It so beautifully describes what it is and why people need to read it. I have to memorize it in a way, not word for word but more memorizing the principles it teaches, it has really helped me in my ability to introduce the Book of Mormon to people. Teaching these has really made me think about how grateful I am for the Book of Mormon, I love sharing it with people, I have no doubt in my mind that with every single person i meet if they will read it ponder it and pray about it will change their life.

Thursdays Zone Conference was in Albany and covered all the Northern Zones and Fridays Zone Conference was in Medford and covered all the southern zones. Earlier in the Week we asked President if we could take Saturday and see some of the people we taught together in Medford and teach those who have stopped coming to church. He gave us permission and it was a incredible day!
 We started by going and seeing the Trimbles it was incredible to see them again! They are the best. They have been coming faithfully ever since Bob's baptism. Bob is now a ward missionary and he goes out with the missionaries multiple times a week. They have been sealed in the temple and they are just on fire. I love those two so much! they are the best. I don't have time to talk about each person we saw but i will hit on the ones who i talked about in past emails. We visited and were able to have a lesson with Tony Edralin. Tony is a 19 year old Filipino that i baptized. He has been on and off with church, he goes to school and uses that as an excuse. We had a lesson with him and focused on the importance of reading the scriptures, and we were able to get him to talk about how happy he was after his baptism. He told us he would do what it takes to come back. It was great to see him again, he is a wonderful guy.

We were also able to have a lesson with Greg Jones. Greg was actually baptized on the same day as Bob, but then he started working on Sundays and he moved back in with his girlfriend Tracy (member). The lesson was great, they are planning on getting married in the next few weeks and they even showed us the marriage license. They had not gone to church in a long time but they said they wanted to come back. We committed them to go the next day, and the Elders in their ward texted us and told us they did come yesterday. The last visit we made was the scariest one to do but turned out the best. I have talked about Jeff Confer in past emails, and how not long after his baptism one of his co-workers told him a lot of anti Mormon stuff and he stopped talking to us. The last i had heard from Jeff was about 1 month before i left Medford when he texted us and said he wanted some space and did not want to meet. I have been praying for Jeff ever since then and i have written him a few times but never heard back. We knew while we were down there we had to give it a shot and try to see him. As we went to his door i was really nervous, my heart was pounding. I knew it would just kill me to be rejected my Jeff again I had already had so much sorrow over him leaving and was really afraid he would not want to talk, but we knew the right thing was to give him another chance.

We knocked on the door and he answered we said hi and he smiled. I was so relieved. We were able to talk to him for 20 minutes, he talked about how he was pretty much in the same situation that he was in before we ever met him. He talked about how he was the happiest he had ever been when he was coming to church. I could tell that some of things his co-worker had told him still effected him but he said he would be willing to meet with the missionaries their. His testimony is not quite there because he stopped reading from the Book of Mormon but he committed he would and i am confident it will come back. That experience with Jeff was one of the greatest experiences i have had on my mission. One cool thing is he talked about reading my letters. I assumed that he never did, but it turns out they effected him. And a great thing with all these people is i can now email them.

The missionary departments policy about email just changed and part of it is we can now email converts, i got all their emails and i am very grateful that i will now be able to be in closer contact with them all. Saturday was an amazing experiences i really believe one of the reasons Elder McKenzie and I were put back together was so we could go and help these precious children of God. I love all those people so much and I am glad they are making progress, and i am thankful i can email them and encourage them. I am out of time. I love you all

Elder Covey
 --Fearless Via Faith



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Zone Conference week!

So much happens that it is really hard to remember everything and I don't have a lot of time so I will jump to some main events from these past 8 days. Last week was a pretty normal week up until Thursday. On Thursday 3 of our visa waiters got their visas much earlier than expected so we met with President and assisted him in figuring out the changes that would need to be made with three less missionaries, and who was going to be with their companions.

On Friday President wanted us to go to two ZTM's (zone training meetings) So for the regular 9am one we went to Corvallis and then we had a Salem Zone switch their ZTM to 2pm. It was great to go to Corvallis again! On this transfer a new area opened up in Corvallis the title of the area is "Corvallis Chinese." Elder Kwok got a new companion and the Elder who he was training (Elder Daniels) is now training. So Elder Daniels is training Elder Argyle teaching the College hill wards males and Elder Kwok and Elder Muoa are teaching all the Chinese in Corvallis (Muoa is Mong and speaks a tiny bit of Chinese.) The Chinese work is exploding there! It was great to in Corvallis again, I love that place.

I talked before about how in mission Lingo who you train is considered your son, and then who they train is considered your grandson and so on. So at the meeting we had 5 generations! Which is pretty rare, and something even more rare about it is we all have served in the College Hill ward, and all but me and McKenzie it’s been their only ward. So while we were there we got a posterity picture.

After the Corvallis ZTM we drove up to Salem and went to their ZTM. All the Zone Leaders did a really good job with the meeting, I learned a lot. After the meeting we went on exchanges in Salem. I went with Elder Webb and Elder Martin, Elder Webb was in my district last time I was in Eugene a year ago. He is really quite kid but I really like him and it was cool to be on exchanges there. Saturday we drove back and it ended up being a pretty normal

Saturday, we were able to get a good amount of work in our area done. Saturday night was the adult session of stake conference Elder Paul Christensen of the Seventy was there, he was great. He has lived such an extraordinary life in sharing the gospel and humanitarian work and everything else. While I was listening to his talk the thought came to me of why settle for being ordinary, we are all children of God and He has given us the potential to be extraordinary and do extraordinary things. It’s human nature to think that we are naturally born with a limit of how much we can progress in a certain area, we are fine to accept that others can progress far past that area, but we take the "it’s just the way I am" attitude and settle for so much less than the God given potential we have. We settle for less because it’s easier, it is very hard to overcome our natural weaknesses, but when we do we learn the power that comes from trusting in God and overcoming our weaknesses, and we have faith we can overcome any weakness. I have many weaknesses but I have also overcome many weaknesses on my mission as I have relayed on the power God. I know God did not create me to be mediocre nor did he create anyone to be mediocre he has given all the power to be extraordinary. We have weakness and because of those weaknesses we stay humble and as we can overcome those weaknesses as we rely on the grace of God, and when that is successfully at that are faith grows and we make steps in fulfilling our potential. I realize that none of this is new to anyone, it’s very common doctrine but it really hit me as I was listening to Elder Christensen speak, I could tell he was never one to use the "it’s just the way I am" excuse.
On Sunday Morning Elder Christensen invited Elder McKenzie and I to an aaronic priesthood meeting in the relief society room before stake conference. It was about being a missionary, he has us bare our testimonies at the start of what our missions meant to us, and about half way through the meeting he had us come up and two deacons come up. He talked about how amazing it was that in 6 years they would be us. The rest of stake conference was very good.

On Monday we met with President in the morning to talk about the plan for Zone Conferences and he also wanted to talk about some missionaries who needed to be ETed (emergency transferred) as few of the ET's ended up happening that day and we even drove one Elder up to Salem. It was a pretty common P-day for the past 7 weeks in the sense that it had no resemblance to a P day ha ha. We left the door by 6 30 to work on stuff in the office, had about a 20 min lunch and 10 minute dinner and worked on ETs and Zone conference until it was time to go to bed. I hope no one gets the sense that I am complaining about any of this, I really do enjoy the craziness of it all, and there is nothing like the feeling of being completely exhausted  because you have been doing all you can to do what the Lord would have you do.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was our first Zone Conference and it was out in Bend (Central Oregon.) President and sister Young picked us up from our apartment at 7 am and we were on our way (3 hr car ride.) The Zone Conference went well. Zone conferences are much more President and much less us than most other meetings. They are five and a half hours long and we teach about 45 minutes of it. Our portion is about using the Book of Mormon, and about how to explain it in a way to let people know what it is and why they need to read it. I wish I could explain more about it and how we taught it but I don't have time, but it went really well.

Today (Monday) we had Zone Conference in Eugene today with the 4 zones. It went great, again I wish I could describe more but I am out of time. I love you all! The church is true!

Elder Covey         

--Fearless Via Faith

Posterity Picture

In September of 2011 in land of Medford Elder McKenzie begat Elder Covey, In September of 2012 in the land of Corvallis Elder Covey Begat Elder Kwok in December of 2012 in the land of Corvallis Elder Kwok begat Elder Daniels in February of 2013 in the land of Corvallis Elder Daniels begat Elder Argyle. A posterity line that that breaks all sorts of Stereo types and racial and national discrimination. A line laced with greatness, good looks and a love for Chinese people. Long live the legend   

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Big news i forgot to mention in last weeks email...

So before i get started there is very big news i forgot to mention last week. Our mission is getting split! Come July first there will be a Salem Oregon Mission, which will take 5 stakes from our mission (None of which i have served in.) Its pretty crazy stuff, i will give more information next week. I definitely dont have as much to report on as last week, and that might be because its only been five days, but its probably a good thing, cuz i only have a few minutes to email. It has been a good past 5 days. We had a great first lesson with Karren (a investigator we tracted into the week before.) Today was Zone Leader Council. It went really well, we taught about goal setting planning, and working to achieve goals. I had some huge eye openers when it came to goals, while i was studying for it, hopefully i will have time to share it in a future email. 

We also set Goals with all the Zone Leaders for the mission in the next 4 months, as a mission we set the goal to have 300 baptisms before the mission split, so that will be our main focus until then. ZLC went well, its so funny teaching meetings with President, we will go over the outline the night before our meeting, and he will decide what we will teach and what he will teach, but then it comes to the meeting and we will approach a topic he was going to teach, and he will say "now i am going to turn some time over to the assistants to teach this next subject." and we have to jump in and teach it. It keeps us on our toes, I love it ha ha. President is really such a inspired man, he truly knows what the mission needs, and i am grateful in his trust in being willing to turn time over to my companion and I. Well I am actually out of time. I love you all!

Elder Covey

--Fearless Via Faith

Friday, March 1, 2013

Transfers: the craziest, most stressful, most exiting, best time ever!

So it has been 8 days since I have emailed, and an insane amount of stuff has happened since then, if I had the time I could go on for hours on each day but I do have a time limit, but hopefully I will be able to tell you most of it. 

I will start off with 8 days ago and that was a Wednesday it was the day for Elder Hackett to go to the Temple, and the original plan was for me to go down with them and go to a session with the Medford zone (they just happened to be going on the same day as the departing but earlier in the day.) but Elder Hackett and I earlier in the week set a appointment tracting for that Wednesday. It was a really hard decision to make to not go to the temple. It has been a year since I have gone and I wanted to go so bad. But when thinking about it I decided that my mission was not about me, I came out here to sacrifice, so I took a local Elder who was in a Tri-companionship and we worked the whole day in our area. The day was incredible, we visited a former investigator first thing, and she was not there so we knocked on her neighbors door and a lady named Christina answered she was very open and we were able to teach her and set a return appointment for the next Saturday.

We then visited a part member family we have been trying to get back in contact with and they were home and we had a great talk and set an appointment for tomorrow. After lunch and before our appointment we had scheduled some tracting in, we went to the street where we picked and started knocking. Things did not feel quite right and after a couple doors we decided to start walking a little ways and try somewhere else.

We ended up taking a few turns and knocking a few houses on a street that had a lot of old people and did not seem like the most likely place to find someone interested, but we did notice some toys in the driveway of a certain house so we knew it was a family so we knocked the door. A lady named Lindsey answered and she had 2 little girls there, she was very nice but mentioned how she has a church she goes to and her daughters even go to school there. We then told her that we were sharing something that had grown our faith in Christ and that we knew it could do the same for her, if she would just try it out. We were able to teach her about the Book of Mormon and give her a copy, we left her with the same chapter we left the other lady the week before (Alma 56.) It’s about the stripling warriors and their mothers, I told her it was a place in the BOM that reminded me of my mother. She loved the verses we read with her and she was very open to reading it. We are very excited to work with her more. After that we had to run to our other lesson with Tonya (the main reason I stayed) we went there and she was not there. It was kinda disappointing but there was not regret of the decision to stay because of the miracles we had. It made me really glad we had worked hard that day and been sensitive to the spirit, because it would have been very disappointing if I would have stayed down just to be unproductive and then for the lesson to fall threw. The Lord always has his hands in things, I have no doubt I needed to be Eugene working in my area that day. 

Thursday was a lot of working on transfers. We went to the mission home at 7 am left at 4 pm, it was pretty intense and it was incredible to see the inspiration that President had. At the start of the day we felt like we were farther from final than ever, not much seemed right, but by the end of the day almost all of it seemed perfect. That night we had a dinner with a member family and we also had a part member family (Wyatt's) that we were teaching there and after dinner we taught them the restoration, I will talk more about the Wyatt's in my next email.

On Friday we went to district meeting for the Eugene Zone. Elder Jorgensen is one of the Zone Leaders over the Eugene zone so it was really great to be with him, he is doing awesome. After Elder Hackett and I worked on some stuff at the office and then went to the mission home and President showed us the few changes he made. At this time he had everything figured out, except for who his next assistant was going to be, he had two Elders he kept changing back and forth and he wanted to leave the decision for Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning we we went to the mission home at 8 am to start making the transfer calls with President. When we got there he had one of the Elders in the spot as my next companion and he expressed that, that was who he decided to be the next AP, but he wanted to call the 35 missionaries who were being called as trainers first. So we went through and called all the trainers with him. Once we called all the trainers he stepped out and said one last private prayer, when he came back in the said "lets call Elder McKenzie" who was the other one he had been considering for the next assistant but not the one on the board. So Elder McKenzie is my new companion. And those of you with good memories will remember I had an Australian trainer who came out 2 transfers before me named Elder McKenzie. And crazy enough its the same Elder. Elder McKenzie and I are back together! I never would have thought that would happen. It has been so great to be back with Elder McKenzie, he is such an amazing missionary. He did such an amazing job training me, and we had so much success together. It is so exiting to be back together!

So to continue for the rest of Saturday Elder Hackett and I finished up transfer calls and then locked ourselves in President office in the mission office (which also has a transfer board.) Before the day was over we needed to figure out each missionary was to get to their new area, and how all the trainers will get to Eugene, and how they will get back to their areas the next day. It was crazy, There were so many variables but finally at 10:15pm we figured it all out and we went back and crashed.

Sunday We had at 5 am so we could make a few calls and meet with our ward mission leader before ward council. It was a pretty normal Sunday until about 7pm. As part of the plans we made for transfers, we planned on Elder McKenzie and I driving one of the transfer vans (12 passenger) and a trailer down to Grants Pass (2 hrs south) so we could start at the bottom and work the our way up. 

On Monday we started driving at 6:15am on Monday we would drive to one of the 6 transfer spots (spots designated for missionaries from 1 or more zones to go to with all their stuff if they are getting transferred.) Elder McKenzie had never driven a van let alone a trailer so I drove the whole day. We drove down to Medford to Eugene stopping at the 2 transfer spots on the way there. Then we switched vans and went back south in a different Van and trailer, the trailer was a UHAL rental and about 1 hr out of Eugene one the tires blew out while I was driving. We pulled to the side of the road, and called UHAL, it took them 1 ½ hrs to get a repair man there, but it was all good. We had a ton of fun just chillin on the side of the freeway, there was a mission car following us and I gave them $20 bucks that a member had given us for dinner that night to go to a gas station and buy a bunch of Peachie O's and other candy. It was a really great opportunity to get to know the 9 Elders on the van better. And then the repair man came and we were back on the road.

We ended up getting to our apartment at 10 pm so it ended up being a total of about 16 hours of us either driving or loading and unloading, or sitting on the side of the freeway. It was crazy day, and the crazies thing about it is I was not ever tiered during it all, even though I had not been getting time to sleep for the past few days ( I will get back to that later.)

On Tuesday we took the departing missionaries (including Elder Hackett) to the airport, it was kinda weird I had never been anyone’s last companion before. After that Elder McKenzie and I started to franticly prepare for the next day and half (training the trainers, and new missionary training/all the new missionaries and trainers getting back to their areas.)  then at 4 we went to the mission home with the 35 trainers to do trainer training with President, it was another one of the those meetings where we and President had not had a lot of time to prepare, so we had to be ready at anytime to teach.

The training went good not great, some more preparation would have gone a long way, but in the end it fulfilled its purpose. That night we had 13 Elders stay at our apartment because we had so many trainers and not a lot of places to put them. In preparation we had 4 bunk beds put into our apartment by the office Elders. 

Wednesday morning we went with all the trainers and President and ran at some paths around the football stadium (a OEM tradition)... fast forward to noon with us, and President and Sister Young at the airport. It was so cool to have 35 missionary there, we packed the little Eugene airport. We took them back to a stake center with all the trainers. Usually we do it at the mission home but it simple is not big enough for such a big group. How the first day goes is we all eat lunch then President starts interviewing them and picking who their companions are going to be. While President does that the assistant’s always train the new missionaries. Elder Hackett and I did this last transfer and it went really well, but we felt like it needed to change. It had always been treated like a district meeting, the AP's teach something pretty basic and then do role plays, but we noticed most missionaries don’t pick up on any of that because they are so overwhelmed. 

Because of that we decided to focus on helping them feel a strong conviction that this is where they are suppose to be, helping them understand the culture of our mission and getting them to decide then that they would do whatever it takes to be a great missionary, we made a power point and I will email that in PDF format so you can see it. We also had all the trainers bear their testimonies, the night before we told them they would and asked them to focus on what they could say that could help a new missionary. The trainers testimonies where incredible, they all were under 1 minute and very powerful.

President was done picking the trainers at about 6:30 and he came into the chapel he announced them one by one. It was a really cool experience to be able to teach all these new missionaries and trainers side by side with my trainer. We were able to talk about our companionship and use examples from it. After everything was announced we got everyone to get their stuff put it in a trailer and get in one of three vans or their own car. It was madness! 

Elder Hackett and I figured the whole thing out and printed out the plans, I had everyone asking me what van because they forgot, where there new phone was, how do they get their new apartment. The whole thing was absolute craziness, but incredible it all worked out pretty smooth and there is no doubt in my mind that it was because we had the Lords assistance and we were doing his work. Had we been planned a huge business thing or anything else it would have failed miserably but from many miracles, everything worked out great.

Once everyone was in the van Elder McKenzie and I took one of the vans and drove back to Medford stopping at each transfer spot we got to Medford at 11 pm, and stayed the night with missionaries there. I am out of time so I will talk about today in next weeks email.

But I would like to end by baring my testimony on how the Lord qualifies us for whatever he asks us to do, he has for me, and he even has qualified me physically. I have driven about 20 hours in the past days, and have not had much time to sleep during the past few nights. Naturally I am a long sleeper, and no matter how much I sleep I dose off all the time, but for the past 4 days I have not been tired, and never while I was driving did I feel like there was a small chance I would fall asleep. On my own physically there is no way I could have gotten through this, but the Lord called me to do this, so he qualified me for.

 There is no doubt in my mind that not only in the past 4 days but also the past 5 weeks and in that case the past 18 months I have been physically qualified by the Lord to do his work. I feel I have also been qualified in other ways also. There are a lot of things that could go wrong that the Assistants are in charge or and with Elder Hackett gone I now need to teach Elder McKenzie how to do these things. So many of these things are beyond me, but they work out. As I have given everything I have and relied on the Lord threw it all he was strengthened me and helped me. I love you, I know God is real, that Jesus Christ was truly his Son, and that this is His church, restored to earth for us, I know that threw the restored gospel we can fully apply the Atonement to our lives, on my mission I have learned how to more fully do that. I love you all goodbye

Elder Covey