December 19, 2016

{Christmas Caption Cheesy CurlyFries}

President and Sister Haynie with a nice looking tree. 

This week was a good one! We had the opportunity to attend our mission's Christmas Devotional. It was awesome to be with half the mission and to share testimony as well as to play and hear missionaries participate in musical numbers. Someone leaked that I play piano and guitar and E Wiedrich and I had our fair share of accompanying a few missionaries. It was super cool and Im grateful for the opportunity to share the Christmas spirit through music!

Sisters who sang while we pretended to play

When the Visitor's Center isn't looking.

The work continues to move forward, both here and around the world! We are helping 3 of our Sweden buddies prepare for baptism at the end of the month! We are very excited for them. :)
International Zone:  Korean, ASL, Farsi

Our good friend Maryam

O Come O Come Emmanuel, Elder Hwang on the Cello
(no video, just sound--but it's beautiful)  

Have an awesome week! Merry Christmas! :) 

December 12, 2016

Christmas Miracles

Ohh the Lord has been good to us. :) We have found ourselves saying, "Its a Christmas Miracle!!" very often. Its amazing how the Lords timing is perfect and everything seems to work out one way or another, even if you feel like everything is flying by a million miles an hour.

Via Skype, we had the opportunity to teach our friend Saied سعيد most of the commandments like the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Tithing, etc. and it was super cool to see him just beam as we talked about how simple they were and that the Lord promises us such big blessing for keeping them. Saide has been one that we have seen the Light of Christ and change in his countenance most evidently, its amazing to see him just smile and smile as we teach him. :) 

Thursday, we had MLC and David Wade, head of the missionary department came down and helped train and teach us how we can be better! It was awesome to get down to the basics and learn a trick or two from him. 
Singing in Watts

Saturday we had the opportunity to go down to Watts (a rougher part of LA) and provide some service to the community with 25 or so missionaries. We helped set up for a huge effort to provide meals, toys and other things for the community/homeless in the area. We then were asked to sing some Christmas songs as the people came into the gym and had breakfast and we ended up singing for almost 3 hours!! Boy, we were so tired (I had forgotten what its like to play a 3 hour gig... dang Im outta shape, and singing too! I dont sing!) but it was so cool to be out and to do something out of the ordinary for the community and especially around the Holidays. We had so many people come up and ask about who we were and where we were from and how long we have been singing as a choir! 😂 

We also got to visit Giti & Kanan گيتى و كنان, who have been friends with the missionaries for a couple years. They recently returned back from a visit to Iran and Giti, the wife underwent a knee surgery and has been in a lot of pain. We were able to go over and give her a priesthood blessing (first time ever offering a blessing in Persian) and it was a beautiful experience. They were so grateful for our concern and help and told us as soon as they feel better they want to start coming back to English Class and learning more about the gospel! 

Saturday evening we had our ward Christmas party and 17 nonmember Persians showed up! It was amazing! :) We were so surprised to see so many familiar and new faces and had a great chance to get to know a lot of them. E Wiedrich and I were able to stand up and bear our testimonies in Farsi and share a message with the Persians who came. Awesome night. :)

Sunday, day of unexpected miracles! One of our members, Bro Potter came and told us at the Christmas party that he had met a new friend at the Apple store that day. They ended up talking, and Bro Potter 1. Bought a new phone (haha) and 2. Invited Mehdi مهدى to church! (This is what member missionary is all about, especially when they are Persian :)). Sunday morning, Mehdi shows up to church and absolutely loved it! He has been through some hard times in his life but said he felt so welcomed in and grateful to have received an answer from God about what to do in his life. :)
Farsi Central: Maryam, Sister Mead, Saide, E Ekberg, E Wiedrich, Mahyar, Hanif, Ehsan 

They was also a family of Persians who came into the Visitor Center after church, and while we were previously committed and couldn't quite meet them, they were so excited to learn more and left their contact info with the sisters. They told us that as Parsa پرسا and his family were leaving they said that they were excited to come back and meet the Persian Elders.
Sunday afternoon we get a call from the Assistants and they tell us they have two Persian woman down at their church building and if we could come down ASAP and speak with them. So, amazingly, we fly down the 405 in record time (God had to have parted the cars for sure) and meet Niloofar نيلوفار and her friend. They were two nice young girls from Iran who have been all over the world and kind of ended up here in LA and wanted to know more about the church and the process of becoming a member. We told them that we were the right people to be in contact with and we are super excited to start working with them! :)

Sunday night, we had heard that their lady Eli has been visiting the VC with her daughter often and we should stop by and see her, so we brought Sister Mead, our senior sister missionary friend who is from Iran, and met Eli and her family. Elham, Babak and Vanya الهام، بابكـ و وانيا were so happy so see us and welcomed us in and what a cool family! Vanya, their little toddler is so cute and just had the best time showing us all her toys. :) We had a good time meeting them and look forward to seeing more of them in the future. :) 

Last miracle, we were fortunate enough to meet this lady Joan from Australia. She has been facing some health concerns and we were able to go to the hospital and give her a priesthood blessing. It was a very sweet experience to be with her and to be able to offer her that service and to noticeably see God work and begin to heal her even during our brief visit with her. We pray for her that everything will go well and she will be able to make the trip back home. :)

Sweater Weather,  Elder Weidrich

December 5, 2016

Elders Unplugged

Elder Ekberg and Elder Weidrich at the RS Christmas brunch.


Another week! Man its been awesome serving up here around the Persians again. The ward is great, its the Christmas season, Persians are awesome and the work is moving along. 

Went on exchanges with the Korean elders this past week and we hit up our good ol friend Korean BBQ again. So good. Man, its been along time. More importantly, we were able to teach a recent convert about the importance of putting God first and it was so cool to hear her testimony of trying to follow Christ and balance life around. :) 

Zone Conference happened. President Haynie focused a lot about having joy both as we work as missionaries and simply as Children of God. First step, simply choose to serve God, the rest will come. Its that first step that sometimes is hard, but its so worth it. 

We were asked to be the entertainment/background music for a relief society brunch this past week and we came up with a pretty cookin rendo of Silent Night :)

We also had fun learning parts of the body in Farsi this week. Enjoy a favorite primary song :) 

Cool experience: we were walking from the VC going to Santa Monica Blvd to contact and a thought popped into our minds, "Go visit Amir, he lives right there." So we turned and went to visit this potential who has never answered his door in the past and it was early in the day, probably wouldn't be home. We walk up the stairs and the door swings open by itself. We peek in, knock and then are greeted by Amir and his wife Honey. They allowed us to come in and we met with them for about an hour and a half! We talked all about their journeys around the world and how they ended up here in California and it naturally flowed into church and the Restoration. We talked about the Visitors Center and the holidays and mentioned there was a musical event that evening and asked if they would join us and they replied, of course! They are awesome and we are so excited to continue to work with them! :))))
Amir and Honey

We also had an awesome week with our investigator Mahyar. He has been meeting with us for awhile now and he has grown so fond of the gospel and learning. He expressed his interest to follow Christ and we are excited for him. Although he cant necessarily progress towards baptism at the moment, we are ecstatic to help him strengthen his faith and live gospel principles. :) 

Our recent convert Mehrnoosh is back from the motherland and got right back into the swing of things with the relief society brunch and being active with fellowshipping at church. She is the best. :) 

Overall, amazing week, Im excited to be a missionary! Wooo! God lives and loves you! 

I came across this from Brigham Young this week.
"...if, when the time for prayer comes, you have not the spirit of prayer upon you, and your knees are unwilling to bow, say to them, “Knees, get down there”; make them bend, and remain there until you obtain the Spirit of the Lord. If the spirit yields to the body, it becomes corrupt; but if the body yields to the spirit it becomes pure and holy."

Many times its hard to do the simple things, especially when you feel like God isn't listening or we aren't receiving any apparent blessings. Continue in the right path, don't lose hope. :) Power through to the end, strong finish, it will all be worth it in the end. :) 

Have a great week!