Monday, June 22, 2009

New Companion and Still Set for Baptisms

22 June 2009
Dear Family,

It was really nice to receive an email from each one of you. That hasn't happened in a while. Thank you Dad for answering my questions about the college information. I also got the letter from Mom about the info on Cal Poly and BYU-I. I think now that i would rather go to Cal Poly for engineering. Maybe enter the military as well, but not too sure on that one.

To answer your first question, I did not get transferred, but Elder Burr did. He is now in Kaitaia training a new missionary from Nevada. His new companion is part Maori, has a lot of whanau down the line in the other mission's boundaries. Its crazy that Elder Burr is training and he's only been out 4 1/2 months. My trainer, Elder Alberts, trained his first companion during his fourth transfer. He'll do great.

My new companion is Elder Grant. He was just in Kaitaia. He has been in the Northland for the same amount of time as I have. He is from Melbourne Australia. He comes from a family of 10 kids. Hes been out about 9 months.

It gets a bit lonely up here and being so far away from other missionaries. Even when i was in Hamilton, we were quite a ways from other missionaries and they usually didn't involve us in activities on Prep days (then again we didn't try too hard to get involved). But I know i am in each of these areas for a reason. In one of my recent interviews, President Porter said that he usually doesn't leave missionaries in the country for so long.

Probably the best thing that happened this week was the baptism of Evan Richards. He was the only convert baptism, but there were two others that were baptized with him. He also had his cousin Liam and his grandfather's nephew Steven baptized with him. I had the opportunity of performing that ordinance. There were loads of people there all supporting the three boys. Next week will be their confirmation, since their baptism was on Sunday.

Last Monday, we had our FHE fall through, so we had to plan some other things. I had a thought to go visit a family that we were planning on seeing Tuesday night, and they were home. We had a great lesson with watching The Lamb of God. It worked out well, because they weren't supposed to be home the next night. They didn't come to church this Sunday, but hopefully soon.

On Sunday night, we visited a family in Moerewa that is less active and one of their sons needs to be baptized. The last couple of lessons have gone well, but the parents have somewhat refrained from participating in the lessons. We were able to have a family discussion on how the gospel blesses families and Elder Grant used a card trick to display how Satan wants us to stop and that he wants us to procrastinate. The lesson was a bit different than normal, but they all participated and we read some scriptures from Mosiah 4 and answered some questions. After the prayer, they all felt a bit better and are looking forward to our next lesson on Thursday (we are booked in the late afternoon for the next several days until then).

We still have some people set for baptism for the next several weeks. We are going to have to be focused and obedient to qualify and receive those blessings. I know you pray for me, but if you could specifically pray for me to be obedient despite the opposition and to have positive faith.

I love you all and thank you for your prayers and for thinking of me. I can't wait to be able to help Blake prepare for his mission so that i can help him. Blake, you can get far by studying the scriptures and recording what you learn and using Preach My Gospel, so that you become a missionary long before you go on a mission. Ka ki te ano. Chau.

Love, Elder Cashmore

Sunday, June 14, 2009

7 Investigators at Stake Conference

15 June 2009
Dear Family,

Good to hear from the whanau. We'll start off by answering mum's last question. Transfers happen to be this week. This transfer has been going so fast that i can hardly believe it. For some reason i feel i may be getting transferred to another area. We shall see. Also, i haven't received your college information yet, but i should be expecting it today. I usually seem to get my mail on Mondays, our preparation day. I will have to ask some questions about all this college stuff later on in my letter.

As far as receiving a birthday card from the Howes, i will have to check my drawer where i keep all my birthday cards and letters. I think i may have, but i can't remember if it was for Christmas or for my birthday. I am quite terrible at responding to letters, but i should have responded to hers if i did get it. I should send a letter to Grandma as well. She sent a beautiful card to me for my birthday.

We had a pretty awesome Sunday. We were able to have seven of our investigators come to church for the Stake Conference in Kaikohe. It was very uplifting, but to be honest it was a bit boring at first, possibly because we were so far in the back sitting with a less active family, and its hard to concentrate the farther one is from the pulpit. I actually had to put my glasses on so that i could see the people speaking. The guest speaker was Elder Smibert (i don't know if that is the right spelling). He used to be the mission president before President Cook. He was very inspiring and was able to correct some false notions that a lot of kiwi members have about raising kids. He basically said that parents don't retire or they shouldn't retire early.

On the way back to Kawakawa from Kaikohe, i had the thought to go see one of the referrals we had from a recent media campaign. We had tried to contact this person last Sunday, but she wasn't home. Again she wasn't home yesterday, but we decided to walk down the country road a bit farther and try a couple more houses. The next house didn't have any adults home, so they said. We then went to the next one. While walking up the driveway, this massive rottweiler comes tumbling off the porch and barking like mad. Then a lady came out and said "We were just saying the other day that we haven't seen Mormons in a while." She then let us in and she happened to be a member of the church and her partner was a non-member. We taught a half hour lesson on the Restoration, and it was one of the best lessons I've had. They were very open and Chris, the husband, had a lot of sincere questions. We gave them a Book of Mormon and taught a lot about how to receive an answer. It was neat how they were placed in our path, because we were supposed to have another lesson around that time and it fell through earlier, but then we found them.

As for the college questions, i would like a better understanding of the following: the different degrees (associates, bachelors, etc) and what each would be useful for; basic knowledge on the SAT and ACT and whether i should take one of them or; if i want a higher degree in engineering, then what are my options; and also, out of curiosity, are there schools that are in Europe and surrounding areas that would be good?

Thanks. Love you all for the great things you do. Have fun with the party.

Love, Elder Cashmore

Monday, June 8, 2009

Comments to Each Family Member

8 June 2009
Dear Family,

Thank you for your thoughtful emails. I really enjoyed that story about Mom going to St. George and running into that family again. I had a good chuckle about that. Thank you for sending the information about the schools. I haven't received it yet, but will likely receive them today.

We had a fantastic week here in the Northland. We still have five people set for baptism, and will probably be setting a couple of other people. My companion has only been out for like four months but is so on top of it with the work. We had more than 20 lessons this week! But we'll need to remain humble and keep working and relying upon God for these blessings and miracles to keep happening.

I can't believe school is basically out for Blake. So he only has one more year of school, right? Blake, it was good to hear that your doing great in volleyball. I haven't been able to play much since I've been in NZ. My companion and I have been doing some intense workouts and I've been doing alright at it. Still keeping up with those history teachers, eh?

Camille, keep up the good work. Some things are more difficult for others, but I'm sure what you're learning will stay longer and will mean more as well. I'll have to catch up with you when i finish my mission. Right now i am in Alma 32. I am also in D&C. I've been learning heaps from both.

Stacey, its good to hear your enjoying yourself in your new abode. Are you still in the relief society leadership? If you are, how is that going? I miss talking to my friends in the singles ward. They are a good bunch of people. I hope they're still having those activities.

Mom and Dad, you're the best. I love your encouragement. It really helps. There have been many times when a letter or what is written in these emails has helped lift my spirits. You must be inspired when you email or write letters.

On Saturday, they had a welfare night at the chapel. We invited some non-members and some of them came. We learned about different things to make out of wheat. One of them was boiled whole wheat. It was like oatmeal but real nice with honey and milk. Hope your wheat stuff is going well.

I love you all. Keep improving and doing your best.

Love, Elder Cashmore

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Asking Questions by the Spirit

1 June 2009
Dear Family,

I can't believe it is already June. It seemed like it was just last week when i last talked to you. It is sometimes tough when i realize how long i have been out and how long i have left to go. But i seem to be doing well at keeping my mind focused on the work. I know i look forward to seeing you all and getting back into a school and work routine, and again enjoying things such as music and videos, but i will only enjoy it if I do my best now.

We had another great week. We have been so blessed. I have been reading through the missionary chapters in Alma, and i am amazed at what those missionaries did to qualify themselves and thus qualify others for the blessings to come and the miracles to occur. I feel much the same.

One thing that i really seemed to improve this week was my ability or skill to ask questions as prompted by the Spirit. My companion commented on it last night and said that there had been a drastic change since the beginning of the week until now. Now that i seem to be doing well at that, i want to try and work on some other skills. I think my listening skills could improve as well. I think I have already been working on that this week, and that may be part of the reason for being able to ask effective questions.

We have several people set for baptism. We have three in Paihia and two in Moerewa that are set for baptism. They are already pressured by Satan, but i think it will only increase and become more frequent for them. I have often pondered that principle, of the righteous getting sorely tested and the trials that must be endured and the temptations that must be ignored. There is a less-active sister that is now fully active in Moerewa ward, and she commented that every time she didn't go to church, it was easy, but that her challenges or trials became daunting as she was coming back and as she is still now very active.

As for my companion, you are correct; he is quite new. But he is very dedicated and continually improving himself. He is a racket ball fanatic and would love to talk all day about it, but he doesn't. I also had a good interview with President Porter. He is stern, but very loving as well. He is quite animated and loves to have a laugh as well. His Zone Conferences are definitely planned by the Spirit and each one seems to build on the other. President Cook also was very good as well. Much like Dad said, they each have their differences and one cannot be the other, but each was and is doing his best and those efforts were and are being felt and appreciated.

If you're going to be sending a package anytime soon, if you could send some mints or gum, that would be much appreciated.

By the way, how are those fruit trees doing? Are they still producing a lot of fruit? I will have to bring home some feijoa seeds and grow this wonderful fruit they have here back home. Its really good; a bit tart but great with dessert and ice cream and also good by themselves. They produce heaps of fruit. Look em up!

Thank you for your emails. Hope to get one from Stacey and Blake next week. They are pretty busy though. I love you all and have a great week.

Love, Elder Cashmore

(Here's a picture of feijoa fruit Ramona found on the web)