Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter-4/21/14 (Elder Pope)

Happy Easter! Such a great time of the year.

This has been a really stressful week. We have had very few success with investigators. The only interaction we have had with them has been the Easter Pageant. We try to be bold with them without being overbearing, but it seems like no matter what we do, they just kind of blow us off. It is almost impossible to get SET appointments in our area.

One of our investigators has started to drink again, and told us that he will never change. He said that God loves him for who he is even if he is an alcoholic. He doesn't want us to come by as often. It's really hard, because his son and granddaughters were just baptized within the last 3 months, and I'm sure it's affecting them to watch him drink so much. Unfortunately, I don't think any of our investigators, except for one, are taking us seriously at all. I almost want to drop everybody and start over again as if we just got to the area. Luckily, the one investigator that IS progressing, is doing well!

Elder Pope and I have gotten in a lot of arguments as well this week. We're working through that little by little though.

Overall, it hasn't been a great week, which is sad, because it should be the best week! This is one of the greatest times of the year to be a missionary. I know it is Satan trying to work against us. He knows what he is doing and sometimes it's hard not to let him get involved in what we do.

On the bright side of everything, we were able to show the Easter video to almost every single contact we had this week, plus every dinner appointment and other lesson we had. It was amazing to see how touched every single person was. Especially one guy we talked to. We talked to him for quite a bit about family, life and religion. He mentioned to us several times, very strongly, that he did not believe in Jesus Christ or God as people, but just a higher power. We invited him to watch the video, and eventually he agreed. During it, you could see his demeanor completely change. After, he sat in silence for a minute and told us that he felt something that made him get goosebumps and made his hairs stand up. I know without a doubt that he felt the Spirit. Just talking about it makes me feel the same way; full of peace and joy. That video I KNOW has changed the lives of many this week!

Elder Pilkington

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 14, 2014

This week has been a little bit slower than normal, but we have still had some great experiences throughout the week.
Tuesday was the busiest day this week by far! We got out to work around noon and we were able to have five powerful lessons. We got two new investigators that day. At the end of the day, Elder Pope and I looked at each other and discussed how we both had been praying all morning for the chance to teach a lot. The Lord definitely answered our prayers!
Unfortunately, my companion was sick for the bulk of the day on Wednesday. We were in the house for a good part of the morning to let him rest and get better, but we were able to do exchanges later in the day so we could get work done in our area. I went with another Elder in my branch, Elder Broomhead to visit people in my area while he stayed home with Elder Clements. As we went around, we found a lot of people home, but nobody wanted to talk. We stopped at a less active member's house, trying to talk to her husband, who is investigating the church. Unfortunately we found out that she had a restraining order put on him that morning. He's been put on the back burner for now.
On Thursday, we had an awesome Zone Training Meeting (ZTM)! There were some amazing trainings given by other missionaries in our zone. It was a great, very spirit felt time.
After getting our weekly planning done on Friday, we were able to go to a baptism in my last area in Phoenix; The Monterrey Branch!! One of my best friends was baptized! Aaron, who I was able to teach for a long time, had finally accepted a baptismal date! We had become really close while I was there, because we are the same age and had a lot in common. It's amazing to watch him grow! I was there for his wedding, (where Elder Gutierrez and I met him), and when his second daughter was born and then for his baptism! Of course it was great to see so many members that I loved as well. We even had time to go home and teach a lesson!
We did exchanges on Saturday. I was able to spend the day with one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Lomu. We did several hours of service!! I absolutely love service. I feel like it is the best way to share the Love of Christ with others. To some missionaries it is a waste of time, but I disagree with that completely! More than that, we are able to find other people to teach as well. After our service, we got ready and studied and got out to teach. We were only able to find a couple less active families at home, but had great, spiritual lessons with both of them. That night, the Spanish missionaries were invited to a small gathering before the Easter Pageant. We had good food and got to spend a little time with our less actives. We had several investigators tell us they would meet us there, but didn't get there until too late. Luckily, they didn't miss any of the Pageant, which outlined the Life of Jesus Christ. It was soooo good!
I have been able to feel the Spirit so much this week as I have gone around and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others. I know that as we are always seeking to learn more and be better people, He will bless us and stand by us in the things we do.

I want to invite everyone to watch the Church's new video, about Christ, to celebrate Easter. The website is: or

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014--General Conference Weekend

What an incredible weekend!

Those were awesome sessions of Genereal Conference! It's amazing how much all the talks really do relate to every single one of us, no matter what situation we are in. The April session is by far my most favorite weekend in the first half of the year. My second favorite is the Super Bowl... but that's not important.....
There is truly nothing better than hearing our Prophet's voice. It is a comforting, re-assuring sound, that brings peace and happiness. We were unfortunately unable to get anyone to accompany us to watch the sessions, nevertheless still had a great time.
There were many great talks that were given, and I got something important from every one of them, but a few that really caught my attention were these:
First, the talk by Sister Linda S. Reeves. She focused the second half of her talk towards families. She taught us how important it is to have certain things occurring in our lives on a daily basis. The three main things that were mentioned were 1. Daily scripture study; 2. Daily prayer; 3. Weekly family home evening. As a missionary, I do these three things consistently. The blessings that have come from doing them have been incredible. I have had the Spirit with me more and been able to make better decisions in everything I do. She said we must make these things a PRIORITY in family life.
Another that I enjoyed in the first session on Saturday, was that given by President Henry B. Eyring. He focused his talk on the power of Satan. One of the very first quotes that was given, said, "The Lord does not quit, and neither do we!" The Lord is always here to help us. It may take time, but He will never leave us. We too must stand strong in the face of adversary. He continued to talk about choosing the right. "If the blessings were immediate, choosing the right would not build faith." It is so important that we are constantly doing what we can to follow the Lord and his servants the Prophets. As we do this with scripture study and observation in all things, we will have the power needed to overcome Satan.
Priesthood session was incredible as well. I encourage everyone who has not watched it to do so. Especially the talk given by Dallin H. Oaks. The best quotes from his talk were these: 1. "Forget the rights focus on the responsibilities." This one is talking about Priesthood and/or leadership rights. They are not to give people power, rather to help them help others. We can not forget the purpose of sacred callings and authorities given to us. 2. "Marriage is a full partnership." On my mission, I have seen a ton of relationships go down hill a little bit because one of the two seems to think they have more right or power to things. This, as mentioned by Elder Oaks, is not the case at all. A marriage must be treated as an equality. If it is not, it will cause problems in the future.
I don't want to write forever about conference, but here are just a few more quotes that I loved from conference:
"Who we are right now, is NOT who we can become!" Donald L Hallstrom
"Worldly things CHOKE our abilities and sacred powers." Donald L Hallstrom
"What we consistently desire, we will one day become." Randall L Lidd
"REFINE, PURIFY, and ELEVATE your desires!" Randall L Lidd
"Negative habits WILL become addictions if we don't change them." Dieter F Uchtdorf
"If you ever find yourself where you should not be, GET OUT!" Thomas S Monson
"Be the same person in the dark and in the light. Everywhere you go." Thomas S Monson
"Choose to be grateful, no matter what!" Dieter F Uchtdorf
"The Gospel is not a checklist of things to do, rather, it lives within us." Jean A Stevens
"Never think we can't change." Gary E Stevenson
"We are NOT and NEVER will be alone." David A Bednar
"Learn from, change, or accept our challenges through prayer." David A Bednar
"Blame keeps wounds open; only forgiveness heals." Thomas S Monson

I KNOW that every single one of these speakers has been guided by the Lord in the messages they shared. These are things that the Lord has purposely put into our minds to ponder and use in our everyday lives. If you haven't yet had the chance to watch these sessions, please do it! Your lives will be blessed.
I know that as we follow the counsel and guidance given, we will be blessed.

Elder Pilkington

April 2, 2014

Well, it's been a couple weeks. Still not a whole ton of exciting things happening out here.
Last week, I got a call from the Relief Society of the branch, and they wanted me to play their Joseph Smith for their activity. I had to dress up kind of and read a few paragraphs. Pretty cool stuff.
I also was invited to attend a large meeting. We had some church representatives come down from Utah and speak to us. One was the Director of Proselyting for the missionaries, and the other was the Director of Referrals. They only invited about 40 out of the 120 missionaries that there are in the mission. Still not really sure why I was one of them, but very happy to have had the chance to attend. I learned so much from them on how to become a better missionary! So many great ideas that were opened up to us. They also told us that in the next few months, we will be getting ipads. Nothing new to us, we've been told that since I got to Arizona.
We had the opportunity to do a church tour practice this week as well. Even though it was only a practice and we didn't have an investigator with us, it was great to feel of the Spirit in the building. It's crazy to think that 1 year ago, I was annoyed that I had to go to church. Now I see the Spirit that comes and the blessings as well. There is such a great importance that I guess I didn't realize before my mission. It is so hard for me to see all these less actives around me that have no desire to go back. If they only could see it from the perspective that I am at right now....
The successes that we HAVE had this week, have been small, powerful, spiritual lessons. We have been able to find a few more people, making our count of investigators about 15 now. Unfortunately, not all of them are progressing like we would like. The ones that are have honestly been prepared to be taught. One of them is new as of this week, and our very first lesson, he kept telling us how much it all made sense to him. He had a huge smile on his face as we invited him to be baptized. He happily accepted the invitation for the 26th of April.
We still have another date for April 26 with Alejandro. He is progressing spiritually, but is in an unfortunate situation with his family right now. His wife is extremely Catholic and she does not want anything to do with us. The more we go over, the worse it gets.
I have to go, but please pray for these people!

I am so grateful for your support!