Elder Nathan Hubert's Mission Blog

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Year's, Baptism, Cold, and FUEGO!!!

My dear family and friends,
this week has been such an exciting week!!!
As of right now, for the next 3 days, President Cutler has issued a warning to all missionaires serving in the Wisconsin Milwaukee Mission to not go outdoors for anything except for going to appointments that have already been scheduled because in this temperature, one can catch Frostbite in 5 minutes to any piece of skin that is exposed!  Super exciting, right?  I can't remember a time that it has been unsafe to be outside, as in, life threatening. But don't worry, I am currently wearing 2 pairs of socks, my boots, 3 layers on my legs, 4 layers on my top, AND a coat!  So, I'll be doing great!  :D  And I have my heavy hat and my scarf to protect my head/face.  :)  So in this time of bitter, and I mean BITTER cold, things are still pretty great.  At this time, I love applying what it says in Joseph Smith's "The Standard of Truth," when it says that nothing "can stop the work from progressing."  Even this bitter cold, where it is currently close to -20 degrees, the work will go on "boldly, nobly, and independent." 
But this week really has been super great and very very exciting, especially these last couple of days.  :)
On Monday, P-day, all we did was spend some time at the Institute building playing Pool, Ping-pong, Marbles, and talking a lot.  And after we were done with our various activities, we went to a dinner appointment with the Senior family, who I now know as the most saint-like people in the entire world.  (You will find out why I think that later in the email).  And on the way back from their house, me, Elder Shipp, E. Wise, and E. Campbell got a super cool Nametag Photo with the 4 of us.  :)

Tuesday was a good day, though we did not have the opportunity to be outside and be working a lot.  But, it was also the last day of the year 2013!!!  That was crazy for me to realize - time really has flown by so much, especially my time here in the field!  I cannot believe that I've been out here since the beginning of November, and now all of the sudden it is the beginning of January, and a brand new year.  Things are going to be great this next year!  :D  We had our District Meeting this day and we learned all about planning and how important is.  I love it when it says that we need to plan for Success, but how a number is only a number unless we have made plans on how we are going to achieve it.  I really love that - it gives me so much motivation to do better at planning and to achieve more greatness.  After District Meeting, we went to a dinner appointment that was the most North point in Madison that I have been so far, with the Thomas family.  It really was super great.  They are a Part-member family, but the father really accepts his family's beliefs even if he won't join the church.  And then on the drive home, their newly-returned-missionary son almost killed us in the car because he forgot how to drive in America - he is too used to European driving...  ;)
WEDNESDAY!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  :D  So I've been getting questions in emails about what we've been doing for New Year's Day, but honestly it was just another day.  New Year's is a less family-holiday and more-parties, so we were allowed to go around and work because people wouldn't get mad at us for 'interrupting their family time' like they would have on Christmas.  After our studies we went over to the Lassen Family's house for their annual Chili-feed.  It was so good!  I was so happy they decided to have the missionaries over!  And on the way back, we found a "Turtle Crossing" sign - there are pictures included.  Also, we went out onto the lake that is near there (there are a few lakes in Madison) that was completely frozen, and we went out into the middle of it and got some photos and I got another Nametag Photo!  :D  Later, we went to go contact a referral that was completely out of the way, on the West side of Madison, but they weren't home.  And because it was so out of the way, we only got to board another bus, and go over to our scheduled dinner appointment with the Salinas family, which was great (as usual!)  But one thing that we've been finding is that it is getting drastically colder each and every day, so by this point it was starting to get unsafe to be outside.
On Thursday, we had some weekly planning!  And though it has to be done and takes a long time, we weren't very worried about it because we didn't have any appointments scheduled for that time and it was super cold outside, so we were pretty thankful for the opportunity to stay inside.  However, about halfway through the studies, Elder Shipp started feeling super super poorly, so he went and took a nap while I tidied up the apartment and took down Christmas decorations and studied some more.  But pretty soon, he was feeling better and we had finished studying just in time to be over for our lesson with Veronica, which we were actually able to teach because Bro. Allen from the ward came and was our 'male present' for her.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation, which she took really well.  Once again, it was a lot of information to take in at once, but she committed to pray about it and find out if it is true.  I really hope she recognizes the answer she will receive!
Friday was a long, hard, worthwhile day.  And while I don't remember many names or conversations that we happened to have, in a period of 3-4 hours today, we (Elder Shipp and I) taught 10 lessons to people.  That truly was a miracle this week, to be able to teach that many lessons.  That is a really good number for a week, but for a day it was super amazing for us!  During last week's weekly planning, we decided to set the number of 18 for other lessons taught, and by that moment we were only at 2, so we decided to put forth all of our efforts into getting to that number.  We contacted former investigators and got a return appointment with 1 of them, Jose Cruz.  We contact potentials and taught 3 lessons to them, though their names escape me.  Among them was an older woman who told us that the only reason she didn't read the pamphlet was because she didn't know how to read, though she did look at all of the pictures in it and liked those a lot.  So, we discussed the Restoration with her, and about how God loves her.  At the end, we had a great prayer with her blessing her family to find the path to God.  And though by the end of the day we were cold and worn out, it was an amazing feeling.
Saturday was an amazing day!  :D  We began with Correlation and talked a lot about Veronica in that meeting.  Then, we got a ride over to Casildo's house, but he either wasn't home or didn't come to the door...  I hope we'll be able to teach him again!  Then, we went over to another lesson we had scheduled, but that one fell through as well...  But, time had gotten late enough and we had traveled far enoguh across the city that we needed to go back to the church for a baptism that the Sisters were having.  But, because the man that was being baptized was so large, and the man who was baptizing him was so old, the Bishop assigned us (me and Elder Shipp) to be in the font with them to help pick the man back up out of the water.  So, we dressed in white along with the others.  It really was an amazing experience.  I had only met the man a few times, but he was super thankful to have us there and to have us helping him out.  I'm so glad that he decided to get baptized!
After the baptism, we had a lesson with a woman and her family that we had found last week tracting.  Her name is Maria, and her mother is a Jehovah's Witness and the conversation turned a bit...  interesting a few times, but overall it was really good.  We taught the first part of the first lesson, about how God loves us and how the gospel can bless our families, and left them with a Restoration video so that we could talk about it the next time we came around.  Then, we went over to Oscar's house!  It was super great though, because he is the one who called us to schedule an appointment.  But, we commenced a 2-hour discussion on the second half of Alma 32, which talks about Faith.  But by the end of it, he did not understand the message we were trying to send, that he needed to go to church and show is faith and help his 'seed of faith' grow.  But we'll keep on working with him.  :)
AND then on Saturday night, we got a text from the Assistants to the President as a Cold Weather Advisory.  It told us to not go outside the next 3 days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) because it was going to get too cold!  It said that we could go out for scheduled appointments, but to be advised that Frostbite could set in on exposed skin in less than 5 minutes.  So, that is the weather we are currently dealing with.
Sunday was a great day.  It wasn't super cold in the morning on the way to church, and I'm not sure how it was during church but the messages were super great!  We talked about being financially responsible and things of that nature, dealing with money.  But then the cold started setting in!  We went to our scheduled appointment, but the family wasn't home, so we just booked it home as fast as we could walk because the cold was setting in super fast...  But then we got home and Elder Shipp started Phone Calls!  And now is when things get interesting.....
We had planned at Church to have a combined dinner with the English Elders, so I started to prepare for that while Elder Shipp was doing District Phone Calls and other District Leader Responsibilities.  I was reading the scriptures while the water was boiling for potatoes or while brownies were cooking, and everything was dandy!  Then, everything finished and I turned off the oven and I was washing dishes so that we could eat on them, right?  Then I look outside our huge window and I saw that there were 3-4 police cars pulling into our Apartment Building's parking lot.  Then, some officers started coming into our building!  I walked into the bedroom to point it out to Elder Shipp that our building was getting raided, because that was cool!  Then, I start hearing doork knocking on our floor, so I thought the cops were here to pick someone up next door to us, but then our door got knocked on, too!  Since Elder Shipp was busy, I go over to the door and answer it, and it's a police officer.  The hallway behind him is full of smoke and he tells me that the Laundry Room in the basement caught on fire, and that it wasn't safe to be here.  So, Elder Shipp ended his call, we grabbed our shoes and coats, and we evacuated the building.  It was so cool to watch from outside though!  There were 9+ official vehicles that were all flashing and there were tons of firemen and I've never actually seen a fire hose full of water!  But eventaully the English Elders got home and we ate dinner at their house and then we got called and told to spend the night there...  But we didn't have anything to sleep with!  So we called the Senior family (the Saints!!!) and told them our situation, and then they came over and gave us sleeping bags, pillows, blankets to use, and then brought us toiletries and tons of food!  They are soooo nice, and that is all super exciting!  (Photos and a video are on DropBox)
Then this morning, we went back into our apartment and everything reeked of smoke and we were told to get our clothes dry-cleaned, and now I'm here...  What an exciting week!  :D
But still, I love you all!  Don't worry about me up here - all is well!
Elder Nathan Hubert

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