Monday, July 28, 2014

Never have yet felt a tinge of regret.

Elder Dennis, Rosemary, myself and Elder Moore 

Sunny Houston had a lot going on this week.

Tuesday we traded Elder Dennis in for Elder Poulson. He is brand-new to the mission, having served for 5 months last year in Chicago. He is from Washington State. He already speaks Spanish very well, is eager to learn, and works hard. He has great desires to succeed. He really tries to look beneath the surface, always trying to know what more we can do. He learns quickly, he listens and applies what he learns. There is a lot I can learn from him about organization, about obedience, about sticking to Preach My Gospel, and about sincerely loving God and other people. We've had a fun time. 

Elder Poulson and I at Houston Community College emailing you.
Pioneer Day is good times. For us, it was all about eating Brazilian food with a some members, visiting less active members of the Church and knocking doors. Elder Moore also left for Cuarnavaca, Mexico that day. We're going to miss him. But he promised to baptize a village in honor of me, so it's alright.

Our investigator couple's delivery day got pushed back until next Thursday. It's a lot better this way because the baby will be premature. The sister's are meeting with them now. We stopped by to see the dad one day, and ended up taking him across the street to see the Church. (We got a key!) Apparently after praying about the Book of Mormon he had a vision, I in which he was in a church surrounded by well dressed families. Even little boys with white shirts. He said he was sitting facing the opposite way as everyone else. As soon as someone told him to turn around, he woke up. After hearing that, we took him straight to the church, showing him the chapel and the baptismal font. He said he really felt the Spirit and wanted to come back. I believe that from day one God has been leading him and his family. God prepared him. God brought us to him. God is answering his prayers. God will give him and his family the opportunity to have the restored Gospel in their lives. We are out everyday looking from more families like his. (Except this time their wives better speak Spanish!)

I read President Monson's talk from Conference again this morning.There's nothing more powerful than just love. Nobody will be baptized without feeling it; nobody can even be happy without it! YW Camp will be no fun without it! Like President Monson, I never have yet felt a tinge of regret for being a little too kind!


Elder Decker


Monday, July 14, 2014

Lessons, great Mexican food and a cataclysmic thunder storm--just another day in Texas!


Monday we found a father and a mother. We wandered into an apartment complex, talked to a few folks, almost got in an argument with a drunk guy, then I turned around and knocked a random door. [The father] opened it and ushered us right in. They love their three, soon to be four, kids a lot. They have had a lot of struggles having them and taking care of them. Right now they are really worried about a child they are going to have prematurely. In fact, [the mother] is in the hospital right now. They really love their family, they really need help, and we were guided right to them. We were able to share with them the message of the Restoration, and tell them the family they care so much about and work so hard for, can be together forever, if they follow God's plan. We are excited to continue teaching them.

 Tuesday we were blessed with four lessons and we got to eat some great Mexican food and invite some less-active members to church under a cataclysmic thunder storm. 

Wednesday I got a taste of the Houston TX freeway system. For Elder Moore and I to get to new missionary training we first had to take I-45 to Pasadena to pick up more missionaries. To avoid the toll-taking Beltway 8 we just rode on the feeder until we got to highway 225 which we took almost all the way back home where we got on the I-610, over the harbor we got on I-10, accidentally highway 88, then back on the I-10 all the way to Beltway 8 again, which we took for a really long time, finally arriving at the Summerwood chapel.My trainer Elder Jones is the AP so it was fun to see him at the  training. We wizened up a little on the way home, just taking the feeder of Beltway 8 the whole way, but then we had to pay all sorts of money (1.75) to get over the behemoth of a bridge.  

 Thursday we taught a long-time less active member who loves feeding the missionaries. He looks back at his time in the church with fondness. He misses the Spirit and peace he had, but isn't really willing to do anything to have it back. His main concerns are his work and caring for his very ill mother. After reading in Moroni 4 about the covenant we make in the Sacrament, and Spirit we get as a result, he expressed to us his feeling that God had called him to focus on his mother. We had been thinking about Martin for a long time; we felt impressed to share Mathew 19:29. 

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife,
or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit 
everlasting life.

 I felt the Spirit as we reminded him of the expectations God has for him. And using 1 Nephi 3:7 we promised him that God would provide a way for him to do it all. He can take care of his mom and keep his covenants. I know that to be true.

Friday at zone meeting I had been feeling really discouraged. So many things are asked of us. I am still so very imperfect. There yet again I was being reminded of so many things I don't seem able to do. Soon the Spirit taught me something I hope to never forget. I was reminded that there was someone even more concerned with the success of my mission than myself. Someone who, even more than I do, want me to learn, to grow, to bless, to serve, to baptize, and to bring others to Christ. And that same person is likely working much harder than I am to make it happen. I had forgotten, like I had so many times before, that my Heavenly Father has to be part of this work. Because it is His. He'll take care of it. 

Saturday I had loads of fun spending an exchange back in my old home of Pasadena. Elder Ek , our zone leader, and I enjoyed a bunch of teaching, contacting, and chicken eating. In a complicated twist we came back into my area to talk to the Spanish mother of a girl the English sisters are to baptize. She is very catholica. But when I whipped out "Mi Familia" you sent me she got a big grin on her face and let us make a return appointment. Families are a big deal. 

Sunday brought some disappointing church attendance for our investigators and less-actives. God respected our work, however, and sent a really nice man we don't know who lives in our area just right through the front door. We'll teach him on Tuesday.

So the work continues. It doesn't matter what happens, where we serve, how long we've served, with whom we serve, in what language, in what weather, God's work continues. I'm glad to be included in it. The other Elder Decker in our mission is some long lost cousin I'm sure. He was a English missionary who once served in my exact same area, confusing members, investigators, and door contacts. 

I send you just about every picture I take (meaning hardly any) which means I need to repent and begin taking more pictures and sending them. 

Elder Decker


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We're having fun.


-A big heaping plate of chicken and ribs with rice was our July fourth feast thanks to the Rodriguez family. That was right after the sky dumped itself on us.  

-The apartment is superb. The couch we had to throw on our front lawn probably doesn't look very Christ-like though. Right now our car is full of old pots, pans, plates, utensils, a toaster we'll try to give first to other missionaries and then to the members.
-We met President Drake this week. He is a really genuine man with a lot of excitement for the mission. He is having us repeat this from 3 Nephi 13 as something new for our mission:

He aquí, soy discípulo de Jesucristo, el Hijo de Dios. He sido llamado por él para declarar su palabra entre los de su pueblo, a fin de que alcancen la vida eterna.

[Google Translation: Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, in order to attain eternal life.]

How powerful is it that this how the prophet Mormon would introduce himself to us?  I love the Book of Mormon. President left us with a little homework, for us study and ponder on the four words: empathize, visualize, edify, and.............. Baptize. 

 -Our companionship saw a lot of success this week. He had the opportunity to meet with many, many members as part of our plan for our area. Our ward has 1700 members and a sacrament attendance of about 100, so we have a whole lot of potential. We had a lot of chances to teach this week, to improve working together as a companionship and to feel the spirit. A couple we are teaching are making a lot of progress and are a lot of fun to visit and teach. I'd just love to have more people to teach! I have really felt the Spirit in my life the last few days and will make sure I keep it. We're having fun.

Elder Decker