Thursday, May 29, 2014

New companion, New area


Well it was transfers week last week.  I got sent up to lake Erie to a little town called North East.  It's about 2 hours north of my old area.  Sister Holmstead and I are serving in the same area again.  She served with me in Pitt 3rd and got transferred up here 3 months ago.  Now I'm here.  Small world.  My companion is super funny as well.  Works hard which is great!  My new address is

47 1/2 South Mill St.
North East, PA. 16428

The beginning of the week wasn't even real life as a missionary.  On Monday we were running like mad.  I had to go to a billion stores to make sure i had everything i needed.  After we went to the Zebraski's house for dinner.  We had hamburgers, hot dogs, and lasagna.  It was yummy:)  Then we went and visited with the McDowell's.  Tuesday, in my typical fashion, i was frantically trying to get packed in time.  I had all of my stuff on the floor trying to figure out how to pack my life into 3 suit cases.  Luckily i didn't have as many boxes as i did when i came out.  The Sister's picked us up, and we packed 6 suit cases into their tiny Corolla.  It was not a pleasant trip.  We got to the meeting, and President read off where we were going and who our companion was.  Since my area is so far away, my new companion didn't come.  So i had to ride with some other Elder to my new area.  We got home pretty late so didn't have much time to do anything.

We didn't have district meeting on Wednesday because Elder Holland came on Thursday!  We went and visited Some investigators they were teaching.  After we walked around and tried some potential investigators.  We have a car, but our area is so big that we walk a ton!  My legs were dying.  We hardly walked at all in my last area #norestfortheweary.  

Elder Holland came, and it was AWESOME!!!!!!  It was down at the Cranberry chapel (which is 30 minutes out of Pittsburgh, and 2 hours for me).  He came at 2.  The whole mission was there, and we were quietly waiting for him, reading scriptures, praying, thinking, etc.  Typical missionary stuff.  I couldn't concentrate though.  I was too excited!  When he got to the chapel, he wanted to talk to shake all of our hands at the beginning.  After Elder Hallstrum spoke it was Elder Hollands turn.  Pretty much the first thing he said was: "When we shook your hand we interviewed you."  My heart pretty much died when he said that.  Then he went on to say that we all looked good!  No one was sent home.  That would have been awkward for that missionary.  It was such an awesome experience though.  He talked a lot about change, and becoming.  We as missionaries need to "burst".  We need to reach the 212 degrees of boiling point.  We need to burst as missionaries, and not go home with the song still in us.  He also said that the Lord expects one convert from our mission--us.  It was awesome!  What i learned from it took place after the meeting.  My companion and I were walking out side after the meeting, and Elder Holland rolled down the car window and asked how we were doing.  Before he left he said "Work Hard".  That simple phrase summed up the meeting with him.  I had all the info behind that phrase.  I just need to do it!  Every time I get tired or discouraged, or fell like not doing something, his voice and face come to my mind, "Work Hard".  This work is hard; It requires hard work.  We know in Jacob 5 how the Lord said he did everything he could for His vineyard.  He didn't do here a little and there a little.  Nor prune and pluck a couple of trees, he did everything He could!  He gave His all and asks us to do the same.  However we have his help every step of the way if we are willing to have faith and "put our shoulder to the wheel".  He also said that we need to do what we expect from our investigators: prayer more fervently, read with power, etc.  We all are still God's investigators.  I love Elder Holland so much.

Towards the end of our week it was a little slow.  This area seems to be a bit harder than my last area--everything is hard in the east though.  We tried a lot of potential investigators, and did a whole lot of walking. I have been so tired!  It's been great though.  I'm trying to get the area down, learn the faces, and follow the Spirit.  

Monday was memorial day.  Consequently the libraries were closed.  So, we went to the Erie Zoo with the Sister's and the Zone Leaders.  It was a tiny little thing, but it was cool!  We all wanted to ride the train, so we were going to save it for last.  When we went to get our tickets there was a sign that said it was closed from 12-1.  The time we had planned to ride it.  So that didn't work out.  After, the Sister's and Elder Linford and I went to the BBQ at a members.  He lives on a farm/vineyard.  There are a billion grape vineyards here.  He took us on a hay ride of it.  That night, Elder Rasmussen, the missionary who I replaced came back to visit with his family.  We went to Applebee's with them.  It was fun.  They're a great family!

That was my week.  It's fun, but different.  I'm still trying to get situated.  Hopefully I'll get the hang of it this week.  Love ya.  Have a great week:)

Elder Birrell

Austin and his companion Elder Lindford

Monday, May 12, 2014

Last week.

Well it looks like it could be my last week here.  I can't believe that i have already been here for a little over 7 months.  The longest people stay in 1 area is usually 5 months.  So I'm pretty much toast!  They call us on Saturday at let us know who is staying and who is going.  So we will see.
The beginning of the week was awesome!  We had a lesson with one of our investigators.... and all he talked about was the book of Revelation and the 4 horse men...  After the lesson we decided our time could be spent somewhere else.  After we went and visited our neighbor Joanne.  She is awesome.  She is 80, but acts like she's 50.   After she hugged my companion and I, but said she liked Elder Bowers a little more because he is a republican.  After i told her i was one as well she jumped for joy and pretty much tackled me in an embrace.  So she loves me just as much:) 
The next day i went on an exchange to the Greensburg Elder area.  The companion i went with is a little shy, so it was my goal to break him out of his shell.  I just kept talking to him and having a good time, and he came out of it pretty quickly.  He's super funny, and it was a blast!
Toward the end of the week we had dinner at the McDowell's.  A recent convert family.  They are solid in the church.  It was a lot of fun, and we helped the Sister's teach the lesson--since they are in their area.  It was great, and the parents pretty much taught their kids the lesson.  They have required the knowledge so quickly.
We were supposed to have our baptism on Friday, but he didn't come to church last Sunday.  So now it is this Saturday.  Instead we went to visit our new investigators.  They are from El Salvador and don't really speak any English.  We took a member who spoke Spanish so he could translate for us.  It was such a cool experience.  I wish i spoke Spanish!  They really liked everything, and seemed to really accept it.  They asked us to come back tonight.  It built my testimony on the spirit in teaching though.  Even though i didn't know what was being said i felt the spirit with it.  The spirit really is the universal language.  It doesn't matter how well you speak the language, because if you don't speak by the spirit it doesn't matter.
It was a great week.  It flew by.  I already feel like this week is over.  There is never enough time.  But I love serving a mission, and there isn't anything else I'd rather be doing right now.  Have a great week.  Love ya!

Elder Birrell

A Picture a member sent to me for Mother's Day!

The stash of groceries that Austin bought for $28.  He was so excited!