Monday, September 29, 2014

The work moves forward

This week was another great week in The Great Lakes State. Me and Elder Bass are really starting to see the work move forward and things have been great! Me and Elder Bass teach so well together and we have really been able to do a lot of great things lately.
Monday Night-Wednesday night I was on trade-offs with a guy that just came out. It was cool to get a glimpse of how training would be and it also gave me some perspective of how much I have learned since being here in Michigan. He is a great kid and I think he will be a great asset to the mission.
Me and Elder Bass had several lessons this week (13 lessons total) and we even got to door knock in the ghetto in South Lansing. Door knocking in the ghetto is a really fun experience.. We got to meet several really cool people and set up several return appointments with them. I doubt they will make much progress as we teach with how it has looked so far, but there is 1 or 2 that I think could make a lot of progress!
As much as I enjoy door knocking and meeting lots of interesting people, nothing could replace the experience of getting to sit down with someone and share the gospel with them. There is nothing better than getting to see the "light bulbs" go off in their head when we teach them something that brings them comfort or answers a question they have always wondered about. It truly is amazing. I would not trade this experience for anything. Coming on a mission was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made.
Friday, we got to go to a members home and pour some concrete. We have had several opportunities to do service lately and it is always good to spend time just serving people. Surprisingly, we didn't make to big of a mess and got most of the concrete where it was supposed to.
This week is going to be amazing! Thursday we have zone training and we are going to get to watch Meet The Mormons, a movie that the church is releasing in a few weeks. It is a film that is going to be shown in theaters all over the country and I think is going to be a great missionary tool. It is just a movie about members of the church and how they live their faith throughout the world. I'm excited about it! Also this next weekend is General Conference! General Conference is my favorite time of the year. There is nothing better than having the opportunity to receive council and direction from our church leaders! I have a feeling this year is going to be amazing and I cant wait to have a few of our investigators there to see how this can benefit their lives. We planned to have 5 people at church yesterday that we are teaching but 2 of them ended up being in the hospital and the other forgot that he had things to do so we only had 2 at church. But it has been great to see the fruits of our labor.
I think that is all the updates I have for the week. Honestly, the weeks start to run together and I forget things sometimes but I think I covered all of the important things! Well I love and miss yall!! Make sure that you watch conference this weekend! You can look at times and ways to watch on

Elder Bloskas 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Elder Wand

September 22, 2014

This week was kind of a different week and not a lot happened that is out of the ordinary or new so this email will probably be pretty short.
But Monday night-Wednesday morning I was on trade-offs with the district leader in this area, which is the Lansing area. He serves in part of the more sketchy part of town. So I got to go to several lessons with him while his companion was with Elder Bass in Holt. It was a lot of fun but it was just different since I didn't know any of the investigators that we met with and felt like that I couldn't help them as much as I probably could if I knew them, but it was still fun. We haven't had a car since Wednesday (we get it back this Wednesday), and it always feels like we are so much less productive without a car because we aren't able to travel as much between appointments. Also, Elder Bass was kinda sick a few days this week So we did a lot of door knocking this week and met with Rashida a few times. We didn't get to meet with the Wicken or the minister this week because they were both so busy this week. But Rashida is doing great! She is going to end up getting to stay in Holt and most of the issues that were going on have kind of been worked out.
Saturday, we drove down to Mason, where the sisters in our ward are serving. They were having a town festival thing called Down Home Days or something like that. We set up a family history booth and we talked to people all morning and until 4pm. Me and Elder Bass would talk to people in front of the booth and talk to them about family history and then if they weren't interested in family history we would talk to them about the church. It didn't seem like we met a lot of people that were interested but if nothing else it was good exposure for the church. It allowed us to be seen in the community and for themto see that we were trying to do things for those in the community.
Well that's about it... I promise I'll have a more exciting week this next week. The weather got a little warmer this week but it is still fallish weather! But I did include a picture of me and Elder Bass with Harry Potter wands that one of the members of the ward here got when they went to Florida. They were really nice! Plus, I got to use the "Elder Wand", I felt like it fit pretty well! Also, we saw this huge Michigan mascot and took a picture with him also! Well, thanks for all of the love and support like always!!
Elder Bloskas

Monday, September 15, 2014

Attack by Ferret!

Good morning!!
It has been an interesting week to say the least. Needless to say, we met with a lot of interesting people... The weather also dropped 30 degrees overnight Wednesday and so I have gotten to wear a sweater everyday this weekend!
Monday evening we were calling people that we had door knocked into and we called a girl that we had met a few weeks before, thinking that she probably wouldn't want to meet with us since she didn't seem super interested when we met her and she told us that she was a Wicken. When we called her Monday morning she agreed to meet with us on Tuesday. We met with her Tuesday and she explained what Wicca was and why she didn't believe in God. Apparently Wicca is kind of like witchcraft except without "dark magic" and there is no belief of good or evil. Seemed kind of sketchy to me but we actually have a few members of the ward here that used to be Wicken and they assured us that it isn't as Satanic and evil as it seems... We had a really good lesson with her and invited her to read the Book of Mormon and promised her that she would be able to gain a testimony and belief in God and in Jesus Christ through the Book of Mormon. We told her to start with King Benjamin's sermon starting in Mosiah 2. SHE READ IT! Not only did she read it but she highlighted in it and had really good questions about what it was saying. When we went over on Wednesday the first part of the lesson was a little distracted.. She has a ferret that she allows to run around the house. It kept trying to get into our bags and was trying to eat Elder Bass' watch and then the Ferret bit his ankle. Elder Bass screamed like a little girl and I don't think I have ever laughed so hard in my life. She finally put the ferret up and we were able to finish our lesson with her. We answered her questions and talked about the Godhead and about prayer and answered a lot of questions. We started by also starting on the Plan of Salvation and talked about pre-earth life and how that helped us gain a belief in our Heavenly Father's relationship with us. We went pretty deep into our beliefs and she understood a lot about what we told her about prayer and how the Holy Ghost will answer her that God is there. We texted her Thursday and she said THAT SHE PRAYED. A girl that didn't even believe in God a week ago has started to pray!! It was so awesome. She knows that God is there and that what we share with her is true, she is just denying it. But she will come around.
We also met with a minister Wednesday night. It was an interesting lesson.. He is a minister that doesn't run a church on Sunday but runs a community outreach throughout the week. He doesn't really like the Bible and thinks that scripture should be written on our hearts. He said that he thinks that the false idols that the Bible talks about has become the Bible itself since we focus too much on scripture and not on the relationship with God. It was a really interesting lesson since he has studied so many religions and has pulled things from each of them that he feels is "truth". It was a great experience and I think it took him off-guard a little bit that we were able to answer all of his questions that he had including a few that he said that no other church he had talked to had an answer. We are going to continue to meet with him but encouraged him to read the Book of Mormon and that would be the only way that he could know about what we share is true.
We also met with Ed, the deaf guy that was baptized last week. We went with a member of the ward that is deaf that has been teaching all the lessons with a powerpoint (so that we can follow along and make sure that everything is taught) and explaining them. We taught the restoration and it was really cool! I got to teach a part of the lesson with ASL that I learned at WT and some that I had picked up. It was so awesome because I was able to effectively teach a whole part of the lesson and the Spirit was there so strong testififying to him of the truthfulness of what I was signing and helping me explaining that part of the lesson. I knew that the gift of tongues was something that missionaries got serving in other missions around the world but I didn't know that I would be able to use the gift of tongues (or hands) here in my mission!
Other than that this week hasn't been super eventful. The wicken, the minister, and the deaf guy were all within 24 hours. We have lessons with all of them this next week so I'm excited to see what happens with them. We have also continued to teach the girl that I told yall about that is going to be homeless soon. She hasn't been as committed as she used to be since all this is going on but she still has a desire to learn. I'm excited to see what happens with her also.
I spent a lot of time in my personal studies this week really focusing on attributes of the Savior. I have studied and pondered on a talk given by Elder Bednar that I was able to watch a video of in the MTC called Character of Christ. It was a talk that he gave at the MTC. It is a great talk that talks about how when the Savior was faced with trials or hardship during his earthly ministry he didn't "turn in" like most of us would but instead he "turned out" and looked to serve those around him. Christ' character is a simple thing. He turns out in compassion and love when the natural man would turn in. It starts when he is tempted by Satan after he fasted at the beginning of his earthly ministry. The temptation wasn't hunger when Satan told Jesus to turn the stones to bread, it was a challenge. He told him "If thou be the son of God" to try to get him to turn inward. This pattern continues throughout his earthly ministry and to the cross when in the mist of his suffering he turns outward and says, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." I studied the many times that the Savior turned outward in his earthly ministry this week. I have felt that as a representative of Jesus Christ I should not only try to live his teachings but to also try to live the attributes that he has. I have tried to really "turn out" when I have been faced with trials or difficulty. I have looked for ways to serve those around me and to focus less on myself and focus fully on Jesus Christ. Because this truly is his work and I am an instrument in his hands. But, I just thought that I would share that with yall. It was a lot more in depth and I thought about sharing some of the scriptures but I will let yall study it for yourselves. ;)
But I love being a missionary! I have learned so much about the gospel and about Jesus Christ. I wouldn't change this experience for the world and I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for me!
You have been in my thoughts and prayers! Thank you again for all the love and support! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
-Elder Bloskas

P.S. Here are pictures of me before basketball on Monday with my awesome new MSU shirt. I also included a picture of me with Elder Tuua! He got transferred and we got to see him quite a bit since he was serving in the ward next to us. You can see that me and Elder Bass are looking snazzy in our sweaters!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Last week in my first transfer

This week was a pretty busy and exciting week. It has definitely kept me and Elder Bass on our toes! The first part of the week wasn't too exciting, just the normal lessons and knocking a few doors in between lessons. But on Thursday we got a call from Rashida, the girl we have been working with, and she said that she wasn't going to be able to make it to the appointment that we had with her that day. She said that her mom had completely locked her and her 11 year old sister out of their apartment and was moving a few hours away without them. It turns out that her mom hadn't paid the rent in a few months and got an eviction notice, so she decided that she would leave before they kicked them out. She also decided that she wanted to leave her two daughters behind. As you can imagine she was pretty upset... Not only was she left alone, pregnant, with her 11 year old sister, but she also was homeless without being able to get into her apartment. We had her tell us where she was and we went to meet her where she was so that we could figure out how we could help her. We ended up finding her outside of a hotel where her and her mom were having an argument about her not giving them the keys so that they could at least have a place to sleep that night while they figured out a place to move after that. We ended up walking with her to Burger King a few blocks away and bought them dinner since they had not eaten all day. We then made a few calls to the bishop to see if we could find them somewhere to stay and to get his advice on what we should do next. We decided to have her go back to her apartment and we would come back over there after a meeting we had. After the meeting me and Elder Bass were able to track down her mom and convince her to give us the keys. We have spent the last few days trying to help her figure out what her options are now that she will be without an apartment in a few days and is pregnant and taking care of her 11 year old sister. She will probably end up in a shelter until she figures out what to do. It has been pretty stressful but there have been several people that have stepped up in the ward and helped her out.
Next, on Friday, we were on our way to an older lady's home in the ward when we got a phone call from another lady in the ward asking if we were close to the lady's home who we were going to visit. It turns out that she had posted something on Facebook about not doing well and that she couldn't move and nobody had heard from her all day. We got to the house and when nobody answered decided that we needed to try to figure out if she was okay. The member who called us got ahold of her daughter and her daughter wanted us to try to get into the house and see if she was in there. I ended up being able to get into one of the windows and we searched her house for her. I was honestly worried that we would find her and she wouldn't be okay. Thankfully she wasn't there but had been able to make it to the hospital earlier in the day. We were grateful that she was okay but had a little bit of a stressful few minutes while we didn't know what we would find. I felt like a burglar, "breaking into" her house, but it was for a good cause so I was able to justify it.
Saturday, we had the baptism of Ed, the deaf guy that the sisters handed off to us. It was a beautiful baptism. I included a photo of Elder Bass, Brother Hunter (who is also deaf), Ed and me at the baptism. It was awesome to be able to see Brother Hunter sign the baptismal prayer and baptize Ed. Since Ed is a little bigger, Elder Bass was in the font with them to make sure that Ed was not dropped. Right before they stepped down into the font, Ed turned to Elder Bass and pointed to his head and signed J-A-W and then made a biting gesture and pointed to his leg. He was telling Elder Bass that if he let him hit his head then he would bite his leg off. It was really funny and me and Elder Bass got a kick out of it.
The rest of the week was pretty uneventful other than Saturday night. As you can tell in the photos that I sent, my hair is getting pretty long. Saturday night I was helping Elder Bass give himself a haircut and since the missionary budget is thin I decided to let him cut my hair also. It actually turned out really well (I'll try to send a picture next week) and I didn't have to spent $20.
Well I have made it through my first transfer and the time is flying. I really do love being a missionary and I know that there is nowhere else that I would rather be!! I love this gospel and I am honored to be able to be an ordained minister of the gospel and an

official representative of Jesus Christ. It truly is an amazing work and I love being able to spend all my time serving The Lord! Thanks for all the prayers and support! I love yall!

-Elder Bloskas

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

When it rains, it pours

Well, the library was closed yesterday for Labor Day so we didn't get to email like we normally do on Mondays. But, we are able to email today just not as long as we usually do, so this will be a little shorter than normal.
This week was a great week. I am defiantly seeing the work pick up here in Holt and I love being able to see the Lord work in people's lives. The weeks just seem like they are going by faster every single week. Its crazy to think that this is the last week of my first transfer here in the field. After this week me and Elder Bass will have one more transfer together before he goes home and I get a new companion. Usually you don't know how long you will be with a companion but since training is usually for 2 transfers and that is all that Elder Bass has left, we know that we will be together for 6 more weeks. Our next transfer ends on the 18th of October (the day before my birthday) and I will know the Friday before that whether I am staying in Holt or moving to another area.
This week was great, last Tuesday we door knocked in South Lansing and we got almost halfway up the street when we knocked into an atheist guy about our age. He was really nice, but as we were talking to him on his door step it began to rain really hard. It looked like a hurricane for about 30 mins and then it completely cleared up. I've learned that Michigan is really weird... It rains really hard for 15-20 mins and then it is completely clear again. Anyways, me and Elder Bass didn't know it was going to rain so we didn't have rain jackets with us. Luckily, the atheist guy gave us an umbrella since he felt bad for us. He was really a good guy just had never found a church that was able to answer a lot of his questions and we were able to answer all of them. That is the great thing about being a missionary for this church is it really does have all of the answers to questions that people have always had, and I get to share that with people every single day! I love it! Anyways, we left him with a Book of Mormon and left him our number if he wanted to set up a time that we could talk to him again. It really was great.
Two other really cool things that happened this week is first the Sister missionaries, that are serving in the same ward as us that live and tract in a town south of Holt, handed over one of their investigators to us that they had been teaching. He is deaf so we have a guy that goes with us that interprets that goes with us but it is really cool because I get to use some of the sign language that I learned last fall at WT. He is getting baptized this coming Saturday.
Also, Rashida, the girl we have been working with that I have been telling y'all about is being baptized the next week! She also began to quit smoking using an awesome "Quit Smoking" program that the church has. It is an awesome program that has the person quit smoking cold turkey and is able to have them no longer be physically addicted to smoking within a week. It gets all the nicotine out of their system and then makes it so that they just have to mentally get out of the habit of smoking. I'm super excited for her and to see the progress that she makes!
That's about it that happened this past week... We taught 10 lessons last week and didn't do as much time door knocking as we usually do since we have a teaching pool now. Yesterday a bunch of us missionaries that play basketball together every Monday grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. The mission president even showed up and had a hamburger with us. He is super cool!
But I think that's about it... Honestly we have been so busy that sometimes the weeks kind of run together and I can't remember what all I told y'all last week and what has happened since I last emailed. But... I think I covered all the main points. I love y'all and am thankful for the prayers and support. Being a missionary is amazing and I know that I am here for a reason. Last week we had Zone Conference and President Jacobsen said that this is one of the hardest missions in the church and the Lord sends those that can handle it. Not only does it get super cold in the winters but also this mission is home to 2 of the biggest printing presses for anti-Mormon materials and so there are a lot of people that are against the church.  But I love it! I wouldn't trade anything in the world for my experience here. I guess we will see how I feel when there is 5 feet of snow on the ground but right now I love it! Lol I love y'all and pray for y'all daily!

-Elder Bloskas