Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

First off I want to wish everybody Merry Christmas for the last time until 2016, and I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas as well! I sure did and pretty much this entire week. It has been interesting to say the least. Not only were there a ton of meeting and parties and what not (which means little proselyting time), but all of our investigators and less actives left for vacations. So we got practically nothing done in that sense. However, we did manage to visit a lot of members which was well needed. We spent a lot of time at member’s homes this week visiting them and basically trying to get to know them better.

Now some of the REALLY cool things I did this week happened on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day. First, Christmas Eve. Like I said in my last letter, my mission was performing in a choir for the Washington DC Temple Visitor center. The show turned out great! However I ended up not singing. Not because I was being lazy, or had stage fright, nothing like that. That is because I opted out of singing in order to record the whole thing. Yep, I know, that's typical of me. I prefer to be behind the camera anyways. But that's what I needed to be doing because the senior couple in charge of putting the whole thing together hadn't planned to record any of it. At least not until I went and talked to them, which ended up putting me in charge of the whole tech part of the show. (I was not complaining about that, by the way). So I wrangled together what few cameras that were available and I tried my best to record the whole thing. Now I have some footage and these upcoming few weeks will be spent editing the recordings. (Still not complaining). I'm hoping that I can deliver on what everyone is expecting to be a great performance.

Now for Christmas... Oh man, best part was talking to my family, hands down. Of course opening presents was nice because I got some stuff I needed, some fun stuff, and candy... Lots and lots of candy. Christmas Day was spent visiting members for practically the whole day. Them feeding us as well, not as much as Thanksgiving but still a good amount that I was sufficiently full. It's funny to think how Christmas just came and is gone once again. It honestly didn't feel much like Christmas, being a missionary and all really separates you from the world and all the gift shopping and craziness of the holidays, and really helps to focus on the Savior. So in a sense, every day is Christmas for me, just without the presents and talking to my family.

My family did something really cool for me. They went to friends and family and asked to donate a tie so that my family can put together a 12 ties of Christmas. It was great to be able to open one present every morning and see the new tie, who it came from, and their story behind it. Thanks to everybody who helped make my Christmas great even here in Virginia. Now with the New Year, it's time to get back to work in serving the Lord.

Elder Biehn

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey everybody!

So this is my last Pday before Christmas which means lots to do. We have our last choir practice before our performance in the temple visitor center this Christmas Eve. Speaking of Christmas, we had our Christmas parties this week as well. Both for the mission and for my ward. The mission Christmas conference was awesome because we got to listen to President Huntsman speak about the Savior, had a lunch provided for us, and then had a talent show! It was so funny to watch the talent show. There were a lot of cool acts, especially ours. The Spanish program did an act where we sang and danced to Feliz Navidad. We were all dressed up in traditional Hispanic clothing and it was awesome. I'll include a picture. Then our ward Christmas party was great. Lots of people, lots of food, and then dancing. But I'm not allowed to dance so I didn't do any of that. But still, it was fun! After being in a ward for more than 3 months, the members become great friends.

Merry Christmas! And remember what is the purpose of Christmas, it is our Savior!

Love Elder Biehn

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey guys!

So not really all that much to report on for this week, nothing too crazy happened. Although, I did have transfers on Thursday. But don't worry, I didn't get transferred. Neither did Elder Castillo so we are still together. Neither did the other two elders in my district. In fact the only change that happened was one of the hermanas finished her mission and went home. So now Hermana Craner is in my district again! I'm super excited because we were in the CCM together and now we are finally serving together again. It'll be just like old times, haha. It only took 9 months to happen. Now if only I could get to serve with Elder Everett again, that would be cool!

But other than that, nothing too interesting. This past week was honestly kind of boring. But the upcoming week... Should be fun. We have plans to go to the temple with some of our investigators, there is the mission Christmas party, our ward Christmas party. Lots of cool stuff going on. So next week should be a pretty good email, unlike this one.

Love you guys and you'll hear from me next week!

Love Elder Biehn

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update


So this letter is going to be a bit short because we have choir practice today and I still need to go and do shopping, etc. P-Day things. We only have about 2 more weeks before we (as a mission) perform in the Washington D.C. Temple Visitor Center on Christmas Eve for the Festival of Lights. I think we sound great and it should be an awesome experience. It will be my first time being in a choir, and it'll be my first time singing in front of people.

But I had a really cool experience this past week. Recently, we found a less active member and have been trying to teach her and get her active again. She is really cool, from Nicaragua (don't see that too much here) and acts a lot like a grandma with us. Anyways, we had a lesson with her on Friday and we had Obispo (Bishop) with us. It's a good thing because otherwise we wouldn't have been able to go in. I haven't even seen her husband because he works all the time. So, not only was she home, but also her sister, her friend, and a much younger girl as well. We had already planned on talking about Joseph Smith and the Restoration, so this was perfect! We were able to get them interested by talking about the temple and inviting them to the Festival of Lights, then about other church activities as well. Then we get to the lesson. We were able to talk solely on the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. The spirit was SO strong and it was exactly what I was looking for. I was able to testify of the Restored Gospel so strongly that I even surprised myself! It seemed like they were starting to drift (fall asleep) but once I started talking and testifying, they were wide awake and paying attention. At the end, they were even asking where the church is and what time it starts (but they didn't come yesterday ). We got everyone's contact info and a plan to meet again this upcoming Friday. It was a great lesson and exactly what I needed.

Love you guys and you'll hear from me next week!

Elder Biehn

P.S. Merry Christmas! It's coming up fast!

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey everybody!

Quiet the week for me, I must say. The first part went as usual but after Wednesday, man, it was crazy! Thursday was Thanksgiving and we got fed a TON. All these members called us up last minute and said, "If you haven't got a place for thanksgiving, my house is open!" Well, all four of us had the same people invite us over so we ended up having 3 Thanksgiving dinners. I honestly was struggling by the third one. It was awesome!

On Friday, we spent our entire afternoon practicing. "Practicing for what?" you may ask. Well, our mission has been asked to perform a musical number in the Washington D.C. Visitor center on Christmas Eve. So I will be participating in the choir along with a good number of other missionaries as well. It should be fun however I've never sung in front of people in my life. And I seriously need to practice, let's leave it at that.

On Saturday, it was my BIRTHDAY! We didn't do much but we did go out to get some Popeye’s chicken for dinner. Not bad. But even better is that Elder Castillo had a baptism of one of his investigators from his last area, which just so happened to be my last area as well. So we got to go to that and I saw most of the old families that I served around. It was great because they still remembered me, even after almost 3 months! So that was a great birthday present for me.

And finally Sunday. Sunday was great because we had a Charla Fogonera (fireside). This included all the Spanish wards from the whole mission, so I got to see my favorite family from Bella Vista again! My recent convert even got asked to speak at it and she did awesome! Her testimony was so strong and it helps me to know that I had a significant part in helping to change her life. The scripture that says "how great your joy will be if you bring but one soul into me" is so true. I'm so happy to see her grow and become part of this gospel.

Well, that's a summary of my week! Crazy busy!

Love you guys and talk to you next week.

Elder Biehn

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Wow, have I got a story for you. So remember how the week before I talked about how everything seemed to go wrong? I even shared the scripture of Alma 26:27 where it talked about bearing your trials with patience, and if you do the success will come. Well, the success came to say the least! 

For starters, probably the best thing that happened this week was that we found a family. Not just any family, but a family that came here from Bolivia not even 3 weeks ago. Here comes the amazing part. It just so happens that this family had been taking the lessons from some Hermanas back when they were in Bolivia, and they know a ton! The Hermanas had been visiting them for 4 months before this family left for America. When they got here, they took it upon themselves to actively search out where the church building was and put their names and address down. The same day that they went to the church and put down their names, we get their information. That is a miracle in it of itself. The father goes to the church building, talks with one of the members working there (or tries to because he doesn't know English), writes down his name and address, then leaves to go back home. We just so happen to have a meeting at the church the same day. So right as we are about to leave, the other elders in my district get a phone call from this member telling them that they have a referral for them. They go find the member as she is leaving and me and Elder Castillo head home. 2 minutes later, "Hey guys, we've got a referral for you." The referral was in our area so they gave it to us. So now we have this referral that we can check up on whenever we like, but we already have plans for the day, so we don't pay much attention to it yet. Our 7 o'clock appointment ends up falling through and we don't have anything planned. "Alright, might as well check up on this referral." Probably the best decision I've made my entire time in this area, it had to be revelation or divine inspiration or something because we get to their house and knock on the door. When they answer, the look on their faces is complete amazement. "Hermanos! Please, come on in!" (But in Spanish of course). We figure out their back story about them taking the lessons in Bolivia and our jaws drop. Turns out, the father of the family had gone earlier that afternoon to give their information so they can start having the lessons and we show up the same day at 7. They couldn't believe how fast we responded and we couldn't believe how much they had been taught. The best part is that they believe it all, everything, every bit of it, and they love it. They love the gospel, they love the Book of Mormon, they love the missionaries. Everything just worked out so perfectly. "Coincidence? I think not!" There had to be some kind of divine intervention to make this work out so well, almost like Heavenly Father saying, "Ok, you need to go do this NOW." 

I know that Heavenly Father is guiding his work and sends his missionaries where they need to be right when they need to be there. Look at the story above as an example! It's amazing to see and even greater to be a part of it. It's awesome to think that I literally was used by Heavenly Father to help this family find the Gospel again here in America, and I didn't even know it! Not until I look back can I see how exactly I was prompted by the spirit to visit them, our lesson fell through, he put his name down the same day. I can't put it into words how awesome it is. 

On a less miraculous note, I learned how to make some Hispanic dishes. This one is called Baleadas and its from Honduras. I now know how to make TORTILLAS! YES!!! Finally!! So excited for that! And we are going to keep visiting this member and she is going to keep teaching me how to make some of this stuff! I'm so excited .

So I wrote yet another novel and I could keep writing more if I were to list all the miracles that happened this week. There were just so many. Let me give you once again Alma 26:27, 

"27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

Underline and bold for added emphasis.... Just saying. Promise fulfilled right there. Clear as day. Black and white. Whatever other phrase you can think of. I'm still in awe of exactly what happened just because I took this scripture to heart and did exactly what it said to do. Makes me think of another scripture D&C 82:10, 

"10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."

I love it when things just work, it makes my life so much easier. These two scriptures are going on my scripture wall right next to each other, side by side. All I can say is the Gospel is true...

Love you guys and talk to you next week!

Elder Biehn

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey guys,

Well, not much to report on this week. Literally there was no fruit of the labor, in fact, just the opposite. It seems like everything that could go wrong this week did. For example, this past Wednesday we had our entire day planned. As we go through-out the day things happen and we have to change a few things, no big deal. By the time 6 o'clock comes around our appointments start to cancel on us left and right. We drive to an appointment we have set and they aren't home. So we drive to another set appointment and they are heading out the door. We decide to try our backups that we had planned and none of them answered the door either. As a last ditch effort, we started knocking doors. Once again no one answered. We get back to our car and I'm trying to figure out what to do for the next 30 minutes before we go home, so I start calling people to make appointments. At this point, our lesson we had set for the rest of the week decides to cancel on us as well! So not only did none of our plans work for that day, we lost everyone we were going to visit for the rest of the week. This is about how Thursday, Friday, and Saturday went as well. Except on Saturday, we had originally planned to go to the temple visitor center with one of our investigators that was progressing really well. Not only does she cancel the trip, she decides she doesn't want to take the lessons anymore either. We got dropped by our investigator who had the most potential to be baptized. Literally, we are left with nothing now. Every investigator we had has either moved, dropped us, or we haven't been able to contact.

But not to worry, I'm in good spirits. I'm just taking this as a sign that we have other things to do. Something that our ward mission leader has been pushing is for us to visit the members and get them started on member missionary work. We have plenty of time this week to do that. Something else is that the youth leaders have come to us to ask us for help. The youth are struggling with their testimonies right now. Well we are already working with the young men, why not the young women as well. Plus we have this entire week free to go and visit them. Maybe all this happened because we are needed on a different front. Our focus needs to be shifted a bit and apparently the best way to do that was get rid of everything else. I don't know, but what I do know is that something good has to come out of this. One day after me and Elder Castillo got home, I was beyond frustrated with the area and the luck we were having. Then Elder Castillo pulls out a scripture. It is Alma 26:27, and it says,

"27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

This one hit home for me. I can literally relate to this scripture because not only was I pretty depressed, but it occurred to me that I am actually working among the Lamanites. Pretty weird relation but it's really true, and that helped me relate all the more to the scripture because I am in the exact same shoes as Ammon was. Ready to turn back and give up on it, but then the Lord comes just in the right time to say "Don't worry so much, go back and keep working. I know it’s hard but if you keep strong I will show you results." So overall, through the afflictions, if I try my best to try and make something work, I'll see success. If I can bear with patience the hardship, I am promised success. And that's all I really want, is to see that I'm actually doing something to make a difference. That scripture helped me to change my outlook on the situation and actually have a sense of hope of something better will come after this.

So not to worry! I may have had a bad week but I'm still in good spirits and looking for ways to improve now.

Love you guys so much and thanks for all your support!

Elder Biehn

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015 - Christmas Packages

This is an email I got from the mission office

Dear Missionaries, 

In anticipation of significantly increased mail and packages from home during December, the Mission Office Staff would like to remind you of the following:
1. Inform your family and friends to send Christmas mail early.
2. The US Post Office (USPS) will close at noon on December 24th.
3. You may want to consider having Christmas letters send directly to your apartment address, and packages, check with the Apartment Management to confirm they are willing to accept the deliver. (If they agree, check daily with them to retrieve your packages.)
4. Mail delivered to the Mission Office in Burke will be placed in the Zone Mail trays for the Zone Leaders to retrieve and deliver to you.
5. If you are transferred to a new area in early December, notify your parents of the change if they plan to send packages directly to you.
6. The Busiest time for the USPS is December 10-24; it is best to have all Christmas mal and packages mailed before the 10th.

Just go ahead and keep sending packages to the address you already have

Thanks! Love you!


November 9, 2015 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey guys!

So not much to really report on for this one. It's only been 3 ½ days since my last letter so not much has changed. There is something I forgot to mention in my last letter though. There just so happens to be a greenie in my district now as well. That's right, fresh from the MTC. The other elder that stayed is training him so me and Elder Castillo see them every so often, but wow, I remember when I came out. Granted that was only like 7 months ago when I came to Virginia but still, I've changed a ton from that point.

As far as the work is going, things are picking up. We are having more lessons and our investigators are actually starting to progress! I don't know, it must be that greenie fire that everyone always talks about. Whenever a new missionary comes to the field, it seems like the entire area gets set on fire and the blessings start flowing in. I don't know what's going on or why it changed, but what the heck, I'm going to enjoy it while I can!
Oh yeah, it's starting to get COLD here. Here comes winter... My first real one.

Love you guys and I'll talk to you next week!


Elder Biehn

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November 5, 2015 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey Everybody!

Ok, so the reason I had to switch my P-day from Monday to Thursday this week is because we were having some meetings earlier in the week. Elder Anthony Perkins of the first quorum of the seventy came to our mission to give us some training. So we split up over two days, half the mission had a meeting with him on Monday, and the other half had their meeting on Tuesday. This wasn't just any meeting though, this was full on training course that lasted the whole day, from 9 am to 4 pm. So it was a SUPER long meeting but it was so good. Elder Perkins knows what he is doing. He had a ton of insight and wisdom on just about everything we needed as a mission; how to learn, how to teach, using the Book of Mormon, using preach my gospel, everything. I could tell for sure that he knew exactly what revelation is and how to follow it. Some interesting facts about being in the first quorum of the seventy is that it is actually a full time calling. He has his P-Day just like we do, but he spends the rest of the week working at the church headquarters. He works directly with the apostles and the crazy thing is that he knows them personally! He told us of an experience he had where he was on a visit with President Nelson to some country (I forget exactly where). Well President Nelson wanted to go swimming but Elder Perkins had forgotten his swim suit. Luckily President Nelson had an extra pair, so they went swimming. Then it hits Elder Perkins, he swimming in a swimming pool with one of the apostles, in HIS swimming suit! So yeah, he knows each of the apostles personally which is so cool.

This past week, as I'm sure you're all aware, was Halloween. For us as missionaries, we aren't allowed to be out at night on Halloween. Makes sense, probably not the safest time to be out teaching. So that night all the missionaries in my zone went to a member’s house and it was a blast. They had food and all sorts of games like table tennis and foosball. The best part of Halloween though is that it is the one time during the year that we get to stay indoors and watch a movie. Yes, an actual movie! Nothing too crazy of course but still it's a real movie. We watched "The Cokeville Miracle" and I thought it was pretty awesome. It's definitely a good movie and recommend you guys watch it. It's kind of cheesy at times but good none the less. It is based off of the situation a while back in Cokeville, a small town, where some mad man held the elementary school hostage with a bomb. Well, miraculously, none of the students or teachers lose their life and this movie covers exactly how many miracles took place that day to make sure that whole school stayed safe. It is awesome and definitely a tear jerker. It's kind of funny at some parts because they try their hardest not to make it Mormon based so when people pray they say "Dear God" instead of "Dear Heavenly Father." Or when they go to church they don't give any signs of it being a Mormon church even though it clearly is. Like the people are only caring around a bible and stuff like that. But the dead give away that this was a Mormon community was that at the end they are singing a primary song. Now I'm pretty sure we are the only ones that use this song so it was almost like at the end they were saying, "Yep, you guessed it! We are Mormons!" Haha. Awesome movie.

Well, quite an eventful week for me. To add to it, I forgot to mention that we had transfers as well! As for me, I didn't get transferred out, but pretty much everybody else did. Seriously, in this past transfer there were eight of us, 4 elders and 4 hermanas. Well, they shut down one area of hermanas which means my district is now down to only 4 elders and 2 hermanas serving in this ward. Then one of the other hermanas got transferred out along with Elder Bernay (my companion) and then one of the other elders as well. So out of the original eight that was here, there are only 3 left. This makes it some much harder, not only work wise because now there aren't as many of us, but also emotionally because the two that stayed are the ones I didn't know as well. So basically all the friends I made over the past month and a half are gone and I have to start over... Again. As for my new companion that I have, Elder Castillo, it's kind of difficult, not because he is hard to get along with but because he is from Honduras. So there is a bit of a language barrier still. Don't get me wrong, I can speak Spanish just fine to him but not really about things that would be of interest like hobbies or sports. Those words just aren't in my vocabulary right now. Thankfully though, this will force me to speak in Spanish more and be able to practice it every hour of every day. By the end of our time together, I should be speaking like a native! So that is something I am looking forward to.

So that was my week. Pretty crazy to say the least. But it's working itself out and I am readjusting to the new way of doing things. Oh, not to mention I'm the senior companion now because I've been out for 8 months and Elder Castillo has been out for 5 months. So now I'm the one with more experience and I have to not only lead this area but also set the example for a younger missionary. It should be interesting....

Love you guys and I'm going to see if my P-Day stays on Thursday or if it changes back to Monday. I'll figure that out. Bye!

Elder Biehn

Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2, 2015 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update Postponed

Hey guys!

So I won't be writing today. The reason is that we are having mission wide meetings and it throws our whole schedule off. So the entire mission will be moving our P-day to Thursday. I will write my letter then. Sorry about that, Bye!

Elder Biehn