Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31, 2016 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey guys!
Sonic the Hedgehog

So this has been quite the eventful week. A lot of things happened that were pretty cool. First of all, I hit my 20 month mark this past Tuesday so that is super exciting! Then also today is going to be a fun day since it's Halloween! We aren't allowed to go out so we get to hang out in the church and watch a movie. Wow, I remember last Halloween and I can't believe it's been a year already. Pretty awesome! Our ward also had its Trunk or Treat this past Friday and it made me miss being able to dress up so much. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays just because it's super fun! I mean, how often do you get to dress up in some weird costume and people don't look at you funny?? Oh well, next year I'll be able to enjoy it anyways, at the trunk or treat there some cool costumes. This one goes out to my brother who loves sonic the hedgehog.

These are the kids of a family I worked with a lot back in Little River. They ended up moving and are now in Old Town so it's really cool to get to see them again.

"Your Trunkies"
Another cool thing that happened is that I got a really important letter in the mail on Wednesday from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This specific letter is something the mission calls "your trunkies." Basically a letter telling you that you are almost done with your mission and that you need to stay focused during your last weeks in the mission. Trust me this is a huge deal for any missionary.

Also this week I had a pretty firm reminder of just how difficult it is to be a missionary when you try to judge your effectiveness off of how many people you try to baptize. You see this week we had a pretty decent plan of who we were going to visit and which of our people we were going to put on date. Every single thing we planned fell through. Everything. Like it was one of the hardest weeks I've had in a while but on Saturday I realized that I can't judge myself based on other people's actions. My purpose as a missionary is to "invite other to come unto Christ," not to go and 'baptize everyone.' This especially rang true to me as we were driving home Saturday night. It was just "one of those days" because literally every single plan we had fell through. But you know what, I didn't feel bad about it one bit. I came home tired because I had worked my tail off. Planning, confirming plans, tracting around where we go, adjusting plans when lessons fell through, more finding. When something would fall through we would just knock doors in that area. It wasn't all a waste. We were able to manage 2 return appointments for the upcoming week.

Overall it's hard to determine success as a missionary because 100% of the success you have is determined by other people. They have to be home, they have to let us in, they have to choose to act on the message. I came home feeling like a successful missionary, not because I got a ton of lessons but because I knew I tried as hard as I could. That is a what makes a successful missionary. I'm grateful for the experience I had on Saturday to realize this once again. I know that this is the Lords work and that it will move forward, I just needed to relearn a lesson I've already been taught so many times so that way I don't focus on how much I'm not getting but how much I am able to accomplish. Preach My Gospel says no effort is wasted as a missionary and that is so true. Now I'm looking forward to this upcoming week because I'm ready to work!

I love you guys and have a great Halloween!

Elder Biehn

Signs in Spanish

This is how ghetto my area is.  The signs are all in Spanish rather than English. Remember I'm still in VIRGINIA.  

Then there's this. This is my absolute favorite.

O'Henry Bars!

I got a Halloween package from my parents as well. With a little piece of home included. Delicious O'Henry bars!

Probably my favorite part of that whole package.

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24, 2016 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey guys!

I'm gonna start off by saying that this week seemed to drag by. Like some of the lessons we had this week seems like we had them a month ago. I don't know why, it just felt super slow!  Anyways, it was a good week. We had a lot of success when it came to our less actives and investigators. I think we had a total of 12 lessons this week which is pretty good for a week. One of the lessons we planned out was for our investigator family, La familia De Leon. They are awesome! Basically the definition of "dry Mormons" haha. We are almost always over there. Now, about the lesson we had, it was focused on the apostasy and me and Elder Artinger made a neat little surprise for them. We had......
Apostasy Cups
BAM!! APOSTASY CUPS! This is probably one of the best object lessons I know of and for such a confusing topic as the apostasy too. It took me and Elder Artinger two days to put these together. Let me just say many Ensigns/Liahonas were destroyed in the process of making these.

But you know what. These are best apostasy cups I have ever seen! Now getting to the lesson, it was an awesome lesson. Probably one of the best apostasy lessons I've had my whole mission. The De Leon family has 3 little kids that are 10 or younger, so you can imagine how energetic they are, but they are all super well behaved too! I was pretty surprised at how involved in the lesson they were because they were paying attention and answering all the questions! It was awesome. The cartoon images we put on really made it fun for the kids and then to build the tower, see it fall down, then rebuild it was super fun for them. Not only did it help the kids but the parents seemed to really get a good understanding from it too. Like I said, one of the best apostasy lesson I've had in my mission.
Beautiful view of the city scape!

Hmm what else....oh yeah. We had a crazy wind storm pass by a couple of days ago. It was so windy and it didn't help that it was like 50 degrees and the wind chill factor made in even colder, and I was wearing a short sleeve shirt! Haha. But windy days are my favorite, especially being in the city because it blows all the smog away and leaves you with this...

Beautiful view of the city scape! Really clear and overall awesome! The leaves are starting to change color and so in the next few weeks this place is going to be looking nice! Fall is definitely my favorite season.

Zone Conference
One more thing. We had zone conference this past week, and the ENTIRE meeting was focused on MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK. I cannot stress the importance of this topic. It especially applies to us because working in the city is basically nothing but member work. Most of the apartments here are lock outs, we have a list of 100 million less actives, and the only way to get to these people are through the members. Not to mention that when we, as missionaries, work with the members to find and teach investigators they have so much more potential to stay active after baptism. I'm going to let you all in on a secret. A secret that I've discovered over the course of my mission. The key to missionary work is.... THE MEMBERS. 😲 whoa! No way, really?? Yeah! This is nothing new, it's been said by missionaries, leaders, preach my gospel, even President Hinckley, the prophet, said that was the key to missionary work! It was quite an awesome and encouraging zone conference. It really made me want to get out there and get to know all the members in this Ward, because if I can do that things will be going good.

Here's a little pic of the lunch we had as well.

Love you guys and I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Biehn

Oh by the way. I messed up on my address. It's actually

3602 South 14th Street Apt #207
Alexandria, VA 22302

My bad

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17, 2016 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey everybody!

This was a bit of a slow week. It really seemed to drag on because we were doing a lot of finding. And I mean A LOT of finding. We have about 4 solid people that we are teaching right now and a lot of less actives. Don't get me wrong, I love less active work because some of these people have had the worst experiences but we are helping them to experience miracles. There is just so many of them here. Like honestly, "Welcome back to the city Elder Biehn, here is your list of 100+ less actives in your area." Being a missionary in the city is mostly less active work 😂 but I do love getting to know these people. I'm so thankful that my mission has really taught me how to be a people person so that way I can connect with these people and be their friend rather than just their missionary. There are some elders in my district who are nothing but missionary robots and it's honestly pretty awkward being with them because they don't know how to talk to people about anything besides the gospel, ha! Anyways, back to the finding. Me and Elder Artinger have been wanting to grow our teaching pool of investigators so we've been hitting the streets a lot. And as we all know, every big city has its slums. Well, that's where we always go, you find some of the most humble people there.

Tracting in "Chirilagua"
For example here's me tracting in a place called "Chirilagua." I honestly felt like I was back in Mexico when I go here. I don't know why but I just love being out in the ghetto areas and talking to everyone there.

Then Sundays are always the most stressful days for missionaries. Want to know why? Well, when a random person gives you a call the morning of and says he wants to go to church and you don't know where he lives or how he's gonna get there. Then you scramble to try and find a ride only to find out he lives outside of your area but it's already too late because he is ready and the member is there to pick him up. So you just go with it and then this is also his first experience going to a Mormon church so you are trying to make sure everything works and are answering all of his questions. Then making sure he has a ride home, it all adds up to a pretty stressful day. There is a reason P-Day comes right after Sunday... haha, then me and Elder Artinger had a missionary correlation meeting with our Ward mission leader right after church.
Eating our to-go meal

Here is us sitting down for the first time on Sunday so that way we could eat our to-go member dinner and then head back out to our appointments 30 minutes later. Only to come to realize that every lesson we had planned fell through and we were stuck with more finding and contacting. Yes, Sundays are stressful as a missionary.

But other than that things are good. Stress is just a part of missionary life and when things actually work out for once, it's the greatest feeling in the world.

Another mildly shocking/scary experience we had. We were giving the other elders a ride to their apartment after our correlation meeting. As we were driving there was this lady and her dog walking on the side of the road, but the dog didn't have a leash. (I think you can already tell where this is going). Next thing we know the dog darts out into the middle of the road right in front of us, and this lady tries to grab it. Thankfully she realizes it's stupid to jump in front of a car to try and save a dog and she just watches in horror as she realizes she is about to watch her little dog get murdered. Luckily, Elder Artinger was able to slam on the brakes and swerve in order to avoid the dog. The lady was in shock but thankfully everything was ok and no one/thing died. Just a close call is all.

Well, that's basically the most of my hectic week. I hope everyone had a bit more of a relaxing week than I did. But hey that's all a part of the mission! Close calls and people's salvation!

Love you guys and talk to you next week!

Elder Biehn

Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10, 2016 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey everybody!

The first one: Kids Never Lie. Pretty self-explanatory, but here's the story behind this one. So me and Elder Ramos had gotten quite a few referrals from the Temple Visitor Center that was just across the river in Maryland and we had been trying to contact all of them. This is a lot harder than you think because these people seemingly are never home and don't know how to answer their phone. But we were able to get in contact with one of them and schedule a lesson, the Hermana that had met them in the Visitor center also was talking to her. So we stop by but she was busy, however her "husband" (not actually married but just living together and had kids 🤔) was home and so we taught him. It was a pretty good lesson and we had high hopes for them. We set up a return appointment and head off. Fast forward a week and no one answers for our return appointment BUT it was General Conference weekend and the hermana from the Visitor center got them to commit to coming to see a session. She has been talking to her on the phone this whole time. So we go Sunday morning to check on them and help them get to the church. She answers the door and promises us she will be coming and we set up a return appointment for next Tuesday. Well, once again a no show. She bailed on us so we go back for our return appointment on Tuesday. We knock on the door and there is no answer for a little bit but we hear people inside so we keep knocking. Eventually her little girl answers the door with her mom chasing behind her. I'm thinking, ok finally we can get a lesson with them. This is where it gets good. We ask if her husband is home and she tells us that he still hasn't gotten back from work. Then all of a sudden her little girl turns to her and says "Mommy you're lying, he's in the shower right now." Then she turns to us and tells us, "He's in the bathroom because he's showering. Mommy is lying to you." I heard the shower in the background as well. BUSTED. So me and Elder Ramos just look at her and she had this look of a complete child who got caught with their hand stuck in the cookie jar. Needless to say we were not too happy about that. But I won’t know what happens with her because that leads into the next bit of news.

We had transfers this past week and we'll, I GOT TRANSFERRED. Yet another one and done in a really good Ward. I admit, I was pretty upset to see that I was getting transferred but the good news is I'm in another really good Ward. I'm saying goodbye to the ghetto of Manassas and heading back to the city! I'm in Alexandria now serving in the Old Town Ward. I've heard a lot of good things about this Ward so I'm super excited to be here. And my new companion is super cool  too. His name is Elder Artinger and he is from Reno, Nevada. Here's

Elder Artinger
My old district from Sudley

To be honest I'm pretty excited to be back in the city because I've spent the majority of my mission in the city so it's pretty nice. And here's my old district from Sudley, I'm definitely going to miss them cause we were super close.

But now I'm in Old Town and I'm looking forward to this next transfer.

So the last story is actually a pretty crazy one. It basically shows that I'm serving where all the crazies are at. Ok here's the story. After church we had a dinner with a sister in the Ward and she invited all 6 elders in the Ward to dinner. Well two of them couldn't make it so we had to drive all the way down to the south area which is like a 30 minute drive to go pick up the other 2 elders. Those guys are on bike and then can literally get nowhere. So we went to go pick them up at a clinic because one of them needed to get a tick bite looked at. Long story short we exchanged and the other elders left to go to the dinner and I stayed with the elder in the clinic. Well, 5 minutes after they left, we finished and so I send a text to the other elders to tell them to come back. Then I hear their phone go off and I realize we have both phones and no way to contact them. So we are stuck with no car, no dinner, and both phones. Then the crazy part happens. So me and the other elder are in the most ghetto part of the city and we are out walking at dusk. That's when all the crazies come out. Like, we literally were walking down the street and this guy just kneels down and starts bowing to us. And this happened like 3 times just walking down this one road.

Well, there's my extensive letter. Probably one of the longer letters I've written but man a lot has happened this week.

Love you guys and have a great week!

Elder Biehn

Monday, October 3, 2016

October 3, 2016 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey Everybody!

I hope you all had a good General Conference! I know I did. I loved the speakers that were there, they all gave great talks. They answered a lot of the questions that I had which is why it was such a good conference for me. This is why the gospel is so amazing, we get to listen to the prophet and apostles who receive revelation for us every six months! Who else can say that?? I love Conference because it's always a revelatory experience for me of how I can improve and what I can do better. This one was especially special because it's number 4 of 4. Yep, my last Conference of the mission. Man, I remember sitting in the Mexico MTC watching my very first Conference of the mission, thinking "wow I still have 3 more conferences after this." Well, they're all done now! Now I'm more determined than ever to make the last 4 months that I have some of the greatest on my mission. 

We ended up watching conference in almost all Recent Converts homes. The session on Saturday we watched with Pedro, the guy that got baptized 4 weeks ago, where he is living. Then Sunday morning in the church, and Sunday afternoon with Luis and Kathy, the family that got baptized last week. So this was a great weekend.

Some other stuff that happened this week is that is official Fall! No more hot weather! It's been so nice lately with the changing of the seasons. The last week has been almost nonstop clouds and rain. But the past two day have been sitting at a nice mid-70 degrees. We had a pretty huge rainstorm on Wednesday where we literally couldn't even get to our car without getting drenched. So one brave elder sacrificed himself to bring the cars to us!
 We also recorded the whole adventure of trying to get the cars off of the patio of the church which was super funny. It was raining so hard, haha!

Let's see here, something I've been studying a lot about lately has been the Savior. I wanted to know exactly how the atonement works and applies to everyone even when people don't want to live the way God has commanded and still think they will be saved. Well, Alma 42 summed that up really nicely. Basically, the atonement is there for us to apply mercy, so that way God is a merciful God. But he can't be that way with everyone because he still needs to be a just God. So how do the two co-exist? Well, it's through the atonement. Because of the atonement Jesus has already suffered for our sins and all we need to do is ask for forgiveness. It's readily available because the price has already been paid! But then there are the people who are too proud to repent, thinking that God will save them no matter what. Doesn't work that way! We have to live according to the rules and guideline he has placed for us, and if we don't, then we are denying ourselves the blessings and overall salvation. So don't go through this life thinking that God will save us anyways, or that we can just repent later. What happened in the parable of the 10 Virgins? 5 were ready to meet the bridegroom, 5 were not. These 10 virgins each apply to us as Latter Day Saints. Some saints will be ready for the Second Coming, others will not be because they haven't been living in accordance to all of God’s commandments. Not everyone will be placed into the celestial kingdom, we have to do our part in order to earn our salvation. It's such a simple idea but such a complex process. What we need to do as Latter Day Saints is live ALL of Gods commandments. Only by that can we be happy. And God is there to help us along the way! He wants us to succeed! He wants to bless our lives. We just have to trust in him and his plan and use the atonement to better our own lives.

Well, that's what I've learned over the past 19 months. There's my rant because I'm tired of seeing people who say they believe in God and Jesus Christ but literally do nothing and think grace will save them in the end. Doesn't work that way.

What brings this up is that we've been doing pretty much non-stop finding this past week. We kinda accidentally baptized all of our investigators so now we have no one to teach. Weird situation, I know. First time I've come across it in my mission actually, but that's a story for another day.

Love you guys and pray for us to find more people to teach and that we can receive miracles!


Elder Biehn