Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Epistle - 12.16.09

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Life is continuing apace. My car now also has new front tires. My apartment has picked up the Magic Bullet Strawberry Bananna smoothie breakfast tradition that I used to do in Derwood. I've discovered that Grape Nuts are actually pretty delicious after a sudden urge to live The Word of Wisdom a little more fully, And my voice is now almost back to normal after losing it completely last Wednesday night while I was sleeping. ("Hey, Where'd I put that thing anyways?")

We had a fun experience yesterday. We had a pretty empty day, with really nothing to do all afternoon, so we were going to go check on some people and see if we could find them home (People we'd talked to before or Members of the church who don't come out very often).

About the second or third place we went, we were walking down a stairwell in an apartment complex and a man was coming out of his apartment. Elder Luk said hello to him and asked if he'd ever spoken to missionaries like us before. The man replied that he was a member and was new to the ward. I asked him "So when did you move in?" He answered "Well... I'm trying to right now". We asked if we could help and he said if we wanted to. So we took off our suit coats and went to see the situation. He had rented the Truck at 7:30 Monday morning, and had finished packing past midnight, when only 2 people showed up to help him and they didn't really know what they were doing. He had then driven his truck from Connecticut to Northern Maryland and had only just arrived and gotten the key to his apartment when we ran in to him at 12:30pm Tuesday. So he had been up about 30 hours, had eaten some oatmeal and a granola bar, had just arrived with a truck full of stuff and had no one to help him unload. Needless to say it was a not so small miracle we arrived when we did. We called up the French Elder in the ward and asked them what they were up to. They said they were on their way to help a member rake some leaves. I told them that was perfect that they were already in service clothes, and that they should probably call the member and tell him the situation we were in and he'd probably let them come help us. We then spent about 5 hours moving all of this mans stuff in to his apartment, just in time to make it to our next appointment.

It's so fun to be On the Lord's Errand. We arrive exactly where we're supposed to be when we're supposed to be there and Elder Luk felt prompted to talk to just the man that needed to see us.

I love each of you and hope you have a very good Christmas season.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Epistle - 12.9.09

Howdy Everyone!

Time is short today. We have to be at the Bishop's house in one hour for dinner, and we haven't shopped for Groceries yet. Then another hour and we need to be at the car dealership to pick up our Malibu, and 15 minutes later we need to be at our apartment to meet a member who's going out with us tonight to meet a couple people.

I think the only way to keep this night on schedule is prayer power, can I get an Amen?

Well Mission life is still awesome. The Church is still true.

I've got another new Elder with me now, Elder Thompson showed up 2 weeks in to the transfer straight from the MTC. He's waiting for his Visa to go to the West Indies to speak Dutch in Suriname. Pretty cool. He's from Salt Lake and is really tall. He can dunk (We played some Ball this morning).

So Elder Thompson is straight from the MTC and Elder Luk has been out 2 months, and my roomates go home in 4 weeks and 10 weeks respectively, and I'm sort of in the middle. Diverse apartment, eh?

I love you all. I'm happy and healthy, and pray that you are the same.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Friday, November 27, 2009

Epistle 11.25.09

Good Wednesday Everyone!

I've been transferred. I'm now in the Gaithersburg area. I live in the same appartment I did when I was in Montgomery Village, so it's familiar, but I'm also doing something entirely new, I'm in my first Car area, so that should be fun.

My companion is Elder Luk. He is from Hong Kong and this is his second transfer. President did something new this transfer, he moved all of the trainers around with each other's trainees. I'm with Elder Kelly's "kid", Elder Kelly is with Elder Hawke's "kid" and Elder Hawkes is with Elder Levie's "kid". My trainee, Elder Grady is with a SOLID Elder named Elder Chandler, great guy.

I had a lot of fun in my 3 months return to the Inner City. The DC 3rd ward is one of President Mansell's favorite wards, and we had an All-Star district. Absolutely NO weak links, all just trying to keep up with each other, the best it gets.

Life is great out here. It really is. I wish all of you could see the world the way we see it, completely removed from distraction and care, we see the world as nothing more than Man's relationship with God, and everything else is just a distraction from that.

I love you all, I wish the best for you.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Epistle - 11.18.09

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Transfers is next week. Call outs is this coming Monday. I'd say chances are 50-50 I stay/go. I'm really not sure what is going to happen. makes life exciting!

Elder Walker, of the 1st quorum of the 70 was in our mission this week, and addressed us at zone conference. It was a very neat experience.

One of the things he talked about was in response to the fact that many of our missionaries are headed home soon, so he spoke a little about going home, and said something interesting.

He said something along the lines of, "People will tell you that it is impossible to keep your spirituality as high as it is here on your mission. They will say that it is not reasonible to try to keep the spirit that much. This is a LIE. Satan wants you to believe that you can't have the spirit with you all the time when you get home. If you do the things that bring the spirit, and avoid the things that drive the spirit away, you will have the spirit with you just as you do here. In fact, it might be even MORE important for you to have it when you get home, because you will be making critical life decisions, and you will be exposed to a lot more temptation."

I thought that was a very interesting thought.

I had another thought that was my own musings about Elder Walker, and about our mission. This transfer another large group of Elders will leave. Several of the Elders that are leaving have been pillars of this mission during their time here. In my own words, they are our "Heroes" they are the missionaries that we have looked to as examples this whole time, and they are leaving. They will soon all be gone, and the weight of the mission will fall on my generation. We will need to be the heroes to inspire the next generation of missionaries.

Now missions have the funny habit of being full of parallels with real life, packed into a condensed form in 2 years. Which is where Elder Walker came in to the thought. We in my generation have grown up with "Heroes" to look to. President Hinckley, President Monson. All of the brethren of the 12. We look to them as examples of how we can apply the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. We now that Jesus Christ is the perfect example, and in fact he is actually the example of being an example. Those who follow the example of Christ, become examples for those around them. They stand and do what he Himself would do, and show others the way towards Him. Now these men, who have been our heroes and examples, will eventually be gone. There will come a day when all of the church leaders I've known from my youth will be gone, and it will fall to MY generation, to US, to bear the weight of the kingdom. We will need to be the Apostles, the 70's, the Bishops, the Stake Presidents, the Mission Presidents, the Gospel Doctrine Teachers, the Ward Organists, the Primary Presidents. We will need to fill the kingdom with leadership, and if we don't, it will collapse. We will be the tools God has put in place, and we will have to do our parts.

A lot of musings this week. Remember this though, Christ is the example of being an example. He showed us how to show others how. Christianity does not implode, it explodes. It starts by changing the very core of your being, and then procedes outwards to bless and touch as many people as you possibly can.

I love you all.

Keep being great.

Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Epistle - 11.11.09

The Date is WHAT!?

Time flies. How are all of you doing? I hope well.

It's been another fun week in the life. There are two weeks left in the transfer, it has just flown by.

I'm afraid I'm about out of time, but know that life out here is amazing, I'm having a blast, learning a lot, and growing a lot.

Tonight we will be ushering at an Inter-Faith concert, and that should be fun.

Love you all!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Epistle - 11.4.09

Hello All!

Another wonderful week in the exciting land of DC. The weather is starting to cool down here, reaching below freezing at night out in the suburbs, but staying in the 40's at night here in down town. Down town is definitely the place to be in the winter, staying a pretty constant 10 degrees warmer than out in the suburbs.

Last week apparently I was just doing far too well when I e-mailed you, so I made sure to balance it out by getting sick again. Another fever, this time grabbing Some Tylenol Cold and Airborne, instead of last time's Sudafed PE (I've got to have variety in life!) and a Friday spent getting some paperwork done inside with a fleece on and voila I'm back and having fun again!

This week I'll share another funny miracle story with you

Last Sunday was Fast Sunday, where we go without food and drink until dinner time to come closer to God, and Sunday night was a Family Home Evening at President Mansell's house, and we ended up not having any time to eat before heading off to President Mansell's house. We brought Amanuel, who was confirmed Oct. 25th, and his wife and daughter came, who have not yet begun investigating the church so that was a big deal. We also invited another Ethiopian we're working with named Dawit. When we went to pick up Dawit we ended up having to park across a busy street from his house. I called him and told him to come across the street and we were waiting for him, then I stood outside the car so he could see me when he left his house. Right as he got to the street corner a whole pack of cars came from both directions. We were running late, and in my state of fasting an image of Moses parting the red sea came to mind, so I said a quick prayer in my heart, asking God to part these cars as He had parted the Red Sea for Moses long ago, so that we could get going since we were already late. I looked to my left just as the traffic light there turned yellow. I looked to my right, this one was a bit more stubborn, the flashing crosswalk signal was still at 2 seconds, but obediently counted down 2, 1, 0, yellow light. Looked to my left, red light. Looked to my right, red light. Not 3 seconds after that silent prayer Dawit crossed the street and we went off to our Family Home Evening. Coincidence? You can think so if you like. I'll play it safe and call it a miracle, wouldn't want to write off anything God does for fear of condemnation, you know?

Well all is lovely in lovely Washington DC. We have a General Authority coming in a couple weeks (One of the 70), so that should be fun.

I love you all. Keep me posted on life!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Epistle - 10.28.09

Good Wednesday everyone!

Everything here is going well. To share the best experience of the week I'm going to copy and paste an excerpt from my weekly letter to my Mission President, in the interest of time.

Last night we had an amazing experience. Two appointments dogged us, so we went to our backup of tracting a street on the other side of our area at 7:00 at night in the rain. We finished one side of the block, and at the corner on the other side was a church building. The house next to it wasn't on the property of the church, but it was a very nice looking house, and seemed like it just might be the preacher. With a grin and a bit of a joke about how we could convert the whole congregation by getting the preacher, we knocked on the door, only to have it answered by an older white man in ordinary clothes, but with a cross hanging from his neck. It turns out his name is Norm, and he is a Presbyterian minister. We sat down and I asked him some friendly questions about his denomination and the organization of his faith, very aware of my role as an official representative of our church, and knowing my duty to convey our respect for our Christian brethren. After a few minutes of that he said "now tell me about your church, you've very politely listened to me."

I very briefly outlined the basics of Christ's church, apostasy and restoration, and he commented "Oh if you had said you were Latter-Day-Saints I would have recognized you, I just didn't know the name of this "Munson" you spoke about" I explained he was the 16th president of the church and prophet of this dispensation (And that his name was Monson!).

I asked him if he had any questions that he wanted answers, intending for him to ask about our faith. He took the question differently and started detailing some details in the Bible he was searching for answers about. Specifially he referenced a time when it says within the councils of heaven an angel agrees to put a lying spirit within 400 prophets to send King Ahab to his death, that confused him, and he talked a little bit about his wondering if Everyone was saved or not, and specifically voiced his wonder about people who never hear about Christ. I bore my testimony to him that there were answers within our message, and God wanted him to have them. I asked him how, if God wanted him to know the answers, would God tell him. He answered through revelation. I agreed and asked, In the case of King Ahab how did God reveal the truth to him? And he answered "By sending a prophet". I again bore testimony that God had sent a prophet to us to answer all these things, and brought out The Book of Mormon, asking him what he knew of its origins. He explained he knew about the golden plates and translation in to English by God's power. I shared the promise from Moroni Chapter 10 with him and he explained he had heard the verses before, and had in fact received his first copy of the Book of Mormon while in High School. He explained he couldn't promise to reading the Book a lot because of how busy he was, and readily agreed when I suggested that we leave a couple of chapters. We left Alma 32 and 3 Nephi 11, and committed him to read them before we came to see him again and pray in the name of Christ to know whether they were true.

I believe this was the scariest, most intimidating experience I've yet had in my mission. It was made more scary because he was honestly listening to us, not simply rejecting what we had to say. That meant that we honestly had an opportunity to teach him, and I was terrified that I wouldn't know what to say.

Scared as I was, with a fervent prayer for guidance in my heart I spoke with a clarity and conviction, teaching in a way so perfectly situated, linking together every concern he had raised that I could never claim the words as my own.

It was biking home from that appointment that I was filled with a desire to be ever worthy of such experiences, and to stay clean from the world. I wanted to do it for Norm, and I wanted to do it for however many others I may yet be able to touch in my life.

As I stand today President, I feel very good.

Well that was one of the more exciting experiences of this week.

Also, Amanuel was confirmed last Sunday. He is ready to go and help us teach all of the Ethiopians here. We run in to a TON of ethiopians, many of which speak very little English. We have been telling President Mansell that we need an Amharic program but in the meantime now we have Amanuel on our side, a man who truly fell in love with the Book of Mormon. He told us once, "Every time I read this book, I feel happy!" And on the day of his baptism he said, "Today is a very good day in my life". Yes it is Amanuel, yes it is.

I love you all. I hope you are all doing at least half as well as I am doing, because if you were you'd all be having a great time!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Epistle - 10.16.09

Hello everyone!

I have a new companion. His name is Elder Grady, from Bountiful, Utah. He seems like a very good guy, and I'm excited to work with him.

That also means another transfer in the City, on a Bike, in the Winter. Bring it on!

The weather has been crazy lately. Tuesday was about 70, and Wednesday was about 50, and no that is not an exaggeration. 20 degrees temperature drop in 24 hours, plus rain. Lots of rain. In the spring we had the short torrential downpours that stopped, now we're getting a more Seattle rain. lighter but constant. Actually the weather has been reminding me of Seattle a lot, which is sort of nice.

Amanuel was baptized last Saturday, which was a wonderful service. He was so well prepared. Plans are he will be confirmed on Sunday, but we'll see, his life is not easy and he is not in complete control of his schedule.

We also committed two new people to baptism on Tuesday, Tamika, a 22ish year old mother of one, and Shanea, a 24ish year old mother of two. Their dates are for November first and eighth respectively. They will both have to put a lot of work in to prepare, but I am absolutely confident the Lord will prepare the way when they do their part.

I love you all, and appreciate all your support.
I apologize my epistles are not as long as they might be, but as many of you are aware we do have time limits for time spent e-mailing.

Love you all!
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Epistle - 10.7.09

Welcome to October friends!

We've been dealing with a bit of sickness in my apartment, but I've developed a loving relationship with Sudafed, and all seems to be going OK.

General Conference was incredible. I really enjoyed it. After the Saturday Morning session of General Conference Amanuel, whom we've been working with, said that he didn't want to keep waiting to be baptized, and wanted to know why it couldn't be sooner. So we said it could be sooner, and he will now be baptized next Saturday. He just had his interview yesterday and was found ready. Fun stuff!

Today was the "Death Temple Trip" meaning all the missionaries who are going home next week went to the temple, +their companions, +a bunch of other missionaries that show up just to see the departing missionaries for the last time. There were a lot of Elders but it was a great experience. I love the Temple!

In other news, next week P-Day and Transfers will be on Friday, Oct. 16th, instead of the usual Wednesday. This is because President Mansell is busy hosting a Mission President's conference in our Visitor's Center. So you won't be hearing from me until next Friday. Hope you can last the extra two days!

And the most important part:

I love you all.
You are in my prayers.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Epistle - 9.30.09

Tomorrow is October 1st, and will mark one full year in the mission field. It will also mark 10 months and 3 days left in the mission field.

It leads me to ponder: Have I changed? How have I changed? Have I changed enough?

I suppose time will tell the answers to those questions.

Elder Milne has been keeping remarkedly good focus as the end of his mission looms near, I've been very impressed that he has continued to function in full measure as a missionary ought to, many missionaries do not do nearly so well.

I heard a metaphor earlier this week that disturbed me. It was a very accurate metaphorical representation of an ideology that I have seen quite frequently on my mission, and to me it illustrated how strange the idea is to me.

A woman on the street told us that she didn't like any church that taught there was only one true church. To illustrate her thinking she said, "When I want to buy groceries I go to safeway, if they don't have what I want I go to Giant, or Shopper, or Aldi's, or Albertsons. Sometimes I get some things from one, and some things from another depending on the sales. That's like churches, everyone finds the one that works best for them."

I know that not everyone that reads these e-mails are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I do not in any way mean to offend anyone. But to lower the sacred bread of life, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ; to debase the Living Water which is his teachings to the level of common groceries offends me.

Any Christian, Jew, or anyone who respects the Bible could realize the absurdity if, when Moses came off the mount with the 10 commandments, the people told him they didn't like the commandments he had brought, and wanted him to make up some different ones, or they were going to go find another prophet to listen to.

Any Christian would realize how foolish it would've been for the Galatians or Ephesians to, having receieved the epistles written to them in the New Testament, turn around and say "We don't like you're teachings, we're going to go find somet other apostles who teach the way we like"

Then I ask anyone to explain to me, or to themselves, or to God what has changed. Why would it be acceptable for people today to shop around and find a preacher that teaches the way they like. Why today would MEN choose those who should preach the gospel, when throughout the entire history of this earth that choice has been made by God alone?

It is my testimony that today God is still God, and he is still choosing his servants to send to his people, and that in the year 1820 a young boy by the name of Joseph Smith was chosen by the God of Israel, The God of Jacob, Issac, and Abraham, to be raised up as an authorized prophet to the nations of this earth, through whom the priesthood authority of Jesus Christ was restored, the only authority by which any church may be governed and lead in righteousness.

Again, it is not my desire to offend in the least. But because I love you, I would ask you to humble yourselves before the Lord and start asking God these questions in prayer, and be open to the answers.

Salvation is too precious a gift to be casually slid in to. We must take these things seriously, or the consequences will be serious.

I appologize for no funny stories this week. My mind is deep in thought, and my heart is troubled.

Again, I love you all. If there is anything I can do for you, explain for you, or pray for you about please let me know.

Your friend and servant,
Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Epistle - 9.23.09

Hello Everyone!

Happy last week of September!

Life in the mission is going well! We're half way through the transfer, Elder Milne is doing very well keeping his focus.

Ammanuel, the Ethiopian man has a new Baptismal Date of Oct. 25th. He's having trouble coming to church because he gets called in to work and he needs the money bad. He and his wife and one of his daughters are here in the states so his daughter can get a new kidney. She's on dialysis right now. He left 3 children back home in Ethiopia. Rough situation.

Nana Smith is also on date for the 25th of October, and hopefully two of her 3 children will also be on date after tomorrow night.

The work is going well. It's always so much fun working in the District, people are so ready to change their lives for the better. They've seen where worldly ways lead, and they want something else.

One of my roommates, Elder Chandler, got his bike stolen. Poor guy. He got his stolen the same way, and probably by the same kids as stole my companion, Elder Milne's, bike a couple months ago. They both left it leaning up against a tree while they were 10-15 feet away talking to someone on their porch. The moment they turn their back the kids just jump on it and ride off. Can't possibly catch up.

Better lock my bike up!

I'm not sure what all to update you on this week...

OH I suppose there is one thing. I got a call on Friday and got asked to sing another Musical Number at the Why I Believe Fireside on Sunday night. It's in the same theater as the Nights of Music and Inspiration I often do, but those normally have around 40-50 people, and the Why I Believes normally have ~3-400. This was a fairly small Why I Believe but it still turned out to be a couple hundred people, which was fun. I sang a duet with Elder Chandler, who was in the BYU Men's Chorus, and Elders Killpack and Katsenbach played a duet accompaniment on the piano they made up for Come Come Ye Saints. Neither of them can read music, but they are very talented at playing by ear so it was an interesting, sort of pop version.

I love you all, I really do appreciate your prayers, drop me a letter and let me know how life is!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Epistle - 9.16.09

Good day friends!

Today was a Mission Sports Day. For the first time ever the entire mission got together to play some sports. Normally there is an anual half mission sports day, where the south half of the mission gets together, and the north half of the mission gets together, but today ALL of us were together. It was huge! and a lot of fun.

Time for some uplifting stories!

So the first takes place Sunday night. The week had gone a little rough. We hadn't really had a single teaching appointment hold, we hadn't gotten any new people to work with, things were looking pretty grim. So we prayed a lot about where the lord would have us go on Sunday night. We felt like we should go to the very north part of our area, so we decided to go check on an inactive member up there, and talk to everyone on the way. Now you also need to understand that the north part of our area is very rich, and rich people generally don't like seeing us around very much. But it's what we felt, so we went.

On the way we met some awesome people, who were obviously placed in our path, it was amazing. Then we reached the house of the inactive member we were going to check on.

He had a beautiful home with LOTS of windows, and a big glass front door. We went up to the door and knocked. After waiting a couple moments a man walked around the corner inside, but turned left into the kitchen instead of looking to the right at the door, so he seemed to not have heard our knock. The interesting part was that the man was wearing a T-Shirt... and nothing else...

At this point the brain enters a bit of shock. What do we do? This is the man we came to see... but... (or perhaps "butt" would be the truer word)

Well my companion made a quick decision. He turned around and hissed "RUN.". We quietly and quickly booked it off his porch, onto our bikes, and laughed hysterically all the way home.


I don't think that was very spiritually uplifting. (But it was funny right? =])

We'll move on to Monday then. My companion and are were biking along Missouri Ave, when my companion heard a lady call to us from her porch to our right, He stopped and we turned around to see her running off her porch after us. She turned out to be an amazing lady named Nita, who is so prepared to receive the gospel. She was open and listened to what we had to say and liked everything. She's awesome.

Now here's where it gets sort of interesting. We were only going on that street on our way home from an appointment. That appointment ended up being REALLY short because the man couldn't let us in the house because it wasn't his and the owner doesn't like us. Nita was about to leave for the library when she saw us. If the appointment had gone longer, we wouldn't have caught her, and if the appointment hadn't existed, we never would've been there.

Another thing, I didn't hear Nita call out to us. At all. And I have pretty good hearing. My companion DID hear Nita call to us from our right side. My companion is almost completely deaf in his right ear.

It's fascinating to me how many little miracles we could miss in life if we don't watch for them carefully. They happen in the simplest tender mercies are heavenly father grants to us, but the culmination of all of these little miracles, if observed, can nourish our testimony to higher plains than anything else.

I love you all. I appreciate all your prayers and support.

Be safe. Be good.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pictures of the Bear

A few more pictures. Again, explanations will follow when I have them.

I have an explanation for these tennis shots. Apparently, the boys used the Bear's camera, set on Continuous Shot mode and shot part of a tennis game. One picture every 1/2 second.

600 of them.

Luckily, Papa Bear edited it down and just sent us these two. Thanks, Papa Bear.

And life is spiffy!

A Few Good Pictures

I can't wait to get a few explanations for these pictures...but can I just say that our Mr. Bear is looking rather fabulous. And happy.

And did I mention he looks fabulous??

Without further ado....

Oooh....big guy in a black shirt! (Is that supposed to be The Rock??)

Our bear...singing something. In front of lots of people, no doubt. And sounding fabulous.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Epistle - 9.2.09

Hello Everyone!

So, I have been transferred! I am now back in the District, this time up in North East. We live in the RittenHouse, which supposedly used to be a well known place? I don't know... It's really nice though. It's the only missionary appartment that has computers to e-mail at in the building! That's nice.

Being in the District, I am, of course, still on a bike. I'm getting my money's worth out of that thing!

Next Tuesday I'll be singing in another Night of Music and Inspiration, but my accompaniest got transferred to the southern tip of the mission (Lexington Park), so a last minute accompaniest change to Elder Sheffield (He's the one who accompanied me in a musical number in the MTC)... that will be fun!

Well, being new to the area I don't know a whole lot about what's going on, but I hear we're going to have baptisms this transfer so I'm excited!

Love you all!
Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Epistle - 8.26.09

Good Wednesday Everyone!

Goodness life has been interesting this past week. Having two areas temporarily combined for 3 weeks is a very strange experience. We are constantly just running everywhere. Never a dull moment. We thought we were having a dull moment last night and then a member of the ward called us and said "Hey when are you guys going to get here for dinner?" Oh... of course we new we had a dinner appointment tonight... we're on our way! Be there in.. 10 minutes? Oh yes. Never a dull moment.

Transfers is next week, meaning call out monday is this coming monday. It is always an exciting time to see what might happen. Here comes my prediction, which is normally wrong :)

Elder Frizzell has two transfers left. Normally your last two transfers are spent in your "Death Area" an area where you will be happy and able to work a lot and enjoy the end of your mission. This complicates things because Elder Frizzell's companion is gone, so he would need to show the area to a new person. Normally I would assume both Elder Levie and I are staying together in the Derwood East area, BUT, I think the most logical thing to do would be to put Elder Frizzell in a fun death area, move me to Olney with a new companion, and give Elder Levie a new companion in Derwood East. We'll see what happens but there's Elder Adams's prediction!

Well I'm about out of time. This P-Day is very rushed due to an appointment that will cut our P-Day short by a couple hours (When it's only 8 in the first place!) but I suppose the work is the work!

I love you all. Thanks for all your prayers and support.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Epistle - 8.19.09

Good Wednesday Everyone!

Well our Mini-Missionary is gone. And Elder Cox is gone. So, we have gone from 5 people in our appartment, in 2 companionships, to 3 people in one companionship for the next 2 weeks.

Other than that I'm never really sure what to update you all on! We now cover 2 wards, meaning we are in church meetings from 7am to 4pm, which is different. It also means we are getting member meals most nights, which is also different from how it's been lately. And it means we are in a car, which is different.

Last week I got to go on an exchange with Elder Freeman, one of our Zone Leaders. The Zone Leaders cover a spanish area, so I got to do that for a day, it was fun. He also gave me a spanish->English dictionary, which I've been wanting for a while, and I snagged a copy of "El Libro De Mormon". I've already been talking to spanish people a lot on the street, but now that I'm actually taking a little bit of time to refine my ability to speak I can see the Lord truly magnifying it. I put in a little effort and there are huge dividends in the results, which has been fun to see.

In other news... I basically don't get any mail from anyone except my dad and my mom... so if anyone else wanted to drop me a line and say "Hi" it'd be greatly appreciated!

Elder Ted P. Adams
11700 Falls Rd.
Potomac, MD 20854

I love you all! Hope all is well!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Epistle - 8.12.09

Good Wednesday Everyone!

News to relate:

The Mini-Mission is going very well. John Newkirk, from the Suitland Ward in Southern Maryland is a very cool kid. He is 18, just graduated from high school, and has one of the most mellow personalities I've ever met. He is very willing to work with us and is very enjoyable to be around. I think Everyone's having a good time.

One of my roomates, Elder Cox, is finally leaving us. He's being transferred to a service mission in Utah. I think he will enjoy it there. Until transfers (In 3 weeks) Elder Frizzell will be once again combing areas with my area. The funny kicker is that because of the mini-missionary, I think we will be the only 4-person missionary companionship in the church! I can't think of another group of circumstances where a 4-person companionship would happen other than a mini-mission, so it's pretty funny :) We'll be splitting up and Bro. Newkirk will get to work a little bit harder than he might have intended! On Sunday he goes back home, and we will be in a 3-person companionship for the remaining 2 and a half weeks of the transfer.

I thought I would share an interesting think I noticed a little over a week ago. I don't THINK I've mentioned this before, if I have I'm sorry.

As you all know, at the beginning of the year I was asked to sing a duet at a leadership meeting where Elder Holland addressed the leadership of the DC North and South Missions. I was the only person in attendance who was not in a leadership position. I was speaking to the Assistants to the President after the meeting, who were responsible for choosing the musical number. I was told that there conversation went something along the lines of:

"Well, it's Tuesday. Who can have a musical number ready by Saturday that will be good?"

"Well, Elder Elsworth can play the piano.. and his companion Elder Anderson can sing all right"

"Ya but we need a really strong voice to sing"

"We need to call Elder Adams"

"Ya but there has to be someone in leadership that can do it!"

"Yes but we want it to be really good, on short notice, so we have to call him"

"Well.. I guess Elder Adams' voice lessons are going to pay off!"

And it was that last line I was thinking about. I was told that Elder Murri made that comment "Well I guess Elder Adams' voice lessons are going to pay off!"

This lead me to think, why did I start taking voice lessons? And I'm not certain if my parents even know the answer to this or not, I don't remember if I ever mentioned it to them. I remember very clearly when I decided to start taking voice lessons.

I was driving out of Bellevue Community College one day, and for some reason I had been thinking about the parable of the talents (I don't remember why). I thought, well... I have a talent for singing I guess, and I really like to sing. The parable says that if I don't develop that talent, it will get taken away.

That thought really bugged me. I enjoyed singing a lot, and really didn't want it to be taken away, so I thought to myself, I really need to start taking voice lessons and get more serious about singing.

It was that moment of pondering on one of Christ's parables that lead me to take voice lessons. It was taking voice lessons that lead me to be able to shake the hand of, and be taught by, and apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I had never before made the connection in my life of that blessing being linked to the pondering and application of the teachings of the savior. When that connection was made I truly felt even more blessed.

I know there is great power in following the promptings and teachings of the spirit. I know that our greatest joy in this life will come through humble and submissive obedience to the teachings of the Savior through his own words and through the words of all of his prophets who have ever lived, who do live, and who will yet live.

I love you all. I love to hear about your lives, please drop me a note.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Epistle - 8.5.09

That strange day that comes in every missionary's mission has come in mine...

I only have 364 days left as a full time missionary. One day less than a year. There is no more time for slacking off! It's time to work!

This week we have continued working with Dexter. He's a very intelligent, inquisitive man, with a very strong character (stubborn sometimes?) who is very genuinely interested in the church. Working with people like him can be a challenge because you have to cater more to how they want to be taught, and the pace they want to go at... but in the end they are worth it because they make wonderful members of the church.

We need to go shopping pretty quick so I'm short on time... so one last piece of fun news.

Our Mission President called us last night and told us we had been chosen to host a "Mini-Mission". These are defined a little different by different people so I'll explain exactly what he meant. An 18 year old young man from the Capitol ward (Just South of the DC limits) is going to be joining my companion and I on Sunday. He will follow all the rules, and be with us all day every day. He'll have a bed and a desk and be treated just as a normal missionary. He'll be with us for one full week.

That means that it's our job to make sure he has an awesome experience. But we're very excited for it :)

Hope you all have another wonderful week. I love you all!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Epistle - 7.29.09

What? July is almost over? That can't be true!

I'm closing in on the home stretch of my mission, and within a meer week will have less than a year left on my mission. Ladies and gentlemen, these are scary times.

On to the news.

My new companion, Elder Levie is awesome. He was homeschooled, so he sort of has that same rough, "I am me and i'm not quite sure what to do about it if you don't like it because I never went to public school" personality and sense of humor that I do. We get along very well. We work hard together, and we laugh hard together. Honestly, what more could you ask for in a companion?

Our area is going through a flush right now. My previous companion Elder Kelly held on to a lot of potential investigators and such that we hadn't talked to since I got there. Once he was gone we called through the list, left voice mails saying "Call us back if you're interested" and dropped about half of them.

We did the same thing to investigators. One of the most common methods of "Sifting" investigators is something called a "Conditional Baptismal Commitment". Basically you make sure the spirit is really strong by bearing testimony, etc, then you ask a question along these lines: "When you've prayed and asked God if our message is true, and have received an answer, and KNOW THAT IT IS TRUE because God has told you so, are you willing to act on that answer from God himself and be baptized by authority in to this church?"

Shockingly, some people are capable of saying no to a question like that. So then we will generally try and break it down really simple to make sure they understand what we're saying by saying something like "So if God himself walked in to this room, and told you that what we have taught you is true, that this is His church, and that he wants you to join it, you would not be willing to do that?"

And, incredibly the answer is sometimes no. At which point we say then there is nothing we can do for you, and meeting with you is not going to be a valuable use of the Lord's time. And we stop meeting with that person. If someone does not yet know that our message is true, we can help them gain that testimony. We can work with them and bring the spirit and encourage them to keep praying until they know for themselves whether it's true or not. What we can not do is help someone be willing to do what God tells them to do. That's their agency.

So we've been doing a lot of thought and have, figuratively, trimmed the vineyard.

Now, why do we trim a vineyard? Because we don't want as much good fruit? Because we're wasteful and silly? Nope. When we trim it, better fruit grows. You knock all the bad apples off of a branch, and the ones left, and the ones that will come after will be better. So we've already started to see some of that and have met some awesome people know that we've got some weeding done.

Well everyone, I really do love you all. I appreciate your prayers, letters, and even good thoughts.

Take care of yourselves, and keep writing those letters!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Epistle - 7.22.09

Good Wednesday Everyone!

I hope you are all doing well.

News of transfers: I am staying. My companion, Elder Kelly, has left and I am receiving Elder Levie, who is from Arizona.

It was interesting last night to go and take Elder Kelly to those people in this area whom he helped to join the church.

As we left a particular families house, by the name of Sam and Kady, both Sam, a large west african with black belts in several martial arts, and Kady could not restrain tears.

In one sense it is a profound testament to the character of a missionary to see how their investigators care for them, but it is also a testament to the blessings these people have already felt from the gospel. Their gratitude towards the servants of the Lord who brought them that gospel is indicative of their love for the gift given.

In that same household is Kady's mother. She speaks Creole, and no English, and she is Muslim. When the missionaries started coming in to the home she wanted nothing to do with them, but as she has seen the changes that the gospel has brought to those whom she loves, such as helping Sam kick heavy drinking, smoking, and drug habits in the course of mere weeks, she has grown to love the missionaries dearly for the blessings they have brought in to her home. It was touching to see her conveying how much she would miss Elder Kelly to him in Creole, and Kady let us know that her mother had been crying earlier when she found out he was leaving.

We truly grow to love these people, and some of them grow to love us, and yet it's funny that we really have nothing to offer them in and of ourselves, but only that which we have been commissioned to share with them.

If you look at any LDS missionary's name tag you will see two names, larger than anything else on the name tag. The first is our own, ELDER ADAMS. The second is whom we serve, Jesus Christ.

I testify that Jesus is the Christ. He is my Lord and Master, and I love Him dearly.

I hope that I can merit the blessed title of servant from His lips.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Friday, July 17, 2009

Epistle - 7.15.09

Good day everyone!

Last night was another "Night of Music and Inspiration". I sang a solo arrangement of "This Is the Christ" It went well but I always end up wishing I had more time to put in to preparing it, BUT that will be for another time of my life when I have a different focus!

Things are going well in Derwood, before the Night of Music and Inspiration we took Mary to the Visitor's Center to watch the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie. She enjoyed it.

Next week is transfers, we're not really sure what's going to happen. Most likely I will stay, and everyone else in the appartment is up in the air, but we saw how much ground that held last time, so we'll just have to see!

My Spiritual Thought this week comes from the Book of Mormon, in the Book of Mosiah, 13th Chapter, 9th verse, wherein the prophet Abinadi makes his bold declaration in the face of certain death, which reads: "But I finish my message; and then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved."

Each of us has the opportunity and the responsibility to discover our standing with God. We can know where we stand, if we but ask him. There is great power in knowing the answer to that question, "Who's On The Lord's Side Who?" and knowing that the answer is "I am!"

That we may all be on His side is my prayer.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Epistle - 7.8.09


I've probably mentioned before that so far every single transfer has gone by faster then the preceeding transfer. But this one has just gotten MEAN. This transfer every week has gone by faster. I feel like I just talked to all of you, and here we are again, all of you expecting something inspiring, me trying to remember what even happened to the last 7 days, and realizing that in what must be about 12 hours I'll be writing next weeks epistle.

At least the highlight for the weeks is easy to pick.

Stefanie Pollard's baptismal service took place at 4:30pm on Sunday. It was a beautiful service, with some wonderful talks. The baptism (the wtaer part) went by without a single slip up (Sometimes they take a couple tries to get everything right). I sang "I am a Child of God" A Capella, which was a unique challenge as it was fast Sunday, and normally I drink LARGE ammounts of water preceeding any vocal performance! Makes life exciting.

Our most promising investigator right now is named Mary. Her story starts with Netta. Netta has been a member for a little under a year now. She gave us a call last week and said "Elders! My Daughter-In-Law and grand-daughter are coming in to town next week! I want you to come meet them!"

So, we came over Wednesday, right after they both woke up from their post-flying nap. (Netta's Grand-daughter, by the way, is 6 months old). We met them, had a nice chat and left. A day later Mary ran in to us as we were out on the street talking to people and she started chatting with us. We walked with her and basically taught her an entire first lesson (Which is about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith). She liked it and said she'd be at church on sunday. She liked that too, and she invited us over for dinner tonight and will be feeding us "Chicken Spaghetti" I assume an Arkansas staple food :)

Other then that not tons to report. I love you all and hope you're all doing well.

The gospel is true, Jesus Christ's atonement is real, God IS our Loving Heavenly Father and the life is the time for men to prepare to meet God.

What more could you want to know?

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Epistle - 7.1.09

Dearest friends, families, acquaintances, extended families, friends of families, ward members, interested readers, and uninterested readers who feel compelled to read:

To all of you I say, Good Wednesday!

This past week has gone by exceedingly quickly. So much so that I'm struggling to think of what to relate to you.

Stefanie Pollard, who is scheduled for baptism this coming Sunday (July 5) passed her interview with President Mansell on Monday. That was exciting.

Yesterday was CDM (Combined District Meeting) where we have a large meeting of missionaries as well as each getting our personal interviews with President. I always enjoy that so it was nice.

The weather is heating up. I've contemplated launching massive chunks of ice in a high adventure, space flying sci-fi assault on the sun, and believe I have, in fact, solved our global warming problems... now to invent the launcher...

I'm really not sure what else to relate...

As missionaries we receive a lot of heckling. Yesterday as we talked to a young man (20) on the street a man driving by in a jeep yelled out, "Don't Believe It!" Even back home when I was with the missionaries someone yelled out, "Go to Church!" We responded quickly be yelling back "Ok, Come with us!" On other occasions people have yelled things not quite so civil, and not quite so worthy of relating to you, since it would consist mostly of random assortments of symbols (ie. *#@!%)

Now upon hearing of this, many of you might be inclined to feel sorry for us, the missionary.. but the funny thing is, it really doesn't bother us very much. I feel very sorry for these poor people.

If you take a moment to reflect on the times in your life when you have said something mean to someone or about someone or really anything mean in general, you will find that each time generated a very similar feeling within you. We can refer to that feeling as "contention", and be as confident as our several beliefs in God are, that that feeling is from the Devil. Regardless of any belief in God however, we can ALL agree that it is not a pleasant feeling.

Based on this understanding of how WE feel when we say something mean or contentious, you can understand why I feel so sorry for these people who wreck a precious moment in their lives by yelling such mean things at such harmless people as ourselves, who are crazy enough to (or who have a stong enough testimony of the gospel to) give up 2 years of our lives, and pay to walk around on the streets in a white shirt and tie to try and help people be more happy.

But, we can't change them. We can change us.

Galatians 5:22 reads:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering,gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

These are feelings we can all recognize, and are feelings which the spirit of the devil is in exact opposition towards. Let us learn to recognize both of these feelings, and govern our words upon this test: "When I say these words, will I feel the 'Fruit of the spirit' as described in Galatians 5:22, or will I feel that nasty feeling of contention?"

As we do so we will find joy in our lives, and create joy in the lives of those around us, and there is no more Godly pursuit than this.

I love you all.
Elder Ted E. Bear

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Epistle - 6.24.09

Well folks, we are on borrowed time at the moment. This will be short.

I told you last week I was praying for humility. Believe me that the opportunities for this blessed attribute to grow have been forthcoming. I will share my favorite one that has happened, and we will be finished till next week.

Sunday was what we call a "Why I Believe" Fireside. It takes place in a 600 seat theatre, and consists of a couple of Recent Converts talking about how they came to believe, and then a couple of long time members speaking about why they believe. The Key-Note speaker was Senator Warren Hatch of Utah, so the crowd was big.

One of the Recent Convert speakers, however, was Sandrah Shedrick, one of the ladies that I started teaching while I was in Anacostia, and was baptized a week after I got transferred out. I was very excited, and so proud to see her get up there and talk about her testimony. She is such a wonderful lady!

Often when these Recent Converts speak they speak about their first two missionaries, and it can be a nice little feel good embarassing experience for the missionaries, and I (proudly?) awaited her to mention that I had been one of the missionaries for such an incredible new member of the church, well spoken and with a powerful testimony.

So, she got to a certain part of her talk, and said And my missionaries were Great! Where is Elder Brooks? (My first companion, who taught her with me) I know you're here Elder Brooks! (He raised his hand) There you are! Elder Brooks is my FAVORITE!" And then she went on with her talk! AND while this happened I was sitting on the front row and she knew I was right there! Everyone laughed that she had embarassed Elder Brooks, and I could only grin, with a silent, humorous prayer in my heart, "God, thank you for this opportunity to become more humble".

The good times are always rolling =]

I love you all,
Stuff my Mailbox,

Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Epistle - 6.17.09

Good Wednesday Friends, Family, Associates, Aquaintances, and Curious Readers! It is a good wednesday in deed!

Today has been a nice relaxing day, We've spent most of the day playing various games. We played Rook and Eucre this morning in our kitchen, then went over to a recent convert's house to play Risk with him. He's a retired old man with no family so he likes spending time with us, and Risk on P-Day is an A-OK thing to do. So that has been a prety fun day!

In other news, the appartment I'm in right now is VERY nice. Missionaries take horrible care of appartments, and normally the appartments we're put in are pretty... cheap, to start with so they often aren't the most agreeable places to be. This appartment was redone, and the missionaries just moved in about 2.5 weeks ago. The appliances are nice, there is enough hot water for all of us to take showers, the showers aren't gross, the kitchen is clean, the carpets are nice, everything is very good!

On top of that I have a very good companion right now. He is very hard working. My last stint of companions I have been in positions where I'm there to help them, to minister to them and help them grow... this time if anything Elder Kelly is building me up. It's very humbling but I like it! So I'm very excited!

The area we're in is also really cool. There are lots of good people.

I suppose the most interesting thing that's going on right now is that I finally gave in and started praying earnestly for something that I've been afraid to pray for in the past... I've been praying for the Lord to humble me.

In the past I've prayed that he would give me humility so that I wouldn't have to be humbled, and other such things as that, but I've always held back a little, shied away a little from finally just saying, "Humble me, whatever you decide to do, do it but humble me so I can progress".

It has been interesting to see what is happening since then. Ever since I was set apart as a missionary I've found teaching pretty easy, I normally have a good idea what to say.. lately it has been different. I'll be sitting in a teaching appointment, or standing at a door, and listening to my companion teach, and there will be just nothing coming in to my head. It's so bad that I've pretty much given up and am just going to let him keep teaching, and then, almost like a light switch turned on there will be words coming out of my mouth before I know it. The transition is so sudden and startling, and has so little to do with any thought process within my mind that it leaves little room for doubt that the sudden burst of teaching comes from an outside source. This is nice because it allows me to be happy that something was taught powerfully and well through me, without becoming prideful in "my" ability to teach.

I'm striving to hold less and less back from the Lord. Of most of us he will not require us to give up everything we have, but he will require our willingness to give up everything we have. We must strive to within our own heart, soul, and mind consecrate everything we have to him, and rejoice in what he allows us to keep. As we do so, humility and a deep sense of our reliance upon Him who created all things comes as a natural consequence. This process starts with our inner thoughts. We change the way we think by choosing how we think. When we think a thought that goes against our new set course of thinking, we correct ourselves within our own heads, showing our integrity to no one but God and ourselves, and as we do this our thought patterns, behavior, and relationship with God will transform to a higher level.

But alas, I delve perhaps deeper than is helpful in my epistles.

I would love to hear your thoughts on such subjects as self perfection, and maybe together we'll figure out how to reach Exaltation :)

I love you all.

Stuff my mailbox,
Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Epistle - 6.10.09

Hello Everyone!

Today makes 9 months since I reported to the MTC. At the beginning of my mission people told me that transfers would just keep going by faster and faster, and I wasn't quite sure I believed them. Now the transfers are starting to go by in the blink of an eye, and I can hardly imagine how they can get any faster... but I'm assured they will!

Speaking of transfers, I was transferred to the Durwood East area. In this area I am replacing a legend in our mission named Elder Vincent. He was recently released from being Assistant to the President, and is an incredible missionary. It's pretty exciting to be going in to an area he just left and seeing how he ran the area while he was here. Plus that means that the area is very productive right now.

So that is the exciting NEW stuff. We live with the Durwood/Olney Elders. One of which is my Previous companion from Capitol Hill, Elder Hayden. His companion is Elder Frizzell.

Ok, so then we have this week past, and hopefully some cool missionary experiences (I suppose that's why you all read this anyways right?)

We had a fun instance this week of Revelation. I told you last week about our appointment with Ralph, who was not very receptive to the spirit. We set up a return appointment for the next Monday (two days ago), but were pretty nervous to go back, because if someone can't feel the spirit testifying of truth, then it just becomes a war of words where nothing is accomplished, which I don't like. So it got to Sunday and we were trying to decide if we should go to the appointment, or just cancel it. We each had our oppinions and then decided to take the matter to the Lord.

After inquiring as to what we should do in Prayer, Elder Durfee and I both received an answer from the spirit. We both felt that we should try to go to the appointment and try to teach Ralph, and give him a chance, but we also both felt instructed that the appointment the next day (monday) would not hold.

So, Monday morning we received a phone call from Ralph, and he told us something had come up and he wouldn't be able to do the appointment that day and needed to reschedule. Elder Durfee and I both just sort of smiled at each other, knowing that the Lord had told us beforehand what would happen.

Well I'm very excited to be in my new area. I love receiving mail from those who send it. It's great to hear about what is going on in your lives!

I love you all!
Stuff my mailbox!
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Door

Epistle - 6.3.09

June! Can you believe it's June? I can't.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

So I shall try to recall what exciting things have happened since last we spoke.

One exciting thing is that I got to sing at another Night of Music and Inspiration last night. I sang La Via Dolorosa. It went very well, people seemed to like it a lot, and the spirit was very strong. When I finished the song and walked back to my seat I was simply shaking from how powerful the spirit and emotion were. It is always an honor to testify of the Savior.

In other exciting news, next week is transfers! I will find out on Monday what is happening. These transfers keep seeming to get shorter and shorter! I feel like I just got to Montgomery Village. I normally try to make a call on what might happen... but this one is just very, very up in the air. Chances are I will stay, but one, or both, or neither of my companions might leave. It's just hard to say.

We had a difficult lesson yesterday with someone who was just not able to hear the spirit. He was incredibly smart and learned in the Bible, and most of what he had learned was true. We recounted to him Joseph Smith's vision in 1820. In that vision Joseph is first assaulted by the adversary, who does not want him to succeed, and is the delivered from that devil by God in a glorious visitation. As I have become more sensitive to the spirit I am amazed by how distinctly I can feel the two different presences in the recounting. This man read the whole story, looked up at us and told us that obviously the visitation was actually a demonic posession. The spirit fled the room, it would not be present in the presence of such an outright falsehood.

After the lesson Elder Durfee commented that the Spirit of God never wants to shock us or scare us, while the spirit of the devil will try to jump us and scare us in to doing or not doing something. I commented that the Spirit of God must be invited to enter in to a place, while the Spirit of the Devil tries to force its way in unbidden. It was interesting.

Well perhaps that's a little deep to be pondering. But I have found it interesting, as I grow more and more sensitive to the spirit, it has become so increasingly apparent that this Gospel, this Church, this Work is true. Every time I speak of it's truth the Spirit of God burns within me testifying that it is so. Every time I hear it defamed by anyone the spirit cries out that these words are not true, that these falsehoods will stand as witnesses against those who work iniquity at the last day.

Perhaps my Father is right to call me his Ultra-Deep son, but what else is a missionary supposed to think about? =]

Hope you are all doing wonderfully. I love you all so much and appreciate your prayers, letters, and thoughts.

Please take care of yourselves and stuff my mailbox!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Epistle - 5.27.09

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Lets see lets see, what are some highlights from this week?

We received a very cool referral from our Zone Leader, Elder Thornock. He is in the Spanish program and covers much of the same area we do, only for spanish speaking people. As I mentioned last week I've been talking in spanish a lot, and whenever I do I try to get people's information to give to Elder Thornock and his companion to be taught in Spanish. Elder Thornock goes home in about 2 weeks, so he's served ~2 years, and he called and told us that in his entire mission he has never had a referral from the English speaking missionaries that went anywhere, until this transfer. He has had 4 very promising investigators from our area this transfer and its the first time it's happened in his whole mission! I should add that a couple of those referrals were able to speak enough English that Elder Durfee actually got the referral, so it's not just me at work, but still that was a very cool call to receive.

And a sort of funny story. We were preparing to leave our appartment a couple nights ago, and it was sort of cloudy. I asked Elder Durfee if he thought it was going to rain, and he said probably not. About 10 minutes later we were in a torrential downpour :)

I yelled ahead that we should pull in to a tunnel on the bike path ahead of us and see if it was going to blow over. You see the problem is that when missionaries are soaking wet, most people don't want us to come in to their houses and sit on their couches and teach them! So we pulled in and began to wait. The rain just got harder and harder. Soon the paved path we had biked up to the tunnel looked more like a muddy river, with so much water running down it we couldn't even see the pavement beneath. Elder Durfee came up with the very smart idea that we bike back to the appartment and organize our records and call some people we needed to talk to and such. That sounded really smart to me but I said, "Well, let's pray about it".

So, we each took off our helmets and bowed our heads and said a silent prayer. Each of us started that prayer fully knowing that biking home was the most reasonable thing to do, and expecting to receive a spiritual confirmation that we were right. I finished my prayer and looked over to Elder Durfee right as he finished his prayer, and saw that he had a look of consternation on his face. He looked over to me to see a big grin on my face, and he started to grin too. "Well, let's go get wet!" I said, and off we went in to a ridiculous rain storm. It had only been raining about 25 minutes and we were biking through puddles that submerged half of our wheels. It was quite amazing.

The point of this is that even though I didn't really want to go get soaking wet, it is just so reassuring to know that I could seek the will of the Lord, get an answer of what I should do (That might not be what I want to do!) and then go and do it.

I love you all, and appreciate your prayers, support, and letters.

Till next week!

Fill my mailbox,
Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Epistle - 5.20.09

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Another wonderful and interesting week in the service of the Lord.

This weekend one of my companions (Elder Durfee) was gone from us Friday-Sunday because another Elder had surgery and needed 3 days to recover. Because there are 3 of us one of us went to fill in his place and work his area with his companion. So I got to spend the weekend with just Elder Cox which was an interesting experience.

Exciting news is that Aleta Maxwell and her 12 year old son Simon came to church on Sunday, then came to the "Why I Believe" fireside at the Visitor's Center at 7pm, and Simon came to Mutual on Tuesday night *BIG GRIN!* The Maxwell family is an amazing, intelligent powerhouse of a family, who will be a great assett to the church. It's fun to be working with someone like them when we spend a lot of time teaching people who have been compelled to be humble enough to receive the Gospel, and while they need the Gospel many of them won't necessarily be assetts to the church. The Maxwells are very cool and we're excited to see them progressing.

Sister Bradshaw (Whom I mentioned in last weeks letter) came to church on Sunday and brought her Roomate, who is now going to be an investigator. That's very exciting as well!

Today was our Zone Activity, and we all played Dodgeball, some Beach Volleyball, some Speed, and some guys sat in the corner and played Magic. I think Everyone had a good time, and it's nice to relax with fellow laborers in the vineyard and have a good time.

The weather has been simply gorgeous lately. It's been very nice.

Oh some other exciting news. I have been getting to use my Spanish a LOT lately. There are a lot of spanish people in this area, and there are spanish Elders that cover our area, but as we knock doors or talk to people on the street or whatever we do, whenever we run in to a spanish person my companions turn to me and I just start teaching. It's really cool that the Lord is using everything I've got in his work.

Well folks. The church is true. The Book of Mormon is one of the most precious gifts we've been given on this earth. The work and Glory of our Heavenly Father is to bring to pass the immortality and Eternal Life of man. When we are in the service of our fellow man we are only in the service of our God, and we serve our fellow men best by helping them to received the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through Faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentence, baptism for the remission of sins, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End.

As our Mission President told us in our last Zone Conference, "Love the Members, and help them do THEIR Missionary Work". Full time missionaries are strangers in your land. These people are friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors of you. The Members. Go do your missionary work and may God bless you in it.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fwd: FW: Epistle - 5.13.09

Hello Everyone!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful week. As last Sunday was Mother's day I got to call home and talk to my family. That was a wonderful treat. Thank you family for taking the time to talk to a far away Elder!

So.. what is new this week! We had a fun experience. We had a referral named Daniel who ordered a free DVD from us. We had contacted him once and set up an appointment to meet with him. He wasn't home for the appointment, we called him and he said he'd be home in 5 minutes... he never showed up. So a couple weeks later we were checking on him, and a man we hadn't met answered the door, said they were busy and closed the door. Moments later a lady answered the door and said that Daniel had moved out, that she was moving in to the house, that she used to be a member of the church but stopped living the commandments and had requested her names removed at one point, but was so happy to see us she thought it was a miracle. She had a great desire to come back to full activity. We were very grateful to be sent where the Lord needed us to go when the Lord needed us to be there. It is such a great blessing to be in his service.

I constantly learn more and more that there is a loving Father in Heaven who cares for us and every detail of our lives.

I love you all and pray for you. Always turn to Him with your problems and you will find solace.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Epistle - 5.6.09

Hello Everyone!

Time is very short. Yesterday was actually our P-Day because the entire mission went to a Baseball Game, the Nationals vs. the Astros. It ate up our P-Day and we got permission to E-Mail BRIEFLY today. The game was a lot of fun!

The area I'm in is very fun. It reminds me a lot of the older parts of Issaquah, lots of very friendly people. Plus the weather has been constantly overcast and drizzling since I got here but I'm told that's sort of unusual... feels like home to me!

I love you all and I'm having a lot of fun. I know that the Gospel is truly restored and that the Lord blesses us with the strength to do his work. It will not always be easy but if it was we wouldn't be earning our salvation.

Take care. Pray Always and be strong!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Epistle - 4.29.09

Good Wednesday Everyone!

I've been transferred! I am now in the Montgomery Village area. I'm way up in the North West portion of the mission, in the Seneca Zone. I am still on a bike though (And there aren't many bike areas up this far north!) but for a change it looks like we will have regular member meals up here most days a week. I've never had that before!

My time in Capitol Hill was a lot of fun, I definitely enjoyed it. Now I'm excited for something totally different from anything I've ever done before.

My companions (Yes another 3-some) are Elder Durfee and Elder Cox. We live with the Gaithursburg Elders, Elder Hamblin and Elder Nardini. Elder Hamblin is from the Issaquah 5th ward! I thought that was interesting.

The weather has gotten very hot lately. In the Capitol Hill appartment we were in a high rise, with central AC, and the management isn't planning on turning on the AC until May 15th! It's been mid 90's, and hot and sticky at night with no AC. That's been an interesting expierience!

Another thing that has been astounding to me is the pollen. I've heard that Seattle has had a bad time also, but DC is just amazing! In DC they have deciduous (spelling?) trees planted pretty much every 20 feet on both sides of every street. It just RAINS pollen! When we bike our tires turn green. When we walk our shoes turn green. You see big green pollen deposits in every gutter. For a guy from the Evergreen state it has just knocked me flat. My voice is totally shot. It's been funny because everyone we go teach is asking if I'm OK, members are asking if I need any medicine and I reply that I'm already taking it, this is me ON the medication! It's been pretty interesting, this spring time pollen rush has given me good reason to continue living on the West Coast.

Other then all that I'm not sure what else to report. Aaron in capitol hill looks very solid for baptism now on the 24th but I won't be there for it, so now I get to start learning some new names to tell you about!

Talk to you next week!
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Epistle - 4.22.09

Ok all. I wrote a really nice epistle, and IE just crashed. Not only did it crash but it somehow wiped clean my clipboard, since I periodically highlight my entire epistle and copy it in case anything happens.

So. This will now be short, but it would have been long.

Next week is transfers. It is very very probable that I will be moving somewhere else. Chances are excellent it will be somewhere out in Maryland, which will be very different from the Ghetto I've been in my entire mission thus far.

Mothers day will mark 8 months on my mission. Goodness time flies!

Miracle for this week ocurred on Monday. When we woke up in the morning it was dumping rain. We had to bike to District Meeting at 9am. Before we left I prayed that, if God be willing, the rain would lighten, but that whatever he saw fit to put us through would be fine. We got soaked on the way to District Meeting. After District Meeting (which entails some sitting inside meaning we had dried out mostly) we went to lunch. Just walked around the corner to a mexican place so we could use umbrellas. Stayed dry. Then we came back to the church to get our bikes. Still raining. We had to make a couple calls to line up some Visitor Center trips this week, then, right after we finished calls and started taking our bikes out the door, the rain stopped completely. It stayed stopped all afternoon, until it started again while we were in a dinner appointment. Because the appointment was near the church we had left our bikes in the church. It was raining as we walked over to our bikes, we went in, grabbed our bikes, came back out and the rain had stopped, for a nice dry bike ride back home.

It is a great joy to me to see the abundant evidences in my life that God cares about the little things. That is so key because our lives consist of lots and lots of very little things. Somehow, some way that only he can comprehend and that we can only marvel at, he cares about and notices every little detail of our lives. In a love matched only in its infinite nature perhaps by the atonement of Jesus Christ, wherein he suffered every little agony of our existance, God loves us. I testify that he does and count myself incrediby lucky to be so blessed with that knowledge that I can stand as a witness in the small ways I am granted opportunity to do so.

I love you all!
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Epistle - 4.15.09

Howdy Everyone!

Not a whole lot of time this week.

We took Tyrone to a night of music and inspiration last night at the Visitor's Center. It was nice. One of the Elders that sang is VERY Musical Theater and I was just laughing the whole time. Another Year or so and I'll worry about all that stuff!

We have a coule really cool families we're working with right now. Including one that we met Monday, a guy answered the door and said we could come right in, so we did and taught them the message of the Restoration for the next 45 minutes or so. They had just tried going to a baptist church the day before and didn't like it, so they seem pretty open. A couple other really cool people we're working with.

I really enjoyed the end of the war chapters in the Book of Mormon this time through. I was struck by how the war drags on and on and on, and doesn't seem to have any end in sight. Then Moroni realizes that the "Inner Vessel" the "head" of the government, was not clean and so they couldn't purge any of the rest of the land. He swoops in, cleanses the inner vessel, then goes and takes care of everything else like it's a breeze.

Reminded me that if we can cleanse our inner vessel, our hearts and minds, then we will be able to obey the commandments of God much easier.

I got to get running, but I love you all and love getting your letters!

Take Care,
Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fwd: FW: Epistle - 4.8.09

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Since last wednesday I have had an exciting and wonderful week! How was yours?

So, I wrote to you last wednesday. Wednesday night Brother Vezina and Sister Cruz asked me to sing at their wedding on Saturday. That was funny.
Thursday morning I left my really cool really awesome super small and light and high tech titanium reinforced umbrella on the bus. I'm not the kind to leave things on busses very often, and I was a little bummed. So (of course) Friday morning it dumped rain! =]

Friday night we left our bikes locked up down stairs in our Appartment complexes enclosed and gated parking lot, and forgot to bring them up to our appartment when we went in for the night... (cue dramatic music)

Saturday morning when we went to bike to the church building for General Conference, all 6 of our wheels were gone! (Three Missionaries with Three Bikes) SO we caught a metro to the church building.
Saturday between the morning and afternoon sessions I sang Come Thou Found of Every Blessing at the wedding, it was fun, they liked it.

Next really exciting thing was yesterday, when we extended a baptismal date of May 3rd to Aaron, an investigator we've been working with for quite a while. He's a really cool guy and we're quite excited that he's taking this step.

This letter sounds a little depressing, but in reality I'm really quite cheerful, I thought the events of this week were really funny, and I just thought I'd recount them all =] Tyrone gets confirmed this Sunday. Selena is doing awesome, she gave us an Apple pie the other day! We went to the Nation Museum of Natural History today, there were lots of fossils and dinosaur skeletons and stuff, it was really cool. The Cherry blossoms are mostly gone now, but they were really pretty, I'm glad I got to be in down town for them.

As always I love getting all of your letters. I know that this gospel is true. I see the joy and the change it brings to the lives of God's children on this earth. Stay strong in the faith my friends!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fwd: FW: Epistle - 4.1.09

Happy Wednesday everyone!

It's been a great P-Day so far for us! We went over and met up with 6 other missionaries to wander around the Air and Space Museum. That was a fun one for me... although I bet they will all be fun for me. I love gaining knowledge and so all fo the exhibits I were quite fascinating. It's amazing to be so close to one of the world's largest museums. When you wander around there are all sorts of REAL things, instead of replicas. It was a lot of fun.

From there we headed over to where the Cherry Blossoms were. They were pretty, but I've almost enjoyed the last week biking around even more. There are cherry trees planted everywhere in this city. It's been gorgeous to see them blooming all over the place. I love the purple ones with the big flowers that almost look like tulips. They're gorgeous.

Tyrone's baptism went smoothly on Sunday. He's going to be a funny member =]

Oh I just remembered some funny news I found out last week, which really only applies to members that lives near me. There is a Brother Boehm in this ward. I've been in this ward for 4 months now, but he and I had never really talked. Once we talked we found out that he was the son of President Boehm, who was formerly in the Renton North/Bellevue South Stake Presidency, and who did my Priesthood interview to become an Elder. He was also in the Somerset ward Bishopric, and new all the friends I had who lives in that ward. So that was quite funny to finally make that connection with him.

All of us out here are really pumped for General Conference. Really looking forward to it.

Not really sure what else to share... life is good. We're all healthy. The cherry blossoms are pretty. My Bike isn't broken and the weather hasn't been too bad.

All around, life is quite good!

Love you all!
Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fwd: FW: Epistle - 3.25.09

Good Wednesday everyone!

It's been another wonderful week in the mission field!

Tyrone had an interview with President Mansell on Sunday, and passed! He is ready to be baptized this coming Sunday, and I will be performing the baptism. Very cool. Tyrone has been a lot of fun to work with. He has trouble understanding things but has such a strong desire to be right with God. Because he is being baptized the week before General Conference he will either be confirmed there at the baptism or two weeks later on Easter. Bishop will make that decision by Sunday.

Selena wasn't able to be confirmed last week because she was staying in the Hospital with a friend who's Husband was getting ready to pass. So she will be Confirmed this coming Sunday.

I've been having a lot of fun in my personal study lately preparing a talk for this coming Zone Conference on Friday. The task is to prepare a 5 minute "enlightening message" on the second bullet-point from the Consider This box on page 115 of "Preach My Gospel" (For those that have a copy). For those that don't, it reads, "How will developing Christlike Attributes help me fulfill my purpose as a missioary?" (As I remember it at least) It has been a very interesting talk to prepare, and I always find I study better when I am preparing a talk or workshop so I've enjoyed having the assignment. Hopefully I will have finished polishing it by Friday!

Other fun news for Friday, that morning we will wake up, metro down to the Suitland Stake Center (About 40 minutes) for Zone Conference, leave Zone Conference around 1:30 to Metro back home, then we have to be back down at the Suitland Stake Center at 7:00 to be part of a missioanry chorus singing with some Primary kids at a Stake Musical night. That will be an interesting day!

Everything out here is going really well. I hope all of you are well. I love hearing from you when you write!

Stuff my mailbox,
Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fwd: FW: Epistle - 3.11.09

Hello Everyone!

My dad is constantly reminding me that I should be talking about the people I'm working with. So I thought I would try to do that today.

It is something I find very difficult, given that I only have 15-20 minutes to write this Epistle, and the EXTREMELY complicated nature of just about everyone I work with. I find it hard to even begin.

A very good portion of the people I work with on a day to day basis are practically (or in many cases literally and medically) insane. And it's really not their fault. I spend most of my time in the Ghetto. I would guess there is a 10% employment rate or so (if that). Most everyone is living off of welfare, in Goverment housing. The ones who ARE employed generally have massive Cadillacs or H2's, HUGE flat-screen TV's, and not enough money to put food on the table. As someone coming from a nice little ritzy Suburb, it's something I'm really not sure how to explain to all of you back home. The term "Baby-Mother" and "Baby-Father" is far more prevalent then "Husband" and "Wife". As missionaries we practically start salivating when someone we talk to on the street says something about being married.

Of the specific people we work with.

Selena is a complete sweet-heart. She is an older lady who is a widow. She lived with her druggy daughter for a while in Anacostia, but now has her own appartment two floors down from us in the high-rise we live in. Several years ago she decided to get closer to God. She gave up Alcohol and Drugs, and started faithfully attending church. She went to a REALLY weird church, which according to her charged 30% tithes, and had most of their sermons consist of a man ranting at the ladies for wearing too much make-up. When we came in to her home and actually taught her something about God, she was hooked. When we taught her the Plan of Salvation she just kept saying "Oh My Gosh. I never heard of this at my church!" Assuming the swelling in her legs isn't too bad, she will be baptized this coming Sunday.

Tyrone. Tyrone has met with, and stopped meeting with, at least two other sets of missionaries before we got here, but never been able to understand their message. Somehow in meeting with us this time he became convinced that we would lead him the right way towards God, and he could trust us. He's willing to basically do whatever we say. The only thing that has been keeping him from baptism is that he needs to know for himself that it is true before we can let him make that Covenant. His whole family grew up singing, they used to sing Gospel as a family at a church. He now lives in his deceased mother's home. He has no job, and if you ask him his career he'll say he's a singer but that he hasn't done that in a while. He lives off his monthly government check. He is very humble and knows that his comprehension "aint all that goood, man" but truly wants to do the right thing. I've come to love him very dearly.

Darryl. Darryl spent the last 5 years homeless after his wife apparently kicked him out of his own home that he built. He has a problem with Alcohol. He was making progress until the last time we went over there. He was drunk, and apparently his "fiance" (whom he had not been dating a week before) had moved in with him. As we were leaving he gave me a big hug, gave me a kiss on the neck and cheek, and said "I love you". We were all laughing pretty hard about the kisses. We've been meeting with Darryl for the past couple months, and we think we're about to lose him, which is really too bad.

Ok now I'm out of time.

I'm doing really well. I'm learning so much. I don't have the time I wish I did to communicate with all of you, but know that I am having the time of my life. I love these people so much, and find such great joy in watching them grow in the gospel. Yesterday was my 6 month mark. I plan on making the next 18 months even better!

I love you all
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Pictures From The Field

Some recent pics from Elder Bear. Lookin' good, kid!! I love how he's only smiling when he's at a baptism...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Epistle - 3.4.09

Good Wednesday Everyone!

Today is officially the best P-Day of my mission thus far. Brother Yuen, a member of our ward who moved to DC from Hong Kong about 40 years ago, decided to take us to play tennis, and then to the best chinese restaurant (according to him) in DC.

Anyone who knows me well knows that this was a bit exciting for me :). It's the first time I've gotten to play tennis out on my mission, and one of the other Elders could play pretty well so we had a lot of fun playing one on one while the other 3 elders dinked around. It is very cold out so of course Brother Yuen had reserved indoor courts. As far as score... we had to leave when it was deuce (sp) tied 40-40, my set point, 6-5. I'm ready to assume that I just won :-P

After tennis he took us to some little Chinese restaurant in China town. It has been WAY too long since I had good chinese food. They have "Chinese food" all over the place in DC... but it is really quite attrocious compared to what I could get back home in Seattle.

Overall it's been a VERY good P-Day! The rest of these days went very nicely as well. Selena (an investigator who lives 2 floors down from us in our building) is excited for her baptism in the next couple weeks. My companions are (as always) a lot of fun, and Elder Montoya and I are going to try and sing "Via Dolorosa" at Sacrament meeting before this transfer ends. I recommend looking that song up it's beautiful.

Much love to all of you. Keep the letters coming those who have been writing... the rest of you... the best time to start is now! :)

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Epistle 2.25.09

Hello Everyone!

Zaneta Washington was baptized on Sunday, that was very cool! A lot of work has gone in to that. Tyrone is waiting a couple more weeks so he can gain a deeper testimony of the truth. Very important.

Sunday was also a VERY strange day at church. I think we had more visitors at church then Ward Members. We had a huge group of BYU kids. A huge group of people in town for various "conferences". It was very interesting. Among the visitors though was Brother Richard Dance. Someone from back home who recognized me right off the bat.

I don't have a lot of time today, and I'm pretty tired. We had a Zone activity today of Flour Bomb Capture the Flag. We found a huge playground, and our entire zone got together for it. "Flour Bombs" are lady's stockings full of flour and knotted up. If everyone wears dark clothing then it leaves a nice white mark when you get hit. If you're hit you're out. The object is to get the other team's flag and run it back to your flag. In the midst of all this of course we are running up slides, jumping off playsets, climbing up ladders and all sorts of madness. The weather miraculously warmed up for us, and it was really a lot of fun. A couple people got some pretty painfully flour-filled eyes but they deemed it well worth it.

So that is about how life is for me. I'm healthy and safe. Our next baptism should be on March 8th.

Till next week!

-Elder Ted E. Bear