Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Elder D's Sept 16th Letter home --Great Pay Day for his Mother---

 Hi Mom,  I've been slacking on some of the things that President Porter has asked me to do. I've not been very accountable and I think that's why I have all these challenges. But I have made the appropriate changes in my life now and I continue to grow in accountability. I did get your package and the grandparents package. I did not, however, get this mini Preach My Gospel manual. Still waiting for that I guess. Happy Birthday mom!!!! I'm working on an email that will be addressed just for you so be ready. .........
Happy Birthday mom! I want you to know how much I love you. You have done so much for me. I feel like I haven't done enough to repay you for every hardship I've put you through. It is because of you that I am the man I am now. I still have a lot to learn but up to this point, everything that I know is right is because of you. To make stronger my point, I wish to use the example of the Sons of Helaman. We all know the story of the 2000 Stripling warriors. They were strong and valiant. In fact, Alma 53:20-21 calls them:
"... all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity ; but behold, this is not all-they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
"Yea, they were men of truth and soberness for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before Him."
They knew what they had to do. They knew that God loved them. They understood our Heavenly Father's Plan of happiness. They had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to obey with exactness. How did they know this? Even when they saw the enemy near, they were not afraid. Why? Alma 56:47 gives us why:
"Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, if they did not doubt, God would deliver them."
Their mothers taught them how to be men. Their mothers taught them the ways of the Lord. They knew the blessings that came from keeping the commandments and they knew that God loved them. All because of their mothers faith and their examples. You have done the very same for me. Although I am fighting a different enemy then the stripling warriors, I battle on because I have been taught all the right things. Because of you. You have given me the greatest gift that I can ever hold dear to my heart: my faith in God and my love for my Savior. It is because of your example that I am the man that I am now. Thank you mom. You've done a wonderful job. My gift to you is my gratitude for you and all my love. I love you. Happy Birthday mother. Remember that our Heavenly Father knows and loves you. Our Savior knows your pains and your weaknesses for He has borne them all. Keep on Keepin' on, as you would say.
I love you,
-Elder Ephraim K. DeCoursey

Monday, September 9, 2013

Elder D's letters to home 8.12.13, 8.19.13, and 9.9.13

This past week has been really good. Elder Price and I have been talking to a lot of people and found a lot of good potentials. this last week we found 4 new investigators! That's a lot for the back country known as Greenville. It just shows that anything can be done when obedience and diligence is shown. Today is Elder Price's birthday and he is 19. I remember when I turned 19 and then a month later I received my mission call. Never did I think I would have served in 2 missions. We are doing amazing work here in the Cincinnati Ohio Mission. It was slow moving at first. But this wasn't President Porters first rodeo. Back home he started what is now a World Wide business from scratch so he knows how to work with nothing and make it great.
I hit a low point this week. I was felling very depressed about some personal problems that I had to fix. Nothing serious but it felt as if I was being weighed down. I wasn't happy and it was hard for me to work with a smile and positive attitude. But after talking with Elder Price and President Porter I am doing a lot better. Not yet 100% but I am making progress.
Niki"s baptism was awesome!!!! She was so excited!! The font at our building doesn't hold water very well so when it was time for her baptism, the water had fell all down to their knees! But she was able to go all the way down. She had her father in law do the baptism and confirmation. He's a stake patriarch in the Cincinnati North Stake so he was very beautiful with his words and the Spirit through Bro. Garcia promised her many things. It was wonderful do be here for her entire conversion experience. When we got back to the apartment, we found that Niki had slipped in a few cards into our packs. She had thanked us for all we had done for her and for sharing her the Gospel and she wrote that I had become a great missionary. That was so cool to read that from her. She's going to do such a good job as a member.I don't have a picture of it but Todd was going to email it to me when he can. It would probably help if he knew my email address. I should have the picture by next week.
And that should be all I got. At least that's all I can remember. Time to have a new adventure.
Love Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey
TODAY IS MY 11 MONTH MARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been out for almost a year!!!! This feels so weird! I feel like I've been a missionary forever and a lifetime! Have I said it feels so weird because it does. I feel like I was just biking in Beavercreek. I've been told that once I hit my year then it's speeds up from there super fast! I don't know if I should be excited or worried. I think I'll go with worried. 
Anyways, Elder Price and I are teaching 3 families now. We found them all within the last 3 weeks. The teaching progress is going good, even better for one of the families. It's super exciting, This one family is feeling the Spirit more as they read the Book of Mormon together. They could be reading it even more now but at least they are reading it together. So teaching is good.
Nikki is so anxious for a calling. she wants to be involved with the branch so much. My personal opinion is she would be a great Missionary Meal Coordinator. She would make sure we got feed and then we would feed them with the Spirit. Nikki is looking forward to going to the temple to do baptisms as well. I am very happy for her. 
This Sunday we are going to Cincinnati to see Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the 12 Apostles and talk with him for 1 hour. I am super excited!!!! !! This will be the second Apostle that I will have met on my mission. I will tell you all about it next week.
We helped Elder and Sister Walker move into their home last Tuesday. They love it so much and they are very happy to have a place of their own finally. I'm happy too because they are closer to where we live. So when they are in town, which is on the weekends, we go over to their place before we go in to plan and visit with them. They are so cool and so happy. I don't have a picture of them yet, and I know I should. I will get that picture from them as soon as I can. Also, they have told me they have a daughter who lives in Badger Canyon, Kennewick Stake!! I got to chat on the phone with her for little bit about where I live and about home and stuff. It was cool.
So the Darke County Fair is this week, everyone has been talking about it for months now. It's a pretty big deal around here. The streets are so quiet throughout the whole county. Elder Price and I have talked about going and maybe doing some work over there but we felt like it was safer not to. Too much temptation and drunk people to deal with. I don't need that and neither would the Spirit. 
That is all for you now. Thank you for being awesome. Please send me some more email addresses from my friends so I can update them on how I;m doing and stay up to date with them.
Love you so much,
~Elder Ephraim K. DeCoursey


Elder Price and I have noticed something about myself. When we go to meetings (district meeting, zone meeting, etc) I'm always happy and fun. However, after the meeting I always feel like crud. This has been happening for the last 6 weeks and we think we've pin-pointed what the problem is. I don't feel worthy to be with all these wonderful missionaries. I always feel this way after a role play when I can't say or think of anything pertaining to the Gospel. After the zone meeting on Friday, I felt so bad and depressed that we had to pull off on the side of a country road and discuss why I still feel this way. I sat for an hour and finally I broke. I started crying and we redid Step 4. We still had it in a list form but this time it was what I like and don't like about myself. Elder Price helped me a lot to know who I really am. I feel so much happier as if a large weight had been lifted off my chest. I teach more and talk more and smile more. I don't want to go back to what I was. I want to stay who I am now. This is way Elder Price and I are still together. This is why I'm still in Greenville.
Another reason why I am still here arose last night. It was about 8 at night. We went to visit a less active sister who has a very negative view of God and men. We don't know why but we felt inspired to keep going back to her. When we got to the door she was getting ready to walk her dogs and we decided to walk with her. We had a very friendly conversation as we walked. We learned that she has had a very poor father figure in her childhood and because of that she can't see God as a loving Father. We found her concern after so many months of her many excuses. We built a relationship with her that I hope and pray will last. She told us that she always feels the good (which is the Holy Ghost) when we come to visit and talk with her but she notices that this good feeling leaves after we leave. We told her that if she wants to feel this for her entire life, she needs to come back to church so she can renew her covenants and have the Spirit with her. We made so much progress with her in just 40 short minutes then I have my entire time here. I really hope that we can continue to have meetings like that night with her. Elder Price and I are still together here because we needed to help this sister realize what she feels and why she feels this way. We found her concern and now we can address to it.
A bit of a downer to the day, however, was when Sue, one of our investigators, came to church yesterday. We were so happy she finally made it! One of the members there that we involved in her teaching was excited to so she moved to sit next to Sue. However, she had to leave after the first hour and she told us later that evening that she didn't feel fellowshiped enough. She told us it was almost a luke-warm welcome from the branch. She hasn't stopped investigating because of it though. She never said she doesn't want to go back. It feels like the branch dropped the ball here. We will do better to tell the ward when we bring someone so they can do what they are supposed to do. I don't want another Sunday like that.
On a good note, Elder Price and I spoke in sacrament meeting yesterday. I spoke on Happiness and Peace while Elder Price spoke on the The Plan of Happiness. I thought it went rather well. A lot of the members came up and thanked us for our message. It was awesome.
That's what the last few days have been like since Wednesday. One last thing: I've noticed that I've encountered more drunk people with Elder Price then I had with any other companion. Once again, yesterday we were working in an area and we were talking with a guy who had clearly been drinking but he still had some smarts to him. He doesn't like who he is or what he does and he wants help. The other lady who was there, who was clearly hammered, said that she had come outside to try to embarrass us but she found she had only embarrassed herself. She also said that as we were talking, she could feel the presence of Jesus in us. The Spirit must've been really strong in order to pierce their drunkenness. Even through the mist of alcohol we were recognized as representatives of Jesus Christ. It was a really cool experience.
That's all I got for you. I love you all,
Love, Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey

Friday, July 26, 2013

Catching up on Elder DeCoursey

The DeCoursey Household has had a lot going on these past 6 weeks.  With 3 Vacations, Dallin's Graduation, and Amicherie's homecoming, I have not gotten a chance to post Ephraims's Emails. 
So I will consolidate them here. 

Letter received from Elder D 6.2.13
This last week was definitely a difficult one. Elder S was covered almost head to toe with poison ivy. We were doing some service at a less active members house on the yard and stuff and we think that's where he got it. They invited us to a BBQ Saturday and when they found out we went investigating through the yard. Turns out they have an infestation of poison oak! Elder S is the only one that got it even though the rest of us where in the same stuff and he had it bad for the whole week. We got him some meds, some cream, and eventually had to go to an urgent care to get him a shot. The shot helped out a bunch. He is much better now.
Saturday was hard. The whole day we were finding people we're stopping us mid-sentence, completely ignoring us. One guy even yelled at us. We didn't even knock on his door he just saw us out his window walking down the street to see a potential investigator. He came outside his door and yelled at us saying "no one wants your religion" "get out of my neighborhood or I'll call the cops" stuff like that. We let him vent it out then we just kept on walking. We were talking to the person we wanted to see and he told us that the meany was bi-polar and that it wasn't the first time he had threatened to call the cops. He's called the SWAT team on his parents because they do something he asked them to do. The potential, Matt, was really cool and made me feel better but he was leaving somewhere so he couldn't talk for long. He's a really cool guy and It makes me happy that he's willing to talk to us. The rest of the day was just bleck. So to end the day we ended with take out-pizza and Golden Bears lemonade. That made me happy.
We saw Robin at the health care center yesterday. She is super stressed. She hates where's she's at, her legs broken in 7 different places, her house was robbed by her neighbor, another neighbor poured grease all over her porch, and many other afflictions that have befallen her that I can't say. She finally broke down crying in front of us. Robin's trying so hard to be so strong. She also told us she's never left the building since she's got there more than a month ago, other than to go to doctors appointments. We had to do something for her so we wheeled (she's in a wheelchair) outside for a few minutes. She was so happy. She's trying so hard to be strong. We shared with her a little about the Plan of Salvation, which still blows her mind, and it felt like she gained comfort from that. She looks forward to all our meetings with her. She's told us that she wants to go to church with all her heart but she can't because of her situation. Satan is pulling out all the stops to get her from coming to Church. The day before she broke her leg she was planning on coming to church that Sunday. And now all hell is breaking lose against her. And all we can do is teach her. We're seeing her on Tuesday for lunch and we're making her lots of stuff to make her happy. We're bringing her a picture of Jesus, we're making funny pictures today to help cheer her up and we'll be putting them up on her walls, which are completely bare. I really wish I could do more to help her but this is all I can do so far. She's said yes to baptism and she's prayed and knows that the Church is true. All we can do now is wait for her to heal, which should take 3-6 months. She is so strong.
That's all I got. This week will be better. Love you
Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey

Letter received from Elder D 6.12.13
Well last week hasn't been real exciting. I went on exchanges with our District Leader and taught some good lessons with him, drove over and hour to get to our mini mission meeting to pick ours up but apparently he hadn't gotten back from EFY in Provo so we were reimbursed for the miles and got our mini on Sunday. He's super cool and he's been working hard along with us. His name is Tyler B, he's 16 and really looking forward to his mission. He likes to sleep when we travel so we like to mess with him. It's really great. Anyway, we saw Robin several times and she is reading the Book of Mormon and the giant Holy Bible we got her, she knows the church is true and that Joseph Smith is a Prophet. The only thing we are waiting for is for her leg to heal up. She's looking to be out of the nursing home by the end of the month and she's doing remarkably well.
      To get the work moving further here we've discussed with the Branch President to put more emphasis on the Preach My Gospel manual in lessons with members. We really think that the work will get moving when the members get more involved. I know that the best missionary work is done by members. Looking forward to a good week.
      We are going to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir tonight with Niki and Todd. They were able to get their tickets for free from the Stake and we're getting a ride with them. I know I'm not being transferred but we have no idea if any of us are training. Today's the day to find out. So we will just wait and see. Any way I'll tell you how the concert goes next week. Really looking forward to it.
       I really need to write some letters soon to a lot of people. I will do it as soon as I can. We are pretty busy here.
     Love you lots. Till next week,
Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey

Letter received from Elder D 6.17.13
Last week was great! Our mini missionary, Tyler B, had a great time with us. We loved MoTab. I got to see all the missionaries that I know and love and also some members from Beavercreek and Xenia that I wasn't able to say goodbye to. Jane was there!! She was one of the first persons that I met in Columbus. She was there with all of her sisters, she has 5. I saw the Davis' and the Hoskins'. It was great. Todd and Niki were there and they got ground seats while we sat at the very top. It was so cool.
Niki has told us that she wants to be baptized in a river and we were alright with that but after talking with President Nilsen we've decided not to. We've already got a font, it's cleaner this way, and it's easier for the Spirit to reside in the chapel than it is outside. All we need to do is tell her about it and all should be good. Niki is all set and ready for baptism but we might have to push it back. There are still things we need to teach her before she gets wet, so that will have to happen.
How are you doing?

We were able to catch President before he left and we got some pictures with him. I think this is probably my best smile picture.
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Letter received from Elder D 6.24.13
So as you all know, I left the presence of our Heavenly Father 2 decades ago yesterday to learn and grow even further than I ever dreamed of before. Thank you all for the wonderful birthday cards and wish that I had received. It meant a lot to me. I love the books that I got from my family. I'm on Lecture Third now. I loved the cake!! Not done with it yet but still working on it. Yesterday started off rather slow and grey. We had planned a breakfast with a Less Active member of the branch to help her come to church, we came with cinnamon rolls and everything only to discover she was not home. We left dejected and ate the rolls before we had to leave for Church. At Church, Niki told us that she would feel more comfortable if we pushed back her baptism. She just found out that she's going to be out of town this Saturday anyways for Todd's nephew's (Todd is Niki's husband) is being baptized that same day. Anyways, my day got better when we had my birthday dinner with Mama C and had cake and stuff. That made me feel so much better.
The missionary broadcast was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's what really pumped me up!!! We get to use technology and email in our finding techniques!!!! It's so exciting!!!! It's going to be some time before we get to use iPads though but for now I'm content. I hope you were able to watch it. It tr uly historic. 
We had another birthday dinner on Saturday with a member family that were baptized last year. We had ice cream cake and pizza and all other good stuff. They gave me some awesome balloons and I had a great time there.
We found a new investigator on Monday finally!!! She tells us she's an unbaptized Jehovah's Witness and that she had narrowed down what the true church is to two churches, ours and the Jehovah's Witness. Her sister is a member of the Church in California and she's who referred us to her. We had a great 1st lesson with her and she did feel the Spirit. We're meeting with her tomorrow to teach her more. I'm looking forward to it.
Wednesday was my last time seeing President Nilsen before the mission splits next Monday. We had a zone conference in Cincinnati for the Zones that will be a part of the new mission. I got a picture with him and Sister Nilsen. At the end of the meeting we sang the Ohio mission song. I teared up because of the reality that I wont be under their council anymore hit me hard. But I'm over that now. To show how close we are, President and Sister Nilsen called me Sunday evening and sang Happy Birthday to me. It was awesome!!!! I love my mission president will surely miss him and his wife.
I love you all. I had a great week. I will do my best to write you letters today.
Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey

Picture of the Cake I frosted, that mom mailed to me already baked.  Got to love serving in the US.
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Letter received from Elder D 7.2.13
I'm in a new mission!!!!1!!!!!1!!! The transition happened so fast. Our District last night held a meeting to close our part with the Ohio Columbus Mission. 'Tis a sad moment in my mission life. But on the bright side, our mission was split which means we're doing a good job in hastening the work of Salvation. I feel prepared to face this new challenge head on, with nothing wavering.
Niki Garcia has agreed to work towards July 20. Our last meeting with her was more of a "what's in Niki's mind" lesson plan. We taught mostly with question to help her understand the covenants she will be making and how important it is for her. We feel she's really looking forward to it.
Robin is doing much better now. She can bend her leg more than I ever expected her to do so soon. We helped her move back into her house yesterday. Someone broke into her house since she's been gone. She already knew this but she hadn't been back to her house to see it yet. She was very depressed to see her home the way it was. She did her best to mask her feelings with laughter and jokes but I could tell she was hurting inside. She has told us that we've been such a blessing to her and she wants to be focused now on her studies.
I've got Landon's pictures and Sister DeCoursey's card. I love the Abe Lincoln picture. that will be going up on my wall of awesome pictures now.
That's all I got. I know it's not much but not much happened last week. We'll be having an even better week starting right now. I pray that you will do the same as you answer the call of duty and share the Gospel with those you love.
Kia kaha
-Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey
P.S. President Nilsen has a kidney tumor. He'll be having surgery on it on Wednesday. Please keep him in you're prayers.

Letter received from Elder D on 7.8.13
My dearest family and friends,
This last week hasn't been to bad. It just felt really long. We haven't seen Niki at all so far because there's a death in Todd's family, his niece, so they've been in Texas this whole time. And we wont see them until next week because they are also going to the Hill Cumorah pageant. Robin is home now so it's been easier to meet with her. She's moving along really fast but recently her bone that's broken has been sliding out of place. . She should be going to the Cleavland Clinic soon to get it fixed but she will be there for a certain number of days. Hopefully she'll heal up as soon as possible. She realizes that this is Satan keeping her from coming to church. She has wanted to come to church for so long but her health keeps getting in the way. We've given her several blessings, which she enjoys, so that should help. She's embracing the Gospel so well.
We met President Porter on Wednesday finally!!!! He was a Stake President in some city in Utah. Him and his wife are very excited to serve with us and I'm excited to serve with them. On Sunday they came to our Sacrament meeting. Elder S and I were blessing the Sacrament when they came in and the entire time the water was being passed around, President was staring right into my soul. the entire time!!!!! !!!! I'm not even exaggerating! Every time I looked at him he was staring right back, never broke his glance. Even when he was passing the tray to Sister Porter his glance never left. I never even got to talk to him after the meeting. He interviewed the Branch President to see what they can do to help the work progress even more than it is now. I'm not really nervous anymore. I've not heard nothing yet about this experience. Maybe we will soon.
Lately I've been engrossed in the Doctrine of the Gospel. Lectures on Faith probably started it but I have been studying intently on the scriptures. There's just too much to study in 1 hour it's hard to get everything done that I want to. I've also been collecting the Teaching of the Presidents of the Church books. All I need now are the teachings of Heber J. Grant and Harold B. Lee. I'm so close to getting all of it. So close!!!! I just need to see if the church library would be willing to let me have those. We shall see.
I need you, mother and father and other family members, to get me the email addresses of my friends. I would like to email them to update them on my life and back and forth and what not. I also think that it's easier to email that it is to write letters. I just can't seem to find the time to sit down and write some letters home. So please help me out with that.
One last thing: If it's not too much to ask, are you using Mormon Doctrine? If not can I have it???? I think that it's a great gospel reference to certain subjects.
Love you so very much.
-Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey

7.8.15 A & W ROOT BEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT'S BEEN AT LEAST 9 MONTHS SINCE I'VE LAST HAD THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Letter received from Elder DeCoursey 7.15.2013
This past week has been a mixture between fast and slow. Tuesday it rained on us. A lot. A lot a lot. Buckets of rain for 15 minutes then bright and sunny immediately after. The weather here in Ohio is weird. But the clouds are awesome. We still haven't seen Niki this past week. She should've been at the Hill Cumorah Pageant last weekend. We hope that it has given Niki the answer that she needed. Robin is still broken and physically unable to come to church but she wants to come with all her heart and be baptized in the church too. We're making progress with Sue, the unbaptized Jehovah's Witness. We brought a member with us to our last meeting and she really helped a bunch. She used to be a member of the JW's so they related very well. On Thursday we had interviews with President and Sister Porter. That was very needed.  He's helped out a bunch. On Wednesday we met with the W. They are the new Senior Couple that will be working in Greenville with Elder S and I. We're going to get a lot of work done with them. The first step is to find them a home to live in. They found one that's close to our apartment but they can't move in yet because the current resident doesn't move out until August 5th. So they will be staying with the Branch President until then. This should be very exciting.
Unfortunately that's all I have today. We worked hard last week but the fruit hasn't come up yet. Elder Scribner and I feel that Greenville is about to be set ablaze with the Spirit. So did the Walkers which makes me feel better.
Love, Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey
Letter received from Elder DeCoursey on 7.23.2013
I was unable to be online on Monday because our preparation day is on the Wednesdays before Transfers, which is tomorrow. We also just found out that Elder Scribner is being transferred and I'm staying. . What the heck! Elder S just got here 2 months ago. Honestly I was hoping to be leaving. But I guess the Lord still needs me here.I do not know if I will be training yet but for now I just know that I'm getting a new companion. Elder S is kinda freaking out right now. I was hoping that he would be staying. This area really needs an Elder like him. But he's needed somewhere else now. Other than that this past week has been a slow one. Niki's back in town. She didn't go to the Hill Cumorah Pageant because she and Todd had the stumach flu after they got back from Texas. She is still looking for an answer and we feel that she is getting closer to it. We have decided to see Robin less than we have been. We aren't dropping her but we feel that this is the best way to go. All of our meetings are with her have been really scattered. She can't go anywhere because of her leg so she's been confined to her home. She doesn't have a lot of people to talk to so when we come over she rambles a lot on her week. Seeing her less is the best way to go. Sue is moving along. Last week we finished teaching her the Plan of Salvation and in between our meetings she was able to cross reference The Bible with the Book of Mormon. The scripture she found wasn't even in the footnotes!! She found it on her own!!! It's incredible!!!! The member we brought with us bore a sweet and simple testimony on his conversion. The Spirit was super strong at that lesson. These past few days we've been spending a few hours cleaning out the cob webs from Sue's basement. There were a lot of cobwebs down there. Today we are planning on going down to a zoo in the next county with our district. We found a new investigator on Sunday. That's all I have time for now. With our knowledge of transfers now, Elder Scribner needs to pack now. We need to go now.
Love, Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Elder D 5.6 "Elder S"and 5.15.13 " Robin"

His name is Elder S, he's from Utah, he's been serving for 15 months now. He's really fun and nerdy too so we have a lot to talk about. We've been getting along really well and I see nothing keeping us from working well together. Now begins the adventures of Decasta and Scribbles.

Roberta came to church yesterday!! Her and her husband, Jerry, came according to the agreement we made 3 weeks ago! I was so excited I was almost jumping up and down for joy. But we didn't have a normal church service. it was a Stake Conference Broadcast. I don't really know what it was for but it was kinda cool. I really wish that Roberta and Jerry could've gone to a regular service but this was okay. We didn't get to talk to her afterwards because they left real quick. We haven't seen them yet but I would imagine that it will be soon.

Remember Lauren? She works at the library and we've befriended her? We came into the library to do some service and she asked us if we wanted to go out to lunch with us. It was super awesome. Just one step at a time to move towards the next ordinance. She's not investigating the church yet but I hope that our example will help her along.

I recently discovered that one of the members that lives in Xenia got his mission call to the London South mission. Have I told you about Conrad R?  He joined the Church several years ago and his dad come close to disowning him. When Conrad told his dad that he was going on a mission, his dad threw him out and he's been living with his sister since then. But now he has his mission call to England! He called us last night as we finished planning and he sounded so excited! It's so cool to know that people I taught knew in other areas are going on missions too. Also, Conrad leaves for the MTC on September 19! That's my year mark! How exciting! Mom you served your mission in London South also didn't you?  (yes in 1989)
Last night we watched the CES Fireside Broadcast at the G's home. Sister G and her kids are recent converts that love the missionaries and we asked them if we could watch it with them. It was pretty cool. They brought out their bunnies and we played with tem for awhile too.
Anyway that's all. Love you all so much.
-Elder Ephraim Kade Decoursey

So something awesome to share. We have this investigator that is super awesome. Robin is in her 70's and yet still up and moving around. It sufficeth me to say that she has been through a lot. She's agreed to baptism and she avidly reads from the Book of Mormon. It's hard for her to come to Church, however, because with her health it's more of a hit or miss situation. I don't know how she is still alive right now. Anyway, about a month ago we lost contact with her. We've stopped by, filled up her voicemail box. We almost thought that she had died. But lo and behold, we found her! Robin has a friend that is a less active member of the branch. Elder S and I went to see her to see if she knew anything about Robin. She told us that around the time that we had lost contact with her she had snapped her leg in half at a McDonald's and is now in a health care center in a town about 30 minutes north from Greenville. She told us that Robin had been wanting to tell us about what happened but there was no way she could get contact with us. What a miracle!! That same day we drove the long way up just to see her. She was so happy to see us and us to see her. My fears have been calmed and God has granted us with Robin yet again. She still wants to come to church but, unfortunately, the nurses told her that she wont be going anywhere for 3 to 6 months. I pray that God will grant her the ability to heal quickly from this injury. I know that Robin is such a wonderful person and I know that God will grant her the things she most desires.
We were working up in another village in the area and as we were walking downtown, we saw these tiger statues in front of certain stores. They look like they were designed to have a theme with the store that they were in front of, except for the bedazzled tiger that was in front of the insurance office. But the rest made sense. I thought they were pretty cool so I got pictures of them.
I love my mother with all my heart. She has been such a great influence for good for me on my mission. No matter where I am, she always seems to teach me more. She has helped me throughout my entire life and now I am paying her back by putting what she taught me to use on my mission. If it wasn't for her example, I would not have been the amazing person that I am now. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you so much.
From your hero,
Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sister D 4.29.13 "Minnesota is rejoicing"

Dear home,

Life is good. The sun has decided to show up for the first time and the whole state of Minnesota is rejoicing. Never have I seen so many people outside but I think that could just be because they were all in hibernation. Which I don't blame them. But, now this is like a whole new place.

We spent some hours painting this weekend and Adri was able to come with us. Oh, how I like her. She is so fun to be around that I wish that we could be better friends now but I'm too busy with missionary stuff. So, it's all good. She is slowly finding some friends here in the ward besides the members that she lives with. so that's great.

We will be moving into our apartment this week if I have to eat from one plate and sleep on the floor. Ok, we have beds and we bought paper plates today, so it's fine. We are very anxious to move in, if you could already tell. :)

Hope all is well there,

Love from the slightly frozen still,

Sister D

Elder E 4.29."Goodbye Elder R"

This is the big week. Elder R goes home in several days. we had a good time together for these past 2 months. He is such a great missionary. But Sunday hit him really hard. It was his last Sunday as a missionary and it was fast and testimony meeting as well so the branch presidency asked if Elder R would be the first to bear his testimony. While he was up at the podium, that's when the reality hit him all at once. He broke down and everyone did as well. After he was done, the members that we met with the most got up and said their goodbyes to him and said what a wonderful job that we had done with the area. I think it was a good way for him to end this life before the next one.
This past week has been pretty dreary. The weather has been rainy the whole time. It looks like it's going to rain anytime now. But the work moves on. We also had exchanges with the district leader and the zone leader last week. I was in E with Elder P and we did some tracting. There was one atheist that tried to bash with us for almost an hour. There was a scripture in the Book of Mormon that continued to rise to my mind as we "conversed" with this man. It's found in 2 Nephi 9:28. There were no heated words, no hatred felt. He just had too many opinions and no willingness to try the true way to find knowledge. After that, we biked to our next appointment. We had a wonderful time with these investigators and answered many of their questions. I hope that there will be some good that will come from them. The next day, we went back to G and helped out at the library. They were doing a huge project where we moved two rooms around. We had so much fun and I'm happy to say that this library is my favorite library in all of Ohio. We were using the little scooty thingys that you put underneath the big objects to move them around. That was a huge blast to use. We made games and activities with them. Lauren and Ruben are our favorite librarians ever! We took pictures and made videos of the whole event. The library looks completely different now then it did before. It was definitely needed. After that we had to go to the church building to help out in a service project. We were laying down some new mulch for the plants and what-not and then had a quick potluck afterwards. There was a non-member there who is interested in learning more but we aren't counting him until we actually teach him. That should be this weekend.
Anyways that's pretty much all I have for now. I wish I had more but I haven't been writing in my journal lately so I can't remember everything now. Hopefully I'll do better this week.
Love you all,
-Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Elder E Letters three weeks worth.

Due to some illness I was not able to get these letter on in an orderly manner.  This his last three weeks of emails.
Howdy Howdy Howdy!!!
How good it is to be able to write to my homeland on such a repetitive basis. I do love General Conference. It feels like a holiday for each missionary in the world. Never had I been more excited for conference than this one. I took so many notes and learned so much from what was spoken. I wait anxiously for when the Ensign comes. Let me retell an experience I had on Saturday.
Before the Priesthood session, Elder R and I went to see a less active member of the branch. It was immediately apparent that he joined the Church because of the sisters that taught him years ago but we did our best to bring to conference. Actually, Elder Rdid all of the talking. I sat like a lump on the log and said nothing. After we left, I felt horrible. How can I be serve the Lord if I couldn't even open my mouth to say one little thing. As we sat down to listen to prophets and apostles, I said a prayer in my heart that what is spoken in the session will help me to speak or I would go home and leave the church. Almost immediately after I closed my prayer, Elder Robert D. Hales was first to speak. As he opened his address with Ephesians 6 on the Armor of God, tears began to stream down my face. This had been what I was waiting for! Not only was my prayer answered, but every word that was shared that night touched me in such a way that amazes even me. I really did grow 5 feet that night. I am so grateful for prayer.
That scripture that Elder Hales shared is the very scripture that I live by. No more do I need the Lord's council than I do now. Thanks to General Conference, I know how to be a better missionary than I have been. Now is the true beginning of Elder DeCoursey.
This past week, we spent much time over at Nikki's house and doing service with her husband. They really are a great couple. I was shocked when she asked for visiting teachers . She's not even a member yet. Once she's read the Book of Mormon. I know that she will join the true church of God.
It's been rather difficult to find any new investigators. Sometimes we won't be able to find investigators but that;s alright. I know that God is just testing my faith. He knows what I need learn so until then I'll keep on working.
We made a new missionary meal calender that covers till next December. Each page has a funny comic that had to have been made by a return missionary. I know that the branch will love it.
Nothing much else really happened. Love you lots.
Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey
Family and Friends,
 I've got a riddle for all of my friends and family at home. :When the music stops the girl dies. How does the girl die?" Now don't use the internet to answer this. Use your best judgement and then I'll answer it next week.
Hello everyone. My mission has committed us to memorize all 40 of the scriptures they have given us to study. I'll be honest in saying that I've been neglecting this privilege to study these verses in the past 6 months. I want to take on this challenge so I can become a better missionary. I will let you know how the progress goes as the weeks go by.
Yesterday we went to see a less active family of the branch. They are super nice to the missionaries. The husband is the member and he hasn't been to church since he was in his teens and his wife is not a member. However, 2 of their kids have been baptized into the church and these kids regularly go to the youth activities every Wednesday. We had a great time visiting them. He makes his own hot sauce and he asked if we wanted to try some. So of course we tried some and our mouths were definitely on fire. It wasn't the hottest I've had but it was certainly hot. After our visit we counted the wife as a new investigator.
In one of the towns that we cover, we tracted into an older gentleman that spends the majority of his time wood crafting. And he is really good. He made a carnival, many churches, portraits, and more. He is really good. I'll be sending some pictures along so you can see his work.
Niki, one of the investigators that we already have is progressing quite well. She's already a member but she's what we call a "Dry Mormon". She doesn't think she knows enough yet to make the decision but she is reading the Book of Mormon regularly. She believes that she has to read the entire book before she makes a decision. That certainly is very good, but she really doesn't have to know every little detail about the church to get an answer. The Holy Ghost is the best teacher and it can help her to learn more. But for now she is truly progressing.
That's all the highlights of the past week. I love you all so much.
Love, Elder Ephraim Kade DeCoursey
So I have recently discovered a certain modern day Apostle by the name of Elder Bruce R. McKonkie and his works. Have you heard of him? I've heard of him before but I had no idea what he's done. He is so cool!!! My district leader has a copy of one of the books that he wrote. It's called Mormon Doctrine. It's basically a dictionary for latter day saint terms and great stuff like that. I love that book. I wish I had my own copy so I could read it on my free time. But it is no longer in print so it's not so easy to find. I can live without it for now.
So last week we did something called the Burgess challenge. The Burgess's are a member of the branch that moved in from Utah 3 months ago and we were having dinner with them a few weeks ago and we got on the subject of challenges. Bro Burgess wanted to create a challenge for us to do and future missionaries to come. So last Tuesday we arrive at their house for dinner and on the table are 6 loose-meat burgers, 6 spanish style coney dogs, and a quart of chocolate shake for each of us. After the prayer, the challenge began. I had 3 burgers left, 1 coney left, and I had drank all my shake before I had to quit. I was stuffed. Elder Riggs, on the other hand, was able to finish. we sorely regretted it later. We were rolling around on the floor in pain in our apartment. I gained several pounds from that meal alone.
We discovered that we had an investigator that had "fallen through the cracks" in missionary communication. Her name is Roberta. She is a 70 year old confederate and she lives in a very historic home. She has had the Church's influence almost all her life. Ever since she moved in missionaries have visiting her for 12 years now. She has a lot of old stuff that if she sold it all she would have a lot of money by now. But she likes having all the things she has. She loves the Church so much but she's told us the only reason that's holding her back is that she's a traditional Lutheran and she's not used to all the business suits and no robes out on the podium. But she wants to be baptized. She understand what the proper authority is and she's even told us she's Mormon at heart. We just need to help her come to church and to ease into the Restored Gospel. In an effort to help her, we went to her church on Sunday before our church. She ended up not coming to ours because she was going on a trip to Georgia to scope a house that she thinks God wants her to have. We still went to her church with her and I will tell you this. The Church of Jesus Christ really is the only true Church upon the earth. I felt empty the whole time I was at the service. It was foreign to me. The Holy Ghost could not have been there in that building, unfortunately. I almost felt silly while I was there. But coming to our Church felt right. Taking the sacrament is the greatest thing I can do in this life. We have something that no other church does. And that's a Prophet that has restored all the eternal truths to the children of God in these latter days. I am always thankful to be worthy to hold the power of God in my hands to use for the good of others. No where else can I find such a feeling like this anywhere else.
That's all I got. Till next week. It should be next Wednesday when I'm online next so don't worry if I'm not online on Monday.
Elder Ephraim DeCoursey