I have only one week left = insanity. There are many emotions involved.
This past week we've been diligent in the work but we didn't teach many lessons. I was sad, because it really didn't reflect how much we worked.
I have loved my mission a lot. I have loved what I've learned and taught and the people that I've met.
There is no work that is greater than God's. This is his work.
I know that I talk about this a lot. I know that everybody does, but You really need to be reading the scriptures. It is a sin to not read the word of God daily. It is a commandment. Contained in the Book of Mormon and all other scriptures is God's message for us. If you knew that you got an email from President Thomas S. Monson you'd probably read it as soon as physically possible. Why is reading the scriptures any different? YOU need to be doing it DAILY. Don't make excuses to not read them. That's just dumb.
This was a good week! I got a surprise text telling me that a person that I taught last year wanted to talk to me and it had his number, so I called him. It was AMAZING to catch up on old times. I only taught him for 2 months but he still remembered me and thought that I must be headed home soon. He offered that if I'm visiting my mission I can stay in his home. He's also getting baptized sometime this fall! It was so incredible to hear and to realize the affect that I made on his life as a missionary. I really needed a boost like that.
It's been raining here in Idaho a ton! It's green here for the first time in a century! (I totally made that statistic up.) I feel like it's preparing me to go home. There are a lot of people who know Missouri in one of the wards that I'm in right now too. It's weird.
I got my "trunky papers" today. It's your flight itinerary for when you're going home. It's insane. I'll be in Kansas City at 1:14 PMon the 23rd.
I got my trunky papers, but I am in no way trunky.
I've been reading the Book of Mormon a LOT I want to finish it again before I go home, so I have to read 20+ pages a day. Today I read a lot, but in that reading I read Alma 27:27 talking about the Anti-Nephi-Lehites.
"And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end."
If we are not known to be what this scripture says, how are we representing God's restored church? We need to be honest and good. Don't lie. It's really annoying. As a missionary, I've become well associated with it. Just say the truth.
I can't believe that I'll be home in like 22 days. In fact I won't believe that... done. I've still got a year.
We've had a pretty good week! We got lots of work done! I love it when I'm lost in God's work all of my problems seem to be washed away for a little while. I love the feeling that I get as I'm testifying. Even if those who we talk decide not to believe in the truth that we share, as I share my testimony it is reaffirmed to me. All of us tend to forget things, but as we do what the Book of Mormon invites us to do, remember Him, we'll be happy.
Something that's been on my mind is the Sabbath day. Keeping it is really important. It's our observance of the small things that makes the difference in our lives.
Now, I'm a missionary (no way!) and even though we pretty much treat every day like it's Sunday with how we dress and stuff, I decided that i need to observe the Sabbath more. So, on Sundays I don't listen to music, but General Conference talks instead. It's been awesome!
Random awesome scripture!
2 Nephi 29:8-9
8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
I had a birthday party on Saturday. It was wonderfully catered by my parents through mail. It only involved me and my companion, but it was great. We had a tiny pinata, we made a cake, we took stupid pictures, it was wonderful.
This past week I've been sick a lot (including on my birthday) which hasn't been fun, but we just have to keep trucking along!
In my studies this week I found a scripture that I love SO MUCH.
2 Nephi 9:41
"O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name."
The path is straight and right in front of us if we will just take it! Jesus Christ is waiting at the gate for you with love in his eyes and a hug waiting. That will be one of the most joyous and glorious moments for me. I can't wait to see may Savior, see his eyes and receive his hug that's just for me.
Do what you know that you must do to stay on the path that leads to those glorious gates.
This week's been intense. Seriously, everything that hasn't happened in the previous 2 weeks happened this past week.
First: OUR APARTMENT FLOODED. I was woken up at 12:44 Thursday to my companion yelling. We ran upstairs and found that the hose that connected the toilet to the wall broke and water was spraying everywhere.
Starting that morning until now, we've been in a ghetto hotel. We've each got queen sized beds, but it's really thrown our mojo off. There's no room for studies, so we've had to do it on our beds. It's hard to keep it effective. We are also out of clothes and are in a finding a washing machine emergency. I'm currently wearing my old toe socks that I wore with my toe shoes, because I have no other socks.
Second: I got to talk to my family yesterday! It was enjoyable. :) (Oceanology, no Oceanography, I TOOK A CLASS) We talked about classes and a whole bunch of other random stuff.
I happened to skype in the home of the Buck family. Brother Buck graduated from Skyview with my mother. He showed me their yearbooks and here's a picture that I found of my mom in one of the yearbooks! :D
My message today is for those of you who might be struggling through deep waters of trials, sickness, depression, or stress. To console the Prophet Joseph Smith and other the Lord said:
Doctrine and Covenants 50:41-42
41 Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;
42 And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.
Fear not. He is there. If you lean on him he will be your support and you will not be lost.
This past week's been hard as well. I started to get sick 4 days ago and now I'm SUPER sick. I'm hurting a lot. Met with the doctor this morning and he attributed my stomach discomfort with stress amplified irritable bowel syndrome. It hurts a lot, so any prayers would help.
I've been sick a lot on my mission. It's awful because this is when I want to be working the hardest.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
As we push through our trials, God rewards us. Pain, suffering, stress, challenges, are all things that will end after this life.
Even with trials and challenges. Even though we will have them always, it does not mean that God's hand is not in our lives. Think about the original 12 apostles that Christ chose. They were beaten, rejected, and killed,. Think about Abinidi. He stated the truth and was burned for it. Think of the early saints who left footprints of blood on an untamed prairie as they searched for a place where they could worship their God freely and without persecution.
This week's been intense. Everything happened. Everything.
Elder Andersen in gone. He got emergency transferred to Blackfoot. I miss him, but I've got an awesome new companion: Elder Mendoza. He's from Florida, his dad's from Spain, and his mom's from Italy. He's just a really great guy and an incredible missionary. Here we are emailing! :D
At the same time as the emergency transfer (which happens when some missionaries in the mission don't get along or get in trouble) and all of the confusion (including moving into another apartment), we've had some success. God always balances out the bad with good in the large scheme of things.
We've been talking with a wonderful 14 year old girl that we'll call Amy (though that's not her real name.) She's awesome! Since we met her she's been really great, committed, and sensitive to the spirit. She's noticed that she feels really good when she prays and reads the Book of Mormon.
From what I've noticed, answers come to all who truly ask and seek.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
2 Nephi 4:35
35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.
These and many other scriptures indicate that if we will ask we WILL receive.
This basic doctrine stated by Jesus Christ and his prophets- ancient and modern- is what many in this world so greatly lack. Many have lost hope in God's ACTUAL POWER to change our lives. He can change us, he has changed me and will continue to do so, and he will change and help you if you will simply seek it with a heart open completely to his direction.
seek his direction
be humble and teachable like a child (see Matthew 18:2-3)
follow his direction
I know that if we will follow Christ, search him out, and follow him we will find peace and happiness in this life and the next.
I'd like to talk about music today. It can lift us up or bring us down. If you'd like some awesome, uplifting, free, music you can go on the Church's Youth Playlist of FREE music! Everything in 2015 mutual theme is super good. They've really upped their game since I was youthful. haha
12 For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.
What is the song of your heart? Would is sound like "Come thou Fount of Every Blessing," or would is sound more like "Party Rock Anthem" or "Gangnam Style?" (Sorry, I'm behind the modern music)
Jesus Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21) I had a very interesting experience with this idea in my second year of EFY. I opened my scriptures to a random place. I sought for spiritual answers and for what I needed to change to be closer to God. I opened to this scripture and realized that I had my heart in the world (namely in sports cars.)
Do you spend an excessive amount of time researching cool new things that'll be outdated in 6 months? Is that what you most care about? You'd probably say no, but if time devotion defined priorities I think that would reveal a lot about all of us. Pay attention to your time. There's probably something better that you could do rather than spend 2 hours on Facebook and Pinterest. (I was very guilty of this before my mission.)
I'd just like to invite all of you to make a conscious change of mind and actions. Make your time devotion in accordance with your true priorities (Family, God, learning.)
I love you all! I miss all of you and look forward to your hugs and high fives. Please pray for me!
Pictures: The hulk riding his equally epic trusty steed, Godzilla.
Elder Andersen's first time seeing snow up close, ever.
First short sleeve day of the year! (in the same week and the snow #IDAHO)
This was a fantastic week! It was full of stress, but it was also full of success.
This is my Son! He's good at entertaining the kids with silly faces. He's from Florida and spent his first month in Argentina. He got sick and sent home to get better and he got sent here for the rest! We're happy to get him!
We've had some incredible experiences together this week.
EXAMPLE: On his first day here we were driving around a famously large trailer court here in town. I suddenly had the feeling to stop. I looked around and saw a some Hispanic kids by the trailer to our right, so we knocked on the door. There was an absolutely awesome person who hadn't ever talked to missionaries and was super nice and open to talk. She's talking to us now and hopefully she's reading the Book of Mormon! God's hand is in this work!
ANOTHER EXAMPLE: Someone brought a friend to church who's interested in talking with us! I LOVE it when that happens!
ANOTHER EXAMPLE: On his first day we had a lesson where the mom and I were crying, and the dad was almost crying. It was an incredible spiritual experience as we testified of Christ's power to help us through all challenges.
I'm the new district leader in this district. We've been really trying to see God's hand helping us every day. As we've done that we all have seen more miracles. As we pay attention to His hand, we'll see it more.
I LOVED GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!
I especially loved Elder Holland's talk. His are always the best.
The power of the Spirit is beyond our ability to fathom. If we will open our hearts it can fill us. Open up.
The other picture is a stupid one with Elder Pinkston
My companion is getting transferred! D: That makes me sad. BUT, I'm having another kid!(Meaning that I'll be training another missionary... again!)
It's my third mission son and I'm excited! But the posterity is growing even more because... *drum roll*
I'm getting a grandkid!!!(Meaning that someone that I trained is training someone!)
Is this what parenting feels like? I like it! I think I'll give it a shot someday!
Tomorrow My trainer Elder Sanchez is returning home having finished his mission. I'm so thankful for his loving help in some very trying times of my mission. He will always be dear to me. I will continue on his legacy!
I'm not ok with this whole "mission ending" thing. I've been telling people that I've been out for "a little over a year" for the past long while. They're going to have to wrestle me onto the plane.
HAPPY EASTER!!!!!! :D
I LOVED conference! I feel like my batteries are recharged. I can do this whole mission thing! I especially loved Elder Holland's talk. He spoke about the atonement of Jesus Christ. Without Him we are completely and utterly alone, but because he lives we never have to be. He provides hope for the world. People CAN change. I can change. It's all and only through our resurrected Savior. I'd like to invite everyone to watch Elder Holland's talk. It changed me.
1 Nephi 19:9
9 And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.
22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
He suffered and died for us, AND HE LIVES.
I know that he lives and loves us. Take his outstretched hand in good times and bad. This is my prayer.
It's almost April, and it still feels like October. I left Rexburg in October, So I know that I'm not there anymore... I feel like I'm losing my mind... again. The first time was when I was born, I never recovered fully.
There's a new Easter video that's only 2;30 minutes long and it's fantastic! It's all about Jesus Christ and how what he did can affect us in our lives. It's called Because He Lives. <-- There's a link right there for your convenience! I just figured out how to do that!
I love the peace that the gospel brings to us. It picks us up out to heartache and despair. It pulls back the blinds of life that truly blind us from the hope of God's infinite light. When we finally feel the warmth of the savior's light it changes us. It helps us to see the good, for all good comes from Christ. (Moroni 7:24)
When we feel that warmth, when we see the good, we need to share it. This video can give you some ideas.
General Conference is this weekend! I'm so pumped! How amazing is our opportunity to hear from the Prophet and the 12 apostles?!? For missionaries it's like an new Harry Potter movie. I CAN'T WAIT!
This past week I've been studying real intent. It's really the key to everything. It's really being fully invested into something. Randall Ridd gave a fantastic talk recently about real intent and he said something really cool:
"Our challenge is that when we see a wonderful family or a financially successful person or a spiritual giant, we don’t see all the small and simple acts that produce them. We watch Olympic athletes, but we don’t see the years of daily training that made them champions. We go to the store and buy fresh fruit, but we don’t see the planting of the seed and the careful cultivating and harvesting. We look at President Monson and other General Authorities, and we sense their spiritual strength and goodness, but what we don’t see are the simple, daily disciplines repeated over and over again. These things are easy to do, but they are also easy not to do—especially because the results are not instantaneous."
The most important things to do are really easy to do, but they're also really easy not to do! How true is that?!? When we watch General Conference with real intent, it can change us. It WILL change us. We just have to focus and desire direction and change.
The Movie "Meet the Mormons" will be out on DVD and Bluray this week as well! All the things are awesome!
Live with real intent and you'll be happy. It makes the all the difference. Please read Randall Ridd's talk. It's changed me.
p.s. we had some fun face mask adventures and we saw something ironic at Kiwi Loco (a fro-yo shop)
What can I say? Missionary work is the hardest think that I've ever done by far, but it's the most rewarding thing that I've ever done, by far.
To share the truth, to share the news that this world's been waiting for since the martyrdom of Christ's 12 apostles: that power is back! That church is back! It was predicted by those apostles. (See: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 1 Timothy 4:1-3, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, 2 Peter 2:1-2, Revelations 14: 6-7)
The truth is here and it's awesome!
My companion and I have come up with many amazing ideas together that will either make us Youtube famous or just solidify accusations of insanity. I'm ok with either way.
I didn't get to eat corn beef and cabbage as is a tradition in my family, but I did get to look like a gangster in walmart.
That's really all that I've got for today... except
2 Timothy (hey that's me!) 4: 7-8
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
I am now starting to question if I actually existed before my mission. I doubt it... I just have these strange memories...
My health's thrown a curve ball at me again. I have a constant pain, and in the mornings I hurt a TON. It's all in my chest and it doesn't seen to be getting better. The Mission doctor is looking into scheduling a colonoscopy for me... The only definitive way to figure out if i have an autoimmune disease is by looking at my colon. The moment of truth! at least we'll have more information to work with now. I just want to get this who thing figured out so I can get on with the work.
I was feeling really sick one night. I had accidentally eaten egg noodles (WHY DO EGG NOODLES EXIST) and I had to sleep it off. I had a dream that I was saying goodbye to Elder Sanchez who trained me. His family was picking him up and they were about to head home. I was super sad. Then my dream branched off and I was in a HUGE house walking up a massive staircase. It was shrinking and it kept shrinking until I was crawling through an air duct. It continued to shrink and I got stuck.
I woke up with a re-found love for my mission. I don't have a long time left to be able to do SO MUCH WORK that I want to do. Now, at the end of my mission I have to work harder than ever because the walls are closing in. I have to help as many people as I can before the surreal real life gets me.
On an interesting side note... I haven't seen you people in forever... it's weird to think, but I associate myself for with the random people that I've met here than with people at home. When people say "dad" my first thought is Elder Sanchez my trainer... It's strange.
The weather's been nice. The sun went up AND came down every day this past week... but seriously, spring is here
We had an awesome experience last Tuesday. We had the chance to give blessings to two ladies who were having a REALLY hard time. They were both trying to get off addictions and change their lives. The spirit was so thick in the room you could cut it with a knife as I felt God speaking to two of his precious, lost daughters. That was the most spiritual part of my mission to date.
A cool scripture that I read and found new meaning in this week:
1 Nephi 16:29
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
Those scriptures that say "by small means" are referring to our faith and diligence. We must be diligent in doing the good things.
How many times have we been told by the prophets that the "primary answers" are the way to eternal life? Those so called "primary answers' are the real answers and there's nothing more important. "Pray, read scriptures, go to church" are really always the answer, because if you're doing those things, you'll find the answers. It that simple!
It's quite ridiculous to try to live this gospel, or t try to live a happy life without these principals. Those are the small means that "bring about great things."
If you feel that you're not feeling the spirit as much as you'd like in your life, work on those "small means."
I'm now serving in Idaho Falls in the Mesa Spanish 2 area :D
I ate at Tandoori Oven!
Here in IF there's an extension from the one in Logan Utah ! It's pretty much a big deal. It's still the best thing ever.
So, I have not broken any more pants. that's exciting and fun!
I'm with Elder Pinkston who's awesome! I've known him for a while now, so it's been cool to be companions.We are doing what's called "White Washing." Which means that two missionaries are put into an area replacing both of those who were here previously. It's a rather stressful but incredibly exciting thing to do. I am SO glad that I already had a GPS to help us find addresses and get around. If we didn't have it, we'd have to ask the very plump Idaho Squirrels and other road kill frequently found in Idaho Falls. Thank you Father for your generous gift.
We've had a fun week getting to know the area and talking to everyone. One guy was awkwardly rude. haha He was working on something under his car when we walked up and offered our assistance. I also asked him how he is. When he saw who we were he said "fine," put his tools in the back seat of the car, and jogged into the house. He jogged. It was awkward because he didn't seem angry or scared (which are the usual emotions we face when this happens) he seemed almost calm as he jogged into the house.
We had a regional Stake conference broadcast and Elder L. Tom Perry presided. It was awesome! I was so inspired by his words and the other words said.
One theme of the conference was change. I think we all fear change to some degree (the man who jogged to his house for instance), but change is quite necessary for us. We all must continually change until we reach perfection through Jesus Christ. He is the only person who doesn't have to change because he is already perfect.
It is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that we can change. we can leave the past behind. We can be new people through Him. Well known examples are: Peter, Paul, Alma the Younger, Zeezrom, and for all of you who know me, me.
Through Jesus Christ and how I have come to know him through the course of my life I have changed. When I was young I was the kid on the playground who was so focused on where I wanted to go that I pushed over everyone in my path. Now I feel of God's love for everyone and I do my best to make everyone happy.
I have been a selfish jerk in the past, and though I'm still not perfect, I'm improving. Being with people that you hardly know 24/7 teaches you that quickly.
I know that God lives and that he loves us. This gospel is a gospel that allows us to change and follow Jesus Christ. Then change and chose to follow Him again. The only way to heaven is through change in ourselves to do the will of God.
"21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
I invite you all to change and to do God's will for you. follow his command and like a soldier with a good commander, he will lead you to safety and victory.
The weeks and months are flying like moths and screaming like "eeks" as they slip through my fingers.(If you see what I did there.... Both of those other words is just one letter off of the first ones...... ha...ha...) It's INSANE.
I'm going to hit 19 months this week. I'm not ready for the big 20 in any aspect. In my own growing age and in my mission age.
We had an awesome week last week! We're getting work DONE! We're finally getting kinda used to being where we are, and we're working on helping people come unto Christ! :D It's awesome! We're talking to as many people as we can to search out those who are the elect and prepared to receive our message. We're really enjoying it.
There's really nothing like serving a mission. You see the best of some people and the worst of others. Some are quite angry that your on their doorstep and that you exist. I don't see how our existence and our passionate search to find the lost sheep can offend, but I hope that someday Heavenly Father will help me to see them as he does, with perfect love. I'm not quite to that point, but I hope someday I can be.
I read something really cool in my studies this morning.
Doctrine & Covenants 50:26
26 He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.
It's a great mantle to be "appointed to be the greatest," and it's something that is quite humbling as well. Somehow I've got to change ridiculous me with all my flaws and challenges to be great like Peter or Paul. It's also incredibly important to note that I am called to be the servant of all as well. I diligently strive to serve everyone as much as I can, and the greatest service that I can perform is to declare to the ends of the earth the truthfulness of what we share. Jesus is the Christ. He died for us, and he had reached out to us as he did in times of old with a prophet in these days. These last days are the most important ones, where the human race is constantly bombarded with temptation and what's foul. Satan is attacking more now than ever, so now is the time in history when we need prophets the most, and we have them. I know that. I have heard his voice, I have heard his word and I have had several powerful spiritual witnesses that Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet on the earth.
Watch "Meet the Mormons," and read the Book of Mormon because Christ said "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:20)
Complacency is the bane of any progress, especially spiritual progress.
Pictures: We went to see the temple
I saw Elder Carson Cummings who I saw leave for his mission from Jackson Hole. He returned from Dominican Republic for medical reasons and is now waiting for his visa and serving for a little while in our mission! Small world.
Because I hit 18 months, I had to burn an old pair of pants. It was fun.
I'm getting transferred to the Idaho Falls area. I'm a sad panda. Lina and her son are getting baptized on March 7th and I won't be here. She's been progressing a lot. Yesterday we taught her and the Spirit hit me, almost made me cry, and I realized how grateful I am to be a missionary. I have the opportunity to see people change their lives to be closer to Jesus Christ. Lina really is like King Lamoni's father who said (Alma 22:18)
"O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day."
We should all be willing to sacrifice all sins to know God. He is is waiting for us to be willing to follow. Will we be like Peter or will we be like the "Young Rich Man"? Be willing to not only hear, but to do.
We've had a lot of awesome things happen. In my last week we taught many more than we've ever had. God helped me to know and feel that I've done a good work.
Funny story: I destroyed three pairs of pants in one week...
Pants 1: They were burned in the traditional ceremonial manner. At 18 months missionaries burn pants. It's a thing. They were irreparable anyway.
Pants 2: A massive hole was procured while I fake roundhouse kicked my companion in the face. 4 inch long hole in the butt along the seem. Easily repaired.
Pants 3: They were destroyed approximately 1 hour after I acquired my newly repaired Pants 2. They exploded as I picked up a log. The hole was 8 inches long.
When you get sad. Know that you're cooler than this guy... who puts a cardboard spoiler on a Honda Civic.
The other picture is our fantastic district! Sisters Crone and Vargas, Elders Johnson, Mortensen, Pyrah, and Me, and our Zone Leaders Elder Rabe and Olson.
We got some romantic mormon valentines taped to our door by a mysterious human... hopefully human.
I've seen myself slip a little bit this past week. My intestinal bothers are bothering... I think I might be soy intolerant now too...
On Sunday there was a really nice story read that really helped me. It was about a kid named Robert who started off with simple problems like 1+1 then he advances. He then has more important problems to face like "If you fall off your bike and break your leg, is it your fault, your parents fault, the bike's fault, or the sidewalk's fault? then "If you're a teenager and you feel alone and that you have nowhere to turn do you a) Do drugs to drown life out b) kill yourself c) be depressed d) find another solution" then finally "If you've had 2 heart attacks and breathing gets harder and harder to do, how much did you love?"
The whole point was that we cannot chose the problems that we get, but we have to find answers.
With my challenges this really hit home. I can't control the problems that I get, but I have to figure out solutions. The problems aren't punishments, they're my chance to grow.
I love the gospel and church which both help me to find purpose in my life. I know that there is purpose.
If you are searching for purpose in your life I highly advise prayer and significant time reading the Book of Mormon.
Week 75 (I only have 6 months left... That's not ok with me.)
This week was awesome! Some sad stuff happened as usual, but as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:
30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
I'm glad that God can trust me to remain faithful when hard things happen. That's why they happen! My back's still bothering me... well so are my knees, but I'm glad for the challenge.
Thank you Ward family for the delicious package!
We've had a few really awesome experience this past week that are really testimonies of God's hand in the work. On Saturday we had 2 such experiences. I felt a distinct impression that we should visit someone that we had planned to visit an hour later, so we went to see him. We found him about to go ride him dirt bike. we wouldn't have seen him if we had gone any later! I asked my companion later where we should go. He felt that we should visit someone else. We went to their house and they were about to leave to go to Pocatello for the evening. I love the Spirit!
Then last night we both had a distinct impression that we needed to go to a Devotional in Pocatello that had already started, we didn't have anyone going, and we could have gone teaching. But the impression was there, so we went. We were only there for the last 15 minutes, but we asked everyone if they knew anyone in American Falls who might be interested. We finally talked to a Sister Missionary who talked to another Sister Missionary who had someone who they were teaching who moved to American Falls! We hadn't heard of them and they were apparently really interested! If we hadn't gone to that Devoional. we wouldn't have ever heard about them.
God's hand is in this work.
This work is the best, I'm kinda sad to be returning home in 6 months.
We had several miracles happen, but at the same time many challenges, well one main one.
I've been sick for the past 5 days.
I don't know if I have the stomach flu or if my surgery pains are coming back, either way "I'm not happy Bob, NOT HAPPY." (We were allowed to watch The Incredibles for New Years a few weeks back) Being sick is not my favorite thing, but we've just got to keep on keeping on.
A miracle that happened: on Friday we contacted a media referral and he is amazing. He's working to completely change his life. He was once a gang member in Juarez Mexico- drug trafficking, seeing people killed, everything. Now he wants to know Christ and to have Christ as the center of his life. He is an inspiration to be about the Atonement.
Christ is the center of everything. Through him we can change our lives.
There was a man in the Book of Mormon who was rather like this young man that we found. He did many wicked things and desired to change. His name was Zeezrom and he caused the death of hundreds of women and children before repenting and changing.
3 And also Zeezrom lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever, which was caused by the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness, for he supposed that Alma and Amulek were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because of his iniquity. And this great sin, and his many other sins, did harrow up his mind until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance; therefore he began to be scorched with a burning heat.
4 Now, when he heard that Alma and Amulek were in the land of Sidom, his heart began to take courage; and he sent a message immediately unto them, desiring them to come unto him.
5 And it came to pass that they went immediately, obeying the message which he had sent unto them; and they went in unto the house unto Zeezrom; and they found him upon his bed, sick, being very low with a burning fever; and his mind also was exceedingly sore because of his iniquities; and when he saw them he stretched forth his hand, and besought them that they would heal him.
6 And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?
7 And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.
8 And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed.
9 And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words.
10 And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.
11 And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.
12 And Alma baptized Zeezrom unto the Lord; and he began from that time forth to preach unto the people.
As we change our lives and strive to be better. Christ will heal us. I beg that you make the changes that you feel that you must.
picture: first picture of me and my "Son" Elder Pyrah (I'm training him)
We found 6 new solid people to teach and taught 17 lessons! We're really pumped. The "Standard of Excellence" is 20 lessons a week, and hopefully, with God's help, we'll finally get it! I've never done it in my whole mission, but we're really feeling guided by the Holy Ghost in our lessons and in finding prepared people.
This all started with a promise given to us by our inspired Mission President: President Brinkerhoff. He promised that as we focus on Elder Pyrah's training (I'm training him), that we'll find more people to teach. We acted on that promise and the blessings came fourth. God's hand really is in this work!
We've had our share of disappointments this week, but it's been enveloped in the spirit of the work and the miracles! Little miracles like feeling that we need to visit someone that's hard to find at home and they're there have happened almost daily.
Miracles start with faith. We believed in the words of our prophetic leader, we acted, and the promised blessings came fourth. This pattern applies to everything in the gospel!
For example, how many times have we been promised direction in our lives if we will daily read from the Book of Mormon, weekly attend church, weekly hold family home evening, and pray frequently? I'd say we hear that and least 6 times every General Conference and 2 times weekly at church.
Question: Do you do these things? If not, why not? What excuse are you using to limit your spiritual growth?
No excuse is worth limiting your communication with God! It's pretty clear...
We've been emphasizing prayer and fasting recently.
3 Nephi 27:1-2
1 And it came to pass that as the disciples of Jesus were journeying and were preaching the things which they had both heard and seen, and were baptizing in the name of Jesus, it came to pass that the disciples were gathered together and were united in mighty prayer and fasting.
2 And Jesus again showed himself unto them
As we fast and pray, we open the gates of heaven and give God a greater chance to visit us with the Holy Spirit and for miracles to happen.
This up coming Sunday is fast Sunday. If you could please fast for Missionary work in your wards and for me, that'd be great! Thanks!
p.s. We attended a baby shower... so weird. We helped them set it up and they invited us to come back for dinner and we didn't have a dinner, so we went. Half the time we were 2 of 3 men in the room, the other half we were 2 of 2. Awkward, but we found someone to teach!
We had a decent week. We had a couple disappointments, but we've been working through it.
I've been having some trouble with my knees, so if you could pray for that that'd be awesome.
Umm this past week taught me how readily we all are to do what's wrong. There have been some people that we've taught who, in the moment, told us that they were feeling "elevated by the Spirit" but later decided to not do at all what the Spirit was testifying to them that they should do. That was so sad.
We need to rely on Christ. Part of that is ACTUALLY DOING things. (See Matt 7:21)
When he gives us direction we need to follow it. I'd like to invite all of you to just do what you've know that you should do for the past while.
God loves us so he sent His Son to be our shepard. We must choose to be his sheep, and we do that by following his commands, not just listening to them.
I've had some awesome experiences this past week as I've tried to put in practice what I talked about last week- meaning change.
There's a talk that goes around missions called "Purification." It essentially talks about how we can have the Holy Ghost the most in our lives and the work. It's essentially making inspired sacrifices to be more obedient and focused on the work. If anybody might like to read it or send it to a missionary, let me know!
We had an awesome miracle with one of our investigators. We stopped bye to talk about faith and repentance and the Book of Mormon. We set a reminder on our phone to text them to read the Book of Mormon every day at 9. That night we texted them, then a little late we got a text back.
She had been reading The Book of Mormon, where she left off last, when something (the spirit) told her repeatedly to open to a random page. She finally complied. She opened to Alma 34:30-36 (on page 295) which talks about the purpose of life and about what we need to do in this life to be able to return to God. These verses really stuck out to her. They really answer the question that she had in her heart to know if what we said is true.
The Book of Mormon is true. Through it we can learn God's desires for us. It brings the Spirit into our lives. YOU SHOULD READ IT.
This experience that she had really reminded me of the truthfulness of that book. It's true. I've asked God myself, and he has told me that it's true.
This past week I've had a lot of time to reflect on improvement. I suppose that's on all of our minds right now because of the New Year. These things should always be on our mind!
God Counselled Joseph Smith saying : "Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;" (Doctrine&Covenants 58:27)
We should always think about how we can improve and actually improve!
I heard from an Elder today: "Basically, what repentance is, is this- stop doing what you shouldn't be doing, and start doing what you should be doing." It's that simple! If there's something that you know you should stop, stop. It's a no brainer. You don't have to wait until the New Year to decide that you need to exercise, lose weight, watch what you eat, or get closer to God. There's this thing called agency and repentance (essentially our ability to change) and it doesn't only come around New Years. Waiting for "the right time," is stupid and childish. Make decisions and change right now.
It's baffling to me how this concept is so foreign to some.
We have been given by God the Ability to change through his Son Jesus Christ. If THE SON OF GOD had to suffer and die for us to have this opportunity, I think it might be a slightly important thing for us to do. JUST DO IT. Make changes now. Lay down your "weapons of rebellion" (Alma 23:7) and come unto Christ. There's no better time than right now to do something that you should have always done.
Don't be a "sissy". Don't be an object to be acted upon. Don't be weak. Be the Child of God that He created you to be. Choose good, be good, change. That's where happiness lies. That's how we'll become who He wants us to be.