Monday, June 30, 2014

Finally, an update!

Hey all!
This last week was successful yet worried me at the same time. I've
forgotten to mention in the last few emails about something which has
been pretty exciting. For the last several weeks we were planning a missionary fireside for the ward. Unlike our stake, which has firesides pretty regularly, the Rockford stake has not had one
apparently in years, if that. So at first the members weren't sure it would draw a crowd. The theme of the fireside was the blessings of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, which we thought would be perfect for those with little knowledge about the church. The next idea we had was to have a convert tell their conversion story and how the Restored
Gospel blessed their life. Then we asked our mission president if he could speak and he accepted. What was nice was that he spoke at stake conference a couple weeks ago and people were so impressed that they became excited to come to the fireside. Then we made flyers and just handed them out like crazy to members and non members. It was
scheduled for last night, and so this last week we were stressing out about people coming. But people came! Word spread and missionaries from the entire stake came and brought their members, and our members came and brought their friends. Something silly that happened was that as I was helping someone bring some vegetable trays inside I dropped one in front of President Fenn. It was a great night for everyone. The talks were awesome and we filled the chapel. We even had a translator
for a Spanish family who came. Afterward we had refreshments and President Fenn told me that he was impressed by the number of people who came, which was nice to hear from him.

Now onto to your questions. Three weeks from tomorrow will be transfers. Elder Noho has been in the Rockford 1st ward for six months, so he thinks he'll go and I'll stay. Which is kind of scary since I'm still new to the area, but I welcome the opportunity. I do have allergies here, but I've been taking some medication which has been helping a lot. And there are actually a lot of kids in the ward.
There's also a lot of dream couples like Jared and Brittney and Andrew and Jessica. It's nice to feel an extension of home.

We've been knocking on doors a lot in order to find people, but success is slowly coming. We've found a couple of women who seem I nterested but it's been hard to meet with them since they're gone on the day we schedule to see them a lot. A member did refer us to one of her friends who already took the lessons and was ready to be baptized,
but was not married to the man she was living with at the time. Now she is, so she might be able to be baptized this Saturday if she's worthy and has kept the faith. And we found a woman who lives two houses from us. So we hope for two baptisms in June!

Well I love all of you! P.S. Dad, respond to my last email, and you too Carly!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Never give up.

Kids, never give up. Repeat that to yourself whenever something seems too hard; whenever you lose an interest in finishing a task; whenever you feel hopeless; whenever you feel that you are not important, repeat this in your head (maybe even better out loud): NEVER GIVE UP.  Heavenly Father did not allow us to be born just to fail. In fact, the odds are in our favor. We have been saved through Our Savior and Redeemer, The Lord Jesus Christ. We shall all receive immortality.  There is no possible debate in regards to this. The deed was done. He suffered, bled, and died. Yet he rose on the third day. The same shall we inherit. But eternal life on the other hand, that requires a transformation. Eternal life means exaltation; it means that we shall live in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and shall be united with our families everlastingly. This will be our reward, if we shall press forward with a steadfastness in Christ. NEVER GIVE UP.  Pray for help, ask for blessings, live in order to bless others, have faith. Heavenly Father changes lives when we expect it from him. Pray every day, and get to know your Heavenly Father.

We found a couple of people last week that we have return appointments with this week. Tracting has been our main resource as of late for finding new investigators. The members are stepping up though. We planned a missionary fireside for the ward, and it's happening on the 29th. A member will tell their conversion story, and President Fenn will speak on the blessings of the restored Gospel. We're really excited. Members will be coming, and hopefully they will bring their friends. There is no doubt that President Fenn will astound all who are present at the meeting. Well no duh. He was taught personally by his wife's father, Bruce R. McConkie, an all impressive apostle. President Fenn is an amazing example of integrity. Something I have somehow failed to mention is the state of his health. First of all, he's deathly allergic to peanuts, and second, he has a clogged artery.  He discovered this following an allergic reaction, in which he also suffered a minor heart attack. This was just before my arrival to the field. Since learning of his heart problem, he resigned himself to intense physical exercise, so he began biking miles and miles during the day. He's an example of someone who, when they want to do something, they dedicate their whole self to the work. On Thursday he went in for surgery to correct the clogged artery, but the operation failed. He's a bit disappointed, but he knows that he much yet to accomplish in the field. He's met so many challenges during his service as a mission president. Along with his health issues, his father passed away the same week he suffered that heart attack. While he had the opportunity to the leave the mission and attend his father's funeral, he knew he could leave the call he had been given by The Lord. I greatly admire this man. I'm nowhere near his level, but neither was he at my age. Incremental consecration and conversion is what brought him to where he is now.

Well, I love all of you!  Do something as a family tonight.  Please.
Have a wonderful day!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Helping others feel the spirit

This letter talks about how we can, in our everyday lives, help others feel the spirit and open their hearts to understanding.

First, a couple of references: Alma 37:35-37. Also check out this talk by Richard G. Scott:
As we ask our Father in faith, with real intent, we can be assured that as we endeavor to exercise our complete efforts, He will compensate for our infirmities and bring to pass miracles. Most often it is our own definitions of miracles which cloud our minds with sorrow and discontent. Though some people may seem to be impenetrable, each opportunity they have to feel the Spirit, every friend from the church who reaches out to them, and every mention of the blessings of the Gospel, the efforts have been made valiantly. The Spirit can only come unto their heart. It cannot force its way inside. But what I can suggest, and what I exhort the family to do is to take ten minutes this evening to bear testimony of the blessings of the Restoration of the Gospel. As President Fenn continually reiterates, and as I have sensed first hand, is that the Spirit is abundant as we testify of the Restoration. I promise you that if each of you succeed to expose your testimonies of Joseph Smith and priesthood power, they will not be able to deny the Spirit which will approach them. Another measure I recommend taking is, after bearing testimony, ask them how they feel.  Remember that the "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance” (Galatians 5:22–23). Explain that they do not need a dramatic spiritual manifestation to recognize truth. The Spirit speaks most often in impressions and feelings. As you take the care to help them recognize the Spirit, that they will know that what you say is true, and that they will have inched their toes onto the narrow path to the kingdom of God. Then get them to read the Book of Mormon.

Preach My Gospel talks about how members are usually afraid to invite people to church/read the Book of Mormon/meet with the missionaries.  But all you have to do is be sincere and assure the person that your relationship won't change, but that you wanted to share something you cherish to them. 

Anyway, the cookies arrived intact, but are a touch on the stale side.  They're still delicious, and I have two other witnesses to this. Being in a trio, I'm learning double the amount and at double the rate, which is no bother to me. Missionary work is thankfully becoming second nature, and the apprehension which originally ailed me has
dissolved considerably, allowing my desires to trump my fears to yield my joy. I am happy now.

I'll leave you with this quote from Lorenzo Snow, which has truly reformed my personal expectations: "Do not expect to be perfect all at once. If you do, you will be disappointed."

I love you!