Tuesday, February 2nd, is the day he will be back on Utah ground!
He has 2 homecoming talks (cause he's so popular)
Mountain Point 3rd Ward
498 E 14085 S
DRAPER, UTAH 84020
Hidden Valley 3rd Ward
11755 South 2000 East
SANDY, UTAH 84092
This last week we had a worldwide missionary broadcast put on by the Missionary Executive Committee. If you want to hear more about it:
It was really awesome! They helped direct our thoughts to the most important things we ought to be focusing on in our work and where our minds should be centered. I grateful to have learned those things even though I am going home kinda soon. ;) But it was very powerful. Elder Bednar as well as other general authorities led discussions on different topics such as the Role of the Holy Ghost in conversion and Teach People not lessons. The main emphasis over all was to Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts. We need to make sure to help people repent and make changes in their lives that will help them to build lasting conversion in their lives, that way as people decide to be baptized it will make a lasting change in their lives. The goal of helping people to repent and make changes will help them to become more like Christ.
This last week is going to be a pretty good one. Working all day everyday of course but I also have the opportunity to go to the temple on Thursday. That is going to be awesome! I am looking forward to that a lot. In the culmination of all the things I have been learning on my mission and learning to follow God and be taught by the Spirit I am looking forward to going to the temple. All of my feelings at this point are all over the place. I am excited, and sad, thankful. I got to give a talk yesterday in the second ward, and I went into the talk crying! It was awesome!
Boston, Cherie's daughter, set a day to get baptized next month and she is excited. We also when out to the pine valley Branch and we are going to start teaching a couple kids out there who want to get baptized. Jodene is doing awesome. she is reading her scriptures and we met one of her friends who is actually a less active member but she wants to better figure out how to use the atonement in her life. We have had the opportunity to give a lot of Priesthood blessings lately and it has been really awesome to see the blessings that our Heavenly Father wants to pour out upon these people as they desire to come unto Him. Particularly Tim, is one we were teaching this week. We were trying to helpin Him understand Priesthood authority and the importance of it when performing ordinances such as baptism. We had the opportunity to teach him about priesthood authority and then use that authority to bless him. He is so great. He meets with some friends of other churches sometimes and they are always talking to him about a lot of different things, not opposing us, just talking about us, and he told us whenever he is away from us he feels like there is no way we have all of the nuts and bolts of understanding, to answer his questions, but whenever he has us come talk to him, he always says things make more sense, you have all the nuts and bolts and the spare parts just in case something isn't working here or there. He is awesome. I have a real testimony as to the power of the spirit influencing us as well as others and the mantle of a missionary. No one else sends out kids like us to go and teach the gospel to all the world. God makes up for what we can not do in our weakness and we become conduits for the Spirit to teach. It is so amazing to witness. Love you all see you soon!
So I am really actually beginning to feel that I am coming home soon. I now have these little things that I do online each week as part of preparation for going home called My Plan. It essentially helps one recognize that my purpose does not change coming home, just how I got about doing it changes. It helps me set goals to stay spiritually in tune, set goals for work, education, keeping up habits developed here, dating, marriage, all of those good things. It is just trying to make sure that missionaries return home prepared, and it is really cool. I am really feeling that it is happening soon, it doesn't seem not real anymore.
This last week we had our Mission Leadership Council with President Soares, Elder Martino, and Elder Anderson. It was great and gave us counsel on how to help the work move forward here better and then we had the opportunity to ask questions as to how we can help the work forward better, help the missionaries in our stewardship as well as so many other things. It was a great opportunity not many get to have. and I only got to have the opportunity cause my mission was delayed 2 years ago. We also have a worldwide missionary meeting this next Wednesday where we will be trained on a new emphasis. I am really excited for this as I have been hoping for something like this for a really long time, a meeting with all the missionaries in the world.
We have met a lot of cool people this week, like a man named Antoine from Indonesia and he used to be a hit man essentially but was converted to Christianity a while back. Lets just say there aren't very many people that have Welcome signs that really mean that to anybody. He says just walk in whenever you come over. Missionaries have taught him in the past but he has a hard time with the Book of Mormon. He has to ride on a little scooter because he served in the Marines and a lot of things happened while fighting in the Viet Nam war. He is a super friendly guy and our awesome friend Jodene is going to moving into one of his rooms at his house when she gets out of rehab. We essentially went over and checked to see if it was going to be an environment that would help with her recovery when she gets out of rehab. And it is probably one of the best she could fall into. He has a strong desire to help people so that will be great for her.
Jodene has changed a lot this last week. We were helping her to come up with ways to clear her mind to make it easier to understand as she read. So that she could pay closer attention to the spirit as she reads. We also gave her a blessing last week and she just felt a whole lot better after. She seemed to have a clearer mind. She told us the next day that as she was trying to read, she was crying and praying that she would understand. She told us that essentially that she told God if she wanted to follow Him she would need to understand His word. As she continued to read she understood it. And when we came back the following day she gave us a rundown of Mosiah 3. She was so excited, and I felt the spirit very strongly as she taught us what she had learned in her study. We then taught her more about faith and repentance which was what we had wanted her to get out of Mosiah 3, and is what she got. We invited her to stop drinking coffee because that is really the only other thing in there that she can do to follow the commandments better than they already make her. She was so excited to try stopping drinking coffee.
We met a lady named Lorenda whose daughter was baptized a couple years back but never really engaged herself in the church much. Her daughter is now of doing things that are making her life miserable, and Lorenda is distraught. We told her about the Book of Mormon and the atonement and how it can help her have peace and understanding of God's plan. She at first was not open to talking to us, but as we talked we all felt the spirit more and more and she invited us to come back. There are a lot of good things happening not only for us but for our zone as well. Love you all!
I think it is finally starting to set in that I am coming home. Preparation Days are really the biggest thing reminding me, emails about it for one, but also just knowing how many more p-days I have left. Really the only easy thing to count because all others days may as well be the same day. I believe it is sinking in. 3 weeks is pretty tangible as oppose to a month or a transfer. As coming with that is a mix of emotions. There is Joy and excitement knowing that I will be seeing those I love back home really soon, but sadness knowing that my purpose will not be exactly the same though similar, and a different calling, but peace knowing that God has just as much a plan for me there as he does here and that the Work of Salvation goes on at home just as much as it does here. Gratitude for the trials, the people I have met and helped, always having 2 companions Elder Haws as well as many others and the Holy Ghost, the things I have learned, the powerful and joyful experiences. I guess the biggest thing I feel I will be leaving with is a greater knowledge and understanding of my purpose in life and the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has come with being engaged in this work. I guess my biggest hope is that I really did leave this place having touched the lives of all those who the Lord hoped I would. I got to be the recipient of many great blessings, but it was never about me. I have come to know of the Lords love for each of us and each of Heavenly Father's children. The purity of it, and the strength and enabling power behind it. I hope that I truly was the instrument in God's hands to touch the lives of His children here, that as I leave that they have felt the influence of God's love.
This last week we had a great experience reading the Book of Mormon with Jodene, we were going verse by verse practically phrase by phrase but we were trying to help her clear her mind to gain understanding as she was reading. The Spirit was really powerful with us when we were doing that and we could feel it working through her to understand what she was reading. As she cleared her mind and allowed God to place the understanding there, it came.
We went out to Halfway (about 53 miles away in part of our area) and met a couple kids out there who have been taught previously, but their parents didn't really feel like the kids were taking it seriously enough so they put the kibosh on them learning. But they seem to have a strong desire again and the Pine Valley Branch out there that they are attending they like a lot (the parents do) so they have been going very frequently now.
We were teaching Michael and Anthony last week again but they contracted a really bad sickness that is going to keep Michael from being baptized in these next couple weeks. We won't even be able to meet with him sadly.
We are going to be having 3 of the members of the Quorum of the Seventy come to a Mission Leadership Council on this Saturday and next (not this) but next Wednesday there will be a worldwide training for all of the missionaries. We have a lot of opportunity to learn from our Leaders and the Lord. They are going to be discussing with us a lot of different topics.
Ronny came to church! He called up some of the ward council members and worked out a ride for himself without even telling us! It was cool to just be walking up to the door at church and see Him get out the Ward Mission Leader's car! He enjoyed it a lot and we are hoping that he will continue to make changes in his life for the better!
Jean out in Baker Valley Ward also has a desire to be baptized and she finally feels like she understands why we have a Book of Mormon. She has a renewed desire to follow God's teachings and bring her life more in harmony with those teachings. She is just working on Sundays and it is making it hard for her to come to church. She recognizes that she is not really justified in her reasoning either, so she is trying to fix things to make it possible. God is preparing people all around us, we just need to have the courage and faith to ask and see if people really want to hear more and know how to find that guidance. It feels like there is all sorts of potential just popping up all around us, independently of us, and then God has been sending it our way. The work is moving forward in Baker City. I love you all!
So this last week was a pretty awesome week, we saw a lot of good things happen as well as the rest of the zone did. We have had a bunch of people getting a hold of us lately and telling us they want to be taught or members telling us about people that want to be taught. Or at least it feels like it has been a lot. There are a couple kids who have been going to this member lady's day care that want to learn. The younger son named Michael (11) wants to get baptized, the older son Anthony(13) does not yet. Michael is really enthusiastic about it, and Anthony is struggling cause of some past experiences he has had with God. He doesn't really know if God is there. We are feeling we will need to teach him independently of his brother.
Another girl, (her name is Elle) just called us last night telling us she is in 3 Nephi and she knows the Book of Mormon is true, she is just nervous about what her parents will have to say about it as they are both pastors of another church. She has a strong belief in God already and knows how to receive answers from God. We are trying to make contact with her before Wednesday to give her a blessing as she just recently tore her ACL. She has an interesting story that she took a little while telling us but she seems to be in a good place.
We also got to see Tim again this week. He thinks the plan of salvation makes sense to him, but he is having a harder time understanding the significance of baptism. He halfway understands it and we have had a few appointments fall through with him this last week. Jodene is struggling in the rehab place but she knows it is meant to help her, so she is trying her best. She also received the answer that the Book of Mormon is true by praying and asking and then flipping to a random page and finding the last page in Moroni 10:27-30 and she has been reading it pretty frequently. She has been finding a lot spiritual power that has been a great help to her! She is pretty happy! We were also able to get in contact with a guy named Ronny who really wants to change his life and has just seen so much good come from the members of the church that he knew that was where he needed to start. He is not keeping a appointments very well either though. Love you all!
We are down to the last transfer and it feels weird. The time flies by so fast. But I have been blessed to stay with Elder Haws for this last transfer! Our zone just shrank from 20 missionaries to 12 missionaries and we only have 2 districts in our zone now. But we have such a stellar zone and we are so excited for this next transfer, sadly Union, my second area was just combined with the other la grande area. We have been starting to come up with ways to help the members in this area start doing more missionary work. And we have received a lot of revelation concerning this matter and we have been working with the bishop and ward mission leader to come up with it.
With Jodene, sadly she had some stuff going on with her teeth this week that put her through a lot of pain, but we ended up showing up at the perfect time to give her a blessing. I haven't mentioned this yet, but on a few of the lessons that we taught her there was a guy who had noticed a change in her, and he wanted to come and see what it was like for himself and he ended up coming to church a couple times so far as well, we genuinely just thought for a long time he was tagging along just for her and kinda just watch and make sure we weren't doing anything weird. But this last week we have been able to start teaching him as an individual and he is . Jodene has also stared sharing the things we have been teaching her with other people as well and there are a couple people who are interested in us meeting with them since Jodene started talking to them. It is pretty awesome! As people are truly touched and start making changes in their lives people around notice and the desire to share overcomes our fears. During this Christmas seasons what gift can we give Christ? Why not give someone the gift of eternal life and an eternal perspective and in doing so give Christ a gift. Look for ways to serve those around you, shovel walks, sing Christmas carols at senior centers or drug rehab centers. Look for those who may not have a Christmas and look for someway to help them. There is the pure love of Christ in the air this Christmas season, turn to help others and do not focus on what you want and you will have a more Merry Christmas than you ever have. I love you all!
Watch this video!
look for someone around you whose heart may be hurting.
This week we went on another exchange with a different district leader in our zone. It was good and me and him talked about a lot of good things in seeking to improve his work and his district. I have been struggling with knowing how to help a few different missionaries in the zone, but I received some very important revelation this last week concerning that. Christ in His teachings focused on those who wanted to repent, those who want to progress and become better. In our missionary work we are supposed to focus on those who are seeking to better their lives and repent and develop faith in him. And It hit me, that not everyone even missionaries want to become better and progress in their lives. We should love everyone always as Christ did and still invite those who don't want to improve to do so, but do not focus on it. This district leader wants to improve and become better and as we focus on helping him we can. In all of our callings and responsibilities there are those who do and don't want to progress, and as we focus on those who do want to progress we will see a lot of growth. That does not mean we don't continue to help and love those who don't, but that we should not bang our heads against walls that don't want to move.
Another thing is how does God see us? Am I a wall he is banging his head against? I would say all of us are at different points, but we need to continually be seeking ways to repent. If we are convinced that we are doing well and that we have nothing to work on, Satan has us deceived. God can only mold us as we humble ourselves and put ourselves in his hands. Like the talk that says What lack I yet? I would invite anyone who feels comfortable to ask that question in prayer and open your heart and be ready to receive and do whatever is said. I have seen the fruits and it is very hard but very beneficial.
Sadly Chrisy was sick this last week, but we will be seeing her again soon. We also met another lady named Tanya who used to meet with missionaries over in Portland. She said that we could come by and teach her family. That is going to be great! Damion was supposed to come to church this last week but we were told that he is sick as well. Jodene came to church though and she is doing well. She is reading her scriptures and striving live the word of wisdom. Things are going well up her in Baker City. I love you all!