Tuesday, August 25, 2015

4/28/15 There are Trees!!!

Las Vegas, New Mexico - There are Trees!
Hey everyone this is my new address I don't have a lot of time this week. Talk to you next week.  there are trees here and I love it.  I love all of you also have a great week!

720 Mills Ave apt #36, Las Vegas, New Mexico 87701

I haven’t taken really any pics of my new area. I am in Las Vegas, New Mexico.  It’s a little town and it is one of the furthest areas north in the mission. We are at 6500 ft. and it is one of the biggest areas in the mission if you could combine butte falls and Ashland that’s where I am at. My companions name is elder Pohlsander. Jerky is fine and letters and maybe some nice ties.  It’s actually 7000 feet but I am breathing a little better.  I have been running sprints at a high school track so my lungs get stronger so my breathing is adapting.

4/21/15 - Leaving El Paso - Some of my favorite people are there

El Paso Driving - Watch the Frontage Roads

El Paso's Views

It's brown.
It's Flat

There is a whole lot of nothing
  But .... Some of My favorite People
The Jensens
Elder Goff (and our Second Apartment)
William - One of our Converts
The Perkins
The Henajosas - Sergio and his nephew Abraham
Our Ward Mission Leader Jose Montoya - He killed your father, prepare to die ;)
The Gruenwalds
Brother Butterfield
The Aguires and the taco truck

Monday, August 24, 2015

4/13/15 Holla Mommy - Transfers

Holla Mommy, 

Well I knew the mission would be hard, but I never thought it would be this hard to leave an area. I love it in El Paso and I am getting the boot! I definitely feel like I left it looking better when I came in. And it is exciting that my companion elder Goff is going to be training.  They should be having some baptisms - that will be nice for the new missionary coming in. I get to spend my last night with my first convert family, which will be amazing.  they cook so good I am going to miss it...... I just found out one of my best friends I have been talking to from high school, Allie Meyers, … is getting baptized.  I am ecstatic! I got to speak on Sunday to the ward about the Atonement and got to relate a cool experience I had on Brown Mountain to it. It was a good way to end my time in El Paso 11th ward I almost cried, but I pulled through. I love you all! I don’t have a lot of time I’ll let you know where I end up!

[When I asked how the transfers work – bus, car, pick up? He answered with a joke meant to make a Mom’s heart beat faster:] 

They beat me up, put a bag over my head some time tonight and throw me and my stuff on the outskirts of my area and I find my new home.  No, actually, I stay in my apartment tonight and drive to the other end of town in the morning. I go to a transfer meeting on the west side at 10am tomorrow.   They load my stuff up and I go to another transfer meeting in Las Cruses.  If I stay there then I go meet my new companion. Or I get to make the long drive up to the transfer meeting in Albuquerque. I’ll find out where I am going when I get there...

It’s sad.  Elder Goff and I are going to miss each other.  But it’s about time I served in New Mexico. I will let you know next Tuesday where I went.

Yeah, I am nervous. I get to spend the rest of my day at the Jensen’s which makes me happy. I spoke at sacrament meeting and at the end of my talk I announced me being transferred. Is it bad for me to be happy that I saw the whole ward get sad when I said that, lol?

It’s hard leaving them.  It’s like leaving home again I love them so much.  :(

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

4/7/15 - Family History

Hey y’all gonna be short this week running on short time! This week our mission president wanted each of us to learn more about family history - for 2 of the less productive hours of the day. We went and I learned how easy genealogy is! I have found more than 100 of my deceased ancestors. In the church we believe that baptism is something necessary for eternal life.  Many people who didn't get to hear the restored gospel went to the spirit world without being cleansed from their sins. In sacred holy temples we perform essential ordinances like baptisms for the dead, using our bodies as proxy so that everyone from every dispensation has the opportunity to receive full celestial glory. I am so happy for those people waiting in the spirit world that will have the work done for them. Family history work is just as important as missionary work and it is fun to see where our roots go!
Next week is transfers - P day will be on Monday I will let you all know whether or not I am still staying in El Paso.  General conference was great and so many wonderful talks: Jeffery R. Holland and David A.  Bednar and Boyd K. Packer’s talks were a few of my favorites - what were yours and why? Watch and read over the words of Prophets and Apostles and all of your questions will be answered! I love you all have a wonderful week! 

Watch or listen to the conference talks here:

For the specific talks I mentioned:

Thank you all for the Easter Packages and letters – and for all your love and support!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

3/24/15 - a 19 year old marriage counselor

        [If you missed conference - you can still listen or watch here:  https://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2015/04?lang=eng  ]

          Another week in the mission field full of greatness, so we went over to a less active families house for dinner they bought us Little Caesars on Sunday.. the husband who has been trying to get his wife to come to church with him and be more active was the one who bought it. She was frustrated because he didn't love her she said he just cared about her going to church. He said "I love you so much I went and bought you a new phone last week if that's not true love I don't know what is" the worst part is I think he was serious. this brother every time we meet with them I feel like a 19 year old marriage counselor and I am talking to children. We wrote out a list of things to do for them when they want to argue, (we just made them have a companionship inventory like out of section 8 of preach my gospel) We found out that they weren't praying together and I remembered a talk that president monsoon gave when he recalled the wards the ordinance worker in the temple gave them when they were sealed together that as  long as they lived if they would kneel and pray by there bed every night switching each night who gave the prayer, that they would never have a disagreement longer than a day. The wise man said a couple who prays together stays together. I love how when we invite the holy ghost in our lives he truly reveals to us what really matters and can help us see forward with an eternal perspective. 

Another week in the mission field full of greatness.  so we went over to a less active family’s house for dinner - they bought us Little Caesar’s on Sunday... the husband, who has been trying to get his wife to come to church with him and be more active, was the one who bought it. She was frustrated because he didn't love her - she said he just cared about her going to church. He said "I love you so much I went and bought you a new phone last week, if that's not true love I don't know what is." The worst part is I think he was serious. This brother, every time we meet with them I feel like a 19 year old marriage counselor, and I am talking to children. We wrote out a list of things to do for them when they want to argue, (we just made them have a companionship inventory like out of section 8 of Preach My Gospel) We found out that they weren't praying together - and I remembered a talk that President Monson gave when he recalled the words the ordinance worker in the temple gave them when they were sealed together  - that as long as they lived, if they would kneel and pray by their bed every night, switching each night who gave the prayer, that they would never have a disagreement longer than a day. The wise man said, “A couple who prays together stays together.” I love how when we invite the Holy Ghost in our lives he truly reveals to us what really matters - and can help us see forward with an eternal perspective.

I am excited for general conference this year and for the opportunity we have to hear from our Apostles and Prophet. I want to extend the same commitment for conference we have extended to all of our investigators - write down questions or concerns of your soul have on a piece of paper and then watch general conference. I guaranty that all of them will be answered. I was greatly impressed by a B.Y.U. devotional that elder David a Bednar gave. He was talking about searching the scriptures for answers. He said while reading through the Bible and Book of Mormon he found several instances that people could not understand something with their carnal mind, but they understood with their hearts. Don’t over think the gospel. The prophets of old and now testify of Christ - hear their messages with your hearts.
The Prophet testified of Christ and the true revelations he received also." And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good." -2 Nephi 3:10 listen and study to the words spoken by God's true messengers. And listen to the truth confirmed to you by the still small voice of the Holy Spirit."
 I love you all dearly and thank you for your prayers and pure hearts talk you next week.

P.S. :  Please send that package  - I'm out of singular and the Mulberry trees around here are killing my allergy's - I'm a snotty, sneezing, mess

Looks like he is on the Moon - pictures in El Paso

I kept after him to send me pictures of the El Paso.  He finally did - with a sigh, saying it is a whole lot of nothing - very brown - and his garments were turning the color of the area.  Elder Goff took the pictures while he drove.


Elder Pedersen, Elder Goff, and William who they baptised.

3/31/15 - Another Eventful Week

Another eventful week. So we met a family this week who was driven away from the church because someone in the ward offended them. They have been without gospel fellowship for 8 years now! That is devastating to me. She filled us in on the situation and it was serious but I won’t specify to protect the problem all I can say it was a tough situation. Regardless everyone should feel welcome at church member or not active or not. It broke my heart to see some ones faith practically lost over any subject. Regardless of what our faults are none of our able to judge one another I sure know I am in no place to judge and nobody but God is able to that. We all sin some just differently than others. Each of us are brought into the world with our own trials we need to bear no one needs to judge us on what our troubles are. Jesus said -Say unto them, ye hypocrites, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. The only person we are responsible for is ourselves and for some the ones they are appointed stewardship over. Why worry about what others do when Jesus said "they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." instead of focusing on others faults we should take care of our own problems and help our neighbors with their struggles because we off all people should know how hard it is to overcome our own trials. Instead we should focus on that Christ died and is risen and lives today to help us. The debt has already been paid it’s our job to accept it and not condemn others I see hope for this family and for all of us that is the best thing about this life there is no limits on how awesome you can become! I love it because I know I need to make up for a lot of my own faults but one day I can become perfect Vince Lombardi said “Perfection is impossible but chasing it will bring excellence. The atonement of Jesus Christ makes up it all if we repent of our sins his purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man not for us to wither in our own pride. Please remember Christ's example always and it will change your life”   JOHN 316 ¶For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

I love this gospel and what it can do to change us from our natural state happy Easter! And happy general conference. I love you all dearly and am so happy Moroni is getting his (Eagle Scout) court of honor this week!

3/24/15 - Musing and ConversationsMy mission president gave me permission to read miracle of forgiveness, the only problem is I don't have a copy of it.. I lovee you! how has your week been?

Jill just said" I just realized that when I'm grumping  at you I sounded just like Rick. I'm going turn out just like Rick" 

I just laughed and said, "sounds about right"

and she said, "Actually - I'm OK with that"

My mission president gave me permission to read miracle of forgiveness, the only problem is I don't have a copy of it.. I lovee you! how has your week been? 

(I read and loved  "a marvelous work and a wonder" I am sending you that. See if u can get permission to read it whole I try to get you a copy of their miracle of forgiveness.  )

Send me both. I am a book worm now I'll read them both.  My eyes get stronger every day. Elder Goff and I are on track to finish the whole triple combination in this transfer - 6 weeks!  It is awesome.  I'm on my 2nd time this year and I am loving it! I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read to whole missionary library.  So far I have read Our Search for Happiness, True to the Faith, Our Heritage, the BOM and I am finishing the BOM (Book of Mormon), Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) and Pearl of Great Price this transfer.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

3/17/15 - Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Happy Saint Patty’s Day! 

      Well another great day in the mission, no complaints. I feel so great I just feel revamped.  President Miller was at Stake conference also this weekend.  He invited one of the youth (who goes out with us) to Zone conference. [A missionary only event]  What an honor for him!  He was really excited and is getting all this good experience before his own mission. 

      A couple of weeks ago, one of our investigators (two days after he committed to be baptized on a specific date) sent us a text saying he didn't want us to meet with him. We went to Zone conference and President Miller helped us out in Q&A session. We were able to find out our investigator’s concerns and help him with his problems.  Once he overcomes this concern I am sure that he will be truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ without fail. 

     It is so good to know that there is something in this world that truly does answer all of our questions and concerns of our heart! The many stories and doctrines revealed in the Book of Mormon can truly help us with any of our problems. When we commune with our Heavenly Father and ponder on his words in the scriptures and remember the thoughts and feelings he speaks to us with the Holy Ghost - we can truly overcome all of our struggle with the most sure answers we can get, from God! I love this mission my family and friends and am so thankful to know everyone is doing well. We had a great Zone and Stake conference this weekend and some good lessons.  Thank you for the support I love you all!

P.S. - Happy Anniversary! To both of you (Mom & Dad and Grams & Pops). I am sorry that I couldn't make it :P The weeks are getting better and better.  I don't recall the last weeks being bad. [I reminded him that he got a ticket and got burglarized :) ] Sorry if it sounded that way. Have a great week - I need singular!

P.P.S - Tell Grams & Pops I got the Easter package - yes I did it was awesome! More meat less treats though [When I reminded him that the traditional meat for Easter was ham - which was hard to send through the mail - he responded, "Pork jerky" - Tee hee hee]

3/10/15 - Living in a Crime Scene

What an eventful week!  
I got a speeding ticket gerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  They have frontage roads here in Texas - so I thought I was getting on the free way but a cop nailed me. I had no Idea. I thought I was just accelerating to get on the I-10 - but I get the ticket and I didn't know any better and all the drivers with the Chihuahua license plates get of Scott free.  Oh well, the Lord will take care of my $298 dollar ticket some how....
Well, last Friday we woke up and looked to our little patio and noticed my companion’s bike was gone - which baffles us because his was an old rusty bike that was given to him by the mission.  They left my bike which is very nice. My camouflage worked! I had wrapped my whole bike frame in electrical tape so it looked like garbage.  Nevertheless I am keeping my bike inside the apartment now - no matter what anyone tells me.
Later that day we talked to some one in our apartment complex who came up to us and asked us if we sold Bibles.  We gave him a Bible and a Book of Mormon and told him about them.   The guy looked kind of sketchy and I just thought, “Ok - he is a guy who wants to change.”  We came back to our apartment before we went to our dinner appointment (which was green Chile chicken enchiladas - oomph they are so delicious!).  We looked around and noticed that my companion’s digital picture frame was missing - and some of the portable DVD players we have to show investigators church videos. We drove to the police office and they told us to go home and call the police so they could do an investigation. [crazy]  They took some prints and such. The next Monday we had an undercover cop come to our apartment to follow up with us.  He rolled up in a PT cruiser, that is an ingenious under cover car, Elder Goff and I still chuckle about it. The previous Sunday we found the returned picture frame on our door step after we returned home from church.  Before we went to church we talked to the same guy we gave the Bible to. The police dusted it for prints also. The same guy came over to ask to use our phone right when the cops where there - so it is interesting to see this whole thing unfold and to say that I lived in the middle of a crime scene investigation.
On the other hand we ate dinner at a very wealthy member’s house and were talking about scriptures.  He said mine where too big for a dinosaur.  So he bought me an Easter present and ordered me a custom new set of smaller scriptures - which I am so thankful for because mine were getting way too marked up. Now that I have figured out how, I properly mark my scriptures they will be so pretty. :)  It is weird how receptive people have been lately.  we have been contacting using the Book of Mormon and nothing else and people have been so receptive. I feel weird not getting any doors slammed in my face in a while - or the same, “I am Catholic and I am satisfied” response. People are interested what the Book of Mormon can do for them, and I can testify that it does more than we understand. We have several people on date to be baptized. I can see the adversary working on them - but I know that God is more powerful than anyone. I know that this is the fullness of times, Christ is coming and his kingdom is being rebuilt on the Earth today. Heavenly father loves us all. I have been pondering the word spoken by the Lord to Joseph Smith when he was in Liberty Jail - in D&C section 122.

 8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
 9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

Remember whatever struggles we have Christ has already experienced them for us.   Let us all press forward with a steadfastness of hope and an eye single to the glory of God.

Mom, I think you should read 1st Nephi chapter 5.  Sariah was a worried mother and then when Nephi returned from his mission she realized how blessed she was.  I love you Mommmmy:)
I love you all so much and I love what the gospel of Jesus Christ can do for each of us!

P.S. - my new address is: 1531 George dieter apt.# 1101  - It is across the street from our last apartment here in El Paso.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

3/4/15 - Got a ticket - Grrrrrr

     Well I survived transfers again.  This is my 4th transfer in El Paso 11th ward!  By the time I leave here I will be done with 1/4 of my mission. I feel like it was just yesterday I was at a watery eyed airport farewell. I DONT LIKE THIS, my life is passing me by - in 3 months I will be 20 years old yuck! This week Elder Goff and I decided to find some new investigators and we found 4!  We have had such success with using the Book of Mormon, it is such a blessing to have this record to solidify the fullness of the everlasting gospel.   Last transfer I read the Book of Mormon cover to cover for my 5th time, in 42 days.   I learned so much this time as I read it.  I love how every time that I read I learn something completely new. David a Bednar says when he reads the Book of Mormon, he searches on different gospel subjects like the atonement and highlights them as he reads the whole book cover to cover!  He said he has 4 or 5 hundred Books of Mormon and Bibles which he has done this with. That makes me want to read the scriptures more and more. I know that each time I have read the Book of Mormon I have come closer to my Heavenly Father and family than by doing anything else. I know that this gospel blesses lives and I am so thankful to be blessed enough to serve more. I love you all and can’t wait to hear from you!

After I mentioned that we were studying the Beatitudes in Sunday School - he added, "The life of Jesus Christ videos (on LDS.org or Mormon Messages on YouTube) are awesome - watch the Beatitudes, in brings a whole lot more meaning to the scripture - I would recommend watching those with the family back home they are really powerful.

P.S. Mom, I think you should read 1st Nephi chapter 5, sariah was a worried mother and then when nephi returned from his mission she realized how blessed she was. I love you mom.  (II don't know how he knew I had been missing him - it reads something like this when altered a little to fit : "... behold their joy was full, and my mother was comforted.
8 And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my SON to flee into the wilderness OF EL PASO TEXAS; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my SON RICK, and delivered them out of the hands of HIS DIFFICULTIES , and given HIM power whereby HE could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded HIM.  :)

2/24/15 Zone Conference and an Apostle's Chalky Pat on the Back

Elder Holland of the Twelve Apostles - Chalky Hand Print where he clapped Rick on the shoulder.  Read about it near the end of the post.

What an eventful week and busy.  The first part of my week was very dry and I didn't get to feel like a missionary we spent the majority cleaning and moving apartments. I never thought so much junk could be accumulated in a missionary apartment boy was I mistaken. Nevertheless what few lessons we got in, we brought our all, and set 3 baptismal dates. I love missionary work so much! We had a once in a life time opportunity to hear from 4 general authorities in a zone conference Sunday morning - on the other end of town. Elder Villarreal, our area Seventy, spoke to us about Mosiah chapter 28 verses 2-3 and how everything they wanted to do was all because they loved God.

Bishop Gerald C. Clouse spoke about consecrating our lives to the lord he referred to Mark chapter 10 in the Bible
17 ¶And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother.
 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

He was confused about the term taking up our cross and following him. In the French version of the Bible it does not say that - and he was from France. A Joseph Smith translation of Mathew 16:26 says that Jesus said “And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments." He then said that was the decision for him when president called him 7 years ago and said, "Brother Clause you are called to be a seventy until you turn seventy - do you accept the call?" he had to make up his mind to take up his cross and follow him, and in the words of Jesus "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

            Craig C. Christiansen of the presidency of the seventy spoke on the wrestle that we have before prayer.  He referenced Alma chapter 8 and the book of Enos in the book of Mormon
 2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins
3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
 4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens
5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

His point was that sometimes we pray for what we want - but if we pray to the father for what he wants for us and really seek to know -he will always give us what we need at that - and that we all have the capability of receiving personal revelation from the Holy Ghost.

Last I come to Elder Jeffery R Holland of the quorum of the 12 apostles. He spoke for a long time so I will try and give you the jest of it.  The first thing was he says he can’t stand when missionaries fall away after their mission.  He says he wants to jump off a cliff into a river when he hears about things like that.  He said if the shepherds (us) are supposed to look after the sheep then for Pete’s sake who is supposed to look after the shepherds. He said looking back his mission was still the most important thing ever in his life. It helped him make all the decisions that would decide his destiny. He said that this is the most important thing we could be doing.

Next he said that this is the fullness of times - the last and the great dispensation.  He referenced 3rd Nephi chapter 21 - which was weird because that was what I was reading that very morning in my studies.
1 And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place—that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion;
 2 And behold, this is the thing which I will give unto you for a sign—for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father, shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them;
 3 Verily, verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them unto you;
 4 For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel;
 5 Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity;
 6 For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel
 7 And when these things come to pass that thy seed shall begin to know these things—it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the house of Israel.
 8 And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
 9 For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
 10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

The things which they are talking about is the Book of Mormon - which is the sign of the fullness of times.  And that this dispensation would never fail.  Never before have we had such a powerful tool as the book of Mormon - it truly does answer all the questions of the soul.  He then proceed to have us read bits and pieces from the first 20 chapters of the 1st book of Nephi.  Basically all of them point to that God reveals himself, his gospel, his truths, his books, to his prophets.

He then walked up to ME and put his arm around my shoulder which (he did to no other missionaries) pronounced my name wrong and corrected himself without me saying anything - which I thought was amazing -and began to ask me what I thought about this.  I was dumbfounded and sat there in my imagination for a long quite moment with his arm still around me - and finally I said that God reveals everything to his chosen prophets.  He asked me some more questions and I was surprised that I answered all of them right.  At last he said, “What does this show us about the Book of Mormon?”   I said that it has to be true and that Joseph was a prophet.  He said, “Exactly!  The Book of Mormon is the sign of the restoration - of which the prophets of old spoke of.”

Amos chapter 8: 11 ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.

But they also prophesied of a restoration Isaiah said in chapter 29 
 8 It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.
 9 ¶Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.
 10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
 11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:
 12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
 13 ¶Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

How can this not be about our day? And how can we not see the importance of the Book of Mormon?  He said that the Book of Mormon is the most important evidence that we have that all these things are true.  The Book of Mormon is a book of revelation - about revelation - and is so important.   He told us that we wouldn't have Preach My Gospel if it wasn't for a missionary in Europe testifying of the Book of Mormon.

D&C 84 says: 
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
 55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
 56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
 57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.

He bore a powerful testimony about the Lord’s work and how it goes forth - and about the divinity of the Book of Mormon. And that God gives us scripture so we can come closer to him.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

2/17/15 update

     Thank you for those scriptures they helped. Even though Michael can’t be baptized - he says he know he is going to the celestial kingdom and it is not in his power to change that. I was surprised at how well he got over it and how he is reading and praying even more. The book of Mormon literature has put him from the [lowest] reading class to the top reading class - winning reading competitions.  I know that God will help Michael through his struggles.

2/17/15 One of my hardest times on my mission yet

One of my hardest times on my mission yet. Michael Salinas, an 11th year old boy who we have been working with since I first got here in El Paso, was supposed to be baptized last Saturday,  We went to meet with him before the baptism - and his mother, who had gave us permission a week before, denied this poor child his first saving ordinance. He came to the door in tears.  We pleaded with the mother to let her son be baptized - we poured our hearts out to her - and she wouldn't budge. I can’t remember the last time I have been so disappointed. I fear for Michael.  Church is the only positive influence and structure he has.  The challenges he faces are so great - and to see something he wanted so badly be ripped away from him - just an hour before his baptism - is heart breaking. I know the Lord will not be holding Michael as the one accountable at this time.
We just moved into our new apartment.  The address is 1531 George Dieter #1101.  It is so much better than the apartment across the street. Happy birthday to Elder Gavin Mapel this week!  Thank you Grams and Pops for the care package! Congratulations to Amanda on her baptism - I am so proud of her for making this important decision in her life that will full and help her through the hard times. 
Jeffery R. Holland, Craig C. Christiansen, and Gerald Clause - of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, The Presidency of the Seventy, and of the Presiding Bishopric - are coming to visit our mission for a zone conference. I am very excited to hear the words of these inspired men and for it to help me to be a better disciple of the lord.
This week has had a lot of positives through our struggles. We got two people we have been really trying to get to church to come.  One of them set a baptismal goal date. I love the work that I have been able to do - and watching the Book of Mormon truly help people as they read it.  It makes me so happy to see them be able to come to the realization that their questions are being answered. I received a letter from a good friend from high school.  It was so nice to hear from someone who I have been wanting to hear from for a very long time.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is such an amazing thing.  It can free us from all the worldly things that can bring us down.  God knows we are not perfect.  He doesn't expect instant perfection, but he does expect instant progression. We are not limited on how far we can go in this life - when we follow in Jesus's footsteps and obey his Father’s Doctrine.  John  7:17  “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

I know that the most important thing we can have in our life is the Holy Ghost - to guide our paths - and I know that God ALWAYS provides a way. I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I can never deny it.  I know that our Father in Heaven loves us and he blesses families. I know that sometimes bad things happen to good people.  God allows it - so we can learn and grow.  I love you all, especially my family, and am so happy for the support that I am receiving.

Monday, February 16, 2015

2/10/15 - Always having a Book of Mormon

President Miller extended a challenge to us to always have a book of Mormon in our hands - wherever we go. Our ‘finding’ opportunities have been so much more successful. The Book of Mormon is definitely the biggest gift that we have been given. All that we can say stands or falls on whether it not it is true. If the Book of Mormon is true, we know 3 things:  1) Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration, 2) This is the church of Jesus Christ restored in the latter days, and 3) that Jesus is the Christ. The Book of Mormon has brought me out of the darkest abyss and truly helped me understand what repentance really is.  It has answered all the questions of my soul and I know that it will do the same to anyone who diligently seeks truth with an open heart and a real intent. I am seeing that happen in people’s lives every day.  The people who actually read the book of Mormon are changing! They are still themselves - but yet they are changing.

I think that change is such a special part about our life on earth because we can be changing always for the better.  I am a witness in people’s day to day lives of the power and influence that God really has!  We have a baptism this week for an 11 year old boy who has been taking the lessons and is the only one in his family who was interested.  He is such a leader.  He reminds me a lot of  (my little brother) Corbin - such a strong leader who stands up for himself and what is right - no matter what situation he is in. Now because of the integrity of a young boy, his family’s hearts are being softened also. The best part is one of the youth in our ward (who likes to come out to lessons with us) is going to be the one baptizing him!

We might be moving soon to a better apartment, thank goodness!  Our apartment is getting way too crammed. It is a good thing we are almost never there.  We have been so busy and I am loving it.  So many people are progressing, coming to church and just, reading and doing all the good things we have been asking of them. Elder Goff and I have been having such a good time - even though we have been really busy. I love it here. I had the opportunity to baptize William Page last week and it really was a special experience.  The look of peace on his face just reassured me of the good work the Lord is doing. I love you all and love hearing from you thank you for all your support it means the world to me!

Monday, February 9, 2015

2/3/15 I have lost track - Happy Groundhogs Day!

Happy Groundhogs Day!

     Time is just cruising by.  I feel like yesterday I was just entering the MTC.  My mission is going by way too fast.  I love my mission so much. Christ's mission is my mission and I love anything to do with Christ. We almost had a big fight break out at our apartment last night - but it was just a bunch of "bros" yelling at each other.  Then once someone decided to do something, they all ran away calling each other chickens. It is sad to see what people think is important. It is even more sad to see that I use to see some of these worldly things as important.  

     The Gospel of Jesus Christ is centered to his Plan of Happiness.  It is the reason that we have direction in this life, because Jesus blazed the trail from the beginning and has reinforced it in every dispensation and time. He has given us Prophets to guide each generation and through specific questions as to the doctrine which Christ taught on earth, translating scripture, and having the power to act in Christ's name - to perform perfect ordinances like baptism and to perform miracles like healing the sick. I know that that same authority and power is on the earth today to help each and every one of our lives. Our bodies are built to have a yearning for God- a love (and something to be faithful in).  When we do not practice our Faith it dwindles and we fill that void with things of the world.  Those worldly things only bring temporary happiness, and in the end brings sorrow. This Gospel is for everyone to enjoy.  

  Heavenly Father loves us all.   No matter what we do - we are still his children.  He created us in his image and wants us to be just like him.  It is so great to be able to see every day how the Gospel changes lives.  I am stoked to be able to baptize my good friend William this Saturday - with that same Priesthood authority which God has on the earth today and has from the beginning.  I love you all so much and I know God loves you even more than I do. I know that there is no better place for me to be right now than in El Paso Texas serving the Lord by serving others - Mosiah 2:17 [And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.]

Heavenly father has his hand in everything we do...  it is just our job to recognize it. I love being a missionary and I know that this is the right thing for me to be doing.

P.S. - Mom asked about the weather.  It is 65 degrees - but I still have to wear a sweater.

1/27/15 Week 12???

Elder Goof (Goff) and I and some fun camera art

    Transfers are over and the Lord still wants me to be in El Paso :)   I love it here we have been building this area from the ground up and there is some reaping to do! they closed down the other missionaries in our ward [because the big influx that came 2 years ago when they lowered the age of missionaries is all going home] - so now our area just got a whole lot bigger with some awesome new people. I am getting to teach a family I have wanted to ever since I helped them move in - now they are in our area. I am going to base this transfer on a quote by Ezra Taft Benson "I have often said that one of the secrets to missionary work, is work! If a missionary works he will have the Spirit; if he has the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit, if he teaches by the Spirit he will touch the hearts of the people and be happy. Work! Work! Work! There is no better substitute especially in missionary work." 

     My new companion is Elder Goff he is from West Jordan Utah and is a pretty funny guy, kind of quiet - but we are going to get along really well. We just set a baptismal date for February 7th with [one of our investigators].  He is coming back to the fold I thought we lost him! His baptism fell through because the bishop wasn't there... he took it personally like it was his fault and he kind of fell of the face of the earth. We started teaching him again and he says he wants to be baptized. It is so amazing to see the Lord fulfill his work - and I can be a tool in His hands.   There are no challenge we can’t overcome in this life - just things that will make us better.  That is how we become perfect in the next life - by overcoming challenges. 

     It feels good to be done training and to be blessed to be meeting the people I have here in El Paso. I would like to encourage everyone to be a better missionary.  It is a blessing to spread the light of Christ that we all have.  Make this world a better place.  Read the book of Mormon! It has completely changed my life and will do the same to everyone who reads with an open heart and a real intent of acting on what God asks them to do. This is the most real thing on this earth as Isaiah said - the Lord put a deep sleep over the world, but now we have a prophet on the earth! Share it! Wake up and be happy with Christ and he will bless you beyond belief. I love each and every one of you and am so excited for Gavin and Jared to be official missionaries. Let us all be the best disciples we can be and be happy with what we have and work so others can a greater joy. - D&C: 18

I miss the Weasel...such a goofy dog.  I am glad you have comic relief.  Bailey is more than welcome to stay in my room as long as she doesn't make it girly or mess with my stuff.  I miss you Mimzy and Jilligan and Dad. but I am not home-sick -which is good! I am really excited for the road trip when Dad comes to pick me up the only hard part is I don't want to leave... 

Jeffery R. Holland is coming to speak to us on February 22 - I am like a giddy school girl:)))