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:)))

1/21/15 - Transfers this Week so P-Day on a Wed.

Denial baptized his brother this week in Juarez!!
The Bowsers are Awesome!
Brother Butterfield is one of the best people in the ward.

      Yet another great week!  I am still in El Paso, but I have a new companion Elder Goff.  He is from West Jordan, Utah.I love Elder Goff - he is hilarious.  All we do is laugh during our free time - but the work is going extremely well. One of our new investigators reminds me of my friend Jerry as a child.  He is such a good hearted person but a sponge to worldly things.  I think God is helping me have a second chance with helping him.  He said one of the most powerful prayers I have heard from someone who has never really prayed.   I see the same struggles in his life as my old friend and now I know how to deal with them. Having the influence of the Holy Ghost has been the best part of my teaching him and He is recognizing the goodness that comes from it.  I read with him in Mosiah 3:19

 [For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.]

- and it really hit him hard. He wants to change now and be baptized - which is so cool to see. I am getting to see the good effect that I have on others and it is so great.  It has brought so much joy to my heart, and is helping me realize how I fit in to this whole big puzzle called life.

     I have been reading about Alma.  How people were rebelling against the church of God and Alma was upset that it might be his fault. The voice of the Lord appeared to him and told him it was not his fault - that they had the freedom to choose.  And that Alma had brought many unto baptism and saved them from King Noah.  And that he continued to provide a way for them to have the good influence of God in their lives. “We believe that men are responsible for their own sins and not for Adam's transgression." Alma did his job and was promised exaltation.

    I am coming to learn that we must be responsible priesthood holders and provide a good example even to those who choose to rebel.  I know if I did not have well-founded priesthood holders in my life, I would not be where I am today.   If it weren't for a few that went the extra mile and helped me come out of the rebellion I was in, I would still be a lost sheep. Because Alma stayed strong and fulfilled his responsibilities his son came to a realization and repented and listened to the words of the messengers from God who were there to help him.  He then changed and his friends followed him. When we build ourselves upon the Rock we are immovable.  Others will follow our example when we are selfless and are following the example of Jesus Christ.

    We got into ward counsel for the first time in my mission last week - and it was only because the Bishop came to see that we were fulfilling our purpose, and we were there to serve him.   I know when we follow the examples of our leaders our lives become much easier. This is the Church of Jesus Christ restored in the latter days, and it is meant for everyone. So go and work while it is still day.  Do not wait until the dreaded night. Prove to the Lord by submitting your will to His. I love you all so dearly and pray for you often. Keep being the great people I know you to be!