Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Welcome Home!

I returned home from my mission on Friday, November 11.  My family was there to greet me.  They say I am a bit taller, and heavier...and a lot more talkative.  I am thankful for the opportunity I had to serve as a full-time missionary!  In the very near future, I will be returning with my family to visit the people and places I served!  I am very excited!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Have Learned...

What can I say for my last official communication as a full-time missionary? The only thing I can think of is referencing scriptures that I have thought about these last weeks that have helped me push through the rest of my mission.

Scripture #1: Jarom 1:3-4. I was reading through this scripture while we've been having a hard time finding people in my current area. I read verse 3 and thought, "That's EXACTLY how I feel."...then I read verse 4, and it struck me. I hadn't been focusing as much on the people we had already found, which have had many revelations already, "for they are not all stiffnecked." It made me think of one of the families we have been teaching. The Spirit is beginning to be in their home. It is a wonderful feeling to see them progress. It's crazy how a book written many thousands of years ago could still have relevance today.

Scripture #2: 1 Corinthians 15:55/Hosea 13:14. As I was in District Meeting one day, the last scripture came to me. I was thinking about bearing testimony on faith and repentance when this happened, which is all that Hosea is about. When I read that verse, I immediately thought of the verse written in 1 Corinthians. I turned to that real quick, then read the footnotes. I replaced one of the words in the verse with the footnote so that it reads, "O death, where is thy sting? O hell (or spiritual death), where is thy victory?" I thought about how that applies to us. As we have "faith unto repentance", we can say as Paul said.

Scripture #3: D&C 61:3. Don't remember how I found this scripture. But as I thought about this scripture, I thought of Pocahontas singing "Just Around the Riverbend".....Those were the only words I could think of to that song, but I remembered the main message. Anyway, as we choose the harder right/experiencing trials, we must remember that there are others who are "perishing in unbelief." As we share the gospel, we will feel the joy that comes through doing so.

Scripture #4: Isaiah 63:1-3....I thought about this scripture during the last part of Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk "'Abide in My Love'". What stuck out to me especially about this scripture was verse three is partially in past tense, partially in future tense. As you think about that and think about how Jesus Christ was in the place of the winepress when he suffered for our sins, it makes Elder Christofferson's and Isaiah's remarks seem cooler (for lack of a better word).

Scripture #5: Daniel 3:16-18. This scripture has had an impact on me again and again during my mission. Throughout my mission, I have had a couple friends/family members die, despite all the prayers. This past transfer, it has helped me as I thought about it with a couple of words of wisdom from a wonderful sister, whose husband died 6 weeks ago. She said, "We have faith in the Savior, not in the miracles." This matches perfectly with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego's remarks: "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not,...we will not serve thy gods." Now, they were delivered from their afflictions, but some in scripture have not been for a time (namely, the women and children of Ammonihah, Jeremiah, Nephi, Mormon, Moroni, Joseph in Egypt, Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, etc.)

Last Scripture: D&C 20:17-35. What glorious things we know about because of the Book of Mormon. Enough said. :j

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sad News From Home, Stake Conference, and a Traveling Visitor's Center...

My little baby cousin passed away. I am very sad. I found something cool earlier in my mission about such a thing. It's in the Joseph Smith, teachings of Prophets booklet Chapter 14, under the title "Parents who lose children in death will receive them in the resurrection just as they laid them down." Pretty cool stuff.

We had stake conference!!!! It was awesome. Our Mission President's wife shared a scripture that became my new favorite scripture on missionary work. She quoted Moses 6:63, then pointed out that we were created to bear record of Jesus Christ. It was awesome. We were with a member family, so they took us out to ice cream after. We also received some Fettuccine Alfredo from some other elders at that time. I was talking with a couple of other elders regarding another elder in our mission who had a little accident. He got his foot run over by a lawn mower. It was just a toe, but it was still crazy. Well, were also reminiscing about the MTC and talked about our missions after stake conference. It was cool.

An individual we know was involved in a car crash.. He crashed going at 65 mph into a dump truck piled with dirt. He broke his sternum, and I think he mangled his hand and foot. Miraculous that he didn't have more damage. We visited him at the hospital. He is doing good. The food in the hospital includes bacon, so he has to be good. :j We visited with his family. He needed it. We could tell. It was pretty good.

We are still working on finding some new investigators. Working super hard on that. We invited people to come to stake conference, to go to a scripture study class, to go to the Trunk-or-Treat, etc.

The Trunk-or-Treat was great. We put up a traveling Visitor's Center which included an 8'x12' Picture of Jesus, a smaller picture of temples and the Book of Mormon, a spinning wheel, a TV, and a Kindle. We gave out candy to a bunch of people. The members loved it. We gave it to some other elders for this Halloween during stake conference. We received a couple "potential referrals" at the Trunk-or-Treat. In short, we invited members to invite their friends to church, take the missionary discussions, etc. and they accepted the challenge.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Finding and Referrals are Cool!

We have been doing a ton of finding lately, and we had a cool experience happen. We found a nice laundromat that was super cheap compared to the one we used to go to (1.50 compared to 2.50 for both washing and drying.), so we went to it today. I sat by this older couple. I started talking with them. My companion joined in. He asked them what church they went to. They said they didn't have one. They had given up searching for one. Well, we taught them the Restoration really quickly. They liked it, accepted a Book of Mormon and said they might try it out. It was awesome.

We've been working with active members a lot more. Our mission president gave us a WHOLE stack of papers and told us to give a sheet of paper to every member in our ward. So we scheduled a lot of active members, and we taught a ton of them. We received many referrals, and have a ton of potential referrals. It was cool!

One of the families we are working with came to church! It was during the Primary Program. We introduced them to the bishop, the Young Woman's President, a family in the ward, and one of the young women who is friends with one of our prospective baptismal candidates. It was cool.

We also had two nonmembers come to church. Invited by friends. It was cool.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Mission Memories, Exchanges, and a Note!

I have been reminiscing a bit lately. One awesome mission memory happened about a year ago. My companion and I had an unsuccessful day tracting and as we were heading back home. We came across kids who weren't even 10 yet. My companion said to them, "Hey, kids! Want a good book?" One of them was like "Sure!" The other was a bit hesitant, but eventually accepted one. Later, their parents became investigators. Interesting how that happens.

This past week, we have been doing a lot of finding in our city. We actually received two referrals from some ward members.

Our investigators didn't come to church on Sunday. We had tried so hard to help them come. We'll try harder, though. We had a super spiritual lesson a few days ago.

In other news, we went on exchanges with the Assistants. It was great. The Sister Training Leaders, who we drove up with, took our minivan with the other Sister Training Leaders for an exchange. They stopped by one of my favorite familes' home during their exchange. The family hid a note that said, "Hi!" in the van. My companion found it when we were coming home. It made my week a whole lot better!. I put it in my journal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

We Need a Prophet! We Have a Prophet!

We had a week of excitement, awesomeness, cool sights, Bentonville, Muskogee (pronounced muh-SKOH-gee), etc. etc.
We got a call from our mission president. He asked me if I could prepare scriptures that show the apostasy happening in between Adam and Noah, Noah and Abraham, Abraham and Christ, and after Christ. So, I prepared a lot of scriptures. Here is a condensed version of what I found that evening.
As I prepared a ton of scriptures, EVERYTHING I read I thought of again and again. I know we need a prophet. It's crazy how much we need a prophet, and how sad it is when people reject the prophets. I instructed on that in our meetings. I bore my testimony on that on Sunday...after convincing a youth to bear his testimony (my favorite thing to do on Fast Sunday is to sit by a youth and tell them, "I'll go if you go." Works every time. Well, I have about 90% success). It really worked this fast Sunday to bear my testimony on such, because everyone was excited about Conference and so I just testified of what our needs for prophets. I also quoted D&C 21:6 which talks about the blessing of a living prophet.
Anyway, that's what I prepared for MLC and Zone Training. It was cool.
One last experience that happened: We had a lesson with a family that was uber spiritual. We read Alma 32, and we asked how they felt as they were reading the Book of Mormon. One of the family members said that he felt that swelling inside of him. We helped him identify the Holy Ghost. It was awesome
A couple of my former companions and me.  It was so good to see them on Transfer Day!  I miss them!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

General Conference, Bentonville, and Planning!

Bentonville! I'm excited to go there for at least three more times during my mission....well, four, if you count the last time before I come home..

My new companion is very tall, and has really long legs.

Saying goodbye to my "old" companion was bittersweet. He has been one of my favorite companions, He was super cool. I get to go on an exchange with him soon, so it's okay. I couldn't help but be a little sad when he left, though. His parents are coming to my homecoming.

We are all planned for the coming week, and major events during the next several weeks (MLC, Zone training meetings, which District meeting we're going to go to for what week, etc.)

We had a lesson with a cool family.

I watched all of the General Conference sessions. I loved Elder Neil L. Andersen's talk and Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk the best. They're both really good. The second session really focused on missionary work. I was excited about that. I love General Conference! It is awesome!.