Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Well everybody, this is my last week in the mission and guess what??? Your prayers helped. LARRY WAS BAPTIZED!!!  Wahoo! :D 
I will leave off the other normal details from this week, but will copy and paste a list of things I have learned from companions and areas. The list is long, so I understand if you don't want to read it all, but it's there if you are curious of the sore repentance I endured over the mission. ;)

Good morning! This week was great. I want to thank you all for any prayers on behalf of Larry. He came to church this past week (2nd time) and is now living the word of wisdom which is outstanding. He is pushing strong towards being prepared for his baptism on June 24th and I am excited to continue to witness the change in him. He is learning well and loves what he learns. Please continue to keep him in your prayers. There is not a whole lot more to update on from this week, so I'll bear my testimony instead.
I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that God lives and he is our Father who loves us more than we can comprehend. I know that God has a perfect plan for each of us to make it back to live with him. Times can be difficult in life. We will also go through trials but I know that as we put our trust in God he will deliver us from our trials and afflictions. I love you all and have a great week!

Hello and good morning everybody. This week I want to express how proud of Larry I am. He is making great changes in his life. There are many times in which I feel he meets the standards for baptism listed in D&C 20:37.  He is working towards baptism on the 24th of June still, and his interview is on Friday. Please keep him in your prayers that he may continue to strengthen his faith and grow his testimony of these things. I would be so grateful.
There was a scripture I read this morning. D&C 64:33 "Wherefore, be not weary in well doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work, and out of small things proceedeth that which is great." Each little thing we do, each prayer, each minute we spend pondering or reading the scriptures, when we partake of the sacrament etc... builds our foundation and leads to something great. It leads us along the path to eternal life. Keep doing the small things my friends, I promise it will be worth it. I love you all.

Good morning everybody! It's a beautiful day here in Indiana. What a joy it is being a missionary. This morning,while Elder Smith was getting his hair cut, we had a lovely religious chat with the lady cutting his hair. This to me is just a perfect example of how the gospel can be shared everywhere we go.
This past week we had a visit from Elder and Sister Dyches from the second quorum of the 70. It was excellent! Sister Dyches spoke about our divine identity as children of God and shared how even with our weakness' God will support us and strengthen us (Moses 6:27, 31-34).  Elder Dykes taught about becoming a masterful teacher, planner, and finder. It was excellent training!
Larry has now had his baptismal interview and will be getting baptized this Saturday at 6:00pm. Please be praying for him daily to be strengthened in his testimony and conversion and ability to resist the devil. Thank you for everything. Love you all!
Larry is doing great, he is still learning to recognize the spirit, we had a funny experience though. Right before his baptismal interview with President Welch we witnessed a baptism and after it he turned to Elder Jasinski (we were on exchanges) and said, "Something magical just happened" and through talking with Elder Jasinski he realized that magical thing he felt was the spirit. Hahaha. Larry is great!  He was quite nervous for his baptism though. As he stood up to go into his interview he says to us, "Like a lamb going to the slaughter." Hehe. He is a funny man.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hello and good morning! This week was beautiful. Many times I have been able to witness the hand of the Lord in this His great work. This past week Elder Smith and I had a touching and powerful experience. We drove to an apt. about 8 miles out who was not home. Elder Smith felt we should walk so we began to walk. Not even 500 feet out, we saw a lady mowing her lawn. We figured she must have been struggling as this lawn was full of big weeds and grass 1-3 feet tall as if it had not been mowed all year. We walked up and offered to help as the mower died on her. She came to us and asked, "What for?" We related to her that we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Her countenance changed. She began to shake and tears began to roll down her face. She said to us, "I have been crying and praying for help. I have been so sick and I need a break." Her mother came over and asked what happened and we told her we were there to serve. They gladly allowed us to mow the lawn/field. We mowed, what my guess would be, 1-2 acres of 1-3 ft tall grass and weeds. It took us a good 1 1/2 hours. We were grateful for the opportunity to be put on what President Thomas S. Monson would call, "The Lords Errand." I know that our Heavenly Father watches us and is aware of our wants and our needs.
I hope you all look and pray for opportunities to serve others. They are the greatest opportunities. 
We began teaching 3 new people this week. All of whom have great potential and light ahead of them as they follow the gospel.
Our sacrament meeting talks were excellent yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. The first lady who spoke is a convert of about three years, with her husband, who is already in the branch presidency at 3 years. She compared the game of Monopoly to our life on earth. How in Monopoly we can acquire the greatest wealth, or be completely broke, but as soon as the game ends it all goes back in the box. She compared this to how in life we can acquire great worldly possessions or be completely broke but as soon as this life ends it all disappears and has no meaning. She focused on how we must spend time and effort on things of eternal worth. It was powerful the way she presented it. 
The second talk was on love and a part touched me. This lady taught us that Love in Hebrew means "I give". When we love the Lord or others we are giving of ourselves something. This made the word love to me much more deep and meaningful.

Monday, May 22, 2017

There is not a whole ton I can think of to speak about this week but I'll do what I can. The other Elders were doubled out of New Castle so it is just Elder Smith and I now. So we chose to move to their house since it is more central. So our new address is 1202 Webster, New Castle, IN   47362. If you have sent a letter already, no worries, we can still check our other apt. for mail.
Larry came to church this week!!! We were so excited. He is progressing well and is trying his best and is putting a lot of trust and faith in God. Thank you everybody for your prayers on Larry's behalf. I know each prayer makes a difference. 
I hope you all have a great week. Love you all!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Good morning everybody. It's good to write to all of you. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there and other wonderful women. Hope yesterday was great for each of you and that all of you received the love, respect and praise you each deserve. In sacrament there was a talk focused on the divinity of women and their righteous roles in God's plan. I am so grateful for all of the women out there and the great work that they do and for their love and support. Keep it up. :D
This week we got to see one of our investigators, Ann, who is doing great! It has been a little while since we have met with her due to schedule complications. As we reviewed and spoke about the restoration of the gospel she expressed that she feels that this is the right path. She feels that this is where God is leading her and that she was meant to meet the missionaries when she did. She has expressed how she has been praying and pondering the message we share and reading the Book of Mormon and is going to continue to do so unless told otherwise. I am grateful for those who try their best to put forth their effort and show Christ and Heavenly Father they are trying. Ann, to me, is a great example of a diligent seeker of truth.
I hope you all have a great week. I love you all. :D
Before I forget Sister Welch wanted me to let you know that I am great and that she is so proud of me and that I am doing a great job. :) Also the other day our apartment was inspected and the Elderly couple said, "Wow! We should call your parents this is so good." He said it was the best and most clean apartment they had seen out of 8 and that we made the Sisters look bad. Haha. Thank you Mother for teaching me the importance of cleanliness. Then our investigator, Larry, also said that we are amazing and he is proud of who we are. That we give him hope of a brighter future generation and that you and Father should be proud of the boy you raised. (Said it for me and Elder Smith). I want you to always remember Mom, that you are an exceedingly great Mother.  I would not be who I am today without you. I love you.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Good afternoon everybody!
This week was a good one. We had a cool finding/teaching experience. We met a lady named Alisha a couple of weeks ago, who lives about 17 miles out of town. We finally got a time set up to teach her and had a ride over there. As we shared the restoration, she was leaning forward in her chair and was engaged. It sparked in her and she was excited! After we shared the message, she says to us, "Do y'all ever work after 3? I want to you to come teach my kids!" So, of course, we set something up. So we will be going there this Tuesday which we are excited for. :D
This area is great and the branch is real supportive and loving. Elder Smith is a great companion. We get along well. :) This could be my last area... I will find out Wednesday or Saturday I guess. This week we have interviews with President and Sister Welch, which I am excited for. They are always nice to have. The Welches are great and so kind.
Other than that nothing real big happened. Hope you all have a great week!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Good morning. This week has been a good one and I hope that is the same for all of you. This past week my testimony of the power of sharing testimony has grown. ;) During a dinner, after sharing a message, I felt prompted to ask if all 4 of us Elders may bear our testimonies and they said yes. As we bore our testimonies it turned to a specific Elder, who when he bore his testimony, everyone was full attention on him. The sincerity and power of his genuine testimony filled the room with a great spirit which all of recognized.   My second experience; testimony meeting was incredible! So many great testimonies, but one in particular touched my heart. A little girl about, 9 years old, gets up to bear her testimony (parents aren't even in chapel) and says, "I got up because I feel like I should." Then shares about how someone asked her how she knew God was real and her Mom invited to her to watch the restoration video so she said, "I watched the video and I felt the spirit so strong. I knew that God was real." Then closed her testimony. A minute or two later her Mother walked back in. This next generation of children has power!  Then a scripture I read this morning just topped it off which is Alma 4:19.   I personally know that the power of testimony is incredible. It is difficult for somebody to deny a sincere testimony, or to refute it, because that personal witness is so strong!
We also got to go and do service for a lady whose husband is out serving on military leave and that was a great experience. Elder Smith got to ride a big mans toy. He couldn't stop smiling. ;)
This week we got to meet so many new wonderful people and had some good opportunities to teach the gospel and serve. Some of our investigators have really been reading the Book of Mormon and progressing well. It is so nice to see. Often people will not read the Book of Mormon. It's like pulling teeth getting them to read even a few pages. Sometimes it's the same even for members. I can understand why the brethren focus on it so much. But we also get to see the side of things where you go into homes where they read the Book of Mormon nightly and have a powerful spirit in their home. It's really neat. :)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hello wonderful friends and family. This week was beautiful!
Last Sunday we had branch conference and it was a powerful meeting. The focus was on a scripture in D&C which speaks about "be not weary in well doing" and how we must keep doing the simple things such as reading, praying, church attendance, family home evening on a regular basis and how when we do, miracles happen. It was a great meeting. Very insightful and also a great one for our investigators, Amanda and Chris, to come to. They are doing superb!
This past week in zone conference we spoke about many great things. All of which are very relevant. We spoke little to nothing about Christlike attributes that I can remember, but the spirit spoke clearly to me that I must be more Christlike. Becoming Christlike is the quest of a lifetime. People may become Christlike in many aspects, but until we are like Jesus Christ himself, there is much work to do. So for the next while, I am going to be studying and applying heavily Preach My Gospel chapter 6 "Christlike Attributes" and I will be focusing on humility, charity, love and virtue. I would also challenge each of you to find a Christlike attribute or two you feel could be strengthened in yourself and I hope you all have a great week. Thank you for all of your prayers, love and support.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Well, I am now here in New Castle, Indiana with the one and only Elder Smith! Our address is:
914 West Colonial Street
New Castle, IN 
We received a warm welcome here. Let me tell you about it.
Elder Smith and I (doubled in) were going to contact a potential investigator and we knocked on the door and nobody answered. So we got outside the gate and closed it and a kid says, "my mom is in the back." So we say okay. As we walk on the outside of the fence this dog bolts around the corner (inside of fence) and jumps up barking and snarling with a ferocious growl. Took us by surprise. Well, we begin walking towards the back, and this dog, (pit bull/boxer mix) jumps up over the fence so I bolt (wrong thing to do). This beast chases me into the street where (cuz I didn't look) I almost got hit by a car that had to suddenly stop. So I hurry and turn, as this dog is viciously attacking me. I pull back my arm with my scriptures and am about to whop him if he gets any closer, when a man yells out, "Don't run!" Choosing to trust this guy, I stop dead on and he calls for the dog to come back so he does. All the while, my companion had his bag up and ready to swing! Hahaha! What a terrifying experience. Adrenaline was shooting through both of us and we were a bit shaky. Haha. One of the few thoughts, as I was being chased was "I've heard many stories but I never thought this would happen to me!" Well, as the owner got his dog, we spoke to him and his girlfriend. While we were hoping they would feel bad and let us share a message, they denied us. Wah wah wah.... Maybe next time.
Anyways, to tie this into the gospel. In life you will have moments where you do not know what to do. You might be quite terrified, as I was, but when you choose to listen to the Saviors guidance and "stop" or do what he asks, you will be protected and brought home safe. I know this is true and I love Jesus Christ, I wish you all a great week.
My first week was a blast. We are loving the area and we get along real well despite our differences. Learning to work with companions and communicate is easily one of my favorite things I have learned on the mission. Though it has not been easy and I still need much more practice.  Our apt is really nice. It's a 2 story apartment. It used to be a senior couples apt, then sisters and then us. It has 2 bathrooms and 2 bedrooms and was nearly spotless when we got there. I have had to clean so many disgusting apartments I was extremely grateful! We split a car with the other Elders in our branch but we took it in this morning for 1-2 weeks of repairs from body damage the sisters had left on it. But that's okay. The weather is beautiful and makes biking enjoyable. I hope my bike pulls through these last 2 transfers.
Good afternoon my beautiful friends and family! :D I am happy to say that Raegan and Isaiah were successfully baptized and confirmed this past Saturday and Sunday. It was phenomenal. I know their lives will be forever impacted and blessed for their choice to follow and serve the Lord, Jesus Christ. 
This past week in Zone Meeting we learned about personal prayer. They shared a clip from Elder Eyring and Hollands face to face a month or so ago when they spoke about prayer. We were also invited to read a talk about prayer called, "Improving your personal prayer by Elder K. Pearson" and it was powerful. I realized that while I have good revelatory prayers, they could be much better, more sacred and personal and powerful as well. This week I have been studying prayer more and applying the things I have learned. I would say that my prayers are already improving a great bit. I would challenge you to read the talk and do the same. I promise that if you do, your relationship with your Father in Heaven will grow more than you could hope for.
I hope you all have a great week. Love you all. :D
Easter weekend here was great. The speakers in sacrament were guests from the Ball State Institute and they did an incredible job. I loved their talks. I am grateful for our Saviors atoning sacrifice and Resurrection and for the work he did so he may heal us if we make the choice to turn to him. I love Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 3, 2017