Monday, March 28, 2016

Week #37--March 28th

First off, wrecked super hard this week. Like, SUPER hard, lol. But luckily, nothing bad happened except for a really bad bruise here or there. Elder Wedel said that he's never seen a better tuck and roll over the handlebars onto Asphalt going 35 miles per hour, hahaha.

2) Still really pumped to get a motor bike

3)Teaching these people named Dan and Reatha Ruggles. I LOVE THEM. They're my favorite. Dan has a huge woodshop in his back yard and we do wood work with him on P-days and lat nights when we have not appointments. Plus he fed us 3 times this last week. He was raised in Utah and took the lessons when he was 20, and says he'll never convert but that's a lie. And his wife is super sweet and is for sure getting baptized. They don't have any kids (they're in their 60's/70's) so I think they think of Elder Wedel and I as they're sons and they LOVE us so much. I can't wait for you to meet them.

4) Teaching a guy named Matt Freeman. Also super solid. The epitome of searching for the true church. Only problem? He lets archaeological stuff get in the way. HAlf of it's out dated like the whole "No horses in America" garbage. But he's still genuinely searching. He even came to church on sunday! He's super awesome. 

I love this ward SO much. I love this area, this work and my companion, you have no idea. This week produced so many spiritual experiences. Like when we taught the Restoration to the Ruggles, and Elder Wedel said the First Vision, we paused for a long time, and I bore testimony. What a powerful experience. I've felt butterflies on stage from performing, I've felt emotions moved during good movies, I've felt sorrow when I've lost someone or been hurt deeply. I know each of those feelings. I recognize them as what they are, just as I could tell you the difference between cake and a tomato simply by tasting. The spirit is unlike all three. It is a feast that exhausts my physical, emotional and mental capacities. I feel that spirit when I read the Book or Mormon, when I teach and when I testify. THE CHURCH IS TRUE.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week #36--March 21, 2016

Hello all!

This week certainly was not an easy one, but I've gained a much stronger testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, that's for sure. 

We taught an investigator named Jeremy, he seems super solid. We taught the second lesson and then after the closing prayer he invited us for dinner and he barbecued for us. The dude is a freaking beast with that grill. Then this morning we went over to his house early and went mountain biking. There's a huge stretch of hills and desert at the south end of our area and it was a freaking blast! I only crashed like 3 or 4 times too, haha. 

We also had Stake Conference and got a new stake presidency. Unfortunately our beloved Ward Mission Leader got called as second counselor. I legit cried. Like, don't get me wrong, he's super awesome and will do great but we've just gotten so close to him, so that was hard knowing he'll be so busy in the coming 10 years or so. 
But that meant there were General Authorities! Elder Allen F. Packer and another member of the 70 came, and boy they gave such great talks! 

I think my favorite thing shared at Stake Conference was by the other member of the Seventy, (who's name slips me). He told a story of when the Actor Charlie Chaplin entered into a 'Charlie Chaplin look-a-like' contest. 
He placed third.

That hit me so hard, even though it's a simple analogy. If we look to the world to tell us who we are, they will get it wrong every time. If we rely on the world to give us the knowledge we need of what truth is, it will eventually fail us. We must rely on The Lord and The Spirit for the truth we desire. 

I also want to let you know that I know this church is true. It is not easy to be a member, because it is not easy to live by faith. But that's why we're here. To learn and live by our faith. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know that President Monson is The Lord's chosen President on the earth today. I KNOW the book of mormon to be the word of god. Without a doubt in my mind. I know he loves me and he loves all of us. I know Christ suffered for our sins and saved us. 

The Church is true!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week #35--March 14, 2016

Well, this one should be short because you've just heard from me like 3 days ago, but we had some crazy occurrences. 

Mostly, Elder Bednar came to our mission. That was pretty freaking amazing. 

It would be hard to condense all the things he said into one email, so I won't try (although he did prophecy, and that was awesome. There's something cool about an actually Prophet prophesying right in front of you) but I wanted to share one cool insight. 

He told us one time that he was meeting with a group of inactive RM's in a stake somewhere in the US. He walked in and stood at the pulpit and asked how he could help. He opened it up to questions and made it a discussion format (which was how he taught us. SUPER cool). One brother stood up and told Elder Bednar that he had come across this Anti-mormon stuff that had shaken his testimony. Elder Bednar asked him how straight he would like his answer. The young man said he'd like it straight. Elder Bednar said "I've known about all of that stuff since I was 12 years old. Where have you been? Do you think the church has time to argue with all of that nonsense? Don't you think it should have a little more trust in it's return missionaries to study about it and find out for themselves that it's all bologna?" 

We all proceeded to make sure our eyebrows were still there and that they hadn't been burned off, haha. 
He went on to say that the issue this man had was not the anti-material. It was lack of studying the Book of Mormon. He said to us "It's like we're in a dark room, and the Lord gives us a flashlight, we turn it off and complain when we start bumping into the walls!" Then he said something that really stuck with me, in connection with that analogy "If sometime when you're home from your mission, you are really tired one night and you think to yourself 'oh, I'll just read tomorrow', I hope my voice right now comes back and haunts you and says to you 'You Idiot! (yes, he did say idiot) You're turning off the flashlight! DON'T turn off the flashlight!'"

Haha, I hope you can imagine all of his quotes in full rebuke form, because it was really powerful. But what was most incredible about his rebukes is that every single one was done in such a humble, sincere, loving way that is impossible to describe. Whenever someone had concerns or questions, you could tell he had such a valiant love for that person. For all of us really. I'll never forget it. 

But that's my advice to you all! DON'T turn off the flashlight! 

I love you all!

Church is true! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Week #34--March 10, 2016

.... But watch out....

I'm gonna do it again!
Another great week pals and.... other pals. 
Killing it here in Hesparia

I would fill you in on the last week and a half, but I honestly can't remember back that far. Legit, the days run together so much at this point it's not even fair. Someone had to remind me today that it's March. It's not even like the first or second day, we're like knee-deep into March and I still had not processed said fact. 
Cool experiences this last week: 

I went on exchanges with an Elder from Nigeria. That was pretty freaking legit. Elder Nephi Udeochu-Ogbonna. 

He's a beast. 

Also, we tracted into a lost member who wants to come back and have his 2 daughter's baptized. 

Also, we found 6 new investigators this last week. That means we've officially found more investigators these past 2 weeks than this area has found in the previous 7 months. 

Also, we got to go to the Temple this Morning.

Quick side track on that note, and with a much more serious tone of voice: That was so awesome. If you have not been to the temple, please prepare yourselves. It is so amazing. I missed it so much, having not been there for 6 months, but the spirit was so strong. So many fears were silenced, questions answered, and hopes rekindled in such a short period of time. (Not to mention, we went to Apollo Burger afterwards with our Ward Mission Leader and that was the real highlight of the past week and a half. SO good)

Back to the cool experiences

Actually, I'm kind of out. Not that there weren't like a billion others, but I don't remember like any of them. 
But before I close I want to emphasize something that was shared in Fast and Testimony meeting. The quote was 
"People would rather die than change".

Woah. Deep. But true. Another quote that goes hand in hand was from Elder Ogbonna "Once people find the truth, it changes EVERYTHING". 

One of the scariest things for us to accept is our own potential. I remember while teaching a less-active once he said "When I read my Patriarchal blessing, and saw what God expected of me, I put it away and never read it again". But God knew just how great that man could be. He knows how great each and everyone of us can be. By limiting our potential at all, we question the Power of our maker and question his ability to create. There were no mistakes in the creation process, and what makes that significant is that you were created to succeed. You were created to excel. You were created to rise above the world, and look past that which is worldly to that which trul matters. This success is dependent, however, on our Faith in and use of Our Saviors Atonement. Please don't sell yourself short. Rise up and take advantage of the blessings your Father in Heaven so desperately wants to give to you. 

Well, I could rant on that forever, but I'll stop there. I love you all so much. This work is incredible. 
Church is true!