Monday, September 28, 2009

Hello Everyone! September 28, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009 0

     So I wrote a whole email out but it got erased so I will rewrite it and send it to my mom because I have to go now but here is a picture of my first baptism.

     Sorry but I got to go. Hope to hear from all of you soon! I Love you so much and I miss you as well. Take Care,

Elder Leavell

Monday, September 21, 2009

Heeyy Everyone! Sept.21, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009 0
Heeyy Everyone!

     How are you all doing? It's always great to hear from all of you and I'm glad that everything is going well with all of you. Anyways this has been another eventful week, but I think that is how the mission goes in general.

     Anyways, this week I started driving because Elder Baliach is leaving and Elder Cordy still hasn't gotten his driving record in so I have been given that responsibility. It actually isn't that much different than driving in Las Vegas but it's funny that I had nearly forgotten how it felt to drive. haha. But as far as my investigators, we have SO many that it's hard to maintain a constant visit with all of them. We are so blessed by the Lord and it's very evident that the Lord is placing people in our path to teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ. On Thursday we had the baptism interview with David Turner, who has been a golden investigator. But as he was being interviewed, he mentioned something that had to be addressed by the mission presidency, so that was quite unfortunate. Anyways, we planned the 2nd interview for Saturday because he was scheduled to get baptized this last Sunday. But that didn't work out either...we had totally forgotten that it was the Jewish New Year and Yumcipor (i think that is how you spell it) so his aunt (who he lives with) didn't allow him to leave, even though he is in his late 40s or 50s. So all that fell through and it was a huge bummer. But it's interesting to see how the Lord works with deaf people and how they are in some cases more in tune with the Spirit. That same Thursday we had planned to meet this guy Mario Alfaro, who was an investigator awhile ago but didn't go to church. Anyways, we drove to Compton and knocked on doors to see if anyone knew him...and from the looks of it the people around there were not to fond of us. Sort of scary. Oh well, but as we were walking back to the car, Elder Baliach saw him even though he was facing away from us and we had never seen him before. It was truely amazing because I know if I would have been in the same situation I would have walked right by him and wouldn't have noticed him. But it's so amazing to see the Spirit working with all of us, not just one but all of us because we are all worthy of having that Spirit that gives us inspiration from the Lord. It's so surreal sometimes that it's hard to think that you aren't doing this but the Spirit is. Anyways...another investigator family is the Maravilla family. They are scheduled to get baptized October 11th and they are by far the best family we have. They would be baptized right now but one of their kids is on probation. It's amazing to see the changes that he is making to be ready when that probationary time is over. We taught them about the plan of salvation and we have this video that is in all ASL, that acts it out instead of preaching so it's amazing. But as we were watching it the wife was crying her eyes out when it came to the part when the husband and wife were seperated because the wife had passed away (sort of like the Notebook movie but better because they would be together again). It was so amazing to see that light in her eyes when she discovered that her wedding vows were more than just "till death do us part" but that they could be "for time and all eternity." How great is the gospel of Jesus Christ that it brings families together not just for this life but for all eternity as well. How great is it to have that power and authority to seal our families for all of time and eternity. It's truely a blessing and such an inspiration to me to know that I will be able to see my family in the life to come. But going back to the wife, after she got her emotions together, she signed to us, I want that. Is it possible that I can have that as well? It was so amazing to see that ernest quesion that came from the soul. I'm so glad to be here and to witness all of these amazing miracles!

I think that is it for my investigators but before I go I want to share something with you that I have noticed while being here. I had recently finished reading the Book of Mormon and I decided that I would read it again cover to cover. It's amazing that I had forgotten the same first sentence that Nephi says, "I, Nephi, being born of godly parents" I hadn't really noticed the significance of that sentence but I think I have found out the true meaning of that. Yes, we have earthly parents here, that even though the circumstances might not be the best, they still are our parents and they are always loving. In some cases families are seperated but there is at least one parent that takes the child under it's wing and does the best it can to raise and nuture the child to become the best it can be. But something I had forgotten is that I also have a loving Heavenly Father, who presented this plan to us, who gave us the option to follow Him or the adversary. I know that we all chose to follow him, so how great is our faith already, yes we might not remember, but we had that faith to know that His plan would work so that we could become like our Father in Heaven. How great is His love, that He sacrificed His only Son, Jesus Christ, to better help us, to nurture us so that we can overcome the obstacles that have been set in front of us by the adversary. I'm so thankful for that inspiration that I received by re-reading the Book of Mormon. I know that is it the true word of God because he gave us that first sentence "being born of godly parents." I know that he gave us that first sentence because he knew that the adversary would attack the families the most so that we would forget the value of families here on this life and in the life to come. How blessed I am to know that we were presented with this plan to obtain a body and go through life to gain experience. So yeah, I'm so thankful to be here on the mission because I have noticed how blessed I am because I am worthy and I'm grateful for having this privalage. It's sad to hear that those 3 Elders came home Sister Ludwig. I know that I'm worthy and most of all I know that I will not give up becuase the deaf people in LA need this message of happiness and I know that I could never forgive myself if I made a silly mistake because I didn't want to follow the rules. I know if we are obidient that the Lord will provide in everyway, and I know that I still have a lot to learn but with the Lord's help I know I can do anything.

As always it's nice to hear from all of you and I hope to hear from all of you again. Hope all is well!

Elder Leavell

Monday, September 14, 2009

To All (Photos) September 14,2009.

Monday, September 14, 2009 0

FROM: David C. Spencer, T4 Branch missionaries

                                                                                            September 13,2009
In only a few weeks we will say good bye to Elder Balaich who has served our Branch so well. We now welcome Elder Leavell to our Branch. He is an awesome young man and comes to us from Las Vegas, Neveda. He, along with our Elder Cordy (another awesome elder) will be our Branch Missionaries when Elder Balaich leaves. Great young men serving our Branch, we are very blessed.

To All: September 14,2009.

     So the day has finally come! Well I have been here for a while now and it's been more than great.  I can't wait to see where the mission will take me. Sorry it has taken so long to write, I came in on a P-day and on a mid-transfer so that was most interesting. I haven't even finished unpacking, haha. The first few days were amazing, not necessarily teaching wise but because I had to solely rely on the Spirit to guide me because I had no idea what was going on. I'm in a three some right now and their names are Elders Balaich and Cordy. They are great! Elder Balaich is deaf and is one of the funniest people I have ever met and Elder Cordy is a CODA, which means Child of a Deaf Adult, so both of their sign is amazing. But I have been learning A LOT! I can already tell that my sign has improved more than what it was in the MTC. There have been some issues with the program and they are being addressed as we speak, but I will address that later. 

      Anyways, LA is not burndt down's funny because from what I had been hearing it's been really bad but in fact it hasn't been, I can barely notice that there is a fire going on, if it is going on, so that's good. The funny thing that has happened is that I have already gone out of my mission boundaries.....don't worry I'm still being obidient but the ASL program is a little different. Because deaf people are not congregated into areas we work within the branch boundaries which in some cases are outside of the mission boundaries so that's pretty cool. I can't wait to meet the rest of the people that we are currently teaching. Elder Balaich will be leaving in 2 weeks now so it will be just me and Elder Cordy covering the whole mission. When I heard that I was like why? So I think I should help clearify that. At the ASL program there have been some issues concerning obidience, so little by little the program has been cut down to a literal minimum. Also, our Mission President feels like the ASL missionaries need to be transferred out to gain the tools necessary to become the best missionaries, and that right there has been an issue that has risen between the Branch President and Mission President. So please pray that everything can be resolved and that a compromise can be made peacefully and with the benefit of both parties. But in January we will be getting 5 new ASL missionaries so that should take some of the load off our shoulders. Anyways, enough with politics.  The ASL program is amazing. I have absolutely no complaints and there is nothing that can change my mind concerning my calling to the ASL program. I know that the Lord has called me for a reason, a reason that I have seen over this past week and it's because there is a desperate need for ASL missionaries to both speak English, Spanish, and ASL. It's because there is usually only one person who is deaf and the others speak Spanish. I'm so blessed to already have that knowledge and skill, so that I can help benefit the lives of others who are in search for happiness. I know that because I don't think I have gone a day without using my Spanish. But we have 8 baptisms coming up within the next 4 weeks and 1 this Sunday! I'm so excited! How great is the Lord for providing people that are ready to hear the gospel and to change their lives for the better! How great it is to be worthy and be obidient to receive those blessings as well! I'm so grateful for Him and for all that He has done for me. I feel like now I'm starting to see the blessings that have come through the trials that I have faced over the past few years. So yeah I'm so excited to be united with the Spirit in teaching, in finding, and in studying His gospel and it's teachings. 

     Something funny that has happened is when we went to Fry's to get a cable we are always asked by someone for help. I think today we were all asked at least 4 different times, Elder Balaich said we should start working there haha. Oh, the door for our bathroom just broke but in comparison to all the other homes I have visited I feel humbled and grateful for all the things I have received. It really saddens me and it really kills me seeing what these people are going through, no family, no money, and are barely able to pay rent and the bare necessities. Obviously some take it bad and are pessimistic about it but then there are some that are happy and optomisitic for the things to come. It just shows that we are really blessed to have the things we have and it's been a true humbling experience. 

     Anyways I got to go, I don't have much time left but on a little side note I won't be able to email anyone except for my family so if you need my address it's:

1591 E. Temple Way
Los Angeles, CA 90024

     We only get mail on Fridays, but our Zone Leaders pick it up on Tuesdays so if you want me to respond by the next week you need to send it before Saturday...just a little heads up there. 

     Know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ, that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God and that through the atonement of Jesus Christ we can come back to live with our loving Heavenly Father. I know that if we count on the Spirit, He will provide for what we need physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I love you all and I miss you tons and I wish you were all here, but I know that this is where I need to be.

     It's great hearing from all of you and I can't wait to hear from you again!

With love,
Elder Leavell

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hello Everyone! September 3, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009 0
Hey Everyone!

It's been a great week! Long but way cool! Partly because it is my last week here at the MTC. I'm not going to lie it's making me a little nervous to go out to LA and immerse myself into the deaf program in Los Angeles but I know that the Spirit will guide and direct me to know what I need to do. It's crazy the think that I have been here for 2 months! They have been so helpful and I know that I have grown a lot for sure!

My companion Elder Carlson left this past Tuesday and things are different. We are a three-some now and it took some getting us to since we had to teach as a three-some. Luckily we got to practice and I think we finally have things down because we all have different teaching styles for sure. I love teaching, it brings the Spirit into the room when you are looking for it, even though it's a fake investigator but I have come to teach as if it were a real one. 

There is not really anything else that has happened really. I wish I could say but all of it is meetings for preparation to leave the MTC and go out into the field, very boring because it all applies to different missions and not ASL.

OH, I almost forgot I got to translate some more from Spanish to ASL and I'm starting to get really good at it. I know that this is my calling because I am able to do that. It's interesting to see how it's sort of easier to go from Spanish to ASL but my teachers said that that is normal for any interpreter. 

Anyways I'm really excited to serve the people of Los Angeles, even though it's burning down, haha. But I pray that their hearts will be softened and that they will be willing to hear this wonderful message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it to be true, and I know that if we count on the Lord that He will bless our lives if we let Him and IF we are obidient. I love His examples and I know there are always things we can improve in, especially when it comes to comparing ourserlves to the Savior. 

Just a thought I think it would be best if you all started mailing stuff to my mission address, which hopefully is up there. It is...     1591 E. Temple Way, Los Angeles, CA 90024 .  So yeah, that would be great if you all did that.

I love you all so much and I miss you all tons, but I know that this is the place I need to be. Hope to hear from you soon!

Elder Leavell

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