Monday, October 26, 2009

Hello! October 26,2009

Monday, October 26, 2009 0
Hello Family & Friends,

How are all of you doing? It has been been another interesting week with a lot of meetings and next week shouldn't be any different. But it's all good. Meetings are great. On the other hand, our investigators are going through a lot of problems so it's been a rough week.

Last monday when I emailed all of you we had a rough day. We meet with Marcial because he wasn't coming to church and the main thing was that he wasn't being 100% honest with us. We first came to that conclusion when his mom was surprised when we told her that he wanted to be baptized but she was just scared that he wasn't go to be faithful and that he was supposedly beating her. So we decided to meet with him to settle some things because he wasn't progressing. The moment he got there he looked pretty down so we knew something was up, he told us he didn't want to be baptized or go to church. I wasn't surprised or upset because I knew that that is what he had decided a long time ago, but luckily we don't have to be wasting our time with someone who doesn't want to progress. Anyways we continued talking with him telling him that things would change and we couldn't come over as often but that is when his parents came in. They said the same thing he did, that we need to stop asking him to do things that he doesn't want to do, but they said it as if they had known for a long time. So I continued talking with the mom while Elder Cordy talked with Marcial and I had a good time getting to know her better and talking about her favorite topic, Mexico. We talked and time flew by fast but they told us to come over tomorrow for dinner. That same day we went to the Perez Family to see how the mom was doing because she had to go on an emergency trip to Mexico because her mom almost died. We then found out that the daughter, who is deaf, is moving to North Carolina with her boyfriend. UGH! We then talked with the daughter to see if she would at least continue going to church, she said she would but I don't think she really meant it.

So after that horrible day we went to visit some of our former investigators and found someone that the Lord has prepared for the gospel, his name is Anival. He had the discussions before but he was so ready and we will be working with him closely so that he doesn't slip out of our hands. It's amazing how the Lord provides even when things get rough as long as we are faithful and obidient. As long as we do those things the "sacrifices [that we make will] bring forth the blessings of heaven" as it says in the hymn-Praise to the Man. I think I have truely witnessed that this week. Anyways we then visited Mildred who has been struggling but we re-taught her the first lesson because she had forgotten everything.

Thursday Elder Cordy and I had splits with our District Leader so I stayed in Lawndale, it was way legit. I got to ride a bike, which I haven't ridden one in years maybe around 9 or 10 years haha. it's bad. But after awhile it was like I had ridden one my whole life so it wasn't too bad. Even though we didn't have a lot of lessons we contacted a lot of people and found out that some people had moved. So it was a great day. I was really tired though because we didn't drive the entire day. We ASL missionaries are very spoiled because we drive the entire day and sit the whole day, I'm really surprised that I haven't gained any weight. I feel so lazy the entire day. But it was great to get some exercise and get that exhausted feeling haha.

But I must truly say that the highlight of my week happened to be on a Friday, not because it was the weekend and we work less, it's actually the opposite because everyone is home on the weekends, but it was because I had some familiar faces come to visit me, my parents. My mission president gave approval for them to visit it me and it was a great experience. We had a meeting with President and Sister Blackburn, my parents, Elder Cordy, and I and it was great for them to explain to my parents our schedule and what we do as missionaries for the Church. We then went to get some sushi on the beach, well really close to it, in Santa Monica and then to Costco haha. I think we have enough food for at least 2 months and enough candy to give to every kid in China, no lie haha. jk. But it was great to see them, and I will admit I couldn't really focus after that, but I'm all better now and getting right back to work. It's true Sister Ludiwg, it was just like when my parents visited me at college. It's sad because we got two lessons in and that is sometimes the same amount of lessons we get when we work the whole day. I loved the experience that I got to see them again and I think the zone did too because my parents bought hamburgers for all of them so they were really happy about that. haha. Missionaries always love free food.

Sunday I blessed the sacrament for the first time because there was not enough priesthood holders again. I was so nervous but I did it right, I was so proud of myself. I also then had to translate for the class and it was so hard because I hadn't done anything like that because Elder Cordy enjoys it so he likes to take over. Oh well I did my best so that is all I can do.

For the spiritual thought I was reading in this book that I bought concerning the Book of Mormon and it had this story and I thought that it was amazing. I hope all of you think it's great as well. It's from President Gordon B. Hinckley, he said:

I clipped a column from the Deseret Morning News, written by Jay Evensen. With his permission, I quote from a part of it. He wrote:

“How would you feel toward a teenager who decided to toss a 20-pound frozen turkey from a speeding car headlong into the windshield of the car you were driving? How would you feel after enduring six hours of surgery using metal plates and other hardware to piece your face together, and after learning you still face years of therapy before returning to normal—and that you ought to feel lucky you didn’t die or suffer permanent brain damage?

“And how would you feel after learning that your assailant and his buddies had the turkey in the first place because they had stolen a credit card and gone on a senseless shopping spree, just for kicks?

“This is the kind of hideous crime that propels politicians to office on promises of getting tough on crime. It’s the kind of thing that prompts legislators to climb all over each other in a struggle to be the first to introduce a bill that would add enhanced penalties for the use of frozen fowl in the commission of a crime.

“The New York Times quoted the district attorney as saying this is the sort of crime for which victims feel no punishment is harsh enough. ‘Death doesn’t even satisfy them,’ he said.

“Which is what makes what really happened so unusual. The victim, Victoria Ruvolo, a 44-year-old former manager of a collections agency, was more interested in salvaging the life of her 19-year-old assailant, Ryan Cushing, than in exacting any sort of revenge. She pestered prosecutors for information about him, his life, how he was raised, etc. Then she insisted on offering him a plea deal. Cushing could serve six months in the county jail and be on probation for 5 years if he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.

“Had he been convicted of first-degree assault—the charge most fitting for the crime—he could have served 25 years in prison, finally thrown back into society as a middle-aged man with no skills or prospects.

“But this is only half the story. The rest of it, what happened the day this all played out in court, is the truly remarkable part.

“According to an account in the New York Post, Cushing carefully and tentatively made his way to where Ruvolo sat in the courtroom and tearfully whispered an apology. ‘I’m so sorry for what I did to you.’

“Ruvolo then stood, and the victim and her assailant embraced, weeping. She stroked his head and patted his back as he sobbed, and witnesses, including a Times reporter, heard her say, ‘It’s OK. I just want you to make your life the best it can be.’ According to accounts, hardened prosecutors, and even reporters, were choking back tears”

I think that sometimes the problem with forgiveness is not if we receive forgiveness it's if we forgive ourselves. I sometimes have problems with that because I remember everything that I have done in the past but we remember becasue we grow from those experiences, so when we think of things we have done wrong take it as a blessing because it is.

I love you all and miss you all. It has been great serving the Lord and feeling His Spirit everyday, there is no feeling like it. I love receiving all the letters from all of you and I hope to hear more from all of you as well. I love you all! Take Care!

Elder Leavell

Monday, October 19, 2009

¡Hola! October 19, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009 0
Hello again!
So lets see where do I start...this week has been a weird week because we have had a lot of meetings and interviews so we haven't gotten that much time to go out and teach.

Tuesday I had a 13 day training even though mine was like a 30 day training haha. It was 4 hours long but I got to meet the other missionaries that came in, so that was a nice experience. After the meeting we visited the Little Family again. We had decided that we had to leave them with a strong commitment to come to church, otherwise, we knew that they wouldn't come because after all it has been 12 years since the last time they came. I got the chance to talk to Adrian again and we had a good lesson. But I then asked him to tell his grandma why he thought that going to church was so important, and then he started to cry. I was really nervous becuase I didn't know what was happening, neither did his grandma. He eventually got calm enough to sign to his grandma and I felt that the Spirit was so strong. I knew that Adrian felt it, I knew that the grandma felt it, and most of all I knew that I felt it. So I decided to talk with the grandma and I asked her what she was feeling? She didn't say anything. But I know that the Spirit told me to tell her, I know you felt the Spirit why are you denying it? She then said, how do you know that? I didn't know what to say, I just knew because the Spirit had told me. So I told her that and hoped for the best. She then started crying. I then told her that she needed to go to church and she finally said yes. I was so happy and I left that lesson proud and filled with the Spirit. After that we went to the Maravilla family to see how they were doing. They haven't been going to church and they explained why. Their son Juan Jr. doesn't want to go and if they leave him alone his friends will come over and they would steal their things. We decided to come over later that week with a member to see if we could motivate him to come to church.

The following day we had interviews with the President, which took longer than expected because they were running really behind schedule so that threw all our plans off. But it was really good. We got permission to go to the deaf expo in Ontario and to get a VP, Video Phone, so that we could be more productive since we are the only Elders in the program. Plus deaf people can't speak English and/or are too poor to have a cell phone, so it's hard to get in contact with them. But you should see some of the texts we get, sometimes we have to sign what they say to understand more but even then you can't understand sometimes. It's really funny actually. Anyways we visited a lot of Less Actives the whole day and we got the opportunity to do some service for one of our investigators, we drove him around to get some things done because it was raining really bad and he doesn't have a working car. So that was a good experience for both him and us to build that trust.

Friday we did service most of the day for a couple of our members. We first had another meeting, starting to realize all missionary work is meetings haha. We had a DDM where I gave a spiritual thought about the Atonement. I sort of cheated and used some of the things from my farewell talk. Shhh...don't tell anyone. When that was over we went to lunch at the mall and I was talking with my district leader waiting in line with him becuase we had a lunch appointment. Then this guy comes up to us and says "I got this." I still wasn't going to get any food because I didn't want him to buy me food when someone else was going to feed me. But he comes up to us again and says "why aren't you getting any food?" So I ordered some food and ate it. It was really good though, you can never go wrong with Panda haha. But I was stuffed at that point. We then went to the Martinez Family where they gave us lunch. I never thought I could eat that much, I thought that I was going to expolde. After that we chopped up their garage door that was broken and had fallen down. It wasn't heavy or anything, it was just really hard to carry when you had to avoid all the ants that were crawling all over us. haha. Really awkward. But I was still really full so that made it even more awkward.

Sunday came around and it was going to be a normal Sunday I thought at least. But my MTC teachers showed up and I was so surprised! I loved that they came and visited, it was like a family reunion! It was great talking with them again and seeing how they interacted with the people in our Branch. That made me so happy! They told me more about the new Elder that comes in a month and they said we will get along really well. So I'm also excited for that. Anyways that made my week!

About the spiritual thought, I don't have time this week to give one. Partially becuase I didn't prepare one, but next week for sure. I have to run but I love and miss you all and I hope everything back home is going really well! Take Care!
Elder Leavell

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hola. ¿Cómo están? Oct. 12,2009

Monday, October 12, 2009 0
Hello family & friends,

     It was great to hear from all of you this past week. This week has for sure gone by so fast and my first month in the mission has also gone by SO fast! It's crazy to think about it! But there have been some interesting experiences today, well this morning was an interesting experience but I'll talk about that later.

     Tuesday was a normal day, but with some intersting turns with our investigators. I don't remember if I mentioned Adrian in my other email but I'll explain the situation again. This kid has two deaf grandparents and he lives with them and his dad. That day we decided to commit him and his grandparents to go to church. As we were teaching, the father walked in and said that he didn't want us to be teaching him anymore (even though Adrian sits in on our lessons with the grandparents) because he doesn't feel that he is ready to decide for himself. Anyways, I wish he would have heard the talk by Elder Christofferson about how agency is influenced by knowledge and truth. But what disappoints me most is the grandparents, they have found every literal excuse to not go to church and they have been without the blessings of going to church. So now we have to find a way for Adrian to go to church with the permission of his dad with another member or with his dad. I have high hopes for this kid and he is so ready to be baptized, all we have to do is get over these bumps in the road and then he will be golden. So please pray that we will have the knowledge to know the concerns of the father so that we can get Adrian to come to church.

     The following day, I had splits with Elder Lovelace and once again it was an interesting day. haha. Everything piled up on us from meetings, to driving to the mission home, all without any notice. The Maravillas family asked us to help them move some more stuff into their new apartment and no lie, they had over 300 DVDs it was INSANE! So we were there till about 1:00 PM and we decided to change and eat some lunch. After that the manager of our building decided to come inspect what needed to be done...becuase the bathroom door came he was in our apartment for another hour. As we decided to go to Long Beach to start teaching, the mission home called and said that we had to go pick up our car today...because Elder Balaich broke the transmission (it's a V4 Ford Fusion) so big car with no power...because it was car free day tomorrow. Once we got up to the mission home I had a meeting with President Blackburn until about 6. So it was a crazy day full of errands and tidious work. We finally started teaching at about 7 and went to go get dinner at 9. I was so hungry at that point. Oh well at least we got everything done so that we could be more productive for the week to come. 

     Because we are in the ASL program and the temple is in our area, the Mission President has allowed us to go to the temple with our branch to show support every month when they do, so this Saturday I got to go through the temple again. The LA temple is beautiful and huge. And the best part was that it was all in ASL. I was so nervous because I didn't know I could understand everything and do everything I needed to do but it was an amazing experience. And it was so awesome to see all the members from the different branches come and serve the Lord in His house. Such a spirital experience that was. 

     Anyways so today was by far the most interesting experience I have had so far on my mission. As we were doing our personal study we heard some shouting and banging outside our door, but thought nothing of it. Sounded like an argument but nothing too serious. We were so wrong. All of the sudden things started to escalate and we could hear things thrown against the wall of our neighbors, screaming, and hitting. Long story short we had to call the cops becuase it was really getting out of hand and the screams started turning into cries for help. Don't worry we are ok we stayed in our apartment the whole time and didn't do anything stupid, well we wanted to but we knew that the cops could take care of it better. The cops came within minutes and the people wouldn't come out. Finally the cops forced someone out and handcuffed the whole family and to our amazement the 12 year old girl had cuts and bruises on her face and all over her. They said that the girl was not obeying them so they were giving her a spanking but that was so much more than a spanking. So now child services are going to be stopping by in the near future to figure out the situation in more detail. I hope the family doesn't get serperated because of us but I know that calling the cops was something that we needed to do. So yeah it was an intersting morning haha. I love LA. 

     Alright for the spiritual thought today I decided to talk about an experience that the Savior had soon after His second tour to Galilee. At this point in time the Pharisees were trying to find excuses to kill Him but once again the Savior found another opportunity to teach more of His gospel.

     Now, for all of you who have scriptures I'll be talking about the experience in Matthew 12, specifically verses 22-30. Alright, at this point the Savior was given a man that was "possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb." Having these three things in Jewish culture was thought to be uncurable, even by the Pharisees, so this man had been rebuked and pushed aside for some time. But to their amazement the Savior healed him and the people asked, "is not this the son of David?" or, in other words, "is not this the [Christ that we have been waiting for all this time for?]" With this comment made by the Jews the Pharisees attacked the Savior and said, "This fellow doth not cast devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the Devils." Now some background on Beelzebub, Beelzebub was a Philistine God that had the title of "chief of the demons" or Satan. So the Pharisees said the Savior cast of devils with the power of Satan. As always the Savior calmly responded, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:" The remarks of the Savior suggest that even with the most basic knowledge of the gospel, that the Pharisees would have, everyone would know that Beelzebub, or Satan, works against the Savior. The Savior continues, "And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?" With that being said the Savior has already denounced the statements that the Pharisees have said, but he continues to explain His authority. Verses 27 and 28, "(27) And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. (28) But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you." After reading these two verses two questions came up, is the Savior implying that we shall be given His authority or is He saying that He has come to establish His kingdom? The answer is simple, it's both. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and through his translation of Biblical scriptures by the word of God, I have received more insight to this scripture. So the 28th verse would go something like this, "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. (JST) For they also cast out devils by the Spirit of God, for unto them is given power over devils, that they may cast them out." One can note that the Savior said that we can receive that same power and authority that He has, to cast our devils and to be judges over the people as it states in verse 27. But without the JST we would not have gained that knowledge into the teachings of the Savior.

     But the Savior continues to further engrave His authority and gospel. He says, "Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house." As we all know, the Savior had bound and cast Satan out of Heaven AND He also has bound and cast his evil spirits out of His children. But Christ had to first bind and cast out Satan to gain power over his spirits, otherwise, Christ would have no power over them who is the "strong man." How great is the Savior's power and authority! And as always the Savior leaves everyone with a thought that I leave with you as well, the Savior said to pick a said and to not be in between, He said, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." challenge to you is will you choose a side? Will you keep the commandments or will you disobey? Will you read the scriptures and pray or will you not? This list could go on forever but I know if we follow the Savior's counsel we can become worthy of His blessings that He wishes to bestow upon us. I hope that this leaves you thinking what side you are on, becuase I know that I have found myself on the His side and I know that because I know that I feel the Spirit in everything I do as a missionary. It guides me in everything and all we have to do is choose. 

     I love you all and I miss you so much. I hope that everything is going well with all of you! Hope to hear from you soon!

With love,
Elder Leavell

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

¡Buenos días! Oct.5, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 0
¡Buenos días!

     How are you all doing?! Hope nothing too bad has gone over there...wouldn't want that. Lots of changes with transfers and general conference so its been an awesome week! you know I have been sick and trying to make it through the week was a big task but I made it. I still have lots of headaches, so I think I will have to go to the doctor for reals this week. It's hard because we have 12 investigators with a baptism date and that's big in the ASL program AND our Branch President has asked us to meet with 10 less active families. So it's really hard to keep up with all the work that needs to be done within 3 missions with 1 companionship. We have been praying that the Lord will provide a way to help us do all of this, but it's sad because no matter how hard we plan we can't really visit the people who are just investigating and don't have a baptism date. That means going to the doctor would be a near impossible task in trying to figure out a time that we can do everything that we need to do. But I'm really happy about the work we have done so far. 

     Last week managed to be a great week even with transfers because our entire zone got changed around except for us of course. We decided to visit this less active family, the Little Family, who has a hearing grandson who's mom actually lives in Las Vegas. I was not feeling too well at that time so I was letting Elder Cordy take the reins for a little bit but the Spirit prompted me to talk to the kid. I decided to ignore it and watched what Elder Cordy was saying. But the Spirit kept persisting until it made me talk to the little kid Adrian. His parents are divorced and has deaf grandparents, so I felt for the kid because he has no one to really talk to. So we talked about school and things that he liked and he mentioned church...which of course led to me teaching him about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He fell in love with it. He asked questions and I answered, he asked some more and then I answered, and then it sank in when we gave him a Book of Mormon. I then proceded told him to read, think, and pray as it says on the Introduction page and he said he would. Yesterday we had to call in for numbers so I decided to call him before to follow up on how he was doing. I asked him if he did the things I asked him and he said "Yes I have! I read and it was confusing, I thought about the things I have read, and then I prayed and I received an answer...(and with excitment, he said)THERE IS NO WAY THIS BOOK ISN'T TRUE! When can I be baptized?" I was shocked, no lie. No wonder the Lord tells us to become like a child, how great is their faith and great is their willingness to believe. He is going to be baptized on November 1st if all goes well :)

     The Maravilla family is doing well...they finally got Juan's probation ankle thing off. So now they can come to Church. But last night the pipe in their bathroom broke and flooded the whole house as they were sleeping so this morning we did some service for them. But they are so excited to go to Church and the greatest thing is that you can see the light in their eyes already. They are so ready to be baptized...but that is when the dad can get off work.

     So yeah that was my week and of course Saturday and Sunday were general conference days and it was amazing! It's interesting to note that the theme of this conference was keeping the commandments and taking responsibilities for our own actions. I remember the last two themes were (1) preparing for the economic downturn and then (2) how to deal with the economic downturn. How great is to have a prophet who talks with the Lord and helps us during these turbulant times. For this week I decided to share some things from General Conference that I wrote down. This General Conference was amazing! I'm not going to lie Elder Holland has yet to disappoint me. Wow. That's all I can After listening to that talk who can doubt that the Book of Mormon is true? Wow. haha. Sorry I thought that it was amazing and it blew my mind as well as everyone else. Another talk I liked was from Elder L. Tom Perry's talk about the temple in Manti and how it was constructed. I remember the quote he gave from Ronald Reagan, it said "I don't want to go to the past, I want to go to the past way of dealing with the future." I never thought of it that way. I haven't thought much about the things that have been said...but all I know is that I have been inspired to follow the commandments of the Lord more diligently. I know that these economic times have brought much sorrow to the lives of others and I know that it puts doubt in our mind of whether there is a God or not, I know that because a lot of our investigators have asked those questions. But I testify that this is the Lord's way of loving us. He wants us to learn, how He learned-through experience. There is no other way to learn to ride a bike other than by trial and error. How would it be different for life? I know that some would say it's different but that is because they want it to be different. I think I have noticed that our Church is so happy because we loose ourselves in the act of service. I came up with this as President Monson was talking, the cure to a man's broken heart is to give others his heart to fix the heart of others. There is a reason why our Church members are so happy, there is a reason why the Lord has asked us to loose ourselves in the act of service, because it brings happiness. President McKay said that service is the gospel. Even our Heavenly Fathers plan of salvation is an act of service, He gave His only begotten Son as an act of service, and for who? For all of us so that we may return to live with Him and so that we may become more like Him in the life to come. I testify that during these tough times we must search for the Lord diligently and in all ways so that we may obtain happiness and eternal life. There is no other way. I'm so happy that I have the opportunity, because I'm worthy, so share the gospel, to share the plan of happiness to others who are so desperate and searching for that happiness. I know this Church is true and most of all I know that the Book of Mormon is true becuase the Lord still talks to us the same way he did yesterday, today and forever more. If not why do we pray the same way that the people did in the times of the Bible? I know that Jesus Christ lives and I know that He has given us this gospel for our eternal happiness.

     Anyways I love you all soooo much and I miss you soooo much. I hope all is going well and I hope that I hear from you soon!

Take Care,
Elder Leavell

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hello again! Sept.29,2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009 0
     This week has been an interesting week so far. There have been many ups and downs but I think I have finally been able to learn to count on the Spirit for everything, not just for teaching and I'm so grateful for that ability to do so. This week I got sick, the doctors don't know yet but it shouldn't be swine flu, so don't worry I'm fine for now. But I've been praying for strength and energy to get me through the day since my body is working against me. 

     Anyways this week has been another very inspiring week and I can't wait to be able to learn more about the scriptures and the spirit. Tuesday I got the opportunity to go on splits with my district leader, Elder Lovelace, and we had a great time getting to know each other. We even found out that we have a good friend in common, Christian Bateman, so that was cool. We had an appointment around noon with Robert Ochoa, who was a referal at the time, gave me one of the best compliments that I think I could ever receive as an ASL missionary. I was really nervous because I have never really been in control of the lessons so this was my first time being in control and with having no help that got me really nervous. But I told him that this lesson would be different because I would be the only one teaching and he said, "why are you nervous? you sign like a deaf person." I was so uplifted after that and it gave me confidence in what I was teaching. We taught him about the restoration and then commited him to be baptized on October 18th. and surprisingly he said yes. I'm so happy that I got the opportunity to notice that I can be a successful missionary all by myself but most of all that I got the power of the Spirit with me each and every way.

     Wednesday we had zone conference and we got the opportunity to hear from Elder Pace, from the First Quroum of the Seventy. He was such a great speaker and I have learned so much from him. He gave this quote from President McKay and I thought that I would share it with you as well, he said, "whatever thou art, act well thy part." Elder Pace said that he wasn't denouncing this great quote from President McKay but to apply that we also need to ask ourselves "are we acting or are we becoming?" That hit me so hard because as missionaries we can't just act but we have to obtain a testimony and to do that we must become the gospel. Later that day I was reading in Jesus The Chirst and it was the chapter of the Sermon on the Mount. He came to describe the scripture of Matthew 5:13, which says, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." To become the salt that doesn't loose it's "savour" we must become a pure salt. We must fulfill our purpose and we must become like our Savior Jesus Christ. I challenge all of you to ask yourselves, are you acting or becoming? Are you becoming the salt that our Heavenly Father wants us to be or are we becoming one that looses its "savour"? I think that it is important not only to act but to become because if we become, we act what we have become, and that is all that the Savior wants of us. Anyways I love this zone conference and the ability to hear from a General Authority that has been called to his position. 

     After zone conference I got sick and it progressively got worse. Friday came around and I had to call Sister Blackburn and she told me to stay home that Saturday. But that night the Zone Leaders asked my companions to give me a blessing and what I wonderful experience that was. It was my first sick blessing and it was my first blessing in ASL. It was weird at first because I had to keep my eyes open but then I felt a different kind of Spirit, not different but I felt the Spirit in a different way. But either way I felt the Spirit and I felt a lot better for awhile. Saturday came around and I felt terrible but luckily I got to stay home and Elder Lovelace came over to do splits so my companions could go and do some work.

     Sunday came and I was feeling a little bit better. I had my first baptism today and that was an experience that showed a lot about deaf culture. First Brother Venegas forgot how to hold David Turner, who was being baptized, so to show him we had to literally show him. So that took about 5 minutes and then David got scared of going backwards in the water so the first time he got baptized his foot flew up. haha. So that took another 10 minutes to baptize him again. Definitely a funny but spiritual experience.

     Anyways it has been a great week so far. I can't wait for the week to come, and most of all its great to hear from all of you. Don't worry I'm fine and I will get better soon. I should be going to the doctor this week but who knows because we are so busy this week. Well I love you and miss you tons and I hope to hear from all of you soon! Take Care!

Elder Leavell
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