Monday, November 2, 2009

:) November 2, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009
Dear Family & Friends, 

     So things here this week were pretty crazy and I think you could sum up everything with one line...wait you're a pot dealer? Haha Oh LA and it's wonderful traits. It never ceases to amaze me and/or surprise me. Anyways this week was good other than that interesting news. Lots of meetings of course but all in preparation for transfers which are in a short 10 days!

     Once again the interesting stuff happens after I email all of you so this week was no different. Elder Cordy and I went to go visit the Maravilla Family and that's when everything went crazy. I decided to talk to Juan, who has been having lots of issues lately while Elder Cordy talked with the mom. As always he was depressed and stuborn so I had to open up before he did, but to my surprise he started to open up as well. He then started saying over and over, I need to change, so I kept asking change what? He said, "Stop smoking pot..." Uh....haha. So I tried to help him start coming to church and help motivate him to do that because he felt that it wasn't going to help. So I think I started to annoy him and he started to get angry with me and he said to stop caring because he is a lost cause. Well I wasn't about to give up on him and of course I wasn't going to stop caring. I don't know why I decided to say this but I felt like I needed to say that if he didn't change fast that his parents were going to kick him out...and they were thinking about it...and that he would be stuck with no money or no home. He then said to "shut the 'freak' up" except without the freak :) He continued, "I don't need my parents money I make my own money, how they 'freak' do you think I buy all the things I have, not with my parents money because they are dead poor but because I'm a pot dealer, you want some?" And this is where the line comes in, wait you're a pot dealer? Awww the experiences of the mission. I then left that meeting concerned and confused as to what to do. But I knew something had to be done before things got worse. And that is how the day ended, sucks huh?


     Tuesday we went to do service for this lady who is in my district leaders area and first off we didn't have anything to expect move things from one side of the yard to another. It was a little retarded but we decided to cut the grass and weeds because they were really long and that's when we found Bob. This is Bob everyone. I guess we disturbed his home so he tried to attack us but we had to hide it from the lady because she is a hippy, no bad conotation there, but I know she wouldn't have like that we trapped Bob in a bucket haha. He eventually got out so everything was settled. We drove a lot that day because people were calling us, telling us that we had to meet with them because it was an emergancy. That's one goal that I have for the branch is to not rely so much on the missionaries but also on their home teachers and visiting teachers and their leaders. I mean I love helping but if it's taking time away from our investigators, that's not productive and it's not helping the Lord's work. It's sad because they don't have HT or VT so I trying to establish and emphasize the importance of them, but one problem is that there aren't very many active members, and many of those active members are not really willing to do extra things for the church. So that will be something that we are trying to fix and I'm thankful for the cooperation of our Branch President.

     Wednesday we had zone conference and that was a blast. I got to see Elder Halls, who is one of my good friends from BYU. It was great seeing him again, I was so excited to see that he was in one of the zones that was in our zone conference. It was a good zone conference and I think that I could say that it was focusing on the importance on planning and obidience. I know those are things that are always talked about, in the MTC they pretty much engrave it in your head until you are dead but I think that I have come to appreciate those more. It's tough sometimes, especially being in LA, because we have some many distractions since it's the center of the entertainment industry. I have seen so many events, for example, the premiere of the Michael Jackson movie, I was there visiting a referral and she lives right across from the Nokia theatre. It would be so easy to just lay back and wait for people to come into our path but that's not how it works out here. We have to work our tails off just to get our investigators interested, and our less actives to come to church just once. But that's why it's important to be obidient. Otherwise we wouldn't have that extra strength to help the people we are helping. So yeah there is my two cents haha. I'm glad that I have the opportunity to improve the lives of others and in turn myself with the power of the Spirit.

     Something that our Branch President has tried to enforce to get the members more active is going on splits with the missionaries. So today was the first day. Elder Cordy went with our Ward Mission Leader and I went with the Relief Society President and her wife. I went to go visit the Maravillas again. Juan was there and he continued saying that he wanted to change. I prayed with him and gave him this blessing that if he would make the first few steps toward change, which is going to church and reading the scriptures, that the addiction to weed that he has would go away. So we will see how that goes. But it was great to see that the members had a good time and I know they will be more willing now to come on splits with us when we ask them again in the future. The next, so friday, we went on splits again but this time with RMs. One of them is in our branch and the other is a good friend of my MTC teacher. Neil went on a spanish speaking mission but found a desire to learn sign language, so now he is fluent. How cool is that? But it was great seeing that it is possible to become fluent even if you are not deaf. We got a lot of work done so it was a great help going on splits because that means we can go meet more people in one day. But we saw something really really funny. Well I don't know if people would find this funny but I did. It just was a test of society of who would get more money, a black homeless man and a white homeless man. As missionaries we can't give money so we chilled back and wait to see what happened. Background about this area is that it isn't a nice area. So we assumed that the black man would get more money. But luckily they both got the exact same money from what we could see people were giving them. So at least society isn't totally lost. Sorry if you are offended but I thought that it was interesting to see how society would react to this.
This week I got lazy with the spiritual thought. So I'm just going to quote something out of a book that I have been reading. It's the Doctrinal Insights to the Book of Mormon. It's a great book it gives talks from general authorities on pretty much every scripture. But I thought of the missionary purpose, which is to bring people unto Christ. I know sometimes we forget that and we are worried about baptisms but that is not the important part. It's if people are coming closer to Christ with our message. This quote has to do with the Great and Abominable Church that it talks about in 1 Nephi. Stephen E. Robinson said, concerning this, "Individual orientation to the Church of the Lamb or to the great and abominable church is not only by membership but by loyalty. Just as there are those on the records of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints who belong to the great and abominable church by virtue of their loyalty to Satan and his life-style (2 Nephi 10:16), so there are members of other churches who will eventually belong to the Lamb by virtue of their loyalty to him and to his life-style, which will lead to their accpeting the saving ordinances. The distinction is based on who has your heart, not on who has your records." I thought that was so insightful because I know as missionaries we seek for quantitative progress records. But it made me think that we have temples for a reason. To save those who haven't accepted the gospel. We do those ordinacnes for the dead in the temples so that someday they can come to accept it. Now this doesn't mean we can be lazy and not preach the gospel but I know when we get discouraged that we have no quantitative reports that if we can answer saying yes to did we do everything we could to bring people closer to Christ? then we can say we have fought a good fight and the Lord will say, I'm pleased with you my son. So yeah that quote gave me more perspective in what I'm doing as a missionary and it gave me more confidence that I'm doing what I'm suppossed to be doing even if we aren't have the numbers we want.
     Again, I love you all and I love hearing from all of you and I miss you all as well. I hope everything is going well with all of you! Take Care!

Elder Leavell

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