Monday, October 26, 2009

Hello! October 26,2009

Monday, October 26, 2009
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

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