Monday, January 25, 2010

WOOO HOOO!

Monday, January 25, 2010 0
So let me first off say sorry that I didn't send an email last week. Things got a little crazy with the whole getting a computer at the library so I didn't get a chance to write something for my blog. But how is everyone doing? I hope all of you have had a good week.

Alright so a lot of things have gone down over here, some good and some bad and some well different. Since we have been flushing we haven't had the luxary of working with anyone in particular that has been worked with before. But we have been blessed with the opportunity to find some people who have gone less active and we are starting to see success with that. Also, we have had the opportunity to get to know some of the members that are in areas and the wonderful thing about that is that we are getting referrals from them, which is great because tracting doesn't really work for us. This past week has been a great week in general and I know that if we continue being diligent in the work that we will find success in what we are doing.

On the 20th we had zone conference so that took up most of our day but it was amazing. It was great seeing all the people I was with in South Bay but most of all the messages and the trainings that were done really hit home. Sister Blackburn talked about attitude and how that affects our missions. She further explained that all of us as missionaries have a challenge, have a bump or rather mountain, set in front of us to test how we react and how we react determines the blessings that we are going to get. But something that she explained after made me think about how many blessings I don't see in my life right now. She said that the reason why we don't get some of the blessings isn't a fact that we don't receive them but because our minds are to centered on ourselves and that is why we don't "receive" the blessings from our loving Heavenly Father. So that was a great talk from her. Then we heard from President and he talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon. But after zone conference, I got talk with him and it went great.

Then throughout the rest of the week we found some great less active families, as I said before. One of them are the Lopez family. They are great! The mom has to work on sundays so she will change she just doesn't know it yet. The kids after talking with them are WAY chill and even came to church this last sunday because I was blunt with them :) The other family, the Bernals, are a part member and Kevin is another way cool kid and we were talking and he said he will get baptized, we are just working out his date since he wants to get baptized in July. He is just being lame, oh well, but we will talk more with him tomorrow and he said that he will decide what he wants to do by then. Gosh I love all the families here.

For my "spiritual thought" I decided to talk about something that I've learned from the book my parents sent me, Mere Christianity. It's a great book, I highly recommend it. Anyways, the book is just awesome at explaining the importance of why there is a God? and why there could not not be a God? But something that stood out to me was that he said that without the knowledge of moral law and that is one of the ways that we know there is a God. He explained that whatever we do, we put to a standard, whether we say that I'm better than someone else etc. He then left the question where did that standard start? We obviously we cannot determine where because we didn't create it but he later explained that the reason why we make excuses is because we are seeking an "excuse" from the moral law. He said, "There is nothing indulgent about the Moral Law. It is as hard as nails...If God is like the Moral Law, then He is not soft." When I read this it made me think about the talk given by Dallin H. Oaks about Love and Law. Elder Oaks gave a couple of examples about how love can also mean the enforcement of a law. One example was, "A youth reacts to parental commands or pressure by declaring, “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t force me.” He later commented that some gifts from our Heavenly Father are not given to us by our obidience but because God loves us so much. "Mortality is one such gift, bestowed on all who qualified in the War in Heaven. Another unconditional gift is the universal resurrection: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22)." But as we know that some of them are determined by our obidience, such as baptism, going to the temple, and most of all the wonderful opportunity to be united with our families. All the choice blessings are based on our obidience. This is something that I'm learning because as we have been diligent and obidient we have receive so many blessings to meet new people and receiving referrals from the members. I know that if we are all obidient to the commandments and we repent-for that was the first message that the Savior taught during his earthly ministry- we can be blessed beyond belief because that is the greatest disire of our Heavenly Father. Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all so much and I miss you so much as well. I only wish you could see the people that we are working with and seeing the changes that they are making in coming closer to Christ, and by them doing that you can see their countenance change and that is the greatest feeling ever. I love this gospel so much. I hope you take care and have a wonderful week!

Elder Leavell

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Emergancy Transfer

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 0
Hello Hello everyone!

So don't worry I'm fine, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to write yesterday I had an interesting day yesterday...a really interesting one.

This past week I was in another area with my old District Leader Elder Lovelace and it went great - I gained 3 pounds in a week from the Simoans. No lie I ate 6 plates full of food because they expect you to eat until THEY are satisfied with your eating and because I was "the new one." So yeah that explains why I gained so much weight. Anyways, last week I had interviews with President and he told me that I was going to be training no matter what even though I told him that I didn't think I was ready, in fact, when I said I wasn't ready he simple changed the subject and pretended like I hadn't said anything - very nice of him huh? Just kidding. So throughout the whole week I was relaxing with the whole idea that I was safe and that nothing could happen to me, well I was wrong. Yesterday at 9AM I got a call from my AP and he said that he had some information for me. I assumed that it was about the incoming ASL Elders that were coming this week etc. But once again I was wrong. He started talking and I wasn't really paying attention but all I heard was the word "transfer" and to every missionary that is the worst word in the book. So yeah I'm in a spanish area that is all bike, compared to all car, and i'm flushing into this area - meaning that no missionary has been in this area. Crazy right? Let me first say that the ASL program doesn't work like the spanish program in the sense that it's not the same. The work goes differently and most of all we are driving all day instead of on our feet. My new companion is Elder Salas and he is also mexican, which makes him the best automatically. This also usually doesn't happen because two latins are never put together for some reason haha. No he is way cool and we get along really well. He is a transfer younger than me this will be an intersting rest of a transfer. So by the end of the day we had finished unpacking but had nothing to do because we had no phone, no area book, and most of all we didnt' even know what our area was, it was pretty funny because when we call our Zone Leaders they didn't know either because this was literally last minute. Another Elder from the Ohio mission had to come to California to get some citizenship stuff resolved so everyone is still pretty confused. OH and something intersting. Elder Clack is now my district leader and for those who are in the Red Rock Stake that name should sound familiar. Ends up he is Jared Clarks cousin who is in Japan now. Just proves that this is a small world. Oh and the Elder from Ohio is Elder Soto and it turns out that my companion knows his brother because his brother, Elder Soto served in his ward back home in Colorado. How crazy is that? Anyways hopefully we will have a lot of baptisms and from the sounds of it, this area is a high baptizing area, so I'm way excited for the things to come. I know that it will be hard but if we trust in the spirit anything is possible.

Know that I know that this Church is true and that there is no question in my mind about it. I know that Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet today, not just for our Church but for the entire world. I know that the hand of the Lord is involved in this work and that without His spirit, this work would not be anywhere close to where it is now. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I love and miss you all, and I hope to hear from you soon! Take Care!

Elder Leavell

Monday, January 4, 2010

it's 2010 already

Monday, January 4, 2010 0
On my New Years day we got the opportunity to come together as a mission and have a devional. It was so great to see some of the missionaries that I hadn't seen in awhile. Funny thing...our mission president wanted to start things on the right foot so he started by giving us some Book of Mormon trivia. He said that New Years isn't the only thing we celebrate on but also it's the anniversary of the day that Teancum killed the enemy's king. How cool is that? Gives more reason to celebrate right? Haha. He is certainly a funny guy. After that we watched Journey of Faith which is like the best movie EVER because it's talking about all the proof that we have concerning the Book of Mormon. But the best part was our guest speakers, they were the Bushmans and they teach Mormon studies at Claremont University. It was great to hear a different perspective on Joseph Smith, since he is one of the main guys behind of the Joseph Smith Papers. So I'm just going to list some of the facts about Joseph Smith that I learned:

(1)Joseph Smith's family was one a really poor one that lost their farm twice.
(2)Joseph Smith hadn't read the Bible all the way through even though he grew up with it's teachings.
(3)He was already a treasure seeker, even went to court because it was illegal back then, before he found the gold plates.
(4)His mother joined the presbyterian church and when he had the first vision Joseph didn't tell his mom but said that she was wrong-teenage character huh?
(5)The first question of the Restoration was not which Church is true but was am I saved? And Christ said "My son, thy sins are forgiven you, go and sin no more"-Bible much?

So yeah I'm pretty much excited to go buy the Joseph Smith papers when i get back because it's his journal with no corrections. It has the pictures of the actual journal entries so there is no way to dispute that.

As far as our investigators, we have one golden one and her name is Nancy. She lives with some members and she barely started going to church and she is doing great! She really has witnessed to me the power of prayer and the power of having faith as unto a mustard seed. Nancy was engaged to a guy named Chris from Simoa. We asked her to pray about everyhing that we had taught her and she did. She prayed and said she received an answer, but it wasn't the one we were expecting, she said that she had broken up with her boyfriend because she didn't feel that it was right. She said she prayed and prayed and everytime she would get the same answer, so she did what she was told to do. I'm so proud of her and for her motivation and desire she has to follow the Savior Jesus Christ. We then asked her to be baptized and she said yes-she will be baptized Januray 17th! We had another investigator but the worst thing happened...HE GOT BAPTIZED! haha. George got baptized this last sunday and it went great! There wasn't a lot of people there but the spirit was so strong and everyone felt it. It was definitely a deaf baptism but when he finally got dunked he said, "thank you father." Ahhhh that is so special. I'm so excited for him and I know that he has a great and marvelous road ahead of him. So yeah this week has been a good week.

I love you all and I miss you too! I know this church is true with all my heart and there isn't anything that would change that. Gotta go. Love you!

Elder Leavell
 
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