Monday, August 30, 2010

Way to Go Church!

Monday, August 30, 2010 0

Thought this article was awesome!

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/church-in-talks-to-regularize-activities-in-china#continued

Habits

As this week has come to an end I have learned one thing: staying with your habits is much easier than regaining them. Due to all the trainings that have been happening I haven't gotten the chance to wake up at normal hours and/or actually work in my area, making this week, the first week, of actually working for the most part because we had zone conference this past week.

Things were a little different for this zone conference, this time we had a general authority, Elder Packer, Of the Seventy, come for a mission tour. To be honest I didn't get much out of him because I was on my meds (cough syrup mixed with some other pill) and it didn't help that he spoke in a monotone voice haha. All I can remember him saying was the same things we had gone over during the trainings the past two weeks, in other words, listening and don't talk so much. One thing, from the notes, that I somehow took, was something that he wrote down on the chalk board, it said "'Am' is our goal and 'Be' is the process that we take." At first we were all confused but then he shared a scripture that explained it all. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). I thought that was very insightful because we know perfection i sour potential through, and only through, the atonement of Jesus Christ. If we are to become, as missionaries, a true representative of Jesus Christ we must first do what we invite everyone to do, invite others to come unto Christ and follow in His ways. By following in His ways, we strive to become perfect but we first must hear or listen to learn how to act and apply what we are to become. Now, listening, for most, is not too much of a daunting task. In the Topical Guide it says "Listening (see Communication; Learning; Understanding)." We can take note that listening entails a communication, which in this case is our Heavenly Father, for we know He guides us to our potential and learning meaning to ultimately understand His ways in completeness. This is where I have seen the probelm: remembering. Jonah, being a prophet of God, was found worthy to do as the Lord had commanded Him, to "cry against" the land of Ninevah, but he choose not to because he failed to remember who's errand he was on. It wasn't until he had been in the belly of fish, or as he said "hell" that he "remembered the Lord: and [his] prayer came unto [Him]." This action of remembering what he had been called to do lead him to practice to "pay that [which he had] vowed." Why? Because he remembered "Salvation is of the Lord." When we remember what we had acted upon from what he had heard, practicing our agency, in a righteous manner, becomes natural because we understand, which leads to knowing, feeling, and gaining a testimony from the Holy Ghost of what the Lord would have us do. I'm sure Jonah knew what he had to do, as well as he remembered who he was representing, but because he, first, didn't practice what he heard and remembered, and second, he didn't truly know and feel that had a testimony that the Lord would provide a way to convert the city of Ninevah, he failed to become converted, which brings automatic obedience. "Am," means the Savior in all His glory and His perfection, is our goal and to obtain it we must be converted in all ways, in every principle and every attribute. "Be" or become is learning and then applying what we have learned of the Savior to become perfect in every principle. That is the true meaning of conversion. This is how we can say "I am humble," "I am patient," "I am a church going person," "I am a prayerful person," or many more. When we can say "I am" in a sentence we are in other words saying, "I am perfect just like our Savior in being humble," etc. As I have learned this, as well as when you learn this, it brings hope and courage to continue to strive and become truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the gist of what the trainings have been on and what he spoke of, because as missionaries we strive to help people become even as He is by [inviting them] to receive the Restored gospel through faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I love this gospel so much because it has answered some of life's greatest questions and I'm so thankful that we have a living prophet on the earth. It is such a great blessing.

Phew, that was a long winded speach, sorry about that haha. Now for what happened this week apart from zone conference. I don't know if I had mentioned that we had gone on a blitz in our area with the youth, it went great by the way. Haha. But Elder Bennett tracted into someone and we went back to go visit them and he is SO prepared, it's crazy. We went over late (like 30 minutes, eek!), and he was still home waiting for us and we talked about church and invited him to come. He said that his wife was off work and he wasn't sure that he was going to be able to go since she is anti-church, in general, but that the following week he would for sure come. He didn't end up coming but we know that we can't let him slip out of our hands because he is ready and so is his family. Then we came in contact with a part member family/ less active family. Haha. I haven't encountered one of those before but from the looks of it, it is awesome. We have had two lessons with them, mainly with the wife, who is less active because of her husband, but we encouraged her and then listened (one of them new techniques ;) ha) and it worked. She opened up a lot and said that we were a God send. I like it when people say that, makes me feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Anyways we talked with her for awhile and then I didn't feel like I had said enough. The second time we went over I was sort of "blunt" with her, honest is a better word, and first started with getting a background of what she remembered of the church. She remembered a lot, and then I asked her "why is that important to you?" She didn't say anything for awhile, and then gave me an answer just to say something. We then helped her realize that this is the only gospel that would bring her all the blessings that our Heavenly Father wants to give her and her family and that she is stopping them from coming. She was taken back and so was I, but I know it didn't come from me. We continued by explaining that the other churches are great, they serve their purpose to bring others unto Christ but that they would not be able to seal her family for all eternity (something that she said that she really knew was true) and encouraged her to write everything that she remembered on a piece of paper and go through them to figure out what she knew to be true and what she didn't. She agreed and told us, "that is what I have been waiting for all this time." Gosh it makes me feel so happy. Then yesterday we went up to the Visitor's Center (Sister Ludwig I have taken people up there several times, IT'S GREAT!) with a less active that we had been trying to get in contact with for months. The Relief Society President called us and told us to meet her at the Zayes family at 5 so we did. We ended up waiting for 45 minutes and then she finally showed up. Sister Arnazzi obviously has been given a mantle because she got the husband to do what she wanted her to do, when we couldn't. We went up after some discussion with him (more like convincing him) and it went great. We didn't know what to do with him because we didn't know him, but good thing Sister Prada has inspiration to know what to do since she knows the place a lot better than us. We gave him a tour and then she asked me if I could translate a movie that was in english that she felt was perfect for him. It worked like a charm. He was tearing up and then we showed him pictures of inside the temple that were on display and helped him understand the importance of the temple. We then walked around the temple with him and the spirit was so strong. I asked him to look at the temple for a minute, in silence, and then we turned around and looked at the world, in other words, the city right below, and asked him what each one has to offer. He knew exactly what to say and he said that he knew that when the Lord returns that it's going to be like this, except in Jerusalem because it is holy ground. My companion agreed and I did, but not all the way. I told him that if he wanted to step on holy ground, that is was too late because he already is. I told him that the Lord has walked on this ground and that this is His house. We then committed him to come to church so that he could be sealed with his family forever. He agreed. Don't know what got into me that day, but I knew that it needed to be said.

I know that this church is true. I know that the Holy Temples are holy and that it is the only place here on the earth that we can be closest with Him. I know that is also the only place we can be sealed with our families for time and all eternity and that through the atonement we can accomplish such things through our faithfulness. I love you all so much. Be happy. Till next week.

Elder Leavell

Oh by the way transfers are this week. We will see what happens.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Even During Sickness, There Is No Place I'd Rather Be

Monday, August 23, 2010 0

Once again the reign of terror has come back to haunt me-meaning I'm sick again. I can't believe that I'm sick again, never before have I gotten sick so much, and what makes things worse is that I'm slowing down the work. Luckily we had all the training meetings, so we didn't loose too much time but either way I'm not at my 100% and it bothers me. I hope that all of you are doing well and that sickness is far from you, it's not fun. A little heads up, if this email doesn't make sense it's because I have a throbbing headache.

This past week we had to privilege to go through some trainings the entire week for hours a day. They were the same trainings that my companion and I went through last week, it was just our turn to teach everyone what we had learned. I'm so excited to start applying all these trainings, I feel like I have been upgraded to Elder Leavell 2.1 haha. The interesting thing is that not much has changed, actually nothing has changed, except a few things were "highlighted" per say from Preach My Gospel. To me it was exciting to see everyone else see, feel, and realize how it feels to be in the investigators shoes, having gone through that it comes naturally but helping others who were born in the church it was a little more difficult. One of the first things that we learned was that Doctrine of Christ has to be the in sync with our purpose, as missionaires.

21 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.
22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.
23 Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.
24 And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:
25 Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
26 And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.
28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.
Notice that the Lord says "my doctrine" eight times and then in the last verse it tells us, as missionaries, to "declare the words" that He has spoken. I love how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, admonishes us to follow this path, not just to members, but to everyone who has placed foot on the earth. To me there is no greater work, no greater gospel than the gospel that asks us to follow the of the Savior, with exactness and the blessings that await us will be countless. This reminds me of an experience that we had when we took the Morales family, including the daughter and son-in-law!, along with the Camacho family to the Visitor's Center. As we were there we were trying to figure out what we were going to do because we had gotten there an hour later than when we wanted to arrive, and we weren't going to be able to watch the Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration movie and have time to look around. The Sisters then told us that we could watch the Together Forever movie and have a testimony meeting of how through the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Holy Temple we can be sealed together for time and all eternity. The spirit was SOO strong. As we were all leaving we took pictures in front of the Chritus (huge statue of Jesus Christ) and walked out. It was nighttime by then, so all you could see was the temple-perfect. The son-in-law who had never been interested starting asking questions about the temple and how it works. We answered and then he said something that every missionary wants to hear, "I want to learn more about what I have to do to get sealed to my wife in their, come talk to me on Sunday." I was so happy that entire night it even helped me sleep even though I have had a nasty cough for the past month. I'm so excited for them that they can one day have the promise of being together forever, after all, that is what the church is all about-striving to become like the Savior in every way and building the family to become a forever family. I know that the temple is His house and that He has walked inside all those sacred buildings. There is no other blessing that I would want for any family because the fear of everyday life will disappear because you will know, not just believe that you will see all your loved ones forever. I, also, know that love is what drives us, as missionaries, to continue with His work, which is love for the people and love for the Savior and the only way we can come to find that love for everything we know to be true is prayer. We may see all these great evidences that prove otherwise, but I know that if we doubt not, but have faith, that our Heavenly Father will give an answer that if we respond to, will be the divine answer that all of us have been searching for.

So for the Missionary Newspaper (haha I made that up) there are some recent headline stories. The otherday, think it was Thursday there was a shooting on two major intersections around 4PM in the city of Wilmington . Now who in their right mind would do that? Come on, do you honestly think you'll be able to get away doing it there and at that time. Pshh, people these days. Anyways, I got to see my first white sheet over someone, it was pretty cool and pretty sad at the same time. I guess it's sad because I'm not that surprised because Wilmington is just a breeding ground for cholos with a moto of "If you're not Cholo or Chola now, you'll be one tomorrow." Haha it's funny.

Well I better be off to do some normal activities that are done on P-day. I love you all and wish you all the best. 10 more months!

Elder Leavell

Monday, August 16, 2010

You Know You Love It

Monday, August 16, 2010 0

Well, well, well it's another p-day so that means another week finished in the mission. Woo Hoo! Haha I actually don't want it to end, I think that this week I have seen the love I have for the people grow even more, despite us not seeing much success. I hope that you have enjoyed your summer vacation and that you enjoy what's left of it. I'll get to enjoy it next summer.

As I said last week, we had a TON of meetings and so we were literally in our area for 5 hours a day. It was terrible. The First Presidency is making a couple of changes, they aren't really changes from all the meetings I've seen but they are putting more emphasis on teaching by the spirit and listening. Regrettably there isn't much I can say, and next week will be the same because we have more trainings, but there is some good news. Gerardo finally had a baptismal date for the 29th.Way pumped for that because I haven't had a baptism in a long time and there truly isn't anything better to witness than seeing a baptism of someone that has changed their life to live in accordance with the standards of our Heavenly Father. We haven't been able to motivate his wife yet, she seems really aloof about the idea but we are confident that after we take them to the visitors center, that is now finished!,things will change. Hopefully she won't bail like she usually does. If not we will baptized Gerardo and we know she will shortly turn around after that. I'm thankful for their love of Heavenly Father, there is really no other way that people listen to us without that love. Otto,has fallen off the radar and we haven't been able to talk to him since the baptism. It is a big bummer because he was extremely prepared to make that first step but apparently he wasn't. Everything happens fora reason, that's for sure. We are teaching another person that we found off tracting. Her name is Francie, she is Catholic, and her family is from Mexico. We talked to her about eternal families, at her door, and the way that our Heavenly Father has given us to accomplish that. We left her with a pamphlet The Family: A Proclamation to The World. We didn't think too much of it but when we went back for the return appointment she was there and had read it. It was sick. I wish everyone would that over here. The cool thing is that she is engaged and is going to get married in November, so she said that it would be something really important to her. Hopefully we will get to talk with the fiancé soon, we have seen him and he seems pretty cool.

SO I have had a couple of interesting experiences on my mission the past two weeks, ones that I cannot forget and so I'm going to write them down here. Hopefully no one gets offended, I'm not making fun, they are just, well, interesting and normal experiences while serving here in Los Angeles. The first one happened about a week and a half ago while we were tracting right next to our apartment. We didn't have time to travel to Wilmington, where are the spanish is, so we decided to tract some of the english areas that right next to our apartment. Lo and behold someone was there at the door, as if were waiting for us to knock on her door. We started talking to her about the things we have in common and tried to get to know her, when all of the sudden she went off on some of the experiences she has had over the past couple weeks. She said that her Sister that had a tumor in her spine was sick and the doctors had no idea what they could do to help her. They were going to try a risky surgery but she could have ended up paralyzed. This lady was out of town when she received word of her sister, so the instant she received word she went to her knees to pray. She had told us that she has a literal connection with the Lord and that he talks to her in the same way a normal conversation is with people. For example, He would say "hello," "what's up?," etc. This time the Lord appeared to her in a dream and she saw what was a TV screen with the Lord standing right next to her sister when all of the sudden a red laser came out of His hand and the tumor disappeared. Now I don't doubt that the Lord had His hand in the healing of her sister, I know that He did, and I don't doubt that if the Lord wanted to shoot a laser out of His hand He could. But for me I see the Lord doing it a different way, sort of the way He did it in the scriptures by commanding the body to do as He told, like "arise" or "be healed." To me it would have been a little freaky to see that. Now onto the next story, we did temple service this past week and it went great. I was with Elder Ellott, who has only one arm (fell out of a truck when he was 4) and there was an interesting experience about that. As we were given assignments we were sent to the kitchen to help clean. When we got there, an old man came up to Elder Ellott and said "where is your arm?" He responded, "I fell out of a truck at the age of 4 and I have to remove it." The old man said, "So you mean you don't have it?" JAWS OPEN. I think that was the most awkward moment I have been in on my mission, but that's not all. The old man continued and said that the walls needed to be cleaned and he said, "I don't think you can help me with that because you only have one arm" and that's when I stepped in and said "I think he is more capable than me sir." Ha then he said "that's not the question that I asked." It was so funny and so awkward at the same time. I couldn't believe that was happening. He finally said, "well alright if you need anything...anything, I mean it, call for us and we will help you" and then he turned to me and said,"AH you have two arms I need you to do some two armed work" RIGHT INFRONT OF ELDER ELLOTT. Haha. Funny thing was that I had to move some plates and then clean the area where they were. I felt so bad for him because I know that it is already tough just walking around, let alone, getting comments from people who just don't understand. The amazing thing is that Elder Ellott has worked so hard and has done everything, literally everything that a "two armed person" can do. He was the best player at baseball in the state of Utah and is the best basketball player in the mission. It's great to see that courage and strength in other people, especially when things get tough for us because all we have to do is look and see that we don't have it as bad.

I love you all, I'm sorry that I don't have too much to say because of all the meetings but I hope that you have a wonderful week. Remember to be happy and always have your chin up because everything will be ok.

Elder Leavell

Monday, August 9, 2010

Didn't See This One Coming

Monday, August 9, 2010 0
So once again the mission has shown me how it can be relentlessly unpredictable. No matter how many transfers and no matters how much time anyone is on their mission, there is one word that can describe the mission-unpredictable. My companion, Elder Richines, got emergency transferred (just as I was a couple of months ago). He is, per say, the innocent missionary, meaning that someone else made a mistake and so he had to be moved and that caused him to also be moved since everyone needs a companion. Funny thing is that he is now in USC, which is his greenie area, and he will be there until the end of his mission haha. Anyways my new companion is Elder Bennett, he is from Arizona and is Native American. I don't know him that well yet, because we haven't had all that much time, but he seems down to earth and overall is just pretty quiet. We will see what happens but I do see us getting along really well, after all he is a convert himself, so that is something big we have in common. Anywho...how have you been? I can't believe that we are already in August, it's so weird how time is just flying by right now. What's even more scary is how little time I have left, well it's still some time but not that much.

Our area is doing alright. We haven't been doing a lot of finding, since we were given a bunch of less actives that we need to go visit. One of them is Olivia Amaya. We have been visiting her for awhile because there is a lot of problems in the family. A couple of months ago her mother passed away and unfortunately she was the glue of the family, like any other mother, and now most of the family has gone inactive. The Dad has gone pretty crazy and expects Olivia to do everything, take care of the kids, work full time to support the house, and clean, while he doesn't do anything. The worst part about it is that Olivia is only 17. I can't even imagine myself having kids yet haha. So all we do is come over every other day and chill. It might not be the most effective work but I know it's an act of service. We have been reading some general conference talks with her and she found a talk that she really liked. So we are making progress with her. Other than that we haven't had much time to do anything else, this last week and this upcoming week are going to be full of meetings since the Church is changing the way we teach. I'm so excited for it Elder Hinckley came to our mission and we got the opportunity to hear from him. He pretty much said that missionaries in general aren't good at teaching haha. Pretty harsh but it's probably needed. I'm excited for all the changes that are going to be happening, I'm not excited for all the meetings haha. Otto is trying to fall off the radar, so we haven't met with him at all. He knows that the Church is true and that this is the only thing that can help him find everything that he has been looking for but he won't do anything about it. The Morales family didn't come to church this last week. It was Stake Conference so most of the ward didn't even come, I think that 10 people came, which represents the ward pretty bad. Once again, I had to translate the entire thing. It was another great opportunity to serve and this time it wasn't even as hard as it was last time haha. Yeah my brain hurt but not as much as last time, so I went out to work after taking a lunch break. Guess I'm turning into a pro haha. PSYCH! The only hard part is that I have a legit cough going on for the past couple days and it's hard to breathe sometimes, President Baker heard me coughing at the end and said "I thought you were about to die over there" haha. It's all good.

Recently I have been studying the Old Testament and over the past couple prophets that have come and gone, I have noticed even more what it means to be a prophet. I'm so thankful to have a prophet here on the earth today because I know that he receives divine counsel directly from the Savior's mouth and that he gives us an example by word and by deed to what we may and could become. As Nephi said, all things from the beginning of the world were given to typify, or symbolize, Christ. Even Abraham was a type of the Father and Isaac a type of Jesus when Abraham was commanded to offer Isaac in sacrifice. This act was “a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son” (Jacob 4:5).

Likewise, the life and mission of Joseph typifies the life and mission of Jesus.
Consider the following:
1. Joseph was the favored son of his father; so was Jesus (see Genesis 37:3 ; Matthew 3:17 ).
2. Joseph was rejected by his brothers, the Israelites, as was Jesus (see Genesis 37:4 ; John 1:11 ; Isaiah 53:3 ; 1 Nephi 19:13–14 ).
3. Joseph was sold by his brothers into the hands of the Gentiles, just as Jesus was (see Genesis 37:25–27 ; Matthew 20:19 ).
4. Judah, the head of the tribe of Judah, proposed the sale of Joseph. Certain leaders of the Jews in Jesus’ day turned Jesus over to the Romans. Judas (the Greek spelling of Judah ) was the one who actually sold Jesus. (See Genesis 37:26 ; Matthew 27:3 .)
5. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, the price of a slave his age. Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave His age. (See Genesis 37:28 ;Matthew 27:3 ; Exodus 21:32 ; Leviticus 27:5 .)
6. In their very attempt to destroy Joseph, his brothers actually set up the conditions that would bring about their eventual temporal salvation—that is, Joseph, by virtue of being sold, would become their deliverer. Jesus, by His being given into the hands of the Gentiles, was crucified and completed the atoning sacrifice, becoming the Deliverer for all mankind.
7. Joseph began his mission of preparing salvation for Israel at age thirty, just as Jesus began His ministry of preparing salvation for the world at age thirty (see Genesis 41:46 ; Luke 3:23 ).
8. When Joseph was finally raised to his exalted position in Egypt, all bowed the knee
to him. All will eventually bow the knee to Jesus. (See Genesis 41:43 ; D&C 88:104 .)
9. Joseph provided bread for Israel and saved them from death, all without cost. Jesus, the Bread of Life, did the same for all men. (See Genesis 42:35 ; John 6:48–57 ; 2 Nephi 9:50 .)
I copied this from the Old Testament manual, so this isn't my genius but I know that the prophets are vital to the plan that our Heavenly Father has for us. They are His messangers and I know that Thomas S. Monson is the current and living prophet today. I'm so grateful for his counsel and for everything that he has done for the church, but I'm even more grateful that he prepared himself to be worthy to be an instrument in the Lord's hands.

I love you all and I hope you are having a wonderful vacation during the last month of summer. Over here in California the weather is great. Usually it's hot but there June gloom still over here. Pretty weird. Anyways love you all. Take Care. Ciao.

Elder Leavell

Monday, August 2, 2010

What It Do

Monday, August 2, 2010 0
Well hello there I hope you are enjoying your fantastic summer vacation. It's most wonderful being on the mission during the summer, feeling the ocean breeze and seeing everyone doing their thing. Not jealous at all haha. Seriously I hope you are all enjoying the summer break and most of all that you are all happy.

As for me, this week has been like every other week. Starting to pick up the area up again and so I'm way excited for that. Hopefully some baptisms in the near future :) That would be way sick but I'm starting to realize I'm a sower not a reaper, so we shall see. As I said last week I mentioned that President would be coming with us for a lesson and it went great. On Thursday President Baker came over with us to teach Gerardo Morales. President was running late so we went in ahead to get things started and when we got in the daughter and her husband went upstairs but Gerardo, the dad, came out. Apparently there was some miscommunication and they didn't think we were coming over, but who knows. We taught a solid lesson about recognizing the spirit. We explaining it by using the story of Jonah, saying that at first he was following the commandments, otherwise he wouldn't have been called as a prophet, until the Lord asked him to do something difficult. We continued by saying the instant he decided to go the other way the spirit left him until he was caught in the belly of a fish. Upon entering the fish he felt guilt and felt like he was in the eternal pit but as he asked forgiveness he received the spirit back by feeling peace and the love of God again. We emphasized those feelings and said that is what we feel when the spirit touches us, warm and peaceful. The spirit was so strong and I know that he really enjoyed it. President Baker then did something really interesting, he asked us then what happened to the city he went to preach to? We answered by saying they all converted to the Father. Then President said something I never thought of, he said that because he allowed himself to be a humble tool, the spirit poured down and a grand miracle happened. When we use our faith, we bless others. Thought that was interesting. He then complimented him for having a sincere spirit and told us after that he might take awhile but he'll get there. I was way nervous at first but didn't show it like my companion who before was tripping out haha. Goof. It was well worth the anxiety because now I'm hooked. I want to do that every time I can from now on because there was a special spirit, I guess I could say a spirit of authority there and I know that it could touch many lives. The cool thing about Gerardo is that he is sooo humble and willing to do anything that we ask him to do. He has come to church twice already and says that he enjoys it a lot, said that it is just like the Catholic church. The only worry with him I have is that I don't think he really understands the entire authority thing or at least he hasn't received his divine answer from our Heavenly Father. We have been wanting to give him a baptismal date because he will receive blessings from making a commitment to change his life in accordance with the standards if out Heavenly Father. That is where Otto is at, as well, unfortunately. He hasn't wanted to keep a baptismal date, even though he is doing everything we ask him to do. We took him to a baptism this last Saturday and I pulled him aside to talk with him. He opened up to me, somewhat, and said that he felt something different and hopefully he realized that it was the promptings of the Holy Ghost. He asked some really great questions during the baptism like is that the same way I will be baptized? What is the atonement? I feel like he wants to do it but at the same time doesn't want to relinquish control to something or someone else. For example, we had a two hour lesson with him answering questions and explaining the church organization but at the end he just wanted to goof off. The Lord I think is trying to teach
me a lesson of patience because everyone goes dang slow over here and it's sooo frustrating. So pray for both of our investigators, we have a lesson with the entire Morales family and we need it to go well so that they can feel the spirit, so that, in turn, they can all be baptized at the same time and we need to find the switch that is in Otto to help motivate him to do the things that our Heavenly Father has asked from us. But more importantly pray for us, as missionaries, that we may have the inspiration and power to know what to teach so that the spirit can impact them the most.

I heard this story the other day and I thought that I would share it with all of you.

There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and he started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted ! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever. When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

I hope that we all may be an answer to someone's prayer every day, that we may bring the spirit of joy into the world. I know that what we do as missionaries is just that, we bring people closer to Christ, which brings them closer to our Heavenly Father and that is the secret to our happiness. I hope that you all have a wonderful and that all is well where all of you may be. Till next week.

Elder Leavell

Activity in a Lighthouse.

Nancy's Baptism

 
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