Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm a Mormon

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
So to first start off I'm going to have to do a confession. I forgot my camera cable, again and so that means no pictures again. Sorry about that. We are always so busy, now, and it's crazy in the mornings running all over the place, but I'm extremely thankful for the opportunity to be busy. Sounds weird but it is true. Being busy, as a missionary, means you are very blessed, blessed to be able to teach the children of our Heavenly Father and I love it. The more and more I'm out on my mission the more and more I realize how grateful we should all be to be here and to be free to choose whatever our hearts desire, but as a caution, only the righteous decisions bring forth good fruit that can bring eternal joy. Obedience is key. Elder Scott said in the last General Conference, "An axiom we all understand is that you get what you pay for. That is true for spiritual matters as well. You get what you pay for in obedience, in faith in Jesus Christ, in diligent application of the truths you learn. What you get is the molding of character, the growth in capacity, and the successful completion of your mortal purpose to be proven and to have joy." I love that quote and I hope that I will be able to maintain that principle true till the end of mission. It's great to be guiding by the Lord's anointed who are in turn guide by the Almighty. I know that to be true. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying whatever you doing. I'm just in a good mood I guess. The temple does that every time (just went this morning).

After being in the Church for about 2 and a half years now (CRAZY!) I have seen and learned many things, many things that have helped my personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ grow and things that have helped me become a better person, in other words, Christ-like. But this last week I think I was more surprised to hear about a part member family who has integrated so much in the ward that the non-member husband has had callings in the Church. The Beck family is way awesome, down to earth and a typical family in Malibu. Brother Beck has been investigating the church for several years and throughout that time has been able to see the joy in serving in the church such as Primary Teacher, Gospel Principles Teacher, and now Elders Quorum Teacher. Interestingly enough he hasn't been baptized but what makes it more interesting is that he doesn't really know the reason why he isn't. All he can say is "it doesn't feel right yet." All the members in the ward treat him as a member, probably because they have forgotten that he isn't, but it is great to see how the Lord can bless everyone and is not exclusive. We had dinner with them last night to help him prepare for the upcoming talk that he will give during sacrament. It's way cool. While we were talking all of the sudden a question came to my head "what would be on the top of your priority list of things that you would like to learn?" He responded "I have never been asked that question. I have no idea." After talking things through he concluded that repentance and tithing would be at the top. Obviously there is a concern there that we will have to resolve but it is great to witness how our Heavenly Father can and does inspire us to help His children return to Him, I know that I couldn't do this work all by myself. That is for sure. So hopefully we will see a miracle in the upcoming future even that of baptism with Brother Beck. Mike, on the other hand, is doing pretty well. No really any major changes in his beliefs yet but he is still willing to come to church, meet with us, and the most important thing: he is still keeping his commitments. On Tuesday, he was about an hour late again (might of missed his bus again) but it was good since we got to meet a lot of the students at the Institute during that time. As we began the lesson and following up with his reading he said that he had skimmed it and that he didn't really understand much. As we were explaining how the Book of Mormon came about, in a very factual way I might add, we then explained why we needed to know that the Book of Mormon is indeed what it proclaims to be: scripture. His response was really funny. He said that true probably wasn't the right word and that he had been concluding that it was a good book with good stories. Mike has been the first person who has had no spirituality before and it has been a struggle for us to know how to teach to better help him. I have been getting way frustrated sometimes but that has led me to pray more. So I'm going to count it as a blessing. The lack of spirituality was made more evident when we took him to the Visitors Center on a temple tour. The Sisters were doing a great job at explaining the temple and the importance it has on our lives and the lives of the world. It didn't phase him at all. As we were looking across the valley there is a building under construction on the other side of Santa Monica Blvd he stopped the Sisters and asked what is that building? The Sisters were in shock. It was such a random question but that is how he is. He is still good in my book, he is just making me work harder to help him.

We also had the wonderful opportunity to participate in some service activities. We did the Service at the Senior Home and I saw Bob. He didn't want to go to the Farmer's Market. Elder Hodell have me a hard time and said that it was because of what happened last time, hopefully that is not true. His wheelchair was fixed though and he was just as chipper as last week. I had to opportunity to take this guy, Mohammad, he was obsessed with lemons. Every time we saw one we stopped to look at them and asked (with a thick accent) "are these sweet lemons?" Then grabbed a bunch and threw them back sometimes and said "these are not sweet lemons." It was embarrassing. He wanted to tip me at the end, very thoughtful. We also did some service in taking down Christmas lights for the mother of a member. It only took 20 minutes and they were surprised how quickly we got done. Pretty funny. We also helped a widow move. Really sad since she had to leave some things behind. Widows get me every time. I want to give them the world if I could.

I think the last thing that I can remember is that we went tracting yesterday. Not for too long. I wanted to see what it is was like and it wasn't that bad. Elder Hodell said it was a good street and normally they are not as nice. But it was fun. Nobody got mad but we literally only had about 2 minutes a door. That is all the time they gave us to talk to them and then they said not interested or I want nothing to do with you. I hadn't been tracting in a long time so it was sort of refreshing to tract some doors. A funny experience happened on Thursday (this experience shows how nice the members are here and how spoiled we are). Sister Hall always feeds us on Thursdays and after we got done with an appointment right before dinner she called us exasperated. She said that she had dropped the apple crisp pie and that she didn't want us to come over for dinner because it wasn't going to be a four course meal. She was panting on the message because she had just cleaned the floor and dropped the pie. We still went over and had a great time. She saved some pie and was really embarrassed to give it to us (we begged for it) and it was amazing. The people here know how to cook. For reals. We are so spoiled here. Luckily we are working out a lot, otherwise I would be a goner.

Well I hope that you are all doing well and are enjoying life. It's awesome over here. Don't want to leave. Love ya and miss ya too. Till next week.
Elder Leavell

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