Monday, January 31, 2011

West Coast Represent

Monday, January 31, 2011
As we say here in the West Coast, How ya doin?! Haha. Think that might have been from the 80s but I'm not too sure. Malibu is still rad like always. It's always nice to see the sunset driving down Pacific Coast Highway (not that we are not on the road all the time...cough cough). There wasn't too much that has happened this week. Had lots of meetings, once of which Elder Clayton had to do something with. It's always nice to have a general authority of the Church come to speak to us and guide on some of the things that they would have us do. Hope you are doing well as always and I hope I don't bore you this week around. Haha.

I still can't believe that another week has gone by. I think it's crazy to say but I think that I'm starting to agree more and more with the older "whipper snappers" (Sister Hall always says that), in the sense that time flies by faster when you get older. For reals. It's been another humbling week though. Wish we didn't always have to go through hard experiences to become more humble but instead we humble ourselves. Guess that is the whole progression thing that everyone talks about haha. Oh well. Any who... I don't think I have mentioned Mike in awhile so I'll update all of you on him. He moved even farther away (he was already outside the mission) and he didn't get into the class that he wanted to take at UCLA, which means we have to hand him over. We met with him on Wednesday at the Institute building where he told us the news and so we discussed his options and found the number of the Singles Ward Bishop where he now lives. He was a little sad but said he would continue trying to go to church over there. He then had a funny request and that was to walk to the Visitors Center so he could go one last time, since he wouldn't be coming as often. It took about 45 minutes to walk there but it was worth it. We talked about what he does for work and how his schooling applies to his work, how he sees the Church, which lead to the Book of Mormon. He hadn't been reading, said he had been skimming, and that he still had some concerns. What made things more rad was that the conversation turned to Joseph Smith and he then asked about it. It lead perfectly to the movie Joseph Smith: Prophet of The Restoration. After the movie the most epic moment happened. He said he felt good and that he could see why we believe what we believe! I know it doesn't sound like much but it's a lot for him. It was epic. I know Heavenly Father softens hearts on a daily basis for us. Yes it's difficult at times being the tool-piece of the Lord to soften the hearts of His children but boy is it worth it. President Hinckley put it this way, "It is not a sacrifice to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is never a sacrifice when you get back more than you put into it. It's an investment." The other person I would like to talk about is a lady named Renate. She is the coolest person ever. If she can't make you laugh I don't know who can, it's great being over there for that reason. Anyways, after all the fun and games that always happen when we go over there we taught about the commandments of our Heavenly Father and why they are so important in our lives. She said she is a pretty good person and that of course she could improve but is complacent with where she is at. Since she had some bad experiences with the Catholic nuns when she was going to school church has always been a daunting task for her to obey; therefore, she doesn't believe in it. After trying to resolve her concerns she said "I know why you are here. You are here to convert me and I doubt it's going to happen but I'm always happy when you read from that Book you have." We stopped talking and listened. She told some more insights that helped us resolve her concerns about church but it's going to take awhile. We resolved in the sense that the Book of Mormon, along with the Bible (for they are all scripture) will give her the answer and the motivation to take the leap of faith. She has already made much progress even though it has taken time and I know she will enter the waters of baptism someday in her life, I trust the spirit that it will testify to her that the Book of Mormon is true and that the steps that have been laid out in the plan of salvation are true because they are from our Heavenly Father. I'm so thankful for the Book of Mormon, for the ability to touch and read from its pages so we can gain a stronger testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Every time I have read it, it has caused that I have a stronger will to become more like Him in keeping the commandments diligently. The Bible does this as well but to have two witnesses is greater than one and because of the millions of interpretations that man creates, it causes me to be more thankful for the Book of Mormon because of beacon of light that spreads throughout the world. Elder Hodell shared this quote with me that is from President Ezra Taft Benson, "The Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrine of the Devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God with His infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time." I know that promises from our Eternal Father are true, even that of James "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering..." Millions have people have discovered it, if that has any pull to this great cause but more importantly you all can find out if you but lay down your weapons and humble yourself to something greater. That is why I'm here because I was sufficiently humble AND received an answer from on High. There have been many things that I regret but this will not be one, nor in the eternities to come.

As far as Elder Clayton, we all got to shake his hand and listen to him speak for about 3 hours. It was more in a questions and answers format, none the less, it was a good meeting. He talked more about procedure and about how we can have a greater influence on the lives of the children of our Heavenly Father. To be honest there was nothing to exciting, I know that sounds bad but it is true. It was a good review of what we have to do as missionaries and it was a good meeting for the missionaries who were fairly new to the mission since it's really overwhelming at times things that can and can't do.

Well I love you all and miss you tons. Hope you like the pictures!
Elder Leavell

Mission Home is bye bye.


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