Monday, February 28, 2011

Check Yourself before You Wreck Yourself

Monday, February 28, 2011
Dang there are many things that I'm grateful for this week. There are so many things that have happened this week and it has gone by so fast. I think it's because my comp is going home that the weeks are going by faster and faster and I don't like that. I really don't want my mission to end. It is definitely the best experience in the world and there is nothing that can compare to it. I hope that all of you are having a wonderful time and that you are all enjoying yourselves. There are many blessings in store for all of you as long as you are obedient to the commandments of our Heavenly Father.

Well we had our Zone Conference this last week and it seems like forever that we had one but that is OK. This one was not that much different and there wasn't much that was "new" but it was a good meeting none the less. After the Zone Conference we went to the Sanchez to have dinner and we had the wonderful opportunity to teach Chino. He is way cool. It was interesting to see that he was a lot more open and talkative compared on Sunday where I just interpreted for him and wouldn't say much. We had the opportunity to teach him about the Restoration and how important prophets were in our daily lives. It was surprising to notice how little he knew about prophets and basic gospel principles and stories but it was nice being able to continue to help him by using a picture book (some of the skills from the ASL program that I learned) to explain things in a way that he could understand. We got the whole store about him. He was born here and his parents ended up getting divorced when he was 3 months old because his father was not doing much to support the family, so his mother left for Guatemala to live with her parents and Chino. He said that he never met his Dad but that it hasn't affected him at all since he never knew what it felt like to live with a Dad. Whether or not that is true, I can imagine that there are many things that I could see how that could affect a person. In The Family: A Proclamation to the World we learn of the importance of the family and how crucial and vital are the parental roles of the Father and the Mother. In the Proclamation we learn Fathers "are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families." It continues by stating: "Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners." One without the other does not work. While mothers can fulfill the role of the father I cannot imagine the repercussions of not having a father in the home. I'm so grateful for both of my parents and for there righteous upraising and I know that both were necessary and fulfilled certain roles. On Wednesday we ran into the Sanchez while driving on Pacific Coast Highway and met for a couple minutes. Then on Thursday we had the opportunity to take them to the Visitor Center to watch the Joseph Smith movie and he loved it. He said that it made a lot of the things he was confused about, clear and it showed him, through his feelings, that what we believe is true. He also said that he felt chills throughout the movie. I love how the spirit can show the children of our Heavenly Father the principles of the gospel are true and virtuous. I know that when we earnestly seek with a pure heart that we can uncover the mysteries of our Heavenly Father and can be reassured that what we are doing is right. Also, this week we received a referral from the Visitor Center of a Cedric Pan so we went and met with him this week. He is from China and is probably going back (that is the bad news). But he is truly interested in learning more about the Church. He said that growing up in China that all the things were bias and that Christianity didn't exist there. He said that he didn't even know who Jesus Christ was before he came here to the United States from school at UCLA. He ran into some people from a Christian group and came to know Jesus Christ and from what we could observe was following in His footsteps as best as he could. He then met some members of the Church and saw there example and became curious as to what we believed. That is where we met him. Throughout the lesson he was explaining some of the things that he had learned from his christian friends about the church and asked us if we could resolve some of those, most of which were misconceptions of the church. We answered him as best we could and started talking about Joseph Smith and how he became a servant of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He loved it. He was sad that he was probably going to go back to China because he wanted to learn more and do whatever he could to observe the commandments that have been set forth. We assured him that we would do everything we could to help him and we counseled him to pray to know if moving to China was the right thing for him, since he was worried that it wasn't the right decision. I pray and hope that he will be given some more time to learn more of the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many things in life that we can miss but this one is one that we cannot miss if we are given the opportunity to listen and apply its teachings. I'm so grateful that I was humble enough to listen to the message and test it out to find out that this is something of great worth, especially in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

It was Elder Hodells birthday this last Saturday and it was a wonderful opportunity to see some people that we hadn't seen in awhile because we could use that excuse, per say, to visit them (so we thought). No one was really home and we had planned to be with the Sanchez for most of the day and that fell through. I felt so bad because he was so excited to be with them and it didn't happen until the end of the day. But we took advantage of some time, since we were stuck in Malibu and visited all the people we could visit, to take some pictures. After driving around all day we finally got to meet up with the Sanchez and we ended up meeting at the Hunters home. It was great ad well worth the "suffering" of not having anything to do for an hour or two. We had a ton of fun playing some games and making Elder Hodell have some embarrassing moments. Haha. If only all of you could have been there to enjoy the fun. I will download some pictures, maybe videos if I can so that at least you can enjoy some of the things we enjoyed.

I hope that all of you have enjoyed this last week. I know that there are many things that we can be scared of, because they are unknown or unpredictable, but I know that when we follow the counsel from our Heavenly Father to obey His commandments there is greate safety for us. There is a quote I read that we heard during the UCLA ward that I thought was pretty comical but a true principle of the gospel, it says "check yourself before you wreck yourself." Whether or not we have the same quote to remember to follow the example of the Savior or to do what is right, we have one thing in common and that is we have a common goal and that is to become like our Savior, even Jesus Christ. I love this work, it has certainly helped me become the person that I have wanted to become. I have learned that the words of Elder Scott are true where he says "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. Righteous character is a precious manifestation of what you are becoming. Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind." I love my Savior more than anything and I love that He has established His example through His gospel so that we may return to live with our Heavenly Father and our families forever.

I love you all and miss you too. Over and out.
Elder Leavell


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