Monday, March 14, 2011

Out in The Wild

Monday, March 14, 2011
Can't believe that I have less than 100 days. It's scary to think that I'm in the double digits, never thought this day would come and I actually wish that it hadn't come. There are some many things that I still want to finish and/or do before the end, so hopefully I will be able to do all of them. Hope that all of you are doing well and are having a great time wherever you may be.
This week was an interesting week because there was a lot of things planned and most of them fell through or they partially fell through. Starting with Monday. On Sunday we called the Relief Society President from the UCLA Ward about dinner for the next day and she told us that there wasn't anybody signed up. So we called the Riveras, since they had mentioned that they wanted to have us over for dinner, and got a dinner for Monday. Turns up that we were doubled booked. Right when we were about to walk into the Riveras home, the Johnsons called us and said that they were worried that we didn't remember we were having dinner with them and to give them a call back. Once again we had the wonderful opportunity to eat two dinners and do a little service for a non-member. It was awesome. Don't think I have been that full in awhile but it brought back some memories when I was in Latin areas and everyone fed us, even if it was to have a lesson with them. Good times. Ruth is doing ok. She hadn't read the story of Captain Moroni when we got there so we read it with her. She was pretty amazed at how good of a person he was and said that she would like to be the same. Haha. We broke down the couple verses about his characteristics and commited her to find one that she could work on. She agreed and said that she wanted us to talk about why Captain Moroni kept his covenants to the point that he did, which will be great because Ruth got baptized and has made one already. It will be good. Brother Beck is still thinking about that date for baptism. I hope that he goes with it. But at least he is thinking. Anyways I have some of the best news yet. It's about Chino. HE FINALLY PRAYED! On Tuesday we went over to Tania Tucker's house to have a lesson with them and I found a story out of the Ensign that sounded just like him. I hadn't really thought about it until the middle of the lesson but we decided to read the story with him and share some of the experiences that we have had with people who have been investigating the church. Anyways, as we were sharing experiences, Chino shared one of his. He told us about how he was stuck outside, because Tania was home and she doesn't know entirely that he is living there, and he couldn't come in the house. He got pretty scared (won't admit it) and started praying that he would be able to go inside through the front door, something that hadn't ever happened before, because the back way is even more dark compared to everything else. Right when he finished his prayer he told us that he got a call from Iliana saying that he could walk in the front door but to do it fast. He said that he hadn't had one of those experiences and found it weird that he would be answered for something so small. As we continued to teach the importance of prayer we promised him that, just as he received an answer to his prayer from something that didn't mean a lot, he would receive an answer about the church. He seemed more excited to read more of the Ensign and pray about the church. The next day, Wednesday, we had temple service and the Sanchez came over to help out. Chino and Karen came at a later time because of school but when he pulled up he had the biggest smile on his face. We talked for a bit and then said, "I prayed and I know that it is true." He was so happy that he had received an answer to know that the church is true and I know that he will forever be blessed for the courage to ask our Heavenly Father about something so important as this. After they left Elder Hodell and I started talking about how cool of an experience it was to see his conversion occur and see how happy he has become. It got us talking about something that I hadn't really thought of that I'll share. He said, "Even if Joseph Smith was a fake, I'd be honored to be fooled by him because 'he' somehow came up with all the answers that everyone has been looking for." For me, there is no other explanation than Joseph Smith was a prophet from our Heavenly Father because I don't know how something that produces good, preaches of Jesus Christ and His ministry here on the earth, and when people pray to know that it is true, they receive a confirmation of people, of joy, of clarity, of good. If he did make all of this up I think he had to have made a contract with our Heavenly Father because He is the only Being that produces light, good, and joy. Satan, on the other hand, is the the total opposite. He cannot produce a form of lasting joy, yes it may be temporary but it is always through a form of sin. The opposite is true with this gospel. The more and more I serve as a missionary and study the scriptures it gives me joy to know that I know His plan and it makes me grateful for the things that I know are true because He has told me. Ralph W. Emerson put it best, "Teach that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake."

The other great experience that we had during the week was that we had the opportunity to participate in the Santa Monica Mini Mission. We had a kid named Jeffrey. He only stayed with us Friday night and Sunday, so we didn't have a bunch of time with him but it's better than nothing. He is a way cool kid, trying to figure out if he wants to go on a mission. I don't think that we made a huge impression on him because he went to dinner with us at Souplantation with the Tylers and went to church with us. So yeah hopefully he got something out of it. We tried solving some of his concerns but I think that it is going to be whether he takes the step or not. Everything works like that, especially spiritual things. Joshua 3 is a prime example of that. The Jews had to first walk in the water before the river Jordan parted. I imagine the same will happen with ou boy, Jeffrey. I hope that he goes on a mission because it really has been the best two years of my life. It is a great investment.

Some other random news is that we had a new family move in. They are the Andersons from Provo, Utah. Coolest thing is that they own the Utah Flash, a minor league basketball team.

Well I hope that all of you are doing well and enjoying everything that you do. It helps a bunch when everything is going "wrong." I love you all and miss you too but I'll be back soon enough! Promise. I hope to hear from you soon. Over and out.

Elder Leavell

Went on a hike today in the Palisades.


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