Monday, March 21, 2011

Reflecting on the Past

Monday, March 21, 2011
Another week in the Boo doesn't get any better. I can't believe that somehow I was privileged to come to this area with all these awesome members. It makes me grateful for members and for the opportunity to work with them. I don't know how the early missionaries did it back in the day when there was no one: they were the members. Glad to be living in times where we are not the only ones, there is always a member to support us in any time of need. I hope that all of you are doing well.

Since my companion is going home in the next week and a half it has caused me to think about my mission and things that I have witnessed be accomplished. But something that I have been thinking about a lot is my testimony in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There was a talk given in the Pacific Palisades ward talking about the importance of the Book of Mormon and its central role being Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Over my mission I have read through its pages and prayed to know that it is true and without a doubt it has been a constant, yes. In the talk he mentioned that out of the 6607 verses, 3925 mention Christ. That is about 25% more than the New Testament or, in other words, every 1.7 verses mentions Christ. Now I'm not trying to compare or hinder the power that the Bible has, because I know that it is holy writ, but it amazes me how many think that the Book of Mormon is something about Joseph Smith or someone else, other than our Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful for being humble enough to read, ponder, and pray of its pages for that is the only way that we can know that these things are true. But more importantly I'm thankful for the guidance that we have received to study everything out and then to ask the Master through prayer. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints founds itself on the Savior and by so doing, founds itself on the revelations that we, and our leaders, receive from Him, not solely from His Holy Writ. It's a wonderful message that we as His messengers bare: the Almighty still speaks just as He did in days of old through His scriptures and His spirit. I know of no other Church that teaches, prophesies, and conveys both of these ways of communication with our Father in Heaven who despite having creations without measure still desires to speak with us. Later on during Priesthood one of the brethren, Brother Brazier, spoke of one of the return missionaries that gave a class and bore his testimony of the scriptures. He said that as the return missionary gave the lesson he stopped and spoke of a specific chapter that to him conveyed the divinity of the Book of Mormon. He said, "I promise you, in the name of Jesus Christ, that when you read the seventh chapter in the Book of Mormon and pray to know that its precepts are true that you will feel the spirit every single time." Even when Brother Brazier spoke of that testimony that brother had you could feel the power and the spirit backing every word that he said. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. If anyone wants to learn more about Christ I invite and encourage all of you to read the Book of Mormon and the New Testament and focus on the feelings that you have when reading of its pages. Elder Holland once said of the Book of Mormon, "Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair. That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to 'come unto Christ, and be perfected in him' (Moroni 10:32)." This is our message, this is our foundation, that the Lord Jesus Christ pleads with us to come unto Him through faith in things that we cannot understand or see but are true so that "All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue [faithfully]."

This week we didn't get a lot of progress with anyone. Ruth wasn't home, even though we tried several times by her house, so we hope and pray that she is continuing to read her scriptures so that one of these days, which will occur soon, she will come back to Church. Chino hasn't been reading at all. We met with him about 4 times this week and had lessons about reading and he still hasn't read. I don't know what happened but I hope that he feels the spirit so that he can come closer unto Christ. He was doing so well. Its not like he is busy because he doesn't do anything all day, so I don't know what's up with that. We did find a new investigator! His name is Silvio. I don't know if I mentioned him before but last fast and testimony meeting he went up to the pulpit and bore his testimony on the example of his roommate who is a member. I have never seen anyone who isn't a member do that but he has guts. Anyways we met with him last Monday and it went great. He doesn't know if he believes in God all the way but he knows that there is someone there. He said that he went to a Catholic and Christian school growing up and has family in all different directions but that he has talked with the missionaries over in Holland with his mom. He is way cool and way funny. So we are hopeful for him. It was a cool experience because he gave some reasons why he hadn't prayed in a long time but as we talked with him he said that he would try. But it wasn't a "I mean it try." Then we went through the steps of prayer, which aren't really steps but whatever and he said "well I already knew those..." Haha he shouldn't have said that. Haha. We then asked him to give a kneeling prayer and he said "uhh..." but that is when the member and us got on our knees and bowed our heads. He then prayed. It was awesome. It was a great prayer if I say so myself. It's great seeing miracles on the mission. There is no place that I would rather be. For reals. I'm so scared to go back home. Luckily I don't have too much time to think about all that stuff. I hope that all of you are doing great. Keep doing what you are doing and choose the right and everything will be ok. I know that blessings do occur more frequently when we are obedient to the commandments of our Heavenly Father.

One last experience this week. We got a call from the Visitor Center to go give a blessing at the Veteran's Hospital and we met the Shaws. They are way cool. The husband has leukemia but surprisingly he is doing just fine, even with the chemotherapy. They said that the nurses were checking up on him very frequently because he isn't reacting to it at all. He was over in Vietnam and interacted with agent orange but has stayed dormant for almost 40 years, when usually it gives problems to people when they are in their 40s, he is in his 60s and hasn't been affected. He believes that it is because his obedience to the Word of Wisdom. I would have to agree. I know that when the Lord commands us to do something that we should do it and not worry about why, but do it. Even if you don't believe in the teachings of the Church, do it anyway and I promise you that you will see blessings like you wouldn't believe.

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

Elder Leavell

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