Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I'm so thankful to be on a mission. We just got done with the temple today and it was one of the best sessions that I have been in. Don't know what was the difference because it is the same but it has made me so thankful for all the things that I have been blessed with. There was this old little lady in a wheel chair and to see her struggle lifting her arm (had to lift it up with her other arm) was something that I don't think I will forget. It's cool how the Lord answers our prayers and how he usually answers them through others so that it can cause many to strive for charity to fulfill the needs of His children. There is nothing like a tender mercy from the Lord. I'm so thankful that, we as missionaries, can be those tender mercy messengers to the world wherever we are serving. I hope that you all are striving to do the same and look for the opportunities to serve another person. When we look at others the way that our Heavenly Father does, everything changes and it makes the world look a lot better. I hope all of you are doing well and are safe and sound.

On Tuesday I went with Elder Thiriot on splits and it was an awesome time talking with him again about the times we have served together. Granted we see each other every day but it was a little different when we were together for the day. We had an awesome lesson with the Odians and it was a different lesson. That morning she called me and asked if we could go on a hike and talk on the way up and down. It was funny because I didn't know what to say since I didn't even know if we could do that but I told her we would think about it. When we got there, she was all ready and her kids were all dressed up ready to go on the hike so we went up part of the hill that was behind her house and talked about the things that she believed and why she believed what she believed. It was a good conversation I think that ended up being pretty effective since it made a comfortable environment for her. It was cool to hear some of her beliefs. I have noticed here in Malibu that most of the people who don't go to church still have some sort of spirituality and try to be at peace at oneself, which usually ends up being somewhere in nature. She seemed to have a lot of answers to the questions that we asked her but one of them stumped her. She said that the purpose of her life was to be at peace and be a good person. We then asked why? what would be the point of that if it doesn't go anywhere? She thought about it for awhile and she that is something that I have never thought about. We then went on to explain some of the teachings that the Savior taught when he was over in Israel saying that of all the things that he taught he taught two things that we should remember: first, how we should be as a person and second, he taught us why we should be like Him. After talking about those things she was a ton more humble and willing to commit to have us over to teach her and her family what we know to be true because she feels that it would be extremely important for them to be involved in a religious organization. I'm so thankful that we were able to ask questions that inspire thought and that we were lead by the spirit to discern and to ask questions that would cause her to change her view on what we do and why we do it. I can't think of any better way to teach than by the spirit, for there is none. Later that day we had a good time trying to contact some less actives that are in the area and it was great to see some of the area that I haven't seen in awhile. We had dinner with the Andersons that night and it went great. They made us Paella (sorry Mom & Dad I don't know how to spell it) and it was awesome. You could tell that she put in a lot of time and effort to prepare that meal for us. There house is so cool. It's on the beach and so we got to see the beach AND the water up front and personal. Didn't touch it but we almost could which was awesome. But beside them being able to afford a house like that it was awesome to see how humble they were and how devoted they were to their family. I can't seem to get beside the fact that almost all of them are so humble. They would do anything for anyone. It is awesome. Sister Anderson is from Las Vegas and knows a bunch of people for the stake so it was good to talk about them. Their kids were awesome too. I forgot my camera but I put up some pictures next week. Splits day was an awesome day. We did our weekly service at the Retirement home and I had the opportunity to push a lady named Lorane. She is famous amongst the missionaries because she is super nice and fun to be around, plus she buys you a pastry whether you like it or not. Haha. Even the people know at the pastry stand that if we don't accept her gift that she gets mad haha. It was really delicious if I might add. Anyways it is always a pleasure to push them and to talk with them. It's cool to see the peoples reaction too. It's either, what are you doing? or wow. On Saturday we had the opportunity to see Josh Eastland's baptism, one of the Eastland kids. I think that is one of the best parts that is outside of the temple. It's so awesome to see how children, despite their young age, are humble and filled with the spirit to choose what is right. The best part is seeing how excited they are. Even the kids who aren't old enough almost jumped in the font with Josh haha. It was awesome. They had a little luncheon afterwards at their home and it was good to talk to some of the members of the ward and meet some new people who aren't members of the Church. Then Easter Sunday. It was awesome. I'm so thankful that we get to go to two wards every Sunday. It was awesome to feel of the spirit, especially on this Easter Sunday. At the Pacific Palisades Ward the Andersons gave talks and they were awesome. Plus the Primary sang a couple of songs and once again the spirit rushes into the room. Works like a charm. Recently, I have been writing down some quotes that I really like from what people say. It helps me focus more. Anyways Brother Anderson had a good one, hopefully I can give some background otherwise it probably won't make too much sense. He told of a time when he went down to Haiti with a medical team to help those who couldn't afford medical care. He said that it was an experience that he would never forget even though he said that he had been witnessing similar circumstances on a daily basis. He said after a long day of work trying to help everyone, they began to drive home, exhausted and while they were driving they saw a man pushing a wheelbarrow with a little girl inside. They stopped the car and saw that the little girl had been hurt. So they all got out and drove them back the long distance to the hospital. He said that the little girl had been hurt by a brick that fell on her arm and crushed the bone. Fortunately they were able to save her life, despite the loss of blood but they were not able to save the arm. Then the experience that he will never forget. Brother Anderson went to talk with the Father of the girl and he said that the Father said, "If I could only take her pain away." Brother Anderson in his talk explained that happened to our Heavenly Father when His only Begotten was suffering the atonement for all of us. He further explained that God wasn't able to take the pain away from His Son but he was able to take the pain away from us, just as the girl couldn't save her arm and we should take great hope in that. I definitely won't forget that story. The best part about it is that in the UCLA Ward we also had a great line that came from Brother Lattin, he said, "The message of the resurrection is the message of the restoration. That He lives and still speaks to us today." Both of those lines go hand in hand. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for our sins and that our Heavenly Father called Him to bare that burden for us. I'm so thankful that we know that we can return to live with them through the Savior's atoning sacrifice, that we can be made whole, having a perfected body that can last the eternities. There is great joy to be found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. That because of the restoration we know for a fact that we will all be resurrected and that the pain is taken away from us. The only thing that we need to do is be humble and follow the Savior in His footsteps. They are not ours but they are His. I'm so thankful that we as His representatives are able to carry this glad message to everyone and were able to share the Easter message with many and it is always amazing to see how the light of Christ comes into them to witness to them that these things are true.

Out of all the things that in the world, there is one thing that I hold most dear and that is my testimony that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live so much so that they talk to us just as they did in times past. That they appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith in the grove and professed to him the things that they would have us do. I know that as we are humble and earnestly seek Him that we will find Him. That is the purpose of the message of the restoration. It is another witness that He lives. I'm so thankful that I was able and humble enough to receive it and now I'm so thankful that I'm able to share the same gift that I have received with all. As I invite all the people I come in contact here in Los Angeles to read the Book of Mormon, I do so with all of you. May you pray for a humble heart and contrite spirit to listen to the promptings of the spirit and, in turn, pray to know that these things are true. I know they are and I'm thankful that I know they are. I love you all and wish you the best. May the Lord bless you and guide all of you in the way that He would wish to have you follow. I hope that you all had a wonderful Easter and had a great time visiting with family and friends.

Elder Leavell

Oh and Elder Hodell came back to visit. He is here for another week. I didn't know how to react haha. He came over to the Kellers for Easter dinner with us. It was awesome getting to know his family and seeing him again.

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