Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Let The Magic Begin

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Hello hello everyone. It's been a great week over here in the Boo. Transfers were the other day and I'm staying in Malibu for another transfer so it should be another great transfer. There are so many things that I'm excited for and this weekend was one of those things that I can't wait for. General Conference was great! I learned so much from everyone who spoke and the messages were amazing and very applicable to the times we live in now. Service is one of the main things that they focused on and how true is the principle of service in the healing process of loss and distress. I hope that you all enjoyed conference as much as I did and if you didn't have the opportunity to hear it I would highly recommend that you watch it. There is no better counsel that we can receive and we are so very blessed to be able to hear it.

There were some interesting things that happened this week and the cool thing is that they aren't very common. Because Elder Hodell went home this last week I didn't have a companion, so I had the opportunity to stay at the mission home all day with Elder Kenny. It was funny because every time I left to go do something I told Elder Hodell "well it was fun" and then I saw him again later on in the day. Probably did that about 5 times so it was nice. It was also nice being with all the missionaries that were going home and seeing how very close the same will happen to me. I can't believe that I have 11 weeks left! That is crazy. I for sure don't want to go home yet and I am not looking forward to it. None the less it was a good experience seeing how the mission has changed them from when I first met them. Being at the mission home also made me notice one thing: work is a pleasure. Since I didn't have anything to do and sat there all day it made me realize how blessed I am to work out in the field and not be stuck in an office. Haha. I remember at the beginning of my mission I was praying to be put in the office so that I wouldn't be out in the field in the rain, heat, and all those hard things; which aren't really hard at all. We hung out at the Visitor Center most of the day and as people walked I wanted to give them a tour and talk to them. The Sisters said that I could never get a referral from them and/or they would think that I was awkward or something I don't know so I took the challenge of giving a tour with the hope of getting a referral from someone. That is where the magic of being an Elder comes in. This family came in, trying to spend some time before going into a session at the temple one of which had served a mission. The mom didn't really want to talk, was more interested in the video clips that were all over the place, but the daughter and I got talking about her mission and all the cool experiences that she had over in Thailand. It was cool seeing how the mission blessed her life and the lives of all the people that she served. After awhile, after asking some questions to the mom, the mom started getting in on the conversation and seemed to be having a good time. At this point all the Sisters were laughing as they watched me work my magic and so I was a little more determined to show them that Elders can work in the Visitor Center. The amazing thing was that I got a referral. After sharing some experiences that I have had out in the field and explaining to them how important it was for the recent converts to receive the gospel they gave me a referral for one of their neighbours. I was so happy to know that the spirit guided the conversation in such a way that it would compel someone to take a huge leap of faith with a friendship of theirs and to express their love for them by giving the missionaries a referral. Whether or not the people would accept the missionaries is another story but I know that because of the effort they showed, in giving a referral, they will be blessed. So I was a Elder Visitor Center missionary for the day and it ended up being a cool day. The next day Elder Wilcox came in as my new companion. He is from Florida and is pretty different from Elder Hodell but I have hopes that it will still be a good transfer. Anyways we didn't get too much done during the week because of meetings and preparations for the zone but it was still a good week. We visited Ruth and had a great lesson with her about the baptismal covenant. We went over it with her and explained the promises that she made at baptism. It was amazing to see how her countenance began to glow as we explained the promises that she made would bring her certain blessings. It was almost as if she had seen the light at the end of the tunnel but I don't think that she took it that way. As we invited her to watch General Conference she gave the usual response that she would try. After the lesson it made me think of how personal revelation works, or in other words how we receive answers to our prayers. Over my mission I have learned that we must do everything that we can, meaning studying, praying, fasting, the usual church answers and make the decision. THEN we ask if that is OK with the intent of following through with the decision we have made. It is so hard for me because I hate thinking that what I might do is wrong and worrying if it will affect someone else but that is how the Lord works. I've thought about most of the recent converts that I have seen on my mission have come because they made the decision to be baptized and after they make the decision they receive the wonderful confirmation from our Heavenly Father. It was certainly the case with me. The main dilemma with this is that it relinquishes control and puts us in a vulnerable place where most are not comfortable but it also puts us in a position where we can receive the most blessings. We also had the opportunity to talk with some less actives that we hadn't been able to contact so we are hopeful that we will be able to find some new people to teach.

The General Conference was amazing. It never ceases to surprise me how inspired they are in giving counsel for our times. Despite a lot of people going through some difficult times the message of service is the perfect remedy for that. I have found that to be true on my mission. When we get down that there are not a lot of people to teach or we go through some difficult times in our persoanl life, the more we work/give service the weight of the burdens becomes light. This is something that the Savior taught, he said: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt.11:28-30) Needless to say this is pretty difficult to do because it doesn't sound logical but the rewards are better than we can ever imagine. Anyways it's funny how much we look ofrward to conference and then how fast it goes by. There were so many rad quotes from the conference, here are some that I remember:

-"Often answers come, not as we are on our knees, but as we are on our feet." President Uctdorf
-"We testify to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that God not only lives, but that He speaks. That for our time and in our day the counsel you have heard [in General Conference] is under the direction of the Holy Spirit - the will of the Lord, the word of the Lord, the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation." "If we teach by the Spirit...and you listen by the Spirit, someone of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal little prophetic epistle just to you." Elder Holland
-"One cannot give a crust to the Lord with out receiving a loaf in return." President Erying

Conference is awsome. Can't wait for the next one in 6 months! Too bad I won't be on my mission for that one but I know that either way there is needed guidance to be received during these special weekends. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to watch this last General Conference and am thankful that the Church is doing so much to help the people where there is much suffering. I know that I couldn't do it on my own but that is the cool thing, the Church Welfare Program is a force of 14 million aiding those who are in need of comfort.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week and that you seek after opportunities to help others. There will be blessings on both sides when we do. Hope all is well.

Elder Leavell

Oh and Johnathan went to the Conference Center in Salt Lake so we are excited to see how he liked it.

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