Monday, May 23, 2011

There Is Just Not Enough Time

Monday, May 23, 2011
I can't believe that I have less than a month now. I have been trying really hard not to think about it and continue working my hardest but I think it is starting to hit me. Doesn't help that my companion rubs it in sometimes. For example, there is a Dodgers billboard next to the temple (and we are always there) that says "It's time for going home" Elder Hough pointed it out to me when the Zone Leaders and us were driving home from soccer and everyone laughed. Haha. All in good fun for sure. This week was a great week. There is not enough time. We are starting to build the area back up with investigators that really want to investigate the church so we are extremely grateful that the Lord has blessed us with people that have been prepared. Throughout my mission I have really gained a testimony of how mindful our Heavenly Father is of all His children. There are countless miracles that He performs on their behalf, most of which go unnoticed. I wish that everyone would have the opportunity to stand in our shoes just for one day because I know they would notice that this is His work and they would notice the deep love that He has for everyone. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve as His missionary, His representative here in Los Angeles. So the best news of the week is that we have a baptismal date! I'm so excited! It's been awhile since the area has seen one but we are extremely hopeful that we will have at least one baptism at the end of this transfer. Kasey set a baptismal date of the 19th of June and it's amazing to see how different she is. It definitely wasn't us but it was the Lord who worked with her personally that has made this mighty change. We had a wonderful lesson with her after dinner with them and it was awesome to see how the spirit was working with her. We asked her straight up what we be holding her back from doing the things that the Lord would have her do and she started crying. So we left the restaurant and went to the temple, so it would be a more private setting, and she told us everything. She said that she was first, scared for her salvation because she wants to first make sure that this is the right thing, have that gut feeling that what she is doing is right, second, her family because they are strong Lutherans, and third, scared of what people would say because she is dating Scott who is a member of the church. What is amazing to me is to see her courage to continue with this. She said that if she felt that this was, without a shadow of doubt, the truth that she would do whatever it takes to follow it because it would be from the Lord. I'm so glad that she has been humbled by the Lord to at least listen to what the Lord has to offer. Of course, the decision will be hers and we don't have anything to do with it. All we do is invite others to live the principles of the restored gospel and to pray if these things are true. We are really excited for her and are excited to see how much her faith grows in the coming weeks.

Kasey reminds me of something that I learned at the Santa Monica Stake Conference that we had this past weekend. One of the counselors of the Stake Presidency spoke of when Nephi built the boat and how burdensome his brothers were when he told them that he was commanded of the Lord. He said that when we read of the account of Nephi that he saw the ship a little differently, he saw the ship as how the Lord was building up the people of God and as a way to provide them with a stronger faith in him. He then read 1 Nephi 18:1-4 as follows: "And it came to pass that they did worship the Lord, and did go forth with me; and we did work...of curious workmanship. And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work (with the people). Now I, Nephi, did not work the (people) after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the (people) after the manner of men; but I did build (them) after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men. And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things. And it came to pass that after I had finished..., according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord." He continued to relay a message of how the Lord gives up daily experiences that we can choose to obey or not but that if we obey to the humble commands of the Lord we will be blessed to be an example to others. He said notice how after they finished according to the way the Lord wanted them to finish that the brothers of Nephi saw that it was good and did humble themselves. He continued, notice how Nephi went to the mount, which we know to be the temple, "oft" and how he prayed "oft" and the Lord showed him "great things" that pertained to the building up of the ship, or in our case the people. He continued to share a story of how he went with the Young Men in his ward to San Clemente Island for a Scouting trip and he found how the Lord provides means to build up the kingdom. He said he was a Bishop at the time and while they were on the island all the Bishops went out to examine the grounds to figure out where they were going to live. While looking for a spot to camp they found a building with two men from the Army sitting next to building smoking and he didn't say directly, but implied that they were drinking as well. He found a pay phone and decided to call his wife to tell her that they were fine and all is well. the pay phone didn't work and they had found a place to camp so they all started walking back to where the Young Men were. While they were leaving one of the men asked who they were with and he responded. After some curious questions, the man said that he would talk him up the hill to another pay phone so he could call. He kept insisting to take him but he didn't feel comfortable going with them. reluctantly he got in the car and they were on their way. The same man asked him what church he was with and he said from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He paused. He then asked another question, what is your role in the Church? He responded a Bishop. He paused again. They finally got up to the top of the hill and the guy took him inside and asked if he talk with him privately. He agreed to discover that this man from the military was a member of the Church who had lost his way for a very long time. He relayed to him that that morning he had prayed one of the most fervent prayers that he every gave asking Heavenly Father if He would send a Bishop to him so that he could receive counsel to know what actions he should take to change. Tears began to come down and he they had a wonderful conversation discussing and counseling on how he could do better. After the conversation they parted ways and he never heard from him but he was thankful that he knew the ways that our Heavenly Father has established to build up His children. He said that when we read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, we will receive the promise that Nephi received and will be able to be a light in this world that cannot be hid, an example that everyone will see that the "workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine" and many will humble themselves before the Lord to come to accept this restored gospel.

Some unfortunate news. One of the Sisters got diagnosed with cancer again. She kicked it (think that is the term) a couple of months ago but it has come back. If you could all keep her in your prayers that would be great. She is an amazing sister and is a great example to many. In the time that I have been here she has strengthened my faith and has helped me look for the positives in life. Anyways, we are making some good progress with AnneMarie, she will probably be coming to church this next week so that is exciting news. Also the Brands said they would be coming in the coming weeks. I'm so excited. Unfortunately, Ruth asked us not come by for another month because she is really pregnant and she is always really tired. The ward said that they would continue stopping by and sending emails etc. The ward is awesome.

Well I hope all of you are doing great and are seeing the choicest blessings. I love you all.
Elder Leavell

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