Monday, May 30, 2011

A Week to Remember

Monday, May 30, 2011
Well I hope that everything is going well with all of you. This week has been amazing. There have been so many cool things that have happened over the past week it's crazy! I'm so thankful to be on my mission and am thankful that these last weeks have been memorable. I don't think that I will ever forget these experiences. I hope that the Lord is blessing all of you equally.

Kasey is doing well. She got her answer this last week. It is awesome. She also came to see Elder Anderson and she shook his hand so it's for sure that she is going to get baptized. Those are the only real updates that I have. We got a lot of people to come to hear Elder Anderson so that was good.

I will always remember from my mission. One of the things that I will always remember happened on Sunday and I hope that you all can feel the spirit that I felt through this email. Yesterday we had the amazing privilege to have Elder Neil L. Anderson come to our ward and share with us his testimony. His son moved into the ward a couple of moths ago and he wanted to come and visit. It was amazing. He acted like nothing important was going on and that it was a normal day. As always we stand next to the door greeting everyone who is coming in and when he came in he acted just like everyone else. He talked to my companion and I for a couple of minutes saying, "we thank you for your service," and "if President Monson were here he would have thanked you personally for your service." He then, while his son talked about me, wrapped his arm around me and that he thanked me for the service I have offered. I will never forget that. His spirit is so strong and because of it, it is almost as if the spirit were telling me what the Savior would have me know. I have gained a stronger testimony of the necessity and the validity that the Lord Jesus Christ calls, in our days, living apostles to be his chosen servants. There is no question that Elder Anderson is one of those men that has been called and set apart to bear that special witness that He lives and that He is. It was a great privilege and tender mercy from the Lord for me. I know that this gospel is true and that there is no greater thing that I could ever want. His wife opened the sacrament meeting by speaking of her testimony of her husband. It was amazing to listen to her perspective. She brought the spirit into the meeting with ease and set up the stage for her husband perfectly. She told of an experience while she was raising her children with humble means and how grateful she is that she knows how important these men are. She said that when her all her children were able to read that she and her husband decided to read a talk from the prophet and apostles in the General Conference Ensign for Family Home Evening for several weeks. Like any good mother she decided to make copies of the articles for every child of hers and went to the copy center and started to make copies. She finally finished and went to the register to be surprised that it would be $50 for all the copies. She said she started crying and debated if it really worth having the words of the living apostles in her home. Thinking about this she concluded that yes it was. It was more important than anything else that she could give her children and she thanked her Heavenly Father for the means that the church is able, to now, offer the Ensign for $1.50 with all the talks from General Conference. She then bore her testimony that she knows that the apostles of today are chosen and that she has been an eye witness of the validity of these chosen men. The spirit came into the room so strong. No wonder the Lord calls both to the calling when they are called. Elder Anderson spoke of faith in the Savior of the world. He started by saying to all the members of the church by stating that "we share faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." He said that out of all the things that we could learn and do in this world there is one thing that we cannot do enough and that is think or speak enough about Christ. Speaking of us he shared the story of the Nephites when they were diligently waiting for the sign that Samuel the Lamanite had promised of the birth of the Savior. He shared what is found in 3 Nephi 1:8 that they prayed "that their faith had not be in vain." He paused and then said boldly, "Brothers and Sisters your faith will not be in vain." He then went on to describe some of the miracles that the Savior performed while here on the earth and all the things that he taught us when he was here. There was one that I really liked that he explained. He spoke of Jairus and how that can compare to our lives. When Jairus came to the Savior and Jesus followed him to help his faith was high. In fact, as high that it could be with the knowledge that he had. But as always there is always a trial of our faith and that came when they arrived to the place where his daughter was and the servants told that she was dead. Obviously Jairus' heart sank and his faith was no where to be found in comparison to where his faith was previously. Then some of the most calming words in all ofscripture arose when Jesus said, "Be not afraid, only believe." Elder Anderson compared that to us when we walk with the Savior so close that when the first instant of trial comes our way that he give up and our faith dwindles once more. He then shared a scripture found in the book of Acts 4:20, "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" and another one found in 2 Nephi 25:26, "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophesies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." After sharing these scriptures and speaking of the importance of remembering the Savior he told us something that surprised me a lot. He said that even him and all members of the church cannot think, pray, and/or talk of him enough. Pondering about that throughout the rest of the day I was thinking about the sacrament and part of the sacramental prayer that we say is that we may always remember him that we may have his spirit to be with us. It is very clear that even the people who profess to be the most spiritual being have still plenty of improvement and I'm grateful that we as members of His church have known that progression during this life is part of the plan that our Heavenly Father has established. There is no way to come to know him than by doing everything that he asks us to do and practice and I'm grateful that we have a clear understanding that faith without works is dead, as the famous scripture says, but faith with works brings about life eternal because we come to know him be word and by action. Speaking of these scriptures, Elder Anderson commented that "we need to make no apology for the unseen because they are true. He lives! He is ever so mindful of all of us." He continued, "As evil grows on the earth there will be an added gift of revelation and the Holy Ghost to those that keep the commandments." Then some of the best lines that he explained, "faith is not a feeling, it is a decision, or choice, to follow." How perfect is that?! Here's another one: "The Book of Mormon will become a stronger anchor in the coming years. You will never loose your faith in Christ if you continually read the Book of Mormon." As a missionary and a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ I know that this principle is true. The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and I know with complete certainty that anyone who reads of it's pages with real intent will come to know that his Savior lives. There is great power in that Book and combined with the spirit it "is [the] most powerful resource in conversion" to the Savior. If all of you who are not members of this church could stand in my shoes for one day I promise you that you would recognize that these principles are true and you all would notice, even more, how mindful our Father in Heaven is. It is amazing to me to see how the church started with a handful of members at the beginnings of it's development and now there is very few people in this world who don't know a member of this church and I know it is because we share faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is because of this faith that we are blessed and are able to go about doing the good that we do everyday. I know that for that is my motivation to continue on sharing this message with everyone, despite those who do not agree, and it is because I know that He lives and that his message is a message of hope that he wants everyone to receive. Elder Scott perfectly explained this point by stating, "An axiom we all understand is that you get what you pay for. That is true for spiritual matters as well. You get what you pay for in obedience, in faith in Jesus Christ, in diligent application of the truths you learn." Many people think that the Lord will come down with a sign professing to all in a tumultuous form before we take action. Never in the scriptures have I seen that occur. It is always after they took the initiative to follow the example of the Savior that the person has come to the realization of the blessings that are in store. Elder Anderson suggested that all of us should write down all the things we truthfully believe and to seek improvement on the things that we don't. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to interact with an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ up close and personal for a good amount of time. It is amazing to witness that these men are nothing out of the ordinary, in fact the only difference is that they have been called to be an apostle of the Almighty, to be His special witness that He is. He concluded the sacrament meeting with an apostolic blessing that I will remember and hope to continually apply to the rest of my life:

"As you study the words of Christ, as you think of Him, desire to be His disciple, you will have greater clarity in your faith, happiness in life, confirming sureness in His existence."


It is my prayer that this may be true in all of our lives. That we may receive the greater reward of having the Holy Ghost with us always and that we may be able to respond to it's call, Bo matter what it is. I'm thankful for this gospel. I'm thankful for this sacred opportunity to interact personally with an apostle of our Savior. I have gained astronger testimony that these are men called of God, not because they re better than us but because the Lord has a work for them to do.

Hope all is well. Love you all.
Elder Leavell

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