Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm a Mormon

Monday, June 6, 2011
Hello Hello. This week flew by. I can't believe that I have less than two weeks. AHHH! There are so many things flying through my head but I'm thankful that I'm able to focus on the work of the Lord. I know that there is no greater work and I really don't know what I'm going to do after because I have come to love this work so much. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve. There have been so many miracles that I have seen during these last few weeks. It's insane. I don't want to leave that is for sure. AHHH! Haha.

Anyways we are going to have a baptism this week! Kasey from the UCLA Ward is going to be getting baptized this coming week and so we are excited for her. It has been a great blessing in my life to be able to teach her at the end of my mission. She, whether she knows it or not, has been an answer to my prayers to see if I have become better than what I was before. This past week has been a roller coaster with her. At the beginning of the week she finally told us that she knows that the church is true and has known for awhile. She said that she has come closer to her Heavenly Father through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ even though she was totally against it at first. It's amazing what attitude can do to someone. It can change people's lives and it can enable our Heavenly Father to change our lives. The true test for her came when she told her parents that she was going to be baptized in the church. She, along with many others, has family that isn't supportive of her decision, in fact, is extremely against it and said that they didn't want to speak to her. I'm so thankful for her faith to follow the example of Jesus Christ and for her courage to confront adversity to fulfill her decision. I know that I have seen the blessings come into my life that we teach as missionaries. The Book of Mormon puts it in clearer terms than I can give: "We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.) Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah." I know that on my mission I have gained a stronger witness that the Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ through my diligent study of all canonized scripture. I know that through the Holy Ghost that I have received this witness because it is the same way that I have come to know that the Bible and Jesus Christ lives. Through all the experiences I have seen on my mission I have also come to know more of our Savior, Jesus Christ. That He lives. That He is. Through His atonement we all can be saved no matter what we can do. There was one experience that has shown me more of who He is. On Wednesday when we took Kasey to the Visitor Center we had the wonderful priviledge of helping her see more of the prophet Joseph Smith. As we were walking into the Visitor Center there was a teenager who walked away as we came up to the doors. We said hello, he responded but didn't show any interest at all. As we walked in I felt a feeling that is all to familiar, a feeling that I have felt several times on my mission prompting me to go speak to this young man. Something that I have learned when I get these feelings is to answer the call, no matter what. We left Kasey with two members from the ward to watch the movie as we went out to talk with the young man. I'm so thankful that I responded to the call. He ended up not being a member and at first he didn't want to talk to us. It ended had taken the missionary discussions but stopped because he felt like it wasn't for him. His grandpa, who is his guardian, works in the temple every week and he told us that every time he comes back there is always something different about him. His grandma isn't a member, Jewish if I remember correctly, has been a wonderful example of the good in the world. She supports him 100% even though she does not uphold the same beliefs. We continued having a normal conversation and that is when the subject of how I came to know the church. Nothing really came out of the conversation, he didn't seem to have gained a stronger testimony of the church because of our conversation but I do know that because of my willingness to answer to the promptings of the spirit, Heavenly Father was able to touch him with the spirit. There is no way that this church could move forward with the divine spirit from our Heavenly Father. We, as missionaries, would not be guided to the people who have been prepared to receive this gospel. That Joseph Smith was His prophet chosen for these latter days to serve the Master and establish a church that is from the heavens above. Kasey along with millions have felt the reassurance that following the example of the Savior is the straight and narrow. I know that Kasey despite all her difficulties with her family will be blessed beyond belief, not with knowledge that the world says that we claim, but with a greater hope to know that through the atonement of the Savior, Redeemer, Exemplar, the Almighty we can live to return to live with our Heavenly Father and our families. I'm so excited for her that she has come to know that this is something that our Heavenly Father wants for her, instead of us telling her that it is. It is a true miracle that I have been able to teach her because we, along with many, have gone through the same circumstances and am able to be a living example that the blessings are true.

I'm so thankful to be able to have this close of an interaction with the spirit. There are so many things that have been shown to me of the love and dedication that our Heavenly Father has for all of us. I'm grateful that He never gives up. The worth of souls is greater than we can imagine in the eyes of God. He loves all of us and is extremely mindful of us. He leaves the 99 to go after the 1. He wants what is best for us and I'm thankful for the opportunity to be His servant and spread the blessings that He has for the world here in Los Angeles. There has been no greater joy than helping others come unto Christ. I know that this work is divine. The tender mercies of the Lord are shown to us as missionaries daily and I'm grateful. I hope all of you are searching for those, instead of looking at ways of improving others. To change the world we must master ourselves.

Hope all is well. See you soon.
Elder Leavell


Lance Wright said...

Great post, Erik. You are a stud. See you soon!

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