Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Week 7!

Transfers were this week and... I am staying in Hanna yaaaaaay! I am happy about that because we have lots of people here who are searching for the truth and progressing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My trainer, Elder Wilson, got transferred to Greeley East last week so I got Elder Olsen. He has been out almost 7 months so we both young guns. I am still being trained because this is my second transfer out, but usually you stay with the same trainer all 12 weeks. It'll be cool having two trainers because two is better than one. Last p-day was the last one with the district all being together. We went to Rawlins to play some games. We played some basketball and some Dew pong. We did the Elders staying versus the Elders leaving and the staying Elders swept the games. We went to a member's house for dinner that night and made our own pizzas. We also had a green drink in celebration of Saint Patty's Day. 

Last Tuesday was transfer day. The three Elders leaving all drove down to Loveland Colorado while the three of us staying worked together all day. The three of us (Elders Blue, Ramirez, and Sell) went to Rawlins to visit some members. The first dude we visited was quite the character. Apparently, according to Elder Blue, he always wears his vest with a pistol on his left side and two clips on his right. The next house we visited was an elderly couple. When I walked in, I notice it was hot. Their digital temperature scale read 82.8 degrees Fahrenheit! Oh my it was hot in there :O   When our new companions got here, we all went back to Hanna to our place. It sure was crowded but it was fun getting to know my new district-mates. 

Wednesday, Elder Olsen's first day driving in Hanna we got pulled over by the only cop in town. I know the cop and ate dinner with him before but he didn't see me in the truck at first. He was acting all serious and stern, giving Olsen the whole 'I'm a tough cop' act. He eventually let us off with a warning. Just after that, he saw me in the passenger's seat and was like, "Hey I know you!" He starts talking all nice and joking around after being all serious just a minute before. Funny stuff. Thursday was pretty awesome because we got to meet with a family who is looking into the Church. We had a good discussion with them and are really building friendship with the family at this point. We are going back again this week and hopefully they kept their commitments to read the Book of Mormon and pray as a family. 

Friday night we had a district dinner at one of our investigator's house. They cooked us burgers and hot dogs along with all the fixings. We played games and it was a good time sharing what we know to be true. Things are really starting to pick up here. It's really exciting. 

Sunday was definitely the BEST day of the week. Why? Because I got to partake of the sacrament! It's so great being able to renew those covenants I have made with God. I feel new again with a determination to do better next week. This week in sacrament meeting, the focus of the talks was on forgiveness. Forgiveness of others, forgiving yourself, and receiving forgiveness from God. I've never really had problems with holding grudges or not forgiving others but it is hard for me to forgive myself sometimes. I sometimes feel like I am my own biggest critic. It's so important to remember that although we need to hold ourselves accountable, we also need to know when to give the burden of our sin and guilt to Christ. Once we recognize we are doing something wrong, we can start the repentance process. Repentance is a great gift from God. It is the way we change to become more like Jesus Christ. He has already paid the price for our sins, pains, guilt, sadness, or anything else that troubles us. He has felt what we feel. He knows how to succor each of us because he has been through what we have been through. He paid that price for us because He loves us. The literal Son of God lived a perfect life and was the only one able to save us all. What we need to do is keep His commandments and follow Him. Once we repent, that burden is not ours to carry anymore. Christ takes that burden from us! 

In Isaiah 53 verses 3-5 it says:
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him;and with his stripes we are healed.

Verse 5 is my favorite. Christ did all He did for us. Through Him we can be healed of anything. 
-Until next week-
Elder Sell

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 6

Another week goes by! Days seem to drag at times when the work isn't there. From lunchtime to 4:00 it is hard to visit and find people because most people have jobs. On the other hand, weeks seem to fly by. Quite the paradox. We went sledding for the second time last p-day. It was high 40's, almost no breeze, sunny, the snow was harder/slicker -- basically optimum sledding weather. By the time I walked all the way to the top of the mountain, I was sweating in my jacket. I took it off and just enjoyed being there. Enjoy the small moments. That's something I've learned out here so far. Enjoy the little things. Whether it is a baby's smile, a beautiful view, or having a conversation with a friend. ENJOY IT! I mean, why not? If you're going to do something no matter what, might as well enjoy it.
Each Elder in my district went down the hill twice before we were too tired to walk all the way back up. The last run of the day consisted of putting four sleds together and all six of us getting on and going down this smaller hill that had three jumps on it. Now that's district unity! Speaking of district unity, transfer doctrine (a voice mail containing who is staying and who is leaving) came this Saturday. My companion is leaving as well as the other two old missionaries in each set. All three of us younger Elders are staying in our areas. 

We taught a 13 year old boy and his mother the importance of the Book of Mormon as well as how to recognize an answer from God through prayer. The Book of Mormon is important because it is the keystone of our religion. If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith was a true prophet and he truly saw God, The Father, and Jesus Christ, then Joseph really did restore Christ's Church to the Earth, then The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is unequivocally Christ's Church on the Earth today led by a living prophet of God. I mean, it's pretty simple really. Either Joseph Smith was the biggest liar in the history of the world, OR he was what he professed to be. There is no gray area. In Matthew, chapter 7, Christ concludes His Sermon on the Mount. 

 15. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’sclothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

 17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

 18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupttree bring forth good fruit.

 19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,and cast into the fire.

 20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Verse 20 is the best because it is so true. The fruits of the Prophet Joseph Smith is the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God. Look at the fruits of this Church. The humanitarian aid, the emphasis on strengthening families, the core values of hard work, morality, financial discipline, and integrity. All these things are the fruits of this Church. It is growing at an ever increasing rate. 80,000+ 18-25 year old young men and young women are currently serving missions. This is because we all know the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the Earth!
I challenge anyone and everyone to READ THE BOOK OF MORMON. Prayerfully study it. Honestly ponder it. Ask God if it is true and you will receive the confirmation that it is true. If you've read it once or twice already, that's good, but read it again and again and again and again... Practice what it teaches. It teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is faith unto repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. Practice what the Book of Mormon teaches, then ask yourself if you are not happier, feel closer to God, or more confident that Jesus is the Christ. So that's my challenge to everybody.

Monday, March 10, 2014

"God's Timing is Perfect"

Last P-Day we went to Laramie, WY. Since it was the first week of the month, we all had miles and money. That's a fun combination :) We went bowling and I recorded my thoughts in my journal. I'll let my journal tell the story:

"I found the blue ball I'd used the time before when I bowled my 161. First game was rough. Pins weren't falling. My stroke was off almost every time. Just a bad time in general. I was really frustrated. I ended my first game with a grand score of 80..Alma the Younger said it best, "I was thus racked with torment...in the gall of bitterness...encircled about by the everlasting chains of death." Okay, maybe it wasn't that dramatic, but still, it was a terrible game. Then came game 2. I hit 9/- my first two frames. Only one pin didn't fall for some crazy reason.
I then got on a roll and had spares and strikes (3 in a row at one point) to finish the game. I ended with a 179. "...there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains...on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy." Maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but it was pretty cool being able to do that well."
*end of story*

Man! I write dramatically sometimes! And I quoted those scriptures out of Alma chapter 36 in the Book of Mormon. Now that is an amazing passage of scripture! We played some legit 4 V 4 basketball at the stake center and I was sure sore the next day. It felt good to get a few couple hours in of intense ball.
On Tuesday we taught a 40 year old lady in the morning. We taught about the Plan of Salvation and how families can be together forever. How can she or anyone know that any of this is true? READ THE BOOK OF MORMON! There is a promise written by prophets of old at the end of the Book. Moroni 10:4-5:
"4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all thing."
As a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my job is to invite others to come unto Christ. We don't do this by manipulative persuasion, craftiness of speech, or deliberate deception. We do it through inviting people to read the Book of Mormon, pray to Heavenly Father to know the truth, and come to church. The Holy Spirit of God will manifest the truth to whoever puts forth the effort to find out if these things are true.
As a missionary, I am just a guide along their journey. It's great!!
Not too much going on this week but things are going pretty well. There are those days where people reject you and you feel down put you got to get right back up, brush the dirt off your shoulder, and keep moving forward. It would be hard to do if I wasn't sure about the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but since I know of a surety that Christ lives and His Church is restored to the Earth, I keep pressing forward. Heavenly Father loves us all and wants to hear from us daily in prayer. I invite whoever reads this to know that Heavenly Father is right there, ready to listen and answer our prayers. Answers don't come according to our timetable but according to His. It's hard sometimes to be patient with myself and investigators but I know that God's timing is perfect.
This will be my 6th week in the field. Transfers are next Tuesday. Let's see if I stay...or go! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Check out the picture page!

Click on "Elder Sell's Pictures" to the right of this page to view all of the pictures that Elder Sell sends to us! Enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 4!

Last p-day we went to Rawlins and just hung out in their gym for a couple hours. We played some chair soccer then the rest of the Elders went to sit and rest so I set up some chairs in the middle of the gym and just went back and forth from hoop to hoop crossing up the chairs and doing moves. I had to get some energy out because I'm not used to being so sedentary (as in not working out, because we are always moving just not in an athletic way).

That day, I read in the book of Mosiah (in the Book of Mormon) how Abinadi, the prophet at the time, was preaching to the wicked king Noah and his unrighteous judges. They were all wicked and condemned Abinadi to death if he did not deny his prophecies concerning Jesus Christ. He did not deny it and was put to death by fire because of it. He might have thought he failed as a missionary, but he converted only one judge, Alma. Alma went on to convert thousands of people to Christ's Church. So really Abinadi was a successful missionary but he never knew it. I learned that everything I do as a missionary counts. Whether it's how I handle myself in public or how polite I am to someone when we knock on their door. I may not see the fruits of my labor immediately (or ever) but I know that if I do all I can to represent Jesus Christ the way I should, I will be a tool in God's hands to help others come unto Christ.

We helped a family move on Tuesday. He is a Wyoming highway patrolman (served a mission in Brazil) and she is not a member but she is cool too. Luckily, unlike the other people we moved, they had all their stuff in boxes already so they just needed the man-power (which was in ample supply haha :D )

The Zone Leaders came over on Wednesday. We visited an investigator and he was home sick from work and he didn't look very good. We talked on his porch for an hour about the most random things. It was funny because he would take the conversation to hunting then we would relate hunting to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, he would go off on a tangent and we kept relating that back to the Gospel and inviting him to come to church, read the Book of Mormon, and ask God if these things are true or not. He says he is too busy, but that is a lame excuse when you live in a town with 841 people... hahaha! We also visited another man, who we have been trying to meet with for months. He came onto his doorstep and told us he didn't have any time to meet yet he closed the door behind him and started to talk. He has been reading  the Book of Mormon and he has questions about it. He says he has been highlighting verses too. So I asked him, "So what do you think about the Book? What do you feel?" and his reply is, "Ya know what? I need to come to Church." Fireworks go off in my head because I'm thinking "yes!!! he finally realizes he needs to come to church and I know he will feel the love of God at church and everything going to work out great and he is going to get baptized and make that commitment with God and his life will improve!!!!!" Then we ask him, "Will you go to church with us on Sunday?" his reply "On no, I cant do that. It's too soon." ****SOUND EFFECT WHEN AIRPLANE CRASHES INTO GROUND**** NOOO!!!!!! hahaha, it was so frustrating and Elder Wilson was like, "You need to come to church" and he says, "Be patient...be patient" Man, when you know something is so good for someone, like church, you desire for them to partake of it! I know that as I have read the Book of Mormon and felt the power and divinity of the book that I want to share it with others. I am here because I want to share that love I feel from God. I want to share the spirit I feel while I'm at church and doing what is right. It is hard when people are just too lazy to do things that while immensely bless their life! I think that laziness is something that Satan loves. If the adversary can get you to not do something, even if you know it is true or good for you, he has won. Be proactive. Be "anxiously engaged" in a good cause.

We also had en changes on Thursday. That is when your regular companion gets swapped out for a day with another guy so you can learn from different people and gain more relationships. So Elder Ramirez came to Hanna with me. We went off roading with the truck because there are all these alleyways in the town. We put the 4 wheel drive on and went through the mud haha! Of course we were going somewhere to be productive, it's just we took a fun detour.

 Anyways, things are good here. At times I will catch myself just being happy for no reason. That's the weird (but amazing) part of living what Christ taught. I feel blessed even though i cant specifically name blessings. I feel happy even though I can't name a specific event. That's what doing what is right does for ya. That's what daily pray, multiple times a day, does for ya. That's what reading the Book of Mormon does for ya. I challenge anyone who reads this to READ the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart and contrite spirit then ask God, the Eternal Father, if it is true or not. I promise that it is true. It was written by servants and prophets of God. It was written by people in the American continents that truly saw Jesus Christ, resurrected and glorified. I know these things to be true more than I know 2+2 to equal 4. I know math with my brain, but I know that Jesus Christ lives with all my heart and soul.