Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Simple Test of My Faith

Yet another great week flies by on my mission. A hundredth part of the record could not be recorded on this email, but these are the highlights:
 


Monday(P-day) - It was my third time going sledding and it was the BEST time yet! It must have snowed another foot since we last sled there but it was sweet. I had wool socks thanks to Elder Ramirez. So even though I was just wearing Nike's in sometimes knee deep snow, my feet stayed warm. We had to trail blaze a new path because the old one was gone. We went up to the point we usually went down at and then we decided to go even higher. The angle of the mountain past that point was so high that you couldn't walk up it -- you had to crawl! We went up so high and it was so beautiful! We all were cautious going down because we had to weave through trees. When we got to the bottom, Elder Christensen looked down at his belt loop and didn't see his truck keys (which were attached by a carabiner). The keys could have fallen off anywhere down the mountain. Who knows when they fell off either? The first thought that popped into my mind was, "There is no way we are finding these keys without God's help" so I proposed we say a prayer. I offered up the prayer and then I started walking back up the mountain. I thought about my faith the whole way up the mountain. Faith is a hope for things which are not seen which are true. I couldn't see the keys, but I knew Heavenly Father would help me find them because it was a righteous desire. I thought about how if I had perfect faith that I wouldn't even be surprised when I found the keys. It must have taken me 15 or 20 minutes to walk up to where the keys were laying on top of the snow.
I picked them up and threw them to Elder Christensen and we rode back down on his sled. I really wasn't surprised when I found the keys. I had been praying earlier last week about desiring to have more faith. Faith that Heavenly Father will put people in my path that are ready to hear the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. This was a simple test of my faith but it let me know that Heavenly Father answers my prayers. I came across a scripture in the Book of Mormon, Mormon 9:21 which reads, 
"Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth." 
I can testify that this promise is true. Yeah it was silly thing to pray to find keys but Heavenly Father cares about the silly things in our life. That's what Fathers do!

Tuesday - We decided to spend the day in Elk Mountain. It is an absolutely gorgeous place and is one of the biggest landmarks on interstate 80. We had plans to visit 5 or 6 people and all of them fell through. Either they weren't home or they were sleepy because they worked the night shift. We had an appointment at 4:30 and it was only 4:00 so we went to the local park and swung on the swings and hit the tether ball. We went out to Lyle's ranch for his daughter's sixth birthday party. We had cake and ice cream just like the kids. So basically we relived our childhood in the span of two hours. Lyle took us on his tractor to go feed the cows. It was a nice day and there was a cool breeze and a pretty sunset. 

Wednesday - We went over to this couple's house named Conny and Elias. He is from Chile and speaks broken English. They like us and are somewhat interested in our beliefs. He has a bad back and brain damage so he mostly watches soccer all day so we go over there and watch soccer and build a relationship. At the end of our visit, he told us that he trusts us and now wouldn't mind if we shared more of what we believe with him. It's fun to be able to build relationships with the people out here because they really are great! Later that night, we went to JD and Misty's to teach the Restoration. The Spirit was strong as we taught about how Heavenly Father loves us and how He sent His Son so we could all be Redeemed. I got to recount the First Vision in Joseph Smith's own words. I could feel the power of the message as well as see those listening feel it in their hearts. I know that Joseph Smith truly did see God, The Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Thursday - We drove the 80 or so miles to Laramie for zone meeting. It was good and I learned more about faith, hope, and optimism. They all interconnect so I enjoyed being taught more about that. Our whole zone went to pizza hut after where we get a $2 buffet lunch deal because the manager (who isn't a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) likes missionaries. Later that day, we saw John outside. John has expressed his desire to be baptized but will do nothing to prepare himself. It's way frustrating! We don't want to just dunk people in the water for the heck of it, but rather we want people to know that baptism is showing Jesus Christ that you are willing to follow Him and keep His commandments. So we pull up to John and before I can even roll down the window he just yells, "Not today. I'm too busy." No hello or pleasantries. I am here because I know how much joy and peace the Gospel of Jesus Christ will bring you. I pulled up to John's driveway to share with him something that would make him happier with life. I knock on people's doors because I know how much the Gospel will bless their life. The rewarding part for me comes when I see someone I love see the blessings that come from following Christ. When I see someone make a change and decide to put away their old life and follow Christ, that makes me happy!!! We keep track of our work each week with numbers, but I can say the name of someone I've grown to care for behind each number. Later that night, we went to Angie's house. She actually read the chapter in the Book of Mormon we left for her! Woohoo! She even wrote down questions she had and we answered them for her. She thought that it made sense that Christ visited the Americas, too. I shared with her John 10:16 which reads, 
"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." 
Jesus Christ spoke to more than just those in Jerusalem. He spoke to those in the Americas and we have that record! It is the Book of Mormon :) 
We taught Angie about the Restoration and she is really sincere and interested in finding the truth for herself. Don't take my word for it! I'm just a 20 year old guy. Get your answer from the source of all truth AKA Heavenly Father. She really liked how she could know these things for herself and she can pray to know. One of the coolest parts of my mission so far was when she said, "My daughter and I were talking about going to your Church one day. We just didn't know anyone there so we didn't feel comfortable. No joke, about a week later you guys knocked on our door. I took it as a sign that I should find out more about your Church." How cool is that?!?!?!?!?!!?!?! Elder Olsen and I had 10 minutes before dinner one night and we decided to knock one door. That's it, just one door. Guess whose door we knocked on? Her door! Ahhh coincidence? I think not! It's so cool when you see how Heavenly Father prepares people to receive His Gospel :)

Friday - We had some more tracting success when we knocked on Keelah's door. We asked her what her religious background was and she said she really didn't have any. At that point, we were kind of like ehhh I don't think this is going anywhere. But then, she said her fiance grew up religiously and that she and him are interested in finding a church. She is pregnant so she wants to find a church where her baby can be raised to have good values and morals. She also said how she wants to be baptized into a church. We gave her a Book of Mormon with our number and will follow up on that. 

Saturday - Sterling Conover has his own engraving business and he made us these super legit wooden name tags. Wow they are something!!! We also got a referral for this old lady so we went and knocked on her door. Her grand daughter answered and I asked her if she could tell her grandma the missionaries were here. She said no. I was confused because I didn't know if she meant 1) no I won't tell my grandma or 2) no my grandma doesn't want to talk to you. The wind was blowing 30-40 mph that day so we could barely hear her. We will try knocking them again!

 

I know this was a long week summary but there is just too much good stuff happening to not write it all! I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His Church on the Earth today. It's the same Church Christ established when he was on the Earth thousands of years ago. I know this because I've read the Book of Mormon and prayed about its truthfulness. I received a witness that the Book is true, which means Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he truly did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, which means Christ did restore the fullness of His Gospel and His Church back to the Earth. I've come to this knowledge because I've earnestly sought out the answer and received it. I practice what the Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches and I've seen the fruits of it in my life - happiness, peace, and joy. Being a missionary, a literally representative of Jesus Christ, is the best thing I have ever done! It may all sound a little dramatic but it's what I know to be true :D

Until next week,
Love,
Elder Sell




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