Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Week 16!

Last Wednesday we were in the dollar tree and this guy stopped us and asked, "How is the work going?" which is really odd because no one ever initiates conversation with us. People flee when we come around, no joke. People go inside, close their garages, hide their kids, hide their wives!! Anyways, we talked to this guy for 45 minutes and he kept asking us, "What is Jesus's father's name?" And we're like, "Heavenly Father? God?" and he's like, "No, no, like what is his name???" Eventually what he was getting at is that he believes Heavenly Father's name is Jehovah, of course he is a Jehovah's Witness so no wonder he stopped to talk/attempt to convert us. We know through modern revelation through living prophets of God that Jesus Christ, "was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New." (The Living Christ - January 1, 2000) He invited us to tour the local Kingdom Hall with him and visit their site and watch their videos on the internet. We accepted his offer and are going to go visit a Kingdom Hall soon. So, of course, we invited him to tour our Church and visit and watch our videos. His reply, "Oh no, I can't do that. That would be like committing adultery to God." It was just an overall funny conversation with Tito. 
That evening, we had dinner with a couple (late 50's) who recently moved into the ward. She is a member but he is not. He is stuck between choosing to stay Catholic or becoming baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His hold up is Joseph Smith/Book of Mormon. He isn't sure if he believes the Prophet and Book to be true. He wants to believe they are true but he hasn't received that witness from God that they are. He claims to have read the book and prayed about it but he never received that heavenly manifestation that it is true. Thus, he doesn't believe it is true. That boggled me when I first heard it because anyone I've ever talked to (including myself) has received that witness from God that the Book of Mormon is true when we have sincerely read, pondered, and prayed. The kicker that we finally got him to tell us is that he read the Book of Mormon as if it was, "a well written novel by a boy genius" and not the very word of God translated by a Prophet of God. Well there's your problem! Try reading the Hunger Games (fictional, of course) and then ask God if it is true. Well of course, you know what your answer will be. It isn't mind games when we ask people to read the Book of Mormon sincerely and with real intent and then pray about it. The Holy Ghost manifests the truth of the Book of Mormon when we are sincere and seeking for Truth from God. We told him to watch (apostle of Jesus Christ ---->) Jeffrey R. Holland's October 2009 conference talk "Safety for the Soul" as well as read the Book as what it is, the very Word of God. I like the quote he quoted in his talk, "No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.” I testify that what Elder Holland said is true, the Book of Mormon is divine scripture and Joseph Smith IS a Prophet of God. 
Back: Elder Zavala, Elder Ward, Elder Penaranda, Elder Corpus
Front:Elder Miller and Elder Sell
We got a car on Wednesday too, so it was a REAL good day. Subaru Legacy! It's sweet. Gets us from A to B as a car should. On Memorial Day, we got together and placed some basketball with some other Elders. That's about it for the week!

This is "The Living Christ" which was written by living Prophets and Apostles as their testimony of Jesus Christ. Check it out :) 

This is Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's testimony on the Book of Mormon. One word to describe this testimony---->WOW!
Love you all,
Elder Sell

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

More Fun Experiences in Greeley!

Last week we taught the Word of Wisdom lesson (no alcohol, drugs, coffee, tea, or tobacco) to Heather and she loved it. She drank coffee before the lesson and as soon as she learned what God has commanded us to do she agreed to give up coffee. It was sweet to see. She is so prepared :D Her baptism is going to be on June 7th so that is exciting. 

The housing guy from the stake called and tried to get us to move out of our apartment to a member's home. Only problem is that the member lives in the Ashcroft ward and we serve in the Peak View ward... and we are on bikes so we told him no! We explained the situation and we are no longer moving. I'm glad because I like living with the Spanish Elders although they don't clean up their messes. We helped move a family and they gave us their lazy boy couch. The Zone Leaders and us took 3 hours to help them so they took us to Golden Corral. We rearranged our living room to fit it and now we have two couches and a nice talking/sitting area. We are refined :) 

President Brown's family, consisting of his 89 year old father and two brothers, came to speak to the Greeley and Fort Collins zones. They shared some sweet stories. One of the brothers (Mike) taught a Navy man in Jacksonville Florida and set him with a baptismal date. Before the man's date came, he was deployed to Rome Italy where it just happens that Barry (the other brother was serving). Barry met the man who said he wanted to be baptized and asked him who the previous missionaries were who taught him. His reply was, "Elder Brown". How cool is that?!?! One brother taught him in Florida and the other brother baptized him in Italy. Coincidence? I think not! Grandpa Brown got up and told us never to waste a moment of our missions or our lives. It was precious. The reason the brothers came with their dad to visit President Brown is because they don't know how much time their dad has left. When Sister Brown told us that, I was really touched. President Brown let us share in the experience of perhaps seeing his dad for the last time in this mortal life. It also reminded me of the sacrifices he is also making as a missionary.

We were biking up a hill the other day and this really dark Hispanic dude pulled up and offered us a ride. We told him to take us to 27th St and 57th Ave and guess where he takes us? Two miles away from our destination to 47th Ave and 30th St. We would have been better off not taking the ride in the first place. Don't take rides from strangers, children!

Yesterday at Church, the Stake President spoke. He recounted five truths that he knew with all his heart. I know these to be true as well. 
The first being Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Redeemer. He is literally Son of God. Because of His sacrifice, we can all return to the presence of our Father in Heaven. 
The second truth is that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. He truly did see God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. He was called at a young age to do this "great and marvelous work". We do not worship him, but we respect and honor him for the courage he had to do what is right even in the midst of great adversity. He was martyred for what he knew to be true. He truly is the Prophet of the Restoration! 
The third truth is that the Book of Mormon is the very word of God. Every page testifies that Jesus is the Christ. It contains His everlasting Gospel. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on this Earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book." Test out that for yourself!
The fourth truth is that we have prophets on the Earth today! Just like in times of old, we have prophets that receive revelation from God to speak to the world. We read about prophets throughout the Bible and Book of Mormon (Eph 2:20). If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why would he give them prophets and leave us in the dark today? That seems unfair, but it is also untrue. We have prophets and apostles on the Earth today. Thomas S. Monson is His Prophet today. 
The fifth truth is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only full, true, and living church of Christ on the Earth today. When Christ walked the Earth, he preached his Gospel and established His Church. He gave Priesthood authority to act in His name to worthy servants. This allowed them to baptize, confirm the Gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:6), and do works in Christ's name. We have that same Church here on the Earth today. It was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is evidence of that. The Priesthood has been passed down generation to generation and I know this to be true.
If you want to find out for yourself, ask of God. Take the council found in the Bible and Book of Mormon and ask of God with a sincere heart. Just do it #Nike

This week should be more exciting because we have more appointments and more things going on. Lots of random things happen out here. For instance, last night Elder Penaranda and I went outside to play Frisbee with the local Mexican children. He was asking them if their parents were interested in having us come over. Of course he isn't my comp, Elder Miller is. We went on an inter-zone exchange but we live together. 

Much Love,
Elder Sell

Elder Penaranda and Elder Sell modeling the Book of Mormon


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Another Great Week in Greeley!!!!

Last Tuesday we helped Bro. Gant remove a stump from his yard. We had to cut out roots and hack away at it and it took us a little under two hours to complete. When we were done it was lunch time, so he asked us where we wanted to go. My request was no Taco Bell or McDonalds, anything but those two. His reply was, "How about Buffalo Wild Wings?" Elder Miller and I looked at each other like YESSSSS!!! Funny thing about BWW. Every time I go there I tell myself to NOT get the Mango Habanero, but every time I go I get the Mango Habanero. It is hot going in and coming out so it's just painful! So we had wings for lunch and it was grrrrreat. Speaking of "grrrrrreat" we did service at this Habitat ReStore which is basically a good will or DI. People drop off their junk and we try to make it less junky looking so they can sell it overpriced. Anyways, there is this guy there named Tony and he directs our work. So we started singing the Frosted Flakes theme song around him. Us four missionaries laugh so hard when he talks because he has the funniest ghetto accent. He then asks each one of us for a lighter and none of us have one obviously. Funny things happen in Greeley.
We had a legit lesson with a Less Active family about the temple. They want to be sealed with their family for time and eternity but at this moment aren't ready. The cool thing is, is that they want to get worthy. The wife is trying to quit smoking(using vapor nicotine) and she said she felt like she wanted to throw up when she puffed once on a cig after doing the vapor for a month. That's music to a missionaries ears. After that lesson, it was 8:30 and night and dark out with the exception being a lightning storm 10 or so miles away. It was beautiful to watch from a distance. We had to bike home 5 miles that night so my legs are getting jacked.
One of the mornings I went on a bike ride with Elder Penaranda and we went and saw this mural of Albert Einstein and took pictures in front of it. Cool stuff. Later in the day, we went tracting and ran into this guy named Doogie. We just casually talked and I asked him what church he went to and he is Catholic. After we left, Elder Miller said the only thought running through his head the entire we were talking to Doogie was that he wanted to ask him, "Teach me how to Doogie" which would have been hilarious. For those of you who don't know, there is a pop song called Teach me How to Dougie so it was just funny to us missionaries. We got soaked one of those days last week. We visited some old folks at the assisted living home and biked home 4 miles in the pouring rain. I was drenched, so all I could do was smile and wave to all the looks I got. People must think my comp and I are crazy to bike and get soaked in the rain, but we know we have a purpose and a message that is true. My hope as I biked was that someone would see me smiling and having a good time in the 50 degree rain. Maybe they would ask them self, "Why is he smiling? Is he not wet and cold? Why is he so happy? I want to know what he knows" Maybe someone will want to know more because they saw some kid in a white shirt and tie drenched from head to toe smiling in the rain. Who knows?!?!
On Saturday we helped the food bank distribute food to poor people. Elder Miller and I were in charge of loading apples into bags and handing them out. Usually we put 12-14 apples per bag but every now and then we did a shaft bag (6-7) and a PRIZE bag (30-40) full to bursting bag. The look on the peoples faces when they picked those prize bags was priceless :D That night a family took us to the BEST barbecue I've ever had. We got the family feast for $65 and it was worth every penny (of theirs). It was so good. Another good thing about being a missionary is people feed you great food every night, well at least where I have served.
It was a really rewarding week. Hopefully this next will be even better.
Elder Sell
P.S. My hair is getting really long. Probably time for a hair cut but some 9 year old girls did say they liked my hair as we biked last week sooooo who knows!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

First Transfer!

Transfers happened and I went to the Peak View Ward in Greeley Colorado. We live 1.5 miles outside of our area/zone and we are on bikes. Our area is huge so it takes us forever to bike anywhere. So far the members here have been nice. Apparently Elder Miller and I are a lot more normal than the last missionaries here haha. Our dinner calendar got filled up pretty quick on Sunday which is great. We have one legit investigator here than we will meet with tonight. She has a baptismal date for next month and seems cool so far. That's about as far as our teaching pool goes. I went from 10+ investigators in Hanna to 1 here in Greeley. But, I'm here to help change that and get it rolling here! So some interesting stuff happened this past week. Our first night we were walking in the dark on this side street and this car pulled up to the stop sign and turned its lights off. I knew something was up, then I started hearing CO2 shots I got behind a parked car. I never heard any paintballs land so I guess they were just firing dry shots. That's definitely not as sketchy as other missions in the world. I also saw a drug deal in broad daylight outside our apartment complex. We live in the part of town where when you tell people they get that look on their face. My legs are getting stronger and my butt is adjusting to my bike seat so that's all good. Walmart is 2 miles away instead of 80 miles so that's an improvement. Some new rules came out this week from our mission president. As of today, p-days are limited to just you and your companion. P-day is "preparation day" AKA fun day where we used to get together with our missionary buddies and play basketball but now I get to spend it alone with my companion. As if 24/7 wasn't enough... woohoo... I guess it's been hard adjusting to this area so far. The living situation combined with the biking/large area situation with the lack of work situation is all different from my last area. I'll have to get used to it. None the less, the work will go forward nobly, boldly and independent. It's still good being a missionary!

Here are some people that Elder Sell has enjoyed meeting while in Hanna, WY!

The Christie family

Elder Sell and the Young family

The Cooper family with Elder Sell

Friday, May 2, 2014

Last Week in Hanna

It was a good week! My last week in Hanna :( I am getting transferred to Greeley Colorado. It was a good run here. So many amazing people to teach and the members are fantastic. So last Tuesday we helped a German lady named Rita move clothes at a local thrift shop. There was a young man from Afghanistan named Ansah. The lady at the Catholic thrift shop is June, who happens to be Baptist. We all worked together to get these clothes ready to be shipped to Afghanistan. Afterwards, Rita wanted to take us all out to eat. The only place to eat in this whole town is Dingy Dan's bar so we went there. Now get this, two Mormons, a Muslim, a baptist, and a German walk into a bar. Sounds like a joke huh? We had a great time eating and Rita is a blast. I felt like I knew her from somewhere but obviously I had never seen her before. She told us why she does the philanthropy she does. It was a very personal thing she told me and I felt so much love for her. It was pretty surreal because I only knew her for an hour or two yet I felt so much love for this lady. It was amazing.
Elder Ramirez and Elder Sell
 Elder Blue, Elder Olsen, Elder Ramirez, Elder Christensen, Elder Sell, Elder Hallam 
Elder Blue, Elder Ramirez, Elder Olsen, Elder Christensen, and Elder Sell

We were knocking on doors and we saw this old dude in his window motioning for us to come to his house. Alrighty then! He opens the door and says, "Come in. Let me lead you to salvation." You know it's going to be fun when someone tells you that. He wanted to argue about random little things about the Gospel and we are just calmly answering his questions and his demeanor completely changes. He goes from critical and attacking to pleasant and friendly. It was weird. Then he tells me, "You should go into a career in television. Not to be weird, but you are very handsome. You could make some money." Weird!! By the end of our visit he was offering us food and water and inviting us back. It's funny what happens when you answer people's questions with love and invite the Spirit to testify to them that you are a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was sweeeet.

I'll miss the people here but I believe Hanna is a better place now than when I found it. Thanks for everyone's support and prayers. Keep on emailing me and mailing me. I REALLY appreciate it :)

Love you all,
Elder Sell