Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Sweet Experience

Started from the bottom now we are here! This area is doing great, finally! Maybe not great, but a whole lot better than before. It has been fun watching (well, working) it go from where it was to where it currently is going.

On Wednesday, we taught one of the best lessons I've yet to have on my mission. We taught Maddy (guy in mid 20s) in a member's home and it was amazing. His dad is a Mormon and his mom is a Jew. They raised him to be a good person and didn't force religion on him. So now, he is deciding for himself where he wants to go. We taught him about the Restoration of Christ's Church to the Earth and he really loved it. He thought that the Atonement of Christ (Christ's suffering so we don't have to) was something he really could use more of in his life. After I described Joseph Smith's First Vision to him, I meant to ask the question, "Do you think that was possible?" but it came out as, "Do you believe Joseph Smith truly saw God and Jesus Christ?" His answer with a nod of the head and a tear in his eye was, "Yes." That was awesome.

We also taught Becky who is in her mid 20s as well. We shared with her the Plan of Salvation which basically answers where we came from, why we are here, and where are we going. She loved how families can be together forever. We challenged her to be baptized on October 11th and she agreed with the stipulation being that she learns more and understands more. After she said that we were like yeah of course we want to teach you more and you need to read and pray more too! She even came to Church yesterday so that was great too. She's making progress!

We had some down time Saturday so an idea popped into my head! Let's go make a baptismal program for someone who needs to be baptized, like Bro. Fuglevand! We made a baptismal program dated for October 11th and brought it over to his house and gave it to him. He looked at it for 5 minutes straight and he really wants to get there. He just can't believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Hopefully he gets more sincere with his prayers so he can get his answer and be baptized on October 11th. He put the program on his refrigerator so he sees it every day :)

Last night I witnessed a miracle of sorts. We got a call from Bishop at 7:30 and he said there was a man in the burn unit at the hospital who needed a blessing. We had to wash our hands, put on latex gloves, masks, and full body suits to enter the burn unit. We looked like real doctors. When we walked into the room, the first thing Troy said to us was, "Hey guys, what's up?" Here he is sitting in a chair, face partially melted, 3rd degree burns all over, fingers melted off, wrapped up head to toe and he greets us like that. We sit down and ask how he is doing and just have a casual conversation with him. His outlook and attitude were amazing. He got hit with a flashpoint or something like that on the oil rig. A 300 foot flame spit back at him and he got toasted. Despite all that, he was super positive saying it could've been much worse. We gave him a blessing by the hovering on of hands because we couldn't touch his skin of course. It was a sweet experience letting him know that Heavenly Father is very aware of his situation. Such a blessing.

Elder Sell

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"You succeed when you invite, regardless of the outcome."

"You succeed when you invite, regardless of the outcome." - Elder Quentin L. Cook

That's been my motto lately. This week people cancelled on us left and right. We were rejected! But it doesn't matter because I still succeeded. Sometimes I feel like a failure because no one wants to listen to me, reply to our calls/texts, open their door, or do anything. I'm called to invite others to come unto Christ so if they slam the door in my face or are baptized, it's the same because I extended the invitation. Of course I would like for them to accept our message or invitation but they have agency. I have definitely learned lessons on agency while I have been on my mission. 

It was a busy week and I could talk about all the people we visited and taught but I'm not going to. I have my own missionary experiences and I want to hear about yours! We can all have them if we just invite. 

We did visit the Fort Collins Temple site before our trainers' meeting the other day. It won't be done until early 2016, so I won't see it done!  Also, everyone who I was in the MTC with is now training. That's cool.

Shout out to BYU for smacking Texas last week and brushing off Houston this week. I still bleed TRUE BLUE! It is God's chosen University so I can talk about it :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

"This life is the time we have to complete the assignment"

Alright so here it goes with my week!

On Tuesday night, our most legit member missionary, Bro. Hatch, took us out to Chick Fil-a before going to our appointments with us. We visited a family who has previously investigated the Church off and on for ten or so years and now I think they are finally ready. We have dinner with them tomorrow so we'll see how it goes. We also saw this inactive guy who has a very strong faith in Christ and is open to reading the Book of Mormon if it will strengthen his faith. We traded him his preacher DVD for a Book of Mormon. What a deal!

We met with a less active Thursday morning who is dealing with being separated from his wife for 9 months. She is coming back this week. We told him that the thing that would strengthen his marriage most is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He really wants to have a Christ-centered home so hopefully his wife buys in also. We also had district meeting on Wednesday.

We had a great visit with a less active on Friday night. She is the only semi-active member in her family and I just felt a great connection with her. Instant charity for her! We had a great visit and shared a message that really helped her. She even said she loved the two texts we send out to the ward per week that encourage them and inspire. We also received the opposite response from someone the other day as follows, "Stop sending me random stuff. I'm trying to work and it distracts me." We always quote scripture or prophets and she called it random!  

I got a call Friday night from the AP's asking if I'd be a part of the choir singing for Elder Quentin L. Cook. We left home at 6:30 to be in Fort Collins at 7:00 to practice hymn no.13 An Angel From on High. There were fifteen or so of us who were in it. It was fun seeing all my old pals at Mission Conference. Elders Cook, Christensen, Baxter, and Rhodes attended our Conference. Nothing stuck out to me except for this moment. Elder Cook, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, "I know the voice of the Lord." It was like a wave of warmth passed over me. Literally, like a rushing wind it hit me and I knew what he said was true. The Spirit testifies of truth and it definitely testified to me that Elder Cook knew the voice of the Lord. It was a testimony to me that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led and guided by apostles and prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know this is true.

Satruday night, we attended the ward's 8 year old baptisms and got to witness the baptism for one girl and also stand in on the confirmation for the gift of the Holy Ghost. That was a sweet experience. 

We went over to a less active's house last night and he finally let us in. What was he doing? Probably what everyone else in Colorado was doing last night: watching the Broncos! He muted the game and we talked for the whole first half and the Broncos were up 24-7 at the end of the first half. He said he would have to have us over more often because of how the game was going. I found out this morning that the Broncos barely won by a few points, so maybe what he said was true. Missionaries are good luck. We shared a scripture on feasting on the scriptures and invited him to do so. Next time the Broncos play we might have to drop on by his home. 

To end my email, I wanted to share an odd but profound dream I had last night. Believe it or not, my worst nightmares I have EVER had have been when the teacher asks for my homework and I forgot to do it. That feeling of dread comes over me that there is nothing I can do. The homework is due then and there and now I am stuck. My grade is going to tank! The thing that frustrates me most is that I knew how to do the assignment and could have completed it had I actually done it. Luckily I wake up from those dreams and am so happy it was just that. I thought about that dream and how I could apply it to the Gospel and it actually works quite well. This life is the time we have to complete the assignment. The assignment is to follow Jesus Christ and to have faith unto repentance, be baptized, and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We all have the capability to do it but sometimes we choose not to because there are a lot of more fun things to do. We get caught up in doing all these good or better things and forget the best things. What I don't want is to come before the judgement bar of God with that feeling of "oh crap I didn't do my homework!" All we have to do is what He asks so when we do meet Him, He will be pleased with what we've done. As Alma writes in Alma 34:32 "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." 

"Just do it" - Nike


Elder Sell

What man calls "coincidences" I call Heavenly Father's hand

This email is going to be different from most of my other emails. This is another example in my life of the reality of our Father in Heaven and the love He has for us. It is also an example of the validity of my call to be a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here we go.

March 18th, 2014 - We had an appointment with a recent convert at her grandmother's house but it fell through because she was going to see a movie with her mom. Instead of doing something else, I felt like we should just visit the grandmother. I asked her and she said it would be fine. When we pulled up to the house and got out, a jeep-looking vehicle drove by blaring its horn at us and yelling at us. They even had the nerve to turn around and sit there for 10 minutes and just rev their engine. We assumed they were just some teenagers. 

Fast forward a week to March 25th, 2014. We had dinner at 5:30 and were at the Church until 5:15 so we figured we would knock one door before dinner. We saw a house with a blue van outside and said, "People with vans have families and the Gospel is perfect for families!" and knocked on their door. No one was home :/ As we walked towards the truck, I saw a familiar looking jeep thing parked outside a house and remembered what happened a week prior. Elder Olsen and I were both determined to figure out who this was that was messing with us! We knocked on the door and met Angie. She had met missionaries before in Montana and actually went to a Mormon Church with her friend there. Her husband, Scott, actually was raised Mormon in Utah so she was very familiar with the Church. We gave her a Book of Mormon and set up a return appointment. 

The week thereafter, on April 3rd, we met with Angie and Scott and got to know them. We laughed and cleared up a couple misconceptions about caffeine. I remember testifying of the truthfulness of our message and seeing the searching in Angie's eyes. She really wanted to know what was true and was willing to put forth the effort to find it. 

Fast forward two more weeks. We met with them again and she had a ton of questions for us on the chapters she read in 3 Nephi. We answered them for her and then taught about the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith. She really liked the fact that the Book of Mormon took place in the Americas and also witnesses of Christ. 

The last day of the transfer, Elder Olsen and I went by to say goodbye and to also answer some more questions. She shared with us, "A week before you guys knocked on my door, my daughter and I were talking about which church we should go to. I suggested going to the Mormon church but we didn't know anyone there. Then you guys showed up." She said she took that as a sign that this is the path she should investigate. 

The reason I share this story is because Angie was baptized last Saturday. What started as some rowdy high school boys (her son was the driver) honking at us turned into her being baptized. We knocked on her door at the right time when she was searching for the Truth. She was ready and Heavenly Father led us to her without us even knowing we were being led. He made things happen and let things happen so that everything would work out. The whole story probably isn't as phenomenal when I tell it compared to when I think it but it is simply awesome. What man calls "coincidences" I call Heavenly Father's hand. This is real!

The rest of my week was great. Being a missionary is fun and hard at the same time. It's so worth it. We got transfer news and I will be staying a FOURTH transfer in Greeley along with Elder Davis. My good friends, Elders Ramirez, Zavala, and Blue will all be leaving but I'll see them soon at this Saturday's Mission Conference with Elder Quinten L. Cook. Woohoo

-Elder Sell