Monday, December 29, 2014

A Great Christmas!

We had a great Christmas. I was able to Skype my loved ones and then eat breakfast with the most legit family in the ward. We played games with their kids. I love the children so much. When Christ told us to become as little children, I understand what He meant. We went back to our home and opened more presents with the Thompsons. They got us some new ties and some other nifty missionary items. Our dinner was amazing. I had to ask them what to do with the small bird on my plate. They gave us tons of gifts and I am very grateful. We then went home and watched Scrooge with our members. I then passed out to end the blessed day of our Savior's birth (or rather the day we celebrate it on).

I heard a talk in Church yesterday about the enabling power of Christ's Atonement. I often think about the cleansing or redemptive power that helps me be clean from sin, but I don't often ponder on the enabling power. I'm going to be thinking about that more often and using it in my life. 

This email was really short and pretty boring. My week was a lot better than this, but I just don't feel like typing it all out! Sorry Charlie! 

Love,
Elder Sell

"A true Christmas miracle!"

It was a roller coaster week. I'll just give a highlight of what I did today, pday.


Cam and his step-daughter, Gen, picked us up (along with a 16 year old in our ward, Ben) at 8:30. We hiked Horsetooth Rock, a popular one to do in Fort Collins. In total it was 5 miles and the peak was at 7,255 feet. It took us 3 hours and was a blast. We got some pictures and afterwards were en hungered. We went to a pizza place downtown and lo and behold, guess what was on the TV? BYU FOOTBALL! They were playing their bowl game against Memphis and I had no clue. Guess what shirt I happened to be wearing? A BYU FOOTBALL T-SHIRT! I think God wanted me to watch that game, despite the fact they lost. I even wrote my mission president and told him my miracle for the week was just what I reported. A true Christmas miracle! I think that was the coolest thing. 



As for the rest of my email, Merry Christmas. Spend it with those you love and remember not only Christ's birth, but ALL He did for us. That's why He is so important anyways! 



Elder McBride got his full time call to the COLORADO FORT COLLINS MISSION! He goes home on Jan. 6, reports to the MTC Feb. 4, and will be back in this mission Feb. 17. Pretty cool stuff!



-E.Sell




Thursday, December 18, 2014

An "Eventful" Week

Crazy week. (It's a long one, but it has some good/funny stuff in it)

We had our Christmas Devotional on Tuesday in Greeley which consisted of departing missionaries' testimonies, singing Christmas hymns, and socializing. It was alright. I personally like the more festive carols because I think those can bring the spirit too but we were in the chapel. Anyways, I got to see Elder Wilson, my trainer, for the last time on his mission. He, along with 15 or so others, is going home tomorrow. It was crazy because I remember that LONG drive from Loveland to Hanna my first day in the field. We talked about specific people who I recall thinking, "I'm going to love these people." And it was -15 degrees. 

My exchange with the District Leader, Elder Flindt, was EVENTFUL to say the least. We had an appointment with a man named Anthony. He is probably 25 but has seen a lot in his life already. He has always loved the dark and scary things because it brings him "peace". At one point, he joined a Satanic cult and would do that type of dark arts magic. I couldn't believe my ears because I had never actually met someone who had participated in that evil of stuff. Luckily we were in a member's home because I would never step foot in his house. He no longer practices that stuff, but his hobby is to make horror houses that scare people. Now he wants to make a demonic horror house and is torn between trying to leave his past behind and continuing with his idea. Basically, we told him that God has other plans for him to use his creative talent to bless people's lives, not worship Satan. He isn't ready for the Gospel in his life yet. He said straight up, "I want to do what I want to do now because life is so short. Whatever happens after this life, fine, but right now I am doing what I want." 

That same night, we knocked on a door of someone on his ward list. If your name is on the list, you have been baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  Just because you don't go to church anymore or don't practice the principles and doctrine does NOT mean you aren't a member. This old geezer opened the door and Elder Flindt introduced himself and tried to shake his hand. The man said, "I'm not shaking your hand" with a nasty look on his face. I told him straight up, "You were baptized into this Church. That was your choice. You can be rude to us but that won't change anything. We're going to keep coming. Christ numbers his sheep and we are going to keep coming until you do one of three things: die, have your name removed from the record, or come back to Church. We aren't going to give up on you because Christ wouldn't either. He loves you and we are not going to give up." He shut the door after that and I walked away like what the heck did I just say??! We got gelado for my first time after and had a heart to heart talk about how we can apply the things we learn on our mission afterwards with dating. Flindt is going home in 3 months, that's why LOL.

We visited the lady we tracted out the other day, Patty, with Bro. Haynes, our WML. She opened the door and said we couldn't come in because her furnace is broken. That would've been the end of it had Bro. Haynes not called his son-in-law, a professional AC/heating guy. Step by step, he told him how to fix it. Patty's heating was back on in no time and she was so happy. It went out that morning and lo and behold we show up in the afternoon to fix it. Coincidence? hmmmm. . . 

We met this 70 year old Bulgarian who came out of his house to tell me that I was brainwashed and my religion was false. He didn't let us get a word in. We had a half hour conversation and he kept insisting that our "elders" brainwash us to come out and do this for two years. He basically condemned our proselyting because we can't work our way into heaven. So true! I try telling him that, that it is through the grace of Jesus Christ and our faith in Him by which we are saved but he would just say "you don't believe that". James says it best,"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." You can have your faith and think all the good thoughts you want, but in the end those who love Christ will keep his commandments. Right? (John 14:15) And did he not say,"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" So based on the BIBLE, the book this man claimed to know, I am doing what is right. It was so frustrating talking to this stubborn man who told me I believed that Jesus was just a great teacher. When I testified He was the very Son of God and Savior, he just spat "you don't believe that." I'm going to write my testimony of what I believe and give it to that man.

That night, our dinner cancelled on us an hour before we were going to eat. We called the Ellisons, a family we are teaching, but they didn't answer. There we were, no dinner, on the streets, basically hobo status. I felt like it would all pan out though. Our dinner called us back and said they would order us pizza. We gave them an address of a nearby member and waited for our pizza there. Right after that, Cam called me and said we could come over to eat. I told him not to worry about the food and that we were bringing pizza. We picked up our 2 pizzas and soda and went over to the Ellisons to eat all of it. They took us out for ice cream and a drive across the mountains afterwards so it all worked out. 

We had trainers' meeting Friday morning and I got to see my boys Blackburn and Christensen. The meeting itself wasn't too inspiring or anything, but I sure had fun with them. We went to a chicken tenders place after called Raising Canes. That night, we went tracting and met a man named Dennis. He is in his 70's and told us that he is currently Catholic but shopping for a new church. He flat out said he was interested in our church and he wanted to learn more. He wants to know what is true. Ayo I got you boi!

Saturday night, we went contacting and knocked on the less active's door and a man named John answered. After like 15 seconds of small talk, he asked. "Do you have any literature for me?" Well sure, I got a Book of Mormon and a copy of the Bible for ya. He then told us to come back the next night so we could teach him. We go back on Sunday and knock on the door. Some dude answers and we ask, "Is John home?" And he said, "John moved to Nebraska." "But we talked to him last night..." "oh, well I don't really live here so maybe he does live here." It was messed up ahaha. It was an eventful week, full of meeting new people. We tried all those people yesterday after Church and none of them were home. Boooooo! We also taught this lady who has been inactive since the dinosaurs because she was offended like a billion times in her interaction with the church. That was a cool lesson because I just relied on the Spirit as I tried to ask her the right questions to get to the bottom of her reason for inactivity. She doesn't believe the true church is on the earth, so I invited her to read the New Testament highlighting things that Christ's Church MUST contain. After she has that list, join the church that contains all of those things. There will only be one standing in the end: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. AMEN!!!!
Elder Wilson with Elder Sell




                                                      Christmas party Jewish style

Monday, December 8, 2014

HE IS THE GIFT!!!

First off, watch this video if you haven't. The link will take you right to where you can watch it. Do it! Do it now!!! http://www.mormon.org/christmas

It was a better week than the last. We went tracting inviting people to have a Merry Christmas with an emphasis on the whole CHRIST part of Christmas. Everyone agreed with us and we invited them to hear our message. Everyone declined, but one. Patty, this 70+ year old lady decided to listen because she is interested in all faiths. We talked about the Church Christ organized while he was on the Earth and how he gave authority to those to run his Church. We then talked about the loss of the truth and how Joseph Smith wanted to know what was true. Right there on her doorstep, I described the First Vision in Joseph Smith's own words, "I saw a pillar of light..." The Spirit was there for sure. She was touched and accepted to read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Hopefully she will continue her desire to learn for herself what is true by the power of the Holy Ghost.

We had a ward Christmas party that was Bethlehem themed. Everyone wore robes and such and it was legit. We received a bag of coins when we entered the "village" and we had to barter for our traditional Jewish food , consisting of fried chicken strips, fruit, rolls, and desserts. Got to love it :D I didn't bring my camera or you'd see how similar I looked to a Jewish aristocrat. 

I'm trying to think about what else we did this week that was fun or interesting or spiritual. Thinking is too hard. My letters used to be much longer and more detailed  Now that I'm approaching 11 months out, I'm getting burned out of this mass email thing. I basically still do it so I can have multiple perspectives to recollect my mission from. I have the awfully blunt version called my journal. I have the sophisticated report that is my letter to President. I have my individual emails to my Mom and Dad which usually contain more emotion, and then there is this mass email that is just basic details haha. Got to LOVE IT! 

I love being a missionary still. I need to work harder though so I have zero regrets. And I know as I work, I'll be blessed. Not just now, but my whole life. This lays the foundation for my whole life. As Christ says it best in Matthew 7:

 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

As well as Helaman, a great prophet in the Book of Mormon says it:
 12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

He is my foundation and HE IS THE GIFT!!!

Love,
Elder Sell

"Happy Thanksgiving to all!"

Not going to sugarcoat it, I've been struggling. It's a mixture between not having "success" in this area (despite my hard work and effort) and adjusting to a new companion. Missions are hard. Not gonna lie! Nevertheless, life is good. I was feeling pretty down just a few minutes ago and then I wrote a letter to my mission president, the inspired President Kelly Brown. I started off just writing how frustrated I am and how it's hard blah blah blah and then I stopped. I thought, "what will complaining to the mission president do?" Absolutely nothing! Instead, I decided to write a list of things I am grateful for. The list included things as simple as my warm bed and bike to the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His Church. I feel better now. 

This is how my Thanksgiving day went. We got up and did studies before going to he Turkey Bowl! I would tell you I tore it up and scored like 7 times but that didn't happen. I didn't even play! Our Mission President told us "Please, no turkey bowls. No football, PLEASE!!!" so I took his council. It was boring watching because all I wanted to do was play! We taught a lesson to a member family at noon and had dinner with the Green family at 2:00. She had all the turkey, mashed potatoes, and fixings to feed an army of 20. Too bad it was just the four of us! We chowed down and relaxed on the couch with some very pleasant people. She offered to let us take naps on their beds downstairs but I wasn't that tryptophan-ed out. We went to my favorite family in the ward's house after that. The Scharf family is legit. It was more of a holiday gathering that I'm accustomed to because there were kids running around everywhere and family relaxing everywhere else. Heck, even the football game was on! We chill-axed there for a few hours and left with a 15 pound bag of candy. One of the aunts that was there didn't want her kids to eat it all so she gave it to Sis. Scharf who gave it to us. We ended the night by playing games with the Jewkes and enjoying our time.



The next day we had our zone meeting so I brought that 15 pound bag of candy. It made that meeting much less boring. 



The morning Elder Blackburn was leaving for Rawlins, one of the kindest men I've ever met, Bro. McKenzie, took us out to breakfast. He took us to a local joint, the Breakfast Club, where the average patron must have been 70 years old. Oh boy was the food good. He is doing well up in Rawlins so far. I try to use his favorite words and phrases every now and then, including cozy, that's nice, and good ole' boy. Apparently the only word he picked up from me was "shawtayee" HAH! 



Gratitude is the way we should live our lives (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/grateful-in-any-circumstances?lang=eng). I find it ironic that we celebrate everything we are thankful for one day and then the next day (and now 6:00 PM) our country flocks to the stores to buy more stuff. And on top of that, we justify buying all that stuff because of the next big holiday, Christmas, where the true meaning has been lost. This time of the year is still a special time, but we can make it even more special as we focus our thoughts on the Savior, Jesus Christ, and look to serve others. Have you ever ding-dong-ditch'ed a Christmas dinner or gifts on someone else's doorstep? I haven't, but that sounds like fun. The reason for the season is to celebrate Christ's birth and to remember his sacrifice for all of us. Let us think about where we are in life and repent if necessary. 'Tis the season ;)



-Love,

--Elder Bill Sell

Attitude of Gratitude

Week 6 for the WIN...YES!! My boi Blackburn and I tore it up this week. We decided to go all out and we A) finally got a new investigator B) taught 8 less actives C) taught 19 total lessons.  

As for transfer news, Blackburn is whitewashing into the beautiful resort town of Rawlins, Wyoming *gasp!* with winds forecast to be a breezy 42 mph tomorrow. He is training a new missionary at only 4.5 months out. What a boss! And for me, I am staying in the Prairie Ridge ward and also training, well sort of. My new companion, Elder McBride has only been out 6 weeks so technically it is training. I hope he is ready to do work but HAVE FUN. If you can't laugh, then you'll get depressed. This transfer has been my fastest yet because I did have fun within the rules of the mission.

I don't have too much to write today other than that it was a good week. I'm grateful for my experiences and the people I can meet. We had a bunch of great lessons where the Spirit was strong and we taught powerfully. 

I know that the Atonement of Christ is real. I've felt it buoy me up multiple times this week when I faced challenges. I know these things to be true.