Monday, May 18, 2015

"All aboard!"

Each week when Monday rolls around, I completely forget what went on in  the prior week. I promise I did something good! Honest! Maybe I didn't completely forget, but you get the point. 

We went to Sean and Stephanie's Tuesday night with Jacob. Sean started to get argumentative about a certain Gospel topic and Jacob shut him down so hard!! I was just watching like dang Sean you just got served! I don't mind a spiritually uplifting conversation that may have conflicting viewpoints, but when you start to attack the other, that's when the Spirit leaves. Sean was trying to do that and Jacob just WHAM *end of conversation*

Our week was pretty low key with the exception being Sunday. Church was great and we were running the rest of the day. I had my Nike's on for part of the day because we saw some ballers at the park and we stopped so I could teach them a lesson! I tucked my tie into my shirt and we played 4 v 4 full court. At one point after I hit a driving layup, this one Hispanic dude was like, "who's going to guard him?" No one did! They weren't very good but it was fun none the less. We only had 20 minutes before our next visit so I got the job done quick and was sweaty for our teaching appointment! I taught the Gospel Principles lesson on Faith and that went well. We taught one of our investigators named Walker right after church and he is almost finished with the Book of Mormon. He feels good about it all so we invited him to pray to know which date he should be baptized! Woohoo! We went to a town 20 minutes away and sat in this dried up lake and met with one of the other ward's recent converts and his two nonmember friends who talked about how they've all changed their lives. They went from drugs, drinking, and partying every night to a life of Christianity. They told us some really personal things and we are excited to teach them again Tuesday night. We met with the Stake President really quick and he gave us some VERY inspired counsel about counselling in the church (when we get together as leadership and talk about how we can help individuals and families). It's awesome to be around such inspired leaders all the time. We ended the night by meeting with 4 less actives all at different times. It's hard to see someone who once was adamant about the Gospel fall into hopelessness. That's really what I see in a lot of less actives is a loss of direction. They know where they should be going, but they are so far from it that they give up sometimes. We basically are there to remind them of what they already know to be true.

There was a talk in sacrament meeting based on Elder M. Russell Ballard's October 2014 conference talk "Stay in the Boat and Hold On!". The boat is the Gospel/Church. I've seen it in our RC's life that he sometimes wants to push everyone away when troubles arise. He wants to isolate himself from the Church because for some odd/prideful reason he thinks he can do it on his own. He isn't the only one who struggles with this thinking. We all do! When problems come up, the last thing we need to do is start pushing away the support and teachings of the Church (or family). That'd be like jumping off the ship when the storm is at its worst. Not the smartest of ideas. I know in my life that during my hardest times, I too want to close off but that's not what will help. We need to ask for help from God and our friends and family. I love how that the journey isn't smooth and it will require every ounce of energy you have, but the ship will return to God someday safe and sound. 

"All aboard!"


Friday, May 1, 2015

"I know this is His work"

No lie, things have been hard lately. Between helping missionaries, our recent convert, and all of our investigators, I don't have time to worry about myself. I guess that's what a mission is for.

Monday wasn't really our p-day because we went to the temple on Wednesday. So instead of emailing and laundry, we taught Walker, who is engaged to a girl in the ward. He is really an independent learner, so going into the lesson we knew we shouldn't step on his toes. We prayed about what to teach and prayer/receiving answer through the Holy Ghost came to us. We went in there and straight up let him know, "This is your search and we understand that. We just want to help you expedite the process by knowing how you'll receive your answers." The lesson went amazingly well. 

The temple on Wednesday was great. It felt like I had never been before! Ha! Not necessarily a good thing because I was like, "what do I do again?!" It was nice to get that added spiritual boost, which I desperately needed. 

I was on exchanges and we went onto campus to do some street contacting. The first dude we saw had earphones in, so I stopped him and asked if he had some time to listen to our message about Jesus Christ. He said, "No, sorry, I need to go home." I told him, "No worries! We can walk and talk!" He wasn't interested, but that's the perfect thing to do when someone says they are in a rush. He actually gave me his email address so I might email him.

We had a pretty sweet Leadership meeting Friday afternoon with Elder James B. Martino of the Seventy. He was more laid back than any of the other General Authorities we've had in the mission. He was approachable but not too casual. He taught a bunch of good stuff. I think what I got most from the meeting is fact that I need to pray for each missionary individually under my stewardship. There is no universal solution (well there is, it's called the Gospel of Jesus Christ), but I need to be sensitive to the individual needs of each missionary. It's a big deal!

Our recent convert, Jacob, had a VERY rough week. It seems like now that he is a member that he keeps getting punched left and right. He left Church early yesterday because of all the stress he was under. He wasn't sure if he wanted to come back to church ever again. We picked him up and brought him to the institute later in the evening around 6:30. We just chatted with him until the institute director, who was holding a mission prep class, invited us to come in and act as investigators. Elder Zavala and I were taught by these two 17 year olds who were trying to teach the Plan of Salvation. They went into some pretty deep doctrine! Ha! Afterwards, we all came together and Bishop Coleman asked Jacob to share his conversion experience. He talked for 10 minutes, and you could see how much that helped him. We went and taught a less active to end the night and Elder Zavala and I sat back and watched as Jacob and JB taught each other. They helped solve each other's problems. By the end of the night, Jacob was relieved of all the junk he had experienced the prior week. It was amazing to see how getting over ourselves actually helps ourselves.

I think my problem recently is that I try to take the whole world upon my own shoulders when it's not meant to be that way. If I spent half the time in humble prayer that I do in stressing and worrying, then my problems would be solved.  I think I'm learning that lesson. I pray for charity and patience every single day now and lo and behold, God keeps trying my love and patience. And maybe it's not that my problems will just disappear, but that through the enabling power of Christ's Atonement that I will have the strength to bear my trials. I don't have all the answers but I know who does. And I know this is His work. 


"A non-traditional missionary email"

How can I make this a non-traditional missionary email that people won't just skim over? Alright, Book of Mormon language it is!

Sell Chapter 1 - Elder Sell is grieved because of the iniquity of his people. He calls them to repentance.

1 - And it came to pass, that in the second week of the fourteenth month of Elder Sell's mission, he journeyed in the land of Greeley.

2 - And the stench thereof was terrible to the smell thereof. Wherefore, many people were led away into the land northward.

3 - Now behold, Elder Sell was struggling because of the iniquity of his people, the Greeley Zone.

4 - And thus, his eyes watered his pillow by night and his voice raised high to the Heavens in prayer to Almighty God.

5 - And it came to pass, in the second week of the transfer there was to be a zone meeting where the people were to gather. 

6 - Notwithstanding the hardheartedness of his people, Elder Sell taught with as much love as he could summon, desiring the welfare of his people. Wherefore, he taught according to the Spirit which persuadeth men to do good. Now these are the words which he spoke to the people:

7 - Greeley Zone, for ye are to be called a zone. For behold, we have been given the responsibility of preaching the Gospel amongst the Greeley-ites and the Fort Morgan-ites and the Windsor-ites and all many of -ites are we to teach. Let us not be divided, wherefore, we must fall if we rely on the arm of the flesh. 

8 - My beloved brethren and sisters, let us repent and come unto Christ, who extendeth all men his everlasting grace and mercy. Seek no more to listen to unapproved music! Seek no more to gather with thine brethren when thou shalt be laboring in the vineyard! And lo, the field is white and already to harvest! Wherefore, why seek ye the things of this world? Cast your eyes round about and behold those that perish in unbelief because they know not where to go!

9 - We shall be restored to that which we desire. Righteousness for righteousness. Wickedness for wickedness. All things shall be restored unto us in the last day of judgement.

10 - I exhort you, my brethren in Christ, to turn to Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. Treasure up the words of life, yea, and sing the song of redeeming love! For behold, thy desire shall change as ye keep His commandments.

11 - I seek not for the glory and honor of the world, but for the welfare of my people. Come, let us put our shoulder to the wheel and push along.

12 - And thus it is, Amen.

Sell Chapter 2 - Elder Sell searches to find the elect.

1 - And it came to pass, being much fatigued from his journeying, Elder Sell went back to his own home.

2 - Elder Sell **dwelt in a tent.

3 - And when he had risen, he traveled to the homes of many, teaching and exhorting them to build their rock on their Redeemer, Christ the Lord.

4 - And on the Holy day of the Sabbath, which being interpreted is Sunday, he journeyed to the house of Wade.

5 - Wherefore, Wade was much confounded because of the magical herb. And this herb has been known by many in the land wither-soever Elder Sell has journeyed. 

6 - Therefore, for this cause, Elder Sell did not teach Wade because his ears were closed as to his understanding. For behold, this book cannot contain all the tangents of Wade. And they are many.

7 - And when Elder Sell's heart was depressed and he was about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted him and said, "Go amongst thy brethren Sean and Stephanie and bear with patience thine afflictions and I will give unto thee success."

8 - And it came to pass, when Elder Sell traveled to the home of Sean and Stephanie that he was warmly received. And now, their hearts were softened.

9 - Thus, Elder Sell taught them the message of the Restoration. And this is not all, for behold, there were many question answered among the people. When Sean asketh how long Elder Sell shall continue in the area, he replieth, "four weeks, but this may not be all."

10 - Then Sean, being a Gentile, gave his promise, "When thou shalt leave, thou shalt return to the land of Greeley and abide in my home, for thou art a friend, forever."

11 - And thus, by long suffering and persuasion and hardship, Elder Sell had gained the trust and friendship of one not a member of the church.

12 - And behold, this is not all the doings of Elder Sell. Yea, even an hundreth part cannot be contained in this book. A record of his proceedings shall be found on his large plates,yea, which no eye hath seen nor ear heard.

13 - Notwithstanding the trials and hardships, Elder Sell continued to be a servant of the Lord.

**JST - slept on his bed.

-E. Sell