Monday, August 24, 2015

"You never know how much good you do"

We had our mission tour this week so all of the Wyoming and Nebraska
missionaries met in Cheyenne with Elder Jorge Zeballos of the First
Quorum of the Seventy. It was awesome to hear him and his wife speak.
He told some great stories, one of which I'll share as well.

In his first area in Chile they were teaching a lady and she was ready
for baptism. He went on exchanges with the district leader to do the
interview and when they showed up at her door she was all like "I
can't get baptized!" When they asked why, she told them that she
worked for a catholic school and that they threatened to kick her
little sister out of school as well as fire her if she got baptized.
She didn't mind getting fired but she didn't want to destroy her
little sister's hopes of an education. She told them she would get
baptized later. Elder Zeballos asked this lady if they could kneel
down and ask God when she should be baptized. She told him that since
he suggested it that he pray. The thought went through his head, "if I
pray, how is she supposed to receive an answer?" He told her what she
was feeling and she offered a 30 minute prayer. At the end of the
prayer, they were all crying and she said, "the Lord wants me to get
baptized now!" Two days later, she was baptized.

Years later, Elder Zeballos( at this time President Zeballos) was at a
meeting where he heard his former name "Elder Zeballos!" He looked and
saw a sister missionary. She told him that she was the younger sister
of the lady he baptized so long ago. While her sister offered that
humble prayer, she was hiding behind the curtains! She felt the Spirit
and knew that what the missionaries taught was true. She was baptized
and now was a missionary years later.

The reason I share his story is because you never know how much good
you do. Sometimes we get to see the results of our labors but other
times we don't. Other than this, it was a solid week. Here are some


-classic pre church bathroom picture

Elder Ramirez is finally going home

I didn't burn anything at my 18 month mark so I did at Farnes'
year mark

"I felt so much peace"

Good morning from Laramie, WY!

We went to FHE Monday night and played a game called four on the
couch, which is where a group of people sitting in a circle are
divided into two teams with the goal to have the four seats on the
couch all be the same team. Everyone writes their name on a piece of
paper and throws it in a hat and then you grab a name and that's what
you go by for the rest of the round. The problem for me was I didn't
know anyone's name to begin with so it was difficult. There was this
time where I needed to know a specific name in order for my team to
win and I basically prayed about it and just said what came to my head
and bam it was right #inspired. That story was so pointless haha.

Tuesday night we went to Kyle(less active)'s house so I could help him
with the math prep part for his GRE. It was so fun to do math again.
That probably sounds really weird but it was awesome.

We had a zone conference in Fort Collins on Wednesday where we had
Tiwi's installed into our vehicles. They're basically these little
black boxes that stop you from abusing the vehicles so it's a good
thing. I haven't had any violations yet so that's good. The conference
was decent and it was good to see my buddies.

We had some really good lessons this week with some of the people we
are working with. It's always a good feeling to walk out of a lesson
with the Holy Ghost letting you know what you did was of God.

On Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity to go back to Greeley to
baptize Walker, one of the guys I'd worked with since March. There
weren't many people there but the Spirit was present which is what
matters most. It was really powerful as I said those sacred words of
the baptismal ordinance. After he came out of the water we paused and
I felt so much peace. It's humbling to do that for someone else. The
Priesthood is real and I felt the power as I baptized Walker.

This email was pretty generic so if you want to know anything else you
could actually respond haha. All anyone wants to see is pictures
anyways, so here they are. I would include a picture of my new haircut
but it's not very good. I asked the elder to trim fingers length off
the top and he trimmed the top to a finger's length, and when I say
length I actually mean width. The difference between a good haircut
and a bad haircut is only two weeks anyways!


My good friends -Elder Blue, myself, Elder Sharp

Windy day in Wyoming!

Week one in Laramie is done!

Howdy everyone!

Week one in Laramie is done! Elder Farnes and I are staying really
diligent and putting in work. We set some worthy goals this transfer
and are excited to achieve them.

On Monday (before transfers) Elder Board and I went to the gym to pump
some iron. For the past three months, he and I have been working out
everyday except for Sunday's. Usually we just use body weight but for
our finale we went to a gym to see where we are at. I came on my
mission benching 94% my body weight and after being with Board for two
transfers I can do 110%! It's been fun to workout and treat my body
like a temple. I feel better and look healthier. Yes, I've gained
weight on my muscle! Alright I'm done talking about
working out.

On Wednesday, we helped move some people (who had inactive YSA sons
)from one trailer to another.  Seven people were living in a single
wide so they realized they needed more room so they journeyed eight
trailers down to a double wide. We helped them move their big stuff
including a piano, refrigerator , and cabinets, none of which they had
room for. Both places were completely trashed, literally. I get
depressed when I'm in places like that because it's no way to live.
It's merely surviving. These people are living so far beneath their
potential in trailer trash. Check out this quote by President Ezra
Taft Benson:

"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside
in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the
slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the
slums. … Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The
world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature”

Friday night we got this text from some Emily girl asking, "John are
you still in Laramie?" John was the last elder here and Emily isn't a
member so I guess that's what she called him. We explained that he
left but invited her to meet with us and she did. She brought her
friend Morgan and we sat outside the institute and chatted. Some of the
things they both said were really sad to hear. Emily didn't believe in
God because "if He doesn't exist then I have nothing to worry about,
and if he does exist then He loves me enough to forgive me for
whatever I do. So I'm just going to do whatever and not worry." My
heart aches when I hear others talk so casually and carelessly about
God. It's as if this life was all an accident and nothing matters to
some people. Let me get this straight, you'd rather believe that::

A) this life is all that exists, that there is nothing after and
nothing before, that we are alone in our trials, nothing you do
matters, death is the definitive end and there is no hope

Rather than believing:

B) We have a loving Heavenly Father and we are each his prized sons
and daughters. He loves us so much to allow us to experience mortality
with a body given to us by Him. Knowing we would make mistakes and
fall short, He gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to atone
for the sins, temptations, and infirmities we would experience in this
life. Through faith in Christ and repentance, we can feel clean,
peace, and joy on our way back to the presence of God. Everything we
do matters and death has no sting. We will live with our families and
God in Eternal happiness and progression if we do what He has asked.

And to end this mini-rant/sermon, you can believe whatever you want
but Truth is Truth. I can believe that gravity doesn't exist but if I
jump off a cliff my belief won't change the outcome. Jesus Christ
lives and that's Truth. 2Chainz says it best, "Tru!"


Orvil McKenzie from Prairie Ridge in Foco

Fort Collins temple and Elder Farnes after MLC

Snowy Range - part of Wyoming is beautiful

 District Meeting in Rawlins - ratchet pic

A great week!

A great week!

We got transfer news and I'm going to Laramie Pilot Peak YSA to continue being a ZL while elder Board is getting one of my best friends Elder Blackburn to keep beasting it here in the YSA. Elder Blackburn is a beast too, trained by one of my other best friends Elder Empey. Lots of great elders in this mish. Since I'm a ZL I get to do exchanges with the DLs and it just so happens that the DL up by Rawlins covers both Hanna and Saratoga. That means I get to go back to my two outcasted areas! Blessings on blessings on blessings! My focus, however, is now on the young single adults of Laramie. I want to continue the grind until I'm exhausted on my bed at home. My mission doesn't even end on the airplane as long as I'm not the only passenger on the flight. Even if I was, I'd go talk to the pilot. This is the true test of a missionary. I've seen SO MANY good elders drop off the last few months. Why? That's like winning the mile race for the first three laps then walking when it matters most. Keep pushing. Board and I work out a lot and the last few reps of any exercise are when you either push or quit. It's easy to do it when your body and mind aren't telling you "STOP IT!" This is when boys become men, or stay boys. I want to become a man and I am saying this semi-publicly so others can hold me accountable. But at the end of the day, God is who I serve and I know I'll answer to Him. I try to nightly so I don't end up freaking out when judgement day comes and I didn't do what He asks. This time is precious and I know I'll miss it when I leave. Time to GO!

We had a baptism last night and I'm not including her name because her parents didn't know about it. It was one of the most spiritual times of my life. The peace, the comfort, the joy was palpable (big word lol). It was simply amazing. One of those moments when you're like "that's why I'm on a mission." I know this Gospel is true. I know this is Christ's church. I know Jesus Christ lives because I've felt His spirit witness to me that he is my savior as well as everyone else's. I feel peace. I feel loved. It's awesome!

-Elder Sell

Saturday, August 15, 2015

It's all in the Lord's timing!

Where do the weeks go? I hit my 18 month mark this week but I still
feel new as a missionary. I've been doing it forever and it feels like
this is all I know but at the same time I feel new. It's an odd
feeling and I'll probably get the hang of it right before I go home (5
months from now). My favorite song these days are Christmas songs.
Empey and I were bumping Christmas music back in February because
"I'll be home for Christmas!" I sound really trunky, but I'd prefer to
call it joyful anticipation for my future as well as still working
hard/enjoying being a missionary.

It was a slower week in the YSA. The good thing is that our people
ready for baptism are indeed getting baptized soon! We have dates for
them and everything. People pop up out of no where due to no skill of
my own. It's all in the Lord's timing!

What else is there to write? I finished my second journal, all 400
pages of it. It's been so sweet to record every single day for the
past 18 months. I'm trying to actually write things that matter now so
someday if my kids read it they will learn something from it, other
than what I ate or what dumb things I did. I'd encourage whoever reads
this to make a journal of some sort. There is an app for that!

Our zone baptized 4 people this past Saturday. We were able to go to
three baptisms and it was sweet! Glad to see the work hastening.

The scriptures are awesome and so are the words of living prophets
and apostles. It's been such a blessing to study every single day.

This email was pretty lame but that's alright! Maybe if people
actually wrote me they'd be cooler.

-Elder Sell

"Did he read the same book that I did?"

We had zone meeting/interviews with the mission president on Tuesday.
Some missionaries in our zone have trouble waking up on time so Elder
Board and I demonstrated how it works. I brought my pillow and blanket
and laid down on the ground in front of the 28 missionaries and showed
them how waking up works. Elder Board served as my alarm and when it
went off, I simply threw my knees out of my covers and onto the floor
and began praying. I then got up and asked the zone, "Did you see
that? When the alarm went off, I got up!" There were a few chuckles
but I think they got the point. My interview with President Brown
didn't go so hot. I was number 26/26 to get interviewed, and earlier in
the day he had his "worst interview of all-time" with an elder. I
asked him about going home 3 weeks early for Christmas/school and he
asked me why I was so selfish. Anyways, I'll figure it out!

Our investigator, Angelle, who was supposed to be baptized on Saturday
faced some major opposition as well. I won't go into details but one
way to know when you're on the right path is that it gets much harder
to stay on that path. Hopefully she will be baptized soon. She is an
amazing young lady!

We went on exchanges with the APs and saw some miracles. Elder Winter
and I went to teach this 80-something year old man, Jack. He has read
the Book of Mormon twice now and he let us know what he thought of
it. He told us we are going to hell, our church is false, and Joseph
Smith was a liar and my thought was, "Did he read the same book I
did?" Because if so, he didn't get the message. One of my favorite
scriptures in the Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 25:26:
"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we
prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our
children may know to what source they may look for a remission of
their sins.".
That's what/who/why/how the Book of Mormon, The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints, and me as a missionary teach! Jesus Christ is
our Savior and Redeemer! But when your heart is hard and you don't
wish to feel the Spirit, you won't. Simple.

At 8:30, Elder Winter and I tried to contact a less active family but
they weren't home. We continued walking and saw this man on the other
side of the street. We said hi and saw him approach a woman who looked
scared. We asked them what was going on and she said their little
brown dog was missing. We told them we would find their dog. We said a
prayer and off we went. Five minutes later at a nearby park, we found
their little brown dog. Elder Winter carried her all the way back to
the home where the owner said a quick "thanks" and got inside before
we tried to teach him something. Seconds later, it started down
pouring so we sprinted back to our truck, laughing at how awesome that
experience just was.

Life is good! Although it is hard sometimes it is rewarding. I love
growing my faith and sharing it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ makes
sense and if your heart is open you'll feel it's true. I hope I can
find some more of the elect before my time here is up. It's been a