Monday, April 30, 2012

Pics - 4/30

And it came to pass That It was another great week in the field with a few more stories to remember. On our way to district meeting on Tuesday we stopped to take pictures of the valley. A guy named Ted pulled off next to us and asked "are you guys Mormons?" We were like "..... yea :)" He said he had been going through some very hard times and he wanted us to pray for him right there. (a common occurrence actually) After finding out that he lived in Running Springs we asked if we could come over. Yesterday we had our first lesson with Ted. The spirit was strong and he has committed to be at church this Sunday! He is one of the most promising new investigators we have had in a while. We have been very blessed to pick up at least one new investigator each week. Another miracle that happened this week was when we set a baptismal date with Lisa Ornalez! It has been hard to get lessons with her the last couple of transfers, but when we did we were bold. We read 2 Nephi 31 and challenged her to baptism. These types of lessons are the ones I will remember for years to come. Her family has been going through some hard times. I know that the gospel in their lives can heal many wounds. For now Lisa the mother of four is the only one so far with a date, but we hope that her example will push her daughters along. In other news I find out if I am going to be transferred on Saturday. We had Interviews with President Godwin this last week, and though it was undetermined, He made it seem that I would be going. I have been here for six months, which is about the length they want missionaries in one area. I have mixed feelings about leaving Running Springs, especially with all of the great work we have been doing lately. But as they say "I'll go where you want to go dear Lord." I have seen a lot of good happen here In Running Springs. I will surely miss it. It's a good thing I would only have a five hour drive from home to get back here. :) Well nothing is for certain just yet so I will let you know next week. I miss you all soooo much. 

It is not often you get to shake hands with an apostle of the Lord. On Saturday I did just that. We arrived at the meeting in Fontana at two, an hour before it was time to start. As time grew closer My comp and I went to the restroom at 2:25. On our way back to the chapel we passed Elder Ballard and his security guards. :) I nervously looked at him and greeted him as I softly said "Elder Ballard" with the slight nod of my head. He replied with something like "how are you Elders today." When got back to the Chapel I turned to another missionary and told him That we passed Elder M. Russell Ballard in the hall, and my companion said "WE DID!?" Ha :) He didn't recognize him nor did he hear me greet him.:) After everyone was seated quietly we started with everyone lining up to shake Elder Ballard's hand. Accompanying Elder Ballard was Shayne M. Bowen and Elder Scott D. Whiting of the Seventy. We also heard from Douglas F. Higham who is an area Seventy for a part of California. All of their talks were amazing, but it was clear who the apostle was when Elder Ballard spoke. He was a lot funnier then I thought he would be. He got up to the pulpit and the first thing he said was "well.... let's go home!":). As he looked over all of our faces he said " you guys need to put on more sunscreen!... We don't want you comin' home with cancer!" :) He proceeded with his talk and the spirit was strong. He saved some time at the end of his talk to answer questions and address concerns. At the close of his talk he simply bore his testimony by reading 3 Nephi 11. If you have not read that chapter recently I suggest you do so. He got choked up as he read it gave us his Apostolic witness that Jesus Christ Lives. He called blessing upon us for the work here in The great San B mission. It is safe to say that this was the best meeting I have ever been to on my mission, if not my life. I am going to work on applying the wisdom they had for us in the coming weeks and months ahead. The work in Running Springs is still going well. We are getting new investigators and getting them on the path of discipleship. I hope my fam has fun in Mexico, but I would rather be here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear Southern Utah,

This email won't nearly be as exciting as the last, but there are a few things to report on including the epic snow storm we had. The people of Running Springs never fail to tell me how fed up they are with the snow. I've never had this much winter in my life! The good thing about snow storms is it helps us get into more houses. Would you deny a couple of missionaries covered in snow at your front door with ice shrapnel filled winds laying siege upon their faces? I didn't think so.:) That actually did help us get into a couple of houses that normally turn us away this week. In other snow related news we got stuck! We got a truck A.D. (after destruction) that would supposedly keep us out of that kind of trouble with it's four wheel drive etc. But after an amazing lesson on the Book of Mormon with a couple of our new investigators Dean and Linda, we got stuck in the middle of a snow storm heading back to the main highway. After pushing, digging, sliding, and freezing for forty five minutes we finally called our Branch Mission Leader Earl Purkiss. With his help we finally got the truck we have named Bruce back on the road.:) We finally got home at 11:30, Which is a bit past our curfew. :) The work here has been going good, but we are definitely in a building stage again after those two baptisms. We are working with a few people now that I have high hopes for. In sadder new an investigator we started teaching recently dropped us after looking up a lot of "anti" on Joseph Smith. I told her that her reading the Book of Mormon and asking God is the ONLY way she can know the truth. She wouldn't listen. In happier news M Russell Ballard is coming to speak to the mission this Sunday! I am very excited for that. It isn't to often I get to hear an Apostle of our Lord speak in person. I will let you know how that goes next time. I have a firm testimony of this work, and every experience I have builds on that. I hope all of you are doing wonderfully. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hello World,

There are few weekends in my life that can compare to the one I just experienced. The combination of baptisms and Easter is more than any missionary could ask for. The first was on Friday, where I had the opportunity to baptize Diana. It has been such a blessing to know her. Through the entire program she couldn't restrain her tears. I do admit I was pretty nervous to do the baptism, but it went perfectly. As I was getting changed into my dry clothes, I felt the chills which I personally feel when the spirit is with me. I know that her baptism was of great eternal significance. After I was dressed I gave a talk on The Gift of the Holy Ghost, and then our branch president led in her confirmation. When the final prayer was said I asked her if it had met her expectations. She replied that "It was better than she could have imagined." Diana is a follower of Jesus Christ, which is a manifestation of her strong faith. The second Baptism was for A.J Lundgren. His baptism was on Saturday morning and it was as celestial as the first. I started teaching him the week we arrived in running springs. He has been seeing missionaries for ten years and he has finally taken the step of baptism. The change of heart I have seen with him has been huge. During the baptism he was the picture of sincerity. He is a man who doesn't express too much emotion, but with the Spirit of God unrestrained his emotion was also unrestrained. His father in law baptized him and we had the confirmation in the light of an Easter morning. The reason for the Easter holiday is the same reason we can feel the true joy that I have felt in circumstances like the ones mentioned. It is because of Jesus Christ and His Infinite Atonement. On another note I would like to thank my amazing family for the box of Easter candy! I would also like to thank my dear Grandma Sandy for her package of sweets as well. The support I have received has been amazing. I love you all and I will see you all very soon. (I'm a third of the way through my mission:) 

Monday, April 2, 2012

To Everyone,

This mission has been full of firsts for me. It is the first time I have lived away from a sweet mother who cleans and cooks for me. :) It is the first time I have been personally involved in others coming to Christ. It is also the first time I have gotten in a car crash. For those who have driven with me in past years you are probably not surprised. :) Believe it or not I have been an overly cautious while driving, but it only takes one mistake to get into a car accident. I was driving down the highway here in Running Springs and I made a left turn and I didn't see the oncoming car coming. They hit our back end. If they would have swerved a foot they would have missed us. that initial hit pushed us into the bumper of a car turning right. So the first half of this week we were on foot while I car is being repaired. :( Ironically enough we were able to talk to a lot more people that way and we picked up a new investigator! on Sunday I was able to turn this into a great analogy for living the gospel. when I got to this area I drove in snow and on ice for my first time. I also have never experienced so many drivers darting down skinny mountain roads so fast that you don't see them until the last second. We also have had the experience many times to drive through fog so thick you can't see the yellow lines on the road. But it was the moment when I wasn't fearful of crashing that I made a mistake. At the beginning of this life God has handed us keys to the new car that is our bodies. Though at times we may be careful in keeping gospel principals, when we let our guards down by letting ourselves be distracted or deceived by Satan, we crash. Where this analogy falls apart is that there is no auto body shop on earth that gives you a car better than the one you crashed when they are done fixing it. The Atonement of Jesus Christ on the other hand does. Not only are our spiritual wounds healed but we are lifted even higher than we once were. Yes I just turned a moment of my utter stupidity into a gospel lesson.:) Another first for me in my life will be this Friday, when I will have a chance to baptize someone. Dianna called me one morning B.C (before the crash :) and asked me If I would baptize her. I am so grateful that I will have the chance to be a part of this sacred ordinance. another first for my mission is the fact that we have two separate baptisms this weekend! One for Dianna and the other will be on Saturday for A.J Lundgren. I have loved becoming his friend and preparing him for baptism. At the priesthood session he came to me and a member of the branch council and said that after ten years of going through different missionaries and wards, he feels that he is finally ready. He said that it was the right branch and the right missionaries (ME!:) that have brought him to this complete 180 degree turn. I loved conference. Holland's talk about the "11th hour" and Uchtdorfs talk about "envy and forgiveness" were my favorites. I felt there were many things that I could 'liken' unto myself. :) well thank you for your prayers and letters.:)