Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dear family and friends

I cannot describe how incredible this weekend was. I had the chance to be a part of two baptisms. Suzanne was baptized on Saturday and Bronson Luce, a young man I taught in Running Springs, asked if I could baptize him on Sunday. Suzanne's baptism will be a cherished memory for the rest of my life. The entire program ran perfectly including a talk on baptism given by her three children Taylor, Riley, and Bryce. The only thing that went wrong is that the Big Bear building does not have a working water heater at the moment. :( The water was cold. When Suzanne and I stepped into the font both of us reacted to the cold water. She said " wow it is cold," and I replied "don't worry it will be worth it." After we were dried off and in our seats, Sister Jo Ann Holm gave an amazing talk about the The Gift of the Holy Ghost. During her talk Sister Holm asked Suzanne how she was feeling. Suzanne replied saying "There is just so much happiness, so much joy." The spirit was a lot stronger than I had anticipated. After the service I asked "did you enjoy your baptism." She said "yes, It was so worth it." As I have thought about, that my mind was brought back to my home, where a picture of Christ is displayed with the words "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it." The sacrifices we make to follow Jesus Christ are so small compared with what he has in store for us. Bronson's baptism was an amazing experience as well. In April I had the opportunity to baptize his mom. He too has finally decided to take that step. It was great to see everyone in Running Springs again. I keep telling them that they won't see me again, and I am always happy to be wrong. When the baptism was finished his mother was in tears. I hope Bronson remembers the spirit that he felt for the rest of his life. On a complete side note there was a lady at the baptism that I tracted into seven months ago! She is now investigating the church! It is cool to see how even the planting of the smallest seed can grow immensely down the road. Something else happened this last week that is worth mentioning. Before the baptisms we picked up a two week missionary from Rancho Cucamonga named David Kaufusie. He wanted to give mission life a try, and they chose Elder DeVaney and I to be the missionaries to show him the ropes. It is times like these that I wonder if President Godwin knows what he is doing. :) He is Tongan! We have had so much fun these last five days. I now have a Tongan name. It is "pālangivai". It means White Water!! :) I think you can figure out why this is my Tongan name. :) Well Until next week. I love my mission, and I'm sure Nate will love his too!  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hello from the battle front,

Yesterday we had a great lesson with Suzane Cuaz. We are making the some of the final preparations for her baptism this Saturday. Since I have met her I have said that I haven't seen anyone this ready to be baptized on my mission. She recently read the entire Gospel Principles book, she reads the Book of Mormon with her kids daily, and most importantly she prayed and received an answer that this is church is true before we even met her. Her experience has been the miracle of my stay in Big Bear. At the end of the lesson we just had she asked me if I would baptize her and she asked Elder DeVaney if he could do the confirmation! In my eyes there is no greater honor than participating in these holy ordinances. I am happy that Elder DeVaney has the chance to  see success early in his mission. In complete contrast to what I have been just talking about Elder DeVaney and I have been battling the last few weeks with an ant colony that lives in our walls. When I they ate my fruit loops and brownies I wasn't too upset, but when they tried to break into my Nuttella.......... IT BECAME WAR. :) We have since acquired all manner of poisons and ant traps to deter them from a complete take-over. I am happy to report that the scales are tipping and our flag is rising. I will give you more updates on the epic war between man and ant next week. :) Last on my agenda of things to report is express some of my feelings for my father. On my mission I have seen many broken families. I have seen many priesthood holders not rising up to their responsibilities. My mind has been drawn back to my own father who, in his patient yet powerful way, has been a leader for my family in the good times bad. Just as our heavenly father does for all of us, my Dad has set a high bar for me. He was a missionary in Norway, He was married in the Logan Temple, He is now a worthy priesthood holder, and now I am led to follow and do the same. To avoid any cliche connotations that this message may Carry, my Dad does have his share of follies. It is because of those that he has been able to help me when I have too fallen. Dad, I love you. Happy fathers Day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

So Guess What!
It was just another Wednesday night. I was winding down after a day of seeing people, when I got a text from my last comp in Running Springs. It said: "hey Lisa just got out of an interview with Pres and she is getting baptized this Sunday at five! She also wants you to baptize her" That text message blew my mind! :) I had set a date with her before I came here to Big Bear and that date came and went. Finding out that she was really going to do it  and that she wanted me to baptize her was one of the greatest pieces news I have received on my mission. The baptismal service was sweet; The Spirit was strong. Lisa has gone through a lot in her life. It was incredible to see her fears washed away by the cleansing power of the atonement, through baptism and confirmation. We had special permission to have her confirmed right there after she had been baptized. I hope I never forget the happiness I saw in her face when she was feeling the spirit so strongly. She has many obstacles ahead (as we all do) but she is through the gate that leads to Eternal Life. Not to mention she has a "trail guide" now, which is the Holy Ghost. President and Sister Godwin head the chance to attend the service as well. I told to President that I was grateful that the spirit has inspired him to keep me in the mountains. He replied "don't get to used to it," or something to that effect. :) President Godwin is a great man. I feel like the blessing of seeing this success was undeserved on my part. I think of the missionaries elsewhere giving it their all and not seeing much success through their missions. The Lord is doing a great work here in So. Cal. I'm just glad I can hitch on for the ride. :) On a completely different note some of the zone came up here to Big Bear for a hike called Castle Rock. You can see the lake from the top of the trail, so beautiful. Well that is all for this week. More miracles always are on their way ....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

MY Good People!
Another great week in the paradise of big bear! We had one of the funnest lessons I have taught on my mission this last week. It was with Suzane and three of her kids. Elder Devaney and I went to the church about a half an hour before hand to set up a maze/ obstacle course with anything we could find. The course spanned the entire cultural hall. :) When the kids showed up we blind-folded them with ties and they had to make it through the course listening closely to "the still small voice"(us) guiding them through the twists and turns. We taught them a lot about the Holy Ghost and how we really need to listen closely to the promptings we get. We then led them to a big chalk board that had The Plan of Salvation drawn out in detail across it. The kids seemed to learn it well enough to turn around and teach us when we were done explaining it. For the final portion of our lesson with them we showed them a big bowl filled with water. We sprinkled pepper across the waters surface to represent sin. To represent baptism and repentance we added dish soap which forced the pepper to the sides of the bowl. The kids love the church and what they are being taught so much. It is a shame we don't have permission to get them baptized yet. Another fun event this week was the ward party on Saturday night. It was held at the LDS Youth Camp here in Big Bear. To entertain us after dinner was a performer called Farley The Fiddler, who has a show at Disney Land. It was very much a kid oriented show, but man that guy can play the fiddle. :) I had him play The Devil Went Down to Georgia when his show was done. :) All in all it seems that each and every week I have memories that will stick with me for a very long time. The ward loves us, I'm doing well and I thank you for all of the support.