"Wherefore, whithersoever they shall send you, go ye, and I will be with you; and in whatsoever place ye shall
proclaim my name an effectual door shall be opened unto you, that they may receive my word."
- Doctrine & Covenants 112:19

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Last shall be first"

This is really strange knowing this is the last email I will write as a full-time missionary. But it's not been as hard as I thought that it would. I think it is because I don't view this as an end. "Last shall be first" was intended to mean that this is a last that will also be a first. It marks the beginning of something new and exciting. Even though I won't have a name tag anymore, I intend on doing most of the exact things that I do now. 

Today we had the privilege of having Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy (in the Missionary Department) and Brother Donaldson come and give us an iPad training. Our mission is getting iPads next week, so they came to teach us more about them. After seeing just how much it will impact the work, I'm a little envious that I will never get to experience that as a missionary, but that is why I loved the training so much because it wasn't just about how to use the iPads, but it was about conversion. It helped me to think about the way I want to use technology when I go home. Most of all, it was special because the Holy Ghost was the teacher, and we all learned so much from Him.

This week has flown by but has been so great.

We were able to call and teach Richard, and miraculously, he didn't mention anything about going to a seminary to find information. Not sure if that was because he didn't go, but we had a great lesson. We followed up with his commitments which he was been keeping for the most part. He even set aside an hour and a half today to read the Book of Mormon. He has church penciled on his calendar for next Sunday and has asked his lifelong member friend if he could go with him. The missionaries will come visit him today and are planning on teaching from Alma 32 with him. He is still praying about everything we share with him and everything he reads in the Book of Mormon, and feels that Heavenly Father is really guiding him in his life right now.

We found a new investigator named Lexi this week .She is way cool! We met her on chat and she is very adamant about not getting our hopes up. She is Evangelical and her Grandpa is a member and she has always been very curious. But, lately as she has been learning more she has felt truth and has been doubting some of the things she has been taught.

We had an awesome lesson with her last night and she is going to church on Sunday. She really wants to make sure it is right before she goes open about it to her family, and I think that is way cool.

Briee is doing great! She is getting baptized on April 15th and really feels like Heavenly Father has led her here and this is His Restored Gospel.

Our other investigators are doing great and we are praying that we wil lbe able to help them to progress towards baptism and the Temple. I have felt SO blessed to have the opportunity to be involved in teaching them.

As I near this last week as a missionary, Alma really sums up how I feel. And I choose to end with this:

"12 Behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?
14 Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.
15 Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.
16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us
35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name."

I know this is God's very work. I know Jesus Christ lives and I will serve Him for the rest of my life, and "praise His name forever." I will forever treasure this sacred time I have has as a missionary! The two things I always tell everyone are:

1. Work hard, play harder

2. Always be better today than you were yesterday

It's the key to success.

Thank you for all the prayers and support. I feel them, and they have helped to change my heart. May we all take full advantage of the Atonement so our hearts can be changed to become more like Christ.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Our unique message: the Restoration

Wow, that was a fast week. But a great week!

Our investigators are doing really well. We're weeding out the ones that are really prepared NOW to receive the Restored Gospel.

One of those is Briee! We taught her all about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and focused on the 'pray to know' part of the lesson. She is doing so good with that. She said that she feels the spirit and she really understands and likes everything we share with her. She is just so sincere it's almost weird. Haha just kidding. She is just really prepared. She's even been to church twice now and is praying to know when she should be baptized. And the missionaries finally came! They also taught her the restoration so pretty soon she can teach us the Restoration. haha.

Jeanne is another that is super prepared. She's only been learning for about a month, but is getting baptized on the 28th. When the missionaries invited her to be baptized on the 28th she said she felt honored and so grateful that someone would invite her to do that. Sometimes as missionaries or member missionaries, we feel that we are pushing people and being awkward by inviting them to do things, but really you just never know when someone has been prepared. They have been waiting for someone to invite them, and when a person does, the Holy Ghost can confirm that it is right. The Holy Ghost cannot confirm that it it right if we never give them a chance!

Tim is doing really well. His Stake President and Bishop came over and told him they think he is ready to prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and his Endowments! In March he will have been a member for a year. So that's what he is working on. He is still struggling with his health but hopefully it will improve enough for him to be out and about a little more. He's been having to have the sacrament brought to him recently because he isn't feeling so great in the mornings. So hopefully that will improve!

Richard on the other hand isn't as prepared right now....We knew this week's lesson would be a way to know if he is ready or not. We were following up yesterday with his Book of Mormon reading and he was telling us how it follows the bible and he hasn't found anything he disagrees with. But then he started talking about his Catholic beliefs and how the Catholic church was the original church...We knew it was time to teach the Great Apostasy and Restoration. The Spirit was definitely there and helped us to know what to say. We tried to do it tactfully so it wasn't like us saying, 'actually when we're talking about churches being started without Christ's Authority we're talking about the Catholic church' haha. But he just didn't want to understand it. He said that he wants to have better proof he can back himself up with so before next week when we call he is going to go to a Seminary and talk to people so he can find out where he can show us that his church is the original church and has the authority. Over and over again we emphasized the point that he should ask God for truth and confirmation, and that no man can give us truth. So we'll see how it turns out. Even if he decides to not investigate the church further, it's okay because we did our best to invite him come closer to Christ by helping him to learn correct information for himself. Sometimes people aren't ready and they take more time and more good contacts with the church before they really understand. But we hope that he will depend on our Heavenly Father to answer his prayers!

We have been enjoying serving in the Beehive House. It's been pretty busy (haha get it, busy like bees in the Beehive House haha) but we've met some really great people. It's such a neat place to serve because not only did Brigham Young live there, but Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith also did, and Joseph F. Smith received the revelation of D&C 138 there. I read the section the other day and it was so cool! It takes the famous chapters in Peter about the Spirit World and expounds them. That's what I love about Modern revelation, things are unfolded and we don't have a big mystery hanging over us. Also, it's cool because we can receive our own personal revelation and be taught more things like the scriptures tell us: "For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round." As Joseph F. Smith was troubled by the passing of family members, he sought to understand more about what happens after we die. We too can seek answers to our questions, and God's mysteries can and will be revealed as we trust Him. That's just another fraction of my testimony of how I know this church has been restored. Of course God hasn't left us alone. We had to be in a period of darkness for a while because of the bad choices of those that persecuted Christ's church. This scripture in Amos prophesied an Apostasy: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:" We had to have that time so the world could be prepared for the Gospel again, but God has always had the same pattern of calling a Prophet to establish His truths. Why would this time be any different? It's so cool to me that we have the same organization that existed in the Primitive church. We can receive personal revelation, and a Prophet can receive revelation for the church. And it's so neat that the Beehive House was worthy for a Prophet to receive revelation! That just means the statement about only a home can be a sacred as a Temple is true.

Anyway, we had some other great lessons, and tours this week also. It's so rewarding to talk to someone who is so closed and has no desire to talk to you but after you try to open your mouth anyway and get to know them, they leave much happier and the spirit has uplifted them! Oftentimes the first sister to contact someone will find that they don't really want to be talked to. But after a good conversation, another set of sisters will come along and talk to the person again, and with every contact they become more friendly and by the time they leave, they have had a great experience. So we can never think to ourselves, 'someone has probably already talked to them,' or 'someone else can talk to them better than I can' because we never know if something we say will be something that specific person needs to hear!

In District Meeting this week, we focused on Revelation through the Book of Mormon. We discussed how important the Book of Mormon is in conversion and why. We watched Elder Holland's Testimony of the Book of Mormon. It's one of my favorite videos! Here's the link so you can watch it:

click here

Well that's about it! Hope you have a great week.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

(No Title)

It's been an eventful week!
We are teaching great people. We've been really blessed.

Sister Weidmann and I have goals of things that we have realized we need to work on. So we have a goal for every day of the week, so on Wednesdays we focus on asking inspired questions, Thursdays inviting everyone, Fridays asking for referrals, etc., so everyday we are trying to turn those weaknesses into strengths. I think it's been working really well because we hold each other accountable and help each other to remember. Also it improves our contacts because we are not just talking to people, but we are trying to help them come closer to Jesus Christ, which is our missionary purpose after all :)

Richard is doing so good! I feel so strongly that that timing was inspired. We talked with him yesterday. The local missionaries came over on Monday and brought him a Book of Mormon and visited with him for about an hour. He said he just felt so fulfilled. He likes the Book of Mormon and was feeling like it agrees with everything he believes. He kept saying things like, 'it fits with my bible' or 'i haven't found anything that differs from my bible' so we told him hey, we want you to know that the Book of Mormon doesn't replace the Bible. We told him how we use them together and he was so relieved. He said, I'm so happy you told me that because that was the impression I had gotten. Now he is excited to read them together to see how they fit together. In Preach my Gospel, it says that we should invite people to be baptized in the first lesson, and no later than the second lesson. I didn't invite int he first lesson because of his past experience with pushy missionaries, but I knew that we needed to on Tuesday. So we invited him to be baptized and he told us about how he didn't like that he was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant because it wasn't his choice, so a couple years ago he went to Jerusalem and was baptized in the River Jordan. He told us all about that experience and how it was life changing and how great it was and said that he has already fulfilled that and doesn't want to again. We taught him about the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how special it is, and how we don't want to take away from the great experience he had, but that we would love for him to be able to add to it. I think he understood that a lot more and that is something he wants to have. The spirit was there and I know he felt it. He said that he is so grateful that we call him because he learns so much and feels like it's what Heavenly Father wants for him. Oh and on the bright side, we cleared up some of the history with missionaries being pushy...he asked us if Jehovah's witnesses were a branch of LDS and told us a story of when they knocked on his door and after the conversation of him saying he was not interested, they shoved their foot in the door so it couldn't close and kept trying to talk to him. He said he hated that and thought they were our missionaries. We just explained that that isn't our religion and not our missionaries. It lightened it up a lot haha and at least now he knows it wasn't us!

We are also teaching a girl named Briee. She had come on chat asking for a Book of Mormon. Her whole family is Baptist, but she has just had this feeling that it's not complete so she started searching. She actually heard about the church through some news story of a Mormon guy that was killed, so it piqued her interest and she was googling it when she came across Mormon.org and that's when she wanted a Book of Mormon. Well we've been calling her and she is learning so fast. She's been reading and praying and really likes it so far. She went to church on Sunday and is wanting the missionaries to come teach her more in her area. We shared the Book of Mormon promise (Mor. 10: 3-5) with her and talked about the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. She said she has felt it before so we encouraged her to look for those same feelings as she reads the Book of Mormon and prays about it. We invited her to be baptized and she said yes. It amazes me how people can be so open-minded. It is really a testimony to me of how the Lord is hastening His work! I'm grateful that people are willing to obey those subtle promptings, even when they don't know they are promptings. It really is a fulfillment of the scripture in D&C 123: "For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—" We all have to be missionaries to help others know where to find it!

We are also teaching Pascal in Germany. He is doing really well and has a baptismal date. He has some problems with his nasal cavity though so he's been really sick and not able to go to church. We are hoping the elders will come and give him a blessing so he can come to church on Sunday. It's funny because he likes to talk to us after he meets with the elders because they are from America and he can't understand their German so he likes to clarify things with Sister Weidmann haha. But he's an awesome guy. It's cool to see someone who is, once again, open, especially in Germany because most people there do not believe in God and have no desire to do so, but he believes in God and wants to do what's right.

We're also teaching someone named Lyssa who came on chat. She didn't grow up very religious but began praying after her brother passed away. She heard about the Book of Mormon and came on chat to get one. We sent the local missionaries at the beginning of January, and they still haven't gotten there!! Hopefully she will be able to go to church so she can meet them there or at least get the Book....we're not sure why they haven't come yet. We told her about the online version and the free download in the Apple store so she'll use that until she can have a hard copy. Last time we talked we taught her about the Book of Mormon and what she can expect from it, and how she can recognize truth. I think it's all new to her but she really likes it because it gives her peace. Now we just need to invite her to be baptized!

We're teaching more but don't have time to tell you about all of them, unfortunately. But we've had such a great week at the Beehive house and the teaching center and on the Square. We've felt the spirit as we've testified to people. Unfortunately they don't always want to act on that feeling of the Spirit but after all, it does take 7 good contacts on average with the church before someone accepts the Gospel. So we are happy we can be one of those!

We love serving here! Thanks for all your prayers and support.

I attached some pictures from this week in the Beehive House, we open it some days before the guests arrive, so we got to explore a little bit!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

8 Months later...

This week has been so busy but so good!

We've been taking lots of tours in the Beehive House and I think we are actually starting to give good tours haha.

It was actually kind of a weird week. I'm not sure how to explain it, I guess it was just one of those weeks. But for example...

Saturday night we were contacting at the Christus when someone ACTUALLY proposed at the feet of Christ. That's so weird to me that someone would propose there! It was pretty awkward. They had blindfolded the girl and walked her all the way up there and all their extended family members were around filming it as they took off the blindfold except that it wouldn't come off at first. Haha it was really funny to watch!

There's so many other weird stories but those don't really matter. We had some great lessons where the spirit was so strong:

Here is one lesson...Some sisters that went home this past transfer contacted me a guy they had recently met named Jordan. Well we met up with him on Thursday for a lesson, and it went...okay. Haha. He is 28 and lives here to teach flying at the SLC Airport. He lives with a Returned Missionary and had been walking on Temple Square when the Sisters contacted him. He grew up Pentecostal but when he got older, it kind of rubbed him the wrong way and he felt like they were staging the 'speaking in tongues.' So he left the church and became Agnostic. He started to drink and smoke and make bad choices and some years later he got turned to AA, which has really helped him. Now he doesn't use those substances and because of the AA program, he has been praying daily. He feels that it helps him from being tempted to drink. In AA, they are taught to pray to a higher power, but not necessarily God. So he prays to God but isn't sure if He exists. We asked why he decided to meet with the sisters and with us and he said he had nothing better to do. We had a long lesson with him doing HTBT (PMG) and teaching about the nature of God and how we can feel His love and how He reveals truth. We shared the First Vision and the spirit was really strong. He would kinda laugh to brush off feeling the spirit, I think he's afraid of finding what he's been looking for. We talked about how he can read and pray about the Book of Mormon to know if it is true and he thinks that is biased and that he will be convincing himself. The experiment mentioned in Alma 32 is perfect for him. It talks about planting a seed and measuring it's efforts. The previous sisters had him read it, but when we mentioned the experiment, he didn't remember reading that. He really liked that idea and said he would read it. Sorry this is all so scrambled, I promise the lesson went better than this haha. But we just told him that all it will come down to is him reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. We told him that we are not here to try to convince him, but we're here to help him find out for himself. We told him that we could be in a room with no windows and tell him that the sky is green, but it would be silly to take our word for it. He would have to go outside and look for himself. That's what we invited him to do is to ask God and trust Him enough to get an answer so he can know that God exists and that He is there. He said that his level of commitment on a scale from 1-10 is a 5. I think he got a lot more than he was thinking when he came that day. But we're not here to be friends or to offer him the Gospel lightly, this is salvation, and he needs this. We're here to harvest. At the end, we asked if we could meet with him again the next week and he said that before he had just been coming because he had nothing better to do, but now he would actually have to pray about it. I was so happy with that answer, that meant that he was serious about it, and that he was thinking. When we followed up with him this week, he hadn't read Alma 32 and said that he wouldn't be back this week but that he was doing his own 'research.' I asked how he was doing his 'research' and he said Google. No way haha the worst. So I g ave him a quote from Elder Anderson in the last General Conference: "Studying the church...through the eyes of its defectors is like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus." I love that quote. I don't think it really phased him but we have so much faith! I know that Heavenly Father will help him. We are praying for him that his desire will be strengthened and his heart softened. We know we can see miracles because this is the Lord's work, and the Lord works miracles. We also put him on a list of people we all pray for as a District. Someday he will totally be baptized.

Another lesson we had was with a guy named Richard. Actually it's such a cool story!

I found him when I left SLC and went to Columbus. He sat next to me on the plane and we talked for a long time about his religious background and about the church, and he actually gave his information to me to learn more. I couldn't call him while I was in Ohio so I tucked away the old planner. Well the Spirit reminded me this week that his number was in my old planner so I called him and it was a great conversation. At first I was a little worried because the very first thing he said is that he volunteers regularly for his catholic church program that he loves. But the Spirit has perfect timing. He lives in Glendale, and the missionaries have come by many times but he said they are always pushy and it rubs him the wrong way, so he would never take a Book of Mormon. After our conversation of establishing expectations and our purpsoe of missionaries and why we wanted to call him and teach him more, he said that if missionaries came right now he would take a Book of Mormon and he would read it. It was way cool. He said that he was hoping I would call and that he knows it is a sign from God. We called him again yesterday and he is going to read the Book of Mormon online until the missionaries come. We're excited!

This week I have been reading 'The Ricciardi Letter' again. I don't know if you've heard about it, but it's a letter of a Returned Missionary, Elder Humphry, talking about his crazy trainer, Elder Ricciardi. It turns out that Elder Ricciardi was about the boldest and most consecrated missionary in the history of all missionaries. It is really inspiring to read as a missionary, but I bet as a Member it would also be inspiring to apply not only to missionary work but trials that we could be going through, so I will attach it. But two things I like and want to share are:

-One, he tells a story of a previous life lesson he learned that applies to missionary work: "When I was in high school, I worked at a golf course. I became friends with the assistant pro and he started to give me free lessons. I quit after about 10 lessons for one simple reason: I was frustrated by the 55 things you have to think about almost simultaneously in order to have a good swing. The club pro finally advised me to stop taking lessons, go play and do one thing for him, just swing, swing, swing. That’s it. Do not give any care as to where the ball goes, just swing. He told me “Danny, you will enjoy golf better by just swinging”. The same applies to missionary work." And then he talked about how we don't have to be perfect. All Jesus Christ expects from us to to open our mouths, and He promises to fill them. We just have to "swing" and talk to everyone.

-Two, he later gets transferred to an area that was really an armpit of the mission. It was really hard and although he was being exactly obedient and working as hard as he could, he couldn't see any results. Finally he went and let out his frustration to the Lord in prayer. He prayed for a very long time, out loud, longer than he had ever prayed before. The answer he got to his prayer changed the mission for him and I think taught him an eternal lesson. The answer was: "Elder Humphrey, I am here. I know who you are. I sent you to those neighborhoods, the very ones where you experienced nothing but rejection. I prompted your changes in direction to even more difficult neighborhoods. I know where each of the elect in your area resides. I know their names. I could send you to those addresses only, and save you the time and sacrifice looking for them. BUT ELDER HUMPHREY, WHAT GOOD WOULD THAT SERVE YOU? The mission experience is to do what you are told, when you are told, to go where you are asked, and know that the blessing comes from enduring what I ask of you. This is not about you; it is about opening your mouth at all times in all places. Doing my will without thought to the end result or consequence… this is what serving a mission is. " It brings me back to that quote, 'don't be so faithless that you have to see the results of your efforts.' This is our life experience too, we can't pick and choose our trials but God has created a meticulous and specific plan for each of us, and every one of those plans leads to joy because that is God's purpose for us.

That's why we don't care that our weeks was full of strange people and strange events because we don't need to see the results of our efforts. We just simply want to be instruments in the Lord's hands. We are so lucky to be missionaries!

Well that's about all we have time for. We'll write more about the other investigators we have next week. Thanks for the prayers, I feel them and they are so appreciated.

Love you!