Tuesday, April 30, 2013

800 lb. Gun Safe...Fun!!

Hey family,

This week has been a blur; I sit here at the computer and have to look at my planner to see exactly what it is we did all week, we were so busy. That's a good thing, though, and a great feeling. There's nothing like working hard all day and hitting the sack as soon as you get home. We helped a lot of people move this week, and one of the families had this 800 pound gun safe. Elder Biggs and I were the only two people there to help for a while, so we managed to get this hulking safe out of the house and into the trailer. When we got to the new house to unload everything, we found out we need to get it up two flights of stairs into the master bedroom...naturally, we were ecstatic. We're still sore, and that was on Thursday. Other than that, we've been out enjoying the warm weather that's slowly been creepin' on us, knocking doors and talking to people.

After our baptism last Saturday, we realized we don't have anyone who's progressing or anyone to teach, really, so we're back in the finding mode. To help us stay motivated and stay sharp on our teaching skills, we've started to ask the member families in the area to have us over for the missionary discussions. Our hope was that these lessons will touch the hearts of the members and inspire them to do some missionary work. Since we've been doing that, it's been working; the other day a family invited over a friend to come listen to us teach their family. After the lesson, she became a new investigator and accepted our invitation to read from the Book of Mormon and to pray about it. That's exactly how we're hoping these member lessons work. As we continue to teach the members, bringing the Spirit into their home, their desire to share the message of the Restoration with their friends will increase. We've been really busy with appointment after appointment because of these member lessons, but we're loving it and they're some great experiences.

Thanks for the emails and letters; logging on and seeing several unread messages in my inbox every monday is such a great feeling. I hope you guys have a great week!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shea Hill's baptism

Hey guys!

This has been the best week since being here in this part of Vegas, all because of Shea Hill's baptism this Saturday. It was amazing. Elder Biggs and I got to the church pretty early (about 2.5 hours early) to start setting up chairs/filling up the font. Shea and her husband, Todd, showed up an hour early beaming, so excited and ready for the sacred ordinance she's been preparing for since January. The baptism had a great turnout with some great talks by our ward mission leaders wife and Elder Biggs. When it came time for the baptism, they walked down into the font together and spent a little bit of time looking at each other, smiling. It was a great experience and the spirit was so strong. After she came up out of the water, one of their sons (six year old) goes "Do it again, mom!". Everybody laughed and I've never seen two people look as happy as they did, standing in that font. After the bishop made some remarks, Shea stood up and thanked everyone, bore a beautiful testimony of the truths that she knows with tears in her eyes and sat down. Her husband gave her a present after the service of a painting of the Las Vegas Temple; they're so excited to be sealed together for the rest of eternity next year (to learn more about our beautiful temples and the role they play in our lives, visit http://www.lds.org/church/temples?lang=eng). Definitely the highlight of my six months in this area.

We're back to the drawing board with finding people to teach, but that's all part of missionary work anyways, right? I'm on such a spiritual high right now and absolutely love what I'm doing. There's a lot of work to be done, and I'm so grateful to have a hand in it. Thanks for all the support and I hope your week was as good as mine!


Todd & Shea Hill family

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chillin' in the desert


This has been a pretty great week, mostly because we're preparing for a baptism this coming Saturday! Shea Hill is getting baptized and we couldn't be more excited, and neither could she. We learned yesterday at Church that her husband, who is in the process of being re-activated, can baptize her, which is the coolest thing ever. They're both so happy and it's great to see how much they appreciate the special ordinance that's going to be taking place. I love baptisms; the spirit is always so strong and the symbolism is inspiring. It's such a neat thing to witness the spiritual rebirth of a person, and you can always tell a difference when you talk to them right after the baptism. The teaching pool has been pretty thin lately in our zone, so we're really grateful to have been blessed to teach someone like Shea. They're a great family who have many great things in store; they're already talking about how excited they are to be sealed together for eternity in the Las Vegas Temple next year. I'll have the privilege of attending their sealing next year, too, and that's just about too cool. I love being a missionary so so much.

We've been doing pretty well with finding lately, too. The other day we went up to a couple of people chillin' in their garage and started to talk to them. They said they weren't necessarily interested, but when we offered service, they invited us back to help install some handicap rails for their bathroom. When we came back to help them out, they invited us in and said they wanted to "study" and learn about our religion; they had changed their minds. It's amazing how the Lord can soften the hearts of those we speak to and how a random street contact like speaking to someone in their garage can lead to an impromptu lesson out of nowhere. I'm excited to see where these people go with the information we're teaching them.

In non-spiritual news, I ran my first 5K on Saturday! The ward was doing a fundraiser for a woman who contracted non-smokers lung cancer, and one of our investigators, Sammie, was going, so we decided to show up. I'm not sure that if that was the greatest idea...I'm so sore. Everywhere. But it was a lot of fun; I'm looking forward to getting more into running when I get home. Katie tried to drag me out to do some running when we were up at Utah, but I was a little too wimpy back then. Maybe when I forget how sore I am right now, I'll think about running another 5K or something.

I love you guys and can't wait to talk on Mothers Day!

Chillin' on a desert couch in Vegas

Monday, April 8, 2013

General Conference - Spring 2013

How awesome was General Conference?

I've been looking forward to it for so long now, I'm bummed it's over so fast. For those who don't know what General Conference is, it's a bi-annual event where the modern-day Prophet and Apostles who lead our church address us with messages they feel are important. They range from how to improve family unity to rock-solid testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ (you can check out the remarks that were made by these prophets, seers and revelators at
www.lds.org). As per usual, it was awesome. So many incredible things were said and I felt often that they were speaking directly to me.

It's so difficult to pick out some of the ones that really touched me. Among them were Elder Nelson's talk about "catching the wave" of missionary work, Elder Cook's talk about world peace vs. personal peace, ALL of the talks at the priesthood session. President Uchtdorf's talk about light, DEFINITELY Elder Perry's talk about obedience. The little brown book he held up is exactly like the one I have on me at all times, given to me by my grandpa who served in World War II. I often use the section about obedience during spiritual thoughts, and I recently used it in a talk I gave in church a couple Sundays ago. So many general themes were present, like obedience to God's commandments, finding peace in our homes and families, and that we are to be the "light of the world", beacons for a troubled and divided world. I feel so rejuvenated after listening to these inspired men, and I'm so grateful we have living prophets and apostles who recieve revelation for the children of God today. It's so comforting to know that God still speaks to man through his servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7). I know that as we follow the words of His select servants, we cannot go astray.

Shea Hill, one of our investigators, is getting baptized on April 20th! We're so excited and so is she; she's absolutely amazing and has great faith in Christ and His teachings. We have a lesson with her today and then again on Thursday, and we're looking forward to it. The mission is going great and I'm so happy doing what I'm doing. I love you all and encourage anybody who is curious to speak with your local missionaries about this wonderful work, to seek out the truth and see what it is I'm actually doing out here.


p.s. I know the picture of me holding the two AR-15's have nothing to do with General Conference, but it doesn't make it any less cool.
Maybe for Christmas 2014?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter and April Fool's Day

Well, I've had it and I'm going home.

...april fools!

There's nowhere I'd rather be than Las Vegas, Nevada! :) We had a really great week that included a LOT of service, which is always nice as a missionary. After days and days of having to be careful not to wrinkle your clothes of spill something on your tie, it's really nice to be able to put on a pair of leather gloves and break a sweat for someone else. We did some service tracting, which is going around in shorts, a t-shirt and a nametag on Saturday morning and offering service to anyone and everyone who needs it. We did this a lot in my first area, Logandale, and I saw a lot of success from it. We were able to help a family weed their yard, do some moving, and secured a return appointment with another family. It's really nice to see the countenances change on people when they realize you're there to help; no ulterior motives, no strings attached. We just want to help, and loving service is the best medicine for a stress case like yours truly.

Church was fantastic; we had some really great speakers talk on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection. They had lost a child early in their marriage and they spoke about how they overcame their grief and sorrow through immersing themselves in the Atonement, the loving sacrifice that Christ made for us. They bore testimony that they know that because of His sacrifice and resurrection, they know that they'll see their child again; that he will be resurrected and made perfect one day. It was extremely powerful and the Spirit was very strong and present. We had two people we're currently meeting with present at church (one of them set for baptism on the 20th of April!) and they both felt touched by the Spirit. Easter is wonderful, and I'm humbled as I think of my Savior and His Atonement, joyful as I think of His resurrection. What a great holiday. We ate Easter dinner with a great family. the Meng's, who got us chocolate Easter bunnies with our nametags on them! The dinner was awesome and so was the company. For April Fools today we're all asking President Black for a puppy in our emails to him...a not-so-small part of me is hoping he takes it seriously and I see a kennel on our porch tomorrow morning. Here's hoping, right?

I love you guys so very much, thanks for all of the support!
Chocolate Easter Bunny the Meng family gave me,
complete with Elder Dowdle nametag.