Monday, October 28, 2013

Larry Doxie's Baptism

Hey, everyone!

Thanks so much for the birthday wishes and gifts! They made what was already an awesome week even better. It's been a really busy one, so I'll do my best to do it justice in writing.

This Monday, we went on exchanges with that guy from the missionary department, Brother Glazier. Turns out his name isn't even Travis; still confused where we even got that information. Anyways, we had him from 4pm to 9:30pm, so we did our best with setting up appointments and making sure we were busy. Well, our 6:00 appointment cancels. Then our 7:00 appointment cancels. I'm sweating bullets, driving around our area with this guy in the backseat with nothing to do, so we go to visit some part-member families and less-active members. I'm so glad those appointments fell through, though, because he taught us so much during that time - it was remarkable. He taught us how to actually be missionaries. At the end of the night, Herlin and I were like, "What were we DOING out here before?". It was incredible. We talked about our purpose, how we best achieve it, how to effectively teach and contact. On Wednesday, we had a long leadership training meeting and Brother Donaldson and Glazier taught the leadership what we learned on exchanges. I recorded it on my dictaphone and I'm in the process of transcribing it so the entire mission can have it - it's about 11/12 pages of material. I'll email it to you when I'm done. It was such an amazing training that we're cancelling district meeting this Tuesday and having an impromptu Zone Training Meeting so we can teach what we learned from them. We've already applied some of the things that we've learned this week and seen amazing results. Most of the changes stem from teaching very simply and in short amounts of time, and it's working. 

Larry's baptism was amazing. I was sitting next to the second counselor in the bishopric during the baptism and he leans over to me and whispers, "He's going to be our bishop by the time you go home". Larry is on fire and ready to learn everything he can. His wife's family came from out of town to baptize him and support him, so that was really neat to see. A lot of people came from the ward to support him as well, and that was REALLY good, seeing as this was Nevada Day weekend (yes, there's a holiday called "Nevada Day", and people celebrate it) and tons of people were out of town. On Sunday, immediately after sacrament (where he received the gift of the Holy Ghost), he was given the Aaronic Priesthood and ordained to the office of a Priest - he's not wasting any time. It's absolutely incredible to see the stark contrast between several weeks ago, when he told his wife he'd never join her church, to yesterday, where he received the priesthood of God. The ONLY explanation is that he came to a firm understanding of truth given only by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost - there is no other earthly force that changes the heart of men with such power and conviction. Logic can only do so much; the spiritual witness seals the deal. On Wednesday, the most powerful thing that was said from the brethren of the missionary department was this: we need to understand that the only way that someone can fully access the Atonement of Jesus Christ in it's entirety is through us and the church we represent. We are, as missionaries, the gatekeepers of the atonement. The power of Godliness is manifest through ordinances, and that's what we're providing the children of God in Las Vegas, Nevada. There is no greater work.

I love every little stinkin' thing about this. And I love you.

Larry Doxie, with his family, at his baptism

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Larry's Baptism, The Lakes Duck Trophy, and Jesse's Birthday

Hey guys!

I know, I know - I'm emailing way earlier than normal. The reason behind that is that our (Elder Herlin and I) p-day is being pushed back two hours because of what's going on tonight. So this Wednesday (on my birthday), some people from the missionary department in Salt Lake City are coming down to our mission to give us a Leadership Training Meeting. They came down to Vegas a couple days early and have asked President Ahlander if they can go on exchanges with a pair of Zone Leaders for a night...Pres picked us :( We're really nervous haha. Brother Lee Donaldson, a higher-up in the department, will be going with the Assistants; President Ahlander is going with Sandstone Zone Leaders, and a guy named Travis (don't know anything else about him other than the fact that he works at the missionary department) will be going with us. We're picking up Travis at the mission home at 4 p.m, which means we lose two hours of p-day, but that's okay; tonight should be pretty cool, if everything works out. We've only had a couple days notice, so we're somewhat freaking out trying to set up appointments for tonight. We don't necessarily want to take a representative from Salt Lake City, someone who communes with the brethren, we'll see how this all shakes out!

Larry is all set for his baptism on Saturday! We're so excited and so is he. He's so prepared and on fire, ready to do whatever is required of him. It's been amazing to see the faith of this man; his logic has been "I know this is the true church, so what am I waiting for?". He's in the process of memorizing the sacrament prayers so he can exercise his priesthood the moment he receives's humbling. We love him and the Lord does too.

Last weeks stats from our missionaries weren't the greatest, the standout being there were more lessons taught withOUT members present than WITH members present. That's not good. You want a member at every lesson. So, to offset that trend and get our LTM (lessons taught with member present) to Other Lessons ratio better, we made a Lakes trophy for overall lessons! We total it up by LTM's being 2 points, Other Lessons as 1 point and RC/LA's (recent convert/less active lessons) as 1 point as well. The companionship with the most points at the end of the week is presented with the Lakes trophy at district meeting, which happens to be a wooden sculpture of a duck we found at Goodwill (lol). They also get free lunch on the Zone Leaders, so there's some serious incentive. The zone cast ballots for the name of the duck - the name "LeBron" was chosen. Don't know how I feel about that haha. Anyways, the sister missionaries won LeBron this week with 18 points! We were curious if LeBron the Lakes Duck would help out with overall stats, and then we got the numbers in last night - EVERY SINGLE CATEGORY increased - nearly doubling in lessons. It worked, and we're happy about it.

Good week, and it's looking like this one will be better. Can't believe I'm turning 21. I've thought about it, and I don't think I want to grow up. 20's a pretty good age, I think I'll stay here for a couple more years.

Love you guys so much!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A great week teaching

Hey family,

With Conference at the end of last week, it seemed like the days leading up to it lasted forever. This week was the complete opposite; it just about flew by. It's amazing fast time moves - this whole week feels like a blur in some ways. Looking back at my mission thus far, some transfers seem to do the same. Some drag on for what seems like two years, while others are there and gone before you know it. Those are the ones that scare me. 

We had some great lessons this week, one of which being with a lady Elder Torgersen and I tracted into months and months ago. We've been trying and trying to set up a time to meet with her and she finally relented and set up an appointment. The lesson was pretty amazing; this woman knew the bible pretty well and with every point we'd share, her eyes would widen, she'd grab her bible, and flip open to a verse or passage of scripture that supported our doctrine. Usually it was a verse she had just studied that week. By the end of the lesson she was in tears, telling us that everything we've said resonates with her. She asked a final question about the gifts of the Spirit, asking if we believe that the miracles found in the scriptures can still happen today. Instead of just answering her question, we turned to the Book of Mormon, in Mormon 9:7-11:
 And again I speak unto you who adeny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the binterpretation of tongues;
 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the agospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not bunderstand them.
 For do we not read that God is the asame byesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no cvariableness neither shadow of changing?
 10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
 11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of amiracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same bGod who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.
She was amazed and became even more emotional. It was another reminder to me of the absolute truth of the Gospel - our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has not changed and will not change, and it makes so much sense that we would have the same organization that the early church had - 12 apostles and a prophet. It makes so much sense that we'd have the power and authority to perform real saving ordinances. It all just makes sense. I love what I'm doing out here, what I've been allowed to be a part of. Keep on keepin' on!

Elder Herlin and Elder Dowdle with their new hats!

Monday, October 7, 2013

What a great General Conference!!


How awesome was conference? We are SO blessed to not only be able to listen to the counsel our modern-day prophets and apostles give us, but to be able to re-listen whenever we want; it's already online and ready for any and all who want it. The Lord keeps making sure his word and direction gets to every living soul as time goes on...we've come a long way since April 6th, 1830. There were plenty of times where I sat back and had little realizations of how far-reaching the Gospel is. With the advent of technology, there are absolutely no boundaries - all who will listen, can listen. Prophecy is coming true right before our eyes as we witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ being preached to all of the inhabitants of the Earth.

Several talks immediately had my attention. Elder Bednar was so bold last conference with his talk about the law of Chastity, only to follow it up with the law of Tithing. He reminded me that the apostles of today have the same calling the apostles of old had - calling the house of Israel to repentance. I'm excited to return home and pay an honest and full tithe. Elder Dube reminded me of the work yet to be done; President Uchtdorf's address had me wishing it was a Mormon Message. I'm sure, in time, it will be. I could go on and on and on about the things we heard: President Monson, calling us to be missionaries - Elder Holland on depression (amazing), many talks on the sanctity of marriage and separate family roles. I left the Stake Center (where we watched conference) with a sincere and burning desire to become a better person, a better missionary, and a better priesthood holder. If we apply the direction we heard from these chosen servants of God, there is no way we can be led astray. 

Let me rewind to Monday. I told you we were to have a lesson that night with Larry, a nonmember who came to church and wanted to learn more. He's set for baptism on October 26th! :) He is quite literally "the man". He's in love with the Gospel and he and his wife have already set a date to be sealed to each other in the Salt Lake's absolutely mind blowing. The Lord has prepared this man for this specific time, and he's 100% ready. We love him; we were going to show him a DVD from our DVD arsenal, and he stopped us, walked over to his DVD player, and showed us the same disc. He's been shopping at Deseret Book and has any and all materials that can teach him more about the Gospel. It's amazing! We popped by after conference and have another lesson with him tonight.

I'm loving my time here and having amazing experiences! Thanks for all you do.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A great baptism and I got my stitches out!

Hey guys!

This has been a packed week. Saturday saw our first baptism in Desert Breeze ward with Natalia Faircloth! We've been teaching her for some time and she was finally able to be baptized by her Grandpa this past weekend. She was so excited and bore her testimony at the end; it was the most heartfelt and sincere testimony I've ever heard a nine-year-old bear. Her grandparents drove from California to come, and they don't speak a lot of English (the family is Chilean), so we had to make sure he said the baptismal prayer Spanish. Luckily we were able to run to the family history center and find D&C 20:73 in Spanish and print out three copies; one for the Grandpa and two for Herlin and I, so we could make sure it was right. I'm glad we did that, because he omitted some parts of the prayer at first and if we hadn't printed it out, we wouldn't have caught it, but it's all good. He really dunked her...wouldn't be surprised if she had a goose-egg on the back of her head from the bottom of the font. It was a great service, though, and a lot of people were able to make it out. She was confirmed in sacrament the next day and it was a great experience for all involved.

I talked about a non-member dad who came to church last week in my last email - so, we got to meet with him and he's amazing (and ready). He had some concerns, but after talking with the stake president and with us I think he's on board! He loves what the church is teaching his daughter and he says he's like a sponge, just wanted to soak up all the knowledge and learn as much as he can. He was at church yesterday and we have a lesson with him later tonight; we're going to try and set him for baptism in late October. 

I don't know what it is, maybe it's where I am in the Book of Mormon lately, but I have constantly thinking about our country lately. I've been becoming more and more aware of how blessed we are to live in a country that allows us to worship how we worship, to say what we feel, and to live how we'd like to live. I'm so grateful for America and the freedoms we enjoy, and I've been praying especially for those who put their lives on the line for those freedoms. My mind goes back to Grandpa a lot, and the sacrifices he made for millions of people, and I'm so blessed to come from such brave and valiant families. We have to do everything we possibly can to ensure those sacrifices were not made in vain.

On a lighter note - stitches came out thirty minutes ago. I think it's looking good, or at least better than last Saturday. Only time will tell how much will scar. The break isn't too bad, just a more prominent bump on my nose now haha. I can breathe just fine - doc said to get it xrayed when I get home if it's bothering me, but it most likely won't. Things are good out here, thanks for your love and support!