Friday, June 27, 2014

Musical Fireside and Samia went through the Temple

Hey there -

This has been a ridiculously busy week with a lot going on! I mentioned last week how things need to slow down a bit; this week felt about a month long, but in a good way.
So, first things first - I'm in a trio again (see February of 2013)! There's this guy from Las Vegas who can't serve for medical reasons, and so his Stake President and President Ahlander worked something out where he can serve here during proselyting hours and go home at night - we were chosen as his first companionship. His name is Elder Osburn and he's a good guy; he did a year of school at BYUI and is ready to serve the best he can! He drives to our place at 8:00am and then drives home at around 7:00pm. I've had to leave the companionship several times this week, and so I'd leave the area in the capable hands of Elder Palmer as acting senior companion. He's been doing great and handles it really well - it's a good opportunity for him to pretty much "train" a new missionary and he said he's been learning a lot this week.
The reason why I've been leaving Palmer and Osburn alone a lot is because I've been practicing for a Musical Fireside we had as a mission last night! Our mission started holding these firesides once a month and the program is entirely missionaries making music - everyone in the valley can come if they bring an investigator. They've been really successful (this is only the third time) and so I wanted to play at this one since it's my last. I got together with Elder Carson, a great pianist and Sister Baird (really good voice) and we wrote a song this week to play last night at the fireside. It's been stressful because we were on a time crunch and practiced every day this week, but it all paid off last night and it was a really good time; I think there were around 500 people in attendance, so that's pretty sweet.
The highlight of the week was Samia Witwit's trip to the temple this Saturday! She was baptized last June and she received her endowments at the Las Vegas temple this weekend - awesome experience. Elder Herlin and I were companions for the day and we were picked up by former Elders Torgersen, Peacock, and Kredt. It was a ton of fun to see those guys again, albeit kind of weird; it doesn't seem right to see them outside of the context of a mission. It was great to see Sam again and to see how happy she was, surrounded by people who support her in the house of the Lord.
Awesome week; looking forward to another one! Love you all so much -
Samia and her "support staff"

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Power of Prayer

Hey everyone!

Gah I can't believe I'm writing another email already...this has to slow down sometime soon, because I feel like I'm losing time faster than I can use it. I'm more sensitive to chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel, "How Do I Use Time Wisely?", now that mine is coming to a close. With that being said, it's been another good week, albeit a quick one.
I alluded to some good news last week, and here it is. Elder Palmer and I spoke last Sunday on the Book of Mormon (I think I told you that last week) and then we taught Sunday School right afterwards on Faith in Jesus Christ. We were stressed out all day preparing for these two hours of church, making sure we didn't look like dorks in either instance. We finished up the Sunday School lesson and we're packing up our things, and Greg Moulton walks up to me. He says, "Something today inspired me; call it a revelation. What steps do I have to take to get into that tank back there?". I just hugged him; it was a while before I could compose myself and respond. We had been working with that family several times a week for the past six weeks and praying for them constantly; ward council was praying for them, and I know that his family was praying unceasingly. It was incredible to be there in the moment God answered many, many prayers (including Greg's). We're going over to the Moulton's several times a week again, but this time, it's to prepare Greg to be baptized on the 5th of July.
We've been on a spiritual high from that experience all week, and it's carried into everything else. A kid we go out and work with a lot from the ward called us a couple of days ago and has a friend that wants to learn more - we're meeting with her this Tuesday. We got a text from Church Headquarters for a woman who visited the St George temple and wanted a visit from the missionaries. Too many good things are happening for me to even handle right now - I love it. So incredibly blessed.
Love you so much! Have a good one.
The area I get to serve in and the church we attend

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The physical and emotional healing of the Atonement

Hey fam -
It's weird re-learning how to work with a car.
I'll see 104 on the in-car thermometer and wish I was outside biking in it. That's normally when I step outside and realize I'm crazy.
It really has been such a great week. We've had some amazing experiences that I promised not to talk about for a couple of days, so I'll fill you in on it next week, but we've been constantly reminded of the love our Father in Heaven has for all of His children. We've always been acutely aware that prayer is real; He answers to those who ask in faith. I'm so pleased and blessed for the way this last transfer of my mission is turning out and I'm grateful to those who have offered up prayers in my behalf. I feel them.
We had dinner with the Moultons (Tatum's family, Tunney's aunt/uncle) this past Saturday and had a great time - Sis Moulton apparently won Cupcake Wars a while ago and made us an assortment of the best cupcakes I've ever tasted in my life...they were phenomenal. Afterwards we taught a lesson about the Atonement, the sacrifice, of Jesus Christ. We shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon, found in 1st Nephi 19:9. It reads:
"9 And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit‍ upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness‍ and his long-suffering‍ towards the children of men".
I love that the Book of Mormon constantly testifies and prophesies of Christ (mentions Him in some form or fashion every 1.7 verses) and that it teaches in depth about His Atonement. This verse talks about being scourged and smitten, but it's interesting to note that he was spit upon. The scourging and smiting are physical tortures; the spitting, emotional. Christ suffered for us so that we can be forgiven of sin, but also so that we could be emotionally healed; we can use the enabling power of His Atonement as well.
We spoke in church and my topic was how the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. Five minutes before my talk, I lost my notebook. I was so nervous, looking everywhere for it. I had to speak for ~10 minutes without notes or a guideline of any kind. After the meeting, the notebook surfaced behind the seat next to me - I have the worst luck speaking in this ward.
Amazing week, excited to tell you all about the upcoming one :)


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Agency and Answers

Hey family!

I seriously cannot believe that it's June. Three huge groups of missionaries came out in 2012, the June group (Tews), the July group (my group), and the August group (Tunney and Herlin). Each one of these waves of missionaries had around 25 come in, so we're seeing the numbers of missionaries out here in Vegas West begin to recede with the first supergroup heading home today. I've been around these missionaries my entire mission, and so it's surreal to see some of these great friends leave. When companions I've really loved have gone home in the past, it felt nothing like this because the end felt so far away. However, with the end looming in the distance I've felt claustrophobic around these "dead men walking"; I don't like being reminded of the eventual and inevitable end of my service.
With all of the missionaries going home (and a lot of missionaries (mostly sisters) coming in), there have been a lot of areas closing down/collapsing and a ton of double-transfers. The ward right below us is being double-transferred and getting sister missionaries, but they can't live with the single male that the elders were living with this transfer, so we're switching living situations with them (since we live in a casita, a separate living area). This switch up is taking us out of our ward boundaries, so as a result we get a car this transfer! It's bittersweet because Elder Palmer and I were somewhat looking forward to biking around in 120 degree weather, but our effectiveness as missionaries will be through the roof with some wheels; we'll have to fill our day up even more when we plan now!

Some of the people we're teaching have been struggling with recognizing their answer from God on whether or not what we've said is true. Almost in response to their (and I'm sure many others) dilemma, an Ensign article came out this month about recognizing revelation called Agency and Answers by Elder Richard G. Scott (you can read it here It's a wonderful talk that we've shared with many this week and has helped them (and us) recognize the way God talks to us. As I read and study more and more, I realize that the Lord respects our agency and demands accountability, which I absolutely love. He wants to see what we'll do with the truth he's already given us. Read the talk and let me know what you think!

Love you all so much! Good week this week and a better one up ahead.