Monday, August 29, 2011

I know without a doubt that He lives

So we got transfer calls on Saturday night. Which is weird, but it was really cool. I am staying in good old Gridley and i am getting an 18 month old Elder Peterson! He is six inches taller than me so that will be interesting!  I will be the one driving and stuff. I need to get some Mo Tab.  
Ah! Alot of my elder friends in the zone are leaving which kinda stinks but Elder Barron is staying so it will be okay. Same with Leone. Osejo is going to Forest Hill in the Auburn zone so I'm sure he will enjoy that. I am trying my hardest to get him to be excited about his last six weeks.  I think he will do fine.
The temple policy is if you are south of Yuba zone you can go every three months and if you are in the Yuba City zone you can go every six months. Everyone north can't go at all. Which stinks but one day I will get my turn!

I did get my package that was so cool! Mom thank you so much!!! I can't thank you enough! Those ties are so nice! AHHH! Thank you again!! I love you.
Sounds like you guys are having a very busy time. Just know that you have a temple five minutes away from you where you can get away from everything. Go there for me! I miss it! I think about the temple alot. Alot alot.
The cold is gone! It was a hard diet thing to stick too but i am good now which is wonderful. Counting my blessings. So we still are working on finding people. I am sorry i don't have anyone really to talk about! Next week i know i will have a new investigator to talk about. Just wait and see. (don't forget to pray though :))
Scripture thought for today:
2 Nephi 9. What a beautiful chapter. Read it. It is Jacob testifying of Christ.
I am just going to go over some good things that stood out to me but i want everyone to read it and really take time and think about it.
It talks about satan in v. 9 and then in v. 10, i love it cause it says "escape from the grasp of this awful monster" because of God's plan. How great that we can escape satan and go to God! God wants us, every one of us to be with Him and away from the devil. How lucky we are to have a Heavenly Father that wants ONLY the best for us. Let us not take this for granted. ever.
Also in v. 21 it talks about our brother Jesus Christ and how He suffered for our pains. I love that because we forget that Jesus died for us and all of our feelings and pains. Not only physical or pains for sin but pain for not so great stuff in life. Life is never easy. And sometimes things just hurt or situations are tough but through the infinite Atonement we can have peace in a world which breeds unpeaceful ideas, actions, and people. How great and how blessed are we?
Verses 31-37 i think are powerful because it is just saying the 'do nots', basically. I love v. 38. it gives me the chills. How many of us want to return to God and look Him in His face and have Him see our sins? None of us hopefully. The verse makes me want to be better, so i can make Jesus Christ and God proud. So the day that i get to physically meet them i can stand blameless before Him and i can say that i did my best. If we got to meet Jesus and God right now would we be ready? I know i am not. I would say my life is very far from being in total harmony with a Christlike life. But through that Atonement and through the scriptures and studying i know that one day i will be perfect as He is. I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me. For my everyday feelings. For my happiness, for my sadness, for my sins, for my accomplishments, for every pain, sickness or affliction, for salvation. He died for me. I know that Christ lives. I know that we will see him again. We will get to converse with Jesus and God. We will be perfected as they are. How great shall be our joy! I need everyone in the world to know that i know without a doubt in my head that He lives.
I will let you guys finish that chapter on your own. It is wonderful. It really is.
Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Amonds or Almonds?

Hey Mom!,
We have a lesson at eleven thirty so we studied earlier so we could get our laundry done quicker. So what's up? how are you guys? hopefully good! Had some very interesting things happen this week. I will write them in the letter.

So everyone here says warsh for wash or Warshington. There isn't an r in wash people! And i thought i left Dad's amonds (with no L) there. But people here eat amonds too. But for me and my house we will eat aLmonds.
So one day last week with our mini missionary we tracted into this old woman named Helen. She was from Great Britain and she was hard of hearing. But i am talking to her and i literally have to yell in her ear for her to even hear me. I kept trying to say stuff and she was like Huh? huh? But i was laughing so hard and she saw me lauging and she was just so happy and she laughed too. we really were just laughing up on her doorstep for like ten minutes about how deaf she was. we were both laughing so hard. It was the best. She was probably the happiest person i have met out here. And she lives in a tiny home and lives by no family, which is hard but she is happy. She has lots of Mormon friends but isn't interested right now, but we still talked for a good twenty minutes. It was nice.
ANYWAY...So i am pretty happy. I am just super sick. I have a really really bad cold which stinks. But the bishop's wife has me on this special weird diet thing and its supposed to help it. we will see what happens. We picked up an investigator this week! Her name is Lori. She is way pumped to read the Book of Mormon. we will see her again in two weeks. I can't wait.

We had such a good zone conference this past Friday. It was great. we talked about effective companionship study. It's cool cause if we do it right the spirit can be there. And it can be a great source of Revelation for our investigators and those we teach.
Anyway..Heavenly Father answers prayers. Saturday night i was really worried about a couple of things and i was stressing and not having a good time over it. so i kneeled down and said a prayer for help. And during the prayer i had a feeling to read Ether 12. So i did. And it was great. I love how it talks about faith. So let me just give a quick background. So in verses 23-25 Moroni is sort of but not really complaining about having to write and how the writing that he does isn't great and people will make fun of his writing. and then the Lord comes to him and says that all will be okay and he is watching over his writings and stuff. the Lord excuses his writings and weaknesses. But i got to verse 40..yeah 40 where Moroni says again his "weakness in writing" And i sort of got mad at Moroni. i was like "here the Lord came to you and told you all is well and you are still complaining? come on!" But then i was like wait...this thing that i have been thinking about i have gotten an answer too...and i am still inquiring of the Lord.. the scriptures slapped me in the face big time. It was really interesting and humbling to see that. We may have already had our prayers answered we just choose not to see it. we need to start having that different prespective on life. It will bless our lives.
Mom I am so sorry. I am pretty out of it. i am pretty darn sick. I love you guys. thanks for the packages this week. So great!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

We can be at peace

Editor's note: Elder Simons continues to write wonderful hand-written letters in between emails.  They are treasures -- like having a conversation with him!  Here is a thought from his most recent letter...

Mom, the talk you sent me from Jeffrey R. Holland has such a good quote in it: "God doesn't care nearly as much about where you have been as he does about where you are and with his help, where you are willing to go".  So beautiful.  Life is hard, times are tough, people mess up daily.  But God knew all this.  He knew.  So the wonderful Father that He is, gave us a way so when we mess up we can make it right.  When times are tough, we can be at peace.

So happy!

Guess what? So when i am really happy, like super super happy i get like super...smiley, not because someting is funny but because i am so happy. That has been this week. Like i have had the biggest smile on. I am happy. My mission makes me happy. I am so blessed to give just a tiny bit of my earthly life to him. I am so blessed i can walk around and i am not "deaf".  I know that's random but in the MTC i would see these kids who were "deaf" or had these crazy crutches and i am like...really Wilson? come on forget yourself.  I am so blessed to be able to walk around and hear people! what a miracle. It is funny cause we take so much for granted! Our houses! Our cars! Our everythings! Let us all try to be more thankful for the things we have! Pray for a different perspective on our lives. and we will see the blessings we already have in life!
Anyway yes i am happy! And guess how many investigators we picked up? Zero? Technically we actually picked up negative zero cause we have to drop Bill our investigator. He isn't progressing and he isn't willing to take the steps, and leave his old self to get a new self. I am happy because i am working my hardest. Well i am trying my hardest to work my hardest i guess. And i feel like the Lord is blessing me on belief. I see other missionaries get mad at Heavenly Father for no success and i say to myself..."i got up today i got to study out of the Book of Mormon today, i live in the USA, i get to do the Lord's work today, i get to make Heavenly Father happy for my effort in missionary work. Today was a great day!" I want to help people realize that just because we didn't get a baptism this week doesn't mean we aren't good missionaries or we aren't doing the right thing or that Heavenly Father isn't there, but quite the opposite... we are good missionaries and we are doing the right thing and Heavenly Father is right next to us helping us push on! Maybe i am just weird and happy? who knows! But i am happy! Gridley California is where i am going to get my first baptism. But first i have to go find that person. He is hiding but i know that Heavenly Father is preparing him for me. I feel that the more effort i put in the more prepared he will be.  And the effort comes from how obedient i am and how long i want to be out and working. The Lord is blessing me! I don't deserve it, but i will take those blessings with no complaint!
Mom!!! Isn't life great? This is what life is all about...happiness!
Scripture for the day Alma 37:40. the whole verse is great but i want to focus on the last couple of lines. First of all they are talking about the Liahona which we all know worked by faith (which was a straight up miracle) and it says "..also many other miracles wrought by the power of God day by day" So do we know where i am going with this? Miracles happen everyday. I promise and i can testify that miracles happen every single day. I have had too many beautiful things happen to me to doubt miracles happening daily. Like i said earlier lets look around us and see how blessed we are. Lets look for at least one miracle a day. Mine today is me. I am a miracle first because of where i am. I am in Gridley California. i never thought i would be on a mission but now i am and i feel happy and i know this is where i am supposed to be. So my miracle actually is me being on a mission. if anyone doesn't think that is a miracle you should have known me like a year and a half ago, huh mom? So today go look in the mirror and look at the miracle looking back at yourself. That counts for today but tomorrow you have to think of your own. but i promise that once you do this you will be blessed on belief because you will reconigize Heavenly Father's hand in your life more fully. And your prespective on life will change. That is a promised blessing.
Mom i am working hard and i may not reap what i sow but i know that what i sow someone will reap (John 4:37) and that is okay with me. Its about the people not me. I love the people.
I love my family and i know that i will be with them in to the enternies and that thought is beautiful. I love the Lord and what He has done for me.
-Elder Simons

Monday, August 8, 2011

Blessed Art Thou

The letter was so so so great. Thank you so much. First thank you for sending some more books out for me. You really are the best! Ah im so happy today.
In answer to some of your questions:
So if you look at a map of Gridley you will see Live Oak and Biggs right by it. so we have Biggs in our ward and third ward has like some of Gridley too and then Liberty ward has also some of Biggs and Live Oak. So six elders in towns of like 1,400(Biggs) 5,000 (Gridley) 6,000 (Live Oak). The Liberty elders actually live in our area but they have a car too. Leone is our district leader and i just called him and told him about the missionary mom thing. we are pretty good friends. so it goes without saying that our moms need to be friends. I love him so much he is like so nice. There really should only be two elders in Gridley. 

Any color of ties works! (the ones you sent me i will for sure wear i like old ties a ton)  and things that i need, well here are a couple things i can always use a fresh supply of anytime; white shirts, clear page protectors or whatever for my talks and cool things, books, ties, and talks. so yeah thanks mom!
That is really cool about Grandmas ice cream thing. i bet she loves that! i hope you had a good time at the reunion.

And what a blessing for Dad, that he gets to be able to have Fast Sundays like that. how much more will he be able to gain understanding and blessings from his Fast Sundays and fast subjects. At least thats how i feel, i thought it would be a chore to have Fast Sundays while we are doing work but it really brings the spirit in, in a way that you can't get it other wise.
I can't wait for the weather to get cooler. It will be sweet! there is always sweat on you no matter what. you will see in like two years mom when we come back. :) but it will be nice to get some new white shirts!
And dinner mom? what did you make? Just let me imagine it. there are a ton of onions and mushrooms here. i swear people just throw them in there just because i don't like them, just kidding but things would be so good without onions!
Scripture time, i want to just give a little thought i had that can help anyone Helaman 10:3-5  First this is about Nephi and he is preaching to some not so great people.  In v. 3 he was super down cause of their wickedness and in life sometimes we are super low.  There are so many things that get us down. and what i have realized is that sometimes we are meant to have 'down time' so (like in the end at v. 3) a voice comes unto us (to me a voice can be anything that helps us do good, we all know this is the Lord but sometimes the scriptures are the voice that helps us or the prophets or church... Heavenly Father wants us to realize this so sometimes he humbles us so we see need for all those things). The Lord then says "blessed art thou Nephi". blessed art thou! everyone how blessed art thou. We need to remember this always, we are so blessed, yes times are tough and stuff happens but how blessed art thou. its so sweet. in v. 4 it says thou..hast sought my will. how can we seek His will? we all know the answers reading the scriptures, praying, going to church, how simple those answers are but how powerful the results are. verse 5 may be my favorite, it says because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness behold i will bless thee forever. wait wait wait wait wait wait what? He will bless us forever? are you kidding me? if all i have to do is face my trials with my chin up and try to seek the will of the Lord i will be blessed forever? umm deal! you can't say no to being blessed forever. i think we don't really see or understand as much as we should about our trials. we need to see that they are short, and we need to understand that God puts us through the trials for a reason. He knows. I have had too many realizations that he put me in places for a reason to not know that God has a plan for us. Its literally so amazing. But it goes on and says that we will be made mighty in, word, deed, faith, and in works. We are so blessed to be part of this gospel at this time. I hope we all can see and thank Heavenly Father for our trials. Try it. Sorry i just like to talk about the scriptures even though i have such a little view. Right now we don't have an investigator to study for but right now i will study so i can bring a thought in every p-day. Dont expect much but expect something.
So in the area our investigator Bill basically said he doesn't believe all of the Book of Mormon and not all of the church.  He has been an investigator for years so we dropped him cause he is unteachable. Which is sad but i have faith that its the right thing to do. Our investigator named Matt who said he wanted to get baptized, we talked to him Wednesday and he said yes in a few months after i get questions answered.  I was like "you could ask us", and he was like..."no not yet". So we have no idea where he is or what he wants but he will come unto Christ i know it. I told the zone leaders i want to stay here this next transfer. The area is harder but the fact that there are so many people here that are hiding from us that need this gospel that are not getting it is harder on me. I feel like the blessings of my efforts are about to shine upon this Gridley first ward. Next email be expecting 30 new investigators!
-much better week eh?
Love you mom! and dad!!

Have a great monday and remember how blessed art thou
Elder Simons

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just a thought or two...

[Editor's note: I thought I'd share a few quick lines from one of Elder Simons' handwritten letters.  It turns out, he has been an awesome letter-writer!  Who knew?!]

It is cool being in a group of guys all with one purpose.  Man, I love that I'm on a mission!  It makes me happy.  Sure, sometimes it is hard, but it's great!

Still the same funny kid...
Mom, remember when I told you I looked in the mirror and I could see myself looking like Dad more and more?  It happens a lot here.  Even with things I say or do.  It's a cool thing.  I would love to be like him one day.