Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving week

Our week has been so nice! We had such a great miracle this week. So there is this girl in the ward who her dad won't really give her permission to be baptized and he is actually quite anti-mormon. And she asked about a month ago and he said no. And they were like pretty sure he wasn't going to change his mind for a while. And i fasted like three times this week and on Saturday we called like half the ward and asked if they wanted to fast with us (everyone of them said yes). It was the best. It has been a really spiritual week this week. I loved it. But anyway she asked her dad last night and he said that they would talk about it this weekend. That is such an improvment from the past! So hopefully he will sign the permission slip and we can get on board with that and baptize her.

For Thanksgiving we went over to the Bishop's house and had a real good time. We played Apples to Apples and a couple other games. I lost at all of them. I think they chose the games i would be the worst at and played them. Either way i was happy. We played basketball with some people from the ward. It was sweet. I had a lot of fun. We were going to try and make the queso from Chilis but it went horribly wrong. It ruined our house. It stinks like bad cheese but we are used to it, or maybe its gone. (so now our gangster cat has something to eat for a couple days) but we ended up just bringing some salsa and chips. Which was also pretty good.

Elder Buhler and Elder Simons at the Pratt's home on Thanksgiving Eve

We are teaching another 9 year old this week on Tuesday. We are hoping to get her baptized and her family back to church. I love the example she is setting for her family by wanting to be baptized and wanting to come to church. It shows me the importance of becoming like a little child. We must be humble and willing to do whatever is asked at all costs. Otherwise like the scripture says, "We will in nowise inherit the Kingdom of God". I love it.
What else happened this week...okay so the bishop gave us that refferral of the excommunicated member two weeks ago (did i tell you guys that?) and we finally got to sit down with him yesterday finally. He also has a buddy who is his roomate and he is a less active. They are really cool guys. They love us missionaries. They are about twenty three twenty four ish, and they were like "everyone always said we were going to be the best missionaries but we fell off the path". They smoke and drink and they said they don't really have the desire to stop, but having us over, they hope that that desire will spark in them. We told them we are teaching the Sunday School lesson on Sunday and they had to be there. And they are like "oh yeah for sure"! I cant wait. They had like bandanas and tattoos and all sorts of stuff. And they smell like smoke. (cool quote i heard once from somewhere out here... the bishop was talking to someone who smoked and didn't want to come to sacrament meeting because she didn't want anyone to smell her, he said "if everyone's sins stunk like smoking does, the chapel would be the most smelly place on the earth, but luckily we have the atonement that can erase that smell from off our bodies" (or something like that :) ) but hopefully they will be there. They are really cool people.
Lets see..old investigators we met with the deaf investigator this week, and he isn't ready to be baptized, but we shared with him D&C 135. That is a really powerful one. He knows Joesph Smith is a prophet. He is just scared of the commitment that baptism is. He will be humbled one day and be baptized. But I don't think in my time in Gridley, but i have loved teaching him. He is great. He is funny in a really different sort of way. I have learned so much from studying for him. What a blessing. What a blessing.
The less active work is blooming just wonderfully! I love that work. It is just fun! It's fun to see people's testimonies get re-sparked. It is a true blessing to be able to sit back and watch them dig up their old testimonies. I love it! But anyway i better go. My time is running out in Gridley and it is sad. I have something to accomplish though, i know it! I love you guys! I love the Lord!
Love Simons!
P.S. I cant wait to show you Gridley one day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Treasures of knowledge

We had a great week this week. We picked up two new investigators this week. One of them was an excommunicated member. And another one was a former investigator. I'm excited about the prospect. So we got the transfer calls on Saturday...and i...will...be..staying 6 more weeks! I'm so excited! Maybe i will get to stay longer. Who knows? We had president's interviews this week. Man that was exciting. I had a bit of a cold but not a biggie. But i love President Weston so much, I would do anything he asked me to do. He is such a great leader.
Anyway this week was cool.  Elder Buhler and i set up our beds to be bunk beds so we have more room for activities at our house. Its has been really fun. We are really grateful for this extra six weeks we have together. I totally thought i was getting transferred.
I'm glad you guys are going to enjoy yourself this week. That sounds wonderful. The Pratts (of course) are taking us in on Thanksgving. We told them we would bring something to eat. We are still working on that. That will be interesting with a microwave that doesn't work and an oven that takes 3 hours to make a personal pizza. So that will be sweet. Maybe jello. We have a fridge so that is helpful.
I'm trying to think about things we did this week. We still are working on getting with that lady's grand daughter. She is slippery though.
With our deaf investigator we almost dropped him. We still may, but he really isn't progressing towards baptism. But he came to a different ward's baptism and he liked it so we may not drop him. We will see. We talked a little bit about the Word Of Wisdom, and i was explaining to him, in v. 18-21 we get some key blessings here that are pretty important to our personal salvation. First we will receive health. If anyone has been sick or in pain because of a sickness we know how important being heathly and alert is in our daily lives. Second the Lord will pour out his wisdom, and treasures of knowledge. I'm sure anyone who has read the scriptures and randomly the spirit hits you really hard at a particular verse and you are like "wow...i never noticed that before" and it helps build your testimony, that is what hidden treasures of knowledge is to me. And i want that. I want that to happen every time i open scriptures. Third we get to be able to run around! And for me, if i wasn't able to go do that i would go insane. I'm a jitter bug and i can't sit still so not having that ablility would be like putting me in prison. And in the next verse, this is where we receive the best blessing (in my eyes) I wondered what exactly the destroying angel was. And through study and prayer i have realized that when Jesus comes he will know who is clean and who is not. And he will cleanse the earth.   18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, ashall receive bhealth in their navel and marrow to their bones;19 And shall afind bwisdom and great ctreasures of dknowledge, even hidden treasures; 20 And shall arun and not be bweary, and shall walk and not faint. 21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the adestroying angel shall bpass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen. And i said to him "either you will receive wisdom or you won't, you will get more knowledge or you won't, the destroying angel will see you clean or he will see you not clean and he won't pass by you. It is up to you." Then we tried to commit him to live the Word of Wisdom. He said he would work on it. So overall i think it helped.
But Anyway i love you guys. I am so grateful for everything in my life. I would not be here if it wasn't for the Lord. I will be eternally in debt to Him. I am so grateful for Him. He lives.
Elder Simons

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Letter from the bishop's wife

[Editor's Note:  Throughout this first part of Elder Simons' mission, I have received letters and phone calls from the people in Elder Simons' area, and thought I would share part of the most recent one, which happens to be from the bishop's wife of the ward in which he is serving.  I love knowing that he is loved and taken care of at a time that I can't be right there]

Hi Dayna! 
    Thank you for writing to me!  I'm thinking, "where to I begin to talk about Elder Simons!"  I wish I could express adequately what a sweet privilege it is to have gotten to know your son.  He is a pure joy to be around and has such a great personality; he makes us laugh all the time now that he knows us pretty well.   Doing things for him is small in comparison to what he does for us!   He has this incredible heart for serving and there are many times when I would think..."I wish his mom could see him right now"...washing our dishes without being asked, helping us move stuff in the rain,  entertaining my 5-year old during church which isn't always easy, clearing our old garden stuff before dinner, and just plain being patient with all of my kids who love him so much that they get all crazy when he comes over.  
  And then there are several times when I pass him on the road and He's riding his bike between Gridley and Biggs with all of his might.  He works hard to meet his appointments no matter how far he has to ride.  He is definitely getting plenty of exercise!   He has such a desire to teach, serve and help.  I love his testimony of the Savior which he bore a few weeks ago.
   I have enjoyed doing sewing for him so don't worry about anything that way.    It's really just a blessing to be able to.  
   There's just  one hard thought and that's that  he inevitably will get a transfer and that's going to be really hard for me and all of us because we love him a lot.   I always cry when my kids go off to college or something, and it feels just the same way.  I've never had a missionary feel like one of my own.  I hope you don't mind me saying that.  Elder Simons will always be special to us; I'm glad he started here so we can kind of keep track of him throughout his mission and hopefully be of support also.  He loves you  so much and always talks about his parents and family with great fondness and gratitude. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Now is the time to think about it!

Hey Mom & Dad!
What a week! Okay so on Tuesday we visited a less-active lady and we read some of the beautiful Book of Mormon with her and it went great and her grand- daughter came out and started talking to us (she isn't a member, but I have talked to her up in Biggs on the street like three or four times before). So i was like "your grandma is a Mormon how come you aren't??" and she said "well i don't know i never have really thought about it" then i was like "well now is the time to think about it!" and she is like "well i guess you are right!" then i was like "okay when can we come over and teach you?" and she gave us a return appointment. It was really wild. I loved it though, it was a really, really cool experience.

The lessons for Wednesday all got cancelled except for the deaf investigator. Which was bad but that's okay. There is always good within the bad, we just need to do some looking at the situation from a different angle and see what the good was. Maybe the lessons we planned weren't the ones that would help them in the way they needed help that specific day. I love the Lord. He has taught me so much. There is ALWAYS good. The scriptures have so many stories and examples of that. What a great blessing to have those.
The deaf investigator said "yes" to baptism again and he was like well i may be busy next Saturday (19th) so i was like...okay how about this Saturday (three days later) and we almost got it except there was stake conference so we couldn't do that. But this next week we will get him baptized though. He wants to be baptized. I just really think he is just plain scared of how it is going to take place.
So anyway we were up in Biggs on Wednesday i think and it was really cold and so we decided to go into Buckshot Grill to go the bathroom (the one place to eat in Biggs) and in the back they were giving out flu shots, and i told the nurses that i hated shots and they were trying to convince me to let them stab me with a needle (thats still seems twisted to me). They said "we will even give it to you for free"! And i was like "no!!" Man i hate shots.
We went tracting after that and we went up to a pomegrante tree and we both grabbed one and ate them. Its sweet we can just do that while tracting. I figured Whitney would like that. :)
Anyways other than that i am still plugging along just doing my thing, trying to work as hard as i can. I love missionary work. I love being out here. I want my mission to be longer than two years. Again i love the Lord with all my heart. He is my buddy. We get closer daily.
Elder Simons

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The lessons I have learned

So this week has been a week of total ups and total downs. First with the ups, me and Buhler are getting along so well, maybe too well. Its so awesome how well we fit together. I love that kid, i am so glad he is my son. It has been alot of fun living with the other Elders in Gridley. We have had a good time.
We picked up an investigator this week! I have been trying to visit this former, for about five months now and she has really NEVER been there and we just decided to randomly go over there and she was for once there! And she was like "it is crazy you guys came now because i am usually gone (yes i know that lady!) and today i just had a sick day". I said "well maybe you were sick for a reason and we came and visited you for a reason!" And she laughed and said "maybe", and we talked a little more and set up a time to go back on Wednesday.
I am really excited about Wednesday. We will be meeting with all three of our investigators. Hopefully we will set three baptismal dates!
So that was some of the ups of the week. There were just a couple downs. First of all my bike got destroyed this week. So Elder Buhler has really bad luck when it comes to bikes, so the bike that he was on was being dumb so i decided to try it and try to make it work so i had him riding mine for a day or so, and right before he gave it back it started making this crazy sound and we are like what the heck! So we took it back to the apartment to fix it and i took the bike completely apart. And then put it together again and figured out that the chain got destroyed. So we bought a new chain and we are back in business now. So it wasn't that bad.
The real bad of the week happened on Wednesday though. We had a lesson with our deaf investigator and we went in planning to talk about how Jesus fufilled all righteousness as it talks about it Matthew by being baptized then tying it into 2 Nephi 31 and then inviting him to be baptized. And there was silence... silence... and he is thinking and thinking, and i was praying in my head harder then ever for him to just say yes. Not for my benefit but for his and he says "yes". (when he says yes i squeeze Elder Buhler on the back because i was so excited) and then i get back into my game face and ask him when worked best for him. And he says well i first need to work out a couple problems ("oh no..." i say) and he went off for about twenty minutes about how Halloween is for satan worshipping, and how the church doing trunk or treat was a bad thing and we defiled the church parking lot. I was like "come on, would you let that stop you from getting into the kingdom of god?" And he said that's besides the point. So that was really hard for me. I felt like he was playing around with us. I was wondering why i have been teaching this man for five months and put my sweat and tears into this process to hear that about Halloween.  I had a long conversation with God. And I never got the impression that it will be alright in the form of him being baptized but i got the answer that it will be alright in the form of you learning something Elder Simons. It was really a wonderful experience. This man may never get baptized or progress while I'm here but the lessons i have learned alone from teaching him are incredible. I just love how the Lord works. It amazes me. In my gospel study i have been studying the Plan of Salvation. And I had the thought that i might have the chance to teach him in the spirit world. It just came across my mind. But i would rather teach him here so he can go to the temple and be sealed to his wife.
Overall the week was wonderful. I love my mission. Why me? I always ask myself why i am lucky enough to be able to be out here. The Lord truly blesses each and every one of us. We just need to make sure we have our eyes open and are watching for them.
I love you all, Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A good deliverer of the truth

Hey family!
What a week! What a week!
So first we went to our investigator's house and we talked to him a little bit about baptism, then i was like "Hey man, we know that you want to get sealed to your wife and son, and the first step is baptism, so how about it?" And he said that not right now, but he gave us a couple things he wasn't sure on about the church and told us he wants more information. So we plan to teach him tomorrow and get that date set. See we can look at this as like "Oh shoot we didn't get a baptismal date set, lets let this ruin our week shall we?" or we can say "What a blessing, i have been teaching this guy for five months and this is the first time he has opened up and voiced his concerns so we could be happy because of that" so i made the decision that we would chose the last option. So we are still happy and learning not only patience, but the worth of souls. That may be hard to understand, but what i have learned is some investigators are going to be hard to get them progressing but it helps me (Heavenly Father is reminding me) realize that the ordinance of a baptism isn't a small ordeal. It is monumental! It is the first step into the kingdom of God. And these people that i have the blessing of teaching are real people with real concerns. And its my job to be a good deliverer of the truth.

I have learned alot and the Lord is teaching me so much. I love it. I love my mission. I NEVER have been happier anywhere else or at any other time in my life. Gridley/Biggs must just be heaven or something. Or maybe the Lord is just letting me know but helping me be happy, that this is the place where i need to be. Anyway! The next day we had a visit with our deaf investigator, long story short we didn't get a baptismal date with him either. He is coming along though. He has made some progress. Bro Brock keeps saying he has never been closer then he is now. So that was nice of him.
We did a lot of biking this week. It was really nice. I love biking now. Isn't that crazy? I used to hate it. I used to wake up in the mornings and be like "I do not want to ride anywhere today" but now i wake up and I'm like "Get me on a bike!". Its a lot better too because we can talk to more people on the street as opposed to the car.
Its also funny to me to think about how much i didn't love Gridley at first. I wanted out! But the Lord chastened me i think and is making me love it here. Now i dont want to ever be transferred. The people here are so great! Member and non- members. Everyone is really nice. The rice and walnut harvest is going strong. Maybe i will send home some Gridley grown walnuts one of these days.
I love you guys! We are going to big bad Oroville today to get some shopping done, then we are playing sports here in Gridley after!
I love you guys!
Elder Simons!