Thursday, May 31, 2012

In the eternities...

Hey Mom and Dad!

It was a wonderful week. I went on exchanges with Elder Mansell and Elder Christensen. Both are really great elders. Elder Mansell is a hard worker and his investigators and the other people he is teaching just love him. He truly is a great example of how to be a great missionary and have people love you. Elder Christensen is just as amazing. He is so knowledgable in the gospel. It impresses me with some of the stuff that he says. He is a very capable servant of the Lord. He is going home though. Which has been hard for me! He gave his departing testimony at zone conference (all the missionaries bear their testimonies the last zone conference before they leave) yesterday and I just was crying the whole time through. I feel like I haven't learned more from any another missionary than him while I have been out here. Well maybe Elder Buhler. But Elder Christensen is such a man. I keep telling him I'm not going to let him go home. He wishes he doesn't have to go home either but its his time and his family needs him before they leave to South Korea. We had a long conversation at the end of our exchange about our friendship and we have seen each other grow so much in the past year. And how we hope to hang out after our missions. Man i love that kid. I will miss him so much.

On a happier note, we had zone conference yesterday and i got to see some missionary buddies that i haven't seen in a while, namely Elder Leone and Elder Amataga. Man i love this mission thing and the friends that i have made. I love that i get to serve the Lord and have fun while I'm doing it. I think for my whole youth i figured a mission is just going to be boring and that i wouldn't enjoy it. But I could not have been more wrong. I love it! And I never have a boring moment! My president said something yesterday that has really impressed me, and the Spirit and this thought have been working on me goes along the lines of this..."I'm confident that we know in many instances why we were called to the Roseville Mission, either by the people we meet and teach or the companions you have and learn from, you will know just from seeing that God has reasoning behind this call, but I can promise you there are many other unseen reasons why you are here right now, but they will be revealed to you in the eternities"...How awesome is that? That gives me the desire to want to be out and doing things like tracting where I don't know what the outcome is, and to my natural eye it seems like i just got another slammed door in my face, but in all reality the quick little response we say to a person when they open the door could prick their hearts and affect them in a time down the road. We just need to have faith that one day things will work out for the good of all people. Right now for instance if i didn't understand a certain rule or commandment but if i obey, i know with surety that i will be blessed for it, and that in the future when i die everything will be made known unto me. That promise is wonderful to me.

Elder Rasmussen and I are gelling nicely. Since we have been together so long we are pretty good teachers together. Its sweet. We get along great. We have SOSOSOSO much fun. We always have something to laugh about each day. The ward seems to love us as well. We get the line "you are our favorite missionaries" like once a week. Its crazy but I love it so much, its just a confidence booster. We are doing the mutual thing tonight. And I'm stressing a little bit. Because we are on exchanges right now with the ZL's, and me and Ras aren't 100% prepared. But we will have some time tonight to get prepared. I hope the kids like it. I'm sure they will. We are hoping to to help them realize that yes we are missionaries but we went to high school and we went through stuff as well. We hope to help them out alot.

There is a scripture that i can't find right now that I love! But hopefully i will find it soon, but its a prophet and he testifies that he will be in the rest of his Lord with his converts. I wish i could find it. But that excites me! I want to be in the presence of Savior with my family and my converts. All the people i have taught on my mission. And also the less-actives i have helped come back into the fold of God. I want to rest with them in heaven. I can't imagine my happiness level if and when that happens. I cant wait!

We had a lesson with a less-active single mom last night. And the spirit was so present during the lesson! She felt it, we felt it. She will be in the temple in five months. I can promise you that. I want to be there when she goes to get her endownment out. That would be such a great moment. She has so much potential and she has a huge desire to come back to church. I love that. When people have a desire to learn and get blessings, its easier for us to work with them and easier for the Spirit to testify of the truthfulness of the message. I love this work. This is the Lord's work.

I better go! I'm praying for everyone at home a lot!
Elder Simons

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Birthday photos!

We received a few photos from the Busch family of Elder Simons' weekend. This one is of his birthday dinner. They served him his favorite: salmon, "funeral potatoes", and salad. He was a happy camper!

Happy birthday, Elder Simons!
The Busch's gave the elders their favorite cereal and treat. Notice the similarity between the two for Elder Simons: Reese's Puffs, and Reese' peanut butter cups!

Favorite cereals and treats!

After dinner, the Busch family and the elders made a video to present to the youth at mutual. I believe it had to do with Alma, and his change of heart... It is obvious who is the good guy and who is the bad guy (or escaped convict) in this photo...

In costume for the video

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Elder Simons!

Elder Simons with other elders
at the indoor baseball field

This week has been pretty good! We set a date with our investigator!!! For June 23rd. Unfortunately transfers are on June 19th. So I'm thinking I probably will be gone from the area. But i will ask permission to come back and most likely will be able to attend it. But i can't wait. I have been waiting for this one for a while. and i know his family has been waiting even longer. In a year they will get sealed and everything will be great! That is so cool!!! I feel so blessed to have just been plopped in this ward and be able to receive so many blessings. 

Other than setting a date our week has been terrible!! Haha not really, but we are having trouble meeting with our investigators. The lesson we had last Monday cancelled. Which was too bad. But we are going to call them today and set something up again. We are having troubles just talking to people who are interested. But we know they are out there! One of my favorite pumping up scriptures is in Alma 13 "For behold, aangels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory." There are actual angels helping us. How cool is that??

We are planning on doing mutual with the youth here next Wednesday and we are going to do the whole thing. We are making a sweet video with the Busch's and we are going to discuss the parable of the sower and also Alma the younger. I can't wait!! We will have the Busch's put the video on Youtube so you can find it after we are finished.

So we burned one of my torn white shirts and it was sweet. We had a lot of fun with that. And we took some cool pictures. I still can't believe i hit my year mark three days ago. It hasn't hit i guess.

Burning his shirt at his one year mark

My birthday was amazing! First i was able to go to church then we came home and my door was decorated!! By the Pratts from Gridley. They are super nice. Then we went over to the Buschs and had salmon!! And also funeral potatoes!!!! And this way good salad! One of the best dinners I have had in a long time. The members here are so awesome. They have such big hearts. They are way too nice to us. But I'm not complaining! I had a lot of missionaries buddies call me and wish me a happy birthday so it was sweet to be able to talk to a lot of them.

Happy Birthday from the Pratt's in Gridley!

We will keep working and i know the hard work will pay off. I hope and know that i will have some good news for you next week. Like 45 new investigators and 15 new baptism dates!! Sorry this email is kinda short! I love you guys!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One year behind, one year ahead

I can't believe that it is my last week as a nineteen year old. I still feel like 6. I for sure still feel like a greenie. I can't believe i have been out for almost a year. It's a weird feeling to know that in a week or so i will be able to say that i have been wearing this same missionary tag for one year. Time has moved incredibly fast. Unfairly fast. But i know it has moved by as the Lord would have it move. I have been blessed to be able to be an instrument in His hands. I feel like i have had so much success on my mission. I know that i have helped others build Faith in Jesus Christ. I love what Ammon says to Aaron in the Book of Mormon when Aaron is worried about Ammon boasting. In Alma 26:11, "But Ammon said unto him: I do not aboast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my bjoy is full, yea, my heart is brim with cjoy, and I will rejoice in my God.12 Yea, I know that I am anothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will bnot boast of myself, but I will cboast of my God, for in his dstrength I can do all ethings; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."

I know that any success that i have had on my mission or if anyone has come closer to Christ from a visit from me i know without a doubt that it was because God's hand was in it. I don't give myself credit except for the fact that i was acting as voice and i just happen to be the bag of bones with a name tag that is in the area. I love this work. I have one year left. That is scary. But that excites me, that makes me determined to finish strong. I will finish strong, I will make the Lord proud. I don't care how many baptisms i have. If i have one more or ten more i will be happy because i know that I'm doing what i have been asked to do. I know its here right at the front door but I'm sooo excited for my last year. My time to shine! I can't wait!

This week was really great. We had such a powerful lesson with our investigator. We got so close to committing him to baptism with a date. SOOOO close. We taught lesson 21 in the Gospel Principles handbook on the Holy Ghost. What i love so much about the Holy Ghost is we have the power to dictate how powerfully the Spirit works in our life. What a smart God to create the spirit according to our obedience and faithfulness. I have seen several times on my mission that when i try my hardest to qualify for the spirit, i receive it. Simple enough. We aren't expected to be perfect to have the spirit or else no one would have it, but we get it nonetheless. But when I don't care as much or don't pay as much attention to having the spirit as i should, i don't have it. I notice it in my teaching and everything i do. Its quite simple! Its amazing. I love that i have the gift of the Holy Ghost. What a blessing. I want everyone in California to have this gift as well. 

We found three new investigators! How cool is that? We are teaching them today at three. We are cutting our p-day short so we can maximize our time out working. I can't wait. Then we have dinner with Shawn's cousin who went to Alta. It will be awesome! We have a good week planned. I'm excited about the potential ahead. 

Roseville is getting really hot. But that's okay.. I'm getting skinny hopefully. Life is amazing. Thank you for everything parents! I love you!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lemon juice vegies?

First of all...I wish i had a time for you that we will be skyping. It will be after five though. I will call you before and let you know to turn on skype. Sound good?

So transfers came in...and I'm staying! I know weird. I thought i was getting transferred but Elder Rasmussen and I are both staying. Which is really unusual. Most comps don't stay together for three transfers so it will be good. We are going to do some good work and hopefully get a couple more baptisms! 

So I was ready to go. Ready to get transferred. But about ten minutes before we got the calls, I had such an overwhelming feeling that i was staying. It was really crazy. I told Rasmussen and he didn't believe me. But we now he knows to trust me :) I'm glad in a way to stay. My main focus is our investigator, and getting him baptized. I'm going to tell him on Thursday during our next lesson that God has granted me 6 extra weeks in this area and that I need to be at his baptism, and i will commit him and give him a date. So I'm pumped about that.

I want to get another baptism here besides that one though. Not sure who, but we will go out and find them, teach them and baptize them.

So Bob Thompson's funeral is tomorrow morning. We get to usher at it. So that will be a good experience. I miss him a lot. He was such a great guy. It should be a great funeral. Well...are funerals great? Either way it will be good.

I'm loving life right now. I love my misson so much. I don't want to go home. I'm glad I have a year left. I wish i had more time but its been wonderful. I can't believe I turn 20 soon. I'm just a kid!

Rasmussen has been down with bad allergies lately. It kinda stinks to see him suffering so bad. But it will pass i know that for sure.

Trying to think of some good things to talk about. This week was kind of uneventful. It was a good week but not too much happened I guess.

Dinner at our newest convert's house was way fun. We had some good meat, and then lemon juice veggies. Lemon juice veggies? I mean come on. It was interesting. I never have had that before. To me it tasted like veggies marinated in vinegar. I sat right by her dad so i had to get them down as best i could with a smile on my face. I don't know how well I did, but hopefully i did fine. Her parents are really cool. It's really interesting going over there and they know what we stand for and believe in and what our job is as missionaries. They aren't super relegious, but i want to talk to them more about it. I will tell you how that goes.

Sela came back from her 2 month trip! Finally. I missed her. She came to church and everyone just loves her so it was great!

But i better go. I can't wait to skype! It will be so much fun!!!  Oh cool scripture. Hebrews 11:40 and look at footnote "a". One of my favorite JST scriptures.
I love you!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hello, Bob. How are you doing?

Hey parents!! How are we doing? Hopefully good

Anyway, this week has been a roller coaster. Its had its ups and its had its downs. Which should i explain first? Well i guess i will just do the bads so we can finish with the goods! So first, Bob Thompson, the 94 year old who just got baptized March 3rd passed away Thursday night. He was in the hospital on Monday for something minor and was expected to be released Friday morning, but Thursday evening while sleeping he slipped away. We found out about forty minutes before we were going over to his apartment so we had no idea. Bob was such a great man. His story truly testifies of the statement that its never too late. Bob was set in his ways for years. And he was fine with it, he didn't feel like he needed to change. But with the wonderful example of his family he realized there was something better in life. So at age 94 he took the lessons and was baptized. What a turn around. Its almost like the prodigal son, but in reverse with the prodigal father. Its an amazing story. I loved going over to his apartment and him showing us his simple picture of Jesus, smiling. He would always say "its like he is saying Hello Bob how are you doing?" and he would always talk about how excited he was to see Jesus. I know that the Plan of Salvation is real. It is true. How lucky we are that we have our eternal plan basically mapped out for us. Life on earth isn't even that mapped out. I feel like I have come to understand the Plan of Salvation more in my life, and it has given me so much peace and help during times of need. Bob was a great man. He is happy and healthy now, and that is awesome to me! He is in a better place.

Moving on, (so this is my last down which also turns into a good) so this weekend i was just feeling spiritually...whats the word I'm looking for?....down, I guess you could say. I had no idea why. It was frustrating me. Especially because I'm trying to work as hard as i can to get the spirit with me always so i can be aware of what our Lord wants me to do. Saturday night while pondering on my mission and what it means to me, my mind turned to the following day and how I was able to partake of the Sacrament, and i was like "hmm it seems like such a long time since i had the Sacrament" and it was because of the stake conference we had. That's why i felt spiritually down was because i wasn't able to partake of the Sacrament and renew my covenants with the Lord and receive the promise that i will always have his spirit to be with me. What a promise I have taken for granted. I need that spirit. Without it, i was emotionally and physically not feeling right. But when i partook of it on Sunday the spirit just flooded back. What an amazing experience that was for me.

So another up... our investigator's mom wants us to come over for dinner again, so we are doing that tonight. I'm pretty excited! Our investigator is still doing great. Her testimony is as strong as ever. 

So we had a lesson with another one of our investigators and it went really well. She is progressing great. We are hoping to set a date soon. So she can start receiving the blessings of membership. 

We helped with Mormon Helping Hands this weekend. We had a ton of fun. We helped clean up a park and get it ready for bark. We had a good time mingling with the other missionaries and members from the stake.

It is crazy that I get to talk to you guys again in two Sundays? That's so crazy. I can't believe that. It feels like we just skyped for Christmas. Time flies! Anyway i better go. I love you guys!!!