Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We even got See's turkeys!

So this week has been a good one as usual. We have a baptism on Saturday with one of the YSA girls! She is truly amazing. So I haven't talked too much about her but I think I will today. So she had sat in on a lesson about two or three months ago when some missionaries were teaching the word of wisdom. And not much happened after that. So for the first two weeks I was here we were trying to contact her and set up something with her and finally like the day after the election we met up with her and had a lesson on life. And how we are supposed to be good people generally. It was a really weird lesson and I wasn't too sure if we should set up a follow up lesson with her but we did anyway. And since like Nov. 7th we have seen her basically every day and set a baptismal date and taught her all the lessons and commandments. She has caught hold of this wonderful gospel and ran with it, not ever looking back. She has been through some tough times in her life but wants a change and what I love most is that we as missionaries get to be there for the whole complete change. She looks different she acts different she has been changed by the Atonement. I love my mission. I'm so dang lucky to be able to do this. 

What else happened this week? So there is this crazy girl that we talk to every once in a while and she is pretty funny but she is trying to quit smoking. So we came over and she was saying she was going to stop after her last three cigs inside. I was like "no no no that ain't happenin' go get those cigs and we are going to step on them". And she is like "no you wouldn't".  But we just stared at her until she went in and got two of them. We threw them on the ground and each stepped on one. We then proceeded to tell her to go get the third one and it was her turn to stomp on it. So she did and she did step on it. It was cool. Since we did that she has smoked just a couple packs but still has a desire to quit. We will keep checking up on her and hopefully get her to quit. 

Our Thanksgiving was awesome. We started the day like normal with our studies and all that good stuff then went and played dunk ball. It was so sweet. Then we went to a member's home and had this huge dinner thingy and it was amazing. We even got See's turkeys. [editor's note: See's chocolate turkeys are a tradition around here... I am so happy that some wonderful family in Redding invited the missionaries for Thanksgiving AND also recognized the yumminess and necessity of giving See's turkeys!] And then after, we went to the stake center and played some more ball. It was so sweet!! I love basketball. 

Anyway life is so good. I'm starting to really love Redding. I wonder if I will finish my mission here. I wouldn't mind it. But thanks so much for everything you do!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Am I still fishing?

Hey mom,
Zone conference was amazing. President Weston is such a man, he is so good about inspiring us and helping us find the desire in our own hearts and working for that. He is very smart. So he gave all of us a challenge. By the time we have zone conference again, sometime is Feb, that we finish the Book of Mormon and we highlight like four different things. And every time we study we have to have a prayer before and after and ask our Heavenly Father if the book is true. He said doing this will change our lives. I love being invited to change my life! 

Life is wonderful. We are being so blessed here its almost unbelievable. I love it. We are teaching these two YSA girls and they both now have dates for Dec 1 and Dec 8th.  They are both doing great things in their lives. I want to talk about one of them in particular. She understands the gospel so much. We taught her the Plan of Salvation (with the wood things Dad gave me) and then I picked up all the pieces and gave it to her and said now you do it and also explain it to us. She gave probably the most beautiful testimony on the Plan of Salvation that I ever had heard. She did all of that while correctly placing the wooden shapes in order and she told us what each of them meant to her. And after she was like "I understand why you guys focus so much on missionary work. This needs to be spread." She has expressed a desire to serve a mission. Man that would be....amazing to say the least. 

I have been pondering a lot on a couple things. First testimony and conversion and also the talk which Elder Holland gave which talked about Peter and why he was still fishing. I have come to realize that when someone has been converted they change. They have a complete 180 on what they say, think, and do. They have no more desire to do evil, yes they still fall but they have a drive to follow and keep the commandments. They are focused on Christ and His Atonement. I have been looking a lot for things like that in myself and others around me and it is really interesting. 

Now to my other subject which goes hand and hand... I have been thinking a lot about my own conversion and what I used to do before my mission. There were a lot of interesting things that I did but I will just say fishing because that works well. But I was thinking more deeply about my conversion and a couple questions came to my mind. First of all where am I and where am I going? Am I ever still fishing? Am I making decisions and choices that lead me to the Savior or to satan? Whenever I think about fishing I say to myself and sometimes out loud "Stop fishing Elder Simons". (I have got my companion into the habit too) It really helps us focus on where we are on missions and to focus on our conversions. A true conversion would be where someone has no desire to re-do the evils and maybe not just the evils but also the things I was doing well enough. A true conversion is when someone has turned their back on that promising and striving to never go back. So are we  converted? I hope so. 

This is such a wonderful time of the year. I hope we all can focus on Christ and what He has so willingly done for us. It is easier for me because I teach of Christ and I testify of Christ all day long so He is always in my head. I'm lucky I do not have to deal with all of the many distractions we as humans have put in our own lives. I love my Savior and I'm grateful for the many things He personally has blessed me with. I love my family. I would do anything for any one of them and I hope they know that. I love how much they support me and bless me. I love anyone who is reading this email. I'm thankful for the support you give me in any way. I love you all!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Familiar faces from Draper

Some friends from our ward here in Draper were in California and "bumped" into Wilson in Antelope just before his transfer to Redding. He SO loved seeing familiar faces from the old home ward.... and we SO love seeing him in photos with those familiar faces! Makes it seem like he's closer, somehow.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Faith and Testimony

This week has been good. We had our zone training meeting this week (zone conference is tomorrow), but our meeting this week was on how our faith and testimony should effect our obedience level, work ethic, attitude, gospel knowledge. And if we are struggling in any of these categories we are struggling with our faith and testimony. It was pretty intense. I loved it. So the Redding zone has been averaging about 9.5 lessons a week and according to Elder Maynes the  missionaries and the ward should work together so that the missionaries teach at least 20 lessons each week. We were getting about 16 or 17 in Antelope and I really wanted to improve it but I didn't know how. Because I can't go into every ward council in the stake and ask them to give the missionaries more teaching opportunities. So I thought a lot about it and what Elder Leithead and I could do about it. I felt strongly that we should commit each companionship to reach 20 lessons per week whether or not the ward is giving us names of people to teach. Everyone was pumped about it when we issued the challenge. And so later on this week when we recorded numbers (Sunday night) we pretty much doubled in every key indicator! It was so awesome!! Also our average went up to 15.5 lessons per week. I can't wait for the growth that is going to come from this. It was so legit! I love this work. 

We picked up these two YSA aged girls and one of them committed to baptism for the 8th of December. Its so exciting. I was so pumped. The other one is really great as well and will probably have a date this week. The work is truly picking up here in Redding. I can't wait to see some of the great results but I'm not forgetting to enjoy the moment. 

Anyway, life is great. I love it up here in Redding. It is getting really cold up here. I'm always freezing!! 

Elder Simons

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Photo from Redding

Editor's Note: Every now and then I receive texts or emails from someone in Wilson's mission area who has had him and his companion over for dinner. They are always so kind and full of wonderful things to say. I love when they include a photo or two. It almost makes it seem like he is closer to home. I LOVE how technology makes things just a little easier to bear for us missionary parents!

Here's the photo that popped up on my cell phone last night... from the family that fed them all last night.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Extension please.

Life is good. I am getting more used to Redding. It is still very different from the fast paced south and I miss that, but that's okay. 

Country road in Ono, California
(in the Redding Zone)

We had such a good ZLC this past week. We discussed how we are going to prepare for the new influx of missionaries coming in and how we are going to accommodate them. It was really exciting. I can't wait. (Although when they are expecting our numbers to reach the highest will be about a month or two before I go home). Which doesn't seem right. Extension please. I wish. 

We have zone conference next Tuesday. I can't wait. Elder Buhler and Rasmussen will be there. Its the top three zones of the mission. Anderson, Chico and Redding. It will be great. 

What new has happened....we met with this new guy named. He is really great. He hasn't been taught in a couple months and he comes to church about every week. We have a lesson with him tomorrow that I'm really excited for. We asked him if he has considered baptism before and he said he would if he knew it was true. That excited me. This ward has only had 2 baptisms this year. That is no good at all. I hope we can get two maybe three before the year wraps up. 

Oh we also had stake correlation up here on Sunday. President Weston came which was so great. It was weird being in a different correlation than Antelope. I felt outta place for the first little bit but then I warmed up and jumped right in.

I have seen amazing miracles while I have been up here in Redding. I can't wait to further the work up here in the Lord's vineyard. I'm just excited about the work. I love this work and know that the Lord has all power in it. I love Him so much. I love you all as well!
Elder Simons

Wilson's pumpkin carving of Moses