Wednesday, May 15, 2013

They really do come home!

Tuesday was the big day! We decorated the house and yard with yellow ribbons on any surface that we could tie a ribbon to!

This is Elder Simons coming down the escalator at the airport...

What a sweet, tender moment.

He met his nephew for the first time!

I loved seeing both of our boys walking side by side, catching up with each other as we walked through Temple Square after leaving the airport.

What a delight to watch Elder Simons as he interacted with the other missionaries on Temple Square. He was so confident and interested in meeting them and hearing their stories.

It was an amazing, tender, emotional, sweet, wonderful day. I will miss having a missionary out, and will miss the emails, but I can't express how grateful I am to have him home and to feel of his extraordinary spirit. He accomplished great things, but as our stake president so wisely said, "Likely the greatest conversion of the past two years happened within Wilson". We are so proud of all that he has done to faithfully serve the Lord to his very best. He is a great example for each one of us and we love him!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Last email from our missionary

And for the last email from Elder Simons on his mission...

Hey mom,

The time has come. Here on my mission I have learned so much. I don't even know what to say. I never thought I would be here emailing for my last time. My mission has been amazing! I thank you all who have supported me and have been there for me. I love you all. I'm thankful God has put me in the amazing California Roseville Mission under President Weston. I know being here was what God wanted and what God needed. I know that President Weston was called to bless the lives of the missionaries and especially me here in the mission. Ah I will miss my mission so much! I will reflect on it everyday of my life and will refer to it often. I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned and the friends I've made. I will see you tomorrow! I love you all!

Disciples Forever

When we were able to Skype with Wilson yesterday, I broached the subject of receiving no email last week, and he quickly checked and apparently on his end, it went out, and ended up floating in cyberspace somewhere. But, he re-sent it, and I'm so glad he did. Its a wonderful letter. Keep in mind it was written a week ago, on May 6th.

Hey mom, first of all I will most likely send a short email next week, because I will have some extra time at the mission office. And about Mothers Day...I don't know. I know you have church at 9 right? What will be the best time for you? I could probably do it at like 4 or 5 or at night. I'm going to call though. If that is okay?

But what a week, my emotions have been all over the place and I have no doubt they will be just the same this next week. I really don't want to go home. Everyone always says "your last week you will just go all trunky and want to be home". And as much as I love home and my family and everything that goes with coming back I don't know if I want to come home yet. I feel like my work isn't done. If I was able to extend I would do it in a heartbeat. I feel like I have been out for like 10 months. I wouldn't be surprised if someone said, "you still have over a year". I would be like "okay that makes sense". Because right now, going home in 8 days isn't right. I am going to miss all of these missionaries that I have come to love and grow under their influence. So many missionaries have made life changing differences in my life. I can't thank them enough and I don't how I would get started to even telling them how much they mean. Their love has helped me endure trials and everything else I have gone through. 

I have had the best companions anyone could ask for. I have taught the most wonderful people in the world. I have witnessed miracles that have confirmed my faith that our Savior lives and loves us with a  perfect love. I have learned how to love and show charity. In no way am I saying I am perfect at this... far from it. But I have grown since two years ago when I was just a punk kid who only cared about himself. My mission has changed my life. It has brought me to the depths of humility. I have cried for joy and I have cried because I have been in the depths of sorrow and sadness. But every experience I've been through has strengthened my faith that God lives and that we can do hard things and we can endure if we trust our Heavenly Father. I thank all of you that have ever prayed for me. EVER. Or the missionary force as a whole. We and especially myself have felt that influence. I love you all. I thank you for your support. 

My mission has taught me God needs us, His children, to be disciples forever. Not just missionaries for two years or stake presidents for 9 years or missionary presidents for 3 years or a nursery leader for a couple years but He needs us forever. To constantly striving to be better and doing the things God would do if He were there. I hope and pray we can all be worthy to be called Disciples of Christ until the very end. 

This week has been interesting. We met with a Seventh-Day Adventist. He was a great guy, with amazing faith but his views have been skewed by the wisdom of men. Which is sad. I'm just thankful we have modern revelation with modern prophets and apostles. What a blessing we have! Let us all take advantage of them and that revelation! 

But I have to go! I love you all!
Elder Simons

Friday, May 10, 2013

Email from an Auburn member

We still haven't received an email from Wilson this week, but received a text from a ward member as to what time we can expect his phone call on Mother's Day.

Thankfully, other people from his area drop me a line here and there. I received an email yesterday from the woman who owns the place that he's living in. Here are parts of the email... (makes me sad to know he's been a bit sick, but hopefully he's feeling better now!)

Hey Dayna,

Just a few more days and your wonderful missionary will be home.
I guess you will still get to talk to him on Sunday and then he will be home on Tuesday. I bet you are so excited.
I am going to be making some chicken broth for Elder Simons for lunch. Apparently he got some food poisoning Monday night and has been sick from it since then. Of course it has to happen while I am gone, but we will see if chicken broth will help. He says it has been pretty bad. 

Well, is there anything I can do for you or Wilson? I love that name. It fits him


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

No email this week

I know, I know... we're all waiting to hear from Elder Simons on this, his last week. But I haven't received an email from him this week. I don't know if that means that he had a packed-full Pday, or if he'll be emailing on another day this week, or just what. 

But, there are two things I do know: 1) he'll be calling this Sunday for Mother's Day; and, 2) we will be seeing him in person for the first time in two years in less than a week!

So, I can't be too broken up about not getting an email this week, though it would be very helpful to know when he is going to call so that we are actually home at that time!

Stay posted!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I know the message is true

Hey mom! Thanks for the email

So we went to the temple this week. I totally would have sent pictures but I forgot my camera. Maybe next week or in two weeks I'll just show you. It was an amazing experience. That is the fourth time I've gone with Bo and Sister Pratt on my mission. There has always been other people but they were always there. They both mean so much to me. Same with the temple. I feel I learn something new each time. Well obviously I do but it just is amazing to be in there and feel the influence of the Savior and Heavenly Father. I love the temple, I can't wait to go when I'm home. But I will go one more time as a missionary. I will be going with my departing group not this Friday but my last Friday. I can't wait to be there with all of my buddies. It will be a great end to an amazing two years. 

My mission has been unreal with how many miracles and spiritual experiences I have had. I couldn't have had those without coming out here to California. I'm going to miss my mission for the rest of my life and think about it everyday. It is really interesting because with the time left it is impossible for me to get any more baptisms. Because investigators have to come to church three times so it has been interesting turning my mindset to realizing that I still can do so much for the great people in California. I hope to find people that will be baptized in the coming weeks and give them everything I can so they can find the peace I have found. I love this work. I love bearing my testimony of the truth. That probably is one of my favorite things about my mission. That when I'm testifying I know the message is true. That is such a good feeling. 

My companion is doing well and is teaching me by example. He is great and we are having fun. I feel like I'm always laughing and having a good time. Our area is still pretty slow, but we picked up a new investigator last night, which was cool. This kid has gone through a lot of tough things in his life. It will be good for him to grab hold of the sure and firm Gospel. It will bless him in his life. I'm excited to teach him a couple more times, then hear from Elder Solomon what his progress is through letters and emails. 

Welp I better go, I love you all and I'm thankful for you! We will talk to you soon!
Elder Simons

Monday, April 29, 2013

15 days

Just saying....

15 days, but who's counting?

Monday, April 22, 2013

It Has Changed My Life

That is pretty exciting about the new stake presidency. That will be great for the great stake of Corner Canyon. I will miss President Beard a lot but luckily he still is in our ward so that will be fun. 

So this week has been good, yes we got sprayed on by a skunk. We were coming out of the members' house that we live at to walk towards our house then as soon as we opened the door it was right there and sprayed us. I knew it got me so I just ran and was screaming. It smelled pretty darn bad. Luckily it only got on my shirt and I won't be bringing that one home so I'm over it. It was a cool story though, I will tell my kids about. 

This week has been good, the work has been slow and the time has gone fast. I really wish it was the opposite, like that the time went slow and the work was going fast. We have been meeting with a guy and last night we taught the restoration and it was just awesome. My companion shared the part about Joseph Smith and where he had the first vision and the spirit just hit me so hard like it always does that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of God. I love that story. I will never get tired of it. That story is true, and I will never deny it. 

Elder Solomon is still a trooper, we are having lots of fun. We are trying to find those true seekers. We had some funny experiences this week.  Its been a lot of fun. 

We are going to the temple this Friday with a group of people from Gridley. Bo and the Pratts and some other choice people are coming. I'm so excited! I will be sure and send some pictures! But I think that is about it from my end of the world. As I always say I'm thankful for my mission, It has changed my life in so many ways. It has been such an amazing experience. I want to thank everyone who helped me get out here. which is so many people! I love you all!
Elder Simons

p.s. I'm glad you made it home safely. Can't say I wasn't worried, but I did pray really hard.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Letter from a member in Elder Simons' area

I love getting emails from people who live in Wilson's mission and who have gotten to know him. I have received a few emails from Rosalie, who lives in the ward he is assigned in. In fact, apparently she owns the place that the elders are living in at this time. I thought I'd share part of her emails...

Dear Sister Simons,

My name is Rosalie. I own the "shack" that your son Elder Simons is living in right now. What a great young man! I am so glad to have him next door. Sadly, I just found out a few days ago that this is his last transfer. I got to know him a little when he live in LOP. He and Elder Solomon are so fun to have next door. We have been housing elders for almost two years now. And your son even though he will only be here one transfer will be remembered as one of the best.

I have a story for you. I don't know if it is funny or sad. I will let you decide. Last night was our annual Spaghetti dinner fund raiser for the girls in our ward going to camp.  The girls each get the money they earn by selling tickets but there is also a dessert auction. The ward really supports this auction by bidding very high for a plate of cookies etc. The highest item sold was a basket that contained an instant breakfast including eggs, bacon, biscuits, jam, butter and I don't know what else, but it went for $160.00.  Any way your son made the first 5.00 bid on almost every item. He was really trying to get something for 5.00. Sadly nothing stayed that low, he was always out bid.

We had taken a nonmember couple with us and afterward instead of them going right home and since we didn't win any of the desserts, (they always went out of my price range also), we had them come in for ice cream. The Elders got home the same time we did, so I invited them in to join us and have ice cream and socialize with us for a few minutes.  

It was funny how Elder Simons said that even if he had won one of the bids he would have had to borrow the 5.00, because he didn't even have that. (HaHa) Any way we had a good visit, but they soon decided they needed to get home. Right after they went out the door we heard them scream and they were soon knocking on our door.  As soon as a answered the door, I could smell skunk.

Apparently there was a skunk eating our cat food by the front door.  The Elders thought it was a raccoon and they made a motion to it.  It sprayed them! Good! I told them to go over take those clothes off and bring them right over to wash them.  So I don't know if this is a funny story or a sad one. We decided it was definitely one for the journal. Their clothes did come clean and the smell was gone. But our yard smelled like skunk for a few hours.

I'll keep you up on anymore fun stories if they come up.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I can't put it into words...

Ye take the high road and i'll take the low road and i'll be in Scotland before ye! That is awesome that you are chilling in Scotland. I can't believe you are way over there. Enjoy yourselves because next time you are taking me :) just kidding. 

Another good week! I feel like i was just emailing yesterday. It went by fast. We have been getting these wards revived slowly and surely.

We are still working with that kid that his dad won't let him be baptized. He has such a strong testimony of this Gospel. I'm just afriad that his testimony will diminish over time without going to church or receiving the Holy Ghost. I have hope for him though. 

I'm loving my mission, i'm trying to take advantage of every minute out here. I know my time is limited here but i want to make a difference in this ward. My companion and I are doing great! We have a lot of fun, we laugh a lot. 

I don't really know what else is going on that might be interesting to everyone. I think i'm going to miss how close i have been on my mission to the Spirit. It is amazing how easily revelation comes if we are ready and the Lord needs His work done. It has been such a humbling experience. Hopefully i can be worthy and open to the revelations from God when i come home. I don't want to think about that though. I'm starting to want my mission to slow down. I don't know if i'm really wanting to go home. I love you all but my mission is...i can't put it into words. My mission has just been a blessing. Thank you for you continued prayers towards me!  I love you!  

p.s.s.s. mom i love ya. Dad sent a picture of you on like a green field. You still are just a shortie! That is okay though, i still will call you on mothers day! :) I miss ya big time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Simple and Divine

It was great to hear from you Mom. Make sure you let me know if you are safe or not. 

Wasn't conference a treat? I can't stop thinking about it and the wonderful messages we heard from God's servants. I can't wait to get the Ensign and read all the talks again, although that will probably be when I'm back home, which is a daunting and scary thought. I love how simple and divine the messages were, they were on deep deep doctrine but on the simple and pure truths that we all need to work and improve on. I love President Monson's Message on obedience. It was amazing! How simple but yet how powerful was his message. We all must be obedient or we can't be successful. I just loved it. I can't wait to study that talk more in depth. 

This week has been a lot of coordinating between our areas that we cover. Elder Solomon is great, we are working hard and we are obedient. I want to finish strong and he wants to work hard no matter what so i'm happy i'm with him. We are struggling to find people to teach still. That is and may be the universal struggle throughout the world, but it is hard because our areas are sooo big that it is almost impossible to get out of the car and tract because there is like a big distance between most homes. That won't get us down though. 

I'm hoping to go to the temple with Bill soon, I talked to him earlier this week and it almost brought me to tears to hear his and his wife's sweet voices. I love those people with a love that I can't really describe. ANyway I will keep you updated on that.

 I love you all and pray for you always!
Elder Simons

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Make every minute count

Hey mom!

So first about transfers! Elder Vaitai is getting transferred to actually be with Elder Bowerman. So that is kinda sweet. I will be getting Elder Solomon from Idaho. I went street contacting with him on his first day on the mission when I was a ZL down in Antelope. Good stuff. I'm excited for it. We are going to work our tails off but I will miss my crazy Tongan companion. He will have a good time up north though. 

So I have 6 more weeks. That is just unreal to me, it is just scary but makes me realize the time I have left is so precious. I need to make every minute count. I do not want any regrets! None at all. Last week I was defining the word "regret" to Elder Vaitai because his English isn't perfect yet so he still doesn't know a couple words. It is always fun explaining stuff to him. Like last night I explained "red neck" to him. Good times. But anyway I was defining regret to him and while I was defining and thinking about it I was like "wow I do not want to have any regrets from my mission". If I do I will think about them for the rest of my life. I don't want that! 

Anyway another slow week but things are going to be changing around here, I can smell it in the wind. Can't you? It is just so hard to find the people to teach. We got a little more area to cover though, we are taking some of the Alta Sierra ward and half covering it with sisters which will be...weird. They are so many sisters that they double cover wards now. Luckily we get all of Lake Of the Pines to ourselves. 

Wasn't Easter nice? What a special time we have to reflect on the Savior and His life. It was amazing to partake of the Sacrament and realize that our Savior has done so much for us and through His resurrection we can be saved in the Kingdom of God. We are so blessed! 

This week is going to be crazy. It will probably fly by but oh well! Our new district has 12 missionaries in it. That is crazy. It will be good though. Thank you for everything you do! I have to go but remember the Church is true and don't forget to listen to conference. It can change your life, only if you let it though. I love you!
Elder Simons

Monday, March 25, 2013

There is no greater work

Hey mom,

This week has been good, although there have been some disappointing things that have happened. First of all, our baptism for this Saturday is getting post-poned. He was the one that was young and at the baptism he received divine revelation that he needed to be baptized. But his dad is saying no as of right now. He already said yes before but now he is saying no for right now. It has been sad and frustrating to watch this. But i know that eventually this kid will be baptized. Hopefully sooner than later. I want to be here when it happens. 

So this week we were visiting some LA's and we came upon this one that we decided to go and visit and he was such a cool guy! We were talking about technology and stuff and he was updating me. Then I started turning the conversation to the gospel and he was like "if you are wanting me to come back then it is no". I was like...whoa what? And we were talking about it and discussing religion as a whole. Basically this guy's beliefs are the same as Korihor's in the Book of Mormon. He believes in no Christ, no guilt, no afterlife, no God, no nothing basically. It was sad to hear him talk about this and I see his two kids, probably 1 and 3 years old and imagining their future. With no teaching of the Gospel of the Truth. That is Satan's plan, to attack the parents so the kids never even have the chance to hear the beautiful message of the gospel. How sad will that be for the kids? Their parents were sealed in the temple and they will have no knowledge whatsoever of that. They don't have the knowledge that if one of their parents passes away that they will see them again. I can't even imagine. I have been thinking about those two kids. I know that the Gospel can and will save all of those people who will and would receive it either on the earth or after. 

I do love this Gospel with all of my heart. I can't put into words how grateful I am that I have been able to do nothing but preach the everlasting gospel for the last 22 months of my life. There is no greater and more rewarding work. Even when we don't teach a ton of people or things aren't going our way, I still feel blessed to be one of the Lord's chosen servants to serve a mission. I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for the support.
Elder Simons
p.s. Thanks for the package mom! That "Last days of Jesus" was the best. It makes it so real and intimate, like you are really with the Savior. Thank you so much!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Become as Little Children

Another great week up in LOP. (Lake Of the Pines) I feel strongly that our ward is turning in the right direction. We set a baptismal date on Saturday that was great and really unexpected. We asked one of our investigators to come to a baptism that was happening in the stake. Before this he decided to wait till he turned 12 to get baptized to wait for his testimony to grow more, which I was kinda sad about and we had a couple lessons where we explained that God has gifts and blessings that He is willing to give to you now. Don't wait! But he was still pretty set on getting baptized when he was 12 which is in December. We were talking to him after the baptism and he was saying "the feelings I had made me feel like I have to get baptized now. I can't wait, it is supposed to happen now." 

I just love that example and will probably never forget it for the rest of my life. No wonder Jesus said we must become as little children. They are so open and willing to listen to the Spirit. It was just humbling to realize he was open to the spirit and it came to him because he asked for it and he was willing to act upon whatever the Lord had prompted him to do. Just a special experience. So he's getting baptized on the 30th, so we have to hurry and prepare for it. 

We are about to pick up some new investigators that I'm really excited about. One of them that really wants to change his life around, I'm hoping we can teach him and he will understand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way to turn your life around for the better. And eventually be saved in the Kingdom of God. But he will find that out later. 

Anyway life is just good, I'm having fun just living life. I can't believe transfers are in two weeks. And then it is my last transfer. Ah...crazy. 

Anyway we are going to play some ball today as always so that will be good. Anyway I love you all and thanks for everything you do for me! This Church is 100% true and Christ is Living and Loving.
Elder Simons

Friday, March 15, 2013

Photo of Elder Simons

Editor's Note" I'm not sure who Wilson is with, but a member texted this photo to Bob a couple of nights ago. I LOVE it when we randomly get a photo of our missionary! It makes it seem like he is right around the corner, somehow!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Elder Andersen was amazing

It was great to hear from you Mom! Your email was awesome. The new dining room sounds pretty cool too.

So this week was really good, slower for missionary work in general but a good week nonetheless. Elder Andersen was amazing. He is just a testament that God loves us and doesn't leave His children without direction and guidance on how to make it through life. Elder Andersen taught about the Atonement and how we are to use it in our lives. Elder Andersen holds apostolic keys, he is an inspired man. I can't describe how good it was. He is guided by the Lord. 

I love my mission. And that I have chances to listen to apostles. How blessed am I? I got to see all of my mission buddies. That will most likely be the last time I see all of them. While sitting in the chapel just waiting for Elder Anderson to come I was just pondering on how lucky I have been to be on a mission. I saw many missionaries that I have worked and made great memories with. I will miss them all so much. It is really just sad when I come to think of it. I will miss my mission so much. It goes too fast. But meeting with Elder Andersen was one of the highlights of the mission. I will never forget it. 

So in other news I got food poisoning Saturday night and I was out of commission basically all Sunday. The lesson that i learned? Never have a fillet of fish from McDonald's. I knew when I got it I was making a big mistake. But now I feel good and am going to play some basketball later on today. We still are trying to find some more peeps to teach. We need to start baptizing here and get this ward going. I'm excited for the potential here. 

I love my mission so much and life is great. I don't have much to say but I love you!

Elder Simons

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A week full of blessings!

Hey mom,

This week has been full of blessings! First of all we got a car! This area is like the area where bikes shouldn't be allowed because it is sooo dangerous and there are like mountains we have to somehow bike over. So we got a brand spanking new 2013 Toyota Corolla with 100 miles on it. It is so amazing to drive. We are loving it. Since we have a car we are able to travel around more easily and visit so many more peeps. 

We were visiting this less-active and she has a friend living in her home that is interested so we are teaching him too. I'm so excited for him. He said yes to the question 'if you knew these things were true would you be baptized?" That is always good to hear. So basically i'm hoping and praying he will be baptized soon. 

We also picked up another investigator.  He is about 10 years old. He wants to get baptized too. We have our first lesson with him on Wednesday. It is great! What else is new? So funny story... every time my companion sees a big fat dog he says "good meat". He used to eat dog in Tonga and so he like sizes them up and how they would taste and stuff. It is funny. I love him so much! 

Anyway there has been some great things happening. I love how excited the ward is about all of the work. So this week on Saturday Elder Neil Anderson is coming! I can't wait. The whole mission is going down to Roseville. It is going to be amazing. Thanks for everything! I feel the prayers coming my way and I appreciate it so much and can't thank you all enough.

Elder Rasmussen, Elder Simons, Elder Wilson

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I feel like I live on a farm

Hey Mom!

This week has been a good one again. I love my comp. He is amazing! He has so much charity and patience and he is so Christlike. He learned English in the MTC so we are still working on that and having language training each day to help him learn it better. Hey I may pick up some Tongan while I'm at it. Who knows? He is so funny too. I love just hearing him talk. It is the best. I hope I can bless his life as much as he already has blessed mine. 

So our area is Lake of the Pines. It is a huge gated community that surrounds a lake. It is pretty cool. We live with members. I have a queen-sized bed. I love living with them. I wake up in the morning and go and put wood in their fireplace and get the fire going. Then I go and feed the chickens and let them out. Ah I feel like I live on a farm. It has been nice. 

So I'm not a zone leader anymore. ZL's drop for their last couple transfers so they can finish just like normal missionaries. Which I have been looking forward to for a bit of time. I love just having to worry about my area and my comp. It makes things a lot less stressful. It is a great humbling experience to be able to sustain and support a district leader that actually has stewardship over me. Before (as a zl) I would pray for my district leaders that they could lead and guide their district and help all the members they are over. But it is a whole different thing praying for one to lead and guide and help me with everything that I go through. I love how perfect the organization of the church is. I love it! 

The work here is not so great though. We don't have anyone that we are teaching. Like no less actives or investigators. My comp doesn't really know the members too well or how to get around very well. This should be interesting. I'm loving life. It is great. Thank you for everything you do for me! I love you all

Elder Simons

Friday, February 22, 2013

Photo from Grass Valley (Auburn)

This is a photo we received a couple of nights ago from a member in Elder Simons' new area. This particular family had fed these two cute missionaries that night. I love when the families think to snap a photo and send it to us. It feels like we aren't that far away when we are able to "see" him as he's living his life as a missionary. I am soooooo grateful for the members in the Roseville Mission who take such amazing care of our boy, and every missionary!

Elder Simons and new companion

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Transfer to Auburn - Lake of the Pines

So we got transfers yesterday. I'm getting transferred!! I'm going to the Auburn Zone. My new ward is called Lake of the Pines. I'm so pumped. I only have 12 weeks left so I'm going to crank it and do some serious work. 

My new comp is Elder Vaitai. I was there when he came into the mission down in Antelope. He is from Tonga and is probably the most chill missionary here. He loves everyone! Ah i can't wait! I will miss Redding like crazy, but it is time to leave. It has been a great time up here doing the work of the Lord. I feel like the Lord has let me witness a lot of success up here. I will miss the people so much, they have grown so close to my heart. 

I wish I had more to say. This week has been pretty good. We had zone conference, and President Weston taught the importance of the Holy Ghost in Conversion. I loved it because he didn't just focus on us teaching our investigators but also in our personal conversions. 

So each time at zone conference all the departing missionaries (missionaries going home in the next few months) bear their testimonies. I thought I was too far out to do mine. I figured I would do it next time. But nope they called me up. I got up there and so many emotions and memories ran through my brain. The first one was [one of our older investigators]  getting baptized because I saw Elder Buhler down in the audience. Also because I was in the same building he was baptized in. I looked at Elder Rasmussen and remembered the fasting and praying we did in behalf of [the YSA] we were teaching from Roseville and then I glanced at Elder Coburn and thought of the miracles we witnessed down in Antelope getting [our investigator] to her baptism. I couldn't contain myself for a bit, but then bore my testimony. I was grateful I had the opportunity to do so. It was actually really sad. In my head I was like "This can't be possible. How is it almost over? NO!" It is just heartbreaking, most of all. I will miss all of this so much. But I still have a while to go. I want to make this the best two transfers of my mission. I'm determined to make it so. I will let you know how it goes, deal? 

But I love you! I have to go play some basketball then pack!
Elder Simons

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Road to Damascus

The week has been good, not too much to report. Haven't been able to meet with our investigator for about two weeks. I want to teach him again so bad. He is close to baptism, I know it. They went out of town for a bit.

We are still having great success in the less-active lesson area. I enjoy teaching them so much. In my first area I felt bad because I didn't think I was truly fulfilling my purpose by just teaching so many less-actives but something that our president said really hit me hard: "I don't think the Lord sees someone getting baptized and someone returning into full activity really any different". It is the work of the Lord. We are building up His Kingdom. I'm amazed I have been called to this mighty work. In such an amazing time as well. The Lord truly is hastening His work. I have never seen so much focus on missionary work ever. Seems like a lot of the general conference stuff and Ensign things are discussing missionary work. Must be important I guess!

This week has been a humbling week for sure. I have been pondering some more things that I would like to put on here so again hopefully you are okay with another random tangent. I have been reading in Acts for the past couple weeks. Really trying to picture all of these events that happened in my head. And I came to Saul. He was a part of the killing of Stephen. He was a bad dude, he received permission to put Christians in prison for believing in Christ. Then of course on the road to Damascus he was visited by the Savior himself. An evil vessel was visited by the Lord and his life was changed forever. He was a completely changed person. That was because of Jesus Christ. He had a completely different view on the world and then, from then on preached the word of God. I also think of Alma the younger and his conversion and other people as well that have had a change of heart. I know that this gospel has the power to change everyone in the world's life. It is through the Atonement that we receive this change. We must accept it and apply it in our life. God will never force us to use His Son's sacrifice because He respects our agency so much. But when we follow the words of the Savior we come unto Him and accept His life and Atonement. This gospel and changed my heart and my desires to wanting more of what God wants for me. I'm not perfect yet and I still need to do some major work in changing my complete will to His. 

We are teaching this less-active lady and it has been one of the most inspiring experiences on my missions. When we first were teaching her she was pretty so-so about things but after she started to exercise faith everything started working for her. She slowly had that change of heart. She now is repenting and doing things to build her testimony everyday. Just by talking to her you can tell that she gave her heart to the Savior so He could change it. And He did as He always will. This lady's change of heart wasn't like Saul/Pauls, she never went blind but I still consider it a miracle. Because it is nothing short of one. I just love talking to her and listening to her talk about her road to the Savior. She is now doing her own missionary work and doing great things. It is just so exciting. 

Well I better go! I love you all

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Scatter Sunshine

We went up to Mount Shasta, caving! Don't worry, Mom it wasn't like crawling around and stuff. It was a huge cave like 20 feet tall the whole way to the end, but you need flash lights because it is pitch black. I for sure want to do that in the summer when we come back! It was really fun. 

But anyway our week hasn't been the best, but things will always look up. There has been a hymn on my mind lately and a few things that I want to share today. Hopefully that is okay. So the song Scatter Sunshine in the hymn book is like never played. I haven't heard it really ever until I got here in Redding. It is one of those hymns that is like "oh that is a weird one", but I was reading the lyrics and it is amazing. It says that we need to cheer, bless and brighten to every one we meet. It talks about how our care can help eliminate the world's sorrow. What an amazing message. It is such a blessing to us and to others to be able to scatter sunshine and help someone out by offering them help or even a simple smile. I imagine Christ walking around with a great big smile on, not a frown. He was looking for people to help and uplift. I have been thinking a lot lately that this world we live in is really sad and down. Especially in Redding, this town is just down. Everyone is always mad or just sad because life just isn't great. One of my favorite feelings is to bring joy to someone by just talking to them and asking them about their life. And I pray each time I do that, that they can feel even a tenth of the love God has for them. I have such a testimony of scattering sunshine. it may sound dorky or kind of weird but I'm dorky and weird so that is okay. But really we can help God's children by just being happy and offering service. If we have a true love of God we will have love for His children. I'm thankful for this song that isn't played too often that I got to hear it and have the spirit touch me and teach me that scattering sunshine is what we can do to do missionary work. We are to lift people up. 

Sorry that was my little rant for the week. I don't know why I always do those. But anyway the baptismal date we had dropped but that is okay. We will reset another date with him hopefully soon. He is a great guy but is struggling with some things right now. We are working with some great less actives that I love to death! I will tell you more about them soon hopefully! But I love you all and I'm thankful for your faithfulness and diligence in following Christ our Savior! Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It has changed my heart

This week has been great once again! And little Wyatt was born! That is amazing. I can't wait to hold that little mister. So you say he has a mouth like mine? That serves Whitney right for making fun of my ghetto lips. Just kidding Whitney! That is amazing though. What a special time in all of our lives to welcome a new born baby into the world. So fresh from our Heavenly Parents'  presence. I'm sure there was a special spirit that was about him when he was born and first held. I hope and fully expect to feel that little boy's spirit when I get to hold him soon. What a blessing our family has received! 

But anyway to report on my week, it has been alright. I have had a lot on my mind but things are great nonetheless. The work has been a bit slower. I credit that to having four exchanges this week. I was out of the area quite a bit so Elder McMurray had to take the area over, which he isn't too familiar with so it was hard for him. Oh well. I was able to perform a baptismal interview in Hayfork. A man I interviewed in November that wasn't ready at the time, but when I interviewed him this time he was ready to go and ready to fully accept the Gospel of Christ and live accordingly. He is a great guy and will be a great addition to that little branch up there. 

The week has been good though, we have to push back our date for [one of our investigators] because he wasn't able to make it to church and he still has to work on some things. I really hope we can help him be baptized and enter into covenants with God. It will bless his and his wife's life.

Our ward council in our family ward is doing some amazing things. Everyone is putting forth their best effort and miracles are happening. I bet this ward will have 10 baptisms this year. Which is really good in our mission and extremely good for Redding. So I told you about the short transfer right? It ends in three weeks which is so crazy. And then we get a bunch of 18 year old missionaries. That will be so crazy. I really want to train one so bad! We will see what happens come transfer time. 

What else is new? Not much actually. The work has been slower but that is okay. It has been refining me and has put me in the position where the Lord can humble me and teach me new things that will help me for the rest of my life. I'm grateful to be in this position up here in Redding. I love it up here so much, the people are amazing. I love working with the members and they are doing great things. I love being able to work 24/7 for the Lord Jesus Christ. What an honor. This is something that I never will forget. It has changed my heart and built my faith. I know where my life is headed and that is because I have put my trust in the one and only true God. He will continue to guide me as long as I heed the spiritual promptings that He gives me. I love that we have the spirit to lead and guide us. We are so blessed to be a part of this wonderful church. I invite you all to thank God everyday of your life that you are a part of this church. I have been trying that and everyday I do with a sincere heart my appreciation and love of this church grows. I love you all and  I'm thankful for the service and great example you provide for me. Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Busy and Loving Life!

Hey Mom!

Elder McMurray and I are doing great! He is from Cardston Alberta which is sweet. They have a temple there so that is really exciting. We were able to find a YSA investigator and start teaching her so that is great and we are excited for the potential there! 

We have to do like 4 exchanges this week which will be soooo crazy but that is okay. One of which I'm going up to Mt Shasta. So I'm pumped about that. 

We were able to set a date with another of our investigators. This guy is the man. I'm pumped for him. We still need to teach him some major commandments so that will be good. 

I'm loving life and having a good time. I'm super busy which is good and bad. It makes the time fly by so quick that I can't keep up but at the same time I'd rather be busy than a lazy missionary. 

So anyway our ward is doing great, they are so missionary minded. And it all really stems from our bishop. He is excited about it and that makes others excited for it as well. It is amazing. 

I'm sorry this is so short but I have so much to do today! And today is supposed to be my p-day! Ha! I love you all so much and have a great week. 

p.s Maybe Junior is waiting for me to come home?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A furious wind upon the face of the waters

Mom that email was amazing. It brought happiness to me so thank you so much. And yes you are right about Jr. He will come when he comes. That is really exciting. 

So we got transfers this week and Elder Leithead is going down to Roseville and I'm getting Elder McMurray from Canada. It will be good to get some new blood in the area. It will be good. Not much changed in the zone. Another missionary is training so that will be good for him and the whole zone. Add some greenie fire here. 

Life is amazing right now. We are still struggling to find new investigators but we know they (like Jr.) will come when they are supposed to. It is a trial of my faith. It reminds me of Gridley... well the work does. Kinda slow but with some good work, great things will come to pass. 

I have been pondering lately trials in my own life and why we have them, and I may have mentioned this before but let me take you back to Ether and the ships they make and in some of the verses it says that the Lord is going to send waves and winds and storms against them. And I just sat pondering. Why in the world would God do that? Why couldn't he make it 80 degrees for them and give them a nice breeze to the promised land. It would have been so easy! They would have been able to make it no doubt with no hiccups right? And I prayed about it and pondered some more for a couple days and I couldn't figure it out until a couple chapters later where it says "And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a afurious wind blow upon the face of the waters, btowards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind." That is when the Spirit and the answer came flowing to me. The Lord sends forth these trials to push us closer to the promised land or in other words eventually heaven. It almost never seems like our trials can benefit us,  but they do. They send us and teach us what we need to know and do to return to live with God once again. If the Jaredites didn't go through these trials they would have done the same thing they did while on the beach. They would have forgotten to call upon their God for help. But while they were buried it gave them a chance to rely upon God. I love the Lord and I love how He works. He is there for us and He cares more than we know. Let us call upon our God daily for every thing that we and our loved ones stand in need of. I love you all so much!

Elder Simons

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Lord is hastening His work

Thanks for the email mom, it was so great to hear from you. 

This week was great...well except for the fact that my companion had strep throat since Tuesday morning. So he was in bed from Tuesday till like Saturday night. So I had to do so much paper work by myself! It was okay though, we had ZLC on Friday and also stake correlation on Sunday so that was fun. We discussed how we are getting 31 new missionaries on Feb 19th. We normally get like 7-12 each transfer so this one is a huge! I'm pretty excited and really, really want to train another missionary before I finish my mission. We will see. 

So we had [name removed] baptism on Saturday, and that was amazing. Such a special spirit that is at baptisms that you won't find anywhere else. It is really cool because when we are baptized we physically follow our Savior. He stood in water waiting to be baptized by John and we can do that same thing. I think that is amazing and really humbling.

We do need to find more people to teach. We haven't found someone new in a while and it has been hard because our teaching pool is quite small right now. We are teaching quite a few less-active members and that is going great but we want to focus on both sides of missionary work. 

Life is great though. We actually had this big meeting with all the Bishops, Ward missionary leaders, high councilors, stake presidencies in the Redding and Anderson stakes and with President Weston and Elder Trythall the area seventy so that was amazing. Only the zone leaders were able to attend but it was still sweet. The message I got is the Lord is hastening His work and we need to be ready and be willing to do whatever He asks and whenever. It was a very enlightening meeting. I loved it. It is really cold in this FHC so my fingers are cold so I will end this email now but I love you all!

Elder Simons 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I will cherish this challenge

Hey mom,

It's good to hear from you. It was amazing seeing the whole family on Skype. I feel so blessed the Lord gives us amazing tools to interact and share memories together through this amazing technology. We truly are blessed people. 

I finished my Book of Mormon last week. Man that book is more than amazing. It has changed my life once again. Before I took President's challenge I felt the spirit so strong when I testified to [people I was teaching] that it was and is the word of God. But now I can feel it in my fingers and toes when I testify. The spirit illuminates my body and I feel the spirit literally pushing my words into their soul. It has been an amazing experience to watch. I have been humbled to dust and I will cherish this challenge as something so spiritual I can barely describe it. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. People ask "Is the Book of Mormon needed to be saved?". And I'm here to tell everyone who asks that it is. It gives us the knowledge of our Savior that we can't find anywhere else. There are people out there who are in a famine of the word of God. They are missing the piece of the puzzle. The Book of Mormon is convincing evidence that God loves us so much that He sends prophets on the earth to teach us how to be "saved". I'm grateful for this divine book. And I will read it everyday for the rest of my life. I need the pure flow of spirit that comes from it. I need that so I can withstand the adversary.

We are so blessed to have a baptism this week on Saturday. [Our investigator] is going into the waters of baptism to receive an essential remission of her sins. She has come to find out that without the Savior and His priesthood authority she cannot be saved in the Kingdom of God. A bit of useful information wouldn't you say? I also have a testimony of that. We cannot come unto the Father or enter into Celestial glory except we fall on our knees and proclaim and confess that Christ is our Savior and our Redeemer. There is no other way to receive eternal life with God. I can testify to that and will till the day I die. I love this perfect and only true Church. I will pledge my allegiance to it forever. The church and gospel work hand and hand. I love them both. We should thank our God every single day that we belong to this true church. That we are somehow and in some way blessed by it. Member or non-member, I'm sure we all have been touched by how this church runs and how it is perfect. I can testify it does because God himself is at the head of it. No one else. I love that fact. I'm sorry for babbling on and on. The spirit constrained me to do so. I love you all and I appreciate the prayers that you send my way but more then that I appreciate the prayers you send to the wonderful Children of God that I am humbled to teach. Send more prayers their way will ya? Thank you so much.

Elder Simons