Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Blessings of Prophets

The prophet today: President Thomas S. Monson
Hakuna Matata.  Is that Hawaiian?? Never mind.   It's probably African or something:)  Anyway, life is good here.  I gave a talk in church this past Sunday on how blessed we are to have prophets.  As I studied all week, I really gained an appreciation for prophets that I hadn't before.  I always took them for granted.  I knew if I studied the apostasy, I could/would see how important and necessary prophets are now and have been throughout history.  Apostasy is awful! Read Helaman 12: 2-52 Nephi 28: 7-15, 2 Timothy 4:3-4.  I practiced giving the talk that morning to myself in the bedroom.  It was really good and I was feeling the spirit pretty strong.  When I got up to give the talk in church, I tried to use my notes as little as possible.  To me, that talk was way "inferior" to the talk I gave that morning to myself.  It felt choppy and I didn't say things the way that I had wanted them said.  Afterward several members came and told me what a good job I did.  One member said he felt goosebumps when I recited the First Vision and that inspired him to read the whole Joseph Smith story again during Sacrament meeting.  I had prayed that the spirit would be with me and I would say what I needed to.  I was confused that the words that I was given at church were different words than what I was given that morning.  I concluded that the talk in the morning was the talk I needed to hear, and the one at church was what they needed to hear.

Anyway. . . this week has pretty good.  On Tuesday I felt like a "pile" (it's a missionary slang term for lazy, or disobedient).  We spent hours going through our phone and calling people and setting up appointments.  Having "white-washed" into this area, there were many names in the phone who we didn't recognize and who we wanted to clear out if they were not interested.  That evening was great though.  We went on splits with the High Priests.  Brother Bole took Elder Campbell and I to a less active member that we had never heard of and to the two ladies who live with the wild kids.  The spirit was so strong at each house!

Zone Conference February 2015
On Wednesday we saw Ryan and set him with a baptism date of March 1st!  His mom started asking a bunch of questions about a mission.  She wants Ryan to go on one!  Maybe he'll convert her :)  We have been teaching some rambunctious kids (teenagers).  We visited them and they are improving as we continue to teach them.  That evening we had Ward Coordination meeting.  Only the ward missionaries, mission leader, and us 4 missionaries (my companion, me, Elder Gruwell, and Elder Harper) attend.  We were asked to give out Books of Mormon to ward members that evening.  So far it's been working out for us.  Also, Elder Campbell and I had been so busy that day that we didn't really eat dinner.  One of the members took us to Olive Garden after the meeting!  God does provide.

Tie swapping at Zone Conference.  Look for Hyrum!
Thursday: We had district meeting.  We had an appointment with a new investigator, but no member to go with us.  We called up a High Priest who sounded reluctant to come, but by the end of the lesson, he was so pumped and excited about teaching the gospel.  A lady named Sister Achiu fed us that evening. She is awesome.  She is in her 60s and she has served several missions.  She cooked a nice meal.  Sister Achiu is such a great, Christlike lady.  She reminded me of Granny.  Then she sent us home with extra food for us and the other two elders.

Friday: We did some good yard work for a lady in the ward who can't do it herself.  We did a lot of weed pulling.  Thanks for teaching me how to pull weeds, Mom.  We finished our weekly planning (3-4 hours).  We also played dodgeball and kickball with the wild kids for an hour (our mission president authorized sports - no more than an hour a week, I think).

Saturday: We taught Adrian (a guy) and his best friend Sterling.  Sterling is actually a member and is thinking about a mission.  He did great in the lesson!  Sterling asked if he could come back with us and teach the Plan of Salvation.  Then we brought a member to the wild kids. Do you know how hard it is to get a member to go with you to a lesson on Valentines Day, Temple Day and Saturday!  We found one, by golly! Haha.  The lesson went really well.  The kids were pretty quiet and the member connected well with them.  He works for the school district, so he sees them every once in a while.

One of Hyrum's favorite meals: Chicken Alfredo!
Yesterday, we went to church; the kids did not behave very well.  They left to go to Costco after sacrament meeting!  After church, we took Trevor (18 year old, priest, Eagle Scout, musician) to Ryan's.  Ryan planned out his baptism  He chose the speakers, who would baptize him (which will be Trevor) and the whole shebang!  It's really going to happen!

I love it here, but it will feel good to be home, just like you felt in Hawaii.  Don't worry, that is in 18 1/2 months :)  I can see a bit better/more clearly how hard it is to be a dad.  Being out in the "real" world has shown me the effort it takes to stay strong.  Before my mission my foundation was my family.  Now it is Christ (and my family).  Thanks for building our home on Christ and for teaching/showing me how to work hard.

Have a good week.
The church is true.
The book is blue.

Love, Elder Hyrum P Ruby

Monday, February 16, 2015

"Come, Follow Me" Poem

I wrote a poem about how we should expect life to be hard and that choosing good is not easy.  It is always worth it though.

"Come, follow me," He says; and follow Him I try
but when the world laughs and scorns,
we often ask Him, why?

"Take my yoke upon you"
Christ pleads for us to do, 
but when we fear that some will judge,
we judge others too.

"For my yoke is easy 
and my burden is light."
But something that I've found is true:
it's hard to choose the right.

We expect the path
to be without the pain, 
but since salvation isn't cheap
we follow Christ the same.

He walked the path of pain
and suffered temptations.
He was the most obedient of all God's creations.

He was a "man of sorrows
and acquainted with grief".
A man "despised and rejected of men"
a man we must believe.

Salvation isn't easy.
It wasn't easy for He.
But we must walk how Jesus walked.
It won't be easy for me.

Another Great Week!

Hyrum is doing so well and he says each week surpasses the previous one. 

Wowser!  I am never surprised, but always amazed how God is so mindful of us and our prayers.  This week has been amazing.  Perhaps the best week on my mission.  We surpassed our goals on "member presents" and on "other lessons"!  Each week missionaries have to set goals.  Some of those goals include how many lessons they will have with a member of the church present.  That means they have to make appointments with their investigators and then ask church members to come with them to those appointments.  They do this so the investigators can meet other members of the church and make a new friend who they might have things in common with.  The "other lessons" are times when the missionaries visit with someone at their door or on the street and share a little message with them about the Savior or the church in general.  We worked so hard to involve members in all that we did.  We tried to get as many return appointments as we could and then call a member to go with us!  Most of the time it worked out.  We had 10 investigators at church this week!  We do our best to be lead by the spirit as we find and teach; and this week God really used us.  It seemed like we met someone new who was interested in the gospel every day, we saw miracles by being in the right place at the right time, and we built greater trust and fellowship with the members.  Our area is doing well.  God is preparing people and He is preparing us.  God is so great!

Every week with my companion is better than the last.  We are beginning to recognize our differences, but those differences make the companionship so dynamic.  Elder Campbell has been a little too hard on himself lately because he can see how much he can improve on.  I try to help him understand that he has to be patient with himself and that feelings of discouragement, hopelessness, and frustration are not from God.  Elder Campbell has such a strong desire to be the best he can be.  He is amazing and keeps me enthused and stretches me out of my comfort zone (in a good way).  We are obedient and have no desire to be otherwise.

I have learned to exercise my faith.  When we set the goals at the beginning of the week, I didn't doubt that we could achieve that goal.  In the past, I felt like our goals were the number of what we could get if everything went as planned.  I knew that very little would go as planned and so I wrongly expected to not reach the goals.  However, this week I was sure that we were going to reach our "member present" goals.  I didn't know how, but I had faith and hope that we could do it.  Then, we worked so hard to involve the members and didn't even worry about the other lessons.  Appointments worked out and we even exceeded what we had hoped for!  That is how we exercise faith.  We put trust in God and work out tails off to do what He wants and He will do the rest!

This is what we had for breakfast.  Yummm!

We did 2 1/2 hours of community service this week.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Trevor and Ryan and Mission Stats

Here are a few more details about the boys, Ryan and Trevor, that Hyrum mentioned last week. 

Saturday was fantastic!  An 18 year-old in the ward, named Trevor, asked us on a Sunday if he could go with us!  We said, "Of course," and then set up a lesson with Ryan and took Trevor with us.  Trevor is Chinese-ish (if that is even a word) and really smart and can play 15 instruments!  He has grown up in the church and he wants to go on a mission.  We took him to Ryan's and they really hit it off.  Ryan asked if he could get baptized in 3 1/2 weeks!  The spirit was there at the lesson.  Trevor really enjoyed coming with us.  I think he wants to do it again with us.  I have always wanted a member who wanted to go with the missionaries as much as I did back home.  I know why the elders loved me so much :)

Things here in Santa Maria are good.   I wish I could write everything, but you will be happy to know that you are way more up-to-date than my journal.  I just don't have any time for me to do my stuff (write in a journal, draw, write poems, study for hours . . .)  We are just working and thinking all the time.  I assured Hyrum that I keep all his letters so he can have them when he gets home.  I also told him that I think we can get the blog printed into a book when his mission is over, so that will also be a journal/record of his mission.

I love you all and you are in my prayers multiple times each day.  Keep up the good work.

You reap what you sow.  
This I know. 
Let your faith grow.  
It may be slow.  
Ready, set, Go!

He is still a poet.

According to the California Ventura Mission blog, they now have 105 English-speaking Elders, 30 Spanish-speaking Elders, 37 English-speaking Sisters, 32 Spanish-speaking Sisters.  They have 204 young missionaries and 4 senior couple missionaries.

Los Angeles Temple Trip

This week has been crazy.  On Tuesday, we woke up early so that we could get on the road by 6:30 am.  Los Angeles is about 3 1/2 hours away (depending on the traffic, which was pretty bad that day).  We were scheduled to make the 10:00 am temple endowment session, but we didn't make it on time.  On the way down we learned that Brother Charles Brown had set his alarm for 5 pm instead of 5 am, but he had woken up at 5:40 am.  God wanted us to get to the temple.  Near Newbury Park (the city where the temple is located) while going up a hill, Brother Brown's car started overheating!  We pulled over.  So much for my prayers that the car would run smoothly.  However, I did pray that the other drivers would be mindful of us.  A lady in a white Cube saw us from across the concrete median and pulled around to ask if she could help us.  Five white, Mormon men and she asks if she could help?  Well, she had a pack of water in her car, which was just what our radiator needed!  Amazing!  For a
second, I thought God was messing with us (waking up Brother Brown, then letting us get stuck), but it turns out that we just were supposed to get to the later temple session and spend some time in the visitor center

The Los Angeles Temple is the second largest temple in the world (Salt Lake is the biggest).  The session was nice.  They had a Creation Room, Garden Room, Telestial Room, Terrestrial Room, and Celestial Room!  The murals on the walls were so pretty.  The place where I felt the spirit the strongest was when we went downstairs to look at the baptismal font.  The sister working there stood at the door
and warned us that when she opened the door, we were going to feel the spirit.  I kind of shrugged it off until she opened the door and then, BOOM!  The spirit was pretty strong.  There was a picture of Christ being baptized.  Apparently, when President David O. McKay saw this paining we said that is the closest painting to Christ he had ever seen!  We ate at the cafeteria in the temple. Weird, huh?  I had a torta.  Yum! (Actually, many of the larger temples have cafeterias so the workers have a place to eat while they are serving in the temple.  I don't think any of the temples Hyrum has been to have cafeterias, so that was new to him.)

I questioned Hyrum about the traffic and if this is the kind of traffic he drives in.  He said, The traffic I drive in is not near what the LA traffic was.  Santa Maria is 100,000 people.  It feels like a really Mexican/ghetto, Billings and the traffic is about the same as Billings.

You can see the spire of the temple just coming into view over the billboard of the watch.

Here is the beautiful Los Angeles Temple with palm trees! 

We had interviews with President Felix this past Thursday.  He is so great!  He had really good things to say about our companionship and made me feel like he really knows me and cares.  Sister Felix is pretty awesome too.  She reminds me of Granny. :)