Tuesday, April 28, 2015

David Archuleta!

Transfers were last week.

I am . . . . staying!  I will be getting two new companions: Elder Agle and Elder Du Plessis.  I will be Senior companion.  That means I will be driving. AHHHHHH!  I'm sure that is a little unnerving after just getting into a little car accident.

Guess What?! David Archuleta came last night for a "special training meeting!" He told us mission stories, sang songs for us including "Glorious" from Meet the Mormons.  We got pictures with him.  Sister Felix should have them on the mission blog.  Pretty cool!

Sister Felix wrote:  We were blessed with the opportunity of having David Archuleta share his love of missionary work with the missionaries.  He related missionary experiences, scriptures, and sang five songs.  He invited Brooke White (she also competed at the same time David did on American Idol) to join in bearing testimony, and sing a song with him.  He took time to do photo shoots with each zone.

This area is starting to bloom!  From the very first day with Elder Agle and Elder Du Plessis we have seen hearts softened and miracles happen.  We had scheduled a power hour Tuesday afternoon after our transfer shopping and we found a new investigator from that!  The members are wanting to do missionary work, and we are teaching them.  We have definitely been lead by the spirit as we have found and taught.  Since my knowledge of the ward is somewhat limited, we have been forced to seek for and listen to the promptings of the spirit and be willing to change plans at any moment.  From doing this, we've been lead to 15 people who we have taught at least a short lesson to.  Miracles are happening. 
Wow. Elder Agle and Elder Du Plessis are awesome!  They both are very knowledgeable, they want to do the Lord's work, and they are easy to get along with.  I didn't anticipate the challenge it would be to have three minds while teaching lessons.  Our first lesson together was really good, except that we were going in three different directions to get to the same point.  We see this challenge amusing and we find joy in working to unify our teaching.  This is a dynamic trio. :) I love this companionship.

  Honestly, I've felt lead by the spirit as we found and taught this week.  So many times we have felt like knocking on a door, or taking a detour, or reading a scripture and then, mercifully, God shows us that he was using us to hasten His work.  I wish I had the time to tell you about all of these moments.  Maybe the neatest, and most powerful of these experiences was Friday evening in a lesson with our main investigator, Stephanie.  Her mom had some questions, but she wouldn't reveal what they were.  Of course, God knows and can reveal those thoughts to His servants.  In the middle of the lesson, Stephanie's mom walked into the lesson and spoke to us.  To make the story short, her mom had concerns.   We discovered these concerns by the power of the Holy Ghost and shared scriptures from the Bible and Book of Mormon that answered her questions about these things.  We all felt the spirit including Stephanie's mom.  We tried to help her recognize it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Car Accident

Right now we are at CitiCuts.  Elder Leavitt needed his hair cut.  It gives me time to write.  Rarely do I have time to write anyone else on P-day.  The radio is on and there are songs on that I haven't heard before.  I guess that's what 6+ months out of the "loop" does to a missionary :)  It's okay.  I'm not missing much :)

Our car
I know I left you hanging about the car accident.  It all started with a flat tire Saturday morning.  We had a screw in the tire.  So we got out the jack and put the doughnut on.  We had to drive to Oxnard to get the tire fixed.  We were trying to find the Chevy Dealership because we supposedly get a free oil change up to 24,000 miles and we were due for one anyway.  We took a turn down a street full of dealerships and did not see the Chevy dealership.  (We should have followed the GPS.)  As Elder Leavitt merged lanes to pull into a parking lot to turn around in, a car came out of his blind spot and we side-swiped it. :(

Nice Lady's car we hit
We hit a white Lexus.  The driver of the Lexus was a mechanic who had just finished fixing this lady's car and was taking it on a test drive.  After speaking with him on the street, we met him back at the Lexus dealership and waited for the police to come take a look.  While waiting in their room, a lady who was waiting, herself, told us to help ourselves to the drinks and snacks.  We told her thank you, but we were not in the mood for food.  A worker came in and told the lady her car had been fixed, but then informed her that during the test drive, the car was hit.  She asked "Who hit the car?", and the worker graciously/politely explained that it was these nice two gentlemen (us) who she had moments ago made friends with . . . awkward!

Officer Clark came and said that it was a minor collision and made no citations.  The Lexus dealership found a replacement tire for us and put it on for free.  While we waited for our new tire to be put on, we waited again in that previously awkward room.

Elder Leavitt was pretty upset.  I prayed that he would be comforted.  I read from "Our Search For Happiness".  At one moment I stopped and talked to him.  I tried to give him words of encouragement. Little did I know that God was answering my prayer with the words that He gave me at that moment.  Elder Leavitt told me later, after everything had settled down, that he couldn't have done this without me.

We are all good, and it sounds like the insurance companies will take care of the expenses.

My favorite talks at General Conference were Elder Oaks The Parable of the Sower, Elder Uchtdorf's two talks On Being Geniune and The Gift of Grace and Elder Kevin Pearson's Stay By the Tree.

Stay physically and spiritually strong.  Always remember to read, pray and remember that God knows and loves you.  He allows good and bad to happen for a reason.  And God always answers prayers - either with a "yes", "no" or "you decide".

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

7 months out!

This week, like every week, was crazy!

Once again, the ward is incredibly supportive.  This ward has untapped potential.  We have so many resources and willing members that missionary work would/should blossom.  We know God has a plan, so we are waiting to see what happens.  We struggle with setting return appointments, but we are getting better.  I can feel God working, and something big is going to happen.  We have recently found many part-member families whose hearts have been softened toward us.  We will be working with them more.  Also, we will be calling the older priests (boys ages 16-18) to come with us this week even if we don't have any set appointments.

Something just clicked with week with Elder Leavitt and I.  It must have been the General Conference messages and the spirit softening my heart.  We have been through a lot, and we have finally reached a point where we understand each other more.  I have learned patience.

I have learned over the last few weeks that God puts a ton of effort into answering prayers.  When we see miracles, I love to take a step back and think about all the events that lead up to that one moment.  As I do that, I see a web of small and simple circumstances on all sides that happened/needed to happen for the one miracle to occur.  I am amazed and my mind eventually becomes a bit overloaded because of how far ahead God was working.  This knowledge gives me comfort.  God does, and will, answer prayers.  He does so by small and simple things.  He is entirely aware of our circumstances as well as everyone else's, and because of his omniscience, He can influence any number of situations in order to bless us with whatever we need/righteously ask for.  I know He knows and loves me.  He knows and loves everyone.  He wants to help us, and He is working infinitely harder than we are for the salvation of His children.

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

Elder Ruby and Elder Leavitt were in a car accident this week.  I was worried when he first told me that.  But after seeing a few pictures, it was more like a "fender bender".  No one was hurt.  He gave me the short story in the email, but said he would write more about it in a letter.  So I will wait until I get the letter and the whole story before I post the pictures and what happened.

Hyrum reminded me that he hit his 7 month out on his mission.  I don't think he is really keeping track, but all missionaries need to know how long they have been out because that is a common question for the church members to ask. "How long have you been on your mission?"

It's hard to believe that transfer calls come this weekend!  Elder Ruby has been in Camarillo for 6 weeks.  It's hard to know if he will get transferred or not.  I will know more on Monday.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Happy Easter!

We are feeling much more support from the members and from God.  Like I mentioned last week, we can see the hand of God in this area.  In addition to preparing the hearts of the leaders of the ward, God is preparing part-members for us to teach.  He is helping us find new potential investigators (we haven't been good about making them new investigators) and He is providing the members with opportunities to share the gospel with their friends.  I, like Ammon am pleased with the blessing to be an instrument in the hands of God (Alma 26:3).

I can't remember what talk it was during conference, but I remember someone talking about a situation and the words of Christ coming to him saying, "compared to Christ, both companions are pretty much the same." Here is the quote Hyrum is talking about.  It is from Elder Dale G. Renlund As God encourages us to keep on trying, He expects us to also allow others the space to do the same, at their own pace. The Atonement will come into our lives in even greater measure. We will then recognize that regardless of perceived differences, all of us are in need of the same infinite Atonement.

Also, my mother sent me a story about serving your companion, called Celestial Shoes.  It mentioned that it is easy to serve those you love and easy to love those you serve.  So I have taken both these principles to heart, and am doing my best to serve Elder Leavitt and to focus on asking the question "Lord, is it I?"  This comment is from a talk in October from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf titled Lord, Is It I?  Really, my problem is within myself.

I strengthened my testimony that God is mindful of me and is pleased with the work that we do.  This happened in two instances.  First, one evening our appointments had fallen through and we were left with unplanned time.  We chose to walk.  We thought very little of the path that we took because we didn't know where to go.  People we tried talking to were not interested, so we kept walking.  We arrived at a previous investigator's home.  He had been taken to the Salvation Army for help by our Ward Mission Leader.  No answer at the door.  The mother walked around from the back and asked us if we could help her.  We told her we were here to see Russell.  She told us in tears that she hadn't heard from Russell and had no idea where he was.  We told her that last we knew he was at the Salvation Army.  At that moment she bust into tears, tears of a mother's heart in anguish of despair for her son.  She calmed down and told us that she had been praying for a sign, or something to tell her that her son was okay.  We were the answer to her prayers!  That is one of the greatest rewards of this work: to be sent by the hand of God to answer someone's sincere prayer.

Second, yesterday morning I was taking the steps to gain spiritual knowledge (search, ponder and pray D&C 9:8) about the principles of justice, mercy, and grace.  In my closing prayer of personal study, I explained what I knew/had learned, and asked if it was correct.  I felt little feeling of confirmation, but I had no stupor of thought as described in D&C 9:9.  In the final talk by President Uchtdorf The Gift of Grace, he explained these principles.  The moment he began speaking of grace, the spirit confirmed that this was my answer!  Pretty neat.

Love you all!  Happy Easter!  Jesus Christ Lives!  Check out the video Because He Lives if you haven't already.