Thursday, March 31, 2016

"Easter Was Awesome!"

Dear family!,

This week was so great!!  First things first, my new companion is Elder Nelson and he is awesome! He is so hard working and diligent. He has been out for 16 months and is teaching me so much. The best thing that I am learning so far is how to plan super effectively. I thought I knew how to plan before, but my eyes have been opened to better. He is from Washington and is 27 years old! I thought I wouldn't get an older companion than Elder Berry but I guess not.

"Ellllderrrrrr Nelsonnnnnn (I finally don't feel
like a midget)
Easter was awesome! We had some great sacrament meetings. The musical numbers in the Wilford YSA ward were like professional... It was awesome. We got invited to hear Brad Wilcox speak at this branch for women in a Halfway House. It was super humbling to see and he was an amazing speaker. We were trying to get our investigator to come, but sadly he got sick. That after noon we ate with an amazing family in our area! It was their Easter family dinner. Wasn't like a Murnan Easter dinner because there weren't a ton of young little kids running everywhere - everyone was YSA, young couple, or like grandparents. We had an Easter egg hunt after though and it got pretty intense. I got second by like 4 eggs. After that, we went to another dinner at President Hinkley's daughter's house. It was the house that he built and his daughter grew up in! It was funny hearing her husband talk about how it was kind of intimidating being the Prophet’s son-in-law. He told about renovating that house (enclosing the porch) and President Hinkley coming over frequently to make sure he was doing it right.  Our investigator came to that dinner! They invited a few people. After the dinner, we finished up the night with a trip to temple square. We went on the roof of the conference center and it was beautiful. Our investigator loved it! He should be getting baptized on the ninth and he is already talking about wanting to serve a mission.

I got called on the spot to give a talk on the Holy Ghost at a baptism of a sister we were teaching when I was in Murray.  The husband was really less active and she was a non-member.  We worked with the husband and got really close.  He turned his life around and made it to church every Sunday.  I got a call from the Elders still serving there saying that she was getting baptized and that he was baptizing her!  It was so amazing.

Other miracles this week!
March 24, 2016 9:58 PM Thursday
"This is Williamson!  He is from Hati and speaks like five languages.
When he meets people he says, ""I am Williamson. Best black people
ever.""  He taught me some Hatian."
Yesterday we met with this less active girl. We have met with her every week for quite a while and she is making a lot of progress! We had been working with her a lot lately to encourage her to talk to her bishop so that she could take the sacrament and get a temple recommend and stuff. She kept telling us that she felt a sick feeling about it every time she had a text message typed up to the ward clerk. She said there were things she was needing to fix first. We kept encouraging her week after week but nothing was happening. It also didn't help that a bishop that she knew from work told her that "if she does not feel ready, then she is not, and she shouldn't go." (DINGUS) I studied a lot on that in preparation and NO WHERE does a general authority say that. They say things like, "do it now" or "don't wait just do it" or "don't procrastinate the day of your repentance."  We shared some of these things with her during the lesson, which was only about 25 minutes, and closed with a prayer. It was very plain that there was something else that we needed to talk about. She gave the prayer and started almost crying during it. We asked her what was wrong and if she was ok and she finally opened up to us. She had been going through a lot. Work had been awful lately, she had been going through other things as well that were miserable. She was really having a hard time. We testified to her again that Christ had felt her pain and had gone what she is going though. But then I told her that she needed to let him help her. I told her that in a time like this, she needs the blessings of the sacrament, she needs the blessings of the temple. I said Christ paid for those blessings for her and she can have them. I said "don't deny yourself these blessings." We then committed her to text her bishop’s clerk and set up an appointment and she said she would but I asked her to do it right then. I knew that was the only way it was going to happen. When we are alone it is much harder. As soon as she committed to that decision, as soon as she was clicking the button, a call came in. It was a job interview that she had gotten that was calling her in for an interview. She got off the phone and said, "that right there was an answer to a ton of prayers." We talked about it in amazement because as soon as she made that decision to exercise her faith, God blessed her. I know that it is a true principal that God wants us to step towards him. I know that neither our Heavenly Father nor any of his servants will ever tell us to wait, tell us we are not ready or to procrastinate. He wants us to repent and come unto him NOW. I know that after the trial of our faith, God has a bright future for us that is only found through his Only Begotten Son.

Monday's hike
So our investigator (we'll call him Don) kinda dropped us and so we stopped going by and seeing him often a few weeks ago. He said that he felt really good about his parents church and was going to start going to church with them down in Ogden and that he didn't want to get baptized. I was happy to see all of his improvement over the past months, going from not believing in God to praying for everything and wanting to go to a church.  Also, I was pretty sad because I was so sure that he was gonna make it all the way and get baptized and even maybe serve a mission! When Elder Pau'u found out he was leaving, he posted a picture and a status on Facebook telling everyone that he was leaving. After not hearing from him for a while, Don called us to say goodbye. He ended up having some time that night and we just had an appointment fall through so we decided to go down to temple square. When we were there he shared with us that he hasn't been praying and reading and said that he felt a huge difference the past few weeks with us not coming. He felt this peace while we were there at Temple Square and while we were standing in front of the statue of Christ he said he wanted to be baptized. We planned on seeing him the next day at the Monday FHE activity. He came and we were making stuff out of play dough. That was the activity... But anyway! It was fun and we left a little early to go to a lesson. Don texted us later that night and said "I am getting baptized April 3." A kid in the ward that has gotten to know Don pretty well gave him a ride home and they had talked about it and he made a decision. He told us on the phone that it just hit him like a train - that this is were he belongs. He said that he got the answer to his prayers and he wants to be baptized. We are going to have the baptism April 9 because General Conference is the third. We have been going to Temple Square a lot lately with him and he has been talking about wanting to serve a mission!  He is only 19 and a mission would be AWESOME for him. I know that if we wouldn't have made the difficult decision to stop going by to see him, he wouldn't have been able to feel that difference. I know that the Lord prepares a way for all of his children to make it back to him if they honestly seek truth and come to him. I know that there is always hope when it seems like there is none.

We had this awesome kid staying with us for a few days this week living the missionary life and serving a mini mission. He was with us last night when we went by someone's house that her mother had just passed away like a few days ago. We sat and talked to her and he had an opportunity to testify! He did an awesome job and shared that God loves us so much and that he knows that it is hard when we loose someone we love, but we know we will see them again. After we left her house, we were driving to the next person that we wanted to visit and I said something to him and looked in the backseat and he had his face in his hands and said that he didn't want to talk. Once we got home we had a prayer and asked him what was going on and he shared a story of a huge trial of his friend passing away when he was ten and he and his other friend being blamed by kids at school and rumors being spread for what happened. He said that they had changed schools to get away from all that, but eventually it got there too and at the end of their junior year they had had enough and from his suggestion, they both did a foreign exchange. He came here and his friend went to England to get away from all that and start fresh. He found out a few months ago that his other friend in England died in a car crash. In the lesson, he said that the spirit was so strong and that he knew that God loved him. He said that the spirit testified that he would see his friends again. He got a letter from this friend after he had died that the friend had sent before the car wreck. It had said that he was meeting with missionaries and wanting to get baptized. I know that God is in charge of our lives and that He puts us in the right place and the right time when we are trying to do His will. I know that He loves us and the sting of death can be swallowed up in the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Tell Josh Bird that I love him so much and that his letter made my week and I will email him back next week.  I have read his email like a hundred times and I am so stoked for him!  Pray he gets called to this mission!!!

"Javi likes selfies."

                   "Elder Schafers in the trashcan"

                             "Monday's hike"

                        "On top of a mountain"

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