Monday, August 30, 2010
Paul, you're quite the brother and example. Here's a GREAT BIG CONGRATULATIONS from me to Brittany and you! I will be one of your new brothers, Brittany--hope you don't mind, I will do my best to be a good brother. I am sure you know you have already made a great impression on me (what missionary could ever resist such an introduction, I don't know). Sorry that I was unable to attend but, you know how it is. I really wanted to be there.
Once again it's transfer time and I got my transfer call. I am going up north,... to Hibbing, Minnesota! It's going to be great! I've really enjoyed the time that I've spent here and have made so many new friends, people that changed their lives and mine too as I saw how much God's word and spirit could help. There are so many people here that I will never forget and I feel fortunate to have witnessed their conversions as I am just here to facilitate the process. I love this.
Time is impossible to hold on to. I feel like I am just beginning to getting the hang of this as I realize that my own mission is very nearly over. Depending on how long I am to stay in this next area, it could be my last area. I better not start getting "trunky," I just don't have the time for that and there is so much work to be done.
Everyone was suspecting my departure as I was already pushing the limits for time, so I got to bear my testimony in Church yesterday. I am going to miss so many people here and I love them so much but, I am also looking forward the adventure of tomorrow, new place, new people, new challenges and new things to learn. I am so grateful for this experience as a missionary, serving God.
We had a baptism this week! This man has been checking out the church for the last thirty years now and decided it is a good thing. I suspect he considered it a good thing before now or he wouldn't have hung around for thirty years. All his friends and family are happy for him, it was a very special experience. It has also been a blessing to see him make this commitment, bringing his family together in sharing this important covenant.
This week we met with our main investigators, Kenny and Vanessa, and they started off our meeting by saying that they had some questions about something that they read in the "Gospel Principles" manual. They commenced to ask about this "Eternal Marriage" thing and what that's all about? I thought "Could I have imagined a more perfect teaching cue, if I tried?" This is not a question commonly asked by the people we teach but, they did ask and God certainly had prepared them for the answer! We proceeded to teach them about God's plan for our families and how they are eternal in nature. It became an absolutely unforgettable and stellar moment, the Spirit of God was very much present and very strong--and YES, I love being a missionary!
Monday, August 23, 2010
I received some great words of counsel this week. Thank you, Dad. You are my hero, constantly giving me something to live up to with your example, reminding me of who you are, who I am and who I want to be. Your words meant a lot to me and I truly enjoyed reading them. I don't have coins with me for the library printer, but I'll print it next week and read it through the week when needed. Thank you again.
This week has been absolutely crazy. Almost all of our appointments have worked out to have maximum travel distance between them and we have spent a lot of effort bicycling across town, back and across town, again and again. I really enjoy all the appointments and I wish I could do more but, maybe I should stop telling the Lord how much I like bicycling, I would probably be all trained, top form and ready for a bicycle race about now. But, I do love being a missionary and I am deeply indebted and grateful to be here.
There is a man here that has been thinking about becoming a member of the church, for a while now. His wife is a member, he's sent all four of his kids on missions and they all found good spouses whom they married in the temple. After thoroughly thinking it over and being at the receiving end of his wife's gentle nudging for the last thirty years, he is now getting baptized this week and it is going to be a wonderful experience.
We meet more and more people who wants the church in their lives and understand the process and need of repentance. It is so wonderful to witness and be a part of: One woman and her mother is returning to the church after finally cutting the last strings to an abusive boyfriend who also kept her away from the church. Another couple are also coming to church where she hasn't been since she was a young teenager and he has previously gotten angry with missionaries in the past, but has now forgiven us and is feeling a great change in his heart as a result of following Alma's challenge of planting a seed of faith and nourishing it.
I have now been in this area for a while and chances are that I soon will receive a transfer call (they are doing a new round of calls next week). I have been so blessed and I am so grateful for the privilege of being allowed to serve in this area. I love it here and I have learned so much. I love the people here and I have so many friends here now that I will miss when leaving this area.
Being a missionary is the greatest blessing God could give me. I expected to go on my mission to pay back some of my debt to my Savior and Lord but, I fear that upon my return I will be more heavily indebted to Him than before I left. My frequent feelings of inadequacy in my daily missionary work and ever increasing debt to our Lord has had me worried for a long time. But in my prayers He's let me know that "It's all right I don't really have to pay Him back (which I am grateful for, because it is far more than I would be able). All He wishes for is that I live my life worthy to be called His friend. Recently I was once again struggling with feelings of inadequacy and as I was praying and studying I had this overwhelming feeling come over me. I then felt the words in my heart and mind "You're doing just fine, my child. Don't worry, you're doing just fine." It is just amazing how well the Lord understands us. He really does know and He knows our innermost feelings. God will come to our aid, if we allow Him.
I love you all! I wish I could give y'all hugs, but that'll have to wait a bit. Thank you for being there for me.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Miracles happen, again and again! In fact, this whole week has been full of them and it's absolutely amazing! The blessing of witnessing such an abundance of miracles around us makes us want to be better missionaries, in an attempt to live up to all the many blessings around us. But, the harder we work at serving God by trying to be better missionaries, the more He blesses us--again. There is no way of describing the feeling, it is just beyond words but, I like it!
We have been blessed with a total of six scheduled baptisms just this last week. Three of them are new people and the other three have been giving it some thought for a while. There is no easy way to put that feeling into words when you see people changing their lives but, I'm so grateful to see it happen and I am so happy for the people experiencing this for themselves.
Saturday evening we were biking home and met the Spanish speaking Elders. They told us of a less active member they had met up with that hadn't been in church for over a decade, but wanted to come back to church.
When Sunday came around she walked with the help of her crutches and her fiancée Tim, the whole two blocks to church, suffering from both knee and hip problems and the stifling heat that all "enjoy" at the moment. She was able to actually meet with the Bishop as well, almost as soon as she arrived. She was so grateful to come back to church, and it was amazing for us to witness. We went over later to administer a blessing for her knee operation on this Tuesday.
May God be with you, always!
Posted by Olden Greys at 4:53 PM
Monday, August 2, 2010
This first week of working with Elder Happonen has been amazing. He too was drafted by the military before being able to serve on a mission. Dad, I know you have a great deal of respect for the past history of the Finnish military and Elder Happonen fully lives up to their reputation. He is hardworking, has learned and knows discipline; He is a great example to me and I really enjoy working with him.
We have been working very hard and have been busy being the best missionaries we can be and the Lord must have found our effort acceptable, because we have experienced a lot of miracles. This week, we have seen so many RPRT's (Right Place, Right Time) and how can you be in the right place at the right time if you don't consult your taskmaster, the Lord, to be when and where He wants you to be?
One day we were out and about and we came across a church member, carrying home some groceries. They seemed a heavy burden for her and we like to help where we can, so we did. We had a nice visit with her and a little boy accompanying her on the way to her house.
Later that week we went to Taco Bell for a quick bite before we hurried on in our schedule and we met the same little boy from earlier, except this time he was with his family; He's an outgoing, clever little kid, so he immediately introduced us. Soon we were having a wonderful conversation about the gospel and naturally we set up an appointment to come and teach their family this week. I just love missionary work--in so many ways! The Lord keeps teaching me faster than I can teach anybody else.