Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WEEK 15 WYOMING (WEEK 51 OF MISSION)

As you can see from the pics Parker had a very busy week. His email to me was the shortest so far and either he didn't have time to type the group letter or he forgot to push "send" because there wasn't one. They didn't get to email yesterday due to the holiday and so they were super rushed this morning! 

In my letter he said that he got to shake Elder Holland's hand! And that he had a wonderful week and would fill me in on everything next week!

May 22, marked 1 year in the field! He said there is a "Mission Continuum" that makes it seem like he hasn't been gone for very long and at the same time like he's been gone forever! I told him it's the same for us here ;)

At the Temple with Sis. Pawson's Mom
when as received her own Endowment!

Always eating!

So grateful to Sis. Pawson for always taking pics
and for doing so much for the missionaries!
What a wonderful example!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

WEEK 14 WYOMING (WEEK 50 OF MISSION)

Hi everyone! another great week in wyoming!
Parker in Full Bloom!
we are on the verge of some incredible things happening here! i just cant wait for the dam to break and the baptisms to flow! we are teaching and finding some great people. our zone is also having some incredible weeks and great miracles! we are very excited to move forward and help more people come and receive the fullest blessings of the gospel as they are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

It can be very frustrating when investigators commit to come to church, and then never come. they just dont know what they are missing! satan is good at what he does, he will make it seem impossible to get to church, but if you want to put yourself in a position to hear what God has to say to you, then YOU WILL BE IN CHURCH. no matter what!! its that simple! but gary strong (hopefully everyone remembers him. he is the husband of a less active member in the ward) was at church for the 3rd week in a row with his family. they are a beautiful family and they are doing really well! gary is still reading the book of mormon even though he has been very busy! he learns each time he attends church! 

this is gonna be the craziest week ever! tomorrow we go to lansing to be taught by an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ (Elder Holland) and Elder Hallstrom. Wednesday we have zone conference in grand rapids, and friday we go to the temple with sis pawson's mom for the first time to take out her endowment!! that NEVER HAPPENS: going to the temple twice in 3 transfers with the same companion. unheard of!

quick thought, then i gotta run! you become what you believe in. what you believe in is what you spend your time thinking about, talking about, and doing. isn't it funny we spend most of our time talking about things that will never bring us anything of eternal worth? president Hess illustrated by talking about how everyone gets so excited about the next big movie. he said, "oh look, superman 48 is coming out! here it comes! im gonna talk about this for a long time and get really excited." it sounds funny when you think of it that way! its not bad to have hobbies, its not bad to have jobs and to worry about those jobs and things you have to take care of. but the most important thing in our lives must be faith in Jesus Christ and keeping His commandments. anything else will lead our lives in a downward spiral of self-indulgence, selfishness, and unhappiness. living is giving and giving is living. true happiness is found in helping other people. Enjoy your hobbies and cherish them. but analyze what you think about most and what you talk about most. are they things that really amount to anything in the eternities? i love sports. i will always love sports. but do i need to let it consume my thoughts, words, and actions? NO. and why should i? no one was ever given eternal life because someone won a football game. but because of Jesus Christ and His gospel, EVERYONE can have eternal life. read the Book of Mormon. It has SUCH POWER. it will teach you all things that you should do. it will bring the Spirit of God into your life. i know these things are true.

have a great week everyone!

Monday, May 12, 2014

WEEK 13 WYOMING (WEEK 49 OF MISSION)

hey everyone!! not a ton of time this week! sorry!! hope you all had a great mother's day! 
 
"Sly Money Tie Guy"
(this was a tie i made out of money and put in his bday package)
Elder Pena and their apartment. Note the Spiderman Easter Basket now being used for who knows what "official" work!!!
we had a great week! many miracles! one of them was that we got a bunch of potential investigator forms sent to sis pawson from a former missionary in this mission and we have been following up on all of them. we have found some new families to teach through this method and it has been great! we really need to just work harder and be more consecrated to the Lord in order to have the faith requisite to pull down the powers of heaven and call miracles into this work. if we want people to be baptized, many miracles need to occur. each time someone is baptized, it is the culmination of daily miracles. we need that, therefore we need more faith!

we must believe in the true nature of God. anything short of believing in His true nature will leave us, as Joseph Smith put it, "in constant doubt of salvation." if we can't count on God to be better than we are, to be unchanging and consistently loving, forgiving, merciful, and giving, then we will be in doubt of salvation. But, when we trust and believe that God is all these things, and is all these things perfectly, then our faith is, again as the Prophet put it, "exceedingly strong." Believing is a choice. and our belief becomes our reality. if we believe that we cannot improve, then that is a choice we make. and since we believe it, it is our reality. we will not change because we believe we cannot. if you do not believe in God, that is a choice you make. therefore, that is your reality. no matter what happens in your life, it will not be attributed to God because you have made the decision to not believe in Him. However, when you do choose to believe, then miracles begin to occur in your life. Some small and simple, some life-changingly large.

believing in, and then living a life that leads to God allows us to be free from many of the sorrows and troubles of our present circumstances. Faith is a principle of power allowing us to act for ourselves and not to be acted upon. We will never know a thing or a principle is true until we have first believed it. until we have first chosen to believe in that thing enough to entertain the notion, even if it is only momentarily, that it may be true, we will never come to know for certain whether it is true or not. so try something new. try having more faith. how do we have more faith? live differently. act on a new principle. live a higher standard. see if your life doesn't change for the better. try to live more like Christ. 

have a great week! love you all!  

Monday, May 5, 2014

WEEK 12 WYOMING/HASTINGS (WEEK 48 OF MISSION)

hello everybody! what a great week!! it is soo good to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! there is nothing like it!
 
Just a big broken tree!
I forgot to tell you all last week! a visa waiter in st josephs got his visa and left for brazil. they transferred out an elder from our zone to replace him, and president hess asked if i would go fill that elder from our zone's spot. so i was in hastings this past week and it has been wonderful! 

I got to get back out and door knock more than i have in months this past week and it was soo good!! haha i loved it. it was rainy most of the time, but a few days were just perfect weather! i love meeting people and talking with them and sharing the gospel with them. it is really hard sometimes when people just dont see what happiness and relief this message can bring them, but it never can dampen our spirits or shake our testimonies. 
Parker with Elder Todd in Hastings this week.
"Let me take a selfie!" 
Crocheted Underwear hung up as Decorations! What???
its incredible how miracles and disappointments happen simultaneously out here every day. you find a new investigator, another investigator tells you they dont want to talk anymore. just things like that. we had a few things like that happen this week. but again, there is no reason to be sad other than that these great people are missing out on the greatest blessings in the world! we are offering eternal life! free of charge! haha all it’ll do is bring peace, happiness, and understanding to your life!

because hastings is a smaller ward, i was able to teach the 16-18 yr old youth class this week as well as bear my testimony in sacrament meeting. i am so thankful for this church and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. it has substance. He is the light and the life of the world. 

in our youth class, we talked about if we are saved by grace or not. since i was posing the question to a group of lds teens and one non-member who was in the class (she is an investigator currently attending a "bible church") i was interested to see the responses. I asked the investigator, Anna to answer the question first, knowing she would say yes. she did. i asked the class. they responded with different answers, most of which consisted of, "yes, but..." as we talked, we learned that we truly are saved by grace and grace alone. if it were otherwise, there would be no salvation. if we had to live our best, and then Christ would do the rest, none of us would be saved, because none of us can even do our best without His help!! aint that something though? (that’s a little phrase i have picked up out here haha) its true!! we need Christ's sustaining influence to even be our best. we are not here to earn heaven, we are here to learn heaven. its not so much about being saved by grace as it is about being CHANGED BY GRACE. Christ paid for our sins not so that we could commit more sins and live miserable lives, but so Heavenly Father could withhold punishment for our sins and allow us to grow and progress; to become more like Christ. As we repent of the mistakes we have made, and try to do better each day, we will come to see that Christ's grace IS sufficient. it wont be easy, especially because satan will work against you: he wants you to believe you cant change and that things will never get better. his purpose is to make men miserable, like him. God's purpose is to make us eternally happy, like Him. Have you been changed by grace? keep practicing. 

ps this week was district conference up north and apparently the saturday night missionary session featured testimonies from the Draher's and Sister Nelson! they also talked about the kalkaska branch ward council and things and how we were able to work so effectively! cool huh? the drahers have all gotten their patriarchal blessings and sue got hers this weekend! they are all progressing toward going through the temple in about 8 months!! carl draher was given the melchizedek priesthood this past week!! awesome!! this is what missionary work is all about!! no greater joy than seeing these people progress in the gospel!!

have a great week!