Hello my wonderful family! I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to email you all! We have just been so busy around here that we hardly even have chances to “catch our breath.”
First off, thank you for all the emails and letters! I truly appreciate the time you take to write. These letters and emails make me so happy because I get to hear about how and what you are all doing!! So ya. Thanks!
Okay, I had to go back and reread my last email to see where I left off.... ha ha.
Soo. A lot has happened since I emailed last. One of the coolest things was a meeting we had with Elder Clarke of the Seventy. It was just Elder Logan and I, President and Sister Hansen, and Elder Clarke. It was supposed to be an hour and a half meeting about our mission tour coming up and plans for it. It turned into three and a half hours of Elder Clarke teaching us about everything! :) It was soo cool. Elder Clarke took the time to talk to us about not only the mission, missionary work, how to help our mission specifically, etc.... but career advice, jobs, business, marriage, life in general, and principles that will bless us for years to come if we learn them now. It was amazing. Literally changed my life. I am so grateful for the time he took to do this. He didn't have to, but he saw that we could benefit from learning personally from his knowledge and so he gave us the opportunity to learn. I took some pretty good notes, but even more important than what I wrote is the feeling that I had as Elder Clarke spoke personally with us. It was so powerful. Even from the very moment that we got there we could feel such an incredible spirit that accompanies this man. It was something I will never forget. It was awesome to meet such a devoted servant of our Savior Jesus Christ. It showed me how to become more consecrated and truly serve the Lord with everything I've got to offer. Not just 100%, more like 200%. Working both diligently and effectively every hour, even every minute that we have. I have come to the realization that if I learn to do this, I will be a much stronger and/or sharper tool in the Lord's hands in achieving all He wants me to. I wondered recently how President Hansen and other church leaders do it. How they manage to get everything done and be so diligent and effective and find so much joy while working so hard and having no time to even "catch their breath". Now I am starting to understand. I believe that most, if not all of these men have mastered the principles of complete diligence and effectiveness that Elder Clarke showed us through his devotion to the Lord and his work and the spirit he carries with him. It is now one of my goals to get closer to mastering this principle while on my mission. It is something that I know will lead me and help me in every aspect of my life. Isn't it cool that I could learn such a great lesson through the spirit when hardly anything was actually said about this topic in our discussion with Elder Clarke? I have also seen that this pattern is how I usually receive personal revelation. The gospel is such a blessing to us. I don't know what I would do without it.
Anyway, sorry for rambling on so much about that! It was just one of the coolest experiences! I felt like sharing it with you because it was so powerful for me.
So much more has happened... Between working on the upcoming transfers, planning for mission tour, having like 6 meetings/trainings to work on and lay out. We had Mission Leader Council. Leadership Training. Another Mission Leader Council. District Meetings and Zone Meetings around the mission. All this while trying to stay on top of the plans for the Mission Tour with Elder Clarke and Transfers. Oh! and General Conference!!! Its been a little ridiculous. Im looking through my journal now and I will pull out things that happened that were awesome.
One thing was a YSA Fireside. Guess who was there?! Elder Ballard! It was awesome. He spoke about inviting friends to come back to institute and church. He also talked about a cool experience he had talking to some leaders of other churches. Basically at the end of the experience he said that one of the leaders asked “How is it that your young people are so motivated to go out and serve missions, or pay tithing, or go to the temple, or serve in other ways?? What makes them give up all the worldly things for the values of your church?” Elder Ballard’s response was clear and straight forward. He said, “The reason why members of our church are willing to pay tithing and give up everything in order to serve is because they know the doctrine of our church is true.” So straight forward and so true. It is the same reason that our church is in good standing and growing at a rapid pace. The same reason that our members are willing to do anything to move this work forward. The same reason we have +80,000 missionaries. It is because they know it is true. It is the true doctrine of God and Jesus Christ. Our church has the full truth. The restoration of all things. The fullness of the gospel. Elder Ballard then invited every YSA ward member in all these YSA stakes to “go and find the one”. To each invite one person to come back to institute and church by the end of this year. It was awesome. I am so excited for this challenge. It will help this work move forward a lot faster. Sorry for rambling again. This was another one of the great experiences we have had in the past weeks.
I said in my last email that I was worried for President and Sister Hansen to leave for the mission presidents seminar…. Yeah. The same thing happened as last time they left… Missionaries did some stupid things. We had to try to figure out how to deal with certain problems and try to help while he was away. Luckily we could still contact him on the phone every night. But yeah. When they got back we were soo relieved. It was so good to see them. :)
Saw some great miracles with our investigators over the last couple of weeks! Some awesome lessons and good experiences. I love teaching about Christ and His gospel. I wish I could just do that for my entire life and not have to do anything else… ha ha I still will, but I’ll have other things to do when I get back as well. Had some experiences with random people coming up to us that wanted a quick tour of temple square and there were no sisters around so we showed them places and taught them about the restoration. They were nonmembers from New York just passing through. They only had a couple minutes, but they were so prepared! We taught and bore testimony and invited them to read the Book of Mormon and meet with missionaries when they got back home. They said yes! I feel confident that they will join the church. Anyway, as we were leaving temple square that night some protestors talked to us. They just wanted to argue and stuff, but my companion knows one of them and so he talked with him for a bit. While they were talking the anti-mormon man said, “Why is it that people don’t want to talk with me??” As he was saying this, a lady walked up to me and introduced herself and said she was from Ogden and that she would like to meet with the missionaries! So I got the referral right there in front of him and my companion told the man, “The reason people don’t come up to you and want to talk to you is because you do not bring a message of hope. You do not preach the happiness that comes from living God’s commandments and being with our families eternally.” My companion pointed to the temple and said some quick things. The man seemed a little shocked, but still didn’t seem to accept what we had said. Maybe one day he will. Just another cool experience to show that this gospel is true and that there are people looking for it! (Even in Salt Lake City, Utah.)
On another completely unrelated note, our mission got 14 new cars these past couple weeks. We have been picking them up from the garage under the church office building and driving them back to the mission office. They are brand new 2014 Chevy Cruzes…… They’ve got a turbo in them… Ha ha they are pretty sweet! It is funny, I would never have thought that I would drive such a nice, brand new (27 miles on it) car on a full-time mission for the church! But its good. The church resells their cars after 50,000 miles and gets a lot back. Its cool to see how well the church operates and how good it is financially. Like what we learned in the talk by Elder Bednar in Conference! Word.
Hmmm, what else….
Oh! Random cool thing. I got my haircut from a $6 place up 400S and about 1100E. The man who cut my hair mentioned as he started, “I just cut Elder Oak’s hair only a couple of minutes ago! You just missed him.” I was like, “wooaaahh… ha ha I am getting my haircut from the same man who just cut an apostles hair” (yes, I was over reacting a bit.) Then my companion pointed out, “Im pretty sure Elder Oaks has hardly any hair…..” ha ha! But yeah. That’s my claim to fame this week.
Alright, other than that we just worked a lot with President Hansen. With the increase in missionaries we are getting another 29 missionaries in our mission this upcoming transfer. That puts us at 43 in June, 35 in July, 37 in September, and now another 29 in October…….. We split missions in July and have opened up at least 15 new areas every transfer since… It has been complicated. So most of the work we have been doing is opening areas, trying to find housing, looking at who will train these new missionaries (side note -> probably about 70% of our missionaries are training right now.) So yeah. Its a bit complicated. But the Lord is helping us to see what needs to happen. It is awesome to receive inspiration after seeking for some time about specific areas and people and so forth. Its not always easy, and it doesn’t always come quickly, but it comes.
Okay last thing to talk about. (I don’t think I am missing anything else major and this email is insanely long.)
General Conference!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) It was sooo amazing. We got to go to 2 sessions in the conference center. We brought a recent convert and her friend who is investigating the church the first time. And the second time we brought an investigator who moved here from Armenia named Ani. The spirit worked on all of these people. We also got tickets for 5 of 6 more investigators and they went with friends from the wards. It was such a good conference! So much spiritual upliftment. So bold and strong, but loving and understanding. It was one of the best I have listened to. I felt so much inspiration and love coming from our general authorities. It just adds to my testimony of living prophets and apostles today. Some of my favorite talks were; the one about Exclamation Points! , Elder Hollands talk, Elder Bednars talk, Elder Ballards, Elder Oaks, Elder Dube, President Monsons, Elder Uchtdorfs and Elder Eyrings. That turned into a long list...They were all amazing. This conference seemed to go so fast for me. We look forward to it so much and then only a couple hours and its over again! Ha ha but yeah. I saw some people I knew there. I saw Wade, Bailey, and Keagan Smallwood! I saw some past missionaries from our mission including Sister Winn (our last mission presidents wife/mission mom.) I think I saw a few others too, but in the craziness I have forgotten a bit. But ya, this weekend was the best. I learned so much! I have so much to improve on and so much to do, but through the power of Christ’s atonement I can have strength and do all that He asks of me.
Well Im sorry that this email is a little boring…and incredibly scattered. No pictures either! I need to start taking some more. My bad…… hopefully this will brighten your day and please remember that I love you all and miss you all very much!!!
The church is true.
God lives and loves ALL of his children.
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.
Thomas S. Monson is the true, living prophet on the earth today to guide us and help us gain eternal life with our families.
Love you all again!!
Peak the Strategy