Monthly Archives: June 2013

President Anderson’s Letter – June 23, 2013

Sorry I was a little slow in getting these wonderful experiences into the blog. I would like to use the excuse that I was too busy, but the truth is that I forgot until just now.

“Your sacred calling as representatives of Jesus Christ will bless you with joy and many blessings as well as those you bare testimony to:

“Our recent convert  that just got baptized is so incredible. I pray that each of my converts are just like her. She is truly converted to this gospel. I have never seen someone be changed by the Gospel more in my life. She has a constant smile on her face and each time we see her she says how grateful she is for us and how she couldn’t imagine her life without the church. She said the other day ‘I know that I have to keep praying, reading my scriptures and going to church and increase my faith each day’ our mouths dropped! We thought ‘how much more amazing could this woman be??’ She then asked how it made us feel to be able to be a part of this change in people’s lives. I was a little shocked by the question and I couldn’t even put it into words. We both shared our testimonies with her and it was such a spiritual experience. There are no words to describe the joy that being here on a mission has brought to me.”

Magnifying your calling is the opportunity to show forth faith that God is in this work and will bless you for your diligence:

“On Thursday we had her interview. She was excited to be baptized. We then tried to see her Friday, but was unable to. Saturday comes and still nothing. We were planning on you (President Anderson) being there at 4, and then she called us at 1, saying ‘I don’t know about baptism’ (I knew that she was really nervous by the sound of her voice.) We then told her to just be there at 4 and she could talk to you. Well 4 comes around and it was only us. As we waited and waited and waited, she wasn’t  picking up the phone.  I didn’t know what to do, so that’s when we said that we would go get her. Right before we left the church, my companion and I knelt in prayer and offered up the desires of our hearts. We got in the car and started to drive. Within minutes we get a phone call, it is her. God does answer prayers! She said she was on her way and that she was running late. We went back to the church and while she was in the interview with you, we were talking about how we can show our faith. I looked at Elder Thompson and said, ‘Go get in white’ !! We then had a prayer … and within the Hour, Megan was baptized. I’m grateful for that opportunity that God gave me and that I was able to have patience in my afflictions. She came the next day and was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Magnifying your calling gives them everything that the Gospel has to offer that they didn’t have before:

“Our investigator was baptized on Sunday! He is also a gift from Heavenly Father. I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant about him at the beginning, but as we were teaching him about Joseph Smith and his first vision, I pictured him in white, walking into the baptism font. It completely changed my attitude. He was so prepared to change his life. Then on Sunday, I was able to actually see him dressed in white, walking into the baptism font!! He was one hundred percent accepting to everything we taught him and was even excited to keep the commandments. He has shared so many experiences since we met him, and he is readily admitting that God’s hand has been in his life. The most amazing thing is the day we met him, he lost his job and exactly a week later, he landed a job on the temple site.  He is so excited for what is to come. His baptism brought a lot of ward unity. We really tried to involve different members for each aspect of the work concerning him and it is really neat to see how everyone steps up to the challenge of befriending these new members.”

An hour before this man was baptized, he was in Priesthood meeting. The lesson was on tithing and a member told me that this wonderful non-member raised his hand and said:

“A week ago I didn’t have a job. Now I have a job, the gospel and friends. Tithing is nothing compared to the blessings I have received. And this was just one week. Imagine all the blessings I will receive in a life time.”

Isn’t it amazing as we magnify our callings to represent Christ, we magnify the blessings to both us and those we invite, not just now, but for the eternities. President Eyring taught:

“You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands. His work is to bless His Father’s spirit children with the opportunity to choose eternal life. So, your calling is to bless lives. That will be true even in the most ordinary tasks you are assigned and in moments when you might be doing something not apparently connected to your call. Just the way you smile or the way you offer to help someone can build their faith. And should you forget who you are, just the way you speak and the way you behave can destroy faith. Your call has eternal consequences for others and for you. In the world to come, thousands may call your name blessed, even more than the people you serve here. They will be the ancestors and the descendants of those who chose eternal life because of something you said or did, or even what you were. If someone rejects the Savior’s invitation because you did not do all you could have done, their sorrow will be yours. You see, there are no small callings to represent the Lord. Your call carries grave responsibility. But you need not fear, because with your call come great promises.” (2002 October General Conference, Henry B. Eyring)

Elders Harral, Brakey, Madson and Burt…and Hermana Pier

Elder Burt found time to send me a short email and this picture, We got to know elder Harral and Burt very well because they served with us for a number of transfers in Fort Lauderdale. We got to meet and talk with the other elders a few times – we were at the mission home when they arrived – but never really got to know them. Since they are serving with two very above average missionaries I am sure they are having some wonderful experiences. The four are serving Boca Raton ward in the Coral Springs zone.

June 2013 - Harral, Brakey, Madson, Burt

 

We had the opportunity yesterday of hearing one of our beautiful granddaughters give her farewell talk. Tomorrow evening we will see her be set apart for her service in the Washington Seattle Mission – Spanish speaking. Her father served in Argentina and her brother is serving in Malaga Spain so after everyone gets home they will be able to talk to each other in Spanish. Who knows maybe our next mission will be Spanish speaking and somehow we will be able to learn it also.

June 2013 - Mckay…missionary

President Anderson’s Letter – June 16, 2013

Here are the experiences he shared this week… 

“We had parked the car and started walking and I saw a woman walking in the parking lot. The Spirit told me to contact her so I did fortunately. She told us she is going through cancer right now and is in a lot of pain. We included that in the prayer and after, you could just see a difference. She was smiling. She said she felt happiness and tranquility. She immediately accepted baptism. We went back a couple of days later and it turns out her brother was baptized a member and she was going to also but her dad didn’t let her. She was super excited when she found out we were ‘Mormons’. This experience gave me a lot of energy, hope and excitement. I learned even more the importance of following EVERY prompting we have.”

Opening our mouths with love and faith will help eliminate our fears and other’s fear for the future or the unknown:

“We were harvesting last night, and saw a couple people across the street.  We contacted them, and introduced ourselves as representatives of Jesus Christ.  The woman started to cry.  She told us that she works on a cruise ship, and it had just dropped her off in Fort Lauderdale because she found out that she has cancer.  Her whole family (husband, kids, parents) live in the Philippines, and she had to tell them over Skype about her cancer.  She’s completely alone in America, and is going into surgery on Wednesday.  We prayed for her and just cried.  It was amazing, I knew that God had sent us to her.  She was so sweet.  We invited her to be baptized, and her answer was, ‘Well, obviously yes, but I don’t know if I’ll be out of the hospital by then.’ It was one of the sweetest experiences of my mission.”

Opening our mouths with an increase of faith and love will eliminate our fears and other’s fear of trusting in God:

 “… we ran into a couple and we asked them if we could pray with them and they said no because they were in a hurry to get to the hospital to go visit their new born granddaughter who is only 8 days old but she got put into the nicu Last night… But then we testified and told them that this prayer would help… she asked what church we were from, so we told her and she said ‘really?? okay hurry come in!’ … so we walked in and she said that her son who just had the baby was a member of our church and last week he gave them a copy of the book of Mormon, and they were reading it together as a couple. They were so fascinated and so excited that we were missionaries and they said ‘wow this is a sign from God’  … so we prayed with them and the lady was almost crying. She kept telling us how beautiful of a prayer that was and how much she felt the spirit! We talked about what we believe in and how people are baptized. They were so interested, so elect. It was so awesome! They told us that they want us to come back and they want to come to church.”

We See the Bishop and Start the Paperwork…

Mary needed to see Bishop Tanner to get her temple recommend renewed so we used the opportunity to ask him to go on line and start the paperwork (computer work?) so we can apply for our next mission. We hope to start serving sometime in January or February of next year.

We have never asked for any assignment – we just say how much we can afford a month and how long we want to serve. Then like the young missionaries we wait to open the envelope from the missionary department to see where the Lord wants us to serve. However this time we are going to ask that if it is possible we would like to serve outside the US or Canada.

If anyone would like to make a guess at where we might be called to serve, we would love for you to know your thoughts. I would mention that each of our missions have been where it is hot and humid and near an ocean…hopefully it will stay that way because we get enough cold winters here in Provo.

President Anderson’s Letter – June 9, 2013

I love to start each week reading the great spiritual experiences that President Anderson shares in his weekly letter. Not only do I feel the spirit of these experiences but they also remind me of Elder Anderson’s direction to wear my missionary name tag on my heart

“Let us look forward to those whose hearts will be pierced with the Spirit: “I saw a couple across the complex and felt to walk over to them to bless them. As I started to walk over I felt really good about it. Then out of nowhere doubt and fear crept into my mind. I thought to myself, ‘that guy looks kinda angry and I’m not sure what he’s going to say to us.’ I stopped walking for a brief second and then cast out the fear and walked even faster towards the couple. As we got to them we identified ourselves and asked if we could leave them the Saviors peace and blessing. The man told us we could pray for him and their baby to be born soon. As I prayed I truly felt the spirit flowing through me, as if my words were not my own. After the blessing the man with tattoos who looked like a very tough guy began to cry. He wouldn’t stop thanking me and accepted baptism. We went back the next day and he again thanked me over and over. He said, ‘Those were the kindest and purest words anyone has ever said to me. My emotions overcame me and I was thinking about it all day. I almost called work to go home because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.’ I was so humbled. The Lord truly had used me as his funnel to bring the spirit to this man’s life. He again was on the verge of tears as he talked about the experience.”

Let us look forward to those who have been waiting so long for us to bring them Salvation: “I had gotten the impression that it looked like a good area before and that we needed to harvest it eventually. But yesterday I knew that we needed to harvest there then. So we rode down the street locked up and began knocking. We ran into a man and he excitedly let us in and asked for help for his health problems. We left a great Priesthood blessing and then invited him to be baptized. With a huge smile on his face he said ‘Of course!’ it was one of those times where they accept with so much enthusiasm you begin to wonder if they understand what you just asked them… but he understood! He then went on to tell us that he had attended church many times and took the lessons with his sister in Nicaragua when he was 18. His sister was baptized and then the Sunday for his baptism had arrived. That morning he was waiting at the bus stop for the Elders to pick him up to take him to church and to get baptized… but they never showed up… so he sadly went home and never heard of them again. It’s now 10 years later, he moved to Florida 1 week ago. He was sitting in his home on a Sunday afternoon and two Elders were led to his house again, blessed him with the Savior’s peace and blessing and invited to him to be baptized once again. President I know we were led straight to that door. The Lord really does have a hand in all things; it is such a blessing to be a tool he can use to create miracles.”

Let us help even our investigators to look forward to God’s will:  “This week recent convert was confirmed and received the Aaronic Priesthood. We had a sweet member present lesson with him that was absolutely wonderful and prepared him for the responsibility and opportunities. After a lunch at his house, after church on Sunday, something quite humbling happened. He said to me, ‘I need to show you something, it’s pretty serious.’ As we were leaving, we went to his truck and he pulled out his Bible. ‘I have been troubled by this for 3 days now, thinking about what to do.’ He proceeded to show me legitimate looking I.D. cards… ‘When we come over, there are underground agencies that do these for a lot of money. They are fake. Now that I am on this road, I can’t have these because although you may not have known, God knows and I know. What do you suggest? Should I break them?’ I said, ‘what do you think?’ He then handed them to me and said, ‘now I am an honest man before God.’ What an experience! He is fearing God above man. What an example of integrity.”

A Great Week with RMS and an Amazing President’s Letter

Tuesday we had the opportunity to have a First Lunch…that is four FFLM returned missionaries came over for lunch. We had a great time talking about the mission and what we were doing since we got home. On Thursday night we met three of them at the temple for a session. It was so wonderful to be in the temple with these dedicated young people who love the Lord so much. What a blessing it is to get to serve with them in the mission field and then also get to be with them once we are home.

Today, we had a chance to visit with a missionary we served with in Indonesia…Michael Cheney. He came into the mission just one week after we did and we served with him until his first transfer. He and his wife – she is from Taiwan and they met at BYU Hawaii – live in Salt Lake and it was wonderful to talk about what they have been doing since we last saw him some 5 years ago.

President Anderson’s letter this week contained two wonderful experiences. I would be very surprised if you can read the second one without getting a little choke up…I couldn’t. I should know how the gospel can so quickly change lives but when I read conversion stories like this one, the power of restored gospel still amazes me.

“I love your endurance to those whose heart you change with your testimony and Spirit. To endure with faith that they will respond:

“… We knocked on one last door. This older gentleman walked out and we asked if we could pray with him. He bluntly told us that he didn’t pray. We explained that we wanted to leave a blessing with him and it was for anything he was in need of at this time. He smartly replied ‘money, we all need money’, we asked if there was anything else and he replied ‘well I could always use a new car’. My companion said the prayer it was very short, powerful and to the point. When we got done we asked him how he felt and you could just see the change that the whole thing (blessing) had made on him. He was a lot nicer and responded with saying he felt good and so we invited him to be baptized and he said yes as well as coming to church!!…we set up a time to go see him the next day. We took a member with us and the lesson was awesome. We found out he hasn’t been to church, any church in over 20 years and he hasn’t prayed for about that long either. We taught him about how church is a commandment and the blessing and importance of it and our member gave an incredible testimony on how much Church service has blessed his life. We then asked him if he would give the closing prayer…he was astonished and again told us he doesn’t pray and doesn’t remember how…so we explained how simple it was and he said he would give it a shot. he started to cry as he said the prayer and then during the prayer he promised God that he was coming to church with us on Sunday, then cried some more after the prayer. We then shared with him how amazing his prayer was and you should have seen the smile on his face…Sunday came and he showed up to church WITH his wife an hour early, and waited for it to start!! He loved sacrament and his wife even expressed during the sacrament how much she loved how it felt. We went to see them that night and taught the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon which he started reading before we even had left his house. He is preparing to be baptized next Sunday!!!”

I love how you endure with faith with all those you prepare to be baptized:

“My companion and I harvested (a wonderful couple) about 2 weeks ago- and after we shared the harvest blessing with them- we asked how they felt. He, slightly more reserved at first, quietly said he didn’t feel like he deserved it. She said she loved the peace of the prayer and she said that she’d been asking God for a chance to let Her Husband know that He (God) loves him. From there, it has been an incredible journey with this family. They have recently been considering getting divorced, she was on the verge of leaving- but she had been pleading with the Lord for direction- then next thing she knew, we were knocking at her door, offering to share a prayer. Throughout these amazing last 14 days, we have witnessed beautiful transformation within both of them! She said that she has been praying for years that her husband would soften his heart and make the decision to get baptized. It has been quite a long road for the both of them. Her husband made some choices in the past that he felt he would never be forgiven for- choices that directly affected his wife in one of the most heartbreaking ways possible. But as we taught about the power of the atonement of Christ- how through repentance, we are able to be forgiven for any and all of our mistakes, He started keeping the commitments we left with them. Before we met them, He had decided he wasn’t going to care about himself- he was at the point where he wanted to end his life- and he was smoking up to 2 packs of cigarettes a day. But he has been living the word of wisdom- completely cigarette free for over 8 days now! Their baptismal service was one of the most amazing, miraculous and tender experiences I have ever before seen. She went down into the font first, she’d been crying up until that point, and came back up so relieved, so refreshed- she had so much joy as she walked up to the steps. But the most amazing part was when her husband came up out of the water. He looked up at her with the most humble, hopeful, and pure of expressions. She walked to the edge of the font, again in tears, overflowing with joy, and as he came up, they embraced. I cannot do justice with words everything I felt in that moment. All the pain in the past, all the doubt, all the suffering- all of it had been washed away. They were both brand new. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.”