Heavenly Father has really blessed us this week. We’ve had trials and set backs, like, we can’t run anymore because Elder Flake’s knee, but the work still goes on!! Heavenly Father has put in our path some amazing people, although it was hard to drop some people we thought were progressing. It’s like, these are some of our good friends that we just can’t waste our time visiting, because they aren’t repenting. It’s not like we don’t still love them, but we love the work more, and there are just more productive things to do with our time.
We had Zone Training this week about really feeling forgiveness in order to better teach repentance. It went awesome! Everyone has been experimenting forgiveness from themselves, and becoming better through it, and the results of which are outstanding! This week was the best week that the Coral Springs Zone has ever had since I began my mission.
We saw an awesome miracle this week! We got a referral from the Elders in Camino Gardens from this family that are the “godparents” living in Utah of this other family of a less-active mother and her husband and daughter, but they also have 3 more children that weren’t baptized. They found the oldest daughter’s “faith in God” packet from when she was baptized at 8, and asked their mom why they were never baptized, and then asked to be baptized, they came to church yesterday, and are now solid to get baptized on Valentine’s Day!
I got the blessing to go on exchanges with Elder Bullock this week in Lyons Creole. He’s awesome, and he teaches really well. WE set some high goals, and went out and worked really hard. We both ended up with a headache at the end of the day from how much Creole we spoke to people. m’pale kreyol tan ku rat.
I am really loving the Lauderhill ward. They are all on top of missionary work right now, and working hard to get the pace. It’s amazing.
This week has been one full of hard work. Not like, the other weeks weren’t, but this week especially made me tired as a missionary. 1030 is a blessing. 8 hours of sleep is amazing! It’s hard to imagine 8 hours filling you up the whole way for the next day, but it gets you just barely enough. Elder Flake and I either received inspiration or epiphanies, but we don’t really know just how much time we have left. With the passing of President Monson, life ending has been on our mind, whether it be mortal life, or missionary life. So, we started running between doors now. We have no time to waste to declare repentance. This is happiness and joy and eternal peace; people have to hear this!!
We have been able to focus a lot on “beginning with the end in mind” as we have been talking to our investigators, we were able to have a Member Present Temple Tour with our investigator Teresa, and just family History and Temple Work and Eternal Families and Repentance have been the highlights and keynotes of every lesson we have been able to teach.
We have also been able to see a huge blessing in teaching scripture study to help inspire people to develop their own testimonies as we have brought with us our personal set of scriptures proselyting. It’s really awesome how much people change when you tell them that a lot of the notes and markings are from 5 minutes worth of study at a time. They get a glimpse of what they can have in the future, which is great.
I got a kick out of reading the Bible this week. Nobody reads Acts enough, I don’t think. I really love the story of Philip, who had just taught the Samaritans about Jesus Christ in Acts 8, and then at the end of it, after Peter and John come to give the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the Laying on of Hands, Philip decides to follow the Spirit and it’s whisperings, and ends up finding a eunuch having trouble with Isaiah. So, Philip teaches the eunuch the meeting of the scripture, and the Eunuch feels the Spirit, and they continued “36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” and then Philip basically gives him a baptismal interview and baptizes him, the the Holy Ghost comes and takes Philip away and the Eunuch goes and preaches the Gospel. I had never heard of this awesome missionary story before! And everything that happened to Philip came from him just following a prompting of the Holy Ghost.
We had a zone Activity this past week which went really awesome! We had a pie eating contest, face painting activity, and played ultimate frisbee.
I really enjoy being here in the Lauderhill Ward. The members are great, Elder Flake is great, the area has some challenges, but nothing that’s impossible. We are working with some cool progressing investigators, and the companion study we received from the APs is exactly what we needed, and the mission needs. We have seen some awesome miracles through sanctification, some people that have come up through the woodwork as we’ve been diligent.
Repentance is something that we don’t really understand as deep enough as we should. My companion and another Elder in the house are reading “The Miracle of Forgiveness” right now, and we decided to hold a house companionship study on repentance based on page 24 of the book, where it goes through and lists sins. Boy, are there a whole lot of ways to sin. Such as, speaking evil of dignitaries, double-tongued talk, even not meeting inspired goals. Not being focused on prayers, on scripture study, on other people while talking to them. We break our baptismal covenant every week when we forget Jesus Christ, when we get angry, when we even have an unholy thought. Any and every one of these would keep us out of the Celestial Kingdom if it weren’t for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the possibility of repentance. Repentance, as described through Preach My Gospel, involves not just restitution with God, but with all men that may be afflicted due to the sin, and forsaking the sin entirely. As the Lord reveals in Doctrine and Covenants 58: 42-43=>
42 Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
43 By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.
If the Lord doesn’t remember them, then we shouldn’t either. We need to confess our sins,to God, and if necessary, our Priesthood Leaders, and then forget them, move on, don’t think about them anymore. Much harder to say than to do. But possible, only through the Loving Sacrifice of Our Savior Jesus Christ.
Repenting of course leads to sanctification, we can be purified through the Holy Spirit, it can reside and dwell with us. Last night even, we saw just the first little blessings through sanctification. We decided it would be good to drive way out of the way to visit a referral that we had tried to contact 2 weeks ago, Jose. Well, he was home, he received the message of the Restoration, and has agreed to be baptized. Then, we went to try again with a different referral, but the weren’t home, so we OYMed this lady letting her dog do the business, and she wanted a Book of Mormon, and she actually rents a room from Jose, so we’re seeing her as well!! Back to back lessons, combined lessons, all in one home!!
Missionary work is fun!!
I gained a testimony this morning of people always watching and being aware of you. We were at IHOP for unlimited pancakes, and we started talking to the waitress, she’s from Hawaii, and turns out, she has about 1/2 her family are members. She became a potential for the Coral Springs Elders, and her cousin sat down across the aisle from us, and we talked with him for a good minute, and he has a lot of family in Utah that are members, and then, out of the back of IHOP came this lady that had her umbrella in her hand and she came up to us and said “I just want to thank you boys, I have never sat next to a group a young men like you. I have not heard any profanity, so thank you.” So that was cool!
I studied Alma’s conversion story this week in Mosiah 27 and Alma 36. Something I never realized about Alma was that he was a man; the Living Scriptures videos make him seem like, 17ish but the scriptures say that he was a man. I believe this is important, because he wasn’t just a punk kid, but he had some actual sway and influence on all the people around him. I really like what the angel says in Mosiah 27:15, because, to the angel, it didn’t matter who Alma was, just that he was wicked. He said:
15 And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God? For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth? And can ye not also behold me before you? And I am sent from God.
The angel was sure of his calling, which, I feel too often is we forget is our same calling. Our job is to “declare nothing but repentance unto this generation.” We need to understand who gave us this charge. It wasn’t some guy in Utah, but the Only True and Living God, and He called me specifically to do His work.
I had an awesome opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Boss in his area. He is doing great, he is really led by the Spirit. I witness the Spirit that he brings when he prays. I feel it. His spirituality is way up there, it’s really inspiring.
We also had accidental fire exchanges last night with Elder Petersen and Schoen in Coconut Creek. They were biking, and so we gave them a ride, actually to the same spot that we were going to go. Elder Flake and Elder Schoen went and taught a lesson with our investigator Jose Luis, and Elder Petersen and I knocked a lot of doors. We found a many potentials. Elder Petersen is great!!!
Dear Merry Elves,
It’s hard to believe how this week was. I’m very grateful for the awesome opportunity to serve here in Coral Springs. This is a very different area from everywhere else I have served, and a welcome change. It’s pretty bonkers here, I’m back in the city, but it’s not a high-rise and skyscraper city. Elder Flake is awesome, we have been vibing together very well. He and I think very alike as we knock and go find, so meeting with people has been a huge blessing, because we basically already know how the other will work.
This week I had an interesting study experience. Of course I studied Luke 2, I mean, it’s Christmas, it’s tradition! So I decided to really focus on the shepherds this time. Verses 8-17 tells the story of the shepherds. The shepherds weren’t sheep herders, but they were out at night protecting their flocks. Surely, there were wild beasts, wolves, that would come and eat the sheep. So, the shepherds remained vigilant, they had to. They had to stay awake, for the lives of their flocks were on the line. Then the were visited by an angel, who heralded in the birth of the Lamb of God. Sheep and lambs are common things to shepherds. Undoubtedly, given the time of Spring that they were in, they were raising sheep to be slain as the lambs for the Passover, as well as for peace offerings in the temple. Then a question really struck me as I read verse 16 “And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” Did they recognize this as the Lamb that was to be slain for their sins, that was to be the Eternal Passover, that would be the Prince of Peace? Given their reaction of running out and proclaiming the birth of the Savior, I imagine they did. But do we? Unfortunately, we don’t have the blessing of being shepherds, constantly with the analogy of sheep and lambs in front of our eyes. But we do have our own sheep, our talents, abilities, families, homes, minds and bodies. Are we being vigilant of the adversary that wants to attack our sheep? Are we fixed on remembering how we can be spared from the destroying angel? Do we proclaim the Savior? The story of the shepherds made me have the desire to go out and proclaim the good tidings, more than most other times in my mission.
We had an awesome miracle this week, Gio got baptized! He’s 9, and has almost read the entire Book of Mormon. He loves coming to church, he was so excited!! We were very grateful for the ward and their support of Gio and his family.
There are many more miracles to find here in Lauderhill, This is going to be great!!!