Chocolate

There are wrong ways to do missionary work, but there are no “right ways”. That’s a quote by Elder Anderson, and it’s true. So long as we preach the principles of the Gospel through the Spirit, we are doing positive missionary work. Of course, some ways work better than others, but follow the Spirit. This week, WE decided with the Naples District to have some district finding activities that we would be okay to hop on and help. First, On Saturday Night, we set up a hot chocolate stand outside of a carnival/Snowfest right by the chapel here in Naples. The Creole missionaries asked to borrow these Haitians electricity, and we ran Christmas lights and heated up water and gave out cookies and directed everyone to church. (Everyone parked in the Church Parking Lot). We had the 2 Light the World videos playing from a TV and a member was there with their iPad. WE must have passed out 400 Light the World Cards, and showed the video to at least 150 people, families. Many people were visibly touched. Then, last night, we went caroling and received about 3 potential families, and everyone we sang to was also touched by the Spirit. We were able to testify of truth, and help these people come closer to Jesus Christ. “The song of the righteous is a prayer unto me.” We really Lit the World!!

Speaking of preaching the Gospel through the Spirit, I got an awesome opportunity to study that this week, in Doctrine and Covenants 42: 12-16
12 And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.
13 And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit.
14 And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.
15 And all this ye shall observe to do as I have commanded concerning your teaching, until the fulness of my scriptures is given.
16 And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;
The Spirit will only prompt us to declare the principles of the Gospel, and will testify of scripture. The Spirit will prompt us to share scripture, and testimony, and will bring to our memory that which we have studied. We need to be studying the Book of Mormon, and the Bible, and Conference Talks, and well, We need to study the scriptures EVERY DAY. Only then will we have the power given to us to invite the Spirit unto the heart of the hearer. (DC 50)

Anyways, we saw an awesome miracle this week while we were just OYMing outside of an apartment complex we didn’t have any formers in, and we had never worked before. Turns out, it’s chock-ful-o’-latins. We met Pablo and his wife, who just got here from Cuba, as well as Cici and Sidrette, who had visited with the missionaries back when Naples was a part of the Tampa mission. They basically ate up the Messages we had to share. It was great!!

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Bill

 

Dear Everyone,

We had a very interesting week, as, well, we always do. It is Florida. We were knocking trying to find some investigators on Monday night, and found Delmer and his family! They are some cool Hondurans. But the real story comes after, when we decided that we would go the extra mile and knock just one more door. It was late, but we knew the Lord would bless us. So, we did. And we knocked into Bill. Bill was wearing nothing but IZOD skivvies, and he was pretty nuts. He invited us into his house, he wanted The bible preached. He also wanted to show us his paintings. We walk upstairs, (he lived on the second floor), and boy, did he have paintings. He had up about 150 paintings that he’d painted hanging on the walls, and then he invited us to see the ones in his bedroom. Both Elder Hafen and I felt that there was no way that we should go into his bedroom, and that the Lord had taught us the lesson that we needed to learn that night. Bill went rampant. He picked up this metal rod, we thought he was going to try and beat us with it, but instead he kinda just blocked off the stairs so we couldn’t get down too easy. He started cursing up a storm, and ended up telling us that we weren’t real Christians. He told us to get out of his house, and never come back. Not in those exact words, he used Southern-Style “French”.

It got me thinking, what is a real Christian? Am I a real Christian? Did I go into Bill’s house looking to share the gospel with him, or because we were bored and needed time to kill? Did I do my best to be transparent and let the Light of Christ flow through, or did I occult myself, and let the natural man take over? Bill taught me an important lesson, one I surely won’t soon forget, that really our motives determine our actions. We did want to share the gospel with him. And by the end of it we did want to get out. We smiled, and he cursed our smiles. We thanked him, and he almost threw us down the stairs.

I guess really I learned a little more about what the Savior went through, how He lived what He taught. True Christians are defined by their actions, those exemplified in 3 Nephi 12: 33-44
33 And again it is written, thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths;
34 But verily, verily, I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
35 Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white;
37 But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil.
38 And behold, it is written, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;
39 But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also;
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also;
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.
43 And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy;
44 But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;

I am thankful for the example of the Savior Jesus Christ. I am thankful for His great and eternal sacrifice, the atonement of Jesus Christ. He is my Savior. He felt the fear that I felt, and He pulled through. He overcame. He is victorious. He lives.

 
This Thanksgiving, take time to be thankful. Take time to be still, and be quiet, to appreciate what the Savior has done for you.
Elder Websterbill

 

This week

This week was a different one. We’ve been inspiring the zone to focus more on achieving their goals, and now the missionaries are starting to focus more on what they need to do every day to be successful.
MLC this week was really awesome! Everything we talked about, accounting, focusing more on what’s really important, and making sure we have more effective exchanges will indeed help the work progress.
Transfers was this week, and Elder Hafen and I are back at it again, for a third transfer now. There is some serious work here that needs to be done. There are some very specific souls here that need for Elder Hafen and I to find them. Some of those are Danyela, Ali, and Santiago, a Venezuelan family, who we’ve been working with now for like, 2 weeks. Ali and Santiago came to church! They really liked it, and they definitely felt the Spirit!
this week Elder Hafen and I tried different door approaches to see how people would take it. We asked people things like “In the spirit of Thanksgiving, what are some things you are thankful for?” or “So you’re from Mexico? Neat, so we don’t understand fully the story of the Virgin Guadalupe, can you explain it to us?’ (and then after they explained it) ‘ wow, you know, there was a similar story to that that happened in the year 1820…” We have many potentials lined up now for this week.
This week I studied pretty in depth Doctrine and Covenants 6, when Oliver is being praised and promised blessings, and one of them really stuck to me.
25 And, behold, I grant unto you a gift, if you desire of me, to translate, even as my servant Joseph.
26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people;
All of them blessings promised to one are promised to all. There is no monopoly of blessings in the kingdom of God, for He is no respecter of persons. We are all equal in His sight. Doctrine and Covenants 38: 24-25 speaks of this principle.
24 And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me.
25 And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself.
One of my favorite quotes was spoken by my Junior year English teacher, Mr. Hall. He said, “You aren’t special; statistics show that nobody is special.”
Everything that we read that was/ is promised to the prophets in the scriptures can also be ours by our obedience to the laws and ordinances to the Gospel, through diligence and through repentance.
In order to help the zone find some cool new investigators, we believe that something called “Thanksgiving Caroling” Could help. We have had Elder Spottiswood and Elder Wride pre-test it this week in Cypress Grove, where as soon as they open the door, the begin singing one of the Thanksgiving hymns, like “count your blessings.” So far it has gone pretty well, and we are excited to see more fruits from it.
Viva Naples!
Elder Webster

Spooky

Hey Everyone!
 
First off, Elder Hafen and I will both be staying in Naples for 3 straight transfers! This will be my fourth out here, and I couldn’t be happier. Apparently, the Lord is counting on Elder Hafen and I here to do some more work that hasn’t been done yet. We don’t know yet what it is, but as Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “We will do it anyway!”
 

We have been striving to implement our zone conference commitments into our area, and by slowing down the First Vision to 10mph, well, last night we felt the Spirit. We were with some of our investigators, Jaqi and Irma, and Jaqi was recently swayed from coming to church by some members of a different faith. So, we re-shared the First Vision. The Spirit was so strong and thick you could cut it with a knife. Now, she told us right now is not her time, but that she had a vision that she would be in our church again in the future. It’s a well planted seed, well nurtured, but not quite ripe.

I read the talk by David A. Bednar this week, entitled “Character of Christ.” In the which he inspires following the Spirit and turning away from yourself and towards Christ, normally by turning and serving others. He proposes a challenge at the end of the talk to seekers of truth, to those with Gospel Questions, to obtain a new Book of Mormon, and read it cover to cover and marking everything that pertains to your question, and then writing a half-page summary about what you learned, and then pray about it to confirm the validity of your answer. So I started doing that. It has been a wonderful, Spirit-filled experience thus far. I have seen myself be calmer, and more Christlike by focusing on others, and their needs, and how they feel about things. This really is what our commission is, to invite others to come unto Christ, and what better way than to show someone that you yourself have been converted, and that you can help them do the same.

We got to see a cool miracle this week through some new investigators that we found, named Ali and Daniella. They are a Venezuelan couple, with their son Santiago. They have the desires to follow Jesus Christ, and they offered us coffee at the first lesson. Of course, we denied the coffee, but accepted their gratitude, which led to the pretty obvious question, “Why don’t you drink coffee.” to this, my spirit-led Companion Elder Hafen said, “We’ll make a deal, you read the Book of Mormon, and tomorrow, when we come back, we’ll explain why we don’t drink coffee.” They accepted, read the Book of Mormon, prayed as a companionship, and the net day dropped drinking coffee as we explained it. It was great! Repentance is great!!

I had an opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Rock this week. He’s doing great! We taught a man named Jesus, and Elder Rock was just lighting up the room with his testimony! It was really awesome. He is constantly seeking to become better, to share the truth. He’s not afraid of things that may come, he’s past that. He will be refined and polished and become a truly converted Missionary as he keeps his discipline.

Thanks!
Sincerely,

Whirling Dervishes

The littlest of things mean the most. Really, what Alma testified about is true, that “by small and simple means are great things brought to pass.” By studying our scriptures every day, by sincerely praying and focusing on our prayers, by setting goals, by working diligently, by focusing on the Spirit, all the big things fall into place. I think that one thing that needs to be better attended to is the idea of repentance. Repentance isn’t negative. As Stephen W. Owens said in our last General Conference, “Repentance is always positive.” And Too few people have a right view of repentance. Repentance is simply a turn.

There are only two ways to draw a spiral. The first is by stating at the outside and working inward until you get stuck at a central point. The other is to start in the center and work outward. If we start on the outward, slowly but surely we run out of space and our pen makes an inkblot on the paper. But, if we start in the center and work outward, we have an infinitely large spiral. That’s how we are as people. Pride works by looking around you and comparing it to yourself, slowly but surely, until you are stuck in yourself. Repentance is turning that spiral the other way. Conversion is starting by changing yourself, and working outwards to help other people. Helaman 7:17-18 puts it very nicely. “17 O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God. Why has he forsaken you? 18 It is because you have hardened your hearts; yea, ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd; yea, ye have provoked him to anger against you.” If we repent and turn unto the Lord, we will not die (spiritually), and the Lord will not forsake us, because we will listen to His Voice and obey Him.

Robert, the man from last week that we shared the Book of Mormon with, had an interesting experience. We decided to stop by Saturday night to commit him to come to church. well, he was fuming mad. The night before, he and his son got into an argument about him finding out about some word of wisdom issues he found his son doing. When we stopped by, we were able to testify of repentance and all the good it could do. Unfortunately, he didn’t come to church, but we are going to visit him this week and help their family turn towards the Lord.

We had a Zone-wide Exchange this week too. I got to spend the day with Elder Van Dyke. He is doing really well, working his hardest to forget his past and, unlike Lot’s wife, not look back. We had a very awesome time planning a lesson who we got a return appointment for that we found together, Carmen.

Love,
Elder Webster

The Little things

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Doing the Little things, that’s what it’s all about. This week Elder Hafen and I, through the perseverant efforts of the Assistants, have really focused on being the model area for our zone. We made sure that every day we would do all of the little things, such as set daily goals, read the White Handbook, Read from Adjusting to Missionary Life, and the works. We saw that through our efforts, we really did see miracles. But it didn’t happen immediately, it came a few days after we started doing it. We were struggling to find all week until Saturday, when we helped out the Naples English Elders on their Blitz. We ended up finding and teaching 7 people that day, 2 different families, both of which are really awesome and had questions about what they felt, and what else we had to offer. We ended up sharing the Book of Mormon with Roberto, and his family. We go back tonight with our bishop to answer the questions he has.
I don’t understand the Nephites sometimes, but when I take a step back and look at the world around, it all makes sense. I’ve been reading about he fall of the Nephite Civilization in the Book of Mormon, in the Book of Mormon, and just how drastic the change is, well, it’s marvelous, but in a bad way. Like, In Mormon 1: 13-14, I couldn’t really understand why the Lord would take away the 3 Nephites, these guys were living proof of the reality of the Savior. But then, I was pondering, and it came to me, these people wouldn’t repent and it was right in their faces that they were wrong. Why waste your resources? Send them where they will be more useful, where people will listen to them. Then all the people just lost the Spirit, then they descended into basically barbarian type conditions. I learned that it’s just easier to repent at the beginning, humble yourself, and be straight with the Lord.
13 But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people.
14 And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief.
We saw a cool Miracle this week, and I kinda already alluded to it with Roberto and his family. So, we met his wife, Norma, and gave her the Restoration pamphlet to read before we were to come back the next day when her husband was home. Then we came back the next day and she had read all of it, and prayed about it. Her husband, Roberto, had heard of “Mormons”, but hadn’t ever had the chance to read the Book of Mormon, so we shared it with him, and he called in his 16-year old son Pablo from the other room, and, as Miracles would have it, Pablo had gone to church for about 4 months straight with his sister in Guatemala. So, yeah, Go Naples!
Love,
Elder Webster

Silent Heroes

We Moved! Now we live out in the forest! We moved in Saturday with the Cypress Elders, Elder Wride and Elder Spottiswood. It’s a great time out here, we are just getting settled in. Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! I’m now as old as all the fingers and toes I have!
 

There has been an idea bouncing around my head the past few days about “Silent Heroes.” Or those people that go out and are great, not by the World’s fame, but by the Lord’s. We read about them in the scriptures, in the Book of Mormon there was Shiblon, the 3 Nephites, Emer, Abish, and many more. This are men and women that did their job, they magnified their calling, and were blessed by the Lord. They weren’t lofted up onto a pedestal, many people don’t know them nor their stories. From the scriptures we know very little about them, but we don’t know how great changes and miracles that have been worked in this world without their efforts. Too many people want to be seen. What the don’t realize is that their shadow is cast over the Lord. Like the phrase goes, “You make a better door than a window,” these people are blocking the way into the Lord’s house. When we, however, become transparent and let the Lord work through us, then and only then do we receive the blessings the Lord wants to give us.

We saw a cool miracle this week while on a blitz in the Vanderbilt Beach area. We found this awesome girl named Hannah, when I was with Elder Van Dyke. Hannah didn’t look like someone that would accept the Gospel, but then again they never do. She had tattoos all up and down her arms and legs, jet black hair, contacts that changed her eye color, just well, not someone you would expect to see in any Provo Sacrament Meeting. But we talked to her. We learned her story, we testified of truth and shared Alma 7:11-13 with her. The Spirit was there, in that moment as all the other missionaries were being kicked out of this apartment complex by security, the Lord provided us a way to testify to Hannah of the things she needed to hear. It was really great.

This will be the best week,
Love,
Elder Webster