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Monday, March 5, 2012

Week 71: Recharging the Batteries

AJ: Hey Pops.
DAD: Hi AJ, how's your week been?
AJ: OK-lang. How was your birthday?
DAD: It was really good. Didn't really get presents, except a shirt and a football. Just a nice day with the people I love. That reminds me, we would all like Griffin shirts before you come home!
AJ: What kind of Griffin shirts? Griffin shirts or jerseys?
DAD: The jerseys like the one you have.
AJ: Blake Griffin jerseys?
DAD: Yeah, although I doubt they have a 3X for me, eh?
AJ: Probably not, but I could probably get it made if you gave me the measurements. Seriously, any kind of jersey you can think of I could get made. BYU, Jazz, Texas. Just email a picture of the jersey and then I'll just have 'em put Griffin on the back.
DAD: Cool, well, no rush on that, just wanted to get some before you came home. So have things been good there? Rausa getting all trunky on you?
AJ: That's a given of course. But Elder Neilson's training was pretty awesome. The revelatory process, about why we are here as members of the church (in the devotional) and of course loving and learning from your companion. It was edifying and motivating.
DAD: Wow, cool. The leadership meeting with Elder Doxie was pretty good. We had a Q and A at the end. Today's meeting with the whole stake wasn't as cool, but he had very little time.
AJ: Yeah our thingy had a Q and A as well. He answered some pretty deep stuff. And told the people that still don't believe buying on Sunday is breaking the commandments that it is .. haha
DAD: Nice. Good to have that cleared up by hearing it from a G.A.
AJ: It's too bad though, because he only said it to the missionaries, not in the member fireside.
DAD: At least you can quote him now, haha. Had roast and potatoes at grandma's, plus ice cream cake -- they love me. It was a late birthday treat.
AJ: Man, don't tell me that.
DAD: We'll have a big late birthday party for you in October – with lots of milk and cheese and ice cream!
AJ: I want to eat a huge bowl of Reese's Puffs cereal when I get home. And then fill it up again and eat it all over again! By the way, Kyle Bowles just emailed me in all Spanish. Where did he end up going?
DAD: Can't remember. Seems like it was Texas or California or something.
AJ: Oh and by the way, I don't know what is my release date. I've heard October 16, October 31, October 30 ... My ministerial certificate expires on the 27th though.
DAD: Best make these last 7-8 months good ones, eh?
AJ: Yep time flies. Trying to work harder than ever. Sister Martinez goes home in 5 weeks ... that means 18 months is almost in the books.
DAD: Yeah, we heard they are almost done. When I went on my mission, they were just changing back from 18 months (for Elders) to 24 months. The Elders just before me had a choice, but we did not. I dunno if I would have stayed the whole time. I guess I'll never know. Probably a good thing I didn't have a choice. It was my last month that your mom and I met again and set up our meeting in Utah.
AJ: Why did it get turned to 18 months in the first place for Elders?
DAD: I dunno, they just thought maybe two years was a hardship, I guess. All the "Good" missionaries were allowed to extend their missions. But even those guys only served like 19 or 20 months. We were the first group out that was back to a full 24 months and we brought a whole new set of discussions out that we had to teach to our new senior comps. It was a humbling experience.
AJ: That would've been lame to only be able to go on a mission for 18 months.
DAD: Got your letter. It was great! So glad you got the inspiration and motivation you needed. Sometimes we need our batteries recharged!
AJ: Alright we are headed out.Love you!!!!
DAD: Luv u too son!!!!

Dear Family,
So it was another nice hot week here in the Philippines. We had a really awesome 3 hour training with Elder and Sister Neilson and also their fireside. We also had some really awesome teaching experiences and went on splits with Elder Caoayan (same pronunciation as Cauyan Mission) and I had some bacon (first time ever in the Philippines).

Tuesday was the day I went on splits with Elder Caoayan. He is one of the hardest working elders in the mission, so it was fun day. He is a fairly new convert to the church. (The converts are always the best missionaries). Anyway, he and Elder Reyes are in Tabuk, which is super far away and known for having like tribes and stuff. They opened it a few months ago and are total studs. Supposedly it might be dangerous for Americans in Tabuk, but that might just be gossip too, cause I've been there a few times now for interviews and stuff. :)

The Training was great. I had my prayers answered from Elder Neilson's training and feel re-energized and motivated. We had some cool experiences this week. Elder Neilson taught us the revelatory process from 1 Nephi 11-14. He taught us that when Nephi was given revelation, we can see some things that outline how to get personal revelation.
1. What desirest thou? Nephi is asked several times this question and Elder Neilson taught us that every time revelation is given, we need to have a question for it to be answered. He said that every revelation given toJoseph Smith came after he asked a question. Example: which church is the true church … first vision; how do we get baptized … John the Baptist giving them the Aaronic Priesthood … and many more. So if want to receive revelation, we need to have a question and we need to pray and ask Heavenly Father about that question.
2. Look! The Lord expects us to search for the answer. Search the scriptures, ponder, etc.
3. What beholdest thou? The Lord expects us to write down the revelation we have received and then ask if there is any more.

Elder Neilson also said that through studying the scrips, church attendance/temple and many other ways we can receive answers.

Finally, the last thing I wanted to share: He said that, like the sons of Mosiah in Alma 17 2-3, Prayer, studying the words of life and fasting bring about Revelation.

Anyway, the training was really awesome and I have a lot more things I learned – It was a spiritual feast!

We have a really cool new investigator that has been awesome so far. There is a young man that came to church recently (hadn't been to church in a long long time) and he said, “Hey Elders, come bless my sister. She is sick.” So we went to their house that afternoon and we were able to teach her (she isn't a member) and teach the young man and then give her a blessing. The sister is about 27 and she has a really bad rash that she said she has had for like a month. After that, we taught her a few different times and she really didn't want to accept our message and just had lots of questions that were kind of sly. She has or is still being taught by Iglesia, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. But we taught her the Restoration and told her we can't answer all her questions, but if she prays and finds out this is true, it will make sense in the end. Then on Friday we saw her at the devotional of The Neilsons (we were surprised because we hadn't even told her about it). We went to her house on Saturday and she said she received a definite answer and that she knows what we have taught her is true! Her brother is working on getting ready to go on a mission and they both came to church again yesterday and since then, what were doubting questions trying to discount the message have turned into sincere questions with a real desire to know and her believing in our message! It was really cool to see happen. Her sickness is going away too, from the time we blessed her. We feel she will be baptized and they are super awesome. The young man has started working with us all day on Sundays and he is really enjoying and has shared some cool testimonies to our other investigators.

We also had a great lesson with one investigator who hasn't yet progressed, but during the lesson prayed for the first time in his life and the spirit was strong. It was sad as he wasn't there when we set the return appointment and we have gone back one more time but he wasn't there again. I think one of the hardest things is having great lessons, and feeling the spirit so strongly, but then the people not following through. It's so disappointing.

The Gabaldon family is doing really awesome. We have been teaching them the plan of salvation and we were teaching about the fall one day. We read in 2 Nephi 2 but they weren't really getting it about why Adam and Eve fell. But it was cool – we were able to get them to think about it in a different way and then they totally figured it all out on their own and figured out agency and everything! Their baptismal date is on the 31st and things are looking really good.

Well the mission is awesome and I love being here teaching and looking for the people that have been prepared. The mission is really a miracle that we young men and the young sisters with all our weaknesses and just being snot-nosed kids that don't know anything can see such amazing things happen. I know that I am nothing and nobody important and I am so humbled that the Lord lets us help him in his work, even though we are so weak.

I know this work is true, I know that the Savior lives and I know that this church was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith and the Lord does call prophets in these days. And we are very blessed to be a part of it!

I love you so much Mom and Dad and Dallas, Bryce, Katie and Holly! I am so thankful to be born of goodly parents!
Love you tons!!!!

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