Well I guess my prayers didn't work, I'm being transferred to Banff. Ha, I'm kidding about my prayers not being answered. I hear there's a national park up there and that it's the most beautiful area in the mission so get ready for pictures! My new companion is Elder Mercado and he only came out one transfer after me so this will be a very young companionship. I will be relying heavily on the Lord for this one.
So Amber was baptized on Saturday. The Spirit was so strong and she was definitely ready for it. There were quite a bit of non members there which was awesome. We were able to talk to some and I turned my head and Elder Owens had set up an appointment with one of them! It was an awesome experience and the whole time, I wish you all could have been there. My face was glowing because the Spirit was so strong.
Kathryn and Jaycel are doing AWESOME! We've been doing the missionary lessons with them and they are so solid. You can see the Holy Ghost in them as you look in their eyes. They're interested, they want to learn more and that is all coming from the Spirit. They're reading their brand new scriptures (from the ward) every night and are also praying each night as well. They also want to go to seminary every morning now! They're so awesome and their mom is encouraging them the entire way.
Last night, we met with a less active mom and her family. She's divorced and is going through a very rough time. She has so much guilt that she feels that going to church and prayer will only make things worse. Brother and Sister Pratt (their home and visiting teachers) invited her over to dinner with us. It was an interesting lesson. We taught about the Atonement and everything Brother and Sister Pratt said related to her. They told her how the church provides so much with programs for the youth that help them learn and grow. Sister Pratt also hit the nail in the head by talking about faith. We show our faith by the choices we make to come unto Christ. I asked Sister Pilling's kids what they could do to come unto Christ and they said go to church. Sister Pilling said it was too hard for her and that it wouldn't help. Brother Pratt, in a loving and compassionate voice, said that if that's the attitude she has when going to church, then church won't help. We have to do things the Savior wants us to do with an open mind and we have to try it out. Elder Flygare said as a missionary, sometimes you have to "fake it till you make it". I noticed a lot of times, we feel we have to know the Book of Mormon is true before we read it every night or we have to have see God before we can honestly pray to him. That is false. It's the actions that are going to build that faith. It's reading the Book of Mormon with an open mind that will give you the testimony. It's praying to God and trusting that someone is listening to you that will let you know that He is there and mindful of you.
I love you all and can't wait to tell you about my experiences up in Banff.
So in Canada, it goes Thanksgiving, Halloween and then Christmas. This was a very weird feeling but I did get 2 Thanksgiving dinners so I guess I'll deal with it. If I stay In Lethbridge, the Gemmel's said they would feed me an American Thanksgiving in November so cross your fingers and pray for me... aGAIN!!
So this week was crazy! This family, the Wetterstrand's (picture the most missionary minded family and that's them) were challenged by us in June to invite one of their non member friends to receive the missionary lessons within a week. So they had us knock on their friend's door. His name is John and he's about 75 and his wife just passed away. We told him we were friends with Brother Wetterstrand and he let us in. We talked about fishing and cooking salmon (thanks mom) for about an hour. We then asked if he wanted to learn more about our church. He said no but wanted us to come back. We told the Wetterstrand's and they've been inviting him to ward activites for the past 3 months! So then Elder Stevens and I went over and we would always have fun chats because he's very lonely and is retired. We'd always ask if he wanted to learn more and he would say no. So, this past week, Elder Flygare said the next we came back, he would have to ask some really good questions about our church so that he could see if he could stump us. John had a big smile on his face and sure enough, on Thursday he had some pretty good questions. We were able to answer them and he said our answers made sense. We told him he needed to come up with more questions for us. So on Saturday we came back and he brought up the questions. We answered them again and he started asking questions that had to deal with the Plan of Salvation. So sure enough, we taught him the second lesson and invited him to be baptized. He said he was already baptized but still wanted to learn more about our church. We gave him a Book of Mormon to read and he was already reading parts of it towards the end so I'm very confident that he will read from it.
It was so sweet and there was a very valuable lesson that came from this experience. You never know what a simple invitation can do. If the invitation is out of love and given for the right purposes (like the way we invited), then the person you will share the gospel with will understand why you're giving that invitation. It was an incredible experience and I am so eager to meet with John again.
Amber is getting baptized this Saturday (cross your fingers). President is going to be raising an eyebrow when he sees that we're only baptizing 13 year old girls. Just kidding! We talked to Bishop and he said that he is comfortable with Amber being baptized because she is a regular attender of Young Women's and has had some rough circumstances with going to church this summer with being out of town. Before the summer, she would go to church regularly. It's so sweet being able to see these miracles and being able to watch the Lord's hand in this area. My prayers are being answered as far as being able to see the fruits of our labors.
I love my Savior and know He is there. He is watching over us daily and wants us to be happy. I love you all and hope that during the week, you can find ways to come closer to Him.
So this weekend, I've done something that I've never done before in my life... I watched ALL of the sessions of Conference. I know, I'm very proud of myself for finally repenting for not watching it all before but man was that an incredible weekend or what? Last week, I thought I had few weaknesses but boy was I wrong! After listening to the prophets and apostles, I have so many things I need to work on. I guess that's why we have the Prophet speak to us... so that we don't get prideful like me.
So as for the week, it was awesome aGAIN (emphasis on the gain, that's what Canadians do). Kathryn and Jaycel went to the temple and did baptisms! I'm telling you, they're having an awesome month: baptism, confirmation, missionaries, temple... all we gotta do is throw a celestial marriage in there and we'll call it good eh? Those girls are awesome and they're progressing very nicely from the looks of things. Carrie had surgery on Monday. I don't know if I told you this last time or not but she asked me to give her a blessing. It was way sweet but we got a call from her on Tuesday saying that she talked to her doctor and he said she couldn't get into a tub for at least six weeks! Oh well, I guess it doesn't make too much of a difference to the Lord whether she gets baptized on the 23rd or next month. She's still reading the Book of Mormon daily and is praying every night. They also watched Conference! She is a very strong woman so hopefully she continues to press on in her quest for more knowledge and for the truthfulness of the gospel.
We talked to Amber and she asked if her uncle could baptize her on the 16th. I said absolutely not... KIDDING!!! Take a breather everybody. She also wants it to happen at 4 so hopefully all goes according as planned. The main concern we have with her though is that she's 13 and she doesn't attend church very frequently but goes to young women's every Wednesday so we're hoping this baptism isn't just for a social reason. It should be done for the right reasons and Elder Flygare and I have been kind of questioning how things are going along with her. We've been following up with her on her commitments and she's been reading and praying but going to church is SO crucial. Good thing the lesson tonight is on the plan of salvation and keeping the sabbath day holy.
As for Courtney, her parents are divorced and her dad wasn't too thrilled about her getting baptized which I completely anticipated would happen. I also was pretty understanding of it because I figured if I was being taught by people from another religion for only two weeks and I wanted to join it, you probably would have me wait wouldn't you mom and dad? Plus, this could be an excellent opportunity to invite her parents in on the lessons so that he could see what we teach and how this is simply a way of life where we strive to follow our Savior Jesus Christ. It'd be ideal if we could teach them, but even if they were just sitting in on the lessons, it'd still be an awesome experience for everyone.
Wow, when I got into Lethbridge, nothing was going on. We had no investigators or anything and now look at what is going on. It's not me... Trust me, it is not me. It is the Lord placing His hand in this area and using 19 and 20 year old men as His instruments to bring His sheep in. My prayers have been answered day after day and time after time. Heavenly Father is there and I honestly believe I have received more than what I have put in. That is what life is all about. We have to act in faith when it comes to everything we do. We have to trust the Lord that His ways are better than ours. Joseph Smith learned this valuable lesson and lost the 116 pages in the process of it. So many times I ask myself, "How many more experiences do I have to hear from others and myself until I learn this valuable lesson that Joseph learned?... When the Lord commands, do it." I know the Lord is there. He is real and He does want us to be happy, but we have to be willing to submit ourselves to Him to let Him guide us.
I love you all and hope that everything is going well. Life is challenging but like we learned in Conference, the grass is not greener on the other side. We all have struggles and the best way to cope with them is to allow the Lord to help us through them.
Well, this week was pretty sweet! Kathryn and Jaycel were confirmed yesterday in sacrament meeting. It was so awesome! Elder Flygare and I can breathe now knowing that they're finally members now (even though this is just the beginning for them when you think about it). I had the opportunity to confirm Jaycel. Man was I nervous! My leg was shaking and everything and I don't even know why. Oh well, it was a way cool experience and the spirit was so strong. Definitely wrote that one in the journal.
So on Tuesday, we were able to meet up with Carrie again. She's been reading the Book of Mormon and praying and going to church every couple of weeks. It was awesome being able to answer her questions about the Book of Mormon. Of course she had to ask me a question about the scriptures in 2 Nephi when he's quoting Isaiah. I think there's only one chapter I understand in that whole selection because I remember Sister Harrell teaching us about it in seminary (I know, seminary did actually pay off for me) and sure enough, it was the one Carrie asked us about. We were able to explain it to her and it made a lot of sense to her now. The Spirit's real just to let you know. Anyways, we taught her the first lesson again and this time it made so much sense to her. She said she has a tough time recognizing the Spirit (I wanted to say it's because she smokes and drinks coffee but felt prompted to keep that to myself for now) but realizes that our church is the only one with the priesthood. I showed her my priesthood lineage card and asked her what she thought about it. She said "It's probably important because you wouldn't carry it around in your pocket if it wasn't." We invited her to be baptized and she said yes for October 23rd if she's all healed up from her surgery today. I was able to give her a blessing with Elder Flygare and it was an awesome experience to be able to give a blessing that was literally coming from on High. The Spirit was amazing and there were some blessings promised that I'd prefer to keep to myself for now because it was a pretty sacred revelation. She is in my prayers always.
Wednesday was almost if not better. We taught Amber who has a date for the 16th and wasn't too sure about it the last time we met but this time her friend Courtney sat in on the lesson. We taught both of them Lesson 1 and the Spirit was incredible. Their answers to our questions were solid and truly came from their heart. We asked them what were some ways they could follow Jesus Christ. amber said go to church, read and pray. Then we asked Courtney and she goes, "Baptism." I think both of our jaws dropped and I literally looked around at everybody else's faces. I thought to myself, "If she's not prepared, then I don't know who is!" We got the biggest smile on our faces. Elder Flygare invited Courtney to be baptized and she said she wasn't too sure. Then Amber said "Hey, I'm getting baptized on the 16th!" Then Courtney said, "Hmm, maybe I'll ask my mom and see!" Courtney then asked her mom and Sister Scout, the young women's leader said that she had talked to the mom and she was very approving of it!
My prayers are being answered. It's so awesome to be able to see the fruits of our labors and I'm so blessed that Heavenly Father would allow me to be able to stay and see these wonderful miracles that are taking place. I'm so blessed and fortunate to be able to have this opportunity to share the gosel with others everyday of my mission. These blessings however do not require a nametag. They require a sincere desire to follow our Savior Jesus Christ. As we do this, our lives will be open to the blessings He is so willing to grant us. I love you all and hope that you are striving to find ways to come closer to Him.
Welp, chalk up several miracles this week for Elder Flygare and Elder Madsen. Get ready for this!
So I don't know if I told you but we had a baptismal date for Kathryn and Jaycel last Saturday but their mom called us and said the day was too soon. So we came by on Tuesday and talked about what it takes to be baptized. We showed the Mormon Message, "You Know Enough" by Elder Neil A. Anderson. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to. The mom was there and the Spirit was so strong. We testified that it's not what we know that makes the difference. It's what's in our hearts and it what we do that makes what we are. We turned to Mosiah 18:8-9 and asked them the questions Alma asked at the waters of Mormon. After they answered the questions, we read verse 10. I'm not telling you what it says because I want you to read it but basically the Spirit sealed it for them on what they needed to do. We asked them when they wanted to be baptized and they said Sunday. Their mom said that Kathryn and Jaycel were big enough girls to make their own decisions. The baptism was amazing! the Spirit was so strong. I baptized Kathryn and Elder Flygare baptized Jaycel. The confirmation was scheduled for right after the baptism but the bishop came up to us 2 minutes before the program and said that they needed to be confirmed in sacrament meeting a.k.a. next week. Elder Flygare and I are not too happy about that and I'm pretty sure President isn't either but we'll keep visiting and making sure they're ready for their confirmation.
It was an incredible experience to be able to watch those 2 children of our Heavenly Father walk in the footsteps of our Savior Jesus Christ. The Spirit was amazing and the young women welcomed both Kat and Jay into the ward as if they were a part of their family. The ward is amazing. The young women sang "A child's Prayer". How powerful that was! One of the girls who sang wasn't a member and came up to me after the baptism and said she wanted to take the discussions. Miracles are happening in this area... miracles.
Oh by the way, I forgot to mention I got interviewed by a member of the Seventy. Yep, the assistants called me last night and said Elder Claudio D. Zivic of the Seventy wanted to interview me. He asked me my background and then how obeident I was (yikes!). jk, I told him there's always things I can improve on but I told him I was a 9/10. He had me bear my testimony and committed me to be exactly obedient. He asked me what my greatest weakness was and I said my mind. Being focused all the time is difficult. So guess what? He committed me to be totally focused as on top of being obedient. It was an incredible mission tour and I learned so much from Elder Zivic and his wife as well. K,time's running short on me. Enjoy the pictures! I love you!
P.s. Kathryn is the younger one and Jaycel is the older looking one :)
Wow was this an interesting week! Elder Flygare and I are settling in pretty nicely! He is an awesome missionary. We tried running this morning. I made it about 30 minutes. haha big difference from what I used to do. He is just one of those guys that always stays optimistic no matter what. I have no idea how he does it but I guess I'm going to learn eh? Nice to hear that Kevin is home.
The adversary came in on Saturday. These 2 Filipino girls, Kathryn and Jaycel, had baptismal dates for the 18th but their mom called us on Saturday and told us things were moving too fast and she wanted to push the date back. It's kind of odd hearing that from a mom who is a member but whatevs... I've learned not to mess with the mom so we're just going to keep visiting and seeing when they're ready. We'll hopefully be able to set up a new date tomorrow when we meet with them so that'll be cool. Saturday was such a frustrating day though. So many times I thought, "What am I even doing out here? Satan has always won with the people we've been teaching. What's the point anymore?" Elder Flygare was probably able to notice but he kept cheering me up and kept motivating me. I'm telling you, this missionary is awesome! Nothing ever seems to get to him at least I think.
We finally met with the Black Canadians! Ericah brought her friend from Kenya and we did a first lesson in the church. It was kind of like a church tour but with the first lesson mixed in. It was awesome and the Spirit was so strong especially in the Christ room where we had pictures of the Savior all over and had "I know that my Redeemer lives" playing in the background. It's amazing how strong the Spirit is when you testify of Christ. We're meeting with them again on Friday. get this, they actually believed the Joesph Smith story! I don't mean that in a bad way. Even Joesph Smith himself said he would not blame anyone for not believing in it for he wouldn't even had believed it if he had not seen it happen himself. But I know why they believed it. The Spirit manifested to them the truth of what happened in the Spring of 1820. His prayer was answered that day. I know he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and I know that he was called to be the next prophet to restore the same gospel Jesus Christ taught while He was on the earth. If Joseph Smith really did see God, then everything we stand for is correct. Good thing he did see Jesus Christ or else I would be wasting a lot of time in Canada.
Well, I love you and as always have a little spiritual message that will help boost you up. The doctrine of repentance is real. God really will remember our sins no more as we confess and forsake them. Often times, we think the confessing is all we need to do. We feel the punishment and the guilt of doing something wrong is satisfactory for the repentance process. Well, that's the first step but the second step is forsaking it. Literally giving up the natural man and leaving behind our weaknesses and trespasses are what makes the repentance process beneficial to us. It's not easy but it is worth it. It's worth having our Savior Jesus Christ remembering those sins no more so that He can once again lead us back onto the path we need to go. I know He is there and that He loves us all so dearly. Never does He want us alone because He knows what that's like. He had no one around Him in the garden, not even His Father's presence. He does not want us to suffer so please, as a representative of Him, take His hand. He will grab us out of that pit we are in and will show us the joys and the blessings that come from this gospel.
I love you all and as always, I am keeping you in my prayers.