Monday, April 24, 2017

In the Backwoods of South Carolina...

Funny stories this week real fast..

We were trying to get into contact with an inactive member named Michelle. We went to the neighbors house and rang their doorbell. We had seen someone walk inside a few minutes earlier, so we knew they were home. After we rang the doorbell, some guy shouted "ain't nobody home"! We waited or a minute, and nobody came to the door…he was being serious! Pretty funny stuff!

We met another guy named Mr. Mosley. I thought when he introduced himself, he said "Moses", but turns out he liked that I called him Moses. He told us that he had been called by God to be the new millennial Moses. We kinda played along, and he said that it was true. He told us that he found the staff of Moses! I was curious, so I asked bout how he found it. He told us the following story:
"My wife needed a mother's day gift, so I prayed to God to help me find her a gift since I had no money. God led me to the trees across the street. I walked into the trees and was led to a well. There I saw a staff that was connected to some vines still. It was being guarded by a ferocious, black animal. It was like a panther, but it wasn't a panther, and it wasn't a cat. It was growling at me and the growl shook the ground (proceeds to growl like this animal did). I took out my knife and began to cut away at the vine, and the whole time the animal kept growling, so I had to be careful. I brought it out finally, and I took it home to show my wife. It has truly been a blessing to us." He told us that because of the staff, God has blessed them with money, then he pointed to his new Mercedes. He was sincere with his whole story. He asked if we wanted to see it, and of course we said yes! He brought it out and unwrapped it from a plastic bag. it was a thick vine with another vine wrapped around it. he had decorated the small vine that was wrapped around it as a serpent, using pink paint and black electrical tape! It looked pretty cool to be honest! He said he got a standing ovation in his church when he presented it! We tried to teach him, but he was super not interested. I'm grateful though for the memory we made together! haaha

This week at one of our service opportunities, I learned how to lay down brick with mortar and how to make mortar…super easy stuff, and it was fun too!

We taught a guy named Paulie. He just got out of jail and was there for 10 months! If you want to see what humble looks like in someone's countenance, he is one to meet for sure! We shared the church's easter video and talked about Christ's atoning sacrifice. He has changed his life around so much and he shared with us his testimony!

We taught Geraldine again and she has been reading from her big book of mormon we got her! she is going through every single footnote for every single verse…I don't think I could do that! I mean she is retired and does not have anything else to do so she has lots of time!

We taught a lady yesterday named Ferris. She requested a bible and a Book of Mormon. She has two little boys, and her life has been off track for a while. She is trying to get it back on track and the spirit was strong as we testified of christs love for her. We shared the Easter video as well, and she couldn't control her emotions. She said she felt so warm inside as she watched it. She will be at book of Mormon class on Wednesday!

We taught the restoration to a man at the entrance to a grove of trees…that was pretty cool. You may expect me to say that he wanted to learn more, but he was not interested. Nevertheless, it was pretty cool to teach in that setting! (it was by a lake too)

I have been studying the importance of covenants lately...
Alma 46:21-22… Keep your covenants paramount and your obedience exact!

Paper Football!

yummy blueberry biscuit
Another ghetto sled

Monday, April 17, 2017

The story of the dirt dobber & the spider

I totally forgot to write a newsletter and I am running out of time! So real quick, this week we had MLC again, which meant Zone training meeting as well! They were both really good, powerful meetings. At ZTM I trained on sacrifice. Each zone chose a word to be their zone focus and ours was sacrifice. We came up with a phrase to remember to go along with it. Pay the price. The Spirit was so strong during the training and I feel like the missionaries were impacted by it.

In MLC and all of our meetings we always do a role play. This round of role plays is on asking inspired questions. As we did it in MLC, and realized something. One of the things we can learn from the message of the restoration is that Heavenly Father is constantly reaching out to us- reaching out through our families, prophets, scriptures, prayer, and even priesthood. I know he cares for us and he is blessing us. Sometimes we just don't recognize it due to sin, doubt or fears. It is so important to do all we can to be a disciple of his son. As that happens, we are most prone to recognize his hand in our lives- it is there, always there. I have a testimony of fasting and of priesthood power. I discovered two scriptures on this topic in Matthew this week. Matthew 9:6-8 and Matthew 9:14-15. Look them up! I'll talk more about it next week!

Happy late Easter!
Easter Dinner and Noche de Hogar

Scooby dooby doo, where are you?

The dirt dobber and the spider-- a story told to us by Buddy Simmons on his porch. 

(A dirt dobber is a wasp found in the south). 

He recounted that one Monday he was sitting in his rocking chair on the porch, In a corner where the bannister hits the column connected to the roof, he saw a cool looking spider sitting in its web. He decided to jus stay still and watch it. Eventually, a dirt robber came along. It approached the spider as to intimidate it. 

It made a particular buzzing noise as it antagonized the poor spider.
The spider- when hearing this buzz would cringe up a defense position in its web. The dirt dobber would encroach a few more times- each time being a little bolder. The spider reacted the same. Finally, the spider seemed to become tired of reacting to this dirt dobber, and when he buzzed again, it didn't seem to bother him. At this moment the dirt dobber decided to land on the web and lay down. This surprised the spider sparked its interest. He crept slowly towards the dirt dobber who acted as if he was struck. As the spider reached the dirt dobber, the dobber- never confided by the web, turned over and stung the spider, paralyzing it. The dirt dobber took his spoils and flew to his nest to feed the spider to the young eggs. 

We can learn a lot from this natural occurrence. Satan tempts us with sin. He won't stop to tempt us. He wants us to spiritually die. He will bother us little by little and will be bold in doing so. It is up to us to put up a defense. We cannot mess with sin. The minute we let our curiosity get to us, and we put these defenses down, is the moment in which he will sting us, and we will fall. Don't play with the temptation. You will lose every time. 

more nests...

Monday, April 10, 2017

Building houses, Chinese Food & a Tornado

Elder Brian and I are together for another one! I do not have much time right now so this week's email will be shorter!

This week we did service for a thing called rebuild upstate. We were working on part of the siding of the house, and I did all the j-channels and the brick molding for the doors and windows! New skill! It was pretty fun. We worked on scaffolding-- not sure if that was allowed or not, but it seemed safe! we got the outside done and I can't wait to do it again! This took 10 hours to do, and the other builders are remodeling their bathroom and kitchen and they built a new porch out back!

I wanted to share two experiences on the topic of inspiration and the spirit. One night this week, Elder Brian and I had talked about inspiration. We never know when something we think or do is inspired by god...until we see the outcome of it. Truly by their fruits we shall know them.

Wednesday morning we planned to see a kid named Yurman (we call him 'your mom' since it sounds the same). We met him on Ross St. while knocking on the door of a potential. He told us that misisonaries had come by before, and that his family had gone to church..pretty cool! As I was looking at the area map on the iPad, I saw a record of a family that lives on ross street...the same address as Yurman! So, we decided to plan in to see that family... fast forward to 10:30, four hours later. Elder Brian mentioned wanting to go to First Wok (a Chinese place we get free meals at) for lunch. I did not really want to eat there for lunch, because we had planned to do companion study right after lunch at the apartment. I was afraid that we wouldn't do comp study if we ate out or something... sounds stupid right? haha. Well anyway, we went to First Wok. It is this hole in the wall place with a small dining area. After ordering, we sat down. Then guess what? In walks Yurman! He looks at us and waves.. so we walk over to him. He was with two of his sisters. We talked for a few minutes, and apparently their entire family are baptized members! They haven't been for a long time, so we exchanged info, and set up a time to visit with them! Who would have thought that the morning we planned to see Yurman, that we meet them at lunch. The Lord will work through your desires sometimes I guess- or plant a thought into your head that you don't recognize as a thought.

Next experience...So we are working with a less active named Brother Hart. We watched the Saturday morning session of conference with him. He said that he would go to Book of Mormon class on Wednesday as well... we forgot that he committed to be there, or that we actually invited him. Then rolls around Friday...6 days since we saw him last. We shared a message with him, then he told us he went to Book of Mormon class on Wednesday night, and we were not there. Immediately we felt stupid! How could we forget! Wednesday Book of Mormon was canceled for the tornado warning, so we did not go to the church. However, it was like 7:15pm and class starts at 7. We were at the spinx across from the church getting gas. There were like 6 cars in the parking lot at the church. Elder Brian suggested to go over there and just talk to a few members for a few minutes. I did not want to. We didn't have a reason to be over there, and there were investigators we could see in the area instead. Plus I added that those people there are probably just in meetings or something since mutual was canceled. I could tell that he didn't agree, so after filling up, I said, you know what, might as well just go over there. He told me nah, it's all good, and then we left. The spirit had once agian prompted Elder Brian to go somewhere (second time at least in that day) and I had this time pushed that prompting away from him in a way. I wanted to do what I wanted (which in this case was not necesarily a bad thing), but it was not what the Lord wanted. Little did we know until Friday, that this thought to go to the church was a prompting. Trust your comp, spouse, or whoever you work with when they have an idea. I need to put more trust in my companion I realized. When we can both set aside our own opnions and seek for what the Lord wants, we will see more miracles!

All I got this week. Pay the price to have the spirit!

Elder Brian too tired to get undressed

Me...  too tired to put away my laundry

Monday, April 3, 2017

Conference Weekend & my black Grandma

This week felt like a total blur! The pinnacle of the week was of course, general conference on Saturday and Sunday. I received answers to my questions, some pretty clear direction and I learned what I need to be working on. I'll talk about that in a second.
We taught Martha this week and read Moroni chapter 6 in the Book of Mormon. We focused on teaching the importance of church attendance, in hopes that she would understand why coming to church frequently is important in gaining a testimony. It was very powerful! She mentioned how to her, worshipping means paying attention…she had said this before and not sure if I included this in a previous email. I like that though. As we have Christ in remembrance constantly, we can feel of his spirit, of his love and come closer to him. Remembrance is so key in our lives. I was reading Moroni 4 and 5 this week and took time to dissect the sacrament prayers. Something stood out to me- in the prayer, we are asking God to "bless and sanctify" either the bread or the water. it goes on to state that we ask for this "that [we] may [eat or drink] in remembrance" of Christ's body and blood. So, when something is blessed or sanctified, its purpose is for us to remember Christ. As I thought about this, a scripture in Genesis came to mind that I had read a while ago. Genesis 2:3 "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Now this scripture in Genesis does not mention 'remembrance' but we have been taught to remember god especially on the sabbath. As we work our hearts out throughout the week, exhaust our bodies and minds too- the sabbath becomes the special time to sit back, and remember the mercies of God, to recognize his hand in our week. It truly is a time to worship him. The sabbath day is so special! God understands life is tough- and he has granted unto us a special day to recuperate, remember him and commit to be a better disciple the following week. I know keeping this day holy is so important, and heck- this commandment in Exodus contains the most verses to explain… If our society would abide by this commandment, we would be more blessed FOR SURE!

Martha came to Book of Mormon class and liked it, but didn't watch conference with us. She is so so close, but just doesn't see the whole picture yet. The biggest thing for us is trying to get her to church! We have tried a lot of things…any suggestions?

We taught the Restoration to Jasmine this week! So she has heard the Plan of Salvation, and Gospel of Jesus Christ- so this finished the first three lessons! It was a great lesson, and we shared the restoration video. I could feel the spirit in the room, and I know for sure she felt something while watching it. We both could tell. She is so humble, and just wants to know more! Still working on getting her to church!

We did not meet with Alex this week- we had two appointments, but he was not home for either, and has no cell phone…unable to contact!! I hope we can se him soon!

We are teaching the funniest, kindest, loudest black lady named Geraldine! I love her so much! She is like my black grandma. She loves our visits and agrees with everything we teach her. We have been reading to her from the Book of Mormon, and this week we finally got a large print Book of Mormon for her. We knocked on her door, and she opened up standing with her walker and did some funny granny dance as she said "woooo! thank ya lord!" and she began to sing out of excitement. It warmed my heart that she was so excited to be able to read scripture! So far she has started up reading her Bible again since our visits started and she is grateful for us influencing her to do it! We are so stoked to teach her again this week!

We met a guy named Buddy this week. He is actually R-LDS or Community of Christ. He has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and apparently they have the Doctrine and Covenants like us too! We talked with him for a while- shared some scriptures too. He shared a story with us about a spider and a dirt dobber that I need to write out and send… I will type it out and send it next week… If I can remember haha.

I had an exchange with a trainee- man he had a lot of energy and talked my ear off! It was pretty funny! He is so green! He walked really close to me throughout the day, stood next to me as I was brushing my teeth, and shared lots of stories. At one point I have to admit, I got a little frustrated- but these words came to my mind immediately "Treat him like your little brother. He looks up to you. Be an example". That was pretty cool… I pushed out the temptation to become frustrated, and did my best to take him under my wing. It turned out great, and grew to love the new young elder!

In other news, I finished the Book of Mormon again! It is my third time on the mission…never ceases to amaze me at how much I learn every time. I feel like every time I read it, it gets better!

I learned much from this April General Conference. A huge emphasis was placed on increasing our faith in Christ, and setting ourselves upon a firm foundation. Many messages pointed towards overcoming the world- becoming a sin resistant generation. Elder Hales mentioned weaving our own tapestry of Christ-attributes- thread by thread- (see 2 Peter 1:5-8). Following the spirit, becoming a spiritual 'first responder' stood out to me. Another thing was the need for us to understand and keep our covenants, which will give us power. Virtue gives faith its power- working on becoming more virtuous I felt like was something I needed to hear. People tend to connect virtue with morality, but it is not always so-- study it some more and you'll find out really what it is. Revelation is so important. We cannot have salvation without revelation. We need the scriptures to become our words- that is done through revelation. Bruce R. McConkie talked about that in his last conference address before passing away. I received peace, direction and answers for sure! One last thing that was brought up again and again was seeing others as 
God sees them…so vital!

That is all I got! 

Elder Mac
General Conference with the Albrecths

Car got hit