3-7-18 Never Easy to Say Goodbye

We had to say goodbye to these 7 stellar missionaries.  In the back row Pres. Robinson, and then Sis. Nalder, Sis. Fairbourne, Sis. Asay, Elder Guthrie.  Front row, Sis. Brown, Sis. Walker, Sis. Robinson, Sis. Lawrence.  We know its time for them to move on to the next season of their lives, but we really have a hard time letting them go.  These seven have been valiant and courageous in their missionary service.  We know they will each go on to serve and lead in the church and be righteous disciples of Christ.

DSC_0451

3-5-18 New Missionaries Arrive!

IMG_2130

We received two new missionaries in March.  Elder Fonnesbeck and Elder Gardner.  Elder Gardner will be speaking Spanish.  We are thrilled to have them and know they will have an amazing experience.

The above pictures show Elder Gardner with his new companion/trainer, Elder Castro.  And then Elder Fonnesbeck with his new companion/trainer, Elder Kasparian.

3-3-18 Elder D. Todd Christofferson

The first weekend of March, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of Twelve held a mission wide meeting with our missionaries from 2pm-4pm on a Saturday afternoon.  Elder Kevin Pearson, of the Seventy accompanied him.  What a treat this was!!  All of our missionaries came prepared to learn by reading several of E. Christofferson’s recent conference addresses and prayerfully considering questions they might want to ask an apostle of the Lord.  After brief testimonies from Pres. and Sis. Robinson, Elder Pearson and Elder Heyman (area Seventy), Elder Christofferson took the remaining time to address the missionaries.  He began complimenting the missionaries on how wonderful they looked and the reverence they exhibited.  Then he began taking questions.

Following are excerpts from what the missionaries heard from E. Christofferson:

Becoming Disciples of Jesus Christ:   Now is the time to decide to become a disciple of Jesus Christ forever and always. 75% is not good enough. The lord asks for 100%. We’re here on missions to learn how to become disciples of Christ. In order for us to be true disciples of Jesus Christ we need to strengthen our “Christlike Attributes” and strive to have a “Christlike Character.” Then and only then will we be true disciples. Because the Lord bought us with his blood we owe him our lives and all that we are. We are His. Most of our witness of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of the Book of Mormon comes through the doing and keeping of the commandments or in the acting.

Teaching By the Spirit:     When we teach true doctrine and bear solemn testimony we can know that those we teach are feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost. And that He is testifying that what we are saying is true.

 Repentance:    The Spirit will let us know the things we need to repent of next, and eventually, as we work every day to improve, it will all be taken care of. True repentance brings sanctification through the Holy Ghost and allows us to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. In the Book of Mormon, the phrase ‘baptized unto repentance’ is used to teach us that repentance is also continually required after baptism to allow us to receive sanctification from the Holy Ghost and the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Our calling is to preach repentance and baptize converts and we can’t expect people to experiment on our teachings if we’re not willing to change and repent ourselves! We can overcome the natural man by focusing on Christ, attaining Christlike attributes and constantly repenting. No effort made toward Jesus Christ is invalid, thanks to his infinite atoning sacrifice; use it! Repent.

The Book of Mormon / Scriptures:    Daily study of the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our testimony, and the key to our spiritual success. The scriptures are the key to everything we need. The answers are there and God is speaking to us through them; we just need to listen.

Elder Christofferson’s testimony:     His testimony of the Savior was calm, sure, solid, and clear, leaving no question of its truth. We could imagine the Savior there, talking to us, shaking each of our hands, and we realized that it came from how personally he knows the Savior. We want to be that close to the Savior, so people can feel His love radiating from us.

The Doctrine of Christ:      Our access to the enabling power of the atonement Jesus Christ is brought to us through the Holy Ghost. In turn, the more Spirit we have the more power gained from the atonement of Jesus Christ. The five principles of the doctrine of Christ are sacred even though we talk about them a lot each day. They are sacred even though sometimes people do not care about them. Treat sacred things with the respect and reverence they deserve.

No Effort is Wasted:     Even on your worst day, He is proud of you. No effort is wasted. Every time we pray or read the scriptures the Lord sees that and is very proud of us! Heavenly Father is pleased with every effort we make. As long as we are really trying, and doing our best each day, we can know that the Lord is pleased with us and our efforts.

The Sacrament:      The sacrament is a very sacred, intimate experience with our Savior. Every time we break the baptismal covenant, this sacred ordinance allows us to renew the covenant and complete our repentance! In the “old” days people had to sacrifice an animal but now we offer ourselves as the sacrifice. We must sacrifice our sins to know and feel the redeeming power of Jesus Christ in our lives as we live the Gospel and partake of the sacrament weekly. Jesus Christ ended the law of Moses and is now saying, “I don’t want things anymore, I want You! I want your commitment!” The personal intimacy of the sacrament. Christ doesn’t want us to bring things to the alter, he wants us. We no longer have a desire to sin when we are truly preparing ourselves and repenting in sacrament meeting because the Holy Ghost is working in us.

The Importance of Love:      How important love really is. Without it, we cannot learn and we cannot teach. We must love every aspect of the Lords work. We need to love our companions, our leaders, and Our God. We need to help investigators feel God’s love. Gaining a testimony of God’s love comes step by step, not just in one big spiritual experience.

Miscellaneous:      Many of the answers we seek come over time, as long as we keep moving along. – He makes us want to be more gentle people. – We have a lot of questions, but most of them we already have answers to. – It’s hard for the Spirit to guide your steps if you’re not moving. – We are all in between remembering and remembering, not just our investigators. We need to continue to remind ourselves and others of the truths we already knew before. – The mission field is a battlefield where you can work harder than anywhere else. It’s your opportunity to thrust in your sickle with all your might and consecrate all. – The lord gives us what we need not what we want. – Satan’s 3 major tools are deception, discouragement, and desensitization. – Do not judge or counsel the lord but rather take counsel from Him.

All the missionaries were able to shake Elder Christofferson’s hand and feel of the love of this great and humble servant of the Lord.  Because of time constraints, we were not able to have picture with E. Christofferson and all the missionaries.

After the meeting with the missionaries, E. Christofferson had dinner with Pres. & Sis. Robinson and all the senior missionaries serving in our mission.  He told Pres. & Sis. Robinson how impressed he was of the depth of questions which were asked.  He again complimented us on how great the missionaries looked and behaved and told us we had a special mission here.  We agree!!!  Later, E. Christofferson addressed the senior missionaries after dinner and took some of their questions.   All were able to hear and feel of Elder Christofferson’s testimony and great love for the gospel and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

After this visit, we all committed to trying a little harder to be better disciples of Jesus Christ and to move forward in faith to be better instruments in His hands.

 

Elder Gibbons 3-5-18

On March 5 we had to say to goodbye to  Elder Gibbons who is returning home for a medical procedure.  Elder Gibbons served faithfully and without complaint for 20 mos.  We know the Lord is watching over him.  We will dearly miss him.  He was one of our spanish speaking elders and he made some very good friends with spanish speaking investigators as well as members.

IMG_2123

Refugee Investigators

On a warm Sunday evening  the missionaries taught over 50 African refugees.  Elders Gibbons and Castro had contacted a man from Africa in one of the apartment complexes they were visiting.  He was very interested in the elders message and wanted them to come back when he could gather a large group of his friends to hear their message.  The elders brought a projector, a screen and several Book of Mormons to the meeting and showed the Restoration video as well as some mormon messages.  The whole zone of missionaries came out to help.  We have one missionary, Elder Kirokiro who can speak a little Swahili but understands quite a bit.  That helped since most of the adults could not speak much English.  But the children understood quite a bit.  We do not know where this might go, but its interesting how we never know where and when we might come across individuals who want to know more about the meaning of life and where we are going after death.  Even if they are refugees from Africa.  We currently trying to find someone in the area who knows Swahili so the missionaries can converse easier with these wonderful people.