Hello to all my family, friends, and coaches at home, at college, and serving the Lord all around the world! Hope this email finds you all well and loving life! College football is upon us here in Minnesota and I love it!It makes me excited to suit up next fall for the Mavs. The work here is going good! We've had a good week of work and have really been cruising on how we are working together and working with people in our area!
Monday we had district p day and that was super fun! The Brainerd and Alexandria Elders came down night and stayed at our place and then in the morning we played some basketball at the church. I don't know how but my jumping has gotten way better so I can almost legit dunk now. I almost had a put back dunk on a fast break. The ball like perfectly kicked off the rim and I came right down the lane and it went just through my fingers so I just dunked air haha. I got up on the rim though, so I'm super stoked I can do that now. We went to Val's for lunch, which is this little old school drive in burger place that is way good. After that we played football and some board games and Elder B made us Wok Chicken with ramen and it was amazing. I was a little skeptical, but it was amazing! Monday night we had a lesson with LJ in the group home and another dude there named I joined in on our lesson. I showed us his electric guitar skills and that was a party haha. We read a little bit out of the Book of Mormon with them and I said, "I felt hope when you guys read that. I usually have dark thoughts, but I had happy thoughts while you were reading!" That made my day, seeing the Book of Mormon be able to help someone like that!
we mowed C's lawn again and had another good chat with her. She had finished reading the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and had some issues with the 3 kingdoms of glory. She said her church teaches there's just one Heaven and one hell and that all you have to do is believe to be saved, not do good works like baptism and stuff. So I brought up these points: 1) If we believe in Christ, wouldn't that motivate you to follow His example and be a good person (do good works)? She said yes to that. 2) If I say I believe in Christ but I steal and lie and murder then am I still going to Heaven? She said no to that. But then I said, "Well, by your standards I'm going to Heaven because I'm a professed believer in Christ!" She realized after that, that just teaching faith without works doesn't make a lot of sense. Teaching that all you have to do is believe to be saved really makes no sense. At least to me it doesn't. So we helped her realize that you have to have faith and also do good works (be baptized, repent, live a righteous life) in order to receive salvation. Aside from the fact that Christ and his apostles teach that in the Bible and Book of Mormon.....After that we did some more service for this lady that Elders M and K found on exchanges. She is way nice and we edged her whole driveway so they could resurface it this summer. She had a lot of questions about missionaries and our church so that was awesome! We are helping her out again ! After that we knocked some town homes in East Sauk Rapids. We met like no one interested except this dude from Kuwait. He is here going to school in St. Cloud. His mom and brother were visiting from Kuwait and he is loaded. He was on the Kuwait national soccer team before he came out here. Anyway, way cool dude and he invited us in and we taught him and his mom and brother. They are Muslim, so they don't believe in Christ as the savior of the world, but they were interested in our message and had a lot of questions! We are meeting with him again this week, too.After that we met this couple named the S's at the church. They are from Arkansas and are moving up to Sartell in like 3 weeks or so. Brother S is hilarious and has this southern accent that kills me haha. He loves watching football on Sundays and was a little sad that our church starts at one because he will miss the and start of the games. After that A made us dinner at her place and it was the bomb. She made this way good tator tot hot dish and also banana cream pie, which is my fav. I found out she loves country music so she played some of her favorite songs for us (tender mercies). . We finished teaching the Plan of Salvation to her and she just out of the blue is like, "I wanna get baptized, but I've never been baptized." So we set a date for with her! She has a lot of stuff to work on before then, but hopefully she can hit that date! After that we cleaned up the home visits list and the NAC list for the ward council and other missionaries to follow here.
we had district meeting and it was an adventure as always cuz Alexandria's Skype like cut out half way through so we had to sit there and wait for it and then try to call them and get it all worked out and all that. So it took like 2 hours to have district meeting. After that we drove up to Watab to stop by all the people we had found like 3 weeks ago. None of them were home or interested so we ended up knocking more doors. We found this way old guy named H. He basically told us he thinks he's going to die in like a week or two, but he seemed like he was in pretty decent shape. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and gave him a chapter to read. Hopefully he reads it and can just feel the peace that comes from it. After that we had a lesson with a family who just moved into our ward up in Rice. The mom has been in and out of activity her whole life and her kids just got baptized like 2 months ago. They love the church so much now, and her older son is 13 and is on fire. His name is R, and he passed the Sacrament for the first time this week and thought it was awesome! Their names are Sister D, R and L. Way cool family. We did a Book of Mormon lesson with them on the importance of reading it each day to continually strengthen our testimony of Christ and of the restoration. They said they have been reading each day since the kids got baptized! So it was way cool! After that we had a lesson with F and she basically taught us the Plan of Salvation! It was awesome, she really knew her stuff. So that was super cool and she also said the closing prayer. We had dinner with the Ps and then we went to campus and did some contacting for about an hour and a half to end the day. We met this dude named J who seemed interested, but we haven't been able to get in contact with him haha. And we met these two girls sitting out on their porch and talked to them for like 30 minutes. One of them had taken world religions but hadn't read the Book of Mormon, so we gave her a copy. They told us about some upcoming events we could go to on campus where lots of people would be at! So that was good!
we accounted with the district leaders and then had a lesson with L. He had downloaded the gospel library app and had listened to the Book of Mormon for like an hour already. We taught a really simple restoration lesson because his understanding is really basic. But it was a good lesson, and we invited him to continue to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it! After that we did service at this humane society in St. Cloud that Sister P hooked us up with. She works there so she set us up with some weekly service there! We just washed dishes and cages out for like 2 hours, but it was fun and we got to talk to a few people working there about our church and missionary work and stuff! After that we had a lesson with E. We retaught the restoration and he had some questions from Mosiah 4. After we finished the lesson we asked him what he would do if he came to know the Book of Mormon was true and this was the church of Christ on the earth today. He said "Well, I'd probably better join it!" I was like, "That's a good idea!" So we told him to keep reading and praying and he would get an answerSo hopefully he does. I'm not sure how interested he is, but he keeps meeting with us so we are going to keep inviting him and helping him gain a testimony until he tells us no! We had dinner with G and Sister K after that, and that was fun. D was being crazy and putting stuff down our shirts and trying to shove his light saber up my butt again, but it's D, so it is what it is. We drove out to Foley after that and did some tracting and met a couple cool people we are going back to this week. As we were walking down this one street to stop by people from a while back this lady came running up to the road chasing a puppy, so naturally we stopped to help her catch it and ended up talking for like 20 minutes. Her puppy was super cute and I was holding it, and it jumped out of my arms and fell on it's face, so that was bad haha. But the puppy is ok, and we ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and setting up a lesson for as well. She told us she had been struggling with her faith in God and was trying to rekindle that recently. She said she loves going to church and praying and talking about God but recently it's been like the flame has gone out. So we gave her a chapter in the BOM to read and set up a time to come back. We invited her to church but she was out of town this weekend.
was weekly planning and we plowed through a good session. We've discovered that when we take two breaks during planning to shoot some hoops then it goes way better. So we've been doing that now! After that we hustled down to Clear Lake to do some tracting and go down to Becker to invite like all the less actives to the corn feed night. So in Clear Lake we had some way cool miracles. Clear lake is a super small town. Like 545 is the population. There are also 3 churches within a half mile of each other. The street we felt inspired to knock was parallel with 2 of the 3 churches, so we were a little apprehensive, but just went forward with faith! The first door we knocked on we met this 20-something-year-old guy named N and taught him a short restoration lesson and gave him a Book of Mormon and a chapter to read. He said we could come by on our way down to MLC. Then the very last door we knocked on was a little ways down the street. Elder M was going to jump in the car, but I was like, "Let's go do this one more house." So we knocked the door and this lady named R answered. She was way nice and had a little 8 week-old baby. We started talking about the Book of Mormon and she's like, "I actually have one! I found it while I was cleaning out my dad's house and I've always been interested in what it is exactly." So we got to teach about it and the restoration and it was pretty sweet! She said we could also come back ! After that we went to Becker to invite a bunch of less actives to the corn feed. We stopped by to see D again, and he was out back doing some yard work, so we offered to help but he was just finishing up. He said he would be less busy once school starts so we could come by again in September. He's a really nice dude and I hope we can teach him! We stopped by CD and met his wife and kids, too. We invited them to the corn feed and they ended up coming, so that was awesome! The corn feed was a party. We had like 100 people there and lots of good food and also we had a football game with Bishop and some young men and other members, so it was way fun!
was a kind of a long day haha. We did zone comment sheets and leadership recommendations in the morning for the APs and President B so he knows who can train and who can't, and who can zone lead and all that stuff so if he needs to call new people he has some background on them. After that we went and did some stop bys in the ghetto part of our area and no one was home. So we ended up doing our route of people to stop by and no one was home or outside to talk to because it was raining. So that was rough haha. After that we had a lesson with J about the Sacrament because he was passing for his first time . We wanted to make sure he had a good understanding of what it was and the importance of passing the Sacrament. He seemed to actually have a good understanding of what the Sacrament was and why it is important, so that was awesome. He seems to be like less weird I guess each time we've gone over, so that's been great. He's still super unique, but we've actually been having good lessons. He's getting his patriarchal blessing next week as well. After that we went to campus and this old lady stopped us right in the middle of campus and started telling us about her beliefs. She said Christ was a made up person and didn't exist, and God was alive in all of us so we have to "experiment with ourselves to truly discover God." She said there was no devil either, and he was just made up along with Christ so that the Catholic Church could control the world by fear. In the past months I would've like lost my mind and went off on her and been mad, but I seriously just felt way sorry for her. We tried to just share our testimonies of Christ and how we can have hope for a better world through Christ, as we are taught by Moroni! She didn't want to hear what we had to say though, and told us several times we were deceived and are deceiving others. Some day she will know that Jesus is the Christ, and I hope she realizes that before having to stand before Him. I really felt awful after that. It was like reading about an anti-Christ in the Book of Mormon and just feeling sorry for them. Anyway, after that we tracted for 2 hours and found zero people. It was a rough night, but we still had fun and were in good spirits. Even though we found no one, I still felt happy with the work we put in even though nothing came of it.
we went to the Holy Myrrhbearers Orthodox Catholic Church with JJ since she went to church with us last week. I'm not gonna lie, it was the weirdest church I've ever been to. It was all Gregorian chant out of a 36 page book. They do the same thing every week and they had all these scary paintings of Jesus and Mary and all the apostles. The Bishop and some other high up dude were visiting and they did this weird priesthood thing where they cut off locks of a guy's hair so he could be ordained to the office of "reader" in the priesthood. I like the Lutheran church we went to with Dave better than the orthodox Catholic Church. I'm just gonna leave it at that. After that we went to our church and it was great! F was there, and JC and DS came too. The Ss are feeding us so that will be great. After church we had dinner and did comp study and then did some stop bys. We stopped by A, and they had just gotten home from camping and were cleaning out their camper. We talked for about 10 minutes and he told us he had talked to F about us and said they would like to have us over and we seem like "quality guys." So that was awesome. We are going by to visit them. After that we had a lesson with the B's and it went pretty well. T is doing well after his surgery, so that's good. They're good people I just don't know why they don't come to church??? Still trying to figure that one out. After that we had coordination meeting with Brother C and then had some training evals with the Brainerd and Hutchinson Elders and had to do numbers. So that was our !
This week went by super fast! I've been reading in Alma this week as Alma is setting the church in order in Zarahemla and in the surrounding cities. Alma 5 is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. It talks about having "the image of God in our countenance" and receiving a "change of heart". I really love these two phrases. That is something I've realized I want to strive for in my life. To always try to live in a way that I will have the image of God in my countenance and that I will always strive to repent and be more diligent and humble and a better disciple of Christ. Later on, Alma talks about the fact that we can't stand before the judgment bar of God if we have been sinners and liars and expect to be saved. He says in verses 18-19: "18 Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?
19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?"
Those really stuck out to me. If I couldn't stand before God with a pure heart and clean hands right now, what changes do I need to make so that I could? I've thought about that a lot, thinking about things I can do to become more loving, more Christlike, and more focused on those around me and how I can lift them higher. It was a really cool lesson I learned from Alma. I absolutely know the Book of Mormon was written for our day, and there are so many valuable lessons to be learned in its pages. If you aren't reading it each day, I strongly advise that you do so. There will be a change in your life and in your heart that will surprise you. You will want to be a better person. You will love others like Christ did, having charity, or the pure love of Christ, for all you associate with. You will come to know that Jesus Christ lives and that it is only through him that we can be redeemed and changed and exalted. You will come to know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and was translated by His prophet Joseph Smith, and that Christ's church has been restored to the earth. The Book of Mormon is the greatest book in the world. There is absolutely nothing bad that will happen if you read the Book of Mormon. Only incredible, heavenly blessings in your life! Thanks for all your support and prayers. They help me so much!
Good luck to my Bobcats and Mavs as football season is kicking off right now.You got Elder Beach in Minnesota sending lots of support and love your way! I love you all, have a great week and remember to take to time to smile, enjoy life, and tell those who mean most to you that you love them and appreciate them. Life's too short to not do those things