Monday, June 30, 2014

Hello All You Wonderful People!

Dear Loved Ones (this includes all who read this letter),

Wow, what a week! It was one of those weeks that I was truly being humbled from my own mistakes while miracles were shooting off like fireworks all around me (in honor of the 4th coming up ;)! Jesus Christ is SO merciful. He loves us so much and is our best friend. He cheers us on when we do what is right and mourns when we sin. He is my leader, my Savior, my God.

Culver is moving along at a rapid pace and continues to pick up. It filled my heart with joy to see our gospel principles class on Sunday be filled even out into the hall a little bit with less actives and investigators. God has a work to be done and oh how great it is to be a part of it!

This week a miracle happened that testified an important priciple to me. That is the principle of "patient diligence works miracles". There is a family in our area named the Maroules family and the wife is a member who has been inactive since her youth. The husband is not a member and none of the kids are either. Their family has had missionaries over for years trying to get them to investigate and come to church with no luck. Over the years, life has gotten harder and harder for the family to the point where they didn't know where to turn anymore. Well luckily we have a patient and persistent Heavenly Father who sends his servants to prune the vineyard! 

Anyways, we went over to talk to Jason Maroules (the husband) and as we were talking to him his walls just started to crumble and he started asking us questions about the church and we ended up teaching a partial restoration lesson and resolved some of his concerns. The Spirit was so strong and at the end he said, "Well I think it is about time we come to church," and as we were leaving he told us that he really liked when we came over to talk to him and to stop by anytime. We were so happy that there was finally progress with the Maroules family! Also President Kelly was elated to hear the news, he has been making sure missionaries keep on them for a long time.

There were miracles like that and many other great things that happened this week. Even though I have been really weak this transfer compared to the rest of my mission, I have come to the realization and applied it into my life that when we can realize that the Lord is allowing us to go through a trial to learn something, if we ask what it is that He wants us to learn, we can work through our trials and the Lord's work can still carry on as planned. That has brought me great comfort.

So on a funny side note: I LOVE LIVING IN HOOSIER-TOPIA! There are hill-billies and rednecks galore here. Our neighbor knocked on our door around 10pm while we were planning and when we opened the door to see him standing there holding a homade bomb and reaking with the smell of weed. The first thing he said to us was "Hey guys, feel how heavy this quarter stick of dynamite I made is!" Then he continued to tell us what kind of damage it would do.... HA! 

That is just a taste of Indiana for you. Last night we stopped to take a picture of a stop sign that was all shot up from some hoosier and as we got out three teenage boys came riding down the road, two of them on a moped, the third hanging off the back in a long board. They stopped and asked us where the closest gas station was and then asked if we would be offended if they took a leak off the side of the road. It was pretty grand :)

Well I love you all and hope all is going well for you. Continue to forge your bond between you and God, it is the best thing we can do in this life.
Elder Young

Monday, June 23, 2014

3rd Transfer in Culver and a haircut

Hello Everybody!

So my new companion is Elder Russell, and he is AWESOME! We came out together and we both have a very strong drive for the work. We are going to bring the house down in this part of the vineyard! :) 

This week was transferrs so we had a super hectic and busy week. We were still going full speed ahead in our area amidst Elder Van Shaar saying "bye" to everyone and packing. There has been so many things running on in my head this week people must have thought I was insane. 

Elder Russel was also thrown right into the business and he got right to work. We were able to teach 18 lessons this week out here in my favorite area of Culver. The Lord has truly poured out blessings on this area and there are several people ready to come unto Christ. We are just working on staying as obedient as possible so Heavenly Father can continue to work through us.

There are three wonderful people preparing for baptism: Richard Hill (Part member family. 45 years old. Makes the best hot wings on the planet), Dannie Hoffer (Son of an inactive member. 17 years old.), and Dakota Eskew (Son of a returning less active. 11 years old.). These three are amazing individuals and I am just in awe that God trusts us enough to allow us to teach them.

Richard Hill started investigating when President pulled him into his office (dun dun dun!) and asked him if he would take the discussions and read the Book of Mormon. He accepted and he wasn't too interested at first (he just wanted to compare our religion to others he had researched), but after the fourth lesson he committed to baptism. He is so solid and has a great desire to do good. We also have a wonderful friendship with him. We do service for him about twice a week. We chop wood and are digging out a hug stump and tilling his big garden (fun stuff!). 

We have taught Dannie Hoffer twice already and he already has a date. This 17 year old kid has so much wisdom for his age it is rediculous. He has already been in jail and what he told us the first time we met was "I have been living by my way and it got me in jail, its about time I start living by God's way." He has no gospel knowledge but is earnestly trying to do all he can to build his relationship with God. He is planning on joining the Marines next year but he told us that if the Lord tells him to stay home and build his relationship with God he will do it (how cool is that!?).

Dakota is also extremely wise and mature for his age. He is super excited to get baptized but tries to hide it. We teach him every week before mutual with the Young Men's President. He is having his baptismal interview this week.

All in all this area is doing wonderful. I am super pooped, but hopefully I can get some sleep this afternoon and be all ready to go for the new week. I love this gospel and I know it's true. I feel my faith (which is centered on Christ) is becoming unshaken.

Hope you all are doing well! I love you all and hope to see you all sometime soon. Ta ta!
Elder Young

A road they tracted. (Not sure how many people they met but I'd tract that too. :))

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

And transfer calls say.....(and some pictures!)

Transfer calls came and I AM STAYING IN CULVER!!!! WOOOOHOOO!
I am going to miss Elder Van Shaar SOOOOO MUCH! He has been my absolute favorite companion so far. We have had countless tender spiritual experiences together and have helped each other grow spiritually. He is a great missionary who has great desires to be obedient and serve the Lord. Where ever he goes he will do great things.

This week has been another great week. We have learn more concerning the Lord and goal setting/achieving. We started the week by calling it "Miracle week" and we set realistic but high goals to hit. We worked really hard and eagerly sought the Lord's will in all things. We had many many miracles throughout the week including getting 6 lessons in one day (insane!). 

The second part of the week hit and I had become a little too focused on reaching our goals and not enough on just working and doing the Lord's will. I became stressed and confused when we didn't quite reach our daily goals. Elder Van Shaar and I talked about it on our way to and from Mishawaka. A few days later the Lord's answer came to us: We are to set goals to help us achieve great things but they are also sometimes just to motivate us to work hard. There were some days where we gave the same effort and were diligent and obedient but we achieved little as far as key indicators go. After receiving that inspiration we were able to realize that there will be days and sometimes even weeks where there will be an out pouring of miracles but there is going to be days and weeks where it is just time to work hard and not much happens. It was such a relief to learn more about how the Lord works in that aspect and it relieved a ton of stress to know that we were still doing what the Lord wanted.
I love my Savior and I know He loves me perfectly and because he does he is going to let me struggle sometimes so I can grow and become better. I know that the work we are doing is under God's direction. He is in complete control. Like a shepherd, He guides his sheep. Although those sheep can be really dumb sometimes, the Lord is perfectly patient and gently encourages us to keep pressing forward with faith and do our best. 

My mission has been the most fulfilling and joyful experience I have yet had in my life. I was driving the other day and it just hit me- this strong feeling of peace and joy, I knew what I was doing was right and it was what the Lord wanted me to do. This church is true, I know it!

I absolutely adore this place and the people here. I know pretty much the whole ward roster and have only not met a handful of the people on it. There is so many great potentials in this area that we are hopefully going to be teaching shortly. I am ready for another 6 weeks of miracles!

Love you all! Share the joy of the gospel with everyone!
Elder Young

Hey so our mission president sends us a email everyweek with some spiritual thoughts. This is what he talked about today and it was super awesome:
"Quotes: Amazing-ness of LDS Women

"People wonder what we do for our women. I will tell you what we do: we get out of their way and look with wonder at what they are accomplishing." (President Hinckley)

" The place of the woman in the church is to walk beside the man, not in front of him nor behind him. In the church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel, which is the only concern of the Church was designed by the Lord for men and women alike." (Elder John Widdtsoe)

"Surely the secret citadel of women's inner strength is spirituality. In this you equal and even surpass men, as you do in faith, morality, and commitment." (Elder James E. Faust)

" The responsibilities, roles, and divinely endowed gifts of men and women differ in nature but not in quality, significance, or degree of importance, impact or influence. Latter-day Saint doctrine places women equal to, and yet distinct and different from men." (Sheri Dew)

The Temple is the most heavenly place on earth. Who performs ordinances in the temple? Men and Women...

Why do men need to be ordained to the priesthood, even the Melchizedek priesthood, to be prepared to go into the temple, but women do not, to receive the SAME endowment of knowledge and power?

"Women, unlike men, are not required to be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood in order to enter the house of the Lord, though the ordinances performed there are ALL priesthood ordinances. Neither are women required to be ordained to the priesthood to serve as leaders in the Lord's Church." (Shari Dew)

"Women are not diminished by priesthood power, they are magnified by it. Righteous endowed women have as much access to priesthood power and its blessings as do righteous endowed, ordained men." (Shari Dew)

" If the Lord's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, and it is; if His entire purpose is to help us ultimately live where He lives and become as He is, and it is, then surely in His infinite wisdom and perfect love, He has given His children-both men and women-the gifts, privileges, assignments, and challenges they need to learn to walk by faith and to eventually become exalted beings." (Shari Dew)

I love President Connoly's thoughts...(Indiana, Indianapolis Mission Presidency)

"Women don't have the priesthood conferred upon them because they do not need that experience to be exalted; men do."

"All my learning regarding service, compassion, gentle persuasion, leading etc. has come through experiences while serving in priesthood positions and while using priesthood keys and authority...
My wife already knew all these truths and had all these skills. It is inherent in the daughters of God, part of her divine investiture.""
Also here is some latest pictures. Enjoy!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 12 in Culver!

Greetings friends :)
Had another great week of grace and miracles. We were sick with the bug that has been going around so we were out for about half the week and yet the Lord in His infinite mercy and love still allowed us to get 1 to 3 lessons a day. We felt His love as we had anxious feelings to get out and work but realized if we wanted to get better we needed to focus on getting better.

In fact, I had a cool experience where I was feeling really guilty for staying inside and even though Sister Steadman advised that we take it really easy and do what our body felt like, I still couldn't let myself relax. I decided to pray to know for sure what I should do. The awnser didn't come in the way I expected nor in the time table I expected, but it did come! As I was reading "Jesus the Christ" by James E. Talmage I was reading about the parables Jesus taught and one of them was talking about the divine attribute of patience. When I had read it, the distinct feeling came over me "I know you can work hard, now I need you to be patient not working." and I felt this peace come over me and I felt I could finally relax. I felt good about my decision and later that night I recieved a blessing which said that by my faith I would be healed by tomorrow morning and we could resume working. The next day I was all better! It truly was a remarkable experience and I have treasured all the times the Lord speaks to me through the Spirit. The cool thing was was that even though we were sick, we got more lessons this last week then we did the previous week! It is absolutely necessary to follow the Lord in all things for He will bless you and help you reach your full potential.

We are still meeting three times a week with Trenzo Williams. He is such a good guy. He has such a desire to be good. His past is a dark one and he greatly desires to do good. As I get to know him he reminds me of Alma the Younger.

We continue to meet with Richard Hill, he is doing good. We have a great relationship with him and we chop wood for him once a week. That always makes me happy cause I get to release a ton of energy when I am chopping the maple wood :) I split a big piece into three the other day, I was pretty proud of myself :)

Well I love you all, I hope you know that Heavenly Father loves each one of you. I am grateful to be here on the earth at this time and to know all of you wonderful people.
Elder Young

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pictures from a member...

We are freaking out at Jake's part in his hair. He's never had one before. His mother isn't sure about it but she's out-voted by Dad, M'Lynn and Riley who think it's awesome! :) Thanks to the great people of Indiana who are so good to our missionaries and missionary mommies.

Hello Everyone!

This week has been another good week.

The work is going good. Life as a missionary has many different challenges but it is all about turning to the Lord and pushing through. I have had SO MANY amazing spiritual experiences that have shown me that God truly does live and is a very intimate part of our lives. He watches His children with lots of care and concern. Although He knows the outcome, He will do all He can to get us all back home. A cool thought hit me the other day I want to share concerning what I just said. Think about the Jewish people during Christ's time. There were many followers, but for the most part most of the people rejected Him. The Pharisee's back then were so wicked they claimed that Christ was using the power of the devil to perform mircales, then after Christ used beautiful logic to rebuke them they said "show us a sign"....??? How hard hearted could you get!? It was interesting that Heavenly Father knew all of those pharisees perfectly and that He sent them to earth at that percise time and that percise place so they would witness the Savior and all His mircales so they could believe and yet they didn't. Heavenly Father gave them the best chance to believe so He could save more of His children and yet they still rejected the gospel and Christ.

Sorry if that was confusing but I thought it was pretty amazing how God works. We are born at this precise time and in the place and families we are part of for a reason. There are people we will meet and people we will associate with that will change out lives and He has orchestrated it all.

We are still meeting with my boy Trenzo, AKA Brother Williams. He is doing really good. He wants so badly to be a good person. He use to be a thug but now he is doing all he can to be a saint. He asks me sometimes to give him a synopsis of a chapter he is going to read that day so he can better understand it. Also we had him read some of the war chapters and at our next lesson he told us about it and it was the best summary of the chapter I have heard from an investigator.

The only new investigators we have right now is an older man who is married to a less active. His name is Ron Jones and he is a really nice guy. His dad died recently and that really shook him up. He is taking the lessons from us and his wife sits in and helps us teach a little bit. She totally still has a testimony she is just too lazy to come to church I guess. haha we will change that :) We taught them part of the Plan of Salvation yesterday and they asked if we believed in aliens cause they said they have seen some... ya we quickly got back to the lesson.
Well I love you all! Hope you have a great week!
Elder Young