Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Last 2 Days in Culver... :(

Hey Guys!

Sadly, the time has arrived for me to leave Plymouth. I am going to miss this area greatly. The Plymouth Branch and all the people in it's boundaries I hold dear to my heart. Branch President Kelly has taught me many things and has greatly increased my effectivness in working with members and investigators. He has also shown a wonderful example of how a unit in the church should do their missionary work. I hope to take those things I have learned and apply them to my missionary work now and also when I get off my mission.

I am honored that the Lord needs me somewhere else in the state of Indiana to go and invite others to come unto Chirst. I am ready to get started where ever I am put. I am hoping I get put somewhere close enough to Plymouth so I can come to Richard Hill and Ron Jones baptism. I had to say goodbye to Richard yesterday and it bitter-sweet. Gave him a big hug and said we would see each other again. I get to say bye to Ron on Tuesday when we go over to his house and that is going to be real hard! I love those guys so much, it has been so good to get to know them.

This week we almost hit standards of excellence! We got 21 lessons and it feels so good to see the Lord blessing this area so much. Every week there are new people flowing into the teaching pool, I can literally feel the Lord performing miracles everyday and it has strengthened my faith so much! I am so excited to hear about all the wonderful miracles that continue to happen as Elder Russell trains a new missionary here. Elder Russell is great, I have thoroughly enjoyed being companions with him and he is definitely going to be an amazing trainer for whoever gets him. Also that new missionary is going to get whipped into shape quick in this branch, they know how to train missionaries :).

Well I love all of you very much! Thank you for your love and support, prayers and emails. You guys are wonderful and I hope to hear from you all!
Elder Young

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The first friend sleepover (without Jake)...

So this is pretty funny but both of Jake's best friends, who did not know each other until last Sunday, had their first legit sleepover at our house. Without Jake, of course.

Neither of their parents would allow sleepovers and no amount of Jake's begging would sway them. Riley was a year ahead of Jake in school and Jean Luc hadn't moved here yet. Riley and Jake never could get permission for Riley to spend the night and then Riley left on his mission.

Jean Luc moved to Rexburg after Riley graduated and he and Jake became buddies after Riley left on his mission. Jean Luc wasn't allowed sleepovers either. Jake would even call his mom and try to swoon and sway her but his charm had no affect. So Jake left on his mission sleepover-less with his besties.

Both boys have come over several times since Jake left (for which I am very grateful) but never at the same time until Sunday and they had a great time and since they are both in college now, they decided no matter what their parents said, it was time for a sleepover which took place last night (Monday night) in our basement minus the common denominator. It was fun to have them. They brought nutty bars and oatmeal pies (Jake's staples) and ate them all. That is what's hanging out of Riley's face in the pictures below.We did what we always do, buy everyone pizza, chat for a minute, send them downstairs and retreat to our bedroom.

I saw them for a minute this morning and then they were gone. I'm thankful for the little filling they add to the hole that Jake has left in our home. :)

My Last Full Week in Culver :(

Hi Ya'll!
Things are still moving right along in Plymouth, Indiana! We are doing our best to find, teach, and baptize. As we have invited people to baptism and given them a date on the first lesson we have seen immense improvements! I have a firm testimony that as you create a road map to baptism that you can commit investigators to follow they will have more of a vision and feel that they have a more solid grasp on the situation. Increased vision brings increased motivation.

A great miracle this week: As we were tracting the apartments in Plymouth we had a goal to get 1 other lesson and 2 new investigators in about a hour and a half period. We told ourselves that we would reach that goal (with the Lord's help of course) and as we tracted with that as our mindset we achieved that goal within knocking about 8 doors! We were able to teach a mother and daughter (19) who were pretty new to their faith in Christ. They go to the Crossroads church in Plymouth and the mom (Cami) has been reading the Bible frequently. You could see the spiritual hunger she had for the gospel. Her daughter had been reading a little bit from the Bible but also loved to learn more about God and his plan for her. As we taught then on the doorstep, the Spirit was so strong! During the first vision, Cami got goose bumps and she was pointing to the picture of the first vision in the pamphlet and saying quietly to her daughter "Honey, check that out! Isn't that cool?" They were very excited to receive their own Book of Mormon and they both committed to baptism on September 7th. Elder Russell and I were amazed at what the Lord can do when we show our faith and be steadfast in accomplishing His work. This method of verbally telling ourselves right before we go to work and even as we are working has proven itself multiple times, I quite enjoy it :)

Yesterday we had Interviews (hence why I didn't send this email yesterday) with President Cleveland and it went very well! President talked to me about a couple of things and said that he has no idea what I will be doing next transfer or where I will be going, so I guess it will be a suprise! :) Elder Russell will be staying here in Culver and training a new elder so this week we nominated him senior companion. It feels so good to be junior companion!! I haven't been JC since I got trained and I wouldn't mind staying this way for a while :) I am going to be so sad to leave Culver, the Plymouth Branch is amazing and there are so many good people here.

Update on Richard Hill: He is still moving along wonderfully. He is going to have his baptismal interview either this Sunday or next and he is still wanting to be baptized on August 10th. He is continuing to wean off the coffee and cigs. He has smoked and drank coffee since he was 9 years old, so this is a big feat for him!
Love you all so much! Hope everyone is growing in the gospel and sharing it with others. This gospel is true and it needs to envelope the world. We need a big family party in heaven so get to work inviting people! :)

Elder Young

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mission in the fast lane!

Hello Everyone!
Boy am I ready for a new week! This past week was another wonderful week of miracles, but it was hectic from the first minute to the last minute and I am sure glad to just start over this week. Elder Russell and I are finding great serving here in Culver, Indiana and are feeling increased love for all those who live here (members included). I am going to be terribly sad to leave this area and this branch. I will look on these past four and a half months as some of the fondest times on my mission. Although, I am very hopeful that there are many more fond memories ahead and it will get even better.
The highlight of this week was the Maroules family again! I have been eagerly awaiting for President Kelly to get out there to visit them. He has a way with people and I knew that once he met with them there would be many doors opened, and WA-LA! Sister Maroules and her little 8 year-old daughter came to church last Sunday! President and I went over to their house on Saturday for splits and we talked to Sister Maroules and the kids. She vented about some struggles they had been going through and President Kelly invited her to come with her husband on Sunday and they would have a chat in his office. Well Jason Maroules (the husband) worked late in the shop Saturday night and so he didn't make it but Sister Maroules did. She said it felt just as it did before she stopped coming, like home. Her little daughter, Mia, LOVES church and had the time of her life there. After church and the meeting with President, she had agreed to President's committment for the missionaries to come over for dinner that next week and to start teaching Jason Maroules and Mia Maroules. So we are very excited about that.

Other great news is that we met with Richard Hill, our progressing investigator who is on a baptismal date for August 10th, couple times last week and he has been making leaps and bounds all by himself with the Word of Wisdom. He is already talking about when he is baptized and is being more open with us. Thesuper awesome thing about it is last lesson we had with him we taught him outside because he loves nature, and he finally prayed outloud! It was so great. He had been really nervous to do it but he was finally able to say it.
The weather down here has actually been very mild and rainy which is absolutely FANTASTIC! People have been saying that this is a very unusual summer for Indiana and that it rarely rains this much, I just think Heavenly Father is watching out for me :)

A really cool experience this week: On Tuesday we went on a very long split with Brother Delane Richhart. He is a gentle giant, former Green Beret, school teacher, and is now a 70 year old farmer. He came out with us for almost 8 hours and we taught multiple lessons and had a great time with him. That night we had planned to give Frances (that coolest recent convert in the world, who also is a better member missionary than many full time missionaries) a blessing of healing. She has lupus and was having some bad pains in her legs. Well we met her at the church and Brother Richhart gave her a blessing, and in the blessing he told her she would be healed from the lupus and the pain in her legs would go away. 

Well after the blessing she asked us if non-members could get blessings and when we told her they definitely could she told us her mom (who was out in the car) wanted a blessing. So as we were walking outside Frances exclaimed "wha.. hey! my leg pain stopped, haha!" and she was really surprised :) Then we went out and offered a blessing to Frances's mom who was going to be having hip surgery and was suffering from so much pain in her legs that she couldn't really walk. After Brother Richhart talked to her about blessings she had me pronounce the blessing on her and the Spirit was so strong! She was tearing up a little bit and in the blessing it said the pain would numb and she would eventually heal from this. 

Well a few days later, Frances told us that her mom in the car that night said her pain had gone away and she started moving her legs a lot more than she could before. Frances was very happy and has been working on getting her mom to baptism. Cool huh? I love the Priesthood!

We are excited for another week of miracles and personal refinement. Hope you all are doing great and enjoying life! I love each and every one of you and am grateful for your support.
Elder Young

Monday, July 7, 2014

Greetings from Culver, Indiana

Hey Everyone!

Did everyone have a good fourth of July weekend? I sure hope so! We had a fun Fourth, that day we had a district meeting then afterwards we went and toured Notre Dame campus which was really cool! They have such a beautiful campus there. It was interesting see how they worship. They pray to the Virgin Mary and many of the Catholic saints. There were lots of relics in their Basilica where you could pray to them. Also, they had a big memorial dedicated to the Virgin Mary. I don't know if they understand the first two commandments, but hey freedom of religion right? :) Then later that night we went over to a family in our branch, the Richharts, and they had a big BBQ and firework show and it was just a ton of fun.

We have been continuing to find this week, here in Culver and there are so many people ready to hear the gospel! The Lord led us to 6 new investigators last week and 7 the previous week. As far as baptisms go: Dakota Eskew (11 years old) had to push his baptism a week back because of some communication errors and also cause they are in the process of moving homes so it is a busy week for the family. He will be baptized within the next few weeks. 

Richard Hill is still learning and working towards a baptismal goal of August 10 and we taught the Word of Wisdom last Sunday and he has already been working on weaning himself off of coffee and other substances. He is so awesome :) He completely understood why we had the Word of Wisdom and wants to be free of the substances, it is just been a tradition to drink and smoke his whole life so it will take a little bit of time for him to get off of  it all. 

Trenzo, ma boy, proposed this last week to Misty! We had to drop him about a week and a half ago cause there were some things he wasn't quite ready to commit to yet and a week later he proposed so there is a bunch of hope with him yet! Ron Jones is doing well. Sister Jones invited Frances (recent convert) and us over for dinner and a lesson and we watched the first vision video and the Spirit was SO STRONG! It was almost tangible. We had a great lesson there and he definitely felt the Spirit. He is stubborn about baptism but he will get there soon :) He said to not give up on him and I told him we don't plan on it!

Last week we started teaching a single mother of four kids who lives in Knox. We had a super awesome lesson with her, the Spirit was definitely there and she even recognized it when she heard the first vision. She is eager to come to church and see if her kids like it. She loves her kids and wants them to have freedom when it comes to religion. She said if her kids like a church, she follows close behind them. Super cool!

Other than that, this week is pretty much planned and it should be such a good week! We are hoping to raise the bar this week. Good attitudes and lots of obedience and diligence!

Well I hope you all are doing well, thank you for all the love and support you send this way. It really means a lot to me.

Elder Young
Top pic: Jake and his new Hobit companion, Elder Russell. He's actually the same height but standing in a ditch.
Bottom pic: They experienced tornado winds (from nearby tornadoes) which tore the shingles off their apartment so what you see is rain pouring in their apartment. (Never found out if that got fixed...)