Monday, December 29, 2014

2nd Christmas in the field


This week has been wonderful! What a joyous time of year. Christmas we great and we were still able to keep our area moving at full speed. On Christmas Eve, the University elders (Elders Dunn, DeCow, Smith, and myself) went over to the Wade's home to spend the evening with them. We had a wonderful dinner and ended the evening with watching the polar express! It's great being a missionary because you pick out all the gospel references while watching movies (i.e. Polar Express teaches great lessons on faith).

On Christmas morning, Elder Dunn and I went to the homeless shelter to do a couple hours of service. We helped in the kitchen with a Jewish church group (they were volunteering cause they don't celebrate Christmas so they relieved the other volunteers so they could go celebrate). It was so fun to see the great Christmas dinner served to them and some of the volunteers were playing Christmas songs on various instruments. It was a memory that I will cherish for years to come. 

Then later that day we got to talk to our families (awesome!) then in the evening we went over to our Bishop's house to celebrate Christmas with him and all his extended family. While we were there we got to watch "Frozen" in their theater downstairs (So Legit!).

This week we will have the whole day off on New Year's day so that will be nice to recuperate from Christmas Break.... :D

Love you all and hope you have a great week!
With Love,
Elder Young

Monday, December 22, 2014

This made this mama pretty proud! :)

OH! I almost forgot! Mother, you would be proud of your boy. I have been singing in our ward's choir (they have a really musical ward and it has a good choir). And in our christmas program we sang this arrangement of Still Still Still and several other awesome Christmas songs.

Also, there was a group in the ward that sang yesterday for sacrament meeting and on Saturday (the day before) their tenor got sick so they gave me the music and a recording and asked me to sing with them the next day (no group practice before the meeting) and so I practiced like crazy for an hour before I went to bed. When I woke up my voice was strained!!! So in the shower I was praying for Heavenly Father to heal my voice. It was so cool cause after my prayer, I had the distinct impression to drink several gulps of the hot shower water and as I did that my throat felt much better. And when I got to the musical number, I was able to sing just fine! Isn't that so cool!? The Lord can do anything He wants, we just have to trust him :) The song we sang was "Out of the Orient Crystal Sky" here is a link you can watch to hear what it sounds like!

Pictures yo!

1-2. Elder Smith and I at the IU stadium.
3-4. Manning the anti-aircraft guns.

Merry Christmas you Beautiful Multitude of Humans!

What a week of miracles! Holy lowing cattle! 

So Elder Smith recovered from his sickness just in time for the new week, so we were fired up to go out and find the elect of God and bring them into the fold of Christ. We had a very surreal day on Friday, where we went to a small town about 15 miles out of Bloomington called Trevlac. It was a puny highway town out in the middle of nowhere and the only people who lived there were from "Merica!" (they were all rednecks) :) We had set a goal to find 3 new investigators and teach 8 lessons while we were there. After knocking on the first door, Elder Smith got the brilliant idea to tell everyone that we were "ministers" from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints instead of "missionaries." Oh how rednecks LOVE authority! Almost every door we knocked that day we taught a lesson and some even let us come in. We left Trevlac teaching 5 lessons and getting 5 new investigators in about an hour and a half! We had prayed and exercised much faith before and during out adventure out to Trevlac and it was so cool to see that the Lord provided awesome new ideas to help us have success! :)
We are going to be having our "cookies and caroling" tonight with some member families and we are so excited! We have about 6 people to go and visit who are either lonely this Christmas, struggling, or both. We are excited to bring Christmas cheer to those who need it most.

There is a part of my testimony that has significantly grown these past few months, and that is that the Lord's servants "shall not be confounded before men." Yesterday we went out to another small town called "Bean-Blossom" and knocked several doors without much luck. When we were heading down a country road back to our car, a college aged kid drove into the driveway of his house. We said hi to him and he responded back positively and so we approached him and offered him a "He is the Gift" pass-along card. When I proceeded to tell him that the video "He is the Gift" explains that Jesus Christ was the first gift of Christmas, he snarkily replied "Is he? Is he the gift? What has he done for anybody?" and instead of replying to his derogatory question, I immediately responded "oh! Do you have a belief of your own then?" and he told me he didn't believe in God so I said "oh ok, so your an atheist then." and then that lead into another teaching moment! I said "So what we do as missionaries is we help people find out if there really is a God and help them get answers to questions they can't seem to get answers to. Would you be interested in us meeting with you?" In a defeated tone he said "I am lazy and don't care if there is a God so no thanks." So we thanked him for his time and wished him a happy holidays. That whole contact though I truly felt the Spirit leading the conversation. I was completely happy and felt love for this guy. It was really interesting.

Another experience similar to that that totally made my day was when I was on exchanges with Elder Dunn in his area. We were knocking college housing and we knocked on a family's door and the dad came to the door. We talked to him and he informed us they didn't have a belief in God. So we gave him a card and their little boy came up to the door and we had a fun little conversation with him. Well after we gave him the "He is the Gift" card his wife came to the door and in a defensive ton said "You want to know what I belive?" and Elder Dunn and I both energetic and happy said "what?" She told us that she believed in being a good person and treating others with kindness and that was it, no God involved. We were pretty sure she wasn't expecting our response cause we totally threw her off when we replied "Hey we totally agree with you! It is so important to be good people and treat others with kindness. We really respect your belief!" She kind of sat there stunned and we wished them a happy holidays and turned to leave and as we were leaving I think she finally remembered that she believed in being nice others and wished us a happy holidays. haha I love that the Lord helps us in those situations. :) I know that the Lord is in charge and he is preparing His children to receive the gospel.
I love you all and am happy that you guys are all a part of my life. You make me a better person and I look forward to seeing you all again soon. Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!
Elder Young

Hello, Hello!

Hello Hello!

This week has been a good week. Anthony and Heather Syke's baptismal date was dropped due to them not being prepared. They failed to come to church and they couldn't go one day without smoking (even when we kept them busy throughout the day). So we are going to continue to help them prepare for baptism and help them build a better foundation because as we have been teaching them I have realized that they know the church is true but they don't "nourish" the good seed that has been planted within them. So we are going to help them read daily and get in a habit of drinking from the living waters daily.

We have been focusing on finding new people this past week and due to lots of stress and attention given to Anthony and Heather and other various activities we haven't gotten much time to go out and proselyte. Regardless of that, the time we did spend finding was most rewarding! Elder Smith and myself came up with an idea to find "the mystery person" each day as we go out finding. We set a goal to find a certain number of new investigator, pray to reach our goals and find our mystery person, then we go out and exercise faith and courage on the streets and on doorsteps to find the person the Lord wants us to find and lead to baptism. We are having some good results! We have noticed that our proselyting skills have increased as we focus on having great faith and showing courage even when it is hard.

Radonna and Kayla Chandler are doing wonderfully! We are teaching them the new member discussions with their visiting teachers and are helping them with their family history. They have definitely caught fire on family history, they are eager to get names ready for the temple. Something else that is exciting is that Kayla has expressed a desire to serve a mission!! We are super happy about her desire to serve and are going to work with her on that.

We are also continuing to work with a blind member in our ward who recently returned from inactivity, Brother Kral. He is our favorite person on this planet! He has become super active as of late and participates in all that is available, including his family history which we help him with weekly. I have got to admit, I am seriously addicted to family history... like it is no joke better than video games, by far! :) As we have found Brother Krals ancestors I am pretty sure I am the most excited person in the room... no joke.

Well I love you all! Thank you for the good examples you set. I know God lives and He works by small means to bring about His great purposes. He loves us and respects our agency perfectly.

Elder Young

More news from Bloomington

Hey Everyone!

The Lord has been kicking our area into overdrive this week! There has been so many miracles (both with investigators and members) this week we have truly felt the Lord's work hastening in the Bloomington University ward. For the first time since I have been here we have had more than one investigator come to church.... we had FOUR! It was so awesome. Our sacrament meeting program was amazing and spirit-filled. On of our investigators who goes to the Evangelical church just down the street from our building started tearing up during the talks, and his wife was taking diligent notes the whole time! That is not even the big news...  THE LORD LED US TO OUR FAMILY WE HAVE BEEN FASTING FOR! It is totally Anthony Sykes and Heather Monroe (they are married and have a month year old boy named Zaden). The great thing is is that we live next door to the church and they live right above us so they can just walk out their front door and into the church! They came yesterday and loved it, we have several young couples in our ward that are in the MBA program at IU so they had a ton of excited fellowshippers and our gospel principles class was HUGE! We had a fun time in there :) 

After church the young couples invited Anthony and Heather to come over that night and have a game night and desert with them and they went! Things have been going so good this week, we are so grateful for the Lord's loving hand in this area. It is completely Him and we can just work hard and have faith in Him.
Something else cool that has been happening too is we are teaching a middle aged lady named Radonna and her daughter named Kayla (in her 20's). The daughter was meeting with the sister missionaries from a different ward and was doing really well and Elder Coles tracted into her mom (Radonna) on exchanges and she wanted to meet. Well now Radonna is on a baptismal date for November 29th and her daughter, Kayla, called the sisters and put herself on a date to be baptized the same day! So we are super excited for them, they are hungry for the gospel and they are progressing super well. Also because Kayla is in our area and in our ward she was handed off to us, so now we will be teaching both the daughter and the mom about 2 to 3 times a week.
There are so many amazing miracles that have happened this week. We have some other investigators that have great potential but it is still a waiting game for them right now, but we definately have faith that they will "catch the wave" and surf right into the font :)

One interesting experience I had this week was we taught a lady in her early 30's named Stephanie. She is a scientist who studies human behavior and used to be catholic when she was younger but now is Atheist. She is really funny and sweet but man she is messed up as far as beliefs go. We sat there and debated over the concept of God and Jesus Christ for quite sometime while Elder Coles and Brother Tew kept giggling whenever she dropped the f bomb.... She said it a lot... It has been so interesting to me to think about having the belief that after you die there is nothing else and that there is no God and we are just here by happenstance. She agreed with me that that is a bleak way to live and doesn't bring a lot of happiness but it is better than feeling guilt from believing there is a God who is damning you for your sins. It was a good intellectual discussion but it made me very sorrowful to see this young mom who has this huge void in her life and is being strangled by the chains of Satan. You wish you could do something about it but because of agency there really isn't much you can do except show your love and bear testimony. We are going to meet with her again so hopefully we can help her out more.

Well I sure love you all, thank you for your love and support. Hope you all have a great week!
Elder Young

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Staying put in Bloomington

Dear Beings of this fine earth we live on,

Transfer calls came and Elder Smith and myself are staying! My first 6 month area, WAHOO! This is the best area to stay in anyways :) Things are going good here in B-town. We are working with our good friends Anthony and Heather Sykes and are trying to help them prepare for December 13th for baptism. 

Other than that, Elder Smith and myself are going to really focus on the key indicator of New Investigators. Elder Smith was being a spiritual boss and praying to know what key indicator God wanted us to focus on and he felt that it was said indicator. 

Now that we have had some baptisms we really need some new people to teach so we are going to hit the frozen pavement and find some elect souls of God to teach and baptize! We have great enthusiasm for this area and are positive that there are people that God has prepared to hear the gospel.

Radonna and Kayla are doing amazing. Kayla sent us like a 15 page text about how elated she was that she was a member of the church and how she just wants to help everyone now and feels so much closer to God... we pretty much told her to go on a mission... she can get all of her spiritual wiggles out there :) For their new member discussions we are having them teach us more and so for this week they have been studying the Plan of Salvation out of Preach My Gospel and in our lesson they will have to recreate the plan using my homemade Plan of Salvation cutouts! It is going to be wonderful.

I just want you all to know that my beautiful cousin Porter Young got him last week and is some kind of spiritual stallion or something. So all you single ladies, there is some more prime real estate in Rexburg Idaho ;) haha

Well I love you all and hope you have a blessed week.
Elder Young

It's a short one.

Dear Humans,

Due to a large shortage of time I will keep this brief. We had the baptisms of Radonna and Kayla Chandler this past Saturday. What a joyful day that was! They are such amazing people and I am more than happy for them. They have so much potential and without a doubt they are going to do great things for the Lord.

This week we are hitting the streets again to find new people to teach. We are still working with Anthony and Heather Sykes but they are requiring some professional help for their marriage and Anthony's addictions first before they can get baptized. They still have a rock solid desire to be baptized and they have a strong conviction of the truth. We are also teaching a girl named Ellen. She is in her 20's and is agnostic. We have been working with her and she is just great :) Her desire to know God is there is increasing and she has been keeping all her commitments, the only thing that is lacking is the right mindset but we are helping her with that.
The district is doing good, we are setting records in our areas and bringing people into the waters of baptism. I have a great district and I sure love them.

Thank you all for your love and support, I hope to hug the crap out of each one of you soon. Until then!
Elder Young