Monday, March 30, 2015

The Work of God is "High Ridin'" in the Crossroads!

The things I have experienced these past 3 months in Crossroads ward have changed me forever. These are the times that have been engraved on my soul. I have never felt the Savior closer and understood Him more and how He works until now. Christ loves us, people! Lets be honest. We are his world, work, glory, joy, everything. The beauty of it is that He is constantly beckoning us to join Him in this great Odyssey (as one of our recent converts so wonderfully put it :).

The baptism of Cristie, Ashton, and Aiva Lucas was Saturday at 1:00 pm. It was such a spirit filled meeting. We were all touched by the Spirit and all left edified and uplifted. What was even more remarkable was the heavy and draining influence of the adversary the week of the baptism right up until the baptism. Elder Garrett and I both expressed that we had felt all kinds of opposition with baptisms in the past, but we had never experienced anything like this. There was so many negative things happening left, right, up, down; it affected both the family and the missionaries. It was crazy! Sister Lucas had even run into some severe anti-mormon literature that had shaken her up pretty bad a couple days before her baptism, but thanks to her wonderful will-power and the Spirit, she was able to hold out until the baptism and then Christ "healed her wounds." We were happy to all make it out alive :)

I am astounded by the fast pace work the Lord is performing here. It feels like every week we are led to more spectacular individuals who are thirsting for truth and to be a disciple of Christ. We found a wonderful man named Tyrone Cursey who is about 54 and solely desires to know truth and follow it. He is a slow, methodical thinker and is very in-tune with the Light of Christ. He is committed to be baptized on the 25th of April.5th of April

We also found a single mom who has three adorable boys and is a CNA. I will tell you right now, I have not seen an investigator with as much of the Light of Christ as she does. It flabbergasts me! Our first meeting with her was in a chaotic household and yet she told us all her needs up front and so we were able to teach directly to her needs and get right to business. We went back to answer some of her questions dealing with the Plan of Salvation. As we taught her about agency and our pre-earth life she had some amazing insights to God's plan and it blew our minds! After we were done teaching her she told us that she had been meeting with a life coach of a few years every week but was ready to let her go cause in one session we helped her more than the life coach did in a couple of years! We felt bad for the life coach, but happy that she is recognizing the Spirit. She committed to baptism and is going to be on a date this week.

Amanda has had a rough week with a bunch of things going wrong but recognizes that the adversary is working on her and that because she stopped reading and meeting with us for a week that she hasn't been as happy as she was before. She doing good and is still scheduled to be baptized for the 25th of April. Her daughter, Sierra, is absolutely adorable! She sits in on the lessons and pulls out her bible and just reads while we talk with her mom. Brother Shipley had a change of heart this week and went from unsure about his baptism on the 25th of April to know he is excited and is having one of his member friends from Arizona baptize him!

There are so many through-the-roof miracles here, Elder Garrett and I often feel unworthy and ask "Why me?" But we know that the Lord qualifies whom He calls so we just continue to seek for the Spirit and watch the miracles happen :) God is good. He is working tirelessly to save His children. I want to share a scripture with you all:

DC 64:33
Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing. For ye are laying the foundation of a great work, and out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

I know that each one of us has a work do to. God works in small ways to bring about amazing things. We can do the same. Smile to those you pass by. Say hello and ask if people are having a good day. Give a hug to those you love and even those you associate with! These small things will lay the foundation for a great work.
I love you all! Thank you for your love and support. You all mean so much to me.

Elder Young

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Monday, March 16, 2015

So busy I can't breathe...

Loved Ones! 

(Phew!) Hold on, I got to catch my breath for a second..... ok :)

This week has been INSANE! I know have somewhat of a feeling what corporate life feels like and I don't know if that life is for me. We have been soooo busy this week that we haven't been able to take our lunch and dinner breaks over half the time (we would just run in, make a peanut butter sandwich and run out in 5 minutes). We are up and moving at 5:25 am until 10:30 pm! The Lord has A LOT of work to do here in the Crossroads ward and Elder Garrett and I are just honored to tag along for the ride.

This week another family we are teaching (the Sharton's) are on baptismal dates for April 11th! They are so wonderful. We taught them the Plan of Salvation using the cutouts and the kids had a ball with them. The 11 year old boy (Cory Jr.) asked us if they get to get baptized and we said "You betcha!" Sadly, they didn't get to make it to church this week because the parents had to go out of town but we know they will make it next week. 

We also found a new family (a mother and 3 daughters over the age of 10), the Harold's. We found the mom, Amanda, through her mom, Sherri (one of our investigators). Amanda goes to a catholic church where her daughters also go to school there. They love the school and the mom went there when she was younger. It was amazing to see that as we taught her about Joseph Smith and the restored church, her concerns just oozed out of her about her current religious state and she went from supporting her church 100% to wanting to come to our church and know personally if this was the true church. We were pretty amazed by the faith that she had and how with it she was spiritually. Her three daughters are absolutely adorable; Sierra, the 11 year old, has autism and is the sweetest gal you could ever meet. We are excited for them to go to primary and have a blast :). 

Something else that we cool, was that Amanda has anxiety pretty bad and so we were able to establish a connection and because we think similarly I was able to teach and testify in a way that she could understand perfectly! It was such a miracle. I told her how I came to know the Book of Mormon was true and after I relayed my experience to her she said that that is the way she get revelation from God and is expecting her answer to come. She is so cool :)

The Lucas family is doing wonderful! They are still marching toward their baptism on the 28th of March with great ferocity. Sister Lucas's daughter, Carissa, is getting married this week and thanks to our amazing stake mission leader (Brother Tim Fishburn who is secretly Alma the Younger) they will be holding the reception in the Cumberland ward building. That pretty much saved Sister Lucas, she gets teary eyed almost every time she talks about it, she is such a sweet lady :) Her and her two daughters who are getting baptized with her (Ashton and Aiva) came to church yesterday and had a great time and are fitting into the ward nicely.

Since I mentioned my experience about coming to know the Book of Mormon was true, I figure I better tell you all so you know that I truly do have a testimony. So here it is:

In high school I had lots of doubts whether or not this church was true. I was full of questions about everything the church taught and I especially had a hard time with Joseph Smith. Senior year came around and I was getting really close to getting ready to go on my mission and so I thought to myself "I need to know if this is true or I can't go on a mission." So I began to study the Book of Mormon more and really prayed a lot and very sincerely to know if the Book of Mormon was true. I don't remember all the details but I know that one day while I was praying, I asked Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true and I had a very strong and piercing thought hit my mind. The thought said "Jake, you know this is true. Why are you asking me again?" This was the perfect answer for me at this time. I do have anxiety so my mind will tend to over analyze and second guess a lot. Heavenly Father knows me perfectly and so He answered perfectly. I have not doubted the validity of the Book of Mormon since then.

I love you all so much. Thank you for all that you do for me!
Elder Young

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hello Friends and Family!

Hello Friends and Family!

You all are experiencing Elder Young in the busiest time of his life right now. I have never been stretched and pulled so much in my life! I love it! :) We have been so busy these past several weeks that last week on one of our exchanges with some missionaries I just had one of them come with me and we ran errands the whole exchange (we taught a few lessons in between)... Crazy! Things are going good and I have never seen so clearly God working in my life. I am understanding him, knowing him, seeing Him for who He is. It is breathtaking :) There are times where I see myself getting worked up because I start to assert my agenda into His and then I am comforted through the Spirit and am counseled to let Him do His wonders in His own ways. Our Father is truly in charge of this work and He is greatest of all.

The Lucas family is doing wonderful. They came to church yesterday! Sister Lucas had a revelation last week that she had to get baptized and ever since then, her and her two daughters have been unstoppable. Her 17 year-old daughter even wants to serve a mission! How cool is that!? The Lord is truly converting these people. We meet with them three times a week and they will be getting baptized on March 28th. Her husband and youngest son are still shaky on the whole thing, but she is the head of the household and she will be working on them ;)

Speaking of the Lord converting people, we had two wonderful miracles with two of our investigators this week as well. Raychel has been investigating for about a year and a half now and she hasn't been able to come to church because of her job at Sam's club. Through prayer, she decided to apply for another job and now she is just waiting to hear back from Costco to see if she got the job. We committed her to live the word of wisdom last week and she took it ok and so we were a little nervous for her after that lesson. Well we were sure proven wrong! Later that week we came back and it was like she was a different person. She is a very busy woman and so she told us that the other day she just laid down in her bed and just sat there with no distractions and just thought. She said the Spirit overpowered her and God spoke to her through the Spirit and told her that she was going to get her new job so she could go to church every week and said many other glorious things. All of us were PUMPED! She had also been making huge strides in living the word of wisdom. She had quite coffee and was taking nicotine patches to help her quit smoking. She was so gun-ho about it, she was telling us these different methods she was going to try to help her quit smoking. We praised our God after that lesson for the "air-strike" He performed :) 

THEN our other investigator, Lisa, was taught the word of wisdom this week and she had no knowledge of the negative effects of not living it... In her own words when we asked her if she had ever thought smoking was bad for her she said "well it's legal! So no." So when we committed her to live it she was very hesitant. We walked out of that lesson with lots of anxiety for her. Well once again we were proven wrong. Later we went over and she was on nicotine patches and had already cut her smoking down by half....! We were elated! She told us that she prayed to God about the word of wisdom and she said she received a witness that she needed to quit smoking (air-strike #2!). God knows His children, He answers prayers. This is His work and all He asks us to do is to have faith in Him and follow the Spirit.

There is something else I wish to share with you all that I have had many intimate experiences with on my mission. I wish to share my witness with you all about the absolute necessity of mind-set. For those of you who are struggling with trials in your life or things are not going to way you had hoped, please don't get discouraged and lose hope. Success is found in the mind-set we each possess. If you have a mind-set where you put limits on yourself or you let your circumstances affect your success, you will not be successful, that I know. If you think something in your life is impossible to accomplish you need to read the Book of Mormon more. There have been men of faith who have moved mountains... mountains! If that doesn't seem impossible, I don't know what is. If things are not going the way you would like, set goals that will stretch you and then tell yourself "I will reach these goals" and then go to work. Focus on those goals daily and then invoke the powers of heaven to aid you in your quest. This is what God desires us to do. He doesn't fix our problems for us, He gives us the strength to do all things. Faith is the key to all of this. Believe that you can do all things with God's hand in your life and then go and do.

To give you a short analogy to help you understand my point: imagine your circumstance you are in right now as a plot of land the Lord has given you. Some or your plots may be really nice and are ready to harvest. Some of your plots may be ugly and seem devoid of life. And some may even seem like life can't even grow there! Should that stop us? No. The key is to take that plot of land you have and cultivate it in such a way that you can bring forth fruit. Change the circumstances around you, don't let them change you.
This concept has been ingrained into me throughout my mission and let me tell you... there is nothing more rewarding than taking a circumstance that is notorious for being lifeless and make it flourish with more life than the other plots of land around you that have always done good. All things are possible with Obedience, Faith, and Diligence.

Thank you so much for all your love and support guys. I love you all and wish you all the success in the world.

Elder Young

Monday, March 2, 2015

A week of miracles...

This has been a week of miracles. Two families have been found and committed to baptism, and recent converts and less actives are doing their family history to prepare to go to the temple, couldn't have asked for a better week. 

Elder Garrett and I also got to spend a good amount of time with our zone this week and it has been so good to get to know them all. Brother Foster (recent convert in the Crossroads ward who is a body builder at Gold's gym) hooked us all up with a sweet deals for Gold's gym, and now we get to see 8 missionaries from our zone every morning pumping iron! We also had a big blizzard two nights ago, so in response to that church was cancelled and we spent 6 hours of the day shoveling walks with the elders quorum president. We were able to get about 12 to 13 houses done, what a miracle!

Earlier this week we had the opportunity of going out with Brother Fishburn (a real modern-day Alma) and after an appointment fell through, we felt impressed to stop by the Lucas family (Former investigators who have been investigating for about a year; Husband, Wife, 5 older kids). When we went over there, we were able to go in and the ministering began. We had a great conversation with them and they told us their story and were very open with us. 

As we kept talking with them, Brother Fishburn started sharing spiritual experiences with them, testifying to them, connecting with them in a way that we couldn't. Sister Lucas was deeply touched and had expressed to us that she had never really gotten a direct answer but she did notice that for the past year every time they were in need, the missionaries showed up. She realized on the spot that it was God telling her that this was all true and was what she needed to do. She told us that she had been scheduled for baptism before a couple of times but never made the dates because Satan kept scaring her off. The Spirit was so strong in that room that you could just feel they all had a longing to be baptized so we committed them right there for the 14 of March

Through that experience I have a witness of two things: First, is that we can't do this work without members; they are so crucial in the conversion process of each investigator. Second, every investigator is different and God answers them in His own way. We have to be patient and let God do His work.

Well I sure love you all! Thank you for all your love and support.

Elder Young