Monday, June 29, 2015

Leaving Franklin :(

Hey Friends and Family!
Turns out I will be leaving Franklin this week. I got my transfer call from President Saturday night and he told me he had a surprise for me. I asked him what it was and he said I would be released as a zone leader (praise the heavens) and would be training a new missionary! I am so excited and honored to have the privilege to train before I leave. I will train this missionary for three months and then head home at the end of his training. President said that the elder I will be train has some things in common with me, so we will have some stuff to talk about when he gets here :) Also Elder Coles (the assistant to the President) told me that I am going to the best area in the mission or his "dream area" but I think he is just messing with me cause I know Coles and his dream area is Crossroads.. haha ya. Yet, I am super excited for my new assignment and am ready to train my new boy how to be a Indiana missionary!

This week has been one of the most cherished of my mission. Last Saturday we had the privilege of going to the temple in Louisville, Kentucky with Crystal. It was her first time there and she had some of her own family names to do baptisms and confirmations for. I will never forget what took place as she walked into the temple for the first time. She stepped in and saw all the people dressed in white and the beauty of the front foyer and took a step back in emotion. She stood there and with excitement said "I feel like I am in heaven." The Spirit was so strong that day in the temple and I had the opportunity to baptize her for her deceased ancestors and also to baptize Elder Dodd for her male ancestors. I was able to look at Crystal as they were confirming her father who was deceased. She just smiled and cried :) There is nothing like going to the temple with those you have seen join the church and be there with them for their first time. It was a truly remarkable experience.

Later that day we also had the magnificent opportunity to go to the baptism of Amanda Herald and her three beautiful and vibrant girls: Clarissa, Selena, and Sierra Culvahouse. I baptized Amanda and Elder Garrett (my previous companion and dear friend) got to baptize the three girls. The Heralds had been through so much to make it to that day and there was a spiritual fire in their hearts as they were baptized. Amanda has found her new faith and is loving it, she fights every day to prove faithful to her new covenants she has made to God. The Spirit was very strong there and it was a wonderful day.
To add to the greatness of that day, that evening I got to go to a race car rally in Indianapolis with Elder Garrett and a family we worked with and baptized their dad (the Shipleys). It was a BLAST! The cars were so loud and we would all pick a car we think would win and we seemed to always pick the cars that were in the top 3 spots (just luck, I guess). It was so great to be able to spend some time with Elder Garrett before he heads home on Tuesday, I will sure miss him.
Well, I sure love all of you and thank you for your love and support. May you all continue to be faithful to the Lord and "go about doing good" this week.

Elder Young

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pictures from members this week.

All the above pictures are from Sister Susan Loper, a wonderful sister in their Zone that takes great care of them.

A father's day picture from a family who fed Jake and sent Ira this picture and message: "Hi dad! Happy Pops Day, Father!! Hope you've had a great day! Love from Franklin, Indiana!!
(Then the member added, "We love this great missionary and are taking care of him!!!)

More Franklin style miracles


This week has been wonderful. We were able so see miracle after miracle and felt that God truly was using us as instruments in His hands to do His work. Elder Dodd has a week left of his mission and it is admirable to see that he is trying to give all he has to the work before he heads home. I pray that I may follow his example and give the Lord all I have when that time comes.

Anna came to church on Sunday! We met with her on Friday night at the church with John Woodbury (best member missionary on this planet, he is a YSA), and her daughter who we are all trying to work on (including Anna). We watched the Restoration DVD and Anna was crying half the time. She felt the Spirit very strong and we committed her to come to church again so she could take the sacrament and prepare to renew her covenants when she gets baptized. Well she ended up coming to sacrament meeting with Sister Woodbury (John's mom) and she was crying half the meeting! It was the father's day program and it was just perfect for her. She knows now that this is where she needs to be and she can feel the Spirit when she comes to church. She is making progress on smoking a little each day. She has almost completely quit coffee (fist pump!). We are predicting she will be baptized in about 2 months from now.

A Miracle we had this week:
For the past several weeks, when we have appointments set up with new investigators and bring a member out with us, the investigator never is there or doesn't answer the door. So we take the member with us to several potentials and hope we can teach with them so it isn't a waste of time for them to come out. Well this week we took a youth in our ward (Jake Johnson) who just sent in his mission papers out with us to teach a new investigator who, of coarse, didn't answer. So we started to take him to a list a potentials to hopefully teach and while we were on our way to on of our potentials I looked over at a another potentials house who I thought wasn't super solid and his door was open and his trucks were in the drive way, so we decided to give it a shot and try him first. 

Well he came outside to talk to us and we ended up chatting with him for about 50 minutes (about 35 of those minutes we just listen to him tell us about the chaos that was going on in his life). Turns out he had been sent home from work for the next 6 weeks due to anxiety attacks that he was having. He had never had it before so he was really distraught about it. He is one of those guys who is never not moving and working so he expressed to us that he felt that God had allowed this to happen to send him an important message. Well as we talked and taught him he told us that he felt that God had sent us to him to tell him what he needed to hear and agreed to be baptized and learn more. He told us to come back whenever cause he has six weeks at home. It was great because Jake was able to bear his testimony a couple of times and see an awesome miracle in his own community.
If you could all keep Crystal Smith in your prayers this week that would be much appreciated. She is having heart problems right now and is pretty down. She is suppose to be going to the temple with us this Saturday, so we are praying the doctors can get her well enough that she can go.
Also another amazing miracle that happened this week. One of my favorite investigators from Crossroads (Amanda Culvahouse) has been battling addictions for the past three months and this Saturday she will be getting baptized with her three beautiful girls (Sierra 11, Selena 11, and Clarissa 13). Amanda and I have been texting and calling each other from time to time to keep her motivated and keep her going on the right track. We both struggle with anxiety so we were able to really connect and I am able to help her with her thoughts cause I have gone through the same things. 

On Friday night I received a text from her saying the following: "I'm not sure what y'all's rules are, but I know I seriously need to talk to you in person. I have prayed about this and this is the second time God has said I need to turn to you for help... I don't feel that I can get baptized Saturday before I talk to you." So on Saturday we went up and talked with her and it turns out that she was just having anxiety about some doctrine she was confused about, and she needed to understand some things. 

So we talked to her and the coolest thing happened. As we taught her some of the doctrine, it finally clicked with her and she said she now felt that it all made sense. She told us that for too long she had been ignorant and just listened to what the missionaries had to say because she felt that God had sent them to her but never really put in the effort to learn for herself. Those past few days she decided to really study and search for herself and in response to that she felt her prayers answered. She is ready to go now and is bearing her testimony with vigor. 

I am a witness that there are certain people that God puts in our path to help. I have been given weaknesses so that I can relate to individuals on a more intimate level. God loves His children and if we can be faithful to Him and listen to His promptings, He can use us to do His work. God led Elder Dodd and I in that meeting with Amanda. He was there speaking through us to her and it was a memory that will be burned in my mind forever. Glory be to God, for He is creator of all things and the Father of our Spirits. I know He lives and loves us. Christ is His Son and has given us life. He hasn't left us alone. He uses each one of us to help each other and lift them.
Well I love you all so much! Thank you for your love and support.
Elder Young

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Franklin 2.0

Hey Everyone!

WE FINALLY GOT TO TEACH A SECOND LESSON TO SOME PEOPLE!! :D The famine seems to be passing and we are now teaching two families and an awesome young man. We have seen some amazing restoration lesson miracles with these families we are teaching. You can feel the Spirit so strong as we teach and the best part is seeing their reactions to the Spirit and the change that takes place in a 20 minute visit. Without a doubt, it is the Spirit that does all the teaching, conversion, and changing. We are simply the vessels in which the Spirit can do it's work.

This week we had the opportunity to do some service at the Woodbury farm. They have a beautiful property and John (a YSA who has been our biggest help) has his farm on the property and sells fresh produce. He was out of town so we helped his mom harvest different plants and get them ready to sell, it was a great time :) The cool part about John's farm is that he does a thing called Aquaponics which is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. So he has these huge tubs of fish who fertilize his plants and in turn his plants are actually super fresh and organic. 

Anna is doing well, she is struggling with smoking but we keep supporting her and she keeps giving her effort to quit. She went to church last week but didn't like it... The more we talked to her about it, it turns out that she has been have such grand spiritual experiences the past several lessons and during a church tour that she was expecting something even bigger. So when she went to church and didn't feel like she was being translated, she was disappointed... So we talked to her about how we aren't always going to have those great special spiritual experiences but we should continue to be faithful so that they can continue.

Well I love you all and thank you for all you do.
Elder Young