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Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 8: 12/5/2016 Oh My Scaredy Pants Mailer

{the first part of Michael's mailer today came from a response to a question I asked him. After he typed the response he decided to include it in his letter to everyone because it was so powerful and came straight from his heart!}
Well today in the #LightTheWorld Initiative is Jesus Healed the Sick and So Can You. It suggests giving blood or something. Is that something you can do? If not go look at the other options on on every day there is always something that anyone can do. Do you know why? Because anyone and everyone can follow the Savior. Doesn't matter who you are, sinner or saint, disabled or world class athlete or genius, poor or rich, anyone can follow Him. And follow His example. Nephi says in 1 Nephi 3:7 that 

"...that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." 

Well the Lord Said unto the Nephites and to us (for the Book of Mormon is for our day) 

"48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect."

Think about that. I just know that the more you focus on serving as he served the closer you will grow and the more powerful and sweet you testimony of Christ will be. That's why missions are so powerful. You spend all day every day following his example. One of my favorite scriptures is Abraham 3:16 which says

16 If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them; therefore Kolob is the greatest of all the Kokaubeam that thou hast seen, because it is nearest unto me.

I read that years and years ago, and when I did I was struck by the power of the spirit in such a way that by reading and teaching about it I am always struck again to this day. Abraham was shown the entirety of creation, or at least as much as it's possible for mortal man to be shown, the vastness of eternity and the universe, all of Gods creation, and among all the incredible sights he saw, the nebulae in their abstract beauty, the stars, worlds without end and peoples and creatures too, and the greatest of all of that was Kolob. Why? For no other reason, than the simple fact that it is closest to our Heavenly Father. Not because of size or shape or power or beauty, just because it is nearest unto Him. That's what following the Savior does for us. Following his example makes us perfect. Draws us too him. Makes us great. So that one day we will be like him. As it says in Moroni 7:48

48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
Pray that ye may receive that which is given to TRUE FOLLOWERS of the Son. Those who follow His example. And do it to become the Sons or Daughters of God. When Jesus Christ comes again, we will realize that we have become as He is. By following. By coming nearer. Becoming greater. THEN we shall see Him as He is. If we are like Him, we can be cleansed like him. As a missionary I follow in His footsteps in almost every aspect of my life. THAT'S why missions are so powerful, why missionaries are so powerful, not because they have the spirit more abundantly, or because they are blessed, or people love them, or they have good experiences, although all of those things are true and good. But rather we have the Power of Christ because we are like him. We follow Him. And as each of you follow Him, that power and greatness because a part of you as well. I can give you that promise as a representative of Jesus Christ, a messenger who has been given the keys of the ministering of angels, in His holy sacred name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Ok now the email I had planned to send :P

How do you fill a pair missionaries with an intense mixture of fear, anxiety, spiritual enlightenment, immense joy, and excitement when you're a mission president? When they txt you to let you know they have a baptism the next day (cuz that's what you're supposed to do) you say the following.

"Great, I'm meeting with Elder Cook, I'll see if he wants to skip out and come to you baptism with me :) Enjoy!"

Yeah so that happened. Talk about momentary panic. Like we were 90% sure he was kidding, but President would totally do it sooo... yeah. Unfortunately (or maybe luckily) Elder Cook did not attend the baptism but the baptism was great nonetheless. Alright so with that let's go back to the beginning of the week....

Oh actually first, just FYI but last Sunday I met Batman and this week I not only met with but also ate dinner with Santa so yeah. Cool week.

So last Pday we played Bang and Liars dice with T. like all day after the other district we were gonna play with wimped out on ultimate frisbee in the snow. I found a sweet sweater at DI though and got some other stuff too. Oh and a recent convert we are taking to the temple next Friday called us cuz she got a flat tire that need replacing. I have never changed such a frustrating tire in my life. Just getting the spare down from under was a pain. And it was supposed to be easy! But we did get it eventually, and we did get our little corollas jack to work, thanks to extensive engineering and practical/applied physics experience... super sketchy. And it was frigid in the snow and slush and I didn't get my gloves from the Cutlers until Thursday. Seriously... worst tire ever. But we eventually managed it and we got dinner and cheesecake out of it so I'm not really complaining.

Tuesday we just had a bunch of service planned... which fell through cuz it's hard to shovel snow when it all melts the next day by the time we're out of studies. But we stopped by the Jarvis's and cleared gutters for like four blocks and managed to make contact with some less active members and others in the process. Then I went and learned how to do sheet rock. So that was sweet. More service followed by a great lesson. Then food and more lesson. Then we got to take a recent convert to the temple, and here's a miracle for you. So we got there and discovered that because City Center is closed for cleaning and this is the busiest time of the day and week, that there is more than a two hour wait to do baptisms. We were crestfallen and disappointed. As we discussed out options with the Bishop and Young Women's president who were there to help D. (our recent convert), the gentleman at the recommend desk stood and said he had someone to talk to. He came back a few minutes later with the Brother overseeing the baptistery that night. After assessing the situation he told us to all go change and that we were making this thing happen. So essentially we cut ahead of several hours worth of youth to be able to make D.'s first temple experience as incredible and worthwhile as possible. That was super cool.

Wednesday wasn't too exciting, just talking to some old people in a nursing home, lots of finding then lots of meetings. It was also the last day of the month however, and I don't remember if I told you all this but we had a meeting in Heber that ate up almost 90 miles we were told wouldn't count... well the Assistants to the President changed their minds after we got home so we were pretty short on miles. We parked at the zone leaders apartment with exactly 599 miles out of our 600 for the month. Luckily Thursday was December and also my first exchanges so we survived. 

So yeah first exchanges. I loved it. I learned sooo much, my companion is a district leader but other than the ZLs we only have sisters in our district so no exchanges for obvious reasons. But that also means we do exchanges with the ZLs for which I am so grateful because Elder Gallegos and Elder Schwantes are just incredible missionaries. So we spent that night with them Wednesday night then all of Thursday was myself and Elder Schwantes together and Elders Connelly and Gallegos together. To be fair we had district training that morning anyway so we were altogether anyway most of the day, we went to great steak for lunch and ate way too much. When we finally got to proselytizing I was just blown away by Elder Schwantes tenacity. It was incredible to watch. With Elder Schwantes I was able to see a great missionary in action and learn and grow from it. The whole day was just wonderful. Plus we ate dinner with Santa that night (soup bowls for the win!) I have some pictures but they're on Elder Schwantes IPad. I'll try to get them for you. No promises.

Friday was a little like Wednesday, not too exciting, just normal missionary day. It would've been pretty awesome except half our appointments canceled on us :( we did teach B. again and we met with A. late in the evening to get the final things figured out for his Baptism the next day. But nothing to insane or incredible. We did attend 3rd wards Christmas party and had some great food, plus Sis. Cox took some pictures which she posted on the Missionary Mommas fb page (her son enters the MTC this week before leaving for Cambodia) and Sis. Dean (whose son comes home in less than a month and is currently serving in my companions home stake) took pictures and texted both of our moms, but anyway on to the exiting stuff. Saturday! If you want those pics you'll have to bug my mom for them, I don't have them.

Ok so things started with a donut, a reprimand, a little boys baptism, and our own baptism with A. Yes, I got pictures for that one :P oh and that was all after getting that txt from president... again we were pretty sure he wouldn't bring Elder Cook but you just never know.  Anyway about the baptism, unfortunately since we suck at scheduling and the times kept changing we didn't have many people there but A.'s daughter S. gave the talk on baptism, we had her read a poem about it from an old Friend magazine, she did great. I sang 'I Have Not Seen, Yet I Believe' which was kind of tender for me, it was one of the first songs I ever really performed on my own for a solo. It wasn't quite the first, that was 'He Sent His Son', arranged by Sally, but it was the first one I really made my own and I think the first one I chose. Anyway the rest of the baptism was great, Elder Connelly did the actual baptizing, for which I'm rather grateful since the water was apparently freezing. After the baptism we headed to Salem for lunch with a bunch of people from my companions last area, it was good food but there just wasn't enough :P  then to Payson for a mission wide meeting with Elder Quentin L Cook, as well as the 1st counselor in the presiding Bishopric, and the President of the 1st quorum of the 70 if I'm not mistaken. So yeah that was pretty awesome. We received some fantastic, very specific advice and some powerful Apostolic blessings. I wish I had taken better notes.

 Haha and I also played the piano for about 30 seconds ;P so Elder Lee was playing prelude when they started to go around and shake everyone's hands, and when it was nearing our row, President kind of signed at me to go take Elder Lee's place at the piano when I'd shake all the hands... I was a little confused but I did as he asked. As I approached the piano, Elder Lee was playing Abide With Me Tis Eventide, and he paused mid phrase, slid off the bench, and I slid on and continued where he left off. He went to go shake hands then when I finished the hymn I started 86 How Great Thou Art (Jason would be so proud)  then about halfway through he came back and I stopped and he started right where I was. Haha I thought it was pretty slick. If I do say so myself. And one of the senior Elders thought so too so there. 

From there it was straight back for more dinner, then just a couple visits and meetings before bed and Sunday rolled around. B. was at church along with all his siblings, we had a ton is other wards. Taught two lessons to the young men in different wards, sang The First Noel three different times (and it was the special musical number at the big mission meeting), went to 8 hours of church, had two dinners and tried to teach Plan of Salvation plus a ton of deep doctrine before bed. Also got fed extra desert, lost our bike rack again, and got a call from the ZLs asking for a sleep over. So yeah. I'm pooped. And I told President so too. I literally started my letter to him yesterday 'Hey President, I'm pooped.' But Goblin Valley today so I think I'll get over it. It may be a little chilly though, my warm clothes came just a day too late ;P it shouldn't be too bad though. Haha and sorry this kind of turned into a play by play. We just did a lotta stuff this week :P See ya in a few

Elder DeFord
A's baptism
Lakeside Third Ward Christmas Party

Also Third Ward's Christmas Party


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