Sunday, August 27, 2017

From Jason Wharton
Teaching in New Mexico, USA

It has been an interesting experience so far being a missionary in  the Albuquerque NM mission.  I have already learned and grown so much in the 9 months that I've been here.  I've realized that a mission is like a roller coaster, that you will have those down days and you have the up days.  Even though it has been hard at times, I know Heavenly Father has always been there to help. And when you do go through the down times, that's when you really grow. Being a missionary will help you grow closer to Heavenly Father and you will learn to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  All the down points I've had in my mission so far have been learning experiences and has made me all around a  better person.

P.S For the record, a lot of times when you think of a mission you think of it always being serious, but really there are a TON a fun things to do, not only that but you will spend time with other missionaries who will become awesome new friends.  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tender Mercies

From Paul and Jolene Hobson
Teaching in New York, USA

May 27 ~ We had the most wonderful Saturday adventure today!  We went to Cananadaigua to check out the sites that we are in charge of for our group activity.  We decided to go to Simply Crepes for lunch before looking at the sites.  I was guiding Paul on how to get there and told him to turn right on the next street.

For some reason, he missed the turn and turned down the next road instead.  He spotted a woman sitting on a planter box on the side of the street who was just sobbing. We went around the block and stopped to where she was sitting.  I got out and asked if she was OK.  She said she was fine and didn’t need any help.  I saw that she had several bags of groceries all around her.  It was evident that she had been carrying all of these bags by herself and so I asked if I could help her carry them.  She, again, said no, that she was fine, and just lived a little ways away.  I again insisted that she let us help her and she just started crying again and said that she had just stopped and didn’t know what to do.  She said that she was praying to God for help when we stopped.  I told her that Heavenly Father loved her so much that he was answering her prayers by having us stop to help her.

She started opening up to us and said that her 16 year old son had been murdered last year in Rochester, that she was going through a divorce, and had come to live with her daughter who was attending college there.  They didn’t have a car and so she had walked to get their groceries.  I finally talked her into loading her groceries in our truck and letting us take her home.  (She actually lived quite a ways away.)  On the way home, she said that she didn’t have a church family to help her there.

We could tell that she was a religious person.  She had such a wonderful, humble spirit about her.  We told her that we would send someone to invite her to church where they could help her and be her friend.  She said that she would be open to that plan.  Paul gave her a little bit of money and she just kept crying in disbelief.  She said that she couldn’t wait to tell her daughter about God answering her prayer in such a direct way.  We dropped her and her groceries off at her apartment and got her name, number and address and told her that we would keep in touch.

The next day I sent her a message to see if she was feeling better.  I told her of our Heavenly Father’s love for her.  She answered back and was so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord in her behalf.
tender mercies

 The next day, I called the Rochester Mission Office and asked if they would send the missionaries there.  After a week or so went by, we contacted the missionaries and asked if anything ever came of their visit with her.  Their reply brought us to tears:  “Thank you for the referral.  Danielle is one of the most prepared people we have ever seen.  She is on a baptism date for July, came to scripture study this week and will be at church tomorrow.  We have no doubt that the Lord guided you in finding her that day.”

We know that our Heavenly Father knows each of us, as His children, and that He is always there to answer our sincere prayers.  I talked with her again last night.  She told me how excited she was to learn about the restored gospel.  I told her that we were so happy for her and asked if we could take her to The Sacred Grove.  She was excited to go and so we will be taking her next Saturday.  It will be fun to see her again!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I Need the Book!

From Trevor Wells
Teaching in Canada
The other day, we were ... contacting, and we got into a really good conversation with a young Indian man about religion and his life. As hard as we casually tried to get him to take a Book of Mormon, he wouldn't take it. He seemed so solid, but then he was just as persistent as we were about not taking it. He went and got in the bus, and we walked away. I won't lie, I was feeling a little down about it. 
As we rounded the corner of the station, we saw an Asian man say hi to us, so we walked up, shook his hand and asked for his name, he told us his name and said, "I need the Book!" So he took it out of my hand and said, "and is this your phone number? Ok! Thank you!" Then he walked away! That Book of Mormon was definitely meant for Joseph! It's really not often someone walks up and asks for a copy of the Book of Mormon! 

So something that I have learned a lot more about lately while I have been studying the Book of Mormon is how involved the Lord is with the people. And not to mention, He is very very involved with us as a people as well. He guided them to certain places for reasons that they might not have known. He put them through trials so that one day we could read about them and be strengthened by their examples. These people went through some super duper hard stuff, and hopefully we don't have to be imprisoned for preaching, or tied up on a boat to get the picture that God loves us, wants to protect us, and will always be willing to help us if we call upon Him. He guides us daily, and will never leave our side. He does visit us in our afflictions. I know that to be true. I love the Book of Mormon and challenge you all to read it at least once every day. It changes lives! 

Friday, June 30, 2017

We Love Our Mission!

From Brent and Laurie McMillan
Serving in Wyoming, USA

Hello from the Wyoming Mormon Trails Mission!

We are here at the 6th Crossing of the Sweetwater for a 6-month mission, and the time is flying by.  For the first 2 months, we prepared for the 21,000 trekkers that are arriving now almost every day. We are very busy helping with treks that follow the National Historic Trail route.  We will help with the Rocky Ridge treks also which begin soon.

Helping at our new visitors center is another assignment we enjoy. This big beautiful log structure was just dedicated on June 15th. This spring was the highest water year ever recorded for the Sweetwater River. There has been water and mud everywhere to trek through!

We love our mission, and feel it is such a blessing to walk where the pioneers walked, and share the stories of the handcart companies. It is also inspiring to be with the youth trekkers and their dedicated leaders, and to be serving our Savior as missionaries to help the kingdom of God roll forward in these latter days.

Elder and Sister McMillan

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Book of Mormon Challenge

From Kaydee Morey
Teaching in Texas, USA

Our Ward has been doing a Book of Mormon challenge for the summer. We started on memorial day, and it's going until labor day. It is amazing to see how unified this ward is getting by reading the Book of Mormon. The Spirit truly is in those words that the prophets wrote. I have seen a beautiful Spirit dwell in the countenance of all of the members. 

I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith translated it by the power of God. I encourage all of you to read it cover to cover. There is a member of this ward that has read it 100+ times and he said he still learns something new each time he reads it. I hope to be like him someday and be on my 100th time. I know that I will get there, and I know you can too.

I love you all!

-Sister Morey🙄

Sunday, June 4, 2017

What Makes You Want To Do This?

From Trevor Wells
Teaching in Canada

We've had several miracles happen this week, and one of the coolest was knocking on the enormous door of a very wealthy man. He came out of his giant garage and told us he already has Jesus so he didn't need us pushing it on him. A few days before, this mans neighbour, a man in our ward, told us he has 30 classic cars in his huge garage and he might show them to us if we ask. So ask we did. We said, "If you let us see the cars, we won't talk about religion."

He let us in and we saw the beautiful cars. Sadly it wasn't long enough to take pictures, because his wife was yelling over the yapping dogs that she wasn't interested, and we were trying to tell her we were just looking at the cars. After a few minutes, it quieted down, and he explained to his wife. Then as we were about to leave, he asked us, "What makes you want to do this? Why did you come to my door?" It gave us an amazing opportunity to testify of why we individually came out and what we do as missionaries. We explained how strict we are to obey the rules, and he said, "Wow. That's a lot of discipline. I respect that." It was super cool, and WE weren't the ones to bring up religion! The Lord works in mysterious ways!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Best Thing is They Keep Trying

From Mason Blettenberg
Teaching in Ireland

If we don't try were just 
if we don preserver were just
and if we don't allow others to try were just 
as we try to preserver and help others to do the same we are truly 
- Elder Dale G. Renlund 

I found this quote my studies today and I really like it. Why? Well I have really understood how unperfect I really am as a person. I mean, I'm not all that great. I sin, lie, think bad thoughts, am sometimes lazy, and I complain. But you know what I really am? I am a hard working missionary that puts my his shoulder to the wheel every week to try to be better, think better, and act better. No one on this earth is better than another. We are all beloved children of God and this is something that we need to be smiling about. The best thing about Latter-day Saints is they keep trying.
This week has been up, down, left, and right. First, to start of the week, we had to travel to the area were I started my mission for exchanges with the zone leaderss and a leadership meeting. I got to go teaching with the first man I baptized. That was a cool thing to do, to teach with him...
A Church member who is coming back to activity stopped contacting us for the whole week, so we gave her space and then tried visiting  her at the end of the week. She is not doing too good. My heart goes out to people like her who are trying so hard. Just trying is hard for them. I know how they feel and  I love them for it. The number one thing I love about my mission is God's children. They are what puts a smile on my face. You always hear missionaries say, "love the people," but you really don't know what it means unttil you love them. It is the greatest thing ever to love and preach the gospel at the same time. What a blessing!

Well, I wish you all well and love you all so much. And don't forget to be a Latter-day Saint !
💙Elder Blettenberg👔

In the Right Place at the Right Time

From Trevor Wells
Teaching in Canada

Yesterday, something interesting happened. Elder Leigh and I were headed out to go tracting. Just before we were about to cross the street, this huge white truck pulled up to the stop sign. "You guys Mormons?" He yelled, his voice really course, probably from cigarettes. 

"Elder Leigh talked to him for a minute and he told us he was from Mexico and was working up in Alberta. He guessed we were from the states. Then he said he knew where Twin Falls was, which blew my mind. We told him our names and he said his name was Aaron and that he'd like a Book of Mormon. He then said, "I really need this in my life right now." And we said goodbye and was gone.

We just happened to be in just the right place at just the right time. I hope he's been reading it, and hope it helps him.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

God's Blessings are Sure and His Love is Real: A Parting Testimony

From Natalie Willes
Recently returned from teaching in Arizona

It has been the best, craziest, most fulfilling 18 months of my life. After 11 companions, and 5 areas later, I've come to know some of the most amazing people in the world. I am so grateful to those who have changed my life. I love Arizona, Mesa is a great place with many different characters in it. I think the main thing that I am grateful for, is the testimony that I've been able to gain. I've always had a testimony of some sort since I was a little kid. Over time it has been strengthened and built by experiences that cross my path, but in the last year and a half, it's grown immensely.

I know even better now that I have a Savior, who is my best friend. I always knew He loved me, but now I've gained the knowledge about why He does. He died to overcome the two things that would keep me from returning to live with God:  Sin and death. He suffered for me in the Garden of Gethsemane and sweat drops of blood just for you and I. He knows us personally. He heals us if we allow him to and because of this love we will never ever be left alone. I've come to the realization that it is so easy for us to forget this relationship we have with Christ. He doesn't wait for us to run half of a race before he shows his love, he is running the race along side us cheering us on every step of the way. He will buoy us up and pick us up if needs be to help us cross the finish line. Where is the finish line you may ask? Well, eternal life, living with our Father in Heaven. That's the goal, and because Christ died and suffered for us we can get there. One of my favorite scriptures of all time is found in the Book of Mormon, in 3 Nephi 9:13-14 which says " Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" "Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me." I know this to be true.

I know that God has a plan for us. He sent us here and provides us the means for joy and happiness in this life through our families. We are a part of His, and the main goal in this life is for us to return to
live with him, and our families forever. We learn of this plan through prophets. I know that he has again called prophets in our day. I know that Joseph smith was called to restore the fullness of the gospel to the earth and that because of his faithfulness, we again have the Book of Mormon. I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true. It has blessed my life and the lives of those I've had the privilege to teach.

My vision for life is quite simple. I promised God that I would be a lifelong disciple of Jesus Christ. My purpose is to come unto Christ, and I'll continue helping others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and most importantly, enduring to the end. President Monson once said "Our purpose is to steer an undeviating course towards our desired goal- even the celestial kingdom of God." and that is my goal. I want to return to live with my Heavenly Father. There lies happiness, joy and everlasting life. I can always be with my family there, and there is no other place I would rather be. I will keep doing the little things God asks me to do, and in turn it will be easier to keep doing the big things that God requires of me. I'll fulfill my roles in callings, in church, or at home. I'll keep the temple in my sights, and Christ in my daily action. I'll serve those around me like Christ would, and I'll smile everyday and laugh and enjoy life's ups and downs. God's blessings are sure, and His love is real. I will always trust Him with all my heart.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I Call Them My Answer Book

From Mason Blettenberg
Teaching in Ireland

We had such a blast this week. I think what made it so good is how much me and my comp studied the scriptures together; that’s what changed it. There is just something about the scriptures that draw me in like a bug to a light. i just keep reading to find answers. I call [the scriptures] my answer books.

We have one investigator with a date to be baptized, so that is exciting. But the highlight of my week was visiting a less active man name Mike. Mike is a long-term less active member of the Church and he has so many addictions its not even funny. He is literally in his house all day smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. He just can’t stop what he is doing. But he loves elders so he lets us in. so we made a plan to clean his house so he could feel the Spirit. I have seen a lot of dirty houses in Ireland and Scotland, but nothing like this. So we brought bags to just start slow and pick up rubbish. We started but he did not like it; it made him feel bad that we had to do it for him. So I prayed and fasted over what to do. He is on my mind all the time. I love this man, so we went over to try once again and same thing happened: he did not want to do the clean up. Then I looked at the fireplace and the still small voice whispered to me and told me to use the fire. So we made a fire in the fireplace and slowly started to put things in the fire. Now that felt good! We did not stop him from drinking or force him into anything, but we had a campfire and had some small talk about his life and the Book of Mormon. I love this gospel and what I’m doing on my mission. I will return with honor.
Elder Blettenberg