Monday, December 31, 2012

Baptism and Family History

Our transfer meeting will be on Wednesday at 1pm by the way, just in case you wanted to watch.  Elder Beirne is training and Elder Conlin is in the middle of training someone =) I'm glad their doing well.  I'm going to try to get a picture of all of us.  Elders Wright, Beirne, and Conlin with Elder nelson, and Elder Beirne's trainee.
Christmas video conference call. Aunt Laura Shockley, Elder Record, Grandma and Grandpa Record, and Record family (Eric, Sheri, Jason, Annelise, Chris)

This week was really awesome because [Name withheld], who we had been teaching before; she's the person who was referred to us by the members. We started teaching her in the member's house who is a family friend, the first couple of lessons and invited her to be baptized. We then let the YSA elders continue teaching her, because it would be better for her to be in the YSA ward because she is that age. It will be a whole lot easier to participate in that kind of a setting. Anyway, she got baptized on Wednesday. It was pretty cool. I was pretty happy. It felt good to know that I had made a difference. She was confirmed a member of the Church on Sunday. I am excited to see how this story continues.

Today is New Year's Eve and we have to be in by 7:30 because people like to party, unfortunately. The roads are not that safe. It's probably good because we got a Chinook wind that is making it like 40 to 50 degrees for like three days, and it's insane. I am burning up. I can't stand to wear more than my suit. Yeah, it's really warm, and it's really sunny too. The problem with that is since everything is melting, and a lot of the roads have water on them, when it gets cold, it will be icy. So, hopefully the roads will kind of clear off and get dry by the time it gets cold. Unless it snows again, which they say is supposed to soon, we would be good to go.

We had transfer calls on Saturday. I am going to be staying and Elder Higley is going to be staying, but unfortunately Elder Leota is leaving for the Turnagain ward, which is the ward immediately North of ours.

We are helping this less active lady out with family history, and it's obliterating apathy. They are getting excited and motivated to act and do things and to come to Church and to find their ancestors. They are preparing to go to the temple, and life it good. We are making a difference there, and it looks like there is going to be a lot of family history done soon. So, that will be fun.

I hope you all have a good week. I love you all.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Before Christmas Call Update

Meeerry Christmas! I'll say that again on Christmas. So the reason why I'm doing this on Saturday is because on Monday, Christmas Eve, the library will be closed.

This week was a good week. We had one thing that was kind of fun; the training on family history. We did that at 10:30, ate lunch, then drove up to Wasilla. We did the training again in Wasilla from 2:00 to 3:30pm; then we stayed there and helped people print off their pedigree charts while Elder Leota did some language study with one of the Samoan elders. It was fun. Then we went to dinner with President Beesley.

We have been helping this family with their family history, and they are getting really excited. They want to come to church so they can go to the family history center. It's exciting to see them progress. She said the thing that was unique about helping her get motivated was that family history was something new. The missionaries have gone to her house for like five years. She would hear the same things taught. Granted, the gospel is simple and not complex. That being said, she had also been taught the same principles over and over again. She liked it because it was something new that she could do that would help her. That has been kind of the highlight of the week.

We have been sharing Christmas messages with everybody. We had dinner with a Samoan family, and Elder Leota really liked that. He was able to speak his language and eat some normal food (haha). He really likes rice. He always loves it when people cook rice (haha).

Normally I have had lessons with people mostly in their houses or at someone else's house. However, we had a lesson this week at a Barnes and Noble. So we sat down at a table and taught someone about the Book of Mormon.

I thought is was interesting that I will be with Elder Leota for both his Christmases and both mine. I get to help him with his calling card again to call home and talk with his family. It turns out that he will have to call on Monday because, ever since they switched the time in Samoa, when it's Monday here, it's Tuesday there. So, he is going to call them on Christmas, which will be Christmas eve here. It didn't used to be that way. Which is kind of funny because Samoa and Western Samoa are like an hour apart, but they are different days – one's Monday and one's Tuesday. So it's kind of bizarre. But... whatever floats their boat.

The end of the world came, and... then it didn't. So that was exciting (haha). We went to couple of houses where they were celebrating the solstice (haha). I really didn't have anybody really freak out about it. I thought it would be bigger, but it wasn't. It was just a normal day, and to people it was just a normal day. So I wonder what it will be like when the second coming really does happen. It will probably be much the same way. It will be like all of the sudden, people will be like, “oh, dang!” If you are living righteously, you will be prepared, and you see it coming. But if not, you are not prepared.

I have been studying family history a lot. Studying is fun. Being a missionary is fun. I know the Church is true.

Elder Record: Elder Davis, what do you thing?
Elder Davis: The Church is true.
Elder Record: Yes! Elder Davis thinks the Church is true. No, he knows it's true, and the book is blue.

We are on exchanges today. Elder Davis is one of the district leaders.

Oh, it's very cold, but it's sunny so I'm happy. It's two degrees. It was negative eleven before. It was so cold. I was dieing.

We went to go play basketball in the morning. I looked like I was from Hogwarts, because I had my church shoes on (haha), and my gym clothes, and my pajama pants, and then my coat that goes over my suit coat, with a scarf on (hahaha), and my gloves – my mittens. That was kind of funny. I should have taken a picture.

Anyway, I will talk to you all shortly. Bye.

Love, Elder Record

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Golden Corral, Awww!

Elder Record at Golden Corral
We got an email from a member taking care of the missionaries in Alaska. We really appreciate Brother [Name withheld] for taking and sending us this picture. He said, "Enjoyed a nice lunch with the elders but chuckled at the combination of foods for his final plate at Golden Corral. He's doing great!"

Sending a Letter by Mail

Elder Record is sending his letter by mail this week. What!? You mean we have to wait for a real letter? I guess we have been spoiled getting weekly audio letters and an occasional email. We look forward to talking with Elder Record through Skype on Christmas. We will also talk with Sister Lorielle Record. We are not sure if we get a video call with Sister Record yet. It may only be a telephone call, but we look forward to hearing from both of them on Tuesday -- that is if the world is still here. :D If the world is not here, we will chat with both of them in Heaven. Regardless, Heaven or Earth, we will talk with both of our missionaries, and it will be a wonderful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

1125% Increase in Missionaries

Have you noticed any difference in your missionary work during or as a result of the recent presidential election? Did the fact that Mitt Romney is a member of the Church affect your missionary labors or questions about the Church? Has it been good, bad, or indifferent in your respective missions?
Not really. The thing that has changed missionary work the most is the church changing the members attitudes about missionary work. Elder Christensen came and talked to us (Alaska) about how, to use a construction analogy, the concrete trucks are coming. I'll see if I can send the audio to you. He said that with the 1125% increase in missionaries over 3 weeks members will have to get going in order to fit the demand of missionaries coming in. Elder Holland said that the lord has set aside all the resources necessary for them. Elder Christensen explained that the missionaries job is to teach, the members job is to find. Both compliment each other as the offense does the defense in a football team, and both are interconnected and aid each other in their tasks. He told ward councils to stop talking about reports from different auxiliaries, but to talk about the needs of the ward, and to develop a dynamic ward mission plan that changes at least every month like a football team changes plays. People need the gospel in their lives. Nothing will make them happier. So he said to stop judging who is ready to hear the gospel and share it with everyone. He said the most important thing you can do would be to listen to your friends, and then answer them. Find out who your friend really is and see how you can help because you care about them. If they choose not to learn more they still know you are just sharing the thing that makes you the most happy and has made the biggest difference in your life. Who could be offended at that. This is eternal happiness we are talking about, and how could we not share the love of Christ with our neighbors and friends. Didn't Christ say to love God above all else then to love your neighbor as yourself. I know that this church is true and I'm thankful for all I am learning. I'm thankful for the man I am becoming and I couldn't think of a better way to use my time.

What was the hardest thing you faced this week?
The hardest thing I experienced this week was letting the elders in the YSA(young single adult) ward teach our investigator. That's where she will grow the most and the fastest, so its a good thing. I just loved teaching her because she was so receptive and willing to act and find out for herself. You could see a love of God in her eyes and that she "hungered and thirsted after righteousness". The spirit is always there so strong when we teach her and it feels so good to testify of the truthfulness of this gospel and Jesus Christ who's gospel it is.

What was the most joyous experience you had this week?
The most joyous thing I experienced was teaching a less active family in our ward. We taught them about the plan of salvation, answered their questions, and the atonement of Jesus Christ. I can't explain how happy I was when I read Doctrine and Covenants 19:15-20 as they caught a glimpse of the magnitude and depth of the atonement of Jesus Christ and wondered "how is it done?"(Enos 1:7) I was filled with joy as I saw a light turn on, and they felt the spirit witness of God's love for us. I know he does love us. Christ was born and died that we might live if we will only follow him. He has set the way. He is there to help us, and I know that he wants all of us to return to live with him. I know we will find the most joy as we help others to feel of his love. I testify that there are not many other ways to learn of Him faster and more fully than bringing souls closer to Him. Serve others, listen to them, let them see the joy of the gospel in your life as you selflessly give to others. This is the spirit of Christmas, or the spirit of Christ.

What was the funniest thing you saw or felt this week?
Sorry =) You can tell I've been thinking a lot lately. I feel so good. I can't really think of anything funny at the moment. Maybe I'll think of something later.

Is there anything special you want from home?
Something from home... Maybe my Book of Mormon Student manual if you can find it. I can't really think of anything I would need. We do need to set up Skype though. What time frame would be best for you guys. Let me know and I'll schedule something around that.

Love, Elder Record

A Zone Meeting

This week we are in a trio. This was a really good week. We were really busy getting ready for Elder Leota. We had a couple of really good meetings and one where Elder Christensen, the area seventy, spoke with us. That was a really good meeting. The Spirit was there really strong.

There is a family we are teaching the Atonement and Plan of Salvation. We had a zone meeting this week. The Spirit was there pretty strong. We were able to testify that attitude can make all the difference (haha). I talked about the sons of Mosiah and what made them great, and how they received their mighty change of heart. We cannot convert others above our own conversion. I also read Alma 17:9 and the part of that verse I talked about was where it says they received a portion of the Spirit. Then I asked the question, “how big is our portion?” If we ourselves grow our own testimonies so that we can receive that bigger portion of the Spirit, then we have more to offer the people. We are able to teach with more power to others. Like Nephi in the Book of Mormon, it's easier for people to see that it is true and that it's good. They know because they see the love of Christ in our eyes. I read Alma 5:14 and 26 and asked the question, “can you feel so now?” We all have been converted. The trick is to remember that conversion, and that is what helps it continue to grow. As we continually remember the joy we felt at our conversion, then we are able to share that with others and testify in such a way that they know that it's true. The Spirit can testify to them. We setup a zone scripture and it's Proverbs 16:3 and then half of Proverbs 23:7; that first phrase. We kind of talked about thoughts and how we look to the Lord and commit ourselves to the Lord, he can direct our thoughts. Elder Quintin L. Cook gave a talk “Can Ye Feel So Now?” in this last conference. He talked about challenges that lessen our commitment. I talked about the first one being unkindness. The other challenge was impure thoughts that can keep us from fully committed. The more we turn our hearts over to the Lord, the more we become committed; because He directs our thoughts. With those thoughts, we become that person that God would want us to be.

That's kind of the highlights of the week. We've been working hard, thinking about Christmas; sharing the Christmas message with lots of people. It's fun to be out hear and learn from all these wonderful people – and to listen.

I'm excited for next week. See you next week.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No Update This Week

Elder Record must be busy. He just answered a couple of family logistic questions this week with no real update. I will post one if he sends it. However, Sister Record has a beautiful update on her blog I posted yesterday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

North Pole and Laundry

Elder Record standing by "the North Pole" in
North Pole, AK

Elder Higley says it's three degrees and perfectly good weather. It's kind of cold, but yeah it's not that bad. Elder Higley is from Missouri, the Ozark's region, which is southwest.

Elder Record: What is your favorite thing about Alaska? [Pause]
Elder Record: Okay, least favorite thing?
Elder Higley: It's cold. It's dark. The sun doesn't go down in the summer. Everything is expensive.
Elder Record: That is true. Okay, so now let's think of positive things. For every negative thing, we have to say five positive things.
Elder Higley: I get to drive a truck. I get the gas.
Elder Record: We get mail. I never got mail before my mission except for bills.
Elder Higley: Well, I passed where we are supposed to go.
Elder Record: That's okay. Sorry, I was distracting you.
Plaque for "the North Pole"

So this week was kind of hectic because it was transfers, and we had to move people around, staying up late, and helping people at the mission home, zone conference that we had to plan for and carry out. So it was a busy, busy week. But, we were still able to do a lot of work and see a few non-members. We got to go out and visit a lot of less active members.

We have a really cool ward mission leader. He is really proactive and just a great guy. This ward is really cool. I am excited to be serving here, because everybody seems to want to work. There are a lot of returned missionaries.

For zone conference we basically talked about overcoming challenges and concerns. We talked about how in order to get charity and love, to have a desire to work and to have love for others, and hope that good things can happen; you need to apply Moroni 8:26 which says after you receive a remission of sins, that brings meekness and lowliness of heart. So as you remember the atonement, and what the Savior has done for us; we are humbled. That humility invites the Spirit. When we have the Spirit it then says that comforter fills us with hope and perfect love; so charity and hope. There are some really good definitions of those in Preach My Gospel. With that, you have to be humble and you have to have virtue. So you have to have good thoughts, and constantly be putting good in. Otherwise, you cannot develop those attributes and have the Spirit with you. That's kind of what I studied and a little bit about what we talked about in zone conference. That was the focus to be focused and have a change of attitude, and to go out and work with a fresh determination. We also talked a little bit about finding new investigators, and how to go about doing that and working with the members. We had some training from President and Sister Beesley and the assistants. A lot of it was kind of talking about the same thing; which was kind of ironic, but not really when working with the gospel. It's not ever a coincidence. The Lord tells us how we need to improve, like it says in Ether 12:27.
Elder Record sitting in Santa's chair,
but is he naughty or nice?
Probably just missed Santa.

[Water running the background]
Right now I'm a little distracted because I'm doing laundry.

Anyway, it was really fun. It's fun being a zone leader...

Elder Higley: You want the bags of laundry – the bag itself?
Elder Record: Yep. Oh, alright, there we go. Do I have any other darks?
Elder Higley: You have your glove.
Elder Record: Oh!!! My glove, thank you. Okay, so... [washer door slams in the background] uuh...
Elder Higley: Was the stuff you're wearing...
Elder Record: Yea, that was my white shirts. Alright, anyway [washer door slams] ...ooh!! that was the weird stuff; Fels-Naptha. Anyway, sorry. I'll talk to you guys next week I guess.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Goodbyes and New Opportunities

Hello..... I'm in Anchorage!.... and I don't have my audio recorder. I didn't do an audio this week though. I've been really busy with transfers and such. I have been transferred to the Sand Lake Ward in the Anchorage Stake to be a Zone Leader. I'll be serving with Elder Helaman Higley from the Ozark region of Missouri. Elder Beirne will be in the Fairbanks 3rd Ward still, and his companion will be Elder Woolbert. I love Fairbanks and I'm kind of sad to be leaving it. But I am really excited to be serving closer to the center of action in the mission here. President and Sister Beesley actually live in my zone. Looks like I'll probably be here right in the middle of when we get all those new missionaries. I have to admit though, it's a little weird being back in Anchorage again =). It's almost like I never left, lol. Only this time I'll be in South Anchorage.

This last week was an interesting one. With all the Goodbyes, packing, and whatnot, we weren't able to do quite as much as normal. We also had some interesting truck issues... =) But life is good and even though I'm a little sad to be leaving, I'm happy to have a new challenge ahead that will test my abilities and leadership skills. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I know he is our savior. The more I come to understand Him and His atonement in my life, the more I am filled with a desire to share it with others. I'm grateful for all of my family. I'm so happy to see how much fun you all are having in the new ward. I love you all, and it won't be long before I see you again...Christmas =) I love the Book of Mormon. I know it's true. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Question: If life were a color, what color would it be and why?
Well I think life would be white. Not only because it is white up here, but because it is filled with so much hope and promise it's like writing on a fresh sheet of paper.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Freezing, Tracting and North Pole

Alright, so this week we have been going a little crazy; probably because it cold and you guys know how I get hyper when I get cold (haha). It has been like -20, which is cold. For like one day it was like 20 on Friday. Anyway, we took advantage of that and went tracting. The houses on the street were close together, but they weren't (haha), so we ended up walking through a ton of snow. There were a couple people that answered their door; literally just a couple out of like... twenty. It probably just because nobody was home. But that's okay, it was fun. I have a really good coat.

This is the last week in the transfer. Come to find out we are actually not going to go to Huslia this week. They are going to do the trip just after Thanksgiving. That will work best because then the member up there will be off work, so he will be able to go out with us and help us teach. It will be really good because he knows everybody there. It will help people think about the message a little harder, and honestly put the effort into finding out if it's true or not. It's always nice when that can happen.

1. Will you open Huslia up as a new area?
Yes, the fact that there are currently no missionaries up there, and again we will probably only be there a couple days.

2. Is there a branch there?
No, they are a part of the Fairbanks 3rd ward and video broadcast in. [NOTE: Huslia is over 250 miles away from Fairbanks, accessible by plane.]

3. Will you keep Fairbanks as your assigned area and just travel to Huslia to teach?

4. Will you be able to communicate via email in Huslia?
I know they have email capabilities, but I don't know if we would access them.

The Huslia trip won't be happening until the 23rd or 24th probably. It probably won't be any longer than a week either. The member out there is a school teacher and would be going with us to teach just about everywhere. That way it would be more effective. We will organize cottage meetings where the community can come and learn our beliefs. We would also want to do some community service.

Elder Record: Let's see, freezing, tracting... what else did we do Elder Beirne? We worked hard, I promise (haha).
Elder Beirne: Yeah, we did work hard. But I guess when you are working hard in the Spirit, you forget a lot of things. Because you are so diligent that it really doesn't hit you unless it's extremely powerful. It wasn't really extremely powerful this week, but it was still powerful; but not powerful enough to help us remember. Either that or we just watched Trumen Madsen for a while, so it's hard to think because that man was very intelligent.
Elder Record: True. Very true.

There is one person we are teaching. We are preparing him for baptism in a week or two. He is really progressing. I mean, he's grown leaps and bounds since we first met him. He came from not much of any religious background at all to really knowing that his Heavenly Father loves him and cares about him. So that's always fun to be a part of. He is right now working on listening to the Spirit and discerning answers to his prayers. We are excited to see what happens there. We have been seeing a lot of different people. So as far as stories that stand out, that is kind of the one that stands out to me.

There are a lot of good members up hear, a lot of good people. It's fun to rub shoulders with them.

Today for P-day we are going to North Pole to take pictures of all the Santa Claus stuff. You can't come clear up to Fairbanks and not take a picture of the north pole. They have like a legit north pole; like it's a pole that was a North pole. I think there is a story behind it. They have one that got dropped off up there at the North pole, but this was one of those but somehow they got it. But anyway, it's something like that; it's a North pole, and it's in the city of North Pole. Everything is decorated in candy canes. Even the McDonald's sign – the tower – it's colored like a candy cane. They have elves running around everywhere – just kidding, they don't.

I look forward to hearing from you all this week. It's exciting to see what might happen here in a week after transfers. Good luck to everybody. Have fun in school, if you're still in school; yeah, you're still in school. Just thinking about it, is going to be kind of weird seeing Annelise graduated when I get back. Chris will be taller than me and probably stronger than me. Eric is going to be tall too. Yeah, it's like the RM when he comes back and sees little Joe and little Joe is not little anymore. Anyway, good bye.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Preparing for New Missionaries


This week was the week of Halloween. Because everyone was out trick-or-treating, we had to go home early at like 7:00pm. Oh, it was kind of neat, earlier that day we had dinner with some of the members in the ward, and we went to this place called Shogun. It's like that Tepanyaki's place in Provo. Anyway, they did a show, like they cooked the food in front of you at the table. It was really neat, and really good food too.

While we were in at seven, we had a kind of radio show that was playing for all the missionaries because we were all in. That was really neat. They shared various stories and things. I was able to share a story from one of our ancestors. I chose to share the conversion story of Mary Magdelaine Cardon Guild. That was a pretty neat story. I had one of the sisters read part of it in first person; the part about the conversion and the testimony. She did a really good job and it really brought the Spirit. I thought Mary would appreciate her testimony being shared for the other missionaries.

So that was neat. I probably would rather have been out teaching the people (haha), but everybody would be busy on Halloween. Being inside was probably more for our safety, like people out partying on the streets, or whatever. We got to go ice skating today. We had some fun there.

There is a pretty cool announcement here. In February we are getting 100 new missionaries in our mission 50 of them are sisters.  Right now we have just under 150 missionaries including senior couples.  =D  Virtually everyone will be training.  I have no idea how that will effect our mission, but we will probably send them out into the villages and double up in wards and apartments. Normally they get 700 applications per week, but after the announcement on age changes it changed to over 4000 per week with just over half of them being sisters.  In the missions in the lower 48 they will be getting 250 new missionaries each.

It looks like I might be going to Huslia. There are some members out there who are doing some good work in preparing people. We are going to finalize the plans here this week, and head out to teach the people there.

[NOTE: We are not certain about the details of Elder Record's assignment in Huslia. We hope to find out more next week. Here are some web sites that talk about this tiny village about 270 miles East of Fairbanks. Wikipedia and Alaska Community Information Summaries].
We are keeping busy and we are still teaching people. Life it good. The Lord definitely has his hand in this work, and helps us be where we need to be. I like the Book of Mormon. I like how much I'm reading it. It gives me a bigger picture for everything and helps me have the Spirit with me. I'm staying healthy. I'm not chubby (haha). I'm taking my vitamins, especially vitamin D; so I'm combating the sleepiness of winter. Fairbanks is snowy. The people are nice and friendly. We have a lot of potential people we need to contact. There are a lot of good people in the ward doing a lot of good missionary work and helping other people. We had some less active people who normally don't come, came to Church on Sunday. We were able to say “hi” to them and be friendly. That's my favorite things, just being friendly and happy with people, and associating with them and just trying to help people do their best.

We'll see what happens in the future. There are a lot of exciting things happening and a lot on my mind. So we'll see how it goes. Anyway, talk to you later, bye.

Love, Elder Record

Testimony of Mary Magdelaine Cardon Guild (1834-1914), daughter of Phillipe Cardon (1801-1889) and Mary Tourn Cardon (1799-1873)

I, Mary Magdelaine Cardon Guild, desire to bear my testimony to the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that our Redeemer lives and that His church and everlasting Gospel is re-established on this earth for the last time. God has seen fit in this last dispensation to reveal His marvelous light for the purpose of bringing about His great work which will continue to increase until the end of the world.

Now, my beloved children, I feel my age coming on and my strength gradually leaving me and, as a matter of course, I know or feel that my days for this world cannot be many, as I am nearing now my three score and ten years and though a few of us may live over four score, yet I realize that the young may die. I must, therefore, discharge my duty to you as a sincere mother and well-wisher. I am duty bound to bear my testimony unto you all, especially to those of you who have not yet embraced the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I earnestly ask you, my beloved children, each one of you, to read the New Testament through and find out for yourselves whether this everlasting Gospel is true or not. I promise you, in the name of the Father and of the Son, Jesus Christ, that if you will humble yourselves and ask God with sincerity of heart to give you wisdom in all things pertaining to your salvation and eternal life and future happiness, and that you may know the true Gospel—I say unto you, my beloved children,that you shall in due time receive and answer which will enlighten your heart and fill you with knowledge and the wisdom to lead you on the way to righteousness. It is true that God will at all time answer our prayers if we will ask for the true path of our duty, and we shall obtain the necessary knowledge to guide us through our lives and prepare ourselves for the day of judgment. When we shall appeal at the judgment seat of God and be seen just as we are, whether good or bad, faithful or disobedient, our mission while we lived on this earth will be seen.

I feel greatly impressed to write a few incidents which I will remember, the first one in particular.

I was then but a young child, between six and seven years of age. One morning, while in bed, I had a wonderful dream, or vision, which has proved to be one of the greatest blessings that my aged parents and family could ever have received on this earth. I shall relate herein just what happened, for the benefit of my dear children and for whom it may concern.

It seemed to me that I was grown up into young womanhood, instead of being a small child. I thought I was out by my father's vineyard on a small piece of meadow taking care of some of my father's milk cows so that they would not go into the vineyard. I thought I was sitting down on the grass reading a book, and as I raised my eyes I saw three men standing before me and looking at me. I dropped my eyes instantly, as they were strangers to me. I felt somewhat alarmed, and as I raised my eyes again and looked them in the face, one of the strangers said unto me. “Fear not, for we are the servants of God and have come from afar to bring unto you and all who desire to be saved into the Kingdom of Heaven the Gospel. We are sent to reveal the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is re-established upon the earth never to be taken away, for that it should be re-established in its fullness was revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., a boy of fourteen years of age, he being very desirous to know which of different sects or churches was the right one. He asked God, in humbleness of heart, that he might know the true religion, and while in humble prayer he heard a voice speak to him, saying, “There are none that are right at present, but the true Gospel will soon be revealed in its fullness.” These three strangers spoke of many future things which would come to pass. They handed me two small books, one with a pale blue cover and the other a pale green and they asked me to read them carefully and said that if I would obey the commandments of God, I would be saved. They said the day was not far off when my parents and family would embrace the Gospel of Christ, ye, and all of the House of Israel would be gathered together. The first step to this Gospel was faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, and the laying on of hands after baptism for the gift of the Holy Ghost. They said many things concerning our departure from our home and of our journey in the wilderness and that God would be our guide throughout our journey to Zion, and they then departed and disappeared out of sight.

I awoke and felt...weak and somewhat strange. I walked into the kitchen where my mother was busy getting breakfast. She looked at me and saw that I was very pale...she tried in vain to find out what was the matter with me, for I hardly knew what to say, but soon my father came in and my mother called his attention toward me and asked my father to try and find out what was the matter with me. He took me on his knee and talked to me for awhile.

Finally, I told him all that I had seen and heard and what those three strangers had said to me. My parents were not learned for they had had no chance for education, as they were a remnant of the Waldenses, who, on account of their religion, had been persecuted and driven to the mountains. In order to protect their lives, they lived in caves on the Alps; therefore, they had no chance of education; but nevertheless my parents both stored up every word which I told them. But I forgot all about this as a child of my age naturally would.

When I was between seventeen and eighteen years of age, I well remember my dear father coming home early one Saturday, in the afternoon, and telling my mother to get his best suit of clothes ready, for he had just heard a man who had come from La Tour, a city quite a distance from where we lived at that time. The man had told my father and my brothers and the men who were then working for my father ( he was an architect, then building a large house) that he had heard some strangers preaching a very strange doctrine at La Tour and he told of all he had heard.

My father knew then that these men were preaching and teaching the very words which I had heard when a child from those three strangers. He put his tools down immediately and said to his men that he would go and find these men. He instructed my brothers and the men at work what they should do in his absence and he came home and got ready as quickly as possible and started off on foot.

He walked that afternoon and all night and the next morning, over the mountains and down the valleys. He reached the Palais de la Tour in time to find those men and to hear them preach.

After the meeting he went to them and kindly invited them to come to our home and make it their headquarters, and they gladly accepted my father's invitation. They had been but a short time at the Palais de la Tour and they were laboring hard to open the way and to succeed in their undertaking. They had been allowed to preach on the streets without being molested, but it was very hard to make a start.

President Lorenzo Snow was one of the three elders who were sent to Italy to open the first mission of the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and, if I remember rightly, the names of (the others) were Elder Stainhouse and Toronto.

At that time (when they first arrived in that area), President Snow proposed to take a walk up to a high mountain called Mountain Vandarin and there fast and call upon the name of the Lord to open up the way before them and to guide them to those what were honest in heart, and that their journey into that faraway country might not be in vain, and while in fervent prayer, as they were kneeling on a large flat rock in humble petition to God, he heard their prayer and answered them that their work should not be in vain, but that the way would be opened before them, and that, inasmuch as they would call on him in sincerity of heart, He would bless them in their undertaking. President Snow then called the rock, on which they were kneeling at the time, Mount Brigham, in honor to our president, Brigham Young. They then returned to the Palais de la Tour, and at the next meeting they held there my father met and brought them to our home.

When they arrived, I was not at home, as it was part of my work to keep my father's milk cows from our vineyard. We had a small meadow joining the vineyard and I was keeping the cows from doing any damage to the vineyard.

On the way from the Palais de la Tour to our home, father had told the elders of the vision which I had seen when a small child and said that he could not rest one moment after he had heard of them from the man whom he had just hired. He knew truly they were the servants of God and he was very anxious for me to meet them, so he brought them where I was, and as they came near where I was sitting, my father was the first to speak.

I had not heard nor seen them come, as walking on the grass made no noise, and being quite interested in my book, I heard nothing until my father said to the elders, “Here is my daughter who had that vision concerning the three strangers, who appeared to her and told her that they were the servants of God and that they were authorized to reveal the everlasting Gospel of Christ to all the nations of the earth.” President Snow and one of the other Elders handed each of us a small book which contained the Articles of Faith of the Mormon Church, etc.

Just then, I well remembered of seeing those books in my vision and the same three men who called themselves the servants of God. I remembered may things which I had heard them say to me when they had first appeared; and under these circumstances I could say but very little to them for I was not prepared for such an advent.

I had been confirmed in what we called the Vaudois Church and had received my certificate of honor, etc., and we soon went home. Mother had supper ready. We all has supper together. Father, my four brothers, and the three elders went into another room, while myself and mother did the supper work. Then mother and I joined the elders and our family. My sister, Catherine, was not at home, nor had she been for some time past. She was living with our pastor as governess over his children, as the pastor's wife was not in very good health at that time.

My parents and brothers were soon converted and were baptized. I believe that my father was the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in that country, but I felt rather backward in being baptized. It was, of course, a great change of religion and it seemed as though the whole country were now excited to the utmost pitch of gossip and comments of all kinds. My father talked to me considerably because I did not get baptized when he and my brothers were baptized, but I was very serious on the subject and thought much though I said but very little.

I took to read the New Testament in great earnestness and when I read some passages that I could not quite comprehend, I would ask God to give me wisdom that I might understand what I read and obey his commandments and overcome my weakness and not care whether my friends would scorn me or not on account of my joining the Mormon Church. (Because of) My reading, fasting, and praying in secret to my Father in Heaven I soon realized and felt assured that these Elders held the Priesthood of the Gospel of Christ which He had once more established on earth, and I felt that each one of us were responsible for our own sins and acts. That is, of course, we know that our Redeemer died for our sins, but we must follow him in deeds and follow his footsteps. He commanded us to repent and be baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.

After going in secret and humbly asking my Heavenly Father to give me wisdom and knowledge concerning the Gospel and doctrine that the elders taught us, I received a testimony from God that these elders were his servants and had been ordained to go among the nations of the earth to preach the everlasting Gospel to all the world. I then was ready to be baptized, but President Snow had been called away shortly before that, and Elder J. B. Woodard, J.D. Kaiton, and Thomas Marquets now came to relieve the first three elders who had come. Elder J.B. Woodard baptized me into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I felt thankful to my Father in Heaven that he had caused me to live in this last dispensation, and for the great privilege to have an opportunity to learn and obey the true Gospel.” (Story recorded by Eva May Cardon who was granddaughter of Louis Phillip Cardon, Mary's brother).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Captain of Thy Soul

I memorized a poem by Orson F. Whitney. I thought you might like it. It is a reply to the Poem “Invictus” by William Henley and is titled “The Soul's Captain”. President Monson also likes it and related a little more about it. I'll post President Monson's remarks below the poem.

Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood,
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood

Elder Record in a Fairbanks Autumn
Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but him could bare
That God who died that man might live
And endless glory share

Of what avail, thy vaunted strength
Apart from his vast might
Pray that His light may pierce the gloom
That thou mayest see aright.

Men are as bubbles on the wave
As leaves upon the tree
Thou, captain of thy soul? Forsooth,
Who gave that place to thee

Free will is thine – free agency
To wield for right or wrong
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong

Bend to the dust that “head unbowed”
Small part of life’s great whole
And see in him and him alone
The captain of thy soul.

When I was a boy, my father would offer me a coin now and again to memorize a poem or a piece of scripture. Memorization was easy then. It is well nigh impossible now.

I remember his offering me 25 cents to memorize William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus.” I can still remember it. I will repeat two verses:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

(R. J. Cook, comp., One Hundred and One Famous Poems [1923], 95)

It is a great poem. It places upon the individual the responsibility for what he does with his life. Through these many years, when I have been faced with difficult choices I have repeated these stirring words.

But on the other hand, it may sound arrogant and conceited in terms of the Atonement. Orson F. Whitney, of the Quorum of the Twelve of many years ago, so regarded it and wrote a marvelous response using the same poetic meter and entitling his verse “The Soul’s Captain.”

I repeat three of the verses from his writing.

Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?

Free will is thine—free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.

Bend to the dust that head “unbowed,”
Small part of life’s great whole!
And see in him, and him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.

(Improvement Era, May 1926, 611)" [as Quoted in Ensign, Feb 2011, First Presidency Christmas Devotional: “My Redeemer Lives”]

I love Alaska.  I love Fairbanks. It's snowing quite a bit. It's snowing pretty heavy right now. Life is good.  Snow is awesome.  And the cold isn't that bad.  I have a warm coat and am taking my vitamins.  I'm happy, healthy, and strong =).

Elder Record 2nd from the right and his Fairbanks district.
This week we had a pretty good day Saturday. We had a zone tract in the morning from ten until noon. We were in our area this time. It was pretty fruitful. We got nine referrals from the other missionaries for people to go and visit. We went on our first street which is kind of short, and no one was really interested in listening to us. We went to a different street and it was the second house we knocked on and the first house that answered. She was very receptive. We gave her a Book of Mormon and taught her about it. She seemed to really appreciate it. Normally she doesn't open the door, which was pretty cool she told us, so that made us feel good. We gave her our card and number and told her when church was, and she said she might stop by. That was really neat, and it felt good to be able to do that. I have never had that happen before while I was tracting, where somebody was just that open and receptive. I definitely felt the Spirit there, and hopefully we will be able to catch her again and talk to her. She's not around much, and I was kind of praying that we would be able to at least plant some seeds. It seems like we definitely planted some seeds there. So we will go back again and follow up.

There is a less active sister who came to church this Sunday. We were excited about that. She's excited about coming back. It was neat to get to know her because she is someone that acts. A lot of times when we talk with people they are kind of lukewarm and don't really want to do anything like read or find out. Or if the do, they are just kind of slow about it. But she was ready to act. She said, “yeah, I'm going to talk with the bishop.” So she met with the bishop like she said she would (haha). Things seem to be going well there.

We had one of our investigators, who is pretty shy, come to church. That was good that she was there. We were pretty happy about that. The week kind of started off a bit slower because of various things, but towards the end it really started to pick up.

A snowy river in Fairbanks, AK
I set a goal to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the transfer, which is in three weeks. So far I am on track. I got an 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon because it's setup like a novel. There are not verses, so it reads like a novel; like it's a lot faster to read it. So I'm reading that, and it's fun. I'm getting the bigger picture. I think the Spirit is able to be with me a little bit more because I'm focusing more on that and those basic principles. It's just the way the Book of Mormon is written; it's specific and plain, and it's all about people's experiences and coming closer to Christ. So, the Spirit is there stronger when you read it. That is what I like about reading so far. But anyway, I'll read 28 pages per day. It takes me about 45 minutes to an hour. I borrowed another missionary's copy – I'm going to have to get my own copy of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon. I'd really like that. It is a lot easier to read. Granted, it still has those spelling errors or punctuation errors and things like that in it, but that's okay.

Elder Beirne had a neat miracle. He felt like he needed to not go to a certain restaurant, so he went to a Quiznos, and there was somebody there that paid for him (haha). So that was neat for him. Elder Wadell got sick this week, which wasn't fun. I kind of stayed with him for the day. Anyway, he's feeling better, so that's good. It kind of reminded me when I got sick. I had a fever of 102.7. This was while I was in Anchorage. I got sick on a P-day, so I was laying in bed for the whole day (haha). After I emailed, I went home and just died on the bed and was there for the whole entire day. Elder Wright was very patient and stayed there in the apartment with me. He's a good guy.

We have had some interesting experiences the past week too. One of them is inappropriate and I won't talk about it, but (haha).... When you are tracking and you knock on a door, or even in general when you knock on a door, you are never quite sure what's going to answer (haha).

I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know we can have the Spirit with us more, if we will read it regularly because it is so direct and specific and focusing on those things that Christ would have us know. I know it will help us be more happy and focused because it helps me be happy and more focused. I know that the Church is true. I know that you guys are awesome, and I hope everything is going well at home. I hope Chris is excited and getting ready for a mission (haha), because it's not too far away. Stay in Seminary. Read the scriptures. As soon as I get off my mission, I am going to dig into the Old Testament. I love the Old Testament. I would love to go to Jerusalem too, and do the study abroad thing. But anyway, that is kind of the highlights of the week, and it was a good week.

Love, Elder Record

Monday, October 22, 2012

Awesome Miracles

I decided to just share my weekly letter to President Beesley with you all. Please don't share any of the names. I hope all is well. It sounds like everyone is doing good and excited for the move. I would like to see some pictures of the new house if you could send me some.

By the way, It's starting to get cold and a polyester coat just doesn't cut it, the cold just rips through it. I broke down and bought a down parka this week. I checked a few places and with a few members and I got a pretty good deal. It will keep me warm in -40 if it hits me. And one of the missionaries broke a member's guitar string so I spent money to replace that. Just as kind of a fun side note. Just about all my dreams at night have to do with missionary work and I'm always a missionary in my dreams. Last night I had a very fun time playing basketball in my dream. I'm getting pretty good. =)

I think that's everything. =) Talk to you next week.

Love, Elder Record

Hi President Beesley:

This week we had a couple of awesome miracles. On Sunday we went to a lesson, but they canceled. As backup we had planned to go see a less active member and also to tract a nearby street to look for a less active member who just moved in and showed up at church a few times. Anyway, we’d been looking for them for like a month. We knocked to the house of the member and Brother [Name Withheld 1], who’s not a member, answered the door. It was amazing! We were surprised when he answered the door because that was the one place we didn’t consider looking. He said his wife would really like to meet with us and that they would have us over sometime. It was pretty cool to see how the Lord put us where we needed to be when we needed to be there.

Speaking of being where we needed to be. We had another lesson cancel later in the evening and Elder Beirne had the thought to go see the [Name Withheld 2]'s, but didn’t think that was a good idea because it was getting late and it’s getting darker and darker. Usually when I feel that way it’s the devil tempting me not to listen, so I listened to Elder Beirne and we knocked on their door. They’ve been expressing desires to come back to church and this night just before we showed up they started talking about it again. Sister [Name Withheld 2] said our timing was uncanny because we keep showing up right after they have been talking about coming back. It feels so good to know that you are being guided by the Lord to help those in need. We had a very good conversation about how the Lord can strengthen us in times of need. We just need to wait on the Lord and be patient with his timing. Her and her boyfriend, Brother [Name Withheld 3] from 2nd ward, really opened up and trusted us as servants of the Lord. I love it when people open up like that and allow us to help them because that’s all we want to do is help. The first time I was able to relate to them through family history, this time I was able to relate again because she has a special need child and I used to work at a nursing home before my mission. We also know quite a few people in the ward whose children are special needs. [Name Withheld 4] is my favorite. He has Down syndrome and is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He is so funny and could laugh with you all day. Anyway it’s just neat to see how the Lord places us where we need to be as we are obedient to him and how he prepares us to be ready to help them.

We had another lesson with [Name Withheld 5] and she is praying to know that everything is true. It’s so nice that she listens to us and wants to find out for herself. Since I know that she will get an answer that it is true if she puts the effort into studying it out, I can see her getting baptized this year. She is a very nice lady. We take Brother and Sister [Name Withheld 6] with us to the lessons.

There is a sister in the ward is kind of stranded here in Fairbanks, Alaska right as winter is starting. She needed some help splitting wood. We had the opportunity to help her Saturday morning. I love splitting wood =). Some people talk about getting a “runner’s high”. Personally I’ve never run that far, haha, but when I split wood… It feels great =).

There are many more people we see, but these were the ones I was most excited about this week.[Name Withheld 7] is doing well, and so is [Name Withheld 8]. They both seem interested and are starting to progress.

I like Mormon 8:34-35 in the Book of Mormon. He saw our day and took out of the records of the people those things that he thought would best help us. This week has really shown me that our Father in Heaven loves his children. He knows us and knows what we go through. He knows how to help us, and if we trust in him and lean not to our own understanding he will show us what to do and give us that comfort that we need. I know he lives. I know that Jesus Christ lives and atoned for our sins. I know that “the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know it was written for our day and to testify that Jesus is the Christ. And I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

“34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.
35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.” (Mormon 8:34-35)

I hope all is well with you and Sister Beesley. Your advice in interviews in response to my question about listening to the spirit and focusing on others really helped. When you prayed for me that I would be able to discern the spirit and be guided by it was very much appreciated and is proving to be quite prophetic. It makes sense that to have a testimony of Christ is the spirit of prophecy because as we understand and gain testimony of the savior and his teachings we begin to recognize and understand the consequence of actions. As we have the spirit with us and are in line with God’s will, we then begin to see as he does and can know how the Lord will respond to us. Anyway it’s pretty cool to think about. I had faith that I could learn and be guided and since I asked for that help from my father in heaven and did my best to learn and understand he has been helping me. Stake conference was really good and I gained a lot of insights that I could distinctly tell came from the spirit.

Thanks for everything.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Service is the Key

So this week was kind of fun. We got to help out this one family. The husband is not a member, the wife is, but she hasn't been to church for a while. Anyway, we went and helped them. There was this wood shed that they had built. But we were helping them pull some nails out of some boards that they needed, and helped them stack their firewood. The husband was chopping down trees with a chainsaw, and then he would cut them into sections, and we would pick up the big logs and haul them over to the wood shed and stack them. It was quite the workout, but it was really fun (haha). It was 20 degrees outside, and I was wearing a short sleeved shirt. But, that's because I got really hot. Apparently that's what you want to do in Alaska; when you get hot, instead of sweat, just take a layer off. I would have put on another layer, if I wasn't sweating. But, no, I'm staying safe and pretty warm.

I will probably need to get a new coat; one that is like a down coat. Some other material besides the polyester, because the cold just cuts right through it. It can't hold in the heat, but down coats can. So I might need to get one of those.

We try to work with the ward pretty closely, and associate with people as much as we can, especially some of the less active members. It is really nice to be able to be in ward council and have people ask, “oh, what about this person”, or “I heard this about these people, do they need help?” It is really nice to be able to have the answer (haha). It's kind of funny sometimes, because we will be in ward council and they will ask about somebody, and we will tell them how they are doing. It's nice to be of help, because you just see relief flood over them; at least for the bishop. It helps relieve some of his burden. In Preach My Gospel we learned that we need to be a blessing to the bishop and not a burden, because he is the key holder and can receive special inspiration for the ward and how to help them out. So if we stay close to him, help him out, and develop a “how can I help?” attitude; then things go a little bit faster. It's nice to be appreciated and to work hard.

We had a fun day on Wednesday. We were able to teach a few people. We have a couple of people who are looking like they are going to progress pretty well. The best way to find people to teach is through members. These people that we are teaching are either referrals from one of the members or a part member family. Those are the people who are most interested. People with their influence, preach the gospel at all times; or they can without words. Example is a pretty big thing.

I flipped open last night to the scriptures and read a verse that I thought was pretty cool. In John 14:31 it's talking about the Savior and says, “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” I like that because later in chapter 15 it talks about “if ye love me, keep my commandments.” I like how in John 14:31, the Savior says, “I love the Father,” and he says, “as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” So, I (haha) love how firm he is in his obedience.”

It has been a good week. It's getting colder, that's for sure. There is much, much colder weather to come. I'm taking vitamin D and vitamin C, and trying to stay healthy. I'm exercising, so I'll probably be fine. I thought I was getting sick for a little bit, but I don't think I am. I think it was just a temporary thing that day, because I haven't felt it since. Unfortunately, Elder Beirne has been sick, and it has not been fun for him (haha). He is way tough. I would (haha) probably (haha) be like dieing on the couch, but he has stuck through it. Fairbanks is a beautiful place.

We were driving down the road, and we saw a moose lying in the road. Somebody had hit it, and it was dead. It was a pretty big deal, and traffic was kind of affected. It was at night time too. Well, night time is relative because it gets dark really early. It was at dark (haha).

I am thankful that you two are my parents, mom and dad, because you are amazing. It has made a big difference for me, and helping me gain my testimony of the gospel, and I know it's true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Great Men that Do Good

Here is an excerpt from my weekly letter to President Beesley. These are just some of my thoughts.

I was very happy to hear the announcement about the age change for coming missionaries, but even more happy when President Monson said that it was because of the increased obedience of the incoming missionaries. I felt the spirit witness to me that I’ve been a part of that. It was encouraging to feel again that witness that I am doing what I need to be doing and the Lord recognizes and appreciates me, and that I’ve been an influence for good. I’ve also noticed that there seems to be an ever widening gap between the strong and faithful in the church and the less valiant in the church. It seems like more and more of those who serve the Lord are doing it because they love him. It seems the Lord is kicking everyone off the fence, separating the wheat from the tares so to speak in the church. Especially after this conference it was reconfirmed to me that now is the time to have our own testimonies. I feel the urge to help those on the fence to come back into the light of the restored gospel. I remember the charge the savior gave to Peter that after he was converted to “strengthen [his] brethren”. I also found it interesting that Peter was talked about and quoted so much and that Elder Holland gave the talk he said he would give when he was with us in Anchorage. I felt a deeper love for my family as I listened to the story of Ann Rowley in Elder Nash’s talk, the story of her, also in 17 Miracles, and the two hard sea biscuits. Ann Jewel Rowley was my 4th great grandmother. Without talking to her I know my mother was deeply touched.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about David, Saul, Solomon and ancient Israel. It pains my heart that such great men did not stay firm and reminds me that you’re never too righteous to be exempt from temptations. At the same time I marvel at how merciful and patient the Lord was with the people. I read like 3 times while skimming through the Book of Judges that the people in those days did “as seemeth them good in their own eyes.” They were in apostasy and were lost in spiritual darkness without a leader. The tribes were not unified. It amazes me that they even survived as a group. And under David’s brilliant leadership the 12 tribes were unified. God still loved the people and, as they humbled themselves, He placed prophets to guide them and preach the gospel. Amidst all the chaos I think of great men like Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David, Josiah, and Nehemiah. They were great men who, even through personal weaknesses, moved the work of the Lord forward with courage and brought about righteousness. The man who stands out the most to me is Josiah. It says of him that there was never anyone before or since like him that turned to the Lord with all his might, mind, and strength (2 Kings 23:25). It amazes me that the Lord still took care of and watched over a degrading society. There must have been some stalwart people who kept their covenants or else we wouldn’t have had men like Josiah. Where did they draw their strength from? How did they gain so much courage to stand up when no one else would? Again I find the answer with Josiah. They yielded their hearts to God. It never said Josiah was the best looking, the strongest, the most courageous, benevolent, patient, or kind. He was so strong because he turned to God and humbly followed him.

I know that God lives. I know that our savior, Jesus Christ, atoned for our sins. I know that He is ever mindful of us and knows our situations. I know He wants us to stay strong, and I know we can. I know that as challenges increase there is nothing I cannot handle as long as I turn to the Lord and seek his help. He has set the standard, Christ provided the way to follow, and I will never back down. I hope it will be said of me that “like unto him was there no [man] before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might… neither after him arose there any like him.” The Book of Mormon is true, and I know the spirit will witness to the hearts of all those who read it that it is indeed the word of God because it has for me.

Love, Elder Record

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls and the Timing of Service

So, last P-day we went on a hike. I was more like a walk. It was fun though. It was one we did last time. We were by a lake, and kind of walked around that. We went with a few other missionaries. So, it was fun; I still probably would have liked to play basketball a little more (haha). But, that's okay.

This P-day I'm making cinnamon rolls. I'm almost done with them. In a few minutes they are going to be ready to put in the oven. That will be fun. I made enough for the whole zone. So that should be delicious. I made them way back in Whitehorse one time. Elder Hartman is one of the zone leaders up here, so he's the only one that has tried them, besides a couple of other missionaries who are not in Fairbanks. But, anyway – that's exciting, and then we will probably play basketball. We will probably play games, too.

We had a good lesson with one of our investigators. We felt the Spirit while we were teaching, and the Spirit was able to witness that it was true. We are excited to see how things go from there. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon, and pray about it. She said she would.

We were also were able to arrive at this lady's less active house right after she had gotten off the phone with some very sad news. It was good to be there for her when she needed help. It was a neat experience, because we arrived there (seriously) right after she had gotten off the phone. We were able to talk to her home teachers, and sent them over. They were planning on going over yesterday after priesthood.

There is another person we are teaching who has a lot of stuff to work through. He's getting married and needs to obey the Word of Wisdom. There lives are kind of a mess right now, but they just need to see how resilient they are, and are still progressing even though there is so much going on. Our investigator is able to come closer to God and he is feeling the Spirit and the peace and joy that comes through that. So they are able to get through some of their trials and struggles. So, we'll see how things go with them and hope for the best. We'll just keep sharing the light with them. So far they are doing pretty good.

In my studies, I was thinking a lot about the Holy Ghost; just studying about how I can learn to recognize it more and be guided by it. So I thought of a couple of questions that I'm finding the answers to. I was wondering why the Gift of the Holy Ghost was not operative during the time of Christ. Why he didn't just bestow it while he was there and wait until after he ascended into heaven for the people to get the Gift of the Holy Ghost. So that was my question. So that makes we wonder too, well then in the Book of Mormon they operated under the Melchizedek Priesthood. So did they have the Gift of the Holy Ghost? How did Lehi get his Melchizedek Priesthood was the next question? They had the temple, but he wasn't a Levite. And, they talk about the priesthood in Alma 13, and they have high priests. So I was kind of thinking when the Holy Ghost stopped being operative was when the people rejected the higher law, and they got the Law of Moses; because they lost the blessings and privileges of the Melchizedek Priesthood. So they only had the Aaronic Priesthood, and when you only have the Aaronic Priesthood you can baptize for the remission of sins, but you cannot bestow the Gift of the Holy Ghost – that is a Melchizedek Priesthood thing. So, I'm thinking it's then when it stopped being operative. But anyway, that's kind of what I've been thinking about lately.

I'm having fun up here in Fairbanks. It's getting a lot colder. All the leaves are gone, and it's frosting. Winter should be coming very quickly. But, it's exciting (haha). Elder Beirne is not enjoying the cold that much, because he's from Hawaii and Arizona. But, he's making it. Yeah, Fairbanks is awesome. It's my favorite area. That's it, see you later.

Love, Elder Record

Friday, September 28, 2012

Questions from 24 Sept

Dad: Did your district change much? If I remember right, two new missionaries went to Fairbanks.
We have Sisters Hatfield and Gardner still in 4th branch, Elders Waddell and Stevenson in 5th Ward, and us in 3rd Ward. I served around Elder Waddell a lot in Anchorage. He was in the Spanish Branch.

Dad: What do you hope to accomplish in the next two months?
Not to hold him back. =)

Dad: What is something new you learned this week?
I mentioned it in my update. [NOTE: We didn't get the update file.]

Dad: What is your favorite day of the week and why?
Probably Sunday because of church and also the chance we have to coordinate with the ward.

Love, Elder Record

Monday, September 17, 2012

New investigators, wood and light

Good morning everybody. This week was another busy week; very good. We actually met a couple of new people. We were able to run into a few other people who wanted to listen. So, we are testifying of Christ to them and of the restored Gospel. There is this one lady who was really hesitant about the Book of Mormon. She said that Revelation says not to add to revelation, but we explained to her that John said don't add to the prophesy of his book. So, basically saying don't add to his prophesy. The Book of Mormon contains the same message, I mean it's the same doctrine. Granted, there are some things that have been lost and made unclear in the Bible, which are clarified in the Book of Mormon, but it's the same doctrine of Christ from different accounts from different people. So it's not adding to it at all. It is just another account of that same doctrine. Other people in the world who taught and did the same things and followed the same person. We had a member with us who was a convert to the church, who was able to help explain some things to her. But, it was a really good lesson. I was very happy.

We got to help this one guy build a giant shed. We got plywood and screwed it in on the walls, which was pretty fun. We went up on the scaffolding and did that – and we're alive (haha).

This is kind of a neat story. We were just going down the ward roster and saw a name. We were like, “oh, let's go see this person.” We went to see them. That person wasn't there, but her non-member husband was. We just talked with him for a few minutes and then left. We set up a time to come back. We came back later, and he wasn't there. So, we left a note saying, “sorry we missed you, hope to get back in touch with you.” Yesterday comes around, Sunday, and they show up to church! (haha) So I was so happy! Apparently we just missed them by like thirty minutes. He really excited and says he wants to get baptized. So we are going to teach him and make sure he is ready to be baptized, because you don't want to just jump into that.

We got to help one of the older men chop some wood for the winter, because winter is coming up. It's starting to get colder and colder. We just had a big wind storm yesterday, which blew down a lot of leaves. Most every tree is completely yellow right now. It's kind of stormy, so we are expecting it to rain and/or snow very soon. It's starting to get dark now about 8 o'clock, or the sun is setting around 8 o'clock.

There was another lady who was taking a psychology class, and one of her assignments was to get out of her comfort zone (haha). So, she called up Jerry Cole, one of the members of the bishopric, and told him, “Jerry, I'm coming to church!” So (haha), she came to church. We sat next to her and explained everything as it happened, and answered any questions she had, and really helped her feel comfortable. (haha) She really enjoyed it. She seemed pretty open to having us come back and explain more about the church to her. She seemed to enjoy it even though it was uncomfortable to her. Apparently at first she even felt a little sick, but everybody was really friendly to her.

We might get to cut up a moose today, which would be pretty cool. But, we'll see how that goes. I've never done that before. We got some moose sausage. That is fairly common; everybody hunts up here.

I read this really good talk by President Packer called “The Candle of the Lord.” It was given at a seminar for new mission presidents exactly ten years before I was born on my birthday. It talks about how to recognize revelation and things like that. It's that one that has the story where he talks about salt. He says... well I will just read you the story.

I will tell you of an experience I had before I was a General Authority which affected me profoundly. I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who pressed his disbelief in God so urgently that I bore my testimony to him. “You are wrong,” I said, “there is a God. I know He lives!”

He protested, “You don’t know. Nobody knows that! You can’t know it!” When I would not yield, the atheist, who was an attorney, asked perhaps the ultimate question on the subject of testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know. Tell me how you know.”
When I attempted to answer, even though I held advanced academic degrees, I was helpless to communicate.

Sometimes in your youth, you young missionaries are embarrassed when the cynic, the skeptic, treat you with contempt because you do not have ready answers for everything. Before such ridicule, some turn away in shame. (Remember the iron rod, the spacious building, and the mocking? See 1 Ne. 8:28.)

When I used the words Spirit and witness, the atheist responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The words prayer, discernment, and faith, were equally meaningless to him. “You see,” he said, “you don’t really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know.”

I felt, perhaps, that I had borne my testimony to him unwisely and was at a loss as to what to do. Then came the experience! Something came into my mind. And I mention here a statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith: “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas … and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, p. 151.)

Such an idea came into my mind and I said to the atheist, “Let me ask if you know what salt tastes like.”

“Of course I do,” was his reply.

“When did you taste salt last?”

“I just had dinner on the plane.”

“You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said.

He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.”

“If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?”

“Now you are getting juvenile,” was his reply. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience—I know it as well as I know anything.”

“Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”

After some thought, he ventured, “Well-I-uh, it is not sweet and it is not sour.”

“You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.”

After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said, “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come than you are to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!”

As we parted, I heard him mutter, “I don’t need your religion for a crutch! I don’t need it.”
From that experience forward, I have never been embarrassed or ashamed that I could not explain in words alone everything I know spiritually. The Apostle Paul said it this way:

“We speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13–14.)

Anyway, I really like that story; how to recognize the Spirit and what it feels like. Because it's true, you can't really explain exactly how it feels. I mean the scriptures do a good job of describing the feelings that come generally. But, it's really a very personal experience that you get for yourself after you sincerely ask; intending to act on the answer you receive with faith that you can receive an answer. If you don't meet those qualifications, you are not going to get an answer to your prayer. Why? If you didn't have those things, why would you get an answer?

I know that God does hear and answer prayers. I know that God does live. I'm thankful for the Gospel and the opportunity to serve as a missionary. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Record