Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
We had a pretty fun week. I was reading my scriptures and found something pretty cool that I thought you guys might be interested in. If you look in Matthew chapter 3 verse 13, it says, "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized...." So Christ is going from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized by John. Then if you go over to the book of John, chapter 1 verse 28, it says, "these things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing." So John was baptizing in Bethabara. So... if you go to your scriptures to those maps of the holy land in the New Testament times to map 11, you see Galilee with its borders mapped out. Then you see way down at the bottom of the Jordan River by the Dead Sea, you see Bethabara. If you look at the scale on the map, you find out that in order to get from Galilee to Bethabara, you have to walk more than 40 miles (haha). I thought that was kind of interesting. I mean, not many people walk 40 miles, but Christ did -- to get to John -- to be baptized by John, not just anybody else. I think that's interesting to show that Christ respected authority because John had that authority to baptize. He had the Aaronic Priesthood which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins - like we learn in the Doctrine and Covenants. I just thought that was pretty cool that he went through all that effort to make sure he was baptized by the right person with the right authority, so it would count.
There have been a few families we have been really excited about. Like, a couple of them haven't been to Church for a while, but they are starting to get excited about the temple and about the gospel (haha). So we will go over and teach them more and strengthen their understanding of the gospel. Their understanding is pretty basic. The just soak it all in, and it's so fun to teach them and help them out because you can just see their eyes light up. That is probably the highlight of this week. Visiting some of these people and sharing the gospel with them, especially talking about temples. I read a quote in the Temple Ensign that says that the object every teaching lesson and class is the temple. So everything we do in the Church points us to the temple, because that's where we make the covenants necessary to enter into our Heavenly Father's presence in the Celestial Kingdom.
As we have been going around, we have been able to find more and more people who are interested in the gospel. So we are excited with this coming week to see how that turns out.
I learned how to play a song on the Ukulele that I will have to record next time for you. It's called "Masi Samoa." [NOTE: I think Elder Record is thinking of this song.] I'm pretty sure it's on YouTube..., but I wouldn't know (hahahah). I've just been told. Anyway, it's pretty fun and pretty basic. It's fun to sing to and it's in Samoan. We are going to play it at a little talent show the ward is doing. Hopefully there is going to be a lot of non-members there because they are kind of gearing it towards missionary work. It will be good to show a lot of the non-members that we're not scary (haha) -- we're normal people who have an extraordinary calling.
Last Monday we went and played racquetball with the bishop. He used to be like the second best in the army and the best in all of Anchorage. We played racquetball with him, and actually I've played better than I ever have before. I actually won one of the games (haha). As I have been playing sports, like basketball and racquetball and stuff like that, my focus is a lot more intense (haha). I can focus on the game, and I have gotten pretty good. I'll have to play with you guys when I get back home. We have some fun stuff lined up for today. Mostly we do basketball.
I just want to bear my testimony that I know the Book of Mormon is true. I am so thankful for the scriptures and all that they teach us. It is very true that you get an extra boost from the scriptures. Whenever you feel yourself starting to get relaxed in your relationship with God, if you turn to the scriptures, it strengthens so much more, and you are able to come closer to your Heavenly Father, and closer to listening to the Spirit. As we continue to study the scriptures, we develop that listening ear more and more. I also love Church. Sunday is still probably my favorite day because you get to go and renew your baptismal covenants through the sacrament, and associate with all the wonderful people in the ward, and just talk -- talk about the gospel. It is just amazing to see all that the Church does. Like when you watch conference you feel, "wow, this is just how it is supposed to be." It just makes you feel good. It just makes you feel happy. As you listen to the talks and as you see the other things in the Church, you feel like, "man, it just feels good." Doing things like welfare, tithing, conference or like anything; you feel like, "yeah!! In Christ's Church, we would do that." That is how life is supposed to be, life it supposed to be happy. This makes me so happy.
I am thankful for that, and thankful for all of the blessings and challenges that I received. I am excited to see how I turn out when I get back (haha). I feel like I'm growing so much. I don't think anything can prepare me better for life than my mission because I've grown a lot. I've seen myself grow. I know how much better I'm going to be when I get back. I'm going to be so much more capable to come across challenges or meet new things, or get started in a new career, get married, have a family -- I'm going to be so much more ready for that because of my mission. I have learned a ton. It's kind of like the University for Life. I cannot see a better use of my time for these two years than anything else. College would be nice, but I wouldn't learn as much as I am now about how to live life, and how to be happy, and how to deal with people. I think this is as good as any university, as good as any use of my time. In fact, I think people would be foolish not to go because it is such a good use of your time. Yeah, it's hard sometimes. Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes it can be challenging, but it's always fun. You will go through challenges, and then you will come out on top and you will feel really good; like, "man! I got through that!" You can see yourself become a better communicator, a better ... just better everything. So I highly recommend serving a mission to everybody who is able because it is a wonderful experience.
I am thankful for all of you, and all my family, and for all that you guys do for me. Keep writing me letters. I'm going to start getting better at writing letters. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Love, Elder Record
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
|Elder Matthew Wright and Elder Jason Record|
Enoch, Utah (near Ceder City)
Dad: What is the most unusual thing you have eaten so far?
Uh...a pig's stomach lining
Dad: What is the funniest thing that has happened this week?
I can't think of anything funny, but the coolest thing that happened was that we beet the record for snowfall! We got more snowfall this year in Anchorage since like 1950 I think.
Dad: "By small and simple things, are great things brought to pass." How have you witnessed the hand of the Lord through small or great means this week?
We keep just being in the right place at the right time. I know it's nothing I'm doing, but the Lord keeps taking us to people that need us. We have some church dvd's that have a Samoan language option and this less active man loves them. He doesn't understand English very well, but he loves these dvd's in Samoan. We can see how virtue is starting to garnish the thoughts of everyone in the home as good uplifting media fills it.
Dad: What did Easter mean to you this year?
I like how it's not so much that he died, but that he lives. It nice and good that he suffered for us, but if he wouldn't have risen on the third day none of it would have mattered. It would have been a nice thought, but it wouldn't have changed anything. I know that He lives and loves us, and it's because He lives that we too will live. And if we are faithful we will not only live again, but live with Him again enjoying the same peace and joy that He does. Because of the Infinite mercy of the Atonement all our losses will be made up and more, so I feel selfish not being happy with my lot in life because I do have a good life. I have a family who loves me. I have a roof over my head. I have endless potential and opportunity ahead. But most importantly I know that I am a child of God with the potential to become like him and to help others do the same.
Love, Elder Record
|Elder Record at District Meeting|
|Elder Record Finally Sees the Northern Lights|
|Elder Record Enjoying a Sub|
|Elder Wright and Elder Record Planning the Week|
|Elder Record and Elder Wright Studying Together|
I just want to start off with a scripture that I found not too long ago that I really like. I kind of shows our purposes as missionaries. This is Mormon talking about the things he wrote, but the same thing applies to us as missionaries and what we need to be doing. It's in Ether 8:26, and it says,
“Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.”
That's kind of what we are doing as missionaries. It's kind of our point in everything. We want the people we see to “be persuaded to do good continually.” We don't want Satan to have anymore power over their hearts. We want them to have that desire to do good continually and to come to the fountain of all righteousness, the Savior, and be saved. Because, we're happy and we want them to be happy. I have noticed that as we go out and talk to people and just be friendly, and laugh with them and talk with them, and show an interest in them and really care about them, and ask them questions about themselves, and find out what the happy things they are going through. You know, what are the happy things about life? What are the struggles? Life isn't easy, it's always tough. As we get talking with people and show that we really care about them, then they can kind of see that we are messengers of Jesus Christ, and that we do want them to be able to do good continually. What we do is invite them to make changes to show them it's possible. As they make those changes, they can see “oh, it's possible to have a desire to do good continually.” It's possible to change. All we are doing is inviting them to do what the Lord has invited, and help them become happier and happier. It's neat.
There have been a couple of times this week we were going out and visiting a family. They were talking about these missionaries they really liked. They said the really liked us as missionaries and that other missionaries in the past have been forceful and maybe a little pious, I guess. They were not very friendly, but kind of like, “okay, let's do this.” They were really thankful that we came in and talked with them and laughed with them, and show them that we care about them. I noticed that if you don't do that at the beginning of your lessons, it's kind of hard to connect with the person. It's so important that we actually do care about our investigators and the people we are visiting. Our Heavenly Father cares about them, and we can't help them make those changes or to love as the Savior loves, if we are not able to do the same for them. If we don't show the Savior's love, then how else are they going to find it. That kind of felt good to have people compliment you and say, “oh, you know you guys are doing good. You are very friendly.” It's not easy. We try our hardest. Sometimes things can get a little discouraging when lessons fall through and cancel. Sometimes it can be a little tough. So it's always nice when people recognize the good you are doing and are thankful for that. Especially as a missionary, when some of the people you are visiting, you can't tell if they appreciate it or not. To deserve their appreciation, we have to appreciate them back. If we don't show them that we appreciate them and their time and letting us come and teach them and share what we have grown to love with them, how can we expect them to appreciate what we are telling them and accept it. I also love that as charismatic, funny or as good as we may be, it won't matter until they pray and get an answer for themselves. They don't have to take our word for it at all, they can find out for themselves. Really what we are doing is just inviting them to find out and make that change and to get that hope.
I was thinking of one of our recent converts. We had a lesson with him the other day and we were talking with him about the priesthood and how it works. He was ordained to be a priest yesterday. That was pretty cool, so we are going to drop by and give him a triple combination. One scripture I like is in Ether 12:4. It says,
“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”
That is what we want for all the people that we teach. We want them to be able to become self-sufficient. We don't want them to have to rely on our testimonies all the time, we want them to be able to find out for themselves; and then to have that hope and to make them sure and steadfast and immovable, so that they can experience the same joy and become like our Heavenly Father who acts for himself. He is not compelled or told to do anything, he just does it. That is what we do in the Church. We need to be anxiously engaged in a good cause. We need to do many things of our own free will. We need to make the choice and be proactive, and just do it anyway. That is kind one of the attributes of Heavenly Father. He uses his freedom to choose, and he does it. It is just really neat to see people stay firm and steadfast, and seek for it themselves, instead of us having to prompt people. It is nice when it turns from us inviting them all the time to them inviting themselves to do better. You grow to love people a lot, and it fun and really fulfilling.
One thing I've loved about my mission so far is the confidence you gain. On a mission, it's not always easy. It can be really fun, and sometimes it can be really tough. As you serve and do your best to help people, your confidence just explodes (haha). It's really neat to see, and you just become so comfortable with people, and talking to them, and trying to help them. You naturally just kind of love anybody that you come in contact with. Granted, that is from the help of our Heavenly Father and the Savior. That is part of becoming like our Heavenly Father. It's one blessing that I will forever be grateful for. If nothing happens on my mission, I will be thankful for the confidence that it has given me, and the determination to get done what needs to be done, and be proactive.
I want to bear my testimony that I know this Church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, because I have read it, and prayed about it. I have done what it says. I have done what Heavenly Father has asked us to do – what the commandments are. I have seen them bless my life and bless other people's lives. I know it is true. I know that the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God. I know that if we pray, we can receive answers to our prayers. I am so thankful for a prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. I am thankful that he leads and guides us. I know that as we read the Book of Mormon, and as we read the scriptures, and follow their teachings, we can learn how to become better people. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I hope everybody is doing good. I'm still expecting Chris to be sooo much taller than me when I get back (haha). Eric will probably be pretty close. It was nice to get that testimony from you Eric. That was really cool. That experience you had in Primary with the Savior – that was pretty neat. I promise all of you that as you keep doing your best, and praying for your Heavenly Father's help, that you will come out better in the end. I like to think of it as when we go through trials, that is like going through the refiner's fire the scriptures talk about. When we come out, we are more pure and more clean and more perfect; we are stronger and more able to carry stronger burdens, and we become more Christ-like. But, at the same time, a fire is a fire, and it kind of burns a little (haha). So, it's not always going to be easy, but you can always come out on top. It will always feel really good when you come out of it. I promise that there always is light at the end of the tunnel. I know that our Heavenly Father will always give us that little break after our trial. It may seem really long, it may be really long; if not in this life, the next life, we will receive so much more than we ever thought we could just by going through those trials. The scriptures say he won't necessarily take them away, but if we endure them well, then things will work out for our good. Because our Heavenly Father is so merciful, it will probably be so much more than we ever expected we would receive. I know that's true and say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Love, Elder Record
Monday, April 2, 2012
I looooved conference (haha). Conference was really good. I liked Richard G. Scott's talk about revelation – I thought that was really cool. I liked it how he made the link between humility and receiving revelation. I think it has a lot to do with some of the miracles we are seeing. We are just kind of in the right place at the right time, and we just kind of know what to do sometimes – probably mostly due to my companion (haha). I have noticed a difference.
This week one of our appointments canceled so we went over to go see [name withheld], who we hadn't contacted in a while because he was kind of hard to get a hold of. We drive over there, pull up, and he's standing right outside, and we are like, “oh!! there he is!” So we wave at him and get out to start talking to him. He doesn't speak very good English. He started telling us something, but I didn't quite catch it – like something hard was going on and he felt kind of heavy. I read Matthew 11:28-30 that talks about what to do when you feel heavy. We gave him a “plan of salvation” pamphlet in Samoan to look over and setup an appointment to see him again. The cool thing was when we got there he was like, “how did you guys know, who called you, who told you to come over?” We're like, “nobody, Heavenly Father just lead us here.” He's like, “ah, man! That's cool!”, and we're like, “yea, I know!” It was kind of neat because he was wanting to see us because he was having a hard time, and we came over just at the right time. I think that is just an example of how when we are able to be humble, the Lord just puts us where we need to be. As long as we are doing our best, he helps us to make the right choices. And, we did. It was pretty cool.
I also like President Eyring's talk on Saturday, and Elder Rasband's talk, and some of the other ones. I took a ton of notes. It was all good, I enjoyed a lot of it. When I was in the priesthood session, I was getting so pumped. I was like, “man! I want to go out and do stuff!”, but then it just exhausted me. By the time the session was over, I had no energy left (haha). It still felt really good. I noticed they didn't announce any temples, which was a bummer.
The highlights of the week are we were able to see a lot of people and teach them. Elder Wright's become a pretty good teacher (haha). He's very good. I noticed a lot of missionaries kind of already know the lessons as the come out. It's just a matter of sorting their thoughts out. He's doing great! We hope to have a really good week coming up.
It is a ton warmer up here. Everything is starting to melt, and everything is slushy; but it still gets cold at night. So everything freezes in the morning, so there are like all these ruts and everything – like really bumpy. It's all good. Everything is starting to warm up. Looking at conference, it looks like things are starting to blossom down there. Out here there is still snow covering everything. Some of the trees are starting to bud. It will probably be a while before the snow completely melts.
I'm excited for P-day today. We're going to go have some fun and play basketball.
I just want to bear my testimony that I know prayer is a big thing. If we pray and study our scriptures, we can find the answers to our prayers, and get the help that we need; because life's not easy, but it is possible. With the Savior's help, we can get through things, and we can get through challenges and trials. But, it takes a lot of faith. One thing I have been studying lately is about hope. If you want to get through your trials, you can't just study and pray, but you also have to develop hope. I think a lot of that comes through service and through prayer, and through studying the scriptures. I think as you go out and start to forget about yourself, you start to get more hope. Anyway, that is what I have been thinking about lately. I love reading the Book of Mormon.
I hope you all have a good week, and take care, and talk to you next week.
Love, Elder Record