Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Transcription: 25 June 2012

Good morning, today is... my birthday! (haha) the 25th of June; and I will finally be 20 at 9:54pm. Which... technically if it was 9:54pm in Utah, it's like what... 7:54pm here. So, I'll be awake for that – oh, I'd be awake for 10 o'clock anyway, but that's beside the point. It's my birthday (haha), and I'm happy to no longer be a teenager. It feels pretty weird to be twenty.

Well... we have the most amazing members that we live with. They are very awesome, and I love the ward here. They are really helping us out a lot. They really trust us, and we are making a really good influence for the better. We have shown that we are willing to be obedient and that we are going to work hard, and the members see that. When they see that we care about them and their friends, then they let us know who to go visit. It's kind of basic, but that's how it works (haha). Unfortunately, it takes some time for some missionaries to figure that out.

The members we live with are very cool. She is very musically talented, and she's going to teach me how to play the piano. I'm so excited. I love music! I have gotten pretty good at the Ukulele. Elder Conlin is pretty musically talented too. We like to sing improv songs, and he'll do stuff on the piano and I'll play something on the Ukulele. It's pretty fun, and I really want to take music theory when I get back (haha).

There is a less active member that is going to take us out to Cold Stone's today, because it's my birthday. That was nice of him.

On Monday we had a pretty neat experience with one of the families in the ward. We went over to them and really encouraged them to share the gospel with their friends. The mother of the mother was needing a blessing, so were able to take part in that. It was a really spiritual experience. They definitely recognized us as representatives of Jesus Christ. It was really neat to be able to be doing what the Savior would be doing right then. I wrote about it in my journal for sure.

On Friday we slaughtered chickens.

We had a pretty cool training meeting on Thursday. We watched that new bible video that's about Jesus calling the twelve. We talked about our calling and how to do companion study a little better with roll playing and things like that. I found out there are some Farnsworth's in the ward. So, I am going to go see if we are related to them (haha). It seems like we are related to everybody that is from Arizona – but that's another story.

We did a little tracting on Saturday with the zone. It went fairly well, but then we went over to this other street and the first house we went to was pretty cool. He let us in, and we talked with him for a little bit, and we were able to share the gospel with him. He lives right next door to some of the members (haha), so it works wonderfully. We'll see if we can't set something up to have the members invite him into their home to be taught.

We gave our talks in church. It was cool. The Spirit was there pretty strong, especially when the young women were giving their parts on the young women's camp. They always talk about their testimony meetings and how spiritual they are. All the guys end up feeling like they missed out (haha). Elder Conlin and I gave our talks on how we gained our testimonies, how the members can help us in missionary work, and shared some quotes from Gordon B. Hinckley in Preach My Gospel. The ideal situation is that the member invites their non-member friends into their home to be taught by the missionaries where they can feel the Spirit. We talked about how really the best way to help us is by helping us find people to teach. They seemed to love it, which was really cool. I think they will really help us out. Which will be really nice because – well they trust us and they know we can teach their friends, but now they can really feel like they are helping out and doing good.

There is that Elder Bednar quote that you, Dad, used to quote a little bit; talking about Moses 1:39 where it says, “my work and my glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Elder Bednar said that's God's work, then he talks about how there is a companion scripture that is not near as frequently quoted in D&C 11:20 which says, “your work is to keep my commandments with all your might, mind and strength.” Yeah, it's God work in Moses 1:39 and our work in D&C 11:20. I found that quote in the Doctrine and Covenants DVD set – the one that has the five movies, like Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration, Legacy, and some of those other ones – it's in disk one. You just go to the scripture reference to Doctrine and Covenants section 11, and it will have that little clip of Elder Bednar saying that [see “The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Elder David A. Bednar, General Conference, April 2005].

I read your letter, Dad, and really appreciated that. It was really neat, and I like learning about the Plan of Salvation. I looove the temple, and I am thankful for the wonderful examples of the people in my life and how much they have influenced and helped me.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm going to have to be doing my college applications soon. So I'll get on and figure out my passwords and send them to you guys. I'll need help to get the transcripts for everything sent to where they need to go. I'll make a list of all of the colleges I want to apply for. I already have it, it's like (haha) pretty much they are all in Utah, except for BYU Idaho.

That's kind of been this week so far. It was really fun. We were able to do a lot of good visiting a lot of people. We have a couple of investigators who are just so solid, and will be baptized pretty soon. We love them, and we love to help them. We are thankful for their spirits and how much they try to do good and seek to do Heavenly Father's will. It's really special to see stuff like that as a missionary, but a lot of times you will have people who are like, “yeah, I don't want to do that.” But, it's nice to have people who are sincerely trying to find the truth. It's wonderful because we can help them find it.

I know the gospel is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that as we read it, we can get closer to our Heavenly Father and receive answers to our questions and concerns. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Record

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Elder Record!

We want to wish Elder Record a happy birthday today. He turns 20! Keep up the great work.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Email: 18 June 2012

I chose not to make an audio update because I wanted to write it and collect my thoughts into something a little more focused. This also happens to be excerpts from my weekly letter to President Beesley.

This week was fun. I really enjoyed the zone conference and the emphasis on prayer and repentance. Even though we didn’t have much time in our area, we were still able to get a fair amount done. We still have plenty to do and many people to see, but we’re getting there. I’m happy that our biggest problem is fitting all the work that we have to do into the amount of time that we have. I’m glad the members really trust us. We are asking referrals from everyone and everyone is giving them. The elders quorum president made a comment after I thanked him for all his help and the good he does, he said, “I wouldn’t be giving [this help] if I didn’t trust you.” It was comforting to know. We have the wonderful opportunity to speak in church this coming Sunday on how we gained our testimonies and how the members can work with and help us.

I’ve had a really good time studying this past week. I was preparing for my talk and also reflecting on the zone conference. My head has been spinning =). I thought about my testimony and how it is growing and how I came to where I am at. It was not so much that I developed a testimony, but developing a testimony. I believe that those big, strengthening, profound spiritual experiences are not the basis of our testimonies, but that they are like windows that allow us to reflect and look inside to see that mighty change of heart that has been working in us all along. As members of the church we have the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost which sanctifies us and purifies us as we keep the commandments. I realize that gaining a testimony is done by following the gospel pattern; faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Two of my favorite scriptures come to mind, Ether 12:27 and Moroni 8:25-26. The way I’ve gained my testimony, and continue to gain it, is by consistent obedience and striving to continually do better and improve. The savior gained his testimony step by step from grace to grace until it was perfect. I know the same applies to us. The second we feel comfortable in our testimony and stop striving better ourselves, we begin to lose what we have. That’s why Mosiah warns us to watch our thoughts, words, and deeds. Coming back to those scriptures and the gospel pattern, we learn in Ether 12:27 that “as we come unto [him] he shows [us our] weaknesses” and gives them so that we may be humble. So in gaining a testimony I continue to realize my weaknesses and inadequacies. In Moroni 8:25-26 we learn that the first fruits of repentance is baptism which comes by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments. So, like the CTR shield of faith, we express faith by repenting, or turning our heart and will to God (change), or like it says fulfilling the commandments. So faith, repentance, and baptism. It then says that fulfilling the commandments brings a remission of sins which brings meekness and lowliness of heart, or humility (Ether 12:27). So now that I’m on the right path the Lord is showing me the things I need to change so that I can be humble. “and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love,” As I choose to follow the gospel pattern, I become more like the savior and know how to be more like the savior. And that “love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.”

I love that in zone conference the points that seemed to stand out to me were the importance of prayer and repentance. I’m thankful to have felt the spirit and been able to ponder the message we received. It’s helped me to understand more the things that I have. 

I know that as long as I turn to my Heavenly Father for guidance and direction, He always lets me know what I need to do and gives me the strength to do it. And the truth is, I am weak, but with the Lord’s help my weaknesses become strengths. All I need to do is choose to follow the gospel pattern and He will take care of me. I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had to go to the temple. There isn’t a place on earth I love more. I was more emotional this time at the temple than I ever have been before. The spirit strengthened my resolve to keep and love for the covenants I have been privileged to make which bind me closer to my Father in Heaven. I know that families can also be together forever. I pray that the Lord will help me have that same love that He’s given me, for Him and His gospel, for His other children.

Love, Elder Record

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grandpa Rowley's Funeral

Gene and Alva Jean Rowley
Elder Record's maternal grandfather, Gene Haws Rowley, Sr., passed away on Thursday, 7 June 2012. He was born 28 June 1925 and was laid to rest in the Salem City Cemetery on 12 June 2012. His eternal companion, Alva Jean Farnsworth Rowley, preceded him in death by 12 years. They are joyfully reunited again.

Gene served in World War II and received full military honors at his funeral. We are so proud of him.

Elder Record is doing well and has a lot of support.

Gene Haws Rowley, Sr. Funeral

Full military honors provided by the American Legion

Transcription: 11 June 2012

Driving to Fairbanks, AK
Fairbanks is way different than Anchorage (haha). There are trees everywhere! They are huge trees too. There are like dirt roads everywhere in our area, and it is like completely back woods. So if you could pick any place in Alaska that typifies Alaska, it's the Fairbanks 3rd Ward. It's basically everything in the North of Fairbanks. So it covers places like Lucia, Circle, and all the way up to the Yukon River. I think it's the largest geographical ward in the world -- people here are saying. The people here are really nice, we actually live inside a member's home in the basement. It's really nice, and they really take good care of us. As soon as we got here, they were telling us of some people we need to go see. We were happy and excited about that. It's really neat being up here, it's really different from Anchorage. It is kind of nice to change things up. When I first got here, I was like "oh my goodness, this is so bizarre;" (haha) because it was so different. I was missing seeing my Polynesians around (haha), because there are not that many of them in Fairbanks.

Elder Record and Elder Benjamin Conlin
Elder Conlin is a cool guy. He was at BYU for a year before he came on his mission. He is from New Orleans, Louisiana. I am excited to serve with him and get to know him. One thing about Fairbanks is, there are lots of mosquitoes. I think it is the same in all of Alaska, but they are kind of bad in Fairbanks (haha). Good thing I have bug spray.

We are starting to get the hang of the area pretty well. We sectioned off are area into sections because it's so big. So that all the people we are going to visit that day can be in that group. We color coordinated it. I can open my planner up and see the color and know which section I should go to for work that day. Elder Conlin did a lot of that. He's pretty excited about that. It's good, because it helps us stay more effective and more efficient so we waste our time driving from one area and back and only end up seeing like one, maybe two people a day. So we kind of group it off to be more effective.

I am the district leader. So I get to do a little different things. I get to organize a district meeting every month. The last one was really good. I get to see how all the missionaries in the district are doing.

This week from Wednesday to Friday we are going to be gone. We are going to be driving down to Anchorage on Wednesday and come back on Friday. I get to go to the temple on Friday. I'm really excited about that (haha). On Thursday we get to have zone conference. Elder Coliker from the Seventy is coming to visit us. It's a long drive, but it's fun (haha).

The work here is going pretty well. We are starting to get on our feet again, because we had no idea what was going on or what was what here when we got here. Now we are starting to get a feel for it. Church was really nice. We got to meet a lot of people and meet some of the potential members up here. It's nice to testify about Book of Mormon.

I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it does have the power to change our hearts. I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and all that he has done for me. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a missionary, because it's pretty fun (haha). I am thankful for the opportunity I have to help people as a missionary. I feel like it's helping me become so much more equipped for when I come back home to do things, especially in semi-leadership positions because have to step it up and do a little better and help a little more. It's nice because I kind of get the feeling for running things a little bit. So it will help me in the work force when I get back home.

Elder Conlin is good at piano. He's good at music in general. He kind of improves a lot of his stuff, which is pretty cool. Yeah, that's about it. It seems like forever this week because we just got started. It's only been a few days, I guess. I have unlimited email time, so I'm excited about that. I'll talk to you guys later.

Love, Elder Record

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Email: 4 June 2012

I encourage anyone who hasn't gone to the temple or hasn't been in a while to go, and if you can't yet, prepare.  There isn't a better place on earth.  There isn't another place where you will feel more love and at home than perhaps with the ones you love in your home because that is the purpose.  To have a family like our Father in Heaven has forever, and then to help others to do the same.  If you haven't read the Book of Mormon please read it.  It has the power to change your lives.  It was written for our day.  The bible can tell you what Christ did, but the Book of Mormon can tell you why.

I love you all, sorry I didn't prepare an audio update.  I've been kind of busy with transfers and everything.  I found out that I'll be training again, but this time in Fairbanks 3rd ward.  I don't know what my companion's name is yet.  Apparently I'll live in a very nice apartment with members.  I'll miss everyone here in my area especially my companion, who is going to be the senior companion to another trainee just finishing training.

Here is something I studied this week I thought you guys might enjoy.

I love the story in Acts 19 I think where it gives a story about 7 exorcist Jews.  Paul was going around teaching people about Christ and the exorcists go to someone possessed with an evil spirit.  They say in the name of Jesus, who Paul is preaching about, come out.  Then the evil spirit says, Jesus I know, and Paul I know but who the heck are you!  haha! I love that story.  It cracks me up every time.  And it’s a good example of how having the proper authority is necessary.  I love the gospel.  I’m thankful that we have such a merciful Savior.  I know that our Heavenly Father leads and guides us and his church through his authorized representatives.  I never have to wonder about where to turn to.  It is always very clear.

Love, Elder Record