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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Photos past and present

Elder Record sent his SD card home with some pictures. Below are several with previous companions and areas, along with his current area and companion.

Elder Record likes the sign

Elder Record and Elder Samuelson

Elder Record and Elder Wright with a Samoan family

Elder Record on the tracks

View from the train

Alaskan view

Elder Record on the right rests while traveling

Elder Record and an outhouse by the road

Elder Record in the back middle having fun with the

Elder Wright, Elder Record, Elder Conlin and Elder Beirne.
Elder Record and his trainees.

Elder Record with the #6 shirt

Zone conference, Elder Record 3rd from left and
Elder Beirne 9th from left on the back row

Investigators, basketball and boots

Hello Family! Say “Hi” Elder Stevenson. Say “Hi” Elder Waddel. Say “Hi” Elder Beirne. Anyway, those were some other missionaries that are in the apartment right now.

This last week we had a really good lesson with one of our investigators. He was saying how he used to be bitter and angry guy. He would get depressed a lot. Since we have been teaching him, he was able to feel the spirit. He was saying, “ah, I don't feel alone anymore. I feel like where my heart was empty, it feels full.” He was describing the Spirit, and we told him that was what he was feeling. He thought it was pretty cool, and he was excited about it; because he hasn't had too much experience with God. He doesn't know much about the scriptures. It was neat to see. The friend of one of his kids, who was sitting on the couch next to him, said, “yeah, he used to be really angry, but he's different now!” (haha) So that was kind of cool. That was a really neat experience, and he is starting to grow and progress.

We were teaching this other guy who was less active, and helping him out. He's a good guy, and has a lot of drive, and can do a lot of good. He has a lot of potential. He is just a little bit nervous about coming to church. We went over and taught his son, who is about to get baptized. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation. He just kept telling us about his son being dead set on getting baptized. (haha) Which is kind of encouraging his dad to do better, which is good. He wants to come back to church, which is hard for him, but he can get there.

We were able to participate in the dedication of somebody's home. They are a neat family.

We have been busy and teaching a lot of people.

A neat experience is we thought of a street where we might go and knock on doors. It stuck in both our minds that we should go on that street. A lot of people seem to be open and receptive down there. There are a lot of members there, and we have a few investigators on that street.

We had the opportunity to go to the jail and visit a guy and build his spirits a little bit. We'll see about getting him some scriptures. That was kind of neat. I've never done that before.

Monday was a holiday. We were able to play basketball. That was really fun. I love playing basketball now, and I'm getting pretty good. So, that's what I'll probably end up doing when I get back home (haha).

Let's see – funny stories.

Elder Record: “So, what's been the funniest thing or dumbest thing I've done so far?”
Elder Beirne: “Are you recording right now?”
Elder Record: “Yeah”
Elder Beirne: “You're voice cracked six times this morning.”
Elder Record: “Well... I did that on purpose. When I get excited, my voice gets high.”
Elder Beirne: “Oh, it was the argument about the chair in the truck.”
Elder Record: “What chair?”
Elder Beirne: “Like, why do you sit so close to the dashboard? I like sitting close to the dashboard.”
Elder Record: “Oh, yeah. That's right” [Lots of laughter from both missionaries]

Anyway, I'm kind of spastic now and distracted; focused, but selective focused.

Elder Beirne: “Tell them about the D&C 104.”

Oh yeah, Dad you'll like this. I was reading in the History of the Church, the volume 2, like page 60; actually it was exactly page 60 and 59 (haha). Anyway, it was D&C 104 and they got all the normal names in the Doctrine and Covenants, but when I looked in the History of the Church, Joseph Smith put different names in there. I thought that was interesting. In the revelation it refers to Joseph Smith as Gazelem. I thought that was interesting because in Alma 37:23 it was talking about the Urim and Thumim, it's going to prepare the Urim and Thumim for his servant Gazelem is what the Lord's saying. Anyway, I want to look into that a little bit more.

We tried to get converted by this lady. She believes in a lot of good things. She believes in a different prophet, William Branham. That was a unique experience. I think it is interesting a lot of times how those who professed to be a prophet say they are infallible. I think that is kind of off because we are people. We are not infallible, only God's infallible. Even the Bible was written by people. They were inspired by God, but then wrote it down by themselves. So, it's going to be fallible. To me that seems like it would an instant turn off because.... Anyway, it was unique. I think that is where a lot of people fall away and get confused when they think that something that is coming from God, but through a person is going to be going to be completely infallible.

We had a member that made some key chains for us. They are pretty cool. I'll take a picture of them and send the pictures.

It's starting to get cold in Fairbanks. The leaves are just about gone. Actually they are really yellow. The sun comes out every day. It's getting colder, and Elder Beirne being from Hawaii is really, really cold. It was pretty neat though, his boots. There is a member who has been hanging on to these size 13 boots for like a year. They had no idea why they kept hanging on to them. Elder Beirne was like, “yeah, I'm going to need some boots.” “Oh, what size are you?” “Size thirteen.” The boots were size thirteen. Anyway, he got these way nice, brand new boots for free that these members just happened to have. It just kind of shows that the Lord is looking out for everybody, and they are really warm.

Take care. Talk to you all next week.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Refocused and Recommitted

We had zone conference this week. That was pretty cool. That was on Friday. We did a little mini trek on one of the member's property. They had a bunch of trails in back of their house, and the church buildings had some hand carts, so we had fun with that. The zone conference was related to Zion's camp, basically. So that kind of tied in. We learned a lot of different things and had a lot of different trainings on different ways we can improve on our missionary work. I like how the Zion's camp training was based on overcoming trials and going through patience to get the growth that we need and to prepare. I was thinking about how missions are kind of like that, and how it's going to prepare me a lot for when I get back home (haha). I did a little bit of training myself on working with members.

On Wednesday we had a lesson with one of our investigators. We taught his kids for a little bit and had one of the members come – she is actually the Primary president. So it was kind of nice. It was a good lesson. Sister Averett taught about prayer for the kids, but then we had a lesson with the parents.

We were able to meet with another lady and to help her; her name was [Name withheld]. We read a little bit with her in the Book of Mormon and were able to help her see the purpose in it.

We are excited for the coming week because we get to be busy with missionary work. Not that meetings aren't missionary work, but they are nice to refocus, but we are ready to go. I am kind of tired of sitting down in cars (haha). So I am excited for when I get back home when I will be walking and riding a bike everywhere, but that's beside the point.

I like Elder Beirne. He's a good missionary, and he's got the Spirit with him a lot, and so it helps me get excited and have a lot of fun while we are out doing missionary work. It helps me stay focused a lot.

I'm glad I have this opportunity to serve a mission. I feel like I learn something new every day. I really like where I am reading at in the Book of Mormon right now; in Helaman. I think it parallels a lot of what we go through today. I just like all the stories in there and like Nephi and what a great example he was. I like how in chapter 10 verses 4 and 5 how Nephi is weighed down, and even though he has such a strong testimony and was a successful missionary, the people still kind of reject him. When he is kind of weighed down with the sorrow, the Lord tells him he is happy with him, and the work that he has done. He says that he has seen how Nephi has with unwearyingness declared the word, and then he says that he is going to bless him. I like how that is kind of what the Lord looks for is our efforts, and what we do, and how hard we try. I also love how the Lord takes opportunities to comfort us and show us that he loves us. I feel I have been learning a lot of that on my mission so far (haha). I have been learning a lot about how to listen to the Spirit. It was just another fun week; great learning experience, and I'm excited about the next week.

We may be doing some awesome new things for P-days because we are starting to get a little more creative (haha). The weather is not so great, so we can't just play or do stuff outside as much anymore. We'll probably go to some museums or stuff like that. I'll make sure to take pictures.

If you could, it would be awesome if you could take another picture of everybody and send it up. I'm sure everybody has grown. I'd like to see how everyone has grown and everybody's heights compared to each other. (haha) And then see how short I am in comparison.

I will be sending today my SD card in the mail with some of my movies and pictures and stuff. That's about it. Have a great week!

Love, Elder Record