I testify to all that the Gospel of Christ as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true Gospel on the Earth today. It possesses the same authority that was given by Jesus Christ to his Apostles when He was on the Earth. He reestablished His church and authority through Joseph Smith in the early 1800s. If you don't know about it, you should. Meet with the missionaries to learn about it. Don't take my word or theirs, though. You can know it is true, through prayer, as taught in James 1:5. This is how I know it is true. Whenever I pray, study the scriptures, or serve God by serving others, I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the Earth and that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me. He sent His Son to suffer and die, so that we can be able to live with Him and our families for ever if we have faith in and follow Our Savior. It has brought so much peace and happiness in my life and hope for my life after death. I know its true.
The most amazing thing that has happened so far is a chance meeting we had with a young man named Akeem as we were riding our bikes at night. A few weeks ago, he moved here from Bakersville, CA to support his aunt and to work. What a great guy! He is usually very bored with not much to do, and he isn't liking the church his aunt takes him to. When we started talking to him about our church, we could see his eyes light up. He is so prepared for the Gospel by his situation, and we are extremely excited to teach him and invite him to come and follow Jesus Christ.
Recently, just over a month ago, a Spanish group was formed here in the Casper area. I will thankfully have the opportunity to work with them a little bit. There were already 60 people who attended church in that group on Sunday. My assignment, however, is the Casper 1st ward. For those of you who aren't familiar with the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a ward is a congregation determined by the area you live in. There are also smaller congregations called branches. A group of several congregations form a stake, and there are hundreds of stakes throughout the world, making over 15 million members of the church. In a ward, there are generally between 100-200 active members who come every week and willingly serve the church is various positions of leadership, teaching, etc.
I live in a town home with my companion and one other set of Spanish speaking missionaries. My companion is Elder Kirton and we live with Elders Dommer and Juarez. Elder Juarez is a native speaker from Guatumala, and he is a blast to be around. I love the others, too, and we get along really well. Elder Kirton, who is training me, is a great missionary who sets an awesome example for me. Although I am not working in Spanish, it is so great to be able to practice the language with the others. It was such an unbelievable blessing to be sent to this area with the opportunities I will have, but I do believe it because I know that my Father in Heaven loves me and is overlooking the work of the missionaries throughout the world.
I was so excited to find out where I'll be serving. When the announcements were being made for all of us new missionaries, I could barely stay in my seat. Then I heard my name and stopped breathing. The announcement was that I am serving in Casper, Wyoming and that my companion is a Spanish speaking missionary. I was so pumped!! Casper is known throughout the mission as the area where there are so many wonderful members of the church who almost every day provide dinner for the missionaries. It has been so wonderful to meet everyone here.
My first stop was the mission home in Rapid City, which is the house where the Mission President and his wife live. They are so awesome! I got to spend two nights there waiting for the ride to my first area. We played ping-pong, ate great food, and went through some orientation/training. On Tuesday, I got to work with the local missionaries. We did some door to door contacting, and someone let us in to teach about the Gospel! It was awesome. What I learned from that experience is that the Lord really strengthens and wipes away our fears as we do His work. I felt terrified to knock on strangers' doors, but as stood there in front of the door, all doubts and fears vanished. I know that this is God's work, and that as I continue to work with faith in Jesus Christ, I will receive the strength I need, and I will be able to find people to teach whose hearts are open to receive the Gospel.
Well, I forgot to bring my camera to the library, so you'll have to wait again for pictures. Sorry :(When I flew into Rapid City, it was snowing! The next two days were almost 50 degrees, so that was an unexpected surprise.