Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas!

This Christmas I have been thinking about the recordings of Christ in the scriptures. Jacob, a prophet in ancient America, stated: 
"For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us."

I decided to record my testimony of the Savior this year, and I would like to share at least some of it with you, maybe all. It is the most important thing that I can share with any of you, because it is the most valuable thing I have:

Recently, two parts of the Plan of Salvation have stuck out to me more than ever before. First, the vitality of gaining a physical body has really sunk in. Second, it has deeply impressed me that Heavenly Father sacrificed and punished His literal Son. The fact that the Anointed, Chosen Son of God was the one to suffer for our sins displays the infinite mercy of Our Father. Christ must have been the most precious gift that Heavenly Father could have offered. They had worked hand in hand since before the world began. How great the pain must have been for the Father to withdraw; not to mention the payment for our sins - which overcame justice.

We lived with God, so why did we have to leave? To gain a body and experience. Then, why couldn't He just pick us back up there when our lives are over? That would destroy justice, and He would cease to be God. He is perfectly just. The options were to either leave us as spirits, not knowing the complete joys of a physical body, leave us in a fallen, sinful state contrary to the nature of happiness for eternity, or to sacrifice His most precious Son. This decision was made before the Creation of the world.

My testimony of the Savior is the most precious possession I have. I draw this conclusion because there is nothing else that, if taken from me, would suck so much joy and peace out of my life. Even with my family, life wouldn't be enough without Christ. But, without my family, though excruciating it may be life could be worth living because of My Redeemer. 

- I am not weak to say that I desperately need a Savior. Every living soul needs Him. Those who do not realize it, though they may convince themselves they are fine, or even comfortable, are left on their own, powerless to take hold of everlasting happiness and peace. They will be miserable. Everybody will eventually confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God; they will confess the need for a Savior. Those who still do not accept Him will be lost forever, but those who humble themselves and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whether on earth or when they have the chance after this life, will be inheritors of an eternal life of joy and peace and freedom from all sorrow and cares. -

I know that He lives and loves me. I know that the love that has brought about such great mercy is charity. To "be possessed of charity" is not to have the capability to love as God does, but to feel God's love for self and all humankind so strongly that one may know how to treat others in a Christlike manner and find joy in so doing, due to the sincerity and integrity of heart by which the person acts. This charity is the greatest of all because it has played the most pivotal role in bringing mercy to our souls through the great Plan of Redemption.

I know that My Savior understands me and will do anything possible to rescue me. Looking at where I am today, I know that His grace is a real power. I know that He called Joseph Smith to initiate this marvelous work and wonder, and that a man can certainly draw closer to God by abiding by the precepts of the Book of Mormon than by any other book. I know that faithfully doing so will bring about the Plan of Mercy upon us and will transform us into inheritors of eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God, because it came at the cost of sacrificing His Holy and Most Precious Offspring; The Gift.

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Area

So, on thanksgiving, I arrived in Sturgis, SD. This place is awesome. Elder Emmett, who I knew before, is my new companion, and we are going to work great together. He cares a lot about missionary work and the gospel! We also work in some surrounding towns, including Deadwood and Lead, which are beautiful. They are in the Black Hills, and really, the towns were built on very hilly terrain. Lead was built there out of convenience for Miners who worked there back before the automobile days. The houses there are beautiful! I took a picture of the town, but the library computers here won't accept my camera, so I'll have to figure something else out for next week.

I just want to take a minute to talk about the Christmas season. The Church has put out a Christmas website ( with a 2 1/2 minute video called He is the Gift. The site is centered around the pattern: Discover the gift, embrace the gift, and share the gift. Last night, the Church also put on a Christmas devotional that we got to watch over satellite. It was full of  beautiful music and great speaking from Church leaders. I would invite you to find it on Beforehand, I was feeling a little bit dull. I think that's the right word. I wasn't sad or upset, but there was something weighing on the back of my mind and draining my energy. I was not my cheerful self, and I have no idea what was causing the negativity. But, the devotional brought me some peace. At night, I still felt that weight, though. It was time for my nightly prayer, and here's the experience I had, in words that I shared with my Mission President:

"I was praying, planning to communicate with Heavenly Father about some of my weaknesses and some minor concerns with the gospel that came up, but as I was expressing my shortcomings, I literally felt something stopping me. I tried a couple more times to express different things that were on my mind, but I was prompted to stop and listen. As I waited, familiar yet personal words were put in my mind. They were so clear, and it felt so different than if I were just remembering or reciting the words on my own. I have the words recorded somewhere, but here I'll just say that the Spirit pierced my heart with these words and peace overcame me. I had no more desire to dwell on my weaknesses or even seek guidance on the concerns I had been having. I now feel better prepared to go and help others discover and embrace the gift of Jesus Christ."

As I went to church services and the devotional, I discovered the gift of Jesus Christ through learning about and listening to words about him. Through prayer, I embraced the gift. Now, I wish to share it with everybody. Please go to and at least watch the He is the Gift video. I hope some of you have already seen it.

I'll end with my testimony of Jesus Christ that I have gained from experience and the Holy Spirit of God. We all have burdens in our life, and we all need spiritual cleansing. We suffer from the weight of past sins and unresolved emotional pain. I have felt all of that. I know that relief from any of this can be found through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as His power gave sight, hearing, and health to those whom he ministered in life, the power that comes from his ultimate atoning sacrifice grants us spiritual healing when we come unto Him. If we embrace the true gospel, His grace will make us whole from the negativity that seems to be stuck to us. You may pretend to mask these feelings of guilt and pain from the past, but unless you have embraced Jesus Christ and been changed by Him, they still linger in your soul and they will forever. Let Him help you and heal you. I know that as you discover and embrace the sacred teachings of His gospel, you will find relief and healing, which will make room in your heart for peace and joy beyond understanding or explanation. This process is the only way to be prepared to enter the Kingdom of God when you meet your Creator face to face.

Monday, November 10, 2014

1st snow!!!

Today...the first snow...of the season...hit Williston. I have been here since April 30th and this is my first snow in Williston. And it already got down to around 10 degrees last night. The rest of the week won't be warmer either. But aside from the weather, I'd like to share with you something I have learned lately.

The last week of October, we had a conference with about 50-60 missionaries. We had a visitor at this conference. Elder Marcus B. Nash, of the seventy, came to address us and train us, and it was a fantastic experience. I want to mention something that his wife taught us, though. Sister Nash talked about the importance of a vision, meaning something to work towards. She gave us the following image: You are out rowing a boat in the middle of the ocean, and you do not see land. How long are you going to stay motivated? You'll probably want to drown yourself. What happens if you can see land in the distance. A little more motivation. How about an island a few hundred feet from you. Then you will be very motivated. I thought about this a lot, and I also saw a parallel to covenants. Our ultimate vision is eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father. He has given us other things along the way, however, to set our vision on. The first is probably baptism. I have noticed that the knowledge of baptism truly gives people greater motivation to progress in living the gospel. For those who have already been baptized, the temple gives them a vision. For those who have gone to the temple, a temple marriage gives us something to look forward to. After that, we work to keep our families strong and to prepare together to enter the Kingdom of God. We can also be motivated as we see our children and grandchildren working towards baptism, temple covenants, and temple marriage. AND, every week, we all have the sacrament as a time to renew our commitment and refresh our covenants. We can even look forward every day to account to our Father in prayer how we lived our lives that day. Without a vision and checkpoints along the way, we would be lost, and it would be pointless to try to stay motivated to live the gospel. Eternal life, made possible through Jesus Christ, is our vision, and it gives us the hope we need to move forward. Do everything you can to gain faith in Christ's true gospel so that you can have a vision of your purpose in life. The whole message of the scriptures, the entirety of what God wants and needs us to know, is that the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes it possible for us and our families to become more like the Father through making and keeping covenants. These sacred covenants must be bound through ordinances performed by the Holy Priesthood of God, found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This gospel, and nothing else, will lead us to everlasting life and exaltation. God's whole work is to bring this message to all of humankind and redeem them from their lost and fallen state. This is why I am choosing to take two years to serve the Lord. I know that He lives and has mercifully reached out to us through scriptures, the gift of prayer, and His Church organization led by a prophet. I testify to all that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as part of His perfect plan, to save the world. I promise you that anything unfair in your life does not go unnoticed by your Father. He desperately wants to bless you and make things right. So live the gospel, and let His grace enter your soul.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Another 6 weeks in Williston!!!

This week I want to share a part of my letter to my Mission President, because I had a great week. Also, check out the sunrise from this morning!

Ok, here it is:

"There are a couple of experiences in particular that have touched me this week. The first is with a young man who Elder Sullivan actually knew in Hurricane, UT. His parents have lived here for a while, but he just moved in right before Elder Sullivan got here. He has made bad choices regarding the word of wisdom, but has a desire to change. We invited him to come out with us, then we had the opportunity to teach him once about the doctrine of repentance and another time about the plan of salvation. He has a copy of Preach My Gospel, he set up an appointment with Bishop Packer, and he has told us and his parents that he has decided for certain to go on a mission. I feel great joy in seeing him repent! The second experience is Michael. I think I've told you about him being picked up broken down on the side of the road by a member, having health issues that kept him from work; in short, going through unfavorable circumstances yet being guided to us. He was baptized on Saturday, and it was amazing. We told him to think of all the guilt and negative feelings from his past when he stepped into the water. He did, and he told us that He could feel the relief that I know comes from the Atonement. We saw him last night, and that was the first time, at least that I remember, when I could literally perceive a change because of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Up to the baptism, we noticed mighty changes in him. This was from the power of The Book of Mormon, church, prayer, etc. But, there was a real difference in countenance and outlook after the baptism and confirmation. He ended the lesson with a beautiful prayer; perhaps the most sincere I have ever heard. It sounded as if he were right there at his Father's feet. I have learned so much from Michael and his conversion."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Miracles do happen.

My letter this week will focus on amazing experiences that have fortified my faith that God lives and that this is His work that I am carrying out with His divine help.

First of all, let me share with you an experience I had on wednesday. This is taken from my weekly letter to my Mission President:

"...I would tell you one more story from my exchange with Elder Gruver. It was about 8:45 and we had nothing else planned, so we went to knock some doors (honestly, I probably would have just driven home). We knocked half a block with one great door slam, yet no other success. It was 9 by the time we knocked the block, but we decided that we had to go to one more house. I saw one more block down, in a cul-de-sac, an open garage with a man busy at work inside. I told Elder Gruver, "we are going to go help them with something." So we went and offered help to his wife who was out front. She said no and did not seem interested by anything else. She had met with missionaries before. Then her husband called, "HEY! Are you two free labor?" We were excited and knew that this is what we were looking for. I talked to the wife for a minute about temples and eternal families, then I joined Elder Gruver in helping the man push a very large, metal shop cabinet across his garage. Then we addressed the couple and their teenage daughter. We explained our missions a little bit, prayed, then went over the restoration briefly. It seemed that we answered concerns they had previously developed about The Book of Mormon, and we were able to testify that it was not a chance meeting. We helped with another service project for them the next night, and we will return tomorrow night to teach them. By the way, the man has recently had a change of schedule which gives him weekends off, and they were unimpressed by the New Hope church because of their focus on money and their new in-church coffee shop. We know that we were guided to that street at that time and that the Lord blessed us for diligence..."

The next day, we had another amazing experience. A man from the Church here stopped and helped a man on the side of the road. He has had serious health problems that have hospitalized him and kept him from work, making his time more available. He has been reflecting on life and having many regrets, yearning for a chance to change. On Thursday, we visited him in the church member's home. As we talked about our basic doctrines, he expressed his desires to change and his disappointment with his life to this point. Our conversation shifted to baptism, and the Spirit caused emotions in him that I'm sure he could not explain, because he apologized for his tears. When we invited him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the authority of God, he hesitated none to accept November 1st as his baptismal date.

Two nights later, Elder Sullivan (My companion) and I were out of people to visit around 8 o'clock. We had no real idea of what to do. I asked him to say a prayer to ask for guidance, so he did. In what felt like a random choice, we headed off to a nearby trailer park. We were rejected by one man, then we dropped off our bikes. I took out a Plan of Salvation pamphlet from my backpack, and I told Elder Sullivan that I felt like we needed to use it. We started walking, we knocked on a couple doors, which proved to be interactions for the purpose of delaying us, because when we started walking again, we heard a door open off to our side. We turned to it and started walking. We introduced ourselves briefly, then I asked, "Has anyone close to you passed away recently?" He told us that his dad had 4 years ago, and it had caused many family problems. We testified that we were there to tell him what happened to his father after he died. We prayed with him, talked about the purpose of life and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and testified that he could be sealed to his father forever because of the restored gospel. He committed to continue learning from us about this message.

The next night, which was last night, our Mission President came into town and wanted to go out to work with us. We tried to visit 2 people, one who had an appointment with us, but both fell through. Again, we wondered what to do. I asked President Anderson to say a prayer for guidance. He prayed that we could find someone with concerns that we could answer. After the prayer, he asked if our ward leaders wanted us to visit anyone. Someone very specific came to mind. We did not see that person last night, but I know it was inspired because it took us the right direction. As we looked for their home, I noticed a man sitting alone outside. I asked if the other two saw him, and they said no. But, I said that we should turn around and talk to him. President Anderson sent us out to ask him for directions, but we ended up talking about the gospel, because he had a cross around his neck. He said we could spend some time with him, so we beckoned to our Mission President to join. We prayed together and started to talk about his religious background. We learned more about his life, and he said that he moved up here because of a nasty break-up caused by his anger issues. We testified that we could help with that. Then, his sister joined us outside and we had a discussion about The Book of Mormon. They both want to learn more, so we are going to send the sisters back on Tuesday.

I bear my testimony to all of you that Our Father in Heaven is a God of miracles. He has the power to bless us and those we meet because of our diligent efforts. He wants us to work hard in the service of others, and the best service we can give is to declare the glad tidings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, He guides us and directs us and grants us success when we put our heart into His service. I promise that you can find God's guidance and influence in your life if you are willing to act in faith. He loves you as a perfect and all-knowing Father. I testify that He sent His Son Jesus Christ and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the organized body that holds the authority of God to teach, baptize, confirm, and seal families together for all eternity. I know that The Book of Mormon is holy scripture that does not add to or take from the Bible. It is not the work of men, but it is the word of God. God is free to speak to us, and to say that He stopped giving us His word with the limits of the Bible is to place on him restrictions with no doctrinal foundation He will continue to speak to us and work miracles. This Church and the large missionary movement of over 85,000 full-time missionaries is the "Marvelous work" and the "wonder" spoken of by the prophet Isaiah in chapter 29 of the book. The angel spoken of by John in Revelation has sounded his trump and spread the everlasting gospel over all the earth. This message is a message to happiness and truth. It is not designed to take anything away from you but to add to your faith in Christ, even to complete it, that you may be filled with joy and peace.
Isaiah 29:13-14

13 ¶Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

Revelation 14: 6-7

 6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Mormon 9: 7-10, 15, 20

 7 And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;

 8 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.

 9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?

 10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.

 15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.

 20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Still here in North Dakota!

This past week was another transfer week, and I'm safe here in North Dakota. That means I will be here at least a total of 5 1/2 months! Here is a picture of an oil rig, in case you were curious. Most of them are at least a few miles from town, but this one is actually pretty close to our church building. I heard some cool history about the oil industry recently, beginning in the times of the great depression. There was a man who owned many grocery stores throughout the North Dakota area, and during the depression, he would give free groceries to farmers in the area in exchange for their mineral rights. Now that the oil industry is so huge, his grandchildren are being rewarded for his kind deed. He had no practical use for the mineral rights, but he made the trade anyway for the good of society. What a cool piece of history. 

I would like to briefly address a problem that we face as humans. There are many sources trying to define success for us. We often feel pressures from those we associate with to fulfill their desires in order for us to be successful. There is only one source that, without fail, wants for us what will give us the most happiness that we can have. God does not promise us wealth, popularity, approval from our leaders, or freedom from challenges and trials. He does promise us eternal life, however, if we are faithful in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Father sent a Savior to us to show us the way to live now and to make possible infinite peace and joy in the life to come by paying our way into the Kingdom of God, into which no sin can enter. In the Church, we hope that our leaders always want the best for us, but even they are far from perfect. Sometimes in our efforts to follow the counsel of our leaders, or bosses, or teachers, or counsellors, or even parents at times, we forget the ultimately more important priority to seek and live the will of God for our lives. It may be the strictest and require much self discipline, but it does not put unnecessary pressure or stress on us. It is important to trust those that have been put in our lives to instruct us and direct us, but we must remember that their influence and authority cannot and will not ever overpower God's merciful hand, which He so lovingly and patiently extends to us. His invitation is to repent and be baptized, with faith in His Son,  which pattern of life will never fail to give us true and lasting success; Real success that does not give us worldly status or recognition but that makes us perfectly and permanently clean in the eyes of Our Creator. John 14:1-6, 15-27 (KJV):

 1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
15 ¶If ye love me, keep my commandments.

 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Monday, August 11, 2014

I have to let everyone know that this has been an amazing week! I am willing to make the statement that the last few days have been the most dramatically uplifting days of my life. Looking back, I can see that I have been struggling for several weeks but that I have been too naive to notice it. Sometimes we get the impression that we are doing better than we actually are. We look at all the things that are going right and that are right about us, but then we fail to grow and progress. On the other hand, if we focus only on what we are doing wrong, we become discouraged and depressed. One of the tricks of life is finding the balance of rejoicing in success and learning from failure. A key to this is recognizing the source of our blessings. If you think back to the times when you have been rescued or saved by being able to recognize a failure in yourself and then having the strength to overcome it, you will notice that it wasn't anything special that you did. God reaches out to us through many sources. Maybe you have felt this through scriptures, parents, friends, even feelings that you get when you pray. It could come through church, siblings, children, or anything else you can imagine. I know that we can be happier if we recognize this one truth:

"It is by the grace of God that we discover our weaknesses; it is by the grace of God that we have the strength to overcome them; it is by the grace of God that we receive any blessing in life, even if and especially when that blessing is simply the gift of life. All that we can and must do is accept God's will for us and be willing to make the changes that His grace offers us the possibility of making."

If you don't think you need God, your life will be a dull, repetitive life. Everybody has ups and downs, but God has provided us with the way to lasting success. In order to really achieve anything worthwhile in life, we must look to Jesus Christ. I testify that we will stand before God at the last day, and our worthiness will be determined by one thing, and one thing only. That is our spiritual preparedness. All that we do and have to make ourselves feel worth something will disappear upon death. The only thing that will clothe our vulnerability and unworthiness before God is our discipleship of the Lord Jesus Christ. The entertainment we seek, recreation, careers, education, physical stature, strength, abilities, talents; anything measurable to the human eye will vanish when we come into the presence of God, and we will stand naked of anything but the desires of our hearts and our works (see Revelation 20: 12-13, KJV, quoted below). There is a common belief throughout the world that by grace alone we are saved, and that works don't matter. The first part is absolutely true, but works are necessary. Works do not matter because they show superiority or because we believe we can save ourselves through works. Works matter for one reason. They are the evidence that we have allowed God into our life and let His grace change us. They show that we have not shut Him out, but that we have opened our hearts and our lives to Him.

The importance of serving God is urgent. Because I know that we will be judged before God and that nothing ungodly can dwell in His Kingdom, I know that without being changed by grace and living the gospel as evidence of this transformation, we will certainly not be prepared to meet Him, much less to live with Him. We will not feel comfortable in His presence, because the only feelings that exist in Heaven are the same feelings that result from living close to Him here. If His grace has changed you and converted you, you will be able to know. You will sincerely desire to do good. You will look forward to activities such as prayer, scripture study, church, offering service to others, and anything else spiritual. If you experience such changes, you will not be able to deny God's power (see Moroni 10: 32-33, quoted below). If you read this and say, I am just not like that, you might be right. But, you can be. Follow the advice of Moroni and come unto Christ. I strongly urge you to do so, because it is truly the only thing of eternal significance. Make God a priority; prepare to meet Him by exercising faith in Christ and repenting. Further that by being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost, then live a life as a disciple of Christ. It is infinitely rewarding to live this gospel as taught simply in the New Testament of the Bible, The Book of Mormon, and God's authorized servants and leaders of His Church Today.

Revelation 20: 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Moroni 10: 32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

 33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy 4th!!

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!! I did! We received special permission from our Mission President to stay out and watch fireworks. We had a great evening with one of the families from the Church here. We started with a dinner from KFC and it went from there. There was also another couple there, one of which was baptized just in May. We were able to talk to both families about how they can share the gospel with those they care about. Then we had fun with fireworks! I can't say I thought a lot about the true meaning of the holiday, but I'd like to talk about it now. To me, it means that God has provided a place for us to have religious freedom. Of course there are many other freedoms that come from living in the US, but that is the one that provides the most lasting effect in our lives. It is the one that allows us to make a difference in what happens after we die. Because we can worship God how we see fit in this country, we need not worry about what is going to happen in the next life. We can learn about Jesus Christ and Our Father in Heaven. We are free to practice our faith and live the gospel with no worries about legal restrictions. That is such a huge blessing, because as I have learned to live the teachings and follow the example of my Savior, I have gained a confidence in my personal relationship with God. I do not worry about what is true or how I need to live my life. There are always doubts, but I have a sense of direction, and I trust the Lord to guide my life as I turn to Him. The future is in His hands. I hope you can all take advantage of the blessing of living in this country. A prophet foretold of this in The Book of Mormon, which was written on this land in ancient times and has come to us to confirm and clarify the doctrines taught in the Holy Bible. Jacob was one of the first prophets on this land around 550 B.C. He wrote:

" But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land. And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles. And I will fortify this land against all other nations. And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God. For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words."

-2 Nephi 10:11-14

If you feel that you lack "light" in your life and you need a better vision of the future, turn to the Lord and serve Him. It is no wonder to me that those who place more priority on careers, fashion, entertainment, recreation, etc. than on God lack a sense of real purpose to their life. A life not headed by God will certainly lead to doubt, eventually if not immediately. We can be confident that we will have success in our careers and all aspects of our lives if we put Him first. He cares about our needs first, but our wants as well. He knows we want to be happy, and He will show us how to achieve that. But, true and lasting happiness will only come with self-sacrifice. I have learned that to be true as I have lived and observed others. It is clear to me the Jesus Christ is the only 100% unfailing foundation for our lives.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Safe in Williston.

I'll make this a short post. I will be in Williston for at least 6 more weeks and I love it! I'd like to explain some mission organization. We have the mission, which is about 200 or so missionaries in an area. That is led by a Mission President who is usually old enough to have grown children. Then, we have about 5-10 zones in each mission. Two Elders (young male missionaries) lead each zone. Within each zone, divided by area, are 3-5 districts, each led by one Elder. Then, within each district, each pair (companionship) of missionaries covers a specific area. This picture is of the missionaries in the Williston district.

I love the mission organization. It allows information to be passed down effectively, and it provides a great support system. This is how Christ commanded His servants to work. 

Luke 10:1-3:

 1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

Monday, May 19, 2014

I've been so busy!

I am sorry that I haven't posted anything recently! I have been so busy up here in Williston! It is not a describable place. It is like any other small country town, but It has been filled with so many trucks and outlined with trailers and apartments. It's almost like a peanut with a shell of oil workers and an inside of old town folk. The population has exploded from about 18 thousand (I think) to way over 30 thousand (I think) in the past couple of decades (I think). Could someone please look that up for me? My dad also just informed me that Williston is currently the #1 most expensive place in the USA to rent an apartment right now. WOW I'm actually at the top of a list for once in my life!

I'll share one thing this week. When I got the call to come to Williston, I received an assignment with more responsibility than I've had through the rest of my mission. As I travelled from Casper, I thought a lot about my new assignment. I have observed other missionaries perform this assignment, and I felt that I was incapable of carrying it out very well. Well, I was right, but there's more! We were listening to music on the way up, and "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" came on. The lyrics are:

1. I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

2. He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

3. He lives, my kind, wise heav'nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I'll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

4. He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"

The line that stood out to me is "He lives, my Savior, still the same." I know that Jesus Christ suffered all of our pains when He performed the Atonement (Isaiah 53:3-5). However, I felt it in a deeper sense than I ever have before. I know that He is exactly the same today as He was the second after He rose from the dead. As a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my duty is to represent the Savior in all that I do, and perform whatever actions he would if he were in my position. Therefore, He knows exactly how I felt when I received this assignment. To be like Jesus Christ, especially on a larger scale as I am assigned to do now, is very overwhelming. I was so worried that I would fall short, but when I heard this song, I was comforted. The Atonement is not a far distant event for our Savior. He does not look back on it like we might on an instance of traumatic pain in our lives. The sense of agony is still perfectly vivid in the memory of the Lamb of God. Right now, He exists and can perfectly tune in to our trials. The stress of my responsibilities is something that He can relate to as if He were in my shoes right now, and the same connection with Him is available to everyone today. You can receive strength from above. Get on your knees daily and confess your weaknesses before God. Plead with Him with all of your heart for help. He will not leave you on your own. I have heard this so many times, but to experience it so strongly was a new experience for me. I know that we can receive grace from our Lord as we humble ourselves and strive to serve Him with every ounce of our heart. This is the testimony that God has given me, and I want everyone else to be able to experience it as well.

Matthew 11:28-30:

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.


 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!

My companion got a book of 108 Hello Kitty fake tattoos for Easter, and he let me use one :) I probably haven't put one of these on since I was 7 or 8, but I remember my mom putting dinosaurs on my hands! Today we are going to play soccer for our P-day activity, and I know for a fact that I'll run faster with Hello Kitty on my leg.

For Easter, we have been sharing a 3 minute video with everyone we can about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Please check it out! the url is

As I have watched it, I have had many thoughts come into my mind. Many people in the world today who face many pains and challenges look at their trials as evidence that we do not have a loving Heavenly Father. To me, this is a logical idea that shows the faults of human understanding. We learn from Isaiah 55:8-9 that God's thoughts are not our thoughts. He allows us to go through physical pains and temporal struggles to make us stronger. Jesus Christ's life was given in pain (Isaiah 53:3-5) yet he never for a second doubted His Fathers will or his divine mission to save us, His spiritual family. Our Savior knew that physical welfare and spiritual welfare do not always reflect one another in an immediate sense. Often, severe physical trials are a requirement to strengthen our spirits to their full potential. But, if we live the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can be assured that we will be able to live in a world after this life with no physical pain, no heartbreak, no guilt, and no challenges. We will live forever in a state of perfect happiness and peace. However, if we forget our Creator and seek the vain things of the world, we have no such promise. Pleasures of the world, such and drugs, alcohol, sex, or even public recognition, are all spiritual dangers that can lead us to sin against our Father in Heaven. Many of these pleasures do seem good because they can immediately benefit our physical senses, but the only way to obtain everlasting rewards both spiritually and physically is to follow Jesus Christ. As I have tried my best to live His gospel, I have learned and grown under the grace of my Savior. I am certain that He lives now and that he came to earth as my personal Savior. Please turn to Him, and He will not forsake you or forget to reward you. Don't give up if you feel that God has forsaken you. I know that those who patiently wait on the Lord will not be forgotten.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Flat Tire, Full Heart

I know that the title may not make sense with the picture because my heart most certainly does not look full. But yes, we did get a flat tire this week. In the front seat is one of the other missionaries calling the mission office in Rapid City to let them know...

But really, my heart has been full. Serving a mission is a great opportunity. The work does not always show success, but I am constantly growing as a person. It is sad when people do not accept the gospel, but both when the work is slow and when it is going well, I learn valuable lessons. I am learning to be patient. I am learning how to trust in the Lord and recognize His influence in my life. I am learning how to relate the gospel to life, and to help others through their struggles, which I know will bless me for my entire life. I am learning to view others as Christ would and to treat them with love, as He would. The opportunities that God gives each of us will either help us to become more like Christ or distance us from Him. If we do not use each opportunity to become a better person, we will not fulfill our maximum potential for happiness.

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." -John 17:3

Let us learn about Jesus Christ, because we know that He followed perfectly the will of the Father. As we strive to live more and more as Christ did, we will grow closer to Him and to our Father in Heaven. "Life eternal" is living in complete happiness forever. There will be no heartache; no pain; no physical limitations as we turn our hearts to God and let our actions each day exemplify the teachings and life of Jesus Christ. Let us also remember that even after our best efforts, it is only because of the sacrifice of our Savior that we may achieve eternal life. 

"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot." -Moroni 10:32-33

Monday, April 7, 2014

Free Food!!

Lately, we've been volunteering at a food bank two times a week. I finally got up the courage to ask for some food, and now I have snacks for the next few months! YES. I have a lot to do today so I'll make this short.

Last week I talked about the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and this past weekend we all had the opportunity to hear from the prophet and apostles by broadcast. As I listened to their words, there was no doubt in my mind that they are appointed by God to lead the Church. They are the way by which God can communicate to the whole world in modern language. Next week, I will share some of their words, because they are not yet available on the website. But, the videos are available, so please watch this talk from President Henry B. Eyring.

Have a great week!

Monday, March 31, 2014

I don't care what's on the calendar, it is so NOT SPRING

Today, we woke up to at least 3-4 inches of snow on the car. No need for further explication. Here is our "palabra del dia" board that I've been meaning to share.

We've been doing this for about a month now, and among my favorite words are "pilluelo" (mischievous) and "mezquino" (wretched/miserly). Now for the story behind the broken board. It hasn't always been hanging up, so it used to be leaning against the table. I may have mentioned that I like to practice handstands at night. Well, I got a pretty good one and apparently I got too excited, because I somehow tipped over right on the whiteboard and snapped it :(

Just a quick scripture today. Ephesians 2:19-20

 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

This is how Jesus Christ set up His Church when He was on the earth. He also taught that we must be baptized in order to enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:5, Mark 16:16). In Ephesians 4:5 we learn that there is to be one baptism. In 1 Cor. 12 we learn about the body of Christ. The body of Christ, or His Church, is the Kingdom of God on the earth, which we may be baptized into. If we then continue following Christ to the end of our lives, we have the promise of everlasting life. That is worth so much more than any pursuit available to us here on earth. Our Father in Heaven wants us to have families, careers, friends, recreation, and other things in our lives. We just need to make sure that He comes before any of these things, and as we pursue these things, we must make sure to put God's will as the top priority, then we will have success. Perhaps it won't come immediately, but I believe the promise found in proverbs 3:5-6. I testify that the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ as explained in Ephesians is important for our day (Ephesians 4:11-14). I testify that Prophets and Apostles are on the earth today to guide the Church. I realize that this statement carries a lot of weight, and I don't expect you to believe me. Think about what I've said and take it to God in sincere prayer. If you really want to know and you are willing to act based off of the answer you receive, you will definitely receive an answer. If you really want to find the truth behind what I'm saying, you will also meet with the missionaries. I have by no means given you enough information, but the missionaries will. They can help you see why it is important for you. Our Father in Heaven wants us all to find the truth in our lives. That is why there is 85,000 missionaries throughout the globe. It is the work of God to bring all to the knowledge of the truth. He expects people to search in faith, and not wait for an answer.

 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."  -Hebrews 11:6

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

I like mine farm fresh! We stopped by a members house, and they have their own chickens! They sell them, but to us they were kind enough to give some away :) I could definitely tell a difference from store-bought eggs.

Yesterday all of the missionaries from here in Casper took a trip out to Martin's Cove, so that's why I didn't make a post. Martin's Cove is a historical site where some of the pioneers got caught in an early winter storm in 1856. They camped there for five nights because they could not move on due to weather and lack of strength. They waited there for assistance. It is a worthwhile spot to consider as a stop on a vacation. It really helped me to appreciate even more the sacrifices of the early members of the Church to travel across the country. The highlight, however, had nothing to do with history. As we waited for our lunch (don't expect lunch there unless you are a missionary :)), we were shown a video on families that is only presented in LDS visitor centers. I told my parents of the experience:

"Yesterday at Martin's Cove we watched a video about families, which was a very tender experience. I though a lot about CarrieAnne, grandma Dudley, and other members of the family. It also made me very excited and anxious for starting my own family. The responsibility and the joy of families both weighed on me and showed in my emotions. I know that out of the many people who teach me in life, other than Jesus Christ, none of their influences will ever rival that of my parents, until perhaps I am able to learn from my spouse and my children."

For a little bit of information, my parents had a baby girl pass away at ten months about 3 years before I was born, and my grandma recently passed away. These events bring sadness because of the absence of people so dear to us, depending on how close we were with them, but they also bring us closer to God and make us stronger if we let them. Because of the gospel , I know that the sweet memories that we have with our loved ones in life do not stand alone, for we have the eternities to create more with them. This possibility comes from living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I imagined my grandparents free from all imperfections of health, as I know I will meet them after this life. Only because of Jesus Christ can we hope to be free of cares and suffering in the next life. However, the knowledge that I can share everlasting joy with my family members is what motivates me to follow Christ. I would have little motivation to do God's will if I didn't know that it would lead me to a life with my family forever. God's choice social unit is the family, both here and  especially after we leave this world, where we will not have any of the concerns that we face here. Jesus Christ is my reason to hope. My family is my reason to work. And, the Holy Spirit that I feel in my heart when I bring myself humbly and wholly to God is how I know that it is real.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Miss Me I'm Irish

Happy St. Patrick's day everyone! It's always fun to participate in a little holiday spirit! Luckily it landed on a preparation day! (Mondays are our day to take off of proselyting to get ready for the week - Preparation day)

This past weekend has been transfer time, which happens every six weeks. On these weeks, we have the chance of moving to another area. For the next six weeks, I will still be here with Elder Bell. I am so happy, because we have a great time (see picture) but still stay focused on the work.

Each week, our mission president sends out a mass email to all of the 230+ missionaries in our mission with advice or spiritual thoughts. This week, I'd like to talk about something he said. He suggested that as we teach people how to pray, we ask them "If God were in the room right now, what would you ask Him?" Making our prayers as a conversation with our Father in Heaven is a very important skill to learn. It is hard to imagine a real, tangible being who can hear our communications to Him and those of everyone else who makes such attempts. That is an amazing, miraculous concept. If we can imagine speaking in direct conversation to Him, however, we will learn to grasp that concept and we will become aware of it's truthfulness. As I have taken the time to truly imagine my Father listening to me as I pray, my prayers become more sincere and earnest, and my faith in God develops as the answers become more easily recognizable. Practicing this daily has brought me a surety that God hears are prayers and that He has a deep, unconditional love for each of us. In psychology class, the suggestion was made that many religious people can have imaginary relationships with a higher power that they believe in. This caused me to wonder, but I beg to differ. Those who call upon the Lord in sincerity can feel indescribable influences come into their heart and mind. Prayer is a very real gift. It is a true line of communication with the Father of our spirits, inexplicable by science or reason. I invite each of you to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, as the Savior himself taught. He wants to be an influence in your life. There are not many who want to influence your life, motivated 100% by a desire for your well-being, and nobody, even you, knows what you need better than Him.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Don't Worry, the Cat is not in Our Apartment

I finally got a picture! This cat really did not want to kiss me... but I didn't want to kiss it either, I was just posing for the picture! This is the cat that is constantly roaming around our apartment complex, and we have no idea who it belongs to! It is often lounging in our building's laundry room, which is where the picture is taken. 

We had a fairly slow week as far as teaching goes, but we did a ton of organization for our new English proselyting area. That took way too much time for my taste, but I know that God wants us to be organized, so my "taste" doesn't matter. It is one of His characteristics that He wants us to develop. Careful organization leads to lasting success, which is something that I have learned more on my mission than ever. Another attribute that God wants us to develop is love (1 John 4: 7-9). He loves perfectly, and the more we learn to love those around us unconditionally, the more we become like our Father. I have been realizing more and more that the things that God commands us to do always allow us to grow more like Him. I have always known that His commandments are in place for our well-being, but I haven't thought about it in this way very much. He truly does, as a perfect Father, want us to develop the attributes that He has, and the opportunities we have in life, if seized, will help us to do that. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the perfect example. We cannot receive eternal life with God unless we are clean as Christ. He knows we are incapable of this on our own, and this is the purpose of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He has asked us to live His gospel, and in turn He will cleanse us by His Spirit. This is the course of lasting happiness, and the price that we must pay is so simple. As Christ said, His burden is light, and He invites all of us to come to Him and bear that burden (Matthew 11:28-30).

Monday, March 3, 2014

I'm a Spanglish Missionary Now

I had an amazing picture to post, but just wait to hear this. I was looking through my pictures and found one I didn't want. Sadly, I was paying close enough attention. I erased all of the pictures on my camera...At least I have most of them on a thumb drive! No new ones, though. The picture I was going to send was of me with a cat. There is a cat that always wanders around our apartment building, and we don't know who owns it. My missionary companion is a cat he naturally put on his cat bow tie and had me take a picture of him with the cat. I thought it would be a good one to put on the blog, so I also got a picture with our cat friend. I am sorry, I tried.

This morning something weird happened. We went to go use the laundry machines in another missionary apartment, and out of the blue my companion started wrestling me. I've never been a huge fan of wrestling, but I had some energy to let out. In the middle of our squabble, his head hit my chin, and I thought nothing of it. After I successfully pinned him(He has 3 inches and 50 pounds on me :)), I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I think my tooth is chipped a little bit. Actually, feeling it right now, I know it is! It's just a tiny chip though. I can have the dentist smooth it off soon. (Don't be mad at me, mom!)

I would just like to add a piece of my testimony. This past week especially, I have felt God's influence in my heart and in my life. I have recognized more the pivotal role He has played in getting me to this point. Assuming I already have my family (which I wouldn't have without Him) : Without God, there would be no scriptures; no words to guide us. There would be no basis for my family to have taught me the things that they have. There would have been no Savior, no atoning sacrifice, and by extension, no hope for lasting happiness. The more I work to bring my heart closer to God, the more He teaches my what I must do to change. When we start getting comfortable with where we are, that is when we should feel nervous. We always need to be coming closer to God, finding more and more ways to improve. He will change our hearts and it will not be hard to know what to do. Change is a continual, never-ending process. It is not something sorrowful. It is the happiest thing we can do in life, as long as the changes bring us more in line with our Father's will for us. As we make covenants with Him, starting with baptism, and continue to change until the end of our lives, we have the promise of eternal life with our families, The most joyful destination imaginable.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ups and Downs

I am sorry I have not posted a picture in a while. I will have one for next week!!

As we all should know, life is meant to have its challenges so that we can grow. I am not complaining and saying I have an awful life, but believe me when I say it has been a fairly disappointing week. We can always find the bright side though, and I do have a great experience to share with everyone.

One day this last week, I was not feeling the best about myself as a missionary. I felt that I was not making enough progress in becoming the person God wants me to be. I know that what he wants me to be will be the happiest person I can possibly become. I just felt that I made some backwards progress on this specific day. However, I have learned to love prayer because of days like this. When I really want to communicate with God, I kneel down with my scriptures at my side. As I expressed to Him the feelings of my heart, trying to imagine my real Father in Heaven listening to me, I could feel His love. Psychology would describe this as a relationship that we have created based on fiction, but what happens next is evidence to me of a real God. He communicates with us by His Spirit and also by His words found in the scriptures, written by prophets who He has given authority to speak His word. I thought something so random that it just seemed like my own thoughts being silly. "Jonah 2:3" I way, I'm just making this up, but I'll check just in case. This is not a scripture I would have remembered specifically, but it turns out that Jonah's experience in that verse and the rest of chapter 2 was very applicable to mine. As I read, I could picture myself being in a "whale." That is very much how I was feeling. As I finished the chapter, I was filled with peace and hope for the coming days. 

This experience may seem insignificant to anyone else who reads it, but to me it was evidence of the reality of God. I would encourage each of you to take all of your compiled feelings at the end of each day, positive or negative, and bring them before God in prayer. If you are willing to look for His counsel and guidance, He will show it to you. Just listen and then keep your eyes open and ready to see His answers. I wish that all of you can have experiences through which you can feel God's love for you. Many people say that if there is a God, he is not influencing society today. That is because people are not seeking Him in their lives. I know that the way to become most successful and happy in life is to keep your heart close to God every day, sincerely searching for Him and His will for you.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's Still Winter???

The weather this past week has been awesome! It's been in the mid-40s or higher every day! I didn't know Wyoming was capable of getting this warmer in the winter season. This has provided great opportunities to be outside and find people to talk to! One day last week, we just took some time to walk around for a while, and we found some interesting things to do. As we were walking, this big, black dog came running behind us. It was a shock, but we noticed that he wasn't chasing, but he was being chased by his owner's grandson. We asked if he wanted help rounding up the dog, and between breaths he got in the words "yes" and "please." So, I ran as fast as I could to get past the dog and turn it around, then my companion came from behind and grabbed the dog by its collar! I realize that I would have to take a lot more time to make this story amusing, but just trust me when I say it was crazy! As we continued walking, we knocked on a door of a house that we thought potentially belonged to Hispanics, but to our surprise, a very old woman in a wheelchair came out. We talked for a little bit, and asked if she needed anything. It turns our that she has had some debris in her yard from the surrounding trees and has been very worried about getting it cleared out. She didn't know anyone who could help, and we could see the concern in her eyes as she told us how she didn't want to get in trouble by the city. That was a great opportunity for us to share the love of Christ through service, and quite frankly, our schedule was looking pretty empty at the time, so it was good to have something to do. Work is the best way to fill time, especially when the efforts go to helping someone else out!

We also took some time to go downtown to the Mayor's office to try to contact him. Thankfully, in a town like this, it is not too difficult. We didn't talk to him directly, but his secretary was very open to having him contact us. We think meeting with him will be a great opportunity to discuss the Hispanic population here in Casper and to improve our relations with the public as missionaries. I also hope to find some more opportunities for service through the meeting. I will let everyone know how it goes.

I would encourage everyone to look for opportunities to reach out to those around them. Pay attention to people, put yourselves in their shoes, and I'm sure you'll be able to find opportunities to share Christ's love. In studying His life, we can constantly find that he "has compassion" on the people he sees. When we earnestly desire and seek the welfare of everyone we see, we can feel God's love more in our lives, and I know that this practice is what Our Savior would have us do. I would like to remind everyone of Christ's response when he was questioned as to the great commandment in the law in Matthew 22:

 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

 38 This is the first and great commandment.

 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

"Love thy neighbor as thyself." Do not underestimate this phrase. Anything that you would do for or wish upon yourself were you in the situations of those around you, do the same for them as much as is in your power. We do so much for ourselves every day. Christ's law is for everyone to share the load that our fellow beings carry.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Call me Professor Dudley

So, this past week, my new companion came into town. Elder Bell has been on his mission for 18 months now, speaking English the whole time, so I'm going to have a great experience teaching him. It's really cool, because I have thought in the past of teaching Spanish as a career, so this will give me a little taste of it. We spend one hour a day in our apartment learning Spanish, and I stand at the front of the room, like a Professor, and make notes on our whiteboard. Then, I explain the concepts more in depth and we practice them. It makes me feel like a genius. That's why it was so vital that I got asked to teach a class in church in the Spanish language. All I will say is that I did not feel like a genius after that, and I left the building as a more humble man. I actually do know that I have a lot of work to do with my Spanish speaking abilities, for the record. I am not a genius, and I know it.

I would just like to share one cool experience. One of the people we are teaching has had a hard time believing what we've been saying, and has not taken much action to research and ask God to find out for herself. The past week, she was going through some stress with their family's side business. She was worried that they would be short on money because their product was not selling. She remembered that people had told her about experiences with praying then opening up The Book of Mormon to a random page and finding their answer, so she tried it. The first words she saw were "Have faith." Even though this may seem like a coincidence, I know that God speaks to us through the scriptures when we need direction, comfort, or counsel. If we have an open heart, are sincere, and ask in faith, God can communicate to us in a way that may seem insignificant to onlookers. However the feelings of love and peace that God sends to us through the Spirit are undeniable as we have such experiences. (John 14:26-27 and Galatians 5:22-23)

Another Scripture that has really stuck out to me lately is Mosiah 28:3 from the Book of Mormon. It is talking about the sons of Mosiah who had been fighting against the Church but had been rescued by God through the appearance of an angel. This was a very similar experience to that of Saul/Paul in the New Testament. This verse describes their attitude as they were preparing to travel to the land of their enemies to preach the gospel and try to bring as many souls as possible to repentance through Jesus Christ. (I will include verses 1 and 2 to give some background):

 1 Now it came to pass that after the sons of Mosiah had done all these things, they took a small number with them and returned to their father, the king, and desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might, with these whom they had selected, go up to the land of Nephi that they might preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites—

 2 That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and convince them of the iniquity of their fathers; and that perhaps they might cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land which the Lord their God had given them.

 3 Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.

This is the attitude and sense of urgency that I am trying to exemplify as I serve my mission. As I grow in understanding of God's doctrine, especially the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I desire more and more to spread the gospel to the hearts of anyone that I can.

Monday, February 3, 2014

GO SEAHAWKS! (Oops. I mean, I'm a missionary so I don't care about the Super Bowl...)

FYI, this picture was taken before the Super Bowl. I was at another apartment for a day, and they just happened to have cups from two of the teams that the Seahawks faced in the playoffs, so I had to take this picture. All I heard was the score, and that's enough for me. If I were to take a post-game picture, the 49ers cup would be in the same spot, and the Broncos cup would be all smashed up on the ground. My face would express an emotion similar to that of Phil Conners on Groundhog Day when he finally wakes up and it's February 3rd (It's funny because the Super Bowl was on Groundhog Day :D)

On a serious note, the Super Bowl really helped me to appreciate these two years I have to get away from all of the madness of sports, politics, entertainment, etc. Even the first three months here have brought me so much growth as I have focused on the gospel and my Savior, Jesus Christ. So often, we get caught up in the things of this life, and we allow them to control our emotions. In the long run, all that matters is how we have served God in this life. As individuals, in our families, at work, the only happiness that lasts forever comes from devotion to God. As we show our love for Him by obedience in all aspects of our lives, we will learn to trust that God's way is always the best way. Many people preach that as long as we believe in Jesus Christ, we will be saved. I do not disagree. However, if we truly believe in Jesus Christ, we will also believe all of His words, among which are commandments to love God, love others, repent and be baptized, and much more. If we truly believe in Him, and love Him, we will constantly strive to do the will of God at every moment, because we trust that He loves us and will only ask the things which are best for our eternal welfare (John 14:15, 21-24; 1 John 2:3-5; 1 John 5:1-5; Proverbs 3:1-8; many other scriptures).

That is why I chose to spend two years devoted to inviting people to come to Christ. Even if I am too imperfect to love everyone, I know that God loves everyone. If I truly love God, I will serve His children, and I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is something that every soul needs but not every soul has found.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Yes!! I've been working in Spanish for over a month now without a Spanish name tag, and it finally came in the mail last Thursday. I know all of you might not care that much about it, but it was exciting for me!

The library was closed last week for MLK day, so that's why I didn't send in a blog post. Sorry! 

This week has been very slow. We only taught three people, who we already teach regularly, but towards the end of the week some great things happened. We started looking for people in a different area of town, and we found 5 hispanic households in one hour, all willing to have us over to teach them!! That was awesome! 

One of the three people we taught was not feeling very well. I can't share too much, but she felt like she could not come to church on Sunday. After we spent some time with her talking about the gospel, however, we encouraged her to have faith in Jesus Christ, and she was able to remember the great feelings she has had at church in the past. By the time we left, she committed to come to church, and it was great to see her there! I know that coming together to worship God brings us strength to go through the week. I also know that when we are down and don't feel like doing anything, we will be uplifted and receive motivation if we exercise faith in Christ by praying, reading scriptures, going to church, serving others, etc. Following the teachings of Christ will always make us feel better, and God will bless us for it. 

I want to share one more cool experience we had on Saturday evening. We were out knocking on doors, trying to find people to teach again. An older man opened his door and invited us in. As we talked, We learned quite a bit about him. He joined the church in 2011 but has not been very involved. He has fallen into drinking and smoking, and does not feel that he has exercised enough. Just this New Year, he made resolutions to fix all three of those issues. He has been 100% successful so far. Just last week, he was wandering around town looking for one of our church buildings to start attending again. He has no car, so he became a little discouraged when he couldn't find one. We also found out that he has been unemployed for a couple of months, and will not be able to pay his rent next month unless he finds a job. Then we showed up. We found him a ride to church yesterday and we have an employment specialist in our congregation who knows about opportunities for work that this man can look into. I know that God places us in the path of people who need help at the right time. This makes me take my responsibility a lot more seriously. I always need to be prayerful and attentive to the direction from the Spirit of God that I might overlook if I become distracted. I am so excited to spend this part of my life in the service of others. I know that if anyone will open their heart to our message and act on the invitations we give them, they will find that Jesus Christ can make way more out of their life than they can on their own. I am so thankful for this opportunity I have also to recognize how much He has helped me in my life. When I try to imagine what I would be without Christ, I always end up with images of a life full of disappointment and confusion. 

"And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen." (Ether 12:41)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Another Fall....

Last week I mentioned that I slipped on some ice. This week, I slipped on some plastic stairs, again with some onlookers. I was walking down towards the exit of an apartment building, and there were some wet, plastic stairs. I flew up and landed parallel to the stairway. I was shaken up, but the only damage done was a bruised elbow and the laughter of my companion that will haunt my dreams.

The work has been going on this week, but I don't have much to write about. There is just one experience I would like to share.Last weekend, I had the opportunity to perform a baptism! My companion and I had the opportunity to teach a lady here in Casper about the gospel of Jesus Christ before we were switched to Spanish, then two other missionaries on the outsides continued teaching her until her baptism. I would just like to talk a little bit about this sacred ordinance. It is made very clear by the Savior himself throughout the Bible that baptism is essential (John 3:5, Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:19). It is also made very clear by the trek of Jesus Christ to John the Baptist that proper authority is necessary to perform baptisms. Worthy males over the age of 16 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the opportunity to receive that authority. This brings up the question, "Where does it come from?" This traces back to the origins of the LDS church. I'll keep it as brief as I can. A 14 year old named Joseph Smith, living in New York in 1820, was confused by all of the different churches claiming to be correct. They were mostly great people trying to do what God wanted them too, but he knew that God could not be the author of all of the confusion. He came upon James 1:5 and decided to act on the promise given. He went into the woods and asked God which church really taught truth. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and told him that none were completely true. They lacked the authority from God. He was chosen as the prophet to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. John the Baptist came to him and one other man a few years later, followed by Peter, James, and John. They conferred upon Joseph Smith the authority that they had received from Jesus Christ, and that has been passed down through the Church and remains even today. 

Yes, this is hard to believe. It sounds ridiculous. So do the miracles performed by Moses, such as parting the Red Sea. That is why God brought forth another scriptural witness of Jesus Christ as evidence of this restoration of the Priesthood authority, called the Book of Mormon, which was translated from ancient records of people here on the American Continent. No one is expected to believe the account of Joseph Smith without receiving spiritual guidance from God. Reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it is true will lead to the answer that the Church of Jesus Christ was again brought to the earth through Joseph Smith, because only one with authority from God could perform such acts. Heavenly Father has always appointed prophets since the beginning of the human race to teach His children the truth. Why would He leave our age without prophets? Some answer that question by saying that the Bible is sufficient for our day, and perhaps it would be, but the Bible truly prophesies of a restoration. It also might be enough if everyone could agree on what is taught in the Bible, but there is so much disagreement concerning the Word of God. Isaiah 29 and Ezekiel 37 both prophesy of the Book of Mormon, and throughout the Bible, there is made mention of a "restitution of all things" or the "dispensation of the fullness of times". This has happened.

I really do know that everything I've talked about is hard to believe, and that it's easier for me because I grew up with it. However, I would not be serving a mission unless I knew for myself. I have fasted and prayed to God to know for certain if this is His Church. The Spirit has strongly testified to me that it is, especially as I read The Book of Mormon. I can't deny that it is the word of God because of how powerful it is. If you think I'm crazy for being Mormon and believing all of this, I don't care. I love being thought of as a normal person, but I love God more. It is not in my comfort zone to proclaim all that I have here, but it is worth it, because I know God wants all of His children to have the opportunity to receive the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I know that there are eternal blessings that come from turning our lives over to Him. Please contact me if I seem to contradict myself in any way, or if you just have some specific problem with the doctrine I have written about. I am open to discussion, so email me at and I will get back to you next Monday, which is our day for email.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Well, i figured out this week that I don't need a cord to get pictures onto the computer. Check this out from last night. WOW IT"S COLD

SO, I have a couple of funny stories from this week. First of all, I couldn't find my house key one morning until I went outside and saw it still in the doorknob. I didn't tell my companion...but we are lucky that we didn't get robbed overnight! Another day, we had just finished teaching a lesson to a new family we found. I walked off of the front porch, and at the bottom, my foot found some ice. Then my foot lost the ice. Then my body found the pavement. Then I lost my physical limitations and did a sweet roll on the ground to pop myself immediately back to standing. It was pretty cool, so I just kept walking to the car. That is until I saw my companion just standing there. I turned around to see a family of wide-eyed Hispanics standing on the front porch. I hope they don't disregard what we taught because they witnessed my clumsiness. The last one is really not that crazy, but some of you may find it funny. We went to another missionary apartment this morning to put a load of clothes in. I hadn't showered, and I didn't realize that my towel was in the wash. We went back home to shower real quick, and all I can say is that I am very glad we still had a fairly decent stash of paper towels left over from the week. They actually work pretty well :P

OK! Now I would like to express with you all the superiority of the Hispanic race over us stubborn white folks. They are so much more humble and receptive to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They accept it as a gift from God and the right way to live. Many of them have never heard of Mormons, but when we teach them the doctrine of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they often will accept it without question or doubt. To those with an open heart and a love of God, the words of God are easily recognizable. If you place Him as the top priority in your life, you will see blessings in all aspects of your life. Your work will go smoother, and your families will be happier. When you are humble before Him and live with an open heart, He will show you the right way to go. Living the gospel of Jesus Christ is the way that he has appointed for us to show that we want to live in His Kingdom, and when we live it with our whole hearts, He will make that blessing a reality for us. I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ was chosen to live and die and live again for us, so that we may simply follow Him and be welcomed by a loving Heavenly Father into a life that we could never find by ourselves. It is true that those who believe in Jesus Christ will be saved. But if you really do believe in Jesus Christ, it will be made clear by your actions. If you say you believe in Christ, but don't do the things that He has asked, you do not truly believe in Him. You may believe that He is your Savior, which is very important, but you must believe His words, too. True belief in Christ always leads to action. We must follow Him. We must hear His voice and have faith in Him. That will lead us to change our lives and repent of our sins. Then we will desire to follow His example as He entered into the waters of baptism with John the Baptist, who held the proper authority from God. We then will receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands as spoken of in Acts 8. Then we must continue faithfully to live the words of Christ better and better day by day. I wouldn't write this if I didn't love you all. I wouldn't go out and teach this unless I had prayed and fasted to know if it is from God. This is they way to receive everlasting life with our families, and to live in God's presence forever, having a fulness of joy. I want this gift for everyone.