Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Simeon's First Missionary Christmas

Me in my hoodie ... a Christmas gift from an investigator.
This week was Christmas. It was really nice and, hey, people were nice to us as we and the world celebrated the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and all he has and continues to do for us.  We also remembered the wonderful young mother who gave birth to our Savior.  The week went by really fast and before I knew it Christmas was here and as always we went about doing the Lord's work.  But, I got a few presents … someone even sent me dirt.  Now that person is really creative. I saw this week how special we all are to our Heavenly Father because he gave us the greatest gift of all as we are told in John 3:16-17.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Here's our version of a Christmas tree
Every single person I spoke with is very special in God's and our Savior’s eyes.  Even if they did not accept the message we had to share, they were special and I even saw the Holy Ghost at work as it touched the heart of someone we are teaching so much he offered to pray instead of having one of us do so.  It was the first time he has prayed. 

We often tell ourselves we come on missions to change the lives of all those we meet and teach but, in all truth, we not only bless and change the lives of those we teach, we also are blessed and changed.  Those same persons we teach sometimes help us do so as well as the Gospel. You are special to God and He wants you to know that.  I testify he loves you no matter what you are or will go through and in his eyes you will always be special.  You have my testimony of this truth.   

Selwin's First Missionary Christmas

Lyn Anderson baptized by her Uncle Sam Anderson.
Happy New Year, everyone.  I hope you all had an awesome Christmas and you got what you wanted and I hope your wish was to be more like Christ and then anything else after that.

It was awesome calling you wonderful people and to see how you were doing and thanks for all the packages, by the way even though I will be giving away all the candy and keeping the ties and socks. 

Well, what really happened this week?  Hmmmmm, oh yeah, we had a baptism! I didn't do any of the ordinances but it was wonderful to have the opportunity to teach this young lady and to see how committed she was to live her life the way the Lord wanted her to live it and at just nine (9) years old.

She took the first step through the gate. It's the beginning of one awesome journey for her and it took me back to the day I was baptized. It's been nine (9) years since my bro and I got baptized.  The journey has been way hard at times, even felt like it was impossible at other times but most of it has been awesome and it will never be something I will ever regret. Whenever I sit and ponder over things I always end up at the questions "was it worth it?"  Let me just say, yes, it is so worth following my Savior and your Savior Jesus Christ, without any doubt.

That's all I've got for now, my people. I love you all and wish you the best in the New Year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Selwin Expounds

It was warm enough in late December to roll
up my sleeves.
Well, first, let me just say ... congrats Bro!!!!!!!!!! Well, there isn't much to report this week. The first half just flew by and then the rain fell for the other half ... and it's  still falling.

We taught some people this week who, despite the season, decided learning more about God's will for them was way more important which made things a lot better and put an even wider smile on my face.

While reading this week I came across a really nice scripture (Alma 34:10).  It reads:

"For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice".

Truly a scripture for the season but most importantly it reminded me of this wonderful plan my Father in heaven has made for me and for all his children. I like to compare it to the building of a home.  One does not just build a home but one must first have a plan drawn of the home and gather materials and people to help in building it. But unlike a plan drawn for a home, God's plan does not need to be tweaked or adjusted and that is because it is a flawless plan. The Lord has done his part ... now it's up to us to follow His plan and to endure to the end.

The one who was central to that plan was our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  As we go through this season, which is to celebrate Him, let us remember His great sacrifice for each and every single one of us and also take the opportunity not just to remember him for this season but remember Him each and every single day.

Merry Christmas to you all. I hope your season is bright and you will all be filled with the pure love of Christ.

Simeon Sees Another Baptism

Baptism of a new member of the Vietnamese Branch.
Bandaid covers injury from playing b-ball with an
elder who thought he was taller than me!
Yes, yes and yes!!!  That is all I can really say! This week the Lord received another of His wonderful sons back into the fold and it was totally amazing. I did not do the ordinance myself but I looked at this young man and saw him as truly as God does. It was awesome! He was baptized into the Vietnamese Branch just a week after we met him.  So tell me this - are there not prepared souls out there to find?  Yes, there is and this young man is a testimony builder to that. I just remember the glow which came from him as he stood there all smiles and happy to be baptized.  It took me back to the very moment when I was baptized. I shared that with him and the Holy Ghost did the rest. He was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yesterday, so if I am happy can you imagine how happy our Heavenly Father is to receive this son back into his fold?  

This week was a little tiresome for me.  Everyone is just not home or either too busy.  I often wonder if the Savior came to their door would they look him in the eye and tell him "hey, I am busy. Can you come back tomorrow?'' I am guessing that would be a big No!  But, hey, I will do all I must do to help them remember the true meaning of Christmas which is of course, Jesus Christ. I just love sharing this gospel. I know with all my heart it is TRUE! I know as we all come together this Christmas season we will not only bless and help others but, in all truth, we will be helping God for as Matthew 25:40 says:

And the King shall answer and say unto them, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

I testify with all my heart, as we humble ourselves and willingly do as we are commanded, we will truly be helping God.

PS:  Opps, I did forget to mention how my birthday went.  To be honest I did on my birthday what I do everyday ... knock doors.  It did not sound like a fun thing to do on my birthday but it was well worth it. 


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Selwin Is Ready for Christmas

Our tree ... took us 4 days to decorate
The week ... where exactly did it go? Cause I sure don't know. With all the hustle and bustle going on with Christmas it seems people are just bouncing from one place to the next and never have time, which is weird because who doesn't have time for Jesus?

I found, for some reason this week, every time we went home for lunch I just fell asleep, which is strange really strange and then when I woke up it's like I was in a whole new world. But we at least taught one really nice lady yesterday who actually has family who are members of the church.  She was the only one who let us in and she was really nice so yeah we are going back again. One dude said him and his family and their home was Jesus filled but he wouldn't even accept a "He Is The Gift" card when we offered it to him, which was funny.

So as I read Alma 27 during this past week which is where Ammon boast in God and all He had done for him and all the joy he had because of everything the Lord had done for him. I pondered over all that. I talked about and thought how can I attain that joy, or in other words, how do I get to the point of being filled with so much joy it will eventually overcome me? That is when I realized, hey, I'm already on the path to getting there and I gain even more joy when I see the people we are teaching be baptized and start to follow the Lord.

As with everything else in this life it is those small and simple things which cause us to rejoice.  As we get closer to Christmas I urge you all to think of those things that bring you joy and keep it in your hearts and mind, not just for that day, but for everyday. Jesus Christ is the reason for the season and if He were here He would tell you to go and share that joy with those around you so that's my challenge to you all this week!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Simeon Immersed in Vietnamese

Elder Lovell at Coca-cola Headquarters
This week was interesting and I mean it!  With Christmas coming we are sometimes finding it a little tough to talk with people because everyone is either in and out or up and about.  The few who do have time to hear us out are always interested in what we have to share, which is great. We found out we will be assigned to two wards for awhile.  One is the Brockett Ward and the other is the Brook Haven Branch.  And, get this!  They speak Vietnamese … Elder Lovell has hit gold again!  This week we gave alot of energy to finding and talking to people about the this wonderful gospel and next week we will try even harder because these wonderful people need the Gospel. We had a few set backs as well this week but that’s normal in the life of a missionary. We must carry on … we must endure for it is not until after the trial of our faith that we are truly blessed.  Just as the hymn "Onward Christian Soldier" goes: “onward shall I go,” I am not alone in my efforts. The video by the church entitled "He Is The Gift" is awesome and should be shared with one and all because the true reason for the season is the Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the greatest gift ever given and he is also the greatest gift received this Christmas and every day of the year. For the Savior said "Come Follow Me" and so shall we not and invite others to do the same.  I know that is what the Savior would do and so I will and I hope that you do so, too.  There is a scripture (Moroni 7:45-48) which is good advice for us all

Little cartoon characters Nativity
 45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail.

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Simeon Says Guyanese Duo is No More

Okay, so no more Guyanese duo! And, just when we were getting the ball rolling and all. But the Lord knows what he is doing, right? 

Elder Stewart left last week for a new area and I got a new companion.  After six weeks together, the infinite duo of Lovell and Stewart has come to an end.  This week we did not see a whole lot of success but we saw the Lord hands in all that we did.  One day we went out finding in the rain and, to be honest, I felt right at home.  The next day we had fog but we got no time to stay indoors.  We grabbed our flashlights and we were off.  It was fun to go out finding and though the Christmas season is around the corner and everyone is up and down we sure are blessed to still have those wonderful persons who stop and talk to us.  It is hard sometime but no one ever said it would be easy and so I will continue to go on because the words of President Hinckley's father are always ringing in my head when he said, "forget yourself and go to work."  

For Thanksgiving, we went to a member’s home and had a feast. It was good. I just kept searching for the chicken instead of the turkey all the time.  I never found it, of course.

We are teaching a super cool family from India and, boy do they have a ton of questions. Sometimes I wonder if I am playing Jeopardy but, I always give the right answers and they are awesome, too.  This Sunday we were invited to the Vietnamese Branch for their Fast and Testimony meeting. It was beautiful. I truly understood what they were saying. I felt the spirit so strong there it was amazing and I learned a valuable lesson that when God wants to get his message across, He will, whether it be in another language or Sacrament meeting. 

It takes me to the scripture in 1 Nephi 16:29: “And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things."

"And so it is that by small and simply means great things do come to pass for with God all things are possible.”

Selwin is First This Week

The Fullmers who just returned
from missionary service in New Jersey
So this week has been one full of work. Hard work, I should say, but the Lord has blessed us for it as well as for us having faith in Him.

As you would expect it's gotten a little harder to go out tracting. Not impossible though and the Lord showed us that. After tracting for four hours straight without much success we got to the last house on the street and when the guy opened the door he told us now was not a good time but we could come back on Saturday.  Normally when someone tells us to come back they normally are not at home or they are but won’t answer the door as our first appointment did on Saturday.

But we went. It's not like we had a choice.  When we got there the guy opened the door and invited us in and as it turns out he has met with the missionaries before … about 5 or 6 years ago.  He had some concerns about the Prophet Joseph Smith and how he got the Book of Mormon, so we explained it to him and his family who had joined us. They are from Ecuador.  After I told them where I was from he asked how I could believe it after what Jim Jones did many years ago. I told him that as I sat and listened to Elder Danzell and Elder Torres teach, I knew this was not the word of a mere man, but of God. After much prayer I got my answer so I invited him and his family to pray again and this time to listen for the answer.

President Ezra Taft Benson once said, "Men may deceive but God does not.”  I know this statement is true and like the Prophet Joseph Smith said, "This gospel shall go forth and it will penetrate every continent and it will be sounded in every ear until the great Jehovah shall say the work is done".

Monday, December 1, 2014

Selwin Sees the World Differently

Looking at the world thru my companion's glasses.
This week has gone by really fast.  Can you believe it's already December?  There's a saying we have back home which goes, "time and tide waits on no man" so I guess I have no choice but to be on time and to roll with the tides.

Sadly, nothing much happened this week in terms of missionary work but it's all good. Besides these same things happen or don’t happen all the time.  We just have to keep pushing forward. Thanksgiving was good!  We had something called the "Turkey Bowl" where we played American football and it was good. I got the ball once after playing for over three hours but, I made it count. We had both Thanksgiving lunch and dinner so I didn't have to cook that day at all, which was good.  The members were super nice.  They wanted us to eat everything but it was beyond me!!! 

As I was doing my personal studies this week I came across a scripture which had me thinking, as most things do.  It's found in Alma 10:22-23 and reads:

 22 Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction; yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword.
 23 But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand except ye repent.

This really reminded me of the responsibility we have to share this gospel with everyone and put the thought in my head that there are a lot of prayers definitely being said. Otherwise, I don't think we would still be here or would we have the restored gospel on earth. It reminded me also of the promise God made to Abram about how he shall spare the people if there are at least 10 righteous people in the land.  Truly God has not forgotten His promise for if we take a good look at the world we live in today it really is a miracle it still stands.

Happy Simeon

Guyanese missionaries with Guyana money, Simeon learning to be a good husband,
and, Guyanese elders celebrate the land of their birth.
I have to apologize for not getting any pictures for last week and I am guessing Sister Sappington wanted to show me what happens when I do not send her any pictures (Santa puts you on her “naughty list”). Okay, lesson learned very, very well.

This week we were all over the place and I mean from me getting sick to us having appointments fall through really badly.  But, hey, here is the bright side.  We saw seven (7) persons turn up to church yesterday including three (3) less active members. Now, how amazing is that? The Lord gets all the credit … yep, he sure does!

This week we did not find a lot of persons to share this gospel with.  I am guessing Thanksgiving had a huge part to play in that little issue. There is far more I have to be thankful for and I truly realized that this week.  We are so blessed to have this wonderful gospel in our lives and to have this time to share it with others so they to can be blessed, too. I am thankful I got to make curry again for the first time in a long time. I still have it down to a tee and after a long week of fighting the "cold" I have to agree I am super thankful for that. Let's just all remember who is the reason for the season and that as the Savior Jesus Christ would do we should, as well.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Selwin and A New Companion

My new companion, Elder Hatch from Layton, Utah
Well, this week has been way better, at least weather wise. It's been nice and cool. So I got a new companion this week. His name is Elder Hatch and he's from Layton Utah. He's cool and gets excited about the work easily, so that's good. Anyway this week has been a good one.

We didn't have much success in finding and none of our investigators showed up at church but we did have some really good lessons which pretty much made my week. Being prepared sure helps you, especially as a missionary.  After teaching the same lessons again and again it gets stuck up there so your memory and the Holy Ghost can take it away. Letting the Holy Ghost testify to those we are teaching is of great importance because it is only then the Holy Ghost can testify to them of the truthfulness of the message we are sharing.
So I don't forget where I came from
 ... a Guyana flag from my uncle

3 Nephi 11:36 reads:
"And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father and I and the Holy Ghost are one"

The role of the Holy Ghost is to testify and He can't if we don't give him the chance, so give the Holy Ghost a chance. 

Simeon's Investigators (But No Pictures)

This week we truly saw blessings and miracles as we had fasted and prayed for, and, yes, I mean it!  We also saw how when we are not doing the things the Lord has asked of us, we truly do miss out on those blessings and miracles.

The week started off with the visit from Elder Kopischke and his wife, and, boy did I receive some serious revelations at those two meetings and my heart and soul hungered and thirsted for more.  I learned so much it's impossible to even begin to explain.  And, hey, this week the weather was a little kinder to us except yesterday when the rains came pouring down, but, hey, that's okay because I got to hold an umbrella and help all the members come in to church.  Now, how sweet is that? We also had three of our investigators come to church and they loved it. 

Now the story all started when this woman stopped on the road – and, get this - in rush hour traffic to tell us we were doing a great job and to give us her number.  So after a while of calling and saying prayers with her, she finally confessed she feels the spirit so strongly. We had given her a Book of Mormon to read as well.  At first she said she did not believe the Book of Mormon so we testified to her that every single scripture we had read to her over the phone – especially those which gave her such comfort - came from the Book of Mormon.  As you can guess she was silent but admitted it is the word of God!

Then yesterday, as Elder Stewart and I were teaching another investigator and her boyfriend about marriage and all the blessings the Lord has in store for them, I just sat there pondering and pondering on what to say.  All I knew is that I opened my mouth and out came the words they needed.  They felt the spirit so much everyone in the room went silent.  Now I do not know how my brother and have experiences like this, one after another, but I testify the Lord has already prepared a way for us, and everyone else, to return to live with Him. They also had this super huge Christmas tree with tons of decor on it and we used that as the perfect example for all the blessings their Heavenly Father has in store for them. I was reminded of all the blessings our Heavenly Father has in store for us as we do what he needs us to and my brother echoed the right sentiment.

I came across this scripture (2 Nephi 33:10-11) as I was studying Elder Holland's talk "Safety For The Soul"

10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.

So let’s keep testifying and sharing those blessings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Selwin's First Baptism

Shirley Duncan before her baptism.
Alright, my people, I'm not laughing. I need to know, who has been playing with the thermostat?  Okay, maybe I am laughing, but, I'm still extremely serious. Alright I'm not, but this place has gotten really, really, really cold! (note how many times I stressed the word really), but I am doing great.

So I've got some news for you ... we got a BAPTISM!!!!!!  On Saturday, November 15 we baptized Shirley Duncan. Actually, I didn't do the baptism but I did do the confirmation and it was truly miraculous.

So on Sunday, when it was time to do the confirmation it started really well, as with most of confirmations, until it got to the part of giving the blessing.  My mouth was open but the words did not come out, the others hands became extremely heavy, the congregation was noisy and then my leg started shaking.  Can you blame me? I had never done anything like this in my life before, but as all this is happening I felt a calmness over come me.

My legs stopped shaking, the other hands got extremely light and then almost at the exact time the congregation went silent and I mean "drop dead quiet", and then I heard the words which were to be pronounced on this wonderful daughter of God. Truly the Lord keeps his promises to those who are faithful and strive to do His will while bringing to pass the scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 84: 85. So don't worry when the words don't come sometimes. We just have to be patient and listen. It's a challenge but we can all accomplish it. The blessings of God are opened to all, so why not share them?  So now you know what you have to do this week? That's right, share those blessings. 

By the way, I'm getting a new companion this transfer.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Simeon is Not Weary in Well Doing

I told Sister Sappington I would never wear this scarf,
but its cold outside!  You were right, Sister S ...
anything to stay warm!
This week I was tired so many times I cannot even count how many on my fingers. Strange though, even though I was super tired I just did not want to stop. I know because I really did not need to. This week we found out Elder Kopischke of the Seventy is coming to our mission and that I guess blew the tiredness away. We worked hard this week and yesterday, even though no investigator we are teaching showed up to church, we were fasting and praying as a companionship to see blessings and miracles in the coming week. Yesterday we were on the go as soon as we were out of church. We saw those miracles and blessings start to happen and this week we will work even harder to see even more.  Yes, I will probably be tired but I also know my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ will be there to give me a helping hand.  They will give me the strength I need to carry on and keep pressing onward and they will help me to make my weaknesses into strengths.  

We are called to do a needed work. I know our Savior Jesus Christ is at the head of this work and with Him we will accomplish all things righteous and pure.  As we all work together we can and will do that. "Come follow me, the Savior said" so shall we not so we can bless the lives of those who do not know to follow Him, as well as our own?  Remember the scripture In 3 Nephi 5:13:  “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” We are all disciples of Christ and we are all his children.  I commit to keep working hard no matter how tired I get for I know He will always be there to give me a helping hand and to give a helping hand to you as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Real Men Love Jesus ... and So Does Selwin

This week kind of felt like it dragged a bit, to be honest - probably because we didn't have much success when it came to finding and teaching new people about the gospel, but it's all good.

But things have been going well except this weather.  This week, up until Friday, it was some really awesome weather and then the cold came again.  I mean ... lets make up our minds already - either hot or cold!!! To be honest this weather is kind of a reminder to me how we need to exercise patience in everything we do and to remember the Lord's time is very different from ours.

While doing my personal study this week I came across a scripture in Mosiah 23:21 which is a good reminder:  "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten His people; yea, He trieth their patience and their faith."

A lot of times we tend to wonder why God lets us face so many challenges but the reason is clear as the scripture indicates.  Other times we pray to God and expect Him to answer us right away. I'm guilty of that a lot of times. But after reading this scripture my mind was opened a bit more and once again I am reminded God's time is the best time.

PS: Oh, and guess what? I finally made contact with the missionary who baptized me almost nine years ago Yipeeeeee!  His name is Anthony Torres and, yep, he's one cool dude!

Simeon Declares

Home from the grocery store
This week we worked and worked and worked and yes, it was awesome!  The members helped all around which is amazing.  They even love having us come over to share short 20-minute lessons with them and their children and hey, some even agreed to let us teach them how to play cricket! Now that’s what I am talking about!  

We saw the Lord's hand in our work this week.  I cannot begin to explain how much the Lord blesses us when we give our all to serve him.  In one instance, a lady who had pulled up alongside us one day while we were walking gave us her phone number because she thought it was just wonderful to see two young men walking around sharing a message about the Savior with everyone. So we called her and she told us all of her problems from A-Z and even confessed to us she did not know why but she felt the spirit telling her to invite us to say a prayer with her and her family.  Now that is for sure the Lord's hand and I’ll just testify it truly is. 

This week my companion Elder Stewart and I gave talks in sacrament meeting. In the MTC, we learned we must and should always be prepared, so when at the last mintue we were asked to give talks Elder Stewart was up and studying while I watched him with great amazement.  It is just wonderful to see how the Spirit works and we both got through our talks despite the counselor saying we were from Ghana.  Hey, I do not mind but once I got to put a smile on the wonderful faces of the members, all was well. It reminded me of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the precious and sacred responsibility we have to share it.  

Quoting from the Prophet Joseph Smith, who said,  "the standard of truth has been erected and no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.  Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, but the truth of God shall go forth, boldly, nobly and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”  Let us all continue to unite as one and press forward until the great Jehovah shall say the work is done!