Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Simeon Finds Investigators on Lovell Street

This week was interesting, I must say.  First we hiked Pine Mountain which seemed a lot more like walking rather than hiking.  Then we had a super long bike ride to a place called Acworth. Now if you think biking up a bunch of hills is hard you would probably be right, but during our two and a half hour bike ride I never once got off my bike and pushed it up any of the hills.  Instead I stayed on and was steadfast. This so much reminds me of 2 Nephi 31:16-21 where we read that one needs to follow the example the Savior has set, but it also says even when we are on the strait and narrow path our work is not done so we need to endure to the end. It is hard, but why complain about it, instead use our strength to keep progressing, to keep carrying on and then you can do what I did when I reached the top of every hill.  I shouted for joy and thanked Heavenly Father that I made it because without Him, we cannot. 

Yesterday after all that riding it seemed as though no one wanted to talk to us and I was like, "are you kidding me? I biked all the way for this?"   Just as I finished saying that the spirit whispered to me and said you need to have a prayer in your heart asking Heavenly Father to help you find those whom He has prepared.  I did just that and after going from street to street, house to house we came to a street called - wait for it - Lovell Street. Yep, and I'm not even joking! Someone knew I was coming so they named it after me!!!  On that street we found two new amazing investigators and I was wondering and thinking to myself,  "hey, Heavenly Father, you did this just so I could see when we pray, you listen."  Honestly, I think the answer to my prayers came more quickly because I was willing to obey the promptings I received.  Read 2 Nephi 31. I did not know this chapter existed until I got to the MTC.  Weird, right, but it teaches us so much and I'll even quote verse 21.  It says, "And now my beloved brethren, this is the Way; and there is none other Way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the Doctrine of Christ and the Only and True Doctrine of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Ghost, which is one God without end, Amen." 

Oh, and don't worry, I got a hair cut this week.

Selwin is Up A Tree

Really, Elder?  Is this P-Day activity approved by your mission president?
So we were out with a member on Sunday evening doing some tracting and as usual we weren't having any success in sharing this wonderful gospel with anyone.  But that did not daunt our spirits about finding at least one person to teach or to share the message with. So we saw a gentleman cleaning out his garage and asked him if he needed help.  Of course, the answer was no but we then asked him if he had some time to listen to the message we share.  The answer to that was "yes, I do". So I noticed some bikes and realized this gentleman had a family so I struck up a conversation around the Plan of Salvation, and it was good.  We then asked him what he thought about life after death and about being together with his family forever.  After receiving his answer, we shared with him Alma chapter 40:11.  He looked a little puzzled after reading it and so I was prompted to share my testimony about the Plan which Heavenly Father has made for us and the joy it brought me to know me and my family could be together forever, especially my mom who passed away when we were only six years old. And so we challenged him to read the entire chapter and to read the Book of Mormon as a whole, but before I left - and I only found out after what I was about to share with this gentleman - the member who was with us felt the urge to do the same. So I opened the Book of Mormon and read from 2 Nephi 33:10-11.  Never before had I read this scripture so I felt so much joy in sharing it.  The feeling was amazing.  As we left and made our way down the street and I learned the member was about to do the same thing it made me feel awesome to know even if persons don't accept the message we share, it will definitely leave an impression on them to change their life for the better. I guess what I'm trying to say is to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, be obedient and stand firm in what you believe and in doing so you will not only bless their lives but yours as well.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Selwin Is Grateful for Tender Mercies

I don't know how else to put this other than things are getting better

We even over shot some of our goals for last week.  Not boasting or anything but it just shows when you have faith and walk with the Lord all things become even more possible. Still haven't found anyone who seems to be really interested but I'm still grateful for all the tender mercies my Father in Heaven has blessed me with and for the opportunity He has given me to serve him.

In Doctrine and Covenants 84:79-80, we are told:

79 Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire.
80 And any man who shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.
I was reading from the book Our Search For Happiness by Russell M. Ballard and this scripture stuck out to me and reminded me of my purpose as a missionary and why I am doing this.
Last night, I was talking to my family back home. I was listening to my uncle telling me I have work to do and to stay focused on the task at hand or else he would be waiting at the side of the roadway with a piece of pipe in hand to remind me of why I was doing this and to stay on the path. Now you are probably wondering why am I telling you this but it's amazing because he isn't even a member of the church.  To hear him talk about giving it my all and never giving up made me wonder if this really was my uncle. My other uncle who is a member started saying, “listen to Brother Lovell,” but to know my family back home is behind us made me feel even more blessed.  To see them (on Skype) was a blessing but to hear their words made me feel like I was home again.
One of the things I like most about this gospel is the promise families will be together forever. I don't know about you but that makes me really happy to know the people who taught you everything you know in this life will be with you forever is certainly a bonus. I have the privilege of having a very large family which includes everyone I've known all my life and everyone I've gotten to know and that's all I need.  Oh, yeah!

Simeon Takes Time to Smell the Roses

So this week was a little tough. We did not find a lot of new investigators to teach and we taught very few lessons to the investigators we do have. It rained a lot this week (my kind of weather) and I was blown away at how my Heavenly Father works.  

This is for Sel: do not be discouraged.  This is all part of missionary work, so instead of backing down, step up and meet the challenge. "Forget Yourself and Go To Work" I told myself that countless times and I still do. By following the promptings of the spirit we found two new investigators yesterday.  My companion said I was boasting, but instead of answering him with a rude comeback I simply stated I rejoice not in myself but in my Heavenly Father for He was the one who guided me to that particular family. It reminds me of Ammon when his brothers thought the same thing, but this was the second time this week I had been prompted and by following those promptings was led by the Holy Spirit to good people. 

I love that the Holy spirit is with us even when we are struggling to find those prepared.  It gives meaning to President Hinckley's father’s words but shows it as well. I am reminded of the flower outside our apartment door.  Once it looked like it would never make it and then the rain came and gave it life! As missionaries we are all like that flower.  Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not finding people to teach or we are not perfect in speech.  That is when Heavenly Father sends a little rain on us and shows us all our hard work was not done in vain.

Oh, and check out this little guy (a centipede) I found on our bedroom floor.  I think he wanted to find new feet to bite. Hahaha, my companion was scared stiff.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Simeon's First Transfer

Simeon doing service like a rodeo cowboy!
So this was transfer week. Yippeeee! I'm still here in Cartersville.  Double yippeeeee.  

This week was amazing. I read Sel's story on prayer and fasting and I can testify it does work. I decided to follow President Monson's guidance from General Conference when he said, "courage, not compromise brings a smile of God's approval" so I decided to be courageous, to follow the promptings of the spirit in finding new persons to teach and when I am teaching lessons to investigators.  Believe me it works! We invited two persons to be baptized each one day after one another.  The best thing is they live in the same house.  My companion did not have the courage to ask them so he wanted me to do it.  He said, "you are really bold, Elder Lovell."  It wasn't me doing the talking, and I was not the one who invited them to be baptized. It was the Savior Jesus Christ and they both said YES.  We sometimes forget we are representing the Savior and it is His example we all follow. 

In Timothy 4:12, we are counseled to "... be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith and in purity."  It felt amazing to have the Holy Spirit be my guide in extending those invitations to follow the example of the Savior and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God.  And yes!  I did feel God was smiling at us with a broad smile of approval! 

Selwin Prays for Doors to Open

Last week was tough because we didn't find anybody to teach or to share this amazing message with. I guess it all comes down to how you rate success. Even though we didn't teach anyone I can see the Lord's hand at work because this week we had a lot more doors opened to us and even though they said they weren't interested it was still really good … better than the door staying closed any day.

In our companionship study one morning we were talking about the sons of Mosiah and how they decided to teach the gospel to their brethren, the Lamanites.  They prayed for faith and strength and trusted in the Lord their God.  It reminds me how, even though things might not be going our way right now, we have to trust in the Lord and have faith he will open doors for us so we, his servants, can do his work.

President Benn told me this story:  "Do you know man was made perfect by God, but man corrupted himself. There are lots of stories about great inventions. In one story, a man made a needle and put a hole in the end and called it a sewing needle and said it was great. But to his surprise another man took the same needle and drilled a hole through it and called it an injection needle. I marvel at the technology of today. There are numbers of ways available to teach the Gospel but nothing is better than the way the Lord did it so many years ago. So the Lord knows which way is effective. Right now, maybe knocking on doors is the best way.  So, like the hymn goes … 'Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel' and be the best missionary today!"

No picture this week!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Selwin's Week in Shreveport

This week Gladys Knight performed here in Shreveport.  It was really amazing when she bore her testimony and when the choir sang. The whole reason for the concert was to reach out to more people to tell them about the church and the gospel.

The rest of the week was mostly service.  One of the things we did was paint a house.  It made me remember King Benjamin’s words when he said, “when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are in the service of God.”    

I felt like I wasn't giving my all last week so I sat on the couch and looked up at the picture of Jesus Christ looking back at me.  I asked him "what more do I have to do?” and “How can I do it better?" I sat there for a while but nothing happened … just silence and then something came to me.  It said, “fast and pray for the things you think you are lacking and you will have them.”  The next Sunday was Fast Sunday so I made up my mind to fast for answers to two questions:

1.  How can I have more faith that when my mouth is opened, you will fill it with the words which need to be heard?

2.  How can I trust you even more and have confidence to talk to even more people about your gospel?

And so I fasted and prayed with a focus on these two goals.  My prayers were answered that same Sunday as we were doing follow-ups from the concert.  The plan was to go and give them the gift package they had requested and just tell them about it, but this one lady … when we pulled up in front of her house it was like she was expecting us and we were actually supposed to be there on Tuesday.  We sat down and talked to her about the package and shared the message of the Restoration. I felt the spirit, but it was when she told us she had planned to order the Book of Mormon the next day because she wanted to read it and to find out for herself what it was talking about. That made my eyes open.  There are so many people out here just waiting on us to bring the message to them and for that day I did not worry one bit about where the words would come from.  I trusted in my Savior and my prayers were answered for this lady. Heavenly Father is there just waiting for us to turn to him for help and inspiration.  If we do this with a sincere heart and a contrite spirit we will receive our answers. They might come as dreams, or as in my case, through other people.  In Doctrine and Covenants 84:85 it says we need to “trust in the Lord and the words which need to be heard will be meted out of your mouth.” For me this was a miracle and one I needed. It just shows even more how much our Heavenly Father loves each and every single one of us. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Simeon and the Spirit of Elijah

So, we finally went to the temple (YES!).  It was amazing to do work for my ancestors giving them the opportunity to accept this wonderful gospel.  Boy, if I could, I would live in the temple.  The presence of the Holy Spirit is so strong, it is wonderful. It brought me peace to know I had done the work for one of my ancestors, but it dawned on me "I Had Only Just Begun" and there are many more of my ancestors who need their work done.  Thinking about how families and the gospel really do go hand-in-hand and how the gospel blesses families carried me through the week. We actually taught a few families this week and I boldly stated the point of families being ordained of God and families can be together forever. I decided I needed all the help I could get so I prayed and followed the directions of the Spirit as I taught. Then I rounded up all those mini-missionaries I got, took out my planner and with this much help, food and a planner for families and investigators and, of course, me, the holy spirit and Heavenly Father, I will press on to find and teach families and individuals this glorious gospel.  

We had a talent show last Friday and they taped the whole thing.  I saw on the program I was to share my talent.  I was like, “Oh, boy … run for it” and I would have run for it, but my companion had to perform, too, so I got up there when it was my turn and decided to … please note when I say this … "TRY" to sing two short songs. Where the courage came from I have no idea but as I sang I would stop and share jokes along the way (because I was so nervous) but, hey, I finished my performance, breathed a sigh of relief, sat down and waited for the applause to end. That's right, the people loved me!!!