Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It's Selwin on Wednesday

Me with my new companion and district leader, Elder Byerly
There was no explanation as to why Elder Selwin didn't write home until Wednesday, but here is what he wrote:  So this week was the week before transfers and it was tough, really tough. So what I've been doing lately is listening to a lot of talks and BYU devotionals and, oh boy, are these talks interesting and I mean right down to the very end. I really don't have much to report on just that I have a new companion and I'm staying in Shreveport.

My new companion's name is Elder Byerly and he's from California.  He's been out only six (6) months and he's already the new district leader here so we'll see how things go for the next six weeks.

So as we were sitting in the gospel principles class on Sunday a lady, who is a member, asked a question nobody was answering properly, so after class I went over to where she was sitting and gave her a very simple explanation.  Guess what?  She understood. Later in the week I was reading in 1 Nephi, Chapter 13 and to my amazement the same question was asked and, well you guessed it, the answer was there.  This was even more proof the scriptures hold the answers to all the questions we have, not just about this life but also about what happens after.  I hope you all are reading and applying what you have learned each and every single day towards the betterment of not just your life, but also the life of others.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Simeon Says ...

Elder Simeon at the Zone Conference in Smyrna
So this week was work, work and more work.  But, hey, like President Ezra T. Benson said, "there is no greater cure for missionary work than more work."  We still have not taught anyone else a lesson because they either forget their appointment with us or dodge us, but hey, we will get them and all of them, too. I was studying one night and came across an old paper I had once received from a former West Indies Mission President and as I was giving it a look over I stumbled across a quote by Elder George Q. Cannon which said, "I have sufficient experience in my life to know that for a man to impart profitable instruction unto his fellow creatures in the capacity of a teacher, he must have the aid of the Spirit of God. Without that he cannot impart that which would be of permanent profit for anyone. I cannot tell your feelings, I do not know your hearts. There may be secret sorrows, there may be grief, there may be doubts, there may be things that oppress you in your feelings of which I am totally ignorant. But the spirit knows all things of God and he can, through his Holy Spirit impart to each one that portion of strength, of comfort, of light which each soul may need to strengthen it on its onward journey in the path which God our Father has marked out for us to pursue. And unless a meeting of this kind is attended with these effects, it is to me exceedingly unsatisfactory." 

As I read this I realized he was right.  Without the Holy Spirit we would not know where to go or what to say to persons as we meet them or knock on their doors. It is by following those promptings we receive the guidance from our Heavenly Father as to what to say or do.  When we follow this counsel, it not only blesses us but those we teach or share the gospel with, as well. So as long as we continue to work and do so by the Holy Spirit we will find, we will teach and we will baptize.  The same applies to every single one of us as it says in Mosiah, "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." 

So let's help others put off the natural man and become saints in the eyes of Our Heavenly Father and remember to follow those promptings we receive from the Holy Spirit.  They do guide us in the right paths.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Simeon's Sunday Blessings

Simeon with Elder Steffon Stewart, also from Guyana
So this week was okay.  We got to go to the temple again, and it was amazing.  We had a good zone training there, as well. 

We had little success in finding new persons to teach and share this gospel with but when you are willing to put in the effort our Heavenly Father in turn gives us blessings. So after a few days of appointments falling through and not having any success during the week all that was left was Sunday.  I was prompted by the spirit that we should go and see all the individuals we had set up to go and see that week but who were not there. Strange, but hey, I said to my companion, "lets take the chance and do it." Guess what? It worked!  We taught our first lesson here and found two more persons to teach and get this ... one of them already has a Book of Mormon.  Now how cool is that? Heavenly Father knows what he is doing and had I not followed that prompting we would not have found them. It seems all he is saying to us is trust him and he will be our guide, and to be honest, he is the best guide there is.  We should all follow him.  
My peeps, with twice as many senior couples!
My bro had a great week, which is awesome, and to every young man or woman preparing to serve I urge you to heed the counsel given to President Hinckley from his father "forget yourself and go to work."  When we start doing that we will see the blessings, not only in the lives of those we serve but in the lives of our families, as well. We are promised so many blessings if we do this and share the gospel, as well.  If you really and truly love your families and your friends then you would give them the opportunity to accept this wonderful gospel. The Savior said, "be not afraid" so replace your fear with faith.  Be faithful ... not faithless and he will always be there to help you. 

Anyway, a little quote I tell myself everyday is to "never stop chasing my dream" and I would like to encourage you to do the same.  Do not stop until they are all brought back into our Heavenly Father's presence.  He is and will be there to help us all. See scripture Omni 1:25-26.   

Selwin Gets Planted

A big bunch of my peeps ... but not many couples!
This week we had both Zone and Stake Conference, so it was a packed week.  Zone conference was awesome … really spiritual and it was the same way with stake conference. Elder L. Whitney Clayton, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy and Area Seventy Elder R. Randall Bluth came. It was awesome! The week was a good one, too.  We found a few persons who, for the moment, seem interested, so hopefully it remains that way.  One of our investigators even gave us a plant which grows indoors since I told her all the trees back home are on the outside.  My companion said, “man that's all on you.”  It hasn't died yet so I must be doing something right.

Time sure is flying out here though.  As I was reading in Matthew 9:36-38 the other day something Jesus Christ said really puzzled me but truly reinforced in me that every missionary every here has been called to serve the Lord.  This truly is his work and it has to go forth to the world.

36       But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

37       Then saith he to his disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

39       Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. 

So what more can I say? It's a privilege being able to serve the Lord and I know He appreciates the work I do, as well.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Selwin's Big Surprise

Me with Sister Laura Evans
Well, this week, I'm happy to report, was the best one we have had, so far, in this transfer. Wow, time sure is flying these days!  We helped someone move for part of yesterday, which wasn't easy, but, I got a chance to exercise my muscles so it was good.  This week as we were out tracting a street by the name of Leo.  We weren't having any success at all but we kept at it.  We knocked on the door of one of the houses and a lady stepped outside.  We introduced ourselves and she told us her name was Laura Evans and she would be willing to listen to us.  We asked her some questions and she was giving us some really good answers but after asking her the third question, we got the shock of our lives when she said, "yes, and I'm a Mormon."  We were speechless, then both me and my companion were like “really?”  She said, “yes” so I asked "are you just playing with us because we are Mormons or something of the sort?"  She replied, "nope, I"m a Mormon and have been for over twenty years.”

It took us some time before we caught ourselves again but, me and my companion both agreed she got us.  She made my day though. She was actually at work and saw us coming so she said she decided to just test us to see what we had.  It was good.  As we continued tracting down the same street, we were nearing the end of it when we saw a car back up out of the drive way and then heard someone say, "Don't open the door" to the person who was there. This statement just made me laugh.  Yes, I was sad they would miss the opportunity to hear this wonderful gospel but at the same time I don't think the person realized how loud they said it.

One thing I've come to appreciate is the trials I'm facing and overcoming, I look at the example of Nephi at the very beginning of the Book of Mormon in the very first chapter, verses 1 and 20. I know no matter what we face in this life God is there with us and he will help us and strengthen us so we can overcome those trials and all he asks of us is to have faith in him.  Yes, that is all he asks.

Okay I guess that's all that I have for this week.  Love you people!  Stay strong, and like my bro says, “lets keep moving onward.”

Simeon in Smyrna

Me and Elder Barraclough in Smyrna, Georgia
Well, it seems me and my bro are on the same page, though I think he got the better deal here. Seriously, all we did was tracting the entire week because when you open up a new area it means there are no former records. You start fresh and boy, it isn't easy. The rains fell here, as well. We went out to look for some new persons to teach and discovered the entire area we had planned to tract was like a ghost town. I mean, no one was home. It was just weird. Then we saw the clouds coming and the whole place started to get foggy so we determined it was best to ride home. It was a good idea but we still got caught in the down pour and as I was nearing home I completely wiped out. Me and the bike took a few feet of sliding down a hill. Luckily, this was not my first experience of falling off bikes but all I remember is sliding on my back a good way down the hill before me and the bike stopped. I guess it goes to show Heavenly Father really does watch over his servants because all I received was a little scratch. Of course I got to my feet right away, shook it off and away I went again. I have learned in my life "falling down does not make you a failure, but staying down does." So I will keep getting up, no matter how many times I fall or if we did not find anyone who was open to learn more about the gospel. The adversary will do all he can to stop us but Heavenly Father will do all He can to help us succeed in fulfilling our duty to him. The hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers" teaches us to "go onward, Christian soldier," so I will go onward with my Savior and Redeemer going on before. I encourage all to do the same for the blessings promised in 2 Nephi 26:33 and 2 Nephi 27:23.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Simeon's Transferred

My new district in Smyrna, Georgia
Oh boy, well this is not going to be easy. I not only got whitewashed (it means getting put into an area with another companion who has never been there, oh and Elder Barraclough is from Kentucky), but my companion and I also opened a new area.  Phew, talk about tough.  We had a hard few days out here because it's mostly Spanish and, of course, I do not speak the language. But enough complaining. It's time to get to work this week full throttle and shoulder to the wheel. I have no other choice, and honestly I want no other.  Yes, it is tough but it is not impossible "for with God all things are possible all things."  I found out I may not get the opportunity to baptize those I taught in my last area, but it's OK because first, we must plant the seed so others can reap it.  As long as they are baptized and enter into this wonderful covenant with our Heavenly Father and receive that sacred opportunity to enter into the Celestial Kingdom of God, all is well ... all is well.  I do not have a lot to say but this much I do have to say, as we put the effort in to bring others unto Christ we will be rewarded in due time.  We must all help save our brother or sister to give them the wonderful opportunity to be with us in Eternity.  

Selwin's Struggles

Making cornbread.  Yummy!!!
So where do I begin?  Not a lot to tell, to be honest, cause this week was just tough. The rain fell again.  Don't get me wrong ... I love the rain but it's just falling too much.  Still haven't found anyone who wants to hear this wonderful gospel and only had one teaching appointment this week. We hardly went out except to do tracting and that was it.  You know things like this normally tend to bring me down, but not just me ... any missionary. But I have found a source that keeps me going no matter what.  Of course my Father in Heaven is always there, but I'm talking about the scriptures. When things aren't going the way we had planned I find peace through reading, pondering and studying the word of God.  It gives me the strength to look past these things and keep going.
Taking notes on how to make delicious cornbread.

I have found even more now than before how my life has been blessed and changed by applying these three principles.  Oh, boy... I'm so grateful my Father in Heaven loves me and he has given me his word to read and learn from it. I promise you one thing, if you have questions or you have problems or whatever it is in this life you are facing turn to the scriptures.  You will find answers to all of those questions.  The scriptures will solve those problems, and will bless your life. I have seen it bless my life so much as a missionary.  When I first got out here my mission president challenged me not to just read the scriptures but to study them diligently.  I see why he has been called of God to be a mission president. So I took his advice.  At first all I did was read and summarize the chapters but after a while I started writing down what I understood from these chapters and to be honest, to this day getting up and studying and more importantly writing down what I understand and what I have gained from reading the scriptures is the best part of it. So I just would encourage you all to do the same.  Hasta luego.