Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Selwin Is Moving the Work Along ... in the Cold

A member gives Selwin a jump on Easter!
So it's been hot and cold down here in Gulfport, but it seems the cold might win the battle this week.  The forecast shows a lot of rain coming this way, cold rain.

This week has been way better than my last week was and even though we probably would like it to be way better still I'm grateful for the little miracles that have happened. We had all of our investigators turn up at church with the help of members so that was super awesome to see and we have gotten a few referrals from members to visit some of their friends. I guess they are really feeling the missionary spirit now which is what we have been waiting for, so hooray, because we can't do this work without them. President Hinckley stressed the importance of member missionary work during his days as president of the church and he was right and he still is right. This work is great and it takes a lot more than just us missionaries to do it.  The Lord rejoices when we all are lending a hand towards the building up of his kingdom. 

And that reminds me of the words of President David O Mckay: "Every Member...... A Missionary". In another speech he says: "True Christianity is love in action. There is no better way to manifest love for God, than to show an unselfish love for your fellow men. This is the spirit of missionary work.” President Gordon B. Hinckley later said: “We are here to assist our Father in His work and in His glory 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man'“ (Moses 1:39). "Let there be cultivated an awareness in every member’s heart of his own potential for bringing others to the knowledge of the truth. Let him work at it. Let him pray with great earnestness about it"

Matthew 28:19-20 reads: "Go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the world, Amen.

So let us help God with this great work, a work He has entrusted to us because He knows we are capable of doing it. This I know to be true.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Simeon Still Shivering in the Cold

Still shivering in 2 coats and 2 pairs of gloves!
I am staying one more transfer in the Brockett Ward and I am super excited to be here!

This week was an interesting one and the weather did not help one tiny bit.  We had a tough enough time finding those wonderful persons who are ready to receive this Gospel and though we did not find many, I am still super happy to have been led by the Lord to find a few.  On Wednesday I thought I could take the weather on as real missionaries do but my triumphant victory was only short lived as I, despite having on two coats and two gloves, felt the cold shiver me timbers. I have to assume, as my brother normally does, that someone is playing with the thermometer. 

But, hey, we had a good week none-the-less and with the help of the members we were able to see nine (9) persons show up to Church and they all loved it. “Good times” and to see the members totally involved was even better. 

We are getting ready for some rain to come our way and this time I will enjoy it.  With all of that said and done I was really studying hard this week and my study took me across President Hinckley's book "Press Forward With Faith.”  I was totally amazed at the trials President Hinckley faced as a young man at home and on his mission and those famous words his father told him sunk deep within my soul reminding me of a deeper purpose as to why I am serving a mission.  It truly is something special.  "Forget yourself and go to work" was all that was needed then to help a young man who would become a Prophet put his entire focus on the salvation of others. I will do the same and to look at it this way, President Hinckley's mission was way harder than mine but he made it enjoyable because of his willingness to think of others and not of himself.  I know as we do the same our lives and our missions, as well, will become enjoyable, for truly when we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God.   By doing so we will experience peace as the prophet alma said in Alma 16:16-17:

16 And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming—

17 That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God.

This is why we are here and this is our purpose.  So, as we forget ourselves and go to work we will see the blessings of the Lord In our own and in others lives, as well. I know that to be true. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Selwin Isn't Stopping

So the week has been a super tough one. No matter where we went no one wanted to hear our wonderful message about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the Lord did give us something to smile about and to make our week.

We ran into an excommunicated member of the church while we were out tracting a few weeks ago.  We have been working with her to get her back into the church.  Her testimony is still there but she's had some rough patches in her life.  She is willing to change, because she knows by changing things could be so much better. So I asked her to lend me her scriptures because I was too lazy to get mine (which were like 5 feet away).  She loaned me hers and I shared with her a scripture which has helped me in my struggles. As I was reading it to her the thought came that I should mention the Atonement of Christ to her, so I did.

I told her she needed to let the Atonement of Jesus Christ work in her life and that as she does she will be able to overcome whatever obstacles in life she is facing right now.  I honestly don't know why I said that but I guess it must have been something the Lord wanted her to hear so he just used me to say it. I believe everything happens for a reason in this life and we just have to figure out what that reason is.  There is always something, for the Lord will never lead us blind. I know he places us in certain places at certain times for a reason and the people we meet are placed there just for us.  The Lord has never stopped gathering His people and His arm is always extended towards us if we only would reach out and take it.

I know the Savior lives and as long as He's here mankind will all have the opportunity to be touched by his love. I know I always say that but I'm one who has both seen and felt His love.  I took hold of His arms as He extended them towards me. My life has never been the same nor will it ever be the same again.  All Christ wants from us is for us to share His love with those around us and I encourage you to do the same.

Simeon Shivers in the Cold

Jumping for joy ... but no where near the edge!
Well, this was a really good week. We found many new persons who accepted our invitation to learn more about the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then it was really cool to have three of them show up at church after being taught only the first lesson! Yep, that shows the desire to at least find out if what we are sharing with them is true and that is really all the Savior asks of anyone. 

When I saw my bro dressed all in white it was really cool because I saw myself. Only thing is he has more muscles than I do (for now, anyway). 

 This week it got really cold. One night I was sure my hands were not going to make it because I forgot my gloves in a member’s car and I don't know why but I agreed to wait until Sunday to collect them. Yeah, that was not a good idea at all because as we rode to and fro from appointments my hands totally froze and then since it was dark I got hit by quite a few branches in the face as well. When we finally got home I got out my hot packs and went to work but there was only one problem. They took 15-30 minutes to warm up and in that time I am sure I could have built a fireplace, chopped wood and had a great fire going. But I did not, so I had to wait but in the end everything worked out just fine. 

My planner
 This Sunday it seemed we were the baby missionaries because the persons we are teaching and who came to church all had babies. Turns out, it became our job to make funny faces and keep them happy for the day. I have a cold. I will keep taking my vitamin C and keep doing the Lord’s work for I learned as we keep the commandments of God and invite others to do the same we "shall have eternal life.” 

Great work on the baptism, Bro! Alma 7:14-16 teaches us about the importance of this sacred covenant: 

14 "Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness. 

15 "Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism. 

 16 "And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Selwin Listens to the Spirit

 Alexander Saspa being baptized
Whoa!!!!  Way to go, bro!  It was super awesome reading about my brother’s week and it certainly has lifted my spirit.

We have transfers this week and I'm staying in Gulfport, Mississippi which is awesome and I'm staying with my companion which is even better so hopefully this transfer goes great. It's been quite the week.  We've just been chugging along like an old train, but it's been good. One day while we were headed to an area to go tracting we passed a community which probably has been worked over and over again by past missionaries. So it wasn't that big of a deal just passing it by to go to another area we have already been working in for a few weeks.

But I was prompted to turn around and to go back to that community.  Of course I was a little reluctant to do so but the third time I heard that voice say “turn around and go back” all that came to mind was, “it can't hurt to go back.” So we went back and as we were winding down tracting we met a really nice lady who was willing to hear us.  She promised not to hurt us since she's a cop. So with that assurance we went on to tell of our purpose and set up another appointment to go and see her.  Yes, the Lord knows what he's doing.  We just have to be willing to open our ears when he speaks to us.

With all that happened last week I forgot to mention we got the opportunity to take part in the baptism of a young man and to welcome him back into the fold. He was so excited and overwhelmed and even more so when he received the priesthood of God.  He was ordained to the office of a priest and was even more excited to be able to use it. Just look at the excitement the gospel brings to those who the Lord has prepared to receive it and to those of you who have already received it look at how it has blessed your lives. The gospel is amazing and the joy it brings surely is overwhelming and can last forever. I am certainly grateful for that knowledge.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Simeon's Awesome, Amazing and Wonderful Week

Baptizing the whole family (except Mom who will be baptized soon)
Well, this week we did it all and all with the Lord's help!  We started out this week by moving into a new apartment, which at one point had Spanish missionaries and, boy, does it need a complete clean-out. Then we had to get accustomed to the new area. Though we tried our best it seems no one really wanted to listen to what we had to say so we walked away a little disappointed but knowing this week we will work even harder because we had to plan for a Baptism!  

It was awesome, amazing and wonderful and to make it fun we even got into a little trouble with the Bishop.  Not intentionally though so we got off sort of lightly.  It was really wonderful to see this family of five(5) being baptized and it took me back to the first day I talked to them. I had a different companion then but from then onward we saw their progress.  It has been wonderful and to see them all dressed in white was even better. I was privileged to perform two(2) of those ordinances and It was wonderful knowing I was there to help them open the gate to eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom of God.  It will always be a feeling I will hold dear forever. I still have that same feeling … one I cannot describe but I know what it is.  I pray to always have that same feeling with me. The thing that made my heart over flow with joy was when Luisa, who is eleven-years-old walked up to me and told me in my ear "thank you for baptizing me." I stood there with tears in my eyes but as a true Lovell, I did not cry.  Instead I said, "No, thank you for choosing me." I also baptized her brother Fernando(18) who is deaf. 

I testify it truly does not matter how many people you baptize on your mission.  What matters is you remember how much each baptism means to them and God.  Then you will see how much more it means to you.  I know the Lord led me to this wonderful family.  He had to push me a few times but I am so glad he did. I testify "our decision to serve or not to serve truly does affect the salvation of those who need us." and in going with Nephi's words in 1 Nephi 3:7 "i will go and do what the Lord has commanded me for I know … yes, I know … the Lord truly gives no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for us that we may accomplish the things which he had commanded us."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Simeon's Tough Week Had a Bright Side

Taking one last look at our apartment before transfer
Well, this week was a tough one but, of course, there was a bright side!  We struggled, working hard to find new persons to share this amazing Gospel with and it seems as if no one really wanted to give us a break. Of course the Lord did! 

We had been trying for about three months to get in contact with a less-active member.  Despite not ever being answered for all that time, still my determination was high. The next time I called someone answered and I mean a real voice (never mind that I thought it was a machine). It turned out to be the less-active member herself and she was happy to hear from us.  She wanted a blessing, so we arranged to meet her and her husband so we could do so.  The day and time came when we were to meet this less-active member and when we did it turned out her husband is a Japanese gentleman who does not speak an word of Japanese.  Boy, was I disappointed but then we proceeded to give this sister a blessing.  She asked me to give it and I honestly cannot remember but a few words but every word was truly meant for her.  As I finished giving her the blessing she glowed and radiated with the Spirit and her countenance changed from when we first met her.  With tears rolling down her face she said,  “thank you, thank you.  You are precious.”  

For three months I called and called and called and finally the Lord told her to answer.  In my heart I felt like I was blessing my sister, one who knew this Gospel and the Priesthood are true and that she needs to come back to where she belongs.  I pray she does and really soon.  Just giving someone that hope to know, through our Savior all is possible, gives me even greater joy and a firm reassurance the Savior's grace and Atonement is more than enough for all of us.  We can all change for the better!  Never stop trying to help those to come back to the fold, as well, because they too just like everyone else, need to be reminded the Savior's grace is sufficient to transform, help and change us!  And, hey, it will or may take time but it is worth it and just as the prophet Alma said in Alma 31: 34-35:

34 O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.

35 Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.

Selwin's Week of Unfortunate Events

Out tracting
Well, I'm officially dubbing this week "The Week of Unfortunate Events" because it was filled with so much drama.

It all started on Monday evening when our Zone Leaders got into a car accident (not to worry, no one was injured too badly). This was after they began calling us in the middle of an appointment to tell us they got into a wreck.  With the fourth call, I knew something had to be wrong so we had to run out and leave our appointment. They were very understanding so we just rescheduled for another day and time.

Then after all that drama was over I took my camera out to look at a few pictures we had taken and it would not come on at all, so now I'm without a camera.  Then we spent the rest of the week just driving from clinics to family doctors trying to find one who could x-ray one of the zone leaders arm because it would be way cheaper than going to the ER.  It all turned into dead ends and eventually we had to go to the ER anyway.

I guess this was just one of those times when one’s patience is tried just to see how well one can endure.  Despite not being able to do a lot of work, missionary wise, I guess the lesson of patience was still learned. Most times things don't ever happen the way we want them to or at the time we want them to but I always say, the Lord knows best and His time is better than mine.

And then that really awesome scripture in Mosiah 4:9 comes to mind which reads:

"Believe in God: believe that he is and that He created all things both in Heaven and in earth: believe that He has all wisdom and all power both in Heaven and in earth: believe that man doth not comprehend all things which the Lord can comprehend.”

In every situation there is something to be learned but all-in-all we just have to leave it to God and He will help us through whatever it is we are facing.