Monday, March 30, 2015

Simeon On Exchanges With the Spanish Elders

Me on a bike again.
To be honest, this week went by pretty fast.  To top it off General Conference is just around the corner.  I am just trucking on because that's all I really know to do. My area is, by far, not an easy one.  Most of the time people just want to bash.  If I was on my time I would gladly do that but on the Lord's time I honestly have no time to waste.  That and the fact they are always confounded at my knowledge of the Bible, so I just go where the Lord needs me to go.

This week we went on exchanges with the Spanish Elders so I had to gear up my Spanish, which, of course, is not good.  Luckily, one of the persons we talked with knows English and I was able to bear my testimony to him. He said, "I have never felt like this before. When you started to talk something said to listen and so I did." I told him what he was feeling was the Holy Ghost telling him right there and then the words I was speaking were true.  He said, “I believe you, man, I really do.”  That was really cool for me and though this week we have not had a ton of success finding, I know it will all work out because the Lord is not just preparing the hearts of the persons he will put in our paths but also the members.

Me with the Spanish Elders Kohler and Belnap.
This past Sunday we had a mission-wide fast which also included The Georgia Atlanta and The Georgia Atlanta North Missions.  That was really cool, and, yes, I so felt the Spirit.  It was awesome and exciting. I will be honest, missionary work is tough.  It truly tests all of your abilities, but, boy I will testify to this:  it is also the most rewarding in the end whether you see the blessing then or after your mission.  So with Conference coming up, I am excited and ready to go to tell everyone that the gospel is true, the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and we have a living prophet on the earth today whose name is Thomas. S. Monson. And, we are called to teach the Savior's restored gospel to the world and that is what I will do! YES, THAT IS WHAT I WILL DO!

Scripture for the week is Helaman 10:4-5

 4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.

 5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.

And so as we press forward in doing the things the Lord requires of us and trust in Him, He will guide us safely through and bless us for our efforts and willingness to serve him, I testify with all my heart, might, mind, and soul it is true.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Selwin FINALLY Writes!

I finally found time to get to the library.  I've been transferred to Jackson, Mississippi and we just white washed an area so we are starting over from scratch.

My new companion's name is Elder Singoma.  He's originally from the Congo but he has been living in the states for twelve years now and guess what??? He's a twin, whoa!!! Does it get any better than that? Oh, yes it does, because he break dances. Don't worry, I'll only learn the easy moves.

We've been cleaning and going out to find people to teach already so it's shaping up to be a pretty good transfer although we got lost trying to get back home yesterday. It was so funny but so aggravating at the same time. Thank goodness the AP's had a GPS so they could come find us. Yep, that's one for the journal, my people. It was quite the adventure.

My last week in Gulfport was super awesome. We were out tracting one day and after hitting a few doors me and my companion just wanted to go home but we kept going. We got to the second-to-the-last house on the street and out came a lady who was very glad to see us. She said she had just turned her life over to God and had been praying for a sign when we showed up.  A few days later we went by to invite her to church to watch the "Meet The Mormons" movie.  She said she had been praying again to know if the Lord wanted her to take this path and we showed up again. She came to both the movie and church on Sunday. She said she knew me from somewhere.  I told her I'm not from America but she insisted, so you know where she knew me from exactly. That was just another example of how even when we don't feel like doing things, especially the things the Lord has asked us to do, we should do them anyway, because if we had turned around and gone home we probably would have never met the young lady at all.

So no matter what it is you're going through know the Lord is there and He will help you.  Trust Him and put your faith in Him. The Lord promises us He will never leave us nor forsake us.  This promise brings to mind that famous scripture in 1 Nephi chapter 3:7:

"I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the things which he hath commanded them."

Now doesn't this promise not just make you want to act?  The invitation is open to all who will accept, the Lord lives, people, and so His will and works will all be accomplished.  He is our advocate with the Father and we owe Him a lot, yet all He wants is for us to follow him so one day we may stand, not behind Him, but right next to Him.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Simeon Follows the Holy Spirit

This reminds me of Alma 5:52!
It has been another busy week here in the Sharpsburg Ward area and, like my brother was saying, time is flying by!  The week passed by with us going to a lot of meetings, me testifying to a lot of persons and me listening a lot more to the promptings of the Holy Ghost when I receive them! Yes, this week we tracted a ton and I mean a ton!!!  We went about this week with great determination to find someone … anyone the Lord needed us to find and we did so.  It was awesome!  We were out one day just doing some finding and for some reason the night before, as we were planning, I got the prompting we needed to go to a particular street. I wrote it in so when we were out on Tuesday and we were out along the exact same street knocking on doors, I suddenly felt prompted to go to this house and knock. Over my mission, so far, I have seen the importance of following and listening to what the Holy Spirit tells us. 

Without hesitation I started down the drive way with my companion in tow and when we knocked on this door out came a young woman who truly needed someone to pray with her.  We told her who we were and why we were at her door step.  She said she was looking for a church to raise her daughter in and how much she needed God and Jesus Christ back in her life. I testified to her the message we were sent by our Savior to share did just that and much more.  The funny thing was she had just finished changing diapers. I said, “hey, that's okay. I changed a bunch in my life so I know what you are going through.”  She laughed  and even opened up to us a lot more.  And, get this, she knows a member because they went to school together and she always admired her.  I was like, “oh, yes! We needed to come here.”  Then it hit me as we left how much our Heavenly Father trusts us to put those persons in our path who need his Son's Atoning sacrifice, even if they do not know it.  Trust me, He knows. 

Hey, Sis. Sappington.  Here I am holding a 50-lb. cat!!  
Can you believe it?

We also got into a bash this week but we will not go over that (we won).

This week for studies I am in Alma! I learned when the Lord gives us a commandment with a promise we should obey willingly and with love and we will be blessed as were the sons of Helaman.   So this week, my scripture and advice is DOUBT NOT, FEAR NOT and OBEY WITH EXACTNESS and I WILL DO THE SAME as it says in Alma 56:47-48:

47  Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lies; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not

doubt, God would deliver them.

48  And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying:  We do not doubt our mothers knew it" ... AND WE KNOW IT AS WELL!!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Selwin's Weeks Are Flying!

Not sure who took this picture, but he/she obviously didn't count to 3 before snapping it!
This week went by super fast. I woke up one day and it was Monday and before I knew it was Monday again. Alright, who's big idea was it to fast forward time this week? Just so you know, you're in trouble.

We had Zone Conference this week and it was super awesome. The mission doctor spoke to us about staying healthy and then the rest of conference was mainly focused on obedience and how we need to teach as missionaries. It was nice going back to fundamentals and refocusing our efforts on the people we are teaching.  The weather down here was just rain, rain and more rain with a little bit of sunshine.

Me walking a member's dog
For some strange reason this week my companion and I were just really focused on the Atonement.  It got to the point we told almost everyone we met about it including an ex-communicated member. We had just gotten out of a lesson at the church when we just felt like we should go and see this young lady.  On our way there we saw her walking down the road going somewhere, so the first opportunity we got we turned the car around and went back to meet her. It turned out she wasn't having the best of days and the weather wasn't helping one bit and so it was just bringing her down.  We stopped and talked with her while I watched how her frustration turned to calmness as we shared with her what the Atonement of Christ meant to us. I then listened to her as she told us how much it meant to her, too.  She's been through a lot.  We told her this was the time in her life when she should let the Atonement of Christ work for her even more. With the acceptance of our message and invitation we walked her back to her house and then continued on with our day.

The Savior came to this earth and atoned for the sins of all mankind and because of His sacrifice we all have a chance of living with God again.  It is a reminder that no matter what we face in this life we should remember Christ went through a whole lot more and He has given us commandments.  Why? 3 Nephi 12:45 gives us the answer: "That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven."   So as you go through this week think of how much the Atonement of Christ really means to you and then apply it in your life as well as in the lives of others, because the Savior lives.  You know it and I know it!

Simeon Reports on Finding

This week was really interesting.  We were really out and about finding all week long because that is all you can do when you have no one to teach. Preach My Gospel says you need someone to teach before you can teach! Anyway, we did a lot of finding. 

We got some of the strangest names for the Book of Mormon but my favorite was one which one old gentleman said, after we knocked on his door.  "Is that there the Book of Mormonism" … if so I ain't interested y’all."  We get that a lot.  We also had one guy bring out his Bible and paper with questions on it.  I was like, oh boy, here we go!  He started off by, of course, telling us what we believe although he has never read the Book of Mormon before so he has no idea what it is - not even a clue – but he said it contains stories – “that's all” and then he asked us, "If you only had the Bible would you still believe in God and be Christian?”  Of course, we said, “Yes” and all of this time I had just held back but I could do it no more.  I said, Sir, can I ask you a question?” When he said OK, I said, “If you only had the Book of Mormon, would you still believe in God and be a Christian?” That one got him and of course he said, “no” so I asked,  “why not since it testifies of Jesus Christ and God and The Holy Ghost.  Why would you not believe it if it was all you had?” Of course he had no answer, so I proceeded to bear him my testimony. I went for it and I know the Holy Ghost was there because my companion felt it and we know the man did as well. I literally took everything he had against us and used the scriptures from the Holy Bible to answer all of them.  He was surprised I had such a good knowledge of the Bible. I wanted to say, “you see, Sir, before I became a member of the Lord's true church the Bible is all I knew but God can do all things, so why not appear to a young man and instruct him to go and do his bidding and call him as a Prophet in these latter days just as he did in times of old.”

I testified to him there is a way one can know if the Book of Mormon is true. That is through reading, faith, real intent and, of course, prayer.  I left there knowing I had stood up for my Savior and I truly know which way I face.  That is why I am out here to help others face the same way.  That is the way towards our Savior Jesus Christ and God our Heavenly Father and of course towards eternal life. I testify God called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and to restore His church in the latter days. We have a living prophet on the earth today for the heavens are open and God still speaks to us through his prophets. I pray that we may all remember which way we do face and help others who are facing the wrong way turn and face the right way with.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Selwin Sees Weather and Attitudes Change

And nothing happened on this porch in 2015 either.
It has been quite the week with the weather changing from hot to cold to super cold, but now its just perfect, so what's there to complain about?

We did a lot of service this week.  We were asked to help move a family and it worked out really well because they got the help they needed and I got the workout I badly needed (you know I’ve got to keep super fit when doing the Lord's work).  Then after that they let us sit in their massage chair for a while and it was sooooooo nice.  We had all the ups and downs you could think about but we pushed on and the Lord blessed us for our perseverance. It was so awesome when our investigators were in church!!!!

I think I should become a photographer
This week my studies led me to the will of the Father for all His children. It just made me think of this fight we have on our hands. We aid the Father in carrying out His will for His children. If you really think about it we are but a speck when compared to the world and when compared to the forces of the adversary. But it is what we do which makes our tiny speck so powerful and causes the adversary to try new things to get to the hearts of men. What we do is share the gospel of the Lord and proclaim truth, which shows the Lord truly does live and hasn't stopped caring for His children. Oh what joy it brings to those who accept His words and live their lives according to His will for them. People, we already know who is going to win this fight without any doubt but the role we play in carrying out the will of the Lord can be a huge factor in determining how many more will join us in the kingdom of God. 

In 2 Nephi 31:21, the prophet Nephi counsels us we can call be saved, but only through Christ and his doctrine.

 21 And now, behold, 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 of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

Let us help the Father fulfill his will, for oh how great will be His joy.

Simeon is Down to Two

Me with this neat little golf cart
This week we tried our best to kick things off and saw some success as we were led to a few persons who are prepared to listen to what we have to share. Its always so awesome and amazing and we did a lot of service as well.  We had a total war to up root some stumps and, of course, with a lot of help from the Lord we won the battle and war and will return once again this Saturday to begin all over again. 

This week the most spiritual experience came as I talked to someone the previous missionaries had been teaching and after a few minutes I got the sense she was saying this is it.  She even mentioned two hours before she had opened her desk draw to read her Bible and saw the Book of Mormon.  She said to herself, “I forgot to give those young men this book back” and then she was prompted to read it.  So just as she was about to sign us off for good the Holy Spirit prompted me to testify to her and so I did! I told her the next time she received such a prompting she should pick it up and read it. I bore to her my testimony and she said she felt goose bumps, so I testified what she was feeling was the Holy Ghost testifying to her my words are true.  Guess what?  She agreed to come to church this Sunday and to give it one more try. Whoa! I was feeling the Holy Spirit so much it was awesome and one of my companions was writing it all down in his journal while the other, with mouth wide open, could not believe what was happening. It was pretty intense!  We closed off the week knowing we gave our all and this week we will be down to two because my other companion got his visa to Australia.  He flies out today so it's Elder Schoebinger and me carrying on the Lord's work. 

Elder Schoebinger takes a nap
This week as I was doing my personal studies I came across Alma 37:35-37 which says: 

35 O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.
36 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
And I realized we should be calling upon God always even when we go to bed and raise in the morning.  We should be thanking him for all things he has given to us and as we learn Wisdom in our Youth we learn to apply and share these his blessings and commandments with others. I encourage all of us to do this and to always remember by small and simple means are great things brought to pass.  I know that to be TRUE!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Selwin Finds Good in Opposition

It's foggy down here on the coast after a week of cold weather which makes it a bit hard to drive, but it's all good.

This week was one where we got things done but with everything good there is opposition.  Success didn't find us much this week and to round it off we had a few investigators drop us, but hey, that's all part of it. I had time this week so I fasted twice. It was awesome.  We had exchanges with the Zone Leaders as well and we walked a whole lot which totally reminded me of home.  But, through it all, I gained even more appreciation for God's creation of this earth. Well, enough of all that sad drama because as you know the Lord always blesses those of us who are in his service and so the one blessing we got this week was teaching a part-member family.

It was our second visit with them and it was awesome. I think it's those bright spots we should be looking for everyday, those things that just let us know God has not forgotten us. It is the Lord’s promise to us that He will never leave us nor forsake us, a promise not just temporal but one that is eternal as are all the promises the Lord makes with us.  We just have to put our trust in Him.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 reads: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."

A good friend reminded me this week we are all here to share this wonderful gift we have been given with everyone we meet but we must be as one, for the Lord said: " If ye are not one ye are not mine". The Lord’s will is our will so just trust him, he knows what he's doing. Thanks President Benn.

Simeon is Whitewashed, Again

Elders Scoebinger, Morris and Lovell
Things were a little out of the ordinary this week because I was told I would be staying in the Brockett Ward but I am now in the Sharpsburg Ward!  Yeah, I got a last minute telephone call from the assistants saying, “hey, you are needed here” and so with only half a day to pack I got going.  Not what I expected but hey, you will not hear any complaints from me for where ever I am called to serve I will gladly go.  Two other elders and I were white washed into an area. We so had our work cut out for us this week and it seemed as though everyone we called were not too happy to hear from us, so we gave them some much needed space and then went finding.  Again no one opened their doors to us and the one guy who did for the entire week simply but kindly said, “no, sorry guys. I am not interested.”  At least he was friendly and at least we can up the ratio this upcoming week by finding some of those prepared souls I just know are out there waiting for us.  It will take a lot of doing but the hard work will pay off I just know that it will!  Besides that the week has gone good. I looked and saw my brother’s blog pic and went, “whoa, don't you dare eat all that chocolate … without me. I loved that the members all around are starting to see how missionary work blesses them as much as it blesses those who are learning the Gospel.  None of us are excluded for we all play a very crucial part in missionary work whether it means going out with the missionaries or feeding them; and, trust me, we love being fed when you have the time to invite us over.

(Almost) barefoot in the snow
But during my personal study this week I came across a particular scripture which speaks more to all of us than just me. It is found in Alma 24:30

And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things.

And so as we can see, we have the gospel and there are many who have fallen away or turn their backs on the church for some reason or the other and most times we go up to them and say, “hey, you know better.  You know you need the church and of course they will probably never come or maybe once in a while, but how about we go to them and say, “hi, Jan” or “hey, Paul … the Lord needs you and his church needs you!" Just think about it and you will see in all truth the Lord is reaching out to each and everyone one of us because he needs each of us to help him in this great work and I know that with all my heart to be TRUE!