Monday, April 27, 2015

Selwin Learns from the Brother of Jared

A convertible ride with the Fairbanks
So it's been a week of hard work with very little success; but, we had some success and that's all that matters. It's been overcast for most of the week and today the sky's finally broke so now we are having a down pour of heavenly blessings, hooray!!!.

We walked a lot and rode a lot to the point where both the brakes on my bike gave out on me and my shoes became my brake pad.  Good thing I learned how to ride on the roads in Guyana. Yep, it was quite the week. There really isn't much to say, to be honest, besides that, but I did find something in the scriptures I had never noticed before and it really made me ponder. While reading this week in the Book of Ether chapter 2:25 I read:

25  "And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"

A porch find
Now you're probably wondering what could have stuck out to me in this scripture.  Well, lets focus on how the Lord prepared the brother of Jared and his family and friends to face that which was to come.  Has not the Lord done the same for us? Has He not prepared us by giving us His word, by giving us commandments to follow, by calling Prophets to teach us His will and most importantly by sending His only Begotten Son, even Jesus Christ to die for the sins of all mankind and yet just like He has done with the brother of Jared He is asking us " What more can I do for you?" Does this not testify to us of a God who cares and of a God of love and of a God who truly is mindful of our eternal salvation? I certainly think it does. Even after all that has been done to prepare us He is still asking us, "What more can I do for you?" so why not tell Him, for it is His commandment that we call upon Him. And have the faith that when you tell Him what ever it is He can do for you it will be done. I am not a scholar by any means but I do know the Lord hears and answers us and keeps His promises. I know the Lord truly does speak to us, especially through His words.  I stand with President Ezra Taft Benson when he said the Book of Mormon truly was meant for our days. Isn't that so true?  

Simeon's Good Week

Elders in matching ties
Alright, so this week has been really interesting and I am being honest when I say that! We had a new ward added to the Stake in which I am serving and, boy, it took a huge chunk out of our area and so we are waiting to hear news from our mission president on what is going on. We had (2) investigators come to church this Sunday, as well.  I mention them because it is really marvelous to see the dedication of these two daughters of our Heavenly Father and all that they are willing to sacrifice to live his gospel.  We have only ever invited them to come to church and they have done so on their own. It really is something special to see, for this week we were not able to meet with one of them but when we showed up at her home she was all ready to come to church.  My companion and I were blown away. It was just awesome! The other showed up with her 2-year-old daughter all set and ready for Sacrament meeting, and though she had to leave a bit early, it was awesome to see her there as well.

Knock, knock ... anyone home in there?
We have a message to share.
This week it was tough to find anyone, but, hey, as the story goes, we press on and keep going forward. I cannot keep complaining. Instead I will look at the here and now and do my very best to make it better. We were able to go to the temple this past week and as always it was truly amazing.  Words cannot describe and I go back to thinking because one young man had a question all this is now possible. I sometimes cannot wrap my head around it all at once but it works out really well, and as the Savior would say, “come follow me.”  That is all I will say for we each have a part to play in this wonderful plan of His.  So, when the coach decides to pass you the ball, my prayer is you catch it and score, for what purpose is it to just catch it and not score?  It is the end goal, the number one objective and I urge us all to stay focused on it.  When the time comes, pass the ball along to someone else so they can shoot and score as well for it is a team effort.  If we all say we love this gospel so much then we will all share it just as much. I know we will be able to do so for we are not doing it alone. I testify we are the ones needed in the Lord's plan to help others as well as ourselves come closer to Jesus Christ, so stand up and be Anxiously Engaged in this work for he needs us just as much we need him. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Selwin Still Knocking and Walking

Looking for more birds
This week was tough but it was way better than last week.  After three straight days of rain the sun came out and we got out before it decided to fall again. But it didn't, so hooray.  Well, not until Sunday but that was just motivation to finish the week off even stronger despite the weather.

We walked a ton this week as well and my companion's toe was not doing him any justice because of an ingrown toenail.  But he pushed on and so did I. As we were out knocking doors this Sunday we were not having any success but past experiences have always encouraged me to keep going.  We came to this one house where an older gentleman stepped out.  We told him why we were there and he was willing to listen to us so we taught him. During teaching him about the love of God, he mentioned he was going to get vengeance on all those who had crossed him because the Bible (Old Testament) said so. So I felt prompted to share the experience of Jesus Christ on the cross and how he forgave those who were crucifying Him.

In the past this was a concept I struggled with and I would always say if I was the one being crucified, I didn't know if I could forgive anyone, but the Lord has opened my understanding a lot more.  So now I know despite what we are facing we need to make an about turn and see everyone like Christ sees them. Yes, forgiving someone is hard but just think of how many times you have been forgiven by the Lord.  Think of what it took for you to gain that forgiveness in the first place, the Atonement of God's Only Begotten Son. If we see and treat others and love them the same way the Lord loves us we will then see them as He sees them, and that is as His loved sons and daughters.

In Matthew 5:44-48, the Savior taught:

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

Truly the Savior knew what He was talking about.  It is my plea you will follow His teachings and His example, for in the eyes of the Lord our God we are all the same, each seeking after the loving and forgiving arm of the most high God.

Simeon Testifies of Keeping on Keeping On!

Yee, haw!!!
So, this week the rain decided to come down in all it's glorious splendor and marvel, and I decided, hey, so would I. My companion asked me, “hey, Elder Lovell what does the sun look like?” I replied, “well, it's round and really hot. Why do you ask?”  “Oh nothing, just that I have not seen it for three days,” was his reply. Yep, he is a funny Elder, but hey, we dis still labor, even in the rain and we were blessed for our efforts by the Lord. It  was not easy because when the rain decides to fall here in Georgia everyone else decides to not open their doors.  

But with great faith and lots of prayer we pressed forward and rejoiced everywhere we saw the hand of the Lord for it truly was marvelous. We have been working really hard to get two investigators to church and Sunday one of them came for her first time.  The other came for her second time. The coolest part of it is one was ready for church since 11:00 and church started at 1 pm.  The other came through pouring rain with her 1-year-old daughter.  Talk about dedication and longing for the truth these two sisters truly have shown that and I know the Lord has brought them here for a reason.  

Elder Schoebinger out again
We also had quite a few interesting run-in's with people.  One guy pulled up to us in a van with his family and asked us "Hey, are you Jehovah's Witnesses?"  Of course, we replied “no” to which he responded, “shoot, I was just about to make fun of you.”  Another asked us if we had a permit to be knocking doors in an apartment complex.  Nope, we have permission from the Lord! But the fact was we live there and when we told him that it took him by surprise.  Trust me, the look on his face was priceless. Yes, there are some funny things that happen on your mission and all of them are learning experiences and teach us important lessons. Oh well, that is all I have for this week but of course I cannot leave without sharing with you an amazing scripture found in 2 Nephi 27:23

23. For behold I am God and I am a God of miracles and I will show unto the world that I am the same today, yesterday and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their Faith."

Remember, it is by faith miracles occur. So the more you use your faith the more you can ask and expect miracles, for once we have done our part God will do His.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Selwin Wearies of Rain

Well, after a week of clear blue skies and trying to take pictures of just random things, the heavens have opened up and for the second day straight, rain has been my third best friend.

We had specialized training yesterday and it took the whole entire day so today is officially preparation day.  With rain falling I took the opportunity to retire to my winter quarters after doing all I had to do for the morning.  It was just beautiful. Anyway, the week was super tough. No matter where we went or what we did things just didn't work out, but we kept pushing on. It's all in the life of a missionary. It is at these times I truly reflect on the life of the Savior even more.  Knowing He did exactly what I'm doing brings comfort to my soul and reassures me all I'm doing will not be in vain.  That’s what really matters … doing the Lord's will and nothing else.

Elder Rafael E. PiƱo of the Seventy, in his talk on "The Eternal Perspective of the Gospel" said: "The Lord knows what He wants to accomplish with each one of us. He knows the kind of reform He wants to achieve in our lives, and we do not have the right to counsel Him. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” We do not know what the Lord has in store for us but we do know it will be of great worth, not just to us, but to those around us. This is a privilege, not a burden, to have and one we should be glad to take upon us. We have the backing of our Savior and His endless love that enfolds us so we are to be the type of individuals He knows we are, He counsels in Matthew 3:13-16.

13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
  
 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

This is how the Savior sees us and this is how we should see ourselves, so the next time you look at yourself in the mirror remember who you are and who you represent.  Know no matter who you are, where you come from or what you look like nothing you do in this life that pertains to the will of the Lord - which is eternal - will ever be in vain.  No matter how big or how small it may be, it is all eternal. Know it and believe it!!!!!.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Simeon Stays in Sharpsburg

Elders Heber, Lovell, Belnap and Schoebinger
Alright, I am staying in Sharpsburg with my now finished trainee Elder Schoebinger from Lehi, Utah. If you do not know how to pronounce his name, it’s alright.

This week was a lot tougher to find souls to share this wonderful message with, but, hey, we all have those weeks so I will keep pressing forward. We were able, however, to find a lost sister of ours.  When we invited her to be baptized she said, "Yes, that is a goal I need to reach."  Well, I was so stunned it took me about a minute to respond.  All I could say was, "that's right." I had nothing else and, hey, maybe that is all the Lord needed me to say and so I said it.

We walked a lot this week and ate out a lot.  It seems my digestive system does not like a lot of fast food because it sometimes gives me a whirl of a time when I eat it.  Guess I may have to go to “plan B” which is to eat healthy.

My former district
We were able to see the blessings of hard work pay off though as two of those we are teaching accepted a baptism date … and, get this!  One of them has a relative who is a member!  How awesome is that?  We only found out on Sunday when she came to church for the first time.  It was super amazing!

We also got the opportunity to speak in Relief Society for a bit (trust me, this is not my first time doing it).  I have to tell you the Spirit in that meeting was something special, and, not ruling us priesthood men out, but I almost wanted to stay.  My respect and credit to the amazing and wonderful sisters of the church … you are special!

Well, not much more to say but as always a little scripture to close.  I was studying in 3 Nephi 30:1-2 where it says:

 1 Hearken, O ye Gentiles, and hear the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, which he hath commanded me I should speak concerning you, for, behold he commandeth me I should write, saying:
 2 Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.

We have a sacred responsibility to share this Gospel with everyone and we can do so step-by-step. Just remember what is at hand and help others receive the marvelous blessings you and I have.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Simeon Speaks of Conference Truths

So, all this pollen is good for something!
Well, what more can I say than wow! General conference was wonderfully amazing and awesome. I reflect a lot on the talks given especially the one by Elder Uchtdorf on Grace and Elder Holland's talk. It got me thinking really hard as to what Grace really is and who holds on to us. I sat there taking it all in and I got my answer to the Grace part as Elder Uchtdorf said, “it is after all we can do that we are saved by our Savior's Grace.”  That put it into context for me. I remember when I was a young child my Grandmother used to say, “do all you can do and leave the rest to the Lord.”  Well that for me was easier said than done because for me I always saw it as I need to do more because the Lord is not satisfied with the efforts I have already made.  Of course, that was a big mistake on my part and, yes, I had to learn the hard way. I have come to realize all of our efforts are noticed by God. Yes, He does notice the effort you make to invite your neighbor to church and He does see your service to a friend in need even when you yourself are struggling. He more than appreciates your efforts for as we do “all we can do” God takes care of the rest.

I finally got a cardinal
And then Elder Holland’s talk on the story about the two brothers reminded me of my brother and how he has always been there for me and I in turn for him.  Then I remembered how our big brother Jesus Christ is always there for us even when we decide to do not-so-smart moves.  And even when we sometimes tell Him to go and look for something that is not there he stays in place to help us up the cliff and pull with all of his strength and will never let go, no matter what. He knows us inside and out and he knows when we are doing all we can do and he is there always to help us out. 

So, we should let him do that for that is why he is there so we can use his Grace and Atonement. I have seen and continue to see that as I trust in my Savior and He trusts in me.  So let us use his unending grace for it is more than sufficient for us.  Let us remember our Savior will always be there to catch us and pull us up safely to the top. I will do the same for my brothers and sisters and I urge you to do the same, for someone will always be there to help you. I testify the gospel we have and live is special and hence we should not be afraid to share it, for the Lord is with us as we look unto him.  Doubt not and fear not. I know this to be true in the name of my Savior, your Savior and everyone's Savior - even Jesus Christ who told us what He wants to do for us in 3 Nephi 9: 21-22:

 21 Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.
 22 Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.

May we tell others this wonderful good news!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Selwin Can't Decide

Elder Franklin and I modeling the Easter goodies
sent by his mom!
Conference is the talk of the whole town today.  Talk about receiving revelation from God's chosen servants! It's hard to pick whose talk stood out the most because they were all so good.  Don't you agree, yes it was awesome!!!! Well, before I get into the details just so you know I moved!!!, I'm now in Picayune, Mississippi.

Anyway, back to conference!  So as I sat and listened to these servants of God speak I couldn't help but apply everything they said towards my own life. There were a few talks in particular that really hit home.  The first was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk. The story at the beginning of the two brothers and the strong hands and arms ensuring a life was not lost reminded me of a time when I felt like I was lost but that the Savior held on to me with all the power He has when I was just ready to let go. It really made me appreciate, even more, all the Savior has done for me and all He continues to do for me. Truly, His love cannot be measured and His arm is extended to all who will just let Him hold them. Another was President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk on grace and the gift attainable by all.  As I was reading in the Book of Mormon today the words of the prophet Moroni reemphasized that grace truly is a gift given by God after all we do in this life, he said.

Moroni chapter 10:32-33 reads:

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot."

There are so many others I could quote at this time but I will save them for the upcoming weeks.  This fight we are in isn't getting any easier but we can be sure of one thing and that is the Lord will never abandon His children. No, He will do all He can to save us all, and do you know why? Because this is his will and this is His promise to us and God keeps His promises. We all face challenges in this life and they will never stop, but just remember you are never alone so you don't have to face those challenges alone.  The Lord is there always willing and able to lend a hand to those who need it whenever that may be.

Remember, the gospel is true, and I testify it is, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Selwin On the Move Again

Me in the hospital with a stomach bug!
It's been kind of a crazy few days, if I do say so myself.  Things have been happening here and there and everywhere. I'm no longer in Jackson, Mississippi. I don't know where I'm headed as yet but for now I'm with the Zone Leaders in Brandon, Mississippi.

Yeah, the week has been awesome though.  We found quite a few persons interested to, not just know more about what we teach, but to know more about God, in general. One young man told us he would love the opportunity to learn about God since he had always heard about God but didn't know anything much about Him. It was nice talking to him about God and about God's will for everyone.  It kind of reminded me of how many people are looking for the truth and so many who have questions which have never been answered. Some feel there are no answers, at all. But we know to every question there is an answer, especially when it's in pertains to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are certainly on a mission to help all those who don't know this gospel, to bring them knowledge to not only enlighten them but change their lives forever. I count it a privilege the Lord has chosen me to help Him in this great work and be among many others He has chosen, as well. General Conference is this weekend.  Whoa!!!!! I've been waiting forever for this to come around again and it's finally here. I sure hope you're as excited as I am.

It's going to be awesome so get your questions out and be prepared to write down the answers you receive to those questions. Remember, the Lord is leading this battle, people.  With that in mind there's no way we can lose, so doubt not, fear not. The gospel has been restored, the Church is true, the Book of Mormon and the Bible are the words of the Lord, Jesus Christ is at the head and leads us in these last days and teaches us to follow His examples. And this is what we proclaim to the world. The prophet Nephi could have not said it better in 2 Nephi 25:26:

"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins"

Christ is why we are here and He is why we do what we do.  Always remember that, and when times are hard and aren't going our way remember He faced it all and more and He's still going. And all this because He loves us and that is an eternal love and promise to us all, so lift your heads up and know in all you do Christ is by your side always. He lives people, so keep going. Whoa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!