Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Selwin Answers a Prayer

This was transfer week. Looks like I'm staying in Picayune for another transfer. Hurray!!!. With the past weekend being Pioneer Day the stake held an activity on Saturday to celebrate but we didn't go.  Instead we worked.

The decision to work was a good one.  We went tracting for a really long time but it didn't phase us. We were tracting this one street and we knocked on this door.  A lady comes out and she just looks sick.  We asked her if we could do anything for her to which she said, “no, I’m just a little depressed.” My companion Elder Bennett then asked her if we could say a prayer for her.  She said “yes,” so she let us in and then after the prayer she opened up telling us about everything going on in her life.  Then she asked us a couple of questions and one of them had to do with forgiveness. I bore her my testimony about forgiveness but especially about forgiving yourself. I then told her along with forgiveness there must be love.  I don't know why I said that but I did. I knew she had just gotten the answer she was praying for. She thanked us so many times I stopped counting and then she said at the door, "go and answer someone else's prayer because you definitely answered mine."  She just made my day! 

Later while on another street we ran into a bunch of children who, when they saw us coming, said, "There here". They then ran to the front and said, " Ahhh, strangers are at our door.”  We asked if their parents were home and they said “yes” but got no answer when we knocked.  They then showed us their pet turtle and on our way down the drive way one of them said, "We just talked to strangers.”  So much fun.

But as I recollected I really couldn't help but think about that one lady and about how much more happy she was from the time we got there to the time we left. I thought about the love shown even though we didn't know each other and how the Savior does the exact same thing for us because we are all the children of God.

1 John 4:12 reads:  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."

Love is what is needed in this world we live in today. As we continue to love each other so will the Lord our God continue to love us.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ups and Downs for Simeon

Me and my boy Kendall
Well, I am back! Well, that sounded super good in my head so I just decided to write it down.  This week has been a very interesting one and, of course, there is always a few stories to go along with it.  We started this week going super hard at everything thing we did and we made it up to Thursday before everything seemed to just stop working, including dropped appointments, not finding people to teach and many more disappointments.  So Elder Nelson, one of my companions, said, “I knew I should have eaten my apple before my oatmeal. I knew it.”  Poor guy thought it was his fault.’

On Friday, at the request of our Mission President we did four back-to-back-to-back-to-back 20-minute trainings to our new missionaries and their companions.  It was a blast and while doing that I shared with them this spiritual prompting I had received a long time ago that is "true love cannot be faked."  It you love the people you teach whether they are members or someone learning the gospel, they will know the Lord loves them. After this meeting on Friday we continued to do all the Lord requires of us.  We were able to see many miracles.  One came on Sunday and the other actually came on Wednesday.  On Sunday I was in standing in church and this member walks in through the door.  I noticed her accent as we spoke so I asked, “hey, where are you from?” and she told me Antigua.  “Yes, another Caribbean person.  I am not alone” and, indeed, I was not as we were joined by two more.  I called my companions over - who for the entire time we have been together just bashed my beautiful game of cricket to the ground.  I was smiling with joy – well, lets be honest … it was pride because these wonderful friends of mine from the Caribbean all loved cricket, too.

This was also the day I saved Elder Snedaker from eating a super hot pepper (well, for him anyway) because he wanted to prove he was tough.  So glad I ate that pepper for him or else things could have gotten crazy.  

The sisters went to extremes looking for investigators!
Now let me tell you what happened on Wednesday.  I was interviewing this young man for baptism and the funny story is this is the second time I am doing so.  I’m filling out the baptismal sheet and things were silent.  Then he said, "You know what I like about you?  You are always happy, no matter what."  Well, this took me completely off guard, so I shared my testimony of the restored gospel with him and explained to him this is why I am always happy.   For me this was an answer to my prayers as I have been praying really hard to get to know my Savior better.  I feel, in a sense, that was to tell me, “as you serve others and live the gospel, the happiness and joy you experience helps you know how I feel about you and this is how you will get to know me better!”  Yes, indeed, what a way to answer my prayers but that is the Lord for you.    It reminds me of the scripture in Alma 26:27-30 which tells us where we can turn every time things get tough or hard:

27  Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold the Lord comforted us, and said”  Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear it with patience thine afflictions and I will give unto you success.

28  And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to hours, relaying upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.

29  And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.

30  And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.

And so the Lord reaches out to us just as much as we reach out to others because he knows and cares about us as well.  Just as we labor with our might to bring others unto him he will labor with his might to bring us closer to him.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Selwin on Exchanges

Exchanges with Elder Bierer
Well, this week went by much quicker than I was expecting it to. I had splits this week and it was awesome despite it being over a 100 degrees every single day.  Oh, yeah it was awesome and a lot was learned.

I really don't have a lot to report but I will share what happened as exchanges with one of the elders from Bogalusa ended. We had just finished planning and I was sharing with him what we study every night as a companionship and how it could be of help in strengthening the unity between himself and his companion. So I read a paragraph about having faith in the Savior.  After reading this, he broke down in tears telling me how he had been praying for a long time for an answer to some questions he had and what I had just said was the answer he needed.  All I did was pick a paragraph and read it, but it reassured me the Lord does answer our prayers and He does so in many ways especially through others we meet and also His compassion for us is great.

As I studied this week this scripture stood out to me:

Exchanges with Elder Jones
 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour."

Because of her faith Christ had compassion on this woman.  Is it not what He expects from us today? As we exercise our faith in Him, He will have compassion on us and He will hear and answer our prayers. Because of the faith in Christ this elder had his prayers were answered, hence we must not waiver but we must secure our faith in Him.  That means, with all of our hearts we must trust and have faith in Him.

Simeon, Kendall and Shenequah

Kendall and Shenequah on their wedding day
So this week began as a tough one with me finding out some not so good news about a few good friends of mine and a little family news as well. It sometimes feels as though the adversary was having a grand old time pushing me around and for a second, I was a little taken aback.  I am not surprised though, as this is always the adversary's game. To fight back I decided to work even harder.

The story I will share actually happened in June and continued on July 11 … and so we begin.  It all stared with us running into a part member family with a lot of health problems and when I say, a lot, I mean it.  The husband suffers with congestive heart failure and so the wife has to take care of him and their two young children.  The first time I met them was in the hospital. They were not married as yet and as we would go to see Kendall and his wife Shenequah, we were able to give him a blessing. I watched these two and thought, alright, these two need to be married.  But it’s kinda tough to put that out there when they were in that situation but I followed the Holy Spirit's prompting.  In the process I used these words to help them to think about the proposal of marriage and my brother will know them better than anyone else because he wrote, " Love is a four letter word, it will make you do things you would never think you would do.”  They took those words to heart and we were blessed to see them get married. 

Kendall's baptism by Bishop Carroway
Then came the time to set up the baptism for Kendall but he suffers with his heart problem so he has to carry around a little bag which provides him with medicine always.  We went to great lengths thinking of ways he could be baptized and I asked my companions, “well, how does he take a shower?” And so we found out how and went to work teaching him and his family.  Then came the day of the baptism.  They were late but we gave them some slack.  The Bishop, who had known this couple for a long time, was able to baptize Kendall after we duct taped a plastic bag to his hand so he could still be able to receive his medicine and also go down into the water.  He went down and up again, and on the 12th (which was actually his birthday) Kendall received the gift of the Holy Ghost. It took me back to the blessing I had given him in the Hospital and the promise the Lord had made to him in that blessing.  It brought a smile of joy to my face. Truly this Gospel is true, for nothing else could have taken this family from where they were to where they are now. I humbly testify this is indeed the Lord's church and does contain all the ordinances and blessings and fullness of the Lord's gospel necessary for us to return to live with God again.  Indeed, if we lose ourselves in the service of others we are putting the gospel in action, not only for others, but for us as well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Selwin's Companion Back on His Feet

A selfie with my companion.
So, my companion is walking again!!! Well, he's only been walking for a day now but he is on his feet again which means we get to go out and work. This week we saw how, despite our weakness, the Lord continues to pour out His blessings upon us as we continue to keep His commandments.

There has been a lot of fasting and praying lately, petitioning the Lord for His help in finding persons to teach and He certainly answered our prayers. And do you know how? He sent someone through another person we are helping return to the gospel. That made my week. It is a testimony the Lord is mindful of us and He knows our needs and that as we put our faith and trust in Him continually, He will bless us.

On our first day back doing what we love, we met a lady who just kept telling us how wrong we were (which was nothing new). Then she mentioned how she doesn't understand certain things in the Bible but she believes, that's the way God meant for it to be. So, I said, “really?” I then asked her if this is God's word, wouldn't He want us to understand all of His words and not just some of it? She couldn't answer that question but she went on to tell us how she knew we saw her as a lost soul and she saw us the same way. I looked at her and said, "ma'am we see you as a daughter of our Heavenly Father."  That really took her back. 

Does every house have a Great Dane?
It made me think of what the Lord expects of us as His servants. He wants our eyes to be single to His which means we must see things as He sees it, especially when it comes to those who are around us who are His children. We are here to help fulfill His work and to help show the world His glory and I know this to be true. The Savior taught:

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

The greatest commandment is "love" and when our eyes are single to the Lord's that is when this love is even more evident. You know it and I know it.

Simeon at the Summit

At the summit.  Conquering Stone Mountain!
This week was really good. I went again on a Spanish splits and just like before I only knew about five words out of every few sentences. I still need a ton of work with my Spanish, but hey the work of the Lord goes on.  We were able to find a few persons this week who were super interested in what we share. In fact, yesterday as we were looking for someone, two ladies motioned us over and asked who we were. When we told them she gave us high fives, then as we were talking with them I noticed the car in which they drove had a Trinidadian flag inside.  I asked who was from the Caribbean and was able to talk to the man who owned the car! 

We were also blessed to see the miracles of the Gospel in the lives of two persons who received the Gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday. They are taking those steps down the path of enduring which is so wonderful to see.  We also had a good sit down talk with our mission President on how we can best help everyone including the missionaries we serve. 

Elders Haun, Hope, me, Nelson and Snedaker
at the top of Stone Mountain together
It got me thinking of a talk I heard in the MTC by Elder Bednar who talked a lot about charity.  In that talk something he said stood out to me. He said, "Charity Is not something we can possess. It is something that possesses us." I pondered that for a really long time because I always love to serve others but had never really thought of it in that way.  So I have set about to be more worthy to receive the wonderful gift of charity and indeed serve and show love to all. Hey, you may never know how much you can bless the life of someone who is in trouble just by saying good morning or even hello when you meet them.  Those simple words can make their day a whole lot better. The gift of charity is and will always be here for the Lord to give us. I pray we may all show a little more love, patience and long suffering as we show the Lord we are worthy of his Gift. 

PS: This week my companions also got back at me for finding out their failed plot to catch me asleep so they funny stringed me "big time."  All my efforts to fight back were in vain but they still did not get a picture, so hurray.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Selwin: Iced Tea and Snakes, Oh My

A really nice lady gave us a large glass of iced tea!
Well, I'll just tell you, this week was good. My companion sprained his ankle so that meant no riding or walking anywhere.  It was pretty bad, but he's doing a whole lot better now. Still hobbling but doing way better.

Despite him being down I was determined we were going to do all we could, so we embarked on a find-those-less-actives journey. The members got my companion some crutches so he could move around a little and that helped a whole lot. It was tough on us both, with him in pain and with me just wanting to work, but my joy was filled by those we visited.  They listened to what we had to share with them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I sat pondering over our week I was impressed to pick up last month’s Ensign magazine, where I read a story about a woman who was taught a lesson about love.

Found this little dude on the porch of a home we were tracting
Then I read the words of our beloved prophet President Thomas S. Monson who said: "There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere."

This statement filled my soul and as I thought about those we visited, I wondered about how they were feeling before we showed up at their doors and how they were feeling after we left. We do not know the change we will bring to the lives of those around us when we are in the service of God, so don't give up on anyone!!!. The Lord expects us to love all despite our differences. He is a God of love and he has been from the beginning of time and will forever be this we know because He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He expects us to love just as He does.  So share that love!

Simeon's New Mission President

Ready for P-day
Well, this week just up and flew by. I honestly have no idea where it went but it was a really good week.

We welcomed our new mission president and I will be honest, he is the total opposite of our old mission president though both their objectives are the same.  It just goes to show the Lord knows whom he calls and why he calls them.  Our new mission President Foote is really a lovable guy.  Sister Foote is a very good artist.  I look forward to working with both of them. 
This week we taught a very cool Asian gentleman from Bhutan, a country between China and India.  He had never heard of the Book of Mormon before so it was amazing to see how excited he was to let us tell him more. He had so many questions, he just kept popping them at us faster than a speeding bullet.  He reminded me of a 10-year-old on a sugar rush, but when we gave him the Book of Mormon to read ,he calmed down and took it gently with both hands and said thank you.  It truly was something special.

My new planner
I was totally disappointed with the 4th of July because I saw no fireworks.  My companions made me sing the first stanza of the national anthem.  I gave them a super hard time about it with a million excuses of why I should not do it.  They still do not know I was pulling their legs a little. What was super funny was that since I got them both on my camera sleeping after a really tough day of missionary work they decided to try and get me back! There is only one problem with that. I do not fall asleep until I am in my bed for the night.  So as I went to lay on my bed and ponder the day for a minute, unknown to them I could hear them discussing their plans. I sat there waiting but they never came so I got up and walked out of the bedroom to find both of my companions on the floor crawling!  It was so funny. They had even taken off their belts and shoes so as to not make a sound.  When they saw me they made up this ridiculous story of a bug they were looking for.  Oh, how I wish I had my camera. Missionary work is tough so I believe the Lord always allows us to have a laugh because what good would it be to be sad and grumpy all of the time.

During my studies this week I came across a talk from General Conference and this is what I learned from it that "A Saint is someone who keeps on trying" and I believe that because we are by far not perfect and God knows that but he also knows we are trying to become perfect so don't be afraid if you stumble while answering a non-member friend’s question.  Just keep trying because to God that is a success not a Failure.