Monday, September 21, 2015

Elder Selwin Sees His Shadow

Elder Peter Pan and his shadow
Wow, we are already in week three of this transfer. It’s crazy. Last week the sun was my best friend, so I got up today expecting sunshine but the rain has decided to join in, so I guess I have a new best friend now.

We did a lot of tracting this week mainly because we have to find people to teach and mainly because I love it. Only while tracting do you come across the most fascinating things and where you receive some of the most interesting, yet epic, answers you will ever get at a door. Truly this is priceless. We had a few added companions travel the dusty trails with us as well this week including a really huge pit bull and a duck … yes, a duck. We decided to go on splits yesterday with the priest in our ward and it was awesome. Me and my companion for the time did some tracting and were confronted by a German shepherd who probably did the right thing by barking at us from a distance.

We have been trying to follow up on a lot of investigators who were just dropped for one reason or the other. We had a good conversation with one of them. I asked her to tell me all she believed and then I told her all I knew to be true. I then asked her what she thought our purpose as missionaries is and then asked if she believed all she had been taught by past missionaries to which she said yes. She then went on to say how she loved and respected everyone's belief so I asked her "what if God is trying to give you a higher calling than the one you already have?" She looked at me and said, "you know, I've never thought about that" so we invited her to pray about it to which she agreed. In life, there are so many things vying for our attention, we sometimes don't even recognize when the Lord is calling us to do greater things.

We had Stake Conference as well this week. During one of the talks the speaker was describing the life of President Boyd K. Packer when he was called to be a seminary teacher and how his senior companion, one who had been teaching seminary for a long time, would call out every time to him "Packer, listen to this" and he would read a scripture and then say "when did they put this in here" because every time he read the Book of Mormon it was a new book. I felt that way this past week as I read the following from Mosiah 28:4-5

4 And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever.

 5 And it came to pass that they did plead with their father many days that they might go up to the land of Nephi."

Never before had I noticed the sons of Mosiah were pretty much begging their father to let them go and serve their brethren and all because they had heard the Lord as He was calling out to them.  How great a call it was. We don't need to have on a name tag to be called by the Lord to reach out to His children.  All we need to do is to always keep our ears, hearts and mind open so when He does call we will hear Him so we might bring joy, peace and happiness to someone who is desperately in need of it, because the Savior gave His all and did it for us.

Simeon Stays Put

Me with the funny card you sent.
So, here is the transfer news.  Are you ready?  I am staying right where I am (in Decatur), so I know the Lord needs me here for a reason.  So I will stay until he says, “hey, your work in this area is done.  Let’s go on to the next one here in Atlanta” or where ever he needs me. I like what Sel said about how trials make us stronger and we should always know we are never alone which is very comforting to know.

This week was good. We did a lot of work from exchanges to everything else.  It was all just awesome work. We were teaching Muka this week and I just sat there looking at him, thinking to myself, “wow, this gentleman truly is a son of his Heavenly Father.” If everyone was like him and had the desire to learn this wonderful plan the Lord has in store for them, all would be well, no matter where we are serving. Oh, how my joy would be filled, but that is not the case. There is still hope and that is why we are out here serving in the first place.

I am almost over my cold. I decided not to tell Sister Sappington because I know how she is about these things. I just worked through it. Sel would say, “way to go bro” so I knew all would be well. Now things will pick up here. I am happy for everyone who gets baptized and it is a joy to see even if it is not in my own personal area. I am happy none-the-less. We had an amazing lesson this week with a woman by the name of Angela. She and her husband have been taking the lessons from the missionaries for a while now and they know the Gospel is true, but have held back a lot. We went over and just poured out our souls to help them see the blessings in store for them as they made the step to be baptized. Angela was in tears as she finally told us she knew it was true!  The Holy Spirit was so strong. It was wonderful and I know she felt it. This week I read in 1st Nephi:6.  Although it is a very short chapter I felt Nephi's love for all of us as he explained the things he writes is for those who are in the world but not of it. He shows how much he cares for our salvation and it is wonderful to know the little we do can help others a thousand times over because of the restored gospel and I pray we will never stop doing that.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Selwin Reports on Purvis

Selfie with Elder Rasmussen
My first week in Purvis has been a blast but I sense there will be some cold weather coming our way really soon. I'm bracing myself for it.

The area is huge. I'll leave it at that. It consists mostly of trees with a house here and a few there, but it's so awesome. We went door knocking this week since we don't have any investigators. We knocked on one door and the guy’s wife turns to him and says, “come tell them to leave” as if we couldn't see or hear her.  So he gets up and tells us to go away.  We leave and start heading over to the next house when he comes out and tells us to get off his road, using language not appropriate to be written here. So we turned and left but their dog kept following us.  Yep, the dog knew we have the truth. We also met a pastor.  He was all fired up and started to contend with us and after noticing he wasn't even scratching the surface of my very being, he turns to my companion and says, " You should stop following him.”  This just made me laugh becauseI didn't know I had that much of a convincing power about me.

But the week was good.  My new companion's name is Elder Rasmussen. He's from Maryland but he was born in - yes you guessed it – Utah; and, guess what?  We share the same birthday. He's only been out a short time but he's got the desire to work and that's all that matters so it's going to be an awesome transfer.

Mosiah 23: 21-22 reads:
21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.

 22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people."

As children of our Father in Heaven, He builds us all in different ways but His purpose is the same for us all and that is helping us return to Him. Trials are only here to build us and we are never alone in facing them so whether it's been a rough week at work or with the family or finding people to share His gospel with, He's got us and that's all He wants us to know. We are never alone.

Simeon Continues to "Feed My Sheep"

Muka and his family with Elders Baker, Miller and me
Ok, so this will be the only time I ever say anything about my time out, but it truly is worth mentioning.  Sister Sappington, sorry about last week but we ran out of time to do anything but email our mission President.  I truly apologize and I commit to do better.

The week started off with us going on exchanges with the Assistants which was the first in their 3-month promise to do so. We were really excited and all learned quite a lot from the exchange together.  We were out teaching the Burmese people because we have a lot of them here.  We do that from time-to-time and were able to see one of those persons we taught accept a baptism date. It was awesome!  Later in the evening, we picked up an investigator and a member for Bible Study.  She was bearing her testimony of the Book of Mormon and how it cleanses her heart when she reads it.  She told us it seemed to be written for her in these days and then she turned to me and said, just simply this, "So when am I getting baptized?"

Me conducting a baptism
I was like, “ahhhh, September 26?”  She said, “great, because I need to be.”  You can picture the look on my face when I was asked that.  So this past Saturday marked my 18-month mark in the mission field.  We also had a wonderful baptism of a gentleman named Muka. He is from Burma. We met him tracting and started to teach him.  Wow, has he come a really long way. You can see the change in him, in fact, when he was baptized by one of my companions all he kept saying was, “thank you” over and over again.  It made me wonder if every time I take the Sacrament if I take time to tell my Savior Jesus Christ Thank You! Thank You for helping me out. Thank You for always being there for me. Thank You for the brave missionaries who followed a simple prompting to talk to my uncle on the road side. I have come to realize I have not and that made me a little sad to be quite honest, for the Lord has helped and continues to help me so much, whether through Him or through others.  I know He will always be there to help me, no matter what.  I pray we will never forget to say, “thank you” every day – even more than once in our day, when we see the Lord's hand in all we do.

The Army of Helaman:  Me with Elders Baker, 
Pehrson (the tall one), Harris, and Miller.
This morning I got up and went outside. It was so cold I could see my breath and I saidm “come on,” but then as I went outside I thought I will just have to get me a sweat through all this cold.  So there are chances to say thank you all the time so don't miss the opportunity to do so.

As I was doing my personal study the day we were finishing up exchanges I was prompted to read a poem called, "Feed My Sheep." It is a poem I wrote.  Please don't ask me how but when the Holy Spirit says to write, that is what I do.  In a sense, I feel like this is the way the Lord answers me sometimes; and, though strange, I appreciate it so much in the end, because as I finished reading the poem I felt the Holy Spirit so much I shared it with every single one of the elders during companionship study. The Spirit was there, I know that I am not good at a lot of things but this I know. The Lord loves each and every single one of us. I pray we will all do as he says and share his Gospel and to remember to say “Thank You” as we do, for now you have something you can share with someone who is close to you whether it is a friend or foe.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Selwin is Transferred

Breaking news for the week..... I just got transferred. Yep, now I'm in Purvis, Mississippi but I don't know where in Purvis as yet so look out for updates next week. 

My last week in Picayune was great despite me feeling really tired and not wanting to get out of bed almost everyday, but I made it and my energy has returned. We did a lot of following up this week returning to homes where they told us to come back. We got to clear off almost everyone on our list and a few told us to come back again, so they will be visited. We met with John this week as well who is part of a part member family.  He wants to be baptized but doesn't really know anything, so we've been teaching him, but taking it really slow. The sad part is, besides the father, nobody else really shows any interest in even sitting in on the lesson but we will get them there.  We took the first step by getting to know everyone by name so hopefully and with time things will change for them as a family.

During my studies this week I read about the prophet Abinadi - you all know the story - but what really stood out to me was his boldness and how he stood up.  He did not recall his words even though he knew it would mean he would die. This reminded me a true disciple of Christ are those who stand firm in their faith.  They are bold and testify of Christ even if it means dying, and it so reminded me of the words of the Savior when He said in Matthew 19:29: “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."

This places a lot of emphasis on the Savior.  It is so good to know we, as the Lord's children are doing all we can to bring about His good name and works to the world. Yes, we are small in number when compared to the world but we are mighty in the things we share and ever so strong when we stand up for the Savior. I know there isn't a single thing that could be more important than representing the Savior even if it means dying!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Selwin Says

I don't know where this week went, to be honest, but it seems like we just got it started. Alright, whose been paying visits to the Time Wizard?

We rode and walked our socks off this week and that's no lie. By the end of the week two pairs of socks were in the trash. I had exchanges this week with the zone leaders and while there I found out I’ve lost three (3) pounds. Elder Hainsworth looked at me and said, "that can't be good.”

On splits with Elder Hainsworth
We also had Zone Conference this week. It was just awesome.  I learned a ton and met someone from my brother's mission which was super sweet because he thought I was Simeon who had been sent to spy on him by his mission president. So after being confused, he approached me in the middle of his discussion and said, "please tell me I haven't met you before.” I responded, "I don't think so" then told him where my brother is serving.  He breathed a huge sigh of relief, so now everyone in two zones knows I'm a twin.

The week was so very spirit filled even when one gentleman told us how wrong we were.  He couldn't explain how the Lord testifies truth to us even after saying it himself. We read with him in the book of Acts about the day of Pentecost and what happened to the people there, to which he responded, "It was guilt."  We asked how they knew it was guilt because they couldn't see it, touch it, smell it, or even taste it.  They had to feel it so there's your winner, my people. The best part of the week came when we paid a visit to the home of an excommunicated member to let him know God truly had a purpose for him. After going over scriptures with him and testifying to him I felt prompted to share Proverbs 3:5-6 with him:

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

What a promise we have been given and all we have to do is to trust in the Lord. At the end of our visit he looked at me and said that was a really good scripture. I know the Lord knows us and He knows our struggles but He has promised if we just trust Him and acknowledge Him, He will direct us regardless of where we've been or where we are going.  That is His eternal promise to us and I know it.