Monday, November 30, 2015

Simeon's Awesome ... and Sad Week

Alright, so this week was Thanksgiving.  It was an awesome, but also a sad week. First, the sad part.  We had to let many of the people we are teaching go because they choose not to follow Christ’s example and be baptized by someone who has the authority to do so. It is sad to see how the gospel blesses  lives but then they don't want to receive more, but hey, that is a missionary’s life. I don't know if I will ever get used to that part but I will keep trying.

Now for the awesome part! This week we were able to hear an investigator declare she is ready to be baptized! It was so awesome, though when we first met her she thought we were of another faith.  We get confused a lot but now she is moving forward.  It was wonderful to hear her say that!  We are trying our best with the rest of the family to get them on track, as well, but it may take a little while but I know they will all be baptized someday. I will look forward to that.

The weather got a lot less cold this week, probably because I was ordered to rest my ankle for three days because I was not doing it.  To be honest it has been a month since I was supposed to do it but I just could not take looking at our apartment and knowing there is someone out there who needs me.  For those two days I had to keep my attention somewhere else and, in fact, I spent those two days with the Fairbanks, a senior couple here in the ward.  When I called them to tell them I would be moving in or crashing at their apartment for three days, Elder Fairbanks replied, "Now what did I do in the pre-earth life to deserve this?" (he makes a ton of jokes off me). I replied, "hey, you promised you would, so stick to it, Buster."  He replied, "I was writing in my gratitude journal before you called … now how can I be grateful for this?"  They are a wonderful couple and they put up with me for two days so I am grateful. I still have to keep icing my ankle, which is a drag, but if I want to get better I have to be obedient for it is better anyway. 

That reminds me of a scripture I read this week in Mosiah chapter 2:41: “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold outfaithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”

So as we keep the Lord's commandments we are blessed for it and I pray we all continue to do just that.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Simeon and Taylor Swift

Me and Taylor Swift
Well, with the chilly weather, and all, my cold has gotten worse, which is never good, but I have to keep going forward. I will be honest, I was never an inside person, so out I went this week with the cold.  All and hey, I had a blast which was awesome! We got into two arguments which went nowhere.  I did not participate in them because I have had too many on my mission and so all I did was bear my testimony. I felt the Holy Spirit as I did and so I know at least the Lord was there with us.  

While tracting one night we met this young lady who was a little drunk but expressed some desire to learn more about the gospel. At first I did not expect her to even accept a prayer but, as it turns out, she had a lot of things she wanted us to pray for, so we did.  It is just so wonderful to see their faces as you finish and tell them why you are there in the first place.  Hers was excited, so hey, who knows for that little time the alcohol wore off, which was great for us. 

We had a really awesome lesson this week with two sisters who were excited to learn the Lord loves them so much He has given us a Prophet on the earth again.  We were like, “yes, He did.”  Then when we invited them to be baptized the younger of the two girls got very red and even shed a few tears. We asked her why and she replied she was not sure what her mom would say to her being baptized because she is only 11.  I related to her my conversion story and told her to not be afraid for if it is the right thing to do, the Lord will soften her mother's heart so that she will understand.  The minute I finished saying that it was like a huge ball dropped off her shoulders and she became cheerful again! I just find it amazing how the Lord works.  

I know I probably will never stop being amazed.  That’s alright with me!  It is just awesome to see the Holy Ghost in action as he testifies of the truthfulness of the things we share with our fellow brothers and sisters and so there are no complaints from me.

This week I was reading in Jacob chapter 5 and this is what stuck out to me as I read:

70 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few.

71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.

72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.

73 And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard; and the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly; and the wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they did keep the root and the top thereof equal, according to the strength thereof.

Me in my Karen shirt
74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became like untoone body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most precious unto him from the beginning.

75 And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyard saw that his fruit was good, and that his vineyard was no more corrupt, he called up his servants, and said unto them: Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.

And so We are they who will prepare and keep the Lord's vineyard bearing fruit.  He loves us so much He is willing to do all He can in his power to help us.  So we need to do the same to help our fellow men and as we do we will reap the rewards He has promised us … the most important being Eternal Life with our families.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Selwin Keeps On Keeping On

Selwin finds unknown animal tracks.
Well, it dropped down into the 20's today but right now we are averaging mid 40's. Still not my kind of weather, but the work of the Lord must go on regardless of how cold I think it is and what the weather should actually be like.

The week has been an interesting one.  We decided this was week two of "Are you really interested or not?”  We went about this grand task and sadly we did find out a lot of individuals were not interested but there was one gentleman by the name of Eddie who was really grateful we kept coming.  He said, "Thanks for not giving up on me, guys."

Oh yeah, that made my day so hopefully he keeps moving forward.  We didn't find too many people this week but from what we have been hearing we are in the right place. It seems like missionaries have not been seen in the area for some time so it's always good when the friendly neighborhood Mormon missionaries come knocking.

We were tracting down one street and saw some children playing outside but upon them seeing us they disappeared.  When we knocked on their door there was no response so onward we went and we heard children playing again. On our way back down the street they disappeared again until we had passed their house and then out again when they saw we were going to another street.  Yeah, some people are really strange.

Then one of our investigators surprised us by saying she was going to come to church, which was awesome coming from her.  Her decision came after reading 2 Nephi 31 and then reading in the Book of Mark and realizing these people were teaching the same gospel as we are teaching.   Hopefully, she continues to move forward, as well.

During my studies this week I came across a familiar story found in Alma 56:46-48 about the sons of Helaman:

Misspelled? Shouldn't it be Moroni?
46 For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.

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 lives; 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."

How grateful I am for mothers who are always there helping us and teaching us those things which are important, especially the gospel. Yep, behind every great individual there is a greater mom. Don't worry dads … you are loved too. The gospel can and will change our lives if only we would let it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Elder Selwin and the Mustang GT

Celebrating Veterans Day 2015
The week has been an interesting one, from the weather changing from cold to hot to riding in an Rx-8 sports car, to going on splits with our 16-year-old companion.  We even turned up at our investigators homes in a Ford Mustang GT. Now that was awesome because everybody came to see who was pulling into their drive ways. 

But it was work, work, work as usual. My companion got sick on Tuesday so we had to stay in which was so boring, but we made it. We spent the most part of our week tracting so we can find more of those whom the Lord has made ready for us and also visiting some less-

actives and a few active members who lived way, way out there. We have been working really hard to get the members involved in the work and we are seeing a change.  We got to go out with a few of them this week as well including another priest who is preparing to put his mission papers in. He wants to serve somewhere in Africa but I told him he'll probably get called to my home land since he's spending time with me to which he replied "It doesn't matter where I go, all I know is that I'm going!"  Now that's what I'm talking about.

Max our tracting Husky.  Behind every good missionary,
there's a Husky!
We had an interesting visit with a few potentials this week as we taught them about the Restoration of the Gospel. The mom just kept going off.  The son kept trying to calm her down and I just kept praying and the Lord heard me because after a while she excused herself. When she came back in she was a lot more open. Her son wanted us to continue on with the lesson and promised he would start reading the Book of Mormon. That was really good to hear and just watching the expression on some individuals faces as we explained to them why we were there and how we got there has been another amazing thing this week for us.  Yes, people, the Lord does move in mysterious ways and especially through two guys with white shirt and ties.

During my studies this week I came across this scripture in Alma 48:15:  "And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger.”

Lately, we have had to exercise our faith on a whole new level as we seek to do the will of our Father In Heaven but we know if we do, the Lord will bless us. It might not be right away but in His own time and in His own way, for He is always mindful of our needs and He sees our efforts. We know it is by our faith in Him that miracles are wroth and great things are brought to pass.  Oh how I glory in how awesome and amazing our Father in Heaven is and I testify He lives.

Simeon Says Yes to Being a Missionary

Me with Elders Goodrich and Albertson
This week was very nice, I will say.  It included me not resting my ankle like I was supposed to and going to meetings and trying to sit on couches with a suit on, which is very uncomfortable.  Besides that, it was very nice. We have the cold here with us now, which means I am having to throw on a few more layers just to be comfortable.  We still have a lot more to come which I am getting ready for.

Superman times two!
We found a lot of really cool people this week and took every chance we got to tell people about this wonderful news.  In one lesson we received a reply a missionary always wants to hear, so I will tell.  We met this young mother named Pepe who is from Burma.  Every time we would go back to see her more people seemed to be in the home.  When we were finally able to sit with everyone last night for the lesson, I was very happy.  As we thought about the lesson, I felt the Holy Spirit, so I decided to ask all of them individually what they each felt and they all responded, "This is true. We believe this." I then asked them a question which has helped me to build my testimony so I asked, “do you feel that if this message we shared with you was not true would you still be sitting here listening to us?” To this question, they all said very clearly NO!  So, I said, “then it is true?”  They said “yes” in agreement which is awesome. As we are leaving I found out almost half the family, including the baby on the way, are or will be born in December.  Of course one of them has our birthday, which is awesome! Coincidence? I think not!

Alright, so I was cutting my hair last night, and as I am going for the sides, my comb comes completely off and buzzed the side of my head. I had to cut all my hair off so it is way too short now and I have a training to do tomorrow, which just makes my day, but it's better to laugh about it than to get upset about it.

So scripture time 2 Nephi 26:33 – “For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Selwin's Great Week

Outside our apartment door.  Brrr!!!
So I got up this morning to do my usual session of staying fit (also known as exercising) when I decided to see what the weather was like, so I opened the door and closed it back faster than I had opened it. Alright whose big idea was it to pray for cold weather?

This week has been really good despite the weather acting all weird. It was another week of doing a lot of tracting but this week we were blessed beyond measure.  In the last three days we have found more people than we have in the last couple of weeks.  Talk about the Lord opening the windows of heaven and pouring us out a blessing. We didn't, however, get to visit anyone we had already been teaching this week but all is well. We went out on splits with two of the priests in the ward.  They are brothers, which was even better.  Upon the request of their mom who said, “make them talk” I made the one who went me do just that.  It was awesome. Yep, you moms know best.

Me and the deer.
But that's pretty much what the week was like - filled with rain, sunshine and cold weather, all topped off with finding people to teach. During my studies this week I came across a scripture in the gospel of Luke which reads (in Luke 22:32): “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

Here the Savior is telling his apostle Peter he still needs to be converted, then to strengthen his brethren. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

"Jesus’ challenge shows the conversion He required for those who would enter the kingdom of heaven (see Matt. 18:3) was far more than just being converted to testify to the truthfulness of the gospel. To testify is to know and to declare. The gospel challenges us to be ‘converted,’ which requires us to do and to become."

This made me think of where my conversion is and what am I doing to be fully converted, for the Lord knows being fully converted doesn't happen over night.  I truly know He wants to see how far we will go in letting the gospel convert us. It should be our goal to do and to become and hence by doing so we will be working hard toward our own personal conversion.  In doing so we will be able to help those around us do the same.  This is the will of our Father in Heaven for each and everyone of us and what an awesome will He has for us.

Simeon and Swahili

Pacifique, the boy who translated for us
So, this week the rains came out to play and so did I with my rain jacket.  Yep, I was not about to be stopped this week.  No, sir, I was all for the "Onward Christian Soldiers" march - I came to battle prepared. week was transfer. I have a new companion named Elder Albertson from - you know it – Utah!  I seem to hit the trump card for Utah missionaries so I just go with the flow.  No use complaining, for all I am here to do is work and to find joy and give joy to someone else. 

We had some really good lessons with people this week as we went about doing the Lord's will.  One lesson on Saturday was very interesting and at the same time, wonderful.  We met a lady from Congo who spoke very little English.  Her official language is Swahili, so we had to find someone who spoke Swahili.  As we set out to do just that we found a recent convert who did but there was another problem.  She also spoke very little English so we had to get her son to translate to her in their tribal language and so this is how the lesson went: us speaking in English to the son, the son translating in his tribal tongue to his mom and then the mom in Swahili to the young lady we were teaching.  Then we received answers to our question the exact same way. Yes, that lesson took about two hours to complete and I will say I still felt the Holy Spirit - language barrier and all.  It gives me a testimony to know the Restored Gospel will be preached in every tongue and all will know through the Holy Spirit that it is true.  Now you would think being blessed like that was awesome right?

The District
Well, there was another problem to resolve and that was getting a Book of Mormon in her own language.  While we were at church, I felt prompted to look at all the Books of Mormon we had.  As I was looking I found the only Book of Mormon we had left in Swahili.  Yeah, this is the Lord's way of telling me "Hey, Elder Lovell, I am always here" so on that note the week was great! 

During studies I came arose 2 Nephi 22:2-6 reminding me we should always be happy.

2  Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song.  He also has become my salvation.
3  Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
4  And, in that day shall ye say: Praise the Lord call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
5  Sing unto the Lord, for he hath done excellent things, this is known in all the earth.
6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

So be happy and smile always.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Selwin Gets Pounded

Me and my comp at our ward's fall festival
We got pounded this week, by a whole lot of rain from the hurricane, which hit Mexico. We are still getting more which everyone is loving but I just want the sun to show it's beautiful face right now.  Yep, that would make my day!!!

The week has been a good one, but also a really trying one. For once we actually got a member to go out with us to an appointment only to have it fall through. As the saying goes, “control what you can control and just keep going” but the member said we could call on them again, so that's awesome. We tracted a lot but didn't find anyone.  On our way back from tracting we tried to see an investigator but he was sleeping.  I looked at what we had written down as our back-up plan and didn't like what I saw. It was a few potentials I haven't really been able to read to know if they just like having us over or they are really serious about this. The natural man in me said, "hey, let's go somewhere else" but the voice in my head said, "turn left and go and visit them". So I listened and we paid them a visit.  What a shocker we got! It turned out their granddaughter was there and she wanted to know what we really believed.  We told her and we had a good conversation. But, on our way out I just felt I needed to say more. Turns out she believes everything we believe. In fact, she almost quoted word-for-word the words found in Alma 34:32: “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors."

Me and one of the ward members
It was so amazing!  She then wanted to know “where is that?” after I had her read it, to which I replied, "The Book of Mormon". We left her with a Plan of Salvation pamphlet, which she said she would definitely read.  We also invited her to church. This experience was a powerful reminder the Lord always knows better and we need to let Him use us the way He sees fit. It means we must be spiritually in tune all the time. If we are, then we will hear when He speaks to us giving us the guidance we need in everything we do. I truly know the Lord never leaves us and every effort we make in our lives to live it right is greatly appreciated by Him. Yes, indeed, we may not always see the blessings right away but we can be assured the blessings are there whether we see them in this life or the next. And don't worry too much and start thinking because your spirituality isn't as great as someone else's you can't ever get there. Even though you sometimes struggle to recognize His spirit, the Lord works with us all differently and at our own pace. That is my testimony to you, I know it because I've been there and I'm still working hard at getting where He needs me to be.

Mosiah 4:9 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 the things which the Lord can comprehend."

Trust in the Lord always!!!

Simeon Stays in Decatur

A beautiful double rainbow
Well, the good news is I will be staying in Decatur for another transfer! I am happy with that. My bro is right! Why is everyone talking about Christmas already? It's only November.  Whatever happened to Thanksgiving? Well, I hope this little confusion is cleared up ASAP!

This week we spent just outside finding and that is really all we did.  We hit the paves and the roads very early and just went to work even in the rain or cold and despite me spraining my ankle last Monday while playing soccer, I limped around just fine. I will say it was well worth it and though I know Sister Sappington will probably be a little upset because I did not tell her I know she will forgive me.

Now I have two hurt legs so I am ordered to rest both of them. If no one has guessed, as yet, that may not happen with me always wanting to be out working so I will have to make plans here. The rains have continued to fall here quite a bit and it has gotten a little colder, so I am on the lookout for anything that looks white and falls from the sky. We had an awesome trunk-or-treat but sadly I forgot to carry my camera so no pictures. It was freezing cold so I was more than happy to collect candy and even had to sing for some, too, which was awesome! And though this week has been nothing but running here, there and everywhere it turned out just fine.

A funny sign at the end of Daylight Saving Time
This week during personal studies I came across a familiar scripture I know very well. It was strange how this time around something just stuck out more in Mosiah 3:19 which teaches “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, andputteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child,submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”

Noah's Ark got moved
The most important part I saw was yielding to the enticings of the Holy Spirit because sometimes we think we know it all but we do not.  If anything the Holy Spirit is there to help us always follow those things the Lord needs us to do which is wonderful. I hope we all yield to the promptings we receive … even the smallest one.

So, a story to finish up. This Saturday daylight savings ended. I rejoiced and shouted for joy and by total accident woke my companions up at 4:30 am instead of 5:30 am. Yep, they were mad but those are the joys of missionary work.