Friday, June 24, 2016

Simeon Now a Graduate

Simeon graduated last night from Southwest High School here in St. George.  He signed up to get a GED a couple of weeks after returning from his mission.  He hadn’t finished high school in Guyana – dropped out so he could find a job to help his family – but felt strongly he needed to cross that finish line in his life.  A few days into his studies at SWHS, he decided he wanted to get a diploma instead!  

In an effort to complete the required 22 packets, his studies frequently kept him up until midnight or later after a full work day in the hot sun … but, not only did he complete 13 credits, he did so in record time, finishing faster than any student had EVER done at SWHS - and with 20 A’s and 2 B’s.  Then to cap off his successes, he was asked to be the commencement speaker!!!

We are so proud of this great young man who is hardworking, determined and anxious to succeed in school and in life!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Simeon on the Move

Since arriving home in St. George, Simeon has been busy, busy, busy!  The first order of business was to get a job.  Hours after he got off the airplane, he was hired by Pool Tech to clean swimming pools. Then he signed up at Southwest High School to complete his GED, but decided after a couple of classes, to go for his diploma instead.  He (and Selwin) also enrolled at Dixie State University for the fall semester.
In his limited amount of leisure time, Simeon even participated in the BYU Alumni Association - St. George Chapter's 5K FunRun on Saturday, May 21 ... where he placed 2nd and won a free all-you-can-eat buffet dinner at Golden Corral.  Fun times!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Selwin Saying Goodbye

Top left: The Martin's from Purvis, MS; Sister Matealona and Sister Rose; Troy and Charlotte Spiers of Purvis, MS;
Elder Stokes being Elder Stokes; and the Dennees and the Evans of Purvis, MS.
From left:  Robert Seay of Bossier City, LA; the Parks family of Bossier City, LA; Elder Franklin;
the Osburns of Bossier City, LA and the Reynders,
From left: Jim and Brigitte Arroyo; the Kucks; Charles and Sonia Herrin;
the Austins and the Shan and Karma Thompson family ... all of Purvis, MS
Top left:  on our way to the airport; missionaries all heading for home;
Richard and Candi Thrasher of Purvis, MS; Elder and Sister Campbell; and Elders Hansen, Petersen, Marvin and me
Elder Selwin Lovell was reunited on Wednesday, April 13, with his twin brother Simeon and the rest of his St. George family after an honorable release from two years of full-time missionary service in the Mississippi Jackson Mission.  The Guyanese "son" of Ed and Linda Sappington called his experiences in Mississippi, Louisiana and parts of Arkansas and Texas "awesome," "life-changing," "exciting,"  "full of fun adventures," and "a great opportunity to meet amazing and one-of-a-kind, beautiful people."

The best part of his mission, he says, was "finding the Lord's lost sheep." Only slightly less enjoyable was the last 2 1/2 months when he was assigned as a Special Assistant to the President while on crutches because of a broken leg.  Although he was able to travel the mission and work closely with the missionaries, his limitations prevented him from the joy of "finding." 

The most important lesson learned in his "best two years" is "the importance of following the Spirit in everything you do" while also having the "wonderful opportunity to get to know my Savior."

Selwin's mission president Bruce L. Olson wrote:  "We are grateful to have had Elder Lovell in the Mississippi Jackson Mission.  Sister Olson and I have loved serving with Elder Lovell. We have watched him grow in his faith and love for the Savior.  We have seen him strengthen the missionaries and members around him.  He has been an outstanding missionary and will be missed."

The MJM is the only mission in the Magnolia State where the Church has seen slower-than-usual growth with Church membership now totaling 21,630 in 44 wards and branches.

What's next for this Elder Lovell?  "My Plan," which missionaries are expected to complete prior to release includes, "work, school and - for my eternal welfare - to find a wife."

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Together Again

It was a joyful reunion at the St. George Airport, when on Wednesday, April 13, Elder Selwin Lovell was reunited with his identical twin brother Simeon Lovell after their combined 26 months of full-time missionary service (Selwin in Mississippi Jackson and Simeon in Georgia Atlanta). 

Selwin's mission president Bruce L. Olson wrote:  "We are grateful to have had Elder Lovell in the Mississippi Jackson Mission.  He has been an outstanding missionary.

"Sister Olson and I have loved serving with Elder Lovell.  We have watched him grow in his faith and his love for the Savior.  We have seen him strengthen the missionaries and members around him and he will be missed.  We have encouraged him to continue to be faithful and keep his sacred covenants, to serve where he is called and to continue to bless the lives of all those with whom he comes in contact.  We express our gratitude for your support and love for him during his service.  May the Lord continue to bless you and your family."

To Southgate Stake President James Bown, Selwin's mission president wrote:  "Elder Lovell has served faithfully.  He has studied and applied the gospel and has acquired Christ-like attributes which will bless and benefit himself and others throughout his life.  He has been an example to all of the missionaries with whom he has served and has strengthened the faith of members in wards and branches."

Selwin was also welcomed home by Stacy and Rick, Kendi and her friend Taylor, Taisley, Danielle and our Bishop Mike Bair and his family including wife Lori, daughters Brianna, Cara and Aspen.  Following Selwin's meeting and release by St. George Southgate Stake President James Bown, family and friends gathered for a hamburger cookout at home.

Certainly many stories are still to come from this "exceptional missionary and fine young man" who served in the deep South, but the future is bright for the twins, though certain to include hardwork, school and eventually marriage and families.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Selwin's Last Letter from the Mission Field

The Jason and Krista Grover family in Purvis, MS
So the time has been spent, memories made and awesome adventures had and it has been a blast. This week we had the opportunity of visiting with fourteen or more companionships (I lost count). It was just amazing to say the least. The spirit was our biggest teacher this week and it was awesome. Well, the time has finally come and after two years of full time service as a missionary I'm coming home, but the work continues. 

Well, I don't know what else to write but heres a little something for you:

In the garden He bled for me 
On the cross He died for me
Resurrected He set me free,
Yes, Christ certainly paved a way for me.

Selwin's biggest fans: the Ishee family in Petal, MS
I give Him all the thanks. I give Him all the glory.
Just look at the Bible and Book of Mormon and you'll see this isn't a made up story.
His Father's gospel He taught. The straight and narrow path He walked.
Yes, He was definitely without fault, yet they nailed Him to that cross
Perfect in all attributes worthy to fill every shoe and yes He did it all for me and you.

Well that's all that I've got for you so until I see you later.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Selwin is Fired Up by the Words of the Prophet

Top left:  Brookhaven District, Me with Elder Stokes.
Bottom left:  Itinerary for travel to St. George and the Wake Village and Stonewall sisters.
This week we drove for what seemed like forever.  We were also apart of a few meetings and a couple other changes taking place in the mission.  To top it all off General Conference was just awesome!!!

We only met with six (6) companionships this week but it was an awesome experience never the less.  We got to drive home late - yep, no time limit on us though it told on me the next day. General Conference for me was one where chastisement was put on and delivered with love. It was also a call for me at least to keep pressing forward. It was awesome. During the priesthood session, as President Thomas S. Monson spoke, he said something which really hit home.  If it had been the only thing he had said it would have been alright with me.

He said: "You are a child of promise, you are a man of might, you are a son of God."  My soul was engulfed with the spirit and I felt a burning desire to live up to that saying, in fact I'm even more fired up, so look out world! It is another testimony to me of why we need prophets in our day. We are still in need of guidance from God regardless of where we stand in life, because the path needing to be travelled is not an easy one but one that once endured will be well worth it. And the Lord knows it, hence why we have leaders who can tell us of the Lord's will for us as we strive to return to live with Him again and one day we will hear Him say " well done thou good and faithful servant."

We are all in this great work together and the Lord is at the head of it.  This is His church and His gospel and I count it a great honor to be apart of it. The Lord said in Moses 1:39: "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

What a blessing and what a great promise the Lord is bestowing on us becuase of the great love He has for us. I know He lives.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Selwin is Driving, Teaching and Imparting Counsel

Teaching and training in the Jonesboro, Ruston, New Boston and West Monroe Districts
This week was one filled with driving, teaching and imparting advice as we traveled through two zones in the mission.

We visited with seventeen (17) companionships in these two zones as we tried to strengthen, uplift and motivate them and most importantly to help them to build and exercise faith in their Savior Jesus Christ. But the greatest part was watching the Holy Ghost take charge as He helped us discern needs, answer questions and give advice on improving missionary skills. We also talked a lot about member work and of the importance of strengthening those members by teaching with power from the Book of Mormon as well as the missionary discussions. But the thing that stood out the most was our talk on obedience and what really fuels it. Is it fueled by obligation, fear or love.

Doctrine and Covenants 130: 20-21 reads:

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."

And so we see blessings come as we are obedient to the Lord and that it was even before the foundation of the world. So are we obedient out of obligation because we know blessings will come or are we obedient because of the love we have for our Heavenly Father? I asked myself that question and realized I didn't even know why I do what I do. So I turned to the Savior and looked as the way He lived His life and I realized every commandment He received from His Father He followed out of love even down to His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane to His Resurrection from the grave, everything was done out of love. So it should be with us. The Savior taught after having been asked the question "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" to which the Savior responded, "Though shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind". Yes everything not just something,but everything we do should be out of love and the Savior said and taught it best by the way He lived His life. Know it!

#The Gospel Is True.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Selwin is a SAP

Shreveport Zone with President and Sister Olson
So there was a lot that took place this last week and, yes, the rains came again. This time the rain drops were triple the size of a normal rain drop. I've always said when the rain falls it's because heaven is weeping because of the sins of the world which means we have got a lot more work to do because there has been a lot of rain here.

I was re-assigned this week, so I'm no longer in Shreveport, Louisiana. Instead I'll now be based out of Jackson Mississippi. My mission president, President Olson has asked me to do something which has never been done before in this mission. Now instead of teaching individuals more about the gospel of Jesus Christ we will be teaching and helping missionaries in the mission and basically strengthening them and helping them to build their faith in the Savior and in His gospel. So for the last weeks of my mission I'll be a Special Assistant to the President, aka SAP or as they would say back in the good old days a Travelling Assistant. But so far it's been a blast and we do a lot of driving but it's all worth it and I count it a privilege to be of service to my fellow man. 

My companion Elder Hansen who was my MTC companion, too.
King Benjamin taught his people:

17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
 18 Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?
 19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!"

Jesus Christ was the perfect example of one who gave service without being asked and He encouraged His disciples to do the same.  As disciples of the Savior His mantle is passed on to us. So just look for those little ways in which you can serve and I know the Savior will be smiling because you went out of your way to make another's day. #Hallelujah.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Selwin is Singing in the Rain

Filling sandbags with help from the guys in stripes!
This week we were hit with a lot of rain. It was so cool and reminded me a lot of home during the rainy season but as cool as it was for me it was devastating for others as it caused severe flooding in some areas.

We spent 2 1/2 days doing nothing in our trailer (which reminds me, we live in a trailer but, don't worry, it's a nice one). We finally got out on Friday afternoon to help fill sand bags so we got some service done. On Saturday we helped out a member take out his old garden so he could have room for his new stuff. We got the opportunity to meet with our Jamaican friends and one of them reminded me of my Uncle Sherlock back home which was weird.  We had a good conversation and they agreed to read from the Book of Mormon. We then went to the Spanish elders’ baptism and got to see two young children begin their journey following the Savior so that was awesome. Yesterday, we visited a few investigators who we hadn't been able to contact in a while.  One of them said, "man, I thought y'all had given up on me.”  That was a reminder people are always looking for us.

During studies this week I was really struck by a quote from Elder Robert D. Hales as he talked about the persecutions of the Lord's servants.

He said: "There is meaning and purpose in our earthly challenges. Consider the Prophet Joseph Smith: throughout his life he faced daunting opposition—illness, accident, poverty, misunderstanding, false accusation, and even persecution. One might be tempted to ask, ‘Why didn’t the Lord protect His prophet from such obstacles, provide him with unlimited resources, and stop up the mouths of his accusers?’ The answer is, each of us must go through certain experiences to become more like our Savior. In the school of mortality, the tutor is often pain and tribulation, but the lessons are meant to refine and bless us and strengthen us, not to destroy us."  

Just a clear reminder everything we are faced with in life is to build us and to move us even closer to our Savior, which means we turn to him in everything we do and not just some things.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Simeon's Final Thoughts as a Full-time Missionary

All of us going home, LaPaz' baptism and six missionaries in the cop's lights.
Well, it has been an amazing two years as a missionary for my Savior Jesus Christ and for his true church, but does it stop there? No, it does not!  It continues onward for we are always missionaries and we wear that precious name tag on our hearts always! 

The last week of my mission was probably the most interesting because on Monday we went out to dinner and the rain was pouring down. As we were driving home, the other elders' car broke down (we were not in it) so we stopped to help them and ended up staying with them for over an hour. A police officer pulled up to the scene with lights flashing and all, so there we were: six missionaries with cop lights blaring around them.  Then we all got in our one car with the cop watching us and drove back to our apartment where we all slept for the night and almost passed out due to way too much heat on our small apartment.  Luckily I turned on the air condition unit which saved us. The next few days were super cold. We also found out someone we were teaching got mugged and was not in good condition. We could do nothing to help in that situation, then to top it off, I did not even get my picture with the Sullivan's the family from the movie "Meet the Mormons" but alas it was all still wonderful!

I know my life mission has only and truly just begun and it has begun for all missionaries and returned missionaries for as Elder Holland said so plainly and boldly, "RM does not mean retired Mormon, it means 'Returned Missionary'."  I am one who carries on his Heavenly Father's and Savior's work and will continue to do so for there is truly no better duty than that. I know the Book of Mormon is true and the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I know families can be together forever and as we endure and "endure with joy" we will see the Lord's blessings in our lives always. I wish to thank the wonderful members of the Bloomington7th ward for supporting me and my brother and for the Sappingtons who truly are miracles to us and God has truly guided us here for a purpose.  With His help and our Savior's help we will do just that! Georgia Atlanta Mission, yeah!  

Monday, March 7, 2016

Selwin's A Traveling Man

This week has been one where all we did was drive a lot, in fact we visited every state in my mission.  I must admit it was really awesome and what made it even more awesome is we did it in one day. Whoa!!!!!.

This week though was a bit rough on us as even more individuals gave us the infamous "I'm not interested anymore.”  In fact, one lady sent her husband, who was a deacon in his church, to confront us. I wasn't in the mood so we talked for a bit and left, but it did explain why she didn't return any of our calls. It still made me wonder why she gave us her number in the first place? We had a lot of people tell us to come back, as well, but the coolest thing ever happened when my companion saw a license plate with the word “GUYANA.” I flipped the car around to investigate and sure enough that's what it said. So, your guess is right. I proceeded to the door and met the lady, but she was sick and said to come back later in the week.  It was super-awesome to hear.  Later, we met with a Jamaican, which just made the day.  Once again the Lord showed me how, by being persistent, we can accomplish things. Nothing feels better than sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with someone.

President Thomas S. Monson once said: "In the performance of our responsibilities, I have learned that when we heed a silent prompting and act upon it without delay, our Heavenly Father will guide our footsteps and bless our lives and the lives of others. I know of no experience more sweet or feeling more precious than to heed a prompting only to discover the Lord has answered another person’s prayer through you".

Everyday many offer prayers to our Father in Heaven for various reasons and they seek an answer.  Most time the way the Lord answers their prayers is through us, so let us always be worthy in all we do so when those promptings do come we can heed them.  The joy you will feel when you know you have done good is beyond what words can describe and great shall be the rejoicing in heaven.

Simeon is Coming Home

Saying goodbye to the McKinleys (upper left), the Butler family, Brother Cline, the Anderson family and Brother Qian.
I can't believe I'm coming home after two years in the vineyard of the Lord as a single, full-time missionary. He needs me back to build His kingdom and, though sad, I know it must needs be, for He is preparing me for something far more grand than I can now see.  As the Savior said to his father when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Thy will be done.”  So it is with me as I will do my Savior's will and carry on and, so as not to cry here in the library, I will end with a poem I came across a while back which has helped me to know the work of the Lord goes on always.

"Feed My Sheep"
Feed my sheep was the Savior’s simple command, but we have often wondered and pondered how  do we go about doing something so grand. It is too hard says one, and it’s too tough says another and sometimes I truly do wonder if the Savior were here what answer he would give to the one and what answer he would give to the other.

 It would probably go something like this….

I was born for a purpose and My purpose was fulfilled.  I came forth born of a virgin named Mary in a little town called Bethlehem. Born in a manger I neither cried nor fussed for my Heavenly Father had made me meek and mild.  As a lad I grew raised by an earthly father but my Heavenly Father I always knew. I taught in the temple and others marveled at my words for they knew not that I was the only begotten, yea, the very Son of God. As the years went by I grew into a man and went to carry out my Father’s plan.  I fasted for forty days and forty nights and allowed myself to be tempted by the adversary in all his might.

 But I withstood him with ease for I knew my Father’s plan was perfect. I was baptized by the one called John, sent to prepare the path for the coming of Me, the Savior and Lord. He was chosen before he was born and God gave him the authority to preach his holy word.  Down into the water I went to fulfill all righteousness and as I came forth out of the water I heard my Father say, “This Is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.”  Then he sent the Holy Ghost to me in the form of a dove.

 I called twelve to be my Disciples by inviting them to “Come, Follow Me” and we went forth teaching and preaching the Gospel my Father hath given me. I did Miracles beyond compare.  I healed the sick, raised the dead and testified with all my might of the truthfulness of what my Father said. I was mocked and persecuted but I was neither afraid nor worried for I knew I needed to be ready for the grand finale.  So I went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pay the ultimate price for the sins and salvation of the world.

Oh, what torment I had to bear as I bled from every pore.  I asked my father,  “If thou be willing, remove this cup from me, but not my will but thy will be done”. I was comforted in my agony by an angel my father sent me, but I suffered alone in that cold Garden of Gethsemane. I was betrayed by one of mine own with a kiss and another denied me thrice that all might be fulfilled just as the prophets had hitherto foretold.

 I was driven like a lamb before the slaughter and willingly I went forth.  I was cursed, accused and spat upon by those who before had rejoiced and called me their Lord and King. I was judged by Herod and then Pilate but indeed I was found innocent even with all the false charges and accusations my persecutors gave.  They cried, “crucify him, crucify him” and I was sent forth according to the voice of the people to be slain. Water and vinegar they gave me to drink before my back was laden with forty lashes. I then took up my cross and carried it alone before being nailed to it.

Oh, how the pain truly hurt my body and soul and I cried, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?” As I looked at my persecutors gambling for my belongings I said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  I hung there in agony before finally saying, “Father, it is finished.  Into thy hands I commend my spirit”.”

I was taken from upon the cross and laid in Joseph’s tomb, but on the third day I rose again! For I am the way, the truth and the life and whomsoever follows me shall I give eternal life, for I live! And whomsoever shall lose his life for my sake the same shall save it! Now we know what the Savior would have us do, for he knows just as we do, this Restored Gospel and it’s message is true! So let us tell our brothers and sisters of the great news of everlasting life, for truly it is such.  May we ever so testify to all of  Eternal Marriage, Eternal Families, and Eternal life for this is what the gospel truly offers. I pray we may ever humbly do as our precious Savior commands and follow the Master’s plan to go find and feed his sheep!
                                                                                      Elder Lovell -2015-
                                                                                      Georgia Atlanta Mission

I know the Book of Mormon is true and is Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  This is His True Church here on the earth once more to bring peace, joy and eternal life with our families.  Oh, how we shall go on in so great a cause!!!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Selwin Separating the Wheat from the Tares

Me and my companion, Elder Larsen
It was a week of ups and downs as we engaged ourselves in the battle of separating the wheat from the tares.

It started off really well for us as we tried a few individuals we had met before and we got the opportunity to share with them the important message of the 'Restoration' of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But then in came the weekend and it brought in a not so good storm as investigators started dropping us faster than a cheetah about to pounce on it's prey.  This included our most promising investigator who just couldn't give up certain things. And then we just kept striking out.  For a moment I was thinking in my head "what is going on?' while my companion Elder Larsen is saying, "It's all my fault. I brought the bad luck" to which I kept telling him that he didn't. I thought, "well, what do we do now?"  After much pondering I heard a voice say, "keep going". This brought to my remembrance what the Savior said to Simon Peter in John 21:15-17:

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."

It reminded me of how we are called to "feed the Savior's sheep" with the words He taught and with the words which will bring us eternal, life if followed and applied in one's life. And the Lord did bless us as we persevered as a recent convert family (the Osburn's) invited their close friends to listen to the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was super amazing. And as I thought to myself, I wondered, "what if we had thrown in the towel for that day and just given up?" I probably would have gotten some much needed rest, but the opportunity would have been missed, if I had. Hence it is in life, so "never give up". Every opportunity must be grabbed with both hands especially sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Savior lives and His gospel in it's fullness is here on the earth again to be enjoyed by those who embrace it and love it, so share it.

Simeon's Pretty Good Week

Me on Waterboy Street
This week was pretty good!  We got out doing the things I love to do best and that is to teach people! We went out despite rain storms and everything - ahhhh, yes, good times indeed.  This week I was able to attend the baptism of Muka's sister-in-law who actually was the first person we found and talked to in their family,  It's funny because she was the last one baptized but hey all in the Lord's timing, not ours. It was wonderful to see and brought me so much joy. We were also able to teach a lot of members this week as we continue to strive to build their faith and trust in us. We are finally getting somewhere so that's a plus. The lesson we shared was quite simply a poem. It was amazing to feel the Holy Spirit in their homes as we shared this poem.  In one instance we got to a family's home very late due to the time we took to travel from one point to another and the dad said, "we were getting ready for bed."  We kind of pleaded and apologized all at the same time and he finally said, "alright, come in."  We got in there and let's just say the Holy Spirit took charge because when we left they were all in a happier mood and feeling the Holy Spirit so strong we knew we were going to be invited back the next time. So said, so done! So if the missionaries are late you should give them a chance because you never know if what they have to share will bless you in that very moment you don't think you need it.  But all went well and we barely made it on miles with all the travels we did for the week, so phew. 

A cool painting in Fairborn, Georgia
During my studies this week I came across a lovely little quote my companion's dad sent to me. It makes a lot of sense to me so I hope it does to you also. "Where there is hatred, let me show Love; where there is injury. Pardon; where there is doubt, Faith;  where there is despair, Hope. Where there is darkness, Light; where there is sadness, Joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to Console; to be understood as to Understand; to be loved as to Love; for it is in Giving that We Receive; it is in Pardoning that we are Pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life"  (St. Francis Of Assisi)

And it is all talking about charity for just as the Savior said, "unless a man has charity he cannot be saved" and these little things we do help us receive that wonderful gift of Eternal Life.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Selwin and Tom

The hustle and bustle of transfer day
This is the week of transfers. I will be getting a new companion later on today so more on that next week.

This week we didn't get to do nearly as much as we wanted. It seems we spent more time driving to and from places more than anything else. We did, however, have one of our investigators taught in the home of a member this week and it was just amazing. What's even better is we hardly said a word as the father taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his children. Our investigator whose name is Tom, by the way, thoroughly enjoyed it and was delighted at how the children knew the answers to their father’s questions. This week as we entered into his home there was an entirely different feeling in his home and also from him.  He even said the prayer himself. It’s really interesting because my companion and I, a few weeks back had taught him about prayer and how to say it properly, only to have him totally say it the wrong way at the end of the lesson. We came out of that lesson saying, 'well, looks like we need to re-teach that lesson' but now he's got it done, which was a key reminder to us the Lord works with His children at His own pace and not ours. 

Elder Campbell ...
our trusted driver
This week as I was reading in the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi's  experience with the Lord truly stuck out to me when he said in1 Nephi 1:14-15:

 14 And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as: Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!

 15 And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God; for his soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled, because of the things which he had seen, yea, which the Lord had shown unto him."

Two dogs behind the wheel
The prophet Lehi was so thankful to God for showing him all these things his soul rejoiced. Then what about us who have the Gospel of Jesus Christ restored in all it's fullness?, Should not our souls rejoice and our hearts be filled because of it?  What a blessing it is to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to know we can apply it to our own lives and know we can live it each and every single day. I have seen it change the lives of others and most importantly I have seen it change my own life. So, like Lehi of old, I rejoice and my heart is filled because the Lord has shown unto me the path He would have me walk. I know it is His will to do it for us all, so why not let Him. And if we do so it is my promise your soul will rejoice and your heart will be filled because of what you will experience. I know it.

Simeon Teaches "You Are Special"

My friend Paul ... doesn't he look like Jimmie Neutron?
This week we did not get to do a whole lot as we had planned but, we got stuff done which made it all the better! We had exchanges this week with our district leader from St. Lucia. It turns out he knew a few missionaries I knew who served in his country a while back which was sweet. Unfortunately, he was sick so he was ordered by the mission nurse to go home and rest. So with time on my hands I decided to read the Book of Mormon. It was surprising to me to see that was the direction I was prompted to go because before my mission I would read for 20 minutes then go shoot some hoops or something. I ended up reading until 8 pm that night from about 4 pm in the afternoon.  What a really wonderful change for me to see! 

This week as we went about teaching members I walked around with a little story book entitled "You Are Special."  It is a nice story of a wooden boy who thought because of what everyone else said he was not special and that made him sad. It reminds me of the world today because if you don't do what everyone else is doing then you don't fit it or you don't make it. In this story the wooden boy comes to realize his maker cares about him because he made him.  If he thought about that instead of what people may say or think then it will not matter or offend him because he knows someone loves him.  That is the same today in the world we live in because people and the adversary will fill our minds with bad thoughts or words and the thing that will bug us the most is believing we don't fit in! But who says we have to! God, just like the woodcarver, knows us and made us and sent his son to us for us to know we are special.  He wants us to know we are needed because we truly are and when we think everyone else makes fun of us because of who we are, there is One who looks up to you and admires you for doing just that! So we must be who God made us to be and don't worry about fitting in. Worry more about helping him and you will come to see how truly Special we are to him indeed. 

In my studies this week I came across a familiar passage in the Book of Mormon which made me remember we can do all things with the Lord.  In 2 Nephi 4:28-35:

28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God.

And so my family and friends, I ask shall we not? Oh yes, we shall!!!