Monday, January 25, 2016

Selwin and World Religion Day

Exchanges with the AP's Elder Hainsworth, Elder Hendrickson,
Elder Mughal, Elder Hunter and me.

This week we saw it all happen, from riding in the freezing cold and getting a flat tire to driving through a light snow storm and doing exchanges with the AP's and being in a trio for a few days, but it was awesome.

We didn't really get to work a lot in our own area but it was super awesome working with my fellow brethren as we strive to push forward with the Lord's work. We ended up having to switch our plans to accommodate Elder Hunter who is serving in Winnfield, LA.  His companion had to fly home for his younger brother's funeral who died of leukemia.  But it was great to see that he wasn't worried because of the plan which he knew our Heavenly Father created for us. 

We headed up to Ridgeland, Mississippi for exchanges with the assistants. While tracting we met a really cool atheist and got some good advice on what to study when we go to school. We then had the great privilege of representing the church at the 17th Annual World Religion Day in Shreveport.  That was fun because we got to meet a wide variety of individuals from different religious organizations from around the area. My favorite was a Hindu gentleman who, after I told him where I was from and what sport I played, told me that there are a few individuals who play cricket here at the LSUS University campus in Shreveport.
My joy shot through the roof! That would be super awesome to do on one of our preparation days.

The trio
But the greatest joy came from my study of John 21:15-17 which reads:

 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 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."

Of these scriptures Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles commented: "Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ You can’t feed them if you don’t know where they are. You can’t feed them if you give them reason to resist you. You can’t feed them if you don’t have the food. You can’t feed them if you don’t have charity. You can’t feed them if you aren’t willing to work and share. …

Me and my Hindu brother
“Those who need help come in all age brackets. Some of His sheep are young, lonely, and lost. Some are weary, afflicted, and worn with age. Some are in our own family, in our own neighborhood, or in the far corners of the world where we can help with fast offerings. Some are starving for food. Some are starving for love and concern.

“If we give His sheep reasons to resist us, the feeding process becomes difficult, if not impossible. No one can teach or help with sarcasm or ridicule. Dictatorship or ‘I’m right and you are wrong’ will negate all efforts to feed a wandering sheep. A wall of resistance will be built, and no one will benefit. …

“By our actions we show our love. Expressions of affection are empty if actions don’t match. All His sheep need the touch of a shepherd who cares".

What a great responsibility we have to aid in helping the Savior by feeding His sheep.  Let us be ready and worthy at all times to do just that and to continue to express our love for all. 

Simeon in the Snow

Bar-be-qued sausage on a cold winter day
This week was way colder than I wanted, expected and needed it to be. It even snowed! Yep, my companion got his wish, which, I guess, keeps him happy. I am good with that, though it is quite unlike the snowfall in St. George in 2013-14 and if you ever wondered who in the world prayed or even fasted for it, you should know it was us! Now, now no hard feelings. Let's admit we all loved it especially me and Sel and it made the St. George Temple the place everyone wanted to be.

Since it was really cold not a lot of people opened their doors to talk with us but those who did we are ever thankful for.  Of course you will have a few who will say, “not now, it's too cold” and I say, "wow, you are telling me, buddy? I am out in it." Those are things one just laughs about and so I did.  We walked a lot more this week also as our miles will not get renewed until the start of next month and so we will be trucking along again this week which is good because it feels good to use my legs a little bit more.

We taught a lesson to a member family this week and it was really amazing how the Holy Spirit entered into the home.  We shared a message about helping others through their tough times even when we are going through ours and she committed on the spot with tears flowing down her cheeks to do better. Now tell me, what else could have helped her see the error of her ways but the Holy Spirit and the full Restored Gospel?  It got me thinking of how much work I still have to do, not that it's easy or anything but that I need to get better on.  After the wonderful lesson the mom and dad then said looking at me "you know we also have a reputation for fattening Elders." Yep, I saw that coming but I am happy with that.  The mother is from Samoa and she knows about cricket (the game) so I am not alone. To finish up here is a poem that has helped me to realize how much our Heavenly Father loves us and needs us to know so we can help others enjoy!

Taco boats and a fruit smoothie ... 
yummy in my tummy!
I have often pondered and wondered, Why God does what he does, why he loves me, the way he does, cares for me the way he does or even sent his only begotten
from above to die for us his Daughters
And Sons?

Why do something so grand and divine
For such a filthy and unworthy creature
Such as I?
Tears fill my eyes as I see that God truly
Does love me for me!
The mistakes I’ve made, the people I’ve hurt,
The Chaos I’ve caused and all the bad choices I’ve made
Never sent him away from me, but drew him
Ever nearer and closer to me.

His words of comfort, his songs of peace; Helps me to know that though fallen I can
Rise again!
His son he sent to die for me a robber, a thief,
But never the less his son I be.
For I could never do what my brother did for me; Nails to his hands and feet, bruises upon his back, vinegar
And water he drank that my Savior he may

For he suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and bled
From every pore to take upon himself my sins, so that I may know that I can be forgiven and even
He did the will of his Father and not his own and this has provided safety for my soul.
He reminded me that with God all things are possible and that as I use his name, I can one day return safely home.

How can it be that God could send his only begotten
Son, to die for someone like me?
Who dragged his name in the mud and used it
In vain a million times for sure.

And finally today I have come to see that God is
My Father and that I am his son indeed.
For he heals me when broken, dries my tears when I am sad, picks me up when I have fallen, and encourages me to always use his beloved Son’s  Atonement, for that is truly what will make me happy and glad.

It is no wonder that the Prophet Joseph Smith said,
“What do we hear in the Gospel that we have
Truth out of the earth.
Mercy from Heaven.
A voice of gladness for the living and the dead.
Shall we not go on in so great a

Oh how I shall go on in such a cause and I hope that you will as well; to remember that there is a God in heaven, who sent his  Only begotten Son to die for all of us that we
May have joy and to save this wonderful world of ours.

Elder Lovell (2016)
“Georgia Atlanta Mission”

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Selwin Comes Around ... Again!

Exchanges with the Arkansas Elders Mughal, Kirk, Hingano and me
It's so awesome to be back in the zone where I started my mission, but this place has changed so much, everyone just seems to be in a different world. My new companion is Elder Mughal, originally from California but has lived in Utah since he was 8-years-old.  He came out on his mission the same time I did. 

This past week we got to work and it was awesome. We were out tracting and weren't having the best of times but we kept at it. In doing so we met a young lady who we woke up. She told us to come back the next day at an earlier time.  Of course we did. We made our way to her door in the cold and pouring rain on our bikes, but upon our arrival she was so happy to see us.  We taught her on her door step asking the question, "so what do you think the purpose of this life is?"  She said, "you know, I had this conversation with a friend the other day,” so we asked "did you come to a conclusion/answer?" When she said “no” we went on to tell her what our purpose really was in this life. Coincidence? I think not!  It's amazing how the Lord helps us discern the needs of those we are teaching to the point we can teach to their needs and help them come to know of the goodness of the Lord and about His plan for them.

We also had a regional Stake Conference this weekend. It was awesome. The speakers focused a lot on temple work and less-actives. It was well delivered and I enjoyed it.  During my studies this week I was once again brought to the humbling realization of why we have the scriptures.

John 20:31 teaches us, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

On this same subject Elder D. Todd Christofferson has said:

Me and my new companion, Elder Mughal
"In the end, the central purpose of all scripture is to fill our souls with faith in God the Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ—faith that They exist; faith in the Father’s plan for our immortality and eternal life; faith in the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which animates this plan of happiness; faith to make the gospel of Jesus Christ our way of life; and faith to come to know ‘the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He has] sent."

It really brings one to the reality of why we need to treasure up these words and why we need to share these words for they all testify of the Savior.  They guide us that we might know who He is, His will for us and what He expects of us. The scriptures are a witness of the love of God for us and of His plan which was created for us. It has been brought forth to help us know of Him and to strengthen our testimony and the testimonies of others. Let us not take it for granted. I know it will answer any question and strengthen any individual that is my personal witness to you. Until next week.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Simeon and Elk Burgers

Who put that hole in the wall?
Well this was a nice week. We walked pretty much everywhere because we are low on miles, so no driving for us because the car is on vacation!  We tried to get as much done as we possibly could but with my new area covering about 7-8 cities within Atlanta itself it is very tough.  After walking and walking we were blessed to find a few new persons to teach. Most of the persons we were teaching are not moving forward so we will have to work a little harder to get them back on track.

This week I had my first taste of elk meat. It's not bad once I do the cooking, of course.  It you can figure it out “thumbs up” because I have to help my companion cook.  Last night as we made breakfast for dinner he said, "these are probably the best pancakes I ever made" after burning the first four! So I try to do the cooking.

When I hopped on my email today, Sister Sappington said, “Alright Simeon, we will have to discuss you coming home.” I have run from this for a long time but, in my next email from the church they said, “Hello Elder … this is My Plan so the Lord is saying, “alright, pack your bags, laddy because its onward to the next Mission!”

During my studies this week I came across these scriptures in Helaman 11:10-16

10 O Lord, behold this people repenteth; and they have swept away the band of Gadianton from amongst them that they have become extinct, and they have concealed their secret plans in the earth.
11  Now, O Lord, because of this humility wilt thou turn away thine anger and let thine anger be appeased in the destruction of those wicked men whom thou has already destroyed.
12  O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, yea, thy fierce anger, and cause that this family may cease in this land.
13  O Lord, wilt thou hearken unto me, and cause that it may be done according to my words, and send forth rain upon the face of the earth, that she may bring forth her fruit and her grain in the season of grain.
14  O Lord, thou didst hearken unto my words when I said, Let there be famine that the pestilence of the sword might cease, and I know that thou wilt, even at this time, hearken unto my words, for thou saidst that:  If this people repent I will spare them.
15 Yea, O Lord, and thou sees that they have repented, because of the famine and the pestilence and destruction which has come unto them.
16  And now, O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, and try again if they will serve thee?  And, if so, O Lord, thou canst bless them according to thy words which thou hast said.

So remember every single day this is what President Monson does and the thing is he needs all of our help in order to do so.  I pray when we do hear the call of the Prophet we heed his counsel for when we do we are following the counsel of God.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Selwin is Transferred to Bossier, LA

My new district in Bossier, Louisiana
It has been a hectic week but last week was super awesome as we watched the Lord open doors we couldn't. Oh, and I got transferred! More on that next week.

While we were packing up our Christmas decorations we received a phone call from a member who had a referral for us. It was his cousin. We gave him a call and he set up an appointment for the very next day!  We got the opportunity to teach both him and his wife. It was awesome!  This week after having not found anyone to teach for quite a while we were blessed to find a few individuals who were willing to listen to us. It was definitely an answer to our prayers and also reminded us the Lord is always looking out for us.

This email is going to be a short one because of time but during my studies this week I kept reflecting on the Savior’s humility and of how calm He was when He was faced with adversity.

The little piggy who chased us!
Sometimes we forget the Savior truly did bear all things for us just so He would know how to succor us. Truly He felt way more pain and anguish than we will ever feel in our lifetime. But the Savior reminded us we should take His burden upon us and give Him ours because His burden is lighter. And what does our Savior expect of us?  He only asks that we share His gospel with those around us … certainly something we can all strive to do and we have the Savior's promise He will lead us and guide us.

In Matthew 11:29-30 the Savior reminds us to:

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

The Savior knows us and He knows our needs and He will always be there for us when we need Him.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Simeon Meets a Countryman

Me in the snow!
I got up today, did my push-up's and went outside. What awaited me was not what I expected at all!!! It was 26* degrees outside! The weather is getting colder and even more so than last year, so I will have to do even more bundling up than I thought I needed to do. On a happier note we saw one guy making snow (fake snow). At least he is feeling the spirit or at least thats what he said before he ran inside.

This week was a good one. We got out and worked even harder.  Though we only found a few interested persons we are still very happy!  We were blessed to see two persons we are teaching come to church yesterday so that was really good. Despite the fact they are both in wheel chairs they got there.  It was awesome to see their dedication and willingness to find out if this is indeed Christ's true church.  One of them we know very well quoted her favorite words. We know this because every time we teach her, we ask her (her name is Sandra) if she has any questions.  She always says “no, it's self explanatory.” I helped her out yesterday as we asked her how church was.  She started off with, “it was nice and everything was … “ and at this point I added, “self explanatory.”  She laughed and said, “yes.”  That was nice and I then had to wheelie her over the church lawn to get her into her transportation vehicle. Later in the day we went to see someone referred to us by some other missionaries.  Boy, oh boy, he lives way out yonder but none-the-less we went. To my surprise when I got there I saw a Guyanese flag on the license plate! I was like, “no way” but, yes, way! Because I am Guyanese he talked with us. We are going back to see him and his family!!!  Coincidence … I think NOT!

I like this quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith that made me forget about the cold! "What do we hear in the Gospel we have received today? Truth out of the earth.  Mercy from heaven.  A voice of gladness for the living and dead.  Shall we not go on in so great a cause?"  

My brothers and sisters we shall indeed go on for there is no point in having so much joy from the Lord and not share it with others. You can do it, I know you can and most Importantly your Savior and Heavenly Father knows you can as well, for with God all things are POSSIBLE!  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Selwin's Happy New Year

A selfie in the woods
The new year is finally here and it's just weird. I still can't believe we are in 2016. One member even said,  “I thought by 2016 we would be traveling around with jet packs and flying cars" to which I replied, "good thing we still have gravity.”

The week was a slow one, in fact, really slow. We have lost contact with most of the people we are teaching because of the holidays. It seems getting back into contact with them is impossible, but we just keep trying. We welcomed in the New Year by tracting and sadly even with a new year upon us some people are still the same. We continued and finished up the day by visiting a few members which was really nice. We are working a lot with those members who haven't been to church in a while and we must be doing something right because they keep inviting us back, which is awesome. This week we had exchanges as well and Elder Petersen came with me.  He's just super cool and I mean, of course, he is because he skate boards, but we had a blast. While out tracting we came across a 'family street' as I call it since everyone on it is related closely.  We met one gentleman who didn't know the Book of Mormon only talks about Christ. That got Elder Petersen all fired up, which was just amazing.  My favorite of the questions he asked was, "so what do you think is in this book?"  To keep things spiritual I read a scripture from the Book of Mormon accrediting our belief in the Savior and just bore my testimony.  So did Elder Petersen and it was awesome.

Retired mail carrier
During my studies this week the Savior said something which really made me go deep in thoughts.  In John 15:13, He said:  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

This just blew my mind as it reemphasized the amount of love the Savior has for each and every single one of us.  It also made me think about a question posed by Elder James E. Talmage who said, "Who are we without Christ?"  His question sent shivers down my spine as I thought about it. So when you make your new goals or resolutions for this year don't forget to include Christ in your plans, then ask yourself, "Who am I without Christ?" I truly love my Savior and I am thankful He loves me just as much and more that He bore all things for me. He is the "AWESOMEST" person I know and I love Him.

Simeon Continues to Find

Getting ready to eat my Christmas cookies!
This week was really cold and I mean it!  Someone sure has nerve to be asking for cooler weather around here. I wonder who it is.  None-the-less the work of the Lord goes on.  This week we got around to teaching a few really cool people!  We met this guy named Billy who was shot 6 times over the years. He was a referral who wanted a Bible.  He's older but his story is really cool. He has been looking for the true church for quite a while and as we taught him yesterday he was glowing, which was awesome.  I told him the Lord has sent us to you to tell you your search is over … you have found His true church! He was delighted at that and as we were leaving he was just beaming from ear-to-ear and it was awesome to see. We then met a lady named Martha who had requested a Book of Mormon.  When we took it to her we asked if we could come back to share more.  She said yes, so back we went to teach her the Restoration of Christ’s true gospel and church and she was blown away! I should mention she is in a wheel chair.  As we found out she has a sister who is a member in Athens, GA.  We were able to talk with her and she rejoiced that we were teaching her sister.  She was very happy because she had been praying for years for this to happen! I pray for this to happen everyday and even though it does not, the Lord blesses us in other ways for us to be thankful and grateful. I look forward to going back and teaching them more of Christ's Restored Gospel.

We are working on getting to know the members but as we found out we have a really, really big area covering about 5-7 cities, which is crazy, I know, but I am not one to complain so I will keep working hard for there is nothing else I would love to do.

As I was reading the scriptures this week I came across this scripture in Alma 43:45-49

My Christmas gift from Grama
 45 Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.
 46 And they were doing that which they felt was the duty owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies.
 47 And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.
 48 And it came to pass that when the men of Moroni saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites, they were about to shrink and flee from them. And Moroni, perceiving their intent, sent forth and inspired their hearts with these thoughts—yea, the thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea, their freedom from bondage.
 49 And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanites, and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage.

Just as our brothers the Nephites were inspired to fight for a better cause so are we, for we are to stand up for what we know to be true and defend it boldly knowing that as we do we are standing with the power of God against the evils of this world and we will be VICTORIOUS!