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!!!