Monday, October 26, 2009

Oct. 26, 2009 Boppa's Passing

When President called and told me what happened, he said that he had some Glorious, but a little bit sad news. Thats exactly what kind of news it was. Yeah, it is a little bit sad, but a whole lot more glorious. He is now on the path of progression with Nonna and does covered with the veil of unbelief anymore. President told me alot of really interesting things concerning the conversion process in the spirit world. He told me that Boppa is watching everything that i am doing out here and that that is softening his heart in preparation to recieve the Gospel. That gave me alot of comfort. How great is the Plan of Salvation! There is not a doubt in my mind that Chad is absolutely right, that Nonna was just waiting for him so that she could bear her testimony of the truths she had been taught. I think that She when she heard the Doctors say that he had another week or two, she was the impatient one and hit him over the head with the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful truth. We have nothing at all to fear or to be sad about. There are so many ancestors that were just waiting to surround with loving arms and with the truths of the Gospel. I think Eternity is summed up best in these words,
"There is no end to virtue,
There is no end to might,
There is no end to wisdom,
There is no end to light,
There is no end to union,
There is no end to youth,
There is no end to priesthood,
There is no end to truth

There is no end to glory,
There is no end to love,
There is no end to being,
There is no death above."

How great is the Plan of Salvation. Because of Christ, There is no end to happiness. Right at this moment, Boppa is learning eternal truths that will seal him to our family. God will be merciful to him. We all know Boppa's heart. I am just so grateful to KNOW where he is. I love you so much Mom. I hope you know that i was not depressed or sad about the news, i am just excited for him. I love you too Dad. Thank you for taking care of mom:)

We had a great week. Ed Stevens was Baptized on Friday. It was a very powerful experience. Elder Bond Baptized him and i confirmed. I cant wait until you meet him when we come back out here. Now we are going to try and help his wife Mary to find the truth as well. Ed is on a spiritual high right now. He is constantly on and ordering ensigns and all sorts of stuff. He really wants a leather bound Quad so i think he is going to order one soon.

We have been doing alot of finding lately. We have found alot of new investigators but alot of them never show for their return appointments. Its been really fun though, just tracting and talking to people all over Pike County. We have gotten lost a few times this week on dirt roads out in the Country just looking for some of our less-active members. This area is very interesting, but i am loving it.

We just got tranfer information today. Elder Bond and I are both staying together and we are Training a new missionary. Its going to be interesting being in a three-some but i think it will be fun. I now officially have 4 tranfers left of my mission. Things are flying by way too fast now. It is almost November. When the Hollidays hit, everything is going to be crazy!

Im glad that you liked President Summerhays. How long did you talk to him for? I had a really good talk with him. He said he really loved talking to you guys. It made me happy that you were able to talk with him. He is the Best!

Well, i hope you know how much i love you guys. Thank you for filling me in on everything. I know Boppa is so Grateful right now for you examples. I love you Mom! I lovMom and Dad-

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Letter Oct. 19 Ed Stevens, I feel very peaceful about everything

Hey guys!

This has been such a good week. Thank you again for all your emails. They really help me so much. Every Monday i feel like i get a new boost from the emails i get from you. It sounds like you you guys had a good week at the lake with Uncle Ron. Thats so good that you were able to spend some time with him. I kepp forgetting that we actually have seadoos now. That is going to be so fun this spring. That is pretty sad that Julie got sick on her birthday. Hopefully she still had a good one. I need to write her and Shawna today and wish them happy Birhdays.

Like i said, we had such a good week. Since we met Ed about two weeks ago, we have met with him almost every day. The first lesson that we had with him, he said that his whole life, he has never been able to feel anything in religion. To him, God was something he could only think of intelectually but could never feel that it was true in his heart. So all of our lessons have been focused around the Book of Mormon and gaining the witness of its truth not just in his mind, but his heart as well. Ever since the first lesson we had with him, he has been progressing at such a rapid pace. In every lesson, there will be moments of silence where Ed will just close his eyes and say that this all feels right. On Wedanesday this week, We had the most powerful lesson that we had had with him up until that point. Long story short, Ed wants to be baptized this coming Friday! Its only been two weeks! We are so excited. I cant wait for you to meet him when we come back out here. He is such a solid guy. In that lesson that we had with him, he again closed his eyes after he decided to be baptized, and we just sat in silence for a couple minutes. When he opened his eyes again, they were tear filled and he said, "I know that this is true. I can finally Feel it." After almost 60 years of searching, Ed has finally found what he was looking for. I love every bit of my mission. There can be nothing more sweet and more rewarding than being an eye witness of the power of God working in someones life.

Then on Saturday night, another really powerful experience happened, only it was a little bit different. Our neighbor, who is an Atheist came over and asked if he could use our laundry. We let him throw his cloths in the wash, and then he left. He came back at around 9:45pm to put his stuff in the dryer and then started to question us. This guy has probably spent the last 5-10 years of his life studying Philosiphy and Physics and all this stuff that is way over my head. He told us that there was no logical need for a God and he used the most complex and fancy language to describe scientifically why there is no God. After about 15 minutes of him giving us this shpeal about how the Book of Mormon and the Bible contain no real evidence, he stopped and let us speak. At this point, Elder Bond and i both felt completely overwhelmed with the Spirit. We sat down, stacked our bibles and our Books of Mormon, and placed them behind us and said, let us tell you what we KNOW. We dont know this from these books, we know this from every bit of our souls. We then Bore testimony of what we KNEW to be true. Then we asked him what he KNOWS. As he began to speak, he started making reference to some other book or person, and we said, No, we just laid our Books aside and told you what we KNOW, we want you to tell us what you KNOW from your heart, not from what you studied. He struggled with this for a minute and there was silence. He realized at that moment that he didnt know what he knew. He then said im not saying that there is no God, i am just saying that i am 99 percent sure there is not God. Than one of us looked at him and said, "Do you even know who you are?" He stayed silent. Then one of us said again, I know exactly who you are." Again, he stayed silent. We could tell by his eyes and knew by the spirit that he started to be afraid. Then one of us said," You know that I know who you are." Elder Bond and i had never felt the spirit of dicernment so strongly than at that moment. Right after that was said, he was completely dumbfounded and he didnt have anything more to say. And right at that moment, the Buzzer for the Dryer went off. He got up, got his cloths out of the dryer, and left our apartment almost without a word. It was a very intersting night.

There were many cool experiences like that this week. I have felt very peaceful about everything and i am just happy. Im sorry that i cant explain things very well in words. That last story propably doesnt make any sence, but at the time it did. I wish i could explain it better.

Anyways, the weather is getting very cold. I pulled out my jackets this week. Is it really still in the 90's at the lake?

I love you guys so much. I dont really know what i need yet as far as Christmas goes. I will think of something. I wont need too much considering i will be home less than 4 months after Christmas. Mom- I love you. Dad- I love you. Thanks for everything:)

Love, Josh


Mom and Dad-

That is crazy that someone else is coming in and buying echoe. I really hope they dont turn it into a huge fancy resort. I like it just the way it is. That is good news to hear that the Angels are making it pretty far again. Do you remember that really akward year where that reporter came over to watch the World Series game with us? That is really sad that the webbs are moving to

to san diego. Isnt that going to add another hour or two to get the lake? Are the still going to go very often? I am looking forward to the family trips out there again. This Spring is going to be so great. It is still really wierding me out that i have under 6 months left. This could be my last area, but i have a feeling that i will have one more before i am done. I am hoping that i get to spend Christmas here in Troy with Elder Bond.

Troy is a very interesting place. I am still getting used to it here. I just feel like i am out in the middle of nowhere. The Branch here also does does some wierd things that makes me wonder sometimes. It is so different serving in a branch. It seems like there are alot of the little doctrines and rules that just kind of get brushed aside. Its a little strange, but were working with them. As far as the rest of Troy goes, it is great. Like i said, most of the people here are african american and very friendly. Some of them are a little crazy, but that ok, we get a good laugh sometimes. The other day we were teaching this middle aged black man about prophets, and we were done he said, "Well, the Prophet Martin Luther King Jr. once said....," and then he went on to say some crazy things. So we went back and tried to further explain the exact definition of what a Prophet really is. Then he said, "ok i see, well, In the words of the Prophet Barrak (Obama).....," and after he said that Elder Bond and i had to bite our lips because we almost lost it. The people out here looooooove Barrak, its pretty crazy. Itll be interesting when i get home and i am actually going to have to start caring about what is going on out inthe world, because i dont have a clue about anything that is going on right now.

Our investigators are doing great. Ed, that one guy that i told you about that ran after us, is doing so good. We have met with him almost every day this past week. He is in his 40's and teaches Law over here at the University. He used to be a lawyer but he retired, so he is a very smart person. He is one of the most open minded, and humble people i have taught on my mission. I have never met anyone in the past 18 months as golden as Ed is. The lessons that we have with him are all so powerful and it seems like the spirit works through hime more than it does with us. He loves the Book of Mormon and just cant get enough of it. He has been reading it non stop. He can recognize the spirit in his life and he is just so excited. Alot of things that he has struggled with in the past, he has found answers to in his reading. I am so excited for him! We have some other investigators that are really solid as well, but for now, just pray for Ed, he is the best.

Thank you so much for that package that you sent me:) I really appreciated that. I have been eating the stupid cookies all week. Thank you for your emails as too. I love hearing about everything that is going on back home. I hope everyone is doing well, including the dogs. How is the home ward doing? Has there been any big changes? Any move ins or move outs? I love you guys so much and i miss you too! But we will talk on the phone in just a couple months so i am looking forward to that. I love you!!!

Love, Josh

Monday, October 5, 2009

Oct 5, 09 plus pictures! Meeting Ed

Hey Mom and Dad!

It sounds like you guys had another great week. That stinks that it was all windy at the lake. It sounds like Parker and Blake are so much fun to have around. I hear California is still all on fire. Is there any fires that are close to our house?

This week was great. I have actually been sick for most of the week, but it only slowed us down for a day or two. I have just been coughing like crazy. We drove up to Dothan Alabama and got some antibiotics and since then i have been feeling better. There were alot of cool little miracles that happened this week. We set some pretty hi goals at the begining of the week, so when i got sick, we were worried that we wouldnt be able to reach them because we also knew that Saturday and Sunday would be pretty busy with General Conference. So by the end of the week on Sunday, we only had 3 out of the 8 investigators that we had set goals to find. So on Saturday night, we prayed that miracles would happen and that we would find 5 new investigators on sunday to reach our goals. So after conference on Sunday evening at 5 pm, we went knocking on doors, and ended up finding 7 new people to teach. It was a really great experience, and just one more tetimony builder for me that the Lord answers prayers.

Another really cool thing happened this week. While we were knocking on doors on Tuesday, we ran into a guy who was a little short with us and said that he didnt want to talk about the Mormon Faith right then. So we went down the street and kept knocking on doors, and after the knocking on one of the doors, the guy that we had talked to previously that told us he wasnt interested came running up the street and apologized and asked us if we could come back and talk with him. The mans name is Ed and he is so golden! The lesson that we had with him was probably the most powerful lesson of my mission. After we sat down in his home, he just started asking us all of these deep heart felt questions like; "How does God look at suffereing? What is the difference between belief and faith? What is the purpose of being here? Do we need to do anything to be saved"? Ed is a very smart man, but he has been looking for answers to these questions through Philosophy and some other recources. He said that he was on the computer trying to find answers to these questions when we came to the door. At first he didnt think anything of it, but then after he told us to leave, he thought alot about how strange it was that we came right when he was searching for thes seemingly impossible to find answers. So that is when he ran and got us. I have never felt the spirit so strongly as we taught him. Thoughts and scriptures came to mind that i had never used in my teaching, and everything we said seemed to just blow his mind. We have taught Ed twice now and he is just eating the Book of Mormon up. He came to the 2nd session of conference on Sunday as well which was Amazing! Was Elder Hollands talk not the coolest talk ever? I thought he was going to give Ed a heart attack! Anyways, we are teaching some really great genuine people here in Troy and i love it.

I cant remember to much more of the week, those were the hilights. I hope you got the pictures i sent. Sorry i didnt label them like i usually do, i didnt have very much time and i wanted to get them sent off like i promised. There wasnt very many of Troy, so i am working on taking some more to send home. If you have any to put on the chip, i would love that:)

Oh yeah you asked about our district; It is only Me, Elder Bond, The Sisters who cover Troy University Campus, and an Older Couple who covers Euphala. I guess i didnt tell you about the other areas that we Elder Bond and i cover besides Troy. We cover a small town called Brundige, and another even smaller town called Goshen. We actually cover all of Pike County so if you Google map that you can so all of the back woods areas we cover as well. We actually spent alot of time this week in these little towns driving on these dirt roads in the middle of nowhere trying to find less-active members. It was way fun.

By the way, it is my 18 month mark this coming Friday! Pretty crazy huh? I could have sworn i just hit my year mark like yesterday. It scares me how fast time is flying by. Christmas is almost here! I feel like there is still so much that i havent learned out here.

K well i should probably get going so i can email President Summerhays. I love you guys so much. Thank you for everything!

Love, Josh

Thursday, October 1, 2009