September 8, 2015
Well, I have officially left the Desert. In case I did a bad job at describing where I was before, I was in the middle of a desert! It was awesome, but it was totally treeless, and there was zero grass anywhere. We were super high up, (I am not sure what the elevation was, but we were up on like a plateau) and so it gets pretty cold at night (like even in the Summer it would go from 105 during the day to about 55 at night, so around 6 o clock was always BEAUTIFUL).
Well, now I am in a place called Upland, California and it is just exactly what every person thinks about when they think of Southern California! I saw a guy riding a long board down the sidewalk, spinning a basketball on his finger. I mean, we are talking SOUTHERN CALI here!
Well, my last week with Elder Jones in Ranchos ward was an awesome experience. We had a lot of success finding this week. I want to share with you an experience that I will never forget:
On Wednesday night, after dinner with a family in the Ward, we had an appointment that was a few miles away. The father of the family we were having dinner with asked if we wanted a ride. We decided not to accept, because biking would give us a chance to talk to people on the way, and we were not in a hurry. As we biked, we talked to many of the people along the road, stopping and having quick conversations with them. Before continuing to our appointment. We got to a road that is a little more sketchy, and so we were not talking to many people on this road, because it isn’t the safest. I was following behind Elder Jones, and we passed a little house on the side of the road. Two people were standing under a carport on some fold out chairs. We continued biking, and the spirit prompted me to turn around. I called out to Elder Jones, and said, “We need to stop really quick and talk to these people”. So we did.
As we walked up, the Mormon Message “The Hope of God’s Light” began playing in my head (its super good, go and watch it). I knew that I needed to be the means of telling one of these shadowy figures that God loved them and was still aware of them.
We introduced ourselves to these two people, and they said they were fighting. It was a man and a woman. The woman looked at the man and said, “These guys are Elders”. I asked her, “Have you met with Missionaries before?” and she said, “Oh yeah, a lot”.
The woman proceeded to tell us that she had just moved from Idaho, and had been meeting with the missionaries there for many years. Her kids were just about to be baptized, and she was going to be as well, but then had to abruptly move, and had not been able to find a church or the missionaries’ number for this area. I could not believe the love that God felt for this woman. The Spirited prompted the next words that came out of my mouth. I said, “I hope you know how much God loves you and knows you. He stopped two missionaries dead in the middle of the street to let you know that. He has not forgotten about you, He has not forgotten the experiences that you have had, and the way you have felt. He LOVES you!”
So we set up and appointment with her, and Elder Jones will be going back net week. I am so excited to see where that goes!
The rest of the week was really good as well. The Bishop of Ranchos ward invited me to bear my testimony on Sunday, and it was really cool and really sad. I will always love and miss the people in that area!
I have been reading through the Book of Mormon, and am in the war chapters in Alma. The other day I was thinking a lot about these war chapters. We know from Prophets in the Book of Mormon that much of the ‘history book’-type information was not included on these plates, but the much more sacred spiritual experiences are what we read as we read the Book of Mormon. So that was what I was keeping in mind as I began these chapters. As I read Alma 43, I was thinking about the differences in the preparation between the Nephites and the Lamanites. These Nephites (The people of God) were prepared for battle: in order to be sure that they could return home to their families, they shielded themselves with armor. The Lamanites were prideful, and believed that they could take the Nephites on with brute strength and over-confidence. The preparation of the people of God allowed them to have much less casualties than these Lamanites.
We too, always have to be preparing! We have to be arming ourselves always to withstand the force of the world, both temporally and spiritually.
As the story continues, quite some time later (Alma 48), the Nephites were once again attacked by the Lamanites, and this time the Lamanites had prepared themselves a tad more with some armor as well. The Nephites, however, had progressed in their own preparation, and “thus… did fortify and strengthen the land which was possessed by the Nephites”.
That is what this life is all about, our preparation and progression so that we can be prepared to meet the Father! We can never settle for what worked before or for the bear minimum, especially when it comes to living the gospel. We have to at all times be preparing and strengthening ourselves! How fun is that!
I am sorry I could not write more about my week, but we do not have a lot of time to email today, just a little since we did not get to yesterday. I love you all, and I hope you are having a great week!
This is my old Ward Mission Leader and his family, they are awesome!