Sunday, July 31, 2011

07.31.2011 "Blessings in Allegan" (posted by Rebecca)

Dear Everyone,

The weeks continue to get busier, which is great! We've had a great week for missionary work here in the Allegan area. The Lord continues to bless us as we keep going out, working hard, and forgetting ourselves in the work. We've been able to teach many people, and we've also found many other new people to teach. We've been trying hard to be obedient and be doing all that we need to do to be instruments in the Lord's hands, and we know that as we've done this he's been able to use us to help to further His work here. We've been greatly blessed.

The weather here seems to be erratic, as always. We've had hot, sunny, humid days, hot, cloudy humid days, and cool, pouring-rain, humid days. We had the car this week, but miles are running short at the end of the month and we needed to do our weekly "car fast", where we don't use the car for one day of the week other than P-day (it was instituted to help conserve miles so we didn't go over our monthly allowance). Because we couldn't fast the car last week, we had to do it twice this week. So Thursday we made a 13 mile trip to Gobles, and Friday we made an 11 mile trip to Plainwell again. Luckily, we were able to get a ride home both times. They were nice bike rides, but the humidity was a little uncomfortable, and we were both drenched in sweat by the time we got to our destinations. We also had  a couple lightning storms at night these last couple weeks, which are always fun to watch. One night, there was so much lightning higher up in the sky that there was a flash at least every 3 seconds, and it looked like the sky was one giant, flickering light bulb. Luckily, we haven't had any weather that was too severe, and we've only been caught out once in a downpour so far.

I thought I would talk about a few our our progressing investigators that we're teaching in my limited remaining time for email.

Chiquita is one investigator that we've been teaching. We love her. She is older and in her 50's. She is divorced, and her sons are grown up and out of the house. She is very nice to us, and loves us and the Spauldings (an older couple in the branch here) coming over to teach her each week. She's starting to gain a testimony of the truth of the Restoration and the things that we've taught, but she's still has some concerns and she's praying for answers. We talked to her about how it would help her to pray specifically for specific answers instead of generally praying for help to help her know that what we're teaching is true. She sincerely wants to know if it is true though, and she's reading and praying and coming to church when she can. We continue to pray for her to be able to recieve the answers she is looking for through the Holy Ghost and to know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true.

Louie is another investigator that we've started teaching recently. He is in his 80's and his wife died a while back. He fought in WWII and feels like the Lord was watching over him and protected him from harm and death numerous times. He is a very sweet old man and is always very kind to us. He admires us for what we are doing. We taught him about the Restoration and Jospeh Smith and watched the Restoration movie with him. He's been studying and praying and he told us that he knows that Jospeh Smith was a prophet. He's been reading in the Book of Mormon as well, and is already through 1 Nephi. He told us a couple days ago when we talked with him that he knows that the Book of Mormon is true as well, and that it's from God. He is so prepared to recieve the gospel and the message of the Restoration! We're thrilled about how open he is and how easily the Holy Ghost is able to teach him that these things are true. My companion and I were talking the other day, and we feel like one of the reasons why the Lord has allowed him to leave throught so many near-death experiences, both in the war and in recent years, is so that he would have the chance to be able to learn and accept the gospel in this life. He is planning on coming to church this next Sunday hopefully, and next time we go over we're going to teach him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the third lesson in Preach My Gospel, and covers the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel (Faith, Repentance, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, the Laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End) . He's continuing to read from the Book of Mormon and gain a testimony of these things.

Darwin is an investigator that we've just met with for the first time this week. He's in his early thirties or so, and he is married and has a young son. He was being taught by the missionaries last fall in nearby Kalamazoo. Unfortunatly, due to a sudden move to a nearby apartment they he lost contact with them. He looked for them for a while but was unable to find them again. This Spring he moved to Otsego (right next to Plainwell). He got onto a few weeks ago and there found that he was able to request a missionary visit. We got a text on our phone with his number and address, gave him a call, and were able to meet him this last Monday. He is very enthusiastic about the Church and the Book of Mormon, and is definately open and prepared to recieve the gospel. He even tried to order a quad (set of scriptures) online last fall when he met with the missionaries (one of those missionaries, coincidently, is now my district leader, Elder Wood. He was thrilled when we told him that we had gotten in contact with Darwin). He had been taught by the missionaries several times, but since it was last fall we'll have to go over those things again to refresh his memory a little bit. The Restoration makes so much sense to him, and he really want's to be able to know in his heart that it is true, so we're working to help him with that as he reads from the Book of Mormon and prays. We're also going to invite him to church tomorrow, if he can make it.

We are also very excited about the Reed family. The Brother and Sister Reed are in their late thirties, we think. They have four sons- Anthony (14), Austin (13), Josh (11), and Joe (10) . They have been to almost every church in Allegan, which is quite a few, but they always felt like there was something there there that wasn't right, or something that was missing. We've taught them a couple times, and they were finally able to make it to sacrament meeting this last Sunday, which we were thrilled about. He said that there was a really good feeling there, and that he would definately be back. He told us that he feels like the truth is out there, and he's really hoping that this church is the right one. He wants to know if it is true. Last time we went over we watched the Restoration DVD with them, and they really seemed to enjoy it and be interested in it. Brother Reed said that he could really relate to Jospeh and how he visited all the other churches trying to find the truth. We know that as he and his family read and pray about the Book of Mormon that the Holy Ghost will tell them that it is true, and they will know it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Moroni 10: 3-5 is such a powerful scripture. We also know that by the same power, they will be able to know that they have found the true and living Church of Jesus Christ, once again restored to the earth.

It's amazing to see how the Lord guides and directs His work, that we have been able to find this great family that is so prepared to hear the gospel. He has told us that there are many people in this area who have been prepared, and we have seen so many blessings pour out upon us as we've tried to live our calling as best as we could and serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. I know that everyone at home is being blessed as well as I work out here. I have had that confirmed to me many times. There is so much joy in this work, in being able to teach the gospel to people and help them to come closer to Christ and His church. I know that this work is the Lord's. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and it never ceases to amaze me as I study it each day. I love it so much. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet called by God, and that we have a living prophet on the earth today- Thomas S. Monson. My testimony has been strengthened so much since I've been out here, and I've seen how much it has blessed me and how much it blesses these people that we teach. The Lord has blessed me immeasurably, even in just this short time that I've been out here. I know, beyond any doubt, more than I know anything else, that these things are true, because the Holy Ghost has testified to me of their truth.

It looks like I'm out of time. Please pray for these people and the others that we teach, that they may be blessed and protected, be able to gain testimonies for themselves of the truth of these things from the Holy Ghost, and that they will be able to make it to church.

Have a great week everyone! Hope you're all enjoying the summer still. I'll try to write when I can, sorry things have been so busy lately. But thank you for all your support. I love you all, bye!

Elder Trevor Casper

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