Monday, September 26, 2011

09.26.2011 "First Week in St. Johns!!" (posted by rebecca)

Hello Everyone,

These last couple of weeks have been interesting. I'm sorry that my emails have been so much shorter this last month or so. My internet time was extremely limited for a while, but hopefully here in St. Johns I should have more time each week to be able to email.

My last week in Allegan was a hectic week really. We were working hard, and it turned out to be fair week in Allegan County. Unfortunately, this made it difficult to be able to meet with our investigators or to talk to people by knocking on doors. Still, we were blessed as we worked hard and the Lord helped us to still be able to find good ways to use our time. We found several promising new areas to find new people and we were also able to teach several people that we weren't expecting to that week. When transfers came, it meant that the entire weekend was spent either at church, having lunch or dinner at a member's house before I left, or packing. Luckily, I managed to get it all done by the time we left Monday afternoon.

We got here in St. Johns on Monday night and got settled in. My new companion is Elder Sheppard. This is his third transfer here in Michigan, so he's been out here a little over 3 months, most of which was here in St. Johns. He's a nice guy and it should be a  good transfer here. There are a lot of good things happening with the work here as well. There are many investigators that Elder Sheppard and his last companion have been teaching, and some of them are being baptized soon, which is really exciting!

I'm still getting to know a lot of the people here. Unfortunately, Elder Sheppard got what we think is the flu on Thursday, and because of that we've been stuck in our apartment for most of the last 4 days. It's hard not being able to go out and work. As long as I still spend time studying each day, it helps a lot, but I'm looking forward to being able to go out again and teach and talk to people. 

Still, we have seen blessings come from this. In our spare time we've been able to clean the apartment (which was pretty cluttered when I got there), make some repairs, and organize some things. I was also able to unpack completely and get settled in, which is always nice. I've been able to watch some of the church videos that we use on our apartment's portable DVD player (They just recently started to distribute them to all the companionships in the mission so we can watch training videos in our companion study). I always can feel the Holy Ghost when watching movies such as The Restoration, Finding Faith in Christ, and the Testaments. They are powerful movies, and I would recommend them to everyone. I love watching them best when it's quiet and there aren't many distractions around. 

I've also been able to get more organized and create a study journal that I can use to record notes, impressions, and revelation as I study. This is a great blessing to me, and I know that it'll help me to better apply the things that I learn in meetings, and also the things that the Spirit teaches me as I study. 

One thing that I've seen clearly over the last few days is how important daily study of the scriptures is. There is such a big difference between studying most days and studying each and every day. Even if my companion is sick and sleeps most of the day, it is still critical for me to study each day as we've been directed to do. With that study I feel so much closer to my Heavenly Father, and I find greater strength to do what I need to do and to resist temptation. With it I can be more in tune with the Spirit. My prayer becomes more personal and more powerful, and I can better understand what it is my Heavenly Father wants me to know and do. 

Along with this, I've also been able to listen to General Conference talks often. My last companion had the great idea of buying a micro SD memory card, loading conference talks for the last 4 or so years onto it, and then putting it into the phone and playing them on there. It was so amazing to have last transfer that I bought one myself before I left Allegan! 

It's been such a blessing to be able to listen to those talks by prophets and apostles in our day. For over a thousand years, there was no chosen representative of the Lord on the earth to receive revelation from Him and to direct His church, and the people lived in relative darkness. Yet we live in a time today where the truth has been restored by a loving God, and we have prophets and apostles to direct us in the true and living Church of Jesus Christ. We are blessed to live in this time, and to know what we know. I can't wait to listen to General Conference this next Saturday and Sunday. I know that those men have been called by God, and that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet that the Lord has called in our day. I also know that the Book of Mormon is true, that it is the word of God. I have prayed about it and studied it and I know it to be true, and one of the greatest blessings that we have today. I also know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, who did see God the Father and Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove. There is such peace and power in knowing these things, and it amazes me how God loves us so much that He will help us to come to know these things for ourselves. 

I have to go, but I hope everyone has a great week and enjoys conference this weekend! Pray to find answers to questions, and consider fasting as well. You will be able to find answers as you listen and ponder on their words.

Elder Trevor Casper

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