Saturday, February 25, 2012

02.20.2012 "Great Week and Many Blessings in St. Johns"

Dear Everyone,

Hopefully you've all been having a good week back at home. It's looking like winter is on it's way out. This last week has been really busy for us, but great. On Thursday we had one of the Assistants to the President join us for the day, because he had no where else to be for the day and we were nearby Lansing. His name is Elder Hill, and he's a pretty nice guy and a good missionary. He gave us some helpful ideas about the people we met with that day.

We also had a Zone Conference this last Friday. It was great! It was probably my favorite Zone Conference since I've been out. President Hess talked a lot about Our Purpose as missionaries, which is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end" (see Preach My Gospel, pg. 1). He also taught us for a while about faith, and what it really is. Faith truly is a principle of action. Faith, Hope, and Charity has to be the driving force, the motivation, behind anything we do in the Church and in the Lord's service. The increased focus on Our Purpose pointed me in the direction I needed and made clear a lot of things that I didn't fully understood before. I felt like my mind was enlightened and my understanding illuminated. It was a great Zone Conference. 

Another highlight of it that stands out in my mind was at one point when President Hess was teaching about faith he brought up a powerpoint slide with the song "Accentuate the Positive" on it. I had learned that song in music class long ago in elementary school, but I haven't heard it since. I still remembered most of the words and the tune though. President Hess and Sister Fredline, one of the elderly Sister Missionaries who served in the mission office, then sang that song to us, and then everyone sang it together. It was just an improvised thing, but it sounded really great. President Hess is a very kind man and thinks positively. You can feel the love that he has for the Lord when he speaks and also the love he has for each of us missionaries. I am very blessed to have him as a Mission President.

Here's an excerpt from a thought I had earlier as I studied that I mentioned to President Hess in my weekly report.
"I read D&C 122 in my personal study Saturday morning. I love how Joseph Smith stayed true, even in the midst of such terrible adversity. His adversity seemed to be mainly external because the adversary could gain no power over him. He was built upon the rock, the "foundation whereon if men build, the cannot fall" (Helaman 5:12). During lunch I was looking through conference talks and listened to the talk "It Is Better to Look Up". I love that talk. It helped me tremendously. It and the scriptures quoted in it tied in perfectly with what [President Hess] talked about in Zone Conference about faith." 

"Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." (Mosiah 4:9)

"Then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead" (Alma 33:22).

I know that He will help me with my trials and that I don't have to go through them alone. I just need to have faith and be positive!

Bob Fifield is one investigator we've been teaching. I don't know if I've mentioned him before or not. He is 67 and can't hear or see well. He also has a speech impediment that makes him difficult to understand. He's doing really well though! We think that he should be ready by March 4th for his baptism we've scheduled for that day. He really wants to make changes in his life and he is quickly absorbing everything we teach him, even though we may have to explain it a couple times before he understands. As soon as we explained the Word of Wisdom on when we visited him on Sunday and how it is a commandment from the Lord that the Lord will bless him for keeping, he committed to live by it and not drink coffee or tea or alcohol anymore. He's continuing to attend church, also. Our next goal is to get him more involved with the branch and connected with the members there. We're currently working on that with the Branch President and the Branch Mission Leader.

There is another fairly new investigator that we've been teaching named Katie. She is a senior in high school and is friends with Mindy Draut, who is the Branch President's daughter and is in the same grade (Mindy is really great). She has told us that she feels like something has been missing in her life, and she's been reading parts of the Book of Mormon. We've been able to meet with her a few times. Last Thursday when Elder Hill was here, we stopped by and were able to check in with her and talk for a few minutes. We had assigned her to read 3 Nephi 11, which she had. We asked her what she thought about Jesus Christ giving his disciples authority to baptize. We talked for a minute about baptism and she asked a few questions about it of her own. It was a perfect opportunity to invite her to be baptized. We did, and she said she thinks she would be if she finds out that this is true and know's that it is what God wants her to do. She really seems to feel the Spirit when we talk with her. She has a lot of potential and we're excited to meet with her again. She also expressed interest in coming to church soon and also going to seminary sometime swith her friend Mindy Draut. We're going to keep working with her inviting her to come unto Christ. 

I've got to go. Have a great week everyone!

Elder Trevor Casper

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