I don't even know how to describe this week.... probably just work, work, work and I absolutely love it! Not a lot to write but I hope you enjoy!
Monday, July 31:
Preparation Day... I would like let everyone know that "cleanliness is next to Godliness" and that I am thankful that I have a day dedicated to doing laundry, deep cleaning, and shopping. I am thankful for this day because it allows me to dedicate the rest of my week to missionary work.
Tuesday, August 1:
Today we started off with a district meeting in the town of Marianna, Florida. Afterwards I went on exchanges with Elder Mckinnion. He is from Mesa, Arizona and went to Mesa High. While at Mesa High he was on the swim team. He and I stayed in Marianna while his companion, Elder Jorgensen, went to Bainbridge with Elder Belliston. Elder Mckinnion and I went to lunch with a very sweet lady from his ward. She took us to Ruby Tuesday's and talked with us about her life. We were able to share a message with her and received a referral.
After lunch we met up with the ward mission leader. A ward mission leader is someone who is called to serve from a local congregation to aid any missionaries in their work in that area. The ward mission leader for the Marianna ward is Brother Wimberly. Brother Wimberly drove us to the house of an old World War 2 vet who was interested in the church. He has been meeting with missionaries for about two months now and has made a lot of progress. He was an amazing man and we were able to share a message on temples and he loved it.
Later we met with a guy who was recently baptized into the church. His name is Alex. His conversion story was absolutely amazing. Alex came from a home where his older brother and mom were both into things they shouldn't have been. He knew he needed to change his life. One day he met the Elders and they presented him with a Book of Mormon. Recalling the experience and retelling it to me he said "I knew the Book was true as soon as I had it in my hands." He read the entire book in a few days and was baptized a few weeks after meeting the Elders. He has started his mission papers and were able to give him a manual called Preach My Gospel. The manual is a tool made for missionaries to help them teach people about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Wednesday, August 2:
I stayed the night of Tuesday in Marianna with Elder Mckinnion. We got up the next morning and went walking around the town looking for people to talk to while we were walking to visit less-active members of the ward. We were able to find a few new people for them to teach. We then met the other Elders halfway between Bainbridge and Marianna and traded back companions. The rest of the day Elder Belliston and I spent finding people in our area around a little town called Climax. We were able to met a few people but none were interested in learning about the gospel.
While I was in Florida Elder Belliston and Elder Jorgensen had an appointment to meet with Amaris but they were not able to get a third male to go with them to the appointment and because of church policy for missionaries they couldn't meet with her.
Thursday, August 3:
We met with Faith and Zach and were able to hear her testimony of the gospel. I cannot wait for her to be baptized so she can continually feel of God's love for her. We had another appointment set up with Amaris today but she had to cancel on us. Because we were not able to met with her this week and teach her we have had to move her baptismal date to the 2nd of September. We spent a good portion of the day planning for next week.
Friday, August 4:
Visited lots of Less-active members of the Branch. It was a cool experience and we were able to invited most of them to come again to church and most accepted the invitation. Pray for them! We also called a lot of referrals we had been given throughout the week.
Saturday, August 5:
Today we had a Branch event. We invited all of the kids in the branch to come to "Bainbridge Missionary Training Center". We basically gave the kids an experience of what it was like in the MTC. They loved it and learned ways to invite their friends to come to church and other church run activities.
Sunday, August 6:
FAST SUNDAY!!! Fast Sunday is a day in which members of the church go without food or drink for two meals and take them money they would have spent, and give it to the church to help feed people around the world. In addition to giving the money and going without food/drink members fast with a specific prayer in heart and mind. Also on Fast Sunday, the entire church (Worldwide) allows church members from the congregation to give and share their knowledge of the gospel during what is know in the church as bearing a testimony. I was able to hear the testimonies of members in the Branch. It was a very powerful meeting. I was able to share my testimony of the power of the Restoration and the importance of the Great Apostasy in our lives.
Scripture and a Quote:
"11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it."
"Prior to His Crucifixion, the Lord Jesus Christ had established His Church. It included apostles, prophets, seventies, teachers, and so forth. And the Master sent His disciples into the world to preach His gospel.
After a time the Church as established by the Lord fell into spiritual decay. His teachings were altered: His ordinances were changed. The Great Apostasy came as had been foretold by Paul, who knew that the Lord would not come again "except there come a falling away first." (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
This Great Apostasy followed the pattern that had ended each previous dispensation. The very first was in the time of Adam. Then came dispensations of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others. each prophet had a divine commission to teach of the divinity and doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ. In each age these teachings were meant to help the people. But their disobedience resulted in apostasy. Thus, all previous dispensations were limited in time and location. They were limited in time because each ended in apostasy. They were limited in location to a relatively small segment of the earth."
-Russel M. Nelson
I know that God had to take away Christs church from the earth because of the wickedness of the people. I know that there have been other periods of time when people or nations experience apostasy. Because Christs church was taken off of the earth I know it had to be restored. I know that the fullness of Christs church has been restored to the earth today through the prophet Joseph Smith. I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I am thankful for the joy it has brought into my life. I say these things in Christ's name. Amen.