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Monday, September 30, 2013

GENERAL CONFERENCE IS COMING!

The above is the dream team tags in .... TAGALOG!
The church is true. The same church that Jesus Christ established has been restored and he stands at the head as the chief cornerstone (see Ephesians 2:20). What a blessing it is to have the priesthood on the earth again and modern revelation to guide it. I love General Conference so much. 

There are like a million and one things that I would like to tell you all but I don't have time or the memory. 
The most important I guess would be the two baptisms this week. 
Severina's baptism




Severina (previously assumed to be spelled Savrina) and Andres! It was cool to be a part of both. Severina is so cool, so prepared and so spiritual. This week we taught her quite a few times. The highlight was on Friday when we went to the temple with her. It was crazy. Of course we went on the day that a Filipino woman and a RM [returned missionary] from the Philippines were getting sealed. Just as we walked around the back of the temple they came out and their family was there waiting. They were all excited and talked to Severina and bore their testimonies. It was cool that it all happened as if we had planned it. Severina cried most of the time on the temple grounds. She was feeling the Spirit very strongly and was so, so happy. She is an older woman but she had a skip in her step and a song in her heart which she shared with us. "I'm going to follow Jesus. I'm going to follow Jesus. No looking back. No looking back." It was special. We read from the scriptures there as well. Severina didn't have the best marriage relationship. Before whenever we would talk about eternal marriage she was always a little bit uncomfortable. It was clear that she wasn’t sure if she wanted to be with her earthly husband in the life to come. But seeing the couple after they were sealed really touched her and before her baptism on Saturday she told us that she had a dream about getting sealed to her husband in the temple and now she is set on that. It was a powerful experience. Severina is so, so sweet. We call her Lola which means grandma in Tagalog. 
Andres'baptism
Andres' baptism was cool too. 
Extra special because Elder Slik and I were the ones to find him (what now feels like) a long time ago. We were on exchanges and now we got to go to his baptism as companions. 
Andres' and Gissel at his baptism (sorry about the orientation)
It was cool too because Gissel helped to teach him and then gave a talk on the Holy Ghost which was very powerful. It was special to go back and see all the people I used to get to see on a daily basis.

Monday was pretty normal day. We taught Severina. We had a lot of appointments cancel including the Ts' which is sad because they've been cancelling a lot lately. We think we scared them, especially the dad. Well mostly the dad. He was pretty closed and I bet he didn't like that his wife and children were liking reading the Book of Mormon. We're not really sure but we know the Sister T knows the Book of Mormon is true.

Tuesday was cool because we took out a priest named Rigdon. He is so cool. The first time we wanted to take him out he was kinda skeptical but now he is like super gung-ho. He is a rugby player and is so cool, funny, and really cares about the people we see. He remembers everyone down to the people we talk to in the street. We were also on exchanges and I was with Elder Lilo (another rugby player, but he is straight outta Samoa). He is super nice. We had a good time and I really learned a lot from him. He teaches very simply and directly and is always bearing his testimony. I want to teach more like that. We taught Toni and Rigdon and EL both liked that. She is someone who you can’t not just love, simple, and humble, and pure. She just wants to be good. That is a quality of people I have really grown to respect more and more. The conscious desire to do what is best. We read the Book of Mormon with a less active family (half of which then came to church on Sunday which was cool). That evening we were going to visit a referral and we started talking to a man and he invited us to teach him a lesson right then. We did and it was awesome. He shared with us how he felt that everything we said was the truth and it brought a warm feeling to his heart. We explained that it was the Spirit he was feeling and talked to him about its importance. He really wanted to be a better father. I don't know much about fatherhood. But we just taught about Christ. It was a good day with EL but after I was happy to again be with Elder Slik. He's bomb.

Wednesday we went to the temple. It was so cool. I hadn't gone in a while and I really wanted to go back. I could just feel that I needed to go. It's hard to explain really but I could just feel that my two transfers of not going was up. I went and felt so at peace. That is even harder to explain. My mind had been muddled for a long time with a lot of things and I felt that in the temple I could just leave them all behind and I had so much clarity. I've been tired and distracted for a while now with all the new responsibilities I have but I had one of the most powerful prayers in a very long time afterwards. I know that serving in the temple brings blessings. Funny story though. I was kinda feeling sick that day. Anyone who knows me knows that I can destroy a bano. Well I so am sitting in the temple and I just know that I have to go. I look at Elder Slik and whisper, “I've gotta go,” and he chuckles and says to me, “too bad.” But then again I say, "No, I've gotta go.” His eyes bugged out. I had to get up right before the session began and run to the bathroom. It was pretty embarrassing, but other than that part, the peace was inexplicable. That night we again taught Toni about the Atonement. She definitely felt the importance of it. And little by little she is grasping the restoration of authority. She keeps saying give me a week or two more and I'll get baptized. We haven't set a specific date with her but it will be soon.

Thursday we had a really good District Meeting done by Elder Hiatt. It was about powerful and impactful first lessons that set people up for conversion. It was well planned and presented. I think it was Thursday that ES and I did “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” too. We had a great lesson with a new investigator and our 2nd counselor in the bishopric. We just boldy explained the blessings of keeping the commandments. Not as bold as LTP [L. Tom Perry] during last conference but it was still powerful. God gives us commandments for a reason - our personal happiness. They protect and sanctify us. We see so much sadness here in Vegas that could be avoided if people just knew and followed God's counsel. But don't take my word for it. (See John 7:17)   

Friday was the temple with Severina which was so awesome. But also on Friday was Andres' baptism which was awesome too. Also we got our Tagalog tags which was like the triple crown. BUT THEN! I got to eat alligator tail. It was quite delicious. I'd definitely eat it again. 

Saturday was Severina's baptism. It was cool because Toni went to that. And while there a woman bore her testimony and then said and we are so excited for you Toni when you will be taking this important step. I was worried that she was going to get scared but she enjoyed it all. She also went to the stake dinner before the RS broadcast and then to the broadcast. She loved that too. She said it was an answer to her prayers. She said that she hadn't told her concerns to anyone but God and they were answered during the broadcast. Cool or what? That afternoon as well we taught a sweet drop lesson. The guy wasn't ready but we didn't know that till the lesson. We were very bold and he and his wife felt the Spirit but he just wasn't ready to follow. The Spirit really is the key to the work. Without it we just offend people or are ineffective. It is such a blessing to feel it prompting you to say certain things or not say what you planned on, or usually say.

Sunday was an incredible Fast and Testimony meeting in both wards. In Bonanza View almost everyone bore their testimony of missionary work. One man shared his experience of the past weekend. He got taken to jail for old traffic tickets for three days. He didn't know why God would let that happen to him but as he pondered and prayed he felt impressed to share the gospel with his other 24 "tank-mates" as he described them "gang bangers, drug dealers and drunks." He said to himself though that they wouldn't listen or accept. They were too far gone and that was why they were in prison, but then later after he got out he regretted it. He was saying that he realized that those are the same people that Jesus ministered to. He didn't judge people for their immediate circumstances but saw where they could go to. It was incredibly powerful. It really touched me. "When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  I know the church is true with all my heart. Christ lives and leads his church through a living prophet who holds all the keys. The Book of Mormon is true. I finished it for the fourth time on my mission this morning. It is another testament of Jesus Christ and another witness to his reality, example and most importantly his Atonement. 

In Frenchman Hills the first person to bear testimony was a senior in high school and she said something like this, "Since I've been little I’ve heard everyone tell me that Christ loves and knows my name. But now I know. I know he lives and I know he loves me." Her spirit was so strong and we all knew that she knows. I cried a little bit, I’ll be honest. She was such a good example to her family and fellow young women and whole ward. The Atonement is real and she bore simple testimony of the reality of it and the effects of it in her life. After church we also taught another great first lesson. It was to a woman who is in a transition stage in her life. She is trying to change things in her life and what we told her hit her very deep. 

God lives. He loves us.
It was a real good week. I feel so blessed, incredible experiences, amazing companion, and the support from all of you. 
I love you all so much.
Sam


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