Hey Everyone! I hope everything is going well! This last week has been a really good week! Monday we had dinner with some members of the ward, and then we just went to the Waterway to go and to try and do some street contacting. So that was pretty much all that happened on Monday, but it was still a good night! We invited alot of people to learn that night, but none of them were interested. We returned home that night after doing that and just planned for the next day.
We went around with a couple of different members, we only got in with one family during the day, but we were staying busy. That night we were going to go over to Diana's house. Quick reminder, we met Diana in the mall while walking around and talking with people. She said that she was going to be moving, so a couple weeks ago we helped her move, and she said that she would invite us over for dinner. Well we went there and met her parents and her daughter and they made a really good meal for us! But before going there we talked about how we wanted to discuss the Plan of salvation with them.
And even from the moment we showed up, they were prepared. Diana's dad named Bert had already started reading the Book of Mormon and said he has been enjoying it, and they were also asking all the right questions. "Why do Mormons put a focus on family history, what do you believe about when we leave this world," and other questions talking about the temple. And so after dinner we started right into the plan of salvation. And I feel like it went pretty well. The spirit was defiantly there, and they were very receptive to the things that we talked about. They said they would continue to read in the Book of Mormon, but it was just a great night! 4 new investigators, and even better than that it was a family! We were defiantly blessed so much to be able to meet them and teach them!
Speaking of Family, on Wednesday we had a zone conference, and it was all focused on family history and genealogy! We talked about how we can use family history more effectively in our areas.I love this quote that we talked about during the meeting. “People typically have spiritual feelings as they talk about families. People also feel the Spirit as they are taught about the doctrine concerning why we do family history work” (PMG, 165). Many are now being prepared for the gospel by the Spirit of Elijah which is “a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family” (Russell M. Nelson, General Conference, Apr. 1998).
I have seen this so much during my time here in Texas. Look at just the day previous, we found a family and we were able to talk to them about family history. I also know that Diana and her family were prepared to hear that message. Another quote that really stuck out to me was, “It was made known to me that it is because the righteous dead who have received the Gospel in the spirit world are exercising themselves, and in answers to their prayers elders [and sisters] of the Church are sent to the homes of their posterity so that the Gospel might be taught to them, and that descendant in the flesh is then privileged to do the work for his [or her] dead kindred. I want to say to you that it is with greater intensity that the hearts of the fathers and mothers in the spirit world are turned to their children now in the flesh than our hearts are turned to them” (Melvin J. Ballard)
I know that this is true and because of it I am so grateful! I would like to invite all y'all to really get into family history! When you are doing family history you are doing missionary work. I know that it is true so please make and effort to do it. I know it may be hard sometimes but it will make a difference in your life. I know that to be true!
We did our weekly planning, and we received some incredible revelation for the things we needed to do in our coming week with our investigators. It was great! But also this day we decided that we wanted to go and meet with a member of our ward who has been completely paralyzed except for his right arm for about 14 years. For this email we will call him Brother Z. And about a month ago he was diagnosed with terminal Leukemia. We have been going through the lessons with him and two weeks previous we taught the Plan of Salvation. And it was great!
But when we went he was alot weaker than the previous time! He could barley speak, and his wife told Elder DeLuca that Hospice said he only had 24 hours to live! I didn't know that, but I told him that we would come back and see him soon. After my companion told me about that I was sad, because I thought that would be the last time we would get to see him. I have got to know him so much better over the last 7 months, and it was hard for me to think that. But I had to keep thinking about being a missionary and work. We had some other appts that night, but none with investigators. But over all it was a good day. The spirit was strong and we worked hard.
We went on exchanges with another Elder, while Elder DeLuca went with the District Leader on an exchange. It was a pretty good day. Nothing to exciting happened, but we were able to go and meet with some different members and share lessons with them. Over all a good day!
This entry will be pretty long, but it was just such a great day! We started out by doing our studies in the morning, and then later that morning we got a text from a number asking if we could help them real quick. We said sure we would love to, but who is this? Turns out it was James Marshburn! I was so excited when I heard he wanted us to come over and help him real quick with his truck. He has been trying to replace his a/c compressor, and it seized up his car, so he needed some help replacing it. We went and helped him. My comps were helping him from the top part of the engine and I was helping him underneath the car. I just kinda help hand him stuff and did some different things when he told me to. After about 2 hours we completed it, and we got to talk with him for a bit and he said that he would for sure come to church! It made me really happy to hear.
After we volunteered at the woodlands marathon and we helped from about 1-5 with cleaning it up. We had most of our district there, and we were able to talk with some different people. It was good! But then that night we went back and got changed, and we went back out and we were wondering what we should do because we had appts fall. And Elder DeLuca mentioned we should go back to check Brother Z, now we didn't know if he had passed on or how sister Z was doing, but we tried calling and we got no answer. We were wondering if we should still go over or if we should not worry about. And we decided to at least drive to the house.
In my head I kept thinking of Thursday when I promised him we would come see him again. So we drove there and pulled up in the front, and we didn't know whether we should go in or leave. And so we decided that we should pray about it. We prayed and after the prayer I said another little prayer. I asked my Heavenly Father if we should not bother them, and I felt like I had a stupor of thought ( D&C 9) and so I then asked Him if it was his will for us to go inside. And I felt so warm after. I knew that we needed to go inside, and then my other companions agreed so we went to knock on the door.
Sister Z answered and told us to come in. She was just getting ready to feed her dog, and we saw through the door way Brother Z was still hanging on, but he was very weak. We went in and sat down by him and Sister Z began to tell us about how they met and their love story. We were talking and it was hard to see Brother Z he was so weak, and he kept coughing. And then there came a point where he reached up his hand grabbed sister Z's hand and used all of his effort to say something. And Immediately sister Z knew that his time had come. He was getting ready to pass through the veil. And she embraced him and kept telling him that she would be ok.
Shortly after he passed on. I could not help but to cry. I had worked with Brother Z since I have been here. This was the first time I have ever witnessed someone pass on. After he had passed on, there was such peace in the room. We all knew that Brother Z was in a better place, and that he was free from pain. My testimony on the Plan of Salvation has grown so much this week. This experience really makes me so grateful for the knowledge that I have about the plan of salvation. I know that because of Jesus Christ that we will be able to see our loved ones again. Jesus Christ overcame the two barriers that keep us from returning home to our Father in Heaven.
We read in The Book of Mormon, in Alma 7:11-13 all the things that Jesus Christ suffered for. He suffered for our sins so that we can receive forgiveness as we follow that example that Jesus Christ set. As we build faith in Jesus Christ, repent or in other words make changes in our lives to become more like Christ, are baptized by someone who holds the proper priesthood authority of God and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost we can truly receive a full remission of our sins and fell clean and happy! And also because Jesus Christ was resurrected we will be able to have that same opportunity to have resurrected bodies and be able to live with our Heavenly Father again. I know that the Plan of Salvation is Gods plan of happiness for us and through it we can see our loved ones again. I know this to be true and I can not deny it.
This gospel brings so much joy to me and that's why I am out here serving. I know we were led to that home that night and I know that God is mindful of all of his Children. I know how much it can help others and so I would also encourage you again to please pray for missionary opportunities. There are those who are prepared that are waiting for an invitation to learn. I know as you pray you will know who to invite and when and how to invite them . I now this to be true. I bare witness and testify as a representative of Jesus Christ that these things are true and say that in the name of Jesus Christ amen.
Today was a great end to the week! Fast and Testimony meeting was so powerful and so spiritual. Also about 20 min into the meeting Brother Marshburn walked in! This was such a tender mercy to me! He was there, and I just was so happy to see him back at church! He is such a great man, and he was touched by that meeting. He talked about how strong the spirit was and it brought tears to his eyes. It has been such a great week and am grateful for the miracles I have seen, and for the tender mercies of the Lord.
I hope all y'all have a great week!
Elder Joshua V. Christensen