Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 17

Hey Hey!

        This week has gone by way to fast! days seem so long but now that its p-day again it flew by! There has been miracles this week that literally called out to us and want to be baptized! Kids coming up to us and telling us to come over so they can get baptised. Part member Less-active,  families wanting to come back and get their non-member family baptised. I don't know what were doing right but i know the Lord is really looking out for us. And i defiantly know there is blessings that flood our lives once our faith has been tried and we endure it well. Heavenly Father really loves us and really does fulfill his promises to all of his children.

        Last Sunday a set of twins came up to us with their mom and told us they want to get baptised and have us over for the discussions! it was crazy. We have been trying to get into their house for weeks now and finally their mom came around and is ready! we were so stoked because we haven't been able to teach much lessons and our other appointments have been flaking on us. We are so happy to have solid investigators we can teach!
      Wed night after our all our appointments canceled and all of our back-ups weren't home. We were walking down the street in the snow and we hear some one call from behind us.. "hey!... brothers!" it being dark and snowy, we couldn't tel who it was.." a member?" we decided to wait till this dark figure got closer. He was a young man he said he was 18 and just got kicked out of his house. He said his family situation wasn't doing so well and there's a lot of problems. So we walked and talked with him. Calling for a ride to take him across town. After he had explained a few things, we asked out of curiosity "are you a member of the ward?".  We figured no random stranger would call us to talk... He said he wasn't a member but went to our ward 3 times by himself! We were so shocked! we invited him out of the cold and into the warmth of the chapel and sat and talked to him. He said his girlfriend is a member and hes been wanting to be baptised for a while. We talked about what we do as missionaries and he said he know all about it and wants to meet again. I tried 3 times to lead up to the baptismal invite and invite him but he kept talking. My companion out of no where just asked "hey do you want to be baptised".... He said "yes yes i would love to!" i giggled a little inside. Me trying to be all formal when all we needed to do was ask.... plainly..... This voice from the dark cold winter night, will be shooting to be baptised on the 22nd of Feb. Nothing but a Miracle.

        A referral we received in the beginning of December finally contacted us back "after the Holidays". We tried texting and calling at the beginning of the month and now out of no where we receive a text "Hey Elders, can we meet on wed in the late afternoon, at the chapel?" WHAAAT we were so stoked. So we met up at the chapel, An in-active mother who was recently remarried wanted to start coming back to church and wanted our advise as to how she could go about it. She talked most of the time explaining her situation and the trials they have had in their life. We comforted her the best we can and made sure she knew it was oh so possible to come back. Her new husband, her daughter and 2 step sons aren't members. We asked what she would want for her family. She said " I want all of us to be able to go to church together". We asked if this was a perfect world and you could have anything in this life "would you want your family to ultimately be sealed in the temple?".... she said "yes".  We made sure to let her know that is completely possible and that were here to help as much as we can to help her baptise her family and progress to the temple. She asked if we could start giving her 12 year old daughter the discussions and now we are looking forward to meeting them this next week.

         There's no doubt in my heart that the Lord works in mysterious ways. He really does look out for us and promises us happiness after trials. These past couple weeks have been nothing but a testimony builder. My heart is so grateful for the blessings that we have received this week. I love my Heavenly Father and i know he loves me...
Im oucheeaaa
\,,/     SHOOTS
Elder Soren

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 16 - Baptism of Lisa

This week was awesome! There were so many exciting things that happened. A lot of big and small blessings. I've counted them ;) I am happy to be able to see some of the blessings after the harder times, and to appreciate ALL of my blessings. My testimony has been strengthened and I know that the Lord really does bring happiness after the trial of our faith. I am so glad to be able to learn through these experiences here on my mission. I know that everything I am learning here is preparing me for after my mission as I start to make important decisions in my life.

        Saturday was such an exciting day. We first went to the temple in the morning. I was so excited because its been 3 months since I went in Provo and I forgot how wonderful the temple was. When we got there we met up with some other Elders that are serving in Idaho Falls including Elder Duano! I was happy to see him. It felt like forever since we were companions! The Idaho Falls temple is so beautiful. I don't know what temple isn't though. But it was so amazing to be in the presence of this Holy house. Right when we got there just being on the grounds it felt so peaceful. During our session it was so comfortable. I felt as if I were home. That same comfort you feel when your in the midst of your family members and loved ones. That same security that comes from the same walls of ones childhood home. Every worry, every concern melted away as I sat in serenity. The beauties of the interior never fail to amaze me, but what could you expect when your in the house of the Lord. As I sat in deep contemplation looking at the celestial chandelier and the paintings on the wall, I thought, "this is probably what Heaven is like". This peace, this divine comfort that entered my heart sunk within me. I was so relieved to know that after this life we can feel this same comfort forever, resting from all our sorrows. The experience of this home of mine, this Heavenly home made me realize that I am clean.

        The mission rules, I worry to follow day to day, all the council that we must follow as full time missionaries weighs you down at times. Never knowing what "exact obedience" really is and always realizing there's something you need to work on personally a certain rule, a certain principal, making sure we are up on time. The small things get to you sometimes, those things in which makes one humbled by the recognition of imperfection. Aside from these rules I constantly judge my self upon, in the temple I remembered that "I am clean...I am keeping my covenants...I am pure in the eyes of the Lord" this overwhelmed me. Here I thought I wasn't the best person because some rules I struggle to follow. At that moment where all the mission rules didn't fully apply, I remembered the righteous desires of my heart I was filled with emotion. Words could not express my inner joy because know I am keeping all that I have promised the Lord I would keep. The Prophet Joseph F. Smiths dream came to my mind.  It was when he was a missionary in Hawaii when he was late to meet the man in the mansion. That's exactly how I felt. "Joseph you are late" the Prophet Joseph Smith said... "Yes, but I am clean...I am clean, I replied with confidence"'.

        After this marvelous temple session we headed home to prepare for the Baptism of Lisa  :) Any missionary would say our day is a perfect missionary day. Temple and a Baptism. What more could we ask for?  A typical missionary moment, being guided by the spirit after 5 months of missionaries knocking. We were the ones the Lord prepared to help this wonderful woman enter the waters of baptism and enter in by the way, the only way to eternal life. It was such a wonderful night to see her so filled with happiness. To see her family so proud of her. The spirit was so strong. I truly know that the Lord brings forth miracles on his own time. This was Lisa's time. Everything fell into place for her in her life and ours as well.

         My testimony about missionary work grows everyday. Through every single "Missionary Experience" I am converted more and more unto my Savior and his love. A question most of us guys have is "what makes you a man?" well haha I've come to learn that a mission takes a ignorant young man and will change him into a "real" man. I've learned the importance of this life and what a true man is. I love being a missionary and working my way towards true man hood.

Elder Soren

Idaho Falls Temple

Elder Dunlap, Lisa & Elder Soren

Ice Fishing

This week has been pretty good, I was able to lead the area a lot better and I could definitely feel the guidance of the spirit. Elder Dunlap and I are getting along and working better together!  I can't believe its been a week already, time goes by so fast! Things are getting a little slow but we keep trying to find new people and families to teach. Over all its been a pretty good week.  I've learned so much and I am super excited for this next week because we have a baptism on Saturday!!! 

We are looking forward to our baptism on Saturday for an investigator we've been working with for 2 months now. We have been knocking on her door since I came out, but she never answered. One day Elder Duano and I were just walking in the streets and decided to try again. We saw a man out side her house raking leaves and so we went over to talk to him.  He was really nice and he told us he was Lisa's brother in law and we asked if she was home, he went in and got her.  He is a member and they have been trying to get Lisa to get baptised for a while now. So we finally met Lisa and started talking to her and helping rake leaves.  She is the sweetest woman ever. Her nieces and nephews came to help rake leaves as well, they're a bunch of great kids. Since that day we have been teaching her. She is the nicest most humble person, we love teaching her and love her energetic spirit. She is now getting baptised 2 1/2 months later after we have been teaching her. I am so happy for her and so excited to see her enter into the waters of baptism!

Another one of our investigators is progressing a lot now. After 5 lessons we got him to say the closing prayer. When we invite him to say the prayer he would always say " no I don't want to" or  "no I'm not ready yet in a stern voice" and make one of us do it. But this time we got him to pray and it was a beautiful prayer. Yesterday he even went to priesthood meeting! It doesn't sound super exciting but when your a missionary you appreciate all the little things and like the prophets say " And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things".  I have defiantly seen these small blessing work miracles in peoples lives. Because they are small steps to something GREAT. I realized that the Lord works the same way with me, by small and simple things the Lord brings great blessings. Things I never really payed attention to are now some of the things I am most grateful for now. The small and simple truly do lead us to great things in this life. They build us up and help us reach our full potential. I love the Lord and all He does for me. The more I serve, the more I draw closer to him and gain more of an understanding of His Divine love.  My relationship with Him gets stronger and stronger each day.

I am so happy to be a missionary to be able to learn all the amazing things that we have in store for us, in this life and the next. My perspective changes as I learn and grow closer to the Lord. I am so excited for life and whats to come. One of the things I'm most excited about is that I can share this same excitement with everyone I meet. I am stoked I can share this wonderful gospel with individuals and families. It makes my heart happy that I have this amazing truth that will make ones life happy forever. 

I love my Heavenly Father, I love my Savior, I love my Family, I love this Gospel and all the Eternal Happiness it brings.

Today we went ice fishing! it was super fun. I felt like an Eskimo! haha it was a blast it was good to get into nature and be in the outdoors :)

Stoked to Stoke

*Elder Soren*

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Companion & New responsibilities (senior companion)

 I am excited for this transfer! Elder Dunlap is my new companion. (seen beside me in this photo).  I know that our Heavenly Father has called us to be companions in this area. That it is His will for us to be together serving the people of the Pocatello Central 1 area. I am excited for the work and i am excited to grow in this new companionship.

     This week has been pretty crazy with all the changes. Personally it has been a great learning experience and it has strengthened my testimony so much. Thursday and Friday this week has been one of the hardest 2 days of my 3 months out in the field. With Elder Duano gone I gained the responsibility of leading the area. Without Elder Duanos assistance I was faced with challenging opportunities to use what Ive learned from my training. For those 2 days I was pretty nervous because i doubted my self i doubted that i could do it. I felt lost, discouraged, even a bit emotional at times. But it was until i realized that this isn't my work its the Lords work. That I must trust in Him, that it is His will, His work, and there are people he has prepared to hear my personal testimony and the truth that I have to teach. Once I was able to realize this I received the courage I needed, I received the strength of the Lord. Doubting no more. I look back now at those 2 days and i cant believe how i could have such little faith in him who has all this divine power. I am thankful for the Atonement and a merciful God. Because I could repent for my doubt and be able to improve and grow. I know that because of the Savior I am able to gain strength through my trials when i use the atonement, not only for repentance but when i am need of His love.

     I am happy now that i have overcome this trial because i know that now i can learn and improve each day trusting in the Lord. I am excited because we have 2 baptisms coming up on the 18th! they are pretty solid and i know they both have testimonies. We have been working with them for a while and its so wonderful to see their progression and growth. That's one of the things i love most about my mission, to see others progress into the waters of baptism. i am grateful for this work and i am happy to go forth and serve with all my might, mind, heart and strength.

    I know that my last couple letters, i have been kinda struggling. I do not mean it to be a "pitty party" but to show that my testimony has grown through trials. I know that usually missionaries have nothing but amazing things to share their first 3 months but this is truly amazing to me. I am so grateful that i am receiving my personal & hard challenges now while i am new in my mission because i know that i can learn from them early and grow to be the missionary i know i can be. Now that i have overcome the walls that Heavenly Father knew i would, i am no longer in bondage of fear or doubt. I am set free to reach the potential the Lord knows i will achieve. I know that this is the way the Lord works, this is how He personally teaches us to become as He is.
    I know my Heavenly Father loves all His children, and as we endure our trials well, he will bring happiness in our lives that we couldn't even imagine possible. A happiness only He provides. I know all these things to be true.
    i am grateful for this work and i am happy to go forth and serve with all my might, mind, heart and strength.
   Latley Ive been day dreaming about getting super shacked while looking at uncle Jons photos haha i miss hawaii i miss the ocean :D
#Kowabunga! haha
Elder Soren

New years movie night and ping pong

Elder Duano Left me...