Monday, October 5, 2015

Trade Offs and General Conference

Oct. 5, 2015
This past week can be summarized by Trade-offs and General Conference. It was a great week to be a missionary and a great week to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

The early part of this past week was crazy, actually this entire week leading up to General Conference was crazy. We did trade-offs with the Assistants (I was at MSU with Elder Norton), Bad Axe (with Elder Johnson) and Saginaw (at CMU with Elder Stewart) which took us from Monday to Friday night. At the end of it all, Elder Haddock and I had to re-introduce ourselves to each other! It was a lot of fun!

Monday: It was a great day. Elder Haddock and I spent most of our day personal contacting on campus. Our days vary so much here at CMU since it's a college campus. On a given day we have about 5 lessons scheduled but since we are dealing with college students only a few of those lessons tend to actually happen. All but one of our lessons fell through but we met a lot of really cool people. Last week Elder Reese and I met this guy who when we talked to him, told us that he, "gets down with Jesus" so we asked him what that meant and he said, "you know, getting down with Jesus." So we asked him why that was important and we made him feel a little stupid since he was being obnoxious. But I've seen him like 5 more times around campus so we were walking with this girl and he was walking the other way, so I peeled off and pretty much told him that we have seen each other so many times we need to meet up. He agreed. :) (Elder Haddock taught him twice on trade-offs while I was gone. He'd just looked up anti-mormon material and Elder Haddock broke his testimony of the Trinity using John 17).  We had a great lesson with Calie, she is doing super great. She is now in the Book of Mormon so we read a chapter with her and had a great discussion about the pride cycle and repentance! After that I drove down to Lansing with Elder Norton.

Tuesday: It was a fun day personal contacting on Michigan State's campus. We met some really cool people. We had a great discussion about how to be effective in finding. Also, how when offering correction we can't just tell people to stop doing something, we need to help them know what to change. You can't replace something with nothing. We spent some time in the mission office talking with President Jacobsen. We got to teach a recent convert and then we drove to MT.P to trade back. Elder Haddock and I then taught Keith, which was a lot of fun,and also got to see Melvin. He's super funny.

Wednesday: We had district meeting in Caro. We reviewed our training with Elder Andersen of the second quorum of the Seventy. It was really good. We went to a buffet for lunch and that was bad news because I ate way too much. I went with Elder Johnson to Bad Axe (The Thumb). We spent our day door knocking in Harbor Beach and I got to see my first lighthouse during 16 months so far in Michigan, it was pretty sweet. We then went out with the Elders Quorum pres. It was pretty good. I love being with Elder Johnson. We get along really well.

Thursday: I ate way too much for lunch today, so I felt super sick but once we got out and were working it was all good. :) A cool experience from today was when the mailwoman walked past us on the street. I wanted to talk to her but was apprehensive. So I just said hi but as she was walking away the Spirit reproved me and told me I had to talk to her, so I mustered up my courage and put my faith in the Lord and started walking after her. We ended up having a great conversation and getting her info! I love the Gift of the Holy Ghost! Elder Haddock came and got me and we drove to Saginaw and I picked up Elder Stewart and we headed back to MT.P.

Friday: Today we did quite a bit of finding on campus which was really fun. I love getting to talk to college students. We got to teach a lesson to Gareth Elder, we had dropped him, but we Facebook messaged him and were able to meet up again after over a month, so that was a huge miracle! :) It went really well. We had Nate Byrd with us and he is super solid then at night we traded back.

Saturday: Lots of General Conference! It was so great to be able to be instructed by the Lord's chosen servants, I loved it. It was also really cool to be able to see the three new apostles who have been called. They will all be amazing in their calling. We had a little hot dog grill out before Priesthood session which was fun. I loved Elder Andersen's talk on faith, it was probably my favorite.

Sunday: Today we had breakfast at the Hammer's with the YSA's and watched the morning session of conference there. We had call-ins, watched more conference, and then more call-ins. It was a great Sunday. :)

I've been contemplating a lot about faith this past week and how I can come to the point where I can surrender my will to God's. I realize that it is a lifetime pursuit, that hopefully we all are on. As I watched conference, I really tried to look for how I can trust in the Lord in all that I do and especially in His timing with how things transpire in our lives. I loved Elder Andersen's talk for that reason. A few quotes from his talk, "Faith does not fall upon us by chance nor stay with us by birthright. … The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice.
How we live our lives increases or diminishes our faith.… There is an adversary who delights in destroying our faith! Be relentless in protecting your faith."
By living righteously we can increase our faith and our trust in the Lord. Faith is nothing more than personal righteousness. Keep the Commandments, that is what President Monson taught in this past conference and that is the key to a happy life and eternal joy.

I love my mission. This is the Lord's work, it must be done in his way!

Elder Chalmers

The lighthouse

Gotta love doing call-ins!

SEPT. 26, 2015
This past week has been awesome! I love my new companion, Elder Haddock. He is from Grantsville, UT originally and is an awesome missionary, as good as they come! We had an awesome week working on campus at CMU. We were blessed with perfect weather and amazing experiences in finding and teaching. We spent pretty much all of our time on campus. We've slowly made the transition to spending as much time on campus as we can. The Lord really prepared us for this, right before school started, and at the beginning of the semester, a lot of our investigators started to lose interest and we weren't finding as many people to teach as we would have liked to, but we know that he was freeing up our schedule so that we could focus out time and attention on the young adult students on campus at CMU.

Elder Elmer left on Monday. He was packing until the last minute, but it was all successful. We got to experience a peanut butter creme filled long john from Robaire's together on his last day, a fitting way to end our companionship. I'm really grateful for all that I was able to learn from serving with him. He really helped me to be better at being organized and how to be a Christlike leader. He set a great and mature example for what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and I'm grateful to him for that. He is opening an area that was previously shutdown and he will do awesome things.

I was a little nervous to be serving with Elder Haddock. I came out with him and really didn't know him very well. We've had very few and brief interactions during our missions and I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, as I said, he is awesome. We get along really well. He goes running with me in the morning and we work well together. We are going to do great things together.

We had some amazing lessons this past week. Let me start with telling you about Sylvia. Elder Elmer and I found her on campus. She was the one whose number we thought that we hadn't written down the last 4 digits of, so we chased her down and it turned out we did write it down. So, our first lesson with her was great, the Spirit was really strong and whenever we would ask her if she felt the Spirit, she would get a big smile on her face and say, "yes." We taught her how she could have that feeling with her always if she gets baptized and we set a day for November 7th! She is super shy and quiet, but so nice, and also prepared! So that was with Elder Elmer. Elder Haddock and I taught her on Tuesday. The lesson was great. We taught her the Restoration and it all made sense to her. She even said that November 7th felt like the "perfect day" to be baptized! We invited her to church and she said that she had already decided to come with her friend Josh who met with the missionaries last year. We again taught her on Thursday and the Spirit was super strong. We taught her about covenants and read 1 Nephi 2 with her, since she had read chapter 1. She really liked 1 Nephi 2:16 where Nephi did "cry" unto the Lord. We taught about prayer and invited her to pray about the Book of Mormon. She said she already had and believes it is true! WOW! She attended a YSA activity in Midland yesterday and we're expecting her at church on Sunday! We also had some other great lessons with some awesome people. We are really focusing on teaching people about covenants to give them something tangible to associate with the gospel and so far we've found a lot of success with it.

Elder Haddock is the best teacher I've ever seen! It's so great to get to be his companion and teach with him. He is great at using the scriptures and teaching to people's needs. The Spirit is always so strong whenever he speaks. I look forward to learning a lot from him in our time together! Again, I love being his companion.

I got to go on a companion exchange with Elder Reese. He's from Logan, UT. He is really new and is the man. He is so full of energy and we had a blast on our exchange. We have pretty much the same interests in everything and we only spent a day together and I want to be his best friend. :) The new missionaries coming out are so prepared! It's truly amazing to see the work is going to keep moving forward. “The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; … the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

This is the Lord's work and the only way to do it is His way. I've been studying Helman 11 for the past month of so. It's a great example of how sin can lead to addiction. The end of the chapter (verse 24 to the end) talks about how the Gadianton Robbers return. It all begins slowly and then they begin to take over and cause havoc. We learn the moral of the story in verse 34, "Now this great evil, which came unto the people because of their iniquity, did stir them up again in remembrance of the Lord their God." The people did not rely on the strength of the Lord to destroy the Gadianton Robbers, but only their own. It was insufficient. In our lives, the strength that each of us personally has is insufficient to conquer the "Gadianton Robbers" or the natural man tendencies in our own lives. But if we rely on the Lord, is we rely on His strength, we can through our obedience and faith overcome any obstacle. Again, it's only in the Lord's way. Faith is nothing more than personal righteousness. No matter what, never lose hope, you are a child of God and he will help you!

Elder Chalmers

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