Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Fourth Watch

Alright I am just going to be honest with you. I type really slow and we do not have that much time so I am going to share an incredible miracle that we had this weekend!

Saturday night, we had a our 8-o'clock appointment fall through and the Conroe 1st Elders called us right then. They asked us where we were because they wanted to come check our apartment for their mileage logbook for their car. We have to track our mileage in our cars everyday, and we all keep the credit card in there for fuel. They needed to get gas because they were on empty and they didn't want to get gas on Sunday. They thought it might be at our apartment because they come over a lot. We searched our entire apartment high and low and it was nowhere to be found. We then went out to their car to help them look. Their car was a mess; most missionaries cars are (except ours). So we took everything out and completely searched everywhere and it was nowhere to be found. I said, "Have you guys said a prayer?" They said they had.  I felt like we needed to pray again, but I didn't want them to think I thought their prayer wasn't sufficient or something, so I didn't say anything. It was right then that Elder Elsberry was like, "Lets just say another prayer. It is not going to hurt anything!" I was thinking to myself, "YES!" 

After the prayer we searched all of the boxes in the car and still nothing! They left to go look in their apartment and as they drove away I said to Elder Myers, "Should we just go help them look?" He was fine with it so we called them and they said, "Yes, come."  We followed them over and took everything out of the car into their apartment. It was nowhere to be found. We stopped searching for a bit and were just talking and then I was like, "I am searching this apartment."  I don't give up without putting up a fight. Never. In most cases that does more harm than good, but this time it had a good turn out. I searched their apartment like a German Shepherd searching for paraphernalia! I did not find it anywhere. Finally I was like, "Okay, I am going to the car to look again."  Elder Myers came with me and I felt like checking the glove box again, so I did. I emptied it and nothing was in there. Right then I felt prompted to take the glove box out of the car. Most people don"t know this, but in most cars the glove box comes out really easily. You just disconnect it and pops it right out. I removed the glove box, and there was the logbook jammed into the dash. I grabbed it and showed Elder Myers and he was like, "Way to go Elder DeLuca!" 

Being the goof I am, I tucked the logbook in my belt behind my back like I was packin' some heat and then we walked back in and I was like, "Sorry guys.  We couldn't find it, but we have to go."  I asked them how much they loved me.  Then I asked them to turn around and then I pulled it out and I was just smiling waiting for them to turn around and see the logbook. It was pretty cool. They were shocked! They were like, "What did you do!?!?!"  They had been searching for this for days. 

There is a talk by S. Michael Wilcox titled "The Fourth Watch." I would encourage you all to watch or listen to it. This is a real principle. The Lord does not come right out when it gets tough. He comes after the trial of our faith. If we would had given up when we were searching at our apartment they would have never found it. If we would have given up at their apartment, they would have never found it. That prompting to remove the glove box wouldn't have come to me if I didn't listen to the first prompting to go back to the car even though we searched it thoroughly 2 or 3 times. It was neat for me to see the Lord working through all of us that night. The Lord is with His missionaries. I know that. May we all listen to the still small voice of the Spirit of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.  

I bought a couple of hats this week. These type of hats look good on bald guys, so I got a couple. Stihl is the best chainsaw ever made! 

Here is my companion when we were changing the oil in a silly John Deere. They shoulda bought a CAT! 

​"Well she ain't into cars or pickup trucks, but if it runs like a Deere, man her eyes light uuuupp..." I loved changing the oil in this tractor. I miss wrenching on my car and dirt bike! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fasting and My Calling

Alright, well we had another great week. Last Sunday, we were both fasting to find a new family to teach and guess what? We found one this week. I cannot stress the power that comes from fasting. I know this is a true principle and, because of that, I fast very frequently. I like food, but I love the miracles that the Lord pours out upon us as we are faithful and pay a generous fast offering. Some people have forgotten the true order of a proper fast. 1. Always start with a prayer. If not, you are just starving yourself; 2. Skip two consecutive meals or go 24 hours without food or drink; and 3. Always pay a generous fast offering. If we do these things we are promised that the Lord will "Open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Malachi 3:10. I am aware that this is applying to the law of the tithe, but if you look closely in verse 8 it is talking about tithes AND offerings. These are not just temporal blessings, but rather spiritual as well.  In my opinion, the spiritual outweighs the temporal. If we understood this, we would be crazy not to fast.

This past Tuesday, it was getting late but we still had like 10 minutes before it was 9 so we were like, "Let's go by someone." We scanned the new member list and went by the Smiths. For some reason, their name really stood out as I scanned down the list. This was odd because she was the head of the household on the paper, meaning there most likely was not a male there. We were just going by to introduce ourselves and say hi. We weren't planning on going in. Sister Smith answered the door and was like, "Hey Elders! Come in!" We asked if a male was there and she opened the door up a little more and there her husband Mark stood. We came in and talked for a few minutes and then asked if we could come back the next day. They said yes! 

Wednesday, after dinner with the Beans, my boy Lofton and I went back over there and Elder Myers went to see the Saenz family with Brother Douglas. We went in and came to find out that Mark was a non-member and none of her children were baptized. She has three children and they are awesome. We taught about the Book of Mormon and the importance of this holy book of scripture. The lesson went well and we scheduled a return appointment for Friday. When we came back, they hadn't read and I literally wanted to cry. We were planning to teach the Restoration, but we didn't dare teach if they hadn't read. We told them what our plan was, "but that because you haven't read, we are not going to share that message and we will read with you today instead." Yes, I am that bold. I don't mess around anymore. People need to know how serious this really is. When we read, ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon we know that this really is the Lord's church and can then be baptized by proper priesthood authority and be liberated from our sins. Page 2 of Preach My Gospel states, "You are called to represent Jesus Christ in helping people become clean from their sins." I am just now realizing how sacred my calling is. I am just now becoming a good teacher. I am just now having the best studies of my entire life. I am just now starting to understand how the Spirit works. The Lord does something to us. Right when we are feeling like we got it down, it's almost time to go home. My Mamma was quick to let me know that she received a call from our mission office in regards to my return home and my flight information. Oh my gosh. Don't even talk to me about that! I still have so much to do. I made a commitment last night to have 5 more baptisms before I go home. I will achieve it or die trying! 

Some people are just not prepared right now and that is okay. I am here to find the elect. For example, Horace from Tomball drove ALL the way out here to Conroe to take us to lunch this past week and I did literally everything in my power to set a baptismal date with him and he would not budge. I literally debunked all of his concerns and he just would not set a baptismal date. It is a real thing when Nephi said, "There are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught." 2 Nephi 33:2. I didn't even eat my lunch because I was talking the entire time and going to different scriptures. I had to get a to-go box because everyone was done eating and I hadn't even touched my food. That's another thing. Food is good, but the gospel is the best. I was running a little late to one of my studies this past week, so I hurried and showered and got dressed and skipped breakfast because I didn't want to be late to my studies. Those of you that know me well, you know how I like my food. There is always a good, better, and a best. The gospel is always the best. Period! 

Sundays are the best. That is where the rubber meets the road or in more spiritual terms, that is where everything that we do as missionaries comes together. Last Sunday, we had zero investigators in sacrament meeting and this week we had four. That is a huge improvement. Raj came and stayed all three hours. He is the 11 year old that only likes to stay for Sacrament. I may or may not have bought him a Reese's candy bar if he stayed the whole time. Let's focus on what matters more. HE STAYED!! :) The Smiths came as well and they too stayed for all of church and then we went to the temple ground tours that night with them. 

You guys, the Lord is blessing us so much and I always wonder why He does this to me. Why does He let me be a part in this? I stand all amazed as Elder Rasband would say. Just this morning I contacted a referral Brother Martinez gave us last night and I talked to her old landlord and he told me that he was thinking about joining your church. Are you kidding me!?! Investigators are popping up like a bunch of hermit crabs. The Lord is just dropping them into our hands. We are going over there tonight to at least meet him, but I'm gonna talk about the Book of Mormon too. :) My testimony of the Book of Mormon is so strong. I could literally go on and on about how this book has literally changed my life. I wish you could join our companionship studies and I could share the insight that comes to me each and every day. I have a mini composition book that I keep with me when I study. It is called Elder DeLuca's Book of Revelation. There is so much in the Book of Mormon. I absolutely love it! If anyone claims to have read, pondered and prayed about the Book of Mormon and says that it is not true, I'd love to talk to them. There is absolutely no way this book was made up by one who had an inferior 3rd grade level education. People have tried to prove that this book if false for over 180 years, and it still stands today. I know that this is a holy scripture just as the Bible is. I love the Bible and I know that it is the word of God. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God as well and they, together, open our minds and in lies the fullness of the gospel. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

There were two cameras, but I was looking at mine! This is the Smiths at the temple!! 

Here is Horace when we had lunch! I did my best! 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Service and General Conference

This past Tuesday, we had mission leadership council (MLC) so I went with Elder Mikesell down to the TC Jester building. We were there from 8:30 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon and I still wonder why I lose so much hair. Keeping Elder DeLuca focused for 7 hours can be a challenge, but President Mortensen seems to do very well every time. He is called by God and I know that. I know that he is one of the reasons why I was called to the Texas Houston Mission. It was here at this meeting that we received the training that we were to take and teach to our zones on Friday. When I dropped Elder Myers off to stay with Elder Mikesell's companion, Elder Elsberry, I felt like I was a daddy dropping off my child for their first day of school. It was sad for me to leave him for that long, but good that he was able to be with Elder Elsberry. Plus he probably wanted a break from me. ;) 

Wednesday, we went to help Brother Stringer cut down some trees, but this time I was cutting. Back home, Jim would cut and then just yell at me to run when it started to fall! Haha!! I always wanted to run the chainsaw, but he never let me. Now I know why. It is so dangerous! Holy cow....I never realized how hard it was and how scary it can be! This leads me to my next topic, "Don't be so quick to judge the barrier, it is the only thing keeping you from being devoured by the sharks" or, in this case, the chainsaw. 

Yesterday morning, in my prayer before my personal study I asked Heavenly Father to help prepare me for this last session of General Conference. Earlier in the week, we saw Brother Ure from Tomball. He was up here running errands for a member so we went and talked to him for a little. He told us about a talk called "The Challenge to Become" by Dallin H. Oaks in October of 2000. I had forgotten about this talk, but yesterday after I prayed, I had a strong impression to go back and read it. After a few minutes of searching for it, I found it and read it. I marked it all up and shared what I learned in our companion study as well as what I learned in the talk "Fatherhood - Our Eternal Destiny" by Larry M. Gibson from this past session in April of this year. I also shared some insight that came as I read the Book of Mormon. Read 1 Nephi 2:16 through 1 Nephi 4:31 with this question in mind: "What does it take to become a man?" Its awesome. 

Anyways, this is the cool part about General Conference for me. Elder Von G. Keetch was the one who was talking about not being quick to judge the barrier. I'm just going to be honest, at first his voice kind of annoyed me and I was listening to him but I wasn't that engaged. Then I heard him make reference to the talk by Dallin H. Oaks in October of 2000 THAT I READ THAT MORNING! I went from sitting slouched back like a congressman who has been in the same seat for hours on end to a little boy on the edge of his seat with his hand raised as high as he can to answer a question in class. It changed everything! It was at this very moment that the Spirit told me, "This was what Heavenly Father was preparing you for this morning in your study." How cool is that!? There are few people, if any, that read that talk, "The Challenge to Become," yesterday morning and had the experience that I did. It amazes me how the Spirit works, and I am now just beginning to understand how it does.  

Heavenly Father knows each of individually. He knows our potential and He sees things in us that we cannot always see. The adversary is well aware of this and he and his followers will do all that they can to blur the vision which is available to us as we communicate with our Heavenly Father daily and make and keep sacred covenants. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become." How beautiful is that? I know that we are spiritual beings simply wrapped in a physical body and that our potential is endless as we seek to do what our Heavenly Father would have us do. May we all seek His will and keep His commandments, that we may see into the future and see the things that our Father in Heaven has prepared for us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

I had to get a couple cavities filled.. Aww! I was so upset!! I NEVER got cavities back home. That's what 20 months of no dentist will do to you. Oh well, they are fixed but my retainers didn't fit as well so the dentist made me new ones for free! He is a member and he did all of the work for free. What a blessing that is. Don't worry, I got him a salad from Chick-fil-a today because that is worth a couple grand! :) 

​We always forget to take pictures, so all we have are these awkward ones. Hope you enjoy!