Monday, December 21, 2015

New Gators, Last Zone Conference, and the Temple

This past Tuesday, we went tracting and we were sharing the new "A Savior Is Born" video and talked to a guy named Marshall and asked if we could come in and share it with he and his family and he was like, "Yeah come in!" SO sick. His wife's name is Jennifer and they have three daughters. We shared the video and then talked about the Savior's earthly ministry and then set up a return appointment with them for the next day. 

Wednesday, my companions went with Brother Douglas back over to share the restoration lesson with them and Brother Douglas and Marshall hit it off. They were like two peas in a pod. They both do Ironmans and they just clicked. Meanwhile Chris Saenz and I went over to the Kotak's house and we had a lesson with Raj. 

Thursday, I had my last zone conference and I gave my departing testimony. HOLY COW! It's getting real now. I asked the assistants if I could go last because I wanted to throw it down. I talked first about how I have had the privilege of training a new missionary and it has been the coolest experience for me. I said I told Elder Myers just a few weeks ago that the best advice I could give him would be to follow the rules, then I proceeded to talk about the importance of obedience. I then talked about the Book of Mormon and how that book has literally changed my life. I talked about how much I have changed throughout the course of my mission and then shared a couple paragraphs from Christy's email to me this past week. She said;

 "I remember a Sunday, not all that long ago, when a very annoyed young man sat next to me in sacrament meeting.  He definitely did NOT want to be there; he was there because he had to be.  As he sat there, unhappy and frustrated, the organ prelude to the opening song began.  I opened up the hymn book and offered it to the young man.  He said, "You can make me go to church, but you can't make me sing."  Do you know who that young man was?  It was you.....but it wasn't you.  I mean, it was you sitting next to me, but your spirit hadn't yet learned some of the secrets to happiness.

Now, more than 2 years and many spiritual miles later, here you sit, at the jumping-off place to what is certain to be your next great adventure.....the rest of your life!  And, having served the Lord on your mission for almost 2 years now, you have learned so much and changed your heart so completely that you don't even RESEMBLE the young man who sat next to me in church back then and refused to sing.  Now, you know that the secret to a truly happy life is turning our hearts, minds and wills over to Heavenly Father and letting him make of us what He wants us to be.  The truth is that He can make us into far better people than we ever would have the ability to become by following our own desires and impulses.  He loves us so much that He gave us His Only Begotten Son to make it possible for us to change and become the amazing creatures He wants us to be.  Jesus Christ and His gospel are honestly the only ways to true and lasting happiness and joy in this life and the next. You have learned that for yourself and it's been quite a journey from where you were then to where you are now.  Just think of where you'll be 10 years from now!  As you continue living "after the manner of happiness," your potential for true joy is limitless!  The journey you've taken so far makes me so happy.  I am honored beyond words to have witnessed it."

My allergies were really picking up as I read this and it made it really tough to read when my eyes were watering. After that I talked about how I know there are many reasons why I was called to Houston, but I am certain that one of them is because of President Mortensen. I cannot express how much I love my Mission President and his dear family. He has helped me tremendously with becoming something of what I always wanted to become, but more importantly what the Lord would have me become. I have learned much from watching how he and Sister Mortensen treat each other. Obviously, they love each other, but you can tell that they really 'like' being around one another. I talked about the love they have for all of us and how we have much to learn from them. I closed with a verse in Jacob 5:72 and said that the only thing that is keeping us from the presence of the Savior is ourselves. 

Saturday Morning, we went to the temple with the Saenz for their first time doing baptisms for the dead. The Evans came with us and they were the ones who helped the Saenz find family names on family search. It was the coolest experience ever. I can honestly say that being in the temple is my most favorite place in the entire world. That is where lasting peace, joy, and happiness lay. May we all strive to keep the commandments and the covenants that we have made, that we may be able to enter into the Lord's house. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

P.S. Happy Birthday to my little sister, and my biggest fan. I love you, Buddah, and I will be thinking of you this Friday! :) 

Its Christmas time in the city! We are going to get ornaments soon so don't worry. :) 

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