Thursday, April 10, 2008

From Elder BJ Bernards, dated April 7, 2008

Dear Family,

I had a great week this week.

We were able to teach Shannon like two or three times with members. We set her a date for baptism and she is going for it! She has been reading and praying and completely open for anything we give to her. Last time we taught her we committed her to obey the Word of Wisdom. She has been smoking since she was 14 years old and she is 34 now and has only quit for nine months when she had her babies.

She came to a session of General Conference and liked it and was able to connect well with a couple of sermons.

I loved Conference and was able to connect with a couple of sermons too. I loved the one about testimony and how we gain it in the bearing of it. I also loved the one by Jeffery R. Holland about Revelation. Basically, we got to use those things in talking to people that same night! Tons of people [throw] that out against us, but what the funny thing [it]is that people are soooo lazy these days they don't even need to read or understand the Bible, but just let the [pastors] or priests tell them what to believe and they'll stick to that regardless of what the Bible says. It's kind of like the situation in the dark ages with dominating churches that ruled with a tyrannical fist, but this time people are willingly letting themselves drift with out fighting back or choosing to be enlightened. They are content with beer, beef, and cheep cable TV. MMMM BEEF

We got to do a service project for a nice lady who was sooo amazed and grateful that we would help her so much for nothing, so she loaded us up with Omaha Steaks. MMMMMM Beef! We turned her over to the Sisters in her area and hope and pray for the best to happen. I am confident that it will since she told us that she was so moved and touched by what happened and when she told us, we felt the Spirit confirm to us and her that God loves her soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much and [she] wants to feel loved and supported and to do the right thing. She told allll of her friends that worked at Omaha Steak about us and we were able to rub shoulders with them (literally) as we moved her large and heavy furniture up three flights of stairs.

Speaking of moving, we were also able to help some members of the ward move houses this week too. They had my comp and I clear out their huge freezers that were packed with beef MMMMM Beeeeefff! and we soooo tenderly maneuvered it up the tiny narrow stairways without scraping the walls. It was a miracle.

This upcoming week I get the awesome opportunity to meet [Elder] Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy and hear him teach at Zone Conference. I am soooo stoked! He is one of my favorites! Boo ya ka sha! The Church is true!

I love my comp. He is Elder Sperry and like a brother to me. We get along great and work hard together.

We made a goal last night that we were going to find a new investigator and we focused on that all day long and worked really hard amidst the slammed doors and angry people. Towards the end of the night, the sun was set, the cold northern wind howling, I asked my companion a redundant question but one also directed to myself, " Are we going to find a new investigator?" We felt the Spirit. We had just told the members who fed us that we were going to and felt confident then as we said a prayer with them that we were.

I strengthened my resolve and knocked on the next door. We found a man who was nice and receptive, since it was the night time we didn't ask to come in but taught him on his door step of Joseph Smith and Our Lord Jesus Christ. We testified of the Book of Mormon being scripture and the wonder and miracle of its emergence. He felt the Spirit and committed to read and pray and have us come back with his member neighbor who turned out to live two doors down!

As we walked away I was screaming and yelling in triumph and my comp shooshed me in fear that our new friend might have heard me.

I didn't care. I love the Gospel. I love missionary work. I am stoked that I get to go out tonight and teach more of the people I love so much. I love them because I feel how much Jesus loves me, and I love them because I feel the tremendous blessings only the restored Gospel can bring. I love them because I have a duty to them, to teach with all my heart, might, mind and strength.

I hope to be worthy and stand before God and account before Him what I have done with His time and His resources and His talents He has given to me.

I invite all of you to exercise all of your faith and have the Lord lead you to His Children that He has prepared for you, and the ones He has prepared you for. I testify that all of us are needed in these last days. The Brethren and leaders of the church have given direction. We are to double convert baptisms. Be bold and study Preach My Gospel. No other manual that I know has soo many true points of missionary doctrine that if applied will generate success. It is inspired and divine in its scope and direction. It will guide you in your missionary efforts as it has mine.

This Tuesday, I am going on an exchange with Elder Parks who is from American Fork. I actually was in the same marching band with him back when I was in 9th grade. He has older bro's and sis' so maybe you know them. Anyway. It turns out that Dad's cousin lives in his area and we are going Tuesday to talk to them. I am going to call them tonight and see if we could set up a time with them. I am soo stoked. The ward they are in is one of the best wards in Omaha and on fire with missionary work. I am happy to see them any way to meet more of my family.

Cool story Hansel.

I love you all.

Stay safe and read your scriptures!

Love Elder Bernards

Missionaries' Advocate

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated April 9, 2008

Dear Family,

This past weekend was probably the best conference I've been to, just like President Monson said. Our Stake center was filled with missionaries for all the sessions. The most popular talks among us were, of course, Elder Bednar and Elder Holland. The missionaries all but stood up and cheered to hear those things come over the conference pulpit. When Elder Bednar spoke of how every member should be focused on finding people for the missionaries to teach, there were a lot of excited missionaries.

After a few fist pumps of my own, it struck me how much more pressure that really puts on us as missionaries. Especially, when the members go through so much effort to find, they are going to want results from the missionaries. Of course we are equipped with everything we need to teach the basics of the restored gospel, and we are better trained in following the Spirit than past generations, but that doesn't mean every single person the members find are waiting to get wet. But for now, we don't have much to worry about. For the past month we've had but one member referral.

We finally gave up all of the people we are teaching in Hipseria and Victorville to the English elders. They've got all the teaching appointments from here on out, and will end up leading all of them into the waters of baptism. Of course, I'm most grateful for the opportunity we had to find them and get them progressing, but now it feels like we're back to square one: a thimble-size teaching pool and a finding pool of people who have already made up their mind to not listen to the missionaries.

To top all that off, we updated our report on all the Samoan people up in Hisperia and Victorville. This time we included more background and the needs these people are facing. The idea is to get the leadership in all the English units to jump on all these problems and help these people out. I hope I fed enough information into the report to catch the eye of Stake presidents and bishops. With the change in our area, our workload has doubled and doesn't give us time to face these other problems that are such a far distance off. These Samoan people have been neglected for far too long and somebody needs to do something about it are they'll all go astray. It needs to be taken care of one way or the other. If the English units can't do it, they will need a unit of their own.

Other than that, not much is changing. We got to go to the temple this morning, and had a wonderful experience. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. Know that the Lord's hand is in all things.


Elder Freeman