Monday, October 19, 2015

We did it! Or I guess...she did it!‏

 October 12, 2015

Good morning!

It's been an awesome week serving the Lord. We had a lot of great successes this week and I really enjoyed being part of the teaching of so many of Heavenly Father's children. I have found that most of my joy as a missionary comes from teaching a powerful lessons to investigators and just seeing the Spirit fill the room as their faces shine with excitement and with the love of God.

We were able to experience that this week with a couple of investigators. The first is N. I've kept y'all well informed about her progression toward baptism. A few weeks ago she accepted a baptismal date and began preparing herself spiritually for that day. This past week we were able to complete the teaching process (for now) with her to be baptized. She's been super motivated, keeping commitments, and "one hundred percent" as she says. So we taught her a couple of lessons, set up a baptismal interview, and she PASSED with flying colors! I was able to sit in there during the interview to translate and she just blew me away. Elder Brown, the zone leader who was interviewing, thought I was faking the translation to him her answers were so good! She's definitely done her part in learning and studying the doctrine of the restored Gospel. So she will be baptized this Friday at 7 pm. I would love to see you all there! 

The next one is L. He's the 18 year old. We had a great lesson with him about the Sabbath day and he seems motivated to keep it. We went to his house and he had watched some general conference talks on his own. I guess he just liked conference that much (or felt the Spirit) so he made the effort to watch some more. We plan to visit him tonight and start a fast for him to be able to make it to church next Sunday. He's really progressed these past couple months and I can see him being a great member. We just need to remember to pray and give him spiritual experiences.

We've also been meeting with M, our Jehovah's Witness friend. Lessons with him require a lot of patience just due to the nature of the situation. He's a missionary, and we're missionaries, so naturally we all just want to talk. The important part is that we make it a discussion, not him just reading out of his little books. We've gotten into a lot of good discussion about why their doctrine isn't correct and who God really is and it's opened my eyes to just how true the church is. I understand pretty well the JW doctrine (having studied it a little bit) and it just doesn't make sense at all. It's almost tragic how much it takes away from our potential as children of God. They claim that we don't have spirits, didn't exist before this life, cease to exist after we die until the resurrection, and that the purpose of God is to have us all living happily on a paradisaical earth forever and ever. Allow me to expound upon our doctrine a little bit.

We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father. We lived with Him before this life as spirits. We loved and honored our Heavenly Father and wanted to experience a fullness of joy just as He did. In order for us to do this, God presented a beautiful plan. In this Plan we would come down to Earth, obtain a physical body, make choices and experience trials and hardships, but also experience joy and happiness. God also knew that because we would be given the ability to make choices that we would make decisions that were not in harmony with His teachings. In other words, we would sin. He knew this from the beginning, so He provided for us a Savior, who would enable us to overcome the consequences of sin and overcome the world with would live in. Through our obedience and through accessing the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we would one day be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven with a fullness of joy, having gained experience enough to truly understand the meaning of happiness.

Doesn't that sound pretty good? We have a divine potential and it comes through our obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. Part of the Great Apostasy was the removal of these plain and precious truths, which in turn, limits people's potential. Even just the simple knowledge that we are children of God and that we lived with Him before this life opens our eyes to the possibilities of our existence. Without it, we cannot even begin to comprehend who we really are and why God put us here. He just wants us to be HAPPY. We have to be here so that we can one day be eternally happy. That's it.

So now that I'm done rambling, just remember how blessed you are to have the restored Gospel in your life. Remember that because of it, you know where you came from, why you're here, and where you are going. That's a priceless blessing. I'm just hoping that we can help Monty see his true potential as a child of God. I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Thanks for listening.

-Elder Landon Carroll

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tell me what kind of man would I be, living a life without any meaning...‏

 October 5, 2015

So....if I remember correctly, this was a great week! Time continues to speed up as I approach the end of my mission. In the beginning of my mission, the days were like weeks and the weeks were like days, but now it's just "everything is like an hour." Needless to say, I still have a lot of work to do.

We have a baptism coming up on the 17th for N, and I am fully confident that will go through. Our job at this point is to teach her everything she needs to know and make sure she is on the path to LASTING conversion. The last thing I want is to baptize a less active. She says that she is 100 percent and I can see that light in her eyes. She's just happy! When I got here, she was kind of "bah humbug" about everything, but she truly has gone through a change as she's learned about restored truths that have calmed fears that she has held on to for years. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here to bring her into the fold.

We also had a lot of success with our other baptismal date L. He's progressing nicely. We got a member over to visit him and it went really well. We continue to promise blessings and ask him how he feels and he always says things like "if those blessings are really there for me, I want them. I know that baptism will be a good thing and will only bring good into my life." I hope that we can continue to help him progress toward his date. We've been trying to get him to church, but he has not made it yet. I think this weekend could be it. We just need to fast and pray a little more.

OTHER L is doing well. He's the 18 year old who's been investigating for a while now. We finally got him to church! Well, conference. But for what it's worth, he really enjoyed it. He really liked what the Apostles said and even found some things to apply in his life. We plan to fast this week with him so he can come to "real" church on Sunday. I think he's starting to get a little excited about the Gospel and I'm almost positive he has a testimony now. I really hope that he can continue to follow the Spirit so that he can make sacred covenants with the Lord and receive life-changing blessings. 

Conference was very enlightening. I always enjoy listening to the words of the prophet and apostles. As some of you know, conference is like Christmas for missionaries, so we really enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed D. Todd Christofferson's talk about the need for the church. I've met so many people on my mission who look at the message of the Restoration and say "the church doesn't matter. It's not the church that saves us, it's Christ." Or "we are all part of the church of Christ. Anyone who believes in Him is part of that church." Or "we don't need apostles anymore. They left their message and now it's our job to study their words." We don't need apostles? We need apostles simply because us "Christians" are not unified under one body! We believe in different things! God called the apostles to proclaim truth, correct error, and administer the ordinances of the Gospel. The church has those same purposes: 1) Proclaim truth 2) Administer the ordinances 3) and keep us under one head, that is Christ. If we all believe different things, we cannot succeed. I liked one thing that Elder Christofferson also said. He talked about people who don't join a church because "spirituality is something personal and can simply be done in the home." His response? There are things that God cannot and will not accomplish unless we are all together to carry out His purposes. Look how he mobilizes the members and missionaries to spread the Gospel! He needs everyone working together. It's our job to be part of the work.

Sorry for the rambling. I just get excited sometimes. Some other things that stood out to me were the age of President Monson, the sustaining of three new apostles, and the testimonies of the Atonement and sincere conviction of the apostles. President Monson looked a little tired this session. In his talk yesterday morning he was struggling to stay standing. I'm sure we were all praying for him as he delivered his powerful witness of the Savior and of following his teachings. I'm grateful for his service and I hope that we can all continue to keep him in our prayers so that he can finish his earthly mission with health and happiness. I'm grateful for the sustaining of the three new apostles, Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson, and Elder Runland. The only one I really know of is Elder Rasband, so it'll be nice getting to know the other two through the years. I love the apostles and I'm grateful for the words they share and the revelations they receive. They are commissioned by the Lord and hold the charge to carry the Gospel to the world. It's our duty and privilege to follow their counsel and learn from their examples. For a long time, President Packer has been dear to my heart. I've always loved his words and his witness of the Savior and the Atonement. In my heart, he was truly a witness of the divinity of the Plan of Salvation and of the reality of the Atonement of the Savior. All of the apostles share the same calling, and we need to be sure to heed their words so that we can experience the blessings of eternity.

There I am rambling again. I tend to do that a lot. Well....I better wrap this puppy up. It's been a good week and I have been uplifted spiritually. I hope that you all were as well. Please continue to keep me in your prayers as we strive to find the elect and bring them home.


Elder Landon Carroll