First: happy late birthday to the most beautiful sparkling brilliant woman on the planet, My mom !!!! :):):)
Second: happy late anniversary to the most fantastic wonderful parents, my Mom and Dad!!! :):) woo hoo!
It's currently Sunday evening and it's stake priesthood meeting. The speaker currently talking is a young elder about to embark in the service of God and serve in Brazil, he leaves on September 16, the nostalgia is overwhelming. I can remember back when I first became an elder, how different things were, and once I'd received my endowment, how even weirder things became. But here we are like two years later, everything changes and now it just all feels like memories. I would guess that's how testimonies grow, and visions are made.
In this letter I'd like to actually address the importance of testimonies, seeing that I'm writing as I'm listening and feel the spirit in a much different way. So hopefully I can relate back to you good things here and from this week. Before coming here tonight to the meeting we were just at a lesson with Corey. We hadn't been able to see him since Monday evening, he's so much like family cause after so long we really get to miss him and become anxious to know what's up and how his life is going. But we saw him tonight, and told us in joy and after much searching he was able to get a job Friday. He starts work tomorrow.
He was so happy and so grateful towards us even. The lesson was great, and since a month ago his testimony surely has increased. How? Well it beats me, but I'll try to explain it best I can, again this is focused on testimonies. Corey didn't always trust in God, he didn't always believe he existed, or why he would let bad things happen to good people. He like many just couldn't and didn't see why God would do the things he did, Corey didn't want to believe it. I question even now what Corey did to change the slots in the universe so they would work for him?
Thinking about it it wasn't us. I'll play that humble card, cause It wasn't me, it wasn't elder Gottfredson, or any missionary. We didn't force him, we were definitely encouraging and maybe pushy, elder Gottfredson can be pushy- but that's good!! All we really did was invite Corey to try different things he never really did like praying, like reading scriptures, like coming to a church he'd never been to before. We helped him feel comfortable and understand why we should do these things, yet still it wasn't us. I feel like Corey's miracle of moving out of darkness and into daylight was made because (1) Corey chose to move into the light, he understood the whole "ask seek and find" and as in James 1:22 says "be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." Corey acted and thus received his answer, and then (2) being supportive and loving, never overbearing, Heavenly Father always reaches out to his children that are in need so don't go against Him.
To not make this about me, but then again this is my letter, not only did Corey's actions affect him, but they also had an effect on several individuals. Tonight that includes three others; me, Gotti, and Bro Bradford. I realize now, that Corey was a missionary to us. And in turn, essentially God reached out to even to Elder Black through Corey. It's times like these that make all the work and effort worth it.
We can all be influences, and again, testimonies can be made.
You know this whole week has been a testimony builder, I'm still learning and I'm still growing. Gods still there. Is that happening for you? There's definitely a reason why I'm still out, what last bits of information, experience, and memory I need before home comes.
We had a great exchanges with missionaries, I was with Elder Asay in Gainesville, what a hilarious missionary, quite goofy and super good guy. Had some good teaching appointments, and miracles finding new individuals. We also had an exchange and I was with Elder Croasdale, we reminisced our days on the mission, he's been out 14 months but we both served in Cornelia, we had a good lesson with Kate who is doing fine as well as a new Mormon. All of these things have brought just peace to me!
To also include last week we also had a zone training, we went to the wildlife preserve with missionaries last Pday, and also had good teaching appointments with a guy named Deyshawn, he is working to get baptized in mid September, Jose who we are working hard to try to meet, he has a new schedule and is super busy now, and then Bro Landers in a part member family. All increasing their faith as I'm increasing mine.
So many things so little time. Yet again, our Heavenly Father knows when and where we stand in need of things, if we let him guide us we will find the way.
It's now after the priesthood meeting, I seem to even be guided and able to see old friends from the Flowery Branch Ward; Mitchell Dunham and his Dad, Levi Magnusson, Bro Iorg, Bishop Shaw. It was actually kinda hilarious when Bishop Shaw (old bishop) met Bishop Nelson (new bishop), I'd never had bishops fight over me... again too much nostalgia. But again, God's increased my testimony. Reminds me as well, earlier at church today I ran into Brittany Maggeret who was attending Mountain Park a year ago. She's good, not married. Crazy.
To conclude, hopefully I was able to help, hopefully y'all didn't fall asleep at the monitor. Perhaps it may be of no relevance for you, but always our testimonies can be strengthened everyday.. It takes action though, it takes a leap of faith. You know one thing i heard today, a quote a priest shared, "It may not be the best two years of your life, but it's definitely the best two years for your life."
For me it feels like it goes both ways, cause truth be told there's definitely days on this mission that make me not only want to only go home or better yet crawl back into bed, but even just takes things slower. Sometimes things aren't exciting. But there's still no place I'd rather be than here now. And sometimes i gotta really just tell myself that even when I'm not feeling it, that's something Gotti really teaches me. Just do it.
Prayers, scriptures, church, and I'd add positive creative outlooks.
All help to strengthen us. But in the end it really is the atonement of Jesus Christ that enables us to improve, grow, and change from one state of mind to the next. Hopefully the highest. I really appreciate all that have helped in the pursuit and course of life that I'm on, to all my family, to my friends, to my peers and members in the south thank you. And again I hope I can give back to you what I can in words for now.
This church is true though that I know, the infinite love and mercy through Jesus Christ and his atonement is real too, this has been the best two years of my life and for it and this is my testimony that I share in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!
Stay safe this week, enjoy school or summer!