Tuesday, 29 March 2016

March 7, 2016 - Santa Barbara

Hey All!

So, basically this week was a really interesting one. But, it was a really great one, capped off with Stake Conference where a member of the first Quorum of Seventy visited, Elder Cristoffel (?) Golden! He is from South Africa, and basically blew the roof off of the Stake Center!

So, to start off the week, we saw our 9 year old investigator, Abby! She is awesome. We taught the Restoration with her and her two sisters and her mom, and it was a great lesson! And, guess what! She is getting baptized on March 26th! THE LAST SATURDAY OF THE TRANSFER! :) It is going to be awesome! And, she also asked that I baptize her, which is pretty cool! This area has been flourishing for the past four weeks! We went from having one progressing investigator to, as of yesterday, having four progressing! It is amazing to see what the Lord does for us as we try our hardest, even tough we spend a while wading through trials and tribulation! 

So, District Leader life hit hard this week. An Elder in the District (Actually, two of them. But the second one was only sick for a day) got really sick and had to stay in for a couple days, so we spent a couple days with him and a Zone Leader, while their companions went to their appointments! It was nice to go out and care for this missionary, and to be able to try and help him feel the love that his Heavenly Father has for him! But, that happened, and then on Friday we had District Meeting! Only the second one that I have planned, but it went really well! We learned about how finding people to teach improves our teaching skills! It was really spiritual, and I learned a lot! Afterwards, we went and did some service, and I started whacking a bush with a big knife thing, and all of a sudden, a whole bunch of bees swarmed out, and stung the same Elder who was sick, twice! So then we had to go home and be with him and his comp to make sure he didn't have any allergic reaction.. and yeah! Tons of fun!

Saturday, I went on an exchange with Elder Van. He is an awesome missionary, and it was a ton of fun being with him! He has only been out for about two months, and it was neat (and kinda weird) to think about how much has changed for me in six months! I have truly felt a lot of growth in both my testimony and in a lot of temporal skills as well! Mom and Dad will probably be happy to know that I listen a lot better now. And skills like that is something that I am truly grateful to be learning while I am out here!

Okay. So, Stake Conference was crazy awesome. Saturday's session was cool. Elder Golden had about an hour and fifteen minutes to speak, and he went up, opened up for questions, and then spoke about the parable of the ten virgins. Something that he said though really hit me! He gave us an equation about faith. and that is that "Personal Righteousness = Faith." If we want our faith to increase, we need to increase our personal righteousness. If our personal righteousness decreases, so will our faith! It was awesome, because then he talked about the oil in the parable of the ten virgins, and how it symbolizes the companionship of the Holy Ghost! We are all formally invited to the dinner, but it all hinges on how prepared we are, and the companionship of the Holy Ghost prepares us for that dinner! With the Holy Ghost, we are sanctified, that is one of his roles as the Holy Spirit of Promise, and every time we gain the companionship of the Holy Ghost, we are sanctified again and again. The difference between those five virgins who didn't have enough oil and the five who did is the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Elder Golden said that THAT is what is going to make the difference. The righteous members of the church who have the companionship of the Holy Ghost at the time of the Savior's Second Coming will be the ones who are accepted and brought into the dinner! He was an absolute powerhouse, and it was amazing to hear him speak of his experiences. It was also really neat on Sunday to see everyone from Solvang! I was able to say hi to a lot of old friends, and that was really nice! The Stake Patriarch, Bro Millet, who is from Solvang and would feed us every Monday, was released and a new one called! It was interesting to see that happen. I don't think I ever have seen a living Patriarch be released. It brought back a flood of memories about Brother Garside, and it was nice to go back last night and read the blessing he gave me! 

Speaking of last night, we were able to go and teach Don, and I think we had one of the best lessons I have ever had on my mission! Thanks so much Dad for what you said last week about finding Faith in Jesus Christ, and how that is what changes everything, because we decided to have three lessons this week, each one on a separate member of the Godhead. Don didn't know God was real or there, or that Jesus Christ is his Savior. So, last night we taught about the Holy Ghost and how he was going to come to know if God and Jesus Christ are real, and we watched the video "Finding Faith in Christ" (The one where Thomas is basically talking around his dinner table about his experience as an Apostle). We watched intently, and Elder Hunter and I both were praying like crazy that something would pierce Don's heart. After the video was over, we asked how he felt, and he said he had some impressions! So, I asked "Do you believe that God is your Heavenly Father" to which he replied "Yes, I feel so!" And then, through tears, I asked "Do you believe Jesus Christ is your Savior and the Son of God?" and he gave the SAME ANSWER!!! It was insane. We then asked "Having gained this new faith in your Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by one holding the proper priesthood authority?" 3 Minutes. THREE WHOLE MINUTES OF DEAD AIR. It was so awkward. I loved it. BUT. He said he didn't know, and promised to pray about it! It was amazing. After our prayer, everyone was crying and the Spirit was so so so so soooooo strong! I loved it.

Well, I think that's all for the week. Sad to hear Peyton retired. One of the greatest Quarterbacks to ever play, that's for sure! And Mom, my bag is good! I would get something smaller. There is a company who makes missionary bags called "Zion Bags," and they are way smaller and built for missions. I barely use my bag too, I haven't really used it while being out proselyting since my first six weeks, I just prefer to have cards in my shirt pocket and a Book of Mormon in my hand! 

Glad to hear life is going well. Also, Dad, I had a thought. How did you get by in your mission without Preach My Gospel? What did you have to use? I couldn't imagine not having Preach My Gospel to help me out. Just curious!

Hope you all have an amazing week!

Love,

Elder Harvey

PS- This is what happens when you get sick on the mission. Don't ask me why my neck looks weird. I don't know what it thinks it's doing. Elder Davis is the one with the dark shirt. Elder Wickern, one of my Zone Leaders, is the one that looks prego, and Elder Hunter is in the kitchen!




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