Thursday, 7 July 2016

June 27, 2016 - Westlake YSA Ward - Thousand Oaks Zone

#GlorifiedMailMen #"OhShoot.We'reOuttaGasElder"


It's me again. For the 52nd time I think? That's weird. It really is quite something. Time just absolutely flies by. Thanks for all of the birthday wishes! We had a great day. Elder Parkinson made me breakfast, and we went to Ward Council and I got slugged pretty good by Jayson Anderson. That was awesome! He said "your Dad told me to give you 20 good slugs." Loved it! We went to a members house for dinner, and had some AMAZING peanut butter cup ball things. They were awesome. Then, went to a general priesthood meeting with the Newbury Park Stake. It was incredible. Such an amazing meeting! The Stake President there is such a great speaker. Learned a lot about missionary work and I was able to apply what they were trying to teach the Young Men to what I need to do as a missionary! Needless to say, it was a fantastic day! 

So, Mom, it is kind of confusing. So, I am with Elder Parkinson in the Thousand Oaks Stake. Basically, our YSA Ward covers two stakes. Last transfer, Elder Snyder and I were covering two stakes. It was huge. But, with the influx of missionaries we are getting in August, President decided to split the two stakes in half again. So, Elder Snyder is down in Newbury Park Stake with Elder Davis (the one that was in my District while I was in Solvang and Santa Barbara) and I am in the Thousand Oaks Stake. Same Ward, but the areas are split in half now! So I had to move apartments, but I still live with two other Elders now. I will get to that story later though.....

Monday. P-day was great, as always. We went to FHE that night, and it was a talent show. I wish I will send a couple of videos maybe. Some are hilarious, others were jaw-dropping. Just a great night! After we got in, we had to deal with some more transfer details. There were two areas that were made into a "car-share." That's where the two areas share a car. So, one day one companionship will have the car, and the next day the other companionship will have it. Whoever doesn't have the car? Their on bikes! So, we had to flip cars around because the cars in those areas didn't have a hitch to put a bike rack on it. Then, no one has any bike racks. So they will be getting those tomorrow.

Transfer Tuesday. As per custom, our car died over night and so we had a member come and jump us. Luckily, we only lived about a football field away from the checkpoint, so we walked some stuff over there. Transfers are stressful! After we got our car started, we drove my stuff over to my new apartment and found it an ABSOLUTE MESS. I was SO TICKED. The Elders that used to be in that apartment whitewashed out, and I guess just decided to leave it an absolute disaster. I cannot tell you HOW ANNOYING IT WAS. But, Elder Snyder and I cleaned it up, and now it is absolutely spotless. I have gotten pretty good at that on my mission. You can thank Shay Leavitt for that one. I picked up Elder Parkinson, and then we drove missionaries around all day and got everyone in the Zone situated. We have two brand new missionaries in our Zone this transfer, and they are doing great! Elder Bronson is training one of them. I came out with Elder Bronson. And yeah. It was a busy day!

Wednesday wasn't anything super special. Went up to Moorpark College for the first time with Elders DuPlessis and Rosenlof and went contacting. Got some good contacts in there. We met with Allison too. She is almost done the new member lessons! Oh, and we went to institute! Learned a lot about the Book of Mormon. President Manwaring is such an awesome teacher. He is so full of the spirit. He screamed German at us. It was hilarious. I talked with him a little that morning about getting into that kind of business, and he gave me some tips and tricks! It was great. Talked about how much he loved it, not necessarily the highest paying job, but it was the most worthwhile thing he could do. 

Thursday we Weekly Planned. Elder Parkinson ate Balut. I will attach a video of it, it is really funny. We had dinner with Jared, a less-active in the ward. He wouldn't commit to reading his scriptures, but hopefully he can start coming to church more. He works on an ambulance in LA, and usually works nights. So it's no bueno. 

Friday was District Meeting. We had a great meeting on expectations and how we can teach the Restoration more simply! We are in Elder Ruby's District again. He is an amazing District Leader! Had coordination meeting that night with Jacob, our ward mission leader! It's weird serving in the same ward with your former companion. It's like a break up where you see them everyday. It's weird.

Saturday was great. Kinda. All of our appointments fell through pretty much. We met with Ryan and talked about having good friends, and then had dinner with Allison and talked about what it takes to become a better missionary! It was awesome. Worked the pavement! 

And yeah. That's about it! Sunday was great. Thanks again for the package! I didn't get the chance to make the cake, but I will!

So, today is quite a sacred day. Last night, one of the talks was on Joseph Smith. It was powerful as he quoted Doctrine and Covenants 135:

"1 To seal the testimony of this book and the Book of Mormon, we announce the martyrdom of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and Hyrum Smith the Patriarch. They were shot in Carthage jail, on the 27th of June, 1844, about five o’clock p.m., by an armed mob—painted black—of from 150 to 200 persons. Hyrum was shot first and fell calmly,exclaiming: I am a dead man! Joseph leaped from the window, and was shot dead in the attempt, exclaiming: O Lord my God! They were both shot after they were dead, in a brutal manner, and both received four balls.

 2 John Taylor and Willard Richards, two of the Twelve,were the only persons in the room at the time; the former was wounded in a savage manner with four balls, but has since recovered; the latter, through the providence of God,escaped, without even a hole in his robe.

 3 Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel,which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!

 4 When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God,and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me—he was murdered in cold blood.”—The same morning, after Hyrum had made ready to go—shall it be said to the slaughter? yes, for so it was—he read the following paragraph, near the close of the twelfth chapter of Ether, in the Book of Mormon, and turned down the leaf upon it:

 5 And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful;wherefore thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness, thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father. And now I … bid farewell unto the Gentiles; yea,and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood. The testators are now dead, and their testament is in force.

 6 Hyrum Smith was forty-four years old in February,1844, and Joseph Smith was thirty-eight in December,1843; and hence forward their names will be classed among the martyrs of religion; and the reader in every nation will be reminded that the Book of Mormon, and this book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, cost the best blood of the nineteenth century to bring them forth for the salvation of a ruined world; and that if the fire can scathe a green tree for the glory of God, how easy it will burn up the dry trees to purify the vineyard of corruption. They lived for glory; they died for glory; and glory is their eternal reward. From age to age shall their names go down to posterity as gems for the sanctified.

 7 They were innocent of any crime, as they had often been proved before, and were only confined in jail by the conspiracy of traitors and wicked men; and their innocent blood on the floor of Carthage jail is a broad seal affixed to“Mormonism” that cannot be rejected by any court on earth, and their innocent blood on the escutcheon of the State of Illinois, with the broken faith of the State as pledged by the governor, is a witness to the truth of the everlasting gospel that all the world cannot impeach; and their innocent blood on the banner of liberty, and on the magna charta of the United States, is an ambassador for the religion of Jesus Christ, that will touch the hearts of honest men among all nations; and their innocent blood, with the innocent blood of all the martyrs under the altar that John saw, will cry unto the Lord of Hosts till he avenges that blood on the earth. Amen."

Powerful words. The Prophet Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. He was the Prophet of the Restoration. And we have a prophet on the earth today. I know this. I preach this. And I love this gospel. Dad, the Gospel truly is about change. If we don't change our ways, we can never make it into the Kingdom of Heaven. We are all imperfect. We are all fallen. And the only way to return to Heavenly Father's presence is by changing through the Atonement! I'm all in. And honestly, I am just "glad to be here." 

I love you all. I will burn a shirt on hump day. Also, I am so thankful for the country we live in.

Thousand Oaks District

Not sure what they're mates...

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