Dear Family and Friends:
This was a long, eventually, busy week. It was up and down and
fulfilling. I felt so accomplished by the end. I love Palmetto Ward,
and this area and my companion. Often times life is good, and God
gives you incredible blessings. But only every so often does he
give you a taste of complete joy. Spending this time here in Palmetto
with Elder Spach was that for me.
Here was our week.
Today was Bradenton District meeting and then Sebring followed by an exchange in Sebring. It honestly feels so good to be out with people, inviting.
Just being fearless and sharing the message of the restoration. I love
it! I love just testifying and talking with people. I'm with Elder
Stuart, who is a great missionary. He went home for almost a year and
is now back. He is an inspiration as well as Elder Ohlau who has been
a member 3 years. And one of those years was here in Florida. He is an
inspiration. He is fired up, dedicated and converted to the gospel.
I'm so lucky to be surrounded by people to lead me, even if I'm in the
leadership position. President is pushing street contacting, and being out,
keeping our line in the water as PMG says, as well as working with
members. It's the perfect balance now that the members are
Well, we weekly planned, went down to Bradenton to meet some other
Elders, then got caught in a rain storm! So, we were stuck inside for a
long time today. I am trying so hard mentally to be a good planner. To
learn how to be the best planner I can be, I've really improved.
President has given counsel that we will use forever in our lives,
being as effective and EFFICENT as possible. Our lesson cancelled so
we had to go find somewhere else to contact. So, we drove over to the
55+ community, we saw that there was a no soliciting sign but we went
anyway. Handed out a few cards but then met a nice couple. They were
just feeding the birds and we made small talk gave them a couple cards
talked and found out they were Romney fans and loved how he loved his
religion, we got to teach about the Book of Mormon and the spirit was
just so strong, a lady pulled up and said some things about us
soliciting and that they were going to call the cops, but this couple
had our backs they were so nice! It felt fantastic to have kind people
like that. It meant a lot to me knowing that was a good place to be at
this time. I want to keep my line in water as much as possible.
Being personable, and invite always, I'm trying so hard.
Biked from sooooo hot! So sun burnt! It felt so good to
be out with the people. We had lunch with Bill Chambers, best food
ever. Palmetto meat shop. Pulled pork sandwiches, pasta salad, baked
beans, potato salad. Macaroni salad Gatorade and a brownie. I was in
heaven ( bbq is my new love ) they definitely know how to do it down
here )and he followed up with the lady he gave a Book of Mormon to.
Great visit. We met some great people but I met a man named Wayne. I
waked up to him and gave the "Because He lives" card, and he asked about
the church. He has a guy who talks to him about it, he had trouble
accepting Joseph Smith being a prophet. Well we talked more, I asked
about the Baptist faith and he explained. Then he asked me how long I'd
been a member and how I found it, and I bore a sincere pure testimony
of how it happened for me. I expressed my abiding love for he Savior
and he felt something from my words. He told me how impressive it was
to see a guy my age, 20, with a love for the savior, and to show that
love. Eventually he told us he doesn't want to join a church for
any other reason besides God telling him that's the church he
should join. Right then I invited him to learn and he accepted.
Probably the highlight of my contacts that week and maybe mission ( as
far as personal contacting goes ). I literally felt the spirit pour
out of me.
. We had a whole day planned to bike and contact up to a house
3 hours... So that took some mental prep And then to the Scotts
afterwards, but late we texted Sis. Bartosiewicz ( convert
family who is ALL about missionary work) and she invites us to help
with their move. I thought about all the service they are giving, and
how stressful moves can be, so we decided to give our service. Well it
was a lot of fun. I felt so good giving my services. We got there and
they had moved the majority of it, but we ended up being the last two
to help unload and Bro. Bartosi told Bro. Jackson the Ward mission
leader after that he was very grateful for our help. It felt
incredible, making that decision and knowing it paid off. Then they
took us to Outback and Sis. Bartosiewicz gave us like 4 referrals that
she can't wait to have us over in her new house. Then one of the
waiters we actually knew ( nonmember) came up and
told us he met a girl who was looking for a church and referred her to
Brother Stuart with Elders Nelson and Spach
Then finally transfer news. Elder Spach is staying and I
will be white wash training. It was big news. I wanted it, but I
didn't really believe it would happen. Telling the Ward was so hard.
We called Bro. Jackson and he said some incredible things. He said
Elder Spach and I make a great team. The best he's seen. I agree.
Elder Spach has been the best companion I've had. He told us it was
hard for him just before we came and then overnight, boosted when we
were transferred here. I feel like Ammon, not boasting of us, but
boasting at what God can do when we are just obedient, and do ALL we
can. But I am grateful for this gift to train.
Church: blessed the sacrament with Nick and Noah. Two young men in the
Ward I've got really close with. That was a small thing but it meant a
lot to me to be up there with those two guys. We ended up having to
improvise a lot! There was a tray missing so we blessed water twice.
Sis. Schmickel ( the lady best friends with Kymmie Marriner ) gave a
magnificent talk about obedience. The Marriners came again ( minus
Chris ) but they are becoming just normal members! The Pattens
brought their neighbor with them and she came to class as well! She
stayed all three hours! I'm so impressed with the Pattens, being
fearless missionaries. They rock! We talked for about 30 minutes after
class with her, this lady who the Pattens brought told Bro. Stewart
all about her life, he is a great teacher, he listens and then
responds under the influence of the spirit. She had so many questions
but I loved having her there! She enjoyed it and wants to come back.
She was asking why the preisthood, why the only true church, why a
prophet, and we were all just testifying.
Then at 4 yesterday we had a lesson with the Marriners. It shows me
God cares so much about the Marriners that he places specific people
around so that this specific family can be guided to the restored
gospel. A Brother in he Ward told us he prepares his School
lesson for them specifically then hopes other people get something
too. We had two member families teaching he Plan of Salvation to the
Marriners. I was honestly really nervous it is big stuff as a
missionary. Every missionaries dream. They had less questions this
time, and the spirit was strong, every concern that came up was
answered, one of the questions that came up was works vs. grace why do
we place so much emphasis on works? And we explained how it's both! We
need both, we are given an opportunity for eternal life on condition
of repentance. The Scripture in Ephesians about being saved by grace
alone and how in 2 Nephi it says we are saved by grace after all we can do.
The Marriner family with Elders Nelson and Spach
Well, we all gave our best explanation of how we need both and it did a
good job of answering his question but then Elder Spach pipes in and
said " well look at these prophets, we never know who they were talking
to, maybe in Ephesians they were working too hard they spoke on
grace, and in the Book of Mormon, they needed to focus on works!" For
some reason that clicked, and the spirit filled the room. It was just
so cool, watching the doctrine be taught by everyone and by the spirit
be brought to their hearts and seeing it enter.
We said goodbye to some of the people in the Ward yesterday and will
do a few more until . I feel like I'm leaving home again. We did
so much work with these members, teaching people in their homes,
feeling the spirit together. I got home and just prayed on the floor
and thanked Heavenly Father for my life. I could have never guessed
that a mission would bring, people who I will love and cherish
forever. And people who have left me better than when I met them.
I have 6 weeks left to train a new missionary and give until I cannot
anymore, and I intend to do that.
I know Christ lives, I know he invites us all to come unto him! I pray
we do that today and then find someone else to bring along. Greater
joy and happiness await you if you decide to join in the work.
There is no time to waste!
Be not afraid;Only believe