Monday, March 14, 2011

An Apostle in Taylor‏

Well here we go, you can only imagine with a title like this, this has to be a good email. Well, let me assure you one thing, it should be interesting to say the least. I apologize in advance if this seems a little off, I jammed or sprained my pinkie this morning so it's been a bit of an adventure attempting to type. To start out, this week was one of the more challenging weeks in my mission due to the fact that Elder Hill was in the valley for 4 days receiving the new training coming up for May. All the missionaries in our zone had companions go down and participate. So we had to make due and I was companions with Elder Towery and Elder Valentine for the majority of the week. We saw a lot of hardships but some awesome times too! Let's get started!

Monday was rather slow though we got adventure in 5 mile canyon and I took pictures! Yay! It was a lot of fun as I toyed with my fear of heights and lack of coordination. Frightening combo? Naturally, yes it is, but believe it or not I did survive and had a good time. Monday night was slow and all of our lessons cancelled. Tuesday we had no lessons though I was able to work in Snowflake for the majority of the day and cover some of the wards that I covered last year. It was pretty fun seeing people I used to know and even funner seeing some of their reactions. Rather priceless. But a lot of fun. The only sad thing though was seeing a few of the people I baptized struggling a lot, it makes me sad to see that and there is only so much I can do about it at this time. When I'm released from being a missionary I'll be in contact with those people very often. I love them each so much and would do anything for them.

Wednesday things began to pick up for us a little bit more. We taught Jennifer, it was Elder Towery, a kid named Josh, and I. We began to teach the "Gospel of Jesus Christ" I had been excited about this because I sincerely thought that it would help her with the commitments she isn't keeping. As we taught about the Holy Ghost she stopped us and said that she had a dream a few months ago. She was being taught by 3 men who she didn't recognize and they were teaching something she didn't understand. As she explained she said that we were the 3 men and the Holy Ghost was what was being taught to her. She said that she feels "chills" except for they're warm whenever she reads, prays, attends church, or meets with us. I told her that's how God talks to her that's how He grabs her attention. It was awesome and she is getting baptized in the next few weeks. Later that night we went to an investigator's house and taught them and they talked about how they had been having really freaky experiences for over a year. As they described it I felt uneasy but confident in the Spirit. I explained what faith was and then shared the account of Christ casting a Spirit out of a man on the shore of the Sea of Galilee found in Luke. We then invited the one who was experiencing the problem to come and sit down and we cast out the evil spirit (now this may sound way weird but it wasn't, it was like a standard blessing with a little twist). She felt really good after that. She said she feels comfortable for the first time in years!

Our next busy day was Friday. I weekly planned alone because Elder Hill was not around (boo) and then we had pizza, like we do every Friday. We then went to go teach a new investigator named Elizabeth. We took an older couple with us to the lesson who were members of the ward. A few weeks before we had met her outside her trailer, and she told us she wasn't interested, she had been to church, her sister was a member, and she had met missionaries before... Thus she claimed she knew all she needed to... I was sad but towards the end of our visit I pushed again. I told her we simply wanted to explain how God calls prophets today, what that could mean for her, and invite her to pray about it. I humbly bore testimony of it and she accepted to have us come back. Well now here we were as we taught it seemed to be going OK but she seemed not really be all that interested in what we were saying but she was considerate. Elder Towery shared about the Restoration of the gospel and I began to recite Joseph Smith's first vision. The Spirit began to change. She changed, I noticed and felt that. I explained the Book of Mormon as thoroughly as I could. She had admitted that she didn't like organized religion because she felt it changed the Bible. I explained how the books support each other. After I was through she stopped me and said "can I say something?" I said "absolutely" she then talked about how no one had ever explained it the way we just had. She talked about how no missionary or church member had ever explained it like that and she asked me if she could have the Book of Mormon in my hand because she wanted to find out for herself. As we left she said the prayer as we knelt down. She said "I'm so grateful for these people coming teach me what I just learned, I loved what I just learned, help me have an open heart as I begin learn all this new things from my friends." It was awesome!!! Loved it! We had a busy day but I have to move on.

Saturday was a big day, Elder Cook of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles was here. We tried our hardest to tell people all day. That night we had a meeting as a stake with him at 7. There were so many great talks and he spoke last. It was incredible! I was in awe. He talked about missionary work and how it was possible to do it here even in the little town of Taylor. He shared some cool stories and then left an Apostolic blessing on the stake. He promised as the saints lived close to the gospel their families would be united and also as they lived close to the gospel that the Lord would provide sufficient needs for them financially. He then promised as the members of the stake shared the gospel that they would be received. He said a lot of things but I can't even begin to list them. The next morning we got to be right up front and we had the rows reserved for our investigators, less actives, and recent converts (which made a lot of members mad that we took the front seats but hey they'll live). I got to shake his hand THREE times. He's so great, very relaxed, his hands are really soft by the way.

Well that's all I got. If you made it all the way to the end of this give yourself a pat on the back and go get yourself some ice cream.

Elder Caywood

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