Thursday, April 30, 2015

Update on Baltimore Riots

We received another letter from the Mission President updating us on the missionaries, included below.

I shared some photos on the blog the other day of the horrific acts of violence taking place in Baltimore but today I would like to share with you some more positive uplifting images that I found online this morning.

There are still wonderful, good people in this world!!

Ordinary citizens lining up to protect Baltimore Police.

Baltimore residents working together to heal their city.

I love these images!

Baltimore citizens protecting police officers.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your continuous prayers offered on behalf of your missionaries serving in the Maryland Baltimore Mission, our fellow saints, and the entire Baltimore community. In an effort to keep you updated regarding the safety of your missionaries, I want you to know that the missionaries are safe and in good spirits!

 Today has been a relatively quite day. We are keeping watch on tonight's curfew. We continue to monitor the situation, and have been very careful to move all the missionaries away from potentially dangerous areas to apartments that are in safe areas. The safety of your missionaries is and continues to be our highest priority.

 Again, we are so very grateful for your prayers offered for your missionaries and the people in Baltimore. We feel the blessings that come as a result and we are honored and blessed to serve with your great missionaries! They are truly the noble and great ones!


Mark L. Richards


There are moments of violence in Baltimore -- but there are also moments of compassion as a young boy passed water out to Police officers.

A Pastor was quoted, "God is a God of justice, but he’s also the prince of peace."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Riots in Baltimore"

     Thank you for the concern you've shown and prayers that have been said in Chandler's behalf while these riots are taking place in Baltimore. Frederick is about 40 miles out of Baltimore and we don't feel that he is in harms way at this time. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of those who are being effected by these senseless acts of violence! Have NO FEAR, these hard working Missionaries will continue to keep the Lord's work moving forward regardless! Please continue to pray for all of the missionaries wherever they may be serving.
     We received the following e-mail from Chandler's Mission President this morning which was reassuring and wanted to share it with all of you.

Maryland Baltimore Mission

April 28, 2015

Dear Parents,

There has been some concern regarding the safety of your missionaries here in the Maryland Baltimore Mission because of the ongoing riots in Baltimore.

We have been monitoring the situation and have been very careful to move all the missionaries away from potentially dangerous areas to apartments that are in safe areas. Our missionary safety has been our highest priority and all missionaries are safe.

We appreciate your prayers for our missionaries and for the people in Baltimore.


President  Mark L. Richards

Mission President

Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 21 "Miracle after Miracle"

     Another week full of amazing experiences in Frederick. Looking back on the last week, I think I saw more miracles of God than I have ever before so far on my mission! It was truly miracle after miracle.

     First was the miracle of meeting Carolina, a 24 year old single mother from Venezuela. The story of meeting her started actually about two weeks ago, when I was on exchanges with one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Van de Graff. Elder Van de Graff works in English, so doesn't know any Spanish and basically put me in charge. I wasn't really sure where to go! But as we were walking along and I could tell that one of these townhouses was definitely Hispanic, so we decided to knock. This girl named Carolina answered, and said that she had actually just returned from the Hospital a few minutes ago, after being there for a week! She said she was just about to leave though, and that we could come on Friday. Elder Van de Graff said to me "Well, even though I don't know what she just said, just by her expressions I can tell that she's interested!" I felt the same way, she seemed excited to learn more! But when Friday came around, we were helping a family move and couldn't get to our appointment with her. We tried a few times throughout the next week but still couldn't get her. Then, finally, yesterday we knocked on her door and she was home! She let us in and we had an amazing talk. She talked about how it was such a miracle that we had knocked on her door minutes after returning from the hospital. She had been there because her appendix had ruptured and there were problems with her stomach and liver, and she was looking for guidance in her life. She said she was so grateful we knocked on her door. She has gone through so much as a result of being a single mother, with the father leaving her to raise the child all by herself. I know that we were meant to meet her, and know she wants to start taking the lessons and learning more. What a miracle!
     The other miracle was a woman named Ana. We got a call from someone, we still don't know who it was, saying they had a friend we should go see. So we went and met her, her name is Ana Martinez. Instantly she told us all about the problems in her life and how she needs something to fill the void, and we told her the Gospel can do it! She has now been taking the lessons and this week we are going to try and set a Baptism date with her!!!
     We have been so busy recently, and have been trying to do everything we can to do our best in the Lord's work. I'm so grateful for Missionary work!!
     This weekend we had an Area Conference with a broadcast from Elder Anderson, and it was focused so much on family. I'm so grateful for the family that I have and that I was raised in, and the fact that I can one day have my own family. I'm so grateful that I live in this Gospel and know of it's truthfulness! I'm so grateful for everything that I have been given. I can't wait to have a family of my own and do my best to raise my children like I have been raised!
     The Lord's work is truly full of miracles, I hope everyone sees the miracles in their daily lives.

   With love,
- Elder Leavitt
Surprise from home this week......

My Mom made these little books for me that have all the
 highlights from each talk for all 4 sessions of General Conference in them.

She included some great Quotes too, even some in Spanish!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 20

Three of my Favorite People at my 1st Companion,
 Elder Pettersson's Homecoming in Utah Yesterday.

Time certainly does fly! I've already been out here for 20 weeks now, and I can't imagine my life without the experiences that I have already had so far on my mission.

Last night was Sunday Night Dinner with Alex and Christina, the couple that got married and baptized back in January. They are so incredibly amazing, and everytime I spend time with them I realize that more and more. Last night, we were about to eat dinner, and the little boy, probably 4 years old said "Tenemos que orar!!!" or "We have to pray!" and he asked his dad if he could offer the prayer. He went on to say the most adorable prayer I have ever heard. A few months ago, this family knew nothing of the Gospel, let alone had prayers together as a family! But this little boy, Amelio, offered a prayer about how grateful he is for the Elders, for the Church, for his Family, everything, and that was something I will never ever forget. The Gospel truly has changed the lives of the Ventura family! Alex the father is already in Alma and shares so many insights on the Book of Mormon, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to know this family.

Well, this week was super busy! There were a lot of things going on in Downtown Frederick, even a concert on Friday night, so there were a TON of people walking around! We talked to more people this week then any week so far on my mission. Before I came on my mission, I thought it would be so awkward to try to share the Gospel with EVERYONE, but I have realized how remarkable it is to just talk with people! Just getting to know somebody and then telling them about this amazing message you have of Jesus Christ and the Restoration is truly amazing and I'm so glad that I have had the opportunity to learn about that.

Alfonso Zamora is still progressing and reading the book of Mormon! I love visiting the Zamora family! Alfonso is always the same, never wearing a shirt and just with his long hair and tattoos, always so incredibly nice and supportive of us! It's truly a remarkable family and little by little, they are working to learn more and more.
We spent the weekend moving a family, the Hernandez family. It was a lot of work, but such a good experience to be providing so much service to someone in need! Hermano Hernandez was super grateful for us, and it was also cool because all of his friends that were there saw these missionaries helping and wondered who we were!

The weather here has been much better lately! Last Monday I got to go play basketball outside at a park with all these kids, which was a dream come true to be back on the outside court haha! I can already feel the humidity coming in though! Also, our car got towed last week.....missionaries had parked in that spot for 6 months without any trouble but I guess we weren't supposed to be parking there!

No this is not my New Ride, but Mom did warn me that this Van looks a little "Shady"
and I should be careful!:)

 To be honest, I've already learned more on my mission than I ever thought possible. Waking up every day to go spread this Gospel is truly one of the greatest gifts we are given! Even though it is so hard at times, I'm so grateful for this wonderful wonderful opportunity!

My spiritual thought this week comes from 2 General Conference talks:

First is from Elder Holland, and his wonderful talk about a brother falling off a cliff, and being saved by the other brother. If you haven't heard it yet, I would recommend you listen to it!! He compares us to the people falling off, and how Jesus Christ has his arm outstretched to help us.
"Are we all just hanging in a cold canyon with nothing to hold on to? No."
The hand of Jesus Christ will ALWAYS be there for us, no matter what. I  hope that this week we all realize that his Hand is in our life, are we really trying to grab it?

My second thought is from President Uchtdorf: 
"Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience. It is bought by the blood of the Son of God." 

Wow. What an incredible gift the Atonement is for us!!!!!!!! Truly remarkable, there are no words to explain the love I feel that we have Jesus Christ to redeem us from the Fall.

I hope everyone has an amazing week full of missionary-opportunities. I love you all, I hope you are doing well.

Warmest Regards from Humid Maryland,
- Elder Leavitt

"Orange you glad I love you?" care package from home.
Yes Mom, I am glad you love me!!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 19


I hope everyone has been doing well!

General Conference last week was truly inspiring. I have been reflecting back to my notes every day since, because there is truly SO much to learn. I hope that everyone had a good experience watching and listening to Conference. Some of my favorite quotes:

"As we fear God more completely, we will love him more perfectly." - Elder Bednar

"Are we not all of us in need of repair? We come to church to heal problems, not hide them. The most amazing man was also the most humble." - President Uchtdorf

"Sometimes we know the dance steps, but can't hear the music." - Elder Andersen

What an amazing opportunity that we have to be able to listen to the Prophets and Seers of God and to hear the words of God through the Priesthood Power that we have on this earth.

Well, I'm still here in Frederick, and I truly love it! I feel like a part of the Branch by now, I know the families and people, and they know me, and I feel like it is truly an amazing relationship with the people here in Frederick! Our area is the entire Frederick Stake, the largest area in the mission, so we have a lot of people to go and visit and help.

Sacrament Attendance has constantly been going up, more people coming back to the Branch and renewing their faith once again! It is truly amazing, yesterday we had the largest congregation yet!

I had a truly amazing experience just a few weeks ago. I went on exchanges with Elder Fisher, and we headed up to Westminster to go contacting. We had the address of a Member up there that had attended the English Ward, but was less active. We decided to go over to his house and talk with him. His name was Hermano Nonalaya, and he was from Peru. He opened the door and let us in, and was so excited to see us! Westminster doesn't have Spanish missionaries, only English ones, so the Spanish people don't really get many visits! He let us in and we talked for a while. The whole time I was thinking...This guy looks so familiar!! All of a sudden he starts talking about his brother who works at the MTC as a fake investigator. Then it hit me: his brother was Carlos, MY investigator in the MTC. The chances of me meeting him, in Westminster, Maryland, where I've never even been before and Spanish Missionaries hardly visit, are so small. The Spirit hit me so strong and I knew right then my job was to Reactivate Hermano Nonalaya and his family. It still amazes me how it all worked out, the Lord works in amazing ways.

I'm now in a trio, with 2 native Spanish speakers, Elder Baca from Mexico and Elder Chaico from Peru. It's been so great, and has helped with my Spanish so much!!! 

2 Weeks ago, we were walking in the Frederick Mall for P-Day, and all of a sudden this guy calls after us and says "Wait right here, I'll take you to lunch." We were super confused but we waited, and 5 minutes later he took us out to lunch. We were so confused, this random guy was just taking us to a super super fancy restaurant  not even knowing us. But it turned out that he is an awesome member that has a ton of connections to Hispanics, and we have been getting so many referrals from him! The Lord truly works wonders.

Things are good here, I hope everyone is doing well! Always remember that the Lord is our comfort, through everything, He is there!


- Elder Leavitt

week 18

Sorry, no Blog letter this week.  With Chandler's companion getting ready to go home and transfers it  was pretty crazy for him. He is staying in Frederick but moving into a different apartment.