Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week 49 Called to be an Assistant to the President

Well, so much has happened within the last 2 weeks, I’m not even sure where to begin! I guess I will start by talking about transfers this last week.

Saying Goodbye to a great Companion.
Transfer Day, leaving Winchester & heading to Ellicott City.
Last Sunday, I was fully expecting to stay in Shenandoah Valley with Elder Mumm. At around 3 in the afternoon, we received a call from Elder Lawrence, one of the assistants. As usual, he proceeded to tell us all of the missionaries in our Zone that would be getting transferred on Wednesday. When he said “Elder Leavitt” I wasn’t sure if I had heard that right! I had only spent one transfer in Shenandoah Valley and was not planning on leaving at all! So when Elder Mumm read the list back to him, he left off my name, but Elder Lawrence said “And Elder Leavitt also.” So, I spent the rest of the day wondering where I was going! At around 9:30 that night, President Christiansen called. It was a very humbling experience to hear him say “Elder Leavitt, you’ll be coming up here to Ellicott City to be an assistant with Elder Lawrence.” I felt a lot of emotions, mostly unprepared to have that calling, but I knew that God would help me in fulfilling that role. On Wednesday, being called up to the podium to give my testimony as the new assistant, I thought I was going to pass out my heart was beating so fast! But it went well, and it was so amazing to stand there and see the 200 wonderful missionaries we have in this mission! It is truly a humbling experience.

Elder Lawrence and I, heading to Ellicott City.
Well, so far the role of being an assistant has been an amazing experience, I am learning so very much! It has been insanely busy, and there is so much to do to continue to help the mission, but it has been great. This past week we prepared all week for Lee Donaldson from the Mission Office to come out and do a Mission Tour. I will be sharing a few of those experiences in my email next week because I’d like to share some other miracles this week.

I will miss serving with Elder Mumm.
I would like to share a few of the miracles from my time in Shenandoah Valley that I didn’t get to share yet. The first is a girl named Reyna. Elder Mumm and I had spent almost all of the day in pouring rain, and we were feeling pretty cold and wet. It was about 10 minutes until our dinner appointment, so we were knocking a few more doors before getting in the car. We knocked one last door, and started to walk back to the car, and in the pouring rain, a girl around 20 years old was walking towards us to get into her house. We stopped her, and even though it was pouring rain, she stopped to listen to what we had to say. We told her who we were and asked her if she would like Sister Missionaries to stop by. She looked close to crying as she looked at us and said “Well, I was just trying to get inside. But you know what? A few weeks ago somebody very close to me passed away and I’ve been looking for purpose in life.” We testified that she would see that person again, and she told us that the Sisters could stop by. It was so great to see how in the last few seconds before we would be getting in the car, God provided us with someone to meet that was prepared. The last I heard, the Sisters in Shenandoah Valley are trying to work with her, and I hope and pray that all will go well with Reyna.

Another cool miracle was with a man named Chris. Chris was a referral from the Sisters, so we decided to stop by and meet him. He seemed very nice, and told us that we could come back in a few days. Well, those few days passed and we went to his house to have a lesson, but he wasn’t home. I said “Well, on Friday we will put him on date for baptism when we come back.” However, Elder Mumm and I had just read a talk called “A Challenging and Testifying Missionary” and we were super pumped about inviting people to be baptized, and one of the parts said to never wait a few days to invite someone to baptism. So, we decided to call him! Elder Mumm told me that when Chris answered, I should invite him to be baptized. Well, Chris didn’t answer, but I left a voicemail. I didn’t do a great job on the voicemail, l was struggling for words and just seemed like I didn’t really know what I was doing and by the time I hung up, I was kind of upset with myself, but Elder Mumm and I just laughed it off. I told him I was going to redeem myself, so I called again, and this time Chris answered! I realized that if I wouldn’t have had that stupor of words, I wouldn’t have called again and would never have gotten to talk to Chris. God definitely works in mysterious ways! Anyways, so I started talking to Chris and after a few minutes, we invited him to be baptized on November 28th.  He brought up the concern that he was going through hard times, which gave us even more reason to explain baptism and how much it helps. By the end, he told us that he’d be home the next day and that he wanted us to come over and explain baptism more to him. It was such an amazing miracle!

That theme of inviting people to be baptized became something that Elder Mumm and I stressed in the entire Zone. It was absolutely amazing to see! At the beginning of the transfer, we were getting about 30 baptismal invitations a week as a Zone. Last week, we had 360! 360 sons and daughters of God were invited to be baptized by the proper authority. Elder Mumm and I also designed cards that talked about Baptism and used that as a way to bring up baptism. We had amazing miracles throughout those weeks, finding so many new investigators! At the beginning of the transfer, we had 2 people that were on date for baptism. By the end, we were up to around 15 that had accepted a Baptismal date! The missionaries began to love talking about baptism, and stressing baptism with everything. As missionaries that is our purpose anyways! It was so cool to see the ways missionaries had developed to bring up baptism, and it made contacting people even more fun and the Zone completely loved doing it.
Jason Wright
 Author of Christmas Jars and The Wednesday Letters.
The last miracle I’d like to share comes from something that we do as a mission called “Social Media Split.” Every third Saturday of the month, we go around and ask members to take pictures of us doing service or teaching and they post it to their social media. The objective is so that all of their non-member friends begin to learn more about missionaries and what we do. Well, President Jason Wright, a member of the Stake Presidency in Winchester and a famous author, is big about doing these social media splits. He shared an incredible miracle that happened because of it. A few months ago, a man from Africa was looking through Facebook and somehow came across this page that had all of these pictures of missionaries in the Maryland Baltimore Mission. He became very interested and contacted somebody that had posted a picture, Brother Todd Jensen in the Shenandoah Valley Ward. He began to chat through Facebook with Brother Jensen. As the months went on, Brother Jensen taught him all of the missionary discussions through social media, and found missionaries to go and meet this man. This man was baptized, received the priesthood, and is now preparing to serve a full time mission. All because he saw a picture on Facebook of missionaries teaching people. What a miracle!

One of my Best Friends, Carson Bryant received his call
last week to serve in the Washington D.C. North Mission. 
That mission boarders mine. 
He is going to be an awesome Missionary!

I’m so grateful for my mission. I have gained such a testimony of the divine help we have from our Heavenly Father. He is always watching over us, even when we feel like we have nobody around us to comfort us. I pray that we can all continue to share the Gospel and live it to the fullest! I love you all, thank you for your amazing support week after week.

       - Elder Leavitt

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