Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Week 76 Importance of the Family

This week, Elder Fisher & I learned a lot about the importance of the family. I love this quote from The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord, Jesus Christ."
This has been something I've known throughout my life, but has been brought to my remembrance over and over again throughout the last few weeks. As Elder Fisher and I have talked about it, we've realized that something we've both wanted to do our entire missions has been to teach full families. There have been times when I've been able to teach an entire family, but for the most part it has been individuals from a family or people that live by themselves. As we have made this our focus, we have now found almost 6 full families that we are teaching, more than either of us have ever been able to teach! I am so grateful to the Lord for blessing us with this opportunity to learn from these incredible people.

The first of those families is the Selby family, who we have been working with for a few months. Brother Selby is divorced and has 3 kids: Grayson (17), Sarah (15), and Sydney (12). Brother Selby is working on being re-baptized, Sydney is getting baptized a month from tomorrow, and then in July, we will get to go with their whole family including Sarah and Grayson to do Baptisms for the dead! It's been amazing to see this entire family reactivated, and now to see Sydney come into the church. They all came to church on Sunday and we ate dinner with them at the Christiansen's home...along with a special guest, Bronson Kaufusi! Bronson played football for BYU and now plays for the Baltimore Ravens. He randomly walked into our sacrament on Sunday!

Elder Fisher and I with Bronson Kaufusi.

Another one of those families is the Rosskopf family. It has still been tough to be able to set specific times for appointments, but we have seen them pretty regularly and are trying to help them come to church. Their kids are Elisa (11), Mikey (10), and Isaiah (4), and I can totally see this entire family joining the church!

Next is the Diaz family. There have been missionaries that have performed service for the Diaz family in the past, and Elder Fisher and I had the opportunity to go over and do service for them as well. We helped them out for about a half hour and then Laura, the mother said "So, what exactly are mormons?" We were then able to teach the entire Restoration lesson to Laura and Welvy, her husband. They have 3 children, Ella (8), Danny (3), and Jake (1). We'll be seeing them again on Friday!

Another family we've been privileged to meet has been the Jolissaint Family. This consists of Josef and Megan, who 24 and 25 respectively, and they are members of the Church. Josef is a convert of about 5 or 6 years. They live in the basement of Joe's parents home, named Greg and Debby. Last night, Joe and Megan invited us over to a birthday dinner for Debby, and Megan invited her to take the missionary discussions and she agreed! Greg is a little bit more hesitant but we know things will change. Joe has 3 other brothers who are all non-members and one of them lives at the home as well! 

And then, to continue with the Jolissaint Family, for dinner last night they invited their neighbors over from Cameroon! They are a family of 5 who also came to church a few weeks ago for a baby blessing. We got to get to know them last night and they are all great people. Martin, the father has been looking up a lot about Mormons and what the Book of Mormon is and is very interested in learning more!

Another miracle with being able to teach a family is the Johnson family. Elder Fisher and I were looking through past records and found a family under the name of Johnson that had been contacted by missionaries over a year ago. So, we stopped by! They have 4 children all under the age of 16, and are interested in learning more! We have come by a few times since and are now teaching them and we are so excited to see how it goes!  Like I said, I'm so grateful for families and the opportunity to meet these amazing people and teach them! I love the doctrines and principles that we can learn about the family in the Book of Mormon as well.

Mary Cole is still doing so great, she is going to a Relief Society Activity tonight with the ward! They have been so supportive of her and she is reading the Book of Mormon and preparing to be baptized in June which is so exciting! 

Well, the work continues to go on! I'm so grateful for the wonderful experiences I've had so far on my mission and continue to have. I love the Lord, Jesus Christ, and all that he does for us. I am so grateful for the restored Gospel, the opportunity we have to learn of the truth and learn of the ways that we can continue to progress. Thank you all for the support!

- Elder Leavitt

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