Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Week 92 Labor Day

Hey everyone! We couldn't email yesterday with all of the libraries being closed because of Labor Day, but I hope that everyone had a good holiday! We had a Ward Picnic and played basketball and ultimate frisbee and got to meet tons of new people that came to the activity!

This week was great! It started off with picking up 16 new missionaries at the airport! I always look forward to that, it's so exciting to see how prepared they are and how ready they are to be out there working. We were supposed to have 17, but one of the Spanish Hermanas had to stay a few days later in the MTC because a bat flew into their room! Sort of a crazy experience I'm sure. The new missionaries are awesome and I'm so grateful to get to serve around them! Wednesday was transfers, which is always one of the busiest days imaginable! Then early in the morning on Thursday we took the departing group of missionaries going home, 10 of them this time! After that, the transfer feels like it has officially begun and we can again focus on our area here in Ellicott City! 

Chandler is 2nd in on left side.
Chandler is 5th down on the right.

One of the Sister missionaries that just came into the mission is from Alabama, and before she left was given two names of people in Maryland that she should visit! She was just shopping at Walmart before her mission, getting ready to leave and someone stopped her and asked her about what a mission was and where she was headed. It turned out that they knew a family that lived in Maryland and wanted the Gospel taken to them! It just so happens that those people live here in Ellicott City! So when she came into the mission last week she gave us the names and we're going to go by and meet them, it's amazing how the timing worked out perfectly for that!

Elder Cornejo (previous companion), me, Elder Southwick 
(another spanish elder), Elder Fisher, Sister Emery who
 used to serve here but came back to visit after her mission,
 and Sister Emery's friend.

We had a great miracle this week with Larry. Larry was being taught by other elders until the recent ward boundary change when he was passed off to us. Over the last 3 or 4 weeks, we haven't been able to get ahold of him and he has been busy working out of town. He does maintenance for about 10 different apartment complexes around Maryland and Virginia, so he is generally pretty busy. On Friday night, we had Larry on our plans to go visit and we stopped by. He was home and invited us in. He told us about how over the last few weeks, he had felt such a difference without the influence of reading from the Book of Mormon, learning with the missionaries, feeling the Holy Ghost, and all of the things he had grown to love over just a few times with the missionaries in his home. He told us about how his aunt keeps telling him that he really needs to be meeting with the missionaries and be baptized. While we were there, Larry told us that one of his friends named Joe was going to be staying with him for a few months. Joe was out on the back porch, so Larry invited him in and said "Joe, these people can help you with your challenges right now." We explained to Joe that it wasn't us that were going to help him, but through listening and learning more about Jesus Christ, his burdens could be made light. He talked to us about how his wife cheated on him recently and he is going through a lot of pain because of family circumstances. We talked to Larry & Joe about the Plan of Salvation, especially about our life here on earth, and had a great experience with them. It has always been so interesting to me about how people that haven't heard about the Plan say that it has a familiar ring when they hear it. I truly know that we all learned about God's plan before we came here. Now, both Larry & Joe are preparing for baptismal dates.

Leadership Council

Pramod, the man from Nepal that was referred to us by a member, gets back from New York City this week! He texted us this week asking if we could meet up, him and his wife would like to learn more about the Church. We showed them the clip from Meet the Mormons about Bishnu from Nepal and they loved it! That movie has been a great resource to teach about the Restored Church. We're excited to meet more with Pramod and Leila, his wife! We also found somebody named Dave Ort who used to meet with missionaries and he invited us back on Monday to learn again. Another man, named Geoff Haver, went to the Philadelphia Temple Open House this last week and invited us over to meet with him and his wife! It's so exciting to see all that is happening. 

This picture was taken the day Elder Lawrence went home.

This week, our mission gets the opportunity to meet with Elder Robert Gay of the Seventy. The week after that, we get the opportunity to meet with an Apostle, one of the seven Presidents of the Seventy, and a member of the area presidency all at one time! We're so excited for the chance to meet and learn from these amazing servants of God! 

Because Elder Robert C Gay will be meeting with us, I'd like to close this email with a story he shared in General Conference in the October 2012 Session:

"The Savior once asked His disciples the following question: "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" This is a question that my father taught me to carefully consider years ago. As I was growing up, my parents assigned me chores around the house and paid me an allowance for that work. I often used that money, a little over 50 cents a week, to go to the movies. Back then a movie ticket cost 25 cents for an 11-year-old. This left me with 25 cents to spend on candy bars, which cost 5 cents apiece. A movie with five candy bars! It couldn't get much better than that. All was well until I turned 12. Standing in line one afternoon, I realized that the ticket price for a 12-year-old was 35 cents, and that meant two less candy bars. Not quite prepared to make that sacrifice, I reasoned to myself, "You look the same as you did a week ago." I then stepped up and asked for the 25-cent ticket. The cashier did not blink, and I bought my regular five candy bars instead of three. Elated by my accomplishment, I later rushed home to tell my dad about my big coup. As I poured out the details, he said nothing. When I finished, he simply looked at me and said, "Son, would you see your soul for a nickel?" His words pierced my 12-year-old heart. It is a lesson I have never forgotten."

I love this story and what it symbolizes! Elder Gay goes onto to talk about how sometimes we let small obstacles get in the way of the promise that as we keep our covenants, we will receive all that the Father hath. I hope that we can all look at our lives and see where our priorities are and to make sure that we are always willing to submit to His Will. I love you all, thanks for the support!

- Elder Leavitt

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