Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27, 2015

Hello good morning family!
Well we are back to emailing on monday again! Hopefully we won't have any more holidays that keep us from emailing on monday. I don't like doing p day on tuesdays haha. So the plan for zone conference is that today at around 5:00 pm we're all gonna go to the Manzini Elder's apartment and we're all sleeping there tonightbecause then tomorrow we are leaving at 4:30 am. We have to go over the border and sometimes they complicate stuff and its about a 3 or so hour ride and we need to be there by 8:00 am. Then we will have the conference and then whenever its over, probably around 4:00 or 5:00 pm then we will come straight back to swaziland! It will be a long day for sure! Then, Wednesday, it is back to normal.
I'm proud to know that I have such a strong little niece. She has been an inspiration to me. I pray for her daily.
My thoughts for today... There are many. But I guess the best way to focus them would be to start out with my time here in Swaziland. My time here has truly been a blessing. As I look back and think about all the miracles that were and are happening in Mozambique, I also realize that as missionaries we had started to get almost, complacent. Maybe that's not the best word, but what I'm trying to say is that, the miracles were happening so often, that I think we started to forget who was really running the show. It wasn't because of our efforts that made those miracles happen, but its the Lord that was doing it. And coming to Swaziland has helped me see that. Sometimes, we need a minute to sit back and see the whole picture. I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father for giving me this chance to see the whole thing and realize that it was His hand, not mine that made these miracles happen. Along with my time here in Swaziland being a humbling period, I have had a lot of time to really get back to the basics. Really think about what is most important. And something that David A. Bednar said in his talk on saturday was that "The things that matter most, last in time AND eternity." I have been thinking about that a lot recently. And then on Sunday, as we finished conference, I had a really spiritual experience. When President Monson was announcing those temples, I felt something... It was weird. A good weird. I felt somewhat emotional thinking of the blessings that those wonderful people will receive. I could feel the spirit testifying that those places were inspired by God and that those people would be eternally blessed by the temples. Obvious right? But for some reason it hit me really strong. I can't seem to convey what I really felt at that moment, but it was something special. Temple work will continue on for time and eternity. I could feel the spirit really helping me know of the importance of temples. I have felt a true longing to go to the temple recently. I feel as though my spirit is wanting to go there so badly! I anticipate the day that I can enter into the House of the Lord to do His holy work once again. Another Gospel principle that has been on my mind a lot recently is families. Clearly, the family and the temple go hand in hand. There are so many things I didn't realize before the mission that I have come to see so plainly and clearly now. One of those things is the centrality of the family to the plan of salvation. We can do so many things alone... but when it comes to entering the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom, that can't be done alone. Its no wonder that Satan is making a concentrated attack on the family... Anyway, I don't really know what I'm writing now. I'm kinda just rambling, but what I am really trying to say is that I'm so grateful for the plain and simple truths of the gospel. The foundation of our lives.
In terms of our work.... The family that we are really working with looks like they are finally making some progress once again. They have been pretty stalled because of the wife's work and it has been a little bit of a stumbling block. But the Lord is removing the barriers and making the ways possible. I don't know if I will see the family baptized, I hope and pray that I will, but everything will happen in the Lord's time.
Ok, one more random thought that has come into my mind right now. And that is the gift of repentance and the Lord's patience with us. I have thought a lot about how when I come home, how are people going to look at me. I honestly pray that anyone who i might have offended before can forgive me. I hope that those who I have done wrong to or have spoken mean to can realize that I am no different than them. Its funny how if we really  look at things, we are all kinda like Dieter F. Uchtdorf once said, awkward toddlers stumbling through life, trying to become better. Is it not incredible, absolutely incredible that the Lord allows us this period of life to repent. He never gives up on us. He looks on with patient loving care, waiting for us to realize that all along, He knew better. He doesn't say, "I told you so!" when we fall. He simply rejoices in the fact that we are progressing and learning. I don't understand it. It doesn't make sense. Yet, the Lord loves us, imperfections and all. The gospel is good. No, the gospel is great :) I think I could continue to write about everything I learned at General conference, or some of the millions of crazy thoughts I have, but I know that you are all probably tired of reading this email already. So I will end it with this. The gospel is true. Miracles are happening every day wherever we are. I love you all! I hope you have a wonderful week and that each of us can see the miracles and the hand of the Lord in our lives!
Elder Lynn

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21, 2014

Once again, our Pday was on tuesday. Wanna know why? Well as you may know Swaziland is ruled by a King. I won't get much in to what I think of him. But anyways, it was his birthday on sunday and so it was a national holiday that they celebrated on monday. And you have to get a special permit from him to be able to open your business on his birthday so, we moved p day to Tuesday due to this. Anywaysss.... It appears as though life is busy as ever back at home! I'm glad to hear you are all keeping busy. My prayers certainly go out to Grandpa and to Cailee. I hope all is well and I'm glad that Darcee will be able to go over and help out. What a blessing! Everyone is just growing right up! Birthdays are all over the place. Happy birthday to Hailey! Life certainly is not stopping for anything! We are down to the last 2 weeks of this transfer and this week will be a busy week. Tomorrow (wednesday) i will be doing a division with Elder Ebmeyer who works in Manzini. Then Friday I will be doing a division with Elder Hunsaker who works here in Ezulwini. Then sunday we will watch general conference again and then next tuesday we will be heading to mozambique for zone conference! The week after that will be the start of my last transfer! I hope all goes well with the Visa stuff! So speaking of General Conference, we watched the saturday sessions at church on Sunday and they were really really wonderful. I loved the talk by David A Bednar on how the Lord can hush our fears. I really loved that one. And I liked the talk on the dance steps of the gospel. I thought it was a very good description and I liked how it was easy to apply to our lives. I'm excited to watch the sunday sessions next week! The finances are coming along fine. I have to finish up the month end report so that I can send it in by Friday. I will try to pay some last minute bills maybe tomorrow and then I plan on trying to finish the report on thursday hopefully. I also have to help Nathi try and get his report made out so he can send his in. We have a couple families that we are teaching. Last week was a pretty tough week in finding new families though. We are working really hard and seeing a lot of rejection, but I think that if you don't go through something like this at some point in your mission, you didn't serve a real mission ;) I think we marked about 35 lessons over the course of last week, and all but about 10 of them fell through. They will give us their number, invite us over, and then when we call to have them come meet us to show us where their house is, they just turn their phones off. So its been an interesting battle. I have really enjoyed reading in Alma to see how he dealt with rejection. I am taking a lot of advice from the missionaries in the scriptures to see how they did things. I love Ammon and how he served the people. So yesterday we went out for about and hour and just picked up trash, a simple way that we could try and serve the people. I'm trying my best to be who the Lord wants me to be. I loved the talk on not focusing on titles but just serving out of the good of our hearts. I hope that I can become better at that over these next 8 weeks. I pray that I can learn all that the Lord wants me to before I come home and that these wonderful moments can help me in all phases of my life. I love you all so much! I hope you have a wonderful week!
Elder Lynn 

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015

Dear family,
We had a really good and extremely fast week. I can't believe how fast the time is going now!! Last week, I was able to download conference onto my memory card and so during the week, as I was getting ready in the morning and as I was writing in my journal at night, I was able to listen to all of conference and it was wonderful. I am excited to be able to watch it at church again to be able to focus even more and really be able to take notes. But I loved all the talks. I loved the talk by President Packer and the way he talks about his loving wife. It was a wonderful example of true and eternal love. We have been facing some new challenges that I haven't had on my mission yet, but they have all truly strengthened my testimony! One thing that happened was the following- So a few weeks ago, we taught a South African man named Reverend Louis. He was more interested in just knowing about our church. So we explained and we left him happy to know that we are Christians and he appreciated our message. Well, we ran into him again last week. But this time, he wasn't so happy to see us. He came up to us and expressed his concern for our souls because he had done some research into our church and clearly came across some unfavorable material that demeaned the prophet Joseph Smith. He went on to tell us how he has scientific proof that Joseph Smith was a false prophet and that we are on a path that won't lead to a good place. He continued on to say that he will pray that our eyes will be opened to see the truth and many other things about the Book of Mormon and what not. At the end, I simply looked at him in the eyes and said, "Reverend Louis, you are a very smart man. You know a lot of things about the Bible. But no proof, no document can ever make me lose my testimony of this truth. No scientific proof can tell me that Joseph Smith was a false prophet because no scientific proof told me that he was. I know he was a prophet of God because I prayed and I know of the truthfulness through the Holy Ghost. You can show me whatever you want, but it can't shake my testimony of what I know is true." As I said that, I felt a burning in my chest that I had never experienced before, confirming that the things I said were true. It was a true manifestation of the Spirit, helping me, a inexperienced 20 year old boy, stand up for the truth against a studied scholar in the Bible. We had many other challenges during the week also. The houses here are many times fenced in and one person owns the whole thing and then the others just rent out the houses. And we were kicked out of two of these places where we were teaching families. We were saddened by this, because we aren't entirely sure how we will continue to help these families now, but it was a testimony to me that we are doing the right thing. The truth always faces opposition. But just to kinda continue on with the theme of Joseph Smith, he has been on my mind a lot lately. And our Elders Quorum lesson was on him and I had even been reading in D&C about the letter that John Taylor wrote about his death. I was deeply touched by his testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I have truly gained a testimony of him and his role that he has played in my life. While we obviously don't worship him, we can revere his name as one of the great ones that has ever walked this earth. He truly brought about a marvelous work and a wonder that has changed my life and each one of yours. Because of what happened in 1820, our family will be together forever and because of what happened in 1820, we can one day live with our loving Heavenly Father again. How grateful I am for that wonderful man, who had the courage to stand up for what he knew was true, so that we could have these wonderful blessings today. 
Unfortunately, it looks like the baptism wont happen on the 25th anymore.. Its going to be pushed back a little bit into May it appears. Umm, monkeys aren't as common over here in our new apartment. Every once and a while we see them running on the streets though. And some of the families that we teach do have kids. We are kinda in the phase of finding some new families so we don't have a lot of solid families yet though. And Easter... oh how they celebrate Easter here.
They have a lot of very African churches here... like traditional. And the people love them. LOVE them. They all dress up in crazy clothes and walk around with sticks and then they go to church on Friday and don't go home until Monday. They just sing and dance and then the King here gives some speeches at the national stadium... The people get what the people want. Its hard sometimes to see something so sacred as Easter getting treated as a chance to just kinda dance and party. But, as the world drifts farther and farther from the truth, we must stand firmer and firmer in our faith.
I don't know exactly why I was sent to Swaziland, but I can say that in these last 9 weeks, I have grown and stretched and my testimony has become even more solid than before. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Sometimes he does things to us that we can't understand until its over. I feel like I'm starting to see a little bit, of why he sent me here. I hope you all had a great Easter and that April is going well for you. Its going by quickly. My time is running out. But I still have 9 weeks to serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I know that the Lord has a plan for all of us, including the wonderful people of Swaziland. In his time he will bring about his great designs, and how wonderful it is that he lets us be a part of it :) I love you all and hope you have a great week!!
Elder Lynn
PS we woke up early and went hiking on the mountain and made it to the top where we were able to take some really cool pictures of everything, including the valley down below where we live!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April 7, 2015

Our week went really well. On Tuesday, we didn't work at all. We spent the whole day moving. Wednesday, we did some more moving but we tried to work about half of the day. Thursday, about the same thing. So we had Friday, saturday, and sunday to really work. Saturday was a really good day for us and we found lots of new good families! we were really happy about that. The only bad part about this week was that when we were moving, i wore shorts and short socks. Well the place where we were at had lots of animals and bugs, and well I ended up getting bitten, over thirty times by some bug. I think it was fleas from the dogs at the old place. So I had some long itchy nights... Luckily its all better now. Now the flu has passed, the itching is gone, and I think I am healthy again :) Just a little tired haha. So i bought a white board and put it on our fridge and then now we write the "quote of the day"every day. Just funny things that are said during the days. So I will send the quotes of the days with stories for this email! To be continued....

One day, Elder Van Leuven made a giant pot of noodles and then had them all on his plate. And when he sat down to eat them, i just looked at him like really? and he just looks at me and says with a serious face "I can eat all these noodles" so i told him if he did, i would give him 10 rand. Needless to say, I never lost my 10 rand :) hahahaha

So at church on sunday, we are all together and President Masego, the Branch president is teaching about reverence and he wanted to talk about music and so he says, "What is the name of the church's choir again? Mormon helping hands?" hahahaha. I looked over at another member and he was just busting up laughing so at that point I couldn't hold it in any longer and I died laughing also. 

Nathi is the guy that works with me a lot, and he was helping us move. So we are all trying to work hard, meanwhile he is just on his phone and he just says, Elder come on let's just go already! I'm tired. hahahahaha. Classic Nathi. 

I forgot to take a picture of the other quotes but one of them was, "No man, we gotta convince President to get power curtains. These? These are not power."That would be another Nathi quote. For some reason he loves saying that things are power... it doesn't really make sense but we all say it. And the curtains in our house are about 2 feet to short, so when he walked in he just started laughing and then told us we need to convince president that we need new curtains because we are living in a power house and so we need power curtains. This morning he also walked into our house and we asked him how church was for him and he just laughs and says, "Elders, it was power. I was in Mbabane...that's power" haha. 

Another quote was from a lady yesterday... So she was quite drunk and kinda harrassing us and then she starts yelling at us saying things like...What you can't talk to me cause i"m drunk and i"m a sinner??? and so i said no, we can't talk to you because you won't remember the conversation tomorrow... and then she stops, stares at me and says, "tell me one word. any word and i will remember it tomorrow. In fact, I'LL TAKE IT TO MY GRAVE!!!" hmmmmm ok, "Rock,"I said. her-"Rock? what is the meaning?" so i bent down picked one up and then she looks at me and says, '" OHHHHH you are talking about the big ones now..." me-ummm sure....? and then her boyfriend came over, apologized and took her away.... hahahahaha. that was a funny quote of the day. 

SO that was our week in quotes! I hope you enjoyed! I love you all and I'll see you next week!

Elder Lynn