Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25, 2015

Bom dia family!
So, our week was an interesting one! Things got a little changed up! So, yes the plan was that I was going to get another companion and train him right? Well then I got a text from President the day before he came and he said, wait, i've changed my mind, call the elders in Mbabane and tell them that he is going to be with them. I can tell you that I was more than a little relieved to know I wasn't going to train again. Don't get me wrong, training is fun, but can be a little stressful. So we were going to just stay the same. Then I got another text from president later that night that said, elder, i'm thinking about some changes, let me pray about them and then we'll talk more tomorrow... so we waited. then about lunch time on tuesday he called us with the news. With the way some of the companionships were in the mission, he made some changes so that no one would have to walk in a trio. Therefore, Elder Willian was transferred to Beira on wednesday, the new elder went to Mbabane, and my new companion for the last 3 weeks is Elder Macanige from Beira! I finally get to serve with a mozambican! He was also Elder Galland's last companion haha. He has been on the mission for about 6 months and has been learning english and is doing really well. He is extremely funny and its been so nice to have a piece of mozambique with me again. He has been kinda thrown around to every branch in Swaziland so far but he's really positive and has a great attitude. One thing that I love about the mozambicans is their happy attitude and humility. He is no exception. His story is one that comes from a humble and tough beginning to where he came out to make it on his own. He is 23 years old and he is truly awesome. So, our week got a little bit changed up with that. You know, our branch has been struggling a bit in quite a few areas, and so its been nice to have him here because his branch was one of the worst in the mission, and now it went from what it was, to now two wards with a sacrament meeting attendance of around 200 people in both wards (all of this happened in the time that I have been here in Mozambique.) So its been nice to have him with his ideas and testimony of the power that the members really do have in the missionary work. So one of our ideas that we've had comes from a talk by Russell M. Ballard. Its titled "Be Anxiously Engaged." We want to create a new feeling of Christlike love and service throughout the whole branch and in ourselves. So in this talk, he gives a challenge, or a simple practice that he promises can change us. He says, "That simple practice is: In your morning prayer eachnew day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognizean opportunity to serve one of His precious children.Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faithand love, looking for someone to help. Stay focused,just like the honeybees focus on the flowers from whichto gather nectar and pollen. If you do this, your spiritualsensitivities will be enlarged and you will discoveropportunities to serve that you never before realized were posible." So, we've decided to go around and visit all the members and challenge them to do this same thing as we ourselves are also doing it. Our hope and prayer, is that as we do this, we will create a habit of always doing good and the Holy Ghost will guide us to people who will in turn be open to hear the gospel. I'm excited to see what new opportunities open up to us as we do this! In the talk he also compares doing these small acts of kindness and service as the honey bees contributing their small bit of honey. How it may not seem like much but as he says, "Great things are brought about and burdens are lightened through the efforts of many hands “anxiously engaged in a good cause.” And its true. We can do great things if all of us will work together and be anxiously engaged in a good cause. Something else that I read this week that really applied was a talk by Thomas S. Monson. We've been facing a lot of struggles lately. And at times it can be very easy to focus and what we don't have. How many investigators we don't have. How many lessons we aren't teaching. How many contacts we aren't getting. And so this talk was very timely for me. He says, "In the book of Matthew in the Bible, we have anotheraccount of gratitude, this time as an expression fromthe Savior. As He traveled in the wilderness for threedays, more than 4,000 people followed and traveledwith Him. He took compassion on them, for they maynot have eaten during the entire three days. Hisdisciples, however, questioned, “Whence should wehave so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so greata multitude?” Like many of us, the disciples saw onlywhat was lacking.

“And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye?And [the disciples] said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

“And [Jesus] commanded the multitude to sit down onthe ground.

“And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gavethanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, andthe disciples to the multitude.”

Notice that the Savior gave thanks for what they had—and a miracle followed: “And they did all eat, and werefilled: and they took up of the broken meat that was leftseven baskets full.”
Too often we are like the disciples who saw only what was lacking. But thankfully we have the Savior who always provides us with the perfect example showing us that when we look at what we do have and give thanks, the miracles will follow. He says also, "Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings." And so that is my new task for myself. To really look at and give thanks for what I have, not what I do not have. Maybe nothing drastic will change, but there is one thing that will change for sure, and that is that I will no longer have anything to be sad for because I will constantly recognizing everything that I have been given. We have so much to be thankful for and yet so little time to give thanks that we don't have time to complain about what we don't have. I know that as we try to become more like our Savior in at least these two simple ways, by rendering much service and giving thanks for all that we have, that our lives truly will be filled with a new light. The work of the Lord continues on... it truly does. It will never stop. I love it! Missionary work is the best kind of work. I'm going to cherish these last days that I do have, to say that I am an ordained missionary of Jesus Christ! I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Elder Lynn 

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18, 2015

Well hello family!
I sent a lot of pictures and hopefully over the course of the email I will explain them all! So like you already knew, we went on a safari with president kretly last week. It was so so fun. We got so insanely close to all the animals. They had zebras, gazelle, warthogs, wildebeest, crocodiles, and a few other animals that I don't know the name of. We drove through, taking pictures, stopping and getting out... Sister Kretly was super funny. She loved how close we could get to the zebras and at one point she was like, Paulo, get out of the car right now and take a picture of me with this zebra! she wanted a picture so bad haha. Then, we got to a rest area and had a big BBQ. While president barbequed, we threw a baseball and a football around. It felt so good to throw a baseball again. And then we all ate and had a really good time. The only thing was, the warthogs aren't afraid of people. In fact they can be kinda vicious. And they kept charging us and scaring us while we were trying to eat haha. After the big barbeque with delicious steaks, we got back in and drove back. Then we just had a normal week, but we were extremely extremely blessed. I'll come back to all that happened. But we had a leadership meeting on Thursday, and President was still here, so he had us come to his house for the meeting, just Elder Hunsaker, Dustin, Kitchen, and me. We went over, had the meeting via skype with the rest of the mission like normal and then when it was all over, he was like so what do you guys think? Should we have another BBQ?? Turns out he bought another mountain of steak and food so we got to hang out with president for a couple more hours and have another BBQ! Let me tell you, president knows how to cook a steak. We left there FULL. Then, Saturday, we helped out a member family with their garden. The wife is pregnant and so she can't do it on her own. So we went over and weeded her garden for her and then tilled up the ground a bit. That is us with her daughter. Her daughter loves us haha. Whenever we come over, she turns into a crazy little girl and just runs around everywhere. So, anyways, back to the work. We were extremely blessed to finally find some new families and also see the area continue to progress. It wasn't after a lot of weeks of sacrifice and prayer though that it did happen. It was a lot of tough weeks to finally have one good week. But I was reminded of a scripture that perfectly describes exactly how I felt after this week.
It comes from Alma chapter 36
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
 21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.
Clearly, I wasn't feeling pain so exquisite and bitter. But, I can testify that the more we suffer and sacrifice, the greater our joy can be. If we want to experience the joy that can take us up on the mountains, at some point we also have to feel the sadness that takes us down into the valleys. There was an interesting quote that I read this week. It's by Paul V. Johnson and he says, "We must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature." In other words, we shouldn't hate the trials, because its exactly those times that will help us to become more like our Heavenly Father. But that was our week. I really have gained such a great love for the words of our living prophet and other leaders of the church. I have so many quotes that truly can inspire us to be better people. So just a few quotes from my studies this week for you-
D. Todd Christofferson-
In all of this, God’s purpose is that we, His children, may be able to experience ultimate joy, to be with Him eternally, and to become even as He is. Some years ago Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: “The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.”1

Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us. Selfless acts of service and consecration refine our spirits, remove the scales from our spiritual eyes, and open the windows of heaven. By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answer to our own. -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort. - Thomas S. Monson
These are just a few of the quotes from my studies this week. I love you all and hope you have a great week!!


Elder Lynn

P.S. One other thing, so we were informed this week that the new mission president has been reassigned to a new mission due to health problems, so our new new mission president will be President Joni Koch. But because of the late notice, his VISA is still being processed and so president Kretly has asked that we all pray and ask our families to pray that his visa comes through on time.

The story behind the "behind" of the gazelle haha. So we're driving and president was like, 
do you see how his butt has an "M" on it? and we were like ya we can see. and he was
 like, well that stands for McDonalds. Its McDonalds for lions! hahaha. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015

Well, the big news is..... A lot of things changed in the mission... in fact every single house in the mission had changes. EXCEPT, our house. We all stayed the same. I will be finishing off my mission here in Ezulwini with Elder Willian and Elder Hunsaker and Elder Van Leuven in the house. It's pretty weird, the feeling knowing that I am going into my last transfer. It, doesn't really seem real. Umm zone conference was great though.. We had a long long day. We woke up at 2:30 am on tuesday morning, had some slight complications, but we arrived in mozambique relatively on time, and then had an awesome awesome zone conference. Probably the best one that I had ever been to on my mission. It was mainly focused completely on the atonement of Jesus Christ. The main theme was "An extraordinary missionary is motivated by a knowledge of the atonement of Jesus Christ and as a result he..." and then there were many different things that an extraordinary missionary should do as a result. It was absolutely incredible. I loved it so much. It was good to be back in mozambique. I felt like I was going home. I loved seeing everything again. It was nice to see the other missionaries again and what not. And it was strange because a lot were going home. So this transfer the mission lost 15 missionaries and next transfer when I go home, we are losing 16 more. Around 1/3 of our mission. And all of us were the leaders. Its scary, but also a time for the young missionaries to step up and take responsibility which is good. Anyways, we left zone conference and didn't end up getting home until around 11:15 pm and then we had to shower and get into bed so president told us to sleep in at least two hours to get some needed rest. Do you know how weird it was to sleep in past 6:30 am. That was the first time in almost 2 years! And it was awesome and much needed. We all drug for the rest of the week anyways, it was pretty hard on us but it was worth it because zone conference was amazing. We will be having one last one, the first or second week of June as ours and Presidents last zone conference. The rest of the week... well it was trying. We made a big push to really apply  all the things that we learned, and we feel like we got even more opposition. But we are really trying to just stay positive and do everything according to the will of the Lord. Something I realized last night is even when we have righteous desires, it may come down to the fact that its not in the right timetable of the Lord and so we just have to wait patiently. So that's what we are doing. Working hard and waiting patiently. I hope that all is going well for everyone else. I love you all and oh ya, I will be doing SKYPE on sunday at around 5:00 pm here. So if I am correct, the time difference is 8 hours right now and so that would make it 9:00 amthere. I hope that works out... I'm pretty sure you guys have 11:00 church so I'm hoping that all works out! I love you all!
Elder Lynn