Monday, June 8, 2015

"And now ... I would ask if all is done?"

Dear family and friends,

There is so much in my heart right now. It is hard to put it all in words. It has been such a great week.

On Wednesday I went to the temple with President and Sister Van Cott and the other departing missionaries. I love the temple!

This week we made another new friend. I'll call him Brad. After facing a difficult change in his life, Brad found himself chatting online with missionaries. They referred him to us, and we began teaching him. We LOVE Brad. As we began teaching him he said:
I know that it's not a coincidence that I'm here with you guys. I need this right now. I even had a dream of this moment, with a park table, and 2 guys like you, and a tree in the back, just like I see it right now.

We had a lesson with another man I'll call David, who is not a member of the church. David loves music and is great at singing, so we decided to sing "I'm Trying to Be like Jesus" with him at the beginning of the lesson. Just as we finished, we heard a surprise from the kitchen:
Another! ... 'I Am a Child of God'.
We could not hold back the smiles. It was David's wife, who has never joined us for a lesson and is also not a member of the church. We learned she had been to an Inside-ut concert some time ago and had always wanted to know how the real version sounded. We fulfilled her request; the Spirit filled the room. 

On Saturday I went to the baptism of one of my favorite people in Indio. When I asked him what his college plans are he said: I'm going on my mission first.
It was such a great, great thing to hear.

Thank you to those who have supported and encouraged me throughout my mission with emails, letters, and gifts. I have felt love from heaven through you.

Tomorrow I fly home. I am so grateful for my mission. Heavenly Father has been so good to me. I am so grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Father in Heaven loves us. Jesus is the Savior of the world. Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is true. I know these things are true!


Elder Judd

Monday, June 1, 2015

"for the learning and the profit of my children"

Dear Family,

This week at church we taught the Primary children about the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. We sang songs and shared stories. I think it was the first time I've been to primary since I left primary, and I loved it.

Last week we taught a man about the Word of Wisdom. He commit to live it and he said he would throw out his coffee pot that day. Surprised, his friend said: 

Really? You're going to give it up just like that?

The man turned to us:
It's a requirement for baptism, right? Then I'm doing it.
His determination to be clean surprised us. Several days later, we remembered how he had been on our prayer lists with this need: Desire to be baptized. Miracle of prayer!

On Wednesday we had a mission conference in which we were introduced to the use of new technology for missionary work, like mobile devices and online proselyting. There is so much good to come for this rising generation of missionaries.

At the conference, I also learned that some of my favorite people in Indio and 29 Palms will be baptized this week. It makes me so happy!

I love you all,

Elder Judd

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"angels did minister unto him daily"

Dear Family,

I am so grateful for my mission. I am grateful for Elder Gunter and for all of my companions and all the wonderful experiences Heavenly Father has given me in my mission. It was a really really great week.

Here are some miracles:

On Wednesday after dinner we stopped by a few members in a certain area to give them prayer lists (small lists of people we are teaching and their needs, so people can pray for them). On the way, we met a small group of people talking outside of their home and digging a walkway. We talked with them and they agreed to learn more about the Restoration. (It was fun, because it's not often that we get to talk with large groups of people at a time. It felt like a street meeting, almost)
Well, we began teaching the couple that owned the home and we love them. They have such solid faith! After our second lesson, the husband told us:

You guys are like angels. I mean, growing up, I would see you different places and other people would joke about you guys or say rude things. But I've always seen you as angels.

I love the privilege I have to be on the Lord's errand, serving and teaching in His behalf.

On Sunday morning we went to visit several of our friends to remind them about church and help them get there. After stopping by a certain man in a certain complex, we began to head back to our car. Just as we were getting in we noticed a man and his son several houses down the street. A strong feeling told both my companion and me:
Invite them to church too.

So we went to them. The man was now inside, and the boy began shooting us with his toy gun, which made laser noises. From outside their chain link fence we called through their open front door: Hello!
Eventually the wife came and asked: What do you want?
The husband now came out too, carrying a big box. We invited them to church, and they politely declined and said they were moving. We offered to help them pack and move, and they again declined. Something kept pulling us to keep talking with them, so we did. The wife now inside, we talked with the husband by the fence gate. Then, the man confessed:

Yeah, I actually know about you guys, and Mormons. Because, I was actually baptized Mormon.

We learned that he had joined the church, and his whole family too, some years ago. He began meeting with missionaries after they knocked at his door. He decided to be baptized after having a powerful dream that told him personally that it is all true. But, years after baptism, his family faced difficulties and divided, a new job pulled him away from the sacrament on Sundays, and he fell away from his faith.

We did not know any of these thingsbut God did. It is our Father in Heaven who sent us to the man and his family. He knows us by name and loves us! I know that He is aware of us!

I love you all,

Elder Judd

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me"

Dear Family,

Another great week. 

On Tuesday we had a zone meeting. The focus of the meeting was Matthew 28:19-20.

On Wednesday we went to the hospital to visit several different people to administer priesthood blessings. One of them was a woman who only spoke Spanish, so we had a member translate for us and give the blessing.

On Friday we went to see a certain family. They are from another country with another language and have no background with Christianity. They are so friendly and we love them. We obtained a copy of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ in their language. We explained Moroni's promise to the mother and a son at the doorway. As the boy translated for us, he became excited and said:

Momma! The God will answer! The God will answer us!

His excitement excited me. It's true!

On Saturday, on our way to see the same family, we met a woman who stood by the side of the road, waiting for a friend to pick her up. We talked with her and she told us about her family. As we spoke with her, she told us of the concern she has for one of her sons who is facing difficulties. She paused, tears formed, and now struggling to speak, she said:

I have so much in my heart right now, and I feel like I just need to talk to someone. And something--God, I think--is telling me to talk to you. I feel like God sent you here to me.

God did send us to her! He cares about her. He cares about you. I love the words of the prophet Spencer W. Kimball:

God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.

I love you all,

Elder Judd

Monday, May 11, 2015

"I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand"

Dear Family,

It was great to talk with you yesterday.

Here are some great experiences from this week:

We taught a man this week about one of God's commandments which many people struggle to keep. At the beginning of the lesson, we shared the Mormon Message Reclaimed. He then shared his thoughts and told us:

Every time I to church, or you guys come, or you bring a someone with youI get exactly what I need in that moment. 

The Holy Ghost works in our lives when we have the faith to listen. I know that Heavenly Father knows our needs better than we do.

We also began teaching an older gentleman who's neighbor is a member. His neighbors invited him to listen to the missionaries. We could feel a great love for him as soon as he opened the door and let us in. He was frank with us:

I've just agreed to listen. I'm only doing this because of that young woman across the street. She is very loving and kind, and so is her family. So, I'm doing this because I love and respect them.

I love missionary work and member missionary work. This is all so fun. Hearts change and people change everyday. 


Elder Judd

Monday, May 4, 2015

"do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy"

Dear family,

Many miracles this week. I love serving with Elder Gunter. He has such great optimism and faith and testimony.

On Thursday a member brought us to Five Guys for dinner. Just as we left and were heading to the parking lot, a young man came out after us and stopped us. His family had been eating at a nearby table. He asked:

Are you Mormons?
Who do Mormons believe Jesus Christ to be?
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world.
Is Jesus God?
He is God the Son.
Is Jesus the same being as the Father?
God the Father and Jesus Christ are 2 separate beings.

Then, without hesitation, Elder Gunter told them (the boy and his family) Joseph Smith's experience of seeing Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

I felt the power of the Holy Ghost as he spoke and as I added my testimony. The boy asked other questions too. The thoughtfulness of his questions impressed me. He and his family wanted to learn more. It was an unexpected miracle.

Other great things happened too, but that's all I have time for. 

I love you all!

Elder Judd

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him"

Dear Family,

This has been a great week. This will be a short letter.

Transfers are this Wednesday. Elder Raff is leaving to the desert. We're sad because we had a lot of fun serving together. Elder Raff is an incredible missionary. But this is going to be another excellent transfer. My new companion will be Elder Gunter.

On Tuesday we saw Job again. We seriously love to teach him. We pray that our simpleness and the plainness of the Book of Mormon touch his heart. He has so much faith.

Thursday was my birthday. It was excellent. Stan's girlfriend's stepfather took us out to lunch at Del Taco and gave me a brand-new KJV Bible Concordance. I won't be able to use it until I'm home, but I love it. Some of our favorite members took us to Macaroni Grill for dinner. 

We also had an excellent lesson with a man I'll call Dylan. He's been taught everything multiple times in the past, but we started teaching him a couple weeks ago. We felt to start reading the Book of Mormon with him from the beginning. We feel changes are happening in his heart, because he was more engaged and asked good questions about the Book of Mormon--like:
Who are the Nephites?
What time period is the Book of Mormon?
What's the difference between the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses?

On Saturday we helped with the local Mormon Helping Hands service project. We helped replace old wood with new wood in bleachers at some baseball fields. 

Then, I had the privilege to head back to 29 Palms to see the baptism of a good friend of mine. They had a great musical number and the baptismal service was very well put together.

I have a mix of emotions about beginning the final transfer of my mission. The most prominent feeling is a desire to serve the Lord with ALL my heart, might, mind, and strength. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. I love the Book of Mormon. I love this work. It's all true.


Elder Judd

Cookies & Cream ice cream from Elder Teichert and Elder Hall at the end of the day, after they heard me say in the morning that I had dreamed the night before that I had eaten cookies n' cream ice cream and woken up to realize it was just a dream.

Me and a great young man in the ward

Elder Seright, our friend, and me