Monday, July 29, 2013

"Will ye not now return unto me ... that I may heal you?"

Hey people!

It has been a great, great week. I love the ward so much! the members are really catching the wave of missionary work, and it's awesome. every time we take somebody out teaching with us they tell us they feel so wonderful afterwards. It's the truth. there is no greater joy than the joy of the service of God.

We were able to teach a lot this week and were blessed with several great investigators. On Wednesday we taught a young guy named Hamad. He grew up in the Middle East but came to America when he was10. Such a great guy. Strong testifmony in the savior. but he is struggling to forgive himself of things that he has done in his past. He tells us that he will be baptized, but he's not sure when yet because he wants to be totally ready and feel forgiven. He's so sincere, it's the best.

On the same day, we were able to teach a new family and we took Bro. Nygard with us. Theresa is the grandmother of Jada and Lyndon, and she came to church last week. Jada is just old enough to be baptized, but Lyndon is a bit too young. He's got a lot of spunk. It's awesome. Theresa has met with missionaries a tiny bit in the past and has gone to church before. They love it. When they came last Sunday, Jada told Theresa, "This is it. This is the church we need to go to." So true. It is the church! We were able to teach them again Friday. I love these guys. Theresa reads the Book of Mormon to Jada and Lyndon, and they're so diligent. Mm. Love them. and I love the Nygard family. So so glad I've had the privilege to meet them.

On Saturday we met Randall. Randall is the son of Cheryl, the lady who has cancer. She had been telling us that Randall would come into town soon and that she desperately wanted him to be baptized. We finally met him and had a lesson with him and his fiance/girlfriend Dana. Randall is one of the most sincere people I've taught, and him and Dana committed to baptism. They were just in a car accident and Randall is in a neck brace. He has things in his past that he has a hard time forgiving himself for, but they just want to do the right thing now. They're sick of living lives of sin. 

Forgiveness has seemed to be a theme this week to me. It can be hard to forgive ourselves sometimes for the things we have done. But, that is the wonderful thing about the Atonement. The Lord has promised that though our sins be as scarlet, they will be as white as snow. We can be clean. We can be forgiven. We can start completely fresh through following the teachings of the Savior. It's possible. 

This Sunday was one of the best I've had. I was trying to be better at being "anxiously engaged in a good cause," and I learned that looking for opportunities to serve makes all the difference. Heavenly Father LOVES when we have desires to serve Him. So when we ask for opportunities to help, opportunities to share the gospel, opportunities to make people smile, etc, he WILL give them to us! We just have to do our part and take a step of faith forward, even when we can't see what's ahead of us. And he will be with us. He will bear us up through all things if we are willing to do his will. When we are on the Lord's errand, we are entitled to the Lord's help. That's a promise from God.

That's all I have for this week. :)
Elder Judd

*Editor's note: I (Hannah, Jacob's sister) was in Orange County this weekend visiting a friend, so we stealthily went to his apartment and heart attacked his door. He wasn't home as it was 2 in the afternoon, but my heart was racing the entire time! I didn't want him to catch me! Here's the proof:

Monday, July 22, 2013

"What marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy"

Hello sweet friends of the earth!
It's been such a great week. the weather's been great! And I really feel like I'm becoming a representative of Jesus Christ.
On Tuesday we had our District Meeting and then we grabbed lunch at a sushi place before we drove to interviews with  Pres. Van Cott in Highland, CA. Elder Buers loves sushi and has been begging me to try it since i got here. first time ever... it was pretty good. Haha. Anyway, the interviews went great and I chatted with Sis. Van Cott while i waited. She gave us a dvd that shows how doing family history work has blessed families and stakes and has helped people to gain/regain their testimonies of the truth. I'm excited to use them to help members "catch the wave". 
That night we had a guy, Brother Rogers, come out to teach with us. Our appointment fell through, then our backup, and our backup to our backup fell through. so we parked and thought about where to go. A lady named Cheryl came to mind. she is a member who has been really sick with cancer. when we brought her up, Bro. Rogers was like, "oh yeah, my wife is her visiting teacher," so it was perfect. We dropped by her home and found out that she was in much worse condition than before. We talked and gave all the counsel of comfort that came to our minds. then we gave her a blessing. It was a really powerful experience, especially for bro. Rogers. I love bringing members out to teach because it reminds them of the joy they experienced on their mission and strengthens their faith in the process. I also love the plan of salvation. It's so true! Because of the Savior's great sacrifice and love, death is not the end. We can live with our families for eternity if we are faithful to the commandments of God.
On Friday we had another cool experience. Last week, a guy in the ward named bro. Shoemaker went around his neighborhood and gave away apples he had picked from his own apple tree. With each apple he would give away a pass-along card on which he'd written the address of the church building and the time of our church tour. He talked to many people, and he gave us the address of a man, Lee, who had a lot of questions. we stopped by Lee's house and he let us in. We were able to teach a bit of the plan of salvation and answer some questions. It was so cool. Such a great guy. But it's so wonderful to think that members don't have to have some crazy, over-thought plan to invite others to listen to the missionaries. "By small and simple means are great things brought to pass"! All that matters is that the invitation is from the heart, with love. the Savior and his spirit will take care of the rest.

I know that Savior loves each of us. His gospel is the only way to access true and lasting happiness, and only in and through His name can we be saved and exalted. This is his work, and I am so grateful to serve him. :)
Elder Judd

Monday, July 15, 2013

"whosoever putteth his trust in Him the same shall be lifted up"

Friends! Romans! Countrymen!
There's no place I'd rather be than the great land of Redlands. This week was grand. And sunny and warm. I'm getting tanS! ...Watch tans, ctr ring tans, all kinds of tans. The sun is always shining, but I think monsoon season is approaching.
On Monday we had dinner with Richards family, and went to Bishop Rowley's (pronounced "Roll-ee") house afterwards. We shared a video called "Hector preaches the gospel" and I got to know his family, and they are so great. I love this ward. The Rowley family is kinda big, so they have a big van like the Ogletrees. the license plate says "RLYPLY" haha. And Bishop Rowley reminds me a lot of Dad. He started his misson in Texas somewhere, but was switched to Spokane, WA after going home for medical reasons. It's complicated, but i was so excited to hear he served in Spokane! They also have a son who studied Nutritional Science for preMed, which was cool.
On Tuesday night we taught a dental student named Joe. He's a really cool guy and was interested in becoming more spiritual. it was a such a great lesson, and we had a priest with us who testified about the first vision. Really great experience, and we committed him to reading the Book of Mormon.
On Wednesday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders, Elder Alo and Elder Daines. Elder Alo came with me and I had to take over the area for the first time. I was kinda nervous at first, but it turned out to be a really great day. we taught a lady named Dianne, whose daughter is a convert to the church. she commited to baptism and to reading the Book of Mormon. We also taught Laura. we had planned on teaching the Plan of Salvation, but we felt like reading a chapter of the Book of Mormon with her b/c she hadn't been reading. We read Ether 12. The spirit was so strong. We testified about why we need faith and hope in Christ to be an anchor to our soul, especially when we go through hard times.
After her lesson we went to go get an oil change for "Tom", our Chevy Cruze. ;) it ended up taking way longer than we thought it would, so we walked from the car place to go get lunch, then walked toward potential investigators' homes. We were pretty far from any homes/apartments, so it ended up being a long walk with not much people to talk to. But it was really great. I really go to know Elder Alo. He's from the same place as Elder Taylor, and he's a great missionary. I'm really grateful to have such great mission leaders. I learned a lot from that exchange. Also, while we were walking we ran into a guy named Zachariah who said he didn't believe in God . He said that "if God existed, why would he let such bad things happen in the world?" I thought about that a lot for the rest of the week.
On Thursday we had a mission-wide trainer/trainee meeting. it was really great to hear from res. Van Cott again. I love that guy. And it was cool because that morning I had been studying Ether 12  in my personal study, then he talked about Ether 12 in the meeting! Coincidence? I think not.
On Friday we had more exchanges with the Pioneer ward. I went with Elder Harline and we were on bikes (my first time! :o! ). He's a funny guy. He's from monument, CO and knows the Bodily's pretty well. He's also cousins with Johnny Harline (*editor's note: FYI on Johnny Harline-- he has a place in BYU Cougar history for catching the game-winning touchdown from his knees to beat Utah in 2006). I learned a lot from him too.
Sunday was the best. we're really getting to know the members and i'm trying hard to learn everyone's names. We went to the Nygard's home for dinner. They just moved here from Seattle. But, I found out that Bro. Nygard is from Wenatchee, WA, and Sis. Nygard is from Spokane, and they lived in Cheney for a bit (areas where Sis. Emily Judd is serving). They are so awesome. SO awesome.  Bro. Nygard ran track at WSU and ran in the 400m hurdles in the PAC-10 championships, WHILE HE HAD CANCER. Boom. And he also wrestled. Cool family. Young family. I'm excited to work with them more.
Overall, the work is hard, but "salvation isn't a cheap experience". I know that the savior knows exactly how we feel in every part of our life. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. He wants us to return to live with him. He knows that we struggle and that it isn't easy, but that is why we have the Savior"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
I know that my redeemer lives. I know that he loves us perfectly.
Elder Judd


Monday, July 8, 2013

"Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee... I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands."

Sweet friends of the earth!
Everything is so great in Redlands, CA. So sunny all the time, and so beautiful. This week has been great. we got to meet Pres. Van Cott and his family and they are all so great! they also lived in Dallas for a fews years. They brought a lot of new improvements to the mission, and I'm so excited to work with them more. The work is changing so much everywhere! New dress code! Khaki pants! :) And no backpacks. I need to get a satchel soon haha. With the announcements the Quorum of the 12 apostles made, Pres. Van Cott has also decided that we won't be tracting in the Redlands mission. so we're reeally dependent on the members to do most of the finding.
On the 4th of July our ward had a pancake breakfast that the Boyscouts put on. So good. The rest of the day was pretty normal and we planned for the next week in the evening.
On Saturday a boy named Richard was baptized. It was so great to see how happy he was. I gave a talk about the Holy Ghost and played the piano for the program. Shout out to Sis. Hammond for being an amazing teacher! :) We also had a church tour on Saturday. It was our first time to put one together, and we were so excited. we set everything up, but our investigator didn't come. :/ but it was a great learning experience, and we now know what things we can do better.
Everyday I feel closer and closer to the savior, and I know that this work is his work. I know we have a Heavenly Father who loves us more than we could imagine. He knows us personally and perfectly. He knows our struggles, and he is always working to help us. It's just up to us to let him help us by being obedient to what he asks, and relying completely on the Savior to heal and strengthen us. Obedience lets the blessings flow freely! :)
Elder Judd

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Come unto Him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto Him"

Editor's note: sorry for the typos in the last letter I sent for Elder Judd. I didn't spell check. And he has dinner with members every night, not friends!
Sweet friends of the earth!
This week has been so great! the CA Redlands mission officially opened up on Friday. I love this place and the people.
On my first day in the field, my first lesson was with a lady named Monica and her daughter who was just baptized, Gabie. They had invited their neighbors to join in, and that's when we met Laura and Danny. They accepted the invitation to be baptized that day, and we've started to teach them. They are so awesome. They also came to Church on Sunday! They really liked it, which is awesome.
We also had a going-away testimony meeting with Pres. and Sis. Smart this week, and it was really powerful. It's so great to see all the strong missionaries who have been serving for a long time. I'm grateful to have a companion like that.
I've learned a lot about being patient with myself, my companion, and this great work. It's definitely all a process. But I know it's the Lord's work. Everytime I read from the Book of Mormon it makes my day so much better, and I know He is with me. 

(Sorry again for the short letter)
Love you all,
Elder Judd