Monday, August 25, 2014

"they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his"

Hey family!

I love the Shadow Hills ward! These people are so great. The desert is warm, and there is a lot of sun and sand. Indio is awesome. There are many gated communities with nice homes. Everybody has beautiful homes. We also cover a small Indian Reservation in the corner of our area. Also, we drive a truck.

My new companion, Elder Fife, is awesome. He is near the end of his mission, but he has only been in the Redlands mission for a few months because he was one of the missionaries who was taken out of Ukraine because of the danger there. So, he speaks fluent Russian. 

Shadow Hills is a new ward, just made 2 months ago. Our Bishop is incredible. the members are excited to do work and reach out to friends. I am just excited and grateful to be here. This week we have been working to get to know the members because we're both new to the area. 

I have already seen miracles.

On Friday, we met Sam. He was baptized in Kentucky years ago, but lost contact with the church. He lives part time out here, part time out there. He started meeting with missionaries again a few months ago, but he just recently told them that he was already a member. He was afraid that missionaries wouldn't meet with him if they knew that. He's a funny guy. He is solid, and we'll be meeting with him more this week.

Saturday morning during personal study I had a feeling to study about Family History. I didn't know why. But I followed the impression. 
Then in the afternoon, we met Israel and Inri, while they were sitting in their garage. They are brothers, and they're neighbors of a member family that wasn't home. They were funny and gave us water. While talking with them, we learned they are from Mexico. I told them my grandparents were from Mexico too, and Israel said that the 2 places were very close. The Spirit reminded me about the things I studied about that morning. We talked about Family History. Inri looked at me funny and was like:

Do you think we are primos?

Not remembering what 'primos' meant, I thought for a second that I had somehow offended them. It was funny. They said we could come back to share more. 

That's all I have time for. I know that my Redeemer lives!


Elder Judd

Monday, August 18, 2014

"could we have supposed when we started ... that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?"

Malo le soifua!

It is transfer week. And I am leaving Samoa. And I am going to the desert.

I can't express everything that is on my mind and in my heart. These people have a home in my heart. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father and the experiences He has given me.

I will be going to the Shadow Hills ward, and I think it is in Indio. But I don't know for sure, and I don't know how to spell my new companion's name because I learned it over the phone. Elder Faif. I hope this is the way it's spelled because "Faife'au tala'i" means "missionary". Elder Holcomb is leaving too, and both Samoan wards will now be covered by a pair of Sisters. 

Anyway, this week was great. Many, many miracles.

We started teaching Emo and Su. They just moved in from Alaska and they are living with Emo's aunt and uncle, who are members. We actually met Emo on her 21st birthday, so we brought her cookies the next day. Su is Emo's boyfriend. They are awesome and came to church on Sunday.

Also, a long time ago we met a guy named Joe (We've taught a lot of Joe's). This is Joe P. He has daughters that live in McKinney. Joe said we could come back, and we did, and tried many times, but could never catch him. We ended up meeting his wife, his neice, and his son over time, but they all said to come back later. But we finally caught Joe again this week. He is an older man. He invited us in and we mostly tried to get to know Joe. We learned that his wife passed away 3 months ago. He misses her very much. He loves his family and the Lord. We invited him to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon and set a return appointment. Really, it was a small experience. But I am so excited for Joe because I know the Book of Mormon can change his life. 

We also met with Lea and Jordan again. Lea insists that she be baptized in our ward, and then she will attend the English ward in Redlands. She is awesome. She quit drinking coffee before we even taught that God has commanded us not to drink coffee.

We also brought a young man named Keli out with us to teach Lea and Jordan and he spoke sincerely about how keeping the Sabbath Day Holy has blessed his family. He said this and I could feel it was true: 

God will bless the other six days when we keep His day holy.

On Saturday there was the monthly Samoa temple day, where the Temple service is offered in Samoan. Like always, we met up with the ward at the Temple after they had finished serving in the temple and they went out with us to visit people. I love these people.

I am really excited to serve in the Shadow Hills ward. I am excited for the future. I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ!

Faith is always pointed toward the future!

Alofa atu,

Elder Judd


a bunch of people that I love. more description later.
Matapula family

Sai and Amy and their boys

Monday, August 11, 2014

"they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ"

Hey Family,

Every Wednesday night we have a ward missionary work night, and this week I went to see Uilisone. Uilisone is one of my favorite people. In the past, he would occasionally answer, only to speak to us through the screen door. but his heart has softened, and we were able to come inside and share a message. We talked about prayer. we asked him if he believed God listened to his prayers.

I was surprised by how sincerely he responded. He spoke about how he's prayed for his family to be provided for, and how he's relied on prayer when his family has struggled--like when he has had children pass away, or when he cannot find work. He does believe God is mindful of him.

Lea and Jordan are doing awesome. They live in Redlands, so we usually help them to find a ride for church. But right before church on Sunday,  Lea called us and told us that they were going to bike to a Redlands ward. As soon as we finished talking with her, we contacted the Assistants to the President to contact the missionaries in that ward so those missionaries would be looking for Lea and Jordan. We also prayed that they would have a good experience and that the members in Redlands would warmly welcome them and notice them. 

After church, we got a surprise call from the missionaries in Redlands. Lea and Jordan had an awesome experience. Many members noticed Lea and Jordan and smiled and greeted them. one family even invited them for dinner that day. They also had a great discussion in Sunday school.

They will probably begin meeting with the Redlands missionaries this week. It is awesome because we have been praying for a way to get them in contact with the ward out there. they will benefit so much more from a ward that speaks their language. Last week after church, Lea told us she needed Rosetta Stone. They are funny.

During Sacrament meeting yesterday, a family that I love sang a children's hymn. It was a mother and her 3 grown sons and some little cousins. The father of this family passed away years ago. The words of the song are simple and true, and I could feel it clearly as they sang.

For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I've learned this truth:
A family is forever.

I love you, family!

Elder Judd

Me and Elder Thompson, a really funny missionary that was in my zone last transfer.

Pictures from the doctor trip in the Desert.

Did you know the original Cozy Cone is in my area? The Wigwam Motel. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

"then cometh the time that ... he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still"

Talofa family,

On Friday, Elder Urry came to the Samoan wards with me for an exchange. I've always wanted to work with Elder Urry because people have mixed our names up several times and we've been told we look alike. He is a really solid teacher and a great missionary. It was an awesome day.

We taught Lea that night. I don't think I've written about Lea. But she is so solid. a family that I love invited her to meet with us. She had her son, Jordan, commit to be baptized in our first lesson with them. They are preparing to be baptized in September. But we taught them about Faith and Repentance. Lea understands doctrine so well. She always asks thoughtful questions and she has so much to desire to live right. 

On Thursday we had Zone conference and it was awesome as always. President Van Cott had invited us to invite recent converts to the conference to share their testimonies and conversion stories.

We invited James, who was baptized last September. We weren't sure if we should invite him at first, because he isn't that fond of speaking to large groups of people. But something told us we should invite him. He accepted the invitation. Then at the conference as he spoke, I felt an assurance that Heavenly Father wanted James there. 

Then on Sunday, James bore his testimony in sacrament meeting! He spoke about how he has felt the Spirit guide him recently. He said that when we first invited him to the conference, he wanted to tell us that he was busy or something and couldn't make it to the conference, but a little feeling pulled him to accept the invitation. He told the congregation that we do not need to fear, but rather trust the Lord. 

These words from President Monson pressed on my mind: 

Doubt yielded to faith. 

When we have the faith to do what is right, and to do good, and to do what God wants, He helps us.

On Saturday Siniva and her sister, Paris, were baptized. Her dad and several other brothers from the ward sang a Samoan hymn at the baptism, and the Spirit was strong.

Also, our pianist wasn't able to make it to the service. So I played. And I prayed. hard. Because I am really rusty. But it went well. Heavenly Father helped a lot.

I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Jesus Christ is alive today and leading the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. God is our Father and knows us by name. He loves us. 

I love you all! :)

Elder Judd