Monday, December 29, 2014

"he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father"

Hey Family,

This has been a great week. On the days leading up to Christmas we went to many families and presented a "Live Christmas Card" in which we caroled and read the nativity story from Luke 2 and sang some more. It was great fun. And some friends later told us that the father of one family we went to "cried like a baby" after we left. 

On Tuesday we went to Redlands to serve in the temple. The last time I went to the temple was in February, so I was really happy for the opportunity. And while I was there, there were some missionaries from the Riverside mission just getting to the temple. One of them was Elder Haslem, whom I knew in the MTC. It was really cool to see him, after being split to different missions.

On Christmas eve we taught a man who struggles with schizophrenia and bipolarity and hyperactivity and other mental and physical challenges. Last week we gave him a priesthood blessing to strengthen him. When we saw him this week, he said:

I used to hear voices telling me to 'do this' or 'do that'. It's strange, but I haven't heard any voices since you guys gave me that blessing.

The priesthood power and authority is true! It's been restored!

On Christmas we had brunch with a great family in the ward. They fed us waffles and fancy scrambled eggs and bacon. Before we left we shared the Nativity Bible video. 

On Saturday we went to Highland for a mission conference. It was refreshing. I love reverently gathering as missionaries for a conference because I always come away edified and inspired with direction specific for my needs. And it was nice to see missionaries I love that I haven't seen in a long time.

I love you all! The gospel is true! It's going to be a GREAT year!

Elder Judd

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."

Merry Christmas, family!

It's been a good week. And we're going to the temple tomorrow so our preparation day is shorter today, so this will be a shorter letter.

We're teaching a man named John, whose wife is a member. he is awesome. He has been meeting with missionaries on and off for about 2 years. he understands everything well, and he believes it. But he has several things he still wants to do before making such a sacred covenant with God in baptism. And as we taught about prayer this week he told us that he doesn't think he's ever felt the Holy Ghost before and he doesn't feel like someone is listening to his prayers. But I know that his prayers are heard and answered!

We also helped organize care packages for the homeless at a church of another faith this week. It was fun!

We taught Ti and her boyfriend Neil this week for the first time. They are so great. Neil loved having us over and told us that he felt really good with us there. We're excited to teach them more.

The branch had a christmas party on friday and Neil and Ti came! Lots of food. 

Christmas is this week! We will be caroling and offering to share the Christmas story in Luke to everyone! Every should watch He is the Gift! watch and watch again and share and share again!

The branch President had asked me to read the christmas story from the bible in Samoan for the christmas program yesterday. I was nervous because there were lots of big samoan words. But I practiced and prayed and really felt heavenly father help me to do my best.

I love you all!

Elder Judd

Monday, December 15, 2014

"I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words"

Talofa family,

Really great week. I really love 29 Palms and the people here. I love my mission.

Transfers are this week, and I'm staying. Which I am really happy about, even though I didn't really expect to leave. There are just a lot of great things happening here.

We have a mission conference coming up at the end of December. It will be focused on the Savior (really, everything is) and becoming like him. And to prepare, President Van Cott invited us to study how Jesus prays to the Father and how He teaches. So I've been doing that and been trying to pray more earnestly and mightily.

On Saturday, the ward had a Christmas party/dinner. Lots of people showed up and we ate at a table with a family we really love. They had brought their neighbor's kids because they were watching them all weekend while the kids' parents were out of town. The kids had never heard the original Christmas story, so we shared it with them as we ate. It was fun.

On Thursday night we saw a young man standing on the side of the street in the dark. We had a strong feeling to talk with him. So we did. His name was Colby and he was from out of state, traveling the country for a contest. We talked with him and ended up talking about God and prayer and the Book of Mormon. Well just as we were about to give him a copy of the Book of Mormon, his friend, Nick comes up. Colby had been waiting for Nick. We talked with Nick too and he soon saw the Book of Mormon and seemed like he wanted to say something and then just said:

Hey, by chance, do you have another one of those?

We walked and talked on the way to the truck to get another and Nick said that a missionary had given him a copy once and he started reading it and really liked it, but then lost it. And he was excited that we had one. More happened, and we gave them a chapter to read and invited them to learn more. Because they are both from out of state, we will probably never see them again. But I can't put the whole experience into words. I just felt so good afterwards and during the whole thing. I felt so much love for Heavenly Father and I felt that the things I know and believe--the Savior, the book of Mormon, temples, everything--are so important. I felt like Lehi, when he said: how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth. It's true! I know it is. And I felt that there are people out there who have no idea about the things I have been raised up with. I felt just a sweet peace and joy that is hard to describe.

I know I won't always be a set-apart, full-time missionary. But I hope that I can continue to have faith to open my mouth to share the good news throughout my life. 


I love you family!

Elder Judd

Monday, December 8, 2014

"If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me."

Hello family,

Many miracles this week. Heavenly Father is so good to us.

Tuesday night we went to the town tree-lighting at city hall and sang Christmas hymns with the ward and branch. I love christmas and all the people here! 

Wedesday, went on an exchange with Elder Seright on the other side of 29 Palms. We were going along with our plans. But we both felt that we weren't where we needed to be. We stopped. Prayed. Adjusted and started again, but still felt off. Stopped again. Prayed more inside. A name, Andre, kept standing out to Elder Seright as he flipped through his planner. We went to Andre. He was home and outside, and his friend Faasavali was too. One thing led to another and we ended up teaching the Restoration and they want to learn more.

Thursday we had zone meeting and it was great. We were trained more about planning. I love planning! I have learned so much about planning on my mission that I hope to use throughout my life. GREAT meeting.

Sunday we went to the Christmas devotional. But just after we sat down and the choir was singing, it didn't feel right. It felt like we needed to be somewhere else. So we left. We didn't know where to go. But we prayed and then went to a potential that came to mind. He wasn't home, but we met a less active young man who lived next door. We had a great, brief visit and set a return appointment to teach his family. Then, the feeling was satisfied and we went back to the devotional to catch the closing prayer by President Durrant. Lots of Joy.

Love you all!

Elder Judd

Monday, December 1, 2014

"God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles"

Happy Thanksgiving, Family!

GREAT week. 

On Monday night some of our plans fell through, and long story, but we were biking and a taxi pulled over beside us. The driver asked if we were missionaries. Then he asked if we could meet with him this week. Found out he's a member of the church and has a lot of struggles and hasn't been to church in a while. God places us right where he wants us!

District meeting on Tuesday. It's funny because our district is just the 4 of us in 29 Palms, and we live together. But we still have district meeting at the church, because we are dignified. and we all love 29 Palms. It's a great district.

Thursday morning we went to Desert Hot Springs and helped feed the homeless at a nice church of another Christian faith. We had Thanksgiving dinner with the Panzarella and Tavai family. Just one dinner this year, and it was great. We also dropped off thank-you notes to families in the ward during the day.

Really Cool miracle on Wednesday. We were biking down a main road and passed an Auto Zone parking lot. We saw a man and woman fixing an Astro van. We had almost passed them, but something urged to us to pull over quickly and offer to help. We started to talk with the woman and she recognized us as being from the Mormon church. I had a hunch she was Samoan. She talked a lot and we listened and asked questions and she said she used to meet with missionaries about a year ago and was baptized in Samoa as a child. (Sadly, she speaks very little Samoan) Her name was Ti. She wanted to meet with us. Her name was really familiar to me.
I thought a lot about it, and at night I looked for an old letter from my good friend Sister Morris, serving in Reno, Nevada. I found the letter, and it confirmed that Ti was meeting with Sister Morris and her companion in Nevada, but then moved to somewhere in California.  Little did we know it was 29 Palms! There are no coincidences! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has been merciful enough to send me to the desert to 29 Palms and help me and my companion have the faith to open our mouths about His gospel! I love this place! And I know that God is mindful of me. And I know that God is mindful of you! None of us is lost to him. 

Jesus said:
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he cometh home, he calleth his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

Everyone should watch He is the Gift. Do it! Share it. It's great. You're great. You'll love it. 


Elder Judd