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

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Ponder anew What the Almighty can do"

Dear family,

Great things are happening here. 

Last Monday night we went to pick up a young man to come with us to a lesson. Sadly, the young man wasn't home. But on the way, we met his neighbor, whom I'll call Job. Job was unloading large pieces of an shed he is going to build. We offered to help later in the week, and he accepted.
When we got to the appointment, our friend that we were going to teach needed to reschedule. At the same time, our next appointment texted and cancelled too. This left us with just over an hour of open time. 
What a blessing! Because in our hearts we had wished that we could have helped Job right when we met him! So we went back to Job.

We helped Job and his wife carry the rest of the large metal pieces to their backyard, and while we worked, we talked. We learned that Job was a pastor in his faith for 30 years, and that he had met with missionaries years ago in another part of California. He has read the Book of Mormon. He and his wife were very grateful for our help, and Job said he would be willing to meet with us again. 

We taught him the next night. Job has many great questions. We love teaching him. And we love him. And we feel a great love the Heavenly Father has for him, so we're excited to teach him more.

We had several exchanges this week, which were really fun. First, I went with Elder Pierce (side note: his first companion was Elder Langi, whom I love) in his area. We taught a man from Myanmar-Burma. He is eager to learn, but unfortunately there is not yet a Burmese translation of the Book of Mormon or other church materials and he still has great difficulty understanding English. He showed us his English-Burmese dictionaries--three thick volumes. And nobody else around here knows Burmese--only his son, who only understands just a little. His son told us:
Thank you for visiting him. He loves it. He talks about you guys all day.
Our hearts were pulled for his situation. I just felt a lot of love for him, so I wanted to write about it.

I love to think that if somehow I can feel great love for people that I don't know very well--how much more does our Father in Heaven love us?
He knows all things!

I love you all,

Elder Judd

Monday, April 13, 2015

"dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power"

Dearly beloved family,

Here are some great things that happened this week:

On Wednesday we helped with an annual international bike race. We were "Race Marshals" and stood at a street corner to mostly make sure traffic didn't get in the way of the race. It was fun, and when we didn't have people to talk with or traffic to direct or racers going by, we read the Book of Mormon.

Also on Wednesday while driving between planned activities, we saw a small family loading something big onto the bed of a truck. Led by the Spirit, we pulled over, not knowing beforehand what we should do or say. Sadly, they were done with the load. But we made good conversation with the mother of the family. We soon learned that they used to attend a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in San Bernardino for a little while. But they just moved to another part of town. They happily accepted the invitation for missionaries to come to their new home to teach them the restored gospel. They even had friends and family that they wanted missionaries to visit. The whole experience was invigorating. And as we drove to our next plans, we remembered how we had specifically prayed that morning that we would have the spiritual sensitivity to recognize the subtle promptings of the Spirit and have the faith to do whatever it led us to do.

Also on Wednesday, we were asked to give our neighbor a priesthood blessing. She is a sweet woman that we see daily and she gives us treats from time to time. She makes GREAT guacamole. She is not a member of the church, but the sisters teach her. She has been mysteriously sick for the last several weeks, and she didn't know what else to do. So, as James suggests, she called for the elders. It was a sweet experience, and afterward, we asked her how she felt. She told us:

When you put the [consecrated] oil on my head, I had a warm feeling go through my whole body--and not just on my head. 

The priesthood of God has been restored to the earth!

Yesterday, we had another great lesson with the Lee family. We read the Book of Mormon with them. They were at 1 Nephi 4. Sister Lee was not raised with the restored gospel, but Brother Lee was. So when Sister Lee had questions, Brother Lee would explain the whole story in his own words. I loved it. I could feel Heavenly Father's infinite love for them. The Book of Mormon is so good for us!

I love you all,

Elder Judd

Me, Elder Raff, Elder Van Dyke, Elder Teichert

There was so much fog on the drive up and down

Our hike last Preparation day

                                   The geo-cache at the top

Monday, April 6, 2015

"they poured out their thanks to God because he had been merciful unto them, and eased their burdens"

Dear family,

On Wednesday we helped a couple in the ward move some things out of their attic. The husband was recently baptized. They had their Samoan friends there to help them, and we had great conversation as we worked. They aren't members of the church, but have family who are. My Samoan is rusty (not that it was ever spectacular) but it was fun to talk with them. They took us to Costco for hot-dogs for lunch.

Stan is tearing through the Book of Mormon. He just finished 2 Nephi, and his pages are thoroughly marked. He loves it. And we love Stan.

General Conference was excellent! I really liked the talks by Elder Oaks, Elder Ballard, and Elder Pearson. And others. I am grateful that we have living Prophets and Apostles.

I am also grateful for the Book of Mormon. I want to read it everyday, everyday, everyday! throughout my life! When I am consistently in the Book of Mormon, I feel more direction and purpose in my life. I feel less stressed. I feel more capable. I feel that I can better recognize Heavenly Father's hand and voice. I love the Book of Mormon and my Savior, Jesus Christ.

I love you all,

Elder Judd

Monday, March 30, 2015

"and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord"

Dear family,

So many great things happened this week. I really love serving in Loma Linda again. I just love my mission. Missions are so great. And I love you all.

I'll just kind of spill out some great things that happened this week:

On Friday, we were walking between appointments and we saw a lady sitting on a plastic lawn chair outside of her apartment. We went up and started talking with her. Then we stopped talking to her--because she could not hear. She motioned that she was deaf, and that we needed to write to her. I'll call her Dawn.

We spoke with her thru the spare room of the pages of our planners. A silent, 10 minute conversation. She told us she used to meet with Elders in Riverside, but church became too far. We invited her to our friend's baptism on Saturday and gave her a Book of Mormon to read. She excitedly accepted.

We went to work calling members to find someone who could give Dawn a ride and someone that knows ASL. We found both. 

Then we came to her place with the ride at 7:30pm on Saturday, and could not get an answer. We knocked and waited, and knocked and waited. We feared she could not hear us. Time until the baptism almost gone, but we prayed that she would hear us, and we felt to stay and knock again. Finally, she peaked thru the window and found us at about 7:55. She got ready real fast and we drove to the baptism, which started at 8:00. As we drove (separate cars), we prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for helping Dawn to know we were there. We also prayed that somehow we would would make it to the baptism service in time for Dawn to witness the baptism ordinance. 

We arrived at 8:20 and walked in as a woman gave the final words of her talk and they opened the curtains for the baptism font. We made it. Dawn loved it. And afterward she had an excellent conversation with the interpreter we called.

Last week we met a family that recently moved in from another country. They haven't been to church actively in years. I'll call them the Lee family.  We began teaching the Lee's this week, and they also had us over for dinner. At dinner, Sister Lee told us about how she has been struggling with headaches with her pregnancy and other challenges. She said that last week she went to her room and cried and prayed for help. She also prayed for a church to which her family could go. The next day we knocked at their door. 

I know that there is no person of which He is not infinitely aware. 

We also had a mission conference with Elder Brent Nielsen on Saturday. He will be speaking in General Conference on Sunday! Everyone, watch General Conference!

And the new Easter video BecauseHeLives was released! Everyone, watch it. And share it. And watch and share it again! 

I love you all,

Elder Judd

Monday, March 23, 2015

"my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me"

Dear family,

I love serving in Loma Linda again. Sometimes throughout the day, I re-realize that I'm here again and I get really excited and it is just really fun. We've already seen many miracles.

On Wednesday, just after I moved in from 29 Palms, we went to see a woman that came to church on Sunday who hasn't been coming regularly for a long long time. A man answered the door. He welcomed us in, sat us down, and immediately began telling us his religious background. He told us he is now really interested in learning everything about Mormons, and he has questions, and just wants to listen to what we teach. I'll call him Stan. We LOVE Stan. Stan was the boyfriend of the woman, and he also came to church. He had already started reading the Book of Mormon, and we started teaching him the next night.

Here's one cool experience with Stan: For the past while, Stan has been trying to rebuild his standing with God. On Thursday he said that while he was in the Del Taco drive-thru he broke down and cried in his heart:
God, I'm just not sure if I can hear you. I'm not sure if I can hear you.
That night, we started teaching him. Stan told us that some of the first things we said seemed to bring an overwhelming feeling of peace as if God were speaking directly to him:
You can hear me. I am right here. You can hear me.

On Saturday, we had prayerfully planned to visit a certain man at a certain time. We parked down the hill so we could walk and talk with people. Just across the street from where we parked, another man had parked, and was picking small fruit from a tree. We called out to ask what kind of fruit it was. We began talking with him and introduced ourselves and he said knowingly: I already know you.
Then, I remembered him. It was Lee! A man that Elder Buers and I taught only once. Soon after, we lost contact with him. He said that he's moved since then and has been working in other parts of California. And he said that he was actually just thinking about us last week and that he only came in town that day to look for a new home. 

God is aware of us. I know He is. Even when we feel small, or weak, or neglected, or unloved, or unimportant--we matter to Him. He will never forget us. He is in the details of our lives!

I love the gospel. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. I love the Book of Mormon. I am so excited for General Conference. Everyone, watch it. 


Elder Judd

Pictures: With friends in Loma Linda

Monday, March 16, 2015

"What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?"

Dear family,

It's transfer week, and I'm leaving. I'm filled with a mix of emotions. I love 29 Palms so much. I love the people here. I am so grateful that my Father in Heaven has sent me here to learn and to serve Him. I am sad to leave.

But on the other hand, I am very excited for where I am going. Loma Linda! Back to Loma Linda! The place where I began my service as a missionary. And I'll be with the great Elder Raff, whom I love, and whom I served around when he began his mission in the Rialto area. This just feels like a great opportunity to redeem myself of the missionary work I did when I really didn't know much about missionary work. I just want to give everything I have in the remaining time I have as a missionary. So, I'm excited. 

Well, here's more from 29 Palms:

Our friend Paul hasn't chewed tobacco all week! We are so happy!

This week we taught a young man man I'll call Chris. Chris's member friend invited him to meet with us, and he accepted. He is from the Philippines. In a lesson with Chris this week, we taught about prayer. Chris told us that it has been a while since he has really prayed. And he has been struggling with things that he knows Heavenly Father wouldn't want him to do. As he spoke, some tears came:

I don't feel worthy to pray. ... I feel bad that I haven't been speaking with Heavenly Father.

Earlier in the week, we also started teaching a man I'll call Noah. For the last several years, Noah has turned against worshiping Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ. Difficult circumstances have led him to feel an anger towards them. But we knelt in prayer at the end of the lesson. Noah prayed. It was simple. And after about 2 sentences, he paused. He was finding it hard to speak. We waited. He continued briefly and ended the prayer. Now with tears in his eyes, Noah looked to us and said:

Every time I do that, I know that I'm doing things that I shouldn't be doing, and it makes me want to cry. I know I need to do that more.

There is power in prayer. I know there is. I know that Heavenly Father listens to our prayers--no matter who we are, no matter where we are, no matter where we might have been, no matter if we feel like He loves us or not. He listens to us. He loves us. I know He does. 

Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don't forget to pray.

I love you all,

Elder Judd

Pictures: Me with friends

Monday, March 9, 2015

"The iron rod is the word of God; 'Twill safely guide us through"

Dear family,

Many many miracles this week.

On Wednesday, I was on an exchange with Elder Grigg. He's really good at teaching simply and powerfully, and it was really fun. Here's a cool miracle from the day:
in our planning on Tuesday night, we felt a clear prompting to visit a certain less active man as a backup to our lesson at 3:00. Well, the appointment fell through and we went to our backup plan. As we walked through the complex toward the place, we met a young Marine with a dog with a cone of shame. We talked with him. he accepted our invitation to learn more. After, we knocked at the less active man's door and he wasn't home.

There are no coincidences! This is the work of God.

We're teaching a young man I'll call Jason. Jason is awesome, and he has been coming to sacrament meeting for about a year now. He is now preparing for baptism. But he has yet to come to the other 2 hours of church. So we had members ready on Sunday to greet him and invite him to stay, and he hesitantly stayed for Sunday school. He enjoyed it. But just after that class was about to leave before the priesthood meeting. We caught him and did our best to persuade him to try it out. Sadly, he declined and left. So we started toward the next meeting. 
Then a voice came from behind us: Okay, what is this meeting like? 
Jason stayed! And he really liked it. And we were really happy.

One of our favorite people has been so solid and been embracing the gospel. But on Saturday night some friends introduced him to some information designed to destroy his faith. He ignored most of it, but he called us and told us he was really struggling with some of the things. He felt that he did not want to look into the gospel anymore.

We prayed so much that night and throughout the next day for him. We felt that we needed to focus on the Book of Mormon. We prayerfully prepared a lesson. We felt to read 1 Nephi 8 with him. As we read, there was a visible change in his countenance. He said he felt a weight lifted from him. 

We were filled with so much joy and relief and peace. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon because, with the Spirit, it changes hearts.


Elder Judd
A cool cactus named "Cholla"

Monday, March 2, 2015

"if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief"

Dear family,

Another great week. There have been some sad moments, as a few have decided not to continue to learn. But there have also been some exciting miracles, and we have met some really great people who want to learn.  I love my mission.  I have felt so much joy lately. 

On Saturday, I went to Yucca Valley for another exchange with Elder Tingey. It was excellent, as usual.  We taught a high school student I'll call Dante. Some back-story:
A few weeks ago we had a powerful stake conference which boldly inspired members to invite their friends to meet with missionaries to learn about the gospel. A young woman felt to invite her friend Dante. So she invited him that week. Dante now loves the gospel. He has since said:
This has filled a hole in my heart that I didn't know was there.
He is on fire. He says he has been feeling more happiness than he's ever felt in his whole life. I felt light and goodness radiate from him as I spoke with him.

The wonderful part about this is that Dante is not the only person that Heavenly Father has been preparing to receive the gospel! There are literally hosts of people around us who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it! It is exciting! 

Well, we have been continuing to teach Rory, and like Dante, he is also on fire. A while ago, Rory told us that some other Marines one day gave him grief about reading the Book of Mormon. When they left, one remaining Marine turned to him surprised and said: You're investigating too?  
We started teaching his friend shortly after. I'll call him Mark. Mark is awesome.  He started learning about Mormons after starting to date a Mormon girl just before she left for her mission.  Not knowing anything about the church, he began a sincere search to learn everything he could about it. He's one of the nicest guys on the planet. We have been really trying to help him receive a personal witness that what we teach is true, specifically thru reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. 

Last night we met with Mark and Rory again. We had felt a strong impression to read Alma 32 with them. Mark loved it. 
Here's the miracle. This morning he texted us and said that his missionary friend emailed him this morning and encouraged him to read Alma 32. Mark hadn't even mentioned to her that he had just read the very chapter. 

This is the Lord's work, I know it.

I love you all,

Elder Judd

Monday, February 23, 2015

"I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."

Dear family, 

Many great things happened this week, as usual! The Lord led us to more great, new people. There are so many people in the world who need the gospel.

On Thursday we had zone conferences in Palm Springs. We learned a lot about the great blessings we can promise to people when we invite them to act in faith.

Right after the conference we had to stop at a gas station in Desert Hot Springs. While we were there we saw a man sitting near the entrance to the gas station parking lot, and we had a strong impression to go talk to him. I honestly had no idea what we were going to say, but we felt that God would help us. 
He was young, bearded, and shoe-less, with holes in the toes of his socks. we talked with him and learned that he had recently lost all that he had through a crooked business deal which led to depression and addiction. He said that he doesn't really know what to do with his life anymore. 

We testified of God's infinite love and of His plan of happiness.  He had no way to be contacted again, but we left him with a copy of the Book of Mormon and a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation. He said that he felt this might be what he needs to get himself out of the hole that he's in. 
I felt a great love for him and for God as we left. Missionary work is so fun! there is no greater joy!

We also started teaching a guy I'll call Greg. Elder Duffin and I contacted Greg on one of our very first days in 29 Palms. He said we could come back, and so we have attempted to catch him again for the past several months, whenever we were in the area. We honestly didn't think much would come of Greg, because he didn't show too many signs of interest. WELL, last week we stopped by and invited him to our friend's baptism. Little did we know Greg's niece was baptized a few years ago! And her mom is Greg's sister! And she is best friends with a member family that we love! And that great family has been trying to help that whole family receive the gospel for forever! And we had no idea.

But Heavenly Father did.

So we started teaching Greg and he is excellent. And he quietly told us:
I feel like there's something here for me.

There is something here for Greg. There is something here for all of us. 
The gospel is true!

I love you very much,

Elder Judd

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them"

 Dear family,

Our good friend was baptized on Saturday! We made invitations and invited everyone. It made it extra fun to talk with everyone. 

We taught Sam again and he came to the baptism. He is really excited for his own baptism. He told us during a lesson, kind of out of nowhere:
One month from Saturday, I'm gonna be baptized!
And then after the baptism on Saturday we asked how he felt, and he smiled and said:
I love it! That was how I felt too. And I know the Holy Ghost was there. 

On Tuesday we had Zone Meeting, and there too I left feeling filled. We focused on helping people attend baptismal services and sacrament meeting, and teaching members the doctrine simply to find the people who are prepared to be taught.

Then last night we taught Jim again. He is doing really well, and we've taught him most everything, and he feels really prepared for baptism. He comes to church every week, and usually he is full of energy and light. But he missed church on Sunday and he seemed a little down last night. We soon learned that his newborn grandson, just born on Saturday, passed away early Sunday morning. I felt a pain for him in my heart. 
We noticed that he had a heaviness with him, and a small voice told us to offer a Priesthood blessing. he accepted. I just felt a love for him. And he prayed at the end, sincerely, and thanked Heavenly Father for taking a pressure off of him.

I know that God cares about us. 

Jesus said:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


Elder Judd

Elder Seright and our porch view

Another friend of ours and me

Elder Soelberg and me

At the baptism

Monday, February 9, 2015

"Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven"

Dear family,

I am loving my time in 29 Palms. We had much to do this week with exchanges and other things, and many great things happened.

Elder Soelberg is great! I have been thoroughly impressed with the new missionaries that have been coming in. They are full of focus and energy and preparation. We are going to see many many miracles this transfer. 

Here's some miracles:

We went to visit Tim, the man who came to our door asking for a Book of Mormon. Well, his Greek roommates informed us that he wasn't there. As we were leaving, out of nowhere, a thought came to stop by this other home in the same apartments as Tim. About 2 or 3 months ago the man who lived there stopped us on the side of the road and asked us to pray for him while he was going thru hard times. He recognized us as Mormons because he has an uncle who became Mormon. We had tried to follow up a few times, but didn't catch him.
Anyway, we went right away and knocked at his place. He was home and he told us that he was really grateful we prayed for him. Whatever you did, it worked, he said. We talked and he commit to learn more and to come to our friend's baptism next Saturday. He pulled out a calender, set it in stone, and is excited to come. 

This weekend was the Yucca Valley Stake Conference. Elder Daniel L. Johnson came and spoke. On Saturday night it was partially a Q&A and our ward leaders answered questions about making ward council effective. And they also had a Q&A with a family that is great at family prayers and scripture study and family home evening. Overall, I felt strongly that I want to always pray and study the scriptures everyday both by myself and with my family for the rest of my life. In this there is safety and peace.

This Saturday one of my favorite people will be baptized. He is so prepared and I love him and his wife. After his baptism interview, the interviewer said:
This was the first time I've ever had someone quote the Doctrine and Covenants to me in their baptismal interview.
We brought him and his wife to help us teach another investigator and it was just fun. 

President Van Cott recently invited missionaries to reread the Book of Mormon before general conference. So I've been doing that. And I love the Book of Mormon. There is a strong, tangible spirit that comes as I read it. And the same power will come to anyone that reads it! It is pure words from heaven!

Sorry, I forgot my cord for my camera, so no pictures this week. 

Love you all,

Elder Judd