Monday, January 26, 2015

"it is usually through another person that He meets our needs."

Hello family,

I love missionary work. I love 29 Palms. 

We are busier than I've ever been on my mission. Sometimes it seems like there are more people to teach than we have time in our planners. Heavenly Father is just sending people to us, like a young man I'll call Rory. We started teaching him yesterday. 

We met Rory because he Googled the church to find the nearest Mormon church, then showed up to church. He grew up in Utah but isn't a member, but recently he has had strong desires to learn everything he can about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church fascinates him. The restoration fascinates him. So he's been reading a lot of church material.

After starting his search about a month ago, Rory learned a lot, but didn't know if it could all be true. He talked with a friend from home about it, and his friend suggested that he pray to know. So Rory began praying really hard. For a short while he didn't feel any answer. But then something interesting happened. He said that a few days after his first prayers, another good friend, whom Rory hasn't seen or spoken with in a few years and who recently returned from a mission, messaged him on Facebook asking how he is doing. 

Though it may have been a small thing, Rory felt immediately that God was trying to tell him something. So now he's continuing to study and loves church and loves it all. He is full of energy and questions and he's just funny. And he's in the Marines, like most young men out here. 

Well, I know this is all true. I know there is a God. And I know that He is aware of us.

We also started teaching a young man who was baptized years ago, but he hasn't really ever been active in the church. At the end of the lesson we invited him to pray. He hesitated, then said: I'll just pray next next. I promise. 
We explained how God works and how Satan tempts, and he was still wasn't all for it, but he prayed anyway.
Then a moment after he finished praying, he said: I'm not gonna lie, that felt really good.
We were pretty happy. Prayer works.

Missionary work is just fun. It's all fun. And it's all true. I know it is! 


Elder Judd

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father"

Dear family,

This week was great. 

We started teaching a young guy that I'll call Sam. He is awesome. He was taught by the sister missionaries who were here before us, but we lost contact with him as we came into the area. But we met him last Monday. He does tattoos for his friends. He's a real cool guy.

And Sam actually just came into the library a moment ago and he's using the computer next to us. Funny!

On Tuesday we helped a woman clean her back yard.  We brought a young couple with us that just moved into the ward. It was fun to talk with her while we picked up items that she wanted to take to the dump. 

On Saturday we exchanged and I worked with Elder Tingey, my old companion and now my zone leader.  It was really fun to work with him again. 

We taught Jim, who we've been teaching for a few weeks. He is awesome. We met him one Sunday when he walked in before sacrament meeting asking some members:

How do I go about getting baptized?

The members direct him to us. Jim is originally from the east coast.  His mom was a convert to the church many years ago, so he grew up with some knowledge of the gospel. But his mother passed away a few years ago and her dying wish was that Jim and his siblings would join the church. He has been embracing the gospel. we love Jim!

We had interviews with President Van Cott on Thursday. I left feeling inspired and filled with goodness and joy, as usual. I love President Van Cott, and I love my mission. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. These are really happy days. 

Alofa atu,

Elder Judd

29 Palms church building

Joshua Trees

Picture in the church. We love the Marines!

Me, Elder Duffin, Elder Seright, and Elder Howard

Monday, January 12, 2015

"they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost"

Malo le soifua!

It's been another great week.

On Tuesday we had Zone meeting and the spirit there was great. I left with a renewed desire to work and pray more earnestly, and work more effectively with members.

On Wednesday we had an exchange with the other Elders in 29 Palms. I was with Elder Howard. The day was great, despite many cancellations. At the end of the night we taught a man I'll call Paul. Paul has met with missionaries in the past and has been around the church for a while. He's friends with several of the leaders in the ward, and he feels like he'll be baptized eventually, but he hasn't wanted to commit to a date. 

Well, as we taught him, he told us that he had been thinking of being baptized with his daughter later in the year (who will be turning 8 later in the year and her mom is a member) but he isn't sure. Both Elder Howard and I had strong feelings to explain that he could have the privilege of baptizing his own daughter by the authority of the priesthood after his own baptism. So we spoke the thoughts that came into our mind. The Spirit filled the room. I don't remember all that was said, but I remember Elder Howard saying that the Spirit was there, and a strong feeling told me that his words were true. We could see in Paul's eyes that something was working in him. That was something that he really wanted. He commit to be baptized on Feb 14. There was a mighty change. I felt filled with joy and love. And Paul has told us several times that he's Jazzed for the 14th

On Saturday night we had dinner at our apartment. then just as were finishing, someone knocked on our door. It was a man I'll call Tim. He gave us a bag of fresh oranges he picked that day and then asked:

Do you have any literature? Like maybe a Book of Mormon or something?

We smiled and said: Yes! I think we have some of those. 

Tim lives in the apartments down the street and he sees us all the time. He came to our home on Christmas and gave us homemade Greek pastries made by his Greek roommates. Last week we gave him a thank you card. When he came with the oranges he told us that he used to meet with missionaries and he's been looking in to the church since 1994. He loves Mormons and Mormon family beliefs. But he lost his copy of the Book of Mormon years ago. But now we'll been teaching him this Tuesday.

Just after he left, I remembered how we had prayed that we would be led to those God has prepared, or that they would be led to us. Prayer works!

Even when we feel alone or like life is hard, or like the harder we try the harder it gets, I know that we are never alone. You are never alone. we have a perfect Savior who made a perfect atonement. And we have a Father in Heaven who loves us.

Alofa atu,

Elder Judd

Monday, January 5, 2015

"And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever"

Hello my family!

So many great things are happening in 29 Palms! We have been praying so hard that we will find those many people and families that Heavenly Father has prepared to be taught, and He has been leading so many good people to us. I know that there is a God and He answers prayers.

A few weeks ago we were looking for a certain family at a certain address. They had moved, but we met a woman named Windy who now lived there. She was interested in learning more and taking a tour of our church, and we asked her who else might be interested. She said we should stop by Richard, her next door neighbor, and jokingly said:

He needs God. He needs God.
We attempted several times to contact Richard and honestly didn't expect much to come from him. But on Wednesday we finally met him and his family. We taught them and they are awesome and Richard and his family of 6 have commit to be baptized. And during the lesson we asked:
If there were a prophet today, what would you ask him?
There was a pause. Then Richard's mother-in-law asked:
What happens to our loved ones when they die, and are they happy?
She is a widow. We read Alma 40:11-12 with them. The Spirit in the home was sweet, and we are so excited to teach them more about the Plan of Salvation.

We are also teaching a man name John. His wife is a member and this week he commit to be baptized in March. He decided to quit smoking at New Years' and he's been doing really great, even though it's been really hard for him. But they are so happy cheerful all the time. They're just funny. 

We've met many other people and our planners are so full for this coming week. We've been trying really hard to talk with everyone and teach everyone. It's been really fun.

And I can't think of other specific things I wanted to write about, but this comes to mind: Yesterday as the closing hymn in the Samoan sacrament meeting, they sang one of my favorite Samoan hymns. It's upbeat and I feel the spirit whenever we sing it. And it's not in the english hymn books, but the chorus in English would probably be this:

Face the war;
Fight strong for Jesus.
Satan has come, our enemy
There's many in his army.
Soldiers of Zion, 
Let's all be strong
Fight with alertness and diligence in doing good things.

I know the gospel is true! I love you all!

Elder Judd