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

Monday, February 2, 2015

"we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually"

Dear family,

It's the beginning of a new transfer today, and I'm staying in 29 Palms! But, Elder Duffin will be leaving. We're sad about that. I really enjoyed the time I had to serve with him. But I'm excited for the future. I'll be training a new missionary again and I'll meet him this Wednesday.

On Saturday, we went to the baptism of a woman that the other Elders have been teaching. It was a great baptismal service, and we had worked hard to encourage everyone to come. And several of our friends came! Jim and Rory and a woman I'll call Kate. Jim really enjoyed it and told us he felt something strong during the baptism ordinance. He also said:  Whoa! That was quick! (referring to the ordinance itself)  And He told us that he's excited for his baptism in about a month.

Rory is doing really well too. We taught him on Wednesday about the Plan of Salvation, but really it was more of a review. He understand the doctrine so well, it's really fun to teach him. But here's a miracle: Early in the lesson, I felt the nudge of a small voice inside me to share Alma 32:27-28. We hadn't planned on sharing that at all, but we only made it to about the 2nd line of verse 28 when Rory stopped us, saying:
No way, I know this. My lady friend was reading this to me [over Skype] last night.
He went on to explain the rest of the chapter in his own words and said how he felt he knew he needed to be looking more through a lens of faith more than logic. 

We also taught Jim about tithing and he fed us Fish and chips.

Many more miracles happened, but I don't have time for them all.


Elder Judd