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