Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Email from 6-10-13

Jarrod was transferred in April from Latrobe, PA to Tarentum, PA. He has two companions now. Hard for him to get a word in edgewise when teaching, but it's all good. He enjoys their company. I complained to him that he wasn't sending me any stories or experiences that I could update his blog with, so hopefully we'll both get better at this! Right? Here is his email from Monday after experiencing a fabulous conference with Elder David A. Bednar as the key speaker. So we were privileged to have a mission wide conference in Harrisburg, PA (about 4-5 hours away) with Elder David A. Bednar as the presiding Apostle! So literally every missionary I the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Mission was able to listen and speak with Elder Bednar as well as Elders Rasband, Smith, and Hamilton from the Quorum of the 70. It was so cool because as most conferences go whoever is there gets up speaks at you and sits down. Elder Bednar was so cool! First he gave us a few of his previous talks (attached) to study before so we could have some questions for him. He then asked us things we learned and what we felt as we studied those topics and some other things he shared which was amazing! After that we were able to ask him any question we had relating to those topics and he gave some amazing insight along with the other Elders of the 70. What I got out of it the most was that we are not OBJECTS to be acted upon but we are AGENTS to act. Nobody else can make us do something and it is up to us to act on what we observe, learn, and feel. Like when we see something happen on youtube or in a movie like the Step Up movies for example. Everybody watches them and gets so excited and wishes they were amazing dancers and could be in movies too! But how many of us go out and practice or study other things like that so we could one day dance like they do on America's Best Dance Crew? I don't think any of us have. We forget about it the next day until we watch the movie again! It's like everything else in life. We need to stop thinking about things and just go do them. I wish I could play Lacrosse in College!! But I never spent the extra time alone practicing wall-ball or working on dodges! So just go do something. One thing that we've been working on as a companionship is talking to EVERYBODY we see. As you know I hate talking to random people and I won't if I don't have to! But as a missionary that's your job. Last Monday as we were walking to the library to email we almost bumped into a couple guys on the side walk and I walked past thinking nothing of it because I wanted to email!! But we made it a goal and my companions followed through and ran back to give him a pass-along card and they kept walking and talking and the whole time I was just groaning because I didn't want to be there! We wound up walking two blocks and one of the guys, Luis, said it was amazing because he had been praying for somebody to come into his life to help him out! He had recently come out of a long coma after being shot 3 times in Iraq. So after 10 years of service he was home not knowing what to do with his life. He wanted us to teach him about the Restored Gospel and so we went to his apartment and taught him. We invited him to church on Sunday (yesterday) and he gladly accepted! That night we had Family Home Evening at a member's home and invited a few others in the ward about his age. We had maybe 8 people there and we just had a normal little lesson, game, and food but it was probably the best experience I have had on my mission so far. Just seeing the joy in a home where the gospel is lived and we are all having fun and feeling the spirit! Luis bore his testimony about how he knows the this is the right path for him to take. We were able to set a baptismal date for July 27th and because he had such a good time at church and at FHE he has invited another friend who is struggling to come with us next week and even wants to go on a mission!!! But sadly he's 27 and is too old but you don't have to be a set-apart missionary to DO something amazing! I totally love everything about being out here. It has been such a reward and I hope that all of you will do everything that you can to go out and DO something good. Small things bring to pass great and marvelous things. Anyone can do it!! So you're all great and I hope you're all having a good time :) Thanks for listening to me ramble! - Elder West p.s. I have a blue mustache... :)