I'm getting transferred to Nixa, Missouri!! Never heard of it before! Woo hoo! And I'll be training a new missionary as well, so that's going to be really exciting. I could feel the change coming around the corner, and here it is staring me in the face. I feel nothing but calm and courage, the Lord is strengthening me in ways I've never before felt. I can testify that the path to joy truly lies through submitting our will to Him! Because He knows best. How foolish of us to suppose that we know what is good for us, and that we are capable of determining the roads which we think will make us happy. There is One Road! One beautifully perfect and narrow road that is somehow tailored to every one of us as His children. It walks alongside the Savior, and accelerates our progression toward the Father. Anything else transgresses His path, or regresses away from Him. I would encourage us all to simply trust in Him a little more. Have a little more hope!
It will be really sad to leave Owasso. I have this weird feeling where I feel as though I've been here for my entire life, and at the same time I've only just arrived. I suppose I'd better get used to that. This last weekend was amazing, the perfect way to end with a bang in Oklahoma! I saw so many tender mercies and miracles on Saturday, I don't know why the Lord felt the need to bless me so. I know sometimes he just gives us all we need and want just to make us happy, so thank Him:) Brother Baird the dentist cleaned our teeth for us, then we volunteered at a ministry thrift shop and the ladies there were so kind. Somebody had just donted a bunch of brand new slacks and she gave me a pair that fit well, I needed them! We prepared for Emilie's baptism which was fantastic. I love being able to be apart of such a covenant for others! She had tons of nonmember friends and family there, and it was a great experience for everyone. She had a missionary who taught her 4 or 5 months ago come back to baptize her. The Spirit was prevalent! It was a lot of fun. Afterward we were blessed again with a bunch of leftovers from the pioneer party we had on Friday, and we found a random windshield sun shade in the street, which we had just determined a couple of days ago that we needed because our car is trying to kill us every time we get in it. Mercies! Then we contacted a friendly less active and had a good visit, and I caught 5 fireflies and put them in a bottle haha. I love the fireflies out here. It was a magical end to a magical day. Well my library time is up! Till next week from Missouri!
I don't know my new address yet, but you can send things to the mission office and it will be forwarded to me.
Sorry this is gonna be a real quickie today! No major updates though, the work continues along and I am doing super well. I love being a missionary. "After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel!" Joseph Smith. This weekend is Emilie Acord's baptism, it is going to be great! She's excited as are we. Transfer calls is also THIS SATURDAY. What the heck? I'll find out whether or not I've got another 6 weeks in Owasso, or if the Lord is calling my name in some other rural country town. Exciting! I'll sure miss it here if I leave though, this has become a second home :(
I'd like to just share a few thoughts and inspirations and testimonies from this week. The gospel of Jesus Christ is 100% perfect and true. With it, we can shape our thoughts, minds, habits, deeds and souls into who our Father in Heaven knows we can be. I've seen this marvelous transformation in my own life, and I've seen it in the lives of people both old and young, male and female, black and white, rich and poor. We're all the same in God's eyes, and the atonement in its infinite and eternal perfection is capable of scooping us all up to His higher plane. I've seen people change, and sometimes it is so subtle that they don't even recognize it. But I can see it. Sometimes I can see who they are in God's eyes. Sometimes I can feel their potential and capacity to become perfect. Those moments are worth everything. Until next week :)
I'm doing way good in the heat over here. I'm only soaking wet always, so it's no big deal. Last week was awesome, we went to the temple on Friday and again on Saturday with our recent converts. Friday was our stakes fill the temple day and so most of the ward was going down to do a session in the morning. The Kress's weren't scheduled to do baptisms until later in the afternoon, and the only ride we could find was with people who were going down early. So we called our new mission president and asked him if we could just do a session with the ward since we were going to be there early anyways. I guess the rule is that you can only do a session if you have a convert who is receiving theirs for the first time. We figured we have a new president so what the heck why not ask? He said we could join them in the session which was awesome, I've been dying to get in there for months! It was a blessing! Plus, it was Elder Murdocks birthday so I don't think he could've gotten a better gift. When the Kress's came down they were able to watch ordinances in the baptistery and participate in some confirmations. They loved it! He said he knew he was taking part in something special. He and his wife have been doing better than ever, not only has their spiritual and emotional life improved, but he continues to gain health and strength, and his right leg which was a stump due total loss of circulation has been miraculously healed! He took the word of wisdom to heart and stopped drinking soda and milk and started eating healthier. He's lost like 20 pounds! What do ya know, the Lord knows how we should take care of our bodies. The next day we went down again with the other ward for a youth trip, and our convert Dixie Acord did baptisms. She was glowing! I love seeing people in their temple whites, they are so clean and pure, just as God sees them. It was a great experience for all of us. Sunday we were fasting as a district in order to find people to teach. Later in the day the stake president a called us and and told us he just met with a man who wants to take the discussions and be baptized! His wife is a member and he's ready to join. We called him and he said he knows almost everything about the church already and knows it is right. Does it get any easier than that? The Lord certainly heard our pleas and showed us immediately who is ready to embrace the gospel. We hope and pray that we can only keep finding them! We have a baptism scheduled for the 25th this month for Dixies little sister Emilie. She is doing so well and the gospel has already changed her persona. You can just tell when people have been reading the Book of Mormon, they are different. It's the most powerful book on the planet. In other news, we got into a doorstep bible bash the other day. This guy was pretty antagonistic and just wanted to prove us wrong, which of course the bible will never do if understood correctly haha. We bore powerful witness and he said he would read the Book of Mormon so that he would know for certain it is wrong. I hope the spirit just brings him low and opens his heart! It was kind of exciting though, got my blood pumping. Turns out I know the bible pretty well now. But what president Shumway said is so true, with over 32,000 Christian denominations, the bible is not common ground. It is a battleground! When left to lean to our own understanding, we have nothing! Even with the word of God right in front of us. The spirit of revelation is the teacher, testifier, and truth weilder. And it is flooding the earth today through priesthood power and the testimonies of the saints. I've gotta go eat lunch with the Bird family, keep the faith!
This week was a great one for Elder Murdock and I, and it is only going to get better this week! It was a really eventful weekend with a baptism and 4th of July celebrations. Earlier in the week we had a zone training meeting on July 1st, the first day of the Arkansas Bentonville Mission! President and Sister Shumway have travelled safely home to Utah, and they will be greatly missed. Our zone leaders gave us all new mission calls saying we have been reassigned to the ABM, it was clever! We talked a lot about how we're going to keep the culture and pace of the mission, and do all we can to support and sustain President Loveland in this transition period. The next day was zone conference, where we got to meet the Lovelands. It was their very first conference in the mission! They are incredible people and were truly called here by the Lord. President is a hard working potato farmer from Idaho. I'm excited to see how they shape the mission! When I met the Lovelands, President said, "Hey, I think we know you!" They remembered that you went to college with Sister Loveland's brother, dad. So I've basically already got my "in" with the President ;)
Saturday was awesome, the Birkedahl kids were baptized!! It was an amazing ordinance. Kyle (8) and Sabrina (11) were initially really nervous to be baptized, because they are both kind of afraid of the water for some reason. In one of our earlier lessons, they said that they didn't want to be baptized. It stung a little! But when we talked to them about it, we realized they believe in Christ and the church, but were scared of the actual ordinance itself. Their parents' records were finally received in the ward, and we found out that their father George is actually an elder in the priesthood. He had been inactive for so long that he didn't know what his office was. After meeting with the Bishop, he was cleared to baptize his kids! That made Sabrina and Kyle much more comfortable. It was a beautiful thing to witness him enter the water with his son. When it was Sabrina's turn, she was still nervous going down into the water. Enthusiastic Kyle gave her a big double thumbs up and encouraged her that it would be okay! George reassured her and did a great job performing the ordinance, and their mother Mandy comforted from the sidelines. It was such a family affair! It was awesome to be able to witness the whole family making this step together. After the baptism they were all so happy! We had two amazing youth talks and the Spirit was so strong. I can't wait to watch them progress in the gospel. I pray every day that they can continue to sink their roots into the lasting soil of conversion. Later that day we had a fun bbq with the Bird family. They're so awesome and we feel right at home with them. It's amazing that we can be complete strangers at their family parties, but feel so close at the same time. The gospel unifies all of us! That night our bishop put on a huuuuuge fireworks show in his backyard with half the ward there. It was crazy! He asked me to say a prayer before we started and ask for a blessing of safety. It was probably a good thing that we did, some of the fireworks missfired right into the crowd and exploded against the side of the house. It was like a warzone haha. The fireworks were massive, I'd never seen a show like that in Arizona. All around the horizon as we drove home we could see people shooting off their own giant fireworks in their yards. It was awesome!
I'm incredibly grateful for the chance that we have to choose. The freedoms in our great nation that allow us to worship how we please are among the greatest blessings we have been given! While the state of our country seems to be declining fast, we indeed have much to be grateful for. We have more liberty than has previously existed on the planet! We need to use it to be forceful influences in the kingdom of God. Our gift of free agency from the Father is among the greatest of blessings that he has ever bestowed upon us. Do we want to experience joy? Do we want to be with our families forever? Do we want to return to our Father in Heaven? Do we want to inherit all that he has? Then all we have to do is choose so. The worth of a soul is it's capacity to become even as God is. The only thing hindering us is our decisions!! It is freely given to all to partake of salvation. 2 Nephi 2:27 says, "Wherefore men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are FREE TO CHOOSE liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or TO CHOOSE captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." Do not let Satan blind you and bind you. Recognize that you are the master of your fate. Shake of the chains and rise up to a greater plane! Through our Savior Jesus Christ, we may become perfected. Those aren't just nice things to say, they are real! I know that His grace is sufficient.
This week we are going to the temple.... two days in a row!!! We have recent converts in both wards that will be going. I cannot wait, there is no place on earth like the House of the Lord. Friday and Saturday we will be spending a lot of time teaching and guiding them as they perform baptisms for the dead. It's truly a miraculous work to be involved in.
I'm so excited for all the incredible things happening in the family. Congrats to Heather and Tanner!!! Love you guys. I can't believe Brent is home and Weston will be home Saturday and Greg has a little baby and Hannah is going to college and Ryan is going on his mission! We're all so old. I love my family more than anything, it's a blessing. Love you, until next week!