Monday, March 25, 2013

Be Not Weary in Well Doing

The biggest news this week was definitely hearing about Brett's mission call!  I wish I could explain how happy that made me to hear.  The last 21 months when people ask if I have friends on a mission, I've had to say that all my friends but one went.  Brett, I hope you know that this was definitely an answer to my prayers, as well as those of many others, I'm sure.  Anyway, I'm sure proud of you, and I don't want to see you at my homecoming. 

Aside from that, it's been mostly a slow week.  We're starting to get a little more help from members, but it hasn't quite given fruits yet.  If all goes well, though, we should have a couple of good people to teach.  I'd rather it were a couple of good families, but that will come eventually.  It's certainly better to just be grateful for the help they do give.  We had good church services yesterday, as well.  There wasn't anything particularly standout about it, but I just felt the Spirit very strongly, and I really needed it.  I had the impression to look at Joshua 24:15 and had a good little thought come to mind.  It isn't just "choose ye this day whom ye will serve", it's "si no os parece bien servir a Jehová" (I didn't look it up in English...) then choose who else it'll be.  Elder Maxwell talks a lot about if we don't choose the Lord, then it really doesn't matter what else we choose.  That was a good connection, and a reminder that the Lord is always first. 

It sounds like everyone's staying pretty busy at home.  I'm sure glad Dad passed his test.  I've talked to lots of Mexicans who are in real estate, and they don't have to do anything to be able to work in that.  Although things are much more difficult in the US, I'm sure glad we make sure people are qualified to do their work.  I'm sure glad Jonathan made some good progress in his mission.  It's always amazing how much being in the Lord's service can change a person.  I know it has for me.  I don't remember where Brian is going to serve, but that's great that he's heading out.  What day are Trent and Sally getting married?  I just heard that they were engaged, but I never heard the date.  

As far as working when I get back, I had planned to see if I couldn't get in at the MTC (knowing there'd be a need with so many new missionaries coming in).  I don't know if there's any way to apply or look into that now or soon so I can know what I'm going to do when I get back.  I imagine I can only do one or the other between that and early morning custodial work (both being BYU jobs), so I'd appreciate it if you could look into that for me.  If I can do both, that is the ideal.  If not, MTC is first choice, but I'll be very happy with working with Wendy if I can't work that out.  That being said, if you can get my classes all at one time, that would be wonderful.  I'd prefer to just have everything in the morning (and I think the music classes are only really offered in the morning).  If not, do what you can and I'll live with it.  If I have to go back to work at Bert Murdock, they'd rather I be there in the afternoon to go to rentals at schools and stuff like that, so having an open afternoon would be preferred.  

Happy Birthday Savanna!  I can't believe you're already 4 years old.  Fortunately, I'll be home before you get too much older. 

Here's the Ward letter: 

Windsor 7th Ward,

What a special time of the year.  This is a precious opportunity to focus on and remember the life, mission, and Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I think we often take for granted how much He really did for us.  We know that we can be forgiven of our sins and that we'll resurrect one day, but do we ever pause to think of the other blessings of the Atonement?  I've spent the greater part of my mission studying and pondering the Atonement, and I've come to understand a small amount of just why this sacrifice is so important.  Beginning with the last supper, Christ outlined some of the consequences of His Atonement.  The Spirit would be granted to His disciples if they would keep their covenants and remember Him.  He prayed that they, through the grace provided by His sacrifice, could be one with Him and the Father.  He promised that He would never leave them alone, and that through their enduring faithfulness, He would visit them personally in all His resurrected glory.  He then went to the garden of Gethsemane.  After retiring Himself from His disciples, He was "sore amazed", fell on His face, and began to suffer incomprehensibly; so much so that He, the very Son of God and a God in His own right, pled that the cup might be passed from Him.  I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon's aclaration on His suffering in Alma 7:11-13.  He not only took upon Him the punishment for our sins, allowing mercy to overpower justice, He took upon Him all of our infirmities, diseases, sorrows, pains, and afflictions.  He "descended below them all".  There is nothing we will every experience that He did not suffer more "that He might know how to succor them in their infirmities".  He was then taken, beaten, scourged, and put to trial in an illegal manner.  He was condemned and taken to Calvary.  He was nailed to the cruel cross and lifted up in similitude of Moses's brazen serpent.  On the cross, He suffered again all that He suffered in Gethsemane, but entirely alone.  The Spirit withdrew, and He was left with no defense against the entire onslaught of Satan but His own Godhood.  He exclaimed in victory, "it is finished", and commended His Spirit to His Father.  While a Spirit, He organized His forces in the Spirit world to make His redeeming power truly infinite, granting salvation to all of God's children should they choose to accept it.  On that glorious Sunday, the last enemy was conquered.  With the power given Him of the Father, He broke the bands of death for all mankind.  I would encourage you all the ponder on the significance of the Atonement in your life.  What does it mean to you?  How much do you apply it?

I testify to you with all of my soul that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  All that He did for us can never be repayed.  Fortunately, He doesn't deal in quantities, but rather in proportions.  Christ literally gave all of Himself, and all that He expects is that we give all of ourselves.  Our offering will be nothing compared to His, but it is all that the Father asks in order for us to obtain "all that the Father hath".  How I love the Savior.  How it pains me to know that I was the cause of so many drops of blood being shed for my sins.  I am eternally grateful to Him for this eternal, supernal gift.

Elder Facer (for additional reading, see Elder Bruce R. Mckonkie, "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane" from the April 1985 conference)

I think that will also suffice for my testimony this week.  I love you all so much, though I don't express it nearly often enough.  I'm so grateful for all of your support and especially your prayers, which I feel increasingly more powerfully every day.  I look forward to being with you again in 3 short months, but for now, there's work to be done.  The Lord's work never rests. 

Elder Facer

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spiritually Settled

This week we had Teresa's confirmation, and she gave the closing prayer in sacrament meeting.  She's not going inactive any time soon (really hopefully never, but you never know, I guess).  I performed the ordinance, and it went well.  We had a few of our investigators show up to the other ward that meets at 12, so that's good also.  Other than that, it was a slow week.  E. Timoteo is like many of my other companions in that he likes to waste a lot of time, so we didn't have much success this week.  I wish there was some way I could pound into every missionary's head just how important it is for us to do things exactly as the Lord has told us.  So many just don't get that, and I can see quite clearly how much it impedes the work. 
I had a cute experience yesterday with a little 6-year-old that lives with his grandparents.  Brother Maldonado (the grandparent) drove us home from church, and as we were leaving, Diego (the grandson) asked us if we could stop by and visit them.  I said sure, because Sister Maldonado is also battling spine cancer right now and they like the support from when we come over.  We got there, said a prayer to begin, and I pulled out my scriptures to share a message with them.  As I was opening them, Diego ran in with the children's New Testament story book and asked if I'd read him a story.  I decided that would probably be better than what I was going to share anyway, so we read about when Jesus was tempted because he likes how Jesus "corre a Satanás" (drives out Satan).  After that, we were about to leave, but then he asked for another one.  I told him just one more, and then we had to go.  He picked the introduction that talks about the creation, the plan of salvation, and a quick summary of the Old Testament.  He just sat next to me and I read him the story.  I'm not quite sure why, but it was just a really special experience for me to feel a little bit like a dad for a few minutes.  I'm sure glad I'll have the chance to do that with my own children one day.  I hope they will have as much love for the gospel as I do.
It sounds like everyone's been pretty busy this week, though.  Mom, I sure wish everyone here had the same dedication to their callings that you have.  This ward would be a lot stronger if people just did their assignments and fulfilled their callings.  I can't believe Jonathan's already getting home.  That means it's just Ryan, then Paul, then me.  Time is sure going by quickly.  That's fun that Bri and Will are expecting.  I couldn't say pregnant there because really only Bri's pregnant.  I'm sure missing a lot with those grandkids, aren't I?  It's sure fun to hear about all the new things they're learning and doing. 
I guess nobody told you Trent's address.  I'm pretty sure his home phone number is 222-9074.  Do you think you could call them up and verify the address for me?  I'd really appreciate that.
Something I realized this week is the importance of being spiritually settled.  It's something Elder Maxwell talked about a lot in his talks, and I'm beginning to realize just how big of a deal it is that we are so settled.  If we haven't settled in our hearts that we're going to keep the commandments and be true disciples of Christ, then we're very susceptible to temptations and distractions.  Every single less-active member I've found in this area is less-active because they weren't settled and they let some bad experience with some members shake them.  I've decided to make a more concerted effort to settle in my heart that I will be a disciple of Christ.  I'd never leave the church over some bad experience with a member, but Satan knows very well our weaknesses, and he never lets up.  I think it's something we could all work on.  I would recommend "Settle This in Your Hearts" by Elder Maxwell to everyone who wants to do so.
I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ.  We have a fulness of the gospel as well as God's priesthood authority.  I testify that the Book of Mormon is true, and that it is a convincing witness that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he restored Christ's church to the earth.  I know that President Monson is the living prophet today, and that he is authorized by God to direct His kingdom on the earth.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, the very center of Heavenly Father's plan for our happiness.  There is no other name nor way given under heaven whereby any man can be saved, only in and through Jesus Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.  I know that only as we access the Atonement by living His gospel can we attain to a full measure of happiness in the hereafter.  I know that doing so also brings the greatest joys that can be experienced in mortality.  Were it not for this sacred act of love, all of our life would lose its meaning, knowing that it all ends with the grave.  I testify that there is life beyond the death, and that if we live according to the new and everlasting covenant that Christ has once again revealed to man, we can be given the greatest of all the gifts of God, even eternal life, living in the presence of our Father, our Savior, and our family for eternity.  There is nothing worth trading those blessings for, and no sacrifice too big to make to obtain them.
Elder Facer

Monday, March 11, 2013

Stake Conference and a Baptism. Sweet.

Bowling shoes are awesome
Teresa's baptism
Sister Call was greeted by these two handsome elders at stake conference
Well this was a pretty good week.  I feel like we worked better and we taught more this week.  Unfortunately, nobody new came to church.  We had stake conference this week and it was way good.  They reorganized the stake presidency because the stake president is going to be a mission president.  That meant that Elder Johnson (area president) and Elder Hernández (area 70) were at the meeting.  President and Sister Call also came as well as President and Sister Gonzalez (temple president), so we were filled to the brim with important people.  The meeting was mostly about missionary work and temple work, and the Spirit was very strong.  Elder Johnson said he doesn't apologize for giving us more work.  The whole meeting was just testimonies of the outgoing and incoming presidencies, the temple and mission presidents, and then a talk from Elders Hernández and Johnson.  I talked to Elder Johnson for a little bit after because I have a question that I've wondered about.  I asked if being a special witness of Jesus Christ (70 or Apostle) comes from the calling or if it is a pre-requisite or just how that works.  He said "I don't know... it's probably a combination of both".  I guess the search continues, then. 

After conference, we found out that our chapel didn't have water, so we went to the next area over, Tequexquinahuac to have a double baptism with those elders.  Teresa could really feel that God had forgiven her and given her a chance to be born again.  It was way cool, and the Spirit was strong.  The other elder's baptism was a 13-year-old whose family used to be investigators, but only he was willing to progress.  He bore his testimony that even though his family isn't here, he's knows he's where he's supposed to be.  I wish I had a testimony like that at 13.  Anyway, it was really cool, and we're all happy for Teresa. 

Today also brought emergency transfers for Elder Turek.  He went to Conejos (Atotonilco), and Elder Timoteo came with me.  He says his house is about three hours from Trujillo, Peru.  He's a convert as of five years ago, and has a lot of energy.  Our personalities don't match at all, but I'm trying hard to not judge or criticize and to make a strong, successful companionship.  He's only been out since November, so I'm hoping I can have a strong influence in helping him become a powerful missionary. 

It sounds like things are all going well at home.  Sister Call takes pictures of everything, so it's nice that she sends you some even when I don't.  All of the Call's immediate family is already grown up, so it's not their child.  Their youngest son served a mission and got back like three years ago.  They're probably related, especially if the sister is from Mexico, but they're not immediate family.  I'm glad Dad's finally going to finish that course.  I imagine it's been a very time-consuming thing, and it'll be good to get away from technology and get outside or get working like normal again.  Tara, that's fun that you got asked to prom.  I was hoping for a Spanish letter, and it wouldn't hurt you to practice, but oh well.  You'll get plenty of practice when I'm home and won't speak to you in English.  I'm glad you learned a little about grace, but there's so much more to it than you now realize.  It's something definitely worth studying, though.  I'm glad Alyssa's doing well.  I got two letters from her today, including a valentine.  Thanks a whole lot, I loved it.  I'm glad the grandkids are doing well.  I just love hearing about all their crazy antics.  Happy birthday this week to Alicia.  What major did Scott choose?  It sounds like Brig's doing well, too.  When exactly does he leave and get back?  Elder Coley's a great elder, and I'm sure he can handle BYU.  He's chaged a whole lot since before the mission (really just when I met him in the MTC).   

I have a favor to ask: if someone could tell my mom Trent Johnson's address, I'd appreciate it.  I want to write him, but I can't remember his address for sure.  I think it's 1937 N 280 W, but I'm not totally sure, and it's not worth trusting the Postal Service to just get it htere.  Anyway, I'd appreciate anyone that could pass that along to my mom. 

I know that this is the Lord's work.  I know with all of my heart and soul that we are children of God.  He loves us so perfectly, and He knows us perfectly as well.  I know that He hears our prayers and answers them when we ask how and for what we should.  I know that all things are possible to those that believe in Him and His Son, Jesus Christ.  I know that He is our Savior, and that we can all become new creatures through His Atonement.  I know that He is the Lord of the Universe, and that He will come in glory in a not-too-distant future day to reign over all the earth.  I know that living the gospel will prepare us to be acceptable to Him and to be able to receive kingdoms, thrones, powers, and principalities from Him who holds all flesh in His hands.  I know that we can all access the blessings of the Atonement if we will just live the first principles and ordinances of the gospel.  It isn't too difficult for anyone to do, and the blessings are so much greater than what we will ever give. Even though God blesses us far out of proportion, if we give our all, He will give us His all.
Elder Facer

Monday, March 4, 2013

March Already...

Well I can't believe we're already in March.  February essentially constitutes the time I've been in this area, but it seems like nothing and forever at the same time.  I look very much forward to not being on MNT (missionary non-standard time) anymore.  Anyway, this week, we finally had some people come to church.  One of them, Teresa, has a baptismal date for next Sunday, but we're going to have to see if she'll be ready.  I think she can be, but only if she's going to let us visit every day to teach all the lessons and help her get ready.  She already got a testimony of the church and the Book of Mormon, so the hard part is over.  We also had a 9-year-old kid from a part-member family come, and he accepted a date for the 17.  I was pretty happy to finally have people at church preparing for baptism.
That was mostly it for us this week, but it sounds like everyone at home was pretty busy.  That's good that it's starting to warm up finally.  If it didn't, we'd only be in the 50s by the time I get home.  Dad, I've gained a new perspective on gardening and yard work, so count on me if there's still work to be done in June/July (and through the fall if you'll let me live at home).  Time sure is flying, but I'm not going to get trunky.  I'm committed to working until the very end.  I'm glad to hear the Joker's better.  A distributor problem is probably easier to deal with than a timing belt problem, so I'm expecting to still get some good kicks out of that old car.  Tara, good work on being accepted to BYU.  It's weird to think that you'll be graduated and ready for college when I'm back.   
I know that God is watching over all of us.  I know that He orchestrates so many opportunities for growth and happiness in our lives every day.  If we pray and watch for them, we can live a full, happy life.  I know that His plan for us is absolutely perfect, and each of us has full capacity to obtain all the blessings that He so wants to give us.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  I know that He will come again to reign over His earth, and that He'll come soon.  I know that the Atonement is perfect and infinite.  It can resolve anything negative in our lives and bring us true happiness.  I know that as we apply it in our lives, we experience the "joy of the saints" (Enos 1:3).  I know that President Monson is a prophet of God.  His counselors and the twelve are all special witnesses of Jesus Christ, and they direct and guide the kingdom of God on the earth.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and is a perfect, convincing evidence of the truth of the Restoration of the gospel.  I know that it answers our questions and problems through the Spirit that it contains.  I witness of the divinity of the Book and of Jesus Christ, of whom it witnesses.
Elder Facer