This week was crazy here in Philly!
Lots of stuff happened. First off, it was the coldest it has
ever been in February since the past 200 years! It was negative 10 one
day and yes we were able to work in it :-) We, also, had transfer calls
this week and the video I'll attach shows my excitement - I have been
transferred. I'm very excited for the future and the new people I will
begin to work with. I have loved South Philly and it is like home to
me! I love all these people so much. I'm grateful for the experience I
have had to serve the Lord in this area. It's been the greatest
experience I could ask for. I've learned so much, but there is always
more to learn and I have a long ways to go!
Valentine's Day, had a great day. Lots of the members' kids made us
little gifts and gave us candy and what not. It was cute haha!
I have now been out for six months! Time FLIES. It feels like I got
off the plane yesterday!
My e-mail this week will consist of the left-over part of the 14 day
"Love One Another" challenge and a few experiences we had this week.
Day 6: Forgive somebody who has wronged you
Hmmm, well I'm trying to think. Today I didn't really need to forgive
anyone. It was a great day because I went to the temple in D.C., but
let me give an example of when I did forgive someone. I remember we
were teaching this Italian couple, who were SO close to being
baptized. They just had to remain clean from cigarettes and they were
ready. I remember going to the store with Elder Andrus and just buying
this and that to help them abstain from smoking. Took it to their home
gave it to them, gave them church movies to help them feel the Spirit,
set alarms on our i-Pads to call them to check up on them. I thought we
did everything - said basically, "If you have any urges to smoke, call us
before you do." Later that day, they called us and basically said they
ran out of all the stuff we got them, so we went and got them more
stuff out of our own money. We go to the house to give it to them and
we see them both smoking. We knock on the door and watch them hide
everything and spray the room. We ask if they were smoking and they
promised us they weren't and that their friend was just smoking in
here. Anyways lied right to our faces and I was about ready to just
UNLOAD on them I was so ticked. Right before the words left my mouth, I
remembered what Jesus Christ said to Joseph Smith: "And if he trespass
against thee and repent not the first time, nevertheless thou shalt
forgive him." I simply changed my attitude and said to them, "We saw
you smoking, you lied to us, but please don't lie. We are just trying
to help you. We forgive you, but please don't do it again." They were
both in tears and were so sorry - idk I think that was a very humbling
moment for me to forgive someone who looked me in the eyes and lied.
Forgiveness is important. Don't hold grudges. It's not worth your
Day 7: Don't criticize actions or circumstances
This transfer for me has been very tough. This first four weeks I
basically did all the work while my companion took the credit - I
could care less about "credit" because our success is due to the Lord.
However, after four weeks I was straight up just gassed, frustrated,
irritated whatever you name it with my companion. Anyways in my head I
questioned my mission president, the assistants to the president, I
was like, "Where are you getting this revelation from to put us
together?! I can't work with him!!" That's the thing though, I
continued to criticize the situation and asked myself what the heck
they were thinking, but really when I actually humble myself and
really dig deep and think why on earth I am with him? I get my answer
every time after I pray - because I need to learn how to lead with
love and have patience. Patience is one of my worst attributes because
I want results and I just want to go out there everyday and do it--just
work alongside with a great missionary. As I humble myself (even
though it's very hard to do), I realize that I need to be thankful for
my companion putting me in a hard situation where I can learn and
grow. I still have a long ways to go, but I feel like this transfer
I've grown the most.
"And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, ... and they
began to bear their journeyings without murmurings. And thus we see
that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that
the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them,
and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the
thing which he has commanded them..." - 1 Nephi 17:2-3
Day 8: Show mercy to someone
Really have no idea how I showed mercy to someone, couldn't take them
to the ring ;) haha! Anyways, Elder Lake showed me mercy today. I have
been trying hard recently to get to KNOW Elder Lake, so I asked him to
teach me Pokemon... Yes. I know. Anyways as he taught me, expressed
interest, (yes it was hard to like Pokemon) and just tried to
understand him a bit more. I feel like we grew a little bit more close.
Anyways, I told him that we should play a match against each other and
he obviously could have just massacred me but he showed mercy by
taking it easy and I appreciated it so we could play longer together
and bond more.
"But behold, he did deliver them because they did humble themselves
before him; and because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver
them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all
cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards
them that put their trust in him." - Mosiah 29:20
Day 9: Give 10 minutes to really listen to someone
Well, today I actually got to have a great experience! So when I lived
in Shanghai I knew this girl, Paige. We are still good friends and we
use to go out a little bit. She's awesome, she's at Drexel and I was
able to see her today.
It's been about five years since I've seen her.
Anyways, it was pretty nerve wracking seeing her and I'm sure vice
versa. Anyways, we were able to catch up for 20-30 minutes or so, but
as we were able to talk I was truly able to listen and understand her
life clearly and same with her. It's great to have a real conversation
with someone who listens with love. I was able to share a message
about Christ with her and give her a little pamphlet and basically
said, "This is why I'm out here, I want this for you," and she accepted
my invitation to read it. Listening with love is truly the best. "If
you listen with love, you will never have to wonder what to ask"
Day 10: Speak kindly
Haha oh man, hmm! Well, it's kind of funny, every I mean EVERY morning
everyone outside is just cussing about something... Yelling, swearing,
arguing - whatever it is, you name it these people are doing it. It's
SOOO aggravating. The worst is when the high schools get out and
you're on public transportation. All these high school girls are just
cussing up a storm. I remember one instance on my mission, we saw
these four girl college students, on their doorstep drinking smoking
and swearing left and right. We stopped to talk to them and I remember
one of them dropped their cigarettes on accident and I crushed it and
she swore at me, haha it was funny. Anyways, I basically asked them why
they demoralize one another by being so rude and swearing the whole
time and they were speechless. I read a scripture in the Bible to them.
It reads: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but
that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace
unto the hearers." They were all just silent - basically told them
that they were all sisters and need to treat each other with respect
and act like the daughters of God they are. I'm not sure they were too
pleased, but the guilty take the truth hard :-)
Day 11: Say thank you to somebody
I feel like this one means a lot more to me than it means to other
people. I feel like as missionaries we say thank you quite a lot, but
people don't to us haha. I was in Southwest Philly for the day, and we
had a lesson towards the end of the night. We were teaching three
Liberians and they told us of their experience getting here to America
and the hardships they faced back home. Anyways, mid-lesson one of them
gets on their knees and just starts bawling about how thankful she was
to God for allowing her the opportunity to come here to America. It
was a humbling experience to see someone show their thanks. I'm gonna
switch things up though, back in the good old days after going out on
a date, I think the thing that made the date or not was whether or not
I received a thank you. I'm sure many other people would say the same
"And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever
blessing ye are blessed with." - D&C 46:32
Day 12: Focus on everything you have in common
with everyone you meet
This is one is hard considering we meet tons of people every day.
Honestly and as cliche as it sounds, the only thing we REALLY or I
really have in common with them is that we are both children of a
loving Heavenly Father and that is how I try and view these people before I
talk to them. It is it definitely not easy at times but it is truly a
lot easier for me to approach them without hesitation and offer them
the message that can help them more than they can comprehend.
"For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the
same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both
food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches
which we have of every kind?" - Mosiah 4:19
Day 13: Offer up a genuine compliment
Today we had somewhat of a miracle - we went through our appointments
faster than we expected to, and we had like 30 minutes until our next
one and so we checked our branch member list and realized we were
literally standing right in front of a less active home, so we knocked and
this old lady opened the door and invited us in (it was frikin
freezing outside by the way). She was really great and she invited her
Catholic, 25 year old grandson down to meet us. We shared a message
which they just LOVED and I was at first nervous about teaching the
Catholic guy - Joe. He's probably the first intellectual person that
has a college degree etc., but anyways we did our best to invite the
Spirit and the lesson was just SOO good. One of the best. He accepted
the Book of Mormon (first Catholic to really have that real intent)
and plans on reading it ASAP. Anyways, afterwards we expressed our
thanks to them and complimented them on how lovely of a family that they
have and what a splendid opportunity it was to talk with them. Later
tonight, Joe texted us and complimented us and said how thankful he
was for us coming over and how impressed he was that we were willing
to sacrifice two years and walk in this ridiculously cold weather.
Anyways it touched me and I was grateful for it.
"... I am very thankful before God this day that I am yet alive, and
am permitted to speak; and I will endeavor to speak with boldness;" -
Day 14: See everybody you talk to through
I didn't do too good of a job about that, it's hard to do. Especially
when you got frustrated with someone.
This week I was asked to give another talk in district meeting. I
chose to speak on working hard and the importance of having faith, hope,
and goals. I'll attach bits and pieces.
It is not enough to want to make the effort and to say we’ll make the
effort. We must actually make the effort. It’s in the doing, not just
the thinking, that we accomplish our goals. If we constantly put our
goals off, we will never see them fulfilled. Someone put it this way:
Live only for tomorrow, and you will have a lot of empty yesterdays
In July of 1976, runner Garry Bjorklund was determined to qualify for
the U.S. Olympic team’s 10,000-meter race which would be run at the
Montreal Olympics. Halfway through the grinding qualifying race,
however, he lost his left shoe. What would you and I do if that were
our experience? I suppose he could have given up and stopped. He could
have blamed his bad luck and lost the opportunity of participating in
the greatest race of his life, but this champion athlete did not do
that. He ran on without his shoe. He knew that he would have to run
faster than he had ever run in his life. He knew that his competitors
now had an advantage that they did not have at the beginning of the
race. Over that cinder track he ran, with one shoe on and one shoe
off, finishing third and qualifying for the opportunity to participate
in the race for the gold medal. His own running time was the best he
had ever recorded. He put forth the effort necessary to achieve his
goal. As priesthood holders, we may find that there are times in our
lives when we falter, when we become weary or fatigued, or when we
suffer a disappointment or a heartache. When that happens, I would
hope that we will persevere with even greater effort toward our goal.
Our hopes can lead to dreams which can inspire us and lead us to
action. If we have the hope to do better in school, that hope can be
realized by dedicated study and sacrifice. If we have the hope to play
on a winning team, that hope can lead to consistent practice,
dedication, teamwork, and ultimately success.
Roger Bannister was a medical student in England who had an
ambitious hope. He desired to be the first man to run a mile (1.6 km)
under four minutes. For much of the first half of the early 20th
century, field and track enthusiasts had anxiously awaited the day the
four-minute-mile barrier would be broken. Over the years many
outstanding runners had come close, but still the four-minute barrier
stood. Bannister dedicated himself to an ambitious training schedule
with the hope of realizing his goal of setting a new world record.
Some in the sporting community had begun to doubt whether the
four-minute mile could be broken. Supposed experts had even
hypothesized the human body was physiologically unable to run at such
speeds over such a long distance. On a cloudy day on May 6, 1954,
Roger Bannister’s great hope was realized! He crossed the finish line
in 3:59.4, setting a new world record. His hope to break the
four-minute-mile barrier became a dream which was accomplished through
training, hard work, and dedication. Hope can inspire dreams and spur
us to realize those dreams. Hope alone, however, does not cause us to
succeed. Many honorable hopes have gone unfulfilled, shipwrecked on
the reefs of good intentions and laziness.
41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it
did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to
exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works
ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;
9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for
he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a
wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth
a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness,
the same is damned.
It is not easy to give up our personal priorities and desires. Many
years ago a new missionary in England was frustrated and discouraged.
He wrote home saying he felt he was wasting his time. His wise father
replied, “Forget yourself and go to work.” Young Elder Gordon B.
Hinckley went to his knees and covenanted with the Lord that he would
try to forget himself and lose himself in the Lord’s service. Years
later, as a mature servant of the Lord, Elder Hinckley would say, “He
who lives only unto himself withers and dies, while he who forgets
himself in the service of others grows and blossoms in this life and
If you knew me before I was out here, I was never really the hardest
worker ever. I felt as if I could truly get out of things or just do
it 50% and be like ok, whatever, it's done.
The second I got here, I committed to myself I would give it my all
everyday because of how much my family and I have been blessed and how
much I am in need to give back to the Lord. I must say there is
nothing - NOTHING greater than to be able to look back and say I did
the best to my ability and being able to look where the work started
to where it is now. The worst feeling is knowing you didn't do enough
or that you could have given so much more.
Love all of you guys. I'll attach some pics of the members in my
church, today. I'm going out to say bye to the people I worked with.
(Elder Wilde said: We did some service work at a children's hospital in their warehouse. It was like
5 degrees. Haha!)
Elder Parker Wilde