Friday, May 23, 2014

From May 19, 2014: "Amity"

I'm now serving in the Meridian South Amity Stake. It's quite a difference from Eagle, at least what I've seen of it so far. It will certainly differ economically and socially. I hear Elder Blackburn has some Russians for me, and this is where Galyena and Yuri live, so hopefully there will be higher densities of Slavic and other nationalities. I'm still confused as to why the Russian Bear survived for so long in Eagle, where there were no Russians nearby.

I'm covering two wards now, and we have 4 investigators: Dante, 2 unbaptized children (cut me some slack I just got here) and I think Sherrie.

Leaving Eagle was one of the emotionally hardest things I've done. I absolutely came to love the people there, and they loved me so much. We spent the last Sunday in Sunday School and Priesthood with the youth and it was so good to have had an influence on them for good. Elder Hunt my MTC companion is moving in and I'm sure he'll work hard and realize a lot of success that I laid the foundations for.

I got to say goodbye to Kevin at Church. He participated in Come Unto Christ, which the youth sang in sacrament. I'll email him when he goes off to USU to see how things are going. He'll be attending the Young Single Adult ward in Eagle for the summer. I don't know why his parents are so unsupportive, they didn't attend his talk last week, which is unfortunate. We know he has a really strong testimony, just walking by Mutual when they were singing High On a Mountain Top which he was attending the Spirit was so strong and we felt so much joy. He described it in his talk like the big hole that he felt like wasn't being filled with any of the religions he was studying was filled.

Crystal is in Kuna right now. Despite the bishop's and Brother Nielsen's efforts she didn't get a ride to Church her first week there 3 weeks ago. So she went to the same congregation that helped her learn about Jesus Christ. It's kind of scary since she's living with the mother of the woman that was instrumental in helping her convert to Christianity. However she started meeting with the bishop and got rides and has been keeping her baptismal covenants faithfully. Hopefully she can find some source of income whether it's babysitting or online. Getting a job will be hard at the moment with her daughter. Tithing was the most difficult part, since the money she was getting from disability only barely covered rent and diapers and one other expense, leaving her $40 to her name every month. We're hoping that the ward members wrap their arms around her and she improves her circumstances.

Anna S. who lives in the Kingswood ward is getting baptized on the 31st! Her brothers were baptized, but her father had enough influence over her to lose interest while we were teaching her. I'm not sure what changed, that family has come a long way in the last 10 months.

I called Vladimir and he said to call me back this Sunday. Hopefully he'll stay interested and read the Book of Mormon, since if he got a testimony of it he would readily accept it. He was a minister in Ukraine spreading evangelical Christianity under the Soviet Union. He's a work-a-holic and a family man, so the mere fact that he continues to be interested is incredible. He's seen nothing but good examples in his employer and fellow employees about the Church. He describes them as people that know God, because of their good lives. It's almost like Moroni, 

3 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven. 
4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men. (Moroni 7:3-4, italics added)

Never discount the power of example. Truth and time are on our side.

I'm so thankful for this opportunity to prepare the way for the Meridian Temple, it's a truly unique place to serve, not so dense and impersonal as Utah, but still with several members living on almost every street. Our last investigator that we found in Eagle had two faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nearby and one couple will come with Elder Swann and Hunt to teach her on Saturday.

I love being a missionary so much. It's honestly the most difficult thing I've ever done, but my trust and faith in the Lord has grown exponentially. Truly, enduring our deepest trials can become catalysts to us receiving the deepest spiritual blessings. It will be 10 times harder to lose the privilege to represent the Lord to these people, it's truly a different experience being a missionary, being yoked with the Lord to bring to pass His purposes.

The Everlasting Gospel has been restored through a modern prophet, and it's ancient fullness has brightly illuminated our lives, no matter where we are on our path of discipleship. The clarion call has come to each of us to live true to it, and participate in the small ways we can to help those friends and associates around us to learn about it. I love the Lord, He truly has incredible purposes for the Idaho Boise Mission and for the world collectively.

7 ¶How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 
8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. 
9 ¶Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 
10 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:7-10)

Much love!!
Elder Szendre

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