Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28th Email

Hey Everyone,
Christmas time was a blast down here in southwest Florida. Most of the week we spent in the apartment because of illnesses. Luckily I was able to dodge it until today. Sorry to say that this email will be short but I don't feel well. With all the sickness and celebration the Lord blessed us with an extraordinary teaching experience Christmas evening. We were in Naples and Elder Alber wanted to visit one of his recent converts so we called him up and went over to visit. Elder Firth and Alber went in while I talked with Tj on the phone. After a little while I had the feeling that I needed to go inside. When I got inside I just happened to come in at the right time because they were talking about his struggles to stay worthy and feel like he deserved to come to church and then Elder Alber turned to me and told his recent convert that he should ask me about the things that I have gone through recently because everyone isn't perfect. I was excited to share my experiences with him and try to comfort him and let him know that it's not always easy but it's worth it. His nephew was in the room but for the whole conversation was leaned back and not paying any attention until I started sharing my story and then he put his drink down leaned forward and sat on the end of his seat and started asking me questions. He had left the church when he was a teenager because he was scared about whether he was going in the right direction or not in his life so he left the church and started moving his life elsewhere. He didn't quite understand the Atonement because he asked how it is I was able to do what I did and still go on a mission. In his life right now he lost his job and is seperated from his wife until they can do the paperwork for a divorce. He didn't realize that all his answers that he was looking for at that time was in the Book of Mormon. He told us afterwards if he would have known then he would have read it and taken it more seriously. How great is it to know the simplicity of this gospel? That if we do the small things like reading our scriptures and saying our prayers everyday that the Lord will bless us? Alma promises in the 37th chapter verse 6 "By small and simple things great things shall come to pass." Do we take it too lightly sometimes? Do we not have time or are we too tired? It's not an excuse. I promise that if you look back on your day yesterday I bet you could find enough time to read at least one verse out of the Book of Mormon and say a prayer. And I promise as you do so that your days will be brighter, that light will guide you day to day and the Lord promises that He will poor out His blessings upon you. The nephew is having the missionaries come over this week and will be attending church because he knows now what's been missing in his life. As we were leaving they told us that there phone had been disconnected for the past week and that they had no idea how our call came through their line, but it did. Talk about the work of the Lord. The Church is true!
I Love You All!
Elder Salmon

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 21st Email ! MERRY CHRISTMAS !!

Hey Everyone
I'm sorry this email may be a little short because of all the trainings and travelling (driving) we have been doing this past week this email won't be very long. This past week we had to emergency transfer some missionaries in our zone because we caught them with the church's projector watching movies not only not approved in the mission but also movies not approved period. It was sad because they we good missionaries and I hate to turn missionaries in because that has never been my nature but our hands were tied. One of the missionaries was really repentant but the other took it as making his name famous in the mission which for something like that I wouldn't exactly be proud of. We worked with other missionaries in our zone and I was able to go with one to a less active's home and had a great experience. He was 87 and had been extremely depressed for some time. What he was most depressed and I guess more scared than anything was passing on. Immediately we went into the Plan of Salvation. I've had my experiences of losing loved ones and it was hard for me to try and make it sound like a good thing but the whole time I was praying to my Heavenly Father to help me say what was needed to help my brother out. I was blown away by how strong the spirit was and it made me realize how blessed we are to know the truth. To know that there are great things to come in the life after. That we can be together as families for all eternity! Our memories and joy we have with one another will not end here they will continue on forever! How great is that blessing?! How great is it to have the opportunity to share this blessing with people I've never met! I love this gospel and know without a doubt it is true! I love the Christmas season! I have been doing some serious thinking about my last Christmas in the mission field. What can I give Him? What can I do for Christmas that will help me be happy and successful? Elder D.Todd Christofferson suggests that we live a consecrated life. In his October 2010 Conference address he quotes Richard L. Evans:

Life offers you two precious gifts---one is time, the other freedom of choice, the freedom to buy with your time what you will.
I have made a choice and I have been called by a prophet of God and set apart to represent the Lord Jesus Christ and His church. I have been called to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. How great is the calling! I have been recommended as ‘one worthy to represent the Lord’, and I have promised to devote all of my time and my attention to serving Him, leaving behind all other personal affairs. As I obey with a willing heart, I will show the Lord my love for Him-what a perfect gift for Him!

These statements express the reality that our life on earth is a stewardship of time. There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. When we accepted our baptismal covenants, we promised to live by His standards. And you and I will be held accountable for how well we honor our promises. We need to always keep in mind the importance of our time on Earth and strive constantly to keep those covenants. This is the perfect gift to Him for Christmas We can rededicate and reconsecrate our lives to His honor.
Merry Christmas!!
Elder Salmon

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13th Email

Hey Everyone
It's getting so close to Christmas and I love it! We had Christmas Conference this past week and it was a blast! It was so great to see missionaries that I haven't seen for a while. Elder Alber and I had to leave early to take Elder Firth to the doctor for a post surgical checkup. Poor guy he goes home on the 28th and last week he got his appendix taken out and in the middle of the surgery the doctor noticed he had a hernia that he didn't want anyone to find out about and so he fixed that too so he is just hating life recovering right now. At the checkup the doctor said he should be fully recovered in 6 weeks and he goes home in 2... So the decision is final Elder Alber and I are going traveling with Elder Firth. It is going to be so much fun! He gets here tonight but we don't leave until Wednesday because we have to give a training to our zone Wednesday morning. President really likes and trusts Elder Alber and I. He told us we are free to go where we choose whenever and we don't need to constantly check in to him because he said he trusts us and knows that we will work hard. It's amazing, it's people like that I'm going to work the hardest for because they trust and respect me and I would never want to do anything to break that. We got to attend two different stake nativity activities this past weekend and do some missionary work at both. They go all out down here. One of them had a live nativity with animals as well as a "city of bethlehem" set up and you can go to different shops and do different activities it was crazy. We were able to do it all with non members that showed up and it was one of the easiest times to teach because they knew ahead of time that they were going to learn about our Savior's birth. We worked with a couple companionships in our zone this past week and I just love going into an area having nothing to worry about but to teach what they have scheduled and help find people they can work with. It's a great spiritual experience.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Monday, December 6, 2010

Todd's Tampa Zone

December 6th Email

Hey Everyone,
Tis the season!! I love Christmas time in Florida because the weather is perfect haha other than that I wish I was home. This past week Elder Alber and I made a new set of goals. We called it "Project Purification" after a lot of prayer we decided that in order for our zone to step it up we needed to go above and beyond and challenge them to keep up. So far it has worked! And we are exhausted. We have been struggling to have perfect mornings but not this week. We set high goals at the beginning of the week and everyday we don't come home until our goals have been reached. Our mission doesn't have us keep track of numbers of the copies of The Book of Mormon handed out but we decided we wanted to keep track and have the one of our focuses, planting seeds. So this week we taught 40 total lessons and handed out about 30 copies of The Book of Mormon. A guy named Kenny who we worked with a little while ago told us he was going to attend the family ward with his mom until he decided he was ready to be baptized. So he came up to us in the hall yesterday and told us he stood up in testimony meeting and told the ward he wanted to be baptized! How cool is that?! So we are going to meet with him Tuesday to see if he wants to be baptized in the singles ward or his family ward. We are hoping we get to have him in the singles! We have a couple potentials but they don't want to really take anything seriously until after the christmas break which school will start January 10 and that will be next transfer....But in setting that example to the zone we decided to pair everyone up with another companionship to call each other every night and hold them accountable for that day and see what goals they have set for the upcoming day as well as what they are going to do to reach that goal. Sacrifice will give us results, and we are seeing results we started the week with 3 baptismal dates set for the zone and as of last night we have 6! That's right they doubled! Elder Alber and I joked around about it last night saying that we work hard and our zone reaps the benefits which is fine by us because to us it is the same work! I'm having no baptisms for this month if the zone gets a bunch! So with school being out we talked to President about what we should do and this is what sounds like is going to happen. There is a set of traveling assistants right now going around training missionaries in the mission about the new curriculum in the MTC and one of them is going home on 14th and the other on the 28th both will be going home before the end of the transfer. So when the first one goes home Elder Alber and I will be going in a threesome to travel and train and once the other one goes home we will continue to work around the mission until the end of the transfer. I'm so excited!! I love working with missionaries and its gonna be a blast to have nothing to worry about except the missionaries in each area! It's not set in stone but its about a 90% chance and I'm stoked!
I Love you all so much!!
Elder Salmon