Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8th Email.... 5 days left !!!!!!!!!

Hey Everyone,
5 DAYS LEFT!!!! And I'm freaking out! I have absolutely loved my mission! I am so grateful for the opportunity to come back out here and serve the Lord. I've learned so much about my Heavenly Father, My Savior, and His Gospel! I have also learned so much about myself and what I need to do to bring me and my future family back to live with Him again. I'm really going to miss being a missionary! I really am living the life out here. I have loved working with people and helping them come unto Christ. This past week has been crazy in the office. A lot of errands to run, a few emergency transfers, and some teaching opportunities. I was happy to have my last Sunday here in the YSA. It's a bitter sweet feeling that I have about coming home because when I get home it will have been 37 months since I started this journey and a good majority of me doesn't want it to end yet. I've met so many great people here and just love serving them and the Lord. I'll see you all this weekend!!
I Love You All!!
Elder Salmon

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1st Email !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey Everyone!
HOLY COW I'VE GOT 11 DAYS LEFT!! It's such a crazy feeling! We got transfer calls this past Saturday and I'm heading up to Tampa 3 (USF Campus again!) for my last 10 days! And I will be serving with Elder Alber and staying with the assistants Elder Cook and Johnson and helping them in the office. This has been an amazing week! We went to visit the Headricks this past week and some of their friends came over and 2 of them came to church and are just eating up the Book of Mormon! I've never seen this much excitement to read the Book of Mormon by someone who has never heard of it. But to them it makes SO much sense on why there were Prophets on this continent guiding the people. Elder Carroll who was being trained in the other side of the Naples area had to go home because his seizures started acting up. He is a great missionary and he is looking to come back in a few months and I hope he does. Elder Nielson is getting transfered up to Winterhaven because he needs to get surgery on his menicus because it is torn and a member of the stake presidency up there is an orthopedic surgeon and President Summerhays is hoping to get everything done while he is out here. Sarah got baptized on Saturday!!!! It was such a great experience! I was blessed with the opportunity to do the baptism and the confirmation! She is amazing! And I'm so excited for her and the things she will be able to do for the church. We taught Angy yesterday and she is still golden as ever. She's afraid of what her dad is going to say because he is really close minded but as we talked with her about we came to an agreement that the best way to handle it is to have her mom talk to him because she is extremely supportive. I'll see you all next week!!!
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25th --- 19 Days !!!!!!!

Hey Everyone,
19 Days!!! But who's counting right? haha. This past week we were able to meet with Angy and set a date with her for the 6th of August!! She is great! This Tuesday her mom decided to sit in on the lesson and it's going to be about the Plan of Salvation! What a perfect time for her to step in and know that she can be with her daughter and the rest of their family forever! I got a call from Port Charlotte this past week and Sarah is getting baptized on Saturday!! She is so ready and excited. Last night she texted me for some advice. She was upset because she only wanted a few people there at her baptism and some people had invited themselves and she didn't think it was very considerate of her feelings for them to do so. She even contemplated not getting baptized. After talking with her and telling her that I agreed that it wasn't right for them to invite themselves but it shouldn't affect her decision on what she knew to be true. And she agreed and is all good and ready to be baptized on Saturday! We had interviews with President Summerhays this week and it was great!! I love talking with him. It was another laid back interview as always. President and I have always gotten along and seen things from the same view point. We discussed more about what he wants to do and asked about what he should with the mission in the next couple of months. It's great to know that he trusts and respects my opinion enough to discuss that with me. He didn't want to talk about me much because he wanted to save it for my exit interview that will be in 2 weeks. I did however get a committment out of him to take the 4 missionaries that are going home with me golfing the day before we all leave! So I'm pretty excited.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

July 18th Email !!!

Hey Everyone,
3 and a half weeks left!! Crazy!! Sorry these last couple weeks of emails is going to be a little shorter than normal because I'm trying really hard not to get trunky :). So I'm just gonna get on, tell you whats going on then take off to ball it up in Fort Myers. We taught Angy this past week with Sister Leatherwood and Sister Bennett and she is absolutely golden! She took everything in so well and her fellowshippers are amazing. She went over to Sister Bennett's last night to do her reading assignment. We are also teaching a man named Michael. Michael has been investigating the church for some time now and had some problems with our beliefs due to how he was raised in his faith. He has been able to over come those obstacles and come to know that this is the true church. The hold up now is smoking. He has been smoking for most of his life. A lot like Bill. He is living somewhere that we know unless he moves out he won't be able to overcome that addiction. He is being helped by members to find him a better place to stay. The Lord continues to bless us as we are working smart. We have received two media referrals and plan to contact them as soon as possible and hopefully begin to teach them and bring them unto the fold.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Monday, July 11, 2011

Baptism !!!

Cuddling a baby :)

Another Baby :)

July 11 th Email !!! 1 MONTH !!!!!!

Hey Everyone,
Great news!! Bill got baptized this last Saturday!!! It was such a great experience to see him after so many years of wanting to be a member of the church he was able to overcome the temporal things he needed to and get baptized! We have been doing a lot of member work this past week and the Lord has blessed us because of us wanting not only to work but to work smart. We got a referral from a family in the ward who's daughters have brought to church the past 5 Sundays and went to girls camp last week and wants to take the discussions! They set up the appointment for us and just told us when to show up. Her mother agreed to sit in on the lessons! We also just received a family referral from a member in the spanish ward here and we will be meeting up with them this next week as well! Things are going great and I am loving the work!
I love you all!
Elder Salmon

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 5th Email !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey Everyone,
Elder Nielson and I are trying to really get the work going down here in Naples. After a lot of discussing and planning we've come up with some ideas to best approach the work down here. Elder Nielson and his last companion did a lot of tracting and after being in Port Charlotte and seeing how effective working smart was I did not want to tract unless we had absolutely nothing else to do. We have a 30 page roster front and back of members in the ward and their is no way that even half of them come to church. We are calling and/or visiting every member in the roster that is in our area of the ward. It was extremely effective in Port Charlotte and this ward is really capable of expanding tremendously. We already have 2 elders quorums so there is no reason it couldn't be expanded to 2 wards within the next year. We have done a lot of area book work and trying to set up lessons with old investigators and it's looking good. We are gonna start reteaching a girl named Tisha. We've dropped Rosa because she decided she is going to go to a Presbyterian church on Marco Island that is closer as well as that is where her daughter is going and her daughter didn't want to go to a different church and so she wanted to be in the same church as her daughter. We were out to dinner this past week and sat next to an older couple. We started talking and joking around with them and then they started asking us questions on why we are out here and what we are doing. An hour and a half went by and we had taught the first lesson with them in the restaurant! It was a great experience and we will be following up with them this week and hopefully continue to progress them. I've done a lot of studying about Preach My Gospel and applying it to life in and out of the mission. It has everything in there to organize what I am wanting to do and how I can achieve what I want to do in my life both spiritually and temporally. Just like so many successful businesses they have a mission statement, and out here on the mission we too have a mission statement "Our purpose is to invite people 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." I started to think about what is MY mission statement for life. I'm still pondering on what I'm going to choose and I've got a few ideas and want everything I want to do on life and the choices I make to be in harmony with that mission statement I have set for myself. Elder Nielson's knee is still bugging him and got another MRI this past week with contrast and will find out the results this Friday. Hopefully nothing is torn or else he will probably have to go home and have surgery.
I love you all!
See you next month!!
Elder salmon

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 27th Email !!

Hey Everyone,
I have enjoyed my first week down here in Naples. Work has been a little slow this past week because my companion has messed up his knee and can' t do much because this past week was our bike week ha. He has an appointment to see the doctor this Thursday and hopefully we can get things figured out. We our working with a woman name Rosa, she has a date for this coming weekend but might have to be pushed back a week because she didn't show up to church yesterday. We also have Lauren and Maddy who are amazing! Lauren is Maddy's mother and Maddy is 13 and they are strong Christian people and have a great knowledge of the Bible and have an open mind to other things that could strenghthen their testimony in the Savior. Yesterday in PEC before church I was called on by one of the members of the Bishopric to give a talk. Luckily it only had to be a 5-10 min talk. He told me after it was going to be either yesterday or a 15-20 min talk in 2 weeks and I was glad to get this one. We have 2 brand new greenies in our district and they are a lot of fun to mess with. Don't worry we aren't going overboard but still having a lot of fun with them. Sorry this is so short. But we are running up to Fort Myers to play basketball. I'll see you all soon!!!
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

June 20th Email !!! LAST TRANSFER !!!

Hey Everyone,
This is my last transfer on the mission!!!! Time has flown!!! Transfer calls were Saturday and I am being transfered to Naples with Elder Nielson for my last hoorah haha. I'm really excited because I've always wanted to serve with Elder Nielson and didn't think it was going to be able to happen before I left. I tried to get him up here to Port Charlotte because I really do love it here. I've really grown close to the people here and I know that I'll be in touch with a lot of them for life. It was really hard saying some goodbyes to some families yesterday and it'll be hard again today. Bill is still struggling. He had been keeping us in the dark about him smoking and his daughter who is a less active but is really supportive of him joining him outted him to us this past week so hopefully soon he'll enter into the waters of baptism. Sarah is amazing! We had some great lessons with her this week. She is going to be one strong member! She is joining for the right reasons and is really taking faith and repentance to heart and is doing it the way we all should. I'm excited for her, she'll be baptized in no time. Yesterday at church I wanted to test where she was at so I told her she better invite me back for her baptism and without a beat she replied of course! She is so ready. Well we had an interesting Saturday outside of transfer calls. One of my companions caught an alligator by the foot on his fishing pole and reeled it in. It was pretty big a good 4 feet long and heavy. Well a neighbor called it. We released it not knowing someone called the police and went inside cleaned off and headed to the car to go out and work for the day and 5 sheriff's and 2 fish and game officer's showed up and I guess catching a gator and all that is a felony in Florida.....one of my companion's has a court date this next month and it'll be for a misdemeanor for "possession of a reptile" haha. We've talked to members and they said they usually just give you a fine and nothing will go on your record. I'm not being charged so I'm clean and good to go thankfully. When all that was said and done looking back it was pretty funny haha we are in the newspaper and as I am emailing you now no joke people are out in the library not knowing we are in the lab talking about the Mormon Missionaries that caught and alligator haha.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another Gator !!

June 13 th Email !

Hey Everyone,
This past week has been yet another great week. Blessings all over the place! Literally, we have been giving blessings like crazy! Larry was confirmed yesterday and received the Aaronic Priesthood. The Ward is really taking care of him and helping him progress, it's really great to see. Bill has a date to be baptized this Sunday! He's been clean for over a week now and is really wanting to be a member of this church. While we were over at his rehab center for his hip we were given permission to give him the Sacrament and we asked the male nurse for some bread and he brought it in and asked if we could pray with him and his wife. His wife was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in her kidney and bladder. They joined us for Sacrament and afterwards we taught them about the Priesthood and the Restored Gospel then proceeded to give her a blessing. Afterwards they were both in tears and knew that they had felt the Spirit of the Lord and we will continue to talk with them as we visit Bill each day. Sarah is doing great! She knows it's true but she just hasn't felt ready to take the plunge yet and that's totally cool with us, so we are going to continue to be there and help her along until she is ready. We had another amazing spiritual experience this past week. A young family in our ward called us over because the wife was 7 months pregnant and she had gone to the doctor and her baby had an irregular heartbeat and her and her husband were both worried and wanted a blessing. I was blessed to be given the opportunity to be the instrument in the Lord's hands for the blessing. I don't remember what was said but I do remember the power of the Spirit I felt. A few days later she went in for another appointment and the baby is totally healthy. The Church is true, our Savior lives, and the Priesthood, the power and authority to act in God's name has been restored on this Earth in this Church at this time.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6th Email

Hey Everyone,
This past week I was only able to be in my area Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday evening. Before I left on exchanges we had another lesson with Sarah. It was such a spiritual lesson. I got off on a tangent and it was an experience that I had never had before on my mission. As I was teaching her my mind turned off but my mouth continued to teach. I have no idea what I said but I know that at that point I was truly an instrument in the Lord's hands. Since then I have felt that my teaching has grown tremendously, actually I can't really say MY teaching but I have become that instrument that the Lord wants me to be. Bill fell this past week and broke his hip. He had the ball at the top of his hip replaced and has been in a lot of pain. On the humorous side on Monday we were talking to him and he joked about how the only time he has quit smoking for a period of time is when he was in the hospital a fews years back and jokingly said that if he were to go back in it would help him overcome the addiction. So when we got to the hospital we joked about it and reminded him of the story, he laughed, and we said well Bill looks like the Lord gave you what you wanted :). Larry was baptized by our Bishop yesterday!! The ward is so excited and they are just craving for more! It was a great experience because before church our Ward Mission Leader came up to me because I was supposed to give the talk on Baptism and he asked that I got to the Lord and change the topic to something more personal to Larry. I did so and in Sacrament meeting I felt the need to open up the Ensign and I opened up to the talk given by Elder Maynes about Establishing a Christ-Centered Home. It was definately something that helped him realize his duties as he will in the future be the Priesthood holder in the family. Elder Allen who was recently called to the Quorum of the Seventy and was the head guy with the making of Preach My Gospel came to our leadership meeting and we got chastened quite a bit but it was to help us improve. I got a little aggrivated so the next morning I ended up reading Elder Christofferson's talk As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten. Talk about a humbling experience haha. In his talk he says "Divine chastening has at least three purposes: (1) to persuade us to repent, (2) to refine and sanctify us, and (3) at times to redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path." Elder Allen did all three and I am truly grateful for the love and caring that he had for us to put us on the right path and I truly feel that the mission will take off as we do as we were directed.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31st Email.... Travel Papers Arrived !!!!!

Hey Everyone,
This past week has been an exhausting one. We had to move 3 different times as well as bust out 28 lessons for the week. Sunday came and the 3 of us were just spent. Both physically and spiritually. We all struggled keeping our eyes open teaching and visiting people on Sunday. Our investigators are great. Larry's baptism was moved to this Sunday because between the Bishop moving, also he is the one baptizing Larry, and Larry working on Saturday the Bishop wanted to wait one more week. Bill is still good ol' Bill. He's still struggling with the tobacco but we are going to try having some members that have had that problem in the past keep daily contact with him as well as help him overcome it. This past week was the first time I've seen Bill get really frustrated. He's so frustrated with himself and the tobacco because he wants to be a member and have the Holy Ghost so bad and understands he needs to get over it but hasn't quite made it yet. Sarah is progressing quickly. She came to church as well as more activities in the ward and I've been extremely impressed with how well the young adults have been fellowshipping and taking her under their wing. I hope y'all had a great Memorial Day. We went frisbee golfing yesterday and it was pretty entertaining. Studies - A modern prophet once said that the most important word in the dictionary is, “remember”. As a mission we have committed to show Him that we remember by being “Remember This” missionaries. That which we remember, we don’t take for granted. As we pause this Memorial Day and remember the lives of our loved ones who have gone before, and our freedoms that are provided for us at so costly a sacrifice, and our God, whose hands purposely retain the marks to remind us that he always remembers us, let us remember “how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah…..he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in Him shall be saved”
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Monday, May 23, 2011

Todd And His Bat Ray

May 23 rd Email

Hey Everyone!
The Lord's hand has really been in our work! Bill had to push back his date because he still struggles with smoking. He tried stopping but due to the 50+ years of smoking his body didn't handle it well. He has a doctor's appointment this Thursday and he is going to get something to help him with the cravings. He is still attending addiction recovery class every week and we see him every day and he says that it helps him stay motivated. He says "I just want to be in the darn church!" He is a great guy! Our Ward Mission Leader and his daughter who just recently returned home from the Oklahoma City Mission taught Larry because we had to be in Bradenton for Stake Correlation set a date for this Saturday! He has a little trouble with coffee but he said yesterday he was going to stop. This will be the first baptism in this area in 2011! The ward is excited and really wants to help us bring people to the fold. Sarah is doing great! She came to church yesterday and liked it then came to a Ward Fireside that night! She'll be joining the church soon. So I talked to Elder Cook last night on the phone last night and I'm not sure if y'all remember but we taught these hardcore Catholics after church back in Tampa and it was a 3 hour discussion about some deep doctrine. Well Anthony, one of the ones we taught, was confirmed a member of the Church yesterday up in Tennessee!! He gets the Priesthood next week!! I love this work! Well we went fishing this morning at our Bishop's house and I threw out a casting net and pulled up at Bat Ray!! (I've attached the pics to the email). We caught a lot of Catfish as well. I have learned a lot about setting a pattern here that will bring me peace, happiness and productivity in my education, in my family, in my future career and in my service to my fellow man. I have been taught many times that, “A young man or young woman will seldom, if ever, rise in their lives above the PATTERN they establish for themselves in the mission field.” It reminds me of a quote from Elder Bednar, who reminds us of our capacity as ordinary people. “We should find great comfort in the fact that ordinary people who faithfully, diligently and consistently do simple things that are right before God will bring forth extraordinary results.”
I Love You All So Much,
Elder Salmon

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Meet "Oliver"

May 16th Email...Gators and Crocodiles!! All While Baptizing !

Hey Everyone,
This has been a crazy busy week but in a great way! Bill is doing great! We set a baptismal date with him for the 28th of May! He has been slowly winging himself off all week and today is the first day he'll go all day without smoking! He is nervous but is excited to be a member of the church. Sarah is progressing amazingly! We taught her 3 times this week and she brought her mom in for the second lesson (Plan of Salvation) and she agreed with everything, is in full support of her joining the Church, and really wants her to be baptized because she hasn't been baptized yet. Her mom works a lot but said that whenever we have a lesson with Sarah and she isn't working she wants to be there and to listen in on it. The Ward loves us and is excited for the work that is about to take off. This week we are going to a members home who breeds crocodile's and the 7 ft-er laid some eggs so he needs help holding off the mom while he grabs the eggs so we are really excited and don't worry mom he's done it a million times and he's just gonna give us big pieces of ply wood to put up a wall between her and her eggs and we just have to hold the wall up. My Studies - As we read about the Lord’s promises in the Book of Mormon, we must internalize the lessons we are teaching. We must also invite and make commitments ourselves that will bring about our repentance and strengthen our faith in the Savior. We must learn to always recognize the blessings. We do this by pondering and reflecting on our many blessings. Each night we should consider those things that we have been able to accomplish with the Lord’s help. Next we must work at recognizing the manifestations of His hand throughout each day. As we learn to recognize the Lord’s hand in our lives each day, we will recognize the blessings we have received. As we recognize our blessings, we express gratitude to our Father in Heaven. “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things." This will always invite the spirit to be our constant companion. Sorry this is so short but Elder Reist caught a baby gator (3 1/2 ft) on his fishing pole this morning and he is at our apartment chilling in our tub. There is a picture of her (Oliver) attached.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9th Email !!!!!

Hey Everyone,
So it was transfer calls this past Saturday and I am staying here in Port Charlotte. Elder Olsen is leaving and I am getting 2 new companions. Elder Reist who is from California and is a giant! (6'9'') He's been out a little over a year now and Elder Packer who is from St. George and he goes home at the end of this transfer. I'm really excited it's going to be a really fun and busy transfer. Things in Port Charlotte are really starting to pick up. We have Bill who is really trying to overcome smoking and is slowly progressing to do so but at least it's progression. Then the sister's called and said that a family from their ward is moving into ours and their non member son who is 12 is going to be living with them and they want him to get baptized! Thursday night on our way home it was about 8:40 and we were stopped at a light and there is a K-mart right by our place and I look over and there is only about 10 cars in that huge empty parking lot and I got the feeling we needed to go over there. I shook it off once and then the feeling got more intense so I looked at Elder Olsen and said "Let's go to K-mart." So we were just aimlessly walking around K-mart and it was getting ready to close in less than an hour and a girl about my age that works there came up and asked how we were doing and then kept walking. About 2 minutes later she comes back and asks if we are missionaries and wanted to know where our church building was. Come to find out she is dating a missionary and she isn't a member and she wanted to know more about the church and what her boyfriend believed. Talk about golden!! We are teaching her tonight at 7 and she is just as excited as we are. Last P-day we went to a minor league baseball game and were asked to do one of the inbetween innings activities. So the 4 of us (Elder's Olsen, Alber, Marshall, and myself) went out on the field and had to have our head down on a standing bat, spin around ten times and then race to the foul line. We all at one time ate it haha I got across the finish line first but at a price. As soon as I hit the dirt of the warning track of the fence my feet went out from under me and I fell and slid right up into to fence haha I wish I would have been able to watch myself it must have been hillarious!! I have been doing a lot of pondering and self reflection on the story of when Christ fed the 5,000 during the Sermon on the Mount. Christ had his disciples bring him all that he had, in turn he made it enough to feed the 5,000. I have thought a lot "Am I giving all to Christ, putting it all in His hands and letting Him do the rest?" I have a lot of work I need to do because sometimes without realizing it I try and do things myself without asking the Lord for help. I've spent a lot of time on my knees this past week asking for His help. I am trying to develop the attitude of, Heavenly Father I have done everything I can and I need help. Through the humility we show to our Heavenly Father we are submitting to His will and not ours.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 2nd Email !!!

Hey Everyone,
I can't believe that is already week 6 of the transfers and transfer calls are this Saturday!! This transfer has flown by. This past week was a great one and we were blessed because of our diligence in the work. We went on splits this week with some members and our Ward Mission Leader Bro. Lamb told me that I should go and visit a family that has been on his mind lately. We get there and find out that the whole family was really sick. As we were talking the father asked if we could give blessings to non-members. I told him that we did and he told me that his sister had just been diagnosed with cancer and had heard about when he had MS and lost feeling in his legs from the knee down. He received a Priesthood blessing and in days all feeling was restored and he was out walking and working again. So we set up a time to meet with him and his sister 2 days later. I was given the opportunity to give her a blessing and it was such a great spiritual experience!! After we said Amen she didn't say anything. She had a very focused look on her face and when she looked up at us you could tell she was saying thank you. What a great blessing it is to us worthy Priesthood holders in the church to be able to go out and administer to those in need and have the faith that through that Priesthood Authority miracles can happen! So it was the end of the month this week and we had ran out of the alotted miles we were given and so I got to break out the bike that hasn't really been touched in 9 months haha man I haven't sweat like that in a really long time haha. We have an elderly couple serving with us here in the Port Charlotte Ward and after Book of Mormon class Bill, our investigator, was talking with Elder White. Elder White told him how much he wants to see him get baptized because you can tell in the class and in church that he has a strong testimony and that's what he told Elder White, he also said he needs to overcome his addiction to cigarettes. Elder White told him that he and his wife will be praying for him and that hit Bill like a ton of bricks. He was so blown back by how much the people in the church really do care about him. We met with him the next day and he told us of this experience and said that as he had lit up that morning and took a puff he said it was the nastiest taste he had ever tasted and started hacking and coughing. And he himself connected that it was because of the prayers of the members that this happened and is making a great progress. This week in church a man by the name of Eric just walked into sacrament and sat down behind our Elder's Quorum Pres. and we talked with him afterwards and he said as he was making breakfast that morning that the people he was staying with said that he should go to church today. He just shrugged it off and started biking to the grocery store and as he biked past our church he had the feeling to go in. Bro. Lamb our Ward Mission Leader was teaching the Restoration in Sunday School that day and Eric kept saying how interesting it all was and that it all made sense. Afterwards we exchanged information and he committed himself to coming to church the next week and coming to Book of Mormon class this week and we will be meeting with him as much as possible this week because he said he is really open because he was just let go at his job. In Elder David A. Bednar’s first testimony as a member of the Twelve, given in October of 2004, he shared the powerful principle of grace through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Quoting Elder Bednar, “In the Bible Dictionary, we learn that the word grace frequently is used in the scriptures to connote a strengthening or enabling power….thus, the enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement helps us to see and to do and become good in ways that we could never recognize or accomplish with our limited mortal capacity.” Peter said, “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our…Saviour, Jesus Christ.” And the Lord added in this dispensation, “Ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.” This grace is spiritual knowledge and power that changes how we as members see ourselves, increases our capacities, and magnifies our ability to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 25 th Email .... Happy Easter

Hey Everyone,
This past week has been amazing!!! Bill is doing great and is making a lot of progress in his addiction recovery. Elder Olsen and I are going to buy him some nicotine patches this week and he has agreed to come to the ward's addiction recovery program and is excited to finally put this behind him. We had interviews this past Thursday, so I got to spend most of my day just chillin waiting to be interviewed. The sisters brought a bunch of homemade treats and Elder Olsen and I made our training for the zone into a jeopardy game to make it fun. I love having interviews with President Summerhays, he is so personable and cares about what is going on with you in the mission and wants to help you progress as a missionary and an individual. For a lunch break a bunch of us went out to get some wings and Elder Olsen paid for me so mission birthdays are great. And to top of the day the Raines family and Elder Olsen organized a surprise birthday party at their home and so Elder Olsen told me that Brother Raines was really sick and wanted us to come by and give him a blessing. So I walk in and around the corner the whole family is standing around the table with a bunch of cupcakes and candles and yelled HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! It was such a great surprise!! The Raines family is legit!! Don't get me wrong the ward here is awesome but because of them and the friendship that is already there in such a short time is the main reason why I requested to President to finish my mission here in Port Charlotte. Crystal was finally baptized on Saturday!!! Elder Alber and I were able to go back up to Tampa and be at her baptism. It was great her non member roommates came in full support as well as a lot of her family and even her dad who was SO against all of this even showed up and you could tell that it meant a lot to her. All of us missionaries have studied the last week of the Savior’s life together. As I have thought of the Savior’s Atonement this week, I remembered a phrase in Preach My Gospel. “As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase.” I also realized that a mission is a near perfect environment for a missionaries’ understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to grow and mature and for this spiritual knowledge to blossom into spiritual power. We know of the power of Christ’s Atonement because of the testimony of ancient and modern prophets, the gifts of the scriptures, and from the effects of the Atonement that we feel in our own lives through the power of the Holy Ghost and the effects we see in the lives of others. Paul said, “We look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen: for…the things that are not seen are eternal.” As we internalize the Atonement, we experience the mighty change of heart. This mighty change of heart brings with it a desire and ability to powerfully teach the blessings of the Atonement to others.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18th Email. Happy 22nd Birthday this week Todd !!!!!!!!!

Hey Everyone,
It was another week in the life of a missionary. Elder Olsen and I
have been working and praying really hard for some more people to
teach. Bill is doing great and is praying this week to set his own
date of when he wants to be baptized. He has quit smoking cigarettes
but still smokes his pipe. We went on splits with the priests and had
a blast! Afterwards we played basketball and we killed!! haha. I was
talking with Elder Olsen yesterday and he was surprised on how much
the ward has opened up and wanted us to come over in just the past 3
weeks. I was telling him that we need to be more relatable with them
and not just be robots but love and care for them and be ourselves. We
had 3 people show up to church yesterday just out of the blue. They
saw the church and found out what time and showed up for services on
Sunday. One of them was named Jay and he had been researching ancient
history and found evidence that there was white people in the Americas
before the Native Americans and were of Jewish decent so he googled it
and said that this Joseph Smith guy had the same theory. So he was
telling us why the Book of Mormon was true from a historical
background! We are meeting with him tomorrow and he is a very positive
and open guy. Another kid was dating a member and is taking a world
religions class and is writing a paper on the Mormons. I sat out in
the foyer during Priesthood and just answered questions. He has no
religious background and was surprised how much everything done in the
church made sense. God is a God of promises. Some come in our
Patriarchal blessings, some are written in the scriptures and some are
written in our hearts. Some we don’t even know yet. Every promise and
every dream that is right will be yours if you consecrate and
sacrifice your time, talents and hearts. During this Easter season, it
is particularly nice to read the promises of the prophets when they
teach of our Savior. ‘all those who have hearkened unto their words
(prophets) and believed that the Lord would redeem his people...For
these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has
died, to redeem them from their transgressions…. Behold the bands of
death will be broken…..he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the
dead ….for all those what have believed in their (prophets) words, or
all those that have kept the commandments….I bear testimony that He
will keep His promises for God can not lie. I know that He is the
living Christ and we can grow closer to Him through our study of the
Book of Mormon. “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our
sorrows….He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our
iniquities…and with His stripes we are healed. I have graven thee upon
the palms of my hands. I have chosen thee in the furnace of
affliction. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: He shall gather
the lambs with His arms, and carry them in his bosom. The Lord God
will wipe away tears from off all faces. The words which praise Him
anciently continue to praise Him today.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Monday, April 11, 2011

Say "hello" to my little friend.....

April 11th Email !!!

Hey Everyone,
So I have some bad news. Elder Spendlove has gone home. He had been talking to Elder Olsen and I and felt that he had some things he needed to take care of back at home. It was a great experience to be able to talk with him and let him know that I know exactly how he was feeling and what he was going through. I'm so grateful to the Lord for His tender mercies and Him putting me in places where I need to be and help those that need help. President called and told me that that wasn't the reason the Lord told him to put me here but the Lord doesn't always reveal every reason why and he was glad I was here with him. We are teaching a guy named Bill, back in the 70's he brought his family into the church but couldn't get baptized due to probation and now wants to come back. He has some temporal things he needs to overcome but has the right attitude and can really recognize the Spirit in his life. After teaching him this week I was able to give him a blessing and I hope you takes the Lord's counsel and applies it because it will be the only way for him to do so. We were at another family's home this weekend and their 18 yr old son has addiction issues and was on probation and came home a wreck. Couldn't stand up or focus and tried to hurt his sister. We were asked to intervine until the police officier showed up to check if he was home. He was rushed to the hospital and almost died...crazy!! The Doctrine and Covenants emphasizes that the first assignment from the Lord to Joseph Smith was the translation of the Book of Mormon. All other work he was to accomplish was dependant on his fulfilling this assignment. (D&C 5:4)
After losing the 116 pages of manuscript, Joseph’s power to translate was taken away for a small season. When that power was restored, Joseph began the translation once again starting on April 7th and finishing the translation on June 30th. Joseph felt an urgency to complete this assignment for the Lord. As a mission, we are reading the Book of Mormon within this time frame, underlining the REquirements in red and the BLessings in blue. These are the promises within the Book of Mormon. I have felt the power of this ‘book of books’, the ‘most correct book on the earth today’. It has changed my life as I ponder, pray and ask with real intent about how these promises work in my life. It will instruct me in what I need to know, and how to use these scriptures to build up the church.
I Love You All So Much!!
Elder Salmon

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4th Email !!!!! 4 months to go...!!!!

Hey Everyone,
It was hard this past week to say goodbye to everyone in the singles ward. I have made a lot of good friendships that will last me through out my life. I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned in that area and around my peers and hope to take those experiences and turn them into positive actions for others. Port Charlotte is definately a whole different type of area then Tampa. I'm in the "country" of Florida. I've been able to meet some of the members and work with our investigators in this area. I am learning a lot especially teaching little children, I am extremely rusty on that but I was reminded of the joy in seeing them learn about the Gospel. I am lucky to have a great zone. We all met this past Wednesday for a Zone District Meeting and I have been blessed to be surrounded by hard working missionaries and good friends such as Elder Alber and Elder Sharp. I was so excited to hear about Grandma and Grandpa and their mission call to Nauvoo!! They are going to have so much fun and are going to be magnificent servants in the Lord's vineyard! Conference was amazing!! I learned a lot and many of my prayers were answered. Conference began with the choir singing, “Glory to God on High”. We need to remember that Christ came to the earth to obey the Father and to bring Him the glory and allowing us to return. The opening prayer included the plea that we would be able to apply what we would learn in conference. I was inspired by the humility of Elder Holland as he reminded us of the responsibilities of the General Authorities to teach us in our diversity. They go forth in their callings, not of their own strength, but in the Strength of the Lord. Therefore they go forth in peace, confidence and happiness. Elder Bednar gave the church members magnificent promises related to receiving personal revelation as he compared the light of a light switch to the light of the rising sun. Our ability to humbly receive revelation in faith will largely determine our ability to see miracles in this work. We can do so much more as we plead in faith and go forth “in the strength of the Lord.” We can do so much more than we could otherwise. We must all strive with all our hearts to tap into this power. Faith includes confidence in the mission and power of the Holy Ghost. Through faith you receive answers to your prayer and personal revelation to guide you in the Lord’s work. Much was said about God’s promises to us. Elder Carl B. Pratt reminded us that the Lord remembers and fulfills all of His promises based on our obedience to the commandments. Cecil Samuelson said that those who pay the price will receive God’s promises. Elder Nelson reminded us that ‘angels are round about us to bear us up’.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28th Email..... TRANSFERS !!! Hello Port Charlotte Florida

Hey Everyone,
Transfer calls were this past Saturday and I'm sad to say that I'll be leaving the Tampa Bay YSA :(. I'm off to Port Charlotte and I'll be serving with Elder Olsen who will go home 10 days before me and Elder Spendlove which this coming transfer will be his second transfer in the mission. It'll be a good change but at the same time I never wanted to leave this area. I was able to however leave this area with a bang. This past week we had our monthly BBQ and Elder Cook and I took big signs that read "FREE BBQ" and pointed people into the church. We had the New Tampa Elder's waiting for non members and would give them a church tour. While we were out there I was dancing and doing the jerk and stanky legg and it was a blast!!! The BBQ usually lasts for and hour and a half, a half hour into it they made us come in because 1) They were running out of food and 2) They had more non members then the Elder's could handle. To be honest we gave 22 church tours between the 4 of us and we didn't have enough missionaries to get to all of the non members! Bro Patrick who is the Institute Instructor told us we need to teach the new Elder that is coming in how to dance and advertise on the corner :). We also had Bull Market this week which is a thing at USF where all the clubs, frats, and sorority's put up booths to bring people in and we had a booth there with the members. We started to offer people free Bibles and if they said yes we would follow up with offering The Book of Mormon. 9 times out of 10 they would say, "Sure what is it?" Elder Cook and I can answer that question all day and we did. We ended up teaching about 20 lessons that day!! We met with Crystal this past week and she set her own date for the 23rd of April!!! After 11 years of investigating the church she wants to be baptized!!! I'm so excited!! She is awesome and so solid! This area is finally taking off and from the work we did this week we had 5 people show up to church on Sunday! Speaking of which we had Mike and Anthony show up on Sunday and Mike is about to get his Phd in Religious Studies and we had a 3 hour discussion and WE were teaching him haha. Every question that you hate to answer as a missionary got asked, how did God create intelligences in the Pre-Earth life? Kolob? The cursing on the Lamanites? Heavenly Mother? Curse of Cain? Evolution? Polygamy? Becoming God's? Temple Ceremonies? Where did God come from? Yea it was a long discussion haha but if anything it was a great testimony builder for me to realize the simplicity of this Gospel.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ready?.......

300 yards....no slice... it's a miracle !!!! Look close you can see the ball !!

Fore !!!!!!!

March 21st Email !!!

Hey Everyone,
For being spring break this past week we did a great job at staying busy and the Lord blessed us for it. We announced in church last Sunday that we needed things to do this coming week because of spring break and the members stepped up. We were able to give 6 church tours this past week! Thats great on a normal week. We started the week by going to the golf range with one of our members and it was a blast. Never hit so well in my entire life! Maybe it's because I'm on a Mission and my Mission President is a Pro Golfer. But a had a few drives, with a rented club, that went 300 yards and best of all they were going straight haha. Wednesday we went to Clearwater for Institute and afterwards one of the members said that his friend was here and wanted him to be taught. So we got to know him and answered his questions and taught a little bit of the first lesson and set up a return appointment. Elder Cook and I were talking after the lesson and something seemed a little different. So when we arrived at his the address he gave us on Friday as we were driving through there were nurses and doctors walking with people around and mini play grounds for adults so we pieced together what we thought was a little of a couple nights before, but I'll let you piece that all together. Because of the distance we couldn't travel there enough each week so the missionaries in Clearwater will teach him. We were asked by a member on Sunday if we could come over Thursday to give her a blessing. We arrived with our male member, so all bases were covered haha, and when we walked in the room her some of her roommates were watching TV and she walked up to the TV and shut it off and said that the Elders are here to teach us now and another one came out of the room and sat down and they all looked at us just waiting for us to teach. Elder Cook and I looked at each other like "I thought we were here to give a blessing?" so we proceeded to share the First Lesson with them. 2 of the 3 wanted a copy of The Book of Mormon and hopefully will continue to progress. Afterwards we went in the other room to give her a blessing and said sorry for not giving you a heads up on the lesson when I was going out to meet you at the front desk I told them that I wanted the missionaries to share a message with you and they were all willing. Obviously we replied that no apology was needed and thanked her for the opportunity to teach them. We had a great dinner at our Ward Mission Leader's house for St. Patrick's Day and had corned beef and cabbage and a green soda stuff. The Sister's in our zone had a referal for us and we were able to teach him on Saturday and he is solid! He taught us about the Great Apostasy and told us that stuff in the Bible had been lost over time in translation, he has accepted the committment to read The Book of Mormon and do as Moroni says to "have a sincere heart, real intent, and having faith in Christ" and we'll be meeting again with him this week. Crystal asked her Dad about baptism this past week and she said it went pretty good and she wants to get baptized here in Tampa and soon. We are meeting this Friday with her and are going to let her set her own date for when she wants to be baptized. Another member called us up and said that his friend had deep doctrine questions and wanted to meet us at the church. It went really smooth and she has agreed to start taking the lessons. The member approached us at church on Sunday and said that his friend has another friend she wants to bring to learn about the church as well!!! Finally things are starting to turn around here!!! Saturday morning we had a service project at the VA Hospital in St. Pete and we painted the basketball court and spread molch and it was a blast! The whole St. Pete Stake did it and it was great to see a lot of the member's that I knew in the Clearwater Ward. Transfers are this Saturday!! I don't wanna leave but I'm pretty sure I'm leaving.
I Love You All
Elder Salmon

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wayne Osmond, Todd, Elder Cook, & Jay Osmond

Successful Missionary Night at the Book Signing!!

Todd Being Asked to Bear His Testimony :)

Todd and Jay at the Book Signing

Elder Cook introducing himself

Jay introducing Todd and his companion

March 14th Email !!!!

Hey Everyone,
We have done a lot of finding this week. We started off our P-day right this past week and went to a Yankees vs Phillies game! Spent all week at campus trying to invite people to church and we have a couple potentials but none that will be progressing for a week and a half because as of this past Friday it is spring break here at USF. Elder Cook and I have a lot planned this week to work with almost everyone in the zone and hopefully that will help them to try and get motivated. We had a unique opportunity to go to Jay and Wayne Osmond's book signing at Barnes and Noble this past week. Jay had us come up and had me bear testimony to those that attended and it was just a surreal experience because it felt like as I was speaking the whole store was just dead quiet, I've never had that happen before and the Spirit was just so strong. Afterwards we were approached by many members, non members, and even some people investigating in the church!! We gave out our information to get a hold of us as well as church websites etc. There was this mother and daughter that approached us and the daughter was about to turn 21 and she was looking for somewhere where she could make friends and hang out with people who had the same standards as she did. We gave her our information and will hopefully be meeting with her this next week. Jimmy and Jay also took us out to Outback the night before and it was great seeing them and talking about their families, missionary work, and the Gospel. One of the better ways to have a happy lifestyle is found in 2 Nephi 5:12. Nephi mentions he “had also brought the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass.” Why would having access to the scriptures be a consideration in a happy lifestyle? Anyone who reads scripture regularly develops a clearer perspective and purer thoughts and has more sincere and thoughtful prayers. Our lives are bound to be happier when we use the scriptures to answer our very personal questions and needs. The scriptures can cleanse us from evil thoughts and fortify our resolve to resist temptation. They can give comfort in times of need such as a death of a loved one or a personal tragedy. Reading them can put us in tune with the Spirit of the Lord so that our depression and self doubts will flee and our confidence will wax strong in the presence of God. D & C 121:45. A powerful expression of the happiness that can come from immersing ourselves in the scriptures comes from Elder Parley P. Pratt’s autobiography, in which he describes his first encounter with the Book of Mormon, which he called “that book of books”:“I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep….as I read, the Spirit of the Lord was upon me and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists. My joy was now full, as it were, and I rejoiced sufficiently to more than pay me for all the sorrows, sacrifices and toils of my life.” The Book of Mormon promises us that if we will act upon the promise in Moroni 10:3-5, that we will have the power of the Holy Ghost to be ours and we will know the truth of all things.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book Signing With The Osmonds


While the Osmonds were in Tampa, Jay invited Todd and his companion to their book signing. They had many opportunities for missionary work and were thrilled with the invite. Thanks Jay !!

Monday, March 7, 2011

28" PIZZA !!!!!!!!!!!!!

....allllll gone !!! WOW!

March 7th Email !!!!!!!

Hey Everyone,
We started out the week with getting a phone call from President Summerhays early Tuesday morning telling us that the sister's in our zone called him and told him that something didn't feel right in their apartment and would like us to come and bless their home. So we were able to go over and I was able to give my first blessing on a home and it was a great experience. Afterwards we each gave one of the sister's a comfort blessing and they were extremely grateful. We attended one of our District Meetings and one of our District Leaders challenged each companionship to focus on one specific goal for the next day and write out how we were going to achieve that goal. So Elder Cook and I knelt in prayer asking our Heavenly Father what goal we should set and how we were able to reach that. We both received the same answer. We were going to get 5 new investigators and how we were going to reach that was having 50 OYM's, and OYM stands for Open Your Mouth instead of just talking with someone and handing out a pass along card we have a small gospel discussion with them, the standard for our mission is 75 a week so we really needed to step up. That night during planning we called the assistants to see if they wanted to go out for a big meal because starting at noon the next day the leaders of the mission were going on a 24 hour fast. They also asked if we wanted them to go to campus with us and we thought that'd be a great idea we can split up and achieve our goal. And that is exactly what happened! We were able to get 5 new investigators with 57 OYM's! It's so great to see how if we pay attention to what the Lord wants us to do that he will provide a way. At the end of our 24 hour fast from Thursday to Friday we gathered together as Zone Leaders, Assistants, and President and Sister Summerhays and blessed the mission. It was such a spiritual experience that I can't tell you more than that but it was such an overwhelming feeling. From Saturday to Sunday we had another 24 hour fast to unite the mission and this fast was very special to me. I have never been able to physically fast before. When I started my fast on Saturday I prayed for the strength to be able to fast and show the Lord that I wanted to make that sacrifice and for the first time in my life I was not only able to skip a meal but I was able to go 24 hours without any food. I am so greatful for the Lord's hand in everything I do. I know without Him I am nothing. I know that all I need to do is work diligently and do everything I can on my part, go to Him in humble prayer and He will do the rest.
I Love You All,
Elder Salmon

Friday, March 4, 2011

Todd On Youtube with President Summerhays

Gotta look close !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIrPc1RCKo4

Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28th Email !!!!

Hey Everyone,
Sorry this letter is going to be a little small. We are in the mission office with the assistants and are going to go play basketball and they just got out of their meeting. So we started off the week by playing ball on campus and met quite a bit of people from Utah who were out here selling security systems. Then Tuesday we had a BBQ for Institute and we gave 5 Church Tours!!! It was awesome!! We had Zone Conference this past Wednesday and afterwards one of the other Zone Leaders asked if we were ready for Stake Correlation that night and we had totally forgot so we ran back home and typed it up and made it on time haha. This past week has been a little rough because I started to get stomach pains on Monday and they just wouldn't go away and got really bad Thursday morning so I ended up spending the next two days in the Doctor's Office getting 2 blood tests, 2 CT scans, and other tests to see what was going on and to make sure it wasn't appendicitus. Which as of right now it's not. My stomach is getting better so it's all good. We had a great lesson at a member's home last night. They invited 2 of their friends over to watch a movie and little did their friends know that it was going to be Finding Faith in Christ with the Missionaries. And I want all of you to know that for dinner we had cucumber and spinach salad and I ate it haha and it actually wasn't too bad at all.
Hard work works! One blessing of working effectively all day every day is that hard work reveals your capacity. The harder we work, the more we will understand what our capacity to work is and then that will allow us to work even harder. BUT, we must work smart. Hard work and planning and goal setting combined result in greater success.
I Love You All So Much
Elder Salmon

Monday, February 21, 2011

February 21st Email !!!!

Hey Everyone,
This week has been a little different than most but that's what keeps me on my toes out here. We had two missionaries at different times spend time with us on their last day in the field. Elder Dooley who had finished his two years and Elder Gallagher who unfortunately tore his ACL and had to go home early for surgery. It was tough to see him go we were going to be going home at the same time and he just did not want to go home. He's a great guy and hopefully, if the Lord sees it fit, he'll come back out. I'd like to share a story about a great finding experience. It was Saturday morning and Elder Cook and I had just finished helping our ward clean the building and had some time before we picked up Elder Meiners and his trainee Elder Boehme to take them grocery shopping. So since there is nothing going on campus on a Saturday morning we decided to at least drive around campus and see if there might be anything. As we were leaving campus I pulled up to a stoplight to turn right and a guy that was gonna cross stopped to let me go by and our windows were down and I'll just put the conversation like a script haha me "go ahead a cross bro" robert "thanks....are you guys the men in black?" me "almost but not quite (laughs) we are missionaries from our church, you mind if I give you a card" robert "not at all, you guys are mormons right?" me "yea, have you heard of the church before?" robert "yea, you guys give out free books and I was trying to get one back in Miami but I ended up moving down here before I could get one" me "of course! our cell phone number is at the bottom of the card and just give us a call and we'll come down and give you one and explain to you about what the book is about" So then we exchanged information and just a hour later he called!! We went down to his house and gave him a copy and taught him about The Book of Mormon. We are meeting with him this week to teach him more. I love seeing the blessings of simply opening your mouth and talking to people about the gospel because you just never know where the Lord's elect are unless you talk to everyone! I have been thinking a lot about remembering. President Kimball once said that the word, remember, was the most important word in the dictionary. I believe this is so. As we remember Him I would hope that we would pause each day and think about how we have seen His hand in our work each day.
President Eyring taught, “When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: ‘Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?’ As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.” As I cast my mind over our days, I see the evidence of what God has done for me. I see His hand in the small and simple things. I see His hand every morning as He wakes me up. I see his Hand as I kneel in prayer and a name comes to mind who needs a prayer. I see His hand in allowing me just enough time to get enough exercise to help energize me for the day. I see His hand in the discovery of Gospel Principles in individual and companionship study. My prayer is that you will see His hand in your life, especially in the small and simple things. Find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness and write them down so you won’t forget. The Holy Ghost will help you see what God has done for you. You will find that He loves us and blesses us more than we have recognized. If we will develop the pattern of remembering Him as we serve Him here, we will establish a pattern of remembering Him throughout our lives and serve Him forever.
I Love You All!
Elder Salmon

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14th Email !!! Happy Valentine's Day !!!!

Hey Everyone,
So this past weekend was transfer call weekend!! And you'll never guess where I'm going.......no where!! I'm staying here with Elder Cook in the Tampa 3 branch which will officially be a ward starting this next week!!! It's been great to be here in this area and see the member's grow and help make this branch a ward! We have accomplished a lot this past week that will hopefully get the missionary efforts from the members moving forward. We have met with our ward mission leader and made a ward mission plan and set goals that they want to reach as well as smaller goals to help reach them. Now that we have a better idea of what the ward wants from us we will go forward strong with member work. President said that it'll take some time to get investigators but has promised that if we diligently work with members that baptisms will double mission wide. He gave us some statistics for options to double baptisms. It would take the church 13 times more advertizing or 6 times the amount of full time missionaries or 2.5 times more members bringing friends to church. Makes the decision to change our focus a little more easier. As far as knocking doors 1 out of 1000 doors will get baptized in the mission, not a good rate at all. So President wants us to teach teach teach even if it's members. The Bishop holds the keys to finding not the Mission President or the Missionaries. The Mission President holds the keys to Teach and Baptize. So we have the attitude to treat members as investigators that just know more. As well as bringing less actives back to church. In this mission any area you go to you will have a 15-20 page ward roster and only 3-5 pages are active. We could make new wards and stakes by just reactivating! I love bringing people into the church and have grown a new love of bringing people BACK to church. Crystal has received her answer 3 times that The Book of Mormon and the church is true. So she is going to approach her dad over spring break and confidently talk about baptism. She has already talked to her mom about who she wants to be there! It's great that she has gained a testimony she will be a solid member! For the first time in a couple months I was able to meet with Brittney! She took us out for lunch and it was great to finally meet and talk with her. She is really struggling and we want to help as well as the members want to help her through it but she feels like she needs to do it on her own. I can respect that because I know that feeling and sometimes the best way is to figure it out on your own. I do want her to feel like she can still be able to visit with us and feel no pressure and we can at least build that friendship.
Happy Valentines Day!
I Love You All
Elder Salmon

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 7th Email !!!

Hey Everyone,
This week has been another exciting week in Tampa. We have been working hard and loving every minute of it. We met with Crystal this past week, we gave her the video link of Elder Holland's talk "Safety for the Soul" and had her watch it before we met with her because that talk gives such a strong testimony of The Book of Mormon and we figured if anyone could help her out with gaining a testimony of it it would be an Apostle of the Lord. She loved it and had been praying for an answer to know if The Book of Mormon is true and she said that she has received an answer but it hasn't been the answer she wanted. She acknowledged that she got the feeling that it was true but wanted a definative yes or no. Normally we would have ran with the feeling and explained the truthfulness behind it but the Spirit told Elder Cook and I that if she really reads and prays with a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Jesus Christ just as Moroni promised that she would get her definate answer. So that's what we did. We are texting her a "Scripture of the day" for her to read everyday because she doesn't have time to read a lot between school, work, and lacrosse we just send her a couple verses and she has promised that she will read those verses each day and pray with the SPECIFIC question to know that The Book of Mormon is true and she will receive that SPECIFIC answer. I've been able to do a lot of study on myself lately and it has really opened my eyes at what the Lord expects of me in my time here on this Earth. I have read and re-read my patriarchal blessing and have written on a seperate piece of paper what has stood out to me. Then I read what has stood out and study those points in the scriptures and apply what stood out to me into my daily habits and how I go about my day. I have a lot I need to work on but the Lord has promised me he will bless me along the way if I am DILIGENT in doing all that he asks. As I was studying to teach Mikayla (a member of our branch) about temples, because that is what she asked us about, I found a lot of answers to questions I had from my personal studies. It's amazing how the Lord has his hand in every little thing in our lives if we just open our eyes and pay attention to his tender mercies. She went all out again for us for dinner. She made great pulled pork sandwiches! First time that I have had homemade pulled pork since I've been on my mission. It was great and come to find out that was her first time making it. We have been working a lot with a less active lately. Great guy, knows the church is true but just struggles with some things in life that pull him away. He has been doing great! He has come to church 4 out of the last 5 Sundays (even yesterday being Super Bowl Sunday he showed up!). He comes to most of the Institute classes and even calls us when he needs a ride so he can come. He is dating a non member who Elder Alber and I taught a while ago and the other day he text us asking if we could come give her a blessing. Sweet!!! They went to the church dance this past Friday and when our Ward Mission Leader was talking to her she told him that she was very grateful for the blessing and said that she needed to start coming back and going to church again. I love this work and I love that our mission is starting to do member work! It's exciting and so rewarding to not just bring people into the fold but to bring people back into the fold!!
I Love You All So Much!!
Elder Salmon

Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31st Email !!

Hey Everyone,
It's been another busy week here. Monday we had P-day and played basketball then had a fun family home evening with the branch at the church. We played this game called the human knot which was a blast but really funny at the same time. Tuesday we were setting up for our Institute BBQ and we received a text from the mission office saying that they received info about a severe weather and tornado warning so we had to go home and stay in for the night. The tornado touched down in a couple places in the mission but not close by which we were hoping it would. Wednesday we had Interviews all day and then Stake Correlation at night. Interviews were great though I love being around and talking with President he is just a really loving and caring guy. After our trainings we played hang man with Sister Summerhays while waiting to be interviewed. Apparently she has won the past couple of years of Fantasy Football in her family and was telling us how her kids where glad that she was gone so they could have a chance to finally win haha. Thursday - Sunday we had to work extra hard cuz we hadn't been able to work for the first 3 days. We committed three people to come to church to come to realize after that it was Stake Conference in Brandon which is about a half hour drive away! Hopefully we can meet up with them again this week and get them to come this coming Sunday. Friday night we were able to go to a member's home, Mikayla. She cooked us her homemade from scratch chicken pot pie! I had never had it before but it was amazing!!! Then she made us chocolate almond cake! Another first for me and it was delicious! :) We were able to talk to her about patriarchal blessing's. It was a great lesson and I love talking about those because it really has blessed my life and guided me as to where I need to be heading in my life. Not only that but in Stake Conference yesterday they talked about patriarchal blessings. If she decides to get it soon or just in this Stake sometime it'll be a great experience because my Great Grandma Salmon's brother Will Redd was just called as the new Stake Patriarch! We are also teaching a guy named Aiyan. He is a friend of a member that is just solid. He has a muslim background but is very open. He loved Stake Conference yesterday and just had a few basic questions that Elder Cook and I were able to answer and is going to read and pray about The Book of Mormon. He lives in Georgia but comes down to visit family almost every weekend so hopefully we will see him again this weekend.
I Love You All!
Elder Salmon

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24th Email !!

Hey Everyone,
This week was another great week to work. We spent a lot of time on campus and talked with a lot of people. We haven't had the best of luck but that is just how it is some weeks out here. We are continuing to work with Crystal and helping her gain a testimony of The Book of Mormon. We retaught the 1st lesson with her and we are working strictly basics with her. We had a great experience this past week. We were looking for something to do on Friday and I felt the need that I needed to call up Tim. He answered and said he'd love for us to come by. While talking with him he told us the reason he stopped meeting with us is because he had been in an internship that took all the free time that he had outside of school and had recently quit because he felt it wasn't the most important thing for him at this time and wants to come back to church. So he's coming with us to institute on Friday and will be coming to church this upcoming Sunday. I'm so excited! Tim is a great guy and I felt like he is ready for the gospel and it's great to see him realize it for himself. In September, we were promised that if we would listen attentively to the October Conference talks and write down and then act upon the promptings we would receive, we would find a hidden gem that would bless our lives. One of the better ways to go in the commandment-keeping direction is to follow the latter day prophets. One of the ways we do that is by reading and studying the conference talks. In Elder David A. Bednar’s talk, we learn that the Holy Ghost needs to be our constant companion. He explains that we must first sincerely desire and yearn for and seek the Holy Ghost. We often ask for the spirit to be with us when we pray in our meetings, but do we ask for the spirit to be with us when we offer our personal prayers? Do we appropriately invite the companionship of the Holy Ghost? Do we faithfully strive to obey God’s commandments? Knowing it is essential to receiving the Holy Ghost. Answers to these questions are found in Elder Bednar’s talk. It is one of the hidden gems that is found therein. I ask you to read it and to study it out in your mind. Then ponder that which you have read that you might obtain the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. That will help you stay in the commandment – keeping direction. If you are going in that direction you will be happy and it is my deepest desire that you live happy and productive lives.
I Love You All So Much!!
Elder Salmon

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 17th Email !!

Hey Everyone,
This past week we were able to be in a 3 day leaderdship meeting down in Sarasota. We learned a lot about the member work and got to go out in the evening and practice on members that we were assigned to teach. We got to teach a young family the Leavitt's. Such a great family! They had a 6 year old daughter and twins that were 4. We did an object lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Lesson 3 in PMG) for the kids and afterwards did a short lesson on the importance of daily family prayer and scripture study. The Spirit in the room was incredible! You could tell by the look in the parent's eyes that they knew the importance of it and wanted to start. As Elder Cook and I bore testimony the Spirit filled the room and you could see some water in the parent's eyes. I'm so excited to start member work there is a different Spirit when it comes to teaching members. It's such a great experience! Elder Cook and I got a phone call the day before the meetings from the assistants and were asked to give a training to the missionaries about church attendance. We weren't excited about it but put forth a good effort to prepare and we felt like we did pretty good. Elder Gibbons from the Seventy came and gave trainings on member work as well. He said that one of the latter day miracles was our missionaries -That they could be faithful and worthy in this latter day world that we live in is indeed a miracle. He reiterated to us missionaries, “You are worthy spiritually and morally. You are an elite, elect spectacular group. But, he also told us that we can always do better.
He reminded us that our calls were seriously considered by those having the keys and that each call is a personal call. He also reminded us that we were all set apart-In D & C 36:2 And I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant.. The Lord’s hand has been laid upon your heads. Wow it was so powerful to hear a General Authority of God tell that to us face to face. The trip was pretty fun after meetings as well because they had us stay in Sarasota the whole time and so there was about 70 missionaries total and in our one bathroom apartment there was 12 elders. It was a blast! And I think I'll just leave it at that ;) We started teaching Crystal again and are just helping her gain a testimony of The Book of Mormon.
I Love You All
Elder Salmon

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10th Email !

Hey Everyone!
I'm so excited for this semester to start today! We finally get to do some missionary work in our area! Yesterday we got to watch the CES Fireside and listen to Elder D. Todd Christoffersen speak and it was exactly the talk I needed to hear. I need to focus on what I'm doing here DAY BY DAY. I got my super trunky papers last transfer and I'm gonna be completely honest it trunked me out a little :). But my focus and motivation is going to be DAY BY DAY. At the beginning of the year 2011, I want to echo the words of our beloved Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. “Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed--------The courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions do determine destiny. I plead with you to make a determination, right now, not to deviate from the path which will lead to our goal: Eternal life with our Father in Heaven.” I make that same plea for you.
So all of you, what choices shall we make this year? Have you determined your course? As you partook of the sacrament yesterday, did you make a conscious decision to choose to be better? Did you say, “Ye shall observe to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you.” Deuteronomy 5:32-33
Have you chosen to truly accept that you are a child of God—that He loves you—that He has power to help you?
Have you chosen to put everything---literally everything---on the altar before Him?
Have you chosen to put yourself in a position to have experiences with the Spirit of God through prayer and in scripture study?
And have you chosen to believe in and use the Atonement of Jesus Christ? And accept the Savior’s forgiveness and then forgive yourself? Because of His sacrifice for you, He has the power to Remember your sins no more. You must do likewise.
And finally another quote from President Monson, ”We are engaged in the work of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We, like those of olden times, have answered His call. We are on His errand to do what it is necessary to return to Him. We shall succeed in the solemn charge: ‘Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord’”
Thank you for all that you do and for all that you are. Thank you for your faithful support. Thank you for the love that you express in your emails and letters.
I Love You All So Much!
Elder Salmon

Monday, January 3, 2011

JANUARY 3RD EMAIL ....HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey Everyone,
Happy New Year! Well this past saturday was transfer calls and I will be staying here in Tampa 3 but it's sad for me to say that my companion Elder Alber will be leaving and going to be a zone leader down in Bonita Springs. I will be getting Elder Cook and I'm really excited. He was my zone leader in the St. Pete Zone and is from Idaho. He's a fun missionary and a hard worker. He and I have gone through similar things in the pre-mission life and have gotten close and are excited to be serving together. We are going to tear it up! School starts a week from today and I'm excited! Students will start moving back at the end of this week. Elder Spencer Robinson from Timpview will be arriving today around 4 and I will be visiting him at the mission home tonight. I'm so excited for him to be here, he's going to be great! This whole week Elder Alber and I have been bed ridden this WHOLE week with sinus infections. It's been rough but we are finally on the healthy side of the recovery. Yesterday at fast and testimony meeting it seemed that the focus was The Book of Mormon and I reflected back on Elder Holland's talk in the October 2009 Conference and the testimony he bore was the strongest about The Book of Mormon that I have ever heard and I would like to end with his spirit filled testimony.
"As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest—and last—hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?

Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”

I Love You All

Elder Salmon