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 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