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