Alma 29:9

I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

General Authorities!

This week has been great.  We should still have some baptisms in November, how many is still up in the air.  We are supposed to have a baptismal interview for one of our investigators this week.

Our ward had a Halloween activity last Saturday. Also that same day two General Authorities Elder Zwick and Elder Pino and their wives came to our mission and we had a meeting with them in Fayetteville. It was a short meeting, but they talked about studying effectively, and praised us and the mission president a lot too. Elder Pino was from Venezuela so him and his wife had to have a translator, and Elder Pino is very funny. Elder Zwick is from Utah but has had a lot of church assignments down in South America. We have another General Authority vising our mission next month. General Authority visits are really rare and three visiting us in the space of 2 months is almost unheard of.

The weather is cooling down here too, on Saturday there was frost on the ground! Trees here are weird, some trees have normal leaves that change color and fall down, but many of them look like normal trees until you get close to them and realize they have pine needles instead of leaves. They look nothing like the pine trees back home. Pine needles are everywhere people, even make gardens with them. People will drop cigarettes into piles of pine needles without even caring!  One day this whole State will go up into flames!

I did not receive any more cookies lately, I am assuming you are sending more.  For Halloween the day will be normal, but will we be stuck inside our apartment at night unless with get some teaching appointments for that night. We will not be allowed to be outside talking to people or knocking on doors at that time. Sounds like things are going good back home. Tell Jonathan he needs to be a whoopee cushion instead this year, a kid in my ward dressed up as one for the ward Halloween party.

That's great the Connerleys got to have a baptism while they were on trek. There are some interesting conversions stories out there. I have not personally seen any conversions like that but I heard a lot of stories of interesting conversions since I have gotten here.

The Atonement is extremely important, to put it simply the official purpose of missionaries is to invite people to come unto Christ and use his Atonement. While many people in the South believe in the Atonement, none of them really know or understand how it works.  Elder Mickleson has a book that a preacher gave to him once with the New Testament and the book of Psalms in it and on the cover it says that if you signed this book you are saved and there is a place to sign your name on it. There is a talk by Elder Bednar called "The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality" that  has help me understand the Atonement and grace much better. We cannot fully receive the Atonement for ourselves if we do not help others receive it.

Thanks for the email, I will try to email you some experiences next week for your lesson,and I hope you will have a good week.
Elder Lakey

Monday, October 21, 2013

Things are going great

Elder Mickelsen and Elder McHan being photo bombed by Elder Lakey

Jacksonville Missionaries

Things are going great here. We had 4 investigators come to church yesterday which is a lot for us! We should have some baptisms in November!  

As far as Facebook goes it is not all that good for finding people.  But, we have taught and even committed a person to be baptized on Facebook. It is also good for strengthening members.

Wards here are large it is about 30 minute drive from the eastern border to the ward from our apartment. That's why the sisters cover that area which is out in the countryside and live out there, while we live on the western border and the actual city of Jacksonville. The senior couple doesn't proselyte, they help the Marines that live on base who are LDS.  So no one really steps on each other's feet so to speak.

It sounds like it was a good stake conference. People overstepping their bounds is a problem everywhere in the church, same with teaching false doctrines and personal opinions. That's great to hear from Brother Call is he still teaching seminary at Syracuse High?

We did not do anything different for Columbus day, but it sure made shopping on preparation day a mess!  Thanks for keeping the bank account filled! 

"Every Member a Missionary" is a great topic to teach. We constantly are talking about this with members. Many members don't understand how few people are willing to listen to a faith they don't have any family or friends or any other personal connections to or in. For example I do not remember a single time growing up that you would listen to a salesman who knocked on our door, and that is similar to how most people see us. With that being said the ward keeps us busy, I can only think of one time I had to do actual door to door tracking.

I love that quote from Pres. Hinckley "Do your best, your very, very best.  Say your prayers and work hard and leave the harvest to The Lord."  It is a very famous quote for missionaries, because it says very simply what missionaries can do.  I am not sure where I heard this but something I often tell my self is: To do my best and the Lord will provide the rest.

I love so very much.  The work is going great here and I love all the support everyone back home has given me and I will email again next week.

Elder Lakey

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Great Week

This week has been a great week.  At first it didn't seem like it though.  We didn't have many appointments this week, so we went and visited many potential and former investigators. We burned through names in the area book and miles in the car, but our efforts were rewarded with 5 new investigators which is a lot. We currently have 13 investigators! Some of them are starting to keep their commitments and the members are starting to trust us and work with us more now too.

Chilly is a comparative word. Chilly for North Carolina yes. Chilly for Utah no. I only wear a jacket because we are required to by mission rules. It has been raining a lot though.  The leaves are starting to change though. 

Our district is very compact. There is only 2 wards in it and each ward has a set of Elders, Sisters and a senior couple. That's three set of missionaries in each ward!

We eat breakfast and lunch by ourselves. I usually don't cook things, I try to keep things simple and fast. Dinners are sometimes with members, but usually not. But, when they feed us it is amazing food.
Just last week I had Hawaiian barbeque and Philippian food.

I did receive the package, thanks for the food and music it was exactly what I wanted. Don't worry about the clothes I bought myself a jacket that should work with my personal debit card.  

That's nice to hear about your break. Today is Columbus day here and I guess it's a pretty big holiday in North Carolina. That is great to hear that stake conference is coming up and that President Reed is still the Stake President. You will have to tell me how Stake Conference goes.  It is good to hear about home.  

I love that quote, something that I study a lot on since I got here is trying to understand people. They have something in the mission called OLDS. Observe, listen, discern and speak. It says in Preach My Gospel that listening is more important than speaking. We cannot help people if we don't listen to the spirit to know how to help them.

I love you so much, even if I don't express it sometimes and I will email you next week.
Love, Elder Lakey

Monday, October 7, 2013

Technically not a greenie anymore

It is nice to hear from you.  Thanks for all that you do for me it is great!

I am technically not a greenie anymore, but basically I'm still am because I am staying with my trainer another transfer. I will probably stay in Jacksonville till Christmas, but you never know what will happen at the next transfer, which is near Thanksgiving.  Everyone that is being transferred goes to the transfer meeting. I am glad I am not training anyone yet, not only do I lack patience, but I still don't know what I am doing.

We had a goal for two baptisms this month, but they probably are not going to happen. One got offended the week he was suppose to be interviewed.  And the other person has not really kept any commitments. Most members just stay at home to watch conference. There were only about a dozen people that would show up at the church including us. We did get some investigators out to the church to watch it though.

I have not received your package yet, most likely because they freeze mail during transfer or else it would create a big mess because no one knows where anyone is going yet.  But, I did receive the package from Grandma.  I am sorry, but I can't seem to get pictures to download onto the computer, so no pictures for the moment. 

That is great to hear you ran into Shaeley Lewis.  I'm glad Grandma and Grandpa found a place to live, is it by where Jason lives? Kiley really does have bad luck with cars!  Members buying lunch for missionaries is universal, it's just that, only in Utah are there enough members for that to happen very often.

We attended all the sessions of General Conference at the church it was very spiritual. I learned more from this General Conference than I have at any other one. I took twelve pages of notes at this one!

As a missionary, I loved the Saturday afternoon session. Because, it was mostly about Missionary work.   I liked Brother McConkie's talk he even said himself that many of the things he talked about he got from Preach My Gospel. There is one whole chapter in it dedicated on how to teach lessons. And, another one on lessons investigators must be taught before they can be baptized. I also loved Elder Dube, Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Elder M. Russel Ballard's talk. Elder Ballard's promise is powerful.  I hope people pay attention to Elder Neilson's talk and his promise, that if everyone in the church talked to one person by Christmas that millions of people's lives will be blessed.

I love it out here, it really is the best two years and I will email you again next week.

Love, Elder Lakey

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Last week of training

Things have been going great here.  We currently have 3 investigators who committed to being baptized.  It  is crazy to think that this is my last week being trained and come transfers next week I have no idea what if anything will happen or not happen. 

The week after we met the man from Honduras we knocked on his door again and a different Hispanic man opened the door and he told us that the other person moved away a long time and he didn't know where to. A lot of weird puzzling stuff like that happens on missions.  Despite the productivity of this week the Facebook referrals have stopped.

It is feeling very nice during the day now, but during the morning is is starting to get cold. I don't know how cold it gets here or what I really need.  What I probably need for now is some warm-up clothes and something that is jacket like but looks good when wearing missionary clothes, but not something all expensive like a suit coat. And thanks for the package. I will try to send some photos next week.

That is great to hear about Sarah and Daniel I am sure they will be great missionaries. Thanks for adding them to the contact list. And yea there are a lot of missionaries coming out.  There were 30 last transfer and 17 this upcoming transfer. Mike Russell said he has been nonstop training since he has been trained and Tom Hill is being trained by someone only one transfer older than him. 

Did Grandma and Grandpa ever find a new place to live? And that is good to see that Jonathan wants to try an instrument, especially the cello, since I did the cello too. Hopefully he will stick with it better than I did.

We are extremely excited for General Conference, my companion, Elder McHan took 26 pages of notes last Conference. We will watch it in the ward building the stake building is way to far to go.  In fact, most members here in Jacksonville will watch it at their house. 

That is great spiritual message there will always be a need for prophets and revelations. Mosiah 8:18 says that prophets are for our benefit here on earth. Many people don't understand the need for revelation from God and are satisfied with their current relationship with him. It is interesting to note that they are damned when they do this, but they damned themselves because they stop progressing towards God, God does not damn people.

Keeping your covenants is a great theme. Many people get hung up on the fact that they already have been baptized. But, outside of our faith few if anyone views baptisms as a covenant with God and that partly is why they have to be properly baptized.

It has been a good week and I hope you are all doing well and I will email you next week.

Love, Elder Lakey