Saturday, October 10, 2015

Well Done!

My brother Max

My sister Hailey

The moment we see him

Sporting a new JB suit! 

Had to buy some badminton rackets

my sister Hailey

my sister Amanda

My grandma & grandpa B

My niece Remie with her announcement shirt! 

My Bro. Joseph Merrill from the Hill Cumorah Pageant and Sis. Lauren Alfrey who served in Singapore too!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Here it is.. the best 2 years and coming home

Here it is, the time where my final opportunity to bear my testimony to you while wearing this badge of honor has come. I cannot believe the time that has  transpired here in the vineyard of the Lord. I love this work. I love him. He is real and his gospel, found in this church,  is true.  

This past week on Monday for P-day we played basketball with an investigator who has turned out to be an amazing investigator that surprised both Elder Lloyd and I. Here's his story.
Hopefully you remember my sharing the contacting story of walking down the street talking to a young man going to play basketball when we started walking different directions. Before we were too far from each other the distinct impression came to me to share with him our purpose. I followed the prompting and did so. The young man was open to learning and we exchanged phone numbers. 

It wouldn't be until 2 months later that we could finally meet with him. He was Christian already for 2 years, but hadn't a great knowledge or understanding of Christ's teachings. We shared with him the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. Over the past several weeks whenever we see him he will share with us what he has read in the Book of Mormon that he has really liked and also what he has felt. It wasn't long before he shared with us during a lesson that he experienced a peaceful, warm feeling while praying about the Book of Mormon. He felt like it was an answer to his prayer. We were so happy and grateful. 
This past week we met with him and when he sat down with us he began asking us about the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Revelations 22:19-20, etc. He had actually tried to share the Book of Mormon with a friend and his friend's rejection of the Book of Mormon included things such as "There cannot be anymore 'new scriptures' or anything other than the Bible." So when our investigator came to us he was really confused. We took time to listen to him and answer his questions the best we could. What we really tried to help him understand was why some people oppose us, but what we need to do is focus on what God is telling us because this investigator  told us that God had already  talked to him once before. He agreed and we had a great lesson with him. The part that touched me the most about this young man was near the end of our lesson, he said, "You know, I'm grateful I came here tonight to ask you. I thought I could just not come, but I'm glad I did. Because you guys are not like my friends who get mad and show their temper when I try and ask them questions about the Bible and the Book of Mormon. You guys listen to me and try to answer my questions. Thank you." I was so touched by this young man's desire to just come closer to God. I love him so much and hope to continue to stay in contact with him after the mission.

The Branch here in JB has been so good to me. It was hard to say good-bye to them this week, although there was not many tears shed this week. -  think it's just because I knew that it was coming so I've been preparing myself for so long. But the members here were just so kind to me and I love them. I hope they know that they have changed my life forever; and that goes for every member of the church and investigator of the church I've met on my mission. There is no way I can fully express my gratitude for you or this gospel. I think the fact that God has given us both his Beloved Son and his full gospel is significant, as they both help us understand what we can do to show love for each other. 

I know that this gospel is true. It has always been true. The only thing that has changed on my mission is that I am now true to the gospel. It is my prayer that I will never lose my testimony that I gained on my mission. There is so much I can do after my mission to continue to build my testimony. I know it won't be easy, but just as I am grateful for all your prayers on my behalf I also am grateful for any future prayers. Everyone who has been involved in the slightest bit, I would like to express my gratitude to you. Your effort in showing me love has not been in vain- it is not wasted. Just as Jesus Christ's atonement is not wasted by our being obedient to his commandments and taking time - and a ourselves, to consecrate to the Lord. I promise to continue to consecrate myself to the Lord. 

From this mission I have learned some powerful things, but some of the most powerful things that I have learned on my mission can be summed up from an email my dad sent. He said, 

-Faith is the power
-Love is the motive
-The Spirit is the key
-The Restoration is the message
-Obedience is the price
-The members are the means
-Christ is the reason
-Baptism is the way
-Joy is the reward
(from Jack R. Christensen, Talk on CD, Answering the Call to Serve)
This  really is the the center doctrines of my mission. 

This is Christ's true church. It will stand forever and I would like to invite all to come unto Him. He is mighty to save and whatever needs or scars you have, they can be swallowed up in Christ and healed by his atonement. I know this is true as I have been a witness of his enabling power. This is my testimony to you all.Christ Lives. 

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he has also become my salvation." - 2 Nephi 22:2

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Hanks
The End  ....
The begining!

The end....