Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Joyfully Entering In At The Gate

Jackie Huntington's Conversion

Lock Haven Sisters, Feb. 2017

"Two years ago, Brother Rhoton interviewed Jackie for a job at his office. As they talked, he saw in her a wonderful future Relief Society President. He hired her and over several years, they had many conversations about the church. 

Miraculous events: 

-she has looked so long for a group to meet with

-beautiful example of member missionary work. Bro. Rhoton didn't challenge, or push, he only invited her time and time again to find truth for herself

-she went to the Philadelphia temple open house and fell in love with it

-daughter Sierra actually helped us get her to church 

-Jackie started coming to church and paying her tithing  November 

-as we taught her, she ALWAYS got so excited to hear things that she already believed. Including her moment in Relief Society when she found out that there are other worlds."                               -Sister Palmer and Sister Smith

Kadin's Baptism Day
Elder Robertson and Elder Aitken taught him.  His parents are shown with him in this picture.

This is a picture of the baptism we had in Lewisberry on Saturday,
March 18th. Michael Martial was baptized by Chris King, a recently
returned missionary from the other PPM, and has become a friend to
Michael during the past several weeks. It was an awesome occasion and
one to be remembered."  - Elders Marcum and Krentz

Elder Richardson and Elder Dagal taught and baptized William Rose.  A very special day!

James Conversion Story

"When Elder Cook and I were doubled into Warren, we were like deer

caught in the headlights!  I remember, we walked into church and

started greeting everyone. We first became aware of James as we made

our way to the back of the chapel. Our eyes were drawn to him!  

Even in the small almost empty chapel, the sea of white shirts was

abruptly interrupted by two figures wearing hunting camouflage, James

and his son Xavier.

We walked up to who we would later know as Sister Neizmik, and stuck

out our hands. After brief introductions, she said very loudly, "YOU

NEED TO COME TEACH HIM." gesturing towards James. Looking at us out of

the corner of his eye, he nodded, ever so slightly.

We set up a date and sat in our seats, not with the highest of hopes.

About two weeks later, we finally made contact with them. After almost

getting lost, and ending up about a half hour late, we were pretty

flustered! We walked into the sitting room, a place that has since

become Sacred to us.

There he sat, the big burly forge worker, still in his camouflage. We

sat, and began to teach.

Like a big bulging knot, he began to unwind, slowly at first, but then

faster and faster. After two lessons, he asked if we could come by

twice a week. He began to visibly change. You could see Christ shaping

him, as visibly as a lump of clay, into the man he is today!  

He gobbled up the gospel like water on a hot day, even helping clarify

doctrine to his longtime member Mother!

Though he had a problem with Chew Tobacco, as soon as he heard about

the word of wisdom, he made a plan to throw it away. Tossing aside

entirely his old self. His Mom, his sister, and even his coworkers

began to ask him what was different!  His sister going so far as to

ask, "Who are you, and what did you do to my Brother!?"

Xavier was always by his side, learning as quickly as his dad.  He

faithfully read his Book of Mormon Picture book almost every night

(He was excited to find a story about robbers)

James and Xavier are the real deal. They already have a date to go to

the temple, and he has mentioned how excited he is for the Priesthood.

This is why we do this work! They have strong testimonies and are set

to be baptized on Sunday.  As he mentioned to Elder Herzog and I last

night, "These last 6 weeks have been the happiest of my life."

He is also working on his Sister! He calls her his "Project".

The Field Truly is White, Already to Harvest!"            -Elder Furniss

Simon's Story

Five years ago, a young man from China found himself standing in front of the Salt Lake City temple without the slightest idea of what it was or the significance it would have in his life. His name was Simon. He was on a road trip with a group of friends heading to Yellowstone National Park. 

Seven weeks ago, Sister Carr walked onto a crowded State College bus and offered a young woman a copy of the Book of Mormon. She was uninterested, but Sister Carr felt prompted to continue to testify. As soon as the young woman walked off the bus, Sister Carr felt a tap on her shoulder. A small voice said, "Actually, I would be interested". That small voice belonged to Simon.

Meanwhile in the MTC, Sister Breshears was sitting in the departing devotional, getting ready to fly out to Pennsylvania. The MTC presidency said that there were people being prepared to hear the message of the Restoration right at that very moment. She didn't really believe them. But Simon proved her wrong. He was actively being prepared. It was in that exact hour that Sister Carr bumped into Simon a second time on the bus and scheduled a return appointment. Simon's first lesson was Sister Breshears' first day in State College, PA.

From seeking out a simplified Chinese Book of Mormon so he could better understand the scriptures, to buying a suit and dress shoes for church, to praying for a girlfriend so he could be married in the temple one day, Simon inspires us! His enthusiasm for the gospel is contagious and he was sprinting toward baptism and the temple long before the first day we met him. We were just trying to keep up! His desire to connect with God was so strong, and we were just his guides in helping him come unto Christ and receive the restored gospel.

It was his own choice to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized, and we were privileged to have been witnesses in watching him increase in joy exponentially because of that decision. Simon was glowing on the day of his baptism. We now know more than ever that this truly is God's work, and we, as missionaries, are just His instruments. "There are no coincidences in this work...only miracles." 

-                                          -Sister Carr & Sister Breshears

Sisters Heider and Kelly taught Jacob who was baptized this month.

Sister Beckstrand and Sister Chambers and Sister Pernod taught Kevin who was recently baptized.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

MLC March 2017

  Elder Milan Kunz the Area Seventy for the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh mission attended our MLC this month.  Here is a summary of some of the principles he taught us.

-Elder M. Russell Ballard received revelation in a council meeting of the area authorities that we should focus on reactivation (rescue) of less active Melchizedek Priesthood holders.

When the Spirit is there in a teaching situation it is the perfect time to INVITE and give promised blessings.  

There is no greater gift on the earth than the Holy Ghost.  We are divine children of Heavenly Father.  Live up to your potential!  Your potential is more than you think it is and you can help more people than you think possible.  Ask, "Who can I bless along the way!" Live your life inviting and helping others on the path to faith in Jesus Christ.

Be anxiously engaged and share your excitement with the ward.  Light a fire of excitement about this great work in which we are engaged.  Live your purpose.  

Your mission is the microcosm for your entire life.  We can learn the miracle of putting God absolutely first in our lives.  Remember your purpose TO INVITE AND HELP OTHERS COME UNTO CHRIST and make it a daily theme for your life.  

Elders Walker, Gneiting, Madsen and Montgomery 

Sisters Kwasney, Jacobsen, Elders Goeckeritz and McGee

Elders Ross, Syndergaard, Andrews and Haroldsen 

Sisters Smith, Palmer, Fenton and Thorson 

Elders Cooper, Swisher, Herzog and Bryner 

Sister Roden

Elder Kunz, President and Sister Johnson, Elders White and Parke

Sister Johnson led a discussion on counseling together to solve problems.
  D&C 88:122
"Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesman at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege."

What are the five elements in that scripture which are necessary to conduct an effective council?  

5 Elements of An Effective Council
1. Appoint a leader
2. All share ideas, feelings and insights
3. All listen
4. All should be edified (content edifying)
5. All have equal privilege (equal voice and opportunity to share)

The MLC divided up into small groups and counseled to share ideas on finding and other concerns brought to the council by Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders.

Elder White and Elder Parke trained on Extending Committment Invitations 

President Johnson had MLC members come prepared to share:

How has the resurrection changed you? (Here is a summary of some of the things they shared)

When my brother passed away a few years ago I came to know the power of the gift.

It gives me so much hope - and knowing that temporal trials are temporary.

Takes away worry and brings hope. 

Lost a family member to a crippling disease and I have faith he will be whole and I want to be the best I can be and be perfected with him.

Brightness of hope!  Triumph of the gospel!  The good news!

My father was a convert and as I have done family history and as I have felt the Spirit of Elijah I am excited to help my family members who have gone.

It is an answer to prayer for me after the tragic accident in our mission I questioned deeply whether the plan is real.  Because of the assurance of the Spirit I have peace and hope.

Assurance of knowing we can "get there".

Everything we do reflects our faith in Christ.

As we leave our mortal body behind, we will realize how much we were able to learn having that body and what a joyous reunion that Spirit will have when we are resurrected whole and perfect!

Gives me motivation to keep my covenants and have the perspective we need to return home to Heavenly Father.  

Crowning reward of our journey is a celestial body!  (There are bodies celestial, terrestrial, telestial). Light comes from Jesus Christ. Total faith in Christ increases light!  

Elder Parke

Role plays on extending committment invitations.

Lunch time!  Note Sisters to the right of President Johnson - Sister's McDonald, Pena, Faamaile and Roden were not pictured in the groups above.

Elder Gneiting gets the award for best veggie eater!  (Mom should be proud!)


Friday, March 17, 2017

On The Road Again

President Johnson shared some inspiring stories from his missionary ancestors.  He asked each missionary to share a story from their family tree as he interviewed each one. 

                "We discover something about ourselves when we learn about our ancestors."
                                                                - President Thomas S. Monson





We heard a loud noise during district meeting and found the wind had taken a large branch down.