We attended church this morning in Toppenish, about 30 min south of Yakima. What a great ward! After church they had a potluck “Mix ‘n Mingle” for the members here. They do this every last Sunday of the month. We enjoyed a great meal before settling in with our missionaries from Toppenish and Zillah.
Elder Criddle and Elder SandholtzElder Criddle: The biggest thing that’s changed in me is that I’m losing the desire to sin. I’m losing the desire to do things I once loved. This has made me realize the power of God. I thought it was part of my personality. Now I know I decide who I am and what I do. God gave me free agency in all things. I can act, not be acted upon. It’s changed everything! My favorite scripture has recently become Romans 5:16: “Rejoice evermore.” That’s how we’re to use our energy. Being happy makes such a difference. It took a year for me to figure that out. (1 yr.)
Elder Sandholtz: I’ve learned you must love yourself and see yourself as a son of God that needs to learn. It’s a humbling experience. I see more what I want out of life and what I want to be. I’ve learned what type of people I want to be with. I’ve become someone who actually does stuff! I’m more a man of God than a boy of the world. I’m learning slowly to do things I haven’t done. I’m learning what to do and where to go. Missions are like a College of God. Being on my own is fun, but hard! I’m learning self-reliance. It’s great! (11.5 mos.)
Notes to moms:
Elder Kinnear and Elder NielsonElder Kinnear: I’m more grateful for the things I’ve not had for 9 months. I have a great family–an awesome family. I really love them a lot. I’m a lot more patient and loving with those who need me. Judging doesn’t fix anything. Helping does. My testimony is more strong with the basic things. The gospel is super simple. Becoming is a process, not just a switch you flip. I keep taking steps. I LOVED Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk about Great Aunt Rose. It’s the greatest talk EVER. It described me. I’m figuring out how to be happy in hard times. You can’t just flip a switch to be happy. (9 mos.)
Elder Nielson: Before my dad made me study. I didn’t want to. Now I can’t live without my studies. I’m motivating myself to do things I don’t want to do. Now I can do them. How I look at live has changed. Before I thought the gospel was good, it helped me feel good. Now I see it changes Everything. Now I study to increase my testimony. I need to know, not just believe, so I can tell others. It’s a whole new world to me. I’m learning more and more–it’s a process. There is no way I would have done this 6 months ago. Now study is a necessity, not just a check list. I love reading talks. I print some off every P-day. I love studying the strengthening power of the Atonement. I know obedience will make me happy. Before I thought it was a dumb rule. (5 mos.)With Bishop Stauffer, Toppenish Bishop:
Elder West and Elder BakerElder West: You’ll need a bigger paper for what I’ve learned! I’m learning to overcome personal flaws. I’m understanding the gospel more. Before I was so naive. I’m learning why the gospel is so important. I’ve learned innumerable treasures, facts. I have been taught by the Spirit. He has held my hand. I know why the Book of Mormon is important now. I’ve read it many times. I know why it’s important to work hard–God expects us to. I know why what my Savior did for me is important. (7 mos.)
Elder Baker: I’ve learned a lot of things. The biggest and most important is how to receive the Holy Ghost. That was my biggest desire. When you walk into the chapel, you feel it. You feel the difference there super strong. My love for the scriptures has grown. Before I didn’t enjoy reading them. I have learned to truly love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and to read and study. I started reading with real intent. When I study I take notes. I just read Acts. I love Peter, John and Paul. They were so bold and loving. Lately I’ve been more happy. I can get over my problems and get along with my companions. I’m learning to laugh more. I love when Elder Worthlin said, “Come what may and love it!” (18 mos.)