Thursday, June 20, 2013

What a Great Time to be a Missionary. (June 10th Letter)

You guys are the best. I'm so lucky to get an email from all of you every Monday and be able to hear from all of you. I'm very grateful for it, and I think you should know that. I know summer will be getting busy, but please keep it up!
Tell Bryce congrats! That's so awesome. He'll do a great job in Canada. The Lord has some great things in store for him. Entering the MTC on his birthday? That's his 18th birthday, right? He's going to be the youngest kid in the MTC for sure. Crazy!
Wish Grandma Honey and Aunt Shawna a belated happy birthday for me! Sorry I didn't wish them that last week. I'm glad Grandma likes the pottery!
Anyway, let's get some logistics out of the way really fast, like always. First off, we have Zone Conference next week. I'm sure you all have seen on the blog that Sister Nielson cuts a tie off of every missionary who is going home. Well, the Nielsons are going to do the same thing for all of us who are staying, because they are going home. Thus, I assume it will happen next week at Zone Conference. I still have no idea which tie I want to get cut. Any advice? The charge that has probably already come up on my bank account is for My Fair Lady tickets. For culture night we're going to go see it in Polish, just figured I'd give you a heads up about that.
Now, on to the fun stuff for the week.
Let's start off with some non-spiritual stuff. Last Monday, we went go-karting with Kyle Kagele (Sister Kagele's son-he's 20 and was here for a couple weeks before he went back to the states). That was a blast! We were all so sore the next day though. Elder Wilson and I also bought a 25lbs. watermelon this week and ate it. Well, not all of it yet, but we're getting there. We had an adventure cutting it up though. We've got a long way to go before we're master chefs, but we're getting better!
A spiritual experience I had this week was when we were teaching a referral we received from the office. M is his name, and we had a lesson with him on Friday. It was a good lesson, and he seems sincerely interested. The spiritual part of the lesson came for me when I was testifying about the first vision. As we began to describe the Joseph Smith story, phrases came to my head in Polish that I hadn't used before. I'd seen them in Preach My Gospel or in the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith pamphlet, but I had never strived to memorize them or even use them before. Then, when we were teaching M, they just came. I know the Spirit was who prompted me to say these things, and it was He who brought them to my remembrance. I'm so grateful that the Holy Ghost is here to guide us and help us in these situations. I may not understand why M needed to hear these things expressed in such a way, but the Lord does, and as long as we are willing, He will use us as tools in His hands. We taught M on Friday night and invited him to R's baptism the next day. Amazingly, M came. Elder Wilson and I were happy, because we knew that if M was willing and truly searching, he would feel the Spirit at the service. We unfortunately didn't have a great chance to talk to him after, but we hope he felt something there. He's also committed to coming to church next week, and we are excited to help him understand the importance of it and what it truly means.
A principle I learned this week was last night with Elder Wilson. I feel so blessed to serve with him. Together, we've been having all sorts of uplifting experiences, and we can see the Lord influencing us line upon line and precept upon precept. This week, the Lord raised our minds and showed us just how important love is in everything we do. Our attitude toward everything, whether it be keeping a clean desk, or teaching a lesson, can be and should be a reflection of our love for the Lord. I've seen great examples of it in my life from my Dad and other Priesthood leaders around me, and now I'm realizing that I need to improve to show the Lord just how much I love Him. I guess, if I tried to put what we learned in a nutshell, it would be the what, why, and the how of the Gospel. The what is obedience. Obedience is the first law of heaven, and without it, we cannot progress. The why is love. The plan of salvation was created because God loves us. We are obedient to Him because we love Him. The how is the atonement. Without the atonement, none of this possible. We could never progress or obtain exaltation without the atonement. We are simply not capable of doing so alone. We are human and will make mistakes, but with the atonement, we can overcome both spiritual and physical death. I'm continually amazed at how the Spirit can inspire us and lift our minds. The gift of the Holy Ghost truly is one of the greatest gifts that God could give us. I'm grateful for it in my life, and hope to use the things I've learned to help those around me, even if it just be a small smile.
As for our teaching pool, we really don't have many investigators right now. We've been trying to find, and we feel we're on the verge of doing so, but it just hasn't quite happened yet. We do teach a lot of lessons with recent converts.
Hannah Bear, We only placed 3 copies of The Book of Mormon this week, but we hope for a better week in this coming week. We're working hard and going to do our best. Wow, I'm excited for you guys to go on trek! Push hard. You're going to be a real pioneer. I love you!
Emms, wow! You're a busy girl! Have fun with all these activities this summer. Find some time to relax too. Tell Megan I say hi! Heather definitely loves you. Loves you lots!
Heath, I'm glad to hear you had a great time at Laurel's camp. What a neat experience. I remember Helaman's camp well. It's a special thing for sure. I'm so grateful that I've had leaders that have taken the time to make sure I understand the gospel and to understand how it should be applied in my life. I'm sure you're learning that too. A few comments about conversion. I assume you read the talk by Elder Bednar from November 2012 Conference. He gives us great insights about it. I'm not nearly perfectly converted to this gospel yet, and I don't know when that will come, but I can say I am much more converted now than I was before my mission. Conversion is a process of a lifetime, whereas testimony can come in an instant. Our testimony can and will strengthen over time, but if we truly seek it, we can receive a confirmation from the Holy Ghost quickly. Conversion, however, is a little bit different. It's a process of diligence. Constantly being true to what you know won't come in a second, but will be proven over time and with trials. The beauty of the gospel is, when we do our best and strive to become converted, the atonement will take over. That's where the mighty change of heart comes in. The Lord will help us if our desires our righteous. Anyway, I hope I haven't rambled too much. If anything, I've learned about conversion as I've made comments about it to you. Keep me updated on what you're thinking about a mission. It's definitely an option. Love you.
Mom! Have fun at Sundance. Lucky you to get a couple of days away from everything. You and Dad will have a great time, I'm sure. Keep me updated about how this trek thing goes. Yes, babies and toddlers will be a very interesting experience. You will get a real feeling of how the pioneers felt, that's for sure. I'm sad I have to miss this trek. It would have been a really cool experience. I'm jealous! Anyway, love you lots!
Dad, I'm literally laughing out loud from your document. That is priceless, and definitely needs to be a Vernon family staple. One thing is for sure, Polish has helped me correct my grammar. I'll explain it all to you one day, but in Polish, there's no possible way to dangle a participle. It just doesn't work. Nice huh? It's also helped me learn how to use whom. I'm not perfect yet, but it is nice to be getting better. Thank you for your gospel insights, and for keeping me updated on Mom's teaching. She sounds like she is a very skilled teacher and does a great job. Of course she does, she's Mom. I've felt for a long time that I've needed to study the Savior's life more fully, and your comments have made me decide to do so, starting this week. Everything we do needs to be in accordance with His example. Thus, to truly follow Him, we have to know Him. Like he says in D&C, "Draw near unto me, and I will draw near unto you." In other words, He's saying "Abide in me" which is what the parable of the true vine is all about. Restoration scriptures are so incredible. We're so grateful to have them.  Anyway, you're the best Dad and I love you. 
Well, I love you all! The gospel is so incredibly true. I love having a chance to serve the Lord out here in the field and to be doing His work. What a great time to be a missionary! Keep reading the Book of Mormon. It's the word of God!
With love,
Elder Vernon

P.S. Elder Wilson says hi!

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