Thursday, August 11, 2016

Last Email August 8, 2016

Well it all hasn't sunkin in yet. It still doesn't feel like I'm coming home this week. This past week was really good but I'm going to share my testimony of how important this mission has been to my life. So yesterday as we were making rounds to say bye to people we said bye to this one recent convert. As we were getting ready to leave he gave me a hug and said " Thank you so much. You're what makes it possible for our family to live the gospel." I pondered a lot at that phrase. It then hit me really how much of a change the gospel contributes to our lives. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ONLY thing that can help us in this world that we do now and will yet live. The purpose of a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. That is simply our purpose to invite, and man do we invite people to do a lot. We ask them to give up smoking and other bad habits or addictions, to come to church, and to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority just as John the Baptist held along with many others like the Savior and his apostles.

 Over the course of my mission i have been able to work with a lot of people. I have worked with the lowest of lows and people who were very well off financially. The gospel is for EVERYONE and it can bless our lives so much if we allow it to. At the beginning of my mission i was such a different person. I didn't understand the atonement, the scriptures, or even how to talk to people about the gospel. But now with it ending and looking back at the growth i have made i think i get it now. I understand really what life would be like without this gospel. My testimony has grown so much. This verse really describes how i feel. 3 Nephi 5:13 "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."

I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and he has such a divine plan for each of us. He has placed us in our families so that we can experience joy and happiness together. It is in our family units that we are supposed to live the gospel and together prepare to meet our Heavenly Father again one day. Men called prophets over time have taught the gospel. Men like Noah, Abraham, and Moses. They received revelation from God and taught his word to the people. They held an authority to speak and act in Gods name. That authority is called the priesthood. Jesus Christ while he was hear upon the earth organized and established a church and called 12 apostles to aid and assist him in carrying out his work. The Savior knew his life would be short here upon the earth and he performed the greatest act of love by suffering for the sins of you and me and anyone that has ever or will ever live. His apostles were shortly killed after him. That priesthood authority was taken away from the earth for a period of time but when the time is right God would always bring that authority back. In the time of the 1820's Joseph Smith wanted to join a church but was confused with all of the difference in churches in his area. He was told he could find guidance in the bible so he one day turned to new testament in James chapter 1 verse 5 which reads "if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and is shall be given him." That verse touched Josephs heart so much so that he wanted to pray and ask God to resolve this question he had. One morning Joseph went to a grove of trees to pray and ask God which of all the churches were true and which he should join. As he prayed he had a marvelous experience in which he describes in his own words as this " I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description. Standing above me in the air one of them spake unto me calling me by name and said pointing to the other Joseph this is my beloved son, Hear him." I know that Joseph saw our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. With this experience we learn 3 important things. 1st we learn the God the father and his son Jesus Christ are two separate distinct beings. After Jesus Christ left the earth there was much confusion on the Godhead. 2nd we learn that God still speaks to men today. Some think that revelation stopped after the savior but we know that God still loves us today so he would continue to speak to us. And 3rd we learn that God knows us each individually by name. That is one that is really important to a lot of people. God knows who we are and whats best for us. He gives us our experience to prepare us for lesson we are to learn. In answer to Josephs question he was told to join none of the churches for the church that Jesus Christ has established while he was hear upon the earth at that time. Just as God had done with Noah, Abraham, and many others he called Joseph to be a prophet. He later received that priesthood authority by 3 of Christ original apostles Peter, James, and John. God has provided us evidence to know if Joseph was a prophet or not. God brought forth and ancient record of scripture known as the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and contains the fullness of the everlasting Gospel. It is Gods dealings with his children here in the ancient Americas. There is a promise in the Book of Mormon where we can test to see if this is all true. It is in Moroni chapter 10 verses 4 and 5  4.) "and when ye shall receive these things, i would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal father, in the name of Christ if these things are not true. And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the holy ghost. 5.) And by the power of the holy ghost ye may know the truth of all things." If we ask in faith we can receive our answer by the power of the Holy Ghost. More importantly we can know the truth of ALL things. I know that if we pray and ask we can know of truthfulness of the restored gospel. 

My mission has brought conviction to my heart of this gospel. I know it is true. I know this is what will bless our lives more than anything else. If we turn our will over to the father he can make so much more out of us than we could of ourselves. I will forever be indebted to my mission. It has changed my life eternally.

See you all this week. 

-Elder Loertscher

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Miracle Week August 1, 2016

So some really cool things happened this week. To start off of course nearing the end of my mission I have been thinking a lot about the things that I have done and accomplished. And like normal I was going to have some doubts. It really was getting to me though. I kept saying man I wish I would have talked to one more person, tracted one more house, etc. Well this week we had interviews with our mission president. He asked me to offer the prayer to start it and then he just sat quietly for a minute and then said "I just want to let you know Heavenly Father is very pleased with your mission and the things you have done". It definitely helped my discouragement go away.

 A little later on in the week we went on exchanges in palmdale with the assistants to the president. Something really cool happened. So over a year ago before I got called to be a zone leader we went on exchanges with the assistants then. On those exchanges we were tracting and I remember getting the impression that we needed to knock this specific door and i said that to the other missionary and he agreed. So we knocked and this lady answered and at first told us about how she was already part of a church and she didn't believe the same things as us. We taught her the restoration upon her approval and she enjoyed it a lot. Well i got transferred a few weeks later to bakersfield so I wasn't even on this side of the mission. I never heard anything about her after that. (mostly because I didn't ask). So now fast forward to exchanges this past week. We had an appointment to teach an investigator and we went and picked up this recent convert of a year. As we were pulling up to the street it looked so familiar. I kinda had a mini flash back. We stopped and walked up to this door to get the member. As we stood there I realized that this was the same house from a year before. That lady who we taught ended up getting baptized with her two kids. We took one of the kids out to a lesson with us. It was just a really cool experience. 

This past week I had my last district meeting which was a little weird. It is all ending so fast. 

We had another miracle this week. So these sisters were about to start teaching someone but due to circumstances our mission president told us to go by and teach her. She accepted a baptismal date which she hasn't done before and she came to church so that was really cool. 

This morning we got to go golfing with this member. It was so much fun. We went up to lone pine so it was not as hot. 

Other than that I cant believe this is my last full week. I am so excited. I have my departing interview with the mission president this Tuesday. Then we have tons of meetings so the week will go by so fast. 

Until next time have a great week.

-Elder Loertscher