Monday, June 22, 2015

Back In San Marcos! Back On The Saddle!

Happy Father's Day!!!

So as you can tell from the title of the email, the results of transfer calls are that I am now serving in the San Elijo ward in San Marcos! Which I find really funny because San Marcos is where I was last year at this time as well. So this whole year has almost just been a repeat of last year. Anyways, my new companion's name is Elder Spencer, and he is really cool. He has been out about 3 months, so it finally happened that President Kendrick is trusting me with a missionary who has been out less time than me! He is from Idaho, except he flew out to his mission from North Carolina where his family moved to a few months before he left. One really fun thing is he has an identical twin! Serving in Sacramento!

Well, enough of that, now on to the rest of the week!

After transfers on Tuesday I got to meet the Bishop of the ward here, Bishop Schaumann , and it was good. He has only been a Bishop for as long as Elder Spencer has been a missionary, but he is a really cool guy, also got to meet the Ward Mission Leader, who gave us a ride home from Bishop's house.

The next day when we had our Zone/District introduction meeting, I realized something really frightening. I'm one of the old missionaries now. In our zone only two Elders are older than I am as far as how long they have been out. So it was kind of a scary thought. But I know that I just have to make the most of the time that I have left and do all that I can to serve the Lord!

We have been spending a lot of time visiting members this week so that we can introduce me to well...everyone. It is pretty intense meeting a lot of new people and knowing that you are going to be expected to remember all of them. But it'll all work out. It always does before.

Oh, and I guess I should let you know about the other half of the title at this point. What I mean by "back on the saddle." Because to visit all these members we haven't been driving, and we haven't been walking very much, no...we've been biking! And I'll be totally honest when I say that I was very nervous about getting back on a bike. You know, for some small reason involving a few injuries and a 4 1/2 month pause in my mission, but it's not that big of a deal. It's all going good though, I just go really slowly down hill and probably bug Elder Spencer with my lack of fast downhill riding. But I would rather get places not broken...again.

Church on Sunday was good. In Sacrament meeting the speakers were the Bishop's 12 year old son giving his first talk in Sacrament meeting, a sister who talked about how important her dad was in her life, and then a man named Bro. Runyon, who really the only way to describe him is a 95 year old saint. And then with the primary (which San Elijo has a very large one) it was a very good Father's Day program.

That's pretty much it for this week, for my spiritual thought, I want to give you a challenge to read Larry M. Gibson's talk "Fatherhood - Our Eternal Destiny" from this last General Conference. In the talk Bro. Gibson talks about some of the lessons that his father taught him. And some of the lessons his sons taught him as well. I actually wanted to put that story here. Him and his sons did a 50 mile hike in 20 hours, and after talking to his younger son, Bro. Gibson went and talked to his older son and this is the conversation they had, "I then went downstairs to my oldest son. I lay by him—then touched him. 'Son, are you all right?' 'Dad, that was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life, and I will never, ever do it again.' His eyes closed—then opened—and he said, 'Unless my son wants me to.' Tears came as I expressed how grateful I was for him. I told him I knew he was going to be a much better father than I was. My heart was full because at his young and tender age he already recognized that one of his most sacred priesthood duties was to be a father. He had no fear of that role and title—the very title that God Himself wants us to use when we speak to Him. I knew I had the responsibility to nurture the embers of fatherhood that were burning within my son."

I'm very grateful for my father and for all the things that he has taught me and the example that he is to me. My life would not be the same without him. And I am also grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who always is trying to help me be the best that I can be.


Elder Wixom

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Transfer Calls And Service!

This was a very exciting week! But first and foremost, the thing you've all been wondering. If I'm getting transferred. Well...yes, yes I am. Which I'm pretty sad about. I'm really going to miss the Pauba ward. But I know that this is what the Lord wants from me so I'm excited to see where my adventure leads next!

Anyways, a lot of the rest of this week was doing service for people. So here is all the service we did:

On Tuesday we went back to the Tree Plantation and helped out Bro. S again for a bit and that was a lot of fun and you would be surprised (well, probably not because of all the analogies in the scriptures and stories from modern General Authorities) at how many gospel centered lessons you can have while working on a garden, or tree farm, or really anything where you help things grow.

Speaking of gardens! On Wednesday and Friday we went over to a less active member named Sis. H and helped her start a garden! She is less active due to medical reasons, not because of any sort of testimony or doctrinal problem, and she is starting a garden in her neighbors yard (because I guess he isn't using a part of it). So on Wednesday we got to go and tear up a lot of grass and get really really dirty. It was fun. And then on Friday we went over and finished up tearing out the grass and helped plant the garden and make a less than stellar looking fence that will do it's job of letting beans grow up it.

And then on Saturday we were outside contacting people when a family named the W pulled up and asked us if we wanted to go help someone move in. And we did. So we got driven over to where a new family was moving into the ward and helped unload their truck and move furniture inside. That was also a lot of fun! I love doing service!

And the other fun stuff that happened this week:

We had a couple lessons with a very friendly less active couple named the C, who said they don't come to church sometimes just because they don't feel like it. But Bro. C has come to church the last two weeks since we called and set up our first appointment, so that has been pretty cool! And we had a good lesson about being obedient to the commandments last Wednesday, and then yesterday had a good lesson about the Spirit, how it changes us, and how we need to follow spiritual promptings.

And then the other really fun thing that happened this week was we got to teach a super solid potential investigator named C! During church! She came to church and has a young son, so while he was in primary we skipped out on Gospel Principles with Bro. A our ward mission leader and taught her the Restoration. It went really good! The reason why she is interested is her two older kids actually are both members and are on missions! So they have all been talking about how important the Gospel is in their lives. And also C has had some really good friends her whole life who are LDS, and that has been a big impact on her life. So it is pretty awesome!

That's about all that happened this week. For my spiritual thought I would like to share a thought from King Benjamin, "For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?" (Mosiah 4:19) I was studying this this last week and with the fact that this week has been full of service it really fits. Because of all we have been blessed with from God, we would be really kind of ungrateful if we didn't turn and help those who are less fortunate to the best of our ability. Our best differs from person to person depending on our circumstance, but in the end we should all try to reach out to others because of how much God reaches out to us.

Well, see you next week from somewhere new!


Elder Wixom

PS Here is a pamphlet on bike safety that President Kendrick sent out to the missionaries this week.  I have to say that this is not my favorite pic from Jon's mission.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Two Years Later

Well, here I am, two years after I left for my mission and 19 1/2 months out. It's a pretty bizarre feeling I'll be honest. Elder Whipple was probably getting sick of me saying stuff like, "Two years ago today I get set apart." And, "Two years ago today I was in the MTC." It is a very strange feeling. Thankfully I know that the Lord must have some reason for me to still be out ! So I best be paying close attention to what is going on around me!

So this week was pretty quiet actually, but there were a couple fun things to talk about. So here we go!

Last Tuesday was really fun! We had the chance to go down to the San Diego Temple and do some temple work. And that was really good. I love having the chance and opportunity to go the temple, knowing that what I'm doing will help families and people be together forever with our Heavenly Father. One fun thing from this time is the person I was doing proxy work for, his last name was Mission, which I only found entertaining because I am a missionary! But it was still really good.

On Wednesday we tried to stop by C for a lesson we had set up with him, but as we got there he was just leaving to go to the hospital to try to get the health issues he is going through right now sorted out. Hopefully everything went good for him! And hopefully we'll be able to meet up with him again soon and help him as he works to learn more about the Gospel.

Friday we were able to stop by a less active member named Sis. H, and the only reason why she is less active because she has some back issues that makes it really hard for her to be up for long periods of time, but we had a really good visit with her and this next week we're going to go over and help her out with some service, and that should be really fun.

This week we also spent quite a bit of time trying to call a bunch of people that live in the far reaches of our area to try to set up times to go visit them. This was rewarded with mixed results, quite a few were no answers or wrong numbers, but we did get a hold of a fax machine at one point we think. And we did get some return appointments actually which was really good! One fun story from it was one of the people we called on Saturday, and set up an appointment for the following Wednesday, actually came to Church the next day! He said everyone kept asking where he was visiting from and he had to keep saying, "No, this is my ward, I'm just not super active." But I was still really surprised when he came up and introduced himself to us asking if we were still good for Wednesday! And at the same time I was really excited that he came!

That's pretty much all the fun stuff that happened from this last week. But this next week promises to be fun! At the very least we have the suspense of transfer calls next Saturday!

For my spiritual thought I want to go back to the fact that I have been out for 19ish months after two years. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." I don't know why I didn't fulfill my mission during the time frame I originally thought, but that's ok with me. Because I know that the Lord has a higher purpose in mind for me that I had originally anticipated. And I am here to serve my Heavenly Father and my Savior in any way that they want me to.


Elder Wixom

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Chicken Coops And Crashing Prom

Well, I'm going to leave you guessing about the title for a little bit because all of that happened at the end of the week and there is stuff to talk about beforehand.

We were able to meet with C again this week. Stopped by and caught him at home on Wednesday, and set up a lesson for the next Saturday. On Saturday went by and had a really good lesson about how following the teachings of the Gospel, specifically reading the scriptures everyday, praying every morning and night, and going to church each week help us feel more uplifted and positive as we bring the Spirit more fully into our lives. We talked about this because C has been feeling pretty negative recently due to their living situations which aren't the best, and also because he had been having trouble finding work and is now facing some health problems. But during the lesson he was very uplifted and at the end we gave him a blessing which he was very appreciative of.

This week we were also able to start teaching a person named J and his friend A. We contacted them on the street a few weeks ago, and this last week we were able to meet with them. It was a really good conversation and lesson, and though they said that they are very devout Orthodox Christian and aren't sure about some of our unique beliefs, they did say that if our message was true then they would want to find out and know it.

Now, to the part all of you are wondering about. My title for this email.

Also on Saturday, before and after our visit with C, we had some fun things that we got to do. In the morning we got to go over to S's and help her work on her chicken coop. That was a lot of fun! Elder Whipple spent most of the time painting it with rubber roofing, and I carried stuff from her patio where she had the chickens before, down to where the chicken coop is now. Don't worry, Elder Whipple and I could see and hear each other the whole time, from the patio you can look down to where the coop is, so we were all good there as far as staying together. After a bit Susie, who is a retired teacher, had us use our problem solving skills to work on building the frame for the doors of the coop to go on from a bunch of boards she had. Overall it was a really fun time.

Then Saturday night we got invited to Mormon Prom...well, at least the dinner beforehand. Mormon Prom, like Prom, is a dance, but this one is put on by a member in Murrieta with a large property that is meant to be a fun and clean environment for everyone there. Before the dance some of the youth in our ward and their dates had dinner at one of the members houses. We got invited to help set up for the dinner: putting up decorations, helping with food preparation, giving it to the Bishopric as they served everyone. And then we also got served by the Bishopric, but we were sitting inside so that all the youth could sit outside and have their own quality date time. It was a lot of fun! And very delicious food! A three course meal obviously.

That was my week! For my spiritual thought this week, due to Elder L. Tom Perry's passing away, I wanted to share a few quotes from him:

“We must be bold in our declaration of Jesus Christ. We want others to know that we believe He is the central figure in all human history. His life and teachings are the heart of the Bible and the other books we consider to be holy scripture...Only through Jesus Christ is salvation possible. This is why we believe He is the central figure in all human history. Our eternal destiny is always in His hands. It is a glorious thing to believe in Him and accept Him as our Savior, our Lord, and our Master." (Dec. 2012 Ensign, "The Tradition of Light and Testimony")

"The entire theology of our restored gospel centers on families and on the new and everlasting covenant of marriage...Let me close by bearing witness (and my nine decades on this earth fully qualify me to say this) that the older I get, the more I realize that family is the center of life and is the key to eternal happiness." (April 2015 General Conference, "Why Marriage and Family Matter—Everywhere in the World")

"God reveals to His prophets that there are moral absolutes. Sin will always be sin. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging. Men and women receive their agency as a gift from God, but their liberty and, in turn, their eternal happiness come from obedience to His laws." (April 2013 General Conference, "Obedience to Law is Liberty")

I hope you all have a good week!


Elder Wixom