Monday, October 19, 2015

Well. Here We Are.

What a weird feeling. Hmmm...not sure what I think about it quite yet. As I ponder I'm just going to tell you about my week.

This was a good week. Lots of fun stuff happened.

One morning was really good because we were able to meet with one of our recent converts. The reason why we haven't been able to meet with him recently is he has been hiking up the Pacific Crest Trail (the PCT), a trail that goes from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada. It's a really long hike that he had been on for the previous six months. But he's back now! So we went and visited him this last week! It was a good lesson. And then after that we were able to meet with one of our less active members that we have been trying to work with for the past little bit. So that was really good.
The pictures this week are of an old shirt that I have (which is really beat up over the course of a mission) so I used that, plus a stick that we have, and I made a title of liberty. It's pretty great, and then this morning we took it to the highest point in our area (and possibly the mission) and took pictures. It was awesome.

A couple fun things happened with the zone leaders this week. The first one is that this last week I had the chance to interview a couple of their investigators to get baptized. It was great! They were a couple 10 year old twins who have pure unique testimonies that can only come from children. It was so good to have the chance to talk with them. 

The other fun thing happened last night! They moved into our apartment! For the next few days. Their apartment is getting fumigated (one of the joys of living in Southern California is that, since there is no real winter, bugs, including termites, don't die. So every few years or so you have to get your house/apartment fumigated with bug poison to kill all the termites, but your living space becomes unlivable for a few days). So for the next few days they are staying with us. It's pretty crazy. But super fun.

This last Sunday was really fun! Mostly sacrament meeting! Because it was the primary program! I love the chance to hear from the primary children! This years theme was "I know my Savior lives" and it was really good. Just like the kids I had the chance to interview, all the kids had such sweet testimonies. And I love primary songs!

Well, now that I have my thoughts sorted out (sort of), today I'm going to close with my testimony of the gospel. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love Jesus Christ. He is my Savior, my Redeemer, and my friend. I am grateful for the chance that I have had to serve my Heavenly Father in the California Carlsbad mission. It has been the greatest experience of my life up till now. The church is true. It was restored by the Savior through the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I love to read and learn from it's pages. The Savior lives and loves us all.


Elder Wixom

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

It. Was. HOT!

So this week was a good week.

Monday we played scatterball with everyone in the zone for Preparation Day (for recap, that's the free for all dodge ball where you can only take three steps when you have a ball, and it's last-man-standing). And it was a lot of fun! I've realized the most fun activities are the ones that everyone involves themselves and makes the most of it, and this was one of those times. We were all super sore from it for the next day or two though. It was pretty great.

The reason I know we were all really sore is that on Wednesday we had a zone training meeting, and at one point the Sister Training Leaders gave a discussion on managing stress, where we all took cookies (that Elder Groesbeck and I made for the meeting...from a mix...but we still made them!) and hot chocolate, and went and sat in a circle and talked about what stresses us and how people deal with stress. But as everyone went to sit down in the circle, almost every missionary starting groaning and moaning as our sore muscles fought against sitting on the floor. President and Sister Kendrick (who were at the meeting) found it really amusing. The rest of the meeting was good as well, we talked about how important the Spirit is in everything that we do, and practiced asking inspired questions to help our investigators and using How to Begin Teaching to also help them open up and feel comfortable.

Got to go on exchanges this week. I went with Elder Mardesich into the Santa Fe Hills ward. And it brought back many many good memories of that ward. Dinner that night was with Elder Norton (who I have seen quite a bit since he and his wife are in charge of checking apartments in the stake, but she was ill so couldn't come to dinner), but I also got to see the Smithson family! As a reminder, Sister Smithson is the Norton's daughter, and they were super happy and surprised to see me! And I was really happy to see them as well! And then that night I got to see Bro. Wright again, as he was going with us to a lesson with a recent convert. That was funny though, because we got in the car with him, me in the back, and he gives Elder Mardesich a handshake, and leans back just like normal and gives me a handshake...then does a double take when he realized who it was and said excitedly, "Wixom!" It made me happy. It was a really good exchange that took me back to the days in that ward.

And then this weekend was hot! Especially when you are walking and biking around all day! I'm so glad for water and air conditioning. But it was still a really good weekend. Despite the heat Elder Groesbeck and I really enjoyed going around and working. Despite rain, heat, or snow (which I never have to worry about), serving a mission is awesome! And don't worry, we both stayed well hydrated, thanks in part to the wonderful members I get to serve with here.

Well, as far as my spiritual thought goes. I finished reading the Book of Mormon again this last week, and I wanted to share one of my favorite verses from Moroni chapter 10, and it probably isn't the one you are expecting, "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God." (verse 32). I love this verse, because this is really the last invitation of Moroni, and it made me think that in the end, that is what we should always be inviting people to do. To "come unto Christ" and feel of His love. I love that that is the invitation at the end of this marvelous book of scripture.

I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and I know this through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. As I kneeled this last week and prayed to know again if the Book of Mormon is God's word, I got the undeniable impression, as if someone just whispered to me, "You already know it's true." And I smiled and thought, "Yes, yes I do." I love the Book of Mormon and the gospel. And most importantly, I love my Savior. Jesus Christ.


Elder Wixom

Thursday, October 8, 2015

General Conference. Enough Said.

In complete honesty, Conference was not the only fun thing from this last week, but I do think it was definitely the highlight. This last week a lot of the highlights I was sitting. I did lots of sitting this last week. And all for good reasons.

Tuesday: We had a zone conference. And it was awesome. Talked about how when we are teaching, we need to make sure we spend our time teaching those people who are the "elect" meaning those who hear the gospel and want to know more. The ones that are touched by the Spirit and are driven to try to understand the things of God. Really, overall we just talked about how we are out here, not for very long in the grand scheme of things, and we need to spend the time we have to fulfill the missionary purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ.

Had exchanges in the middle of the week (don't worry, this part I wasn't sitting). Went to Discovery Hills again, but this time with Elder Waite. We had a good exchange, started off with taking Elder Johnsrud to the doctor's office because he has a nasty cough lingering from being sick (don't worry, now they have him on medication and he is doing a lot better), and then Elder Waite and I had a really good exchange. We spent most of the time going around trying to stop by potentials, but we did talk to a really nice elderly lady named Sister M, who due to health can't come to church, but is super sweet.

Sort of went on another exchange this last week. It wasn't a traditional 24 hour exchange. It was just that I, along with Elder Leal, the other district leader in the zone, got invited to go to Missionary Leadership Council (MLC) this last week. It was pretty cool. A really good chance to hear and talk with President Kendrick about how we can help the mission fulfill the missionary purpose more fully. It was also really nice seeing a lot of my mission friends again, because many of them also happen to be district leaders and zone leaders. So that was pretty fun. But the meeting itself was really good. We had lots of good talk about managing stress and at the same time feeling the urgency of the work. Which doesn't really make sense that both of those work, but they do. It's great.

And then General Conference this last weekend. Oh. My. Amazingness! It was so good! Got to do the normal missionary thing where all the missionaries in the stake gather at the stake center to watch conference. Which is fun because I get to see all the other missionaries in the area (including Elder Spencer again), and it helps us stay focused because we are in the quiet reverence of the chapel. I really loved the overall theme of conference, of building our testimonies on the simple truths of the gospel, and also the theme of doing a self assessment, asking ourselves what we can improve on and seeing how solid our testimonies are. A couple things specifically that I liked were in Elder Bednar's talk, where he quoted Elder Worthlin saying, "Come what may. And love it." Good words to live by. I also really liked President Eyring's talk about how no matter how small or insignificant the success of our labor may seem. We need to work our hardest to fulfill the purpose the Lord has for us. And then I really liked Bro. Durrant's challenge to "ponderize" a scripture per week. I'm definitely going to do that.

Well, by way of spiritual thought...go back and re-watch conference. Because I know that as we "feast upon the words of Christ" and study the teachings of the prophets, "the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." (2 Nephi 32:3). I love hearing from the living prophets and apostles. It is such a blessing to live in this day and age.


Elder Wixom