Elder Bell's Thanksgiving email:
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
I just finished my thanksgiving dinner at 11:45, we have sack lunches tonight so the workers can go eat with their families. Today we had a devotional, and Elder Holland came and talked to us, he is amazing and definitely my favorite! There were a couple quotes he had that really caught my attention about missionary work.
"From the time you wake up in the morning, to the time you go to sleep, your life is dedicated on saving peoples souls, and that's the most important thing on this universe.""Whatever you think this church is going to be, whatever you think the kingdom of god is going to be, you're underestimating it.""There is going to be the ones that finally win, and they are in the MTC this day, on Thanksgiving 2012.... They are destined to win, it's finally going to work, This is the day and you're the troops. Go out and win this for the last dispensation to ever be on earth."It really gives me a lot to think about! He is such an inspiration and just having him in the room was incredible. We start out every devotional fifteen minutes before it starts we all sing together, and that brings the spirit in, all of the missionaries in one big audience singing, it brings tears to my eyes every time. Music really does invite the spirit, and Elder Holland testified of that today too.
We are doing a humanitarian project today, making like 4200 kits and sending it somewhere, we haven't got that many detail, but i'm just glad even on thanksgiving, we can do service. Service has become one of my favorite things, helping others and seeing their reaction to the help, or just knowing how much you were able to help them makes me really happy!
So I wrote some stuff down I wanted to talk about in my email yesterday that I forgot, hopefully I remembered it all.. The first day we got into the MTC we had a devotional, and they announced that it was the biggest group of missionaries most of the workers have seen come in since they started working there. A bad thing about the MTC is our sleep schedule, going to bed around 10:30 (falling asleep around 11:00) and then waking up at six thirty. Its hard to go from having nine to ten hours of sleep to barely even eight. We try and help each other stay awake by throwing stuff at each other when we see somebody dozing off. Me and Elder Escamilla were able to help bless the sacrament on Sunday and that was really cool. Its amazing just having a room full of worthy elders and sisters and how strong the spirit can be. The food here is really good, and you can eat however much you want! There is dessert on every meal, and I can't pass it up. Don't worry ladies, I weighed myself last night and I weigh the same! ;) hahaha I was really surprised I hadn't gained any weight but i'm happy about it!
The Traditional Missionary Map photo
On Thursday night we met our branch president, President Gamette, he had us all in his office one at a time for interviews. He asked about my home life and family, I explained how my dad had passed away. He was really sorry about that and on to remind me that he would be definitely helping me out in the field, and is way proud of me. After our interview I went to shake his hand, and he gave me a big hug and said: "That's from your dad." The spirit was so strong and I could tell dad was in the room. Ever since then I have loved President Gamette, he's a way nice guy, and really sweet. You can tell he genuinely cares about each and everyone of us missionaries in the district.
A big thing that me and Elder Escamilla and Elder Browning have been struggling with, is teaching by the spirit. They always say "you don't teach lessons, the spirit does." and that is 100% true! We were struggling for a while with our investigators and we were sticking to the lesson plan too much. We weren't showing any care towards the investigators. Although we did care and love the investigators they couldn't tell it, they kind of felt like we were trying to convince them, and wasn't applying it to them, so why would they care about some guy who translated a book? We now have come to a better method, finally! We go in and ask a lot of questions showing we have an interest in them and get to know them better. When we ask how religion has played a role in their life we learn their religious background and come to find what they need help with. We have many other good questions we have learned to make it more personal for the investigator, so they want a reason to know for themselves, and not just because we are telling them. Last night our TRC guy wasn't here and there was this guy who filled in for him. (Some of the investigators are real, but most of them are fake and good actors) anyways, We had this guy named Sio Chung. He was asleep when we knocked on the door, I don't think he was faking because we knocked like five times, and then finally pounded on the window to the room to wake him up. We went to tell him how his heavenly father loves him and asked how religion has played a role in his life. He told us he was taking some Old Testament classes at BYU but didn't really believe, or know that God existed. He said I know people in Korea that get answers from their prayers, and that like 30-50 people would go out to a barn and do some ritual and commit suicide. He asked Why does god tell his children to kill themselves? We explained that, that was Satan telling them that and that God loves all of his children and would never want them to kill themselves. After going back and forth from answering his questions we taught him how to pray, we told him how it's done and I said a prayer before him to show him how it's done. I remember his prayer he said: "Dear Heavenly Father, Are you there? Please.. Um.. Let me know if you existing or not.. These missionaries are here and telling me to pray and you are real, So are you existing? In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." We asked him how he felt and he said really comforted and he was happy, and at peace. He asked if he could do it again, but we were out of time, so we told him he could do it as much as he wanted when he had left. It was just amazing how we got this guy to not believe in God, to knowing as soon as he said amen, that the spirit was there and god existed. My companions think he was a real investigator because some of them are real.. But i don't know, it was definitely an amazing experience and we learned a lot from it, whether or not he was real. I hope everybody has a great thanksgiving! Oh yeah, My new companion to come into our trio reminds me of Remick. His personality, and humor are almost exactly alike! I love all of you guys, and don't forget to write me a letter, or send me Dearelders!
Elder Landon Bell
P.S. If anybody has any crazy, wacky, ugly ties... you should send them to me! I have this butterfly one I just traded for, it's awesome. This guy told me he'd trade me like 8 ties for it haha.
The "sweet" Butterfly Tie