Monday, June 16, 2014

"The end is Nigh, "Go Forth With Faith, & Charity Never Faileth!"

Oh man... today after leaving a cookout, like any other average preparation day, and heading to the post office, it happened.... I hit the steering wheel and I was like, "HOLY COW ELDER, I'M GOING HOME IN TWO DAYS? WHAT ON EARTH?" Haha! it was a crazy moment... I'm completely NOT trunky right now, but just a step above really excited for the next little bit on my mission... I honestly wish that I could've had more time, but I know that I've received a confirmation from The Lord,  that I've been able to do and accomplish what it is He had me to find and do out here.

 I've been so blessed to have been used as a tool in the Lord's hands to be able to see people change through the Holy Ghost. I know that all that I've done when we've seen success, is let the Holy Ghost speak, free of the filter that we tend to put on it when we want things to go our way, thinking it's close enough to his. I feel through most of my mission, I've seen some of the missionaries that I've worked closely with change. I've found Lifelong friends among those who have served here in the great NCRM mission, and I know that I'll be able to see a lot of them very soon! It's a blessing to have been able to grow with them so much... I still remember like it was yesterday sitting with President Bernhisel at a table in the MTC, (plus we talked about it a couple days ago in our zone merit which hosted Elder Cortbridge), when we told him that we were missionaries serving in the NCRM mission, and he chuckled and said that he'd be the new mission president!  Haha, fancy that... It kind of freaked us all out at first, but it's a good laugh now. IT was hardest to hear it from President's lips at our zone meeting, when he said, "Well Elder Langford, It's hard to say this, but I'll be seeing you Tuesday."  That just sunk down into the depths of my heart, hearing my priesthood leader, the one who had given me the authority to serve in this area, to say that the end was Nigh... You know I've been pondering it a lot, and the Mission is a great depiction of real life. Before we come, we kind of prepare, we never really can fully understand what we're about to hurl ourselves into, just like the Pre-existance. I don't remember too much from up there, but I am seeing the development of the traits that I had up there develop as I've been out here! Just like how we came as little children into this world, with a baby sized testimony, we all go through the experience coming into the mission, learning how the gospel really works, and how spiritual development is more of something felt and lived, then read and recited. As we prepare others, we learn that serving them is the Only way to prepare ourselves as well to "meet God and perform our labors" (Alma 34:32).
In the last sacrament meeting in my mission, we sang, "Go forth with faith", and these words stood out to me, and I felt them stronger than ever before... 

"Go forth to serve and do your best
With no thought of reward;
Then you shall know the boundless joy
Of serving Christ, the Lord."
I want to testify to all of you that I've felt the Pure love of Christ. I've been through almost every trial imaginable, but because of it, I have seen the blessings that come from consecrated service. I will never forget the people that I've touched, and I will never forget that He lives! that He has given us everything through his boundless sacrifice! His atonement is all encompassing, and there is nothing that we could ever do to seperate ourselves from his reach. There is never a point too far on the road or our digression that he has not descended to, for he has "descended bellow all things" and He "treadeth the winepress alone". His blood was poured out in anguish, as described, just as the fruit of the winepress, and he did it alone, without the World watching. He has conquered all for the sole reason of our redemption and benefit. " Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (1john3:16). The greatest Joy, which I hope and pray for stays as my guide for the rest of my life, comes from the service of others. To "never weary of good works" and to find "rest to our souls" (Alma37:34). 

If I've learned anything, it is that I really know so little about the Kingdom of Heaven, but this I do know, that "charity never faileth" and that it will be "well with him" in the kingdom of heaven that is possessed with it in the last day. 
Just love people! Don't be afraid to do anything and everything you've ever thought you couldn't do. Not "any other creature" can seperate us from the Love of God but ourselves. I promise he is always waiting to comfort us. He is always knocking. I've been so blessed to see the faces of people, and the lives of them as well, completely change as they have taken upon themselves the desire to become as Christ and to change as he has. I will never be able to repay the Savior, I will always be an "unprofitable servant", just as I will be to my parents, but giving all I have, has changed me, and it's changed all those I've been able to serve around. I understand that this is his work, and it doesn't end when I get home!  100% home teaching! whoo!!! Haha!! 

 I not only look forward to doing the work, but it's my desire. I've prayed throughout my whole mission, for an everlasting desire to simply do good, and do his will.  I can hope that he in his infinite mercy, has shown me how :) All I want to do is help others! All I want to give is my best to everyone! "

"And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation." (Moroni 8:17). 
I promise that he will always Give us a love that is deep, give us a "remission of our sins", as we serve him, keep the commandments, and share the gospel with others. His love is real and everlasting. What more could we want? :)  What more could we desire in this life? :) I LOVE my Savior! He is my best friend, my guide, my rock, and my purpose in this life, not just the mission.   

I love you all so much, and hope to give you all the love, gratitude, and thanks you all deserve :) I love you!  I'd write more but  it's 6:00 pm!!!  *ahem* 

Well, cya soon I guesssss? 
Elder Langford

Monday, June 9, 2014

Miracle Switch is On, Broke "100", Military Service, Missing Scriptures, YSA Called to Serve, 4 Baptisms Upcoming."

Oh what a week it's been! I don't even know where to begin... The Lord definitely has been saving some of his choicest blessings for the last couple days... It's like the miracle switch broke, and they can't switch it back off! 

Monday:  So to start off the week nice and strong, (P-day), we went bowling with some recent converts,  totally broke 100! I didn't beat Brother B., but I did beat Sister B! However, in her defense, she was pregnant... probably should've let her win... Then we went to the relief society President's house to go and play some football with her boys, and for Elder Holt to eat some birthday cake!!  It was a pretty good time!
Humidity's a pretty real thing in a shirt and tie! Helps work off that water weight real quick! Then to finish off this preparation day, we went and played some ping-pong with our bishop! That was so good! He's incredible... but we did take home one win, so can't complain too much! To top off the Monday, we got to go and teach Sister G, who took us out to dinner at some hole in the wall Mexican restaurant. As we ate many a bowl of endless chips and salsa, we had a great talk about the priesthood, and the importance of coming back to church. Her daughter has a type of disease in her arm, that the fluid inside won't drain properly, so she's had and continues to have many surgeries to help her with it. We were able to give her a blessing, and the spirit promised that angels and old familiar faces would be there to help her through and guide her in the process. It was a good lesson, and a good blessing. She's got such a good, contagious, positive, attitude!  :)

Tuesday:  We planned a lot for our big meeting and met with a convert! (We'll get to that miracle!)

Wednesday, we had our big meeting! We were hosting it as the zone leaders, and had assigned the district leaders to talk about different aspects of missionary work. We asked a veteran senior missionary, to talk about his sacrifice in military service, and how he was able to give all that he had for another. He had lost both of his legs in combat, and gave a powerful talk about the importance of giving all you've got to those you serve. We backed it up with talking about real charity, and how we must teach by the Holy Ghost and God's will, sacrificing our selfish desires to not give it all for others! It was a powerful meeting that touched a lot of hearts, that we hope in turn will touch even more hearts.

After the meeting, I went out with a different missionary, and Brother P, our stalwart investigator, brought his friend to listen as well!! He was just as prepared and is being baptized on the 21rst of June as well! We talked a lot about the guidance of the Holy Ghost and the light of Christ that we all posses, and how Prophets of old have always spoken to us through revelation from God, and how the Book of Mormon is a way to find out if these impressions and promptings come from God, and if this is all true!  He was so prepared, as is Paul.  He basically helped us teach half the lesson that time! So good. Then we went to a less active member's house named Brother S.  We went over and he was grumpy and swearing here and there, as he made us alfredo pizza, and a big sausage. A lot of food... we both prayed half way that we'd be able to receive the grace sufficient to eat the whole thing... He told us he was going to a baptist church.   We invited him to come teach with us, that it'd cheer him right up!  So after he said some things a couple times, we walked out of his house, knocked on his neighbor's door, asked if we could share a message about Christ with her, and then invited Brother S to join us! She was a sweet women named Ms E who was living alone, and talked about some of her older habits, and how through Christ she was able to overcome them, and was still trying to. For some reason a lot of the scriptures that we were prompted to share came from Isaiah and the Isaiah chapters in second Nephi about the second coming and Satan being bound. Great lesson! Bro S enjoyed it, and it made him smile.  Success!!  ;) Then on the way out, he started wrestling my poor companion for the day, and put me in a headlock. We smiled and said, "It's time for us to go bro. Speed..." Pretty normal stop by!  :)

So some other miracles that happened in between, and also in the next couple days....

MY SCRIPTURES!! - My quad, which has been put through hours of study and hundreds of markings, went missing on Wednesday. ... I prayed for help, and had searched everywhere that I could think of. It was pretty sad to even ponder the thought of losing those this far out... after much praying and searching, I felt a confirmation come to me saying that I would be able to find them. I heard it pretty clear! So we trusted the voice, and went on to teach some more people that day, and when we got back, there was a voicemail from an unknown number saying that a Jeffrey Langford had a bible he needed to pick up at the visitor's center of Fort Brag... Fancy that.  I know that God's in the details of our lives and "speaketh to men according to their language, and unto their understanding" (2Nephi31:3)

THE BLESSING! - On Sunday we were asked to give a YSA a blessing. She said that she had been debating back and forth for many months about serving a mission, and had even had papers before and didn't feel right about it... We talked a bit about how as we give our desires and will to the Lord, our decisions and answers he brings become more clear to us. As I was giving her the blessing, about part way through, I knew what the Lord wanted her to do. I could feel the great missionary she would be and the many lives she would personally touch. My companion later said that he even saw her in a green dress somewhere preaching to people! After the blessing, I asked her if she'd feel comfortable sharing what she felt. In joyous tears, she broke down and said that she knew she had to go, and was so excited to serve The Lord!  :) Ah, it was such a good experience to be a part of that, and to see her happiness and willingness to do whatever the Lord would tell her. She had incredible faith, and it was neat to feel as I gave her that blessing!! :) Soo good :)

THE BISHOP! - As we were leaving church, the Bishop asked if he could talk to us for a couple minutes in his office... We thought we had done something wrong... kind of freaked us out at first.  He asked, Elders! What do you do to really help an investigator prepare for baptism? We talked about giving solid commitments, and helping them recognize the spirit in their life, and the importance of self conviction. He asked again saying what else? We talked specifically about how our investigators need to feel that they are being guided by God and the feelings that they receive to find their answers, and know how to continue the communication with him throughout their lives. He then said, "Elders, will you prepare yourself each week when you take the sacrament, the same way you prepare your investigators for baptism?" it was sooo powerful! He told us that he just felt prompted to sit us down and tell us, that the Lord said it was something we needed to hear... That's such a key thing though... I've learned on my mission more than ever how key the sacrament is, and how it really allows me to feel renewed by my Savior's sacrifice... That's going to be remembered, every time I take the sacrament...

THE PEOPLE! - So we've been teaching a couple that live together and love their coffee and sweet tea. We went in this week, ready to be lovingly bold with them, and helping them to recognize the blessings that come from these commandments. We brought it up, and they said, "We'll do it!". It was such a testimony to me, (along with Mr P and his friend) that the Lord has people all over the place that are ready to be baptized, and we just need to qualify ourselves, for his trust to bring them to us. When we first met with them, one of them was an atheist, who had been in the catholic church for a couple of his younger years, just disillusioned by the whole thing. Now, he's praying, reading, coming to church, giving up coffee, and moving out until they get married! I know that it's the spirit that comes from seeking with real intent, and a sincere heart, and faith in Christ. Those three things have been so instrumental in our teaching the last couple weeks, and people really want it! They feel the taste of Eternal Love through the influence of the spirit the message brings, and have been so prompt on acting on those promptings and finding the spirit for themselves. It's incredible. It's a miracle! It's the mission life!! We're having 4 baptisms right after I leave for these ready souls. 

The work is flying in our area! The Lord's been good and has trusted us with some of his beloved children to teach his message to!  :) I'm so grateful for the service I've been blessed to render. I find time and time again that it's our choice whether or not to participate, in this that will never stop moving forward! Next week we've got a general authority coming to talk to the mission! We'll look forward to that!
Have a great week! I love y'all!
Elder Langford

Monday, June 2, 2014

"Don't let it end, The Lord prepares people & Miracles Happen & Baptisms are Upcoming."


What a great week! I love missionary work! It's like it's never going to end! (We'll see).

To start things off, we met a soldier. It was a miracle to simply meet him, because he's a soldier on base, and he actually came up to us, and asked us a question while he was smoking. (We can't proselyte on base).  Turns out he's from Utah, and had some member friends. He allowed us to set up a time to meet with him, so we did!  We answered a lot of questions about all aspects of the gospel! We asked him what the happiest thing was that he felt could ever happen to him? He said skiing down 4 ft. deep snow in Utah. We told him that we were going to raise that vision a little higher.  :)  We talked about the Holy Ghost, and the guide that it is from Heaven, how sometimes in our lives we experience times where we feel guided or impressed to do things, but aren't sure why.  We talked about how if you act upon these feelings, the voice, or the impression becomes clearer, and when put to greater light, is always for you benefit. If you hear a song on a subway you like, but never act on it by asking someone where it came from, or using 'shazam', you may never hear it again, and never find the band that could've changed your musical taste...
We told him that the more he acted upon this voice, that the more his desires would change to become like Christs. As we talked, he said, "Do I have to stop smoking?"  We had brought along a member who went on telling him some personal experiences, and we felt prompted to say that if we told him to quit smoking now, that he'd probably say no... he agreed. We told him that the power and purpose of our message was to change his desires to want to follow Christ, to follow the promptings we receive. We told him that if he wanted to learn more and acted upon it, that eventually he'd quit smoking because he wanted to for Christ, not because we said so, or even because it was a healthier choice to make. We invited him to be baptized, in which he agreed as he came to know these things were true for himself. We met with him two days later, and he said that he'd quit smoking, read all 3 chapters we gave him and the pamphlet, and that he'd talked to some friends back at home learning more, and that he was just excited to soak more in. He said, "Believe me, you'd think I was the last person to do this.. I actually feel kind of bad now, because I'd always tease my friends for going to church, and I'd actually get some of them to come skiing with me instead... I've felt really good as I've read this, and I know that it's true, and I just want to learn as much as I can about it."  It reminded me of Alma the younger, who said that he "spiritually killed his brethren" before he was converted. We set a baptismal date for the 28th! THEN, we met with him two days later, and he said that he'd read all of the chapters we'd given him, talked more with his friends about all of his questions, and that he was super excited for the 28th! He gave us some questions about the Atonement, and asked us what it meant, and how it affected him. It was a powerful lesson about mercy and Justice! He had been sharing the gospel with his roommate as well, and was telling him everything he knew. He told us,  "This has totally changed my life, and I'm so grateful."  We told him that if he stopped drinking coffee today, that he could be baptized on the 21st instead of the 28th.. He said that he couldn't because he was going to the field the next day, and had 3-4 hour nights and just couldn't do it. We told him it was fine and totally up to him. He texted us the next day and said, "Hey, I prayed about it, I stopped drinking coffee. Lets go for the 21st" Sooo good! He also had read the 9 chapters or so that we gave him to read, and we told him to just start reading from the beginning. He said he liked the challenge!  Haha, he's a walking miracle. I know that we were placed in his path for a reason. The Lord was ready to give him exactly what he was looking for, without even knowing it! Good stuff. 

Also, to shift gears into the Fort Bragg ward. (Quick reminder, we cover both the double stake branch for the YSA, and then the family ward of Fort Brag. Soldier = ysa, next story = Fort Brag).

Sister G, as we've been teaching her for a while, has been on fire. I think I've mentioned before that she is the next door neighbor to one of the best relief society presidents I've  ever met, and just one of the most faithful people I've met. She has energy like my mother, and I don't know how she just keeps going... haha it's crazy. But we've been teaching her for a couple weeks now, and her husband has recently returned from a deployment, and we've been teaching him now as well. We had such a penetrating lesson with him this week... we started off by watching the restoration dvd, and then asked him if He'd prayed to find out if it was true for himself.  He told us that he hadn't, and wasn't sure if he was ready.  He brought up a lot of concerns with being in the military, and how it's not exactly something that he feels that God would want him to do, and that if he really found out and felt that this was true, that he would have to make major lifestyle changes. We talked about Abraham and Issac, how you can imagine how Abraham felt, after being promised this multitude of a posterity, and then to be told to sacrifice his only son.  The doubts in promises he must've felt, and the pain that came from the possibility of what had to be done, but in the end, it was a test of faith, to try him in what he was willing to do. Sister Horn and brother Horn, (incredible family) talked about how Brother horn's whole family were Buddhists, and that it was hard for him, but once he knew that it was true, he totally changed it all around. Sister Horn talked about how she had fallen away from the church, and had done all of these things to try and quench that spiritual thirst, but nothing else fit, and eventually she was led back in, and found it all worth it in the end. At the end of this powerful lesson, we invited him to pray, to ask and find out for himself. He sure did! As he came up from the prayer, we asked him how he felt, and he said, "Funny you asked that question... really good actually... this is going to be a lot to take in. He looked like someone that had received a whole new perspective... it was incredible!!! We're calling him today, to see if he as well would like to be baptized on the 21st with his wife.  So good. God has blessed us with people who are ready, but when it comes down to it, we've been blessed to be able to be his tools. I'm grateful for the Lord's trust in me, to send me to this area, to teach these people, and to share this great message of love. I've been able to see how it's changed these people's lives. Throughout my mission, I've seen and have been blessed to recognize my patriarchal blessing manifest itself time and time again. I love this work! I love my Savior, and how easy it truly is as we follow him! I follow Nephi's shout as he felt inspired to write: "I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell." (2 Nephi 33:6)

I gave my last testimony at our Combined missionary Leadership Council meeting on Friday, and as I was about to go up, (I had a lot to say) ..I'd tried not to think too much about what to say, and said a prayer to just let the Holy Ghost say what he needed to through me, for what these missionaries needed to hear. There have been a handful of times giving blessings, and bearing testimony when the spirit has come as clear as it did to me. I got up and talked about how we will never know how these people feel without the gift of the Holy Ghost, without guidance of Christ. We will never know how they feel when their hope is lost, or they have a bad day, but Christ does. and he did, so that we could speak for him through the Holy Ghost to help these people feel his love. We cannot do anything without the Holy  Ghost. We cannot teach, unless we are doing so in the way he has given us. I couldn't help but feel grateful and blessed, as I sat down, knowing that I have been one of the Lord's messengers. I know that if we put our understanding aside and trust Him, we'll always see the arm of the Lord revealed. It's the simple process of faith in Him who descended below all things for us.  ;) 

I love you all soo much, and I pray that your love for Christ will always be the spearhead of your daily actions!  :)  Have a great week!!!!
Elder Langford

Monday, May 26, 2014

"Tostadas and trucks, 2003 Hamburger Helper, tracking or stalking??, Following an example to Finish Strong."


Hey!!  I don't have enough time to properly give the events we've had this week credit.  I'll start off with a pretty neat experience though!!

I was on exchange in a SOOOUUUTTTHHHEERRRNNNpart of town with one of our district leaders, and after being treated to some DELICIOUS tostadas from some members, we went to a less active member's house, and found his friend there, ready to be taught! So we carried on teaching him, had a great first lesson, and then I was finishing it up with a word of prayer... as I was praying, I asked in my heart to really help me pray for his needs, and what would be of most benefit to him at that time... As I said that, I saw a slight silhouette of a truck, and felt prompted to say it. We hadn't even talked about a truck!! So I just went for it, and no one really said much about it... I talked to the kid's friend's dad, and asked him about if he was having any problems or concerns w/ a truck... He told me that his parents had been divorced, and were actually debating on allowing him to have this truck or not... so crazy! I love how the Holy Ghost works :)

ALSO... we had hamburger helper that expired around 2003... that was pretty gross!

We got to teach our investigator's husband who came back from a deployment this week as well!! It went so well, we were just finishing up the lesson, and then out of the blue, their in-laws surprised them by coming a day early, and snuck in the door... Haha, so we had to postpone the remainder of the lesson... All is well though! She's for sure planning on her baptism the 21st of June, but has a lot of potential to move that back to June 14th! (I would love to be there). So we'll see what happens :)

ALSO... we've been stuffed like pigs this week.. .I'm so grateful for the members and all they do to help us and feed us!  We've eaten a lot of really good food this week!! It's been delicious!

I got to go on an exchange with the assistant to the president in the big area! We knocked on a door and a voice said, "Who is it?" and he's like "we're friends of so and so..." haha.  She said "no you're not! you're stalking him! Leave now or I'll call the police!" hahaha That was a surprise there... definitely not the purpose... So right after, we pull into a McDonald's  parking lot, and he just starts looking into the drive through windows, and I said, "elder, do you want some McDonald's?" and he says, "no I know that kid works here so I'm searching for him..."hahaha so in a sense, we were stalking him a bit...(we didn't find him).  "perfect love casteth out all fear". We had a nice time though.  He came out on the mission with me.  I handed him a fortune I'd saved in my wallet for a while... it said "You will be reunited with friends before the month is over!" Haha!! He didn't like it too much ;) It was good to talk about our areas we've served in, and It was good to see how the mission has changed and refined both of us! We've both grown a ton since the MTC, and it was neat to see how much he's been able to accomplish on his mission. We're the last two in our group that're still in the mission so we're hanging in there together! Times are changing... I'm grateful that the Lord's answered my prayers though. He's given me an eternal perspective for these people. The people really probably don't care when I'm leaving or how old I am when I'm on my mission, but hopefully they care about how much love they can feel, and how much closer to Christ they have been brought. 

I'm finishing strong for the one that finished strong for me as he made his final preparations for the children of men! Christ lived a fantastic life, but as we know, the key to our eternal salvation is when he "suffered the pains of every living creature", as he "submits the flesh even unto death."  I'm to represent Him, I can surely keep my focus for the remainder of my days, before my voice becomes one of the dust in the Raleigh mission, as I go the way of all the earth, entering into the land of never ending preparation days... BUT until then as it tells us in Ecclesiastics 9:10, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." And maybe I'll get working on verse 9 in a while ;)

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!! God speed :) Until next time!!!
Love, Elder Langford

Monday, May 19, 2014

"Stuffed crust Monday, Book of Mormon and Listerine strips, Hard work+Caring=Investigators, Cyber Performance."


Hoo boy... what a great week. A little bit of everything from stuffed crust, to potential families making their way to covenants with our Lord.  :D The work's on fire!

(Sadly, from what I hear, so is California... Pray for those people)! 
So first off, Monday, we usually hit up a Pizza Hut for our lunch because.... it's a special stuffed crust day ;)  Now for those of you who don't know already, my little sister Emmalee asks me almost weekly, if I've become fat yet... I of course always laugh and say no way,  ;) however, this stuffed crust is compromising this... Hopefully our 30 minute workouts in the morning will be an effective advocate for me... we'll see... She can't win... 

We also had a zone meeting this week. This was an incredible meeting... we planned it all out, and the day it was on, the gym was being redone on the floors, so we had to squeeze a good 30 missionaries into a primary room...  It went so good though! I taught how to contact someone with the Book of Mormon using a listerine breath strip packet! Doesn't  it sound weird trying to explain one of those things and how it feels and why you'd do it? We talked about just open it up and begin reading with them! Just like you'd let them sample the strip and see what they think! 
You don't have to explain all these random details about the product and manufactorer... let them try it, and start with the questions that come from their feelings!  That how it works with the B of M. 

We also got our high councilmen to deliver a superb lesson on member trust for us!  It was incredible... he talked for a good half hour about the importance of love and humility... check this out... We live the commandments and keep the temperal law, so  that we can be given a higher spiritual law to live and follow... That was a pretty neat insight...It's  like John 7:17 living the higher law, comes after we've kept the commandment, to understand the doctrine. SOO.... after this meeting... MIRACLES STARTED FLOWING LIKE THE WATERS OF LIFE :) 
We went on an exchange with some elders who haven't found new investigators in quite a long time!  Also not the highest activity level in the whole world, so we went down there and promised them that in this exchange, that we'd find 3-4 new investigators! The answer came back negative.... we found 5!!!   Haha,  it was incredible!  The Lord's hand was definitely leading kindly with us... it's power was felt!! 

(Quick preface to the next story)... President had called us before and told us that we needed to step up our finding investigators in our zone.  Our # of lessons were falling behind in the grand scheme of things... We've only been averaging about 20 NI's weekly... (not a lot of people coming to the Green and inviting pastures... (best hymn))! 

So..... this week.... after the zone meeting, and a lot of talks with our beloved district leaders and some of the other missionaries, .... the numbers came in......

(Another pause:  we always talk about how numbers are simply an indication as to how many spiritual environments you create for your investigators, and how if you don't focus on loving each person you teach, creating these numbers and these things, is a rote walk through with no purpose... PEOPLE are behind the purpose of any event or condition we create!)... Anyway...

SO......later in the week, as we were taking in the new numbers for the week from all of the missionaries, we got a pleasant surprise!  We found 42 new investigators!! Whooo!!  Some sisters in Cameron, NC found 11 on their own.... crazy!!

I know that the Lord's been truly guiding us!! ;D:D 

One more story.  To end off the week, (and this blog cause we need to head to a member's house for dinnner in about five minutes),  Sunday was an interesting 3rd hour meeting for us! We talked about a very controversial issue that I won't get into.  Let's just say it was an interesting meeting. 

It's so interesting to think of the things that I'll have to teach my kids at such a young age, and the kind of world that I'll be letting them live in... I think one of the biggest things I've learned from my mission is the fact that the gospel is a simple process to be taught. 
We believe in God. We have faith in His commandments. We know that He Loves us. We know that as we keep God's commandments, He will bless us. King Benjamin gives us this great promise in a greater detail as we do this: "And behold, say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true." (Mosiah  4:12). 

No matter what, as President Eyring told us this conference, the things that will stick the longest when the Holy Ghost brings memories back to us, will be the hymns and the scriptures. 

"Keep the commandments... Keep the commandments...In this there is safety and peace." 

Now you've been sung to cyberly. That's the best it'll ever sound. I love you all so much!  Till next week! I'm grateful I have numberless amounts of hours left to serve!!!
Elder Langford

Monday, May 12, 2014

"Typical Day, Awesome Leaders, Miracles, Investigators & the Book of Mormon, Dawson's Creek Guy Hair."


Hello everyone!
Today I've decided to walk you through a typical Fort Brag day...
First things first. We get up, head to the church right off of base, and play a good half hour of basketball!  My companion played in high school as the center, and he just shoves me around. I throw it up, and it's starting to go in more and more ;)  It's good stuff! Then we come home, plan for our meetings, (we've probably got about 5 meetings a month and 4 exchanges w/other missinoaries, so we're always out and about and away from the apartment!).  Then we head out to go find YSA less actives! Not only do we just cover the Army base, but we're also over both stakes in our area, because the branch is so big and widespread. (I haven't biked for a good 6 months)! After that, we head on to Fort Brag, teach less active and active members, and basically, try and find part member families and get member referrals... We work by miracles in this area!

We go to YSA FHE's, and institute.  It's neat to see how so many young people are so diligent out here to get up and go! I'm pretty good friends w/the teacher! His name's Brother Calchera, and he's pretty high ranked in the army... We had a good time one Sunday, where (for fun), he showed me how he could basically break my arm in 4-5 different ways without too much effort... haha!  It's good to feel protected at church.

Our Branch President's name is President Dickerson. He's incredible! One of the biggest role models I've met on my mission.  He served his mission in California, and was actually put in a special class taught by Elder Maxwell to learn how to teach Jews the Gospel. They were taught by Rabbis as well that would share their beliefs and culture. After doing that, he took time to go and serve in the MTC as a teacher. He is a walking urim and thummim... He knows so much! Plus, he plays the piano and sings and he did so for mother's day in sacrament! I don't think that'd sound like a gift if I did that for my mom -_-

Then on the flip side, we have Bishop Burbank  as the bishop for the Fort Brag ward. He's probably one of the nicest, most on the ball people I've met! He invited us over for Ping-pong one preparation day, and he showed off a bit of the authority he's got over us! These are some of the most hard working, go at it 24/7 people I've seen... The relief society President is just a ball of positive enthusiasm, and is always serving someone!

It's crazy because we literally can only talk to members on base, so we have to restrain ourselves as we pass by someone getting out of the car from telling him about the happiest message in life!! :)  I had one of those moments where the spirit asked me to talk to someone who was vacuuming out his car on the base on exchange with the assistant... It was pretty freaky, but someday, he'll remember and it'll all work out.

So we saw a miracle this week! As we were searching for less actives on base, we were called by our relief society president telling us to come down immediately to teach her neighbor! We've since taught her 3 times this week.  I asked her what the happiest thing could be that she could ever imagine, and she said, "being able to be with my family forever". We testified to her that as we taught her, that she could not only feel good about the possible idea, but that she could make it a reality, and feel the comfort it brings. Ah, she lit right up!  It was sooo neat!! The RS President and her neighbor both fasted that she'd be able to learn more about this, and that her husband who's deployed right now, would be accepting as he came home. She's accepted a baptismal date, and is just such a good basically member already! We taught her the plan of salvation, and she was so preapared to hear it! My companion and I talked to each other about how the whole time the spirit was just putting words into our mouths, saying what she needed to hear. It's been a great pleasure teaching her, and the whole ward's so excited to watch her progress! This ward on base is like a giant family, and just sucks you in!  Everyone knows about everything and about what's going on!  It's so good!

We also saw another crazy thing happen... So we go out on the base and will teach on the barracks (hotels with no service as they say)!  One night after an activity we had playing kickball with the YSA's, one of them invited his friend to be taught by us. We were on a split, so it was just me and another member... We got there, and he told us that he was a practicing Jew, but was curious what we had to say and what our message was. I asked him what he thought about Jesus Christ... He said, "well I don't want to step on any toes here..." and began to talk just like a pharisee of the New Testament!  He couldn't fathom that Jesus could be the Son of God, or that he could posses the power of God. He felt that he was a good man, but just not anything in particular tied to God... (My comp Elder Holt missed out..)!  We had a really deep lesson... we asked how he knew that God was real and that he loved him?  He talked about how sometimes things just worked out, and it felt good inside of his heart. We went from there! He got to a point where he said if he found out one day that Christ was the Messiah, that he would believe it, but that he'd have to have a sign... We talked about receiving some of the same signs that we feel as we find that God loves us as well.  We went through the restoration of the Church, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and finding truth through the Holy Ghost. His member roommate bore a powerful and emotional testimony about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and promised him a difference as he read it. We invited him to pray at the end, and he thanked God for the amazing stories heard, the chance he had to learn more! We're seeing him again tomorrow! The Holy Ghost is so powerful... it just sits at the heart of these people, until they act, and feel the love and comfort it brings. It totally changes their whole perspective.. Like Sister Langford said in a recent email, I've gained a huge testimony of the Book of Mormon, and truly see it as the guide to Christ. It helps us realize what plugs we still have to connect to him, and is like hitting refresh on the computer sometimes! I miss being able to just go and street contact people everywhere, and seeing it work so fast... They would read it, and you could see them begin to feel different... This book has power! it just takes application!  :)

Those are the two main investigators we have. I think I mentioned, we're also teaching a Rastafarian, who feels that it's time for us to get married. He says that I've got cute hair like some guy off "Dawson's Creek." He loves to hear about Jesus. He's made a lot of progress.

Well, we're off to another dinner now on base!  We've got nice "90 passes" that get checked everyday on the way in,  and we're planning on heading on in now to get there on time. Thanks for all of your prayers and love! They're real, they're there, and they're always felt, everywhere!!  ;) I love you all!  Talk to you soon!
Elder Langford

Monday, May 5, 2014

"Great Meeting, Surprise Apostalic Visit, Know about you Book of Mormon, & Sprinting to the finish."

What a week... We've had meeting after meeting, but oh how we've been graced...  It's totally what we have today! it answered a question I've had for a while about why the saints are so few in a huge world :)) To start things off, we taught for a good twenty minutes at a big combined leadership meeting with all the zone leaders, assistants, president, and his counselors. It went really well! We made a huge paper, with folded up hidden sections, and talked about how as it says in
1 Nephi 10:19, "For he that DILIGENTLY SEEKETH shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be UNFOLDED unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round."

We went through, setting goals/objectives on the board, and then planned out our day. We told them to choose any hour, and then asked how could they be the most diligent in this activity? After like seven answers, we say REVELATION! We gave examples of finding a family to teach, or something like the Mission president calling you telling you that his friend from Florida has moved up to NC and would like to be taught by you. It went really well! President really liked it! we thought long and hard how to get that to work out, and the spirit took us step by step with it :) It's such a great life principle! Set your objective, do your best, and "Be still, and know that [He] is God". It happens all the time ;)

TALKING ABOUT MIRACLES....... President as giddy as can be (it's fun to see him get giddy) tells us, "Elders and sisters, I received a call from Elder Pyper of the 70 last night at 11:00, and he told me that Elder Anderson would like to come down and tour the mission tomorrow. We apologize that it's last minute, but we'd love to spend some time with you and your missionaries....." "no eye hath seen, nor ear hath heard" the crazy joy we all felt!! hahahahaha that was so crazy.... So we called all of the missionaries throughout the mission, got the rides worked out, and in less than 24 hours, were graced by the presence of Elder Anderson!! :) :) I got to shake his hand!! Whoot !!! He was so calm, so light, and hilarious! He talked to us about the importance of teaching repentance, praying on your knees, and knowing your favorite atonement stories to share in the scriptures. He gave a great insight about Abinadi about how before he died, right after he was filled with the power of God, he gave one more message, and it was the Atonement of Jesus Christ, as he had learned so well from the chapters of Isaiah. How blessed are we to have the Book of Mormon? Through so many years the Jews in the Old testament didn't fully comprehend the coming of the Messiah, but Nephi, as he diligently sought these things for himself, changed a nation of people, and millions to come. I'm grateful that the words of Isaiah were so plain and precious to him, for us to benefit so richly from now!

He went on to tell us about how the United states will come to a point, where they will not believe in Christ, and that the Book of Mormon will be an anchor for the souls of many... You could really feel the vision as he said it... He also said start now to put the Book of Mormon so deep in your hearts that you'll never be able to get it out! After this somewhat dark prophecy, he said so lightly and cheerfully, "If you read the Book of Mormon, you'll be GREAT!" Haha!! He was hilarious and so down to earth! It was a such a good time..  We've all been so edified... after it was over, since the whole mission was there, I got to see a lot of missionaries I've worked with. It's the best feeling to see missionaries that you've loved and labored so much for, have the Light of Christ in their eyes, and to hear how good they're doing. One particular very young missionary came up and just embraced me. (he's super short so I just picked him up).  It's hard to comprehend the Eternal effects we have on each other out here... I've seen missionaries change into spiritual giants, and what great calling can I have as a leader to see them grow the way they have? The best thing I learn everyday on my mission, is the important truth, that if you want to find true peace and purpose, serve someone with no intent, except it being their eternal welfare, their well-being, their growth. The Savior's taken care of all the rest, and as we put that belief to action, we change, every day. So good. It feels like a dream! He just kinda, showed up, spoke for two hours and left :) So good!!

One more thing before I head out here. Our fast and testimony meeting was overrun by kids... like 8-9 kids bore their testimony!  I can't believe how powerful this generation coming is... Moroni 8:17 came to mind :)
"And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation." It was very touching.

Then we had dinner with the bishop, talked about Elder Anderson and their meeting with him! What a week... We've driven two full tanks in about 3 days :)
The life of a zone leader! :D

Well, I love you all so much! Yikes, talk about enduring to the end here... This is that time in the race, (mission), where you play your favorite song on your iPOD (whatever that is) and sprint to the finish ;)
I Love y'all,
Elder Langford