Wednesday, March 27, 2013

 Busy Sunday & Time to Catch A Rat!!
 Elder Langford's Update: Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Hey everyone!
Sorry I'm late... my bad. Funny little starter story... the family we're living with has a little bas
ketball standard that's connected to their roof, and it's really old, homemade, and ready to fall off... So Elder Packard wanted to show off for the cousins coming over that day, and he was going to dunk it in there, and as he was doing it I muttered under my breath, ha maybe he shouldn't do that because he's going to break it.... HE DID! It came off the roof, scratched the paint of a car, and almost landed on a kid!!!! Hahahaha oh man... so the mission President called, because I guess Elder Packard told his parents, who called the mission Pres to pay for damages, who called Elder Packard and had a little talk with him ;) oh man... Funnnnnny!
On a more spiritual side, earlier last week, we had a great lesson on the importance of general conference, and how they literally pray and fast for hours, trying to recognize what the spirit wants them to say, and how as we pray for the things we need and would really need some help getting answers to, we can literally know for a surety that those prayers sent to God are going to be answered by those who are praying fervently to know his will and what his people need to hear the most. So if you've got some questions, have some faith in general conference! Because they're ready to share some knowledge and answers with yah!
Oh yeah, part way through last week, I woke up around 4 am and had a nice little puke in the toilet -_- that was also the day of the district meeting, and all I could put down was apple sauce, which only stayed in me for a good 45 minutes.  So I ended up doing the district meeting anyway, and asked for a priesthood blessing from the elders in the district right after wards. They said that I would be healed, and that the sickness would pass, as I continually read my scriptures, and remained as diligent as possible through it. As soon as we got home for lunch, you bet I cracked that Book of Mormon open! I read that, and slept for the rest of lunch. Of course that day, we had a good 3-4 hours of yard work scheduled, but I pushed through it, and honestly, I felt a lot better the next day! I can testify that having faith is showing and acting on what we're told to do to be healed. It was definitely a miracle and I feel fine now! Feels good to be eating again!
We also had our temple trip which was great! I had questions about the spirit world, and even before we went in, someone came up and talked with me and just started saying that he knew me before from somewhere, and that I was going to reach my prime as a missionary coming up very quickly, and that I was a very faithful and diligent missionary... Hahah I've never met this guy before! So that was really interesting!! Kind of neat though, and comforting words to hear as you can assume a district leader likes to hear that he's actually helping the missionaries in his district.
Whew!! Sunday!!! Was crazy!!! So the preface of the day, Elder Packard woke up feeling pretty sick... We had early morning meetings, talks to give in sacrament meeting, a confirmation to do, and investigators to pick up, whose original ride had left the day before to go on a trip.. So in the early meeting, we were just thinking about them and how we really needed to get a hold of them... They wouldn't answer their phone, so like a half hour before church started, we went to go pick up a mini van with a member, to get these people to church! We got there, and they weren't ready... so we waited for them to get ready, and by the time we got back there, we literally walked in the door, the bread came just as we came, and after the sacrament, we walked in the chapel, they announced that they'd be doing the confirmation.  So we went up and did that, went straight to the stand, and gave talks.... man... what a day.... it's never a day of rest for the missionaries, tell you what!! But it was good and a lot of miracles came from it!!
Ah man. To finish this email, we saw a giant RAT in our apartment... We haven't seen it since, and are deciding to invest in a giant mouse trap... cause it's HUGE.... Anyway, sorry again I was late with the blog, but hey, have faith that through our Savior, we can do hard things!!! :D Trust in him and his commandments, and remember that every commandment is made to give us blessings as we follow it. They are literally the guidelines towards a happy life! So why not? I love you alll!!!!! Next week should be a Monday email!!!
Love, Elder Langford

Monday, March 18, 2013

 Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream on the Beach & Goal Setting for Eternity!
Elder Jeffrey Langford's Update: March 18, 2013
I was so bad this week... I didn't write down anything to send.... but a lot happened, so I'll do my best to explain it all and get it in!

Tennis was fun today! The bishop was getting after me for the backspin ;) heh heh. Well, in this week as you know, 4 more sisters came into the district, so it's been a little busy getting them in and situated, but they've been doing really good and have opened up the area like it was nothing! The members have taken them in very quickly and they've been wrapped up in all the sisters of the ward's arms. There goes allllll of our meal appointments ;) haha just kidding.... hopefully. They've already found an investigator, and have really caught fire!!!  Both of the companionships are training 19 yr. Old sisters! Crazzzzy.

I got to go to Harker's Island on an exchange this week as well. That's such a small, little out there on it's own, by itself,  island!! The members there are almost all related... it's crazy! It's beautiful though, and we had a dinner at a member's house right on the beach, watching the sun set on the sound, eating maraschino cherry ice cream! We got a little spoiled to say the least!

I don't know if I've talked much about Brother King, but he's this amazing member that is the perfect example of who I want to be when I'm an older man. Hahahaha he's the funniest and most humble/ready to serve man we know! He gave us both these army jackets and these big trench coats that make me feel like I'm in "Law and Order!  Anyway, I need to send a picture home of Brother King, he's incredible.

We've also been teaching this lady for a while that's had some health problems. She's the one that's a member formerly of the reformed LDS church, and she's getting baptized on Saturday! Elder Packard is baptizing her! It's been a great success in this area these last couple weeks, and we're seeing a lot of fruits for our efforts right now.

This week I also finished the Book of Mormon challenge finally! The President gave us a challenge to read the whole Book of Mormon, and to mark every time Jesus Christ is mentioned, when he speaks, his attributes, his doctrine, and calls to repentance. Finally done with that! That felt good to finally finish! I've got to say too that the Book of Mormon is something that I sadly think a lot of us really take for granted... I was studying in it today and just thought of the differences of physical strength, mental strength, and spiritual strength, and how we're able to notice when they're strong, and when they're weak. It makes a huge difference spiritually when you read the Book of Mormon, pondering a question through thoughtful prayer. I can honestly say in the days I have and in the days I haven't, there has been a very apparent difference in everything I do that day. Perhaps not the things I do, but just the perspective and my take on things. We always hope for better, and in a sense, always hope for eternal Life! But, sometimes that's where it stays, as just a hope... hope is great, but without faith, that hope is not fulfilled. It must be acted upon. When in Harker's Island, we talked a lot about how setting goals before you plan is so important, and how they shouldn't just be indicators of how the day went, but faithful pushes, as to what you want to actually see from your day. Something great that I gathered from that, is the power of not just goal setting, but sub-goal setting. If for example, you have a goal of finding a new investigator tomorrow, that's great! How are you going to measure that? How are you going to find that? We talked about how you can set a goal that is more measurable, but within accomplishing the same purpose. For example, a number of doors to knock, people to actually talk to, areas where you won't leave until you've prayerfully decided you've done purpose in them, and so on. Everything we do is a plan to accomplish some sort of goal, be it the actually goal, or a sub-goal to accomplish it. The reason we have #'s in the mission field is to have ambitious driven sub-goals, in order to bring about the bigger picture, of bringing people to Christ, through the reception of the Holy Ghost. Even our purpose on earth! Our purpose on earth is to Live the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that we can obtain the mercy offered through the atonement to pay for our sins. Obviously you can't just walk out the door saying “hmmm I'm gonna give this a shot today!” but it takes sub-goals of reading, praying daily, church attendance, renewing of promises we make to truly live the gospel, and things such as that. Think about some thing in your life that you struggle at. No matter what it is, through setting smaller, measurable goals, you can obtain whatever you're trying to get at! Accounting daily with yourself, and finding measurable sub-goals for our specific needs, is how we focus on the goal of showing faith, which leads to repentance, and to a renewal of our goals set at baptism.  This accomplishes the goal of having the Holy Ghost, which, overall, if we choose to follow it's promptings, keeps us pressing steadfastly towards Christ, holding firm to the Iron Rod, which in the end, allows us the ultimate goal of Eternal life. So it starts with recognizing whatever thing you'd like to change, and then setting even the smallest reachable goals to make it better, measuring them daily, and progressively setting higher and higher goals, until you've reached your desired outcome! Haha sorry rant, but that's been the thought process that's been going through my mind lately.

Lots of miracles are heading our way!!! All through the spirit of the Lord!!! God bless you all, and keep trying your best to become your best, every day because that's how it starts! Today! Not tomorrow, there's countless tomorrows, but there will always be only one today!! So.... use it!   LOVE YOU!!!!!   Love, Elder Langford

Monday, March 11, 2013

 Optimists Always Win & Glad I Have 5 Sisters!
Elder Langford's Update: March 11, 2013

Hey everyone!

Ohhh man!! I have a bunch of things to write today!!
First off, my tennis is getting a lot better! Played today and it's not lookin too shabby! We're getting around 8 people to come every morning so it's been a good time every preparation day! I also do crazy night workouts with Elder Packard... he has P90X memorized for abs, so I'm ripping up all that southern food! (kind of)...

I also found out that we were getting sister missionaries to share our area, and also another area that's in our district! We have the biggest district in the mission, with two sets of fairly new sister missionaries...  Good thing I have sisters, or this would be pretty difficult...  Elder Packard has 5 brothers and no sisters, so it's funny to see the difference there sometimes! The zone leaders and I have also been talking a lot about how this next coming transfer is going to be huge towards the effect I have on the district... Things need to be a little tightened up and kept tightened up with all the new missionaries coming in and the things that they'll see and understand as the culture of the NC Raleigh Mission. I had a really good experience with an elder where he broke down a little bit and just laid out all that had been going on in the area. It's so key that when we're given responsibility from the Lord to lift up and bless other missionaries, that we do just that, and set the goal not to first help their area's effectiveness, but first to in a sense clean and purify the inner vessel. It's such a responsibility to be a district leader, but it comes with a lot of fruits as well, which are apparent and easy to see. I hope and pray that as we go through this next transfer, in the words of the zone leader, I don't “screw it up” ;) Haha it should be good though! I have a lot of confidence in the district and their ability to get it done!!

Oh, and I also had scallops for the first time.... and they weren't half bad! I actually quite enjoyed them to be honest!

We've also found a lot of success this week! We found a less active Spanish family that wants their 11 year old son to be baptized, and man he's making progress real quick! He's been great and is so ready to be baptized! And Elder Packard being the crazy charismatic missionary he is (that was meant to be a compliment!), was able to teach him in a way that I definitely couldn't have.  IT's amazing to see why we're all sent to our specific areas for specific reasons. If we can understand the answer to these questions, then we can become more effective missionaries in our perspective areas, by being our best selves, in order to allow the spirit to work through us in a way that is very personal and individualized to our talents, personality, and worthiness. So yeah, he's been doing fantastic, and honestly I don't feel like I'm training at all!  He's as engaged and ready to work (if not more) than I am already!

Elder Packard and I were driving to our next appointment on his birthday, and it had been a fantastic day/week already, where we'd found a lot of new investigators, seen progress from our other investigators, and had just had a really good weekly planning session to prepare and make ready for the next week. We had a little moment of bliss where things just felt like they were going into place, and the area was looking good and ready to go! At this point we definitely stopped and pondered what we had to do to be even better, and to not get comfortable. Because you can either have a mountain of success on the mission, where your success rate sky rockets for a season, and then once it's reached and you 'peak', it goes back down. Where per say, if you're never satisfied with the amount done, and always looking to fulfill your full potential for the area the Lord has given you to watch over, that's when you quit the mountain effect, but initiate more of a mountain range effect! Where the elevation stays generally the same, and just keeps on getting higher! You never want to be satisfied with good work if there's better, or even best that can be done. Especially on the mission you realize that if you want your best results, you can only settle for the best! That's that. Easier said than done right? But we're trying our best! Effort's something that everyone can give their best at!

To finish off the week with a perfect bang, Sunday night Elder Packard and I had to drive down to Newbern to conduct a baptismal interview for two of the zone leader's investigators. We got there a little early, and they walked in next. You could already tell by just looking at them that they were just sweet spirits :) ready to make the covenant with God. I first interviewed the Wife, (they were about in their early 60's) and I asked if she'd say the opening prayer. As she said it, it was extremely humble and pure, and the spirit was very strong, and plainly manifested that she was ready for the baptism, and extremely qualified. She had felt a change of heart and desire such as in Mosiah 5:2. The interview went very smoothly, and I commented on her spirituality that she brought into the room. She was so ready, and so excited to make this promise! It's great to see people with such powerful testimonies, fully ready to come and be all that our Savior asks of us. I then took her husband into interview. We also had a really good chat and I could tell he was a great guy, and that he and his wife were sweet, humbled people. We cruised smoothly through the questions and had a wonderful conversation on how real and willing our Savior is to constantly heal us, and bring us the Joy we need so badly from him. We got to the last question, asking him basically if he felt ready to make this promise and commitment in his life, and he said yes, and the spirit overcame him a bit, and he just paused for a second in pondering silence, and simply glanced up, and said 'thank you Lord'. It was one of the most touching experiences I've had on my mission thus far. I can testify that God is preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive and allow the message of the Gospel to be carried into their hearts. I have truly seen what a broken heart and a contrite spirit is, and how it changes the lives of so many people. I got to give him a nice big hug afterwards, and man... he's just ready for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and in fact craves it and hungers for it. GREAT couple :)  Anyway, can't end the week any better than that right? Great times!!!

Well, I got to head off, I need to do some dry cleaning if anyone's ever going to let us in their house again ;) Haha I love you all!!!!! Never give up the search to find how many ways God influences you personally every day! Life is all about perspective! The optimist always wins everything, and the pessimist always loses... so always win!!!! I love you!!!! Elder Langford

Monday, March 4, 2013

Baptism Saturday & "Every Member A Missionary
Elder Langford's Update, Monday, March 4, 2013
Hey everyone,
Blog time!!! I have quite the hefty list! Hopefully I can prioritize the points that I should address the most!  Hererere goes!
Soooo, on the way back from teaching someone who was a less active about coming back to church, we were pretty bold! She basically was going back and forth between our church and another church that she had grown fond of.  We basically told her that her church wasn't a bad church or a bad place, but in a good, better, best sense, she could and knows what the best is.  The way for her to decide which church she felt was the right one to go to was to read and pray about the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart and real intent, so that she could know which church was right for her to join. As we were driving home from the lesson, we saw a really bad accident, head on collision, with the 'jaws of life' being pulled out and everything... and I thought, that's why we teach the gospel... again when the comfortable parts of our lives slip away, and we come to a re-realization of how REAL death is, and how present and temporal this life is.  What a blessing we have to know what we have to do to take all fear away from that situation, as did the people of Ammon in Alma 24. So that happened and pretty intense thoughts there.

We found a nice, new, miracle investigator!  We had a plan to go and visit a less active that we had seen and talked to on the street on our way home from biking. We got there, and he wasn't there. We called him and he said he forgot he had something and didn't have our number. So we made some backup plans which happened to be finding some potential investigators in the same complex he lived in. As that came to no avail, we were on our way to leaving, and there was just oneeee more door on the left side, and we just said, ah lets go back and knock on it. Why not?  That's why we're here anyway right? So we knocked, and in a summed up way, asked him if he wanted to hear a message about Jesus Christ.  He said yes and let us in! Haha!!  So we talked to him for a while, bore testimony of the Book of Mormon, and asked what his hopes and desires were. He said that his main hope in this life was to get back to heaven. If felt so good to be able to testify to him that we KNOW that the things that we teach; the gospel of Jesus Christ, are the things that we have to do in order to receive all the blessings of the celestial kingdom!  :) (We didn't say celestial kingdom, he wasn't ready for that!). But yeah we talked to him, and he said he wanted and was ready to read and pray about the Book of Mormon to find for himself if it was the true word of God. Pretty neat!

We also had a baptism this past Saturday for Maggie. It went extremely well, and I had the humble pleasure of being able to baptize her.   She's been a miracle and is definitely elect and converted to the Gospel. It's interesting to see how the Gospel really is the same thing that was taught to the Jews through the law of Moses. My testimony has grown from being able to teach and see her Jewish traditions!  It's a shame she is moving to Dallas in a week,  but is excited to attend the temple down there!! We'll keep in touch!! She's a great woman!!! Great sister of the church! 

We also had a mission wide fast, for finding and helping the elect receive the gospel and helping the members to become more effective missionaries. The very next day at church, we saw sooo many miracles! So many people came up to us with referrals, and an investigator set a baptismal date!  Ohhh yeah!!! Plus we got to teach a Sunday School lesson about being a better member missionary, and I got to be King Benjamin for the sunbeams! Can't beat that!  Plus our amazing elder's quorum president, Brother Crenshaw, bore such a powerful testimony in elder's quorum of just everyday being a member missionary and never missing a chance to serve the Lord and share his Gospel! He also confirmed Maggie in sacrament meeting. He's been such a great help to us, and he is the humblest guy.  (Maybe a little proud of his tennis!) :)  He's fantastic and has helped us through almost everything!!!!

Well, gotta go!  Time just got lost there!!! I love you all!!!! Keep everyone  in your prayers, and pray always so the lord will consecrate everything you do for your benefit :) Remember that!   I love yah!  Love, Elder Langford