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