Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Farewell to the Field

Dearest Family and Friends,
                                               It is with the utmost gratitude that I have the privilege to write you today and conclude my feelings to you all about having served the last two years in the Ohio Cleveland Mission. To attempt to encapsulate all the feelings of my heart into a single letter would be futile, but I do wish to share the things I feel matter most in relation to my testimony and the concluding my mission this week. I have heard said once that the most important word in the English language is the word "Remember". As children of God I believe we are at most peace when the spirit whispers truth to us, because in those moments we remember the Fathers love and the place from whence we came. We do not remember learning our first lessons of truth before the world was; what it must have been like to be there and to anticipate the purpose for which His plan was established! What it must have been like to see Michael and his angels war with the dragon for worth of souls. Only if we could remember the Savior volunteering His will to the Father for His love of the Father and betterment of the His children. It is wisdom that we do not remember these things but what it will be to remember again them in due time. For now, we do as Paul directs and "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7) and struggle to remember who we have been, who we are and who we are becoming. Coming on a mission knowing that God loved us. I came believing in miracles. I came knowing that the Book of Mormon was the word of God and that it's translator was a Prophet of God. I came knowing the Atonement had the power to heal wounds and liberate sinners. I want you, my dear brothers and sisters, to know that I have not forgotten what I knew then and that by the grace of God I have been able to share these things with my all my heart to the wonderful people of Ohio. I still know that God loves us. I have seen miracles. I have seen the Book of Mormon fill those who sought for truth and righteousness, in fact, I never taught a person who read it as Moroni directed who was not convinced of it's truthfulness and then baptized. It is the word of God. I still know that Joseph is God's prophet and through His instrumentality, the foundation of this marvelous work was laid. I thank God for a prophet. Above all, my brother and sisters, I still know that Jesus is the Christ; the Redeemer of the whole human family and that His grace is sufficient to save souls; even a wretch like me. I count these past two years of service to be a small thing, for they are only the surface of discipleship; to follow Him is forever. My mission was not a sacrifice, it was a privilege to follow God. We give up those things we think we truly want and in return we receive those things we truly need, and ironically we call it a sacrifice... What could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death? He sent His son to die for us and rise with living breath. What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say? Have faith, have hope, live like His Son, help others on their way. So my prayer is that we remember what a sacrifice truly is and that we remember the sacrifice that was made for all of us. If the most important word in our language is remember, it is my prayer we remember Him. "And keep His commandments which he has given [us], that [we] may always have His spirit to be with us". I know I will always remember the Ohio; for these were days never to be forgotten!
                                                             In the end, my prayer is that it will be said of me "He believed in Christ". May whoever reads this know that this testimony is true. I look forward to the reunion with so many of you who I appreciate and love. Thank you for your prayers in my behalf! They worked! May the glory be to God henceforth and forever! Amen and Amen! 
                                                                             Love Always, Elder Brandon Prince

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Homecoming Informtaion

Elder Prince will be reporting his mission on June 16, 2013
The meeting will begin at 12:30 pm
The Chapel address is 2350 creek rd, sandy

Last Full Week in Ohio

Dearest Friends and Family,

                                               Hello! Hope that everyone back home or abroad is doing very well. Another week has flown by here in Youngstown and Elder Chapman and I are busy as ever. This is my last full week of proselyting which seems to me just like any other week. I don't think the brick wall of reality has set in that my entire focus is about to shift and my mission is really coming to an end. Well, I have a few more days to run and preach the gospel. Elder Chapman and I have had alot of success in finding new investigators these last two weeks and the teach pool has grown. This is exactly what I had been praying for, that Elder Chapman and his new companion would have lots of people to work with before I left. I am confident that this ward will have several baptisms in the coming months.
                                               I have to be brief today but I wanted to share a few feelings with you based on my studies this week. I have felt  a greater appreciation for the Atonement this week. I have pondered the scriptures and particularly seven utterances made by Christ from the cross in Calvary. I really tried to put myself there and understand Him as best as my mortal mind could. One of my trainees called me this week to wish me a happy birthday and told me how he was thinking about my mission and the time I have left and said to me "I hope you remember how the Savior lived the last week of His life; let that motivate you to do the same in the last week of your mission". I appreciated his words so much and thought more about the Saviors last week of his mortal mission and ministry. One scriptures spoke to me more than any other in my study, Mark 15 : 34:
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
                                               To me this scripture is unique to any scripture in all of the standard works. It illustrates the most vulnerable moment of our Lord's life and the final conflict of His war over evil. Unique because it shows Christ in a tone of question that is not found anywhere else. I tried to imagine facing all of the horror of evil and the darkness thereof alone. This scripture pierced my heart this week and testified of the complete power of the Atonement and the ability that Christ has to reach us. No matter how alone we may feel I know that His compassion is extended towards us. I love this gospel and the privilege it affords to me to repent, be healed and become more like my Master. I love preparing for the sacrament and feeling the Spirit walk with me as the new week begins. I hope that we may all see that Christ has gone before us and will aid us in our need. I hope we all accept His gift for us. I love you all and hope that you have a great week! 

Love Always, Elder Prince

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hello from Youngstown

Most Dear Family and Friends,

                                                    Another Monday and another week! I am so excited for this! This week has been great! I had the opportunity early in the week to travel to an area I had never been before and work along side my friend Elder Lincoln for the day. We spent the whole day in Alliance, OH and had no real solid appointments set. We spent about 6 hours out knocking doors and talking to people on the street. I told Elder Lincoln before we started that I wanted to act as if this was our area and we were not just on exchange for the day and that the things that we accomplished would be in an effort to accomplish our end goals in the area of baptizing souls and bringing them into the ward. I told him I wanted to find 'atleast' one person prepared by the Lord to hear the gospel. In the space of 6 hours we walked only two streets and talked to a total of some 15 persons and it was one of the most meaningful days of finding I had ever had on my mission. We met some of the most prepared people! One family let us right in and explained that they were looking for a church and that they had a step grandmother who was LDS. Another Young woman had been blessed as a baby in the church but never baptized and use to attend frequently until her grandma, who she attended with (a member) had passed away. We met two people who were previously taught by the missionaries and were happy to have us back and lastly a couple who actually flagged us down and asked if we could help them! There are few things as satisfying on a mission than being at the end of an exchange with another missionary and being able to say "Elder, we saw miracles today!". We had a great time together and I was able to interview a young part-member husband for his baptism while I was in town that night. I love conducting baptismal interviews and getting a feel for the given persons testimony and witness of the truth.
                                                  I also had the tender mercy and opportunity of being able to return to North Olmsted this week. I hadn't been there in merely 8 months since I was released as an Assistant. I got to go and visit with people I had taught in the past and continue to encourage them. Elder Ingersoll and I also got to go to dinner with David and Danielle Torres! It was so nice to be with them again and see their goodness and progress.
                                                  Things continue to go well here in Youngstown. Nancy and Shawn are still doing terrific and we got a new investigator to church this Sunday. His name is Todd and he is such a good man. He has come such a long way in his life and has been trying to find the gospel for years. I asked him what he thought of church as we sat together in the chapel after the meeting, he smiled and said "I think I've found the place". Yes!!!!
                                                   It was great to speak with my family yesterday. It is always a challenge to try and capsulate all of the feelings of my kindred love for you all. I was so glad to hear your good voices (especially Isaac, whoa!). You are all so terrific and I am so blessed to have you. In particular, Mom, I want you to know how much I love you. You are a precious gift of God to all who know you and we are blessed by the quality of your life. You have taught us all so much about the Savior and you did it largely without having to say much at all. Your love and selflessness are your greatest sermon and we all know that you know your Redeemer lives. Thank you for bearing me and bringing me up in the way I should go, I've truly been born of goodly parents! I love you all and hope that you are well! Pray for Elder Chapman to find the elect this week! 

Thanks! Love, Elder Prince

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

At work in Youngstown

Dear Family and Friends!

                                          Great to be with you all this week! The work here in Youngstown is going great. The week started off with Elder Chapman and I traveling to Cleveland for a Missionary Leadership Council. It was great to attend and to be there with all of the Zone Leaders and our training sisters. We were able to council and train and it felt like coming home to be in the mission office again voicing our opinions and being edified with our great leaders. Five of our current Zone Leaders are members of my transfer and President gave us the opportunity to bear our testimonies due to the fact that it would be our last council together. I lamented doing this to be honest as it hit me perhaps like it hasn't yet to this point that my time is very limited and these privileges are my last of the season. I felt humbled to share my simple witness; I felt filled with the spirit and trembled as I let them all into my chest for a moment. I will miss days like this.
                                           We had a great week in our area. We have had the opportunity to give alot of service doing different things from scrubbing cigarette residue from every square inch of our investigators walls and ceilings to raking a three level back yard covered in old leaves; it was so much. Our investigator Shawn came out teaching with us on Saturday and also helped give service. This young man is so stellar; he is living his baptismalcovenant and he hasn't even been baptized. Nancy is our other baptismal date right now and she is also doing amazing. We are being blessed to work with some very humble people right now; it is refreshing too because they both understand that this isn't all about them; it is about Him and everyone else and they are so anxious to serve.
                                          This weekend was Youngstown Ohio's Stake Conference and I got to see many old friends from Ashtabula and Warren. One woman came up to me and said "Elder Prince, you have been on your mission for 4 years!", I had to laugh because to see the people fromAshtabula it seems that way. It has been a long road that went by in no time. My biggest concern at the moment is getting as many people to teach as are ready before I leave so that Elder Chapman may have plenty of work to do this summer!
                                            Things are well and time is fast. Miracles are happening here every day. I know that God lives and is the author of all the good I see. I hope that you all will see the God this week! 

Love, Elder Prince

Monday, April 29, 2013

Full sprint in Ohio

Dearest Family and Friends,

                                                This has been one of the fastest weeks of my mission; I can hardly believe I am hear reporting again! I'll have you all know that our investigators are doing great and one of them bore her testimony yesterday in sacrament meeting; it was so edifying to hear her. We are working very closely with the ward and availing ourselves to any service we can render. This may be the shortest e-mail I've ever written so I apologize but I want to leave you with my testimony this week. I am grateful to say that I represent Jesus Christ in Youngstown, OH. I can testify that it is by His grace I am permitted to do any good works. I am grateful for my purpose of inviting others to come unto Him; there is no more noble purpose and to be called in my weakness to declare His gospel is truly a honor. Elder Chapman and I are continuing to enjoy our time together. I wish I could expose the goodness of this Elder adequately. I know we are creating a friendship that will span into the eternities! I love you all so much and am grateful for your support and prayers! I know that our Father Lives! I know our Redeemer Lives because the Spirit tells me it  is so! Love you all and hope that you have a wonderful day! 

Love, Elder Prince

Enjoying my life

Dearest Family and Friends,

                                                Things are off on the right foot here in Youngstown. I have to tell you that from the first day it has felt so good to be working with my brother Elder Chapman. He is a missionary that truly serves with all he has and I am so privileged to be his companion right now. I have seen many miracles this week. I have been in the area on previous exchanges in my mission and it seems that all of the people that I had only brief moment to meet in the past are the people that I have been able to connect with in a deep way already in only a few days time. There is so much that has happened I don't have sufficient time to explain it all but I have had some cool experiences that I will touch on lightly.
My first night in the area I had the privilege of going to Youngstown University to teach a class on social diversity. We did a cover of our religion and had the opportunity to bear testimony to a class of 40 students and then opened up our time to a Q&A session. I love being able to testify to others and to clear up all of the misconceptions that people have. I was joking around, fist bumping and getting heartfelt all in the same setting; it was alotof fun.
We are teaching a young man who we received through media referral last week and he is so prepared to hear the gospel! His name is Shawn and he has such a contrite spirit. Through the course of the week we have been able to teach him and to listen to him bear testimony of how he has felt as he studied the gospel has been inspiring. He said he has not had a particularly happy life and that some two months ago he found a Book of Mormon in his house and began to read. He said I have been happier in these last few months than at any other time in my life. We have committed him to baptism and he came for the first time this Sunday. He expressed to us that he would like to work towards being a missionary one day! We will keep you posted on Shawn!
Also, we are working with a part member family; the Smeltser's. After a Word of Wisdom lesson this week they encouraged us to follow them home because they wanted to surrender all of their tobacco, liquor, tea and coffee and all paraphernalia! It was such a humbling act of faith to watch these two humble people comb their house and handover over three grocery bags of materials. We promised them blessing for their faith and game them a priesthood blessing. They allowed us to come in this week and help them clean up the whole apartment; I felt like I was on the crew of a home make over show! The whole place was night and day different and they were so appreciative.
There have been other miracles. Elder Chapman and I are so excited to be working together. We are living, laughing and loving and fulfilling our purpose all the day long. I feel like this whole scenario is a tender mercy straight from the Lord. Elder Chapman and I were in tears last night as we stayed up talking about our commitment to the gospel and our appreciation and love for each other. I don't know why I have been so fortunate to have these blessings but none the less I can testify God lives! I am serving on borrowed time and truly finding that all the experience of the last 23 months and past that is culminating into a special ending here in Youngstown; the field is white! I know that we may be released as full time missionaries at some point but we are never released from being servants of God! I am happy and fortunate! 

Love, Elder Prince