Monday, September 26, 2011

Beginning in East Cleveland

Elder Prince, Elder Richardson, Elder Rangel, and Elder Martinez taken on June 19, 2011.

President and Sister Sorensen with new missionaries and their trainers at a training course July 1, 2011.

New Arrivals with President and Sister Sorensen taken June 2011.
Ready to work and serve!

East Cleveland Update

Dear Family,
                   So good to have a moment to write you all. It hasn't been long since my last e-mail due to a belated preparation day. However it was a great weekend. There are about 6 hospitals in my area, 2 of which are some of the biggest in the nation, tus we get alot of calls through out the week of members who are sick and contact the mission office for blessings at the hand of the Elders. They come from all over the country and I love this aspect of my work. This weekend I had the privilage of giving a blessing to a young opera singer who has survived at double longue transplant. This girls's optimism is truly humbling, she went in for another surgery today and wanted a blessing from us yesterday. She has been singing opera since she was a little girl and still sings even after her transplant, she has some youtube vidoes you all should check out if you get a chnace, they are quite inspiring, her name is Charity Sunchine Tellimen-dick. I also have been visiting the family of a very elderly man in one of our area's hospital that has touched me deeply the past few weeks. We bring his family the sacrament and sing hymns with him, upon which he openly cries every time. This man's family are always in number of about 10-15 persons every time we have stopped by, he is definitely on his way to the next life and they all know it. It hits me more and more when we visit this man that family is the greatest gift we have from our Heavenly Father while on Earth. He tearfully thanks us with is quite trembling voice every time we leave, I always walk down the hall way of that hospital thinking to myself that there is no amount of fame, money, recognition or any other personal amibtion of more importance than raising up a righteous family by being a righteous example.
              Elder Sumsion and I are teaching a new investigator that I am really excited for. We were getting chinese food around the corner from our apartment the other day and I began to talk to the clerk at the resturaunt and ended up getting her information and set up an appointment at a coffee shop around the corner from us. This girl is 27 years old, her Dad died when she was 16. She has a 7 year old son and she just left her boyfriend she was living with (blessing!!), she works about 50 hours a week and said that she is seeking guidance and direction in her life. It really touched me as I was looking out the window at the coffee shop and saw her walking to our appointment through the puring rain, carrying a bag of all her clothes because she had just left living with her boyfriend. I love this woman like a sister. We taught her in a members home and had a great lesson about the Book of Mormon. We are going to help her move this week and she says she is willing to meet three times a week. She accepted an invitation to be baptized on Oct. 29th, three days after my next transfer, I hope I'm still in the area to be able to baptize her, so if you would please keep her in your prayers, she needs this!
             I must be going but I wanted to leave you with something I read this week that has had a profound influence on my thinking. I was reading an article titled "The Fourth Missionary" which if you can get a copy of is great for any person, missionary or not. The author mentioned how we must completely surrender our will's to the Fathers if we truly wish to become Christ-like and live purposeful lives. He said pay our one tenth of our incomes to Heavenly Father, which incomes he gave us, we give of our talents, which He gave us, we give of our time, which He gave us, if we are really charitable we give of our clothes, food, housing, emotional support, all of which He gave us the capacity to give. The author then went on to say that the only thing we can give Heavenly Father which is truly ours and not his is our will. I want to leave you with a testimony of who I am because I am what we are, children of our Heavenly Father. I know He loves us. Let our faith be in Him and in His Son, not in life's circumstances. I don't wish to bring up past transgressions but as some of you know I had to write an appeal to the Church's mission council to be even allowed to come on a mission. After divulging to them my serious transgressions of my past, I wondered how I might end my appeal in a way that they might know despite all of these things I had done according to my own free will, that I had been forgiven, that I was still loved, and that Christ still heals today. I chose to re-iterate the words of the prophet of the restoration to them, found in the 76th section of the Doctrine and Covenents, which is  "after the many testimonies which have been given of Him, this is the one we give last of all which we give of Him, that HE LIVES!". Last week I was in Hiram Ohio where that same revelation was given, the spirit whispered to me that I was right in place I needed to be at this point of my life. True prayer happens when the will of the children correlates with the will of the Father, we both willed I be here in this beautiful place of Ohio. I can't wait to show you it all one day. I know He lives who once was dead! I love you and hope all the best things for you this week.
Love Always, Elder Prince

September 22, 2011

Dearest Family,
                        It is hard for me to summarize all the things I wish to tell you about my experience and the feelings of my heart but I want you to know it has been a great week for so many reasons. I only hope that you all know of my love and the source which it comes freely from. I get the sense that my efforts here in East Cleveland are teaching me patience more than any other principle. Our two most solid investigators dropped us this week and I noticed that this time around being dropped didn't hurt nearly as much as I reflected upon how I tried to love each one in a way that I thought the Savior would. Early in my mission I have had to deal with the feelings of rejection and dissapointment alot. These feelings harrow me up to a similiar way of how I used to feel when I did not follow the Gospel. It has been interesting to me as I have combatted these feelings through honest work and sincere prayer the way that the Lord has comforted me. The lie in my head says that I am failing, unsuccessful, unprofitable,uncharitable, slothful, and headed for regret and disappointment; all the words of destruction. Then the voice of the Spirit comes to me. It visits me on my knees at my bedside. It visits me as I catch the sunset over the skyline of Downtown Cleveland after a long day's work. It visits me as I sing my Hymns, when I ponder my subjects in early morning study. And it always whispers the words of peace to my soul. This week the voice has told me to "surrender", "to be patient", "to love fearlessly" and above all to be grateful. This is the same Spirit that can change all of our lives. I love this quote from C.S. Lewis that I had the privilage of reading this week, it goes as follows----
Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’ ---
        So powerful, and so just what we need. I think for one who is just learning to come unto Christ, or come back unto Christ this may seem daunting. We must start small. Something as simple as kneeling in prayer tonight and asking for courage and direction for 24 hours can change the course of our entire lives. I testify that that it is truth, it happened to me. I feel more and more that I am entering a new stage of my development, and my perosnal persuit of truth and happiness, that is to completley give up all these things that I think I want and totally rely upon the words of the Lord and trust his path, it is the only intelligent thing to do. I want to share something with you all that I hope will strengthen you and draw you closer to our God this week. I was studying the beautiful concept of "Hope" one morning this week and I loved what  read in the Book of Romans, 8th Chapter, 26th and 28th verses. Verse 26 reads:
 "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered".
     I cant tell you how much this verse caused me to wonder. I looked in the footnote as there was a greek translation for the word "groanings", the translation was the word "sighings". I thought about how powerful the Spirit is when it searches our hearts and minds and knows that we don't have the words to say often times to explain away our desperate situations. In our finite understanding we ofetn pray for these that we "ought not", still God knows the heart, he knows the sighs that we realease as we truly hope to feel his love, to be assured of the future, to be lead on to success. This is what I am experiencing in Cleveland. I am sighing. Sighing for sadness, sighing for relief and sighing as I am again and again comforted and strengthened by a loving Heavenly Father who sustains me despite my many weaknesses. I sense that we are all doing this in our lives, my loving advice is that we direct our feelings to the Lord and no other source, that he make intercession for His children. I testify that this is truth, it happened to me. If I seem more distant in the coming months I want you to find peace and assurance that I am not forgetting you but seeking to lose myself in Cleveland. I dont want any part of my old costume. I want to re-introduce myself to all of you when I get home as my true-self. I love you all and want to leave you with the assurance of a very truthful passage of scripture. Romans, Chapter 8, verse 28:
" And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called accoring to his purpose"
We are ALL called to His purpose, that is what being a child of God is. A very loving member from India shared with me that changed my weak. He said "in India everyone is taught that we are all God. If you touch a cobra, it will bite you. We all have a cobra inside of us, so... we don't go there with people. All people have a hidden-side that is not good" but he said "we don't look at that side of them, we look at the side of them that is perfection, that is light and pure, that is God. Approach everyone with honor and look for the things that are perfect about them". Because we are all children of God we all have something perfect about us. This changed my week as I went about talking to strangers. I hope it helps you as it did me. I love and and know that God lives and Jesus is our loving Savior, in his sacred name, Amen.
--- Love Always, Elder Prince

September 7, 2011

Dearest Family,
                         Another great week has passed here in East Cleveland. I am almost certain I will be here for another transfer, I'll know by next week. I was hoping to train but I more so wanted to stay in East Cleveland. I have given my heart to this place. I finally dont have to juggle my handle bar in one hand and my GPS in the other, I've got this place down!
 I had such an incredible week this week. On monday I have my first ever Mission Conference and we were privilaged to have Elder Marcus B. Nash of the First Quorum of the Seventy come and speak with us. The Mission President called the night before the conference and said that Elder Nash would like to speak with me before the conference! I was so excited, I was chosen with about 5 others to have a personal inteview with him out of about 65 Elders and Sisters! As I waited for my interview the order was that I was very last. My mission President and I had a moment alone and he told me, "I wanted to show Elder Nash the best this mission has to offer!" I asked him who decides on who gest to be interviewed, and he looked at me soberly and said emotionally "Elder Prince, I believe the Lord does". That is how my mission President is, he is so convicted in his faith and so sincere, I truly love the man.
I finally got to sit down with Elder Nash and we both just looked at each other for a few moments. The spirit in the room got so thick and then we began to talk, he asked about my family, and why I was on the mission and I explained to him that I have a great family and the reason I was here is because I felt I was lead here. He just paused and looked at me, this man thought so careffully before he opened his mouth the whole interview and though he was trying to discern with the spirit every thing he wanted to say. He just paused and said "I want you to know that I have an overhwhelming sense of grattitude to be in your presence". He said I know you've been called to Ohio for a reason, and this is a place of "great healing" as he put it. He then read to me the account of when Alma the younger tells his conversion story to his son Helaman, and told me now is my time to labor dilligently in my grattitude to the Lord for all that He has done for me. He said I have very few words for you, but I just want to tell you again I am full of gratitude to be in your presence, you have a great future, walk humbly and work dilligently".
This man has been an area President over South America for years, a mission President a few times, one of the chosen traveling 70 of the Church, to hear Him say this from the spirit was truly humbling for me, it was as if He was discerning the long road I had walked to finally get to our appointment together. He gave us an incredible seminar  in which I felt so re-committed to my purpose. I am determinded to find him again one day and explain who I am and what I've become. It is this type of accountability that I wish to have with the Lord, so that when I accomplish anything He has commanded me to do I can hear the words of the spirit whisper "Well done thou good and faithful servant".
Focus seems to be the difference between average and great missionaries, not forgetting where you've been and where you are going. This is why I so deeply enjoy recieveing your words each week as they remind me of all the people who have "taken a chance on me". I know that with the Lord all things are possible. I try to share this with everyone I come in contact with.
We taught an investigator of ours this week the Word of Wisdom, her name is Pam, she is a single mother and she smokes. As we taught her she knew that she had to do this and said she had actually cracked open her alcoholics annonymous book minutes before we came over for the first time in months. I asked her for her ciggerettes after the lesson and she hesistantly gave them over to me. The next day she didn;t come to church and so we went and paid her a visit, she had started to smoke again and said she had over slept. I just told her again that I believed in her and that through calling upon God , anything is possible. I fasted for her yesterday and know that she will be blessed.
I got to go to an air show on Lake Erie with F-16 fighter jets on Labor day with a family in my ward named the Bagleys. This family loves me so much and I them. They are always inviting me over for dinner and bringing food to the apartment. Sis Bagley is from Mexico and loves to feed me and says it his how latinas "show their love"(She is alsotrying to get me to write her little sister in Mexico ;) ha ha.  
This week has been really cold in Cleveland, they say that once October hits, I wont see the Sun until April! Cant wait. In all honesty missionary work is the hardest thing I have ever done. I learn more and more how valuable agency is. I read from the teachings of Joseph Smith today and was so filled with the spirit as he spoke of how everyone in the world will be judged according to the law that they have been given, and that we should never doubt the  mercy of the Most High God in being the most wise lawgiver.
We work with such a merciful Heavenly Father, I find rest in this knowing that He will  be and is so loving to us. We as Latter-day Saints have been given much and so much is required, I'm grateful for the knowldge and the hapiness it brings.! I have to get going, we are going to help an investigator tear off his roof, hopefully it is not to wet and slippery!
Just wanted to share my love and let you all know that God lives, earth is a temporary abode, let us all keep our minds and hears on who we want to be in the final hour! I love you all with all that I am. Jesus is the Christ, don't forget Him!
 Love Elder Prince

August 29, 2011

Dear Friends and Family,
                                      Monday comes faster than bullets these days. I have had another great week this weak, perhaps one of the most challenging of my mission. My mind has never been so restless. It is hard to put into words how I feel but I have observed some things about myself in this last week that I feel the spirit is direcly communicating. I have never had my strengths and weaknesses so apparent to me as they are now. There is so much information to digest in the field and so much expected of you that you really come to a point where you have to pick and choose what you 'really' can do and what will be impossible without the help of others and God. I feel that I have 'over-extended' myself, and towards the end of the week I was feeling so overwhelmed. I asked Heavenly Father many times this week what it is that He really expects of me and how I can get away from being so stressed. My nieghbor across the street was laughing at me saying "Prince, I feel so bad for you. You always have your game face on!". I admit to you all that one of my weaknesses is taking myself to seriously and thinking to much.
 In my head, when I first came out I thought to have sucess you had to be the best, I am learning more and more that competing is contrary to what Jesus taught. I realize now that all we must do is magnify our talents, and rely on the Lord where we lack, if not so, why would we need God? I admit to you all that I have made a very prideful mistake early in my mission thinking that I can do it all. So this week I am working towards getting back to who I feel I really am, that is a lover of God, a lover His work, and not a lover of myself and my own work. Attitude is everything. I cant tell you how many times that statement has been said in my mind this week.
 I learned an acronym that really changed me while I was out on the street contacting this week. My companion and I were talking to a man about what it means to be carnally minded and my companion shared a scripture in 2 Nephi in which  Nephi states " to be Spiritually Minded Is Life Eternal"- SMILE. This simple act can allow the spirit to enter our beings, the weight of our burdens to be lifted and the thoughts of our minds to be shifted. I had the impression early on in my mission with Elder Martinez that I needed to smile more and for some time I was doing great at it but it slipped my mind for a little while and this week it seemed as though all the teaching appointments I had someone again mentioned the power of smiling, so that is my goal this week. If we look for things to smile about we will find them, and there is always someone or something that you havent smiled about, know that when the work seems drudgerous I smile for you all.
 I think of you individually when I wonder if the Lord is on my side, I reflect on what you all did in getting me here and it hits me, of course the Lord is on my side, look what he has given me. A less active member of our ward said something to me that has given me reason to smile all week. She said "Elder Prince, I know that the Lord sent you here, there has been a different light ever since you walked in my door 2 months ago". I have loved working with the less actives perhaps more than anything else on my mission. I have been shocked to teach less actives and recent converts who really have zero to little knowledge of the Gospel, it creates a bitter sweet feeling in me as I consider the missionaries who taught them previously who baptized them despite them lacking such simple knowledge as the Plan of Savation, the Restoration or other fundemental principles of our church. I'm disappointed to a degree but also grateful now that I have the opportunity to teach them. I dont feel right about baptizing anyone without a basic knowledge.
The work wit the war members continues to go great. We have a lesson in a members home last night with a 16 year old investigator and it went great. The boys name is Ben Kleidman, he is so bright and comprehends the things that we teach him so well it is as if it isnt real. We are teaching him more this week and are so excited. We have 5 progressing investigators right now and 4 of them came to church on Sunday! I am hoping and parying all continues to go well with them all.
Elder Sumsion and I also reached our goal of teaching 20 lessons! It was probably the most successful week of my mission. The I really experienced so much emotionally this week that I feel grateful to be calm writing this letter. I had a day where I contacted for 6 hours because my bike broke! My feet were pretty sore! One night this week, Elder Sumsion and I were teaching a Rastafarian man, this guy was puffing his marijuana right in our face and telling us all manner of sophistry, then a group of 4 white kids about my age came up and started to be interested in our converstion. The Rasta kept telling them all manner of things about Nature and God that seemed to be goind in circles without point. He began to sa how marijuana was a way to commune with the spirit and how it invites the spirit of God to be with you. At about that moment I asked the gathered group if I could share the scriptures with them. They all nodded yes and without thinking I flipped open to 2 Nephi where Nephi is quoting the words of Isaiah to his brothers. I begn to tell them about how in the last days men will call good evil and evil good, and shall place darkness for light and light for darkness. I then bore simple testimony to them that I was just a weak and simple young man from Utah with a message of truth, and then I bore testimony that Christ lives and is the Savior of the world. The spirit was so strong, I could feel it in my whole body. It was silent when I finished, where as before it was some-what loud conversation. I then asked "Would anyone like a Book of Mormon?", emmediatley one of the young men reached out his hand and hastly said "I do!" I gave it to him quickly and then one girl behind him shyly said "Could I have one too?". I wanted to share that with you all because it was the highlight of my week.
 The power of testimony is not in the one who bears it, but in the One who confirms it. I want to bear you my own testimony ans start with the words found in 'Amazing Grace", once I was lost, and now I am found. I used to be that man who let the lying spirit distort my thinking. Strong drink, marijuana, poor thinking mantality, gossiping and loving the flesh is in my plain view every day and it destroys my area of East Cleveland. I know that Christ is the only answer to the ills of society. I know that He lives.
 I'm so thankful for those who have helped me see.
 I love you.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
- Elder Prince

August 15, 2011


Dear Friends and Family,
                                       I am once again thrilled to have a quick moment to write you all.
My first two weeks with my new companion have been awesome. We are in the middle of busily riding our bikes all over the city meeting with family members to help them write up mission plans for themselevs as part of a big missionary movement our Bishop would like to see come to pass.
 I feel like a horse, I just pedal all day and due to my lack of cooking skills I eat oatmeal with berries and apples ALL DAY.... I have vowed that when I return to college I will take a cooking class because I really eat like I am in a famine.
 It is a bit frustrating because every P-Day I come and open up your e-mails and have to quickly put them in a Microsoft Word document so I can print them and read them later so I cant really respond to your questions in e-mail but none the less I read them and I love to hear about your lives.
 I have fallen in love with my area. I want to labor here my whole mission which I know is not a possibility. I have been doing my best to "win my ward members", I feel it is going well. I spoke in Sacrament on Sunday and I have never felt so inspired by the Holy Ghost on the Stand. I spoke on "Looking Outward each Day". This subject really became to dear to me as I thought what it meant during the week. I had just got done with a really insightful study in which I was reading about Christ answering a "certain lawyer" trying to tempt his knowledge, upon which He delivers the "Parable of the Good Samaritan", SO POWERFUL. The Lawyer asks the question "Who Is My Nieghbor?" and I am so glad he asked. The bottom line of what Christ said is that even your enemy is your neighbor and you should love him. This is so hard. Putting away your own ambition for the needs of others and a love of God, thats the challenge of life.
 I got done with my studies feeling so light and ready to lose myself that day and as I began to make my oatmeal and apples my buddy Elder Rangel asked me if I would make him some breakfast, at the very moment I had just sat down in my chair and was ready to devour! I let out a little rumble and hesitated, "Futsac" I thought ,("That is Prince Family Slang for "Frick!")and  then, honestly, a sadness came over me. Here I am proclaiming to follow Christ learning about loving my enemies and I wont make my brother some oatmeal. It really hit me how far I have to go but being conscious of it is the first step. Needless to say Elder Rangel got some oatmeal that morning. I tell you what it is the small things that are teaching me so much.
 I did get to read a little opening of Dad's e-mail to me this week, in short what I read was "Dude... relax.. breathe.." haha I love it. Well to my family and friends and particularly to you Dad, just know that I am a pretty serious guy but I do stop to laugh some times like this little story.
 I met a homeless women a few days ago and as I was telling her about the gospel I asked if she would mind if I asked her a personal question, she said she didnt mind. I asked what she felt lead her to a homeless life, "Thats easy" she said "Gambling". "Ok" I said , "so what do you believe could truly change your life for the better?". Expecting her to go within and perhaps give me something deep, "If I won the lottery". Oh Boy. I thought of imitating Dr. Evil saying "You just dont get it do you? You dont." I just shook my head. It was funny but it was sad at the same time.
I wish you all could see my area. There is so many boarded/abanded buildings and homes, half of this city is just decaying. It has the strangest energy. This city has the Nations best Hospital Care and yet the health of the city is horrible. I expected hard times in proclaiming the Gospel but the challenges are so different than I thought. The hardest thing is what goes on in your own mind, thats the first step it to quiet you natural man and rely upon the sprit, but the challenge I face with the people of east Cleveland is illiteracy. It's hard to tell them what a dispensation is when the don't understand the basic alphabet. My heart really does hurt for these people. I truly grow to love the ones I meet.
 One of the sections we study from in Preach My Gospel is called "Teaching People Not Lessons" this section has become Holy Writ to me because that is the only way to get through to 90 % of the people I teach. I try to just be genuine and not afraid to say the wrong thing but focus on coming from the heart and loving as I believe the Savior would. At times I feel that I am not a really "by the book" missionary when it comes to my teaching. Proclaiming is something that is a bit new to me, I have always leaned towards the thought that people will be better taught when you listen to them instead of have a rote agenda. The spirit guides, that is my belief.
 I tracted into some asian exchange students this week and invited tem to church, their was two of them initially and they showed up on sunday to church with two other friends. I taught them about our beliefs and how the sacrament was conducted, they were so interested and stayed all three hours. I love moments like that. In one of my first letters I wrote of a man that I met at a gas station that showed up at church, well that same man was evicted from his home and I lost contact with him. Still, through the weeks I prayed for him and sure enough he showed up to church yesterday and I got his new address!
 We have a handful of investigators and I have alot of faith in them. We are teaching a woman who lives across the street from us named Rose. She is a black woman in her 50's and a mother of 4. She is afraid to leave her home because of the stress she feels, she apparently has been assaulted on the streets several times and now fears going anywhere without her boyfriend. We finally got her meet us around the corner at a coffee shop and she said she asked God if we were supposed to be teaching her and she said that the reason she is meeting with us is because she got her answer! I am pretty excited to keep helping her.
 I have to go but I want you all to know that your words mean so much and that. I love you and keep you in my prayers. Listen to your hearts and reach high! Hope you have a great week!
 Love Elder Prince

August 8, 2011

Hi from Ohio!

Dear Family and Friends,
                                      Another beautiful monday and an opportunity to share my mission with my loved ones. The week has been one of many mixed emotions for me. I really missed Elder Martinez as I rode through all the streets he taught me this week. It was wierd teaching the area these past few days and reflecting on when I felt so lost out here.
 My new companion's name is Elder Sumsion, as in "assumption". He is from Provo and is a really funny kid. It is probably a blessing I got him as my companion because I am a bit too heavy and serious all the time and this kid just sings songs and talks in strange voices as we ride our bikes around, alot like me when I get comfortable with people.
 The Zone Leaders I live with say that they want to refer me to be a District Leader or a trainer next transfer, I would really love to train. I haven't read any of this weeks messages from you all but I plan on reading them tonight. Thank you for all who have taken the time to write me and let me know what is going on in your lives. I have been really trying hard to strengthen my ward and it has been going great. 
We have 2 or 3 appointments a day this week with them as we instituting a new ward mission plans which includes helping families write up missionaries goals, all of which we have to coordinate, in other words, we are the sweat behind the project. I am drenched every night when I come home. Praise  to the men who invented air conditioning, deoderant, soap, and laundry.
We also got some new investigators this week, which is awesome because our most promising ones from last week wont call us back....I think the part of my mission I have enjoyed most has been strengthening less-active members. I have one in particular named Sister Gray. She is a black woman in her 40's that runs a day care out of her home smack dab in the hood. It is not your typical day care, there are parents picking their kids up at 1 or 2 in the morning, some kids basically live there. She tries to give them all the childhood she never had. Neeless to say she is most often times exhausted, but she always makes time for us to come and share a brief message with her. I have really developed a strong relationship with her and she has come to church for the last 4 weeks, and she approached me in church last week and asked me if I would teach her about "Baptisms for the Dead" because she wants to go to the temple. I am so excited to teach her and was so suprised by her inquiry.
Many of converts in our ward have shared with me how they felt the overhwhelming love and support of family spirits while performing baptismal ordinances for their dead in the temple. It is powerful to hear their testimonies, particularly from the black members of our ward.
The biking has been a challange for me but watching my new companion weezing in between appointments shows me how much better shape I have gotten. No joke we ride about 2-25 miles a day in the humid 80-90 degree Ohio sun, I have completley given up on trying to look pretty. You all would laugh if you saw how drenched I get out here, I actually like it when it rains on us now because it is like a bath. Rain is crazy in Ohio, one minute it is sunny bright day without a cloud in the sky, ten minutes later it is raining so hard and the shy is so dark you think that it will be this way for the rest of the evening, then bam its back to sun shine. As I mentioned I am begginning to understand the geographics of my area, about 80 % of my area is ghetto. People always tell us to be careful and that there are shootings all the time but I have yet to witness one. We are sometimes met with a hostility but overall the people are kind. I feel like I was meant for this area. I love the fried chicken and hot sauce and I understand all the slang from my days as a hip-hop fanatic.
The area grows on me every day. So does too the spirit of the Lord. My labor all day is dedicated to Him, I think of Him constantly. Anytime I get discouraged I am called up in rememberance of how great He has been to me. I imagine I would all ready be different to the people back home if I returned today, I cant imagine how it will be in two years from now. I want you to all know that I am trying my best and that the Lord is doing the rest. I sweat all day and I soak my pillow in tears at night. for my friends about to head to the field I tell you from my heart it is the hardest thing I've ever done but I have never been more full. I cant wait for some of you to be out here. I love you all so much and I know that God lives and loves, he is always with us.
- Elder Prince

August 2, 2011

Dearest Family,
                        I wish to thank you again for your messages to me this past week. They always fill my heart. I love the extrordinary as much as the day to day information. This week P-Day is on Tuesday. We have transfers tommorrow. No shock in my camp, I am staying in East Cleveland. I live with of course my companion, Elder Martinez and my Zone Laeders, Elders Richardson and Rangel. Elder Martinez is finished with his service to the Lord tommorrow. Elder Richardson is being transfered and my "big brother" Elder Rangel is staying in the same apartment, though we are assigned to different areas. So tommorrow I will have a new companion. It is a bitter sweet feeling today as I am prepapring to say goodbye to my dear friend Elder Martinez. I have had this sense that an empty feeling awaits me as he will be gone. I have grown to love him so much.
We contacted till it was dark last night and he did not act as if his mission was over, we were sharing the gospel until the last minute of daylight, that is who he is. I have learned so much from my first companion. He has fought so hard to be where he is. He has relied on the Lord for every thing. He came to the mission in 2009 not knowing a word of english, and he left as my trainer. What a story of 'becoming'.
I wish to share a brief thought with you that has dominated the majority of my thinking this week. It is this. The key to appreciating God is reverencing Him and worshipping Him in a spirit of awe and wonder, of apprecaition and grattitude, of love and respect for the opportunity to "become". This is the whole idea. Progress can only be learned through this earthly experience. I was told by a muslim man this week that scriptures are only "information, and until they become experience they will remain information, never knowledge". I cant tell you how appreciative I was to hear this perspective. We learn of principle, commandments, and laws of God and until we exerience them we will never know of the truth. To be Tellestial, all will have a knowledge of God, but they never acted. To be Terrestial, all will have the knowledge, and will have acted, and lived "honorable lives" as the D&C says, but we were not valiant in our testimony and obedience, we were at times, but we failed to be constant. To be Celestial is to have BECOME, the excersizing of wisdom consistantly led us to BE. Be as God is. This is a process but it is available and it is everything.
 I have become trull filled with joy as to the manner of life I can live and the process of merciful refinement I can enjoy. The work in East Cleveland is going great! The Bishop, The Ward Mission Leader, My companion and I taught the 5th sunday lesson and introduced the Ward Mission Plan, the spirit was strong and the members are excited. With faith and sacrifice we are going to have the sucess we desire. I want you all to know that I could not have come to have such hope in my life without my God, and my family is a gift directly from Him. So for my family and friends who haved served as his hands in my life I thank you. Thank you for this fresh breath of life I have to enjoy.
This experience is refining me in a way I couldn't have imagined. I have so far to go and it doesnt scare me, I long for the progress of a days work only. I was not the person I am a few years ago. Even a few months ago. I wont be the same tommorrow. Until we can embrace again in 22 months and hear the sound of each others voices let me leave with the assurance of my love. I know that my capacity to love grows constantly but His Grace.
Thank you for all the prayers and concern in my behalf. I wonder if my e-mails sound mundane as I cant help but share the things of my heart with my family. I just hope you will remember the contrast of days past when none of these things were in my heart. I love you and hope this letter finds you well.
 -Elder Prince

July 25, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,
                                      I dont have much time this week but I wanted you to know that it has been a great week. I have taught more lessons this week than any prior, 19!! still one below the missionary "standard of excellence" but we are getting there.
The woman I described in my last e-mail that supirised me by coming to chuch came again yesterday and she is studying and praying about the Book of Mormon, she is such a great woman.
 I have learned alot this week but chief amongst my lessons have been that our happiness or misery is not dependent on our circumstances but rather our dispositions. I have been making it a goal of mine to smile more. I have also realized that it is not proper for a man of God to stipulate or bargain. He has a will and even if we labor with all our mights we will be unprofitable servants (Ask King Benjamin). So why do we labor? Because it is a privilage. That is the secret to life if I have found any.
You are all so important to me. I gave a talk in Sacrament on Heritage this week and couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the spirit I felt in preparing. Our heritage is so unique, it is one of sacrifice and determination. In studying the pioneers I came to the question of whether the were destined to cross the plains or just really determined? The spirit bore witness to me that the were both destined and determined. So it is with us.
The scriptures say that many are called, but few are chosen, it is my beleif that to be 'chosen' is to be determined. You decide if you are chosen. I love my friends. I love my family and my very best relationships are those with people who inspire me with their determination. The work is going well here. I feel that the Lord is helping me 'win over' ward members as I am going to every one of there homes and trying to share my vision for this area.The bishop is helping me institute a new ward mission plan. I hope to see baptism. I hope to see sincere repentance and happiness of the people I serve.
 Long term, I want to be married with my  mife and kids gathered around the TV for conference and here the Prophet say " we are building a temple in Cleveland". I have big hopes. Thank you for fostering me with the support to be here.
Love you all- Elder Prince

Dear Family

Dear and Loved Family,
                                   Hope all is well with you and that this e-mail finds you on a good day.
This weekend has been a great weekend for me. The struggle of the mission field is that opposition comes in a totally new package than being back home and part of "civillian life", back at home my struggles were very different than they are now. Most of my trials and temptations are in the mind and in the spirit. The key is to rely on the Lord in "All Things" anytime I feel like I am not accomplishing anything I turn to him in prayer.
 In The scriptures we read to turn all our cares unto him and counsil him in all our comings and goings, to lift up our hearts and voices to him all day long, so after finding this in my studies this week I have been combatting the opposition anytime it comes, I must look like the crazy person in the world to some of these people because I often times just close my eyes and ask for strength. Don;t worry I'm not one of those corner preachers praying aloud to be seen of men :).
 Your e-mails and letters turly warm my soul. Dad wrote me a ltter bearing his testimony to me that I carry in my backpack and his talk from Grandpa Princ'es funeral. I read it when I get home from a weary days work, it means alot to me to belong to this faith.
On thursday night Elder Martinez and I street contacted for about 5 hours and we had nothing all night, it was 8:40 and we only had 20 minutes left for the day and this voice in my head kept telling me over and over that I MUST find one investigator! One! So with time running out I wouldn't let the thought rest and we went to a train station next to our house and I saw a woman waiting for the train and asked her If I could share my card with her, she happily accpeted. Her Name is Bridgette, she is an african american woman, married and mother of 3 and she was waiting for her husband to get off the train from work. She lived around the corner from us and said that he was late today, I began to explain to her breifly what we believe and asked her if she would mind if I came by and taught her more. She said that she would love to learn more, she seemed particularly inviting after I mentioned that we believe that marriage is for eternity. We met with her the next day and gave her the Book of Mormon, she has been reading and praying on it hard and described to me in quite some detail about what she had read from the intorduction and first book of Nephi. I am so excited about her I feel that if she will stay true to the spirit she will come to know as I have that this book is not a fable but rather the life-changing word of God.
 I also have been visiting with a street vendor named John who works selling food on a street I frequently contact on. He is a lonely man, ex-catholic with with depression problems. I really take the time to listen to this man and try to understand what has happened in his life. I have talked to Him about how Heavenly Father has restored His gospel and that He has given us weaknesses to draw us near unto Him and help us realize our dependance on Him. He is really open to me and says that I have a "kind and good presence", he has committed to read some chapters I showd him from the Book of Mormon and I believe that he truly enjoys our meetings with him on the street, he said " If nothing else, you have restored my faith in taking time to talk to people I see everyday and realizing the importance of that". That humbling for me to hear, we left him with a word of prayer underneath his food stand umbrella in the middle of a busy street and the love of God was truly there. He said he hadn't prayed since he was an alter boy in childhood, he looked me in the eye and told me thank you, I knew he knew that I truly loved him.
I don't have baptisms to report. I don't have miracles but what I have alot of are "small and simple things" that truly fill my heartout here in Cleveland everyday, I love this work and I love the children of men.
I recieved pictures of us all from Mom this week and I was again reminded of how incredibly good looking our family is (Zoolander quote). It is good to visualize you all. Everything I hear from back home is awesome. Isaacs toad selling business plan was probably the high light of my week. That and my good friend Taylor Doutre recieving the priesthood and Samye getting her call to Oakland, I love that! Thank you all for you e-mails I read each one and love each one.
 Before I came on my mission Ken played a song that makes fun of Cleveland for 6 minutes and there is part that I particularly laugh at now, it says "don't drive through east cleveland, you will get shot!" hahaha, it was only funny when I listened to it. Like I said before my area is pretty ghetto but it is full of humble people. I was walking in the ghetto yesterday having a laugh at myself for thinking I was black growing up. This is the last place you want to live or emulate. However I have distinctly felt that I was prepared for this area, I feel somewhat at home when someone is driving their black cadillac down the street blaring their 2Pac :) All jokes aside though it really has been confirmed to me that I am meant to be here, a strong Christain man tried to tell me about how the Book of Mormon was false for sometime, upon which I really didn't argue with him, I merely shared my experinece of it's power in my life and we talked a while, at the end of our conversation, he said " You are the best Mormon I've met, you are going to do well in the black community, because you have respect". Ahh man I love black people! (Jerry McGuire quote).
 Elder Martinez leaves in 3 weeks! I can't believe how much I am gonna miss him. He is super in tune with how I am doing emotionally its crazy. I'll just be thinking and if I get too deep, he'll pat me on the back and say "It's OK man, I love you", he had no idea what I was thinking or how I was feeling but he always knows what to say. The mission is HOT and I sweat all day, we have people giving us fake adresses that we just spent the last 40 minutes biking to but at the end of the day the spirit confirms to you that "You are becoming something", thats why I work hard. We are becoming something every day. I hope we never forget that . President Hinckley said the "small things we do everyday, are in a big way what we are becoming". My hope and prayer for Each and Every member of our family is to consult the Lord with what he wants you to do today to be better, don't worry about tommorrow. He  IS listening, He  loves us, He wants us to be happy, sacrifice brings forth the blessing, He is always with us.
 Love- Elder Prince

Good News From East Cleveland!

Dear Family and Friends,
                                      I apologize to you that I cannot respond to you individaully.
Forntunatley for me here is just not enough time to stop working. Today is my first prep day in Cleveland.
 I can't say enough about what this week has meant to me.
I started my week by flying to Cleveland on Monday. We got to stay at the mission Presidents houe that Night. President Sorensen is such a heart felt and spirit filled man. He had a personal interview with each of us and then we had a testimony meeting, it was truly an amazing night. I got to shae my grattitude for my Savior, the impression I had while we all ate dinner together that night was " I am exactly whre I need to be", such a peaceful confirmation.
The next day we toured old  Kirtland and got to go to Joseph Smith's office on the top floor and read the revelations in the D&C that the Lord revealed to him there. It was so powerful to stand in roomsin which our Saviour appeared and began the work of is restored gospel. I got to thank the Lord for the Word of Wisdom which was revealed on the 27th of Feb( which happens to be my sobriety date...kinda ironic....) It was great to tour that day,. Las we went to the school of Prophets and got to have a silent moment to ourselves to express to theLord what kind of servants we wanted to be over the next two years. I told him a few things but I promised above all that I was hear to lose myself and that I would serve with all I had.
Shortly after the school of Prophets we headed down to the Kirtland Stake Center and met our trainers, let the REAL miracles begin!
My trainer's name is Elder Martinez, he is little humble 23 year old from Puebla Mexico. He is about 5 feet tall and speeks broken enlgish, but you've never met somebody more humble and prayerful. He hugged me the moment he saw me and toldme how grateful he was to have me. He is such a hard worker and despite struggling to understand him at times, he has been doing a great job training me. He told me that his last few companions didn't like to work and that he so happy I like to go out and contact people. We have been contacting like crazy all week, and in so doing i have seen so many miracles, I cant believe it!
I was assigned in my firt area to East Cleveland, this is the roughest area in the the mission, and about a fourth of our area is the highest crime reported area in the whole nation! haha ha I know that sounds a bit intense. It is the hood. I was a little intimiated my first few times contacting but now I straight up love these people. They all long for change, and that is exactly what I carry with me. We have new people cming to church, we have people reading and crying during our lessons! I cant tell you how grateful I have been to see these people feel the spirit and for all the Lords blessings this week. There is so much poverty where I am, so much struggle, but all in all I know that the Lord can work miracles amongst these people if they have faith.
 I met a mannamed LeRoy at the gas station on Saturay night and invited him to come to church and bore my testimony to Him, I thought for sure he wouldn't come and to my suprise there he as in his street clothes at 9 AM on Sunday morning, we were able to teach him the first lesson and invite him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it! He and another investigator daniel said that they would be baptized on July 16th if all goes well. I pray for them! I have seen so many miracles this week.
 I will spae them for the lackof time but I want my friends and family to know that The Lord is truly blessing us all. I want you to know that I know this work is true and that God is answering our prayers. I cry unto him in mighty prayer for all of you every morning and night. He is with me and I cannot deny it. I have come to the realization that the only difference between me and the beggars I see on the street it knowledge because ultimatley we are all beggars and dependent on the Lord for all that we have, despite how much we think it is our own doing.
With that said my hope and prayer is that we forver stay garteful for our MANY blessings and continue to insprire and uplift each other. I know that God lives and that his invitation to Follow Him is always manifesting itself in our life, take the invitation, and if we love Him we keep his commandments, pretty simple.
All is well in the work, The Lord is on our side. I have been rejected and scorned more this week that any in my life but I take it in stride because I know that with every 'NO' I am one person closer to finding the 'YES' from a heart that the Lord has prepared.
 I love you all so much. 
 I know this has been a bit of heavy e-mail but my heart is light, just know that
                                              ALL IS GOOD IN DA' HOOD!
Love, Elder Prince