Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Report from Ashtab!

Dearest Family and Friends!
                                                What a beautiful week it has been! My companion and I set alot of big and specific goals that we hoped to accomplish through the Lord's help this week and we saw fruition of these goals in so many ways. The crowning event of the week was the Baptism of Lily Marie Brooks-Glenn. Friday night we had her service and we got so much support from the Ward! It was so great to see my 3 week old companion dressed in complete white with a smile from ear to ear as he was privileged to perform the ordinance of baptism with Lily. She looked like a little angle as well! The spirit was so strong and all of her non-member family was in attendance and all were truly edified by the spirit by nights end. Sunday morning I was able to confirm her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and bestow her with the sacred gift of the Holy Ghost. The whole weekend and experience with her was a blessing. I told my companion to "cherish every second of days like this", and told him how 'Old Scratch' used to tell me I wasn't going to baptize anyone on my mission while I was sweating my behind off in the summer heat of East Cleveland, all in all it felt the the fruit of alot of sweat and tears to watch her go down in the water all dressed in white, it will always be a warm memory and a sweet vision in my minds eye. After the baptism I was able to share my testimony with Lily and I gave her a little pink CTR ring that my Mom sent for her as well as a little pink Journal from Samye, she was really touched that two strangers had cared enough to get her those gifts. We have hopes to begin teaching her family and they have really taken to us, especailly after we raked and cleared leaves in there yard for two hours this week!
                                               Right now we are in the process of teaching a young group of friends, two boys and two girls, ages 13 through 15. There names are Mike, DJ, Angie and Alliyah. They are preparing to be baptized on December 4th! It has been so humbling to watch these kids grow and learn. I am amazed that at their age they are texting us, calling us and meeting with us all the time and all out of their desire to do what is right, a testimony that the Lord is preparing hearts to carry forward the church in future generations. I can't wait for these kids to join the church and I have truly grown to love them.
                                                Work with the members here continues to progress as well. The Bishop is having us speak on missionary work this Sunday which I am really excited for. I hope to incite some enthusiasm for the work in them with the accompaniment of the spirit. We are working with a part member family right now as well which has been going great in getting them active again and getting the father worthy to baptize her 12 year old daughter. This family spends the most time at the forefront of my heart and mind, if they can become what I see in them it will be a beautiful work when it is all said and done. It has been such a blessing out here to begin to see people with an eye single to the Lord. You see their potential, there unique spirit and there great worth, you begin to feel why the Lord has proclaimed the worth of souls is great in his sight.
                                               My focus this week has been to pray for charity. This the the highest type of love as the scriptures say, the pure love of Christ. It is the type of love that filled the Saviour with pity instead of resentment for those who drove nails into His hands and feet, what a thought. Charity is the key in all of our potentials. I have realized that if I do not serve with charity, or pure love in my heart for others, than I might as well pack up my bags and come on back to Salt Lake, I can strive for numbers and compete with others in a variety of ways. It really hit me last night as I was reflecting upon the "numbers" aspect of a mission. I don't want to say that I hate numbers, but intimately and one person at a time has always been my greatest way to connect with people in a Christ-like way. It is finding a balance between keeping up my numbers but also remembering to minister with charity that I think has been my greatest challenge emotionally and spiritually as a missionary. None the less I will continue to strive for this balance. The 13th Chapter of Ephesians really sets the importance of charity to our existence as brothers and sisters. Paul explains that though he has the spirit of prophecy or revelation, if he has not charity he is nothing. If he gave his body to be burned for the cause and has not charity, he is nothing, and so it is true with us. No matter what good we accomplish in our lives, if we move a mountain by our faith and bring souls unto Christ, if the true love of God is not found in our hearts when the dust settles we have missed the grand accomplishment, the true secret. The first time I read through Paul's words I thought to myself that this could not be, how could we be nothing if we bring souls unto Christ and even give our lives for Him? Then it hit me that this work, the great work of our lives, is to love one another  or as the the Book of Mormon states, if we offer any good gift and do so grudgingly it profitteth us nothing. I know that real love, not merely affection, but sacrifice of our time, our talents and our will for God and His children is the only way to become anything.I know that we cannot generate love, we can only channel the Love that God fills us with. I hope that we may all pray earnestly to be filled with this type of Love, it is the love Christ has for us, it is the only way. And He has said "If ye love me, keep my commandments". My message is that of the Saviors, let us love others enough to do what is right and set the example for them. I am so thankful for all of you and all the charity you've shown towards me. I'll be thinking of you all this Thanksgiving. Have a great week!                                          
                                                                                                 With love, Elder Prince

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