Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Greetings from Canton

Dearest Family and Friends,
                                            Great to have a moment to write you all this week. I am grateful that all of you report you are doing well. This week has been one of many ups and downs, I've to hold on to the strength of my testimony more than once. All in all it has been filled with sweet blessings.
                                 Monday after writing you all we had a lesson with a man whom the previous Elders had tracted into. This man is a professor of history at one of the nearby universities and extremely learned. He gladly welcomed us into his home, immediately I felt as though the vibe was off, still I patiently let the lesson commence. We began to talk about questions he had and from the jump I knew this man supposed he was smarter than my companion and I as well as a brother from the ward we brought along with us. He began to expound on many scriptures and asked for our opinions on many off point subjects of doctrine. As this had gone on for about twenty minutes when finally there was a pause to speak. I told the man that our purpose in being in his home was to testify of the Restoration of the Gospel and to invite him to consider and pray about our message. I then went on to say to him that we were "simple men with a true message". The man quickly began rebuke me saying that, "No man bearing the title of Elder should describe himself so lowly". He then said that "I was lacking in my testimony" and that I tried to "hide my lack of confidence behind referring to myself as a simple man".  I did all I could to truly listen to the man and his rebuttal of my testimony and respect his point of view. When he concluded his speaking it seemed as to me as though all spirit had left the room. I could feel the pit within myself and it seemed as though light in the room had faded. I recognized this spirit and darkness from times past in my life. At this moment the whole room was quite and I bore my testimony to the man. I can't remember ever bearing a more powerful testimony. I felt as if my whole frame was full of fire. I bore testimony that Satan himself could appear as an angel of light unto men and disguise sin as appealing to all of us, he may place bitter for sweet and deceive us into calling good evil and evil good, but I said, "Satan cannot duplicate the peace that is felt from the Spirit of God." I bore testimony of Christ and the truth fullness of the Book of Mormon. By the time I said amen my physical body was filled with energy. I felt as though I could walk outside a flip a car upside down. The time to leave had come and no more than a minute later we were out the door. I felt the promise of the Lord that we shall not be confounded before men, and that none shall take advantage of our weakness. Our next appointment was with the woman whom I wrote of last week that said she had "prayed to Heavenly Father for us to come".The contrast of these two appointments was incredible. Sis. Curtis so humble and full of love for the Lord. She just cried through our entire lesson and said "I know this is all true, I know He sent you guys to me". Sis. Curits accepted an  invitation to be baptized on the 25th of February.
                   I hope that these experiences may be a strength to the reader. I know that the power of the Spirit is real.  The Lord will work a miracle in us and through us if we will be humble enough to let Him lead. I know that this work is true. I know that the Lord lives and loves. Through Him we can do all good things.
                                                                       Love, Elder Prince

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello From Canton

Dearest Friends and Family,
                                          It is great to write you this week, I am filled with grattitude to do so. I have been recently transfered to a wonderful new area in Canton, Oh. It is in the Akron Zone of the Mission. I have also been assigned to be a district leader over 8 Elders/Sisters. My last day in Ashtabula was wonderful and I got to say goodbye to many friends whom I came to love with all my heart, I will always love Ashtabula and it's people. One of our investigators just cried for an hour straight when I told her I was being transferred, we had to entirely ditch the lesson and talk about the assurance that all that we have taught has ensured a friendship in the eternities. She quickly penned me a note and now I carrie it with me in my white handbook. The area has a great new Elder headed there whom I knew very well from a previous area and there is plenty of work in store for he and my trainee.

                                           Canton is such a blessing. I love my new companion. He name is Elder Fair, he is three months out and just was trained. His Dad was in the military so he has grown up in many places throughout the world, it has been fun comparing notes of our travels. Right when we got together we went to work. We have seen true miracles in only four days together. As we headed home on Saturday night he said "Elder Prince, I want to just tell you, these three days have been an honor for me". We tracted in a straight up blizzard this week with pretty harsh winds and both of us had smiles from ear to ear. That same night we received a referral from an Elder who served here two years ago who said he felt prompted to call us and check up on someone that he taught. We did so the next day to no avail and decided that we would tract across the street from the referrals house. We knocked about five minutes when suddenly a woman opened the door and let us right in the house. She just started to say thank you. She explained that she had been praying to God to send her someone who would show her the truth! We were both so full of the spirit as we listened to this woman, she is married and has 5 kids and we have an appointment with her tomorrow night. Over and over she had the biggest smile and her face and repeated saying "Thank you". So powerful.

                                          Yesterday was my first Sunday in the new ward, I took the opportunity to meet as many people as I possibly could. I must have shaken a hundred hands yesterday! I cant tell you how blessed I am to have Elder Fair as my companion. He is so humble, so ready to improve. He and I have taught in unity pretty much effortlessly this week and the spirit has been so powerful and present. I feel like we are essentially starting from the ground up in this area but I am ready. I can sense great things are headed our way. I can see so much potential in our ward and it's leadership. The calling as District Leader has been great as well. I have enjoyed being able to further lose myself in the work this week as I have had much more to contemplate with the stewardship of more people.

                                          I want you all to know that I love the Lord. He sets me free. He lightens my heart. I know all things are possible in Him. I know that He openly rewards those who diligently seek Him. I love you all so much! God bless and have a great day today!
                                                        Elder Prince

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Final Report from Ashtabula

Dearest Friends and Family,
Last night my companion
received a call and I was told "Elder Prince, pack your bags for
Wednesday". I am going to be out-zoned, not really sure where I am
going, but I will find out at transfer meeting in Kirtland tomorrow.

I couldn't sleep last night as
I reflected upon all that has been brought to pass in my life since
mid October. These last three months have been full of miracles. Today
concludes my 3 month training of Elder Crosland. I am so grateful to
have completed this assignment and to have been so richly blessed in
our time together. In the short space of three months we both grew
tremendously in our testimonies. We both truly lost ourselves in the
work. I went through my mind of several people that we had served in
our time here and I know that we can both confidently say we served
first peached second. We did so much work with less-active members and
saw so much growth in them. We were able to bring 5 souls into the
covenant of baptism, with two others on the way. Elder Crosland will
be staying in Ashtabula. I told him last night that I have full
confidence in him in moving the work forward here and assured him that
if he stays humble, the same success we saw will follow.

It is bittersweet for me to leave
Ashtabula, though I labored mightily in East Cleveland, this was the
place where I became a missionary. In our recent interviews with
President Sorensen I tearfully thanked him for having the inspiration
to send me to Ashtabula and giving me the opportunity to train, he
looked me dead in the eye and lovingly assured me "Elder Prince, it is
only the beginning my friend". That statement has really stuck with me
as I have contemplated it, both from the sense of what can be
accomplished here in the field as well as in the after arena of my
real life. I cant tell you how much I have come to love my mission
President. Last night in my prayers I thanked the Lord for my growth
and asked Him he was pleased with me, the fire overcame me and the
quiet words of the spirit whispered "There is more in store". I cannot
say enough how grateful I am for the Spirit of the Lord, it is my
light in the darkness.

Tender mercies of the Lord are all
around, the Lord works in mysterious so that when you catch a slight
glimpse of His mighty workings you can't help but be full of wonder
and awe. I know that I am right where I need to be. I cannot say
enough about the impeccable timing of the Lord, it makes me wonder why
I ever worry? There is such safety and peace in obedience, come what
may if we know where we stand we cannot worry about the timing in
which our difficulties arise. This week I found out that a certain
Elder, namely Elder Christoffel Golden will be visiting our mission to
address various stakes in Northeast Ohio. Need I say more about the
impeccable timing of the Lord? There are many more than 70 traveling
Elders in the Church with over 2,800 stakes worldwide and the one
Elder of the Quorum of seventy that my own father baptized will be
coming to my stake to address us. I am anxiously looking forward to
shaking his and hand introducing myself.

The Lord is on our side. I cannot deny
His goodness. Despite our many mistakes His hand is stretched out
still. I love you all and wish to thank you once more for your prayers
in my behalf, they work! May we strive for charity this day!
Love, Elder Prince

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dearest Family,
                            Another great week has passed as well as another year. I must be brief today but I want to inform you all that the work here in Ashtabula is going great. I am in my 11th week of training my companion. We have grown so much as servants together. Ashtabula has become a very special place to me and with only a few days left training and possibly in the area I can't help but reflect with gr attitude. Ashtabula is Iroquois for "river of many fish". I couldn't help but love that when I heard it as I have been called to be a fisher of men. I have a quarterly interview with my Mission President this Wednesday and I can't wait to tell him confidently that I have loved my area with all my heart, if I am transferred on the 18th I will leave this place with no regrets.
                           This week was really fast and  we are still working with a part member family named the Vagis' right now who are progressing along nicely, we will be baptizing their daughter Emily on the 14th of January. We have been challenged by the mission leadership to read the Book of Mormon in 90 days and we have invited our ward to do the same. The Vagis have accepted the invitation and have informed us that after 2 days they are up to chapter 6 in first Nephi! Way to go!
                           We are also working with two ex-communicated members now and helping to them to get re-baptized and re-fellowshipped. They are both very dear friends of mine in the ward and have really taken to my companion and I. The meetings with both of these brethren have been very rich in the spirit as we have gone through the doctrine of Christ and testified of the power of the Atonement. All in all the ward continues to grow and we are seeing the Lord's hands in so many lives.
                          I wish to leave you all my feeling of love and appreciation for all of your prayers and support. I have said many times over these messages to you all that I know that Christ Lives. It is a very simple statement but I hope we can all take the time to consider it's importance. I know He is aware of us each individually and is willing to lead us to safe pastures. I love the Lord and his goodness, it is always available, we are all worthy of His love,  but let us all strive to be more worthy of His Salvation.
                                                                                                                Happy New Years,
                                                                                                                                              Elder Prince