Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Farewell to Canton

Dearest Family and Friends,
Forgive me for being brief today but we are flying by the seat of our pants once more. Early this week I got the commission of the AP's to formulate new area lines for Canton. They told me that they were splitting the area from north to south and that we were to come up with the lines. After some prayer and evaluating members, investigators and so forth we came up with a great new area! I felt like we were doing President's work! With the area splitting we were planning on bringing in two new Elders to come and live in the apartment with us which we were very excited for until last night when I received the news I am being out-zoned tomorrow! I am very surprised to be transferred after only a quick 6 weeks! None the less, the spirit of the Lord has called me elsewhere. On Wednesday I will be traveling to Kirtland to find out where I am going and who I am going with! It is such a strange happening every time I have to leave an area. I can't sleep when I find out the news. Although it is very hard to leave I feel distinctly satisfied for the work I have done here. The area has about a dozen great investigators, the apartment is now clean and organized and all the records are now kept!
As soon as I heard I was being transferred one of our investigators came to the forefront of my mind. Her name is Danielle Griffith. She walked away from the Church in her late teens and chose to dis-fellowship herself. The first week I was hear our Young Men's President asked Elder Fair and I to stop by and fellowship her 14 year old son who is a member, in the course of finding him we met Danielle. The spirit has been ever present as we have re-taught her the gospel. I feel like my heart and mind flip into auto mode and words start flowing every time I meet with this woman. I want to bare witness of the power of the Book of Mormon. She has been thoughtfully and prayerfully reading it for the first time in her life and I have truly seen the light come alive in this beautiful sister. She has been receiving direct communication and revelation as she reads, it has truly been as though the Lord has spoken to her. On Friday we invited her to be baptized upon which she could not commit. We bore testimony and promised her that the Lord would assure her if she would make it a matter of prayer. Sunday morning came and told us that she "knows" she needs to be baptized. Her father is doing all he can to come in from Arizona to perform the ordinance but she said if he cannot find a way that she would like me to baptize her. I feel almost a kindred connection to this woman. In only our third meeting she told me "If you do nothing else in this area I want you to know that you were sent here for me".I truly believe that. I have loved this place and I hate to leave. It is in good hands with my good companion Elder Frandsen. He and I couldn't help but be emotional as we knelt in family prayer last night, he is such a good person. I know that Sis. Griffith will be re-baptized and I know her son Jalen will serve a mission and touch many people. I can't help but marvel in the power that brining just "one" inot the fold can do, and on that note I want to share my love with all for my brother, Elder Worsencroft. Better friedns than he and are hard to find and I am touched by what he has done with his life. His words of happiness are an inspiration and a testimony to me.
I cannot say enough about the goodness of our God! May our hearts and affections be His!
 Thank you all for your love and support. The work is hastening on!
Love, Elder Prince

Monday, February 20, 2012

True Miracles

Dearest Friends and Family,
I can't begin to tell you how much this week has changed my life.
 I will carry these memories in my heart with me for as long as I exist. 
Tuesday morning President Sorensen invited my companion and I to a special meeting at the John Johnson farm in Hiram, OH with 16 other Elders. 
When we got to Hiram we were not sure still what the meeting was about. 
President had us all sit and began to explain. "I'm sure you are all a but curious as to why we are here today. Well, I want you to know I felt ispired to
have you all come here this morning." 
He then went on to say "You will not forget this day for all of your lives, in fact you will carry it with you to eternity".
 He still did not fully explain why we were there and then proceeded to let the senior couple in charge of the site take us through the tour. 

This is the same home in which a mob carried Joseph Smith outside in the dead of night, beat him and scratched his body and then left him unconscious in the street tarred and feathered. 
It was powerful to have the story recounted to us as we sat in the same bedroom he was dragged from. 

As the tour concluded President had us all gather in the revelation room atop of the house. He then began to explain to us that the reason we were here was
because that on "180 years ago this day, the prophet and Sidney Rigdon
were caught up in a vision in which they saw the plan of salvation". On Feb 16, 1832 the vision was displayed as the eyes of their understanding were enlightened. They saw the Living God with Christ on His right hand. They saw the fall of Satan and the council before the world was, they saw all the host of heaven and the kingdoms of glory. 
The spirit filled the room when President read from section 76 in which the doctrine is recorded. The spirit burned in the room as we all contemplated the goodness of our God and the grandeur of His eternal plan. Lastly after reading to us President played "I Know That My Redeemer Lives". 
Tears fell from my face as we all sat in contemplation. 
Finally as the song concluded President invited us to bear our testimony of the Savior, I could hardly wait for him to finish his invitation before I stood. I bore sincere testimony that I hope the last words that are ever uttered from my lips are that 'I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES' and that I hope it carries in my heart to the next life. All the elders in attendance bore testimony. I will never
forget in all my days what it felt like to be in that room some 180 years to the date.

After the meeting President informed me that on Saturday night I would have permission to travel to a different Stake to listen to Elder Golden speak. I was so shocked as I thought that my placing in the mission would render me unable to travel to hear him. President gave me a wink and told me he loved me, I told him I love him too and when we were both out in Salt Lake I didn't want to hear his excuses, "I was taking him to dinner".

Saturday night we made our way to Girrard, Ohio for the conference.
The spirit was strong from the opening hymn. 
President addressed us as well as member of the stake. When their thought concluded there was still an hour and a half scheduled in the meeting. Elder Golden stood and said:
"I feel impressed to take a different route with this meeting and
share a personal story with you". 
President had just concluded with stories of miracles he had recently seen in the mission, including our morning at the Johnson farm, and finished by saying "Brothers and Sisters, there are no coincidences in this work". 
Elder Golden then went on to repeat the same, and told of his conversion to the gospel by first choosing to tell of the story of how the Prince's were converted
to the Gospel, and how one of their descendants (My Dad) was called back to that land to find his family. 
He spoke of how the Elders were out tracting and how his mother let them in. He explained how he felt when he was converted. 
My heart was swelling within me for gratitude as I listened to him describe how my father had introduced him to the gospel those many years ago. 
He then looked at the crowd and said "It is my understanding there is one Elder Brandon Prince in the audience". He asked me to stand and introduced me. He then asked me to come up and explained that I was the son of the missionary who had
tracted his door. 
We hugged on the stand and I told him I loved him.
That man has so much goodness and love that emanates from his eyes. 
He then asked me to bare my testimony for the conference. I have never felt so full of the spirit as I did bearing my testimony to the truthfulness of this Church and the reality of our Savior. 
Elder Golden thanked me and then addressed us for almost an hour. That man
is so incredible. We were all filled as he taught us doctrine and shared his personal testimony with us. 
When the meeting ended my companion and I along with President Sorensen went to a private room and took photographs. I thanked him for his kindness and told him how
much my family loves him. I thanked him for blessing Ken, and for blessing me with the opportunity to share my testimony. 
President then explained to him that I know my purpose as a missionary, and that I
served with love. Elder Golden said "I hope you remember that, that is the ultimate compliment from a Mission President". 
I drove away from the conference renewed by the spirit. It truly was one of the greatest nights of my young life. I feel such a profound love for Elder Golden
and will always cherish that tender mercy of the Lord.

Sunday I was able to confirm Bro. Duer a member of the Church and confer the gift of the Holy Ghost upon him. In all that we do as missionaries, that is my favorite ordinance, there is such an unspoken power that comes as the Holy Ghost is conferred. 
We are continuing to see success here in Canton. The Lord is with us. I can feel him day by day.

I want to leave you my friends and family with a poem from W.W. Phelps
to Joseph Smith. I feel impressed to leave it with you as it reflects the feelings of my heart.
Go with me, will you go to the Saints that have died-- 
To the next better world where the righteous reside? 
Where the angels and spirits in harmony be, 
In the joys of a vast paradise?--Go with me. 
 Go with me where the truth and the virtues prevail; 
Where the union is one, and the years never fail; 
Not a heart can conceive, nor a nat'ral eye see 
What the Lord has prepar'd for the just.--Go with me. 
 Go with me where there's no destruction or war; 
Neither tyrants or sland'rers, nor nations ajar; 
Where the system is perfect, and happiness free, 
And the life is eternal with God.--Go with me. 
 Go with me, will you go to the mansions above, 
Where the bliss, and the knowledge, the light, and the love, 
And the glory of God do eternally be? 
Death, the wages of sin, is not there.--Go with me. 
 Brothers and Sisters, the gospel is true. Heavenly Father lives as does His Son. My invitation is and always will be, come with me. Home hasn't changed. Come home with me.
I love you all so much and pray that we may all find the "The way, the Truth and the Light", even Jesus Christ. In His sacred name, Amen.
Love, Elder Brandon Prince
Dearest Brother,

Tears filled our eyes as we read your report this week. We are witnessing a true and living miracle in our family. What a blessing missionary work has been, and continues to be in our lives! These precious stories will be told and retold throughout generations, and will continue to bless the lives of those who hear them. 
We are so proud of you! We love and appreciate everything that you are, and are becoming. Thank you for Loving the Lord, and working with all your might to be his servant. 

We send you all our love, 
                                                   Your Loving Family

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hello from Canton!

Dear Family and Friends,
                                        Great to be able to write you briefly this week! It has been a truly amazing week. I am starting to see changes in myself that I am very pleased with. I know that the Lord is really helping me in working with people. I feel like I am really starting to understand how to rely wholly upon the spirit to assist our discussions. The Lord has been showing me how to listen, how to discern and how to wait. The key to teaching in the field is never to anticipate a response, being more comfortable with silence is something I really needed help with in the beginning of my mission. My new companion really is great, the kid is a crack up, we laugh together more than any of my previous companions. I think the Lord has been trying to lighten me up since day one in the field because I keep getting some of the funniest companions. Elder Frandsen really knows his purpose as well and is a living witness of the power of the Atonement, I love the kid. I just feel that I should tell you all that I feel so supported in all that I do. I feel like the Lord is refining me and supporting me in large and simple trials. I feel perhaps most bless by the love I am experiencing for the people I teach. I feel like I am really starting to see them as He sees them and it fills me up. We found a woman this week in one of the roughest areas of Canton. Her name is Katie. She has had a an extremely difficult life and at first glance you can see a broken heart. She lives with her cousins and they are all she has left in this life. She has a son who we believe was taken from her custody and it hurts her deeply inside. Amidst all of her difficulties she knows that Heavenly Father loves her and she is grateful for all the good things, as few as they may be, that she has in her life, it is such an inspiration to me. We met with her three times last week and are exciting to keep preparing her for her baptism.
Tuesday we had an interview for one of our investigators to be baptized. At the conclusion of the night my Zone Leader called me and said that he felt uncomfortable about Bro. Duer's testimony of Joseph Smith and that he would not sign the baptismal form if something didn't change. As I hung up the hone I just sat and wondered at what could be done. The man has attended faithfully for 3 months, he knows that he doesn't have burning conviction but he always tells us he believes "this is the right step for him". My companion and I fasted in behalf of Bro. Duer and then went to his home the next night for a lesson on the Prophet Joseph Smith and the truth fullness of the Book of Mormon. The spirit was so strong as we all bore witness and helped Bro. Duer identify times he and felt the spirit strongly in his life. I asked him if he believed that the Book of Mormon truly was the word of God he confidently affirmed "Yes", and then i asked if he believed that Joseph, the translator of the work truly was a prophet?", the same answer followed. I went on to explain to him that he did not need to know in order to be baptized, he only had to believe. The meeting was sufficient for him to be baptized and our prayers were answered. I love Bro. Duer, such an honest, humble man who is in the pursuit of improving his life and being an example for his family. Saturday night President allowed for Elder Fair to come and sleep over in Canton for the baptism. It was great to joke around, reminisce on our work together and congratulate him on all the work he had put in to help Bro. Duer be ready for the coming day. Sunday we baptized Bro. Duer and the service was beautiful. The spirit was very strong and all of us were touched.
My brothers and sisters, I want you to know that I see the spirit of the Lord work in people everyday. I see it in their eyes. I hear in their voices. I have a testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost. I know that the Lord is calling us all in one way or another, I pray that we listen. I know he is trying to help us become our true selves. We are capable of bringing to pass great good in ourselves and in the world if we allow him to chasten us, refine us and fill us with his love. He is making us great. He turns our words from we may, we might and unfortunately "I can't", to we will, we are and "I can". May we search for the evidence of His love in our lives, we may need to look no further than the reflection in the mirror. I cant tell you how blessed we are for our design. We have eyes to see needs, ears to listen, hands to lift them that hang down, feet to take us to those in need and our hearts to feel love, we are literally instruments of God! How beautiful is that thought? We don't know who we are until we see what we can do. With Christ we can do all things! I love you all and can't ever thank you enough. Hope you all have a great day!
                                                                     Love, Elder Prince

Dearest Friends and Family,
                                            In the course of my 8 months of a missionary I have come to realize that right when you get comfortable, the Lord wants you to stretch again. This week has been such a transition. I had been serving with Elder Fair when Friday night we were about to head into a dinner appointment and we received a call from the assistants to the President and were told that Elder Fair was being "mid-nighted" or transferred immediately to Findlay, Ohio and to have his things ready to go by 8 AM. They then informed me that I would be bringing in an elder who had been sent home and was now eligible to come back some 6 months later. It was interesting to watch Elder Fair as this was his training area and I know he truly loved the people of Canton. He was clearly shocked and emotional as both of us were so excited to serve together, he had truly grown to be one of my best friends in only a matter of 2  and a half weeks. I relived being midnighted from my first area and how much love I felt as I had to leave. It also brought back the feelings I had of Ashtabula in that I had to basically teach an area to a new Elder and "start from scratch" as it were. None the less we were ready by the next morning and drove down to Cleveland to drop off Elder Fair and pick up Elder Frandsen from Monroe,Ut. President told me that he knew I was the right Elder to put with Elder Frandsen and that he expected us to "hit the ground running". It has only been a few days and I love this Elder, I feel all ready the wisdom of the Lord in placing us together. I know he sees this time as a redemption time for the Lord and he has such a great attitude.
                 There is a miracle brewing in Canton right now. I have felt the Lord's love so strongly in my heart this whole week. I have never felt so strongly that He is by my side laboring and is pleased with my efforts. We are baptizing a man this coming Sunday the 12th. His name is Brother Ben Duer, his wife is a member and he has been Catholic his whole life. They have a little 6 month old named Everett, such a wonderful family. Bro. Duer asked me on Sunday if I would baptize him, I was shocked as it was that we have only known each other almost three weeks. I told him I would be honored. Equally exciting is the Curits Family. I mentioned how we had tracted into a woman who told us that "she had prayed for God to send her someone to help her find the right church". Her name is Tanya Curtis, she is married to a man named Jeff and they have 5 beautiful children ages 10, 7,6,5,2 and 1. We had a wonderful lesson with her and her husband together on Saturday night and committed them to come to church. You should've seen how great they all looked on Sunday morning. All the boys were in matching pink shirts and ties with there hair perfectly groomed. It was fast and testimony meeting and convert after convert got up and bore testimony of the power of prayer and how they knew that the missionaries were sent to them. Tanya had a smile  on all three hours and bore her testimony in Relief Society of how she was praying for direction and how she knows that God sent us to her. All the women in the ward took to her and several families have now offered to have her in their homes for lessons and dinner. The whole experience is really touching to me and I know the Lord is behind it all the way. The spirit gets so strong anytime I am around this woman, I know this is why the Lord suffered me to come to Canton.
                     My friends I am so full of gratitude and love for all of you and the blessing that you are. You may not realize it but your influence and support of me has effected lives in north east Ohio. We are all children of God with a responsibility to live and love one another. I know that God lives as does His Son. Hope you all have a great week!
                                                                 Love, Elder Prince