Monday, March 26, 2012

Thank You

Dearest Family and Friends,
I am so very grateful to write you today. For His purposes I have been in a reflective mood all week in considering the Lord's hand in my life. I have thought time and time again about His ability to meet our needs through the hands of His servants, i.e. family, friends, teachers, leaders and even strangers. I cant adequately put into words all of the gratitude I have for those who participated in my rescue but I cant testify to you that you were all playing your part in Heavenly Fathers plan, I just want to say thank you. If my body tires, the Spirit carries me on in this work and gratitude always seems to be the fuel.
My companion and I had a very interesting experience this week. We received a referral from the Sisters that we share our area with. When we arrived we knocked on the door to no avail and as we were walking back to the car we noticed two weather pass along cards with worn pictures of the Salt Lake temple laying in the mud. It was a bit sad to see. We decided we would go and stop by another referral and as we sat in the truck my companion turned to me and said "There is a reason we are here". We decided to get back out and tract the houses surrounding this house and sure enough the first door we knocked a young women named Angel let us in. We had a great meeting together and invited her to be baptized in the first week of May. It was a really cool experience of listening to the spirit. How I love my inspired companion. We meet again with Angle tomorrow.
I had another thought provoking experience this week while attending a baptism at my old ward in Cleveland when one of my old member friends approached me and told me about a ward member who had passed away two days prior. His name was Kevin. He was one of the very first people I taught on my mission. He had some handicaps and was a former alcoholic who was devout in attending AA. He was always very kind and always had a joke for me. I remember one day when I was a brand new missionary I was having a really hard day and we went to Kevin's home and cleaned the entire place. I remember telling my companion "Sometimes I get tired of just talking about God, cleaning Kevin's house was the only time I felt the spirit today".I am grateful for that experience, I know my friend is in a better place now.
Well I wish I had more to tell you about the work. My companion and I are pretty sparse on investigators at the moment but we are giving our best. If I haven't mentioned it before I love my companion. He is such an example to me.
Thank you all for your love. I can feel your prayers. I know that the Lord is ever with us. Listen to the words of the Lord through the Prophet Isaiah "With great mercies I will gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee". That is the Savior I testify of and love. Thank you all for your example of everlasting kindness. Thank you Elder Worsencroft for your words of faith, I have met few who possess it like you. Congratulations to Hermana Jensen on her calling as a training, you are more than qualified, you will do great.
I love you all and hope that you have a great week. Always remember Him.
Love, Elder Prince

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,
So good to be with you today. I have been sick for the majority of the week so I am happy just to be up and outside of the apartment. Apparently I got a sinus infection and it has kept me under. Elder Dransfield is the man, he refused to let me do anything. Bought me water, airborne and pretty much kept me asleep with melatonin for 48 hours straight. It felt like a 'sick day' home from school back in the when my Mom would cater to me hands and feet, the difference being I wasn't faking it this time!
The week did have some highlights however! We had Leadership Training Meeting (LTM) in Cleveland with all the District and Zone Leaders in the mission. My MTC companion, Elder Metcalf and I are the youngest Zone Leaders in the mission and it was great to see him. I love watching him grow and progress because he is so pure in heart and I know that any calling he receives he magnifies and works hard in. My transfer of the mission started a wave of new missionaries. The majority of the mission is young, 53% have been out less then 9 months! We also have a new Mission President coming in 3 months so it will be pivotal that the Leaders of the mission carry on tradition and create culture of purpose within the Ohio, Cleveland. So to see some of the Elders I came out with in leadership and doing so well at conducting the work is a treat. I love watching the growth and change in them every time we meet up. Elder Dransfield and I did a half hour workshop at LTM. Our topic was 'helping others gain a testimony", we talked about focusing on the scriptures searching for deeper meaning and understanding in what we read. We then passed out the lyrics of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and talked about the deeper meaning behind the song. The author of the song was Robert Robinson who wrote it when he was 22 years old! He was formerly a drunk and decided to turn his life over to Christ. Reading the meanings and the personality behind the art really made it hit my heart. Prior to my coming on a mission Brother Scott gave me a CD with only this song on it. After listening to it I had one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life that was very influential in my coming to serve. To be able to relate this same song to the Leaders in the mission was so powerful. We played the Mormon Tabernacle's rendition to the meeting and asked everyone to now listen to the words the had expounded to them. It was so touching as I took a moment to stop my own meditation and looked upon the whole meeting with their eyes closed. The spirit was so strong!
I wish to leave you with my testimony that I know God lives! I know that He is the Fount of Every Blessing! I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. Read it thoughtfully and prayerfully and I promise that you will be filled with a greater thirst. A thirst for light. A thirst for knowledge. A thirst for the love of God. I know that we may all drink from the Living Waters freely! I love you and leave these things with you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hello from Kirtland!

Dearest Family and Friends,
So good to have a chance to talk with you all today. Mission life has taken a big turn for me this week and I sure feel supported by so many, thank you for all your prayers and good wishes. The new calling has been stretching me and I am learning on the fly. This week has been very fulfilling despite it being the least amount of seeking those outside the faith I have done since the week before I left home. Elder Dransfield and I split our area and are sharing it with the Training Sisters, they are sort of like the Sister AP's. The split has added more work to our load trying to correlate and get everyone up to speed, which pretty much has fallen on my companion, I feel bad for him but he is a beast. It is funny because he is about 115 pounds but he has the spiritual strength of about 10 Elder Prince's, I love him. I am learning there is no growing in a comfort zone and there is no comfort in a growing zone.
Life is stressful but the odd thing is I surprisingly don't feel overwhelmed, again thank you so much for your prayers! They are keeping me awake! The greatest blessing of this week has been the opportunity I had to go on an exchange to one of the younger missionaries in my zone serving in Perry, Oh. This particular Elder is having alot of troubles with opening his mouth in lessons and his says he gets very anxious. We had a full two days together and we worked every second. We used up every minute of the day together and when we would walk from house to house tracting we would talk about the work in his area. My goal for the transfer was not to talk about anything besides the work in the area and personal improvement.I didn't even find out where this Elder calls home. Our last night together we both sat down in his living room and were able to talk about some of the struggles he has been having teaching. He explained to me that he has been having fear as he goes into appointments and that it has been hindering him being able to communicate. I understood how he felt and I began to show him a few things in the scriptures about 'fear'. We talked about how "perfect love, casteth out all fear". Charity seemed to be the antidote. We then read from the Bible dictionary on fear in which it states "[fear is] something unworthy of a child of God to feel". It explained that since the beginning God has been teaching man not to fear. That God has revealed Himself in His perfect character to us in such a way that we can place full confidence in Him without reserve. By the end of our discussion we read from Moroni about acquiring charity which would indeed cast out fear. I counseled him that the first step to overcoming weakness is mighty prayer. I was touched when that night this humble Elder offered up about a 45 minute prayer to Heavenly Father.
I love you all so much. I am so grateful for you. Thank you for all of your support. The Lord is so good and he is helping learn and grow everyday. I testify that the Atonement is the only way to overcoming the hurdles of life. I am being taught by the very best right now, even the humble and inexperienced. If I have learned anything about the Lord it is that He is anxious on us to improve and relying upon Him is the only way to truly do so. I love you all and hope you have a great week. Don't give up in anything good, and give up in everything that is bad!
Love, Elder Prince

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy to be Home!!!

Dearest Family and Friends,
It is with utmost excitement that I write you all today! Wednesday's transfers meeting came with the news that I would be called as a Zone Leader. There were two possible destinations for me , either the Toledo Zone with Elder Kitchen or the Kirtland Zone with Elder Dransfield (former AP). With all love to Elder Kitchen I had my fingers crossed for Kirtland. I have joked several times to my friends out here that I "covet the calling of Kirtland Zone Leader". Sure enough the news came and I have been called to serve as the Kirltand ZL. In being trained in East Cleveland I was raised up by the Kirltand Zone Leaders and my companion. I am back in the same apartment in Shaker Heights that I lived in as a new missionary for 4 and 1/2 months! I cannot say enough about how thrilled I am to be back! I missed the city, the sounds, the people. I feel like I am walking in a dream because I am right back where I started and yet a very different person. My calling consists of working in the Shaker Heights Ward as well as the Kirtland Stakes Young Single Adults Branch,as well as overseeing the spiritual and physical well-being of 15 other companionships. There are around 22 Sister missionaries in my Zone who spend their time between their areas and Kirtland Historical sites giving tours. The Mission often refers to my position as the "Relief Society President":). I feel it will be a good fit considering I have 5 sisters, a Mom and a step-Mom I learned from growing up, unfortunately all my dating experience doesn't really help me in ministering spiritually to my Sister Missionaries! I don't want to get carried away and become overly excited but for every reason selfish and spiritual I wanted to be here in this place doing what I am doing. I can't say how blessed I feel. We live with the East Cleveland elders,one of whom is being trained which is special for me because I get to minister to him as I was ministered to by my leaders whom I now love and respect with all my heart. I also have one of thee most, if not the very most dedicated missionaries in Ohio as my companion, I am like a sponge around this Elder learning from him every day. I know that many challenges lay in head but I also know that I will never have had to rely upon the Lord more. Also a quick side note, I truly don't know how I am going to find time to write personal letters anymore. To my friends and family just know that I am happy and am losing myself in the work more and more each day. I feel so blessed, so excited and so ready to further forget myself.
I also want to relate a brief story to you that happened to me the day before I was transferred from Canton. Last week I wrote about Danielle and the bond I had formed with her and how excited I was that she decided to be baptized. I hesitatingly called her to announce I was leaving on Tuesday. We talked for a while and then I told her I had some bad news. Fortunately by this point she was all ready crying from the spiritual conversation we were having, then I told her I was leaving. What she went on to tell me was truly one of the most humbling and powerful experiences of my mission. She could only tearfully thank me. She said that I had change her eternal path and that for the fist time in her life she "KNEW she was a daughter of God".She said she feels certain her son will one day go on to serve a mission. She then went on to bare her testimony to me about the truthfulness of the Church, The Prophet Joseph and the our Savior Jesus Christ. She also said "I want you to know I know that this is right" and " All I can feel is that you are needed elsewhere". I assured her that we had taught her how to fish and now she had to go out and live. She said she promised she would do just that and that she would pass it on. All disappointments, set backs, stress and grief are dispelled in moments like this. I will forever have a sister in Canton, Ohio.
I hope there is not a boasting overtone in these letters. I hope that these events may serve as a strength to those who read. I hope that all may see the power of God in changing lives. Last week I celebrated three years of my living a sober life. Three and one half years ago Bishop Cannon reached out to me and as a result lives are being affected in Northern Ohio. People are coming unto God and assuring their salvation. People are coming to know the Father and in consequence coming to know themselves. I know that Christ lives and that with His stripes we are healed. Any truly good thing we attain in this life is made possible by living His commandments and experiencing the Atonement. I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so freely her proffers me. . I testify that Christ is the Author of all good things. His range and impact are found in everything from our hope of Eternal Families and salvation to the small and overlooked socks on our feet today, they are all blessingsfrom and by Him. May we all come to know who we truly are. I want to again thank all those who affected me and helped Father in Heaven in His work, I pray that I may pass it on. O how glad I am to be home again!
Love, Elder Prince