Monday, May 28, 2012

1 Year Report!

Dearest Family & Friends,
It is great to have a chance to write you today! It is a beautiful day here in Cleveland; 92 degrees with a hundred percent chance of sweat. Time is an allusive thing out here in the field; every day is faster. It seems like it is always daytime in my life because my sleep is so fast and we are awake all day. I can hardly believe that it will be a year on Friday that I have been out here in the field. The mission has provided so much perspective; it will always be a part of me. I have seen so many ups and downs in this first twelve months. I have put sweat and tears into helping others come unto Christ, especially myself. I wonder from time to time when I am released what will others see I have become? I feel different than before but the change is so gradual that I can hardly notice. These truly are days never to be forgotten. It is a tender mercy of the Lord that one year after we were MTC companions, Elder Metcalf are together again as Assistants, this Elder is my best friend in the field. Yesterday we slowed down for a second and both shared that we felt Heavenly Father had brought us together to not only do a work in the Ohio; but even after; I hope we are friends our whole lives.
This week was alot of fun. It was hard to say goodbye to Elder Hicks; he went to my old area of Shaker Heights as a Zone Leader in Kirtland. The minute he left I started to feel the weight of being the new trainer of Elder Metcalf. The Lord has supported me so much this week and has brought so much to my remembrance so that I could perform my duties. This week was transfer week so we got to usher in the new missionaries and say good-bye to the departures. One of the departures was one of my best friends in the field; Elder Bills. During the final testimony that night I thanked him and talked about how he had expounded Romans Chapter 8 to me on one of the hardest days of my mission and how it changed my whole outlook. We all slept at the Mission home and Elder Bills and I had a little devotional/goodbye with each other before bed. We read Romans 8 again, sang hymns and said our prayers together. I am going to miss him; he changed my mission.
David and Danielle Torres are continuing to do amazing. They are the most humble/strong people I have taught on my mission. They are getting baptized this Saturday! Yesterday we taught them a little bit about going to the temple to be sealed after a year and they said that when Elder Metcalf and I are released we could attend their sealing in the Ohio, Columbus Temple next summer, that will be such an honor. This week we also had a powerful lesson about tithing and we were able to resolve some of their concerns. They said that as they rode home that night they both decided that even though they live from pay check to pay check that they were going to commit to doing this and having faith; as soon as they had done so they said that a very uplifting energy came over them both and they felt great the rest of the night. I can't say enough about how much I love these two. They are others I hope I am friends with my whole life.
So a cool thing that happened on Sunday; We were in third hour of church for Elders quorum. The Elders quorum President stood up and informed us that the person in charge of teaching was not here, thus we had no teacher. I immediately volunteered Elder Metcalf and I to teach the lesson. As we did he told us that the lesson topic was "Teaching of our times", thus we were to analyze a conference talk from last General Conference. "Oh, I know one we could do. We've been studying it. It's called "How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life" by Richard G. Scott" I said. So we began to break down this talk and share our insights about it and then with about 5 minutes left the guy who was supposed to be teaching walked in and interrupted by telling us "Thank you for teaching the lesson, I was running behind. Here is the talk I was giving the lesson on if you'd like it?". Turns out that the talk that he was going to teach on was the exact one that we decided at the spur of the moment to talk about. There must've been 35 talks given at conference and we chose the exact one; TALK ABOUT REVELATION! Anyway, I thought it was cool and it turned out to be a good lesson with a real life demonstration.
Well I am going to get going and see if I can't sneak in a nap today. Elder Metcalf and I were having computer difficulties last night and we didn't get home until 3:30 AM, needless to say 6:30 came to soon, it is a blessing I don't feel all that tired. I must say that in my first year there is one thing I have learned that is paramount to all else; it is that Heavenly Father cares. I know that now more than I ever have. He knows each one of us so personally and loves us so deeply we could hardly accept it. We are teaching a few Leadership Training Meetings this week and I have been assigned 'the Doctrine of the Father's love'. I can't wait to share my feelings about His love with the leaders of this mission. I know that He loves us. I know that His plan is evidence of His care. His love for creation and progress is in all things. Above all I know the commandments are given with a promise and that anyone who wants to find true happiness must learn to follow Him and turn from the prideful and vain ambitions of their hearts. There is no greater evidence of the love of God than the sacrifice of His Son. No truth resonates more deeply within my breast than that Heavenly Father lives and that Jesus is the Christ. I am His disciple and am not ashamed of the Truth. I love proclaiming this work and as long as I have breath in my lounges I will labor for the Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Love, Elder Prince

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kirtland will be Built Up Again...

Dearest Family and Friends,
                                                It is yet another beautiful day here in the Ohio. This has been such a fun week and I am excited to fill you in on the major details. After finsihing office work last monday Elder Hicks and I got to finally get a break from the work and we went and played beach volleyball off of Lake Erie it was so much fun. We were playing with the entire Kirtland Zone and we arrived about 45 minutes earlier than all of the Elders and Sisters so after a little wating we decided we would go and contact on the beach until everyone arrived. It was a little different proselyting in gym shorts but I got a breif glimpse of what it will feel like when I share the gospel back home. After little success we decided to go and talk to one more family and we ended up having a great lesson about the Book of Mormon right there on the beach with them. They were really touched and seemed pretty interested; they are not in our area however so we will have to see what happens with them. The whole zone showed up and saw us teaching this family on the lake shore in basketball shorts on P-Day and must have thought they had the most dilligent Assistants ever; aww good times :)
                                                 This week Elder Hicks, President and myself all got together to decide upon transfers for the upcoming week. Every time transfers are decided upon we have a meeting in which we all fast and decide upon the changes; typically this last for about 8 hours. President invited us to come in with a spirit of fasting. He asked us if we had ever seen the sunrise on LakeErie before and  then asked us if we would like to have a devotional early in the morning out on the Pier and catch the sunrise together. We both got up early and met at 5:50 AM on Tuesday morning. It was a memory I will never forget. The whole sky was orange and pink and when the sun first peeked on the horizon it was a burning red. We all read the Lyrics to the primary hymn 'He Sent His Son' and broke it down line by line. President then said soemthing I thought was very profound, speaking of Jesus he said "We try to become like Him in all that we do and our prupose is to invie others to come unto Him, but with that focus, let us not neglect the Father". So for the next half hour we read from the scriptures about the Father's love. It registered more clearly with me than ever before how abundant the Father's love truly is. After reading the Hymn line for line and discussing it's meaning, reading the scriptures and expounding, we all bore testimony to each other and finished with a closing prayer; only if every morning could start like that. The whole experience really let me view Preisdent Sorensen in a new light. I saw him as just equal with myself, just another child of our Heavenly Father. He was in basketball shorts and a jacket which was a definite first :) I was particularly moved when he got down on the cold concrete of the Pier and prayed on his knees with us, I couldn't help but onder how many hours those knees had spent bowed to the Master. Deciding upon transfers was such a spirtual experience as we all recieved revelation as to the needs of the mission; all in all it only took about 5 hours. There is a lot of transfers this coming week and a lot of new leadership in the mission, I can't wait to start with all these up and coming leaders. Elder Hicks and I also conducted trainers meeting this week for all the missionaries who will be trainign new missionaries this coming transfer.
                                                  Speaking of new leadership! I am so thrilled to report that I will be training the new Assistant; my good, dear, and beloved MTC companion, Elder Metcalf! I was so excited to get this news. I love this Elder so much. I always told him when we left the MTC that he better work until we are companions again! Elder Metcalf truly is one of my bestfriends out here in the mission. He is one of the hardest workers and pure disciples of Jesus Christ I have ever met; they type of person that is so pure you feel a little unworthy to be around them. He is picking up things so fast; we are very excited to work together in the coming months, we want to further change cultue in this mission. Yesterday was our first day together and it was one of the very best of my mission. We started the day off by meeting up woth to of Bro. Scott's former institute students that are out here doing summer sales for an alarm company. It was great to see both of them as I had heard so much about them both. We all went to church together and then out to some teaching appointments afterwards. Garret was one of the young men; he is preparing to serve a mission in the fall so it was fun to go on slpits with him to a few appointments, the spirit was strong in both and we wereable to give a blessing to a little daughter of one of ourward members who  is about to have reconstructive surgery on her face due to scarring from a dog bite. After some lessons we took Garret and Dane with us up to Kirltand Hitrocical sites to tag along on a tour we were taking David and Danielle on. It was so fun to go through historic Kirtland with everyone and learn about all the revelatuions that took place there. Followning the tour we all went to a recent convert fireside being held at the Visitors center. It was one of the very most if not thee very most powerful meeting I have ever attended. The music was so indredible and all ofthe testimonies of the recent converts were so spirit filled, humble and pure; the Lord truly is preparing the hearts of the elect. One of the recent converst who spoke was Lily, my very first baptism! She did such a wondeful job. Getting to see her againwas like reuniting with family I missed her so dang much. She gave me a nice letter with her testimony in it and made my whole night; I love Lily. After the fireside I got to miblge with so many friends from my old areas it was alot of fun. As sson as we left the visitors center we took David and Danielle up the temple grounds and took pictures. It truly was one of the best nights of my life. I was so full of thanks and love that even after we returned from doing numbers work at abot 2:30 AM this morning I could hardly sleep.
                                             This coming transfer is going to be one of the best times in my life. I am sad to say goodbye to my brother Elder Hicks; he and I have gotten along so well I hate tyo see him leave, that and he taught me everything I know about how to be an Asistant. Some great new challneges lay inhead but I know the Lord will see me through each one. I can't tell even the least bit how much I love my mission. I don't ever want to go home. Well my friends, I love you all so much. I can only give you what is most valuable to me. I know that the Father loves us. He is the great Artist of the Universe, the one who beckons us tobecome soemthing more. I know that if we rely upon Him, we will overcome the natural man who feels comfotabel in fear and failure; we will be full of the Holy Ghost and only be comfortable with faith and success. Anything is possbile with the Lord. I love the Father, I love the Son and it is to them I will give every last ounce of my devotion. Love, Elder Prince
PS: Attatched are some photos of us last night! Love you all

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hello From North Olmstead

Dearest Friends and Family,
It is a beautiful day to be alive! It was great to have the privilege to call home yesterday and speak with some of you! You all sounded so great; it made my day! I am in a really big hurry today but I just wanted to share a quick update with you. President has been hinting to me that he is going to release Elder Hicks which will mean more responsibilities for me in the coming transfer. I have my guesses about who could be called to be assistant with me, but I will keep my speculation in check until we find out. It is going to be busy transfer between transitioning in the new President as well as training a new assistant; I guess we will have to wait and see if any of this happens. I think it is Presidents game plan to get me to entirely lose myself, aside from wondering how the Celtics are doing in the Playoffs I'd say he is doing a pretty good job!
I was able to go on an exchange with the Kirltand Zone leaders this week and stay the night in my last area. It was good to go around and speak with some to some of our investigators and recent converts. One in particular was really struggling and allowed me to give him a blessing which I was honored to do. On the 20th we are having a recent convert fireside in Kirtland which many of them will be speaking. One on the program is my dear friend Lily from Ashtabula, my first baptism! I am so excited to see her, she is such a sweet heart!
Things are still going great with the Torrez family. They are the most humble couple I have ever met and they are progressing nicely for the baptismal date on June 2nd, we have truly been blessed to be able to teach people of this caliber. I am just happy that we have anyone to teach at all given how little time we get to devote to our area; the Torrez family is a tender mercy.
I wanted to thank all those who have extended their happy birthday wishes to me. The other day I was out with one of the Zone's to lunch and they secretly were able to get the restaurant privy to the fact it was my birthday, so all these Mexican guys ran out screaming birthday chants and serenaded me nicely with a jumbo sombrero; life is too good ;).
Well I hoe that this message reaches you well! Sorry for being brief! I love you all and I appreciate your prayers and thoughts in my behalf. All is well here! I am grateful to be in the service of the Most High God. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and the only way to happiness. I hope we may all come to know him a little more today!
 Love Always, Elder Prince

Monday, May 7, 2012

Big Hello from North Olmstead

Dearest Family and Friends,
What a week! I survived what they call the "crucible of AP's". We had Zone Conferences this week which are training for all missionaries in the mission hosted by us and President. We went 700 miles in 4 days and conducted meetings for 5 different zones. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed being able to teach.Teaching has become one of my new found passions since coming on a mission. Elder Hicks and I gave an hour long workshop at each conference which requires that you keep people engaged and inspired. We went through the same process of preparation by fasting and praying each day before we taught and it went very well. I have been blown away by the presence of President Sorensen this week. It is his final tour of Zone Conferences during his service and he has been doing all he can to leave powerful parting words. His main focus for all missionaries is a three part piece as follows. 1) Purpose: YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOUR PURPOSE, meaning you have to understand who Christ is, what He did and why He did it. President has said over and over that if we understand the 'why' of the Gospel it will change our attitudes and behaviors, we will be driven to become like Christ. 2) Vision: IF YOU SEE WHAT YOU CAN BECOME, YOU CAN BECOME WHAT YOU SEE, I have never appreciated the value of vision as much as I do now. Just being around President Sorensen motivates me to hand myself over to the Lord fully and completely. 3) Obedience: THERE IS NO OTHER ROUTE, I have oft noticed that the Lord asks us to obey simple commandments that yield incredible results. President says many times that 'the blessing of obedience is obedience",( I'll let you mull that one over) which to me means that obedience is like a circle; as we are obedient we are sanctified and cleaned, personal righteousness leads to greater faith which leads to greater personal righteousness which leads to more faith, etc... I love that it never ends. The light continues to build until the perfect day. I have so enjoyed being under the tutelage of this great man and will forever be grateful for his example. He always assures me of his confidence in me and always is willing to council and reason with me. He tells me to study the doctrine every day, find a simple way to apply it in a particular way, evaluate it during my nightly accounting in journal and prayer and then repeat until it becomes who I am. It is so amazing to me that with discipline we can take ownership of gospel trues into our lives. We literally become "the truth".
Things in the area are beginning to pick up as well. My personal belief is that unless we learn how to run the ward, we will never be successful missionaries. Serving the members is they key to finding in my opinion. We have been doing all we can to help out or members and to plan meaningful messages for them. We have gotten them so comfortable with us they they will actually role play with us in our lessons. We teach them diff rent skills in introducing the gospel to their friends. As they practice these skills they become so empowered and they have been reporting back to us that they are feeling so "compelled" to share the Gospel and some have even shared the gospel with their friends for the first time. We also got two new great investigators this week. Their names are David and Danielle Torres. They are a great young married couple who are very excited to learn the gospel. We taught them how to pray on Thursday night and they both said they felt so "warm inside" as we practiced. They told me at church that they repeated the same activity when we left. They came to all three hours of church and we have another appointment set up with them on Thursday. They are the epitome of "golden investigators"; so humble and willing. I am so happy that we are starting to get some people to teach. We met a woman the other night who was out walking her dog, as we began to talk I came to find out that she had done humanitarian work in Haiti with through the same organization I went with! There are no coincidences in this work! We taught her and her husband about the restoration of the gospel and we have a return appointment with them on Wednesday night, I am very hopeful about this great couple!
Well my friends I just want to thank you as I have in the past. Your prayers mean so much. So do your letters and e-mails. I apologize for not being able to respond. Just know that I love you and that the Lord has served me a full plate out here. I pray for all of and feel your love. My most valued possession is my testimony. I love the Lord. I love His work. I love His children. The spirit has done a miracle in my life. Though I have so far to go, I love the journey. I know that Christ lives and that knows us. I know that He is not distant and that He hears the plea of a sincere heart. I hope we can learn his doctrine in it's simplicity and find some small way to live it today. Smiling is His doctrine, it goes right along with faith in Him, so that is what I am going to apply today! I love you all so much. I know that the Holy Spirit will testify, revelate, comfort, cleanse and heal us. I thought this was an amazing quote that I'd like to leave with you today...
The Holy Spirit
The gift of the Holy Spirit adapts itself to all these organs or attributes. It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being. (Key to the Science of Theology pg. 98, Parley P. Pratt)
Love, Elder Prince