Monday, February 25, 2013

Youngstown Zone Conference

At War in Warren

Dearest Family and Friends,
                                                   It is always a good week when Sunday night rolls in and all you want to do after planning is lay on the living room floor and stair at the ceiling! I love it! It is quite a scene to see Elder Payne and I flying down the streets of Warren looking for our next investigator. We are bundled from head to toe and sweating by the time we finally stop for appointments. If I get cold I just pick up the pace on the bike a bit; Henry Ford said 'he who cuts his own wood, warms himself twice'; I can relate because we staying plenty warm! Elder Payne is coming along so well. Training a second time around is such a different experience; I feel that I am a lot less worried about things. Elder Payne and I opening a new area I think was very beneficial for both of us; he learned how to build from the ground up and how to build rapport with the members. The first few weeks we were knocking doors by day and doing our best to be teaching in the night and it has worked out pretty well as the Lord has given us some great people to teach! We are working closely with a group of friends that all live in one house. We have three investigators (Mary, Leesha and Adam), and one less-active member named Daniel. All of them have little gospel background so we are starting from scratch; almost primary school style! Mary and Leesha in particular are coming along so well. We were so happy to see that they have been keeping their commitments to read and pray daily. In teaching investigators you have to move at a pace that allows for them learn the lessons but also to become spiritually self-reliant by reading the Book of Mormon on their own and praying daily. I hardly like to move on to other lessons until this is being accomplished. The foundation of seeking revelation through reading, praying and coming to church has to be laid before the gospel will become personal to anyone and conversion may take place; isn't it funny that those simple principles are taught in primary? The childlike faith of our investigators keep a smile on me from ear to ear. I love watching the spirit work upon them as we read together! We also have been working closely with a recent convert and her son Donte. This kid is amazing! We have seen an emergence in him as in the beginning he was quite distracted and indifferent in our lessons and now he has been reading and praying daily and actually anticipating our visits. There are few things better than watching a 12 year old give insight to a question or a reading that you know came straight from Heaven and out of his mouth! It has been special to teach him this last month and his baptism will be held this Sunday!
We have also met some great people through our tracting efforts who are progressing along! I think Elder Payne did some of his very best teaching this week. I am so proud of him as he and I have been practicing every day together and taking our studies seriously. The Lord is such a joy to work for! His paychecks are always on time and His benefits are eternal; He is good for EVERY ONE of His promises!
Yesterday, Elder Payne and I impromptu taught Gospel Principles and the subject was Faith in Jesus Christ; the very first principle of the gospel. In teaching the lesson it struck me how much the Lord really has done for me in my life; especially in the years that I really have had faith in Him. Wednesday will be my 4 year sobriety mark; I could've never dreamed this is what the Lord had planned for me some four years ago. Though I have grown well accustomed to missionary life over these last 21 months, I still feel like I am dreaming at times when I see what the Lord has done for me and how far we've come. I want to testify to you the same thing I did yesterday in my class. I know that He is real. I know He lives and I only know because of the simple things He asks of us if we want to come to know him. Pray, study, serve others, and go to church; I know anyone who will feel after Him will find Him and be healed! I love going to war in Warren with Him everyday!
                                                                                       Love, Elder Prince

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Day is Warren

Dearest Friends and Family,
                                          I wish to say to you all this week how grateful I am to you all for your continued love, support and prayers in my behalf as I have labored here in the Ohio. Everyday I feel the strength that comes from your love and I want you all to know that there is nothing greater than serving our God. The people of Warren are shaping me as I feel that I am growing along side with them. I am finding that the Saviors promise that if we lose ourselves for others, we ultimately find ourselves is true. We are working daily with people who are for the first time learning truly what it means that God lives. One of the greatest thrills of being a missionary is what I call "spiritual deja'vu"; when someone you are teaching understands the gospel in such a way that it sound familiar too them and then the light comes on in their eyes. The enabling power of the Atonement reaches them as they simply remember that they chose the Savior before this life and now they are re-learning to follow him again. The thought came to me this week that any living soul who can come and shake my hand at one time in their existence believed in Christ. I am finding the greatest satisfaction I9 have ever known by reminding people of what they already know in their hearts. We have been working very closely with the Adam's family which consist of a less active member named Daniel and his non-member girlfriend Mary. They  have three children and all of the family is striving to learn and they have come to church 3 weeks in a row. Dan and Marry are looking to be married in the coming weeks and both are set to be baptized. Every time we go to visit them I see them slowly changing. They have the light of Christ growing. They speak more like Him. They Look more like Him. They are becoming more like him!
                                          Elder Payne and I are having a great time every day. We are praying to find the very elect of God that will not harden their hearts and it has been a miracle to see the response. We have continued to get into doors and we are doing all we can to see others as they truly are. It works! Today is a rainy, cold day in Warren and I can't wait to go out and work! I can truly say that the Lord has brought me so far in my desire to share the gospel. I thought I had it before my mission but there is no comparison to how it has grown in me to the current day. Again, I thank you all for your prayers because they are felt and they keep me going.
                                          I have been touched by many of your e-mails this week. Thank you all for being good people. Good parents, good brothers and sisters. Good friends. I thank the Lord for placing each one of you in my path. I feel so rich because of you all. I pray that we may all continue to love the Lord. I hope that we might find greater joy in His purpose. May we rely upon Him daily and always remember His atonement. I love you all and hope that you have a great week!
                                                                                           Love, Elder Prince
                      P.S. Congrats to Samye (formerly known as Hermana Jensen;)) for all of her service in the Oakland/San Fran Mission. You have worked so hard and the people will be forever blessed for your love and sacrifice. These are time never to be forgotten! Good Job!!!!!! :)   

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

With Love from Warren

Dear Family and Friends!

 Well Hello! What a crazy couple of weeks it has been and at last I can write to you with out the daunting task of escaping enraged librarians! Things have been well since I wrote last. Elder Payne and I are running full length write now and having a great time. A little bit about my companion: Elder Payne is becoming a very good friend. He is very humble and willing missionary. His first night in the field we were biking through a blizzard and the kid had smile from ear to ear! He is the only child in his family and help-ed his Dad come out of inactivity by preparing to serve a mission. He has a great testimony and is very easy going and easy to like. Now, a little about the area: Warren is a very interesting place. It has really lost alot of its population in the last 50 years and used to be a booming factory city, nowadays it is rather run down but it has alot more middle class than East Cleveland. The people are great. I have had more fun in the last two weeks that I have in quite some time. We have been let it door after door and been able to have many good finding opportunities. We have been let in more doors in the last 10 days than I think I have been let in in about 4 1/2 months! We are teaching a part-member family right now where the wife is trying to quit smoking and get baptized so she and her family can eventually make it to the temple. Her name is Mary and she is a very good  humble woman. We are also teaching the 12 year old son of one of the ward's recent converts named Donte; the kid is very excited and fitting into his deacons quorum very well. We taught the deacons Sunday school lesson this week and bribed them all with candy bars; needless to say it worked perfect and the kids were all very reverent. Elder Payne and I are essentially starting from scratch in the area and much of our night time has been spent traveling around getting to know the members and sharing spirituals thoughts with them. The bikes have been fun despite having to call it quits and start walking during a few snow storms. All is well right now as we are both learning so much. I am right where I want to be with my mission right now. Being able to train this good Elder is such a privilege. I know that he is going to do many great things here in the field. I am still amazed with how fast the days go; it passes away like a dream. The Lord and His goodness have impressed me more than anything else this week. He has provided for us and proved faithful at every turn. I am learning to do as Paul directs in Philippians 4 and not worry unduly about any particular thing but rather to live with thanksgiving daily. I know that the Lord will greatly bless the grateful and the obedient and my companion and I are seeing His blessings every day. Thank you all for your prayers! They work! Please pray that we may be able to find those whom the Lord has prepared! (D&C 29: 6-7). I hope that you all have a great week! 

Love Always, Elder Prince

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What up from Warren?!

Dear Family and Friends,
                                     Well... I am in a pickle. I lost my Drivers license (nice) and the library here in Warren will not let me use their computers so it may be a couple of weeks until I can write but I will have you know that I am so happy to tell you all I have been transferred to Warren, OH and my new missionaries name is Elder Payne from Bountiful, UT. He is awesome and is soaking everything up like a sponge. We are biking elders and it has been snowing all week, it has been pretty interesting. There are miracles happening that I hope to give in more full detail later. Again I apologize but I am already sneaking behind enemy lines to write this e-mail. One of the Elders I am living with is letting me use his account hurdling over the top of we so I wont get caught by the librarians! I am having a blast right now and so blessed to have this opportunity to serve the Warren ward. The first week was amazing. Keep me in your prayers that I wont fall onto the icy sidewalk another time from my bike! Love you all! 

Love, Elder Prince