I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. I am still full from Thursday. :D Good to hear about you all sharing your testimonies on Sunday and congrats BEN!! I love that verse in 1 Nephi 21:15-16. Elder Payne and I have also found when we pray for others individually, God teaches you how best to help them, according to your willingness to act. "You Are My Hands" by President Uchtdorf http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/you-are-my-hands talks about that same principle in more depth. President Monson's favorite scripture talks about the same idea, in Doctrine and Covenants 84:88:
"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."
Elder Payne and I were trying to think of a fun way to teach to members an article in the September 2013 Ensign called "Take My Yoke Upon You," which talks about how God is always with us and will "bear us up." http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/09/take-my-yoke-upon-you The article is based on the scripture
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
It's always fun when there are little kids, because we have them try to beat Elder Payne or I in arm wrestling. Then we have them try to beat us with their dad's help and they can do it. We then teach that the parallel that when we have the help of our Father in Heaven, we can overcome any trial. Christ says to take His yoke upon you and he will make your trials easier to bear by strengthening your back. When we ask for strength he will give it to us. Often though, that strength comes through more trials that strengthen our strength, but in the end it is always worth it.
Yes & yes! President Neider lets me play the piano a lot. Elder Payne and I go to play sports at the church every morning with the zone, so we get a lot of exercise too. On the 15th, Elder Shreve (our district leader, leaving January 2nd!) and I are doing a musical number for a devotional fireside. The song is called "Shine Again For Me Star of Bethlehem."
I'm super excited for Christmas. We just watched the Mormon Message "The Reason Behind Christmas" http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng as a district. Elder Payne and I will go caroling soon to proselyte. Burnie, a member that helps us out a lot, is a really good singer and will be coming with us too. He is the man in the picture with his arm around Beverly at her baptism. Because I am running out of time I'll attach my letter to the mission president:
President Neider, It's been a good first week of a new transfer. I feel like Elder Payne and I improve each week as missionaries. This past week Beverly was baptized! It made us so happy - we had worked with her a lot through lots of obstacles, but finally she made it! Ten minutes before the baptism was about to start she almost left because she was so nervous, but we talked with her and a sister in the ward helped her decide to turn around and get baptized. She walked back in the chapel and was so grateful she did. Beverly has grown so much since I first met her and smiles now every time we see her. It's been a lot of fun being companions with Elder Payne because we both love to sing. On Thanksgiving we made origami missionary shirts and drew Thanksgiving colored ties on the front. On the back we put a scripture about gratitude and wrote "Happy Thanksgiving." Throughout the day we stopped by members houses who had non-members at their homes and went "Thanksgiving Caroling." We sang Count Your Many Blessings and gave them the gift. Often they allowed us in to share a spiritual thought. We tied the topic of gratitude into the third lesson in Preach My Gospel for a spiritual thought. It was a success - we had dinner with a part member family and referred their family to the sisters in our area because they were young single adult age. The sisters have been in contact with them and we stop by their house often to encourage them to come to institute. We found a couple other new investigators and went to visit progressing investigators Thanksgiving caroling. Overall, it has been a great week - we have been very blessed with lots of neat experiences to share the Gospel. The members here are amazing. Have a good Thanksgiving! Amor, Elder Young