Monday, January 16, 2017

168 Hours

Hey folks!

This week was good. One highlight was finding a guy named Jack Presley! We saw he had a bunch of military stuff outside his house while we were tracting, so we mentioned it at his door and he let us right in and told us about all his family who have served in the military. A couple of his brothers even lost their lives serving our country. We talked with him about eternal families and he asked us to come back. It was pretty cool.

Another highlight was that we went on exchanges with the zone leaders, and one of our new zone leaders is Elder Constantino, an Elder I served around in my last area! I love that guy. He is so genuinely kind and selfless. We had a good time together talking about people and catching up. Also this week we had a whole bunch of our members come out with us. It was pretty great. This ward is awesome. Our members really want to support us and be engaged in the work of the Lord.

A not-so-highlight of our week was that a lot of our investigators cancelled on us. We weren't able to meet with James, or with Allen, or Fabian, or a few of our other investigators. But! James did tell us that he has been reading from the Book of Mormon. So that's good.

Elder Urry and I have been working hard and doing a lot of tracting. We have actually gotten pretty good at it. We found several people this week that could become really promising investigators. Also, I love my district. Elder Vellinga and Elder Hatch are super cool, especially Elder Vellinga. And I really like our Sisters, Sister Beare and Stevens. I'm gonna miss this district when transfers roll around again in a few weeks.

I wanted to share something that stood out to me in the Book of Mormon this week. In 1 Nephi 7:13, Nephi exhorts his brethren to be faithful to the Lord: "Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to His will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to Him." How often do we forget that? It struck me because I realized I had forgotten that this week. The Lord is able to do all things according to His will for us if we will exercise faith in Him.

One more thing stood out to me as well from this story. A few verses later, after being bound by his brothers, Nephi prays to the Lord and asks: "O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound." Nephi does not pray for his circumstances to be changed - for his bands to miraculously disappear or fall from his hands. Rather, he prays for the strength to change his circumstances - for the strength to burst his own bands. Then he went to work, trusting in God, diligently working at his bands to break them, and he was given strength from the Lord beyond his own. This is how he exercised faith in the Lord. When we find ourselves bound and trapped in our circumstances, we can learn from the example of Nephi. We can exercise our faith in the Savior, pray for the strength to change our circumstances according to His will, and then go to work, seeking to bring about His will and the desired change in our circumstances.

I testify that if we will exercise faith in Jesus Christ, He is able, according to His will, to do all things for us. And He is able to give us His enabling and strengthening power, to make us able to change our own circumstances. Let us excercise faith in Him! Let us seek His help as we go to work striving to change our own circumstances.

I love you all!

Elder Alex Swindler

1) Half mission conference pic, from a few weeks ago

2) Cool lookin' tree

3) We were dead after weekly planning this week

4) Nice

5) My jack-leg guitar. I broke my guitar string this week (again! I just barely got new strings after breaking the exact same string a few weeks ago), and I didn't want to buy another string, so I tried just tying it in a knot, and it worked! This guitar is basically being held together by wood glue, a knot, and prayers.

Video 1) I tried to dump ice cold water on Elder Urry but I missed by about an inch.

Video 2) We made a quartet!

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