Friday, August 30, 2013

Letter #51 (Byram, MS)

Wow,                                              July 22, 2013                  
I fell like each time that I get on here my time is shorter and
shorter, and the weeks hold more and more that I just need to tell you
all. So first of all, we had interviews with President McDonough, and
can I just say, that there could not be a better mission president.
The interview didn't reveal any information about where I will be
going to here in a few weeks before I leave, but the interview was a
good energy boost. President has such energy and desire for the work,
that it is totally contagious! So great. Every time we have
interviews, which is every three months, we are supposed to bring two
goals and one Christ-like attribute that we are going to be working on
over the next few months between interviews. Now, I had two real
solid goals, and was excited to discuss them with him. While he
thought my goals were great, he wanted to discuss the fact that I am
about single didgit months left. Wow, hadn't really even thought
about that untill he brought it up! Kinda a bitter sweet thought! But
onto the rest of the week.
So my new companion, Elder Parker, and I are picking up right where
Elder Anderson left us. Finding people to get baptized! We have a
few people right now who are progressing with baptismal dates!
Jennifer is a 23 year old mother who is married to a member who has
become less active. Well last week we finally got to meet with her
and her husband, and let me tell you, AWESOME AND ELECT! She was so
ready to hear the message of the restoration! She was in tears and
just couldn't stop thanking us for the "message of peace and comfort,
and for answering all the questions that she has always wondered!"
Ever since then, she has eaten up everything that we have given her.
On Sunday, when we taught her the Word of Wisdom, she looked up at the
white board that we had just wrote all of the "do not's" on, smiled
and said, ya I don't do any of those things! Haha she was just so
prepaired to hear what we had to say that Elder Parker and I could
only laugh as we discussed the lesson afterwards.
Another indivual that we are working with is Andrew. Andrew is just a
little bit different than anyone that I have taught, because he has
already made the decison to be baptized. His main hold up is that,
because he is 14, he needs his mother's permission to get baptized.
While she isn't against the church or anything like that, she is
reluctant to let him join, because that would mean that he would be
leaving his family church, a baptist church, that his Uncle pastors.
So when I got here in April, Elder Anderson and I set out to somehow
get Alica, Andrews mom, to allow him to be baptized. After many
prayers, fasting, and teaching his mother the majority of the
missionary lessons, she has consented to allow him to become a member
and to be baptized! Words could not describe the joy and excitment as
we left their home on Wednesday. The date that we picked for him is
August 10th. What an amazing testimony builder it was to see Alicia
smile, and have a change of heart as we were at her house. The Lord
truly prepairs ways for his work to come to pass.
He has given us commandmens, some easy, some hard, and has asked us to
follow. But he hasn't left us without a way to live the commandments.
As we struggle, and stumble to live in a way according to his
commands, He is always there, with a hand outstretched. It isn't
always easy to see him, but once we do we are promised that " I will
also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even
you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage,
and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter,
and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my
people in their afflictions."(Mosiah 24:14) What a very real promise
this is. An attitude that I have adopted since my life here in Byram,
is "this too shall pass." Now I used to only apply this thought when
I was struggling, when I was in the middle of trials. But this saying
also applies to success. Every day is new. We have new battles to
face, and new demons to crush. If we are stuck living off of
yesterday's victory, we will get swallowed up by todays new challange.
I try to live life one day at a time, wether I am going through a
trial, or having success. Each day is new, and with a new day, comes
new challanges, and new blessings. Become a little better each and
every day, and that is what I have come to define success as. Being a
little better, a little closer to God.
           ~Elder Maddox

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