Monday, December 11, 2017

Baptism by water, baptism by fire, fire!

Hello Everyone!

Well if this isn't a week to remember in the GCVM, then I don't know what is. 

To start things off we had a fire in Ventura! And then about 5 more started…It was really hard on the people here.  Hundreds of thousands of acres were burned along with hundreds of homes destroyed. All residents in Ventura, Ojai, Santa Paula, Filmore and Carpinteria were all evacuated. The Oxnard building which is mission headquarters has been flooded with all kinds of donations. There have been about 45 missionaries that have been unable to work like they’re used to all of this week, and we have been able to host a couple of them. 

Members and non-members have really stepped up. It is such a testimony builder. I know that God will provide. And this all just happens to occur during the #LighttheWorld initiative. This will and already has, provided a wonderful opportunity for these people to turn outwards and think of others. I know that we all to at least some degree are compelled to be humble in preparation to receive what the Lord would have us receive. My love for these people, and the missionaries has grown so much in the past week. God works his works no matter what. And they are ALWAYS for our benefit. All that is left to us is to trust.

The week finished off so amazing, with the baptism of Keith Merrell! Once again, my joy is full!  His Baptism was the best service I have ever been a part of. There were 100+ people there and the Spirit was so strong, and so piercing. The whole Deacons and Teachers quorums were there to support. And many of them participated in the program. It truly was a wonderful experience that I will remember forever.

Brother and Sister Merrell are doing great. They both want it so bad! We are so proud of them both, and they have come so far. Hopefully the first week in January will be the week! I have truly come to love and feel for this family in ways that I have never loved, or felt for anyone before. 

In John 9, the the Savior heals a blind man. His disciples questioned whether it was him or his parents who had sinned. And the Savior's answer is so profound..."Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him...I must work the works of him that sent me." God had a plan all along, to glorify his name, and his Son's...For us to experience his infinite Goodness in all things. In vs. 25 we now know that this man now has a testimony of Jesus Christ. Which came because of his trial. And he was unshaken, independent of all else.

Two chapters later, in John 11 Christ raises Lazarus from the dead. Why? Why did 4 days go by? "Why weren't you here earlier?" Martha and Marry questioning these things...Why? Again the Master Teaches us..."But for the glory of God, that the son of God might be glorified thereby." By working this miracle Christ showed the people that HE is the RESURECTION and the LIFE. And vs 42..."That they may believe that thou hast sent me." 

I bear my testimony that the Lord wants us to believe in him.  I know that God has a plan, and his plan his perfect. It's sad to see what the fire has done, but now is the time. Now is the time this Christmas season to be bold and fearless because we adore him.

The Church is still true and forever will it be.

Love, Elder Judd 


 The quorums supporting Keith!
 The Merrell Family



Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello fam!

How was your Thanksgiving? Well we ate some turkey, played some football, found some more Investigators, ate some more turkey, and played some more football…what a week! 

We had two exchanges this week as well. I was able to go with Elder Seui, and Elder Morgan both again. It was so much fun. I look up to both of them so much. And they are both like my brothers on the mission. Elder Reeves and his companion were able to tract into 2 new Investigators! And it turns out that they are both formers. Both Devout Catholic so that is awesome. We have a return appointment with them this Saturday. 

And the Merrells are doing great:) We taught them again this week and they came to church and stayed for all 3 hours. They are reading/praying every day, and are finding askers to questions along the way. Man don't those last 2 sentences just make you smile?!  The church Is true!

Every single day I have been spending the majority of my time in Jacob 5. Just really breaking down Jacob's Allegory of the Olive tree. Many prophets and apostles have stated that this is the "Greatest Parable taught in all of Holy writ…and there is a promise given to all who heed a conscious study of it's teachings." To the "honest seekers of truth" the holy ghost can make manifest the truth of all things. And I bear you my testimony that this is true. Because I have experienced it. I have become an agent unto myself. My testimony has become written on the "fleshy tables" of my heart. Independent, and engrained. 

I love vs...70-72 in Jacob 5. Taking about the Lord and servant of the Vinyard. The Lord being God, and the servant being the prophets. In this case us...I bear my testimony that we all have been commanded to "Go to, and labor." For the "Last time…"

I know of him who is coming, coming to save one and all. So we must be ready when he gives the call. Jesus Christ is the Savior and redeemer of the world. And he is coming back for his own. So I ask you...Will your banner be clear?
I challenge you to make it easy for him. 

I love this Gospel.

Love, Elder Judd

 The Merrill Family!

Monday, November 20, 2017

A grateful heart is a humble heart

Dear Family and Friends, 

Just another solid week in the Greatest mission in the world! I am so grateful for the chance to especially express my gratitude this month. Although it's been a daily thing! I am grateful for my family.  They are an unfailing example of Faith, Charity, and Love. I am grateful for the blessing I have to serve a mission. The opportunity to represent our Savior for these 2 years. 

And to transition, I am grateful for elect families like the Merrells:)  We taught them once this past Tuesday and Friday.  We covered Obedience, Word of Wisdom, and prayer with Scripture Study. Man it was solid. They all saw the "Lord's Law of Health" thing coming, they said. Stan and Carrie both drink coffee but that's okay! They have been trying to quit for a long time. But as we taught the "Why" behind the "What" that was when the spirit was really able to testify to there hearts. And we talked about then how we can use prayer and Scripture Study to help:)

I am confident when I say that they will find the strength to obey this commandment. And I pray that they will then RECOGNIZE his hand as they do so.

In Mathew 15 the Lord feeds the 4000...verse 15 talks about how he first "gave thanks" THEN they were fed. 
Think of this imagery. The savior and Redeemer of the world called upon his father and "gave thanks". THEN the miracle was wrought. The Savior himself acknowledged the Father in ALL things. As we so the same we to can have the Faith to bring to pass miracles in our own lives.

As we live in Sincere Humility our Heart will be changed to a grateful one. And as we acknowledge God's hand in our every day lives. He is in the details. That means be grateful for the little things.

Learn Grattitude
Live Grattitude

Love, Elder Judd 

P.S. Turkey bowl this week;)


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

First week with a phone!

Well another great week in the California Ventura mission. Week 6 is in the books and next transfer has officially begun. 

Sadly, I will be saying goodbye to the one and only Elder Hales…but that kid has served a wonderful mission and has changed lives every where he has served. He will be missed dearly but all is well! My new companion is Elder Reeves from the Pennsylvania. We actually came out together and slept in the same room together the first night in the mission! 

Well we had another fabulous week to cap things off. The Merrel family came to church again and also stayed for the 3 hour block! The word is in love with them and that is exactly what we want:) Brother Merrel actually used to work with a few members in the ward so that is cool and will also help with fellowship. 
We were unable to meet with them this week though because brother Merrell had to go out of town last minute, but hopefully we will be able to teach them twice this week:)

 The highlight of the week is when I was able to go to the temple this past Saturday. Elder Morgan and I  we're able to attend the temple with the first recent convert we taught and baptized the second transfer of our missions together. Tita  Lawrence received her endowment. And we were able to witness it. In two weeks she will fly to Denmark there to be sealed to her husband for time and all of eternity who passed away a year before her baptism 13 months ago. It was one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission. And I will remember it forever. To describe what the Gospel of Jesus Christ has done to this woman's life is impossible. She is an example of Faith, Endurance, and light. I love her. 

I bear testimony that the temple is a place we can go to find refuge. And literally gain spirtialy power that will then enable us to conquer weaknesses, and become the people that God would have us become. 

God lives, and we can draw closer to him as we abide in his home.

Love, Elder Judd


Monday, October 30, 2017

Hastening the work with a smart phone

We had a record book week! The Merrel family came to church for the first time, and stayed for all 3 hours and loved it! The Ward was all on board, and they were so excited. And what was even better that the Gospel essentials class was on the Family Proclamation....WHAT!?!? It was so good. They even signed up to feed us, and committed to church next week:) Ann was able to make it as well, so that is 3 at church. And we also have a dinner appointment tonight with a LA family that we have been trying to get with for eons! We are so excited to see how it goes...

We got asked to teach a Seminary class this morning that started at 6 a.m.!  The lesson was centered all on 2 Nephi 31. It was so good, and fun to interact with those kids.

Exciting news...We have MLC this week which is where the Leadership in the mission gets together and has like a 6 hour meeting. Anyways that is where we as leadership will be setting up our phones! So by this Thursday I will be working with my own smart phone everywhere I go:) And so I will also be emailing with it every P-day so that will be awesome.

Anyways, out of time so I want you all to know that there is a God in Heaven who is in the details of our lives! There is a  quote by Albert Einstein and it is this: "God doesn't roll the dice." It is simple I know, but yet true and uplifting. Prayers are answered, and God works through his children if his children let him. I know that faith must not be contingent upon outcomes. 

I love you all, and Moroni is on the ball.

Love, Elder Judd


Monday, October 23, 2017

We must cleanse the inner vessel first

Hi Kids!

Crazy week this week…first off we caught a possum in the church parking Lot. This one was alive and very lost. His dad was probably just run over by a car:(...Sad day.

We taught our family again and picked up the wife as a new Investigator - wahooooooo! It was soooooo good. We taught the Restoration again and emphasized eternal families.  The spirit was so strong, and they have a 13 year old kid who is the heatr and soul of the family. 

We taught Ann again and taught Alma 32 and got that woman in the scriptures. We had the lesson in President Blickenstaff's home and it was soooooo good too! The point is, you can never go wrong with that chapter.

I have been enjoying my time here so much in Camarillo. And I love my comp! Mission life is the best life that there is. 

I'll close by testifying that the families who do missionary work do 3 things:

1. Family Scripture Study
2. Family Prayer 
3. Family Home Evening.

I hope all the families reading this follow the Prophet. Just do your BEST (meaning make it happen) to establish this pattern in your homes. I want to thank my parents for doing so. And also apologize for fighting it:/

We must cleanse the inner vessel first. "Serve the Lord" in your homes, by following the counsel of his servants. As a missionary you get really good at discerning whether or not families "Serve the Lord" in their homes. By kneeling in Prayer every day, studying the scriptures for at least a few minutes a day, and then holding Family Home evening weekly.

Stress is the sum of mis-placed priorities. 

2 Nephi 25:26

Love, Elder Judd


Monday, October 16, 2017

Bounce Back Week

Had a "Bounce Back" week.

Man I love being a missionary so so much!  Have I said that a lot the last 15 months? Don't think I have said it enough.

Man changes are coming to this work because the Lord is hastening it!

We found a new Investigator named Keith and he is 13. Time for the youth to step up!  His Dad is LA so that is even better:) Hopefully we can get them both!  We also found some rockin' Potentials who are ALL families sooo "What What!”

Faith finds those forever families people. I am so excited to see what's in store for us this week.

Elder Hales and I kinda had a little motivational outburst in the middle of this past week and just decided we need to step it up. So we then "Step" and the Savior "lifts" as we exercise our faith, and hold ourselves accountable.

Technology coming soon! Here we go:) They trusts us so much, the more we recognize that the better we will be. We will be able to keep in contact with friends and fam with Social media so that is new. So many changes but in the words of our President we need to "embrace it".

Anyways the church is still (and forever will be) true, tell your friends. God knows you. Read the Book of Mormon. Every. Day. Tell your friends that as well.

Love, Elder Judd