Monday, February 19, 2018

Will ye also go away?

Well another stellar week here in A-Town! Here are some of the quick Highlights:

- 2 Exchanges with the Paso 1 Elders. E. Ameny and Gallagher. So many miracles happen on exchanges which make them really fun to have.
 
- We found 1 New Investigator this week name Terry English. She is living with her cousin right now who is a member and is just great. Terry has been coming to church for the last 2 weeks now and loves it! On exchanges E. Governale and E. Gallagher actually had dinner with them and were able to teach a lesson. She had a lot of questions that were answered and she "loves the lady group" (Relief Society)

- We were able to teach Al and Joanne, Kersten and Sal, also were able to stop by Mike and his family! It was another eventful week that went too fast. Mike has set a goal to only now drink on the weekends! Yay, that is huge for him! He usually drinks a lot every day, and we had a really cool come to Jesus moment with him regarding his commitment. He knows he needs to step it up when it comes to the effort he is putting forth. 
- We did service for Troy Hart for 2 hours on Thursday. Man that was a miracle. He really is softening up, and some of questions are being answered. And he is also taking us golfing today so ummm...here we go:/

One of the many things I have learned here on the mission is simply how bad the Savior wants to be our friend. And in the midst of our mortal life he asks us all this question..."Will ye also go away?”  The Savior will always love and be there for us. But his peace I feel is conditional. On whether or not we follow. As I have been closely working with our Investigators I am feeling so strongly the need for them to be converted to Christ. As missionaries we are to act as guides. Helping ALL of Gods children to "Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him." That's why it is so important to be the very best vessel we can be to allow the Holy Ghost to work through us. And STILL there are missionaries who feel it's okay to be disobedient...Sad day.

There are some struggles in my district, but I am doing my best.

Fightin the Good Fight!

Love, Elder Judd




Monday, February 12, 2018

Even while you are in bondage...

Hello family and friends!

Had an eventful and emotional week this week as we watched our investigators cope with the stresses of life and  try to thwart whatever Satan throws at them. Through it all just praying 24.7, wishing that we could be with them always, and then having to wait patiently, and trust that they will conquer their old habits. Unfortunately, no one was able to make it to church this week. 

But we did find 2 New Investigators this week:) Isaac abd Michelle are their names. They have been living together for about 9 years but have only been married for 2. So yay:) We served them this past Friday, they fed us that night, and then we taught them:) They are so kind, humble, and ready. Please pray for them!

I just want to start off by testifying of the Redeeming and Enabling Power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, with a specific focus on the Enabling power. David O. Mckay said: "The purpose of the Gospel is to make bad men good, and good men better. And to change human Nature." That is what's possible as we access the enabling power of the Savior's Atonement in our lives...I bear my testomony that because of this enabling power that the Atonement is not just for sinners, but for saints as well. We learn in Mosiah 3:19 to "put off the Natural man"...To put off the natural man means to access the enabling power of the Master. And to draw from his Holy merits, mercy, and Grace. As we putt off the Natural man we will begin to turn away from evil, and towards that which is good. Putting off the Natural man is about making a turn. Turning "out" like the Character of christ. When the Natural man in all of us wants to turn "in". It is the enabling power that transforms us into "New creatures" as we learn from Paul. And is the Power in which our weaknesses are made strong. So long as we are humble as we learn in Ether 12:27. But as I met with, worshipped with, and prayed with our Investiagtors this week, my mind weighed heavily upon the merit of him who "Delivers" us from Bondage. From that "enemy who holds us captve"…every single one of our Investigators are struggling with some sort of temporary trial or hardship. Satan is working on everyone, and at times he succeeds. As missionaries we at times need to learn what it means to stand back and let them struggle. Learn, recieve, and act for themselves. Imagine how our Father feels...? The Book of Mormon illustrates this idea perfectly...

Mosiah 24: 13-16...

13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And 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.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.

I pray that you will all read these verses again, and then act and access the power that comes from such FAITH. The Lord did not literally lift their burdens from off their back. It was not the burden that changed. Rather it was the Enabling power of the Savior in which they recieved because of their FAITH they excercised in HIM. That is why FAITH is a source of power. I bear testimony that FAITH is the first principle of the Gospel by divine desgin. If we are to become "New Creatures" then FAITH must not be contingent upon our outcomes. Let us al learn this one lesson.

God will never keep us in a trial longer than we are able...He loves us, and knows what is best. May we trust him thrugh the thick and thin. And excercie Faith on his Son. Faith that is not contingent upon outcomes. 

Love, Elder Judd

1. Connie, a LA who is my fav! 
2. Service 
3. Mike our Investigator (He had just finished his 24th beer before we took this picture)
4. Exchanges with Elder Riches
5. Georgia Bergman is leaving on her mission (member family in the ward)
 




 

Monday, February 5, 2018

'A-town'!

Fam and Friends,

What a blessing it to be on the Lord's errand! I am fitting right in here in Atascadero 2nd ward. I am almost at the very tip top of the mission. It's a small little town with a lot of farmers and cowboys. My New companion is Elder Governale who is from Oregon. He moved a lot growing up and also lived in 18 different homes and 6 states! Wow, I know.  He has been out for about 7 weeks now, so he's still really young. Young, raw, and ready to work. He has that "Greenie fire" which is so fun to watch and work with. I have done all I can to keep that as I go throughout my mission. I am excited to listen, and learn from all that he has to teach me.

The field is very, very white!

We currently have 4 Investiagtors with a date right now and more are coming! We had 7 as of a couple of weeks ago but one or two we have to push back due to commitment and Weddings:) But we most likely will have those dates back by this next week. So please, please pray. We are doing all we can to Facilitate Baptism here in A-TOWN. There is so much more to do and we love it:) We have so much potential and need the Lords help through it all if we want to reach it. The Lord is blessing us from moment to moment. We have 12 in our Pool.

We taught 4 of our Investigators this week and all of them were able to make it to church as well! 2 of them being Laurna and Carl. (Mother in her 70's, Son in his 40's)...Laurna is our main focus right now. Carl is a little Autistic and is still not sure how he feels about what we teach...BUUUUUT Laurna on the other hand is so solid. She has her date for the 24th of February. But we still have not yet taught the W.O.W but are confident that there will not be too big of a hold up. She knows the Book of Mormon is true, but is still just a little hesitant on Joseph Smith. Which doesn't really go together I know, which is why we taught her:) We had the thought as part of our lesson to show the 20 min Restoration video. Midway through she started to ball. It was just her and the Spirit which is exactly how we like it:) We then bore testimony of the truthfulness of the BOM and of Joseph Smith's role as the Prophet of the Restoration. It was a wonderful experience. She also has a lot of family problems going on behind the scenes which have the potential to hinder her progression so please, please pray!

We tracted into a WONDERFUL young couple who both had just gotten home from work. They both work together at the same Italian restaurant! We just walked up to them and Elder Judd cracked a  joke about this huge pile of rocks that were just plopped down right in front of their house:) And that made them laugh which lead to a great 15 minute conversation about their work and what we do as missionaries! We offered to do service for them and remove all the rocks for them. And then we said the best part about it is that it's FREE!:) So they accepted! They also said they will bring home some really good food from their restaurant. Two new investigators!

The Lord is good. I have learned a lot about myself this last week speicifically. I know that God loves us. He knows us by name. He understands our desires, and what we need next to become what he would have us be. Have your mind where your feet are. I am excited to work with the Lord hand and hand and help them find the waters of baptism.

Been in Mosiah all of this week...Gideon is the Man...He reminds me of my dad! But Gideon doesn't quite have as many muscles;)

And a shoutout to my new nephew, Henry Spencer Judd! The Lord truly is mindful of us. I miss him already and am excited for him to see his favorite uncle in a few months. Uncle Elder Judd!

Gotta keep fightin'!

Love, Elder Judd
 
 




 

Monday, January 29, 2018

January 29, 2018

That was the fastest 6 weeks of my life...

To make it quick! We had a miracle filled week by finding 3 New Investigators! 1 names Maryanne who is a single old lady, and a family! The Coggiola’s, who are absolutely amazing. I am so grateful for the blessing of serving here in Thousand Oaks.  It was too short just like every transfer will be from here on out😏…

I am getting transferred to Atascadero with a new companion. So that should be good. But I will tell you the truth I really don't want to leave T.O. I just am loving these people so much and these ward members are the best. But most of all I will miss the work so much! But it's okay it's not where you serve but how right?! I have noticed that the longer i have been out here, my ability to get attatched to people has increased. What does that mean? I was only here for 6 weeks but i REALLY REALLY do not want to leave. 

President Nakken is taking a lot of the older missionaries out of the MLC to be DL's and trainers…to get them with a lot of younger missionaries where they can have more of an effect. So I was the second batch! I am one of the 4 ZL's that are now DL's so that should be good. I am exicted. My new District is 12 Elders and no sisters.

This is the Johnson family in TO…the short,  more seasond lady is a Judd. And she asked me if I had “ any Judds in Kanab"! and I said yes! I told her I had realative that settled it! Am I right? Then she got out her book and showed me this: 

God loves us all! 

Love, Elder Judd

















Monday, January 22, 2018

Emma and a note from mom

Hello Fam and Friends!

Long, fast, hard, great, full, pushing, rewarding, emotional, normal week as a missionary...

We got started off with a wonderful message from our new prophet, President Russel M. Nelson. We were so blessed to be able to view that as missionaries this past Tuesday. Wasn't it just great? I repeat my invitation that was given last week to you all to take it upon yourself to receive a witness from the Holy Ghost regarding our new First Presidency. What a great blessing to be entitled to those answers. The Lord's work will go on. President Russel M. Nelson is the Lord's annointed. I bear my testimony of his calling, and of the keys he holds that help to build the kingdom of God on the earth!

Emma Martinez is the highlight of this week. We taught her twice this week! First we taught her some of the commandents which was an awesome lesson. We have been having all of her lessons in Sammy Johnson's home. Sammy's mom is the RS president and she is amazing. Emma and Sammy are like sisters. Emma pretty much lives there as well due to her family situation. And we have been in really close contact with Sammy's parents regarding Emma and her family situation. And just in case I forgot to mention last time, Emma's mom gave permission for her to be taught, but not permission to be baptized. (yet:)) Anyways, Emma is progressing and progressing fast! Her and Sammy tear through chapters on the BOM daily and attend young womens every week. Emma is one of those "Mormon but not" Investiagtors:) 

Because all of this is happening we decided to go over to the Emma's house (w/out Emma knowing) to talk to her mom. We were quite nervous and had no idea what to expect. But we thought about it, discussed it, prayed about, discussed it some more, and then prayed some more…and then we were a go. Let's just say the spirit was there. She invited us in, so that was the key! We sat down and spent the first 20 minutes just building (trust) a relationship and getting to know her personally. They ALL come from a Catholic background, including Emma. Anyways as time went on the Spirit flowed and luckily the conversation flowed with it. We did some HTBT with her along with showing her the Prince of Peace video. We also expressed our sincere grattitude for allowing us to teach her daughter. We emphasized what we do as missionaries but most importantly WHY we do what we do. To make this long story just a little shorter, at the end she completely flipped her opinion, and said that if Emma has a desire to be baptized that "she would be okay with it" and that "she would support her"…Boom!  We ended up spending about 50 minutes with her! And at the end I kinda threw at her how we evenually want to teach her and she smiled at me and said  “Not yet”...haha inside I was like "Perfect". Then we left! It surpassed our expectations in every way. 

After all of this we had our second lesson with Emma this week yesterday and we taught Baptism. Samy along with another friend were all there. it was so powerful. So mnay great comments were made. The spirit was there and throught it all you couldn't slap the smile off my face. She knows it's true. She commited to talk to her mom about it before we meet again on Tuesday. Please, Please pray for this girl and her mom. Miracle time!

I would just like to close with my testimony that Jesus Christ lives and that he leads his church. He is at the head of all that we do. Whatever questions or concerns you may be having I invite you to please doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. I know that in the midst of all our weakness, faults and stupidity, God STILL qualifies those whom he has called. I speak from very personal expierince. I feel like the brother of Jared right now here in Thousand Oaks, when the Lord instructed him to "Go to work and build". Don't you just love that? I bear testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost. This is the power that moves us to make changes in our lives, to bring our lives into alignment with the will of God. That is what it means to progress. To create real change in one's life,  we need the promptings of the Holy Ghost. 

I love being a missionary more than anything right now. 

Love, Elder Judd 

A note from the mom:

Recently we had a new missionary join our branch at the MTC.  He was from American Fork, and when he saw our tags, he asked us if we knew Benji.  When we told him we were his parents, he smiled and had an interesting look in his eye.

A few weeks later, before he left for the field, he pulled Gary aside and said he needed to tell him a story.  These are his words:

“I struggled with depression as long as I can remember.  I was bullied in elementary school and junior high, and it didn’t stop in high school.  Benji was always nice to me.  He was friends with some of the guys who bullied me, but he always told them to knock it off if he ever saw it.   It got really bad for me.  I started cutting myself. I decided I wanted to take my life. I was sitting in math class cutting ‘I HATE MYSELF’ into my arms with a xacto knife.  Benji was in my class. He saw me and my arms, and talked to me for a while. The next day a counselor from the school called me in and told me someone had talked to them about me.  It was the first time a counselor showed serious interest in my problems, as I had talked to them before.  They helped me start to get the help I needed.  I know it was Benji who told them.  He kinda saved my life.”

We remember Benji coming home from school one night, and telling us about this boy and his arms.  We encouraged him to tell the counseling office at school, but to my embarrassment, that was as far as we followed up. I’m relieved and grateful that the school followed thru in this situation, and just as important, that Benji was kind when it counted. 

We see and hear of miracles like this sometimes at the MTC.  We are grateful that out of all the branches at the MTC, this elder came to ours, and that we were able to hear this story and share it with Benji.  And we are grateful this good elder is able and willing to serve, and know he will do great things.  The Lord is merciful and kind, and we are very grateful.
 







Monday, January 15, 2018

18 months? Say whaaaaat?!

Call me a Sister! (Just joking, please don't)

18 months out and I am still loving it. The latter end never changes but the time always will!
 
All around a Solid week. 

One of the Miracles of this past week was when we were able to meet with Sister Carson who is a LA. She texted us and said in a nutshell that she had "No desire to come to church but that she wants us to come over to dinner to be a good example for her son who she wanted to join the boy scouts." 

To make a long story short, we went over. She fed us dinner with her boy and we were able to have such a wonderful experience with her. We took with us an 18 year old recently ordained Elder who has his call and is waiting to serve. It was such a wonderful experience for him. Anyways, she ended up having a lot of questions and told us all the things that really didn't sit well with her. Thanks to the Spirit, her heart softened, and she was very emotional. We taught simply, lovingly but direct.

I received the prompting right before we were about to head out the door..."Give her a blessing." And so we did. Prior to that we refreshed her on the Priesthood and the power that is according to our faith. We drilled and drilled and drilled the importance of the Book of Mormon. She understood and committed herself to reading every day, for at least 5 minutes.

After we left, our 3rd companion looked at us, started balling and said "That is exactly what I needed".  Come to find out, he was very nervous and not even sure if he was going to follow through and serve. But that boy had an experience that night and it made all the difference. I bet you when he drove home last night from that appointment he was smiling so big you couldn't even smack it off.

I know that through God's children, God brings to pass his eternal purposes. We should try to become worthy vessels for the Lord to work with. I know without a doubt that the way we choose to live our lives does indeed have an effect on HIS ability to do HIS work. And in the process we can become "New Creatures". 

Let's be perfect in the little things.

Love, Elder Judd





 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Elder Renlund!

Hello Everyone!

Hope all is well and that the New Year resolutions are off to a great start. Sorry for the short one today but we are low on time. 

Elder Renlund of the quorum of the 12 apostles came to visit our mission! And what an amazing experience that was. That makes 3 apostles in 17 months. Such a blessing to hear something from one who is a "Special Witness" of the Lord Jesus Christ. His testimony is still ringing in my ears and heart. We were also able to hear about our beloved prophet who passed away. The priesthood is still has the keys necessary to hasten the work of salvation. 

We picked up a new Investigator named Emma who is 15!  She has been coming to church for several weeks but was unable to be taught due to her mom, who refused to sign permission that enabled her to be taught. But with hard work, prayer, and the grace of God she gave permission for her Emma to be taught! We taught her the Restoration on Saturday and it was so good. The Young Woman are so solid in this ward and are so good at fellowshipping. Please pray for her mom that as we continue to meet that her heart will continue to soften. We will be going thru her mother to hopefully meet with her. 

God lives and he loves his children. Through the merits, mercy and Grace of his divine son that love is manifested. Jesus Christ lives. And he is coming!

Love, Elder Judd