N's email 9/8/2015

area: Jennings Branch (Welsh, Louisiana)
zone: Orange
companion: Elder Hobbs

We had an awesome week this week! I'm just going to go through the days because a whole bunch of stuff happened.

Monday Aug 31: We washed our clothes and shopped like we do every Monday, then we drove over to Lake Charles to meet some other missionaries there. Elder Hobbs went with another new missionary (each have only been out 4 weeks) and I got to be with Elder Noall (my second companion back in February and March). We played sports at the church for a little while at the Lake Charles chapel, then Elder Noall and I left with the Zone Leaders to drive to Kingwood for a meeting Tuesday. We left Elder Hobbs and Elder Blackburn (Elder Noall's "son") to cover both their area and our area. On the way to Kingwood, the Zone Leader's truck suddenly got really noisy, like 3 motorcycles got trapped underneath the hood. So we "stole" another companionship's car and left them with the truck and continued on our way. We arrived in Kingwood at about 9:15.

Tuesday: We drove down to the Eagle Springs chapel for Missionary Leadership Council. Usually it's only for the Zone Leaders but occasionally they have the District Leaders attend for training purposes. It was a great meeting! I learned so much, way too much to tell you everything because it was a 7 hour meeting. I'll tell you my favorite part though. I learned that commandments aren't really commands. Here's how I see commandments now - God knows EVERYTHING, including what our potential really is. He has a vision of what we can become. And He tries to share His vision with us by letting us know what those people (who are really just us) in His vision do. They love Him (Matthew 22:37). They love one another (Matthew 22:39). They pray (2 Nephi 32:9). They study God's words (John 5:39). They participate in building the Kingdom of God (1 Nephi 13:37). They get baptized and help others do the same (John 3:5). On and on. Commandments are God trying to help us see how He sees. After MLC, Elder Noall and I came back to Lake Charles for the night. Elder Hobbs and Elder Blackburn stayed in our apartment in Welsh.

Wednesday: We woke up at 5 and got ready so we could leave by 6 because we had a Zone Conference in Beaumont. That was a wonderful meeting as well. I learned a lot about prayer. The AP's did a skit where one of them was kneeling by a bed and the other was in the other room with a microphone and they had a conversation, the one kneeling by the bed acting as a missionary and the other being the voice of Heavenly Father. It really makes you think about what you say in your prayers. I'll try to get the script for you guys. Elder Hobbs and I reunited at Zone Conference, it was so great being able to spend a full day with Elder Noall! We got back to our area after Zone Conference just in time for dinner with a young family named the Caples. Then we came home.

Thursday: We had an awesome lesson at the Simien's home, and they invited a few friends, about prophets and compared them to a river rafting guide.

Friday: District Meeting was all about what was said at MLC. That night we went on exchanges with the Crowley Elders and I got to spend a day with Elder Heaps. He's an incredible missionary and we got to talk a lot about our concerns and our purpose that night.

Saturday: Elder Heaps and I found a new family to teach in a little town named Hayes. They are such a humble family and I'm so excited to be able to work with them!

Sunday: It was fast and testimony Sunday (all the members fast from food and drinks for 24 hours on the first Sunday every month and the main meeting during church services everyone has the opportunity to bear their testimony. There was a quiet period so I got up and recited our purpose as missionaries, "I have been called of Jesus Christ through inspiration to serve in the Texas Houston East Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will boldly invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I will stand for truth and return with honor. Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people that they might have everlasting life." It was really powerful.

That was our week. I love being a missionary, it's the best!

I love all of you. But I love Jesus Christ more. And this is where He wants me. So this is where I want to be.