Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 14, 2015

This week where do I begin... Well I made some sweet Tye dye stuff last Monday. That was really fun. Today I'm going downtown with some other elders. Tuesday we had Elder Arnold from the First Quorum of the Seventy come and talk to us. We had a 9 hour meeting with him on Tuesday. His wife, President Ballard, and Sister Ballard also spoke. The meeting was actually really good. Elder Arnold is hardcore. He can just glare straight into your soul and then use his glare to beat your soul to pieces. He would just call people out and ask them questions. It was super scary. We had to read a bunch of stuff in preparation for the meeting and he would ask people questions from what they read so it was a good thing we read it! He basically told us to quit being little children and stop trying to be the center of attention and grow up. He told us to solve our own problems. He told us to be men and women. He was seriously hardcore like I said before. He told us a story about when he was a mission president in South America. There was an earthquake and all the roads, airports, and any other transportation was closed. He had received a revelation that the missionaries should get two weeks worth of food before the earthquake hit so they were all hunkered down at their apartments and at least had food. President Packer called him and told him to get the missionaries out of there. He asked President Packer how if all the roads and transportation are closed. President packer said "get on your knees, pray, and the Lord God will tell you. Goodbye" and he hung up the phone! It was a pretty crazy story.

Then on Friday my district got to go to the temple. It was amazing! The Portland temple is really awesome. Then yesterday we got to take a less active lady and her fiancé to the visitors center which is always an amazing experience. Plus the visitors center sisters are very attractive so that is also a bonus. All the elders want to be zone leader in Lake Oswego so that they can be over all of the visitors center sisters haha. This week was really great as far as missionary work goes. We have five nonmembers at sacrament meeting which is awesome. And we had quite a few less actives, who haven't been in a very long time, come. Also the sacrament meeting was really really good. The bishop had two people come up and share their testimony at the end and both their testimonies I think we're perfect for our investigators. We told that to the bishop and he said "imagine that, a bishop that is inspired..." He is a goofball. We also now have 12 progressing investigators! Some of them are progressing very slowly, but everyone is different and some people just need time. It's hard because as a missionary you just want them to be baptized because you know that it is going to bring them so much joy and peace. I've never seen a sad person at a baptism. I have, however, seen some people with no emotions smiling at baptisms. I'm really happy though because since I got here our progressing investigators have doubled. It has nothing to do with me by the way. It is just awesome how the Lord works. Also we found the other investigator that went missing last week. She came to church, so she wasn't scared off. I think she was just staying with her sister. I'm not sure though.

Brace yourself for this one. I sang with a group of missionaries at a baptism. I'm concerned with my well being. I've only been out a couple months and I'm already singing at baptisms. It's only downhill from here. I told the other missionaries that if my mom saw me singing at a baptism she might lose her lunch. Same thing goes for how many stinking salads I've eaten. I've eaten more salads in the  past two months then I have my whole life. It's ridiculous. Salad is not food. Why would anyone enjoy eating a salad? It doesn't make any sense.

Spiritual thought:
I want you all to look up 3 Nephi 11 in the Book of Mormon. That chapter is the account of Christ coming to the people in the Americas. It is a really good chapter and it fits this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Christ.

Love and miss you all,
Elder Garfield

Flooding Pictures

Over flowing creek! Almost to the road!

Another Pic of the flooded creek!

Flooded Farm!

December 7, 2015

This week was pretty darn good. We had a bunch of people cancel on us which was poopy, but we got over it. 3 of our investigators went MIA, but we found two of them haha. You can't escape two kids who have absolutely nothing else to do besides track you down. Today the rain is COMING DOWN. the stream next to the road is totally flooded. Almost over the road! It's supposed to rain Every single day this week so that is great. There is seriously a flood going on right now. The stream/river is almost up to people's houses. This letter is going to be kinda short because not much happened this week. Our investigators are doing well. Found a couple new people who will hopefully keep wanting to hear about the gospel. Today we had a tie dye party and that was super fun. Brother rice provided the tie dye and we just had to get some shirts and I did some sweatpants too. They are pretty awesome. The butt cheeks have bulls eyes on them haha. Sorry my letter is pretty lame this week. Nothing super out of the ordinary happened. So here is your spiritual thought. Also I will attach pics of the flood because it is pretty serious.

Spiritual thought:

"Joseph Smith’s actions when he was seeking for wisdom are a perfect example of what it means to have an honest heart. He said he wanted to know which of the sects was true so “that [he] might know which to join.” Even before he prayed, he was ready to act upon the answer he would receive.

       We must ask in faith and with an honest heart. But that is not all. We must also believe that we will receive the revelation. We must trust the Lord and have hope in His promises. Remember what is
written: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”What a wonderful promise!

        I invite all to seek truth from any of these methods but especially from God through personal revelation. God will reveal truth to those who seek for it as prescribed in the scriptures. It requires more effort than to just search the Internet, but it is worth it.

        I bear my testimony that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. I have seen its fruits in communities and in the lives of many thousands, including family members; thus I know it is true. I have also tried the word in my life for many years, and I have felt its effects on my soul; thus I know it is true. But most important, I have learned of its truthfulness for myself by revelation through the power of the Holy Ghost; thus I know it is true. I invite all of you to do the same. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

More important than praying is praying with real intent. There are prayers I say that I don't think make it past the ceiling. That being said, it is important to pray whether or not you want to or are praying with real intent. However, if you are going to pray anyway, you may as well pray with meaning. Ask for things you most desire and give thanks for the things you are truly grateful for. God actually hears your prayers so tell him what you want to know.

I love you all. I miss you all. Have a great week.

Elder Garfield

Friday, December 4, 2015

Updated Pictures

Peace signing with Elder Itufia!

Elder Casey and I are hanging out with the donkeys! 

Taking a pic with the 1st Presidency!
Our District!

November 30, 2015

This week was a blur. I was a Little bit homesick this week because you guys went to the dunes without me! The missionary work wasn't as busy this week because of thanksgiving, but it was still pretty good. We have 9 progressing investigators and 5 of them have baptismal dates. And we got a couple new investigators hopefully. We talked to a Salvation Army bell ringer while we bought groceries today and she wants to meet with the missionaries which is pretty neat. Tis the season I guess. We talked to a less active lady a couple days ago and she was so super rude and it made me kinda angry, but I got over it in about ten minutes. Her son let us into her house and went and got her. We asked if we could share a quick video about keeping Christ in Christmas. She said she already does that. I guess she goes to an evangelical church now, but she was really rude about it. We went on
exchanges this week so I went with elder itufia and elder smith went with the elder Anderson. Elder Anderson is elder itufias green that he is training. It was really fun. I love elder itufia. We talked to Francis the ninja and he is far from being converted, but he said that he loves Mormons now and that he loves us. We helped him feed his two donkeys and got him fire wood because he hurt his knee and is on crutches. He crashed his motorcycle in his driveway and dislocated his knee. He told us that survivor man from discovery channel is going to come talk to him in January so he wants us to help clean his place up. Get this. Survivor man wants to talk to him because he tracks Sasquatches and survivor man wants to learn from him. He told us all this stories about Sasquatches and what not. It was hilarious. I 100% believe in Sasquatches now. He told us he has been 30 yards away from
them before. It was great. I was thinking of me and dad yelling in the woods in Yellowstone trying to make people think there were
Sasquatches out there. Other than that nothing crazy happened. On thanksgiving we played soccer with some members and ate a ton of food. And we went to another part member families house for a second dessert. It was great. We found out we are going to eat with the Christensens on Christmas which is awesome. They are such a nice family. Oh and we went to a ninjitsu class with brother Hughes. We learned all kinds of ninja moves so watch out hahaha.

Spiritual thought for the week:
This is from Elder Holland's April 2013 talk

    On one occasion Jesus came upon a group arguing vehemently with His disciples. When the Savior inquired as to the cause of this contention, the father of an afflicted child stepped forward, saying he had approached Jesus’s disciples for a blessing for his son, but they were not able to provide it. With the boy still gnashing his teeth, foaming from the mouth, and thrashing on the ground in front of them, the father appealed to Jesus with what must have been last-resort desperation in his voice:

    “If thou canst do any thing,” he said, “have compassion on us, and help us."

    “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

    “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

    This man’s initial conviction, by his own admission, is limited. But he has an urgent, emphatic desire in behalf of his only child. We are told that is good enough for a beginning. “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe,” Alma declares, “let this desire work in you, even until ye believe.” With no other hope remaining, this father asserts what faith he has and pleads with the Savior of the world, “If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.” I can hardly read those words without weeping. The plural pronoun us is obviously used intentionally. This man is saying, in effect, “Our whole family is pleading. Our struggle never ceases. We are exhausted. Our son falls into the water. He falls into the fire. He is continually in danger, and we are continually afraid. We don’t know where else to turn. Can you help us? We will be grateful for anything--a partial blessing, a glimmer of hope, some small lifting of the burden carried by this boy’s mother every day of her life.”

    “If thou canst do any thing,” spoken by the father, comes back to him “If thou canst believe,” spoken by the Master.

    “Straightway,” the scripture says--not slowly nor skeptically nor cynically but “straightway”--the father cries out in his unvarnished parental pain, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” In response to new and still partial faith, Jesus heals the boy, almost literally raising him from the dead, as Mark describes the incident.

    With this tender scriptural record as a backdrop, I wish to speak directly to the young people of the Church--young in years of age or young in years of membership or young in years of faith. One way or another, that should include just about all of us.

    Observation number one regarding this account is that when facing the challenge of faith, the father asserts his strength first and only then acknowledges his limitation. His initial declaration is affirmative and without hesitation: “Lord, I believe.” I would say to all who wish for more faith, remember this man! In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent of this boy’s affliction or this parent’s desperation is going to come to all of us. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. It was of this very incident, this specific miracle, that Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue--it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.

    The second observation is a variation of the first. When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.” That is like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak! Let me be clear on this point: I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.

    Furthermore, you have more faith than you think you do because of what the Book of Mormon calls “the greatness of the evidences.” “Ye shall know them by their fruits,” Jesus said, and the fruit of living the gospel is evident in the lives of Latter-day Saints everywhere. As Peter and John said once to an ancient audience, I say today, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard,” and what we have seen and heard is that “a notable miracle hath been done” in the
lives of millions of members of this Church. That cannot be denied.

    Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.

    So be kind regarding human frailty--your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work. As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fulness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all. Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving.

    Last observation: When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help. If we want it as humbly and honestly as this father did, we can get it. The scriptures phrase such earnest desire as being of “real intent,” pursued “with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God.” I testify that in response to that kind of importuning, God will send help from both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief.

    I said I was speaking to the young. I still am. A 14-year-old boy recently said to me a little hesitantly, “Brother Holland, I can’t say yet that I know the Church is true, but I believe it is.” I hugged that boy until his eyes bulged out. I told him with all the fervor of
my soul that belief is a precious word, an even more precious act, and he need never apologize for “only believing.” I told him that Christ Himself said, “Be not afraid, only believe,” a phrase which, by the way, carried young Gordon B. Hinckley into the mission field. I told this boy that belief was always the first step toward conviction and that the definitive articles of our collective faith forcefully reiterate the phrase “We believe.” And I told him how very proud I was of him for the honesty of his quest.
    Now, with the advantage that nearly 60 years give me since I was a newly believing 14-year-old, I declare some things I now know. I know that God is at all times and in all ways and in all circumstances our loving, forgiving Father in Heaven. I know Jesus was His only perfect child, whose life was given lovingly by the will of both the Father and the Son for the redemption of all the rest of us who are not perfect. I know He rose from that death to live again, and because He did, you and I will also. I know that Joseph Smith, who acknowledged that he wasn’t perfect, was nevertheless the chosen instrument in God’s hand to restore the everlasting gospel to the earth. I also know that in doing so--particularly through translating the Book of Mormon--he has taught me more of God’s love, of Christ’s divinity, and of priesthood power than any other prophet of whom I have ever read, known, or heard in a lifetime of seeking. I know that President Thomas S. Monson, who moves devotedly and buoyantly toward the 50th anniversary of his ordination as an Apostle, is the rightful successor to that prophetic mantle today. We have seen that mantle upon him again in this conference. I know that 14 other men whom you sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators sustain him with their hands, their
hearts, and their own apostolic keys.

    These things I declare to you with the conviction Peter called the “more sure word of prophecy.” What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine. I know this work is God’s very truth, and I know that only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path. Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I don't think I need to say much more than that.

Love you all,
Elder Garfield

ps If you want to send me a package for Christmas or anything else, transfers are on the 28th. If you are sending it to my apartment, it needs to be here before that. Otherwise, please send it to the mission home priority and they can forward it to me. Thank you all so much.

November 23, 2015 "Sup"

It didn't rain the past two days which is a Christmas miracle!

I'll start out with a couple funny stories. I have to read my letter from last week to make sure I am not repeating anything because these last two weeks have kinda blended together.

Nevertheless, it came to pass that we were doing service for this older gentleman who was in the Korean War and this other guy who was in the Iraq war was helping us out as well. They were both characters. We were talking to the younger guy who served in Iraq and we got talking about his neighbors. One of his neighbors is brother Henderson and Kayla. We teach Kayla and brother Henderson is so crazy and he is old.

Then he says

"yeah the old guy with no teeth and a glass eye? I hate that guy. And his granddaughter... Kayla? She's a little s($t. She used to play with my kids, then one day I told her they couldn't play. SHE PROCEEDED TO LEAVE MY HOUSE AND TAKE A PISS IN MY FRONT YARD! I couldn't get the grass to grow there for two years! I don't know what she eats or what is in her digestive system, but it ain't good."

Needless to say I was laughing hysterically. He also told us he would take us to a juice bar(whore house) he said we would like the bottom and maybe like the upstairs. Then He explained the ground floor was women and the top floor was men. We told him we would pass, but thanks for the offer haha.

Then earlier in the week we were visiting this super old guy who is 90 something. We showed him a little video and there was a black guy in it. He goes "what? How'd this guy get in here?" He legitimately thought that black people still couldn't have the priesthood. I was like seriously? How long have you been sitting inside your house? It was pretty crazy. As far as missionary work goes. It's going. We taught 20 lessons this week. We taught 10 just to less actives because half our ward is inactive. We set a baptismal date with a little girl named Anya. She is 8 so it won't count as a baptism for us or the mission, but we are counting it. We taught this one less active and he is an older guy. Probably in his 60s. We looked him up on Facebook and his profile pic is a picture of him with this woman wearing short shorts and a bikini top. We were dying laughing. I have another funny
companion story.

*Rock flipped up underneath the car.

Companion: what was that?
Me: probably a rock flipped up underneath the car.
Companion: it sounded like it bounced around like it got sucked into
the engine or something..
Me: (face to Palm) (what would Steve Macky say if he were here right
now?) yeah something like that

If you are reading this and it doesn't make sense I'll explain. A rock can't get sucked into the engine and if it did it wouldn't bounce around and fall out of the exhaust. It would destroy the engine. I thought that was pretty funny. I've been getting along better with my compadre. Maybe he is different or I'm different, but I don't care because we are getting along a bit better.

Spiritual thought:
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that
ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves--It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.

30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.

31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.

32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
-Alma 32

Faith isn't knowing everything. You don't need to know everything about the gospel with a surety in order to believe it. The best way to build your faith in the gospel is to live it. If you feel better
reading your scriptures then keep doing it. If you don't have a testimony of prayer. Pray. If you don't have a testimony of tithing. Pay it. The witness of its truth and divinity will often come after
the trial of your faith. If you received a witness of all things there would be no faith. If you knew without doubt that the church was 100% true, then you would have no need for faith. Plant your seed of faith. Try living the gospel standards and see if the lord won't pour out a
blessing upon you that there won't be room enough to receive it.

Love you,
Elder Garfield

Ps. I'm super jealous right now

November 16, 2015

We set a baptismal date for a guy who has been investigating for over a year. We were super excited. He decided he wants to get baptized in February. Which is a long time away, but as long as he gets baptized I'm okay with it. We also got permission from this girls mom to let her get baptized once she understands everything and can answer the baptismal questions. Which is huge because 7 weeks ago she wouldn't even stay in the same room as the missionaries because she hated them
so much. She told us that we are the only two missionaries she has ever liked so get on our level haha. This area is pretty awesome because in comparison to the other areas people are much more receptive to the gospel. We went and did service with the elders from the other ward for the crazy guy who thinks he is a ninja. We tried to teach him, but it is seriously impossible because he is so crazy. He read a lot of the Book of Mormon and I'm pretty sure he didn't grasp everything because this is what he told us. 

"The Lehi guy leaves all his s$&/ and goes into the wilderness and then he comes back and he's all pissed off because his S$&t is gone so he finds that drunk guy and cuts his head off and steals all his s$&/ and his genealogy and whatever... Do you realized how f$&/3& up that is!?"

He was so mad hahaha. We tried to explain it, but it is no use. He is too crazy haha. He told us all about how messed up it is that we think we are "gods chosen people" and how the Jews thought that and look hot it turned out for them. In his mind he thinks he is teaching us and helping us find the truth. Then he talked about the Cherokee Indians. And this guy is as white as I am and he kept taking about how corrupt the white man is. He told us his mom was engaged to a former president of the us and his grandpa was a tracker on the trail of tears. It all sounds far fetched coming from a self proclaimed ninja. Anyway that was pretty funny. Transfers are today and nothing is changing for me.
Elder Casey is leaving to be district leader somewhere and Elder Itufia will be training so I won't be the newest guy in the district anymore. So that's basically that.

I have a hilarious story about my dingus companion. He was driving last night and he sucks at driving I think I mentioned that before. So we past the house we were going to. It was pitch black outside because Oregon city doesn't really have a lot of street lights. I told him to just turn into this road and turn around. He drives past the road and then decides to still turn onto it. It was a gravel road and has a three foot gutter type thing on either side of it. So he turned onto it and the right front wheel dropped into the gutter and the car was on two wheels hahahahha! I was laughing so hard haha. So the car teetered for a second and then it balanced out and he made it onto the road haha. The car has no immediate noticeable damage, but we will see if it starts leaking. I was cracking up because it is just sweet justice since he thinks he is the best driver under the sun because "he was a pizza delivery driver". I still pray for patience everyday haha.

Spiritual thought:

"11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
-Matthew chapter 9

Remember Jesus didn't come to call the righteous to repentance. We all sin so there is no reason to judge someone else because they sin differently than us. It would be better for the chapel to be filled to capacity smelling like a bar than to have two rows full of "righteous" people. Be accepting of everyone especially at church because it is pretty likely that it was difficult for them to come because they feel unworthy. No one is unworthy to go to church. No one is unworthy to pray. No one is unworthy to feel welcome and accepted by church members. We all make mistakes and that is the beauty of the gospel and the atonement. We can be freed from the feelings of guilt, shame, and
unworthiness through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Love you,
Elder Garfield

Friday, November 13, 2015

November 9, 2015

This week was pretty awesome. We taught 21 lessons which is pretty darn good for the area. The standard of excellence for the mission is 20 lessons a week. We will hopefully commit somebody to baptism tonight. We found out today that our zone is leading the mission in stats. Numbers are everything haha just kidding. We lost an investigator yesterday. She said she doesn't want us to come back, but she will come around eventually. When she doesn't have two slaves to come do service every week and doesn't have two guys for her to wine and cry to. We went to a fireside last night where Jim bean spoke. He was the guy in charge of securing and choosing the spot for the temple. He has met personally every prophet that was alive when he was. He does a lot of the legal work for the church properties. He remembers everything. It's crazy. Yesterday we visited the guy who takes care of his granddaughter because they weren't at church. She and her grandma were sick. Marley is the little girls name. She is the one who is special needs because her mom did heroine. She was sick and kept on touching Elder Smith. And then she asked if he was sick and he said not yet. Then she asked me if I was sick and I said I don't think so, but she didn't touch me. So brother rice (the grandpa) said "well we know who the Angels are looking out for. Did you notice she didn't touch Elder Garfield". It was super funny. Last pday we went to downtown Portland and went to voodoo donuts and what not. We went to the Scientology church and talked to them. We took their personality test and they told us all about how Scientology could help us. It was super funny. They basically have you take a personality test, alter the results to make you feel bad about yourself, and then tell you how Scientology can help your nonexistent problems. They tried to sell us their dianetics book haha. They were like "Scientology can help you be a better missionary". So that was basically my downtown experience hahaha.

Spiritual thought for the week
By elder holland

       May I refer to a modern “last days” testimony? When Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum started for Carthage to face what they knew would be an imminent martyrdom, Hyrum read these words to comfort the heart of his brother:

     “Thou hast been faithful; wherefore … thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

     “And now I, Moroni, bid farewell … until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ.”

       A few short verses from the 12th chapter of Ether in the Book of Mormon. Before closing the book, Hyrum turned down the corner of the page from which he had read, marking it as part of the everlasting testimony for which these two brothers were about to die. I hold in my hand that book, the very copy from which Hyrum read, the same corner of the page turned down, still visible. Later, when actually incarcerated in the jail, Joseph the Prophet turned to the guards who held him captive and bore a powerful testimony of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Shortly thereafter pistol and ball would take the lives of these two testators.

     As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest--and last--hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had
fictitiously created out of whole cloth?

     Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their
children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they
know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

     For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history--perhaps like no other book in any
religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died--from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of
these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”

Make sure you anchor your faith in the divinity of the Book of Mormon. As you do that your testimony of every other aspect of the gospel will grow. Don't anchor your faith in church policy, church leaders, or friends/parents in the church. The only way to remain a faithful unwavering servant of the Lord is to gain a testimony for yourself of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

Love you,
Elder Garfield

Monday, November 2, 2015

Fun Stories

A little girl who's dad/grandpa we teach was trying to give us some pennies so we were trying to explain that we can't accept money or presents. Her dad said you can only give the God squad presents on their birthday or Christmas. She pointed to our tags and said “this means you don't get monies?". Yep basically haha. Or ladies for that matter. She was a drug baby so she has special needs(visually impaired and anxiety that leads to seizures) and that's why her grandpa takes care of her. Elder smith gave her one of his tags and she ran around and was yelling "now I'm in the God squad". So cute.

We did service for this older gentleman this week. We moved boxes and stuff around in his garage trying to help him organize. He was a borderline hoarder. We were with the elders from the other ward. Elder Itufia and Casey. The guy was nice, but had so much random stuff. He had 3 boxes full of old mail. He had soooo many "collectible” books and some pictures of Elvis that he said were worth $20,000, but they were in the bottom of a random box so I'm not so convinced. Elder Itufia and I were going through one of his boxes and there were playboy books in there. So we quickly put them in a bag and Elder Itufia told me to go ask him where he wants them. I said,  “Heck no!" haha and so we just threw them in a random box. Then we were laughing about it and we were wondering if those were collectible too haha.

We did a blitz in the sisters area so we traded companions and all tracted in their area for 2 hours. I was with elder Casey. We went to where the sisters wanted us to go and knocked doors for 2 hours. We got straight up rejected at every door we went to. A couple people just opened the door and slammed it so we would walk away and say "okay telestial kingdom" haha. Then someone would open the door and say "in revelations it says you can't add to the bible" well sir did you know that revelations wasn't the last book written chronologically, so technically they added to the bible. It also says that in the Old Testament, but then the New Testament came along. All we are asking you to do is read and pray about the Book of Mormon. "No! I know it is a lie". Oh really. Have you ever read it? "No”. Interesting. Have a nice day. Is there anything we can do for you? "No!" Door slams deadbolt locks. "Maybe terrestrial kingdom" haha. Then we saw this car pull up to the mailboxes and this young attractive girl gets out of the passenger seat to get the mail. So we decided that she for sure needs the gospel. We went and talked to her about the Book of Mormon and stuff and she was trying to get her mail as fast as possible. And her mom rolled down the window of the car to see what we were telling her daughter. It was way awkward haha.

I heard that my letter was too short last week so sorry about that. I always forget what happened during the week right as I start my letter. I haven't really talked much about the people we teach so here ya go. We have 6 progressing investigators. Progressing meaning they are keeping commitments like "will you read the intro to the Book of Mormon this week". Two of them have baptismal dates. They hopefully quit smoking, but we will find out tonight. If they did quit we will baptize them this Saturday. We have two other investigators meaning that they are not keeping commitments. So we are doing pretty well. We are still trying to find new investigators, but it's always a challenge.

Let me know how you are all doing and if you have any questions.

Spiritual thought for the week:

    "Some time ago while visiting Australia, I traveled to a beautiful horseshoe bay renowned for its surfing. As I walked along the beach, I was enthralled by the magnificence of the large crashing waves breaking just outside the bay and the smaller waves rolling in closer to shore.

            As I continued my stroll, I encountered a group of American surfers. They were obviously upset about something, talking loudly and gesturing toward the sea. When I asked them what was wrong, they pointed to just outside the bay where the big waves were breaking.

            “Look out there,” one of them angrily told me. “Can you see the barrier?” Looking more closely now, I could indeed see a barrier stretching across the entire mouth of the bay, right where the large, enticing waves were breaking. The barrier appeared to be made of a heavy mesh and was supported by floats on top of the water. According to the surfers, it dropped all the way down to the ocean floor.

            The American surfer continued, “We are here on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to surf these big waves. We can surf the smaller ones breaking within the bay itself, but the barrier makes it impossible for us to surf the big ones. We have no idea why the barrier is there. All we know is that it has totally spoiled our trip.”

            As the American surfers became more animated, my attention was drawn to another nearby surfer--an older man and obviously a local. He seemed to be growing impatient as he listened to the ever-increasing complaints about the barrier.

            Finally he rose and walked over to the group. Without saying anything, he pulled a pair of binoculars from his backpack and handed them to one of the surfers, pointing out toward the barrier. Each of the surfers looked through the binoculars. When my turn came, with the help of magnification, I could see something that I had not been able to see before: dorsal fins—large sharks feeding near the reef on the other side of the barrier.

            The group quickly became subdued. The old surfer retrieved his binoculars and turned to walk away. As he did, he said words I will never forget: “Don’t be too critical of the barrier,” he said. “It’s the only thing that’s keeping you from being devoured.”

Remember the commandments keep us safe even when they seem to be keeping us from having a good time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Another Good Week

Hey! What is up? This week was pretty awesome. No new investigators, but one of our investigators started keeping commitments so that is good. We visited a bunch of less actives and recent converts. We did a bunch of service. 9 hours each so 18 hours of labor combined. Not bad for a weeks work. We went and did service for some crazy old guy who thinks he is an expert in martial arts. He thinks the years of Jesus Christ's life that aren't in the bible were when Jesus was studying martial arts haha. He taught us some stuff so I'm basically a ninja now. He has two pet donkeys and they were super friendly. Nobody yelled at us this week. Probably because we didn't go tracting haha. We actually did a little bit of tracting, but 10/10 of the doors we knocked on didn't answer. So we went and visited less actives. Spiritual thought for the week. "because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished."-1 nephi 17 don't over complicate the gospel. It is so simple. Go to church. Pray. Read. And everything else will fall into place. You don't need to know deep doctrine to gain salvation. Just root your testimony in the basic things like the Book of Mormon. Anyway. Let me know how you are doing.

Elder Garfield

Ps I loved the pics you sent me throughout the week. And the video of the primary kids being indoctrinated haha. Let me know if you have questions

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Importand Stuff Right Here

October 19, 2015

Hey hey hey. Hope everyone has had a great week. I had a lot of fun
this week. I went on exchanges and tracted in the Oregon city projects
at night. It was pretty sketchy and ghetto, but it wasn't too bad and
no one got stabbed. We hung out with the hood rat kids at the park and
answered some questions they had about missionaries. I gave them a
Book of Mormon so they could read it when they were done smoking haha.
Tracting is so fun, but terrible at the same time. Some guy was going
off about Mormons and their star full of concubines that they get when
they die. I'd never heard of that, but it sounds pretty sweet and one
guy told us to burn in hell for trying to talk to him about family
history. I know Family history is boring, but chill. It's not that
bad. Anyway, we had a baptism on Saturday. It was super duper awesome.
The lady we baptized was actually smiling which is rare for her. Then
she was confirmed on Sunday. Hopefully we can get our other
investigators to commit to baptism. I always have lots of cool things
I want to share, but I forget before I write the email so forgive me.
I had a dinner appointment in a tree-house so that was new for me. And
we are actually going back today to get our haircut in a tree-house so
that will also be new for me. I attached a pic of the tree-house. It's
all low quality because it was almost dark so my bad. I also attached
a pic of a sweet selfie I took with elder Casey and a horse while we
were tracting. I'll get more pictures on my Facebook eventually. It's
annoying because we aren't allowed to use Facebook on our iPads so I
have to go to the family history center to do it. If you have any
questions let me know because I forgot what I wrote last week and I'm
sure I am forgetting something. Also I can read emails throughout the
week, but I can't respond until Monday's. So if you have a ton of
questions send an email earlier in the week so I have plenty of time
to think about it. Thank you.

Love you,
Elder Garfield