Monday, October 27, 2014

The Book of Mormon particularly teach all men to do good/ knowledge is often or always is one of the blessings of obedience

I loved this week but it went by way too fast.
Early in the week we were out at this one apartment complex with brother Ajayi (he's a member from Nigeria and he's really awesome). we saw some kids playing street soccer. Brother Ajayi had to talk to them. He loves soccer. He played soccer in Nigeria professionally division 1. Later that night with him we went and saw a guy named Mike. He's a cool older guy. We were able to talk about the blessings of the restoration and eternal families. Brother Ajayi has such a good testimony. It was really spiritual. Later during the week We had some other really good lessons. On Friday we had sister ward out with us to teach a lady named Lauren. She really liked having sister ward there. They were able to talk a lot and relate a lot during the lesson. Things work out so good in missionary work when members are involved. We're really focusing on doing that in the work in this ward. We have at least one member lined up to come out each day this week. Our ward is really supportive. We also have a really awesome ward mission leader. On Saturday we helped 2 people move and on the second one we crossed paths with another guy who was moving so we helped him move a few things and got his info to come teach him later. He was a really awesome guy. It's cool how you can always find ways to do missionary work. Some people think you need to be out proselyting or wearing a white shirt and tie to do it but I've noticed that successful missionaries have a missionary attitude and you don't have to be a full-time missionary to have that attitude. One of the members that was moving with us is really good at having that personality. He just talks with everyone and somehow the gospel seems to have came up when I heard him doing this. He's awesome.
The other night we were out trying some people and as we walked by this guy he yelled out, "do y'all get payed?" We told him that we volunteer and that we were missionaries and then he started asking more and more questions and we started to notice he wasn't really sincere in them--more just trying to argue. As we talked and he asked the questions in an argumentative way we were actual able to answer them all really well and he stumbled over his words a bit and got frustrated and after a little more talk he walked away. He left upset and didn't seem to have listened to the testimonies we had given him or the invitations. We left a bit confused at why or how people could be so full of anger. Elder Chamberlain said he noticed that the guy was recording the conversation on his phone I think he was thinking he would ask us really hard questions and go and post it on his facebook or something...  I guess it was kind of funny. One thing I was thinking about though is just that even the simple testimony that comes from a witness of the Holy Ghost can confound the world and cannot be taken away by anyone. I think it's in 1 cor. 2 probably verses 8-12 or something that talks about how the things of God are taught through the Spirit of God. The gospel is so good and if studied and applied it only brings greater inner peace and a greater understanding of God and His plan and His love for us. It brings so much good! It's odd how much opposition there is against it. I love chapter 33 of 2 nephi verses 10 through the rest of the chapter. Nephi puts it well when he says that the teachings of the Book of Mormon particularly teach all men to do good. I hope just like he did that everyone can learn these things and have the blessings that come from them. here are a few good scriptures on my mind:John 12:35-36; D&C 50:24; 93:28; Alma 12:9-10; 1 Nephi 10:19.
well, love y'all!
Elder Russell

So this week was good, I ate crocodile and parana they are both good. if they didnt tell me what they were i would think they were just meat and fish
 we find dead frogs on the road all the time. it is still pretty hot here i think they said it was 51 degrees celcius about a week ago, yeah i guess they do know what Halloween is here they just dont do very much and not everyone knows about it, today we carved watermelons, they have a ton of interesting fruits here and the nice thing is they are almost ripe so we will be able to eat mangos and things when we walk down the street, a couple of days ago me and my companion grabbed a fruit from a tree because we didnt know what it was and are hands are blue still from touching it!! All is good.
I know that we all have a Heavenly Father or He has us because we are part of His plan, we can live the way He wants us to or use our agency to mess ourselves up but we won´t mess up the plan, the only bad we can do to others is temporary and the good we do can last forever. This week I have learned more just like every week here. I would say I learn more when I try to obey more, I think knowledge is often or always is one of the blessings of obedience.yeah that reminds me of a scripture in D and C 93:28 I think that is the one thing that goes well with that. Elder Francis M. Lyman taught: “Every Latter-day Saint is entitled to this witness and testimony. If we have not received [it] … the fault is ours, and not the Lord’s; for every one is entitled to that witness through faith and repentance, forsaking all sin, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the reception of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands. Now, if any of our brethren and sisters have lived for years without really knowing, being thoroughly satisfied and thoroughly convinced, just as positive as of anything in life, that this work is of God, if they have lacked that witness and testimony it is their fault, for it is not possible for a man to do the will of the Father and not know the doctrine.” I think that would be really cool if everyone knew that, they are the ones who put in the effort, Heavenly Father never leaves you it is always us who have to choose to leave. I have seen that in a few of the people we have been teaching, I feel the Spirit prompt me often as I teach and I see often that what I think is not nearly as good as what the Spirit prompts me to do in teaching. I am beginning to see more that the plan includes many chances for us to learn, we just have to exercise faith. Being a missionary is actually simpler than many people think you basically just have to invite people. 
Well I love you all,
Elder Seffker

Monday, October 20, 2014

families can be so happy from this gospel / hang on to your testimony

So I guess it wasn't too long since I emailed last so I'll just give a little update.
We had a pretty funny thing happen last night. It was pretty late but we had time to try one more person and so we went to go see this guy named Leon who had requested a Bible. He soon pulled out his "family bible that [had been] passed down from generation to generation" (but it probably wasn't more than 30 years old at most). It was the king james version special edition--blackness in the bible. We were looking through it with him and he was telling us all the things he learned from it that most people didn't know. It was pretty interesting. haha, just ask me about it after my mission cuz I can't say it all on here. I am so glad we have the Book of Mormon along with the Bible to confirm important truths. I love the gospel. Recently I have been extra committed to reading the Book of Mormon and studying it each day. I love that Book!
The other day we had this awesome member out with us named brother Ajai. He's from Nigeria. I could tell when I first met him and from special skills I gained back in my first area of the mission I asked him, "do you speak Yoruba?" He was really excited and said, "Yes! How you know that?!" We loved being out with him. He is so positive. we have been spending some good time with the members. Yesterday we had out two youth with us and got to teach some people with them. The other day we met with a family from the ward and they are so awesome! They remind me of y'all. They have 8 kids in there family under 16. They are an awesome family. Elder Chamberlain and I were talking about them after and we were just thinking that families can be so happy from this gospel. oh and that reminds me of the Alexanders. Their confirmation went so good! Brother Alexander also was ordained a priest on Sunday. They told us they didn't know they could ever be this happy as a family. They loved that Book of Mormon that was sent. Thanks.
Well, I love y'all! The gospel is great. I know it's true. We can learn more about who we are, about how to become better men and women, and how to have greater joy in this gospel than any other source in the world from this gospel.
Love, Elder Russell

Hello how is it going the s key works so this should make some more sense. It looks like you went rock climbing I hope you all had fun. So about packages and letters like I have said they come usually in 6 week periods because we live about 4 hours from the mission home, so the last letter I read was the one where Jared went to RYLA camp, when I got that letter I also got one at the same time that was of him asking what RYLA was like ha ha. 
You want to know what the houses are like here, well they are just like Elder Russel´s new apartment, just kidding!!!
no actually they are pretty simple, most have doors at least around here, lots of them are made from wood and some sort of cement or bricks, most of the houses have floors. mostly houses are for living here, when they want to do something fun they usually go out side and play. I wouldnt say that there is tremendous poverty here, most people have the basics and are pleased with that.  
So do a lot of people here drink? yep they tend to waist time here drinking beer on the weekends, at least a lot of them and then pretty much everyone drinks another thing called dedede. Its a combination of water and this sort of herb which is pretty much grass. they waist time just like people in america waist time watching t.v. and other things like that. actually a lot of them have a small t.v. too. yep a lot of people with smart phones live in dirt floor houses. 
   Also thanks for writing your testimonies on your letters too, it seems like you have a good testimony of Joseph Smith, hang on to your testimony.  I miss you amigo Johnny but before you know it you´ll be on a mission too. so they tell me that your doing good stuff, just keep doing what you have been if you follow to close in the footsteps of the person in front of you, it is impossible to see what is happening, I think you are doing good at following Jesus Christ, I love to read the testimonies on your letters, He is the only person you can trace the footsteps and never mess up. I think you are a good example of that John. Scott If I could give myself advise for when I was your age I might say just relax and be yourself, the important things will come from good choices. what is funny is at that time the Spirit prompted me with that same advice, something that I didnt really understand at that time, to be yourself is super important, I know you are smart enough to understand my advice probably better than I did, so yeah there you go. keep on doing good things, that is really good that you are doing drawing lessons now with Becca I know those are things that get remembered, remember that. Are you accustomed to your new living quarters now, its pretty nice to have your own pad eh?  
Family thanks for your letters and praying for me so much, in a way that is like missionary work because you are helping a missionary. well love you guys  Elder Seffker

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

sshare our testimonies / He loves his family so much.

well how are you doing, I am doing good, right now I am typing on a ssssskeyboard that is broken so everys time I hit the sss keys than it typesss a ton of sss sssso ssss. thanks for sending pictures it is fun to see how you sguys are doing, you must be getting ready for halloween, they don´t do that here I am not sure what they sssssssssssssdoss sbut I dont really like candy that much anyways. this week has sbeen a good one sa couple of days ago I sgot to be a witness for a baptism, I scould sfeel the ssSpirits befores the ssbaptism then in church the next day we got to see her get confirmed. sMosms sorry sI swill buy a cameara soon ssI just need to find one  ssssyesterday ssssI ssaw ssa pretty cool thing the moon was completely red, we were helping a sister with her suitcases at night because she is going home today and her bus left at 11:30 something interesting was that searlier that day well actually I will tell you later but that is one of the signs of the times and its seems there are many that are happening and have happened. It is really a cool thing that we can live now and sshare our testimonies of the gospel as ssthe second coming is getting close,  This week has been a good learning experience for me sssssssssssI ss am learning to focus more on others and the Lord blesses me as I sdo this. sjust the other day we were out contacting and we went up to a house and clapped( they sdont knock here they clap) and no one was theres but sI shad a feeling to cross the street, I sloosked over and there were some speople talking at the house across the street, they were talking in Guarani so sit sounded like stwo old people ssfighting ssssbuts we swalked around athe tree and saw these three sprobaby ssssss18 or sso year old gusys sbrake dancing on some cardboard in their yard, sssthey must of been pretty good because my companion said something and then sone of them sjust jumped up and did a back flip ssshe sdid sssnt even have to run or anything it was cool and suprising ssbut i feel like wwhen syou are a missionary you slearn to expect the usnexpected things more, ansywasy sssssssssssssss we started to talk to them about the Restoration and they seemed pretty sssssreceptivesssss, swe have taught some people ssjust like that also this week. Yesterday ssssssssssswe taught a bunch of ddrunk guys in about a ten minitue lesson because they just could not listen very ssmuch ha ha it swas sssssssort of funny ssssssbut smabye it stinks when you see people waisting money to make themselves look and act wsorse, hopefullsy they read some of the spamplets that swes gave thems, they each asked for one. the gospel helps with all problems, we also taught a family, it was actually more like three adults but I thinsk they are relateds, it was a really great lesson, Ism pretty sure it was syesterday that we taught it. sssssssssss one of them shad a beer too ha ha but his daughter walked ssby and knocked it over on accidentssssssssssss, he didnt sseem the care though, I swonder if it is because he was feeling the Spirit. s
sssssssssso  just a couple of days ago we bought some watermelons from this lady, I was thinking wow carrying these watermelons all the way to our appartment is rough but it will all be worth it because we can eat these pslus its missionary work ssbecause she is less active haa ha. so when we started to eat them the first half was good but sby the time we were able to eat the other halves it tasted like manyonase, sso leason learned dont refridgerate watermelons also another fun fact dont refridgerate bananas too. ssoh yeah yesterday I smade some banana milk stuff the recipie sis pretty rigourous but ill take the libery of explaining it if any of you advanced cooks want to attempt it. s1.s freeze some bannanas 2. ssssget some cold smilkss3. sblend them together 4. if your dad you add lots of cream or sugar 5. serve it up 
so sssssssssssssssshopefully Melissa can send me some recipies some time, there ahave been some instances when it would have been useful to know how to make bread or pancakes, actually walfless. ss
also another fun fact they have glow bugs shere the ssones I have seen are green. they also ahave a lot of frogs, you find them shriveled up on the road all the time. 
the church is true, it is cool to hear about the miracles and cool things going on with you all. hopefully I dont have to use this keyboard again. Love sysou Elder SSSSSeffker

One of Elder Russell's suitcases!! He loves to study!

The Alexander Family

So this last week for a little update I'll start by telling you where I got transferred to. I'm now in the Memorial Park 1st ward. We're the only missionaries in the ward and the ward is awesome! They are so solid. the members are on the ball in this ward. 
It was really hard to leave my last area though. I love those members and the people in that area. I've been there since December last year. That's a while. This will be my third area of the mission. So, this area is right next door to Herman park--which is the area I started my mission in and was in for a really long time. I love it! Seeing some of the familiar faces that i've missed will be soooo good! I know the area a little bit but some of it I'm still really really unfamiliar with. My area has a bit of downtown Houston in it and is mostly city. I love the area. Everything is great in it! IT was really hard to leave Elder Theis.  I love him. He was so good to serve with. We had the best time of our lives! My new companion is really awesome too. His name is Elder Chamberlain. He's from the Delta area of Utah. He's really mature so that might be good for me because i'm not really haha. He's a brand new missionary. He's older though. He's a genius. I think I'll learn a lot from him. We wants to work hard, he wants to be obedient, and has great desires. We're going to have a great time. 
I got to go back to my old ward on Sunday because of the Alexander's baptism (you get to go back for baptisms), and I'm actually going to go back this sunday too because they want me to confirm some of them too. I'll tell you how the baptism went. Really, looking back it seems like one of the most happy times of my life. It was such a good peaceful day. I don't think I'll ever forget all of us dressed in white there together. There was a lot of ward support and the service was good. The Alexanders were so ready and prepared for it. Brother Alexander is amazing. I love their whole family but he just has some of the greatest love I've ever seen someone have. He loves his family so much. I baptized Bobby and Donna and Elder Theis and Brother Hayes (a member) baptized the others. After each were baptized when we were getting ready to go back in the room where we were meeting we talked with Bobby. He felt the Spirit so much. I can't explain how incredible that was. When we met back together again we sang the song, "Nearer My God To Thee" for the closing hymn. Me and Elder Theis couldn't sing because of the emotions that were there. I don't think words could put how amazing that experience was but the music of that song described it best. I love that family. They are such a great example to anyone who will look at what they have done recently in their lives. They sincerely sought for truth and found it. They considered it, prayed about it, and when God showed them the path lighted up they followed it. It we could all be more like this amazing family the world would be zion. I love this gospel.
I don't have a ton of time to explain much more about the week now but I might have time next week haha.
We also had a seventy come this week. His name was Elder Schwitzer. He was great. He was really cheerful, that's what I noticed about him. He taught us some great stuff. Mom, sister Schwitzer said to tell you thanks for having me take piano lessons.

Monday, October 6, 2014

faith leads to obedience / I felt my thigh twitching a little bit

hello yeah I listened to conference in english it was all good.
did you like the talk by Elder Bednar, I liked that and the one by Lynn G Robbins they were all good though, When you are on a mission conference is really exciting, some people compare it to the super bowl. It sort of is like that, we all gather around the TV and start to cheer when someone drops the cane. ha ha except it is a bit different because when someone says something profound we all drop are heads to write it down. and the Spiritual parts are more intense than a football game.
This week has been a good one my Spanish has improved a bit, not a ton but as I have opened my mouth and the Spirit prompts me with things I know how to say. Even with my limited vocab, and when I listen to the Spirit my abilities increase. 
 It is funny, so much happens every week but when i look at the computer screen the week disappears I can´t remember anything.
One thing I do remember , yeah Daniel was baptized he is just working a lot now so it is really hard for him to make it to things like church and conference, sadly his dad tries to make sure he is at work and not church, but his dad is a nice person he just wants his son to work hard and help with the family. we actually are teaching him about the Priesthood now but he needs to go to church more. 
We have met a lot of good people and like you said I guess they don't understand for some reason they don't want to change, but we have also met a bunch of people that do want change, maybe for a lot of people they will change when the time is right.  Sort of like the church, I wonder if the church was restored when it was because the other times would not have worked right. I think also we are what makes the time right,  time doesn't matter to God in that sense we choose with our faith and our faith leads to obedience , sorry i don't have very much time now, love you 
Elder Seffker

Ya the Alexanders accepted a date! They are so prepared and amazing! They're getting baptized next sunday! I can't wait. I'm actually getting transferred. We found out Friday. I guess we almost expected it but it's pretty sad. Elder Theis and me have become best friends. I'll miss being his companion. It was really an amazing blessing that we got to be companions. The way we found out on Friday was because President called and told Elder Theis that he'll be training. That meant that I would be transferred. It's also sad because I've been in this ward since December! I love it! I love the people, the members the people on the streets... Its crazy to leave it. But I know the Lord has something good in a new area. We've loved this area. It's been amazing! I can't believe how many people God had prepared for us to teach and know. The Alexanders and Erica and Dennis and Lyndon and Michael are all going to be baptized in the coming weeks and I get to come back for each of them. (we can go back to an area to see the baptism of someone we had taught) So I hope to be coming back to this area a lot!
     This last week was awesome. I did a few exchanges with some other missionaries in the zone (that's when you switch companions for the day). I went first with an elder in his area. He's in a bike area and it rained really hard. My white handbook (the little white handbook we carry everywhere with us) is still a little wet in the pages. Things don't really dry very well here in Houston. On that day something kind of funny happened. When we had gotten out of the apartment after studies we got on our bikes and started riding down to the far point of his area (that's where the person we were going to try was). As we were riding I felt my thigh twitching a little bit. It was weird but I ignored it. I felt it again as we rode and so I slapped my leg. I felt something in my pants and thought, "oh this must be a big cockroach." I stopped and shook the darn thing out (or so I thought) and kept riding. We rode about 2 miles down the road to our destination and I felt the same twitch. I put my hand on it again and felt the cockroach again! I yelled to Elder Harrop and we stopped on the side of the road and I pinned the spot where the cockroach was in my pants on the front of my thigh and grabbed around it so it couldn't crawl anywhere. Then I asked Elder Harrop, "How am I going to get this thing out of here?!" he suggested that I roll up my pants from the bottom and grab it. I started to do so and realized that the roll got too tight to put my hand through (by the way the cockroach was a big one, probably 3 or 4 inches). I asked Elder Harrop  again for another suggestion and he said, "I guess you could try going through your front zipper." I decided that was the only option so here on the side of the road I put my hand through my zipper to grab it and realized that there was a layer of fabric that separated the roach from my hand. It was in between the two layers. I started to inch the thing down my leg and as I did that I realized this roach had a little head and a tail and then I poked it out of the bottom of my pant leg and realized it was a little lizard. Kinda weird huh? we were laughing so hard. haha I probably looked like an idiot, but oh well, we're missionaries. 
We also had a cool miracle. ... eh I'm outta time but I love y'all! Have a great week!
Elder Russell