Archive for February 2010

Great things by small means

February 20, 2010

Last week was pretty slow for Franklin and his companion, but they made it through nonetheless. Right now they are teaching an investigator named Alma who is hilarious. Her son, who’s in his late 20’s, attended the English ward last Sunday, so Franklin and Elder Anderson went with him which led to an interesting story: “…it was the noisiest sacrament meeting I’ve been to I think. Probably just because there were about 300 people in a stake center. But more important I was looking around and I saw this old man ,who Elder Cuevas and I had knocked into about 4 months earlier and dropped in a couple days because he wasn’t interested in hearing the gospel, just having two guys in his house, but there he was sitting in the back row! I asked Elder Whitney about him (English elder) and he said they had been referred to him through the zone leaders somehow. That man is 93 years old and kept calling us to help him arrange papers for selling his house and little things. He stopped calling, then three weeks later out of the blue he called again about his neighbors harassing him and stealing his things, and we said he needs to call his family or get help. He didn’t seem to be listening, So I gave him the number for the free Book of Mormon and let him go. Three weeks later he’s in church and getting ready to be baptized. He had a church tour, loves going to church and went on a family history tour. I had no idea that could happen.”

Franklin and his companion went on an exchange last Sunday with Isaiah Soto whose dad approached them in church and asked them to take his son out to some visits to keep Isaiah from getting into trouble. They had a visit with Alma “which went well, but Isaiah didn’t get a chance to do too much so I felt kinda bad. I saw a little of myself in him during the lesson, even though he doesn’t look it now he’ll be out there serving a mission someday.”

Another interesting thing Franklin mentioned was that sometimes keeping the commandments isn’t just for our own good but for the good of those around us. “I think when the Lord asks us to be diligent and keep commandments with exactness and things like that it’s not because our personal salvation might be so much at stake, but it could jeopardize somebody else’s when they don’t see someone living the gospel they say they’re living, or they should’ve felt a spirit that wasn’t there. The littlest things do missionary work too, we just don’t get the privilege of seeing it every time.” 1 Nephi 16: 28-29—by small means the Lord can bring about great things.

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Perseverance

February 4, 2010

Franklin’s first birthday out in the field was on the 25th of January. For those of you from church who were in his birthday video, he loved in and said it was “awesome.”

For the last three transfers, Franklin has been with the same companion, Elder Anderson. He is the oldest of six kids in his family and is very articulate and professional, “which can be really funny in Spanish when he forgets the words.” Franklin and Elder Anderson work well together for the most part and Franklin is looking forward to continuing their hard work. “I’m not going to let this area die; sorry Satan.” In another email, he mentioned how hard it can be to show people who aren’t members the effect of the Spirit in a person and in a family. “The difference it makes is slow but completely changes the direction of peoples’ lives. . . That building [church] is a dedicated place to learn about God and feel His spirit. Going to church is an act of faith and as one missionary put it, ‘no faith points go unearned.’ It makes a spiritually lifesaving difference when people do go to church.”

The most recent news is of a very unexpected and distressing tragedy. A friend of Franklin’s who was serving a mission in Romania, Elder McKay Choy Burrows, died on January 30th, 2010. There was a gas leak in his apartment and Elder Burrows and his companion never woke up. Franklin met Elder Burrows at BYU in his freshman year; they became good friends and anything we heard from Franklin about Elder Burrows was in high regard. While this was an unforeseen hardship for so many people Elder Burrows had an influence on, reading emails from other missionaries that knew him has given the impression that there is an incredible feeling of peace among them. They know he is not forever gone and that death is merely a passing away of a physical body, not a spiritual body. In thinking about this situation and about how hard it is, especially for the Burrows, I have wondered if Elder Burrows has been watching those he loves suffer through the pain of missing him, and if through watching them he too is enduring hardship—that of seeing loved ones so hurt.

These are a couple links that talk more about it:

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=9522925

http://www.sltrib.com/ci_14307053