Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Epistle - 6.24.09

Well folks, we are on borrowed time at the moment. This will be short.

I told you last week I was praying for humility. Believe me that the opportunities for this blessed attribute to grow have been forthcoming. I will share my favorite one that has happened, and we will be finished till next week.

Sunday was what we call a "Why I Believe" Fireside. It takes place in a 600 seat theatre, and consists of a couple of Recent Converts talking about how they came to believe, and then a couple of long time members speaking about why they believe. The Key-Note speaker was Senator Warren Hatch of Utah, so the crowd was big.

One of the Recent Convert speakers, however, was Sandrah Shedrick, one of the ladies that I started teaching while I was in Anacostia, and was baptized a week after I got transferred out. I was very excited, and so proud to see her get up there and talk about her testimony. She is such a wonderful lady!

Often when these Recent Converts speak they speak about their first two missionaries, and it can be a nice little feel good embarassing experience for the missionaries, and I (proudly?) awaited her to mention that I had been one of the missionaries for such an incredible new member of the church, well spoken and with a powerful testimony.

So, she got to a certain part of her talk, and said And my missionaries were Great! Where is Elder Brooks? (My first companion, who taught her with me) I know you're here Elder Brooks! (He raised his hand) There you are! Elder Brooks is my FAVORITE!" And then she went on with her talk! AND while this happened I was sitting on the front row and she knew I was right there! Everyone laughed that she had embarassed Elder Brooks, and I could only grin, with a silent, humorous prayer in my heart, "God, thank you for this opportunity to become more humble".

The good times are always rolling =]

I love you all,
Stuff my Mailbox,

Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Epistle - 6.17.09

Good Wednesday Friends, Family, Associates, Aquaintances, and Curious Readers! It is a good wednesday in deed!

Today has been a nice relaxing day, We've spent most of the day playing various games. We played Rook and Eucre this morning in our kitchen, then went over to a recent convert's house to play Risk with him. He's a retired old man with no family so he likes spending time with us, and Risk on P-Day is an A-OK thing to do. So that has been a prety fun day!

In other news, the appartment I'm in right now is VERY nice. Missionaries take horrible care of appartments, and normally the appartments we're put in are pretty... cheap, to start with so they often aren't the most agreeable places to be. This appartment was redone, and the missionaries just moved in about 2.5 weeks ago. The appliances are nice, there is enough hot water for all of us to take showers, the showers aren't gross, the kitchen is clean, the carpets are nice, everything is very good!

On top of that I have a very good companion right now. He is very hard working. My last stint of companions I have been in positions where I'm there to help them, to minister to them and help them grow... this time if anything Elder Kelly is building me up. It's very humbling but I like it! So I'm very excited!

The area we're in is also really cool. There are lots of good people.

I suppose the most interesting thing that's going on right now is that I finally gave in and started praying earnestly for something that I've been afraid to pray for in the past... I've been praying for the Lord to humble me.

In the past I've prayed that he would give me humility so that I wouldn't have to be humbled, and other such things as that, but I've always held back a little, shied away a little from finally just saying, "Humble me, whatever you decide to do, do it but humble me so I can progress".

It has been interesting to see what is happening since then. Ever since I was set apart as a missionary I've found teaching pretty easy, I normally have a good idea what to say.. lately it has been different. I'll be sitting in a teaching appointment, or standing at a door, and listening to my companion teach, and there will be just nothing coming in to my head. It's so bad that I've pretty much given up and am just going to let him keep teaching, and then, almost like a light switch turned on there will be words coming out of my mouth before I know it. The transition is so sudden and startling, and has so little to do with any thought process within my mind that it leaves little room for doubt that the sudden burst of teaching comes from an outside source. This is nice because it allows me to be happy that something was taught powerfully and well through me, without becoming prideful in "my" ability to teach.

I'm striving to hold less and less back from the Lord. Of most of us he will not require us to give up everything we have, but he will require our willingness to give up everything we have. We must strive to within our own heart, soul, and mind consecrate everything we have to him, and rejoice in what he allows us to keep. As we do so, humility and a deep sense of our reliance upon Him who created all things comes as a natural consequence. This process starts with our inner thoughts. We change the way we think by choosing how we think. When we think a thought that goes against our new set course of thinking, we correct ourselves within our own heads, showing our integrity to no one but God and ourselves, and as we do this our thought patterns, behavior, and relationship with God will transform to a higher level.

But alas, I delve perhaps deeper than is helpful in my epistles.

I would love to hear your thoughts on such subjects as self perfection, and maybe together we'll figure out how to reach Exaltation :)

I love you all.

Stuff my mailbox,
Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Epistle - 6.10.09

Hello Everyone!

Today makes 9 months since I reported to the MTC. At the beginning of my mission people told me that transfers would just keep going by faster and faster, and I wasn't quite sure I believed them. Now the transfers are starting to go by in the blink of an eye, and I can hardly imagine how they can get any faster... but I'm assured they will!

Speaking of transfers, I was transferred to the Durwood East area. In this area I am replacing a legend in our mission named Elder Vincent. He was recently released from being Assistant to the President, and is an incredible missionary. It's pretty exciting to be going in to an area he just left and seeing how he ran the area while he was here. Plus that means that the area is very productive right now.

So that is the exciting NEW stuff. We live with the Durwood/Olney Elders. One of which is my Previous companion from Capitol Hill, Elder Hayden. His companion is Elder Frizzell.

Ok, so then we have this week past, and hopefully some cool missionary experiences (I suppose that's why you all read this anyways right?)

We had a fun instance this week of Revelation. I told you last week about our appointment with Ralph, who was not very receptive to the spirit. We set up a return appointment for the next Monday (two days ago), but were pretty nervous to go back, because if someone can't feel the spirit testifying of truth, then it just becomes a war of words where nothing is accomplished, which I don't like. So it got to Sunday and we were trying to decide if we should go to the appointment, or just cancel it. We each had our oppinions and then decided to take the matter to the Lord.

After inquiring as to what we should do in Prayer, Elder Durfee and I both received an answer from the spirit. We both felt that we should try to go to the appointment and try to teach Ralph, and give him a chance, but we also both felt instructed that the appointment the next day (monday) would not hold.

So, Monday morning we received a phone call from Ralph, and he told us something had come up and he wouldn't be able to do the appointment that day and needed to reschedule. Elder Durfee and I both just sort of smiled at each other, knowing that the Lord had told us beforehand what would happen.

Well I'm very excited to be in my new area. I love receiving mail from those who send it. It's great to hear about what is going on in your lives!

I love you all!
Stuff my mailbox!
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Door

Epistle - 6.3.09

June! Can you believe it's June? I can't.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

So I shall try to recall what exciting things have happened since last we spoke.

One exciting thing is that I got to sing at another Night of Music and Inspiration last night. I sang La Via Dolorosa. It went very well, people seemed to like it a lot, and the spirit was very strong. When I finished the song and walked back to my seat I was simply shaking from how powerful the spirit and emotion were. It is always an honor to testify of the Savior.

In other exciting news, next week is transfers! I will find out on Monday what is happening. These transfers keep seeming to get shorter and shorter! I feel like I just got to Montgomery Village. I normally try to make a call on what might happen... but this one is just very, very up in the air. Chances are I will stay, but one, or both, or neither of my companions might leave. It's just hard to say.

We had a difficult lesson yesterday with someone who was just not able to hear the spirit. He was incredibly smart and learned in the Bible, and most of what he had learned was true. We recounted to him Joseph Smith's vision in 1820. In that vision Joseph is first assaulted by the adversary, who does not want him to succeed, and is the delivered from that devil by God in a glorious visitation. As I have become more sensitive to the spirit I am amazed by how distinctly I can feel the two different presences in the recounting. This man read the whole story, looked up at us and told us that obviously the visitation was actually a demonic posession. The spirit fled the room, it would not be present in the presence of such an outright falsehood.

After the lesson Elder Durfee commented that the Spirit of God never wants to shock us or scare us, while the spirit of the devil will try to jump us and scare us in to doing or not doing something. I commented that the Spirit of God must be invited to enter in to a place, while the Spirit of the Devil tries to force its way in unbidden. It was interesting.

Well perhaps that's a little deep to be pondering. But I have found it interesting, as I grow more and more sensitive to the spirit, it has become so increasingly apparent that this Gospel, this Church, this Work is true. Every time I speak of it's truth the Spirit of God burns within me testifying that it is so. Every time I hear it defamed by anyone the spirit cries out that these words are not true, that these falsehoods will stand as witnesses against those who work iniquity at the last day.

Perhaps my Father is right to call me his Ultra-Deep son, but what else is a missionary supposed to think about? =]

Hope you are all doing wonderfully. I love you all so much and appreciate your prayers, letters, and thoughts.

Please take care of yourselves and stuff my mailbox!

-Elder Ted E. Bear