Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Epistle - 7.28.10 (Omega and Alpha)

I can't believe two years are nearly over....enjoy Elder Bear's last epistle from the field!

Omega and Alpha.

The end.

And yet, the beginning.


Yes it's that time. Time to step on the gas, burn up whatever is left in the tank, and see how far I can push this thing before they take it away from me.


Some would say it's the end. In a sense they're right. The end of a name tag. The end of a title. The end of a period.


But also some would say it's the beginning. They're right. The beginning of a new life. The beginning of a balanced discipleship. The beginning of a new period, to bring with me every single lesson I've learned out here, and apply it to new scenarios, situations, callings, assignments, relationships, and jobs.


Just like in a track race, isn't it funny that the finish line and the starting line are, in fact, the same line?


So as I finish this lap, the lap with the name-tag and full time assignment, I have in mind the next lap. I see in my minds eye a path, the path that I would walk. I am often reminded of the words, penned by the late Gordon B. Hinckley in his hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" (LDS Hymns, #135)


"Oh give me thy sweet spirit still,

The peace that comes alone from thee,

The faith to walk the lonely road

That leads to thine eternity."


The lonely road stands ahead. The spacious building stands all around. Distractions await and pitfalls lie before, but God shall be my strength and my deliverer. In Him I shall trust and never fall. My fear will be consumed by faith in my Savior, in my Jesus.


For the last time to you, as a set apart and titled missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I bear you this witness:


I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father.


I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the saviour and redeemer of the world.


I know that in a grove of trees in the year 1820, God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to the 14 year old Joseph Smith Jr., and commanded him to restore the true and authorized Church of Jesus Christ to the earth.


I know that within this church, the true and living priesthood of Jesus Christ is alive and well, performing all of the sacred ordinances necessary for our salvation.


I know that through that sacred authority, Thomas S. Monson is a living oracle of God. A Prophet and a mouthpiece of the Lord, the 16th in our dispensation.


I know that The Book of Mormon is truly the word of God. Written by His ancient prophets, and translated by His modern prophet for our benefit and blessing in our day.


And to you I leave this witness in the name of my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.


-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Epistle - 7.21.10


Good Wednesday Everyone!


I think the highlight of this week came on Monday. I was asked to do a baptismal interview for a young man who is supposed to be baptized this Saturday. After this interview I think I understand a little better what it feels like to be a bishop. Interviews normally last about 30 minutes to an hour, depending how prepared and understanding the candidate is. This one lasted four. I've never heard of one lasting that long, but that's what needed to happen, so it did.


He told me that he had woke up that morning with a "bad" feeling, and now he wasn't even sure why he had agreed to be baptized. I told him that was to be expected, sharing with him the account of the first vision from JS:H. We discussed why Satan would want to stop him from taking this step closer to God, and keep him from being happy. We discussed God's love for him, and how he knew what he had been taught was true. He got impatient and said "But I want an answer now!" I asked him if he remembered about the Priesthood, he hadn't heard that name before so we reviewed how the authority of Jesus Christ had been given to his apostles, lost, and then restored to the prophet Joseph Smith. I asked him if he would like a priesthood blessing of counsel. The spirit whispered to me that the blessing would answer his concerns and help him. He declined the blessing, and again said "I just want an answer right now!" I told him (Because the spirit was telling me), "Eric, that's the very point of the blessing. To give you your answer." He finally agreed, but warned me "If I do this, and something weird happens, I'm done". I said that was perfectly fine, and proceeded to give the blessing.


In the blessing I promised him the spiritual affliction he was under would end, and he would be filled with a feeling of peace. Never before has it been harder for me to give someone a promise from the Lord. If I spoke those words and they were not fulfilled, I would look like a fool, and his budding testimony in the restoration might be shattered. But I spoke them as directed. At the end of the blessing I once again sat across from him. "Eric, how do you feel?" "...Better. The bad feeling is gone. Most of my questions have been answered now".


We continued to talk for quite some time. Every question he asked was quickly answered as the spirit gave me utterance. It was probably one of the most spiritually draining things of my mission. We did nothing physical that day but when I went to bed that night I had large bags under my eyes.


However, that being said, I know that I was but an instrument. I made no promise. I answered no questions. I bear my witness that I was doing nothing other than act as a mouthpiece and servant for the Lord to that young man in his time of need.


I testify that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. We have that blessed opportunity to live in a time when the priesthood of God is alive and well.


I love you all. Thank you for reading all of these e-mails for all this time.


Next week will be the last one sent from DC.


-Elder Ted E. Bear

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Epistle - 7.14.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!


We had an INCREDIBLE lightening storm last night. Probably averaged 40 flashes a minute for a while, and whenever a bolt struck it would hit again 3 or 4 times. Really cool. And of course since it's a MD storm it only lasted about half an hour, then blew over. It's a funny place!


Today our whole district is going to go to Red Robin for lunch to get my favorite burgers. I'm pretty excited. It's a bit pricey for missionary fare, but every once in a while we can fit it in to our budgets, so we make room for it.


We have a new mission president, and we got to meet him last Thursday. President Matsumori really impresses me. I don't see the mission going anywhere but up, which is saying a lot since President Mansell was such an incredible man. One of President Matsumori's great assets is going to be his wife, Vicki F. Matsumori, recently released from the Primary General Presidency. She's traveled the world training the leaders of the church in the gospel of Jesus Christ and how to teach it in simplicity, and I think the mission will be greatly benefited by her wisdom and knowledge and skill. Besides which they both have a great sense of humor and are really easy to get along with.


Sadly we didn't get anyone at church this week. Gloria's schedule shifted, so she'll be there THIS week, Claudette was checking out of the hospital Sunday morning (Apparently she goes in a lot..) and Charles slept in, and his wife refused to wake him, even though he'd said he wanted to come. So, we'll still get 'em all!


This Sunday Elder Peterson and I will be doing the musical number at the Why I Believe fireside. We'll be doing a song that he wrote before his mission, which will be really neat. We finally got it written up yesterday so I can start learning it for Sunday... Crunch time! Plus with preparing for CDM and all it's a very busy week. But busy can be good when you're in well-doing. And who can do more well than the work of the Lord? I know I can't!


So, until next week my friends,


Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Epistle - 7.7.10

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

I think this week held the most incredible (in a non-spiritual sense of the word) experience of my mission. The 4th of July in Anacostia. Wow.

Until about 11:30 at night there were non stop explosions, crackles, booms, lights, EVERYWHERE. It sounded like the middle of a war zone.

Now, part of this is fueled by the fact that fireworks are illegal in Maryland, so people living close by come to find some parking lot in DC to light off their fun stuff. So, end of story is, it was crazy. Insane. Beyond anything I thought it would be. Pretty cool!

But before that, we had church! We haven't had any of our people come to church for a couple weeks, so it was really neat that Gloria, Claudette and Clarence all 3 came to church this Sunday! Yay!

Gloria is a fun one. When we first went to teach her we weren't sure what to make of her, she didn't seem happy we were there, and yet she is the one that set up the appointment. But after church on Sunday and at our appointment yesterday she was a totally changed person. Happy, outgoing, totally different.

Claudette and Clarence are also cool. Claudette lives in a van parked out front of Clarence's sister's house (Because Clarence lives in his sister's house). They are planning on getting married, and are the funniest coupld I've met in a while. We haven't even really taught them yet, we just talked to her on the street, had a great chat about the gospel and her life, they got themselves to church on Sunday, then came to the 4th of July party on Monday. They're great! We're taking them to the Visitor's Center on Friday. Fun =]

A mission is a funny thing. In so many ways it is a mini-version of life itself. With its inclusive ups and downs and every way arounds. And yet, in one way it is so much different from life. It is different because you know exactly when it will end. Exactly! From the day you arrive here, you know the day, you know the hour when it will end.

In movies, when it is made known to someone that they only have so many days or weeks to live, they are portrayed as becoming hyper-active. Forgiving, begging forgiveness, telling family they love them, fulfilling everything they had always hoped to do, making sure they could leave this life with not a single regret.

And yet, in the mission, there is an unfortunate phenomena called "Trunkiness". Which has reference to someone being emotionally all packed up in their trunks (or luggage) and ready to go. Their heart no longer in it. Why does this happen, when the end of a mission draws near? Why does this end bring lethargy when in the movies an end of life brings hyper-activity?

Well, obviously the source can only be selfishness. It is more difficult to sow, when you know you will never reap in this life. It is much easier to plant a seed when you know you will be there for the fruit, than to labor over and weep over a seed, knowing that by the time the fruit comes you will have moved away forever.

A similar situation occurred in the early church. Some people were told to live in a certain area and create farms, but they had the question, "Well, how long are we going to be here this time? 2 months, 2 years, 20 years? Should we build real farms? Or live in a tent?" In response to this the Lord gives some interesting counsel.

D&C 51:16-17
  16 And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, and command them to go hence;
  17 And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good.

Regardless of how long or short we are going to be somewhere, we should act unto that stewardship as for years. Whether we will be there to reap what we sow or not, we should be sowing! We should be laboring. Whether we will die, or no, the Kingdom of God will continue on with or without us, and we must build for the future just as much as, if not more so, than for our own generation. Those who follow us should not have to begin anew. If that were to happen with each generation than we would never get higher than one lifetime's work. But, if we leave the generation to follow a foundation to build on, which they do, and leave that to their followers. Then, then we can accomplish all that God expects of us, and commands us to accomplish. Oh the things that we could do.

So we will labor, as if we would be here to see all labors come to fruition, knowing that some we won't, and some they won't bring fruit anyways, but we labor. Because He did.

I love you all. Carry on.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Epistle - 6.30.10

Hey there everyone!

Another week has passed. The first week in this transfer. The first
week is always funny, there's just so much to get done!

Last Wednesday I spent from about 7:00am to 6:00pm just driving people
around for transfers. Bikes, desks, beds, dressers, luggage,
everything necessary to make everything work. Fun stuff!

I suppose the biggest news this week is a Mission President change.
President and Sister Matsumori officially arrived yesterday, and
President and Sister Mansell fly out later today. Amazing to see them
go. President Mansell has done incredible things with this misison.
When he got here the obedience levels were NOT very high, and under
his stewardship This has become an obedient, hardworking mission.
Amazing to see what a good steward can do with the Lord's help.

One funny thing this past week was a call from President on Monday. He
told us that Elder Rich (The director of the Visitor's Center) had
organized a mission prep class for Aaronic Priesthood age young men,
and invited all 4 stakes in the mission, and then forgot! So when he
got a call from one of the stakes about it two days before the event,
he remembered that he had promised them a whole program put on by
missionaries from our mission. Talks, testimonies, musical numbers.

So President told us we were to go bail him out and provide a musical
number, which of course we gladly did. We did "His Hands" as a duet
(For the third time). It went well, and that's all we had to do for
the program.

You know I'm just not sure what else to talk about! How about the weather?

The weather today is GORGEOUS. It is partly cloudy and 72 degrees
outside. That makes for a very happy Elder Adams!

And I suppose that's the best note to end on. A happy Elder Bear.
Things are good.

I love you all!
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Epistle - 6.23.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!

Transfers! And the word is.... I'm Staying! With Elder Peterson!

We're really excited. It's what we had hoped for, and it's what we
got. It's nice when those two things line up so nicely.

I had several previous companions go home today, it was funny to see
them off. Some of them are excited for the next step in life. Some
just have "Deer-In-Headlights" look, because they don't have a clue
what they'll be doing tomrorow.

Speaking of previous companions, my trainer, Payton Brooks came to
visit the mission this past week. He came to Anacostia's Father's Day
Lunch on Sunday, and he was at the Why I Believe. It was fun to talk
to him about the mission and what he's doing now.

Elder Peterson and I were able to resing his quintet version of "Jesus
Savior Pilot Me" on Sunday at the Why I Believe, it went very well. We
did a better job all remembering the words than we did at the mission

We met some neat new investigators the last couple days. On Monday we
taught a guy named Charles. We went to the house to teach his daughter
in law, whom he lives with, but she wasn't there. So we told him we
were there all ready to teach a message about our savior Jesus Christ,
and we'd love to teach him instead, and he let us in. The lesson went
well. By the end he commented we had given him a lot to think about
(And that's basically what we do) and he agreed to read and pray about
it to find out the truth of it. That's all we ask for! So that was

Tuesday we finally got to teach a lady we've been trying to teach for
a while, and we kept having things come up. But this time we were able
to go teach her. Her name is Gloria. She's sort of a funny one,
because she met with missionaries a couple years ago, and again last
year at her mom's house, and she commented "But this time I plan on
being steadfast". So we thought perhaps she already knew most of our
message and wanted to actually join the church this time, but in our
teaching we discovered that she didn't really know much about our
message, which was sort of weird, and she wasn't really all that open
to some of what we said. So I'm not quite sure what the deal is there,
but we'll see if she's humble enough to hear the spirit speaking truth
to her, if she is we'll be happy to baptize her, and if she's not
we'll find those who are.

I think that's one big change in my missionary work I'm seeing lately.
I'm becoming about as bold as I wish I had been all along. Quite
frankly we're out here to find those who will receive us, and there's
enough of them out here that we just don't have enough TIME to spend
it with people that aren't humble enough to follow the spirit. We
simply don't have time for it, we can't do it. So I'm becoming more
and more commited to boldly testify and commit these people, and if
they don't like it all the time, well, last I checked not everyone
liked Christ's boldness either. And, seeing as He's my master, I
suppose I should do as He did, not as the people will like the most.

I love you all. Cherish  your time, it is one of our most previous and
non-renewable resources.
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Epistle - 6.9.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!

More fun this week. We had another Night of Music and Inspiration last
night. We were called a week ago and asked to put together a version
of "I feel my Savior's love". My companion, Elder Peterson put
together a beautiful arrangement for the occasion. It's fun being the
companion of a genius.

So what is there else to talk about... I just can't think of anything
else exciting that happened in the last week... oh wait, there might
be one thing...

Ya so Sunday was Stake Conference, and we had a guest speaker, I think
he was from Utah, his name was something like Elder Hallard? Maybe
Holland? Ya I think that was it, I think it was Elder Jeffrey R.
Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, with Elder Hardy of the 70.
Ya I think that's who came and reorganized the stake, released the
current Stake presidency and called a new one. I guess that's SOMEWHAT
noteworthy. =]

In all seriousness, Elder Holland was here. Stake conference started
at 10:00, we had no investigators to bring, so we were on our own. SO
we woke up at 5:30, got to the stake center at 7:00, and got 5th row
seats =] The stake center was so packed that they ran video to every
single classroom they could throw a TV in as overflow and they filled
all of them. And we were on the 5th row. It was pretty special. We
figured we didn't have much else to do on a Sunday morning than Study
our Scriptures in the chapel and get some great seats!

He was predictably incredible, and said some amazing stuff. He
mentioned that in his oppinion there is no more regular form of
revelation in all the church than when just about every Sunday in many
stakes all over the world, two guys who don't know anyone in the stake
shows up on Friday, and in 24 hours completely undoes everything that
holds the stake together, and sticks it all back together another way
with new people whom he has never met before this 24 hour period, then
asks everyone if it's OK, they raise their hands and say yup. I might
not even know those guys but if it's OK with the Lord it's OK with us,
and then the strangers leave!

His point was, that is NOT normal. No other organization could pull
that off. If it were a business or any other organization there would
be blood on the carpets, slashed tires and black eyes. Fist fights and
campaigning for the position, whereas in this organization the only
campaigning is maybe to NOT get the position.

It was a neat reminder, to stop and think how incredible this
organization is. The fact that it even WORKS for a single day is a
lasting testament that it is from God, the fact that it's still going
strong hundreds of years later is a miracle and a testament to all the
world of the truth of the restoration, and the divine nature of the
calling of Joseph Smith in organizing the Lord's Kingdom on the earth.

The church is true, the book is blue brothers and sisters. Don't you
forget it =]

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Monday, June 7, 2010

Epistle - 6.2.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!


Todays epistle will be dedicated to my dad! He loves little spiritual thoughts and thinks that he can ponder and study, so I'll share something that hit me yesterday during a district meeting.


It comes from the book of Helaman, 10th Chapter, 4th and 5th verse:


4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.

  5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.


Now normally when I've heard people read these verses. I normally hear a comment to the effect of "Wow, Nephi is so amazing that God says he won't ask anything contrary to the Lord's will, so anything he says will be the Lord's will!"


But a new thought hit me this time, the Lord does NOT say "Thou WILT not ask that which is contrary to my will", no, he says "Thou SHALT not ask that which is contrary to my will". That is not a statement or prophesy, that is a commandment. It is worded in the same way the Lord worded the ten commandments, "Thou shalt not..."


Now just to see if I was interpreting the language correctly I flipped to the foot notes, and found this, D&C 46:30:


30 He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.


I interpret "asking the Spirit" to mean asking for things as the Spirit directs you, basically receiving revelation from God on what we should pray for. To me this seems to agree with the idea that the words "Thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will" is not, in fact, a statement necessarily about the character of Nephi, but a commandment to Nephi, that if he follows he can receive the blessing of having all of his prayers answered.


So there's my pondering today, maybe the rest of you had already realized that, but new idea to me!


On to updates about life,


Jaymie's baptism went wonderful, he asked me to perform the ordinance, and I couldn't talk him in to getting one of the members to do it, so this is the second time I got in the water during my mission. I prefer members to do that so they can have that experience with someone more permanent, but when I am asked to do it, it is a very neat experience to perform that ordinance. What fun.


The zone activity today was a blast. We ended up with softball about half the time, a couple games of Ultimate Frisbee, and then we had to flee the heat for lunch. All in all everyone was happy and a very good time!


I hope you all are having a wonderful time!


Till next time,


Elder Ted E. Bear

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Epistle - 5.26.10


Good Wednesday Everyone!


Well it's been another wonderful week! We have a baptism this Saturday, Jaymie, he's a great young man. We've been meeting with him since January (We meaning missionaries, I've only been in this area 7 weeks), and if we can't get him a ride to church he's the only person I've ever taught that would bike 7 miles to get to church on sunday. Amazing. The long time period is because we've been waiting for his probation to end this Friday for him to get baptized. He's excited and so are we!


 My companion and I are having tons of fun, of course we are making plans for the music, musicals and various shows we will write together some day.  We were talking about making a band the other day, but then we decided we'd be better off making a musical about making a band, and started discussing how we could do that as a two-man show. I suppose that sort of sums us up in a nut shell.


As we drive we have a tendency to crank Mormon Tabernacle Choir and he sings Tenor and I sing Bass parts. Yes, we're geeks, but we're having fun!


We're planning a neat zone activity for next week. We're going to play kick-ball at a park, then head to the stake center where we've managed to get everyone 2 BBQ pork sandwhiches, Potato Chips, Potato Salad and 2 Ice Cream Sandwhiches all for $2 a person. We're pretty proud of ourselves, and I think everyone will be pretty happy with the lunch for 2 bucks!


Well I'll have to think of more cool things to say next week. I really love you guys, I don't dwell often on counting days, but today is 10 weeks, which is a pretty even number. 70 days. In 1,680 hours I'll be on my way to the airport. Believe me when I say that I will make everything I can out of those hours.


With love,

Elder Ted E. Bear

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Epistle - 3.17.10

Hey there everyone!


So today we went "Duck Pin Bowling" Anybody know what that is? I didn't. You bowl with tiny little balls, on smaller lanes, with short and squat pins. Only 5 bucks for an hour and the whole Zone went and had a great time. Pretty fun stuff. I was really bad at the beginning, it's been a long time since I bowled.


So I think I mentioned that the new e-mail interface is G-Mail. It's really weird! Sitting on a g-mail account I feel like I should just hop over to my Google Reader and read about the latest tech trends like I'd spend hours doing back home. Or maybe just jump over to facebook. I don't know it's just funny to see such a familiar interface but in a different setting!


This transfer will be very interesting, because I really have no idea what's going to happen. Almost any possibility has an equal chance. It will be very interesting to find out what President's plans for me are.


The weather has bene very nice the last day or two. After a weekend of gloomy it's very pretty again. We're just rooting for the temperatures to get up past 70 so that we can take the suits off and I will never have to wear my "Work Suit" again. It's ready to retire!


I think the funnest story from this week was Sunday night. We went to check on a less active lady we've never met. She let us in and she and her mother were making Breast Cancer Awareness bracelets to make money. Just stringing the beads and tying off the stretchy cord stuff. After chatting for a while I really wanted to try making one, so we asked and she thought that was hillarious that two young guys wanted to make pink bracelets. So we helped and made 5 of them. At 20 dollars a pop (When she sells them) that's $100 towards breast cancer research! We felt pretty accomplished =]


I love you all. Hope you're all doing well!


-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Epistle - 5.5.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!


 Do you realize how long you've been reading these epistles for? And yet every week you expect me to come up with something new to say! I guess it's a good thing that a mission gives you a lot to talk about week by week!


Two Saturdays ago Elder Smith got the flu, we worked Sunday monday Tuesday, then on Wednesday he blew his ankle out VERY badly. Aweful sprain. Unfortunately there was so much stuff that simply needed to be done, it hasn't gotten much rest, and yet we stlil haven't gotten to work in our area very much. Luckily it has given us a lot of time to study and read the Book of Mormon!


So, today I will share a thought that I read this morning.


Alma Chapter 1, verses 21-24


  21 Now there was a strict law among the people of the church, that there should not any man, belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church, and that there should be no persecution among themselves.

  22 Nevertheless, there were many among them who began to be proud, and began to contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one another with their fists.

  23 Now this was in the second year of the reign of Alma, and it was a cause of much affliction to the church; yea, it was the cause of much trial with the church.

  24 For the hearts of many were hardened, and their names were blotted out, that they were remembered no more among the people of God. And also many withdrew themselves from among them.


There's an intersting lesson in these verses to me. These people were mebers of the true church. They had the true gospel. The knowledge that they had the truth, however, went to their heads and made them proud. So proud, in fact that they began to "contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one another with their fists."


This kind of behaviour was strictly against the very gospel and church which they were claiming to defend! This pathetically ironic behaviour came from a root problem that they allowed to gradually grow within them: Pride.


Like any talent or blessing, membership in the true church of Jesus Christ is a gift from God, which not all people are priviledged to have access to. Like any other talent, we can not take pride in this gift, but merely thank the Lord for bestowing it upon us. What began in these members of the church as a genuine gratitude for the truth, turned in to a false belief that because they had the truth, they were better than their fellow-men. This fallacy lead them to that wicked and pervasive sin: Pride. The Prideful belief that by virtue of their receiving a blessing others had not, they were better than those others.


We see the outcome of this. "it was a cause of much affliction to the church; yea, it was the cause of much trial with the church. " and of those who pridefully hardened their hearts we read, "and their names were blotted out, that they were remembered no more among the people of God. And also many withdrew themselves from among them."


Now it does not necessarily say that those whose names were blotted out were the same who came to blows defending the church, but I believe that at least a goodly portion of those who came to blows, did in fact end up removing themselves from the church. I can say that with some certainty because it is true to the pattern of apostasy. They rose themselves up, beyond the teachings of their leaders, to the point that they, thinking themselves justified, behaved in a way that the church condemned. I can only imagine when their church leaders told them they ought not to act that way, they would be offended (another symptom of pride) and turn their back to the church, thinking it had wronged them and escort themselves to the doors.


There are many lessons to learn as we ponder these events. It is a potent reminder that we, being blessed, aught to be our brother's servant, not overlord, and that we have a duty to adhere strictly to the teachings of the living Prophet and Apostles, not to wander off in to our own 'strange paths' beacuse in those paths we will eventually be lost.


I love you all. Stay true. Stay strong. Be humble and take direction, for in that is salvation.


-Elder Ted E. Bear

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Epistle - 4.21.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!

Life is good in beautiful DC.

Today was our Zone Activity, so about 30 of us went to play Ultimate Frisbee in the rain down on the National Mall. Really fun. I love playing in the rain because you don't get too hot running around.

I got asked by one of the District Leaders in the zone to give a workshop at his District Meeting about Personal Revelation. All 4 companionships in his District are training, and he wanted my companion and I to train the district on how they can receive revelation in planning and missionary work.

We decided that my companion would share personal experiences about revelation in his mission and I would discuss the doctrine of personal revelation. What it is.

In a true lesson to ME about personal revelation, I spent the entire week before pondering what I should teach. I prayed to know what I should teach. I read talks and scriptures about it trying to find what the Lord would have me say. Normally I get my workshops VERY prepared, so I know exactly what I'm going to talk about and present, but in the entire week of study, pondering, and prayer, nothing came! Finally the morning of as I sat staring at a blank piece of paper, I felt impressed to flip open to the Doctrine and Covenants. I began flipping through and just happened across a couple revelation scriptures I had marked. I wrote down the references, and with that in hand headed off to the meeting, still completely unsure about what I would say, and with a continuing prayer in my heart.

Just as the meeting began I felt impressed to flip open to St John 17,

"11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are."

I stood up and read that verse, and began my workshop.

I drew put the names of the Godhead on the board, and asked, "In what way are these 3 one?" They answered, In Purpose. I asked, "From whence does the purpose of the godhead originate, where does it come from?"

After some discussion they came to the conclusion, the Father. I answered that indeed it was the will of the Father that the purpose of The Godhead comes from, and that personal revelation is how we come to know his will, and have the same purpose, thereby becoming one, as they are one.

I enjoyed it, and learned as I continued to teach. It was very fun.

I'm out of time, but I love you all!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Epistle - 4.28.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!

I had a renewed correspondence with an old love this week.

This past Sunday Sandra Turley came to the Visitor's Center. Sister Turley lives down in Virginia, she was Cosette in the original Broadway cast of "Les Miserables", and she was in one of my all time favorite off-broadway shows, "Children of Eden".  Needless to say, we made sure we had an investigator willing to go with us =] Then, when we showed up to pick him up and he was so sick he could hardly stand, we frantically called everyone we could think of to find someone to go with us (We can only go if one of our Investigators, Recent Converts, or Less Actives wants to go). We ended up taking Sister Tom and her kids, and she had a great walk around the temple, she's hoping to go in a couple  months, then we went in to the Visitor's Center for the performance.

She was VERY good. She sang songs from most of my favorite shows, and all the ones she picked were ones that had spiritual meaning to her. She'd sing a song then say, let's take this out of context. In the show it means THIS  but, let's just look at the words, think about this song talking about God.

It was a really neat show, and reminded me how much I LOVE to sing. Being out hear and focused on other things I had sort of forgotten how much fun singing Musical Theater is. I'm positive that whatever might be in my future in my life, singing will be some part of it.

On top of that my companion and I were asked to sing a duet at the upcoming Night of Music and Inspiration in May. We found a beautiful peace called "Because He Lives" by Sally Deford. Gorgeous peace that I look forward to singing.

Other then that, Elder Smith blew out his ankle really bad playing football on the mall today, we're hoping it's just a sprain and Missionary Medical has ordered him to bed rest for 48 hours with ice. If it's not better by then we try the hospital.

Tasha and Jaymie are both still on track for their baptisms, the area is great, and time is flying by.

I love you all!

-Elder Ted. E Bear

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Epistle - 3.14.10


Good Wednesday Everyone!


The weather has been a bit of a rollercoaster lately. Got very hot, then cold and wet, now it's sort of evened out to very pleasant and partly cloudly. Just about where I like it.


The green is finally returned to the forests also. The shade is still a little bit too light for a washingtonian, but whenever I'm near a couple pine trees the aroma gives me my fix!


 We have two investigators right now who are on date for baptism. Both are really neat people.


Jaymie is an interesting kid. When you first meet him he doesn't seem like the type to have any interest in God. He's been shot in the head before and his brain works a little interesting now, but he's still very intelligent, and completely there. He's the only investigator I've ever taught who completely on his own bikes ~8 miles to church on Sunday, pretty cool kid.


Tasha is a very nice lady. Her 2 year old daughter Tashae (Tah-Shay) (Welcome to the Ghetto people!) is a sweety. Tasha has been to a ton of churches, but says that right about the time she was about to join each one she felt like she lost the spirit and left. We explained that was because each had good things to teach her, but did not have the fulness, so as soon as she had learned everything that church had to offer, the spirit told her to move on, but that the full gospel was restored and she could have that in her life. She has been trying to hard to read the Book of Mormon, even though it's difficult for her and continues to pray every day. A very neat lady to work with.


Things are great out here. Life is indeed what you make of it, and we're making it out to be something akin to teriyaki chicken. Which for anyone who knows me equates to pretty darn good =]


I love you all!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Epistle - 4.8.10


Hello Everyone!


So general conference was last weekend, and I had a very unusual experience.


As I was watching conference I sat tapping my foot, and my foot landed on something. That felt sort of weird, so I looked down and saw that my shoe had come untied and one of my brown shoe laces was laying off to the side of my shoe. I wasn't sure how in the world my shoe got untied so that was strange. Then I looked closer and saw that, in fact, my shoe WAS tied. So what is that brown thing?


Upon lifting my foot what do I see but a pretty dazed looking little brown snake (The harmless kind for any snake fearers out there)


However, even knowing he was harmless my first reaction upon seeing a snake right under my foot was to jerk both of my feet off the ground. The Elder sitting next to me saw my quick movement, At first thought I had a charley horse but looked over at me and I pointed at the snake. He grabbed a piece of paper, together we coaxed him on the paper and escorted him forcefully back outside where he belonged.


As I settled in to enjoy the rest of conference, my brain sort of pondered over the snake incident.


We know in the story of Adam and Eve the snake represents temptation. Temptation to sin or transgress the laws of God. My first reaction upon spotting the snake was to jerk back. How often do we forget that this ought to be our first reaction to temptation! How often when we spot a temptation do we lean right on in to see if it's something we actually might want to try? It should not be so. We should jump back so fast a cobra itself couldn't catch our toes. One of those close to me saw my distress and instantly jumped in to help me, and immediately we set about casting this unwanted thing from where we were.


Spot. Jump Back. Forcefully remove from our presence (By either moving it or moving ourselves).


I dare saw if we could all do that consistently, the Devil and his angels would be pretty bored all day with very little to do.


-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Epistle - 3.24.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!


Today was pretty fun. A family in the ward drove my companion and I up to the Mall. We we to the Museum of American History, had a picnic on the mall, threw a frisbee around with some other missionaries we met up with, and all in all just enjoyed the gorgeous weather the Lord gave us today!


Monday was a really neat night. I think I've mentioned the Pascarella family we've been working with. They're great. We selected a family in the ward we thought would be good Fellowshippers that lived close by, and set up a Family Home Evening for the Pascarellas at the Amorino's house. Very fun. The Pascarella's son and Amorino's son became best friends at the snap of a fingers and everything went great. They'll be at church on Sunday and I think they'll make a lot of friends. Great and exciting =]


Transfers is next week. It'll be very interesting to see what happens. There are a lot of possibilities this time, so I'm very intrigued to see what the Lord has planned.


I'll let you all know where I am next week!


Enjoy Life!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Epistle - 3.31.10

Hello Everyone!


I've been transferred again. I'll be serving in the Capitol Heights area. It's a car area that covers the Maryland section of the Anacostia ward. That was the first ward I served in so I'm pretty excited to go see some familiar faces.


I've definitely enjoyed my time in White Plains immensely. It's been one of my favorite areas I think. Part of what made it so great is that I was thrown a couple challenges, and was able to overcome them with the help of the Lord. The area had a complete turnaround while I was there, from dead to quite good. My companions were both able to grow a lot too, which was fun to be a part of. Overall I am leaving with a good feeling and no regrets. Just the way it should be.


The cherry trees are starting to bloom in DC. So that is beautiful. One of the things Grandma Mary really wanted me to see in DC was the cherry festival. I think it was a tender mercy of the Lord that I lived right on Capitol Hill last year for all of the cherry blossoms. Or maybe Grandma was up there nagging him to put me there so I could see them =] Either way, as they come back this year I can't help but think of her when I see them. What a true example of Christian courage. The last time I saw her she could barely whisper, so she had to write on a white board, and her parting words to me were "Be careful and take care of yourself". Completely concerned for others. Amazing.


I love you all. I love this gospel. I'm so grateful for it.


Fare thee well.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Epistle - 3.10.10

Hello Everyone!


Today has been a fun day. Every 6 months the mission President takes all the missionaries going home in the next 6 months to see the Arlington National Cemetary. We all meet just outside the metro stop, he takes us around and tells us about the history and we take pictures together and all that fun stuff. It was very neat. The changing of the guard and all that was pretty interesting to see.


It was very interesting to walk around in the cemetary and think. I couldn't help but notice that in that cemetary was preserved the ideals of honor and integrity and service upon which this nation was founded, and yet just accross the river... well, we won't go in to that.


We met a really great family last night. Carl and Melissa Pascarella. Her mom is a member, but went inactive when she was of baptismal age, then reactivated while Melissa was in high school, but she never got baptized. Carl used to be Catholic, but when they were going to make Melissa wait a year to take the classes to become Catholic because she missed the application date, he thought that was dumb and decided they would go find another church to go to, and currently attend a Methodist church.


We had a very good lessen. The spirit was very strong and they were open and willing to listen and pray about it. So that was fun.


Next week is going to be a stake converence with a regional broadcast from Salt Lake, the following week is Ward Converence, and the following week is General Conference!


SO we have a lot of spiritual outpourings in our future. Fun stuff.


I love you all, Till next week,


Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Epistle - 3.3.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!


Well I'm never quite sure what to report on. Life is good out here. We're teaching people. It's fun, and it's what I'm here to do and like to do.


I've been preparing a workshop for District Meeting tomorrow, and will just share my thoughts.


In this life we are to "Walk by faith, and not by sight". So we learn that our faith is the spiritual counterpart of our physical eyes. Symbolically speaking our faith is our spiritual eye, through which we can behold our path, and walk towards our great eternal destination.


Alma teaches that faith is not to have a perfect knowledge, but "To hope for things which are not seen, WHICH ARE TRUE."


Without knowledge of true doctrine, it is thus impossible for someone to have faith. Not knowing what to have faith in, they have no way to hope in and act in accordance with true doctrine.


In this sense, a vast host of humanity is wandering around spiritually "blind". Not posessing knowledge of true doctrine, they are incapable of spiritual sight. They are truly in a mist of darkness, as described by Lehi.


So it is our duty, having been blessed with knowledge of true doctrine, to impart of that doctrine to those around us, so that they, being bilnd, might see and behold their destination.


Being equipped with true doctrine, a son or daughter of God becomes capable of beholding not only their eternal destination, where they want to go, but also the path that leads there, and how they can excercise their faith to move towards where they want to go.


It is not mete that the blind be lead by the blind. Having sight, it behooveth us to lead, and to empower others to see as we see; to "See as they are seen, and know as they are known".


I love you all. Have another great week!


-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Epistle - 2.24.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!


Things are picking up in the area.


Last transfer all of my prayers and desires were focused on ONE thing, just getting New Investigators. I just wanted people to teach and everything was dedicated to that purpose. Now, this transfer, the area is up to a healthy point, and we can start thinking about getting Investigators to church and committing to baptism and all of that. It's a fun proccess to watch an area come from __dead__ to ^^sky high^^. Having a good time!


Derreck is planning on coming with his whole family to church on Sunday. He and his Uncle and Girlfriend and 4 kids all live in a trailer park, working their way out of deep Anacostia so his kids aren't exposed to the stuff he's gone through. Cool family, wanting to better their lives.


Tom is a cool 20 year old kid who is curious about religions, and is very intrigued by the idea that he can pray about our message and receive an answer from God. He drove himself to church last Sunday by himself, and wants to try going to institute. Really cool guy.


Basically, we have people to teach, and that's what I love to do, so we're happy. Good times in the mision.


The snow is melting, everywhere is a swamp, but we're happy to see that stuff go. We've had enough of it for the next 4 winters!


Love you all!


-Elder Ted E. Bear

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Epistle - 2.17.10

Good morning everyone!


I think I owe you a good letter, what do you think?


My new e-mail account is working, so here we go.


Transfers are today, I'm currently in the Family History Center in the Stake Center next to the temple. I am staying in White Plains and receiving Elder Gorringe, who is from Utah.


The last weeks have been very abnormal. Lots of shoveling. Not a lot of ties, if you know what I mean. It's been fun to do a lot of service though. One of our members calls it the "Ammon Principle", referring to one of the missionaries in the Book of Mormon. Meaning that Service comes first, then converting. Our first job out here is servants, and when something like this happens the first priority is helping everyone, so that's what we do. It's been fun.


I've had some interesting experiences lately that have caused me to think, and I'll share some musings.


I went to visit a younger lady in the ward, who joined the church a couple years ago because of her friends. Now her friends are all off to BYU or missions, and she's quit coming to church. We discussed her testimony and she claimed to still have a strong testimony. We discussed her need for the church and the sacrament and she claimed to have an understanding of that. We discussed how God would like her to come to church so he could bless her, and she claimed to understand that. We talked of the Plan of Salvation and the importance of doing all in this life to prepare for the eternities, and how she can start with such baby steps as starting to read the scriptures and pray again. After a good length of some of the best teaching I may have ever done, she looked at me and said "I understand all that you've said, but I just don't want to make any changes right now" All I could do was look at her and say "Sister, for your sake, I sincerely hope you don't understand. Because if you did that would be one of the saddest things I've ever heard." And we left. Defeated.


As I left I was full of anger. I was mad! I wasn't mad at myself for perceived failure, I'd done my best, the spirit had been strong. I wasn't mad at her knowing that I have no right to judge her actions. No, I was mad at Lucifer. That old trickster. I was mad at him. And I realized something in a way I'd never really thought of it before.


We know that, in the eternal run of things, Lucifer loses, God wins. Bad fails and Good prevails. However, the problem is that the war we're in isn't a battle for the whole world, it's a battle for each individual soul, and in THAT battle, sometimes, he DOES win. Sometimes he DOES drag someone down, and that's the tragedy. He can't win the world or any of that, but he can continue to do that which he did before this world ever was, he can continue to satisfy his prideful desire to drag others of father's children down to his own level of misery.


When we realize that the war being fought is for each individual soul, how does that change the way we fight? Well, let's think of one of the teachings of Christ. To leave the 99 sheep and find the 1 that is lost. If the battle were for the 100 sheep, that makes no sense. It only makes sense because that battle isn't for 100 sheep, the battle is for each single individual one of the 100 sheep. If 99 are safe and one is in danger, we are to go right out from the 99 and find the 1 that needs us. THAT is where the Lord needs us to be placed in the battle, THAT is where he wants our efforts concentrated. The 1 that is lost. The 1 that is hangs down weary, the 1 that is about to fall. Place yourselves there, and the Lord will use you to bring his miracles forth.


Those are my thoughts today my friends. Go and be a servant, for you are just as much in his service as am I, you just have more distractions (lucky me!)


I love you all. Please be well.


-Elder Ted E. Bear

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Epistle - 2.11.10

Hello Again Everyone!

I know I keep putting off a good detailed epistle, but more computer problems trying to get updated to the new e-mail system. I appologize.

We have been getting snow. Lots of snow.

We have been doing shoveling. Lots of shoveling.

That's a pretty good summary of the past week. We've had a lot of fun. Each day a different member offers to come pick us up and take us to shovel friends neighbors etc. We get more tired each day it seems and yet still manage to keep going, and I guess that's the miracle of it all =]

Sunday was a very interesting day, since it was a fast sunday. I've had many fast sundays in my life, and I often get a good headache, and that's while just sitting around. One would expect that a day spent shoveling would make the body feel even worse, and yet, I think of all my fast sundays this left me feeling the least hungry. I think that was my little miracle for the week.

I love you all, transfers is next week. Who knows where I'll be and I'll let you know!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Epistle - 1.20.09

Good Wednesday Everyone!

The weather has been GORGEOUS! I mean gorgeous.

The last several days have been mid to high 50's, with the sun's effect probably bringing it up to mid 60's, and sunny. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous and perfect.

The past week has had a lot of organizing. We went through all of the records of former investigators, put a huge chunk of them on a call sheet for the Sisters at the Visitor's Center Call Center, kept a couple really promising ones for us to go check on (Two of which we've already met and set up appointments with) and especially found a good amount of records of Member's friends who had just sort of fizzled out. So, when we went to church on Sunday I had a list of 5 or 6 members that I just bee-lined over to and asked them about their friend, daughter-in-law, Daughters who are living with their mother, etc. etc. etc.

All of a sudden an area where I was told I'd have to tract all day and the members wouldn't help has a lot of member missionary work! Fun =]

Life out here is really great. I hope all of you are also doing wonderful.

By the way, this ward had one family sealed in the temple last month, a couple getting sealed in the temple next month (Converts), and another man who's going to get his endowment in 3 months. VERY fun to watch. We missionaries mostly get to be around to see the first covenants happen, it's encouraging to see people that actually made it to the next step, so we know it can happen!

Love you all,
Elder Ted E. Bear

Epistle - 1.13.10

Good Wednesday Everyone!

I'm now settling in to Waldorf, MD. Waldorf is famous for having EVERYTHING. Any store, restaurant, whatever you want you can find it here. That makes it a fun place for P-Day!

The ward is pretty cool. The Ward Council is all very solid, and do lots of visiting and such, which is great.

Our apartment is very nice. Clean and new. That's nice. Our roomates are also good and a lot of fun.

Coming in to this area I'm having a lot of work to do, which is interesting. I believe the Elder I replaced didn't understand very well the principle of Stewardship.

All of the records in the area are a mess. The Teaching Records, Potential Investigator Forms, the Area Map, the Ward Directory, all are out of date and poorly kept. He spent most of his time last transfer knocking on doors, thinking he was being a very hardworking missionary, but did almost 0 followup on those who had already said they'd be interested in us coming by sometime. I've come to understand on my mission that unless we take care of what the Lord has given us, he has no reason to give us more. So we are organizing, following up, visiting, calling, setting up appointments, and then in our extra time after all we can do with the contacts the Lord has already given us, we will knock doors and seek more. I believe this will yield great success in this area.

All is well in MD. Hope all is well with you.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Epistle - 12.30.09

The Final Epistle of 2009!

Happy New Year everyone!

I've been having a wonderful holiday. Mom, Dad, Rich, Bert, Mary it was wonderful to talk to all of you! Max we'll be catching up soon!

The performances at the Festival of Lights went well. Christmas Eve we had two performances, with about 400 and 300 people respectively, and then did a third bonus show for about 90 people. Christmas Day we did the two for about 300 each, and called it a night.

It was funny to actually have my voice warmed up again. After the second show on Christmas Eve and before the Third my voice had a familiar feeling to it.. it felt good! I don't think I've really have my voice warmed up since I came out here. There just isn't time and it isn't a priority. Good to know I still love singing though!

In other news my companion Elder Thompson just received word that he'll be flying to his permanent mission in Suriname next Tuesday. Apparently his Visa has gone through. Cool!

I've been thinking this week about Covenants. We enter in to several covenants with God. We make a Covenant through the Ordinances of Baptism and Confirmation, and we enter in to several other covenants in The Temple. Of all of our covenants, however, there is something unique about our first covenant, baptism. The unique piece of that covenant is that it is, so far as I know, the only covenant which we renew. I found this interesting since it is NOT the only one that, due to our imperfection, we can not fully keep.

My pondering of this lead to an answer that satisfied me. One of the things promised to us by God through the Baptismal Covenant is a remission of our sins, meaning through the merits and mercy of the atonement of Jesus Christ we are restored to a state at which, through the eyes of God, it is as if we had never sinned.

With this in consideration I realized that if our Baptismal Covenant is truly renewed, our cleansed state is also restored, and as pertaining to any other covenant we have not fully lived up to, it is, in the eyes of God, as if we had never broken it, and thus there is no need to renew any other covenant.

I think that made more sense in my head than in this e-mail. But hopefully you get what I'm trying to say!

I bought a pretty Greg Olsen calendar at the bookstore today for 2010. It's weird to think that 5 of those pretty pictures will be on display on the other side of the country.

I love you all! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
-Elder Ted E. Bear

Epistle - 1.6.09

Good Wednesday Everyone!

And a very happy new year.

I have been transferred again. I am now in the White Plains I ward in the Suitland Stake. Not quite the South tip of the mission, but close. It's a lot different than my previous area which was the North Border of the mission.

I still don't know a lot about where I am so I'll have to keep you more updated in the future.

I'm also very short on time this week as someone let us in to the Family History Center and he's waiting (Sort of Patiently) for us to finish =]

My new companion is Elder Hung. My previous companion (Elder Luk) was companions with him in the MTC. He seems like a good guy.

I love you all. Expect more next week.

-Elder Ted E. Bear

Epistle - 12.23.09

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It's funny when you're a missionary, the Christmas season doesn't effect you quite the same way, because we always think of Christ year round. However, one of the joys of this season is seeing the effect it has on the hearts of those we work and interact with.

For nearly every faith this time is a time of gratitude. A time of thanksgiving and reflection upon all that which a greater power hath bestowed upon us. We are brought to a rememberance of the mercy of that great God which gave us life, and filled with a feeling of wonder and awe as we contemplate his nature and very essence; as we recognize his love in all things.

I have had a special glimpse into gratitude as I have watched my companion, Elder Luk, enjoy his first experience with snow. I have always loved snow, but have gained a new appreciation for it as I've seen the wonder it inspires in one who has never seen or experienced it before.

I love you all, and it is my Christmas wish that through the hustle and bustle of this busy Christmas season, you each find a moment to stand still and remember the birth of an infant over two millenia ago, and with wonder and awe thank God for the greatest gift ever given. His Son.

-Elder Ted E. Bear