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