Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week Twenty-Three - People

I love to hear from Elder Lovgren. Here's what he said last week:

We went to the lake and saw an old man (who looked like he was in his 80's) with a broken arm sitting on a bench. His name was Theodore and he was from Yugoslavia. He started out telling us there was no God and that he didn't believe in religion or eternal life, but he believed there was a moral code to everything. We taught him the first lesson then he told us, "I was 11 years old and it was 1945-WWII. I was in my home and two Nazi's came in my door. They grabbed me-pulled me out of the house-and took me to the general's office where he yelled at me to tell him where they were. I kept telling him "No" and the guy slapped me so hard that I flew ten feet. Again he said "Tell me" and I said "No" so he hit me on the other side of my face and I flew ten feet. (The whole night before, we had prayed to God to keep us safe. I prayed all night.) They took my entire family, threw them into the camp, and they all died. All my friends died. I lived because I crawled under a barbed wire fence and escaped. Twenty year's later I realized there was no God because I prayed and he didn't hear me. In my mind I thought what do you mean he didn't hear you? You escaped under barbed wire! 

     Every One Has Agency
  • The thing is that we all have our agency. I can't even imagine how hard it would have been to live when the wars were-evil, evil men killing innocent people in the name of God.
Theodore, continued
We we're there to tell him, "You know what? There IS a God. Some people choose to do things that are obscene, and it's there as a testimony against them to the judgment of God because He's Just. Mercy does not rob justice, so those people are not in a good place and they chose that for themselves. For those who are innocent, they have opportunities-whether in this life or the next-to accept Jesus Christ." I just remember leaving and him thanking us so much because he remembered working with a couple of Mormons. He was a scientist. He said, "I was in a pharmacy and worked with a couple of Mormons. Great people, great families, and they were great scientists, too. They were great scientists because they could believe in God and be scientists, too." He had the biggest smile on his face and looked so happy after meeting with us. We gave him a Book of Mormon and I said, "That's the least we can give you for telling us such incredible stories."

Elder Lovgren behind the camera, filming a training in August 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week Twenty-Two - Obedience

Monday is the best day of the week right now because I hear from Elder Lovgren. Here are some things he said last week:

Being a Missionary
The demands of being out here this week made me realize how much I love being out here. I love wearing this name tag over my heart every day. I realized this week how much I love wearing these clothes and how much I love loving - loving people is the biggest thing for me. I have really come to love the people here in Irvine. I'm so happy that my prayers have turned from me-me-me to others. I think about how I can help others, be an instrument in the Lord's hands, and be a tool for Him to use. It's just going with the flow and following the spirit. It feels so good. It feels good when I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. 

Obedience and Happiness
What is fun about life when I'm constantly fighting "You should be doing this" and "You should be doing that"? What's enjoyable about feeling "You should be doing this right now" and constantly fighting (thinking "No, I don't want to)? The promptings are all out of love and they're to bless people. 
  • For example today: We're going to a restaurant for breakfast and this morning. I called the Elders and was like, "Are we gonna wear proths? Which is Proselyting clothes (white shirt and tie.) He was like, "I don't know, are you?" and I was like, "I don't really like going to clothing stores and having to take off my proths clothes when I try on clothes, so I'm just gonna wear normal clothes." Then I took a shower and the whole time felt like wear your proths clothes, wear your proths clothes.  I thought why? and then realized there are people who see us in proths, and they think about us and what we're doing - serving the Lord, and if we're just in normal clothes they won't think that. 
  • I have two years to be able to wear these clothes with this name tag - to be identified as a missionary - and I really realized there's not a moment to waste. I gotta be out there. I can sleep when I die. I can sacrifice at this time for greater things to come. As I kept fighting to put on my normal clothes  the impression was 'no, you should be putting on your proths clothes' and all of a sudden my peace of mind started going away. I thought what's the point of fighting it?, and so texted the Elders, "Hey, I'm gonna wear proths clothes." I put on my proths clothes and my peace of mind stayed. Now I'm back to cruisin'. 
That gives me perspective. And it's never easy, that's the thing, it's never easy. Every time I want to do something but feel in my heart that I should be doing something else - the Holy Ghost is tugging at me - it's never easy or convenient. It's not supposed to be that way. That's why it's so important to be truly converted to the Lord and let His will become mine. Every action I do is for Him. It's tapping into the spiritual side and seeing who I really am. I'm very grateful for being out here. 

Elder Lovgren's District - Latest District Meeting at the Mission Home

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Week Twenty-One - Miracles

This week is called miracles because miracles happen when acting in faith. Here are some things Elder Lovgren said this week:

To Act
If we want to progress in this life - to find our true selves and bless people around us - we have to act. That's what our agency is for - to act not to be acted upon. I loved in General Conference this past weekend how Elder Christofferson said there's incorrect thinking that we don't need religion but just spirituality. He brought up how we have hands and feet for a reason - to go and do, to go and serve (help) people. 

He said the church isn't all about self but serving (helping) as well. He said you get so much by serving others; and you do that by using your hands and feet. That meant a lot to me because we talk to so many people out here who try and find the truth for themselves, for their own means, for their own creation in their heads, but it comes back to being humble. How you become humble is first taking that leap of faith. 

Faith is SO important because you'll never come to a point of being humble and believing if you don't have the faith and willingness to take the leap. (You'll just always believe that your mind is the greater mind, and that there isn't a higher power. Your mind is the only thing you'll know.) To be honest, it is my complete witness that all the things I've done out here are not me. I would never be led to teach and help people if I didn't have the Lord. There's absolutely no way. And if you think about what the work is, it is to bring joy and happiness to people. Real joy and happiness is helping people find who they are. Real joy and happiness is helping them feel that they really are a child of God. That He is their Heavenly Father. That everyone's life has a plan; to return back to Him. That there is joy and happiness and that there is more to know. 

There's a scripture in Helaman that says "I do not say that these things shall be of myself because it is not of myself that I know these things." I resonate with that a lot. Another scripture in Alma basically says "I don't boast of myself but I boast of my God." That's just being honest. I thought what was interesting was what I read in an AA book (that the church put out for people with addictions) that pride and honesty cannot coexist. I thought that was so profound. PRIDE.AND.HONESTY.CANNOT. COEXIST. That's really something to ponder because I want to be the most honest person. But if I'm letting my own thoughts and desires come between me and God, and letting my own learning come above Him, am I being completely honest? 

At the September 6, 2015 Newport Beach Stake Temple Devotional with Elder Lovgren and Elder Rosenow

Friday, October 2, 2015

Week Twenty - Correction

Elder Lovgren has been out for twenty weeks (4-1/2 months.) He just completed his third transfer and each transfer is six weeks (3 x 6 = 18). He spent two weeks in the MTC (18 + 2 = 20). Let's not get ahead of ourselves! He's been gone for twenty weeks and next Monday will be 21. Here's what he said about completing the last transfer:

End of Transfer Three
I'm stoked because the transfer is over, guys! I did it! Yet another transfer done! Elder Rosenow, my companion, has grown a lot. He's becoming a good missionary. He's stepping out of his shell, talking, and engaging. I knew I was gonna learn a lot from him this transfer and that's exactly what happened. There's really nothing more humbling than to learn from someone who's fresh out. There's a purity in him only being out for a month. He's very set on being the missionary he dreamed of being his entire life and won't be swayed by anything.

Elder Rosenow, Elder ?, Elder Lovgren

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Week Twenty-One - The Holy Ghost

I love Elder Lovgren's messages! They are so thought provoking and heart felt. Here are a few things he said this week:

I want people to feel at least a portion of the love I feel because as of late it has been the most driving force for me. To think about love ... some people don't feel loved at all. We talk to people all the time who don't feel loved. They never have been and they try to find love through temporal things. They are loved more than they could ever imagine. I know and feel that. 

The Spirit is What Teaches
Forever now in my mission and in my life I will do what I can to invite the spirit. There is nothing that will change a person's heart more than when something clicks in their brain at the same time as when they feel something in their heart. When sometimes something doesn't make sense, its the reading AND feeling that causes the mind to understand. Every single person needs to feel the spirit and that's the job of missionaries. To bring the spirit to [our investigator] makes me so happy. I feel pure joy!

Bearing My Testimony
At Fast and Testimony meeting last Sunday every single person that went up spoke to me and it was exactly what I needed to feel and hear. I was sitting there just tearing up. The spirit was tugging "Go up, Go up" so at the end, with five minutes left, I went up. 

I told them about the experience I had with [our investigator] and teaching by the spirit. I said, "I wasn't there when Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ but I know that the way he felt when he saw them was the same spirit that touched the heart of [our investigator]. And it's the same spirit I've felt in here that's changed my heart." I pretty much bawled my eyes out up there saying, "The Holy Ghost is everything and the fullness of the gospel has been restored to the earth. We have it, and it's free to have if we just choose to have it in our life. I've never come to more truth and understanding - in my life - than what I've felt through the Holy Ghost." Pretty much half the congregation was crying. I've never poured my heart out that much up at the pulpit, but it came from a sincere place. 

Another Zone Conference for the Irvine Area, Where's Elder Lovgren? Shhh, don't tell! :)