Friday, November 20, 2015

Week Twenty-Six - Goodbye Irvine

Elder Lovgren's messages are the best! It's great to hear his voice and inflections on his weekly audios! And it's great to know by the tone of his voice what he means. Here's some of what he said last week:

Intro - Hi :)
<sounds like a news intro>Bud-uh-bup-buh-duh<singing>I'm leaving Irvine!<end> Wooo! Wooo! Wooo! Hi family :) It's another Monday morning - November 9, 2015. This is Elder Lovgren :) From my intro, you may have been able to tell that I'm getting transferred! I've been six months in Irvine and now it's time to go. 

I love this area. I really, really, really, really, really love this area a lot! I mean, of course!...It's my baby ward...It's my greenie ward!...I gotta love it!...This is where I grew up! But, I got the word on Saturday night that I'm being transferred and I'm really, really excited!! I know there will be miracles and amazing things in my next area, too :)

Mission Time Goes Fast
I'm so thankful to be out here! I think dang! next transfer will be 7.5 months - my mission is flying! Then I think about how I have three more 'six months' to go and realize it's a lot of time! Six months have gone by, but I don't want to think about what's gone but what's to come.

Reading the Book of Mormon Is Important
I love you guys! I guess the main message I want to share is the importance of the Book of Mormon. It is THE most important book to read. I'm not just saying that because I'm a missionary :) but because of the manifestations of the spirit that have touched my heart and soul. I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is vital for all of God's children to read. It's not enough just to read it but to study it and know how it speaks to us, individually. Take the leap and read it. Explore it. Read it again. Just do it. It brings peace and doesn't take anything from your life but only adds more. Who doesn't want more? 

I Love You
I love everyone here in Irvine, I love everyone in California, and I love the support you give me! All I can give you is my testimony and share my spirit with you. I encourage you to do things because I love you. It brings me joy, but I know, from the spirit, that it will bring you even more joy. Whatever I can do to step outside myself and my busy schedule to help you I'll do, and I know it will help you in your busy schedule.

Elder Lovgren says goodbye to the Barlow's

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Week Twenty-Five - Reality

Elder Lovgren likes to ponder about the deep things we all wonder. For example:

Real or Not Real?
Mom, I know how you talk all the time about how you don't know what's real/not real. That's because in the millennial generation - kids with cell phones - someone can tell us something like, "Frogs do back flips" and we're like oh, okay, really? and we pull out our phones, Google 'Do frogs do back flips?', see that they do, and then we believe it. But back in the day, someone told you "Frogs do back flips" and you believed it because there wasn't another dimension of "truth". 

Revelation Can't be Measured
It's an interesting thing to me because the gospel is a hard thing for a lot of people to believe. We tell them the restored gospel is here - the fullness, and they think oh, okay, really? Google, boop, 'Is the gospel restored?' and polygamy, or Jesus had multiple wives, or false doctrine, or attacks on the church, or something else negative comes up along with the truth. As well as what's true, a lot things come up that either don't matter or aren't true - we've heard them time and time again. What's interesting is that we have shifted our lives to know truth from multiple sources. Everything I base my life on is truth. (Like, following the spirit; aligning my will with God's; praying to know what I need to do; knowing the answers I receive are truth that will help me.) Every time I do God's will (ask a question "Should I do this?" or "Is it your will that I do this?"), the answer I get is revelation - truth that I can depend on. The thing is, revelation isn't something I can Google. 

Truth vs. Fact
The church is amazing because we learn truth. We talked about this in church yesterday - there's fact then there's truth in science. You can calculate how big the tree is because you can see it - there's fact as to how big the tree is based on calculation, but you can't calculate how you feel. A lot of people have a hard time with spirituality because it's how you feel in your heart and mind, and somehow you just know it's true. 

Elder Rosenow and Elder Lovgren at a baptism on Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week Twenty-Four - The Spirit Prepares People

This week, Elder Lovgren talked about how the spirit prepares people. He said:

What I Learned This Week
The theme of what I learned this week is: People are ready when they're ready, and I cannot change people. I can only be an example and change myself. In the end, would I rather be "right" or would I rather be "happy"? (Do I want to be "right" by forcing them to do something they don't want to do? Or would I rather be "happy" and love them for who they are, and enjoy the friendship we have?) Those questions teach me patience, humility, and diligence. So many things teach me. Time and time again I keep running into the fact that I can't change people. It's not me but the spirit that changes people. All I can do is invite the spirit and know that it's the spirit that changes people, always. 

Personal Experience
The spirit changed me. I remember being at home and planning to not go on a mission. I needed some money and it was on my mind. That evening, Elders came over. (No doubt about it - they were inspired to come over.) The Elders came over and I just remember a blonde Elder, I have no idea what his name was - he was a dude from Utah - a normal guy, just out of high school, and trying his best on his mission. He bore his testimony and I just remember the spirit I felt in our home and how it was everything. I wanted to be like that guy. He didn't make films or have an amazing portfolio with a bunch of cool things - he was just a normal guy - but the spirit he had was everything and I wanted it.  

Led to the Solution
I was in a humbled position, and I still needed money. No coincidence that the next day I was watching wedding films and thinking about how making wedding films was gonna make some money. I was watching couples come out of the temple and talk about eternal marriage. It made me think of my childhood and how glad I was to have been raised in the gospel, and how I had a warm and welcoming childhood growing up. Never did I ever feel pressure to do things I didn't want to do. Never did I ever have pressure to go on a mission. (Well, I did sometimes. Sometimes it was like, "Are you really gonna go on a mission?," but that's how much you guys cared about me. :) 

Being Prepared
I said, "Nah, I'm not gonna go on a mission" and you said, "Okay, just do something" and I did. I made films that I thought would fulfill my purpose. *I* was being prepared. I was living my journey and on my path. (Missionary work is real and true because we are doing the Lord's work. The Lord guides our lives more than we know and blesses us through others.) I was at a point in my life where I was humbled - I didn't have any money, I didn't really know what I was doing with my life, coincidentally the missionaries came over and shared a message that allowed me to feel the spirit, and the Lord placed me on a path to look up wedding films.

My Decision to Serve
Mom, I remember that day we were driving and I told you I was going on a mission. You were like, "What? You're going on a mission? You said you weren't gonna go."  and I said, "Nah, I'm going." We parked in the Jimmy John's parking lot to have lunch and I told you, "I'm going on a mission, Mom, because I want a family like our family." I remember saying that and looking at you and I couldn't see your face because the sun was shining and blinding me. I remember thinking that's not a coincidence. This decision is righteous. Part of me felt scared to say my decision out loud and part of me felt scared of the reality, but never did I ever question going on a mission ever again. (We all know that I must have been further prepared because it took me a while to go on a mission, but after those experiences I never lost sight of me going.)

We're Always Planting Seeds
The blonde Elder has no clue what he did for me - he changed my life! He bore simple testimony and it changed my life because the spirit touched my heart. He's probably in Utah doing whatever and has no idea of the impact he had on my life. We never know how we'll affect someone.

Sister Missionaries, Elder Rosenow, Elder Lovgren, and a family member ready to eat at a family's house