Sunday, December 28, 2014

This last week was amazing. This has been the best Christmas ever. The unity with the ward is continuing to grow as well as the love that I have for these people and the Savior.

We had 3 member visits this past week. The members are so strong and it is inspiring to me to see their desire to help push forward the Lord's work. One thing this past week that I was especially touched by was the member’s thoughtfulness. Not only did they want their own family to have a good Christmas, they also wanted to make sure the missionaries had a good Christmas as well. We went Christmas caroling with the ward on Christmas Eve. We visited an investigator and a recent convert’s house and with all of us crammed inside sang 4 songs. It was an awesome experience! The feelings of happiness, gratitude and love could be seen in the eyes of those we visited. Due to time we weren't able to visit some other recent converts we felt needed some extra "Christmas spirit." Therefore, Christmas morning we went with the recent convert we had visited the night before to share the Christmas spirit with another recent convert. After we sang, that recent convert wanted to come with us too and sing at other people's houses. We originally had planned to go visit 2 more people but neither of them were home. It so happened to be that one of Sister Chan's friends (non-member) was at home and said we could come over there. What a great opportunity to meet someone new! Our small group of people brought the Christmas spirit into this lady's home. Just as the night before, I could definitely see the appreciation and joy in this lady's eyes. Due to needing to meet with someone else, we couldn't stay long. However, the lady then invited us back! The Christmas season is a great time for people's hearts to be softened!

One of the biggest blessings that the gospel gives me is family. I know that wherever I am, I have family. I can't explain enough how much I love Castle Peak Bay Ward. I feel at home here. To me, I think that's a big part of God's plan for us. He wants us all too truly feel connected. But more than just connected, he wants us to feel like a family. A family in which everyone can lean on everyone else for support. It's the best environment for learning, teaching, growing, and loving. I feel that Castle Peak Bay is developing into that family. Our ward isn't perfect, but I strongly feel that we are headed in the right direction. As we truly Come Unto Christ, we will, through diligence and hard work, be perfected in Him. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to be serving in this time in this place.

Monday, December 22, 2014

This past week went by fast!! I'm so thankful that I am staying here in Castle Peak Bay with Elder Black! We've been working really hard with the ward mission leader to plan and execute ways to involve everyone in missionary work in order to bring about the attitude of success!  Our ward mission leader is so awesome!! I think I talk about him every week, but that's because every week he just keeps stepping it up!! He understands his role and the wards role in missionary work and he understands our role as well. He has a lot of respect for the calling of a missionary and trusts in God's plan for missionary work.

This past week two of the recent converts were able to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. We talked to them after, what an exciting experience! They both loved it! One had some questions about the temple and so we helped answer her questions. The temple truly is such a sacred place and it helps ignite the fire to want to serve others and continue to do missionary work!

An investigator, A-Yung had a birthday last week and she invited us and a member to have dinner with her. Afterwards we shared about testimonies. It was an awesome experience to have us, the member, and A-Yung all share our testimonies. Later that week, A-Yung got sick. We called and texted to invite her to English class but she didn't answer.  The next day she called us back and said she was sick so she wasn't able to come. What a great opportunity to share about Priesthood Blessings!! I shared briefly about a Priesthood blessing and asked if she would like us to come give her a blessing.  She said yes! After calling and inviting several members in the area to come with us, everyone was either busy or didn't answer their phone. Then the name of a member that we hadn't thought of before came to our mind. She could come! It really was a miracle. She (the member) said that just an hour or so before we called her she was planning on going out but she said she all of a sudden got a feeling she needed to stay in the area.  Shortly thereafter, we called her! We went up and gave A-Yung a priesthood blessing! She started feeling better during the blessing! That experience strengthened my testimony that God truly does know His children's needs and wants to help.

While visiting a recent convert, we brought Sister Lai and she brought her 8/9 year old son as well. We shared about the true meaning of Christmas and after sharing the story of the nativity, invited everyone to bear their testimonies. The last person to bear their testimony was Sister Lai's son. At just the tender age of 8 or 9 he bore a sincere, heartfelt testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and Savior. It was a very powerful experience. That example right there is why we all need to "become like little children." I'm thankful for this opportunity to be here. Christmas season is especially sweet. I can honestly say my love for the people has grown a lot since I first started my mission. They truly are my family. I'm thankful for this Christmas season to remind me even more about our Savior's mission.

Til Next Week,
Love, Elder Cederlof


Monday, December 15, 2014

This week has been awesome! We have continued to be seeing a lot of progress in the overall ward missionary work. Most recently was helping 3 recent converts be able to attend the temple (baptisms for the dead) for the first time this upcoming week. I didn't know it at first but organizing three people to go to the temple, including who will watch their kids, who is going to take them, etc. has taken a lot of phone calls and correlation but we finally got it down! We are super excited that those three will have that opportunity to go this upcoming week!

This week I have been focusing a lot of my studies on faith, the true meaning of faith. I really like how it says in Preach my Gospel that faith includes believing that Heavenly Father loves me. I think that sometimes I think of faith as a little too broad. Faith is a very specific thing. As we learn line upon line, precept upon precept; our faith is then built, line upon line, precept upon precept. Definitely a process.
Zone Exchanges this week were excellent as well. I went with Elder Coppley. He is an awesome missionary. Very bold and willing to talk to everyone. He knows his weaknesses and he is willing to push himself in order to overcome them. I served in his area so he had the reins and he did absolutely incredible! He lead in the lessons we had for the day and just did a really good job. I was very impressed!

We have been working more with our ward missionary leader, his assistant, and the ward missionaries to build a strong, effective ward. The ward is doing great, definitely headed in the right direction and there is no doubt in my mind that there will be many baptisms to come in the Castle Peak Bay ward.

This week we also had some faith in prayer testimony builder experiences. The first one is one day when we were in a rush to get to a lesson, and then after the lesson head back to the church; which means we had to have fairly good timing in catching the bus one the way to the first lesson, and then catching the bus back to the church afterwards. After walking fast, I felt that we should say a prayer to catch a bus, as we were saying amen, the bus was driving towards us. First one down, still one more to go. After the lesson we headed over to the bus stop again, having already prayed that another bus would come, and sure enough, another bus came! It doesn't matter how simple our requests are, if we humble ourselves and in all sincerity ask Heavenly Father, not only will he listen to our prayers, but he will answer them in His own way and in His timing. The second is more from an overall observation of our ward mission leader. God prepares the people he calls. Our ward mission Leader is always so pro-active and quick in helping us correlate with the ward. This makes me think back to the sacredness of my calling. God really has not only called me but has/is also preparing me to be the best missionary I can be.  I'm thankful for this opportunity to be in Castle Peak Bay Ward!
Til next week,
Love Elder Cederlof

Going hard at badminton!

Some cow tongue given to them by a member


Sunday, December 7, 2014

The work here is definitely progressing! This past week we had a lot of miracles! I'll start with just a few miracles:

1. We have been visiting with a recent convert less active these last couple of weeks and she has said in the past that she would come to church but didn't come. However, this past Sunday she came to church and brought her daughter! She absolutely loved church! She was smiling and just so happy there!!

2. We found out that A-Yung, who missed her baptism in the past due to work, is going to quit her job. Since missing her original baptismal date she hasn't been able to meet with the missionaries much but now she will be having more time! We found out just yesterday and we have her scheduled for Tuesday!
3. A Less Active member that has been too busy to meet with us had a schedule change, and is now going to church, has a calling, and is scheduled to meet with us!
4. One of the less-active members that the Sisters were working with prior to the ward split didn't want to meet with us. But after some time and Heavenly Father softening her heart, she is now willing to meet!

5. We went less-active finding with a recent convert and it not only gave us the opportunity to go visit some less-actives that without someone there with us we couldn't have gone and visited, the recent convert texted us afterwards and thanked us for giving her the opportunity to do missionary work! Now she is more excited than ever before to continue to do missionary work!!

We have been seeing so many miracles! I can truly testify this is the Lord's work! I've been pondering a lot about how we can help bring Castle Peak Bay to the 'next level.' I've had a bunch of ideas but I wasn't quite sure how to put it all into words. Yesterday we had ward correlation meeting and after observing and listening to what was being said about missionary work, I've continued to ponder about how we can help to achieve that goal. Thoughts from talks President Hawks has given, as well as apostles and prophets have come to mind. The example using two pieces of wood together works perfectly for what we want to accomplish. (the analogy showed at stake conference a couple months ago) The missionaries and the ward have to share the responsibility for missionary work. Yes, we are full-time so we are going to have more time to be on the streets and doing other things, but I think that the ward members need to truly feel that they are missionaries as well. The overall missionary culture in the ward should be "how can we all help others Come unto Christ?" If every member truly felt responsible for the missionary success in the ward, missinoary work would progress even faster. I like how President Hawks said, a while ago, something to the effect of "if everyone truly is going to hear the gospel, we are going to have to start looking at missionary work a little bit differently". Missionaries purpose is to teach.  I'm so thankful for this ward. We have a very mission-oriented bishop and our ward mission leader is absolutely incredible! I'm very grateful I have the opportunity to work with them in developing this missionary attitude in the ward!

Til Next Week,
Love, Elder Cederlof

Monday, December 1, 2014

I absolutely love our ward! I think we are truly building a strong relationship with the ward leaders as well as the ward. Our Ward Missionary Leader is absolutely awesome! He is very pro-active and is just super willing to help in any way that he can! I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a part of this new ward! Our ward is definitely a mission-centered ward! I see a lot of faith in all of our ward leaders. This past week we went and visited several members with the Relief Society President, who is a prime example of missionary-member work. As Relief Society President she wants to get to know the sisters in the ward, especially the recent converts and some of the sisters that haven't been at church for a while. She made up a list and gave it to us and asked if we could go with her to go visit. So pro-active!! This past week she came with us to visit several RCLAs and she helped a ton! We had an awesome experience as we went to visit a recent convert named Chan JM. Chan Jm has been having some really bad health problems this past little bit and Lai JM (Relief Society President) was there to show her support! As Chan Jm started talking about how hard the last little bit has been we decided we needed to (as Elder Bednar says) "drop the lesson at the door." We shared about the Savior's sacrifice and love for us. Then we talked about Priesthood Blessings, and gave her one. It was a powerful experience! Following that lesson we had scheduled another recent convert named Anna, however Lai Jm and some other things she had to do. Chan Jm was happy and willing to go with us! While teaching Anna, several questions were brought up. Chan Jm said that she recently had those same questions and had prayed and figured out how to overcome! I especially liked her answer to the question of "how do I help myself read the scriptures every day?" Chan Jm answered: think of the Book of Mormon as your friend!! She explained that she used to think it was very hard to "find" time to read the Book of Mormon, so she started regarding it as a friend! That way, when she was out and about and had some spare time she would think, wait, at home I have a "friend" waiting for me! Then she would go home and read. After using this method, she explained she sometimes read for several hours a day! It makes me think back to Gordon B. Hinckley when he talked about how we really do need to have that relationship with the Book of Mormon.

The faith in our ward is already bringing miracles. These past couple weeks we have been trying to get a hold of a less active whose mother wasn't very supportive of her going to church or meeting the missionaries. To our surprise they both showed up at church!! It was a great opportunity to actually meet her mom and get to know her. Due to that miracle we now have a time we can meet with them later this month!!

We have been working with more recent converts than I've ever worked with before on my mission and so at first I was a little bit nervous about the time that would take out of finding. However, I knew that the Lord needs us to help continue strengthen his converts and so I pushed the doubts out of my mind. To no surprise, as the Lord always does when he gives us counsel, he magnified the finding time we did have by leading us to very prepared people. I know this is God's work. I'm thankful to be a part of it!

 Til next week,
 Love, Elder Cederlof