Monday, November 26, 2012

Email the Last

Hey family. I didn't know if I'd get an email off today. Our day is pretty busy. The new missionaries are coming today and we're taking the 9 of them to go out proselyting tonight. I'll be with 2, Elder Davis will take 2, and the rest will be a couple other missionaries in their areas. And we have a bunch of other stuff going on. Not to mention I still have to pack.....

But I had a quick minute and wanted to send something short.

I love the Savior Jesus Christ and I love His gospel. Whether we know it or not, or whether we are striving to live it or not, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is why we chose to come down to earth. And once we see that, everything changes for the better and life is sweeter and more fulfilling.

In Elder Bednar's talk from the last general conference he talked about this: "God blesses us with a testimony of these things, and as we work to strengthen our testimonies and act on them, we become more and more converted unto the Lord. A testimony is spiritual knowledge of truth obtained by the power of the Holy Ghost. Continuing conversion is constant devotion to the revealed truth we have received—with a heart that is willing and for righteous reasons. Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony. Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion. We should know the gospel is true and be true to the gospel....... Conversion is an offering of self, of love, and of loyalty we give to God in gratitude for the gift of testimony."

In the past 2 years I have learned a lot of new things. Things I needed. But learning things in studies and trainings isn't enough unless we act on it and share it with others. Actually going out and helping other people is how we become better people ourselves. I definitely have a long ways to go, but I've become a better person than I was 2 years ago. I'm still me, but I'm just more converted than I was before I left. And hopefully 2 years from now I'll still be moving in that direction.

The Gospel life is the good life. And life's been soo good in the hood! I'm going to miss everything out here. Thankfully we've been really busy these past few weeks so I haven't had a chance to dwell too much on it. But as much as I'll miss all of this, I'm excited to see you guys :) Just another day and a half or so. Crazy crazy.

Thanks for everything you guys do. I love you guys!

For the last time with this name,
Elder Lamb
November 19, 2012

Last week in the MDM

Hey! I probably will get an email out next Monday, but I'm not sure how busy we'll be that day, so this might be the last email home. That's weird to think about.

This week has been pretty busy. We had 4 days of Specialized Training. Elder Davis and I instructed on the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion, it turned out good so we were relieved. So there was a lot of focus in the meetings on that as well as working with members and wards/branches more effectively. It was a really productive set of meetings, I think things are going to raise to a new level in the mission if we can all act on the things we've been taught.

This Friday night we went to the temple with the Baldassarras! It was their first trip to the temple for baptisms. It was a great trip. The other set of elders in the ward also came with one of their recent converts for her first time too. And to top it off, I ran into someone else at the temple. Elder Clark and I baptized a guy named Dave Martin about a year ago in Flint, and I haven't seen him since I left - but he happened to be going through the temple for his first time that same night and was in our same session for baptisms. So I got to catch up with him and be there for his first session. It was so cool. It was a simple tender mercy of the Lord, little things like that are nice reminders that the Lord is aware of us and wants us to enjoy this life.

I'll try to send something short next Monday. If I can't...then the next time I talk to you guys will be in person! :)

I love the Savior Jesus Christ.

And I love you guys.
Elder Lamb

Monday, November 12, 2012

Elder Oaks!

The weekend was SO cool. Elder Oaks came...and it was awesome. I think I explained in a previous email what he was doing here, but I'll break it down just in case I really didn't. He was here partly because he was doing some training with the temple workers at the Detroit Temple, and then he was also given the assignment while he was here to preside at the Westland Stake Conference this weekend, and then he offered to have a quick meeting with the mission. As a missionary serving in this mission as well as in the Westland Stake, I was pumped. So Saturday morning was the mission meeting, it was an hour and half - so too short if you ask me, but it was awesome. Before the meeting started he had everyone line up so he could shake our hands. You can feel the good in him just when he walks in the room, but shaking his hand was next level great. That was my favorite part of the weekend actually. He talked to us about a lot. He told us we're not here to baptize, but to establish the Church. He talked about real conversion, how we all need to seek after real conversion beyond simply having a testimony. Simply baptizing people who feel good about the experience of baptism but aren't repentant and committed to staying on the path just adds burdens to the bishops and stake presidents. It was a good message for us as members and for those we're teaching. I don't have my notes in front me, but he talked about a lot in the few meetings I heard him at. We took our investigator Gary on Saturday night to the Adult Session of Stake Conference and again on Sunday morning to the normal session of Stake Conference. At the Saturday night session, Elder Oaks was a little more casual because it wasn't a Sabbath day meeting he said. And he was hilarious. I'd always pictured him as very stern and serious from watching him at General Conference, but this was a fun side to see of him. A member of one of the quorums of the Seventy was also with him for the two stake conference meetings, his name was Elder Archibald. They both gave great talks. Elder Archibald gave a talk on the Atonement that was incredible, and after Elder Oaks said that Elder Archibald gave one of the best talks on the Atonement that Elder Oaks had ever heard. So watch out for Elder Archibald speaking at a general conference in the near future ;)

This whole weekend was unreal. Not just because I got to shake hands a couple times and talk with an apostle. But I know without a doubt that Elder Oaks and the rest of the Brethren are prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ. The way he carried the Spirit about him, and the way I was able to be so edified from the experience helps me know that. We actually had a pretty awesome experience too. On a quick side note, Gary is the investigator who is just doing awesome. He's the one who's completely been off smoking for a few weeks now after coming down from 40 a day. He's the one who's been reading everything like crazy in the scriptures and other Church books. Just a completely different person. But he's also had a very rough life. He's been waiting for approval to be baptized from the First Presidency and just a few days ago he got word in the mail that he needs to wait 6 months to have his situation re-evaluated. We thought for sure his baptismal service would be happening any day now. Gary was pretty upset. but after the Saturday night conference, President worked it out so that we could have Gary talk to Elder Oaks briefly to receive some counsel. Not knowing Gary at all, Elder Oaks gave counsel that was perfect. He said things that Elder Davis and I could never think of saying despite how well we knew Gary. And just the fact that Gary was given this opportunity was incredible. Really the whole timing of him getting the letter a day before Elder Oaks comes was absolutely orchestrated by the Lord. The Lord is very aware of our situations. If we ask Him to and allow Him to, He will give us the strength we need and allow us to feel of His perfect love for us.

Here's a scripture Elder Oaks shared with Gary: "Nevertheless, Jacob, my first-born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." (2 Nephi 2:2)

Love you guys,
Elder Lamb

November 5, 2012

mafia to mormon

Hey. This week has been busy, but I don't even remember what all we did. Just give me a sec... So we had a missionary go home this week so we were working out exchanges and had some missionaries staying with us for a couple days as we worked that out. But the missionary who went home is planning on coming back out asap, so that's really good.  We also went to a fireside this week down in Detroit. Mario Facione (sp?) was the speaker. He's a member of the Bloomfield Hills Stake in our mission, and he has an incredible conversion story. He's the author of a book called "From Mafia to Mormon", just to give you an idea. At the fireside he told his story of how he was in a very sticky line of work (Elder Ballard - ya, the apostle - had given him counsel to not be too specific on what kind of work he was up to), and Brother Facione explained how the missionaries knocked on his door. Bhadda bing bhadda boom. It's an awesome story though. There's no one too far off the path for the gospel to heal them and get their lives in order. He's been a temple president in the detroit temple and has sent his children on missions. Gian-Carlo our recent convert (who is Italian) came and so did Gary. I probably have told you this, but Gary is on fire. He's a gospel studying machine - he's read Preach My Gospel, Gospel Principles, BOM, D&C, Pearl of Great Price, Teachings of George Albert Smith, and the list is growing. He's just finished Our Heritage. And he's on like Day #12 of having quit smoking after years of 40 cigarettes a day. Baptism = soon. Stay tuned.

Halloween was pretty plain, I was on an exchange and we had appointments. But I got your guys' package, thanks! I'm still working on the cookies, there were a lot in there.
This weekend is going to be epic. Elder Oaks is coming. He's here to do some training at the Detroit Temple, but he's also coming to the Westland Stake Conference. That's my stake, so we get to see him Saturday night at the Adult Session and Sunday morning at the normal session. And then he decided to have a quick meeting with our mission Saturday morning. It's a rare opportunity for him to be here, we've had a couple of elders from the Seventy come out since I've been out here, but apostles don't generally come out to state side missions from what I've heard. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes next Monday ;)

Other than that, that's about it. I have a black eye right now. We've been doing district work-outs once a week, where we play ultimate frisbee with our district for morning work-outs. Something Elder Adamson and I started almost a year ago when I was in Plymouth. But I took a disc to the eye a couple of days ago. It's nothing serious, but it makes me look more like a G.

Have a great week. Love you guys.
Elder Lamb

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

happy halloween

October 29, 2012

Hey! Yesterday was AWESOME. The baptisms happened. Kimi Berry was baptized, and so were Cathy and Madelyn Bladassarra. And it was an awesome day. Church was from 1 - 4 (we had 7 investigators there), and then there was a "Linger Longer" from 4 - 5, and then the baptisms at 6. It made for a huge turn-out. It was a really neat experience seeing the Baldassarra family last night. Gian, who was baptized a month ago, baptized his wife and 11 year old daughter. The Gospel blesses families, and God's plan goes beyond the individual. He wants to see families building on the rock of Christ, and really does have a perfect plan for each individual family. The Baldassarras were cool to watch through the experience because everything just fell right into place all at once for them as a family. In a year their 7 year old son can be baptized and they can all be sealed in the temple as well. And Kimi's cool stuff too. She's 20, others in her family were baptized a couple months ago. Kimi didn't feel ready back then but she's turned herself around and is on fire right now.

Something we're pretty excited about is we've come up with a pretty cool gameplan for helping keep these new members active and bound to the ward. We created these folders for the ward to use to track their progress in their new member lessons and assigning different ward members to teach these each week, and also tracking their progress in getting home/visiting teachers, callings, working towards the temple a year from now. the wards want to help new members but sometimes need a push, and we want to give that push more than we know how too, but the ward jumped at this idea. it came out based off of some other ideas from other missionaries, and some brainstorming with our ward mission leader.

out of time. love you guys. happy halloween.
elder lamb

snowballin, shot callin

October 24, 2012

I have to be quick today. We were suppose to get snow this week but the forecast has changed. But the snow is on its way. I just had an epiphony - snowball pass along cards. I'll take a pass along card and cover it in snow and throw these at doors as we drive by. The work is hastening.

This weekend two more of the Baldassarras will be entering the waters of baptism. Gian (baptized about a month ago) is going to baptize his wife and 11 year old daughter. Everyone's excited in the ward, especially the Baldassarras. Church gets out at 4, and there's going to be a "linger-longer" from 4-5 where the ward's going to mingle and have a small pot luck, and then the baptisms will be at 5. It'll be a fun day. And we're hoping another investigator we're working with, Kimi, will be baptized that same night. This past Sunday at church, Gian helped with blessing the sacrament for his first time. He was sporting a new suit for the day.

Another investigator we've been working with is doing AWESOME. His name's Gary. He's a machine. He's read the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, the Gospel Principles manual, Preach My Gospel, the George Albert Smith teachings manual, and whatever else he can get his hands on. This has all been in the past 2 months or so. And on top of that, he's come down from 40 cigarettes a day to 3 a day for the past couple quitting yesterday! He's doing great. Hopefully his baptism is soon.

Gotta go. Hope you guys have a good week. Look for opportunities to do missionary work. Our brothers and sisters need it!

Elder Lamb

Monday, October 15, 2012

transfer 17

hey family, sorry for leaving you hanging with the updates last week. i made my tall companion pass up shooting hoops right now so we could come in to the office and email. how are things in california, utah, and idaho? michigan's starting to get cold but nothing that bad yet.

today is day one of the last transfer. 6 weeks left. it hasn't really hit me as weird yet, but i'm anticipating waking up one day and feeling pretty strange. we've had a pretty busy day today. the new missionaries came in from the airport and we went over with President and Sister Holmes to go pick them up. So we were getting things ready and helping out a little at the mission home. Tonight we're splitting them all up and going out teaching with them for a few hours. We don't have a lot of appointments tonight so i'll have to rely on that new missionary fire to bring about some miracles in our finding with whoever i'm with. and then they'll all spend the night at our apartment (we have a bunch of beds for this reason). and then we'll take them all to the meeting in the morning to meet their trainers and we'll all go to the Transfers Meeting. I don't know if i've explained this to you before, but since our mission is pretty small geographically (four stakes), all of the missionaries who are getting transferred come to the transfer meeting with their companion. they get a call a few days before and are told they're getting transferred but aren't told where. and then at the transfer meeting there's a power point that goes through all of the areas and they find out that way where they're serving and with who. always a fun meeting.

so elder bednar came last night to the ann arbor stake.....but we didn't get to see him :( his son is in the ann arbor stake, and is actually the ward mission leader there. so he was in town to visit family and go to the U of M football game at the Big House ha. so for one of the nights he put together a fireside for all of the young single adults. president asked if missionaries could come with investigators, but elder bednar wanted us out working. that was rough, but understandable. but we sent our investigator kimi to go. and kimi loved it. kimi's on date for the 28th and is doing awesome. the rest of her family was baptized not too long ago but she struggled a little to get motivated and focused. she had to overcome some obstacles with her lifestyle, but is recently doing awesome. once she accepted a baptism date she came alive. so she's doing great. i'm a little bummed we couldn't see elder bednar........but elder oaks is coming next month! and we CAN see him! elder oaks is coming to our stake conference, so we get to see him there (we might camp out the night before to get good seats). but he wants to have a meeting with our mission so we'll get to see him there. possibly meet him. that's the weekend of the 10th and 11th of november.

remember gian who was baptized a few weeks ago? he is still doing awesome. and his family is too! his wife accepted a date for the 28th! and gian's going to baptize her! and it looks like their daughter is probably going to join her and get baptized that day too. just an incredible family. we had such a wonderful lesson with them this week. we brought a great couple from the ward to the lesson, we read from 3 Nephi 27 and taught the gospel, and extended the date. i can't explain it all, but it was a miracle. she had talked to her mom earlier that day about coming to her baptism basically on that date (which took some faith, her parents - like gian's - weren't very happy they were coming to the Mormon church in the first place), and when we extended the invitation after praying about on our own end, it just fell into place. that might not make sense, it's hard to explain, but it was cool ha. and without bringing it up in the lesson, they asked about getting sealed in the temple (we had a lesson on eternal marriage in gospel principles a few weeks back). so...i might have to make a trip out to michigan next october.

so we have some baptisms coming up. and hopefully a few more not long after those ones. the gospel is so good. the world needs it badly. and when people find it for the first time and start embracing it, it's a good experience :)

love you guys,
elder lamb

ps. conference was incredible huh?

Monday, October 8, 2012

General Conference!

October 4, 2012

hey there,

things are starting to get chilly out here. i'm hoping things hold off until december since i sent my winter gear home. the nice part is the leaves are starting to change colors, which is awesome in michigan because there are a ton of trees.

this past week has been good. on tuesday we went to New Missionary Training, where the new missionaries and their trainers come together and we discuss how the first month of their mission experience has been, do some practices, do some instructions, and give them a good boost to set them back on their way for the next 2 years. this was a really good batch of new missionaries. it was a great meeting. and sister holmes made taco salad, which is a favorite for any member of the lamb family, so life was good. today we have ZLCM (zone leader council meeting) at the mission home. always a fun meeting too. and sister holmes will have something for lunch too, so again life will be good.

we had an awesome lesson with the baldassarras (gian was baptized a couple weeks ago). his wife is also just an awesome person. she has a busy work schedule so we haven't gone over as much with her, but the whole family has been consistently coming to church every week since gian started meeting with the missionaries. so we were going over the plan of salvation with gian and kathy and the spirit was strong as kathy was soaking everything in. we asked her about baptism and she said she believes everything we've taught her and gian....and plans on getting baptized when she gets some more reading in! gian got excited when she said that, we all did. this past sunday gian was confirmed and received the aaronic priesthood so they're both excited already for gian to baptize her. just an incredible family. we cover parts of detroit in our area here, and they're in a pretty rough part of town, but still able to find happiness and be good people regardless of their circumstances and environment.

yesterday we were walking back to our car (we drive a dodge grand caravan, nothing wrong with that) after finishing up a lesson. and this guy was walking down the sidewalk and we stop to give him a card, turns out he met with missionaries in the past and....he raps about the gospel! he just started rapping some of his stuff, it was AWESOME! i actually remember the previous missionaries telling me about him when i was in this area on a exchange a long time ago, we were going to see him on the exchange but he had to cancel the appointment. so i was pumped to see him. we set up to go see him later today. i'll try and get a video or a cd or something. and baptize him. the restored doctrine and principles of the gospel will not only bless him and his family forever, but will also give him way more material than he ever thought possible.

i'm pumped for general conference. i'm trying to prepare for it the best i can, i want to soak in the words of the prophet and apostles as much as possible. their words are gifts from God, and it gives us the vision and strength we need for the next 6 months till they speak again. and something they say can bless us beyond 6 months and make an impact on us for the rest of our lives. Last year in General Conference Elder Holland said, "If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you". i'm excited, i hope you guys have a good general conf weekend too. president holmes invited us over to watch a session at the mission home and we've invited the baldassarras. it'll be good.

Check out this quick video, it'll pump you up for General Conference:

gotta go, love you guys. the church is true, the gospel makes us happier. shall we not go on in so great a cause?

elder lamb