Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Again! -February 29th, 2016

Hey everyone!

Dang! This week just flew by!

Such a good week though! Elder Westling and I have still been really focusing on find His lost sheep in the Talladega area. It's brought some really interesting experiences but also some really amazing experiences. All I can say is that I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be a missionary and to be able to be a part of the Lord work.

Every once and a while, as a missionary, you'll have that moment in the day when you just stop. It's like an aha moment but as a missionary. You just stop and realize/remember that you're a missionary. You're doing the thing that you've waited your whole life for. Ever since you were a kid, in primary, singing "I hope they call me on a mission"! And sometime it just hits you.

I had one of those moments this week while driving around the boonies of Alabama, hunting for less actives. Wow, I just love it so much. I love being a missionary and being able to serve the Lord!

I also had pretty cool experience on Saturday while we were moving a new member into our branch (which are what the pictures below are of). I saw a lady across the street picking up sticks in her lawn and I had a feeling to go over and offer help. I took a pause from the move and went and introduced myself and asked if she needed help. And holy cow, what happened next threw me off so bad! SHE WAS BRITISH! She started talking and my heart stopped for a couple seconds. I stopped helping her with the sticks and explained my life and how half of my family is from England. She freaked out a little and we had a little spaz out together haha. She's from Plymouth, England and has been in Alabama for about four years. We talked for a pretty long time and I explained how I was a missionary for the LDS church and she explained how she had a couple Mormon friends at the school she works at. She said she's love to have me come back and tell her more about the gospel. She also said I could come by anytime I was missing the accent haha! Talk about an Emmaus Experience! So hopefully we'll be able to go back sometime in the future and start teaching her!

Anyways, there's a couple cool experiences from this past week:)

I hope y'all have an amazing week and I'll talk to you next Monday!


Elder Honn

Monday, February 22, 2016

Rescuing Lost Lambs -February 22nd, 2016

Hey everyone!

This week has just been packed full of amazing things! We had Zone Conference this week as well as Stake conference! For those of you who don't know, Zone Conference is a meeting that we have once every three months in our mission. It's an all day thing normally and we go and receive teachings and trainings from President and Sister Hanks, the senior missionaries, and the Assistants to president. It was awesome! So much fun and we learned so many amazing things. So with that and Stake Conference we heard a lot of amazing teachings and talks and were very spiritually fed.
Other than that, Elder Westling and I had a great week! This week our main focus was on finding and teaching some of the many less active members in our branch. We found so much success and had some very amazing experiences by making this our focus. Rescuing His lost lambs. And that's what I want to be the focus of this email.

As the Savior’s undershepherds, we have the responsibility to “reach out and rescue those who have fallen by the wayside.” There's a talk that speaks about the Parables of the Lost and Found that explains it perfectly. It says"In chapter 15 of the Gospel of Luke, the Savior uses three parables to teach the worth of a soul, showing us how to find and return that which is lost to the fold of faith and family.

In the parables, the sheep wanders, the piece of silver is lost, and the prodigal son wastes his inheritance in riotous living. But the shepherd searches the wilderness, the woman sweeps the house, and the forgiving father watches for his son’s return, ever ready with an embrace and a warm welcome home.

The Savior’s parables—and the three vignettes by Church leaders that follow—remind us that as His undershepherds, we have the responsibility to “reach out and rescue those who have fallen by the wayside, that not one precious soul will be lost."

It goes on to share a story given by an area seventy that I really loved. This email is going to be pretty long, so I apologize but I really wanted to share these things with yall.

The story:

"Years ago in the early spring, my wife and I had occasion to drive through beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, USA. It was a wonderful spring morning, and the landscapes and scenery were inspiring.

As Jackie and I drove into Star Valley, we enjoyed seeing an occasional flock of sheep sprinkled with dozens of baby lambs. Few things are more endearing than a baby lamb. As we drove down the busy road, we saw a small lamb outside the fence near the roadside. It was frantically running back and forth against the fence, trying to get back to the flock. I surmised that this little lamb was small enough to have pressed through an opening in the fence but was now unable to return.

I was confident that if we didn’t stop to rescue the lamb, it would eventually wander into the nearby road and be injured or killed. I stopped the car and said to Jackie and our traveling companions in the backseat, “Wait here; this will take just a moment.”

I naturally assumed with my total lack of lamb-herding experience that the frightened lamb would be glad to see me; after all, I had the best of intentions. I was there to save its life!

But to my disappointment, the lamb was afraid and totally unappreciative of my efforts to save it. As I approached it, the little soul ran away from me as fast as it could along the fence. Seeing my plight, Jackie got out of the car to help. But even together we could not outmaneuver the quick little lamb.

At this point the couple in the backseat, who had been thoroughly enjoying the rodeo, piled out of the car and joined in the rescue attempt. With all of our efforts we finally corralled the frightened little lamb against the fence. As I reached down to pick him up in my clean traveling clothes, I quickly noticed that he had the distinct aroma of the barnyard. It was then that I began to wonder, is this effort really worth it?

As we picked up the lamb and lifted him over the fence to safety, he fought and kicked with all his might. But within moments he had found his mother and was pressed tightly and safely against her side. With our clothing a little disheveled but with great satisfaction and peace that we had made the right choice, we went on our way.

I have reflected on that experience several times since. I wonder if we would give that kind of effort to save an unappreciative, less-active neighbor. I hope so! “How much then is a man better than a sheep?” the Savior asked (Matthew 12:12). In every branch, ward, and stake are lost and endangered lambs.

Replacing the word work with rescue in the hymn “Have I Done Any Good?” I invite you to consider its application in saving lost lambs:

There are chances for rescue all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.         

Our neighbors may seem unappreciative, frightened, or uninterested in being rescued. And our efforts to rescue them may take time, effort, energy, and the support and help of others. But this effort will be rewarded with eternal blessings. As the Lord has promised, if we bring “save it be one soul unto [Him], how great shall be [our] joy with him in the kingdom of [our] Father”"

This week my testimony of the importance of rescuing the Savior lost lambs, was immensely increased. The joy and happiness that we can bring to someone's live by showing our care and concern for them is amazing, and we definitely saw that in our work this week. Members have all kinds of reasons for being less-active but I promise that as we reach out to them and try to save His lambs that lives will be changed and that no effort will go wasted.

I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today and I am so grateful to be a member of this restored gospel. We are all God's children and he loves each one of us immeasurably. I challenge all of you to find his children, his lambs, that are lost and to reach out to them and save them from the dangerous road that this life can be.

I love you and appreciate all of you so much, and hope you all have an amazing week:)


Elder Honn

p.s. sorry the selfie is blurry... y'all know how I feel about selfies so just count your blessings;)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Service Softens Stoney Souls -February 15th, 2016

Whats up everyone! 

What a week! 

We've been trying to stay as busy as we can and this week we accomplished that goal. Our week was full of service and teaching! Which are my two favorite things, so you can say we had a pretty good week:)

Elder Westling is just awesome! He's such a great missionary and works really hard. He's also totally hilarious and really fun to be around. We get a long great and I'm really excited for the rest of this transfer and all the experiences we'll have together. 

As the subject of this letter says "service softens stony souls" this is a quote that President Hanks says a lot and I really love it. We also had many experiences this past week that proved that this saying is very true! 

Throughout the week, as we gave service, we saw the people who we were serving open up to us even more. And as they opened up to us, it gave the spirit a chance to touch their hearts. It's an amazing thing to see, how something as small as raking leaves or baking cookies for someone can help soften stony souls and create an opportunity for the spirit to touch them and help them draw closer to Christ. I challenge everyone to take some time and serve someone around you, whether you know them or not, whether they know about it or not, just serve someone. And I guarantee that the results from your service, love, and selflessness will be amazing to see. And that you will also be blessed in your own life for turning your arrows outward and focusing more on others. 

Obviously this isn't something that I'm perfect at either but I'm definitely trying to become better at instinctively serving all those around me! I'm very grateful for all the excellent examples of people, who constantly are giving selfless service, in my life. 

This week was also valentines day.... and if it weren't for my family I wouldn't have even brought it up! Obviously cause I'm a missionary and Valentines day just makes you trunky so you try not to think or talk about it haha but I just had to give my amazing family a shout out and express my gratitude and love for them. They do so much for me and I can't express how much I appreciate it. I mean, you know the love is real when your family takes the time to pack a box full of candy, food, treats, some other random stuff, and even fit a balloon in the box as well haha! Ya ll are just the best! 

Anyways, sorry there are no pics... I promise to try to be better this week at taking some for y'all! We've just been so busy and it's hard to remember... but I promise to work on it! 

I hope you all have a great week! I'll talk to you next Monday! 


Elder Honn

Monday, February 8, 2016

Missionaries in a Parade! -February 8th, 2016

Hey y'all!

This week was good but pretty different. We had transfers without a transfer meeting so that was pretty weird... but it was still awesome cause I got to see some of the Elders I'm close to! I also said goodbye to Shurtz and got Elder Westling!

Elder Westling is great! He's from a small town in Utah (4th companion from Utah...). He's really enthusiastic about the work and has a burning testimony. On the drive home he was very open with me and shared his conversion story and bore testimony to me. The spirit was so strong and his story truly touched me. He's become such an amazing missionary over the course of his year and a half served and I can't wait for all the experiences we'll be able to have together this transfer.

Funny little story that happened on Saturday. Our District was in a parade in Talladega haha! It was so much fun! We just sat in the back of a truck and threw candy and random stuff out to people and families on the streets of Talladega. We also threw a bunch of cards out as well so it was great! Everyone loved us and would say stuff like "God bless" and what not.

Saturday was also my six month mark so that's cool! haha to be honest I totally forgot about it and then remembered on Sunday when someone asked me how long I had been out. I'd like to thank everyone for all the support and love I've been shown this past six months. It means the world to me! I love all of you so much! It's been a truly amazing six months and I absolutely can't wait for the rest of the amazing experiences I'll be able to have during the next year and a half.

Sorry, this email is pretty short but we have to drive down to Birmingham to pick up a car today so we're a little rushed. I'll talk to you all next week though!

Oh yeah, happy Valentines day too! Love you guys so much!❤

Elder Honn

Monday, February 1, 2016

Transfers Again? -February 1st, 2016

Hey everyone! 

Dang, this last 7 weeks/transfer feels like it's flown by! But none the less, we did have transfer calls this past Saturday! The news is that Elder Shurtz will be leaving and going to Mississippi, and I will be staying in Talladega. My new companion will be Elder Westling. I've heard a lot about him and apparently he's a pretty funny guy so I'm looking forward to meeting and getting to know him! 

So normally, I wouldn't know my new companion or where Elder Shurtz was going until Wednesday of this week but about a month ago the decision was made by the leaders of the church to stop doing transfer meetings completely in all the missions. So now they're trying to figure out a new way to do Transfers and this time involved just telling us who our new companion will be and where we will be going! So there ya go, now y'all don't have to wait a week to hear who my new companion is or where I'll be going! 

This week we were able to teach quite a few amazing lessons. I feel like that's kind of been the subject of this transfer; being able to teach lessons! Such a blessing.

This week especially though I've really noticed an increase in the power of the spirit that I've had with me. Its been such a huge blessing. For a while, at the beginning of my mission, I was really wondering how I receive personal revelation and this week really helped me to begin to understand and grasp just how the spirit speaks to me and guides me. For a while I've been making a huge effort to be the best missionary that He wants me to be and this week I really saw the blessings from that effort. I'm so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be a tool in the Lords hands to bring about this great work. 

This week Elder Shurtz and I also had a couple of amazing visits with David. We had a lesson with him about the Word of Wisdom at the beginning of the week then at the end of the week we met with him again. He told us how he had really thought about everything we taught him and how when he got home he had taken every one of his packs of cigarettes and ripped them all in half! He said he's done with them and is happy he wont have to spend so much money on them each day. That was so amazing to hear and such a miracle to see the change in him. Seriously, it takes some people months or years to quite smoking! I know that it is only through the power of our Savior that he was able to quite smoking cold turkey. And I have full faith that he will find strength in and through the Savior to be able to persevere and continue on this path of better living. 

I'm excited for all this week has to hold and for the new experiences I'll be having! Talladega has so much potential and I look forward to being able to further the Lords work in this area. 

I love you all so much and hope you have a great week!:)


Elder Honn