Monday, August 22, 2011

Giving 100%

Dear Family
    The field is wonderful and I love the mission life.  It is super hard but I know that I am here for a reason and that the great joy I get to experience comes with a price.  I love you all so much and am glad the reunion went so well.  I adressed this email to everyone so I hope you all get it.  I thought Dad was forwarding them and I forgot to tag on everyone else so that is my fault.  I will be sending more pictures soon and I found I can email them so I will probably do that next week.  Spanish is coming a long very well and I get to speak it all the time with my companion which is SO helpful.  Sarah get the agua fresca next time and tell Doug I said congrats!!!  I am striving so hard every day to be exactly obedient so that I can be the best missionary I can be.  All through life I always tried to give my best in sports and school but less than 100% was often enough to get by and even do really well but I have realized that anything less than 100% effort 100% of the time is not going to be good enough and will just be a waste if time and money for me to be here. I know that as I am striving to be better and overcome these difficulties the Lord is helping as I reach out to Him. I am so greatful for prayer and know that when we do all we can no matter how much or how little that is, the Lord will make up the rest. 

I hope all is going well at home and I would love to get a family reunion shirt sent out to me some time if you have one for me but if not it is ok and please also I talked to mom about sending me a picture of our family outside the temple at DC after we were sealed.  So if I could get the picture soon for sure and the shirt too if possible that would be great.  I love you all so much and keep you in my prayers all the time.  I miss you all a ton but I am very focused on the work.  Please don't mistake that for a lack of care.  I am trying very hard to contact everyone that is emailing me but if I don't right a away I am sorry.  I love you all soooo much.  Pray daily, read the scriptures and listen to Mom and Dad.  I love my mission and California and my companion so much and am so greatful for all you support, love, letters and prayers.
    -Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin/uncle/friend Elder Neeley

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 15th, 2011: Two Baptism Dates Set

Dear Family,

   I love you all so much and am so greatful for you all and you support.  Dad the reason why I wrote last week on Tuesday is because we went to the temple on Tuesday so when we get to go to the temple (which is every 4 and a half months) we have Prepartation Day on the temple day which was Tuesday last week.  But It sounds like everyone is busy at home and I am glad to hear everyone is getting back into sports and getting ready for school.  Also I bet going to go see BYU play will be so much fun and a great trip back to Tennessee.

    The field is awesome and we have two baptismal dates right now for August 28th and these  people are so wonderful and I have truly come to love them so quickly and I know it is because of the service being done for them.  The language is going pretty well.  I can teach and conversate some what and all in spanish but I have a long way to go with understanding, pronunciation and just knowing the language better but it is going well though.  I love the spanish and my companion is awesome.  He is from Mexico so he helps me a ton and as well as the language he works hard and teaches well.  We are both on the same page with being exactly obedient and working hard and we get along pretty well.  This is his last transfer so he is working hard and not trunky at all which is a blessing for me.  I am just trying to make sure that he has no regrets when he leaves by us working the hardest we can.

     The mission is awesome!  I am constantly tired and constantly working and it is such a blessing.  We see miracles everyday in the field and sometimes they are bigger than others but I know this is the work of the Lord because He is guiding us in it.  I invite you to look for the miracles in you life because even though some times small we have them in all of our lives every day and we need to recognize them and give thanks to the Lord for them.  Always try to share the gospel and help out the missionaries in our ward when ever you can.  I have come to realize that we teach as the missionaries and the Holy Ghost testifies but it is the members that really transition the investigators to members or retain them.  Even when people know it is true it is so hard for them to change there life and take this step but when they feel that love from the members and really truly have friends in the ward to rely on they are so much more ready to take these major steps and be baptized and change their lives.  The members are so important.  I know that you already do so much for the missionaries but I just wanted you all to know just how important you really are.  I love you so much and I am so greatful for you examples and support you give to me.  I know this Church is true with all my heart and I love you all so much.  Be good and always keep praying.  You are always in my prayers.  I love you.

-Love your son/brother/grandson/cousin/nephew/uncle/friend  Elder Neeley

August 9th, 2011: Hooray for Agua Fresca!

Dear Dad, Mom and family

   Things are going great.  There are very difficult times and this is the hardest I have worked and the most tired I have been every day consecutively and I'm sure it won't let up for the next two years.  I love this work though and love my area and the ward I serve in.   I am right in the actual city of Fresno and the ward I am in all speaks spanish and they know how to really feed the missionaries.  We get real mexican food for just about every single meal and I love it to death.  They make this water called agua fresca and they blend up a little fruit with water and sugar and put it with ice and it is so good!  Every single person makes it and I love it so much.  My compainion and this ward and my studies are really helping my spanish and I am understanding more and more every day as well and becoming better at speaking.  Also my spiritual studies are really awesome.  I love the Book of Mormon more than I ever have and sharing this message is the best thing ever as I keep increaing my love for these people and my testimony that this is the true church with the authority of God and that we will live together as a family forever after this.  I love it and don't have a lot of time to email today but tell everyone I love them and I will send pictures and stuff and I love you all a ton.  Give everyone a hug and kiss for me.  LOVE YOU ALL!!

-Love your son/brother/cousin/nephew/grandson/uncle/friend Elder Neeley

August 1st, 2011: First Letter "in the Mission Field"

Hey Family!

    So the mission is the best thing in the world!!!!!!!  I love this so much and am working so stinking hard and I love it.  We are doing a ton of work and teaching a ton of lessons.  I am in a Spanish area and my trainer is straight out of Mexico City and he is the best.  He teaches me so much with spanish obviously but he is so patient and wise.  He channels my blind excitement in to powerful lessons and I am so greatful for him.  I am speaking only spanish and am able to understand enough when people talk that I can teach and actually answer questions rather than just bear testimony when my companion gives me the cue.  I still have a LONG way to go but I know that it is not a sprint and that I need to work this hard all the time and I knew that spanish would not come over night.  I love this work so much.  I have already seen it change my life.  I get worried about if I am in bed exactly at 10 30 and that is a concern for me.  It is a big deal because I need to be exactly obedient in order to really carry out the work of the Lord, but it is tiny when I think about whether I am watching good movies or listening to good music.  I never really swore but now it's like any offensive language is just out of the question.  I am not trying to boast or anyting because I am sure it comes of that way but I really am not.  I just feel as Ammon felt  when he said "I do not boast of myself but I boast in my God" becuase I know that these changes are only through His power.  

So it is not even the changes in my I want you to take notice of but I want you to see how mighty the power of God is in that He can change souls and refine His disciples in to instraments of power to execute His work and His glory.  I LOVE THIS WORK.  I know that souls will be saved because of the missionary forces and actually because of the Holy Ghost which we carry with us.  He is the teacher.  I know this Church is true and I bear a strong witness to every one that listens to us because I live it.  I don't have to hear some one else tell me or read it but I see and live this great gospel and it has changed my life in this short time and I see it working on the lives of those we teach.  The Lord lives.  He feels our pains and suffered for them.  We NEVER have to suffer because He paid the price already for our sins and sorrows we must simply call upon his grace and mercy and he will always, 100%, for certain, 10/10 times be there with open arms and mercy to spare.  This gift have been given and now we only need to recieve, and how easy is that.  Well it can't get any simpler.  I love this gospel and I love my family and I know we will be together forever through the power of the temple and the priesthood.  There is no greater blessing in my life than knowing I will be with all of you forever.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about this great blessing and testify of it to others.  

I love you all so much and appreciate all that every single one of you have taught me and the examples you all are to me.  I hope the family reunion was good and that you all enjoyed.  My Preparation Day is every monday by the way.  Uncle Keith I think email is the best way to go about mail now like you said and I am thankful for you email.  Mom and Dad I love you both so much and think about each of you as well as the rest of our family and pray for you daily.  I too will miss the times of football camp with you and will think of you but now you can build those memories with Alex as he becomes the star haha.  This is the best and I know you and mom and the rest of the family are so proud and I promis to keep it up.  I love you all so much.  We are on the Lord's team and because of that we cannot lose.

       -Love your son/brother/cousin/nephew/grandson/uncle/friend Elder Neeley