This week has been awesome! We read a talk as a companionship called "the challenging and testifying missionary" by Alvin A Dyer which talks about how our whole mission is helping others to recieve the blessings of the Restored Gospel through Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Recieving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. In this talk, he says that we must testify always and challenge too. He talks about how some Elders wait til the family is perfectly ready and set to get baptized to challenge them. Then he goes on to say that if they are perfectly ready, then it is not a challenge. We must challenge them and allow the Holy Ghost to testify to them that this is Christ's church and that he wants them in it. Then they can take that step and we can continue to prepare them for their baptism. So with this advice we have been testifying to all we come in contact with and challenging them to keep commitments and making sure that we atleast invite one person every day to be baptized if not more.
Angency is one of God's greatest gifts to us and one of the most important. If we don't share the gospel we are in fact taking away the agency of the people around us to choose if they want to accept the gospel or not. It is our responsibility but really our privilege to share this great message. We should want to share out of love for our friends and family and not for fear or guilt that we are not. Love is the real motivator of change, where as fear or guiltt are feelings that are of the devil and cause only momentary change if any. It is funny how there is a constant theme between the things that the devil offer and the things that God offer. All good things that God offers has and eternal effect and promise for us and only momentary pain or difficulty, where as the "good" things Satan offers are always momentary and give us eternal pain and sorrow. I know this Church is true and that Christ is our Savior and that we can and will live together forever as a family. This work is difficult but I already have seen myself grow and become blessed through it and I have seen in bless others' lives.
To keep in shape I have been exercising every day except sunday and I do 225 push ups, 3 sets of planks, 32 pull ups 3 days a week and the other 3 days I do150 crunches and 90 leg raises and 3 sets of bicycles and jump ropes. All accompanied by riding a bike on different days through out the week.
I am glad to hear you are taking care of the missionaries at home, as always and the members here take really good care of me. They are very kind and helpful and love to see a white kid learning spanish so that is good. They feed me well and go on team ups and help out the work a lot. We are really working right now to get more members involved because we want every member to have the blessings of coming with us and sharing the gospel.
It sounds like it is busy as always and lots of fun at home. I am glad to hear that the team is doing so well and that they haven't let up one point yet. That is very impressive. I hope they keep it up and please tell them I say hi and I miss them and wish them luck. That is way cool too that mom got to do a marathon because I am sure she did awesome because she is an iron woman. I am happy that all is going well in family sports and that Ruthe scored a goal! That must have been awesome. It is still smoking hot here and I am just loving it haha. But I have been getting lots of letters and support and Mom and Sarah, I am going to respond to your letters and I am sorry it takes so long but there are a lot of Preparation Days that I don't even get to write so am I sorry. But I am greatful for the letters and love to hear what is going on at home. I hope you all keep strengthening your testimonies and always keeping Christ first. I love you all a ton and am greatful for your prayers and pray for you too. Love you so much!!!!
-Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin/uncle/friend
I am done with my first transfer and I will be staying here in Fresno in the Echo ward and I love it. I will get my new companion tomorrow and his name is Elder Wright and he has been out only for 3 transfers so we will hopefully just have a lot of enthusiam for the work and to be obedient in all things. My trainer, Elder Moreno, will stay around another 3 weeks to be in a triplet with us to really focus in on our spanish and then he will go home. We still haven't had any baptisms since I have been here but we have had some interesting circumstances with other Elder's that some times slows the work a little but I really think that we will start seeing our investigators start to enter the waters of baptism as we stay obedient and diligent. I love this work a ton and I just pray that I truly am affecting people's lives. I know this church is true down to my very core and I love to share it with others.
The mission is way different than I thought it would be and harder than I thought it would be but I am so greatful for it. I feel personal growth and also see change and hope in others as we share this message. There are people that truly feel a second chance in life through this gospel and there is nothing more I could ask to do than to share this wonderful message with everyone.
The language is coming along super well but I still have a long way to go. I love the spanish language and the people and the food. I have been learning how to cook different things from members when they feed us dinner and I love it!
I miss you all a ton but I am very greatful for all your letters and emails. Sarah I got your letters the other day and I just got Mom's today so I will be writing back to both of you soon. Also I have a whole hour to email here in the field so if you want to email that is fine but the letters will be more personal obviously. Also I don't think these computers will let me send pictures cause we are at the library so I will just send the card home and when ever you send it back is great Sarah:) Really don't feel bad about last time cause it is not a big deal. Also Uncle Keith I will try that challenge that you told me. Also that is exciting that everyone is doing well at home and you get to spend so much time with your grand daughter.
Dad, let me know how the Tennessee was and Uncle Keith told me that BYU won so that is awesome. I bet you and mom had a great time. I love you both so much and am more and more greatful every day for your examples for me and as a family I am so greatful for each of your examples. I think of you and pray for you everyday and I talk about you all the time and use our family as an example in our lessons all the time. I am so greatful that our family was sealed in the temple and that we will be together for ever. I bear testimony and gratitude to all our investigators of this great blessing we have in our lives. I love you so much and thank you for all you have done in raising me because you have truly shaped me to be the person I am today.
I love you all and will stay in close contact and try to send some pictures back quickly. The Church is true, make sure to pray and read daily, personally and as a family. I love you all a ton.
-Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin/uncle/friend Elder Neeley