So things are going well in Fresno as always but there has been some stress in the work recently. We have a family that is investigating the Church and know that they are going to get baptized but keep saying they need to wait. We are working our hardest to resolve doubts and buil their testimony but they just can't seem to take that step. They are such and amazing family and I love them so much. They love us too and cook for us every time we come and we never ask. The daughter fixed my Book of Mormon the othr week when the spine was coming loose and they are just awesome but the mom still feels unready. It is so frustrating but I know they will be baptized in the coming month. Until then it is just a lot of faith and hope and waiting until they finally accept the answers they are recieving about this message. We have 2 other baptismal candidates for feburary that have dates and one is very excited and solid and the other is a 17 year old girl who is also excited but has been sick recently and we need to see her because it has been a little while.
I love my mission and I am just trying to work my hardest and be more obedient every day but I always seem to keep messing up but what is new haha. The Atonement is very much necessary and I become more and more greatful for the amount that Christ suffered for me alone and I still don't fully understand how much it really was. I am also continually amazing that he can possibley forgive me over and over and over again. He truly is perfect and loves us perfectly and is willing to lift us when we fall over and over again.
Also I got Matt Hansen's letters all of a sudden and I will be writing him back. He seems to be doing well and I am glad he hasn't forgotten me. Also I have not written anyone for the past 4 weeks I think. I am really sorry and I am getting everyone's mail but I am lazy and I am repenting and I will be writing letters today and sending them this week. I am sorry but know that I love you a ton and still pray for you always. I still need to send back to charger to the cam cord and I am sorry like wise for that, I am a bad person. I am still the same height I think and my pants are all still great. Also there is always a special bond between the family that a missionary teaches and that missionary and President Gelwix has told me that I just have an inherent ability to love everyone which I believe is true (maybe you all who have grown up with me would say otherwise haha) but I have a very close an personal relationship with just about all investigators and certainly all who have been baptized. Dad, I love being a district leader and just try to do my best but I feel like I don't know what I am doing and feel like I am constantly messing up and not being the best example for these missionaries but I try my hardest to repent and do better all the time. I do enjoy it though. All the missionaries in the district and I are very close and we love and respect eachother and you know that I have always had that ability to just become close with the people I work with and it is the same with all these missionaries.
It sounds like so much is going on at home all the time now and maybe I just get the high lights but everyone is really busy. That is so awesome that you are doing a half marathon Dad and it is great that you all got that time to spend together in SLC and that some skiing was done. That sounds like a lot of fun! Also that is so awesome that David Jordan was called to be a mission president! He will love that and if you can tell him I said congratulations and to roll with the punches because they will come. My mission president always says "the biggest lie is that the mission president knows what he is doing" maybe he will find truth in that but it is the same in all things: The Lord knows what to do so we just need to ALWAYS go to Him. I love you all a ton and miss you and will be writing. Dad I am still like 6'4 and like 170ish I think, no fat. Love you all!!!!!!
We just had the baptism of Briana Padilla who is a 9 year old girl who's mother is a less active member that is coming back to church and her father is not a member. It was a great baptism and Briana is adorable and really funny. We have some pictures of that too so you will be able to see that. We have another baptism coming up this Saturday of another 9 year old girl named Leslie who's cousins are all members and the whole family is going to get baptized but just like a week after because she wants her own baptism haha. The work is going really well and there are still a lot of trials and there is literally opposition in ALL things. It is almost like the prophets knew what they were talking about when they wrote the scriptures haha. I love my mission so much and me and Elder Worthen are getting along really well and he is a great missionary. He still has some things to improve on but we all do and he has improved so much since just 2 months ago coming into the mission.
The ward here is really working harder and improving as well and I really feel like we have been able to make a visual change for the better and it is awesome. I love these people so much and I will never forget them. I love this work because we actually get to feel a portion of the pure love Christ has for these people and has for each one of us. I love you all so much and pray for you always and know that the Lord is taking care of you. I love my mission and really never want to stop this service. I love it!!! I love to hear about the missionaries that you are at home and it is so awesome. I am sure you don't realize the importance you are to the missionaries. They probably go home and say "Wow the Neeley family is so awesome, they help us out a ton with fellowship and they have the best food!" I know now because I am a missionary and we have those types of families that work hard with the missionaries and they are the best.
I love you all and love to hear about all the activities that are going on. I hope Eleanor and Ruthe's team pick it up and finish strong. Also I am going to send back the Week's charger. Tell them I am so sorry but it is on way! I love you all so very much and I appreciate all you do!!
-Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin/uncle/friend Elder Neeley
Dear family, I am really enjoying my mission and all the challenges it puts forth and the opportunities to grow and love. I have been doing everything that you suggested Dad, by asking others for input and following "Preach My Gospel" and the Spirit in my leadership duties. I really enjoy this opportunity to serve and it is in fact service. I am constantly trying to repent and be better because there is so much for me to work on all the time. I really love repenting and the gift the Christ gave us so that we can. We all sin and repentance is the best because it takes away the pains and guilt and replaces it with the Spirit and love. We have had some trials as different investigators have been dropped and others missed their dates for baptism. We are working harder all the time and trying to be more obedient every day so that the Lord can bless us and our investigators. We just had our first district meeting for this transfer and we talked about faith and how fear and doubt can never exist with eachother, it is like light and dark. We all have a lot of trials as missionaries but we just like everyone who has trials have to have faith and must drive out fear. Moroni 8:16 says that "perfect love casteth out all fear" and therefore we must have love to cast out fear and only have faith. I have had my faith tried a lot but I know that we will reach our goals and that we will have success in the Lord's eyes because we have faith and we show it through diligently working and being obedient. This last preparation day we went to Yosemite National park and it was amazing. We took a lot of pictures and I will send you the card Sarah, so that you can put them on the blog and make copies if Mom and Dad want hard copies please. That took up the whole day and there was a tiny tiny tiny bit of snow and it was a little cold. I really enjoyed it and think that you will all like the pictures. I am always happy to hear that stuff is going well at home and that you are all striving to be such good missionaries and sharing the Gospel. I love you all so much and you are all such good examples to me. I love hearing about all the things that you do and have going on and I pray for each of you always and the specific things that you all have going on and hope that all is well. I love you all so very much and love to hear from you. Keep up all the great work you do. -Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin/uncle/friend Elder Neeley
Things are going really well in Fresno. We just had transfers and Elder Worthen and I are staying together but that is no surprise since the training program lasts for two transfers. I also got made district leader so I am really excited to start serving even more and in different ways. I don't really know what I am doing but I know the Lord does so I rely on Him and know that this is what He wants.
We are seeing a ton of success and miracles every day. We are going to have some baptisms coming up and I know that this is truly the work of the Lord and we need to allow Him to use us as intruments, pure and refined. I will send pictures as the baptisms come up and tell you more about them but we are very excited and I love seeing these brothers and sisters of ours grow right in front of us and find a true love for our Saviour Jesus Christ.
I am reading Jesus the Christ and I really enjoy and learn a ton from reading that book. Dad, I am glad that you have been making sure I got around to reading it because it is very detailed and profound in how it talks about Christ and his divine role.
I miss you all a ton but I love this mission and serving the Lord. I absolutely love it. It is not always exciting or extreme success as some look at it but there is such a Spirit and confirmation of this Gospel that comes from one absolutely immersing themselves in the Lord and His will. I can feel myself changing and I love that it is because of the Holy Ghost and the presence is constantly has as we live as very best we can. I am so greatful for all of you because every day I see more and more that all of you, my family, have been such wonderful and awesome examples of charity, faith and obedience. I have found these traits in myself and it is only because I have been completely surrounded by all of you who possess and are great examples of these traits. Thank you so much for being who you are and sharing the Gospel and supporting the missionaries there at home. You are the best family I could ask for and I have a firm testimony we will absolutely live together forever as we strive our hardest to repent daily and be like Christ in every way.
Just to answer some questions for you Dad, it is not too cold at all here in Fresno and is starting to warm back up I think. It still gets around the 60's in the afternoon and a little chilly at night/morning. We still bike pretty little because our area is huge but we use them the same amount pretty much since conditions are still ok.
I love you all so much and pray for you nightly as well and I hope all things keep going well and that especially Robbie can find a job and that everyone else is doing well in your own personal trials. Rely on the Lord in all things and He will always guide where we need to be if we forfeit all we have including our will, to Him. I love you all a ton!
-Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin/uncle/friend Elder Neeley