Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cherishing Every Moment

June 10, 2013
Dear family,
              Things are awesome and I am just cherishing every single day that I keep getting to be a missionary.  Thank you all again for letting me do this extension because I have learned even so much more just in these weeks being here.  I am very excited to see you and I really feel like the Lord wanted me to be here cause as I get closer to finishing I really feel ready to go home.  Not in a bad way but I feel like my service is really coming to an end in my heart.  I will keep being a missionary when I get home but there is just this feeling from the Spirit that my time is at hand you could say.
              I am with a companionship right now that is a little tougher but they are really good at heart they just need some direction.  It is so sad to see when missionaries have so much talent and just lack desire.  What I have been doing is just showing all the missionaries how good their missions can be for 1, 2 or 3 days and telling them that their 2 years can be just like that.  I love my service to the Saviour and I have changed so much and learned so much from these 2 plus years.
              I got to go out with Jordan Koford for a day and it was so much fun!  He came and we went to the temple on Tuesday and then on Wednesday we went out and saw some people and talked to everyone.  We saw one of my converts from echo and had an amazing lesson with her and she is coming back to church now and we were able to set a date with another family from echo who has a nine year old who isn't baptized.  They want me to baptize her and so the Saturday before I leave I am going to baptize her and a missionary that I trained is going to confirm her the next day.  It was amazing and I am so thankful to have been with my first companion again for a day.  I think he sent you some pictures or called mom or something.  Anyway it was amazing!
           I love you all so much.  Keep being a missionary every single day!
-Love Elder Neeley

Elder Goettman

June 3, 2013

Dear family,
          The coolest miracles happened this week!  I was with Elder Goettman as his companion for 2 days and we were having a blast together.  We went to teach this lady and her 4 kids that had a date for baptism on the 1st of June but she said she wasn't ready so the Elders were writing her off for the her date on the 1st.  So Elder Goettman and I went to go teach her on Friday night, May 31st the day before her baptism and it was awesome.  We talked about  the Spirit and the answers she has gotten from God as she has read, prayed, met with us and came to church and then we read from Doctrine and Convenants 6:22 and 23 and told her that she was like Oliver Cowdery.  She agreed and realized that God had been answering her the whole time and she needed to not question the overwhelming feelings she had received.  Elder Goettman committed her to pray right there and ask if she needed to be baptized and she did and knew she needed to.  Then I asked her if she wanted to get baptized tomorrow (June 1st) and she said yes.  Elder Goettman's face was awesome.  The next day they spent getting everything ready cause they weren't planning it and every thing worked out great and they got baptized on the 1st.
          I love beinga missionary and love this extra time I have.  I thank you as my parents and family for you grace and love to let me stay here.  I know it is hard but I really do appreciate it and know for sure that I am supposed to still be here and that the Lord has lots of work to do.  The first picture is me and Elder Goettman after our 2 days together and the other is me on a bike on the back of a car rack cause I thought it would be cool to ride a floating bike.  I still am working out, I weigh about 170 and am about 6' 4''.  I can still run fast too.  I love you all and keep you in my prayers and my fasts and I think of you often.  Keep being a missionary every day!
-Love Elder Neeley

Time is Flying By

May 27, 2013

Dear family,

             Things are a lot of fun right now traveling and I love that I am still a missionary.  I have been able to just see miracles as I have been serving around the mission these past few days.  I was with one missionary that told me he has been in a big slump and just got a new companion so he was worried about how to get out of it and he fasted and prayed for Heavenly Father to help him get on track again.  I then got sent up here to Modesto not know about any of that because no one knew about it except this missionary and Father.  We worked our tails off and got the area moving forward and got their companionship started off right with exact obedience and hard work of talking to everyone and doing everything in our power to baptize everyone.  He said for the first time in a while he has felt like just dropping on his bed to sleep when he got home cause we worked so hard.  I know that the Lord has lots for me to do here and I love being an instrument in His hands to bless the missionaries lives.  We just follow the normal schedule and I do what ever they are doing for those few days and I train them on all the things they need to do to be more successful and I help them feel successful and that they have so much potential to offer.  It is great just to see the impact this traveling around has on the missionaries.  I love you all so much and can't wait to see you.  Time is flying by!  Be a missionary everyday and I will see what we can do about the flight but I don't know if they can change it but I will see.  LOVE YOU!!!!!

-Love Elder Neeley


May 21, 2013
Dear family,
           My mission is winding down and it is just heart breaking for me to leave all these people.  It has really set in now leaving my area of Clovis 2 and finishing my time as assisntant to the president.  I won't be working with a lot of missionaries and members and investigators that I have grown to love so much.  Life moves on though and I am excited at the same time to move on with life and do more and to see you all soon.
          I get in Monday night at 10:00pm so I will need to get released the next day and any time that works for President Carter is fine with me.  As for my traveling in the mission I will be with a lot of different companionships but as I move from one to another the zone leaders will most likely transport me so I won't be alone ever.  I am excited to go help all these missionaries and go up and down the mission.
          We only had one baptism on Sunday because Justin and Allison had to push their baptism again because her mom won't let her be baptized.  Even though it was only one, it was a GREAT baptism and will be the last of my mission.  The girl's name is Lexi Sjodin and I love the Sjodin family so much.  I got the opportunity to work with this family as they came back to activity and baptized Lexi.  Brother Sjodin already made plans for me to come back and go to the beach with his family and hang out haha.  They are wonderful.
          Anyway I am very up and down as I am so happy and full of joy but will miss with all my heart this hallowed ground where I have come to really know my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and His true church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I apologize that I forgot my cable but I got some great pictures lately of the baptism and fun stuff so I promise pictures for next week.  I love you all and continue to pray for you and I am thankful for your prayers too.  Keep being a missionary every day!
-Love Elder Neeley

40 minute phone call

May 13, 2013

Dear family,

              It was really good to talk to all of you yesterday and hear how things are going.  I love you all so much and loved those 40 minutes of talking although it did go by pretty fast.  I can't wait to see you all and I know that these extra 30 days will be tough to wait out for you but I know that they will make a huge impact on myself, these missionaries which also leads to helping God's children out here in Fresno and generations to come.  In short I know these extra days will be beneficial for God's Kingdom here on earth, not because of what I can do but what He can do with me in 30 days.  I promise you I will be working my very hardest so that it won't be a waste of time and that the extra time away from you will be worth it.

             We have 3 baptisms coming up this weekend on Sunday.  We have that 9 year old girl who is very excited and the 2 teenagers who didn't come to church so we had to push their baptism back to Sunday.  We also have transfer boards this week (when we figure out where the Lord wants everyone to go for the next transfer) so a lot of our time will be spent doing that.  Then next week we have all the farewell stuff and I stop being an assistant to the president one week from today! Crazy!  I really do love doing it and would do it my whole mission but it will be nice to have a change of pace and get out and work all day every day.

            Don't forget about the temple day to be set up please!  I love you all and continue to pray for you everyday.  Keep being a missionary everyday!

-Love Elder Neeley

Friday, May 10, 2013

"Call Me Maybe" (on 2pm on Mother's Day)

May 6th, 2013

Dear family,

           My phone number to call me on is 559-270-2898.  I know you know but don't text it and only call it on the time we designate which if it is ok with you we can do the call at 2pm my time which should be 5pm your time.  We get out of church at 12 and have mcm after so 2 would be really safe. 

           Out here in our ward and stake they have been doing a huge push on genealogy and with that, indexing.  That makes me really happy to hear that you are feeling that need to work on our genealogy because I know that I will definitely be doing that when I get home.  I too feel like that is something I needed to be doing  before my mission and will being doing it after.  You are such wonderful example me as a father.  Also since you were talking about the temple that reminded me that I would really really really really really like to go to the Columbus OH temple this summer with our whole family to do baptisms and confirmations. Pleeeeeeeeeeeease!  If you could set aside just one day right now that we can all go that would make my day.  We will love it so much and it will bring us so much closer together.

          Right now we are still getting Justin and Allison ready for baptism on the 13th and they are doing so well with not smoking and not drinking tea!  We are really excited for them and really just need to get them fellowship so they love the classes at church.  Also the other 9 year old, Lexi Sjodin, is doing well and their family is really getting their life in order and the dad has stopped drinking for almost a month now and has stopped coffee for about 3 weeks.  We are finding several other people too and getting them ready for June to be baptized.  One of them is named Asher and he is the boyfriend of a member and is only checking it out for her but he is really inquisitive and I think that he will come around with time.  He is currently atheist but comes to church and learns from us right now because of his girlfriend but we explained that if he ever wants to know that it needs to come from him and his sincere desire.

           Congratulations to all on your amazing achievements!  You are all really the best family anyone could ask for and I love to know that we will be together literally forever through our obedience and the grace of God and His Son's Atonement.  I love you all a ton!  Go be a missionary every day please!

-Love Elder Neeley

Monday, April 29, 2013

"Love in my heart for you, Fresno and the Lord"

Dear family,

            We have a few people who are getting ready for baptism in May or are very close to committing to it.  We are very excited and especially myself because I only have 3 weeks to really work with investigators and help people to come to the waters of baptism.  It is not at all about me and that I want to baptize to feel good for me but that really is our purpose as missionaries and it will be tough changing my focus from that to helping missionaries for my extension.  I love to baptize people because I know with out reservation that this is Christ's true church and that as they make covenants with God in His church they can and will change and become happy like never before possible.

            Two of the people that are preparing for baptism are Justin and Allison.  I think I told you about them, they are 18 and 16 and dating each other.  They came to church on Sunday and loved it and plan on coming again the following week.  They are stopping smoking and have given up tea and are really progressing a lot.  Another one of the 4 people we are getting ready for baptism is a 9 year old, Lexi, who comes from a less active family who we are working to reactivate so that Lexi can get baptized and continue to keep the commandments after baptism.  The last person is Bethany and she is 7th day advesntist and has some different views obviously but is very open and desires to know what is true.  She has a kid and is only about 21 and living with her mom so her life is a little down right now but she is a wonderful person and very sincere.

             I love you all so much and it makes me smile to hear of your success and your love for the Lord and each other.  I have the best family in the world and love to know that we can be together forever and not just this life.  I know Christ lives for I feel His love, a real tangible love and cleansing.  I know this is His church because I feel His love as I read the book of Mormon and keep the commandments.  God lives and answers my prayers and I am sure He answers yours too.  Keep being a missionary everyday and although I miss you so much I will see you on June 24th with no regrets and a big smile on my face and love in my heart for you, Fresno and the Lord.

-Love Elder Neeley

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Things are well in CA...

Dear family,

            Things are well in CA and we are finally getting out and doing some work and finding some very prepared people.  We have 2 people preparing to get baptized on the 27th of April and the 30th of April.  The fist one is Noe Flores and he is an amazing man who is having a lot of struggles right now.  We found him biking home from an odd job he picked up because he is unemployed right now.  He is also divorced.  He has been in a low spot and as we came and taught him this last Saturday he really felt the Spirit strongly.  He said a prayer at the end and asked if he should get baptized and afterward we asked him how he felt as we knelt and he began to cry as the Spirit rushed into the room.  He told us the next day at church that when we came by it was the first time in his life he had felt such a warmth and a closeness to God.  He never had felt that before.  We have a lesson with him tonight and the ward is just swallowing him up in love.

          The second man is 18 years old and we are going to pass him off to the YSA Elders and help them in the process.  His name is Clayton Macias and he is amazingly prepared.  He told us he had been lied to his whole life and without any questions he just told us that this is the first time he doesn't feel like some one is lying to him.  He is amazing and so sincere.  I know the Gospel is true cause it makes people want to be better and come closer to God so it MUST be from Him.  I know it is.  I love you all and hope that you continue to have great success.  Ruthe is a stud-ette and is amazing!  Good job in the meet.  Don't forget what is the most important though and that is to love others and help them come to Christ.  Be a missionary ever day!  I love you!!!!!!!!!!!

-Love Elder Neeley

Pics: 1) Me and my trainees and their two trainees (me in the middle and my trainees next to me and theirs next to them.
2) Late night in the office with the vehicle coordinators glasses
3) Me and all my previous companions except for 3.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"It is good to be a missionary..."

Dear family,
           It is good to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I love it so much and would not trade these moments for anything.  The work is a little slower as far as baptisms but we are working with a few people who came to conference but have some catholic and non-denominational roots holding them back from the truth but they are getting closer every time we meet with them.  It is all in the Book of Mormon.  If you read it with just an open mind and heart and have no hidden agendas, you will always know it is true, because it is true.  I know it with all my heart and I am not afraid to share it with anyone cause all I am trying to do is making them happy.  That is the whole purpose of missionary work is to make them REALLY happy.  What could be better.
           One man we are teaching is from Taiwan and his name is Max.  He is 28 years old and just a sponge.  He is really smart and very sincere and I love teaching him.  We have invited him to be baptized but he was baptized recently in a pool and is praying about the concept of there being one true church that we need to belong to.  He understands everything and now it is only a matter of reading and praying and he will know.  I love the Book of Mormon cause if we read it, just like a sunrise, we will feel a little more light flow into our lives until we realize that our life is as bright as the noon day sun.
           Another lady we are teaching is named Jennifer Brooks.  She is a middle aged woman who has 3 sons.  She has been catholic her whole life and started out on fire wanting to be baptized but now her son who is 18 is giving her grief for trying to explore the church.  She has a tough life and has lost a lot of loved ones and has a husband who has a major computer addiction.  She smokes and is not very healthy so we are really focusing on the Book of Mormon and he reading it cause it will literally chage her life.  Not just spiritually but physically as well.  Everything will be different if she will just cosistently read it and we told her that and taught her that concept.  Hopefully she wil keep her commitment.
          This week is transfer week so we will be quite busy moving missionaries around and doing meetings and some trainings.  It is a lot of work but a ton of fun so I always look forward to it.
           I just want you to know that I am working very hard and finishing my mission strong.  I cannot believe that it is coming to an end and most times when it hits me I want to cry cause I love this place.  I love California and all the people here.  I am excited to talk to you and come home to see you and move on with my life but I will miss my mission so much.  I have changed a lot and won't go back so don't expect me to.  I love you all so much and hope that you always know that and that I am praying for you.  Be a missionary every day!
-Love Elder Neeley
ps Ruthe you are doing so amazing and I am proud of you and all you are doing.  Amber I love you a ton and know that you are such a nice and beautiful girl.  Don't you ever forget how pretty you are.  Alex you have turned into an animal!  I love seeing you and how big you are.  Keep getting ready to go to the temple and go on a mission cause it is the BEST!  Eleanor, keep being the wonderful leader you are and the good example to all our family and our siblings.  You are beautiful.  Olivia,  I love you and love your pure and tender heart.  Don't ever stop being nice and incredibly loving like you are.  Each of you need to be eachother's best friend cause if you don't have your best friends at home then what kind of brother, sister, father or mother or family are we.  We are in it for ever not just a few years.  LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Homecoming scheduled for June 24th

Dear family,
      Sorry about not emailing you yesterday but my preparation day got changed to today because of President interviews and I forgot to inform you last week of the change.  I bet the beach was lots of fun and I am glad so many people got to come down and visit cause that is always lot of fun.  I am sorry to Ruthie that I will not make it but I will be cheering her on and praying she can do her best.  I will write her back as well so be looking for that in the mail.  Also I will be coming home June 24th so you can put it on all your calendars.
       Things are going well here in Fresno as it starts to get pretty hot.  I am glad I will not be here for the whole summer cause it gets really hot.  We just had some zone conferences on Saturday and Sunday and had a zone leader/ district leader council on Friday and my companion and myself did a large portion of the training in all the meetings.  I do love seeing all the missionaries around the misson and working with them.  It is such a blessing to see them grow.  This week we have transfer boards starting today and we are going to be figuring out where everyone goes for this next transfer.  This is always a busy week and then next week is only busier getting everyone ready for departure and the new missionaries that are incoming.  It is always a lot of fun.  We are still working in our area as much as we can and we have a couple people we are working with for baptism.  James Dunmore is our number one candidate and he just needs to get better to baptize him but we have been fasting and praying and know that his time is going to come up soon.  We also have another famliy we are working with and the mom smokes which is a big set back but they want to be baptized as well.  Other than that everything is great and I love being a missionary.  We see miracles everyday and find the Lord's prepared children.  I know that this church is Jesus Christ's true church with no doubt in my mind.  I know it cause I feel it and see it everyday work in people's lives and I know this is God's very own work.  Go be a missionary every day!
1) last night with visa waiters at president's house
2) air port the next day at 4 in the morning with the visa waiters (what joy)
3) Elder Wyeth and I.  He is the kindest missionary in the world.  We are up in Turlock after a zone conference
4) My companion.  Isn't he just so endearing haha
-Love Elder Neeley

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blessing everyone, not just giving the message...

Dear family,

           It is so good to get these updates and learn of how you are doing.  I sometimes just get overwhelmed with emotion in a good way, thinking how my mission has gone and reflecting and realizing that is coming to an end.  I just can't believe that it is happening so fast.  I love my mission with all my heart and I love Jesus Christ so much and it just amazes me that I feel this way.

          We had our baptism and it was a great one, as there was good support and the Spirit was strong.  There were also some delicious brownies which always makes things even better.  The father of that family, James Dunmore, has made a definitive decision that he wants to be baptized and know we just have to wait for the first day that he wants to be baptized.  We are hoping tomorrow and if that is the case I will get some pictures of it to send along with the ones from this last week.  Sorry I am not doing better and sending pictures every week.  I will do better.  Please pray for brother Dunmore's health that he may be able to be baptized here soon.

          We got all done with zone conferences and finally have a good full week to work in our area.  The conferences were great and were just what the mission needed to take our next step.  We have been finding TONS of new investigators because of the different direction we are taking in the mission, which is to bless everyone instead of trying to just give them a message.  So now that we have them and are finding tons more we need to get them progressing and that is what we focused on and how to make time to teach and find and how to teach better so people keep their commitments.  This week we will only have one meeting and that is with the trainers and trainees who have been out for 3 weeks so I will see Elder Goettman there.  He is in the city of Modesto and his area touches my old one when I was working in Ceres.  He has a GREAT trainer and is doing so well.  He is an awesome missionary and exactly obedient.

              I hope all is well and pray for you all constantly that you will be safe and happy and also have desires to share the Gospel even more so than you are now.  You are all so amazing and such good missionaries and I am proud of my family and couldn't ask for a better one.  I love you and am excited to see you even though it will be difficult to leave.  Be a missionary every day!

-Love Elder Neeley

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A lot on our plate...

Dear family!

         The work is going very well here as we are having a baptism this Saturday of a young lady named Lauren Fairweather.  She is the one that used to drink lots of tea and is the friend of a recent convert.  We have a few other people that we are working with as well and  hopefully we will get a couple of them committed to baptism for this month but we will see how they progress.  We surely never will push but we invite everyone like crazy.  As you do missionary work is it good to share but invite!  Inviting is the MOST important part.  You would never go through medical school and residency and then never work a single day in your life as a doctor.  The same applies in that sharing info without the invite to act on that knowledge is useless.

               We have zone conferences this week and leadership training and we will be doing 3 separate trainings this week so we got a lot on our plate but it is good.  Elder Goettman is just excelling and has one of the BEST trainers in the whole mission.  He will be and is a leader in the mission.  I have a blast being with him from time to time.  I also heard that Eric Nelson and Sarah LaFond are engaged!  That is awesome and crazy.  Tell them to send me out an announcement, I mean if they want obviously.  Tell Eric I say congratulations and I am glad he won't be a menace to society haha.

             Well I love you and am glad to hear that you are all doing so well and taking trips and stuff.  I love to hear about all of it so thanks for updating me.  I miss you all a ton and love to hear from you.  I love my mission so much too!!!!!!! Oh it is the best!  I love you all and hope all is well.  Also I just have one request when I get home cause it will be summer and that is that we all go as a family to do baptisms in the Temple.  Direct and extended family.  I would love that more than anything, so please set that up cause that is my one wish to you all.  I love you so much and feel the swelling in my heart when I think of you all and being with you forever.  You are the best family I could ask for.  LOVE YOU!  Go out and be a missionary every day.

-Love Elder Neeley

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Elder Goettman in the Mission

Dear family,
           Things are going really well right now and I love my mission.  I love my new companion Elder Kahuhu and he is probably by far my favorite companion.  We just get along great and we work so hard and well together.  It is a blast.  We have another baptism scheduled for the 16 of March with a 14 year old girl named Lauren who is the friend of a recent convert.  She has a pretty bad habit/addiction of drinking tea so please pray for her as she has committed herself not to drink tea anymore.  I know that the Lord will hear your prayers and bless her for it.  We also met a lady who has used or is using drugs pretty hard and we had a really good talk with her on the street and she wants to change so much.  She set a date for baptism on the 30th of March and we are going to see her tomorrow morning.  She has had such a rough life with her husband and children leaving her and because of lonliness she has resorted to drugs.  Her name is Sherri and she is such a nice lady and we love her so much.  Please pray for her as well as she battles these addictions.  We are finding lots of people and it is the best!

          I loved seeing Elder Goettman and me and him went out together for his first day and we set a baptismal date with a lady and her 2 kids right on the street for the 23rd of March.  She is a very humble lady with 3 kids who has been through a lot but has such strong faith in Christ and wants to follow Him.  We will let you know how it goes with her but neither of us are teaching her so we have to follow up with another companionship.  Elder Goettman is such a good missionary and very powerful. He is just happy and loving his mission so much and I love it. He is amazing and is and will continue to do great things here in the mission.

          My teeth are officially done and look really nice and I am pleased. Because of the dentist though I left my camera at home but I promise pictures of my teeth next week. I love the schedule for when I get home and am happy to do whatever you would like.  I would like to see my friends like Matt Hansen for a bit but I want to do what ever you want.  I love you all so much and am so proud of all of you and all you outstanding achievements.  I think I have one of the most awesome and talented families ever.  Let me know when the baby comes!  I love you all!!!!!!!!!!  Be a missionary every day!
-Love Elder Neeley

Blazin' Challenge

February 27th, 2013

Dear family,

            We had a baptism on Sunday and it was a great baptism.  The whole family from the young lady was there and they are not members so it was a great opportunity for them to feel the Holy Spirit in their lives and introduce them to the Gospel.  Kiana is the name of the girl that got baptized and her friend's dad baptized her and the friend sang a song.   It was a great service.  We have a few people that could get baptized in March so we are excited for that.  I got a new companion and his name is Elder Kahuhu he is from Washington state and he is half Hawaiian.

             We are seeing lots of miracles and I am so excited for this week and seeing Elder Goettman and doing all this stuff for transfers.  We are getting 28 new missionaries and this is the biggest group we have ever had in the mission.  We have about 3 trainings this week and we will be seeing lots of different missionaries.

             These pictures are from a farewell that we had and the blazin challenge at buffalo wild wings and my teeth.  They have temporary teeth on right now and next week on Monday I am getting permanent ones so they will be awesome.  I did the blazin challenge and it was VERY spicy and I got a free tee shirt cause I ate 12 of these wings in 3 minutes and 3 seconds.  The bathroom was very rough.  The last one is recent convert family that got baptized last march and came to the farewell to see a missionary and myself.  It was wonderful.  I love you all so much and pray for you and I apologize for emailing late.  I will do better and make sure I am emailing.  I am never too busy for you either so I am sorry.  Tell Matt Hansen that I am going to write him this next monday.  I love you!!!!!!!!!

-Love Elder Neeley

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tell Matt I love Him

Dear family,

           We just got done solidifying a baptism for this Saturday about 10 minutes ago!  It was awesome and the young woman's family is very interested and would like to learn more about the church and go on some Sundays and go to her baptism.  The young girl's name is Kiana and she is very excited and so prepared.  She will be baptized Saturday at 7pm our time and 10pm your time, so look at the clock that night and think of me and more importantly think of Jesus Christ and your baptism and just the great blessing we have of being a part of this great and grand Gospel which is true.  This is happiness!  Whether people try to drag down our faith or not believe it, it brings happiness to all who will believe it and live it.  It is true and I know cause I feel it everyday of my life and that is something you can't just make up.  Darius just keep hanging in there and pray 1) for strength to tell your mom you want to be baptized and 2) for her heart to be softened.  I know that this is what God wants for you and that He WILL provide a way for you to follow His Son Jesus Christ because this is His church.  She may or may not let you but pray and follow what you feel and God will show you exactly what to do, not kinda what to do but he will show you and send people to help you know what to do.

             Family, don't get down for your "lack of success" cause I got news, you are so successful!  I mean that.  In Alma chapter 8, Alma didn't have one convert or baptism but he was successful and had "great cause to rejoice" (verse 15) cause he was obedient and invited.  He did all HE could not all that the people could.  How could the Lord blame you for other people's choices, He doesn't.  You are doing what you can and inviting and therefore you are all successful and I couldn't be prouder for my family than I am.  I can tell just from emailing that you are all changing and extending yourselves and you may not notice it but I can feel your changes.  You are amazing to me and I love you all so much!

            This week is transfer boards so everyday this week we will be meeting with President in his office and receiving revelation as far as to new leaders and where everyone is.  It is an exciting week and will be long being in the office but it is great to be with President Gelwix.  I will be getting a new companion this next week and am excited but I will miss so much Elder Riboldi, he is so awesome and a great missionary.  Pictures will be coming but since we were out teaching for a bit today I forgot the camera and I apologize so much but I promise double pictures next week.  I love this work and am almost moved to tears to think of all you and having the truth and being able to live with you all forever.  Be faithful and live what you know.  Be a missionary every single day.  I love you SO much.

-Love Elder Neeley

PS please tell Matt Hansen I love him and I can't email him or read his emails so I will write him but tell him to write me instead of email cause I want to keep in touch and am so greatful he is keeping in touch with me but I can't read it so please just let him know and give him my address and I will send his mail to his family.  Which by the way can you send  me the Hansen's address please.  Thank you and I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Playing Catch

February 11, 2013

Dear family,

           Things are going well here in California and it is getting warmer on and off.  Last week it was consistently in the 70's in the middle of the day and cooled down to about 40 at night.  It has been cooler this week but spring seems to be right around the corner here.  I do enjoy the warmth but I miss the snow.

           We have two people getting ready for baptism right now for the weekend of the 23rd of February.  The first is Dessere Luna, a 9 year old girl whose grandma and brother are members, and Kiana Lopez, who is a 17 year old friend of a member.  Dessere has a pretty cool story of how we found her.  Me and my companion were walking down the street tracting a little bit in this neighborhood and a young boy came out with a baseball glove and a baseball.  I saw him and had a quick memory of my previous area of how I started playing catch with a young boy and he and his sister ended up being baptized in that area and their mom is still investigating.  I thought of that and didn't think we would baptize this boy but had an impression from the Holy Ghost in a way that wasn't profound but just a thought of "it would be fun to play catch with this kid".  So with my previous experience being brought to my remembrance and this impression I gave my scriptures to my companion and we started playing catch.  Then the grandma of this young man came out and said to the boy that she wanted to talk to us.  We thought we were in big trouble.  The grandma upon meeting her told us that she had been searching for missionaries for months as she moved to this area last October and couldn't find the church.  She and her grandson, the boy we played catch with, were baptized 2 years ago in LA and her 9 year old grand daughter had not been baptized yet.  They all came to church yesterday and the 9 year old daughter, Dessere, is going to be baptized on the 23 of Feb!  It was a miracle that the Holy Ghost guided us there in that way.  The story has really nothing to do with me so I am truly sorry if it came off that way but it is really about how the Lord knew this lady among the billions of people on the Earth and He answered her prayers to find the church and get her grand daughter baptized.  The Holy Ghost led us as an answer to her prayers.  I know God is real.  That doesn't just happen.  We don't always just play with kids on the street but I know that God knows Anne Luna, the grandma, and He sent us to her.  It is all about Him.

             Kiana is the other and she is awesome and very excited for baptism.  Her parents are separated and non-practicing catholics and are supportive of her in her decisions.  She will also be baptized that weekend and has been coming to church and loving it and she feels and recognizes the Spirit so easily that it is amazing.  The work is going well and we have several other families we are working with.

             We have new missionaries who are waiting for their visas coming in tomorrow and there will be 8 and 1 reassignment from another mission permanently to ours.  Then on Weds. they will meet their trainers so we have a meeting for that and then the new missionaries who have been here for 3 weeks now have a meeting on Thursday to see how things are going for them and their trainers.  Then Friday we will start transfer boards as far as the leadership and next week all week is transfer board and then transfer week.  These next three weeks are going to be crazy.  I am excited for Elder Goettman to get here finally!

          My teeth are getting whiter from this whitening and in 2 weeks I will get my teeth prepped for the vaneers.  I will send pictures of my teeth in about 3 weeks when they are all complete and they should look great.  I love you all so much and love being a missionary.  There is nothing greater in my life so far, maybe only second to us being sealed as a family.  I love this work and it is true.  God is real and Jesus is really His Son and I know it is true from personal experiences and the Holy Ghost confirming it to me.  This is His church and the Book of Mormon is really true.  No doubts about it.  If you actually read it for yourself with no motives other than to learn, you will come to Christ even more and will feel it is true.  I feel it every time.  I love you and pray for you.  Be a missionary every day!!!!!!!!

-Love Elder Neeley

Finding the Novoa Family

February 5, 2013

Dear family,

          This past preparation day got crazy cause President needed our help for a missionary that had to go back to Venezuela to get his visa renewed so I was not able to email but President gave me permission to do it now so no worries that it is Tuesday and a little later.  We are in the mission office using the computers here currently.

           We found the Novoa family this past week and they are so awesome.  We were doing a little tracting, offering blessings on peoples' homes as we went and we ran into Raymond and his son Raymond Jr. coming back from a bike ride.  They just pulled into there driveway as we were approaching the house and we asked if we could come leave a blessing on their home and say a prayer and they agreed.  It was just him and little Raymond, who is 7 years old, at the house.  We said a prayer and left a blessing on the home and the Spirit was very strong there in the home.  We asked them how they felt and little Ray said "I feel really good" so we explained to him and his dad that they were feeling the Spirit or God's little messenger to tell them that the blessing came from God.  We asked them if they would like this feeling in their home always with their family and they said yes so we invited them to be baptized and they said yes as well!  It was awesome and we set up a return appointment to meet the rest of the family.  There are 4 kids and the parents and the mom of the parents who is there a lot.  For the second meeting the wife, Deanette, was very defensive and direct with some pointed words but it was great.  I love people like that.  

She was raised Baptist and they believe very strongly in ONLY the Bible and also she thought the idea of a Prophet was "dumb" at first.  We explained and answered each question very simply and her whole attitude and countenance changed.  She is very open to both those things and is reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.  Her and her family really like us now and love when we come by.  Raymond Jr. today was waiting for our appointment the whole time and couldn't wait for us to come and pray with him and his family.  His parents said he just loves it when we come over.  Children are so pure and connected with God and His love that it is amazing to me.  I love this family so much and hope that they continue to feel the Spirit like they are cause they are on track.  Please pray for them in every prayer as well as James Dunmore, John Logan, Eric Woods, Rita Sears and Griffin Thom.  You can split them up and all pick one and pray for them but I would appreciate it and know that the Lord will bless them just for your faith.  James Dunmore is having difficulties with health and would like to be baptized but needs his health to be some what sustainable for a few days for that to happen.  John Logan is progressing really well in the Gospel but has gone through a divorce and is just hard to get a hold of because he is busy and we are busy, he is also praying for an answer about the Book of Mormon and will be baptized when he knows it is true.  Eric Woods has a daughter that was baptized in May and he is starting to progress but he gets busy and forgets about saying his prayers and reading.  He is also trying to figure out if the Book of Mormon is true but he is so close!  He got in a fight with his daughter this past week and she went to live with her mom so that made it not possible to visit with him for a while cause she is his link to us, so them having a good relationship is important.  Rita Sears is coming to church with her member husband but her family are not big fans and she is reading the Book of Mormon as well but just needs some prayers to give her strength and courage to do what is right and follow the Spirit as it guides her to truth.  Griffin is the last one and he is 17 years old and his mom won't let him do any more church related activities cause he came to church once and felt the Spirit super strong and wants to get baptized so she said "no more til you're 18".  Prayers for her heart to be softened and his desire to keep going would be great.  I love you all so much and am so thankful for my wonderful family and the love you have for me and for being raised in the Gospel.  I love you!

             As for my front tooth, it will be a process of about 4 weeks.  The dentist wants to whiten my teeth for two weeks so they match the vaneers (like a fake tooth that is a cap to go over) that he is going to put on my front two teeth. So two weeks of whitening and then a week off of letting my teeth rest and then he will take the impressions and prepare my teeth for vaneers and put them on in a week after.  So then all my top and bottom teeth will be nice and white!  Also the insurance does cover at least half cause they have a contract with Metlife.

             I love you and can't believe how fast the 24th of June is coming!  I am going to be home before I even know it and it is crazy to me.  I just LOVE  being a missionary so much  that I will miss it a ton.  I am looking forward to seeing you though.  Be a missionary every day and know that I am praying for all of you.

-Love Elder Neeley

Surprise Baptism

January 28, 2013

Dear family,

            First of all, Dad, no worries about the letter just when you get to it, that will be fine.  I am so glad that you are all my family.  I just think of you and pray for you and am filled with such an overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude for you all.  I love being a missionary and can't believe the time is winding down SO fast.  It is incredible to think less than 5 months til I get home!  I try not to think on it, although I will be happy to see you, but I honestly don't know where it has gone.  I can't say enough about how thankful I am for my mission and a family who has prepared me in more ways than you know to be a successful missionary.  I hope Alex and even some of the girls if they so choose will not just go on a mission but I hope you all prepare to serve.  Not just reading and studying but learning patience and love, which I will tell you our family can teach you a lot of those two haha.  Some good and some not so good haha. 

            Here in the field we had a surprise baptism, literally!  We have been teaching Brother Dan Bravo and he has been so solid but then this last week he wasn't sure and brought up a concern about tithing so we had to postpone the baptism that was to happen this last Saturday.  So Monday the 21st we had a lesson and we were really trying to help him overcome his concern but he still said he needed to pray and work some stuff out before his baptism on the 26th.  We had a tour of the temple with him Tuesday and he still wasn't sure and then Saturday we thought we were with out a baptism.  You could imagine how we felt as we had transfers and couldn't see him for 3 days straight and just had to hope that he was praying and getting answers and having the courage to act on what is right.  Then Saturday afternoon we get a call from Bro. Bravo and he says that he wants to meet up with us Saturday evening at 7 at the Stake Center.  We were traveling with President Gelwix at the time doing some mission business and so we changed our plans and got there and Brother Bravo was dressed in white!  It was so awesome and he said he knew since last Sunday he was going to do this but he wanted to surprise us.  It was awesome.  A ton of the ward was there and everything set up and we went to dinner with him, his family, some other misssionaries and President afterwards.

            We have zone conferences this coming week on Tues, Weds, and Thurs and so we will be very busy this week as well but it will be great.  This transfer is only 5 weeks long cause of the change in MTC time is now one week shorter.  Usually the transfers are 6 weeks but to accomodate the surplus of missionaries they changed the time from 9 weeks in the MTC for foreign speaking to 6 weeks.  Also for native speaking it went from 3 to 2 weeks.

             Ok this is really important: I need the info for our dental insurance (what ever that entails) so that I can get this tooth fixed.  I realized I need it so I had to move the appointment and so it is next Monday at 1:30pm so I just need that insurance info so that they can find out costs and stuff.  I would have done it this week but they are open Mon-Thurs. and we have the conferences this week through Thurs.  So it is set and it will be done now for sure, I just need that info and President said I can get on my email when ever today or this week to get that info from you.  So just email me back with that as soon as you can and I will get it to the dentist.

            I love you all so much and appreciate all that you do for me.  I realy am so thankful for your prayers and love for me.  You are the best family ever and I want to spend forever with you.  Be a missionary every single day!  LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

Picture of tooth to come

January 21, 2013

Dear family,
          I love you so very much and appreciate all you do for me, with your prayers, emails, letters and packages.  Things are going well and this week is transfer week so things will be crazy as we won't have even one day after monday til Sunday to work in our area.  We always have lots of time but this week is always nuts and we don't get lots of sleep.  We have a lesson with a man named Dan Bravo tonight and he is going to get baptized on Saturday.  He is amazing and he has been progressing ever since we met him.  We met him 2 weeks ago and he has been to church 3 times in a row and read the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.  Then tuesday we are with the departing missionaries all day, Weds we take them to the airport and pick up the new missionaries and then we go and have a training session with their trainers while the new missionaries go with some zone leaders to go contact people.  Then Weds night we get back to President's house and have dinner and orientation.  Thursday we assign trainers and trainees and drive up and down the mission to drop everyone off and get home late.  Friday and Sat. we have a leadership training for district, zone and leadership trainers and the trainers.  A lady named Liz Wiseman is coming to do a training called "Multipliers" and she gets paid the big bucks to do this training all of the world but President Gelwix is a friend of hers so she is coming for the 3rd time and doing it for free.

         I will send a picture of my tooth next week. I don't have my camera on me and haven't gone to the dentist but it will be done this next monday unfortunately but it will be done and I will take a picture and send it.  I love you and pray for you all every night.  Please be a missionary every day.  LOVE YOU!!!!!!
ps happy birthday Olivia, I love you a ton!!
-Love Elder Neeley

Trip to Yosemite

January 15, 2013

Dear family,

           Sorry the email is late.  We went to Yosemite as you can see from the pictures from some missionaries from the south of the mission and with our mission President and it was so much fun!  We had the missionaries come stay the night with us the night before so that we could get up in the morning and go north to get to Yosemite with plenty of time to see the park.  We saw a coyote and some deer and the deer in the picture I sent you was less than 10 yards away as it came up close to us and tried to cross that bridge you see but got scared of the people on it.  JoAnna would have loved to see that and be there for that haha.  It was a great time and we all got to bond together.  We then taught a less active man this evening and invited him back to church with his wife who is not a member.  Their last name is Richardson and they are very nice but just have to jump the hurdle of getting back to church for the first time.  They say that they are closer and closer each time we come over and that they love having us by so we are praying and hoping they will be there soon.

            Things are going well and this next week will be busy as we have transfer boards this week (that is when we decide which missionaries go where and do what for the upcoming transfers) and then the next week is transfers and that is crazy for us with the outgoing and incoming missionaries.  It will be exciting and probably I won't get as much sleep.  I love being a missionary and sharing the Gospel.  It is hard but it is so much fun at the same time.  I truly appreciate all you do and have done and sacrificed for me to be here and serve Jesus Christ in this way.  I love Him and love all of you and this work.  Our area is doing well as we had 3 investigators at church this week and we have about 7 or 8 people that should be getting baptized here in these next few months so we are very excited and moving right along.  I love you all so very much and keep you in my prayers.  Be a missionary every day.

-Love Elder Neeley

ps Grandma I will send that letter to you first thing and I will set up an apt. with the dentist for this week.  LOVE YOU!

Getting the Hang of AP

January 7, 2013

Dear family,

           Things are going well in Fresno and I think I am starting to get the hang of being an assistant.  It is a lot of fun to be with the missionaries and I have already see how the Lord has used me to be the means of answering other missionaries' prayers.  I love being with them and having a good time but also being there for them in the struggles they go through everyday.  We are starting to ramp up as far as getting more missionaries in the mission.  We will have 50+ in just the next 2 transfers and we will have to open 12 new areas and this is just the beginning.

           Christmas was really good and there were no problems as far as I know of missionaries abusing rules or hanging out or talking for hours with their family.  We have a very obedient mission in general with very few exceptions of missionaries you could probably count on one hand.  President Gelwix truly inspires us to do more and to be obedient as he does the same.  I love him a ton and he is so awesome and you will meet him some day when you are out in Utah to visit.

            The other day we taught a man who is still technically a member of the church like he is on the records but he is evangelical.  Then when we asked why he keeps his name on the records, he told us that it is so that we keep coming by and he has the opportunity to teach us and "save" us.  He grew up LDS in a severely dis-functional family which I believe by the impressions of the Spirit, caused him to go looking why things were that way and found junk and trash on the church and really gets so caught up on things that are distortions and lies by men who like him have been hurt by people in the church and therefore attacks the church itself.  It was very sad to see and I don't mean in like a I'm right and what a pity on this ignorant fool kind of way but it was sad to see that he blinded himself the Spirit and shuns all reason from the scriptures.  He believes in the Bible but looks to the internet for info.  We told him we could answer any question from the scriptures that he wanted but that we would not go to the internet where you can find anything.  The internet just about holds NO weight as far as being factual and reliable.  He never even read the Bible and he does the same thing that he accuses all Mormons of doing which is: not look at the "facts", "questions" or "imperfections" of the scriptures and just put the doubts on the shelf and never really investigate it, then teach our children and brainwash them to reject and search for truth.  He did each of those things with his new evangelical faith and it was as sick of a display of Satan destroying someone and confusing them in to believing literal nonsense.  He didn't even know what he believes based on the scriptures cause if he actually read them as we pointed out he would see it didn't make sense.  They, as in anti-mormon people, attack the Book of Mormon so hard (and fail every time) but don't even worry about the many, many fallacies of the Bible.  They completely look past it cause that is what Satan does.  He makes wrong seem right and right seem wrong, it was all true and evident and disturbing.  I know the Bible is the words of God from Him and is true as far as it is translated correctly (or rather as far as man didn't ruin it and destroy the truth in it which they have MANY times) and I know that the Book of Mormon is too.  If you ever doubt that or have a question, it doesn't have to be swept under the rug but it can be investigated and asked and resolved but you must look properly and in the places of fact not opinion.  Who would you ask to know if the Book of Mormon is true: someone who as read sincerely (not from pressure of family or anything like that) looking for truth from God and only God, or would you listen to someone who as been hurt or mislead and is emotionally charged?  Would you ask John the apostle if Jesus is the Christ as he hung on the cross or Judas Iscariot or a Pharisee who were bought by silver and gold?  If you have questions feel free to ask me.  I don't know everything or even a lot but I will and can find out all things that God has revealed to man through His prophets.  I bring this up cause it is dangerous and if it hasn't come up in your life it will, and you must be prepared, not just to shut off your brain and be ignorant to concerns of others but to soundly understand what you know to be true and why and never be swayed from it by lies.

              Anyway it was a testimony strengthener for me as I know that we have the answers cause this is Christ's church with Him at the head.  I haven't gotten my tooth fixed but I will look into it and get it fixed soon.  Thank you for keeping up with me on it.  I love you all so very much and pray that you will all be missionaries everyday cause this is the ONLY way to real happiness here and a fullness of joy in the life to come.  You are such good examples to me and I am thankful to our Heavenly Father every day for you.

-Love Elder Neeley

PS I can't wait for the Neeley basketball show down and please let Matt Hansen know that I love him a ton and miss him so much but I can't read or send him emails but we can write each other or you can forward me his mail.  Love you!!!

Also our mission goal for this year is a minimum of 1000 baptisms for the year which has never been done in this mission.  Please pray for us to reach this goal in every prayer, that we may bring children to Christ.

Drunk Guys Like the Book of Mormon, too...

January 3, 2013

Dear family,

            Things are going well and we have two baptisms this weekend on saturday of two kids named Rodolfo and Claudia who are 10 and 12 years old.  They are very excited and me and my companion are going to baptize them.  We have several other people right now too who are preparing for baptism and we are very excited for this month.
            We went to Yosemite again today and I sent you some pictures from that too and I hope you like them.  We have transfers not this Wednesday but the next one so I am excited to see what happens.  It is always a little exciting to see what happens almost like fantasy football drafts but more Spiritually important haha.  I do in fact get a long with President really well and he told me that if you all ever disown me he would adopt me in a heartbeat.  He is a wonderful man and has taught me so much about the Gospel and how I can change and grow and be a better disciple of Christ and son of God.  I love him a lot.

             This past week we found a guy who may have been a little drunk but we went to contact one of our investigators and he was outside her house.  The investigator's husband said that she wasn't home so we said we would stop by later.  The drunkish guy thought we were talking to him so he said "today?" and then said "just come over now" and led us to his house.  He had read the Book of Mormon before and had a desire to help his family and change so we are starting to teach him and he said he would like to get baptized but needs more time.  It was a cool experience.

             I am so glad to hear the family is all doing well and that everyone is busy doing different things and helping out family a lot.  Grandma is really greatful for Amber and Olivia and for all the grandchildren who help out.  Uncle Keith too was happy to have Alex and Darius' help this past week as well.  I am glad to hear too that Alex is doing better in basketball.  That is great.  Alex should invite Darius to church this Sunday and bring him with all you.  That would be a great opporunity for the Spirit to touch his life and he and his family need it.  We all need it.
            I love you all and pray that you are safe and continually to be missionaries every single day cause there is nothing better than others and ourselves coming to Christ.

-Love Elder Neeley

2013 Here We Come

December 31st, 2012

Dear family,

           We had a baptism this past Saturday of 2 young women, Haley Gordon and Alex Dunmore, whose mom is a member and their siblings are recent convert.  The Dunmore family only has the dad left and the oldest daughter to be baptized and then they will be able to go to the temple to be sealed.  The oldest daughter wants to get baptized but she needs to get married and they have plans to do that very soon so she will be baptized with her husband shortly.  They have the cutest little boy haha.  The dad is coming along but he is on dialysis for his kidneys so it is super hard for him to even be taught cause he is in bed groaning from pain.  We gave him a blessing and it has been a little better but he has been in and out of the hospital this past week.  He will be baptized soon but we just have to be patient with him.  He has come to church and wants to but the dialysis holds him back.

             This week we have a leadership meeting to set our year goal for 2013 for the mission and the meeting will consist of us and President, the coordinating sisters, the zone leaders and the district leaders.   It will be a really good meeting and I am excited to see what our new goal will be.  Then the next day we will have a trainer/trainee meeting to do a half-way-through-the-transfer check up on them and see how things are going and if they have concerns and do some training.  I will be doing training on the importance of getting our investigators to say a kneeling prayer at the end of each lesson.  It will be great.  Then we will have a leadership planning session on Thursday probably in which President and my companion and I will plan out for the next 2 or 3 transfers who will tentatively be a leader.

              So things are going well and I miss you all and love you.  I am so glad that we got to hear all your voices and grandma no se preocupe for not being there for the call.  That means don't worry about missing the call and I love you and will talk to you soon enough.  I hope you all are doing well and I am glad that you are going to profiles.  Keep being missionaries and keep working hard to keep your standards and covenants cause there is nothing more important.  I love you!!!!!!!!!!

-Love Elder Neeley