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.