Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why the Gospel makes us Happy...


weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell here's da shcoop. 
So, this last week was pretty cool. We have been working with this one dude in the branch that's been super less active, and we are helping him make his way back to church. We taught him about the importance of prayer and not giving up when he makes mistakes. and then as we visited him on thursday, we said, We'll see you sunday. and he said he won't be able to because of work. As soon as he said that i just said what i instantly felt like saying, and told him if he would pray every morning and night, that God would help him make it to church on sunday. 
We were at church on sunday. He was also there! and as well, there was this less active girl that the sisters in our district found, that came to the womens session of conference and then to church, and the whole branch just took her in! she loved it and they loved her it was super great! I just absolutely love seeing people come back to church, and the light and hope of the gospel kicking on in peoples eyes. And also the pure joy that comes from the gospel. 

Funny enough today in personal study i was thinking about why the gospel makes us happy and i thought about the tree of life: 

So to paint a picture, for the potential peeps reading this that don't know, tree of life is a well known vision found in the beginning of the book of mormon. (1 Nephi Ch 8 so you can go read it) anyway, in the vision that this prophet has, he goes along in a dark place, till he sees this tree that's just magnificent and radiant. he goes to the tree, and eats the fruit from it and it's the greatest thing he's ever tasted in his life. then he looks around and sees a ton of people, and he sees this rod of iron, (basically a handrail) that leads all the way to this magnificent and radiant tree (the tree of life). and he sees that people are holding on the the iron rod, making their way towards the tree,and as they do, there comes this "mist of darkness" basically it's super foggy and they can't see anything. but he talks about how those that kept holding onto the rod and didn't let go no matter what were able to then, make their way to the tree and eat the best tasting fruit of all time. 

So i thought about one comparison of the vision,  which is how for us, living the gospel is alot like holding onto the iron rod. we follow it, even though we don't see where we are going, but we hold onto it because everyone has told us what lies at the end, and how great it's going to be, till we get there, and we get to have the greatest happiness that god in his infinite knowledge knows that we can have.  as i thought about this, a couple of thoughts came to mind: 

#1 Did holding onto the rod make those people happy? It could have. it was something firn and sure, when they couldn't see everything else, it gave them direction. But for many where would the true happiness have been? it would probobly have been in the knowledge and hope that, by following that rod, they would get to have the greatest fruit of all time. 
      For us is living the gospel what truly makes us happy? it can, it gives us something sure, direction and safety, but the true happiness in the gospel is the knowledge that by following it, we will be able to live with god, and live in a state of never ending happiness and joy. 

#2 thought number two, was faith. Imagine you're one of the people walking along, and a friend says dude! i'm gonna go get the best fruit ever let's go man! and he runs over and grabs onto this handrail that heads straight into the fog. He said it with such cofidence that you decided that maybe you would try it. so you go. and you make your way along. can't see anything, but you have that hope that there's something there at the end. you go and you go, and then you hear you fried a little bit ahead of you say, oh wow i see something, and as you continue along on the rod, pretty soon you see a glow ahead of you. that builds you hope and confidence that there is truly something there! you keep going and then the glow gets stronger and stronger. till finally you make your way out and there you see the tree. is there any doubt? 

for us, at first with the gospel, it can be a little sure what the end result is. We possibly just don't see whats at the end. This is where faith comes in. it allows us to keep walking through the fog, and keep going. till we see a glow. Ask any person who's (honestly) lived the gospel of Jesus Christ, they'll tell you that after how long they've been there, their faith, (hope) has just grown stronger and stronger because of things that they've seen in their life. (the glow gets brighter and brighter.)     This for me has been the greatest blessing so far of my mission.

Well love yall! gotta run. 
Elder Wardell

Opening a Zoo

Cute little friend we found

He's friendly....

Reading the bible....

We can't keep him sooooo..

(Mom says, let's hope they didn't eat him...)

So this past week, we've decided we are going to open a zoo. we caught a crab, and a big lizard! 
the lizard we let go. haha it was super funny.
Well, this past week, there was a new stake created! :) that's always amazing because it means the church is growing. We lost our only investigator though. It's ok though. Missionary work is a team effort. It's not about how many people we bring to the gospel, or bring brack. it's about how hard we work in this work. and it's a team effort. so we are super happy about that. Currently in the branch we are working hard on reactivating people in the branch. which means that we are going to be making alot of friends, and showing alot of love. (use the two keys of reactivation, and you can open the door to it.) and this past week, we were able to talk to this one guy in the branch who's going through a super hard time right now, and struggling to make his way back, and something marvelous that were blessed to teach him, was about hope.  I personally learned a ton in that lesson.

We many of times feel alone. Especially if we are trying to come back to the god. (even if we are already "in the church") But the beautiful thing, is that We aren't alone. That is who jesus christ is. literally because he is the light and the life of the world, he is there for each and everyone of us no matter what, or who we are. There was such a wonderful comparison i've heard, of What jesus christ has done for us. The comparison, is of a kid learning piano. 

So, your mom wants you to learn piano right? (course she does, piano music is the greatest)
so your mom, pays the piano player. a price is paid. fully, completely. done. 
your mom has just paid a price for you. and she asks you to do what? practice. practice practice practice. do you mess up? yeah. alot. many times. sometimes the same mistakes. but thats ok, the price is paid, and your mother will just tell you what? try again. don't quit, keep going, because with enough practice, and with enough time and true EFFORT, what happens, youre mozart. 

Christ's atonement, literally covers ALL of our mistakes. even repeats. This is why we can have hope in Christ. He's not mad nor does he not like us when we mess up, he says, it's ok, try again. keep going don't quit. As we make that effort, we become better. And he's there the entire way even if we don't see him. I know that this is true. 
Btw the word "sin" , i found out, comes from some latin word which means "to miss the mark". (that means we get another shot. and luckily with an "infinite atonement" we get infinite shots.

Well, i love you all.
Gotta Run. 
Elder Wardell

For those that know me...the mission changes you...

ALOT!!  (Elder Wardell didn't eat salad ever!) 

Funny truck we saw....

Adventures in the YSA

Elder Pineda and I 

Well, this week was interesting! 
So when you work in a YSA area, the referrals are like gold. Actually they are like blood. (if we don't have it we are dead. D-E-D dead. (really hopin someone understands the movie reference)) so we have this one investigator who was a referral from the creole elders in our stake, whom we've been working with. She's making slow but steady progress. (hey, the tortoise won didn't he?)
haha on top of that we have been super blessed to get a couple more referrals that we are going to work with that should be super cool! 
As well we had an interesting weekend. so, on saturday, we are out working. and we were about to do a bit of knocking, and we head in to this trailer park, and it starts raining. no biggie (I honestly don't even care anymore about rain! jaja i've been rained on so many times that i kinda prefer it.) 
we are going along and we see a flash overhead and instantly after hear a "zzzzzSNAP!!" haha we heard lighting literally snap, (i swear it sounded like a snap) right over our heads. it was super cool! but super dangerous for us, (the rule is if it's close we go take shelter.) for us that was the truck. well, i had the grumblies, and needed to use the restroom, so we swung by a mcdonalds right around the corner. elder pineda wasnt feeling to well, so we took a break there for a minute, and then he just continued to feel super crappy so we ended up going home for a bit so he could rest. we called up the other two, because we had an appointment that night that we just couldn't miss. So we go, turns out she's not there :( no fun. we knocked a couple doors and then came home. that was saturday, and then Yesterday was sunday. Elder Pineda was still sick, (he got slightly worse) and elder steed, the greenie from the other companionship was also sick, so that left Elder Stansfield and i to go to church. So we covered his ward at 9, and then the branch at 2. we ended up staying at the church for like 8 and a half hours!!! haha, then we went to a cool meal appointment, got to see a shelby AC cobra, (DREAM CAR!!! #2) and then we finished out the night! it was super interesting. a weekend of adventures. 

Well, there was an interesting thought i came across earlier on, and that was the thought, Well, if the book of mormon was really written on gold plates, why can't we see them? then we would know it was true. 
a couple of things. 
#1 Even if people were to read the book of mormon on the gold plates, people would still say, aaaaaah that's a bogus story. you would only be able to know that that story was true how? By asking god. because of that alone, it means that if the plates were or were not here now, it wouldn't matter. because the only way to know that the book of mormon is true is by asking God.

#2 Think back to the time when christ was on the cross, and the people that were against him came walking up. what does it say that they said?

39 ¶And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

To me, that sounds alot like, "If the book of mormon came from gold plates, let us see the gold plates, and we will believe it."
Had Christ come down from the cross, it wouldn't have mattered, they would have still denied him. (the guards came and said told the actual story about the resurection and they paid them off to go tell a lie.) The knowledge of the divinity of christ and who he was, in the bible, came to everyone who recieved that testimony, AFTER THEIR FAITH. 
Just as christ said, that no believer in god can deny, "with god, all things are possible" i would think that a knowledge of the book of mormon could come from god. 

I know that the book of mormon is true, and that what it stands for, is what god has given us for our benefit and happiness.

Well, i'm outta time, but i love yall! gotta run.
Elder Wardell

Transfer to YSA Ward...

so, not gonna have a whole bunch of time today, but I just wanted to give you all an update on what's happenin.
so, I walked into transfers last week, and Elder Hayward, the new ap, (ole pal from Jupiter) sees me walk in, and with a big ole smile and a laugh says, ooooh buddy you're goin on an adventure!!!! He wasn't lying.
So, transfers are going along, and they said, "serving in the area of Ft. Lauderdale west as assistants to the president, Elder Nielsen, Elder Hayward, and Elder Wardell!!!!
that'd be super weird right? luckily that's not the case haha, no my adventure is down here in an area known as the Nova YSA branch. haha, so this area is one that's been closed for a couple of transfers, but is now open again. Elder Pineda and I have just whitewashed in, and it's been an interesting week! our area is HUGE!!!! (in relation to our mission.) we cover the entire Ft. Lauderdale stake.
Everyone is just super excited about it, the branch, Pres. Richardson, the missionaries and everyone. So, we right now are just in the grind to find, in YSA, it's the same gospel and same message, but the finding techniques are completely different. and we only get to teach in English. :( but it's ok my companion speaks Spanish just as much as English, (he's from spain so it's super nice Spanish) and there's a ton of creole speaking people here so
mwen va pale kreyol!!! finally i'll really get to learn a bit of Haitian creole!
Well, that's about it for this week, just to wrap up i'll share a quick spiritual thought from, my personal study.
so I was reading in Helaman today, and read in chapter 10, and in vs 11 the lord tells nephi,
 11 And now behold, I command you, that ye shall go and declare unto this people, that thus saith the Lord God, who is the Almighty: Exceptye repent ye shall be smitten, even unto destruction.
so nephi gets his mission laid out for him. I know if I had gotten that as a mission call, i'd be sayin to myself, "hahaaaa oh boy! ima bout to see a bunch of people repent!"
And then in vs 17 we read
17 And it came to pass that thus he did go forth in the Spirit, from multitude to multitude, declaring the word of God, even until he haddeclared it unto them all, or sent it forth among all the people.
The lucky dude managed to knock every door, and had a lesson with every person there.
and then in verse 18 we read about how many converts he had.
 18 And it came to pass that they would not hearken unto his words; ....
no one. not a one.
I know that the first thing I would have said would be, "but the lord commanded him! and the lord always prepares a way for his commandments right?!"
look at 11, nephi was commanded to declare repentance. and that he did. to everyone. no matter what reception he had, nephi literally fulfilled his mission.
god said "give these people this message." and he did. to every one of them. mission accomplished. this is something very key for missionaries. We sometimes get super discouraged, in thinking we've failed cuz we haven't had lessons, or baptisms etc. when in reality, our mission, our "job" is to go and preach the gospel. deliver a message. for those that respond, we then help them follow through on that message. but even if we were to go home without teaching a single lesson, without one baptism, with every door slammed in our face, as long as we truly labored to preach the gospel, we would have completely fulfilled the mission given to us.
Well I love yall! not sure why it was super long today, but I just typed till I felt like I was done!
Elder Wardell
sorry left the camera at home :( photos next week
love ya!

Survived the Hurricane

The sky was covered...this was at noon 

Some days you wake up and your hair has gone back to the 80's....

well here's the scoop.
What a week to talk about!
well after six weeks in doral, I'M GETTING TRANSFERRED :( super sad I really like this area but I said, "i'll go where you want me to go"
well this last week saw a really neat miracle. so I was on exchange into another area, with the DL, and we were in a lesson with Maria their investigator. She is hands down, probably the sweetest person I've ever met in my life, right behind gram. She's been super sad about her daughter who passed away from an overdose at a new years party about a year and a half ago. She's absolutely loved the missionaries, and has been just loving the lessons with them. we were in a lesson with her, and she said, I'm just not sure, about all of these things. and my daughter, with everything that she had done, will she be ok? it was at just about that moment, when she said that, that a thought came to my mind which wasn't my own, and then I told her: ya know, in the bible we read about Christ going to preach to those that were dead, who did a lot of bad stuff. Because I know you, I know that your daughter has been taught the same things that we are teaching you now, and that she has accepted them. and because I know that us missionaries are guided by the spirit. I have no doubt that because of your daughter, the missionaries have been sent to you, so that you can be taught the same things that she was taught. as I was saying that the spirit filled the room, probably the strongest that I've ever felt on my mission. Maria started crying, and she said, I know this is where god needs me to be. I know it. i'll be at church on sunday and i'm getting baptized. I haven't any doubt that that was the spirit talking to maria. mostly because there was so much silence, yet, so much learning going on. I could just see the change coming over her as we were sitting there waiting. it was amazing!!!
As well, we survived a hurricane!!!!
at least, If you can count a hurricane going of course and missing you as surviving it :) haha
No? oh darn ok.
yeah, this past week, we got a text from the mission president telling the whole mission to make sure that we had all of our storm prep stuff up to date. and then he told us a bit later that there was an expected hurricane on I think sunday, and then we got the report that it went completely off course, and we didn't get anything but a bit of rain and lightning. Sweet miracle and blessing.
Well, I love you guys! talk to you later.
Elder Wardell

Zone Conference and saying Goodbye...

Longtime mission friend, Sister Ferrari

Got to say goodbye to Elder Cobabe (my second companion) 

Weeell here's the scoop. We had a zone conference this last week, it was cool, I got to see a ton of people. we talked about a lot of cool stuff! Elder Cobabe, who was my second companion, gave his departing testimony, because he's going home in about a week and a half, as well as another sister who I was in the MTC with. Which means, that as of last Thursday, ole Elder Wardell is just that. OLD jaja. In less than six months now there won't be anymore scoop. Crazy how fast the time flies!!!!!
Well there's a super cool thought I want to share.
So there are times on the mission where you work super duper whooper hard, and not a lot happens (or so it seems) (hint hint) that might or might not be going on now. however, as a super wise missionary companion taught me, success isn't determined by the numbers, nor by the amount of people we baptize. President Joseph Fielding Smith served a full mission in England. And didn't baptize a single person. (mind you this was right around the time of his call as an apostle) if success were determined by how many baptisms we had, then i'm pretty sure one of the prophets of the church, would have been able to baptize thousands.
so yes. Success in the mission, is based on the commitment to serve, and be obedient. in life, success is determined by obedience to the gospel, and how much we serve our father in heaven.
Well, I love yall! take care.
Elder Wardell

got to say hi to this goofball, love Elder Bedke

Got to say hi to Papa Navieras

cool adverstisement...yes the sign moves

Mother bird...

(Note from mom: No pictures this week) 
WEEEEEELL here's the shcoop.
So this last week was pretty different haha.
So, Elder Lemmon and I live with 2 other Elders from another district, and they are on bikes, we are in a car. (miraculously for some kinda somehow, I haven't gained a pound) but because they are on bikes, we take a bit of compassion on them and give them a lift once in a while to where they need to go, and one of the other 2 Elder's is this really funny greenie from Utah. We were goin along, and he just outta the blue gave us the code name mother bird cuz we were in the car. so that's been the new joke is that we are mother bird, and they are alpha team.
anyways we got a call from the other two one night asking to come pick them up because the greenie, kinda crashed into a pole. haha so our night got rather interesting, because we went to pick them up and we brought them home. and it started raining. then we get a worried call from our sisters in our district, and they were alittle worried cuz they were at the chapel teaching a lesson, and apparently these drunk kids wandered in and started acting dumb. fortunately their member was able to get the kids to leave, but that left them alone with their investigator, and he couldn't leave after they finished because of the rain, and they couldn't leave because he couldn't leave and they were there alone with him, without a brother from the ward, because he left to chase the drunkards away, and so they called us and we hurried on over there. and we get there after driving through noahs flood, (visibility was almost at 0 because of the rain) and we finally get there, all is well, he manages to leave because the rain lets up right as we get there, we double checked the chapel to make sure everything is ok, and then we make it home. just to be informed that we had to go back out! haha to go email some photos of the greenies face, and pick up a couple things for him. all in all it was an adventuresome night!
Something that smacked me in the face this last week was an interesting though about change.
we aren't accustomed to changing things, because we live in a world of personalization. tailor the suit, organize the phone the way you want it, customization etc. for that reason, it's completely understandable how so many times we meet people who carry this same thing over to religion. "Eh we just didn't like this church, because of this and that" or " I really like this church, because it agrees with what I think"  however that loses sight of a key factor, God is perfect, and doesn't make mistakes. We can't tailor HIS church to fit us. He has given us HIS church to help us change, and be the best we can bit to fit it. in doing so we truly will become better people. That's his promise.
well I love yall! gotta run.
Elder Wardell


 Pday activity--made shirts , this is my favorite cuban saying...

 mission life...


Found a lizard skeleton under the couch...shoe goo made him a keepsake....


weeeeeell here's da shcoop
so this last week we had a really zone activity we spray painted our own custom t-shirts, and it was super cool. then we played a ton of smash face!
so this past week we were working really hard to find people, we've been going through a bit of a dry spell, but these things happen. the important thing is to just keep on truckin and remember that the gospel is true no matter what and that we never know what goes on on the other side of a door, or the phone, and that most importantly, the lord has so many more people out there that are prepared. How many billions of people are there in the world? how many people's situations are changing every minute? haha I don't think we could put a number on it. that's why it's important to always remember faith and patience and to never give up. another person to introduce the gospel to could be right around the corner and if we give up, we wouldn't find them. and they would have to wait for who knows how much longer to receive the gospel. And many of times that wait isn't just a week or a month. I heard a story from another missionary of this old guy in their stake that got up one sunday to bear his testimony, to a group of young people. the man was baptiezed about 5 years prior to when he spoke, and he said to the group, that he wanted to share with them a line from his patriarchal blessing. in it he said "you would have joined the church many years ago, but the missionary that would've taught you, didn't go on a mission".
The missed opportunites that we have might not come back around for a LONG time That is why things like exact obedience and always working hard must always be practiced.
Well, I love you guys! can't wait to talk to you all next week.
Elder Wardell
05custom shirt (complete with my favorite Cuban saying)
07not washable so now it's a nice decoration
08 Missionary life collection
11 so we moved a couch. found a lizard skeleton. I had some shoe goo, so we  made a keepsake :) hahaha