This week was hard on us all. Quayd's weekly letter to would never show it. He shared some challenges in a separate letter, and let's just say, he is definitely growing. Again, thanks for the prayers! Here's his letter. It's VERY long, but WOW, he's growing! BTW, my computer is having issues a. I hope it works.
Man this week has been amazing! I think something is happening... Now, the past couple weeks I've told you all that we have been doing....nothing! But, we have met amazing people each time a lesson or an appointment has fallen through, so God has kept us busy by talking to new people or just giving blessings or saying prayers. But we want to help change lives and that means teaching the gospel not just bearing testimony of it. I've prayed super hard for a successful week and I think thus far that's what I've been having!!
Brother Brown is one of the coolest guys ever! This man loves working! I mean he's 80 and he's climbing palm trees. He's 80!!!!!!! It's so funny every single time we see him, he's always asking what can he do to help. He's always trying to get involved. I don't know why this man does not have a calling! He wants to serve!!!!!
Brother Brown was willing to drive us to a store so we could get my companion some shoes. I feel so bad because we said that we were going to get shoes, not look around the whole store. This man, who even though he is old, still has a life, a wife, a tree to climb, waited for an hour. Brother Brown was driving us home and there was this car parked in the middle of the street. Being Brother Brown, he pulled over and hopped out of the car. I was willing to do the same, but no one really wanted to get out. I have learned the rule stay within sight and sound and it's hard!!!!
Like this one time, I was trimming down trees and doing yard work for this member that reminds me of my nana. Meanwhile,, Joe the guy that had his toes chopped off, was in his wheelchair and asked for some help to move something. I dropped the branches and ran towards him, totally leaving behind my companion and the other missionaries in my district just so I could help, totally forgetting the rule that says stay within sight and sound of each other. I was running over and I heard the rest of my district yelling at me!! "Hey Corbridge! What do you think you’re doing!?!?" "Elder New Guy or Cornbread, what about your companion!?!?" I responded "I'm helping Joe move this. Oh, that's right, I've got to stay within sight and sound....oops!!"
Anyway back to Brother Brown… he was helping the lady and called us over. I hopped out of the car and ran over to see what I could do to help. She told us that she couldn't get the car started. We didn't know what to do but my companion has the smarts and brains. He figured it out and we were able to push the car out of the road. But, before That, I got the chance to proclaim the gospel and share my testimony. She shared with us her beliefs also about Jesus Christ. It was a real nice experience. After that, Brother Brown offered to take us to lunch. I mean, this guy was treating us like kings! After that I emailed a friend of mine then talked with my parents online, which was the highlight but Brother Brown, there's something about him!
I've been kinda depressed that we aren't doing anything…no teaching or anything and district meeting did not help at all. I actually became a little discouraged because the week before, they gave me an assignment to do - The First Vision. On that very day that we were teaching our investigator the importance of the Book of Mormon, he asked us why it was important and who was Joseph Smith? I was so happy! I had a chance to do the commitment! I recited the whole vision by heart and told him before to think of this moment, to be in Joseph Smith’s shoes and feel the spirit. We gave him a few seconds to ponder and then I asked him how do you feel? I was devastated, heartbroken, crushed, whatever… I was distraught, as he responded "Honestly, I felt nothing except the wind,the people yelling and laughing, music, etc…" He didn't want to feel the spirit. I was devastated that he didn't receive the message like I hoped. Then, listening to these elders do the exact same thing as I had done and say what I hoped Phillip would have said "wow I felt something!" I was sad feeling a little hopeless, but I still had faith something would happen...
Elder Villegas and I came to a spot somewhere that I did not recognize. He was talking to this one guy in Tagalog and there were these three guys drinking and talking. One of them looked young like sixteen. I was shy. At first, I didn't say anything, but I waved at them. The oldest asked what religion I was. My companion was a couple houses down and I was alone in this. I have never had the chance to talk to someone about the gospel by myself. But I was ready. I told them, “"Mormon. I am a Mormon." To make things short, I was scared to death! I thought they were going to yell, mock, throw things at me because I was alone. I answered every question and soon I was becoming their friend. Their names are William, Juan and Brandon. I felt like the apostle Peter or some scriptural hero, teaching the gospel to these strangers! They were agreeing and laughing with me and were saying how people told them that us Mormons were bad, that we had ten wives and other things, but I explained to them and brought scriptures to their attention. In the circle, as I sat with these men, I bore testimony of the Savior. I actually read to them something I wrote that I was going to email to someone. It was my testimony of the Savior. I never sent it and now I know why. It wasn't time to send it because it was meant for these men and not for the person I had in mind.
I read them my testimony and they listened intently to my message. For peace or comfort or understanding, I do not know, but they were all eyes and ears and asking questions. I asked if they would like us to come back. they said yes. I was thrilled. They asked if we could pray. We did! My companion came back and started talking to them. It was a good experience, so I learned never to shut your mouth, speak up boldly and Heavenly Father will fill your mouth with power and with truth like Elder Holland said "unbind your tongues and watch your words work wonders.”
Another highlight interviews with President Dixon, which was awesome! Iearned so much and got great advice from him and his wife. I love them! They are such fun people and I’m so happy they are my mission presidents.
We taught Brandon the restoration. Now I told you that when I taught the restoration before and the investigator did not want to listen. I was worried this would be the same for Brandon. I told him that I was going to recite the first vision. I was still afraid that after I had told him, Brandon would leave. I guess this is where courage and trust must happen, in order to speak boldly and with power and with faith. I said, “Brandon this part of the message is the most important part. It's what makes all this matter. I'm going to tell you what happened when this boy had the faith to pray to our Father and before I begin I want you to be in Joseph Smith’s shoes. Think about your question and act like you are praying to your Father. Be in his shoes, think of that moment where you prayed for the first time with faith that God our eternal Father would answer. I promise you that as you do so, you will feel something. Maybe you've never felt before something peaceful or happy or full of understanding and I want you to know that this is the Holy Ghost testifying these things unto you. Then, after I'm done I want you to ponder this moment take it within your heart."
I told him about Joseph smith and his prayer and what he saw! After I had finished, I worried that Brandon was going to get distracted like Phillip. I saw something else! I saw this boy one year older than the prophet of the restoration pondering this moment of truth and I was filled with joy as I watched knowing that he knew this was true! What he said made me come on the verge of tears, as I saw him smile and say “Wow I felt something. I don't know what it is, but I feel this. It just feels nice, I feel like if I ever have a question, I know that I can ask God and he will show me the way or tell me how to follow him.” I told him your absolutely right!"
We gave him a Book of Mormon. We are going to meet him again this Monday, along with his family. Imagine an eternal family could be taking transformation here!! My testimony was strengthened about Joseph Smith that day. I've always had one about the prophet of the restoration, but seeing the truth come out onto Brandon's face no not his face, but in his eyes was the highlight that made it so much stronger.
I know that Joseph Smith was called by God to restore Christ’s church and His gospel. Not only that, I know that he translated the Book of Mormon which contains the fullness of it. This man, like our Savior, suffered much, was persecuted, tarredd and feathered, suffered many trials along with his name being for the good and for the bad of all nations until the end and for what!?!? Because he taught the truth! Because he taught faith in Jesus Christ and repentance! Why didn't they leave him alone? Because they knew the truth! JESUS CHRIST IS THE TRUTH!!! And, yet, even, today, the truth will always be opposed and rejected.
I know that Joseph smith is and was the prophet who restored all this, who taught me that families can be forever! Or who taught that Christ is the way. Live his gospel and be saved. He is and was the Savior’s chosen prophet. D&C 128 is one of my favorite scriptures to read. Here are is a couple verses that stuck out "What do we hear in the gospel which we have received? truth! coming from the earth! Mercy from heaven, a voice of gladness for the living and for the dead; tidings of great joy. how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears and in our hearts the glory, and salvation, honor, immortality, and eternal life; Shall we not go on so great a cause?” I know this to be true! Joseph smith is a prophet of God! And president Monson leads us today.
Before I end this weeks email, I just want to say this. That light that Christ and our Father has is in each one of us. We carry some of that light. When Joseph felt like he was doomed to sudden destruction, when the devil tried to stop him, from what could have ended the restoration, what was it that Joseph Smith saw? He said he saw a pillar of LIGHT!! and when that light rested upon him, he saw two personages, who's brightness and glory defy all description. I believe we carry a flare of that light, in our continence and in our eyes, just by being who we are. Who are we? We are children of our Heavenly Father, sons, daughters, teachers, fathers and mothers, soldiers,warriors, volunteers, whatever it be.
We are in this battle together. His battle for truth and light. We are here together to declare it and gather others to fight for it and proclaim it. We are willing to live the gospel and fight for this gospel. The truth that Christ is the way, the only way. We have this light by doing those things. People either come to us, because they see that light and want to get closer to Christ our Savior, or they leave because they see that light and are opposed to it. I love the words from Elder Holland said: "I ask for a stronger and more devoted voice, a voice not only against evil and him who is the personification of it, but a voice for good, a voice for the gospel, a voice for God. Unbind your tongues and watch your words work wonders in the lives of those who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it."
We are the voice. Joseph Smith taught that to all of us and in so doing, he sealed this truth with his own blood, claiming that Christ is the way. We either follow him, accept him and testify of him and by so doing find eternal joy or we don't. It's time now to speak boldly, courageously and proclaim the gospel to our friends, our families, our brothers and sisters in the world who have not yet not found that light... the light of Christ, which is in us!
In this week I have seen what happens when we speak courageously and testify with love. People can see the light in us, it's just a matter of sharing it with others. So, let us continue to live the gospel, proclaim it's truth and be ambitious for Christ!! This is what believers do. THIS IS WHAT MORMON'S DO!!!! and those who listen to us, their lives are changed and our testimonies are stronger.
I know this email was long but sharing it just builds my testimony and I'm so grateful for the chance to share this truth with you! It's a blessing serving my Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ! I'm so thankful for this successful week! It's been absolutely amazing! I want to thank you again for those who have enlightened me, inspired me and there are so many of you that have!! All those who are reading this, you inspire me and I admire your faith!!! those who have prayed for me and the mission. I've seen the miracles of your prayers and those who read my emails I know that I'm not alone. Thank you! It helps knowing I've got people who care. May we continue to share our light as members of God’s army!
The battle is the Lord's!!!!