Monday, July 23, 2012

Much Success!!

So, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we had much success! This success came from an unwritten compromise my companion and I seem to have made. He likes visiting members, I just want to invite people to come to Christ, so every time we knock on a member's door during the day, we will go knock on two other random doors or talk to people on the street (Which we usually do anyway.) And for some reason, God saw fit to give us wonderful success doing this the past few days! I stress a lot about filling our days. I would be more than happy to spend entire days tracting, talking to people, etc if no appointments are scheduled, but alas, not all share in this. So it is a cause of extreme stress when I cannot schedule appointments for us constantly. So, during those 3 days, I could not get us any appointments, and if I did they cancelled. I prayed hard that our steps would be guided and we would end up exactly where we needed to be at just the right moment- AND WE WERE! I can't even name all the miracles which came from those 3 days of coolness!
The first random door we knocked on, the guy let us in and agreed to have us back to teach him about the Book of Mormon! A few minutes later we ended up asking a part-member teenage girl if she would be interested in learning more about the Church. She said that this is something she has been thinking about lately and talking to her family about. She agreed to have us back to teach her and gave us her contact information.
Later, in the night we went to do Power Hour and contacted a less-active who is having a baby soon and agreed to have us back over as well. After Power Hour, we went to an appointment which wasn't home. Having to come up with effective things to do on the spot by myself when things fall through is also another point of extreme stress for me. But for whatever reason we ended up at the home of a prospective elder a few blocks away. He had a feeling we were coming and we invited him to come out with us for the rest of the night. As we were walking to a member's home, we passed by a house a less-active, part-member family and decided to stop by. The wife, who is not a member of our Church answered the door but had a sinus infection- so we offered her a blessing and she accepted! We were able to give her a wonderful blessing and explain about the Priesthood! She agreed to have us back as well.
After that experience, the prospective Elder commented on how he wanted to get worthy so he could give his first blessing. We had a great experience with him talking all about it for the rest of the night. We talked to people on the street and met 3 new potential investigators! This prospective Elder even chimed in with his testimony and wanted to try a couple approaches. It was so cool!
That is just one example of that happening. There were two more days of this! Although we didn't have incredible numbers to report at the end of the week, I feel that we had more success and had more of the Spirit during those three days alone than in entire weeks combined in which we may have reported more impressive statistics. I loved it!
The two baptisms on Saturday were AMAZING! It was a profound spiritual experience! Things worked out just how they needed to, and that is the best!
Thank you all for the e-mails, support, encouragement, and love! It is much needed!
                                                                                          -Elder Ryan A. Bell

Monday, July 16, 2012

This Week went by Fast!!

Hello again, everyone!

 This week went by pretty quickly... my goodness! I haven't read any of your e-mails yet, but I am excited to dive into the clear blue pools of words that I have waiting from all of your beautiful hands. I have been blessed with a wonderful and isatiable desire to want to improve even more in my ministry here; to have the Spirit more, to have more power, to work harder, to plan better, work more effeciently, to be more obedient, and to be more consecrated in every way possible. This is an awesome thing! It is also very hard when there are so many other factors that play into whether or not I will have my desires.

So, it is definitely a great time of struggling for the greater good in a sea of obstacles, with sharks of terror and the burning oil of quickly passing time aflame atop the water. Mediocrity is perhaps my most hated enemy and we have been battling it out for months now. The struggle goes on. So, unfortunately I do not have many experiences to share from proselyting this week.

But I do have an experience I cherish from a teaching visit with an investigator named Michael who is praying and seeking for the Lord's will in when he should be baptized. We met with Michael this week at the home of a member. He, as usual, came with many great questions and insights from his studying and reading in the Book of Mormon and elsewhere. It was a very spiritual meeting and the interesting thing is that we got through very little of the material we originally set out to teach. It was cool because it was an actual DISCUSSION, not a preachy sermon "lesson" that so many consider to be the golden standard. There was involvement, there was enlightenment, there was growth, and there was the Holy Ghost- the facilitator of all that was learned and gained there! To be honest, I don't remember half of what we talked about. But there was one moment when I truly saw and felt the power and authority which exists in a missionary and in missionary work.

Michael expressed among the deepest and most sincere of human desires. Very thoughtfully he looked at his Book of Mormon and shyly but in a very straightforward way said, "I would really like to hear His voice someday. His real, actual voice." He remarked that after working at it everyday, he would be happy to get there. I looked at him and said, "Michael, you can!" Then he read D&C 67:10 "And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual." He couldn't get through it without weeping.

 Now, I know what you are probably thinking, "Goodness, gracious! That is incredibly bold." Indeed, I would agree. Telling investigators that they can literally hear the voice of Jesus Christ and see Him in person isn't something you would ever think of; but it is true. It is a PRIVILEGE and a PROMISE to all who earnestly desire and seek for such a privilege. The scriptures tell us very plainly that we are entitled to these crowning blessings of the higher priesthood, and they also tell us in equally simple terms how this can be done. This was such a great experience to me because being justified by the Spirit of Truth, I told a man that he could see the face of Jesus and hear His voice while he yet dwells in mortality. That is incredibly bold; but again, it is true. The Spirit bore witness of this truth to Michael as he wept, and to me as I tried NOT to lose it too. It was cool how this brought back into perspective that we do all that we do to advance our personal relationship with God, the Eternal Father and with our Savior Jesus Christ. They are real as we are real and we should seek to become like them! It is our privilege and a promise given that in this life, if we desire and meet the conditions, we can and will behold the face of our Redeemer.

We will hear His voice and know with a perfect knowledge of His existence. Joseph Smith said this is something that everyone should seek for. This work is true! There is power in the gathering of the Lord's children as was evident at this meeting. The Spirit spoke to and taught all present in the way we needed, therefore showing how personal and loving our great God is! How I love Him and seek ever more to glorify His name! Let us all press for this that we know can be achieved! In the name of Jesus Christ, whose face we seek, amen.

 Love, -Elder Ryan A. Bell

Monday, July 9, 2012


July 9th 2012 

Hello Again Everyone! Sadly, I am not a very wise time-user during e-mail time, end up writing someone a ten page e-mail and then the rest are left with a couple lines. So I am going to start out with my letter to everyone and then I will read your individual e-mails and respond to them. Sorry I haven't been doing so good about that lately, and sorry for the not-letters. You will all be happy to know that I have continued writing letters to you, just not sending them yet. So someday soon you will all be bombarded.

This week was an interesting one. The 4th of July was exciting! Very patriotic here. TONS of people were out and about. We have been working in our 3 wards with some awesome investigators and families! In one ward, an investigator got baptized on Saturday (I need to get you pictures for that and Patrick's baptism) his name is Ben Pelkey, a 9 year old trooper-of-a-kid whose dad was killed in combat a couple years ago. There are two more baptisms set for July 21st at 10:00 am in another ward, a couple named Bruce and Oi Stofer. Oi is from Thailand and Bruce..... well he is just awesome! He is very knowledgable, but also very humble so we have great conversations! We are working with a man named Michael who is an ex-Marine missing a thumb in his 60's. He is set to be baptized the beginning of August. Additionally, we are teaching a sweet lady whose husband left her after 30-something years of marriage. She is really struggling now, and I love visiting with her. She has read the Book of Mormon twice and even typed up an outline of it and a page of questions she had. We spend an entire lesson answering her questions.

So there are many AWESOME people who are already beginning to see the blessings of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the coolest thing to be a part of this and teach them the principles, while preparing them for the ordinances! Even though these wonderful people are not baptized yet, it is more than evident that they are experiencing mighty changes in their hearts! Now this is no light thing, which is what is so eternally mind-blastingly incredible about missionary work- it alters ETERNAL OUTCOMES!!! It brings change of an infinite nature and consequence! There's no other work in the world that does that! NONE!!!!! This is why I think Joseph Smith said "After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel." Because preaching the Gospel makes a direct and eternal difference, in fact, our preaching of the Gospel is the difference between others and our own enjoyment of principalities, powers, kingdoms, dominions, glory, all heights and depths; or the glory of a lesser kingdom.

We met with our investigator, Michael this week (ex-Marine, missing thumb, awesome guy) and in the opening prayer, no idea why, but we asked to be guided in our conversation. Definitely a different thing to pray for. But, that prayer was answered, and I believe I see the wisdom in being led to pray for that. As we were talking with Michael about his reading, questions he has, and talking about the Law of Moses and circumcision (Thus were his questions) he asked about our method of baptism. Now, in our first meeting with Michael, we had done the awkward thing that you are taught to do at the MTC, which is to invite everyone to be baptized during the very first lesson. Most missionaries, I would guess, don't do this. It is most definitely uncomfortable, bold, very forward, and there is a high possibility of the investigator declining the invitation. But, this is something I have been trying hard to obey. So in that first lesson, we invited him to be baptized to which he, a little stunned replied, "I will get back to you on that. Some hesitation getting baptized as an adult."

Big deal, he didn't say yes the very first time. But I firmly believe that invitation worked within him for a couple of weeks until this meeting when he asked how we baptize. This was the perfect opportunity to read from the Book of Mormon how baptism is done by immersion. In a very reflective way he informed us that he didn't believe he had been properly baptized. He had told us before of his baptism in the Catholic Church in his much, much earlier days. But now, suddenly, he told us of how he has been coming to feel that his prior baptism wasn't correct and therefore he had not yet been baptized and would like to take that next step. It was a wonderful lesson. To see the Spirit working within him for weeks, and even then, at that very meeting was incredible! He cried as we set the beginning of August as the time for him to make this sacred covenant.

Oh my goodness....... AMAZING!!!!

Anyway, thought I would share that with you as this week's miracle! We tried to do what was right and our performance was consecrated for the gain of ALL when we invited Michael to be baptized weeks ago. The miracle was the Spirit working within him- for this is a mighty miracle!

Alma 23:6-
"And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them..."

This week, your strange Duck of a son got to see this taking place- the power of God working miracles in someone else, preparing his heart to receive a greater portion of His word.

What a wonderful experience! How great is this work! How sad it is for those who submit to their reservations to get out and engage and therefore never get to see, feel, and experience these mighty blessings and miracles which flow naturally and abundantly in missionary work. YEA!!!!!!

This Church is true, my beloved family! With the gift we have, being among those to whom "it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world." Let us share this gift, upon which others, with their respective gift are dependent for the knowledge and testimony we enjoy, "To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful." (D&C 46:13-14). Let's share our gift with others and each other! Let your testimonies ring out in word and deed so that, recorded in heaven, angels may look upon and rejoice over them! Don't deprive yourself of having MORE of your gift as you exercise it and definitely don't deprive those who depend on you for their chances at eternal life.

Heavenly Father lives! Jesus is the Christ! Need we any further reason to labor?

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

                                                                              -Elder Ryan A. Bell

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!!

July 2nd, 2012

Happy Missionary Monday and Happy July 4th!!!!

Thanks everyone for the great e-mails and support. I have received no letters in the mail by anyone except Jordan who faithfully writes every week. I am out of stamps and have been for a couple weeks now with no way to get more so if you are wondering where your letters are- that's where. Sorry! I feel so guilty about this that I don't feel guilty anymore.

This week was a good one. We got the privilege of attending the Temple, doing interviews and getting training, and really getting to start work in the new 3rd ward that we now cover. We have three awesome people with baptismal dates coming up! (One of my favorite moments of the week was getting to talk with one of these on the phone for 30 or 45 minutes and extending a baptismal date. We read from the Bible together, we laughed, we talked through concerns; man, it was just.... AWESOME!!!!) He is an incredible guy and his name is Bruce. He and his wife, Oi (From Taiwan, or Thailand) are set to be baptized on July 21st. Our other young candidate is a boy about 9 years old who lost a father in the military.

My companion probably hates me because I am a weirdo about this Power Hour thing. I just LOVE it!!!! We have to sacrifice dinners, make members jump through the rings, but, oh man, does it bring miracles!! So this last week, there was a day we went to a house for dinner with like 10 minutes before Power Hour started. I HATE even being 1 minute late, so when the rule is to start at 6:00 pm, that doesn't mean 6:01 pm or 6:02 pm. So we quickly shared a message, got on our knees and the head of the household offered a prayer. We grabbed the dinner that they had packed for us and suddenly the man of the house asked if he could come with us. Well, YEA!!!!!!!!! So he throws on some clothes and we run out the door. This fantastic example of a man went TRACTING with us. And it was his idea! He loved it! I loved it! He drove us all over the place, talking to everyone, we stopped by some families he knew and wanted to teach (Including one who did not want the missionaries over.) By the end of the night, I was stoked and pumped.

Then, the next day he texted us and told us that he had found a family for us to teach! What in the world?! His name is Brother Eggett and his name shall be written on halls of glory.... or something like that.

On Sunday, we were at Church from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, attending all three of our ward's services and it was INCREDIBLE when this member stood up and bore a powerful testimony about the day he came and did Power Hour with us and about how he has regained his fire for missionary work. It was even more of a MIRACLE when this happened consistently in multiple of our wards' fast and testimony meetings.

The point is- the Church is true! God Himself accomplishes His miracles in His way, and the coolest of which are the kind like this- where eternal outcomes are changed, where people are changed! Fires have been lit, the good word shall now proceed forth from the pumped up members of many wards. Miracles should cease to cease. Make it happen people! God lives!

I love you all and acknowledge every one of you as a miracle to me!

                                                                              -Elder Ryan A. Bell