Sunday, September 25, 2016

Conference is Coming!

Hello, everyone! I suppose for you all in America, conference has already come with the women's session, but we still have to wait a week here in the land down under. :) I pray that you are all doing well and are happy! :) 

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Last P-day, we made a cake! What do you think?

This week, I've been really grateful for the modern prophets and apostles that we have and all the wonderful men and women leaders of the church. I had the great opportunity to be able to review all the conference talks from last April before this coming conference session (which the sisters will get to start next week with the women's session) and to reflect on how well I've applied the counsel given, find new insights, and once again be touched by the wonderful spirit of conference. As I was reading, I had the Holy Ghost testify to me anew the wonderful reality of this church; it is Jesus Christ's church. He is at the head. He has called and chosen many capable, wonderful servants to be familiar with His doctrines to be able to expound and explain the scriptures so that we can know how to face the challenges of our day. God will never leave us out in the cold. He will always seek after us so that He can place us on His shoulders and carry us to His (and our) heavenly home. I know that these things are true. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, and that he has been called and chosen to be the leader of this church under the direction of Jesus Christ in this day and age. I love his admonitions and counsel concerning using one of God's greatest gifts, agency. I know that decisions determine destiny, and through the scriptures, worthy leaders, and the Holy Ghost, God has given us all the tools necessary to be able to make the right choice in face of any temptation or trial.

I hope you can all prepare for conference and be ready to receive revelation from these great leaders!

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I pray that you all have a good week. I love you! :) 

Monday, September 19, 2016

New Week, New People, Same Sick... New Blessings!

Hello, everyone! I pray that you are all well, happy, and abounding in the grace given us by our Lord, Christ. :)

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We had a really productive week as far as meeting with people goes. We were able to catch up with one of our old investigators and help her really progress more towards baptism. She has received many of the lessons, and I've really seen how it's given her greater peace and direction in her life. Unfortunately, there are still some concerns and stressors going on in her life that are beyond our control, but I know that by teaching her how to find her answers and strength from God is the best way that she can face her challenges and be prepared for whatever comes. The members have been absolutely wonderful with her, and this week, we really focused on helping her have concrete fellowship and connections with the ward. Certainly, she is remembered and numbered among the people of Springvale ward although she has not yet been baptized. I'm very grateful for their loving fellowship and reaching out to her. Likewise, I'm grateful to God for the privilege and opportunity to help her come unto Christ. She's expressed her gratitude to us missionaries, but both me and my companion acknowledge that every positive thing has been a result of her interactions with the Spirit and allowing the Atonement to come into her life.

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My hair did interesting things this week, but I think it looks alright.

We've also been able to meet with a couple of new people! One new person is a Vietnamese international student who enjoyed hearing the message about the Restoration, and agreed that if it were true, it's one of the best things he's ever heard or could know about! He will be praying to receive his own witness of the truth. Likewise, we met with a man from Chile, who, although he was raised somewhat Christian, was very curious as to how our church viewed certain things. As we were able to explain the history of Apostasy and Restoration, I know that he felt the Spirit touch his heart. I pray that as he continues to learn, greater resolve and commitment will come from this brother. The investigator who is 9 years old is still doing very well, but she needs some help with what we call "Prayer self reliance." She knows that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father "came from the sky" to Joseph Smith, but she still needs help to know what to say when she prays. Elder Marshall and I have a fun activity planned for this week to be able to help her with that more. 

Unfortunately, I've still been feeling pretty sick this week. I started to feel a lot better last weekend, but it hit me again hard this past Thursday. Fortunately, though, this time it's been less daunting, and we've been able to get a lot more work done than last week. I'm grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who watches out for His children and gives his sick missionaries the portion of the Spirit to be able to sustain them as they teach and testify of His Son. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and therefore this great work that we are in, His work, is the greatest work that I can be a part of at this time in my life. I'm grateful for the opportunity to stretch and to grow and to meet all of His wonderful children to help them and bless their lives even more.

I hope that you have a wonderful week and can see the blessings in the midst of trials and adversity. Remember, God doesn't give us anything that we cannot handle (1 Cor. 10:13, or thereabouts. :) ) He loves you. I pray that you may feel that. Have a wonderful week! Love you! :)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Despite Illness, The Work Goes On

Hello, everyone! I hope that you are all doing well and that your prayers to God are not only sincere, but edifying. :) I love you all! :) 

Unfortunately, for most of this week, I had a bad stomach bug that kept my companion and I from doing too much. I'm feeling a lot better, but I'm sad about all the work that we missed out on because I wasn't able to serve. On the bright side, I'm refueled with great motivation and a testimony that being obedient and going to work is what truly brings a missionary happiness, not being stuck at the flat.

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Because you don't want pictures of sick me (nor did I take any) here's what my companion gets up to with some cups and my stuffed wombat, Wolly! :)

Despite the illness, however, there were several spiritual highlights this week! I got to go on exchanges with Elder Finau, who's in his last transfer. I can tell that he's really given himself to the Lord and His work, and it's inspiring to be around someone so experienced, obedient, and faithful. He actually stayed an extra transfer, so he shared with me that had put in 120% last transfer, which he had assumed to be his last. Despite the bit of a burnout, he's determined to continue to give his all until the very end, the actual end of his mission. He's a great example of enduring, and the things that I've learned from his testimony and skills will stay with me as I try to develop similar capacities. 

Among other highlights were finishing the Book of Mormon, being able to recognize and develop gifts of the Spirit that my Heavenly Father has given me, and attending the temple. Not only were we able to attend a wonderful session at the temple and receive answers and revelation, but my companion and I were honored with the privilege to help clean the temple afterwards. Heavenly Father helped me just enough to be healthy during the temple and during the cleaning. I felt great peace as I helped clean up the Celestial Room and the Sealing Room, and the thoughts of eternity and hope rested on my heart. I'm grateful for God's temples. They are truly His houses on the earth today to allow us to commune with Him and perform ordinances, sealed by His holy Spirit under His priesthood, to live with Him again some day in eternal happiness and joy.

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New scripture case for my mini scriptures! I still have my old one, but these fit my small ones more. :)

I know that this church is true because I have received a witness from the Holy Spirit. I know that the priesthood of God is back on the earth, and therefore all the ordinances performed by it are under His power and are for eternity, even as He is. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and I share this with you in His holy name, amen.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week! :) 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Praying Rests the Weary

Hello, everyone! I pray that you've had a good week and that this next week will be looking even better! :) 

This week was comprised of a lot of sweet experiences in prayer. As part of district meeting, there were a lot of good trainings and lessons from the district, and I was able to lead a discussion/roleplay of revelation through prayer. Although I wasn't too sure how it would pan out, I tried an activity that I thought might be able to demonstrate how to teach investigators how to pray in a way that they can expect to receive answers. Because of the guidance of the Spirit, the Spirit flooded the room, and I learned a lot about the nature of prayer and asking for things from our Heavenly Father. The more specific and direct the question, the more specifically and directly He can answer us. I not only learned more about how to teach prayer, but also how to improve my own personal prayers. Being able to apply that and to help investigators speak more openly and candidly with our Father in Heaven is helping me to develop a greater relationship with Him as well.

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I've been able to testify to a few people this week the power of prayer. Particularly, I got to share with a less-active member something that strengthened my love for prayer. I realized that in my life, when I have struggles or I'm unhappy, my prayers are usually not very good. It's when I start to have more meaningful, heartfelt prayer that I begin to see improvements and the Spirit can start to work with me. This less-active member had not been praying in previous meetings, and we were a little skeptical about whether he was praying on his own or not. However, after the lesson with him on prayer and being able to testify to him, he committed to redouble his efforts to have meaningful prayer, and he ended the lesson with a good prayer, too!

I'm very grateful for the opportunity to be taught by the Master Teacher. I'm grateful for the chance to be able to talk to Him any time, any where. I know that He loves us. I know that He listens to us and wants us to help us. I know that we can come to him with specific requests, questions, etc. and that He will answer us. Prayer can take a lot of work, as we learn from Enos, but it is always more than worth it.

I'm looking forward to another good week. We have some good potentials we're working with, and the primary child is progressing quite well (she doesn't think there will be any sharks in the baptismal font anymore)! We're excited to continue to work with her and to help other people come unto Christ. I know that He is preparing people all around us and giving us each a chance to share in this great work with Him.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week and look for the miracles! :)

Elder Erekson
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Ps. We had adventures making American Kool-Aid in Australia thanks to an awesome ward mission leader! :)