Adrienne and Wayne Call Family

Wayne Call
Tennessee Nashville Mission
From June 1977 to June 1979

It has been nearly 21 years since I came home from serving in the TENNESSEE NASHVILLE MISSION.

I served from June 1977 to June 1979. I postponed packing until the very last night. I remember being up until 3:00 AM packing and I was up at 6:30 AM to get to the Phoenix Airport. I never caught up on my sleep for the next two years.

The flight to Salt Lake was the first time I had ever been on an airplane. Back then, family members could stand outside by the plane and wave good-bye. It didn't hit me that I would not see my family for two years until the plane lifted off, that's when I really started crying and was immediately homesick. This was my first experience being on my own.

I arrived at the old Salt Lake mission home and did not know a soul. I really don't remember a lot of details other than being there for only five days. I was called as the district leader for our room. We were up on the 5th floor of that building and my bed was right next to the window. I could look out each night and see the angel Moroni on the Salt Lake temple. Seeing the angel Moroni each night gave me peace and comfort as I cried myself to sleep the first couple of nights. I felt he was watching over me. We were in classes all day until 9:30 at night. By the time I left for Tennessee, I was so focused on missionary work, that when a couple of my girl cousins came to see me off at the Salt Lake airport, I would not even hug them or kiss them good-bye.

I had never been east of northern Arizon so it was fascinating for me to be on the airplane flying across the United States. I arrived in Nashville Thurday afternoon in the middle of June. I remember feeling that I I couldn't breathe when I got off the airplane because it was so humid. I never did get used to the humidity in Tenn., where it's about 80-90% humidity and about 95 degrees. The beds in all of my apartments always felt wet and we didn't have air-conditioning.

Tennessee was the greenest state that I had ever seen and it really was beautiful. I remember Pres. Emerson T. Cannon greeting me with that great big smile of his. He made me feel so good. The next afternoon, after more training and an interview with Pres. Cannon, I was sent out into the mission field. I was assigned to Johnson City, TN. It was an 11 hour bus ride, the farthest area from the mission office. I was scared to death on that buss all by myself. I finally got to my area at 4:00 AM. My companion did not pick meup until 6:30 AM. My new senior companion was really struggling. I remember Pres. Cannon telling me in my interview that he had a special assignment for me and he felt that's where the Lord needed me.  We were assigned to East Tenn. State Univ. in Johnson City and my senior companion felt I was cramping his style. He refused to do any proselyting and would not study. He did not want to do any missionary work or help me in any way. It was a very difficult time, to say the least. The area was closed after three in a half weeks, and my senior companion was sent to the mission office. I was assigned to work in a "threesome' with the zone leaders for the next three weeks, so my first six weeks in the mission field were very challenging and discouraging to me after coming from the mission home all fired up about missionary work.

I was transferred to Kingsport, TN, nearly seven weeks into my mission. My new senior companion was Rob Wilson, from Scottsdale, AZ. He literally saved my mission. By that time I was way behind in learning the discussions and learning about how to do missionary work. I will always love Elder Wilson. He only had 6 weeks left on his mission. He worked me to death. We were up every morning at 5:30, jogging, having companion prayer and scripture study, learning the discussions, and were out the door at 9:30 am per the mission rules. I hate to admit it, but by the time I was transferred to Knigsport I was ready to call it quits. I learned from my first companion what not to do in the mission field. I learned from Rob how to be an effective missionary, how to live the mission rules, how to teach by the spirit, and he helped me to believe in myself again, and how to share the gospel with the people in Tennessee. He helped set the tone for the rest of my mission, which enabled me later to train other missionaries and have a great experience the rest of my mission.

Tennessee is right in the middle of the "Bible Belt". Every religion you can thin kof is in Tennessee. Members of the church were few and far between. We mostly did tracting, from 9:30 am until 9:30 pm. If we taught 2 to 3 discussions in one week, that was a great week. We would leave a Book of Mormon with a lot of people and we would share our testimonies with them. We would try to make a follow-up visit, but most of the people did not want to hear anymore. There were many times my companion and I would teach a family about prayer. It was a very spiritual and uplifting experience when a father would kneel down with us and lead his family in prayer for the first time (I thought it was ironic to be in the "Bible Belt", yet there were some many people who had never prayed aloud before!). There would be a good spirit and tears were shed. But, unfortunately, after visiting with their preacher, they would not let us back in their home. I hope when many of those people see the "Mormon missionary boys" they will recall the spiritual experience they had with us in their home.

One night, during the first few difficult weeks of my mission, I made a promise to the Lord that I would not quit, that I would not give in, and that I would give it my all. I really wanted to be an instrument in the Lord's hand to bring a "family" into the church. There were two months left in my mission and I had not baptized a family yet. I had just been released from being a zone leader and was asked to train a new missionary for the fourth time. Because of my bad experience I had when I first arrived in the mission field, I feel the Lord had me train new missionaries, because I learned how critical those first few weeks are, and how important it is to get started off in the right direction.

Now with about 6 weeks left, we were led to the Lund family. They had previously been taught all the discussions, but had never been baptized. It had been months since the missionaries had been in their home. My companion and I fasted and prayed before our first visit. While there, we invited them to be baptized. We taught them all the discussions again, and ten days later, a husband, wife, and two teenage daughters were all baptized. Words can't describe the feelings I had, what a joyful and wonderful experience. That experience taught me never to quit and work to the very end, no matter how discouraging things can get.

While on my mission, Pres. Kimbal received the revelation that "All worthy male members could hold the priesthood". We slowly started proselyting to the black people. My companion and I were introduced to James and Paulette Abram, a black family with several children. They were ready to hear to gospel and immediately accepted it. There were my last four weeks of my mission. We taught them all the discussions and they started coming to church each week and were being friendshipped by the members in the branch. We fasted and prayed for them many times and one week after I went home, they were baptized. The first black family in Hopkinsville, KY. What a blessing in my life to be part of that. Again, reiterating to me to never give up.

Twenty years after my mission, in 1999, I took my wife Adrienne, back to Tennessee and had a great experience. We went to all the areas where I served. We were able to see Randall Hite, the first person I baptized, in Kingsport, TN. Rob Wilson and I (the companion who saved my mission) tracted him out late one night. He was a "hippie" with long hair and a beard. My first impression was that he as too wild and would never accept the gospel, but he did! First impressions are not always what they seem. What a thrill to be able to see him again after all these years.

Adrienne and I spent our last night with Paulette Abram and her two teenage sons. We were able to go to church with them the next day. What a special experience to do twenty years later. Paulette and Abe were married in the temple. Some of their sons have served missions and their daughter converted her husband and his mother to the gospel. They have since been married in the temple and have three children and her mother-in-law has served a mission to Arizona. Paulette has been a seminary teacher for thirteen years now. What a joy to see the effects of my labors in the mission field, and how happy I was to see them again after twenty years.

It was a highlight in my life to be able to go back to Tennessee and show Adrienne my mission. I am so grateful that the Lord allowed me to work, serve and teach the people in Tennessee and Kentucky. Tennessee will always have a special place in my heart. My mission was the greatest thing that I had ever experienced up to that point in my life. It gave me a great foundation to build upon for the rest of my life. I will always be grateful that the Lord allowed me to serve for those two years and for the special spirit and strength I felt as a missionary. It was an unique time in my life and I hope and pray that my sons, and daughters if they so desire, will do the same when the Lord calls them.

Adam Beck
Switzerland Geneva Mission
June 2000 to June 2002

I was called to serve a French-speaking mission to Geneva, Switzerland.  I served from June 2000 to June 2002.  My mission president was Larry Kacher.  My mission covered all of the French-speaking part of Switzerland as well as a large part the eastern-central part of France.  And while they were both French-speaking the language was very different at times.

I waited what seemed like forever to go on a mission.  And then when my call came I was out of town!  I was actually on a spring break trip with some friends.  The moment I got home my parents rushed me in to open up the letter.  I was so excited when I read that I was going to Geneva, Switzerland.  And to be speaking French!  I had started learning French when I was in 1st grade and had be in a French class almost every year since so I excited that after all those years I would finally get to use what I had learned. 

I had the opportunity to serve in 7 cities.  The first two were in Switerland (Sion and Renens) and the last 5 were in France (St. Etienne, Besançon, Lyon, Annemasse and Grenoble).  I was in the first 6 cities for approximately 3 months each and I served the last 5 months in Grenoble.

While on my mission I had 10 different companions.  I had one twice (the one that got on my nerves the most!) and one was a Frenchman who was a high priest and had served on the high council in his stake before his mission.  I served as a district leader twice, zone leader three times and a trainer once (I once served as all three at the same time which was extremely stressful).

One of the craziest things I did on my mission was jump off a train that was just starting to leave.  My companion had run off to grab something from another companionship and the train started to leave without him.  I couldn’t leave him so I jumped off the train!  The zone leader who saw me do it said, “Elder Beck, that was awesome, but don’t ever try that again!”

One of my parent’s very close friends served in my mission 30 years before me.  He hadn’t seen any baptisms while he was there.  25 years later he and my parents were on vacation in St. George and they visited the visitor’s center at the temple there.  They ran into a sister missionary from France who had the same last name as one of the people he had taught.  He asked her if she knew the man and she replied, “Yes, he’s my father.  He was baptized after you left and has always wanted to get in touch with you.”  I knew of this story when I left on my mission and knew that the person lived in Grenoble.  When I was assigned to that city I thought of the story.  One night we were driving with the bishop and I told him the story and asked if he knew the name of the person who had been baptized by my parent’s friend.  He turned and looked at me and said, “Yes, it’s me.”  I met his daughter who was the sister missionary one day when they invited us over for dinner.  It was a cool experience and shortly after my mission the French family came on a trip to the United States and we all got together.

Most people think Europe is a tough place to go on a mission because there aren’t nearly as many baptisms as other parts of the world (like South America).  But while there were tough times, I can honestly say that it came down to our mindset.  When I arrived in the mission the mission president had set a “standard of leadership.”  It was to teach 10 times a week, and that included discussions with less active members.  But my mission was about raising the bar (and this was before that talk).  When I left the new “standard of leadership” was to teach 35 times per week.  That is what we worked towards and we often reached that goal.  It was all about having the faith to trust in the Lord and let him do the real work while we were just an instrument in His hands.

There are so many great experiences that I had, but I will only share a couple that I think highlight some of the lessons I learned and that helped me grow the most.  First, I learned about the love Heavenly Father has for his children.  The first time I was transferred I was sleeping the floor of the new zone leaders’ apartment and I had one of the worst headaches I had ever had.  I crawled out of bed and said a simple prayer asking that I could just have the pain subside so I could get some badly needed sleep.  I got back in bed and the pain immediately subsided and I was able to sleep.

I also had the great experience of teaching the Verduzco family.  They were a little family from Mexico.  We knew they felt the Spirit and that it was only a matter of time before they got baptized.  One night as we visited with them they told us that they had been praying together and they felt that what we were teaching them was true and they wanted to be baptized.  It was an awesome moment for us and it felt like we were on cloud nine.  It gave me a glimpse of the happiness that our Heavenly Father must have felt.

The second thing was that the church is true.  It seems like such a simple concept but we could count on the Spirit bearing witness of our message especially as we told the story of Joseph Smith and taught about the Book of Mormon.  It was always a great experience to read in the scriptures with our investigators and see them feel the Spirit and recognize that it was from God.

The third, and maybe most important thing, I learned is that through the Savior’s atonement we can be forgiven of our sins and return to live with our Heavenly Father.  It was something I had knowledge of all my life, but the opportunity to teach it made it so real and helped me to truly understand its importance.  I had the opportunity to perform the baptisms of Norma Verduzco and Wei Ming and to teach many others and participate in their baptisms (including three that we did in the river in Besançon).  I am grateful that I was able to help them to realize the blessings of the atonement through baptism and entering into His true church.

I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t, in some small way, think back to my mission.  It was a truly awesome experience.  I had a lot of great experience, a lot of fun, and I will always cherish it.

Cameron Call
Tennessee Nashville Mission
October 2005 - October 2007

I had a goal to serve a mission since I was a child. All growing up, I constantly thought about it. Where would I go? What would it be like? How would I adjust? What would I learn? How hard can it be? Questions like this were always on my mind. I even remember having some wall paper all around my bedroom with the words "I'll go where you want me to go." I will never forget the stories I heard throughout my childhood of my father's mission to Tennessee. For family home evenings he would whip out his old slides and show us all his pictures and tell us so many stories of when he was on his mission. Words can't describe how much I looked up to him and wanted to be able to tell similar stories to my children someday.

High school came and gone, and I approached the age of a missionary. The mission papers got sent in, and my call was received two days before my 19th birthday. I will never forget August 19, 2005. After impatiently waiting for Jared to get home from football practice the time came to open it up and see where the Lord wanted me to go. The feelings that came through my mind cannot be described as I read: "You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Tennessee Nashville Mission." I will never forget my father's reaction. He immediately jumped up out of his chair and started screaming and running around the room in excitement! He came over to me to read it himself because he didn't believe what he had heard! No one ever would have guessed that I would be called to serve in the same mission as him. My dream of being able to tell similar mission stories as my father to my children became more true than it ever could be!

Words will never properly describe the feelings I have toward my mission. The trials, afflictions, struggles, triumphs, successes, victories, and joy were overwhelming for me. I had no clue what I got myself into when I accepted my call to serve. What a blessing it was.

My first area of assignment was Columbia, Tennessee. There were two wards there. But one of the areas was so big they split it in half and decided to put my trainer, Elder James, and I in there to open it up. We got dropped off at our empty apartment with absolutely nothing, put our bags down and went to work. We had absolutely nothing to eat, nothing to sleep on, no church materials to give away to contacts, and we didn't' even have a shower curtain! Eventually things got under control and we were blessed with the temporal things we needed so we could more focus on our purpose of teaching. It was during this time that I found out my father had served in Columbia when he was on a mission 28 years ago! Having that thought in my mind motivated me to work as hard as I could and to be like my dad. After several weeks of nothing but tracting and contacting people in parking lots we began to establish a constant teaching people. We had people coming to church and investigators who were progressing. In Columbia I learned the importance of patience.

After six months, I was transferred to Cookeville, Tennessee. It was a college town. Tennessee Tech University's campus covered most of our area. The church was very small there. It was here where I first discovered the change of heart the spirit can bring. After being there six weeks, the Lord entrusted me with a greenie. His second day in the mission field, we contacted a lady on her porch. She very rudely rejected us. After that we forgot about her. Nearly a month later we receive a media referral from church headquarters. We looked at the name and address and realized it was this same lady who had very rudely rejected us a month prior. That night we go contact her with a member of the ward. Her heart had been softened someway and somehow. The spirit had touched her and we were able to teach her. The week after I got transferred from the area she was baptized.

Nearly six months later I was sent to Hendersonville, Tennessee - a suburb of Nashville. This was by far the richest area I ever served in. The ways of the world were everywhere and people's hearts were harder than ever. But the Lord provided for us as we were obedient. I saw miracle after miracle happen to us daily. I can't even count the number of times I would see 444's everywhere I'd look. We would have about a half an hour of proselyting time left in the day and would need 6 or so more daily contacts to reach our goals. We'd pause and say a prayer, pleading with Heavenly Father to help us. And as we would finish the prayer, people just began appearing out of nowhere for us to talk to and teach. I couldn't believe it! I had no clue how supportive our Heavenly Father is to us when we are doing His work. I learned how aware of us He is. I realized that He knew what we needed and wanted. And according to our faith and diligence, He'd grant us our desires. It was amazing. "Prayer" in the Bible Dictionary became so real to me.

While I was in Hendersonville I experienced firsthand the power of the priesthood. My companion (Elder Holden Green - who had only been out 3 weeks) and I were riding our bikes to an appointment after dinner. The sun had just set and the darkness was beginning to settle, and a little bit of rain began to fall from the sky. Around 6:15 I was hit from behind by a drunk driver traveling 45 miles per hour. Knocked out by the impact, I was thrown on the hood of the vehicle. My head and shoulder slammed into the windshield shattering it. The weight of the impact cracked my helmet right down the middle. The driver eventually stopped the vehicle and I fell onto the asphalt unconscious. Elder Green, witnessing the entire scene, immediately ran to my aid and felt inspired to lay his hands on my head and give me blessing. I don't know what was said, but I immediately gained consciousness. I was air-evacuated to Skyline Medical Center's trauma unit in Nashville. In the emergency room the doctors and nurses began to run several tests, CAT scans, MRI's, and x-rays. Expecting to find a broken spine, crippled neck, and severe head and brain injuries, each test came out negative. With disbelief they ran the tests again. Each result was the same: negative! A couple hours later I walked out of there with crutches and a sprained ankle! It was a miracle. The power of the priesthood saved my life. I will forever be grateful for being able to serve with a companion who was pure and worthy enough to exercise that power when needed. I don't know why my life was spared. I don't know why so many other people die in such situations, but I was able to live. Elder L. Tom Perry said, "The discipline contained in daily obedience builds an armor around you of protection and safety." I do know that our obedience played an important role, as well as the authority of the holy priesthood.

This experienced helped me know for myself that "in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest." I also learned how everything really does hinge on our obedience. I gained a testimony that it IS the first law of everything. Without honoring it, I could never get to laws 2, 3, 4, and on up the list.

This experience helped me respect the sacredness of the temple garment. I was told when I got my endowments that wearing them would protect me from harm. I never quite understood or believed that statement. But when I realized that all of my sores, cuts, and bruises were in a place not covered by the garments I knew that what was told to me was true. As we honor our covenants made in the temple, the Lord is bound to bless us, even protect us. I hope I may ALWAYS qualify for the great blessing!

After recovering from the accident I was transferred to McMinnville, Tennessee. The rumor of that good ol' southern hospitality must have came from this place. It was the largest area I ever served in. The people were so kind, and so welcoming to us. I loved it. The ward members would greet us every Sunday morning at church with a big hug (or hand shake from the sisters) and an "I love you! Thanks for all you do!" I couldn't believe it. I had never felt so loved and appreciated more.

In McMinnville, I began to seriously study the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I didn't know why, but for some reason my mind was just drawn to it. I pondered it during free time. I read as much as I could about it. I would wake up early every morning to read about it. I read several books, "Jesus the Christ" by James E. Talmage, "Believing Christ" by Stephen E. Robinson. My mission president made an Atonement Study Journal for us which was loaded with talks by general authorities, quotes from books, poems, hymns, stories, and questions for us to answer to increase our knowledge about it. And it just fascinated me. I began to learn who Christ was. I began to fathom just a little of what He suffered for me. I began to know for myself that He was real.

I realized shortly after this why I had had such a desire to study this most important doctrine. I received news of my grandma who had had a stroke and passed away. The news devastated me! I did my best to hide my feelings from my companion, our investigators, and the ward members. On preparation day, I locked myself in the empty bedroom in our apartment and just poured my heart out to God. As I did, my mind was refreshed with the knowledge I had gained of the Atonement through my studies. I remembered everything. That day, on my knees in that tiny empty bedroom, I felt the embrace of the Savior. I felt His arms around me. And I knew with a perfect knowledge that because of Him we will all live again. And the peace I felt that day will never leave me. Sweet is the peace the gospel brings!

Another six months came and gone, and I was transferred to Hopkinsville, Kentucky. As luck would have it, or will of the Lord, this was the only other area still in the Tennessee Nashville Mission that my father served in. I would be finishing my mission in the exact same place he did! I was again able to follow in his footsteps. What a motivating factor it was for me to be where he was, to labor where he labored, and to serve those who he served. I will never forget what it was like to sit in a ward council meeting next to someone he had taught and baptized, and to hear them give a talk in sacrament meeting! It was amazing.

Hoptown was the hardest area I served in. The town was very run down, segregated, and just a different lifestyle. The missionary work in the area was sparse, and not much was going on. My companion and I decided to set a few goals to motivate us and push us when I got there. We wrote on a chalk board "Find, teach, and baptize a family" and then hung it on the wall where we would always see it. The weeks flew by. We were working, yet nothing was happening. Our patience was being tried, as well as our faith. I began to doubt - so much to the point where I erased the goals on the chalk board to make me feel better about myself. Yet somehow, the Lord saw fit to bless us. A husband and wife were baptized my last Sunday in the mission field.

My mission changed my life. I was told that I would know what the Lord meant when He said, "How great shall be your joy!" And I have realized that joy and excitement. I have felt the love our Heavenly Father has for His children as I have served them. I have felt His love for me. I discovered the reality of Jesus Christ on my mission. I know He lives. I know only through Him we can return to the presence of the Father. I gained a deep rooted testimony of the restored gospel. My knowledge and testimony of Joseph Smith was increased through study, prayer, and most importantly through sharing it with others. I know he is the Prophet of the Restoration. I gained a love for and appreciation for The Book of Mormon. Reading from its pages helped me discover who I am, who I am to be like, and who I can become. I know it is true! My mission has made me so grateful to know that we are led by a living prophet today. Words will never fully describe the love for and feelings I have toward my time spent in the mission field. I hope I may always remember it. I am so grateful that I was able to be numbered among those who "bring the world His truth!"

Samuel Tenney
California Santa Rosa Mission
July 2, 2008 - July 7, 2010

I was called to be an English speaking missionary in Santa Rosa California. Santa Rosa is a town about one hour north of San Francisco.  My mission covered from the northern California cost to the border of the central valley from just north from San Francisco to the Oregon border.  Interestingly enough, my grandfather lives just outside of my mission boundaries in Redding California.  I’ve been to northern California several times to see him and so I was pretty familiar with the general area.

When I got my call, I was a student at BYU.  My parents live in Dallas, Texas.  Instead of opening up my call with my parents on the phone, I decided to surprise them by driving down and opening it with them.  I’m glad I did because it was worth the memory I’ll always have of being with my parents at that special time.

I served in the southern part of the mission boundaries my entire mission because most of the population was down there near San Francisco.  Some of the cities I served in include Fairfield, Vacaville, Sonoma, Vallejo, Navato, Petaluma, and Windsor.  It was a great experience for me to see all the different types of people that were in each of these cities.  Even though all the cities I served in were relatively close to one another, each seemed to have its own feel and its own people.  It was a testimony builder for me to meet all kinds of people (some very poor and some very rich) and know that they were all children of God.

The variety of people also meant there was a variety in challenges to spreading the gospel.  Generally speaking though, there were three challenges which we would refer to as the triple threat: homosexuality, wine, and marijuana.  Homosexuality was always an issue being so close to San Francisco.  In some instances, missionaries would have to discern if an investigator was interested in the gospel or perhaps interested in something else.  Napa Valley and Sonoma enjoy worldwide fame for their wine so teaching the gospel there meant asking people to give up their job or their way of life.  Marijuana was a problem mainly to the north of where I served but it also was a stumbling block to many interested in joining the church.

Given these challenges, mission baptisms were relatively few and the church, though strong, had trouble taking root in peoples’ souls.  My very last area in which I served was the city Windsor.  My entire mission up until this point seemed to consist of me failing to convince people that the gospel was for them.  In Windsor, to my great surprise, I found an entire family that wanted to convince me that they were ready to be baptized.  The Lopez family was very humble, and very willing to accept the gospel message.  For this and for other reasons, Windsor became my favorite area.

My entire mission seemed to teach me that there are people looking for the gospel everywhere. My mission president used to tell us that the field was ripe all ready to harvest. To him, that meant everywhere. Even in California. Even in my area. It turns out he was right. What a blessing it si to know that God is always right.

Jared Call
Canada Toronto Mission
April 8, 2009 - April 15, 2011

So a few words can't fully be used to describe the infinite measure of what my service in Ontario meant to me. The lessons, the trials, the experiences the troubles, the pains, the joys the blessings, the knowledge, the power and the friend I made in my Savior Jesus Christ, all of it cannot possible be fully expressed here in these next few sentences. What can though is how grateful I am for the opportunity I had to serve those great people of Canada and serve my Lord and God.

All growing up your mission is always in the future at some distant time. In primary we sang and have engraven in our hearts with all the energy of the song "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission" but the pressing reality was always "when I grow a foot or two." I remember graduating and my priorities were then at the time skewed. I first wanted to go run track or play football at a collegiate level before serving a two year mission. I first wanted to continue dating the girl I loved before I had to then leave her for two years. Again it seemed that my rational was that my mission is still sometime away, when I "grow a foot or two". What I seemed to not understand was that I HAD already grown a foot or two. My opportunity to serve a mission wasn't some distant time ahead but was now, it was here, it awaited me where as before I had been lost in the logic of thinking I could always await it. Through the pain that growth provides and experiencing the exhausting reality of the power of prayer I can to the sincere realization that I must "commit myself to the Lord" (Psalms 37:5). The experiences I faced prior to my  mission helped me ti KNOW why I needed to serve a mission and planted within me the the depth of sincerity which fueled my desire to serve in the best way I possibly could.

The work was hard in the North. You would think when it is -50 outside and you see two guys knocking on your door you'd, by nature, let them in and give them some hot chocolate. Yet the reality was just the contrary. We knocked using golf balls to numb the ache of our frozen hands despite our 20 layers we'd wear they still froze all the same. When we spoke we'd try to smile though our expressions were in vain for any such were solid ice. The phrase stone cold brought on a whole new meaning. Their response was most always "What are you doing? You're letting all the hot air our! Go home!" or "Don't you know how cold it is outside?". Once I was even shoved off the porch and flew back, fell down the stairs, bloodied my knee, and tore my pants. As a young missionary I used to think sarcastically, "No we don't know how cold it is out here, it's not like we're walking around in it while you're all nice and warn and toasty by your fires." As I grew into a more mature missionary my thoughts of sarcasm and pity quickly turned to thoughts of yearning and longing for all those who would not give us a chance. Thinking only that they had no idea what they were passing up. My thoughts soon became driven by my emotions and feelings to find those who can hear "The Song of Redeeming Love" those who can recognize its tune and feel the beauty of its melody.

Of the many experiences I had I will briefly share one that has had a lasting effect upon my life thus far.

I served way up north for the most part of the mission. Up north was discrete, and isolated. I had been callto to labor in Elliot Lake. It was known for its frigid winters and scarce populations. Yet I had been called to grow the branch. It was then at the time currently seven, seven members in the entire area of over four hours in every direction. South of our town was an island full of Native Indians whose island we covered and that took about six hours to get from one end to the other. Yet, transpiration and civilization was still a problem. Elliot Lake could be tracted out in a month and a half if you really tried. We met in an old school building the church had rented for us. I remember when President called me to serve there he said something to the effect of bring your "fire". Elliot Lake hadn't had a baptism in almost three years. The whole town know the Mormon Missionaries (the joke was they're at your door every other day). So it made finding really difficult. I had one companion Elder Navratill who was from Alberta Canada and was a carpenter. He was a stud! He was probably the companion that i most related to and got a long with best. We had just an absolute blast together. He had been there about a month and I had been there three months and had no success thus far. One day we were  talking about what more we could give in order to find those who are ready. Elder Holland once talked about obedience and said if we can't keep the first law of heaven how do you think we can get to two or three or ninety-nine. That stuck with me. My companion and i were pretty obedient in all aspects of the word. But pretty isn't good enough. We decided to have a forty day fast from everything that was keeping us from being EXACTLY obedient. Such things were only one hour dinner meals with members (very hard to do with a branch of seven members. All they wanted to do was talk and chat), another was to be out at exactly 10:00 and not drag on till 10:30, another and I think the most important one, was our thoughts. In our conversations as we were walking and tracking we committed to not talk about worldly things such as music, sports and cars and old girlfriends, etc. but we committed to only talk about things that pertained to us as missionaries. Things like favorite scriptures, gospel questions we've encountered in our studies, how we can best help the people of Elliot Lake things to that nature. It was our hearts that needed refined and refocused. Outwardly we were pretty obedient but even the Pharisee was obedient but lack the inward devotion to the cause of Christ. So for forty days we showed our inward devotion to the cause of Christ. For forty days we were and I can honestly say sanctified disciples of Jesus Christ. Truly we were serving with our whole heart, might, mind, and strength. It was then nearing the end of our forty day fast when the realization of gods promises were made known. We had found an investigator! Within the next few weeks she committed to be baptized! Not only that but we had found a less active family in the ward and they were starting to come to church once again! Truly the Lord is bound when you do what he says (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10). If we in the scarce land of Elliot Lake could find someone to be baptized and a family to reactivate then so could anyone IF they will simply give up all that is holding them back from becoming a sanctified disciple of Jesus Christ.

I learned that day that obedience is dependent on our wants and desires, and once our wants and desires align with the wants and desires of the will of God then we will be independently blessed for our sanctified efforts. Out wills are truly the only thing we have to offer on the sacrificial alter that is completely out own to give. Everything else that we have He has already given us in some way. Oh how great that day will be when we truly give ourselves to Him.

I learned that the gospel is good news. I learned that there is within the pages of the Book of Mormon power, not merely by reading its words but by applying its teachings and principles. It is true, and it is of God and no one else.

Joseph Smith is exactly what he claimed to be a prophet of God. I know that on that Spring morning he saw what he said he saw even God, the Father, and Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration. That he was called to restore His church here once again.

This work is HIS. "The song of redeeming love" as Alma put it, is sweet. His melody pure and his love eternal. I know that 2000 years ago there walked among the sons of men the son of Man. That there was a babe prophesied of and born in fulfillment of such prophecies. This babe born as King of Kings lay wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying among the common cattle in but a stable fit for beasts. It is said there was not room in the inn but the truth is there was not room for HIM in the inn. Let us make room for Him in our inns that may come and abide with us. I know that angels sang that "song of redeeming love" as all who were present felt the radiance of the Hope of Israel and the Prince of Peace. I know he lived in such a way  that makes it possible for me to live today . He became mortal so we can put on immortality. He knows the way for HE is the way. I know that in that sacred garden call Gethsemane he suffered every pain no mortal could, that he bled great drops of blood, pure blood, void of the filth of any sin and our of every pore he bled and he felt the agony and torment of every troubled soul. He did so, so that he can and would be able to "succor" his people even me. That I can come unto him  and take hold and find solace in him and in His "out stretched hands." That I may find peace and comfort and hope and my troubles, tribulations and trials may be made light. I know that on top of a hill named Golgotha he was scourged, crucified and nailed to a cross to atone for my sins as well as all man kinds. He our Savior, our Deliverer, our King. He gave up His life a perfect sacrifice so that we will once again breathe the breath of life. Death therefore is not the end. I know in another garden, that Garden tomb, there he became our Redeemer, the Morning Light, the redemption from death that dark abyss that binds us all. That on that morning he broke the chains of death thus unlocking the bands which bind us down. He holds the key to life even life ever lasting for he is the Key, the Way, the Light. Strait is the way and narrow the path that leads to such a life as His. But all that is impossible is made possible only through him. He provides a way when there seems to be now way. He is my Savior, my Redeemer and my friend. This I know separate from anyone else and though they may sounds like words of scripture or of prophets past they are my words for I know them to be true and the Spirit beareth witness to my spirit that they are true. These words and thoughts I leave with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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