Tuesday, July 11, 2017

3....2....1.... (FINAL Note July 11th 2017)

Wow this is my last email, we had a wonderful week, we experienced a miracle. Kayla West our investigator will be baptized this Saturday. I was the working of God, The story goes as follows. We went to Jimmy and Kayla Wests house for a lesson. We have been teaching Kayla for 3 months. She goes to a non-denominational church but she comes every other week. Well we started our lesson with a prayer we were hoping to teach how to recognize the Spirit after I said the opening prayer, we followed up on our commitment to pray to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. She said yes, and she also said I would like to be sealed in the temple and be baptized. My mouth hit the floor in shock. We knew Kayla would be baptized but she had never expressed anything about baptism, in fact, she seemed more standoff about it. Her husband asked her when did you make this decision she said after he finished his prayer. He was in shock too, then I asked when would you like to be baptized she said this Saturday, July 15, 2017. My 24th-month mark and my last Saturday. miracle. Truly I know that God loves us and answers our prayers and is able to increase our faith. I will be going to the temple now. I am so grateful for my opportunity to labor and serve. 

I have learned the principles, practices, and preparations the Gospel of Jesus Christ invites us to do, but the beauty of the Gospel is we start where we are and become something more. I know that because I have experienced it for the past two years of my mission. Jesus Christ and his infinite Atonement means everything to me now and what he teaches through his Prophets in both The Bible and Book of Mormon. I wish I could write everything I wish to but I can't. I will see you in Az.


Elder Washburn

Our Favorite pictures of Elder Washburn and his companions. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Let It Continue (July 3rd 2017)

We had a wonderful week, many great lessons with our investigators. In all honesty, this is really my last preparation day to do something because next week I will email on Tuesday because I will be going to the Temple for my last P-day. I will not write my last email this week but I will share some of the things that I have observed.

I am beginning to appreciate more and more the Plan of Salvation and how personal it is. That there truly is a plan for all of us and we have that God given gift of Agency that we can exercise to either follow that plan or to choose our own path. I have become so grateful for the Commandments of God. Now, what are these commandments? The 10 commandments, Pray often, study the scriptures, Keep the Sabbath day holy, Follow the prophet, the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, tithing, fasting. Now for the longest time, I saw them as a do and do not list. As I have shared in previous emails they are principles.

A principle is a basic doctrine or law, what is doctrine? It is an enduring truth. So if the commandments are principle based then they are enduring truths that we can rely on. God blesses for obedience and trying to keep these commandments, I love what Nephi says in the beginning of the Book of Mormon, in 1 Nephi 3:7

7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Our Heavenly Father requires our best effort. I have also found assurance in the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. God is Just but because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, he can also be merciful. In Romans 3:23 Paul states,

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

We will fall short but if we hold the truths that are firm as the commandments are and understand that we can be forgiven when those mistakes come that we will find the greatest joy in this life because of Jesus Christ and His Gospel, which is Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End, we will have direction, purpose and promised blessings. I know this to be true because I have observed this in the people I teach and the scriptures that I read. I grateful for the chance I have to serve. I love you all and hope you continue to be safe and happy as you live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 


Elder Washburn

Monday, June 26, 2017

Life Eternal (June 26, 2017)

What a week, I don't know if I told all of you I got chiggers a couple weeks back. They itch so bad! They are beginning to go away. This week we held a mini-MTC for some kids from ages 7-11 it was a lot of fun, I showed them how to tie a tie. That was interesting. We had a great lesson with the Hagans and the member we brought with us did a great job. We were out doing more service for people. Moved boxes and pulled weeds. That is always fun. Had a few dinners this week. The Anderson's fed us. They are so fun, always cracking jokes it’s the best. We held a Gospel Study on Thursday night and had a discussion on Jesus Christ. It was well attended and had people not of our faith there with people who were it was a great experience. The Lord has been blessing us abundantly here but we are now beginning to recognize that assistance. 

This week we have seen some great blessings. I was especially touched by a scripture in the New Testament in John 17:3 
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

What a powerful scripture on the importance of knowing our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Elder C. Scott Grow of the seventy stated in his most recent conference address on how we can do this. “As you study the scriptures, you not only learn about the Savior, but you can actually come to know the Savior. Another one of his quotes that I enjoyed was this one, “God knows you and invites you to know Him.”

How often do we find ourselves studying the scriptures? If we are, are we applying them? I have seen the greatest amount of spiritual growth as I have truly studied the scriptures and taking to heart the lessons being taught by the prophets of old. In the book of Mormon Jacob a prophet in the ancient Americas writes what the purpose of writing things down. In Jacob 4:4 
4 For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.
Earlier in the book of Mormon Jacobs older brother Nephi writes a similar purpose for writing things down. In 1 Nephi 6:5-6
5 Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world.
6 Wherefore, I shall give commandment unto my seed, that they shall not occupy these plates with things which are not of worth unto the children of men.

We have the scriptures to teach us of Jesus Christ and his Gospel. We have the scriptures for a wise purpose. I know as I have studied, pondered and applied the scriptures I have felt the Holy Ghost the testifier of truth in my life more abundantly, I have come to know the Savior and I have come to appreciate the many other privileges that I have because he sacrificed so much for me. I would invite you to as you study the scriptures to think how does this apply to me? You may also ask “How can I be more like the Savior?” “How can I be more like Nephi (a character in the scriptures)?” Whatever questions you ask and whatever answers you receive the important thing to do is then act.

We can't forget the importance of prayer, in fact the very scripture is quoted from a prayer of Jesus Christ, teaching us yet again through his perfect example that as we pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ directed by the Holy Ghost we can know the Will of the Father by following the path of the Savior, His gospel, and His example. I would also encourage you to pray. Prayer is a basic communication between us and our Heavenly Father that can bring many blessings. I love you all, be safe and have fun.


Elder Washburn

Monday, June 19, 2017

Remember (June 19th 2017)

What a week we had, many more opportunities to serve which is what we like. Pulled more weeds and hedged bushes we could start a lawn care company but that's not why we do it. It is mostly for older people in our ward and also people who are physically unable to do it on their own. We had some really good lessons with the people that we are teaching. Michael and Keri a part member family Michael is the one we teach. We have been focusing on the Book of Mormon and what was lost in the Apostasy and what was restored in the Restoration. Mason and Connor who are brothers Mason is 9 years old and Connor is 11 there mom is a member and dad isn't around. They came to church this week, we have been focusing on the commandments with them. Kathy and Vance, Kathy isn't a member and Vance is. We have just barely started teaching them so we are starting from the beginning, she has been reading the Book of Mormon regularly which is awesome. Mickey, we see twice a week and we help him out he is awesome I love Mickey. He has a strong desire to come to church and learn about the Gospel it is amazing. I could go on and on about these people. We are teaching more people but I decided to include these ones this week.

   We had Mason, Connor, and Kathy come this week to church which is exciting having people come to church is always a blessing. I remember the first time we had someone come to church in Edwardsville (First area). Remembering what our Father in Heaven has done for us in our lives has become very important to me over the past few months. In the book of Mormon, Moroni talks about this same thing in Moroni 10: 3
  3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
  Moroni teaches many powerful principles but what he says about remembering sticks with me. The Phrase "remember how merciful the Lord hath been." When I look back on my mission I can now see really how merciful the Lord has been to me. He has given me friends to help encourage me, family to support me and companions to stretch me. I have seen the Lord work miracles through the Faith of myself and those I have taught. The change that I have experienced and seen on my Mission has been amazing and it continues to teach me that we truly do have a loving Heavenly Father, that he sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ to provide a way back through the Gospel he would teach, the example he would set and the Atonement He would suffer so that we can be forgiven.

   Moroni also tells us how long he has been merciful for. from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things. That this is not a new pattern of love from God but an established pattern of love since Adam by giving Adam time to repent and prepare to return back to our Heavenly Father. I am grateful for the Plan of Salvation that teaches us really how we can return and what we must do to be prepared.

   Finally Moroni teaches us what we can do to know this more. ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. As we truly study, read, ponder and apply the scriptures we can find how merciful the Lord has been to us and our families. I know as we remember our ancestors and how merciful the Lord has been to them, we can come to appreciate the freedoms we have. I know as we remember our covenants and keep the commandments that we can be prepared to return to our Heavenly Father. I am grateful for those who have gone before me, because of them I am who I am today. Love you all be safe.


Elder Washburn 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Service (June 12th 2017)

What a great week this week, we had lots of opportunities to serve other people. We were able to pull weeds, work at a food pantry, chop wood, move rock and clear a garage. Serving is so much fun I love it when we get out and help people, brings a smile to my face. We got fed lots of Italian food this week. Gotta love that Pizza and Spaghetti. Elder Harper and I are doing great, having lots of fun doing the work. 

While we serve people I let my mind wander, because it is the only time that I really can. I have observed that when we serve people we are helping them change something, we are gaining a different view of there situation, we grow closer together, and we look beyond our own needs and help others. Serving others has been something that we have done a lot and it feels great. As Elder Bednar teaches when we serve we turn out instead of turning in to ourselves.

This is what happens when we repent, we are desiring to change and improve, we view our situation in a different way, we grow closer to the Savior, we begin to look beyond our self and seek on how we can help others. Repentance is change and turning our hearts to our Savior Jesus Christ. As we turn from sin and look to our Savior, Jesus Christ, we must fill those bad habits and short comings with faith-filled and Christ promoting activities. King Benjamin teaches this in Mosiah 2:17 

17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

What a striking similarity between repenting and serving. I know as we serve others we feel happy because we ourselves are changing as well, we are turning our hearts to God, we are repenting. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way for us to receive hope and happiness. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and we can receive this hope and happiness as we read it because it testifies of Christ and his Gospel. I am grateful for my opportunity to serve and help others to see the importance of the Gospel. I love you all have a great week. Be safe. 


Elder Washburn

Monday, June 5, 2017

Historic (June 5, 2017)

Hello, everyone. What a wonderful week it has been, we had some good visits. Had some great opportunities to serve. We helped out Mickey again, did some work for Jimmy and Kayla West, worked at a food pantry, helped move a member, and on Saturday we helped with Kids Against Hunger. We packaged rice, soy, vegetables, and protein powder for kids and families in Haiti. 

On Sunday, I was able to be at a historic meeting. It was the first time in 30 years that there has been a New Stake made in the St. Louis area. Elder Costa of the Seventy came, Elder Rawson, an area seventy also attended the meeting. Elder Costa was funny and Elder Rawson taught great principles. He spoke on how to pray as an agent. As we pray we should be looking and promising to act and not to be acted upon. As we pray and promise to act as an agent we will grow and develop. What is our purpose in life? To grow and develop as agents of righteousness. As President Monson has said ''May we ever choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong. ... May we ever choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong." 

One of the simplest choices we make on a day to day basis is to pray or to not pray. It is our Heavenly Fathers desire for us to communicate with him day to day. I am sure if I stopped writing emails next week my mother would be concerned, worried and wonder how I am doing. Why do we not pray? in 2 Nephi 32:8-9 

8 And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.

9 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.

Let us listen to the spirit and pray because when we pray our Heavenly Father will support us. We must ask in faith and act with faith. I know as I have prayed and promised to act that I have received more like the parable of the talents we must invest in what we are praying for so we may receive what we desire and have it multiplied. With the intent we pray with will be the types of blessings we will receive. I know our Heavenly Father gave us families to make us stronger and make these simple choices. This is only possible because of our Savior who sacrificed so much but also gave us that example to follow. Have a great week. Be safe 


Elder Washburn

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Missouri Miracles (May 30th 2017)

What a week, it was quick and slow but at this point everything is quick. We were limited on how far we could drive. So we walked and walked and walked. We ate a lot of Pizza and Spaghetti this week. We had numerous people come up to us this week and request a visit or gave us a phone number to return and speak with them. Yesterday was Memorial day, we had a picnic with our congregation. We started Softball at 9 am and we didn't leave until 2:30 pm during those hours we had lunch and all the kids targeted Elder Washburn as the sacrifice of the day, death by water. The cause of the punishing, simply having a black name tag. I was drenched and sun burnt slightly but I was most of all exhausted. Still am but the work must go on.

In my studies I often will read a General Conference talk, read from the book of Mormon and study from Preach My Gospel. As a missionary I have learned a lot of things, most I can't put into words, others are simple truths but they all rest on Our Savior Jesus Christ. The miracles and blessings I have seen from the short time I have served have come directly from Jesus Christ and acting according to the correct principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Heavenly Father loves us, we can find his love in a few things that we have and enjoy.

We have the gift of his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ who came to the earth to do the will oh His Father by establishing the Gospel and by Suffering the Atonement. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is so powerful and personal. In Alma 7, Alma testifies of this great and last sacrifice. Alma 7:11-13
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

I love the way Alma testifies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. What I also love is what immediately follows this testimony of the Savior. After bearing his testimony of the personal reaches of the Atonement he declares what we can do to receive this Atonement into our lives.
14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
15 Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.
16 And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me.
We have the choice to live the Gospel. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. It is this Gospel that Christ taught but he also taught to love one another and to follow the commandments. We have the gift of Agency or the freedom to choose. We have Agency to choose right from the wrong. We should always strive to follow Christ and his Gospel. We have the Gospel of Jesus Christ not to just bless us but bless our family and friends. It is these close relationships that grow only closer because of Christ.

I know Jesus Christ in my Savior and Redeemer. I know as we follow him and his example we will not be lead astray. I know that the book of Mormon is the word of God because it testifies of Christ consistently and constantly. It is only in Him and through Him, we can return to Our Loving Heavenly Father again. I know this to be true. 

Have a great week, enjoy the summer!

Elder Washburn