Monday, February 15, 2016

Who I'm Becoming

Hey everyone!

This week has been a crazy week!  While we were tracting this week we came across a woman who is 98 years old!  We also came across a super stereotypical redneck who was sitting on his porch cleaning his AR15, flying a confederate flag on their porch, and told us to get off their property. Very authentic redneck experience!

We also had interviews with President Snow this week!  It's always really good to see him and Sister Snow, and it's also really cool to get the chance to pick his brain on different questions that I've been having. 

It's also been crazy because we haven't had a shower for the last few days.  This story might require some backstory.  Long story short, our shower has had several large cracks in it for a long time, and it will occasionally leak into my closet.  The landlord paid us a surprise visit to fix the tub, and started tearing it out, but realized that the hardware store was closed and they couldn't actually put the new one in until this Tuesday.  So, for the last few days, we've had to travel down to another trailer that they own about 5 miles down the road to shower every morning.  Needless to say, that's added to the chaos a little bit. 

We also had an interesting service project on Saturday.  I've mentioned in the past that there are some people with environmental illness living in Dolan Springs.  We were helping some people line their walls with tin foil on Saturday, because apparently it helps cancel out electronic interference from getting into the house.  It took a LONG time.

This has been kind of a random letter, but I'll try to finish off with something cool that I read this week!  It talks about how when we're judged on how we've spent our time in this life, it won't just be a sum total of all of our good and bad works, it will be about who we've become.  I often feel this way about my mission.  Although there are good things that I'm doing, in the end, one of the most notable things is the person I'm becoming.  I can truly feel the Savior changing me each and every day, and I'm so grateful for this chance that I've had to grow!

Alma 12:12–14. Judged According to our Words, Works, and Thoughts

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught that the Judgment is not merely a review of actions taken in mortality, but is instead an assessment of who and what we have become as a result of our actions:

“The prophet Nephi describes the Final Judgment in terms of what we have become: ‘And if their works have been filthiness they must needs be filthy; and if they be filthy it must needs be that they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God’ (1 Nephi 15:33; italics added). Moroni declares, ‘He that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still’ (Mormon 9:14; italics added; see also Revelation 22:11–12; 2 Nephi 9:16; D&C 88:35). The same would be true of ‘selfish’ or ‘disobedient’ or any other personal attribute inconsistent with the requirements of God. Referring to the ‘state’ of the wicked in the Final Judgment, Alma explains that if we are condemned by our words, our works, and our thoughts, ‘we shall not be found spotless; … and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God’ (Alma 12:14).

“From such teachings we conclude that the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts--what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts--what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.” (Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 41; or Ensign, Nov. 2000, 32).
So many of the things that I’m experiencing are really big to me, but I can't really convey in words.  I feel my testimony deepening every day. The gospel knowledge that I'm building is priceless to me, and the things that I'm learning about how to interact with people and how I can become more Christ-like will continue to influence me for years. I'm learning things every day that change my life!

I love you all!

Elder Excell

Q&A 2/15/16
1.) When you go somewhere, who drives? Do you take turns or do one of you just default to the driver’s seat? -- We switch off.  I would say that I still probably do the majority of the driving though.

2.) We are curious to hear if you’re still doing ok with your new companionship.  How are you getting along?  -- Still like him! :) Just like any relationship, you find things that you aren't as crazy about, but as long as you focus on the things that bring you together, the little things don't matter all that much.

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