Monday, May 23, 2016

British-isms and Some Fine Tuning

Hey everybody!

This has been a great week!  First off, we got the truck back!  Never before in my life have I had this much appreciation for having a working vehicle!  Instead of spending an hour and a half walking through the blazing heat to walk somewhere, we spend 5 minutes riding in a nicely air conned truck listening to gospel music and conference talks.  Take time today to be thankful for your car!  

I've been focusing a lot over the last week or two on trying to pay closer attention to the promptings of the spirit, and I've had some really cool experiences from it! It's such a blessing to live our lives in such a way that the Holy Ghost can guide us in all that we do, and it's been so cool to be able to receive really specific impressions from the spirit over the last few weeks.  A member of the branch here described the way the Holy Ghost works really well.  His career background is in broadcasting technology, and he likens the spirit to a broadcasting signal and a radio.  Although the spirit is always broadcasting, we have to be tuned into the right station to be able to hear what it's saying. And sometimes, even though you can more or less feel the spirit, the promptings aren't as clear as they could be. Then it's our job to do some fine tuning to make sure that our connection with our Heavenly Father is as clear and free of static as possible!  As we fine tune our sensitivity to the spirit and pray that we'll be sanctified by the Holy Ghost so that we can be worthy of it's companionship, we can experience the blessings of having a clean and clear connection with God.  

There are also some comments that I read today from a very wise man that was very involved in my life while I was in the young men's program and who I greatly admire.  I'll quote some of them here. 

"I recently had a couple of interesting experiences that taught me some important lessons about hearing the spirit. While traveling, due to some distance to an English speaking branch, I decided to attend a German Ward. I thought, “I took 3 years of German in High School so it should be okay” – boy was I wrong (some of you are already laughing)! It was Fast and Testimony Meeting and as speakers bore testimony if I really focused (and I mean really focused), I could follow what the speakers were saying but I soon realized that I could easily be distracted. As kids ran across the back of the chapel, as people stood up to walk out, or as I started thinking about other things, I would lose focus, my mind would wander, and I could no longer follow the testimonies. It would take me several minutes of really focused listening before I could follow the messages again. I guess you would say that I am easily distracted.

Then last Saturday, my wife and I were in the Ogden Temple waiting to witness a sealing. While in the waiting room, there were several families and as the families greeted, reunited and talked to each another, the volume in the waiting room became rather loud. It became loud enough the temple workers came in and reminded people to whisper in the temple. Within a few minutes, we entered the sealing room and everyone was quiet. I vividly felt a very different spirit in the sealing room than I did in the waiting room. The two rooms were both in the temple, the two rooms were only separated by a short walk but the spirit was distinctly different. I know part of the reason was because we were sitting in the ordinance room but I also believe it was due to the stillness and reverence of the people in the room. 

The Spirit or Holy Ghost is often described as a “still small voice” (1 Nephi 17:45) and can carry a conviction of truth unto our heart (2 Nephi 33:1). But some times and in some instances the promptings can feel like a foreign language to us. If we do not attentively focus on the spirit, small distractions can cause us to lose the intended message and though the Spirit may be speaking to us, it might as well be in French, Mandarin or German (President Uchtdorf would say that is the celestial language anyways). It is really important for us to regularly be found where we can hear the spirit with spiritual ears and where we can focus on the promptings. Stillness and reverence also help clarify the spiritual communication channels."

His words complimented so many of my thoughts this week.
Hayley's Baptism
Also, Hayley was baptized yesterday!  I don't think I've ever seen anyone as excited to be baptized as she was!  She was literally jumping up and down with joy all day long.  And I don't think she ever stopped grinning from ear to ear!  It was such a cool experience to see someone that we've grown to love so much be able to receive the gift of the holy ghost and see that blessing come into her life! 

I love being a missionary and, as always, I'm so grateful for all of your love and support!!
Elder Excell

P.S.  Due to my prolonged exposure to Elder Aitchison, I'm starting to notice an increasing number of random british-isms and british words sneaking into my language. Elder Aitchison claims I'm learning proper English, haha.  It doesn't come through as much in the emails as it does in my speech, so hopefully you can all make sense of my semi-british nonsense!
Mine and Elder Aitchison's new best friend!

Q&A - 5/23/2016
1.) I wanted to let you know that I will be sending a letter to you in the mail. Please watch really close for it. It will have your new debit card.  Your other debit won't work after I activate the new one. Will you be needing to use your debit card in the next few days?  --I'll be using it to buy some trousers today, but other than that, I can't think of anything!

2.) Do you have anything exciting planned today for P day? --I think that we're supposed to play some ultimate frisbee today being that it's one of the last nice days today probably.  It's been getting hotter and hotter.  Apparently it's still pretty cool for this time of year compared to average.  Normally it would be in the 90's and 100's by late May, but it's been mostly in the 80's.

3.) Do you still have baptisms scheduled for Thursday of this week? --Yep! I'll be playing the piano.

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