Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23, 2013 Merry Christmas..."ponder about the gifts that the wise men chose to give"

Merry Christmas everyone,

     I don't know where everyone is that I am sending this too, but here in Connecticut it is in the 60's and raining so it will probably not be a white Christmas for us.  The weather around here changes so fast, last week we got snowed in after we went on a large Christmas temple trip.  It was a fun experience because just like when we got snowed in by the huge snow storm last year, we got to once again have a giant slumber party at some of the Elder's apartment in Massachusetts.
     Since I last emailed, we have seen a lot of little miracles that have been very fitting for this time of year.  Most of them being finding people that have decided that it is time for them to come back to God.  An example of this being our friend J’.  We had not met with J’ for quite a while and would call him on a regular basis to try to set up an appointment.  This had gone on for about a month until just last week when he called us and told us about how he had a little trouble and that he had fallen away from God a little bit. 
     He then said that it was time for him to come back now and that he was ready for us to help bring him closer to God again.  This time of year has also been a great time of finding for us as we have wandered the streets looking to do the Lord’s will.  We have found many members that have lost their way in search of it again and also we have found new people willing to hear the message we have to share.
     Like always we are cutting wood for people so that they can keep their houses warm during the winter.  Well I guess word got around because one of our members offered our services to her non-member friend.  We gladly accepted the opportunity to get in some good service and help out her friend.  We spent most of the day working with him.  In that time, I think we built a pretty good relationship and we asked him if his member friend had told him anything about the church.  He said that he has had questions in the past and that they had talked about it a little.  It felt so natural when we asked him if he would like to learn more.  He said that he would like that some time and he would also like to see us again to help him with his wood.  Hopefully we will have more to say about our new friend S’  in the future.
     From here I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and ask you to ponder about the gifts that the wise men chose to give to the new born king.  I would also like to thank everyone that sent me a package this Christmas I have never received so many packages at once, and it made me very happy to see how well all of you knew me by the things that were inside.

Elder Erb

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 12 09 "Dear Missionary Men"

Dear people,
    There is a saying out here in the East that goes like this, "If you don't like the weather, then just wait."  We have felt a little of that this week when out of nowhere we had temperatures in the high 50's.  It has hardly even snowed here so far.  So we had a little extra time on one of the warmest days of this week and went around trying to find some members the ward has not seen in a while.  Don't worry, I am getting to why this is all important. 

    Now if you had to guess, would you say that there would be people home at around noon on Thursday?  I didn't think that we would find anyone either but in fact every single house we checked at we found someone home, who was willing to talk to us.  I learned a little bit about having faith that the Lord will put people in your path when you are doing his work.

    So forgive me if I am retelling a story that happened in the past, but I can't remember if I wrote about it yet.  We ran into a member that had not been to church in over a year.  He told us that he was busy then because it was Halloween, but that he would like to have us over for dinner so that we could talk. 
    Well we came by for the time we set up to meet and we found something that in all of my time as a missionary I had never found before.  It was a letter taped to his door, on the front of which read "Dear Missionary Men."  The letter said that he was sorry that he had to cancel on us like this but he did not have our phone number or any other way to get a hold of us.  We thought it was really cool and kind of him to leave a note for us because most people just cancel without telling us or forget that we had an appointment. 
    Well we set up another time to meet with him and he decided that we should meet December 4th.  Now I do not think that December 4th is a special day but for some reason everyone wanted to meet with us on that day at 6:00 pm.  Elder Graff and I soon realized that we had a problem, because there was a ton of people that wanted to meet with us around 6:00ish on December 4th. 
    When missionaries have this problem they are allowed to split up with the members so that they can get all the work done they need to.  We had about 4 of these splits/hand-offs.  In the midst of all of these splits something amazing happened that we did not learn the significance of until Sunday
    A member named Brother Ax’ was going to pick me up from Brother Ay's house, the member we took to teach J’, to take me to visit the member who had left us the note.  He was already late and was about to turn back and go home when he decided that he would look one last time. 
    Just a little before this scene, Elder Graff and I realized that he might have a hard time finding the house and we should go stand outside and flag him down off the highway.  We were not out there long before he found us and we were able to go our separate ways and have an amazing night in several different places. 
    The member explained to me that the experience he had with us was nothing short of a miracle and that I do not understand the thoughts that went on in his head as he drove around lost looking for us.  Brother Ax’ then said that as he prayed for help, he found us there on the side of the road the very moment that he closed it in the name of Christ.
    I think I have talked enough about that story, and I can gladly say that the lesson with that member was worth the trouble and we will probably visit him again soon with Brother Ay. 

    I would now like to talk a little bit about what happened in a different lesson we had with the Creamer family.  Last time we talked about "who Jesus Christ is" and at the end asked them to pray.  When we went to follow up with what had happened we found something that was more shocking to them than to us. 
    So Sister Creamer had told us before that she did believe that Jesus was the son of God, but her son did not.  We asked him if he did what we asked and he then said, very confused, "I prayed to know if the things you taught last time were true, before I did, I did not believe it was true.  But when I prayed I felt that it made sense." 
    Those were not the exact words he used because he had a hard time explaining what he felt.  We had the wonderful opportunity then to testify of the Holy Ghost and how he is a person who can answer us in many different ways.  One of which is by bringing peace to our minds like the peace that he felt.
     I am glad that I have the chance to be here doing the Lord’s work.  I hope that I will never forget the joy that comes through service to my brethren.

Elder Erb