Called to Serve

Monday, March 31, 2014

Elder Boyer is my companion again!

 Elder Udall,  Elder Davis and Sister Wilkins!  Loyd and Lisa Wilkins Neice!
Elder Boyer, Jessica and Chris Cooksey and Elder Udall

Elder Udall and Elder Boyer


Its been another crazy one down on the Rock! This week was pretty awesome! So first off we had transfers this week which was too bad because we got the call the Elder D was getting transferred. It took forever for us to find out who really was getting transferred though because on the morning of calls the AP's asked to talk to me and told me i was gettin transferred, then after they had me convinced they just jk and told Elder D he was getting transferred. Than 2 housr later they called again and said "Ok Elder Udall I cant keep this going any longer, you are getting transferred." Then they called me back and told me I wasn't again. After like 3 more times of that I finally figured out I was staying! 
So....we are at transfers and I hear my name get called! I find out that i'm going to serve with........ELDER BOYER! Again! Crazy eh? This is his last transfer so he asked if he could serve with me as his dying wish. So the dream team is reunited and we are starting transfer #3 together.We are still the zone leaders of the Little Rock zone. By the way we hit our zone goal last month for baptisms which was sweet!! Our zone did really well. 
O ya Chris and Jess came to the transfer meeting with the Mcgraths. When President spoke at the meeting he spoke about Chris and told him how some things are worth waiting for. After he announced that Boyer and I would be serving together he said "And yes you can go to Chris's baptism." So thats pretty exciting. Chris's sister lives in Little Rock! So we are setting up a time that we can go over there so she can feed us/we can teach her! Chris and Jess are going to hook us up with more refferrals of family they have in Little Rock I think! They are the bomb.
On friday, weekly planning day, Elder Boyer and I had some appointments in the morning so we didn't have time to weekly plan. So in the afternoon when we were less busy we pulled into some old lot and planned in the car. Well like halfway through the sesh I look up and there is 2 cops on the sides of our car. So I roll down the window and show them the tag. They looked pretty wierded out that we were just chilling there planning. They told us that we picked one of the worst spots in Little Rock to just stop and park because car-jacking was a daily thing in that intersection. So they asked us to move. ha ha it was pretty ghetto. 
We had some bomb lessons this week!! We are getting members out with us which makes all the difference!! It really does. A members sincere testimony can really enhance the spirit of a lesson. Last night we taught a man named Ethyl about the gospel of Jesus Christ and we focused on repentance. Repentance is my favorite principle to teach/study/apply. It is one of the principles that was changed and distorted the most in the apostasy so people normally don't know how to do it properly. I love teaching this process! It seems like the spirit is extra thick when we do. Ethyl is a really humble guy who sincerely wants to change. He loved repentance!
Yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament about the power of the scriptures. One of my favorite scirptures about scriptures is Jacob 2:8! Its pretty sweet. Jacob called the scpritures the"words which healeth the wounded soul." They really do though. I have seen a verse of scripture change peoples outlook on their life. One of my favorite parts about this whole mission is the hour a day we get to personal study. Man I never though I would say that but I love it. When you pray for the guidance of the spirit as you study you can always find those answers you need.
Thanks for the letters Merrill family and Christie!! You are the bomb!! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Grandpa Sherwood!

       knew the veil was no match for grandpa Sherwood. He could only be held here for so long before he busted his way through to his eternal companion. The world lost one of its last great cowboys today. I am going to miss him so much. He left a lot of good friends, branded calves, and sore elbows down here but I can only imagine how happy he is right now. I am going to miss him telling me and Chantz that we aren't worth our breakfast the morning after football games. I am going to miss him waiting until calves were barely even calves anymore to let us brand them. I am REALLY going to miss the legendary advice he gave me all the time, "That little round orange ball is supposed to go in the hoop"  "Save money and buy whiskey"  "Do it Damn it". What I am really going to miss the most though is the testimony he had and the example he set. I know that he knew what he knew. I was so thankful that he went to my setting apart. I am grateful for Sherwoods everywhere! I love them both in Arkansas and Arizona. I know this is so hard for Chantz because he loved his Grandpa and was around him all the time. But I know without a doubt that Chantz is "earning it" right now as a missionary. I don't think you could ever find a better friend than a Sherwood!

        Well this week was another one of those crazy ones full of surprises and miracles. We went on exchanges with Benton this week and it went really well. Elder Smith and I stayed in Benton and we had some good experiences and some great lessons. Definitely the real highlight of this week was that John was baptized!! It was sweet. This man was one of the elect. Elder Davis and I found him 3 weeks ago and he was working construction at a house. This guy is awesome. He calls us randomly and tells us chapters he read in the Book of Mormon and what he like about them. He bore his testimony at his baptism and said how he knew he wasn't going to be perfect but that he was going to take that sacrament every week until he got it right. He is doing so good and will get the Aaronic Priesthood pretty soon.

        So last Saturday night Elder Davis and I had a lesson with a guy named Aarmad. He is sweet! He is going to college and is really smart. We taught him the restoration and he loved it! He was blown away by the apostasy and all of that because the evidence is pretty thick around the south. He goes to a big Church of God in Christ church and after the lesson he was like"man I need y'all to tell my pastor about this." ha ha we agreed. So we may be having a lesson with a pastor this next week. The restoration is so much fun to teach. PMG says we should refer quickly to the restoration and I find that to ring true especially here in the belt! I love teaching and testifying of that message.

       Last Saturday before the baptism Elder D and I taught like 15 guys on a basketball court, I bet you know where this is going. We walked up and started talking to them and they weren't really paying us any attention so I threw out a little proposition for them. I said for them to pick 2 of their best players and we will play 2 on 2 and if we win we get to teach them a 5 minute message about Jesus. We were in our proselyting clothes so we didn't really look like much competition and I am sure my red headedness didn't add to our intimidation factor. So we played to 15 and although they were beating us at first we ended up winning at the end. It was sweet! All their friends were making so much fun of them for losing to "Jesus people." So after that we taught them the restoration and we have an appointment with them next Saturday

       Elder Davis is getting transferred this week which I am pretty sad about. He is a good missionary and we saw some miracles together! I will find out who I am getting on Tuesday!!

Thanks for everything y'all are doing for me. I love you and will keep you in my prayers.
Aunt Becky I know you hate me and don't want to give me Macy updates but I would appreciate if you would do it anyways.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Teaching the Gospel and Throwing out the Trash

How goes it Udall Clan?
This week was CRAZY! And I cant remember hardly any of it! But here is the highlight reel anyways. Tuesday was pretty nice weather so Elder Davis and I got our walking shoes on and hit the screets! On the side of one of the roads there was a bunch of bags of leaves and as we were walking by them the garbage truck stopped and 3 guys got out to throw all those bags in. So ELder D and I decided we would try our hand at it and just started picking up bags and throwing them in with them. Well these guys were really surprised I guess to see 2 guys in white shirts and ties doing this because they had all stopped and were just watching us do their job for them. Finally one of them said the majic words: "Hey man, what yall be doing out hurr anywayz?" So ELder Davis and I took that oppurtunity to immediately start teaching the restoration. It was not the most ideal lesson, with us having to yell over the garbage truck noises, it wasn't the best smelling atmosphere either. But it was awesome and we set up return appointments to teach them more! It was sweet!
On wednesday we had specialized training with President and sister Petersen. Elder D and I had to instruct everyone about how we can more effectively get our investigators to church. We then did a role play in front of everyone where Elder D and i were teaching one of our investigators and trying to commit him to church using a member in the lesson. President Petersen was our investigator and he had to come up with a concern for us to overcome. Well his concern was he heard the church doesn't let black people in it! ha ha that was easy to overcome considering Elder D is my companion, and the member was black too. It was pretty funny.
After that I went on 3 exchanges in a row!! One with pinnacle mountain, one with the spanish elders, and one the the AP's. They were all good. The Spanish one was kind of awkward because every lesson we taught was in spanish so I didn't really say anything. The whole time I was praying for the gift of discernment but anytime the investigator looked at me all I could do is smile and say bueno. It was pretty neat though hearing a testimony borne in spanish because even though i couldn't understand I still felt the spirit.
Saturday when I was on exchanges with one of the assistants we went down to Hot Springs to do a baptismal interview. A few weeks ago I mentioned in an email that I went on exchanges to Hot Springs and we prayed to find someone we could baptize in 2 weeks and we found him. Well it was that guy! We interviewed him and he got baptized on saturday!! It was sweet!
Things are going so good over here. We have a new Bishop and ward mission leader in Little Rock and I know things are going to take off! I love this work. I love teaching! 
Our Investigator John Nickle is working on getting baptized this saturday! He is the coolest most humble dude on this side of the Mississippi. He has been smoking since he was 16 and now he is like 45 but he is just about to quit it for good. We gave him a priesthood blessing 2 days ago. Since then he said he hasn't had the taste for cigarettes! He said they taste nasty in his mouth now and he feels terrible when he smokes now!! Crazy huh?!! I know it was through the grace and mercy of the Savior that these miracles take place.
Family thanks for everything. Thanks for the letter and picture Kate!! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

March Madness

Elder Davis is awesome. He is really funny and he is a good missionary. We work hard!! Me and him have had the craziest experiences together!
                       The drink is "purple drank" aka "slow your roll." its a southern thing.

 March Madness Bracket for our Zone!
If only you could see the vision as I have. I wish I had your bodies to do
this work. I would run from house to house telling everyone the gospel, and
after I lost the strength to run I would begin to walk, and after I
collasped from walking, I would begin to crawl, and after my knees were so
bloody that I could not use them I would use my arms to drag myself, and
once my muscle in my body was gone I would begin to yell...oh, only if you
could see the vision that I have." - Spencer w. Kimball

What a week in Little Rock its been!! So on Tuesday we had Mission Council which is always a spiritual treat. Thats the meeting the ZL's and STL's and AP's go to to set monthly mission goals.

So that night after that meeting we had a lesson with one of our baptismal dates Jhonequia. She has chronic migranes and was having one during the lesson, and her migrane medicine wasn't coming in for another week! So Elder Davis and the member that came with us and I  gave her a priesthood blessing. We had an appointment with her on thursday so we went to the UALR campus and she was a totally different person! She said she hasn't experienced any headache pains and she hasn't even took medicine for it!! The Priesthood is real. I have had so many experiences on my mission that back that testimony up. I am so grateful to be able to give priesthood blessings. Its one of the best experiences.

Anyways....wednesday was Zone meeting and it was pretty wild! We focused on HTBT (How to begin teaching) and how to use the Book of Mormon more effectively. Also to get everyone pumped about baptism we did MARCH MADNESS!! Due to my passion for bracketology we made a little baptisms bracket. Each team is one of the districts within our zone and we have 6 districts. I already figured out the seeds, odds, and sleepers for each team. It was a heck of a time!

After zone meeting I went on excahnges to Pine Bluff, aka Crime Bluff. That place has the second most murders per capita in the nation! Anyways guess who was my companion while I was there.....Elder Boyer!!! My second companion! He is now one of the district leaders in my zone. We had a good time! Cool Story: It was late in the afternoon and we were in another one of those situations where we had nothing to do, so I suggested we pray and in my prayer I asked for something very specific. I asked that we would be led to someone we could teach and baptize in 2 weeks. So far this transfer on every exchange we have went on we have asked for it and its worked! So we asked and got out of the car and went to the door......they weren't interested, but asked if they knew anyone who would be and they said the person downstairs! So we tried it out and this lady answered the door and let us straight in. She said she had prayed this morning for something to happen so she could change. We taught her about the enabling power of the atonement, bore testimony, and invited her to be baptized! She will be getting baptized in the 22nd! Miracles happen on exchanges!! It was awesome.

O ya and on saturday we were driving though a neighborhood and we saw a bunch of dudes playing ball on the screet  they say screet for street and scraight for straight here. So we got out and played and wooped them 2 on 2 in our screet clothes!!(Church clothes) my feet are so blistered from playing in my dress shoes!  It was sweet! The best part is we are teaching both of their families now! I love this mission. There is nothing else I would rather be doing. I love the screets of Little Rock! The people here are definitely different from AZ but they are awesome. I love them and I often get to feel how much Christ loves them.

Lately in studies I have been focusing on the character of Christ and it really has changed my mission. He has such an individual and personal love for each of us. In 3 Nephi it talks about him letting all those nephites feel the wounds in his hands and his feet. There were thousands of people there, and everyone got individual time with the Savior. I know he wants us to have that individual time with him. I know and can testify that the more we repent and seek the Savior, the happier we will become. On my mission I have never strived more to be obedient to the teaching of Christ and yet I have never repented more in my life. I love repenting! I love changing. I love the atonement which allows and empowers me to change. I know that through him we can reach our full and divine potential! I love you all. Thanks for everything!

Monday, March 3, 2014

I got to visit Searcy for Branden and Sierra's Wedding!

Alright here is the low down on the week!

So........ First of all, I was listening to a talk by Elder Holland and it said something to the effect that we miss out on so many blessings and miracles because we simply do not ask, or we ask with doubt. So that being said, on tuesday I went on exchanges down to Hot Springs. It was pretty wild! I went with Elder Gollogher and we had a whale of a time! I wanted to make the exchange really effective and at the beginning we said a prayer and I asked that we would find someone that day that we could teach and baptize in 2 weeks. I really tried to focus on not doubting and just expecting it to happen. So we went to work and started talking to people but nothing was really going anywhere..... then that night our plans were wearing thin and we really had nothing else to do so the new Elder asked what we do in situations like this, so we decided to pray and immediately after the prayer my temporary companion had an idea pop into his head!

 He thought of a referral he got that had not been contacted yet. So we went to the guys house and taught him the restoration. As we talked about the apostasy everything just hit him! It all made sense to him. He loved the message of the restoration and he is getting baptized now on the 15! After that experience I realized the power in doubting my doubts and not doubting my faith!

 Another cool experience: 2 of the sister missionaries in our zone last wednesday night wanted us to go teach a family of investigators they had that they said were struggling! So we went over there and taught with the sisters. We talked about the Book of Mormon and it was apparent that these people had recieved major anti against the church! So we worked together to resolve concerns they had about the Book of Mormon. After all their questions were answered I knew it still wasn't going to be enough. So I told them the ONLY way they are going to know if this book is the word of God is by asking him. Then Elder Davis invited invited the mom to pray right there promising that she would receive an answer as she prayed. Well, it took a little bit of patience persistence and puppy dog eyes on the part of the missionaries but finally she decided she would ask. These are the moments that have shaped my mission. These are the moments and feelings and I am going to remember through out my life when trials hit or doubts arise. When this mom knelt and prayed she started saying the rote, usual sayings of a prayer, but then she talked like she was actually talking to her Father, and she asked if this book was really going to bring her to Christ. Everyone in the room recieved a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon as she said those words! After she finished that prayer we sat in silence for a minute and then asked how she felt. She could not deny the peace in her heart and the clarity in her mind that she was experiencing! It was amazing! Kudos to Moroni for making that promise because It was fulfilled in probably the strongest way I have ever experienced. Its reality. The fact that when we pray we are talking to our Father, a Father we knew and had a personal, individual relationship with. The reason this Gospel changes people is because it allows them to experience the TRUE nature of God our Father and his son Jesus Christ. I wish everyone knew how involved he is in their lives.

Anyways I just feel so blessed to be able to have these experiences so often! O and guess what! Friday Night I got a call from Pres. Berkheimer and he said that he already got permission from Pres. Petersen to come get me and take me down to Branden and Sierras wedding! It was sweet!  I got to meet Chris's whole family there too!! It was so crazy being back but it was awesome seeing everyone! So Jessica gave her college professor a Book of Mormon!! Isn't that awesome?! And her professor has been reading it during class!! Man she is like the coolest convert ever! Pres. Berkheimer said he has never seen people grow in the Gospel like than Chris and Jess! I cant wait for Chris to get baptized.  Branden and Sierra are doing so good and it was great to see them too!
I love you all so much!  Thanks for all your support in sending me out here it is the best thing i have ever done and I am the happiest I have ever been.