Monday, October 31, 2016

Count myself lucky...

Elders Shields and Haslam at the Fall Festival
(photo cred to a nice member who texted the pic)


What is it that you discovered that God expects from you?
     Coming soon in a letter near you!

Tell us about your experience finishing the Book of Mormon:
     Also coming soon, sorry there is a lot and I don't have time to type it all.

Do you have Halloween plans?
     We have an Elders zone activity today:  wrestling, spike ball and a missionary version of murder   in the dark.

Funny Experience?
     We changed Elder Haslam's GPS setting so that whenever we pass a church other than our own it    says, "Apostasy."

When is the next transfer?
     Three weeks from tomorrow.

Scripture:  Acts 5:40-41

     "And to him they agreed:  and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they         commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."

Investigator update:
     "R" and "M" are still hanging in there, R's date had to get moved back a week.

Quote for the week:
     "The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing, say nothing and be nothing."

Christ was one who went agains the typical teaching and ways of the time and "offended" many people.  Thant's something I think about when I maybe offend someone or someone gets mad at me. As my scripture of the week says, I count myself lucky to suffer shame for His name.

Love you!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Finishing the Book of Mormon...

Hi Family,

So, what are Matt's plans for his mission, after high school or a year of college?  I bet he leaves right out of high school.  anyways, things have been good here.  Elder Haslam and I have been doing very well.  Our investigators are doing alright, it is likely that our investigator "R" will be baptized, "BB" got antied so he doesn't want to meet anymore.  Everyone else has been difficult to catch up with but we've been able to find pretty consistently, but I am doing well.  I would say the biggest thing for me is that I'm beginning to understand what God expects of me, with regards to the mission and in life in general, and it's been amazing to see.

I've been going an in depth study of the book of Mormon that I will be finishing tomorrow.  I only have Moroni, Chapter 10 left so I am excited to finish.  Things have been going well!

So, in the package please NOT a lot of candy, I'm trying to do away with the candy, but some yummy snacks that I can take around from day to day, and you can try lots of interesting things.

Love ya!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Faith is so important...

All we needed was a yellow sweater...$1.50 at the nearest thrift store.

Hey Family,

So this morning by accident Elder Haslam wore a green sweater, Elder Jensen wore a blue sweater and Elder Carter wore a red one, and I didn't wear mine, but looking around we said, "All we need is a yellow sweater and we will look great!"  So, we went and got me a yellow sweater for $1.50 at the nearest thrift store and we look fabulous!

This last week was good, we found five new investigators, none of the people we are teaching were able to meet with us this week so we buckled down and went finding, here is the list of all the people we are teaching:

"A" is a muslim and will convert if we can prove the Book of Mormon is better than the Koran, he is on a search for the true religion, he knows there is only one, and Islam is the best he has found.

"B"- Y'all know him, he is an older gentleman with Muscular Dystrophy.  We will be going and seeing him today, he has been reading but is having a hard time giving up his tea.

"R" is from Guyana and believes in everything we do.  He just doesn't think he needs to be baptized again.

"R" is a Bible referral, she ordered a Bible because she has a Book of Mormon and wanted to understand it better so she got a Bible, crazy right.  She is in her sixties.

"M" is a man in his early thirties, we found him and tought him this week, he has a baptismal date for the 19th of November.  Lives with his girlfriend so we will have to work through that.

There are others but lots of investigators we pick up then drop pretty quickly afterwards, but when they start progressing I will let you know about them!

What I love most about the gospel is that we can't know everything in this life, the searching in this life will never end even if we try our hardest, and those who do try extra hard, it will rise with them. There was one man we talked to and he has zero faith, and it was so awful to see, he was a good man, very kind and intelligent but he was asking us about how we could have blind faith, the analogy he used is you can't have faith in God because there is no evidence.  We can have faith in flight because it may seem unbelievable that a 200 ton metal box can fly but we can see the evidence.  We told him that just as with flight we see the evidence after the trial of faith.  You don't know you fly until you go barreling down a runway at 200 miles per hour.  You have to exercise your faith.  He just couldn't accept what we were saying.  I can honestly say my soul pained for him.  Just from the things he was saying I know even if he saw God he wouldn't believe it.  Faith is so important.

Elder Shields

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hurricane Matthew & Zone Conference...

Video is of Southport, NC (Jake's first area) during Hurricane Matthew


Tell me all about the storm! 
     So the storm where we were at was very lame, just overcast and rained all day, not eve very big rain, we did lose power though which was interesting.  There was hardly any wind.

Did you have to stay in your apartment?
     No, we went out for a little bit.

Any flooding in your area?

Are you going to go help with the clean up?  
     There isn't anything to clean up in our zone so, not really.

Investigator Update:
     "B" has a baptismal date for the 19th of November so we are excited for that.  I told him that we were leaving in six weeks and would love to see it happen before then.

Did you find anyone new?
     We had meeting all this week so we didn't have much time to get out and go finding.

Tell me about zone conference:
     It was a lot of fun, our zone won the activity contest so that was great, I was able to see the Hydes again, so that was great.  They go home in November so y'all will have to go see them.

Funny Story:
      I got in the dryer.

Scripture for the week:  Romans 1:16

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:  for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Love ya!

Elder Haslam and I fishing in the background
(We caught the biggest fish!)

Log Run competition, yup, we won!

And the most humble zone apparently won.

And the winner is...

Hey Dad,

So this last week was meetings and meetings and more meetings.  We were hardly able to get any missionary work done, which is frustrating, but it happens.  And, yes, Elder Haslam and I both caught the biggest fish, it was tons of fun.  Our zone won the competition that they held.

Thought for the week:

Everytime I leave a lesson, I feel that there is always something that I could have stated more clearly or boldly, but then I remember 2 Nephi 33:1, that it's the Spirit that carries what we say the their hearts and what matters is that we help provide an atmosphere where the Spirit can dwell and it can only carry the message to their heart if they choose to let it in.

Love ya Dad!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Bikes are found!

Hi Everyone,

We found a man tracting this week, we were impressed to knock on his door, he was busy but we said we could share what we had to share in five minutes, so he let us in and we shared a short restoration. He was very prepared and we invited him to be baptized on the 29th of October and he accepted!

Interesting story, we get a call from a former member of the ward who lives in New York but is traveling to NC to pick up some things and apparently he loves Koreans, and he found a Korean hitch hiker who he picked up and he wanted us to teach him so we shared the message of the restoration with him.

My favorite conference talk was given by Elder Cornish.  One of our investigators came with us to watch General Conference, it was a wonderful experience.  We got the pizza after the priesthood session, priesthood session goes until about 10:00 so we didn't get it until later but it was delicious.

So, we found our bikes!  A former investigator of ours stole them.  We found him riding on it and we confronted him and he gave it back, his friend took the other one so we went to their house and picked it up.

Scripture:  D&C 58:40-43

"And also let my servant William W. Phelps stand in the office to which I have appointed him, and receive his inheritance in the land; And also he hath need to repent, for I, the Lord, am not well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not suffciently meek before me.  Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.  By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins--behold, he will confess them and forsake them."

Love ya!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Snail Mail...

I love it when we get real letters, this one came just today...

Dear Family,

So, first, in response to Dad's question about Bible Bashers.  President James exact words on bible bashing, "Don't bible bash, but if you do, you better win!" (haha)  So, I don't bible bash.

A great quote "Without faith even seeing won't be enough."  The Pharisees saw Christ, and saw him heal, but were not convinced.  Laman and Lemuel did everything that Nephi did, but still turned out the way they did.  You can shove truth at anyone and everyone, but if they don't have faith, they will not receive it.  They need to let that seed work in them.  It is important to know your Bible so you can use something in teaching that people can relate to and already believe in.  Testifying of the divinity of the Bible and the Book of Mormon together is definitely most important.  Testimony plants seeds of faith better than facts can, and that is that.

Well, an update on what has been happening here in the Chapel Hill First Ward.  Everyone dropped us this week so we are back to square one.  Not quite, I guess, though "A" got really sick and we won't be able to go over and see him for awhile, but it has been really disheartening to finally be able to get people progressing, coming to church and commit to baptism and then all of it slipping away.  I understand none of it is really my success and my job is to be as pure a vessel as I can be and carry out God's will and that I shouldn't measure my success on the agency of others, but it's really hard not to sometimes ask myself, "Everyone else is doing the same thing I am doing and having success, am I just not as good?"  or, "Everyone else in the group that came out with me has baptized, they should be the ones training, not me."  I realize these thoughts are not of God and I'm doing my best at trying to put them away, but it is hard.  A scripture that has brought me a lot of comfort recently is a familiar one, "Awake my soul no longer droop in sin.  Rejoice O my heart and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.  Do not anger because of mine enemies do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions."  2 Nephi 4 28-29

How often do we slacken our strength because of our afflictions?  When the road gets tough how often do we droop and feel sorry for ourselves and "slacken?"  I like to compare it to biking, because we are in Chapel Hill ,and they put the "hill" part in there for a reason, as we are going along our bicycle trail of life when we come to a hill, that is when we need to be pedaling the hardest.  Praying harder and studying harder.  When you do finally get to the top don't slacken, watch and pray always and keep that pace so every time you come to the top of a hill you are always moving faster than you were before, until you finish your course.

I love you family!

Elder Shields