Tuesday, September 30, 2014

week 13

Hey Everyone! Thanks so much for all the great Birthday Wishes! It was quite a memorable birthday, for sure.
It's been a really good week this week, with lots of cool experiences.
On Tuesday evening, we were wondering who to go visit. It was pretty late, which makes us pretty hesitant to just drop by people's houses. We said a prayer, and a name popped into my head of a lady we've taught just once, but lost contact with afterwards. We were pretty skeptical at first, because she had kids that we thought she would be putting to bed. However, when we drove by there, it turns out that she had just got home and was standing outside on her porch! So we got to invite her to watch General Conference this weekend with us, which is hopefully going to work out.
On Saturday we were able to attend a baptism of someone in our ward who the Sister missionaries have been teaching for a while. I got to accompany a vocal number on the piano, which was a lot of fun to keep using my talents. The lady that was baptized, Debbie Gray, is the mother of a recent convert in our ward. She has such a strong testimony, and it was really neat to see the ward support and help her make such a special covenant with God.
On Thursday we went out to eat with our district, and as we were about to leave, we see this guy who helped us move a less active family in our ward a couple of weeks ago. He comes up to us and asks us how he can meet with us! That is a dream come true for any missionary!! So we set up to meet with him yesterday. He hardly speaks any English, so we brought a member of our ward who served a mission in Argentina ( I thought of you, Christian) to translate into Spanish. It was a really neat lesson. It felt good to be able to forget about what was being said and focus on what was being felt. The Spirit was definitely there, and we are excited to continue teaching this man, Jose.
Another one of our investigators, Ed, has sort of hit a brick wall. He believes all that we teach him, but he really doesn't want to leave all of his friends at his church. It is a difficult thing, because those people aren't bad people, and that church isn't bad, but there is so much MORE that he doesn't even realize he is missing out on. This Gospel requires sacrifice, but the blessings which come as a result are incomparable with whatever we had to give up.
Speaking of sacrifice, I read an amazing talk this week entitled "The Fourth Missionary." It talks about how we as missionaries have the opportunity to forfeit everything to the Lord. We have the chance to give up our desires and our thoughts, our strength and our energy, in order to serve Him. The talk made me realize that it really is easier when we give everything to the Lord, because when we hold nothing back, he is able to work with and use all of us in order to help this work go forward. It was a testimony building experience, for sure.
One of the scriptures from the talk was found in Psalms 40:8:
 "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."
I hope that I will be able to sacrifice my will in order to do the will of the Lord, because He really does know best in every case, regardless of how intelligent we may think we are.
I love this Gospel and I love this work!
The Church is True!
Elder Fullmer

[He also sent a few photos from the week:]

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He made the cake mix we sent. His favorite: Yellow cake with chocolate frosting. 

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He likes the only variable in his wardrobe...new ties!

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Thought about sending him a BIG fork like we use for birthdays at home. But then we realized it might be a bit awkward at transfers. We settled for this one. :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

week 12

So this week, even though we haven't had a huge increase in the number of lessons we taught, was much better than last week. I have been studying Faith in Christ, which has helped me realize how to get through trials and rely upon the power of the Atonement.
We had Stake Conference this week, which was amazing! Elder George. F. Rhodes came and spoke. He pointed out some really key principles about how we each were prepared before this life to come and teach the Gospel. (D+C 138:56) He shared 3 key steps to bringing others unto Christ:
1. We each have in our circle of friends and acquaintances those who are prepared to receive the truth and blessings of the Gospel. It is our job to pray and identify these people and pray for opportunities to share the Gospel with them.
2. These people have been prepared with questions in their hearts that can be answered through this gospel.
3. We must pray with faith that we will have the opportunity to help these people, and then these  people must pray with faith to receive a witness that this is true.
The Gospel is so clear and simple, that it should be completely natural to share it with those who are prepared.
Then in the Sunday morning session, he spoke a lot about how our Eternal Families are the essence of Eternal Life. They will make us happiest, so we must make it the focus of our attention to build our families on the rock of Jesus Christ. When we seek to have our families become more centered on Christ, unity, harmony, and happiness will naturally come.
We had the really neat experience of giving Ed, one of our investigators, a blessing this past week. He was planning on coming to the evening session of Stake Conference, but he wasn't feeling well so he couldn't make it. We went over there and gave him a blessing. Elder Petersen and I often talk about what a good man Ed is. We really hope that he will receive a witness that this church is true. There is good in every person we talk to. The Gospel is here to take what's already good and make it better.
Yesterday we also had the chance to go to a nearby nursing home and talk with the people there about faith in Jesus Christ. It brought back quite a few memories of going to a nursing home back home and helping out with the Sacrament Meeting there.
A really neat scripture that I came across this week is in Alma 19:36: "And thus the work of the Lord did commence among the Lamanites; thus the Lord did begin to pour out his Spirit upon them; and we see that his arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name."
The Lord, as it says, wants ALL people to repent and believe on his name. He loves us all so much, and everything he does is for our benefit and to make us happy. If we choose, the Lord truly will pour out his Spirit upon us, so that we might know that we are safe with Him.
I hope you all have a wonderful week this week!
The Church is true!
Elder Fullmer

Thursday, September 18, 2014

week 11

So on Monday last week, we had the amazing opportunity to help move the Angel Moroni from the St. Louis Temple. It has just been weathered and beaten for so long that it was time to replace it. So about 30 missionaries were invited to help load it onto a trailer and unload it where it was going to stay while it was being refurbished. It was a really neat experience that I will find hard to forget.

Other than that, it has been a pretty rough week. We aren't teaching a lot, which is hard, but we are searching diligently to find those who are prepared.

On Saturday night, I pretty much hit an emotional wall. I really felt frustrated that my efforts weren't making much of a difference. I woke up the next morning feeling very much the same way. Just frustrated and discouraged, but I went to Church seeking to find peace and resolution. In Sacrament meeting, a member of our ward gave his farewell talk before he leaves to serve in the Adriatic North mission. It brought back a flood of memories of when I left my home to serve here in St. Louis. Then the closing Hymn we sang was "I Believe in Christ." That song has never hit me so hard as it did that day. I couldn't even sing because I was tearing up so badly. I realized that it is through Christ that we find peace and strength in this life. We may be able to find those temporarily from other sources, but He is the only sure source of what we all desire, which is peace, clarity, and happiness. What amazing words from that song:
"I believe in Christ; he is my King! With all my heart to him I'll sing; I'll raise my voice in praise and joy, In grand amens my tongue employ."
In harmony with those words comes to mind the powerful testimony of Christ found in Doctrine and Covenants 76:22: "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give him: That he lives!"
Christ truly does live today. He seeks to bless us and help us find peace. All we must do is follow Him and rely on His grace and mercy. He is the LIVING water. The bread of LIFE. He is what makes all of this possible. What a wonderful blessing it is to know these simple, but profound truths. And what a great blessing it is to have the opportunity to share them with every one around us. I love my Savior with all my heart. With all my heart to him I'll sing. This is HIS work and HIS gospel, and we are just privileged to be a part of it. The Church is True!
Elder Fullmer

His companion makes a "stir fry" of sorts with anything and everything they have on hand. He said it's actually pretty good.
 Recent trip to the St. Louis Zoo
 Any resemblance?
 He was impressed with the "epic" seals. Also, he offered 10 points to anyone who can guess what his shirt means. (Hint: the asterisk in the center of the middle circle has the caption "you are here" under the graphic)
First case of moldy bread.

week 10

Hey Everyone! 

Before I forget again, I forgot to put at the end of my letter the wonderful news that The Church is True!

It's been another week of trying to find new people to teach. We haven't had much success knocking on doors, so we are going to try and work through the members to find new investigators, because through the members is honestly the best way to do missionary work. It's easier for the investigator, the missionary, and it gives the members an opportunity to partake in the joy of seeing someone finding the truth. So I would encourage everyone out there to invite someone to hear this wonderful message we have! It blesses each and everyone of our lives, so why not share it? All it can do is make you and someone else happier!

This Saturday we had a ward activity, and we ended up with quite a few nonmembers there! We were most excited about Ed, who is a super goofy old guy, who loves to talk with us and learn about the truth. There isn't a single thing he doesn't accept about what we teach him. The only problem is that the Church he attends is at the same time as our Church service. So it was a blessing to see him in the Church building meeting and having a good time with the members.

So this week I have been studying Humility, which is one of the hardest Christ-like attributes to attain, because if you think you have it, you probably don't. 
Two of the best scriptures I found were first in D+C 112:10:
"Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers." What great blessings are promised to us if we simply acknowledge the fact that God's will will always work out better for us than our own plans.
The second scripture is the crowning example of humility. It is found in Matthew 26:39:
"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
As always, Christ is the perfect example of how we should act. It is not a bad thing to bring our desires to Heavenly Father. However, the purpose of coming to the Lord is to surrender our will to His. That is the meaning of Humility: "Not as I will, but as thou wilt." What a simple and clear example of how we should humbly follow our Heavenly Father's counsel in everything we do. 

I hope that you all are doing well wherever you may be!

I Love all of you and I Love this work with all my heart!

The Church is True!

Elder Fullmer

Here is a photo that Peter sent. He is standing next to his trainer and then all the other missionaries he has trained, and that they have trained, and so forth--the trainer's "posterity". 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 9

So Happy Labor Day to everyone! The Library wasn't open yesterday, so we are emailing today.

So this week I finally got a good taste of some Missouri weather. We were knocking some doors, and it was pretty hot. Then the next moment it was dumping rain on us and we had to run like 4 blocks to get back to our car. We were soaked by the time we got back. Haha it was almost comical.
One really cool experience we had this week was getting a call from Brother Ortman, a less active who is really trying hard to repent and come back to church. Anyway, he called us thinking of a scripture that he couldn't find. It ended up being a scripture that I had read that same morning: "And thus did the Spirit of the Lord wok upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever." Mosiah 28:4
It was so cool to see that he truly was trying to repent, feeling sorry for what he had done and relying upon the mercy of the Lord. It's amazing to hear the rest of the story connected with that scripture. It is speaking about the Sons of Mosiah, who were the "vilest of sinners" and yet they became some of the greatest instruments in the Lord's hands in bringing so many to the knowledge of the truth. What an amazing testimony of conversion.

This week has been particularly hard because it has been difficult finding new investigators. Knocking doors sometimes works, but missionary work is so much more effective when it comes from the members. We are really going to be trying to push the members to invite their friends to Church activities and listen to the Missionary Discussions. 

I have been studying Patience this past week, and I feel like it might have been the Lord's way of teaching me patience, which essentially is cheerfully enduring. Two of my favorite scriptures that I came across is actually about the Sons of Mosiah while they were serving their missions:
"And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted. And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls." Alma17:10-11
"Now when our hearts were depressed, an we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." Alma 26:27

Even though life can be extremely hard and seem almost impossible, if we are are able to cheerfully endure the trials before us, God will give us success.

I love this work, and I love all of you!
Elder Fullmer

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Peter's apartment and his companion, Elder Petersen

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Apparently his companion has a hard time getting up in the morning

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I clarified...Peter's bed is on the right. :)

Week 8

So this week was a pretty not-according-to-plan week. Haha it was good, but most of what happened we didn't expect.
     We knocked on this guy's door about two weeks ago and he said we could come back, but we never could get a hold of him. Then in the middle of church he calls us and asks if we could come by that afternoon and talk with him. So we did, and he is amazing! Super interested in learning about this church and willing to read the Book of Mormon and Pray. His name is Courtney, and he is super smart and well versed in almost every religion. He says he's just been on this journey going through all these different religions. He may not know it yet, but He's hopefully found the end of the journey in this church.
     Later that night we were knocking some doors and found this guy that had a 12 foot Burmese Python in his front yard. He said it was his pet and he actually let us put it around our necks. It was sweet!! And even better, he said we could come back!

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     Then after that our appointment fell through, so we went and visited a less active family, the Ortmans. When we got there, they had just finished getting packed up and were ready to move across
 town, but they had lost the key to the truck! So we searched around and said a prayer, but couldn't find anything for almost a half hour. Until we thought that Brother Ortman, the less active member, should say a prayer. He did so and not two seconds later we found the key. If that doesn't strengthen your testimony of prayer, I don't know what does!
     So this past week I have been studying the Christ-like Attribute of Hope, which is basically the trust that when we do our part in keeping the commandments and being obedient, God will ALWAYS bless us. So One of my favorite scriptures that I found about Hope was in Psalms 42:11: "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."
     I have such a strong testimony that when we do all in our power to obey God's commandments, it will ALWAYS turn out for our benefit. God is constantly waiting for an opportunity to bless us, and all we have to do is give him that opportunity by being obedient.
I love this work and I love this Gospel.
The Church is True!
-Elder Fullmer

[I had a little email exchange with him after seeing the snake photos:

Dan: "Yikes!!! There is no way you would have gotten me to touch, let alone be "embraced" by that guy's 'pet'! You are brave!"
Elder Fullmer: "Haha he says if he keeps it well fed, it has no reason to try and attack us. He plays with it for a half hour each day. It was super cool!"
Dan: "Well fed with what? Small animals like maybe...antelope? hippopotamus? giraffes?!! That thing is HUGE!"
Elder Fullmer: "Haha he feeds it a 25 lb rabbit every week."]