Tuesday, November 26, 2013

25 November 2013

Thank you so much for sharing your testimony with me. I love yall so much. This week has been a crazy, sad, loving, bittersweet, stress-filled, joyful one. I can't really describe it in any way other than that. It was all over the place. I'm not even sure where to begin in explaining everything that's happened but I'll give it a shot. Firstly, a wonderful missionary from Ithaca New York has finished his two years and is going home. I got to go on an exchange with him this past Saturday. I love Elder Warnick. He's a great example and has been such a diligent missionary. I've never served around a missionary who went home while I was serving around him. It was weird to see. I wish I could stay out here forever sometimes. Missions are amazing. I'm glad I have so much time left but I just hope time starts to slow down soon. It's flying by so fast that it scares me. It scares me a lot. But we had an opportunity to watch him bear testimony at the baptism of my old Ward Mission Leader's daughter's baptism. It was a cool experience. I love what missions do to people who put their heart into it. It's blessed me so much and I know it will continue to bless me. But please pray for this family that we're working with. Tameeka, and her children, Warren (16), Nikki (14), Amir (11), Emoni (9), Jordan (4), and Forever (20 months). Their father just passed away in a car accident at 32. It's been such a sad experience but it's also been such a blessing how the gospel is helping us all cope with it. Amir is already a member but the other children that are old enough are preparing to be baptized. God definitely has this all in His hands though. It's going to be tough to continue to deal with throughout the rest of their lives but it's brought their extended family all together. Four sisters, Jazmine (member), Tiffany (member), Tameeka (nonmember) and Tabitha (nonmember). Jazmine hasn't been talking to them for a long time but yesterday she came over and we all were able to reminisce and think of the good times. This experience has also helped Tameeka in her own words, have a wake up call. They've all been putting off coming to church and making steps towards baptism but the day after they found out this news the whole family came. It really helped in the healing process and I know that God is blessing them for their diligence. A lot of tears were shed Saturday when we all prayed together. The four oldest kids were having a tough time on Saturday but the ward has been amazing in stepping up and helping them with meals and just being there for them. The bishop came over on Saturday too and his counselors came over in the evening as well just to talk to them and let Tameeka especially know that the church is full of good male role models. I'm grateful for the priesthood and the opportunity for men to serve in it. It really helps us be noble and good members of society. The world needs more virtuous men. I hope to be a good example of that in my future. Yesterday was a really good day. Everyone's spirits were looking up and it was so much fun having the extended family all together. They're such great people and they're so funny! I love them so much. It's cool getting to be a part of their lives again after meeting them last year. They're such a wonderful family and I can't wait to help Tameeka and her kids be blessed with the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. I can't really picture life without it. I don't really remember not having it but Mom and Dad, what differences do you remember from before you received the gift of the Holy Ghost and after? I can't really speak from experience on this one so if yall could each try to describe it, it would help me out a lot. I love yall. But that's been the main thing this week. It's been a crazy crazy situation but I'm so glad God is with us. The work is really picking up over here and we're excited to have some wonderful baptisms in December. It's going to be a great month. Keep up the great work on the home-front and continue to do all you can to invite invite invite. I promise you that as you trust God in opening your mouth, He will fill it. He doesn't need someone with all the knowledge and experience in the world. He just needs someone with a willing heart. This work isn't ours, it's His. And that's something that I can have confidence in. After Elder Bednar I think I've truly begun to grasp the concept of having confidence in the Lord. As I've gained experience I've just grown more comfortable. But as I've looked to God and actively recognized His will and His way in this work, it's changed everything. I know that through Him I can take on anything. I love that. Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Elder Nair

Monday, November 18, 2013

18 November 2013

Dear parents and everyone who this email gets forwarded out to, So BIG news this week! Lightning has struck twice here in the SCCM and Elder Bednar came to visit us once again! He just came this past Saturday I don't know if I mentioned that he was coming. It was an amazing experience. I love Elder Bednar. He let us know that he has never ever, visited the same mission a year after he came. I felt so blessed! It was a lot of fun too. Elder Bednar is way funny! It's so cool to see an apostle as a real person :D he was fun and real with us but at the same time he invited the Spirit so much. He didn't have an agenda, he didn't have a speech, he just simply talked with us and allowed the Holy Spirit to teach us. This is basically how the course of the meeting went: He first asked, so if you were here last year stand up. All us 'seasoned vets' stood up, it was crazy having the whole mission there and seeing that a little under 30% of the missionaries were here last year. There are so many new missionaries in the field! Out of 100 sister missionaries only 10 stood up. But he then asked us, so what did you learn? And we shared things that stuck out to us for a while and he would expound on things when he felt prompted to. Then he asked us what we learned from reading the three of his talks that we were asked to read in preparation for the meeting. Basically talking about the talks led us into learning about how we follow the Spirit and he used this analogy. So our plans in life, in lessons, in things are this little boat. We're Peter riding along in a boat. We need to be willing to jump out of the boat whenever we feel prompted and rely on the Spirit to fulfill the promises contained in the scriptures. Then for the last two hours of the meeting we asked questions. It was amazing. This year I got to ask him a question and simply asking a question was such a beautiful learning experience for me. I'll try to explain what happened. Before he opened it up to questions he said, so many of you have probably prepared questions to ask me. Whatever those questions are, bag em. Throw em out. An inspired question has all to do about the right person, at the right place, at the right time. So all of our questions ended up being about jumping out of the boat or following our spiritual promptings. So the Spirit promises that our mouths will be filled and I felt really prompted to ask a question. When I got that prompting I started thinking about what are some things that I could ask him. I thought on different things for a couple minutes and then I realized that I needed to jump out of the boat. I was so nervous. I raised my hand and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say. Not a clue. I simply felt very strongly that I needed to ask something and that's all I had. He looked straight at me for what seemed like an eternity but in reality was only about 2 seconds before he pointed at me and said Elder, what's your question. I stood up, I was so nervous! I had nothing! Here I was standing up in front of 270 missionaries, all the stake presidents in South Carolina, President and Sister Holm, and an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and I had nothing! But I regardless relied on the very strong prompting that I felt and prayed that the Spirit would give me utterance. After I stood up I paused for a moment which also felt like an eternity when in reality it was only about 4 seconds, but then I just started talking. My question ended up being, "How can I gain confidence in jumping out of the boat?" -Me "That is a great question" -Elder Bednar (I'll never forget the way that he said that) "Do you mind if I ask you a question?" -Elder Bednar "No...go ahead" -Me "So I can get a feel of where you are at what do you understand about jumping out of the boat?" -Elder Bednar "...well, so far..I know that on paper, if you jump of the boat, the spirit will support you......that's it" -me (In my head at this time I was thinking to myself, what a silly question to ask. I already know that if I want to get better at something or gain more confidence in something then I just ought to do it until I gain that confidence, I already saw that I was gaining confidence by standing up and asking a question despite the fact that I had nothing on my brain) "So you have a theory here, you seen stories where it's worked out with other people in the scriptures and things is that correct?" -Elder Bednar "Yes, that's right" -me I don't know verbatim what was said at this point but some very simple eternal truths were presented to me and my Spirit was touched. Elder Bednar said, God is going to let you struggle. He let the Savior struggle when He performed the Atonement. But He will never let you falter. I love that so much. I was putting my trust in myself thinking that all it took was practice to do something right. But if I hadn't received that insight I would've gotten discouraged in myself when I did struggle. Now I know that everything needs to be focused on the Savior and relying on Him to fill our mouths and give us the confidence that I need. It's so much better that way too. I can instantly feel that strength with literally little to no practice at all. I love that God qualifies whom he calls and doesn't just call who He feels like they've proven themselves by experience or anything like that. He just needs a to rely on the little spiritual nudges that He gives us. I love that phrase that Elder Bednar used about spiritual nudges. I've been able to recognize those so much now as a prompting to jump out the boat that you have and trust the Spirit to fill your mouth. It especially comes for me in the feeling that I know I need to ask someone a question but I don't know what. I used to start thinking about what question I would ask them and often times just miss the opportunity. I now know that I just need to take that leap of faith over the side of the boat and trust the Savior, not my past good experiences, to guide me in the right direction. As I do all that I can do to "be a good boy" as Elder Bednar says in one of his addresses, by doing all in my power to be the best missionary that I can be and the Spirit will be there to guide me. I love that promise. When we sang the closing hymn, We Are All Enlisted, the last verse where it says, Dangers may gather, why should we fear? Jesus our leader ever is near, He will protect us comfort and cheer We're joyfully, joyfully marching to our home. It took on a whole new meaning to me. I'm struggling to hold back tears as I think about that. I love our Savior so much. He will never let us down. This is His work. And if we do it in His way by following the Spirit and doing all that we can to be good boys and girls He will take over if we get out of the way and let the Spirit do the teaching. This mission has meant so much to me. I'm so grateful that Elder Bednar came back. I needed it so much. Last time I feel like I learned a lot about teaching others, but this time I learned a lot about teaching myself. I basically need to apply the same basic principles of teaching others to myself. I can ask myself inspired questions! It's so simple but it took me twice to finally catch it. I love this church. There is no doubt in my mind that Elder Bednar is literally a special witness and an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Looking into his face and speaking directly with him is one of the most cherished experiences I've had in my life thus far. The gospel is true. Missions are the best. Love, Elder Nair

Sunday, November 17, 2013

11 November 2013

Hey yall! Good to hear from yall, Happy Veteran's day. A member is letting us use their computers. They have a mission in the field right now as well. It's crazy how many missionaries are out now! It's pretty exciting. Also what's exciting is Elder Bednar is coming to the mission this Saturday! I'm definitely excited to hear from him again. There's been such a huge change in the mission as far as older vs younger missionaries. Only like 20% of the missionaries in our mission were here for him last time 0_o. It's crazy how things have changed. It's cool though. There are many more changes underway as well. I feel like I get to somewhat usher in this new generation haha. We'll be getting iPads, and iPhones and all this other craziness in our mission within the next few months. I don't know much more about it but I'm excited that I will probably get to Skype some of my nonmember friends from back home and teach them. At least, that's what they're doing in other missions. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. I'm glad to hear your success stories. I got the watch and I'm wearing it right now in fact. I like it a lot! Thanks :D. And the books are great too. I've been studying mine up and have actually learned a lot of beneficial things for myself as well as the members. President Holm already had a copy so I did as you said and gave it our Ward Mission Leader. He really appreciated it. I'm very excited for December. We have a lot of wonderful people that will hopefully be baptized that month. We honestly have so many people that are potentials for that month. We're going to work as hard as we can and see a lot of success next month. I'm excited :D. Other than that, we've had to do a lot of tedious things because we're moving apartments. We should finally have everything moved out by tomorrow. I'll be sure to pray for those people. I hope the best in their search for the truth as well. Thank you so much for all the help and support that yall have given me. I can really feel yall's prayers. I'm so grateful for such a good family. I couldn't have been blessed with a better one. I'm glad for my awesome ward family too. Give the 4th ward my love for me. They're fantastic. My doctor friend Dr. Collins is traveling the world right now. He's doing a bunch of research things and I think he's in Belgium right now. I think he's going to be gone for the next few months so I may or may not get a chance to see him. But reconnecting with everyone else has still been so fun. Thanks for trying to track down some of those things for me. Hopefully we'll be able to work all this out soon enough. They started sending our mission newsletter thing again. I hope yall enjoy reading this one especially :D you'll see why when you open it :P Love yall, Elder Nair

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

4 November 2013

It's so good to hear your wonderful success stories. That's exciting about a new addition to the family! Keep me posted as yall hear more. Missionary work brings such great happiness that I can't even begin to describe. There's no more rewarding work on this Earth whether or not we see the fruits of our effort. Each opportunity to testify is a blessing in itself. This week has been amazing. There were some wonderful miracles yesterday :) One of our investigators, Patricia made the firm commitment to stop smoking. She gave us her cigarettes and said she's not buying anymore. We're so happy for her! Also another investigator Tameeka has just found the courage to move out of her current living situation and leave her abusive boyfriend behind. We're happy that she's making steps in the best direction possible. Please pray for them and their continued faith in preparation for their baptisms in the coming months. We're excited for them. So many missionaries. The world is just getting flooded. We'll be at over 100,000 missionaries before long according to recent estimates. It's amazing the things that missionaries will do with the age of technology as well. President Holm has finally come out and told us that our missionaries will have iPads and such in the next few months. Most likely by February but we're still not sure. It's crazy nonetheless. President told us that with one mission using iPads and Facebook to contact and teach people for just 1 hour everyday of the week, in that one mission they contacted over 25,000 people in 20 different countries in like a month. It's crazy how this work is going to hasten. God knows what He's doing. I just want to bear my testimony about this gospel and this work. It is so true. It's the most true thing that I've ever experienced in my life. God lives. I have no doubt in my heart about that. Every amazing thing around us let's us know that there is a God and that He loves us. The gospel brings so much understanding to life. Without it, what's the point of even being here? I love the knowledge that this church brings. This church stands separate from all other churches. Nowhere else can you find the peace and assurance of everlasting families and eternal progression. What great potential that we have. It's such a marvel to think that we are literally spirit children of Heavenly Father and joint-heirs with our Savior Jesus Christ. Whenever I stop and think about it, I just marvel. I'm so grateful for yall in supporting me throughout my life and continuing to support me here. I love yall so much. I can't imagine where I'd be without your loving guidance. I know that keeping the commandments and uttermost obedience brings the blessings of heaven. I've lived and experienced that. I've seen in the lives of others the sadness that comes from breaking the commandments. I never ever ever want to walk down that road. I pray for strength daily to remain steadfast and I have the strongest desire that I've ever had in my life to stay on the straight and narrow for the rest of my life. I'm not risking for a second the chance to spend an eternity with you. Without coming out here I have no idea how long it would've taken to be as converted to the gospel as I am now. I just love it. Keep up the great work at home. I'm glad yall got to go to the temple with our dear old friends. I love the friendships that I've made out here and look forward to them lasting throughout eternity. Love yall, Elder Nair