April 30, 2012

Dear Family-

We got transfer calls this week, and I’ll be going to the Agua Dulce
ward. It’s in between Santa Clarita and Palmdale. My new companion is
Elder Tyler Lasky. I don’t think I’ve ever met him before, so I’m
excited to get to know him. It’s always fun to meet new people. Being
in Agua Dulce will be fun because I’ve already met a few families in
that ward. When I was in the Palmdale 4th ward, we had dinner with the
Agua Dulce Elders several times. It’s definitely sad to leave Elder
Walker, but I’m excited to see how this transfer goes.

This week was pretty good. We had Mormon Helping Hands on Saturday,
which was a ton of fun. We painted a fence for the city. About 360
people from our stake came, beating the goal by 10, so it was great!
The city workers said it would have taken them about a month to do it
all because they just have ten of them, so they were very
appreciative.

Thanks for all of your letters, emails, packages, love, etc. I love you!

-Elder Emery

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April 23, 2012

Dear Family-

It’s been another great week. Because of General Conference, Easter,
and high councilmen speaking, both of our wards had fast Sunday
yesterday. It was very powerful and very spiritual. Maybe this is just
because I’m a missionary, but it especially meant a lot to me to see
recent converts and those who are not fully active get up and bear
their testimony. It reminded me that no matter what you see on the
outside, people tend to have a lot stronger testimonies than you
think. It was very encouraging.

It was a great week all around, but I don’t really know what else to
say. I love you!

-Elder Emery

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April 16, 2012

Dear Family-

I’ve noticed that it’s very difficult to know what to write. Every
week is great, but we do the exact same thing week after week after
week. That’s why my emails are always so short. We did do some service
this week though, which was fun. There’s a man who
parks his car in a dirt patch to the side of his driveway. He wanted
to put some bricks in though to make it more clean, so we were able to
go dig out a path for the bricks and lay them in, so his tires can
drive on brick instead of dirt/mud. It probably doesn’t sound all that
fun to any of you, but to a missionary, anything new or different is
exciting.

I also relearned the importance of study this week. We’ve been pretty
busy lately, and because we’ve had so much to do, I haven’t been
making time to study. The whole week, I felt sluggish and discontent,
although at first I couldn’t figure out why. I made the connection
though, and I resumed my daily study on Saturday and Sunday. It
immediately made a huge difference. The past couple days, I’ve been
much more motivated, energetic, and peaceful. I’m grateful for all of
the little lessons like that to remind me of the importance of living
the Gospel.

Thanks for all you do for me. I love you!

-Elder Emery

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April 9, 2012

Dear Family-

Happy Easter! This Easter was really good. I didn’t hear anything
unique in Church, but the Spirit was really strong. Afterwards, we
went to a family for an Easter egg hunt, and had a delicious ham and
potato dinner.

This past week, I’ve had some really cool insights from the
scriptures. I’ve been reading what happened on each day of the last
week of Christ’s life. For example on Palm Sunday, I read in the
scriptures the account of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On
Thursday, I read about Christ’s teachings to his apostles, including
the Lord’s Supper. On Friday, I read about the crucifixion. On Easter,
I read about the Resurrection. For every single day, I noticed both
examples of hollow, hypocritical “worship” and also examples of true
devotion to the Savior. It’s given me a lot of opportunity to wonder
if I truly love the Savior, or if I just go through the motions. This
week has also deepened my appreciation for the Savior.

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He has brought me so much
peace and comfort in my life. I’ve also seen to a small extent the
power that His love has in other people’s lives. I’ve felt the
incredible feeling of being clean and forgiven of sin. I know that we
will all be resurrected some day.

Thank you for teaching me about the Savior from childhood. I love you!

-Elder Emery

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April 2, 2012

Dear Family-

General Conference was great! There were so many good talks, and the
Spirit was very strong as well. Here are some of the things I enjoyed
hearing the most. It’s not enough to be active in the Church; we need
to be converted to the Gospel (Donald L. Hallstrom). God isn’t
concerned so much about how long or how difficult your path was to
him. He’s concerned that you make it (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland).
Intellectual evidence for the Gospel is not enough; we need a
spiritual confirmation (Elder Quentin L. Cook). Men who hold the
Priesthood are not inherently better than other men, but they should
act differently (Elder David A. Bednar). Bringing on person into the
Gospel can bless generations of God’s children (Richard C. Edgley). We
need to remember the reasons for the commandments (President Dieter F.
Uchtdorf). We need to make time for meditation (President Thomas S.
Monson). When our faith is challenged, we can rely on sacred,
spiritual experiences already received (Paul B. Pieper).

It’s a lot to think about, but I’m hoping that I can internalize all
of these lessons. I’m grateful to have so much guidance from the
Lord’s servants.

I hope that you had lots of guidance and revelation too. I love you!

-Elder Emery

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March 26, 2012

Dear Family-

This week has been great! We’ve been able to start teaching a few new
people, which is always good. One family is in the
family ward. They’re active, but they are on the Focus on 15 program.
This program was designed by Elder L. Tom Perry, and it’s used to help
missionaries get in people’s homes. The High Priest’s Group, Relief
Society, and Elder’s Quorum each fast and pray about five people or
families that they feel could benefit from meeting with missionaries.
These are usually less-active and/or part-member families, but
sometimes the families that the Lord would have us visit are active.
The ward leaders then invite these people or families to meet with the
missionaries, and we take over from there. It’s incredible to see how
well revelation works, and how the Lord knows who is ready and
prepared for the missionaries.

We also started visiting a guy who is on the singles’
ward Focus on 15. He has been less active for years, but this January
he started faithfully coming to church. He’s very dedicated, and is
doing great! I’m glad that we get to start working with him. He’s a
really cool guy.

We visited an investigator in the singles’ ward too. She’s not
new, but it’s been a long time since we’ve taught her. This was my
first time meeting her. She’s very intellectual and asks some deep
questions. It feels like she’s sincerely interested though, so we’re
trying to help her shift her focus from random, obscure doctrine to
gaining a spiritual witness of the basics of the Gospel. She was
excited to hear about General Conference, so that should be great.

Another thing that’s been happening lately is that I’ve been finding a
lot of really cool scriptures about prayer. They all give very
concise, clear formulas for receiving answers. Here are some of them:

“Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?–If ye will
not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall
receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these
things shall be made known unto you” (1 Nephi 15:11).

“Wherefore, I knowing that the Lord God was able to preserve our
records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me:
Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall
receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it” (Enos 1:15).

“And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for
your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you
whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall
receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have
one to another” (Mosiah 4:21).

“And, as it is written–Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith, being united
in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive” (D&C 29:6).

Finally, my favorite, “And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken
these words unto his disciples, he turned again unto the multitude and
said unto them: …And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name,
which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be
given unto you” (3 Nephi 18:17-20).

What I get out of these scriptures is that if we are humble, obedient,
and united; and if we ask in faith, believing that we shall receive;
all of our prayers will be answered as long as they align with the
will of the Lord.

One more line: “The object of prayer is not to change the will of God,
but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is
already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking
for them” (Bible Dictionary: Prayer).

I know that God answers prayers. He has answered so many of my
prayers, and I wonder how many other answers and blessings he would be
willing to give if I just followed the formulas in these scriptures.

Thanks for all of your support. I love you!

-Elder Emery

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March 19, 2012

Dear Family-

Transfers came, and I get to stay with Elder Walker for six more
weeks. I’m really excited about that! He’s an awesome companion, and a
really great friend. It already looks like it’s going to be another
great transfer.

The past week was pretty fun too. For St. Patrick’s Day, the Elders’
Quorum had a dinner. We had corned beef and cabbage, which despite how
it sounds, actually tastes really good. I had corned beef and cabbage
last year for St. Patrick’s Day too. Maybe I’ll have to keep up the
tradition next year. Later that night, our stake had a concert. The
Southern California Mormon Choir came. They were incredible! It’s been
more than a year (Christmas 2010) since I’ve heard live music like
that, so I was glad we were able to come. There were several
non-members who came too, which was really good.

Another thing that’s been going on this week, is that I’m trying
really hard to have more sincere prayers. We pray more times in one
day on a mission than I did in a week back home, which is good and
bad. It’s good because it keeps us so focused on our Heavenly Father,
but it’s bad because we tend to give very insincere, recited prayers.
I realized this, so I’ve been trying to focus and listen more as I
pray. It’s brought some amazing experiences. I’m so grateful that our
Heavenly Father is always available to us if we come to Him. Praying
sincerely has brought some of the best experiences I’ve had in life.

Well, thanks for everything you do. I love you!

-Elder Emery

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