Monday, December 14, 2015

The Blessing- Week 20

Hello everyone,
I apologize for my lack of diligence in getting out an email last week but I promise, we did work!!! 

It has been a really crazy and busy and wonderful season:) Christmas: Friday, December 25, 2015. The day we have set apart throughout the year specifically remember His birth and the significance of it. One little baby, born into this world, to change the world entirely and to redeem it in its fullness with His gospel and His sacrifice in His Atonement and Resurrection. As Christmas approaches I have thought about one of my new favorite Christmas scriptures, Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." I like this scripture not only because of Handel's Messiah, but because of the many names of Christ. We can learn much of Christ as we ponder His many names or Titles. Along with the names that Isaiah uses here are a few others that I have found: Messenger of Salvation, My Chosen, Son of Man, The Righteous, The Lamb, Creator, King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, Messiah, Son of Righteousness, Emmanuel, Just One, Holy One, Alpha and Omega, I Am, Only Begotten, Brother, Savior, Friend, Father, Lord of the Harvest, Redeemer, Mediator, King of Kings, The First Born, Son of Man, and Son of God. Each name or title conveys an aspect of the Savior and what he has accomplished for us. Enjoy the Christmas season as you grow closer to the Savior and share His message with others because it truly is a joyous and peaceful message of hope, happiness, blessings, and glory.

With that being said, the weather here is insane. We had a huge ice storm just a few weeks ago which has required much service during the days to members and nonmembers alike! We will also be helping to finish up a lot of this clean up this coming week as well. So, we went from an ice storm to having 70 degree weather with the sun shining in the middle of December.... That should be some type of crime right? Idaho is cold and has snow right now which is what I am used to but there are times it feels like summer here and it is December.... Talk about extremist. 

We have been working with a member who had fallen out of activity as a teenager and is now in his 50's or so. He lives in an apartment complex right next to ours so we would try to stop by whenever we had a spare minute and were near our apartment. We tried this guy 11 or 12 times and could never catch him. We met his roommates and talked to them on different occasions and, gave one a Book of Mormon but couldn't ever be there when Brother Batchelor was there. Finally, one Saturday morning we stopped by and caught him. We were able to just talk to him and learn more about him and his life and really just become friends. We learned that he is a scientist who has worked at several labs including Huntsman and OU (Where he is the head of a team now) researching leukemia to try and help people. He is very scientific minded and finds joy in being able to research to find answers and debate the data to find a resolve. He also, recently had surgery on his ankle where they put in a plate and he has to wear a boot and is unable to drive himself. Before the end of the visit we shared a message and set a return appointment for the following Saturday. We met the next Saturday and invited him to come to church and he agreed! We found a ride and rode with him to church then stayed with him throughout all of church. He had a great experience. We invited him to come to a baptism of an 8 year old boy on Saturday and he agreed again. Following the baptism, we asked him to read Alma 32 and pray about it. We saw him on Sunday morning before church and he told us that that chapter was exactly what he needed and he had a wonderful, spiritual experience as he read, pondered and prayed. We had meetings before church and couldn't ride with him this week but still had someone pick him up and he came and we stayed with him again and after church we went to visit him and he told us he would like to pay his tithing and desired to know what other next steps were to coming back into full activity. 
Brothers and Sisters, I wish I could give every detail about what has transpired with this incredible Son of God over the last few weeks but it suffices me to simply say that the Spirit has born testimony of truth to him as he desired to learn and seek answers and take steps of faith to find answers. He is truly being converted. Elder Hilton and I have had absolutely nothing to do with this conversion but in these few short weeks we have seen the faith of his testimony be established and grow immensely and in his countenance you can see the joy this has brought to him. I have never met a man as humble and sincere as this. What a blessing and a joy it has been for me to have witnessed this miracle as a mighty change in heart as occurred and we see the hand of God work in the lives of those we work with. There is no denying the truth of this gospel and of this Church because it is Christ's which makes it pure and good and true. 

How I wish I could express my joy and my love and my gratitude. All I can say is that God is good. He is loving. He is magnificent. He is glorious. All glory be to Him in this miracle, in this holiday season, and in all times of every year. 

I finished the Book of Mormon this last week and am so grateful for the faith, the strength, the hope, and the direction that we receive in it. It is truly Another Testament of Jesus Christ and bares truth of Him as well as the Restored Gospel and Church in its fullness through Joseph Smith. 
In regards to the Book of Mormon challenge which I am working on and challenged each of you to take part in, I am in Alma and am so grateful to be looking at this Holy Writ in search of the blessings and joy that comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we live it. I look forward to having it completed again by Christmas.

There are so many miracles, each and every day! I love this gospel and have greater desires than ever to share it with all who will receive it because it will bless their life and increase their happiness in this life and more importantly, in the one to come. 

Jesus Christ is our Savior. He was born, lived perfectly, suffered, died, and rose again. I know this to be true.

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

This picture was labeled:   "Most recent picture we could possibly send you!"
They must be in the library typing their letters!
Eating at Sonic!
?????? Have not heard the story on Superman!
 Thank you Elder Hilton for sending the pictures!

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