Sunday, April 24, 2011

Snowman, the Cinderella Horse

I love reading the general conference issues of the Ensign. To myself they are truly the words of God in these scary days. I would like to share the story of Elder Wirthlin in his talk. This is the story, Harry de Leyer was late to the auction on that snowy day in 1956, and all of the good horses had already been sold. The few that remained were old and spent and had been bought by a company that would salvage them.

Harry, the riding master at a girls’ school in New York, was about to leave when one of these horses—an uncared-for, gray gelding with ugly-looking wounds on its legs—caught his eye. The animal still bore the marks that had been made by a heavy work harness, evidence to the hard life he had led. But something about him captured Harry’s attention, so he offered $80 for him.

It was snowing when Harry’s children saw the horse for the first time, and because of the coat of snow on the horse’s back, the children named him “Snowman.”

Harry took good care of the horse, which turned out to be a gentle and reliable friend—a horse the girls liked to ride because he was steady and didn’t startle like some of the others. In fact, Snowman made such rapid improvement that a neighbor purchased him for twice what Harry had originally paid.

But Snowman kept disappearing from the neighbor’s pasture—sometimes ending up in adjoining potato fields, other times back at Harry’s. It appeared that the horse must have jumped over the fences between the properties, but that seemed impossible—Harry had never seen Snowman jump over anything much higher than a fallen log.

But eventually, the neighbor’s patience came to an end, and he insisted Harry take back the horse.

For years, Harry’s great dream had been to produce a champion jumping horse. He’d had moderate success in the past, but in order to compete at the highest levels, he knew he would have to buy a pedigreed horse that had been specifically bred to jump. And that kind of pedigree would cost far more than he could afford.

Snowman was already getting old—he was eight when Harry had purchased him—and he had been badly treated. But, apparently, Snowman wanted to jump, so Harry decided to see what the horse could do.

What Harry saw made him think that maybe his horse had a chance to compete.

In 1958, Harry entered Snowman in his first competition. Snowman stood among the beautifully bred, champion horses, looking very much out of place. Other horse breeders called Snowman a “flea-bitten gray.”

But a wonderful, unbelievable thing happened that day.

Snowman won!

Harry continued to enter Snowman in other competitions, and Snowman continued to win.

Audiences cheered every time Snowman won an event. He became a symbol of how extraordinary an ordinary horse could be. He appeared on television. Stories and books were written about him.As Snowman continued to win, one buyer offered $100,000 for the old plow horse, but Harry would not sell. In 1958 and 1959, Snowman was named “Horse of the Year.” Eventually, the gray gelding—who had once been marked for sale to a low bidder—was inducted into the show jumping Hall of Fame. 1For many, Snowman was much more than a horse. He became an example of the hidden, untapped potential that lies within each of us.What a excellent story! One of Satans greatest tools is blinding who we really are. We are here to paint our life a masterpiece and we can do it! We are to be incredible, wonderful, excellent and different. Who is not to saw that we cannot be like God? He is beyond description. We have the potential to be like him.

Josh's 4-17 e-mail

Hey, Family and Friends! Let's just say that suprises never end in the mission field! Sunday we went to church and we waited for President Marchetti….and we waited….and we waited! Members came, investigators came, and President did not show up! A couple minutes later the wife of President shows up….with the keys…and no president! Who are the counselors of President? The missionaries. And who is the first counselor? I felt extremely nervous as I directed Sacrament meeting! The Lord helped me and calmed my soul. I was the first one to receive the sacrament and I directed everything! I felt extremley, extremley humbled and I said a prayer of gratitude the entire sacrament meeting! In the end I ended up teaching Sunday School to the youth and priesthood to all the men. The Lord helps us in every moment, if we allow him to be part of our lives.

President Marchetti and his wife changed houses this week and we being the missionaries and loving service, we helped them move. I was so grateful that you, Mom and Dad, taught me how to work! During our moving process President Marchetti lifted part of a computer table. As he lifted the table it broke and fell to the ground bringing the entire table to the ground in the process. Everytime they had gone to wash the floor, part of the water got stuck underneath the table slowing rotting the table without the knowledge of anybody. The table crumbled easily and without any strength. All President had to do was touch the table and it fell. Satan works by putting little sins in our path and in the end we fall. We fall easily. Obviously if the Marchetti family knew the damage the water would do they would have moved their table! Watch out for that dangerous water! It rots and it destroys!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Future beautiful wives of rain soaked missionaries!

A giant rain storm came in yesterday and we didn't bring anything to protect us. We got soaked! The time to go to the pension, but I felt a prompting....go to Hermano Aragon. Recently he was in the hospital due to diabetes. His daughter frequently helps us in the work of the Lord and had commented that he had been to the doctor. We passed by earlier to give him a blessing, but he is never there! That is when I felt the prompting I knew Hermano Aragon would be in his house. I wasn't surprised to see him, but he was surprised to see us! We were wet! Soaking wet! We had the blessing of giving him a blessing. As we were walking back Elder Cancapa looked kinda downhearted due to the rain. I told him, I heard our future wives are more beautiful and more virtuous as we walk in the rain for the Lord! He smiled a wide smile, looked at me and said, 'My wife is going to be the most beautiful woman in the entire earth!!!' hahaha. I love the mission! and I love you!

Josh's 4-11-11 e-mail-Golden Investigator

The Lord loves to bless us with surprises when we work hard and when we are diligent. Sunday was a wonderful day for me. We finished church and a member came up and announced to us that her cousin knew the church is true, has read the Book of Mormon, studied the pamphlets and wants to be baptized! I could not believe it! On April 23rd we are planning and working for 3 teenagers, 2 children, and one adult to be baptized. All are progressing wonderfully thanks to our Heavenly Father and all are coming to church and all are excited about their baptisms. We are working with our hearts! and we are hoping that the Lord will bless us with these baptisms. If you could, in your prayers, ask if these six people can be baptized. I know that they will feel sooo happy if they can follow their Savior in this way! The Lord truly does love us.

Josh's trip to hear Conference

Wasn't it wonderful and refreshing to hear the words of the prophets this past weekend!??? I had the blessing of sitting in all the sessions and listening in spanish. I understood! What a tender mercy of the Lord. He truly does love you! A talk that I greatly enjoyed and that I felt the spirit more strongly than any other was the talk of President Monson Sunday Morning. I felt extremley grateful for you Mom and Dad, for making the decision to marry in the temple and to all my siblings that have or will :) made that decision. It is the best place you can be for eternity. What a amazing blessing we have to be witness of miracles today! From 1 temple to now over a hundred. I love to see the temple.I was the only American (Gringo) missionary that listened in spanish! I listened to spanish the entire time! i felt grateful to Heavenly Father for helping me so much! Before I could not understand anything and now I was able to understand everything! Tender mercies! We were not able to spend the night and we had to go home! I was not able to watch priesthood...... We would had have to travel at 1:00am to our area which is a hour away.....I felt that it was okay though! Thank goodness for the internet!

Melanie's comment: I asked Josh about his transporation to General Conference and he said it was like riding in the Magic School Bus. : "So about the magic school bus! Saturday, the magic school bus' little brother. It was a van! In the back it had wooden benches nailed to the floor! All 10 of us pilled into the back and traveled to conference! It was awesome! Sunday: The Magic School Bus! It was so exciting to see all the members that came! It was wonderful! As a branch we have to stand together, or together we fall. There are few of us and we must be united.

Baptisms on April 23, 2011

William, a future member of the church

The 23rd of April we are planning for three baptisms! Their names are Graciela, William, and Noemi! This past week as we talked with them, they were all so excited about their baptisms! In the prayers of William, he always says please allow me to be prepared for my baptism and please allow me to receive the Holy Ghost the next day.

Josh's 3-28-11 e-mail

Wednesday Night we received a phone call from a few members telling us that the youngest of the Familia Barrionuevo had passed away... The family is one of the oldest membership here in Famailla, but a few members have been inactive for a while. The next day we went to the funeral viewing and tried to give comfort as best as we could to the family members. It hurt my heart to see their faces usually full of joy and love for the gospel full of pain and sorrow for their deceased brother. (He was not baptized) After the service they contacted us and asked me to come to the grave Friday and dedicate the grave of Enrique Barrionuevo!!! I almost said no because I was so nervous! But Friday we came. When we got there I was surprised to see other members of others faith dedicating the grave (not really!!!) I had the permission and the branch president was there and my companion did not really want to do it so I dedicated the grave! They finished putting the dirt on top of the grave and then the family members looked at me. I went and stood in front of everybody!!! I was nervous! I had never been to burial before in my life and I had never seen a dedication of a grave! I said a prayer and then started saying the dedicatory prayer. Minutes before many people had been crying, wailing, yelling, and now there was silience... I felt so humbled afterwards!!! The family then asked us to come to there house and give there mom a blessing of comfort. Surprises are around every corner in the mission field and I ended up giving four blessings! One to the Mom, Two to two of the sisters, and one brother. In every blessing I felt the importance of talking about the temple! Afterwards I was talking with the brother and he said , I know I can live my family again, my brother again. This experience gave a profound gratitude for the Holy Ghost, priesthood blessings, and above all temples and that death is not the end of life.

Josh's 3-21-11 e-mail

Hey Family and friends! Transfers have come and gone and I have a new companion! His name is Elder Cancapa! and He is a stud! He is from Peru! I have only been with him for a few hours and I can tell he is going to do wonders in his mission! I am still here in Famailla! Have a great day! Steph, do not get any more staples!!! Bridget, I want to talk to Brandon! Megan! You said you would write me!! hahaha. Love you! I do not have that much time!

Close encounter with a huge creepy spider

As we were leaving our apartment this week. I found a spider right in front of me! It was huge! It was almost the width of my hand! I did not even notice it until I had almost ran into it! In our lives paying attention is vital. Accidents frequently happen because we do not look both ways, or the scene looks calm so we can talk on our cell phone! We have to pay attention to our spirit also! It is vital! We cannot afford a day without reading the scriptures, praying, and living the gospel. Before we know it, there might be a spiritual spider in front us ready to eat us!!! I do not like giant big spiders. They scare me!

Melanie's comment: Don't you love how he uses every experience as a teaching moment?


On Thursday I received a phone call from our Zone Leaders, telling me that I was going to do a baptismal interview Friday for a area right next to ours. Friday arrived and I was excited to do it. Edgar was the man who was being interviewed. Meeting Edgar was a spiritual experience. He has the testimony of a member of many years!!! I asked him about tithing and he said, it was hard at first for me to except it, but when I realized I owe everything to God and that I have the blessing of giving back to him, I decided to pay my tithing. His answers to the baptismal questions were all similar to this. Edgar has a easiness to believe to the gospel of Jesus Christ. His spirit is impressive and his testimony is strong. I believe he will be a leader one day.

Josh's 3-14-11 e-mail

This week we went to go visit the Familia Molina. I honestly do not know how many times we have passed by. Before they were a family extremely active in the church, but due to few things they fell away. Since my first or second week we have been trying to visit them, but every time the result was the same they did not want us to come in. Every time we visit them, we ask them if they need anything and they always say no we are fine. This week the Familia Molina decided to surprise us and they let us in! I was soooo excited! I could not believe it!!! It was incredible! The spirit was so strong as we talked to them. You could tell they want to come back. When we told the ward members we finally talked to this family, they could not believe it ether!!! I guess it has been a very long time since the Familia Molina has let anybody into their house.

Story from Elder Nelson

I’ll never forget an experience that Sister Nelson and I had about three decades ago with President Spencer W. Kimball and his beloved Camilla. We were in Hamilton, New Zealand, for a large conference with the Saints. I was not a General Authority at that time. I had been invited to participate in this and similar meetings in other Pacific Islands while serving as general president of the Sunday School. And as a doctor of medicine, I had attended President and Sister Kimball for many years. I knew each of them very well—inside and out.A Saturday evening cultural program had been prepared for this conference by local youth of the Church. Unfortunately, President and Sister Kimball both became very ill, each with a high fever. After receiving priesthood blessings, they rested at the nearby home of the president of the New Zealand Temple. President Kimball asked his counselor, President N. Eldon Tanner, to preside at the cultural event and to excuse President and Sister Kimball.

Sister Nelson went with President and Sister Tanner and other leaders to the event, while President Kimball’s secretary, Brother D. Arthur Haycock, and I watched over our feverish friends.

While President Kimball was sleeping, I was quietly reading in his room. Suddenly President Kimball was awakened. He asked, “Brother Nelson, what time was this evening’s program to begin?”

“At seven o’clock, President Kimball.”

“What time is it now?”

“It’s almost seven,” I replied.

President Kimball quickly said, “Tell Sister Kimball we are going!”

I checked President Kimball’s temperature. It was normal! I took Sister Kimball’s temperature. It was also normal!

They quickly dressed and got into an automobile. We were driven to the stadium of the Church College of New Zealand. As the car entered the arena, there was a very loud shout that erupted spontaneously. It was most unusual! After we took our seats, I asked Sister Nelson about that sudden sound. She said that when President Tanner began the meeting, he dutifully excused President and Sister Kimball because of illness. Then one of the young New Zealanders was called upon to pray.

With great faith, he gave what Sister Nelson described as a rather lengthy but powerful prayer. He so prayed: “We are 3,000 New Zealand youth. We are assembled here, having prepared for six months to sing and dance for Thy prophet. Wilt Thou heal him and deliver him here!” After the “amen” was pronounced, the car carrying President and Sister Kimball entered the stadium. They were identified immediately, and instantly everyone shouted for joy!

I had witnessed the healing power of the Lord! I had also witnessed revelation as received and responded to by His living prophet!

Josh's 3-7-11 e-mail

During sacrament meeting I was getting very nervous. It was fast and testimony meeting and…nobody was sharing their testimony!!! I was nervous because Graciela our investigator was there and I wanted her to have a spiritual expierience! After a few more minutes of awkward silence some members got up and shared their testimony. Sacrament meeting ended and I went talked to Graciela. Somewhat shyly I asked…So how did you like Sacrament Meeting?!? Her reply was she had absolutely loved it!!!! She said I feel good, really good!!! I was saying a prayer of thanks at this time and had a huge smile on my face!! It was awesome! She had sacrificed to come sacrament meeting and had felt the spirit.

Josh the puddle jumper

During this week I was dry! There were no rain storms and then boom! A huge rainstorm that flooded the streets in about one hour! We were trying to get back to the pension as fast as possible. During my time in this area, I believe I have become a olympic long jumper! Sometimes the only option is jump over the water. While this one puddle I tried, but it was really really big. Yes, I ended up wet. My companion was behind me and about to jump when a man on a motorcycle passed by, asked him if he wanted a ride and drove him through the water! I was just staring with my mouth open. I guess sometimes we are impatient for blessings!!!

Parable of the Bicycle

We had family home evening with Hermana Guzman this week and she shared a story with us that I heard, but had forgotten. It´s the story where the young daughter wants a bicycle from her parents. The parents offered to pay for the bike as long as the girl would work for part of the money. The girl came with her money and her father and her went to the stores to find the perfect bike. When they found it the father was surprised to find the bike well over 100 dollars! The little girl knowing that it was expensive started crying. The father loving his daughter told her to give him all she had and he would make up the rest. She gave her money which was around 75 cents and the father made up the rest. The young girl had tried her best, but didn´t have enough money to buy the bike. The father made up the rest. Our Savior does the same, he ask for our best and he will make up the rest.

Melanie's comment: If you haven't read this book, it is where this parable is explained. I highly recommend you read it!

Josh's 2-28-11 e-mail

Diligence, I have discovered, is an attribute of Christ that takes time to develop. Often times the Lord will give us a trial to help us learn the importance of enduring. This past transfer, I don´t why, but I do know that it has been a lesson the Lord has wanted me to learn. Since my time here in Famailla, we have found people who want to hear the gospel, who let us share the message of the Restoration with them, but they aren´t progressing toward baptism. I have worked harder now than I have any other time in my mission, but I have to remember the Lord wants me to learn diligence. In Preach My Gospel we learn diligence is going forward with ¨excitement¨, and ¨faith in the Lord.¨ I am grateful the Lord has allowed me to learn this virtue. To keep going forward. Some missionaries are seed planters and others are the Johnny Apple Seeds! I am not discouraged and I love this work!!! As we were knocking doors this week I was surprised to find the swearing man!!! We knocked his door and we have a appointment with him this upcoming week!! Crazy! Mabye the Lord has some plans for him....

The work in Famallia

We found a family this week, but only one member has interest. Her name is Carmen and I believe she has received a answer. We finished teaching Carmen and a man asked us to help him, we replied yes and went to work. Our task was to pull a railroad track off the track. It sounds easy, except the track was over a river. It was heavy and hard and the man kept swearing!!! But a hour later with our shoes covered in mud, he said thank you. I was surprised to hear those words from his mouth especially since he was swearing more than half the time!!! We have countless things to be thankful for! Even if we are on a deserted island and the only other thing on the island is a palm tree, we can be thankful for the shade.

Hermana Guzman we might say has a rough life. When she was younger, she went inactive in the church. She became a policewoman, had two children, and lives with a another less active man. She now feels all the time that she has been away from the church that she should return. She is making the changes now, but oftentimes Satan knows this also and doesn´t want us to return. This past month, her husband left her because he has another girlfriend, her house has flooded due to the rain, she is now taking care of her sick aunt, who needs constant care, part of her pay as a policewoman goes to her mother, sister, and brother who all need financial help, and she is raising her two sons as best as she can. To me her faith is impressive and I know to Christ he is happy because she is returning to his church.

Josh's 2-21-11 e-mail-Another earthquake!

I lived through an earthquake!!!!! Yesterday at 4 o´clock in the morning I got woken up to a earthquake! It was kinda scary and exciting. It lasted for about 10 seconds and the only thing it did was knock over bug spray. Afterwards my heart was beating fairly quickly! I felt like a little kid again! It was nothing, but it made me think about how it is a sign for the 2nd coming of our Savior. How we need to prepare now and not later. We do not know when He will come. Preperacion (notice his spanish sneaking in...)should not be procastinated. I sang a hymn afterwards and I fell asleep.

Parable from Josh

During our Priesthood lesson the teacher shared a really cool quote that I enjoyed. A man came and asked three different men and three different times what they were doing. The first said I am cutting rock. The second, I am being paid and the third I am building a house for the Lord. Our attitudes are precious and they have to be positive or we won´t get far in life.

Josh's 2-14-11 e-mail

Josh sent this picture in an e-mail and I asked him whose dog it was and why did it have pink fur? He replied: "That is president´s dog. We don´t know why it is pink!!! We just came home from church and it was pink!!!" He's referring to the branch president, President Marchetti.

I learned the meaning of Famailla this week! It´s an old indian word of the tribes that use to live here. Famailla is fairly close to the mountains where the indians lived and on their travels across the country they always needed a resting place. Famailla means resting place.

Megan's release 3-4-11

Originally Megan's flight plans had her coming home around 6 p.m. and our stake president was going to release her that night. Then plans changed and she didn't arrive back in Cedar til almost 1 a.m. So Friday morning, Rick, Bridget, Megan and I went to the stake center around noon and met with President Greg Powell, who had also set Megan apart 18 months before. He first interviewed Megan and then invited Rick and I into the room. She later told us that he spoke to her as if he had been with her on her mission. He knew many of the circumstances she had experienced and brought back some very tender feelings. He visited with all three of us for a few minutes and then told Megan that the hard part was coming. He officially and honorably released her as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then the tears started to flow. You can see by the pictures how hard she took it. Those were not the last of the tears either; she's had many moments where she has yearned to be back in the Philippines, caring for those she came to know and love. She does not want to move into the next phase of her life where she worries about herself. She has loved focusing all her energy and faith for others. It will be a hard transition, but BYU-I will be the best place for her. Hopefully there will be some missionaries there from her mission and surely many that served in the Philippines and hundreds of return missionaries who will be able to empathize with her struggle to leave the work that she has come to love.

Megan's homecoming 3-3-11

The long awaited day finally arrived!!! Bridget arrived from Provo on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 about the time Rick and I got home from work. We started decorating the house. We put up yellow streamers and a welcome home sign and got some balloons to take to the airport. Bridget made a candy bar poster to put in her room. We left for St. George around 9:00 p.m. We drove to the newly opened St. George airport and met Grandpa and Grandma Mathews, Pam and Pat Baker, Susan Mathews and Heather and all her boys. We had all worn yellow as that is not only her favorite color, but the traditional color to welcome someone home. (Tie A Yellow Ribbon...) arrived early and went upstairs to a viewing area. When we saw the plane land, we hurried downstairs and went to the arrival gate and waited. Many people got off the plane before her, but then finally Bridget said, "I see her and she's wearing yellow!" I was the first one to hug her and the tears of joy flowed as I held her in my arms again. I finally let go and let all the others greet her!