Monday, September 23, 2013

Temple- House of the Lord

September 3, 2013

 Highlight of my week was being able to attend the temple in Billings, Montana on Wednesday. 6 hours of driving one way and I was one of the drivers both ways but I would have driven days to get to the temple, it was all so worth it. 

Words really do not even begin to describe the experience I had....

But after praying about it, I feel that I should do my best in describing a very personal and sacred experience I had within the temple. I went back and forth in my head if I should share such an experience with all of you. And if I did share it, should it be by email? But I have prayed about it and feel I should share it. 

The first few verses in Moroni Ch.6 came to my mind where it says that the members of the church did meet together often to speak of the welfare of their souls and to share testimony one with another. I cannot meet with all of you in person but know I am strengthened and edified by reading your testimonies by letter or email and hope by me sharing the following experience and my testimony and can be a strength to at least one of you...
My experience...

We as a Zone (18 missionaries) entered the temple and had a meeting with the Billings Montana Temple President in the chapel of the temple, 1 hour prior to our session. President Jordan spoke to us there and taught me many things and shared many of his personal stories that were a strength to me. The spirit was so strong and it was beyond amazing. 

He shared a story of a young man from Casper, Wyoming who's father had passed away. This boy's father was a large Tongan man. The boy's mother remarried and the young man was bitter. He was angry and bitter about the entire situation and was rude to all he came into contact with. But he had passed the interview and somewhat begrudgingly went with the other youth of his ward to the Billings Temple to do baptisms for the dead. There in the temple, this young man sat in the chair and was being confirmed for the dead by a temple worker who did not know the boy or his situation. The temple worker was lifting his hands after only the second name when clear as could be, he heard a voice in his head. The voice was in a thick Tongan accent and it said, "This is my son and I need you to deliver a message from me to him. Tell him I love him and am proud of him." The temple worker leaned forward and told the young man "Your father is here and he has given me a message to give you... He loves you and is proud of you." This young man looked at the stranger who was the Temple worker and began to sob as he felt the presence of his father. His hard heart became soft and the Spirit of the Lord could enter and bear witness of the truthfulness of what he was experiencing. The boy left the confirmation room with tears still running down his cheeks and as he entered the room where the baptismal font was, he looked up and saw a large Tongan man smiling upon his son.
As President Jordan told us this story with tears in his eyes, the Spirit overwhelmed me and I began to sob for 2 reasons. One reason is because the Spirit bore witness to me that the story was true. And the second reason... My dear grandma passed away in March at the beginning of my mission. I sat there in the temple and sobbed because I felt her presence there with me and I knew she was there with me to be my guide in the temple that day. 

And she was.

 I felt her presence at my side the entire time I was in the temple. My testimony grew leaps and bounds because I felt the power of Heaven in a very real way. I know with no doubt whatsoever that my grandma and my loved ones are there on the other side fulfilling missions and watching over me. 

I know there is life after death. I know that all is possible through my Savior Jesus Christ. He died for me, He paid the price for me and for all of us! But He did not only die for us, He broke the bands of death and He LIVES for us! Because He broke the bands of death, we too will all be resurrected and physically reunited with our family and loved ones. But until that reunion, I know that my loved ones are there, looking out for me. I felt the truth of it in the House of the Lord in an undeniable way. I know my Redeemer lives. This is His church and He is at the head of this work. 

If any of you find your testimony lacking in any area... Pray and ask God, that is the message of the Restoration, if any of us lack wisdom then ask God and the promise is He will answer you. 

I know that God's promise is real and is true, I bear witness of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wyoming is Indeed WONDERFUL!!

August 26, 2013   

Hello Family and Friends,

  Life is amazing here in Riverton, Wyoming! This week was a hard one with fighting a cold that's been passed around our district and appointments falling through. But life is still great! I love it here and love the ward here, we have so many great families in this ward that are really excited to get involved and will do just about anything for us, we are really cared for and it's such a blessing! 

Something exciting is that Elder Anthony, one of our Zone Leaders, is here with us on exchanges and yesterday he gave a presentation to our Stake President on the use of Facebook in missionary work and we got Stake approval with using Facebook and then last night Elder Linton and I gave the presentation to our Bishop who approved it. So now I am officially an "Online Proselyting Missionary" and will be getting my Missionary Facebook set up this week.  I am excited to use this tool for the Work of Salvation, I have been trained on it again and again and can testify to all of you that it is a tool the Lord is using to further His great work. I am excited to be able to use it. 

Just a note... Do not try to friend me on my Missionary Facebook if you happen to find it. Just continue to follow my personal Facebook account and Missionary Page if you wish to do so :)

     I wish I had all sorts of stories about investigators and things but we don't have any right now but I promise we are working hard in finding the prepared to teach them. We were blessed with being able to teach a man the Restoration this week. That was the 1st time teaching it since I arrived in this area so it was awesome. We will see what happens with him in the coming weeks.  

The big highlight is coming this week... Allow me to explain...

6 weeks ago President Mecham, my Mission President, announced that he and the Billings Temple President had separately and at different times received revelation that all of the missionaries of our mission needed to come to the Temple. They discussed it and announced to our mission at that time that we would all be coming to the House of the Lord. We were asked to keep that confidential until now... 

This coming Wednesday I get to go into the House of the Lord after over 6 months. I know most missionaries throughout the world go their whole 2 years with out every being able to attend so ever so humbly, I am sharing this with all of you... I am so excited for this great blessing. I had been praying to get transferred to Billings to be able to go to the Temple but the Lord answered my prayers in His own way and is allowing all of us to go. 

We will attend as a Zone this Wednesday and I can't wait to share my experience with all you this coming week. But please know that I love the temple, I know it truly is the House of the Lord where we can make sacred covenants and draw close to our Father and Savior. It is my hope and prayer none of us will ever take it for granted and always realize what a blessing it is. I pray we can all be covenant keepers and be anxiously engaged in the work of salvation, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Short On Time, Big On Spirit!

August 19, 2013

    Hello Everyone!

Hey, I am short on time, I got to go real soon so this email will be short so I am sorry about that but I had a lot of personal emails I needed to reply to that had been building up over the last month. All you missionaries out there know how that goes! Haha :)

    So nothing too exciting this week, Elder Linton and I have just been working hard on cleaning up records by contacting everyone that's been in the area book and looking for people to teach. We have 4 new investigators this week but we will see how that all turns out in the weeks coming. 

A spiritual highlight of the week was getting in with a LA (less active member), after getting to know her a little bit she asked for a priesthood blessing. The priesthood is so powerful and its humbling getting to use it to help others, and that is all it can be used for is to help others! The blessing was powerful and she was touched, she said we can help her work through things so she can return to church. It was awesome! 
Our ward mission leader here is awesome! He is so excited about the work and helps us out a ton! The members are great and we are enjoying it here! I got to go now but I know this is the work of salvation and that it is God's work not my own. 

I love being a missionary! Love all of you!

-Elder Organ

Greetings From WYOMING... Hunting on the Mission?!!

August 12, 2013

Hello friends and family,

 What an insane week it has been! 

After we said goodbye to everyone Monday and Tuesday, we left the house about 7 AM to head for Missoula. In Missoula, Montana I got in a transfer van that took me the 3 hours to Helena, MT. There in Helena I was notified that I had been preassigned to drive one of the mission's Ford Fusions to Billings. 

So I am driving along and made it about 20 miles outside of Helena, traveling down the freeway about 70 mph when I see this brown blurr to my left. I brake and slowed down but there was nothing else I could do... I slammed into that poor coyote at about 60 mph! And I was following the transfer van so I could not stop and just kept driving for another 2 hours or so until we got to Boseman, MT. There I was able to look and see the damage... Let's just say the front end of that Fusion was pretty tore up ;/. 

So did I break the rules of no hunting? ;) Haha!

     I continued driving from Boseman to Billings and made it to the Mission Home about 5 PM. There I met my new companion who is straight from the MTC. His name is Elder Linton and he is awesome! He just barely turned 18 years old right before graduating high school. He is so pumped to be out here and is such a funny guy! He is half Tongan which I have fun with because he eats like one and totally knows it! Haha! He dishes it right back with the fact that I'm balding. He said when he first met me he thought I was at least 23 haha!

    Elder Linton and I got acquainted as I continued driving in a 2013 Toyota Corolla down to Lovell, Wyoming. We got there about 8 that night and I was so wiped out from driving all that way, we just spent the night with some missionaries there and then finished the drive to our area the next morning which was about another 3 hours. So now we are in Riverton!
Riverton is a town of about 10,000 people. There are 3 wards here and now with us here each ward has its own missionaries. In our ward there is over 500 people on the role and about 130 active members that attend. Many of the inactives are Native Americans as our area borders the Shashoni Indian Reservation. Much of our area is run down and what we would call 'ghetto'. We have to be careful in many of the areas we go to contact people. We live about 6 miles out of town, in the country which is about a mile from a prison :) Some sketchy things have happened the last few days but I know as we serve the Lord in doing His work then we will have His protection! 
Our area has not been cared for much and the records have not been kept. So Elder Linton and I are here to clean that all up, find investigators, gain the trust of the members and just work hard doing whatever is asked of us. We are off to a rough and slow start because of the way things were when we arrived but with some time and help from the Lord, this area will be booming. 
Some asked what the weather is like here... Well it gets into the 90's but usually rains in the late afternoon and really cools down at night, so the weather isn't bad but what kills me is the BUGS! This is bug central and I am getting eaten alive! This town does not have street sweepers, it has big vans that drive around spraying the streets for bugs but out where we live we don't get that luxury ha ha, so we just get eaten!  
    It is all a part of the adventure! 

I love it here and am excited to be here and serve in new capacities. To answer the question... I am over 6 companionships and it has already been extremely challenging dealing with a few things but I truly am thankful for the trust the Lord has in me and I seek to do His will in all things, including in leading my district. 

All is well and I am loving it all!
I know this church is the true kingdom of God on earth, I know He lives! I know that salvation only comes through the saving ordinances and covenants we make with God. I know as we all strive to be covenant keepers and stay true to what we promised at baptism and in the temple then we will be greatly blessed because God is always going to hold up His end of the deal. It is my hope and prayer we can all serve with all our heart, might, mind and strength and hold up our end of the deal by being covenant keepers, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, Amen. 

Zone Conference- Missoula at Kalispell Sent August 12, 2013

Front:  Beckstrand, Pattullo, Elder & Sister Piippo, President & Sister Mecham, Cowan, Adams, West (STL), Romrell (STL)
Middle:  Olsen (AP), McKeachnie (DL), Fuifatu, Alston, McCandless, Remington, McLeod (ZL), Thawley (ZL), Wyatt (visa waiter), Wood, Hebdon, Schneider, McCain, Smith (AP)
Back:  Healey (DL), Brechter, McKee (DL), Johnson, E. Jackson, Ruchti (DL), Organ, Keller, Griffith, Hampton, Jones

Transfers, Ballers, and A Baptism!

August 5, 2013

Hello Everyone,
    First big piece of news... Today is Transfer Calls so we got a call this morning about 9:30 and I was notified that I have been called to Riverton, Wyoming to serve as District Leader and to continue as a trainer. So will be training another new missionary! I feel a little nervous but prayed for a confirmation and know that God has called me to serve in these positions and it is truly humbling. God qualifies those he calls and as I continue to serve with all my heart and be exactly obedient I know I can be strengthened.
So, please don't send any more mail to Corvallis, if you already have then that's okay because my good companion Elder Jones is staying here and will forward it to me. I loooove mail so continue to write ;) Just send it to the Mission Home and they will get it to me over there in Wyoming. Thank you!
Now time for a funny story... I went to Lolo on exchanges for 2 days this week and while I was there 4 of us Elders went to a big celebration/picnic the town of Stevensville was hosting. There where the picnic was being held was a basketball court and on that court was 4 guys about our age just shooting around. So the 4 of us in our white shirts, ties and slacks get the great idea to go over there and challenge the 4 of them to a game of basketball to 11. The more we watch them the more stupid the idea seemed. The thought crossed our minds, "They are going to trash us so let's not." But then we all decided together..."We have nothing to lose and it would be a lot of fun!" So we went and challenged them to a game! Long story short, we owned these guys in our white shirts, ties, slacks and dress shoes, 11 to 8 and since it is kind of odd to see 4 missionaries playing ball in public, a pretty big crowd gathered and there was a bunch of people taking pictures Haha! It was way funny and a ton of fun! So that's one highlight of the week! :) Haha!

    Another highlight was the baptism and confirmation of Taylor Gerber. He was baptized on Saturday, August 3rd by the Bishop of the Corvallis Ward and he asked me to confirm him which happened on Sunday. It was such a sweet experience with the Spirit and I am so happy for Taylor. He took a huge leap of faith and is the first of his family to be baptized. He is a great guy and excited about all of it! 

     I hit my 6 month mark tomorrow and these 6 months have flown by! It is always hard to move to somewhere new, I have fallen in love with Corvallis and the great people here, but God has called me to Riverton, Wyoming. That is where I will now go to invite the people there to come unto Christ by faith in Him, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and then enduring to the end. 

That is my purpose as a representative of my Savior. It is my mission to testify of Him. I know Jesus is the Christ, that He died for each and every one of us but He rose the third day and lives. He is at the head of this church and directs President Monson, our prophet on earth today. The gospel is the good word or good news, spread the good news that Christ lives and loves all of us! I love each and every one of you and thank Heavenly Father each day for the love and support you give me. 

Thank you. Let us all go forward in this great cause!
 Until next week,

Elder Aaron Organ

Bucking Hay! Sent August 5, 2013

Another service day where Elder Organ truly was in his element. Country boy all the way!

Hello Everyone...
Here are some great action shots of the life of a missionary serving in Montana! :) 

It is haying time here in Corvallis!  We did a District Service Project for Keith and bucked about 300 bails out of his field and restacked it all in just 2 hours! 

It was great to be able to do this kind of work, this service project was hard work but we had a ton of laughs as we did it!

A Life-Changing Hitchhiker

July 29, 2013

 Dear family and friends,

Wow, time just comes and goes! Another great week as a missionary under my belt, this week has been one of so many blessings, hard work, fun times, great people and memorable experiences. 

The beginning of the week was pretty normal with a great Preparation day, a great District Meeting on Tuesday and then after that our awesome week really began!
After district meeting on Tuesday we went and served an older lady who was excommunicated from the church as a young woman when she joined Pinesdale. She lived in a polygamist relationship, had 5 children but realized the mistake she has made... that polygamy is not to be lived at this time and there is no Priesthood authority there in Pinesdale. So she taught school for 49 years and raised all 5 of her children. We met her last week, we knocked her door not a minute too soon or too late. She had been praying for help and we arrived! We had a great visit, then served her Tuesday, because she can't do much. She has had 4 surgeries on her hip and it is very infected. After serving her we had a great discussion and she stated she wants to start coming back to church, we told her come to church with us... and she was there yesterday! And we assisted in giving her a blessing as she prepares for her 5th hip surgery. We look forward to helping her on her journey.
Wednesday we spent the entire day on our bikes because we are out of miles until August. We covered a lot of ground on the bikes and Elder Jones is doing awesome on a bike now days! We contacted an inactive man whose mother just passed away a month ago. We had a great conversation with him and hope it may go somewhere. Then we had a ward party for Pioneer Day and that was awesome getting to know the members better! And then Wednesday night one of our Zone Leaders arrived, Elder McLeod and he was with us till Sunday morning.
And the week just got better! Thursday we were miles from town on a back road looking for a less active lady when we decided to go talk to this lady sitting on her front porch. We talked for a good 20 minutes or so, we bore powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and the true peace that comes from it as it serves as a 2nd witness of Jesus the Christ. It was amazing and Spirit was so strong but long story short she is now a new investigator who seems to be pretty promising, we have an appointment with her this week.
 Now to Friday... We had a great day but our highlight was teaching a man named Jamie who we found last week. The start of the lesson was hard because it was out on his front porch and he lives in town so their was many distractions but as I prayed for help I was able to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon and we taught bits and pieces of the Restoration and invited him to be baptized as the Spirit was so strong and he accepted. We invited him to church and he said if he didn't have work he would be there (he didn't make it to church yesterday) but he seems very sincere and we have an appointment this week with him which made it 2 new investigators.
Then to Saturday! We went to a big event called Daly Days in downtown Hamilton where vendors, booths, games, etc lined the streets. We taught 5 lessons in the streets and talked to many. As well as found new investigator number 3, his name is Tom and we have an appointment with him later this week as well. It was so awesome!
But another experience in the street we had that had an impact on me is what I want to share. Allow me to paint the picture for you... We were crossing the street as this young man about 18 years old was crossing and approaching us. Now this young man was holding some bags in his hands, his clothes were old, torn and dirty and he had a scraggly beard on his face. As we were crossing paths he says, "Hey can I hear a scripture or have a prayer or something?"  "Of course we can!" we respond. My companion Elder McLeod shared a scripture from 3 Nephi when Christ heals the children and we then bore testimony that it is through Christ we can all be healed of anything. We asked him if he lived around there, he said, "No I'm a hitch hiker, all I have is these clothes, and a pack." We asked him, "Do you have room in your pack for this Book of Mormon?" He told us he would love one and would read it and pray about it. Then we went our separate ways. 

So "why such an impact on me?" you may ask... Because of what occurred as he walked away. As he walked away my eyes welled up with tears and I felt true Christ like love for a stranger who I didn't even know his name. I saw him as God sees him and for who he can become. My heart was full and all I wanted was to help him more. That night I prayed for the hitchhiker... What an experience it was for me, what a blessing.
Sunday was another great day, an opportunity to partake of the sacrament and renew my covenants with God and with my Savior Jesus Christ. I know this is His church, that it is through our Redeemer all truly can be healed. What a blessing it is to take that message to all... I love every minute of every day. These last 6 months have been hard, really hard at times, but oh how worth it. 

I look forward to my next 18 months, it will all come to end way too fast, I can see that already but I will make the best I can of each day. Love each and every one of you and am thankful for your prayers and support!
Love, Elder Organ

P.S. Taylor Gerber who I have written about the last couple months is getting baptized this Saturday! More details to come!

Back When He Called Corvallis Home

Yes, more pictures from an area he is no longer in!

Can you handle this stud muffin?
A hungry Elder at lunch time!
Lots of trudging up loooong dirt roads. 
The children are playing slow! "That doesn't look like play time to me..."
Elder Jones and I under some trees waiting out a rainstorm.
Just a mile north of Corvallis, farming in full swing!
Farming in Corvallis- The irrigation system here works a lot different than our own flood system in AZ.
Hamilton :)
1 of many horse drawn carriages I have seen in Corvallis. Not uncommon to see these used for transportation!
Behold, the great valley!
Corvallis Valley behind me.
Oh yes.... Ha ha!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Long Lost Pictures From LAKESIDE!!

I know, I know... CRAZY! Somehow these got lost in the shuffle and I didn't realize I'd never gotten them posted! Oops! Enjoy ya'll!

In the last 8'ish months, our favorite Elder has gone through a lot of life changes. He's now a full-time LDS Missionary out in Montana and Wyoming. He's serving the Lord but as you can see, he's also been serving others.

Like his companion in Lakeside, Elder Brown. I'm sure Elder Brown was extremely grateful that Elder Organ owned up to and fixed the problem he had created.

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
Or the people he and some other Elders helped out by chopping and stacking wood. All. Day. Long. 

Elder Organ and Elder Brown

Taking a sit after a long day of splitting and stacking wood. 
And Joey, the sweet Pit Bull owned by one of their Lakeside investigators. Remember Elder Organ telling us about showing up for their appointment and finding the front porch covered in blood? Thank goodness he and Elder Brown were Eagle Scouts and animal lovers! They cleaned and bandaged Joey right up! 

Me and Joey after he was all fixed up!
Elder Brown and Joey!
Another key to having a great time for two years is to get along with all of your companions! Luckily, Elder Brown looks like he was a bundle of fun!

Now how did our Elder get around to find all of the souls in Lakeland to teach the restored Gospel to? Well, it meant a lot of dirt roads, beautiful lakes, a ton of snow, a few selfies, bikes and helmets, lunch-breaks, and snoozes when he could get 'em!

Elder Brown and I!

Biery Creek meets Flathead Lake!
Me on the over-hanging docks at Flathead Lake

Lake Mary Ronan- I took this picture off the back porch of a members home. There is no camera zoom or anything fancy, this is just how close they live on the lake!
"Behold, the beauty of Flathead Lake!"
Gotta represent!

Snow at the end of April! Nuts!

Epic sun shot! :) And me...
Quick nap while waiting for an investigator!

Just an Elder with his artwork at a restaurant while waiting for our food :)

Finally, throw in a bunch of other awesome servants of the Lord and a P-Day, and its a great place to be.

Part of my Kalispell Zone- Went on a great hike back in April. 
Sure do love that Elder Organ!!