Saturday, January 23, 2010

Where in the world... got a picture of the three cousins in the MTC by a map!
Elder Mike Watson is going to Argentina, Buenos Aires North Mission(he's pointing to both locations his mission covers), Elder Alec Raymond is going to Tenneessee Knoxville Mission, and Elder David Watson is going to Asuncion, Paraguay Mission! They don't look excited do they!

Cousins together in the MTC... actually it took a bit of planning to get this picture. Their schedules don't exactly match up! Great to see them together though!

The Foursome (Elder Watson, Elder Watson, Elder Day, and Elder Raymond) We asked them to make sure they got this picture. They said it was pretty tough finding a time they could all be there. Four great missionaries!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Powerful Testimony!

(Elder Raymond is only allowed 30 minutes on the computer each week and then it shuts down, whether he is done or not... so he is always rushed when writing...last week it went down completely, then shut down again just as he was about to hit send.)

Dear Famiree,

I really hope e-mail works today. I guess if you're reading this, you'll know that it did. :) I'm currently sitting in the doctor's office awaiting the verdict on my new companion. Oh! By the way, I have a new companion! He's from the district that just left on Monday, but was held back for medical reasons. His original mission call was to Guatemala City North, and today's the day that he finds out whether or not he can still go to Guatemala or if he's going to be reassigned. Oh, and his name is Elder Seppi. He's pretty much a perfect companion, except we're always in the doctor's office. :) This afternoon we have to go off campus for a doctor's appointment. Eeek! We're hoping for the best, but at this rate he may not even leave until after we do. Since he's been here three weeks longer than me, he's an excellent resource for both Spanish and teaching experience.

Anyway, since we went straight from companion study to the doctor, I haven't had a chance to read any of my letters, so I'll respond to those at the end (I guess that's pretty much what I usually do anyway). Hopefully you all got my letter last week. This week has been wonderful. In the MTC, each week tends to have some sort of focus. It's never planned out, but the topics we study in class, devotionals, meetings, and personal and companion study are always at least related if not the same. It's amazing to see the Lord's hand in His work as leaders, teachers and missionaries alike follow the Spirit in selecting study topics.

This week's theme is the Book of Mormon, and especially how we should teach from it. The Book of Mormon is truly the word of God. It contains the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the keystone of our religion as Joseph Smith taught. With it, everything stands; without it, everything falls. I can testify that everything stands. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to hold in my hands and study all those things necessary for the salvation of myself and all those I teach. The power of the Book of Mormon is real. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to grow up in a home where the Book of Mormon was read, understood, and shared. If anybody that reads this does not know for themselves of the truth and power of the Book of Mormon, you need to. You absolutely need to. Moroni's promise is real! Read the Book. Desire to know. Pray about it. Act on the answer. I've done it, and I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Follow President Hinckley's advice: if you want to know if the Book of Mormon is true, read it! I've read it and I know. The Spirit has borne witness of the truth of the Book of Mormon to me. The Book of Mormon holds the answer to every question of the soul. It contains the Plan of Salvation, a second witness of the Savior and His Atonement, and all things necessary for all men to return to live again with our Father in Heaven. I cannot express my gratitude for the opportunity I have to know these things. I feel like Moroni. My writing is weak, but I do have a testimony. I don't remember if I wrote my testimony last week or not, but I suppose it doesn't really matter since I still have it. :) God lives. He loves me and helps me more than I could ever know. Jesus Christ is my Savior. He has truly redeemed my soul from everlasting destruction. He is my Older Brother, my Perfect Example. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fulness to the Earth today. Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration. I'm so grateful for his strength and perseverance. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is powerful. It is an ultimate source of truth. I have a testimony of the power of prayer. It is ever amazing to me that God listens to me and even more, that He answers me. It is the ultimate opportunity to receive guidance and help from Him. I know that the Spirit of God witnesses of truth. I've felt that witness many times. The Spirit is the source of testimony. It is the primary means of communication betweeen God and individuals. I'm eternally grateful for the opportunity I have to receive personal guidance and revelation in my life. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. We are led by men called of God under the direction of the Savior Himself. Their words and witnesses are the words and witnesses of God. I've had the privilege to hear dozens of them bear solemn witness of the Savior. I'm so grateful and humbled that the Lord would trust me with a part of His work. There is no place or time that I would rather be.

I love you all and will write responses to your letters when I get to read them.

2 hours later...

Alright. Doing laundry now. :) I got lot's of letters this week. :) It's always wonderful to read your letters and see what you're all doing. First, answers to questions (I'll just go in the order I read them):

Caiti: My roommates are awesome. They are all either current or "ex-companions." And yes, they eat my food. :)

1. The whole mail on P-day thing came down from our Branch President. It's not MTC wide. I get my mail throughout the week and hide it in my bottom drawer until Wednesday. :)
2. Haven't heard about any In-N-Out
3. I've gotten letters from Grandma Raymond, Ken and Nanna, Carlene.
4. I'm feeling much better.
5. I'm actually two-thirds through the MTC. 3 weeks left exactly. :)
6. Don't need anything.
7. Don't need cold stuff.
8. I've taken lot's of pictures including some with Elders Watson and Elder Day.
9. I'm in beginning Spanish.
10. No I don't mind answering questions. (mind-reader) :)

No more time eeeeeeekkkkk!!!!!!

Individual parts are gonna be short sorry.

Dad, I love reading you newsletters. Love you!

Mom, Thanks for your love. Love you!

Bryan, Congrats on your Eagle! Love you!

Caiti, Work hard, then the Lord will bless you. Love you!

Kimmee, Don't procrastinate. Love you!

Animals, Don't be idiots or pee on each other or die. Love you!

Elder Raymond