Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas! The members here took care of us, especially the Richardson family. They had us over there all morning and let us take part in all their Christmas traditions. They have 12 kids and most of them are still in school so it was a full house, which kept it in the Christmas spirit. It was awesome talking to the family and it seems like all is well back home. We ate dinner over at an older couples home with all the elders and they were like," Want to watch some cool videos?" And then they whipped out these old home videos of them hanging out with David A. Bednar and his family back when they lived down here! Apparently they were in the Stake Presidency together and they are still super close friends. It was pretty interesting seeing an apostle water ski and coach basketball. Thank you to all that sent me stuff for Christmas. It was very thoughtful of you.

The past week has been full of street contacting and trying to get people to remember the true meaning of Christmas. One night we were walking around talking to people at the Christmas lights and we ran into the Dugger family. That's the family off of 19 kids and counting. I wouldn't have even known that if an Elder didn't say something. We heard that they live around this area. We got to meet them and we gave them a Christmas card and talked for a while. It was pretty cool.

Michael is having his Baptism interview tomorrow and if all goes well, we will be having his baptism this Saturday. We are so stoked for him! We haven't been able to get in contact with Jo lately and we are hoping it's just the holiday craziness. We are hoping he is still doing good. Anthony and Norma and their little girl Mickayla came to church yesterday. They didn't want to read the Book of Mormon but after we taught a surprise Gospel Principles lesson on the Scriptures, they asked for a Book of Mormon and said they would start reading. What a blessing in their lives and it all came from coming to church one Sunday.

Thank you for all the prayers and support in my behalf. I can feel the change happening in my life as I serve and continue to learn. Love you all and have a happy New Year.

Love, Elder Leavitt

The crew out contacting

Some of the Dugger Family. (19 kids and counting)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hey everyone sorry about the late email. I forgot to mention last week that I would be at a mission conference all day yesterday and wouldn't be able to email until today. So I'll let you know how the past week has been for us.
Michael is all set for baptism! We taught him the last couple of lessons this past week and with everything we said he just said, "If that's what I need to do, then I'll do it." We are beyond excited for him and all he needs is to have is his baptism interview and he's all set.

Jo has been off smoking since last week and he just needs to have it completely out of his system so that we can get him baptized as well. They have gained really strong testimonies of this church so we are praying that they will be able to over come their earthly struggles so that they can be spiritually blessed.

The other day I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. So, us and the other elders went to lake Fayetteville to try and talk to some people and show the Christmas video. I went with Elder Constandse and no one would talk to us. We saw this lady out on a dock and we felt like we should talk to her. We went up and started talking to her and when Christmas came up in the conversation we mentioned the video and started to watch it with her. Halfway through the video she starts bawling. Afterwards, we have a really deep talk about the spirit and she said to us that she was about to jump into the freezing lake seconds before we showed up and talked to her. She gave us all her information, took a Book of Mormon, and said she would read it before the missionaries in her area came to see her.  I know that there are no coincidences in the Lord's work. We were there and she was there at the exact moment that God wanted us to be there. If we hadn't listened to that prompting to talk to her, who knows what would have happened to her. I'm thankful for this time I get to be a part of His work.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope all is well with all of you. Always look for the ones who are ready. Love you all and wish you the best!

Love, Elder Leavitt

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

This past week has gone by so fast and so much has happened that I'm really excited about! It's been in the 60's for the past week and everyone has been telling us that if it's this warm now, then January and February are going to be brutal. I don't know how I feel about that.
I've got some good news on Michael! We visited him last week and we taught the word of wisdom. He said that he doesn't smoke or drink coffee or alcohol but he said he does drink tea. When we told him that he had to stop drinking tea to get baptized all he said was,"I've got some tea in the fridge and when I run out I just won't make anymore." So he is determined to stop that and we officially set his baptismal date to January 2nd. He came to church yesterday and was so excited to tell everyone about his date. He is practically part of the ward family now. Everyone loves him! We are hoping that the next couple of weeks go by smoothly and everything works out.
Jo Szot has also committed to be baptized on January 2nd too so we might have ourselves a double dipper! He was struggling with the smoking thing at first but he really wants it so we are hoping that he is able to quit the awful habit and be baptized.
We are teaching a little girl named Hazel Holt and I think I've mentioned her before. She came to church yesterday with a less active lady in our ward. She went to primary for the first time and absolutely loved it! We hope that we can get permission from her dad to start teaching her the lessons and we are hoping to set a date with her soon.
The work is so fun to be a part of and I'm thankful for it everyday. There are so many people hid from the truth because they don't know where to find it. It is my goal and hope that I can find those searching and I challenge all of you to keep your eyes open for those who are spiritually ready for this gospel. Love you all and have an amazing week!

Love, Elder Leavitt

Merry Christmas!

We found this confederate cemetery out in the middle of nowhere.

This is how crazy warm it has been! Don't worry I wasn't driving!

Elder Foster from the second quorum of the Seventy and his wife came to visit.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

Things in Fayetteville are moving along great. We have been doing tons of service lately. The other day we spent almost all day moving a family out of their house and into a ghetto apartment on the top floor of the building. Needless to say it was the roughest move of my entire life. We get to rake a lot of leafs for people and it's a good way to meet new people because no one is going to turn down having there yard raked for free!

We got a new family of investigators this past week! They moved from 2nd ward into our area. The other elders said that they had trouble with them and that they probably won't progress anywhere because they are stuck in their beliefs. We went over and talked with them for a really long time.
We even got them a free couch that they desperately needed. Just from being friendly to them, they have agreed to come to church this next Sunday. We can't push people into church or reading the Book of Mormon. Sometimes we just need to be their friend and lead by example. The blessing will come into their lives and our life as well when we teach as the Savior taught. Through love and compassion.

Michael has been really sick lately so we haven't been able to see him but last time we talked to him, he was still on the right path. Love you all and if you haven't watched the A Savior is Born video yet, I challenge you to watch it and share it with someone who needs it. This time of year is the most wonderful time for missionary work and we can all be a part of it. Peace and blessing.

Love, Elder Leavitt

Elder Anderson and I helping an older couple set up their tree
The package with the decorations came before the one with the tree. We couldn't wait so we improvised!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

On Saturday we got our Transfer calls and I am pleased to announce that I will be staying in Fayetteville for another transfer! Elder Anderson is staying too and we were both really pumped about that because we have been serving really well together and we would hate to break up this power packed duo haha! Things have been going great here in Arkansas. The weather is starting to look a little more like the winters I have heard all about. It has been raining a lot lately but we haven't had the first snow of the year yet. I'm going to have to learn how to drive on the ice which is going to be scary. Thank goodness Elder Anderson is from Idaho so at least one of us knows what we are doing. 

Michael is doing better than ever! We went over and taught him the third lesson the other day and he was really involved. We asked him to pray about a baptismal date and he said that he has been thinking about that a lot lately and he said that he really wants to get baptized on Christmas because he thinks that there is no better present than a new start at life so yeah he is golden. He came to church too the other day and he stayed for all three hours. He just loves being a part of the church. He said that beating his addiction will be easy now that he has so much support. You can really see the hand of the Lord working in his life.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be doing the Lord's service in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I encourage you all to support and fellowship those who are new or investigating the church because you never know the impact you will have on their life. Love you all and have a blessed week!

Love, Elder Leavitt

Your basic fall picture

Thanksgiving with the Clark's. Their daughter knitted us scarves

Mission life

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

This email is coming a little bit later because my email was acting up this morning so sorry about the delay! Wow, where do I begin with this past week! Jo had some troubles with the smoking so we had to push his baptismal date back a week but he is super motivated now so we are hoping he can push through it. We call him every night to check up on him and he has been killing it so far. Transfer calls are this week so one of us might not be here for it which is sad to think about.

Remember Michael from last week? Well, we saw him again this week and now he is praying for a baptismal date! He came to church yesterday and a lady from Las Vegas that just recently moved here and is a recent convert spoke in sacrament meeting and she told her amazing conversion story. Afterwards she came up to us and Michael and flat out asked him if he was going to get baptized. When he said that he would like to she said," Then what are you waiting for?" That motivated him a lot and now he is praying for a date! He loves the church a lot and our ward is very good at fellow shipping which helps so much!

We have been very blessed here in our area and thank you all for the prayers and love in my behalf. I hope you all will continue to help those in need of help and comfort those in need of comfort. That's our job as members of this church. Love you all and stay safe.

Love, Elder Leavitt
Lights of the Ozarks! It looks like Temple Square around here!

Our Zone after an activity

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

We have been able to see so many blessings this past week! On Wednesday, after our district meetings, the whole zone got to together and went to the U of A campus to talk to random students on campus and pass out Books of Mormon. Together, we handed out so many Books and got the numbers of a couple students! It was fun just going out and trying new approaches with different people to see what works best and it benefited us all. We are planning on doing it every Wednesday now so we are hoping to bless the YSA elders a lot from this.

Now for the inspiring stuff. We have been trying to meet with this guy name Michael for awhile now but we kept on just missing him. This past week we got in the door and invited him to church and he seemed really excited to go. We got him a ride and he came to church yesterday. He was talking about how he needed to get off of some stuff that he was addicted to and yesterday, the couple who run the 12 step program in our ward spoke to us. How convenient! Michael talked with them and he is going to their meeting this week. He loved church and he is willing to progress with whatever we ask him to do so we are really excited for him.

Next is the miracle of Jo Szot. I've talked a little bit about him before in past emails and how he needed to quit smoking in order to get baptized. We gave him a priesthood blessing a couple days ago to help him quit. Well, Saturday was the day that he needed to stop completely. We couldn't get a hold of him all day so we were a bit nervous for him. On Sunday he came to church with the biggest smile on his face. He said he woke up Saturday morning with absolutely no desire to smoke and all day he didn't crave it once. He knew it was because God was helping him because getting baptized is what he needs to do. He will be getting interviewed this week if he keeps this up and we should be having ourselves a good Ol' Fashion baptism next week!

As always, thanks for the love and support! Have a blessed week!

Love, Elder Leavitt

Our Halloween costumes

We found this random thing in the woods so we took a tough guy picture

Hey, what time is it?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

This week has gone by so fast! We got to have a Zone training meeting on Saturday and that's when President and Sister Loveland came down and talked to us. We got to do interviews with him and tell him what our area needs. He gave a great instruction on tracting so after our meetings, we decided to try it out. We first stopped by an investigators apartment and when he couldn't meet, we tracted the rest of his complex. Every single person that answered the door ended up taking a Book of Mormon! We had our number in it too so we are hoping for some calls back. We went and stopped by another investigators apartment and when they weren't home, we started talking to these guys outside and we ended up giving them Books of Mormon too! We have both been working on the idea of talking to everyone and we have seen the blessing that it has brought into our lives.

Let's talk about Bob Brown. Bob is this old man who's wife is a member but he isn't. Whenever we go over to see him, we bring a video because he loves the Mormon videos. He is so dang stubborn though! He has stopped reading the Book of Mormon and he refuses to come to church and we told him that if he didn't then we couldn't come over anymore. We watched a video on Joseph Smith and we talked about the Restoration and he just kept on saying,"You boys look like you need some ice cream." It was really hard to try to get through to him but we will just keep on praying that he has a change of heart.

I have been taking the Ponderize challenge lately and I have seen the blessing it is in my life. I have been ponderizing Alma 32:14-16 this week. I would encourage all of you to always have a scripture in mind because you never know who's life you can bless with it.

Love, Elder Leavitt

Serving at a soup kitchen

A frog we saw chilling on a mushroom

Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hey everyone!

So we have been doing so much lately! I've been getting the names and faces down and I can almost drive around Fayetteville without having to ask for directions now. I've been able to work closer with the members here and they are awesome when it comes to fellowshipping investigators and coming out on exchanges with us. I have some pretty crazy stories to tell.

First off, a couple nights ago we didn't have anyone scheduled to go see because they cancelled so we had the feeling to go by and check on a less active member. She is this little old German lady named Sister Henning who hasn't been to church in awhile. So we go over there, and some random guy opens the door and the smell of alcohol just hits us! He insisted on us coming in so we went in. It turned out that it was Sister Henning's son and his wife was there and also this potential investigator we have named Bruce was there. Every single one of them was hammered beyond belief. We didn't stay for long but Sister Henning's son liked us a lot so we got his address and phone number so we will go see them when they are sober.

Next, I got a pretty nice birthday gift this past Saturday. We have an investigator who's name is Anna and she is super nice. Well, one of our appointments cancelled on us and we had nothing to do until dinner. Then, Anna texted us and said that she had two free tickets to the Razorbacks game and she wanted to take us. We asked for permission first (of course) and it was granted because of my birthday! So we got to go to the game! We were on row 20 right on the 50 yard line and it was their homecoming! We didn't stay for the whole game because we had other people scheduled for later in the day. We left at half time like good Elders so that we could go to those appointments.

Now for an inspiring story. We have this investigator named Jo Szot and he has been investigating for a few months. He has a baptismal date set for November 28th. He has been smoking his whole life and wants to quit so badly. He called us up the other night, after not seeing him for awhile. We were a little bit discouraged thinking that he gave up on us. He asked us what he needed to do personally to prepare for baptism. We went over and saw him and he promised to stop smoking the next day cause he wants to get baptized so badly. He came to church yesterday and he said that he is almost completely off. He wants to be a member of the church so badly that he is willing to do anything for it.

He has been humble enough to accept our message and do anything it takes to come closer to Heavenly Father. I have learned a lot from Jo and I have been working on my humility as well. Thank you all for the amazing emails and gifts you sent for my birthday. I challenge us all to check our humility because we never know when the Lord is trying to tell us something but we are too proud to hear it. Love you all!

Love, Elder Leavitt
Sister Muccirone got me a cake. Happy Birthday Elder & Leavitt!

Go Razorbacks!

Halloween fun

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hello Friends and Family!
This past week has been crazy with the transfer and training and just everything that has been going on. Before the transfer, I had to say goodbye to a lot of people I have grown to love. It was sad but I know I will see them all again someday so that's a comforting thought. At the transfer point I got to meet Elder Chapman's new companion, Elder Coley. In the missionary family tree that would make him my brother. I got to spend the day with him and get a feel for how the people in Branson will like him and I feel like he will do just fine there as my replacement. I have my new companion now, Elder Anderson, and things have been great with us. He is from Pocatello, Idaho and President Poulsen was his Stake President. He is a great missionary and we get along just swell so it's going to be a great transfer.
I've been trying to memorize who is who in the ward and who's an investigator and what situation they are in and what they need as fast as I can. I feel like I'm the greenie again just in a new area. I've had the opportunity to meet a lot of the people in our teaching pool and have already started to love the people here so I feel like I will be just fine here in Fayetteville.
Well, thank you all for the love and support. My new address in 78 Aqua Crossing Apt. 11 Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701 so feel free to send me anything! Love you all and thanks for the prayers in my behalf. I pray for all of you and hope you all have an amazing week!

Love, Elder Leavitt
My new companion, Elder Anderson

Elder Chapman, Dye, Horsley and I with The Marcums

Chapmans new companion

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hello Everyone!

So we received transfer calls this past Monday and you can probably guess what's going on with me, I'm leaving Branson! It came as a surprise to everyone since Elder Chapman has been here forever. Everyone is super sad because they loved me and Elder Chapman together so there is going to be some hard goodbyes but I'm excited for what's ahead of me. I'm being transferred to Fayetteville, Arkansas! I'm really excited. I've heard nothing but good things about there and as a bonus, I'm split training a greenie!! I'm getting a little step-son. That makes me senior companion and puts me in charge of our area which makes me a little nervous but I'm ready for it.

I'm really sad to leave the progressing investigators that we have! We met with sister Matejcek this week and got serious about her baptismal date. She has committed to be baptized on November 21st and she has been smoking a lot less now so she is working towards being fully done with it two weeks before then.

Don't send me anything cause I'm going to be at a new address that I will give to you guys next week. Love you all. My next email will be coming at you straight from Fayetteville! Always place yourselves in a place where the spirit can communicate with you. Peace!

Love, Elder Leavitt

Zip lining on P-day
Because I will be transferring before my birthday, one of the members surprised me with an early party. So great!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hello Everyone!

This past week has been amazing for the missionary work. We have received 3 new investigators this week! It's the first time that we have had some solid new investigators since I've been out here in Branson. One of them is a guy who has lived with a less active family for a really long time and when we just came out and asked him if he wanted to get serious about getting baptized and taking the lessons he said,"Yeah I'd like to try it out." So that was a miracle for us!

The other two are a couple that just moved here from Washington. The wife actually had a baptism date set there but moved before she could and the husband still has some questions about the church but we are going to start teaching them the lessons and hopefully baptize both of them pretty soon!

Thank you all for the supportive emails this week. I love hearing about everyone's life! Keep up all the good work you are doing. Don't ever be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.

Love, Elder Leavitt
Our last meeting with the Martin family before they move

We found a kitty! We named it Biscuit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Monday, October 6, 2015

So how did everyone enjoy conference these past couple of days???
It was incredible to hear the testimonies of the newly called apostles and to feel the spirit testify that they are called of God along with all of the other speakers. I made sure to take good notes.

It was an amazing week this week! It was full of high points and low points. Let's start with the low. We got Anti'ed bad this week... The guy's name was Don and he seemed like a really nice guy and he invited us into his house and then just started ripping at Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. I have little patience for people who anti so I was doing my best to keep my cool but it was bad. He gave us all these papers that try to disprove Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon and I told him straight up that I wasn't going to read any of it cause it was all garbage and I wasn't going to let my testimony be destroyed by that filth and he got super mad at me so I got up and told him we had to leave. So we left and went and burned all the anti stuff down by the river. That was cool.

High note is that we got to meet with the Martin family. The Martins are a family that have been investigating the church for the past 2 years and we met with them a couple times when i first got here. The mom and her two boys are interested but the husband is not. So the mom's mother passed away a little while ago and it was hard on them and she didn't want to meet for a long time. Just when she was ready to meet again, her brother was killed in a car accident. She shut us out for a really long time and it was super sad. I texted them this past week to see how they were doing and they invited us over. They were happy to see us and we were planning on just talking to them. At the end of the lesson I had a super strong prompting to invite them to be baptized on November 28th. I went with the spirit and they happily accepted the invitation! What a feeling that was for me. They are moving into a different ward so we won't get to teach them anymore but they are on the right path at this point and that makes me happy enough.

The church is true brothers and sisters. There is no doubt about that. I love this Gospel and I will defend it and proclaim it until the day I die. I love you all so very much and thank you for everything. As our Prophet Thomas S. Monson has stated,"Faith and Doubt can not exist in the same mind at the same time." I pray that you all may have faith in your mind and in your heart at all times.

Love, Elder Leavitt
Enjoying our conference breakfast. Just like mom makes!

Mini golf on Pday

King of the hill

Elder Dye and I sporting our new T's

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hello Family and Friends!

It has been an incredible week! On Tuesday, I got to go to my very first Zone Conference. I love our mission President, President Loveland, so much. We were asked to be seated and studying before President came in to be reverent and such so everyone was dead quiet and being good when he came in. He walked up to the pulpit and said and I quote," I thought there was a funeral going on in here! Everyone get up and come shake my hand." Haha he is a funny guy and it was so cool to get to hear him speak to us and I made sure to take good notes.

So we have just been teaching all week this week and trying to get lessons in at any opportunity. We have been teaching this family, the Matejceks. (Mat-a-chex) for awhile now. The husband is a less active and the wife, Jamie, has been investigating for awhile now. She just has a smoking issue that she is trying to get over before she gets baptized. She said that she quit for 2 days last week but then got super stressed out and went back. She can do it and she knows she can. We prayed about a baptismal date and for some reason November 21st was really screaming at me so we checked and it is in fact on a Saturday so we told her to pray about it.

Other than that, everyone else we have been teaching have been coming along just wonderfully. I love getting to help these people grow closer to their Savior. I would encourage all of you to look for missionary opportunities in your lives and to assist your local missionaries the best you can. Love you all! Peace n' Blessing

Love, Elder Leavitt
Elder Horsely, myself, and Bryce, a ward member with The Cartright's "dog bird"

Zone conference with Elder Dye and Elder Chapman

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hello Everybody!

We had a pretty crazy and amazing week this week. Quick update on those girls I talked about last week. We went and talked to them and they said they want a little more time to talk it over and to make sure that it's right for them. I know it's right for them and I'm praying that they realize that this is exactly what they need to do.
Other than that just normal Missionary stuff going on! We talked to these two guys who were playing basketball in the park. They are both going to school to become Pastors so they knew their Bible pretty well. We taught them about the Restoration and they both took a Book of Mormon and said they would read it and would like to meet up with us again to talk about it.
So things have been pretty much the same. Oh yeah, except for the fact that I had to give a talk yesterday in Sacrament meeting! The Bishop calls me an hour before church and said that the speaker who was assigned couldn't make it so he asked me to give a 10-15 minute talk on commandments! I was studying and praying at the same time just begging for the Spirit to be with me. I was the last speaker too so I had to make up for any left over time. I gave my talk and just threw out what ever came to my mind. I remember some of it but most of it was just whatever I felt like I should say. I talked for about 15 minutes and then sat down. I guess it was a pretty good talk because people kept on telling me that they would have never guessed I was a greenie based on my talk. This is a witness to you guys that prayer does work because I know I would have never been able to give that talk if it wasn't guided by the Spirit!
Thank you all for your supportive emails! I know that if you open and close everyday with a prayer, that you will see the hand of God more frequently working in your lives and you will be blessed for it. Have an amazing week and as everyone here says,"God Bless!"

Love, Elder Leavitt
Visiting a family who had a new baby

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sup Squad!
It's been another amazing week in the Branson 2nd area. I'm growing to love the people here and I've had some great memories with the members and non members. We ball up with these kids at a ghetto park every once in a while and we are hoping to start teaching them soon but right now it is just us schooling them in basketball. Being a missionary has it's perks. There is a new Ci Ci's Pizza opening up on the strip today and it's the biggest Ci Ci's in the world! Remember Brother Young, The cat guy that I talked about a couple weeks ago?  His sister is married to the rich guy who owns it and a bunch of other restaurants on the strip. On Saturday, we got to go with them to lunch there as a trial run for the employees. So, basically I went to the world's biggest Ci Ci's before it was even opened! It kind of makes us hipsters.
So a crazy experience happened last week. Every Tuesday we do service at this little Thrift shop called Selfless blessings and we talk with the owners there about just random stuff. While we were talking, out of nowhere one of the ladies that owns the place said, "So can you baptize my daughters?" We both almost had a conniption right there just from the shock! We talked with her some more and she is a less active and her parents are active and her 18 and 11 year old daughters want to get baptized into the church and start coming. We are planning on starting to teach them sometime this week they just need to speak with the husband.
Heavenly Father truly has been blessing me in my life and I hope y'all are recognizing the blessings in your life because they are so plentiful! Keep on serving and always be thankful for what you have now and be willing to share the blessing with others. Love and miss all of you!
Love, Elder Leavitt

Spending time with Jamaal Charles

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hello Loved ones!

This week brings an end to my first transfer out in the mission field and I feel like I've learned so much since the MTC. We had transfer calls this Saturday and it looks like I'm staying in Branson along with Elder Chapman. I'm really happy that I get to stay here in this area with him for another great transfer.

So we had a difficult week trying to fill our schedules with appointments with investigators but we got in a lot of good active member lessons. Our ward really wants to start focusing on member responsibility for referrals. We are hoping to see some increase in our teaching pool. Even though it was hard sometimes getting appointments, we still had an amazing week full of miracles and amazing experiences. Yesterday, we had more investigators show up to church than any other week this transfer. It was exciting to see them there! I also happened to see The Seely family in the ward on Sunday. That was a crazy surprise!

A couple days ago we went to visit a less active family, The Nelsons. Their daughter, Kiana, just had surgery on her leg because she tore her ACL. When we got there, she was in a ton of pain. She took medication and nothing was working for her. We asked if she would like a blessing and she said yes. The power of the spirit that was in that room was so remarkable. Elder Chapman gave the blessing and you could tell that he was speaking through the spirit. After the blessing, Kiana just sat there, completely at peace. The authority of the Priesthood is an amazing gift that we have been given and I'm glad that I've been able to exercise that powerful authority. It makes me always want to live worthy to be able to use it in my future family.

Thank you all so much for your emails this week. I love hearing from everyone of you guys. No matter what you are going through, keep your head up, keep on going, and trust Heavenly Father. He can't help you if you just sit in one place. Love you all!

Love, Elder Leavitt
It was crazy running into this guy at church!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hey Everyone!

It has been another week full of service and trying our best to get new investigators. The baptism for Alex last week was amazing but since he is 18, he was baptized into the Singles ward. The Branson 2nd area hasn't had a baptism in about 2 years so we are hoping to break that streak soon. It's been really hard trying to get new people to teach. Everyone is so set in their ways and their beliefs. It makes it nearly impossible to teach them by the spirit when they won't open up their hearts. Elder Chapman said that this is the hardest area that he has served in so far. I guess that's just perfect for a new elder like me!

We have been seeing a little bit more success in one of our investigators. Her name is Marsha Young. Her husband is a less active member and she is a baptized Baptist. We love going over there because we get to sit outside and just talk about the Book of Mormon and read about it. When we first started going over there, Marsha would go inside and not participate but now she will sit outside with us and read with us. She asks a bunch of questions and seems to be getting a little bit more interested! Brother Young said that he has even noticed her studying at home and getting more into it! Oh and did I forget to mention that they have 22 cats!!! Yeah, exactly! They don't have any children but they sure do have cats. Whenever we teach outside, they are all running around and jumping on us and they are everywhere! They know every single one of them by name so I am determined to be able to name them all before I leave.

I've been loving this area so much. I love the members of our ward. Since all of them perform in shows here and they all have beautiful voices, they do this thing in sacrament meeting called an instant choir. They just announce what choir song is going to be sung and invite anyone to come up and sing. Honestly, this ward is comparable to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir... It's insane and the organist is like a professional musician. He is composing a musical right now that is going to be submitted to Hollywood. He is truly amazing!

Thank you all for the supportive emails and such! I love you all and I hope all of you are constantly setting a good example to those around you. Continue to serve and always serve with a smile! Love ya all!

Love, Elder Leavitt
Taking a cruise after the baptism

Thank you for the Dairy Queen gift card!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Monday, August 25, 2015

Hello Everybody!

This week has been very eventful in so many different ways. I have had such spiritual and just plain crazy experiences this week.

So first off, we had our first baptism on Saturday! His name is Alex Yiannios and he is such an amazing guy. He was meeting with the missionaries before I got here and we set a date with him not too long ago. Wow, what a spiritual experience. He asked Elder Chapman to baptize him and asked me to give the opening prayer. A small role but still, it mattered! haha. You could really feel the spirit there as they entered the water and as Alex made those sacred covenants with our Father in Heaven. Alex is 18 and is really tall! We had to triple dunk him to make sure he got all the way down! It just makes me happy for Alex and the new life before him.

Now with the Crazy. So we live in a pretty nice neighborhood, but there was quite a ruckus going on the other night. While Elder Chapman was showering I heard shouting outside and I went out to see our neighbor standing on the balcony. When I went to see what was going on, we could see that across the street a huge guy was yelling at a women. Through their open door, we heard him say that he was going to kill her. He kept saying it over and over! It got way bad and we were scared for the lady so I called the police on him! Like, four cop cars came hauling up the street and they talked to us and they went to talk to the guy and he was mouthing off to the cops so they cuffed him and took him in right there! Right in front of our apartment! I honestly felt really good about helping that lady and it was just a crazy random moment!

Anyways, Thanks for the great emails this week and I appreciate the support that I receive from all of you. I challenge you all to be mindful of the opportunities to serve that are all around us. Sometimes we get too caught up in the craziness of our own lives and miss a vital chance to help serve someone else. Love you all and hope you all have a safe week!

Love Elder Leavitt
Please enjoy this picture of us with Alex

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hey guys!
I've already been out for a month! What the heck!?!? It doesn't seem real! So things have been pretty crazy here the past week. We have been volunteering a lot of time at local Thrift Shops and Rec centers. We have been hoping that by serving we will receive more investigators but we haven't had much luck yet but we will keep trying!
Update on our wonderful Investigator Dominique: He dumped his girlfriend that was keeping him from the gospel then moved to Springfield to become a UFC fighter soooo... yeah we are praying that the missionaries up there find him because he was ready for the gospel and we wanted to help him so badly!
A fun experience happened yesterday! We were tracting in a neighborhood and it was just our luck that we tracted right into the home of a Baptist Preacher! And I would love to tell you all that the preacher accepted our message and the spirit was so strong and everyone was so happy, but the complete opposite happened. The second he saw us he started bashing on the church. He insisted on telling us what he KNEW was true about our church and according to him, he knows more about the LDS church than we do! He was not hesitant to tell us that we were going to Hell and stuff like that. He told us all these stories about how he had to set a Book of Mormon on fire to cast the demons out of his house and said that he would pray for us to find the light and see the errors of our ways. He refused to call us Elder and just called us by our last names. And I just smiled the whole time and I almost laughed out loud when he told us his name was Lamen! Hahah what are the odds of that? This honestly just strengthened my testimony. It gave me a look at what strong grip the adversary has on some people. Real Christians wouldn't be going around telling people they are going to Hell and I hope none of the members from our church has ever been as disrespectful to someone else's religion as that man was to us. The gospel is true and this great cause will go forward!
I love you all and hope to hear from you all. Remember, there is always going to be someone who is looking up to you so lead by example and always reflect the love that our Heavenly Father has for all of his children.

Love, Elder Leavitt
Our investigator, Michael. He's usually much happier!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

So the past week has been so amazing here in Branson. We've been getting a lot of rain here and its not wussy Nevada rain storms. These are hardcore southern, constant lightning, pouring rainstorms! The other day we were helping a less active lady in our area carry some stuff to the dump that's down the street from her house and it just starts pouring down on us. We got inside as fast as we could and we were given some towels but it still felt like I just got out of the shower with my church clothes on. It's crazy sometimes but I still love it.
I've already had so many experiences here that have strengthened my testimony of how aware our Heavenly Father is of all of us.
The other day, Elder Chapman had the idea to bike The Strip (Yep, just like Vegas hah) and talk to people we see. We talked to some interesting people. A while later we stopped to talk to a Lady who is LDS. She was visiting here in Branson with all of her family but only about half of them are members of the church. While we were talking she said," You know it's crazy... I just got in a big fight with some of my family about the church so I decided to take a walk. While I was walking I thought, It really would be nice to see some elders right now. And just like that you guys came biking up the hill!" She thanked us for lifting up her spirit and making her feel a lot better. Right when she walked away a man biked up to us and started talking about how he wanted to be baptized into our church! We got his info and we are going to start the lessons with him. God is always aware of our needs and our wants. He knows us better than we know ourselves and will always send people our way that he knows will help us.
I've had so many other experiences here that have helped me grow but I'll have to save those for when I get back or no one will want to talk to me about my mission because they will already know all about it! Thank you so much for the emails and all the support. Heavenly Father loves you and will care for you. Love ya all!
-Elder Leavitt  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Good morning Brothers and Sisters,
I guess everyone has seen the escalator video cause that's all everyone was talking about in their emails this week so I'll just give minor details of that. It surprised me.
Anyways! I've finally made it out into the mission field! Y'all are probably just barely able to deal with the suspense of knowing where my first area is...I have been assigned to labor in the Branson,Missouri area! People keep calling it the Las Vegas of the South but the big differences are that here it's wet, green, and family friendly. I've loved this area a lot so far. The people in our ward, Branson 2nd ward, pretty much all perform at some show here so I've met some interesting people. My trainer is Elder Chapman. He is a really great guy and a good missionary. He is from Mesa Arizona. I've already begun to get close to him and we get along just dandy! I think we really got close after we pulled up and talked to some guys who were having a Confederate gathering at a local McDonald's. I'm not Lying, there had to be 25 cars there just completely covered with Confederate flags. I love these people!
So I must tell you about Dominique!!!
It's really hard to get investigators here because unlike Vegas, people actually respect religions. So we went on a visit to a less active member with our Ward Mission Leader, Andy Hughes. He has a big show here with his family like everyone else. The less active member was Kim Hicks and her son Dalton. They live in a trailer so this was my first "trailer visit." Kim wanted to watch the Restoration video with us so we brought it over with a couple of Books of Mormon. This guy Dominique is a really close friend to the Hicks family and he is about 20. We started talking to everyone and Dom started asking all these questions about us and what we believe in. He said that he has been to a couple churches but hasn't felt completely right about any of them. So we watched the video with them and afterwards Dom just kept on saying how it all made sense! How everything we were saying just clicked with him! He asked for a Book of Mormon so we gave him one and he was eager to read. He told us that when he found out that we were coming over that he was bashing us for not being Christian and about how our church isn't true and he apologized to us and has had a complete change of heart. The Lord works in miraculous ways! He said he was going to go to church yesterday and he was really excited to, but his girlfriend said she was uncomfortable with going to the church cause she wasn't there for the lesson. I'm hoping we can teach both of them soon cause Dominique is a soul our Heavenly Father has prepared to receive this glad message and I hope we will get to meet with his girlfriend Crystal too.
I'm really happy serving here and can't wait to gain more of these spiritual experiences as I continue to help the work progress onward ever onward! I love all of ya and hope to hear from all of you Soon! Help your local missionaries! Trust me, they need it :)
-Elder Leavitt

President and Sister Loveland

This is one of the first things I saw when I got off the plane. We don't see those back home!

Amazing airport welcome!

My trainer Elder Chapman