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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wow has it already been two weeks??? The days here just keep flying by but I've been enjoying it the whole time. So most of my district and zone left this morning which only leaves behind me and three other Elders. It was really hard to say goodbye to those Elders and Sisters but when they left this morning we had a district prayer and I know I'm going to see them again :)
I can't believe I leave for Arkansas in the morning! It feels like I just got here but I'm excited/nervous/anxious to get out in the field. I've had some amazing teachers during my time at the MTC and they have taught me so much about loving the people and helping them come closer to Christ.
So an incredible experience happened the past two nights.
A couple nights ago a sister in our district asked for a Priesthood blessing because her relationship with her dad wasn't the best when she left. She asked me and a couple other companions to stand in on it while Elder Shaw gave the prayer. The spirit there was so powerful and comforting. After the blessing she came up to us and told us that what was said in the prayer actually related directly to something in her Patriarchal blessing! Our Heavenly Father works in miraculous ways.
Last night we had a district testimony meeting and the testimonies shared strengthened my own. The spirit the members of my district can invite into any meeting is such a wonderful gift. I have enjoyed being able to serve them and their district leader and hope for the best for all of them.
I'm ready to go out and do the work I have been sent here to do. I'm so grateful for the emails of love and support you have all sent me. I know without a doubt this church is true. I'll email you all from Arkansas next week!
-Elder Leavitt
Elder Bowen kept getting lost

I finally saw Elder Enosa!
District 44 saved up all our food that wa sent to us and had a "last supper"

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hello everyone!
I've been at the MTC for a little more than a week now and I'm loving every second of it. I was blessed with such an amazing companion, Elder Thurgood. He is a great guy and everyone loves him. He is constantly smiling and will bear his testimony anytime, anywhere. It is such a strong one and I'm always happy to hear it. I can't believe that it's already been a week! Time has just been flying here. We are constantly moving from class to class to meals to meetings to sleeping then more classes! But I'm not complaining. I've already learned so much and I'm eager to learn more. Before I got my call I always thought I wanted to speak a foreign language on my mission. Now that I'm here and I realize that those elders have to stay for a month and a half, I'm thankful for an English speaking mission. I've only got five more days here but I already want to leave and get work done! So, last Thursday I got called to be my District Leader! Which means I get to check the mail and go to meetings and adult stuff like that so I feel like I've been doing a good job so far. I've been given such a great district. All the Elders and Sisters in my district get along so well. We are constantly laughing at each other but also strengthening each other with the powerful testimonies given by everyone. After all these devotionals and meetings I've been going to, I have a whole new perspective on what to want/expect on my mission. I leave next Wednesday for Arkansas so I don't know when my next email will be coming but hopefully soon. I love all of you guys and thank you so much for the support and love you have shown me in my life and also this past week with your great emails! See you all soon!!!
- Elder Leavitt
Elder Thurgood and I

My district
top row: Elder Solomon, Elder Mckinlay, Elder Shaw, Elder Thurgood, Elder Leavitt, Elder Mclean, Sister Mccleery 
Bottom: Elder Bowen, Elder Johnson, Sister Davis
love all of them