Tuesday, April 7, 2009

And even more pics!

You can find Elder Evans centered in the 3rd row!!

More pics

"One is my favorite looking bike and team.
Two is team robobank. They race in the Tour de' France too.
Well got to go. Love ya."


"Here are pictures of my newest companion (Elder Worthington) and I as well as a
sweet sunset. Elder Worthington and I knew each other before the mission. He
actually met Tristen at E.F.Y. He is also from Virginia. I never imagined that
I'd be companions with him, it was quite a shocker when President Jardine called
me one night while I was at my Bishop's home and said "Elder Evans,I have a new
assignment for you. I'd like you to be companions with Elder Worthington in the
office". I haven't had a companion that I like more than Elder Worthington.
Thats why we both have matching ties.

The next picture is of a sunset that I saw while serving in the Mather ward (The
best ward in the mission). It was in Rancho Cordova."

Sunday's Email

"Dear Family and Friends, 5-APR-2009

You are now about to hear what I feel is the greatest miracle that I have been a part of on my mission.
This is the story of Elena. As a twelve year old child she was introduced to cigarettes and began smoking them. Later in life she ran a rampant lifestyle being involved in parties other drugs and alcohol. As she got older she got married and had a wonderful healthy son.
Some years go by and she has her second son. This one was not however, like his older brother. Indeed, he was a special child. Rustin, now 6 years old, had been diagnosed with autism. The diagnosis put a spin on the family. They continued to remain strong through the many trials.
Please bear with me, as I change the subject briefly. As a newly called Office Elder in the California Sacramento mission I had the privilege of being called into the office three weeks before transfers. We worked as if there were no tomorrow. Some days we spent upwards of 18 hours in the office. The benefit that I’ve illustrated is the principle of hard work and selfless sacrifice. We did not ask for extra time to sleep, but kept working as if everything depended on us. At transfer time President Jardine said that "Office Elders will soon be covering a local Ward due to a Sister missionaries health problems, which would cause her early departure from the mission." As transfers came around President announced that we would be covering the Northridge Ward of the California Carmichael Stake. I took the news with great anticipation.
The next morning as we entered the office, Sister Richardson (Mission Receptionist) took great joy when she saw us. She began jumping up and down exclaiming “Someone is on the phone that wants to be taught by the missionaries, she said that she was watching a show on T.V. something made her call us. She has called from five to ten numbers to talk to us.” Elder Worthington and I quickly bolted to our office and on found out that she lived in the Northridge ward…… Of all of the places that she could have lived in the mission, she lived here. What excitement and joy we felt as we saw the Lords hand in His work.
Days later we visited her and gave her the spiritual nourishment of which she so desperately hungered and thirsted for. She asked many questions about the Plan of Salvation. We taught her about the influence and power of the Holy Ghost. She immediately recognized more of the truth of what we taught.
In the following days I felt prompted that I should be the one that taught at our next appointment. However, fear seemed to keep me from having the desire and faith to teach her. She asked questions that I didn’t know how best to answer. My other two companions had other important responsibilities which needed to be tended to at the same time. I still told myself that I wouldn’t go to teach her. She was one of the most immodest dressers on the planet. I didn’t want to put myself in an uncomfortable situation, didn’t want to leave my comfort zone.
Less than an hour before the appointment while driving to our dinner appointment, my companions reiterated the fact that they had other work to do and would not be able to help me. Then they asked me if I had an exchange. I didn’t have one yet. They offered to help me find one. It was a Saturday night. We struggled to figure out who would be a good exchange/chaperone and then hectically called them. We called more, more than that and yes, you can believe it…..even more than that. We called everyone we knew and then more. Our less than informative ward list seemed to fail us. At last we had an answer. Brother Barker agreed to assist me. I told him that we had thirty minutes to be at her home. As I entered our dinner’s home he asked where I was. I told him the street name and he replied “I live at the end of that street.” The fact that he could be ready, have picked me up so soon, and that he lived so close was nothing shy of divine intervention from our Heavenly Father.
We arrived on time to her home. Brother Barker did a fabulous job at teaching and helping her to feel comfortable. I asked if she had read and prayed about the chapter that we assigned her in the Book Of Mormon. She said that she did. That she “know [s} that it is true”. Then she said something that hit me even harder. In her first day of having the Gospel Principles book she said “I keep hungering for this word. I can’t get enough of it. Last I stayed up and read eight chapters of it.” She loves that book.
We taught her the Word of Wisdom. That night as I taught the Spirit was present in greater abundance than I believe I have ever felt up to this day. I bore the most heartfelt testimony of Heavenly Fathers love for her and of her being His daughter than I ever felt possible. I even got a little choked up. Words cannot describe the feelings that were felt that night. As I sat there I felt that there were angels round about us. I have never felt that I have been more destined to do anything besides teach that lesson. I know and testify that that is true. I am so honored to have the opportunity to teach her.
Sunday she came to Sacrament, enjoyed the inspired speakers and made a few friends. One friend of which is the best is Sister Gentry. Sister Gentry saw that Elena was unique and having gone astray for a little while decided that this would be good to be a friend to one as she once was. Unfortunately, Elena wasn’t able to stay for Sunday school.
After trying to set up many appointments we were able to teach her one lesson that week. To our surprise Sister Gentry had dropped some treats off on Elena’s doorstep earlier that week. They had spent many hours on the phone with each other talking about the Gospel and how Sister Gentry’s family had benefited from it.
The next week she came to church again. With little patience for herself, after Sacrament Meeting she expressed concern about things that she needed to improve upon. We briefly taught her about repentance and baptism upon which we set a baptismal date of which she agreed to.
She stayed for the Gospel Principles class. I thought I would pass out as the teacher said to Elena “Elena, there are eight of us here in class today, we are all members…all of us are here just for you. “ Then everyone stopped and stared at her. WOW! That’s what I would call “putting someone on the spot. The lesson she taught was “Our Heavenly Father”. Not only did she teach that, but, she taught other deep doctrines that are along those lines. Whew! Thankfully Elena was opened minded about it. I am kind of biased about the materials that I give to my investigators. I like to follow the “Milk before Meat” concept having seen some investigators misunderstand the “meat” before they understand the basic principles of the Gospel.
The next Sunday she expressed to us how she had made it through all of the adversity that she had faced. Her husband, though not interested, supports her desires. Once again she enjoyed church. On her drive home she cried a “joyful cry” having had the Spirit continue to be with her. It was “such a great feeling. I love this church. I know that it’s true.”
The next week she wasn’t able to make it to church due to a flaky babysitter. The following week which was yesterday and today she attended the first session of General Conference. We met at the Stake Center where we learned much from the many inspired speakers. Elena felt like it was exactly what she needed to hear. Conference ended and Elder Worthington and I needed to teach her three more principles before her baptismal interview. As we stood up Elena looked to her right and saw a recent convert, young single adult who she had worked with and had a good relationship with some time ago. They met each other with GREAT enthusiasm! Elder Waters and Elder Hammond (The Assistants) were right beside us as well and saw as it unfolded. Elena really only had one close member friend. Now she has two. Elena was really excited to know that her old friend (Jessica) from work had just been baptized into the Church six months ago.
Elder Worthington and I seemed to have the same idea come into our heads that was “Have Jessica join in on the lesson”. So we taught her with Jessica and Jessica’s friend. It was a great lesson and Elena is very excited for the future. We committed her to “not drink” at the party that she was “obligated” to attend that night.
Today is Sunday. Elena called me at 6:45 and said that she was sick. We really wanted her to come to Church but couldn’t do much else. After calling her and her not answering we (Elders Worthington, Freebairn, Davis, and I) figured that we should go see her. We dug up some medicine and a picture from the Reflections of Christ exhibit (Which had Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in it) and Peace Like a River by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and brought it to her. We knocked and she didn’t answer. So we left a note on the front door that said “Hope you feel better. Here’s your medicine and a really peaceful cd. Hope to hear from you soon. Love, the Elders”. Five minutes after we left Elder Davis’ phone (My old phone) and I answered it. She said “Elder I’m so sorry for missing you. I just used every bit of strength that I had to walk to the neighbor’s home and get the same type of medicine from them that you left me. Oh, I should have just waited here. You guys are angels. I was only gone for five minutes..
The work of the Lord will continue as time goes on and strengthened resolve I have because of the love that I have for the Lord and His beloved sheep. May we all press forward with the lower lights be burning. Let us continue to send a gleam across the way. Some poor traveling seaman you may rescue, you may save.
With a heart full of love for the Lord and His gospel,
Elder Evans

Pass this e-mail around.
Elena is the female to my immediate left. Her friend in white."