Monday, July 31, 2017

Email #47 - One Year Down

July 31, 2017
Montgomery Alabama

Family - I hope you are all doing really well. Wow! What a week. It's getting to the point where it really is just flying by.  I just feel like I put my head down and get to work and then the next thing I know I am writing another email home. Pretty crazy... So this week has been pretty darn quick... It's been a pretty long week to be honest though... We didn't see much happen this week. We've had a lot of appointments get cancelled on us.  So that's always super great... But anyways, I was thinking about a few quotes that I've heard while I've been out on the mission.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

At times things are super great and at other times, things aren't going your way. I've been thinking about those tough times in our lives and how they don't stick around but we often need to put on our game faces and push through. This week here in Alabama was one of those weeks. We didn't see a whole lot, and we weren't able to visit with a whole lot of people. But those are the weeks that you show who you really are. Are you willing to push through for the cause of Christ? Are you willing to pull and put everything on your shoulders for the cause of Christ? Are you willing to stand up for our Savior? Do you "Dare to Stand Alone?" as President Monson says. These are the times that we are given to show what we have; to show how dedicated and how willing we are to do the will of Jesus Christ. Yes, it has been a pretty rough week when it comes to missionary work, but those are the times when we are able to show the Lord how willing we are to give it our all for the cause of Christ. I'm so thankful for these hard times.  We are able to grow and learn from these times. I have often said, "What good things come from things being easy?" We can't learn if we aren't being tried and we aren't being challenged. I feel like I have become truly thankful for those hard times. I have become thankful for the trials that we are given to help us grow and truly become "unshaken" in our testimonies as Jacob and Enos were, and to help us learn to give it our all for the cause of Christ.

Thank you all for your support and your love. I'm thankful for your examples and your steadfast testimonies in our Savior. I pray you all have a great week. Please send my love to all of our loved ones. Love you all!

Strength and Honor
Elder Noah Featherstone

Stephanie's Baptism

Chowin' down on some cupcakes with my boys Bo and Frankie

 My man Ethan Stoker and I chillin' on the banana chairs

Friday, July 28, 2017

Email #46 - Bringing in the Sheaves

July 24, 2017
Montgomery, Alabama

Family - This week was a great one! It was really soooooo amazing! "THAT WAS TOTALLY WICKED!" Sooooooooooo I'll get right to it!

This week was Stephanie Smith's Baptism and it was so good! Elder Hasleton and I had a great weekend. On Saturday we went to the church and prepared for the baptism and we got every thing ready and the baptism went really well. As Steph and Elder Hasleton were walking back into the changing rooms, I was closing the curtain and I said, "How do you feel?" She looked at me and got the biggest smile ever and said, "I FEEL SO GOOD! It's Indescribable!" It made me so happy! She didn't stop smiling the rest of the night! It was amazing. I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost after they got back from changing, and it went pretty well. I shared a little bit about his name "The Comforter." I really love that name and how if we are living worthily and diligently seeking the help from the Lord, we will feel comfort from him. He will be there for us always. It goes back to D&C 82:10 that says, "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." So when we live worthily, we can expect the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Pretty Amazing! But we also have to be able to hear the quiet whispers and the comforting touch.

On Sunday, during Sacrament Meeting, I was able to confirm Stephanie a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was amazing. She really has the desire to follow our Savior and to become better. It really inspired me to do better and to do all I can to influence others to come closer to our Savior.

After Church on Sunday there was another baptism of an 8 year old in the ward. Elder Hasleton and I asked Steph if she would like to stay for the baptism so her kids could see it because they couldn't come to her baptism the night before. She said. "Yeah, that would be great!" So we went to it and they loved it. So we are going to start trying to teach her kids and her husband and see if they are interested in listening to the lessons at this point. It really was amazing. I was also able to stand in on the confirmation of this 8 year old in the ward that asked me to be in the circle. It was such an amazing weekend.

I was thinking a lot this weekend about how at times we do good things for others and we try to reach out to others but we don't always see the results right away. There are reapers and there are sowers. In my mission so far I've been doing a lot of sowing. It's been a lot of finding and a lot of teaching the first few lessons and seeing other missionaries come along and do the reaping for me. I haven't been on the end of reaping so far and so this really was an amazing experience. It's been quite an incredible experience seeing her receive so much joy and love from our Father in Heaven by following His son's example and being baptized. I know this work is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I know that this is Christ's church once again established on this earth. This is His work and His glory. I know that I am on the Lord's errand and that I have the opportunity to be one of His representatives here in Alabama. I'm thankful for the Lord and the love He shows us. He Lives and He loves us. I love you all and I hope and pray you have an amazing week.

Strength and Honor
Elder Noah Featherstone

P.S. I don't have my camera this week. It's been a little crazy... But I'll send the pictures from this week and the pictures from the baptism next week! Love you all!

Email #45 - Familias Pueden Ser Eternas

July 17, 2017
Montgomery, Alabama

Hola Familia! Como están? Espero que todo esta bien! Puedo escribir mi correo semanalmente esta semana en Español? Esta bien? Okay! Entonces Esta semana estuvo muy rápida! Estuvo muy bien! Para empezar yo quiero hablar un poco de una experiencia que tuvimos con una investigadora se llama Stephanie.

Esta semana tuvimos una cita con Stephanie y ella esta muy animado para ser bautizado. En la lección, hablabamos sobre las familias, y que ellos pueden ser eternas. Explicamos un poco del templo y las cosas así. Ella le gusto la tema mucho y después que explicamos las cosas del templo y las familias ella estuvo llorando. Nos preguntó, "Por que yo siento diferente que yo he experimentado en el pasado? Yo siento diferente y me gusta mucho, pero que es?" A eso momento el espíritu estuvo muy fuerte como comenzamos explicar de los frutos del espíritu y que las cosas que ella esta sintiendo ahora son los frutos del espíritu. La lección con ella fue muy bien y una experiencia que no voy a olvidar.

También, esta semana tuvimos una cita con una investigadora se llama Wanda Kraemer, y ella acepto nuestra invitación a bautismo. No tenemos una fecha ahora por su bautismo pero vamos a trabajar en asegurando una fecha por ella en esta semana.

Esta semana estuvo muy rápida y realmente yo no puedo recordar mucho de que pasaba... Ja! Pero muchas gracias por todo sus apoya y sus oraciones hacia los misioneros en el campo y por todas las cosas ustedes hacen por la obra de Dios. Estoy muy agradecido por todos sus ejemplos y por todo que hacen por mi! Espero que tengan una buena semana! Ustedes son los mejores! Les Quiero! Que tengan una buena semana!

Translation -

Hello family! How are you? I hope everything is fine! Can I write my weekly email this week in Spanish? It's okay? OK!  This week was very fas.! It was great! I want to tell you about an experience we had with a investigator named Stephanie.

This week we had an appointment with Stephanie and she is very likely to be baptized. In the lesson, we talked about families, and how they can be together forever. We talked a little about the temple and so on. She liked the subject very much and after we talked about the temple and families she was crying.  She asked us "Why do I feel different than I've experienced in the past? I feel different.  What is it?" At that moment the spirit was very strong as we begin to explain the fruits of the spirit and that what she was feeling now are the fruits of the spirit. It was an experience I will not forget.

Also, this week we had an appointment with a investigator named Wanda Kraemer, and she accepted our invitation to baptism. We don’t have a date for his baptism now but we will work on securing a date for her this week.

This week went by very fast.  Thank you for all your support and prayers for the missionaries in the field and all the things you do for God's work. I am very grateful for all your examples and for all you do for me! I hope you have a good week! You are the best! I love you all!

Strength and Honor
Elder Noah Featherstone

Montgomery Capitol Building

Elder Hasleton and I at the Capitol

A Members daughter wanted to put a bag over my head.... 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Email #44 - The Geico Gecko and the 4th

July 10, 2017
Montgomery, Alabama

Happy Monday Everyone! Sounds like your week has been "QUACKTASTIC!" I love it! The week here in Montgomery has been a blast. It's been quite the exciting week! Full of interesting experiences and hysterical ones as well.  

So I guess the first thing is.... You know how they have those questions like: "What's one thing you did for the first time on your mission?" Well I finally have one of those answers! This week we were talking with a Less Active and he asked us if we could come over this week and help him out a little bit "putting up some shutters and moving his mountain." "WAIT! Did he just say mountain? Like back in Utah?" My companion was like, "Yeah...." with a little bit of a sigh.... So we went over and turns out it's this massive kid's playhouse thing that he wanted to put in his kids room. So Yes! We disassembled and reassembled a mountain this week.

When it comes to the 4th of July these people here really know how to celebrate when it comes to food. Wow! It was spectacular! We had 3 meal appointments in one day and we just were bursting at the seams... One of the meal appointments was with an Investigator named Fred. He is just the man! He made us ribs, mac and cheese, cole slaw, baked beans, fried chicken, etc. Wow! So darn good... I wish I could cook like that!

On Thursday I was asked to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting in church. So as I arrived on Sunday Morning for Ward Council, I realized that the entire Stake Presidency was here to visit as well. It was a little bit intimidating... so soon enough I'm standing at the pulpit and I'm about 2 minutes in and I hear a bunch of whispering behind me. As I'm speaking I'm thinking, "Why is the Stake Presidency and Bishopric all whispering..." After a few minutes I look toward the front right side of the congregation and I see a few elderly women sitting by each other. I look at their faces and they all are terrified and trying not to scream! Out of no where I see this lizard crawling on the benches and I'm still speaking trying my hardest to keep it together. I'm seeing these elderly women and little children freaking out and trying not to scream while I'm just trying not to burst into laughter while at the pulpit. It was so dang funny! I glanced behind me and the Bishop is just trying not to laugh. It was quite the meeting! I got some good feedback from the talk so that was good.

We have an investigator named Steph who is a few weeks away from Baptism so that's super exciting. She is amazing and fits in super well with the ward. It will be an exciting experience. Our last lesson with her we went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she basically just bore her testimony to us about how she knows that through Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End we can become perfected and return to live with Him. It was an amazing experience.

It really is amazing that through the Doctrine of Christ we are able to become perfected and we are able to continually grow and become more like Him. That's our goal, to become perfected and live with Him again. Elder Brian K. Ashton said, “The doctrine of Christ allows us to access the spiritual power that will lift us from our current spiritual state to a state where we can become perfected.” That really is amazing. Through the doctrine, He lifts us and helps us become perfect just as He is. I know that's true. I know this gospel is true, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity I have to be here in Alabama sharing it with His children.
Thank you for your support and love. You are all in my prayers! Love you all! Have a stellar week! Keep smiling!

Strength and Honor    
Elder Noah Featherstone

Store Contacting at the Mall with the homies and their Russell Westbrook shades

My friend Octavio I met at the Mall on the 4th

 Zone Conference with a bunch of other missionaries

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Email #43 - Inviting God's Children to Come Home

July 3, 2017
Montgomery, Alabama

HEYY! FAMILY HOW ARE YOU??? I've heard so many good things this week. I love it! Sounds like you all are just livin' life! This week in Alabama was an insane one to say the least. So as you know, I got transferred to Montgomery and wow. This place is just the greatest! It's so different than anywhere I've ever been before. It's basically like a foreign country. But from what I've seen it's going to be a blast down here. I love it! So I have a few experiences for you.

First off, I want to share a little part of the email I received from my mission president this week. He shares this very amazing experience that Elder Holland tells at the MTC.

Elder Holland related the following story in the MTC last week that I would like to share with you about a young man from southern Idaho. "One night the young man stormed out of the house and set off to join an infamous motorcycle gang. He succeeded in that resolve and for 20 years became immersed in a culture “of temptations yielded to and degradations explored,” never contacting his parents, who feared that he was dead.

Eventually ending up in Southern California, he one day was sitting on the porch of a rented home when he saw two LDS missionaries making their way up the street.

“With a rush of memory and guilt, regret and rage, he despised the very sight of them, but he was safe, because he kept all visitors at bay by employing two Doberman Pinschers who viciously charged the gate every moment that anyone came near.”

The dogs startled the missionaries as they passed by and continued on, “our man on the porch laughing at the lovely little drama he had just witnessed, wishing only that the gate hadn’t restrained his two dogs.”

Then, the two elders stopped, looked at each other, conversed a little, “likely said a silent prayer,” then turned around and approached the gate.

“The Dobermans on cue charged the gate again, hit it, snarling, frothing, and then stopped in their tracks,” Elder Holland said. “They looked at the missionaries, dropped their heads, ambled back to the front steps and lay down.”

The man on the porch was speechless as they missionaries opened the gate, walked up the path and greeted him.

“One of the elders said, ‘Are you from this part of California?’

“The man said, ‘No. If you want to know, I’m from Pocatello, Idaho.’

“There was a pause. ‘That’s interesting,’ the elder said. ‘Do you know the [such-and-such] family in Pocatello?’

“With a stunned look, our biker paused, and then, in very measured words, said, ‘Yeah, I know them. They are my parents.’

“ ‘Well, they’re my parents too,’ the missionary said. ‘God has sent me to invite you to come home.’ ”

The younger brother had been born after the older boy had left home. The elder brother did not even know of him.

“Mom and Dad have been praying for you every morning and night for 20 years,” the younger brother said. “They were not sure you were alive, but they knew if you were, that someday you would come back to us.”

The wayward son invited the two in, and they talked for the rest of the day and some of the night. He did return home, returned to Church activity and, in March 2015, was married and sealed in the Boise Idaho Temple.

Commenting on the account, Elder Holland said, “This is a story of the role of Almighty God, the Savior of the World, and the Holy Ghost involved in the work of the ministry to which we’ve been called.

“The Holy Ghost prompted those parents to keep praying, to keep believing, to keep trusting. … The Holy Ghost inspired that rebellious boy to come to himself like the prodigal he was and to head for California. … The Holy Ghost influenced that younger son to serve a mission and be willing to accept a call to Southern California. … The Holy Ghost inspired one of my brethren in the Twelve, who was on the assignment desk that Friday, to trust his impression and assign that young man for service not a great distance from his native-born state. The Holy Ghost inspired that mission president to assign that young missionary to that district and that member unit. The Holy Ghost led those missionaries to that street, that day, that hour, with big brother sitting on the porch waiting, and, with Doberman Pinschers notwithstanding, the Holy Ghost prompted those to elders to stop, talk and in spite of their fear, to go back and present their message. …

“And, through the elders, the Holy Ghost taught repentance and brought true conversion to one coming back into the fold.”

Elder Holland said the young elder, without realizing it, gave the greatest missionary speech of all time, when he said to his brother, “God has sent me here to invite you to come home.”

“We are sent by God to invite His children home,” Elder Holland concluded. “We do that through the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, on the strength of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Welcome to the divine companionship.”

No matter who we are, whether we are missionaries or members, we all have the responsibility to invite God's children to come home. I found this story extremely powerful and amazing. When we trust in the Lord and are obedient, He will bless us. Relying on the Lord is vital.

Also, I had an amazing experience the other day. We had an appointment to have a lesson with an investigator in a members home and the investigators daughter was in the hospital so she ended up not being able to make it. So we talked to the member and she still wanted us to come visit. So we went by and visited for a while and she asked me, "Are you by chance related to Elder Featherstone who was in the Quorum of the Seventy?" I responded, "Yes! He is my grandfather!" She then went on to tell me about how when he would come to the South to visit he stayed at her house several times, and how they were able to have some meaningful conversations. I was speechless. The fact that I can come and serve the same people that my grandfather once served down here is amazing. She told me, "I remember one time your grandfather just made himself at home and insisted to do the dishes after dinner. It was such a great example to me." It's almost like doing family history while on your mission! I love it!

So this week was a great one! I've really loved it so far here in Montgomery! It's such a great place! But thank you all for your thoughts and your support. I love you all! I hope you have a great week and are able to invite those around you to come back to the fold of God. I'm praying for you all! Have the greatest week!

Strength and Honor
Elder Noah Featherstone

                  The Rock Steady Boxing Crew

 Messick and Sons (Get it? He was our trainer? *Ba dum tss*)

The hysterical side bump picture with Elder Power

The MTC Squadron

The Classic Transfers picture with Elders Fotu, and Heer

Random homie on the street selfie picture

Tracting! WOOT WOOT! 

Email #42 - Onward to the Capitol of the South

June 26, 2017
Huntsville, AL to Montgomery, AL

Family! It's so good to hear that you are all doing so well! I love hearing about everything! I sure hope your week has been as eventful as it has been here in Alabama. This week was pretty bomb! So to start out, this week we weren't able to get a hold of one of our investigators for about the past week and a half. We stopped by at all different times of the day but she never answered. So we decided we would give it one last shot. (It reminded me a lot of what happened in Lorna with our investigator Irma.) But anyways, we went and knocked on her door and she answered! Super cool!! We talked to her for a minute and we were able to get another return appointment with her. We asked her if she read in the Book of Mormon while we were gone, and she said Yes! "I'M SO HAPPY I'M GONNA DIEEEEE!!!!" We both got super super happy and just couldn't wipe the smiles of our faces! She is just the greatest.Her name is Patricia.

Every year the Madison and Huntsville Alabama Stakes put together a "Celebrate America" concert. They work together with the people from the US Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville and put together a spectacular concert for the community. We were able to bring a Less Active and it was such a great experience. They had all of the people that had served in the different areas of the US Army stand up and be recognized. They asked for anyone that had served in the Air Force and 1 person in the audience stood up. He was about 5' 2" with snow white hair, and could barely get out of his seat.  In all about 500 people that were in the audience saw him. Everyone went right to their feet and gave him a standing ovation. I started to tear up. It was such a spectacular experience. I'm so thankful for those that have served our country and for their shining examples. I am beyond grateful for each and everyone of the them. I have really become grateful for their service as I have been here in Alabama. They really are amazing.

Well, my stay in Huntsville has come to another end! I didn't think that I'd get a second chance to serve here, but it has been a great one. This week I'm getting transferred to Montgomery.  I'm super excited. And for those of you that know how close Elder Devereaux and I are we will be right next to each other! So we are super pumped for that! ha! I've loved being here in Huntsville, but I'm ready for the next adventure. It'll be a good one!

Well that's about it for the wee.! Thank you all for your love and support that you show me! I really appreciate each and every one of you! I know this is His work and I'm so grateful to be spending my time bringing others to Christ. Love you all! Have a great week and Keep Smiling!

Strength and Honor

-Elder Noah Featherstone
We were visiting someone up on the Tennessee/Alabama Border. So here's State Line Rd. But we were at about 100% percent humidity so the camera was kind of struggling! haha!
The Celebrate America Concert. It was AMAZING!

Elders Smith, Lee, Lewis, and I reppin' the Umbrellas after a Thunderstorm.

Hermano Bahena and his 2 kids Sam, and Noah. Those kids are hysterical! They never stop "Messin' like Sasquatch." 

Brother and Sister Tillman and I. They are a stellar family! Gotta love them!