Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

BESOS from Ecuador!!
How is everyone? Hopefully fantastic! I am doing great! This week truly has been incredible! And today has been super fun too!
Monday was kinda funny...started the week out with a bang! We had a family night with some members...and they ended up giving us dinner...but they served us around 9:20...and we have to be in the house by 9:30...and when the people give you food here they give you a mountain on top of a plate. Boy did we scarf that down! It was absolutely delicious too! But we finished up dinner around 9:26 and booked it out the door! I ended up having to flash back to some 100m dash days!!! Haha! We were sprinting through the streets to get home on time! My companion is not quite the sprinter though...I am convinced that God stopped time...we made it all the way down the street and into our house by 9:29!! WHAT YOU WANT USAIN BOLT?!
We had a couple of interchanges this week. First I was with Elder Obeso. People get quite the crackup from that. I feel kind of bad...Elder Obese would be a tough is a good thing he is not overweight! I would guess he would really take some heat! He is a stud though! Then on Friday I was with Elder  Mecham from Las Vegas. He is an awesome missionary too. He helped us out with some Baptismal Interviews, we had a fun ward activity, and we took a selfie with an Iguana...a HUGE one. I am determined to catch one.
Today we went somewhere called the "Puenta de la Isla de Santay". It was awesome! It is a big bridge that extends out onto an island from Duran. So as a zone we headed over there and got to explore the island on bikes and eat lunch down there. Super fun! We even managed to run into some crocodiles! They didn't feel like coming out of the water but seeing their heads was still neat. 
What more...???
We have had some incredible experiences...too many to choose to put in this email and too incredible to put into words. The Lord is so mindful of all of us...and how blessed I feel and am to be a worker in His vineyard. It truly is amazing to see the miracles of our Savior when we look for them...because they are around every corner and on every street. 
Those were the bigger events of the I will end with those!! :)
I love the promised blessings that the Lord has given us through the spirit and living worthily to be a residing place for that spirit to dwell. The power of the Lord's spirit is so perfect and profound. Its companionship is so pure and persistent. 

"Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." (Galatians 5:22-23). These are some of the attributes that the spirit carries and that we can carry through the spirit. However, this past week my testimony was strengthened in regards to the spirits ability to lead and guide.
One of the days this past week was hard...I did not know if I could have been "weighed down with sorrow" much more. If I could have "waded through tribulation" any longer. My heart and soul "anguished because of the people". I felt a fraction of what Alma felt while laboring in Ammonihah (Alma 8:14).
But when Alma departed from the land and had given up he is visited by a messenger of the Lord telling him to return. Upon his return he finds a very prepared Amulek who takes him in and provides hospitality.
So after being weighed down quite a bit...and feeling like giving up...a strange thought came to my mind...
Well that sure narrows it down doesn't it?? Haha! I had no idea where to begin!
But we went on looking...
After walking quite a ways and paying close attention to the feelings in my heart and the thoughts it my mind we knocked a random door and out came a random man. He was very stressed...teary eyed...and weighed down by the world. After talking to him for a little while, come to find out his Nephew is a member of the church...and he has been waiting to hear something that put his heart to peace like the message of our Savior's gospel did. 
I was in awe as I reflected on the power of the spirit and am still amazed as to what the spirit can do. In a world of decisions, difficulty, hesitation, and complication, how would you feel if you had a constant companion by your side telling you exactly what to do? KNOWING that this constant companion comes from God and his counsels will align your path the the Celestial Kindgom?
Because this constant companion does exist!
The Holy Ghost is real. His purpose is to 
"teach us all things that we should do" (2 Nephi 32:5). His guidance will align our path with Gods to help us reach the glory of the sun and help others do the same.
Listen to the still small voice. Trust in these God inspired promptings. Act upon those heavenly sent counsels.
I testify that our Heavenly Father lives and His son, Jesus Christ, has risen from the tomb. I know that the Holy Ghost is sent from these two living beings to deliver to us. 
The Holy Ghost is the deliverer. Whether it be delivering diving instruction form God's Kingdom or delivering us from the darkest of places into the light...He will deliver you if you listen.
Love you all.
Elder Noll

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015

Hi people!
This week was great!! No doubt...I am missing my homie, Elder S. But I am excited to be with Elder C from Panama! He is a stud! 
 On Tuesday night I headed to the temple with my temporary companion to spend the night there in a hotel and arise bright and early at 4:30 for an early morning temple session! I love the temple! There was only a small group of changes in the mission on Tuesday night so we all got to go to President's house and have breakfast which was neat. They talked to us for a while there and gave us a training for the better part of the day, told us who our companions were, and then we were on our way back to Panorama! 
   The taxi we went in ended up taking quite the route...I thought he was taking us down a deserted path to leave us to die...we got stuck in hole for a little scuffed up his car pretty bad! I felt really bad...but he didn't seem to care. He just told us not to worry about it because he already has tons of dents and scratches. Haha!
   We had an activity as a ward this past week which was AWESOME! It was just a little welcoming activity for the new recent convert! Love her and her family so so so much! Everyone who came had a chance to present themselves. Just your name, where you come from, and if you could go anywhere in the world...where would it be. Everyone had the typical answers...Italy! France! Utah! And then the convert rolled around...and she said if she could go anywhere in the world...of all the countries, cities, towns, and places...she said that she wants to be in the sealing room in the temple of God. 
It really hit me. How grateful I am for her example and for her vision and priority. It is my prayer that we can all think like her and have our vision be 100% focused on the temple. It should be the place we desire to go OVER ALL.
   We passed for a family who recently lost one of their daughters. One of the most touching things I have ever felt is being blessed with the opportunity to share testimony on that of eternity...on that of eternal families...on that of God's loving, family-based, and forever together plan. Nothing better. As I fought back tears and felt my spirited pounding testimony was once again strengthened on the divinity and realness of God's eternal plan. I KNOW that families are forever. I KNOW that eternity with the ones we love is what awaits us.
Let's see...
   There was not a whole lot of craziness this past week. With having a temporary companion until Tuesday and not getting back to our sector with my new companion until late Wednesday night and with the zone conference on Thursday it made up for a pretty peaceful week. I think we are going to get to eat Iguana or Guinea Pig pretty soon stay tune!! ;)
   I sure hope things are going great for all of you! I pray for you all each and every day! I am so grateful for your constant prayers and the millions of blessings you are all sending my way...I hope you are receiving equal and more in return. 
   My dad asked me a question a little while back that has been stuck in my mind and caused me much thinking and quite a bit of changing.
   What was HIS mindset? (In reference to our Savior)
Every time I think about "mindset" I can't help but think of slamming weights, sweat, and buckling up my chinstrap. It was the most commonly used phrase going into my senior year of football by Coach Steve Murdock. Coach Murdock's "change your mindset" liner got me up after each big hit, every dropped ball, and helped me overcome every physical and mental fall. I very quickly learned that a positive mindset brings forth positive results...and a negative mindset just the opposite.
   The examples are so clear in the scriptures. The Nephites who separated themselves, including Nephi who had the mindset of "I will go and I will do the things which the Lord hath commanded me", are the ones who keep the commandments, build a temple, and prosper in the land.
It is the murmuring or "negative mindset(ed)" Lamanites who are cursed and become a scourge unto the Nephites. 
But more than anything in the world...I am amazed at the mindset of someone who did a whole lot more than slam weights, break a sweat, and buckle up a chinstrap. The weight of the entire world was slammed upon Him, He sweat and bled profusely, and buckled up to give His little siblings life.
   Just moments before His Atonement, the Lord says, "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day WHEN I drink it with you in my Father's Kindom."
"WHEN" I drink it.
Then shortly after..."...after I am risen again, I WILL go before you..."
Mindset is a "WHEN" and a "WILL" thought process. The Lord's mindset is clear and faithful.
"And Pilot asked Him, art though the King of the Jews? And He answered him saying, Thou hast spoken it."
He is too humble to say it but has the perfect mindset to know it. 
I am a King. I will fulfill my purpose.
Let us all change our mindset to a "WHEN" and "WILL".
A child of God like you has no time to question divine potential.
When you have your personal Pilot (Satan, struggles, doubters, haters, and all other branches of negativity) asking you about who you are and questioning your potential...
Simply reply to yourself...
"WHEN"...with a WHEN I inherit the Kingdom of God perspective.
"I WILL"...with an I WILL overcome the darkness.
And a "I AM A KING" or "I AM A QUEEN"...with definite determination to fulfill your purpose.
"And the Lord thy God will be with thee; whithersoever thou goest."
So go tell yourself you can! Because it's true!
For thou has spoken it...
Elder Noll
Elder Noll's new companion - from Panama

We got to meet Jess's companion at his homecoming :)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

June 13, 2015

Long time no! Haha! 

How is everyone?! How was everyone´s fourth of July?! Hopefully tons and tons of explosions, fire, hot dogs, and parades! How is the summer heat? They say that the summer months here are the months...´´mas fresco´´...more fresh/cool...THEY LIE! Haha! It is pretty darn hot! But I love it so so much! Definitely having a blast!
Well I guess we could start with 2 weeks ago!
   Kind of a cool story! One of the ward members is helping us out with a less active and getting him back to church and to institute and what not. They are really close friends now- after spending so much time together and the active member trying his hardest to help his inactive friend. They ended up going to the store to buy something and they were going to pass the alcoholic beverages where he bought every single time he went to the store...but this time he decided to change. He turned to the active friend and said, ´´Let´s not go down this way. I want to become a God´´. WOW! What a humbling story and a testimony builder. I was so grateful to see someone who realizes his potential. For someone who realizes his weaknesses and is striving to become better through diligent obedience. AMAZING!
   Two weeks ago was cake after cake after cake! I think I had 4! Haha! The Mamasitas sure did take care of the birthday boy here in Panorama! It was a super fun time! The ward threw me a surprise party on Sunday night which was super fun! I sure do love this ward! SO, SO, SO much! They are so awesome...and the members are so willing to help in the Lord´s work. 
   We took a taxi early on last week...after talking to the taxi driver for a little while he told us that he was sick. He had Tuberculosis! We were so grossed out! I don´t think I took a breath or touched anything in the car for the rest of the drive! So let´s hope and pray I don´t come down with that! ;) Haha! We got home, decontaminated EVERYTHING, showered, sprayed ourselves with sanitizer, and showered again! Haha! 
   We did have a downer day. NOBODY wanted to accept us...not even talk to us in the street. I said a little prayer in my heart that we could find at least one least one person...ANNNDD...


Later that night, we finished up our planning session and were just about to say our prayers to hit the hay when the Bishop called.
"Elders! I am sorry that it is a little late...I just wanted to give you guys a reference to go and teach! He is ready to receive the lessons from the missionaries!"
There are no words...
The Lord lives. He answers prayers. He loves us. And miracles do exist...we just have to search for them in our daily lives.
   The same type of miracle happened on Fast Sunday. We have kind of been in a dry spot when it comes to people to teach. Panorama is a little more of a difficult sector...and we decided that the best way to go about our fast was to fast and beg the Lord for more people to teach. And what do you know...yet again I am left without words. That Sunday it seemed as if every member of the ward was ecstatic to give us a reference of someone to visit! 
I am so grateful for the law of the fast and the blessings that come through the law!
Such a great birthday present!
So was Elder Johnson´s call!! That was awesome too! 
Speaking of Johnson! I just saw him a few hours ago! We both had changes so we met up in the terminal in Guayaquil...he is doing good! And he is off to Duran North. With me being in Duran South we will be able to hook up probably every Pday! We are super pumped!!
The day that the Pope came was super boring...NOTHING was open! The whole world stood still! haha! We weren't even allowed to leave our Sectors as that was kind of a boring day...
We watched a movie for a ward activity called ´´A Good Man´´ or something like that. A story about a man who gets called as bishop. The Bishop in the movie ends up drinking a boy did that confuse the people. Rootbeer doesn't exist here so we had to take a little while explaining that the Bishop did not commit apostasy and that he just drank soda. haha!
   I have a new nickname that everyone calls me...NOLLITO! Haha. So there is just a random fact!
   We got to go to the temple with our converts to do baptisms for the dead...which was AMAZING! It was so cool. TOO cool. I was so touched to see the recent convert be touched by the spirit and see her eyes fill with joyful tears as her husband was baptized for her ancestors. Something I will never forget. What a miracle the temple can be and is in our lives.
   The past two days have been a bit crazy. Elder S heads home tonight :( He is in Guayaquil and I am here in Panorama with a temporary companion until Wednesday! It was super sad saying bye to Elder S. He has come to be one of my very best friends. He has taught me so much...he truly is an incredible missionary! And I wish the best for him. The ward threw him a surprise goodbye party last night. They had a few people talk...and they finished off with me. We have grown to be super close, Elder S and I, and boy did the tears flow! It is truly amazing how close spiritual experiences can bring two together. There is no relationship stronger than that of a spiritual one. But apart from the tears and bittersweet feelings...we got him all packed up and out the door! Pray that he makes it home safe everyone! 
   Those are a few of the details from the past two weeks! 
I am loving it! The past 11 months of my life have been unreal. I am so excited for the 13 to come! I have never seen the hand of the Lord more in my life than I do now...the blessings are so abundant and real. So broad and profound. Representing the Lord and wearing His name over my heart is the best and most humbling calling that I have ever been privileged of carrying or claiming.
   I have learned so much about our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, over these past few seems as if I realize a different attribute of God the Father and the Son each and every day. These living, breathing, and perfectly glorified beings are glorified beings of love, understanding, compassion, mercy, and power. But equal to their infinite love, perfect understanding, everlasting compassion, atoning mercy, and endless power...these are glorified beings of law and of justice.
   Our Savior teaches us that ´´He gave the law´´ and that ´´the law in Him is fulfilled´´. If we take ourselves back to the first spoken words of God, recorded by man, in the Old Testament, He says, ´´Let there be light´´. In Spanish He says, ´´Haya luz´´. ´´Haya´´ is a commanding form of ´´to have to do´´ or ´´must do´´ something. Here the Lord is COMMANDING light. From the foundation of the world the Lord has commanded...and His laws will never cease.
   He has given us laws to keep. We keep His laws because we love Him. When we love Him through abiding by His laws, He blesses us...and will manifest Himself unto us (Juan 14:21).
   There is no possible way to show love to He who commanded light, He who commanded you to be formed, and He who fulfilled His law so that you could inherit His it be through obedience.
   Obedience is willingly, lovingly, and diligently putting your trust in the Lord and keeping His statutes and sanctifying His word. Disobedience has almost the same exact definition...but with a slight, yet drastic, change. Disobedience is willingly, lovingly, and diligently putting your trust in Satan and keeping his statutes and sanctifying his word. We learn from 1 Nephi 14 that there are no more than two churches, two gospels, and two paths. On of these paths belongs to the Lord...and the other to the devil.
   ´´Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve...´´
Let us remember the people of Nephi and the contention that came about due to the Kingsman ´´desire that a few particular points of the law should be altered´´. We do NOT govern God. His laws are written and His ways are set. His commandments can NOT be justified or altered. We see later on in the story that these Kingsmen, these justifiers of the law, these self-governers are ´´cast into prison´´, ´´put to death´´, and ´´executed according to the law´´.
   If we are changers of the law or alterers of God´s ways we too will be cast into misery, put to death, and be executed into captivity.
   The promised blessings of obedience are much better.
To finish, I would love to share Deuteronomy 30:11.
´´It is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.´´
The commandments of God are not hidden from us. Nor are they far off, or in other words, too hard. Nothing that God gives us is too hard.
   I testify that Gods laws bring happiness. His laws are laws of love. Live His laws. Live the higher law. The higher the law we live the higher capacity we are able to reach and achieve. 
For "This Gospel is not weight, it's wings".
Love, Elder Noll