Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015

What a week! Who would have ever thought you would walk the streets of Ecuador with a friend?! Elder Ashman and I are loving life! There is only ONE thing that I don't know if I will be able to live with much longer with Elder cheeks honestly hurt SO bad from constantly laughing and smiling! Haha! ;) Just messing. I honestly could not be more content! I nearly fainted when President Riggins told me we would be together...and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be with an Elder who has been an example to me all throughout my childhood. Special shout out to the Ashman family...especially Tiffany and Tyler...for raising such a good kid. He is already touching hearts here in guys have done very well! I will keep him safe for you! No worries!
This week was another great one. I finally have a workout companion...which is a lot better than trying to make up ways to stay in shape by yourself. We are on a program approved by the mission called Tapout XT. Super fun! They are workout DVD's and we just about die of water loss and muscle failure as we do it, but we get a good laugh out it! 
Elder Ashman and I fed a deer! One of the members in our sector has a pet deer. It is so strange. It is so tame and you can feed it as you would a horse or some other type of tame animal. It actually gave me a you think I have to confess for that?? ;) 
I guess this week was just the week of the animals...we found ourselves in the path of a giant turkey too! So we cornered it off and were going to catch it but the owner came out and asked us what we wanted with her turkey. We turned it into a finding opportunity however and shared a message of Jesus Christ with her which was really neat.
On Tuesday night we headed out to Guayaquil for an early morning temple session on Wednesday and a Zone Conference on Wednesday afternoon. I LOVE TO SEE THE TEMPLE! It truly is the greatest. What a blessing it is to have been given a place holy enough for the Lord to reside in upon the face of the earth today that we can enter in and make sacred covenants. What a blessing it is to have the Lord's house upon the earth today.
After the conference, which was great, we had to head over to the office to grab a few boxes of Books of Mormon. Man are those boxes heavy. Elder Ashman and I were laughing our heads off as we could barely hold them in our arms because of Tapout XT. After catching a few buses, a few trips and falls, sweating some more, and leaving our arms with NO STRENGTH, we made it to the final bus to get back to La Troncal. 
One of the days this week we threw on the aprons! Our lunch appointment got cancelled so I cooked up some potatoes. I have failed you Mama Noll...I have failed you...Not that they were BAAADDD...but I put a little bit- a lot a bit- too much pepper in the mashed potatoes and we didn't enjoy them as we would some Mama Noll or Mama Ashman potatoes...but we did our best!
I can't get over the spirit that I have been able to feel this past week! We have had some pretty incredible teaching experiences...
Elder Ashman and I had the chance to give a sick little baby girl a blessing of health. It was incredible to see the Lord's mercy. When we got to the house this little girl was hysterical. BAWLING. We were not sure how we were going to give the blessing in circumstances like this. We decided that Elder Ashman would do the anointing and I would give the blessing. So Elder Ashman placed his hands on the small child's head and began to anoint her by the power and authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood...I could hardly hear his words because of the screaming child...and then came the words...``and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ...`` and the crying stopped. The screaming ceased. The tension halted. Everything in the world seemed to be put on hold apart from the overflowing spirit entering each of our hearts. We then both placed our hands on her little head and gave her the blessing and not a sound was heart except the words and promises that our Heavenly Father wanted said and that moment. What a testimony of God's power. What a testimony of the power of the Priesthood.
AHHHH! I am running out of time! We had so many great experiences!
We were hungry one day and we walked right under a mango tree...good thing Elder Ashman played baseball because he chucked some rocks and knocked down some mangoes to snack on. If it had not have been for him we would not have eaten...there is no way my arm would come near to one of those mangoes! Haha!
We had to fill up the baptismal font on Saturday and in order to fill it up you have to turn a valve that is in a sprinkler box in the ground...but it had a lock on we went and found a big old rock and smashed the sucker until the lock broke. We got the lock off and felt pretty awesome. We felt unstoppable and powerful. Then we realized that breaking the lock was unnecessary because the whole sprinkler box can come out of the ground without any problem...but I think we will just stick with the fact that we broke a lock with our bare hands to be able to have a baptism...sounds a bit don't tell anyone that we could have done so without breaking the lock ;)
So I guess we will get to the message...
Elder Ashman and I were blessed with the opportunity to baptize the biggest stud on Saturday. We had been working with a less-active family for quite some time so that they could be reactivated and so that their son could be baptized...and everything just kid of fell together on Saturday. It was the testimony of this kid that really had an impact on me and has caused me some deep thinking.
``I feel so clean. I feel so pure. When Elder Ashman baptized me I felt as if Jesus Christ Himself was baptizing me.`` WOW. I was caused to ask myself some self-reflecting questions:
What are we really as Priesthood holders? Who are we? What is it that our Heavenly Father has trusted us with as He gave us His power and ordained us to our Priesthood offices? Mosiah 5 explains to us the ``taking upon yourself of Christ`s name`` through baptism. But if we think in a sense of Priesthood we can answer these self reflecting questions. ``...for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.``
How sacred of a calling it is we have. We act in HIS name. We heal in HIS name. We baptize in HIS name after by commissioned of HIM. We do what HE DID as we use the Priesthood. My dad always taught me something so valuable that I LOVE... As a Deacon I had the same power that Christ had as He administered the sacrament. As administers of the sacrament we literally allow people to partake of the Lord`s Atonement. Your duty is more sacred than you think...I hope you can feel as if you are the Savior`s hands...offering eternal life to those whom you pass the sacrament to. 
The Teachers have the sacred responsibility to prepare the sacrament. What could that mean? What could it symbolize? I find it interesting how you have to fill up the trays with the water cups one by one...then you must fill up the cups one by one with water until every cup, in every row, of every column, of each and every tray is filled...just like our Savior payed the price of sins for each and every one of by one...until He had payed the price for all. Without the preparation of the sacrament by the Teachers the Lord`s Atonement does not exist. How does the Savior feel as you fill the cups with His blood? 
As you Priests part the bread you are the Lord`s hands. Doing exactly what He did. You offer and part something that offers every partaker to ``always have His spirit to be with them``. How are you breaking the Savior`s body? How are you kneeling? How do you look as you are representing so sacred an ordinance? 
The list of Priesthood ordinances could go on and on and on. But the fact of the matter is that we are the hands of the Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ. Each time you anoint the sick...KNOW that Christ is anointing them...and that only THROUGH you...and for a are Lord`s hands.
Each time you place your hands on a child`s head take a moment to pause...look at your hands...and visualize the Savior`s hands in place of yours...look at the prints on His hands...feel of the love that those hands have for the child and for you...and live in that moment as the Savior. You are His hands.
Oh Elders of Israel let us go forth as the Lord`s hands. Oh Priesthood holders of the Latter-Days let us represent the Almighty Redeemer of the world...BE HIS HANDS. WE ARE HIS HANDS!
Love you all!
I look forward to another week filled with miracles and life changing experiences!
Elder Noll

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