Elder Fisher will be released from his missionary service tomorrow night. Daniel will be speaking during the sacrament meeting service of the Oak Hills Ward in the Bountiful Utah Central Stake this upcoming Sunday, July 27th, 2014. The service starts at 10:50 and the address of the chapel is 455 South 1200 East, Bountiful UT 84010 for all those who would like to join us in listening to his sermon. Afterwards, there will be a small open house at Daniel's home. Please contact the family for details.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Elder Fisher will be returning home to us, tomorrow, July 23rd, after serving a beautiful and wonderful mission. We are so proud of him and his love and dedication over the last two years. We have been blessed as a family by his example of faith and charity and have grown from the pure testimony that he has shared with us weekly through his emails. Thank you to all of you who have supported him through prayers, letters, emails, packages, fasting, and so many other ways.
"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." - Matthew 28:20
This Sunday we saw the baptism of Alan. It was a very special experience for me. He was the first person on my mission that I found purely from finding, taught, and whose baptism I was present for. He asked me to baptize him, and afterwards bore his testimony. He talked about how he was so glad that Elder Dedrick and I had stopped to talk to him that rainy night back in April when he was stacking wood. It was amazing for me to see how people can change, and by what small means a person's entire life can change.
Not only did we see a baptism this week, we also met or exceeded the Standards of Excellence in every single key indicator. What a great way to finish things off!
We were teaching a woman the Restoration on Saturday. After I shared the First Vision with her, I asked her what she thought. She responded, "That's way better than Google."
...A curious response.
At my very first transfer meeting back when I was assigned to be with my trainer ElderMolina, a departing elder performed a song that he had composed that had become a sort of unofficial theme song. The words of the chorus meant greatly to me then and mean much more to me now:
I'm just a fisherman;
Left all I know behind
To serve my Heavenly Father
With my whole heart and mind.
I can't save the world;
Just some souls along the way.
This is my chance to sacrifice;
These are my days.
In a few days the name tag will go off, but the mission is not over. The things I have learned are today, tomorrow, and forever principles. I will always be a missionary. These are my days.
I've thought long about what I wanted to share in this final email, and many grand and glorious thoughts came to me. However, I feel like I do not want to burden you with any of them.
I know that God is our Heavenly Father. The ultimate beginning of every story can be traced back to a sentence somewhere along these lines: "Once upon a time there was a Being who wanted there to be other things like Him."
That is the start of it all. And also the end purpose of it all. It provides the answer for why the Savior had to die, and then live again. The answer is eternal families. That is the reason for the earth we live on and everything that has transpired upon it. God wants us to be like Him, and with Him. He wants us to have a fullness of joy.
I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I am grateful that he had the courage to ask God for truth. I know that God will answer our prayers.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that President Monson is a prophet. I know that temple ordinances allow families to be sealed for time and all eternity.
And as for the Savior. When I was set apart to be a missionary, the promise was made that the Savior would be the third member of my companionship. This has been fulfilled, completely and beautifully. When I felt down, He was there. When I didn't think all that much of myself, He was there. There has never been a moment when He has not been by my side, and He always will.
After all, that was what He promised the apostles; His very last words to them. "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Hurrah for Israel!
"Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee." - Alma 31:35
While on exchange with Elder Jorgensen this past Friday I witnessed my fifth car accident since coming to Newton. A car ran right into the back of a van on the road and got totaled, so we rode up to the scene to see how we could help. I was still in the "offer to provide assistance" mode when Elder Jorgensen, who had more presence of mind than I did, quickly jumped in the road and started directing traffic around the crash. Turns out no one is going to question what a man in a shirt and tie is telling them to do. I went and helped him at the other end and that was what we did for over a half hour while the 911 people cleared up the wreckage.
Saturday we stopped to talk to two young women walking along the side of the road. We asked if there was a time that we could come by and teach them. The taller of the two, Kena, said, "I don't want to lie to you. I don't want to say a time and then not be there."
"Then just say a time and be there!" I said.
She paused for a moment, then slowly stuck out her fist so that I could give it a pound with my own.
And that's missionary work for you. You talk to strange people and see weird churches that are called, I kid you not, "Rose of Sharon Church of the Firstborn in Christ's Name." Thankfully we got five different people from five different households to church this Sunday, including Allen, who is recovered from his kidney stones and on date for the 20th.
To preface an experience that I had recently, I would like to share a story.
My father once had a dream. In this dream, he was in a great white room that he understood to be where people waited before they entered the Celestial Kingdom. An attendant in white gave him a piece of paper and asked him to write on it why he felt that he should be allowed to go in. Hastily my father began to write down everything he could think of that might justify his worthiness: sealed in the temple to a wonderful woman, father of five children, return missionary, bishop, stake president, all sorts of things.
At this point my grandfather came into the room. As he sat down my father began to explain to him what he needed to do. "Here, Dad, you have to write on this paper why you think you should be allowed to enter, you can use both sides--" and so on. My grandpa quietly thanked him, and then on his paper wrote down a single sentence and handed it to the waiting attendant. The attendant looked at what he had written, and said with a smile, "That is enough. You may go in." And then my grandfather entered into the other door.
My father told me that he never saw what it was that my grandpa had written down. But he did realize that what our Father in heaven is looking for from our mortal existence is not necessarily what he had thought He would be. What He was seeking was apparently something that could be expressed in a single sentence.
A little while ago in my Book of Mormon reading I came across my mission plaque scripture, Alma 31:35. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I had gone into my mission with the thought in mind that I would bring souls again unto Him. The horrible thought entered into my head: have I done this?
A host of negative and depressing thoughts flooded into my head. I took out a pen and paper and for 40 minutes wrote them down. I felt that I had not used my time the way I could have. I felt that I had done a poor job in serving the Lord. I finished the page and started on another that was blank, and there I stopped. Instead of continuing to write more negative thoughts, I wrote, "And therefore, Daniel, what?"
I stopped and considered the question, and then I quietly left my companions and went to the bedroom. Closing the door behind me, I knelt down in prayer and asked the Lord if my offering had been acceptable to Him. I needed the reassurance that the time I had spent in His service was something He was pleased with. I prayed and prayed, but after several minutes no answer had come. I got my patriarchal blessing and read through it and prayed again, but there was still no response.
I took my little alarm clock CD player and turned off the lights and shut myself into the closet and listened to This is the Christ, hoping that somehow it would help me. I heard the words of the song, "With saints of old, in joyful cry, I too can testify: this is the Christ!"
A question came into my head, unmistakably clear, like I've never experienced before in my life: "Can you at least say this?"
My response was an immediate "Yes!"
And then came the reply, "Then your mission has been acceptable."
Instantly the negative feelings and self-doubt were driven away and I felt complete peace fill my soul. In tears I thanked my Heavenly Father for all He had done for me as I sat in that tiny closet, and I came out feeling overwhelming joy and gratitude. I crumpled up the paper of negative thoughts and rejoined my companions in the other room.
Someday, when we are called before the Master to give an accounting of how we have used our time and He asks us why we think our offering should be considered acceptable to Him, what will we say? I don't think He will be much concerned about the number of lessons we had taught, or in what positions we had served, or the places we had gone. The answer He is looking for, I imagine, is something that you will be able to give in a single sentence. It is the reason why missionaries are sent out on missions. It is central to why we have been sent here to this earth.
I am thankful, so thankful, to my Father in Heaven that He has allowed me to come out and offer myself in His service. What could I ever do to repay Him? What could I ever do to adequately show my thanks? I am grateful for the testimony I have come to have that the Work is true.
I love you all. Hurrah for Israel!
"I will...open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." - Malachi 3:10
This was one of the least productive weeks of my whole mission for various reasons:
1) Elder Mastin came down with a stomach virus and was laid out for a day
2) Elder Arnold came down with the same stomach virus the next day and was similarly laid out
3) With my superior constitution I never came down with the stomach virus
4) On the subject of Constitutions, the 4th of July was an ineffective proselyting day
5) We had two all-day missionary meetings this past week
6) Our baptismal date was smitten with kidney stones and had to have his baptism pushed back
Though a benefit of one of the all-day meetings was getting to see President Craven's dad, emeritus Seventy Elder Rulon Craven, speak about our potential as children of God. I can definitely see where President got his character from.
While out proselyting on Thursday we got a call from a member asking if we could please open up the church for them at 5. We thus began the long bike-ride back home from Newton to Conover. While pedaling, I saw an enormous mass of grey clouds advancing towards us and we raced it towards the church. Before we could reach our destination, however, the Lord had opened up the windows of heaven and poured us out a blessing that there was not room enough to receive it.
Once we had dried off from the Lord's abundant blessings, from the safety of the church building we got to enjoy watching 40 minutes of the most pounding rain and lightning I have ever seen since that tropical storm Elder Molina and I had been in way back in August 2012. It was quite the light show.
And life is good.
I have had such abundant witness that the Gospel is true. This time has been of so much worth to me. I am excited for Elder Mastin, for he's in for the time of his life these next two years.
I really truly do love all of you. Hurrah for Israel!
"These were days never to be forgotten."
- Oliver Cowdery, JSH.
Every Saturday in our mission is a "car fast." This is when everyone in the whole mission (except for the Assistants, who are too important) foregoes using their car for the entire day. The reasoning behind this was as follows:
1. Missionary work is much more effective when we involve members.
2. Members, among other things, give missionaries rides to appointments.
3. Missionaries often don't need rides to appointments when they have a car to use.
4. Missionaries don't work that hard to call members to help them when they have a car.
5. Missionaries hate biking and will go to great lengths to avoid doing it.
Therefore, if missionaries were deprived of their vehicles on Saturday, which is the day when many members do not have to work, then they would have a greater incentive to get their help.
...So we were out biking on Saturday, having utterly failed to get any members whatsoever to help us, and went to go see our investigator Jeremy for our appointment. He had been enlisted to be chef for a neighborhood birthday party and sadly couldn't meet with us, but he encouraged us to go to the party and ask for something to drink due to the heat. So we went, and one of the guys there kindly offered us some nice cold beer to cool us off.
"Sorry," we said. "We don't need a BUI today. We don't like biking under the influence."
One advantage of having a tripanionship is that, if you get the members out to help you, you can cover three different appointments at once. This makes us in high demand, now. On Sunday we taught Gospel Principles second hour because the teacher was sick, and then I taught sharing time in senior primary, afterwards being the pianist, while ElderArnold and Mastin taught the Young Men.
It was a crazy Sunday anyway. One of the speakers had been asked to speak on both the life of Christ and Independence Day. Instead of somehow meshing the two topics together like a lot of people would have done, this brother gave a talk on the Savior, closed "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen" and then started into his second talk on July 4th. Interesting technique.
Just the night before we had committed Allen, the man who I met in the rain many months ago, to come to church, and when sacrament meeting had rolled around he had not shown up. He had missed the week before, granted for a very justifiable reason, but if he didn't come to church this Sunday he would not make his baptism date for July 6th and we probably would have to drop him.
So I sat there with my eyes closed in sacrament meeting, very unhappy, playing in my head the "drop talk" we would undoubtedly have with him in the near future and honestly not focusing all that much on the Savior. I was quite sad, because I loved Allen and I was disappointed that he had failed to come. I then felt a hand on my shoulder. I opened my eyes and looked up and there was Allen, a big crooked smile on his scruffy face.
Elder Mastin, from where he was sitting up at the sacrament table helping the priests, noticed my expression when I looked up and saw Allen there. He told me later that it was quite hilarious.
It turns out that poor Allen had run out of gas, so he got the gasoline out of his lawnmower and used that so he could come to church. What a guy! We are hoping to see his baptism this Sunday, on the 6th.
I will never forget the joy I felt seeing Allen standing there on that Sunday. These truly are days never to be forgotten. Blessings unmeasured, a fullness of joy. This work most certainly is true. Hurrah for Israel!
"All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it...and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. - Alma 30:44
We were all driving in the car this last Thursday when the area got hit by a MASSIVE storm. Lightning struck the ground not 30 feet from us, and the vibrations from the impact shook the car. Scared the living daylights out of us. I was surprised to see that the thunderbolt was strangely orange, not the white-yellow we see in movies.
Also this week I did the baptismal interview of one Sister Sifford. Later on she asked me to actually perform her baptism this past Sunday, so I had the great pleasure of performing that ordinance for her. It was an unexpected blessing that I was dearly grateful for.
We had a lesson with a few college students this past week. We were talking to them about the Book of Mormon and they were having trouble accepting it. "Jesus appearing to people in the Americas?" they said. "That's ridiculous! That's impossible!"
"Do you believe the Bible?" I asked them.
They responded that yes, they did.
"In that case, you believe that 1) man was literally made from dust, that 2) the entire earth was literally covered with water at one point, and that 3) there was a man who could not only walk on water but actually rose from the dead, something that no one else in the history of the world has ever done before or since. Is it that hard to believe, then, that God could speak to people in America?"
They couldn't really argue with that one.
I followed up with another question: "How do you know if God is real?" My purpose in asking them that question was to see how they'd gotten a testimony in the past and thus compare that to how they'd get a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Their response was a halfhearted "Oh, well, just look at the earth around us. Obviously a God had to have made it."
"See, you look at the earth and you see that it is evidence there is a God. But an atheist looks at the very same earth and says that it's evidence that there is no God. With every piece of evidence that we see, there is always a faithful explanation for it and a doubtful explanation. It's the same with the Book of Mormon."
They still did not seem to get it, so we left them with that.
Later on, Elder Arnold asked E. Mastin and I the same question in companion study. "How do you know if the Church is true? How do you know if God is real?" It was interesting to see the different answers we gave. Mine was more based on logic, while E. Mastin's was more based on feelings and E. Arnold's was based on evidences he has seen for it to be true. I'll include a little bit of the main points of my testimony for you to consider:
1. The life of Jesus Christ. While I may indeed cry watching Sam carry Frodo up the mountain in Return of the King, the power of that story does not have the life-changing power of the story of Christ. There is something else there that motivates men to believe and to change.
2. The story of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Would a liar have put up with so much persecution? Could any person have written the Book of Mormon on his own?
3. The story of the Church. Would something that was a fraud have survived under such conditions and flourished for so long as the Church has done?
4. The improbability of it all being false. Could all the modern-day prophets from Joseph to President Monson have been false? They testified of Jesus Christ; was He false, or just made up? He testified of Old Testament prophets; were they just made up? The improbability of so many good men being liars seems ridiculous to me.
5. My birth. Why am I the person I am? Why was I born Daniel Fisher in '93, and not in 493 or 1301 or 1967? There is no other explanation besides the Gospel as to why I am who I am: a loving Heavenly Father sent me at this time to my family.
Those are just main parts of my testimony that God is real and that the Church is true. I love you all. Hurrah of Israel!
"Has the day of miracles ceased?" - Moroni 7:35
Elder Arnold and I's new trainee is Elder Mastin, a 24-year old cook from Pleasant Grove, Utah. We are quite happy to have him! He is very prepared, very mature, and very teachable. The three of us will have a fun transfer together.
The fireflies have come back again, coming out at sunset every day and staying for only a few short minutes. The days themselves are hot but the work is good. For example, this past Sunday I got to participate in the confirmations of Faith and Madison, whose father performed the blessing. Another powerful, wonderful experience for me.
I want to talk today about miracles.
About two months ago Elder Dedrick and I had had a long day. It was rainy, a lot of appointments had cancelled and at 8:45 at night one of our investigators had dropped us and didn't want to meet anymore. Tired, discouraged, wet and in the rain, we easily could have turned to go home. But instead, we prayed. I took off my helmet and held it in my hands during the prayer, feeling every raindrop plunking down on it as fervently we asked the Lord to please, please lead us to someone that we could talk to that night. I put my wet helmet back on and we sat on our bikes and started pedaling through the night.
Within ten seconds we saw a man stacking wood on his porch and we went to talk to him. His name was Allen, and he let us talk to him. Now he's come to church, has a baptismal date, has been living the Word of Wisdom, and wants to baptize his wife. It was a marvel to me that the Lord answered the prayer of two wet missionaries standing in the dark at 9:45 on a rainy night.
Three months ago we met a man named David and gave him a Book of Mormon. When we came back we asked if he had read, and David responded that he and a friend had gotten in a conversation about the Church. His friend has asked for the Book of Mormon and Dave gave it to him. Like good missionaries, my companion and I invited him to ask his friend to sit in on our next meeting. We ended up losing contact with Dave.
Last Friday while finding I saw a man watching his kids play in his yard. I went to go up and talk to him. His name was Jeremy, and he knew that we were Mormons. He said that a friend had given him a Book of Mormon a long time ago and he had read a bit from Alma. I asked who the friend was and it turned out that it had been Dave! I was blown away that months later that plotline had showed up again.
The next day we brought Brother Arndt with us for the second appointment with Jeremy. Jeremy said, "Hey, I went to school with some Arndts way back in 2000. Do you know So-and-So?"
"Hmm, I think I do," Brother Arndt said. "They're my kids!"
I was a bit frightened at this point. Literally the only member in the world who could have had that connection with Jeremy was the one who had come with us. Two miracles had played off with this man.
I would like to close by sharing two scriptures that I have come to chain together. The first of these is the scripture that first gave me my testimony that the Book of Mormon is true:
"And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
"Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
"Behold I say unto you, Nay;
"For my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever."
(Moroni 7:35-37 and 2 Nephi 29:9)
The day of miracles has not ceased, for as long as there is just one man left upon the earth who can be saved, God's work is not yet finished. Miracles are everywhere, if only we will have eyes to see them.
This is the Lord's work, and it is true. I love you all. Hurrah for Israel!