North Carolina Charlotte Mission

Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are your brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. -Alma 31:35

Sunday, January 27, 2013

1/22/13 'What about the R-O-U-S-es?"

"What about the R-O-U-S-es?"
"Referrals Of Unusual Spirituality? I don't believe they exist."


Being a missionary is the best thing ever. In case you are wondering, it is.

This Thursday I was on exchange with Elder Wright. Around 1 PM a massive rain storm started up in the middle of our finding time, and we were getting pounded by rain. After enduring this for about four hours, we had to head home so that we would arrive in time for the Zone Leaders to take us to our dinner appointment. The return journey was about 40 minutes.

I'm just going to tell you: I've lived in Washington before, so I know what cold, constant rain is like. I've lived in El Paso, so I know what strong wind is like. I've lived in Utah, so I know what low temperatures are like. But I tell you, I have never, ever, been so cold and so wet in my entire life. Literally every single inch of me was soaked and freezing to the bone, and since I consider myself a pretty thick-skinned person, that means it was cold. It was raining, visibility was poor, my brakes weren't working, the wind was blowing against me, the road was slippery, huge puddles were everywhere, I was tired from hours of previous biking, and it was cold.

In short, it was one of the greatest moments of my life.

For as I was biking, it occurred to me that there was literally no reason for me to be out here, from a worldly standpoint. Here I was, weather-blasted and in very real danger of running into the side of a car (due to slippery roads and faulty brakes - which have since been fixed, Mom) -- should one suddenly appear in front of me -- biking for forty minutes. So why was I doing it? What was the point of it all?

Well...because the Church is true.

Since the Church is true, and since God is our Father, and Jesus Christ His Son, and Joseph Smith His Prophet...none of this mattered. My frozen fingers, the water sloshing around in my water-tight shoes, the rain in my eyes -- it was all worth it, because the Church is true. I was out here because I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life. The storm may rage, the floods may rise, and Carolinian drivers may disregard all traffic rules and common sense -- but the Church is true, and I will spread the Good News, no matter what the weather.

I had a lot of fun in that bike ride. I was so incredibly happy the whole time. It has literally been the highlight of the last month or so. We got home in time for dinner, and I got changed into dry clothes (best feeling ever!), and Elder Wright went and collapsed in the bathroom, because, sadly, he is not as cold-resistant as I am, bless his heart.

People are getting taught, the work is progressing. I am learning all the time what it means to be obedient, or how to be more diligent, or how to be more effective. Thank goodness Elder Shumway (Danny's junior companion) is so patient with me.

The Church is true. I love you all. I love my mission, I love my area, I love the people I work with, and I love my companion. I am so grateful that I get to serve the Lord.

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jan. 14th "I'm an Uncle!!!"

Welcome to the world, little Matthew McMurray! Oh goodness, I love my family. By the time I get home, the number of grandchildren in the family will  probably have doubled. That's pretty amazing.

This last week has been pretty amazing, too. Elder Shumway and I performed massive reconstructive surgery on both of our bikes. As in, he did most of the work and I pulled the brakes when he told me to. Such a stud. We've been improving a lot in our teaching, and learning tons of things. We had a Training Meeting on Thursday, which was fantastic, and a superb district meeting on Wednesday. (Have I ever mentioned to you that my District Leader, Elder Merrell, is awesome? Well, he is. The Zone Leaders are awesome, too, and I get to live with them. How spoiled am I?)

On Saturday we helped the Bowie family move into their new apartment. They are a recent convert family, and they are incredible. Brother Bowie is this great big black guy, and he glows. He's one of those people whose testimony is so powerful that he seems to shine; you've all seen them. He gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting this last Sunday, and it was terrific. I love that family so very much, which was why I was glad that we got to help them.

The last few weeks it's been fairly cold here, but in accordance with Murphy's Law, on the day of the move it was a freak 75 degrees and super-humid. Figures. We persevered, however, and got the job done. At one point, Elder Shumway and I got stuffed into the back of a station wagon, so we were essentially sitting on backwards-facing seats in the trunk. Elder Shumway fit all right, but I was curled up like a pillbug. (Pictures will be coming.)

At a stoplight a man on a motorcycle stopped behind us, and we started playing rock-paper-scissors with him. It was pretty epic. The people in the car behind him took pictures. (For your information, he beat us.) Isn't America great? Where else in the world do strangers play games with each other on the spur of the moment? That, my friend, is what my American Government class would define as social capital. Look it up sometime.

We had a definite miracle this week. We were in the middle of a lesson when we got a phonecall from Larry Shaheen. Brother Shaheen was a man Elder Howell and Elder Heydorn (my old companion) taught before I got to Pineville. Because of conflicting schedules, vacations, stomach viruses, etc. we had gone a whole transfer without meeting Brother Shaheen, and then Elder Heydorn left. So I'd never actually seen the man, and since he hadn't been returning our calls for weeks, we'd assumed he'd dropped off the face of the map.  

We returned his call, and he basically said: "Hey. I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I want to start meeting, so I can progress, so I can get baptized. When can we meet?"


He came to church on Sunday, which was funny because I'd never met him before, so I just went around talking to everyone I didn't recognize until I found him. We taught him in a member's home afterwards, where we went over the baptismal interview questions, and he passed all of them. He wants to get baptized as soon as possible. From what I saw, he seems extremely sincere. He's met with missionaries for the last six months, so he's been taught everything, and he's read the whole Book of Mormon. (He likes Moroni best.) Pretty crazy, huh?

It seems like this area is literally exploding with success. The Zone Leaders had a family join the church two weeks ago, and another family is getting baptized this Saturday. With Brother Shaheen and (hopefully) Brother Greene and Brother Johnson, we'll be able to contribute, too. The Lord is really blessing us here.


I've been thinking a lot about the Atonement this week. A lot of Christian denominations are fairly aware that the Savior conquered death and paid the price for their sins, but they see the Atonement as His dying on the cross, and there is really so much more to it that. The Savior had to experience everything, and that suffering took place in the Garden of Gethsemane; this is a view that I'm pretty certain only the Latter-Day Saints hold. It just really stood out to me this week, for some reason.

Think about it. I'm going to tell you right off the bat that this is Elder Fisher's view, and is in no means scriptural or doctrinal. But as the Savior walked into that Garden, I would imagine that every spirit in creation would have been watching Him as that titanic struggle took place. Satan and all of his followers would have been there, filled with anger and hate, probably watching the battle take place with fear and desperation. Every spirit yet to enter mortality would be observing -- some with doubt, some with joy, each according to their faith -- as well as all the spirits in paradise, the prophets and saints of old. In short, I would be surprised if anyone, besides the individuals currently in mortality, would not have been there. You, me, everyone; billions and billions of souls, all watching the Savior fight the battle for us. And above it all, the Father would have been there, watching. What must have been going through His divine mind as He saw His Beloved suffer, I cannot begin to imagine. Prophets have testified, martyrs have died, the War in Heaven was waged. Now, at this moment, it all came to a head. This was the moment where the Father's Plan either succeeded, or it failed. This was the moment where our eternal salvation was hanging in the balance. All we could do was stand back, and watch, and ask:

"Is He going to do it?"

There is only one scriptural account of the Atonement in the Savior's own words, and I want to share it:
"For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men." (D&C 19:16-19)

I testify that the Savior did succeed. Our Elder Brother, the Firstborn, the Only Begotten of the Father, our Lord and Master, did, in fact, succeed. He won the battle. He redeemed our souls. He is our Savior, and He does live. I testify that the Church is true, and that families are eternal.

I love you all. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Jan. 7th "There's a double meaning in that!"

" 'Against my will, I am sent to bid you come to sacrament meeting?'
...There's a double meaning in that!"  
(you Shakespeare aficianados will recognize that Danny is taking liberties with the dialogue between Benedick and Beatrice in "Much Ado about Nothing." )
Oh man.

Learning is such an awesome process, isn't it? I've asked Heavenly Father a lot over the last few weeks to help me become a good trainer, and boy oh boy, has He done that. This has mostly been by showing me, in His infinitely loving way, all the things I've been doing wrong.

There are a few things that I already knew about. For example, I figured that "Did you know Jesus and Satan were brothers?" is not a door approach. But there are other, more subtle things that I've had to learn. Such as planning effectively, or time management, or teaching people, not lessons, or letting people know right from the get-go what exactly your purpose is (to invite them to come unto Christ, of course!), or looking for the people that are elect and not just polite, or trying to network with every single person you see, asking them who on earth they know that you could teach. And, most important of all, learning how to follow the Spirit.

These are all practical things, of course. I've been learning a ton of doctrinal things and spiritual truths, and writing them all down in my little notebook so that I don't lose them.Elder Shumway is enthusiastic and teachable, and a good deal faster than I am on the bike. Other than his dangerous tendency to tailgate me, I have no complaints. Truly I am blessed to have such a wonderful companion.

This week we have been beset by meetings, which have limited our finding time, but they have greatly helped me learn how to be a better trainer. Brother Green, our Community of Christ friend, is still awaiting an answer about who is the prophet. President Craven himself has gotten on board to help us out with this one, much to our astonishment. It seems like all the missionaries in our zone have heard about Brother Green and are fascinated with him, and they surround him at mission home firesides, asking him embarrassing questions like "Don't you guys believe that Joseph Smith is the embodiment of the Holy Ghost?" (Brother Green did not appreciate that one, he later told us.)

I eagerly await this next week. There is so much to do! So many people to talk to! There are people at bus stops to sit next to, members to call, less-actives to visit, part-member families to teach, referrals to contact. Rain or shine, day or night, the Work goes on, and time flies. Oh, goodness, the time flies. My journal has reached a whopping 271 pages, so thankfully I'll be able to hold onto some of all these memories.

Missions are so awesome. I wouldn't give this away for anything.

I wish to quickly bear my testimony of the scriptures. I testify that reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it is the only way that people will be able to accept our message. They cannot get a testimony without it. If you take a look at your own testimony, you'll probably see that it started with the Book of Mormon. You've probably gotten a few powerful spiritual experiences along the way, but it started with reading and praying. If your testimony is not as strong as you would like it, read the Book of Mormon and ask if it is true or not.

There are very few things that we are counseled to say exactly, as missionaries. Among these are the First Vision. There is such incredible power in recounting it in Joseph Smith's own words. It is guaranteed to invite the Spirit every time you say it, in any setting where the Spirit could possibly reside. That is one of the few things you have to have when teaching the First Lesson. Moroni's challenge has similar power to invite the Spirit, as does, in my opinion, John 3:16 and D&C 19:16-19. I encourage you to read these out loud sometime. (Question: are there any other such scriptures that come to mind, for you, that have that same kind of Spirit-bringing power?)

All of these things are just a wonderful testimony to us that God really is there, that He really is our Father, and that He really did send His Son, Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith did, in fact, see Them, and did, in fact, translate the Book of Mormon. No fraud could have done what he did. No fraud could have written the things I referenced above. Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today, and this is Christ's Church. I testify that this work is true, for I have felt it through the power of the Holy Ghost.

I love you all, and pray for you each day. I love my mission. Happy birthday, Laura!

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Dec. 31st "Who made YOU the Pope?"

Hello again, everyone!

Seems like it hasn't been very long since the last time I've written. But a few important things have come to pass since last Friday.

Those of you who read my last email will remember that Elder Shumway and I have been doing a ton of finding over the last few weeks. Since it's Christmas/holidays, a lot of investigators are out of town, member support decreases since they're gone too, etc. so we've been talking to a lot of people and knocking on a lot of doors. I mentioned that I firmly believe that if we show the Lord we can be trusted with talking to everyone we meet, He will put prepared individuals in our path.

This last Saturday we had nothing on the schedule. We didn't know who was home from Christmas vacation, who was ignoring us, or what. We had a semi-referral from a member which we were reluctant to go try (it's a long story), but we decided to be diligent and to go anyway. They weren't home. We went to go visit another investigator, who didn't answer, and another investigator, who didn't answer. After trying about six investigators in a row with no luck, I felt prompted to go visit Rosita, a former.

Rosita, as you may recall, was a bit of a miracle story, but she had been facing a ton of family opposition and we hadn't gone to go see her in a few weeks. Often, while planning out the schedule for the day or when we were in the general area, I would think about going to see Rosita, but I would feel like not going. I remember that Zach Fisher said in his email something along the lines of: "It's hard to tell sometimes if this is your mind telling you 'I don't want to go,' or if it's Satan saying 'Don't go,' or if it's the Spirit saying 'Don't go.' " That was my general problem here.

Well, after about six investigators with no luck, I suddenly felt that it was time to go and see Rosita. So we went up and knocked on her door.


But as we walked down the stairs, I saw a lady and went to go talk to her. She asked, "You're Mormons, right?" When we said yes, she replied, "My brother's a Mormon. My nephew's on a mission in Oakland, California!"

We started talking to her, but then I saw two ladies carrying a load of water bottles, so I left to go help them. When I returned, I saw this lady walking in her house, talking on the phone. Elder Shumway had given her a pamphlet and wanted to know what to do. I felt constrained to go knock on her door. She opened up and invited us in.

Her name was Wendy, and she was talking on her phone to her brother, who asked if he could speak with us. He told us that he had joined the Church 28 years ago at a time of great trial, and he told us that he had been praying for a very long time for missionaries to find his sister. He told us that we had answered his prayer. We ended up teaching her the first lesson, and it was an incredible experience.

Wendy told us that she had not been attending a church for a long time and was looking for the one that felt right. We invited her to come on a tour with us later that evening, and she came! We introduced her to the Relief Society President -- who invited her to dinner in a few days -- and showed her around. She told us that her brother would fly out from Arizona to baptize her.

This whole experience was a little bit frightening to me, as strange as it sounds. If we had not been diligent that day -- that is, if we had slacked off or had not kept trying or, in short, done anything different from what we did; if we had arrived at that same spot thirty seconds earlier or thirty seconds later -- we would have missed her.

Miracle? Oh yes.

We said many prayers of thanks that day. I have no doubt in my mind that the Lord is directing us. That is what all of us are entitled to receive with the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Most of the time we have no idea we're being directed. Most of the time we don't know that the Spirit was guiding us, until we look back and realize that we were following its promptings all along. We were just trying to be good people.

The Spirit truly is an incredible thing. This last Sunday the Zone Leaders had a baptism, and I got to attend. The Holy Ghost was just so powerful there, filling the entire room. I just wanted to go and hug everybody, I was filled with so much joy and love. I've heard that the Holy Ghost is just a small taste of what eternal life is like. If that is the case, I am willing to do everything to be able to feel that love all the time.

Just one more final thing. When we were talking to Wendy, she told us about all the things she's learned in life, since she is a single mom, now an empty nester. She shared with us her testimony of God, and about how He does some things because we need to learn. She compared it to a child learning to walk, which immediately reminded me of "The Lesson" by Carol Lynn Pearson. I told her this, and Wendy said that she knew that poem. I shared it with her the best I could from my memory, and I want to close by sharing this poem with you, just like I did at my farewell:

The Lesson

"Yes, my frowning, fretting child,
I could cross the room to you more easily.
But I've already learned how to walk, so I make you come to me.
Let go now -- there!
You see?

Oh, remember, child, this lesson.
And in later years, when you cry out in tears,
'Oh God, help me! Please, help me!"
Just listen, and you'll hear a silent voice say:

'I would, child. I would.
But it is you, not I, who needs to try

I testify that this is God's work. His work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. The Savior has made it possible, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Way by which we return home and pass the test of godhood. This same gospel has been restored by Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon is a witness of that truth. President Monson is a prophet of God, and this church is true.

I love the Lord, I love you all, and I love my mission! Happy New Year!

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Dec. 28th "Make a move, Reindeer Games"

Merry Christmas everyone!

So apparently it turns out that the Mayans had been predicting the release of The Hobbit after all, and not the end of the world as had been originally supposed. It guess it's for the best. If the world had started ending that Friday the 21st, I would've had to go and play the Song of Time to send us all back in time three days. Thankfully, however, this was not necessary.

Last time I wrote, I told you all that I had been called to be a trainer. I am training Elder Shumway, a missionary from Layton who is the oldest of 7 children. I am so glad to be his companion. He is extremely obedient, very diligent, incredibly patient, and knows his scriptures. He's also faster than I am on the bike, so I don't have to wait up for him. Most importantly of all, Elder Shumway is fearless: if he sees someone, he talks to them. That is probably the most important missionary skill to have.

And that's what we've been doing the last week or so. A lot of the people we teach are out of town for the holidays, so we have been talking to everyone. EVERYONE. If we see someone, we go talk to them. If they're interested, we get their info, teach them, and ask them who they know. If they're not interested, we ask them who they know who would be interested. We've been talking to tons of people, all day, everyday, and it seems to me that, as we've shown the Lord we can be trusted to talk to people He puts in our path, He has started putting more people in our path.

This has led to a bunch of fun experiences. We've taught lessons on benches at bus stops, we've taught lessons on porches. We've met atheists and JW's, we've been drenched in rain and blasted by wind, and I even had one tire spontaneously explode on me, though my catlike reflexes enabled me to not crash. The Work goes on, and life is good. I really have no complaints, other than the fact that I seem to be chronically behind on my journal...

It just makes me so glad that I get to be on my mission. We just keep trying to do our best, and the Lord makes up the difference.

Well, seeing as I'm going to be writing again on Monday, I think I'll end it there for the time being. I just want to say that I have felt so much love for the Savior the last couple of weeks. Even though Christmas is over, I pray that we will always remember the incredible gift of God's Son. I love Him, and I want to do my best to serve Him.

I love my companion, I love my mission, and I love you all. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Dec. 17th "I stole de babay!!!"


First off, happy birthday, Dad! A card for you is on its way.

Secondly, why I am writing today instead of Monday is due to transfers getting changed. Due to all the 18-year olds, missionaries are not spending as much time getting trained at the MTC, so transfers is actually this Monday instead of Wednesday. To make up for this, Preparation Day is today, hence this email.

Thirdly, I am going to be a trainer this transfer! I am bidding Elder Heydorn fond farewell as he heads off to a different area, and I'm taking over this area with a new missionary who's arriving soon. I'm excited and nervous at the same time, doing a lot of praying and studying so that hopefully I'll be able to teach this missionary good things and be a good example for him. Thankfully, I am still living in the apartment with the Zone Leaders. Elder Howell is headed home, but Elder Hales is staying, so all should be well. I'll let you all know more next Monday.

So this has been an extremely interesting week. We got three texts at 4:35 AM Monday morning from a lady named Renee, telling "Elder Burton and Elder Christensen" that she had changed things in her life and wanted to get baptized now. We gave her a call later that day, got in contact with her, and went to go visit her. Renee is a young single mother of four who had met with missionaries in the past, but she'd faced opposition from her boyfriend. Well, now the boyfriend's gone, and she told us she's had several dreams about her family that make her want to change. She came right out and said what two specific things she'd have to change to get baptized. response to one of those particular problems she told us about, I had her bring up the contacts on her phone and delete the one labelled as "Weedman."

Problems aside, Renee really does seem very sincere. She hasn't challenged us on anything we've asked her to do, and she has a lot of real intent. We have been truly blessed with a lot of very sincere people who are coming to church, meeting with us often, and reading what we give them. I have a lot of high hopes for this area.

And now for the super awesome thing I realized last week (caution, it's a bit long:)

I was sitting there in the hospital while Elder Heydorn was getting CT scanned. I'd been reading about charity that day, and wondering why it was so important, since both Mormon and Paul talk about how it is the greatest, most crucial aspect of all. We've all heard this for years, and we all kind of know, but I really didn't understand. Suddenly, Paul's words clicked with me, and I realized that we can definitely do good things all our life, showing immense faith and obedience, but ultimately, if we are not obedient out of a love for the Lord, if we are not serving others out of doesn't mean anything. At least not to us.

We've been teaching Douglas, a member of the Community of Christ. We'd taught him the Plan of Salvation, and the Three Degrees of Glory had been new to him. After the lesson, I sat down and read in D&C 76 and 88 about the Kingdoms of Glory. It hit me that the Atonement has enabled all of us to enter the Celestial Kingdom on certain conditions, the Gospel of Christ. It made me wonder how the Gospel of Christ really works, when you get down to it: faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. How does it enable us to enter the Celestial Kingdom?

We've all heard that we need to accept the Atonement to reach the Celestial Kingdom, and we do that through the Gospel of Christ. But suddenly, a lot of insights over the last few weeks all combined in my head -- C.S. Lewis' conclusion about how God is looking for a certain kind of person, not necessarily faith or works; Elder Holland guessing that what the question will really be at the Day of Judgment will be, "Do you love me?"; Mormon and Paul's remarks about charity; knowledge of why people go to the Kingdom they go to; talks I've read about grace -- all of it sort of meshed together in my head, and for one glorious moment, Iunderstood. The Spirit just dumped a bucketload of revelation on me.

The Atonement had to be infinite. It had to cover every sin anyone could possibly ever do, for everybody. That's why we can be forgiven no matter how many times we sin. The Atonement also covered the problem of death, so that every single person will be resurrected and brought back to the presence of God. Because of the Atonement, the Savior paid the price for all of us, so that He can step between us and the Father and then judge us on His terms. If we accept His Atonement, which is freely given, we will enter the Celestial Kingdom.

The thing is, we can't earn our salvation. We can't. The Savior did it all. We rely entirely on His mercy to return home. So why, then, does God give us commandments?

It's because if we do not love Heavenly Father, we will not accept the Atonement. If we are not willing to live a Celestial Law, we will not go there; we will descend to a Terrestrial or a Telestial place. In the end, we will go to the place which has the things we love the most. If we love our sins the most, we will go to the Telestial Kingdom. If we love our own way the most, we will go to the Terrestrial Kingdom. But, if we love Heavenly Father and the Savior most, truly do love them, we will accept the Atonement and enter in to enjoy eternal life and exaltation.

The first great commandment is to love Heavenly Father. Every commandment we have been given is built off of that, since when we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God. This love we have for others, the love Heavenly Father commands us to have, is charity. Charity is the pure love of Christ, the ability to honestly say "Yes" when we get to the Judgment. Everything we do should be with the purpose of filling us with that love.

So in the end, what gets us into the Celestial Kingdom is not completing a checklist of things, nor just confessing the Savior's name. We need to have charity. We need to become sanctified. And that is what the Gospel of Christ is. Getting baptized doesn't magically make us a better person, and receiving the Holy Ghost doesn't suddenly make us never sin anymore. What the Holy Ghost does is that it shows us what we should be doing, strengthens us to start doing, and sanctifies us so that we don't even want to sin anymore.

What the Gospel of Christ is, essentially, is a fitness program for our charity. We are developing to the point that we are willing to give up everything, all our sins, for Heavenly Father. We are developing so that we love Him more. God requires us to make covenants so that we'll stick to the fitness program. Baptism is just the first step; we're promising essentially to be good. When we make further promises in the temple, we are committing to give up everything.

Because ultimately, that's the question. When we stand before the Savior, and He asks, "Do you love me?" if we haven't become sanctified, we won't be able to say "Yes." We won't have been changed by the Holy Ghost so that we want to live a Celestial law. There will still be things we want to keep, so we will slink away, remembering our sins, and returning to them in a lower kingdom. In the end, everyone will get exactly what they wanted.

Thankfully, for those of us who do want to make it back home, the Savior will be there every step of the way. The Holy Ghost will guide and change our hearts. We need to do our very best to be filled with charity, the one thing in this whole world that cannot fail. If we love the Lord, truly, truly love Him, He will ask us to do anything and we will do it. When He asks us to accept His gift and come back home, we will be able to say "Yes," and live with Him and our family forever.

I know this to be true. I know the Church is true. I am so glad that I get to be a missionary, helping others and myself commit to our spiritual fitness program.

I love you all. I love my mission. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

Dec. 10th "Van Pelt, Van Pelt, Van Pelt!"

Unfortunately, the email service has been experiencing problems today, so this will be another short one, sadly.

First off, I have felt such a powerful outpouring of love and testimony lately. The letters and testimonies that I have been receiving in the mail lately are the best Christmas gifts I have received in my entire life.   I can literally feel the strength of my family's prayers supporting me, and the daily testimonies of the Gospel have inspired and strengthened me. I am so blessed to have the family and friends I have.  THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your testimonies, everyone! Literally, all the other missionaries in the apartment are jealous of how cool you are.

This week had Saint Nikolaus Day, so I went and put stuff in the other elders' shoes, but when I woke up in the morning, there was stuff in my shoes that I know I hadn't put in there. I guess he really does come!

The highlight of this week was that Elder Heydorn crashed on a bicycle and broke his hand. In between doctor's appointments and such, it has been an interesting week. He's been taking it well, though, and it's been a great opportunity for me to serve him. Since he can't bike at the moment, we've also been giving a car to drive.

While I was sitting in the hospital one day, I got a massive revelation about the Plan of Salvation, the Gospel of Christ, and charity. It all kind of combined in my head and it was like for one brief shining moment I understood everything. It was incredible, and I will have to share it with you next week. Major answer to prayer there!

However, I am out of time due to internet difficulties. Please forgive me; next week will be better, I promise!

Happy birthday, Joy and Dad!

I love my mission, I love my companion, I love the Gospel. Heavenly Father is there, and Jesus is the Savior. Love you all!

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher