It was a really good Christmas week. It was so good to talk to my family this week. I can't believe how much has changed within the past year or so. Everyone seems so different and I couldn't recognize voices as well!! The saying is true, "You don't realize what you have, until its gone". I love and miss you guys!!
Well we had a baptism this weekend for Ricky Watson. He's 9 years old and is a very shy little guy. It was really fun to teach him and his family the past 6 weeks. They started coming back to church and so it was really good for the whole family. We have grown to love the Watsons and Ricky. I will attach a picture at the baptism of me and the family.
As a mission we have really tried to step it up. Since President Walkenhorst got here, he has had a vision of achieving 100 baptisms in one month. Well the first month he got here, we broke the record for this mission and got to 42 I think. We were pretty short on 100 though. So in the month of December we decided to push for a stepping stone of 50 baptisms which has obviously never been done in this mission. Well we got an email from President Walkenhorst telling us that as of today, our mission reached 57 baptisms so far this month. The Lord is truly hastening His work. Miracles are happening. People are being prepared for the truth. Get excited about it!!
Romans 8:28 has been the forefront of my thoughts the past couple of weeks.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose"
That is probably one of the most comforting promises in all of scripture. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, this promise is fulfilled. This scripture can be applied to any of life's situations. If we are truly striving to do our very best and striving everyday to love God and keep His commandments, all things will eventually work together for our good. For we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do. The Lord simply requires of us our best. Our best today might not be our best tomorrow, but if we truly love God and trust in our Saviors Atonement, all things will work together for our good in the end. I especially love this scripture when it is applied to receiving and then acting on answers from our Heavenly Father. We may not always have a clear answer that we can confidently act on in response to the many questions that we take to our Heavenly Father, but we can be assured that no matter what, if we base the decisions we make in our lives on our love for our Heavenly Father we can never go wrong in the end. He wont let it happen.
So my invitation is to love God. What can you do today to increase your love for Him? Go to Him in sincere prayer and He will answer.
I love you all. Have a great new year. Stay safe, be smart and love God.
Shawnee is a one of a kind place let me tell you. I will definitely be coming back here someday to show yall around. It is an adventure every time you step out of your apartment. You meet some of the craziest, most loving people in the world here. Anyways, my mind has been focused on a scripture this week. Out here in Shawnee where the baptist population is RAMPANT...sometimes all you can do is work and have faith. There really is no secret to "success". There is no crazy approach that works with most people, it really is just being led by the Lord to those whom He has prepared and bearing down in pure testimony of the Savior and His gospel.
Being in Shawnee has taught me alot about Faith, Hope and Charity. I have come to love the simplicity of those 3 principles. In the scriptures it refers to those 3 principles as the "fountain of all righteousness". I think of a fountain flowing continually with no end. When we strive to master those principles in our lives, a fountain of righteousness flows unto us continually. The perfect "trifecta". Being hopeful is absolutely key in Gods eternal plan for us. I am so sick of hearing all the doubts people have about the Restored Gospel and about God's plan for us. If anything, just hope that it is all true. Take a look at your life and picture yourself without your house, your car, your money, your clothes, your entertainment, your phone (aka ALL CARNAL SECURITIES that we have been "lulled" into) etc...and what do you have? You, your knowledge, your testimony, your spirit and your family. I have often heard that death is the great equalizer and I love it because its so true. When all is said and done at the end of our lives, what will we have? In other words, what do we HOPE we will have?
We all know that death must come. But do we hope we will be able to live again because of what others refer to as the ressurrection of a Savior? Do we hope that He made that possible for us? Do we hope that we will be able to live with our families again someday eternally with God? Do we hope that all our guilt and sins and mistakes can be washed away and cleansed? Do we hope for happiness in such a stressful world? Do we hope that what others refer to as an "Atonement" can literally lift us above the weaknesses that we all have as human beings? My question is, why don't we have more hope for these things? When it comes to belief in a God, why are we not more willing to believe and take chances of faith? What do we have to lose? Why can't we put ourselves out on a limb, jump into the Saviors arms and at least hope that He will catch us? I am here to tell you that He will. He cannot fail you. He loves you unconditionally and your hope and your faith in Him will allow you to be ressurrected as He was. He did make it possible for your family to be together again. His Atonement is very real and will wash your sins away through faith on His name. You can overcome your weaknesses and be happy by keeping His commandments and living as He would. It will take sacrifice on our part, but in the end, we will all realize that it was only an eternal investment. Even if you can no more than desire to believe or hope, let it work in you until you can do something about that believe and experiement, and I promise He will not fail you. If we want to become the person we want to be, each day we must consistently be the person we want to become by being more Christ-like and throwing off all "ungodliness".
Here's a challenge for ALL of you. Take a piece of paper and write down ALL of the blessings that flow from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His true Church. Think about the blessings of prophets, apostles, priesthood, temples, eternal life, eternal families, eternal happiness, eternal peace, patriarchal blessings, Another Witness of Jesus Christ (whom everyone claims to love so dearly, yet rejects another witness of Him) The Book of Mormon, tithing, the law of Chastity, the sacrament etc....Write all of those down and more and then ask yourself these questions....
1. Do I hope all these things are true?
2. What can I do to obtain these blessings?
3. What am I willing to give up in a world of mortality, to lay up eternal investments like these in a world of eternity?
Then do something about it... And ALWAYS remember. Don't be so easily distracted. If doubt gets in your way, get it out and hope. Pray for the strength. I promise God will send help.
I love you all. This Christmas season, remember Him.
Elder Dallin Cutler
we have had gnarly ice torms and trees just fall down. this was outside our apartment saturday night. we went running.
at our christmas conference. the bretheren in the Lord
What a wonderful week it was. The simple reminders from the Lord in our lives make all the difference in the world. When we lose ourself in the service of our God, we will be happy. When our motives are pure and driven by love, we will be filled with joy. It just requires a little bit of humility and faith. This week went by so fast and was filled with miracles. We have "obtainied our errand from the Lord" (Jacob2) and have set goals to accomplish our vision in this area. Not to mention, me and Elder Moore found out yesterday that we are staying together for his last transfer. I am pretty excited, we are having a lot of fun.
I have been thinking alot about the way our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ teach us this week. They teach us by letting us experience life and then uncovering the lesson that is already inside the learner through the Spirit. As teachers, are job is to help people uncover the lesson that they already know. We are comprised of two entities....a tabernacle of flesh and a spirit. Our Spirit is eons and eons old and already has divine legacies and attributes that have been developed and engrained in the pre-earth life. Everyone on this earth chose to exercise faith in Jesus Christ by choosing to accept our Fathers plan. We all have faith. Faith drives everything we do and at one point we all exercised faith in Jesus Christ. However, in a life full of distractions, sometimes our faith and the lessons to be learned just need to be uncovered and recognized. Life has NEVER been a question of having enough faith it has only been a test of who or what we will put our faith in, to accomplish our divine purposes and overscome the challenges we face everyday. Some of us just don't truly remember or comprehend who our Savior is and what He has the power to do so it is more comfortable for us to put our faith and trust and purposes into money, time, sports, jobs, friends and other things that eventually will fade away with our mortal tabernacles. Those things are not eternal and they will never last. Having a hope in and a firm faith in Jesus Christ will at least allow us to be hopeful for a brighter future "yea even a place on the right hand of God" (Ether 12:4) where we can rest from all our present cares and "hopefully" be with the ones we love forever. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that lesson that is already within us. That is what our Heavenly Father lovingly does each time He puts a trial in our life. He hopes that we will get the point, humble ourselves and just trust Him.
The work is going great. We are loving the people, working hard and being obedient. We are seeing amazing miracles happening. They do exist. This week, be a little more like a child. Be more humble. Be more hopeful. Be more believing. Be more trusting. Be more forgiving. ...."for of such is the Kingdom of God" (3 Nephi 9:22). As we become more like a little child we will begin to feel in greater protions that divine and unconditional love that our Savior has to offer to each one of His "little Children".
I love you all. Be happy!!!
Elder Dallin Cutler
Elder Watkins. the man.
oh yes i did. Mom whosever idea that was deserves a ribbon. <3
we're in oklahoma...aint nobody got time for liberals here.... classic conservative oklahoma
the orgills hooked it UP with a DOPE christmas skinny. #SkinnyGangOrDie
nightly planning sessions. Aint nobody got time for that.
this is the best picture of the year. NO ONE has been able to get elder moore to eat a PB and J sandwhich. Well I let him borrow my bike on an exchange and he called me later that night and said it got stolen. So this is payback. History was made. First PB&J Sandwhich of his LIFE!
I forgot to show yall my dope planner. Thanks to my last companion who is a genius artist. designed and [painted my planner. so legit.
Daily practice. #Tiger
Elder Bushman last night. Right as i was about to tickle fight him.
In case anyone cared....it is absolutely freezing!! This week has been an absolutely roller coaster of a week. The weather has thrown off everyones schedule and when there is snow or ice on the ground Oklahoma shuts down because they don't have very good resources for clearing the roads out here. Monday we were not in our area because we did a Zone p.day and Specialized Training afterwards which took up our whole night. Tuesday we had Mission Leadership Council in the city all day and then I had an interview with President Walkenhorst. That took from 7am to 6pm. Then we went and worked in an outlaying town in our area the rest of the night called Mcloud Oklahoma. We were looking for places to stay for future missionaries because it will probably end up getting opened up. Wednesday early morning we left for Cushing, Oklahoma for exchanges with some elders up there and didn't get back until thursday afternoon. Had our weekly planning session and then the mission got shut down because of weather but me and elder Moore decided to just go walk around at least til 9pm which leads us to our miracles.
It was snowing and sleeting and 15 degrees when we walked outside at 6pm. We skipped dinner just because we were eager to get outside and be in our area for the first time. We had to walk because cars were grounded. The first door we knocked a man had talked to missionaries in Alaska and asked us to come back. The second door we knocked, the people invited us right in, fed us dinner let us teach them a lesson and told us they had previously read the Book of Mormon. (They were native american which was even cooler) We have a return appointment. The third door we knocked the people invited us in again and asked where we had been for 10 years. They told us that they use to have missionaries over for dinner each week and that the missionaries would leave lessons. They invited us over for dinner this wednesday at 5pm and to teach them. Then the 5th and 6th doors let us share a prayer on the doorstep and told us to come back. Me and Elder Moore were SHOCKED. Literally the craziest night of knocking doors of my whole mission. It was freezing and wet, but the Lord provided and we were able to do all that in the space of 3 hours. We ran home at 9pm because it was cold and got a good 3 mile jog in. (hahha u\you should of seen the look on some peoples faces in their cars when they saw two mormon missionaries runnin through the streets in 15 degree weather in the snow) It was such a legit night!! So FUN!!
Well on Friday we had to do a baptismal interview with a man in Seminole so we went down there. After the interview we drove home in the ice and it took us forever to get home. We got home and realized that one of the Elders left his phone in the truck. Elder Moore was looking through it and found some things that were not supposed to be happening. So the next morning we went back to Seminole and had interviews with the District Leader and his companion. We did an exchange with some elders in teh District to try and help. I was so troubled on this exchange. But I learned so much. The next day in Sacrament meeting I got my answers and the Lord taught me my lesson for the week. :)
I realized how amazing Gods plan is. I realized that God trusts us with everything. He gave us the ability to choose. How we use our agency affects our eternal progression, but central to His plan is the Atonement. God is able to give us agency and entrust us with so much because of the Atonement. He recognized and stil recognizes that choosing and thus making mistakes is part of the learning process. The same should go for us. We give others the ability to choose and do their own thing knowing and trusting in Gods plan for that person. People need to feel trusted by us. If we can't trust someone else, how can we truly let God trust us? I finally recognized that if we have a hard time trusting others and letting them making their own decisions, we don't truly understand the role of the Atonement. We may love someone so much that we want to take away their ability to choose and correct every wrong choice they are making but that is not what God does with us. The fact of the matter is, we don't need to correct every little thing. We don't need live others lives for them or make decisions for them, we need to trust in the Atonement and recognize that faith unto repentance is the most key part in progression. God teaches correct principles and then He trusts us and asks us to have faith. He lets us make decisions and lets us mess up so that we can learn more about Jesus Christ and who He is and how IMPORTANT He is to us through repentance and feeling the power of the Atonement in our lives.
There are so many missionaries out here that don't know why they are here yet. Looking back, i recognize that I was in their shoes too, how can I judge that? God let me make my own decisions and through making mistakes I grew to become who I am now and so it will be the rest of my life. There is no need to stress, just sit back, let God do His thing and let others feel our love for them. The Atonement allows us to trust.
I hope you have a good week! I love you all!! I am so excited for this Christmas season, but in the wise words of the Primary Presidents words last night....what will happen next with us. Christ has come....how will we let that change our lives?
Elder Dallin Cutler
p.s my favorite scripture of the month. How do we come to KNOW the Master?
oops wrong scripture...but still a good one. :)
thuggin in the snow. cold as can be. who cares
me and the moore saucer
after 3 hours of walking around....cold.
this was my 4th layer underneath my huge jacket. hahah
The Shawnee Elders...Elder Bushman, Watkins (he went to Lone Peak) and Moore.
this is in our apartment complex
best study snack ever. #lowerCholestrol #sikeeeeee
This was up in stillwater. These two lady's are inmates. They are absolutley wrecks....but i LOVE THEM SO MUCH!! hahahaha
Also, the mission will no longer be forwarding mail to the missionaries anymore. They have asked that you send packages and letters to our actual addresses. My address is no longer 416 SW 79th St.... it is now 1810 N. Harrison Apt. H-135 Shawnee, OK. It will be my address for another two weeks at least. Thanks.
This transfer seems like a mountain. Being in a new area is always difficult because you don't know the area or the ward or the zone, but combine that with so many other factors and multiply it by 2. That's how I feel like these past 3 weeks have been. I injured my groin pretty badly last monday...just a small tear in the muscle, but I can no longer excercise by running or any of that. Past mistakes in my life have flooded my memories. Inadequacies have been more fully recognized. The work has gone pretty slow. Church was cancelled last sunday because of weather. All our plans fall through and we end up knocking doors til 9pm at night in the freezing cold. Our thanksgiving plans fell through last minute and we were not allowed to proselyte the whole day (only set appointments with members and such) so we stayed in our apartment studying the whole day. They have been the hardest physically, emotionally and spiritually of my mission. I don't say this to complain or to be dramatic, I say it only to illustrate the point I am about to make.
A couple of weeks ago I wondered to myself what Heavenly Father wanted me to learn through the trials we faced my first week here. I asked him and He answered by being silent and letting me continue to face more. I felt frustrated and stressed. I hoped that something would come from it. Well it did after much fasting and prayer and the answers actually came one after the other as fast as the problems came....they were just really delayed.
Yesterday was fast sunday. I realized that we had not partook of the Sacrament in almost two weeks. I fasted very much so for specific things. The first was a question...how can the sacrament affect us on a weekly basis?
We had studies and showed up to church really early. Well 5 minutes before it started, the Bishoipric told us no one had shopwed up to do the sacrament and asked if we would prepare and bless it. We did so. As I prepared it, I was brought back to 16 years old. The Spirit touched my heart in a way that had never before been felt as I prepared the bread and the water. Then a priest showed up after it was prepared and I was the only missionary asked to bless it (i found that very interesting how it worked that way). As I blessed the bread, I was overcome with emotion and appreciation for Jesus Christ. It was powerful and very recognizable. As i partook of it, I literally felt cleansed and lighter. I felt the Spirit so strongly. The Lord taught me the importance of the Sacrament. As I pondered and reflected on my week I realized that the reason I felt so stressed, and down was because the week previous, church was cancelled, we did not have an opportunity to take the sacrament. The Lord had answered my prayer before I had even asked for it. He taught me very personally and in a very real way what it feels like to not have it in our lives. It not only makes a difference in our week, it is the difference in our week. Don't let it go unnoticed.
Second. Satan has an uncanny ability to just tempt, decieve and lie to you so as to make you feel like dirt. We have all made mistakes and the hardest thing on mission life is dealing with past transgressions. Life back home and life on a mission are stark contrasts and so it is easy to dwell on the past darkness even when you have fully repented and been forgiven...that is one of Satans tools...the past. Well after church we went to our first appointment with a lady named Gwen. We talked to her on her porch for awhile but finally she started talking about a book that changed her life. She described it and then said something that God wanted me to hear. "I have done alot of things in my past. I have had alot of unfair things said and done about me. But that's in my past. This book reminded me that dwelling in the past, stops us from moving forward and progressing." Right then i recognized my answer. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about moving forward. Repentance is about progression and the future. Repentance is turning from the sin and our past and turning toward Christ and the future. Never look back. Learn from mistakes but don't dwell, it will stop you from moving forward. The Spirit spoke to me in the most peaceful and calming way. Who cares what we have done...what will we now become?
Third and lastly, the Lord taught me about faith. Faith is to never stop moving forward. Faith is to keep walking even in the dark. Faith is not having a perfect knowledge of timing, but is a willingness to put one foot in front of the next until you reach some kind of light. Faith is never giving up. Faith is not questioning, faith is submitting. Faith is doing everything we possibly can to follow in the Masters footsteps and trusting that He will give us strength, even when we may not feel like it. Faith means to keep working without complaining recognizing that the Lord never complained and went throught it all for us. Faith is not some fancy complicated solution to all our problems, faith is raw, testing and uncomftortable many times then not. It is powerful but not pretty, nevertheless, if we have faith in Jesus Christ all of our ugly problems can turn into beautifull blessings. We just need to keep walking, trusting and believing.
I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior. I know that God answers all of His Childrens heartfelt prayers. I know He lives and speaks. Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of His gospel because it is the only thing that will work in the end. We are fallen, we are imperfect, we are weak, but through Christ and His Atonement we will be lifted, perfected and strengthened...if we will but have faith. Keep on going. I love you all.
Elder Dallin Cutler
my hot companion.
This morning after studies. Preparing for our Specialized Training tonight. #missionLife