Monday, November 29, 2010

Grateful! E-mail - Monday, November 29, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,
I hope you all had a good holiday season. I had a wonderful time,although the homesickness was a little harder, but I got through it fine. I'm glad to hear Spencer's talk went well, wish him luck for me. By the way, mom, just send it to the apartment if you don't it could get mixed up with stuff. I also do not know if I'll be here for Christmas.  It looks like one of us (either Elder Fly or myself) will not be staying since we have been together for two transfers.  We still have two weeks till transfer calls, so whatever happens I'll let you know. Well, Thanksgiving wasn't something special. It was basically a day off  where we got to stuff ourselves and eat with families and tell what we were grateful for.
Starting this e-mail I had no idea what to say,but I feel I know what to write now.  While at the Evans house(an active family in the Ward) we each told three things we were grateful for.   It was kinda weird because I have always done that back home, but it was different. We were in a room full of people we barely knew listening to some of the most personal things ever. As I waited for my turn (I was last)  it surprised me that I didn't think I could share these things with them. I slowly watched each person stand and talk about the things they were most thankful for. Obviously, the top ones being the Atonement, Family and The Gospel. How could I tell these complete strangers how the Atonement has affected my life?  How it has truly changed me? How could I express the feelings of my family who I hadn't seen in four months and four days, a family who has given everything so that I could come to California and spread His glorious message? How could I ever and I mean EVER tell them how the Gospel has blessed me, and explain how I've watched people go from smoking, drinking, drug using to a caterpillar, to a beautiful and respecting and fun butterfly.
This is how I shared my feelings on gratitude:
"My three things I'm definitely grateful  for, is first and foremost the Atonement. I feel as if we truly forget how much it means.  Imagine if you will, every single time you have ever been hurt, emotionally or physically. Now imagine your family, all your friends, neighbors, there are six billion people on this earth at one moment at one time. Christ felt all that pain, that is what the Atonement is for me. I cannot truly tell you how grateful I am for my family.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland states it the best in his last conference ( I'll let you look it up).  Finally,  just look at any convert and the change the Gospel has done in their lives.   That is how grateful I am.  One cannot put a price on Gratitude.  Gratitude is a gift of Love." 
"The Institutions of the world Challenge us to know something, the Gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something."    Dallin H. Oaks
Elder Zachary David Daniel

RAIN E-Mail November 22, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,
We have entered into the holiday season and how grateful am I. Well, for those of you who are wondering, yes, I will be fed this Thanksgiving and we have three dinners planned. So pray I don't get too fat. I am sorry to hear that it's going to be freezing in South Dakota, but if it makes you feel better;  it was in the sixties yesterday and the mountains are starting to get snow. It's weird how the weather here in California works. During the Summer when its in the 90's to 110's your praying for the rain and what do you get nothing, but when it's in the 60's to 70's and your praying for some heat (because you get adjusted to the weather) it rains!! 
Out of all the days in the mission I think this day was the hardest. So, let me tell you what happened. Well, lets start how it always starts at 6:30 are alarms starts blasting off. Yes, I said alarms we need multiple ones or we won't get up. So, I roll out of bed and groggily say my morning prayers then start working out for 30 minutes. During my 30 minutes of exercises I found myself where I normally do laying on the ground moaning for lack of sleep (I would be complaining, but I'm just to tired to even do that!!) then I heard what can be best described as millions of rats scraping the roof. I seriously couldn't figure out what it was so I turned over to my companion who was in the same position as I and I asked what was the sound. Then I was shocked that his reply, which I might add was full of laughter, that it was RAIN!!   So I looked at Elder Fly and asked if we were still going out and he said yes; then I asked if we were going on our bikes, and he said yes, then I wanted to chuck my planner at his head, but thought that might not be the smartest idea and our companionship unity would take a crippling blow. Well, everything worked out well. No one died or received a bruised head from a planner.You wouldn't believe how bad it was. I was so soaked, that not even our rain gear protected us.  It wasn't just raining and cold, the wind was also blowing. Well, with that I think I will close this e-mail. I am so thankful for all the prayers of safety and comfort; they really do work. I do love you all and miss you very much.  I hope all is well and I will actually talk to you soon. Only about a month until Christmas!!
Elder Zachary David Daniel
P.S. John One, Elder Daniel Zero, but I am pretty sure I have this one in the bag.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

JULIE Email - November 15, 2010

Dear Family and friends,
Another great week in California!! I now have to be a better writer since I have a wonderful step-father that wants me to get to college. I also attached some photos of families we are teaching and our baptism we just had.
Well to answer some questions, when we call on Christmas we do it at a members home, and we only get an hour, but President is giving me two one for you, mom and one for dad. I haven't decided if I'm going to call him. since I have received no email or any other correspondence from him.
Next, I did get a pair of new shoes they were not that expensive just something for church. I'm still using my others for work. We had our Primary Program it was alright. The weather here is unlike anything I ever remember, its mild throughout the days, mid 80's (never thought that would be a MILD day) then at night it drops to the 50's, which is freezing on bike. Speaking of bikes I have some bad news. My bike is, at the moment, not working. We went and bought parts for it last week because something was not 100% (the pedals) so after putting it back together we stripped the pedal and I need a whole new part which won't be fixed till tomorrow, but I am fine and it should only cost 20 bucks, thanks for the cash John.
Now to tell you a little bit about my week. I did have a baptism on Sunday, but like Elder Fly likes to say "something has to wrong."   Julie (one who was baptized) had been living with a Less-Active Member named Aaron who at the time was getting the lessons by us. Well, Aaron was abusing Julie and taking drugs and Julie had been excepting it all the time, but with the realization of the trueness of the Gospel, Julie started to change. She stopped drinking, smoking, and even cursing. She realized who she was, a daughter of our Heavenly Father. She even called the police on Aaron (no one saw that coming) the day Aaron was arrested we were there ( a wrong time wrong place thing or maybe Heavenly Father wanted us there thing) it took 4 cops to put him in the car the whole time he was yelling about how he was going to cut her throat and ours. Luckily he wasn't to smart saying this because now it was a death threat and he won't be out of prison until I'm safely home in Kentucky. Although, when Aaron was being carried off Julie looked at us and asked, what day worked best for us to "Dunk her in the big Bath tub" that day was Sunday. We had to really advocate and talk to a lot of people to get her baptized, even our own Ward Mission Leader. Although, I won't say anything bad about him.
Sadly, I don't know what else to write I'm doing great here in California. Elder Fly and I are changing the way we do missionary work so it will be another stressful week, but I think I'll save that for next week. Hope all is good back in Kentucky, it is here.
With All My Love,
Elder Zachary David Daniel
P.S.  Find something wrong with this one. I dare you, John!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

D&C 121:7-8 E-mail Monday, November 8, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,
Let me start out this E-mail with giving thanks to some people. To my mother, what a great inspiration you are to me, knowing how much you fought (even me) to have me stay on the straight and narrow path. I don't know how much I can thank you. To Meaghan, thanks for being a wonderful sister and always being there, even if I didn't want you there.  I see now how important you are in my life (btw, the letters in the mail).  To John, I cannot say how grateful I am that you gave me the gospel and took the time to care for me the way you would a real son; even though I'm only your step-son.  To all the friends, teachers, ward members, home teaching families, seminary comrades, and even the people I didn't really get a chance to meet thank you.  I wish to leave you with a scripture that I hold dear to my heart, 1 Timothy 4:12 "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."
Well,  know I bet you are all wondering what story Elder Daniel is going to leave us  with today.  I wonder if  it's about the spirit blessing someone?  Well, it is!  If you haven't read my last email then you don't know, but lately I've been doing more therapy work than teaching.  I wish to leave you with one of these sessions ( it may be a little gruesome).  We have been seeing a lady by the name of Mary Loy. She has been through alot in the past couple of weeks. Her husband works in Washington, because the economy is so bad.   She is loosing her house and she has 3 daughters and 1 son. The son (possibly the only success story out of the bunch) lives in Boston. We have been seeing this family about 4 weeks. We went over on Tuesday of last week, upon arriving, the middle daughter was being taken away in an ambulance after overdosing on meds. We pulled up on our bikes watching Mary shaking her daughter, crying, begging that she not die. We returned later that night to find Mary, a women strong in her beliefs, and one that was once uncrushable, destroyed  that her daughter had barley survived.  Later her daughter told her mother that she wished she wouldn't have lived. As missionaries, what do we do, what can we say, neither Elder Fly or I have ever been through this.  We never watched anyone try to kill themselves, especially someone we would be willing to lay our lives down for, as Mary would have for any of her 4 children. You may ask what did you do? Simply, we did all we could do, we testified. We told Mary, "No we have not ever endured a trial like this, but someone had. A Saviour, one who took all of our sins on Him. One who felt every single pain and burden we do. She could not DENY this fact, as no one can. I wish I could tell you the story ends well, but sadly not all do. The next time we went to see Mary, her daughter had returned home and was doing better. While we were leaving a spiritual thought, Mary caught her daughter steeling more drugs.  Mary broke down crying and told us she could no longer handle all the stress.  We have not seen her since.
I started off my email thanking everyone because after the last few weeks I truly see how the gospel has blessed my life. Not having its strong foundation will eventually lead to a crumbling mess. 
I love and miss you all! 
 I will leave this email with one final scripture. D&C 121:7-8 "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, it thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.  


Elder Zachary Daniel

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO??? Email - Monday, November 1, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,
I  have had a pretty hectic week. I feel like more of a counselor than a missionary.  I had one less active member I was working with go to jail and an investigators daughter over-dose on vicodin. It's been a hard week, but nevertheless good.
I was thinking the other day, "Why is the mission said to be the best two years of your life?" it was something I simply didn't understand.  Well, I shouldn't say that I do understand, but I know others do not, and I'll tell you the very simples reasons why I believe this, there are three.
What more could you ask for?  You see people who's lives are in shambles, they hate themselves and wonder why they're here and what they're doing. Watching them realize that they have a loving Heavenly Father and gaining a testimony of him is incredible. I couldn't even explain how it feels.
I know what your saying: Elder Daniel, your crazy how does this help at all. It's as simple as this. LIVING THE COMMANDMENTS MAKES YOU A BETTER PERSON!!!! There's no excuses about it, no science to disprove it.  It is unmistakable and undying. Yes, you can always be better, but why should you not try your best, if you don't, you don't deserve the happiness. Elder Ringwood said it the best "by saying you don't want to do better; your saying there is no sin. If you believe that, what will be your place in Heaven" when he told us that it really struck me. Was I being the best I could?  Well, frankly no, and each day I strive to do better.
HOW AMAZING DOES THAT SOUND?!?! and it's totally true no matter how big or small. There is no denying that. If I tried to put all the miracles that happened, I would have a 10 page email, and trust me you don't want that!
All this is great, but what even makes this greater, is you have it in your own lives.  I wish I would've realized that a lot earlier.  My life would've seemed a lot easier. You may be saying I never have seen one convert to the gospel, WELL YOU CAN!!!  Become a MEMBER MISSIONARY, now, today, after reading this email. The Lord needs us all no matter how great or small (Alma 37: 6-7) its true and simple so what will you do???
Elder Zachary David Daniel
PS  I've enclosed some pics, and I wasn't transferred last week!