Elder Bird

Elder Bird

Sunday, October 11, 2015

district leader

One more thing I forgot last night I got assigned to be District leader woooo!!  I am honored they had faith in me to be a leader and hope I can be an example to those I serve.

9 weeks is long but I wouldn't trade the experiences for nothing

Hey everybody how are you doing?  I hope all is well.  I love all of you and the support you have given me so far on my mission.  Well to start Monday was our first day at BYU ELC.  It was so much fun to get off campus for 4 hrs and observe and plan lessons.  The foreign students that are there to learn english are so funny and fun to be around.  I can't believe how humble they are and how much they have given up to be here and learn English.  We get to do these things called talk abouts where we go around for like 40 min and just talk to the students about whatever so they can practice their english skills.  The picture I sent of those two sisters was my first time doing a talk about.  They told me about where they are from and their first experience watching conference in english. This Monday me and my companion are teaching our first English class, to the class called foundations prep.  Which means they are the most beginner students at the ELC.  I can't wait it has been so much fun observing it will be even better teaching.  They don't let us eat anything outside the MTC which is a bummer.  The ELC is over by the Football field at BYU so there really isn't anywhere close to eat anyway.  Me and my companion have been teaching our investigators and we have one committed to baptism, even though they are our teachers the experience is a lot the same.  Mongolian is coming we are getting pretty good at teaching lessons, we haven't learned how to do a lot else so I guess if I get lost in mongolia I will be able to teach people the gospel but not be able to ask how to get to my apartment from here jk.  Let me just say conference was amazing I learned so much.  My absolute favorite talk was Elder Jeffery R. Holland's about mothers.  He opened my eyes and made me realize how much my mom does love me and I should never take that for granted.  I love you so much mom and I hope you know that.  I also enjoyed Elder Bednars talk on how important prophets and apostles are.  They are older and have had more life experience for a reason, they have been our age before, but we have not been theirs.  I loved hearing from the Prophet especially the talk he gave during Priesthood session.  He said we need to follow the commandments, strait to the point.  It is so important for our lives and our salvation to do so, it is also a way we show our faith.  I learned so much from our apostles and prophets and hope I can apply everything I learned to my mission.  I also liked the talk by, I can't think of his name because I don't have my notes.  He talked about how him and his family started ponderizing scriptures.  I think it is so cool and I am gonna start doing that every week.  I just wanted to let everyone know that I have a testimony of the restored Gospel.  I have testimony that God the Father and His son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith.  I also know that Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of us and wants only the best for us.  We need to follow the teachings of the prophet and keep the commandments so we can be worthy of the holy spirit.  I love all of you so much and hope you have a great week.

I Have Now Been Here for Just Over a Month

Hi everybody hope life is going great.  I have been here for awhile now, longer than a lot of the missionaries that come to the MTC.  Mongolian is hard but gets better and easier to both write and speak everyday.  On Wednesday our teacher Sister Largin was in such a great mood that she gave us some Mongolian candy, and talked about the mission for 2 hours it was so awesome.  She talked about some of her coolest and scariest moments on the mission. She talked about how the taxi's work in Mongolia.  So if you hold your hand up when someone drives by they will stop and give you kinda whatever rate they want and you can either bargain or say never mind and move on.  This whole time she is speaking English which is so crazy since we have barely heard her speak it before.  She was just so excited to tell us.  She told us about the food how it is very fatty and oily which I am not looking forward to.  She said you need to eat the food they give you because it means everything to them when you do.  The missionaries are their favorite and we need to be considerate.  I have now completed the first portion of my English teacher training.  Next week on Monday I get to start going to BYU to observe and teach the foreign student there.  I can't wait for a change in scenery.  I have been able to have so many spiritual experiences since I have been here.  On Tuesday for the devotional we listened to a member of the presidency of the 70.  He had a lot of things to say and it really made me realize why I am here.  We then had a district devotional review after and everyone had great testimonies and the spirit was so strong.  I feel like I am growing closer to my Heavenly Father everyday here as I diligently read and pray about the scriptures.  Conference is this weekend I can't wait we finally don't have to go to class or do anything with Mongolian for a little while.  I also had the opportunity to watch the funeral for Elder Richard G. Scott which was also a very powerful spiritual experience.  Life here gets repetitive, as does the food, but I wouldn't change any of the experienced I have had for anything.  I love all of you and the support I have received, it means so much to me.  I miss everybody but I know 2 years is such a short time compared to eternity.  I am grateful for my companion and my roomates they are so awesome and we have so much fun together.  From everything I have heard from a lot of people Mongolia is one of the most unique missions and I am so glad to be a part of it.  I can't wait for the experiences I will have, and hopefully I can touch the hearts of a lot of people while I am there.  Hope everyone has a good week, I will talk to you again next week.

Elder Bird  

3 Weeks Here at the MTC Still the same

Hi everybody it has been another week here at the MTC.  I love the spirit I am able to feel when I am here.  We have devotionals all of the time here from a temple Presidency to a General Authority from the 70.  I have 3 investigators now all of whom are our teachers but the experience is still the same and the spirit is felt.  Our newest one she is playing an investigator with a Buddhist background so no knowledge of Christianity.  It makes it hard to explain Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father with so little vocabulary in Mongolian as I have.  We have learned to teach the first 3 lessons in Preach My Gospel obviously with pretty basic vocab, but learn so much from teaching and feel the spirit every time.  The Elders in my District are so much fun we always have fun as often as we can.  Elder Espinoza in the trio companionship is always cracking jokes and does a crazy good Jack Black Nacho Libre impression.  On Sunday we had the opportunity to watch Meet the Mormons I have never seen it and is so cool.  I really liked how it showed that we as a church aren't crazy and live normal lives just with the fullness of the Gospel.  We had a District Devotional review on Tuesday and when we have those I feel the spirit so strong from the sincerity of the testimony's born.  I wish we could do those more often.  We are all getting tired of the food,  it repeats a lot and kinda all tastes the same.  I just have to survive 6 more weeks of this.  I have gotten a few packages from my family and that is the highlight of the day when you find out you have received a package from your District Leader.  Thanks Mom love you so much.  We ate at the Temple last Friday in their Cafeteria the food was much better than the MTC.  Thank goodness our teacher told us about that.  We get one hour of personal study every day and I really enjoy that time.  It is the one time I can really dive into the book of Mormon and increase my testimony of its truthfulness.  As a whole district there is 13 of us, which apparently is quite large for a group going to Mongolia.  It is really cool and we all learn from each other and have a great time.  We all play volleyball a lot during our gym time and it is really fun.  I love the weather right now it is like perfect.  I am not really looking forward to the below zero temperatures I will experience in a little while.  I know that I will be fine though and have a great time in Mongolia, I can't wait.  I love all of you and Miss you hope life is treating you as well as it is treating me.  Have a good week and I will talk to you next week.

Elder Bird

Just Over Two Weeks Down, Man The TIme Goes Quick

Hey Everybody so I am now just over two weeks down.  I am still busy but starting to get used to the schedule here.  The food is really starting to get old, because now we have had everything they serve so it is starting to repeat.  My companion had to get a flu shot and I didn't thank goodness.  We have a new investigator and she is a lot tougher than our other because she has a background of buddhism and doesn't know anything about Christianity.  It's our teacher of course but it is the only way we can experience teaching in our language.  It is still very important and we feel the spirit very strong when we teach the lessons.  Let  me just say Mongolian is super hard it is formatted different than english and has a different alphabet with different rules.  I can pray and bear testimony and kinda read but that's about it.  I am learning everyday and improving so I know I can get better.  We got to hear from our English as a Second language Professor and he told us about mongolia and how we are gonna learn to teach english.  We will have an Online course from now until October 5 and then we will start to go up to BYU to their english as a second language learning center.  Which from what he said is one of the best if not the best in the world, So that is cool.  He also said it is such a cool experience to do this and we are the only mission in the world that has the opportunity to do so.  I have been able to attend the temple every friday, that is today.  I have learned so much from the spirit i feel there.  I take the opportunity to read the Book of Mormon as often as I can, and I am learning more from it than I ever have before.  I testify to you that it is the word of God and if you need anything read it and you will be surprised what you can learn.  We had a devotional on Tuesday from the Primary General President, Sister Wixom.  She had a lot of great points on being a missionary.  She related the First Story in Nephi when him and his brothers go to get the Brass Plates, to being a mission.  She said we as missionaries can do anything because we have the lord on our side.  I have also learned that we as missionaries are nothing without the spirit and cannot bring people unto Christ without it.  I love all of you and hope your lives are going well and I will write again next week. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

First Few Days Elder Bird

Hi Everybody this is my first P-day, I am now on my third day here and am grateful for my opportunity to serve.  My first day was crazy right after I got dropped off at the MTC they took me to my room to drop of my stuff and then had me pick up my books and materials, then it was off to class where I began learning Mongolian.  The teacher is not allowed to speak english so we have to learn what they are saying and it is very tough, but cool at the same time.  Then I went to meetings where as a group we taught investigators and it was a very cool experience.  The food here is pretty good what you would expect from a cafeteria that has to feed thousands of missionaries.  My companion is Elder Rodriguez and he is a very cool guy, he is from Baltimore Maryland and is part Columbian.  He has a strong testimony of the church and we get along really well.  We stay in a room with two other Elders, Elder Hatch and Elder Mahoney. We all have the same schedule and so we all kinda stick together.  We have gym once a day and we are able to play basketball and volleyball and others, it is a fun time to relax and have fun.  I was called last night as senior companion, and both me and my companion were called to be in charge of the sacrament on Sunday.  I am grateful for this assignment and hope it helps me grow.  I know my Savior lives and am grateful for this opportunity to serve, I know it is what I should be doing at this time.  I love all of you and hope you guys are doing well.  I will give you an update next friday hope you guys have a great week, Pray always and Read the Book of Mormon and if you do I know it will help you because it is helping me right now.

Monday, August 31, 2015

My Farewell Talk

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters, I feel honored and privileged to speak to you today. I have been called to the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission.  I report to the MTC Wednesday September 2, where I will learn the Mongolian language and also how to teach English to the Mongolian natives. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord in this calling. I thank all of you who have taught me, and helped me grow. I feel it a blessing to have known you. 

I am grateful for my family and friends who have sacrificed their time to come and be here for me and to share this time with me. I want them to know that I am truly grateful and deeply touched. 

First I will talk a little about the country of Mongolia and how the Church has grown there.  Mongolia is sandwiched between Russia and China and carries culture and language characteristics from both.  Mongolia is almost directly on the other side of the world, and carries similar landscapes and weather to Utah, except that during the winter months it can be as cold as 30 degrees below zero.  I have heard that it is a beautiful place, because much of the land is uninhabited and not affected by man. 
I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to meet with a couple that currently live in Mongolia.  The Husband served his mission there some years ago and his wife is a Mongolian native.  They told me about the country and the Church there.  It consists of one Mission, 1 Stake, 2 Districts and 23 Wards, with just over 10,000 members.  The church started there in the 90’s and grew very rapidly until around 2010 when the government started to deny missionaries visas and sent some missionaries back to the states.  The church is growing consistently, but there are only a handful of foreign missionaries, Foreign as in like me. With most of the missionaries being Mongolian Natives.  Imagine the challenge of serving a mission where you see your family and friends on a regular basis but cannot interact with them. 

As I embark on my mission, I can’t think of a better topic to speak on. It will be His work I will be doing, it will be His name I am representing, and it will be Him that I strive to be like. 

In Moses Ch: 1: V: 39 it says: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”

Jesus Christ was the ultimate example his mission was to atone for all the sins of this world; my mission is to help bring souls unto Christ so they can be redeemed of their sins and make sure what Christ did for us will not be for nothing. 

Russell M. Nelson gave the following address at a devotional delivered at Brigham Young University on August 18, 1998. 

“During His relatively brief sojourn in mortality, the Savior accomplished two overarching objectives: One was His “work and [His] glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). The other He stated simply: “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done” (John 13:15).

His first objective we know as the Atonement. This was His magnificent mission in mortality. To the people of ancient America, the resurrected Lord gave His mission statement: “I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me” (3 Ne. 27:13–14).

After reading this, I came to realize Christ’s mission was to atone for the sins of this world. My mission is to bring souls unto Christ so they can be redeemed of their sins. 

Doctrine and Convents, chapter 18 gives some very important insights to this principle.

Verse 10 says; Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; 

13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth! 

Remember what His work and his Glory is? “To bring pass the immorality and eternal life of man” 

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

So, everyone is important to the Lord. Every soul has worth in His eyes! His joy is great when we repent and come unto Him. He also promises us joy when we help others come unto Him.

In D&C 4 verses 3-4 it says
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;

4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul; 

This scripture explains that we are called to do missionary work and now is the time, and if we follow the savior and serve obediently we shall bring salvation to our souls. 
The Bishop had us learn and memorize all of D&C 4 but he also had us read and learn 2 other quotes that I really like.
The first one is by Elder Bruce R McConkie, and is called My Missionary Commission

I am called of God.
My authority is above that of kings of the earth.
By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him--to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me.
My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine.
My Commission is to do what He wants done; to say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous Latter-day work.
How great is my calling!

I really like this quote because it sums up exactly what it means to be a missionary and what I am supposed to do as a missionary.
The second one is by the Prophet Joseph Smith,
“Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, Australia, the East Indies, and other places, the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”
This one is also great because it explains that the work will be done and no person on earth can stop it.  It also says the Truth of god will prevail no matter how bad the rest of the world becomes. 

Okay, you may be thinking that this is “Not for me”, or “There are 85,000 missionaries out there, why should I give up my scholarship when I wouldn’t be that good anyway?” You may also think that you don’t know enough, aren’t smart enough, or wonder why does God need me? 

All these questions and doubts are tools by which the adversary attempts to keep you from going on a mission. Remember how the Lord said the worth of souls is great? The worth of your soul is great, and He has even promised you salvation even if you bring but one soul to him.
Here is a story by President James E. Faust at the Priesthood Session in April 2001.

Those of us who have served missions have seen the miracle in the lives of some we have taught as they have come to realize that they are sons and daughters of God. Many years ago an elder who served a mission in the British Isles said at the end of his labors, "I think my mission has been a failure. I have labored all my days as a missionary here and I have only baptized one dirty little Irish kid. That is all I baptized." Years later, after his return to his home in Montana, he had a visitor come to his home who asked, "Are you the elder who served a mission in the British Isles in 1873?" "Yes." Then the man went on, "And do you remember having said that you thought your mission was a failure because you had only baptized one dirty little Irish kid?" He said, "Yes." The visitor put out his hand and said, "I would like to shake hands with you. My name is Charles A. Callis, of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am that dirty little Irish kid that you baptized on your mission." That little Irish boy came to a knowledge of his potential as a son of God. Elder Callis left a lasting legacy for his large family. Serving as a mission president for 25 years and in his apostolic ministry for 13 years, he blessed the lives of literally thousands. I feel privileged to have known this great Apostle of the Lord when I was a young man.

Okay, let’s hear what Gordon B. Hinckley has said about this topic,

The world is our responsibility. We cannot evade it. I think of the words of Jacob in the Book of Mormon, who with his brother Joseph had been consecrated a priest and teacher unto the people: 

“And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence.” (Jacob 1:19.) 

I have found a verse in Doctrine and Covenants 88 that speaks on the importance of sharing the gospel.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:81 says Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor. 

Think about that, every man that has been warned, needs to warn his neighbor. Because we have been blessed with knowledge of the gospel, whether we have always been a member, or if we have joined the Church later in our life, it is our responsibility to share the gospel to others. For young people, the best way is to serve a mission.

However if certain circumstances prevent you from serving a full time mission, do everything in you power to help the missionaries. Give them referrals; go with them when they teach lessons. Have them over for dinner, because if you do, the Lord will bless you. You feed them physically, and they will feed you spiritually. They need your support.

Okay, the missionaries cannot find everyone. Just think, 85,000 missionaries may sound like a lot, but in order for them to reach everyone on the planet; the missionaries need your love and support, but they are also here to help you. 

Elder M. Russell Ballard said

Remember, brothers and sisters, we’re not marketing a product. We’re not selling anything. We’re not trying to impress anyone with our numbers or our growth. We are members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, empowered and sent forth by the Lord Himself to find, nourish, and bring safely into His Church those who are seeking to know the truth.

Viewed from that eternal perspective, what we are to do seems so simple and clear, but I know that member missionary work can be challenging and sometimes frightening. Please allow me to suggest three simple things that we can do to assist in this divinely commissioned responsibility.

First, we should exercise our faith and pray individually and as families, asking for help in finding ways to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Ask the Lord to open the way. Prayerfully set a date with your family to have someone in your home for the missionaries to teach. Remember, brothers and sisters, this is the Lord’s Church. Let Him guide you through constant prayer. With a prayer in your heart, talk to everyone you can. Don’t prejudge. Don’t withhold the good news from anyone. Talk to everyone, and trust in the promised power of the Spirit to give you the words you should say. Let them make the decision to accept or reject your invitation. Over time, the Lord will put into your path those who are seeking the truth. He is the Good Shepherd. He knows His sheep, and they will know His voice, spoken through you, and they will follow Him (see John 10).

President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “It will be a great day when our people not only pray for the missionaries throughout the world, but ask the Lord to help them to assist the missionaries who are laboring in their own ward” (“Missionary Service,” First Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 2003, 19).

Second, leaders must lead by example. The Spirit will prompt and guide you in finding those interested in our message. Your personal worthiness will give you the courage and the spiritual power to inspire you to actively help the missionaries.

Third, member missionary work does not require the development of strategies or gimmicks. It does require faith—real faith and trust in the Lord. It also requires genuine love. The first great commandment is to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. … The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22:37, 39).

So let the power of love guide us in sharing the gospel with family members, friends, neighbors, business associates, and any other people we encounter as we go through life. Most everyone wants to enjoy peace and happiness. That is a natural human desire. People want to find answers to the problems they face. This is increasingly true in the world we now live in.”

Henry B. Eyring said

“Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way towards becoming like Him, our perfect example. Our way of life, hour by hour, must be filled with the love of God and love for others. There is no surprise in that, since the Lord proclaimed those as the first and great commandments. It is love of God that will lead us to keep His commandments. And love of others is at the heart of our capacity to obey Him.”

3 Nephi 27 21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;

M. Russell Ballard also said

“Our love for the Lord and appreciation for the Restoration of the gospel are all the motivation we need to share what gives us much joy and happiness. It is the most natural thing in the world for us to do, and yet far too many of us are hesitant to share our testimonies with others.”

Brothers and Sisters, if we continue to be diligent in sharing the gospel with others, we will be blessed. We will stand blameless before God in the last day. 

To the youth of this ward, I have only one thing to say to you, “GO!” If you go on a mission, the Lord will truly bless you. You will learn things you would never have had the opportunity to otherwise. You will grow in countless ways. It is true, and it is the right thing to do. The Lord has blessed me so much, with a wonderful family, with knowledge of the Gospel, and the freedom to worship as I choose. This is why I am going on a mission. I pray that you will all develop a desire to go on a mission. Now is the time for you to prepare. Learn all you can from seminary, Sunday school, your others classes, and continue to study the scriptures, and strengthen your testimony. 

In closing, I would like to bear you my testimony of the truth of the Restored Gospel. I know it brings happiness. It is the reason I am going on a mission. I want others to enjoy the blessings I enjoy.  I also know that the Lord will bless me through my diligent service.  Again I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the people of Mongolia.  I hope I can make a difference for someone so they can have the fullness of the gospel and understand that they are loved by the Savior and all he wants is them to make it back to him. 

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.    

My Acceptance Letter

Dear Brethren
Having been called to serve as missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I Hunter Paul Bird accept this call and all the duties and responsibilities that accompanies it. I will serve with diligence and to the best of my ability with the help of the Savior Jesus Christ. I have been awaiting this opportunity to serve since I was a young boy and cannot wait to become a full time missionary. I will strive to be like the Savior and bring many souls unto him, and help grow the kingdom of God here on earth. Our Savior Jesus Christ spent his life serving us and establishing the kingdom of God, and I am willing to sacrifice two years of my life to help spread the gospel to all ends of the Earth. I know I was called to serve in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar mission for a purpose, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and teach the Mongolian people, I also know it is where the Lord wants me to be. I understand this will be one of the hardest challenges I will face, but am ready to learn and grow from it. Again, I am humbled to be a Missionary of God and accept this privilege to be part of his great and marvelous work here on earth.

Elder Hunter Bird

My Mission Call