Saturday, April 11, 2015

Final Week in the Mission . . . .

Hey yall, 

I can't believe that these 2 years are coming to an end and what a way to end it with General Conference and then Fast and Testimony and my birthday next Sunday! :)  it feels like just yesterday I was going to the mtc! 

This past week was exciting! Really the highlight was conference though.. Words can't begin to express how I felt!  I felt like I was taking notes the whole time! Except for the very last talk.. it finally hit me and I dozed off haha, my old age is showing. 

I really don't know how to begin my recap of conference.. The 70's were on it this year. I loved practically every one of them! One of my favorites would probably be the Elder Renlund's talk and how he quoted Shakespeare. "Twas I, but tis not I."  The Atonement can change people! I loved how that was the overall message of conference. The Atonement and Easter, and families!  I loved Elder Ballard's talk from Priesthood Session.. I cant wait to be a RM, and not "Retired Mormon" haha.   

Other than conference being a spiritual high, we also had a very spiritual lesson with the Wilson's. Laura has come such a long way.. when we got there, she talked for like 10 minutes straight just on her experience of starting to read the Book of Mormon and the spirit she felt. She told us as she was reading, it was like a conversation she was having with someone! And Elder Sutton pulled out the scripture where Moroni says that he is talking to us from the dust!  She explained how she has had a change of heart and knows she needs to do this with an open heart and have true faith. She understands faith without works is dead!  She talked of her experience when she was 17 when she was saved in the Baptist church.  She explained how at the time she felt it was right and a good thing, but now that she has felt the Spirit from the Book of Mormon and us, that she has been rethinking everything that happened before. It was so powerful!  

Afterwards, on the road to the church, we had about 20 minutes and I was silent.. it hit me that I love them so much, but I probably wont see them progress too far while I'm here. But I know the Atonement is working in their lives! 

At the church we played basketball with the elders quorum.. Those 30+ yr olds know how to play! But Elder Holt, Bingham and I  taught them the ways of youth. It felt so good! haha. 

Well.. I'm sure this email isn't really an ideal one for someone going home in a week.. but oh well. I've never been one to be normal.  THE MASTERS ARE THIS WEEK!! AND TIGER IS PLAYING!?!? WHAT KIND OF MADNESS IS THIS?!? MY LIFELONG DREAM IS JUST UP THE ROAD. like, honestly.. and we have a meeting up in Augusta on Thursday!!!  Oh this is going to be torture..  

Well everyone, I have loved being in Georgia and South Carolina for these past two years.. Words will never be able to express my love and appreciation for the Southern Hospitality and culture.  My home email is Email me or find me on facebook, Kevin Bodily :)

I love yall!

Elder Bodily

The last of the Florida Jacksonville Mission missionaries in the Georgia Macon Mission.

Augusta Zone Conference 2015

President and Sister Cottle,  Elder Bodily
Georgia Macon Mission 2013-15

A late post from March ~

hey yall 

It was a week full of ups and downs. we have some really great investigators here right now.  On Tuesday we had an 80 yr old member come out with us for our High Priest exchange, we went and visited Jr. It was an incredible lesson on the importance of church and the spirit. The member bore a powerful testimony and was involved the whole time! It was perfect cuz our investigator really admires Navy men and the member we had with us was an old Navy man!  

On Wednesday we went and visited our family, the Wilson's. They told us that Josh (the husband and member) had to be to work quick so we only had like 20 minutes to visit, but that's all that was needed. When we got there I could feel something different. As we got to talking, Laura (the wife and nonmember) told us that she had quit her job and that it relieved a lot of unneeded stress in her life. She talked of how now she could focus on the family at home and her 'motherly' responsibilities and her husband can continue with his duties. The spirit blew me away. She was talking about the Family Proclamation and I don't think she realized it, or maybe she did and that's why all this was happening! Later on we asked about Alma 32, which we had left with her to read. She explained it so beautifully, she understood it! It was so powerful. They told us that they were gunna go clothes shopping for church! Oh I was excited!   

On Friday we saw Jr again and we had an amazing lesson with him about the Word of Wisdom and church and baptism! We put him on date, and then talking about church we were planning on setting up a ride for him. Well after we said our closing prayer and were getting ready to leave, his mom who doesn't neccessarily like us, came around the corner and said, "Jr. you cant miss community service again or you'll go to jail." .... uhhh well shoot. this is awkward.. haha. we slowly had to leave..  

On Saturday we helped out the member who we live by do yard work all day. All 6 elders and him were moving tree limbs and Roy, the member, was going crazy with the chainsaw cutting a bunch of stuff down haha. It was so much fun!! 

Sunday after church was the baptism of the Bishop's 8 yr old son, Max. It was a wonderful service! And the Wilson's didn't show up.. it broke my heart. Josh had to go babysit some soldiers that he is over on Fort Gordon. It was sad. 

I cant believe that I only have 1 more p-day after today. It is so surreal... I love you all!
Elder Bodily

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Gator Tails and Great Lessons

hey yall it was a good week here! 

this week we met a lot of new people and were able to turn some old potentials into investigators! One of them is Danny. He has a large family, and has known the missionaries for a while. We have had some good visits already with him. One night we knocked on his neighbors door and he was very nice and said we could come back. so when we went back, Michael was very welcoming! He is probably early 40's with a wife and 2 young kids. He said he had known Mormon missionaries before and had read the Book of Mormon cover to cover a couple times before.. wow. haha. so it was easy to talk to him.  

On Thursday we had Zone Conference up at the stake center with President Cottle. It was really good! It was very bitter sweet though. President had all the departing missionaries bear their testimonies.. wow.. it hit me once again. Along with that, The church is doing a new initiative, like the Christmas stuff, but for Easter! it was awesome! we got a sneak preview of it. 

Friday night we had a great lesson with our part member family, the Wilson's. We talked about the priesthood and her feelings of past experiences with the missionaries and she asked for a blessing for some health things going on. It was very spiritual. Her husband gave the closing prayer.. his first prayer in a very long time he said.. it was incredible.  

Saturday The Musgrove's, who live behind us, took us to a restaurant for dinner.. wow. ya know how I talked about wild game cookout? yeah, well this restaurant was a civilized version of that, kind of. but just seafood.. I forgot my camera on the trip, and I'm heartbroken. but they ordered this platter that had a ton of stuff.. catfish, perch, scallops, crabcakes, boiled and fried shrimp, GATOR TAIL, and some other stuff, oh man, it was so good! and they had unlimited grits and hushpuppies.. I was in heaven. but like I said, I have no pictures of that.. but I do from last weeks wild game dinner.  

On Sunday we had a good day. it rained all day and we were trying to achieve one of our goals of member present lessons.. we were struggling, and I honestly wasn't too bummed about not hitting it, but Elder Sutton was trying. we tried calling one family, but no answer.. I just decided to drive around. a name popped into my head, Jenni. She is a friend of some members who we had helped move almost our first week here. well she said she was gunna make us some ties from this horrid design of some curtains.  as we pulled up to her house, the member was there! we knew it by the Idaho license plated van.. it was a miracle. We had a really good conversation with them and made our goal!  

so yall know how we live out in the country? well, guess who came knocking on our door at 10:30 in the morning on a Friday! the Jehovah's Witnesses. I was shocked. haha. They were very nice and respectful, and so was I. I got invited to their "Sacrament Meeting" but I wont be able to take it.. dang. that's okay though. 

I found a new love.. Fluffernutters!  Peanut Butter and Marshmellow fluff sandwhiches..  and also I bought me 
some heaven in a carton. that ice cream is incredible!! 

Well, I hope yall have a good week!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Saving a Turtle and a First Baptist Church Dinner

hey yall! 

It was a good week here in the country. we did a lot of tracting in some beautiful weather. it started to warm up, it feels so good! our car hit 91 degrees! 

On Wednesday I went on exchanges with one of the other elders in the district, elder shutt from Burbank ca. it was fun! on the way back to our area from Waynesboro, I grew a heart. I felt like the Grinch. A couple weeks ago we were driving and it was late and I saw two beedy eyes of a possum on the road and I maybe not have swerved to make sure I made contact with it, and I did. I may or may not be a psychopath,, not sure yet.. but on Wednesday we were going down this road and I saw a turtle! and I DIDNT swerve to hit it. at 23 months, the mission has changed my heart.. wow. Imagine that.  

We had a good day though. I took him to try and see some of the people that Elder Sutton doesn't neccessarily like, for example, the staunch Jehovah's Witness Robert and our prophet, priest and royal king Daniel.  Why do I find such pleasure in talking with these people? im not sure. Later that night we went and visited our part member family, the Wilson's. We shared with them The Family Proclamation. It was a very spiritual couple of moments. over the course of a month, I have grown to love them so much and want them to be happy and have the gospel fill their lives. I have seen them grow so much already!  

On Thursday we had a great experience!  There was a Wild Game Dinner at the First Baptist Church of Louisville. That was so much fun! All 6 elders rode with an eternigator of ours. and when we got there, the first person to come say hi to us was the Pastor of the church, and the second was a member of our church who lives in Harlem, he was one who helped cook all the food. One of his friends, Steve, who is a dry Mormon put on the whole dinner thing. they have been doing it for 20 years almost. We had wild hog, Brunswick stew, quail, channel catfish, pulled pork, bbq chicken, and some other stuff. I forgot my camera and so I will send the pictures next week! It was so good though.  afterwards they had a service. It was really nice. They had a local Christian band play the praise music. it was real good stuff. afterwards they had guest speaker from Lafayette Ga speak. he was a world champion tag-team wrestler. He had an amazing story of his conversion and how Christ helped him through it all. But there was something missing. Its hard to explain.. I could feel the sincerity of his conversion to Christ, but yet there was something lacking. I knew it was the Priesthood authority.. they preached good stuff, but like I said, its hard to explain, something was missing..  

On Saturday Elder Sutton and I went by the Wilson's cuz they were having a birthday party for their little girl who is turning 5. They had cooked up some ribs and pulled pork. the regular stuff, ya know? haha. but we got to talking with Laura, the wife and nonmember. She opened up a lot and said that they had been talking and she is really starting to want to get back into the lessons and stuff. oh I wanted to hug her but I didn't! I really am happy for her and them.  

On Sunday we ate dinner at a family's house and we got talking about a lady they could invite to church. this family is fostering two little black girls whose mom is a teen mom and she's trying to get her life in order and the lady we were talking about is the case working/operator of the organization they are working with. but after dinner they asked if we wanted to go on a walk around the block. we didn't have any set appointments, so we said sure! well, we got down around the corner and guess who pulled up, April, the lady we were talking about!! wow. it was awesome. so we met her right then and are gunna start going over to her house and talk with her family. Such a great experience. 

Well today we are going up to Augusta to play basketball with a bunch of elders from the zone.. one of them is 6'9" and another is 6'6".. bring it on!  

I cant believe I only have 4 more p-days.. wow..
I love you all!
elder bodily

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A De-sanctified Catholic Church and a Baptism!

hey yall! 

this week was great. last monday we had a great p-day. we went up to Augusta and walked around downtown and the river walk, and then got a tour of a de-sanctified Catholic church. That was incredible. 

the rest of the week was pretty regular, nothing too huge.  we spent quite a bit of time tracting and trying to find new investigators to teach. 

we had a neat experience on friday. i was on maps and i saw a name of a lady in a neighborhood we had previously tracted. At that particular house before was a middle 20's poly guy who was high. haha. this time, it was a lady who was so happy to see us. she is a member and has been out in hawaii for a couple months. she is connected with some other polynesians we know in the area and the other elders have been working with. well i asked her if she knew a polynesian family down in Hinesville. Oh she was smiling! She definitely knew them! We talked for like 10 minutes about them and how i served down there almost 2 years ago, and she stopped, looked at me and said "I knew you looked familiar!" wow.. she had been down there when i was down there! she asked about the luau they had, and i said i got transferred right before it. It was so wonderful to find a connection like that.  

Saturday was a beautiful day. We had transfer calls, and I will be staying in the Waynesboro ward for my last 6 weeks. I am excited! lets just say, The masters is the last weekend of my mission :)  

We had the baptism of a young large black family in Waynesboro that another set of missionaries have been working with. we have 3 sets in this ward. Its going to be great for the ward cuz they live in the town of Waynesboro. So incredible. On Sunday, the other set of missionaries had a baptism of a 12 year old they have been working with!  That was great too. The work is really moving forward in this ward. Everyone is excited! in a week we had 6 baptisms in the ward!  

well everyone.   i love yall!    have a good week! 
elder bodily

Walk around Augusta downtown ~

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Baptism, a Nuclear Plant, and Pigs.

Hey yall! 

It was a good week. A couple highlights from this week were a trip we took to Macon on Wednesday! President is starting a new thing with the greenies and trainers where they go to the mission home and get trainings. It was a good time. It helped my companion out a lot to see all the missionaries he came out with! I was the oldest missionary there.. more and more often there are times where I realize how much time I have left and it scares me! no bueno..  

On Friday we had a neat experience. we were out and about, it was a slow day, and I remembered in conversation with someone last week about a member who lived in a certain house. Well we drove past that house and saw some people going up the ramp into the house, so we pulled over and got the roster out and looked them up. Bingo! It was a lady in her late 70's and her daughter that lived with her. I knew that she was on dialysis throughout the week so before we went in, I told Elder Sutton to make sure he had his oil on him. As we went in we talked for a bit, it was wonderful. I just love visiting old people.. come to find out she had a heart attack 2 weeks ago, and still is on dialysis, so she asked for a blessing! It was just a wonderful feeling to know that I listened to the spirit. 

Saturday we spent most of the day at the horse ranch helping out!  2 of the other elders came with us. One of them had actually met the lady who runs the place before! Small world, she apparently had a Mormon boyfriend up in new Hampshire where she came from.. crazy! But we built us a horse corral! I was impressed! usually you put 4, 20ish year olds on a job and it won't get done, but it was awesome! She was very impressed also.  It just felt so good to be out there and working hard... getting muddy and horse poo all over, and pig blood! (sorry for the graphic words haha) One of the pigs was pregnant and about to pop! So we had to wrangle her up! That was fun! haha. 

Golly I'd be fine with working out there everyday.... but I know that people like Michael Long need the gospel. He is our investigator that got baptized yesterday! It was an incredible service. He didn't want it to be a big huge thing. He is a very quiet, to himself kind of guy, but we had a full crowd! The family he married into is very family oriented, and it was such a spiritual moment when his wife and her son sang "I love to see the temple".  So incredible.   After church, a member was driving us back home but decided to take a detour and drive past his work and the new house his family is probably gunna buy.  He works at Plant Vogtle. a nuclear plant here. That was incredible! Those stacks are huge!! They really made me feel small.   

Michael Long and his Forever Family

Plant Vogtle
(*Mom here - I had to search for what Kevin was referring to and found it quite interesting!  Learn more about Plant Vogtle: )

Last night a rain storm came through and on our trailer I could hear every drop! Usually rain helps me sleep, but I just couldn't sleep last night, I haven't been able to for a bit.. just comes with the work I guess. 

Well everyone, I love yall!
Elder Bodily

Monday, February 9, 2015

Greeted With a Gun . . . . And a 91 Year Old Golfer!

First off, I found another source of happiness this week. It came in the form of a 50 gallon drum. The member who lives behind us got it for us. Ah. i love it.  

The joys of simple mission-redneck life.

That's his home for a few more weeks.
He was right when he described it as being in the middle of nowhere!

This week, while Elder Sutton and i were out and about, we were tracting this one neighborhood. The second door we knocked, this old lady answered and came out and talked with us on her porch. She could talk for days if we let her! funny things.. We introduced ourselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she said something but just kept talking. well we went inside and let her talk more and more.. come to find out she is 91. she still lives on her own, drives a 7 series bmw.. and she loved/loves to golf.. she was the Georgia state senior champion many years in a row, and she has done a lot with golf haha.. so we left her with a plan of salvation pamphlet, the next day we went back and we talked and grabbed the pamphlet and said, i read your book, i know where im going when i die now! and that was about it.. i was like, uh.. okay? haha. but we just let her talk more and more. i said something about her reading the book of Mormon and went off on polygamy and "them Mormons" and stuff.. well, i just let it go.. my heart was broken. this nice old sincere lady hates the church and us.. well, i felt inspired for her to say the closing prayer, so we stood up and got by her chair and this frail woman stands up and we hold hands and she prays.. what i heard was one of the most genuine and heartfelt prayers ever.. she was so grateful that we came into her life and that she is able to talk with us, how she is so alone and grateful for us.. and then after i asked her to give the Book of Mormon one more chance, she said something about them Mormons again, and then i said, Ms Dodson,, you know we are Mormons, right? oh she about fainted! haha not quite, but her reaction was priceless.. she still loves us anyways! haha. 

Another exciting moment in our lives! We went to contact a less-active part-member family, the wife had been taught before by sisters, we knock, its about 8 oclock at night, so its dark.. well the door opens and a shirtless man is there, mid 30's and ripped. you could tell he was military. and his arm behind his back.. yeah i already knew.. haha. i apologized for scaring them and it was just us, the Mormons.. he shook our hands after putting a little something into his waistband and said he was gunna go put a shirt on.  we had a very good talk with him, getting to know him and his families situation. well, as we are about to leave, he asked, "are yall allowed to hunt?" ah. i love this man already. 

Yet another great experience from this week, an older gentleman, Brother Garvin, called us up and wanted to take us to lunch with 2 of the other elders. we so rode with him up to Augusta to a place called Ryans. a more southern version of Golden Corral. So good!! afterwards, he took us on a tour through Augusta! it was incredible. he showed us the "Pillar of Prophesy". that was real interesting! go look it up, i aint got time to talk about that today!   
Things are just going good here for us in the country. we are finding new people everyday to talk with and help! i hadn't even mentioned that we spread horse manure in a garden for 3 hours one day! i love getting off the white shirt and tie and getting dirty. :) 

i love you all!! i cant believe i only have 9 weeks left.. so crazy..
elder bodily

This boy can find a fishing hole anywhere!