Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Welcome Home Elder Remington!

He will give a report on his mission on Sunday, May 25th at 11:00am, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel on 4300 Dale road. You are all invited to attend.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Dear Family & Friends,

It's hard to believe Jacoby's missionary service has come to an end.  I will admit, I cried through this whole letter.  Tears of joy to have the honor to be his mother, tears of joy that he will be coming home soon, yet tears of sadness that this wonderful experience has to come to an end.  This is the last email you will be receiving from him as a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It has been a wonderful two years of watching our son grow and mature (through emails) in ways that he couldn't have experienced anywhere else.  We appreciate your letters and prayers and support to him throughout his mission.  As most of you already know, he will be returning next Tuesday, May 20th at 11:25am.  He will give a report on his mission on Sunday, May 25th at 11:00am, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel on 4300 Dale road.  You are all invited to attend.

Thank you again for all you have done for Jacoby, we truly appreciate each and every one of you!

Darlyn Remington family

Family and Friends,

Last week I went to my last leadership conference. It was incredible. They are usually just with the zone leaders but this one was with all the district leaders too so I got to see and chat with a lot of great friends for the last time. It was a blessing. In the middle of his training, as he was teaching important principles of working with members, President Amaya gave a little pause smiled and said that we all need to remember the training that Elder Magill and Elder Remington gave in October about the three keys of working in unity with members: image, communication, and attitude. He then asked Elder Magill and I to come up and give that training again. Very surprised but happy and ready, we both stood up and (although we hadn't given the training in over 7 months) without even skipping a beat we gave the training together and it went super well. President has NEVER done anything like that before with any missionaries. That training of the three keys with members is the only training of assistants that he has asked for to be repeated a second time back in October with the new missionaries so we were super surprised then but THREE times asking for the same training is something insane so we were both shocked. We weren't sure how much time he wanted us to take up of his training so just in case we gave a much briefer version and skipped over some parts at first. Haha but then we we finished he just kept staring at us and said, "Continue please." So we both smile and nodded at each other and went over the other parts in greater detail with quotes and analysis from PMG. We finished with our testimonies of the importance of these principles, backed up each other's words, taught smoothly and in unity, and promised blessings to all who applied these three keys. President thanked us. We sat down. My buddy Elder Strang gave me a fist bump and whispered, "Killed it, great job man." I then looked over at Elder Magill and he gave me a wink and smiled. Good stuff. 

At the end of the conference all of the missionaries from my group and I gave our last testimonies. President told us all to keep it just to 2:30 minutes and we did and it was much more direct and powerful that way instead of some Elders who go on and on and on. It was one of the most spiritual and powerful moments of my life. Several missionaries were in tears and the Spirit was thick. I felt a strong burning in my heart and happiness and joy. Elder Garzon shared a brief experience of how he had practiced preparing the Sacrament when he was 10 years old and compared it with the fact that his whole life he had prepared himself for this moment... to be a missionary and serve the Lord and how wonderful it felt to have done so these last two years and to have done it well. His feelings were mine as well. Elder Maddock shared a great testimony of how he suffered a huge injury that prevented him from going to the Olympics but lead to him deciding to serve a mission and testified of how trials and pain can lead to growth and blessings. Elder Randall gave a tender and sincere testimony and started to cry at the end. You could feel the love and sincerity in his voice. He shared that a good attitude will bring you success in all that you do. Then it was my turn. I shared my testimony of the love our Heavenly Father has for every single one of us, that we are His children and thus we all have divine gifts and talents and the divine potential to become like Him one day. I know that Jesus Christ died for me and saved us all from sin and redeemed us and through His atonement we can become clean and be born again and have joy in sharing this glad message with our dear brothers and sisters (Alma 36:23-25). I know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration and that he translated the Book of Mormon. I know that it is the word of God and truly changes hearts and changes lives. I know that Thomas Monson is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and that if we apply his teachings in our lives we will be better and be safe. I know that this is God's true church. These last two years have been the happiest and best two years of my life. I know that with marriage and children even better years are to come but I know that these two years will always be the best two years for my life. I know that it is a privilege to be a missionary and that anyone who serves with all his heart, might, mind, and strength will be blessed more than you can possibly imagine. I closed my testimony and then heard a powerful and moving testimony of my dear friend Elder Magill. He testified of the three lighthouses of President Amaya and of what a privilege it is to be a missionary. He said that he wasn't going to cry yet. Then we sang the last hymn "Called to Serve" with all our heart. When we finished before the last prayer, President Amaya stood up and called up Elder Magill and I and thanked us for all that we had done and said that we were like Nephi because we had been born of goodly parents and were exemplary men. He said how much he loved us. It was very moving. Elder Magill cried. It was a very tender and spiritual moment. I am so thankful to have had such a wonderful mission president and to have served by him for six months with an amazing companion. 

At the end of the prayer, dozens and dozens of missionaries asked to take pictures with Elder Magill and I. We were astounded by how much each of them remembered things we had done for them or things we had said so long ago. They thanked us and we likewise thanked them and complimented them for specific and important things they had done. These were very tender moments. The recognition wasn't what really mattered, what most mattered to us both is that we knew and felt and the Spirit confirmed to us that we had done a good job and that the Lord accepted our offering :) a wonderful feeling. I am happy to be in an amazing area with such a wonderful companion like Elder Galvan.

I love you all. 

Elder Remington

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Three Lighthouses

Next week will be Jacoby's last email from Ecuador as a missionary.  If you want to write him one last email, send it before May 12th, because that will be his last day to check emails.
Also, if you would like to hear Jacoby report on his mission, he will be speaking in church on Sunday May 25th, at 11:00am. It will be at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 4300 Dale Road, Modesto, CA.
Thank you for the love and support that you have shown him throughout his mission!
Elder Remington's Mother

Family and Friends,

We had a tender baptism this week of Alejandrina Loor. She is the mother of two less active sisters and grandmother of several less active children. Her family was a referral of a ward missionary and when we first met them all she wasn't interested at all. The first few times she wouldn't even join us in the lessons or is she did she'd hardly say a word or just tell us that she was Catholic and wouldn't change and that was that. We pretty much wrote her off and focused on other people. Then one we went to their house to teach her daughters to reactivate them but they had left and Alejandrina was the only one home. My seasoned, calculating, and efficient mind told me that teaching her would be a waste of time and her odds of progressing were very low thus our time would be better spent teaching other investigators with greater odds of progressing.... but the Spirit gently touched my heart and I had the subtle feeling that we should stay and give her a chance... so we stayed. We listened to her. We showed genuine interest, love, and concern. She opened up to us. She shared that her husband had been unfaithful and left her for another woman several years ago and that she was sad and lonely. We also detected that she greatly lacked confidence and felt timid about participating in our lessons not because of a lack of interest but because she didn't know how to read and felt embarrassed about it and nervous that we might call on her to read and she wouldn't be able to do so. We shared our love for her and taught her of the love our Savior and Heavenly Father have for her and that they're always there to help her as she turns to them. We read and analyzed the doctrine of Christ in 2 Nephi 31 with her and I felt the distinct impression (I had never done it before) to testify to her and promise here that if she was faithful and obedient to God that in this life or the next He would bless her with a good and faithful husband that would love, cherish, and respect her and she could be with him for all time and eternity. We taught that God is merciful and just and He won't rob her of any of the blessings of exaltation if she is faithful and does her part. A gleam of hope brightened in her eyes as she listened to us teach and testify. We set a baptismal date for May 3rd in that very first lesson and she accepted tentatively. Day by day she became more and more comfortable with the idea and after a week she was excited to be baptized. It was a lovely experience and lovely baptismal service :) I love this work and I'm grateful for those gently promptings of the Holy Ghost to guide us to the elect of God because we'd be lost without them.

Last week, my great friend Sister Walker sent me some wonderful advice that I felt inspired to share with you all, Now you are approaching the last leg of this part of your life. In track, when you run a distance, there is something to be said for pacing yourself, for keeping yourself strongly in the race, but remembering you needed to save something for the end.  Now you are to the point where you thought you were already giving it all, but you can dig a little deeper and give a little more.

Thank you Sister Walker! What a great thought and solid analogy. To be completely honest two years of working hard all day really does tire the body, mind, and spirit haha a LOT! Of course it is a good tired, a happy tired in a positive way but its tiring nonetheless and there have been days where my body begs for rest and a long nap seems so appealing... BUT that's when we really show the Lord what we're made of and just how much we love Him and just how dedicated we are to His work. Anyone can work hard and positive when they feel well rested and there's a nice breeze and there are lots of investigators progressing and things are going great. Its when you're rejected, all your appointments fail, you're tired, hungry, and the sun is blazing hot... that's when it really takes diligence and heart to keep going with a smile and faith and hope in the Lord. When we do so the Lord helps us and when we kneel and ask for the strength to keep going, He hears and answers. Its not always the answer that we want but its always the answer that we need. As we trust in Him and work our hardest things work out. Several times this week these words from Sister Walker came to mind and helped me work even harder.

There are many of you who are probably wondering why I put the title of Three Lighthouses and if that means I went to the beach or something like that haha lighthouse is faro in Spanish and it has a bit of a different meaning in Spanish. Our beloved President Amaya has three "lighthouses" (that's the literal translation but it'd be more like the three keys or three fundamentals) of the mission that are the key to success that he always teaches us. I'd like to share them with you all. 

1. Concentrate your mind on the mission. Don't have a girlfriend to distract you, don't think about home, don't get absorbed in thinking about what you're going to buy or do or see on p-day, avoid all distractions, and stay focused always 100% on your investigators and your work as a missionary. Have a balance of being fun and happy yet focused and obedient. 

2. Submerge yourself in Preach My Gospel. There are many good things to read and study and focus on during the mission but the most important, most relevant, and thing that will most help you grow as a missionary is PMG. Love it, study it, live it. Every single day study it for at least 20-40 minutes and if you want for the whole hour. Do the activities. Look up and ponder on the scriptures. Watch and analyze the videos. Be a PMG missionary. President teaches that you know you're a PMG missionary if the Holy Ghost whispers parts of PMG to your heart and mind at times. Its happened to me on several occasions and its a great feeling. PMG really is the most important and it sets a foundation for the rest of our life. 

3. Have your Mission Purpose in between your eyebrows. In all that you do be focused on bringing souls unto Christ. Put baptismal dates in the first lesson without fear. Always think about how to better improve your sector and bring more souls unto Christ. Every lesson and everything you do should be focused on completing with your missionary purpose. 

Many months ago in a car ride with President Amaya I asked him for specific feedback on how I could improve as his assistant. He chuckled and repeated to me the three lighthouses and said "Elder if you have the three things down then all the rest will take care of itself. Focus on those three things and that's all." At that time I was a little bit let down because I wanted something a little more specific but I now realize that his answer was very wise and that those three lighthouses really are key and as I've developed and perfected them more and more during the mission since that car ride its brought me more and more success. 

I love you all!

Elder Remington