Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It's a little bit crazy.

May 26, 2015

Note from Karen:
There have been record-breaking rain storms in Texas. The weekend was particularly crazy in Houston. I've included, from the news, a picture of I-45, which is about 20 minutes from Zach. The following is all we received him from this week.

Mom,

We're about to go to our conference, about the iPads we'll be getting this week or next week. There will be about 70 there. We had a crazy morning breaking into apartments. We rescued some elders from a wreck I'll tell you about later.

I love you all. Pray for what you most desire, and have faith you'll receive. See Enos.

I love you very much!!!

Elder Decker
 
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765674536/Floodwaters-deepen-in-Houston-after-city-gets-more-rain.html
 
 

Miracles continue!

May 18, 2015
 
Elder Bond arrived in Channelview this week. He's a convert of 2 years from Brigham city. He's 22 years old. We got right to work, praying specifically for a man 30-40 yrs old who wanted more direction in his life and would be willing to read. We found three. The miracles continued when we found another man, recieved 5 referrals and more especially when we met D. yesterday. 
Elder Bond, Elder Decker and the Jenks.

We were looking for somebody sick of their current lifestyle. In our minds eye we saw somebody puking on their lastest party ready to finally make a change. We knocked on his door right be fore he took another puff of meth. "You guys know Elder _______?" he asked. "I know all about y'all... Bible and stuff... Who sent you?" "Your Father did." said Elder Bond, "Your Father in Heaven." We explained to him exactly what we'd done to get there, prayed to find our repentant new friend, asked our ward mission leader where to find a good apartment complex, went to Cloverleaf, put in "apartments" in the GPS, pulled off Uvalde Str, prayed again, knocked a whole building, one row of doors and arrived at D's. He was already planning on turning himself in this week to a rehab center. We will see him again today. He said that we finding him was just another sign, and "astounding." I know that God answers prays, and that He puts us where He needs us to be. 

Today we're moving from Bro Jenks' house into a new apartment on the Beltway. It should be fun. 

love y'all! It was awesome to talk last Sunday. Enjoy the mountains!

 Elder Decker

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Doubt not, only believe.


May 11, 2015
 
Mom,

It was awesome to get to talk to y'all! 

Elder Poplin is going home today, well sort of. His family moved from Nevada to Missouri since he's been out here. He's beginning all over again. This last week we had the chance to teach another zone mtg. We first brainstormed and discussed how Jesus Christ as affected our lives, and what things were restored through Joseph Smith. The lists are really long! I know that serving and following Jesus Christ, as opposed to having a passive belief in him, has blessed me with knowledge, with the change of heart King Benjamin's people describe, with happiness. My faith in Him has given me forgiveness of my sins.  I know that because of Joseph Smith's courage and obedience we know have a true knowledge of the nature of our Heavenly Father. We can be with our families forever. But none of that would have been possible for me, if either one had wavered. If Christ had turned that stone to bread, if Joseph had sold those plates for money, it could not have happened. Fear and doubt lead to failure. This is what Elder Lyn G. Robbins said last October:

Courage is not just one of the cardinal virtues, but as C. S. Lewis observed: “Courage is … the form of every virtue at the testing point. … Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”1 King Herod was sorrowful at the request to behead John the Baptist but wanted to please “them which sat with him at meat” (Matthew14:9). King Noah was ready to free Abinadi until peer pressure from his wicked priests caused him to waver(see Mosiah 17:11–12). King Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord by keeping the spoils of war because he“feared the people, and obeyed their voice” (1 Samuel15:24). To appease rebellious Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai, Aaron crafted a golden calf, forgetting which way he faced (see Exodus 32). Many of the New Testament chief rulers “believed on [the Lord]; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42–43).

It is really only fear and doubt that's lead to my biggest mistakes and regrets, fearing men more than God. I know that it is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in ourselves or anyone else, that will bring real peace. I know that through that faith comes miracles. "Christ hath said: if ye will have faith in me, ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me." Moroni 7. Have faith in Christ! Do the things that strengthen that faith. Keep His command to "doubt not, only believe." Mark 5

love y'all! 

Elder Decker

You can't take success for granted.


May 4, 2015
 
I got to interview an awesome young couple for baptism this week! They have been investigating the Church for almost two years, and taking it very seriously. They moved to the apartments right next to the church so they could be close. They picked Pine Trails because it is a smaller ward. The husband spent most the last two years trying to find out what he calls "logically wrong" with the Church, and couldn't find anything. He really felt in the last week that he grew a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, because, like he says "there's no reason I should have to give up coffee," but when he did he felt an immediate change. (John 7:17) More than anything they are excited to serve and be part of the Church. It was really awesome. 

There's something about eighteen years living in Utah in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that gives you the opportunity to hear lots and lots of inspirational stories. We hear about single moms, cancer survivors, pioneers, persecuted prophets, paraplegics, and more that all overcome the odds and live with hope and peace. That's also what seeing every "I'm a Mormon" video ever made will do for you. Very recently I've realized just why these people we hear about really deserve to have documentaries, TV interviews and General Conference shout-outs. Not everybody makes it. Some parents let their six kids go absolutely nuts, some folks confined to wheel-chairs drink their lives away. People do dumb stuff. You can't take success for granted. I'm grateful that if we follow Jesus Christ, there are guarantees, because "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1 Cor 10.  I'm more grateful and amazed than ever for you guys and the others that taught and raised me even in this crazy world!

Elder Decker

Dodging cars and pit-bulls, thanks mom.

April 26, 2015

Some letters take me a while to decide whether to post. They are so tender and special to me. Love this missionary son of mine. Karen

Mom

Your package was awesome! There's nothing like saltwater taffy to earn some points with the missionaries in District mtg. 

We had a pretty special week. A whole lot of prayers were answered, and we found a LOT of great families, including one with six kids. I know God really cares about us and that he's now given us a big responsibility to take of these good people. We decided to change things up and make a sacrifice, so we basically left our Fusion at home and biked the whole week. Saturday afternoon I was spent. We were in the Cloverleaf neighborhood, dodging cars and pit-bulls when we decided to try to find  a girl the Spanish elders had talked to 2 months ago. They felt strongly she was prepared, and we hadn't ever found her and her number never worked, but we decided to go anyway. As we knocked on the door, I decided to do something that had worked well before. I prayed that she would be there, that she'd be ready to make a covenant with God, and I promised to do everything I could to help her. Christopher opened the door and let us in. We taught him and his girlfriend Devina, and will be seeing them again tonight. 

 Brother Jenks is the 70 yr old, ex-psychologist, ex- Pine Trails Bishop who lets us live in his house. Every Friday night he arrives with his 3rd wife (not that kind... he's a two-time widower) to check up on things, (this week he had to get the air conditioning fixed, we were chilling at 87 degrees inside), eat oatmeal and fuss with all the things they need to get rid of before they move. Not long ago, because my comp Elder Poplin and Elder Sully were knocking doors in the HOA "protected" neighborhood of we live in called Stirling Green, the " CIA SEAL SECURITY" super dramatic, takes-his-job-too-seriously, security guard followed them home to Brother Jenks' house, and soon landed him with several HOA violations, including one for a overly dirty bench, and another for "inconsistent siding." We've had three old, goofy, lovable contractors working on our siding for the last month to get it up to specs. They turned down my "Because He lives" card, and are always talking about being Sabbath observers; they promptly leave every Friday to be sure to be keeping it holy by sundown. One warned me that we should be sure not to call the creator what we shouldn't. "God", according to my good friend, comes from some Babilonian term, or a maybe a mix-up of "Gad" (son of Jacob- which means good fortune). We gave these these same fun folks icecream the other day, and they let us know that Blue Bell, a famous Texan tradition, was completely shut down and recalled- probably because of terrorists:) . Ours had been in the freezer a while so it was okay. Because we'll be moving, this week I worked on cleaning out the second walk-in closet of my life, which was stacked the the ceiling in missionary junk. I found shirts, slacks, ties, tie-hangers, a budha statue, the last supper, a temple dress, diet books, "how to crochet," two boxes of military MREs, a suit, size 15 basketball shoes I wore to mow Sister Duncan's lawn:), hair dye, a trophy, a hair pick, baby toys, sun glasses, a 1 Old-Testament verse a day book and about a dozen Ensigns from the 80's and 90's.

In 1997 Elder Holland, a hero of mine, said the following:

"In speaking of mothers generally, I especially wish to praise and encourage young mothers. The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. The young years are often those when either husband or wife—or both—may still be in school or in those earliest and leanest stages of developing the husband’s bread winning capacities. Finances fluctuate daily between low and nonexistent. The apartment is usually decorated in one of two smart designs—Deseret Industries provincial or early Mother Hubbard. The car, if there is one, runs on smooth tires and an empty tank. But with night feedings and night teethings, often the greatest challenge of all for a young mother is simply fatigue. Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. It is not surprising when the shadows under their eyes sometimes vaguely resemble the state of Rhode Island...

may I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you...

Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever.And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,having a perfect brightness of hope.”  You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly,perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and sometimes weep over their responsibility as mothers,“Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” And it will make your children whole as well."

When I realized that I was 2 years old when he gave this talk, when I realized that you are one of the mothers he was talking to, the Spirit taught me just how much you have sacrificed for me and how much Heavenly Father loves you. Thanks for what you do Mom. 

love Elder Decker