Monday, March 27, 2017


Dear Family and Friends,
     Things have been super awesome this week! I'm really just loving life and working hard. Elder Schneider is such a stud, I seriously feel so blessed to be his companion. This area is so awesome too, everyone in the YSA is awesome and missionary minded. The work here is hastening.
     Lots of good things happened this week. On Wednesday our Bishop was signed up to feed us dinner but he lives ~30 minutes outside of Bozeman so he signs up on the days that he has work and then has meetings at the church so he can use the hour break he has to eat dinner with us! So he took us out to a Chinese buffet. And I love Chinese buffets. They're by far one of my favorites. So that was a plus indeed. Bishop Smith is such a great, honest, kind and spiritual man. I've learned a lot from him so far about compassion and reverence. You can't help but feel the spirit around him.
     We had Zone Conference this past week on Tuesday. It was all the way over in Helena with the Butte and Helena Zones as well. So we had to get together with all the missionaries in the Zone and coordinate a carpool caravan with all the elders fit amongst the smallest amount of vehicles possible to conserve miles and the sister's following us. It was a fun road trip with 5 of us crammed in our truck rocking out to youth music, the lower lights and MoTab. The meeting was amazing, I really left uplifted. The Assistants weren't able to make it to this training so the Helena Zone Leaders did their assignments for them, another reason why I'm thankful we weren't hosting it in Bozeman. We learned lots about recognizing the Spirit and becoming better teachers. Also, the Helena Zone Leaders asked if I would do the special musical number but I said I wanted to give someone else a chance because I've done it for 3 of the last 4 Zone Conferences and this most recent MLC. And the musical number was awesome that happened! I like singing and all, but I don't like to do it every time because then I feel like I'm showing off.
     Tuesday night was institute and it was so amazing having Brother Bishop back. He's such a great teacher. I don't think we did a shabby job when we taught, it just definitely wasn't Brother Bishop status. Every time I hear him teach and usually just anytime I speak to him my mind is blown. Sometimes he goes pretty deep into things but I especially love it when he talks about the simple and basic principles of the gospel. He lays them out so clearly and they are brought to a new light and level of understanding. Kelsey loved institute and Brother Bishop was super impressed by how well she participated in class! Also, yesterday we had a meeting with all the missionaries in our Zone at President Repscher's home, our Stake President. He's a really young guy but he knows so much about the gospel too. He reviewed the Stake and Zone goals we have and taught us how to more efficiently reach them. Then he just said, "okay Elders and Sisters, ask me any question! Any question at all about the gospel!" It takes a lot of confidence to make a statement like that and he has the knowledge to back it. A simple question was asked about preparing investigators for baptism and then aiming for the temple and a powerful 20 minute discussion and scripture chase ensued. Again, mind blown.
     The only Investigator I really feel to tell y'all more about is Milo. He's the one with 56 siblings. We had a lesson on tithing with him on Wednesday and he accepted the commandment just like everything else we've taught but in the process the concern came up that he wasn't sure whether or not President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God or not. We realized that we had taught him about the need for living Prophets and that there was one but that we hadn't spent too much time on it and we hadn't checked for understanding. Because he grew up with a polygamist background in a church that had broken off of the True Church he was really unsure about that. He was taught growing up that somewhere in the process of the original church stopping polygamy they no longer held the priesthood and a man led their colony with the proper priesthood. Then that man died and he always thought we were just living in apostasy again. So that can throw a wrench into things, you can't really get baptized if you don't believe in the prophet of the church your getting baptized (or at least you can't if that church is true 😉). So we assigned him a talk by President Monson to read, "Dare to Stand Alone", because Milo really wants to be firm in his faith so he can be a good example to others. So until our lesson on Saturday we kept praying so hard for him to come to know for himself that President Monson is the Lord's living prophet on the earth today. We get to the lesson on Saturday and start with the normal introductory stuff and followed up with him on his commitment to watch that talk and pray about it (and we had texted him a reminder to do so earlier that day #dailycontact). He said he did it and prayed and got an answer. Milo bore such a powerful testimony that brought the spirit into the room in a way I haven't felt in a long time. Possibly ever. Tears were flowing everywhere (except for me but I'll get to that later). Milo is so confident in his decision to be baptized and follow Jesus Christ. He loves the church and everything it has to offer. He's found the peace that comes from the realization that God hasn't left us alone but has given us lifelines to stay linked with him. So Milo is getting interviewed this Friday by our mission president to get the process of having someone else come interview him, usually a seventy.
     About the not crying thing. There have been very few occasions when I've cried feeling the spirit. And when I do it's usually a single solitary tear. This has always bothered me. I've always seen so many people that get emotional when they're feeling the spirit and I've thought many times that something was wrong with me because I wasn't feeling the spirit the way they were. Sometimes strong emotions are a product of the spirit but that's not the way it works with everyone. A missionary shared this with us a couple days ago in another meeting we had and it stood out to me. "President Howard W. Hunter offered this counsel: “Let me offer a word of caution. … I think if we are not careful … , we may begin to try to counterfeit the true influence of the Spirit of the Lord by unworthy and manipulative means. I get concerned when it appears that strong emotion or free-flowing tears are equated with the presence of the Spirit. Certainly the Spirit of the Lord can bring strong emotional feelings, including tears, but that outward manifestation ought not to be confused with the presence of the Spirit itself” (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, 184). The Spirit of the Lord always edifies." (PMG pg. 99). I've read this a bunch before but it really made sense to me recently. "The spirit of the Lord always edifies." To edify mean to instruct or improve or to build up. When we need to recognize the spirit ask yourself if God is building you up, if He's instructing or improving you. That's what the spirit ALWAYS does. When Prophets say ALWAYS they mean ALWAYS. Over this past week I've been able to recognize the spirit more in my life as I've thought about this. I'd encourage you all to think about this in preparation for General Conference. Think about your struggles, weaknesses, trials or anything and I promise that the Lord will build you up, instruct you and improve you through the mouths of his chosen servants.

Elder Garian Tippetts
311 Michael Grove Unit B
Bozeman, MT 59718

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