Monday, November 28, 2016

The Second great commandment - Lewisburg, Tennessee

Hello everyone,

I really love you all and want to take time to say thank you for each of your help. I know this letter goes out to a lot of people, but I do know and love all of you and I mean it when I say to you, individually, that I would not be here without you and the help you have given me. Thank you for every bit of friendship and compassion.

Yesterday, our bishop told us the story of his childhood friend. This friend had a hard life, but our bishop was always there to help him. He struggled to fit in in school, moved many times, and was bullied a lot, but bishop Ostrander was there to comfort him and tell him that he was a son of God and he was loved. Eventually that friend fell way from the gospel. He told himself that the others there would hate him and judge him for his mistakes and he could never be accepted back, but bishop Ostrander was there and told him that it wasn't true. It didn't matter what the others thought, he needed to go to church to be healed for himself. After years of trial and many many difficulties, that friend was able to finally make it back to the church. With the help of bishop he was able to change his life. He has a wife and children now to whom he is sealed to for all eternity. He is free from the pain and mistakes of the past. Last year he was called to be a bishop. He said he never could have made it without bishop Ostrander and was so very grateful that he had been there his whole life to help him.

Then bishop paused for a bit and choked up. He told us that that friend was actually himself. He needed his own love and help to make it back. He needed to be grateful to himself for making the right decisions and working hard enough to get where he is now. All of us need to be grateful to ourselves for the good decisions we make. I am grateful that I had the faith and the love to turn my life around and prepare to come on a mission. I am grateful that I have had the strength to stay out here and keep serving even though it gets tough. As I ponder on this I am reminded of the story from the Savior's life found in Mark 12

28 ¶And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

The second great commandment it to love thy neighbor AS THYSELF. So many times I think we forget this part. I challenge each of you to take time this week to thank yourself and love yourself for all the good things you have done for yourself and others. Not in any selfish or vain way, but with charity, which is the pure love of Christ which endureth forever. Learn to think about yourself the same way that your savior Jesus Christ thinks about you. Learn to love yourself the same way Heavenly Father loves you end expects you to care for others. I can promise you will feel the spirit and find within yourself a greater desire and strength to improve and become more like Christ.

I love you all and hope you have a great week. Thank you again for all that you do!

Elder Basham 

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Mountain of the Lord - Lewisburg, Tennessee

Hello everyone!

This week was the McMinnville Stake conference in Altamont, Tennesee. It was a long drive but it was definitely worth it. All the people from the area call Altamont "the mountain." It's really more like a large hill, but it's the closest thing they have to a mountain around here. Either way it was quite fun driving up there. For the first time in a very long time I got to drive up through a valley on a winding road and then look down from the top to see the farms stretched out below us. There were so many trees up there. I know there are already a lot of trees in Tennessee, but up there it was crazy, and they were all turning bright fiery red. The colors were absolutely beautiful to see the patchwork of green, yellow, red, and orange stretched across the hillside as we approached.

Stake conference was amazing. I could feel how much the leaders here really love the people they serve. President Crawford is really a remarkable person. Although his talk sounded much more like a sermon from a preacher. You can tell he has lived in the south a long time.

In Altamont they have the two oldest LDS churches in the south. We got a chance to visit one of them after conference. 

The church has been established up there for years and families have stayed faithful for generations. It is so cool to see that the legacy of the pioneers is not forgotten. The foundation they laid has made the missionary work thrive. In the last three years, the McMinnville stake has been split twice. There really is a special spirit in this part of the country and these wonderful, faithful people are such a pleasure to be around. I am very grateful to be serving here and I am grateful for the great work of our forefathers who started this mission long ago. I am grateful for this gospel which Heavenly Father has restored to us. I am grateful for my savior, Jesus Christ. I love him, and I you all, and I love the south.

Have a wonderful week!
Elder Basham

Monday, November 14, 2016

Do you hear the people sing? - Lewisburg, Tennessee

Yes that is right. Here is the best zone picture you will ever see. Don't even try to argue. We had a zone meeting and afterwards it was time for pictures. However everyone complained that we have far too many photos of missionaries sitting in chairs and we should do something fun. I decided we should build a barricade and wave the flag around. Surprisingly, everyone agreed and we built a barricade. Yes there was much singing and everyone had les miserables in their head the rest of the day. Sister Degraffenried was in the play and spent all of lunch humming to herself doing the choreography. It was fantastic.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Missions are Forever - Lewisburg, Tennessee


This week we had an amazing opportunity to teach the Plan of Salvation to an investigator. I have taught this lesson many times throughout my mission, but never before had I had such an experience. Almost every single principle we taught brought the spirit in overwhelming power. He testified of the truth with so much strength all of us were reduced to tears throughout the whole lesson. There were many times when Lisa taught us part of the lesson even before we told her. The veil was thin and she could begin to remember those truths she had been taught before he foundation of the world. As she learned the true worth and potential of her soul, it had a greater impact on her desire to change than anything else we have or will say. Without having taught her the word of wisdom, she decided she wants to quit smoking so she can take care of the gift God has given her.

As we spoke of the spirit world and temples, Lisa saw so clearly the great responsibility she has to not only accept this gospel for herself, but also to bring it to all of her family who are waiting for the opportunity. How amazing that she isn't even baptized yet and already has a desire to do her family history work and bring the blessings of this gospel to those she loves. We testified of the missionary work that goes on there and I know for certain the truth that "the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead." I am so grateful for all my faithful ancestors who continue to serve missions now at this time. I also know that when we teach an investigator, they are not the only one listening; generations of loved ones are there to hear the restored gospel.

I am really grateful for this experience and happy to be a missionary. It is truly wonderful to be able to share these great truths with others. I sometimes forget how great is the knowledge we have and how many people lack it.

Sorry I did not get a chance to email much at all last week. Since we had to work until 2 and be in at 6 I ended up with only about 20 minutes with wifi. Hopefully this week will be better. Unfortunately though, we still do not have the photos from our Halloween costumes sadly. Y'all will have to wait another week. Transfers are this week and you will never believe what happened. Nothing! Absolutely nobody in our district got transferred out. I am pretty excited about that because I really like this district and it is fun to lead them. So I will be in Lewisburg with Elder Thompson for another six weeks! Hope you all have a great week! Love you
Elder Basham