Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas - Lewisburg, Tennessee

Talking to the Family Christmas Day

Talking to the Family Christmas Day
Two weeks ago, we had the opportunity to go with our bishop and meet a family in our ward. They have lived here for five years, but never had any contact from the members. The mother was a member as a child, but has not been to church in over 20 years. They were so very surprised to have seen missionaries and the bishop at their tiny house located over a mile off into the woods on a dirt road. They didn't really know what to say, but bishop promised we would be back and we loved them.

Yesterday we did return. Only this time, we brought a choir of missionaries and several families from the ward. We brought a large Christmas dinner and a gift card and sang them some Christmas songs.
This was all very wonderful and we loved singing for them. However the miracle afterwards was amazing. They cast the gift card and the food off to the side like it was meaningless and came out asking if they could each get a priesthood blessing. They said they had never felt anything like that love before in their life. It was such a privilege to stand there in that circle and bless them. In that tiny field in the woods, all of us were put to silence by the overwhelming presence of the spirit and of God's love. That simple act of service and love changed the hearts of that family and it changed my heart.

As I reflect on the experience I am reminded of another humble and dark field beneath the stars long ago. As meek and lowly shepherds watched their sheep, angels appeared to them to announce the birth of our savior in a stable. It is truly wonderful that god does not care who we are or where we are from or what we have. All of us our his children and angels are all around each day. Being in the service of Jesus Christ, it is so easy and so wonderful to feel this love for each of them. I am grateful for my savior and I am grateful to serve him and his people. Merry Christmas everyone. I love you

Elder Basham

We built a barn! It isn't quite ready for a hoedown yet,
but now I can say I helped in a barn raising :)

We went with some members to a candlelight service at the
Presbyterian church on Christmas Eve. It was a cool experience.
I love the beautiful architecture of all these old churches built in the 1800s.
The wood ceiling was amazing and they have a real pipe organ. 

This is Gus Gus, the best cat ever.
He will just sit there in the bowl all day and let you carry him.
And I got to pet him and play with him
and he wouldn't even run away or fuss.
Afterwards I was super dying of allergies,
but it was completely worth it. Cats are the best! 
Not sure if you got my email last week. Hope things are going well. I was wondering if you could write me a little something about your feelings about being a missionary during the Christmas season.

Thanks Bishop Hawk

Hey bishop

Yes I got your email last week. Sorry I have not responded yet. For some reason, whenever anyone asks me to write a specific story or write on a subject, everything I have ever known or thought about that thing completely disappears from my mind. I don't get it, but honestly writing letters home is probably more difficult than going trackting in Spanish while the wind is blowing at 20 degrees.

About three weeks ago, we had a lesson with a man named Adam. It was a pretty normal restoration lesson without anything too significant. We listened to him explain his desire to come closer to Christ and to change his life. We shared the glorious message that God loves him and has reached out to him and the whole earth once again. We gave him the Book of Mormon for a means to grow closer to Christ and to learn of the truth of our message. All these things were wonderful, but what makes his lesson stand out so clearly in my mind is the words I spoke at the end of the lesson. I explained that he would learn how to repent and follow in the footsteps of Christ. He would find great joy in that path and soon desire to make covenants with Him. Then, in words I have spoken many times I asked, "Adam, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by one holding the restored
priesthood authority from god?" At his affirmation I continued, "we will be holding a baptismal service on Saturday December 24th, Christmas Eve -- the day before the birth of our savior Jesus Christ." This last phrase was something new, and I felt something stir within me. I could barely speak these words as the spirit filled my heart. It was confirmed to me in that instant just how special Christmas really is and how wonderful of a calling I have. I thought about how baptism is a symbol of rebirth as a follower of Christ. We take his name upon us as we enter into His eternal family. How fitting do do this on the anniversary of the night that Jesus Christ was born on earth and entered our world to be among our family and to be our friend. I further reflect that, if Adam had been baptized on the 24th, he would have received the gift of the Holy Ghost for Christmas in sacrament meeting the next day. Even though that is not the end of Adam's story, I am grateful to know that many wonderful people in this mission and around the world are making covenants to follow their savior and receiving the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost this Christmas Day. I love my savior Jesus Christ and I am grateful to be his missionary. I know that His work is true. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, December 19, 2016

El regalo de lenguas - Lewisburg, Tennessee

Hello my wonderful friends and family!

This has been a fantastic week! Elder Senatore is really funny and we
have had a great time together. I have been learning Spanish for the
past six days and am absolutely astonished at how well it is going.
After two years of Spanish class in high school, I knew pretty much no
Spanish whatsoever. All I could manage to say was "¿tiene galletas?" I
suppose it is because I had actually no desire to learn Spanish. I was
just here because they told me I needed a language credit to apply for
college. So I would learn the vocabulary words long enough to take the
test and then forget everything. I feel bad for my teachers.

However, now that I actually have something I want to say and a real
desire to learn, it is amazing how much is coming. Heavenly Father
promises that if we really love His children and desire to help them,
he will give us all we need to do it. This last week has been the
busiest of my mission. We went trackting for several hours every day
with no set appointments. Normally this is a drag, but every single
street we knocked on we were let into three or more houses -- all
Spanish speaking. As I met each of these wonderful people and listened
to them, my desire for and understanding of the Spanish language grew
and grew. I now am able to introduce ourselves at the doorsteps, to
teach about Heavenly Father's love for us and our families, and to
teach about the Book of Mormon. My companion has been so helpful and I
have found a lot of strength from Heavenly Father.

He promised Enoch that no matter how weak or speechless he felt, if he
had the faith to open his mouth, God would fill it. Enoch's teaching
literally moved mountains! While I haven't done that yet, I know that a
large measure of my learning has come because I had the faith to open
my mouth even when I was scared.

Yo quiero a escribir mi testigo en español. Creo que dios es mi Padre
Celestial. Èl me ama y ama todos ustedes. Dios ha dado Su hijo,
Jesucristo para nuestro salvador. El Evangelio de Jesucristo es el
solo camino a Dios. Mediante el evangelio restaurado, mi familia ha
bendecido. Yo sé que el libro de Mormón es verdadero y José Smith es
una profeta de dios. El libro de Mormón bendice mi vida todas las días
que lo leo. Amo a Jesucristo. Este es Su Iglesia y Yo soy Su
misionero. En el nombre de Jesucristo. Amen.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Chapter 7 - Lewisburg, Tennessee

Hello wonderful people!

Guess what! This week is transfer week. Another six weeks have come
and gone already. Time is so weird. The most exciting news is this: I
will be paired here in Lewisburg with Elder Senatore. Elder Senatore
is from Venezuela 🇻🇪 and speaks Spanish. This means we will finally
be able to teach all of the Spanish speaking investigators here in
town instead of waiting for the Spanish missionaries to drive an hour
out here once a week.

I can't wait to be able to teach so many more people. Every time we
have visited with Spanish speaking people I feel like Alma who said "O
that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I
might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake
the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!" I wanted to be able
to share the gospel with them and felt words coming to my remembrance
to talk to them but it wasn't enough. I don't have the vocabulary to
convey the beautiful principles of the gospel. I am grateful that God
has granted unto me according to my desires. "For behold, the Lord
doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach
his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have;
therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to
that which is just and true. I know that which the Lord hath commanded
me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that
which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that
perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul
to repentance; and this is my joy." I am so grateful for this
opportunity and hope that Elder Senatore and I can help the people of
Lewisburg. We already have one Spanish speaking investigator with a
baptismal date and there are several other great repentant people we
can see now!

Alma 29 has always been one of my favorite chapters and it has just
taken on a whole new meaning for me. I had such a wonderful experience
in sacrament meeting yesterday as I pondered over it. I was filled
with an outpouring of love from the spirit as I recognized his tender
mercies. He truly does love all people and will help me to be an
instrument in his hands to blessing so many more of his children. I
know this gospel is true and I am grateful to be a part of his great
work. I love him and I love all of you. I hope you have a wonderful

Elder Basham
 Here is a picture of Elder Watt and I on exchanges. Hermana Hill
made us all ties and we had fun being twins all day.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Winter Wonderland / Old McDonald Had a Farm - Lewisburg, Tennessee

Hello Everyone!

So yesterday we did not have a P-Day because we were helping to set up for the nativity festival the McMinnville Stake does each year. It is so pretty. When it is done there will be hundreds of nativity scenes and paintings from all around the world. We helped for ten hours yesterday and it is still not nearly set up.

I thought decorating one Christmas tree was a lot of work...... oh my. I don't know if I can

ever fluff branches again. It reminded me a lot of the holiday choir concert where Sydney and I were assigned to decorate the tallest tree.  I couldn't reach the top with a ladder. Fortunately these were much smaller, though far more numerous. We had an absolute blast all day and it was definitely worth it. We have the best district ever.


We did some great service for brother McDonald this last week. He has 200 acres of awesome stuff. We picked our own turnips to eat and then saw this fantastic arch.