Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18, 2012

                                                                                                                                   April 18, 2012
I love you!!! I am loving being here in New York!!! I love the people and my companion!!! This last week has been a real eye opener for me of how nice people can be to you even if they want nothing to do with the church which I never thought was possible. We have done a lot of tracking this first week and I see a lot more in my future. We have one sister that is preparing to be baptized on May 20th which is very exciting!!! Elder Knuth and I are getting along very well. We joke around a lot. The ward here is really nice and loving to me right from the start. On Monday we had a dinner appointment with a member. She is crazy but really funny! She is covered in tattoos and each one of them represents a miscarriage that she had. When she first heard that I was from Utah she thought that I was going to be a very naive and boring person, but I passed the test and I am one of her favorite people already. Today we went to Woodstock and went on a hike! It was so much fun!!! At the top we were able to see the whole county that we serve in. There was this really old building that was there that was just the frame work now. There was also a fire tower that was really cool to look off of. The hike was 2.5 miles one way. I was surprised that I could do it :) I also got to go inside of a Buddhist monastery. It was really pretty but there was no spirit there, which made me sad.
I am really loving the work and have a lot to do to find people, but at the same time I know that it will be worth it!
I know that we are part of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ here upon the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and that it is true. I know that through the atonement we can be forgiven of all our sins and one day return to live with our Father in heaven again. I know that this work is what I am supposed to be doing right now. I Love my Savior
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
Elder Colton John Plouzek

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The First Week at the MTC

                                                                                                                                                                March  28, 2012
HI Mom and Pop
 I love you guys so much! I am loving the work! I sent you a letter on Wednesday talking about my first day! Elder Rutland and I have been called to serve as zone leaders for the three weeks that we are here. Our job is to watch over the 4 districts in our branch. This first week has been amazing! Every day I feel my testimony of Jesus Christ grow. We have had many opportunities to teach some investigators and learn how to help them come unto Christ. At the moment we have Chet, Kim, Arnold, Nell & Bob and I have Mike. I love all of them! I have made some really good friends here. We have some very cute sisters in our district but that is not my focus. I know that if we put our faith in Christ, he will guide us to the people who will be ready to receive the gospel.
 In answer to your letters, I am so excited for you guys to serve along side of me and have some of the same experiences as I do. It has been really weird getting used to having a constant companion with me but it will be ok. On Sunday we had sacrament meeting. We were all asked to prepare a 3-5 min talk on the Holy Ghost because we could be called up randomly to share. I was lucky enough to not have to talk, but I did feel the spirit so strong. I took 2 and a half pages of notes in there. Then we had a fireside about our purpose as a missionary which is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel  through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. The stressed that first we have to convert ourselves then we will be able to convert others. Then we had a devotional last night by Elder Eduardo Garavett from the Seventy. His talk was very good. We were taught more about our purpose.
We had an amazing time at the temple today. I feel kind of at home when I am there because the Provo temple is very similar to the Jordan River. Tell Bishop that I am doing great.
 I am loving the work so much!!! Tell the family that I love them so very much and that you all are in my prayers. I am glad that the guys keep coming over to use the cave to bring you some joy. Don't miss me too much! I am in the lords hands.
 I know that Christ is my Savior. I know that the church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I am so excited to get out of here on the 10th of April and serve the people in New York!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Love your son,

Elder Colton John  Plouzek

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My mission email is:

My MTC address is:
Elder Colton John Plouzek
MTC Mailbox # 129
NY-NYCN 0410
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

My Field address is:
Elder Colton John Plouzek
700 White Plains Rd Ste 315
Scarsdale NY, 10583

Farewell Talk
I hope they call me on a mission when I have grown a foot or two. I hope by then I will be ready to teach and preach and work as missionaries do. I hope that I can share the gospel with those who want to know the truth. I want to be a missionary and serve and help the lord while I am in my youth. This is my very favorite primary song. I remember when I was in primary wishing and hoping for this to become a reality and now the day has finally come. I mean I have grown a foot or two since then.
I have been excited for my mission for a very long time! When I first got my mission call on November 16th I was so excited!! But at the same time I was a little bummed that I did not leave until March 21. That next week I was able to go through the temple and have all of my family to go with me. Then in December my sister went through the temple and it was so nice to be able to be there for that. In January I started working in the Jordan River temple in the baptistery. I have really enjoyed feeling the spirits of those youth that come in and the friendships I have made there. I am really glad that I have the Manhattan temple in my mission because I don’t know what I would do if I had to go 2 years without going to the temple.
1 Nephi 3:7 reads: And it came to pass that I Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. This is one of my favorite scriptures. The principle of obedience that is taught in it has been my guide throughout my life.
  From a very young age my mom has been trying to help me understand that I need to learn to be obedient for obedience sake.  That concept was a big part of my progression in both the Duty to God and the Scouting program. I am not going to lie, I did not always love these programs, but the life lessons I have taken from them have changed my life for the better.
I will always remember the winter camps and the rank advancements, but I think the most influential thing I will take away from scouting was the dedication of my leaders and my parents to push me through when I was ready to quit. I have also learned that scouting was not as much about the requirement, but teaching me to be obedient. The scouting program is there to help young men become who they are meant to be.
In a talk by President Ezra Taft Benson in the February 1975 New Era titled “Scouting Builds Men,” it reads: “I would to God that every boy of Boy Scout age could have the benefits and the blessings of the Boy Scout program. It is truly a noble program: it is the builder of character, not only in the boys, but also in the men who provide the leadership. And character, after all, is the priceless thing you build in this life and take with you into the next. I have often said that Scouting is essentially a spiritual program, a builder of men. It is established upon a deeply spiritual foundation.  In the first part of the Boy Scout oath we declare, “On my honor I will do my best to do by duty to God and my country and to obey the scout law.” Scouting emphasizes duty to God, reverence for sacred things, observance of the Sabbath, maintenance of the standards of the church with which the boy is affiliated. As each boy repeats that pledge, usually at every scouting meeting or function, he says in the presence of those whose friendship he values most highly, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God.” It cannot help but make a lasting impression upon him.” I had never before looked at scouting in this light.
When I think about it this way I can see why the church recommends that young men be involved in scouting so that they can learn to fulfill their duty to God not only by going to church each week, but also by serving others.
Scouting is also a very big missionary tool. You do not have to be a member of the LDS church in order to participate in scouting. There are many young men in these programs who are not members of the church, but through the willingness of the members they can be exposed to the church and hopefully one day find out more about the church and become baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints, which is what missionary work is all about; bringing souls unto Christ.
I have also learned a lot from the Duty to God program itself. I had the opportunity to go through both the old and the new program. While I was both a deacon and a teacher I had the old program. In that program there were pre-set goals that we could choose from in six different categories which were family activities, quorum activities, spiritual development, physical development, educational, personal, and career development and citizenship and social development. In each of these categories you had a required amount of things that you had to get done, and those requirements didn’t work for you, you really had no other option. This was one of the reasons I was not the biggest fan of this program. It just seemed so cut and dry. Then when I was about 17 the Church came out with a new and improved Duty to God program. This program is all about encouraging young men to set goals and accomplish them. This program allows the young man to personalize their goals to fit their needs and desires. There is a system set in place to accomplish these goals over the 2 years that young men are in each quorum while learning to act and share. This requires them to not only set the goals but then follow through by learning for themselves the gospel of Jesus Christ, acting on the goals they have made, and then the most important part I think is the sharing. Sharing means sharing your testimony about what you have learned with those that you care about and love. This helps the young men learn how to be a missionaries not only once they have been called and set apart but also as a member missionary to their friend s and family and maybe even at times; complete strangers. The church encourages all young men to participate in both the scouting program and the duty to God program as well. Elder Robert D. Hales said “I promise you that your achievement of the Duty to God award will provide you with a living testimony that will sustain you throughout your life.” And I second that statement these programs help me to better understand both the spiritual and temporal thins that the lord has given us
In life we all have one goal. That goal is to one day return to live with our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ and become as they are. But in order to do so we must live worthily. There are many things that as members of the church we need to plan for in our lives. There are the gospel things like planning and preparing to be baptized at the age of 8, or planning and preparing to be worthy to receive the Aaronic Priesthood at the age of 12 and striving to live worthily to advance in the priesthood for the rest of your life. We also plan from a very young age to serve a mission for the Lord at either the age of 19 for the young men or 21 for the sisters. This has been one of my goals for my whole life. I grew up in a home where 4 of my siblings have served full-time missions and it is for me now finally a reality. We also make goals to be married in the temple and to be sealed as husband and wife for time and all eternity and to raise a family of our own in the church.
We also set goals in this life for the simple things. We plan at an early age to go to college and to gain an education so that we can have a good career. We plan to save money to buy a house or a car. Goals are very important. If we do not set goals, life will still go on, but we will never reach our full potential.
As a missionary, one of my goals is to bring people unto Christ through the atonement so that they can have the same eternal blessings for their families as we do for ours as members of the church.  This work is not just aimed at converting one person, but several. God loves all his children and wants them to return to live with Him again, but they cannot do this unless they are members of the church. The worth of souls is great the sight God. He doesn’t forget about someone because they are not members of the church or they have fallen away from the church. He works even harder to get them back. He has already lost one third of his children when they chose to follow Satan in the war in heaven and He doesn’t want to lose more.
One of my desires has always been to go to the temple and to go often. I remember counting down the days until I turned 12 so that I could go and participate in the blessings of the temple, not only for myself but also for those who have passed on. I have been blessed with amazing friends who I go to the temple with often. I have always loved going to the temple to provide those saving ordinances to those who have passed on. Now my mission has changed from the work for the dead to the work of the living. It is one thing to do work for people who cannot do it for themselves, but it is another for people to do their own work in the temple and receive the blessings that are provided there.
I am very grateful to everyone who has had an impact on my life over these last 19 years, especially my loving family and friends. I am the person that I am because of all of you. I am so grateful to my parents for putting up with me and constantly loving me, and I will truly miss you all. But … I am so excited to serve the people of New York for the next 2 years.
I have a very strong testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful for His atonement and for all He does for me.  I know that through the atonement we can all return to live with our Father in Heaven again. I know that the blessings of the temple are given to us to make us happy. I know that families can be together forever. I know that we are led by a living prophet who has been called of God, and who is the only one who is able to receive direction and guidance for the whole church. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it is true. I have read it many times. I know that if we abide by the teachings that we are taught that we can live with God again. I know that the Holy Ghost can be a constant companion to us as long as we are always following the commandment that we have been given. I know that because of the atonement we can be forgiven of our sins. I know that God loves all of his children; this is the reason I am going on my mission to share this message with the people of New York.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen