Dec 18, 2011

Email home 12/15/11

This is me, writing for my last time from the CCM.  Next time you hear from me, I'll be a real missionary.  I'm a littlelot stoked.  Demasiado.
So, I have assignments for all of you.  Because, you know, I love you, and I spend 14 hours a day studying the gospel, I want you all to read/watch a conference talk.
Mom, yours is Matthew O. Richardson's, I believe from Sunday Morning.  The best part is toward the end, with his story about the hike.  I thought you might like it with all the scriptures you shared with me.  If you're feeling ambitious, I also thoroughly enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf's about "Serving the Lord's Way" which was on Saturday Afternoon (I believe) and Elder J. Devn Cornish (who's one of the Area Presidency here, lives next door) about the Power of Prayer from Sunday Afternoon.  But please read Matthew O. Richardson.
Dad, Dallin H. Oaks gave a fantastic one about the teachings of Jesus Christ... I think it was Sunday Morning but it could've been Priesthood.  I really liked it, and I need you to read it.  I think you'll really like it too.
Becca, this is going to take only 15 minutes.  That's not even half of an episode of Harper's Island.  So, pull out your iPad, get on LDS.org, click on the Conference link on the Right side, then find the one by President Monson on Sunday Morning called "Stand in Holy Places." Watch it, and write down on a piece of paper three things that you liked about it.  Then, email them to me.  If the email ISN'T in my INBOX by Wednesday before you go to bed, you're gonna regret it.  Remember, I'll be home when you start dating.  Also, if you want more, watch President Packer's, "Counsel to Youth," Saturday Morning.  It's directed just for you and has good advice.
 
okay, that's your assignment.  This is my first real commitment to someone, so don't start me out with negative statistics.
Speaking of statistics, we've been teaching our "teachers" as Ïnvestigadores" here in the CCM, and our first one is "getting baptized" today.  It takes a lot of work and a lot of teaching to baptize one guy!  Sheesh.  I can't imagine what it'll be like with real people.  Dad, I realized you never really told me very many mission stories, especially about investigators and stuff.
So, I want you all to know that I've made a lot of progress in myself.  When I showed up to Provo, I wanted to be leader.  district, or something.  I wanted to have a calling that showed how well I was doing, or at the very least, validated me in my life up to that point.  I didn't get one.  I know, Dad, those are the exact type of people that drive you CRAZY at church.  But, it's what I wanted, even if I knew I shouldn't have.  Anyway, the other day, Elder Cornish was here.  He shared D&C 121:34-35 (or something close to that) that talks about "many are called but few are chosen" because others "aspire to the glories of men" or something like that, and I realized that I now have grown past that desire.  I don't need validation, and really, a calling to leadership proves nothing except that the Lord needs extra service from you at that time.  The real validation comes from living a just life-reading the scriptures each day and knowing you're doing what they're teaching.  Praying to your Heavenly Father each day and feeling the Spirit testify that you're doing what you're supposed to.  Feeling the Spirit strongly in your lessons because you HAVE the Spirit.  Having prayers answered.  All of these little miracles have happened to me una y otra y otra vez, and I'm so happy to see that I've grown past that desire.  As I wrote Courtney today, I feel like more than twice the man I was last time you guys saw me.  Really, this is a life changing experience when we do it right.
Which reminds me-Anyone reading this that is preparing for a mission (whether in two weeks or ten years), the two things you need to strive to understand are these:  The Lord loves you more than you can imagine.  Every thing you see, every blessing you have, is from Him, and without Him, you'd be NOTHING.  And, why do you love Him?  If you strive to figure these two things out, and really understand them, you'll have a fantastic experience on the mission-Well, at least in the MTC-and you'll grow immensely.  I know these are the best two years FOR my life, because of all the fantastic skills I'm developing.
AH!  I am so long winded.  So, we had our first experience in the field, we went on splits with the missionaries.  It was incredibly scary.  I realized that I really DONT know what's going on (I've never even talked to ANYONE in my WHOLE life about the Gospel who hadn't heard about it) and I don't know how to operate by myself.  Thank goodness I'll have a companion to help me figure it out, and the Lord :)  I'm SO excited to get out in the field and really teach people, because I know the Lord wants to bless them :) 
Mom!  Becca!  I LOVED the package.  It was hilarious.  I was a little peeved when I saw that you mashed my pringles, but the cranberries were super delicious, and nothing in the world tastes better than pecan pies, even when they're loaded with preservatives.  Thank you :)  I was very amused, and very happy.  I neglected to tell you last time.
One thought I loved from Elder Cornish's devotional this week is this:  "The Lord doesn't want us to be obedient.  He wants us to WANT to be obedient." That's what a broken heart and a contrite spirit means.  It's funny to see the difference in how much people enjoy their missions when they've had that change of attitude.
Am I more ambitious than the rest of the world?  I feel like I'm receptive to any opportunity that could help me learn and grow, because I want to be the best person I can be.  Others, I feel like are just OBLIVIOUS because they just THINK they're perfect and they ignore the real world.
Mom, I eat TONS of fruit and veggies here, way more than any other Elder. After a year of not being able to afford them at BYU and three weeks of hardly ANY in Provo, the fresh fruit here is AMAZING, and I consider vegetables a blessing.
Grandpa's been emailing me, he told me Becca stayed over.  How was that, Becca?  I bet you had fun :) Mom, dad, is it cool to go back to Temple square together?  you know, the place where you finally decided to get married?  You know me, I like that mushy stuff.
Mom, we'll definitely have 6 Americans in the "guagua" with us, maybe four latinos.  I don't know, because I'm not sure their leaving on the same day.  Furthermore, I don't know if we're taking a bus or a van because it's the same word here, but it's one of the two.  The Americans are Cool, my old companion Elder Barrus, Elder Cannon, Elder Welburn, Elder Wilkinson (England), and Elder Jenks.  I like them all, especially Elder Barrus.  we're pretty good friends, he's a good guy.  The Latinos are good, too, especially Elder Cruz from Mexico and Elder Vergarra from Panama.
Don't worry too much about batteries.  Even though they're crazy expensive here (like $1/each for AA), it's still probably better than sending them.  I also need them for my CD player, so we'll be alright.
Umm, the rules for email should change next week.  I don't know exactly what's going to happen.  I've only been emailing you guys, Zoë, grandpa, and Cody.  Family, and Cody cuz he can't write.  I might be allowed to email everyone in Santiago, but I don't know if I'll have time cuz I spend so much time writing you and Zoë.  Anyone can email me, that's cool, and DearElder.com is a really good service-It's what Courtney uses. Just know that I won't get it til the next Thursday after you send it.  And I'm always up for letters, but those take even longer.  Learn how to use the pouch, if you so desire.  I'll try to write you a letter back, but it'll take about two weeks to get there.  I have more time for that.  I hope Lance and Teresa are doing well, along with Grammy and her surgery.  I'll pray for them all, since we missionaries get extra attention and all :) 
 
Anyway, my times up. Love you all!  Read your scriptures and pray every day, and don't forget, the Gospel ROCKS!

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