Salutations! Yes, so the subject of the letter is best read if read like you're in the ensemble of Les Miserables...I am loving it here in Provo. The MTC is pretty much neck and neck with Disneyland in "happiest place on earth" points, I think. I have loved learning here and I think it is amazing how much I've learned since arriving. If you open yourself up to it, it is amazing what the Spirit can help you to understand. But, even though I have loved it, I am so excited to go to Korea. I am so nervous and am sort of freaking out inside, but I am excited for the unknown and for really being a missionary. And the time is fast approaching...I can count the number of days left on two hands (though technically I'd need at least one hand with six fingers or maybe I'd just count one toe. I have 11 days)! Tomorrow I pick up my flight plans so I will keep you in the loop as to departures and arrivals....eeek! I'm so excited!
This week in choir we sang a pretty easy and pleasantly powerful song, Hurrah for Israel. I'd never heard of it before we received the music. but it was easy to learn. It was a two page unison piece and most of it was sung in triumphant forte! It was great, we were singing about Israel and the gathering of Israel. Like always I loved Brother Eggett's commentary. Being the seminary and institute teacher that he is he explained to us the Abrahamic covenant (the 3 P's: a place--promised land, blessings of the priesthood, and an endless posterity. Plus, all of the promises made to him are available to all of the righteous children of Abraham), a brief history of the Children of Israel and their wanderings, their settlement in the promised land, the two kingdoms, and the breaking off of the top 10 tribes, and their eventual capture and escape. Pretty much Israel is scattered and the lost 10 tribes spread out across the globe. My calling (and that of all of the missionaries) is to go out, find those lost 10 tribes, and bring them back to the fold. So neat!
The guest speaker this past Tuesday (the one we sang our song for) was Brother John H. Groberg, an emeritus general authority. You know Brother Groberg, the missionary from The Other Side of Heaven. He was pretty spectacular. He shared with us the importance of frequent, fervent testimony as well as some clips and lessons from his experience as a missionary. One particular experience I found especially profound. While serving on a small island on Tonga, Elder Groberg heard word of a family on another island who wanted to hear the gospel. So he and three other brethren took off in a sail boat for the island. At first the wind was favorable but soon after they were on the way the wind stopped and they couldn't move anywhere. They prayed for a tailwind but alas, nothing. Then they all got down and prayed for a "good wind". Again nothing. They waited awhile then one of the brethren gathered the necessary supplies and with Elder Groberg got into a little rowboat and began to row the two of them to the island to teach the family. The man said to Brother Groberg that he had lived a long hard life and didn't begin to follow Jesus Christ until he was an older man. He wanted to do all that he could for the Lord. He couldn't do everything but that day he could help Brother Groberg to share the Lord's word. He could be the Lord's wind. He could answer both Elder Groberg's prayer and his own. I think that is amazing and that so often our prayers and the prayers of others will be answered though us. Oft times in order to fill our sails and to sail onward and upward in life we have to be the Lord's wind that pushes us a little further or that rows across the ocean for a while. And then, if we follow D&C 123:17 and cheerfully do all things that lie in our power then we can stand back and with the utmost assurance wait for the hand of the Lord to be revealed. The Lord helps those who help themselves and those who follow Nephi's example in 1 Nephi 4:6 and follow the promptings of the spirit even if they don't know beforehand where the Lord is taking them. His vision is grander. He is all knowing and is in charge and if we will do what he asks of us, when he asks it of us, then we will receive so many blessings! He is the gardener here! He knows what is best for us; He knows what he wants us to become and though that vision may include cutting us down at times, it is so we can be lifted higher.
A thought. So this week I attended Branch Leadership Meeting and I was struck by a series of thoughts.
President Monson said once that "It is our duty to live our lives as examples of righteousness that others may follow." We have to be those good examples because we are the light on the hill that is shining and is showing others what to do. President Monson also said "We should never do anything that we wouldn't want our children to do." Wise words. I was also struck by the observation that children will imitate what they see. Most people will imitate what they see others doing. We need to be good examples so others know what to imitate, but for us, we need to carefully select those we imitate and try to emulate. I am so strongly influenced by my family, my leaders, my teachers, the living prophets and those in the scriptures, and I am continually striving to be more like Christ. As I seek to copy what they did I get closer and closer every time. Just like imitating an accent or an impression, the more you repeatedly strive to do copy, the closer you get. I also think that when we are thrown into new circumstances, when we are new, we are more sponge-like and seek to imitate and follow what is being done. I have felt this as I've been thrown into the missionary life and also when I go to a new school or when any other new thing goes on. The cool thing is that through the Savior's atonement I can be given a new heart! Everyday day, multiple times a day even, I( can be given a new heart and be in that frame of mind where I can better imitate those righteous examples. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the central doctrine of the church and I am continually striving to make it the center of my life. Doing this brings me peace and happiness. This church is true. I love it and I know it can bless everyone's life! Try it out. It will change you for the better.. for forever!
I love you all and am so grateful for your prayers. I feel them. They buoy me up and know that you are in mine.
Keep the faith! It is true. Continue forward with Christ, Onward and Upward!
|Me and good O'l Samuel Smith (the 1st missionary) He had his laundry in a nap sack; I have mine.|
|Me and Elder Powell in the rain. It's been surprisingly rainy this week. I love it!|
|the rainy mountains #crazyclouds|
|Favorite Japs! I love these Elders. They were my volleyball buds. Elder Woods on the right in the suit. We were probably closest with the Japs.|
|Me and some of my favorite Japs. Elder Christensen, Elder Siebach and then Elder Woods|
|Here's me for the next 22 months!|