Ahh, I am so happy to finally get to email you! Monday could not have come soon enough. I am so sorry that you guys have had so much craziness going on. Real world life is just too busy. Plus, what emotionally draining news. I can't believe what has been going on with Uncle Chad. It really breaks my heart to know what he is going to have to go through. But ya know, I know that he can. He is one of the strongest, greatest guys I have ever met. Seriously, he has helped me so much to feel loved and supported. I think he has been racking up the blessings for years to save up for this trial. I can't say enough good things about him, and Aunt Mel and of course my sisters!! I wish I could be with ya'll and give some comfort.
And Zach, I am sorry about the whole BYU-H thing. But the Lord has a plan. Maybe you are meant to go to BYU with me, and so we can hang out all the time!! Wouldn't you love that? One of the less-active families we are trying to teach, have a daughter that's like 17 and a son who is 15. They went to their prom together and our best friends. It made me miss you and I imagined you letting me hang out with you and all of your friends. Ha ha funny right? But that's rough that BYU-H will no longer have a sports programs. Sometimes we cant quite see the picture Heavenly Father has drawn for us, and its really hard to trust that it will all work out in the end. But you know what, you will be blessed for your desire and willingness to go on a mission! I think that is SOO cool! I tell everyone and their dog that my little brother is getting his mission call this week!!! I CANT WAIT TO FIND OUT WHERE!!! Ah, that will be so crazy to find out. You will be such a great Elder oh my goodness. I have a feeling that the Lord has a very specific use for you out in the mission field. One of my challenges for you this week is to write down before you get your call, all the reasons why you feel like you need to go on a mission. Write down how you feel, your testimony, your experience in high school with the Spirit and how it has all lead you to this point. I know it probably sounds lame, but I am serious! You will want to read this when you are having a low point on your mission. You cling to the testaments of the Spirit that you have seen before in your life. And then, the night you get your call before you go to bed, write down how you felt when you got your call. All of it! It will be one of the coolest things to read about one day, I can promise you that!! PLEASE DO IT!!
As for this week, on my mission....I have been pondering a lot. Questions like: What am I becoming out here on my mission? Am I staying focused? Am I letting the mission overcome me, instead of overcoming my mission? I feel very stagnate. Letting the monotonous mission schedule rule me, instead of putting my life and spirit into it. What am I learning? What am I trying to improve? It is really easy to get into a rut. Just doing it because you are supposed to and not because you want to. WORST IDEA!
And then, I found out about Uncle Chad and everything that is going on, and my mind was confused. How do I deal with this? How do I help my family? What do they need to hear? It is a different spot to be in out on your mission. You get caught in a haze and real life problems seem light years away. It shocked me back into what real people are feeling and dealing with. I was praying so hard, just hoping that I might have personal revelation to help everyone. I was praying that the family would be comforted and that they would recognize the presence of the Holy Ghost with them. I realized why prayer is hard, and why missions are difficult. Giving up control and letting the Lord take over is not a natural man thing to do. Letting the Spirit guide the lesson and not what I want to say, is hard to do. Being left to pray for my family because I can't comfort them physically is a hard thing to do. It's not natural, but I am humbled and VERY confident that our Heavenly Father hears EVERY prayer and is doing all He can to help!
So, in the words of Alma, "Wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ?" (Alma 31:31) Have faith that He will. "Oh Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me..." Have faith that He will.
And if that is too hard, have just a little tiny piece of hope that this is real. Start small. Baby steps. It isn't easy to give away control when tough times come. It isn't easy to have hope or faith or patience when tough times come. But they do come, and they only way to get through it is through our Savior, Jesus Christ himself. The Savior himself said these words, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Lately, I have been hesitant to write my weekly email. It is either I don't know what to say, or I don't feel like I learned anything, or I didn't overcome my obstacles in front of me that week. I let the world get the best of me. And now after hearing about Uncle Chad and everything, I was racking my brain on what I could write about. And I prayed, and that is what came out. I know that this life is hard, tremendously harder that I ever thought. Trials come unexpectedly and I can only imagine the pain that people must feel. But there is one thing that I do know, THERE IS HOPE. Although, it may seem slim at times, and the trial may seem unfair, it is there. We have a Savior standing at the door, just waiting for us to open it and let him in. Open the door. Let him carry you through your trials, because the burden is just TOO heavy for any person alone. "And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me: and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while your are in bondage..."(Mosiah 24:13-14) Just as the Lord promised Alma and his people, the promise to us is the same if we have faith.
I know this to be true. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I know that there is a plan for all of us. I am so grateful for all of the knowledge that I have concerning this life, because we all know I would probably go insane with out it. I am grateful for Jesus Christ and his sacrifice that we all may be able to return home to our Father in Heaven. Although, this life on earth may be hard, there is hope through the Atonement of our Savior. If we focus on that, any trial, any sorrow, and any frustration will be made bearable.
I love you all. I hope that these words brought comfort. I love Mel and Chad, and I wish I could help more. The gospel truly the only way. That's all I know how to help right now. But I love you, and I love their family. I fasted with you all yesterday, and I am praying often. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do! Ah, I really do just love them all!!
I can't believe you are all going to HAWAIIIIIIIII!!!!!! Ah, so jealous! This Friday huh? Wow, please say Hi to Terina for me! I wrote her a letter. And tell Sister Spring hi!! And that I want Ethan's address. That is going to be so surreal going back...ah I can't imagine. I want to hear all that you learn from your trip. I got your package today with the cardigans and letters!! Thanks so much! I LOVE IT!! New clothes on the mission is the best present EVER! I went to Goodwill today and got myself some springy skirts. That place totally lifts my mood!! I had the best exchange this week in Franklin. So fun, the girls are AWESOME!! We planned a trip to Europe together when I get home ha ha, and we ate at Cracker Barrel, and the members were nice. I got a little sad to go back to my area, but its okay. I meant to learn here. I really need to work on becoming more like Jesus Christ instead of focusing on all the stuff that frustrates me. It makes everything so miserable!
The Franklin Zone
Thompson Station District: Elder Cherry and Elder Callahan